"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Media bias

>> Saturday, January 29, 2005

How the press originally treated Lincoln after the Gettysburg Address

Reporting from Wisconsin, Stranded On Blue Islands has several posts on vote fraud in WI.

Accuracy in Media


Mommy's Sick

>> Friday, January 28, 2005

Mommies shouldn't be allowed to get sick. It should be decreed by Mother Nature. But this mommy is and there is nothing coherent coming out of her head right now.

I had planned to do a nice piece on this article. Iowa has the 16th highest property taxes in the US. Shocking. But because I am way too tired and way too sick you are going to have to go & read the article yourself.

I also had important things to say, but, alas, they are gone, replaced by the heavy, wet cotton that has become my brain.

I would like to thank the makers of Purell. I'm practically bathing in it in an attempt to keep Brenna well. Between that & the anitbodies in breast milk I'm hoping she can escape with nary a sniffle.

I wish you all a healthy weekend. Me, I'm gonna be chugging OJ and hot tea like they are going out of style.


Sesame Street

>> Thursday, January 27, 2005

Brenna enjoys the colors and songs on Sesame Street so I make it a point to let her watch it for a bit every day. She seems to especially enjoy Cookie Monster. My personal favorite is Grover.

Now, it has been years since I have seen Sesame Street. Has it always been so witty? There was just a skit with Grover. He travels somewhere different every day and does a cute culture piece. Today he danced back from Russia. Here is what he said: "I am sure you are wondering why I danced all the way back from Russia. Why dance when you can take a taxi?" OK, I thought that was a riot.

I also noted that Bert is back. Last I knew Bert had been removed because of rumors that he & Ernie were gay. That was during the Rev. Jerry Falwell/ Tinky Winky hullabaloo. It makes me strangely happy to see Bert & Ernie together again.

It's also interesting to see that many of the same human characters are still there- only much older than I remember!


Meanwhile in the real world

Democrats bluster while those in the real world stop terrorists from getting missiles.


Armed Self-Defense

Some say that we shouldn't be able to use weapons to defend ourselves. I personally believe that defending myself and those I love is a basic human right.

Take this article from East Texas in an Arizona paper
Johnny Lee Williams murdered a 19 year old girl, stole her truck and tried to rob an East Texas RV park. An employee shot Johnny who then took off. He was later captured at a hospital.

And this one from Georgia.

When two men walked into a popular country store outside Atlanta, announced a holdup and fired a shot, owners Bobby Doster and Gloria Turner never hesitated. The pair pulled out their own pistols and opened fire.

See Clayton Cramer for more.

My Mom and my brother both live on ranches in East Texas. They have guns because rattlesnakes come on their porches and get in their garages. Mom has cattle, my brother has horses. Both have had coyotes come up to the fence separating the house lawn from the pasture land. Neither wear cowboy hats or boots.

Dad lives in a suburb of Dallas and does wear cowboy hats and boots. He doesn't own a gun though. If anyone were to come into his home, I'm sure a lead pipe or a baseball bat would be enough to defend their home. Dad backed down when a group of union stewards came after him with bats when he declined to join. He was just out of high school then and he hasn't backed down at much since. "I pity the fool..." that tries to take him on.

Me? Carrying a rifle was part of my life for 10 years, but I don't own a gun. Swords are more my thing. I told you I was a geek.


Don't go if you have a weak stomach

Rich notes More deafening silence. Be sure to read the article from the San Diego News - A First-Hand Account of What Goes on Inside a Chula Vista Abortion Clinic. But only if you have a strong stomach.


More fallout from Oil for Food

>> Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Read about how UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter received money from oil vouchers from Saddam under the UN administered Oil for Food program. How he tried to get Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev to go to Iraq in support of Saddam prior to the invasion.

No wonder he switched his tune or said that we're going to lose just before we won phase I. It's also no wonder that he is now writing for al Jazeera.

So, let's get this straight, he quits being the head UN weapons inspector because he felt that Clinton was being to soft on Saddam.

"In testimony before the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees on Sept. 3, 1998, Ritter affirmed that UNSCOM had intelligence suggesting Iraq had assembled the components for three nuclear weapons. All Baghdad lacked, Ritter said, was the fissile material. Ritter also said then that if Iraq were to reconstruct its old program for producing fissile material, it could have a bomb in several years."

Then he said that he was "misreported".
However, Ritter opposed the war against Iraq, arguing that there was no proof Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Now he was saying that the regime had no nuclear weapons capability and any remaining chemical weapons stocks would likely be so degraded as to be useless. Ritter maintains that he never "flip-flopped" on the issue, but that his positions were misreported by journalists.

None of the articles can ascertain when he "changed his mind" about Iraq. What would it take to "change the mind" of someone who saw Saddam's weapons programs first hand, wrote articles about them, testified in front of the UN and the US Congress about them, and then quit in disgust because action wasn't taken? He wasn't on the inspection team anymore, so he can't claim that Saddam destroyed the weapons. How would he know? Just what did it take?


The Accident- the answer

Here's the rundown again: 3 car accident (all cars, no SUV's, man that would have been ugly.) One car traveling south, one car traveling east, one car traveling north.

Car traveling north turns left on an arrow, car traveling east is stopped at the light, car traveling south blows through the light, hits car that is turning, spinning it a full 360 degrees and pushing it into car stopped at light.

Teenage boy was in the stopped car. Teenage girl was in the turning car. Adult man was in the car that blew the light. Yep. Years of practice. Doesn't seem to make a difference, does it?

I don't think any of the drivers were on the phone at the time or the accident. However, when I got up to them, the girl was crying on the phone with her father "Don't yell, dad, it wasn't my fault!" Poor thing was so scared. This intersection is about 2 blocks from the high school. It was early enough in the evening that she may have been coming from there.

I saw the guy who caused the accident, too. He seemed very calm. I watched him make a call. He didn't seem shook up at all. I wondered if he was drunk. He was coming in to town and he seemed to be going so fast. He just came out of nowhere.

The boy that was waiting at the light, he seemed a bit shocked. Which I would too, if I had been sitting at a light, kind of spacing off, and then WHAM!!! You just don't expect it.

I think it was interesting that cell phones were mentioned in a couple of the responses I got- even though I didn't say a thing about them in my original post. I also thought it was interesting that the make of the vehicles was an issue. And, of course, the fact that two were teenagers. Funny how these tidbits can influence our perceptions. (And, for the record, I think that if you are driving and must talk on the phone you should be required to use a hands free headset.)

All I could think was "Thank god I'm in the truck. And thank god the baby is at home." So if any of you are behind me at a red light and you notice me hesitate before entering the intersection don't honk at me. I'm just making sure it's safe.


Blogger roundup

There is sooooo much good stuff coming out today.

Glenn has a post on the homeless

Powerline has the latest Iraqi poll numbers

and vote fraud in East St Louis

Dan at NE Republicans gives us the history of Vietnam
  1. Nam, troops start to go in
  2. Gulf of Tonkin, August 2 - 4, 1964
  3. Operation Rolling Thunder
  4. Troops, Troops and More Troops

Salaried Democratic campaign workers that slashed GOP van tires have been formally charged

Cori asks why are we just now hearing about this American that was kidnaped in Iraq in November?
Roy Hallums "was snatched in November, and this is the first a lot of people are hearing his name, because of this videotape."

There is no reflection or consideration of what the meaning or implications of that statement are, so let me translate that for you: an American citizen was kidnapped in Iraq, and has been held for months, but the American press didn't think that important enough to cover to the point where the American public even would have heard his name -- until there was video. And the fact that the video was produced by the terrorists, is in fact a piece of terrorist propaganda, doesn't change the media calculus for a nano-second. Now it's a story.


Taxes and Death

Apparently I am not the only resident who thought the Polk County 1% sales tax increase was supposed to help fund school building renovations and add new buildings as needed throughout the county. I guess the only solution for wasting our money is to raise taxes and put more of our tax dollars to poor use. I feel that a lot of money is wasted needlessly. Sometime take a look at how much money is spent on the contracts for new buildings and related items. It's absolutely ridiculous. Read how narrow the margin of 'victory' was here. Property taxes here are already among the highest in Polk County.

I actually started figuring how much of our yearly income goes to taxes of one sort or another. It's seriously about 35% (I wish I had all of my receipts for sales tax). If you feel I am wrong, please enlighten me. I am just disgusted!


Logic Problem

Dean has reposted The Brainteaser That Changed My World and I have to admit that it took me a while to figure out that he was right. It makes sense after you have that "aha!" moment.


An Accident & A Question

>> Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Tonight I witnessed an accident. About three blocks from my home is a busy intersection. It has become busier as our town has sprawled north. There have been stoplights there for quite some time.

There were 3 cars involved in this accident. One was turning left on an arrow, one was waiting at a red light, and one ran a red light. Two of these vehicles were driven by teenagers, one boy and one girl. One was driven by a man who appeared to be in his early 40's. The car that was turning left had been stopped at the light seconds before. The car that hit it, obviously, wasn't. The speed limit at this spot in the road is 45 mph. How fast must that car have been going to spin another completely around and cause so much damage that all 3 had to be taken away on flat beds?

I called 911 and reported the accident. Did you know that they take your name & phone #?

No, that's not the question I spoke of in the title. Here's the question:

Who do you think ran the red light that caused this accident? Now please tell me why you think that.

Results- and the correct answer- tomorrow evening.


Suicide Bomber Wants Revenge

Check out this link. Poor little suicide bomber is upset that he wasn't able to carry out his murderous plot. If you ask me, he got exactly what he deserves...



Via King of Fools....One of the reasons we have been so successful in Afghanistan is because of people like Jamal Udin.

This is an important story on several levels. One, it's a feel good story. Two, it profiles an Afghani who likes America for getting rid of the Taliban. Third, it profiles an Afghani taking active measures in the security of the country. And fourth, he sounds like my Dad. Dad would do the same thing under similar circumstances.


Baby Love

>> Monday, January 24, 2005

We had family photos taken on Sunday. This time the lovely Brenna stayed awake for it. We actually got some very good pictures.

Brenna has been sleeping through the night and I am becoming used to it and sleeping through the night as well.

Each night before bed I stop in Brenna's room to check on her. She sleeps soundly, arms stretched straight out to her sides or above her head, little fists clenched tight. I lightly stroke her hair, run my finger tips over her cheeks. And I am wholly overwhelmed by the love I feel for her.

Does this feeling last forever? Are you mothers of older children still so moved?


Wide Awake

I have a new post at The Wide Awakes.


American atrocity?

>> Sunday, January 23, 2005

Tim Blair notes The Night The Soldiers Came. It seems that American soldiers found a man's porn stash and he was so traumatized that it took a couple of weeks for him to stop beating his mother, who he lived with. Of course, this means that Americans are bad, and the Washington Post is more than willing to pile it on. This from the same paper that sent a reporter on an expedition from Nebraska to West Texas and was surprised to find that the Great Plains is flat.


Brainwashing 101

Evan Coyne Maloney brings you a teaser for his upcoming feature length film Brainwashing 101.

The concept is to visit various colleges and film bias on campus. It was so easy to find material that they quickly decided to profile only a dozen campuses. The "teaser" is 45 minutes long and features interviews with students, professors and academic advisors. Oh. My. God. Many of the professors' comments, knowing full well that they are being filmed are breathtaking in their arrogance and racist [against whites, white males to be specific] attitudes. "Anybody who blows up the Pentagon gets my vote", said by a professor on September 11th, 2001 and "The only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the US Military", said by a professor in 2002 stand out in my mind.

An economics professor at Bucknell, the filmaker's alma mater, goes on and on about Marx and how black and feminist economics books are doing good work continuing Marx's vision. It's "cutting edge". "Our big danger is the trustees who want to oversite our curriculum. They want to add an American Studies major. Implicitly meaning that American studies should be about...celebrating America." "We were trained in these areas. And to have somebody who does not know our field telling us what to teach is the height of arrogance."

Be sure to get the DVD when it comes out.


Wideawake Roundup

>> Saturday, January 22, 2005

Superhawk has What Is Liberalism?

What's truly amazing is that over the last decade or so there's been a seismic shift in the definition of classic liberalism and classic conservatism. In short, the two ideologies have flip flopped. Liberals now stand for maintaining the status quo, fighting against change of any kind in government responsibilities like taxes, defense, foreign policy, social security, welfare, and the wise use of resources. Modern conservatives seek changes in all of these policies; not a return to a past where these policies didn't exist but a fundamental shift in the relationship between the governors and the governed.

AmberGnat has Are Democrats destined to lose the black vote?

CatHouse chat has Our Marines: True Americans!

Cao has some Idiot Sightings

Raven has The Hypocritic Oath

Dimlomad has received a new UN Report that is a whopping 3,000 pages long.

New Sisyphus has Word from Paris


Friday Night

>> Friday, January 21, 2005

I can think of a couple of songs dedicated to Saturday night. Even one about it being 5 o'clock. But not one comes to mind about Friday. Racking my brain over this- shouldn't Jimmy Buffett have one?

Anyway, as the title suggests, it is Friday night. I have very recently gotten Miss Brenna to sleep. She didn't really nap all day and was quite put off about bedtime as well. She should sleep long & hard. I hope.

I have sent Doug out for the night with his friend, John. When I suggested it I was not aware that it is John's birthday. It may turn into a long night for my dear husband as he is not driving, but riding with John. And John can party.

As we were waiting for John to pick Doug up he made some comment about going out without me and I said, "Are you wearing your wedding ring?" He said he was. I said, "Just keep it on. Oh, wait, that may not make a difference. Did you read Yankee Bob's post?" He hadn't, so I had to give a brief synopsys of a woman trying to "pick up" a very married YB in the supermarket. (Yet another example of blogs seeping into every day conversations.)

So, here I sit, just myself and the ever faithful Toby. And there are so many things I should do: clean something. Anything. I'm a mom, it's a never-ending cycle. Write something. Anything. I've had a block this week. Organize something. Anything. Closets, pantry, drawers.

So what am I going to do? I am going to read. And not blogs, either. I am going to read a book. For pleasure. For a few hours. Curled up in a chair. **sigh** It will be wonderful.


Assyrian-American returns to Iraq

Chicago's Daily Herald has a piece from Thursday, Waging war with words. N. Yousif is returning to Iraq in a mission he truly believes in, a free Iraq. He fled Iraq 25 years ago and made a life and family in the Chicago suburbs. He has already spent one tour in Iraq as a civilian contractor performing translation for front-line troops. He has volunteered to return because he is proud of what he, and Coalition forces, have accomplished and the potential for a truly free Iraq.

Jody and I have frequently commented to each other that what Iraq and Afghanistan need is more ex-pats returning to their homeland. They know what it's like to live in free societies and how to succeed. They can pass on their knowledge and expectations to others that didn't escape the brutal regimes. They know the culture and language and can explain the differences between cultures to both the Iraqis/Afghans and to the Coalition forces. Many also have ties to businesses and can facilitate commerce between nations.


NY Times vs Iraqi Bloggers

>> Thursday, January 20, 2005

Ali and Mohammed have each spoken in rebuttal to a NY Times article [follow the Google link to avoid registration] about them.

What they have experienced is an elite opinion that they [in this case a "reporter" cocooned in New York City] know more than the people actually on the ground in Iraq. We saw that in John Kerry too when Sistani came to visit the US and Kerry had the audacity to say that Sistani didn't know what was going on in Iraq. Somehow Kerry had a "better picture" while on a campaign bus touring the US than Sistani has by actually living and working in Iraq. No wonder people don't trust Democrats or reporters.


Church and State

Tim has an essay on the Founding Fathers and their faith as expressed in letters and official documents.

I think it is impossible to NOT use your personal morals and values in everyday life, whether you are a store clerk or President of the USA. They shape who you are as an individual and the way you look at the world.

Who would you rather see in the White House, a person who tries to live up a high standard moral character or someone who seeks power for power's sake without a high moral code?


Play Group

>> Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I have been taking my kids to a play group for about 3 or 4 months now. I am still kind of uncomfortable going to this play group. I was invited by one of my former co-workers. I call the Moms 'the Stepfords'. I feel completely out of my element when I am with these ladies, who are all very nice to the kids and to me. I just view things a bit differently than they do.

All of the other Moms take their children (all 2 year olds) to Gymboree twice a week and preschool (a very pricey and ELITE preschool) twice a week. I have been questioned many times as to why Carter isn't in preschool YET, and why I don't take them to Gymboree. Isn't 2 a little young to have such a full schedule (I think so)?

I don't think it's necessary to pay someone to play & sing with my children (Gymboree), nor do I think Carter is ready for preschool. Frankly, I want my children to get something out of teaching if I have to pay for it. He's a bright boy: knows how to count well into the teens, knows his colors, knows his shapes (ABC's are in the works).

Also, Carter & Ethan are very loud and rambunctious children. Most of the other kids are little girls, who DO play differently than boys. My boys laugh loudly, squeal at ear-piercing pitches, and run around like banshees. The girls play quietly by themselves, for the most part. I get 'the look' a lot when the boys are being loud. Like, 'doesn't she teach her kids about indoor voices'? I try, but to no avail.

I take the boys so they can learn to share with others, play with others, and learn acceptable behaviors. I JUST FEEL OUT OF PLACE.


Jib Jab is on the case

Poking fun at everyone - "Second Term".


New to the blogroll

I've added a couple of new blogs to the list.

New Sisyphus and
Daily Demarche are American diplomats stationed abroad.

Both have interesting posts today, if rather lengthy. Be sure to check them out.


What the HELL is going on with schools?

This is wrong on so many levels. I was just going to reference the article but I think I may have to tear it apart paragraph by paragraph.

Students at a Palo Alto middle school learned more than school officials ever expected when a recent "career day" speaker extolled the merits of stripping and expounded on the financial benefits of a larger bust.

Stripping is being presented as a viable career. That, in itself is wrong. It is not a career, it is not something you can expect to do your entire life. It turns into a lifestyle for the majority of people. More on this later...

The hubbub began Tuesday at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School's third annual career day when a student asked Foster City salesman William Fried to explain why he listed "exotic dancer" and "stripper" on a handout of potential careers. Fried, who spoke to about 45 eighth-grade students during two separate 55-minute sessions, spent about a minute explaining that the profession is viable and potentially lucrative for those blessed with the physique and talent for the job.

EIGHTH GRADERS?!?! This moron was talking to eighth graders? It was bad enought when I thought it was high school students. And if that isn't enough, let's tell these young girls about the "physique" you need. Wait, there's more....

According to Fried and students who attended the talk, Fried told one group of about 16 students that strippers can earn as much as $250,000 a year and that a larger bust -- whether natural or augmented -- has a direct relationship to a dancer's salary.

He told the students, "For every two inches up there, it's another $50,000," according to Jason Garcia, 14.

This moron just took the female brain backwards 75 years. Large boobs= $$$. I'm ready to find this guy & strangle him with my bare hands.

Principal Joseph Di Salvo, while insisting the matter had become overblown, agreed that the topic was inappropriate. He drafted a letter Thursday to parents of the school's eighth-grade students saying that, while many students were not offended by the talk, it should not have occurred.

This principal needs to be FIRED RIGHT NOW!!! Overblown my ass. If some freak told my 13 year old daughter that being a stripper was a viable career, well, let's just say I'd probably need a really good attorney. Damn right it's inappropriate! FIRED, FIRED, FIRED!!!!

"Our goal was to expose to students a variety of careers, but our intent was not strippers or exotic dancers," said Di Salvo, saying Fried will most likely not be invited back next year. "Dancing is fine, but dancing in a sexual way is not fine because of where the kids are in their lives."

Most likely won't be invited back? You can bet I'd be making sure he was never allowed near a school again.

"I believe you should be honest and open with everyone, and there is no such thing as inappropriateness," said Fried, 64, who owns a sales consulting firm. "Eighth-grade kids can digest a lot more than their parents believe they can. The mind will put it in its proper niche. I don't believe any kid was marred or harmed by any of the talks."

No such thing as inappropriateness... Are you freakin' kidding me? What has happened in our society that we are allowing our children to be exposed to so much? Yes, they'll probably see it sometime, but shouldn't that sometime be later, rather than sooner? And shouldn't the parent be allowed to say when, so they can be there & talk to their child about it? It is just never OK to suggest to a child, in any way shape or form, that taking off their clothes for money is OK. Never.

And the final quote in the article, from this idiot:
"Maybe I could have probably spent less time on exotic dancing," he said. "But I think the kids were entertained."

You aren't there to provide entertainment, you moron. You are there to speak to children about careers. In this article it also says that this man has no children. Please allow me to explain what having children does to a person.

I use myself as the example.

(Deep breath) I was a stripper. (Ugh. I really never wanted to admit that to all my blogger friends) I started when I was 23 and quit when I was 29. I was single, had actually held a "real" job (as a cosmetologist), and thought I knew what was going on. I was lucky. I didn't fall into the "lifestyle" trap: I didn't do any drugs, I didn't drink while I worked, I didn't party with bar guys (ick!). I did my job, made my money & went home. I was able to buy a house, a couple of cars & take some nice vacations.

At 29 I quit and began running the company I had previously worked for. And I was quite good at that. I expanded the business, booked more clubs, hired & fired.

And hated it. As I got older I began to really see this job. I saw the women who were nearing 40, who had been stripping since they were 18 (or younger), with absolutely nothing to show for all the years. I saw girls who should have been enjoying their first years of college throwing their futures to the wind.

I met Doug, who didn't look down on me for what I did, or had done, and who made me want more. And now I have my daughter. Who I want to give every opportunity, who I want to grow up knowing that she is an entire package: mind, body & spirit. Will I be honest with her about my past? Yes, when she is older. When she is able to understand. I am not ashamed of what I did. It made me who and what I am. But I don't want it for my daughter.

There are some people who can come out of that environment in tact. But that number is small. Believe me. I've seen it first hand. And I want more than that for my child.

Homeschooling and private schools look better every day...


Iowa Blogger Bash

Jeff has the story.


Rescue Hero

I owe Doug a big 'Thank You' for coming to my rescue last night. When I left work at 10:00 PM, my car wouldn't start. My babies were in bed, so the hubby couldn't just leave to pick me up. Leaving at that time of night with 2 sleeping kids is not a great option.

Fortunately, Doug was still awake. Miss Brenna & Jody were sleeping. Doug drove to my work, jump started my car & followed me home. So, again I am eternally grateful!

I have to make an appointment to see what the problem is, as I have a brand new alternator & battery. I'll be skipping play group yet again....


The Mice

>> Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I work outside the house for a small company 3 nights a week (incredibly boring customer service). For the past month or so, I have noticed we have a visitor. I call him Gus. The office is attached to a warehouse, which is how I suspect he got in. He doesn't seem to be particularly bothersome to the management, as they have let him live this long. He has gotten into desk drawers and eaten crackers and other little snackie treats people keep there. He has left my tea bags alone. Go figure.

Anyway, today when I got to work, I noticed these little 6 x 6 inch pieces of paper lying by the walls and doorways. Apparently, they are sticky traps (with no bait) that my moronic management thinks will trap the little bugger...or buggers. You see, I think Gus should have been named Giselle. There are now MULTIPLE mice running around. I have seen one big one since I arrived, and my co-worker saw a baby. NICE.


Dog-Gone Insomnia

I was sleeping so well. I had vaguely noticed when Doug came to bed. (Doug comes to bed at a "normal" time. I, being the sleep deprived mommy, go to bed at the same time as my 3-year-old nephew. Sometimes earlier.) Shortly thereafter, after I have settled back into slumber, my dog, the 100 pound weakling, puts his front paws on the bed. Which wakes me up.

Obviously something is wrong. So I immediately check on Brenna. She's fine.

I lay down. He does it again. Doug hears a beeping downstairs. Ah, my cell phone's low battery warning. It's all so clear now.

Last summer we got Toby an Instant Fence. It is like Invisible Fence, but works on a radio frequency instead of a buried wire. The collar beeps when he gets close the perimeter, shocks if he crosses it. Works amazingly well, too.

Except that now Toby is scared of anything that beeps. Even if the collar is off. Which it is at night. Which is when things seem to beep and scare him.

So I get out of bed, get the phone & plug it in to cease the beeping. I go back to bed. Toby is not comforted and continues to put his paws on the bed. I shut him out of the room. I can't go back to sleep.

Then my mind wanders to what we will do when Brenna starts to crawl. We will need to move Toby's food. The pieces are so large that she could choke on them. Or, Toby might not appreciate her messing with his dish. OK, now I am really awake. Damn.

And you know that the minute I am ready to head back to bed Miss Brenna will wake up.



Psychic connection... or coincidence?

>> Monday, January 17, 2005

Last week Doug gave me flowers "just because". Stargazer lilies and a red tipped pink rose in a red vase. Beautiful.

Funny thing is, earlier in the day I was thinking "I would really love it if Doug would give me flowers." Now, I'm not really a flower person. Sure, they're nice, but they die. Now a good chocolate... ummm, there's the way to my heart. But, this day, I thought "flowers."

And flowers I got. And it's not like Doug brings home flowers on a regular basis so this isn't something I could expect.

Now, I ask you, psychic connection or coincidence?


Where Have I Been?

>> Sunday, January 16, 2005

Right here. So why haven't I posted? Ummm, I've had nothing to say? Well, that's not entirely true. I had a lot to say but I didn't really think it was worth sharing- things have been pretty monotonous here lately.

Brenna is lovely, as usual. Doug’s company had its holiday party Friday night. We left Little Miss with my sister and brother-in-law and their 2 sons. Brenna was no problem. And their youngest- he’s 2- kept leaning over and kissing Brenna. So cute, Jen took pictures. But, somehow, he fell forward into the corner of the wall. And gashed his forehead open. According to Jen it was quite bloody. They even called their neighbor- who is a paramedic. Luckily the Little Man is OK.

We had an insane cold front come through. Below zero- plus windchill. YIKES!! Which made it difficult to take Brenna out to the gym. And cooped me in the house.

So I made cookies. Chocolate chip ones. Is there anything better than cookie dough? Or cookies warm from the oven with a nice, cold glass of milk? Yummy. I did send the rest to work with Doug & to my nephews and brother-in-law. I think I enjoy the baking almost more than the eating.

Yesterday I took the dog and one of the cats to the vet. HELLO, expensive! I guess it’s my farm girl upbringing, but I just can’t bring myself to have my dog’s teeth cleaned. Or get a $200 “senior feline” checkup. How ever did our animals survive without the triple-action artery de-clogger/breath freshener?

We also had the great joy of visiting the optometrist. Ugh. I hate shopping for glasses. I don’t really have a face for glasses. I think my ears may be crooked so they never fit right, tipping to the left. So I wear contacts most of the time. Which also sucks. My eyesight is so bad that Lasik isn’t even an option. Damn genetics.

So, that’s all that’s been going on. Like I said, nothing much to share. I’m impressed if you stayed for this whole post.


Baby Boy Injured

>> Saturday, January 15, 2005

Last night Jody & Doug left Baby Brenna with us while they went out for a while. Brenna's bouncy seat was in the kitchen while we were all having dinner. When we were done, Ethan went over to Brenna and kept kissing her on top of the head. After the third time, Ethan lost his footing on the linoleum and banged his head on the corner of the wall between the kitchen and the living room.

He ended up with an inch gash that was bleeding quite a bit and not swelling too much. He just kept saying "it hurt me" over and over. I called our neighbor, who's an EMT, to come over and look at the injury. At his point I was in tears (absolutely helpless), and my 3 year old was hugging my husband and me because he was scared. The husband went out & started the car while we waited for the neighbor. Mark (the neighbor) said stitches wouldn't be needed, and we should watch him for signs of nausea and dizziness for the next couple of days. Today, he's acting perfectly normal. Every once in a while, he points at the band-aid and says 'I have a boo-boo'. Yeah, buddy.

We're so lucky we have good neighbors, and we escaped an emergency room visit (for now).


Oh absolutely

>> Friday, January 14, 2005

Read Aaron's "Oh, Absolutely" post today. Be sure to check out the loonie comments he got from people with selective memories (ie leftists).


If a Secret Service agent can get hacked, so can you

Let's talk about computer security. Now before you fall asleep on me, take a look at how you are reading this right now. Are you using a computer? Yes? Well then you should be worried about computer security. Right now I can find out your IP address, what city, state and nation you are computing from, what operating system you are using, what browser you are using, screen resolution, and how you found this article. This information is sent every time you request a new web page.

But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about. What I mentioned above is the equivalent of caller ID on phones. You know; has a handset…you dial a number and talk to people…using your voice. Yes, only one conversation at a time. I know, I know quaint isn't it? What you should really be worried about is what else can be found out about you. Specifically things that you really, really don't want unethical people to know, like bank account information, credit card numbers or your password to your email account.

Read this story. The title, "Hacker read Secret Service e-mails" should be enough to get your attention. The corresponding story is at Security Focus. In a nutshell, a 21-year-old hacker cracked a T-Mobile server that a Secret Service agent happened to use as a personal account [meaning that he paid for it out of his own pocket]. However, he didn't follow Secret Service guidelines, which state that government files cannot be used on personal computers. He sent files pertaining to ongoing investigations to his T-Mobile Sidekick account. Yep, on the same server that was hacked. The hacker had 400 names, Social Security numbers, birthdays, usernames/passwords, camera-phone pictures and the like, but that didn't get him noticed. What got him noticed was when he shared two classified Secret Service documents on a message board.

What does that mean to you? It means that there are security rules for a reason. Most people lock their doors when they leave the house, lock their car when parked at the mall, and make sure the person behind them can't see whilst getting cash at an ATM. You should follow a few rules while on the computer as well.

  • Email is easily intercepted. It's just a stream of text and if I know your IP address [see the first paragraph above] and have the right tool, I can read that stream from anywhere in the world. Don't use email for anything that you wouldn't want posted on a bulletin board where everyone can read it. This means that you shouldn't use email to make rude remarks about your boss. It also means that you should never, ever send credit card, username/password, bank account, or other sensitive personal or corporate information by email.

  • Replying to requests for more information. Have you ever received an email stating that you "must reply to this message" to keep XXXXX account active? It could have been from big sites like eBay, PayPal, Yahoo, or AOL. Guess what? It was probably "spoofed". Someone sent a message that appeared to come from one of these companies, but the links send you somewhere else. So what do you do if you get one of these messages? First, don't click the link provided in the email. Go to the web site using your own bookmark or typing in the address. Log in normally and any important messages should be readily apparent. You should ignore almost every request for personal information via email.

  • You have a password for everything and it's tempting to make it easy for you to remember. How many of you use the name of your child, spouse, or pet as a password? How many of you use your address or date of birth somehow? BAD, BAD computer user! No cookie for you. Ideally, your password should not be something so easily guessed. It should include numbers, and not just a single digit. Using your child's name and the number 1 would take me 20 seconds to figure out. Really, I've sat down at a person's desk, looked at their pictures and guessed their password. "Is it Brenna1? Brenna2? When was she born? Is it Brenna2004?" Ooops, three tries and I figured it out. A safer password would be "1B2r3e4n5n6a7". It's still fairly easy for me to remember, but much harder for someone to guess [note: I do not use my baby's name as part of my password – just wanted you to know]. Notice that I didn't say impossible to guess, just harder. The best passwords are not words and include letters, numbers and the characters above the numbers on your keyboard. "T$1xh7&uX" is a great password. Another way to go is a sentence, with characters thrown in, like "I4Love^Brenna!"

  • Only buy things on-line from places that you are sure about. Big name companies are the best, followed by places in which you can see feedback from other purchasers. When in doubt, use PayPal. Then, if it's a scam, you're only out the purchase price and not your entire credit limit. The second thing I would like to point out is be sure that your connection is secure when paying for things on-line. Look for "https://" in the address bar. The "s" means that you are using an encrypted connection to the web site. Do NOT check the box saying something like "remember this card for future use". The easier it is for you, the easier it is for someone else too.

  • Monitor your credit cards and bank accounts. You should reconcile every month. Question every transaction that you don't remember or agree with. There should be a phone number to call with every purchase on your credit card. Call it if you don't know what it is. A favored tactic of hackers is to charge less than $50 on every card they stole. Most people won't question a small amount and just pay it. Don't fall for it. Question every transaction you don't recognize.

  • Get a firewall, if you don't already have one, and make sure it is turned on. In Windows XP, click Start/Control Panel/Network Connections and right mouse click the connection you are using right now (might be "Local Area Network" or "Wireless Network" or the name of the dial-up service). Select Properties and click the Advanced tab. Check the box that says "Protect my computer…" If you are really paranoid, there are several good firewalls on the market.

The most important advice I can give is don't be a victim. You should not only stand up for yourself, but also present as small a target as possible to hackers. Using your own common sense will keep you out of trouble much of the time. If you are in doubt, give the company a call...you know, with a phone…you dial and speak to another human. I know, I know, quaint isn't it?


This is interesting

>> Wednesday, January 12, 2005

If this works, I may have to change my attitude towards lawyers...
The New War on Terror - Joel Mowbray

Analysis from an Iraqi in Baghdad, What after the elections?

This deserves a separate post and I may get around to it over the weekend. But for now, enjoy The War Against World War IV - Norman Podhoretz


A Traumatic Evening

Last night's bath was especially traumatic for Miss Brenna. Sometimes it's fine. Others it's like we are soaking her in acid. Last night was an acid soaking.

After bath Doug cuddles Brenna in a towel and a fleece blanket. Last night was no different. As Doug is walking around the room with her, whispering in her ear, I see him jerk and rush to put the baby down. Since he has been having some trouble with one of his knees I assumed it had gone out.

I was wrong! Doug's shirt was soaked. So was the towel and the blanket. Yep, Brenna peed on him!

On another baby note: Last night we put Brenna down to bed without feeding her right before. Doug read a book and put her down to sleep. First time he's done it. And it worked! No screaming, no fussing. Woo-Hoo!!

We got a gift certificate for a B&B stay as a Christmas gift. Once Brenna doesn't need me to go to sleep we can use it. Boom-chicky-chicky-boom.


More Depressions Like This, Please

Feeding right in to my posts from last year reguarding Liberal Myths and the economy, Noel Sheppard asks "Frankly, with depressions like these, who needs expansions?". I promise it's an easy to read and easy to understand summary of the past 4 years economic data. Really...I mean it....easy.


French involvement in tsunami recovery

Via Bad Hair Blog, see the English translation of a France2 newscast, France 2 Humiliates French Government.

The US had an aircraft carrier group in Hong Cong and they set sail to the disaster area the day after the tsunami. France had an aircraft carrier in the Suez Canal (an additional 400 mile further away than Hong Cong is) and they still haven't arrived. It was sent to port first to refuel. American doctrine is to refuel enroute and send the tanker back to port.


Humor for Dreaded Wednesdays

Good humor for those over 30. It really explains so much! First seen at VW's blog One Happy Dog Speaks.

People over 35 should be dead.

Here's why .........

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, 60's, or even maybe the early 70's probably shouldn't have survived.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.

We had no childproof lid's on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, …and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.)

As children, we would ride in cars with no seatbelts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.


We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.

After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on

No one was able to reach us all day.



We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms.

We had friends!

We went outside and found them.

We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

They were accidents.

No one was to blame but us.

Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.

Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.


Tests were not adjusted for any reason.

Our actions were our own.

Consequences were expected.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of.

They actually sided with the law.

Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

And you're one of them!


Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good !!!!!

People under 30 are WIMPS !


Just read it

>> Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Greyhawk says that you must read Battle Lessons and I agree. It is an excellent article about how Army officers are using Internet technology to pass on lessons learned.


Sleep, glorious sleep! And the Black Market.

Guess who slept through the night! Yep, Miss Brenna! Guess who didn't. Right again... Mommy! I woke up about 3:30am, in a panic, wondering why my child didn't wake me to eat. Did she cry & I slept through it? (Not bloody likely) Did I forget to turn the monitor on? (Nope, it was on) Is she OK? (Yep, I got up to make sure my child was breathing) Sigh. Now the big question: Was this a fluke or is it the beginning of a trend?

More crappy Iowa weather. Ice again today with another winter storm coming in. I think the weather gods are against my working out. Or Mother Nature telling me that I am just fine the way I am?

Actually I have to go out today. I have a package that needs to be sent. Today. You see, I have an eBay addiction. Not to buying, but to selling. And, since Doug & I combined 2 complete households you can bet that our basement is full of stuff to get rid of. Oh, the stuff people will buy.

Right now I'm in the black market of baby formula. When you have a baby you get samples and bushels of coupons for all types of formula. BIG coupons. LOTS of coupons. Coupons that you pay nothing for and can make 1/2 of the face value on. And since Brenna is exclusively nursing... Well, it can be a tidy little sum. Especially since the coupons have a tracking # on them. So when it's used the company thinks you are purchasing their product. So they send more coupons. So you can sell it for profit...so it gets used...so they send more... It's a vicious circle. TeeHee!

*** Update: We are sooo not leaving the house today. Our driveway is sheer ice. I'm sure the roads are just fine, it's the parking lots I'm worried about. If it were just me, no problem. But there is no way I am taking a chance with a baby in my arms. Looks like yoga in the basement...


The meltdown continues

>> Monday, January 10, 2005

When I first saw a post about "911 America's Reichstagg [sic] Fire" Marshall Law and Gun Confiscation on the Horizon!!, I noticed two things. First two exclamation points is always the sign of quality writing, so I knew I was in for a good time. Secondly, that someone named Marshall is pushing gun confiscation. Later I realized what the the author really meant to say was Martial Law, as in military rule is on the horizon. This unsigned screed then goes on about the Bush administration wanting to take away gun rights, conveniently forgetting that it's Democrats that are pushing gun controls. They also conveniently gloss over the fact that Hitler not only quoted Marx and Engels at length, but put their tenants to practice. NAZI is an abbreviation for the National Socialist party after all. It's a fact that modern day leftists don't want you to remember.

In fact, let's look at the world's most deadly regimes (Note-I am including forced famines in these numbers, not just those executed via violent means):

  • USSR (leftist, communist): Lenin and Stalin had an estimated 10-60 million Soviets executed.
  • People Republic of China (leftist, communist): Mao had an estimated 60-100 Chinese executed and his favorite after work relaxation was deflowering 12 year old virgins.
  • Cuba (leftist, communist): Castro had thousands murdered and there are still people in jail today.
  • Nazi Germany (leftist, socialist): Hitler had 6-10 million people executed based on sexual orientation, political affiliation and race. More here and here.
  • Vietnam (leftist, communist): Ho Chi Min had 1-3 million executed and another 300,000 to 600,000 may have perished trying to flee the country.
  • North Korea (leftist, communist): ?????
  • Cambodia (leftist, communist): 1 to 3 million people killed

So, from this cursory glance through the 20th Century, I can see that leftist states are more likely to kill millions of their own people. President Bush may be more liberal than I like on domestic issues, but he's hardly a communist and under his administration gun ownership became a little easier.

I'm filing this one under "projection". Yet another example of leftists in America projecting their own desires and ideals on Republicans.


Girlie Snow Boots

For the first time, my 2 year old has shown interest in playing in the snow. We had somewhere between 8-10" of snow last week, and some 1 1/2 foot drifts in the yard. Problem: no snow boots for him. The local Wal-Mart, where I happened to be shopping, had only little girl snow boots in his size. No kidding.

I called my husband to make sure it would be OK to buy girl boots instead of boy snow boots. They are all white with a furry cuff and quilted shank (style name: Bunny). There is a tiny blue stripe at the very bottom of the foot on each side. With his snow pants on, all you can see is the foot. At least that part doesn't scream "I'm a girls' boot"!

We went outside, built a snowman & threw snowballs for about an hour. He didn't seem to notice that he was wearing boots made for another gender. I'm a BAD mom.


What we are up against in Iraq

>> Sunday, January 09, 2005

As a Desert Storm vet and brother to an Operation Iraqi Freedom vet, I follow events in Iraq as intently as time allows. Soldiers' and Iraqi blogs provide the best coverage. It's always best to go to the source. Occasionally, a reporter will get out of Palestinian Hotel's jacuzzi and report something, though they usually go with the most anti-American source they can find.

The first article I would like to point out to you is from the Scotsman. It details the gruesome execution of high-level political figures in Iraq by Ba'athists. Their goal is to disrupt the thing that would hurt their interests the most, a free and prosperous Iraq.

Almost every war got its most deadly just before the very end. They are being backed into a corner and desperate measures are called for. They've lost Afghanistan outright. Pakistan is publicly hunting down terrorists. Georgia (the country, not the US state), Turkmenistan and Armenia have US troops ensconced in semi-permanent bases. US Special Forces are helping train the Philippine military against their own, home-grown, terrorists. Saudi Arabia is cracking down on those that fund terror groups, at least publicly.

Here's more from Dore Gold. This editorial is about how Axis of Evil member, Syria, is behind many of the problems in the Middle East. From controlling Lebanon to financing Palestinian terror operations to sending agents into Iraq and all the while making a mockery of the UN Security Council. It's kind of like putting Libya on the Humanitarian council...oh, wait that really happened too.

Do we as a nation still have the cajones to finish the war? Most in the media want us to lose, it makes for better copy. Are we going to let them? It is in our national interest that those that support and fund terrorists are taken down. For us right now, the biggest battle is in Iraq. Winning there means taking out a huge terror supporter and a major prop to dictators everywhere, not only the Arab world. The UN allowed him to not only survive, but thrive under sanctions and made him a hero to freedom haters around the globe. Finding him in a rat-hole and then subjecting him to a medical exam was a perfect end for him, though the man deserves nothing more than a 9mm aneurysm, followed by a severe case of lead poisoning.

So what do we do? We not only can win, we currently are winning. Not that you would know it if you only got your news from CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN or the New York Times. Al Qaida is a broken organization with a major percentage of the upper echelon leaders dead or captured. Afghanistan is a complete victory. Most of Iraq is stable and in the 4 provinces that are not secure, the Iraqis do not back the terrorists.

Let the heirs of Alvin York and Audie Murphy do their job. Let the soldiers weaned on Superman, John Wayne, and the Dukes of Hazard finish the job. They have already stepped up. Their courage and professionalism stand up to any unit in American history. Units like the 20th Maine, the Rough Riders and any unit in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. We're winning where it counts on the battlefield. Let's make sure that we win it here at home too.

[Cross-posted at Thank My Recruiter]


Resolution Roundup #1

Well, week one has finished. You know WEEK 1. The week with the most resolve. The week that you try really hard to be good. The only week of the year that it might happen.

Overall I am pleased with my week.

On the topic of portion control: I subscribe to Self magazine. It's the only one I like; not too preachy, realistic writing, not too much BS that I don't care to read. They have a website Self Diet Club to post your food intake, exercise and give you meal ideas. It's free with a subscription. Not too bad a deal. So, to make that long story longer, I found that I really don't eat too badly. Only one problem: I like to cook. It's difficult to figure calories when you cook. I do my best...

Exercise: Due to the snow & ice storms I was confined to the house until Friday. Shut in. Locked down. I did manage to fit in some yoga & pilates (DVD) every day but Tuesday. Friday I got to the gym. Elliptical machine. Yikes!! Am I out of shape!! Saturday I went back for real torture: a one hour pilates class with a live instructor. There is nothing worse than going to a class that you used to be quite good at and realizing that you aren't any more. I have no abdominal muscles. None. Everyone around me is rolling into a nice sitting position and I am flat on my back. Flat. On. My. Back. I struggled through. And took today off. Ain't no way my body was going to cooperate after what I did to it yesterday.

And writing: 10 hours is a lot of time. I didn't make it this week. I tried. Between the baby & all other necessary things to be done... wow, does that eat up some time. Maybe if I blog less? That's the problem with having a laptop that's always connected to the internet... and an addiction to blogging.

Maybe all of you on my list could stop being so entertaining for a while? Just so I can stop wanting to see what you're up to? Please?



>> Saturday, January 08, 2005

It has been a while since I posted pictures of Miss Brenna. We finally got out of the house yesterday- after receiving a dumping of snow- and had to go to Babies 'R' Us for some supplies. I couldn't resist this sweater. I think burgundy is her color...

New Sweater

Happy Brenna


Which Happy Bunny are You?

>> Friday, January 07, 2005

We are escaping the confines of the house today! Yippee!! So I leave you with this quiz, first seen at Yankee Bob's blog.

kiss my ass2
congratulations. you are the kiss my ass happy
bunny. You don't care about anyone or anything.
You must be so proud

which happy bunny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


What's That Wiggling?

>> Thursday, January 06, 2005

This morning my children were up early. About 6:20 AM. For me, that's early! Anyway, Carter told me his bottom hurt and he needed changed. I asked if he had 'dirty' pants, and he said 'no'. Then he stood up with his feet wide apart and started swinging his hips forward & back. He said "What's that wiggling down there?", as he pointed to the spot between his legs. I did not know exactly how to answer.

I pulled off his pajama bottoms, and saw what he was talking about. The diaper was so wet it was hanging down low between his legs. When he rocked back & forth, the wet part of the diaper was swinging. Too funny!


Haggis Hunt

I am, again, housebound. About 10" of snow over the last 30 odd hours. Snowblower quit. So I figure, "Why not watch webcams for a creature and win something?" I can personally recommend the Walkers Shortbread. Great stuff.

Haggis Hunt I highly recommend perusing the Haggisclopedia. Some good stuff there. Drink recipes...Haggis on the Beach, Bloody Haggis, Haggis Sunrise....

I wonder if the Haggis is any relation to the Jackalope? Distant cousins of fancy, maybe?

Have fun!


Family Dinner...and the Aftermath

>> Wednesday, January 05, 2005

This evening, my mother is spending the night at our house due to crappy weather. So, I made a nice pasta bake & garlic bread for dinner. My oldest son, 3, refused to eat until I moved over to his side of the table. Then, he would only eat my dinner. After about 5 bites, I switched him over to his own plate. Ok so far.

The next thing I know, he's kind of gagging. He has been known to upchuck an entire meal because we made him try something he didn't like. I told him "You don't dare do that again". Start counting backward from 10 now.....

His dinner was all over the table, his chair and the floor. Not to mention his clothes. He has got to be the pickiest child on the face of the earth, and if I didn't love him so much.....I MIGHT COMPLETELY LOSE CONTROL.

He got a bath early and will probably get to go to bed early. SO FRUSTRATED RIGHT NOW! My mother has got to be so impressed!


Judge Orders Addict to Stop Having Kids

Link to article

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - A Family Court judge who last year stirred debate about parental responsibilities ordered a second drug-addicted woman to have no more children until she proves she can look after the seven she already has.

The 31-year-old mother, identified in court papers only as Judgette W., lost custody of her children, ranging in age from eight months to 12 years, in child-neglect hearings dating back to 2000. Six are in foster care at state expense and one lives with an aunt.

The youngest child and two others tested positive for cocaine at birth and all seven "were removed from her care and custody because she could not and did not take care of them," Judge Marilyn O'Connor said in a Dec. 22 decision made public Tuesday.

"Because every child born deserves a mother and a father, or at the very least a mother or a father, this court is once again taking this unusual step of ordering this biological mother to conceive no more children until she reclaims her children from foster care or other caretakers," O'Connor wrote.

In a similar ruling last March, O'Connor ordered a drug-addicted, homeless mother of four to refrain from bearing children until she won back care of her children. The decision, the first of its kind in New York, is being appealed.

Wisconsin and Ohio have upheld similar rulings involving "deadbeat dads" who failed to pay child support. But in other states, judges have turned back attempts to interfere with a person's right to procreate.

O'Connor said she was not forcing contraception or sterilization on the mother, who had children with seven different men, nor requiring her to get an abortion should she become pregnant. But she warned that the woman could be jailed for contempt if she has another child.

The New York Civil Liberties Union maintained that the opinion cannot be enforced because it "tramples on a fundamental right - the right to procreate."

"There is no question the circumstances of this case are deeply troubling," said the group's executive director, Donna Lieberman. "But ordering a woman under threat of jail not to have any more babies ... puts the court squarely in the bedroom. And that's no place for the government."

The New York Civil Liberties Union says that procreation is a fundamental right. This woman has 7 children, none of whom sha can care for. Which means the state of New York is caring for them.

In my mind this isn't a bad thing. She hasn't been ordered to be sterilized. She can still have children- heaven forbid. What happened to "the best interest of the child"? You know these children will be in foster care until they turn 18. Then they will be turned out with their belongings is garbage bags. Only extraordinary children have a chance.

This woman wasn't caring for her children. Each child had a different father. The mother used cocaine during at least 3 of her pregnancies- enough to cause the children to be born addicted. And, I'm just making an assumption here, but I bet the mother was collecting welfare.

Personally I think she should be sterilized. Articles like this piss me off. If the government has to step in to care for your children because you won't then they have every right to tell you to stop having them.

I can't imagine any greater blessing than my daughter. Everything I do now affects her. And you can bet she is the first consideration for everything I do.


Death and Taxes

>> Tuesday, January 04, 2005

See this for a visual representation of how our tax dollars are allocated. Try this one if that one is not available.

*mibi did a good job of graphically representing the breakdown in a single poster.

Some of the numbers surprised me, others not so much. What strikes you about this poster? What struck me is how much is being spent on non-essential programs.

I consider the following to be non-essential:

  1. NASA: Why should it be sold? Most of the truly essential government needs for a space agency (communication/spy/GPS satellites) have been transferred to the Air Force. Private enterprise can now do it's R&D and launching functions and the Fed should never compete against it's own citizens. Sell off the assets and let entrepreneurs do their thing. We'll be setting up factories in the asteroid belt outside of Mars in no time.
  2. Amtrack: Why should it be sold? The Fed owning a train would make sense if members of Congress or military personnel used it to get around the country. They don't as it's faster and usually cheaper to fly. A government owned and operated train has no incentive to service new locations, no incentive to be efficient and cater to customer's needs and it still costs as much as flying. Sell it off and give the new owners financial incentive to expand the service area/routes and bring the price down.
  3. The Department of Housing and Urban Development shouldn't be a Federal agency, each state should come up with it's own version.
  4. Department of Education shouldn't be a Federal agency, each state has it's own version. Education decisions should be made at the school board level. Anything higher and you get the lowest common denominator with little personal incentive to be better.
  5. Small Business Administration has outlived it's usefulness. As a small business owner, I got no help from them when I started. It is an impediment to many.
  6. In the Department of Labor; the Training and Employment Services and Unemployment Services departments should be moved to the state level. It is impossible to have a national policy when each community has it's own needs and concerns.
  7. In the Department of Health and Human Services; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Children and Families should be moved to the state level for the same reasons as listed above. Make these policies and decisions as local as possible to get a little bit of the bureaucratic overhead out of the way.
  8. Look at the Department of Energy and Department of Agriculture for cuts. Anyone know what the Food and nutrition Services does?
  9. Other agencies: What does the Corporation for National and Community Service do? Why is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission separate from the DOE?

I think that would be enough changes for my first year as President. The complaint line is now open....


Visiting the Doctor

As I write this Brenna is napping, quite soundly, in her bouncy seat. We've had quite a tramatic morning.

For the past few days she has been fighting a cold which plugs her poor little nose. About 4am she woke up extra stuffy. The only way she could relax was cuddled against my chest, on her tummy, me leaning against the arm of the couch. We both slept sporadically after that. Not that I'm complaining- I'll cuddle with her as much as she'll put up with!

At 7:30 I woke her up to get ready for her 2 month "well baby" doctor visit. He checked her lungs- which are clear- and her temperature- not elevated- so she is fighting this cold very well.

She is 23 1/2 inches tall and 12 lb, 15 oz. These measurements both land her at about the 90th percentile. She must get her height from Doug... And since she's nursing exclusively I seem to be doing my part as well.

Three shots today. To put it mildly, Brenna didn't like them. The few of you that have met Brenna know how laid back and mellow she is. Nothing really upsets her. And if she does get upset it only lasts a moment. She doesn't even squeak when they take her temperature (and you know where they take it). So the blood-curdling screams that ripped from my child were absolutely heartbreaking. But I held it together. I didn't want to upset her more. It took about 10 minutes of cuddling before I could dress her and another 10 before I could put her in the carrier. She was asleep by the time we got to the car.

Speaking of sleeping, she's coming out of it. Fighting it, but waking slowly. And she'll be hungry. Oh, wait, make that dirty. She smiles so sweetly after she fills her diaper. It's mommy time.


Ice Age

>> Monday, January 03, 2005

Brenna and I are effectively stuck in the house. Iowa was covered in sleet and freezing rain last night. Every school in the state, it seems, is closed. As is our garage. Frozen shut. Which is fine as there was no way I was taking Brenna out on the icy streets. Too many people driving who really have no business being on the roads.

Today is the first effective day of my resolutions. I've done quite well on the portion control stuff: oatmeal for breakfast and a turkey sandwich with mustard (no mayo) and salad for lunch. I made Doug take all the leftover candy and other goodies to work so I wouldn't be gorging on them. Brenna & I did a Mommy & Me yoga workout just a little bit ago. Unfortunately this is the only writing I've done today as she hasn't gone down for a nap yet. Soon...

Tomorrow is Brenna's 2 month Dr visit... and first shots. I've heard of moms crying during baby's first shots. I'll probably be one of them...

Well, laundry's dry, dishwasher's done, and I just found out that my mom is going to spend the night as the weatherman is threatening up to a foot of snow tonight. Back to the mommy business.


Our sluggish economy

Sorry all. I started this post several days ago and am just now putting it all together. My cold really thru me off while Jody stayed right in her game. She really is the better part of me. Anyway, take a look at the numbers of our [satire]Sluggish Economy[/satire].

That 'Sluggish' Economy

Liberals seemed shocked, shocked that the economic data they've ignored the past couple of years is true. Via Yahoo News, the AP reports Surprising Dip in Jobless Claims Welcomed. What's so surprising about it? The economy and job growth has outpaced even the best of the Clinton years. I'm only surprised that it's just now starting to get some coverage. Here's a bet - had Kerry been elected I bet that the good news wouldn't be still under wraps. Except they would tie it to the election somehow, even though most of the data is from before November.

In order to make the economy look bad they have to bury facts in Slowdown in Chicago Manufacturing, Jobs. What are the buried facts? Yes, Chicago lost manufacturing jobs, but the suburbs grew, so much so that there is a net gain. Why not a story on factory migration? Or factory improvements, since it's usually faster and cheaper to build new rather than retrofit improvements.



A website called Bullmoose (uses Teddy's images, but not his ideals) can't stand that President Bush would dare host an inaugural ball.

Let them eat cake indeed. We live at a time when wounded troops returning from Iraq have their incomes reduced because they are denied full combat pay, but America can afford a $40 million gala party.

Let the good times roll.

Yes, certainly troops that are no longer in a combat zone no longer receive combat pay. That's a no brainer, what the moose forgot was that these troops will be receiving disability pay for the rest of their lives. So, would they rather have an extra $150/month (or is it more now?) or would they rather get substantially more from disability? It's something that the famously Republican Teddy Roosevelt would have known.


The Cost of Raising a Child

>> Sunday, January 02, 2005

All in this house are suffering from colds so I give you this...

I have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way.

It's nice, really nice!!

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition. But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That's a mere $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. (Do we multiply by the number of kids in the family?)

Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have children if you want to be "rich." Actually, it is just the opposite. What do you get for your $160,140?

Naming rights. First, middle, and last!

Glimpses of God every day.

Giggles ... under the covers every night.

More love than your heart can hold

Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.

Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.

A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate.

A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.

Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your Stocks performed that day.

For $160,140, you never have to grow up.

You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off a bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date, and first time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal.

You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren.

You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so . . . one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.




>> Saturday, January 01, 2005

Ah, the first day of a new year. It holds so much promise, so much mystery of what is to come. Without futher ado... my resolutions for 2005:

1) Portion control. I know that "diet" is a 4 letter word. One that doesn't cross my lips with me choking on it. And food happens to be a very close friend of mine. I love to cook, I love to experiement and I love to eat. So, this year. I resolve to monitor my portions. (This affects Doug, too. TeeHeeHee)

2) Exercise. Since the exhaustion of pregnancy and overwhelming tiredness of actually caring for a child I have, honestly, ceased to exercise. Since Brenna is now past 6 weeks and the childcare at the gym (free with membership) can take her, I need to get on the ball. So, I resolve to exercise at least 30 minutes a day at home and to get to the gym 3 times a week for cardio and yoga or pilates.

3) Writing. I have also dropped the ball on this- except for blogging. This year I resolve to write 10 hours a week. This can include journaling as it really helps with writers block, but not blogging. I don't think I have a problem there.

Well, that's 3. Three seems doable.

And now for Brenna's resolutions:

1) To learn to crawl and walk.
2) To sleep through the night.
3) Write my own baby blog.

Happy 2005 everyone!

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