October 30, 2009

TOO NORMAL FOR OUR OWN GOOD



She looks perfect.  Not a thing wrong with her.  The high-risk doctors "graduated" me to Regular Old Pregnant Lady after today's visit.

Which ends up being an interesting catch-22: We've received word that my husband might not get permission to come home for the birth unless it is a high-risk pregnancy.

Oh the irony...all we've wanted is for a healthy, normal pregnancy, and now that might mean it's not important enough to get my husband home from Afghanistan.

But we're not worrying about that today.  We're just counting fingers and toes.


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October 29, 2009

WHY I WATCH GLENN BECK

It's patently obvious why Democrats and people on the left don't like Glenn Beck. But I know plenty of people on the right who don't like him either. Usually they point out that he's a crybaby.

I'd like to point out why I do like Glenn Beck, and why his show, along with the Special Report All-Star Panel, is the only political/news programming I watch on TV.  And why I watch it every day.

Because Glenn Beck comes at us Ross Perot style, with charts and graphs and numbers. He lays out theories about what he thinks the future of our country will look like, and he always says they're just theories and he hopes he's wrong.  He doesn't just do opinion schtick, though there's plenty of that. He doesn't just interview guests and argue about the day's news, which is what every other news/opinion program on TV does. And he doesn't just cry, though there are times when his love for his country and his anguish over what it's becoming do overwhelm him.

He also takes complicated economic problems and explains them to average Americans.  (This clip is crucial to watch if you want to see the difference between The Glenn Beck Program and every other news show out there.)



The Glenn Beck model includes a chalkboard, for heaven's sake.  He spent twenty-one minutes lecturing on inflation.  And gets mega-ratings for it.  I think Americans are starving for this kind of programming.

Beck is the only TV personality I know of who consistently examines the long-term problems the US faces and points out that the "fixes" we're implementing now might end up doing us more harm than good.  Sadly, he also has a pretty good track record of being right.

Is anyone else pointing out long-term problems to average Americans?  Or are they too busy talking about balloon boy and hyping swine flu...

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I'M TIRED OF THE GOOD WAR

My dithering is worse than Pres Obama's.  I don't know what the solution is.  I want to do this until my husband comes home.



I am frustrated on so many levels.

A senior military officer said the developing strategy adopted General McChrystal’s central tenet. “We are no longer thinking about just destroying the enemy in a conventional way,” the officer said. “We must remove the main pressure that civilians live under, which is the constant intimidation and corruption and direct threat from the insurgency.”

Am I missing something here?  I thought we needed this new strategy because only it would deny safe haven to al-Qaeda. Now, we are evidently going to do counterinsurgency despite conceding at the outset that it won't really work because the Taliban is "an indigenous force" (translation: It has too much support among its fellow Afghan Muslims); under "Biden for the country," we are going to cede the vast countryside to the Taliban, which will then be free to give al-Qaeda the safe-haven it was purportedly our objective to prevent (and you know that's what we're doing because a "senior administration official" felt it necessary to tell the Times, "We are not talking about surrendering the rest of the country to the Taliban"); and under McChrystal for the city, while we don't go after the Taliban because “we are no longer thinking about just destroying the enemy in a conventional way,” we're going to focus on solving the real challenge to U.S. national security . . . Afghan corruption.

Ay-yay-yay.

Indeed.

And I still feel like Ralph Peters:

Iraq made sense to me. The stakes there were (and are) enormous. But Afghanistan's a strategic vacuum that sucks in resources and lives to no sensible purpose.

And yet leaving is an even bigger problem.

I get sick thinking about it.

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October 26, 2009

"MAKING SOMEONE ELSE PAY"

My husband and I have paid for car insurance for over seven years.  We have never once filed a claim.

My dental insurance costs about $140 per year.  I have never had any dental work done besides cleanings, twice a year at $70 each.

These two insurances work in remarkably different ways.  The dental insurance covers every time I walk in the door, even just to have some nice lady floss my teeth for me.  The car insurance doesn't cover anything routine and doesn't even cover some big things, like when my windshield broke last year. 

And yet, I think about the dental insurance so much more often, for some reason.  I am always irritated about breaking even.  I keep telling myself that it will pay off once we have kids, or once I need a root canal or something.  In the meantime, I get annoyed every time I break even.  I start to think that I could get by with one cleaning per year and save the remaining $70.  I want to feel more in control of that money, as if I am paying directly for a service instead of paying for insurance.

Maybe, with the car insurance, it's the fact that I don't have a choice to cancel it.  I don't often imagine all the money we threw down that hole, but it's a lot.  What if we could have it all back?

And don't even bring up all the money we've spent in life insurance...

But that's what insurance is: paying small amounts up front so that you will be eligible for the windfall payment at the end if bad luck strikes.  It's a gamble.  In the case of our vehicles, we have lost the gamble so far.  All the money we've paid in has gone to fix other people's cars for the past seven years.

Such is life.

Health insurance seems to be a misnomer then, because it doesn't seem to work like other insurances, at least not car or life insurance.  People seem to want to pay a small amount every month but get a large amount of benefit out every month too.  They want to pay $100 and get $300 worth of prescriptions.  That's not insurance, that's just redistribution.  That's just "making someone else pay", as Patrick McIlheran titled his recent article.  He explains why the proposed Obamacare system won't work:

Some companies noted last week that Congress' plans to mandate that everyone buy health insurance include only weak penalties. The plans also make insurers take on customers who are already sick. If you're young and daring, you pay the low penalty and go insurance-free until your doctor says you've got cancer. You then apply and pay $800-a-month premiums for $10,000-a-month care. Sweet, until the industry inevitably collapses, say insurers.

When stated so succinctly, it should be obvious that this system cannot work.  You cannot pay $800 for $10,000 worth of benefit without having someone else paying $800 for zero, for a long time.  That's how the gamble works in life insurance.

And while we all hate the stories of people who lose their jobs and then get cancer -- and trust me, I hate them pretty bad right now -- the solution, in my opinion, is not that insurers need to cover pre-existing conditions.  The solution is to have health insurance that is independent from your job, just as your car or life insurance is.  Then it doesn't matter when you get cancer; if you've paid in, you have "won" the gamble.

Mandatory insurance coverage is not, by definition, a gamble.  If you can wait to apply until after you have cancer, then why would you ever pay in beforehand?

It seems obvious to me that that system can't work.  So why are we trying to implement it?

Posted by: Sarah at 09:23 AM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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October 25, 2009

THE BADNESS OF OBAMA JUST KEEPS GETTING WORSE

Powerline got an email from Kristofer Harrison, who helped with the Bush administration's Afghanistan review.  He says Cheney was right and that they did loads of work that they passed on, no strings attached, to Obama.

The Chicago mob's behavior is unbelievably unseemly. Here they were given an immense amount of material, a complete strategic review and plan with the author's heading left blank. President Bush felt it was his duty to do so. And all Obama can do is smear president Bush, even after he filled his own name into the author's column.

Read the whole thing.

P.S.  Yes, what airforcewife said.  See comments.

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HIS OWN WORST ENEMY

Victor Davis Hanson nails it in a short post on The Corner:
Whom is Barack Obama Afraid of?—Another Barack Obama

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October 24, 2009

"HOW COULD THIS BE THE SAME BUMBLING KLUTZ?"

Bush vindicated during visit to city

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AMEN

From John Stossel:

In my state, the government tried to put bookies who take bets on horse races out of business by creating a state agency to run off-track betting.  The New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation, which has a Governor-appointed board of directors, has been so incompetently run that it now LOSES $38 billion per year despite its government-granted monopoly. Taxpayers are now on the hook for over $228 million.

An activity that was so lucrative to bookies that they risked arrest to pursue it becomes a money-loser when the state tries to do it.

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October 23, 2009

STICKER BURRS

Tonight I let the dog into the backyard.  I caught sight of him out the window and noticed he was limping.  Another sticker burr, poor fella.  I went to the door and opened it, calling to my Charlie.  He came running right to me, as if to say, "Help me, mommy," and I grabbed his foot, pulled the burr out, kissed his head, and he ran in the house.

And it was such a good feeling, to be needed like that and to be able to be the only one who could help him.  To see the look on his face as he came running to me for help.

I can't wait to be that for my child.

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OBAMA VS D'ANCONIA

Lawrence Auster postulates:

As for the stunning laziness he has showed in certain matters such as the stimulus and Guantanamo, here's another theory: that Obama is like Francisco D'Anconia in Atlas Shrugged. That is, he keeps screwing up, because he doesn't give a damn if things get fouled up or not. He's not putting his intelligence into the system, because he doesn't care about the system, even if his failures make him look bad as well. In other words, in some instance he causes damage deliberately, as with his healthcare plan, and in other instance he causes damage by simply not putting his mind into what he's doing.

Via Amritas, that has kept me thinking all day.  Because you know I'm always up for comparing Atlas to real life.

First, I am not sure I agree with Auster's summary of D'Anconia's strategy.  I do indeed think he "gave a damn."  His actions were deliberate and his method was calculating.  He lost everything to bring about the collapse of the system, including the woman he loved.  His sabotage was intensely personal and heartbreaking.  But it was a deliberate choice because he DID give a damn.  And yes, his failures made him look bad, but the trashing of his reputation was deliberate as well.  He sacrificed everything he was in order to stop participating in a system he abhorred.  At least that's the way I remember D'Anconia. 

Conversely, I don't think Pres Obama would ruin his reputation to achieve his ends the way D'Anconia did.  I think all Obama has is his reputation.  I don't think he would give up money and power and his good name to bring about...whatever it is he is working towards (and there is much debate about that.)  In short, I don't think he has half the integrity or fortitude as D'Anconia did.  What Obama wants is wealth redistribution, which is the moral equivalent of stealing from one man and giving it to another, and then patting yourself on the back for helping, as CVG once said.  He's not sacrificing anything of his own for his goals.  Hell, how many times have people pointed out that he could start by helping his aunt and brother if he cares so much about all people living equally?

My opinion is that Pres Obama doesn't have the moral conviction that Francisco D'Anconia did, and that he wouldn't sacrifice one iota of his own wealth or reputation for his worldview.

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BABY SAYINGS SUCK

Sig brought up an excellent point about bibs in the comments:

He has another few that were store bought and have annoying sayings on them. "Hello world, I have arrived!" Stuff like that. One says "It's all about me." I hate that one and I always turn it upside down if it's the only one left and I have to use it.

I totally understand where he's coming from.  But I also think he's lucky to have a baby boy, because I've found it's so much worse with girl stuff.

The worst I've seen so far?  I mean besides all the run-of-the-mill stuff that says DIVA and PRINCESS on it?  The shirt that said "Who needs a piggy bank when you have Daddy?"  Second worst: "You're never too young for diamonds."  On a 0-3 month old onesie.

I hate hate hate all the baby crap that says that the baby is the boss, that grandma is wrapped around my little finger, that God personally made me as an angel and then broke the mold, etc.  I want my kid to have self-confidence, but this is disgusting.  No, you are not God's gift to the universe, kid, sorry.  Judging from the state of baby clothes sayings, you'd think we're raising a generation of Eric Cartmans.

I try to stay far far away from shirts and bibs with sayings.  Well, except for the one AirForceWife gave us that says IRS DEDUCTION.  That one's funny.

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October 22, 2009

BIBI'S BDAY

David points out that I missed it yesterday: Happy Birthday, Netanyahu!
Sixty years old and still so dreamy...

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ANIMATED CHARACTER CROCHETING

Despite having very little energy still, I did manage to get some joke crocheting done lately, specifically a Bender bib and an Underpants Gnome.


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October 21, 2009

PREGNANCY ADVICE

There's another pregnant Sara blogger, heh.  Congrats to her.

I started thinking about what advice I would give to another pregnant lady, and I decided to keep it generic: Listen to everyone's advice, but find your own path.

(Because I too like to invoke Chairman Mao while giving unsolicited advice.  In fact, I think he's who I turn to most for inappropriate quotes regarding pregnancy and/or graduation.)

But seriously.  An example:  Everyone I knew told me to buy under-the-belly maternity pants.  They're more modern, they have cuter styles, and they were "more comfortable."  So I did.  And they dug into me and annoyed the tar out of me.  I was always complaining about the elastic.  So one day last week, on a frustrated whim, I tried on a pair of the over-the-belly pants.  Holy cow, I was so much happier.  They don't dig in like the others.  Pants don't make me cry anymore, hooray!

I took everyone else's advice and it didn't work for me.  I'm just bummed it took me seven weeks of uncomfortable pants before I finally threw everyone else's fashion advice out the window.  I figured they knew better than I did, but it turns out they had just done what worked for them.  And apparently I am carrying way low and needed something different.

So listen to everyone and ask lots of questions, but then go with your gut.  If your gut says that you should be wearing grampa pants up to your armpits, then go for it!

And good luck.  The second trimester sucks too.

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October 20, 2009

MASSIVE FRAUD IS A SURPRISE?

On a superficial note, I just have to say how funny I think it is that the Obama administration is all in a tizzy about fraud in the elections in Afghanistan.  Our own country is over 200 years old, and we still have people squawking every election cycle about fraud (and rightfully so, because we still have people voting unjustly in every cycle).  I just think it's funny to expect Afghanistan to be this bastion of trustworthiness and ethical behavior and to be surprised when it's not.  Really, they can't talk about committing more troops until election fraud is settled?  I can't believe massive election fraud wasn't factored into the plan as a given!

And a funny (in a sad way) quote from Michael Yon:

Regarding the Afghan election, which is now headed for a runoff, the good news is that the vast majority of Afghans didn’t vote in the first place and probably are not paying much attention, since they are illiterate and mostly live in remote villages, many of which do not have radios. (That’s also a mouthful of bad news.)

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I'VE GOT 99 PROBLEMS

New Facebook status:

Sarah just calculated that her husband has been deployed for 99 days.  It's a good number for bottles of beer on the wall, but not so good for number of days being apart...

My mind is also apparently starting to play tricks on me.

I am ready to be done now, pls k thx.

Also, he is being a total John Adams and hasn't sent me one single letter.  "But we don't have outgoing mail out here" blah blah blah, like I believe that.

I'm tired of being in stores and seeing something I could give him for Christmas, and then putting it back because I realize that he won't be here for Christmas...

I'm tired of seeing myself in the mirror at night before bed and noticing how absolutely remarkable and amazing I look with my big, bare belly, and knowing he will never get to see it.  I am not trying to be lewd, but I think the hardest thing about the pregnancy so far is that my husband doesn't get to see what I look like with no clothes on.  The changes are pretty phenomenal, and I don't have anyone to share it with.

I just miss him.

I know, I know, "gold to aery thinness beat" and all, like I always say.  But I'm feeling dull and sublunary today.

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October 19, 2009

MAINSTREAM TONGUE

A very good point:

John Podhoretz once remarked that all conservatives are bilingual: We speak both conservative and liberal. Liberals are monolingual, because they can afford to be. To the Obama crowd, Fox News is a foreign tongue. The “mainstream” tongue? Well, we all grew up with it, were taught in it.

When conservatives hear liberal bias, they say, “Yeah, so? The sun rises in the east.” When liberals hear conservative bias, or even a point or bit of news uncongenial to liberals, they’re apt to say, “Eek, a mouse!”

This is the same thing that makes liberals say that Rush is probably a racist even though there's no proof.  They think they understand how we think, when they're generally pretty far off the mark.

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YAY, GIVE HIM ANOTHER PEACE PRIZE!

Finally, an Obama move I can applaud:

Federal drug agents won't pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, under new legal guidelines to be issued Monday by the Obama administration.

Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law.

It makes no sense to have a state law that makes something legal and a federal law that trumps it.  For me, it's a simple Tenth Amendment issue and a fight or flee issue: if you need medicinal marijuana, move to a state that offers it; if it offends you, move away.  I don't think it should be a federal law at all.

So good job, for now, of clarifying a ridiculous conflict in laws.  Let the states decide.

Now to work on teasing apart inter- and intra-state commerce...starting in Montana...

UPDATE:

But a very good point is made by Wesley Smith...

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October 18, 2009

HAVE YOU EVER LISTENED TO A WORD HE'S SAID?

David Frum is absolutely wrong.  I would bet anything you'd ask of me that Glenn Beck would rather be penniless than to sell out on his values and principles.  I would guarantee it.  Frum is dead wrong, which makes me wonder if he's ever even listened to Beck in the first place.

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October 15, 2009

HALFWAY THERE



I love looking pregnant.  I never want to look normal again.  You can have the aches and pains, but let me keep the tummy.  I take great delight in the fact that I crossed through hell to get here, but at least I make a cute pregnant lady.  I deserve for luck to be on my side for once, right?  I have been amazed that strangers have had the guts to ask me when my baby is due; either they are really brave or I look so obviously pregnant that they feel safe in asking.  I'd like to believe the latter. 

I am halfway there.

Whenever you call the hospital, a recording says that if you are less than 20 weeks pregnant, you should go to the ER in an emergency.  If you are more than 20 weeks, you head straight to Labor and Delivery.

Should something go wrong, I have crossed the threshold from "having a miscarriage" to "delivering a baby."  It's both a daunting and a wonderful milestone.

Most of the time, I don't worry about that.  At least not now that she's started wiggling where I can feel it.  It wasn't as wow as I expected it to be, because I guess I expected a hard kick instead of little stretches and rumbles.  But when I really think about it, it is a fun feeling.  And it's like a secret: I can be doing stuff with my mom and then say, "She's been kicking this whole time," and my mom gets this wonderful look on her face like I told her I was pregnant for the first time all over again.  That's been fun.

Still, the worry is always in the back of my mind.  Every time I buy something, I imagine it sitting in the garage collecting dust like all the other things I've bought over the years.  I bought a crib and mattress this week, and part of me just chalks it up as money wasted because I cannot really see this all working out in the end.  Surely there will never really be a baby in this house.

Sometimes I catch sight of myself in the mirror when I'm getting ready for bed, and I "discover" that I'm pregnant.  It hits me, that I have this belly and that for most people it means that they will be having a baby soon.  But I still kinda think of it as something that happens to "most people," not me.

She has a name, and yet I never use it.  She is only "the baby."

And I don't know when it will feel real.  I should tour Labor and Delivery.  I should take one of the parenting classes.  I should work on a birth plan.  I should consider a doula in case my husband doesn't get home in time.  But I do none of these things because they still seem pointless. 

It's hard to explain, that I am enjoying the pregnancy while simultaneously doubting that it will ever actually result in a living baby.

I've taken a lot of guff for being too ready to have a baby, which is why I find all this so funny: I've been ready for a theoretical baby for ten years but I am still not ready for this real one inside of me.  People get wide-eyed when I say that I bought college-themed onesies way back when my husband and I were just dating, knowing that someday a baby would root for our alma maters.  We bought a mosaic to hang on baby's wall when we were on our cruise in 2005, long before we were ever thinking of having a baby.  And I bought an art print of a mother and baby bird even before I ever met my husband.  I have been ready for this moment for as long as I can remember.  And now we have a nursery, an honest-to-goodness nursery, and all these things are in it.  But still...

When will I stop waiting for the other shoe to drop?  I just want to feel like a normal happy person instead of leaving the tags on everything "just in case."

This post turned out far more morose than I thought it would be...

And while I'm writing this, I realized that I sort of cling to this sorrow.  I think part of me is resisting being a "normal happy person."  I still carry the pain of the three lost babies, but to the stranger on the street, I look like any other pregnant Army wife.  And once I have the baby, I am just like any other mom.  But I don't feel like a regular old first-time mom.  Now that I look like everyone else in the Babies R Us, I feel like I want to wear a sign that says "Trust me, it was much harder to get to this point than you think." 

I haven't figured out yet how to separate the happiness of this baby from the sadness of the others without feeling like I am turning my back on the others and also myself.  I haven't figured out how to get over my past, and most of the time I am not really sure I want to.  I don't want to dwell on it, but I don't want to move on and forget it either.

And maybe that's why I can't cut any tags off.  It's not really that I think this baby will die, because I truthfully don't really think she will.  Or at least I don't have any reason to think she will.  Instead, I think I resist because it means accepting a new identity and shedding the old one, which is proving hard for me.  Now I am just another pregnant Army wife and will soon be just another Army wife dragging a stroller around.  My belly is a sign of great things, but it's also the end of the person I have been for the past three years.  And even though I've hated that person, I don't know how to not be her anymore.

I don't know how to move on and just be happy and just be a mom without constantly feeling like I need to explain everything.  When people ask if this is my first baby, I just need to answer Yes instead of feeling like I need to unload the whole story.  Because right now, the story's still in me and it still feels like a big part of who I am.

And I wonder when it won't...when I'll just feel like this is my baby and we are a regular family like everyone else.

I guess I have 20 more weeks to figure it out.

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