« October 2005 | Main | December 2005 »

November 30, 2005

Reading the 'National Strategy'

I haven't gotten there yet, but Jeff Harrell has.

The obvious question that springs to mind when the White House releases a document like this is, “Why the heck didn’t we see this three years ago?” The answer is on page two, right inside the snazzy, The Shape of Days-inspired cover page: “The following document articulates the broad strategy the President set forth in 2003 and provides an update on our progress as well as the challenges remaining.” And then there’s a quote from a speech the President gave in February 2003, before US troops ever even crossed the line of departure. He said, “Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: we will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more.”

The subtext is pretty clear, and infinitely amusing to your humble narrator: "We did tell you our strategy three years ago; 48 percent of y’all were just too stupid to wrap your ‘American Idol’-softened noodles around it. So we’re gonna tell you all again, and again, and if necessary again until you get what we’ve been saying all along."

Hee hee. That’s bad ass.

Sure is. Not that it will make a gnat's ass worth of difference to the ninnies and curs that blather Bu$Hitler lied about Iraq as an imminent threat Certainly, John "Don't you know who I am?" Kerry decided to go with the usual, insulting script.
"The truth is that the president draws a false line in trying to make his case to America.
Which false line is that?
The troops don't belong to his point of view, they belong to America
Huh? Can someone translate here?
... and the best way to protect the troops, the best way to stand up for the troops is to provide the best policy for success.
And anything less than victory is not success. Not that Nancy Pelosi (Leftcoast Kerry-in-drag, just more botox) has paid any better attention for the last few years.
The American people expected that the president would do more today than put a new cover and 35 additional pages of rhetoric on old sound bites.
Another female that embarrasses the shit out of me.

Not one of these nancies can explain how much BETTER America would be to cut-n-run from Iraq right now. Obviously even the anti-American stance of the "peace" activists in Iraq didn't protect them from terrorist predations, in what strange corner of greymatter in Kerry, Pelosi, Boxer and traveling ilk lurks the thought that "If we just tell the insurgents 'so sorry, we're leaving now! please play nice and don't hate us' all will be skittles and beer? They question GW's credibility? What's the credibility of the "I voted for it, before I voted against it" schtick? How is calls to give a timetable (yeah, like terrorist don't read or use the Internet) supposed to HELP achieve anything but the same ambiguous ending as in the first Gulf war that will leave bigger problems ten or fifteen years hence?

You can do what's right or what's easy.

Jeff sums it up:

I don’t think any of us predicted, back in 2001 and 2002, that the hardest battle yet of the war on terror would be the battle waged on the front page of The New York Times. I’m glad to see that the White House is as serious about winning that battle as it is about winning the war in Iraq and the broader war against fanaticism and fundamentalism and terrorism everywhere.

Posted by Darleen at 12:53 PM | Comments (3)

I DO feel sorry for the hostages

No one, even the foolish, should find themselves in the murderous hands of Islamo-fascists. It worries me, though, that the anti-Western group that the hostages hail from are engaging in the same tired, irresponsible meme:

"We are angry because what has happened to our team mates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and UK governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people," it [CPT] said.
Yeah. Right. Like the actual kidnappers have no responsibility.

Will idiots and tools like CPT ever come to realize that Islamists are not impressed by their hatred of America, Israel and England? For Islamists, the hostages are not human beings. They are, at best, dhimmis who must recognize the superiority of their Islamist masters ...

... or die.

As a human being, I wish for the hostages safe and swift return. As a Westerner I'm not confident these hate-filled ideologues will have learned their lesson.

Posted by Darleen at 07:12 AM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2005

Stunning annoucement from Israel

JERUSALEM (Reumers) - In another stunning move since his announcement to leave Likud, Israeli PM Ariel Sharon has delivered a speech signaling a sea change in Israeli culture and a new move towards diversity, tolerance and multiculturalism.

Sharon has staked out the popular Jewish holiday Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, as a point issue in moving the ostensible "Jewish" state into Western norms of secularism. He has proposed that the Israel public square be more inclusive towards non-Jewish members. Sharon has announced that he will introduce legislation to make all public displays of the traditional Menorah more inclusive by renaming them "Holiday Candelabras."

"We must remember," said Sharon as he addressed the Knesset yesterday, "our heritage and history is precious. Each of us is charged with holding it dear in our hearts and home. However, we must turn and embrace all people and their own beliefs. All cultures are equal."

Some Knesset members reacted in shock and not a few were upset. An extreme right-wing member, who asked to remain anonymous, stated, "Sharon has taken leave of his senses. We cannot let such an assault on Israeli culture stand! Do you hear me? It will not stand!

However, other more reasonable members of the Knesset expressed optimism at the move. As one moderate expressed, "Israel is opening a new chapter on the values of multiculturalism. We must be ever mindful of offending others that don't hold our beliefs. I'm sure the sky won't be falling just because we move to make one of joyous holidays more inclusive."


*off tag for the satire-impaired

Posted by Darleen at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)

The Cotillion - Girls want to have fun, Women do

I'm so honored to again host this week's Cotillion Ball. What with the Thanksgiving hurrah and the mad rush into winter, the plucky gals still gave it a go at some excellent writing that I highlight here today.

Faust at The Bad Hair Blog succinctly lays out the facts on staying the course in Iraq. No emotionalism, no spin, just the facts, ma'm.

If you're not reading Jane at Armies of Liberation, let me remind you that Santa sees everything as is keeping a list. Avoid that lump of coal and read about how the Yemeni government has wigged out in the wake of Jane's interview on Al-Jazeera.

From the Thawrah, the government newspaper, to the Congress Party’s newspaper ( Al-Methaq) and between them, all the government and the websites newspapers even the small bulletins and independent journals which they use the public money all of them have nothing to say only talking about Jane Novak the describing her as a conspirator, Zionist, traitor, unemployed and the owner of a bad website and lying sources.
Standing ovation for Jane. Many times one can take pride in just who hates you.

One of the most enjoyable things I've found since becoming a member of the Cotillion is the free exchange of ideas (and backroom silliness) among the sisters. We can even respectfully disagree with each other. Imagine that! We aren't Stepford wives. While I'm personally an advocate of the death penalty, do read the very thoughtful entry, Why I don't like the death penality from Zendo Deb at TFS Magnum examining the recent case of Ruben Cantu.

In what reads as a live-blog of Thanksgiving, Sissy at sisu takes us from discovery that the turkeys were partially frozen to naptime after a hearty meal. Complete with pictures! Uh, Sissy, there really is such a thing as gingerbread Peeps??

Charmaine at Reasoned Audicity digs up an article that highlights the gender differences people bring to money management and studies that show, yes indeed, women make better money managers. As Dennis Prager opines, either a study confirms common sense, or it's wrong. Heh.

Leave it to Beth to bring lemonade to the party. Feeling a bit burned out she launches the 2005 Badblog Awards. Categories include:


I'm sure you're going to enjoy reading the eclectic collection of writings I have linked. My thanks to all The Cotillion sisters and we'll be back next week.

(crossposted at The Cotillion)

Posted by Darleen at 12:01 AM | Comments (5)

November 28, 2005

The upside, he won't be able to ...

... reproduce.

(h/t Patterico)

Posted by Darleen at 07:01 AM | Comments (4)

Michael Irvin - stupid criminal excuses

I don't follow pro football, but I had to laugh at this

DALLAS (AP) -- Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia after Plano police officers searched his vehicle during a traffic stop.

Irvin, an ESPN analyst and semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, told The Associated Press late Sunday that the drug pipe found in his car belonged to a friend of 17 years who left a Houston rehab center and came to Irvin's house in Carrollton for Thanksgiving. Irvin wouldn't reveal his friend's name.

Of course, he wouldn't. It's amazing how many times I've seen the "no, officer, that's not my [pipe, dope, needle, weapon] in my car. It's my friend's" schtick.

That one is only outdone in the stupid department by the one offered when a bindle of meth is discovered in a pocket during a patdown:

But officer, these aren't my pants.

Posted by Darleen at 06:47 AM | Comments (2)

November 27, 2005

Former AG Ramsey Clark arrives in Iraq

to help "defend" Saddam.

My question, do we have to let him back into the US?

Posted by Darleen at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)

November 26, 2005

Here's a challenge for you

I've had the tv on most of the day -- background mostly as I go about my usual Saturday chores. I've kept an ear out to pay attention to all "Holiday" advertising.

Not once have I heard the word "Christmas" issue forth from the commerical ads. Home Depot has an elf running around delivering messages to go to HD "for the Holidays" and get your "Holiday lights and trees." JC Penney, Honda, Lowe's ... one and all want to talk about the Joy of the Season showing wrapped presents and decorated trees...

But what season?

Has ANYONE seen ONE commercial ad that actually has the balls to use the word "Christmas?"

UPDATE 10:30 PM AH-HA! Got one! Macy's runs an ad, no narrative, but a snappy 1940's style song that actually has the word "Christmas" in the lyrics! Geez, I'm glad I bought several Christmas gifts at Robinsons-May (which was bought out by Macys). I believe in voting with my feet and pocketbook.

Posted by Darleen at 09:53 PM | Comments (2)

Wow, can ya feel the love over Christmas!

Well, it is certainly interesting the reaction my relating my mom's experience at her local US Post Office has engendered in my comments. The abject hostility towards Christmas stamps and/or the story itself is revealing.

Seems a lot of people have a reading comprehension problem. Let's take it from the top, shall we?

~~Mom related her personal experience with us at Thanksgiving
~~I related it to y'all here within a few hours of the telling, while it was still THANKSGIVING
~~The employee offered up his remarks to my mother unsolicited by her.
~~The information was two-fold, both about no "religious" stamps to be further issued AND that USPS employees were to say "Happy Holidays" in lieu of "Merry Christmas"
~~I stated in my original post that the 2004 religious stamps (all of them) were still available, even linking to the USPS site.
~~I linked to past issues of Madonna & Child stamps
~~Since it was 7:30 pm, I asked people to check with their own local P.O.s to check out what my mother heard for themselves
~~I did call the USPS customer service line, did NOT get a definitive confirm or deny.

Hostility towards the Judeo-Christian culture of America is not an urban myth. From the ACLU threatening lawsuits against municipalities large and small to rid city/county seals of the dreaded Cross to the fight over the war memorial at Mr. Soledad in San Diego, the effort to Bowdlerize American history and culture of its religious heritage continues.

And such an attitude is being exhibited in my comment section.

Let's face facts here, shall we? We have, via the Constitution, a secular government that must adopt a neutral stance towards religion, neither promoting NOR inhibiting the free exercise of religion.

The US Constition's First Amendment does not say Freedom FROM religion. For those of you members of the Church of the Easily Offended, grow the fuck up. The majority culture is Christian and celebrates Christian holidays. Obviously, you are so unsure of your own beliefs, your own convictions are so tender and wimpy, the mere sight of colored lights down a city street send you into paroxysms of rage.

I wouldn't go to Israel and then rage about the ubiquitous celebration of Yom Kippur and Hanukka, or visit Turkey during Ramazan and sit around seething and sniping.

People celebrating Christmas by saying "Merry Christmas!" is not going to make your genitals fall off (though some of you may have already lost 'em it seems).

Posted by Darleen at 09:16 PM | Comments (32)

Shameless plug

Uh...hmmmm... last day

and I'm #581*

Just sayin'. In passing, ya know.

*Yes, Hrubec/Snick, I have no readers at all.

Posted by Darleen at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

Saturday morning reading

I spent yesterday putting away the fall decorations and Christmasing the house. There was no way I was getting anywhere near a mall. The outside lights are now up, the inside pretty well done (we always get a fresh tree, so that'll be in another couple of weeks). Siobhan will be coming down from college December 16 and Edward flying in from Oregon December 18th. We are going to have a housefull for Christmas!

Are you an Extreme Christmas decorator? Is your front yard filled with animated reindeers or inflatable snowmen? Do you cover your roof with so many lights that pilots think you might be the local airport? Well, if you aren't one at least you can look at some here. Great site with 2005 submissions already being listed.

In the 2004 Prop 66, which would have gutted CA's 3 strikes law, was defeated at the last moment. Patterico has read the Son of Prop 66, a new attempt to "reform" Prop 66 and points out the similarities and differences this go-around. For background, here's my post on 66 from last year. Color me suspicious of this new attempt at "reform."

In case you missed it earlier, Mrs. Smash has a plethora of links of milblogs offering their thanks for this holiday weekend.

Jeff Harrell alternates between Scrooge and Mel Gibson's "Nick Marshall" in a post about Mary Katharine Ham's [insane] trip to the mall on Black Friday. Me, I'm all about the Christmas cheer, but when Jeff says things like:

God bless that girl. As Tiny Tim observed, "Pass me the fucking cranberries before I fork you in the eye."
Damn, gotta love him more!

And don't forget the update on the US Postal Stamp post.

Posted by Darleen at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2005

US Post Office goes Politically Correct - Updated

No welcome at the officeAbout four hours ago - after the turkey carcass was put away and we sat around the dining table sipping hot coffee and finishing the pie crumbs off our plates - my mother riveted all attention on her as she related her experience with US Post Office.

As has been her custom for as long as I can remember, my mom prepares her Christmas cards over the Thanksgiving weekend in order to have them ready to mail the first week of December. She enjoys purchasing beautiful cards, writing notes, addressing them by hand and affixing whatever Christmas stamp the USPS issues that year. So she stops by her local US Post Office a few days ago then asks the man behind the counter for this year's Christmas stamps. He pulls out a sheet of something called Holiday Cookies. To know my mom is to know that she has never indulged in cutesy stuff. Every year she always selects the Christmas stamp that features a classic painting of Madonna and Child. She asks if they have any classic Christmas stamps and the man pulls out a couple of sheets of last year's Madonna and Child. Mom notices he doesn't seem happy and he says to her, "These are all I have and they'll be the last you ever see." Mom asks, "What do you mean?" He explains the USPS will not be issuing any more "religious" stamps.


Mom is momentarily stunned. She then raises her eyebrows a bit and asks, "Are you allowed to say 'Merry Christmas' to us?"

The man's face falls and he lowers his voice in answer, "No. We can only say 'Happy Holidays,'" he tries to smile at her, "But if you say 'Merry Christmas' to me directly I will respond in kind."

WTF? Something so innocuous as a Christmas postage stamp has now very quietly given way to near meaningless "Holiday" fluff? Reading over the USPS Press Releases about the Cookie stamps and I am annoyed at the tortuous language used in an effort to avoid the dreaded "C" word

The season kicks off on Oct. 20 with the dedication of the 2005 holiday stamps, celebrating the child in everyone and evoking favorite memories from the simple pleasure of decorating cookies of the season. The stamps, featuring cookie-shaped gingerbread men, Santa Claus, snowmen and an angel, will be dedicated at a special ceremony in the Pillsbury Test Kitchens in Minneapolis. Anita Bizzotto, USPS Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, will be the dedicating official.

"What would the holidays be without cookies? These cookie stamps are a great way to share the joy of the season," Bizzotto said.

Geez, and what season would that be, eh?

Last year's Christmas (as well as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) stamp is currently available, but if the employee at my mother's US Post Office is right, you won't be seeing any new issues.

I plan on checking this with my local Post Office tomorrow. I urge you, too, to take a few minutes and ask at your local PO.

UPDATE One of the commenters offers a link to a stamp site that lists a possible release of a Madonna & Child stamp for 2006. But neither a reader of Michelle nor I could confirm it yesterday. Like Reader Mary M., I called the customer service line and got what can only be called as an ambiguous answer on whether "religious" stamps will be issued in the future. What I am going to have to do is go to my local PO and see what a counter person may tell me in person. They might be more comfortable than wondering if their phone is being monitored.

Posted by Darleen at 07:54 PM | Comments (67)

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire - click for larger imageAdmittedly, I've seen few movies this year. The slate of what was being offered just left me thinking my $7 was better spent elsewheres. However, I've been looking forward to Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. I'm amused that actual family films are becoming the best offerings at the movies. So-called "adult" fare has become so predictable and formula as to be tedious. Hello, Hollywood? Big clue stick here.

Harry opened Nov 18 and Eric and I caught the first show of Sunday, Nov 20. It was well worth the wait and the $7. Spoilers across the jump. Just sayin'.

One of the greatest tasks in movie making is getting one's audience to suspend disbelief. While having the latest in awe-inspiring special effects can help, it is really if the movie (or stage play or novel) has a soul that will have an audience emotionally embrace it. When we watch Harry Potter step into a pup tent that expands into a multi-room tent worthy of a dessert sheik, we heartedly agree as he softly exclaims, "I love magic!"

This fourth installment of the series is the best so far due to a combination of factors. Harry and his peers are growing up and, like the books, the story is getting darker and more complicated as they contend not only with the outside conflicts and mysteries of Lord Voldemort, but also with the normal conflicts of adolescence. This willingness on the part of the film to spend some time with the characters having the painfully familiar woes of dealing with bruised friendships, crushes and budding sexual awareness grounds the audience with the belief that these are real kids who just happen to live in a different country. We may not have Quidditch matches, but we know about sports fans who paint their faces and scream themselves hoarse at events. When Harry hisses in exasperation about girls "Why do they have to travel in packs?" or Hermione huffs "Boys!" it elicits laughter from the audience in recognition that no amount of money would ever get us to go back and relive junior high!

It's been a couple of years since I read Book 4 and I decided against re-reading it just before the movie's release. I was hoping that it would it allow me to come to the movie more from the perspective of someone who hasn't read any of the books (like my husband) and see if the movie worked on its own. I realize that squeezing a 700 page book down to just under 3 hours of screentime presented a monumental task in plot and pacing, and I think it works well - as long as one has seen the other movies before it. For my husband, Eric, he found the movie very entertaining but was confused on a few of the threads. The opening scene at the Quidditch World Cup was so dazzling and relatively short the importance of the Dark Mark above the burning tents was lost and Crouch's menace towards Harry, Ron and Hermione "at the scene of the crime" was confusing.

Possibly, one should attend this movie in pairs - reader with non-reader. This worked with me during the Lord of the Rings triology. I've never read those books while they are a favorite of Eric's. So I got to ask questions of him during those movies.

The movie is rich with action. Harry's first task in the Triwizard Tournement is a face-to-face with a dragon. The dragon is so beautifully realized I caught myself thinking "Damn it, won't someone NOW bring the Pern series to the screen?" I especially delighted in the tiny string of character moments, from the twins' mischief and open scheming for money to watching the terminally awkward Longbottom blossom when he discovers dance. Snapes (Alan Rickman) doesn't have as much screentime, but he is unforgettable in the scenes where he appears. Watch for a delightful scene as he pulls back his sleeves to deal with the whisperers in his class. Comic relief is provided by the wonderful scenery chewing of Mad-Eyed Moody, who had the audience rolling when he turns Draco into a ferret.

With the primary, young actors of the series obviously maturing I congratulate the film makers in their breakneck speed to keep the release of the movies as close to the seven year timeline as possible.

As we enter the long Thanksgiving weekend, take a break from shopping or decorating and treat yourself to this movie.

Posted by Darleen at 10:30 AM | Comments (2)

'World opposes Iran making nuclear fuel'

VIENNA, Nov 24 (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog's governing board has reached a "broad consensus" that Iran should not be allowed to pursue nuclear enrichment, which would enable it to develop atom bombs, an EU diplomat said on Thursday.*

If Iran ignores the "consensus", Kofi has threatened to write a very hostile letter, on his own personal stationery.

That'll teach 'em!

Posted by Darleen at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2005

So California's #1 Thanksgiving Sport

Trying to get from here to there via freeway.

Been watching the local news ... the freeways out of the basin, especially going out the Newhall pass (at the north end of the San Fernando Valley where the 5 and 210 merge) -- Traffic backed up all the way to Burbank.

The world's largest parking lot, the 405 freeway, is living up to its reputation.

Now, here's where it gets exciting. Major east/west freeway, the 10, was closed in both directions earlier because someone claimed to have a bomb which they tossed under a bus (near El Monte) and then scampered away.

Then another El-Lay sport, The Car Chase - Express Edition, started with a stolen car flying at 100 mph on the remarkably traffic-lite 105 freeway, then careening through Downey neighborhoods. Jesus must have been riding shotgun because not only wasn't anyone hurt, but suddenly the driver pulled the car over, jumped out of the car and immediately fell to his belly spread-eagled on the ground. Nice, clean ending.

I've finished my pie baking for tomorrow. Two pumpking, one mince and a decadent cheesecake, with sourcream topping (my grandmothers recipe).


Posted by Darleen at 10:02 PM | Comments (2)

On Torture

Michael Ramirez 2005, click for larger image
If you haven't been following the news about the McCain amendment that would ban "torture" altogether, a lively discussion is taking place at Jeff Goldstein's. Cynically, I believe the word "torture" has become as politically tainted as the word "rape", with "anti-torture" advocates weilding the term as a cudgel to shutdown serious discussion rather than facilitate a clear understanding of the issues. Within Goldstein's thread there was the to-be-expected comparison of Islamism to how America handled the former USSR. As I commented there

There is a great deal of difference between the USSR, a nation where totalitarianism was enforced from the top down on a society that culturally and individuallly was at least as interested in its own ultimate survival as we were vs an ideology operating pan-nationally, so steeped in a celebration of death as a goal it is able to recruit enough suicide bombers to regularly blow up themselves up. Islamism is also an ideology that preaches the “non-humanism” of non-moslems, making it possible for them to target and slaughter with abandon civilian men, women and children.
Go watch the video of Nick Berg screaming as his head is slowly sawed off by fanatics screaming “Allah Akbar!” and then try to tell me that Islamists are impressed by any moral restraint exercised by the West.

Posted by Darleen at 07:00 AM | Comments (2)

November 22, 2005

What he said ...

Jeff Harrell is writing wonderful stuff since his hiatus. This one no exception.

When did so many Americans become whiney, spoiled five-year-olds who demand a pony at Christmas?

Posted by Darleen at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)

There are times when other women embarrass the shit out of me

Victim wants to marry the man who tried to murder her.

It was a warm July day in 2002 when Tina Marie Stebbins was flown from Baldwin Lake suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to Loma Linda University Medical Center. She had spent six days in a garage apartment being tended to by her attacker and his parents who were unwilling to call for help.

More than three years later, all three have been sentenced, but the story doesn't end there for Stebbins. She still loves her attacker, Christian Lindblad, who was her live-in boyfriend and is the father of one of her sons. Stebbins says she and Lindblad have even talked about marriage.

AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!! Someone convince that female to have her tubes tied!

Posted by Darleen at 12:41 PM | Comments (2)

Come dance with us, dress ...

Gray Tie hosts this week's Cotillion! She does a great job of reviewing this week's writings and files it under a Thanksgiving theme.

One of the things I'm thankful for is my sisters at the Cotillion. I feel blessed to know them.

Posted by Darleen at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2005

Monday Quickies

I'm still polishing my review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but I'll tell you now. Go.See.It. I have today off and I'm dashing off in a few minutes to finish my Christmas shopping. I loathe shopping in crowds and I go nowhere near a mall the day after Thanksgiving or the day after Christmas. So early, non-weekend days, allow me to get stuff done. This allows me to actually enjoy the decorations, carolers, taking the kids to see Santa, etc, during the runup to Christmas without fretting about shopping. So, here's some excellent links for reading until I get back this afternoon:

Michelle Malkin gives the final word on the Leftist moonbats who have moved from attacking her as an "Asian whore" to attacking her family. Brava.

In the news again, a 9th Circus Court ruling. Jay at Stop the ACLU and My Pet Jawa write about how making students dress as moslems and recite moslem prayers is not a violation of "separation of church/state" doctrine while saying "under God" in the Pledge is a violation. Heh.

Digger has the latest on murderous attacks on infidel young women in Indonesia. Hmmm... Berserker Baptists, ya think?

Dennis Prager looks at the Jordanian reaction to Islamist terrorism in its midst and later observes:

In a previous column, I proposed that supporters of the war in Iraq ask opponents of the war just one question: Without in any way compromising your opposition to the war, would you at least acknowledge that the people we are fighting in Iraq are evil? Virtually every one of the many letters I received from readers opposed to the war was incapable of answering in the positive. By fighting America and George W. Bush, the "insurgents" are essentially inoculated against moral judgment.

Likewise it has been nearly impossible for the Arab, Muslim and leftist worlds to morally condemn the blowing up of Israelis.

Mark Steyn is in fabulous form eviscerating the claims of American MSM that the riots in France had any Islamist roots.
Instead, the move-along-folks-no-jihad-to-see-here crowd points to the rioters' fondness for drugs, caterwauling rappers, casual sex, and hideous Western leisurewear as evidence of how culturally assimilated they are. Why, they threatened their victims with baseball bats!

Hold it right there for a minute. That's how we define "assimilating" into Western society at the dawn of the 21st century? If a fellow deals a little coke while wearing pants with a gusset located at calf height while singing along to the remix of "Slap Up My B**ch," we say, hey, he seems to be fitting in very nicely? No need to worry about his getting any wacky ideas down at the madrassah, he's an impeccably secular pluralist Peugeot-torcher.


Posted by Darleen at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2005

Who said all Conservative women

think alike?? Check out Basil's Interview with a pride of lionesses.

Posted by Darleen at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

The 'Unpopular' War

Carl Goss, in the comments in this post regarding the Republicans successfully calling the Democrat's bluff, says:

It still doesn't make the war any more popular.
It begs the question, is any war popular?

Certainly the Civil War wasn't, where Lincoln was being excoriated and reviled by Copperhead Democrats

Many northerners had tired of war. Democrats began denouncing Grant as a "butcher." "Patriotism is played out," declared one newspaper. "Each hour is but sinking us deeper into bankruptcy and desolation." Thus while Lee's armies teetered on the verge of destruction, the Confederate cause saw its last, bright hope flicker in the fall of 1864. Southerners considered their northern sympathizers to be "large and strong enough, if left to operate constitutionally, to paralyze the war and majority party."
Even WWII was not a "popular" war. Prior to Pearl Harbor FDR was met with strong, derisive opposition to such things as his "lend-lease" legislation. American hero Charles Lindbergh gave speeches across the country for the group America First conjuring up a conspiracy of the FDR administration, the British and the Jews trying to involve America in a war we had no business pursuing.
Have you ever heard an interventionist, or a British agent, or a member of the administration in Washington ask you to go back and study a record of what they have said since the war started? Are their self-styled defenders of democracy willing to put the issue of war to a vote of our people? Do you find these crusaders for foreign freedom of speech, or the removal of censorship here in our own country? [...]

When this war started in Europe, it was clear that the American people were solidly opposed to entering it. [...] National polls showed that when England and France declared war on Germany, in 1939, less than 10 percent of our population favored a similar course for America. But there were various groups of people, here and abroad, whose interests and beliefs necessitated the involvement of the United States in the war. [...] The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration. [...] Behind these groups, but of lesser importance, are a number of capitalists, Anglophiles, and intellectuals who believe that the future of mankind depends upon the domination of the British empire. [...] I am speaking here only of war agitators, not of those sincere but misguided men and women who, confused by misinformation and frightened by propaganda, follow the lead of the war agitators.

As I have said, these war agitators comprise only a small minority of our people; but they control a tremendous influence. Against the determination of the American people to stay out of war, they have marshaled the power of their propaganda, their money, their patronage.

Amazing how the same sentiments are expressed today by the likes of Moveon.org, Michael Moore, and Mommy Sheehan -- the Iraq War being part of a "NeoCon-Zionist conspiracy for oil and world domination."

America First disbanded within days after Pearl Harbor. However, WWII was still not a "popular" war. The peak induction year of the draft during WWII was 1943 - 3,323,970. Certainly men and women enlisted voluntarily, just as they do today. But there was not a monolithic sentiment to immediately go and fight the war. Let me inject my own family anecdote: my father, too young to enlist directly at the beginning of WWII did participate in ROTC in high school and then fudged his age, enlisting at 17. As a paratrooper with the Army 11th Airborne, he spent two years with the occupation Army in Japan (without the a-bomb he would have been part of the invasion forces). On the other hand, one of his first cousins tried to avoid the draft. He took pliers and broke several of his teeth (yes, made me cringe too when my dad first told the story). The Army promptly had the rest of his teeth pulled, outfitted him with dentures and inducted him.

American culture during WWII was one of support of the troops and their mission. This didn't make it a "popular" war, just one that everyone knew had to be completed and won. Media at the time was not just dedicated to reporting the news but also figured it had a moral obligation not to undercut the American war effort. Zell Miller captured the essense of what reporting would have been if today's journalists covered the battle of Iwo Jima.

Pfc. Doe: "Well, I've been pinned down by enemy fire almost ever since I got here and have had a couple of buddies killed right beside me. I'm a Marine and I go where they send me. One thing's for sure, they are putting up a fight not to give up this island."
Cutie: "Our military analysts tell us that the Japanese are holed up in caves and miles of connecting tunnels they've built over the years. How will you ever get them out?"
Pfc. Doe: "With flame throwers, ma'am."
Cutie (incredulously): "Flame throwers? You'll burn them alive?"
Pfc. Doe: "Yes ma'am, we'll fry their asses. Excuse me, I shouldn't have said that on TV."
Cutie (audible gasp): "How horrible!"
Pfc. Doe (obviously wanting to move on): "We're at war ma'am."
(A Marine sergeant watching nearby yells, "Ask her what does she want us to do — sing to them, 'Come out, come out, wherever you are. Pretty please.' "
The biggest celebrities of the WWII era did what they could to support the war effort, from enlisting (ie Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable) to traveling across the country raising funds through war bonds (ie Carol Lombard - Clark Gables' wife, who died on one of her flights). Did this mean the war was popular, or rather, that the survival of American culture and ideals was worth supporting? Few people gloried in the war. People of the era, be it the Civil War, WWI, WWII, just accepted that shit happens and sometimes it is up to you to step into the room and clean it up. Certainly the soldiers in it have their dark days
Anapolis, MD February 1st, 1865
Dear Mother
I seize this opportunity of dropping you a few lines by the way to let you know how I am and how I am getting along. I am not in good health at this time principally cold though I have been shaking with the ague some. I hope though this will reach you in good health. I left Nashville, Tenn on last Thursday morning the 26th of Jan at 6 o'clock a.m. after laying one night in the Zolicoffer Barracks. We got to Louisville that evening. I had my pocket book stole that day in the cars with fifteen dollars and sixty cents in it. I had several searched but it was no use so I gave it up. I am satisfied one of the fellows of the 140th Indiana got it. [...]

I wrote at least 25 or 30 letters from Nashville Tenn and was there nearly 6 weeks and not a word from any of you. I want you all to try and do a little better. It is said that the President of the United States passed through this place today for City Point on some business connected with peace. I hope it may be true or at least that peace may be made shortly. I mostly write this letter to let you know where I am and as soon as I get where I can write at leisure I will give you and uncle Sam a history of my career and my observations of the army that I think will be interesting to some of you for I have seen some queer times and made some observations that would look improbable to most of you thou I intended to keep a journal but found I could not do it. The term and substance is this - a soldiers life is worse than a dogs life - few honest men in it - none among officers and especially doctors. I think above all things a doctor ought to be the best friend to a soldier and they are the most miserable quacks and scoundrels that lives. The morals of this people after this war will be mourned by the wise and good of this nation. I have no chance to write to do any good. I hold the paper in my hand as best I can. You had better direct your letter to Co. D, 26th Ky 2nd division 23rd Army Corps Washington City. I must stop. Will write in a few days again. Your son. J.K Ellis

James Kenton Ellis is my 2x great-grandfather. Another relative of mine (great uncle), Ray Aseltine, enlisted at age 16 for WWI and was a Marine in France serving with Pershing. He survived, barely, being a German POW (which no one knew, as he had been declared MIA) and wrote of the horrors he endured. I wish I had his letter with me, but as I recall the ending paragraph, written from his stateside hospital bed, he did not regret going to war. For all the horrors he had seen and experienced, he felt proud to have answered his country's call to duty.

No soldier, no citizen glories in war. War is not "popular" anymore than a radical mastectomy is "popular". Read any of the number of milblogs, the men and women who are in Iraq at this moment or have served over there. It is not sweetness and light, it is not warmongers and mercenaries, it is not popular. It is about people who see the mission as something that needs to be done.

We don't just mouth a few words on appropriate occassions ... I pledge allegience ... and that's that. Our relationship with our country and its values is an ongoing work. The failure of many of a marriage begins at the wedding even if only one of the partners believes they can now relax and not work on the relationship. The failure of a sense of duty to one's country begins with a citizen who believes being born in the country is enough. If one marriage partner is hypercritical of the other, consistently and publically belittling the other, letting small and generally inconsequential flaws overshadow the good; we don't hesistate in our judgment that the belittler is the destroyer of the relationship. We don't accept his/her excuses that they really love the object of their derision and they are only trying to help. So if someone acts in the same manner in regards to America, what can we say about that person?

People are not cast in concrete. We all grow and change. We achieve and we fall. Yesterday's hero can be today's fool. Hopefully we take lessons, from our own experience and from the experiences of others.

John Murtha was startled that on the heels of his speech where he called for an immediate withdrawl of our forces in Iraq that Republicans put forth a bill that was the essense of his speech in clear, unequivocal prose. We can honor Murtha's past service even while we can point to the fool he became by giving a speech that ignored the experiences of WWII and Vietnam. When Murtha said the war was "unwinnable" and the only solution was "political" he forgot the lessons of Chamberlain. When he called for the immediate severing of American support of Iraq, he forgot the lessons of Saigon 1975.

I'll agree with Carl that the Iraq war is not "popular." But popular is not a synonym for justified. I do find the war just.

As always, we have a choice. We can finish the war by winning it, or we can finish our part by surrendering.

Funny thing. I saw the new Harry Potter movie earlier today and one line comes back to me.

You can choose the right way or the easy way.
No one, least of all President Bush, said the war was going to be "easy." I just wish we'd leave the word "popular" out of the whole affair.

Posted by Darleen at 02:45 PM | Comments (2)

Going to see Harry Potter

will review later today.

Posted by Darleen at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2005

'Run away! Run away!'


House Republicans sought a showdown Friday with Democrats on a proposal by one of their most senior members to force an end to the U.S. deployment of troops in Iraq.
(h/t Jeff Goldstein)

Posted by Darleen at 01:22 PM | Comments (5)

'The Murtha of all Morons'

When the going gets tough, Dhimmicrats cut-n-run.

Kudos to Jay of Sacred Cow Burgers

Posted by Darleen at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

Remember when the religious whackos tried to ban Harry Potter?

Here we have just about every kid in the world awaiting each book release, gobbling up in huge bites page upon page of writing, eschewing TV and video games and computers ...

And the majority of us rightly ridiculed these handwringing prudes with their "Oh it's about magic and wizards and occult!" blatherings.

Pretty pitiful bunch pissing on an extraordinary opportunity to introduce kids to the wonder that only great books can give them ..


Well, the religious whackos are at it again. The ones so a'scared that a book reading contest just might not be imparting the correct thoughts to children they've already sent a cease-and-desist letter to the contest's sponsor with further threats of a lawsuit.

This time the target of whackos is Gov. Jeb Bush, sponsoring a reading contest featuring The Chronicles of Narnia and the panties-in-a-bunch-group is the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

An advocacy group claims a Florida reading contest involving the classic novel and upcoming film "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" violates the role of religion in the classroom. [...]

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) group has demanded Gov. Jeb Bush's statewide contest stop using C.S. Lewis' Christian allegory as the only book for the contest.

Can we please now stop pretending this group of bigots is not much better than the ACLU in trying to Bowdlerize American culture of any hint of Christianity?

Geez, this on top of the real bizarreness coming from ADL's Abe Foxman pimping fear of Christians as a fund-raising stunt?


tracked at Stop the ACLU

Posted by Darleen at 12:01 AM | Comments (4)

November 17, 2005

Anyone ever see these two together?

"I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."*

"One way to get rid of them is to tell 'em stories that dont go anywhere. Like the time we went over to shelbyville during the war, I wore an onion on my belt....which was the style at the time..."*

Posted by Darleen at 04:08 PM | Comments (2)

Bullies hate it when targets fight back

courtesy Jeff HarrellThe erstwhile "patriots" of the Left are besides themselves in rage that first GW and now Cheney have the audacity to challenge their historical revisionism.

What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out.

"The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone. But we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history. We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them."

It's almost amusing to see the droolers at Pandagon and the KosKiddies wet themselves in fits of self-righteousness.

Jeff Goldstein asks

Does this sound like a guy who fears the potential fallout from Bob Woodward’s revelations yesterday? Or are we witnessing an administration who feels it’s out of the woods with regard to the Plame “scandal” and is ready to dish out a little bit of rhetorical payback?

No need to answer. I’m sold on the latter.


Posted by Darleen at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2005

Does Lily Tomlin know

that Maureen Dowd has stolen her Ernestine voice?

I'm listening to clips of MoDo's interview on NPR ... it's like nails on a chalkboard. Then add the cackling-hen inanities about beastly men....


Posted by Darleen at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2005

Fiction -- Last Chance, part 1

The fear was fading away. The lust was returning. And Gilberto started to think of himself as Crooked G again.

A few months and a lifetime ago he stood in the tiny living room of his mama's house, his sisters huddled behind her watching him with hard, shiny eyes.

"Mijo," she was looking up at him, he could see the beads of sweat along her hairline, feel the slight tremble in her hands she pressed a small, damp bundle of bills into his, "You take this. It is all I have. I have arranged it. Last chance, mijo, last chance."

He remembered her framed in the doorway as the car pulled away from the curb, her arms crossed over her ample bosom as if restraining herself. He had lifted his hand to her and she had shrugged and turned into the darkened doorway.

It startled him, but it was soon forgotten as the car moved onto the freeway and out of the city. He slumped in the backseat, his fear bright and sharp and cold and he felt no need to even talk to the stranger driving, the friend of a friend his mama had known to get him away.

CG had been kickin' it with his crew, Eleventh Street Locos, one night after the day had been hellishly hot in promise of a trying summer. The evening blew in warm with the scent of asphalt the top note of a perfume mixture of frying tortillas and hamburger, honeysuckle and citrus blossoms. They were loose and full of talk and laughter and well-admired insults. CG hadn't even seen the others until they were set upon. Silent and moving fast out of the dark to where his crew had stood in the orange tint of the sodium light. CG felt the blow across his back, knocking the breath from him, hammering him to his knees, his left arm numb. The attacker, moved beyond him, a dark silhouette with the sweatshirt hood pulled over his head, swinging a length of pipe at the others. CG's vision swam as he gained his feet, seeing swinging arms and fists, legs and bodies jerky in the artificial glow. Surprise had put his crew at a disadvantage with the invaders, but CG could sense the tide was turning. He shook his head trying to clear it, struggling to suck enough air into his lungs to join in and teach lessons. Pipe-guy got sight of him and started back, but Chanman was quicker. Chanman, small and fast, CG's friend since second grade, who made up for his lack of bulk with a ferocity and quickness that had earned him his nic after Jackie Chan. He moved in front of CG and roared at pipe-guy. It was startling to hear such a deep, guttural sound from a man who stood eight inches shorter and many pounds lighter than the advancing attacker. But pipe-man hesitated, and for one brief moment CG thought that this was it, this is where the other crew would break off their attack and run from them.

A shout, pipe-guy sliding sideways, CG moving toward Chanman's back, a metallic click and a glint that was not pipe. In the space of a single breath, CG's mind witnessed this and the sudden flash and a roar so loud as to be a physical presence. Chanman was lifted off his feet and flung backwards, striking CG hard enough that reflex brought CG's arms up and forward around his friend as he fell backwards, his head striking the street and consciousness slipping away.

When he came to, he had no idea of how long he had been out. The street was empty, the sound of sirens distant but growing. CG felt wet and Chanman was still on top of him. CG sat up, shifting his friend in his lap, understanding the wetness was blood. Way too much blood. Blood soaking his clothes and starting to puddle on the street. He looked down into his friend's face, Chanman's mouth moved as if he wanted to say something but it sounded like he was underwater. His eyes were wide and CG no longer recognized the fierce thug who always had his back. Chanman was gone. It was an eight-year-old Miguel that looked at him, eyes pleading with him to make it better. And as he watched even Miguel leave, CG ceased being. Now he was just Gilberto, sick and terrified and finding himself fleeing into the shadows.

Mama found him on the floor of the tiny bathroom, crying and vomiting into the toilet. She never said a word as she quickly undressed him, pushed him to the tub and disappeared with his Miguel-soaked clothes.

Note: this is a work in progress. I have the start, I know where I want to go, but I haven't got the next section where I want it and it threatens to break out of the short story constraints into something much longer. I thought I'd share the story so far - partially as a way to kick me into concentrating on finishing it.

Posted by Darleen at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

The Cotillion -- A new band leader!

Stefania of Free Thoughts steps up to the dance's bandstand for the first time and acquits herself splendidly!

And, another first for the Cotillion, Stefania is our first international host. She blogs from Italy!

Posted by Darleen at 12:26 PM | Comments (3)

Sly humor in the most unexpected places

These take a bit of time to load, even with broadband, but well worth the wait. Kudos to the person in the usual stick-up-ass corporate culture that green-lighted this campaign.

Enjoy, little artichokes.

h/t Cassandra

Posted by Darleen at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2005

Happy Birthday, Ms. President!

Opps. Guess I'm jumping the gun.

Happy birthday to an accomplished, talented, intelligent, genteel, iron-willed woman who will be the next President of the United States of America.

Posted by Darleen at 12:01 AM | Comments (3)

November 13, 2005

Meet Drew, Blog Troll

Drool? What drool? Are you questioning my patriotism?

I admit, sometimes I'm given to rants. I'm passionate about many subjects. However, when I do engage in serious discussions, when I've made salient and relevant points, I'm not going to argue the same thing over and over again ad infinitum.

Drew is going to be my visual graphic by which I'm going to mark comments from those commenters that are really drooling, nothing more than feelings, trolls.

God, it was fun to draw Drew!

Posted by Darleen at 06:33 PM | Comments (7)

Mary Mapes and the 'new KKK'

Either Mapes is having a very public mental breakdown (and her "friends" are remiss in trying to help her) or she is just continuing to underline her basic moral scumminess. However, that her risible claim that no one has "proved" the fraudulent memos were frauds is being repeated another "journalist," Jim Schutze, of the Dallas Observer who asserts

One of many intriguing points in Mapes' book--a thing I shouldn't have had to be reminded of--is that the documents she and Dan Rather based their story on were never exposed as fakes. In her book due out this week from St. Martin's Press, Mapes insists that the documents are authentic.

The people who made the most adamant accusations at the time were anonymous amateurs on the Internet, not known experts. Somehow all of a sudden everybody and his blog was an expert on 40-year-old typewriters and proportional spacing.

Jim is either lazy or just as morally scummy as Mapes. Jeff Harrell is certainly not "anonymous"
We weren’t anonymous, Jim. I was one of those adamant accusers, and I’ve published every single word I’ve written on the subject under my own name with various methods of reaching me, including a telephone number, prominently displayed on every page. And no, I’m not an expert. That’s why I went out and found people who were.
Jeff did what actual, old-fashioned reporters used to do before they became "Journalists" like Jim -- investigative legwork. Charles Johnson is not anonymous, just a programmer/developer/designer (with font geek bonafides) who looked at the 32 year-old memo and thought it strangely modern. He then opened Microsoft Word, left it at its default settings and then overlaid the two. Joseph Newcomer, expert and pioneer in computer typesetting, is not "anonymous" and his extensive research was published, not of some rightwing conspiracy but
"I am not a fan of George Bush. But I am even less a fan of attempts to commit fraud, and particularly by a complete and utter failure of those we entrust to ensure that if the news is at least accurate. I know it is asking far too much to expect the news to be unbiased. But the people involved should not actually lie to us, or promulgate lies created by hoaxers, through their own incompetence.

There has been a lot of activity on the Internet recently concerning the forged CBS documents. I do not even dignify this statement with the traditional weasel-word “alleged”, because it takes approximately 30 seconds for anyone who is knowledgeable in the history of electronic document production to recognize this whole collection is certainly a forgery, and approximately five minutes to prove to anyone technically competent that the documents are a forgery.

Even as such substansive reporting and research was published by these gentlemen, others rightly questioned the authenticity of the memos because...well frankly, they are such bad forgeries it doesn't take an expert to spot it. I'm not "anonymous" and I posted on Sept. 13, 2004 (when pompass, Bill O'Reilly, was telling everyone to "shutup" until the "experts" weighed in) an analogy of trying to pass off a paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa as the real one:
Despite the sneering of "bloggers in pajamas" or the dismissive condescension by Dan Rather that Internet is nothing but a "professional rumor mill," what the Old Media fails to grasp is that the Internet is filled with millions of ordinary people from a wide range of backgrounds and expertise who, when confronted with a paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa are not so cowed by "appeals to authority" that they won't say "Hey, hold on. What are you trying to pull here?"

Now, I'm not an expert in type fonts nor typsetting. As I participated on numerous blog sites, I did relate my own experience as a professional secretary in the 1970's and how my use of both the typical office equipment and the accepted business protocols of the era had caused me to look at these memos and see them as much a "real" product of the era as the paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa was painted in 1506.

When such obvious and credible questions about the authenticity of the memos arose, it then because the responsibility of Mapes, et al, to substantiate the assertion. The most important fact of this affair is no expert has ever authenticated the memos. Such authentication is the exclusive responsibility of anyone, including Jim Schutze, claiming that the memos are "real." You assert it, you prove it. Period.

Of course, besides Jim Schutze's perfidy when it comes to the actual facts behind the exposure of the fraudulent memos is the blanket libeling of everyone that participated the Internet debate. Jim not only dismisses them as "anonymous extremists", but (akin to human-embarrasment Gore's "digital brownshirt" slanders), Jim casually tosses in

My point is that the anonymous haters and extremists on the Internet are the Ku Klux Klan of today. They are the vile enemies of fundamental decency.
In my humble opinion, that is a classic case of projection, seeing that Mapes, Schutze, et al, don't find their attempts at libel and slander as "enemies of fundamental decency."

Why not let Jim Schutze know what you think?

Posted by Darleen at 09:13 AM | Comments (1)

November 12, 2005

Yes, I DO question your patriotism

GW's long-over-due speech in PA yesterday has hit a few Left cultist nerves. Seems they, along with their fellow travelers in the MSM, have their tits in a wringer when the President steps up to counter their lies in no uncertain terms. As Jeff Goldstein observes (with several illuminating links)

Pointedly, Bush used the term “some Democrats” to label those opponents—a designation that I believe is important, because it signals that the partisan gloves are about to come off, and that Democratic leaders who have been making strong public accusations questioning the honesty and good faith of the administration (I’m looking at you Harry and Howard and Nancy) are about to be forcefully challenged on those claims.

Finally. Finally. Finally.

Of course, the comment thread is trolled by the usual suspects with the ChimpyHalliburtonNoWMDNoAQChickenhawkLiar meme we have all come to know and loathe. Up, too, as an object of spittle-flying rage [fair warning on the cognitive dissonance at the two previous links] is Glenn
The White House needs to go on the offensive here in a big way -- and Bush needs to be very plain that this is all about Democratic politicans pandering to the antiwar base, that it's deeply dishonest, and that it hurts our troops abroad.

And yes, he should question their patriotism. Because they're acting unpatriotically.

Policy differences are one thing, the active behavior and words of such ilk as Mommy Sheehan, CodePink, James Massey, A.N.S.W.E.R., oodles of barely warmed-over 60's peaceniks in tied-died t-shirts and grey-haired ponytails, and masked/dressed in black vandals-cum-anarchists DO evidence profound hatred of America and its values and that along with their concerted efforts at aggitating for defeat of American troops in Iraq and their implicit and explicit support of the insurgents bespeaks volumes on being unpatriotic.

Of course, the "how dare you question my patriotism!" shibboleth that rolled so easily off the tongues of Dems during the 2004 election cycle, enabled by non-Dems who immediately retreated into defensive mode when no one was "questioning" the patriotism of said speakers, became an entrenched tactic by the Left to shut down any discussion of the reality of 21st century fascism with the Islamic face.

I've never been afraid to say it. So let me be brutally clear.

You say "Bush Lied" in order to invade Iraq [to enrich Halliburton, for Israel, to further the NeoConZionist agenda, to avenge daddy, because of Prescott Bush and Nazis] ... I question your patriotism

You say Iraq was better off under Saddam ... I question your patriotism

You say American troops in Iraq are the moral equivalent of Nazis ... I question your patriotism

You say Gitmo is the moral equivalent of Soviet Gulags ... I question your patriotism

You say "all cultures are equal" and "who are we to judge other cultures" ... I question your patriotism

Patriotism is not blind support. Patriotism is not "My country is perfect in everyway."

Patriotism is a moral choice, freely embraced and it demands consistent tending. Just as a good marriage is one where both partners not only love each other but are committed to the survival of their relationship and work toward common values and goals, so patriotism is the love relationship in marriage with one's country. It envolves a free embrace of its values and goals with a commitment to work on and with those values and goals. America's core values Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are moral values. Proper moral values for human beings. Even if one doesn't personally believe in God/Creator, the philosophical necessity of referring to such in the Declaration of Independence was to proclaim as inherently self-evident that Man was not animal. Man as an end in Himself, not a means. This remarkable distillation of values evidenced in Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution is markedly different than many other cultures. To deny the moral imperative of defending those values is to deny their survival. Such a stance is unpatriotic.

Evolution is a process that never stops. Baboons who fail to exhibit moral behavior do not survive; they wind up as meat for leopards.

The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your own kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called "patriotism." ~~Robert Heinlein's address at the U.S. Naval Academy April 5, 1973

Futher discussion and links to be found at:

Jay at Stop the ACLU
Michelle Malkin
Baldilocks ... who pithily observes "You know and I know that this won’t be the end of matter. Those who attempt to shape history don’t just back down when actual facts are presented. "
Beth at MVRWC, who uses the term "chickenjihadis". Love it.
Jay Tea at Wizbang, who states the obvious: "One of the aspects of the anti-war movement that has gotten on my nerves is the blatant dishonesty of the debate."

tracked at Basil's Blog

Posted by Darleen at 07:44 AM | Comments (8)

November 11, 2005

GW speaks truth to power -- 'bout time.

Excerpts from the President Veterant's Day Speech, citing things that he shouldn't have to say if his opponents and the MSM were actually honest:

Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with many branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives fighting on scattered battlefields share a similar ideology and vision for our world. We know the vision of the radicals because they have openly stated it in videos, in audiotapes, in letters, in declarations and on websites.

First, these extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East, because we stand for democracy and peace, and stand in the way of their ambitions.

Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, has called on Muslims to dedicate, quote, "their resources, their sons and money to driving the infidels out of our lands."

The tactics of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists have been consistent for a quarter of a century. They hit us, and they expect us to run. Last month the world learned of a letter written by al Qaeda's number-two man, a guy named Zawahiri. And he wrote this letter to his chief deputy in Iraq, the terrorist Zarqawi. In it, Zawahiri points to the Vietnam War as a model for al Qaeda. This is what he said. "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents is noteworthy." * [...]

Our enemy is utterly committed. As Zarqawi has vowed: We will either achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life. And a civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history -- from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot -- consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history.

Evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously, and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply. [...]

The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They've been sheltered by authoritarian regimes, allies of convenience like Iran and Syria, that share the goal of hurting America and modern Muslim governments, and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West, on America and on the Jews.* [...]

We're facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of killers, and no concession, bribe or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder. On the contrary, they target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence.* [...]

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. Zarqawi has said that Americans are, quote, "the most cowardly of God's creatures." But let us be clear, it is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and targets worshipers leaving a mosque. It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people from tyranny. * [...]

General David Petraeus says Iraqis are in the fight. They're fighting and dying for their country, and they're fighting increasingly well.

This progress is not easy, but it is steady. And no fair-minded person should ignore, deny or dismiss the achievements of the Iraqi people.

And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war.* [...]

When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq, and that is their right, and I respect it. As president and commander in chief, I (accept ?) the responsibilities and the criticisms and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision. While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decisions or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.

Some Democrats and antiwar critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. [...]

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. [...]*

This is difficult and it's a long-term project, yet there's no alternative to it. Our future and the future of the region are linked. If the broader Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery while radicals stir the resentment of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger in our generation and for the next.* [...]

We don't know the course of our own struggle will take or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice. *

Posted by Darleen at 04:05 PM | Comments (4)

Suicide and ghouls

Jeff Harrell writes of the months of Suzanne Gonzales and her rather public (via the Internet) march to suicide, encouraged by beings that I cannot help but consider ghouls.

I cannot write about this subject objectively or dispassionately. I lost a close family member to suicide almost 17 years ago and I still react in anger and tears when I think about it. When he, in an impulsive moment, took his life, he affected his family forever. He left a gaping hole in the natural course of life, that is felt at every family gathering. Just like an amputee that still "feels" the missing limb, we feel his absence. Worse, we feel the absence of what could have been his legacy ... wife and children ... the unique individuals that would have been woven into the family tapestry. If there is life after death, I look forward to meeting him, going nose to nose with him and screaming "What the fuck were you thinking?"

Suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness, the ultimate act of screaming "fuck you" to all the people who love the suicide and would lay bleeding in the street if it meant keeping the suicide alive.

I understand that many suicides are in the throes of clinical depression, are mentally ill and their power of reasoning are severly compromised. However, as Jeff so movingly writes

During a dark time in her life, a troubled girl wandered into a room filled with people who were eager to love and support her, to validate and accept her, and to encourage her to kill herself. Would Suzanne Gonzales have ended up dead if not for alt.suicide.holiday? Sure, it’s possible. Eleven young Americans kill themselves every day. But this was a girl who was already in the care of a doctor, who already had access to whatever medications were helpful to her. She easily could have gotten help if she’d been able to open up, to trust her doctor. Instead, her natural reluctance was fueled by the out-and-out paranoia of the other members of alt.suicide.holiday, members who urged her to lie to her physicians in order to keep from being subjected to some imagined persecution. Hell, this was a girl who even looked into buying life insurance as an excuse to postpone her suicide. Suzanne Gonzales didn’t intend to take her own life. She didn’t even want to take her own life. She was backed into that corner by a group of predatory monsters who posed as friends in order to fill her head with fear and loneliness.

Jeff believes it will be karma that catches up to the ghouls.

I wish much darker things.

Posted by Darleen at 07:54 AM | Comments (2)

Barbara Boxer -- on to something

The other BabsBarbara Boxer was in her element when she pulled out her charts showing the salaries of oil company executives.

Gentlemen, this compares to an average American who makes $23,276 per year. Each of your bonuses was more than 155 times greater than the typical American's yearly salary.

And compare your bonuses to a worker on minimum wage, which Congress hasn't raised in nine long years, that minimum wage workers makes $10,713 per year. Each of your bonuses -- forget the rest of it -- each of your bonuses was more than 300 times greater than a minimum wage worker's annual pay.

So let me just ask you a question here: Will you consider making a major personal contribution and major corporate contributions from record profits to a charitable fund set up, hopefully with your efforts and community effort, to help America's working families get relief from higher home heating oil prices or higher gas prices? Just a "yes" or a "no" if you would consider this.*

Wow. Babs thinks oil company execs make too much money, implying it is directly tied to price at the pump.

Maybe she's on to something, maybe we should have hearings on loads of other businesses --

I want to see George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steve Jobs infront of Babs answering how they can explain their compensation when movie ticket prices hover close to $10, almost twice the hourly federal minimum wage. :::horrors:::

Geez, Babs, think of how much camera face time you'll receive when you pull into the chamber professional athletes, like Mike Piazza ($13 mil/yr) and Shaquille O'Neal ($20 mil/yr), and embarrass them that they make 3 to 5 times as much as oil company executives! Think of the "voluntary" charity that you can demand of NBA players to subsidize basketball tickets!

And Babs? I know these hearings have been great free publicity for your new novel (panned, but don't let that get you down, girlfriend, keep writing about how being a Republican is eevvviiilll), but too much media exposure is going to make Chuck Schumer very jealous.

tracked at Basil's Blog

Posted by Darleen at 06:52 AM | Comments (2)

November 10, 2005

'Do I look like Arnold?'

Catherine Seipp relates how bad CA teachers are breathing a sigh of relief with the defeat of Prop 74

Posted by Darleen at 09:19 PM | Comments (5)

Barbara Boxer? M'am, please refresh my memory,

when were the Senate hearings held when American oil companies were losing money?

Posted by Darleen at 06:34 AM | Comments (7)

November 09, 2005

Baptists ... I tell you, MUST be Baptists

Or maybe dissaffected French youths? Via FoxNews

AMMAN, Jordan — Three explosions hit hotels in Jordan's capital Wednesday night, killing at least 18 people and wounding 120 others in an apparent coordinated terrorist attack, police said
What is it about Islamic terrorism [the Ideology That Cannot Be Named] that makes way too many left of center stick their fingers in their ears and sing lalalalalala?

Further coverage and discussion:

Michelle Malkin
Jeff Goldstein

Posted by Darleen at 12:46 PM | Comments (10)


New graphic at Jeff's -- boarded building with caption "Reopening Wednesday, Nov. 9"

Developing ...

UPDATE: Lunch time and Jeff's back!. Clean crisp design and great writing. Even more so, as his post indicates, it looks like Jeff has turned a corner in dealing with his illness.

BTW, Jeff? Yes, some of us did mark your absence. You were missed.

Posted by Darleen at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)

Travel to al France

Allah Akbar!
click for larger image

The Islamic Republic of al France invites you to enjoy a peaceful and holy vacation in the heart of dar ul Islam. From wonderful sidewalk cafes to generous men and women's facilities from which to worship five-times a day, springtime in al France offers a unique time to enjoy the sites and wonders of this joyous addition to the Waqf.

Posted by Darleen at 12:01 AM | Comments (8)

November 08, 2005

Democrats -- ideological Lounge Lizards

Sing it, Johnny!
John Kerry reveals that politics is not about ideas or reasoning, only feelings ---

"All politics is a reaction to felt needs. You need to get people to feel the need. Our job is to make sure the right felt need is taken into consideration."
Oh, gawd, someone cue up the song Feelings and hand Kerry the gold lame jacket and microphone!
Feelings! Nothing more than feelings!

Posted by Darleen at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

Cotillion Ball -- Saluting our veterans

Today the women of The Cotillion dedicate the dance to our veterans. Hosting today is Stacy of Not a Desperate Housewife. She's does a grand job of presenting the consistently fine and moving writing from the Women who can think and dance at the same time.

As I did last year, let me end this post with a poem from WWI (an almost forgotten war nowdays)

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

Posted by Darleen at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)

November 07, 2005

If one could actually find Ted Kennedy's petard

Tim Russert brilliantly let Uncle Teddy hoist himself.

MR. RUSSERT: You talked about Iraq. There's a big debate now about whether or not the data, the intelligence data, was misleading and manipulated in order to encourage public opinion support for the war. Let me give you a statement that was talked about during the war. "We know [Iraq is] developing unmanned vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents...all U.S. intelligence experts agree they are seek nuclear weapons. There's little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop them. ... In the wake of September 11th, who among us can say with any certainty to anybody that those weapons might not be used against our troops, against allies in the region? Who can say that this master of miscalculation will not develop a weapon of mass destruction even greater--a nuclear weapon. ..."

Are those the statements that you're concerned about?

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, I am concerned about it, and that's why I believe that the actions that were taken by Harry Reid in the Senate last week when effectively he said that we are going to get to the bottom of this investigation, this had been kicked along by the Intelligence Committee, by Pat Roberts for over two years. And Harry Reid did more in two hours than that Intelligence Committee has done in two years. And the American people are going get this information.

And it's important that they get this information about how intelligence was misused because of the current situation. It's important to know where we've been, but it's important to know where we are today, because we're facing serious challenges over in Iran. We're facing serious challenges in North Korea. And we cannot have a government which is going to manipulate intelligence information. We've got to get to the bottom of it, and that is what the Democrats stood for on the floor of the United States Senate last week. That was a bold stroke, one that has the overwhelming support of the American people. It's about time they get the facts on it. They haven't got the facts to date. They deserve them, and they'll get them.

MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, what the Democrats stood for on the floor of the Senate in 2002--let me show you who said what I just read: John Kerry, your candidate for president. He was talking about a nuclear threat from Saddam Hussein. Hillary Clinton voted for the war. John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry. Democrats said the same things about Saddam Hussein. You, yourself, said, "Saddam is dangerous. He's got dangerous weapons." It wasn't just the Bush White House.

Bravo. Not that I expect this exceedingly rare instance of actual journalism to be repeated much in the MSM. But


Posted by Darleen at 10:35 AM | Comments (7)

November 06, 2005

Basil's Interview ...

... with me is up. Some may recognize the picture.


Posted by Darleen at 08:38 AM | Comments (1)

November 05, 2005

9th Circuit Court of Appeals - All your children belong to us

The 9th Circuit has a well-deserved reputation for judicial rulings that fly in the face of common sense, let alone coming from the outlands of Left elitism. The latest ruling is jawdropping in its patently offensive and blatantly anti-parent basis.

Parents' rights were not violated when a Southern California elementary school conducted a psychological survey of their children and asked them about sexual feelings and masturbation, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. ...

"Parents have a right to inform their children when and as they wish on the subject of sex,'' said Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the 3-0 ruling. "They have no constitutional right, however, to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise.''

This is not just about the appropriateness of demanding six year olds to answer questions about masturbation and suicide, this is a direct ruling that parents, once they deliver their children to the school house door by legal compulsion have no inherent rights to control, oversee or even question what the teacher wishes to teach to the children.

No wonder vouchers plans and homeschooling are hated by the Education Elites ... it interfers with their Great Social Experimentation on a legally captive audience.

I welcome any substansive argument on why this latest ruling should stand and why the 9th Circuit should be considered anything but a bad Leftist joke on the country.

(h/t Jay at Stop the ACLU)

Posted by Darleen at 11:01 AM | Comments (3)

November 04, 2005

Nominee Judge Alito - smacking gnats

I don't mind listening to agruments against Alito. But I haven't heard one yet that doesn't depend on lying about Alito's judicial decisions. Substance, people!

If you haven't been reading Patterico lately, don't miss his excellent posts on Alito's decisions dealing with spousal notification and FMLA. A must read!

Posted by Darleen at 01:04 PM | Comments (5)

Fiction -- Opportunity

She is up before the knock comes at the door. The screen door squeals in rusty despair at the outrage of never being oiled, but she enjoys the head start it gives her. She is not an old woman, but she moves like one. "Not the years, deary, the miles" she likes to tease her visitors.

Didn't I tell you if you didn't get outta my way I'd knock you down? Your own fault.

At two on a dusty September afternoon, when the Santa Ana's blow through Los Angeles angry and hot, flaming tempers and hillsides, she knows her visitors before they even introduce themselves.

"Hi, Miz Brown." Bright eyes, blinding white teeth.

"Girls! Come on in. Only two of you today?" She holds open the door as the pair of ten year olds slip into the dark, cool house. She gets a pair of identical shrugged shoulders in response and feels something twist inside. She shoves the feeling way down, puts on her hostess face and follows them to the kitchen. She watches as they slip onto the worn kitchen chairs with an ease borne of practice. "Lemonade, girls? Iced tea? Sugar is already in it, I could add a sprig of mint from the garden."

"Lemonade would be real good, Miz Brown. It's so hot out." They struggle with weary smiles, a few drops of sweat rolling down the sides of their faces and her heart goes out to them. She retrieves cups from the cupboard and opens the refrigerator. A refrigerator she has to defrost, the handle almost chromeless, the enamel so worn it looks smudgy no matter how she scrubs.

How could someone get so excited over a flipping appliance, I'll never know. Well, you got your new fridge. Better take care of it, I'll be damned if I spend money like that again.

The girls drain their lemonade in enthusiastic gulps and thank her between wipes across the mouth with the backs of hands, forgetting the napkins she placed before them.

"Miz Brown? Can we see what you're workin' on?"

"Of course, girls." She smiles and moves back to the tiny front room, taking her iced tea and carefully setting it on a coaster on the endtable next to her chair. The endtable with the yellowed paperback under one leg to keep it stable. She keeps her back to the girls as she picks up the doll from the chair, then turns quickly in a flourish of presentation.

"Miz Brown!" the girls squeal in delight.

She hands them the doll with a laugh and lowers herself gently in her chair as they collapse in heap at her feet to inspect it. They hold it gingerly, small fingers smoothing down the dress, fingering the fine yarn hair. They softly whisper "oo's" and "aah's" over the delicately sewn trim and the shaped face.

A wistful sigh, she thinks of the time she wanted to try making porcelain dolls. He wouldn't hear of the expense of it. So she did what she could with what she had. A little finger of pride stirs in her as the girls occasionally glance her way with a mixture of awe and wonderment. Humble materials she has taken to fashion dolls through the years. Muslin, cotton. She glances over their heads at the plastic boxes now neatly filling the top shelf of the small bookcase across the room. Almost on cue, the girls look to her and follow her glance.

I come home, hot and tired. I want my dinner. I want peace and quiet. You got the house all day to yourself. I'm first at night. Got it?

"Treasures," they breathe and, holding the doll close and protected, they scramble to the bookshelf. One holds the doll and the other reverently takes down one box, then another. Off comes the lids and little hands dip down and gingerly finger antique lace, crocheted edgings, seed pearls, antique buttons and glass beads luminescent in the late afternoon sun slanting in through the blinds. What she lacked in funds she made up with an investment in time. Endless hours trekking through thrift shops and second-hand stores, garage sales and estate sales, picking up with a practiced eye old prom dresses and wedding gowns, cocktail dresses and beaded sweaters. Fifty cents here, a couple of dollars there and she'd have a plastic bag to bring home and in the evenings when she wasn't allowed to use her sewing machine, she'd sit quietly in her chair, her special silver scissors in hand and delicately tease and snip the trimmings into the plastic boxes. Later these found there way onto her dolls; a southern belle in tulle trimmed with satin roses, a band leader with real brass buttons and gold braid, a nightclub singer in a red gown of sequins and beads.

And on the other shelves, now replacing the cheap detective novels and sporting and fishing magazines lives her dolls, and the cracked plastic case that houses her sewing machine when it isn't on the kitchen table, a small vase with silk roses and a framed picture of her daughter.

No, Mom, no wedding. David and I are eloping. You know why. I won't have him near me. Why haven't you left? Just walked out the door? I can't ever come back. I can't talk anymore, Mom.

The girls turn to her, eyes glistening, "Miz Brown, these so beautiful! You could be rich, you know?"

She dips her head in apparent embarrassment, "Go on, girls. This is my hobby."

She thinks, Hobby? This is my life. I have to create, create something or I would surely go mad.

And she suddenly shrinks from those thoughts, shudders with terror away from them. "Girls, may I have that one back, I'm not quite done with the hair," she reaches out her hand as they reluctantly approach her. She smiles at them and keeps her hand relaxed and steady, even as she fights an urge to rip the doll from them and scream at them to get out.

They spend the next hour together, the girls hovering, scrutinizing every move she makes as she sweeps the doll's hair up, stitches down delicate curls and adorns it with tiny satin roses and miniature pearls.

You know the first time my girl brought home one of these dolls I knew they were something special. Here, take the money, I got fifty dollars for it. FIfty! And I know I could sell any you give me. Please, take the money. Just promise you'll only spend it on yourself. Don't, don't tell him!

"Miz Brown, why don't you come out at all?"

"What do you mean, dear? I go to the store once in a while," her head is bent, she is taking tiny, even stitches.

"Not going to somewhere!" they elbow each other like she has been dropped in from another solar system, "Out, Miz Brown. Just out. Like on weekends when there's bar-b-ques on the block. Hang out, know your neighbors."

"I've lived here a long, long time. I know my neighbors," but she is suddenly a bit confused. She knows the kids, and a few of the adults. But things have changed. So many have moved on. She is constantly startled to see new faces in familiar homes. She looks earnestly at the girls. She only knows their mothers to wave at, a quick hello at the supermarket.

"Everybody would love you, Miz Brown. They already know `bout you. Bet they want to know you. This is a comin' out neighborhood, you know."

"Some time soon, girls. I'll get around to it."

I'm in love with you. There, I said it. All these months. You're a good woman, a loving woman. How can you stay with him? What he does? What he is? Come with me. Don't look back. Just walk through that door and not look back.

The conversation comes back to her later as sits in her chair with the simple dinner she has fixed herself. Nothing that would make her turn on the stove, just a sandwich, some fresh fruit and another glass of iced tea. She tried taking her dinner out on the front porch. Her home was built in the twenties before air conditioning, with a deep, covered front porch that shades the front windows and provides an escape from the heat. She settles into the wicker rocking chair and realizes she can count on one hand how many times she has sat is it over the years. It is there as decoration, to be hosed off before storage during the winter, and repainted before it's perched on the concrete slab in the spring. She hears laughter and shouting from down the street, the flinty smell of the Santa Ana's now carrying the pungent odor of charcoal lighter fluid. Yes, a coming out neighborhood. And suddenly she can't swallow the bite of sandwich in her mouth and she can't make the glass of iced tea reach her lips to help.

She flees inside.

So she sits now, mechanically eating, bite after bite. She's been eating less these past couple of years and her thinness takes her by surprise. She brings the last of her sandwich to her mouth and notices a lump on her arm under the thin skin. A broken wrist that didn't quite heal right. She lets her hands fall to her lap and leans back to listen to the quiet music coming from the small stereo boombox on the window shelf behind her. It was the first thing she bought herself after he died. Not an expensive one. Old habits die hard.

No, Mom, I won't come to the funeral. I don't even think many people will show up. The pretending is done, you know. Get out, Mom. Sell, trade. What the hell, torch the friggin' place. Just get out that door.

She comes awake with a start, disoriented and stiff from sitting upright in her chair. The house is fully dark, the only light from dial on the boombox and her small sewing light over the endtable.

A noise. It's the screen door and ice water replaces her blood as she grips the arms of her chair and tries to will herself to rise.

The door explodes inward, violence driving the doorknob into the plaster wall behind it. The doorframe is shattered, a three-foot section of it dangling from the security chain she faithfully locks each time she shuts the door. Light from the streetlamp floods the entrance, silhouetting a dark figure lurching over the threshold. A small, strangled sound escapes from her throat and he turns toward her.

"Shutup," he growls, "Don't even think it."

He reaches out a hand and swings the door closed. Advancing, he enters the small pool of light she's pinned in and stops, swaying before her. He is young, dressed as so many dress on her block; oversized pants cut just under the kneecaps, white socks pulled up high. Oversized white tee-shirt and a chain that dangles in a long loop out of a back pocket. She knows that sway, confirmed by the smells that roll off him in waves. Sweat, alcohol and the acrid scent of urine. His legs are slightly apart, hands dangle at his sides, slightly twitching as he tries to look around the room.

"Too fuckin' dark. I turn on a light, lady, you'd better not move. You'd better not fuckin' breathe."

He moves to the wall and fumbles with the switch. She squints against the flooding glare and watches as he takes in the room. The worn furniture, the walls long overdue for painting. His face drops, anticipation to disappointment; disappointment to anger.

"This is it? What's all this shit, huh? I heard talk around. I know old bitches like you have some stuff." He spies her purse and pounces on it, tearing it open and dumping it on the floor, pawing for the coin purse. Some change and a couple of crumpled dollar bills fall out. He shoves them into his pocket with a grunt and looks around the room again.

"This is no good. No good, I tell you. I see no DVD. And you call this a TV?" He picks up her old, dusty portable and flings it into a wall. She winces at the sound of the exploding tube.

Violence for it's own sake takes over. He upends the kitchen table, the sewing machine skittering across the floor. He tears pictures off the wall shattering the glass and sending them flying like frisbees into other rooms. And all through this is a running commentary, rambling and profane.

"You waste my time, bitch, you know that? My time is valuable. Gots places to go, see?" He comes back to her, grabbing her shoulders, hauling her up and shaking her like a dog does a rag. "Where's the stuff, huh? You old, you must got something. Treasures, I hear the word, huh?"

He throws her to the ground and she lands hard on her shoulder. Stunned, she finds herself staring at his feet. She looks at his shoes, thinking she could buy a couple of weeks of groceries for what they must have cost.

"How come you don't talk, huh? You mute or something? Senile, betcha."

She watches as his foot draws back and he kicks her square in the stomach. Her breath comes out in a whoosh, a strangled cry mixed in and fading out at the end. He smiles, almost laughs at her wriggling in pain on the floor. He wanders over to the bookcase and picks up one of the boxes and looks inside.

"What's this shit?" He upends the box, letting the sequins and beads run through his fingers, bouncing across the floor. He sees the dolls, and with an air of amusement pulls one up to inspect. "This what you do with your day? Kid shit?"

She finds herself not afraid. Something is strangely familiar about all this. Her minds whirls and dances trying to make sense, to make a plan.

Bored, he yanks the doll apart and she cries out. Not loud, not enough breath for that. But loud enough his head snaps towards her and he stomps over, flinging the doll parts over his shoulder.

"Who said you could talk, bitch? Huh? Who's in charge here?" He leans down and grabs a handful of hair and lifts her head up a few inches. "Your old man ever teach you right?" He pounds her head against the floor a couple of times. "I'm in charge here. I get what I want, see? I do what I want, see?" He straightens and grabs the boombox. "Gotta have me some souvenir."

I'll be by tonight, sweetheart. Please look at me. I'll just drive to the front. Just open the door and it will be all over. He can't stop you. Don't let him stop you. Just climb in my car and a new life can be ours.

Her ears are ringing. She's forgotten about him. The wind has blown the door open slightly. The only thought she has, repeating like a mantra; the door is open, the door is open. She reaches out a hand, creeping across the floor, inching on her side. Closer and she can go through it. Through it and not look back. There's a growling behind her, but she ignores it. If she can get to the door. Her fingers are brushing the door. The door is there, opening for her, waiting for her like it always has. She can see sunlight, smell fresh cut grass and roses. Her body feels light, drifting towards the opening.

The foot descends on her arm and she hears the cracking sound as if from a distance. Pain shoots up her arm. It's the old break, done in a familiar manner. She stares at the door and ignores the foot drawing back near her head. She can't see anything but the door. Open in front of her. Just like always.

Posted by Darleen at 12:50 PM | Comments (3)

Worst modern-era President - evah!

Jhimmi Carter on Larry King Show

A fundamentalist though, as I define in this book, in extreme cases has come to the forefront in recent years both in Islam and in some areas of Christianity.
Why, yes, everyday we pick up the paper and read about Beserker Baptists blowing up school buses and restaurants.

Christians = Islamists, yes, that's the ticket.

Jhimmi? Shut up and go pound some nails, putz.

Posted by Darleen at 07:25 AM | Comments (8)

I don't know ...

Jeff Harrell has a "countdown" graphic dominating his site right now with the tagline Tell the world. When it gets to zero (in something like 5 days from now) ... what?

Is the hiatus over? Is the blog disappearing forever? What?

Selfishly, I miss Jeff and want him back. But I want his happiness and wholeness even more. Whatever is happening (and he's not talking yet) I'm hoping it's the good stuff.

Posted by Darleen at 06:35 AM | Comments (2)

November 03, 2005

Gender Feminism -- more roosting chickens

E.M. Zanotti of The American Princess writes an excellent analysis of the latest silliness in the marketplace where Abercrombie sells slutty-slogan t-shirts and politicians are quick to pound the podium in Outrage! Outrage, I tell you!. (And in this instance, it is a Republican state senator that needs to be slapped upside the head.)

EM points out the obvious -- Abercrombie and Fitch is not holding a gun to the head of the customers demanding they buy the shirts. When a girl slips into that shirt with Who Needs A Brain When You've Got These blazoned across her boobs, it is not because she can't read.

EM almost hits the mark with her explanation of where this trend to exploit one's inner 'ho originates:

I prefer to believe that this is not a reaction to feminism, but a symptom of feminism. What started as a quest for equality has morphed into a self-centric individualistic theory that has stolen women's feminine nature along with their souls.
However, there is nothing individualistic about gender feminism. Equity feminism -- feminism premised on equal opportunity and choice, never eschewed the feminine. But the movement was radicalized by gender feminists - radical leftists dedicated to promoting equalitarianism, the proposition that men and women are the same. Not only the same, but that FEMALE GENDER was nothing but a social construct.

Gender feminism not only has promoted the idea that the sexes are the same but that the male model is the genuine role model. Gender feminism is not about individuals pursuing their own dreams, secure in their own identities -- it is about conforming to the collectivist list of proper-authentic-womyn behaviors.

It is that ideology, that runs counter to common sense and reality, that produces a reaction in many women that the only way they can distinguish themselves from men is to show more skin. Women who have been told time and again they must compete like men, think like men, drink like men, have sex like men...indeed that they are the same as men, what is left to show their difference from men?

Posted by Darleen at 12:43 PM | Comments (4)

Adventures in Parenting -- overheard

Single mom, early thirties, of 7 y/o

You just can't be strict with your kids or they'll rebel on you.
I didn't know whether to pound my head against the wall or go pound hers.

Kids will rebel against their parents. Period. It's coded into them, part of their psychological development into adulthood. The question then becomes for the parent, how do you want them to rebel?

If one is fairly strict, with clear and reasonable family rules AND with a clear procedure for the kids to petition for rule change, then "rebeling" will generally be limited and will take the form of small stuff. I.E. sneaking a cigarette or a beer, breaking curfew, dying hair funny colors.

No rules? No expectations? Kids still will try to shock their parents, to establish a separate identity. Now they'll do it by using illegal drugs, becoming sexually promiscuous, even engaging in crime.

Oh, I admit, there are a few kids that will never rebel against parents who have endulged their every wish, made no demands on them, and allow them to control the household.

Those are the 30/40 something, unemployed singles still living with their parents.

Posted by Darleen at 12:24 PM | Comments (4)

November 02, 2005

Death by a thousand papercuts

It wasn't one big thing that drove me to close my laptop for ten days. No family emergency, no personal tragedy. Oh, there was tech stuff that happened -- like finding our tapedrive backup died and I lost quite a bit of work and I was having email issues. But this was more like information overload that blew my emotional circuit breaker. When I found myself sobbing in my car while driving to work over a story I had read, I knew a self-imposed sabbatical was in order.

Even on the road I've always found a moment here or there to dive into cyberspace and feed my muse. However, over the last few months the always-tumultuous world of politics and punditry seems to have taken on a patina even more bizarre then the strange days of the 2004 elections. Facts are dismissed in favor of narratives. Agendas are concurrently denied and advanced. It's as if buildings and bridges and streets were not made of granite and steel and cement, but of marshmallow, and they can slither into whatever shape an individual would wish with the claim that your inability to see the shape as the claimant demands is your fault and proof of your doltishness.

Into this mix are stories on human behavior that continually belie the claim of "civilized." I found myself growing more irritated by irrational, bothered by the boorish, and more annoyed by the assoholic.

Then came the story of the female in San Francisco, taking her small children to the pier, stripping them naked and tossing them to their deaths in the icy waters of the Bay.

The singular horror of this story reached into my chest and squeezed my heart. I only read a few news articles on the day it was reported, then stopped, because it felt as if bands were across my chest being tightened with each sentence describing the event, the frantic frustration of the family and the missed signals by CPS.

I watch my 3 year-old grandsons a couple of times a week and cuddling on the couch with them I couldn't imagine the horror and betrayl those poor children in San Francisco experienced at the hands of the person charged, legally and morally, with their protection.

Unfortunately, that story was not unique. Crimes against children happen everyday. Our society both over-romanticizes children/childhood and dismisses children. This dichotomy has us both enacting ever more laws about child "safety" and then trying to make children autonomous from their parents. We spoil children or treat them as trophies.

Children are unique individuals, borne dependent on their parents - either of blood or love - to care for, and shepherd, them into adulthood. There is no betrayl more great than the parent who harms a child.

Ten days of hobbies outside of the 'puter, of spending time with my parents, my sister, my husband and my kids and the twins have helped me find my calm and reason again. The passion will always be there, but I can again look at the news without feeling just this side of despair.

Posted by Darleen at 12:15 PM | Comments (2)

The Cotillion -- picking up the dance

I'll post at length at why I had to step away from the computer for awhile. And I really did step away, shutting it down to news, emails or blogging for over a week. It was impromptu, it was spontaneous, but ...

I needed the time away.

As I return, with some fiction, an essay and other commentary soon to follow, please don't miss the excellent writing to be found from my sisters of The Cotillion. Portia hosts an eclectic Tuesday roundup. Something for everyone -- from adults dealing with parents to wondering about hurricane whiners. And don't miss Jane's continued yeoman's task at exposing the truth about Yemen.

Posted by Darleen at 06:03 AM | Comments (2)