Archive for December, 2006

Britain: God is Almost Dead–UPDATED

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

Almost.

I expect this trend to come to America. Heck, I believe this trend is here. While the Left identifies Chrisitianists as Satan’s foot soldiers and while the Evangelicals worry about evolution, quietly, imperceptibly America grows weary of religion.

UPDATE: Dan Collins asks this over at Protein Wisdom:

Intellectuals often believe that membership in a faith community proves narrow-mindedness and establishment leanings. They love to pride themselves on their independence from such purveyors of false consciousness. And yet, even as they speak of the transparency of others’ ideologies to themselves, they never consider their own, nor do they acknowledge their own arrogance. Christ, when asked why he spoke in parables, replied that if a child asked for bread, who would give him a stone? Where is Lacanianism for the masses?

What I believe in, in transsubstantiation, for example, is it absurd? Of course it is. But its promises are glorious, and its effects are palpable to me. Tell me, you who see this as a flight into ignorance and a refuge in hokum, what it is that what you believe has to offer me. Show me how you are transfigured by your knowledge. Make me believe in something worthy of my belief.

I am listening.

Go, read the whole thing and read the comments and be illuminated.



Where are You Going for Vacation? To Parenthood

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Surveying my dining room strewn with suitcases, toys and other essentials, it’s impossible to avoid marveling at the sheer volume of stuff. Besides never sleeping again, morphing from a care-free, unburdened creature of impulse into a trudging, lugging human Blackberry is probably the most shocking aspect of parenthood. I’ve been a parent ten years. I’m still shocked and awed.

It takes considerable internal fortitude to fight the urge to never go anywhere ever again once kids enter the equation. Home has bedrooms and cribs and multiple bathrooms. It has my bathroom. My bed. My space. Mine, mine, all mine.

At this age, I’m not interested in sharing. Oh excuse me, do you need to use the bathroom? I can wait. I can wait. No, you go ahead. Conversations like that don’t happen at home. I want to go to the bathroom? I don’t belly past someone in the hall and wait in line. I go (most times I make to the bathroom). I want a Coke, I take it. No asking. No couches. No pretending to be rested after sleeping on the 20 years young used-to-be-master-double-bed that resides in the guest or kids bedroom and smells vaguely of a forgotten diaper.

This from a woman who likes to travel and see new things. The joy gets sucked right out of the experience nine suitcases and three arguments (this won’t fit!) later. But fight the urge, I do. Ever the optimist, my drive to expose my family to all that’s great and wonderful pushes my concrete experiences into my subconscious.

“Trying the vacation thing again, ‘eh, Melissa,” a friend said today.

Yes.” He gives me a knowing smirk.

“Trying to erase the last one?”

“Yes, actually, I am. Although I don’t think anything could erase the memory of that misery. I’m trying to do what that forsaken cruise was supposed to be: peace and recharging. Good luck to me.” He laughed.

Our family is going to the beach, staying in a two-bedroom condo. The weather is predicted to be in the 50s and 60s with rain coming and going. We’re bringing books and flash cards (my kids groan) and there will be football and more football. I’m hoping for a walk on the beach and maybe a sand castle or two, even if we’re wearing sweats and jackets. It’s still the beach and the ocean.

Hope. I hope Little Toot doesn’t blow his stack tomorrow after deciding to giggle and jump in the crib until 9:30 p.m. tonight. My seven year old, wise-beyond-her-years, daughter said, “Are we flying to the beach?”

“Uh, no.”

“I’m not so sure about this…..”

“You worried about Little Toot?”

“Yeah, he’s going to freak out in the truck for that long.”

I hope not. I hope he’s happy. I hope they’re happy. I hope it doesn’t rain the one inch predicted tomorrow for our drive. I hope. I hope. I hope.

You know Ben Franklin’s definition of insanity? Sure you do. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. By this definition, my grip on reality has been shaky for, well, let’s see, now. Yes, I’ve been insane since the births of my sons. Certifiable. In fact, I think insanity was what conceived them in the first place.

Family, any way you look at it rationally, doesn’t make sense. By having children, a person decides to rip selfishness away. I’ve had selfishness wrestled out of my clawing fingers. Having children illustrated just how attached to my way I have been and continue to be. I’ve had to moderate some. With all due respect to Oprah, having dogs just doesn’t provide the built in growth experience children give.

People conceive children in the primal urge and narcissistic desire to see what a melding of these genes would create. Plus, babies are cute–especially the babies we create. All the other kids are ugly, by comparison. And not nearly as charming. And other people’s children are miscreants. And not all that bright. But our children will be gorgeous, smart, well-behaved angels.

And we have them. And they exceed our expectations. I remember howling when my girlfriend said her baby’s poop “smelled like sugar cookies.” Yeah, right. Research seems to bear out her insanity. Parents, it turns out, suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Once trapped by their kids, they find that they identify with them and show loyalty to their cause–forever. It’s truly amazing to watch the transformation. It’s even more amazing experiencing it. It’s a trip.

Where am I going? Not crazy. I’m already there. I’m going to be with my family, to create memories, to rest (ha!), relax (gales of laughter) and hopefully, have fun. Crazy and family. It’s the same thing.



Russians Blackmail Gas Customers

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Wow. This is just simply shocking. NOT.

Russia is a power that is better off when bent over tending to a kick in the gut. As The Bear strengthens, as Europe navel-gazes and holds to the politically correct line about Iran, and while the Democrats and President Bush twiddles and fiddles, tyrant regimes old and new regroup and strengthen.

Does Europe not get that they are about to be squeezed like a ripe melon?



Digital Photography Tips

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Some tips from Life Hack to take better digital pictures. I would add this:

  • Take lots of pictures. It’s digital. You can delete whatever you want.
  • Get close. And then, get closer.
  • Remember the rule of thirds. Putting the object of the picture right in the middle of the frame can be boring. Try shaking it up and put the person in the first third of the frame. Likewise, play with the horizon to give a shot a different feel.
  • Most digital cameras have crummy flashes. Take it outside. An overcast day without direct sun will give you great pictures. Pictures at sunrise and sunset give a warmer glow to a picture. Middle of the day pics cast shadows.


Donald Sensing: Why I love Global Warming

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Donald opines:

It’s one week before Christmas. I went shopping today wearing shorts and a pullover shirt. Temps were in the 68-70 range, maybe even a little more. It’s been like that since the middle of last week or so. I shot a trap meet Saturday in my shirtsleeves. The range runs along the Harpeth river in Nashville and there were actually pleasure boaters on the water, cutting water donuts with the boat’s top down.

I am presently watching Monday Night Football on my notebook computer with Slingbox whilst sitting on my patio in my shirtsleeves, enjoying a Don Tomas while I view and type.

“Act now to stop global warming!” Naaaah, I think not!

Well, I’ll tell you why I might hate it: If global warming really happens, it might get too hot down here in Texas and I might have to move back to either 1) The Peoples Republic of Michigan or 2) The People’s Republic of New York. Neither option sounds appealing.

Let’s hope the whole toasty thing holds off for a generation. My children can feel free to move anywhere after my old bones are buried.



Al Qaeda’s Love Letters to the Dems

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Al Qaeda’s message for GW: We have a time table for ya.

Al Qaeda’s message for the Democrats:

But other than a mention on ABCNews’ blog The Blotter, and a big headline on Drudge, you won’t see much mention of this ever again. Ever, ever, ever.

Al Qaeda has sent a message to leaders of the Democratic party that credit for the defeat of congressional Republicans belongs to the terrorists.

In a portion of the tape from al Qaeda No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahri, made available only today, Zawahri says he has two messages for American Democrats.

“The first is that you aren’t the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen — the Muslim Ummah’s vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq — are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost,” Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News.

Zawahri calls on the Democrats to negotiate with him and Osama bin Laden, not others in the Islamic world who Zawahri says cannot help.

John Kerry immediately booked a flight to Islamabad.

I LOVE IT! Democrats really speak the same love language as the Islamofascists. Negotiate, baby!



Martha Madness–The Impact of Corporate Law

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

I’m just now listening to Glenn & Helen’s podcast about Corporate Law specifically about out-of-control prosecutors, the inability of the common business person to comply with all laws (I’ll second that emotion), and broadness of the law. Essentially, any citizen is out of compliance with some law. Martha Stewart spent two years of her life dealing with the law and jail for a tiny infraction that many men (mostly men because they are at the high levels of business) never face for the same problem. And forget about actual criminals who kill, maim, steal, rape, and literally destroy lives and Martha Stewart is in the joint? This is a problem.

Right now, I have a friend who is spending 18 months (that was the minimum sentence, the judge had no discretion in the sentencing) in Federal Prison for violating paper work regulations. I’m not kidding. He made a procedural error. A rival company reported his company for something bigger that was groundless, but they got him on a procedural error. Guess what? That town now has a monopoly in his former business. All the witnesses were intimidated by the prosecutor to either change their statements to witness against their boss or be prosecuted themselves. And they all did.

As a business owner, the fear of non-compliance with some rule affects all parts of our practice. Just the lists of our insurance illustrate the potential pitfalls: liability, malpractice, health, life, umbrella (doctors are big targets for everything). We’ve tried to structure our business in a way to limit our exposure.

Even still, we have the IRS, HIPAA, ADA, and the list goes on and on, of government agencies we must comply to. We have the same obligations when it comes to our retirement programs as huge corporations. The fine for non-compliance is $300,000 if one set of paperwork is not completed and turned in on time. That’s exactly the same for fine for a multi-billion dollar international corporation. Except, they have lawyers and accountants. We have one employee. And the fine is the same. That kind of fine would ruin us.

Here are the problems:

  1. There is no sense of proportion with fines, sentencing, etc. Making a mistake with paperwork might inconvenience the government, but no one is dead. No one is even hurt. Meanwhile, criminals molest children and end up on probation. This is insane.
  2. DAs and prosecutors have no limitations. None. The Grand Jury is supposed to clip the DA’s wings. But look at the DA with Tom DeLay. He kept reconvening Grand Juries until he got what he wanted. That is NOT the purpose.
  3. The laws are too broad and poorly defined. No one can comply. It’s insane. Ironically, the law-abiding citizens who are trying to do the right thing are the most at risk. The big corporations have a slew of lawyers and deep pockets–even they are often extorted by the government. The government should not be able to extract money from people for minor infractions just to fill their coffers.

Ultimately, the government stifles growth and creativity. It is simply too expensive and risky to work and do business. I swear, owning a business is as nerve-wracking as being a parent. There are so many potential, lethal pitfalls. I’ve given myself heart-burn.



I’m a Leftist and I’m Afraid–UPDATE

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Dr. Helen explains the Left’s fear:

However, my guess is that it is fear that makes the angry leftists link to me or troll to try and shut people here up. Why such a threat from a few thousand people a day on my blog? Because two or three thousand readers could go out and talk to two or three thousand friends about libertarian or right leaning ideas and gasp! they might listen. Extreme leftists have a lot invested in keeping the right’s views out of the media, schools and universities. That means making people on the right afraid or embarrassed about stating politically incorrect views. But everytime we stick up for a student Republican or professor, etc. the lefties’ fear and discomfort become a little greater, their monopoly on these institutions is broken a little further and the threat causes them to act out in anger or make aggressive blog remarks. But hey, I am doing my part here because as long as they write about me, or waste their time posting on my blog, there is less chance they will be out in the real world pushing their agenda. So keep on coming by, boys. And thanks for the traffic!

It might also explain why the rhetoric finally matches the beliefs. For a long time, the Left could moderate their message for the general public (who would ever have believed that Walter Cronkite was a flaming partisan?) and hold their socialist and communist views near and dear. These discussions would take place behind closed doors at those mind-numbing dinner parties Gwyneth Paltrow sniffed about.

The Rightosphere smokes them out from under their belief rocks or is it rocked-headed beliefs? Not content to control Mass Media and Academy, they want to suppress dissent. It used to be so easy. Thus, Nixon’s “silent majority”. Well, I believe the majority still exists, it’s just not so silent. Well, not completely silent anyway.

Here’s what I’m not so sure about. Does the Rightosphere make a big enough difference? The Media still so completely controls the message, that America got elections like the last cycle. If a voter only watched the news or heard snippets on the radio, he still lives in Walter Cronkite’s world. He is brain-washed and doesn’t even know it.

The efforts in opinion pieces and outright Media scams like the AP (at war with Michelle Malkin) and Reuters (at war with Charles at LGF), go unchecked to this day by the Major Media. The common person says they distrust the media, but their actions tell the story that they believe what they read and see. And what do they see?

  • Mickey Mouse on a heap in Lebanon
  • Green Helmut Guy carrying dead bodies
  • Screaming mothers
  • Men carrying three-day dead naked babies
  • Roadside bombs
  • Snipers picking off American soldiers
  • Mark Foley’s face over and over and over, with one email blared
  • Evangelical Pastor screwing a dude and scoring meth
  • Poor Muslim Inmams being persecuted in the land of religious freedom for praying in an airport
  • Leaked intelligence undermining the government and war
  • Every “expert” disagreeing with the President
  • Grave commentary about the systemic destruction of civil liberties

This list could go on and on and on. In my readership, I have lots of family and friends who give me feedback. “Melissa I really like your blog, but why all the political stuff? It’s boring!” And yet, the “political stuff” is what is determining this country’s future. Too many people, like those vapid broads at The View, have the luxury of opining about topics about which they are absolutely ignorant while maligning their own country and kvetching about civil liberties. These ladies, and most of the Left, seem completely unable to see the irony of this position.

Politicians make decisions about the War, about defense, about America’s position in the world. This in turn determines the stability of our economy, our lifestyle–our very lives. So the Rightosphere is apoplectic about what they collectively view as an existential threat in Islamofascism and the Leftists churn out their bile and rubbish for the masses. Schools, colleges, and the media possess potent tools to put forth propaganda. Do you notice how in all cases only one side gets heard? What student will risk a teacher’s wrath? What reader questions the pictures they view? Who would ever imagine that the media would doctor photos to aid the enemy?

The Rightosphere is not reaching the masses. Not yet. The Leftists want to make sure the Rightosphere never gets the chance.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds links to Rich Miller of the Chicago Sun-Times who says:

This phenomenon is not going away, no matter how much it is dismissed or chastised. The Internet has been seized on as a democratizing tool by millions of perpetually democracy-hungry Americans. Bloggers should definitely be open to criticism by the mainstream media. That’s America. But lumping everyone together with the crackpots is neither fair nor honest. And the fact that so many reporters and pundits can’t seem to get the story right just proves the bloggers’ point that too many of them don’t know what they’re talking about on everything else.

The MSMs nose is pinched. Not only are these upstarts doing our work, they are criticizing our work. How DARE they? But it is more than that, the Blogworld has far more diverse opinions, they are more transparent about their biases (the MSM possesses no bias, don’t you know), and they are less beholden to the power brokers for love. They are freer and more single minded. All this combines for frustration. It’s fun when influence grows, it’s miserable when it shrinks.



Mike Nifong Drops Rape Continues Charade

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

This man just won’t quit. Since he won’t, he must be stopped. A judge, the North Carolina State Bar, someone must stop this mess. When it is all over, I hope he is sued by these families for severe emotional duress, defamation, loss of everything for over a year.

Nifong knew in April , APRIL!, the DNA evidence against these guys exonerated them. He nursed this along to get elected, to stoke hate and what, to entertain his sadism?

The victim can’t remember if she was penetrated. Betsy says:

This now makes version 6.0 of the accuser’s stories about what happened that night. The Raleigh News and Observer detailed the first five versions in an August story. Her story ranged from being raped to just being groped, but no rape, to the other stripper stealing $2000 from her and urging her to have sex the guys to being raped by five men in the bathroom to being raped by three men in the bathroom. The role of the other stripper changes in each version of the story. The most graphic is the story she told the examining nurse at the hospital.

The woman said she was taken into a bathroom where three men — Adam, Brett and Matt — raped her anally, vaginally and orally, using racial and sexual slurs while they assaulted her. One of the men, Matt, said he was getting married the next day. They did not use condoms and threatened to kill her if she didn’t comply, the woman said, according to the nurse’s notes.

And now, eleven months later, she isn’t sure if she was penetrated. Perhaps the fact that there was no DNA evidence in any crevice of her body from the non-condom wearing lacrosse team members made that memory go dim, but we’ve known that there was no DNA evidence for a long time. Maybe she didn’t like the idea of having to testify about the multiple DNA that was found in her body. I don’t know if that evidence would still be allowed in if there is no rape charge, but I would think that it would go to her credibility, especially since she denied having had sex for a week before the party.

No DNA and even still, opinions like these are put forth:

But Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor who now teaches at the New England School of Law, said the decision could actually help Nifong by keeping any discussion about the results of the DNA testing away from the jury.

It may be that this is a strategic move to insulate the trial itself from a sideshow that certainly would have overwhelmed all the other evidence,” Murphy said. “A sideshow about her sex life.”

A sideshow? Um, Ms. Murphy, I would say that her sex life, her memory, the other DNA are absolutely critical to her credibility. This is a stripper who could have cried rape because the lacrosse players wouldn’t submit to her extortion. Getting rid of the DNA evidence, means relying on her for the evidence and she doesn’t seem all that reliable.

Mary Katherine Ham, familiar with Durham, says this (and this is what I worry about):

It’s Durham. It’s full of a bunch of liberal white people who love to get yelled at by black people, and a bunch of liberal black people who are happy to oblige them. This story scratched that white guilt itch soooo good, they just couldn’t let it go, even though it was pretty clear from the beginning that the story was a little off.

The national media liked the white, privileged, lax boys rape hard-working, exotic dancer, single mom story, and they ran with it, too. As a result, many lives, seasons, careers, and a successful sports program have been seriously messed with by a D.A. who couldn’t back off on the narrative, either, lest he feel the wrath at the ballot box from those whom he denied their white guilt orgy.

She believes the case will go to trial because of the community EST. And continues:

For those of you laboring under the misapprehension that Nifong will face a recall or charges for his misbehavior, or that Duke President Brodhead will face consequences for offering up the Duke lacrosse players and the entire lacrosse program on the altar of political correctness, without evidence, think again.

Durham is not a normal place where people pay normal consequences for bad behavior. As many have noted, the sexual assault and kidnapping charges stand, even though they were predicated on the rape charge in the first place (which, even the accuser’s not real sure about these days).

And:

So, let the two lesser charges stand, and see if you can get a jury full of Durham folks who will convict the boys because it fits the narrative? I’m just afraid he might actually succeed. K.C. Johnson thinks it’s the beginning of the end of the case. Geez, I hope so, but I grew up in Durham. Forgive me if I’m not as hopeful.

Cobb has more.

Liestoppers has all the dirt.

KC Johnson calls this the “beginning of the end”. We can hope. I’m just not sure.

After all this, the rage the media, the local elites, the “oppressed” will feel at being denied will fuel this thing on, I fear. There is blood in the water and the sharks are circling and they’re hungry.

From a psychological perspective, the only way I see this ending is that Nifong perceives the personal injury to himself (jail, prosecution, disbarment) to outweigh the glory he receives indulging in the community blood lust. He is a classic narcissist in over his head. But those durn narcissists are into self-preservation.

This commenter at LaShawn Barber’s says this:

Commenter Richard Nieporent wrote:

It is perfectly obvious what Nifong is doing by not dismissing all of the charges. He is holding the three Duke Lacrosse players hostage in an attempt to prevent their lawyers from filing criminal and civil charges against him. Nifong knows that it much easier to convict the Duke Lacrosse players of sexual assault because DNA evidence is not needed. He is hoping that by holding these remaining charges over their heads they will be amenable to a quid pro quo of Nifong dropping all charges if they do not pursue a criminal or civil case against him.

I’ve said it before, parents, DON’T SEND YOUR KIDS TO DUKE. That community and that college is evidently an abomination. Looks like that is already happening.



Obama Isn’t the Right Kind of Black

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Captain Ed beautifully illustrates the frustrating limitation of identity politics–eventually no one qualifies. I will quote nearly his whole post. It is excellent:

US political darling Barack Obama has received enthusiastic support for a possible 2008 presidential bid — except from fellow African-Americans, a group many believed would be among his staunchest backers.

In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history.

“Obama did not — does not — share a heritage with the majority of black Americans, who are descendants of plantation slaves,” wrote African-American newspaper columnist Stanley Crouch last month in an article entitled “Barack Obama — Not Black Like Me.” …

“While he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own — nor has he lived the life of a black American,” Crouch wrote in his New York Daily News column.

“If we then end up with him as our first black president, he will have come into the White House through a side door — which might, at this point, be the only one that’s open.”

It’s pretty early in the electoral cycle for this kind of analysis, but it does point up the problem with identity politics — getting the identities correct. Despite his experiences as a baby-boomer ethnic mix, he has not found acceptance with African-Americans, or perhaps because of it. It’s a strange argument, because although Obama’s ancestry does not flow through American slavery, it would have mattered little to his formative experiences. After all, bigots rarely ask politely about parentage before attacking people, and to the extent that anyone experiences racism and bigotry, it occurs because of their appearance. Getting to know people almost always reduces or eliminates hatreds.

One has to wonder whether any African-American with a successful life story could garner support with the dynamic reported by AFP in play, if it really exists. Radio host George Wilson describes the anti-Obama sentiment as a reflexive reaction to the support he has garnered from whites, saying that such enthusiasm makes African-Americans automatically suspicious. If true, it would be terribly self-defeating.

Obama hasn’t used a side door for anything so far in his political career, although the Republicans made it very easy for him in the 2004 Senate race by nominating Alan Keyes. Nor will he do so in a presidential run. For some reason, however, people do not want to allow him to run as his own person on his own platform, choosing instead to assign him one identity or another, with the result of denying him his individuality — the inevitable end product of identity politics.

Obama would make a lousy President, but not because of his supposed identity issues. His policy choices are lockstep liberal, and his rhetoric is superficial, even if expertly delivered. He will remain a top-drawer political figure because of his genuine nature and his likability. Obama will remain enough of an outsider to produce pithy analyses of the Capitol Hill environment, and he will represent the liberal constituencies of Illinois well. Even if he doesn’t win the White House, he may help to end the ridiculous practice of identity politics over the next couple of decades — and if he does, that will be legacy enough for any man or woman of this era.

Let’s quit focusing on skin color and middle names, and start focusing on policy.

Amen. One has to wonder if Martin Luther King’s dream was a pipe dream.