Instapundit said this was a must-read; well, he wasn't kidding! Read this and you'll have both a smile on your face, and some good news to share with any doom-and-gloomers in your circle of friends.
And more good news: People keep donating to the Red Cross via Amazon. It's up to $5.8 million, from over 92,000 contributors (we're one of them). I heard Kofi Annan on the radio this afternoon; he said that total pledges from all sources are up to half a billion dollars. That oughta help.
UPDATE: It's 9:40 p.m. CST, and Amazon has hit and surpassed the 100,000 contributors mark, with $6.7 million donated.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Instapundit said this was a must-read; well, he wasn't kidding! Read this and you'll have both a smile on your face, and some good news to share with any doom-and-gloomers in your circle of friends.
Howard Fine is on the Today Show right now; he's bashing Bush for not saying enough about the tsunami tragedy on the first day. Says we lost an opportunity to win the "hearts and minds", etc.
Maybe, maybe not. But I'm quite sure that no matter what Bush had said or done, the usual suspects would have lined up to criticize him with the "too little too late" mantra.
In any event, the United States, as always, will do more to help the survivors, and do it in a more efficient way, than any other country. I have confidence in both our President and my fellow Americans about that.
Howard Fine is right about a couple of things: he says donations are pouring in via the Internet. Amazon is now up to $4.2 million, with 70,000 contributors. That's more than doubled in the last 24 hours. My prediction stands: 100,000 contributors by the end of this week.
Fine also says this is a generous country, both individually and governmentally. He's right. Good to say it, in light of the "stingy" remark.
This morning I read a George Will review (courtesy of Townhall's daily "Opinion Alert" email) of "American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and Nation's Drive to End Welfare", by Jason DeParle. The book looks at what's happened since the Welfare Reform efforts of the '90's. The answer: Lots of things, and nothing, at the same time. Yes, the number of people on welfare dropped dramatically, and those people found jobs instead, but at the same time, there lives didn't necessarily change in drastic ways, as many hoped and expected.
Read the review to see what that means in the life of one Milwaukee woman in particular. My aunt, who taught in Milwaukee Public Schools for her whole career, had plenty of first-hand experience with the disorganized lives of many families living in the central city. Those poor kids started school five years behind the other kids, because their lives were in such chaos. Some never saw their fathers, or perhaps didn't even know who they were. Some were never read to, talked to, taught their colors or shapes or, in some cases, even their first and last names. And then teachers are expected to get those kids up to speed by third grade.
Back to George Will's review; here's an interesting line:
What can help organize lives -- at least those that are organizable -- is work. The requirements of work -- mundane matters such as punctuality, politeness and hygiene -- are essential to the culture of freedom.As a mom, I can use that line with my kids. It sure makes "say please" and "clean up your room" sound much more important, doesn't it? "Hey kids, it's not just what I want, it's what the culture of freedom needs!"
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Amazon.com's donation page should have an http of "amazin'.com". Over
$1.4 $1.5 million has been raised for the Red Cross disaster relief fund. Refresh the page and watch it go up about a thousand dollars a minute, as best as I can tell. The total has more than doubled in the past 12 hours.
Instapundit has another interesting post on the topic.
Again, please consider even a small donation. I like the American Red Cross just fine, and that's where the Amazon money goes. You can also find a list of other places to donate here (hat tip Ann Althouse).
All the money in the world won't relieve the terrible sadness of this disaster, the loss of so many children, the terrible burden the survivors have of knowing that they weren't able to save their loved ones, but it surely will help fight the rampant disease that some are predicting, and will help with the rebuilding.
UPDATE: Added a link to Amazon; I missed it earlier. Now the total is $1.6 million, with only 30,000 donors. I'm guessing there will be at least 100,000 donors by the end of the week.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Read this account of the tsunami. Can't imagine the horror. What a surreal experience it must have been to see the ocean disappear.
Instapundit has a great post on the Amazon.com fundraiser to help the victims. Read his account, and then, if you feel moved by the spirit, donate a little something. Maybe even as little as what you spent on your last book or CD or DVD from Amazon. It sure is adding up fast -- over $600,000 already! How dare the U.N. call Americans "stingy"!
I have really been out of it the past few days and haven't very much followed the stories about the horrible tidal wave. I haven't been reading the bloggers, haven't seen any network news, haven't read much of the paper, and haven't even been to Drudge since the first reports on Christmas Day.
But today I finally had a chance to check around the blogosphere, and I am horrified at the scope of the disaster. Now, Drudge is saying "60,000". Unbelievable.
A friend told me today that her college age daughter's friend went to Thailand for Christmas. They haven't heard from him, and have no idea if he's alive or not. How frightening that must be. I can't imagine being there. Conditions must be absolutely nightmarish.
God bless those poor people, our brothers and sisters across the ocean. I am not deserving of the comfort in which I live, but I do appreicate it even more today, and my prayers will go up to God for mercy on the dead and courage for the survivors.
Here is the best recipe for Hot Buttered Rum you will ever find. A friend made this for us some years ago, and it's become one of our holiday favorites. There is nothing better on a cold winter night. It's so good you can even make the drink without the rum, if you want (which I can't understand, but hey, it's up to you.)
Blend all ingredients with a mixer; store in fridge or freezer in a tightly covered container. Will keep for months in the fridge this way -- if you can make it last that long.
If you don't have all the spices, don't worry. Just use what you have. But it will be unbelievably good if you use them all! My absolute favorite source for spices: Penzey's.
To make the drink, fill an Irish coffee mug with boiling water (leaving just enough space at the top for the rum); add 2 heaping Tablespoons of the batter and stir well. Top off with a shot of rum. You can use cinnamon sticks for more stirring, for a nice Martha-esque touch.
I Googled for this recipe, just to see what was out there, and let me tell you there are many inferior Hot Buttered Rum recipes. Don't be fooled. But I enjoyed this bit of advice, on a site with the correct recipe, about what proportions of batter and rum to use:
One theory of hot-toddy making is that it is impossible to use too much batter and you should keep stirring more in until you are bored with stirring. Another theory of hot-toddy making is that it is impossible to use too much rum, and that you should keep stirring in more until your friends panic.I'd say you couldn't go wrong with either approach. Enjoy!
Sunday, December 26, 2004
On this, the
second third fourth day of Christmas (time flies; it's taking me forever to find the time to finish this post!), I wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas season!
If you have been checking in here occasionally, you've noticed I haven't blogged since Wednesday. That's because Wednesday was my last day with more than two free minutes put together.
Warning: The rest of this ridiculously long post is going to be about nothing more than my family's Christmas; I'm mostly writing this for the benefit of a very dear friend (hello, D.!) who wrote on her Christmas card that she loves to be the "fly on the wall" in our home, via this blog. So, come back tomorrow if you're looking for more of a bloggish post. I've got some good ones in the hopper, I promise.
Thursday the 23rd was my dad's birthday. So I bopped over to my folks' house with a little gift (fruitcake, if you must know; he's one of the few people on the planet who actually loves it).
On the way there and back, I had 30 bazillion errands to run.
The best errand I had was to Toys R Us, because it was there that I had a "Miracle on 34th Street" moment. There's one of those every year. It's when you finally, after days or weeks of fruitless searching, find the gift you've been searching for, the one gift that will really make the kids' eyes light up, they one they really, really want, the one that makes you feel that you really and truly are Santa Claus. One year it was wooden nutcrackers, for our two little girls who wanted to be ballerinas and wanted nothing for Christmas except a tutu and a nutcracker. A few years later, it was the "Furreal Kitty", a gift which was so popular that nobody, but NObody, had it. I was with the kids in the mall one day when we overheard a clerk tell a frazzled shopper that they didn't have any, hadn't had any for weeks, that nobody else had them either. I just smiled, because I had managed to score two of them (albeit at a premium price), just days earlier.
And it was worth it, because on Christmas Day, when our girls opened up those gifts, they knew there really must be a Santa Claus. To this day, our daughters don't know how I did it, and even though they no longer believe in Santa, I won't tell. I figure there should always be a little mystery about Christmas. (And if you're wondering, I obtained the "Furreal" kitties through completely legal means. Let's just say, thank goodness for the Internet. But I'm not ruling out the help of St. Nick; sometimes, I believe in Santa Claus myself...)
This year, the elusive gift was a coach-and-horses set to go with the Barbie Princess-and-the-Pauper set. (A side note: The creative minds at Mattel are evil, eeeeeevil. Every year they come up with a new Barbie-as-a-princess doll, like Barbie-as-Rapunzel, or Barbie-in-Swan-Lake, or Barbie-as-Cinderella. Well, this year, they managed to come up with the Princess and the Pauper theme, so of course you have to buy the two dolls. What good is just the Princess, or just the Pauperess, if you're going to play out the whole story? Evil, I tell you. I can hear them laughing right now... an eeeeevil laugh... bwahahaha!!!)
Anyway, I found the coach and horses at the Toys R Us on 27th Street. Had searched at least four other stores and come up empty handed. But now I had it, and I was so happy that I didn't even mind standing in line forever (I picked the slowest one, of course). And sure enough, on Christmas morning, that was the gift that elicited the biggest gasp of surprise and delight from our little five year old daughter.
What was the point of this post again? Oh yes, "Why I Haven't Blogged Since Last Wednesday". So, The Great Toy Find was Thursday. Then, on Friday, Christmas Eve, we made our traditional trek to a Chicago suburb for my husband's family get-together. I love it. First, "midnight" Mass at 3 p.m., then a party at my sister-in-law's house. The highlight of the evening is when the doorbell rings and all the little ones jump up and run to the door; they know that Santa always leaves a bag of gifts on the front porch, with a little something for each of the kids. When I first joined the family 18 years ago, there were lots and lots of little kids rushing to the door. But as the years went by, the number of "believers" dwindled, and now, the only ones hurrying to try to catch a glimpse of Santa are my two little ones and one of the great-grandchildren. We need more of those grown grandchildren to get married and start their families to add to the numbers of children running when the doorbell rings again!
And finally, Christmas. Our seven-year-old son woke up at 5:00, nearly out of his mind with excitement: "Mom!!! It's Christmas!!! Santa! was! here!!! I can tell! He left decorations in my room!!!!" Since I hadn't gotten to sleep until about 2:00 in the morning, this was far too little sleep for me. So, I convinced him to go back to bed until it was at least light outside, and he finally drifted off again. At 8:30, the three girls all woke up, and that was it: Christmas morning had officially arrived. Our oldest peeked out a window: "It's snowing! Little flurries!" I'm a sucker for a White Christmas, so this delighted me as much as it did the kids.
The children waited, only a little impatiently, in the hallway while husband and I performed our morning ablutions (I never thought I'd have a chance to use that phrase, but there it is), and we all descended. They rushed into the family room, and the frenzy began. How can weeks of planning, thinking, searching, ordering, buying, and wrapping, all be over in a few minutes of ecstatic paper-tearing and package-opening?
Our dear friends from Madison stopped by; we had a mug of hot buttered rum (recipe to be posted here shortly; now there's a good reason to stop by here again soon!)
Then my family all arrived for Christmas dinner. We always have a wonderful time together; there's lots of talking (the decibel level gets a little out of control at times, but it's "good loud") and laughing. I'm blessed with two great parents and three terrific brothers and two delightful sisters-in-law and five wonderful nieces and nephews, all of whom I love very much, and all of whom get along famously. Is this too good to be true? Well, it's good, and it's true, so I guess it's not too good to be true.
We said a prayer before dinner, and "Happy Birthday, Jesus!" He is the one true gift for all of us; His birthday is truly something to celebrate. When you stop to think about that, you realize that all the festivities, all the shopping, decorating, feasting, gift-giving, are fitting. There's no better reason to be joyful.
Later that evening, the snow changed from little flurries to big, fat, fluffy flakes. "Cotton balls", as the 14-year-old put it. You know the end of "White Christmas", when they throw open the doors and it's snowing those huge Hollywood flakes? Well, it was like that. So I threw open the front door, and we all admired the beauty of the snow drifting down, illuminated by the spot lights on the front lawn.
And that was our Christmas Day.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Glenn Reynolds says this Belmont Club post is must reading, and he's right. It describes in great detail how the enemy in Iraq operates. Why don't we hear more about this from MSM? Belmont Club answers that question as well.
Here's a paragraph from the same post that shows just how badly Europe has lost her moral moorings:
The Daily Telegraph describes how some European agencies actually refuse to look at mass grave sites to avoid being party to the punishment of war criminals.I'm so tired of being told that we should be more like the Europeans. First they lost the Faith, then they lost their nerve, now they're losing all ability to make moral choices.
Lack of European experts has held up the excavation of mass graves in Iraq, according to an American human rights lawyer working on the investigation. Greg Kehoe said the experts were not joining in because evidence might be used to sentence Saddam Hussein to death. ...
Capital punishment is not permitted within the European Union which discourages its use elsewhere. EU countries also routinely refuse to extradite people to the United States and other countries unless they receive guarantees that detainees will not be executed. The Iraqi Special Tribunal has identified a further nine mass graves to be examined for evidence of the former Saddam regime's crimes against humanity. Human rights groups estimate that 300,000 people were killed. Mr Kehoe, who spent five years investigating mass graves in Bosnia for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said he wanted to have collected far more evidence by now, and cited the delay as one reason why the IST has yet to issue formal charges against Saddam and 11 other former regime leaders.
God help us if we become any more like them.
Monday, December 20, 2004
A friend emailed me last night with the depressing news that something was up over at Iraq the Model (ITM). Ali and his brothers Omar and Mohammed were the bloggers behind ITM; he says he's not going to be blogging with the other two anymore. My friend felt pretty bad about this, as she'd had some personal contact with Ali via email, and felt that she "knew" him, and liked his style, as well.
Judging from the fact that were over 770 comments on Ali's post, I'd say people are taking this pretty seriously. It doesn't help that Ali was unbearably vague about his reasons. Speculation abounds. Nastiness, too, based on some of the comments.
I will also say that quite of few of those commenters are taking the whole thing far too seriously. Ali is just one person, one blogger. He does not hold the fate of Iraq in his hands, nor can his opinions justify anyone else's political leanings. Far too much weight is being placed on his shoulders, in my opinion. So, people, my advice? Chill! Let the poor guy take a break. Let him have his opinions; they are independent of all of ours.
Last night, I checked around and found that N.Z. Bear also was in the dark about the ITM developments, and said the rest of the blogosphere seemed to be, as well. But that didn't stop the speculation.
Today, Omar and Mohammed have a post, which provides some info about their trip to the States, but not too much else. Guess we'll have to wonder for awhile yet.
Pro-lifers are on solid ground in objecting to research on embryonic stem cells, for far more than "merely" moral reasons. Read this article. It's excellent, and its filled with dozens of links for more reading.
For my own posts on the topic, click here and here. Oh, and one more, here. When you read that last one -- aren't you just so doggone happy that Bush won? Me, too!
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Had a few quiet minutes tonight, so I'm expanding my horizons about blogging. Did a little searching, and found a site that provides free blog polls. So, here's my first poll!
UPDATE: Oh dear, that typo (it said "Bad" instead of "Had" but it's fixed now) was hanging there since Saturday. The funny thing is, when I put the poll script in my blog code, I got an error message, so I didn't think it worked. Then got busy with things around here and never even checked! Anyway, I'm glad the poll works but sorry the typo was there. And now, here's a plea: If you stop by here, please vote, because it looks so sad to see just three little votes on this poll...!
Friday, December 17, 2004
I have no doubt that Bonnie Raitt would make the same remarks at a concert in El Paso, but it is particularly obnoxious when American celebrities insult their president in foreign lands. Yet they seem to become especially voluble about politics when they encounter the press in some European capital. Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Kate Hudson, Johnny Depp, Madonna, the Dixie Chicks and now Bonnie Raitt belong to an elite travel club -- "Let's take this huge fortune we made in America and fly off to an exotic destination where people will think we are smart because we have contempt for the American president and the idiots who support him."
I'm sure that no one ever could have imagined an Amber Alert for this situation (via Drudge). Someone killed a woman who was eight months pregnant, cut out her unborn child, and kidnapped the baby. Seems to me this has happened at least once before but I'm not going to Google it right now.
Again, if this baby deserves an Amber Alert (and it does), why could a baby the same age be killed with impunity via partial-birth abortion? When will people realize that our abortion laws make no sense?
Thank you to all who donated to the Spirit of America Blogger Challenge! Our team did pretty well; we came in fourth. And overall, bloggers raised $90,617! Not bad! If you missed the deadline (which was the 15th), you can always go ahead and donate on your own. It's a great cause.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
"The hope is twofold, that officers will have an opportunity to interact with folks and if they have a handgun, that will be reason enough to confiscate it," he said. "Second, we know that for even law-abiding folks who own guns, the rates of suicide and mortality are substantially higher. So while just perceived to be a crime thing, we think there is a wide benefit to limiting the number of guns in the city."The Nanny State lives; we're going to protect people from themselves, no matter that the only people left with guns will be the bad guys.
But there's hope:
The proposal was immediately dismissed as illegal, however, by Gun Owners of California, a Sacramento-based lobbying group. Sam Paredes, the group's executive director, said the state has for years had a "pre-emption law" on the books that bars local governments from usurping the state's authority to regulate firearms.I've come a long way in my views on gun control. Maybe 10 years ago, I remember a discussion with my mom, during which I argued that there was nothing wrong with gun control. Too many guns = too many crimes, too many deaths, was my argument then.
"The amazing thing is they are going to turn San Francisco into ground zero for every criminal who wants to profit at their chosen profession," Paredes said. "People are going to be assaulted, people are going to be robbed, people are going to be pushed around by thugs and the police are going to be powerless to do anything about it."
However, after [we interrupt this post with this special bulletin: A mosquito just flew across my screen. I attempted to bring it down - no, not with a gun, with my hands! - but missed. Now, remember, this is WISCONSIN. It's mid-December, about 23 degrees out there. What on EARTH is a mosquito doing in here?!? Good Lord, this global warming has just gone too far. We now return to our post.]
As I was saying, after many discussions with my brother, an avid second-amendment defender, I realized the error of my ways. With over 6,000 gun laws on the books, we really don't need more laws. We could use a little more enforcement, maybe, and a little more respect for the law, perhaps more law-abiding citizens, but more gun laws? Not going to help. At all. It's a bait and switch: Here, we'll pass more gun laws so the average citizen feels safer, and then pretty soon we'll take all your guns and the only people with guns will be the bad guys, and the government. Is that the kind of America we want? I don't think so.
[Dang, there's that mosquito again. It's silent. I can never remember: Do the biting ones make the buzzing noise, or not? The females bite, right? But do they buzz?]
Imagine my excitment when I read Hugh's column on the Weekly Standard (online) and found that he links to his symposium post which links to... me! Of course, his post links to me and dozens of other bloggers, but that's OK.
Just one click between the Weekly Standard and me.
I feel like The Little Blog That Could.
UPDATE: Thanks, guys, for the nice comments! Don't worry, this really isn't going to my head; it's just kind of fun, that's all. When it comes right down to it, I guess there's just one or two clicks between any one of us and any other single thing in the universe. Let's see, one degree of separation between my blog and this place. That and a buck will get you a cup of coffee. But not at Starbuck's.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
That's all. I should have been wrapping presents or vacuuming the
Come to think of it, it's also a whole lot more of a waste of time than most.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Hugh's question is, "What does Newsweek's story on Christmas tell us about MSM?" The Newsweek story is a skeptical, doubting look at the Christmas story.
So what does this story tell us about MSM? Well, it's really pretty simple (and I say this before reading all the other bloggers' submissions in the symposium; when I do that, I'm sure I'll find out that it's not that simple at all!)
Anyway, here's my opinion: Journalists are taught to be skeptical, and the field itself probably attracts people who are skeptical to begin with. Faith probably comes hard for them, I think, just as it does for people in the field of psychology (I know, because that's my field). They're taught -- or naturally inclined -- to not trust those in positions of authority, to look for ulterior motives, to doubt the veracity of sources, to check, check, double check. You know the line: If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out!
So, I'm sure they find it very hard to accept what 2000 years of Church teaching sets forth in regard to the Christmas story (or anything else, for that matter, such as abortion or euthanasia).
I'm not saying that all reporters are non-believers, just as not all psychologists are. But it doesn't surprise me in the least to see this kind of story published in Newsweek.
Of course, you have to wonder where all that skepticism goes when a "journalist" is given fraudulent documents....
UPDATE: Welcome, Hugh Hewitt visitors, and Merry Christmas to you all!
This is very good news. Read the whole thing.
While you're there, read a few other articles by Pipes, including this. I've been meaning to post about that one for some time now. Pipes discusses the targeted killing of Christians in Muslim countries, and the article indirectly poses the question of martyrdom.
Read the article, and then ponder. What would you do? Would you learn the Koranic verses Pipes cites and falsely claim to be a Muslim, to literally save your neck?
Or would you die a martyr, proclaiming "Viva Christo Rey!" as did Padre Pro in 1927?
UPDATE: The commenter below asks if Padre Pro was the inspiration for priest in the the Graham Greene novel "The Power and the Glory". According to this site, he was. I have no idea what kind of personal life Padre Pro led, but he did die a martyr's death, as did the whiskey-priest in "Power and Glory". (Kudos, JAS, for thinking of that connection!)
Monday, December 13, 2004
Sunday, December 12, 2004
If you're going to go phishing for people's credit info, you ought to at least be somewhat proficient in the English language. Here's part of a phraudulent phishing scam pretending to be from Paypal.
During our regular maintennance updates and procedures, we have reviewed all account informations that are securely stored on our database. Our staff have found accounts that needs to be updated in order to maintain the integrity of accounts. At this point, we require you to verify you account information by accessing you account.It's probably a good thing they mangle the language; they phool phewer people that way. Enough of the "ph" thing. But one question: Why did they start calling that scam "phishing", anyway?
This update must be done immediately in order for us to update your account information. Otherwise, we will temporarily block all access to your account until updates has been completed. (Emphasis mine, of course.)
Now that's hilarious, especially before a second cup of coffee.
After the second cup, we determined that the tree was, too, drinking; it must have sucked up at least a pint overnight. Good enough.
More later... laptop battery is beeping.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
The Iraqi bloggers from Iraq the Model were in the States recently, in New York and D.C., with some west coast cities coming up.
Glenn notes he had to turn down an invitation to go D.C. to meet them. Well, I got an invitation to that event, too. Really. But I'm sure it wasn't as personal as Glenn's probably was. As a donor to Spirit of America, (by the way, please give!) I received an email inviting me to the meet-and-greets. And I would have loved to have gone -- but circumstances being what they are (four kids, homeschooling, Christmas coming soon, no frequent flyer tickets) it just wasn't in the cards.
I hope they're having a wonderful time on their grand tour of the States, and I hope they get to meet many of the people who support them. They met the President, those lucky dogs, so that's a good thing.
You really should check in with the blogging brothers every so often. Here's a delightful quote from a recent post:
It was really confusing to me in the beginning that liberals would not support the change in Iraq (remember we were isolated so we didn't know much about that) even though they were against Bush, as it's over now and any humanist should (in my mind) support democracy and peace in Iraq. Besides, I've always considered myself a liberal! On the other side, I had a bad impression that many of the people on the right were fanatics and racist! How much did we learn in this year!
Friday, December 10, 2004
A couple of interesting things. First, a dear friend sent me an email the other day, with this quote:
Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth -- in a word, to know himself -- so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves (cf. Ex 33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3;Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2)."It's from Pope John Paul II's 1998 encyclical, Fides et Ratio. Beautiful, isn't it? Something to contemplate in this Advent season.
The other interesting thing is here, via Drudge yesterday. It's a case study of the above point: a leading atheist, who spent his life trying to prove the non-existence of God, has decided that the evidence points the other way. He now says that there is, in fact, a God. I don't think he's found the fullness of truth yet, but he's on the right path -- and none too soon. He's 81 years old. You don't suppose he's just going with Pascal's wager, do you?
Thursday, December 09, 2004
No, not of the world, just of the Blogger Challenge for Spirit of America.
So high thee to the link herewith mightily. Or something. Just please, go here, and donate. In fact, donate twice as much as the first number that occurs to you.
Because if you don't, the TTLB team is going to lose big time to the Northern Alliance. They already think they're all that, just because they have the likes of Power Line and Hugh and all the rest of 'em. I mean, come on. We've got some mighty fine bloggers, too.
But that's not the real reason to donate, of course. The real reason is that Spirit of America is about the coolest organization I've come across in a long time. They're making a real difference in Irag and Afghanistan, and this is a much better way to truly support our soldiers than just slapping a yellow ribbon on the back of the van (though I did that, too).
So, if you got here randomly ("Next Blog", anyone?) or if you actually are one of the four people who comes here on purpose, please give. Thank you.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
In previous posts, here and here, I discussed the "Roe Effect" (term coined by James Taranto) and the "Roe Effect Corollary", both of which suggest that liberals may be an endangered species because of the effects of abortion, and because liberals just don't want to have many children (worried about overpopulation, perhaps).
Here's an interesting article (NYT registration required) that looks at the other side of the equation: conservatives are having bigger families. David Brooks calls this segment of the population "natalists"; they have three, four, or more kids, and are found primarily in red counties, especially in the exurbs targeted so well by the Bush team.
Well, by his definition, we're natalists (four kids). You'll find lots of "natalists" in Catholic homeschooling circles; I personally know of several families with ten children, and quite a few with more than six. There are about 120 families in our own little support group, and about two to three families more families join every month. We worked very hard to get President Bush re-elected, and we teach our children why we vote the way we do.
I don't much care for the term "natalist" (sounds too much like "fatalist", for one thing, and also strikes me as reminiscent of the pejorative term "breeder") but there's no question that families like ours are going to help shape the future of this country.
Here's a great page if you're interested in the views of liberals opposed to having children; the "rants" page links to articles referring to humans as a "cancer on the earth", and calling for voluntary human extinction. And no, I'm not kidding.
(Note: The following was added as a comment to the previous post; it's so good it has to have its very own post. Thanks, Guest Blogger! You will remain anonymous unless you choose to reveal yourself!)
Late October -- pumpkins, corn stalks, leaves turning colors, of course, it must be... Christmas! Well, not Christmas, Christmas is gone, now it's "The Holidays". Whatever happened to Christmas? For that matter, whatever happened to Thanksgiving? Holiday decorations go on sale by Halloween. What's more, I notice that many of my neighbors now put up as many Halloween lights and decorations as they do for "The Holidays", only the color changes from orange to red or green or white.
Our paper carrier included a card with the newspaper, wishing us the warmest generic holiday greetings on November 19th, one week before Thanksgiving. As best I can tell, that card is celebrating snow and sleighs. The city parks are decorated in October with lights which are conceptually removed from Christmas; they depict French Horns, teddy bears, drums, packages, trees, snowflakes, and bells. These are lit nightly starting in early November which temporally removes them from the actual event of Christmas as well.
At work, my company has a "Holiday Gift Giving Program" for charity which used to be the Christmas Giving Tree, and a "Holiday Food Day", formerly known as an office Christmas Party. As an aside, those Christmas parties of old also featured (brace yourself) raw beef! We also said "Merry Christmas", and some people smoked cigarettes right there in front of everyone. This renaming is insidious; are we so afraid of offending the non-Christians in our midst that we feel compelled to wash out our own most significant religious holidays? I won't participate in these activities this year, they celebrate NOTHING.
Maybe it's just a sign of our culture overall. The world of "lite" mayonnaise, half the carbs, half the fat, half the calories, washed down with half-caff coffee or Light Beer. These decorations, parties, and lights are part of the trend toward "Christmas Lite". The charitable activities are in the secular name of honorable humanistic intentions, atheistic or at least agnostic, void of God and Christ. It publicly acknowledges the season, but it removes all the meaning of Christmas or Jesus.
Some might wonder what's wrong with starting the season early, supplanting the word Christmas with Holidays, or commercializing Santa? Starting the holidays earlier eliminates the true Christmas season. It skips Advent - a time of waiting and preparation. It lumps the secular and sometimes suspect Halloween with Thanksgiving and Christmas, attempting to give them equal and secular significance. As far as the semantics, the words help convey the meaning, it's that simple. "Holidays" used in this manner is tepid and I can't stand it, either it's Christmas or it isn't. Santa is Saint Nicholas, typically depicted as avuncular, smiling, warm, downright holy - a symbol easily tied to the religious aspects of Christmas. But your post points out something more. First the Santa image started getting homelier and usually is accompanied by that grating, cloying electronic "music" that plays repeatedly via motion sensor. But now the image of Santa isn't just luke-warm and washed out, it's being reversed into the nasty grin of the Grinch, not merely washing away the religion but replacing it with an evil twist.
This isn't exactly the Christians being thrown to the lions, but it is a case of letting a small group of atheists push us around the town square a bit. I think the gift-giving aspect of Christmas has also added to the commercial tone (Hey, throw a Santa hat on a Grinch if it sells a DVD or two - we need sales, this season makes or breaks us!). But instead of being cheerful or uplifting, this can mock the real joy behind Christmas in a way that's depressingly hollow. But none of that can stop you from finding a minute to light a candle, to say a prayer and thank God for the beginning of a life that affects and saves ours. Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I know I will, at home and at Mass, with a Nativity set, a Christmas tree, St. Nick, and family and friends.
UPDATE: The guest blogger says I can reveal his identity: It's my husband (which I knew immediately, but since he didn't add his initials to the end of the post, I respected his anonymity.)
Monday, December 06, 2004
A couple of items for this "holiday" season.
After overhearing the news, Sasha Kovacs-Johnson, 7, said she didn't understand.Go figure. Maybe it was somebody who just was doing his part to literally keep Jesus out of the public square.
"If someone was a good guy, they wouldn't take it," she said. "If someone was a bad guy, they wouldn't even want it."
Friday, December 03, 2004
The recent story about babies and young children being euthanized in the Netherlands is very distressing, as noted here previously. These children are the canaries in the coalmine for the rest of us; their deaths warn of a nightmarish future. The "right to die" will become "the duty to die", in less time than we might imagine.
Hugh Hewitt has been on top of this from the start, much to his credit; he's also noted the ho-hum response from MSM and much of the blogosphere.
The problem, I think, is that it's very hard for someone who wants to remain "pro-choice" (and that counts most in the MSM and probably any libertarian-leaning bloggers) to maintain a consistent ethic here. If you approve of legal abortion, even for babies who are perhaps only a few weeks away from a due date, how can you be appalled by the euthanizing of infants just a few days or weeks past that due date, especially if they have the same kind of illness or defect for which they could have been legally aborted? As some are saying, it's simply "post-birth abortion".
Peter Singer has been advocating this for years, saying parents should have up to 28 days after a child is born to decide whether to let it live. Read this recent article; it's horrifying, but it's where we're headed if the Culture of Death has its way.
Will we listen to the warning from the Netherlands? Or is it already too late for us?
UPDATE: Through a chain of links, from Townhall.com to Michelle Malkin to Dawn Patrol, I found out who coined the term "post-birth abortion": Shock and Blog. At least, as far as I can tell.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Rich Glasgow has an interesting post here, about an article titled "Amateur Revolution". According to the author, Charles Leadbeater, amateurs are taking over from the professionals in a number of fields. He calls them "Pro-Ams":
"committed, networked amateurs working to professional standards. Pro-Am workers, their networks and movements, will help reshape society in the next two decades."Leadbeater lists rap music, astronomy, and banking among the fields being revolutionized by high-achieving amateurs. Rich takes it further, including homeschoolers, home improvement do-it-yourselfers, and bloggers.
Had a little shock of recognition after reading this, realizing that my family fits all three of Rich's categories:
Also consider this recent Instapundit post which wonders if we're witnessing the end of capitalism -- in the sense that the means of production are no longer just in the hands of a few wealthy capitalists -- and you get an even clearer picture of the new economy. More evidence for this can be found here, in the stats on the number of self-employed and entrepreneurs.
That's why I think that Bush's emphasis on an "ownership" economy, especially in terms of portable benefits and changes to Social Security, is coming at exactly the right moment in time.
Isn't that what this would be?
"The Year of the Beginning of the Long March of Blog" Do you think "The Year of the Blog Slog" will catch on?
Nah, me neither.
UPDATE: I belatedly added the link to a definition of slog.
The last couple of posts about euthanizing children were so depressing that I really wanted to find something good to post about.
So here's some good news from Iraq, thanks to Chrenkoff, as always.
And on that note, let me beg once again for you all to donate to the Blogger Challenge for the Spirit of America. This is a wonderful organization that will help make many more good things happen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So (abject begging here) please, please, please, if you stop by this blog once in awhile, or even if you just hit "Next Blog" and came here randomly -- click on those links and consider a nice little donation. Any amount is great, whether $10 or $100 (or $1000!)
And if you do give, please drop a comment here, so as to encourage others to do the same!
Hugh Hewitt has more on the story I posted about yesterday (didn't have time to write more about it then).
In the Netherlands, they euthanize children according to the "Groningen Protocol". The most frightening part (after the fact that they're actively killing children, obviously): the parents really don't have much to say about it.
How far will this go? How sick do you need to be before the professionals decide you're not worth saving? That you should be put out of your misery?
I hope people find this as appalling as I do. Or have we lost our ability to be outraged by the assaults on the sanctity of human life?
Oh, I just realized that Hugh also posted about this yesterday in more detail, and I find that he, too, is wondering if people will be outraged or not. Read his whole post. He says the blogosphere is quiet about it. Hope it's just because we're tired after Thanksgiving, and not because we're tired of dealing with issues like this one.