Monday, November 25, 2002

On Daschle and Limbaugh

The Weekly Standard has an interesting piece on last week's brouhaha. Everytime I hear Tom Daschle (and Al Gore) talking like this, I do two things -- laugh and wince. Sometimes it's at the exact same time, sometimes the grimace precedes the smile, sometimes I chuckle before my mood turns sour. I laugh because the Democrats are truly getting ridiculous, Gore looks like a fool, etc. I wince because there is a segment of the American electorate that takes its moral guidance from Will & Grace and its political knowledge from men like Dan Rather who will report Daschle's comments as if they are the Gettysburg Address. Like it or not, I think a large portion of the electorate that is tremendously uninformed and will believe most of what the major network, PC-liberal media types tell them. The only real consolation I find in this (as even shock jock Mancow has noted on Fox & Friends) is Rush seems to have taken the high-road on this one and Daschle comes off looking like a heel.

If you don't like whining, I'd skip this post. I just took one of the most ridiculously long and overly difficult exams of my life. It's not like I currently attend MIT, but I have an incredibly difficult, self-absorbed, exceedingly technical professor who happens to think that everyone can just memorize the syntax for creating a web servlet, JDBC/ODBC database connections, and SQL query syntax within a few weeks. Well, that's not entirely true. He gave us an open book exam, but the sheer volume of questions prohibited all but those with the most technically-proficient memories from completing the exam.

I test well. From kindergarten on, I've proven this time and time again. I never had a problem with the school's achievement tests, the SAT, the ACT, the GRE. But I get bogged down in details and put under incredibly tight deadlines, I clam up and shut down. My perfectionist tendencies take over and refuse to let me produce anything at all. I came out of this exam this afternoon a bit frustrated. I'm a hard worker, a fairly smart cookie. In theory at least, I should be able to handle most graduate programs at any school in the country. But here I am muddling through a masters program for a subject that I don't really like. Do any readers ever feel that way? Like you're pursuing a degree or a title or a designation just because you should be? Because it's the right thing to do or it will earn you the necessary degree of prestige?

Anyways, I think I'm going to stop. This graduate program that is. As much as I like learning and continuing my education, I don't think programming is where my interests really lie and you have to do FAR too much of it to get a computer science masters. Mostly though, I'm having trouble with balance. Basically that between work and this course, I have been far too stressed to find any balance the past three months. (This professor hasn't helped things. He's enough of a slavedriver that he refused to give me an extension on 15 points of an assignment that I wanted to turn in five days late because it was assigned three days before my wedding. I mean come on, for crying out loud!)

I'm going to try doing things I enjoy for a while. Spending time with my husband, visiting friends and family more often, and devoting more time to blogging / writing. Anyone have suggestions as to where a young twenty-something female might get somewhat conservative opinion pieces published? :) I also found out that I am finally receiving a long-sought transfer at work into a human factors / interface-design type role. The psychologist and design guru within is starting to emerge again, and this, dear readers, makes me happy.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

He is the what?

I will never understand the People who think like this. I mean Ben Affleck? I would deem pretty much anyone he has been in a movie sexier than that man. This includes but is not limited to: Cuba Gooding Jr. and Josh Harnett (Pearl Harbor), Brendan Fraser and Chris O'Donnell (School Ties), Jason Biggs, Jason Lee and James VanDerBeek (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back), Samuel L Jackson (Changing Lanes), Bruce Willis and Michael Clarke Duncan (Armageddon), and perhaps even Matt Damon and Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting) over him. I couldn't bring myself to put Kevin Smith, Chris Rock, and Steve Buscemi on that list, but I definitely think they are better actors.

Excuse my little rant, but pop culture really baffles me sometimes. Of course, Ben Affleck is right up at the top of my "Blowhard Liberal Stars Whose Movies I Boycott Because of Their Politics" list. He's right up there with Cameron Diaz for her "Hell no I won't vote for that son of a Bush" t-shirt, Julia Roberts for her "He will never be my president" comments about George W, and Sarah Jessica Parker for telling the press that she was worried Bush would cut the welfare programs her family depends on. I mean come on -- you make millions of dollars a year and can't help support your own family? But I digress...

Monday, November 18, 2002

Special ps to my readers

I apologize for the sparse postings on Illinigirl as of late. Basically, my class and work responsibilities are pretty intense at the moment. I'm currently spending between 9-11 hours of each day staring at a monitor. Even if I have thoughts to blog at the end of each day, I can't bear the thought of sitting down at my computer to type them out. Posting may be light for the next three weeks or so. After this, it should grow more regular as I'm focusing on career opportunities this spring and putting grad school on hold. Bear with me & thanks for checking out the page!

Amendment to my PS (11/21): I just sat down and re-read my last few blog entries. The spelling and grammar in them is atrocious, and I sincerely apologize. I haven't been taking time to proofread, and I've been editing my thoughts mid-stream. Thanks for hanging in there.
Twenty-some women I admire the most...

Josh Claybourn and Paul Musgrave are discussing the men they admire the most. I must admit that many on their lists would also be in my "Top 23 People of all time" list: Ronald Reagan, CS Lewis, Dwight Eisenhower just to name a few. Not to take a feminist tack on the issue, but I noticed that women were markably absent from these lists. So if Illinigirl had to make a list of women she admires, who would be on it? My list is extremely contemporary and in some ways quite random, but many of these are just as valid in my humble opinion.

Margaret Thatcher
Mother Teresa
Golda Meir
Peggy Noonan
Michelle Malkin
Jessica Gavora
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Linda Chavez
Barbara Olson
Condoleeza Rice
Karen Hughes
Kay Bailey Hutchinson
Patricia Heaton
Carrie Chapman Catt
Susan B. Anthony
Harriet Tubman
Clare Booth Luce
Phyllis Schlafly
Nancy Reagan
Laura Bush

I'm cutting it off at twenty, because I was starting to reach here. Barbara Bush was next, but I couldn't name off much she'd done. Grandma Moses and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were under consideration for different reasons. Grandma Moses just because was exceedingly cool to take on a second career and paints such interesting interpretations of the world that her age. Elizabeth Barrett Browning just because I love her poetry. There has to be someone more significant though. Who have I forgotten? Want explanations of who is on this list and why? Sound off in the comments section!

PS (11/21) This has started a good discussion over in the comments at Reading others' ideas over there got me to realize that my list is also exceedingly personal. A lot of the women on this list are writers or people with some political inclination. I hope to follow in their footsteps someday, perhaps if I decide to stay home with kids or encounter a mid-life crisis. Hence the inclusion of Kay Bailey Hutchinson (how many female conservatives have been in the Senate that long? ) and the Jessica Gavora / Michelle Malkin / Peggy Noonan jag.
PPS (11/21)

Friday, November 15, 2002

On Public Television and Bill Moyer

One of my posts that Blogger ate last week was a little rant about Bill Moyers. Last week, Matt Drudge linked to Moyer's online rant about the Republicans' takeover of the Senate. It's a piece of work, full of exaggerations, conjectures, and positively hostile statements towards the Republicans in Washington. Some of this can be found in the excerpt below, as Moyer discusses George W's "agenda for which he now believes he has a mandate":

"That mandate includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to give up control over their own lives.

It includes using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich.

It includes giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment and control the regulatory agencies meant to hold them accountable.

And it includes secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine. Above all, it means judges with a political agenda appointed for life. If you liked the Supreme Court that put George W. Bush in the White House, you will swoon over what's coming.

And if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture. These folks don't even mind you referring to the GOP as the party of God. Why else would the new House Majority Leader say that the Almighty is using him to promote 'a Biblical worldview' in American politics?

(My stream of consciousness response to his criticisms by the way? #1 The government isn't asking for any control -- it didn't force this woman to have sex and it won't keep her from putting an unwanted child up for adoption. It's simply asking her to respect the life of her offspring. #2 This is opposed to the power the government currently exercises -- to take massive quantities of wealth from those who earn them and distribute them to the poor through entitlement programs. As of 1999, the top 5% of taxpayers accounted for well over half of all income tax receipts. #3 I'm quite certain every corporation's main goal is not to take away vital portions of the environment. #4 Our government already involves secrecy, and Clinton didn't appoint judges with political agendas for life? #5 The entire Republican party does not formally refer to itself as the party of God. As for individuals who do care to announce that God influences their politics, we do have this thing called freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights. First Amendent I believe - look it up Bill)

This week, Stephen F. Hayes over at the Weekly Standard has written a piece mulling over this article and whether our tax dollars should be financing such propaganda on public television. He eventually comes to the conclusion that very few people watch this yahoo anyways, so why not leave him on public television where only a few radicals will seek out his "wisdom"? He goes even further and suggests that PBS give him a raise and a daily show.

I just can't buy into that approach. This sort of propaganda is precisely the reason that I will never donate to a public television fundraising drive, no matter how much I enjoy watching Anne of Green Gables for free and providing my hypothetical offspring with Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow. Aside from a few such worthwhile shows, most public television these days seems to be leftist propaganda. With the advent of the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, the Learning Channel, and Noggin, most PBS content could be produced as well or better by private cable outlets. Perhaps bigots like Bill Moyer (and yes I do consider him prejudiced against conservatives and Christians from his comments in this article) should serve as a reminder to us that public television is past its prime. Almost $2 billion dollars of federal funding went towards PBS last year. Why not put those tax dollars towards defense or some other important federal function and leave the cable outlets to televise such senseless tirades?

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Random links

Stephen Moore has up an interesting list of winners and losers in the wake of last week's elections.

Jay Nordlinger is on fire today with a great Impromptus touching on Mondale's "inappropriate" use of the term pro-life, Jennifer Granholm's telegenic qualities, Jeffords retribution, Nancy Pelosi's bully pulpit with the media and more...

Josh Claybourn points out a fabulous passage from James Lilek's latest, greatest bleat. I do like Lileks. One of these days when I have some time, the template will be updated to add his site, as well as some other interesting sites like Hey Listen to the sidebar.

I'm with Bobby Allison-Gallimore on this one: I don't think banning partial birth abortion is a poor political move. I think it's one that most reasonable people would support. Personally, I would celebrate when said bill was passed, but that's a whole other story.

Mark Byron has an interesting piece on selling macroeconomics to the average voter in response to Jason Steffans post on honest pro-corporation campaigning last week. I've got to say I agree with both. Jason -- it'd be wonderful to see that kind of honesty in campaigning. Corporations aren't malicious monsters -- they do hand out the jobs after all. Mark -- readers of your blog (heck any of our conservative-leaning, politically-minded blogs) are not your average voter...and I mean that as a compliment!
Twenty-somethings: Career and Direction

Really not meaning to be a slacker here folks. Blogger has eaten two of my posts over the past four days, and the real world has been demanding quite a bit of my time this week. Between some wedding thank-yous and pesky web development assignments, I've been getting ready to interview for a new job at work.

I graduated from college in mid-2000, and I was one of the lucky few to land a good entry-level IT position at the end of the economic boom. I was pretty naieve and idealistic, but apparently I was also enthusiastic and convincing. I landed an offer on my third real interview. It wasn't my dream position, but it was a solid, fairly generous offer with a good company. Besides, this job was just something that I was going to do for a year or two, until I decided what I really wanted to do for a career. I was one of the dreamy-eyed Phi Beta Kappa elitists, planning to head back into academia ASAP to study artificial intelligence or cognitive science or something similar. Who knows -- someday I still may. As I get farther removed from the ivory tower though, I find it harder to convince myself that I want to subject myself to all the annoying, politically-correct hassles of academia again.

So here I am after paying my dues as a programmer for two years, finally looking to get into human-computer interaction field and land a position that truly interests me. The funny thing is that two years out in the real world has only left me more confused about which dream I should pursue. My mother's dream for me was to become a rich, famous doctor of some sort, find a cure for cancer at say age 30, marry someone else of similar stature who was exceedingly well off, and retire to be a stay at home mom. My dad's dream for me was to be a writer. I have written in one form or another my entire life -- fiction stories as a child, newspaper columns as an adolescent, the blog as a young adult. My dream? I think part of my problem is that I've never had just one. I wanted to be a writer, an architect, a judge, a college professor, a CEO, a politician, an internet pundit, a mom. As part of the generation that grew up thinking "women can have it all!", it has taken me quite a while to realize that you really can't have ALL of it. Tough choices have to be made along the way. Not good news for a girl who has taken two hours to decide between a pair of shoes.

So which degrees are worth something, and why should we get them? Fox News ran an article this morning on employment prospects for people that recently earned MBAs. Let's just say this article makes it readily apparent that an MBA isn't worth too much in the present economy. Josh Claybourn recently pointed out the sudden spike in law school applicants which seems to stem from the fact that...well there just aren't many entry-level jobs right now.
So how do you know what your ideal career path is? I guess my answer is that I don't know right now. I'm still searching. In the long run, I think my dream job would be to become the Peggy Noonan of our generation. Now I just have to figure out how to get myself there, not to mention my writing skills! I'm grateful for my present job though and enjoy where I'm at right now...and I will much moreso when/if I land this new position.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Return to reality

The news from the history-making midterm elections of 2002 has now had a couple days to soak in. Things aren't as rosy as when I went to bed Tuesday night, but the political landscape for those of a conservative mindset is better than it's been in well over a decade. I am guardedly optimistic that this will make the president's agenda easier to implement .

No brilliant insights tonight. I'm just taping Journeys with George and watching bits and pieces as I get ready for bed. Two impressions so far: A) President Bush unscripted is more likeable than the man with the teleprompter. B) The Dallas Morning News reporter seems like a real jerk. It's a pretty fascinating documentary though - even more interesting given who her mother is, Nancy Pelosi who may become the House minority leader shortly.

The best articles that I've seen so far about the election follow.

"How Sweet It Is" by Stephen Moore from Club for Growth, over at National Review Online

The NRO editors' take on the election results. It's key message is the same as that endorsed by Rush Limbaugh on election night: get cocky and overreach, get confident and realistically go after the agenda.

Dinesh D'Souza's sarcastic take on what the Democrats could "start standing up for" to silence their critics.

Kevin Holtsberry has started an interesting discussion about the proper role of God within the Boy Scout system. I am personally of the belief that private organizations should have the freedom to specify any/all conditions for their membership. Apparently this is just too hard a concept for present day America to grasp though.

That's all for tonight. Variety of articles will hopefully follow tomorrow evening.
On Rod! and his promises...

The Chicago Tribune has an interesting article about how it will be impossible for Rod Blagojevich to keep all the promises he made to Illinois voters during the campaign,. (Registration required - which is why I rarely link to Tribune articles anymore). Here are some of the best excepts:

"The ambitious Northwest Side congressman has made countless pledges to voters about what a Blagojevich administration would look and act like. It somehow would put business, social service and education interests first--all at the same time... The biggest question mark hanging over Blagojevich is what his agenda as governor will be. The priorities he voiced on the campaign shifted depending upon which audience he was trying to woo.

He told working-class and impoverished minority crowds that he would increase the minimum wage. He told business leaders he would raise private money and leverage it with state resources to launch a venture capital fund to aid small start-up businesses. He told seniors of a program to supply prescription drugs at cut-rate prices.

All the while, he tossed out ambitious education initiatives, such as universal preschool for 25,000 impoverished 4-year-olds, an $80 million program targeted to be in place by the end of his first year in office. And he vowed to local officials that he would match federal funds with state money to hire 1,000 police officers and an unspecified number of firefighters.

He said he would end subsidies to the racing industry and put a stop to legislators' pork-barrel spending.
Such promises won a wide spectrum of support from interest groups that will be expecting him to come through.
"These people are going to want a lot from him," said one Springfield lobbyist. "It's a question of what they want and if he can deliver for them.""

Although Blagojevich bemoaned the size of Illinois government and pork-barrel spending during the campaign, the article notes that Democrats from Chicago alderman to trade union heads will be seeking jobs in Springfield. Rod! won support from all sorts of special interest groups by promising them something. As a downstate lobbyist noted "These people are going to want a lot from him. It's a question of what they want and if he can deliver for them."

Not mention how he's going to do all these things from a $53 billion basketcase of a state budget. Will Rod be able to keep all his promises? More importantly, will he do so without raising the income on poor Illinois voters to pay for his crazy schemes? Unfortunately folks, I will have to stay tuned and find out. Or move...keep those suggestions rolling in!

Tuesday, November 05, 2002


I just took a look at CNN, and it seems that the Republicans are having a great night everywhere but Illinois. As Spoons put it, the Illinois results are simply horrifying. Perhaps it's upstate ballot-box stuffing, but Jim Ryan and Joe Birkett have been thoroughly stomped in early returns. Therefore we will have plastic blowdried Rod! as our state CEO and whiny, annoying nepotist Lisa Madigan as our Attorney General. Anyone have a suggestion as to a nice conservative state that I should consider moving to? Election nights here are thoroughly disheartening. The only redeeming bit of Illinois news is that John Shimkus has retained the 19th district in the battle of the incumbents.

Other than that, everytime I look at returns I feel like a kid in a candy store. Coleman's beating up on Mondale! (Take that Terry McAuliffe and smarmy Clintonites!) Colorado Senate seat retained! Jim Talent is up in Missouri! Mary Landrieu will probably face a runoff! Chambliss won in Georgia! As of this moment, Simon is leading in the California governor's race. Let's hope it still sounds this good when I wake up in the morning...
My predictions...

Too late to join Ben Domenech's party at Prediction Central, but I'm going to throw in my two cents here. Mostly based on gut feelings, not in-depth analysis of the races.

Senate: 50 Rep, 48 Dem, 1 Ind, 1 runoff
House: 213 Dem, 221 Rep, 1 Ind
Governors: 26 Dem, 23 Rep, 1 Ind

Prediction: The Windy City's own smarmy, sniveling weasel Rod! will squeak into office by less than 6%. That's my gut feeling, but I really hope I'm wrong here. Either way, I tip my hat to Jim Ryan and Carl Hawkinson for closing the gap.

Posting will be light tonight due to a huge programming assignment & watching election returns. Hopefully, this will be a better, shorter night than the last time...

Monday, November 04, 2002


Girl on the Right has up a neat post -- Peggy Noonan's take on this morning's Coleman versus Mondale debate. Peggy thinks Coleman won the election this morning by not being divisive in this morning's debate.

Bobby Allison-Gallimore throws in his two cents on the Simpsons Halloween special last night, which the Illininewlyweds have taped but not watched yet.

Paul Musgrave sticks his neck out, offering his odds on some of major election races.

Jason over at Antioch Road has an post on a Time article that I read this week. I found their perspective on it interesting as well. It's fascinating that they can ooh and aah over the in-utero development of a newborn but fail to acknowledge it as a human life.

Fox News has fallen victim to the dreaded pop-up ads. Where to head for news now -- anybody have suggestions? Pop-up ads are just too annoying, especially when taking a quick peek at the news from work.
Election Eve - Stream of Consciousness

I am pretty much shocked and amazed by how politically apathetic I have been during this election cycle. When I was in college, I was one of the most politically active students on my small liberal arts campus. I spent my first three years very active in its College Republicans chapter. My involvement waned my senior year due to a personality conflict and my senior honors project, but I know the entire grassroots campaigning process inside and out. The mapping out precincts, the literature drops, the election day poll-watching, the get out the vote phone calls.

Just after I graduated and started working, I sought out the county GOP folks in my new hometown because I wanted to campaign for George W. Bush. I worked pretty hard the last few weeks of that election -- I guess because I was excited that we might finally have a president that we could respect again. Even Americans that disagree with our president on policy matters -- I think they have respect for George W. Obviously he had some issues when he was younger with substance abuse and the like, but the man has admitted his mistakes and worked wonders in turning his life around. He has a great family that he seems quite devoted to -- what's not to like about the guy? I think independents and even well-meaning liberals have a hard time disliking President Bush, and that's why he has coattails at the present moment. (FYI, by well meaning liberals I mean those who don't buy into the Clintonian mindset and somehow really just believe socialism work out best for everyone. I know a few such well-intentioned souls. But I digress.)

Perhaps it's because I got so worked up about the 2000 election and the two months of electoral limbo that followed. This time around something's missing. I haven't felt the magnetic pull to get involved. I think part of it is that the GOP races in Illinois all seem somewhat hopeless. All the races that are really up for grabs or seem important...the GOP hasn't really had a chance in them. Senator Dick Durbin seems to be a shoo-in for re-election -- although his campaign ads this week instructing the Illinois voters on the spelling of his name show that his camp is a little nervous about uninformed voters confusing him with GOP challenger Jim Durkin. The only interesting congressional race around here is John Shimkus versus almost Blue-Dog Democrat David Phelps. When Illinois lost a congressional seat, these two strong representatives were redistricted out of a seat in an incredible case of gerrymandering that state Democrats pulled off during redistricting last year. President Bush was in Springfield to stump for Shimkus yesterday, as this is a very close race in a Democrat-leaning Southern Illinois district. I've met John Shimkus; he's an incredibly neat guy that's basically the opposite of a career politician. I would vote for him in a heartbeat if I could.

Alas, the only race I care about tomorrow is that of the governor. As regular readers know, the fact that one particularly slimy Democrat named Rod! is soon going to occupy the Illinois governor's mansion perturbs me to no end. What's not to like about Rod Blagojevich? In the past two weeks alone, he has been caught grandstanding as he attacked Jim Ryan for not stepping into the federal investigation of the Illinois license for bribes scandal, with the Chicago Machine'sStreets & Sanitation workers campaigning for him on the city's dime, and running all sorts of the negative campaign ads that distort facts.

Over the last few days though, the general public here in Illinois seems to have woken up to the fact that Rod Blagojevich is a sleazy chameleon of a poltician -- the untrustworthy sort that will say and do anything to get elected. There have been two major polls in the last five days that show the Ryan-Blagojevich contest in a dead heat -- including a St. Louis Post-Dispatch Zogby poll. This poll has given me a small seed of hope. Although Ryan is not the most inspiring candidate, he is SO much better than the alternative. I am a bit embarassed that I haven't worked harder on his behalf, realizing that the Democrats might blow their lead at the last second. I have spent the past two days pestering my conservative-leaning friends, family, and co-workers to head to the polls tomorrow. If turnout really is going to be historically low, it really does matter who shows up to vote. If you happen to know anyone who lives in Illinois (or any of the major "battleground" states for that matter), consider doing a few "get out the vote" phone calls yourself. Maybe a few races really are hopeless -- but it can't hurt to try right?