April 30, 2005

Oh, Shit.

Jeff G and Lair are at it again.

I'm staying home, scared to death that one of them will get mad at me.

I've been sitting at my desk for two hours straight, hair standing on end, eyebrows raised and eyes wide open.

I may still be here tomorrow morning—in the same position. Terrified someone will think I took sides, and I'll end up in his laser-like sights.

The saving grace? Laurence is unlikely to respond to a post that refers to him as "Larry."

And me?—I kind of hope that when Attila the Hub gets home from the party he's attending tonight he'll coax me gently off to bed.

UPDATE: Jeff insists that the "Sudden Fiction" about a guy named Larry who lives in Houston, works in a cubicle and likes food wasn't about Laurence. So we have to take him at his word, because not doing so amounts to a sort of mind-reading. I'm not a mind-reader, and I therefore retract my assertion that the post was about Laurence.

After all, if it were about Laurence, there would have been cats.

Of course, it's too late now.

If Jeff and Lair were women this would be regarded as a "cat fight," but instead we'll have to call it a "brilliant, verbal domestically oriented warbloggers fight" or something like that.

Posted by Attila at 11:20 PM | Comments (11)

April 29, 2005

This Blog is Really Full of Crap

This entry at the newly resurrected Suburban Blight reminded me of a conversation I had with my mother about a year ago.

Me: By the way, I've always wanted to thank you for not being one of those mothers who apparently obsess about their children's shit.

Mom: You're welcome.

Me: I've heard some weird stuff about parents in the 60s and 70s who had very specific ideas about how often their kids should take a crap, and when. Eek.

Mom: It was even worse in the 30s and 40s—believe me. They used to give kids enemas if they didn't shit at the right intervals.

Me: How did you cope?

Mom: I learned to lie.

Posted by Attila at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

It's Official

There is nothing worse than estrogen withdrawal. I'm ready to drive to south-central and see if I can score some happy hormones. In another eight days life will be good, but I'm in the middle of the two-week dearth.

The night before last I ate six Krispy Kreme doughnuts before bed. Okay: I ate three, and then an hour later I ate another three. So I've stopped buying them, until I start again.

Whaddya think: good time to make life-changing decisions? Or shall I wait a bit?

Posted by Attila at 02:59 PM | Comments (4)

Is It Just Me, Or

. . . does Lair seem a bit irritated by Sully?

Posted by Attila at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2005

Michele

. . . doesn't think The Wall (the album) quite lived up to its hype. I haven't heard it all the way through in over a decade, but there are a handful of tracks on it that are truly amazing.

It is worth noting, however, that when it was time for me to buy Floyd CDs, I started with Dark Side, and then I acquired Wish You Were Here. I'm now ready for The Wall again; I hope absence has made the heart grow even more fond.

Posted by Attila at 01:18 AM | Comments (17)

April 27, 2005

Jeff Percifield

. . . marvels at the success of Air America, and offers the network some suggestions to continue its momentum.

Posted by Attila at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

Energy Bar

John Carey, writing in Business Week, blasts Bush's energy proposals for being potentially popular. He includes this nugget of wisdom:

Want to increase supplies of oil and gas? Instead of drilling in the ANWR or adding a few LNG ports, Bush could open up areas like the Gulf coast of Florida or the Rocky Mountains, which has a 60-year supply of natural gas, to exploration and drilling. But that wouldn't be popular in Florida, where his brother Jeb is governor, or in some of the Western states that are strong Bush country.

To say that is to implicitly admit that the people of Colorado and Florida probably don't want this drilling to happen. Maybe they're right; maybe they aren't. But the interesting thing about drilling in ANWR is that Alaskans—for the most part—want it. It's being hung up by general misconceptions about what it would mean for wildlife, and by northeastern liberals who've never been to that part of Alaska and don't even know what the terrain looks like.

Posted by Attila at 09:58 PM | Comments (1)

Asocial Security

Over at Power Line, Hinderaker talks about a Democrat-led protest in the Capitol against social security reform:

Children would be better off saving than hoping to someday receive government checks. But the Social Security program makes it impossible for many millions of Americans to save, by sucking up the 15% of their incomes that otherwise could be available for saving. By making saving impossible, it relegates millions of Americans to retirement on the dole, at the whim of Congress. This doesn't apply to wealthy or prosperous Americans, who save through 401(k) programs and other vehicles, and essentially ignore the Social Security system, but Social Security destroys the potential for a secure, independent retirement for many millions of blue collar and middle-income Americans. The Democratic Party's cynical exploitation of these people is one of the scandals of the current political era.


Posted by Attila at 03:54 PM | Comments (1)

April 26, 2005

Annie Jacobsen

. . . entertained several agents from the Department of Homeland Security a few days before she delivered her second son. The details were typical: she got a call beforehand on her cell phone (the number for which was unlisted), and all four agents were on the line. There's something to be said for these "Men in Black" flourishes, of course.

The upshot: Jacobsen was right to be concerned about the security protocol associated with her flight last summer, and it appears likely that the DHS feels it could well have been a probe of some sort, a la the infamous James Woods flight.

In fact, Malkin sees the main significance of the latest in Jacobsen's "Terror in the Skies" series as confirmation by Federal agents that Mohammed Atta was on the same flight as James Woods some weeks before 9/11. Woods has publicly stated that two other participants in the 9/11 attacks are people he positively ID'd as having been on the flight. That gives us an idea that at least three of the four guys Woods saw were 9/11 terrorists. Clearly, it was some kind of dry run. Woods is of course not saying much these days, as he could be required to testify in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial, but we can infer from his observation that the "teams" that worked the evil of 9/11 were not discrete "cells"—rather, part of a more deeply interconnected group.

Joe Gandelman, writing in Dean's World, discusses one of the main implications of Jacobsen's latest article:

It seems from her piece that there are two government attitudes on this. The security-types, law enforcement at Homeland Security who seemingly do suspect there was something happening on that plane versus the more diplomatic types who want to take the official Syrian explanation and move on or downplay it.

There is also tension between two different approaches to security: those who would like to do their jobs as discreetly as possible, telling the public only as much as it needs to know—so as not to "tip off" the terrorist planners—and those who would like to convince the media and public that they really aren't asleep at the switch.

I'd really prefer the former approach. However, in a post-9/11 world we cannot simply sit back and assume that the people we hired to protect us are doing their jobs properly without any sort of scrutiny whatsoever. Whatever ambivalence I've felt about Jacobsen's series has not had to do with any sort of suspicion that she's a "racist." That's just nonsense. It has simply been that I wish the work of keeping the nation safe could go on under the radar.

But we cannot trust that this will happen: not when agents of the FBI field offices were unable to get their concerns addressed until thousands of Americans were dead and the U.S. economy had taken a direct hit it has yet to recover from.

The penultimate article in Jacobsen's series discusses an incident on British Air in which someone was removed from a flight departing from London—at gunpoint. Yet there have been nearly no media accounts of this occurrence. Naturally, I'd like to think that the authorities in the UK are "handling" it, and that the media blackout is part of an attempt to enhance safety through discretion. This particular event is complicated by its international character, but the principle remains the same: neither Britons nor Americans are in a position to utterly trust those who are obligate to protect them. And that's scary.

In this country, our assurance that public officials do their job lies in monitoring their efforts. It's tragic that this is so, but for right now that's the way it is.

Previous entries on Jacobsen's work:

My discussion of the "is this significant?" debate, after the original "Terror in the Skies, Again" story broke.

And some other updates.

UPDATE: Joyner has more.

Posted by Attila at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

Scott Kirwin

. . . discusses the fact that we've very nearly cured the disease of "being a little boy."

Thank goodness.

Posted by Attila at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

In Tech Central Station

. . . Sandy Szwarc writes an intriguing summary of what we've all seen lately while scanning headlines: the health risks of obesity have been drastically overstated, and it isn't a health crisis after all. Whew.

Beyond that, though, she explains that in most cases being somewhat overweight can actually enhance human health. Up to a certain point, biomass is good. Certainly, the risks of being underweight are much greater than the risks of being overweight.

So eat up. But, you know: I'd still take a walk now and again. It never hurts to hedge your bets.

Posted by Attila at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

James

thinks we should just ditch the silly Food Guide Pyramid—even in its new "programmable" form—and let people feed themselves. After all, we couldn't be doing a worse job, even with all this Federal "help."

Reminds me of Michele's Food Guide Pentagram, which is, um, slightly more appealing than the Feds' version. Oddly enough.

Posted by Attila at 02:59 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2005

The Fascination of What's Difficult

I was at L.A. Times/UCLA Festival of Books yesterday (yes: Angelenos just call it "the book fair"). What a great time. It's always a little grueling, and we usually come home with those "day at the beach" headaches that tell us we have micro-mini cases of sunstroke. Yesterday, though, it was a little overcast, so we were able to stay a little later in the day without danger of our parched bones being found outside Royce Hall.

As usual I saw a few panels on crime writers, and was excited to sit in on one that featured both T. Jeff Parker and Roger L. Simon. (But where, Roger, was the fedora? You were wearing a baseball cap.)

Roger was blunt about his politics, and actually announced in a small lecture hall of about 300 people that he'd voted for G.W. Bush. He discussed 9/11 as a pivotal moment in his political evolution, and Tod Goldberg, as moderator, was able to joke about the fact that this made Simon a minority in that crowd: Goldberg struck just the right note, defusing the tension in a way that was respectful of both Simon and the left-leaning audience.

But the impressive acts of courage were undertaken by Hugh Hewitt. To a much-larger audience in a lecture hall that sat over a thousand, Hewitt discussed the media with a crowd of people that included Arianna Huffington. At first I was confused when Hewitt didn't garner as much applause as Arianna; later, it became clear that even a panel featuring Hugh hadn't attracted a centrist crowd. Not in this town, Baby.

The audience was completely outraged by a few observations of Hugh's, including a statement to the effect that the L.A. Times leans to the left. (I'm serious: it seems so self-evident that even my lefty friends cheerfully agree it is so, despite the Times featuring a few righty columns and one neocon cartoonist. Yet the boos Hugh was subjected to lasted over five seconds, and the two women on either side of me each glanced in my direction, as if to ask, "can you believe the amazing thing he just said?" Well, you know—I could.)

I kept a polite, chilly smile on my face. I didn't give these people any reason to think I agreed with them, but I also didn't clap at the end of Hugh's statement, and this was a failure. I think the handful of us in that room who support the war were truly scared and surprised by the sheer level of lefty adrenaline in that huge space, and just didn't know what would happen if we let those around us know how we felt.

Later, Hugh referred to Fox News as "center-right." More booing and hissing. The woman on my left (figuratively and literally) nearly bounced out of her seat once more. Again, I was chilly and unresponsive to those around me. But I failed to support Hugh as audibly as I would have liked.

I keep thinking about Malcolm Gladwell's amazing book, The Tipping Point. It was a great read, and I'm ready to buy it and hand it out on the street: what a fabulous set of observations about human nature. One of the fascinating discussions within it has to do with how we behave differently in groups than we do when we're alone. I was disappointed in my inability to stand up for what I believe in from the midst of a crowd of people who were upset about the war in Iraq.

This inner resistence we feel is the hardest thing in the world to counter, because no one wants to be the nail that sticks up and gets pounded back down. I'll have to try harder, though: because what matters is not who wins the debate. What matters is that we keep having it.

Next time, I'll clap for Hugh. I have to.

Posted by Attila at 03:23 PM | Comments (5)

April 22, 2005

I Refuse

. . . to write anything worth reading until someone links me.

Posted by Attila at 10:27 PM | Comments (10)

Matzoh!

Jibjab has a new video going, about the Tribe.

Posted by Attila at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005

Blogging Will Continue To Be Light

. . . for the next several days. I'm scrambling around trying to get some healthy revenue streams going (for, let's face it: blogging is unlikely to turn into one anytime soon) and this weekend is the UCLA/L.A. Times Festival of Books. In the past, I've always gone for only one day, but it looks like Attila the Hub and I will be there both days this year.

And I'm running three businesses other than this blog, so it's a bit hectic right now.

Just know that I dearly love you, O My Readers, and that I'll be back.

Posted by Attila at 10:32 AM | Comments (1)

April 19, 2005

American Catholicism?

Scott Kirwin discusses the tension between Rome and American Catholics, and some of the commenters at Dean's World (where he posted) predicts that American Catholics will split with Rome within 50-100 years.

I don't see it, primarily because there is already an alternative to Roman Catholicism: it's called the Episcopal Church (or Anglo-Catholicism, if you like). A lot of the rituals are the same, yet it's more liberal on a lot of the issues that have served as a sticking point.

Also, when the world is unstable, there is a visceral human need for constancy, and that's what the Roman Catholic Church provides.

One can argue about Vatican II all day long (and my husband and I have), but the fact is, these reforms were very ill-timed. At a time of social unrest, it's critical that people feel their religious institutions are holding steady, and providing moral leadership. The 1960s were a bad time to make sweeping changes. As is the present day.

(I do not feel that this applies to the issue of married priests, because that is not a core doctrinal issue: the Roman Catholic Church is in full communion with Eastern Orthodox sects that include married priests. So the Church has already conceded the point: it simply hasn't yet done the practical thing.)

UPDATE: More from The Corner.

Posted by Attila at 08:16 PM | Comments (12)

So Now We Have the Enforcer.

It'll be interesting to see how Benedict XVI behaves differently as Pope vs. as a cardinal. On the one hand, he has been very vocal in the past about seeing other Christian churches as "deficient." On the other hand, he was John Paul's right-hand man, and John Paul was aggressive about intra-Christian and interfaith dialogues. Given the state the world is in right now, it'll be interesting to see if he follows in John Paul's foosteps, or begins once more to isolate the Church.

In any event, he won't be Pope for a terribly long time, and it might be that the Church wants to "catch its breath" for a few years, while thinking about what course should be charted in the future.

He was, in a handful of ways, the "safe" choice.

I won't be upset if the Church continues its policies regarding married priests—though it's becoming impractical—or continues to hate on condoms. I will be upset if the dialogues don't continue with Protestants, Jews, and Muslims.

UPDATE: The BBC has a handful of quotations from leaders around the world reacting to the new Pope.

UPDATE 2: Outside the Beltway has a nice synthesis.

Posted by Attila at 10:53 AM | Comments (2)

April 17, 2005

Lebanon—Oh, Lebanon

Fascinating piece on the hold Hezbollah has over the Lebanese people, and how the area it controls in Beirut is a classic cult-of-death Islamic neighborhood, not too far from where Christians and moderate Muslims are celebrating their new unity.

It's said that Hezbollah out-guns the Lebanese army, but this is one cancer that badly needs some chemotherapy; and maybe a little surgery.

A little Fallujah treatment might hit the spot, if it were done right.


Via Beautiful Atrocities.

Posted by Attila at 05:53 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2005

Ilyka

. . . has found her true calling.

Posted by Attila at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2005

I Am Not Losing Weight

. . . no matter how strictly I stay on my diet.

My diet: 45% peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; 45% breakfast cereal. And 10% pepperoncini.

My husband asks me whether I'm getting any cardiovascular {mumble mumble; I stopped listening}. What a soulless way to look at things.

Posted by Attila at 03:10 AM | Comments (7)

Art Imitates Life Imitating Life:
A Story Told in Scintillating Dialogue

I'm at my writer's group, feeling rather shamefaced because I didn't write anything on either the Icky Yucko Autobiographical Series or the murder mystery. I instead started a short story about a relationship.

"Well," my writing teacher, Bea, remarks, "the dialogue was really good, as usual."

"Yes," chimes in the art-school grad. "You're so good at that."

"But you need to balance it with description," continues Bea. "Right now it's a little unbalanced."

"Maybe it's because you're so good with dialogue," chimes in the education professional. "You could be staying in your comfort zone."

"I'm not so sure," I reply. "I'm not so confident about my dialogue: I suspect everyone sounds like me."

"Oh, no."

So I got that going for me.

* * *

"But what is the relationship with Annie?" our teacher continues.

"She's the sister," reply, sipping on a sparkling lemonade. "Isn't that kind of obvious?"

"I'm not sure how we're supposed to know that, really." Bea is looking at me quizzically, and the room is getting smaller as all eyes turn to me.

"Um. He calls her 'Kiddo.' That's, you know. That's what my brother calls me."

"Well, none of my brothers have ever called me 'Kiddo.'"

"I guess I could, you know. I could clarify that a little bit."

* * *

I'm at home, relatiing my evening to my husband: the agony of being an unbalanced writer of fiction. The ecstasy of being told I write great dialogue. The feedback from the group, who just did not get that the main characters were male lovers, until one of them called the other "Honey." The oddity that one woman actually insisted, even after the word "Honey," that she still thought the guys were straight. After all, she argues, a guy might say that to another guy in an ironic way.

"Well, Forrest wasn't there tonight; he's on vacation." I twist the top off my bottled water and take a swig. "And I think I could have used his help; they wanted me to make the main relationship more obvious."

"In that piece I printed out for you earlier?" Attila the Hub puts a placemark in the book he was trying to read until I came in and strong-armed him into talking about my day.

"Yup. That's the one."

"You know, I saw a little of that story," he remarks.

"You read it?" I don't feel betrayed. On the contrary, I'm delighted.

"The first half or so, as it was coming out of the printer."

"And?" I'm leaning forward, waiting for the verdict.

"I could tell it was a gay relationship on the first page. I mean, what straight guys talk like that about having a good time?"

"Exactly! You're right. None. Um, except my father, of course. He talks like that. But, you know: no other straight guy does."

Posted by Attila at 03:03 AM | Comments (0)

WMDs? Say What?

Reynolds has a great roundup of quotes from speeches in the pre-invasion period that show promoting democracy in the Middle East was part of our announced intentions from the very start, long before we invaded Iraq. (And, yes: the quotes go back to the Clinton years, though most are from G.W. Bush.)

The next time someone tells you "it was all about the WMDs," you know where to send them.

Posted by Attila at 12:23 AM | Comments (1)

April 13, 2005

So, John Kerry

. . . is soliciting stories from members of the military.

A lot of people are responding, essentially, "you first."

As in, "sign that form 180, Bucko."

Some of 'em, however, are getting downright tart about it.

Posted by Attila at 11:23 AM | Comments (3)

Personally

. . . I hope they out-and-out snubbed Carter in putting together the delegation for the Pope's funeral.

I don't mind so much Carter's criticisms of Bush over Iraq: it's a little unorthodox, but let's say he's a passionate guy and couldn't keep his mouth shut.

But sitting next to Michael Moore at the Democratic Convention was simply too much: he granted Moore legitimacy. And, unlike the case with Oliver Stone, a lot of people believe Moore's bullshit. Carter should have done whatever it took to keep Moore out of that box, or he should have left: it's not as if a former President doesn't have the clout to change seats at the last minute.

And if I had to call it, I'd say that the guy who put pressure on Andrew Card to discourage Carter from attending was George H.W. Bush, who also found that stunt outrageous, and didn't enjoy seeing the whole family maligned by the likes of Moore.


Via Megan McArdle.

Posted by Attila at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2005

My People!

Hungarian descendants of Attila the Hun are filing for recognition as an "ethnic minority."

Now that shows gumption.

Speaking of which, I'm working on a reproduction of this for home use; it's the throne of Attila the Hun, captured by Prof. Purkinje, who has taken a vacation from rat dissection in order to hang out in Europe for a year with his family:

AttilaThrone.jpg


Via Outside the Beltway.

Posted by Attila at 02:11 PM | Comments (1)

Attempt at Silencing Gay Patriot

I'm a little late on this, but for those of you who didn't hear at the time, the "Gay Patriot" was outed to his employer by leftist scum, and has shut his blog down.

This is so messed up.

UPDATE: Apparently, the blog itself is continuing, held aloft by Gay Patriot West (a fellow Angeleno).

Via Iowahawk.

Posted by Attila at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

Some Good Gun Porn

. . . over here.

Posted by Attila at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2005

Brace Yourself

I feel a whole bunch of domestic posts coming on.

Bear in mind that I'm a schoolteacher's daughter, and on some sort of cellular level having more light means that it's time to clean/straighten the house: My mom used to pack a year's worth of housework into 2 1/2 months. I do the same, without a sliver of excuse for it.

So, today's question is, if I determine that I can afford to invest in a small appliance, should it be a Crock-Pot or a pressure cooker?

If I get a Crock-Pot, I can start dinner early in the day, and it'll be done in the evening. If I get a pressure cooker, I can compress a lot of cooking into a small amount of time. Given my propensity for procrastination, the pressure cooker is the more obvious choice.

But either one should be cheapest this time of year, and given that it's still chilly at night, there's at least another month (and probably two) of cold-weather meals we can have. Matter of fact, I can probably start using my grill before I give up on making beef stew.

At this particular moment, the world is my culinary oyster. Or it would be, if I were into shellfish.

UPDATE: The slow cooker is winning out, especially on the basis of price. If I were willing to use a pressure cooker on my little 60s-era electric stove, the cost difference could be narrowed down a bit. But I'm really not, which means that I'd be paying over $100 for an electric pressure cooker. That's a rather expensive upgrade at the moment. I can get a slow cooker for $40-$55, and I suspect that's the way I'll be going.

Posted by Attila at 06:36 PM | Comments (11)

April 09, 2005

Christians from the Middle East

In Montrose there is a little street with a bunch of small businesses on it. There's a vaguely old-fashioned feel to the street, as if a few of the stores have been there since the fifties or sixties or seventies. Toward the end of the street there's a block with a tailor, an antique dealer, a beauty salon and a beauty supply store.

Back when we had money I used to get my nails done on that block (the manicure shop has since moved), and I got to know the proprietor of the beauty supply store. So I've been going back there for all the things that we get the "brand names" of (hairspray, for example: that's one thing I don't like to get at Rite-Aid).

The woman who runs the shop is a Christian from Iraq. A few weeks before we invaded her country I went in to ask if she had family in Baghdad.

"My uncle," she told me. I expressed concern, and told her I'd pray for him.

"What can we do?" she responded. "This has to happen. They must get rid of Saddam." She told me stories of being taken down to the street as a child to watch mandatory viewings of bodies: people Saddam's henchmen had killed. "It's awful," she told me. "Horrible."

Two doors down is my tailor. She's from Lebanon, and was there a few months ago, visiting her sister. She told me stories about relatives of hers who left for work and never came back—victims of the random violence of Islamists. She was less angry about the Syrian occupation than I expected, but outraged that every time a bomb went off her relatives had to call everyone, counting their children and hoping that no one had been killed or maimed.

"I'm optimistic about the future," I told her. "I'm an American." And I know it's stupid: the departure of the Syrians doesn't stop the bombing. Not yet, anyway.

Whenever I go to get hairspray, or have my pants hemmed down to dwarf size, I see the Iraqi woman in the doorway of the Lebanese seamstress's shop. She always goes to her own shop when she sees me park my beat-up old Saturn, and I usually go there first.

I pray that one day neither of these ladies will have to live in fear of what Islamists might do to their loved ones. In the meantime, I ask God to look out for their families.

And up on Foothill Blvd. there's a new beauty supply that's closer to my house. And a dry cleaner that advertises $7 to hem pants (vs. $10 in Montrose). I can't go either of these places, of course. Just can't.

Posted by Attila at 03:49 PM | Comments (2)

Sorry Posting's So Light.

I'm sort of on the run, due to the fact that I joined a cult yesterday. (It's a housework-doing cult, which is probably better than the kind that asks you to strap on explosives and blow yourself up with the promise of copius—but lousy—sex in the afterlife. Probably.)

The church elders insist upon a shiny kitchen sink. I can do that. They also recommend that one get dressed in the morning, even when there are no appointments therein, and wear shoes around the house.

Stay tuned; I may want to be kidnapped and de-programmed.

Posted by Attila at 02:30 AM | Comments (5)

April 07, 2005

Harry Reid Gets in Touch

Quoth he:

Dear Joy,

Today I stood in front of the Supreme Court and collected more than 1 million petitions from people all across America. Standing there, I heard your voices urging the Senate to reject any attempt to do away with the system of checks and balances our founding fathers created to protect the rights and voices of all Americans.

I want to say thank you for standing up and lending your voice to this debate.

Republicans want to go "nuclear" and turn the Senate into a rubber stamp for President Bush. They want to silence Senate Democrats -- the one remaining check on President Bush's power. If they can do away with debate in the Senate, they can get whatever they want -- right-wing Supreme Court Justices, Social Security privatization, and tax breaks for the wealthy that will plunge us deeper in debt.

But Senate Democrats are going to fight them every step of the way. And this fight will be different than any other fight in the history of the Senate -- because it will include you.

The Republicans are arrogant with power. If they don't like the rules, they break them. If they don't like someone standing in their way, they attack them. We have some Republicans in the Senate that are considering throwing out 200 years of Senate history in order to pack the courts with right wing judges. And we have a Republican Leader in the House of Representatives who attacks judges who don't agree with him and corrupts our government by running roughshod over the ethics committee.

It's a complete abuse of power by the Republicans and if they can get away with this on judges, they will get away with this on legislation like Social Security too. There is no distinction.

This is about more than a few unqualified judges, this is about protecting the rights of disabled Americans to work, the rights of minorities to vote, the rights of every American to have clean air, safe drinking water and be heard in Washington.


Thank you,

Harry Reid

Is that the cutest thing you've ever read, or what?

Posted by Attila at 11:49 AM | Comments (11)

April 06, 2005

My Husband Maintains

. . . that hearing my copious complaints about Microsoft Products was not one of his marriage vows.

I beg to differ. I'm sure I remembered a line about sickness and health, richer or poorer, files that work versus stupid products designed by the minions of that idiot, Bill Gates.

I guess we could ask the priest who married us. Or check the tape. But there's no point, because I'm right. I've got to hold the line, here.

Every day, get up and thank God you don't live with someone like me.

Posted by Attila at 01:13 PM | Comments (14)

April 04, 2005

Agent Orange

Yushchenko and Bush have plans. WTO, NATO.

It's amazing to watch the world change before my very eyes.

Posted by Attila at 02:05 PM | Comments (2)

On Price Controls

Via Oakland Jeff, a TCS piece on what drug-reimportation will do to our pharmaceutical industry and therefore the future of medicine.

Posted by Attila at 11:20 AM | Comments (7)

On Marriage and Social Tinkering

Megan McArdle makes a case for being thoughtful when we consider changes in our laws that could create social upheaval. Her essay is nominally about how we should approach the question of gay marriage, but it is also a sound defense of conservatism in general.

The piece is written by a libertarian, for libertarians. It warns us to walk soft, intellectually and legislatively.

McArdle (aka Jane Galt) actually appears quite sympathetic to the cause of gay marriage, but she points out that any construct we don't like should be looked at in the light of "why is this here in the first place?" In the case of gay marriage, we have to be able to answer the issue of why marriage has been so relentlessly het over the milennia—before we begin our tinkering. (And, no: "because society has always comprised homophobic bigots!" is not the place to start.)

My impression is that marriage started as a way to get property from one generation to the next in an orderly fashion, using children as the vehicle. It's become a lot of other things over the past few hundred years (including the idea beginning in the 1920s that people should be friends with those whom they married—that was new and different). But it's primarily concerned itself with property and with children.

Now that there's no consistent relationship between marriage and having kids—the two seem independent of each other, to tell you the truth—I'm not so sure it isn't time to look into this.

But get some states to do it first. Have them iron out all the complex legal issues it entails (e.g., custody battles and the like) before the whole country plunges into this.

Let's do it right. And let's remember that we need to find out what that is first.


Via Insty.

Posted by Attila at 01:30 AM | Comments (12)

Gail Discusses

. . . my favorite Alexander Pope couplet.

Posted by Attila at 12:43 AM | Comments (2)

"a little zen in our politics

a little acid in our tea, could be all we need.
the proof is in the putting."

—Jill Johnston


On a related note, Pile On shares some very important scientifical research. Lots of proof there.

Posted by Attila at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2005

Oh, Man.

There's a nice roundup on the Pope's departure and legacy over at Instapundit. It includes a pointer to this gem from Power Line. Suffice it to say that the Times has made a fool of itself once more.

Posted by Attila at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2005

The Pope

. . . died today, as you're aware unless you live inside the trunk of a car. (If you do, get out: that's not healthy.)

As you can tell, I cannot bring myself to weep too hard for someone who died at an advanced age after living such a rich, full life. I'm a nominal Catholic, but was raised to "question authority," and I don't have quite the reverence for the office that cradle Catholics have. But I do have tremendous respect.

What I do know is that this man, along with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, helped to create the conditions that led to the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe, saving an uncountable number of lives and improving the quality of life around the world.

He had the courage, when he was young, to study a religion that was prohibited by the state.

He spoke many languages.

He traveled more than any other pope.

He was the first non-Italian pontiff in centuries.

He was an important bridge-builder within Christianity and between Christians and Jews. And between Christians and Muslims.

He was a great man.

The world will miss him.

The world, and the church, will go on—and will be better off for his having been here.

How can one pray for the pope? The temptation is to believe that God wouldn't listen. Or, if He did, that he'd be listening to the devout believers ahead of someone like me.

But that's the wong attitude, and in any event—as Tom Stoppard once said—I should have the courage of my lack of conviction.

I'll pray for him tonight, and I'd suggest that those of you who are Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and agnostic try it as well. At the very least, a very good and powerful man has left us. So we mourn.

Posted by Attila at 08:20 PM | Comments (3)

Google Celebrated Spring

by introducing its new line of fruit-flavored drinks for the intelligent searcher.

googlegulp.jpg


Quench your thirst for knowledge.

At Google our mission is to organize the world's information and make it useful and accessible to our users. But any piece of information's usefulness derives, to a depressing degree, from the cognitive ability of the user who's using it.

Truer words were never written.

That's why we're pleased to announce Google Gulp (BETA)™ with Auto-Drink™ (LIMITED RELEASE), a line of "smart drinks" designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty.

Handy little side benefit, there.

Think fruity. Think refreshing. Think a DNA scanner embedded in the lip of your bottle reading all 3 gigabytes of your base pair genetic data in a fraction of a second, fine-tuning your individual hormonal cocktail in real time using our patented Auto-Drink™ technology, and slamming a truckload of electrolytic neurotransmitter smart-drug stimulants past the blood-brain barrier to achieve maximum optimization of your soon-to-be-grateful cerebral cortex. Plus, it's low in carbs! And with flavors ranging from Beta Carroty to Glutamate Grape, you'll never run out of ways to quench your thirst for knowledge.

Guaranteed to make you re-watch Dr. Strangelove.

How to get Gulped?
You can pick up your own supply of this "limited release" product simply by turning in a used Gulp Cap at your local grocery store.

How to get a Gulp Cap? Well, if you know someone who's already been "gulped," they can give you one. And if you don't know anyone who can give you one, don't worry – that just means you aren't cool. But very, very (very!) soon, you will be.

Once you get those coveted bottle caps that show you're in the club! Until then, of course, you're a loser.

Google Gulp and Your Privacy From time to time, in order to improve Google Gulp's usefulness for our users, Google Gulp will send packets of data related to your usage of this product from a wireless transmitter embedded in the base of your Google Gulp bottle to the GulpPlex™, a heavily guarded, massively parallel server farm whose location is known only to Eric Schmidt, who carries its GPS coordinates on a 64-bit-encrypted smart card locked in a stainless-steel briefcase handcuffed to his right wrist. No personally identifiable information of any kind related to your consumption of Google Gulp or any other current or future Google Foods product will ever be given, sold, bartered, auctioned off, tossed into a late-night poker pot, or otherwise transferred in any way to any untrustworthy third party, ever, we swear. See our Privacy Policy.

So you can feel safe with them.

Via Jeff Harrell, who wishes I'd blogpimp him more; I probably should, at that.

UPDATE: The naughty Google people took Googlegulp down. When it was still up at 2:00 a.m., I thought they were going to leave it in place for a few days, but no—they were probably just waiting for midnight in Hawaii or some such.

Posted by Attila at 09:54 AM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2005

Funniest Yet

. . . from Iowahawk. And I don't say that lightly.

Posted by Attila at 06:10 PM | Comments (3)

There's Something Fishy

. . . going on at Laurence's place.

My theory: the kitties finally took over. Laurence is probably locked in a closet somewhere. They're about ready to set up the "human cam."

Posted by Attila at 12:13 PM | Comments (3)

Okay, Then.

Do go gentle into that good night, if that's your plan.

The husband and I talked about living wills tonight, of course. He wants me to err on the side of life, and I want him to err on the side of dignity. But as I told him, I suspect our sensibilities are within a few city blocks of each others'. He just wants a full battery of tests before we give up on him. He tells me he plans to put a beloved object next to me, and if I react to it, he'll know someone's home.

I just don't want anyone publicizing video of me in any kind of mentally damaged state, and I expect my husband to take care of anyone who releases anything like that to the media. (Am I being clear, here? Good: we're all on the same page.)

It's so nice to be married. It's so nice to be with this guy; I can't even express it. Despite our slightly different attitudes toward life, we each trust the other to make a decision that conforms to our own sensibilities. How great is that?

Posted by Attila at 02:46 AM | Comments (9)


Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

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My writing has appeared in
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My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.


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