July 19, 2009

TWO ANNIVERSARIES

I failed to mention two anniversaries this week, two events that mean a great deal to me.

First was the Apollo XI mission.  Over recent years, I have developed an awe with the engineering feat that was the space program.  I love imagining the what-ifs and the science problems and the minutae.  And I can't put into words the profound sense of Americanness I feel when I think about it, despite the fact that I too experience "contradiction in the conservative soul."  Nevertheless, it makes me feel alive, and confident in my fellow man.

Second was the anniversary of Willis Carrier's invention of the air conditioner, an invention that put food on my table and a roof over my head for the first 18 years of my life.  And one for which I am sure my husband is eternally grateful right about now.

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GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEE

This should indicate how much quality Democrats really think they're going to offer us peons:

On Tuesday, the Senate health committee voted 12-11 in favor of a two-page amendment courtesy of Republican Tom Coburn that would require all Members and their staffs to enroll in any new government-run health plan. Yet all Democrats -- with the exceptions of acting chairman Chris Dodd, Barbara Mikulski and Ted Kennedy via proxy -- voted nay.

In other words, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse won't themselves join a plan that "will offer benefits that are as good as those available through private insurance plans -- or better," as the Ohio and Rhode Island liberals put it in a recent op-ed. And even a self-described socialist like Vermont's Bernie Sanders, who supports a government-only system, wouldn't sign himself up.

I think Congress should be required to use the public system that they created.  And I'm on board with Instapundit's idea of requiring Congress to always pay the highest marginal tax rate as well.

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PMAGS

Husband, you're gonna love this one.
Thank heavens my mother is brave enough to ask for clarification...

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THINKING ABOUT GUNS

I've been thinking about guns this morning.

Ever since we started trying for a baby, I have tried to figure out what I think we should do about our guns and teaching our child gun safety. So I read the post Guns, sons & the good old days of parenting and its comments with interest. I think I agree with many commenters that it comes down to respect: children need to learn respect for the power of guns and respect for the authority of adults.

I also found a clip at Gateway Pundit about a car dealership that's giving away AK-47s with truck purchases. Can you hear the condescending sneering from the reporter? I love how she says that people might be offended to hear the dealership equate God and guns. Really? Which people exactly? The gun people or the God people? I generally find those two groups overlap. Especially the ones who are looking to buy a truck in small-town Missouri.

Ah, liberal condescension...make sure to ask him if he thinks Jesus would approve of AK-47s (I literally rolled my eyes as I typed that, heh.)


Both links via Instapundit.

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July 18, 2009

JOHN ELWAY BABY

I just got my first call from the husband, ten minutes long with only a slight delay.  He is at his final destination and doing well: his living conditions sound great, there's a good gym, and he sounded really good.  I'm glad.

When he said goodbye, he said, "I love you.  Take care of John Elway."

CaliValleyGirl asked me last night if our baby has a nickname.  I said no, that I'm just here by myself with no one to discuss the baby with, but I guess it does now...

He seemed excited about the John Elway baby.  He has never been optimistic about a pregnancy before, so I find it sweet.

I hope I don't break his heart.

Tim commented that probabilities are moot, that I'm 100% pregnant now and that's all that matters.  I still only feel 50% pregnant.  I will be waiting for the other shoe to drop for a long time.

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July 17, 2009

IRRESISTIBLE ILLUSION

Rory Stewart has a long article that relates to my unease with Afghanistan strategy.  In his article, The Irresistible Illusion, he actually promotes a solution:

After seven years of refinement, the policy seems so buoyed by illusions, caulked in ambiguous language and encrusted with moral claims, analogies and political theories that it can seem futile to present an alternative. It is particularly difficult to argue not for a total withdrawal but for a more cautious approach. The best Afghan policy would be to reduce the number of foreign troops from the current level of 90,000 to far fewer – perhaps 20,000. In that case, two distinct objectives would remain for the international community: development and counter-terrorism. Neither would amount to the building of an Afghan state. If the West believed it essential to exclude al-Qaida from Afghanistan, then they could do it with special forces. (They have done it successfully since 2001 and could continue indefinitely, though the result has only been to move bin Laden across the border.) At the same time the West should provide generous development assistance – not only to keep consent for the counter-terrorism operations, but as an end in itself.

A reduction in troop numbers and a turn away from state-building should not mean total withdrawal: good projects could continue to be undertaken in electricity, water, irrigation, health, education, agriculture, rural development and in other areas favoured by development agencies. We should not control and cannot predict the future of Afghanistan. It may in the future become more violent, or find a decentralised equilibrium or a new national unity, but if its communities continue to want to work with us, we can, over 30 years, encourage the more positive trends in Afghan society and help to contain the more negative.

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July 16, 2009

I DON'T SMOKE BUT...

R1 wrote about the Army smoking ban idea much more coherently and with less gut rage than I did.  Check it out.

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MORRISSEY BRINGS THE ANALOGY

This is just pure genius: A Modest Proposal, 2009 Edition

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SOMETIMES I DREAM



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July 15, 2009

GOLDMAN SACHS IN BED WITH GOVT

Remember how much squawking there was about Dick Cheney's ties to Halliburton? Why is there no squawking about any of this?

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WORLD'S WORST IDEA

I will try to write this post without using Rachel Lucas-type exclamations like "Jesus tapdancing on a cracker" and such.

But it will be rough.

The Pentagon says it won't ban smoking by troops in war zones despite a  recent study recommending a tobacco-free military.

Really?

I mean, do I have to do any more other than quote the first line of that article?  Probably not, but here goes.

These are grown men and women whose only control over their own lives is the few minutes' enjoyment they might get from a cigarette.  How dare you even consider taking that away from them?  My own husband, decidedly not a smoker, enjoys a cigar or two downrange.  It's stress relief.  It's camaraderie.  It's the one thing they have.  You took their beer and now you want to take their smokes too?  Are you insane?

I don't care if it's bad for you; free adults get to make choices that are bad for them.  Period.

Repealing cigarettes would clear out the Army faster than repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.

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PLEASE, MONTY HALL, LET ME SWITCH FROM GOAT TO BABY



Last week, I got obsessed with probability problems.  Since my likelihood of having a successful pregnancy is 50/50, it mirrors coin toss statistics.  I originally wrote that I had a 6.25% chance of a fourth miscarriage, but I kept thinking about the problem and realized that was too simplistic.  That assumed that I had four chances to get pregnant and struck out on all four.  But that wasn't the case: in fact, I had 22 chances to get pregnant, got pregnant on four of them, and flipped tails on the first three.

One of my good friends is a statistician, so I contacted her and asked her a coin toss problem:  Let's say you flip a coin 22 times and mark down whether each flip is heads or tails.  What is the probability that I could choose four random flips -- say numbers 8, 13, 19, 22 (the months I got pregnant) -- and have them all be tails?

She thought about it and replied:

I think the answer to this question is:
 
(11 choose 4) / (22 choose 4) = 330 / 7315 = 4.511%
 
Explanation: The number of ways to select 4 tails out of 11 possible tails divided by the number of ways to select 4 coins out of 22 possible coins.
 
(11 choose 4) = 11! / (4! * 7!) = 330
(22 choose 4) = 22! / (4! * 18!) = 7315

My gut feeling was right that the probability was even lower than it would've been with just four coin tosses (though I know enough about stats to know my gut isn't always right; otherwise, we'd all get goats.)

Anyway, I've been obsessing about this for a while.  I would start to feel confident that surely I wouldn't get so unlucky again, but then I would reign myself back in.  When it happens to someone theoretical, it's a statistic; when it happens to you, it's a tragedy.

In the car on the way there today, I was certain I would get bad news.  I was a wreck.  I had to share another ultrasound room, which nearly sent me into a rage until I realized the other girl was only there to check her follicles.  Luckily this time, it seemed that the hospital staff actually knew who I was and knew to tread lightly.  They were all nice and at least acted like they had read my chart five seconds before coming in the room.  They were sorry my husband was gone and expressed hope that this time would work out better than the others.

And it appears that, for now, Schroedinger's cat is alive.

Luckily, their sympathy extended to extra medical attention too: I get to have weekly ultrasounds.  I go back next Wednesday morning to see if the baby is still alive then too.  If it's still alive in two weeks, that will be the furthest I've ever progressed.  I won't begin to feel relaxed at all until then, but for now, I'll take whatever good news I can get.

And I can go back to feeling bad and sad.

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July 14, 2009

THIRD TIME IS THE BEST

It was deja vu all over again.

We just did this, just a year ago.  So I forgot everything.  I forgot to stock up on soap and baby wipes for him.  I thought I had already done it.  Turns out that was last year.

We just kept remarking that it didn't seem possible to already be saying goodbye again.

My husband was sad today, far sadder than the last two times.  I think the last two times, he was overwhelmed with stress: his first time, obviously, it was the first time; the second time because he was deploying on his own and his unit made no preparations for him whatsoever.  The plan was to drop him in country and have him hitchhike his own way to his gaining unit.  He was a basketcase.

But this time, this time they departed on the dot of when they said they would.  He was going with the most squared-away team possible.  He had no worries...other than leaving his wife, his maybe-baby, and his pup.

He wanted to mow the back yard before he left.  Really, I couldn't have cared less.  If it didn't get done, I'd bribe someone else to do it.  Not a big deal.  But he insisted.  He made a huge deal of it.  It had to get done, he had to do this for me.  It was his husbandly duty.

It was sweet.

He was mushy today.  He's rarely mushy.

And watching him say goodbye to the dog was torture.  He misses that creature so much when he's gone.  I snapped this photo about a month ago of them: him doing push-ups and Charlie thinking it's a game that needs toys.



If I could let him take the dog, I would.

But he may not need that this time.  This time he is deploying with friends.  If I had to deploy, I'd love to take three of my closest friends with me.  It might not be so bad.

I told them all to stay safe...and to try to have a little fun too.

I told him I hope when he comes home, I plunk a baby into his arms.  We'll see where we stand on that tomorrow morning.

Thus starts deployment three.

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OBLIQUELY RUN, BUT PLEASE STAY SAFE

As I post each time...

A VALEDICTION FORBIDDING MOURNING.

by John Donne

AS virtuous men pass mildly away, 
    And whisper to their souls to go, 
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
    "Now his breath goes," and some say, "No."                     

So let us melt, and make no noise,                                       
    No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
'Twere profanation of our joys 
    To tell the laity our love. 

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears ;
    Men reckon what it did, and meant ;                              
But trepidation of the spheres, 
    Though greater far, is innocent. 

Dull sublunary lovers' love 
    —Whose soul is sense—cannot admit 
Of absence, 'cause it doth remove                                    
    The thing which elemented it. 

But we by a love so much refined,
    That ourselves know not what it is, 
Inter-assurèd of the mind, 
    Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.                           

Our two souls therefore, which are one, 
    Though I must go, endure not yet 
A breach, but an expansion, 
    Like gold to aery thinness beat. 

If they be two, they are two so                                         
    As stiff twin compasses are two ; 
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show 
    To move, but doth, if th' other do. 

And though it in the centre sit, 
    Yet, when the other far doth roam,                                
It leans, and hearkens after it, 
    And grows erect, as that comes home. 

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
    Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,                                   
    And makes me end where I begun. 

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NOT ENOUGH MINUTES TO GO

Today feels like this. (Well, except for the dying in the end, heh.)
But you keep checking your watch, noting aloud how much time you have left.
My husband keeps changing the words to this song and making me laugh.

"Well, we're cursing at Quiznos and I'm mowing the yard, with X more hours to go..."

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A PROPHECY

Nearly all my professors are Democrats. Isn't that a problem?

"You understand that my column was basically a prophesy," I shot back. I had suggested right-leaning ideas weren't welcome on campus and in response the faculty had tied my viewpoints to racism and addressed me with profanity-laced insults.

What's so remarkable is that I hadn't actually advocated Republican ideas or conservative ideas. In fact, I'm not a conservative, nor a Republican. I simply believe in the concept of diversity – a primarily liberal idea – and think that we suffer when we don't include ideas we find unappealing.


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CANADA CARE

Via Insty, a great PJTV video called Steven Crowder Investigates Why CanadaCare Sucks...Will ObamaCare Be Any Better?  It's worth watching the whole thing, but one of the most galling bits was when they go to a free clinic to try to get his cholesterol checked.  The nurse says they cannot do that at the free clinic and gives him two options: 1) go to a private clinic and pay $900 for a check-up, or 2) call a family doctor and ask to be put on the two to three year waiting list.  "You're young, so you have time; normally you don't have a problem at your age," she said.

And mostly the video just reminded me of military care.  We don't have to wait months or years for appointments, but our emergency room and weekend clinic is exactly like this video.  Plus we get to share ultrasound rooms!

UPDATE:  drblast is on the same wavelength, with Free Lunch, Please

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OBAMA WTF, TAKE TWO

Once again, does Pres Obama really think this is true?

The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.

Liz Cheney lets him have it.

This guy does not live on the same plane of existence as I do...

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THE PRESIDENT PROPOSES A PRONOUN

Does Pres Obama really think this is true?

Over the last several weeks, key committees in the House and the Senate have made important and unprecedented progress on a plan that will lower costs, provide better care for patients, and curb the worst practices of the insurance companies.  It's a plan that will not add to our deficit over the next decade.  Let me repeat that:  It is a plan that will not add to our deficit over the next decade — and eventually will help lower our deficit by slowing the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid.

Yuval Levin remarks at The Corner:

To which any observer of the passing scene must say: What in the world is the president talking about? Where is the committee in the House or Senate that has offered up a bill that will not add to the deficit? What bill would that be? Even in their own terms, with all the gimmicks they’ve been able to come up with, the plans the Democrats have proposed so far are all enormously expensive, and no one has yet proposed a way to pay for them. So what is the “it” the president has in mind exactly?

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July 13, 2009

MENTAL EXERCISE

A thought-provoking post via Greyhawk: The Mysterious Words of Power
I have no answers for him, but I join him in his mental exercise.

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