Sunday, October 30, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Love2LearnMom tagged me for one of those pass-the-meme blogger games. OK, I'll play along. Here are the directions:
On your blog...
1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to it).
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along
with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.
My 23rd post was from Friday, September 17, 2004. The 5th sentence:
Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?That sentence actually was part of a quote from President Bush. I was posting about the falsehood in the media that the President said the threat from Iraq was "imminent".
He never said that. In fact, he was arguing against waiting till the threat was imminent! Full quote from the Bush's speech:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.How many people do you think remember this correctly? Not many. Unfortunately, the media preferred the "Bush lied, People died" mantra.
It's also quite apropos, given the whole Wilson/Plame/Libby/ Miller/Niger/Yellow Cake/Ad Nauseam thing going on right now, to remind ourselves about what the President really said.
Oh yes, the blog game: I tag Attila, Paul, Theresa, TeeBee, and Jib.
Bonus tag: Rich, for something to blog about when he gets back from vacation!
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Looks like the President took the Krauthammer strategy.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Attila, who did a great job of covering the Miers fiasco, sums up my reaction to her withdrawal perfectly.I never did pile on the Oppose-Harriet bandwagon. But The Husband and I weren't thrilled about the nomination at the start because of her lack of judicial experience. After reading the documents on Smoking Gun, learning that once she was a Catholic but then became an Evangelical, and once was a Democrat but then became a Republican, I wasn't so sure that she would, indeed, be the same person 20 years from now that she is today, as the President tried to reassure us.
I shared the concerns of many that she didn't have the intellectual ability to serve on the Supreme Court, and that all the "good intentions" in the world aren't enough if you can't put together a coherent argument for your principles.
My first request to the President for his new nominee: Please, we don't need an affirmative action program for the Supreme Court! I don't care if we have another woman on the court; just give us a solid nomination.
Monday, October 24, 2005
From today's Chicago Tribune:
Newspapers in Britain reported on government contingency plans for up to 600,000 dead and painted an apocalyptic picture of troops being called in to prevent people from fleeing infected areasWhat? Newspapers painting apocalyptic scenes? Exaggerating things? Generally screaming "the sky is falling" in 24-point headlines?
That must only happen in Europe, because it surely never happens here.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
How to make a celebratory White-Sox-in-the-World-Series cake:
1. Buy a black-and-white frosted birthday cake at your local grocery store.
2. With a dull butter knife, scrape the black frosting "Happy Birthday" message off the cake. Discard.
3. Using a tube of black decorator frosting (also purchased at the grocery store), write "Go Sox" in big, squiggley letters on the cake.
4. Hope family doesn't notice the greyish residue from "Happy Birthday" on the cake top.
5. Eat cake while cheering on the White Sox. Try to take mind off the fact that The Husband is actually attending the first two Series games, while you are home with the kids. Tell yourself that seeing it on TV is just as good. Eat more cake. Repeat as often as necessary to feel better about not getting to go to the game, or until sugar-induced coma sets in.
I love stories about serendipitous discoveries like this one.
Interesting, too, that this possible replacement for the lightbulb came about in such an unexpected way, as opposed to the dedicated, repetitive, methodical trial-and-error method that Edison used:
He tested the carbonized filaments of every plant imaginable, including baywood, boxwood, hickory, cedar, flax, and bamboo. He even contacted biologists who sent him plant fibers from places in the tropics. Edison acknowledged that the work was tedious and very demanding, especially on his workers helping with the experiments. He always recognized the importance of hard work and determination. "Before I got through," he recalled, "I tested no fewer than 6,000 vegetable growths, and ransacked the world for the most suitable filament material."Contrast that to:
"I was surprised when a white glow covered the table," Bowers said. "The quantum dots were supposed to emit blue light, but instead they were giving off a beautiful white glow."Of course, any so-called serendipitous discovery is usually preceded by years of hard work; it's just that the the result wasn't what was expected.
But I think I'll miss the humble light bulb. As the witty reporter noted,
"One big question remains: When a brilliant idea pops into your mind in the future, what will appear over your head?"
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
I voted today. Just one race on the ballot, for County Executive.
When I was there, I said to the woman at the table, "Do I get a purple finger tip, like the Iraqis do?" They just laughed.
But I do wish they would ask for ID here. Too bad our governor has vetoed a bill for photo ID
once twice I-lost-count how many times.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Almost every fall, I get the urge to plan a major trip to see the fall colors. Somewhere up north, or to Holy Hill, or even, someday, Vermont.
But then I discover that it really only requires a three-block walk with an 8- and a 6-year old to appreciate the beauty of the trees in your own little neighborhood.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Peter Singer, the Princeton ethicist, believes that it's morally wrong to spend $100 on having your eyebrows professionally plucked.
This is the same Peter Singer who advocates infanticide of less-than-perfect infants for up to 28 days after a child is born (or actually even up to a year later, though he says the sooner the better).
He also says it would be OK to conceive a child in order to kill it to harvest the organs for another child, that bestiality, necrophilia, and a variety of other, ummmm, choices, are all fine.
But that $100 eyebrow thing? Bad, very bad. I learned this bit of ethical wisdom from reading the Chicago Tribune's entertainment section yesterday.
You can read more about Mr. Singer, including this about how he usually would advocate saving a human being over a mouse from a burning building (on the grounds that the mouse's family probably wouldn't mind quite as much as the human's family would), but that in some cases, perhaps the better choice would be to save the mouse.
No, I'm not making that up. It's from his own website. (Though I admit I checked it a couple times to make sure it wasn't a spoof site. It's not.)
And this man teaches "Practical Ethics" at Princeton.
Oh, and just for the record: I wouldn't spend $100 on an eyebrow tweeze. But I still think that killing a one-month old Down syndrome baby would be worse.
But maybe that's just me.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Found in a comment at this site:
Can we find anyone with a somewhat normal life. She's a 60 year old spinster for goodness sake.Ridiculous, yes? Why on earth would that disqualify her?
Posted by roux October 9, 2005 08:12 PM
But apparently "roux" isn't the only person who seems to have a problem with never-married women. Today the Anchoress posts on that topic, quoting an emailer:
I wholeheartedly disagree with you and Hugh, and agree with Laura Bush. I had thought sexism to be part of the reason behind the whole Harriet hysteria long before Laura Bush mentioned it. Maybe not sexism per se, but more the fact that she is a single older woman who has never been married. Call it what you want, I think that is the problem most conservatives have with her. I have heard a few of them even have the guts to come clean about it on a talk-radio show or two.More people should have had my good fortune: one great-aunt who was a nun, charming, sweet, smart; another great-aunt who never married (though not for lack of suitors), delightful, loving, wonderful sense of humor; and finally an aunt who also had plenty of suitors but chose to remain single, and is similarily delightful, generous, fun to be with.
All of them healthy, happy, normal women, leading good lives. If more people had aunts or cousins or sisters like that in their lives, I'm guessing they wouldn't be so... what would it be: puzzled? put-off? bothered? frightened, even? ... by Harriet Miers.
Now, I'm still not sure where I stand on the Meirs nomination (and haven't blogged about it partly for that reason and also partly because of lack of time for any serious blogging), but I know for sure that her status as a single woman absolutely does not disqualify her.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
No, not really.
However, she's on to something that would almost make me say just that.
UPDATE: Welcome to those finding this post via a Google search on "Oprah for President" (a popular search lately!). Please be sure to check out my other posts on Oprah, here, here, and here. Especially that first one.I'm sure that by now almost everyone has heard about her campaign to track down child molesters. She announced on today's show that she believes she heard a call, from God, to devote her life to tracking down these sexual predators and getting them behind bars, and to getting laws changed "state by state by state".
She's already claimed credit for several fugitives being tracked down.
I don't watch Oprah much, partly because about 90% of the time I can't get decent reception on Channel 12 (but that's another story), and partly because I'm usually running carpool, making dinner, or cleaning up the house between 4 - 5 when the show airs locally.
[Note to The Husband: Yes, honey, I know, I always put these disclaimers in when I write about Oprah. But it's true.]
But today I did see part of the show, and you know, it was honestly a chills-down-the-spine moment (well, a small one, anyway) to hear her say that she woke up one morning knowing that this was her purpose in life, that she had come full circle for her from being an abused girl herself to now being a woman who can help to bring justice to these criminals.
She vowed to use her resources, which, in terms of both power and money, are considerable, to make this happen.
For starters, she's giving a $100,000 reward to anyone who contributes a tip that leads to the arrest of one of these predators.
This will be something to see. We already know Oprah is a sort of cultural goddess; we know what happens to a book that she recommends; we know what kind of media empire she has established.
All I can say is that child molesters will have no peace, no rest, no hiding places, now that Oprah has taken on this cause.
Two downsides to this: First, that innocent men may be unjustly arrested and jailed; two, that it creates another mass hysteria similar to the "every-day-care-provider-is-a-molester" hysteria that swept the country in the '90's.
If she can avoid those while still helping track down these fugitives, it will be a very good thing.
But I still wouldn't really vote for her for president.
Monday, October 10, 2005
This is the kind of hyperbole I was talking about in the previous post, though from a different corner of the political world. It's not the "blame Bush" crowd; I suppose you could say it's the "blame God" crowd, more or less.
People have thought the end times were upon us since Christ ascended, but "of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mark 13:32)."
Historically speaking, the times we live in are some of the most peaceful ever, and the death totals from natural disasters some of the lowest ever.
I'm content to wait and see when the Lord decides to come again, without resorting to the reading of the natural disaster tea leaves to try to nail down the exact moment.
Besides, any of us could have our own personal "end time" at any moment. That's the moment we should all be concerned with, and be ready for.
Since the tsunami last Christmas, this has been quite a year for natural disasters. Katrina and Rita, of course; now the devastating earthquake in Pakistan/Afghanistan. We even had a terrible tornado season here in Wisconsin recently -- though just one man lost his life.
Drudge is now reporting that a
hurricane a tropical storm is headed toward Portugal, which is a pretty rare event.
Still, those who claim that things are getting worse than they ever have been in history, and that this is all our fault because of global warming, or it's Bush's fault because he -- well, he's just Bush, that's all -- are ignoring history (not to mention science and logic).
For some perspective, check this page. How about the 1887 flood in China that killed a million people? Or flooding there in 1937 that killed 3.7 million? Or the Turkmenistan earthquake of 1948 that took the lives of 100,000? The famine and flooding in North Korea, between 1995 - 1998, that killed 3.5 million?
Compare that to this year's natural disasters:
Zarand, Iran, 2005: earthquake (500 dead)Even adding this week's earthquake (20,000) and last year's tsunami (over 118,000) doesn't bring the total for the year anywhere near to that of many previous years.
Nias, Indonesia, 2005: 8.7 earthquake (1000 dead)
Mumbai, India, 2005: monsoon (1,000 dead)
China, 2005: floods (567 dead)
Louisiana and Mississippi, USA, 2005: hurricane (1,069 dead)
Still, human suffering is human suffering, no matter the total. It's always hard to hear about these disasters without feeling great empathy for the lost, the injured, the homeless, the stranded, the orphaned.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
... about Bayfield.
The Bayfield Apple Festival is this weekend, and I would just love to be there. But a busy schedule of soccer, and a trip to Holy Hill with some friends, and a neighbor's birthday party, all keep me here. Happily here, I might add, but sometimes I wish I had the gift of bilocation!
Friday, October 07, 2005
...because of the White Sox. Yes, we live in Milwaukee, but The Husband is from Chicago (southwest side, Evergreen Park, to be precise), and as I always say, "You can take the boy out of Chicago, but you can't take the Chicago out of the boy."
So we're just about nuts here because The Husband's beloved Sox are just three outs away from sweeping the Red Sox in the playoffs.
Watch it on Gameday. (The headline writers there just had this: "Pale hose try to sweep aside world champs." Pale hose indeed!)
Sweep, sweep, sweep!!! Very cool.
... without a post here.
But this is my life these days: very little spare time, and the days fly by faster than I can believe.
Just for fun: Here's a search that brought someone to my blog. There aren't many "Mary Eileens" in the world, but there must be a Mary Eileen Powell somewhere out there. It's just not me.
And here's an Ask Jeeves search that also brought someone here -- someone who enjoys words, I'm guessing.
Oh, and I'm almost up to my
20,000th 17,000th visitor here, which is kind of cool. That's about an hour's worth for some bloggers, but hey, I'm not one of those bloggers.
Update: I really need to get my eyes examined. I could have sworn it said "19,988" or whatever yesterday, but today realized it was just 16,988.... oh well.