Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Persona non blogger

Please wish me a pleasant weekend away!


Monday, May 28, 2007


How much influence did Jerry Falwell have and for whom?

Many Republicans and conservative leaders regarded Falwell as a liability. During the 1984 race, a Democratic campaign aide told Time: "Jerry Falwell is a no-risk whipping boy." Ed Rollins, who ran President Reagan's re-election campaign, later agreed: "Jerry Falwell, no question, is a very high negative." Politicians also noticed that Moral Majority was mainly a direct-mail operation and had never built much of a grassroots organization. With ebbing support from the political world, Falwell quit as president of the group in 1987. It folded two years later.

Since then, the religious right has had a complex political history. For a time, the Christian Coalition loomed as a powerful successor and it eventually crumbled. Although conservative Christians took up a key role in Republican politics, they were far from monolithic, having a variety of leaders and viewpoints. Their activists came to see Falwell as a small part of their heritage, if they thought of him at all.

Liberals, however, did not forget Falwell. As a political consultant once advised his fellow Democrats: "Find your candidate a nasty enemy. Tell people they are threatened in some way . . . It's a cheap trick, but the simplest."

Falwell obliged by continuing to supply fresh ammunition. In 2001, for example, he went wildly over the top by saying that God may have allowed the 9/11 attacks as payback for the nation's moral laxity.

Accordingly, his name remained a fixture in liberal speeches and fundraising letters long after his actual power had shrunk. When he endorsed school choice and opposed abortion, liberals cited his position as a reason for taking the other side. When he supported Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, Sen. John Kerry mentioned him and other conservatives in a floor speech: "This right-wing reaction can only mean one thing: they know what kinds of opinions Judge Alito will issue in line with their extreme ideology."

Just askin'

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Quote of the day

Tom Maguire: "the absence of US troops will not equal peace in Iraq any more than it does in Darfur."


Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's only fair

Does the word 'fair' mean good or bad? What about if you modify it with the word 'only'?

This Harris Poll, picked up by the Wall Street Journal, counts the word "fair" as negative, so that 22% of respondents who answered "only fair" to the question, "Overall, how would you rate the job President Bush has done in handling the issue of Iraq over the last several months?" get added to the 45% who rated President Bush's job "poor" for a net negative of 67%.

If you added the 22% of respondents who rated President Bush's job in Iraq as "only fair" to those who responded "excellent," 7%, and "pretty good," 23%, you'd have a net positive of 52%, instead of what was reported as a net positive of 30%, and a net negative of 45%, instead of the net negative of 67% that the Harris Poll reported.

Are the Harris Pollsters being fair?


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Great season ending

Laugh out loud line:

"Just three months ago I was an Ivy League graduate in an anger management class."*

*From memory.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Everything costs money

I'm back and irritable because I just ran the numbers on how much childcare would cost if I went back to work full time. Seems hardly worth it from a financial point of view, although...

...well, that's about where I am.

This week I interviewed a young physician just starting his practice in a nearby town. My forthcoming article does not discuss it, but what fascinated me about his story was the business aspect. He's starting his practice from the ground up, and he's been open for business for four and a half months. He's up to 20 patients a week, with a target of 20 a day, or 5000 patient files.

So far, he has about five insurance carriers, including Humana, but he's still waiting on a bunch of major carriers to approve him. One undotted 'I' and he's got another three-month wait through the bureaucratic maze.

As a doctor of osteopathy, he's licensed to practice all the medicine M.D.'s are licensed for, including delivering babies. He's declining the childbirth, however, because the insurance carriers have deemed conception to six-weeks postpartum--with all of those checkups--worth about $1500. The real money, he says, is when mom starts having bladder control problems later in life. (Something for all of us to look forward to!)

Plus, the insurance to deliver babies is $84,000 a year. That's without carrying c-section insurance.

(Oh, don't start a discussion on tort reform here, Nancy. Do. Not. Start!)

Anyway, one thing I like about him is that he owns the property on which his office sits, and on Saturdays, he's the one who mows the lawn. Now that's down to earth.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Coolest non-candidate ever!

Fred Thompson smacks down Michael Moore. I had no idea Moore had challenged him to a debate. (via The Corner.)

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

I don't usually wait a whole week between posts and thanks to all who noticed. My "meatspace" life, to borrow a word, is busier than ever these days. I think it's the natural evolution of family life. Spring is becoming summer; the kids have new hot-weather needs; soccer has ended and will soon be replaced with swim lessons. The school seems to make request after request after request. I'm going to have to discipline myself into feeling good about saying no.

Our first dip into the pool this season was in my neighbor's backyard. I was disappointed that my kids didn't seem to retain what they'd learned last season. My six-year-old's best friend's parents are putting a pool in their backyard and I warned her that she'll need to show more confidence in the water before I let her hang out there all summer.

The three-year-old contented himself poolside until I pulled him in with mommy, and he let the entire neighborhood know exactly how he felt about that. I wonder how he'll react on his first swim lesson.

Anyway, GREAT Mother's Day. Though I woke at 6:30, I don't think I got out of bed until about 11:30, what with breakfast and coffee coming, the laptop keeping me interested. I finished a column and editing a piece. I then hit the gym for a light workout, returned to chat with the father formerly known as my husband. I made a quick run up to the fabric store to complete the cornice in my son's big boy room (looks good!), got to use the drill to tighten some screws on the wall-hanging ironing board holder, and am currently attempting to finish today's post after several attempts.

Not being able to finish reminds me of one of my favorite poems:

I Stop Writing the Poem

to fold the clothes. No matter who lives
or who dies, I'm still a woman.
I'll always have plenty to do.
I bring the arms of his shirt
together. Nothing can stop
our tenderness. I'll get back
to the poem. I'll get back to being
a woman. But for now
there's a shirt, a giant shirt
in my hands, and somewhere a small girl
standing next to her mother
watching to see how it's done.

I was checking through the archives to see if I'd posted that poem in the last two years, but it looks like not.

I stop writing the post

to repair the ironing board holder.
No matter who lives or who dies, I'm still a mom.
I'll always have more work than can be finished.
I place the bit in his drill
and tighten. Nothing can stop our tenderness. I'll get back
to the writing. I'll get back to being a blogger. But for now,
there's an ironing board, the standard-size kind
in my hands sliding into its wall mount, and somewhere
hopefully, a little girl
noticing how that her mommy did it and how it was done.

Today my husband stopped building the car to replace the soffit vents, something I didn't know we had. Just by instinct he realized they'd been painted over, were clogged up and is betting that our attic will now be within 10 degrees of the outdoor temperature. I'm a bit skeptical because attics are just hot. Seems no way of gettin' around it.

After he replaced those, he took a gander at that area of the yard that's always muddy and found the leak, sprung a new one and created a twenty-foot geyser. I stopped writing the post to watch the baby while he went to Home Depot for a couple things I can't remember the name of, so let's call them doohickeys, until he returned to turn off the water. So I returned to the post, but when he realized he was short one crucial item (hard to believe if you've seen our garage), he went back to the store. And I stopped writing the post (again) to gather the garbage and recyclables and watch the children.

And now he's returned and showering off the mud, after putting the steak on the grill, I've come back to the post while the children at my feet live the see-saw life of childhood annoying the c%#*@ out of each other one moment and amusing each other into fits of giggles the next.

Unbeknownst to them and my husband, I know about the pint of ice cream in the freezer, and after the kids go to bed, I'll be at it with a spoon, a tablespoon, and luckily there won't be a daughter--standing next to her mother--watching to see how it's done.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Glutton for punishment

New shade, my friends! New Roman shade for the big boy room to go with his big boy bed. [Aside: the big boy in question acted like quite the little boy in the pre-dawn hours after having a nightmare. I come with you! I come with you! he cried running towards me in the hallway. We tried but neither of us slept after that.] It took me five hours to complete them, with a little help from my husband. I think I like it. But I find myself in the position of wondering if I'll really be proud of anything I do in domestic artistry, not because it's not worth pride, but because I am unfairly critical to myself.

To be honest, there's some seriously and comically curvey stitching on the ring tape, making not-so-even folds when the shade is pulled up, but it's not bad either. A professional would have charged $193.

Sewing projects make me tense enough to show my tension and I had to add a general family apology at the end of the day to the individual one I gave my daughter at the beginning. There was some hopping up and down and accusations that NO one cared about my project. You would not be able to tell which of us was the six year old and which was not. Fortunately, I can, and we all can, burst into laughter at my childish outbreaks.

Heading out to Canton today for its famous flea market and expect to come back with $20 worth of junk. Wish me luck!


The pendulum swings right

The New York Times reports:
There used to be an almost complete scholarly and judicial consensus that the Second Amendment protects only a collective right of the states to maintain militias. That consensus no longer exists — thanks largely to the work over the last 20 years of several leading liberal law professors, who have come to embrace the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns.
Meanwhile, my daughter would like me to run up to the store for her to get her a brown marker. "I need another brown," she says.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


...and you shall receive. Bystander is now able to email you when a new post is published.

Update: Oh, wait! Let me see if I can add an email subscription button to the page!

Update 2: Apparently I cannot.

Testing something out here. Don't be alarmed!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I don't want to go to the zoo! and other tragediezth of thoccer mom life

Tomorrow the Kindergarten clath goes to the zoo and chaperoneth without younger thiblingth in tow are invited. If the thtate of Texath would like to pay for childcare, I'd be happy to chaperone. Azth it izth, I think I'm better off with a few hourzth to mythelf tomorrow morning while my three-year-old is at a motherzth day out program.

Today I thpent one mitherable hour at Build-a-Bear while each of about 10 three-year-old'th had their bearzth thtuffed and hand-thewn by their Build-a-Bear hothteth. Really, the company zshould pay for one perthon to thtuff and one perthon to thew. My thmall handbag wazth too heavy, pulling mightily on my lower back. I had to make polite converthation with other young momth and basically thtand around for an hour feeling uncomfortable. Thith izth the part of pre-thcool dayzth I don't like--forthed thocialithation with other momth. And they're all thuper nithe--I jutht don't know what to do with mythelf, exthept thtand around with my handth in my pocketth.

Of courzthe, thith could be the Cretht White Thtripth talkin' (day 5), but I am theriouthly cranky!

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Right said Fred

Can't you just hear his deep Southern drawl?
In the meantime, let’s be realistic about the world we live in. Mexican leaders apparently have an economic policy based on exporting their own citizens, while complaining about U.S. immigration policies that are far less exclusionary than their own. The French jail perfectly nice people for politically incorrect comments, but scold us for holding terrorists at Guantanamo.

Russia, though, takes the cake. Here is a government apparently run by ex-KGB agents who have no problem blackmailing whole countries by turning the crank on their oil pipelines. They’re not doing anything shady, they say. They can’t help it if their opponents are so notoriously accident-prone. Criticize these guys and you might accidentally drink a cup of tea laced with a few million dollars worth of deadly, and extremely rare, radioactive poison. Oppose the Russian leadership, and you could trip and fall off a tall building or stumble into the path of a bullet.

The hundreds of demonstrators the Kremlin has had beaten and arrested in the last few weeks alone, we are told, were not pro-democracy activists but common criminals — like world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Demonstrating without a permit is a serious crime and, luckily for the Kremlin, it turns out that pro-government youth groups seem always to have permits for rallies at the exact times and places that anti-government protesters gather.

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