October 11, 2005
My mother has 4 cats. Recently, she adopted a fifth: Penny, a tiny little spit of a Maine Coon female. Penny had been abandoned in my mom's neighborhood, but had been fortunate enough to stumble onto my mother's deck. My mom fed her and took her in. The first visit to the veternarian's office provided the same bit of information that Tacitus had: Penny had an irregular heartbear, a 5 on a scale of 10. The vet said that she might live 15 years if her luck held. It was about twice 15 days. My mom left in the morning, with Penny sitting up in the window sill, watching my mom's car drive away. When she arrived home that afternoon, my mother found Penny dead, stretched out in her window seat. The short time together didn't matter. What did matter was the impact that my mother and Penny had on each other.
I have no words of comfort to offer; they'd fall flat and wouldn't convey how sorry I am for Tacitus. All I can say is that it's five years that he'll always remember fondly, because friends have a way of making things better.
Rest in peace, Oscar.
October 10, 2005
I'll grant you that - in print- I'm not a laugh riot, but claiming that conservatives aren't funny, while simultaneously stating that the left is the sole repository of humor, defies belief. I give you the following:
On the left
(Sorry, no links to the dipshit gallery)
If this were baseball, they'd have implemented the slaugher rule before it began. Some of my leftist friends are funny, funny guys, but by and large, the vast majority of lefties are humorless, ill-mannered twits, whose only source of amusement seems to be saying "Chimpy BusHitler...BWAHAHA!" as if it's best joke ever, and who believe, lack of evidence notwithstanding, that Al Franken is actually amusing. He once was, of course, but now he's just boring.
It's a bummer that I can't classify my commenter as a troll, because it was a fairly polite, if off the reservation insane. I look forward to more moonbattery in the future; I need the occassional laugh.
Conservatives shouldn't care about her personal views on issues if they can convince themselves that she agrees with Chief Justice John Roberts's view of a judge's role: that cases should be decided the way an umpire calls balls and strikes, without rooting for either team. But the evidence of Ms. Miers's views on jurisprudence resemble a beach on which someone has walked without leaving any footprints: no court opinions, no law review articles, and no internal memos that President Bush is going to share with the Senate.
It is traditional for nominees to remain silent until their confirmation hearings. But previous nominees, while unable to speak for themselves, have been able to deploy an array of people to speak persuasively on their behalf. In this case, the White House spin team has been pathetic, dismissing much of the criticism of Ms. Miers as "elitism" or even echoing Democratic senators who view it as "sexist." But it was Richard Land , president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who went so far as to paint Ms. Miers as virtually a tool of the man who has been her client for the past decade. "In Texas, we have two important values, courage and loyalty," he told a conference call of conservative leaders last Thursday. "If Harriet Miers didn't rule the way George W. Bush thought she would, he would see that as an act of betrayal and so would she." That is an argument in her favor. It sounds more like a blood oath than a dignified nomination process aimed at finding the most qualified individual possible .
But that ignores the fact that every Republican president over the past half century has stumbled when it comes to naming nominees to the high court. Consider the record:
After leaving office, Dwight Eisenhower was asked by a reporter if he had made any mistakes as president. "Two," Ike replied. "They are both on the Supreme Court." He referred to Earl Warren and William Brennan, both of whom became liberal icons.
Richard Nixon personally assured conservatives that Harry Blackmun would vote the same way as his childhood friend, Warren Burger. Within four years, Justice Blackmun had spun Roe v. Wade out of whole constitutional cloth. Chief Justice Burger concurred in Roe, and made clear he didn't even understand what the court was deciding: "Plainly," he wrote, "the Court today rejects any claim that the Constitution requires abortions on demand."
Gerald Ford personally told members of his staff that John Paul Stevens was "a good Republican, and would vote like one." Justice Stevens has since become the leader of the court's liberal wing.
An upcoming biography of Sandra Day O'Connor by Supreme Court reporter Joan Biskupic includes correspondence from Ronald Reagan to conservative senators concerned about her scant paper trail. The message was, in effect: Trust me. She's a traditional conservative. From Roe v. Wade to racial preferences, she has proved not to be. Similarly, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation recalls the hard sell the Reagan White House made on behalf of Anthony Kennedy in 1987, after the Senate rejected Robert Bork. "They even put his priest on the phone with us to assure us he was solid on everything," Mr. Weyrich recalls. From term limits to abortion to the juvenile death penalty to the overturning of a state referendum on gay rights, Justice Kennedy has often disappointed conservatives.
Most famously, White House chief of staff John Sununu told Pat McGuigan, an aide to Mr. Weyrich, that the appointment of David Souter in 1990 would please conservatives. "This is a home run, and the ball is still ascending. In fact, it's just about to leave earth orbit," he told Mr. McGuigan. At the press conference announcing the appointment, the elder President Bush asserted five times that Justice Souter was "committed to interpreting, not making the law." The rest is history.
Harriet Miers is unquestionably a fine lawyer and a woman of great character. But her record on constitutional issues is nil, and it is therefore understandable that conservatives, having been burned at least seven times in the past 50 years, would be hesitant about supporting her nomination.
So go ahead, stick your fingers in your ears while shouting "LALALALA!" This president has asked me to "trust him". Well, in this instance, I don't. Color me a skeptic, but I don't wish to spend the next 20 years discussing the Miers' Mistake.
Fortunately, as we have not yet reached Nerdvana, there are a number of steps that a woman whose priority remains marriage and children can take in order to happily achieve those goals:
1) Don't engage in casual dating relationships after 18. They're fun, and they'll also prevent you from pursuing more fruitful relationships.
3) Settle earlier rather than later. I can't tell you how many women I know who blew off good men in their late teens and early 20s who now regret doing so. Those who are not still single at 35 are now married to men generally considered to be of lower quality than the men they spurned before. Remember, your choices narrow as you get older, while men's choices broaden.
4) Let everyone know that marriage and children is your ultimate goal. Too many women, fearing the wrath of the Sisterhood, secretly wish for them while publicly and piously professing feminist-approved cant to the contrary.
6) Don't hesitate to end relationships that aren't leading toward marriage, or with men who are less than completely positive about the near-term prospect of children. If he hasn't proposed in 18 months, he has no intention of doing so. Cut your losses. Most men know how to string women along and know they'll have no problem replacing you when you finally call their bluff. Never confuse the masculine desire for conflict avoidance with malleability.
Be brutal when assessing the men who are interested in you. Too many women make the mistake of looking only at a man's desirable traits and ignoring his weaknesses early on. But it's not the first kiss that matters it's the happily-ever-after part. The way he treats others is the way he will eventually treat you.
Let me address the points that I listed above in order:
#1: Friends of mine at work used to ask me, "Why don't you ask her out? She's hot and has the hots for you[note: this didn't happen often]. When I replied that I didn't see any future in such a relationship. other guys would look at me like I'd lost my mine. What I would tell them is that a 2-year relationship that tanks when you're 25 is a learning experience. A similar failed relationship when you're past the age of 30 is a waste, a lost opportunity to notice when the right one comes along. Consequently, I only had 3 relationships after the age of 30, all serious, with the last one becoming the best one: my wife. If I'd been busy chasing skirts, I probably wouldn't noticed when the real deal came around.
#3: Lots of women I knew in their 20's would routinely dump guys that were handsome, had good jobs and treated them like queens, replacing them with ill-mannered cads with whom they had "good chemistry". These women are now in their late thirties, lamenting the lack of "good guys". It offends them when I point out that they dumped plenty of good guys early on, but really, boo effing hoo. When they look back on the emotional wasteland that their lives have become, they need to realize their part in the whole mess instead of whining.
#4: This is true for both men and women. Before I proposed to my wife, I knew that she wanted children as much as I did, which was a good thing. Women aren't the only ones who want children, and men better make certain that their prospective spouse is on the same page.
#6: I met this smart, funny, pretty woman when I was at the GABF this year. She'd been living with a guy for four years, and they'd been dating for almost seven. I told her that her boyfriend better upgrade from girlfriend 1.0 to fiance 1.0 pronto; I told him the same thing, too. He seemed a little pissed that I'd broken the guy code, but too bad. Maybe because he's in his twenties he doesn't realize how many men are actively looking for intelligent, funny, pretty women, with marriage as the end goal. He'd better wise up, though, because it's a seller's market for that type of woman. Someone with a better head on his shoulders will come along and steal his girlfriend away from him, at which point he'll be lamenting the lack of free milk because, you know, all women are bitches.
I know, I know: I've lost some guy cred here. Too bad.
#8: I've lost count of the number of times women have complained to me about their SO's. The reality is that many women still harbor the illusion that they can bend a man to their will, and change him into what they want, rather than what the man actually is. A good friend of mine- okay, a former girlfriend- was living with a guy and told me the following:
"He's so nice some of the time. About 20% of the time, his real personality comes through and he's sweet and attentive. The rest of the time, though, he drinks too much and is a real bastard. I just wish that the real him would show up more often."
I made the point that if he was a dick most of the time, the odds were pretty high that he was, in fact, a dick. The fact that he was nice some of the time didn't make him a good guy, it made him a pretty good manipulator of someone who didn't look at the relationship through the lens of reality.
[I know what you're thinking, and no, my exceptional bluntness isn't what ended our relationship. In fact, we get along much better now as friends than we did as boyfriend/girlfriend.] The dose of reality helped her recognize that it was time to move on and she's been happily married to a really good guy for the last 4 years.
Vox's advice isn't just for women; men need to pay attention to what's important, too, or they'll end in the retirement community bragging about the year that they bagged 20 chicks, while looking on with resentment when the families of other seniors come to visit.
"Well, Billy, an unfortunate part of human history involves countries invading their neighbors to take control. This has happened in many parts of the world, including Europe, which has a long history of war. But remember that Indigenous Peoples were also prone to war and fighting to expand their control well before Europeans arrived."
"Well, Columbus is also responsible for many germs and diseases that Europeans brought to America, causing untold suffering and death among the people who were here before us."
"Have you been drinking too much caffeine lately, Billy?"
"America's history of environmental destruction can also be laid at Columbus' feet, dad. As soon as the Europeans colonized America's pristine lands, they cut down the trees and plowed up the fields. Can you say soil erosion, dad?"
"Son, did I ever tell you that you take after your mother's side?"
"And what about slavery? It was the Europeans who created a flourishing slave trade in America. They did it to develop the land cheaply, so they could make giant profits. Columbus even made slaves out of some of the Indigenous Peoples who attacked him and his men."
"Son, do you remember where your mother hid the bourbon?"
October 09, 2005
Update: And the Braves have written the most pathetic chapter of their How To Lose Big Games Without Even Trying bestseller.
October 07, 2005
A number of countries represented in Geneva, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran and several African states, insisted the US give up control, but it refused. The meeting "was going nowhere", Hendon says, and so the EU took a bold step and proposed two stark changes: a new forum that would decide public policy, and a "cooperation model" comprising governments that would be in overall charge.
Much to the distress of the US, the idea proved popular. Its representative hit back, stating that it "can't in any way allow any changes" that went against the "historic role" of the US in controlling the top level of the internet.
But the refusal to budge only strengthened opposition, and now the world's governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce.
I call bullshit. Who, exactly, is going to force the US to acquiesce to this power grab? France? Cuba? Iran? Sure. Let me know when Joan of Arc rises from the dead to lead their armies to victory. However, the issue is even more troubling than it appears on the surface. Neal Boortz weighs in:
Where can this go? Let's consider for just a moment that document that Bill Clinton called the greatest document ever written by man in support of human rights and freedom. That would the the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document is supposed to be the great international blueprint for human rights around the world. The document says that it represents "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations." Does the UN Declaration of Human Rights protect free speech? Freedom of the press? Well ... in a word, yes it does. Article 19 says that everyone has a right to freedom of opinion and expression. So far so good. The declaration also says that everyone has a right to rest and leisure and a right to a standard of living. Interesting. It also says that all mothers and children are entitled to "special care and assistance."
Problematic, to say the least. But, let's cut to the chase. Let's go to Article 29 Paragraph 3. "These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."
Do you need to read that again? Please do. It's critical. This one clause negates every single right recognized in this so-called "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." You have no freedom of speech. You have no freedom of expression. You have no right to own property. You have no right to your precious standard of living ... you have nothing ... not one thing if your exercise of those rights interfere with the goals of the United Nations.
Now ... back to the Internet. When the United Nations gains control just how far will it go? Will it start censoring the Internet to make sure that nobody posts any information or opinions that might interfere with the "purposes and principles of the United Nations?There is talk, for instance, of a world-wide income tax on the wealthy to fund UN operations. Would anyone be allowed to post an opinion in opposition to this scheme?
Update: The Emperor weighs in, as only he can. Mheh.
October 06, 2005
October 05, 2005
In the film you answer question that the series raised, like the Reavers and River. Were those the answers we were going to get if the TV show had lived?
Whedon: Very little has changed for the movie. Obviously, things were dropped, and ... most importantly, things were distilled into a fine two-hour liqueur instead of a more watered-down longer version. ... That was where I was going with the idea of River and her secret and the Reavers and theirs and how it all connected. I had planned to get there in a couple of years instead of a couple of hours. But apart from ... not being able to service all the subplots with all those different people, that is exactly where I was going with it. ... That was the easy part of structuring it and pitching it. This is where this series was building to, and I think if you took this as a separate story, it is an epic story and it has a great deal of meaning for today.
How much did you guys have to practice or work out to get back into the characters and get back into the mind space you were in?
Baccarin: Well, I had a lot of sex.
Torres: God bless you.
Baccarin: I had to say it. It had to be [said]. There's the whore thing. Now it's done and over with.
Are you all signed for another movie or two more?
Baccarin: Two more.
Torres: Two more.
Fillion: You are? This is awkward.
There's a whole lot more. Go check it, if you're so inclined.
Oh, and unless I'm misremembering, I believe that your's truly will be the host for #60.
Update: Turns out that there was a miscommunication. Dave at The Glittering Eye is this week's host.
October 04, 2005
Many people, myself included, choked on the ridiculous spending during the 2005 campaign, but supported Bush for one of two reasons, maybe both:
1) the War on Terror
2) putting another conservative on the SCOTUS bench
Bush's selection of Miers is probably going to send the Republicans back into minority status. If the combination of a Republican President and Senate aren't sufficient to put a strict constructionist on the bench, many conservatives and libertarians are going to watch reruns of Cop Rock on election day.
By the way, would someone please tell Hugh Hewitt to stop acting like a know-it-all grandfather, lecturing to woefully ignorant children? I like Hugh. He's a smart guy, and a tremendous asset to the Republican party. But his 3 monkey Republicanism has worn pretty thin. Sometimes, it's required to See and Say evil about your party.
Last week, San Francisco closed a 45-day request for information period in which companies could offer their ideas about blanketing the city with wireless Internet service, known as Wi-Fi. Newsom believes that such connections will add to San Francisco's technology credentials and help propel residents -- especially poor ones -- into the digital age.
"This is inevitable," Newsom said. "This is long overdue. This is a fundamental right."
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