November 30, 2004
One of the reasons Canadian Health Care
is shoddy and failing ...
With citizens this stupid, it was bound to happen.
Bill had a couple of excellent reads yesterday (if you haven't already, go read them). This morning he confesses:
I've got nothing. Go read Instapundit or something.
I love writing. I believe any one that blogs has a monkey on their back about writing. But when it comes to feeling like you're stuck on a hamster wheel, it's time to take a break and back away for awhile. It can be a few hours to a few weeks (Allah, I know I'm not the only one that misses you. Be well.).
Yesterday I just couldn't focus on any one topic after my post about Christmas. So I did a lot of reading and got into a huge discussion about "hate" legislation here. I believe I'll revisit the subject later today. But now, dear reader, I'm off to work. Have a great day and avoid the hamster wheel!
November 29, 2004
The great Christmas Light controversy - in praise of white
Ok, maybe not so "great" but interesting as the strings-o-white vs multi-color argument starts making the rounds of the blogshere. Lileks kind of straddles the divide doing red/green, while Michele contends it just isn't Christmas if it's not multi-colored. Rick Moore also weighs in as a colored-light man and sniffs at the whites
We had a white light Christmas tree about 10 years ago or so, but it was so boring that I think I would rather have skipped Christmas than do that again.[hattip Hugh Hewitt]
I do white lights outside and multi-colored on the [fresh] tree inside. I don't apologize for my blaze o'white and I confess I was ahead of the curve since I've been doing white icicle style lights on the outside of my house since 1984 ... when there were no icicle style lights even being offered.
Maybe I was part of starting the trend. Not too egotistical there, eh??
I grew up, late 50's - 60's, in Granda Hills, CA. Like all homes on Curry Avenue*, the Thanksgiving weekend found the men on ladders and roofs (these were one-story post-WWII ranch-style tract homes) very carefully laying the strings of multi-colored lights. Either moms or a trusted older kid got to hold the line and feed it carefully to dad as not to have the lightbulbs clink against each other and break. My dad always tested them inside for dead ones and loose ones. A falling blub made a really neat exploding sound when it hit the driveway, but trying to clean up the fine shards was almost a futile effort. A few always got away to be found later stuck in the bottom of a sneaker (and hopefully not the hard way of stuck in the bottom of a bare foot). Dad's artistic sense (he's an advertiser by trade and an artist by advocation) dictated that all the white bulbs were removed from strings and the remaining colors - red, green, blue, yellow, orange - were distributed in a repeating pattern of warm/cool colors. The effect was cheerful and serene.
*My old house at 11344 Curry Ave, is no more. It would be about the number 3 lane of the 118 freeway.
So what happened when I was old enough for my own lights? Oh, we first had the same lights as the parents and I followed the prescribed patterns. But I've always loved the tiny, almost crystaline, lights. My parents' friends, Jeannie and big Ronnie, had tiny little lights on their tree and I fell in love with the look as a kid. Those were strictly indoor lights and more expensive (at the time) then the regular strings of treelights (where the bulbs were the 4 watt nightlight style, and got just as hot ... hence the popularity of having fresh trees 'flocked' to fire retard them). In summer of 1983, my (then) husband and our three kidlets, aged 4, 2, and 5 mos (and you wonder why I suffer brain damage?) moved into a new home. That first Christmas I used the old-fashioned strings, a couple which I knew I was going to have to replace the next year.
But I wanted to do something different.
I've always had snow-envy. I grew up realizing Christmas was at hand when mom pulled Bing Crosby out of the record rack and "White Christmas" accompanied our lighting efforts. I could only image what our lights would look like reflecting off new fallen snow. I could only pour over magazine advertisements with carollers bundled up in a frosty night of white and twinkling lights.
Thanksgiving 1984 found me at Gemco (kind of the Wall-mart of their time) in the Christmas deco section looking to replace a frayed light string and staring at a display of strings of tiny white lights. The boxes declared indoor/outdoor and I was rooted to the spot as the boys in the basement (that deep echoing cavern of my mind that many times gets me in trouble) were leaping up and down screeching "buy! buy! we've got a great idea!"
My husband just raised his eyebrows when I came back with a few bags filled with boxes of white lights. I then set out with the ladder, hammer and staples and spent a few hours carefully creating icicles with the lights. Hammer in staple, stretch four lights straight, staple, skip five lights to dangle, bring sixth light over close to last straight light, staple and repeat along the edge of the house. Then white lights draped through the shrubs under the front window. I brought my husband and kidlets out onto the front lawn and threw the switch.
My house, another ranch-style tract built in 1983, was iced in white, like illuminated Victorian gingerbread. The kids squealed in delight. A few neighbors came over to admire the effect.
In a town that would never see one snowflake, where the coldest night may mean frost on the lawn at dawn, were the only ice to be found on Christmas day would be cubes in the waterglasses on the dinnertable ...
... I finally had my White Christmas.
November 28, 2004
What kind of leader are you?
Via Digger's Realm this was a fun test (I opted for the 45 questions) and here are the results.
In many ways, it makes a lot of sense. As a mom to four daughters, one step-son, one either leads calmly or one ends up in a quiet room wearing a jacket with lots of buckles and extra long sleeves.
Have a go at it and see where you fall. Let me know, ok?
UPDATE: ROFL!! I took one of the other tests, What Classic Movie are You? and that is as much a hoot as the leadership one!
November 27, 2004
Things that make you go 'Huh?'
Peace protesters who aren't
OTTAWA -- A coalition of anti-war protesters, left-wing lawyers and anti-capitalists refused repeatedly yesterday to condemn those who might resort to violence during the "loud" demonstrations planned for the visit next week of U.S. President George W. Bush.hat tip LGF
While the No To Bush committee is preparing for the demonstrations -- a rally for peace, justice and equality at Confederation Park at noon followed by a 5 p.m. candlelight vigil on Parliament Hill -- another is arguing that the U.S. President should not be allowed into the country in the first place.
" . . . George Bush must be brought to justice rather than treated as a guest in Canada," said Amy Bartholomew, a spokeswoman for the group Lawyers Against the War. "[The organization] is requesting that the Canadian government at least rescind its invitation and deny President Bush's entry into Canada on the basis of Canadian immigration law which bars entry to those who have engaged in gross violations of human rights."
This little pic, courtesy AP, is of a political campaign rally for Chairman Abbas by Al Aqsa. Charming, don't you think? I just love rallies with masked gunmen just waiting for the wrong word to shoot you dead. And in a post that makes the Understatement of the Week award, Hindrocket of Powerline says:
I get the feeling that the Palestinians still don't quite have the hang of this democracy thing.
hat tip Jeff Harrell, The Shape of Days
Then there's Pakistan, who is right there doing their bit so a billion people will not suffer from "hurt feelings." And who was out being such a meany? Why Newsweek, of course. Running an article with "objectionable remarks which are tantamount to desecration of the Koran". So, Newsweek is banned in Pakistan because it ran an article about a film "Clash of Civilizations" made by Theo Van Gogh.
You remember, Theo, right? He's the guy who was shot off his bike by an Islamist, then as he was on his knees, begging for his life and pleading with his attacker "we can still talk about it!" the Islamist proceeded to saw at his neck with a knife; then left Theo dead in the street with an Islamist threat tract pinned to Theo's chest by stabbing the knife through it into his body.
[Pakistan]Authorities said they were considering legal action against the publication, although they gave no further details. ...
The Dawn newspaper said the article was a "naked attack on Muslims' faith. It hurts the feelings of over a billion inhabitants of this Earth". ...
Islamic parties said the article showed Western bias against Muslims.
Theo Van Gogh had no comment.
Ladies and Gentlemen ... start your cameras!
Michele has opened the Tacky Christmas 2004 campaign and is soliciting all comers. Do you have neighbors whose display confuses lowflying planes in the area? Who mix in the display other holidays or weirdly inappropriate cartoon characters? Michele wants the pictorial evidence!
Heheheh. I have a candidate in my neighborhood all picked out. I'm just waiting for her to finish getting it all up and pilots in the area start to buzz her place.
As Black Friday shoppers crammed into the King of Prussia mall, a pro-union Santa stood vigil with striking Pennsylvania Turnpike toll collectors nearby on day three of their first-ever strike.
At 380 pounds, the bearded, 60-year-old retiree and friend of striking workers was the picture of Santa, albeit with a Teamsters shirt beneath his red coat and a picket sign shoved under his wide black belt.
"My deer will not cross a picket line," Drexel Hill resident Tom Anthony warned as he waved to motorists at the Valley Forge interchange. "It will be a sad Christmas if Santa cannot come to the Northeast."
I await the pro-union nativity scene where Joseph intones how sad it will be if the wise men can't bring their gifts since they won't cross picket lines and Mary is holding a sign that says Don't Make Baby Jesus Cry.
November 26, 2004
'Everyday, every play' ...
...is the title of this post from Sherri. I can't do it justice by trying to summarize it; please go read it for yourself.
Thanks, Hunter, for pointing me to it!
Wretchard at Belmont Club brings forth even more evidence on why we must get rid of the United Nations.
Charles Krauthammer has a great column on upcoming Iraqi elections:
In 1864, 11 of the 36 United States did not participate in the presidential election. Was Abraham Lincoln's election therefore illegitimate? In 1868, three states did not participate in the election. Was Ulysses Grant's election illegitimate?
There has been much talk that if the Iraqi election is held and some Sunni Arab provinces (perhaps three of the 18) do not participate, the election will be illegitimate. Nonsense. The election should be held. It should be open to everyone. If Iraq's Sunni Arabs - barely 20% of the population - decide they cannot abide giving up their 80 years of minority rule, tough luck. They forfeit their chance to participate in the new Iraq.
If you have your liberal-bias-alert glasses on, the LA Times has a rather good column on Attorney General nominee Alberto R. Gonzales
"You have not seen him in the role where he would be making decisions in a completely independent way. As attorney general you are independently enforcing the law. As White House counsel, you are advocating the interests of a client. It is a big difference," said Roland Garcia, a Houston lawyer, friend and politically active Democrat who considers himself one of Gonzales' biggest supporters. "You cannot really pigeonhole Al as conservative or moderate or any of those labels."
Jerusalem Post reports:
A survey of the Arab world organized by the Al-Arabia network website after the death of Yasser Arafat, showed 73.72% want a Hamas representative to replace Arafat, ITIM reported. In contrast only 0.7% expect that one of the PLO leaders will take over.
And please take a moment to read the latest from Dennis Prager with three important lessons from "Amoral media, lowlife fans, spoiled athletes and beer":
First, let's finally stop repeating the false notion that big business has conservative values. Big business has no values. Big businesses are concerned with making money for their stockholders. Nothing else matters to publicly owned companies.
UPDATE: via Digger's Realm it seems the [overdue] spanking of the Democrats this election season is still causing hard feelings. Seems the usually execrable Oliver Willis has been soliciting slogans for "Brand Democrat." All in all, they are a hoot, almost self-parody. And such a hoot that Say Anything launched a parody site. 5-4-3-2-1 ::bam:: and whining from Oliver and others commences (and almost as hilarious as the original 'brand' campaign).
Turkey hangover musings
Slow start this morning. I'm still lingering over my morning coffee and wandering the web. Michele has a hilarious salute to the crazed-shopping weekend with the promotion of the patron saint of consumerism, Veruca Salt*.
This is the second day of the year you can't pry me from home to even drive by the malls -- the first being the day after Christmas. Husband had to go to work this morning and checked out the traffic map on the 'net and deciding to skirt the freeways that run next to malls.
Last night, as the dinner dishes are getting cleared away and before we've worked up the energy for pies, I stared in horror over the turkey carcass at my eldest daughter, Jenn, while she was trying to convince her sisters to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to come with her to the malls. She was enthusiastic about the "deals" and the "fun and excitement."
Well, for some, flinging yourself out of an airplane is exciting, too, but I won't do it. Wait a minute...I do have a daughter that does that, too. Ironic, she begged off going with Jenn this morning!
I like buying gifts for others. I just don't like the idea of having to wear football protective gear while doing it!
*I still haven't gotten used to Johnny Depp stepping into Gene Wilder's shoes as Willie Wonka. I look to the new Charlie and the Chocolate factory with mixed feelings.
November 25, 2004
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington
November 24, 2004
The magic bathroom door
Daughter Erin (mom of twins) and I are chatting as the boys play around us. They are very absorbed, running, jumping, emptying their toybox and climbing inside. Erin excuses herself, slips to the bathroom.
It's as if a large PA annoucement has gone off in the house "MOM HAS LEFT THE ROOM."
In unison, the boys heads come up, scanning. Toys drop, scrambling ensues and despite my efforts to distract them --
"Sean! Nick! Where's your book? No? How about we play catch. Get your ball! Sean? Nick?"
-- they beeline for the bathroom door. Sean will knock "ullo? mommee? ullo?" Nick will get on his belly and try to peer under the door, stick his fingers under and wiggle them.
Deja vu! I learned kamikaze showering when my girls were little. Have short hair, shampoo, rinse, condition, while conditioner is sitting in hair, use liquid bodywash (foams faster) on large wash puff, lather up one side, making sure everything is covered. Rinse hair and self. Hairdrier? Naw, that's why you got it short in the first place. Shave? Wear long jeans until you can take a leisurely bath at night after munchkins are asleep.
A closed bathroom door with me on the otherside was something they wanted to defeat. They'd pound, they'd search around for things to shove under it. They'd get to the point of sitting on the ground, leaning against the door and babbling non-stop until I got out.
Then all was right with the world and they'd be off to continue with their own activities, oblivious to me once I was out of the bathroom.
I can't help a little grin and snicker watching the boys doing the same thing their mother did.
Heheheh. Mother's revenge.
COTV #114 is up!
The 114th Carnival of the Vanities is up (and your hostess is on the list this time!) This week's COTV is:
to the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who waste no words in defending freedom.
The great thing about COTV is a chance to expand your blog reading to authors you might not know.
Check it out!
My blogging may be a bit sporadic today ... I have pies to bake.
November 23, 2004
Storyblogging Carnival VI is up!
Find it here. Some great stories to be had. Check 'em out.
I didn't get my short story done in time for that one (heck it still isn't finished) but I hope to find some quiet time this weekend to finish it in time for #VII.
Who's f***in' idea was this and for what purpose?
Chatting with my of my attorneys this morning about old-fashioned things like responsibility, discipline, politeness ... you know, all those things that rightwinger-nazi-fascists are trying to jam down other people's throats at the point of a gun ... and discussing how so many public schools have just abdicated anything dealing with thinking judgement. He was telling me about his very young daughter's elementary school (part of Los Angeles Unified School District) which has a prominent area called the Free Expression Wall.
You know where this is going, right?
Seems someone felt it was ok to put up pictures of the fight in Fallujah, including pictures of US soldiers and then caption it with "Baby Killers."
Nice. An elementary school -- kindergarten through sixth grade -- five to twelve year olds -- and it is appropriate to label American service people as "BABY KILLERS"??
Of course, at least one of the kids had a dad IN Iraq, who came back recently and was very very upset with The Wall.
crossposted at tacitus.org
Update on an old post -- the band plays on
On Oct 20 I wrote a long post on California's Proposition 66 which would have gutted the current 3 strikes law. Happily, it did not pass. To this day the post is still generating comments and emails. (Interestingly, if you put *california prop 66* in the Yahoo Search, my post is #2)
One of the startling things about Prop. 66 was the attempt to remove several crimes from the list of strike-able offenses. If passed, Prop 66 would have removed gang crimes from strike designations. Somehow, I get the impression that a lot of people really don't understand how dangerous and pervasive gang crime is. It is more than graffitii or drugs. It's more than gangbangers fighting amongst themselves over "turf." Even as much as I see the results of it through my work, when it almost touched my family, it still shocked me.
My oldest daughter, Jenn, works as a paramedic. She loves her job (she even has a license plate frame on her car that says "My other care is an ambulance"), even though it sometimes takes her into pretty mean territory.
A couple of months back, in an area her company services, there was an altercation between a gang member and a police officer. The officer was jumped, the gangbanger wrestling way the officer's baton then trying to beat him with it. The gangbanger was shot and killed. He was a member of a gang with a pretty violent reputation and, true to their billing, they put the word out on the street they were looking to assassinate this officer. That, in a of itself, is not unusual. From time to time these "hits" are announced, most come to nothing. But within a couple of days, the threat changed.
Now the gang wanted to get to any cop. And the way they wanted to do it was to send out false medical emergency calls and then take hostage the paramedics/emts. They then would kill any cops who rolled to rescue the hostages.
For several days Jenn's unit did not roll without being accompanied by a SWAT member and having SWAT arrive on the scene first. As time wore on, it was having regular black & whites get to the scene first then allowing the ambulance to roll. Eventually, the threat was withdrawn and life went on.
For all of that, if the gangbanger who issued the order (and later stood it down) was found and charged with making a criminal threat, under Prop 66 it would not be allowed to be considered a strike.
That is unacceptable.
November 22, 2004
You know you're dealing with someone born and raised in Southern California when we fall over ourselves with excitement because it SNOWED. The clouds moved over the mountains fast this morning, so this pic, taken from my workplace, doesn't quite capture the view ... YET. I'm going to be lurking by the window from time to time this afternoon waiting for the clouds to lift for a clear shot. HA! (click on image for larger size).
November 21, 2004
Join me with prayers and best wishes ...
#3 daughter, Heather was drum major of her band in 2001 (the same band #4 Siobhan is drum major of this year). Several of the boys (now young men) she knows from her high school days have gone into the military.
Next week marks a pair of brothers, identical twins, that became close friends with Heather and also friends with Siobhan because of band (they graduated in 2003), leaving for the Navy. They have signed up to train with, and hopefully serve as, Navy SEALS.
Tucker and Dillon, I wish you all the luck in the world. Please know you both will be in our thoughts and prayers for continued success. God speed.
UPDATE: GW and Chilean security
The Secret Service source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the president's security detail and that the Chileans had argued about security procedures all day and that he wasn't surprised to see last night's skirmish unfold.
The Chileans, he said, were determined to take charge of security, but the president of the United States is the only world leader who takes his bodyguards with him wherever he goes. Normally, foreign countries defer to that demand. The Chilean security detail resisted, the source said, and was determined to take a stand at the dinner.
"That's what the argument this afternoon was about," he said. "I saw this coming."
Chilean security knew that the Secret Service always accompanies the president and knows how to identify them by the pins on their lapels, the source said, but blocked them anyway.
The Whitehouse maybe downplaying this incident but I'm very suspicious of this attempt to separate the POTUS from his agents. Especially in light of the very public threats, from assassination to "arrest", that have been written about over the past several months.
The stink of anti-Semitism at Columbia
As if any more proof is needed of the rot at core of American academia and the strange but very close ties between the American Left, Islamists and anti-Semites, here's a jaw-dropping article about Columia University
It's a capital of "thuggery" - a "ghastly state of racism and apartheid" - and it "must be dismantled."
A voice from America's crackpot fringe? Actually, Dabashi is a tenured professor and department chairman at Columbia University. And his views have resonated and been echoed in other areas of the university.
Columbia is at risk of becoming a poison Ivy, some critics claim, and tensions are high.
In classrooms, teach-ins, interviews and published works, dozens of academics are said to be promoting an I-hate-Israel agenda, embracing the ugliest of Arab propaganda, and teaching that Zionism is the root of all evil in the Mideast.
In three weeks of interviews, numerous students told the Daily News they face harassment, threats and ridicule merely for defending the right of Israel to survive.
'We ain't done with this war yet'
While the faux handwringing about the Marine who shot an 'insurgent' in Fallujah continues, aided and abetted by hack propagandist Kevin Sites, a slice of war reality is presented by Dexter Filkins in the NY Times.
For a correspondent who has covered a half dozen armed conflicts, including the war in Iraq since its start in March 2003, the fighting seen while traveling with a frontline unit in Falluja was a qualitatively different experience, a leap into a different kind of battle.
The 150 marines with whom I traveled, Bravo Company of the First Battalion, Eighth Marines, had it as tough as any unit in the fight. They moved through the city almost entirely on foot, into the heart of the resistance, rarely protected by tanks or troop carriers, working their way through Falluja's narrow streets with 75-pound packs on their backs.
Read the whole thing. It will certainly put in the context that Kevin Sites deliberately leaves out in his hit piece.
hat tip Roger L. Simon
November 20, 2004
Silly Season -- school nonsense
Good lord, when Mrs. Grundy is not busy rustling through the band sheet music to make sure no illegal Christmas songs are polluting the school building, she's out making sure no actual playing takes place on the playground.
An 11-year-old girl in West Covina, Calif., was suspended from her school from doing "dangerous" cartwheels and hand stands during lunch time, according to a Local 6 News report.
Deirdre Faegre, who is a Student of the Month at San Jose-Edison Academy in West Covina was dismissed from the school this week after school authorities warned her for the last time to stop doing gymnastic stunts during lunchtime.
Administrators at the school said they were concerned about safety of their students.
They said gymnastics on the playground creates an unsafe situation.
"I thought they were absolutely weird, because I see other kids playing baseball and soccer and I think that's more dangerous than gymnastics," Faegre said.
Deirdre's parents are giving the school's actions a failing grade. The family says they'll continue to stand by their daughter.
"I don't think they care about the children at all," father Leland Faegre said. "What sort of a parent or administrator would ever enforce a rule that would proscribe a child from using her arms and her legs? We have got to fix this mess because we have to let children be children."
Her parents said they will home school Deirdre until they find a more "reasonable" school.
Calls to school administrators went unanswered.
Why do regular folk like GW?
Well, this again demonstrates why most folk who have met or work for him admire him (including most of the military).
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - President Bush stepped into the middle of a confrontation and pulled his lead Secret Service agent away from Chilean security officials who barred his bodyguards from entering an elegant dinner for 21 world leaders Saturday night.
Several Chilean and American agents got into a pushing and shoving match outside the cultural center where the dinner was held. The incident happened after Bush and his wife, Laura, had just posed for pictures on a red carpet with the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and his wife, Luisa Duran.
As Bush stepped inside, Chilean agents closed ranks at the door, blocking the president's agents from following. Stopping for more pictures, Bush noticed the fracas and turned back. He reached through the dispute and pulled his agent from the scrum and into the building.
The president, looking irritated, straightened his shirt cuffs as he went into the dinner.
This cowboy doesn't put up with anyone messing with his people.
You gotta love that.
Turkey musings -- cranberry wars
I braved the market earlier today to pickup those things I always forget when I'm trying to shop without a list and gather the ingredients for pie baking for Thanksgiving (I've been on pie detail for years. This year I'll be making at least five - 2 pumpkin, pecan, apple and lemon meringue.) My Albertson's loves to have huge seasonal shopping areas set up and at this time of year the middle of the store has a pyramid made up of stuffing mix, canned pumpkin, Karo syrup, evaporated milk, foil roasting pans, gravy mix ... well, you get the picture.
Also prominent are the cans of cranberry sauce. I love this stuff! What more can evoke the memories of childhood than when the can is opened at both ends and the jellied contents slide out whole into a dish and set on the table as is?
Ok...maybe the memories of sticking the pitted black olives on my fingers and waving them in the face of my little sister is a bit more prominent, but I digress ...
There are those, and that includes my mom, who look a tad disdainfully upon this canned and non-textured creation. Oh, each year it is served up, usually in a humble bowl brought late to the table. The pretty glass turkey dishes are reserved for real cranberry relish. It's a tense standoff every year, as the fancy stuff gets top billing while most of us still reach for the old jellied workhorse, quivering on a dish, ready to be sliced and spread.
And let's face it. Half the fun of Thanksgiving dinner is the next day, when you make turkey sandwiches. Nothing substitutes for the jellied stuff when spread on bread with mayo!
What's old is new again ...
When I did back-to-school shopping with Siobhan I was confronted with an escapee from the 70's...the poncho. I had thought of much of the hideousness of fashion of that era that has crept into current clothing that one would have stayed forever in the past right along side bustles and whalebone corsets. At least powderblue leisure suits haven't made a comeback ...
And it looks like the trend of recycling is not limited to fashion. As a bunch of us were commiserating on most hated times to shop at Costco on ASV, Trish mentioned how fascinated her daughter was by "small stuff" rather than the megagallons offered at Costco. She adds
the days of warehouse shopping are moving towards the fate that awaited the dinosaurs of the past.
Possibly, though for many the convenience and cost savings of going to places like Costco will keep some form of warehouse shopping around. For several years, as a Band Booster Mom, I ran the snackbar at the football games and PriceClub (as Costco was known then) was the only way to get everything we needed ... from big cans of nacho cheese to bags of chips the size of small children to flats of sodas and boxes of candybars.
However, I think there is a trend afoot that may see malls ... the great roofed in, weather controlled, Muzak flooded, generic storefront shopping centers ... become obsolete and their traffic return to the "downtown" type of shopping they replaced in the 60's - 70's.
As a little girl it was a special occassion at Christmas time to pile into the car and go downtown ... to places like Bullocks Wilshire ... and look at the Christmas windows. As more people moved into the suburbs, so did the shops and then we went to the malls (two or three anchor department stores with smaller businesses and shops in generic stripstyle buildings between them) close by rather than the long trips into the downtown area. The malls continually spruced themselves up, first by enclosing themselves with roofs, sometimes adding second stories and then by adding other attractions like restaurants and movie theaters.
Yet, they may have to change again, or wither away.
A new "mixed use" regional shopping center just opened in Rancho Cucamonga called Victoria Gardens. It looks like an old-fashioned downtown with architectually varied shops, a main square that has an European feel, buildings with shops on the first floor, offices and residential loft space on the second. It will soon also have a performing arts center, cultural center and public library. Rancho doesn't have a real "downtown" so they've built one from scratch.
A fluke? My parents live in Orange County and my mother tells me the old struggling Whitwood Mall is slated to be redone in this "open-air town center" style.
I have to admit, I like the more downtown feel, especially since with offices and residence space, it will be more of a 24/7 area then the unnerving deadspace malls become when they are closed. There's an outlet mall called Ontario Mills Mall in the Inland Empire area of So. California. They tried to make it different in that it is asymetrical and each section of several shops is considered a "neighborhood" with a different feel but as you enter the mall, and the doors automatically open, an ethereal female voice greets you "Welcome to Ontario Mills, you are entering Neighborhood #2 ..." and to this day I still flash on Logan's Run and I wait for her to say "Last day. Year of the city - 2274. Carousel begins." As I recall, the 1976 movie was filmed at a mall! Heh.
This trend is also giving a boost to cities who have been struggling for years to revitalize their downtowns. The city of Ontario is pursuing this mixed use of shops, lofts, condos and offices. San Diego has redeveloped an area of downtown - Horton Plaza and south of it - that in the 70's was dominated by aging buildings with tatoo parlors, pawnshops and "adult entertainment" into the "gaslight" district with restored art deco buildings, sidewalk cafes, upscale stores and boutiques.
Not everyone wants to live in a suburb and spend too much of their life in a car driving just to buy groceries or grab a bite to eat from a small restaurant. I think this is a healthy trend of old is new again.
But can we still get rid of the poncho?
November 19, 2004
Happy Birthday, Jeff!
You gotta admire the shamelessness of Jeff Harrell in tooting his own birthday horn. I know I do! And I understand Jeff's angst when he has spent time, heart and soul in writing and finds that his audience is not as big as he think it deserves.
If you, dear reader, are a fan of the show Survivor, please check out Jeff's articles.
Um..Jeff, I don't follow Survivor so I've haven't really read those posts. But I love the rest of the site so I hope you'll accept my birthday greetings, linky and trackback!
In praise of Thanksgiving
It's not really good news to report that Thanksgiving doesn't attract the grinches in number as does Christmas and Halloween. Thus proving that the holiday just doesn't figure large on many people's radar.
It's the pause between witches and elves. It's the source of consternation in boardrooms and accounting offices across the nation as the make-or-break shopping season of the year officially starts.
And Norman Rockwell has been out of favor for several years with the nihilism and cynicism that passes for intellectualism amongst America's elite. There are the celebrities who take a one-day break from a year of self-absorption and hedonism to pose for pictures at a local soup kitchen to help with feeding the homeless. There are the columnists who will write of the Myth of the Happy American Family, relating tales of Thanksgivings filled with battering spouses, quarrelling cousins and single moms who are the victims of The System. Look for these stories to be pervasive since we have a Republican President.
I want to promote and celebrate Thanksgiving. I believe this uniquely American holiday is the secular version of the Sabbath. It is a national day of rest, reflection and family. And, boy, don't we need days like that now!
I am encouraged when I hear of businesses that will be closed for the day. My youngest two daughters work at Soup Plantation (in other parts of the country, it is known as Sweet Tomatoes) and they are closed this Thanksgiving. When I was growing up in Southern California, Carl's Jr. was still owned and run by Carl Karcher and he always closed all his stores for Christmas, July 4th and Thanksgiving. Some businesses are willing to give up tangible one day profits for intangible community good will.
Would it be that more businesses felt that way!
My mom does Thanksgiving. The crowd of family has waxed and waned over the years, but it looks good to have about twenty people this year - my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, my brood and my in-laws up from San Diego. Every leaf will be in the dining room table, a second table next to it and a kid table for the twins. All linen and lace covered with the good crystal and silverware, candles and gourds.
Mom will have placed snacks in the living room and family room but guess where everyone will be hanging out? In the kitchen, kibitzing on the fixings, checking on the turkey and chatting in a whirlwind of conversations as we all try to catch up events with those members we haven't seen in months. We'll be shooed out of the kitchen, probably a half dozen times, but slowly gravitate back, drawn by the warmth and smells.
Being So. Cal either we'll have the windows open and spend part of the time relaxing with an adult beverage or two on the patio outback or it will be cold enough that only the smokers will be huddled on the back patio and the rest of us will be admiring the fire in the fireplace.
Dinner will be about two pm as we sit down (and mom will ask her brother to at least turn down the volume on the football game in the next room until after dinner). Grace will be said with a few added blessings on the people we are missing from Thanksgivings past. At which point, we dab our eyes and focus on the food and each other.
This is the family dinner writ large. Not in front of the television or a quick bite by sons and daughters as they dash out of the house on their own schedule. This is as old as human kind, to gather over the evening meal to talk to one another - to break bread and renew personal connections.
Every family does it a bit differently, but the basic importance of family tradition should not be missed. Tradition provides continuity, even as it changes with the passing of generations. My late grandmother used to do Thanksgiving and my mom did Christmas. When I got married and had children, it shifted to Mom doing Thanksgiving and I do Christmas. Somewhere in the future it will shift to my daughters taking turns with Christmas and I can take over the Thanksgiving tradition.
Actually, I'm looking forward to that!
Oh! Another big tradition for me... I REFUSE to go shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Nope, no way, nada, not going, can't make me. Damn, you can't even get me out of the house beyond my own driveway to go anywhere near the shop-crazed crowds. No, I'm home checking untangling the Christmas lights on the front lawn and figuring out which strings are toast and need to be replaced.
What are your Thanksgiving traditions? What are your suggestions for strengthening and promoting this holiday?
Poor Thursday gets little respect, wedged as it is between HumpDay and TGIF. We rush by Thursday as fast as possible, barely looking back on our way to the weekend. Thursday is, at least glad, not to be Monday, the most hated day of the week.
So, Happy Friday, gentle reader. Let's start with a few linkies:
Michele has another post about the grinches who are poised to try and strip Christmas of its joy (as I posted about earlier).
Citizen Smash has a must read about the Rules of Engagement for anyone who is serious about regarding the tragedy of the Marine in Fallujah that Kevin Sites has attacked.
Along with Smash's must read, take a gander at Cox and Forum's take on who the MSM really has in its crosshairs.
Victor Davis Hanson writes about the strange decade we are living in (excerpt)
Oddly, our enemies understand the long-term strategic efforts of the United States far better than do our own dissidents. They know that oil is not under U.S. control but priced at all-time highs, and that America is not propping up despotism anymore, but is now the general foe of both theocracies and dictatorships — and the thorn in the side of "moderate" autocracies. An America that is a force for democratic change is a very dangerous foe indeed. Most despots long for the old days of Jimmy Carter's pious homilies, appeasement of awful dictatorships gussied up as "concern" for "human rights," and the lure of a Noble Prize to ensure nights in the Lincoln bedroom or hours waiting on a dictator's tarmac.
Another bonus of the end of the election season is the return of Peggy Noonan to the pages of the WSJ. Here is a delightful article about
After all the Sturm und Drang of the past few weeks our country would benefit from an absence of sound. Next week we mark Thanksgiving. Today, in anticipation, and after our fractious election, we could declare National Settle Down Week. National Be Still Week. Or National Give It a Rest Week.
And if you haven't found it yet, do read Jeff Goldstein's The Martha Stewart Chronicles.
November 18, 2004
Dear criminal -- please take a vacation
SHEESH! The last several months have been crazy... yes our calendars backed up due to a few courtrooms offline for day-to-day stuff while murder trials were happening ... and yes, just the number of cases were are processing has increased over the past few years due to new housing, new businesses and increased population ... and yes, this week's calendars have been UNREAL because judges are jamming as much stuff this week due to the short holiday week next week ...
Can you criminals please take a some days off? Will tonight, if you're drinking, don't drive. Even if your spouse looks at you funny, can you not thump him/her? If you can't handle the kids, farm them out to grandma please and don't beat 'em? All you petty thieves, gangbangers, drunkards, et al, can ya cease, desist, resist, rethink ... DAMN IT, won't you stop for at least awhile??
That feels better.
On the things to ponder list. As long as I have worked in the criminal arena, the more I continue to wonder just WTF is going through these people's alleged minds. WHY are the doing this, especially when they are well aware of the consequences? (and I'm not talking about the true crazies who are sent off to State Hospitals for the criminally insane).
November 17, 2004
From the Jerusalem Post
An Islamic militant wanted in connection with the abduction and beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl was killed Wednesday in a police raid in Karachi, Pakistan, an officer said.
Asim Ghafoor died after a shootout with police and intelligence agents as they tried to arrest him at a hideout in the west of the city, said Javed Shah Bokhari, deputy inspector general of city police.
I wonder if Kevin Sites knows?
The 'insult' of *Merry Christmas*
Just came in, dropped my purse, slipped off my shoes, slipped on the slippers and flipped on the tv and there was O'Reilly with two guests arguing about the South Orange/Maplewood School District in New Jersey who has decided that even instrumental Christmas music is verbotten.
Superintendent Peter P. Horoschak explained the brass ensemble's Christmas carols have slipped under the radar since the policy was adopted in the 1990s. A few have complained about it, he said, and this year the district is trying to be proactive.
"Rather than try to respond to all the various religions and try to balance them, it's best to stay away from that and simply have a nonreligious tone to them and have more of a seasonal tone," he told the Star-Ledger.
Isn't that special?
My GOD! To think that a orchestra during the CHRISTMAS SEASON might play Silent Night! Why, any flutist tootling a measure or two of O Tannenbaum should be declared a Religious WMD!
I actually heard the idiotarian from the group dedicated to the "separation of church and state" [scare quotes intended] say that the greeting "Merry Christmas" is insulting to many people and "Happy Holidays" is much more "inclusive."
Rant ahead ...
I've had it. I've had it with a multi-culturalism that's about denigrating the majority culture, that sneers at the majority tradition, demands even enculturation with minority and fringe cultures and beliefs.
Get this straight. CHRISTMAS IS A FEDERAL HOLIDAY. It was established in recognition of the MAJORITY culture. The government IS secular and NEUTRAL to all religions, but America is a CHRISTIAN society. You have no more right to find offense or insult in my Christmas lights than you do in the type of flowers I plant in the garden.
What kind of mean-spirited, blackhearted, joy-stealing misanthrope skulks around all a-quiver to be able to yank sheet music from a school band under the sophistry of "multi-culturalism"? What kind of self-loathing produces such a sorry excuse for a human being who wants to Bowlderize American culture of it's Judeo-Christian roots and traditions? What kind of shriveled soul can find no joy in the happiness of others but seeks only to destroy it?
I know who you are. You're the woman who complains about a picture of a soldier with a cigarette in his mouth. You're the mother in the principal's office demanding that peanut butter sandwiches be banned for the whole school because your child has an allergy. You're the man who joined the ACLU so you could destroy the Boy Scouts. You're the college professor who enjoys browbeating students who don't toe your ideological line. You're the college students who, as a mob, threatens violence against any invited speaker you don't agree with. You're the journalist who believes "The Truth" is more important then mere facts.
Whatever your excuse -- "health" "free speech" "the Truth" "multi-culturalism" -- your motives are clear. You are not interested in dialogue, debate or even consensus. YOU have the truth, and everyone else had better recognize it ...or else.
Not on my watch, baby. I will challenge you at every turn. One small voice, of course, but it will not be silent.
Inauthenticating the 'colored chick'
Checkout the list of cartoons Democracy Project links to in regards to Condi Rice.
Ever since the American Left in the 70's ran with the mantra "the personal is the political" a person's authenticity - culturally, ethinically or genderwise - is determined by their politics. So certain "cartoonists" have no problems making racial or sexist cartoons.
Oh! And HEAVEN FORFEND that a President of the United States fill his cabinent with people who share his values and vision.
On my 'This bugs the **** out of me' list ...
... are headlines like this:
Marine captured in cold-blooded murder
The Australian doesn't even have the cajones to put a by-line on this piece of bovine excrement.
As we all know, of course, US Marines evil, the Islamists trying to kill them good.
Personal observation - do you find the same?
No science here. Why are self-identified Leftist trolls (or Leftist reactionaries) so foul-mouthed? Charles Johnson's attracts a fair number of them in his comments and, when banned for egregious behavior, they have even set up drive-by flame-blogs where the quality of the "posts" is the equivalent of nasty small boys scribbling obscenities on a fence.
I've even found this casual use of obscenities on established Leftist sites, from democraticunderground to dKos. And the dismissive just-this-side-from obscenities posts from people like James Wolcott (who is so pickled in misanthropic superiority one figures he doesn't have a pic of himself on his blog because it would show a permanent sneer on his face) who rarely deals with his political opponents on any kind of serious level. The bankruptcy of their position can be discerned by the level in which they pour bile in posts berift of any actual idea.
Certainly, the right-of-center has some ranters and the far-right and fringies their own stoops-to-ad-homenims; however, I don't see the same level of obscenities.
November 16, 2004
Happier! Sexier!! Richer!! Thinner!!!
Michele picks up on a perennial theme, "What makes Women Happy" and in her usual original way, with many personal examples, makes short work of the idea that any one list is going to adequately "explain" women - to either each other or to men.
As a culture, we love to makes lists. Stand at the checkout counter at the grocery store on any given day and the covers of women's magazines will all be running one list or another.
- Five simple steps to get your kids to stop whining!!
- Six things to help you lose weight (not including divorce)!!
- Seven sex secrets to make your man cling to the ceiling and beg for more !!!!
We want it. We want to read the magic list, the latest book, the hippest magazine in hopes of finding some shortcut to make us happier, sexier, richer, thinner or younger looking.
Is it the age-old problem of no matter where we are, we think we might be missing out on a better time elsewhere?
I have to share with you, though, the older I've gotten the more I've come to realize that happiness isn't something I'm waiting for, it is really more of a conscious decision. The decision to be happy is something I actually have control of.
No, this is not a Marge Simpson's "put on a happy face" and shove all other emotions aside thing. It's finding out what I need to do to make me happy in the long run, to allow me to feel satisfied with my life and where it is going and being in large part in charge of its direction.
I'd draw an analogy to organized, realistic housekeeping - having an overall plan on keeping my house clean and relatively ordered, being satisfied and happy when things have gone according to plan, not flipping out if there is clutter or disorganization from time to time, and not being so obsessed with keeping the ultimate clean house I drive myself and everyone else around me crazy.
Not to dis lists. I certainly enjoy finding out what things make others happy. It's an easy way to know more about them. Or finding out what their top five movies/books/songs are.
Certainly lists can even help us. Doing a comparison of Happy Things and Stuff that Really Bugs the Sh*t Out of Me can be illuminating especially where they overlap. Writing makes me happy even as sometimes it is a source of great frustration.
Michele cited this list as her starting point. And it's a fun list with some interesting entries. However, this bothered me:
30. If you have a son, teach him to love women. If you have a daughter, teach her to love herself.
I don't think we do either our sons or daughters any favor when we teach girls they are the standard by which boys will be measured; that the way to happiness is enforcing the notion that boys are just uncivilized girls that need the proper training.
The genders are profoundly different and we should recognize the difference, celebrate it and try to bridge the differences through understanding and compromise. Teach each to love the other and love themselves.
November 15, 2004
Affirmative Action - new study backs common sense
When AA transmogrified into a racial spoils system wherein insitutions were measured on the mix of melanin instead of the quality of the people, those that denounced such systems were/are shouted down as reprobates and racists. Civil discussion about the real consequences of a racial spoils system are few. It is one of the articles of dogmatic faith of the American Left that the US is hopelessly racist and any failure of the group du jour is just further evidence of such racism.
I don't envy UCLA law professor Richard H. Sander, who has just published a study on AA in law schools in this months Stanford Law Review. The brickbats are going to be nasty and fierce. Even The Los Angeles Times article, which is fairly even handed, is topped with the inflammatory and editorialized headline:
Professor Assails Anti-Bias Program
Excuse me, but of all the words or phrases I'd use to describe Affirmative Action programs "anti-bias" would not be one of them.
From the article:
His study asserts that law school affirmative action programs often draw African Americans to tougher schools where they struggle to keep up, leading many to earn poor grades, drop out and fail their state bar exams.
"The big picture is that this system of racial preferences is no longer clearly achieving the goal of expanding the number of black lawyers," Sander said in an interview. "There's a very good chance that we're creating such high attrition rates that we're actually lowering production of black lawyers, and certainly we are weakening the preparation of the black lawyers we are producing."
Affirmative action opponents have made similar arguments about racial preferences in the past, but Sander's research provides new statistics on academic performance. He reports that, in his national sampling, nearly half of first-year black students received grades placing them in the bottom tenth of their classes. In addition, he found that among all students who entered law school in 1991, 45% of black students graduated and passed the bar exam on their first try, while 78% of whites did so.
Sander, who now favors scaling back affirmative action, argues that racial preferences often create an "academic mismatch" that puts black students into competition with white students with stronger credentials. He contends that if the same black students went to less selective law schools, they would earn higher grades, raising their chances of graduating and passing the bar exam.
Prof. Sander is not new to controversy:
Sander also stirred controversy when he wrote an op-ed piece for The Times last year criticizing the UCLA and UC Berkeley law schools, along with the University of California system, for "back door" programs that sidestep the state's ban on affirmative action. The column expressed his growing concerns that affirmative action "allows us to pretend that our racial problems are simpler than they really are" while avoiding addressing "real problems," such as poor inner-city schools and urban segregation.
Prof. Sander has evidently done his homework, but I suspect that those that have vested interests in the racial spoils system will not let facts, reality or common sense stand in their way.
Give this man a party chaimanship!
Dean the Scream is as loose-lipped as ever:
"The truth is the president of the United States used the same device that Slobodan Milosevic used in Serbia. When you appeal to homophobia, when you appeal to sexism, when you appeal to racism, that is extraordinarily damaging to the country," Dean charged. "I know George Bush. I served with him for six years [as a fellow governor]. He's not a homophobe. He's not a racist. He's not a sexist. In some ways, what he did was worse … because he knew better."
Hmmm.... Howard Dean compares President Bush to a man on trial for horrendous war crimes, then attempts to soften the comparison by saying "Bush really doesn't mean it."
I guess every person who even breathes a question about same-sex marriage is a homophobe? And what appeals to sexism and racism in the Bush/Cheney campaign? Or is walking while being Republican reason enough for those charges?
Hey, Dems, please give Dean the chairmanship. It will be worth some extra Republican seats in 2006!
via Brendan Nyhan
cross posted at redstate.org
November 14, 2004
BWahahah! Grandma wins!
I had a fun several hours this afternoon playing with the twins. Sure we read some books, had snacks, did patty-cake and itsy-bitsy-spider. But what they love is when I get right down on the floor with them to wrestle, tickle, give floofies, play hide-n-seek around the furniture, go on a walk...
And guess what happened when I indulged them so???
I tuckered the little munchkins out!!! (click on images for larger size)
My job is done. ;-)
The stink of Jew-hatred in Ireland
Last Wednesday, while wading through the fevel swamps of Indymedia, I came across this bit of glue-sniffing induced conspiracy rambling. Of course this charge of Arafat being poisoned is a new aphrodisiac for the Islamo-fascists and their fellow travelers, but I was surprised to see it spread to Ireland.
Ok, I have a romantic view of Ireland ... and I feel a few tugs of regret that such might be coming from the land where my daughters have fairly close heritage (their dad, my ex, is 2nd generation Irish-American). I realize, too, the anti-Western Civ types can be found all over and when actually in Western countries they are usually a sad, self-loather kind of creepizoid. I decided to write it off as I do the inmates of the democraticunderground asylum.
But then this showed up:
Gardai are investigating links between an Irish neo-fascist website and an upsurge in anti-semitism in Dublin.
Three Jewish sites in the capital were targeted late Thursday night or early Friday morning, with swastikas daubed on a synagogue, a museum and a cemetery.
Detectives are now exploring if there are any connections between the anti-semitic incidents and the Stormfront Ireland discussion forum, which is part of the Stormfront/White Pride-World Wide internet site.
A senior Garda source said they had to consider the possibility of links between an emerging neo-fascist group in Dublin and the apparently co-ordinated vandalism.
'There is plenty of anti-semitic material on this site from Irish contributors, so we will try and see if there are any connections. We have to examine every angle on this worrying development,' the officer said.
Stormfront Ireland, among other things, promotes the cause of Holocaust revisionism. In one email posted by 'Barry' it is suggested that 'Ireland is an easy country to do Revisionism in.'
For all the oppression and horrendous, near-genocidal, attacks the Irish have historically endured, I'm at a real loss to explain this.
Just a few must-reads with excerpts from some of my fave blog writers. Laugh, cry, feel proud.
Throughout coastal America, school adminstrators and parents are reporting an alarming surge in 'Cracker' cliques on campus. Also known as 'Y'alls' or 'Neckies,' officials say the groups thrive by attracting outcasts and misfits from the student body.
"We try hard to engage all of our students in fun, healthy activities like Progressive Eco-Action March and Rage Against Intolerance Week," says Lawrence DiBenedetto of Patrice Lumumba Magnet School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Unfortunately, there are going to be those who fall through the cracks, into a life of bass fishing and stockcar racing."
It never occurred to me, ever before,
That our Navy would win the Vietnam War.
When they took to their boats in this year of elections,
With the mission of making some major corrections
I shared their belief, John should not be elected,
And their view overdue, truth should be resurrected.
Yet I questioned the course they’d set themselves for,
Knowing how John was loved by the media whore.
And that's how things changed dramatically within such a short time. That's why early November with it's striking colors and crisp wind and bleak, gray rains backed by a NIN soundtrack will make me make me at once morose and bitter, but early December, with its chance of snow and twinkling, colored lights will make me feel more melancholy; a small sadness tinged with creeping optimism. And March, once such a bleak, dreary month, brings on its winds such sweet memories that I can find instant happiness in nothing more than a breeze.
Sunday morning coffee ramblings
Goodness, the Santa Ana winds kicked up in the wee hours. I wander down the stairs, bleary-eyed, looking for the first cup of coffee and stare out the window at leaves, branches and small woodland creatures flying by.... ;-)
Not that this surprises me at all, I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Southern California. While east-coasters wax beautifully about the change of seasons ... from fall's riotous-colored leaves to winter's sparkling white accented with twinkling holiday lights ... I grew up with the much more subtle seasons of California: fire, mud, smog and earthquake.
Hey, I live here! I'm allowed to poke fun!!
Actually we do have seasons and the fall/winter is one I love. The Santa Anas are more a spring/fall phenom, very strong winds from the north east out of the high desert, slipping down and gaining speed through the mountain canyons and passes to blast across the LA basin. They scrub the air clean, even as they dump over my patio plants and the my front yard fills with the leaves from my neighbors' trees. However, you can look to the surrounding mountains and practically count the trees on the summits on a day like today. Tonight, when it gets cold, I'll be able to go outside and revel in the tangy smell of smoke from fireplaces as we all look forward to the holiday season.
As I get older I realize my feelings about the holidays are more mixed. As a kid, of course, I was one emotional frenzy of trying to will the days from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to go faster, please! As an adult, I want them to slow down, I'm not ready yet!. And each holiday now has some bitter with the sweet. The grandparents who are no longer with us, the parents who are one year closer to not being with us, the children grown, the friends we've lost touch with ... And the expectations, too. Will we spend too much, will we spend enough? Will everyone be happy? Will anyone go home disappointed?
Lordy, how I sometimes wish to be eleven again! Gift giving was deciding how to strech your $1 a week allowance (hey, I'm talking 1965 here, that was nice money if you get it. I bought my treasured Man from U.N.C.L.E. paperback books brand new for 50 cents!). I could browse through J.J. Newberry's and buy something new or pick up things to actually make presents for everyone. I'd start saving up at Halloween and if I could resist buying any books I'd have a tidy sum burning a hole in my pocket.
Heck, I remember when I got my first real job. I was sixteen and worked at Buena Park Florist and earned $1.65/hr .. which was a heady amount since prior to that I got 50 cents an hour for babysitting. I went nuts that Christmas spending something on the order of $50-60. I was so proud to do that.
It's not so easy now. It's not just me being able to blow a paycheck or two on gift giving, because there are so many other bills to pay and unbudgeted expenses that crop up and an ex-husband who has been a deadbeat for several years.
I don't like the bitterness I feel at this time of year ... of not being able to afford what I would like to give. I've wrestled with it and beaten it before, resolving to put on a great dinner and having a nice visiting time with family and friends who drop in, really putting a lot of thought into modest gifts and remembering such past Christmas's have been just as happy and memorable even if I haven't flooded the treeskirt with expensive geegaws.
I guess this is just a part of growing up, to tame the impulses with rationality and to actually try and focus on what I find most enjoyable and most important about the holidays. I hope, too, in how I'm handling these situations that I also help teach my own children how to make stone soup.
November 13, 2004
Doin' the Band Mom dance
Siobhan has been beside herself for a few weeks not believing her band has yet totally jelled. Yes, they've captured a couple of first places with band (guard as been horribly down in the scores), but as a perfectionist AND drum major, she really wants her band to shine shine shine.
Earlier today, they stepped off at 1:45 pm, one of 13 bands competing in 3A division.
And it came together. The music jelled, the drumline really followed her directing and so all elements were in sinc. The guard, with a new routine, just two-tournaments old, with new flags twirled in time, crisp and precise.
The band came in FIRST
Drum line came in FIRST
Guard came in SECOND
They won top honors in VISUALS and MUSIC
Siobhan was almost giddy (and it's been a while since I've heard her giddy).
They were invited to play at 6:15 pm for the evening competition (4A and above).
Looks like her band WILL be going to state competitions!!! WHOOHOO!!
(sorry, no pics today... got to the competition and found out the batteries had died. Next competition, I promise, unless I can find another parent with pics)
There are photos that capture the imagination of everyone that looks at them. The flag raising on Iwo Jima is a famous example of an image that takes on a life of its own. Or the sailor and nurse kissing in the street at the end of WWII. Or the picture of the toddler, John F. Kennedy Jr., saluting his father's casket. Images that become almost iconic in the sense they represent much more than the moment in time they capture.
Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times ran the picture here, of Lance Cpl. James Miller, in its continuing coverage of the Iraq war. It was taken by Luis Sinco, a Times photographer traveling with Miller's unit: Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.
But something about the picture struck a chord. It ran in over 100 newspapers across the country and the reaction was swift and deep. Today the LA Times has a follow up on the reaction and Miller, a country-boy from Kentucky, himself.
"I just don't understand what all the fuss is about," Miller drawls Friday as he crouches inside an abandoned building with his platoon mates, preparing to fight insurgents holed up in yet another mosque. "I was just smokin' a cigarette and someone takes my picture and it all blows up."
It's the reality, the unaffectedness of the picture that people are reacting to. Here, full face, is the line soldier. Weary, gritty, taking a small measure of pleasure in a pause in the horror of war. We know these images from WWII, be it newsreels or Bill Maudlin's Willie and Joe cartoons. There is both a timelessness and an immediateness to the image. It affects us on the most emotional of levels.
Well, most of us.
James Taranto points out that no sooner than this image ran than the "health police" started whining. They looked at the picture of Miller and saw Evil Cigarette Man.
- I was shocked to see the large photograph on Nov. 10. A tired, dirty and brave Marine rests after a battle--but with a cigarette dangling from his mouth! Lots of children, particularly boys, play "army" and like to imitate this young man. The clear message of the photo is that the way to relax after a battle is with a cigarette.
- I opened the Chronicle this morning and got slapped in the face by a huge picture of a "battle weary" Marine with a fine looking cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
- How much did Phillip Morris pay for the front cover advertisement? Thank you for continuing to encourage the development of cancer.
Jaysus on a Pony! Need I say more about these cluess morons? The man is in a friggin' war, who the hell gives a flying fig on what he considers a momentary pleasure??
November 12, 2004
The stink of Jew-hatred in Norway
This is just surreal:
The Norwegian diplomat Terje Roed-Larsen, who serves as the United Nation's Middle East envoy, heaped praise on Arafat yesterday with an enthusiasm that would make a Gaullist blush. "He was like a surrealistic painting, full of contradictions, full of mystery, full of inconsistencies," Mr. Roed-Larsen told Norwegian state radio NRK. "He was complex, deep, superficial, rational, irrational, cold, warm. He may be the most fascinating person I have ever met, and without comparison the most fascinating leader I have ever met."
This came at the end of a week in which Norway managed to forbid Jews from marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a step the French haven't yet taken. The local TV2 News reported that no Norwegian Jews participated in Oslo's commemoration of Kristallnacht."TV2 also reported that the authorities, saying they didn't want trouble, forbade any Jewish symbols, including Stars of David and Israeli flags," according to Israel's Arutz-7 radio station. "On the TV2 evening news, a group of Jews and their friends who wanted to take part in the commemoration were shown being firmly told by a policeman to 'please leave the area,'" according to a dispatch from an American journalist living in Norway, Bruce Bawer, on AndrewSullivan.com. "This in a city where Muslim demonstrations take place on a regular basis, and include signs and banners bearing hateful, barbaric slogans." The ban prompted a protest from the Simon Wiesenthal Center to the government of Norway.
This is beyond mere practicing for dhimmitude, this is joining with the Islamists in pursuing the elimination of Jews. Start with delegitimizing them and their history.
Ordering a burger in a vegetarian restaurant
One of the things I enjoy in writing this blog is the comments and emails I receive from people who don't agree with me. It makes me really think about what I'm writing, to choose my words carefully, to reassess my positions and to try and communicate clearly my ideas. It is kind of like exercising ... the more you push against resistance, the firmer and more defined the muscles.
Reader Mieke posts in the comment section here some thoughts about Roe v Wade, speaking specifically about how in many states the banning of abortion could cause real trauma to some. She also has some comments about parental notification laws. Jeff Harrell writes an excellent post on Roe v Wade here, covering the judicial opinion and how it came about and just what amendments the court used to address the issue of abortion which is not mentioned at all in the Constitution.
In many ways, I find it disconcerting that we are still arguing this matter after some thirty years and with considerable passion. IMHO, much of that is due to Roe v Wade itself, where the SCOTUS stepped in and found an "emanation from a penumbra" to create a Constitutional "civil right" where none existed before. Under the 10th amendment, the issue should have (IMO) been left to the states.
Is such a sentiment one borne of only looking at life with a "black/white" POV? Does it bespeak an attitude that doesn't take life in its reality?
I do not believe so. I believe that I'm coming at this thorny issue as one of trying to balance the obligations of the forest with the rights of the trees.
A person does not have a "right" that encompasses a "thing" that must be provided by another -- ie there is no "right" to health care, education, food, a car, a ticket to the movies on a Friday night. So a person does not have a "right" TO an abortion. Funny how many on the extreme pro-abortion side have moved the argument of freedom to seek an abortion to abortions must be provided, even at taxpayer cost, as a "right." And an abortion is not about just the woman. It is about another human being, even if it is only nascent human life.
As I've explained before, there are many moral things which should not be legislated. I find adultery immoral, but I do not think it should be the perview of the Law. I find the vast majority of abortions (those done for convenience) immoral, but I do not think most of those should be the perview of the Law.
So to get to that point, I must convince my fellow citizens of the wisdom of leaving the choice of abortion exclusively to adult women during the time human life is nascent and not capable of living outside of her body. Some states will be more liberal in their views, some more conservative. One will find states that allow abortion, no questions asked, up to 24 weeks gestation or beyond; and some states that will outlaw the practice unless a woman's physical health is in danger. The obligation of the government is to allow the people these decisions, and it is the right of the people to come to a consensus on these issues.
If I don't want to be bothered by noise from airplanes, I should not buy a home near an airport.
If I don't like flies, I shouldn't buy a home across from a dairy.
If I want a beef hamburger for lunch, I should not try ordering it in a vegetarian restaurant.
We have a lot of freedoms in the country, including the freedom of association. Rather than trying to legislate my neighbors' values, I can live with them or move to a place where my neighbors' values more closely match mine.
In closing, let me briefly talk about parental notification. If a girl is being beaten or molested by her dad/stepdad and that is why she is fearful ... what kind of thinking is it to sidestep the courts and allow her to get an abortion and return to such a situation??
And do consider, that many young girls... 13-15 y/o, that find themselves pregnant got that way because of a male in his mid-20's to 30's. That male should have more influence on the girl than her own parents? Her parents should not be alerted to the molestation of their own daughter and to take appropriate legal steps?
November 11, 2004
Arafat -- will the French fess up?
In Friday's New York Times
PARIS, Nov. 11 - Even after Yasir Arafat's death this morning, French health officials continued their stony silence about exactly what disease killed the Palestinian leader. And so the man who lived so much of his life simply and in the public eye, died mysteriously, surrounded by secrecy.
After two weeks, the medical databases at Percy military hospital in suburban Clamart must be crammed with information about Mr. Arafat's condition. Scans. Biopsies. Reams of blood test results that would have defined within minutes his kidney, liver and lung function. But those remain top secret.
Arafats death -- should we be 'gleeful'?
Reader Mieke asked that in my post announcing Arafat's death.
Gleeful does seem unseemly, as it were. However, his death is most welcome. My only complaint is that it didn't happen soon enough. Let's just review a moment Arafat's true legacy
– Aug 4, 1929: Arafat born in Cairo. Muhammad Abdel Rahman Abdel Rauf al-Qudwa al-Husseini is fifth child of prosperous merchant, Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini.
– 1933: Arafat's mother dies. He and his infant brother are sent to live with uncle in Jerusalem.
– Late 1950's: Arafat co-founds Fatah, the “Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine.”
– Jan. 1, 1965: Fatah fails in its first attempted attack within Israel — the bombing of the National Water Carrier.
– July 5, 1965: A Fatah cell plants explosives at Mitzpe Massua, near Beit Guvrin; and on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem near Kafr Battir.
– 1965-1967: Numerous Fatah bomb attacks target Israeli villages, water pipes, railroads. Homes are destroyed and Israelis are killed.
– July 1968: Fatah joins and becomes the dominant member of the PLO, an umbrella organization of Palestinian terrorist groups.
– Feb. 4, 1969: Arafat is appointed Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO
– Feb. 21, 1970: SwissAir flight 330, bound for Tel Aviv, is bombed in mid-flight by PFLP, a PLO member group. 47 people are killed.
– May 8, 1970: PLO terrorists attack an Israeli schoolbus with bazooka fire, killing nine pupils and three teachers from Moshav Avivim
– Sept. 6, 1970: TWA, Pan-Am, and BOAC airplanes are hijacked by PLO terrorists.
– September 1970: Jordanian forces battle the PLO terrorist organization, driving its members out of Jordan after the group's violent activity threatens to destabilize the kingdom. The terrorists flee to Lebanon. This period in PLO history is called “Black September.”
– May 1972: PFLP, part of the PLO, dispatches members of the Japanese Red Army to attack Lod Airport in Tel Aviv, killing 27 people.
– Sept. 5, 1972: Munich Massacre —11 Israeli athletes are murdered at the Munich Olympics by a group calling themselves “Black September,”said to be an arm of Fatah, operating under Arafat's direct command.
– March 1, 1973: Palestinian terrorists take over Saudi embassy in Khartoum. The next day, two Americans –including the United States' ambassador to Sudan, Cleo Noel – and a Belgian were shot and killed. James J. Welsh, an analyst for the National Security Agency from 1969 through 1974, charged Arafat with direct complicity in these murders.
– April 11, 1974: 11 people are killed by Palestinian terrorists who attack apartment building in Kiryat Shmona.
– May 15, 1974: PLO terrorists infiltrating from Lebanon hold children hostage in Ma'alot school. 26 people, 21 of them children, are killed.
– June 9, 1974: Palestinian National Council adopts “Phased Plan,” which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on any territory evacuated by Israel, to be used as a base of operations for destroying the whole of Israel. The PLO reaffirms its rejection of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for a “just and lasting peace” and the “right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”
– November 1974: PLO takes responsibility for the PDFLP's Beit She'an murders in which 4 Israelis are killed.
– Nov. 13, 1974: Arafat, wearing a gun, addresses the U.N. General Assembly.
– March 1975: Members of Fatah attack the Tel Aviv seafront and take hostages in the Savoy hotel. Three soldiers, three civilians and seven terrorists are killed.
– March 1978: Coastal Road Massacre —Fatah terrorists take over a bus on the Haifa-Tel Aviv highway and kill 21 Israelis.
– 1982: Having created a terrorist mini-state in Lebanon destabilizing that nation, PLO is expelled as a result of Israel's response to incessant PLO missile attacks against northern Israeli communities. Arafat relocates to Tunis.
– Oct. 7, 1985: Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro is hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. Wheelchair-bound elderly man, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot and thrown overboard. Intelligence reports note that instructions originated from Arafat's headquarters in Tunis.
– Dec. 12, 1988: Arafat claims to accept Israel's right to exist.
– September 1993: Arafat shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Rabin, inaugurating the Oslo Accords. Arafat pledges to stop incitement and terror, and to foster co-existence with Israel, but fails to comply. Throughout the years of negotiations, aside from passing, token efforts, Arafat does nothing to stop Hamas, PFLP, and Islamic Jihad from carrying out thousands of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. With Arafat's encouragement and financial support, groups directly under Arafat's command, such as the Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, also carry out terror attacks.
– Oct. 21, 1996: Speaking at a rally near Bethlehem, Arafat said "We know only one word - jihad. jihad, jihad, jihad. Whoever does not like it can drink from the Dead Sea or from the Sea of Gaza." (Yediot Ahronot, October 23, 1996)
– April 16, 1998: In a statement published in the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, Arafat is quoted: "O my dear ones on the occupied lands, relatives and friends throughout Palestine and the diaspora, my colleagues in struggle and in arms, my colleagues in struggle and in jihad...Intensify the revolution and the blessed intifada...We must burn the ground under the feet of the invaders."
– July 2000: Arafat rejects peace settlement offered by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, which would have led to a Palestinian state.
– September 2000: New "intifada" is launched. Arafat continues to incite, support and fund terrorism.
– Jan. 3, 2002: Israelis intercept the Karine-A, a ship loaded with 50 tons of mortars, rocket launchers, anti-tank mines and other weapons intended for the Palestinian war against the Israelis. The captain admits he was under the command of the Palestinian Authority.
– September 2003: IMF report titled "Economic Performance and Reforms under Conflict Conditions," states that Arafat has diverted $900 million of public PA funds into his own accounts from 1995 - 2000.
What is truly unseemly today is the so-called world leaders who are lauding this Egyptian terrorist creepazoid. Jhimmi Carter who undercut President Bush at every turn even calling him a "liar", calls Arafat "A powerful human symbol and forceful advocate." Chirac praises Arafat as a "man of great courage."
Heaven forbid I be gleeful. However, I wish Arafat died long ago and I hoped he suffered horribly before he died.
Veterans Day -- To remember, to give thanks
This is one holiday that has not been "Mondazed", turned into a three-day weekend excuse for shopping. It can still give us pause to thank the men and women who protect us today and to remember the service of all the men and women who have come before. Michele has a wonderful post with some excellent links. Don't miss the slide show and don't forget the kleenex.
Veterans Day started out as Armistice Day, the end of WWI. We don't really recall that war much, regulating it to the opening salvos of WWII. Even WWII is beginning to fade, like the living veterans who are dwindling. Vietnam has figured larged in our recent consciousness, no small part due to a man who couldn't give a public statement without referring to it. Korea is rarely discussed and Iraq polarizes.
The majority of families in this country have given members to the service of this country ... service that allows the rest of us to argue in print, celebrate in peace, mourn unmolested.
War is not glorious. It is ugly, brutish and something to be avoided. But not avoided at all costs, because sometimes war is as necessary as a surgery that will save a life even as it disfigures.
My 2x great-grandfather, James Kenton Ellis, served in the 26th Ky Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.Two of his letters home are here. They reflect not glory but weariness and longing. Here is the Marines Casualty List of May 13, 1918. Look towards the bottom under MIA.
Aseltine, Ray Howard; Willis Aseltine, 134 Clemens Av., Lansing, Mich.
That was my great uncle. He actually came home after six horrendous months as a POW. In a letter to his mother he relates the cruelty he witnessed and experienced (he lost over 50 lbs as slave labor in Germany and only lived because he became so ill the Germans warehoused him in a "hospital" to die and then Nov 11th came along). However, he ends the letter, written from a hospital in the US with pride in having served his country and the sentiment he would do it all again.
My own father served with the Army's 11th Airborne Division during the occupation of Japan. He was stationed in Honshu for two years. In 1951, shortly after he and my mother were married, he was recalled for Korea.
Please take a few moments today, to remember your own family's history, to reflect on the service of them and friends. Say a quiet prayer for our soldiers -- in Iraq, in Afghanistan, wherever they are serving. If you see a man or woman in uniform, thank them. Pick up their check if you see them in a restaurant. Understand, too, if they are humble about your thanks because they do not serve for the thanks nor for glory, but out of the deepest sense of service to this country they love.
Let me end this post with a WWI poem:
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the Eternal mind, no less
Gives somehwere back the thoughts by England given,
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Rupert Brooke 1915
November 10, 2004
Arafat is dead!
Stockings and Broken Windows
Something occurred to me this morning. Something that has been percolating down in the basement with the boys as they've reviewed a myriad of images, snippets of conversations and discussions coming out of the post-election hangover.
It happened as I dropped off my daughter at school this morning. I noticed one teacher, a man in him late sixties, get out of his car, slip on his suit jacket and head into the school. As we pulled into a spot, my daughter pointed to another teacher, "There's my English teacher." I had to look twice, because the only thing that seemed to indicate she was a teacher was the travel coffee mug she was carrying. Otherwise, she was dressed in jeans and a chunky sweater - not much to distinguish herself from her students.
Then, later at work, we received a reminder memo that the winter dress code (the major difference for the women is now we must wear hosiery with our skirts and dresses) was now in effect with the usual admonishments to remember where we work and for whom. Indeed, each day I get off the elevator and pass several courtrooms on the way to my office and all of them have a posted dress code on the doors.
It hit me that I never remember this kind of private legislation of personal behavior from my youth.
I remember my grandmother. Going downtown to shop at a department store was as serious an occasion as going to church. One dressed for it. Dress, stockings, pumps, gloves and hat. No one told you, no one made you sign a form saying you had read the dress code policy and agreed to abide by it. You just knew what was expected and you took pride in the knowledge. Like learning to set the table or write thank-you notes or actually RSVP an invitation. There was a whole series of social conventions people adhered to, not because of legislation and threat of legal action, but because of the basic respect we had for our neighbors and ourselves.
That changed in the sixties as the boomer generation rejected, wholesale, their parents' values and conventions. "Do your own thing" or "Be true to yourself" became handy excuses to eschew politeness as "phony." If something was "legal" then it was beyond any criticism. Show up at church in a halter top, cutoff jeans and flip-flops? Go to school dressed like a hooker recovering from a three-day meth binge?
F**k you, you stepford wife hypocrite - who are you to say how I should dress? It's not like it's illegal you Jesusfreak bitch! Go hump some bibles...
Exaggeration? Naw. This election nothing animated the salivary glands of some gender-feminist pundits (i.e. Naomi Wolfe) like Laura Bush showing up at events dressed in tailored suits and acting in a lady-like manner.
And look at Michael Moore (well, if you can't actually look, remember the last few times you did see him). Whatever the event, whatever the occasion, he wears the same slovenly uniform, the same hat he never removes, never has his hair cut or his face shaved. Lord, does he even bathe? It's just more of what he's known for, flipping the bird at society. "Look at me! I'm above all that petty bourgeoisie convention. It ain't against the law you know."
One realizes a neighborhood is in trouble when broken windows go unfixed or graffiti is not promptly removed. The good people of the neighborhood will start moving out, the broken windows will multiply, the graffiti will increase and the vicious downward spiral will gain speed. Laws won't paint over graffiti or install new windows or remove junked cars or mow lawns or paint fences ... only people will. The law can be a vehicle to facilitate some of these activities, but it cannot replace the will and values of the people involved.
Ironic, isn't it, as people like Moore have sneered at societal conventions that used values and expectations to guide individuals on the proper way of treating each other have gained the upper hand in society, more than ever have we had to enact laws to govern behavior. From university speech codes to work place dress codes to statutes that define "hostile work environment" to include behavior that at one time would only be considered obnoxious, we've moved from a society that controlled the coarser elements by voluntary convention to reams of laws and codes defining the most minute of behavior.
This constitutes a freer society than the one of the 40/50's the boomers rejected?
Finally, maybe that's one of the motivating factors behind the Left's histrionics about "Jesusland." They cannot fathom morality without legislation. They have seen their own values enshrined in legal code and truly believe that no one that disagrees with them should have the same right. This is what they fear - citizens who disagree with their values now having the upper hand and following in their footsteps.
Of course, that is exactly what most "redstaters" do NOT want to do. However, I'm almost loathe to tell the Left that since there is something satisfying watching them sweat bullets over their perception of citizens they've dismissed for so long contemplates the Left's own tactics.
Thought for the morning
Even if a newly constituted Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v Wade, that would not make abortion illegal. It would return the decision to the states.
November 09, 2004
Prop 66 -- post election ha-ha's
Funny thing has happened at my work the past week. We've received several motions requesting a courtdate for resentencing due to "the passage of Proposition 66 by the citizens of California on Nov. 2."
The motions are getting passed about the office for shit and giggles. Seems the jailhouse lawyers (the one that landed on my desk was meticulously done by the inmate himself. One can't help but notice if the perp had put that much energy and thought into pursuing a regular career he wouldn't be doing 25 to life in state prison) had been reading the polls and wanting to be numero uno in line, just mailed these suckers in before the election.
Good god, I think several of us pulled some muscles with the belly laughing.
On a bit more serious note, if you're at all interested in the close to libelous misinformation from the pro-Prop 66 side, take a quick peek at this fine fellow. Looking at the rap sheet, it really looks like he got shafted, correct?
Funny thing, one of MY attorneys was the prosecuter on this guys third strike and these idjits with their claim of "Verification available/done on this story" never contacted her or anyone else in the office about this story. The perp had victims all over the country. He was living large because his burglaries targeted people's information, which he then went and used to fraudulently purchase property, businesses, cars, homes, furniture, etc. Hell, he even kept an eye on a credit card processing center, rented a truck and forklift and stole the outdoor vault where the credit card carbons and other processing info was stored awaiting the destruction company. The four strikes listed on the page were the ones the prosecution decided to file on....there were over 15 years of numerous other felonies and strikeble felonies not on that list but are part of his record.
No one..certainly no one I know, would object to making the 3rd strike the same as the 1st and 2nd. But Prop 66 didn't do that. Thank god the citizens of CA finally realized that, too.
Is Weekend at Yassar's almost over?
Hey, I've been eyeing this bottle of cheer I purchased when Arafat was flown to Paris. Is this finally it?
Former Palestinian prime minister and PLO Secretary General Mahmoud Abbas, the most senior Palestinian politician after Yasser Arafat, may issue a formal announcement Wednesday morning of the death of the Palestinian leader, Palestinian sources said.
The announcement may come in the course of a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, at approximately 10 A.M.. Israel Radio reported Wednesday.
Hey! Guess what I discovered today?
When you dump a whole cup of yummy vanilla coffee WITH cream on your beloved ergonomic keyboard... it doesn't work anymore!
/post from laptop
November 08, 2004
Law, morality and 'Jesusland'
Saturday and Sunday were a bit of kick-back days for me. The weather was perfect, I puttered about the house and garden ... occasionally joined in on some online discussions. I very much enjoyed a discussion of law and morality over Jeff Harrell's place.
I'm going to repeat myself here:
I certainly wish the mere mention of morality wouldn't send some into anaphylactic shock. Frank discussions of morality and ethics should be a regular and accepted part of all political debate. It's time to realize that calling for increased taxes on high earners is as morally based as calling for restrictions on late-term abortions.
Did I just startle a few people? Good. We really need to keep in mind that all law is based on morality. Let me further state, all law is derived from, and subservient to, morality.
Don't sputter, dears. I realize that in the last several days post-election that the "morality" meme of whirling-dervish Democrats in trying to explain the GW re-election starts from the assumption that law and morality are separate. Further, the Democratic cry has been how awful it is to face the prospect of Rampaging Evangelicals (who are, at this moment, assembling with pitchforks and torches) trying to "shove their religious agenda" down the throats of the intellectually superior liberals.
If you think I exagerate about the histrionic cries of "The Christians are coming! The Christians are coming!" with all their loathing and mockery born of severe bigotry, Michele's post on 'Jesusland' with attendant links points out the insanity. It would probably be a bit funnier if some of the ranters just were not so earnest about it. Layne says
I've got a big problem with Jesusland. If you want to worship the ghost of a jew from the Roman Empire, that's cool. Enjoy it! But when you people and your bizarre mystery cult claim the goddamned president as your prime convert who rules by the voices in his head, I call bullshit. I don't care so much about party politics, but I will fight long and hard to prevent this country from becoming a Complete Theocracy -- if you can call the intellectually vapid mishmash of evangelical Christianity a true Theology.
Ken seems to have a few problems with "jews", too.
Or how about James "I'm practicing my dhimmitude, rah-ly I am" Wolcott who thinks Christians are the problem not Islamists.
unapologetic Christian Crusader in the White House whose reelection giving lie to the notion that Abu Ghraib was an aberration [ed note - pssst, Jimmy, it was an abberration] and that the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians weigh upon America's conscience. This morning America could not look more like a grinning aggressor to the Arab world, an aggressor with fresh marching orders. ...
I'm not depressed, being filled with far too much healthy loathing for millions of my fellow Americans to let myself droop. I do have a column that is (over)due, so blogging will be light until the weekend, when the statue of Jesus will be installed on the White House lawn.
Notice how quiet these people were as Kerry spent the last few weeks of his campaign pounding his Catholic creds? Of course, most of us realized that the Dems were doing it in the grand tradition of nudge, nudge, wink, wink. One is given a pass to talk about God, only if one is insincere about it and only doing it to assuage the Jesus-boobs.
What is the fear here? I understand that some of the demagoging is in an effort to belittle and dismiss GW voters. Having to confront the fact that 59 million people heard your message and shrugged is a bit humbling and the Left has never been too keen on humility. Having invented 'victimology' they know their loss is not their fault. It is a part of their morality.
Simply, morality is a set of rules based on values that facilitate people living within a community. Certainly the Founding Fathers operated on a morality of man as divine individual and government power as derived from individuals to secure these divine rights. The morality of Western Civilization rests on the consent of the governed and, most importantly, we have a covenant with each other to operate in as voluntary a manner as possible with one another, to seek adjudication of our grievences and to accept the outcome of that adjudication.
Just as Kant said that in order to even begin to discuss the rights and obligations that arise from human beings with free-will we must first operate from the assumption that free will exists, so does Western Civilization assume that human beings are ends in and of themselves and not vehicles for others. That is our basic morality; and it is something that much of the Left rejects. This may be why the Left cloaks their objection to Western morality by trying to tie it exclusively with Western religiousity and shuffle it off into the realm of irrational, anti-intellectual, ghostworshipping mysticism. The Left wishes to delegitimize the arguments of their opponents by pretending they are above morality, even as they are operating from their own.
Why would they do that?
Because the question is not moralism vs secularism. The question is whose morality and how much of it will be enacted into law.
When the Left delegitimizes the morality of people of faith, or people who subscribe to the values derived from faith, they wish their own morality to operate unopposed and undebated.
The Left's morality is as fundamental in its dogma as any jihadist following the "submit, convert or die" fundamentalist ideology of Islamism.
November 07, 2004
Band mom update
Woohoo! Siobhan's band brought in another first place, 3A division, last night! So it looks like they are accumulating enough points to go to state competitions (last year they missed first place at state by .08 point!!).
Next Saturday her competition is practically in my parent's backyard, so the whole family will go watch and I'll try and sneak down to the field and gets some pics to post.
November 06, 2004
I realize that the Left would take Kerry's loss hard and the last few days of whipsawed emotionalism from the usual moonbat quarters -- from depressed whining to seething anger -- was not entirely unexpected. I had hoped a few days perspective would have it tapering off and some serious retrospection begin.
RALEIGH, N.C. - An apparent mob of vandals attacked North Carolina Republican Party headquarters late Friday, leaving behind minor smoke damage, broken windows and vulgar messages, authorities said.
A police officer reported earlier in the night that about 100 people wearing masks and gloves were walking down a street near the headquarters, Raleigh Police Capt. D.S. Overman said. The vandalism happened between 11 and 11:30 p.m., the result of an obviously "planned and orchestrated event," police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.
"This is not a political statement," Sughrue said. "A political statement is what we made Tuesday. This is a crime."
Michele has launched a discussion about the left/right divide and asks some very good questions. I think this following question ...
Will those of us who look for a complete separation of church and state drift apart from those who want to legislate morality and rule with religion in mind?
...needs to be seriously discussed (which I will do in new post) because I believe it illustrates some basic misunderstandings (both intentional and unintentional) about morality, law and faith. Let me start you all thinking about this by stating every law is an expression of morality. Yes, every one.
For a quick burst of fun post-election comments, don't miss Howard Krutz's Media Notes.
In an earlier post, I took on Michael al-Moore's personal attacks (and calling for physical attacks) on GW voters. Jeff Harrell takes the same column and does the heavy lifting on Michael Moore's funny math.
And in the continuing saga of Euro-appeasement of Islamists, don't miss Live from Brussels coverage of the Theo Van Gogh murder by an Islamist and the Dutch reaction when moslems complained that the phrase "Thou Shalt Not Kill" was "offensive and racist."
November 05, 2004
The Fat Pseudo-male Squeals
Michael al-Moore finally put down the pallet of ding-dongs he had delivered from Costco in the wee-hours of Nov 3 and decided to do what so many other Democrats in denial are doing.
Personally attacking the voters who voted for GW. Some choice comments:
The only age group in which the majority voted for Kerry was young adults (Kerry: 54%, Bush: 44%), proving once again that your parents are always wrong and you should never listen to them.
This is a male with a lot of unresolved issues. Pray he doesn't reproduce.
Michigan voted for Kerry! So did the entire Northeast, the birthplace of our democracy. So did 6 of the 8 Great Lakes States. And the whole West Coast! Plus Hawaii. Ok, that's a start. We've got most of the fresh water, all of Broadway, and Mt. St. Helens. We can dehydrate them or bury them in lava. And no more show tunes!
What is that piece of Democratic dogma...that they are the party of tolerance and love? Yeah, your fellow Americans have a different opinion, so let's kill 'em!
Once again we are reminded that the buckeye is a nut, and not just any old nut -- a poisonous nut. A great nation was felled by a poisonous nut.
Way to bridge the divide, Mikey! People are just going to give you such a serious hearing on your ideas when you dismiss them as "poisonous."
Will you please slither out of this country, you are a collossal embarrassment. Go hold Arafat's hand. Go congratulate Van Gogh's assassins. That's where your "ideas" have their fruition.
GO, go now, sir; you are no American.
I need some advice
Dear reader, maybe you can help.
I have a wonderful, funny and very bright ten y/o stepson, Edward. He lives most of the year with his mom in Oregon. My husband calls him often, usually on his commute home. Last night hubby walked in almost seething because he had to cut his call short with Edward rather than go off on the little guy (or go off on his ex-wife).
What happened? Well, Edward was ranting about GW being elected President (did I mention he lives with his mom in Oregon??), and it all being the fault of redneck Republicans.
Hubby will be calling and talking with Edward again soon. He's still coming up with what to say to Edward to get him to not engage in such insulting behavior.
Another Loser Meme
As you can see below, in the wee hours, I was further exploring the post-election recriminations of Democrats who believe, frankly, that Republicans and others that voted for GW are just too dumb to "get" the far superior, tolerant, true-American Democratic message.
Well, it looks like another meme is raising it's ugly head ... that somehow anyone that doesn't live in New York City and personally experienced 9/11 has no business voting about it.
Michele does another masterful essay exposing this snarling insanity using one of the most insane of snarlers, Ted Rall. [geez, Michele, it takes courage to slug through Rall's hatred]. Here's the money quote:
Terrorism? Please, if you live in Mississippi or Colorado or Alaska, don't presume to talk about, much less cast your vote based upon, your "views" of Islamist terrorism. New Yorkers don't lecture you about hunting. Butt out of our business.
This is not just elitism, this is downright aristocracy .. the call that says on matters of importance Rall and his ilk feel only they have the right to both an opinion and a vote.
It no longer matters to them that GW was elected with a majority of the vote (something that didn't happen for Clinton). Last time they declared the Presidency of GW as "illegitimate", now they are declaring the voters who elected GW as illegitimate.
Send this man to France
He and Chirac would get along just fine.
Paul Krugman is obviously missing something important in his life. I don't know whether he didn't get the puppy he wanted when he was six or got sand kicked in his face when he was 17 or ... well. I just knew he wasn't going to take the election of GW very well. If nothing else, he's just too damned predictable
President Bush isn't a conservative. He's a radical - the leader of a coalition that deeply dislikes America as it is. Part of that coalition wants to tear down the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, eviscerating Social Security and, eventually, Medicare. Another part wants to break down the barriers between church and state. And thanks to a heavy turnout by evangelical Christians, Mr. Bush has four more years to advance that radical agenda.
Paul, one gets the feeling you wouldn't even piss on a conservative if said conservative were on fire and here you are trying to define just who is and is not an "authentic" conservative. No thanks, Paul. Give it up.
And people of faith aren't trying to establish a theocracy, they are just tired of being shoved in a closet and made fun of. They want their rights to participate in the democracy.
Democrats are now, understandably, engaged in self-examination
Where? I haven't seen it. Oh, I've seen the fingerpointing. I've heard Chris Matthews sighing about the "two countries" and Gloria Allred brush off the "homophobes" right to vote. I've heard and read numerous discussions about tactics and articulation, but self-examination? Naw. Hasn't happened yet.
But while it's O.K. to think things over, those who abhor the direction Mr. Bush is taking the country must maintain their intensity; they must not succumb to defeatism.
President Bush cannot "take" this country anywhere it doesn't want to go. And just what kind of chutpah are you demonstrating, Paul, that you personally know that all the people who voted GW back into office are too stupid to be as enlightened as you are otherwise they'd never be going in the wrong direction?
This election did not prove the Republicans unbeatable. Mr. Bush did not win in a landslide. Without the fading but still potent aura of 9/11, when the nation was ready to rally around any leader, he wouldn't have won at all. And future events will almost surely offer opportunities for a Democratic comeback.
Paul starts out with a strawman argument, then gets to the meat of his envy. How absolutely unfair that 9/11 happened with GW in office. Gads, the gall to have to acknowledge that those those icky Republicans could rise to the occasion of leading the country after such an attack. And then, well, to almost hope for a Democrat to have such an "opportunity."
Interesting moral touchstone there. Some people view 9/11 as a horrible tragedy and an act of war. Some people view it as a political opportunity. We know more clearly than ever before just what type of person you are, Paul.
I don't hope for more and worse scandals and failures during Mr. Bush's second term,
Yeah, right [snort]
but I do expect them. The resurgence of Al Qaeda, the debacle in Iraq, the explosion of the budget deficit and the failure to create jobs weren't things that just happened to occur on Mr. Bush's watch. They were the consequences of bad policies made by people who let ideology trump reality.
What we witness in this section is a prime example of projection. Those people who understood that 9/11 was as act of war by Islamists, were acting according to reality. Those that figure terrorism was just a "nuisance" until GW came along to get Al Qaeda all hot and bothered are the ones eschewing reality in favor of their leftist ideology.
So what should the Democrats do?
It's your message, Paul! Look to your message!
One faction of the party is already calling for the Democrats to blur the differences between themselves and the Republicans. Or at least that's what I think Al From of the Democratic Leadership Council means when he says, "We've got to close the cultural gap." But that's a losing proposition.
:::sigh::: oh well, never mind. Continue being tone-deaf to the people around you, to the people who live in places other than NYC or Frisco.
But Democrats are not going to get the support of people whose votes are motivated, above all, by their opposition to abortion and gay rights (and, in the background, opposition to minority rights). All they will do if they try to cater to intolerance is alienate their own base.
Yessirreebob, Paul. You caught us GW supporters out. We don't give a fiddle-d-dee about our family's security or not giving the UN a veto over our way of life or about promoting democracy to enhance our own security... no, we is after them damned queers .. we does want our wimmin barefoot and breeding ... and damned we does want our mi-NOR-it-tees to know their damned places... Billy-Bob! Git d'truck off them cindy-blocks and some tires on it, we aim to go to town and scare us some miNORitees. Yeehaw, that be sum fun.
What they need to do now is develop a political program aimed at maintaining and increasing the intensity.
Again, ignore the fact that 51% of the voters reject your basic message. Just keep thinking that if you TALK LOUDER and SPEAK SLOWER that the dumbbunny Republicans you deride 24/7 will "get" your message. Keep up that "intensity", Paul. I bet you can get it all the way to 11!
Heads up to readers: I'll be starting a long-planned break next week,
Good idea! Makes ME happy.
I'll be back in January.
No! Go ahead, take longer. Please.
But Democrats mustn't give up the fight. What's at stake isn't just the fate of their party, but the fate of America as we know it.
Again, Paul, you are operating in a different reality, with a vision of America of how you would like it, not the reality of what it is or what it stands for. You are doomed to frustration and loss until you actually do some self-examination and realize American reality is NOT confined to a few blocks in Manhattan, Hollywood or Nob Hill.
Let's reiterate the very basic tenets of America
- E Pluribus Unum
- In God We Trust
Let me know when Democratic self-examination suddenly realizes they need to embrace that tenets again instead of sneering at them.
I know! Let's pretend!
Let's say the bogus exit polling numbers leaked to lefty blogs by Camp Kerry in order to spook Bush supporters to stay home worked. Let's say we heard GW give a concession speech and Kerry had given his first press conference as President-elect.
Does anyone believe that hordes of university campus Republicans would be taking to the street and doing this?
thanks to zombie
November 04, 2004
Nope, they just don't get it ...
via Charles Johnson
Uh-yaw, haw haw, jus' us country-bumpkins pickin' r tooth wid uh knife, wipin' r pie-hole on r shirtsleeve. Hey, Billy-bob, you dun finished the 6th grade, can ya read me here dis really long number?
Jaysus on a Pony...I thought the whining from American leftists was pathetic..!!
It's the message, stupid.
Twenty-four hours after the Democratic Party moves into the minority party column for years to come and listening to the recriminations, watching the fingerpointing, from all quarters of the Leftist/liberal universe, this demonstrates they still don't get it.
Jeff Harrell points out that while John Kerry was gracious in his concession, he also sent mixed messages. I would also point out the speech given by Edwards just prior to Kerry was even more strident in the charge that Democrats must stay "on message". Yet another example that true introspection on the "why" of the Democratic Party loss has yet to sink in.
What are the excuses being offered?
Personality - people didn't get to see the "real" John Kerry
Tactics - Democrats weren't clear enough in getting people to understand their "real" message
Money - as a corollary to the tactics excuse; the DNC was "outspent" by the RNC and more "effectively"
These points were clearly illustrated in the exchange I heard last night between libertarian Larry Elder and leftist lawyer diva Gloria Allred on his radio show. Larry challenged her when she said the RNC outspent the DNC. Larry pointed at the leftist 527's and George Soros. Gloria was having none of that. For her, because these were "independent" organizations they "didn't really count" in her comparison. Larry than attempted to get her to look, not at the tactics of presenting the Democratic message, but at the message itself. He told her to look at the number of states that voted to legally define marriage as one man/one woman and at the margins it which these measures passed. Gloria was almost beside herself in both downplaying the measures and in also saying they "didn't matter" because they would be overturned in the court. She railed against the "discrimination" of such voters. In trying to get a word in edgewise Larry said one could not characterize everyone that voted for this measures as "homophobes." "I wouldn't be so sure," Gloria answered. She then went on very confident that all these "very clearly discriminatory" measures would be overturned in court.
There it is. The attitude one finds from the Leftists today in their attempts to analyze why Kerry lost. The problem is external, the problem is the homophobes and the Religious Rightwingnuts, it's the people for being so stupid they couldn't see what a wonderful message of "tolerance" and a chicken in every pot that the Democrats offered.
They refuse to consider it was not the "HOW" of the message being delivered that was the cause of the defeat, it was the MESSAGE itself that voters rejected.
This reminds me of the old joke about the haughty tourist in a foreign land who believes the non-English speaking native will understand the tourist if only he speaks LOUD ENOUGH and SLOWLY ENOUGH.
You don't brush off all people who have reservations about same-sex marriage as "homophobes" not worthy of listening to without engendering resentment from those people. You don't belittle people of faith as mindless boobs and then not expect they may take exception to the characterization. You don't pander to the flyover states with photo-ops of hunting and tossing a football and not expect that many will see right through it to the basic contempt such pandering holds. You don't trot out the stable of Hollywood celebs to dazzle the unwashed masses then try and scare them with such intellectual arguments as "If Bush is reelected, rape will be legal again."
At the conclusion of GW's acceptance speech yesterday they played a Brooks and Dunn (country/western) song. A commentator on FoxNews immediately characterized the music as "divisive."
It's the elites at their most tone-deaf.
They stand in the midst of an insular urban, coastal culture and believe such culture is the both the ideal and the universal. They are shocked at country/western music, but not at rap, because they rarely, if every, venture beyond the confines of their friends and acquaintences where rap, rock and hip-hop are the idealized music "art" forms. What a wakeup call Nov 3rd must have been for Springsteen and P. Diddy that most of the voters out there looked at them ...
.... and shrugged.
The elites have forgotten that "reaching out" and "respect" works in both directions. Unfortunately, the Left never has believed they needed to accord such to their political opponents and it appears like they are in no mood to start. Again, I point to Jeff Harrell who posts on some lefties who are in no mood for any kind of reconciliation. [ed. note: a break certainly agreed with Jeff. He has some excellent posts. Please go read 'em!]
November 03, 2004
Sheesh! Want some cheese with that whine?
Bill at INDC Journal posts the incredible statements of Dan Rather. Notice Dan has no clue that he may have anything to do with the disgust of the electorate with CBS's incredible partisan machine.
From the Corner on Tom Brokaw
Brokaw just said, after carefully explaining the Kedwards position, that "The President and his people feel as though they have won, fairly this time...."
Ok.. I gotta get to work. I'll add to this sourgrapes post throughout the day.
UPDATE At a little after 9 am this morning, I wandered past the breakroom and heard Chris Matthews and Katie Couric talking. Katie looked like she had sucked on a whole bucket of lemons. Chris was fishing around looking for a reason why GW won ... heaven's how can over half the United States reject someone so reasonable as Kerry?? Chris offered it was because of CULTURAL VALUES [cue sound of horses screaming] ... best I can paraphrase
I really think this is like India and Pakistan. We have two countries here.
Chris, you ass, you have no idea what the f**k you're talking about.
Need some wood?
John Kerry, will you for the first time in your life and think of your country instead of yourself?
Stop listening to the bigotry, hatred, and sheer insanity of the Left at Kos, DU, Atrios ... hell, of your own campaign (stick a sock in Mary Beth "fair game" Cahill).
Concede to reality. You lost. CBS, Dan Rather, George Soros, Michael al-Moore, Jhimmi Carter, Chirac, NYTimes, Boston Globe, Osama Bin Laden, et al... All their money, all their lies, just couldn't get you over the top because more voters than ever before went with the man they know they can trust.
Call off your rabid dogs before they harm the country.
Prop 66 goes down to defeat!
Prop 66 lead most of the evening, but just as I decided to go to bed, with 65% of the precincts counted, the No-on-66 had edged ahead.
And this morning it is official. It's gone!!!
No 5,076,988 - 53 percent Yes 4,434,846 - 47 percent
November 02, 2004
I'm shutting down and heading off to bed. Tomorrow I do have to get to work and my eyes right now feel as if I've been swimming in sand.
GW is two plus points in the popular vote, more than two points ahead in OHIO, (162,000 votes and climbing), ahead in New Mexico.
The Democrats can start redeeming themselves right now with a gracious concession and a promise to heal the wounds they more than helped inflict on the electorate ... or ...
They can join the raving lunatics at the Democratic Underground who are close to calling for an open revolution because people like me refuse to think like them and vote like them.
The so-called Main Stream Media did it's best to drag Kerry's equivocating carcass across the finish line, promising 15 points. The Hollywood Left shoved their mugs infront of every camera speechifying in a strange manner that combined pleading and condescension to the people they tried to convince to vote for Kerry.
However, the people of this country ... the people who wait the tables, run the press machines, prosecute the criminals, scrape up the capital to expand their business ... the great unwashed who live and love and raise their families in the small green places in this country far from the limestone and brushed nickel foyers of the tonier places along the coasts ... they vote their values, the values that the elites have either lost or hold in contempt. The unique values of America that are easy to identify, seeing as they are printed on every bit of currency we hold.
- E Pluribus Unum
- In God we trust
Maybe the Democrats that have lost those values need to rediscover them.
God Bless President Bush.
God Bless America.
My teen speaks
#4 daughter, Siobhan, 17 y/o high school senior just walked in from band practice. Her observation is that most of the students at her school are apolitical. Of those that are paying attention, the Bush buttons/t-shirts out numbered the Kerry attire. Of the high schoolers who are 18 and eligible to vote, almost all of them are voting Bush/Cheney.
She also confirms the attitude of the Bush/Cheney supporters is one of cheerful optimism where the Kerry teens are a surly bunch.
What are the odds?
Note: pictures in this post are thumbnails. Click for larger images.
The day actually starts nicely. I get #4 off to school, decide to run a couple of errands and get my blogging corner primed and ready for the day. That's my cat, Feathers, under my desk. She'll be 19 y/o in Feb. I let her sleep anywhere she wants, which usually means right under my feet when I'm at the computer.
So I finally head to my polling place after 10 am PST. No long line out the door, but a nice steady stream of people going in. All the booths were full and I waited about six back after signing in (poll workers cannot ask for ID in California.) A few under 30, mostly older voters. The woman keying the voting cards for the electronic machines, Sandy, said there wasn't the initial crush as they expected first thing in the morning, but that they were surprised at the constant stream of voters. It's been a few years since I worked the polls, but I remember that outside of the busy morning and evening hours, the worst thing facing the poll workers is boredom. You can easily go hours between voters.
While inside everyone was rather serious. Outside people were smiling. Leaving I spotted this young woman. She was laughing and having one of her sons take her picture while pointing at her "I voted" sticker on her shirt. Hey, I'm here to get some stories so I approach her and ask if this was the first time for her voting. She smiles, "No. This is just proof for some of my friends." She tells me she has some online friends, some of the "liberal persuasian" who contend one cannot dicuss politics unless one votes. This is her proof. I tell her that I understand, I have both a blog (I give her the name) and I had taken the day off from work to do correspondence work for the online site, Command Post. Her eyes go wide, her jaw drops "You know Michele?" "I've commented on her blog and exchanged a few emails." "Wait .. you're that Darleen? I'm Yvonne!" At which point, never having meet in the flesh, we both realize we know each other from the comment section at ASV.
We laugh, we hug, we chat about kids (she has an absolutely gorgeous 3 month old daughter) ... she tells her sons to quit picking the berries off the shrubbery and pelting each other ... I point across the street to the high school and tell her about #4 being a senior there. We enjoy this opportunity to talk of other things beyond the election.
I do tell her of the Bush/Cheney supporters cheering and waving to drivers at a major intersection yesterday, she tells me of similar B/C supporters at a different local intersection who were being harassed by very young thuggish Kerry supporters.
We both agree that the level of irrationality and the number of dour, hatefilled incidents has surpassed anything either of us have known. We can hardly wait for tomorrow so we can start putting this behind us.
California has never even been in play for the Kerry campaign. So what animates Kerry supporters to harass Bush supporters?
After leaving my polling place, I visited a couple others in my area and found a similar scenario; steady stream of mature voters who look calm and serious as they enter and are happy when they leave. In talking with a few others, I encounter the same attitude -- relief in casting the vote and high hopes that this Season of Irrationality will pass.
One could hardly hope for a more beautiful day here. The backyard themometer reads 80, some snow clings to the surrounding mountains and the sky is a clear crisp blue. How could anyone be so pessimistic, so poisoned in attitude on a day like today?
A few miles west of my polling place, I pulled to the side of the road and took this picture of this main boulevard, lined for several miles with trees and American flags, snow-capped mountain in the distance.
Whatever tomorrow brings, The Republic will endure.
cross posted at Command Post
Girding the loins
California polls officially open in 30 minutes. Many of my friends, including my husband, have already voted via absentee ballot or early voting.
My polling place is across the street from my daughter's high school, so I'll be there by 7:30 am. I'm looking forward to reporting how many people are there and then I'll start my day of traveling and reporting for Command Post.
In the meantime, here are some interesting reads:
Powerline discusses the strange case of Tom Daschle who just doesn't want a vote of the people, but an old buddy judge to help him win.
Digger's realm has a nice roundup and recommendations on some of California's sixteen ballot propositions. I know, it sure looks like insanity on California's part, but hey, would you expect any different from the left coast?
Jim Geraghty's blog entries are a must read. He's receiving reports of heavy turnout and (shock!) Democrat cheating in New Jersey. I also found it interesting that poll workers are wearing Kerry buttons while Daschle was claiming that "rolled eyes" constituted "voter intimidation."
Drudge is reporting on possible cheating in PA, where:
Before voting even began in Philladelphia -- poll watchers found nearly 2000 votes already planted on machines scattered throughout downtown... One incident occurred at the SALVATION ARMY, 2601 N. 11th St., Philadelphia, Pa: Ward 37, division 8... pollwatchers uncovered 4 machines with planted votes; one with over 200 and one with nearly 500... A second location, 1901 W. Girard Ave., Berean Institute, Philadelphia, Pa, had 300+ votes already on 2 machines at start of day... INCIDENT: 292 votes on machine at start of day; WARD/DIVISION: 7/7: ADDRESS: 122 W. Erie Ave., Roberto Clemente School, Philadelphia, Pa.; INCIDENT: 456 votes on machine at start of day; WARD/DIVISION: 12/3; ADDRESS: 5657 Chew Ave., storefront, Philadelphia, Pa... Developing...
Color me shocked, again, considering PA's Governor Rendell is so hostile to Bush voters he had to be armwrestled into extending the deadline for receipt of military absentee ballots even though the delay in the military getting the ballots in the first place were solely PA's.
Between ACORN's fraud*, NAACP's trading crack for registrations and ALF-CIO's physical assaults of Republican HQ's, the Daschle-style of contempt for voters is widespread throughout the Democratic Party.
As I just heard Peggy Noonan just say on Laura Ingraham's show, "The Democratic party has turned into 10,000 Mayor Daleys."
*Yes, I'm well aware of the one Republican hired voter registration group, Sproul, engaging in registration shennigans. I think it just goes to show that we need to stop all "independent" registration.
UPDATE It is being reported that Philly city officials are stating that the count observers saw on the voting machines at the start of voting is a cumulative total of use between servicing, not the count of votes that will be cast today. Ben below pointed first to this story.
November 01, 2004
Nov 1st -- Election Blogging
Dear readers! I'm happy to announce that I will be live blogging the Election from the POV of a Southern Californian tomorrow at The Command Post. I was very happy Michele and Alan accepted me as one of their special Election Day correspondents. A real treat!
I've taken the day off from work and will travel my local area, hoping to visit not only polling places but the Dem and Rep HQ's as well as keeping a finger not only on the national race but the local ones and the Propositions. I hope you will visit Command Post throughout the day (this is one ambitious undertaking) and check in with me to follow postings in both places.
Tonight I got my feet wet with a general post about how the campaign, or rather the NON campaign, of Bush v Kerry has been sizing up in CA.