Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Please vote for Pat Tillman for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year. (via Andrew Sullivan)

Posted NOV 30 2004, 11:50 AM CDT (link here)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Off in an hour and ten if I've timed this right. The weather has sufficiently turned cold and I expect the cloud cover to blow away soon.

The children are bathed and dressed. All that is left is nursing the baby and loading the car. To grandmother's house we go, and if Miss E. has her way, she'll get a ride in Grandpa's pick up truck, hand held by Grandma. I have my doubts.

Happy Thanksgiving friends, family and people of good will everywhere!
Posted NOV 24 2004, 10:47 AM CDT (link here)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

On calling Condi Rice Aunt Jemima:

The Urban League of Greater Madison, which last week called for Sylvester to apologize, was not immediately available to respond to Sylvester's letter. Last week, they said that criticizing conservative African Americans by using racial slurs "failed to allow a diversity of ideas and opinions with the African American community."

"We do not feel African Americans should be forced to adopt a monolithic point of view," The Urban League wrote.

[Why aren't you packing up for tomorrow's trip? Uuuuuuuuuuuh...I thought so! Now, get to it!]

Posted NOV 23 2004, 3:11 PM CDT (link here)

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Soft bigotry of low expectations watch: The talk in the chattering classes is that Karl Rove is the evil genius behind Bush's success; Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are the controlling puppet masters, but Condi Rice is merely his yes-woman. As a feminist I will not--nay, cannot-- rest, until she too is unfairly characterized as a puppetmaster or evil genius instead of unfairly characterized as a mere sychophant. We've come too far for this slight!

While Slate's Fred Kaplan opines the possibility that she might become Bush's errand girl and political cartoonists use racial and sexual stereotypes to diminish her, one might forget it was Rice who schooled the president in foreign policy during his first presidential campaign.

All I'm saying is just because she's pretty doesn't mean she's not evil and it's not fair for critics to dismiss her potential for evil just because she's a woman, like they do her male counterparts. Fair is fair.
Posted NOV 21 2004, 7:42 PM CDT (link here)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Not much going on this week and I have little to report, except that I suddenly find myself in the position of needing a good recipe for turkey stuffing! Other than that, I'm thorougly enjoying this email exchange on Jason Deparle's American Dream between Mickey Kaus, Jonah Edelman
and Ron Haskins. The book follows some post-1996 welfare moms. The discussion lauds the book and looks for further solutions. The exchange begins here.
Posted NOV 17 2004, 3:45 PM CDT (link here)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

About a dozen sections of the Patriot Act need to be reformed says former Repbulican congressman Bob Barr (subscription required):

The two most significant problems are sections 213 and 215. The first authorized the use of delayed-notification search warrants, which allow the police to search and seize property from homes and businesses without contemporaneously telling the occupants...

The Patriot Act greatly expanded potential justifications for delay. The criminal code now allows secret search warrants whenever notice would "jeopardize" an investigation or "delay" a trial -- extremely broad rationales...

The other primary problem is the "library records" [there's that "l" word again, which isn't actually in the Act itself!] provision, Section 215. This amended a minor section of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which created a specialized court for the review of spy-hunting surveillance and search requests. This "business records" section allowed agents to seize personal records held by certain types of third-parties, including common carriers and vehicle rental companies. The Patriot Act made two changes to this relatively limited power: It allowed the seizure of any "tangible thing" from any third-party record holder (including medical, library, travel and genetic records); and it removed the particularized suspicion required in the original statute.

Pre-2001, investigators had to show "specific and articulable facts" -- a standard much lower than criminal probable cause -- that a target was a spy or terrorist. Now, that already low standard has been lowered further. Agents simply certify to the intelligence court that the records desired are relevant to an investigation -- any investigation -- and the judge has no real authority to question that assertion, rendering judicial review meaningless.

I need to find a column I read a while back on sneak-and-peak by a former U.S. attorney that said it was an established law unmodified by the Pat Act to see how her thoughts mesh with his. Meanwhile, Roger Simon castigates his friends for speaking ill of the Act when they haven't even read it. He says it's not long, but I think it is!

Posted NOV 13 2004, 8:49 AM CDT (link here)

Friday, November 12, 2004

More on the gay-marriage vote: Democratic strategist Pat Caddell (note it's a transcript from an interview with Brit Hume):

But the stunning thing is it was across the board. If you look at Michigan and Ohio, for instance, not only did, you know, Republican conservatives and so forth in vast numbers vote for the amendments -- and these are very restrictive amendments in those states, 61 percent of the blacks voters voted for it. Fifty-seven percent to 64 percent of union members voted for this.

Forty-five percent of the Democrats, over 40 percent of Kerry’s own voters. In fact if you took the counties that Kerry carried in Ohio, which is about half the vote, and just counted those votes on gay marriage, it would have passed 57-43...

People think Karl Rove (search) went out and organized these things; Karl Rove had nothing to do with it, actually. These were grassroots movements in reaction to what happened in Massachusetts and particularly in San Francisco. And what happened was that these were grassroots efforts by the churches, basically. These groups had almost no money. Republican organizations stayed away from them like the plague...

...I’ll tell you this. It’s about democracy to some extent. People were -- it’s not that people were going -- you know, going right and crazy. It’s not about intolerance.

It’s about people who don’t understand this and they want a say in it. It’s about democracy in part. People do not believe it could be happening by judges and they have no say about it. In the black community, this is as intense as it is with white evangelicals. And I’m really concerned about my own party attacking. Every time they get up and attack bigotry and say that it’s discrimination, we’re attacking our own voters. And it’s -- it’s really wrong to do this.

(Emphasis added.) This may be part of the problem.

Posted NOV 11 2004, 8:02 PM CDT (link here)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The answer is books.

This blog might become a boring scrapbook of the darling things my children say. I see your eyes glazing. Unfortunately, none come to mind right now. Oh wait! Yes, um my mom was quite the singer and hummer when I was a kid growing up and I hated it. It was embarrassing and why didn't she have a higher voice like the girls on TV?

We do become our parents, don't we--

Gotta dance! Gotta dance! Gotta dance! And sing!

Mom, be quiet.

Gotta dance!

No, mom. Stop!

But I have a song in my heart!

What's that?

That means I'm so happy I have to sing?

But when will you stop being so happy you have to sing?

All that therapy for nothing.

Last night I dreamed of sweeping large, round, crispy, brown autumn leaves off my front porch and woke up happier than I'd been in days. Unfortunately it was at 5:30 because Snort's going through one of his every-other-day growth spurts, but I got more of the Journal read than I had for weeks, so I can't complain too much.

Miss E. had a high energy day at school Monday. I like that term that her teacher used--high energy. That describes my daughter and me to a T. And you thought we were just moody! Not so--we have low energy days, and on those days we might have nothing at all to say. Best to leave us alone. And then we have high energy days when we are soaring firecrackers in your dimly lit cave and you want us to come back the next day, but surprise! The next day is here and it's a low energy day. No, not mad, not sad either, just lots of peaks and valleys with us. Long stretches of time in the valleys. Not sad valleys, verdant, lush valleys, but valleys nontheless.

I may be reading too much of myself in her, but she is my daughter. Another good way to describe it is transmitter days versus receiver days. Most of our days are receiver ones; our senses are filling up like a kitchen sponge on a full-glass-of-milk spill, too much to absorb. Tech Support reminded me recently though that when he met me, the people at my office knew me to be a high transmitter. But the office me and the home me are two different people. I do not perform at home and Miss E. rarely performs at all, but sometimes she just knocks you off your feet.

The question is: What are you thankful for?

Posted NOV 10 2004, 3:51 PM CDT (link here)

Did you think the eleven-state anti-gay marriage bills were put out by the Republican party in a cynical attempt to get Bush elected? I admit the thought crossed my mind. Here is one argument that says I'm wrong (via John Tabin).

About as many favored civil unions but not official marriage (35 percent) as favored neither (37 percent), and Bush was preferred by both groups over Kerry.

Well, perhaps there was no national trend but it happened in selected states such as Ohio. Nope. In the 2000 exit poll for Ohio, the percentage of frequent churchgoers was higher (45 percent) than in 2004 (40 percent). Bush did win a larger majority of religious Ohio voters in 2004 than he did four years ago, but there were fewer of them proportionally.

Also read this letter to Andrew Sullivan, which gives an interesting state-by-state analysis of Bush's increase in voters over the 2000 election.

Posted NOV 10 2004, 3:22 PM CDT (link here)

Monday, November 08, 2004

You should see my stomach. Looks like a roadmap of Los Angeles. Really. Or a greasy paper bag that's been wadded up, opened up and used again. Gross. I don't have control of certain body functions the way I used to before the second birth. Nothing worth a doctor's visit, mind you. Just occasional embarrassment and hurried trips to the bathroom. Pregnancy put my body through the ringer and left it well rung.

Not complaining here. My children are more than incredible.

Imagine, though, why I don't want to be the cervix through which you are born into reasoned political analysis. Think of what it would do to my head, let alone my heart--all that scarring for your intellectual laziness. I haven't got time for the pain.

Or I shouldn't. I do give it all too much thought sometimes. Like the other night when Snort woke up for the third time, my mind turned to it and didn't turn back to sleep for hours, coaxing my body once again to a raging 99.1 degree fever and sour stomach, and that was just thinking about replies to absurd political emails.

Anyway, so far I haven't replied to my classmate who made the Crusades analogy, not since my apology for the unfriendly email which I posted below a few days ago. She has since sent me a fairly friendly-toned email mentioning that she has recently had her son christened, and that I shouldn't just tell her she's "WRONG", but I should explain my point. I'm not sure I'm going to explain my point because of the pain described above. It's like trying to tell a person who's never worked, but suddenly finds out that they have to, how good it feels to be employed because you made the money all on your own. They're never going to believe you until they get their second or third paycheck.

But I would like to explain to you, dear reader, a little bit more about the exchange. I'm not going to reprint her email because I haven't asked her permission, but I will excerpt. She used the words "Muslim chasers," and "witch hunters" and there was something about blood in there, as in blood thirsty, but I can't quite remember what and I'm not going to re-read it, as my stomach is starting to take a turn for the better.

My repsonse to that was the following,

What liberal media? Oh, that liberal media! This is the most thoughtless piece I've read yet. Congratulations!

That was the most restrained I could be. I should win a Pulitzer for editing-in-an-email with the restraint I used. As it turns out, she's irritated because I implied she was wrong to write Americans are witch hunters and Muslim chasers.

(Desperately seeking punctuation mark to express myself as no words will actually do right now and can't find one, so I'll move on.)

Do not, I repeat, do not waste your money on an Ivy League education. I would say that this type of analysis belongs in elementary school, but I don't think it belongs there either.

Anyway, another classmate who got this whole ball of hateful spew rolling by lamenting his blue vote in a red state [electoral college is surely debatable? sure, but not right now] also made the case that people enlist in the armed services because of high unemployment. This guy's a good writer with an entertainingly angry tone, and I generally disagree with him, but at least he brings up debatable issues. I'd like to respond to him here. [He doesn't know you blog, you chicken! Who cares? This is all about me getting a better night's sleep!]

So, my response:

1. 5.6 percent unemployment fine under Clinton! Not acceptable under a Republican president!

2. Assumes people in small town America lack opposable thumbs to a. pick up a pencil and fill out student loan application; b. drive to neighboring town with higher employment rates [Middle Americans will give up their homes before they give up their cars!]; or c. hitch hike to neighboring town with higher employment rates.

3. Dismisses or ignores noble tradition of military service, time-honored since days of Beowulf.

4. Why oh why did we have to read Beowulf in high school? Just because it's the first story every written doesn't mean it's the best story ever written!

5. You people made me miss my second blogiversary and opportunity to make shameless plea for blogiversary gifts!

6. [I think you're done with this little gimmick. Oh, all right!]

Posted NOV 8 2004, 3:41 PM CDT (link here)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

If this weren't true...

To find a second debater on domestic and foreign policy, UNC Young Republicans had to import a speaker from Duke, political science Prof. Peter Feaver. Asked about the deficit of teachers on the UNC campus willing or able to represent Republican positions, Mr. Feaver got right to the point: "I thought it was a sad commentary on higher education."

...I wouldn't have had to write this,

I apologize for the unfriendly email. I think your analogy [of Bush and his supporters] to the crusades [in an email to alumni of the journalism class of 2000]
is unreasonable and I think it betrays an anti-Christian (or perhaps just
anti-religious) and liberal view. I'm no conservative or church-goer, but I
know a great deal of them and they do not fit your description.

Anyway, best of luck!
Posted NOV 4 2004, 10:55 AM CDT (link here)
Here's my unsubscibe letter to my classmates:

And with that, I am gone. Here's hoping for reasoned, factual debate in the
future. So long, folks

PS I also have no need for a gazillion dollar Upper Westside doorman
apartment that you might be vacating for gazillion dollar upper Eastside
doorman apartment with elevator. My folks just don't have the money to
support me that way.

I thought the PS had a nice populist sound to it. But I should note that the person who wrote he wished evangelicals to be beheaded has apologized. No matter. I'm gone.

Posted NOV 4 2004, 8:48 PM CDT (link here)
Take 4: Someone on my email group just wished in writing that evangelicals who go to the Middle East will be beheaded.

Posted NOV 4 2004, 6:34 PM CDT (link here)

Dept. of What Liberal Media?, take 3: Find out the file names CNN uses (until they get caught) of pictures of the president!

Posted NOV 4 2004, 3:13 PM CDT (link here)
Dept. of What Liberal Media? Take 2 Good grief. Someone just opened up a thread about "oil." All we have to do is "connect the dots."

I'm hanging it up. Last night I was too afraid to choose between Law & Order and CSI: NY. The post-election has been worse than the pre-election for me.
Posted NOV 4 2004, 1:11 PM CDT (link here)
HELP! Could somebody give me advice on how to be a good winner while my inbox fills up with hate-filled screeds from sore losers?
Posted NOV 4 2004, 9:25 AM CDT (link here)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Socks and underwear: Yesterday felt like Christmas Eve. No matter who won, I was excited by the action. There was nothing--I mean nothing--going on in the blogosphere, so I took the family out for cheap Italian fare. Our first cold night of the year, Tech Support lit a fire when we got home, we had a glass of wine and I hit the hay at the late hour of 10:00.

This morning, my Christmas stocking was stuffed with socks and underwear. Nothing dazzling. I have nothing to show off or gloat about, just a lot of hard work ahead of me, of us. A friend emailed to ask if I was excited by the victory and I replied, "I'm slightly more hopeful for the Iraqi
people than I would have been if Kerry had been elected." I'll amend that to the include Americans and the greater world.

People hate George W. Bush. I don't even have to link to that. But as Virginia Postrel told her college roommate, "I'm not picking a boyfriend here..." On the other hand, I don't dislike him. If he and I were in algebra together--yeah, I'd probably loathe him. But we're a little beyond high school, aren't we? Aren't we?

Well, no matter. I should have blogged this yesterday--a more courageous blogger would have--if Kerry had won, democracy would have survived, for the United States for sure, and probably for the Iraqis. But I think the Iraqis have a better shot with Bush at the helm.

Kerry's concession speech was very moving. I'd never seen his warmth before, and I loved it when he said this,

"In American elections there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates win or lose, the next morning we wake up as Americans."

Amen to that, brother.
Posted NOV 3 2004, 4:08 PM CDT (link here)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It's not yet November 5, but it was two years ago on election day that I began blogging. Funny, I don't look any older.

My voting line lasted about an hour; Tech Support's probably five minutes. Two reasons: I got to the polls at about 8:15, while T.S. watched the kids at home. At that time the line stretched out the door of the sanctuary down the hall, round the corner and down a second hall. Once we got into the sanctuary of the Creekwood Community Church, the line was divided into two lines: A - M, and N - Z. The first line had about sixty people in it; the second, 8 or ten. There were ten voting booths but because there were only two lines to check in, only four of the booths were used at any time.

By the time I left, the end of the line was in the sanctuary, there were about forty people in the newly organized A - L line and six in the M - Z. I knew I should have changed my name when we got married!
Posted NOV 2 2004, 12:40 PM CDT (link here)

Monday, November 01, 2004

Not a drop of rain: Until bedtime that is. Weather-watcher Tech Support was so certain of the forecast and that his mechanical ghost and graveyard scene--complete with fog, lightening and thunder--would be washed out that he brought it all inside. Pictures later.

This year we had three times the knockers as last. Don't know why. The funniest trick-or-treaters are the high school kids. Honestly, some of them looked like they were about to graduate. And they wore pajamas for costumes--could you please just give me some candy to get through finals? I've got to study for the SAT tonight, algebra test in the morning and a shift at Dairy Queen after school.

Miss E. had a blast as Christopher Robin in the scene in which he and Pooh rescue Piglet from the flood, in that a blast for Miss E. is a quiet walk with Dad, then Mom in the evening knocking on doors and wondering aloud if the neighbors would know her character. Her costume involved one raincoat we already had, a new set of golashes, and an upside umbrella, cut so that she could wear it and walk in it. She took some artistic liberties with the umbrella and chose and sparkly purple one. And of course Pooh was there, sitting on the other side of the umbrella. We brought along Piglet as though she had just rescued him, even though the story ends before that. Snort napped during trick-or-treating.

I made my can't-get-the-crust-quite-right apple pie--infinitely better than last year's. That's right. One pie once a year. It'll take me decades to get it right. But that is all my caloric budget allows.

Speaking of caloric budget--we have a house full of candy, and thus far, Miss E. has only liked two kinds. She doesn't have the sweet tooth I did as a kid. As an adult I've honed it to chocolate of the darker and darker varieties and I tried hard to avoid that description in my Halloween candy purchases, but a Twix or a Crunch can still persuade me to indulge, so if she doesn't eat them up--off to the office with Tech Support.

We had friends over so that both our little girls could share the excitement of being dressed up with candy coming out their ears and parents eating pie and looking relaxed and happy. There's no better memory for a kid than that--having fun with a friend, while parents also have fun.

But Mom hit the evening wall an hour early due to Standard Time's annual emergence. I tried to hide the nightly car wreck behind a glassy stare, but the kids had school in the morning, we all had work and it was past Miss E.'s bedtime, so the evening came to an end, or so we thought.

It's a cloud to me now--but there was some sort of 1 A.M. nightmare, a 3 A.M. trip to the potty, and a 3:30 A.M. discussion of a fly in Miss E.'s room.

And I thought Halloween ended at midnight.
Posted NOV 1 2004, 9:34 AM CDT (link here)