Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Amazing Mark Steyn is Amazing

Mark Steyn weighs in on the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut without giving his own theories about the root causes, theories he says are "no doubt as ignorant and irrelevant as everybody else's."

What he does give is some historical perspective relating to the ignorant theories being bandied about by both the Left and the Right, as well as a reminder about the realities of human nature. In this column, Steyn resists his usual tendency to be irreverent and is sensitive toward the families who lost their children last week.

"Lullay, Thou little tiny Child
By by, lully, lullay..."

The 16th-century Coventry Carol, a mother's lament for her lost son, is the only song of the season about the
other children of Christmas – the first-born of Bethlehem, slaughtered on Herod's orders after the Magi brought him the not-so-glad tidings that an infant of that city would grow up to be King of the Jews. As Matthew tells it, even in a story of miraculous birth, in the midst of life is death.... Then a century ago the Catholic Encyclopedia started digging into the numbers. The estimated population of Bethlehem at that time was around a thousand, which would put the toll of first-born sons under the age of 2 murdered by King Herod at approximately 20 – or about the same number of dead children as one school shooting on a December morning in Connecticut.

At the same time, Steyn is pointed in his criticism of the politicians and pundits rushing to push their favorite agendas.

The Left now seizes on every atrocity as a cudgel to beat whatever happens to be the Right's current hottest brand: Tucson, Arizona, was something to do with Sarah Palin's use of metaphor and other common literary devices – or "toxic rhetoric," as Paul Krugman put it; Aurora, Colorado, was something to do with the Tea Party, according to Brian Ross of ABC News. Since the humiliations of November, the Right no longer has any hot brands, so this time round the biens pensants have fallen back on "gun culture." Dimwit hacks bandy terms like "assault weapon," "assault rifle," "semi-automatic" and "automatic weapon" in endlessly interchangeable but ever more terrifying accumulations of high-tech state-of-the-art killing power....

Nor am I persuaded by the Right's emphasis on pre-emptive mental-health care. It's true that, if your first reaction on hearing breaking news of this kind is to assume the perpetrator is a male dweeb in his early twenties with poor socialization skills, you're unlikely to be wrong. But, in a society with ever fewer behavioral norms, who's to say what's odd?

Be sure to read the whole thing, because I've left out so much of the best of what he writes. He wraps up the column this way:

Meanwhile, the atheists have put up a new poster in Times Square: Underneath a picture of Santa, "Keep the Merry"; underneath a picture of Christ, "Dump the Myth." But in our time even Christians have dumped a lot of the myth while keeping the merry: Jesus, lambs, shepherds, yes; the slaughtered innocents of Bethlehem, kind of a downer. If the Christmas story is a myth, it's a perfectly constructed one, rooting the Savior's divinity in the miracle of His birth but unblinkered, in Matthew's account of Herod's response, about man's darker impulses:

"Then woe is me

Poor Child, for Thee
And ever mourn and may
For Thy parting
Nor say nor sing
By by, lully, lullay."

The World is Still Here

I woke up this morning with a headache. That means that at no time during December 21, 2012, did the world come to an end. Not when midnight first came to Kiribati or Tonga or New Zealand, and not when 11:59 pm faded away on Attu Island.

It also means that, in my half-asleep, pained condition this morning as I lay in bed, I sort of wished it had come to an end, because then I'd be in heaven without a headache. But a nice dose of Excedrin and trying to work the kinks out of my stiff neck - which is the source of almost all of my headaches - have left me in a much better disposition about still breathing the air of the earth that's still spinning around the sun.

Here's what I don't understand about the true believers (and even the half-believers) in the Mayan Apocalypse: they hoarded bottled water and toilet paper and other survivalist supplies. I heard about it from people who heard about it on the news or from people who knew people who were doing the hoarding.

Why would you hoard??? The. World. Is. Ending.

That's what they thought, anyway. And when the world ends, it ceases to exist, so there's no need to drink water or use toilet paper or hide out in a protected part of your house, shooting at looters who have come to take your stash.

I had a dream one time, when I had been married about a year, back in the late 1970's, and in my dream I heard on the radio or the TV news broadcast that the world was in the process of ending. So I went to the front door of my house, opened it, and stood in the doorway and watched. Off in the distance of my neighborhood, a fog denser and higher than any I'd seen was very slowly moving toward me. As it engulfed each house, each yard, each fence, I knew that those things were gone - swallowed up and erased from existence.

There was no panic, no neighbors screaming and running for their lives. It was a peaceful end in a silent fog that eventually moved to my doorstep, and I felt a sense of awe that just inside the fog an arm's reach from where I stood was nothing, because everything had disappeared. And now it was my turn, and then I woke up, not frightened at all.

I'm sure that when the world does end, it won't be like that. It won't be some slowly moving fog that saves me for last. But at the same time, I'm pretty sure it will be like that. When God sends the new heaven and the new earth, it will be filled with peace - the peace that passes understanding.

Until then, my head is feeling better, and I have some decisions to make about what to do for Christmas dinner. I'll probably head back to Costco to pick up a ham, and I'm hoping it won't be as busy as it would have been without the Mayan thing, because after all, there are quite a few people out there who won't be needing to buy toilet paper for a long time.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

My daughter has a great post on her new Tumblr blog, where she talks about (among other things) New Year's resolutions. This is the point she made that got me thinking:

So, I have a challenge. For me, but you can definitely jump on this bandwagon:

Use December as a head-start and decide on one or two resolutions that you can begin today.

This is brilliant! Especially for that one category of resolution resolvers: the January Gym-Goers.

Every year, vast numbers of people make that same resolution. "This year," they say, "I'm REALLY going to get into shape." So they join a gym, or they rediscover that auto-pay gym membership that they never could bring themselves to cancel because they might actually go there again, and they head out on New Year's Day (or maybe the day after) and start working out.

The problem is that it clogs up the gym for themselves and all the year-round regulars, and everybody grumbles about not being able to get to the desirable machines, and nobody likes going there when it's crowded, and so the weak-willed stop going. And by February everything is back to the way it was before New Year's.

So I say to you January people, why not change it up this year and start in December? According to Cassey Ho of Blogilates fame, who used to work at a gym, December is the month with the lowest gym attendance. Since you're only going to work out for a month anyway, why not enjoy it by going now when you can get to all the good machines? Then, when you get tired of exercise (because, really, who even likes it?), you'll be quitting right when it becomes super-ultra crowded. It's the best of both worlds!

Besides, by the end of December you might decide that you like it so much you want to keep on going. You might even be willing to put up with all those other January-only people, since now you know how good it will be again in February. And THEN... you might actually get into shape the way you want to.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Obama Wins

"[Mitt Romney] and his team --and especially his remarkable and wonderful family-- sacrificed so much and worked so hard that is very difficult not to feel disillusioned with a country so unwilling to confront its deep problems and trust a virtuous man to lead it."

-- Hugh Hewitt

Normally I'm an optimist. I have a positive attitude, but on occasion that can get stripped away. This is one of those occasions.

In 2008, right after the election, I posted this. I just went back and reviewed it, and most of my predictions about the results of an Obama presidency have proven correct. And they're still trying to get the others accomplished.

The thing I don't appear to have mentioned, either in that post or any other one, was the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy for the end times. Do I think Obama is the Antichrist? No. But there was a moment during the campaign of 2008 when Obama said something in a speech that triggered an image in my mind. He indicated a desire to abandon America's support of Israel and to side with Israel's enemies, and I could see the forces of the world amassed around Israel to destroy her.

Until the election of Obama, America had always been a steadfast ally of Israel. According to End Times prophecy, there will come a time when Israel stands alone, without any allies, and that's when the world will come to attack and destroy her. As long as America is her ally, that time cannot come. But Obama is working on clearing a pathway to that time.

I'm not saying it will come during the next four years, or even the next forty, but the re-election of Barack Obama has made the path a wider, smoother one.

And his re-election has made the economy, energy independence, and all the rest a whole lot suckier.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Quote of the Day

"There hasn't been one day during the entire Obama presidency when as many Americans were working as on the day President Bush left office."

-- Edward Lazear, Economist

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tooling Up

Back in 2003, before the real estate bubble burst, I sold my house and moved to the other end of town. I paid a moving company to do the move, and the movers ended up packing up the garage into boxes, because I had barely finished getting the inside of the house packed up in time.

Quite some time after we got settled in the new place, I needed to use my tools for something or other, but when I looked through all the garage boxes, my tool kit was gone. It was a set of Craftsman tools - sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers and some miscellaneous stuff in a nice, compact case. All of it gone.

It was much too late by then to file a complaint with the moving company, but I was able to get by with the few screwdrivers that had made their way into the house before I moved. I think I bought a cheap hammer at Home Depot, and between that and the screwdrivers, I was set.

Six years later, I sold that house and moved in with my now-former roomie, and she had a cute little pink tool kit in her garage. I had to give my hammer to our next-door neighbor, because I had borrowed hers before I finished moving in (my hammer was still at the old house), and I broke it. Apparently hers was even cheaper than mine.

Since my roomie got married and took her cute little pink took kit with her, that left me with the one phillips screwdriver and my roomie's hammer that she left behind with a few other things. I used these two tools to assemble a cheap coffee table, but I kept the matching end tables in their boxes until I could get the moving boxes out of the living room (almost done!).

Last week I decided that it was time for the end tables to get put together, but by then I had misplaced the screwdriver, an essential item for table assembly. So I concluded that it was probably time to get a new tool set. I went online to Sears (gotta have Craftsman) and saw that they had their tools on sale, so I ordered an 8-piece set of screwdrivers (four phillips, four slotted), a 12-piece set of combination wrenches (they were the same price as the 9-piece set, so what the heck), and a hammer. Then I went down to Sears and picked up my order and was a happy camper.

Of course, now Sears has joined the parade of companies who send me emails telling me about their specials. Best Buy, Albertsons, Souplantation, and some others really love me and long for me to come and visit and spend more money. Normally, I just check the box by these emails and send them over to a folder where I don't have to look at them in my inbox anymore. But Sears has managed to make their subject lines enough of a teaser ("Look what we've picked out for you!") that I actually look at them first before I send them to join their compadres in the "Ordered Stuff" folder.

A couple days ago, I looked at one of their emails, and it was full of expensive tool sets that I couldn't possibly imagine ever needing. And I noticed, down at the bottom of the email, where they asked me for my opinion on whether their choices for me were good ones. They had five stars, ranging from "Not At All" to some enthusiastic version of "Yes" that I don't remember because it wasn't my answer. I clicked on the star that was slightly better than Not At All, and it took me to a survey asking for more information.

The survey asked me to choose the selection that matched the type of disappointment I felt, and below that was a text box for more information. Did I have an opinion for them? You bet I did! Here's the box I checked:

"Included products I was not interested in."

In the text box I wrote:

"I bought tools that I needed. Now I don't need them, but you're showing me more tools. This is not helpful, because I am a woman and the need to buy lots of tools is not in my DNA."

I think it worked, because today they sent me another email ("Think you've seen it all? Here are more great deals from Sears!"). Inside, they showed me a bunch of non-iPad tablets. We're making progress...

Monday, June 04, 2012


I get spam email a couple times a day, which isn't bad considering the volume I got on my old email address many years ago. The spam I get now is easy to detect, because they use a bunch of Danish-looking characters and kooky accent marks in the titles. They think things like "viågra" or "hot støck tips" will get them past the spam detectors more easily. And I suppose those things do.

But today I got spammed in Norwegian. Not just Norwegian characters, but the whole thing was written in that language.

How do I know that's the language? Because it's signed by someone at ""

What's really cool is that I kind of understand what they're trying to get from me.

She starts off with, "Hei," which must mean, "Hi." Am I good, or what?

In the first sentence, there's this: "introdusere meg selv," and then she gives her name. It's a girl name.

The curious part is this sentence: "Jeg jobber som en SEO manager for Norwegian SEO." Did she forget halfway through that she's writing in Norwegian? That's quite a "jobber" to be a manager.

"Jeg gjennomfører en undersøkelse for en av mine partnere..." I'm pretty sure "Jeg" means "I," and OK maybe "for" is a Norwegian word too. And that at the end must mean, "my partner," and a little later she says, "interessante forslag." I don't know what a "forslag" is, but it's interesting, all right, because that comes right after she spells out my blog's web address.

And then later on she says, "Som en SEO ekspert driver jeg kvalitetssider som kan matche og hjelpe siden din til å få høyere rangering og trafikk." Well, that explains a lot. Their expert driver something, something, can match or help something, something rangering or traffic.

Yeah, I'm all over that mutual assist with generating more traffic for each others' websites, because we're practically sisters now. If I'm "interessert," I'll be sure to have her "sende deg mer informasjon."

Right after I delete her spam.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

America's Constitution

Yesterday's weekly column by Clark S. Judge, at Hugh Hewitt's blog, is a sobering look at where our nation's constitution is headed. Here it is in its entirety:

The Constitutional Convention and The 2012 Election by Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute

Today is Monday, May 14. In 1787, also on Monday, May 14th, in Philadelphia, the Constitutional Convention held its opening session.

Now, two hundred and twenty five years later, we are engaged in a great presidential campaign that, at its most essential level, is about the future of the governmental system the delegates to that convention wrought. For in the last four years we have seen challenges to the long accepted meaning of many of the features and guarantees of the Philadelphia constitution.

In no particular order, here are examples:

The manner of recent presidential appointments including to the National Labor Relations Board challenged widely shared understandings about the constitutionally mandated advice and consent role of the Senate.

The expansive and aggressive use of regulation – for example, EPA’s moves to reclassify CO2 as a pollutant because of its supposed impact on climate after Congress had repeatedly rejected similar proposals – has challenged the line between legislative and executive powers.

By overriding bondholders, this administration’s federal auto bailout arguably challenged long understood constitutional limits to taking property without due process and upset the constitutionally mandated uniform rules of bankruptcy.

By requiring Catholic and other religiously affiliated institutions to provide health coverage that violated basic denominational beliefs, federal Obamacare challenged the widely understood standards of religious liberty.

In this year’s state of the union address, the president suggested that during a second term he would compel states to accept his spending priorities as their own, anticipating a challenge to the constitutional concept of federalism, as long understood.

As former White House counsel Boyden Gray has pointed out, the framing of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill that the administration championed so vigorously challenges fundamental constitutional rules regarding judicial review.

As Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested in the recent high court hearings on the administration’s signature health care legislation, the central feature of Obamacare challenges the long-established relationship between the government and the citizen, in other words, basic constitutional understandings of liberty.

Reading the record of the Philadelphia deliberations, you can’t help but be struck at how seriously the Framers took the purposes detailed in the Constitution’s preamble: “form a more perfect union… establish justice… insure domestic tranquility… provide for the common defense… promote the general welfare… secure the blessings of liberty.” These terms come up repeatedly in their debates as failures of government under the Articles of Confederation and as the goals for their project.

Would they have said that the Fast and Furious program is an example of establishing justice?

Would they have agreed that radically downsizing the Navy provides for the common defense?

Is a reelection campaign designed to stoke animosity between economic and social groups consistent with insuring domestic tranquility?

Most of all, perhaps, when our senior military officer names the national debt our biggest national security challenge… when bond rating agencies downgrade the country’s credit standing… when major federal trust funds are careening toward bankruptcy… when general fund deficits and debt are projected permanently to top levels previously seen only in the single most expensive year of World War II, thanks to spending beyond levels we have ever seen, at least in peacetime… is utterly refusing to address any element of this spending crisis an example of providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare or securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity?

These are not just my questions. In calls around the country over the last few weeks, I have repeatedly heard anxiety expressed about the future of America’s fundamental institutions: the open economy, the family, religious liberty, as well as the Constitution.

Yes, anemic economic growth and the lack of job creation are major worries, too. Many ask, how could the administration have spent so much money for, we were told, stimulating the economy and got so little for it?

Granting all that, still I wonder, is it too much to say that this election is shaping up into a new Constitutional Convention, in which we the people will decide the character of our country for generations to come?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Governor Holds Citizens Hostage

The AP reported Saturday that California's deficit is unexpectedly larger than the state government anticipated.

California's budget deficit has swelled to a projected $16 billion — much larger than had been predicted just months ago — and will force severe cuts to schools and public safety if voters fail to approve tax increases in November, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday.

The Democratic governor said the shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January in part because tax collections have not come in as high as expected and the economy isn't growing as fast as hoped for. The deficit has also risen because lawsuits and federal requirements have blocked billions of dollars in state cuts.

Naturally, when there's a deficit, elected officials' first inclination is to threaten the children of the state and the public safety. They say, "Give us more of your money in the form of increased taxes, or people will die."

Their first thought is never in the area of cutting out the deadwood from the mindless bureaucracies that flood the state with surliness in DMV and unemployment offices. They never think of cutting the legislature's staff by, say, one clerk per State Assemblyman or State Senator. Maybe it's more accurate to simply say they never think.

It hasn't occurred to our government that the reason for much of the shortfall is that people and businesses are leaving the state because the taxes are already too high. Enough businesses have already either left or folded that people can't find work. Without work, those people have no taxes to pay. And the businesses that aren't here anymore aren't paying taxes either.

In my Bible study group of about 18 - 20 people, two have already left the state. One went to Tennessee and the other to Texas because they weren't able find enough work here to keep a roof over their heads. A third is returning home to Wisconsin this month after finishing cooking school. She hasn't been able to find a job as the pastry chef she was trained to be (and she's good!), and Wal-Mart doesn't pay enough to keep her here.

That's three people whose tax money won't be available to make up California's deficit, and if the state raises tax rates, even more people will be taking their money elsewhere.

But Governor Moonbeam and the Democrat-controlled legislature haven't got a clue. Lord, help those of us who have to stay!

Happy Mothers Day!

This is for all the mothers, ESPECIALLY for mine. Have a wonderful Mothers Day!

Unfortunately, some on the political left are tarnishing the meaning of the day with their disgusting request that people support women's right to destroy their children in the womb.

But I'm not going to leave you with that thought. On a much happier note, today is Bella Santorum's birthday. Here is what her older sister, Elizabeth, wrote about the occasion. It's beautiful:

Happy Birthday, Bella.

Friday, April 27, 2012

What the Heck?

I left work Wednesday, running a little late for my chiropractor appointment, and went to my car. It was parked in the gravel-and-dirt parking lot behind the building, where employees are supposed to park so that patients can have the good parking spots in front. This parking lot does not have trees. It also is not near the building. This is what I found when I got to my car:

Here's a closer look:

I said, "What the heck???"

It's as though an entire flock of birds stopped mid-air to hover over the back of my car and bird-bomb it. And neither of the cars next to me was hit, except a few tiny drops of excess splatter on the one to my right.

How does this happen? Was it one bird on a horrible rampage? Was there a loud noise that scared the... you know... out of a flock of birds? What the heck was going on over my car???

I didn't have much time for contemplation or mystery solving, because I had to get to Dr. Magic Hands.

When I got home, I grabbed my camera and got pictures.

Thankfully, overnight we had some rain, so it washed away the worst of the white and left all those little yellow dots that don't want to come off, even with the gas station squeegee. Still, it's better than it was at first sight.

But that's not the end of the story, because Thursday the Corporate Communications department communicated with all the employees that we could get a FREE CAR WASH!

I called the lady on the email and told her my shocking story, and she said that God must be apologizing to me. She might be right. I went to her office and picked up my car wash card (valid Monday to Thursday):

I don't know what an Average Joe Express Car Wash is, exactly, but I'll be finding out soon. Probably Monday.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pain in the Butt

I have one.

You know how some famous people only have one name? Like Cher or Madonna? My pain has one name too: Sciatica, and she's doing me wrong.

The pain started over a week ago, on the Friday that's my first date of the month with my chiropractor, Dr. Magic Hands. (I allow myself two visits a month whether I need them or not, which I always do, but they're usually for my stiff neck - kind of an Old Testament thing.)

I told Dr. Hands (not his real name) where it hurt, a couple inches below my waist on the right side, and he said that was my sacroiliac joint. Having taken Medical Terminology and Anatomy & Physiology, I actually knew what he was saying and how to spell it. He adjusted me, and I felt much better.

But I didn't stay fixed. The pain was back by morning and, over the course of the next week, it moved downward where it lodged in my gluteus muscle and the back of my thigh and knee, with the occasional shooting pain along the sole of my foot (the WORST!).

This past Friday (no date with Dr. H.) I googled sciatica treatment and found a link to WebMD, where they said to go see a doctor if it hadn't gone away in a week. So I called Kaiser, and they sent me to their urgent clinic to see one of the doctors who used to work at one of my work's clinics, so that was pretty cool seeing someone I knew.

She gave me a prescription for Vicodin and a muscle relaxer. I'm only supposed to take the muscle relaxer at bedtime, and I think that's a good idea. I remember a guy I used to work with a really long time ago, after he hurt his back doing judo, he came to work after taking muscle relaxers. He called them his "happy pills" and decided he'd better go back home after a couple hours of doing nothing at work besides floating around a couple feet off the ground (or so it seemed to him).

The Vicodin, though, is another story. Everybody keeps warning me about this medication's addictive nature, but I'm not sure I get it. They take quite a while to start cutting down on the pain, maybe an hour or more when I really want it NOW. Over the weekend, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday sleeping on the couch. On Sunday, since the sciatica hurts the most when I'm sitting, I decided to skip Sunday School and just go for the 10:00 service. I got up at my regular time, did the normal morning routine of shower and breakfast, took my meds, curled up on the loveseat for a little nap, and when I woke up momentarily, church had already started. Darn! Missed it. The next time I woke up, it was 3:30pm, and the day was mostly gone.

Other people get La-La Land on Vicodin. I get knock-out drops. Where's the fun in that? Just as well, I suppose, because I won't be tempted to abuse them.

I'm hoping this pain in the butt disappears just as quickly as it arrived. Permanence would be an extremely bad thing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Departing Words

Not mine. In spite of my lack of recent blogging, I'm not going anywhere.

These departing words are from Michael "Flathead" Blanchard, from the obituary he appears to have written for himself, which appeared in the Denver Post on April 12, 2012.

Blanchard, Michael "Flathead"
1944 ~ 2012

A Celebration of the life of Michael "Flathead" Blanchard will be held on April 14th, 3 pm 8160 Rosemary St, Commerce City. Weary of reading obituaries noting someone's courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors' orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.

There's more.

I love the defiance this describes. I can't quite relate (except for the stubbornness), but there's something compelling about someone who lives life on his own terms instead of meekly showing up to do what "they" tell him to do.

Life coaches, success instructors, and motivational speakers often encourage their audiences to write the eulogy they would like to have delivered at their own funeral. Then they're told to live in such a way as to make that true.

It looks like Mike did just that. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though I'll get a chance to meet him after I'm gone. Such a shame...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Clark Judge on the State of the Union

Clark Judge's Monday post at Hugh Hewitt's site hits a home run. Here it is in full:

SOTU: Did I hear that right?
By Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute.

It sounded like such a soft, even conservative speech.

But let me get this straight:

1) banks will be punished (do I understand this right, by a committee headed by Eric Holder?) if their lending is too risky,

2) and they will be required (by the same committee) to give more home loans (meaning, it must be, to people who would otherwise not qualify for the loans, or else the government would not have to be involved) at lower rates (which means rates that do not compensate them as much as the market says they need to be compensated for the risks they are taking, all of which sounds like a new edition of the policies that brought on the financial collapse),

3) which must mean that they will have to pull back on risky lending someplace other than homes,

4) the only place that most banks would be able to pull back on riskier customers would be loans to small and new businesses,

5) but these are the businesses that have created just about all the jobs over the last 20 years and he said early in the speech he wants to encourage them,

6) so maybe their growth capital will come from selling stock to the kinds of people who invest in new and small businesses,

7) but through the Buffet Rule he’s going to double the tax rate on investment income for those people, meaning that, like the banks, they can’t be fully compensated for the risk of backing small and new businesses,

8) so they will not invest more in small and new companies but in big established firms,

9) so more of those small and new firms will have to turn to the government for capital,

10) which luckily he said would up its investing in early stage businesses with “the best” ideas,

11) “the best” ideas meaning, I guess, as with Solyndra, ideas that advance his agenda through companies whose owners support his candidacy),

11) (sic) or maybe it would be companies that agree to invite unionization (since the unions have failed to organize the new and dynamic sectors of the economy, which is why they have been shrinking),

12) but then with the big businesses, he wants to punish American companies if they invest overseas,

13) and he wants to increase exports,

14) but being competitive in the global markets often means having part of your production near your markets, which is why many companies have opened production facilities abroad and many foreign companies (BMW and Honda, for example) have opened their facilities here,

15) so he’ll make these companies less competitive, meaning less able to export anything that might be paired with some other product the company makes abroad in order to attract buyers,

16) and it also means he’ll have the U.S. ignoring many of the international trading rules of which we have been the principal sponsor since the end of WWII, rules that have led to an incredible growth in widely shared wealth all over the planet,

17) which means that, if he follows through, he’ll blow up the post-WWII global economic system,

18) which in the very short run may help the uncompetitive American labor unions but in the not-so-long run would devastate every economy on earth,

19) but it would also mean he would be in a position to decide where big companies could invest, and when, just as he’ll be in control of all new and small businesses, too,

20) meanwhile he is going to tell states and localities what their budget priorities should be,

21) and make them adopt his policies for running their schools, leaving me to wonder, when he’s through, what won’t he control?

I believe that’s what I heard the president advocate last night. But one term I didn’t hear, maybe I missed it: “The Constitution.” Then again, wasn’t he suggesting that, in brave times like these, we need to put aside those old rules. Do I have this straight?

Yes, I think he does.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1000 Days

I saw this at Power Line:

Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, notes that the last time the Senate passed a budget, “you had never heard of the iPad, Tiger Woods was only known for his golfing abilities, General Motors had never declared bankruptcy, you had never heard of Swine flu. And the national debt was $4 trillion smaller than it is today.

Here's his point in a quick visual:

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires the President to submit the annual budget to Congress each year by February 1st (see p. 6-7), and it requires Congress to pass a budget before the new fiscal year begins on October 1st. Every year. It's required. By law.

The Democrats in the Senate have been defying federal law for 1000 days now, and the press isn't doing a thing to hold them accountable. It's discouraging seeing what's happening to our country. I don't really want to watch...

Back Again

One weekend when I was 20, my husband and I were working on the bicycles. I reached over my bike, grabbed the frame, and lifted it to turn it upside down. My lumbar region felt as though it had been blasted by lightning, and I spent the rest of the day flat on my stomach in bed.

That was the moment my back troubles began.

I can go years without having any back pain, and then one day I'll twist or bend funny and WHAM! My back screams at me again.

A couple weeks ago I walked into the bathroom at night to brush my teeth and felt a little twinge in the back of my waist. No big deal. But later that night I felt a few more twinges, so I decided it wasn't a bad idea to get the chiropractic gel-pack out of the freezer and lean against it while I sat in my spot on the loveseat and watched some streaming TV shows on Netflix. Just in case, really.

By morning, though, my back was in full-Psycho mode, and for the first time in the two and a half years at my job, I took a sick day. I spent the day alternating between icing my back and giving the gel-pack a chance to re-freeze. By the next morning, my back had improved to a steady band of lightning across my waist, so I headed off to work with my gel-pack and walked around the office like an old lady.

It's been a slow recovery, but every day has been an improvement over the previous one. Sunday I wore heels to church without any ill effects. (Yay! I hate flats! I feel frumpy when I wear them.) So this week it's heels again at work. Life is good.

But I have a new BFF (sorry, girlfriends!). It's my gel-pack. She and I still hang out together a few times a day. I don't have the courage yet to end that relationship.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

An Inauspicious Beginning

This morning when I left for church, I put the key in the deadbolt on the outside of the door, locked the knob on the security screen door, pulled the door shut, and then shut the screen door. With my keys still in the deadbolt. Locked inside the screen door.

And this was not the first time I've done that.

All my keys are on the same key ring, so I couldn't go anywhere in my car. My roommate had already gone to her church an hour before, so I called her and left a message asking her to call me right away to let me know when she'd be home. But since I hadn't reached her, I called my daughter.

She was home and was happy to hang out with me. I sat outside reading my Nook until she arrived, and then we headed for the movie theater. On our way there, I got a call from my roommate, who hadn't listened to my message. She was worried, because she got home from church and found my keys in the door. I assured her I was fine.

My daughter and I went to see Mission Impossible VIII or whatever number they're on now. It was good (much better than Sherlock Holmes II), except I couldn't quite handle the window scene in Dubai.

After the movie, we went out for lunch and then stopped at home to pick up my keys so I could take them to Home Depot to get duplicates made of the two house keys (screen door, front door). Now that I've locked myself out twice, it's no longer a fluke but a pattern. And patterns must be addressed.

When I was finished getting the extra keys made and tested in the doors, I dropped them in a zippered spot in my purse. If I ever lock my keys in the door like that again, I'll be able to get them unlocked, since I never go anywhere without my purse. Problem solved!

But it's not the best start to the new year, because not only was my first real action of the year such a boneheaded one, I also missed church entirely. It's a good thing I don't believe in omens, or I'd be facing an absent-minded, heathen year. Instead, I see it as a sign that things will only get better.

Have a very happy 2012!