Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Going public

Once you make your name or face or your remarks public, you never know where they'll end up. That's one thing I learned during my short stint working in the media. When Sgt. Peter Damon gave an interview to NBC News in 2003 about a pain killer he uses for injuries sustained while serving in Iraq, he could never have guessed that he'd end up in an anti-Bush Michael Moore film.
A double-amputee Iraq-war vet is suing Michael Moore for $85 million, claiming the portly peacenik recycled an old interview and used it out of context to make him appear anti-war in "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Eighty-five mil seems a little high, though I have no idea how much Moore made on his film. (via Instapundit.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back from holiday

While my tongue plays with the little mouth-skin hanging between my two front teeth because I was too impatient to let the re-heated pizza cool, here are a few things that caught my eye today.

50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs ...hmmm. I dunno -- lyrics are open to interpretation, but I'm surprised not to see Bush Was Right on that list. Maybe it's not a very good song, or not popular enough.

The straight skinny on what long-waisted actually means. I wanted to know because, trying on clothes this weekend, I pulled on a pair that were allegedly high-waisted, and they didn't reach my belly button. I haven't measured yet, but I think I'm short-waisted, which doesn't answer the question why those high-waisted jeans didn't fit me correctly. Height, perhaps?

The president is hosting a viewing of United 93, a film I'm queasy about seeing. I suspect I'll see it sometime -- when is another matter, as I see a movie about three times a year.

But Friday, after my plane to Cleveland turned around to head back to Dallas/Ft. Worth airport because of the inability to de-ice one of the wings, I stood in line for about an hour and a half waiting to be told I could go to Cleveland the next day. While standing there, I got to know a 42-year-old divorced teacher and mother of two teenagers whose ex-husband I now hate too. She asked me, while we were still in row 14, if we can't make a call in air -- because most cell phones can't find a signal in air -- how did the passengers of Flight 93 do it?

I figured they used airplane phones to make their calls. I guess I'll have to see the movie. In any case, I wonder if American Airlines shouldn't retire that flight number, out of respect for the deceased and as a way to help Americans remember to honor the victims and the passengers who fought back.

My husband has returned and reported that our oldest child has just finished her first thorough reading of Hop on Pop. It is time for me to join him on the couch. Good night, all.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Memorial Day

I'm on holiday. Ciao!
James W. Carey

As approachable as he was, I don't believe I ever had a one-on-one conversation with him. I'm surprised at how saddened I am to hear of his passing. He was a warm and charismatic teacher. Rest in peace.
James W. Carey, a nationally-known scholar and teacher of journalism, died of complications from emphysema last night at the family's home on South Road in Wakefield. He was 71.

Monday, May 22, 2006

How do you measure success in Iraq?

Amer Taheri in Commentary lays out his criteria:

Spending time in the United States after a tour of Iraq can be a disorienting experience these days. Within hours of arriving here, as I can attest from a recent visit, one is confronted with an image of Iraq that is unrecognizable. It is created in several overlapping ways: through television footage showing the charred remains of vehicles used in suicide attacks, surrounded by wailing women in black and grim-looking men carrying coffins; by armchair strategists and political gurus predicting further doom or pontificating about how the war should have been fought in the first place; by authors of instant-history books making their rounds to dissect the various fundamental mistakes committed by the Bush administration; and by reporters, cocooned in hotels in Baghdad, explaining the carnage and chaos in the streets as signs of the countrys impending or undeclared civil war. Add to all this the days alleged scandal or revelationan outed CIA operative, a reportedly doctored intelligence report, a leaked pessimistic assessmentand it is no wonder the American public registers disillusion with Iraq and everyone who embroiled the U.S. in its troubles.

It would be hard indeed for the average interested citizen to find out on his own just how grossly this image distorts the realities of present-day Iraq. Part of the problem, faced by even the most well-meaning news organizations, is the difficulty of covering so large and complex a subject; naturally, in such circumstances, sensational items rise to the top. But even ostensibly more objective efforts, like the Brookings Institutions much-cited Iraq Index with its constantly updated array of security, economic, and public-opinion indicators, tell us little about the actual feel of the country on the ground.

To make matters worse, many of the newsmen, pundits, and commentators on whom American viewers and readers rely to describe the situation have been contaminated by the increasing bitterness of American politics. Clearly there are those in the media and the think tanks who wish the Iraq enterprise to end in tragedy, as a just comeuppance for George W. Bush. Others, prompted by noble sentiment, so abhor the idea of war that they would banish it from human discourse before admitting that, in some circumstances, military power can be used in support of a good cause. But whatever the reason, the half-truths and outright misinformation that now function as conventional wisdom have gravely disserved the American people.

For someone like myself who has spent considerable time in Iraqa country I first visited in 1968current reality there is, nevertheless, very different from this conventional wisdom, and so are the prospects for Iraqs future. It helps to know where to look, what sources to trust, and how to evaluate the present moment against the background of Iraqi and Middle Eastern history. Since my first encounter with Iraq almost 40 years ago, I have relied on several broad measures of social and economic health to assess the countrys condition. Through good times and bad, these signs have proved remarkably accurateas accurate, that is, as is possible in human affairs. For some time now, all have been pointing in an unequivocally positive direction.
It's recommended reading by lots of people, but I picked it up from Bill.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

79 ways

There are 79 ways to be in this country legally, without being a citizen. (Via Derbyshire.)
Meanwhile in Mommyville...

The baby's got a bad stomach and temperature's rising. Time to revise the to-do list:
  • Sam's run for paper product and wine shopping -- possible
  • Last swim lesson for Emma -- a must, but how will I keep him from germing up the waiting room?
  • Purchase summer pool passes
  • Sign up kids for tumbling classes
  • 6:00 Cycle class at gym Ah, well.
  • Rock baby in rocking chair
  • Fret over everything he eats
  • Fret over everything he doesn't eat
  • Email husband and get him fretting--no one likes fretting alone
  • Buy gatorade
Funny president

Howard Kurtz:
"I understand the reporters have a job to do," the president said. "I talk to them every day. I don't like what they write, but they don't like what I say," he added, half jokingly.
(Via Stephen Spruiell.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

"NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL RIDICULOUS!"

That's what my daughter called out in her 1930's child-star stage voice during a driveway drive-in showing of Cinderella at our friends' house this weekend. I think the scene that elicited that remark was when the king was so furious that the Cinderella couldn't be found, he was bouncing on his bed with the Grand Duke, and they were floating up and down in cartoon slow motion.

The kids curled up on blankets and pillows in front of the big garage screen, while we parents sat behind sipping sangria and munching popcorn. The air was a perfect upper-seventies temperature.

Behind us, motor running and radio playing was our car, keeping our nine-month-old niece in blessed slumber. Her parents had taken her to a wedding, introduced her around to all their college friends and then dropped her off with us, so that they could enjoy the reception and stay overnight at the hotel. They were seven hours away from home and the baby was exhausted. That, added to her fear of all men not her daddy, made for some angry, fearful crying. So her Uncle Gene put her in the car and took her around the block a few times until she went silent.

Back home, baby did well at our house as long as she was sleeping. Awake, she kept noticing that man walking around the house and every time she noticed, she started crying. Fortunately, she slept long enough for Gene to get up, wake Emma and take her to Einstein Brother's to fulfill my Mother's Day dream of bagels, coffee and a Wall Street Journal in bed. The happy morning lasted all of 45 minutes, and was filled mostly of Emma handing me every scrap of paper she'd run a crayon over for the last three weeks in anticipation of this day. I swear, I'm not sure which she was looking forward to more--Mother's Day or her birthday.

She had it planned perfectly and choreographed it by having me go back in my bedroom to shut the door so that I could open it and she could shout SURPRISE! holding two gift bags of the previous month's artwork. Some displayed her cutting-with-scissors skills, some her putting-stickers-on-pictures skills and some just random thoughts of how certain colors would look on a certain scrap of paper. Each one needed to be thoroughly examined and discussed. Which sticker did I like best on this picture and why? Really? Because my favorite is this one.

I'm not sure at which point Mother's Day becomes more about the mother than the child, however, when I get there, I will dutifully report back. I don't remember it being a big deal in my childhood, but I'm thinking of making it (and father's day) a big deal in our house--should she ever lose steam--to get her used to thinking about people other than herself. I consider that one of my failings. I'm generally very busy thinking about myself--a little too busy to think about you, dear reader.

Anyhoo, I then got up and held, fed and cared for the baby for approximately three hours.

And then I cleaned the kitchen. Wheeeeeeeeeee!

I kid you not--it was a very happy Mother's Day. Happy to have the children I have. Happy to not want another, and thoroughly amazed to be celebrating this made-up holiday for the fifth year . Will wonders never cease? I love you, Mom. Thanks for creating the mold. I'm still trying to fit it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Respect for religion

What's it gonna be, CNN?
[I]f you are a Christian, then the Da Vinci Code is basically a blasphemy in that it categorically states that Christ had, not only a wife and children in direct contravention of Christian doctrine, but that the wife was Mary Magdalene, a prostitute. And the author claims that it's all true, that he's not making it up. In other words, it's a fairly blatant attack on the basic tenets of one of the world's major religions by a major movie studio and publishing house. I'm going to be reading the reviews for this movie very carefully. For example, will CNN, which refused to run the Mohammed cartoons out of "respect for religion" be as solicitous of offended Christians? How about the NY Times?
Swimsuit season

Choices:
  1. awful
  2. go naked
  3. don't go at all

Awful it is!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"...every year is worse than the previous year as far as the Mujahidin’s control and influence over Baghdad. ”

We can only hope. Via Bill, the
According to the translated al-Qaida in Iraq’s documents, the Mujahideen’s only power lies in surprise ‘hit and run’ attacks, or setting up explosive charges and booby traps that predominantly target civilian men, women and children.

According to the author of the Baghdad State of Affairs document (translated), “The actions of the Iraqi Security Forces are having a significant negative impact on the Mujahideen’s ability to operate in Baghdad. Al Qaida in Iraq attacks Mosques and other public places to draw media attention and is having difficulty recruiting members because the people of Iraq do not support its cause.”

I heard on Special Report the other day that American armed forces find something like 70 or 80 percent of IED's before they go off, or it might have been seventy or eighty IED's for everyone that explodes. I'll look for that number!

Update: I can't get rid of the large font in the top sentence! Who knows why?

Monday, May 08, 2006

The 101st Fighting Keyboardists

A few Iraq-war supporters are grouping together and have taken an internet epithet as a name. They are recruiting. Their mascot? The chickenhawk.

Friday, May 05, 2006

That was fast

Goss resigns.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm back! (if briefly)

I have no idea what's free and what's not with Opinion Journal, but look at this stat from a column by Newt Gingrich and John T. Gill,
Other industry players suffered as well. Hospital premiums to protect against the onslaught of lawsuits more than doubled between 2000 and 2003. From 1999 to 2002, the annual per-bed cost of litigation-protection insurance in nursing homes increased from $250 to $5,000--a factor of 20! Texas seniors were being displaced and deprived of care, as nursing homes closed, unable to afford the cost of escalating insurance premiums.
My jaw certainly dropped when my step-mother-in-law mentioned how much the care for her mother, ailing with Alzheimer's cost. I was so astonished, I don't even remember the figure.

What do the experts say? Buy your long-term health insurance at middle age or at least by 55, I think. I'll start saving now.