November 26, 2008


I just heard about the attacks in India. It is horrifying.

Something caught my eye in the MSNBC article:

Alex Chamberlain, a British restaurant-goer at the Oberoi, told Sky News television that the attackers singled out Britons and Americans. He said a gunman, who appeared to be in his early 20s, ushered 30 or 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and ordered everyone to put up their hands.

"They were talking about British and Americans specifically. There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said: 'Where are you from?' And he said he's from Italy and they said 'fine' and they left him alone. And I thought: 'Fine, they're going to shoot me if they ask me anything — and thank God they didn't," he said.

Perhaps he just meant that they would recognize his accent, but the way I read it was that he would tell them the truth. If that's the right reading, he is very brave.

What would you do? Would you say that you're an American or would you lie and say you're Canadian or fake a French accent?

I think I would tell the truth. I hope I would.

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I keep having these conversations with people, and then a few days later I read something in Atlas Shrugged and think, "Aw nuts, that's how I should've answered."

Right now I am at the part where Cherryl Taggart realizes that Jim isn't who she thought he was.

"Jim, what is it that you want to be loved for?"
"What a cheap shopkeeper's attitude!"
She did not speak; she looked at him, her eyes stretched by a silent question."
"To be loved for!" he said, his voice grating with mockery and righteousness. "So you think that love is a matter of mathematics, of exchange, of weighing and measuring, like a pound of butter on a grocery counter? I don't want to be loved for anything. I want to be loved for myself -- not for anything I do or have or say or think. For myself -- not for my body or mind or words or works or actions."
"But then...what is yourself?"
"If you loved me, you wouldn't ask it."

Last week, I met a neighbor, one of those people who likes to psychoanalyze everyone. I made a joke in the group about how my husband has never been described as "nice," which is true: my husband has many wonderful qualities, but "nice" doesn't really suit him. The neighbor asked me what quality first drew me to my husband. I sat for a moment, deciding between his intellect and his integrity. As I thought on, I realized I ought to indicate his intellect, since his integrity is something that I have grown to see over the years and not necessarily something I knew right from the beginning.

The neighbor interrupted my thoughts, saying that I was taking too long, that a real answer would come from the gut and not require so much deliberation.

I said, "His intellect." The neighbor looked at me like that was a cheap thing to be loved for.

What I wish I'd answered, what I thought of later that night, is that my love for my husband doesn't come from my gut; it comes from my brain. I love him with my mind, not with my heart. A quick response to that question would be false, because the response has to come from my thought process.

My husband and I were in the same friend group for about six months before we began dating. I remember vividly at one point telling a mutual friend that I could see myself marrying someone like Mr. Grok. I was reminded of that today when I saw who Cherryl thought she was marrying. And I realized that the love that developed for my husband was similar to what Dagny feels for John Galt: she loved him even before she knew he existed. I loved my husband's qualities before I ever had any inkling he would become my husband. In fact, he had declined my suggestion that we date. Weeks later, he came to me with his mind and said that he had made a mistake and we should be together. We figuratively shook on it, and that was that.

Effectively, our love was transacted like a pound of butter on a grocery counter.

My husband earned my love. I too had to earn it from him, and it took him two weeks longer than I to weigh the merits of it. And the moments when I feel the most love for my husband, the moments when it feels like my heart is swelling, it is really my brain swelling. It happens when he has excelled at a task, when he has become frustrated with himself because he didn't live up to his potential, or when he has displayed his sharp wit or keen intellect.

I don't think my neighbor would've understood that.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

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November 24, 2008


I was just getting ready to leave for work when this email from CaliValleyGirl popped up:

Just wanted to make sure that you didn't slip in the shower or long email needed, just a sign of life!


I am here, just busy. Worked all day Saturday. Stayed up until 3 AM online with Amritas. Babysat yesterday. Eek. I came home from the experience thinking that there's no way I can be a mother, that I will do a horrible job, that I don't have the patience.

And then I caught my favorite episode of Scrubs ever, and realized that I probably will find the courage.

I got in bed last night and grabbed my Atlas Shrugged. And I remembered something that I hadn't thought of until last night: the men of Galt's Gulch only lived there one month of the year. They weren't allowed to wall themselves off from the reality of life; they had to keep jobs and live amongst the looters. But they returned to the gulch once a year to be with likeminded individuals.

So really, we have this gulch. The gulch is any time we get together, at the Milblogs Conference, at a SpouseBUZZ, at a house in Ohio, or even just typing on the internet until 3 AM.

Seems like we've had our gulch all along.

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November 22, 2008


The best part about living in Germany was that sending mail to Iraq was free. No stamp necessary. And I milked that for all it was worth, sending articles and photos and many letters. 215 of them, to be exact.

This time around, I sent 45. Granted, we had more regular contact via internet, so there was less to say in letters. And he was deployed for half as long. But still...

I think I am proof that people abuse privileges they don't have to pay for.

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November 21, 2008


Yesterday I happened upon a private reading We The Living. I got this indescribable excitement and wanted to grab him and talk his ear off. Of course I didn't. I stared holes into the top of his head, but I couldn't even get him to make eye contact. Still, it kinda made my day.

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I am not the Sarah who rejected the 99-Cent Dating Experiment. I think it's very funny and cute. If a guy had done that for me, I would've found it endearing. Of course, all of the gifts I can remember in my life had nothing to do with money: the handmade wooden keychain, "I love you" spelled out in pink Starbursts (my favorite flavor), a potted violet my 8th grade boyfriend walked a mile in the rain to buy for me. And my husband didn't have to buy me a thing to get me to fall in love with him: We went to a free production of Man of La Mancha, he baked cookies from a tube of dough, and he wanted to know my thoughts on Sartre.

I'd trade the diamond bracelet for the one made of Reardon Metal any day of the week.

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November 18, 2008


Dr. Helen quoted Ted Nugent (heart) -- "You don't need tough love in America, you need tougher love. " -- in her post about how we need to speak up:

Too many times, we let liberals get away with making fun of Republicans and those of us who do not agree with them politically. This needs to stop and the only way to do it is to speak up in the classrooms, public and at work. Remember that we are 56 million strong--those of us who did not vote for Obama. We are hardly alone.

As you know, I have been reading Atlas Shrugged again. Every time I read it, I remember how empowered it makes me feel. My husband mentioned a small dilemma today, and I said, "Tell them how you really feel; let them have it!" Then I laughed and said, "Sorry, I am being a bit too Reardon, aren't I?"

Reading this book makes me want to speak the truth.

On my flight the other day, while discussing the Obama book with my row-mate, the conversation turned to health care. This man, who was not an Obama supporter, said he agrees with "free" health care and thinks that it's something that the United States can do for its citizens.

I didn't say what I really wanted to say: Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should.

And looking back, I kind of wish I had said that. At least the conversation would've turned a different way and perhaps it would've made this man think new thoughts. Instead I took the wimpy way out and reminded him that nothing is "free" in this world. I wish I had been more assertive in the conversation though. He was asking my opinions and I held back, for fear of sounding cold.

As I said in an email to a friend a while back, I wish I were more like an Ayn Rand character. I wish that I didn't worry whether my positions sound nice or not. The Nuge is right: we need tougher love in this country.

I wish I were bold enough to tell a stranger on a plane that I don't believe everyone is entitled to cheap health care. I'm not there yet.

I wonder how many times I'll have to read Atlas Shrugged before I have that confidence...

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November 15, 2008


As I sat down on my cross-country flight, I noticed my seatmate was reading Change We Can Believe In. I rolled my eyes, thinking it would be a long flight. I then took out my Atlas Shrugged, hoping the vibes off of my book would vanquish the vibes off of his.

A while later, he starts chitchatting, asking me where I hail from. I told him I was originally from Illinois, and he pointed at his Obama book and said, "He must be your man then." I smiled noncommittally. Then he said, "I didn't vote for him; I bought this book so I could figure out what the heck he's planning on doing."

So we had a nice chat the entire trip, laughing and pointing out the inconsistancies in Obama's plan.

Moral of the story: Don't judge a bookholder by its cover.

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November 11, 2008


We SpouseBUZZ authors have often mused about how fantastic it would be to all live on the same street. We laugh about it, but under that laugh is the sorrow of knowing it will never be.

Amritas and I were talking about this tonight, after I read AirForceWife's comment over at CaliValleyGirl's site and sighed and said, "I love my imaginary friends."

I think often about Mrs du Toit's post Fight or Flee:

Imagine the country with everyone having all their belongings in a moving truck. Then folks start looking around for a place that has people who are more like them (however folks want to define that), and they talk and share opinions to determine what it is they do want, and then everyone hits the road in their pre-packed moving vans, to move to where they can find camaraderie and fellowship with people of like minds. THAT is America. That is what the Founders gave us, but some folks didnÂ’t get the memo, or havenÂ’t fully grasped what the Founders meant.

Amritas and I got a little giddy, planning our gulch. We want Steven den Beste and the du Toits as neighbors. I want Varifrank on my street. And Baldilocks, and Lileks, and Whittle. I want my virtual neighborhood to become my real one.

Imagine the 4th of July BBQ conversations we'd have!

And, to paraphrase AirForceWife's comment, a community where you share common ground with your neighbors wouldn't be a FAIL.

But it honestly hurts my heart to even write this post.

It hurts to think about how wonderful it would be in our gulch.

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CaliValleyGirl's newest post lays a lot of foundation on her position and then asks a meaty question of Democrats at the end. I think I only have like three Democrat readers, but I would be interested in hearing your take on her question.

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November 09, 2008


It's Whittle, baby.

On Tuesday, the Left – armed with the most attractive, eloquent, young, hip and charismatic candidate I have seen with my adult eyes, a candidate shielded by a media so overtly that it can never be such a shield again, who appeared after eight years of a historically unpopular President, in the midst of two undefended wars and at the time of the worst financial crisis since the Depression and whose praises were sung by every movie, television and musical icon without pause or challenge for 20 months… who ran against the oldest nominee in the country’s history, against a campaign rent with internal disarray and determined not to attack in the one area where attack could have succeeded and who was out-spent no less than seven-to-one in a cycle where not a single debate question was unfavorable to his opponent – that historic victory, that perfect storm of opportunity…

Yielded a result of 53%

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Last night on TV, Stephen Moore said that Obama is the Democrat's Ronald Reagan. I think that's absolutely right, though it's the first time I've heard anyone say it.

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November 07, 2008


Leofwende had a link up to a blog I've never seen before. And I'm hooked.

Anti-Obamanomics: Why Everyone Should Be in Favor of Tax Cuts for the “Rich”

People have not grasped the profound insight of Mises that, in a market economy, in order benefit from privately owned means of production, one does not have to be an owner of the means of production. This is because one benefits from other people’s means of production—every time one buys the products of those means of production.
In contrast, the view of redistributionists, such as Obama, founded in the most complete and utter ignorance, is that the only wealth from which an individual can benefit is his own.[...]The redistribution of wealth is allegedly necessary to enable an individual who does not own the wealth presently owned by others to benefit from that wealth. Only as and when their property passes to him can he benefit from it, the redistributors believe. This is the kind of “largesse” Obama intends to practice. It is taking funds from those most prodigious at accumulating capital, capital that would benefit all, and then giving the funds to others to consume.

Now, it's a very long blog post on economics, so it don't exactly read like Frank J. But this blog post does a good job of explaining why tax cuts for the rich are better than tax cuts for the middle class. I plan to tuck the $1000 example away in my brain in case I ever need to explain it to someone.

Leofwende linked to this post: The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis. I mean, duh, how could I not want to click on that? And after reading it, I finally clearly understand what happened to lead to the bailout.

I will have to keep reading George Reisman's Blog. Get my smart on.

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November 05, 2008


As if today could get any worse...

"Jurassic Park" author Michael Crichton dies

I love Michael Crichton's work. His thoughts on horseshit remains one of my favorite arguments. The appendix to State of Fear is one of my husband's favorite writings. Airframe is a genius indictment of journalism. And I had hours of enjoyment and mental exercise listening to Next on my last car trip.

To this day, I have an irrational fear of velociraptors.

I would recommend any single one of his books. I am deeply saddened that he won't be around to write any more for us to enjoy.

What a loss.

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November 01, 2008


An awesome bit of semantics:

I would like to focus on Obama’s phrase “the wealth.”

I understand the use of the word “the” in phrases like “the nation” or “the country” or “the public.” Those are things or abstract concepts or generic groups of people.

Wealth, however, is the savings and equity of each individual. There is no “the wealth.” There is only my wealth and your wealth and Joe the plumber’s wealth and so on. You can spread the SARS virus around or you can spread “the love” around, but when you starting talking about spreading “the wealth” around what you are really talking about is spreading my life savings or someone else’s life savings around.

Via Amritas, of course.

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