Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Catholic Charities

Professor Bainbridge notes "giving money to a specific parish these days for a specific purpose like Katrina relief is no longer safe from the claims of sex abuse litigants." Huh. Okay.
I don't get it

Just One Minute points me to an op-ed by Francis Fukuyama, "a professor of international political economy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies." He makes some eloquent points about the Iraq War. But he also says that instead of going to war in Iraq
The Bush administration could instead have chosen to create a true alliance of democracies to fight the illiberal currents coming out of the Middle East. It could also have tightened economic sanctions and secured the return of arms inspectors to Iraq without going to war. It could have made a go at a new international regime to battle proliferation. All of these paths would have been in keeping with American foreign policy traditions. But Mr. Bush and his administration freely chose to do otherwise.
Those points are not so apparent to me. What is a "true alliance of democracies"? The U.N. perhaps? How could he have returned arms inspections to Iraq when Saddam kicked the inspectors out? What's an "international regime"? Is that like the U.N. where people close to the heads of state that make up the permanent members of the Security Council are implicated in the greatest story of graft in the history of the world? Could he have tightened economic sanctions against Iraq or their neighbors when those in charge of Oil-for-Food were allegedly on the take?

I wish Fukuyama had been more explicit.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Off topic

I didn't read the health care piece to which Mickey Kaus is referring, but I like his description of its intended audience:
Like many New Yorker policy articles, Gladwell's reads like a lecture to an isolated, ill-informed and somewhat gullible group of highly literate children. They are cheap dates. They won't think of the obvious objections. They won't demand that you "play Notre Dame," as my boss Charles Peters used to say, and take on the best arguments for the other side. They just need to be given a bit of intellectual entertainment and pointed off in a comforting anti-Bush direction.
I do think the chattering classes are mostly made up of "isolated, ill-informed...highly literate" people, myself included, which is why I don't rip out opinion after opinion on a daily or hourly basis, and when I do (see comment section on Ann Alhouse's post regarding SCOTUS nominee John Roberts joke about homemakers becoming lawyers) I generally embarrass myself.

And yet, here I am, still blogging!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Time off

I'm away for a few days. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

No, we're just better than you!

"They tend to be people who are insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors or communities."--the New York Times' Keith Bradsher on drivers of sport-utility vehicles, "High and Mighty," published September 2002
as quoted by James Taranto, whom I don't know how to permalink.
Follow Up

I've been fantasizing about doing a blog called Follow Up, in which, I or someone would call up named sources in a news story and ask them if their story was told correctly.
Spoehr is the director of materiel for the Army staff. He had a good news story to tell Moss, which Moss converted into a bad news story.

(snip)

Here's how the story was presented by Moss in the New York Times Aug. 14th: "For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks of insurgents.

"The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system."

(snip)

Americans are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the war in Iraq, because all news about Iraq is presented as bad news, even when it isn't.
Click the above link to see how Spoer tells the story. (Via Instapundit.)



Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Blogosphere buzz

The blogoshpere is buzzing about Fareed Zakaria's latest contribution:
Rising oil prices are the result of many different forces coming together. We have little control over some of them, like China's growth rate. But America remains the 800-pound gorilla of petroleum demand. In 2004, China consumed 6.5 million barrels of oil per day. The United States consumed 20.4 million barrels, and demand is rising. That is because of strong growth, but also because American cars—which guzzle the bulk of oil imports—are much less efficient than they used to be. This is the only area of the American economy in which we have become less energy-efficient than we were 20 years ago, and we are the only industrialized country to have slid backward in this way. There's one reason: SUVs. They made up 5 percent of the American fleet in 1990. They make up almost 54 percent today.
I'm not sure what he means by fleet. Is that new cars or all cars on the road? Anyway, so Andrew Sullivan does not offer much help:
How's this for an idea: send me your best ideas for anti-SUV bumper stickers. One reader already suggested: "How many soldiers-per-gallon does your SUV get?" Another ofering: "Osama Loves Your SUV." Got a better one?
It would be nice if we were all wealthy enough to purchase our politics, but as I noted when we bought our SUV (sorry haven't archived yet!), my husband and I just couldn't afford it. A soccer mom emailer to Andrew also points out
You know what? The car seat laws are much stricter now. And the car seats are much bigger. And the kids are required by law to sit in them until they are much older. There is no way you could fit even one of today's car seats in my mother's old Ford Maverick. I wouldn't want to try. Kids are much safer in today's cars, with today's car seats, than they were when I was a kid. You say yesterday's kids thrived? I'll let you check on the car accident statistics, the survival rates, etc., and then you can get back to me on that.
In the meantime, I will continue to schlep my kids and my kids' friends around in my Honda Oddysey minivan, with the three huge car seats inside."
I would add that stooping over children to fasten and unfasten them four to six times a day is a killer on the lower back. I considered that in my financial planning as well. I'm guessing we're preventing future medical costs for six or eight years of what bending over the kids in a sedan would do to my back.

Blog blues

"A woman named" Ann Althouse is living my nightmare. Meanwhile James Lileks responds to his critics. I wonder if it makes sense to respond to people who call you names.

Update: Maybe we should all follow Pat Reynolds' example, and if not, just read him for the giggles. Warning: language. (Via Lileks).

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Media correction

Stephen Spruiell gently corrects Ralph Peters on his criticisms that the Mainstream Media are ignoring good news about army recruitment, though, as Spruiell notes, they are ignoring the good news.
Out of the closet

An Emmy-award winning screenwriter outs himself as a Republican.
I know men and women who are heavy drug addicts and they have no problem finding employment in Hollywood. I know men and women who are gambling addicts and they work pretty regularly. There’s even a director who was arrested for child molestation and yet was hired by Disney — yes, Disney — to helm a picture, and people defended this decision by saying even child molesters have a right to work. I would bet my bottom dollar that all these people are on the correct side of the political spectrum. They are liberal democrats.
He tells a pretty heartbreaking story, particularly about some scripts he's working on. (Via Roger Simon).

Monday, August 22, 2005

Lie down with lions

Well, I dropped her off this morning, the first day of pre-school, four-year-old style. The nearer we approached the time, the quieter she became. She'd been very excited about going back, not entirely realizing that all her buddies from last year weren't going to be with her this year, though a few would.

When we reached her end of the hall there were two other Hello Kitty lunch boxes already there. Dang--I should have labeled hers. Emma's face was the picture of hesitancy and her eyes anticipation. When the door opened, she walked in, turned, gave me a hug, made a few more steps in while the teacher was helping another student, turned to give me another hug, which I tearfully cheerfully accepted and then left, as instructed to do.

To rear children is to live your childhood over again, only this time you are quite able to identify the triumphs and defeats, the slights of rudeness and the kindness of friendship--instead of just absorbing them--only to wring them out later in therapy or at a bar or in an email to your best friend. I feel accutely for Emma what she is going to experience at school; after all, I did throw her willingly into the lion's den.

Here's hoping she learns how to roar a mighty roar.

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's good to dream

This is somewhat the life I'd envisioned for my daughter and me should we not have had a sibling to give her.

Minus the fish. And maybe Italy instead of Japan.

But still, it's good to dream.
19??

Wow, someone found an old board game from the year I was born called The Exciting Game of Career Girls. Check the link, the game pieces are so nifty! There are six careers to choose from: teacher, nurse, airline hostess, actress, model and ballet dancer. One game piece says "You are a slow thinker. Bad for Airline Hostess or Nurse." How'd I get in the biz then? I'm the slowest thinker I know!

Huh. There's a boy's version, too. Career choices: Statesmen, Scientists, Athletes, Doctors, Engineers, and Astronauts.

Hat tip: Ann Althouse

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Update to post below:

Instapundit weighs in with an I was gonna. Doesn't quite have the same legitimacy as I shoulda, but I'll let it slide.

At most, I think this article boils down to some people realizing that democratization is a process, not an event, which is scarcely news to InstaPundit readers.
I like to call it a journey, not a destination, but process works for me.
Dept. of shoulda gone with my gut...

...and posted on this, but I didn't. I checked some of myusual blog reads and some new ones and nobody was commenting on this story in Sunday's Washington Post.

Finally, Mickey Kaus articulates what I didn't on Robin Wright's piece that the administration has lowered expectations at to Iraqi democracy:

Am I the only person who found it thin and unconvincing? When I read, in Wright's lede, that the "Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq," I expect to see a depressing Kerry-like acceptance of a post-pullout stable military autocracy or acceptance of an Iran-style religious state--something that would really suggest that the invasion wasn't close to being worth the costs. Instead, Wright tells us: 1) What we already knew--there's not enough electricity or security and unemployment is very high. Damage from looting has hurt the ability to quickly build a "robust" Iraqi economy; 2) Oil production is "estimated at 2.2 million barrels a day, short of the goal of 2.5 million"! 3) the constitution will "require laws to be compliant with Islam," as if that vague requirement automatically means something horrible; 4) Kurds and Shiites are expecting "de facto long term" some sort of autonomy. (That's a bad thing?) 5) We don't expect to "fully defeat the insurgency" before our troops leave. ... There are also some downbeat, non-specific quotes from critics like Larry Diamond--who laments that we "don't have the time to go through the process we envisioned ... to build a democratic culture and consensus." And there's one anonymous "U.S. official" who says "we will have some form of Islamic republic." But there's no indication that this "Islamic republic" won't be democratic--e.g. that it will be de facto ruled by mullahs as opposed to elections. ...
I shoulda written this three days ago.

Monday, August 15, 2005

We didn't know

I had a very amusing conversation with my dad about pediatric checkups today versus pediatric checkups when I was a baby. Doctors and parents back then couldn't have cared less about whether babies were eating their vegetables of wearing seat belts or using consonants when they babbled! It's amazing we even survived!

I kid. But it does seem like there's this under-the-hood check list in today's visits, that according to my father, weren't so exhaustive when I was a baby. Here are some of the things on the American Academy of Pediatrics website that doctors ask. But the list on that page is by no means inclusive of an entire visit.

According to What to Expect The Toddler Years :

By the end of the 15th month, your toddler
...should be able to
  • walk well
  • bend over and pick up an object
  • use at least 1 word
...will probably be able to
  • use 2 words (by 14 1/2 months)
  • drink from a cup
  • scribble
  • point to a desired object
...may possibly be able to
  • point to 1 body part when asked
  • use a spoon/fork (but not exclusively)
  • build a tower of 2 cubes
...may even be able to:
  • "feed" a doll
This is how each chapter of the book begins--with what your child should be doing. First-time parents are consumed with these lists and check it frequently to measure their child's development, celebrate when she is in the "may even be able to" category and fret when she hasn't quite made it to the "should be able to" category.

Second baby? Well, the writing of this post is the first time I've picked up the book, which also prepares mom and dad for what to expect at that month's checkup.

Questions about your child's devlopment, behavior, eating habits and health since the last visit.
  • An assessment of growth...
  • An informal assessment, based on observation and interview, of physical and intellectual development, and of hearing and vision.
Depending on need, the following may be included:

  • A finger-stick blood test (hematocrit or hemoglobin), if the child is a ris of anemia...
  • A blood test, usually finger-stick, to screen for lead...
  • A Mantoux tuberculin test for children...

Then they list immunizations and an "anticipatory guidance" chat. The chat, in my experience, includes a discussion on making the house safe for this stage in development, an inquiry about the use of carseats, never leave the baby unattended in the bath, etc.

In the middle of this last baby checkup, my older child coughed a few times and wound up with a walking pneumonia diagnosis. So much for books on the care of children, if I don't even notice a heavy cough from pneumonia (or the pneumonia as I liked to say as a child).

Anyway, the chat with Dad reminded me of a Mad TV sketch, wherein Stephanie Weir plays the mother of adult children and invites them home to watch some home movies. The first one shows her smoking a cigarrette and her children are astonished. "We didn't know it was unhealthy back then, " she explains. The next clip shows her letting one of the kids sip on her scotch rocks during the middle of the day. "We didn't know alcohol was so bad for you back then," she repeats to her children's acceptance. The next clip shows her children playing with plastic bags over their heads while lighting matches. Mom? You guessed it--"We didn't know it was so dangerous, back then."

Still breaks me up to think of it. That Stephanie Weir is some talent.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Making a difference

Jay Rosen:

“[M]aking a difference” was never a good enough standard for teaching or doing journalism. It was a lazy idea, and one of the ways the press developed for putting one over on itself. For the liberal journalists and professors who were the believers in make-a-difference journalism were babied by their profession, and their J-school training, which allowed them to believe in agenda-less journalism at the same time.

And in fact, they wanted the innocence (we do just the facts journalism) and the power (we do make a difference journalism) but this could never be. We in the J-schools failed to catch that. The people on a mission never got around to justifying their mission in the language of democratic politics. They talked about it as a neutral public service instead, but speaking truth to power isn’t neutral, and making a difference isn’t just a service to others. We in the J-schools didn’t do well with that, either.

Later the language of politics took its revenge, and overwhelmed “mission” talk, which had failed to impress the public, as well, because it was increasingly non-descriptive. Natalee Holloway mocks the mission night to night. Culture war mocks the mission left to right. And in the mutually incomprehensible classroom encounter the mission is clearly expiring. It seems to me we’re better of knowing that. How does it seem to you?
Yep, I think people are probably better off knowing "the mission" is expiring, lest we all become cynics

Still not entirely sure what "truth to power" means though.

Hey, here's a fantastic piece by Jay Rosen, a news critic at NYU School of Journalism, that I wanted to link to a few months ago, while Bystander was down. It's a good debate on whether journalists are citizens of the United States when they are reporting a story or "citizens of the world" as one working reporter put it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Good news, people!

I've discoverd a blog called Post Watch via Media Blog on NRO. Both look like good reads.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Saw this coming

2003:

The graphic campaign and exhibit "Holocaust on Your Plate," devised by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, juxtaposes 60-square-foot panels displaying gruesome scenes from Nazi death camps side by side with disturbing photographs from factory farms and slaughterhouses. One shows a starving man in a concentration camp next to a starving cow.

2005

"Are Animals the New Slaves?" The tour in New Haven, Connecticut earlier this week features giant photographs of mostly black Americans being tortured, sold and killed, next to pictures of animals being tortured, sold and killed.

One black resident of New Haven called it "the most racist thing I've ever seen [around here]." Another said, "You can't compare me to a freaking cow.

2007

PETA petitions Merriam-Webster to have the word dehumanize removed from their dictionaries.

New creative media culture?

Still learning about blogger, I thought I'd published the below post yesterday, and then I thought it was just lost. You know, one of them damn flukes. Anyway, today's reading, about a tv series and comic book both based on the Iraq War, brings a little light into my heart:

They [sic] soldiers are not perfect but benefit greatly by comparison with their benighted enemy. The fedayeen in "Combat Zone" (and in real life) use children as human shields, set up sniper posts in hospitals and mosques, and exploit flags of truce and ambulances to mount surprise attacks. Faced with this criminal behavior, the Captain reminds his men: "We're Americans. We don't shoot women and children....We don't shoot people who are trying to surrender."

In most post-Vietnam stories, a speech like this would be the setup for some kind of atrocity committed by Americans; but in "Combat Zone" the U.S. troops fight by the rules and win. It says a lot about our culture when a comic book offers greater moral clarity than most American universities.

Recent opinion polls indicate that young people today are less pessimistic than their elders, more willing to derive satisfaction from service and able to find meaning in efforts greater than themselves. "Over There" and "Combat Zone" might disappoint those weaned on the post-Vietnam despair who will keep waiting for man's inherent corruption to emerge. Story lines about fragging, drug use, desertion, suicide, bigotry and sexual harassment will probably appear soon enough. But for now it is heartening to see soldiers that are not drawn from the world according to baby boomers.

(Emphasis added.) Americans are inherently no better than any other people, but we're no worse either. I didn't get that lesson in my Military 301 class taught by the MASH cast and crew. Still, I do think democracy--self-govenment, the transparency of our judicial system--elevates us and creates a more peaceable society.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Claudia Rossett

This part's very funny:

Mr. Malloch Brown has declared that under U.N. rules it is no conflict of interest for him to rent a house from Mr. Soros, and that he is under no obligation to disclose his personal financial affairs to the public. We are asked simply to trust him, and he has implied at U.N. press briefings that it is very bad manners to raise the subject at all.

Journalists are so rude! The United Nations is a wonderful ideal. It is. But who's watching the people who make it up?

Insisting at every turn that we must simply trust them, U.N. officials since the end of the Cold War have been channeling a rising tide of public funds, as well as private donations--seeking ever more ways both to raise money and spend it. The U.N. peacekeeping mission launched in Cambodia in 1992 was, in dollar terms, the biggest ever at the time. The U.N. Oil for Food relief program launched in Iraq in 1996 was even bigger. Ted Turner's billion-dollar bequest in 1998 blazed the way for big private donors to leverage their own agendas via the U.N. brand name. And around the so-called core U.N. annual budget of roughly $1.5 billion, there now orbits an asteroid belt of agencies, programs, special initiatives and chronic drives for emergency funding, totaling billions more--great chunks of it funded by U.S. taxpayers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Home life II

Emma is 85% better and I've picked up the missing 15%; we both have just a little gunk in our chests. After waiting nearly an hour in the examining room, I wasn't too shy to ask Dr. Aimee to give a listen to my breathing too.

I'm fairly certain the infection for both of us is on the wane, so back to the gym and playdates and our usual routine as much as possible as soon as we can.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Home life

Tomorrow I find out if Emma's walking pneumonia has subsided. I think it has. Her cough is dryer and she's eating more. (Boy is she skinny. I know it runs in my family, but still!) Her pediatrician says its been going around--she's seen lots of kids for it lately--and prescribed zithromax, one dose a day for three days. If the pneumonia was caused by a bacteria, it should have taken care of it; if not, then I suppose it will have subsided on its own.

Now, how to tell if I or Gene have walking pneumonia. We both developed deep coughs and feel a bit run down. He hasn't had a fever; for the most part, though, Emma didn't have a fever either. My temperature raged yesterday at 98.6. Emma's pediatrician, Dr. Aimee, diagnosed her by listening to her chest through a stethoscope. I'd like to ask her to listen to mine (is that wrong?), and if she hears something, then I'll make an appointment with my doctor, but if not, I'll muddle through.

I'm nervous to ask. It doesn't seem right. It's not her job, and what if she says no? Will she make note of it and inform my doctor and thus I'll be put down as a trouble-maker on my dreaded permanent record? It's such a pain lugging two kids with me to see my doctor, and it will hardly seem worthwhile if his only recommendation is to drink plenty of fluids and get more rest.

On the other hand, if I have walking pneumonia, I'd like to sit down and take a rest.
Organization

I finally went through the kitchen cabinets that contain the plasticware bought throughout our marriage--a set from New York, a set from Sam's in Austin. The square, rectangular and round containers of various sizes were taking up two shelves and stretching three cabinet doors across. My husband had bought most of them when we first moved out of the city. I knew right away that I would never cook that much, nor would he, and that like most things in the kitchen, they'd just take up space.

I matched tops to bottoms, threw out orphans and bagged the whole lot of them for charity, except for the ziplocs.

I may or may not invest in ziplocs. I have the ziplocs because people bring me food (which is good). The problem is they bring me food in two types of ziploc containers. The tops to one type don't match the tops to the other. Maddening. This is where Glad Press 'n Seal plastic wrap comes in handy. Of course it takes up more space in your kitchen too.

Anyway, yesterday, I nearly gave in to the impulse to buy some fancy brand at Super Target but restrained myself. I need one brand that is accessible at my local grocery store, one type and hopefully, not more than two sizes. But which brand?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

On the front

Good reporting from Iraq. I've read two of Michael Yon's posts. He's with fighting soldiers, seeing some action and taking pictures.
Schlesinger, Jr. vs. Althouse

Just who exactly is a Federalist?
On debate

I have much to learn about dispassionate debate. Here's a brief lesson from Eugene Volokh:

Distinguishing fair criticisms of one's adversaries from unfair criticisms is not a technicality. I've seen lots of people, left, right, or elsewhere, make the same mistake: Just because they think their adversaries are wrong in one way (e.g., propose an unsound view of the Constitution), they feel free to just throw a barrage of epithets at them -- their arguments are criminal, frivolous, pro-terrorist, dishonest, corrupt, Nazi, or what have you. And then, when a third party defends the targets against the unfair criticisms, the critics seem upset. How can you defend these bad people? They're clearly wrong!

Well, that our adversaries are wrong doesn't justify our making wrong (and unfair) arguments ourselves.
The debate is whether the ACLU is being frivoulous in sewing to stop random searches on New York's subways.
More on what hasn't occured to me

It also never occured to me that once humans were able to create life in a lab young women would then put ads in papers selling their eggs, and yet I read about such an occurence years ago in graduate school. The thought makes me squeamish.

Given that (the lack of foresight, not the squeamishness), I don't see how Charles Krauthammer's view on stem cell research has efficacy.
It is a good idea to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. It is a bad idea to do that without prohibiting research that uses embryos created specifically to be used in research and destroyed.
I don't think that you can safeguard federally funded research from embryos created specifically for the purpose of research. One law is a mighty thin twig holding up that downhill boulder. All it takes is a lie.

I'm not arguing for or against federally funded research here. I haven't developed a good opinion on it. I'm just saying I don't see how we can enforce Krauthammer's prohibition.
It did not occur to me

Two straight Canadian men got married for the hoot of it (and to make a point about "tax implication").

Hat tip: Outside the Beltway
via Wizbang.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Monroe myth busted?

Cathy Seipp's mention of Marilyn Monroe being a size 16 has stuck in my head. Here's what Snopes has to say about it,

So, what can we say with any certainty? We can at least establish a range of measurements for Marilyn Monroe based on the available sources:

Height: 5 feet, 5½ inches
Weight: 118-140 pounds
Bust: 35-37 inches
Waist: 22-23 inches
Hips: 35-36 inches
Bra size:36D

A woman of Marilyn's height, at the extreme of Marilyn's weight range (140 lbs), would probably wear a size 12 dress today (which is the same dress size listed for Marilyn in the book The Unabridged Marilyn). Perhaps at one time she did wear dresses that might have been considered size 16 (or even 18) back in the 1950s, but she almost certainly did not wear dresses equivalent to today's size 16. This is borne out by citings such as the following (which might also be a source of some confusion, as a British size 16 would be the equivalent of an American size 12):

Snopes then cites an article about an English woman who bought one of Marilyn's dresses and confirmed it as an English size 16.

Snopes also rightly points out that often times women buy dresses to fit the biggest part of their body and then have it tailored to fit the rest. The tag on the dress may say 12, but each measurement speaks for itself. In my case I have to buy size 8's in jackets and blouses for my shoulder width, but in sleeveless t-shirt or knits, I like a size 6, as that fits my torso better.

Skirts and slacks? Lately I need a size 10, occasionally a size 8 with Lycra in it, occasionally a 12 from a cruel designer. But because, like probably most Americans, I'm very unlikely to alter most things I buy off the rack, it's frustrating to find a good fit. Recently I bought a size-6 sleeveless dress from Ann Taylor Loft similar to this. Now really, I'm no size 6, but the skirt is full, so for that dress--in that store--I am.

Finding a great pair of jeans for $20, driving to the tailor, undressing, trying them on again to be measured, and then paying the five or ten dollars to have them altered kinda takes the wind out of your sails. So you wear them a little big here, a little small there. And before you know it you're on What Not to Wear!

PS Please invite me out to dinner so that I have reason to wear my new size-6 Ann Taylor dress. It's fabulous!
Quote for the day

I like people who are able to "go both ways" politically and are not so mired in the preconceptions of ideology that can't respond to the real world.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Iraq Stats

Here's the Brookings Iraqi index report that everyone will be quoting tomorrow. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Dove Handles

Dove has a new ad campaign using images of "real"--including overweight--women posing in their underwear. I first came across it on a poster in the women's restroom at my gym. It's stirred up a lot of attention:
The ads are designed to sell products from Dove's firming collection — lotions and creams meant to reduce the appearance of cellulite with slogans like, "Let's face it, firming the thighs of a size 2 supermodel is no challenge."

Some find it strange that the ads aim to profit from improving the same curves the campaign celebrates, but Crisanti and others involved with the campaign say they are hearing from women — and some men — who are huge fans.
On the subject of being overweight Cathy Seipp writes,

A few weeks ago I came across an old World War I poster that announced, "Deny Yourself Something: Eat less of the food fighters need." Deny yourself something. What a curious and forgotten concept. The poster might as well have been 1000 years old instead of less than 100, so bizarre was its message to modern eyes. Contemporary citizens are far more likely to deny reality than deny themselves anything.
Well, yeah, I think a lot of people deny they have a weight problem, teens perhaps chief among them. Old fogie that I am, I was remarking to an old classmate that when we were teenagers, rails that we were, we considered ourselves fat and when we considered ourselves really fat, say the day after Thanksgiving, we shamefully dressed appropriately in a sweatshirt or big t-shirt. But it appears the norm nowadays is to wear tight-fitting, flesh-showing clothes no matter what a girl's weight, or no matter how much the bulge spilling over. Is that acceptance or lower standards or am I just old? Probably some of all three, with emphasis on the old.

But people still work hard nowadays, we just work differently. The same stress pre-desk-sitters burned off physically doing their jobs, we consume. We cubicle-dwellers or stay-at-homers use food to keep ourselves awake, to give ourselves a quick boost of energy, to feel happier for a moment or two. Finding the time to burn calories is in itself a stressor, and thus worthy of some comfort food.

I kid. Sort of.

I disagree with Amy Alkon who writes,
...being a heavy women diminishes your opportunities in jobs, life, and love. You can say it "shouldn't" be that way until you turn green -- but that won't change a simple fact: it is that way.
Way back when--come closer deary so I don't have to shout--when I was a psych major, I learned something along those lines too, but I also learned that people tend to identify with other people who have similar physical characteristics. (Seipp points out that today's size 8 is a 1950's size 14.) Thus, if we're all getting bigger, we'll hire/make friends with/fall in love with bigger people too.

Plus physical attractiveness is not just body parts (though it mostly is)--it's also youth, health, happiness and confidence.

I suppose you could make the argument that people (esp. women) who are bigger relative to the norm might have a correspondingly hard time with jobs, life and love as the scale goes up relative to the population. Extremely overweight people obviously can't work if they are too heavy to get out of bed.

I don't know. As a wise man once said, I don't have all the answers. I don't even know some of the questions this world's so screwed up.

PS I'm strangely drawn to Cathy Seipp because she seems to have an opinion, and a strong one at that, about everything. Wow.
Thought for the day

I was thinking. The great thing about August is that September is soon to follow. The bad thing about September is that my high expectations for cooler weather are always disappointed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Nerve

Can you believe the nerve of Michael Barone starting a blog the same week I get mine back up? That guy is stealing my fanfare! (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Big news

I've added my email address to right, but here it is anyway: nlc13@columbia.edu.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I have a new counter up, and I'd like to thank the two people who have checked in on me today!
Free Love

Last night I saw an ad on tv that opposes the Wright Amendment. It pointed viewers to setlovefree.com, likely underwritten by Southwest Airlines, thought I don't know. There are a lot of other sites, such as this one, that are also fighting the amendment.

Wikipedia tells the narrative of how it came to pass that Southwest is only allowed to fly direct flights, with 56 passenger seats or fewer, to contiguous states out of Love Field. That was their lot for not choosing to move north to the new airport, DFW, but they were so successful with that model, they stayed "passionately neutral" on the amendment until 2004. Now they're looking for change.

I'm hoping they get it.