November 30, 2009

SLOW NEWS WEEK

All's well that ends well in Honduras.  Good for them.

(Slow news week, eh?  A short list of things I don't care about: Tiger Woods, White House party crashers, the recordings from Flight 188, Christmas shopping tips, and everything else that's been on the news since Thanksgiving.)

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November 29, 2009

TABLES HAVE TURNED

My family is doing Thanksgiving today because my brother and dad had to work on the real holiday.  And I got such a chuckle when my mom called to ask how I make my cranberry sauce.  I'm just glad she didn't call me in the middle of the night!

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PROFIT LOGIC

A good blog post via Amritas about how there's no logic to profit-based hatred:

while politicians routinely attack BIG oil for its high profits, the same politicians are silent about the highER profit margins of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. For every dollar Exxon keeps after paying their bills, Google keeps $3. Exxon is attacked because they sell more units than Google, but in reality, Google is keeping more of the customer’s money. Politicians don’t concern themselves with this kind of stuff, because Google is very popular with the electorate, and oil companies are not.

Read the whole thing, and see if you can guess ahead of time how much profit medical insurance companies make.

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November 27, 2009

LIKE NEO

Frank J has a Republican Purity Test.  I like #3.

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November 26, 2009

TODAY'S PLANS

My Thanksgiving SpouseBUZZ post: The Tradition of No Traditions

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November 25, 2009

SELFLESS PARENTS

Two years ago, I wrote about something my father did that I found completely selfless and the true essence of parenting: he lent me his glasses.  But I never wrote the post I could've written six years ago when my mother did the same.

My husband and I hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner when we lived in Germany.  I had called my mother ahead of time and asked for all her recipes and how to cook a turkey, stuffing, gravy, and just about everything.  I got started on Thanksgiving morning, thinking that I was squared away, but once I began cooking, I realized I still had several questions.  Questions that couldn't wait several hours until Mom's time zone caught up to morning.

And so I gulped and picked up the phone.  I called my mother in the middle of the night back in the US to have her walk me through some last minute snags.  (Like what in the hell I was supposed to do with the neck.  Turkey neck is about the grossest thing I can think of.  I'd rather have a mouse in my kitchen than deal with a turkey neck.  I am already freaking out that I have to touch one tomorrow.)

My mom wasn't upset that I interrupted her sleep, she never acted put out, she just answered my questions and helped me keep on cooking.  And poor mom had to make her own dinner in a few hours, now on much less sleep.

I have been feeling cold feet lately, worried that I might not be a good mother, that I might not enjoy it, that I will be overwhelmed by the magnitude of what I am taking on.  But when I think of these times that my parents still selflessly help me out, even when I'm an adult, I figure that they wouldn't do that if being a parent weren't rewarding.

Thanks, Mama.  And if I need help tomorrow, at least we're only one time zone apart this year...

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November 24, 2009

WHO'S DELAYING JUSTICE?

Holder has some nerve.  From Marc Thiessen:

Only after KSM had been exhausted as an intelligence source did President Bush transfer him and 13 other terrorists to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for trial by military commission. Once the legal obstacles had been cleared in 2008, the commissions finally got underway. And when they did, KSM and his co-conspirators all offered to plead guilty before a military commission and proceed straight to execution.

With his decision to send them to civilian court, Holder has effectively rejected KSM's guilty plea and told him, "No, Mr. Mohammed, first let us give you that stage you wanted in New York to rally jihadists, spread propaganda, and incite new attacks." Indeed, a lawyer for one of the detainees has said that all five intend to plead not guilty "so they can have a trial and try to get their message out." Were it not for Holder, they'd be on death row instead of preparing for a trial that will take years and make the O.J. Simpson case look like a traffic court hearing. And Holder chastises President Bush for delaying justice for 9/11 families?

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JONAH ON THANKSGIVING

There's just so much funny and right in this that you have to read the whole thing.

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SARAH PALIN BOOK SIGNING



When the book tour stop was announced in my town, Lorie Byrd contacted me and asked if I planned to go see Sarah Palin.  I really hadn't considered it at all: standing in line for hours didn't seem like a fun idea while six months pregnant.  And I'm not really an "autograph person"; I'd rather hear someone's ideas than just shake her hand.  They had said Palin would not give a speech, and I didn't see much point in just getting her to scribble in a book with a sharpie.  (Sorry, that's how I see autographs.)  But I thought it could be fun to see Lorie, and we were on the same page that if it was too much of a zoo, we wouldn't wait all day in line.

Lorie decided that maybe one of her friends in high places could get us a better deal.  She contacted a big-time blogger who checked into it.  I had no illusions whatsoever that we would get special treatment, and we just headed to the signing like everyone else.  But on the drive there, we got a call from Andrew, one of the organizers for the event.  Amazingly enough, he gave us the VIP treatment.  We got special seats within the inner circle of velvet ropes to watch the preparations and festivities.  The staff was working hard and really efficiently.  And Andrew even brought fatty fat me donuts.

When Sarah Palin arrived, we were the first people she greeted: me, Lorie, and another blogger from Conservatives4Palin.  Yay for the perks of new media!

They got the ball rolling right away and she started signing books.  The staffers moved everyone through efficiently and briskly, yet Sarah Palin had this amazing way of making you feel like you weren't rushed.  She shook everyone's hands, asked people their names, held babies, and really made each person feel like the most special person in line.  All while the staff moved like clockwork around her to hustle as many people through the line as possible.  It was impressive.

We sat for a bit from our VIP chairs, trying to catch a photo of Palin in between fans.  It wasn't easy.  Lorie and I laughed and showed each other all of our blurry and bad photos.  I only had one that was even remotely OK.



The staff then put Lorie and me into the line.  They told Palin we were bloggers and that my husband is in Afghanistan.  She said to tell him that she loves him for what he does, and then she pointed at my belly and asked how I was doing.  She was as charming as can be.

Lorie's motto is "it doesn't hurt to ask," so she had asked if there was someone else from Palin's entourage we could briefly interview for our blogs.  After we got our books signed, the staff showed up with Sarah Palin's father for us to chat with.  Lorie asked him how the tour was going so far, but he had just flown in to join the tour the night before.  He was super nice.  I asked how his grandson was doing after his deployment, and we chatted a bit about how hot it gets in Iraq and about my husband being in Afghanistan.  It was so nice of Mr. Heath to spend a few minutes with us.  He was delightful as well.

I still can't believe Lorie had the guts to get us access.  I am an absolute nobody, but we got treated so well and like real VIPs.  And Sarah Palin is an genius at making everyone around her feel special and appreciated.  She really made it feel like she was the one who was lucky to meet all 4,000 of us, and not the other way around.  Now that's charisma.

I had a good time, and I'm glad Lorie is the type of gal who's a go-getter, otherwise I never would've had the day I had.  And a special thanks to Andrew for treating a couple of bloggers like VIPs.

Further reading: Lorie's post

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STATUS UPDATE

How I would write it on Facebook, if I posted such thoughts as these on Facebook:

Sarah is enjoying a bit of schadenfreude that the folks at Sadly, No are getting belittled.

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November 23, 2009

FOR THEE BUT NOT FOR ME

Via Instapundit, who says, "A rule under which only politicians have guns strikes me as the worst of all possible worlds."

Chicago politicians are zealously committed to gun control in law but fairly relaxed about it in practice.

In 1994, State Sen. Rickey Hendon had an unregistered handgun stolen from his home in a burglary, and he didn't feign contrition about his disregard of the ordinance.

"I have a right to protect myself," he declared, noting that he had been burglarized before—and forgetting that the state legislature of which he is a member allows Illinois cities to deprive their citizens of that right. Asked if he would replace the lost piece, Hendon said, "No comment." The police were kind enough not to charge him.

U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, another Chicagoan, has endorsed a nationwide ban on handguns and, in 1993, organized Chicago's first Gun Turn-in Day. But the following year, while running unsuccessfully for governor, he admitted he owned a handgun—"for protection," he explained—and hadn't seen fit to turn it in along with those other firearms. Lesser mortals apparently can protect themselves with forks and spoons.

So they write gun laws for the peons and have no intention of following the laws themselves.  Politicians are a real piece of work.

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November 22, 2009

LIKE A BIG FOAM FINGER

The ultrasound tech decided to start a caption contest this week.  Anyone else want to join in?



I wonder if the tech would just play along if I asked her to type AREA OF CONCERN on one of the photos...

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ABOMINATION

More info comes out on Hasan:

One of Hasan's commanding officers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Lieutenant Colonel Melanie Guerrero, told investigators she had considered failing him as an intern but "decided to allow him to pass since he was going into psychiatry and would not be doing any real patient care."

Wow, Army.  I didn't think it was possible for you to look worse in this fiasco, but you've gone and outdone yourself.  I think that's the most appalling thing I've ever heard.

No wonder soldiers hesitate to get treated for PTSD, if that's the attitude of the commanding officer of psychiatry services for the military.

I'm dumbfounded.

(Via Amritas)

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November 21, 2009

SPEND MORE

A good comment found at Althouse:

To those who point out that we in the US spend more on medical care than other developed countries, I would like to say this. We also spend more on education, charity, pet food, entertainment, and probably lots of other things I don’t know about.

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November 20, 2009

BOOK LIST V

I've got six weeks to catch Karl Rove...I might make it, if I didn't exhaust my light reading during this batch.

50)  The Road To Serfdom  (F.A. Hayek)
The previous nine books have been largely fluff, so I decided I needed to do some mental calisthenics of my own.  I thought Capitalism and Freedom was an easier read, but this wasn't as dense as I'd been warned.  And I'm glad I read it.

49)  Everything Bad Is Good For You  (Steven Johnson)
This was an interesting book, the premise of which is that popular culture is making us smarter, not dumber.  It's the reassurance I need after watching Idiocracy!  Johnson argues that people are doing more mental calisthenics these days from playing Sim City vs playing checkers or watching complex shows like 24 compared to the old Dragnet.  He argues that our leisure time is spent following more complex forms of media, which work to make us smarter, counter to popular wisdom.

My favorite anecdote was this:

Several years ago I found myself on a family vacation with my seven-year-old nephew, and on one rainy day I decided to introduce him to the wonders of Sim City 2000, the legendary city simulator that allows you to play Robert Moses to a growing virtual metropolis.  For most of our session, I was controlling the game, pointing out landmarks as I scrolled around my little town.  I suspect I was a somewhat condescending guide--treating the virtual world as more of a model train layout than a complex system.  But he was picking up the game's inner logic nonetheless.  After about an hour of tinkering, I was concentrating on trying to revive one particularly run-down manufacturing district.  As I contemplated my options, my nephew piped up: "I think we need to lower industrial tax rates."  He said it as naturally, and as confidently, as he might have said, "I think we need to shoot the bad guy."

48)  The Apostle  (Brad Thor)
I think I might've liked this one better than The Last Patriot.  Blasphemy!  And now I'm out of Brad Thor.

47)  The Last Patriot  (Brad Thor)
Like the Da Vinci Code, but for Islam.  I think I may have built up the excitement too much over the past two years, but it was still enjoyable.

46)  The First Commandment  (Brad Thor)
I'm on my way to The Patriot, finally.  I liked this one, as usual.  A very good use of Biblical plagues...

45)  Glenn Beck's Common Sense  (Glenn Beck)
I enjoyed this book, but I am finding that right-wing nutjobbery just doesn't do the same thing for me that it used to do.  Back when I read Larry Elder or Dinesh D'Souza for the first time, I had never been exposed to writers who said the things I was thinking.  Now that I surround myself with likeminded people, these books aren't as shocking as they once were.  Still worthwhile, but they don't pack the punch they once did.

44)  Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right  (Bernard Goldberg)
I liked Bias better, but this was a quick read and relatively entertaining.  I also read it in about a day.

43)  Never Again  (John Ashcroft)
My aunt lent me this book while I was visiting my grandparents, and I read it in a day.  I enjoyed reading about the rationale behind the PATRIOT Act and other aspects of 9/11 that I was too clueless to follow at the time.

42)  Eaters of the Dead  (Michael Crichton)
I finished the previous book on my flight out to San Diego and started this one on the way home.  It was unlike his other books, and not really my favorite, but it was OK.

41)  Sphere  (Michael Crichton)
I needed a quick book to read on the airplane, so I always reach for Crichton.  As usual, he didn't disappoint.

Previous Lists:
31-40
21-30
11-20
1-10

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November 19, 2009

RIGGING THE GAME

So, I'm trying to understand this, really. The prison at Guantanamo is illegal and illegitimate, but Obama and Holder saying we'll try these men in NYC and, duh, of course they'll be convicted and will never be released...that's somehow more legitimate?

I heard someone on TV say, and I'm sorry I don't know who, that we all kinda thought OJ Simpson would be convicted too. Heh.

The whole point of a fair trial is that the person has a chance of being acquitted. If there is no chance of being acquitted, if the game is rigged from the outset, then there is no point in having a trial. So if you're going to guarantee that KSM will be convicted, you can't have a trial. It's simple. You cannot guarantee the outcome of a trial. If you do, it's a farce.  And if we're setting all this up to be a farce, just leave them at Gitmo.

That's my major problem with this idea. But Lindsey Graham also brings up another facet of the issue that's just as troubling.



(And I agree with Goldberg that, "For those of us frustrated with Graham, this makes up for a lot."  Heh.)

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November 17, 2009

NOTHING GENTLE

A horrifying ad found by Mike Potemra:

Here’s a little something I noticed, while Googling an abortion-related issue. I file it away in a little time capsule for the writers of that 2049 show. An ad for an abortion clinic was headlined “Gentle Abortions 4-24 weeks.” And the ad promised: “No pain. No memory. Abortion $340. Pill $400.”

I am 24 weeks right now. I feel the baby all the time. She wiggles, she kicks, she hops and jumps. And I'm getting big; I look like this:



There would be nothing "gentle" about aborting her now. Nothing at all.

Potemra is right: "the mockery will be deserved."

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POLITE SOCIETY

Related to the granting the premise idea, here's Roger Kimball on Lou Dobbs and what the media deems acceptable:

The English critic William Hazlitt once spoke disparagingly of "common place critics" who pretend to put themselves "in the middle, between the extremes of right and wrong." Something similar could be said of the rancid, illiberal liberalism of commentators like Krugman and Burns. They look upon their own opinions less as opinions than as universally applicable observations that reflect the state of nature. Their opinions are just what any enlightened, virtuous member of "polite" society believes. Only those who disagree with them have "fractious," line-crossing opinions unacceptable to such polite company as represented by Krugman, The New York Times and Media Matters. Here's what's really at stake in the controversy of Dobbs and CNN. It's not only Dobbs who's been rusticated: It's also the robust liberalism that thrived on disagreement, argument and polemic.

Read the whole thing.

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November 16, 2009

ZOD KNEELS

If there's a bad reference to Superman II, I haven't heard it:

Think of it as “Superman II,” if the main characters had landed on Earth convinced that they had to “rebuild Krypton’s relationships” with the universe. In that case, you don’t kneel before Zod; Zod kneels before you.

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November 15, 2009

MOST REALISTIC WAR GAME EVAH

This is absolutely hilarious, via ArmyHusbandPuppyDad.
Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks


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