Wednesday, December 29, 2004
As part of my newfound effort to post here more frequently, I offer up the following links to interesting posts:
Peoria Pundit on the libertarian message of The Incredibles. The message of this movie is to be who you really are, that society needs you to live up to your potential, and to not accept forced mediocrity so as to avoid making other individuals uncomfortable. A refreshing change for a night at the movies in my estimation. Plus, it had the Star Wars Episode III preview before the movie...which ensured that Illinihubby had me in line for this movie as soon as we got off work opening night.
Liam has a nice rant on the comment by Jan Egelund of the United Nations that "The United States is stingy and needs higher taxes to aid in tsunami relief". Please do not get me wrong -- the images of the devastation on TV today are unbelievable. I wholeheartedly urge the large chunk of the American public who today grieves and wishes to help to donate generously to the relief efforts. However, I must say that my donations will be funnelled through an organization in which I have an iota of confidence, rather than a corrupt, condescending, anti-semitic organization like the United Nations. Instapundit notes that private relief contributions through Amazon have already surpassed the $2 million dollar mark as of 2 pm this afternoon. I'm confident this is only the beginning of America's outreach as we assist in the recovery.
IowaWineGuy has a great post on Bruce Weber's commentary as of late, in which Bruce instructs Dickie V to look at Illinois's record at home over the last three years, accept that they are superior to Kansas at this point in time, and basically eat his shorts. Amen brother!
More tomorrow hopefully -- I'm making an effort!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Since I've been busy and away from my blog over the past few weeks, can I throw in a short opinion on the "Merry Christmas" controversy? It's the holiday I celebrate, and I'm going to wish everyone a happy one. I learn all about everyone else's religious/cultural holidays within my multi-cultural existence -- Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Diwali...even the winter solistice last week. I take no offense if they wish me a happy one or bring in food to celebrate their major holidays. My Buddhist and Hindu friends at work have given me "Christmas" presents. We take rejoice in acknowledging and learning about one another's traditions and holidays. Why should Christians alone be forced to not even mention the name of one of their most significant holidays for fear of offending someone?
Without religious significance in the holiday season, forgive me if I just don't see the point. Without the story of Jesus's birth, the gifts from the Wisemen, the gift of our savior, Christmas is just a senseless buying spree my friends, riddled with materialism and anxiety. Let us all have our desired greetings, as it is part of freedom of speech and freedom of religion in a free society. Please don't strip all spiritual significance from the holidays for fear that it might offend a few.
Off my soapbox, thank you.
Okay, I really have been a blogosphere lurker lately (and not a very frequent one at that). I am still amazed though that it took me a good two and a half months to realize that Kevin Holtsberry has resumed his blogging at "A Nickel's Worth of Free Advice". I should have known that after that stint free-lancing at National Review, he'd rejoin the conservative/libertarian blog ranks. Welcome back Kevin!
In the grand scheme of things such as the tsunami tragedy, I realize this is unimportant. Still I wanted to pass along news of a great new source of editorial commentary about Illinois basketball that I discovered this week -- Mark Tupper's blog from the sports section of the Decatur Herald & Review. I've enjoyed his columns for quite a while now, and he seems to be updating this blog after each game.
It hasn't been a particularly cheery Week after Christmas has it? The tsunami tragedy has dominated our thoughts and conversations at work. This is partially a consequence of in-sourcing, the less-discussed alternative to out-sourcing in which American corporations subcontract with consulting companies to bring the best and brightest technology graduates from Indian universities straight into our workforce. While these workers may work for an Indian company, they are based here in America at a variety of large corporate offices, living as your average ordinary citizen in towns like Peoria and Bloomington-Normal and bringing a new swath of ethnic foods and cultrual understanding with them.
My thoughts on technology outsourcing are mixed and most decidedly shaped by the experiences that my husband and I have had attempting to find suitable employment and career advancement in the industry. Casting all that aside though, let me say that I have been blessed to become friends with many kind, big-hearted Indians and Sri Lankans with whom I have worked. Friendly, interesting, and generous to a fault...I have often become better friends with some of these gentlemen than my American co-workers and peers.
There was somewhat of a panic in my area at work today. A co-worker and his wife left town this weekend for a month-long visit with his family in India. Someone came into the office this morning upset, as they had heard that the tidal wave inflicted casualties on his home region, the west coat of India, as well. Always one to worry, the possibilities raced through my mindThe idea that I wouldn't have my friend to consult with on projects, to gossip about the recent OC episode on Friday mornings. The idea that this tremendously warm, intelligent friend of mine was gone. For those few minutes of certainty before we verified his location, my heart was heavy just thinking about not having this person in my life.
Multiply that anguish by about 68,000. That's the kind of pain and uncertainty that is out there, concentrated in Southeast Asia but scattered throughout the world tonight. That's even true here in Central Illinois, as I happened upon another Indian friend from work publicly fretting about his family's safety in the local newspaper this week.
Meredith has up a very thoughtful post on the tsunami tragedy and a press headline that noted "3 Americans Among the Dead". I agree with her overall argument about the tsunami itself -- that the headline is unfortunate, especially if it neglects to mention the tens of thousands of others that perished. However, I must admit that I clicked on a few of those headlines today, trying to understand what would have brought Americans there and whether this could have affected one of my friends (or their families) from work. When the press focuses on the plights of Americans in such tragedies, I think that it's primarily an attempt to satisfy our curiousity and answer questions like "I wonder what took them there?" or "Could this have happened to me or one of my loved ones?"
At least I hope that's it. In my own neck of the woods here in middle America, it seems that people are more focused on the enormity of this tragedy. The size of the earthquake, the speed of the wave, the horror of gripping to a palm tree for one's life and watching bodies float by for hours, the families who couldn't find their husbands, wives, brothers, or babies when the waters calmed. I think America understands the enormity of this tragedy, shares in the mourning, and extends their prayers to Southeast Asia tonight.
Saturday, December 25, 2004
I am still alive, although my posting habits indicate the contrary. I've been quite busy finishing finals and trying to get a few Christmasy things done (like cards) before the holidays arrive. Santa (ie Illinihubby) did bring me a laptop though, so there will be no more battles over our sole functional computer. Posting may be a bit sporadic as we prepare for the move, but my New Years resolution is to get back in the swing of things.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas day spent with family and friends you love. For my Christian readers, I wish you a wonderful celebration of the true meaning of the holiday, a celebration of the miracle of Christ's birth that ultimately led to him making such an incredible sacrifice for us as a full-grown man.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Illinois vaulted to Number 1!
My husband started his job today!
One time-consuming final down, one to go!
Said husband is threatening to tear me away from the computer if I don't get some dinner pronto, but I'm a happy camper. Here's to hoping my posting fire will increase now that my load is lightened a bit. Of course my Christmas cards haven't beeen touched yet...but all in all I'm in happy spirits.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
The Fighting Illini basketball has dethroned a #1 seed for this first time since 1979. Illinois destroyed Wake Forest this evening 91-73, and it was a mighty impressive game. I realize Wake may have been a bit overrated or underperformed...but what a game! No let up in their intensity from the Gonzaga game last weekend. If nothing else, this showing was actually more impressive because they kept up the defensive play and stellar shooting with very little help from Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, Deron Williams.
I must disagree with this FoxSports summary of the game:
"It was supposed to be a preview of the Final Four. But Wake Forest-Illinois ended up being a major bore instead. The Fighting Illini had their way with the No. 1 Demon Deacons, striking a blow for the Big Ten with a 91-73 rout."
Perhaps this is just the MSSA (Mainstream Sports Announcers) ACC-loving bias showing through. This game was so far from a major bore to a college basketball and Illini fan like myself. I know it's early in the season and there are players to be kept healthy and challenging games to be played. I can't help being excited about this team though! Sure part of it is because other sports teams in the state stank this year, as acknowledged by the Sun Times today ("Illini shine as state's lone beacon" by Herb Gould).
However, sports history was made this evening. The last and ONLY time Illinois's basketball team beat a #1 seed was in 1979. They did it at Assembly Hall when I was a babe in diapers just a few miles down the road, taking down Magic Johnson's Michigan State squad. The game tonight...well, I will have some wonderful memories of watching this one. The only three things that would have made it better: watching it from the sea of orange in Assembly Hall, watching it unfold in real-time (had class this evening), or watching it without this miserable sinus infection I'm fighting at the moment. Delightful game regardless.
Now let's just hope the boys in orange can keep history from repeating itself (Illini went on quite a losing streak after the 1979 dethroning), and increase their playing intensity and skills throughout the year. The heading under the top photograph on ESPN.com now reads "Expect Dee Brown and the Illini to replace Wake at No. 1" Here's to hoping that happens and it doesn't jinx my boys! Eat your shorts Dick Vitale!
Monday, November 29, 2004
So I'm trying to resume more frequent posting, as I find myself falling off some blogrolls and overall network traffic decreasing. Work/school were a bit draining though, so instead I will offer up a smattering of my favorite posts from the past couple weeks.
Iowa Wine Guy has up a fine summary about Illinois's stellar performance against Gonzaga last Saturday in Indianapolis. The hubby and I were headed home from Thanksgiving activities with the extended family and hoped to be home by the end of the 1st half. We arrived back for the second half tip-off and missed the finest half of Illini basketball since they made Nick Lachey cry in his Cincinnati gear during March Madness last year. Hot shooting, great teamwork, maturity shown by the entire crew. Ultimately Weber put in the 3rd string for about the last 20 minutes of the game, so the margin of victory was only 17 points. However, Fighting Illini basketball showed that they have what it takes to maintain and improve upon that #4 ranking. Their next big test will come this week against #1 ranked Wake Forest. If they come out with all guns blazing again...upset potential must exist.
I was turning a bit green with envy as I read Spoons's posts about the National Review Cruise and hanging out with Dinesh D'Souza (who I have met once), Jay Nordlinger, Jonah Goldberg, Michelle Malkin, and Jay Nordlinger. Soooo jealous. Now if only I could stumble on an extra 10,000 dollars to the take the British Isles cruise next summer and hang out with Peggy Noonan. Not too likely when we're trying to adjust to our new DINK lifestyle and become good stewards of our finances. If NR truly wants to grow the conservative/libertarian movement, might I suggest a snazzy convention in an affordable part of middle America? Until then, I'll just wait for the next reasonable Caribbean opportunity or winning the lottery.
The National Review article on "Jobless in Michigan?" assesses why the state is hemhorraging jobs as of late, bipartisanly pointing some fingers at Jennifer Granholm and the Republican-controlled legistlature's policies. Interestingly enough, you could write a similar article about Illinois's anemic job growth over the past four years or so. However, I saw an article in the past week surmising that Illinois does not rank that high . Why can't we get the promising, up-and-coming technology jobs to locate here? Over the past year, I've heard a bit about the "Corridor 74" initiative and its attempt to set up Central Illinois for new agricultural/biological/technologal businesses. However, it has been quiet lately on this front. I'd be interested in any insight that visitors have on this matter.
On a more lighthearted note, National Review Online's Cathy Seipp (admitted WB drama junkie like myself) wrote an interesting article on 'Red-State TV'. Along with shooting down the idea that culturally-conservative TV cannot be interesting and funny, she also discussed two of my husband's favorite shows (Simpsons and King of the Hill) and singled out one of my favorite shows on network TV: American Dreams. Yes, it's somewhat sappy and predictable (historial influences and all that jazz). In its third season, this show seems to be getting even better at interlacing historical plotlines and moving family relationships, posing some interesting pro-military/anti-war conflicts that seem incredibly relevant in our society today. And the episode a week ago when MIA soldier son JJ finally escaped Cambodia and made it home to Philadelphia was incredibly well done. If you aren't watching this show and you are a fan of quality dramas on TV (Joan, Alias, Lost, Everwood, et cetera), then fans like myself and Wild Banshee will encourage you to give it a try.
Think that's all for now as I have finals to study for, a house to pack up and list, and a dead car battery that I must check on and desperately hope is restored by tomorrow morning. Have a nice evening!
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
We had something like 6 inches of snow here today folks. Six inches! A White Christmas is not guaranteed in this neck of the woods, and this year we get a white Thanksgiving. It should make for a pretty drive tomorrow though. And what will be playing on our car stereo if I have any say about it?
I picked up my copy on Tuesday, the release date. Early reviews have been pretty positive, including this fascinating National Review analysis of the album as it relates to faith. Circumstances today (snowstorms and many moving errands) precluded much listening, but I am excited to hear this album for the first time.
And yes I love U2 despite any liberal proclivities that Bono or other members may have. Sure, I cringed a bit last week when I heard Bono wailing at the Clinton Library dedication. However, Bono is one of the few, proud thoughtful Hollywood liberals that I respect. The man truly is an advocate for things that I consider noble causes (securing more funding to fight AIDS in Africa among others), and he has won my respect by working on both sides of the aisle for change. The man worked both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention within six weeks this summer. That's dedication if nothing else.
U2 has been one of my favorite bands since I got hooked on Achtung Baby during middle school. All politics aside, I'm incredibly excited to add another one of their haunting, thought-provoking albums to my collection.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours btw! I'm hoping that regular posting will resume in the near future, but it may be dicey around here until December 15th or so. There's a rumor that Santa may bring me a laptop and a wireless network this year -- if that happens blogging should become more frequent in the new year.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
It's been a good week here in the land of Illinigirl. For one thing, we are 99% certain that Illinihubby has a job. Hooray! To all of you you have listened to me whine on the blog for months now, thank you for your patience and/or prayers. And to top that off, I think we just bought ourselves a house. Happy details to follow, but I have a midterm to finish studying for tonight.
Plus, Illini basketball starts soon. The showing up of Dick Vitale and his no-confidence #13 ranking begins soon. What more could an Illinigirl ask for?
Monday, November 08, 2004
The election has been over a good week now, and I still haven't been able to fully collect my thoughts about what has happened. I will say that I know where Jim Geraghty was coming from over at National Review when he wrote this:
"Anybody else feel like a ten-ton weight has been lifted from his shoulders? Anybody else feel like every muscle had been tensed and clenched for about two months, and a steadily increasing vice-like pressure had been squeezing him, day by day, as the election approached? Just me? Boy, since that last debate, I just wanted the race to end. Just vote and get it over with."
So we finally voted, it's over with. We won't go into all the details tonight, but suffice it to say that I am glad this election is over and the cards fell as they did. For anyone who might be interested, I did not vote a straight ticket as I made the same choice as Bill Dennis albeit for slightly different reasons.
So now the question -- what to write about? First, I'd like to find some time to do so. It may be dicey the next four weeks or so. I apologize if my postings are less and less frequent, but I'm really struggling to achieve a work-life-school balance at the moment. After this is done though, I'm going to shift my attention a bit more to cultural and faith matters, although I promise there will still be discussion on the conservative/libertarian issues that I hold dear.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
In a sign that we really are feeling our ages or perhaps feeling fairly optimistic about election results at this point, Illinihubby and I have decided to pack it in for the evening. Network coverage varies at the moment, but there are 5 states I've got my eye on at the moment:
Florida (called by almost all now), Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska
Bush stands at 210 electoral votes at the moment. These states are trending heavily Bush -- expect they will be called in the next few hours. (27 + 20 + 9 + 3 + 5 = 64). Those four fall and it's game/set/match at 274. Take a hike back to your cave Osama and quit trying to influence our electoral process.
My final prediction? Bush 293/294 (depending on the Maine congressional district), Kerry 245/244. The true states still up for grabs fall Wisconsin, Nevada, and New Hampshire (perhaps Hawaii) for Bush. Iowa and Michigan look like long shots at the moment, as much as I would like to see them turn red...may have to wait 4 more years.
Sweet dreams folks
Only laugh I had all day -- particularly liked 9, 16, 25, 37 & 42: (Heinz) 57 Reasons Kerry Can't Win
I'll refrain from commenting on the election this evening as I don't want to jinx anything. I will admit that the exit poll fiasco made me a nervous nellie at work. Went to the gym and then to Disciples for a couple hours, came home, and my mood is much improved. No matter what the final results, my faith in the American voters has been restored a bit. The media tried as hard as they could to throw this election into Kerry's camp and the American people saw through it.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
May I say that I thoroughly enjoyed this article by Cathy Seipp at NRO. I must say that she and I share the same addiction -- this article was previously titled "The WB is My Crack". It has since been retitled The Wonderful World of the WB, but the sentiments endorsed in it are quite similar to my own.
Between Everwood, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, Jack and Bobby, and my household's never-ending obsession with all things Buffy/Angel, I must say that I understand her viewpoint completely. If it wasn't for Scrubs, Arrested Development, Lost, Alias, The OC and HBO, we would never leave the channel. Man, we watch too much TV! But I digress...
God willing within the next three days, we will know who will be our president for the next four years. Regular visitors to the site will not by surprised by my endorsement in any way, shape, or form. George W. Bush is the candidate whose policies and positions most closely match up with my beliefs. I hope to find time for a detailed endorsement tomorrow, but I offer up some of the most apt and fitting election commentary to fill your time until then.
Two clear reasons to believe that this war is not over -- Azzam the "American" tape and Memri's translations of the Osama Bin Laden tape's threats (about which the "objective" press has been strangely silent).
Anticipatory Retaliation on well-known Iraqi bloggers' presidential endorsements. One guess as to which way they lean? Alaa of the Mesopotamian has a particularly good endorsement an poses the following question,
"My apology to the half of America who may disagree; and I address them with respect and fondness, but with pain in the heart. Do you really want to give satisfaction to the be-headers, kidnappers and child murderers; and the perpetrators of 9/11? Do you want to hear their savage shouts of victory? This is no reflection on the merit of your man. He may indeed be a paragon of virtue, but that does not change one little bit anything about the situation."
For those of you who cannot decide which way you want to vote, may I offer an alternative? A quick run-down of the Libertarian platform. At this point in time, I cannot consider myself a large-L Libertarian for two reasons: 1) I perceive the party as too isolationist and short-sighted with regards to world affairs, specifically the war on terror 2) I believe in a small amount of government regulation and sponsorship of education, transportation, et cetera. However if you are still undecided and feel like you are up a creek in terms of choices this year, I believe it presents a viable alternative.
Mark Steyn on his predictions and an ultimatum in the Spectator.
If I was a political candidate, I would try to run away screaming in the other direction if this domestic-violence loving, racist, homophobic ignoramus tried to endorse me. Michele over at A Small Victory has up a great discussion of the Left's open embrace of Eminem now that he has endorsed their man.
P.S. The article also explores the quick dismissal of Curt Schilling's Friday GMA endorsement of Bush, which made one of my despondent Cardinal fan relatives hate the Boston Red Sox quite a bit less Friday morning.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
First of all, another apology for the infrequent nature of my posts lately. Let the record show that a 40 hour work week and 2/3 full courseload of graduate work do not leave much time or energy for blogging pursuits. I'm not going to discuss shutting down the blog or anything, but I am going to concede that posting may be much less frequent for the next, oh, four years or so at this rate. So after a pretty draining day of work and classes I'm just going to throw up a few assorted thoughts on the political fray, since it's that time of year and all.
Deroy Murdock has an interesting piece over at National Review, directing readers to the website husseinandterror.com to read all about the evidence linking Sadaam to terrorists that for some reason the White House has chosen not showcase: copies of checks given to Palestinian suicide bombers, terrorists traveling on Iraqi diplomatic passports, providing safe haven and the like. Just found it interesting reading material given the mainstream media's frequent assertion that there are not between the Hussein regime and terror.
Drudge has a headline flash that Cheney got a flu shot. So? The guy's 63 and has had three heart attacks, a quadruple bypass, and an artery stint. Isn't he exactly the type of person that we've been told should receive this shot during the shortage? A shortage that never would have come about if American drug companies weren't litigated out of producing such vaccines years ago.
Wall Street Journal -- interesting run-down on how the Kerrys managed to pay only 12.4% of their income to federal taxes last year. Not that I'm saying people should not take advantage of the tax breaks provided to them...I just find the "rich aren't paying enough" class-warfare mantra pretty ironic coming from the richest US presidential candidate ever who paid that little in taxes last year. Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth notes that the Geoge W. and Laura Bush with about 1/10 of that income paid over 30% last year.
Monday's Lileks Bleat on Day After Tomorrow and Bush's faith in relation to his policy.
That's all for now. Not enough brainpower to formulate any further thoughts this evening. Adieu.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
My slimeball suspicions about John Kerry were confirmed tonight when he opportunistically dragged Mary Cheney out again in front of the crowd on the issue of gay marriage. It was almost as if he was dangling it out there -- "Hey religious right, did you know that Dick Cheney has a gay daughter? If not, vote for me!" There was just something altogether creepy and opportunistic about the whole response. Even people who agree with Kerry on the gay marriage issue, I would think that remark bothered all but the most partisan ideologues.
Leave the poor woman alone. She's doing the best she can to publicly come to terms with her sexuality, decide on her beliefs, and live her life. (Which incidentally I might add involves serving as director of vice-presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign). She doesn't need to be trotted out as ammunition against her father. Kerry's desparate appeal made me wince when I first heard it, and apparently I am not alone. The post-debate analysis on both MSNBC and FoxNews has said that was the most negative polling moment of the debate with both their groups of swing voters. Nice to know the people of America still have some common sense.
I haven't watched much of the debate yet as I had class part of the night and some other urgent matter demanding my attention. However, I saw enough to know that President Bush seemed to be having a great night. He looked strong and confident. He may never be the most eloquent public speaker, but I thought he had great answers for every question thrown at him tonight. (BTW, who wrote those questions? Bias central -- had me longing for the town hall against). Kerry looked and sounded timid, defensive and as if he didn't want to be there.
Mark my words though -- I think he may regret that Mary Cheney comment. Guess we'll have to wait and see how the spin doctors play it off tomorrow, but it left me with an extremely unpleasant taste in my mouth.
Amended 9:50 pm: Mary Beth Cahill is already on FoxNews doing damage control for Kerry's Mary Cheney comment. The Corner reports that she said Mary is "fair game"? Who are these people? Not the sort I would be friends with, that's for darn sure.
Liberal outlets and ideologues will still try to spin this, no doubt. If I was in the Kerry camp though, I'd be more than a little nervous tonight.
Amended 10:15 pm: Michelle Malkin already has up a post with a very similar take on the Mary Cheney comment. She brings up an intersting point -- first she asks if any of these people have talked to Mary Cheney and closes by saying "If they haven't talked to her, they should shut up, leave her alone, and defend their incoherent position on gay marriage without hiding behind the vice president's daughter."
Friday, October 08, 2004
So "JFK" asked me to look into my heart and what I believe? The first thing that came to mind? I believe you are a slimeball.
I only saw the last 40 minutes (which the NRO line is was when Bush found his voice), but I think Bush is kicking tail. Go counter the DNC spin attacks and hit the MSNBC website and every other site around to vote that Bush won the debate. (This is just as justified as Terry McAuliffe's DNC spin mail commands, so take it as you will).
P.S. (Updated 10:15 CST) I just saw Andrea Mitchell claiming that the president came to play tonight and clearly contested Kerry on every issue. When that's the line MSLIB is spouting, I think the GOP has had a good night. Detailed analysis to follow, but I am feeling better about this election than I have been in a good ten days or so. Keep up the thougtfhul, common sense analysis of the conservative positions on the issues GWB!
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Must be sent tonight out to Kevin Holtsberry on his recent stint as the unofficial National Review swing-state liason. His fourth (fifth?) article appeared on the site today summing up the race for Ohio. Congrats and may your freelancing continue on after the election!
Kevin's old political blog was one of the sites that spurred me to set up my own site. His writing style has just always spoken to me. He burnt out on his political/personal site about six months ago, but his new blog Collected Miscellany is a great place to get up to date on the latest books out there.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Finally updated the blogroll -- a few weeks overdue. First of all, I am adding Yoni Cohen's College Ball blog to my blogroll, as my favorite sports season of the year will be kicking off within a month or so. The Illini are poised to make a prime run, and I have almost recovered the heartbreak I suffered in the nosebleed section of the Georgia Dome last year. (Sports Illustrated if you are listening, please refrain from putting the boys in orange on your cover and mentioning an NCAA title. You've done enough this year, as most Cub fans will agree).
Another new addition to the blogroll is the Central Illinois Expats category. This area will include links to those who at one point or another have resided south of I-80 and north of I-72. Unlike folks from Chicago who consider everything south of I-80 Southern Illinois, those of us from the area would contend that Southern Illinois starts just south of Taylorville. Anyhow, this category will include blogs with a broader range of perspectives on politics and faith than you might usually see on my blog roll. (Inner Monologues and Fiat provide running commentaries on two very different seminary experiences). While I may disagree with some of their poltiical viewpoints on occasion (regularly with the left-wing conspiracy theory talk, cough cough Iowa Wine Guy), I know them to be good people and wish them the best of luck with their blog endeavors.
Final point for Central Illinoisans accessing the blog, has anyone noticed their DSL connections slowing dramatically in the last couple months? Just curious. We've contemplated making the switch to cable, but we may be moving in the near future and hesitant to sink money into it or sign a contract right now.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
I got onto Jay and Deb's blog looking for debate commentary, and found that they have been a bit too busy to worry about the debates the past couple days. Sadie Rose Ellis arrived on Wednesday afternoon -- stop by Accidental Verbosity for cute baby pics or to wish the new parents well!
My apologies for the long, unannounced hiatus. We returned from the business trip to New Orleans late Friday evening, and I don't feel like I've stopped running since. The usual packing/unpacking, church commitments, overtime at work, two night classes, and a new bible study have been occupying most of my time so far.
It is good to be home though. New Orleans is a great tourist town, but its multitude of excesses is hard to bear for an extended period of time. For me, those excesses amounted to spending obscene amounts of money on almost every meal. (This is basically a necessity unless you want to eat at the dirty McDonalds or KFC/Taco Bell in less desirable areas near Canal Street, but that doesn't mean we didn't feel guilty paying more than $12 or $15 for every meal that wasn't breakfast. I'm sure we'll feel more remorse after the bills arrive next month. But it sort of looks bad if you are the only one from your company ditching out on group meals -- excuses, excuses, I know).
I'm just kind of run down and lacking fuel. I think about blog posts during the day -- driving to work, walking to a meeting, whatever. I've had some great running monologues in my head lately about gay marriage, the trends toward delaying adulthood, the pros and cons of starting a campaign to throw huge percentages of the Illinois Senate race vote behind Jerry Kohn. I just haven't had time to write any of it down at the moment. While the spirit is willing, the flesh is tired.
I'll be posting as time allows though -- I have two midterms to study for in the next two weeks so I imagine I will be looking for study breaks.
I couldn't let such an occasion go by without posting, so here are my two cents. I'm not incredibly excited or dismayed. I don't feel like there was a clear "winner" to this debate. Bush had a consistent theme, but I felt like he'd been instructed to just pound home his basic premise: Waffling for political gain in the war on terrorism is no way to win a war, and this will not make us safer in today's world.
Kerry spoke better -- more cohesively with less stopping to formulate his words. However, my husband's impression from watching two of his answers was that he just sounded condescending. Basically though, he just clearly outlined his (most-recent) positions and made a lot of pointed Michael-Moorish reference. I'm not sure if this will resonate because if his answers were not interesting enough to keep the attention of a political junkie like myself...how are they going to hold the interest of the average "swing voter"?
That said, I thought the questions were kind of biased in an armchair-quarterback sort of way. I was disappointed that Bush didn't have more involved, cohesive answers because there are a variety of arguments in support of the president's policies that were not made tonight. I found myself muttering "why isn't he talking about X, Y, or Z?" However, I think this may have been part of the strategy to keep it at a lower level, perhaps to appeal to the average uninformed American swing voter who connects with this rhetoric better.
I've heard it said already a couple times that Bush looked tired. My first thought when I hear this, as it has been every time I have heard this argument since 9/11. I really hope there's not some serious pre-election terrorist attack intelligence that's keeping him up at night.
If you want the detailed (conservative/libertarian) debate play-by-play, I would advise visiting Instapundit, Vodkapundit, or Spoons. PeoriaPundit and Mark Byron also have up some great overall analysis.
Monday, September 20, 2004
This is my first time on the Internet in three days. I must say that it is kind of nice. While my blood pressure is still relatively high from the stresses of traveling and coordinating group outings, the most excitement I have had encountered in the past few days is the Bears game. Good grief. Finally give up on a team and look what happens! Really ruined my husband's NFL picks for the week, but he's not complaining.
While this is a working vacation, it's the first major trip I've had away in almost a year and it's lovely. New Orleans is in all its usual tragicomic glory. All sorts of interesting people, strange mix of saints (lots of Catholic history in this town) and sinners (Bourbon Street today). It's kind of strange to imagine a week ago at this time we were worried that it might be under 18-20 feet of water. The city escaped with just a few wind gusts and an inch of rain. It's a great reminder of the fragility of life though, and a reminder to pray for the people just to the east and up in the North Carolina region that were not so lucky.
So what have I done since arriving? Spent time on the Riverfront, visited the fascinating Mardi Gras World campus across the Mississippi in Algiers, spent several hours in the Audubon Aquarium, eaten well. I'm trying not to cram in too much sightseeing though, as work will be keeping me busy and I'm fighting off a cold. The husband and I had lunch at the Red Fish Grill, which was just outstanding. We're off to an evening event shortly, but I just wanted to check in for a moment. More updates as I'm inspired and/or time permits.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
So approximately 12 hours after I let the venting fly on my blog, what happens? The big guy reminds us that he is still listening. Long story short but basically my husband's resume has finally piqued some interest. He had a really preliminary interview for a technical position at a major local employer, and his thesis advisor has recommended him for a chief technology officer position at a local small business. Literally both of these sprung up in the 24 hours after my last post -- good jobs with little commuting that would seemingly make his last few years of education worthwhile. Can't pin all our hopes on them yet, but they definitely brightened the day. If any of you have more prayers to spare, we could definitely use them over the next week or so...between interviews and some potentially headache-ridden flights that are looming this weekend.
So again I apologize for the life ennui Tuesday, thank you for the concern out there, and offer up some evidence that God only gives you what you can handle, sometimes the glimmer of hope when you need it the most.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Life is keeping us busy, allergies are keeping us ill. A slew of sinus problems have keept us under the weather and lethargic this past week. An overall lack of good news coming out of the boob tube, a very frustrated husband due to lack of job leads, an overall swamped state at work, evening grad school classes, scheduling uncertainties due to the fact that my business travel to New Orleans next week keeps looking less and less likely...all have contributed to the overall lack of posts lately and my continue to do so for the forseeable future.
I'm just grouchy darnit. We're trying to keep it all in perspective -- just pray for God to reveal whatever is in his plan for us, to remember that when one door opens another closes, all that jazz. Our pastor gave a sermon a couple weeks ago discussing the frustration of unanswered prayer. It definitely soothed our minds and put it in perspective for a little while, but I think we could use to hear it again already. I think I just need more spiritual contemplation in general. Our church has some great programs, but they are usually temporary fleeting studies when I thrive within an established small group. I'm going to start up with the Disciples IV bible study shortly, two ten week studies in the fall and winter respectively, and I'm really looking forward to that interaction.
I have a few friends who are pertual optimists. They can take the worst rainy day and find positive things to celebrate within it. I am striving to become that kind of person. I'm trying to see the glass half-full more frequently, as I realize how blessed I am to have my family intact and nearby, to live in this great country, to have all the basic needs met well for myself and the hubby, etc. I'm trying to learn to cope with or ignore uncertainty and quit worrying about things beyond my control. Sometimes I do a better job than others. Tonight I give thanks to God for all those blessings listed above, even as I wallow a tiny bit.
Bear with me. Hope to be posting more frequently soon.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Primarily for the people of Florida, Hurricane Ivan projections are not looking good. Frances has just given the area a beating, and now they are in the line of fire for yet another storm. (Meredith has some interesting notes from the tropical storm/depression's arrival in Atlanta).
I have been tracking Ivan because we are supposed to be headed down to the Big Easy at the end of next week, for some play and then work in that order. Complications to travel plans or a potential loss of a couple hundred dollars (darn Hotwire for being so irresistable!) both seem like such small, petty worries in comparison to what these people are facing.
I have old family friends in Florida, primarily Orlando and Stuart, that could really use a break at the moment. Pray for everyone involved that it takes the least damaging course and heads out to sea...or if it does make landfall they are given the strength to weather the storm. No pun intended really.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
I don't think I can put together a post that captures how sick I am about the Beslan slaughter of 300-plus innocent women and children. Just watching the BBC interviews with victims about the terrorists stringing up bombs laced with nuts and bolts, aimed for maximum damage to the women and children when set off. Just watching the footage of half-naked, bloodied children running out of that building, guzzling water as if they had not seen it for days. Just watching the parents with horrible, gut-wrenching sobs when they could not find their children on the list of the injured.
Early speculation is that approximately 10 attackers were Arabs, and that Al Qaeda may have been involved. It seems to have their finger prints all over it -- large-scale savage horror. I know that horrible things happen in this world every day, from the AIDS crisis in Africa to genocide in the Sudan, and that we cannot stop them all immediately. But needless, senseless slaugher of innocents to advance your political causes? We must convey that this is not acceptable. How can we even look at this situation and not think that these people must be stopped, both on our soil and around the world? What comes to mind watching the horrible BBC footage that I have seen on every network the past twenty-four hours? Edmund Burke's famous saying that "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing".
My thoughts and prayers are with all those in Beslan this week. Michelle Malkin has up a summary of the latest developments, and links to a blog summarizing how you can help -- donating to a relief fund or send condolences to the Russian Embassy in DC. I'm thinking about sending along a card to show my sympathy and support for the victims. Consider doing the same if you're so moved.
Via Bob Novak's column...apparently even Karl Rove is afraid of powerful women, as he could not trump the female who allowed the Bush twins' introduction for Laura Bush's Tuesday night. The "influence and bad judgment" of Andrea Ball, Laura Bush's Chief of Staff, were said to be behind the script's approval. Details available in Bob Novak's column.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Bush did well. That's about all I have to say about the speech. The first half of his speech was a little too laundry list, a little too "let's create government programs to solve every problem this country has" for my taste. I'm practically libertarian these days though. I do not find compassionate conservatism appealing. I find compassion appealing, but moreso when it's exercised more efficiently by churches, individuals, and private organizations. Perhaps this is a story for another day though -- the fact that I do not look to the government as my parent, look to them to solve all that's right with the world. We are an intelligent and creative people, and I believe private enterprise and philanthropy can solve problems in a more effective manner. First and foremost, I want to see my government ensure the safety and security of the American people.
Last night, Zell -- Good heavens he seemed angry. Righteously so perhaps, but I've just never witnessed such a speech. This must have been a long time coming, as I have seen Zell Miller speak before and never seen him like this. I read online somewhere that the speech had been vetted and toned down several times. Can you imagine what the first draft must have sounded like? That's not to say that I didn't agree with the bulk of what he was saying, but I thought he took a few lines about disrespecting the soldiers too far. I still like Zell though, even if he's an angry old man -- that is courage to stand up for what you believe in and give this address against the party you've represented your whole life though. Great detailing of all the defense appropriations/advancements Kerry has not supported.
Cheney -- I thought he was incredibly muted last night and throughout the convention. His speech was good, solid, and brought out many of the items the GOP perceives as issues with Kerry's voting record, primarily cutting defense and increasing taxes. I liked his jokes and thought the speech could have used a few more of them as the delivery seemed somewhat slow. He is a much better speaker than this, or at least he was the one time I saw him in person.
Pataki -- I only saw about half of this speech. I'm not a big fan of his overall version of Republicanism, but I daresay it was a good second half. I got goosebumps during some of the 9/11 rhetoric.
Bush -- For the reasons explained above, I am not a big fan of State of the Union like speeches. However, I thought the first half of the speech did a good job laying out his vision for a second term. Encouraging vocational training/re-training, reforming medical malpractice law, Health Savings Accounts, reforming Social Security, simplifying the tax code, opportunity zones to encourage businesses in areas (states?) struggling economically. Those are all ideas that I believe have promise.
The second half of the speech picked up some momentum. Some may assert that focusing on terrorism dwells on the past, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Just take a quick look at the Russian school hostage situation and you can see that terrorism is very much a thing of the present. It's not going to stop until world leaders unify and take an aggressive stance against it. If we do not, soon it won't just be Chechneya or Israel or Spain or France. It will on our soil again. If not for the actions of George W. Bush's administration these past four years, I am quite confident that it would have already recurred at this point. Whatever issues I may disagree with Bush on, I am impressed by his leadership in the global fight against terrorism. He's a leader, he's doing what needs to be done, he gets it. The Liberty Century has my vote.
Not to mention the fact that I like the guy. He looked comfortable up there this evening, and I feel that both he and Cheney are sincere. Cannot say that I feel that way about the other ticket.
Vodkapundit and Spoons have up far more detailed speech analysis if you want more. Jay Reding is asserting that Bush may have won the election tonight. Perhaps that's because Kerry is throwing his unprecedented Hail Mary midnight address as I type. They must think this went really badly for the Dems, because it reeks of desparation. Lame jokes, class warfare, Michael Moorish charges... yeah, yeah, yeah. Nothing that Bush or Cheney said at this convention was a horrible attack on Kerry or his character. Expressing your dislike by detailing someone's voting record is not a personal attack. It's a discussion of the issues. As for Zell, well keeping him in line really is not the GOP's problem. Not to mention the fact that I don't think they could if they tried.
Apologies for the stream of consciousness nature of this post. Busy, rough week at work but I have enjoyed watching the convention and sharing my thoughts with the blog-visiting public. Thanks for visiting!
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
One of my favorite lines from Monday night, highlighted in Tuesday's Lileks Bleat and recounted here for your pleasure:
"Neither party has a monopoly on virtue; we don’t have all the right ideas, they don’t have all the wrong ideas, but I do believe there are times in history when our ideas are more necessary, and more important, and critical. And this is one of those times – when we are facing war and danger."
Getting ready to go watch Dickie C's speech now...
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
I was attempting a more substantive post on the Republican National Convention, but work and allergies have kept my brain from full functionality so far this week. Instead of a rambling discourse, here are just a few of my impressions on the major speeches so far.
John McCain -- Missed his speech last night, but I have heard excellent things about it. The text of his speech is both eloquent and powerful. I have my disagreements with the man. I think he is a bit egotistical, and I blame him for this campaign-finance mess and the limitations on free speech that we are now facing. However, I have to admire him for his moral clarity, for his clear support of the president at this time just four years after a blistering primary season. He is a leader, and he is making a strong case for himself as such in 2008.
Rudy Giuliani -- Caught most of his speech last night. I found it intriguing, as the first part of the speech took me back a few years. When Giuliani talks about being in New York those first few days after September 11th, it's like you are there with him. You remember watching it unfold on TV, Rudy on TV shortly after he evacuated a WTC building, watching him duck for cover when a tower fell (as in the HBO documentary Telling Nicholas). Something I read this morning captured it best: Next to Douglas MacArthur, Giuliani is the most visible war hero of the 21st century. For that reason alone, I can handle the bombastic portions of his speech. He lived through it, he led through it. Although he has an abrasive side, he could be a formidable candidate someday. Monday night, I wondered if we may have seen the 2008 GOP ticket speak -- the question remains which one would be the presidential candidate and which one the VP?
Arnold Schwarzenegger -- Arnold's appearance seemed pretty close to flawless. I think he may be a better politician than he is an actor. Rudy/John/Jeb/Whomever must be praying that the proposed 27th amendment to allow foreign-born UC citizens to serve as president will not be passed anytime soon. Or maybe that's just what we Republicans should be hoping for, as there is something very Reganesque about the Governator. I could have lived without the jokes about girlie-men in a formal address, but Schwarzengegger provided one of the best descriptions of what it means to be a Republican that I have heard in a very long time. Perhaps it's his immigrant background, but he also did a wonderful job pointing out all that is good about America...and that's something we rarely hear from our politicians today.
Bush twins -- Okay girls, I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt as I did tons of stupid things early in my college years. I was somewhat excited to hear what you had to say tonight...then sadly disappointed. Perhaps they aren't women of substance after all, as I heard they helped draft this bit. But didn't anyone watch them practice this intro? Couldn't someone have talked them out of the stand-up comedy routine? They were poised enough, but the giggling and the pop-culture-cute material was terrible. I thought the jokes about Condi, Karen and the hamster were cute...but otherwise I was a bit embarassed for them. I felt there were other things they could have said that would have been far more impressive. Unfortunately, my father's not president.
Laura Bush -- Elegance, eloquence, and grace under pressure. Her critics can say what they like, but I would take her sincerity over Theresa Kerry's bombast any day. I saw a woman trying to tell the nation why she believes in her husband's campaign and his choices, and I was impressed as usual. Warm, caring, and kind to boot. I agree with the early line that this speech probably did connect with the more sensitive female population quite well, while still acknowledging and alluding to the harsh realities of the war on terror.
I've missed a bunch that I hope to touch on later. I must say though that I am somewhat surprised. I didn't expect that much out of this convention, and it's turning into one of the more inspiring, optimistic events that I have witnessed out of the GOP in quite a while. Looking forward to Dick Cheney tomorrow night, as I adore the old guy.
Friday, August 27, 2004
No time for a real post tonight, so just let me put in a plug for one of the best movies I have seen in a while...Garden State. As regular blog readers know, I am a big fan of Scrubs. My favorite parts of the show? Well Donald Faison and I go way back to his Clueless/Felicity days, but Scrubs would not be the entertaining sitcom that it is without Zach Braff. I struggle to think of another actor who could so pull off JD quite so well.
After seeing Garden State this weekend I think Zach Braff may have a serious shot at becoming one of the most highly-esteemed actors/directors of our generation. I'm not sure what I loved about this movie, but it resonated with me. Long story short: drug-deadened twenty-eight year old actor returns home for his mother's funeral leaving the Valium behind and starts to experience life. After this movie, I heart Zach Braff even more. I think he has a real talent. This movie showed that he may have a unique, touching way of commenting on choices and problems faced by our generation. I enjoyed this movie while I was watching it, and yet I was still trying to figure its significance days later. Great soundtrack as well.
(And as for the unspoken question, my hubby knows full well about my fixation on young Mr. Braff. Just as I know full well about his unqualified adoration for Miss Natalie Portman...which explains why we went to see this movie the first chance we had.)
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Life's busy at the moment, so tonight I share one of my stronger posts in the past few weeks. Except it's not a post at all, it's my response to the suggestion that by noting the Swiftboat Vets' advertisements I am a misinformed smear merchant and our president is a "sorry excuse for a Christian". (Anonymous commenter's words, not mine). Excuse its stream-of-consciousness nature, but it's where my thoughts took me. I tried to tone down the emotional contingent of my response, hopefully I succeeded for the most part.
First of all, my father served in the National Guard for years. I daresay he spent more time in the military than John Kerry, so let's not even go there.
Secondly, I take offense to the word smear from an anonymous, non-addressable individual. I stand for the open and honest exchange of information and debate of ideas both by the Swiftboat Veterans, Kerry, other bloggers, and myself. This blog is my viewpoint on the world, not the absolute truth. It’s a place for my friends and acquaintances can read what I think. If you don’t like it, write something polite that challenges my ideas and I will respond.
I am against censorship of advertisement, particularly if we are going to let one side make libelous comparisons to Hilter and try to sue advertisements off the air when the other side expresses a dissenting opinion about the media’s candidate of choice. I agree that it is unfortunate that the tone of advertising has gotten so negative. However I'd blame that on the other 87% of 527s out there that have been slamming Bush for months.
The Swiftboat Vets are 250+ decorated military veterans that disagree with the military actions and/or statements of our potential Commander-in-Chief. Expressing these concerns, raising questions about inaccuracies in reports, and replaying Kerry's own words before Congress is their right as Americans. In my opinion, much more of a "smear" campaign has been conducted against these veterans than John F. Kerry.
He has been given a pass when he makes blatantly untrue statements or changes his story. The misinformation is at least partially from his camp -- Christmas in Cambodia or hearing about MLK's assassination while in Vietnam...when in reality he did not arrive until 6 months later? I believe that there may be more truth in the other matters these veterans are bringing to light. That's why I have been discussing the matter here on my blog – to bring to light what may be misinformation.
I'm not begrudging the fact that Kerry may have served honorably, perhaps even heroically. 99% of those who went over there did, in my humble opinion, not to mention the men who served at home. I am questioning the fact that Kerry did not do so with self-serving interests in mind, given that he took a video camera over there to re-enact battles after the fact and bolted as soon as he obtained a third Purple Heart. More importantly, I don't think either one of those behaviors is something I consider a leadership quality, something I want to see in the President of the United States. From what I've heard of Kerry's behaviors off the battlefield, this type of manipulation and gaming the system is par for the course.
Finally, just because a person disagrees with the most liberal interpretation of theology, does not make him less of a Christian. Ever hear the idea that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones? Ultimately, we all must make an educated assessment of what we personally believe scripture says, live our lives accordingly, and answer to the big guy for our decisions in the end. Including you.
Edited 8/27: Removed me repeating myself
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
No time to come up with another post of substance this evening, but I'm a guilty little blogger for letting real life get in the way of my posting these last few weeks. So just a few notes...
What I'd really like to write about tonight is the miraculous transformation of Dick Cheney. In less than 24 hours, Chicago talk radio has gone from portraying him as an ogre-like old man that is dragging down the Bush ticket to a remarkably, courageous maverick for publicly discussing his daughter's sexuality and wishing the same-sex marriage issue could be left to the states. That's not to say that I entirely disagree with his comments (as I would like to elaborate in the post I do not have time to write this evening), but I just find it interesting how the mainstream media can turn on a dime when it suits their purposes.
Kinda makes a young female Illinois Republican feel downright inferior. Before heading off to Harvard Law, Urbana native and Miss America 2003 Erika Harold will be a delegate to the GOP convention. I believe I also read in USA Today that she may get to speak on the floor. The FoxNews article notes her political aspirations -- if only she were a few years older and could have run for Senate this year. That would have made for an interesting race!
I knew Kwame was destined for bigger and better projects. Take that Bill!
My sister's going to be at an Oprah taping at 7 am tomorrow. I don't know if she's done any shows since the jury trial, but if there's any juicy inside scoop from that show I'll be sure to pass it aloong.
Josh Claybourn has up a beautiful, touching piece about his final hours with his mother. I can't say much more about it than that, except that it's powerful reading. My prayers are still with you Josh.
That's all for tonight folks -- see you Thursday or Friday.
My dad's birthday is coming up this weekend. I adore my father, and when his birthday comes...whatever he wants, I try to get it for him. It's usually not too unreasonable. An Animal House DVD, Eddie Bauer slippers sheepswool slippers, pretty much any small gadget from Brookstone or Sharper Image, whatever.
Except this year, the first request from his birthday list is darn near impossible to find. He went to the bookstore in my hometown last week and asked for the Swiftboat Vets' book. He was constantly stared down by piles upon piles of Bill Clinton's mug, but he was pretty upset that he couldn't find a copy of the book that's #1 on Amazon and #3 on the NY Times list in any of the local stores.
I live near a larger city that's graced with two large corporate bookstores, so I ventured out shopping Saturday night. No dice after prowling around the front of the bookstore for 5 minutes. I proceeded back to the information counter and asked the clerk about Unfit for Command. Her response? Basically she confirmed Barnes and Noble's official press release today by saying that it's "immensely popular" and "they cannot keep it on the shelves". The 10,000 copies listed in B&N's warehouse Friday morning were gone by Saturday afternoon. She advised me to call every day to see if shipments had arrived. Checked Amazon when I got home -- as of Saturday evening it said it would ship within 5 to 7 weeks. Today it's down to 7 days, but it's enough to make you wonder who owns the publishing house.
I won't dissect the whole Swiftboat issue again, because it would take too long and I'm exhausted, but I believe that trying to sue a 527 add off the air is ridiculous. The opinions expressed by the veterans are just as valid (in my opinion much moreso) as the libelous dreck in the moveon.org ads recently. If Kerry wants the Swiftboat ads pulled, then I'm with the president -- ask all the other 527s to stop their advertising as well. John Kerry made his 4 months of military service a key issue in this campaign, and I think that's why you are seeing the amazing demand for the book and overall interest develop in whether these charges are credible. I'm just amazed that it hasn't hurt him more at this point.
I'm a bit too busy to hunt the book down this week, so Sunday evening I purchased my dad's runner-up birthday request, American Soldier by Tommy Franks. But the whole shopping experience left me a bit hopeful that a few people must be considering the Swiftboat Vets opinions, reading their message and assessing it for themselves.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Tuesday's bleat dissects the Marshall Field's Fall Sale advertisement. I daresay I agree with him. There's not much in the stores to tempt me at the moment...and clothes shopping is my major Achilles heel when it comes to fighting the good fight against materialism.
"This film unmasks the Great Satan America," a spokesman said. "It tells Muslim people why they are right in hating America. It is the duty of every believer to see [this film] and learn the truth."
One guess what film he's talking about. First accolades from Fidel Castro, now hateful Iranian mullahs. Way to go filmmaker-who-shall-not-be-given-more-free-PR-here. (Credit to a fine article by Amir Taheri that explores Arab Bush-hating in much greater depth)
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
If you need to read something that will brighten your day, read about the successful separation and recovery of conjoined twins Clarence and Carl Aguirre. It's a seemingly miraculous success, and the picture that accompanies it is precious.
Joshua Claybourn lost his mom this weekend at age 49. My heart sank when I read the front page of his blog today. The blogosphere's kind of funny that way. I've never met Josh in any personal capacity, but he's been a blogging buddy for about two years now. It feels like a good friend of mine has experienced a tremendous loss.
It's been one of those months here in Central Illinois. Reminders of our mortality are everywhere. First the little ragamuffins ran us into the ground with VBS last week -- 10 year-olds that were merely 6 years of age when I moved here. At church Friday night, our pastor came upon my husband and I stuffing our faces with ice cream and looking exhausted. His first words? "Don't let this week keep you from having children sometime in the near future." I don't think that's on the horizon in the near future, but this week was an extreme reminder of just how quickly time passes.
Saturday we headed back to my hometown for a wedding of one of my friends from high school, an extreme practical joker, THE expert at goofing around in high school. He got married this weekend in a beautiful outdoor service at the local forest preserve. I hadn't seen him in almost three years before we ran into him recently. At least in my mind, he's gone from this big goofy kid to husband and step-dad overnight. I guess we're all growing up...there are just some times it hits you harder than others.
My husband and I are going through some growing pains ourselves. I'm busy at work and getting ready to start some evening MBA classes. He's this close to finished with his masters, and he's joined the job-seeking masses. Not just any job, one in his new field of expertise and that pays decently. Few to nil leads yet here in Central Illinois. We're trying to stay optimistic, but if you aren't vigilant, it really does color how you look at things.
Where is this rambling going? To make a long story short, my husband and I are thinking about leaving Central Illinois. It's our Plan B, but it feels like it's getting closer to reality. I've started researching other B-Schools and he's researching other tech hotbeds. Primarily Chicago, Dallas, and Austin have been kicked around so far. Very preliminary, but it's enough to make me a bit nervous.
It's tough fos us to contemplate making such a major move when we are spoiled by having our families nearby. Both our parents are in their mid-fifties and live less than 70 miles away. If we are lucky, we see them twice a month or so. Our relationships with them aren't perfect, but they are good solid ones. We love them and wish we had more opportunities to spend quality time with them. It's hard to imagine these relationships reduced to a few phone calls a month, especially when assorted problems with our parents' health remind us that we never know how much time we have left together.
Knowing how much thought I've pondered these topics lately and how confronting my parents' mortality makes me feel, I can only imagine how Josh is feeling tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
"Keep alert, stand firm in your faith" -- 1 Corinthians 16:13
That's the prevailing theme from HeroQuest, the curriculum that is keeping us busy this week, as my household is spending a good two hours each night convincing pre-teens that they aren't too old / too cool for Vacation Bible School. It really is a lot of fun though. While a bit squirrelly, they are great kids and it's fun to watch them take in the stories and figure out ways to apply them to their everyday lives.
So last week it was pre-wedding festivities for a close friend from college. This week it's 8 hours or work, 1 hour to travel, 3 hours for VBS each day. Time is precious at the moment. I'll be posting when I can though -- thanks for stopping by!
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
For the US Senate race in Illinois, as Alan Keyes has stepped in to assure that we will not be without an alternative on the ballot in November. Do I think he has a shot? No, not really. Am I upset about it? In my mind, I had chalked this seat up as a GOP loss in mid-May. While I'm unhappy that my views will no longer have any sort of representation in the Senate, it's something I have come to terms with and accepted.
Greg Blankenship has posted an excellent run-down of the Keyes/Obama battle if you're interested in more details. He makes an excellent point that Keyes might be able to tighten up the race by focusing on Obama's extreme left record on the issues.
"Obama is the proverbial "Music Man," he looks good and communicates well but he is running a con game on us with the willing aid of the state press corps. Obama is part of the wild eyed wing of the Democratic party. He merely has congenial facade. For example, when Blair Hull was the flavor of the day, Obama was the "Howard Dean" candidate. Now Obama is a centrist??? Please.
Basically though, this race is a throwaway. In some respects, I think that inviting Alan Keyes onto the Illinois ballot is just a hair off Spoons' suggestion of letting Obama run unopposed.
Keyes has suggested that he will draw upon his national support to fund his run in Illinois. Illinois GOP constituents will not have to put on a happy face and pour money into this campaign just to make it look like we didn't give up. The fact that these are now two nationally-known public figures will draw attention to the race and debates may potentially highlight Obama's extreme-left positions on the issues. I still think Obama will win this time, but the seeds of doubt about the far left views of the senator(s) from Illinois will have been planted for the future. Perhaps this gives the party a launching point for future races...although I still don't understand why they didn't offer the slot to those who actually ran for this nomination (Andy McKenna or even Jim Oberweis despite his seemingly deficient grasp on the immigration/jobs issues).
Do I really think they put this much thought into the Keyes nomination? Not necessarily. They may just not have wanted to expend the money and the effort on an already-lost battle. Every cloud has a silver lining though, and I am just looking for it here. Silver lining #2? I'm thinking the debates will be pretty darn entertaining.
Rumored Jay Leno riffs about John Kerry -- received them at work work today and thought they were too cute not to pass along:
"The Secret Service has announced it is doubling its protection for John Kerry. You can understand why - with two positions on every issue, he has twice as many people mad at him."
"We make jokes about it but the truth is this presidential election really offers us a choice of two well-informed opposing positions on every issue. OK, they both belong to John Kerry, but they're still there"
"President Bush listed his income as $822,000. You know what John Kerry calls someone who earns $822,000? Not even worth dating."
"Well the good news for Democrats, now over half the country can identify a picture of John Kerry. The bad news, the majority still thinks he's the dad from The Munsters."
"John Kerry accused President Bush of catering to the rich. You know, as opposed to John Kerry who just marries them."
"They say John Kerry is the first Democratic presidential candidate in history to raise $50 million in a three-month period. Actually, that's nothing. He once raised $500 million with two words: 'I do.'"
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Tonight Spoons brings my attention to the new advertisement being run by Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. Basically this ad takes the men . Of the 19 men in that photo with Kerry, 2 are deceased, 4 did not participate, 1 supports Kerry's candidacy, and 12 believe that he is "unfit for command". On June 1st, a letter was sent to the Kerry campaign asking them to cease and desist with using this image in advertising as it seemed to imply that these 12 swiftboat veterans supported his candidacy. We continued to hear about Kerry's Vietnam swiftboat mates during last week's convention brouhaha...but how many in that photo really support him now?
The ad is powerful. The images and stories behind it on the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth website are even moreso. Here's a small sampling:
"His biography, 'Tour of Duty,' by Douglas Brinkley, is replete with gross exaggerations, distortions of fact, contradictions and slanderous lies. His contempt for the military and authority is evident by even a most casual review of this biography. He arrived in-country with a strong anti-Vietnam War bias and a self-serving determination to build a foundation for his political future. He was aggressive, but vain and prone to impulsive judgment, often with disregard for specific tactical assignments. He was a 'loose cannon.' In an abbreviated tour of four months and 12 days, and with his specious medals secure, Lt.(jg) Kerry bugged out and began his infamous betrayal of all United States forces in the Vietnam War." -- Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman USN (retired)
"While in Cam Rahn Bay, he trained on several 24-hour indoctrination missions, and one special skimmer operation with my most senior and trusted Lieutenant. The briefing from some members of that crew the morning after revealed that they had not received any enemy fire, and yet Lt.(jg) Kerry informed me of a wound -- he showed me a scratch on his arm and a piece of shrapnel in his hand that appeared to be from one of our own M-79s. It was later reported to me that Lt.(jg) Kerry had fired an M-79, and it had exploded off the adjacent shoreline. I do not recall being advised of any medical treatment, and probably said something like 'Forget it.' He later received a Purple Heart for that scratch, and I have no information as to how or whom." -- Commander Grant Hibberd USN (retired)
"During Lt.(jg) Kerry's tour, he was under my command for two or three specific operations, before his rapid exit. Trust, loyalty and judgment are the key, operative words. His turncoat performance in 1971 in his grubby shirt and his medal-tossing escapade, coupled with his slanderous lines in the recent book portraying us that served, including all POWs and MIAs, as murderous war criminals, I believe, will have a lasting effect on all military veterans and their families.
Kerry would be described as devious, self-absorbing, manipulative, disdain for authority, disruptive, but the most common phrase that you'd hear is 'requires constant supervision.'" -- Captain Charles Plumly, USN (retired)
For those who believe that character matters, this is pretty damning stuff...especially since Kerry's four months of military service were presented as one of the primary reasons to vote for him at the DNC convention last week. It will be interesting to see how this ad plays out in the weeks up until the convention and if John O'Neill's book Unfit for Command gets the kind of coverage that Bill Clinton, Bob Woodward, and Richard Clarke's tomes did this spring. If not, you can help keep this ad on the air by donating at swiftvets.com. It's something to consider.
Meredith has already linked to the Onion and my big chuckle of the day. Fun for liberals and conservatives alike! Although I must admit that former probably sees this article as closer to truth than fiction, while the latter just enjoys the play on a good stereotype.
Is an Onion article about John Kerry working at the Waffle House far behind? Although I imagine they'd stop at Waffle House for the photo op then have 19 boxes of croissants from Au Bon Pain waiting on the bus. :)
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Banshee-Blog backdate blogs the DNC Convention from last week: Monday (Gore/Carter/Clintons), Tuesday (Kennedy/12 year old who does not read Kerry's f#$*ing interviews in Rolling Stone/Tereza), Wednesday (Doctah Jackson/Rangle/Sharpton/Edwards) and Thursday (Kerry's "Did you know I was in Vietnam?" spectacle) respectively. Love her quote about Kerry's allusion to Reagan at the end -- it bears repeating everytime Reagan's name is invoked throughout this election:
Kerry cited hard-core atheist Ron Jr.’s eulogy of the late President Reagan and said that like Reagan, Kerry does not “wear his faith on his sleeve.” It is certainly true that Reagan was not as outspoken in public about his Christian faith as President George W. Bush, but I would like to ask Mr. Kerry who he believes Mr. Reagan would have voted for in the upcoming election. I’ll give you a hint. It would not have been someone who believes in appeasing evil, bowing to France and the UN or murdering the unborn.
Speaking of which, I drove through Eureka this weekend. I haven't made it to visit Eureka College's Ronald Reagan Museum/Peace Garden since the Great Communicator's passing. Just driving through that sleepy little town though, I always feel that there's something special about it and the role it played in his character development, in the life of our nation. It's definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the neighborhood -- just off I-74 and about an hour south of I-80 in Central Illinois.
I almost posted this weekend about how excited my husband is about this Nomar trade, hoping it really helps the Cubs' chances for the Wild Card and the playoffs. Seen on a sign in Denver tonight -- "Nomar Curse". Here's to hoping.
I was going to blog this last week but if you are interested in American intelligence-gathering organizations and their role in the war on terror, The Grid miniseries is really engrossing, realistic television. It explores both the positive/negative effects of the conflict with Islamic fundamentalism and does a nice job of humanizing both the "good" and "bad" characters. I doubt that the Academy will ever recognize it since overall it disagrees with their world view and there are Reagan-bashing miniseries to reward, but make sure to tune in to TNT on Mondays at 8 pm for the next few weeks.
St. Louis papers have tracked down "Samir", the gentleman seen holding Sadaam Hussein on the ground during his capture last year. Pretty interesting story about how he came to work as an interpeter with the US military, his anger at being forced to leave his family 13 years ago, his conversation with Hussein in the foxhole, and his insistence on thanking President Bush for freeing the Iraqi's from Hussein and presenting him with his parents' "blessing beads" at a rally in St. Charles last month. (Hat tip to Liam at Hey Listen).
Not sure what I think about Alan Keyes potentially running for the Illinois Senate seat. Actually let me restate that...I think he will lose. However, I feel that running Alan Keyes would be the next best thing to letting Obama run unopposed. It would be making a point, it would bring attention to the Illinois Senate race, it might actually involve honest debate of very-conservative versus hyper-liberal ideas. If Keyes could do this without seeming too self righteous (Michael at the Chicago Report thinks Keyes's over-confidence would benefit Obama), it would at least be an interesting race to watch.
Speaking of Barack Obama, I will again repeat that he seems like a nice person who truly believes in what he's doing. I am still exceptionally happy to learn about the Obama Truth Squad, a new blog highlighting Obama's exceptionally liberal record in the Illinois Senate. This will not make a difference as Chicago is trending more socialist every day, but it's nice that someone's trying to make his true record an issue in this race.
Um yeah. I'm still alive. Still very much in recovery from my weekend. Let's just suffice it to say that staying out until 4 am does not agree with me anymore. On the other hand, the nightlife in Peoria was basically jumping this weekend. Concert on the riverfront (Jamm Sammich), block party downtown, lots of college boys telling us the old married woman of the group that she only looked 23 or 24 :) I can handle a few more years of bachelorette parties if that keeps happening.
So on one hand it was a good time. On another hand, I still have to work 40 hours this week and my body does not tolerate late nights as well at 26 as it used to back at 21 or so. As a result, I may refrain from posting my detailed John Kerry speech play-by-play.
At this point, others have summed it up the "no bounce" capstone address far better than I can at present. I will offer one additional comment though. All those surmising that Kerry suffered because he didn't bash Bush enough in his address -- I think you are wrong. Well-informed voters could still note plenty of Bush bashing in Kerry's address last Thursday. It was perfectly crafted to appeal to the radical Dem delegate base and yet the slamming was subtle enough that those who are less informed about current events and politics would not notice.
I'd like to surmise that most independent undecided voters that bother to watch convention speeches are pretty well informed. I find it quite plausible that they noted Kerry's subtle salutes to Michael Moore's fearmongering conspiracy theories and that they were turned off by his antics. In the end, this may not end up mattering. However, it will be interesting to see if Kerry keeps up the sly, subtle cheap shots as the campaign progresses.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
My thoughts? This was a speech full of cliches and focus-tested phrases. It was what the Democrats thought people wanted to hear. My biggest problem with this speech? Very little coming out of the mouths of "big Democrats" at this convention matched up with their voting records or their actions in the past.
It's one thing to promise to devote more time and money to the military than the GOP, but it's quite another when you've been working whole-heartedly to defeat their efforts to fund new bombers, strengthen the CIA, or to increase military funding for years. It one thing to say that you will never give any nation or organization control over our national interests, but it's quite another to say that when you have advocated doing exactly that for years.
It was a polished speech, but it was far from an inspiring speech. The delivery was just not compelling, and I did not feel he was sincere. There were some things in this speech that I was amazed a nominee would say about a sitting president, basically accusing him of lying to the people. There were some things that made me angry because Kerry's statements about them were so advertently misleading and biased, such as his WMD allusions. But what else should I be expecting?
My overall impression? It was far from inspiring. The last few minutes of the speech I found myself writing "Argh, is this over yet?" and musing about whether the sweat was going to run off his chin and hit the microphone. I would be far more concerned about his bounce if Kerry had given a speech like those of Barack Obama or Bill Clinton.
I have a written out a minute-by-minute blog entry that I will try to get up tomorrow. It's going to be a busy weekend in Illiniland. Cookie-baking, movie night, pre-wedding festivities for a friend. Tonight I had a farewell outing for a co-worker at work, and now I will owe my friend a case of beer if Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2008 and does not win. However, I told him that if necessary I would be campaigning for Barack Obama to be the Democratic nominee during primary season to keep that from happening. Of course, he replied that was good because he thinks Obama is going to be the first black president. Darn independents. Should be an interesting bet nonetheless.
BTW if you want more GOP blogging on the DNC, Vodkapundit, Resplendent Mango and The Corner are the places to be as far as I can tell. Back as soon as possible.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
No full convention play-by-play tonight as real life interferes. I did watch a few minutes of Barack Obama's convention speech. He comes off extremely well. I have no doubt he's sincere, as he seems extremely nice and quite respectful of opposing beliefs (such as those of the president). He's a very effective speaker, good at making his point and sounding inspirational. In short, it seems that he and I want a lot of the same things. People to be happy, have jobs, not go hungry, opportunity for all. We have significantly different ideas on how these goals should be achieved though, so there's about a snowball's chance in hell that I will vote for this man. Assuming there's even an alternative on the Illinois ballot that is...
Speaking of the former alternative on the Illinois ballot, the man that Jack Ryan hired to trail Barack Obama with a videocamera is profiled in the Weekly Standard today. The whole thing sounds much more benign than I had been led to believe last spring. Twenty-four year old Justin Warfel tells his side of the story.
I've found a new blog that I really enjoy. Resplendent Mango where Katie dishes up all sorts of goodies for the conservative political junkie. Kerry Bingo cards to use during his speech Thursday. Some compassion for Ben Affleck but little for the vitriol of Michael Moore and Howard Dean. Speculation as to why Ivory Tower dwellers lean liberal. Nice tribute to Mary Jo Kopechne on the evening Ted Kennedy is 'honored'. Great assessment of the Barack Obama speech --
"Obama (who the heck is that? he's doing well though...) is talking about how we aren't red states and blue states, Republicans and Democrats, etc, we are one United States of America. John Edwards must be backstage, swearing prettily. "
Speaking of good DNC convention blogging, Jay over at Accidental Verbosity is doing an excellent job of hitting the convention highlights. Check in there if you are interested.
A new rival strip for Doonesbury? If you are into political cartoons &/or get frustrated by Garry Trudeau's viewpoints, check out the strip Day by Day by Chris Muir.
Further details on Michael Moore's Bloomington Pantagraph headline fake are up over at MooreWatch. Someone actually dug up an image of that date's Editorial page, so you can view the blatant image-twisting for yourself.
Oompa Loompa Loompity Dee -- Steve H makes John Kerry's photo very funny
Over at one of the sites that compelled me to start blogging, Ben Domenech takes a break. Enjoy it Ben. You deserve it...especially considering all you are juggling at the ripe old age of 21 or so. Kudos.
For the moment, that's all folks. See you later.