Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Funny.

Bush?s brand of conservatism. Look, this is hardly a social Darwinist. This is No Child Left Behind guy, Faith-Based guy, Expansion of Medicare guy, Steel Tariffs guy, Big Spending guy.

Why-oh-why the false image? I guess I know: the war; the partial-birth-abortion ban; and the gay-marriage amendment. That, and the demeanor. He just does not respect the announcers and analysts of NPR.

But if Bush's critics don't like his "brand of conservatism," by golly . . . they should try ours!

(Italics theirs; bold mine.) Yeah, none of the conservatives I read are all that happy with him, but you know, the centrists are, or at least, they're not complaining as loudly. Heh.
Posted JUN 29 2004, 5:32 PM CDT (link here)

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Good grief. This is the third time this week I've sat down to post. Let's hope this one makes it. My reason for not posting is eight weeks old and now wearing his three-to-six month clothes, eating every two hours still, or complaining about not eating and just about wearing me out.

BLAME THE MEXICANS! You've got to be careful what you say around your three-year-old. Tech Support and I weighed in Saturday morning after Friday night Mexican food and I was so disappointed I said, "Blame the Mexicans with their tastey food and drink!" Of course Big Sis picked up on it and I'm waiting for a very embarrassing moment on our next public outing. Will keep you advised.

What else? Relatives, friends, visitors--passing through, stopping by and making special trips just to see us. My high school journalism teacher was here yesterday and I went into shock seeing my eighteen year-old self in her eyes. She hadn't changed a bit--leggy, long-haired and as close to hippie as southeast Texas will allow. Her husband said he couldn't get his car to turn on George Bush Turnpike. They looked to me for agreement.

Uhhhhhhhhhh...who wants a Corona?

Once again, posting light, and we'll be taking a long weekend over the Fourth of July, so posting non-existent then.

Thanks for checking in.
Posted JUN 27 2004, 6:43 PM CDT (link here)

Friday, June 18, 2004

Amy Goldstein pushing the-government-wants -into-your-library-records myth!

A one-paragraph memo -- saying the FBI wanted to use the part of the law that allows investigators in terrorism and espionage cases easier access to people's business and library records -- was in a stack of documents the government has released under court order, as debate persists over whether use of the anti-terrorism law violates civil liberties.
(Emphasis added.) Of course the Patriot Act does not exclude library records, but it doesn't mention them either!

Question to librarians who oppose the Patriot Act--suppose a skinny white guy with a bad haircut and a swastika on his jacket comes to your desk and asks for information on the number of African-American churches in your state and whether there are any books on the floor plans of said churches; oh, and research material on explosive devices. Is that reason enough to answer questions of investigators who say they are trying to prevent attacks on the churches? Does his "right to privacy" outweigh the potential harm that could be done?
Posted JUN 18 2004, 10:14 AM CDT (link here)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Sources say that the use of anonymous sources in news reporting is now being looked at more closely and criticized by those in the news industry. On the record, NYT's ombudsman writes:

Electricians from Lutsk may be innocent bystanders, but most anonymous sources are not. They have many different motivations, but I doubt we'll ever see the paper cite what must be the most common one: deniability. If your name isn't attached to something that turns out to be wrong or embarrassing, you never have to take the heat for it...

I can't find Filkins or his editors guilty for playing along with this dishonest practice; reporters must accept the rules to get the information. Times editors in fact tried to make an issue of such "background briefings" during the Clinton administration (Democrats are as adept as Republicans at this game). Andrew Rosenthal, the Washington editor at the time, instructed reporters to ask that everything be put on the record. When this request was invariably declined, the reporter was expected to ask why. The next part of the script had the reporter declare that The Times would therefore not participate in the briefing. "I dropped it after a while," Rosenthal told me last week, "because the rest of the press corps ridiculed our reporters." And because it just didn't do any good.

But The Times could do some good for its readers in other ways. For one thing, it oughtn't have to wait for me to whine about it to let readers know how official Washington plays its cynical game. The paper may have to play by the rules, but that doesn't mean these rules can't be explained to readers. They're the ultimate victims - citizens whom both the journalists and the officials presumably represent.

Meanwhile, at USA Today:

In the wake of the first of what Paulson promises will be regular monthly staff meetings -- held June 8 -- the new newsroom leader explained several moves, including even tighter restrictions on the use of confidential sources.

Previously, reporters wishing to use a confidential or anonymous source had to inform his or her direct supervisor of the person's identity. Now, one of the paper's five managing editors or a higher ranking editor will have to sign off on the use of each unnamed source, Paulson said.

Emphasis added. Yeah, how much of anonymous sourcing is created by a slippery slope of anonymous sourcing? Anyway, hopefully, it's the start of something good.
Posted JUN 17 2004, 6:24 PM CDT (link here)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

What do you do when you have a chatty daughter and you are more of the quiet type?

Mom ...MOM!

Yes, dear?

What's dat?

What's what?

Dat.

What?

Dat.

What, honey? I can't see where you are pointing. Can you describe it?

What's dat fing dere?

Sigh. Honey, I can't look because I'm driving.

Oh, why are you driving?

So we can go to the store.

Oh, www..www...www...why...why...why...why are we going to da store?

To get food.

Oh, why are we ...why are we going to da store to get food?

So we have food to eat.

Oh, what is food to eat?

Okay--no more questions until we get to the store!

Readers, it's a three-minute drive. And that's a three-minute slice of one hour, out of ten I spend with her while Dad's at work. Aiyeeeeeeeeeeee! I now have pancake batter for brains.


Posted JUN 16 2004, 8:11 PM CDT (link here)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Well, I wasn't looking, but I didn't see this coming:

Iran reportedly is readying troops to move into Iraq if U.S. troops pull out, leaving a security vacuum.

The Saudi daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat, monitored in Beirut, reports Iran has massed four battalions at the border.

Hap tip: The Corner
Posted JUN 15 2004, 4:54 PM CDT (link here)

Sunday, June 13, 2004

UN inspectors: Saddam shipped out WMD before war and after

The United Nations has determined that Saddam Hussein shipped weapons of mass destruction components as well as medium-range ballistic missiles before, during and after the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003.

The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission briefed the Security Council on new findings that could help trace the whereabouts of Saddam's missile and WMD program.

The briefing contained satellite photographs that demonstrated the speed with which Saddam dismantled his missile and WMD sites before and during the war. Council members were shown photographs of a ballistic missile site outside Baghdad in May 2003, and then saw a satellite image of the same location in February 2004, in which facilities had disappeared.

UNMOVIC acting executive chairman Demetrius Perricos told the council on June 9 that "the only controls at the borders are for the weight of the scrap metal, and to check whether there are any explosive or radioactive materials within the scrap," Middle East Newsline reported.

"It's being exported," Perricos said after the briefing. "It's being traded out. And there is a large variety of scrap metal from very new to very old, and slowly, it seems the country is depleted of metal."

"The removal of these materials from Iraq raises concerns with regard to proliferation risks," Perricos told the council. Perricos also reported that inspectors found Iraqi WMD and missile components shipped abroad that still contained UN inspection tags.

He said the Iraqi facilities were dismantled and sent both to Europe and around the Middle East. at the rate of about 1,000 tons of metal a month. Destionations included Jordan, the Netherlands and Turkey.

The Baghdad missile site contained a range of WMD and dual-use components, UN officials said. They included missile components, reactor vessel and fermenters ? the latter required for the production of chemical and biological warheads...

Hat tip: Donald Sensing.
Posted JUN 13 2004, 11:51 AM CDT (link here)

Friday, June 11, 2004

I didn't know:

The 1986 bill was hard enough to pass as it was. With the indefatigable backing of a Democrat, Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois, then the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Reagan pushed through Congress a bill that lowered the top nominal tax rate for individuals to 28 percent from 50 percent. He also reduced the number of brackets to two from 14.

Tax shelters for the wealthy, which proliferated before the bill became law, were struck a mortal blow. Millionaires who had gotten away with paying little or no taxes under the old loophole-ridden system were forced to fork over at least something because of a new "minimum tax." The once-all-powerful oil-and-gas lobby also had a few of its tax benefits clipped.

In addition, millions of low-income Americans were taken off the income tax rolls entirely.


Posted JUN 11 2004, 1:35 PM CDT (link here)
Fred Kaplan has a helpful column on Reagan and Gorbachev's role in the fall of the Soviet Union. He has links to declassified documents:

At a Politburo meeting in March 1986, Gorbachev said, "Maybe we should just stop being afraid of the SDI! Of course, we cannot be indifferent to this dangerous program. But [the Americans] are betting precisely on the fact that the USSR is afraid of the SDI. ? That is why they are putting pressure on us?to exhaust us."

If somebody says, "Maybe we should stop being afraid of the bogeyman," it usually means he is afraid of the bogeyman. It's pretty clear that in the spring of 1986 Gorbachev and all those around with him were at least a little afraid of the SDI bogeyman. Andrew Sullivan on U.S. use of torture:

As they say, read the whole thing.
Posted JUN 11 2004, 12:34 PM CDT (link here)

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

What did I drink last night? What did I not drink last night is a better question. I woke up at 2:00 A.M. completely dehydrated, despite drinking what seemed like a ocean of water during the day. At dinner I drank a diet coke.

So, here's the deal. If Snort sleeps four to five hours at a time, thirst or Big Sis will invariably wake up. Last night, she came into my room around the 3 o'clock hour asking if she could have quiet time instead of rest time. We settled on quiet time in bed. She then came back asking if her water was still fresh and saying that she wanted to get a new barbie next week. If you're good and you stay in bed!

I was awake from my 2 A.M. desert throat anyway, or at least half asleep. I'm not really sure. Night time wakenings are a fog, as are my daylight hours these days.
Posted JUN 9 2004, 10:47 AM CDT (link here)
North Texas is having an identity crisis. As Tech Support said, "It thinks it's Houston."
Posted JUN 9 2004, 10:37 AM CDT (link here)

Monday, June 07, 2004

Tech Support, didn't you say something like this last night in a conversation about our little girl?

Having seen how tweens dress at the mall, I can also see why people join Amish colonies or chain their daughters to pipes in the basement.
Meanwhile, further down in the same column, the evolution of James Lileks' politics, not unlike, I'm sure, a lot of people's.

1984. We all believe that Mondale will win, because Reagan?s stupidity and inadequacies are manifest to us. We are thrilled when Mondale announces he will raise taxes. Stern medicine, America! But Reagan wins. I repeat: Reagan wins in 1984. Somewhere Orwell is smiling, man. You can smell the karma curdling.

1988. The world has changed; Reagan and Gorbachev The Savior were photographed in a chummy moment in the New York harbor. The world feels less dangerous, for reasons that seem indistinct. The Times runs one last picture of the Gipper walking down an open-aired hallway in the Rose Garden; his head is down, but he looks tall and broad and strong and content. I thought: I?m going to miss him.

Stockholm Syndrome! Stockholm Syndrome!

Vote Dukakis! Now! Fast! Ahhhhh.

1990: Iraq invades Kuwait. I wasn?t aware of it at the time, but that?s when I started to turn.

2004, June 5: I am reminded of the thrill I got when I heard the words ?Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.? Because you can sum up Reagan?s legacy by polling any random high-schooler and reading that line.

?What wall?? they?d probably ask.


Posted JUN 7 2004, 4:51 PM CDT (link here)

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Twice the children, half the sleep makes for three times the work, and bad blogging! I've had lots of topics running through my head, but no time to flesh them out. I present them as non sequiturs:

Recommend:
Swiffer duster--something about the handle really does make it easier to reach things, though the duster itself is a little more snaggy than it looks on the TV commercials. It's still very handy.

Don't recommend:
Stauffer's lasagna--tastes like Chef Boyardee in a pan
Marie Callender's pot roast--bland and the meat is a bit if-y
Whole wheat pasta--Tech Support does not like it, though I don't taste what he doesn't like about it, but after comparing the nutritional differences, I'll switch back to regular pasta. Whole wheat has 12 per cent RDA fiber per serving, whereas regular has 8 per cent. That's the biggest difference. Surprisingly whole wheat has 210 calories, whereas regular has 200.

Proud of my parenting:
Big Sis loves to eat (in no particular order) strawberries, peaches, pears, apples, carrots, black beans, black olives, steak (mr)
She's not so crazy about mashed potatoes, rice, biscuits (except w/ strawberry jam)

It's a Christian thing
Cable guy asks me twice where the other outlets for cable are. I tell him again, we only have one television set. What is that--a Christian thing or something?

Top signs of aging:
I watch CBS crime dramas and am turned off by the sexual explicitness (but I still watch).
I keep trying to remove the dark circles under my eyes with eye-make-up remover. It never works.

Posted JUN 6 2004, 1:02 PM CDT (link here)
I like David Brooks' exploration on partisanship:

In 1988, voters were asked if they thought the nation's inflation rate had fallen during the Reagan presidency.

In fact, it did. The inflation rate fell from 13.5 percent to 4.1 percent. But only 8 percent of strong Democrats said the rate had fallen. Fifty percent of partisan Democrats believed that inflation had risen under Reagan. Strong Republicans had a much sunnier and more accurate impression of economic trends. Forty-seven percent said inflation had declined.

Then, at the end of the Clinton presidency, voters were asked similar questions about how the country had fared in the previous eight years. This time, it was Republicans who were inaccurate and negative. Democrats were much more positive.

When I notice myself becoming partisan, I recede from discussion.
Posted JUN 6 2004, 12:47 PM CDT (link here)

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Andrew Sullivan's tone of support for the war is weighted by the Abu Ghraib scandal. After an email from a soldier, one which we can be proud of, he writes,

Because of men like this - and my gut belief that people anywhere will choose freedom over slavery, given a real chance - I'm still a proud supporter of this war and an optimist about its future.
Still? What's changed since Abu Ghraib? An Anne Applebaum column this week reminds that there's no such thing as a "good war":

No less terrible are the tales of the Allied troops who forced White Russians and Cossacks into trucks and returned them to the Soviet Union -- at Stalin's request -- where most were killed. Or the accounts of the mass arrests that accompanied the Soviet "liberation" of Central Europe, while we in the West officially looked away. One of the reasons the survivors in CNN's film speak such beautiful English is that they were all exiles, forced to live abroad after the war.
In any population of people, there are going to be crimes, perhaps more so during war--I don't know. To take Applebaum's point a bit further, we should not put people, including our own soldiers, on pedestals. Honor them, yes, but mythologize them, no.
Posted JUN 5 2004, 8:25 AM CDT (link here)
Greetings Instapundit readers. Thanks for stopping by. The family politics part of this blog took over five weeks ago when I gave birth to "Snort" (scroll to bottom). Posting has been light ever since, but check back in now and then as it can't be long before he is sleeping through the night, can it? And I'll resume normal posting. Until then, posting is light, but my archives (scroll down on the left) are full.
Posted JUN 5 2004, 7:36 AM CDT (link here)

Friday, June 04, 2004

Let me get this straight--the Pope is criticizing Bush for recent "deplorable events", that is the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, which came to attention a few months ago and is not only being investigated but prosecuted, whereas the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal has lasted decades (under the current pope's watch)? centuries? a millenia before being investigated by the institution.

Whatever.
Posted JUN 4 2004, 10:33 AM CDT (link here)
My email is down right now, folks.
Posted JUN 4 2004, 10:33 AM CDT (link here)