Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mail Mix-Ups

I'm taking the week off, sleeping in and doing those things that I never seem to have time for otherwise. Exciting stuff like replacing the front porch light when the sun is up and taking my recycling to get redeemed when they're actually open.

My roommate loves to get the mail and checks the mailbox every evening when she gets home, before she even unlocks the door. Me, I couldn't care less. But because I know she likes it, I went out to the curb in the middle of the day and got our mail. It was the Pennysaver, with a few pages of ads tucked inside, and a mass mailing of some sort on glossy paper. I checked the name to see if it was for me (unlikely), my roommate, her late father who died two years ago, or her late husband who died in 2004. About half the time, the two men get more mail than the two of us women do.

But that other piece of mail had somebody else's name on it, so I checked the address, and it was the neighbors two doors up the hill. I went over there and opened their mailbox, but they must like the mail as much as my roomie does because it was already empty. Then I noticed somebody was in the car in the driveway, so I walked up to her (startled her) and told her that they gave us her mail. As I handed it to her I said, "Looks exciting," in that way that, combined with the eyebrows lifting, says it looks nothing of the sort. She chuckled and said she'd get right on it, and I went back home.

On the short walk, though, I was reminded of my childhood. That was the time when only rural streets had the mailboxes all the way out by the curb. Normal people in town had the mailbox mounted on the house by the front door, and our mailman parked his modified-Jeep vehicle on some other street, filled up his bag on wheels, and walked down one side of our long, long cul-de-sac and up the other.

Most of the moms on our street stayed at home raising the kids, and they got to know the mailman pretty well (my brother and I were summertime friends with the garbageman, too, but that's another story). Every Christmas, my mom baked banana bread and put a loaf, wrapped in aluminum foil with a red bow on it, in the mailbox for him.

Our mailman was a friendly man, and he would chat with my mom and her friends on the block, and every once in a while, he would decide that the ladies hadn't visited each other enough lately, so he would intentionally mix up the mail. That way they'd have to take the mail to the other neighbor, who would invite the delivering neighbor in for coffee.

We knew he did it on purpose, partly because he said he did, but also because it was always the same few friends who had their mail mixed up. He never gave us the mail for the family down the street who had the juvenile-delinquent kids. Our mailman knew who the nice people were, and he didn't subject us to the others.

While I doubt today's mix-up was intentional, it gave me a chance to meet another neighbor, and it brought back a happy memory from my childhood. Just that is enough to make this a good day.

Occupy Bagram

Love it!

I found this at Michelle Malkin, and she found it at Black Five, and they stole it shamelessly from Steven T's Facebook page.

Herman Cain on Foreign Policy

Herman Cain is fading in the polls. First there were the sexual harrassment allegations, and then there was the Libya gaffe, which was reported widely as Cain's not being ready for prime time. These things take their toll.

Today, though, a friend sent me an email with Herman Cain's response to the foreign policy question (the text can be found here), and I was impressed. Here's some of what he said:

A few days ago, after coming under criticism for my answer to a question about Libya in an interview, I made a lighthearted comment that reflected all this – that I’m not supposed to know everything (most of the media quoted me as saying “anything”) about foreign policy.

Bizarre things happen when you run for president, one of which is that statements like this go viral, with people claiming I had somehow made the case that no knowledge of world affairs is required for the job.

I obviously don’t think that, but I’m also quite willing be honest about my strengths. My background is in the business world, and my greatest strength concerns the economy. My motivation in running for president is to apply my leadership skills to all issues – foreign and domestic. But clearly, as I have met with foreign policy luminaries like John Bolton and Henry Kissinger, I have done a lot more listening than talking – because they know a lot more about it than I do, and it would be absurd for me to claim otherwise.

That said, a man taking the oath of office for the presidency must have a sense of America’s place in the world, and must have a clear idea of the challenges, threats and opportunities that present themselves. Otherwise, success on the economic front likely goes for naught, as mistakes in the international arena tend to be costly both in the short term and in the long term.

My approach to foreign policy is to apply a general set of principles to each situation we face, and I have summarized these principles as peace through strength and clarity.


What does this mean?

In a broad sense, it means that I would not retreat on initiatives that strengthen America’s strategic standing in order to buy some sort of accommodation with those who do not have an interest in our security. For example, I would not have welched on America’s commitment to install a missile defense system in Eastern Europe because the Russians didn’t like it. The security of the U.S. and our allies would take precedence over the concerns of a nation whose strategic interests are often contrary to ours.


Peace through strength and clarity means there is no doubt about where we stand, for what we stand and with whom we stand. We stand in support of free nations who respect the rights of their people and do not threaten their neighbors. And we treat our allies like allies.


The most effective application of strength is that which is rarely used. Our troops are already overstretched and our financial resources are limited. An America that is capable and ready, and backs up what it says, won’t have to take action all that often. The world’s bad actors will know we are serious.

I think it’s clear by now that I am not going to score the best of all the candidates on media pop quizzes about the details of current international events. Some have claimed that I take some sort of perverse satisfaction in not knowing all these details. That is not true. I want to know as much as I can. But a leader leads by gathering all the information available in a given situation, and making the best decision at the time based on that information, and in accordance with sound principles. As president, I would not be required to make decisions on the spur of the moment based on a question from a reporter. I would make them the way I made them as a CEO – based on careful consideration of all the facts and the best advice of the best people.

But it is crucial to understand that my foreign policy decisions will always be based on the principles I have laid out here. That will not change, because these are the principles that best represent America’s heritage, and best advance our interests, as well as the interests of all freedom-loving nations and peoples.

I don't know if Herman Cain is even going to be in the running when Primary Season comes around, but I love his guiding principles for foreign policy. This is where I want the eventual GOP nominee to stand, and if he or she does, then I will be able to vote for that person and not just plug my nose and vote against the other guy the way I did in 2008.

America has been a great nation, but President Obama has hung a giant "Kick Me" sign around her neck. With a foreign policy like the one spelled out by Cain, America can go a long way toward removing that sign and having her greatness restored.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - A Parable

Occupy Wall Street started out as a supposedly peaceful protest by a bunch of clueless, radical '60s wannabes. And as this type of purposeless leftwing gathering tends to do, OWS degenerated into whining, filth, and finally rioting. Just like the Tea Party. Or not. Michelle Malkin has a pretty good roundup filed under her "Moonbats" category.

Over at Power Line, Scott Johnson posted this video. Its title is "Just After Halloween, 2011."

Johnson's comments following the video are perfect:

Given that citizens of lesser means always outnumber the rich, the classic political philosophers held that government based on majority rule was untenable. They were of the view that it would lead to organized theft from the wealthy by the democratic masses. Aristotle observed in The Politics, for example: “If the majority distributes among itself the things of a minority, it is evident that it will destroy the city.”

The Founders of the United States were deep students of politics and history, and they shared Aristotle’s concern. Up through their time, history had shown all known democracies to be “incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.” James Madison and his colleagues held that the “first object of government” was to protect the rights of property.

They understood the protection of property rights to be bound up with freedom itself. “In a word,” Madison explained, “as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights….” The Founders thus incorporated numerous provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to protect the property rights of citizens from the power of the government.

Whatever else might be said about him, President Obama operates on a different philosophy of government from that of the Founders. His credo is reflected in the proposition: “I think at some point you have made enough money.” By contrast, the Founders thought that at some point the government had enough power. They created a system of government that was meant to establish protections against the likes of President Obama and the OWS crowd.

I'd say that 2013 can't come soon enough, but the politicians who have a track record of actually slashing government spending aren't the ones who are running. And the ones who are in the race have been ever so eager in the past to take away our candy and give it to Barry and the other kids in the neighborhood. I can't say I'm optimistic.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Games Men Play

I went on a date last weekend. It's been a while, since before the trip with my mom, and I'd forgotten some of the dynamics involved. Of course, I've had a few reminders because my roommate has been seeing a wonderful man (Hi, my roomie's gentleman friend!) for a few months, so I've been able to do a little observing. It's been nice seeing how well he treats her, so my protective instincts haven't been needed at all.

Men, in general, like to talk about how women, in general, play games when it comes to dating and relationships. We have a bad reputation in the eyes of the opposite sex, who conveniently forget all about their favorite Post-First Date Game. I'm in the middle of that one right now.

The PFD Game doesn't get played every time, to be honest. One time I went on a first date with a guy I knew from the Singles group I attended. We went out for dinner and a movie and had a great time, but we both knew it wasn't going to go anywhere. There wasn't any chemistry. He didn't call me back for another date, for which I was thankful. And we continued to be friends without any awkwardness at all.

In contrast, there was another first date I had with a man I didn't really know very well but who, in the course of conversation, said he was a Christian. He brought me flowers and took me to a nice restaurant and let me know that he was hoping I would go away with him on weekends to the different resorts owned by the company he worked for.

Ummm.... No. I told him there was no way that would happen. He called me later that week, which I didn't want him to do, and I told him nicely at first that I wasn't what he was looking for. When he didn't get the message, I said point-blank that I didn't want to see him anymore. After the phone call, I felt such great relief that I didn't have to go through that again.

And then he called again the next week! And I had to go through the agony of telling him all over again, because he didn't understand me any better the second time than he had the first. He finally stopped calling, but I was afraid to go out with anyone for a long time after that.

There's a message I tried to drum into my girls (my daughter and the two of her friends who each lived with us for a while): If a man will pressure you to give him what he wants before marriage, he's not the right man. The kind of man who will put his own desires ahead of your best interest before marriage is the kind of man who will put his own desires ahead of yours and the kids' best interest after marriage. You must read that kind of relentless pressure as a giant red flag and RUN, not walk, away from the relationship.

But, of course, you should never bring up that or any remotely related topics on the first date. Which I somehow managed to do last week.

I knew this guy before he asked me out about as well as I knew the first guy I mentioned above. He's a very nice man, and we went to a restaurant. I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say that I said something that might have been OK, except that the conversation just kept going into the Territory That Must Not Be Discussed On A First Date. And all those things that your mother or grandmother or favorite aunt (or The Rules, if you didn't have a maternal-type to explain this) told you not to bring up, I said those things. And he was really sweet, but my goodness! I stuck my foot in my mouth so far, it came out my ears.

As we parted (again, no details), he kicked off the PFD Game: He said, "I'll call you."

The Game has rules that women aren't privy to and usually only learn the hard way. When he says he'll call, he does NOT mean tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. He means not before Wednesday at the absolute soonest.

It's a test. You. Must. Not. Call. Him.

If you call him, you lose. Game over. Buh bye.

You must wait. Longer than you can stand, and then wait some more. And the whole time, you're wondering if you said something stupid (OK, I'm not wondering that - I did say it) that turned him off or if there was some deal-breaker that flashed like a neon sign in his mind, and you alternate between feeling defeated because he's not going to call and trying to convince yourself that he really will call just as soon as whatever is keeping him busy gets cleared up.

But what keeps him from calling usually isn't what you said. It's the Cave Time portion of the Game. This begins the moment he finishes saying he'll call.

Cave Time is something men need that women can't comprehend. Men withdraw into their cave to process what just happened. They don't talk things through with their friends the way women do. He'll stay in his cave as long as he needs to, and when he's ready he'll come out and give you a call. Or not.

Where am I in the PFD Game? He hasn't called, so I'm alternating between being sure he saw some deal-breakers and trying to convince myself of the perfectly good reasons why I shouldn't expect a call before this coming week. I'm busy not getting my hopes up so I don't get disappointed too badly if he decides my foot-in-mouth condition is way too unattractive.

What I'm not doing is calling him. By not calling, the Game is still on. I still have that small shred of hope to hang onto, because it's not game over. Not yet.