Thursday, September 30, 2004

hello baby

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.
on the first debate

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 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

Taking it easy

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

just a reminder

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

random thoughts

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

Righteous Outrage

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.
Don't Blame the Twins?

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.

My sister is out in Los Angeles this weekend. It seems harmless enough, but this story about a weird security scare at LAX is enough to make me a bit anxious about her return trip.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Liberty's Century

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

Rudy G

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...