March 23, 2006
I just had a long talk with Erin about how pessimistic and depressed I've been feeling lately. I can't read LGF without wanting to cry. My stomach is still in knots about Iran. And I just watched Season 2 of 24
, which is reason enough to want to crawl in a hole. I'm losing it. And then I remembered Smink's advice
First, go buy a six pack and swig it all down.
Then, watch Â“Ace Ventura.Â”
And after that, buy a Hard Rock CafÃƒÂ© shirt and come talk to me.
You really need to lighten up, man.
I don't have a Hard Rock shirt, but maybe my "I saw the Pope -- Des Moines 1979" shirt will work? And we certainly have beer and Ace Ventura. That's what my husband and I will do tonight, because I sure need a way to relax.
I also found that my spirits were lifted reading the Tanker Brothers blog today. I realized that I want to focus on reading MilBlogs for a while; soldiers always make me feel rejuvinated.
Posted by: Sarah at
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Hey, LGF makes me cry, too.
Posted by: Pericles at March 23, 2006 12:19 PM (ra2qX)
LGF makes me angry - it's the new McCarthy for a new era of fear.
Also, I swallowed a pop can tab accidentally, and I'm quite worried about it.
Posted by: Will Somerset at March 23, 2006 03:05 PM (eIQfa)
Reading some Churchill might help, Sarah. Things looked pretty bad in the mid-late 1930s, too, and we came out of it OK. Try "The Last Lion: Alone" by William Manchester.
Posted by: David Foster at March 23, 2006 08:13 PM (qzQdM)
Not that I expect you care especially, but FYI, I have not been around much lately since a while back I had a few very severe seizures and have been busily bouncing around to hospitals to neurologists to radiologists to oncologists. At this point they are not assuring me that I will be alive through the end of the year, though it is still an open question whether I will recover - there are still seemingly endless tests that need to be done (and redone). On the plus side, MRIs do offer one a fair amount of time for contemplation and self reflection, just use good earplugs.
Sadly I still have to work, though fortunately I can telecommute a lot, and I have good insurance. So I have been trying not to waste time on the internet (this is just a slip), but instead spending my time with things more important - reading good books that needed to be read or re-read (thank God for Plato and Plotinus) and spending more time with my Piano. There were a lot of things I never got around to. Now I realize that there are a lot I never will master that I wish I could have - lots of Chopin's beautiful waltzes, Beethoven's brilliant Sonatas (but still too hard dangit), Bach inventions, (the Goldberg variations are definitely not going to happen, alas, though they probably never would even if I live to be 100) and so on. I will be working on what I can, though since the meds make mind a bit fuzzy and my hands a bit slow, it is all the more time intensive. And of course, most of all, I need to hang out with the kids as much as possible.
Kind regards and best wishes. Even if I fully recover I'll not be back, as I realize I should be spending my time on more important things.
Sophia and me
Posted by: Mr. Silly at March 24, 2006 03:37 PM (xJvll)
Mr Silly -- I truly am very sorry to hear that. Though you and I never saw eye to eye, I certainly have never wished you harm or sadness. I hope that you do recover and live every moment to the fullest.
All my best wishes,
Posted by: Sarah at March 24, 2006 03:51 PM (016Fe)
I found myself in the same boat as you today... so as I was reading through MilBlogs, I found you. Great site for me to find tonight. First: love your post on March 16th. Secondly: love the link you have to Homestar Runner. Many of my friends/family don't 'get' Homestar, but my husband is a HUGE fan. Now that he's 6 mo. into an 18 mo. deployment, there's no one for me to throw lines back and forth with. So it made me smile. Thanks for that!
Posted by: Emily at March 24, 2006 08:36 PM (ux3w4)
Mr. Silly: Stay strong, man.
Posted by: Pericles at March 24, 2006 10:48 PM (eKf5G)
I am saddened by your news. To think about all the bickering that has occurred in recent months, it makes me realize how menial it is in the grand scheme of things. I love my daughter with all my heart, and as a mother I sometimes get defensive when I read comments that have attacked her personally or miscontrued what she actually was trying to say. It must be very difficult to be burdened with this sadness, and I pray that either a miracle will occur and you will get well or that you will be able to live life to the fullest before it is your time to go. I've always told my kids not to judge a person until "you have walked a mile in their shoes." In light of your situation, my on-line exchanges with you now make me realize that I need to be more tolerant and understanding of those with different opinions even if I do disagree. It doesn't hurt to get one of life's lessons even at the age of 59. Take care and God bless.
Posted by: Nancy at March 26, 2006 04:20 PM (6s7Zq)
Mr. Silly, good luck to you in your efforts to recover your health, and consider that (from my family experience, for whatever that's worth) true, deep-seated optimism has a way of making itself medically apparent. As a cellist, my favorite Chopin is his cello sonata as recorded so intimately by Du Pre and Barenboim, which I someday hope to sit down and tackle... :-)
IMHO, the passion generated by political difference has no place in the deeply personal circumstances of illness, and I sincerely wish for you a full recovery.
Posted by: piercello at March 26, 2006 11:29 PM (plBen)
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March 07, 2006
I get discouraged often. The other night, my husband comforted me as I defeatedly moaned about demographics
and jihad. I fear Iran's nukes
. I fear the birthrate. I fear what will happen if we don't put our foot down and say, "It's just a cartoon, dammit." I did mention to my husband that I feel awful pessimistic about the future of the world, so I pity those who honestly believe we live in Bushitler's Oil Junta; they must fret a lot more than I do. My moaning has got nothin' on these people
When I get discouraged about the future, I just remind myself that we live in the last second of December 31st. There's so much more to come...
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I just want to say that I'm heartened that you, as a republican, believe that the universe is older than ten thousand years. It's nice that conservatives can still surprise me. Gives me hope.
And then South "Coat Hanger" Dakota takes it all away.
Posted by: Will Somerset at March 07, 2006 05:20 PM (eIQfa)
I read the Wall Street article on demographics. (I had some time, as you must too.) You do realize that its basic premise is that America and the West would cease to be the "Western" if the majority of the populations in these countries were neither white nor Christian? So, what exactly do you call a premise like that? Racist? Xenophobic? Western culture, to me, isn't about race and religion. It's about NOT having to worry about race and religion. It's about seperating that stuff from your daily life and having the oppurtunity to believe in whatever you want and be whatever skin color you want.
The article is completely backwards on what it means to be Western. And, not to mention, really offensive in a wide array of areas. About 8 paragraphs down: "The AIDS pandemic greatly facilitated societal surrender to the gay agenda." Excuse me? You can read that with a straight face? Yeah, those clever fags and their AIDS. Okay, let me breakdown the circular thought process on this:
AIDs epidemic = gay
Gay = tolerance of the "other"
tolerance of the "other" = weakness
weakness = AIDS epidemic
That, right there, is the circular logic of a radical bigot. None of this argument is valid, and is only acceptable in the least if buried under ten thousand words of right-wing propaganda. Do you, Sarah, really believe that tolerance of gay people is destructive to Western society? I refuse to believe you do. I have some hope left. I have some hope that Western society is NOT the same as Taliban society. If not, what the Hell is the point of all this?
You're breaking my heart Sarah. I want Western society to mean something. I want it to be a beacon of hope in a dark world.
Should enemy fighters in Afghanistan be given comfort at a Canadian hospital? Hell no! But your article (which brings this up), is just a big, tangled web of obviously true statements (like this one) mixed with complete non-logical rhetoric. If you agree with A, then you must agree with B, because A=B. But A is valid (the war against the Taliban) and B is not (the need for intolerance in Western society.)
Western is not the opposite of Islamic.
Where they do differ, however, is in the way governments in the West are supposed to be seperable from religious belief, whereas Islamic governments are firmly entrenched in religious dogma. Liberals support the former principal, conservatives seem to support the latter, as long as the religious dogma is Christian.
But get this: an American president could (*gasp*) happen to be Muslim. (Notice that I say 'could,' as in, it legally could happen, not that it would.) If, however, that prospect scares you, it's you who are the fundamentalist who doesn't understand American or Western principals.
All men are created equal. Some are smarter, some are prettier, some are more athletic and some just try harder. But at the moment of creation, we all get a fair shake. Even the ones who aren't Christian. Get it?
Relgious fundamentals will never understand how silly the world looks to an Athiest; how ridiculously silly you all seem, so similar to each other in thought and action, and so desperate to prove that you're different. Athiests (and even moderates) are forced to be meek in a world torn by religious war and the yelling of tyrants who claim to be angels. But liberal Western society is the hill in the flatlands, the light in a new dark age, where we can gather and learn, and fight for the world that was envisioned so long ago by our democratic forefathers.
Posted by: Will Somerset at March 07, 2006 08:42 PM (eIQfa)
Will -- Do you know anything about me? Judging from this last tirade, you clearly do not.
Posted by: Sarah at March 08, 2006 03:26 AM (WNBWA)
Will I agree with everything you said..I am an atheist and the world to me looks like a violent, sad sad circus..with no viewable end..it just seems to be getting worse by the day..no end in sight. What gets me is that it seems that there are so few atheists..especially in 2006..I just don't..maybe i never will. I feel that this world is hopeless to evolve further and live in peace as long as religion is the central force in people's lives
Posted by: Ashley at March 08, 2006 05:17 AM (HH26Z)
What has the WSJ editorial page been saying about Iraq---anyone know? I thought the interesting thing about the column was how it undercut the latest justification for the war. The argument now is that we went to war to bring democracy and individual rights to Iraq, on the assumption that everyone wants and can maintain those and that only the presence of dictators keep some societies from enjoying them. If Muslims living in Western countries can't wait to junk liberal democracy and impose sharia law, though, then what is the point of installing a liberal democracy in Iraq?
Posted by: Pericles at March 08, 2006 09:29 AM (eKf5G)
Sarah -- I enjoy your website. I thank you and your husband for your sacrifices and support of our country and its ideals.
Take heart! We will find our way and when we make mistakes we will learn from them. When Bush addressed the UN in 2004, he quoted the great Burmese heroine, Aung San Suu Kyi: "We do not accept the notion that democracy is a Western value."
I too have my fingers crossed about Iraq, but deep down I believe we are doing the right and the best thing in a difficult time.
Posted by: hgwells at March 09, 2006 12:07 AM (kGYWs)
That is a very good perspective on time, Sarah -- thanks for the link.
HGWells - I like the quote, will tuck it away for my own use somewhere ;-)
Posted by: Barb at March 09, 2006 01:50 AM (g9qHI)
I just got back from some travelling and didn't feel like being online during that time, so I just got a chance to check out the pages I usually surf through (yours included) so sorry for this belated responce, but to answer you question, no, I don't know anything about you. I can only glean certain things from stuff like the articles you link to. Figuring out someone's world view and personality from their blog is sort of like playing 'twenty questions' when the person doing the answering hasn't really thought of anything specific for 'it' to be.
Just so you know, I read your blog because, though I usually surf things like 'crooksandliars' and Atrios, I like getting other perspectives, and I usually find yours to be more balanced than other red staters. My 'tirade' stems from the fact that I've felt more and more hopeless about the direction that social conservatives are taking the country, from intelligent design to banning or withholding birth control, and I'd just hate to think that every fiscal/foreign policy conservative is like that. I didn't think you were, but that article had enough points in it to make me think you are, and that's sad because I'm hoping that when the crazy emotions we're all feeling due to the 'war on terror' start winding down in the years to come, the moderates will be able to form some common ground, some purple politics, and lead the country onward. But if the conservatives insists in bogging down social issues in this "let's try to recreate a 1950s that never really existed except on 'Leave it to Beaver'" I fear that the partisanship will never end. Because liberals can accept the economic and foreign policies of conservatives, but never the ones that take us backwards on a domestic, social level.
Posted by: Will Somerset at March 16, 2006 05:42 PM (eIQfa)
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March 05, 2006
Why is it always the West's fault for not understanding Islam? Why is Islam itself never to blame? A Muslim college student wrote
It does not come as a surprise to me that so many Â“unbiasedÂ” Western news sources carry extremely resentful outlooks regarding Islam.
There is a lack of distinction between orthodox Islamic values and the actions of a minority of Muslims. Western media outlets frequently present a correlation between these two classifications and often interpret Islam out of context. Unfortunately when it comes to reporting Islam, a lack of understanding, quoting sources out of context, and ethnocentric viewpoints seem to be trademarks.
And then in this debate, another Muslim suggested that in order to reform Islam,
we'll have to have a lot of help from rational Muslim minds around the world who buy into the argument that we--you, me, George Bush and Don Rumsfeld (i.e., all of us as Americans)--are not out to get them. ... We could enjoin Western scholars in that process and have them talk through external perception problems with what Islam proposes.
If we had an American Muslim FBI director, or the deputy Defense secretary was a Muslim by faith, or one day we had an American Muslim secretary of State, these officeholders would do a world of good by setting an example of how secularism, tolerance and belief can coexist, much the same way Condi Rice and Colin Powell did for black people everywhere in diffusing race as a factor in service to our country.
So the solution to the problem of Islam is that all we Western white folks have to coddle Muslims for decades and have some sort of new affirmative action that gets Muslims into positions of power so that they don't believe we all think they're evil? Give me a break. (It hasn't even worked that well for black people, since many of them hate Rice and Powell anyway.)
When the big news stories broke about Catholic priests molesting children, no Catholic said, "Well, it's not my priest who did that, it's some other priest who misinterpreted scripture." Catholics everywhere were outraged. Why aren't Muslims everywhere outraged? Why is it so easy for them to say "Well, I lead a good life, so it's not my fault if other Muslims misinterpret scripture."
The solution to Islam's problems is not a Muslim Condi Rice. Lord help us if we have to wait that long. The solution is for individual Muslims to be as outraged as individual Catholics were. Mansoor Ijaz says that he has never believed Allah wants him to kill Jews, but unfortunately many Muslims do believe just that. And they outnumber Ijaz. It's not my job as a white Westerner to make sure that Muslims don't feel offended; it's their job to make sure their religion doesn't offend. (And the solution is definitely not just to have Muslim editors making sure nothing in the newspaper offends Muslims. Good lord.)
The common complaint is that Islam is taken out of context. Please tell me what the correct context is then, because I don't know of any other way to interpret "We will wipe Israel off the map."
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Right on! It's good to see you making these important points.
Speaking of "taking things out of context," what's the right context for all those signs held by Mohammedans protesting the Danish cartoons, saying peaceful things like "Behead those who insult Islam," "Europe you will pay, your 9/11 is on it's [sic] way," "Butcher those who mock Islam," "Slay those who insult Islam," "Exterminate those who slander Islam," and "Massacre those who insult Islam"?
(see these signs and more at http://michellemalkin.com/archives/004448.htm)
Posted by: Squidley at March 05, 2006 06:23 AM (2qJKm)
I'm sure there are some "intelligent" people out there who could analyze the whole situation, explain it (using their vast knowledge)to the Islamic "insurgents" etc. , and then everybody would understand everybody else and there would be peace in the world...wanna sing Kumbaya now? I'm sure the people carrying those signs and saying things like "wipe Israel off the map" would bow to such superior reasoning.
Posted by: Mary*Ann at March 05, 2006 08:48 AM (ssGwL)
Not to go all scientific method on you, but two isolated quotes don't show much. Look, there is introspection and self-questioning going on within Islamic culture, with people there asking how they need to change. Not as much of it as we might want, but that is at least in part due to the fact that Islamic culture doesn't have enough of the intlelectuals that Marry Ann scoffs at, a lack that is partly explained by their history but is also kind of mysterious. The thing is, Sarah, that you seem to be nearly as resistant to the thought that there could be any problem whatsoever with us as you accuse Muslims of being to the thought that there could be any problem with them. Did someone at some university dare to question American policym or your version of American values? Well, then, our universities are darned anti-American. Does George Clooney think that we're less than perfect? Well, then, he hates America, too. Islam needs even more people who are willing to ask hard questions about its own religious and political culture. That doesn't mean that we don't need the ones we have.
Posted by: Pericles at March 05, 2006 09:09 AM (eKf5G)
You're right, Pericles, that George Clooney has the right to think whatever he wants, even though I completely disagree with him. But I have the right on my dinky little website to give my opinion as well. Clooney's audience is much wider, but we both have the right to vehemently disagree with each other. Isn't it wonderful? I don't hate dissent per se, as you seem to imply that I do; I'm just exercising my right to grumble for the other side. I'm glad our country affords us this right and that both Clooney and I can say whatever we want. I just wish there were more people with Clooney's airtime saying the things I agree with...
Posted by: Sarah at March 05, 2006 01:07 PM (7aHsI)
Okay, that is fair. But I have to press you a little bit more. What I'm not sure that you recognize, at least not consistently, is that people who disagree vehemently with you can still love their country passionately. I question the intelligence and competence of Bush and his ilk, but I have never questioned their patriotism. I completely disagree with their vision about what is best for America, but I don't doubt that they are motivated by a concern for doing what is best. Based on my observations, you don't always give the people with whom you disagree that same kind of credit. Ami I wrong?
Posted by: Pericles at March 05, 2006 01:56 PM (eKf5G)
Good Job, Sarah. Git 'em ,Gal. You got my vote for Defender of the Faithful. Keep it up, dearie.
Posted by: Subsunk at March 05, 2006 11:29 PM (qQLWK)
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March 01, 2006
Back when I was in college, I was naive. I thought that people in the US liked the US. I learned the error of my thinking after 9/11, when I forwarded Gordon Sinclair's 1973 broadcast
to my fellow students and professors. The email backlash shocked my naive self, as students rushed to label me jingoistic and insensitive. One professor pulled me into his office the next day and offered me some wisdom I've never forgotten: "The last place it's OK to be American is in an American university."
I was reminded of that today when I read that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is currently a student at Yale. I have many of the same questions as Varifrank, such as "Are there any students at Yale whose mother or father died on 9/11? Any children of NYC fireman at Yale? Any non-Taliban Afghani refugees in Yale? Any of them women?" Mostly I just want to know who had the brilliant idea to invite this jackass to the United States and let "an ex-Taliban envoy with a fourth-grade education and a high-school equivalency" into one of our most lauded universities for the sake of diversity and oneupsmanship.
Why are our universities so durned un-American?
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And why did our State Dept. let this scum into are country?
Idiots are worried about wire taps, port security and the Patriot Act while the enemy studies at Yale.
Posted by: tim at March 01, 2006 10:26 AM (QsSL6)
Very good question...so sickening but so true. It's almost considered a mark of academic prowess...being anti-American. I'm all for diversity but diversity and fairness. What is fair and just about this? Nothing. Ugh.
Posted by: Nicole at March 01, 2006 01:02 PM (1ECnr)
One hypothesis: because universities mass-produce cynicism, and cynicism (beyond a certain level) is not compatible with emotional attachment to anyone or anything, including one's country.
See my post An Incident at the Movies
for more thoughts on this general topic.
Posted by: David Foster at March 01, 2006 08:18 PM (5F0ML)
Major universities are no longer dedicated to intellectual pursuits. They are entirely politicized, pseudo-intellectual institutions run by a gang of spineless sophomorons who are afraid of the truth. The sooner the nation learns that they are entirely irrelevant, the better.
Posted by: The Oracle at March 02, 2006 01:01 AM (MbkWD)
Asking why Yale admitted him (into a non-degree program) seems like a deliberate attempt to deflect attention away from the fact that Bush Administration admitted him onto the country. Shouldn't the first question be why THAT happened? If the Bushies decided that the guy is okay, why is it wrong for a school to let him take some classes?
Posted by: Pericles at March 02, 2006 08:09 AM (eKf5G)
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