Sunday, December 31, 2006

Pressing Forward into the New Year and Being Aware of the Real Twilight Zone

Several inspirational year-end messages can be heard by clicking on the links below:

This includes a timely sermon by Dr. David Jeremiah as we look forward to the New Year: Taking stock and setting goals is important, learning to say no in order to say yes is always a challenge, and not letting past mistakes paralyze us into inaction are all topics covered by Dr. Jeremiah in today's message here.

Then, in case you've been thinking where Saddam Hussein might be, after being hung several days ago, Chuck Swindoll addresses the real twilight zone and why we need to think about where we're headed after we die here. And part 2 of this talk is here. Both are from Swindoll's most highly requested talks series of 2006.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sunshine and Salt Water in Winter

The ocean is still wonderful in winter and ever so peaceful.

A world away a former president is mourned, a former dictator is hung and the world awaits her New Year.

But here the tide takes no notice and continues to ebb and flow on perfect schedule. How nice to occasionally step back and be renewed.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Here We Go Again: John Edwards

An editorial in Investors Business Daily sets the record straight about millionaire trial lawyer John Edwards running for president (again) and starting to harp (again and again) on two Americas:

"Edwards is right: There are two Americas. One believes in the genius of the American people. The other believes in the power of trial lawyers and government."

Read the whole thing here.

What would we do without candidates with messianic complexes to the rescue with easy fixes that they say only government and litigation can cure? And when will we ever get it that government isn't the primary answer to most of our problems and never will be?

The Constitution enumerates what the federal government responsibilities are and in most cases they are not what Edwards says they are.

Edwards wants to be a part of the solution of the healthcare crisis that up until now he has only helped to create and perpetuate.

Healthcare costs have skyrocketed for the average man primarily for two reasons: 1) out-of-control class action lawsuits for medical malpractice where there are no caps on hugh settlements, which we all end up paying for, and 2) lack of personal responsibility in both health savings accounts and individual health habits that ask us to focus more on prevention of disease and wellness. Personal responsibility includes focus on diet, exercise and giving up smoking, excessive drinking and sugar addictions, among other things.

There are increasing numbers of people--who Edwards is appealling to-- who want to take no responsibility for themselves, their health or finances, and would rather have government take care of them. T

The system, no matter what politicians like Edwards promise, will eventually break under the strain. Just ask the state of Tennessee what has happened to the budget under the strain of Tenncare and how it has threatened to bankrupt the entire state system and close down state government on several occasions.

Candidates like Edwards only perpetuate the myth and the false hope of quick government fixes for issues like healthcare.

Warning, much harping by Edwards ahead. Sadly, many people will grab onto his false hopeful harping only to be once again disappointed as 75 million retirees enter the system expecting government to take care of them.

Edwards promises false only hope and ultimate disappointment. I won't even get into the issue of New Orleans right now. That's for another post.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Lots of Sunshine and Nature

By nature, I am not a resorty, country cluby type person although I can enjoy short soujorns almost anywhere. To wit, Kiawah Island is a great place to get away to play tennis, walk on the beach, bike and watch wildlife.

It is lovely here today: I am thrilled that I've had success using my camera with this computer to download photos. I actually just played two hours of tennis and feel terrific. It's in the 60s, the best possible temp for getting exercise, in my opinion. And almost no humidity.

And another good thing is we are finding a good balance between being together and separate. Everyone comes together to things for a while and then scatters to do their own thing....I like that way of being with others
so much. Too much wall-to-wall contact wears me and everyone out.

And I haven't even thought of radial Islam (hardly) once. But there are a stack of books on the subject awaiting my attention beside my bed.

See ya later, alligator.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Couple of Days with Some Good Books, a Tennis Racquet and Family

I just caught up with Instapundit and Dr. Helen chilling out in Key West, Roger Simon cross-country skiing in Washington state and Port McClellan kayaking around Newport Beach, CA. So for the record, I am with family at Kiawah Island, SC for a couple of days of tennis, reading and walking on a chilly beach. The weather so far is atrocious but supposed to brighten up Wednesday.

Just checked the Drudge Report to see that Saddam's death sentence was upheld in court and he's scheduled to hang within 30 days. Joel Rosenberg has written about it here. I think what is has to say is both compassionate and clear. It's also very hard to do.

I'm beginning to come out of my holiday funk as I have started eating sensibly again. My daughter told me the family was arranging an intervention to get me off rolls, croissants, Charlotte Russe and pumpkin pie, all of which have added to my sense of being sluggish both physically and emotionally over the past week. I have eaten more sugar and white flour in the past week than in the past year and have certainly felt it.

Anyway, I'm on my way to have a salad for dinner and intend to keep cutting down drastically on starches and completely eliminating all sugars. A few tennis clinics tomorrow should help me shake off the last vestiges of those incredible blahs.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

O Holy Night

If you're dreaming of a white Christmas with Bing Crosby, click here.

God bless and Merry Christmas!

While We Were Still Helpless, Christ Was Born on The First Christmas Morning

Lon Solomon, of McLean Bible Church, gives his Christmas message on the birth of our Savior on Christmas Day over 2,ooo years ago here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Slow Time for Blogging and More Time for Praying for Ricky

I had so many things I wanted to post here at Christmas. But alas, I have been so busy that I have fallen short of that goal. On top of that, my fairly regular Christmas funk has set in and I'm simply not much good for anything right now.

I love most every holiday, especially Thanksgiving. But as Christmas rolls around, I find myself wanting to crawl into a hole for a few days and be quiet.

Today I learned that a lovely man I have known for years was hit by a car while changing a flat tire on the side of the highway. When I heard he was not expected to live, or if he does, will sustain major brain damage, I dropped everything to go to see him at the trauma unit at the city's biggest hospital.

I was so deeply touched and grieved when I went into his room and saw him suffering and fighting so valiantly for his life today that I have not been able to bounce back. Instead, I have on and off grieved this man's suffering intensely and am feeling completely exhausted.

I am praying for Ricky Primm and his family. And if you can spare a minute, please pray for him too. And for all those who are in pain today.

God bless and comfort this fine man in his deepest hour of suffering and intense need. I am not sure what else to even pray for right now.

Wonderful Editorial by Tom Krannawitter

I had the good fortune to meet and study with Tom Krannawitter in the summer of 2005 at the Claremont Institue's Lincoln Fellowship program.

Here is a recent editorial that Tom wrote for Investors Business Daily which I want to post here. I couldn't agree more with what he says:

Winning Strategy For Republicans: Getting Rid Of Racial Preferences

While many Republicans are still reeling from November's election, one important conservative victory has received less attention than it deserves: Michigan's vote to end racial preferences and discrimination. Republicans should pay attention because ending racist "affirmative action" policies could be part of a winning strategy in the future.

I lived in California in 1996 when the California Civil Rights Initiative was approved by 54% of voters in that November's election. The measure prohibited the state from discriminating against and granting preferential treatment to anyone on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity and national origin in public employment, public education and public contracting.
That same year, incumbent President Bill Clinton was being challenged by Republican Bob Dole. Dole consciously distanced himself from the CCRI throughout most of his campaign, at one point praising Colin Powell — who Dole hoped would join him on the Republican ticket — for a speech in which Powell defended racial preferences and denounced the CCRI. Dole lost California by a massive margin as President Clinton won re-election.

Telling Statistics

But the numbers from California's 1996 general election tell an interesting story that is too little known in Republican circles: 3,828,380 Californians voted for Dole — 5,119,835 voted for Clinton. But 5,268,462 voted for the CCRI. Not only did the CCRI receive nearly 1.5 million more votes than Dole, but more Californians voted to end racial preferences and discrimination than voted for Democrat Clinton.

Ward Connerly, who chaired the CCRI campaign, next took the fight for equality under the law to Washington state, where the Washington State Civil Rights Act handily won by 58% in the 1998 midterm general election.
Fast-forward to Nov. 7, 2006. I now reside in Michigan, where the incumbent governor, Democrat Jennifer Granholm, crushed Republican challenger Dick DeVos — no surprise on a day when many Republicans were defeated. But on that same day, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, modeled on California's 1996 Civil Rights Initiative, cruised to an easy victory with 58% of Michiganders approving it.

DeVos ran on a platform of job creation and economic growth in a state suffering the bleakest economy in the country. Yet he could muster only 1.3 million votes, while more than 1.8 million Michiganders voted for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. Half a million more people voted to end race-based "affirmative action" than voted for him.

Refusing To Speak Up

And where was DeVos on the critical question of government-sponsored racism? He opposed the MCRI, but never explained why. DeVos said the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative "raises some serious issues for public discussion," but he refused to be part of the discussion he said was so important.

Republicans should be able to score electoral points by campaigning to end racial preferences and discrimination, so why do they stubbornly refuse to fight for equal protection of equal rights? The answer, at least in part, is provided by Shelby Steele in his recent book, "White Guilt."

"When white supremacy was delegitimized" during the civil rights era of the 1960s, argues Steele, "whites did not simply lose the authority to practice racism . . . whites also lost a degree of their authority to stand proudly for the values and ideas that had made the West a great civilization."

After the '60s, the new race-conscious liberalism insisted that any defense of Western and especially American principles and institutions was a defense of racism. Liberal elites' strategy to regain the moral and political authority that was lost, Steele reminds us, has been twofold:

First, conscientious Americans must dissociate themselves from the racism of America's past, which includes dissociating oneself from the supposedly racist Constitution of the founders — providing additional arguments, incidentally, in favor of a liberal "living constitution." Demonstrating liberal racial consciousness and liberal morality requires Americans not only to condemn racism, but also to condemn America itself.

Second, liberals should take responsibility for the problems caused by racism. The most visible way to be responsible, in the liberal sense, is to support affirmative action programs that offer racial preferences and take responsibility away from blacks and other racial minorities.
By supporting racial preferences, liberals inoculate themselves against accusations of racism — how could anyone be racist who supports affirmative action? Contrary, from the liberal view, anyone who attacks racial preferences is not taking responsibility for racism. They are part of the problem, not the solution.

This is the widely known but seldom admitted reason so many Republicans refuse to defend colorblind policies and campaign against race-based preferences and discrimination: They are scared they might be accused of being racist and they are not confident they can defend themselves against such accusations. So, many do what Dick DeVos did. They remain silent and suffer at the polls for it.

Elections Tell The Story

As recent elections demonstrate, however, ordinary Americans — even those in blue states like California, Washington and Michigan — do not like policies of race-based preferences and discrimination. Republicans ought to recall that equal protection of equal rights is the American ideal, enshrined forever in the proposition that all men are created equal. And it is right. Racism is wrong precisely because equality is right.

Republicans should also recall that the principle of equality is at home in the Republican Party. It was the reason the party was founded in 1854 and it was central to the politics of the greatest Republican and greatest civil rights advocate in American history: Abraham Lincoln.
Rather than avoid the subject, Republicans should defend colorblind justice and lead the charge to end racial preferences and discrimination. If they do, they might start winning elections the way initiatives for colorblind policies do.

Dr. Krannawitter teaches political science at Hillsdale College and is a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday: A Couple of Quotes

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit."

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."
-------George S. Patton

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Inner Terrorist Alert: Many More Frequent and Severe Heart Attacks in Winter

Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, Tara Parker-Pope had a piece on why heart attack risks rise in winter and what you can do about it. I find this interesting and imporant information to summarize in today's post. It is something I have thought for a long time but only now seeing in the media:

Here's what the article says:

Most people associate winter with flu and cold season, as well as dry skin, but few link it with a much higher risk of heart attack. But according to a study by researchers in Massachusetts, the risks for heart attack in January are twice those in July for the general population. And the study goes on that the risk of a fatal heart attack is much greater in cold than in warm weather.

And in fact the study finds that heart attack risks and other health problems follow cyclinal patterns. Did you know that cholesterol cycles peak in December for men and in January for women; there are more ER visits on Mondays than any other day of the week; and strokes and heart attacks occur more frequently between 6 am and noon on any given day?

Reasons given for this are numerous and often self-evident: Cold weather constricts veins and arteries; holiday meals, ladened with fats and sugars, are often eaten late in the day and then slept on; in the season of holiday celebrations too much alcohol and tobacco often damage heart muscles irrevocably; and finally less light in the northern hemisphere during winter and lower vitamin D levels may have subtle effects not only on one's mood but also on their heart.

Warmer weather and sunlight probably have a sanguine effect on one's
general health as well as one's heart.

This makes perfect sense to me. So what can we do to lessen our risks of heart attacks, now the leading cause of death in women too?

----Be aware that prolonged time in the cold constricts blood vessels and increases your risks of cardio-vascular events.

----Eat less sugar and fats and dairy, and if you eat them at all, do it earlier in the day rather than later at night. And if you're going to sin, sin earlier in the day rather than later (my own two cents worth).

----Take cod liver oil with high levels of vitamin D, or some other form of this important vitamin.

----Get sunlight on your face and in your eyes as much as possible in the winter. It brightens your mood and reduces other health risks considerably.

----Stay away from smoky rooms with little fresh air.

----Whenever possible, replace butter and other fats with extra virgin olive oil (my own two cents worth). I even eat olive oil on what little bread I consume.

----Remember to walk briskly everyday. The more we don't want to exercise and put it off, the more our bodies really need it. And don't go out and shovel snow in the cold, if you're not in shape for it.

----And if you are at a higher risk for heart attack and can, spend the winter in a warmer climate where you can get more daily exercise and sunlight.

These recommendation are all cumulative, but it's never too late to start and make them into winter disciplines to live by.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

View from Where I Am: So Good to See This Grand Christmas Tree

America Falls in Love with a Fantasy: It's An O-Bama-Nation

The Paris Hilton of candidates, all style and no substance, the liberal's favorite candidate is seen as being someone bearing hope, with fresh new ideas.

Oh please.

Pardon me for laughing. Obama has virtually no experience . He is a face guy with a nice presentation. But when I read about his liberal voting record, he gets less and less handsome by the minute.

We're at war. And electing this kind of candidate is no way to win that war.

I have written more about this candidate here.

And as for Obama's self-described "boneheaded" mistake back in Chicago, you can read more here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Internet Now Surpasses Newspapers In Readership

Here is an interesting new study on the decline of newspapers and rise of Internet use for readers, according to Editor and Publisher, the country's oldest journal covering the newspaper business.

Of course, for the vast majority of Americans, television is still the media of choice. Then it's radio and next computers. But utilizing computers for information and opinion is a growing phenomena with no end in sight.

And reading news, analysis and opinion on blogs and collections of blogs like at is only going to grow as the media to go to,
especially for people who are tired of the same ole, same ole, liberal bias from the worn out Main Stream Media (MSM).

As I reflect on my own use of various mediums, it's startling to me how little television I watch anymore for news, and even entertainment. I find most of it a wasteland. Also stunning how much more I use my computer to get news, opinion and real information.

I tend to listen to the radio more in my car and turn on the TV more in the coldest part of winter than the rest of the year. But I'm probably not typical of the average person in the study. And I'm also a new blogger, which requires more time on the computer.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Advent: A Look at Islam Contrasted with Christianity

In a sermon from a few years back, Lon Solomon pastor of McLean Bible Church in McLean, Virginia talks about the religion of Islam and contrasts it to Christianity here.

And remember, for millions of Muslims worldwide, there is no, I repeat NO, separation between church and state. Under Islamic sharia law, the caliphate is the highest spiritual and political leader of in any land. Muslims worldwide seek this law to be the highest law of every land in the world including our land here in the United States.

Then Solomon gives a sermon about the Virgin Birth Jesus Christ here.

This is must listening for believers and non-believers in Jesus Christ alike.

Friday, December 15, 2006

December 15, My Dear Father's Birthday

Father----December 15, 1915---December 25, 1998
Mother---March 25, 1918---June 6, 1969

We miss you, father, and mother too. You'd be happy to know, we're all doing quite well. You were a good man. And we all know, a good man is hard to find. We love you both always.

Opening verses about my family:

He was born 91 years ago,
His destiny to fulfill,
The son of Mamie and Vance always knew
He'd work in a lumber mill.

Growing up hunting and fishing, he walked
These beautiful Tennessee hills,
But nothing ever came close to the thrills
Of running that lumber mill.

He married a fair southern belle named Murl
And they started a fam-i-ly,
They wanted a son, for the work that'd be done
But the next thing they knew, they got me.

Still wanting an heir with the mill he could run,
They waited again.... until,
My sister arrived, and from her crib she decried
"I ain't never gonna run that lumber mill."

---Off the top of my head, part of an old forgotten poem I wrote for my father's 80th birthday celebration and later lost the copy.

Appeasers Hall of Fame

Mary Katherine Ham video on YouTube with more on appeasement here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

One Dixie Chickie Not Ready to Apologize

Thanks to Hot Air TV for getting me to YouTube for this clever video here.

Appeasement Defined, Lollipops Anyone?

Joel Rosenberg writes about Israeli Natan Sharansky's response to the ISG Report here. His take is that the report is it's an ill-advised document of appeasement. Below is a highlight:

"Washington, D.C., 12/12/06) -- Former Israeli deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky -- who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Friday -- today blasted The Iraq Study Group Report as an act of 'appeasement'."

“I am extremely concerned by the Baker-Hamilton report," Sharansky told a conference call of political bloggers, in which I participated. "It’s very difficult to understand how these outstanding politicians could write a report that is so out of touch with the rest of the world….This report perhaps could have been written on the 10th of September, 2001, but after?"

"Appeasement comes from fear," Sharansky noted. Those who pursue it "don’t have the strength to defend [their] own ideas."

"The message of the Baker-Hamilton report, he said, was a message of encouraging Iran and Syria to continue supporting terrorist organizations because no one is going to stop them."


It's hard to believe that so many people still labor under the impression that terrorists can be negotiated and partnered with for peace. Like the years leading up to Nazi Germany in the late 30s and early 40s when making nice with Hitler was all the rage, today's appeasers are taking a similar tack.

Appeasement is a quick and ineffective fix for those unwilling to defend their position or even to take the time to define and know what that position is. It seems like such a benevolent idea at the time, but so much more deadly later on.

We see where lollipops got us before WWII. Are we willing to learn from that hard-earned mistake, or not?

So what can we do, if appeasement is unworkable?

Here are a few ideas:

1) Because radical Islam and jihad are being funded with our petro dollars: We must promote energy independence in the US from oil in the Middle East using every means possible. That includes drilling in ANWAR.

2) For appeasers who just can't quit: Give lollypops and encouragement to moderate Muslims for resisting and standing up to their militant jihadist brothers. Moderate Muslims are in just as great a danger for resisting militant Islam as we are. Yet all civilized people must speak up and out against these barbarians.

3) Start a branch of AA in your neighborhood, Appeasers Anonymous, a 12-step program for breaking addiction to political correctness and making nice with those who would bring down our civilization. Jimmy Carter would be required to go to meetings every day.

4) Take time to educate yourself with reading, and listening to the other side of the story, other than the Main Stream Media (MSM). should be on everyone's shortlist of daily self-help. For a little more, then go to Jihad Watch.

These daily steps could save you from your life-threatening addiction to the appeasement fix and save our country too.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Winter Day in the Park

A time for quiet reflection and some solitude as the days grow shorter.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Two Great Ideas for Christmas/Holiday Giving

This Christmas/Holiday Season, why not give the gift of eternal vigilance?

Each of the videos above: "Relentless--The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East" and "Obsession--Radical Islam's War Against the West"--are one hour DVDs well worth watching.

Filled with facts and figures, it is a quick and painless history lesson that brings viewers up to speed on history in the Middle East and the War on Terror. These films clearly delineate between radical and moderate Islam and clearly show that moderate Muslims are in as great a danger as Christians and Jews if they do not go along with the radical agenda of jihad.

Your family and friends don't take the threats of extreme, militant Islam seriously? They don't have time to read a long book or weed out propaganda from truth in the main stream media? No problem, an hour passes quickly in each of these spellbinding and compelling films. You say friends don't believe Jihad is going forward on the backs of Islamic children who are being brainwashed from the cradle on to die for Allah? It's time to think again and wake up to the most stunning reality of all.

Both of these DVDs are sure to open many eyes in short order of all those fortunate enough to buy, receive and watch them.

Do yourself and your country a favor, give one or both of these important DVDs (or watch Relentless above in full on the web) for Christmas. And watch them yourself. While you still can.

Because there won't be anymore Christmas or Hanukkah under sharia law. And the price of our religious freedoms and great economic/political heritage is eternal vigilance.

If Barack Becomes President, It Would Be An "O-bama-nation"

I wish this was an original thought, but it's not. This clever pun was told to me recently by one of my computer geniuses who help me regularly with my computer and blog. Thanks, Will P, for making my day with a good and clever pun. But, in truth, the reality of its poignancy is not very funny.

Now say it again: If Barack becomes president, God forbid, it would be an "O-bama-nation" that our country can ill afford. With virtually no experience, and little but looks and evidently some charisma, the left is looking for a candidate to have a lovefest with in all the wrong places. Style over substance to the max.

In a word, an O-bama-nation.

I have written a longer post on Barack here.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Loneliness at This Time of Year

Yesterday, I spent part of the day with my oldest friend from Marin and her aging father who's just been put in a nursing home here. Over and over again, he complained bitterly to us of his loneliness and isolation, describing his condition as being in "lock up." A retired doctor, he's used to lots going on around him, beloved by family, friends and patients for decades and decades. He has lived a good life by worldly standards.

But today, he is lonely beyond consolation, and having a very hard time finding a reason to live. Some of his behavior in recent months has been appalling. The lonelier he's felt the more drastic have been his attempts to escape into a quick fix.

It is a reality that we see around us everywhere at every age. We experience it in ourselves and see it in others. Loneliness can be a deafening part of life, and unimaginably intense especially as the days get shorter and shorter. We all try to take quick fixes out of the morass of loneliness and often these short-term solutions only end up digging us deeper and deeper into the hole in the long run.

Currently, Dr. David Jeremiah at is giving a series on loneliness here, and how many of the great men and women of the Bible have suffered its shattering, seemingly never-ending depths. Jesus experienced and took it for all mankind while he was dying on the Cross.

It is by not avoiding loneliness that we often come through to the other side. Rather by embracing it in stillness and surrender, God often meets us in the depths of our despair and darkness. Sometimes just getting down on our knees and telling God of our agonizing loneliness is the beginning of inner comfort and renewal beyond compare whivh slowly, quietly begins to creep back into our lives.


A prayer for those earnestly searching for Truth.

Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might come to know You in a living way and not just through another dead religion. Grant that I be undaunted by the cost of following you, as I consider reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me and open me to the living and hopeful reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life you promise. Amen.

(Thanks to Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City, for this prayer.)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Nativity Story, A Beautiful Movie of the Greatest Story Ever Told

For believers and non-believers alike, this beautifully told story is well worth seeing this Christmas season. Take a child with you when you go.

Prophesied in the Old Testament for a thousand years, that our Lord could have chosen the most lowly, humble and dangerous of beginnings to incarnate is still astounding to me. And oh so touching to read, to see and to remember. And He did it for us all.

E-Mail from Yet Another Fly Fisherman

And nary a word about my blog photo....

Sen. John McCain on the ISC's Report

At the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday, Sen. McCain summed it up succinctly:

On the overall ISG recommendations: "There's only one thing worse than an overstressed Army and Marine Corps, and that's a defeated Army and Marine Corps. I believe [the ISG report] is a recipe that will lead to our defeat sooner or later in Iraq,"

On negotiations with Iran and Syria: "I don't believe that a peace conference with people who are dedicated to your extinction has much short-term gain."


Good for Sen. McCain. We simply cannot let Iraq become another Viet Nam. And those of us who came of age during those unglorious days of the 60s must lead the charge. We must. And we shall.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Note from Some Leftwing Nut Who's Wearing Me Out About My Blog Photo Being Dowdy

Okay, so he's an old friend. "Old" in the sense that I've known him since, well, I was a liberal newspaper reporter a long time ago. He's still a liberal, though I've grown up...and I promise, he's the last liberal man I'm ever going out with---even to dinner---on any sort of regular basis. Anyway, this man has been wearing me out for two months about my blog photo, which I like and he detests. I'm sick of hearing it and so am giving him my front page to air his hostility publicly. Then maybe he'll pipe down, Otis, and I can get back to making fun of his favorite liberals.

I've told him that this is not the dating game and I'm not the bacholerette and I like my civilized photo with pearls------all to no avail. So without further ado, I shall give you a man on a mission---to get me to find another photo for my blog:


Ms. Webutante,

Terrific writing, even from your right wing point of view. Although you are out of step with the rest of America, i.e. recall the last election, your take on a variety of other subjects makes for good reading. You would undoubtedly make a first rate journalist.

Now friends tell me you are an attractive woman of many talents and interests. Though I must say your prudish photograph portrays you more as a Belle Meade tea-sipping socialite, which is fine (I even know a couple of Belle Meaders) and certainly befits your political philosophy. However, not the vibrant, outdoor loving fly fisherwoman who has waded treacherous rivers across the world in search of the wily claim your admirers.

You're in your early forties? Forgive me, you look seventy. Or so says your photo. Keep up the good work. But for God's Sake, get a new photo and show the world the tiger within you.

And remember, I taught you everything you know about fly fishing.


Blood in the Water, My Water Too, And I Don't Like It, Mr. Baker

Over at Joel Rosenberg, a post on how Iran will read the Iraq Study Group's Report: Blood in the Water. Read the whole thing here.

And then remember, when the great conflagration nears, James Baker the chairman of the ISG, will take his private plane and head for his huge spread of land and trout streams and happy hunting grounds out in Wyoming, near the Green River, and hole up there, as best he can.

Mr. Baker is a fly fisherman, as I am. And he knows well the rules of the river. So Mr. Baker, from one fishing enthusiast to another, just between the two of us, I don't like you messing up the water so that no one else can use it. Blood in the water is simply not acceptable. And I venture to guess Dick doesn't like you messing up our water either. It's all so sloppy.

So take a chair, please, and let it recover as best it can.

What are you trying to do, man, get us all killed?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One of Jimmy Carter's Experts Resigns in Protest From the Carter Center

Jimmy Carter lowers the bar again and again. The most anti-Semitic, anti-American president in history, in spite of myths to the contrary, the man is a walking disaster for world peace:

Here from Powerline blog is a brief commentary and then Professor Kenneth Stein's letter of resignation yesterday from association with The Carter Center, and his denunciation of Carter's new book:

"Professor Kenneth Stein of Emory University is apparently terminating his association with the Carter Center, as a result of Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. The reaction of Professor Stein -- a formerly close associate and collaborator of Carter -- to Carter's new book is, as our reader thought it would be, of great interest to us.

Stein's resignation letter:

"This note is to inform you that yesterday, I sent letters to President Jimmy Carter, Emory University President Jim Wagner, and Dr. John Hardman, Executive Director of the Carter Center resigning my position, effectively immediately, as Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University. This ends my 23 year association with an institution that in some small way I helped shape and develop. My joint academic position in Emory College in the History and Political Science Departments, and, as Director of the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel remains unchanged.

Many still believe that I have an active association with the Center and, act as an adviser to President Carter, neither is the case. President Carter has intermittently continued to come to the Arab-Israeli Conflict class I teach in Emory College. He gives undergraduate students a fine first hand recollection of the Begin-Sadat negotiations of the late 1970s. Since I left the Carter Center physically thirteen years ago, the Middle East program of the Center has waned as has my status as a Carter Center Fellow.

For the record, I had nothing to do with the research, preparation, writing, or review of President Carter's recent publication. Any material which he used from the book we did together in 1984, The Blood of Abraham, he used unilaterally.

President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book.

Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook. Having little access to Arabic and Hebrew sources, I believe, clearly handicapped his understanding and analyses of how history has unfolded over the last decade. Falsehoods, if repeated often enough become meta-truths, and they then can become the erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and for policy-making.

The history and interpretation of the Arab-Israeli conflict is already drowning in half-truths, suppositions, and self-serving myths; more are not necessary. In due course, I shall detail these points and reflect on their origins.

The decade I spent at the Carter Center (1983-1993) as the first permanent Executive Director and as the first Fellow were intellectually enriching for Emory as an institution, the general public, the interns who learned with us, and for me professionally. Setting standards for rigorous interchange and careful analyses spilled out to the other programs that shaped the Center's early years. There was mutual respect for all views; we carefully avoided polemics or special pleading. This book does not hold to those standards. My continued association with the Center leaves the impression that I am sanctioning a series of egregious errors and polemical conclusions which appeared in President Carter's book. I can not allow that impression to stand.

Through Emory College, I have continued my professional commitment to inform students and the general public about the history and politics of Israel, the Middle East, and American policies toward the region. I have tried to remain true to a life-time devotion to scholarly excellence based upon unvarnished analyses and intellectual integrity. I hold fast to the notion that academic settings and those in positions of influence must teach and not preach. Through Emory College, in public lectures, and in OPED writings, I have adhered to the strong belief that history must presented in context, and understood the way it was, not the way we wish it to be.

In closing, let me thank you for your friendship, past and continuing support for ISMI, and to Emory College. Let me also wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season, and a healthy and productive new year.

As ever,


Dr. Kenneth W. Stein, Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History, Political Science,and Israeli Studies, Director, Middle East Research Program andEmory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel

Atlanta, Georgia

Another Priceless Editorial Cartoon from Ramirez

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An American Beauty Queen Contrasted to Her Afghani Counterpart: An Ugly Story

Great post by Deborah over at The Thought Mill on the stark differences between Miss America and Miss Afghanistan here. Just in case anyone, especially of the female species, thinks it might not be so bad living under sharia law.

My question after reading this and similar stories for years is: why aren't liberals and feminists speaking out in outrage? And gays too, since under Islamic rule, every non-heterosexual would be dispatched (hung, shot, beheaded) immediately?

It's a mystery to me. I guess the feminists would rather concentrate on more important issues like, well, running Larry Summers off at Harvard, and, you know proving a woman can work a differential equation faster than a man with her bigger brain.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Real Loss for US Foreign Policy

Bolton resigns at the UN. He's too good for the UN. Joel Rosenberg writes about it here.

Issues of Legal Immigration and New Citizenship Test

From The Heritage Foundation, some key policy papers on legal immigration:

".....the key to America’s uniquely successful immigration story, lies in a deliberate and self-confident policy of patriotic assimilation—welcoming newcomers while insisting that they learn and embrace America’s civic culture and political institutions, thereby form­ing one nation from many peoples. While there are many differences of opinion when it comes to the overall number of immigrants and the process by which they come to this country, the one point on which there has always been widespread, bipartisan agreement is that those who come here should become Americans.

The overwhelming result of this assimilation policy, throughout the course of American history, has been a strengthening of our social capital, a continuing expansion of our general economy, and the constant renewal of our national purpose. America has been good for immigrants, and immigrants have been good for America. And so, as the issue is debated once again, it is imperative to revive the very policy that makes American immigration work, and get back to the hard and noble task of making citizens."

Read it all here.

Also, there are going to be some new questions on the US citizenship test soon. Read here. What, we're going to emphasize the our country's political tradition! What a novel, politically incorrect idea. And it's about time.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

John Piper on the Lawlessness of The Flesh

To my mind, one of the most compelling ministers today of the Gospel of Christ is John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. A southern reverse carpet-bagger, his sermons are Biblical and clear for all those striving to grow on their spiritual journey.

Here he talks about our hatred of the law and need for self-rule.

St. Augustine's Best Known Quotes

"Da mihi castilat em et continentiam, sed noli modo."
("Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.")

"Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum."
("Love the sinner and hate the sin.")

I am currently reading "The Confessions of St. Augustine" of Hippo and struck by the timelessness of his journey. Thoroughly debauched in his time, his conversion to Christ and subsequent transformation shows how God loves and forgives the worst of sinners and the greatest of naysayers.

And how He can ultimately use all our past experiences for the greater good.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Womanly Role Models, Or Why We Need The Queen Now More Than Ever

The short version of this post on why we need more good and Godly feminine role models like The Queen, now more than ever, can be summed up as follows:

Britney Spears, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Princess Di, Paris Hilton, Madonna, suicide bomber and grandmother Fatma An-Najur, the 46 million women who had abortions last year as a way of "choosing" after rather than before the fact, and the almost 40% of mothers in this country who now have children out-of-wedlock, seemingly without need of a father, just to name a few.

The list goes on. The slope gets slipperier. The bar lower. The nonesense louder. The sense of entitlement grander. The clothes scantier. And the truth ever more relative.

If we don't like the way the world really operates, then we can bend reality to our basest desires and redefine it. Can't we?

The eyes and attention of the masses go so automatically to the most fascinating, stickiest, lowest common denominator that we fail to see the quieter, less obvious higher Truths of enduring life and love. Let alone have time to think about them.

And as we give our attention to their pruient machinations, even momentarily, we become accomplices to the ever-increasing depravity of our world.

And so without further ado, let us divert our attention elsewhere and leave Britney and her desperate-for-attention, clueless, childish companions to their own pathetic destruction, pray for their salvation and turn our gaze upwards.

The Queen might be a good place to start again.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Alpha Female, Walk Softly but Carry a Big Stick

My sister's dog Sweet Pea. Ain't no limb too large, no fetch too far, no mountain too high and no dog too intimidating to keep her from gettin to her stick de la moment. And gettin and gettin and gettin and gettin.

Now, if we could get some of Sweet Pea's undaunted courage and steadfastness of purpose rechannelled into the MSM and other of our internal detractors, perhaps we could really make some headway in our War on Terror. Jihad? Sweet Pea is ready for anything if she can bring her stick to the party.

Notable, Quotable

"There's no such thing as a free lunch."
-----Milton Friedman

"The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions."
-----Dwight Eisenhower

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Can't Say I'm Surprised, Bill: But It's a Wise Decision

Retiring Senator Bill Frist announced today he will not run for president in 2008. It's a wise decision. I admire him for listening to advisers who have undoubtedly told him that his chances of being elected president now are slim to none. I also respect him for sticking to his guns about serving in the Senate for only two terms, and think all senators and representatives should follow his lead.

If we can ever get term limits enacted and budgetary earmarks eliminated, we will have made significant progress in the political arena.

On another political note, a new poll finds Rudy Giuliani to be the most popular politician in the country and Condi Rice more popular than either Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton. Not surprised here either. Just feel er, pleasantly pleasant, filled with pleased pleasantness.

Oh yes, oh yes I am.

Oh, Please.

All he wants is a cookie.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Every Proper Queen Needs Her Wellies and a Good Ghillie, Part 2

As the terrible week following Di's death in Paris unfolds, the queen continues to be sequestered at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with her immediate family, grandsons and a small staff. The longer she and the Royal Family keep their lives and turmoil private, the louder the world clamors for her attention.

It is a time of unprecedented soul-searching for her if not conflicted, though subdued, emotions.

While this movie could have gone off in all sorts of tangential directions focusing on the ever widening public and worldwide commotion of these days; in the end, its power lies its ability to stay calm and focused on the queen, the queen, and nothing but the queen. The outside issues are dealt with only as they directly impact and are impacted by the lady herself.

This is as it should be: it's far more satisfying for the audience to know the central character in greater depth, than its being carried off in all directions, like a chicken with its head cut off. The director is to be commended for this.

Everyone plays a supporting role to the queen, even as the boys who have just lost their mother are seen off in the distance--in their bedroom and on the river practicing their casting--to the unfolding story of their grandmother with her dilemma of how best to serve her family and her people in the face of such unchartered events.

What of this woman and her character as revealed in The Queen? What then commends it to an audience and how most poignantly is her character conveyed?

Quietly, subtlely and in an understated, dignified manner. (This is one of the reasons that this movie can be seen again and thought about for days. It also attests to the staying power of the queen herself in an institution many, including me, thought was near extinction. I would no longer bet on it.)

To my own great delight, one of its most powerful and revealing scenes takes place with the queen outdoors, alone in the wildlands of Scotland.

It starts at her ghillies' cottage, where her gameskeepers are gathered. She comes knocking at the door whereupon she is greeted informally. There is respect accorded any lady, but all formal queenly protocols are suspended. The queen shines as she asks for directions to her husband's hunting expedition. Though the head ghillie offers to accompany her, she will have none of it, preferring instead to go on alone in her old Land Rover.

Of course this is all projection on my part, but I can't help but think this must be delicious time for the queen, even as she grapples with one of the greatest crisises of her reign. Time alone, batting around in beautiful scenery, fresh air, peace and quiet. Time not having to talk or be talked to, as the rest of the world seems to be going mad.

The scene progresses, she comes to the river which she must cross. As she drives through shallow water, the axle hits a rock, cracking her vehicle's front shaft, stalling her journey indefinitely.

While she waits for her ghilly's arrival and assistance after calmly calling him on her cell phone, the queen begins to take in the sights and sounds of the natural beauty around her with a sense of quiet awe.

It is then she begins to cry. Stranded, alone, and surrounded by creation, she finally allows herself the indulgence of a good cry.

Some people claim they can only have such a cry in the presence of a loved one or good listener. But I'm with the queen here, as some of the best cries I've ever had have been on a stream, alone.

But even her private flow of emotion is short-lived as she hears a rustle and turns to see a large 14-point stag staring her in the face. It's as if this magnificent creature has come to commiserate the human condition and unavoidable paradoxes of life and death.

As she looks through tears in startled delight, she finds solace in the unexpected eye contact with this creature. The Queen of England and the King of the Highlands cross paths in a momentary rapt mutual admiration society.

And then, hearing gunshots off in the distance, the queen shoos the great stag away, back into the wilds from wence he came, hoping to save his life, even for a little longer.

I shall be back one more time on some more observations on The Queen and why we need her and what she stands for more than ever.

Then again, I may become a career blogger on all things queen. It sure beats posting on the likes of sex expert Scarlett Johansson, new House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi or presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton.

They, and I, could surely take a few lessons from the queen who has endured for over 50 years both in her private as well as public life.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Every Proper Queen Needs Her Wellies and a Good Ghillie, Part 1

Yes, yes, we all know the Queen has a supporting cast of royal family members who over the decades we've come to know, love and hate just as intimately as if they were our own. It seems the worlds'--and our--fascination with her and her often scandalous family is without bounds.

We're way too familiar with her snooty, often righteously indignant and irreverant sporting husband, her dignified Scotch-swigging mummy, her irascible children and grandchildren with their lovers, spouses and exs, and finally her royal pack of yelping corgis. She certainly is at no loss for dramatic distraction, pathos and scandal in her life.

Add to that deliciously wicked mix, a bright, new Prime Minister with a perfectly compatible, clever wife, members of Parliament and royal attendants (those with scruples and those without) and it's obvious why we've been enthralled with these people for generations.

Then, just when we think we know everything about our royals and their soap opera lives, a new source of fascination shows up: here comes "The Queen" to US movie theaters everywhere.

It's a fascinating look behind the scenes at the the queen and the royal hubbub at Balmoral Castle in the Highlands of Scotland, during the time of Princess Di's scandalous death in Paris and Tony Blair's election as Prime Minister of England in September, 1997. While the rest of the world was erupting in orgasmic grief and emotion over Diana's tragic accident, the queen and company were keeping their own counsel privately, quietly at Balmoral, much to the consternation of the rest of the world.

It is film worth seeing if you're fascinated with that time, those people and like beautiful, dramatic scenery in faraway places.

Not only did I like this movie, I came to see and admire the Queen in a light I never dreamed possible. I found her to be in many ways my kind of gal.

Such a statement is a 180 degree change from a time I found her to be a hard-hearted battle-axe of a woman, presiding over an anachronistic institution whose time had long since come and gone.

That was all before I saw Her Majesty at Balmoral Castle batting around alone on the 40,000 acre royal game preserve, driving herself in a beat-up old Land Rover with her head shrink-wrapped in a silk scarf, and getting her vehicle stuck in a trout stream before calmly having to call her ghillie for assistance for a broken front shaft.

Now there's a woman I can jolly-well identify with. More in Part 2.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Loneliness and the Life of Joseph, the Kid Sold Into Slavery by His Brothers in Genesis 40

One of my favorite stories from the Old Testament is the tale of brotherly treachery and the way God used it for good in the life of Joseph, son of Jacob. Dr. David Jeremiah talks about it here.

After being falsely accused, hear how iron entered Joseph's soul and toughened him up for leadership beyond his wildest dreams in the loneliness of prison.


A prayer for those earnestly searching for Truth.

Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might come to know You in a living way and not just through another dead religion. Grant that I be undaunted by the cost of following you, as I consider reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me and open me to the living reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life you promise. Amen.

(Thanks to Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City, for this prayer.)

Saturday, November 25, 2006


"Your religion is what you do with your solitude."
---Archbishop William Temple

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving, 2006

There is not a year that goes by that I don't feel ever more grateful to live in this country at such an amazing time in our history. The abundance of her resources---spiritual, human, natural, and technological---are incomparable. I pray that we wake up and become ever more willing to defend the freedoms in the days ahead that our forefathers fought and died for and which we so easily take for granted today. These freedoms are under assault as never before on a myriad of fronts.

May we also take whatever steps necessary to defend and protect that basic building block of society and civilization, the traditional family unit.

May God bless our country, our families and all of our troops fighting in far away places to extend the privileges and responsibilities of democracy and freedom throughout our world.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Thoughtful Comment, that Would Otherwise Publish in My Archives

I am happy to feature a comment that would otherwise be published in a post now in my archives. And I will respond to it at a later time but for now it is always nice to receive good feedback from all sides. Thank you for writing:

"While I am not very well educated on the other candidates that you support, I was disappointed to see that you support Rick Santorum for PA senate. As a Pennsylvania native, I must admit that the alternative choice (Bob Casey) is not much better, however I do find that anything is better then Santorum. I am sure that you would be very concerned about his record if you knew that he voted against environmental funding, for off-shore drilling and has taken many other steps that prove him to be an enemy of the environment. As for this particular vote (off-shore drilling), I believe that the solution to America’s energy crisis lies in renewable and sustainable energy. Apparently Rick has not considered that off-shore drilling is not only unrenewable (we are about to reach our peak in oil production) but also very detrimental to the environment. In addition his ethics are incredibly corrupt. (He seems to be best buds with Wal-Mart, voting against a raise in minimum wage and accepting nice favors in return.)
Paul’s granddaughter"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Feel a Stemwinder Coming On, Miss Johansson

One of the reasons I started this blog, among other things, was to vent my spleen from time to time, whether anyone saw, read, listened to or agreed with me. Or not.

Miss Scarlett Johansson has recently criticized President Bush for his overly conservative views on sex outside marriage as "unrealistic."

Well, I feel a stemwinder coming on. But, I'm too busy right now to give vent to it. But get back, I shall, Miss Johansson.

And I plan to get back to "it"--some recreational venting on this subject of freewheeling sex outside marriage--more than once in the days ahead. As a child, and I do mean child, who came of age in the sixties and am still recovering from the many excesses of that time, I have some things to say on the subject of sex outside marriage, both from hard-earned experience and years of observation.

So as soon as I can, I plan to talk about the worldly view of recreational sex---anytime, anywhere with anyone one feels like---which Miss Johansson enthusiastically advocates, even as she struggles with her latest relationship difficulties here.

Meanwhile, Ace carries the ball, as best as any poor man can--- with big cleavage in his face cradled in red silk, or no, on second thought I think it's polyester. Synthetic polyester she's wearing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday: Thanksgiving on My Mind

Light blogging today. Got Thanksgiving on my mind: family, food, shopping, lights, candles, decorations, clean sheets and towels and all the other things a woman is conditioned to think about at this time of year. Don't think I've even clicked on Drudge today!

The holiday season has gotten to be a bit much in recent years, but it's still the best time to sit down and take stock of so many blessings, and visit with old friends and family.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

God Parting the Red Sea: The Greatest Miracle of the Old Testament

Lon Solomon, pastor of McLean Bible Church, talks about the greatest miracle of the Old Testament: God parting the Red Sea to bring almost three million Jews of out of slavery in Egypt. And he tells why it's relevant to us today, here.

Don't think it really happened? Then you might enjoy this sermon. What a completely dazzling story.

Hearing Solomon teach the Bible from a true Bible perspective has done more to grow my faith in recent years, than anything else.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

We Forget to Remember to Forget

In the busyness of our hectic lives, it's so easy to forget history and events leading up to big decisions. Lest we forget to remember to forget, let us remember to remember all the intelligence leading up to the decision to go into Iraq for at least a decade before that decision was made, here.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman on The Four Ways to Spend Money

Milton Friedman, may you rest in peace. But may your wisdom live much longer and prosper us all. A sample in its most basic form is found here.

The greatest argument for the free enterprise system here. We cannot have a free society unless such enterprise plays a greater role in our lives. Of course, that requires that our citizenry take more, not less, personal responsibility for ourselves, an anathema to our current cradle to grave nanny state.

If asked to choose between personal freedom and government assistance, Friedman always erred on the side of freedom in all aspects of life. Michael McClellan remembers Friedman well, here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Family Holiday Circus Has Begun: My Sister at Starbucks

My younger sister and I have an annual contest to see who pulls the ditziest, most dingbat stunt of the year.

I think she's going to win the prize in 2006. Heaven forbid that I top this one in the 45 days remaining in this year.

My sister called me this morning. She had just gotten to our hometown yesterday after driving two days from Colorado with a car full of stuff and two dogs, where I am also returning.

Seems that when she arrived, she couldn't get into her rental condo until later in the day. So she went over to Starbucks to chill out, have a latte and, well, use the facilities.

After waiting to get into the bathroom, she finally went in. Minutes later she turned to flush the toilet with her purse on her shoulder. Quicker than a jack rabbit, the purse slipped and her keys fell out of her overstuffed bag into the toilet and disappeared without a trace into the abyss of the gyrating, screaming, flushing commode.

"It was one of those power flush toilets from hell," she moaned.

It instantly sucked all ten of her keys, key rings, keychain, and a big red pepper spray cannister she had attached to the keys for protection into the centrifugal force of the water before gulping the ensemble into middle earth for all eternity.

"And there I was, alone staring down the toilet begging my keys to come back."

"The dogs were locked inside the car, I was locked out and looked like someone out of the Beverley Hillbillies after driving for two days wandering out of the bathroom. I felt like the idiot of all time."

"So I went over to the man behind the Starbucks counter and told him what just happened. He was really sorry but offered no help. Said there were no second chances with that kind of industrial strength toilet. And then he offered me a free cup of coffee..... I wasn't thirsty."

"I think you'll win the ditzy prize this year, " I said.

Well in the end, it turned out my little sister eventually found an extra car key stashed in some hidden magnetic box attached underneath her car and was able to get back in and drive away to the condo. But she added, she was now working on getting new duplicate keys made with those space age chips that cost about $250 each."

"Can you imagine?" she said. Yes, I told her, I had been there too. But not from having my car keys flushed down the toilet.

And as for me, I can let her have the award this year, without going into great detail about my dingbat moment this summer: While hiking in the Rockies one day with a group of friends, during lunch I was passing around a package of dried plums from my pack, saying that I had never had a dried plum before.

Someone asked if I had never eaten a prune? Well sure, I said, I've eaten prunes, but never a dried plum.....they're different, you know.

I was corrected: prunes are dried plums. And the dried plum thing was just a new marketing ploy from Del Monte.

No they're not, I insisted. Prunes are prunes and plums are not prunes....I'm certain of it....certain of it....

Well, someone pressed, have you ever seen a baby prune, before it becomes a prune?

Maybe, maybe not, I said. Can't recall.

Laughter abounded from all around me, as I grasped to make the case that prunes are not dried plums in lenghty, nonsensical oratory.

Needless to say, I will not live such a faux pas down for many moons. I simply had never given any thought whatsoever to the origins of prunes. But hey, confusing prunes and plums is not the same as flushing your car keys down the toilet at Starbucks,

Is it!?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mini Jihad Watch with Robert Spencer Today at Heritage Foundation

Today at Heritage, Robert Spencer gave a wonderful talk which I attended on Islam and his new book "The Truth About Muhammad," to a full auditorium.

All went well until the question and answer session afterwards, when it became apparent that some members of the audience were Islamic sympatheizers, there to cause trouble. And they had carefully choreographed their disruption.

Since another commenter has already described the event in detail over at Spencer's webpage Jihad Watch, I will reprint it here with only one addition to make: Increasingly at events like this, there needs to be better security. One day, some protester could walk into the building with no security checkpoint, and into the audience with a bomb straped on his belt and let it rip during such a Q&A as we had today.

I, for one, was a bit nervous when these people starting taking over the program at the end. And while security and the police were eventually called, it could have been worse. A lot worse.

Here follows details of what happened today at Heritage which gave all of us who attended pause:

"I attended the Spencer lecture, and I posted my account of what went down on another forum. Here it is again:
Today, I attended a lecture at the headquarters of the Heritage Foundation by Robert Spencer, author of various books on the threat of radical Islam. His lecture lasted for about 40 minutes. As I've noticed on his website, Jihad Watch, in his columns, and in a recent interview with Brian Lamb on CSPAN, Mr. Spencer is very knowledgeable on Islamic theology, history, and radical groups. I truly enjoyed his discussion. (If you want to watch it, go to The Truth About Muhammad. It is available in streaming video, streaming mp3, and downloadable mp3.)

The lecture itself went on without incident. It was during the Q&A period that things started to unravel. The first few questions were on various topics, and Spencer gave insightful answers and commentary.

It was one of the last questions that exposed the "infiltrators" amongst the audience.

A young woman wearing a hat, named Megan ("from Boston"), brought up the subject of child marriage, which Spencer had mentioned when talking about the bad example Muhammad has given to his followers to this day. She asked him if "Republican Congressman Mark Foley was perhaps under the influence of the evil teachings of Muhammad." Spencer laughed at the question, and bluntly said "No."

Members of the audience also laughed at her question, most likely because of its sheer absurdity. Spencer expanded on his answer, and said, "I never said that child molestation or pedophilia or anything of the kind was exclusively the province of Muslims.... I disapprove of it [this kind of conduct] from Mark Foley or anyone else" (If you want to hear this complete exhange, watch the streaming video on the link above, and using the scroll at the bottom of Windows Media Player, forward the time index to 58:01, and it follows from about 58:10 on.)

Spencer answered one more question about whether Islam could under go a reform movement like the Protestant Reformation (and made a slightly-veiled jab at Unitarian and Episcopalian "Christianity" and in the process - Spencer himself is a Catholic of the Melkite rite).

After he finished his answer, the moderator for the lecture, the director of lectures and seminars for the Heritage Foundation, announced that the time for Q&A was up. As he was closing out the lecture, a young man who had has hand up for the entire latter half of the Q&A period stood up and whined loudly about how he hadn't been called on. The lecture director, in response, stated that he was welcome to talk to Spencer afterwards, and then thanked Mr. Spencer for his presentation, which started a round of applause.

Following the applause, people started to file out of the large auditorium at the Heritage Foundation. The man who had been complaining continued to shout, and as I made my way out to the lobby outside the auditorium to get my copies of Spencer's books signed, I started to hear singing. It sounded like some kind of protest song/jingle. I didn't really know what they were singing about at the time, but upon the reviewing the streaming video at the link above (starting at the 1:02:00 mark), the words were something like "Mr. Cheney, something something World War Three, one hundred thousand something die, that's like Nazi genocide." The song, of course, continued.) Between the Foley question and the jingle singers, it became pretty obvious that there were a handful of leftists that were bent on causing some kind of disruption at the lecture.

The disruption continued out in the lobby. A line formed in front of a table so Mr. Spencer could sign books. The man who hadn't been called on (and I have a feeling that lecture organizers had been warned in advance about this guy) came up to the side of the table, and started to rant about how Spencer supposedly supported the mass killing of Muslims, and how he couldn't see why so many people came out to hear him speak.......

As I left the book signing line, I noticed that the lecture director was escorting "Megan from Boston" from out of the auditorium. She left without incident. However, the young whiner continued his rant, and finally, he too was asked to leave.

Some of the Heritage staff and the people who attended the event tried to get him to leave, and with some difficulty, he moved towards the hallway where the elevators were.

I wasn't paying complete attention to the whiner and his "escorts" as they moved towards the elevators, since I wanted to get some of the food and drinks that Heritage had on hand. Suddenly, I heard shouting from the hallway. I went over to see what was going on. I saw the whiner from before trying to hang on to a corner in the hallway as a Heritage staffer escorted him out. He kept on shouting that he was being hurt.

A few minutes later, the U.S. Capitol Police showed up (the Heritage Foundation is only a block and a half away from one of the Senate office buildings). They interviewed the whiner, the staffers involved, and probably some of the witnesses who saw the whole thing go down. After some time, he was finally escorted out of the building by the police.
Posted by: M. Joseph at November 14, 2006 06:30 PM

Again, I reiterate, there needs to be better security at events like this at Heritage and elsewhere. Both the times and the subject matter beg for it.

I'm Liking Humor Right Now

"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing."
--William James

"You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it."
--Bill Cosby

As the days get shorter and the holidays approach, as liberals get ready to take back Congress and run up the white flag in Iraq and elsewhere, as radical California type liberals converge to define our policies on immigration, taxation, and castagation of President Bush et al., I am feeling the need for large doses of humor and optimism to recharge my batteries. A time-out from worldly wisdom and catastropic predictions.

And I am feeling the need for large doses of prayer.

Maybe I'm alone in employing such a basket of coping mechanisms, but there you have it.

I pray optimism will come back soon. But for now, I seek solace in the small things in life, and prayer and laughter, along with long walks in the park, are certainly some of the best ways I know of to cope when sunshine seems to have fled.

Monday, November 13, 2006

If You Need A Monday Laugh....Borat with Antiques, the Humorless Feminists and Hip-Hoppers

This is some of the best slapstick I've ever seen...right here.
"We need help, baby."
More here. And here, Vanilla Face.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hiking Along the Hudson River near Rhinebeck, NY with a Friend

Beautiful weather, lots of girl talk, walking in a Thomas Cole painting along the Hudson, finding a wifi outpost in the one of the country's oldest inns so I could blog, and sipping peppermint tea, all in the best of company. But we forgot to buy you an industrial sized rake for the thousands of leaves in your new yard... Thanks for your wonderful hospitality, 2E!

Sunday: A Fascinating Testimony of A Conversion to Christ

Lon Solomon, pastor of McLean Bible Church in McLean, Virginia tells the amazing story of his conversion to Christ from Judaism here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day 2006: Seabees--Can Do

"With willing hearts and skillful hands, the difficult we do at once; the impossible takes a bit longer."

Sculpture at Arlington National Cemetery dedicated to The Seabees, men and women of naval contruction battalions.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Adrienne Shelly, Who She Was and Why We Should All Care About What Happened To Her

I never heard the name Adrienne Shelly until ten days ago and probably never would have.

Except for the fact that I was going to New York City last weekend.

First to see my son, and then pick up a friend to drive up the Hudson Valley for a couple of days to stay at her new weekend home. We had been planning this outing for weeks and even worked out all the logistics, down to how we would get out of the city in the midst of the New York Marathon on Sunday afternoon.

Then my friend called last Thursday with terrible news.

"Look," she said. "something horrible has next door neighbor, Adrienne Shelly, was found dead at her office several blocks away. Police think it was a suicide, but it's the craziest one believes it. I saw her just yesterday and she was radiant."

"Why would she kill herself with a husband who adores her, a three year-old daughter and a career as a writer and actor that's booming? I'm afraid this has us all in a deep state of depression."

"Of course," I replied, not knowing what else to say. "Look, let's call our trip off, you need to be there and I'm just getting over a dreadful cold."

"No, let's go," she insisted. "But I don't know when we will be able to get away right now."

Numerous calls and conversations ensued over the course of the next three days and our road trip. We talked endlessly, formulating theory after theory floating around town about Shelly's horrifying death----a suicide, an accidental hanging while researching a part for a new screenplay, a murder that looked like a suicide, the police questioning of her husband and several even more bizarre theories too awful to mention.

We talked about her daughter and how we hoped she might never have to be told her mother killed herself and what that must do to a child.

But with each conversation we kept coming back to,

"Why?" and, "What really happened?"

We both found the suicide theory hard to swallow. But much more importantly her husband had too, and had hired a private detective. Furthermore, there was still the pesky evidence of strange sneaker footprints in the bathroom where she had been found hung.

Then late Monday night, the call came to my friend's home where we were staying that started to pull all the pieces of this awful puzzle together.

"She was murdered by an illegal alien doing construction work in her building. He's confessed and been arrested. He's only been in the country a year and can speak very little English."

The suspect is one Diego Pillco, 19, an illegal alien from Ecuador, who later told police "he was having a bad day."

He was also scared to death of being caught and sent back to where he came from.

The story started making sense: Adrienne, 40, had been bothered by loud contruction noise while she tried to work in her office, and had gone down to the next floor to complain. A row broke out between Shelly and Pillco who then threw a hammer at her but missed. Angered, Shelly turned and ran back up the steps she had just come down with Pillco in hot pursuit, warning her not to call the police.

He then struck her in the head.

Suspecting she was either near death or dead, and fearing he would be found out and deported from the country, Pillco dragged Shelly into her office, wrapped her in a sheet and hung her---most likely alive and struggling---on the shower rod over the bath tub to make it look like she had committed suicide. It was there Adrienne Shelly died.

And it was there that Shelly's husband, Andy Ostroy, found her later that day, after repeatedly trying to call and e-mail her but getting no response.

Adrienne Shelley left behind a husband and daughter whom she loved and who adored her, a career that was blossoming, and friends and fans who were cheering her on. Her untimely death is a tragedy on every front.

And it is also a tragedy that can be laid on all of us as we continue to allow thousands and thousands of illegal aliens into our country each year.

According to a post over at Michelle Malkin:

"Pillco was a native of the city of Cuenca, and arrived in the United States in the summer of 2005 after paying smugglers $12,000 to sneak him over the Mexican border, according to law-enforcement sources."

"Pillco eventually made his way to Brooklyn, where he moved into a basement apartment with his brother Wilson - who had arrived months earlier - at 328 Prospect Ave., where a cousin also lived.

His landlord, Louis Hernandez, hired Pillco to work as a part-time helper for his construction company, even though - by his own admission - he knew the immigrant did not have legal working papers."

The New York Times picks it up from there with some choice quotes,

"Acquaintances of Mr. Pillco, who had been living in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn, described him as an energetic and respectful young man who was struggling with the physical rigors of his job and the disorientation of his illegal immigrant status."

“I still don’t think he could do something like this,” said Frank Diaz, a resident of the building on Prospect Avenue where Mr. Pillco lived in a cramped basement space with two other Ecuadorean construction workers."

Pillco had paid $12,000 to get smuggled into the country?

He was struggling with "the rigors of his job and the disorientation of his illegal immigrant status?"

And he was living with other illegal immigrants who had paid to get into the country illegally also and not learning the language?

What part of the words "illegal immigrant" are we as a country not getting?

Here we have men who by very definition are outside the Rule of Law, paid to come into the country to be outside the Rule of Law, want to remain outside The Rule of Law and have no interest in knowing our history, our language or what it means to live under The Rule of Law.

And, I might add, who want us to coddle them for being "disoriented by their illegal status."

I am offended. I've been offended since I had the courage to read Victor Davis Hanson's book "Mexifornia" several years ago.

As a woman, I am offended when I see and hear about a murder like Shelly's, when I hear of a carload of drunk illegals without drivers licenses careening into an oncoming car obeying the rules of the road killing all of them. I am offended when I struggle to communicate with an immigrant worker--a waiter, a car mechanic, a clerk-- who signals me he can't speak English. And cares nothing about learning.

I could go on but won't.

Adrienne Shelly's death, like many others before her, should make us weep for her and her family personally and their loss.

But it should make us collectively weep for our country, as lax immigration policies water down what it means to be an American, a law abiding English speaking citizen. In a country with strong borders and tough laws and a grand history and legacy of legal immigration.

What's next: an illegal with say $50,000 in his pocket smuggling in a nuclear weapon while the likes of Ted Kennedy pass legislation providing for their care, codding and nourishment at our, the taxpayers,' expense?

I hope and pray that we lawful citizens will wake up and forbid our elected officials to go any further in appeasing these man and women outside the Rule of Law in this country. And call them what they are: illegal aliens who need to and must be deported.

That's the least we can do for the memory of Adrienne Shelly and others like her. I pray for her and her family and the national crisis unfolding before our very eyes.

Beautiful Fall Day in our Nation's Capitol

"Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress."

-----Charles Dickens

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tidbits Only a Woman Can Love

Perusing the Washington Post this morning, I found some little tidbits to be filed in my head under the category of "from the sublime to the riciculous."

So, did you know yesterday, November 8, while Laura Bush (she looks wonderful!) was celebrating her 60th birthday at a luncheon out at The Inn at Little Washington with the likes of buddies Karen Hughes and Karyn Frist, Nancy Pelosi was at the Four Seasons Spa in Georgetown getting her hair and nails done for her victory photo ops? But, the gossip goes on, she does her own makeup. What a relief to have the inside scoop! I have to say she looks pretty darned good for her age even though I am in seclusion over her being the next Speaker of the House.

Ear-yee, Ear-yee, Part 1

When Congress reconvenes after Thanksgiving for the last few weeks of its lame duck Session, it has some loose ends to tie up before this Session goes into the trash heap of history.

About 12,000 loose ends, to be exact.

That would be 12,000 earmarks totalling billions of our taxpayers dollars in nine federal appropriations bills that they will be dealing with. I use the words "dealing with" loosely because it has really become an issue of not dealing with these secret appropriations that has created the dark process known as "earmaking."

Legislators may be retiring or coming back for a new Session next year, but either way, one thing's for sure: they are about to let the good times roll with our hard-earned cash between now and the end of 2006.

Like a thief in the night stuffing his pockets full of booty for pet projects before making a great escape, Senators and Congressmen everywhere are poised to once again get their bootious earmarks passed, making their escape with our money, while we taxpayers slumber or go on about our business as usual.

Earmarking in the dead of night with no one looking is out of hand with no signs of abating in sight.

Two years ago there were between 7,000 to 10,000 earmarks in federal appropriations bills. That's when the now infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" came to light. And that was under GOP, the party of limited government, leadership.

There's a thief in the house and it's time to set off the burglar alarms and call the police. Time to give our electees an ear-full. To get a new plan, stan. Drop off the key, lee, and just get ourselves free.

Though many pundits want to blame the War in Iraq and other scandals in Washington for the Democrats big win on Tuesday, I say the biggest scandal of all is the runaway federal budget under GOP tutelage. And voters showed their discontent on Tuesday.

As George Will writes in today's Washington Post, "At least Republicans now know where the Bridge to Nowhere leads: to the political wilderness."

Let's see, nowhere leads to nowhere. Perhaps our good ole GOP, espousing limited government and spending, will begin to read the map. And soon it will have 12,000 opportunities to correct course. Let's hope it starts taking them in the weeks ahead.

I will continue writing more on this earmarks abomination in future posts.

Meanwhile, Ear-yee, Ear-yee.