Same job, different uniform.

Friday, March 31, 2006

April Foolery

As a ninth grader I was Willie Lovelace, the female lead in a popcorn melodrama called Blazing Guns at Roaring Gulch. Our director was our drama teacher, a superior actor though a mediocre instructor. A tall, lanky gentleman with a goofy smile, wispy white hair and booming voice, he was beloved among every student that walked through the stage doors.

We decided to pull an April Fool's stunt by telling him, at various intervals throughout the day and using a bunch of random excuses, that we couldn't be in the play. My mom even wrote a note explaining the death of a fictional grandma in Pennsylvania. Other friends were yanked out for reasons I've since forgotten (I vaguely recall a "broken" limb). It was a good joke and it worked well. At the end of that day, we crept together into the classroom and the poor old man was slumped in his chair, head in his hands reading my mother's somber note.

When we told him the joke was on him, it took him a moment to absorb the news. We were elated with the success of our little scheme. It was really the best April Fools joke I've been involved in. I'm not involved in many April Fools jokes, clearly.

Others are and with even greater success.

Read this article for stories of some excellent and harmless hoaxes. Then laugh at yourself because, just maybe, you might have fallen for one of them.

In 1976 the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity.

Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

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So . . .what would it take?

I know my last post about the French riots garnered some crtiticism, and even got gf to pull out the tired cliché of French personal hygiene, or lack thereof, but here's the question I would like answered:

What would it take for you to go riot in streets?

What right would have to be infringed upon to inspire you not to show up to work and protest your government?

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

their girlfriday: the job description

This is a small office. We are a team. You will be personal assistant to the boss.

It would be wise for owners of small businesses to disclose this in the job description.

Occasionally you will need to take the car in for an oil change. From time to time I cannot get away at 3:00; my daughter will need picked up from school. We are a team. My plane from Dulles leaves at 7a.m.; I will be at your door at 5 a.m. We have to close the deal. We are going on vacation; please get the mail. You are a friend.

Never take the friday job if you are not willing to support the boss.

You will be personal assistant to the boss.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The French are at it again

Chaos in France . . . deja vu.

As an American, the reason why the French are currently protesting is completely foreign to me. Until these riots, I had no idea that in France it's nearly impossible to get fired from a job, especially from the first one you get right out of college.

Even though the reason for the protests baffles me, I still respect the fact that they are fighting to maintain a right that they have been entitled to since the last part of the 20th century. I also respect that when their government stops listening to them they don't think "let's file complaints, go to hearings, etc,." they automatically say "let's take to the streets."

This has made me consider what it would take for over a million American citizens to rise up in protest. If Oprah Winfrey were arrested for treason? If it were made a felony to watch "American Idol"? Even the protests and walkouts taking place in California have motivated fewer than 40,000 people, and I would venture to say most of them aren't American citizens.

I'm not saying I support anarchy, or that we should take our cues from the French, the same great country that gave us the "Reign of Terror." But we are fighting a war millions of people in our country don't support that is being run by an administration with lower approval ratings than even Nixon saw before resigning from office. And I know we've had protests, but protests that shut down entire cities?

I'm not saying I would support riots in our streets if they were to happen, but it's just fascinating to me that all it takes is the possibility to get fired from a job, and millions of Frenchies flood the streets.

Thank you, France, for keeping the world interesting.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Stephen Colbert says . . .

"The world is a dirty place,
and I'm America's
lemon-scented wet nap."

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The first one was a remake. . .

. . . and yeah, okay, it was entertaining.

The second one sucked.

So is it really necessary to make an "Ocean's 13"?

I think not.

Although it will be tempting to see it. . . Damon, Clooney, and Pitt all on one screen together. . .again? And no Julia Roberts? It might be hard not to rent it.

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"Sometimes I wish I were a Democrat because Democrats seem to have more fun."

A good man and friend has died.

No use wishing he will rest in peace when I can say it with confidence. I will miss you, Lyn.

UPDATE: A mutual friend emailed to say "As for our friend Lyn... according to an old friend of Lee's who visited with Lyn late last week... Lyn was singing patriotic songs... and mixing the words up with the Lord's Prayer... he was clever and creative to the end. "

Peter Schramm at No Left Turns affectionately remembers Lyn: "If a well-tied tie is the first serious step in life, he was not a very serious fellow. Maybe that’s why I liked him."

Read the excellent tribute to Mr. Nofziger available at the Washington Post. "An offbeat figure who wore Mickey Mouse ties with the knot pulled down, Mr. Nofziger won a reputation as a shrewd, two-fisted political battler, who blended loyalty, cantankerousness and pungent phrasemaking."

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Just this Side of Crazy

The Stupid Shall Be Punished links to a 43rd State Blues post that attempts to lend some credibility to Charlie Sheen's 9/11 conspiracy theory and fuels the obligatory "Bush and his gang make Ted Bundy look like Pollyanna" comments. Oh the originality! (For some clarity on Sheen's comments, I commend you to Ken Blanchard.)

Though it turns out 43rd's original post has been edited. Shame.

I'm glad Bubblehead encouraged Democrats considering candidacy in Idaho to overlook 43rd State as a serious political blog.

(Someone should tell Wonkette, too.)

But maybe he was wasting his breath. In the comments Julie Fanselow, blog manager for congressional candidate George Grant, assures us that, "The people running for Congress have no time to dabble in conspiracy theories. (And remember: these ideas are called theories for a reason, because they're just that.)"

She does have time to shred a misinformed mother she encounters in a grocery store ("If you believe George W. Bush's rationale for going to war in Iraq and staying there indefinitely, is there a chance you'll believe anything you hear?"). Apparently what Charlie Sheen is proposing is a "theory" but this woman is just gullible.

She dug up some spare moments to jump on the "Impeach Dick Cheney" bandwagon, too. An excellent use of her time.

Is there a serious blog for Idaho Democrats? I'm still looking.

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All We Are Saying Is,

Everyone talks about changing the world but nobody wants to change himself.

So said a summer camp speaker in my youth, and I've never forgotten it. Hypocrisy is an inescapable fact of the human condition. None of us are consistent in thought or deed. We revel in the hypocrisy of others only to have our own exposed. If you haven't experienced this in a while, visit a college classroom.

Speaking of hypocrites, here's one.

Embedding yourself in war-torn Iraq under the label "peace activist," risking life and limb to make a statement that will ultimately benefit no Iraqi, exposing friends and family to high levels of anxiety, endangering the souls of strangers, and finally refusing to offer the courtesy of a "thank you" is no one's idea of a peacemaker.

He added: "I now need to reflect on my experience - was I foolhardy or rational - and also to enjoy my freedom in peace and quiet."

How noble of him. It reminds me of the bumpersticker "Peace Begins at Home." Someone should tell Mr. Kember.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Time, Like A

Today a friend told me he bought a BMW. Nineteen Ninety-Nine. Wow.

Then I thought that 1999 was really seven years ago. Seven years ago. A 1999 isn't a new model anymore. Not exactly old, either. A 1989 is an old model. I think.

To a car dealer, yes.

But not to a turtle.

To a mom, probably not.

What is it like to an astronomer?

Was 17 years ago a lifetime ago to a theologian?

To a 17 year old it is.

To a computer programmer, it is 10 lifetimes ago.

To an Innovator, too. Cassette tapes are relics.

To God?

Is Time linear? Is it more like a plane and less like an hourglass? It is all and none. It is something, but I don't know what. From where I [a girl friday] stand.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

If The Moon Were Made of Swiss

At last, some news worth reporting.

MADISON, Wis. - It was all in the cheese's eyes. An emmentaler Swiss cheese crafted in Switzerland with near perfect distribution of the holes that make the cheese famous took top honors Thursday at the World Championship Cheese Contest.

I can't sink my teeth into Swiss Cheese winning an international taste test. Were all cheeses fairly represented? What about French goat cheese? You know. The impossibly large cheese wheel you can buy only in towns around the Pyrenees?

Johnson said judges deduct points if flavors are not in balance or a cheese does not smell right. Having an overpowering horse blanket taste is a typical problem. Johnson described it as "sweaty, barny, unclear."

I can see how an overpowering horse blanket taste would put a damper on my wine and cheese event. But so could this sentence:

Judges can take several minutes with each cheese in the early rounds, grading for presentation, texture, smell and taste. They swirl the samples in their mouths like fine wine, trying to pull out the characteristics before spitting out a mouthful of cheese into a garbage can.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

To Walk Beside Us Forever

Before humans,
dogs flew everywhere.
Their wings of silky fur
wrapped hollow bones.
Their tails wagged
like rudders through wind,
their stomachs bare
to the sullen earth.
    I still refer to them as “my dogs.”

    Watching her son run, crookedly on spindly legs, down a gravel road along a wide field of emerald winter wheat, I thought of her. We passed the flat, narrow place where she was lovingly buried in a crude grave.
Out of sorrow
for the first humans--
stumbling, crawling,
helpless and cold--
dogs folded their
great wings into paws
soft enough to walk
beside us forever.

    To our left, by the canal nestled beside the bones of countless other cats and dogs beloved or otherwise, the Queen of Dogs is at rest.
They still weep for us,
pity our small noses,
our unfortunate eyes,
our dull teeth.

    In my imagination she is herding even the dead, mothering the sleeping, nuzzling noses and licking whiskered faces.
They lick our faces clean,
keep us warm at night.
Sometimes they remember flying
and bite our ugly hands.

italicized text is "Why Dogs Stopped Flying" by Kenneth W. Brewer.

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    Monday, March 20, 2006

    Goodness, Unspeakable

    We may say, only from time to time, that we understand "Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory."

    When we are speechless.

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    Spend a Spring Evening at the Theatre

    Boise has a lot to offer the performing arts lover.

    A local repertory company that produces excellent work is The New Heritage Theatre Company. One of the residents, Drew Ebersole, offered the single best performance I've seen on an Idaho stage. Hamlet is easy to overplay. Every high school drama student knows this. Only a well-trained actor in the hands of a skilled director can balance the restraint and passion that the role demands.

    Last December, a friend and I caught director Sandra Cavanaugh's vision of A Christmas Carol at the Morrison Center. The Ghost of Christmas Present, with his glowing red coat and booming laugh, was bedazzling. Months before that our company attended King Lear.

    If you enjoy watching men get their eyes plucked out, Lear is for you.

    But never mind. New Heritage is launching its 2006-2007 with Tennessee William's masterpiece The Glass Menagerie, March 30-April 8. This is a big deal because it's in Meridian, their new home.

    Psst. I know how to get you a discount if you're interested. Email me.

    Otherwise, call (208) 381-0958 for tickets. Or knock at Moonbat Central. The Snark might know something.

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    So much for "The Most Conservative State in the Union."

    Boise Ranks 13th in Highest Tax Burden.

    The average Boise, Idaho family can expect to pay 23.2% of their income to the federal government, according to study published this month by Runzheimer International.

    If you look at this study, you will see the role wages play in determining tax burden.

    Click here to read the full article or see how your city ranks.

    H/T The Real Estate Blog.

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    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    All Eyes on Idaho

    Or a couple dozen anyway.

    Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne? I'm happy for him. He is not an Idaho man. Why he ever left the Senate after one term for the Governor's Mansion, I'll never know.

    The Blue Staters are already whining about the appointment. They fancy Kempthorne as a right-wing nut job whose idea of happiness is sitting on top of a pile of old growth munching on Spotted Owl. I have always seen him as a taller Bill Clinton with a white-washed R after his name.

    Either way, he belongs in Washington.

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    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Are Friends Like Good Shoes?

    That is not precisely the hypothesis of Julie Neidlinger's post, but I like it anyway.

    Friends are Like Good Shoes:

    • You can never have too many.
    • You still need the shoes you wear only occasionally.
    • It takes a while to be really comfortable in any shoe.
    • Some shoes look promising but turn out to be a disappointment. Returning them or trading them in is the only solution, even if it means going without for a while.
    • There are shoes that are so reliable, so comfortable or so valuable, you keep them forever.
    • Some people only need a few.
    How Friends are Not Like Good Shoes:

    • Sometimes the pretty ones that pinch turn out to be the ones you keep forever.
    • The really good ones are not worse for the wear. Ever
    • Time only improves friendships.
    • Ugly friends still warrant our affection. Ugly shoes, never.
    • Good shoes keep your feet dry. Not even your best friend can accomplish this.

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    Driving Slowly.

    What is the point of this?

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    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    For Anyone Who Has Ever Loved a Carbohydrate

    I once had the mildly dubious distinction of being the first to write on food in this blog. So, now I am the latest to write on the topic. From a cookbook I own on Southern breakfasts:

    "She . . . reminded me . . . that I was in a land of reckless profusion, where I could almost have loaf-bread, biscuit, rolls, buttermilk bread, Sally Lunn, batter-bread, flannel cakes, or waffles, any or all of them, at breakfast, as I pleased - and afterwards be regaled with buckwheat cakes and syrup, or honey besides. Virginians, she said, scarcely realized, she was sure, what a monstrously unreasonable petition they sent up when they prayed for their daily bread." William Cabell Bruce, UVA Alum and U.S. Senator, Maryland, 1923 - 1929.

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    Monday, March 13, 2006

    03.13.06 7:59 AM Boise, Idaho

    Well, Jeb and Mom, I hope you're happy.

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    Sunday, March 12, 2006


    SCOTUS was bad enough. But some acronyms are just plain silly.

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    Wolfe in Washington

    This week at a thrift store we purchased Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe for probably less than a dollar. (That's my kind of shopping.) I haven't read any Wolfe yet, but I was intrigued after a friend read I Am Charlotte Simmons.

    If you live in the Washington, DC metro area, on May 10th at 7PM, Mr. Wolfe will deliver the 2006 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. According to Brewing Culture, Wolfe's free lecture is open to the public and will be held at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.

    To request free tickets send an email with name and address to

    Please take notes and send them to me.

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    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Some thoughts . . . maybe not coherent ones

    It's taken me awhile to post on this, because frankly, I'm still slightly in shock.

    Did "Crash" really beat "Brokeback Moutain"???

    Apparantly I shouldn't be that surprised. On Monday I was watcing replays of the "Live from the Red Carpet" on E!, and Ryan Seacrest sure seemed to know it would win.

    I'd heard the rumors of an upset, which intrigued me. Even right up until Jack Nicholson read the victor's name, I thought I'd be okay with the two movies splitting the highest honors, as they are both excellent films, and the most important thing was Ang Lee winning for best director. But when he said "Crash," I knew it was wrong.

    So the "gay cowboy" movie doesn't win, even though it's the better of the two, and probably because too many voters just flat out refused to see it. Could it be that maybe Hollywood isn't quite as progressive as they'd like us to think?

    Don't even get me started on George Clooney.

    P.S. Jon Stewart rules!

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    If Only Students Who Believe in Intelligent Design Were as Stupid as Everyone Thinks would really simplify the debate!

    Apparently England is introducing new curriculum that teaches "Creationism" alongside Darwinism as a theory in biology classes.

    According to the UK Guardian, "The schools standards minister, Jacqui Smith, said in a parliamentary answer that pupils were encouraged to explore different views, theories and beliefs in many different subjects, including science.

    "'Creationism is one of many differing beliefs which pupils might discuss and consider, perhaps when they learn about another aspect of science: 'ways in which scientific work may be affected by the contexts in which it takes place... and how these contexts may affect whether or not ideas are accepted',' she said."


    Ann Althouse writes:

    I wonder if in the end the religionists will be happy. The science teachers, most of whom won't like having this imposed on them, will be pressing students to use the tools of science to question the assertions made by religion. Won't this teach them not to believe? Students who hold to the belief in creationism will be shredded in any classroom debate that is framed in scientific terms.

    Really? I remember it the other way around. My peers were apathetic, agreeable lemmings. I like to think I could intelligently defend my position that science and faith are not necessarily mutually exclusive. We were well-taught as children that Darwinism was, after all, a theory not a law. On the flip side, I had to accept that I could not "prove" the existence of a Creator. Neither position negated the other and opening the door for honest dialogue is the furthest thing from a step backward.

    And it takes that crucial element of faith to believe in the creation of the world by a benevolent Master Designer rather than a chance intergalactic meeting of inorganic materials that exploded to create this.


    Those poor shredded English children. In the face of such clear reason they don't stand a chance.

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    Roe, Roe, Roe

    National Review Online opposes the new measure in South Dakota banning all abortions.

    Does the South Dakota ban, or the ban contemplated in Mississippi, advance any of those objectives? These laws set back the cause of overturning Roe. If they reach the current Supreme Court, a five-member majority of which is on record in support of Roe, they will elicit yet another re-affirmation of that decision. (We truly hope that our pro-life allies supporting these laws are not basing their strategy on the possibility of a change of heart by Justice Kennedy.) They could thus strengthen the felt force of the argument that Roe is a super-duper-precedent.

    That which does not defeat Roe, makes it stronger.

    I have to wonder if the South Dakota legislators watched the same Senate hearings I did. Roberts and Scalito are not political hacks. I am fairly confident they will not strike down Roe for the sake of striking it down. We can hope that the Supreme Court simply refuses to hear the case.

    On the plus side of the ledger, the states will have communicated that resistance to the Roe regime is stronger than the conventional wisdom about its popularity would suggest. But that is not a sufficiently valuable benefit to make up for the damage these laws are likely to do to the pro-life cause.

    H/T South Dakota Politics.

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    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)

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    Monday, March 06, 2006

    To Dubai or Not to Dubai

    That is a question someone else is going to have to answer. But here's an interesting bit o' info from the Washington Prowler column of American Specatator:

    Late Friday, Department of Justice lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel were attempting to determine if former President Bill Clinton had registered as an "Agent of a Foreign Principal."

    Federal statute requires that anyone -- even a former President -- doing political or public affairs work on behalf of a foreign country, agency or official must register with the Department, and essentially update his status every six months. It was not clear the Clinton had done so.

    If his status is less clear, here is what we do know: If Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton did not know about her husband's standing with the United Arab Emirates and with Dubai World Ports, members of her Senate staff most assuredly did.

    "There were enough people in the Clintons' orbit who were potentially going to be part of the deal," says an employee of a firm that does work for both Clintons. "We were pursuing work on the ports deal, and we cleared our participation with Clinton's office. We didn't want there to be a conflict."

    In fact, at least two senior outside advisers to Senator Clinton were attempting to get business out of the Port Deal, and President Clinton was the go-between. Associates with the Glover Park Group, which houses just about the entire shadow staff for Hillary's run-up to a Democratic presidential bid, were attempting to get a slice of the DPW deal before the deal was made public about three weeks ago. According to current and former President Clinton staff, Hillary Clinton's Senate office was aware that Glover Park was in the running to do work on the DPW deal.

    "She was also very much aware of President Clinton's financial arrangements with the UAE," says a former Bill Clinton staffer. "We're talking about more than a million dollars, some of paid out soon out after they left the White House. That income helped the Clintons buy the properties that allow them to live both in New York and Washington, D.C. This was not an insignificant financial arrangement."

    What is not clear is whether or not the junior Senator from New York was aware that Clinton was acting as an agent of a foreign principal, which Clinton clearly was. According to sources with knowledge of the deal, President Clinton was advising members of the DPW buyout team in the UAE, London, and Washington before the deal hit the headlines. He encouraged them to hire a number of people working in consulting firms based in Washington with whom he had both personal and financial ties: The Cohen Group, the Albright Group, and the Glover Park Group. Other sources claim that longtime Clinton confidante and golf partner Vernon Jordan's name was also suggested as potential helpful fixer in the capital.

    Much of this activity and consultation took place before the DPW deal hit the front pages of newspapers in mid-February, and about ten days before the DPW deal was to close in Great Britain.

    Chew on that for awhile . . . .

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    A New Rating Game

    Over at Moonbat Central, I threw down my list of Consequential Ex-Presidents. I'm afraid I got tired of hearing how great Jimmy Carter has been, what with the Nobel Peace Prize and all, so I gave the subject about as much thought as it deserved (not much) and came up with a Top Ten. I invite you to argue with my selections. You'll be wrong, of course, but I'm easy about it.

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    Friday, March 03, 2006

    A Mid-winter's Sidebar

    I'm getting cabin fever, I'm sick of the drama in the Middle East, and the bluebonnets are starting to bloom in Texas which is making me nostalgic. So I was flipping through a back issue of "Texas Parks and Wildlife" magazine, leftover from the days when I worked there (for TPWD - not the magazine) and I found an article on these lovely little creatures with names like characters in a Shakespearean comedy or a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy. Care to guess what they are?

    Flag-tailed spinyleg
    Blue-eyed darner
    Gray petaltail
    Blue dasher
    Twelve-spotted skimmer
    Roseate skimmer
    Orange shadowdragon
    Prince baskettail
    Halloween pennant
    Spot-winged glider
    Checkered setwing
    Arrowhead spiketail
    Great blue skimmer
    Illinois River cruiser
    Four-striped leaftail
    Widow skimmer
    Black saddlebags
    Giant darner
    Swamp darner
    Flame skimmer
    Comet darner

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    Any other hats being thrown in?

    Since girlfriday has yet to publish her own predictions for the last game of A Fantasy League for the Rest of Us, I shall proceed. Check it out, and throw your hat in: Lois-E-Lane.


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    A better alternative to the unsingable, mediocre at best, "I can Only Imagine."

    "When I Get Where I'm Going"
    Brad Paisley, feat. Dolly Parton

    When I get where I'm going
    On the far side of the sky
    The first thing that I'm gonna do
    Is spread my wings and fly
    I'm gonna land beside a lion
    And run my fingers through his mane
    Or I might find out what it's like
    To ride a drop of rain

    Yeah when I get where I'm going
    There'll be only happy tears
    I will shed the sins and struggles
    I have carried all these years
    And I'll leave my heart wide open
    I will love and have no fear
    Yeah when I get where I'm going
    Don't cry for me down here

    I'm gonna walk with my grand daddy
    And he'll match me step for step
    And I'll tell him how I missed him
    Every minute since he left
    Then I'll hug his neck

    So much pain and so much darkness
    In this world we stumble through
    All these questions I can't answer
    So much work to do
    But when I get where I'm going
    And I see my maker's face
    I'll stand forever in the light
    Of his amazing grace

    Yeah when I get where I'm going
    There'll be only happy tears
    I will love and have no fear
    When I get where I'm going
    Yeah when I get where I'm going

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    Yet another reason homeschooling is looking better

    If you haven't read about the Coloardo high school teacher who went too far in class (click here), you must.

    Geography instructor Jay Bennish was put on paid leave while the school district investigates the circumstances surrounding an audio tape of one of his lectures. There is a five-minute audio clip if you scroll down and to the right (called "Radical Remarks"). I encourage anyone to listen to it.

    About 150 kids walked out of class yesterday in support of Bennish's "free speech." As hard as it is to get 17-year-olds to skip class (cough), I can't help but think the purpose of it is mostly lost on them. This isn't about freedom of expression, it's about taxpayer money and unfair advantage.

    We do have freedom of speech in this country, but none of us are naive enough to think it's absolute. All of us enjoy a culture that supports expression and even protests. But sometimes there are consequences for our words. For instance, my pastor COULD use the pulpit as a political soap box, but as a consequence he would lose the church's tax-exempt status as a charitable organization.

    In the same way, teachers who use their lectures as sermons (all this guy needs is a big tent and a microphone to max-out his preachiness) are failing the taxpayers. If you're going to spout off your opinions, which should be done in careful moderation, you ought to present a balance. Failing to do so makes one no better than a bully.

    A teacher's job is not to convince students to think like he or she does; a teacher's job is to impart knowledge. Much like a journalist's code of ethics, their aim as well should be to inform as much as possible as objectively as possible. Kids are smart enough to draw the "right" conclusions. If they're not, it is not in a teacher's job description to do it for them.

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    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    Nothing to Fear But

    Do you ever find yourself gripped by fears that can only be the result of external influence?

    If someone would have said to my six-year-old self, "Some day you're going to stop loving the most important people in your life," I am quite sure I would have laughed my inappropriately loud laugh and gone back to my book. Do we come by the fear naturally that we may some day "fall out of love" with the man or woman we've committed ourselves to? I just don't think so.

    But here I am, twenty-nine years old and slipping in and out of someone else's reality; a fear that can't be my own. I love the people in my life. My life without them would hardly look like my own.

    If Tim McGraw hoped his "next thirty years" would conquer all his adolescent fears, I hope mine will triumph over my adult ones.

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    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Looking for Hope in All the Wrong Places

    I've been struggling about how to write this post. We don't shy away from much at girlfriday but there is the possibility of either talking something to death or being misconstrued as indifferent or unfeeling.

    With the possible exception of gay marriage, no single political issue seems to strike as powerful a chord with the American people as abortion. It is here that we make a not-so earth-shattering discovery: something important is at stake. As one thoughtful feminist writer put it, "If an adult female were a brick chimney and a human embryo an infestation of insects, nobody would have a problem with abortion. Bring in the exterminator, scrub it out, and have done with it."

    It is hard to imagine that many take abortion more seriously, or personally, than the employees of crisis pregnancy centers and abortion clinics respectively. I am inclined to believe that employees of both understand the tremendous burden that an unplanned pregnancy brings to bear on a modern woman. I choose to believe that employees in both clinics are largely compassionate individuals who really believe they have the best interests of the client at heart.

    And while compassion in any degree is rarely misguided, it can be misapplied. We may feel compassion for an abused, neglected child who grows up to be a child abuser, but we can hardly condone his actions. There is not any hope or joy or glory to be found in the act of abuse. The hope and joy lie in the possibility of his redemption; in forgiveness by his victims; in contrition; in rehabilitation.

    That is why we can unequivocally oppose abortion and those who resort to calling it the compassionate choice, at the same time expressing compassion for women who are either contemplating or have already had an abortion.

    A very troubling blog called Abortion Clinic Days can be found here. In it, the authors share anecdotes (anonymously of course) from (various? single?) abortion clinics. One of the writers describes the blog as a place where they "have done a few rants but mostly we have told stories. Our work is mostly stories and the power of hearing them." There is little doubt these writers feel a powerful connection to their patients.

    Confronted with these emotionally-charged stories, pity is easy to come by. But the women's stories risk our forgetting what is really going on. Telling their stories doesn't change the fact of the abortion procedure.

    Richard John Neuhaus wrote, just today in fact, that, "There is a greater tolerance for evil if it is perpetrated with a long face, furrowed brow, and the requisite wringing of hands." (I commend this very brief article at First Things to you--scroll down.)

    This is the story of one patient, as told at Abortion Clinic Days, reprinted in its entirety.
      folks who read these entries can't help but think of the sadness that the women are experiencing as they come for their abortions. it's true. abortion is often sad. but what the readers are missing is that abortion is also a vote for the future. so there is often an air of optimism at the same time in counseling sessions. a woman that i spoke with today talked about how she knew she had to sacrifice the child within her so that her other two children could live. that sounds rather drastic, but is it how many women view their choice. this particular woman, i'll call her shamika, has had a very tough life. at birth she went to live with her grandparents because her mom was, as she put it, "a crackhead". shamika lived there until grandma died and then her mother came to get her at age 13. life suddenly got worse. i will spare you the details, but trust me when i say that she had to leave and live on her own, boarding with whoever would have her. luckily she managed to get a GED while also having her own two kids.

      shamika's goal right now is to get certified in the field she is studying because then she will be able to support her kids, something that no one in her family has ever been able to do. her own experiences have led her to believe that "everyone has a hard life" since that is all she knows. no one has a smooth, easy life in her world. she loves her kids and feels that because she remembers grandma's love for her, she knows what love is and conveying that feeling to her kids is what she lives for. she said, "let's face it. i do not want to have an abortion. but who is going to adopt a black child? i do not want my child living in foster homes and having who knows what done to it." she said that those who have lived in foster care know how awful it can be. and so, she told me, she decided to sacrifice the never born child so that her other two kids can live. her presentation of her story was very stark, but she said that no one who hasn't lived her life can judge her.
    [Side Note: In addition to the thousands of women like my mother who love children and would have loved and protected any number of them, most states have "safe harbour" legislation that legally protect a woman who abandons her child at a hospital. It is tragic and frankly, almost impossible to believe, that some women are convinced abortion is their only option.]

      shamika confided that she felt a great war going on inside her, the war between her head and her heart. she said that her heart was begging for the baby to be born, but her her head told her that she and her kids could end up homeless since their lives are very precarious. now, it's true that this is a very sad story. but, if you were there with her in that counseling room, you would have also seen that she is an optimist. she believes that things will be better when she completes her program and gets her job. she is very determined and very dedicated to her goal, that of creating a better life for her kids. her partner has actually been with her since she was 14, more than a third of her life, but she says she cannot depend on him. the only thing that keeps him there is his love of the girls and despite the fact that he is not the greatest partner, he is a great dad. allowing him to stay is a part of what she has chosen so that her girls will have all the possible love they can get.

      so shamika talked of how she was talking to god, hoping that he would understand that she lived her life not for herself, but for her girls, and that her sacrifice of their sibling would allow the three of them to stay together, to keep working toward their goals. i left the session filled with the same hope for her future that she had. she made me believe that she will be able to move her life forward, one day at a time.lou
    Let this story disabuse anyone of the notion that women are uninformed about the nature of the procedure. Of her own free will this patient acknowledged that an abortion was the sacrifice, the offering up, the death, of one of her own children. No reasonable adult can deny this.

    This is called infanticide and America has sanctioned it. And worse than sanctioning it, we have sullied the virtues of compassion and hope by misapplying them. This is the mark of a true evil: when it is praised. What is worse than terrorism? Believing that its ends are noble. What is more deplorable than slavery? Believing that slaves are the rightful benefit to members of a democratic society.

    We ought to be optimists, of a sort. Hope is a great virtue! But looking for it in the act of abortion is like digging for Supernovas in a slough.

    Where can we find it? In the lives of the parents of this autistic boy and his peers is one place. You can find it in the courage of foster families and adoptive parents.

    Hope is offered to women wrongly convinced that abortion is their only option. There is hope for rape victims who need so much more than solutions; there is even hope for their attackers.

    And finally, there is hope for women and their partners who have already made the terrible choice. I hope you read it on the pages of this blog. You won't find it at an abortion clinic.

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    Virtue or No Virtue?

    What a great idea for a game show.

    This is from a reader, as a follow up our ongoing discussion of the lost virtue of modesty:

      Modesty serves both a personal and a social function. First, on the individual level, the modest woman increases the possibility that when a man approaches her it is based on something other than raw sexual desire. He is interested in more than her sexuality. Also, modesty is her way of showing that she holds her sexuality to be a precious thing, not something to be shown off to just anybody.
      Modesty has a social function as well. First, modesty reminds us that men and women have work to do together that is more important than any work we do in the marketplace. Our most important work together is producing and caring for the next generation. We can never forget that we are sexual beings, and modesty helps remind us that our sexuality is meant for certain times and places not just anywhere. Modesty tells men, "I am not to be an object of sexual attraction at this time and place." Also, one of modesty's biggest tasks is precisely to control male sexual aggressiveness. Modesty tells men that they must civilize themselves before they "get the goodies." It makes sure that our sexuality, especially male sexuality, should be guided toward marriage and family. For reasons too long to get into here (this already becoming a monster email) female sexuality is already pointed in that direction, but male sexuality is not. It needs the help of female modesty.
      Some of your readers are ideologues who want men and women to be the same, damn the evidence to the contrary.

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