Monthly Archives: January 2009

Pundette strikes again.

Pundette has got an idea that is powerful in its simplicity: Would you be comfortable knowing that your representatives in Congress secured a $1, 200,000,000,000 debt for you, your children, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren? When we say “trillion” it means next to nothing. I agree with Pundette, we need to flesh out that number so you can see the magnitude of the proposed spending. Keep in mind that much of this “stimulus” has nothing to do with stimulating the economy. This is a rush toward nationalization, an exploitation of our crisis. Keep in mind that you, the average citizen, will be feeling the effects of this. If I’m not mistaken, those tools on Capitol Hill recently voted themselves a pay raise.

We need more politicians in the mold of John Shadegg, Jeff Flake, and Jon Kyl. Yes, they’re all from Arizona, but that’s ’cause we breed ‘em better out there.

Woo!

Who’s that sexy reporter from the Washington Times?

Good job, Eli!

Everyone’s a critic.

Wait… so he didn’t like the book? Look, A Desert Called Peace is not for you if you’ve got any PC tendencies, which makes it a winner in my opinion. But it’s not sexist, racist or homophobic–homounfriendly may be a better term. Its plot parallels the world we live in, but what science fiction writer does not employ the same technique? The point of SF is to see ourselves and our society through a different lens. That’s the whole point of alien stories–the evaluation of our culture through objective eyes. Philip K. Dick, Bradbury, Tolkien (though he’d never admit it), Herbert–all of the good SF writers were attempting to tell us something about the world we live in. Like Dune was only about sandworms and spice.

What is boils down to is that some people cannot separate their politics from their SF. Toward the end of the post, the reviewer gets around to listing some of the technical problems he had with the book, but then goes on to admit that he could overlook these “minor” flaws if not for Kratman’s politics. I’m sorry, but I believe that technical issues like character development and plot development trump almost any political message. If they didn’t, I’d never read anything but Vince Flynn, Kratman, Andrew Klavan and Robert Ferrigno, being that they are some of the only commerically available “conservative” novelists.

I don’t want to get started on Dune, which is a masterpiece of a book, but it is so complicated and multi-layered, it could be anything one wants it to be, politically speaking. It’s even got Muslims in it.

Must get out.

In the midst of a recession, California has decided to make it harder for some folks to keep their businesses open. And new regulations will mean that I am paying more at the gas pump, which ups my crankiness level exponentially. Pissy x 10¹³. Or something.

As of the end of December 2008, the South Coast Air Quality Management District had heard back from 3,109 of its 4,500 sites about EVR Phase II.

Seventy-six – or 2.4 percent – indicated they will be shutting down on April 1, 2009 rather than upgrade their sites, said Dimitri Stanich, public information officer for the California Air Resources Board.

[. . .]

“We do calculate the cost of compliance with the regulation as related to emissions,” Stanich, [public information officer for the California Air Resources Board], said. “These costs could be recovered by raising gasoline prices by an average 0.68 cents per gallon.”

You may say that doesn’t sound like too much to pay for a cleaner environment, after which I would tell you to shut the hell up. This place is overpriced as it is, and every time I go across the border into Arizona, or torture myself with the online cost-of-living calculator, I feel sick. “Barely scraping by” here is “I could own a house” in Arizona. Or “I could have so much land for my ever-growing family of abused and neglected pit bulls.” Or “My daughter could be going to private school.” However you slice it, I’m tired of paying 50¢ more per gallon of gas than my parents.

And I haven’t even touched on how the nanny state here is stoking the flames of my libertarian tendencies. I need a vacation. Too bad I can’t afford one.

Cranky girl.

Rush is right; it’s not about him. It’s about the desperation of the Left to pass its pet pork bill. I’m still not convinced that Obama’s plan is going to pull us out of this recession. In fact, being the supply-side girl that I am, I think it’ll make things worse, much like Roosevelt’s New Deal made our depression Great, as Steyn is fond of pointing out.

I’m stoked by the intestinal fortitude shown by the House Republicans this week, and I’m a-hopin’ and a-prayin’ that it transfers to the Senate. The GOP needs to take a stand. Obama’s actions smack of desperation and bullying, (well, he is from Chicago, so the bullying part should come as no surprise).

It’s not Rush vs. Obama, it’s massive government spending vs. the taxpayer. What’s the tab now–$900 billion? How is that in any way acceptable? The case can be made for some companies neediing governmental intervention, but not to the tune of $900 billion.

This may be overly simplistic, but I think that if I should be required to have money before I spend it, the government should at least do the same. Even if I use a credit card, I’ve still got to pay it back at some point or the credit card company starts to get very cranky. The thought of Obama & Co. throwing my money around for condoms and whatnot makes me pretty cranky too.

Kids.

I’ve spent part of my afternoon watching Wow Wow Wubbzy with my 4 1/2 year old, and I’ve loved every minute of it. There are a few kids’ shows I enjoy and Wubbzy is one of them. I also like The Backyardigans and Charlie & Lola–so much so that I get excited when new episodes appear in the dvr queue. But have you ever paid attention to the commercials in between the shows? Most are for stupid toys and various cleaning products, but there is a commercial in there for a cd of a group of kids singing Top 40 songs. For some reason, I find this incredibly disturbing.

First of all, there is no attempt at artistry made in the arrangements of these songs. It’s as if the producers pulled 45 kids off the street and had them all bellow into a microphone. Secondly, have you heard the lyrics to these songs? These are songs aimed at horny, depressed, spoiled teens–not perfectly content, spoiled 4 1/2 year olds. The albums themselves are aimed at the preteen crowd, the kids Abercrombie tries to sell thongs to. But the innocence of the “kids’ choir” sound allows parents to feel secure about the content–I mean, it’s a bunch of kids, you know? By exposing kids to more adult content, the music industry is just solidifying their future consumer base. Which isn’t new, but the idea of my little one singing along to Rihanna is enough to make me nauseated, musical taste aside.

Recently, I was talking to my friend Katie, whose son is a friend of my daughter’s, about the insidious nature of pop culture and its effect on our girls. Katie’s also got two girls, the oldest of which is the consummate lady. Her shoes match her bag and she’s always got an “outfit” on and Katie’s only part in this is to provide the clothes. Her daughter loves to be a lady. (My daughter? Well, sort of. But that’s another story.) But Katie’s girl is not age-inappropriate.

There’s something in modern culture’s idea of what is appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers that is downright disturbing. I don’t think that my girl needs to worry about boyfriends and lipstick and getting her hair done when she’d really rather be outside playing. She doesn’t need to be listening to watered- down versions of this year’s Spice Girls (how old am I?) or thinking about cute underwear. She and I match our nails to our toenails and play salon (mostly so I can trick her into letting me brush her hair), but I would like to maintain her innocence for as long as possible. I’m not going to home school her or turn her into one of those weird sheltered kids who have never heard a swear word (good luck with that) but the world is going to wear her down and steal the magic from everything soon enough. I don’t want to hasten that process.

Careful.

Is this what you want? Steyn’s Request of the Week is his 2004 Western Standard piece on the Canadian health care system. I can’t imagine that this is what the American people want. When my oldest daughter was diagnosed with multiple congenital heart defects, the last thing we were worried about was whether or not we could afford to get her the care she needed or whether we could get in with the specialist in the next six months. We had the best cardiologists and surgeons in the state (our first surgeon was one of the best in the country) and our insurance paid for every bit of it. Since we did not know about her condition until she was six months old, getting her into surgery was imperative. We waited a couple of days for the echocardiogram that gave us her diagnosis, and about a week later we were in the hospital for a heart cath. We waited about six weeks total to get her into surgery, which isn’t bad. We did this three times, not to mention the monthly appointments with the cardiologists and the catheterizations in between (which usually involved two additional weeks at the hospital–after her first cath she threw a clot and had a seizure–I slept in a chair in the waiting room for two weeks). We never paid a cent for any of those stays, and we’ve only had access to the very best doctors on short notice–a Canadian health care wait would have left us with less time than we were given, as any wait would have killed her.

We pay for our insurance of course, and even with the group rates offered by my husband’s employer, it isn’t cheap. But I wouldn’t trade it for “free” government-provided health care unless I was absolutely forced. I want my youngest to have the care and access to quality doctors that I grew accustomed to with the older sister she’ll never meet. At least when I think about my oldest’s passing, I’m not left with the fear that if only she had gotten in sooner or had the doctors not been overworked she might still be with us.

Universal sounds good in theory–who doesn’t love free stuff?–but there are countless examples of universal health care failing in practice. Why do we want to replace a system that works with one that has proven time and time again that it doesn’t? You see, “free” healthcare isn’t really free. It’s your tax dollars paying for it, and it’s your family’s lives that you are wagering. You’re gambling that none of you will need anything too serious from the health care system, or that you’ll be lucky enough with the care you receive. Is that enough for you? President Obama’s going to ask you that very question (in a much more obscure and inscrutable way) at some point in the next four years. Choose your answer carefully.

Congratulations!

Our friends Kara and Eric had their first baby this morning and she is beautiful. We CrossFit with them, and Kara is an amazing athlete. A week before she had her daughter, she was at the gym, shaming us all. They’re such nice people and I couldn’t be more excited for them. They’ll be excellent parents.

Arizona, here I come. . .

I’ve got to move. Californians are insane. At least I live in San Diego, where this sort of nuttiness is mostly confined to Ocean Beach.

Wiggle room.

I’ve said it before: I don’t know what to make of our new president. He is predictable enough with this stimulus bullschlacke, but he’s all over the place with national security. He postures himself as the antiwar movement’s man, but he’s leaving himself a lot of wiggle room.

President Obama’s executive order closing CIA “black sites” contains a little-noticed exception that allows the spy agency to continue to operate temporary detention facilities abroad.

The provision illustrates that the president’s order to shutter foreign-based prisons, known as black sites, is not airtight and that the Central Intelligence Agency still has options if it wants to hold terrorist suspects for several days at a time.

Ultimately, it seems as if the measures taken by the previous administration weren’t so outlandish after all. Could they have been–dare I say it?–necessary?

The exception is evidence that the new administration, while announcing an end to many elements of the Bush “war on terror,” is leaving itself wiggle room to continue some of its predecessor’s practices regarding terrorist suspects.

[. . .]

The loophole for safe houses worries the American Civil Liberties Union, which has pressed for the closing of Guantanamo Bay and the black sites.

Eli Lake has again done an amazing job on this report. Read the entire thing.

Not good.

Oh dear. This will not end well.

The CIA’s station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

Officials say the 41-year old CIA officer, a convert to Islam, was ordered home by the U.S. Ambassador, David Pearce, in October after the women came forward with their rape allegations in September.

The discovery of more than a dozen videotapes showing the CIA officer engaged in sex acts with other women has led the Justice Department to broaden its investigation to include at least one other Arab country, Egypt, where the CIA officer had been posted earlier in his career, according to law enforcement officials.

That’s pretty disgusting. If true, this guy’s a monster. Thanks for representing America abroad, a-hole. Maybe we should let Algerian authorities deal with this guy.

An uncharacteristically “rant-y” post.

And I thought dissent was the highest form of patriotism or something. That’s what I’ve been told for the last eight years by the perpetually outraged Left and yet when Rush Limbaugh dares criticise the kwisatz haderach, we’re all supposed to get out our pitchforks and torches.

And let me tell ya, I couldn’t be prouder of my party’s representation in Congress right now. Look, Rush grates on my nerves sometimes with his unadulterated bombast, but he has done more for conservatives than should be humanly possible. He has shown backbone where so many have proved themselves to be invertebrates. Career politicians resent him because he reminds them of their cowardice. Rush has always been outspoken against the influence of creeping socialism in American politics, so for him to state that he wishes the new president to fail if his new policies are socialist policies is hardly newsworthy. Good for him for saying it. He can say pretty much whatever the hell he wants.

I know it’s so hard to get things done, to lead and “do what’s best” for one’s constituency, but it can’t be that hard to make at least one or two stands on principle. The Republicans squandered their time in power, proving themselves to be every bit as drunk on power as they accused the Democrats of being. I don’t want to hear the bitching and the moaning about how hard it is to get things done now when they had so much time to get it right. I’m sorry if Rush reminds you of your complete lack of resolve. Go suck up to Prima Bama (eternally grateful for that moniker, Pundette). Accept the creeping socialism and the folly that is the “stimulus package.” And watch your numbers grow fewer with each successive election. I often hear from my politically casual friends that they never really see a difference in either party when it comes to application and at this point, I’ve got to agree with them. I can’t tell the differnce anymore either, save for a few strong-willed exceptions.

Get your act together.

Prime directive: “Do it.”

I feel like I’ve heard someone talking about this sort of thing recently. Wait a minute… it’ll come to me… now this is going to drive me crazy…

In a country where 12-hour workdays are common, the electronics giant has taken to letting its employees leave early twice a week for a rather unusual reason: to encourage them to have more babies.

“Canon has a very strong birth planning program,” says the company’s spokesman Hiroshi Yoshinaga. “Sending workers home early to be with their families is a part of it.”

Can Japan pull itself out of its death spiral? There are fewer young Japanese people this generation to begin with, so how many children would they have to have to stave off demographic disaster? Can Canon make a difference, because it doesn’t necessarily seem like Japan is all that interested in reversing this trend, considering the popularity of robot children outstrips that of actual children.

No apologies.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

Ew. So, to help the economy, refrain from having children. The government’s incompetence is your responsibility, people. If the economy gets any worse Pelosi’s going to have roll out her brilliant plan to limit American families to one child per couple. What could go wrong?