November 15, 2009


I am closing in on the end of my 2009 Reading Challenge. Unfortunately, all I want to do is read Atlas Shrugged again, but I ain't tackling a 1200 page book when I'm up against Karl Rove. So I was happy to pick up For the New Intellectual, a gift from Amritas. I have long wished I had access to a searchable Atlas, but this has the next best thing: excerpts of some of the best monologues from the book. I read them on the plane and got all embiggened yesterday.

And also nervous:

And, paving the way for Attila, the intellectuals are still repeating, not by conviction any longer, but by rote, that the growth of government power is not an abridgment of freedom -- that the demand of one group for an unearned share of another group's income is not socialism -- that the destruction of property rights will not affect any other rights -- that man's mind, intelligence, creative ability are a "national resource" (like mines, forests, waterfalls, buffalo reserves, and national parks) to be taken over, subsidized, and disposed of by the government -- that businessmen are selfish autocrats because they are struggling to preserve freedom,while the "liberals" are the true champions of liberty because they are fighting for more government controls -- that the fact that we are sliding down a road that has destroyed every other country, does not prove that it will destroy ours -- that dictatorship is not dictatorship if nobody calls it by that abstract name – and that none of us can help it, anyway.

Quite nervous:

Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion--when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

Reading Rand always reminds me of this Daniel Quinn quote: "We know that the pious don't go to church every Sunday because they've forgotten that Jesus loves them but rather because they've not forgotten that Jesus loves them.  They want to hear it again and again and again and again. [...] there are truths, of a different human order, that must be enunciated again and again and again -- in the same words and in different words: again and again and again."

I like to be reminded that someone like Rand lived, and wrote, and thought.

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November 14, 2009


I am hormonal lately and seem to cry easily, so I am blaming that for the wetness in my eyes as I read this: Thank you former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush (via AirForceWife)

I'm home.  I missed a call from my husband today while I was on my flight.  Two weeks and counting since we had a four-minute phone call.  Oy.  I am not a fan of this particular deployment.

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November 12, 2009


I had dinner with a veteran last night.  My father-in-law was an MP at Fort Hood in the 70's.  I kept thinking about what it would have been like for him to be an MP there last week...

I also talked briefly on the phone to a veteran: my husband's brother.  He's out of the Army now but he was deployed to Iraq in 2004 at the same time my husband was.

And I will eat dinner with another veteran tonight.  Time spent with Chuck Z is always appreciated.

I did not get to hear from my favorite veteran of all yesterday...but hopefully soon.

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November 09, 2009


Tomorrow I am headed on another trip, this time to visit my in-laws.  It will be my first time visiting them by least since 2000 when I moved to my husband's hometown to be near him for the summer and he went to Airborne School for a few weeks.  That was the last time I hung out with his parents without him.  Funny, that seems like so long ago.

Since this will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family, I wanted to let my husband's parents get to be a part of the joys of pregnancy and grandparenthood too.  They deserve to get to feel tummy kicks just like my mom did.

And my husband's grandmother will be a first time great-grandma too.  Exciting milestones for everyone.  It will be a fun trip.

So no blogging for the rest of the week.  But since I'm apparently down to a mere 49 readers -- oy -- I guess it's not that big of a deal.

Have fun without me.

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A parable via CaliValleyGirl: Walter Mitty's Second Amendment

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November 08, 2009


More links today.  First from Villainous Company:

Now the Army's largest base has suffered a devastating attack by a deranged Islamist. And how does our Commander in Chief respond? He gives a "shout out" to Joe Medicine Crow, "that noted Congressional Medal of Honor winner".

Tell me something: in a moment of national tragedy, is it really too much to expect that the President of the United States not give "shout outs"? Is it too much ask that he understand the difference between the Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor? What we require from our leaders at times like this is not much. They don't have to actually care. What we want is precisely the kind of thing that comes easily to Barack Obama: honeyed words and a show of empathy from a man who thinks that quality is the most important attribute a Supreme Court judge can possess. But somehow, asking the Commander in Chief of our armed forces to to give the appearance of empathy even if the actual feeling was not there - was too much.

Americans expect something more from leaders in times of trouble. Grace. Empathy. Inspiration. A sense of gravity. When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded killing 7 astronauts, Ronald Reagan postponed the State of the Union report to address and assuage the nation's shock and mourning.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, was giving shout outs.

And an absolute must-read from JR Salzman about true PTSD:

Sometimes I would just wake up screaming in agony as I relived the moment where my right arm was ripped from my body by an Iranian shape charge.  (I may not know what childbirth feels like, but I know what it's like to go an hour with my arm ripped off without painkillers (I'm allergic to morphine).) [snip] That's what fucking PTSD is like.  At no point in time have I ever felt the desire or need to grab a weapon and go shoot someone or something up.  At no point in time have I ever grabbed a weapon and broken a law because I felt the need to protect myself.  PTSD urges you mitigate the risk of events that happened in your life.  But if you've never had anything traumatic happen in your life, you can't fucking have PTSD. 

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Speaking of Mark Steyn (and I always like speaking of Mark Steyn):

And his superior officers and other authorities knew about his beliefs but seemed to think it was just a bit of harmless multicultural diversity — as if believing that “the Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor” (i.e., his fellow American soldiers) and writing Internet paeans to the “noble” “heroism” of suicide bombers and, indeed, objectively supporting the other side in an active war is to be regarded as just some kind of alternative lifestyle that adds to the general vibrancy of the base.

And here too:

I appreciated this comment:

Incredible, especially when you consider that the only Muslims killed in the USA on 9/11 and in Britain on 7/7 were killed by Muslims.

Muslims may have as much to fear from radical Muslims as any other American, Briton or Canadian... I'm rather sick of the MSM interrupting our grieving to tell us that, to add Muslims' insults to a Muslim's murderous injury, they suspect us of wanting to attack their mosques now, even though we didn't the last ten times a Muslim killed innocent people in the name of Islam. What are they scared of? Grafitti?

That first sentence is worth bearing in mind when mendacious lobby groups such as CAIR trot out their "fears" for Muslim safety. Muslims died in the World Trade Center, the London Underground, the Bali nightclub attacks, the Istanbul bank bombings, in Iraqi shopping markets targeted by insurgents. The death toll of Muslims killed by Muslims in any one year is staggering. Jihadists are very indifferent to murdering their coreligionists and have been since the Grand Mufti staged his  uprising in Mandatory Palestine and wound up slaughtering more Muslims than Jews or Britons.

After my comparative body count in my "fear for Muslims" post last night - non-Muslims 13, Muslims 0 - a snotty liberal wrote to wonder sneeringly how I knew the dead at Fort Hood were all non-Muslims. He thinks he's refuting my point but in fact he's making it for me: The soi-disant "moderate Muslim" has far more to fear from a coreligionist boarding the subway train yelling "Allahu akbar!" than he does from the allegedly "Islamophobic" Americans forever on the brink of "backlash". That our media cannot see what the commenter above sees is, even in a relativist age, a very advanced stage of decadence.

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Mark Steyn would be happy: Uighurs are back in the news!  At Powerline:

It's hard to know what to make of this, apart from the fact that the world is a weird place, and getting weirder all the time. I'm fine with resettling the Uighurs, but is it really necessary for U.S. taxpayers to fund "spotless hardwood floors, a fresh coat of paint, new furniture and appliances, and a sweeping view of the ocean"? Not to mention housing, job training, food, and all other living expenses, including air conditioning, cable television and high-speed internet, which is a "rarity" in Palau. If the administration is looking for volunteers to live at government expense in an island paradise, count me in.

No doubt these expenses are a drop in the bucket compared to the trillions that the Obama administration is wasting here at home. But could it be any clearer that we are living under a government that treats our tax money--which is to say, our work; our time; our lives--with contempt?

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They did it...

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

"It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans. It offers everyone, regardless of health or income, the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will have access to affordable health care when they need it," said Rep. John Dingell

And like those other two things that passed, it will eventually end up costing far more money than ever expected and will be the downfall of the US.


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November 07, 2009


Nothing burns me up more than politicians' contempt for people who want to adhere to the original constraints of our founding document.

Her sneering at the question makes me so mad I could scream.

A comment at youtube:

It has literally never occurred to any true Liberal Democrat that their policies should be in any way constrained by the U.S. Constitution.

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I am not in the Army.  You can take this post with a grain of salt if you like.  Or correct me if you think I'm off base.  But something about the Hasan shooting has been bugging me to no end.

From an online interview with a former JAG officer:

[Question from] Rockville, Md.: Dear Mr. Kenniff, As the wife of a former military officer, it strikes me as odd that the shooter, who was a major in the Army, claimed that he was being harassed for his religious beliefs. While some types of harassment and teasing (which could be serious or not) are surely not uncommon among enlisted men and women, it is harder to envision it happening in the officer ranks. Enlisted soldiers would know not to harass an officer and it is difficult to envision this individual being "made fun of" (the term I saw in the newspaper) by other officers. This seems inconsistent with the norms in that professional context. What is your sense of this claim? Thanks.

Thomas Kenniff: I couldn't agree more and that was one of the points I tried to make on Larry King last night, as Dr. Phil dronned on about PTSD. This is a person who out ranked 95% of the military, and occupied a position of prestige both in the military and as a civilian. Doctors are treated like gold in the Army.

My experience with this is limited, but it runs counter to these two people's experiences.  I think perhaps it might have to do with the fact that JAG and the medical corps are a little different from, say, combat arms.  I imagine there's less foul-mouthed insults being hurled in the hospital than there are in my husband's corridor.

Yes, I very seriously doubt that some PFC walked up to MAJ Hasan in the hospital and started ragging on him for being a Muslim.  Not likely.  But to say that officers are above teasing and making fun of folks?  My husband apparently doesn't live on the same planet as this lady's husband did.

Officers are human beings.  Human beings, in an in-group setting, tease each other.  Especially males.  About anything and everything that can be used for fodder.  Off the top of my head, I know my husband has been made fun of for a variety of things: his beard, his car, his larger-than-average head, his use of big vocabulary words, his lack of tattoos, his never-heard-of-it alma mater, and yes, even just the mere fact of being an officer is grounds for teasing at times (because officers go home and roll around in their big money piles like Scrooge McDuck, you know).  And in his current career field, where no one uses rank and everyone gets called by first names, the enlisted soldiers get plenty of cracks in at him.  No one is exempt, not the First Sergeant, not the commander, no one.  (And Lord help you if you are a female in this career field.  You have to have very thick skin.)

I've seen officers tease on ethnicity.  A few years ago, my husband invited some other lieutenants over to the house and then told a Chinese-American lieutenant, "But you can't come, you'll oppress my Tibetan dog."  The guy laughed and thought that was pretty clever, saying that he usually just gets accused of wanting to eat people's dogs.

I really doubt that Hasan was directly teased about being a Muslim.  He might've been if he had gotten close enough to other guys in his unit where they felt comfortable ribbing him, but my guess is that enough people felt Hasan was a bit off and didn't think it'd be wise to poke fun at him.  My husband served with one such Muslim before, and everyone was careful to give this guy some space.

I think what's more likely is that Hasan heard indirect comments against Muslims in general and took it personally.  In treating soldiers' mental states, he might've heard them say generic things about how they don't get Islam, or they don't like haji, or whatever.  And Hasan took it personally.  I would bet that a closeted homosexual deals with the same thing in the military.  Same as a non-vocal atheist.  They would be surrounded by casual conversation against their lifestyle, and I'm sure that's not easy to swallow over and over.  I am guessing that's what Hasan meant by saying he felt harassed or made fun of.  He heard anti-Muslim comments just by being in the military and took them to heart.  Understandable, but quite different from being openly mocked for being a Muslim himself.

I think all this shock that an officer killed these people is a bit ridiculous.  Officers are people too.  Some of them are jerks.  Some of them are ignorant or immature.  Some of them are malicious and messed up in the head.  They're not somehow above murder just because of their rank.

And they're not above joking and teasing either.

Come on, you really think Chuck Z conducts himself at all times like a complete gentleman?  I bet he can let an off-color insult rip like no one's business...

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November 06, 2009


I haven't mentioned the Valour-IT fundraiser yet because I figured the big push would be at the beginning and I'd post a reminder more towards the end of the drive.

Read about the origins of Valour-IT, as written by Chuck Z's wife.

Pick a service branch and donate towards their team.

Enjoy the inter-service demotivators!

My favorite of all time applies to all branches:

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November 05, 2009


All I keep imagining is my husband being murdered while preparing to deploy, either getting his power of attorney or his flu shot or whatever they do before they leave.

It makes me sick.

I have long been confused by the irony that military installations are gun-free zones.  Every person in that readiness center could've shot back.  Every soldier is trained, and I'd bet many of their wives are decent marksmen too.  And yet Hasan was the only one with a gun.

Guns.  And time to reload.


And a mental health specialist.  Unfathomable.


It sounds like he's still alive.  Good.  He doesn't deserve to die before facing the horror he inflicted.  Try him, and then fry him.

And I hope it hurts his feelings that he was shot by a girl.


Related thoughts at The Corner.

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I've heard and read many discussions on whether Pres Obama has got us in this handbasket on purpose or on accident.  But I think this is an interesting twist to the question:

Jim Vicevich at the link thinks that Obama has a core set of principles that run to the hard Left, but has kept them hidden thus far.  Why?  Jim argues that Obama couldn’t get elected on those principles, and so he has kept them hidden while pushing them through his legislative agenda.

Actually, I think Todd is closer to it.  Obama wanted to be President, not to lead, but just to win.  Now that he has won, he has no core set of governing principles other than what impacts Barack Obama.  He has offered no leadership on any part of his agenda all year long, content to have Nancy Pelosi run it for him.  His foreign policy thus far consists entirely of making himself personally popular with the world.  On Afghanistan, Obama has thus far allowed Robert Gates and David Petraeus to make his decisions, only balking at the moment because the McChrystal strategy puts him at odds with his base, which could erode his popularity.

Does Barack Obama have deeply-held principles that he wanted to apply to the country, or did he just want to be president?

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November 04, 2009


This is fantastic: Daily Kos sounds just like Glenn Beck.

Tonight proved conclusively that we're not going to turn out just because you have a (D) next to your name, or because Obama tells us to. We'll turn out if we feel it's worth our time and effort to vote, and we'll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.

The choice is yours. Give us a reason to vote for you, or we sit home.

Read the whole thing.  I promise I am not being snarky.  I think this is great.  I want both parties to say what they mean and mean what they say.  I hate how everyone runs as a moderate and tries to tweak their message so it doesn't offend anyone.  Or conversely, when they pretend to have principles and then get in office and abandon all their promises.  I want both parties to stand for different principles and then voters can decide which one they align with, not this election trickery where they all try to out-center each other.

I am 100% certain that I don't agree with Markos on any of the issues that he brings up: "health care, financial services, energy policy and immigration reform."  But he wants a candidate who represents his views and doesn't just pretend to represent them in order to get elected.  I completely agree with this.

Wouldn't it be nice if both parties stopped hiding who they really are and started standing for principles?

Imagine if we really had two distinct choices on election day...

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Via a new Facebook friend:  I never get tired of hearing John Stossel's story.

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Personally, I think many people in our country are just plain goofy.  When Republicans are in office, they want Democrats.  When Democrats are in, they want Republicans.  Look at the Rasmussen generic ballot poll.  Last year, people couldn't wait to have a Dem.  Now they're itchin' for an R.  Is politics just a large-scale case of 'the grass is always greener'?  What happened to voting on your principles?

I mean, a good number of these people in Virginia had to have voted for Pres Obama and then now voted for the Republican governor.  That does not make sense.

I don't get it.

I think Krauthammer makes a good point about the 2008 election:

It tells you that '08 was a charisma election, a one-shot deal, and all this talk about realignment, about a new era, of the death of Republicanism or conservatism is utter nonsense.


It was an unusual election last year. All the stars were aligned Democratic, charismatic candidate. Still only a seven point victory. The return to the norm is happening now, and we're going to see it tomorrow night.

I just don't understand voting on charisma, period.  Vote your principles.

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Mark Steyn:

Noor Almaleki, whom I wrote about over the weekend, has died, the latest Western victim of a Muslim honor killing. If there were a Matthew Shepard murder every few months, Frank Rich et al would be going bananas about the "climate of hate" in our society, but you can run over your daughter, decapitate your wife, drown three teenage girls and a polygamous spouse, and progressive opinion and the press couldn't give a hoot. Indeed, as The Atlantic notes, it's merely an obsession of us right-wing kooks.

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November 02, 2009


I think if I had to choose the most appalling thing Pres Obama has done since taking office, his insistence on the restoration of Manuel Zelaya would have to be it. It sickens me.

The essential elements of the agreement had largely been worked out months ago by other Latin American leaders. If Congress agrees, Mr. Zelaya will serve out the remaining three months of his term, and the presidential election scheduled for Nov. 29 will be recognized by all sides.

Mr. Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti, both members of the Liberal Party, are not candidates.

Some significant obstacles remain, not least of which is the approval of the nation’s Congress, which voted overwhelmingly to strip Mr. Zelaya of power four months ago and now has to decide whether to reinstate him.

“That is going to be the issue that is most provocative internally,” said Assistant Secretary of State Thomas A. Shannon Jr., who led the American delegation, “and probably where we in the international community are going to have to pay the closest attention.”

I hope the Honduran Congress sticks to their guns.

Can you imagine if in 2000, European countries had gotten together and decided that, despite the constitutionality of Bush's victory, Al Gore should've been the rightful president? And cut off aid and visas to Americans? (OK, aid doesn't really work as well, but for argument's sake.)  I mean really, can you imagine if the rest of the world told us that, our Constitution be damned, we had to do what they all said?

I love this sentence, about the immediate aftermath of Zelaya's booting:

Latin American countries, concerned about the precedent the coup had set in a region where democracy remained fragile, criticized the United States for sending mixed signals to Honduras.

Yes, I'm sure they did. Places like Venezuela would definitely be concerned about the precedent of following the rule of law.

Really, I think this is the most disgusting thing the Obama administration has done.

From the comments:

I wonder: If the people of Zimbabwe managed to throw out Mugabe, would the US also demand he be put back in power simply because it was a "coup"?

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November 01, 2009


I actually found myself cheering Hillary Clinton on...

"Her inner voice became her outer voice," Martha Raddatz, a veteran NBC correspondent said on the network, explaining that while many in the administration believed what she said to be true (that Pakistan is coddling terrorists), it was rare for America's top diplomat to say it publicly. Officials in Washington were trying to keep a straight face, but there were a few gasps, she added.

Clinton's blunt remarks came during a pow-wow with half-dozen combative senior Pakistani journalists who harried her about US policy in the region.

"Al-Qaida has had safe haven in Pakistan since 2002," she finally asserted when challenged about Washington’s tough prescriptions for Islamabad. "I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really wanted to."

After having publicly doubted the bona fides of her hosts, she added, as an afterthought: "Maybe that's the case; maybe they're not gettable...I don't know. As far as we know, they are in Pakistan." At one point during the exchanges, when a journalist spoke about all the services rendered by Pakistan for the US, Mrs Clinton snapped, "We have also given you billions."

It's about time somebody told it like it is.

But I also giggled at Mark Steyn's take:

Good thing those arrogant swaggering Texas cowboys aren't blundering around the world screwing up America's global relationships anymore.

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