April 30, 2008

Well. I Tried Being Instapundit.

But the having-a-penis thing didn't work for me.

Oh, well.

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Underneath the Valley of the Expelled . . .

Oh, dear.

In our eagerness to combat The Evil Ben Stein, we're now referring to speech as a "brushfire of controversy"? That's a heck of a metaphor to apply to free speech. Got to extinguish them stray ideas, yo.

And now David Linden, who was sweet and lovely enough to send me the above link, is thinking, "ah, but—yes. The difference is that this speech is subsidized by the government, and whether we call it 'creationism' or 'intelligent design,' our conclusion must be the same: this cannot be subsidized by the State."

Linden is right, of course. But that is the predicament we have gotten ourselves into as a result of thinking that education must be a function of the State. And that therefore scientific inquiry itself must be an arm of the government. Do not get me wrong: I want all the benefits of that, too. I want my fellow citizens to have gobs and gobs of "free" education (or, perhaps, free "education"). But not to the point of muzzling academics, or policing thought.

And certainly not to the point of censorship within the academy: the idea of proving "thought crimes" by going back to the previous draft of a book (as in the video linked on the home page above) to establish intent is outrageous in the extreme. What's next?—finding an article that I've fact-checked, reverting to the original text, and using that submitted manuscript to prove that the publication I was working for meant something other than what it agreed to publish?

Whaaaaat? A publication makes a correction, but should be accountable for each early draft?

I'll concede that Stein might have been so horrified by what he found during the making of Expelled that he fell off the intellectual balance beam on the other side.

But I do not care. History will correct Ben Stein's mistakes, just as it corrected Darwin's. And I shan't cower on this side of the balance beam out of fear.

What cannot be corrected is the stifling of intellectual exchange. If we didn't have that, you'd be researching the four humors, Baby. Cutting up rats and looking for Earth, Wind, and Fire in their little rodent brains. *

The difference between us lies in what we hold dear: what is sacrosanct to some is the ideal of science, a desire to hold it precious above all else, and not to see it sullied with error. To others, it's speech.

Here's my perspective: Error will always be with us. What we must have is the agency for correcting same.

Neither ideal is absolute. Neither can be absolute. I'm not going to defend yelling the word "fire!" in a crowded theater, and you aren't going to defend someone who looks for flaws in the theory of evolution, and posits a stopgap notion—or, to the athiestic way of thinking, someone who "cheats" (or throws up his or her hands, acknowledges the mysteries of the universe, and utters the phrase "intelligent design").

So you are intellectually married to Imperfect Science, and I am married to an even more Imperfect Search for Truth. **

We must, of course, both push on. But always, always looking through the looking glass to the other's side, here and there. However darkly.

* Though I'm not sure that would be so bad; they were the best. To you, Sweet Thing. And to World Peace.

** Keats told me that it's the same thing as beauty, but Keats never researched the careers of serial killers. Nor, as I understand it, did he cut up rats.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 29, 2008

Obama on Wright:

"Oh. You mean Jeremiah Wright? The "whitey is the devil" guy?—hates Jews? I can't stand him, myself. I thought you meant Jeb Wright, my old pastor, from the other black church in my neighborh . . . wow; would you look at the time!"

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"Too Little, Too Late, Too Lawyerly."

That's Reynolds on Obama explaining the Wright business—or attempting to.

I'd say "too giggle-inducing," myself. Like Obama woke up this morning and decided that the good Reverend is a bit of a creepy racist. In a flash. On the road to Damascus.

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Are Hot Air Blurbs Becoming Predictable? AllahP Shamelessly Plagiarizes Himself.


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Advice to Young Ladies.

And young men, for that matter: know why you're going to college. Are you looking for an education, or job-training? If the latter, what kind of job are you looking for?—and are the classes you're taking relevant to it in any way, shape, or form?

If college truly is about job-training, it is indeed a terrible idea, most of the time. But what if education is more than that?

I don't have any answers: I found the Emperor to be a nudist, but an awfully well-built one. Great to date, yet I didn't wind up marrying him. Some people go to college and never come back. That's okay, too.

Try to get a handle on your motives. And do, please, figure out where the money is going to come from.

For what it's worth, the world is full of illiterate former English majors, and that makes me wistful. On the other hand, math and science are the subjects that you kind of have to learn from people who know 'em: anyone can just read literature or history.

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It's not so much "what did Glenn know, and when did he know it?"

It's more like, "why the plaid flannel, at the White House?"

Just because one is cooking, doesn't mean one's standards can go all to heck . . . unless Glenn suspected people would take pictures of him there, and he was attempting "plausible deniability." The plot thickens . . .

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John McCain's Healthcare Plan.

There's a lot to recommend the McCain approach to healthcare, spelled out in some detail this morning in an address at the Lee Moffit Cancer Center—and fleshed out further in a media conference call between reporters/bloggers and two of the Senator's top advisors—Carly Fiorina and Doug Holtz-Eakin.

Free market/Federalist nuts like me are bound to have a few questions as we investigate this further, but McCain's plan certainly is more market-based/flexible than any other approach I've read about, and it doesn't create disincentives to continue research into pioneering treatments—nor forbid people from buying healthcare wherever they like (quite the opposite, in fact). Here's Johnny Mac's YouTube promo of the plan, and here's an article about the new approach that's highlighted on the McCain website.

There are a handful of important elements, here. McCain proposes:

1) Giving each family a $5000 tax credit, payable directly to the healthcare plan of their choice;

2) Creating the conditions so that people can buy healthcare across state lines, in the expectation that competition will lead to greater efficiency and lower costs;

3) Making it more difficult for the worst doctors to operate, by publishing doctor fee systems and patient ratings over the internet;

4) Leveling the playing field for the self-employed and the unemployed by making it truly feasible for individuals and families to "de-link" their healthcare from their employment, rather than, in effect, forcing people to change doctors every time they cahnge jobs;

5) Pushing forward on tort reform, to keep frivolous lawsuits from driving costs up for everyone else;

6) Encouraging healthcare providers to use individual case management, rather than fee-for-services programs, and to incentivize preventative care and healthful life choices for the patient; coaxing the industry into becoming more outcome-based (without—so Team McCain claims—creating mandates for those patients).

It's promising, and while I'd like to see minimal government involvement in healthcare, this is the lightest approach I've seen in some time, and it does address some of the perverse incentives in the existing system, while maing more care available at lower cost.

Thanks to Patrick Hynes, as always, for coordinating this, and the press office at McCain HQ for continuing the New Media outreach.

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Well, Maybe Al Franken Just Isn't Ready

. . . for prime time.

Hat tip: Memorandum.

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The Military Family's Dilemma

Wachel on Wupert's upcoming deployment:

I feel like a colossal asshole for sleeping in a comfy bed with comfy pillows in a quiet room every night while these guys are out there sleeping on cots in tents and lugging around half their weight in body armor every day. I also feel like a colossal asshole for never worrying about this stuff before. It’s not like the war started the day Rupert got called up. I guess sometimes things just have to get personal for a person to wake up to certain painful realities.

It just sucks. That’s what I know. I wish I had something profound to say about it but I don’t. It just sucks. I never really “got it” when I heard or read about how deployments wreak havoc on the troops’ families and how that in itself makes it so much harder for the troops themselves. Oh, I get it now, way more than I ever wanted to. I’m not saying my life is havoc right now, far from it. I just finally get what’s so different about your loved one being away from you for this reason as opposed to other reasons like college or moving across country or whatever. People do those things for themselves. They serve in the military for everyone else, and it’s physically, psychologically, and mentally a world apart.

And I tell you what, it makes me want to dismember people like [anti-troop idiot whose name Joy redacted for the same reason Rachel took out the link] (whom I shall not link to on second thought) and feed the parts to my dogs.

Holy shit, Rachel. My prayers with Rupert; you've really brought this home for me.

(Yeah; Imade a grammatical correction to the Lucas quote. I'll take it out on Rachel's request, if she can spot it. I know it was wrong to do that, but it was a weak moment. I mean, I could insert little "[sic]" notes into people's quotations, but that's, like, calling attention to 'em, ya know? It feels like a snide thing to do on a medium like the internet, wherein speed is so much the name of the game that even the very best bloggers sometimes . . . gulp . . . find that space aliens have inserted typographical errors into their work.

I could actually make a full-time job of writing discreet little emails to other bloggers, pointing out their mistakes. But no one would pay me, and even more people would hate me. So—no.)

Also: Rachel is reading Michael Yon's latest, Moment of Truth in Iraq. I can't wait to get my hands on it, but I spent this month's discretionary funds on a couple of tank tops in the first few days we hit ninety degrees here in SoCal. (Do me a favor: next time I brag about the weather here—which will probably be tomorrow—fuckin' shoot me. 'Kay?)

The Rach (aka The Rock) also recommends this post by James Aalan Bernsen on the surge.

About the suffering of military families—well, I don't know. I have discovered that when I turn on the "sensitive" switch I tend to melt into a puddle of sympathy, and I'm less effective as a human being. Just as I had to detach from squeamishness to take science classes, I have to detach from real human pain in order to (1) write essays about politics, or (2) write fiction about crime. (I remember having a stern talking-to with myself while I was doing research on serial killers; the careers of Ted Bundy and his colleagues make for tough reading if you are saddled with any compassion. I had to find the shut-off switch.)

I have no answers. I only know that I no longer have any inclination to prop up military leaders who cannot be coaxed into some kind of democratic inroads to human rights. Which leaves me hopeful that we can use capitalism to, um, give the Chinese government some rope. And it leaves me barely avoiding the dark pits of despair when it comes to North Korea.

And as a crime writer, of course, I will probably someday write the "detective nullification" plot that all the greats play with (even Dorothy L. Sayers did it once in a short story—though she condemned it in one of her novels).

But for the most part I serve the function of a traffic light, reminding my fellow creatures that—nine times out of ten—murder is evil.

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April 28, 2008

The McGovern Parallels Continue . . .

Karl, having relentlessly researched Black Liberation Theology at Protein Wisdom remarks:

About ten weeks ago, it was becoming clear that Obama was running a campaign of winning caucuses in normally Republican states to overcome the “inevitable” establishment candidacy of Hillary Clinton, much as McGovern did to Muskie in 1972. Thus, it did not come as a shock when Obama’s campaign began to look more and more McGovernite in which voters it wins and loses.

And Robert Stacy McCain has a detailed analysis up at The American Spectator that's well worth reading. Money quote:

OBAMA'S PREDICAMENT now resembles nothing so much as that faced by George McGovern in July 1972, after the Democratic presidential nominee belatedly discovered that his vice-presidential choice, Missouri Sen. Thomas Eagleton, had previously been hospitalized for mental illness.

As with Obama's mishandling of the Wright controversy, the Eagleton disaster was an unforced error on McGovern's part. McGovern and his campaign team had dawdled over choosing a running mate, evidently in the mistaken belief that Ted Kennedy could be talked into taking the No. 2 spot.

When Kennedy finally gave a definitive "no," and other top possibilities also declined, the McGovern campaign scrambled and came up with Eagleton. There was no time for a background check and when Eagleton was asked if he had any skeletons in his closet, he said he didn't—even though he'd been hospitalized three times for severe depression and had twice undergone electroshock therapy.

It was only after he'd been nominated as vice president that journalists began reporting about Eagleton's history of mental illness. Rather than to take responsibilty for his deception and resign from the ticket, however, Eagleton tried to hang on. The Democratic campaign endured more than a week of agonizing limbo—at one point, McGovern famously declared he was behind Eagleton "1,000 percent"—before Eagleton was finally forced out.

Some say Richard Nixon would have been re-elected in 1972 no matter what, but McGovern's mishandling of the Eagleton affair destroyed whatever hope the Democrats had.

OBAMA'S MISHANDLING of the Wright controversy resembles the Eagleton affair in that it reveals a lack of foresight and preparation. Wright's sermons were available for sale on DVD, and Ronald Kessler of NewsMax.com had reported about Wright's controversial views as early as January. Yet when the ABC News story broke in March, the Obama campaign appeared to be caught flat-footed.

Much like McGovern's initial "1,000 percent" support of Eagleton—which only encouraged Eagleton's attempts to stay on the ticket—Obama's Philadelphia speech defending Wright has prolonged the crisis, with Wright now refusing to leave the spotlight.

Those are only a few of the similarities, however. The main one—the one that is keeping the superdelegates awake at night these days—is the fact that Obama is clearly unelectable due to his fringey associations in the popular mind. Simply put, he's been outed for the stupidest beside-the-point reasons as being too far to the left. There's irony to spare, here, because from a libertarian perspective Obama's association with black supremacist Marxism (aka Black Liberation Theology) doesn't yield much policy fruit from the racism side, but produces plenty on the Marxism side. So if it weren't for the fact that Obama's Marxism is (1) associated with violence (see Ayers, Bill), and (2) linked with black racism (Wright, Jeremiah), he'd be getting a pass on precisely the most destructive—albeit an unspoken—part of his platform.

Obama's candidacy is dead. The only question left is whether he'll take the Democratic Party with him. If the Supers go with Clinton, they still have a shot at the White House, but they can kiss the blind loyalty of some segments of the black population goodbye. If they Supers pick Obama, they are taking a four- to-eight-year break from seeking executive power—which the healthcare socialists and anti-War lobby may well find inexcusable.

Me? I'm going to go smoke a cigar.

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Well, David.

In point of fact, my grandfather left some barbiturates to my mother when he died. Not on purpose, but because no one in my fucking family ever throws any goddamned thing away. Not even pills. (Or, especially not pills.)

Neither the reds nor the shotgun turned out to be Good Things,* but you know—I'm over it.

* Fair use, Martha-Baby. Fair use.

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Jeff G Is Back!

Now go say hello to him. And tell him you love him, and send him chocolates and booze, so he won't stop.

I mean, what do the Mixed Martial Arts have that the Blogosphere doesn't? (Um. Don't answer that.)

Seriously: That PW post contains the Best. Thread. Ever.

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Cute Cartoon.

It's the one Muir just put up; it'll still be on my sidebar for another 24 hours or better (he's early tonight).

Very sexy. Though I do think the sidearm looks more like a 1911 than a Glock. Fortunately, many of Chris' readers will be too distracted by the excellent way he draws Sam's ass to so much as peek at the gun.

(Like that old picture that sometimes goes around with the barechested firefighters and the Dalmations: the joke is that women just "can't find any dogs" in the photo.)

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Fucking Fire Still Isn't Contained.

Last night the wind started blowing toward La Canada; I hoped it wouldn't spread the fire, but it did.

This morning the soot was in the air, and the smoke was visible. By noon that had changed. Now it just looks like hazy sunshine out there, but the flames are spreading again: the authorities aren't letting some of the evacuated Sierra Madreans back into their homes (in case the wind changes direction again), and now they're extending the evacuation into the eastern edge of Pasadena.

It looks like Altadena might be up next; what a nightmare. The evacuation/shelter map, courtesy of Foothill Cities Blog, is here.

I know, I know: I'm supposed to be grateful that homes aren't being destroyed. And I am. Really, I am. But it's still heartbreaking to lose some of Southern Cal's best hiking trails. Griffith Park last spring. And the area around Julian in last fall's massive tragedy.

(If I sound heartless, please keep in mind that in Southern California our wilderness areas and parks are the equivalent to Central Park in NYC: there are issues of identity involved that are difficult to explain.)

Please pray for us; this is one of three major things we have to worry about here. In some ways, it's worse than floods or earthquakes—wildfires move like lightning, and they kill a lot more people than the other two.

Water, around here: it's like cops and hookers. Ya know?

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Much as I despise identity politics, if I were a black Obama supporter right now I'd renew my commitment to him simply to spite Rev. Wright, who is clearly trying to sabotage the Obama candidacy so the superdelegates will have no choice but to make that U-Turn and give the nomination to Senator Clinton.

From Wright's perspective, there is no downside: (1) his name gets out there, and (2) vultures like him who feed off of the "victim perspective" will have more roadkill to savor after the nomination is "stolen" from Obama.

Sharpton, Jackson: he's coming after your market share, guys.

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I'm Perplexed.

If robots are doing all the work for me, why aren't they fetching me drinks and cigars? I mean, I assume they will peel grapes for me—and slice watermelon, and slather water crackers with bits of cilantro hummus—but if the Superhappy/Neuroscience Party really wants my vote, they'll have to allow for a few vices.

Even with the flying cars that I was promised decades ago.

Maybe several vices.

Perhaps a serious vice / virtue imbalance.

Quite possibly a serious of character flaws so impressive, the superhappy women will barely have the biomass to sustain them. Theoretically.

Via Grammar's Taskmistress.

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Is John McCain a Citizen?

Well, gee. I hope so. If not, his loyalties were a bit misplaced during the Vietnam War, weren't they?

How do the citizenship requirements differ for

(1) military service;
(2) becoming a U.S. Senator; and
(3) being elected President of the United States?

We know that there are differences between (1) and (2). What I do not know is whether there are differences between (2) and (3).

I'll investigate, and let y'all know what I come up with.

On a related note, I think Megan McArdle is mistaken when she suggests that "Hillary will have a much harder time keeping Obama's supporters from defecting to the other side than he will hers." I just don't see it: right now Obama's negatives are far, far higher than Senator Clinton's. And each of theirs is higher than McCain's.

In a normal election year, the Democrats would have the advantage, due to the troubled economy and our national ambivalence about the situation in Iraq. But it is not a normal year. At this moment the Democratic Party elders are having to decide whether to commit "particide," and nominate Clinton—at the cost of the blind allegiance of black voters that they've previously enjoyed—or write off the White House for the next 4-8 years in order to keep the more non-analytical/fiercely loyal black voters in the fold.

It isn't an enviable choice.

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April 27, 2008

About To Go National?

In Louisiana, U.S. Attorneys are facing charges if irregularities that could create the basis for an appeal that would unravel the conviction of a former governor.

Patterico and his co-blogger are closin' in on the story; presumably Patterico is bored with the LA Times, and wants to spank people farther east--that is, the ones that need spankin'.

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The Wind Has Died Down . . .

and it looks like the Sierra Madre/Arcadia fire is semi-contained. Evacuations are still in place at least through tomorrow morning—and many of the schools east of here will be closed tomorrow as well.

There's still no ash making its way to La Cañada, nor even any smoke visible. I just hope that the priority of protecting structures didn't lose us too much ground in the Angeles National Forest.

We'll know more tomorrow morning, but I have high hopes it'll be contained by then.

Centinel at Foothill Cities is staying on top of the situation, and he's linking to some cool stuff.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Dunno. I Wanted a More Butch Superpower.

Maybe I'll have to re-take the test to get the results I want:

Your Superpower Should Be Mind Reading
You are brilliant, insightful, and intuitive.
You understand people better than they would like to be understood.
Highly sensitive, you are good at putting together seemingly irrelevant details.
You figure out what's going on before anyone knows that anything is going on!

Why you would be a good superhero: You don't care what people think, and you'd do whatever needed to be done

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Feeling even more isolated than you do now
What Should Your Superpower Be?

'Cause let's face it: I can practically read minds as it is. Nothing very exotic about that.

Via Zoey, who gets to have electrical superpowers. I have those too, if you count what happens when I walk on the carpet too much, wearing the wrong shoes.

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Beth Lives on a Farm.


I'd like to live on a farm, too. But not if I had to work on it when I wasn't in the mood. I'm afraid that my attention span makes it difficult even to look after house plants.

We should move onto someone else's farm, and be the writers-in-residence. I'll cook and do the laundry and stay up at night scrubbing the bathtubs.

I do want a horse, though. Maybe just one of those dog-size horses. When we lived in those other hills (the more suburban ones, without all the wildlife) in Glendale, one of the neighbors had a little horse, and used to walk it along with the dog.

I understand that it might be difficult to look after a horse in the condo, but certainly where there's a will, there's a way.

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Rachel Lucas

Has all her LOL Pet pix in one place, for handy reference.

I don't usually go for anything cute, but LOL Animals are a guilty pleasure of mine, like Mary Engelbreit's artwork. Just can't help it.

Back to Rachel; love her, love her, love her. She's yang to my yin, and she likes guns. And dogs. So she's perfect, except that neither of her dogs is a pit bull. (Of course, none of my dogs are pit bulls either, but that's because they don't exist. Naturally, I claim the mom's Mandy as my own when she is behaving. When she is naughty, she instantly and miraculously becomes my mother's exclusively. Isn't that odd?)

And this kind of thing happens more than, ahem, one might think:

I began to wail like a little baby and actually slumped to the floor on my knees in despair. I just want my fucking sunglasses! Is that too much to ask, God?! Heeeeelllpppp meeeeee!!!! This brought the dogs nearby, wondering why Human was on the floor screaming. They both came sidling up, wagging their tails comfortingly, and sniffed my head. Sunny gave me a lick on my cheek and Maggie smashed her body up against me as though to be my rock. I sobbed out loud to them something like, “Sweet girls, sweet sweet girls, I wish you could sniff out sunglasses God has hidden from me as punishment for being a heathen.” They stared at me in confusion.

At that moment, I finally decided to just get my shit together and go, even without sunglasses. So I stood up and went to the bathroom to blow my nose. I looked in the mirror at the same time I reached up to my eyes to wipe tears away.

I saw the sunglasses on my face just as my fingers smashed up against them instead of my eye.

That shit is a sign of genius, yo.

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The Anchoress on Prude

I forgot to link to the John Hawkins interview with Carol Platt-Liebau a few days ago, but here it is. Her book is entitled Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!). The Anchoress discusses the book, quotes excerpts from the interview, and talks about what Platt-Liebau calls "do-me feminism."

I don't know exactly how to a take the ultra-pro-chastity lobby; they obviously have their points, but it's hard not to see their beliefs as part of the sexual double standard. I mean, I do get that the sexes aren't "equal" as regards sex, and never will be. After all—

- men don't get pregnant;
- men aren't as suceptible to STDs from women as women are to STDs from men;
- it is a simple matter for a woman to satisfy a man, and—relatively speaking—a challenge for a man to satisfy a woman;
- there really isn't much for a woman in casual sex. That is, there is even less for a woman in same than for a man.

On the other hand, I'm not too excited about the double standard, and the idea that woman are somehow "polluted" by sex in a way that men are not. There is that silly notion out there that a woman who has a lot of sex is a "slut," but that a man who is sexually weak is actually . . . strong. As I understand it, this idea was constructed by . . . oh, right. By men.

After all, men aren't "slutty." They are "virile."

I don't mind the fact that teenage girls are told that one might as well wait a bit for sex, just as one might wait a bit to tackle Russian novels. And the sex-saturated culture of the 1970s was downright abusive. What I don't like, however, is that one is very seldom told what a genuinely sober, thoughtful approach to long-term human sexuality is. Most SoCons seem more concerned with the notion of what it isn't.

It is as if one were told to avoid to the quicksand, but not how to ascend to the mountaintop. And the mountaintop is shrouded in mist, nearly invisible. Those who haven't seen it wave their hands and assure you that it's there. Those who have seen it simply tell you to "follow the signs." But the signs were destroyed by storms long ago; those of us who want to reach the peak are navigating by feeling around for moss on tree trunks, tracking the sun, and leaving Boy Scout-style landmarks for ourselves, so we'll know where we've already been.

There is no map; only a list of "must-nots." And a lot of second-hand testimony about long-term bliss that no one has actually seen, but everyone assures you exists.

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Where's There's Smoke . . .

there's fire. But not the converse.

Right now there isn't any smoke out in the hills, so I'm assuming things are somewhat contained in Sierra Madre.

But it's ninety degrees out there, and there's a bit of a wind. Bad combo, so please be careful with those cigarettes, okay?

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

On Feminism and White Privilege

. . . Jeff G. decided to show up for work today.

(Oh, for Pete's sake, people. No, rape isn't funny, but white guilt can be hilarious. And these days those who think black men are more sexual than white men—or better in bed, or whatnot—don't know very many men of any race.)

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Stacy McCain . . .

found a cute regionalist "analysis" by Newsweek's Michael Hirsh (Stacy M's scare quotes—but they fit) that explains how Americans have been moving South and West, and this has been a Bad Thing. Because Southerners are bad. And Westerners are . . . well, Westerners don't really exist. Beyond the Continental Divide, there be monsters.

Because if one were to actually include the Southwest in extrapolating from these demographic trends, one might be forced to look at the ultimate Southwestern "state"—Southern California.

Which is not "red" at all, conservative Orange County and mixed/centrist San Diego notwithstanding. The three "Californias" are, top-to-bottom, blue, red (central California, where our agriculture is, along with a lot of our small towns), and blue.

Though those who maintain that California will never again get "into play" should look at the careers of our current governor, as well as Richard Riordan, L.A.'s mayor not too long ago. (Riordan was the first Republican I ever voted for.)

The entire Newsweek piece smacks of East Coast jingoism, and includes this choice bit of self-parody: "We have become an intolerant nation, and that's what gets you elected."

And Hirsh knows his intolerance. But he shouldn't be writing for Newsweek; he should be writing for The Onion.

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The Chicago Boyz' "Eatin' Cheap" Contest

Via Insty. I love this sort of thing. Actually, the solution to being creative in the kitchen seems to be finding either the right cookin' music on iTunes, or hanging out with the kind of people who like to talk to you while you cook. Some people have tiny televisions in their kitchens, and watch old movies while they make soup: I'll bet that works, too.

Also, on Sunday nights I'll sometimes make a sign for the fridge door (or use a tiny whiteboard) to list what the very best leftovers are, so we'll remember to have them for lunch that week ("Beef ravioli in the round container, first shelf!" "Stroganoff, blue container, second shelf!")

I still think the better solution to rising world food shortages is to use algae and switchgrass for our biofuels, and turn the world on to democracy / free markets, but in the meantime we can refrain from hoarding food, and experiment with cheap eating (I do this every several years, and since every time I look at Ralph's it costs me $100, it might be time to re-examine it).

The cheap food thread discusses Ramen a lot. The fact is, I simply cannot buy the cheapest brands of Ramen: I get "oriental" flavored stuff in the Asian-foods section, and it costs a lot more—like 50-75 cents a package. I also add chili-garlic paste to it, and a bit of sesame oil. At that point it's ready, though I sometimes look through the refrigerator for other leftovers to put on top: it's great for stray bits of veggies.

The second bowl in that batch of Ramen gets placed in the fridge, and eaten the next day. By then the noodles are fatter and there's less liquid. So it seems to want to be spiked with another dose of sesame oil by then.

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April 26, 2008

One More from Glenn . . .

This one on the insanity with which we are approaching biofuels, which should be a straightforward matter (not simple—but straightforward):

The problem with ethanol is a government-subsidy problem, and a trade-barrier problem. It's not a problem with ethanol itself. Make it out of something other than food, and lower the barrier to Brazilian ethanol imports, and it would help our current situation a lot. We're not doing that because of farm-subsidy politics. The problem is, basically, the Iowa caucuses and the pandering that results. But simply bashing all biofuels uncritically is dumb.

UPDATE: On the other hand, the new farm bill demonstrates that Congress is dumber:

We have a program that makes us overpay for sugar, and now we're going to start a new program to subsidize the ethanol we create from it — because without the subsidy, the inflated sugar price we've created will make the ethanol unprofitable.

Upside: Everybody involved has an incentive to pay off some Senators.

Well, now, let's be fair: biofuels are too important to leave pricing up to the market.

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Glenn Reynolds has a pic up of a pretty creature; I'm pretty sure it's a Pittie. Check it out!

They are always smiling, and their tails are always wagging. Pitties are the best.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2008

I Got Nothin', Folks.

We're moving in a month, and I still have to:

(1) Catch up on laundry. (I sucked it up and got the washer fixed yesterday morning—it took the repair guy three minutes to figure out what was wrong, whereas I would have spent seven hours on it).

(2) Check on flooring costs tomorrow (I have a bad feeling about this, but I shall forge ahead. Yesterday I told my husband that my mother recommends we keep the existing carpeting, and simply have it cleaned despite the rust stains and the mold. "But it makes you sick," A the H reminded me.

"Maybe it's psycho-somatic," I remarked. "My mother didn't notice it."

"Your mother doesn't have allergies," he replied. "Also, you lied to her about the fungal content of the carpet, because you didn't want her going into some kind of 'black mold psychosis' on you."

"Oh, right." I was over there this morning, and, sure enough: I was on the verge of sneezing the entire time. And all methods of carpet cleaning on-site involve water, which does not cut down on mold and mildew.)

(3) Pick out a new headboard for the bed / television / entertainment center, and some of that "6-12 months down the line" furniture: smaller bedside tables, new entertainment center, a room divider for my study area.

Every cent we have right now should go into food, moving, and the essential elements of the condo revamp.

So with any luck I'll have something interesting and witty to say in the morning. Right now, I'm headed to the all-night drugstore to find out what sorts of deals are available on OTC antihistamines.

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April 24, 2008

Allah P . . .

is watchin' TV so I don't have to. (Actually, I couldn't bear more than 15-20 seconds of most of these clips, even if my computer were in the mood to let me have any more, which it isn't).

I'm a bit torn on The View. Partly, I'm gratified and surprised that there is one classical liberal / libertarian / center-right voice on that show. Partly, I'm disappointed to see yet another roundtable with one! count them! one! conservative voice; shades of the Sunday political talk shows with a cast of thousands of liberals—but also, George Will!

Actually, the few times I've seen that show, I've liked Goldberg, even though I don't agree with her very much. I haven't liked her as an Oscar host at all, but I dig nearly everything else she does.

And I know everyone is going to get mad at me, but that scene in The Player that has her twirling a tampon around in the Pasadena PD office? Fucking genius.

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Grammar's Taskmistress

. . . Sends the following snippet of Stevie Smith's poetry:

I long for the Person from Porlock To bring my thoughts to an end, I am becoming impatient to see him I think of him as a friend,

Often I look out of the window
Often I run to the gate
I think, He will come this evening,
I think it is rather late.

I am hungry to be interrupted
For ever and ever amen
O Person from Porlock come quickly
And bring my thoughts to an end.

Personally, I have the Internet from Porlock, though I hear the Television Show from Porlock is also popular.

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April 23, 2008

R. Stacy McCain on that Cult in Texas.

I've avoided commenting on that case, because it cuts a bit too close to the bone. I was, in fact, in a cult for two and a half years—when I was young. I was underage, in case you were wondering. And, yes: I was sexually abused.

But during the entire I was in that "church," I was a human being. The degree to which I had Fourth Amendment rights can certainly be debated, but the adults around me had Fourth Amendment rights. To see those rights trampled upon up close and personal would have been traumatic, and would have spoiled me forever on the State. I'm not sure that either I or the nominal "adults" in R.L. Hymers' church (those over 18) would ever have recovered, had there been a "raid" on our Christian houses.

Stacy McCain:

A kind of Manichean mindset appears to be affecting perceptions of this case. Some people seem to think it's an either-or proposition, and that we must choose to believe one of two things:

The FLDS are harmless and innocent religious eccentrics whose practices are beyond criticism.

... or ...

The FLDS are vicious and dangerous abusers whose practices justify even the most extreme measures by law enforcement.

In other words, this Manichean approach means that our judgment on the actions of Texas officials is made contingent on our opinions of the FLDS. If we think the FLDS are good, then raiding them is bad, and vice-versa.
I reject that approach. Regardless of whether the FLDS are good or evil, they are human beings who have—what was Jefferson's phrase?—"certain unalienable rights." Our rights are not dependent on our popularity; the fat geek has the same rights as the homecoming queen. And freaky religious cultists have the same rights as boring Methodists.

I believe what he's suggesting is that the Bill of Rights doesn't only apply to people we like.

It is a thought to remember.

ALSO: Dr. Shackleford's bogusness detector has been going off. And rightly so.

(Though of course those boring Unitarians might have fewer rights than the rest of us—that's handled in an appendix to the Bill of Rights that few people read any more.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

And Now for Something . . .

not very different at all:

Help Joy Kick Ass!
What martial art should Joy be studying?
Standard jujitsu;
T'ai Chi;
Brazilian jujitsu.

Another option: "Shoot-jitsu." That's when you cock your .357, place your hand on the trigger, and mention that you've got six Silvertips with the other person's name on 'em.

Kind of a remote-submission hold. In a way.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:31 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Via Stephen Green . . .

Strategy Page: Al Qaeda Decapitated in Iraq

April 22, 2008: Between mid-March and mid-April, al Qaeda suffered major losses in Iraq. American and Iraqi troops killed or captured 53 al Qaeda leaders. These include men in charge of entire cities (or portions of large cities like Mosul or Baghdad), as well as men in charge of various aspects of terror operations (making bombs, placing them or minding the bombers). Most important, nine of the ten most senior men involved, were captured, and interrogated. This led to locating more al Qaeda staff, and assets. Hundreds of weapons and explosives caches have been discovered this year, as a result of interrogating captured terrorists. The result has been a sharp fall in suicide bomber attacks, and the ones still carried out are against soft targets (civilians), including the recent funeral of two men earlier killed by terrorists. This was part of an al Qaeda campaign to force Sunni Arabs to switch sides again and support terrorism. But these attacks have the opposite effect, causing more hatred for al Qaeda.

It's almost like the Iraqis want to go to the market without the risk of getting blown up by an IED; what an odd little nation.

VodkaPundit wants to know why it is that "only blogs report these stories," but concedes in his own headline that it's a "dumb question."

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Global Warming? Or a New Ice Age?

Glenn Reynolds: "I wish people would make up their minds. I don't know what to wear."

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So Now He Can Betray Us on a Larger Scale?

Cool. I really dig Patraeus; he's a sharp cookie.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hitch Is Still Writing for the UK Mirror.

I wish these freakin' immigrants would assimilate, BTW.

The apparent front-runner has a lot of work to do before he can count on the support of the old-fashioned households who care about guns, values, churches and other keywords and code words that Mrs Clinton can exploit with more conviction than he can.

Continuing with my obsession with a favorite statistic, I note that 17 per cent of Obama voters say that they would prefer John McCain in the general election, and that 12 per cent of them say that they would remain at home rather than vote for Mrs Clinton. No doubt the equivalent figures on the other side are at least as venomous.

And I could not help but notice that Obama’s televised podium of supporters was exclusively white last night in Indiana, whereas his belief that he will win in North Carolina is based almost entirely on his anticipated command of the large “black” vote in that state.

And this will be—always assuming that other voters are predictable and unaffected—his revenge for Pennsylvania.

So really, what is all this about a “post-racial” election? The true venom—racial and social and personal and political—is still to come.

Yeah, well. I doubt that Senator Clinton will be asked to be Obama's VP. Or, should it come down to it, vice versa.

Did I mention that I finished god Is Not Great a few days ago? It was every bit as adorable as I expected it to be, and more seductive. I haven't read every athiest anthem out there, but this is a damn fine one.

Via Hot Air.

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Playboy Contains Porn?

Are you sure?

If the target were Hustler, I wouldn't be too upset: after all, it's kind of a degrading magazine, and it makes sex/the human body look gross and ugly. But Playboy and Penthouse? Get real.

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Support Free Speech in Canada!

Via Insty it's "Warman Wednesday" at Steyn Online:

IT'S A FREE SPEECH FUNDRAISER at SteynOnline! Mark Steyn writes: "Until midnight Eastern tonight, for every copy of America Alone sold at the Steyn store, we'll give 50 per cent of the cover price - ie, our entire profit - to the legal defense funds for the five beleaguered bloggers fighting for free speech in Canada. That's 50 per cent of the cover price of the paperback, hardback, audio book (in CD, tape or MP3 format) and our America Alone Anniversary Special. And we'll also put 50 per cent of every other book, T-shirt, mug or anything else we sell today to the Freedom Five."

Plus, he'll autograph 'em. Go for it!

That is, he'll autograph the books. Hm; I've been wanting that Steyn T-shirt that makes fun of "Che-chic" for a while. And I have until 9:00 p.m. here in the land of palm trees.

We've got to do more for the Free Speech Five—that's for sure.

The Steyn Online link above also has links to news on Warman's antics, including a Shire Network News podcast featuring Kate from Small Dead Animals and Kathy from Five Feet of Fury—two of the "Free Speech Five."

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April 22, 2008

More on That Gollum-Like Tramp, Madonna . . .

I know; I sent you here once already. But Sean K has an interesting take on the Material Bod. In response to this,

If Madonna didn't devote her life to harassing us, what would she do with herself all day? Remember, this is a woman with so much time on her hands that she can spend four hours a day working out. I know I'm fat, but I have to say that if I spent four hours a day working out, I'd want to look a damn sight hotter than Madonna does; those vile veiny hands, that sad stringy neck—yuck!

He writes:

Madonna has the sort of body that tends toward the plump/luscious side; you can see it in her early videos. Endomorphs like that who diet and exercise themselves into having no body fat often end up with skin that has a weird stretched look.

I've never not looked plump—even when I dipped below 100 once in my twenties. I really looked perfectly normal until I took my jacket off or whatever, and exposed the top of my jeans. Then it was clear that my hips and ass were too small. (No—really.)

But the fact is, no one is going to survive her fifties looking like a model. As women age, they tend to look either too plump, or too skinny. The only thing to do at 55 if one wants to avoid osteoporosis on the one hand and cardiac disease on the other is to work out. One doesn't necessarily have to go at it for four hours a day, but to expect a 55-year-old woman to look like a babe isn't reasonable: as one gets older there is less and less middle ground.

(I made my mind up a long time ago that when the time comes, I'll go with a bit too much mass, versus too little. No bone loss for me, Baby. Not if I can help it. Better big than frail.)

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Well, Then.

What do Japanese people eat for breakfast? Bacon and eggs, right? No?

My friend Beatty has been eating miso soup in the morning; that sounds a bit severe to me. I don't need fat in the morning, but I do need a few carbs and some protein. I've certainly had rice with a bit of milk and sugar on top, but that's probably no less Western than a Denver omelet.

Via Insty, who posits that the "food crisis"—at least in industrialized, wealthy countries—might be overblown. Yup.

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Jonah Goldberg on the Relationship Between Darwinism and Naziism.

It goes beyond the "necessary, but not sufficient" formulation, and he addresses the "what about Einstein, then?" issue that Ben Stein's movie Expelled doesn't take on:

I do think Darwinism led to Nazism, in a sense. But that's because I see Nazism as one of many responses to modernism. And Darwin, for good and ill, represents the rise of modern science — along with Einstein and others. Nazism and Communism and Progressivism were all impossible without the industrial revolution, Darwinism, relativism, mechanized warfare, mass production, etc. They were reactionary responses to these things. Those responses amounted to an express rejection of the conservative and libertarian vision of society, which is why they were leftwing.

Nazism was reactionary in that it sought to repackage tribal values under the guise of modern concepts. So was Communism. So are all the statist and collectivism isms. The only truly new and radical political revolution is the Lockean one.

(I am re-reading Liberal Fascism, which I had promised to pass along promptly to my husband. When I was done with it I re-read the pages I'd dog-eared. Then I re-read the introduction. Then I accidentally re-read the Mussolini chapter. Now I'm in the Hitler section, and I might as well re-do the whole thing. It's like tying one shoe, and then having to tie the other, because otherwise they'll be uneven.)

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I'm glad there's a major party out there that doesn't go around nominating muti-millionaires to the Presidency, or putting up candidates who have rich spouses.

Um. Wait.

Actually, I'm going to send a bunch of money to the Dem 527s, because it looks like they need some money; if only they could afford to hire someone to do the V.O. who sports a real English accent. Or a real American one. Anything but that drifting-back-and-forth trans-Atlantic hybrid.

Via Morrissey at Hot Air.

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Reynolds Takes on Global Warming.

Right here.

For those who haven't seen a picture of Glenn—both of you—that is not his image next to the article; it's Ray Kurzweil's. And for those of you who can't guess what the Instapundit approach to environmentalism might be—all three of you—it has to do with technology. And the prefix "nano-" appears. Heh.

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Novak: It'll Be McCain.

Kudlow at The Corner heard Novak speak last night, and he's calling the general for McCain.

Yup. Unless Clinton gets the nomination, I really can't see things going any other way after all of Obama's recent gaffes. I don't even think they'll need footage of Michelle for this one.

Not that I'm encouraging the GOP to phone it in. But I think it'll be McCain; what choice do people have at this point? At least Johnny Mac is willing to talk to reporters, which is a plus in a presidential candidate.

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Sure. Stillhunting Isn't Hunting.

Rachel Lucas gets a giggle out of ignorant non-hunters. Actually, neither she or I have actually been hunting, but at least we're not as wildly ignorant on this topic as the average liberal suburbanite. (And, yes: after a few years at Petersen's Hunting, I do have an odd stash of arcane facts in the back of my tiny little brain.)

Anyway, Rachel is responding to a flotilla of letters on the subject of hunting that ran in "Dear Abbey" today—

I just love Walter M. From Florida’s very thoughtful expression of his knowledge of human history:
Before the industrialized age, people were forced to hunt to put food on their tables. Today, whether they consume the meat or not, the majority of hunters (I use the term very loosely) are not “hunting.” They are camouflaged, hiding in blinds or in tree stands waiting for the prey to wander by. Some even put out bait to lure the animals to their location. There is no skill in hiding, waiting for an animal to wander by to be shot. These people are animal snipers. A true hunter would stalk prey using a bow and arrow for the kill.

Well all rightee then. According to Walter, all those millions of humans over the last 150,000 years who killed animals with any weapon other than a bow and arrow weren’t “true hunters.” I bet it sure felt like hunting to them, using spears and clubs.

It's worse than that, Rachel: not only is Walter an incurable romantic, but he also doesn't seem to realize that using bait to lure animals is not permitted in most areas, and for most species. Some areas that allow the hunting of bears permit this, but not many.

I'd still like to take a deer before I die, or some other diminutive form of "large game."

But I suppose if I'm going to take to the trail with a .30-.30 I should first acquire a freezer; most hunters I know either possess freezers, or relationships with Hunters for the Hungry.

One could take Walter's logic still further, and proclaim that not only is stand-hunting inauthentic, but so is bowhunting itself. The true hunter confines him- or herself to employing a very large rock. It should not have a point on the end, for that would give the weak, slow, physically vulnerable upright predator an unfair advantage. Spears are abusive; they should be outlawed.

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Insty on Chi-Town

Right here.

"CHICAGO SOUNDS LIKE MOSUL: " That's an email from . . . Michael Yon, who knows his Mosul. Here's the story on last weekend's violence. Still, they're different: One has crooked officials, violent gangs with their hooks into government and law enforcement, and a culture of corruption that has resisted the central government's effects to clean it up, and the other is a city in Iraq.

UPDATE: Fred Butzen emails: "I'm surprised you overlooked this difference: One has crazy preachers, and the other is in the Middle East."

MORE: Another reader emails:

It really should be no surprise, since Chicago and Illinois itself have been failing to reach their political benchmarks for years now.

It is too bad there is not some powerful politician who might have served the Chicago area and brought them Change and Hope. If there was, we could blame him for the "complete failure" to achieve those political benchmarks and reduce sectarian strife.


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McArdle's Vegan Challenge:

Going well for her. I was a vegetarian for four years, but I cannot get along without dairy products. I might be able to live without cheese and yogurt, in a pinch. But to this day I consume huge amounts of lowfat, liquid milk. It won't stop any time soon.

The other problem I have is that some vegan foodstuffs go overboard on ingredients like seaweed, and though I like a bit of seaweed—say, in a Japanese pastry—there's a delicate line: I don't eat fish at my most omnivorous, so anything that has too fishy a taste is right out. The exceptions are miso soup with just a whisper of bonita shavings that I can pretend not to know about, or an omelet with a splash of non-vegetarian Worcestershire sauce that I can likewise ignore.

Gosh, I hope Megan is wrong about women in Manhattan. I would love it if her upbringing there were a minority experience. Personally, I'd hate to feel guilty about eating. I take a distinct delight in food, though when I'm reading or writing (which is always) there's a point beyond which I simply don't want to fuss with it. If I could take a pill that would keep me from being hungry, I might well starve, since I can go for days or even weeks without being in the mood to mess around with the eating idea. Not because I'm against it, but because I don't have much of an attention span for anything whatsoever. The best thing that ever happened to me is the book rack I got in college, which I can use to prop up a book or magazine in front of me while I eat soup, cold cereal, or anything else that requires two hands.

I'm perfectly willing to cook, but not if I'm in the middle of reading or writing a hot chapter. Or even a hot blogpost. Let's not be ridiculous.

Which is to say that food is lovely, but if I had to choose between interesting food and fine words, I'd take the words: they are more satisfying than food, and more intoxicating than any drug.

But I do live in a human body, and my stomach is growling. So off I go to eat, rather than composing a kick-ass villanelle. This is, of course, the world's grave loss.

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April 21, 2008

Well, It Isn't As If

. . . Nora Ephron is above oversimplifying. After all, she's the one who suggested that, ultimately, women who complained about having large breasts were "full of shit."

So it's not like she's never before seen two data points and made a curve based thereon.

"I'm just so tired of thinking. It must all be the fault of white men." Come on, now: you know better than that, deep down.

h/t: Karl at Protein Wisdom, who remarks, "Obama has done well with white men since the beginning of primary season." Yup. Especially the ones who eat arugula, which happens to be one of my favorite salad greens.

Mmmm. Arugula.

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Volokh on "Abortion Art"

This sounds pretty sensible:

If the reasonable reader would interpret an assertion [such as Shvarts' press release] as being literally made, then the student (or a faculty member or anyone else in the university) has an obligation to make sure that the assertion is indeed true. Perhaps in some other contexts hoaxes might be forgivable—but not in class work, unless there's some strong contextual cue that the hoax is indeed a hoax. So if Shvarts did indeed misdescribe what she did (the accounts I've seen are somewhat contradictory), she should be faulted for that, and at least required to correct the misdescription.

. . . Yet . . . it's important that the university set out pretty clear rules, and not punish students or faculty members in the absence of such rules. This is especially true, I think, for art. As I understand it, avant-garde art and academic art, for better or worse, has in recent decades heavily prized the transgressive and shocking.

Shvarts and her advisors, it seems, gave the university pretty much what academic artists are asked to give. So if the university had a preexisting no-human-blood rule, then it could reasonably enforce it. But if it didn't, then I'm not sure what sort of "appropriate action" (setting aside a good talking-to) could reasonably be taken against faculty members who saw the transgressiveness of Shvarts' project as a plus rather than a minus. In other fields, it might be possible to fault faculty and students for violating unwritten but broadly accepted rules of scholarship. But my sense is that this is hard to assert (again, for better or worse) about modern academic art.

My emphasis; h/t to Insty.

UPDATE: Apparently, Ace believes in do-it-yourself abortions; how funny. He seems, otherwise, quite bright. If those worked, we wouldn't have ended up in a national fight that culminated (or, rather, plateaued) in Roe v. Wade.

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April 20, 2008

So. Rice Thinks Al-Sadr Is a Coward.

I'd say that the "man" is coaching from, as they say, some pretty safe sidelines*:

"I know he's sitting in Iran," Rice said dismissively, when asked about al-Sadr's latest threat to lift a self-imposed cease-fire with government and U.S. forces. "I guess it's all-out war for anybody but him," Rice said. "I guess that's the message; his followers can go to their deaths and he's in Iran."

A full-blown uprising by al-Sadr, who led two rebellions against U.S.-led forces in 2004, could lead to a dramatic increase in violence in Iraq at a time when the Sunni extremist group Al Qaeda in Iraq appears poised for new attacks after suffering severe blows last year.

In a warning posted Saturday on his Web site, al-Sadr said he had tried to defuse tensions by declaring the truce last August, only to see the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki respond by closing his offices and "resorting to assassinations."

He accused the government of selling out to the Americans and branding his followers as criminals.

"So I am giving my final warning ... to the Iraqi government ... to take the path of peace and abandon violence against its people," al-Sadr said. "If the government does not refrain ... we will declare an open war until liberation."

Rice praised al-Maliki for confronting al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, which had a choke hold on Basra, Iraq's second-largest city. The assault was al-Maliki's most decisive act by far against al-Sadr, a fellow Shiite and once a political patron. Kurdish and Sunni politicians, including a chief rival, have since rallied to al-Maliki, and the Bush administration argues he could emerge stronger from what had appeared to be a military blunder.

h/t: Memeorandum.

* Actually, that phrase is from a piece of fiction, but I simply cannot remember what it is right now. As usual, I suspect J.D. Salinger. Maybe not. It's something I've read a number of times, but that doesn't help me too much.

The source is a piece of dialogue, and it's definitely a male speaker. I'm pretty sure the writer is also male.

I'll probably wake up at 4:00 a.m. and shout the answer into the air, much as one of my mathematician friends yelled "It's Funny Face!" in the middle of the night on a cabin trip once. (There had been some discussion of the Kool-Aid competitor whose flavor names were all kind of cutesy: Choo Choo Cherry, Freckle Face Strawberry, Goofy Grape, Jolly Olly Orange, Loud Mouth Lime, and the like. I was not in on that discussion, by the way: I was in the cool cabin, down the hill. The "pimento" cabin. The cabin in which we ate very well, drank wine, shot pool, watched porn, and raided the other cabin's food supplies on occasion [not because we needed to, but just to demonstrate that we could. What do you want?—our median age was 17 or something like that. We were the smartest people in the world, and we were all going to live forever. Now we're in our forties. We're still the smartest people in the world, and we're still going to live forever, but it hasn't been quite as easy as we once presumed. This is our—well, my—interpretation of maturity.])

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Oh, Hey!

Who knew there was a . . . what do you call that? A "blogosphere"?

Who knew there was a blogosphere out there?

My obsessions:

(1) doing a bit of laundry by hand every night, since our washing machine decided to die 5-6 weeks before we move;

(2) figuring out how cheaply we can move to the new place, and begin to furnish it in accordance with its 1974 leanings/our own tastes/the cheapskate side of my nature;

(3) picking out paint colors for same in the correct blend of 1960s/1970s/1980s hues for each room; setting up a guest bed plus two home offices in, like, no space; selecting window treatments; scienceing out the flooring (Pergo-equivalent, wood laminate, hardwood, or carpeting? Factors are: cost, speed of installation, degree of noise-muffling each will bring; ease of upkeep; hypo-allergenic qualities given that the "lady" of the house [who isn't, of course] is the worst. Housekeeper. Ever.)

Escrow closes on May 21st. I suspect I won't be making it up to either Shell Beach or the Bay Area until after we move— especially since I'm out of commission the first week in May (trip to Oregon, for which I'm on ice-fetching duty after Attila the Hub runs his next marathon).

We went to mass down in Glendale this evening, and then had dinner at one of the local restaurants near our new digs—a chain, but one that serves decent food. Too noisy, but I was able to get a small pizza with spinach and artichoke. For some reason, I crave vegetables lately; probably the changing of the seasons.

Mmmmm: spinach.

Dessert/midnight snack will be either mango slices or fresh strawberries.

You people out in reader-land must be good, now. For I . . . shan't.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:30 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 18, 2008

The Limitations of Labels

Sean Kinsell explains:

It's convenient that (small-l) "libertarian" suits me fine, because it tends not to set people off. I like "classical liberal," but (today's left) liberals often seem to think you're trying to dress up as one of them while being a closet fascist. ("Yeah, you're a liberal in the sense that, like, Mill would have meant it," someone sneered at me once.) And while my positions on many issues align with what we now consider "conservatism," I'm not fundamentally a conservative. (Well, I am when some gross guy is hitting on me. Then I identify myself as a "conservative" in a clear, forceful tone and mention that I'm a registered Republican. You movement conservatives don't mind the fib, do you? It's to the end of preventing casual homosexual intercourse, after all. And I really am a registered Republican.)

The only problem with calling yourself a libertarian--besides, as Eric alludes to, being invited by supposed fellow travelers to engage in poker-faced debates over the most inane hypothetical situations imaginable--is that a lot of people don't understand that it doesn't mean "libertine" or "anarchist." I can't count the number of times I've had to explain that no, I don't think all governing bodies should be dissolved so we can frolic naked in meadows all day and subsist on game and wild berries. In general, though, even those who conclude I'm just a closet right-winger seem to give me a fair hearing without rancor.

Yeah, well. Most of my friends are so far to the left that it doesn't matter that I'm a small "l" libertarian/classical Liberal. Any support for military action makes me Very Misguided Indeed.

"Well, of course," one of my pals said once. "You were so far to the left—a Communist, and all that. It makes sense that if you went over the line you'd be at the other extreme."

I'm at "the other extreme" because I think free markets are the least-inefficient way to lift people out of poverty, I'm willing to wage selective wars to liberate women and protect the people of this country, and I don't think the government has a place in my bedroom, my diet, or my humidor.

John Stuart Mill—I'm comin' to join you, Honey.

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At The Atlantic.


Posted by Attila Girl at 10:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Pentagon Study" on Iraq

. . . isn't any such thing. But don't tell the headline writers, and ruin their fun.

Karl at Protein Wisdom:

Leftosphere Recycles Distorted Antiwar Propaganda from McClatchy [Karl]

A McClatchy story about a study of the Iraq conflict by former senior Pentagon official Joseph Collins is blasted by Collins at the Small Wars Journal blog:

The Miami Herald story (”Pentagon Study: War is a ‘Debacle’ “) distorts the nature of and intent of my personal research project. It was not an NDU study, nor was it a Pentagon study. Indeed, the implication of the Herald story was that this study was mostly about current events. Such is not the case. It was mainly about the period 2002-04. The story also hypes a number of paragraphs, many of which are quoted out of context. The study does not “lay much of the blame” on Secretary Rumsfeld for problems in the conduct of the war, nor does it say that he “bypassed the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” It does not single out “Condoleeza Rice and Stephen Hadley” for criticism . . .

Of course, the usual suspects in the Leftosphere ran with the distorted McClatchy story.

Sure they did: they saw the distortions somewhere in black and white, which means that they had to represent The Truth!—even if the author of the study himself says he's being misrepresented by the mainstream media.

People are so ill-served by those who call themselves "reporters." It's maddening. That is, I'm angry. But I am not surprised.

h/t: Memeorandum.

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Aw, those Guys at Slate.

Bunch of Bossophobes:

Via Insty.

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Light Blogging, Yo.

We just got an offer accepted on a condo in Glendale, so I'm

(1) lining up a home inspector (the seller would like the contingencies out of the way as soon as possible;
(2) researching hypo-allergenic flooring that also muffles sound a bit (I'd like to go to Pergo, but I don't know how well that will work on a third floor, particularly given my ability to stomp around);
(3) going to the gym, and maybe
(4) buying a book. Someone packed up every shred of reading material in the house and took it to storage. Now that I've finished Liberal Fascism, I'm dying for reading material that doesn't blink at me like a laptop screen.

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Yeah, Well.

I'm having trouble getting exercised about "fingergate." After all, isn't this something I'd get a kick out of if I liked Obama more, or had less grudging respect for Hillary?

But those who are disillusioned with Changey McHope already will find one more reason to be disappointed, and may want to tell him to "man up."

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April 17, 2008

"Well, It's Because President Carter Is Good, and Don Imus Is Bad."

"Duh. Give me a tough question, why doncha."

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Scary, Scary.

Why am I reminded of the embargo on the word niggardly?

Thanks to Eric of Classical Values. I think.

I'm going to go get drunk now; it's after noon somewhere, right?

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Announcing the Cotillion Cookbook Project!

Several bloggers associated with The Cotillion (or "Tiara Media") have begun a cookbook project. This promises to be the biggest and most luxurious bloggers' food guide ever, notwithstanding our emphasis on speed, convenience, and how to get epicurean results when you can barely pry yourself away from your keyboard.

But we need your help. We'll need other bloggers, frequent commenters, website designers, SAH/working parents, writers, and others who are pressed for time to tell us:

• your favorite recipes; and/or
• your favorite season of the year to cook, and why; and/or
• your favorite ingredient, and why; and/or
• your favorite songs to pay on your laptop or iPod while you're cooking; and/or
• your favorite libation/mixed drink; and/or
• your favorite piece of kitchen equipment--what is the one tool they can pry from your cold, dead hands? AND
• your URL.

Also, please give us your real name, and SPECIFY IF WE CAN USE THIS IN THE BOOK, or whether we need to stick with your screen name.

Please send all your submissions to me; I'll distribute them to the editors and recipe testers who are working on this book. We'll need your material (the recipes especially!) by the end of the first week in June, as the book proposal goes out that same month--and the nature of the project will be shaped by your contributions!

Naturally, your blog will get a plug in the book, and you will be linked in the website we'll be developing in late summer/early fall.

Don't miss out!

All best,

Joy McCann
Little Miss Attila

miss.attila . . . AT . . . gmail . . . DOT . . . com

* * *
Snail mail:
2222 Foothill Blvd., E-313
La Canada, CA 91011

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More on So-Called "Net Neutrality."

Here. Wouldn't it be cool if the market could work this one out?

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April 16, 2008

Actually, "Elitist" Does Not Mean "Uppity,"

as Cuffy points out.

"Elitist" means "that annoying guy whose wife makes more money than I ever will, but goes around talking like she's a big freakin' victim. Then he throws awful stereotypes around about small-town people, people of faith, and gun-owners." You know: elitist.

It's annoying when white people do it, too. See Kerry, John. And Gore, Albert, Jr.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I Wonder . . .

Via Insty comes this great piece on the worldwide food shortage by Austin Bay. This is one of the reasons I don't like using corn or soy to produce biofuels; I'd much rather we concentrated on algae or switchgrass. (Though there is an argument to be made to have the capability of using surplus crops for some biofuel production, after we've figured out how to make the process vaguely efficient.)

And, of course: more windpower, more solar power. More nuclear plants, and make it snappy. Drill ANWR, and drill off the coast of Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Hell: drill the La Brea tar pits, if there's any oil to be had there.

But the point in the comments section about how we have fewer "marginal farms" in this country, and therefore less of a buffer against shortages (and less to sell or give to other nations that need it) is interesting. I usually don't buy "organic" produce [as opposed to the inorganic kind, ba da PUH], because I tend to want food that was produced in the most efficient way, dammit. The reason The Population Bomb was wrong is that we've kept ahead of the population curve by increasing production. But maybe it's time to encourage more boutique farming; more family farming; more small farms. If that means I should buy organic lettuce and artisan cheeses so those less well-off can buy the stuff they pick in the fields, maybe that's a safety mechanism this country needs, and can afford.

Also, I happen to like artisanal cheeses, though I've been told the cheese is objectively better in France, due to our hyperactive, overprotective FDA over here. (I know, I know: we want cheese without bacteria. But then, we also want our mushrooms without fungus.)

Dinner for a small planet: lentil soup, with fresh-grated parmesan cheese (the cheapest I can find that doesn't come pre-grated, since pre-grated parmesan is the work of the devil). A little fennel, sauteed in olive oil with a tiny pat of sweet butter. Raw carrots on the side, and oversweetened juice from the supermarket that I was too lazy to dilute.

And life is good; let's export us some crops.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:57 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Sowell vs. Obama:

The definitive takedown.

It is understandable that young people are so strongly attracted to Obama. Youth is another name for inexperience — and experience is what is most needed when dealing with skillful and charismatic demagogues. Those of us old enough to have seen the type again and again over the years can no longer find them exciting. Instead, they are as tedious as they are dangerous.

Via ConBelle, who remarks, "Obama sees those who are 'different' as pawns in his plan to achieve."

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Aw, Come On.

If we're going to treat Elton John like some sort of "foreign national," we'd have to treat guys like David Bowie, Ringo Starr, and Mick Jagger as foreign nationals. And that's just absurd.

I mean, we invented rock 'n' roll; we have a bond with the British over that, and over some wars we've fought with—and against—each other. It's like that older brother who once burned your house down to ash and rubble. (What do you mean, "no"?)

Besides, haven't you listened to the song "Rocky Raccoon"? The album Exile on Main Street? "Panic in Detroit"? Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy?

British rockers should be grandfathered in, and that's that.

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Hey; It Just Starts with the Mac.

I'm self-satisfied in many, many ways. And so are my fellow green, liberal Mac-heads, like Rush Limbaugh . . .

Thanks to Val.

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Actually, It's Because the Game Is Rigged Against Female Political Bloggers.

This further reflects the fact that all men are rapists: they rape us with their minds, with their dicks, with their hands, with their political web sites—and, when we're lucky, with their tongues . . .

Oh, wait. I had to take a short break, but I'm back now.

Look: What matters more?—the fact that a lot of people, including me, originally associated AllahPundit with Hot Air? Or the fact that Michelle Malkin started that site, owns it, and recruits top talent thereto? This, ahem, girl owns two of the top-fifteen websites in the 'sphere,* and she's positioned to make a bundle—and keep her voice alive and strong—as New Media grows. Don't cry for her, or for any of us laboring in the field of political analysis/citizen journalism.

One is reminded of Thomas Sowell's Conquest and Cultures, one of my favorite books, in which he reminds us that around the turn of the last century the U.S. had a lot of immigrants who were Italian, and a lot who were Jewish. These people started a lot of businesses, and their families became very successful. As it happens, more of the Italians became tailors and clothing manufacturers/designers. More of the Jews went into cooking and food-related industries. Who knows why? It doesn't mean Jews didn't care for nice clothing, and it doesn't mean Italians didn't appreciate good food. It might reflect the fact that traditional Jewish diets are more restricted, so the need for kosher foodstuffs nurtured the delicatessens of my youth (at least, the ones that made it out here to L.A., after the trend began in New York a generation earlier).

Write what you like. Write what you know. Find a way to turn a buck. "Make five hundred a year by your wits." * *

UPDATE: Rachel Lucas has a nice takedown of the original premise. Well, she has a long, wordy takedown that was juicy enough for me to—eventually, after skimming around the edges—read the entire thing.

(Also, she has another cute doggie pic up, and since her birthday is on April 21, she's asking for cash gifts. Which you could give her, if you weren't all saving up your money to send to me in July. [Or you could use Darrell's approach, and send me stuff for my "Chrysler Birthday," which is May 5th. That's when I got the PT Cruiser last year, so all kinds of yummy stuff has been showing up this month. Of course, he's my most loyal stalker.])

* Using the N.Z. Bear Ecosystem, which I employ because The Bear himself is such a dish . . . men being, you know—only decoration to me.

* * Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own. From memory, so feel to fact-check my rather amazing ass on that one. As I recall, five hundred pounds a year was a comfortable living in England during "the long weekend" between the two World Wars.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Carly Fiorina: The Hackbarth Interview

They are discussing the McCain economic plan.

(For those of you who skim the financial pages, Carly Fiorina became the first female CEO of a Fortune 20 company when she assumed the helm of Hewlett-Packard, though her star rose much earlier, when she worked at AT&T and managed the Lucent spinoff. Controversy followed her throughout her tenure at H-P, due to differences with the Board of Directors regarding the Compaq merger. She released her memoir a few years back, and is now an advocate for free market economics—as well as a public supporter of John McCain. Her Wikipedia entry is here.)

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April 15, 2008

That Whole Private vs. Public Thing.

It's actually tricky for bloggers, but I don't see how one cannot simply say, "this is off the record," if it is—indeed—off the record. Though I generally ask permission before I quote something another blogger said in a "party" setting. The couple of times I didn't, I got into trouble.

I thought that the rule was, no Presidential candidate has privacy. Ever. Perhaps I'm wrong about that, but isn't that why Colin Powell decided he didn't want to join this circus? Isn't it the reason Condi Rice still may not?

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Happy Titanic Day.

SR writes:

96 Years Ago . . . That's how long ago the Titanic sank. As always, someone has managed to come up with a news story about it. This year it's rivets. Did Harlan and Wolff, the ship builders, use cheaper rivets than specified because they were short of the better, more expensive rivets? Well, someone has written an article saying this is so, but the controversy over the rivets has been around for years, and this really adds nothing. As in most things, the Titanic sinking was due to a confluence of events. A calm sea. No binoculars for the lookouts. Ignoring ice warnings Marconied in from other ships. The failure of Third Officer Hitchens to steam ahead (instead of reversing engines and trying to turn). And, of course, an iceberg.

The "steaming ahead" thing would have been daring; I doubt anyone would have thought of that one in time.

UPDATE: Let's not forget that they were going too fast.

Now I want to re-read my Walter Lord books, but an evil person packed them and took them to storage.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mr. President . . .

please stop helping. Please.

Gay Patriot East (Original Gay Patriot, or OGP) is proposing that Carter be officially censured.

I dunno: that's like giving the man attention; it'll only encourage him. Next thing you know, all the other former Presidents will be misbehaving, and we'll have to send them to that Camp for Defiant Former Presidents for counseling and maybe a cross-country trek.

Related, from Ace's News Sidebar:

Breaking: State Department Employs Reverse Psychology on Hamas, Issuing White Paper Entitled "It Would Suck So, So Bad If Hamas Kidnapped Jimmy Carter, I Mean Garsh, We Just Don't Know What the Hell We'd Do."
Posted by Attila Girl at 07:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Well, Mu.Nu Is Baaaaaaccckk!

Which means that (1) you can read my awful blog; (2) I can add more sucky entries to my awful blog; and (3) if I can remember what they were, I can add all the juicy items I wanted to post this afternoon.

In case I do not get around to this, please note that they were brilliant posts: pithy observations, scintillating links. Trenchant analyses. All flirting—nay, petting heavily—with cliché. All worthy of Pulitzer Prizes/Instalanches.

Thank you, Pixy, for rescuing us once more. Even if it's only people on the Big Important Sites (e.g., Ace and Rusty) who get these personal postings from The Australian Rock Star Himself. It's because they're male, right? Or because they have actual readers? Maybe it's because they know more Latin than I do.

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Back Later.

I almost forgot what day it is.

I'm off to buy a gun.

h/t: Double-Plus Undead

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Too Much Discussion

. . . going on in universities. A lot of this conflict could be avoided if we simply made the professors use semaphore, and required that students who participate in class discussions do so in the form of haiku.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


He's such a typical partially-white person.

(Sandra Loh has taken to calling her family "whiteish," in the context of being middle class; I think we should simply use "middle class," but that's me. Of course, what she really meant was "nonblack," modern America having been magically distilled into two main ethnic groups.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 14, 2008

Tips for Dating

. . . tall women.

I know it causes the tallish (and even the medium-ish) women I know a great deal of pain that they aren't "petite."

On the other hand, they probably haven't been mugged as much as I have, and they probably don't need help reaching things on high shelves. Furthermore, if their sisters-in-law decide that a good place for the microwave is on top of the refrigerator, they don't need to drag a chair into the kitchen just to heat up some coffee.

I just make the tall person stand on the penultimate step on a staircase, though I don't know how that would come off from a man who happened to be the shorter party.

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Baldilocks Hit It Out of the Park

Juliette solves the conundrum of Obama linking religion (which he supposedly likes, and "has") to guns and racism (which he supposedly deplores, except when he's campaigning and has to pretend to support the Second Amendment).

In Obama’s mind, the religion clung to by the “average poor white Pennsylvanian” is BLT’s [Black Liberation Theology's] demonic “white” Church. The "white" Church is the tool of oppression for all—including poor whites—and should be shaken off just like other social maladies. Just like anti-immigration (sic) and racism. One will note that, in the defense of the earlier remarks, Obama still does not say anything objectively positive about the religion adhered to by the average rural white Pennsylvanian. What he actually says is that government should answer their prayers.

She concludes: "Never forget where this guy is coming from."


See Karl's thoughts here, particularly on the fact that Andrew Sullivan and William Kristol are "talking past each other" on the Obama "bitterness" remarks.

Via . . . everyone, but I first saw Juliette linked today at Insty's place, where he's got an interesting little roundup going on his own, including this quotation from a Melissa Henneberger article in Slate:

When I went back there, and visited similar small towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, one thing I heard over and over—from registered Democrats!—was that their national party leaders were elitists who couldn't seem to relate to their struggles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Now, if Obama is sticking by the essence of what he said out of stubbornness or arrogance, that's one kind of problem. But if he really doesn't see why this could be a game-changer, that's worse.

Hey: I like the audacity. "Vote for me, you provincial idiots!"

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ed Morrissey, in a piece headined "Iraqis Aren't Stupid—And They're Watching Us":

We can argue over 2002-3 all we want, but it doesn’t have anything to do with 2008. We are in Iraq, and al-Qaeda is arrayed against our troops. In fact, this is the best possible situation if we want to fight terrorists — to have them on a battlefield in straight-up fights against our military. It’s exactly what terrorists don’t want. If they wanted to fight our military, they wouldn’t use bomb commuter trains and fly civilian airplanes into their targets.

We have plenty of politicians who still don’t understand the strategic advantage this gives us. Instead of forcing them to defend ground and fight against the best military machine in history, these politicians want the military to retreat and allow them safe haven in Iraq. The best commitment they’re willing to offer is that if they get too comfortable in their new digs, we’ll stage another invasion of Iraq — without considering the costs involved, both logistically and in human lives, and that it depends on finding another country willing to host us after twice leaving the Iraqis twisting in the wind.

It also presupposes that we’ll get welcomed back for a third round of destruction by the people we would have abandoned twice. If we betray them a second time, don’t expect a third welcome. They already mistrust our honor after the 1991 bug-out that left them in the hands of Saddam Hussein. And it won’t just be the Iraqis who watch whether we keep our word; the Afghanis, the Saudis, the Jordanians all will take note of another retreat — and they will make their deals with radical Islamist terrorists accordingly.

Via Insty.

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April 13, 2008


I don't think Hillary's form was so bad. You don't want to knock back an entire shot of an unfamiliar drink the first time. Heck; I've been known to take a sip from a tequila shot that showed up in front of me, and pass the rest of it along to a deserving person. (Jeez; if you're going to buy me a drink, at least ask what I want.)

'Course, I'm not much of a shots person, though I do dimly remember a night of Kamakazis when I was in my mid-20s. Chicks need to be careful; the appropriate level is usually 1-2 drinks fewer than what the guys are doing.

Hill sure looked better doing this than Kerry did applying for that hunting permit during the 2004 campaign, IIRC.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:59 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Um. Does Obama Know

. . . that ducks are generally taken with a scattergun? I mean, I understand that he wanted to use the "Annie Oakley" image as a sardonic reference to Hillary (by which, of course, she can only be flattered). And I know he was burned up by her anecdote about the duck blind, which could be true but more likely is not.

Conflating shotguns with sidearms, however, is hardly any way to prove he's not as out-of-touch with hunters and the gun-owning community as he looked last week.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

To "Change," or Not To Change . . .

Karl at Protein Wisdom:

In this cycle, voters have seen Obama as a more strongly religious person than every other major presidential hopeful but Mitt Romney — and presumably Mike Huckabee, but neither of thse Republicans remain in the race. Obama has made a series of faith-based appeals in the course of his campaign. He has been campaigning as a “regular guy.” But his relationship with the noxious Rev. Jeremiah Wright, followed by his condescending remarks to limousine liberals in San Francisco about “small town” people in the heartland, present an image that looks increasingly more like the McGovern-Dukakis-Kerry model than the JFK-Carter-Clinton model. Can a more charismatic version of Dukakis narrowly win a “change” election? We may be about to find out.


Posted by Attila Girl at 11:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I Was in Pismo Beach Last Night,

watching television at the motel near by uncle's house. The staff at this place has started to know me by name, since I go up there every month or two. I wonder if this is a good sign.

I'm beginning to make peace with my grandmother's impending death ("impending" means sometime within the next five months to five years, I think; or whenever she loses interest in the small pleasures of life).

I did drop by my uncle's place for a few more hours today to hang out with my grandma, my dad, and my stepmom. The aunt and the uncle took a day off, to photograph wildflowers along the Central Coast and play with their nice dog.

I'm very grateful that my grandmother is getting an amazing level of care from good people; what she receives is not simply love, and not merely the lap of luxury—it is a combination of those two things that nearly no one can get, for love or money or anything else. Grandma has her own room, painted in the colors of her choice. She has her own bathroom, decorated and tiled those same colors, with every possible amenity for a disabled senior. She has a walker and a motor scooter. She has an easy chair and a television with close-captioned programming on it, a reading lamp nearby and an electric throw blanket. She can eat in her recliner, or at the table; her choice.

She is taken for drives whenever she wants, and my uncle/aunt pack her scooter in the back of the van, retrieving it at any stop.

She does seem to be bored, and somewhat isolated because of her deafness; she's also very vulnerable to colds these days. She is very comfortable, however, and lives in a house filled with laughter and smiles and light from the many skylights my uncle has installed.

I've always been culturally and emotionally cut off from my aunt and uncle, but I'm developed an appreciation of them—really, a sort of awe—over the last year. They are accomplishing something extraordinary.

It's uncertain what will happen to my parents in ten or twenty or thirty years. I can handle it if one of them needs me to do this same thing, but not if both do. And, of course, I have no idea who's going to take care of me when I need Assisted Living or worse. I should probably either (1) get rich, and/or (2) start kissing up to my nieces and nephews, hard. I, after all, have decades in which to convince them that the most fun one could ever have in life is to be obtained by taking care of a dirty old lady with a fondness for rock 'n' roll and clever turns of phrase.

The biggest concern is the fact that getting older seems to require a rapprochement with TV. As I said, I watched some last night, and the choice at that point appeared to be (1) network crime fiction with unrealistic lab setups, outlandish plot contrivances, and dreadful dialogue, or (2) "true crime" case file studies written with an eye toward redundancy, idiot-level vocabulary, and assiduous subject-verb disagreement.

My grandmother seems to hang out a lot at The Hallmark Channel, where I was not impressed with the quality of the performances. Not to sound snobby . . .

I wrote her a note: "what are you watching? Is it interesting?"

"No," she replied. "It's just television. Just entertainment." But she wrinkled her nose, so I don't think she was that entertained.

If it weren't for the internet, I'd be tempted to support physician-assisted suicide. I mean, I know that sounds dreadful. But even when we were kids, my grandparents were able to gobble up tremendous amounts of television. I loved it at the time; they let us stay up later than either our parents or our other grandparents did, and they allowed us to watch more "violent" shows (think Bonanza).

But I suspect my capacity is nowhere near my grandmother's.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 12, 2008

In Case Anyone Is Left

. . . who hasn't seen Hillary's response to the Obama gaffe, here you go:

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's . . . the Jerry and Joy Show!

I'm driving up to Shell Beach this afternoon to see my grandmother, aunt, and uncle. The dad/stepmom will also be in evidence, and the have "dibbsed" the guest room at my uncle's house, so I'll be at the local Oxford Suites once again. (I do love the Oxford suites: they'll give you a glass of wine before bed, and feed you a real breakfast in the morning, complete with eggs, bacon and hash browns.)

But now there's some guilt emanating from those who have benefitted from the "first come, first served" approach to my uncle's den:

My baby

now looky here

you have to call me late Friday or early Sat

Q1: do you want to ride with Wendy an I??

Q2: do you wish to save $ and sleep in the Shell Beach suite and

Wendy and I camp at Oxford with no Tivo???

love dad

I believe that is what they call "noblesse oblige." This is what he got back:

I'm not gonna call tonight; I'm going to bed early. We just put a bid in on a condo, and I'm stressed out. I may be in double escrow by the end of the weekend.

1) no, thank you; I have errands to do on the way there and on the way back, and I need to come back early-ish Sunday for the home inspection [I want to be on hand to answer questions];

2) no, thank you very very much; I have some work to do for a client, and I need silence/the internet/no one around to do it. So this isn't the right time. But perhaps I can take a rain check and make the swap next time I'm going up solo? (The husband would NOT get along with an air mattress.)

Your son (1) has a racquetball tournament this weekend, and (2) is engaged in his annual happy-birthday overtime extravaganza at work (those stupid performance reviews they want to all be done at work). I'm sure you know this; it always seems to wrap up around his birthday.

But surely we could all get together sometime after that?

It might also be cool if you could get my half-sister out here in the fall or something; I'd like to meet my youngest nephew.

If you let all my scheming slip to the enemy, you will be executed.



He likes being addressed that way; he really does.

Hi Executioner:

I've always wondered what stress is!!

Unless you call me to the contrary--you will drive independently??

You will sleep at Oxford Suites and my wife and I will air-mattress it!!

If you sleep so late--why do you go to bed early??

I really look forward to seeing you!!

love dad

He ought to know that I don't really go to bed early; I'm always just trying to go to bed early.


I will drive independently; I cannot be harnessed to another person's gasoline-powered conveyance. I'm a free spirit. And stuff.

I'm sorry that life is giving you a hard choice like: (1) air-mattress, but TiVo and no little doggie on the trip, vs. (2) real mattress and little doggie, but no TiVo.

I'm sure our ancesters are crying over what we've come to in this family. Shall we hold a seance and hear how sorry they are for us?


You'll see what I mean. He loves my edginess. The most he ever says is "did your parents not spank you enough when you were a child?" This line is usually employed at dinner parties.

My baby,

I am very proud of your command of the marvelous English language!!

Go to bed. Go to sleep. I really really look forward to
seeing you up in Shell Beach with the rest of the family.

Happy traveling

I have great feelings about the weekend!


But he does have a point; it could be that in a few select senses I'm a spoiled brat. I can't imagine how a thing like that could happen.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Obama in Pennsylvania

I'm sorry; I can't stop giggling.

Glenn Reynolds: "'Let's have a national dialogue about egghead condescension!' It's got to work better for Obama than the dialogue about race has . . . ."

Ann Althouse: "The original statement sounded like a typical law-school-liberal remark. I think it was quite sincere, and I'm rather sure he believed he was being admirably intellectual and raising politics to a new, higher level. Within a liberal law school environment, that statement would be heard as a thoughtful, compassionate insight. Some of your colleagues might think you were excessively, squishily tolerant of what they see as ignorant, bigoted people, but I don't think they'd push you to be more understanding of the alien culture you were observing."

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Guess Arnold Doesn't Want the Golden State on the Front Lines.

Though why the State (state or Federal) is involved in marriage in this day and age is beyond me.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2008

Made of Japan . . .

no "torch thugs" for the Japanese.

Huzzah, my friends.

(I am not here to argue which Asian culture has killed more people—or which Western one, either. I'm here to say that the Chinese government has been, will be, and deserves to be embarrassed by the upcoming Olympics.)

Three more things: (1) free Tibet; (2) free Taiwan; (3) fuck the Chinese government. Google it.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Naturally, I Think the Real Subtext in the Absolut Ads

. . . was something to the effect of "buy our booze."

Of course, my intake of vodka tends to trend toward Skyy, since I'm much more into whiskey and gin than I am any vodka-based drink. The only time I can be relied upon to consume vodka is my "air-travel Bloody Mary." For this, they always use Skyy.

Of course, I'm really into it for the vitamins and antioxidants.

Posted by Attila Girl at 06:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Adorable Pitties!

Eric runs this fabulous vid of Coco the Pit Bull looking on with mild bemusement as Hillary Clinton laughs:

It makes me very, very happy.

Posted by Attila Girl at 05:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 10, 2008

To Twitter, or Not to Twitter?

Is this, BTW, related to the issue of whether I should have those little icons below each post that enables people to send them to the folks at delicious, or Technorati, or Boing Boingmdash;whatever the latest "Clubby portal" is to one's favorite news, long articles, and blog entries.

Please let me know. I'm skeptical.

Esmay and Hackbarth both think I should join the army pf tweety birds; in all honesty, Hackbarth warned me to approach Twitter with a sober mindset, which he must realize I've never done at any point in my life—not for any new project or endeavor.

Should I be scared of Tweety Bird?

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

The Only Thing Worse . . .

than being a whore is being a whore with no demand for one's services.

Posted by Attila Girl at 05:28 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

So. Has Anyone Noticed that Canada Has a Troubled Relationship with Free Speech?

That's largely because of Richard Warman, who is now suing Five Feet of Fury, Small Dead Animals, Ezra Levant, and the folks at Free Dominion. As you might suppose, Warman has been involved with the Human Rights Commission up there; they are the ones who've made Mark Steyn's life so . . . interesting.

What an evil man. I'm hoping to see a single defense fund put together for these folks, but in the meantime, let's hit their tip jars. Hard.

Via Protein Wisdom and The Nose on Your Face (the latter site is selling Ezra Levant T-shirts, which are now being reissued to help the Free Speech Five with their defenses . . . er, defences [I may lapse into commonwealth English now and then for the next few months, as a sign of solidarity with our Canadian brethren]).

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"What the Hell Is That," I Ask. "The Goddamn Breakfast of Champions?"

Attila the Hub is sitting down to a slice of sumptuous strawberry-infused white cake, with whipped-cream frosting. "More like the lunch of champions," he informs me."

I check my watch. Of course: It's 1:30. That is "lunch" for a sane person. For those like me, however, it isn't really lunch until 2:00 p.m.

"Vaya con dios," I tell him. "Save some for me. Might make a great supper of champions."

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I Don't Suppose We Could Save the Girls . . .

without also assuring the women that they were also, in fact, the victims in this "victimless crime."

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:01 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 09, 2008

Dudes of the World, Unite!

You have nothing to lose but . . . the chicks.

Via Insty, who cooks. Cooks, I tell you. Every now and then, that "men who cook" grass looks . . . moss green.

Then A the H makes a brilliant joke, and finds a dead rat in a trap somewhere that has to be disposed of. It isn't that I am unwilling to handle this task. It simply is that I haven't had to in this particular partnership—18 years down the line—and that's been fine with me.

I'm getting used to the idea that dead rats just get dispatched quickly somehow (from a pellet gun, I believe) and then are taken somewhere with healthy populations of coyotes and wild cats. Then they disappear. Poof!

Whose side am I on?—you know: truth, beauty. Shit like that.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Know, I Know.

I've got 25-30 pieces of spam to clear out of MT, but I'm just so . . . tired. It was a big day: I went to the gym for the first time in eight years or so. Saw the family. Madly straightened up, and then vacated the house in the middle of the day for a few hours, as usual, in the interests of obtaining a "backup offer" on same. Took a first pass on a fresh pile of paperwork from our real estate agent.


Just don't feed the spammers, mkay? I'll get to it when I get to it. Best I can do.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Dunno. The "Hello Kitty" Vibrator Was Whacked.

But somehow this seems like it might cheer the family up a bit:

Depending upon the family, of course.

Unless I'm just turning . . . getting to be a bit . . . trending Okinawan, or something like that.

h/t: CalTech Girl.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Little Kids Playing Queen?

Why not? They did a fine job, and got some help at the end.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2008

Christopher Buckley, on His Dad's Legacy.

I've always wished that Christopher Buckley would write more in his own voice, rather than in the comic style he uses to such great effect.

It isn't as good as I anticipated; it's even better. Thank you, Christopher. Thank you, National Review. Thank you, Vodkapundit.


Image via National Review, in the Christopher Buckley story linked above, "My Old Man and the Sea."

And thank you, William F. Buckley, Jr. Godspeed.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 07, 2008

I Heard Today

. . . that gin is supposedly bad for the eyesight. And something inside me died.

How is a girl supposed to choose between her two truest loves? She cannot, of course:

Sonnet XXV
That Love at length should find me out and bring
This fierce and trivial brow into the dust
Is, after all, I must confess, but just;
There is a subtle beauty in the thing,
A wry perfection; wherefore now let sing
All voices how into my heart was thrust,
Unwelcome as Death's own, Love's bitter crust,
All criers proclaim it, and all steeples ring.
This being done, there let the matter rest;
What more remains is neither here nor there.
That you requite me not is plain to see;
Myself your slave herein have I confessed.
Thus far, indeed, the world may mock at me,
But if I suffer, it is my own affair.

I weigh the matter out in my mind: my livelihood, or gin? Cannot one have both, with judicious applications of raw carrots and Bausch & Lomb vitamins?*

I decide that Edna St. Vincent Millay was not simply pathological, but clinical, and mentally prescribe her some antidepressants.

And yet I am not yet at ease. I come home, and see that my roommate has brought some cake back from an AA meeting. I cut myself a slice, and discover that the local bakery whose name adorns the box did not use Miracle Whip in the frosting. Oh, no.

But how can I be sure? I make sure. Two slices later, I sit down, open up my book, and make myself a classic Martini.

Very dry. With an olive.

There is a subtle beauty in the thing,
A wry perfection.

Within a week I expect to be in double-escrow: as a seller, and as a buyer.

* No. I do not take them. But only because (1) I can't afford them; (2) if my father caught me taking vitamins, he'd kill me, because he has decided that all supplements are a racket. [The dad and nuance are not the best of friends.] (3) My rather wistful desire to never lose my eyesight is related to my rather wistful desire to never lose my teeth, which is in turn related to my rather wistful urge never to die. If I were to be caught taking vitamins and killed by my dad, that would rather pervert the whole project, no?

Instead, I'm taking Braille classes, memorizing my favorite poems, and buying books on CD. I am not, after all, stupid.

I may learn sign language, just to hedge my bets.

* * Whaaaaaaaaat?

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:10 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Stephen Green:

Helps Michelle Obama out:

“[I]n this ever-shifting, moving bar, Barack Obama will always be the underdog. No matter how much money he raises, no matter how many wins he pulls together, no matter how many delegates he accumulates; he is still the underdog. It’s the way it works.”

Honey, your husband is damn near a lock for the nomination for President of a very major political party. Get over yourself, already.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yes. It's Another Quote From Harvey.

Glenn's new camera hasn't just overcome time and space—but any objections!

The entire thing is here, and it looks pretty accurate (others from Harvey in Wiki appear off by a word or two—and the punctuation leaves a bit to be desired.)

Oh, yes! Yes. Yes—these things always work out just the way Harvey says they will. He is very, very versatile. Did I tell you he could stop clocks? Well, you've heard the expression 'his face would stop a clock'? Well, Harvey can look at your clock and stop it. And you can go anywhere you like—with anyone you like—and stay as long as you like. And when you get back, not one minute will have ticked by . . . You see, science has overcome time and space. Well, Harvey has overcome not only time and space, but any objections.
Posted by Attila Girl at 12:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 06, 2008

"Oh, Shit. I Can Barely Move."

"What, because of your walk yesterday? Aren't you used to that one?"

"I thought I was," I told him. "But apparently I hadn't been out on the hills in months. I just remembered that I should take advantage of 'em, since we'll be out of here in June."

"Well, we'll be closer to Griffith Park, then," he remarked. "You might find a trail up there that you'll like even more."

"I'm, like paralyzed. Don't you have any stretches I should do? How could three and a half miles do this to me, even with the incline?"

"You want my advice?" he asks.

"Of course I want your advice. You're a coach. Help me. I won't be able to take the stairs normally for, like, two days."

"Ice your legs," he suggests.

"I can't understand you when you use those big words," I tell him. "What is this, an SAT-preparation course? You're supposed to be helping me."

"It's a small word. There are only three letters in it. And they are little letters."

"Yes." I flounce out of his office, calling over my shoulder, "and, by the way: it's a noun. You're using it as a verb. But I don't know what you're talking about. La la la la la!"

And then I look at the staircase. I bite my lip, and I step.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:42 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Not My Phobia.

(Via Eric at Classical Values, who has a few more details about this walkway in Spain; hop over there for a bit of background, but please mind your footing.)

I'm the caves/enclosed places/feeling of entrapment or engulfment -phobic person. Not heights; not generally. (I was afraid for a moment that the person with the "helmet cam" was going to go into the passageway within the mountain, and that might have upset me. But she or he didn't, and all was well.)

Still, I don't quite get this. If we can maintain the paths that go up to Yosemite Falls or Half Dome, why can't the Spaniards just fix this?

I mean, I hate to sound like a Gringo—and I hate to upset Jonah Goldberg and go all fascist/CCC—but just fix it. I mean, well-maintained hiking trails are a goddamned human right. Sort of.

(Sorry. My brain isn't functioning well. I might be having a statist moment; I get that way in Tijuana, when I see the gaping, dangerous holes in the sidewalk, and wonder why they can't just charge some taxes to the people who sell me my cappuccino, cigars, and tortilla soup, and fix the fucking sidewalks with it. I mean, how many stupid college kids go down there for spring break, get loaded, and bust their freakin' ankles? Fix the sidewalks! Fix the walkways! Fix the trails! Just fix it!

Sorry. I think I'm done.)

Of course, it's easy to die in Yosemite; the code words are granite, water, and wildlife. Ultimately, one has to have some respect for Mother Nature. For gravity. For slippery surfaces. For human fragility. And for oneself.

I climbed those same cables up to Half Dome as a child. But it was hard. And I was concentrating; not laughing.

I don't want to blame the victim, but that's part of the secret, I think.

But Spain should fix their fucking trail; did I say that?

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

I Don't Say This Very Often.

But fuck China.

I mean, China (the country, distinct from its government) has provided the cultural backbone of this whole house: our T'ai Chi. Our seeking after the optimal Feng Shui. Our red door. Our dragon sculpture. Even some of the southeastern Asian influences bear China's bloody imprint (and some of my favorite artifacts betray the equally murderous Japanese one; we have not talked with our Korean landscaper about how much Japanese influence went into the bonsai garden, for example).

But at this particular point in time, a grand country and its traditions&make that three grand countries, and any number of grand traditions—are being held at gunpoint by a bunch of psuedo-Marxist, quasi-Capitalist, athiestic, ugly thugs.

I wish I lived in the Bay Area. (That is something I've said more than once, but not in a long time.)

And—oh, yeah—fuck China.

By the way, Google: try not to be too evil, mkay? Or it'll be time to say "f--- you" to you, too.

And: China sucks. (And I don't mean in the way that Primus sucks. I mean, it sucks.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Oh; Sorry.

I'm sorry any of us Westerners ever suggested that the "religion of peace" has adherents that do not live up to that slogan.

I see that I was quite wrong about that.

I won't let it happen again.

(Via Memeorandum.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And Here I Thought a Flag . . .

was just a piece of fabric. It turns out it's something more delicate than that: gossamer-thin. Not strong, like silk. More . . . organic. Not sturdy, like wool.

I wish we'd stop making Old Glory out of toilet paper. I really would. What on Earth was Betsy Ross thinking, setting a precedent like that?

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stacy, Oh Stacy . . .

has some kind of paid writing gig, the filthy whore. I didn't know those were even still out there:

Okay, I completed the first five paragraphs of my "real writing" assignment, so now it's time to goof off some more by reading Little Miss Atilla's suggestion to stressed-out, overweight bloggers:
Hint: have your readers send you gin, instead of snacks. That'll help.

Easy on the gin, Sweetheart. We know what happens when you get into the gin. If only we had pictures . . .

Speaking of pictures, Fausta has pictures of stressed-out bloggers living it up at a blog conference in New Jersey. OK, maybe they weren't "living it up." It's New Jersey, after all.

Just because you don't have pictures doesn't mean they don't exist, Robert Stacy. In point of fact, there are pictures of Mrs. Goldstein and me talking about good, old-fashioned feminism in Santa Barbara at the YAF Conference. I believe after my second dirty martini I uttered the phrase "forty-nine-percent majority" in reference to those of the dude-ish persuasion, and Ace of Spades has never let me forget that one. But why was he eavesdropping on girl talk, anyway?

Oh, and here—for everyone else—is the link to Fausta's blog, and the pix from the aforementioned East Coast blogstravaganza. (Body count: zero. Extraordinary, no?)

Posted by Attila Girl at 06:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Iraqis: "Praying for a McCain Victory."

Give peace a chance.

Such as it is, of course.

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

Reynolds on the New Mainstream Survivalism . . .

He's running a nice little primer on disaster preparedness—including how to cope in the coming Zombie Wars; truth be told, Glenn links a lot of this stuff; so it's probably worth doing a search on disaster and survival over at his blog if you get deeper in.

The one caution I would have is that on the West Coast the biggest thing that happens to the average family is an earthquake, for which there is never any warning. (Those who tell you there is such a thing as "earthquake weather" got the idea from Elvis, who shows up for Sunday dinner around their tables now and then, and asks for a peanut butter sandwich.)

And the second/third biggest concerns are fires and floods, for which the "bugout bag" is a good idea—but so are such things as sandbags, fire-retardant landscaping, and the conventional wisdom that you don't "pre-soak" the roof (the water will just evaporate). We've gone so far as to pack up all the non-digital photos and my good jewelry, and had 'em ready to load into the car with the usual duffel bags full of change of clothes, canned food, medicines, and the like.

The point is, regional variations are important when you're making emergency-preparedness plans: the East Coast and Midwestern guides don't always suit my needs, because we just do not have storms here. Not as people in other states understand the term. (Don't get me wrong: we respect water in SoCal, but part of the reason is that this house is built on a hillside; the rest has to do with the common one-two punch of heavy rains and windstorms. We've lost a lot of trees on this property when the soil is saturated and the wind starts blowing heavy timber down at 70 mph or better. That's always fun.)

Of course, riots do fit the profile of East Coast/Midwestern storms in terms of the fact that there is generally some warning before there's a riot. But why, oh why, wouldn't you have as much canned food and water on hand as possible, along with a little camp stove to place on the balcony and cook up whatever is about to go bad in the freezer when the power goes out? It's horrible to go to the store when everyone else is doing it, unless you're making one last run for fresh produce.

And I do imagine that the guidelines for fighting zombies will be similar all around the country; that part shouldn't change from region to region.

By the way—anyone want some 55-gallon water drums? We won't be able to fit them into the new condo.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:09 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Matt Welch

. . . is taking his dollies and going home.

Et tu, Reason?

Well, I oughtn't to complain: this is part of the danger, with Maverick-Man. I was tempted to stay home as well.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:04 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 05, 2008

It Turns Out Hillary's Office Hours Are 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.

You have to call in the middle of the night to get her attention. (Both the latest Hillary ad and John McCain's response are at the link; video wars, indeed.)

Mark Steyn, writing in the OC Register:

Jeepers, will all business during this Clinton administration be transacted at 3 a.m.? Is it some union-negotiated flex-time deal? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sen. Clinton was the establishment candidate running in a party addicted to novelty (in candidates, that is; its policies remain mired in the 1960s). Hill calculated that, given the Dems' deference to identity politics, her gender would give her enough novelty to sail through. But Obama trumped that, and now it's eternally three in the morning, and the phone doesn't stop not ringing. She's like Frank Sinatra in Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's all-time great saloon song:

"It's quarter to three
There's no one in the place except you and me … "

Superdelegate Jon Corzine, governor of New Jersey and an early supporter of Hillary, now says that if she doesn't win the overall primary popular vote he'll switch to Obama. Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont says she needs to throw in the towel for the good of the party.

"Well, that's how it goes
And Joe, I know you're getting anxious to close … "

They're locking up the joint, and no matter how many nickels she drops in the jukebox it won't play "Hail to the Chief."

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Goodbye, Chuck Heston.

You were nothing short of amazing. As a fan of (certain select) movies, I bow to you—and as an advocate of gun rights I take my hat off to your service for all these many years.

I get it, Dear: you would rather have been spending time with your grandkids, rather than fighting the good fight at the NRA. But you did the right thing, setting yourself up for ridicule from your erstwhile colleagues; and we deeply appreciate it. We have for years. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And now, Paul Rugg, John McCann, and Tom Ruegger would like to make fun of you one more time. (I've alway suspected that the main point of "The Huntsman" was to give the guy doing Heston's voice the chance to say "darn the luck!" It's also fun that the Huntsman themes are invariably longer than the sequences they actually introduce.)

Of course, Ruegger, Rugg, and McCann did it with love; that makes all the difference, no?

UPDATE: Hackbarth has a Heston roundup over at The American Mind.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Know What? I Haven't Pimped Jonathan Rauch in Days.

So, here you go:

there's also a kind of pandering in what Obama is doing. A few years ago, a pair of political scientists, John R. Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse, looked at evidence from surveys and focus groups and drew some fairly startling conclusions. Most Americans, they found, think there are easy, straightforward solutions out there that everyone would agree on if only biased special interests and self-serving politicians would get out of the way. They want to be governed by ENSIDs: empathetic non-self-interested decision makers.

This is pure fantasy, of course. But indulging it is Obama's stock-in-trade.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Help! I'm Being Oppressed!

And—unlike those whose blogs are actually read—I'm not even getting paid. That's double the oppression, in my book.

Stacy gets a kick out of the capitalistic exploitation suffered by us poor beleaguered information workers (and they are especially concerned about us at The New York Times, which is bleeding jobs because of New Media):

Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.

Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.

Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.

To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work style.

Karl at Protein Wisdom is concerned about the reports of weight gain among bloggers. (Hint: have your readers send you gin, instead of snacks. That'll help.)

I'm gonna die laughing . . . Or, die blogging. Definitely the way to go—with a smile on my face.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 04, 2008

Al Gore, Alarmist/Entrepreneur

Matt Vadum, writing at the CRC blog, discusses Gore's new ad campaign to share his environmental concerns, which of course many people feel have veered over into "Chicken Little" territory.

An article in The Politico says Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection is producing a TV commercial featuring Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton
sitting on a couch on the beach. In the ad . . . they say that while they may not agree on many things, they do agree that they have to work to save the planet.

A future couple in the “strange bedfellows” or “unlikely alliances” spots will be recorded soon: Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Does $300 million sound like a lot of money? It does, except when you consider how much more Gore stands to personally profit from the climate of mass hysteria he’s been been helping to create with a no-holds-barred campaign of misinformation aimed at marginalizing and ostracizing all those who dare to question his take on global warming.

As we reported in the August 2007 issue of Foundation Watch (”Al Gore’s Carbon Crusade: The Money and Connections Behind It,” by Deborah Corey Barnes), with help from friends at Goldman Sachs, including Hank Paulson, the investment bank’s former CEO who is now the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Gore has established a network of organizations to promote the so-called climate crisis and keep himself in the spotlight.

Gore himself is chairman and founder of a private equity firm called Generation Investment Management (GIM). According to Gore, the London-based firm invests money from institutions and wealthy investors in companies
that are going green. GIM appears to have considerable influence over the major carbon credit trading firms that currently exist: the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) in the U.S. and the Carbon Neutral Company CNC) in Great Britain. CCX is the only firm in the U.S. that claims to trade carbon credits.

If carbon emissions trading ever comes to the United States, Al Gore will be uniquely positioned to cash in. As a politician, Gore speaks warmly of transparency. But as GIM chairman, Gore has not been forthcoming. Little is known about his shadowy firm’s finances, where it gets funding and what projects it supports.

Richard Campbell, a spokesman for Generation Investment Management, is apparently referring to Matt's charges as a “nonsense story.”

In an e-mail message to The Chronicle, he claims that neither Mr. Gore nor any other members of the investment company’s board will make money from the expansion of carbon trading: "To suggest then that they are somehow benefiting from the growth of this industry betrays a complete lack of knowledge of the carbon offset industry.”

Well, of course: Vadum didn't say they are benefiting now, in real time. He wondered whether they might in the future.

All I know is that Gore has a hammer—of sorts—and it looks like most of the most pressing problems in the country and on the globe are starting to resemble nails.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Guess They Aren't Counting the Foreplay.

Still: this seems a bit brief for dual-participant session.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:08 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

We Go Into Escrow Tomorrow.

And we got the asking price. So now we switch back into "condo-shopping" mode, and we are likely to make a really good deal; it's truly a buyer's market down in Glendale.

The buyer's paperwork will take a week to complete, and the contingencies will be removed in 17 days. Once those two watersheds are behind us, we'll know that this deal is solid; if it goes through, we move in early June.

Thanks so much for all your prayers!

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:52 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 03, 2008

Indoctrinate U Comes to U.

Remember that you want to either sign up for a local screening of Indoctrinate U, or buy the DVD. Or both!

And not just because Evan Coyne Maloney is that cerebral kind of good-looking.

(Yeah, yeah: I'm the one that once dubbed him "the thinking teeny-bopper's heartthrob." It got me an Instalanche, and a nice "aw, shucks" sort of note from Evan, whom I've been running into at Libertas-related events for years now; oddly, he never forgets which blog I write for. Of course, I've heard some MSM people try to use Maloney's looks against him, as if the actors and actresses they fawn over weren't often attractive as well . . . the whole thing is quite maddening, of course.)

The fact is, moviemaking costs are going down every year, and the monopoly enjoyed by my friends in the entertainment industry is slipping away even as we speak.

Meditate on that one, studio execs. And have a nice day.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Trust the Gubmint.

And it tells me that gambling is bad.


Posted by Attila Girl at 09:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ferraro: Randi Rhodes Should Be Fired.

"After all, it's the same offense Don Imus committed." (Not verbatim, but close; no. I do not intend to watch the video again to get it exact.)

Yeah, well. Imus didn't say that about white women. He said it about a group of predominantly black women.

Rhodes only said it about white women. See the difference? Also, you can say it about black women if you're a black man, you make it rhyme with something else (sort of), and you call it "rap music."

Via Stop the ACLU, via Hot Air.

Also, you can sever a woman head if she's white and you're black, and you're a football star.

What . . . the rules are too complicated for you?

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BlogNet News News!

The Cotillion update page therein now contains MK Ham (goodness knows how we'd managed to omit her, but I'm not complaining, since I tend to leave the hard lifting to others in this arena) and new Cotillionite Nice Deb.

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You'll Know We Are Christians by Our Low Homicide Rate . . .

Who knew that this might happen?

Allam, author of numerous books and deputy editor of Milan’s Corriere della Sera, joins a list of converts from Islam which includes many other public intellectuals and millions of average people from all over the world. This is more than the normal flow between two large religious communities. Islam can point to little in the way of recent conversions. Its claim to be the world’s fastest-growing religion stems mostly from the high birth rate in Islamic countries, whose infant mortality rates have been cut by the introduction of Western medicine. Christian growth is based on adult conversion. As leading Christian evangelist Wolfgang Simpson writes, “More Muslims have come to Christ in the last two decades than in all of history.”

Although al-Qataani points to Africa, there is another phenomenon based on repulsion from Islamist dictatorship, corruption, and terrorist violence. In Iran as many as 1 million people have surreptitiously converted to Evangelical Christianity in the last five years. Pastor Hormoz Shariat claims to have converted 50,000 of them through his U.S.-based Farsi-language satellite ministry. He contrasts the upswing to the efforts of evangelical missionaries in Iran between 1830 and 1979, whose 149 years of work built a Christian community of only 3,000. One Iranian religious scholar believes youth are abandoning Islam because it is identified with the corrupt Iranian government. Now the Iranian Majlis (parliament) is debating the death penalty for conversion.

After years of al-Qaeda war on Iraq, a similar phenomenon is growing. The New York Times March 4 reports: “After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.” A high school girl tells Times reporters: “I hate Islam and all the clerics because they limit our freedom every day and their instruction became heavy over us. Most of the girls in my high school hate that Islamic people control the authority because they don’t deserve to be rulers.” A 19-year-old man says: “The religion men are liars. Young people don’t believe them. Guys my age are not interested in religion anymore.” A Baghdad law professor explains that her students “have changed their views about religion. They started to hate religious men. They make jokes about them because they feel disgusted by them.” A 24-year-old female college student says, “I used to love Osama bin Laden. Now I hate Islam. Al-Qaeda and the Mahdi Army are spreading hatred. People are being killed for nothing.”

Via Memeorandum.

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quote of the Day:


I don't believe in intelligent design. The case for not-very-bright design, however, remains open.

This in response to one of his readers, Raymond Eckhart, who suggests that David Berlinski (a Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and author of The Devil's Delusion: Athiesm and Its Scientific Pretensions) should debate I.D. with John Derbyshire. "Methinks the Derb would clean up."

The Intelligent Design debate I'd like to see would be between David Linden and Ben Stein. The first time I proposed this, it was an exercise in surrealism; I think I suggested Jonathan Rauch as the referee, because I loved (and love) Rauch's thoughts on free speech and freedom of ideas; he's a solid libertarian.

But now I'm serious about the Stein-Linden idea, probably because I feel that Stein and Linden are both sufficiently intellectual and pro-science to make the exercise worthwhile. After all, according to Stein's associate producer* on No Intelligence Allowed, Stein's movie reflected Stein's own quest for truth about the origins of life and humanity. When he asked Intelligent Design proponents whether I.D. wasn't merely "microwaved Creationism," Stein meant it.

His views evolved as the production rolled along and he was not able to get good answers to his questions.

UPDATE: Claire Berlinski explains that her dad isn't really an I.D. proponent, according to Reynolds. There's a subscriber-only link with details here. Claire Berlinski acts as Reynolds' "Istanbul correspondent" a good deal, and the Glenn and Helen Show interviewed her and her brother, Mischa, on their respective novels here.

* Mark Mathis, in a private interview with your favorite blogger.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Paging Jim Ladd

If you can't give up Bush-bashing for me and your other long-legged ponies, would you consider doing it for your male fans?


Oh, Jim. Jim. You're breaking my heart.

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Insurance Problem

Yeah. We do have a problem in this country with health insurance. Not quite the one my statist friends imagine, but one nonetheless. Mostly, between the litigiousness of our culture and the activism of various special interests groups, it's hard to get basic care; the state tends to mandate that every possible health-care scenario be covered under any plan. Meanwhile, the insurance companies are subsidized, and few people feel like they are paying "real money" for their care.

So costs rise, and a lot of the self-employed are priced out of the market. My husband and I wouldn't have insurance at all if we couldn't get it through his corporation, but that means we have to keep the corporation open, though it's no longer cost-effective to have it in other arenas.

Therefore, I'm intrigued by the latest from Olympia Snowe's office about a new act that might (might) make insurance more affordable and portable, and put it within reach of some self-employed types who don't have catatrophic coverage right now:

SHOP Act One-Pager

Small businesses find it difficult to afford health insurance for their employees:

• SHOP will allow small businesses to band together in a statewide or nationwide pool to obtain lower health insurance prices by spreading their risk over a larger number of participants.

• SHOP will keep prices low by offering a range of private health plans that have to compete for business.

• SHOP will provide small business owners with a tax credit of up to $1,000 per employee ($2,000 for family coverage) if they pay for 60% of their employees’ premiums.

• SHOP will provide small business owners with a bonus if they pay for more than 60% of the premiums.

Small business owners pay higher prices when they have older workers and face large premium hikes when even one employee experiences a serious illness:

• SHOP would make insurance rating based on health status and claims experience illegal so that premium increases will be more stable and predictable.

• SHOP ensures that the variation in premium rates will be reduced so that small businesses will be better able to afford coverage without facing as much of a competitive disadvantage if they have older workers.

Selecting a health insurance plan is confusing and choices are often limited:

• SHOP will provide a web site with comparative information about a variety of private health plans.

• SHOP will allow new health plans to be offered nationwide but will continue to rely on state insurance commissioners to ensure that all health plans meet state requirements for financial solvency, network adequacy, and claims and appeal procedures.

SHOP helps the self-employed:

• Self-employed individuals face extremely high costs when trying to purchase health insurance in the individual insurance market:

• SHOP will allow the self-employed to purchase insurance in the same pool as small businesses.

• SHOP will provide self-employed individuals with a $1,800 tax credit ($3,600 for family coverage) to purchase health insurance.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Here's a snippet from the press release:

A bipartisan group of senators, with the support of small-business and labor union lobbyists, on Wednesday unveiled legislation they said would go a long way toward expanding healthcare coverage for the largest segment of the uninsured.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that he has been working since last January with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to develop the legislation. He hopes it will break a deadlock that has stalled past efforts to facilitate access to health benefits for small-business owners, their employees and the self-employed.

Durbin has found support from Republicans, most notably Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, the ranking member on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee who is also the bill’s lead co-sponsor. And in addition to the business groups, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has endorsed the bill.

According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation ’s 2007 employer health benefits survey, 59 percent of companies with fewer than 200 employers offer health insurance to their workers, compared to 99 percent of larger firms.

“Contrary to popular belief, most people who don’t have health insurance are not out of work,” said Durbin.

“We have to find a reasonable way to help small businesses that want to provide good health insurance to their owners and their workers, and also the self-employed, who’ve been left behind too many times,” he said.

Standing with Durbin Wednesday was NFIB President and CEO Todd Stottlemyer, who represents an organization that traditionally leans toward Republican ideas.

“This is the largest portion of the uninsured population in the United States,” Stottlemyer said. The Durbin-Snowe bill could “break the decades-long logjam that has blocked small-business [healthcare] reform legislation,” he said.

Snowe, who has sponsored small-business health-insurance legislation in past Congresses, echoed the bill’s importance. “Indisputably, rising costs of health insurance has been the No. 1 issue of concern for small businesses, and rightly so,” she said.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) joined Durbin and Snowe at the announcement. Sens. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also are original co-sponsors, Durbin said. All but Klobuchar sit on the Finance Committee. Executives from the NFIB, the NAR and the SEIU also spoke at the event.

Although only about 75,000 of the SEIU’s 1.9 million members are self-employed or work for small businesses, reducing the number of uninsured “can’t just be about our members,” said Mary Kay Henry, the union’s executive vice president.

The legislation would combine annual tax credits up to $2,000 per worker for small-business owners and $3,600 for the self-employed with state- and federally based insurance pools designed to spread risk for insurers and reduce premiums for workers. The measure also limits insurers’ ability to use patients’ medical histories to exclude them or drastically hike their premiums. The bill would leave most of the regulation of the insurance plans to state authorities.

The senators highlighted the diversity of interests backing the bill: The NFIB has traditionally aligned with Republicans and the SEIU with Democrats.

Underscoring this point, Durbin joked about his first meeting with Stottlemyer about the bill, which took place shortly after Democrats assumed control of Congress. “It was a rare visit by the NFIB in my office. I think it was the first … in my congressional career,” Durbin said.

In essence, the situation right now is that a lot of people are being forced to buy the "extended warranty" on the human body, or do without any sort of help at all if they get into a jam. And we all know who benefits from extended warranties . . . don't we?

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, It Might Be Funny

. . . if the whole thing weren't such a touchy subject. I'd like to see how the average multi-generation pro-American, Mexican-American family reacts to the Absolut ad.

If they are offended, I will be as well. As it is, the map is in questionable taste, but hardly a hanging offense (or a boycotting one, either: of course, we all know that I generally drink gin or whiskey; when I drink vodka, it's usually Stoli).

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Listen, People.

My traffic is dropping like a stone. This might reflect the fact that I'm simply not posting lately.

Fair enough. But you know what happens when my traffic goes down? My self-esteem suffers.

I would hate, of course, for that to affect your decisions about your web-surfing. Oh, no. The last thing I want is mercy hits. But you might consider hitting my tip jar every time you don't go to this site when you otherwise might have, for the petty reason that I'm not actually providing content this week/this month.

Do it for the children. (No, no, not mine: you'll recall that I don't have any. I meant children in the abstract. The unassailable goodness of my intentions are signified by my mentioning the next generation, you see.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:45 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

We May Have a Fourth Bidder Coming In.

Which means the Attila the Hub and I will likely be indulging ourselves in a few hours' worth of homelessness this afternoon.

He's a doctor, and pre-approved for a huge amount. So it's worth doing.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Professor Purkinje Sez:

"By God, I love literature!"

He sends, by way of example, the following quotation:

"Her vagina was all that, as they say in the urban media—a powerful ethnic muscle scented by bitter melon, the breezes of the local sea and the sweaty needs of a tiny nation trying to breed itself into a future."

—Gary Shteyngart, Absurdistan

Fucking Genius.

Well. One couldn't say that about a wrist, or an ankle, or even an armpit. Only about the two main sex organs on the human female: the vagina, and the brain.

Personally, I think my brain smells more like bitter melon than my vagina does.

Great title, Absurdistan. Though Dr. P originally put the title in quotations, suggesting that this was a short story rather than a novel. What do you think?—shall I tell his mom? She's a proofreader, too. All the best women are.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 02, 2008

Thanks for Your Patience!

I shall be on-duty again as of tomorrow, with "interesting news items," quirky observations, and imaginary bits of dialogue.

The real estate update is this: we did get three offers. One of 'em is for the asking price, and the other two were lowball bids. So we sent them all back with counter-offers, and we didn't have to name an amount: we just asked for their "final price," which should cut down on the dickering. Each party knows that two others are interested in the house, so they are all likely to give a reasonable counter to our counter.

So now they are on the hotseat through tomorrow, and I get the day off. Tomorrow evening I may start sweating again, but it's all good.

As a nice little side-benefit, it looks like all the parties bidding on the property are families, so they'll benefit from the big yard and the good local schools. No one seems to want to tear the place down, which should not be a factor for me—but it is. I do love this place, and knowing the next owners (may) appreciate it does help. Call me weak.

And I'll see you all tomorrow; off I go to have a nice read. If I get back to the keyboard again tonight, I do. If I do not, I do not.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 01, 2008

I'm Sorry.

I got a Jimmy Stewart fetish, going, here. Do you blame me?

I think this John McCain ad will be extremely effective, and I do not like it.

I mean, we've established what Johnny Mac is, right? Proverbially, we're just setting the price right now, and throwin' in a few moves around the pole for the teachers' unions. (Yessir; it's Chippendale's night for the UTLA; I'll take my mom out for a thrill. She doesn't drink, so I always end up pulling double-duty on bar nights. This is, of course, oppressive to me.)

Thanks to Dr. Althouse, who's goin' all "Killing Us Softly" on us, again. I mean, I just don't see it: I got out of the English major racket because I didn't want to ascribe to malice what could be credited to carelessness.

Unless, of course, we're talkin' about fiction written by me. In which case, I meant every word, and I'm not sorry, and how's about a bit more on that advance? Could be an infamous roman a clef, Baby; you never know.

Proverbially, we're just setting the price right now, and I'm throwin' in a few moves around the pole for the publishing houses.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:14 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

I Bought the Book.

I know, I know: I was going to wait to emerge from escrow before tackling the Jonah Goldberg book, but I really had high hopes that we wouldn't have any showings today, now that the offers are coming in on the house.

I figured the time for the buyers to look at the property was over with, and people were going to be writing up their bids today.


I had arisen early to call in to Fausta's podcast; then I read a while, and went back to bed to catch up on sleep. I was just starting to drift off when my husband awakened me. "The carnival's starting again," he told me.

"More offers?" I mumbled. "How much?"

"No. More showings. We have to be out of here in an hour."

"More showings? What haven't they seen around here? Anyway, yesterday was the deadline: they aren't supposed to be looking. They are supposed to be writing up their offers!"

"Yeah, I know. But bids are likely to go up from here."

"I don't supposed they can just walk around me while I sleep, can they?" I enquired. "I mean, what if I try not to snore?"

I poked my head out of the covers. He was just looking at me, as if he thought $50,000-$100,000 was a bit much to pay for a nap, no matter how much I wanted it.

"Fine, fine," I snapped. "I'll see if I can get the dishes done. Or at least stack them neatly. Tell them to come on down. Bring their friends. Have a party! I don't mind! It isn't like I live here, or anything!"

I started to make the bed and turn on the lights.

Behind that noontime tour, of course, there were two other groups there today to take "one last peek" at the house and the grounds. So we will have at least two offers waiting for us tomorrow morning at the office—maybe three.

I got the book, and a couple of servings of "Rice Crispy Treats" here at Camp Lefty. I told the nice barista that if I attempted to buy any more delectable carbs, he should call the police. Or my husband. Or my real estate agent.

At least my hair is closer to clean today; I did manage a short shower back at the homestead before the house turned into a freakin' Mercedes dealership again earlier today.

I should be grateful, of course. The term for this is "bidding war," and it's tough to pull off in what is supposed to be a buyer's market. All I know is that I'm still certain the minute we sign the escrow papers the value of the property will spike, and we'll be unable to close on any of the condos we want to buy.

Next thing you know, I'll be homeless for real, rather than just playing a homeless person here at Camp Lefty.

Did I mention the fact that I'm not good at this kind of thing? Everything I ever let go of, as they say, had scratchmarks all over it. This house, more than anything.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:50 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


The BBC has flying penguins today. Sounds, um . . . fishy.

Via Memeorandum.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is Dr. Helen Really Going Purseless?

Or is that what we might call a "date-sensitive posting"?

If she's serious, she should just get either a belly pack/fanny pack, or a wallet-on-a-string. (Brighton makes some good wallets-on-a-string, or cell-phone-holders-on-a-string.)

In my twenties I tended to carry my wallet on my body, to avoid losing it to muggers. Or I'd take my money, ID and anything else essential and put it in a pocket so as to deprive any muggers of my valuables.

And, of course, when I'm a student I carry a backpack, so throughout a lot of my 20s I was doing that during the week, and only carrying a purse on the weekends.

In general I have trouble packing lightly at all, and I drive an overstuffed car. I carry an overstuffed computer bag and an overstuffed purse—and, usually, an overstuffed bookbag, as well. Usually it's a question of time: when I run out of time I just start throwing things into bags in the interest of getting out the door.

I hate having to plan for an outing as if it were a backpacking trip. On the other hand, a person can take the mega-cluttered lifestyle a bit too far. And she generally does.

It's harder when I'm travelling in some offbeat way (that is, without a car): at that point, not only do I need to "edit" my possessions to keep the weight down on my luggage, but I need to plan ways of getting around Real Cities (places other than Los Angeles) without everything I own close at hand.

The impulse, of course, is to start throwing into the suitcase every possible means of conveyance (purses, bookbags, backpacks), so that I can schlep stuff around with me while I'm sightseeing. Of course, then I realize that if I want room for my stuff, I need to pack fewer carrying devices in which to put that stuff. Or, perhaps, a bigger suitcase. Or a travelling trunk like those that women had in centuries past.

But the main thing? Pants need to have pockets. Especially back pockets. And then, one can travel light: In a pinch all you need is a phone and a pen in one back pocket, and Kleenex in the other. Left-front pocket holds I.D., money, and maybe an extra business card to write on; the right-hand front pocket contains lipstick and/or chapstick. Most keys stay in the hotel room, at home, or in the car. One key (the car key or the home key) goes in the watch pocket on one's jeans. And that is it.

UPDATE: Oops! Forget the hat tip for Dan Collins over at Protein Wisdom.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I'm Going to Go Michelle Malkin One Better.

Instead of turning the blog completely off, I'm going to stop writing anything intelligent here for the next month . . .

. . . What do you mean, "done and done . . . "?

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Not Bad.

I would, however, prefer that Gmail were sending astral projections of me back in time to keep my appointments and social engagements after I sleep in, forget, or become distracted by shiny objects/the internet.

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:28 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Well, You Know . . .

the word gullible may not be in Webster's, but it sure is in The Urban Dictionary.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Um. Big News.

There are egregious levels of anti-Semitism in the Middle East, and children are being immersed in it, practically from birth.

No, really.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:05 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

In Fairness,

on the West Side of Los Angeles we also have some of the world's bitchinest Bike Lanes—most significantly, the ones in Santa Monica and Venice that go all the way down south to Mexico.

But this is amazing:

Were they hoping to add another segment to the lane at a later point? Did Cal Trans just get distracted by some other project? Is the city of L.A. suffering from ADD?

As matters stand, I think this is going to be hard to beat as the stupidest bike lane—in this country, and probably in the world.

h/t: Insty.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How Camp Lefty Got Its Name.

The husband and I were comparing notes on the Bookstore/Coffee Shop near us that has all kinds of yummy features (free WiFi! Book clubs! Visiting author/lecturers!) but . . . a leftist tilt beyond what the chains display.

"Have you seen the "Current Events" shelves?" I asked him, horrified.

"It's like ten or eleven to one," he replied.

"Even the chain stores are only four or five to one," I responded. "The whole section is listing . . . badly."

After escrow closes I'm going to go "pay rent" at the store [for hanging out there all day every day this week and last] by buying . . . Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. Then they will have to go get a second copy of it! They might even take it off the bottom shelf in the nonfiction section.


Posted by Attila Girl at 12:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
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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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