November 30, 2009
(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.)
November 29, 2009
Read the whole thing, and see if you can guess ahead of time how much profit medical insurance companies make.
November 27, 2009
November 26, 2009
November 25, 2009
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...
November 24, 2009
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
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
November 23, 2009
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.
November 22, 2009
I wonder if the tech would just play along if I asked her to type AREA OF CONCERN on one of the photos...
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.
November 21, 2009
November 20, 2009
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:
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.
November 19, 2009
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.)
November 17, 2009
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."
Read the whole thing.
November 16, 2009
November 15, 2009
Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks
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