I stumbled across this article while doing a google search this morning. It is a really good read. Check it out. My favorite part:
Whatever the reason it remains a fact that the French government is acting like anything but an ally to the United States and we need to ask ourselves, should we continue to count the French among our staunch allies? Should we continue granting them any type of foreign aid, whether it be monetary or figuratively? Should we continue to grant them most favorite nation status when it comes to trade? Or should we grant the French what they seem to be wanting; their complete and unsupported independent existence in the world theater? They are a socialist government whose views seldom reflect ours. They are constantly berating the United States about our culture, our opinion, our might, and now they are berating us about our right to retaliate against a rogue regime that has verified connections to those who slaughtered our citizens on September 11th.
Perhaps it is time to cut France loose. They seem to have found a partner in Germany, a nation that invaded them twice. Perhaps we should leave them to their own devices. This way, in about a year, we will only have to negotiate with Germany to get France's cooperation, that is after Germany takes it over again. Just take a look it has already started!
I wish I could say that this (registration may be required) comes as a surprise, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
I voted in Wisconsin for the first time two weeks ago when I voted in the Primary. I had registered to vote previously. This is not difficult as all it requires is downloading a form, completing it, and dropping it in the mail. However, and this is my bigger issue, a voter registration drive in Wisconsin is really stupid.
Why, you ask? Simple, you can register in Wisconsin right before voting. No trouble. Just show up and they'll let you vote. So the voter registration drive doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. But, what do I know?
I have bigger problems with voting in Wisconsin. When I arrived at the polling place, they asked me my name. I told them. They wrote my name down and address and handed me a ballot. They didn't ask for ID, they didn't look me in the the registration books. They couldn't even know that I am me. I found this all greatly disturbing.
I've only ever voted in Illinois before this. In Illinois you have to register, but you can do this at the DMV or online, etc. They always ask for a picture ID, they always look you up in the book. Only after you have been confirmed do you get a ballot. Now, they aren't trying to disenfranchise voters, they are simply running a tight ship. And that makes sense to me.
I think some procedural changes need to be made. For heaven's sake...this is just STUPID!
As of today I have been at this wackiness for 1 month. I've really been enjoying it. I know I'm not in the big leagues, but this farm team is cozy and it gives me a forum to rant.
My reading public, all three of ya, should feel free to leave comment, hiss & boo or applaud as you see fit.
I'm particularly proud of the Political Poetry and you can expect more of that in the future. Furthermore, as you can see from the sidebar, I've added a poll and that will change to. I didn't post a whole lot yesterday, mostly due to time constraints, but on the rare occasion when this is true, check out the links in the sidebar. A lot of very smart people have interesting things to say there.
I have nothing to say. I'm sorry if you happen to be one of my 3 regular readers and came looking for something clever and witty. Kinda tired and achy. Maybe I'll post again later. In the meantime, take a gander at this. Bucky is one thing that makes me say, "See, I'm not that bad."
Hmm. First it was Florida being battered by not one, not two, not three, but four hurricanes. Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. Then...it was Mt. St. Helens shaking and quaking, and now an earthquake in Central California.
Now, California has 55 Electoral Votes and Florida has 27. Washington state has 11. Hmmm.
Not sure what this all means, but if I can put together a theory, I'll be sure to let you know.
Treat this as largely unsubstantiated until we get more confirmation, but the Jerusalem Post and several other Middle Eastern news outlets are reporting that:
"Top Bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahri has been caught in Pakistan, according to a report from the region quoted on Israel Radio Monday."
I sincerely hope it is true. Bear in mind that this is another instance of where we snagged a middle man and several others fall. They may not officially announce the truth of this until they have completely fished-out the hole.
THK: Oh, are we ordering? Do get some Dom. I've only got two more bottles over here.
Carville: Yes, yes, where are we on Project Fortunate Son?
Boy Wonder: Dude! Where is your head? We've agreed to call that Project Pop Princess. You've got to use the code words man, we could be bugged!
Danny Boy: Well, I'm in a heap of trouble. The affiliates are bailing! Can you imagine? Don't they know who I am? It is just more of the same from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy! They want me to retire! ME!
#1: I feel your pain. Really I do....How did that sound? Clintonesque enough?
Carville: Not bad...but not all that good either. Try to sound more like you mean it. Emote man!
Ben: Well, I have something to report. California is in the bag. Thanks to my considerable efforts at getting my friends in Hollywood to talk you up. Everybody loves an action star! Doesn't my hair look good today?
THK: While you are charming, and have great hair, you aren't exactly an action star. Furthermore, you don't marry well, or wouldn't have had it gone off. Could I get some Beluga with my Dom? Mikey! MIKEY! BRING THE FREAKIN' DOM!
Mikey: How can you drink Dom while the poor Iraqi children are wishing for a return of their courageous leader? Have you no soul?
THK: MB - Mikey is outre! Off with his head!
Mikey: But my film...
Mary Beth: Sorry, Mike. Should have kept your mouth shut. You'll have to leave. Al Franken will strip you of your credentials on your way out.
THK: DOM! Bring the DOM!
#1: Yes dear, it is coming. So how about this, I feeeel your pain.
Carville: Still too weak. Sounds affected. Try this instead, "I empathize with your suffering"
#1: I empathize with your suffering.
Carville: Nope. No good, and the winking doesn't help. Stop that!
Boy Wonder: Maybe we could work the Two Americas bit in again.
Ben: Man, watch me, I'm a professional...None of us should suffer anymore, I am with you!
THK: You're not a very good actor, are you? What have you done again?
Mary Beth: I feel we've gotten a bit off track here...
Danny Boy: [Interrupting] I'll say! Nobody here is concerned with the attacks on me! That internet rif-raff must be taken down!
THK: Where is the *bleep* DOM? Carville, Go get Franken to bring the DOM - or his ass will be the next, do you hear me? Have him bring a case! Make that two cases. Also, some pate and a bit of that cheese-whizzy stuff. Love it! Dom, man, get the DOM! [Shrieking]
#1: We shall suffer the absence of Dom no more! I am with you, and I will make it so!
If M. Kerry refers to "the middle class" one more time in that sniveling, holier-than-thou, I-married-money, condescending manner I can not be held accountable for my actions. I despise the man and his cheap stunts to appear human and like the rest of us are so ill-directed one must wonder if he's been taking lessons from Robin Leach.
"Suffer the little people, and all that rot. Good show, Chawlie, now do tell where you got those smashing knee breaches! And your cloisonne snuff box! Demmed if you aren't the fop about town. Oh, yes, why, I am running for President here in the colonies. They don't do kings, you know. So yes, less time for polo and cricket, but one must do what one must for the filthy masses."
I spent part of the weekend again working on accumulating points for my domestic diva certificate. I made pumpkin bread, crab wontons, and pork egg rolls.
All from scratch. The pumpkin bread is super yummy. The crab wontons were a hit while Prince Charming and I watched the Badgers, and the pork egg rolls are now residing in the freezer, waiting for the moment when I need a quick appetizer for unexpected guests.
Shortly after Allawi, the interim government's prime minister, gave a rosy portrayal of progress toward peace in Iraq, Kerry said the assessment contradicted Allawi's own statements as well as the reality on the ground.
"I think the prime minister is obviously contradicting his own statement of a few days ago, where he said the terrorists are pouring into the country," Kerry said. "The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story."
I don't mean to tell you how to run your campaign, but, maybe a little less "liar, liar, pants-on-fire" childish sneering would go a long way.
Last night on "The Apprentice", Stacie J was fired for being "crazy" and whether it was clinical or not, I'm not certain. But she seemed unstable to me too.
But I don't want to discuss that. Rather, I'd like to tell you about the crazy where I work. Actually, she doesn't work here anymore, but the story is funny in a creepy sort of way.
I work in a place that gets a lot of phone calls, constant ringing between certain hours of the day, where the goal is to get the people helped as fast as possible and move things along, because the market isn't open all day. Anyway, no matter who answers the phone, we answer it in the same way, changing only the part where we identify ourself. So I would say something like, "Apex International, this is Phoenix."
However, things got really busy for a while and we got in some temporary help. Let's call her Mary. Unfortunately, she would answer the phone, "Apex International, this is Phoenix...oh, no it's not!" Now, maybe you could excuse this once, but this became a regular occurrence. She never did it more than twice per day, but she did make this mistake frequently over her stay here. Now, I would think this person would know her own name. But this weirded me out.
Moreover, I later began to think I had a stalker because of some of the other things she said, like "My mom says I should name all of my children after you." So apparently she's discussed me with her mother, who is equally off-balance. I mean, naming ALL of your kids the same thing? How George Foreman of you...and very weird.
It was just weird. And I'm really glad that I don't have to wonder anymore, you know?
You know, for a woman who has been pampered in the lap of luxury for a considerable time, Ms. Heinz-Kerry lacks a certain...polish. I mean, Paris Hilton looks more put-together and says less stupidthings!
Which is saying something!
I didn't think it possible that I could despise a female political figure more than I do HRC, but it is and I do.
Nothing makes me happier than a new Steyn column. In the Spectator, Steyn writes:
Desperate for payback for his month of SwiftVet hell, the thin-skinned Kerry demanded that his campaign went on the attack about Bush’s fitful National Guard service back in the Vietnam era. Nobody cares. But Dan Rather and CBS did a big story on whether Bush failed to show up for a physical in the War of 1812, and the Kerry campaign promptly lost most of September because Dan’s case had been built on laughably fake memos supplied as part of a convoluted deal involving the network, a man of dubious mental stability and key Kerry campaign contacts including Joe Lockhart, the former Clinton press secretary who was brought on board to get Kerry out of last month’s mess, not land him in this month’s. In normal circumstances, you’d send the vice-presidential nominee out to serve as your attack dog and savage your detractors. But because Kerry is aloof and cold, he chose a running mate to supply all the warmth and charm and feel-good fluffiness he himself lacks. Whatever John Edwards’s strengths, he’s no attack dog. While Dick Cheney went around the country snarling devastating cracks about Senator Flip-Flop, Edwards was reduced to pleading for Bush to call off the SwiftVet ads. He looked as though he was about to burst into tears. There is an attack dog on the Kerry team. Unfortunately, it’s his wife, and folks don’t like that in a prospective First Lady. Teresa Heinz Kerry dismisses her husband’s critics as ‘idiots’ and ‘scumbags’, and Kerry’s new advisers seem eager to limit her visibility. I’ve lost count of the number of Democrat women who’ve said to me that they can’t stand her. So that was the state of play in mid-September: a candidate in hiding, a lightweight running-mate way out of his league, and a motor-mouth wife duct-taped and tossed into the cellar. Emphasis mine. I could read that all day long. Read the whole thing.
So, a while back I wrote this software called Cowboy PC (TM). It is a way for cattlemen and ranchers to comply with COOL - Country of Origin Labeling - while also giving them some good metrics to use in making management decisions.
If anybody is looking for something to easily capture and maintain this sort of data on cattle, leave me a comment and I'll see if I can't help. Besides...it is much cheaper and easier to use than that complicated crap the universities put out.
Hello sir. Yes, I believe you to be male. No other horndog would so eagerly make the comment in #2 that you did when I specifically did not mention any part of my sister's anatomy.
That being said, I concede the first point you made, while politely pointing out two additional points:
a. I'm not in the market to know the specifics, but contend that the CIA could probably arrange a special flight if the need arose.
b. I think your comments have made your identity exceedingly clear, and so I must ask, since you have clearly NOT denied the theory...tell me, are you double-o rated? I am trying to preserve my anonymity here...but you appear to be outing yourself. Perhaps you need a refresher course. This is not very good spy behavior.
Next, your third issue, the legal status of Bermuda only falls back to defend my primary position. If the association is so loose, then it is still easier to fly in and out than O'hare. Thank you for the assistance in making my point.
Fie on you man! Short people have feelings too. 6 foot is tall by most standards, though perhaps not amongst CIA operatives.
Lastly though, I must say I found your comments both entertaining and enlightening and invite you back any time. But now that I have your attention, I have a few questions to ask:
1. When would be a good time for me to visit?
2. What is your favorite weapon?
3. What is the most surprising lesson you learned in Spook training?
4. I'm right aren't I? You are spies.
5. #14 - Is this your code name - like in James Bond how they had "M" and "Q"?
It was so pleasant to chat with you. I enjoyed it emmensely. Have a fabulous day!
So, Fox News said last night that Memogate has not been Ms. Mapes first little ethical flub.
It seems she has gotten into trouble before with a Colorado Prison Warden. As the story goes, she promised to smuggle out secret communiques from one prisoner and get them delivered to another prisoner in another prison without going through normal prison channels. Turns out this is illegal. What's more, the warden of the Colorado Prison has her on tape as having agreed to this. See letter here and here. By the way, these documents look much more real than those obvious forgeries.
In a Nov. 20, 2001, letter to Mapes and her boss, Jeff Fager, J.E. Gunja, warden at the federal penitentiary at Florence, Colo., complained: "Recently, an investigation determined that the above named inmate requested your assistance in circumventing Federal Bureau of Prisons mail procedures."
"Phone monitoring reveals that you agreed to this request. ... By agreeing to assist this inmate in circumventing federal regulations governing correspondence between confined inmates, you attempted to violate those federal regulations. ... Your attempted misuse of the special mail privileges placed members of the public at risk." (But she's a member of the press, she can't let this bother her!)
Warden Gunja then revoked Mapes' correspondence, telephone and interview privileges with the high-security inmate. Thank goodness.
Scooby-doo would say, "RA-roh!"
Can you identify the scapegoat in the lineup? Anyone? Anyone?
I want to avoid the issue of Politics today, if I can. However, it is a compulsion and it may get the better of me. We'll see. Instead, I want to delve into what I have long observed in the people I have met.
The vast majority of people I talk to seem completely uninformed about current events. They simply do not have an opinion on anything. They react emotionally when cornered, but beyond that can't muster the energy to even investigate anything on their own. Whatever happened to doing a bit of reading and coming to your own conclusions? Use your brains, for heaven's sake.
It was being fed-up with this rampant phenomenon that pushed me into the blogosphere. I was desperate for well-thought out arguments and healthy debate. I enjoy the academic exercise and I genuinely care what other people think. I believe it is every citizen's civic duty to be well-informed and have an opinion.
Now, I'm not saying you have to read the newspaper front to back everyday. Most of the time this news is old before it hits the newsstands these days. But I don't even know many people that read any magazines other than People and US. And it sickens me. I don't think of myself as incredibly well-informed, but based on the other people I know...I'm scary. You'd think I was a news junkie by comparison. These people don't even watch network or cable news. It's like they are in walking comas.
For example: Do you have any idea how many people I've told about Memogate who had no idea that anything of the like had happened? Incredible.
Wake up people! Wake up! (All 3 of my readers would be excluded from this group, of course.)
So the question remains. Do they just not care...or are they ignorant?
Dan Rathers' credibility is shot
Memogate looks more and more like a plot
The documents are "accurate", he contends
Everyday his staff struggles and defends
Would it be too generous to say he's got a blind spot?
It seems Texan Bill Burkett was the source
With an axe to grind and lacking any remorse
In a cloak and dagger style
Lucy Ramirez delivered the file
Bill burned the originals, of course.
Mary Mapes is between a rock and a hard place
She may be the rat sacrificed to save face
With considerable lack of ethics or art
She arranged for Burkett to speak with Lockhart
A Kerry campaign advisor --what a disgrace!
Journalistic ethics be damned
CBS news ratings getting slammed
But what do you expect?
A few facts, they could have checked!
Anybody else getting scammed?
Where the story will end, no one knows
I'm really much better at prose
News agencies and campaigns colluding
Who do they think they're deluding?
With every passing day there is more to expose.
For quite a while now I have had this theory that my 27-year-old sister is CIA. I will lay out my argument and let you be the judge.
First of all, my sister is hot. Or, as Prince Charming's friends say "Hh -aw-aw-aw-AWT!" She's got this adorable and deadly figure - all the other girls have plenty of reason to hate her - and she's smart to boot. Prince Charming's friends all turn into blibbering idiots when she's around and would likely give up box tickets to the SuperBowl to spend 10 minutes with her.
I personally know that she is really good with a rifle, and more than competent with a handgun. She has also taken some defensive martial arts courses, though not lately as far as I know. She knows all of these weird things too, things you would not get from normal information sources. I don't even think she knows she astounds me when she drops them into the conversation. She works as an actuary. Yeah. An "actuary". I think this is the perfect cover. Most people don't even know what an actuary is, let alone what they do. Nobody wants to show their ignorance, so they don't delve too deeply when they find out she's an "actuary". Moreover, how many actuaries are that hot? I can count them on one finger, folks.
But that's not all. For the longest time, her "boyfriend" (read partner) lived in Ireland (read Europe - easy jumping off ground for flying to all corners of the Earth). (You know, come to think of it, I don't really have any proof that he lived there. That could have been just a convenient excuse for all of that travel.) This meant that she would fly to Paris for the weekend, Spain for New Year's, Dublin for the week with a stopover in London, etc. Now, nobody else that I know lives like this. Not even Paris Hilton does this much jetting. Even more compelling, was how she financed these little trips. She signed on as a "courier." Yeah, right. Like that isn't straight out of the CIA handbook. Spook 101, first day of class, subject: "Couriers".
A couple of months ago, she and her "boyfriend" both moved to Bermuda (little island off the East coast of the US that is an entirely different country). Because Bermuda belongs to the UK, there are daily flights to London - naturally if you are a super-spy you need to have easy access to the rest of the world via a major European airport. How else are you going to get to Pakistan? Too many questions come up if you travel out of O'hare, ya know?
Even more suspicious are the little things she brings back to me from her trips (read proof to give her cover story credence). Like, from the Big Easy she brings me a box of beignet mix from Cafe du Monde (which you can buy in Chicagoland grocery stores) . From other places I've received refrigerator magnets.
Interestingly enough are the little stories she brings back from her "travels" (read missions). Like the time she was "mugged" and got a few scrapes. She came back all stories about the tour she had been on and only told me about the incident after I asked "what happened to your leg?" I mean, if I had been mugged it would have been the first words out of my lips. Not her. And I find that very suspicious. (I'm raising my eyebrow here.) What really happened, I wonder? Was she chasing down a terror cell in New Orleans, looking into terror financing...what?
I suspect she is CIA for another reason as well. My sister and I have olive skin, dark hair, and dark brown eyes. Her eyes are more almond-shaped than mine and her hair is long and straight while mine is horribly shirley temple-esque. Me? I could pass for Italian, maybe. Her? She could be Israeli, Arab, Italian, Greek, etc. She could be anybody. More than that, she is short and petite and could easily pass for a young girl if the clothes were bulky and not fitted. She is extremely fit and runs in all of these charity 5K and 10K deals. Running...hmm, could she be trying to maintain her skills, sharpening the saw for when she'll need them? Me thinks so. (raising eyebrow again). Let's put it this way: she could be more people than Valerie Plame could, judging from those photos in Vanity Fair. And I'm pretty sure I could count on her to find a better disguise than a pair of sunglasses and a scarf!
Her boyfriend is equally suspicious. He too is an "actuary". Mm-hmm. He's really tall and shaves his head. So, he could look really old if he needed to go undercover. He seems athletic too. He knows people all over the world...they have all of these friends and go to a lot of "weddings." Nobody is going to ask a lot of questions about a wedding for people they don't know - yet another way to shut down questions and maintain your cover.
Her schedule is suspicious too. Tell me, who knew Christmas was the busiest time of the year in the insurance business? Certainly not me. And who, with a jet-setting life like that I've described comes back to the Chicago suburbs for their 10-year High School Reunion? Come on. I didn't even drive 6 hours to go back to mine from Southern Illinois (an area that doesn't have much to recommend it). She can come back for Thanksgiving, and certain odd weekends, but it is all very irregular. And, she's always "studying," an activity that could surely mask any number of spy activities.
Interestingly enough, all of her activity seemed to ramp up in the last 3 years (read since 9/11/01). Before that, she was less of a traveler. I secretly wonder if at this time she was still in training. I don't know anything for sure, but I have my suspicions. I'm a big fan of Alias, so I recognize the activities of my sister as things Jennifer Garner's character "Sidney Bristow" might do.
I have shared my theory with her, but she laughs it off. Something I would expect a spy to do. She says, "Well, I can't really confirm or deny it and convince you, can I?" Nope. Not after that cryptic statement!
Do you need more evidence? When I lived in Southern Illinois, she rarely came to visit me. It's too far, she would say. So I would go to her when it fit into her schedule. Then I moved to Wisconsin - in part to see more of her - and she still was too busy to come see me very much. Uh huh. Suuuure. Now she lives in Bermuda and phone calls are a)extremely expensive and b)few and far between. As far as I know, she could be calling me from the Gaza Strip, Damascus, or even Fallujah. We talk mostly be email and as everyone knows, I can't really tell where she's sitting from that!
I'm kind of worried though. If the CIA can't fool me, who are they fooling? So what do you think? Is my sister a spook?
Today is the first day of Fall. Of course, here in Wisconsin it is more like the Second Coming of Fall, as Summer was decidedly cool and fall-like. So, today marks a calendar change not any real change. As a matter of fact, September has already had more warm days than August did.
I love Fall. Crisp air, falling leaves, football. No more sticking to car seats, no more bees and wasps.
Yesterday was my little sister's birthday. She is 17-years-old now. When I think of her she is still four-year-old, but that is a mental trick my mind plays on me to convince me I'm not 30. Who's kidding who?
Ladies and Gentleman, I smell blood in the water. Read this.
Kerry apparently told Regis & Kelly that the hold-up in getting the debates scheduled was, "The big hang-up was George Bush wanted to get life lines, you know, so he could call somebody."
Clearly it was a joke, too bad it wasn't funny. It is yet another example of how disconnected M. Kerry is with the average American, popular culture, our concerns, et al. Anybody who has never been to a Wendy's, looks incredibly uncomfortable ordering a "chili and a frosty" and still thinks "Millionaire" is current,...well, he's toast!
It would have been funnier if he had said something like:
"He wanted to negotiate how many roses would be presented in the rose ceremony after each topic of debate"
"He wanted to negotiate who would be on the jury that decided who was kicked off the island"
"He wanted to negotiate a "yield" like in the Amazing Race, effectively cutting the other person's answering time"
Those are all funnier, more current, and I came up with them in 3 minutes flat. Imagine what I could have done with more time!
Do you know how disconnected he is from the voter? He might as well be on Pluto. He's carrying a bag phone while the rest of us chat on our LG's. I wouldn't be surprised if the man didn't own a cell phone.
Here's another example of disconnected:
Here in Wisconsin, Rep. Tammy Baldwin is running for reelection. Her current ad on TV harkens back to the grand plan of...Harry S. Truman. She mentions is grand aim for universal healthcare and him by name specifically.
Yeah. Pick the guy who dropped the bomb twice, got us into the UN and NATO, expanded social security, and only fought a "limited" war in South Korea as a way to get my vote.
I'll be voting for the other guy for all of these reasons and...Ms. Baldwin was a proponent of renewing the so-called Assault Weapons Ban.
According to this news report, next to nobody watched the Emmy's telecast. I don't know why everybody was so surprised. I mean, come on. I know why I didn't tune in. First, I don't like Gary Shandling. I don't find him remotely humorous. Second, and far more importantly, I had no desire to see a bunch of millionaires lick the undesirable areas of Michael Moore's jabba-esque anatomy, nor to see them tell all of little people how we should vote, nor hear about the evil War for Oil, Prison-abuse scandal, WMD, Bush lied, Bush=Hitler, etc. Absolutely no desire to put myself through that. Which is not to say they aren't entitled to their opinion, because they are. But I won't be held hostage and forced to listen to that crap in an effort to be reprogrammed.
What the hell do those millionaires and billionaires know about my life and the lives of the people I know? Bubkiss. So, I chose not to subject myself to the torture. Me thinks I was not alone in that.
It seems CBS is finallyready to admit that the documents are probably fake.
It took them forever, but next week they are expected to break the story that not only is the earth round instead of the widely held "flat theory", but also, that the earth revolves around the sun instead of vice-versa.
Prince Charming and I finally went on the much-anticipated and oft-canceled balloon ride this weekend. It rocked!
We were in the biggest balloon east of the Mississippi River, Florida to Canada. There were 13 of us in the balloon, 12 passengers and 1 pilot. AND IT ROCKED!
Both the Prince and I were a bit...skeptical/queasy at first, but we forged ahead. I am glad that we did. Our pilot's name was "Don" and he totally made the experience wonderful. We left a municipal airport sometime around 6:00 p.m. and floated over field, interstate, housing developments, shopping centers, wood, and farms.
It was exhilarating. It was amazing. It was both exciting and peaceful, thrilling and serene. The view was spectacular and the sensation of floating above the earth was surreal. Taking off was amazing because we rose so high so fast and the airport began to disappear. The view was breathtaking. I snapped lots of pics and ran out of film way too early.
Of course, hot-air balloons are regulated by the FAA, so they have to comply with those sorts of things. And, since we were flying around Dane County Airport aka Madison International, this added another layer of excitement. The pilot had a radio in the basket so that he could communicate with the tower if necessary. At one point in our flight, I heard the following come over the radio, "Attention United Flight Four-Three-Niner, (flt# fictionalized), be advised there is a hot air balloon somewhere in your flight pattern. We don't know exactly where."
How cool is that? Except of course, if it comes to a game of chicken, we are definately not going to win.
Landing was super-cool. The pilot said, "Sometimes you come in like a cream puff, other times it is more exciting." I guess our landing was of the exciting variety. The pilot had us all turn away from the direction of travel, bend our knees, and hold onto the straps in a under-handed fashion. The basket touched down with a jolt, then took off again, though with the basket tilted back (our backs toward ground, eyes toward sky). Aloft again, but just barely, we traveled another 15-20 feet before we jolted again, this time we tilted more toward earth, getting closer to horizontal. Once more aloft, we traveled another 20-25 feet before sliding into home plate, basket on its side, and all of us looking up to the sky, backs to the ground, though still very much in the basket. Then we had to wait in this position until it was safe to get out of the basket (we had lost enough buoyancy to de-basket).
Then we packed everything up and headed back to the balloonport for champagne and nibbles. Great fun!
I would totally do it again. I highly recommend it! It may take you a number of tries to get out there, but it is totally worth it. Prince and I have been scheduling and getting canceled for two years. But, if the weather isn't fit, they don't fly.
Even so, this is a sport not just for the aristocracy anymore.
I believe you should shout to the corners what you believe in. This country was founded by men who held their beliefs passionately. HOWEVER, I think we can all agree that when you come to making little girls cry, you have lost the last shred of credibility you had. Violence against children? Is this what these thugs were trying to teach? From the reports, the little girl's family was peaceably assembled and exercising their right to dissent. For this, they are accosted, their belongings destroyed, and they made a little girl cry. Thugs! Thugs! Despicable, Pathetic, Revolting, Vile, Contemptible, Hateful, Loathsome, Foul Thugs! You cads, you beasts!
You, sirs, are not gentlemen. This is America...we are allowed to dissent. And yes, this means even the people who have views different than yours. Get over yourselves and stop making little girls cry. Playground behavior is better.
Okay. Shameless plug time. My stepmother is an author. She has written this book called The Proving Zone: Tory's Story. It is fantastic and offers something for every reader. Adventure, survival, romance.
Everyone who reads it loves it. You will too. She is currently working on the sequel. I highly recommend this book and eagerly await the arrival of the next.
And I emphasize the word news. Drudge is reporting that Dan Rather's ratings have been plummeting in major markets. Hmm. What's that all about? I quote:
"CBS executives on both coasts have become concerned in recent days that Dan Rather's EVENING NEWS broadcast has plunged in the ratings since the anchor presented questionable documents about Bush's National Guard service. NIELSEN numbers released this week show Rather fading and trailing his rivals in every Top 10 city, other than San Francisco, with audience margins in some cities running more than 6 to 1 against CBS! Executives fear many voters inclined to vote for Bush are now switching off Rather...And in the nation's top market, New York, Rather finished not only behind NBC NIGHTLY NEWS and ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT -- but also pulled less audience than reruns of the SIMPSONS, WILL & GRACE and KING OF QUEENS."
I guess Economics 101 does work in the real world. If we no likee you product, we no buy.
Phoenix: Excuse me, Mr. Kerry. Do you have time for a few questions?
Kerry: Who are you?
Phoenix: Err. Just a voter.
Kerry: What is it then?
Phoenix: I just wanted to ask you about your views. The media coverage has been a bit confusing, and I want to have the truth before I mark my ballot.
Kerry: Go on then.
Phoenix: Well, first let's talk about my right to protect myself. Sir, you have been adamant in your castigation of the President for letting the Assault Weapons Ban die under the sunset provision. First, isn't it Congress that had the ability to do something about this? Second, since the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban did nothing to eliminate crime, isn't it hypocritical to attack the President about this? Do we really need to renew legislation that is ineffective? Didn't you vote against the Civilian Marksmanship Program that promoted gun safety and training? Wouldn't this do more to prevent gun accidents? Didn't you vote to criminalize legal gun sales between private individuals at gun shows? Didn't you also vote to ban center-fire ammo? You call yourself a gun owner, a hunter, and a friend of the Second Amendment, but Sir, that seems a lie given your voting record.
Kerry: I am a hunter. I support the Second Amendment.
Phoenix: ??? Sir? That makes no sense. The NRA has a very poor opinion of your voting record and the Gun Control advocates love you. If you really supported the Second Amendment you would want to set the record clear.
Kerry: I have done so. Next question?
Phoenix: ??? I'm not sure you've answered the first to my satisfaction. I am not a hunter sir, but
Kerry: [Interrupting] Then what do you care?
Phoenix: Well, sir, there is the small matter of my being able to defend myself from rapists, home invaders, etc. I am greatly concerned with protecting my life and liberty.
Well. In a pretty obvious political photo op, Madame Heinz-Kerry visited Brooklyn's Caribbean community. Apparently, she said, "Clothing is wonderful, but let them go naked for a while, at least the kids. Water is necessary, and then generators, and then food, and then clothes."
I think she is channeling Marie Antoinette because this sounds a lot like "Let them eat cake."
I was always taught that humans need three things for survival: food, clothing, and shelter.
These people live where the sun shines a whole lot. They need clothes. Electricity before clothing? It wouldn't be my first choice. Perhaps she should go naked for a while. That too would provide a photo op.
Damn, I got catty again. Will try to do better in future.
I know that I have written about it before here, but what the Emperor says is true. Unfortunately, guns are a very emotional topic for a lot of people. They seem to see death and destruction, bleeding and gore when they see a firearm. And yet, these people seem to love these images. Why else would they spend so much money to see people die in horribly spectacular ways at the cinema and watch it on tv? I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with this either. I just like to point out that the behavior that is idolized in these entertainments is far, far, far worse than the gun-associated behavior of the vast majority of gun owners.
I don't really understand it. I grew up around guns. I own a couple, as does my husband. As a matter of fact, when my father first met Prince Charming as my fiance, it wasn't two hours later that he gave Prince Charming a rifle. Why? My daddy, for all of his teachings about women can do anything men can do, blah, blah, blah, was very concerned with my safety. And apparently providing the umbrella of safety is a man's job. Whatever. The point is, that's just the way I've always known life. While it is true that a high level of responsibility goes hand-in-hand with gun ownership, the very same can and should be said of cars, knives, and a hundred other things.
But lordy, can people get ugly on this issue. When people find out that you are a member of the NRA or actually own a gun, they can get scary. Really scary. I've had people look at me like I might go postal any minute. Like I'm a wack-job bent on world domination. In reality, I'm more concerned with finding a decent pair of jeans that fit, but there you go. Until you have been indoctrinated into responsible gun safety and ownership, you might think that anyone who owns a gun is a soon-to-be-murderer. When in actuality, it is highly unlikely.
This prejudice against guns and gun owners, and make no mistake, prejudice is what it is, will only cease with education. It is the same with all prejudices.
I'm in a horrid mood. I'm in a funk, in a rut. A funk rut, really.
I'm blue with a dash of the mean reds. So please forgive me if my eloquence is a bit off today. Last night was lousy bad bad bad. Today is merely rotten bad bad. Perhaps things are looking up? Not bloody likely.
I am usually a very pleasant and happy person. However, for the past couple of weeks things have been sliding into the abyss. The bad stuff has gotten worse and the good stuff has been sagging and limping. I just need a good cry, I think. I'm frustrated and have taken just about all the abuse to my self-worth that I can take. I am a polite and unfeeling shell of my former self. I'm like the grand canyon. One day of river running through = no big deal. Prolonged eons of river running through have resulted in gargantuan erosion and the cutting of my self esteem. I am a vague shadow of my former self. No fire, no will, no breath.
Depressing. To make matters worse, I have been reading The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger and it strikes all too close to home. Why does "Ahn-dre-ah" put up with it? Good question, but turn the finger around and its pointing at me. Another good question. I had to tell Prince Charming last night, "I'm not sadistic, you know. I don't enjoy the abuse."
For those of you playing at home, the abuse is not at the hands of my exceedingly wonderful Prince Charming.
I'm really nervous about flying this weekend. No amount of champagne could make me relax enough to realize I'm floating over an interstate, with nothing but hot air holding me up. Maybe I should cancel?
You know, I started blogging because I needed a place to rant, a place to vanquish the villains and petty warlords who rule my little world.
But today I feel supremely outclassed. There are so many smarter people out there, doing what I'm trying to do, only they've been at it a lot longer. And today, I don't think I really measure up. Moreover, I have nothing intelligent to say. I didn't watch the news all weekend, so I don't really have any comment to add to the growing debate over memo-forgery-gate either.
So, today is to be devoted entirely to fun.
First, my own little meme:
1. Name 3 personal hygiene items you would not want to be on a desert aisle without. moisturizer, mousse, and midol 2. Name your biggest character flaw. too opinionated 3. Name your worst addiction. toss up between caffeine and chocolate 4. Name one person in history you'd like to have been an intimate friend of. Winston Churchill 5. What do you want your headstone to say? She Really lived. It is highly unlikely that it will say this, however, as I am a big fraidy cat. 6. What person of your acquaintance would you like to be more like? My sister 7. What song is your theme song, the one that would play at the intro if your life was a sitcom or drama? It would either be "Manhunt" from the Flashdance soundtrack (which would go really well with the title, or Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics. 8. If your life were a sitcom or drama, would it be a sitcom or drama, and who would play the two main leads? It would be a 1-hour dramedy like Ally McBeal, though slightly less insane. Jennifer Aniston would play me and John Cusack would play Prince Charming. And no, I don't think I look like Jennifer Aniston...I just think she could play both sides of the comedy and drama, with jokes and frustration. 9. What would the sitcom or drama be called? Welcome to the Jungle 10. If you could change one thing about your physical appearance without plastic surgery, what would it be? My thighs
This morning in the shower it finally came to me what my big problem is with Monsieur Kerry. I don't mean to blather on about this incessantly, nor shall I delve into the memo-forgery-gate situation. Far better people than I have that one covered.
Where I really take issue with Monsieur Kerry is with his inability to commit. Now, I've gotten to the age of 30 and I know that this is not uncommon for men. (I'm not bashing men, it is just my experience that they want to leave themselves plenty of wiggle room.) I am pretty well informed, following this election daily, and still can't figure out where M. Kerry stands on a damn thing.
For example, let's examine the current situation in Iraq. He voted to authorize force, but not to fund the troops. He vows to bring the troops home as soon as possible, but also thinks we should commit more troops. He can't commit! Is he the anti-war candidate? He has said it is the wrong war at the wrong time, blah, blah, blah. Or, does he have some secret plan to fight the war, as he has suggested? Is the secret plan sitting in a sealed envelope in his briefcase next to his lucky hat from Cambodia/not from Cambodia?
For the life of me, I can't figure it out. This isn't nuance. Nuance is eating coconut but only with chocolate. Nuance is liking France but hating Paris. Nuance is not lies.
"I smoked weed but I didn't inhale" is not nuance, it is political double-speak. "Ah did not have sex with that woman" is not nuance, it's a lie. No woman I've ever met would claim that Mr. Clinton's activities with Monica were not sexual activity. Not nuance. LIES.
You can't be both for and against a war, for and against funding that self-same war, want to both increase and decrease troop deployment for said war...shall I go on?
He can't commit. He is the equivalent of my high school boyfriend who wanted me as his trophy girlfriend that he took to our school parties and functions and the ho from that other school who pleased him in other ways. He wants to see other people, but I should be faithful only to him.
It isn't nuance. It is a failure to commit. It is lies. It is selfishness.
None of which are acceptable characteristics in a man who wants to be My President.
This is the funniest and scariest thing I've read in a while. Free Market Fairy Tales is a daily read for me. The gentleman across the pond who writes it reminds me of a mixture my Dad and Major Nathaniel Peabody, USA Ret. from "The Major" stories written by Galen Winter in (I believe) the Shooting Sportsman. Great stories. Laugh-your-ass-off Funny!
Harry Potter is not the center of my universe, but Robert over at the Llama Butchers made kind mention of me and it made me realize that this is something that needs explaining. (By the way, thank you Robert for the mention. I'm still very new to this little addiction.)
Harry Potter is the equivalent of comfort food for my brain. The stories are rich and complex. The characters spring to life and sweat. There is torment and anguish, survival and triumph, hate, bigotry, and love. Not to mention being a real hoot to read in light of today's politics.
I came late to the Harry Potter bandwagon. I was 28-years-old and could not imagine what a children's book could offer me. But, my two younger sisters insisted I read the first book after dragging me to see the first movie. Big sisters sometimes indulge the little sisters. The movie was good, but the book was much better. The first novel wasn't as well written as those that have followed, but every one of them is another corner of a rich tapestry. When I finished the first novel, I went out and bought every book in hardback. Since then, I've read them each about 40 times. And I'm still reading.
I comfort my brain with this. And I love it. My Prince Charming doesn't really understand this compulsion...but his buddy does. (We are secret potterhead friends.) These books are not just for adults, no matter what you may have heard.
My life has changed dramatically since September 11, 2001. Seeing as how the anniversary of that horrible day is just around the corner, I feel some reflection is in order.
I was preparing to go into a production meeting with a client when my stepmother called. “Turn on the TV” my stepmother said with some urgency. But we didn’t have a TV at the plant. So I logged on to MSNBC.com instead. Holy Guano! How the heck does a jet liner run into a building? She relayed to me in real-time what Fox News had to say. It was a horrible thing, to be sure, but I didn’t think terrorism until a few minutes later when she gasped. Then I got to watch on the internet as the second tower was hit. Then I watched the towers fall, heard rumors of a car bomb at the State Department, the attack on the Pentagon. It was so surreal. This can’t be true. I’m a child of Reagan. I’ve known threat, but not war. Was I naïve? In retrospect…very much so. I will never forget that day. I know what I was wearing. I remember what I had for breakfast. I remember it all. I remember that our meeting was canceled so that our clients could go home to their families. I remember driving home that day, turning on the television, and staying glued to the tube all night. I remember crying a lot, for the tragedy, for the victims and their families, and for what it meant. We are at war. And now I hate. I hate the bastards that did this. (How's that for unvarnished un-PC honesty?) I can still see the towers burning, the debris, and the fall.
I didn’t go spend $8.00/gallon for gasoline. I didn’t go buy 6 gallons of milk. But I definitely started paying more attention to my surroundings and the news. I was more aware of everything all of a sudden. Noises, smells, feelings and thoughts. I was on ultra-alert. I stayed that way for about 9 months before I relaxed to my current state of moderate-alert. I’m still addicted to the news, but now I watch cable news instead of those hacks at the local news and those compulsive liars/spinners at the major networks.
Before 9/11/01, I was single and living in Southern Illinois. I had a great job that I loved and I was well-paid for my efforts. Now? Now I am married and living in Wisconsin and not so happily employed or paid. But, I’m a lot less lonely. Now I know somebody would care if I was gone. Somebody would miss me. That’s comforting. I regret leaving my old job, but not getting married. Married is good.
I guess I just want to be living my life. And I don’t want anything like September 11th to ever happen again. But it is incumbent upon this generation, my generation, to make certain that it doesn’t. It’s our job. We CAN do it. And we will. It will take blood, sweat, and tears, but we are equal to the task.
In response to the re-re-re-recycled news stories regarding whether or not Bush was AWOL or not, why he got to go into the Air National Guard, blah, blah, blah, I would like to make a confession.
[Lengthy Dramatic Pause to build tension]
[Deep Sigh] I regret to inform my fellow Americans that I did not serve in Viet Nam. In the years from 1969-1972 I was conspicuously absent from service to this great country. I am ashamed that I evaded the draft in these years. Of more concern is my continued absence in 1973. It was this year that I spent in an even more selfish endeavor…mitosis and self-development. Unfortunately, these endeavors and my inherent laziness meant that I completely missed serving my country. It was not until December 1973 that I became freed from these entanglements. I suppose that this means I too was AWOL. I too evaded the draft. Oh, to have been born earlier. Did I hesitate in the birth canal out of cowardice? Perhaps I did. I do not recall. So now, I am unfit to be President (even though I am still 5-years too young) because I did not serve in Viet Nam. I can’t even say that I was/was not in Cambodia at Christmas/not at Christmas. Oh the shame.
(This sarcastic moment has been brought to you by my continuing disgruntlement over the media’s preoccupation with events over 30 years ago and by the letters Q and X and the number 8. This diatribe is in no way a rebuke of those heroes who have served our country, whether abroad or in the guard, for I have nothing but deepest respect and admiration for their courage, will, and sacrifices.)
You may return to your normal activities now. Thank you.
In what appears to be an act of desperation the Kerry Kamp is running their anti-Bush campaign with yet another rehashing of the Bush was AWOL thing and surprise surprise, Dan Rather is eating it up. I despise that man. Oh, and as an extra bonus, they are relying on Kitty Kelley's new Bush bashing book to provide extra mudd for the slinging.
Whatever happened to opening a higher level of debate?
Pathetic. Makes me want to throw something. (Mostly at Kerry. But also at Dan Rather.)
First, I just have to say, I love the Llama Butchers. Where else can one go for their daily dose of "How Harry Potter relates to Real Life"? Love it, man.
Cornelius Fudge, for those of you six out there who still haven't read Harry Potter 1-5, is the weasely Minister of Magic. He so desperately wishes for the Dark Lord not to have returned to power that he goes on a year-long anti-Harry Potter campaign. He apparently has some editorial power at the magical newspaper "The Daily Prophet" and has them making Harry the butt of jokes and running articles suggesting Harry is deranged and seeking attention. Fudge does all of this as some sort of desperate wishful thinking. He doesn't want the horror to begin anew...so it can't possibly be true.
But more importantly, nobody ever got anywhere by wishing. What's that old saying? Wish with one hand and shit in the other...and see which hand fills up faster? Crude, but apt.
Moreover, it is not necessarily wise to do something because it is popular. I could go on all day about this, but suffice it to say that if this were true, either Michael Jackson or Britney Spears would be emperor of the world. Not all answers are found at the bottom of a tube of lip gloss. The United States should act as the American Citizens see fit and in its best interests, not what the rest of the world thinks we ought to do.
Furthermore, the poll is flat out stupid. Non-citizens can't vote in an American election, making their opinions...incredibly moot. (Or "moo" as Joey would say...like a cow's opinion...Moo.) Who gives a damn what they think? Certainly not me!
It must have been an incredibly slow news day. Either that or, this is the only good press the Kerry Kamp can come up with.
On Monday, September 13, the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban expires. For information regarding this travesty of legislation, you can visit this site.
I haven't even been at this blogging thing for a month yet, but I can assure you regular readers that few things are more important to me than protecting my Second Amendment Rights. Guns don't kill people just by being...it takes somebody to pull the trigger to do that. I strongly urge you to write to your congressmen and urge them to not renew Diane Feinstien's attempt to revoke the rights of honest gun owners.
Laws that make something illegal because of what they look like are no different that discriminating against people because of tattoos or piercings. Gun ownership statistics are difficult to come by (for reasons I'll go into later) but in 1994, 192 million Americans owned firearms. While it is certainly possible that some of these are criminals, it would be ridiculous to suggest that they all are. First, because convicted felons lose the right to own a gun. And secondly...because if it were true there would be a heck of a lot more crime in this country. Why are gun ownership statistics difficult to come by? Hmmm. Could it be because it stigmatizes one as a gun nut-bubba-intent-on-killing-maiming-and-drinking-blood? Could it be because these people cherish the right to the point that they don't want anyone taking their guns for some reason? Some civic drive to rid the streets of crime? I'm not going to give up my diamond earrings or my handgun without a fight.
But my point is two-fold. First, you can't make something illegal because of what it looks like. It takes the actions of a human, purposely or accidentally to make these weapons kill. Moreover, most people are killed by someone they know. This suggests a personal nature to the crime that has little to do with weapon availability. If you have a fire in your belly over something, a car will do just as well as a knife or gun at getting the job done. My second point, is that criminals don't obey gun laws. They don't register. They don't bother going to safety classes. They don't get an FOID, they don't do a lot of things.
Why do law-abiding Americans own guns then? Is it because they want to murder somebody? Not usually. Most of these people are just concerned with preserving life and property. Others are sports enthusiasts. I have lived in a home that was burglarized. And this was in a well-to-do neighborhood. I was very nearly raped. I know many victims of rape. I was stalked in college. Do I want these things to happen again? Do I look forward to being victimized? Hell no! I'll be damned if anything of the like ever happens again. I will protect my life and liberty and that of my family with every last breath. If forced, I will squeeze the trigger, but only to defend myself or my family. There is nothing wrong with that!
When our home was burglarized, it took the local police two hours to arrive on the scene. And in the end, they never caught the guy. When I was very nearly raped there was no hope of intervention on the part of law enforcement. You are your first line of defense. If you wait for the cops...well, you'll be waiting a while, a time in which ANYTHING can and will happen. Owning a gun is proactive. You don't want to use it any more than you want to have to use your car insurance policy. But it is there in case of an emergency. Cops can only be reactive, unless they happen to stumble upon a crime in progress. I'd rather answer questions about the dead rapist on the floor than have to look on from above as my family mourns my passing.
No gun law is a good gun law. Write your congressmen and urge them NOT to renew this ban.
I have not said anything yet on the recent horrors in Russia.
I suppose it is because I have felt so...saddened by the whole thing. Say what you want to say about terrorism. To me it is an evil that has no equal. However, targeting the Pentagon (a military target) and the World Trade Center (an economic and symbolic target) pales rapidly in the smoke...and the tears...and the cries...and the fears of children.
When I think of those little children, most of whom probably have no real grasp of the greater global world, and what they must have gone through, my guts wrenches and aches. I want to make the world a better place for them. And yet, there is nothing anyone can do to bring the victims back to life, nor to wash away the memories of seeing your friends and playmates gunned down. They will never forget. Their parents will never forget. And it will color the reality of their lives for ever.
The villains who did this, whatever their motivation, can not claim any moral ground whatsoever. No "freedom fighter" can legitamately target children and still claim the moral high ground. A school is peopled mostly by children. To target such a place is reprehensible and wins you no converts to your side nor your cause. I am sorry that such a horrible thing had to happen.
But if this doesn't convince people that the only course is to defeat terrorism where it lives...I don't know what will.
To all of the Russian children and their families: May you someday find the peace to put this behind you. My thoughts are with you in this time of deep, gut-twisting pain. No platitudes will ever be able to dent your grief, I am certain. The rest of the free world grieves with you.
Prince Charming and I were talking Sunday evening about Harvest. All of you non-farm folk may not understand entirely to what I refer. For those who are unaware...it is that time when you bring the crop in from the field.
For me, harvest has always been a wonderful melody. A mixing of family, sweat, dirt, hard work, long days, good food, and an amazing sense of accomplishment. Husband likes to drive tractor and combine. I can not describe it exactly, only that there are certain smells and feelings that I associate with harvest. Among them are:
Warm grease in a sun-warmed grease gun
gritty layer on top of a sunburn
over-tired to the point of not knowing what day it is, nor what you did yesterday
a weak-spined paperback yellowing in the sun
the shock of cold water running down my back
hot, dusty vinyl under me, burning the backs of my legs
wheat straw scratches on my legs
20-minute steamy hot showers in dinosaur water
And that's just what comes to mind in three minutes.
Readers will soon realize that I am very pro-gun. I believe an armed public is a safer and more polite public. Moreover, any and all gun control measures, to me, are unconstitutional. The founding fathers fought a revolution to protect the rights they had claimed for themselves and spilled blood to determine their own government. I'll be damned if they would agree that we shouldn't have the right to do so again today.
So, if Drudge is right...a pox on the man and the horse he rode in on. You'd think a senator from the state of Massachusetts would be more intimate with the role of government, the intent of the founding fathers, and the text of the Constitution. But alas, perhaps he is more a "liberte, egalite, fraternite" kind of guy. I joke. ha ha.
(I know there should be accents on the end of each word, but I don't know how to do that in blogger yet. Je parle francais un peu. Mais, oui mes petits choux. Okay, so I'm a bit rusty. Merci, Madame Havard. )
Seriously, if it is true...you can expect une grande rant-o-rama. Not even kidding.
My sister is brilliant, but then I've known this for some time now. I mention it now because she is one of a short list of people who I can talk to about politics intelligently.
We were talking today about the coming election and she was able to put into words what I have been trying desperately to articulate. We both agree that we don't love everything about George W. Bush. I despise Kerry for his hypocrisy. She is less adamant, but finds him equally despicable. Kerry is no choice.
But what she said that I found so true was this, "I have to vote for George W. Bush. To do otherwise validates the terrorists. It says I am willing to be held hostage. If I send this message, ...if we send this message, the terrorists have won. We have this President who sends a very clear message that terrorism will not be tolerated, that we shall chase the perpetrators to the very edges of the earth. To choose anyone else, for any reason, tells the terrorists that they are not our central focus. And they must be. They absolutely must be. So, for anybody still undecided and sitting on the fence, ask yourself what message you want to send to the terrorists."
I can't say it any better than that. Once again, she is spot-on and has boiled the issue down to its essence.
So, all you undecideds out there...what's it gonna be? Do you want to be a hostage or victim...or a free person living in a free world?
Why George W. Bush Gets My Vote...and Why I Think John Kerry is a Whiny Little Girl
Be warned. This is a rant. This is only a rant. Had this been a real emergency, more invective would have been used.
Bush's speech was a call to arms. It was a wake-up-and-smell-reality call. It was nothing less than a "this is who I am and you can count on me."
The domestic agenda he outlined... I liked some parts and disliked others. But I don't want to write about that today. I want to talk about the central issue. Terrorism. As far as I'm concerned, no other issue is half as important. Excerpts from the speech:
Since that day, I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America — whatever it takes.
We are staying on the offensive — striking terrorists abroad — so we do not have to face them here at home. And we are working to advance liberty in the broader Middle East, because freedom will bring a future of hope, and the peace we all want. And we will prevail.
Do I forget the lessons of Sept. 11th and take the word of a madman, or do I take action to defend our country? Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time.
Others understand the historic importance of our work. The terrorists know. They know that a vibrant, successful democracy at the heart of the Middle East will discredit their radical ideology of hate. They know that men and women with hope, and purpose, and dignity do not strap bombs on their bodies and kill the innocent. The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear — and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march.
One thing I have learned about the presidency is that whatever shortcomings you have, people are going to notice them — and whatever strengths you have, you're going to need them. These four years have brought moments I could not foresee and will not forget. I have tried to comfort Americans who lost the most on Sept. 11th — people who showed me a picture or told me a story, so I would know how much was taken from them. I have learned first-hand that ordering Americans into battle is the hardest decision, even when it is right. I have returned the salute of wounded soldiers, some with a very tough road ahead, who say they were just doing their job. I've held the children of the fallen, who are told their dad or mom is a hero, but would rather just have their dad or mom.
And I have met with parents and wives and husbands who have received a folded flag, and said a final goodbye to a soldier they loved. I am awed that so many have used those meetings to say that I am in their prayers — to offer encouragement to me. Where does strength like that come from? How can people so burdened with sorrow also feel such pride? It is because they know their loved one was last seen doing good. Because they know that liberty was precious to the one they lost. And in those military families, I have seen the character of a great nation: decent, and idealistic, and strong.
He had me bawling at this point.
By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America — and tonight, in this place, that dream is renewed. Now we go forward — grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth.
This man...this man is not going to let the terrorists win. Under no circumstances will he give them an inch. They will perish from this earth before another September 11th. And for my future, my liberty, and those of my family and my future children, George W. Bush is the only man worthy of my vote.
John Kerry is a hypocrit. It is just fine for the likes of a "disingenuous film maker" aka "Fatty" aka Michael Moore to compulsively lie about George W. Bush in his "documentary" (lie-umentary) and suggest that Bush knew the attacks were coming, etc. (I'm not going to rehash this topic. It has been done.) Did Kerry denounce the film as blatant and easily provable lies? NO. Did he denounce the Bush=Hitler ads? NO. Did he denounce the attacks of those claiming that Bush had been AWOL from his National Guard unit? Hell no.
He demands that Bush denounce the Swift Vets and calls on him to have the ads pulled. His campaign wants the Swift Vets book Unfit For Command banned and has said the publisher should be ashamed of printing such lies. These are the men that served beside him and he wants them silenced.
But the freakin' hypocrit has this to say about the so-called attacks on him:
"I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq," he said. So apparently people who didn't serve in Vietnam are not allowed to call question to his actions, and neither are those who served with him. So who, pray tell, IS allowed to question him?
Besides which, he claims that his patriotism and his eligibility for the position of CIC have been questioned. But at no time did anyone suggest he wasn't a patriot. Zell Miller attacked Kerry's senate voting record (something all Senators should expect when running for office) and his judgement. At no time did he even talk about Kerry's patriotism. Dick Cheney said, "The President's opponent is an experienced senator. He speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we honor him for it. But there is also a record of more than three decades since. And on the question of America's role in the world, the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest, and the stakes for the country are the highest. " Clearly that is not an attack of Kerry's Patriotism. Bush too has lauded Kerry for his service and sacrifice in Vietnam.
Furthermore, he's applying for the most important job in America. His suitability to serve as CIC is very much the issue!
So Kerry has determined that he wants to play the role of the damaged party. It doesn't play well. He's a hypocrit, ...and he can't have it both ways. He should expect to have to stand by his record. He should expect to be called on his lies. If he won't take criticism on his ability to serve as Commander-in-Chief from Dick Cheney, George Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Zell Miller, then he should certainly take it from the Vietnam Vets and the Swift Vets.
So Kobe won't be facing criminal charges. That sucks. I am sensitive to rape issues, having narrowly escaped my own. I know several women who have been victimized in this way. The little I've read of this girl's story rings bells way too close to home for me. What I've read of her story makes me believe that her story is true. So, just be warned that my comments assume that her story is true.
She was not given a fair shake in court. Rape Shield turned into more of a rape collander. They had more leaks than the titanic.
I feel for her, I do. Rape isn't fun and it isn't funny. I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt because one part of her statement was critically and crucially like mine, and it isn't something that non-victims would think of to make up. I can tell you that it takes tremendous courage to prosecute. And it is a pain that takes years to heal. Her sex life before and after the attack are nobody's business but her own. Rape has a way of tricking you into believing you aren't worth anything...and some seek out "love" in other ways to get their validation thinking that this will make them feel better. It takes a long time to trust again, both yourself and a member of the rapist's sex.
I hope she can put this all behind her and begin to love herself. That's the first step back to any kind of normalcy. And it is only something you can do for yourself.
If Kobe did in fact force himself on this girl, unfortunately now, she won't be the last. Also, if the behavior continues, it will not likely be brought into the light because he has deep pockets and can buy his victim's silence. That is, unless he tries this with someone like me who has learned from her mistakes and will never ever ever let somebody get away with this again.
Of course, he could be innocent. I just don't think so. His behavior is consistent with that of the rapists I've known. Sorry, Kobe. It's only my opinion.
Does the Democratic Party excommunicate its members for serious transgressions? 'Cause ol' Zell wasn't exactly toeing the party line there. He bashed Kerry worse than Cheney did!
Yowza. My favorite parts of the speech:
In 1940, Wendell Wilkie was the Republican nominee. And there is no better example of someone repealing their "private plans" than this good man. He gave Roosevelt the critical support he needed for a peacetime draft, an unpopular idea at the time. And he made it clear that he would rather lose the election than make national security a partisan campaign issue.
Shortly before Wilkie died, he told a friend, that if he could write his own epitaph and had to choose between "here lies a president" or "here lies one who contributed to saving freedom," he would prefer the latter. Where are such statesmen today? Where is the bipartisanship in this country when we need it most?
No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.
They claimed Carter's pacifism would lead to peace. They were wrong. They claimed Reagan's defense buildup would lead to war. They were wrong. And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on Terror. Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security but Americans need to know the facts.
The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom. The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq.
The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadifi's Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora. The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11. I could go on and on and on: against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile; against, against, against.
This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?
U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?
Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations. Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending. I want Bush to decide.
John Kerry, who says he doesn't like outsourcing, wants to outsource our national security.
That's the most dangerous outsourcing of all. This politician wants to be leader of the free world. Free for how long?
This post is not about politics. You thought it probably was...am I right?
Eighteen months ago I committed career suicide. Well, not really suicide, but I did take about 4,000 steps backward. I gave up a successful position to move to Wisconsin and marry Prince Charming. Don't get me wrong, it was what I wanted. The decision was difficult though. I really cared about the people I worked with and still do. I try to stay in contact with them even now. Why was this job so different than the one before it and the one since?
My last boss was a great leader. He listened to his managers' opinions. He was always straight with us. He always sought out our opinions and encouraged discussion. He didn't always take our suggestions but he was always respectful. I became invested in my job. I owned it. I honestly cared about the company in a personal way that had nothing to do with my continued employment but about the other people who worked there and what we accomplished. Do you know what makes these things all the more telling? I was the youngest member of management and the only female. I would have followed that man and his team into the gates of hell and back. Because he fostered teamwork, esprit de corps, hard work, and trust.
I don't think I'll ever work for another leader of the same caliber. But I do know now the kind of leader I want to be.
Why this glowing and gushing appraisal of a perfect stranger to my meager readership?
First, this guy never gets enough credit for what he does. Second, there aren't enough good leaders/bosses in this world (at least in my experience). And third...we could all learn from his example. And lastly, because I got to talk to him today for the first time in a long time and realized that he still believes in me completely. I already kick myself for the sacrifice on a weekly basis, but today was especially hard given the contrasts between then and now. Do you know how great a leader he is? Even now I would go back in a heartbeat if he really needed me.
Saturday begins my seasonal widowhood. College football, and in particular the efforts of the University of Wisconsin Badgers, means I will be sitting on the couch on Saturdays if I want to see my husband.
Its akin to a religion for him. He doesn't paint his face or anything, but he does take the TV out on the deck sometimes so he can feel like he is tailgating as he grills and watches the game.
I didn't feel qualified to speak about the Democratic National Convention. I was unable to watch more than 5 minutes before feeling ill and needing to change the channel. So I watched a total of 15 minutes over three days...therefore unqualified to offer any commentary.
But I did watch the Republican National Convention last night. I thought the Governor of California gave a great speech. I hadn't ever seen him do any public speaking on a real issue. I thought he did very well. I feel that he appealed to the undecideds and the closet republicans who disagree with Dubya's faith issues, you know, his faith-based agenda. I liked what he had to say about respectfully disagreeing on some issues while knowing we all stand together on the major issue. If I had needed convincing, this would have done it for me. Arnold's litmus test:
"If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government...then you are a Republican! If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group... then you are a Republican! If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does... then you are a Republican! If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children ... then you are a Republican! If you believe this country, not the United Nations is the best hope of democracy in the world ... then you are a Republican! And, ladies and gentlemen ...if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism ... then you are a Republican!"
He also made a point that I often find myself making about leadership. Usually my arguments were about business leadership, but they are no less true in the political realm.
"The President didn't go into Iraq because the polls told him it was popular. As a matter of fact, the polls said just the opposite. But leadership isn't about polls. It's about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind those decisions. That's why America is safer with George W. Bush as President."
I thought the Bush twins did okay. Jenna is a better public speaker and looked more comfortable than Barb. I disagreed with the talking heads that they came off as ditzy. I didn't think so at all. As a matter of fact, that picture circulating the web of the Kerry girls at the VMA's where one is trying to shush the crowd is far more ridiculous. Politics and rock don't mix well. But that is me. I thought Laura was okay. She said what I expected her to say. I also disagreed with the talking heads who said that Laura and the twins had no business on stage. I see too much of the strong unflinching guy day to day and liked the reminder that he is a husband and father.
However, I would have liked to see Guiliani and McCain speak. The Monday night speeches got no play here. In particular, I would have liked to hear Guiliani. I would have moved him to Tuesday and moved Laura and the twins to Thursday to open for Dubya. But they didn't call me for advice.