Monday, September 29, 2008

Justice in Indianapolis

The AP reported yesterday about the death of a sex offender.

A convicted sex offender died Sunday during a struggle with a father who found the naked man in or near his 17-year-old daughter’s bedroom, police said.

Police responding to a call from the city’s northwest side about 3:20 a.m. found 64-year-old Robert McNally on the hallway floor with his arm around the neck of 52-year-old David T. Meyers, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Mount said Meyers had a heart condition and may have had a heart attack. An autopsy was planned.

Police said Meyers was naked except for a mask and latex gloves and had entered the home through a window near the girl’s bedroom with rope, condoms and a knife. He was familiar with the home’s layout because it belonged to a relative, police said.

The girl awoke and screamed when she saw the man in her room, police said. The father responded and struggled with the intruder while the girl’s mother phoned 911.

Police did not anticipate any charges against McNally.

This is good news for Indianapolis. There is one less scumbag rapist on the streets there, thanks to Mr. McNally.

Add this to the news back in January, and Indianapolis is looking like the kind of place that criminals might want to avoid.

"Paris Hilton Bill" Vetoed

The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday that Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill nicknamed for Paris Hilton.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation Saturday that would have banned motorists from holding a live animal in their laps or arms.

The Republican governor gave no specific explanation other than to blame his veto of Assembly Bill 2233 on the recent budget dispute.

As he has with six dozen other bills this signing period, Schwarzenegger attached a uniform four-sentence message explaining he is signing bills only of the "highest priority" during the condensed signing period caused by the 85-day budget delay.

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives ridiculed the lap-dog measure as excessive government and dubbed it the "Paris Hilton Bill" in honor of the celebrity dog lover. Violators would have faced a base fine of $35, which could have risen to $150 with state and county fees.

Assemblyman Bill Maze, the bill's author, said he proposed AB 2233 after seeing a Tulare County woman driving with three dogs on her lap.

"One had its feet on the steering wheel and the other two were leaning over her left arm," said Maze, R-Visalia.

"You've got a live animal that has a mind of its own," Maze said. "It can get tangled in the steering wheel or pinned between your knees. It can create a real hazard for yourself and everyone else."

Yes, it can. Which is why I never let my little dog Abby ride in my lap when I was driving. And my mom's little dog Scooter always rides shotgun, too.

Stupid is as stupid does, and people who drive with their dogs on their laps are being stupid. But so is Assemblyman Maze for introducing this bill. Micromanaging drivers is going too far. Next, they'll be telling us we have to drive with our hands in the 2:00 and 10:00 positions or risk a ticket.

Evicting the U.N.

Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) issued a press release September 23, 2008, about a bill he has introduced to Congress.

U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Littleton) introduced legislation today that would effectively move the United Nations headquarters out of the United States. The legislation is being introduced amid incessant anti-American and anti-Jewish political grandstanding from the podium of the General Assembly.

“The U.N. has coddled brutal dictators, anti-Semites, state sponsors of terrorism, and nuclear proliferators – while excluding democratic countries from membership and turning a blind eye to humanitarian tragedies and gross violations of human rights around the globe,” Tancredo said. “The U.N.’s continued presence in the United States is an embarrassment to our nation, and the time has come for this ineffective organization to pack its bags and hit the road.”

Tancredo’s bill, dubbed the U.N. Eviction Act, would direct Attorney General Michael Mukasey to initiate condemnation proceedings against all United Nations properties within the United States, and sell the property to the highest bidder on the open market. The proceeds will be given to the Treasury Department to pay down the national debt. The bill would also bar the future purchase of property in the United States or U.S. territories by the U.N. or any of its agencies, and revokes the diplomatic privileges and immunities that U.N. officials and representatives currently enjoy.

“I refuse to sit idly by while Americans are forced to host Islamofascist dictators, like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, so they can spew anti-American rhetoric just blocks from Ground Zero,” Tancredo continued.

Tancredo is my kind of Congressman. Be sure to call your congressman and tell him or her to support the U.N. Eviction Act.

Bailout Bombs, Stocks Tumble

Fox News reported today that the House of Representatives voted down the bailout bill. Now the fallout hits.

Stocks spiraled downward as much as 685 points on Monday as a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street ended in defeat in the House of Representatives.

House leaders held open the vote as they tried to sway reluctant lawmakers to support the plan, which failed 205-228. Arm-twisting continued even after the vote clock expired. One member, retiring Republican Rep. Jerry Weller, did not vote.

The bill aimed to open up clogged credit lines for financial markets that had come to a near collapse. Sellers continued to shed stocks as the market teetered down more than 450 points after the vote ended.

Representatives worked throughout the weekend to make a bill palatable. Republicans had insisted on a mortgage securities insurance paid by firms who had invested in bad housing loans.

But supporters — even Republicans — said they didn't like the bailout but didn't want to play with history or risk an economic collapse.

"I'm not willing to put that bullet in the revolver and spin it. I will take the political risk," said Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Dennis Prager had a guest, I think it was Dick Morris, who said the Republicans wanted to to have insurance added to the bailout bill (it would reduce or eliminate the risk to taxpayers), and they got it, but the bill gives complete discretion to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on how to allocate the funds. The fact that Paulson is dead-set against insurance as an option makes the addition of insurance to the bill moot.

In spite of this, both Prager and (I think) Morris, as well as Hugh Hewitt from last week, are in favor of the bill for the same reason as Rep. Bachus, above: They want to prevent economic collapse.

I want to prevent economic collapse, too. I'm just not sure of the best way to do it. And now Congress needs to go back to the drawing board, because Wall Street is starting to tank. I hope this time, though, they come up with a bill that doesn't make Paulson the Economic Emperor of America.

For some good background (unreported by the left-leaning press) on what helped cause the mortgage-banking collapse, see this post at Bryan Alexander's Right Thinking.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Car Trouble

My daughter called me last night on her way home from work to tell me that her car was shaking whenever she was at a stop and the "Check Engine" light had come on. I told her to go to the mechanic, tell them all about it, and I'd meet her there.

She had finished describing her car woes to the shop guys when I got there, and on the way home, she said she thought she had smelled oil. It sounded expensive. Very expensive. I imagined leaking head gaskets, and the hope that they'd call my ex (like last time) when it was time for a payment flashed through my mind (he started taking the Honda to that mechanic for my daughter while I was on my trip with my mom, so he's their usual contact).

We left it for overnight, and this morning I dropped my daughter off at her class. Then I picked her up when class was over. She had a couple hours before she had to get to work, so we stopped for a bite to eat to kill time.

The shop called my daughter's cell phone, and I tried to get a feel for how expensive it was going to be by her half of the conversation.

"It's dry? You mean there's no oil?" Oh darn! That could be a whole new engine! Or a new transmission if that's what's dry.

After she hung up, she told me they hadn't found anything wrong. We had just enough time to pick up the car from the shop so she could drive herself to work.

At the shop, the guy explained. The Check Engine light came on, and the code told them there had been a random missed firing in one of the pistons. Not a problem. They checked all the settings, and the rough idle wasn't rough enough to require any adjustments.

The engine was dry. On the outside. He said that, for a vehicle with 111,000 miles, it was amazingly free of any leaks. It's in fine shape, and if the idle gets noticeably worse, then maybe she should bring the car back in.

No charge.

There is a God in heaven, and He's very good to me!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Helpful Hints

In a moment of procrastination, I started cleaning my emails.

Let me back up. I'm still unemployed. A couple weeks ago I had an interview for a job with the city. I ranked #2 on the test, but after the interview, I got a nice letter telling me that somebody else better suited for the job was hired. I've been running into that quite a bit, because I'm overqualified (mainframe computer programmer, Bachelor's degree in Psychology) and underqualified (no experience as an admin, receptionist, in fast food, or working with a cash drawer) for most of the jobs in my area.

On one of my visits to the local office of the state career center, they told me about some ROP classes (state-funded vocational training) in the medical field. I went to Orientation and got special dispensation to skip the required Medical Essentials class, due to my having already aced Anatomy & Physiology and Medical Terminology. So now I'm in a 3-month class that will give me a certificate of proficiency as a "Medical Assistant (Front Office)." With that certificate, I should be able to say I'm perfectly qualified for the jobs I'm looking for (provided I look in medical clinics).

Anyway, I'm supposed to be reading the exciting chapter about how to answer the phone and take messages. It's so thrilling, I decided to clean up my email inbox, where I ran across an email my mom forwarded to me called, "DID YOU KNOW?"

There were a couple hints that referred to dryer sheets. One said to keep one in your pocket to repel mosquitoes. Next time I'm somewhere near stagnant fresh water, I might try it.

The last helpful hint had this to say about dryer sheets:

The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the fil- ter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material ... I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. Well .... the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free ... that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box ... well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! How about that!?! Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that. So, I thought I'd share!

Note: I went to my dryer and tested my screen by running water on it. The water ran through a little bit but mostly collected all the water in the mesh screen. I washed it with warm soapy water and a nylon brush and I had it done in 30 seconds. Then when I rinsed it ... the water ran right thru the screen! There wasn't any puddling at all! That repairman knew what he was talking about!

Love those exclamation marks on almost every sentence!

But an even better piece of advice is to save the dryer sheets for the mosquitoes. At least, don't use them on your towels. That lovely residue that builds up on your lint screen also coats your towels and makes them less absorbent.

So there you go. Helpful dryer sheet advice. If you want to know the other hints (how to deal with squirrels, fruit flies, and ants, and much more!), send me an email and I'll forward my mom's email to you.

Now back to learning how to schedule appointments...

Al Gore Encourages Law-Breaking

Reuters reported yesterday on a speech given by Al Gore.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental crusader Al Gore urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants without the ability to store carbon.

"If you're a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration," Gore told the Clinton Global Initiative gathering to loud applause.

This is a man who at one point in his life swore to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. Now he's encouraging America's young people to violate the law, risk arrest, and hurt their chances of getting jobs in the future. What a guy.

"I believe for a carbon company to spend money convincing the stock-buying public that the risk from the global climate crisis is not that great represents a form of stock fraud because they are misrepresenting a material fact," he said. "I hope these state attorney generals around the country will take some action on that."

He's gone off the deep end. Let him lobby the state attorneys general and leave our kids alone.

The government says about 28 coal plants are under construction in the United States. Another 20 projects have permits or are near the start of construction.

Carbon capture and storage could give coal power an extended lease on life by keeping power plants' greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere and easing climate change.

But no commercial-scale project exists anywhere to demonstrate the technology, partly because it is expected to increase up-front capital costs by an additional 50 percent.

So-called geo-sequestration of carbon sees carbon dioxide liquefied and pumped into underground rock layers for long term storage.

So Gore wants to send our youths to jail to stop all coal plant construction unless the plants install unproven technology. That would add a huge price tag to energy at a time when energy costs are already high. Let him start saving the planet by keeping his hot air to himself and by turning off the lights in his own house.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Green Activists Contribute Greenhouse Gases

What's the opposite of green? On the color wheel, it's red, so I'll go with that.

It seems that Green idealists are also the reddest. The Guardian (UK) reported today on a British study into the lifestyle habits of Greens.

People who believe they have the greenest lifestyles can be seen as some of the main culprits behind global warming, says a team of researchers, who claim that many ideas about sustainable living are a myth.

According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad. The carbon emissions from such flights can swamp the green savings made at home, the researchers claim.

Stewart Barr, of Exeter University, who led the research, said: "Green living is largely something of a myth. There is this middle class environmentalism where being green is part of the desired image. But another part of the desired image is to fly off skiing twice a year. And the carbon savings they make by not driving their kids to school will be obliterated by the pollution from their flights."

Some people even said they deserved such flights as a reward for their green efforts, he added.

It's like people who go to the movies and order Milk Duds and a Diet Coke. It would be worse if they got a regular Coke, I suppose, but really what's the point of saving calories?

They found the longest and the most frequent flights were taken by those who were most aware of environmental issues, including the threat posed by climate change.

Greenies, don't let your ideals get in the way of ruining the planet!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Going into Stealth Mode (Updated)

Not much internet activity out of me for now. I'm fighting another virus and going away for the weekend, so things will be quiet here at Skye Puppy.


When I spotted the virus (it looked like adware), I told McAfee Anti-Virus to update itself, then I put the computer in Lockdown mode (no access to the internet coming or going) and ran a full scan. It found nothing out of the ordinary.

Later Friday night, I unlocked the internet just to check my email before bed, and McAfee popped up to tell me it found something potentially harmful, so I suggested very strongly that McAfee remove the darn thing. Then I put the computer back into Lockdown for the weekend.

This morning I unlocked my computer again, and I've been hesitantly leaving it unlocked, hoping that McAfee does a better job protecting my computer than when I'm bossing him around and nagging him to scan. So far nothing unwanted has appeared. By tomorrow, I might just start breathing again...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Global Cooling

Alan Caruba's column in American Daily Sunday discussed the global climate.

There’s a wonderful irony in the fact that, back in the 1970s, the Greens were issuing warnings and even writing books about the coming Ice Age. They would abandon this issue, based in well-known and accepted solar science, in favor of a vast international hoax alleging man-made global warming.

As the global warming hoax begins to lose its power to influence public opinion and policy, the Greens are not likely to be heeded for a long time to come because they were right about an Ice Age and lying through their teeth about global warming.

Scientists and laymen who follow the Ice Age cycles have been warning that, if not a full-fledged Ice Age, at the very least a Little Ice Age comparable to one that lasted from 1300 to around 1850 is on its way

Amidst all the media coverage of Hurricane Gustav and the Republican Convention, a report in was not likely to get much attention, but it forecast a very cold world in the years to come. The Earth has already started to cool and scientists date the change from 1998.

Headlined, “Drop in solar activity has potential effect for climate on Earth”, the news is that, for the first time in 100 years, “an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.” The author, Michael Asher, noted that “The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity—which determines the number of sunspots—is an influencing factor for climate on Earth.

As the DailyTech report notes, “In the past 1000 years, three previous such events, the Dalton, Maunder, and Sporer Minimums,” of reduced sunspot activity, “have all led to rapid cooling,” adding that, “For a society dependent on agriculture, cold is more damaging than heat. The growing season shortens, yields drop, and the occurrence of crop-destroying frosts increases.”

Global warming is the popular story in the press, but it doesn't explain how mankind's puny little effects can outweigh the influences of natural forces and the impact of solar changes--especially when the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere just DOES NOT CORRELATE to the global temperature.

But solar cycles DO correlate to global climate over time, so I put my faith in the scientists tracking the effects of the sun. And they're saying it's going to be getting cold.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Recommendation

My Journey into Alzheimers Disease, by Robert Davis.

This was an assigned book in my Adulthood and Aging class when I was getting my Bachelor's in Psychology. I loved it (I cried), and later when my next door neighbor told me her father-in-law had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I lent it to her for her husband and mother-in-law to read.

She brought it back and thanked me. Then a few months later, she borrowed it again, because her friend's mother had been diagnosed. It had helped my neighbor's family enough for her to want to share it.

More recently, I was at a meeting, and the speaker said his stepdad had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and had become lost for an afternoon. When the speaker sat down, he was right in front of me, so I wrote down the name and author of the book and handed it to him.

The book is Robert Davis's story of his life. He became a pastor and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in the early stages, because it was interfering with his job. Davis, with the help of his wife talks about what it's like to have the disease. He describes what drives him to wander, why he couldn't handle too much stimulation, and the frustration of seeing himself losing his faculties. His journey goes through the early and mid-stages of Alzheimer's, and long after his death he still offers understanding for the family and friends of similarly afflicted patients.

If someone you love has Alzheimer's Disease, please read this book.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nightmare for Vegetarian Driver

Photo credit: AP

Der Spiegel reported Thursday on a traffic accident in Germany.

A vegetarian woman driving down a motorway in Germany was so traumatized at the sight of a truck loaded with pigs that she lost control of her vehicle and careered into another truck, which was also filled with pigs, police said.

"The woman found herself driving next to a large pig transport truck and the sight of the pitiful animals made her feel so sick that she jerked her steering wheel and started swerving," police in the western town of Gütersloh said in a statement released on Thursday.

"The result of her swerving was that the woman's van struck the side of another truck … which was also loaded with live pigs. The woman suffered little more than a fright but we were unable to ascertain anything about the state of the pig's health," police said.

Those vegetarians have such delicate constitutions that they should be protected from the world. There are harsh realities out there, one of which is that other people eat meat. Vegetarians who can't handle that shouldn't be out there driving.

I pity this woman and others like her for the trauma they'll face when moose-hunting Sarah Palin is sworn in as Vice President.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget

(HT: Tsofah)

Ann Coulter brings us a reminder in her column this week: Bush 7, Terrorists 0.

There is no media coverage when another 9/11 doesn't happen. We can thank God that President George Bush didn't care about doing the safe thing for himself; he cared about keeping Americans safe. And he has, for seven years.

A year after the 9/11 attack, the New York Times' Frank Rich was carping about Bush's national security plans, saying we could judge Bush's war on terror by whether there was a major al-Qaida attack in 2003, which – according to Rich – would have been on al-Qaida's normal schedule.

Rich wrote: "Since major al-Qaida attacks are planned well in advance and have historically been separated by intervals of 12 to 24 months, we will find out how much we've been distracted soon enough." ("Never Forget What?" New York Times, Sept. 14, 2002.)

There wasn't a major al-Qaida attack in 2003. Nor in 2004, 2005, 2006 or 2007. Manifestly, liberals thought there would be: They announced a standard of success that they expected Bush to fail.

As Bush has said, we have to be right 100 percent of the time; the terrorists only have to be right one time. Bush has been right 100 percent of the time for seven years – so much so that Americans have completely forgotten about the threat of Islamic terrorism.

Let us not forget. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pigs, Plagiarism, and Pollsters

The media and the internet are in an uproar over Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" statement yesterday:

The Right says it's a slam on Sarah Palin, after her Hockey Mom joke mentioned lipstick (about 3:30 into this video):

(HT: Flopping Aces, via Sparks from the Anvil for both videos)

The Left says, no, Obama was talking about McCain's policies. I kinda think they're both right. It's a campaign, for Pete's sake! Both sides are going to slam the other, and the slammee will cry, "Foul!" and the slammers will say, "We didn't mean it that way," ad novemberum.

But there's an interesting side note, over at Confederate Yankee, that Obama may have plagiarized an editorial cartoon in his remarks right before "lipstick on a pig."

Obama has already been accused of stealing lines from Deval Patrick, Mario Coumo, and Cesar Chavez, and chose a Vice Presidential candidate with his own history of oratory theft. If Barack Obama once again appropriated someone else's words, he is going to have some trouble finding credible people to explain it away this time.

Plagiarism is bad, but I'm willing to cut him some slack on this one, because it could possibly be a serious case of Group Think in the Left-wing bubble. Of course, that doesn't excuse Biden's past plagiarism and doesn't speak well of Obama's judgment in choosing a serial plagiarist to be his running mate.

But the real point in the election is not the slams and the offended howls. It's the issues. And that was brought home to me last night by a phone call I got.

A man called me and said he was polling for some non-partisan group that I didn't think to write down. He focused on the state (California) and spent about 15 minutes asking me various questions. Did I think Arnold was doing a good job as Governor? No. Did I think the legislature was doing a good job? WAY No. What did I think was the most important issue for the state? Getting more energy, like allowing drilling and building more nuclear power plants. (He had to go find that one to mark it off for me.)

Then the talk turned to the national stage.

Did I approve or disapprove of the job the following people are doing (he didn't allow me to select "mildly approve" or "strongly approve," just "approve"):

President Bush? Approve (mildly).
Congress? Disapprove.
Nancy Pelosi? Disapprove.
Dianne Feinstein? Disapprove.
Barbara Boxer? Disapprove (strongly).
My Representative (Darrell Issa)? Approve.

Who did I think will do a better job of handling these issues, McCain or Obama:

The economy? McCain.
The War in Iraq (I can't remember the exact words he used for this)? McCain.
Education? McCain.
Health care? McCain.
Immigration? Umm... McCain is slightly less bad than Obama, so I pick McCain.
Abortion? McCain.
Foreign policy? McCain.

There were more issues than I can remember right now, and for each one my answer was, "McCain." At the end, the pollster asked if I'd be willing to be interviewed by a reporter about my answers. I gulped and said yes. We'll see if anything happens...

When it comes down to it--pigs with lips and hens with teeth aside--McCain may not be great for our country, but he's far, far better than Obama would be, and that's the only question that needs answering.

Cat and Printer

Hat Tip: Kevin McCullough

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Another Palin (Non) Scandal

The Washington Post reported today on what they appear to hope will become a scandal. The title is, "Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home."

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.

Wow! That's pretty damning. What a sleaze-bucket Sarah Palin is! What a hypocrite she is, claiming to go after corruption but lining her own pockets from state coffers! All you right-winger Palin worshipers ought to cast her aside like the lipstick-painted swine she is and vote for Obama.

That's the implication the Washington Post wants us to take away from their "exposé." But farther down in the article, the Post offers the other perspective.

Gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Monday that Palin's expenses are not unusual and that, under state policy, the first family could have claimed per diem expenses for each child taken on official business but has not done so.

"As a matter of protocol, the governor and the first family are expected to attend community events across the state," she said. "It's absolutely reasonable that the first family participates in community events."

The state finance director, Kim Garnero, said Alaska law exempts the governor's office from elaborate travel regulations. Said Leighow: "The governor is entitled to a per diem, and she claims it."

Gov. Palin has spent far less on her personal travel than her predecessor: $93,000 on airfare in 2007, compared with $463,000 spent the year before by her predecessor, Frank Murkowski. He traveled often in an executive jet that Palin called an extravagance during her campaign. She sold it after she was sworn into office.

Oh, uh.... Never mind.

But don't be surprised to see this charge being slung around the pro-Palin blogs as the left's latest "So there!"

Changing Spelling

The Times Online (UK) reported yesterday on a proposal to loosen English speling rools.

John Wells, Emeritus Professor of Phonetics at University College London and president of the Spelling Society, will use the society’s centenary dinner this week to call for a “freeing up” of English spelling.

“The teaching of literacy in schools is a major worry. It seems highly likely that one of the reasons Britain and other English-speaking countries have problems with literacy is because of our spelling and the burden it places on children.

“It seems to be a great pity that English-speaking countries are holding back children in this way. There are lots of other things that are neglected in class because so much time is spent on spelling,” he said.

He also complained about the apostrophe, suggesting we either leave it out or leave a space instead.

Wells has a point about all the class time spent on spelling. When I was in third grade, Miss Grimm counted a word as being spelled wrong if we didn't dot the "i" or cross the "t." She'd say, "That could be a "u" or two "i"s. How am I supposed to know if the dot is missing?" So I'm still careful to dot and cross what needs dotting and crossing. It's such a pain!

If we give up worrying about spelling, then the Miss Grimms of the world can spend more time teaching our kids about safe sex and Heather's two mommies and self-esteem. What an unburdened world that would be!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Growing Avocados

In about 1980, when I lived in Spokane, I grew an avocado tree from a seed. Actually, it was probably my husband who grew it. I vaguely remember him teaching me the proper way to poke toothpicks into the seed so it can sit half-submerged in water. Like this:

That seed sprouted, and we planted it in a pot. Unfortunately, our cats liked the avocado tree. Every time it set out leaf buds, the cats nibbled them off. The tree kept growing, and the cats kept nibbling, until we had a stick about ten inches tall. Then Wickersham, the black-and-white cat, curled his big self in the avocado pot and snapped the stick at dirt level. I've tried dozens of times, but I haven't been able to get anything more than a slimy avocado seed since.

Until now.

My daughter did the toothpick-poking this time. We have a taproot, and some smaller roots are starting to grow.

And the slightest nub of a sprout has begun to poke out the top.

When the seedling gets bigger, we'll put it in a pot for a while and keep it inside by a window, so I can take care of it. I stink at yard work, so I'm hesitant to plant it outside.

Good thing I don't have cats.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Us Magazine Smears Palin

Michelle Malkin has the scoop on Us magazine's political leanings. Their covers tell the story very clearly. Here's the latest issue:

Us is in the bag for Democrats. Need proof? Here's their similarly hard-hitting cover of Obama:

Michelle Malkin points out this tip:

Steve Hayes notes that Us publisher Jann Wenner is a prominent Obama donor.

If you want your hard-earned money to go into the pocket of Wenner and from there into the Obama campaign coffers, then by all means buy Us magazine.

In the meantime, Michelle Malkin's reader Dave L. sent in this Us magazine cover that did NOT make it to print:

But of course, the mainstream media isn't biased. No, not at all.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Children to be Taught How to Play

News:Lite (UK) reported yesterday that some British children will be getting lessons in playing.

As millions of children go back to school, councils are been given a list of 10 traditional playground games for teachers to suggest they play at breaks and lunchtime.

It is hoped the list, which includes Hopscotch, British Bulldog and Tag, will help combat child obesity and remind teachers and parents the importance of children being physically active.

[Councillor] Les Lawrence from the [Local Government Association] said: "Playground habits are bound to change with time, but it would be a shame if more active games were to die out to be replaced by children playing on computers or huddled together in front of a screen."
He added that parents and teachers should stop worrying about getting sued and defy the compensation culture by encouraging children play.

"Children benefit from physical activity and even some rough and tumble.

"It's time to take a stand against many aspects of the compensation culture and accept there are going to be a few scratches and grazed knees because that’s part of growing up.

It took me a while to figure out the translation for "the compensation culture." It means the UK is just as lawsuit-happy as the US. But now that I know what they're talking about, I have to agree that running and playing is more important than protecting schools from lawsuits.

They have a list of recommended games:

British Bulldog
Stuck in the Mud
Oranges and Lemons
What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?
French elastic
Hide and Seek

Marbles is exercise? Maybe the kids get a workout from beating each other up over cheating.

I don't recognize some of those games. Is French Elastic the same game as Chinese Jumprope? And what on earth is Stuck in the Mud? Or Oranges and Lemons? Or What's the Time, Mr Wolf?

Anybody? Any Brits out there who can help? I may need to know what these games are so that someday, when I have grandchildren, I can teach them about Mr Wolf.

Barbie Catches Record Catfish

The AP reported August 22, 2008, about a little girl's Barbie fishing rod.

ELKIN, N.C. — David Hayes' granddaughter just asked him to hold her Barbie rod and reel while she went to the bathroom. He did. And seconds later he landed the state record channel catfish at 21 pounds, 1 ounce.

Alyssa's father had bought the pink Barbie fishing rod for Christmas and she had caught a few bluegill before her grandfather hauled in the catfish.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported the catch Aug. 5 in eastern Wilkes County has been certified as a record by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Hayes and his granddaughter have been fishing in the pond behind his house since she was big enough to hold a pole.

Hayes said his granddaughter worried he would break her rod. He landed the 21-pound fish on a 6-pound test line. It was 32 inches long, 2 inches longer than the rod.

With Sarah Palin's moose hunting and now Barbie catching a gigantic catfish, we can see that women are getting stronger and stronger. I haven't been this inspired in a very long time.