Friday, October 29, 2010
Today is not the best day ever. I got a call from my dad that my 16-year-old cat, Mittens, "zigged when she should have zagged" as my mom came home last night. She was mostly deaf, didn't move as fast as she used to, and was supposedly retired from her hunting days. But she still stalked the birds and rabbits, "helped" my dad grill, and cuddled with anyone willing to sit outside in the cold with her. She was my Babycakes, and I'll miss her.
Her cousins down south never got to meet her, but they are busy keeping my life interesting.
Bel likes to block my access to my computer by sleeping in my chair after she's read my books.
Hex likes to "supervise" my Twittering. Cubachi seems to get the most sniffing.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
"Are you stupid?!" No one likes to hear that. But after November 2 this year, we all might want to ask ourselves that very question. Did we vote smart or stupid?
Democrats have relied for years on a strategy that assumes its base is stupid. Their party is a loosely held-together coalition of one-issue voters. They've got the environmentalist wackos, the rabidly pro-choice, the job-killing unions, the hardcore socialists, the anti-war agitators, and other various groups that don't care what happens as long as their precious issue is maintained. Because the media skews toward covering the Democrats favorably, we don't get to see what happens when one group disagrees with another. The Democrats are very, very good at keeping their base together by constantly demonizing Republicans and entrenching themselves in governmental positions. The first tactic is their public face, and the second is the secret to their longevity. They gin up fear and hatred, making their base believe that all Republicans are the scum of the earth while they slowly take over the bureaucracy that runs the country. This strategy only works so long as the base doesn't realize that the Democrats are intent on running the country into the ground.
Republicans, on the other hand, have a different strategy but still, at times, underestimate the intelligence of their base. There are a few single-issue voters in the GOP, but for the most part, Republicans recognize a handful of principles that they want to see elected officials espouse. Time after time, however, the GOP props up elected officials who don't hold those principles but manage to bring in the beloved "moderates." The GOP base is told that we're too stupid to nominate a conservative that can win in certain areas of the country. It would never work, they say, so leave it up to the party to do the "smart" messaging. Never mind that these RINOs, when campaigning, lean as far to the right as they possibly can. And, of course, when these certain areas nominate a true conservative, it's an "anomaly."
When a grassroots movement springs up that leans towards the GOP, the GOP would dearly love to swallow it up instead of being held accountable by it. When such a group refuses to be embraced by any party, both parties start to get nervous. If there is ever a serious independent challenge to the two parties, not only does it take votes away from the established parties, it also is a serious threat to the establishment itself. The Democrats need all the kooks on the left to vote for them, and the GOP needs all the "bitter clingers" on the right to vote for them. As soon as anyone starts making third-party noises, both parties do what they can to silence those little squawks. Their very survival depends on it.
So what is the best way to prove that we, the voters, are not idiots? Simple: Keep doing what the Tea Party is doing. They refused to be swallowed up by either party, put forth candidates of their own, and continue to push fiscal conservatism to the top desired principle of candidates. Sure, there's a national unrest over the economy, but would the GOP have tacked hard right if the Tea Party hadn't sprung up? Even with Obama's popularity, traditionally, a president's party will lose the midterm elections. However, after losing the 2008 presidential election, the GOP was flooded with advice that its moderate candidate was not moderate enough. The GOP seemed to be taking that advice, and I don't believe that the Tea Party's rise at that time was a coincidence. What the Tea Party did next was brilliant, shocking all the analysts (probably cousins to the economic "experts" who can't forecast their way out of a department store) with their political savvy in changing the political landscape. The Tea Party has given the GOP an ultimatum: Adhere to fiscal conservatism or find yourselves deposed in 2012. Will it work? For the good of the nation, I hope so, because we cannot sustain our current path of fiscal liberalism.
Hopefully this video will put all of this in perspective. (This song is a blast to perform, by the way!)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
What did your father tell you when the kids taunted you at school for flubbing that swing? What did your mother tell you when your sister kept trying to poke you in the backseat? What did your parents mutter to each other when you all got really annoying? We all know the answer (or we should, if our parents were half decent). "IGNORE THEM!" "Don't give them attention, it's just what they want!" "Break her finger!" Oh, wait, that last one was from my brothers. Once in awhile, they had good advice.
Ignoring negativity is a lesson we all tried to learn. Some of us were better at it than others. But we all know, deep down, that giving positive attention to any behavior reinforces it. And, in some cases, giving any attention to the offending party is not a good idea.
So why does the right wing of the blogosphere have a stroke whenever Meghan McCain opens her mouth? Don't they know that giving her attention is all that she wants? Perhaps, but then again, it's the right wing of the blogosphere, where the truth is paramount. Meghan McCain is a favorite target for the right wing not only because they want to correct her ignorance, but because we don't want her. She tried to be one of us, and failed miserably. So what does she have besides a chip on her shoulder that she can market? All she wants, like our cat Bel, is attention. Bel couldn't care less if you're calling her the dumbest cat ever as long as you're paying the slightest bit of attention to her.
Meggie Mac relishes the "feuds" she starts, cashing in on them whenever she can. Notice how she never picks fights with establishment Republicans. Also, notice the gender of who she attacks. She seems to know that the media will really eat up a fight between the daughter of the last losing presidential candidate and the female part of his base. It's the only trick up her sleeve, and she's playing it for all she's worth. I hope she saves the money she's getting from her poor book sales, because the media's support of her is going to last only as long as they can use her to get attention. Sooner or later, like her father, Meggie Mac is going to find out that the media are perfectly willing to shove people that they've previously supported completely under the bus. When that happens, I hope, with all sincerity, that she learns from it. I doubt that will happen, given how much her parents prop her up, but hey! We're in the age of the Obamessiah!
So, what should we do with Meggie Mac? We really should ignore her, but she is just plain wrong. If nothing else, we need to point out that she's not actually 26 years old. On Saturday, she will be, but as of this Sunday, after some idiot decided to book her on ABC's "This Week," she was only 25. I wouldn't even mention it, but the quote that made the biggest impact started out, "I speak as a 26-year-old woman..." so I was duty-bound to point that out. If conservatives hold the line and only correct Meggie Mac's mistakes, eventually the media will not be able to tie the albatross of Meggie Mac around our necks.
This is relevant, I swear!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Today is a federal holiday, so I'm pretty busy enjoying Pooky's day off. Whether you fervently believe if was the Native Americans, Leif Ericson, or Christopher Columbus who truly "discovered" the Americas, you have to admit that this is pretty funny:
Saturday, October 9, 2010
What does it mean to be an American citizen? Well, in most cases, you're born here. Even if your parents aren't American, thanks to an extremely liberal interpretation of the 14th Amendment, you can be an American simply by being born on American soil. If you're not born here, we have an extensive, albeit somewhat inefficient, system for becoming a citizen. I've seen the process, helped people take the test, and shared their pride as they were sworn in as citizens. You have to fund the government through taxes, and the means of how the government taxes you outside of the income tax may surprise you. But that's a post for another day. If you're an 18-year-old male, you have to sign up to be drafted into the military should Congress and the President determine our country needs it. Our Founding Fathers set up a nation that does not require you to purchase anything to be a citizen. Well, until now.
ObamaCare, the monstrosity (sorry, Monster) passed against the will of the people through Congressional shenanigans "so we could find out what's in it," has in it a provision requiring all Americans to buy some form of health coverage. Almost before Obama's signature dried, states were filing suit, with that provision at the forefront of their complaint. Liberals argued that RomneyCare, one of the main reasons we (hopefully) will never see a President Romney, had the same provision in order to make it work, so why shouldn't "health care reform" have it?
RomneyCare is Massachusetts' dirty little secret. Stories pop up every few months of the lumbering wreck of RomneyCare stomping its way around the state, killing off insurance companies, state revenue, quality of health care, and the general economy. Yet, because it was touted as a model for the entire nation, the liberal media tries to squelch the body count. All the bugs haven't been worked out yet, we're told, and there were some... "unintended consequences."
Have you ever noticed that liberals' grand schemes never work out as intended? It couldn't possibly be because liberals don't really understand cause and effect, could it? Who could have possibly foreseen that skyrocketing the cost of having a health care insurance business would make companies shut down and leave? Conservatives, that's who. We warned about the costs of forcing everyone to buy health insurance, and now we have proof of our forecasting, despite the media's desperate attempts at gluing pink fur onto the RomneyCare monster. They'll have things running smoothly in no time, just you wait! Take a pain pill and have a Snickers bar, because you're not going anywhere for awhile.
This provision is necessary, however, for a government takeover of health care. In order for the government to shove private insurers out of the market, they force everyone to be covered, shooting costs upward as the high-risk people who have not been in the market get into it. Private insurers cannot bear the cost of everyone and his cat jumping into the pool (poor, wet kitty!) as well as the constrictions the government places on them in providing health care. And if you think the government can do it better than a private insurer, take a good look at the United Kingdom. In fact, look at our own Medicare as it goes broke trying to keep up with the small swells preceding the large Baby Boomer wave that's about to drown it.
All of this is a distraction, however, from an essential question: Is it constitutional to force Americans to buy something? Push all the cost-benefit analyses aside. Ignore the tales of woe of the uninsured. Tune out the demand for "reform" at any cost. Did our Founding Fathers intend for us to have to purchase something in order to be Americans? Sure, you used to have to be a landowner to vote, but at the time of our founding, it seemed to be fair as they were the ones paying the taxes. They had a vested interest in where their money went. As landownership and taxation expanded, slavery was abolished, and the women's suffrage movement came to pass, we passed laws granting everyone over 18 who wasn't a felon the right to determine our government.
The mandate in ObamaCare that we must all purchase health insurance is not only a step backward, but it seems to stray outside of the Constitution's enumeration of Congressional Powers (Article 1, Section 8). A federal judge in Michigan disagreed on Thursday, using an expansive view of the Commerce Clause found in that section to justify forcing people to buy health insurance because we all use medical care sometime in our lives. Also in the decision was this little gem:
While plaintiffs describe the Commerce Clause power as reaching economic activity, the government’s characterization of the Commerce Clause reaching economic decisions is more accurate.
Pretty harmless, right? It appears he's just analyzing the federal government's view of the Commerce Clause versus the view of the states. But what he's essentially saying is that because we all participate, the federal government can decide for you how the services that we all are going to use eventually are going to be paid for. Even if you're not doing anything but breathing, the federal government wants you to pay for something they think you're going to use. This is terrifying territory for any freedom-loving American, because the government wants to regulate inactivity, not activity.
And that regulatory power is just the beginning. When Congress determines that sugary foods are costing taxpayers millions in health care dollars, what are they going to do about it? Or when Michelle Obama's crusade against childhood obesity reaches its fruition and it's determined that fat kids are costing us all money, what is President Obama going to advocate for? When Congress takes money from Big Pharma (or whatever they're called these days), and Big Pharma is pushing a miracle cure that guarantees to cut costs, what will Congress do? You know the answers to these questions as well as I do.
We're heading for centralized planning for all our health care decisions unless the Supreme Court or the Republicans stop it. Given the Supreme Court precedence that the judge in Michigan cited in his decision, it looks like it's up to the Republicans to listen to the people and kill off ObamaCare for the good of the nation. Will they have the guts to do it?
Thursday, October 7, 2010
The Dodgers' season is over (at least we went out on a win), and so that means a return to quiet nights at the ranch, with the occasional rooting for the Hawkeyes and Falcons. So, I have to hit up The Right Scoop, Cubachi and The Real Mir Cat for blog fodder, and boy did they deliver today! By popular demand, I now give you the deconstruction of Meghan McCain's (hereafter known as Meggie Mac, per Allahpundit) piece, "My Palin Problem." I am only doing one paragraph from the excerpt at Hot Air as a consideration to my poor, long-suffering readers. Here we go!
Everyone knows there is a media obsession with Sarah Palin, but I don’t know if everyone has quite realized that the obsession has become a fetishization.
Meggie Mac graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor's in Art History. This means that at some point, she took an English class. In this class, they would have taught her that if you want to be taken seriously as a published author, you should use words from the Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, Encarta, or another respected dictionary. All of the dictionaries I've listed are available at onelook.com. That is where I found out that the word "fetishization" does not exist in the dictionaries Meggie Mac's professors would have recommended, but in 5 online slang dictionaries. Even if "fetishization" was a word, she's using it wrong. A rewrite of this sentence would be: "The media's obsession with Sarah Palin is obvious, but I am unsure if people have realized that the obsession has become a fetish."
The further I got into my book tour last month, the more paranoia set in as I started questioning the idea that the only thing that made me interesting to some people was my association with Sarah Palin.
As an editor, you learn quickly not to tear your hair out when looking at sentences such as these. People look at you funny if you have bald spots where you used to have long hair. I would have sent this piece back to the writer, demanding a rewrite before I accepted any more submissions. Let's move on before I go bald, shall we?
After dropping the "fetishization" bomb, Meggie Mac does not back up her use of that word with appropriate evidence. She steamrolls on to her own "paranoia" that the only reason people pay attention to her is that she was associated (albeit briefly) with Sarah Palin. What a surprise that people would want to know more about a governor and vice-presidential candidate who is changing the political landscape than a narcissistic 25-year-old hanging on to her father's political coattails! But I'm getting ahead of myself here. This sentence, if Meggie Mac wanted to retain her dignity, should read: "As I got further into my book tour last month, I began wondering if the only reason I was interesting to some people was my association with Sarah Palin."
Sarah Palin, not my father John McCain.
Flashing red lights. Loud honking noises. Kitties running for cover. These are all signs that my "Fragment!" alert has gone off for this sentence. Aside from the pouting tone that comes through even in these six words, there's not much else to deconstruct, because... it's a misplaced fragment. So, let's revise: "As I got further into my book tour last month, I began wondering if the only reason I was interesting to some people was my association with Sarah Palin, not my father John McCain."
And for that fact, it seems that the only thing that gets any kind of major media attention when it comes to women in politics is either Sarah Palin or her numerous impersonators.
Here Meggie Mac does not refer to a "fact," but a suspicion of hers. I think the phrase she was looking for was "for that matter," which I would have struck from the sentence entirely to try for a more serious, professional tone. The combination of the words "only," "either," and "or" in the same sentence makes me cringe. Also, there was plenty of media attention when Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2007. Meggie Mac may claim she's too young to remember the media proclaiming 1992 "The Year Of The Woman" as several Democratic women won Senate seats, but I'm five months younger than this daughter of a national politician and I remember it. I'm going to change the plain "women" to "Republican women," because the women on the Democratic side are getting plenty of attention, and it's not pretty. I think a better word for what Meggie Mac is trying to describe would be "copies," not "impersonators." An impersonator would try to look exactly like Sarah Palin and try convince people she was the real deal. In other words, Tina Fey. Let's bring this suffering sentence to a better place. "It seems that Sarah Palin and her numerous copies are the main focus of media attention when it comes to Republican women in politics."
These are the people that are creating and dominating the political narrative for women in this country.
Is Meggie Mac referring to the media or the Sarah Palin "impersonators" here? I'm leaning toward the "impersonators," but it is ambiguous enough to make my red pen hover over this sentence. Now, I am not arguing that Sarah Palin or the women who she's inspired don't make headlines. But Meggie Mac seems to suggest, once again, that no women were on the national political scene before Sarah Palin showed up. If that were the case, wouldn't someone like Meggie Mac be singing her praises? But that's not Meggie Mac's problem. It's Sarah Palin herself, and the horror of more people like her. The whining and disdainful tone of this sentence almost makes me want to erase this post and leave the internet forever. But someone has to stand up for mature, grammatically correct discourse online. The best revision that matches my previous ones that I can come up with is: "This attention has dominated today's political narrative of Republican women."
In the Nashville airport in the midst of my book tour, I picked up the recent “Mama Grizzlies” cover of Newsweek which asks this very question. Why are only women like Sarah Palin getting nominated for elected office and receiving all of the media attention?
As long as you didn't actually buy it, Meggie, I'll consider calling off the air strike. Surprisingly, the first sentence could almost be left as is. Except that the last part, if it weren't for the next sentence, would imply that the previous sentence had asked a question (it didn't). Once again, someone should be handing me some cheese to go with all this whine. I'm trying not to encourage a run-on sentence here, but the best revision I can think of is: "While in the Nashville airport on my book tour, I picked up the recent Newsweek that featured the 'Mama Grizzlies' cover which asked this question: 'Why are only women like Sarah Palin getting nominated for Republican elected office and receiving all of the media's attention?'"
This is the question that has been plaguing me since the release of my book.
Here's a hint, Meggie Mac: Don't use the word "plaguing" when whining about someone else's media attention. It only conjures up negative images in people's minds about you, which I assume is not optimal. I could be wrong on that one, but it's best to err on the side of caution. The Black Beast of Ammmmmmmbiguous rears its ugly head again, and it is up to me to slay it. (Here I don my husband's +20 Shirt of Smiting!) Is the question that she's referenced in the last three sentences "Why are these women getting attention?" or "Why am I not getting any attention?" Given her accusation near the beginning of the paragraph that some people only were interested in her association with Sarah Palin, it's a mystery which "question" she is talking about here. With what I know of Meggie Mac's personality, along with the tone and title of this piece, I am going to say that the question is, "Why is Sarah Palin getting all the attention and not me?" I can see why that would trouble you, Meggie. Let's be merciful, and attempt to elevate this piece: "The question that Newsweek posed has been troubling me ever since I released my book."
If you've reached the end of this piece, you may gladly join me in consuming copious amounts of "adult beverages," as Rush likes to call them. You also have my gratitude for sticking with me this long. I apologize for the epic nature of this post, but you all know my sense of duty would permit me to do no less.
Edit: Apparently the Internal Affairs Bureau of the Grammar Police takes exception to my drafting methods, so two mistakes have been corrected.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I've been in plays and musical performances. My sister-in-law (who I'm blogrolling now that I've just thought about it) is a costume designer for a college. So I've had experience in the debate about what is proper on the public stage. I'm also a military wife, as you all know, and how the military is viewed in the public eye is also an interest of mine.
Last night, on Dancing With The Stars, Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani did a waltz to the song "Let It Be Me," which they admitted they did as a tribute to "armed soldiers." You think I'm joking!
Now, I do not have a problem with a popular program trying to honor the people who make the freedom of this country possible. I do, however, have a problem with the misuse of the military uniform, which, in this case, is a Marine NCO dress uniform. I'm an Air Force wife, but I feel it is my duty to defend the military whenever and wherever I can.
Note that Tony has three stripes on his sleeve, designating a Sergeant, an E-5. Therefore, it is proper that Tony's uniform have the classic blood stripe on it, because the rank he's wearing is an NCO. It is not proper, however, unless you have served, to wear a uniform with that branch's insignia. It appears that Tony is wearing the Marine insignia, and he has never served.
These may seem to be minor or trifling points, but I feel it is important to state that the uniforms of the U.S. military are not to be treated as mere costumes. It may look "cool" and fit a story to be decked out in Marine NCO dress uniform, but Marines have to earn the enlisted NCO's blood stripe. They don't hand it to you after Marine boot camp, which is the longest of all the armed services (13 weeks) and is no cakewalk. (There's a term Tony ought to be familiar with!) You earn the rank of E-5 (the second enlisted rank you may wear the blood stripe) by competing for that particular slot and serving a minimum of two years in the Marines, who are fondly known in the other branches as the "bullet-catchers."
And as for the insignia, it is common knowledge that you, as a civilian, can wear a uniform as long it does not have distinct characteristics of a particular branch (insignia, badges, tabs, service medals, etc.). In a theatrical or motion picture production, actors are allowed to wear a military uniform. (10 USC Subtitle A, Chapter 45, Section 772 [f]) However, this was not a play or a movie, but a ballroom dancing show. Tony wasn't portraying someone specifically. He was a generic Marine lost (presumably in war) who was coming to dance with his love. Also, Marine Corps Uniform Regulations (11004[d]) state that actors may not discredit the Marine Corps while wearing the uniform. That one is more subjective in this case, because although the judges loved it, I don't think Tony danced all that exceptionally.
The bottom line is that Tony should have taken off the insignia and foregone the blood stripe completely in order to honor the uniform. The uniform is not a costume to do with whatever you wish. Look, I have to wash and dry clean Pooky's uniforms constantly (a load in the washer and a load in the dryer right now). I'm thankful that ABUS do not require ironing. Show some respect, and double-check that it's okay to wear it before you put it on. What Tony did is not technically illegal, but it's in such a grey area that he should have erred on the side of caution.
And if the judges are going to award Audrina's wooden face, they shouldn't have taken Bristol Palin to task for her concentration in portraying a snobby-turned-fun character. Good grief, look at that girl's footwork! In heels, no less!
H/t to Cassy Fiano for her eagle eye on this one.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I'm a gamer. Not an uber one, but I'm still a gamer. That's why videos like this one make me drool. Awesome graphics, good story, blowing stuff up, and Linkin Park. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, according to the perpetual-panties-in-a-wad bunch, plenty. In the newest Medal of Honor game, you can play as the enemy our military is fighting against in Afghanistan-the Taliban. This is not a new concept. There always has to be someone playing the bad guy, and while sometimes it's the computer, a good chunk of the time it's another player.
I agree that when we're fighting a war, it's not in good taste to glamorize the enemy. I'm looking at the hardcore Left more than EA Games on that point. How is constantly whining that we need to "sympathize" with the people trying to kill us morally superior to playing that enemy in a fantasy world? What has done more to push the very ideology we're fighting against: Agitating to adopt the tenets of that ideology through "multiculturalism" or experiencing the full consequences of when the American military forcibly disagrees with you?
AAFES threatened to not stock MOH, which is probably the biggest reason EA Games waved the white flag and changed the Taliban in multi-player mode to... "opposing forces." It's a cosmetic change, to be sure, but I have to give credit to both sides here (sorry for the show of unity, Dan Riehl and Ed Morrissey). AAFES has a right to say that they won't stock something they feel denigrates the military, and EA Games has the right to make changes to their game in response to their audience.
I have a proposal that would please both sides even more. I know that the game is based off of a story from 2001, but let's make it even more realistic. If you play the "opposing force," certain things should happen to you. Whenever you start off a mission, your leader is taken out by a drone. Suicide bomber vests have a 2% chance of going off inside your own encampment. Your old equipment that's been sitting in a musty cave for decades has a 5% chance of exploding every time you use it. Your hideout has a 10% chance of being under bombardment. Sound like you want to play that side?
In truth, American gamers are itching to get their hands on this game because they want to kick some ass and emulate our military. I'm aware that mercenaries are a factor in this game, but they're still acting on behalf of American interests.
Am I going to buy this game? Probably not, but that's because I'm not good at first-person shooters (yeah, I'm pathetic!). Am I going to look forward to cool videos from it and play "The Catalyst" over and over as I play other games? You betcha!