Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Biden Does It Again

Sometimes it's just plain embarrassing being a Delawarean:

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Senator Biden on Senator Obama

Oh, if only Biden were "articulate" and "bright" or would at least think before he spoke.


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Monday, January 29, 2007

Presidential Hopefuls

So far the Republican candidates for 2008 have left much to be desired. McCain has, in the past, gone out of his way to insult and alienate conservative Christians. A darling of the media, he causes suspicion in those of us who wonder why they are fawning over a "conservative". Furthermore, I'm not sure I could forgive him for McCain-Feingold. I've never stayed away from the voting booth before, but McCain isn't infusing me with any enthusiasm.

Giuliani is another popular politician that many want to run for President, and he did a remarkable job in New York. Yet while he is conservative on some issues, he's quite liberal on other issues social conservatives and gun lovers value most. Problems he has had in his personal life may also dissuade citizens from voting for him--and how will we ever purge that image of him in women's clothes from our minds? Somehow that just doesn't seem very presidential.

Now Sam Brownback has decided to join the fray. No doubt, we'll see liberal media personalities wiping foam from their mouths as he is proclaimed a conservative Christian. Taking his faith seriously, he visited a prison to promote religious-based alternatives to prison violence and a more positive lifestyle for prisoners should they be returned to society. FoxNews did take note of his visit, which certainly was not to garner votes. Brownback himself remarked: "There aren't probably a lot of votes for me here. There can be a lot of prayers, though." Since many people could care less about prisoners that visit probably won't register with much of the population.

Brownback is passionately pro-life which should excite the social conservatives. He shared with LifeSiteNews a bit of this passion:

"I met a little girl about seven and a half years ago," he said. "Her name was Chenyi Dan. I met her in China. She was from Shantou City, China. And at the time she was about 20 months of age. Beautiful girl - she had been dropped at an orphanage by her mother who had carved a little area, an oval on her stomach with a pen knife - very, very scant. As a mark, I guess at some point and time maybe they would be able to find each other - again, at some point and time."

"That girl now," he continued, "her name is now Jenna Joy Brownback - I had her at my announcement yesterday for President. She's been living in my home for the last seven and a half years as my daughter. Because somebody fought for her, I get to kiss a little girl goodnight. Somebody fought for her - who I will probably never meet or ever see or ever know. But they fought for her and because of that, she is alive."

On the other hand, Brownback has announced that he is against sending more troops into Iraq. Brownback apparently doesn't think more troops are necessary to win. This will have mixed appeal among conservatives and may or may not improve his appeal among moderates who may be turned off by his strong pro-life stance.

So far, I'm not supporting anyone and am trying to keep an open mind. I'm also worried about a Clinton for President on the Democratic ticket. Heaven help us if that happens.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Red Letters Quiz

Jeff the Baptist shared this Bible quiz which he came across. Oddly, he and I both had the same scores: 10/10 in the beginner category, 8/10 in the intermediate category, and 5/10 in the advanced.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Homeschool Hero

For my homeschool buddies...
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was born in a jungle, attended school in his living room and plays in a Swamp. Other than that, his life has been perfectly normal.
Read the rest. Great article about a great young man. And heaven knows we need more great young men.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Child's Play

Venger Jr. and Vengerette both had friends over New Year's Eve into New Year's Day. They're all great kids; I enjoy when my offspring have their friends over almost as much as they do.

Apparently, they were amusing themselves with educational games this holiday. I love when they do that. When I went downstairs after everyone had gone home, I discovered that they had been playing that perennial favorite of word games "Hangman" on the white board. Actually, I'm pretty sure it was the boys--what with the dark humor and all. Here's the picture I managed to snap before it was erased.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Legal Battles

Prison for adultery? Word has spread that in Michigan adultery could technically earn one a life term in prison.

In Michigan, adultery is a felony. Judge William Murphy of Michigan Court of Appeals in a possible attempt to embarrass those seeking a stricter interpretation of laws had footnoted that it could technically result in life imprisonment.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The ruling came in the case of Lloyd Waltonen, 43, of Charlevoix, who supplied a cocktail waitress with the prescription painkiller OxyContin in exchange for sex. Last year, Charlevoix Circuit Judge Richard Pajtas sentenced Waltonen to four to 20 years in prison, but dismissed four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, punishable by a life term, on the basis that the sex was consensual.

The state attorney general successfully appealed Pajtas' ruling, citing an obscure provision of Michigan's criminal law that says a sexual act committed at the same time as a felony constitutes criminal sexual conduct.

An appellate panel found Waltonen guilty of criminal sexual conduct. He has asked the state Supreme Court to consider an appeal of the ruling.

In the opinion, Murphy wrote that although legislators may have drafted the law conceiving of scenarios in which there was a violent felony involving forced sex, he was "curtailed by the language of the statute from reaching any other conclusion."

Murphy wrote that a person is technically guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct any time he or she "engages in sexual penetration in an adulterous relationship."

He noted that state law defines first-degree criminal sexual conduct as sexual penetration involving another felony. Because adultery is a felony, he wrote, adulterous sex could result in life imprisonment.

Truth be told, there are so many laws regulating our behaviors that most of us are lawbreakers on a regular basis without even realizing it. Sometimes these restrictions are part of convoluted bills passed by representatives who may not even read the legislation before voting on it. Many times they are laws that time has passed by and are no longer enforced or enforceable. Some people therefore argue for greater leeway in interpretation by judges. But shouldn't the argument be made instead for revisiting laws periodically and repealing them if they no longer make sense? Doesn't it make a mockery of law to leave outdated restrictions in place, making good people criminals, and merely winking at or ignoring illegal deeds? Do we really need so many laws that the average person can't even keep track of what's permissible and impermissible behavior?

If laws no longer serve their purpose, repeal them. We shouldn't all have to be lawyers--heaven knows we have enough of them-- and we shouldn't all have to pour over musty law tomes to ensure that we are law-abiding citizens.

Note: a few years ago, my children and I read a real howler of existing laws that really ought to be repealed. While this may or may not be the same book we had read, "Chickens May Not Cross the Road: and Other Crazy But True Laws" by Kathi Linz deals with this topic.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

NYTimes at It Again

Once again the New York Times plays footloose and fancy free with the truth.

A few days ago, Sam Roberts wrote, “For what experts say is probably the first time, more American women are living without a husband than with one, according to a New York Times analysis of census results....In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000......the trend could ultimately shape social and workplace policies, including the ways government and employers distribute benefits.”

One of my first thoughts upon reading the article was "Who are these women?" followed quickly by "How old are they? What are their circumstances?"

I wasn't the only one wondering. LifeSiteNews examined this issue and reveals that the New York Times was including all females over fifteen years of age. Well, I guess there are an awful lot of fifteen year old girls around without husbands! We certainly don't expect teenagers to be married--not in this country, at least-- especially since no state allows those under eighteen to marry without parental consent, many from both parents. Even most 19 and 20 year olds aren't expected to be married. Think including them in their little statistic might skew the results a little?

So why is this a big deal? For starters, we're supposed to be able to trust statistics and information given us by media leaders, not have to wonder how they manipulated the data or how incompetent they are each and every time we hear from them. But bigger than that is the implication that marriage is dead, that women no longer feel the need for husbands and are just as happy without them. Oh, and he suggests that we might need to alter our social and workplace policies to reflect that marriage is all but obsolete. This is a political philosophy he is pushing with deviously altered statistics to buttress his opinion.

Well, the state of marriage may be in trouble, but it's not obsolete. And we need front page news, not front page political commentary. That's what blogs are for.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Must-Have for Men


This is supposed to be a must-have look for men.

Uh, I think they meant a must-have NOT look. Ugh.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Too Quiet

Has your home ever been too quiet?

Mine was today.* I had come home early---just a quick stop to get changed on my way back out to an appointment.

Normally when I arrive home, my dog faithfully and enthusiastically greets me. My people are far more indifferent to my comings and goings. The dog, in contrast, genuinely enjoys seeing me.

Today, however, there was no dog. Just silence. At first I felt lucky that the fur ball was not barking and bouncing about. I quickly made my way to my room to don different apparel so I could depart again. Still the dog made no response to my clack clack clack across the floor.

As I entered my room, it dawned on me how unnaturally quiet it truly was. Was something wrong with my dog? Was the pooch ill? injured? Good heavens! Could someone have hurt my dog and be waiting for me? Surely not. Yet I turned the lock on my bedroom door just in case.

Hurriedly I changed. I grabbed my club. Obviously, I wasn't all that worried or I'd have called 911 immediately and possibly grabbed a firearm to brandish. Nevertheless, I carried my shoes rather than put them back on as both fight and flight are easier without heels.

After scanning each room and finding no dog, I approached the basement stairs. Was my canine buddy okay? I whispered my four legged friend's name, and up the steps the beast scampered.

Huh. So my dog was absolutely fine and just never bothered to say hello when I came home. I guess the fuzzy creature really is one of the family now.

*Actually written quite a while ago.

Read the rest of the Blogging Chicks Carnival entries. There are some great stories.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Existence of EVIL??

-bumper sticker on a car in the library parking lot

Never one for bumper-sticker theology, I found this one to be especially full of it, although I will give it points for some lovely alliterations.

Don't let anyone fool you. At bottom, everyone really does have a theology, a worldview, an idea of good and evil. I've found that people who say they don't believe in an objective truth or reality or in good and evil usually do, if you question them long enough, especially when it comes to someone doing something they don't like to them. In this case, the individual who owned that car felt that mini-vans--symbols of large families and increased fuel consumption--represented real evil in the world. That is a theology, a worldview. Population increase and fuel consumption hurt the earth-- the goddess-- in this worldview. People are a problem and so are the cars that transport their larger families. Breeders, they call them. (Never mind that the U.N. is very concerned about population decrease these days.) When people reject a more traditional or Christian view of good and evil for moral relativism, they don't really forego the notion of good and evil so much as develop their own standards from which to judge those who don't think like them. Suddenly, smoking becomes an evil to stamp out. Saturated fats become an evil to stamp out. The eating of meat becomes an evil to stamp out. The choice to drive without seat belts or ride motorcycles without helmets becomes an evil to stamp out. Just don't tell them that you believe traditional morality to be objectively right, because that belief is, um, evil.

In other words, it's usually the same people who look down their noses at those who have more than one or maybe two kids at most and rely upon larger vehicles who are quick to say, "Don't force your morality on me." I could be wrong, but experience teaches me I'd be making a safe bet to say the owner of that car was one of those "Don't force your morality on me" types.

All I can say is, "Right back at ya, babe."


WATN featured an essay "It's All Relative" last weekend. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007



Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.

-Arnold J. Toynbee, "A Study of History"

Monday, January 15, 2007

I'm Challenged

Strolling into a restaurant with a friend of mine, I remarked on his terrific directions and how proud I was of me for not messing them up, as I am directionally challenged.

He: "Directionally challenged?"
I: "Oh, yes. I really am."
He: "Is that the politically correct term?"
I: "Yeah, I think it is."
He: "That's rather ironic coming from you."
I: "Yeah, it is, isn't it."
He: "You know, there're politically correct terms for just about everything. What do 'they' call those of us who aren't politically correct?"
I: "I think they just call us 'a$$es'." *
He: "Yeah, that's about right. That's not really fair, is it? They should have a politically correct term for us too."

So he came up with "political-correctness challenged".

I like it. That's my new label. I'm political-correctness challenged. Anyone care to join me?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Transparency, My Foot!

Senate Bill 1, especially Section 220, continues to concern me. This section in particular appears to be an attempt by Senators to stop the flood of phone calls that they receive from us common folk-you know, their constituents-when we discover that they are about to establish laws that we really don't want them to. The way this will be accomplished is by strong-arming small groups to spend huge sums of money that they don't have on administrative efforts. These groups act as clearing houses of information to those of us who lack the time to examine in full every bill which is proposed and to think through the legal ramifications of each and how our lives will be altered. The groups that will be affected seem to be specifically targetted, as those groups large and rich enough to employ lobbyists won't need to comply., for example, would not be affected, but American Family Association will be.

The Senate has declared that this bill is intended "to provide greater transparency in the legislative process". Why does this strike me as a bit of NewSpeak? Their constituents-we the people-often depend on small, independent, usually non-profit groups to inform us through their websites, emails, and snail mail of what our Congressmen are doing. That is transparency. Placing onerous restrictions on private groups, gagging them, and thereby reducing knowledge of our representatives' doings does not provide greater transparency. It simply allows a cover for those who wish to slide legislation through without our knowledge until it's too late.

As far as I can tell from the link above, the Senate is set to debate and vote on this underhanded bill (or section of bill) on Tuesday, January 16. Please, if you believe in the right of small groups to assemble, to disseminate information to we the people, to have freedom of speech, to petition the government, and to be involved in the legislative process, contact your Senators right away by email and by phone if possible and tell them that you would like them to vote "No" on S. 1.

You can email your Senators by going to the Senate website . Choose your state in the top right hand corner. It should bring up a screen with your two Senators and their contact information including a link to their email.

More on S 1 Section 220 from

Democrats First Order of Day in New US Senate: Penalize Pro-Family Groups Grassroots lobbying groups would be forced to track every cent spent on any given issue

By Meg Jalsevac
WASHINGTON, January 12, 2007 ( –

The new Democratic majority in the United States Senate is poised to pass a new ethics bill that threatens the essential grassroots lobbying efforts and information distribution of pro-family and pro-life organizations.

Under Section 220 of Senate Bill 1, the proposed bill supposedly intended to “provide greater transparency in the legislative process,” would place onerous reporting burdens on any organization that encourages the public to contact any member of the executive or judicial branches of government on an issue. Any organization that does so would have to track each dollar spent as well as report which political issues they focused on and which government officials they communicated with. These figures would have to be submitted quarterly and would be public domain.

American Family Association websites asserts that the requirements would place arduous expectations on small organizations such as theirs, saying, “The compliance
costs alone will be heavy, with the hiring of perhaps as many as 8-10 new
employees to track both accounting and legal oversight involved and all the paperwork required.”

Expenditures that would have to be reported include employee costs, advertising costs, and mailing and distribution costs. These figures would have to be submitted quarterly and would be available to the public. The staggering compliance costs of monitoring all expenditures on every relevant issue would present a substantial burden to pro-family and conservative organizations that survive on public donations. The bill would also open these organizations’ lobbying plans and strategies to the scrutiny of opposing organizations.

Consequences for not properly complying with the proposed legislation would include fines up to $100,000.

Section 220 of Senate Bill 1, entitled “Disclosure of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots Lobbying” presents a clear attack on the effective grassroots lobbying of conservative groups since it provides exemptions for the more affluent organizations and corporations who can afford to employ lobbyists to contact government officials
rather than relying on grassroots efforts. It also protects the communications of organized groups like the AFL-CIO and under exceptions for
communications to an organization’s “members, employees, officers or shareholders.”

American Family Association president, Don Wildmon said that the bill is being supported by both sides of the political spectrum because “they are tired of hearing from their constituencies.” AFA’s website is providing contact information and encouraging the public to contact their senators and request that they vote “No” on Senate Bill 1.

View American Family Association’s website:

Related link: Shh! We're Voting Here

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25th Blogging Chicks Carnival

Check out the 25th Blogging Chicks Carnival at Blogging Chicks.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

This One's for You, Paul

This one's for Paul:
Some say cats are sneaky, evil, and cruel.
True, and they have other fine qualities as well.

-a bumper sticker

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Shh! We're Voting Here

From CitizenLink:

Focus on the Family Action Chairman James C. Dobson, Ph.D., today called on Americans to contact their senators about a measure he said constitutes "a grave threat" to freedom of speech.

"Democrats and a few Republicans are trying very, very quickly to insulate themselves from the public -- and to do it by muzzling people like us," Dobson said on his Focus on the Family radio broadcast.

S. 1, a lobbying-reform bill, is the first to come to a vote in the new Democrat-controlled Congress. One of its many provisions would require grassroots groups to report directly to the secretary of the Senate and clerk of the House any time they spend money to communicate to their constituents on public-policy issues that are before Congress.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Section 220 would subject such groups to miles of red tape and greatly increase their costs -- difficulties that could critically hamper their ability to rally constituents to contact their elected officials.

"This should be called the 'Silence the Citizens Act of 2007,' " Perkins said.

The bill is so complex that, even though it appears to exempt churches from its provisions, it might not actually do so.

Read the rest.

When the Founders established our nation, political speech is exactly the sort of speech they wanted to protect. Congress has no right silencing grassroots groups in this manner. What kind of leaders want to gag the citizenry from discussing the issues on which they'll be voting? If the silencing of private citizens is one of the top priorities of the new Democrat-controlled Congress so they can shove through their legislation without the electorate hearing about it, this could be a rough couple years.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

But It's Their Right

From LifeSiteNews:
A woman suffered severe pain after taking a fatal dose of poison at a Zurich suicide facility, crying in pain for four minutes before falling into a coma, the German news source Deutsche Welle reported yesterday.

According to a report in Zurich’s SonntagsZeitung news last Sunday, the 43-year-old woman suffered from a brain tumor. After taking a toxic concoction prepared by Dignitas employees, the woman known as A.H. cried out, “It’s burning. I’m burning,” before succumbing to the poison and falling into a coma. It took another 38 minutes for her to die, according to the SonntagsZeitung.

Despite Dignitas’ claim of offering a peaceful and dignified death to those who approach the organization, the report said one man endured a lingering death over three days. Known as Peter A., a German, the man spent three days in a coma before finally succumbing to the poison given him by the Dignitas team, the Zurich newspaper reported.
There was also a British husband and wife, Robert and Jennifer Stokes, who committed suicide together at the same facility, yet neither one was terminally ill.

Somehow, I don't think the "right to die" thing is working out very well.

Sick Searches

There are some truly sick and perverted people in the world. This is blatantly obvious to me when I see the searches that lead certain people to my site.

Although I don't obsess over why or from where people come visit me, sometimes I'll click over to the stats and find what appears to me an interesting referrer or group of key words in searches. Most of the time, it's all very innocent, but other times I just say "Ew!" For example, what kind of person searches for "Santa+sodomizes+the+reindeer"? Come on! That just ain't right!

And why did such a search lead that perv to my site? Because in the innocent little Christmas Meme I engaged in, "Santa" and "reindeer" were in close proximity-- although not nearly so close as that wacko wanted to see. Yuck!

As for the rest of you, thanks so much for visiting me and sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate you.

Monday, January 08, 2007

On to Plan C?

The Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology published a study this month entitled, "Population Effect of Increased Access to Emergency Contraceptive Pills: A Systematic Review” based on ten countries which demonstrates that Plan B-- the morning after pill-- neither diminishes abortion nor pregnancy rates. LifeSite summarizes:

Authors Elizabeth Raymond and James Trussell, advocates of the morning after pill, conducted a meta-analysis of studies conducted in 10 countries.

They conclude that “increased access to emergency contraception pills enhance
use but has not been shown to reduce unintended pregnancy rates."

The authors note that “no study has shown that increased access to this method reduces unintended pregnancy or abortion rates on a population level” and that “the consistency of their primary findings is hard to ignore."

They say the morning-after pill “is unlikely to produce a major reduction in unintended pregnancy rates no matter how often women use it” and that “previous
expectations that improved access could produce a direct, substantial impact on a population level may have been overly optimistic.”

They also state the drug's effectiveness may be "substantially ... overstated."

So all the political pressure on the FDA to approve this drug was just that--political-- and all the hoopla surrounding its legalization as an over-the-counter drug and what a benefit it would be to women was....baloney? And men and women were depending on this drug to allow them to be irresponsible without consequences? Niiiice.

Perhaps we could move on to Plan C--personal responsibility and abstinence? Just a thought.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

What's Good for the Goose

Word around the Net had a post featuring the comments on Ace of Spades' blog about internet porn and how young women who wouldn't have thought of posting pictures of themselves years ago are filming themselves performing pornagraphic acts and posing naked for all the world to see. Monty, one of the commenters, had this to say:
Ladies, here's a tip: someday, you might want to get married to a guy you really love. This guy may surf the internet tubes, and may run across that embarassing
little video you did a few years ago when you still did "that kind of stuff". (Or your new guy's friends might help him out and just mail him the link or give him the DVD. 'Cause that's what friends do -- crush each other's hopes and dreams, and then laugh about it.) Your beau may not like the fact that his fiancee was famous for giving bjs to two guys at once, or dancing naked and drunk on a balcony while a group of guys groped her. I'm just saying. It's not the kind of thing that promotes the trust and matrimonial bond that makes for a long and happy marriage.

Basically, I agree with this guy. But here's the thing. I know there is porn and lots of it on the net, but I've never seen any, and I'm all over the place. Assuming the discovery was without a little help from his friends, was this hypothetical finance just playing around on the net and through misfortune found porn which just so happened to feature his lovely bride-to-be (most definitely a pitiable event), or was he actively seeking out porn and happened to find that the love of his life had beaten him to immorality? If the latter, then why is it okay for this hypothetical guy who's truly loved to be watching porn in the first place? And if it's okay for him to be viewing other men's daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers being raunchy, why shouldn't his own wife be plastered on the net for all the world to see? Why should we respect a man who views porn but not respect the women he's viewing? Honestly, guys, if you can film, view, or otherwise support the whorification of young women, don't think you are so special as to deserve a woman who would never think of acting that way herself. So, viewing porn? I'll just echo the above commenter: "It's not the kind of thing that promotes the trust and matrimonial bond that makes for a long and happy marriage." In fact, lawyers recently surveyed said that pornography was factoring into about half of their divorce cases these days. (That little tidbit was for free.)

There actually are some men who have no problem with their wives, daugthers, mothers or sisters being porn stars, prostitutes, strippers, or otherwise whorish. They're out of their minds, but at least they're consistent. However, it seems that many men enjoy viewing women behaving whorishly but would be incensed for other men to view their own loved ones behaving whorishly. O man, thy name is Hypocrite, and for once in my bleeding-heart life, I am not feeling your pain.

This isn't to say that it's okay for these young women to behave badly (although I pity them and think they may regret their youthful idiocies one day). It's just to say that if you're a guy and you want a lady for a wife, maybe you should try being a gentleman yourself. Otherwise, take what you get and know you aren't worthy of better. You're just not. Because what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Mona Charen discusses a new book, "Unprotected," by Dr. Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist at the UCLA health center. Apparently Dr. Grossman holds some unacceptable views.

What does Dr. Grossman believe that is so dangerous to admit? Well, start with ordinary sex. She believes that casual, promiscuous sex is tough on many women. They are hard-wired to bond with those they have sex with (the hormone oxytocin is implicated), and she sees countless female students reporting stress, eating disorders and even depression for reasons they cannot understand. After all, the world sells them on the notion that sex is pure recreation, that the "hook-up" culture is natural and even empowering to women, and that love and sex are two completely different things.
The article continues, discussing some of the women featrured in the book who cut, are depressed, suffer eating disorders, have std's which can cause them cancer and infertility, and other physical and psychological disorders due to the sexual free-for-all in which they take part on college campuses today. Go see the article and see what we are doing to ourselves with our licentiousness liberty.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Does This Show Bias?

Does this show bias?
From CNN's Dana Bash: "A moment to savor -- Nancy Pelosi seized the gavel and,
with it, power for the Democrats, an ambitious agenda, but, today, history, the first female Speaker, second in line to be president."

Just sayin'.

How about "a moment to dread" or "a moment to turn one's stomach"?

I'm a woman, and I do not savor the passing of the gavel to Nancy Pelosi. I'm not going to rejoice that she is the first woman Speaker of the House. I'm not going to fawn all over her because of her gender any more than the media or the liberals did over Condoleeza Rice becoming the first woman Secretary of State.

Why do the Democratic party and the media keep pushing for the glorification of individuals because they are women or because they are minorities but then only celebrate them if they are liberals?

So spare me the hoopla and the biased infinitives.

Hat tip: News Busters

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UPDATE: A commenter pointed out that I typed in error that Condi Rice was the "first woman Secretary of State". Madeleine Albright was, of course. What I should have said was that Condi was the "first 'African-American' woman Secretary of State". That is what comes from blogging while literally sick and tired--actually, exhausted. Of course, my goof had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I didn't particularly like Madeleine Albright. I'm sure it didn't.

No Good Deed

....goes unpunished. Or at least that's what an old friend of ours used to say. I thought he was just being cynical, but every so often events occur which cause his words to flood back to my memory.

The criticism of Oprah Winfrey is one such case. Oprah has lavishly built and outfitted a school for extremely underprivileged but potential-filled girls in South Africa, spending $40 million of her own money. So what's to criticize? Apparently some in the peanut gallery don't like her extravagance or her decision to help girls in another country.

Hellooo?? It's her money. To her naysayers, I say: when you become that rich, feel free to build a school anywhere you like.

Her critics have especially pounced on a statement she made in Newsweek.

"Say what you will about the American educational system--it does work," she says. "If you are a child in the United States, you can get an education." And she doesn't think that American students--who, unlike Africans, go to school free of charge--appreciate what they have. "I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there," she says. "If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."
Is her statement untrue? Granted, it's a generalization, but this is her experience with kids in the U.S. and quite frankly it's been the experience of many teachers and volunteers also. Of course there are exceptions, but Oprah has already given to many poor in the U.S. to help them receive an education through scholarship funds. If she wants to help poor people elsewhere also, what business is that of anyone else?

Way to go, Oprah.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Wild Girls


What do a New York Times editorial and Anna Venger have in common?

No, there's no punchline; that wasn't the lead in to a joke. I am actually in agreement with Lawrence Downes who penned a piece for the NY Times entitled "Middle School Girls Gone Wild" in which he describes the school talent show from which he emerged shellshocked:

They writhe and strut, shake their bottoms, splay their legs, thrust their chests out and in and out again. Some straddle empty chairs, like lap dancers without laps. They don’t smile much. Their faces are locked from grim exertion, from all that leaping up and lying down without poles to hold onto....The girls spend a lot of time lying on the floor. They are in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
Like me, he finds these antics inappropriate at best for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. I would add that they are inappropriate behaviors for any self respecting female.

My question is: Where do these children learn to behave like that? Have their parents given them lessons? Special classes in school? No? Okay, maybe from other kids, but that begs the question: where did the other children learn?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe life is imitating "art," and that these children-and they are children- have learned to "dance" this way from television, music videos, and movies. Oh, I can here the howls of protest that mere media entertainment doesn't really affect behavior. But let's get real here. We're allowing our children to play in a moral cesspool and then act surprised when they stagger out filthy and diseased. Is this the greater freedom that the women's movement desired, enabling boys to have easier access to sex and encouraging girls to devalue and debase themselves?

Yeah, we've come a long way, baby.