Monday, October 31, 2005

1702 Do you buy a book to look good?

Me either. Never do that. I buy so many books I never read, but my intentions are good. The books you see me with in public are the ones I'm actually reading. When I was reading "The purpose driven life" I met many new people. Now, we didn't become fast friends--just conversed awhile in the coffee shop. And when I was reading "Amazing Grace, 366 inspiring hymn stories," people did stop and chat about that one too. When I see people reading books in public I sometimes stand on my head trying to read the spine title.

This is only part of the problem

On the left is religion, theology and Bibles; in the center is family, genealogy, yearbooks, and cookbooks too tall for the kitchen, plus magazines up at the top I want to keep guarded by a little figurine I painted when I was 10 years old; on the right are books about books, about magazines, poetry, literature, reference works and finances. Current fiction is all in another room since I don't read in my office. My antique books (parents' and grandparents' and great grandparents' books) are in the upstairs hall shelves, and my don't-fit anywhere books are in my husband's office because a previous owner built humungous shelves in that room. And then behind those cabinet doors below the shelving are paper supplies and file boxes of old stuff I'll probably never read again but can't give up. I've been writing almost all my life, so you can imagine what came before six blogs.

1701 Ohio's heroine, Erma Bombeck

In case you were hoping to attend the Erma Bombeck Humor Workshop in Dayton next year, sorry, it was sold out after 12 days. In addition to Dave Barry and W. Bruce Cameron, instructors include columnists Mary McCarty of the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, Susan Reinhardt of The Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times, Craig Wilson of USA Today, Dave Lieber of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and self-syndicators Gordon Kirkland and Jodie Lynn, among others. Tim Bete, a humor columnist, is the director of the workshop.

"The 2006 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop sold out in 12 days. Three hundred writers from 43 states and Canadian provinces plan to attend. An additional 60 writers are already on the waiting list. We're investigating the possibility of recording some of the workshop sessions and will let you know if we move ahead with it." Newsletter

I wonder if Jinky signed up. For a dog, he's pretty funny.

1700 The debate about blogs

On Fox News this morning (before 6 a.m. so it may have been from yesterday) they are having a debate about Forbes article on blogs.

Here's the funniest line in the article: " "It's not like journalism, where your reputation is ruined if you get something wrong. In the blogosphere people just move on. It's scurrilous," Grantham says." How often does that happen?

I'm guessing we'll see a full court press from the regular media sources about the pitfalls of reading and writing blogs. Especially if blogs pressure them to be honest and report sources, something that should be learned in journalism school. And especially if they start cutting into profits.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

1699 Funnel cakes get fatter as you move westward

Sal took her child to Busch Gardens for the final week-end to ride the roller coasters and on the way out they stopped for funnel cake. Her photo was yummy, so I decided to look it up--just to see how bad fair food can be.

The first site I found said, 250 calories, then the next said 320, then 380, and so forth. Finally, I got to the Iowa State Fair and got this bad news--out there it is 800 calories and 40 grams of fat:

“The numbers were astronomical, high enough to turn the stomach of even the most committed fair diner. Everybody’s traditional Iowa State Fair favorite, the “corn dog” – that delectable treat of a hotdog wrapped in cornbread batter and then deep fat fried and eaten on a stick – 700 calories and 40 grams of fat!

The funnel cake, 800 calories and 70 grams of fat. Candy bar on a stick, 800 calories and 40 grams of fat. Nachos with cheese, 900 calories and 35 grams of fat. And, lest anyone be so foolish as to think he could slide by with a turkey drumstick, oh no! That drumstick was reported to have an entire day’s worth of calories at 1,400, not to mention its 60 grams of fat.”

1698 Columbus blogger calls for Harry Reid to resign

That would be me. The man is unbalanced. I'm demanding Harry Reid stop making the Democrats look silly, and that he step down. The American people---Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians---need someone else to watchdog the Congress.

"The leader of the Senate Democrats today called for White House chief political strategist Karl Rove to resign, saying it's time for President Bush to "come clean" with the American people about the administration's role in the disclosure of a CIA operative's name."

Reid and everyone else in DC knew who Valerie Plame was, so how do we know he didn't tell reporters? I want the investigation expanded to powerful Democrats. This pronouncement is a CYA move because of his war resolution in October 2002. Either that or Harry's memory is so short about how he believed the intelligence reports and supported the war, he might just need nursing care because here's what he signed:

""Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq:

"Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terroist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens;

"Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations ..."

I'll bet Harry is very, very frightened that this power-house blog has seen through his little plan.

1697 Happy Halloween

For many years after he left home, our son would come back to pass out candy to the neighborhood kids. Where we live now, no one stops by, and there are no children living in our complex. It's a NORC for DINKS.

So in keeping with the season, here's a photo from about 25 years ago of our beautiful children. Would you look at that wallpaper--it was very healthy and educational--full of fruits and vegetables and words. That table is now in my son's house. From the skill and artisanship, I'm guessing their dad, not me, helped with these beauties.

1696 Dr. Sanity and self-esteem in children

She's on the couch for Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, and has this to say about the dumbing down of students, a problem that Bill Gates addresses rather bluntly.

Given your experience in a university setting, in your opinion, do lowered academic standards impact campus life and social development?

What worries me more than the low college academic standards is the “dumbing down” of the K-12 curriculum Having a daughter in school has made me all too aware of the extent to which the “self-esteem” gurus and the priests of multiculturalism and political correctness have infiltrated even the hallowed halls of kindergarten! Students are propagandized from age 5 on these days (OK, so I’m exaggerating a little bit) and this is the place where the primary aspects of social –and intellectual—development should begin to flourish. By the time these kids get to college, they have learned that their self-esteem is everyone else’s concern; that their feelings are primary; and that thinking is for suckers. Such an outlook on life is bound to have an impact on campus life and any further social development. Sadly, for most college students, lowered academic standards are what they feel entitled to, and most university professors aren’t highly motivated to take on the consequences of challenging the system. Besides, many of them like the system; particularly since they can have much more of an influence on students who have been properly discouraged from independent thinking."

Unfortunately, this goes back quite a ways. I remember going to an awards banquet over 20 years ago when my daughter was in junior high. I sat through interminable presentations and realized that my daughter wasn't really being honored--every kid got something, not for excellence or skill, but for effort and showing up. She was already pretty and smart, but I guess they wanted her to be an athlete too.

1695 Escutcheon plate blues

When Mr. Miracle (his real name) installed the handsome replacement faucets and drain in the bath off my office last spring, I noticed that there was always a little pool of water sitting on the drain. Rather than ruin the finish or corrode the marble, I'd mop it up after each use. Finally, I said to architect-husband, "That sink drain is installed incorrectly because there's always about a teaspoon of water that just sits there." That's when I heard about escutcheon plates. That's the trim piece you see around faucets and drains. Actually, he wasn't positive they are called that when trimming out the drain, but that's what he calls them, and he's been supporting us as an architect for all these years and has spec'd many a bathroom. "They've been standardized and now instead of sloping inward, they are raised slightly higher than the drain hole." Another case of early obsolescence I think, because water will eventually discolor or erode the pretty finish on my new escutcheon plate. I Googled this problem (discovering I didn't know how to spell it and neither did about 12 other people), but only found one diagram of an escutcheon plate for a drain, and sure enough, it appeared to be raised. We are overbathroomed in this house, and have three other bathroom sinks, all with escutcheon plates that slope down, but all have lost their finish and are sort of ugly, being rather old. Not that old is ugly, necessarily, but old escutcheon plates, although designed correctly, do show their age.

This photo, which barely shows the escutcheon plate (are we clear now on how to spell this word?) does show another disaster. A few days ago I was blogging away and I heard glass break. I had no glass on my desk, so I got up and looked in the bathroom. I had some hand lotion and cologne bottles sitting on a small glass plate so they didn't get damp from the counter top. If you look closely, you can see the plate split in two, all by itself. I was so upset. This plate is actually a relish dish given to my parents as a wedding gift in 1934. It's probably the only memento I have of that day so important in my family's life. I have a few glass and china objects that were my mother's, but because they married during the Depression years, they really had very few gifts. It always graced the table on holidays, even though it was very small, and Mom gave it to me about 10 years before she died. I didn't cause it to break (seems to have had a weak spot along the line of the etched celery), but I feel I've not been a good steward for something that had a useful life for 70 years.

1694 Why the Federal Government should not usurp the role of the states in disasters

Governor Rick Perry of Texas says the federal government does not need to step in and be a first responder, but it does need to look at its role in relocating the refugees. He reported that almost two months after Katrina, Texas is still looking after 400,000 refugees from Louisiana “left in hotels, shelters, and other places of last resort and 6,000 evacuees with special needs in hospitals and nursing homes with no federal plan in place to help determine what happens to them next.” He believes housing vouchers would be a better plan than spending hundreds of millions of our tax dollars for the government to be a landlord/social worker. I’m guessing that the word “voucher” which brings up the thought that people can make decisions independent of the government, will defeat this idea.

In the same presentation, he points out another area of Homeland Security that the federal government really needs to attend to in order to prevent a disaster, that shouldn’t be left to the states, and that is border security. I had no idea that so many non-Mexicans (OTMs) were entering this country through our border.

“Perry said that an indication of how the federal government will respond to future disasters is how it is currently responding to the ongoing threat of disaster posed by a porous border with Mexico. In the first seven months of this year, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 119,000 illegal immigrants who did not originate from Mexico, or "Other Than Mexicans" (OTMs) as they are sometimes called. As a result, federal officials are taking desperate measures, including busing OTMs to inland towns, dropping them off and asking them to return for a detention hearing on their honor.

"Federal officials must significantly re-examine this nonsensical deportation system that depends on the honesty of those who have already broken our laws," Perry said. "Unless the federal government changes course and adequately addresses our border problem, it's only a matter of time until the federal 'catch and release' policy leads to another terrorist attack on our nation."

How would you like to live in one of those inland towns where illegals are being dropped off “on their honor“ to be good?

First Response

Saturday, October 29, 2005

1693 Designer Dogs

Ann Viera, the veterinary medicine librarian at University of Tennessee has designed a very nice pet page to answer your animal health care questions at Pet Health. Ann and I used to hang out together at conferences, so I was browsing this nice site and came across an article on designer dogs. I’d heard of cockapoos and yorkipoos, but never Labradoodles. They are sort of cute--maybe cuter than either breed, pure bred. Supposedly the mix combines the intelligence, aloof nature, the delicate frame, and the low-allergy, and non-shedding traits of the poodle with the boisterous exuberance, lovability, and loyalty of a lab. Sometimes hybrids can create health disasters, but this one seems to be working. It takes a long time for a hybrid to become a standard breed, and the Labradoodle isn’t there yet, and is also very pricey--$2,500, if you can find a breeder. And remember, don't buy a dog at a pet store. Put those back yard breeders out of business.

1692 Plame as an undercover book agent

This one was dug up from the archives of Beautiful Atrocities.

1691 It's hard for liberals

to say anything nice about big American corporations like Wal-Mart and McDonald's--easily two of the most successful business giants who started from nothing and have been leaders and innovators in many areas of good business practices. JoHo the blog gives McDonald's the nod for serving Newman's fair traded coffee, but jabs them for cutting down trees for packaging. Then over at The Well-dressed Librarian Wal-Mart is slammed for selling too many books, and influencing the NYT best seller list (can't find a way to link to the specifics, but it is Oct. 28). Go figure!

As I told Matthew, who really is a fashion plate and will gladly tell you how beautiful he is, in his comments:

"Wal-Mart provides millions with the opportunities you don't give a second thought to--clothing, household items, books, fabric, crafts, plumbling dohinkies, etc. in [their] price range.

I can go anywhere I want, and afford what I want, but if there is a Wal-Mart near by, they definitely get my business. Mom-Pop stores have been going under since before the 20th century. The business district in my home town was already gone when Sam Walton was still managing a Ben Franklin store. It was good highways and suburban malls that closed the stores in small towns, not the Waltons.

I would also suggest you take a trip to NW Arkansas and then step over the line into Missouri. Wal-Mart has created a booming economy there (in Arkansas) that has had under a 2% unemployment rate for nearly 20 years. And you should see their libraries. To die for."

Tomeboy, another librarian, has looked into some of the do-gooder consumerism. Take a look.

1690 Library blogs

There are a lot of library blogs out there, as you can see from my links. I'm not really one them--I've been retired 5 years as of Oct. 1, but I really enjoy some of the fresh perspectives, even naivete, and of course, all the tech stuff that I regularly read in their blogs. Even if Walt thinks I'm the only "right-winger," I know I'm not. There are a few conservatives on my list, and others who have to hide out or lose their jobs and promotions. Today I found a new one. I always go to the first entry to find out why people blog.

"There are a lot of library blogs out there. I hope mine isn’t like any of them. It isn’t that I don’t value them; I’m grateful they are out there covering library news, all the sexy new technology and next gen, tattooed, gay, belly dancing librarians perspectives. I am enriched by all this information and all these peoples’ points of view. But honestly, the best part of my job is working at the desk, with the public - all that other stuff is just extra to me."

This librarian is a real softy, and some of her stories about her people are really moving. I haven't read them all, but check her out. I particularly enjoyed this one about Alex Haley.

1689 Fiction with an agenda--Boxer's novel

Barbara Boxer is the sort of pol you love to hate. Whenever she's on TV, I just say a prayer for California. She's come out with "her" first novel, "A time to run." All the Republicans are bad, and all the Democrats are good. I think the fiction part was contributed by her co-author, Mary-Rose Hayes, and the agenda part by Boxer. When is a novel, not a novel? When it is a political poster.

Phrases used in the reviews:
"dull plot"
"political twaddle"
"tedious crawl"
"sex scenes--horses with nostrils flaring"
"a cross between a bad romance novel and a soap opera script"
"Ah, to be a liberal Democrat. The world is so simple. One's soul is so caring. One's mind is so enlightened."

So how do two people collaborate on a novel, one a writer and one a politician. Here's what Beautiful Atrocities said in December.

"Barbara Boxer is soon to be a best-selling 'author'. Her 'literary' agent hooked her up with SF novelist Mary Rose Hayes to 'collaborate' on a novel: "Boxer's provided characters, details & descriptions; the novelist has combined those elements into a story." In other words, Babs' contribution is - her name."

1688 Minnesota Gophers and Ohio State Buckeyes

That's the talk around here as the Buckeyes play in Minnesota today. I'm wondering what these guys talk about when they get together? Like Thanksgiving dinner, maybe. The Buckeye Head Coach, Jim Tressel, has his brother, Dick Tressel as the OSU running backs coach, and he in turn is the father of Minnesota's receivers coach, Luke Tressel. Think of the secrets these guys have to keep. Makes Scooter Libby's job look easy, doesn't it.

There are 17 native Ohioans on Minnesota's roster, and 10 are from central Ohio. OSU only has 11 from central Ohio. Sounds like someone is falling down on the recruiting job. These kids probably used to play on the same high school teams. And it's much colder in Minnesota.

1687 Frankie Coleman's DUI

Our Columbus mayor's wife hit a parked truck one night last week in Bexley (suburb) and was apparently too drunk to know she should refuse a BAC, and tested at .271! According to an article I read, that could mean 10-15 drinks. A sloppy drunk might be .16-.19, a .2 BAC can cause blackouts, gagging and choking to death on vomit, and a .25 BAC means all mental, physical and sensory functions are impaired--the function that tells you your lawyer would not want you to take that test.

It's been distressing to hear her misfortune bandied around the news, especially on the Glenn Beck national show. (He and Mayor Coleman have a "thing.") Beck is a recovering alcoholic and should have a bit more compassion. Mayor Coleman has announced his candidacy for governor. If Mrs. Coleman was even able to walk out of the bar and get behind the wheel with that much alcohol in her system she has built up a resistence over a period of time. Her alcoholism was no secret to people who knew her. What a shame her family and friends haven't had an intervention. Being embarrassed in the press is not nearly as serious as wiping out a carload of people or killing herself, as she could have done. She was way past due for someone to step in and save her. Three days in jail and a week-end in rehab, which is the sentence if she's found guilty, will not be enough to turn this around, but it could be a start to saving her life and the lives of others who share the road with her.

1686 Do you like quilts?

Woof Nanny has posted some photos of the quilt show she attended in September at the San Diego Convention Center. Really spectacular. Interesting architecture too to reflect the city's history near the water.

Friday, October 28, 2005

1685 Last night we discussed the possibility

over dinner that Harriet was a decoy. That Dubya really wanted someone else. I see I wasn’t the only one thinking this way. I thought maybe I was just perverse. I missed this when it was posted on October 3.

“My own prediction: She may not make it to the Supreme Court. Bush may not even intend for her to get there. She may be, rather than the “misdirection,” many expected, an out-and-out decoy, floated to allow both the liberals and the conservatives to blast her out of the water so that Bush can then put up another candidate that both left and right - after having behaved very badly over Miers - will not dare to behave badly over, again.” The Anchoress

Now I certainly can’t claim I knew he’d select her (which Anchoress said), because I’d never heard of her before the nomination, but I know Bush loves to outsmart both his enemies and his friends.

1684 Why you just may need a librarian to help you with that search

Spelling. Yup. Even researchers and doctors can't agree on how to spell the little buggers. I used to be a whiz at bovine viral diarrhea virus because I knew all the British and American spelling and name variations. I've forgotten all that now since I retired 5 years ago, but I know it could make a difference of finding 75 articles or 175. So pay attention.

"Historic change in the spelling of these names is the primary reason they are published and cited in PubMed with different spellings. However, even disregarding historic taxonomic variants, ≈14.8% of Tropheryma whipplei, 14.3% of Acinetobacter baumannii, 12.3% of Coxiella burnetii, and 1.9% of Coccidioides citations are spelled incorrectly in PubMed. These relatively large percentages may mean that relevant literature is overlooked in searches."
Spelling of emerging pathogens, Emerging infectious diseases, Volume 11, Number 11—November 2005. This is the journal (free, on-line) to check about avian flu, if you are so inclined to need new things to worry about in the middle of the night.

1683 The Blizzard of O5

This one is going around the internet. I first saw it in Gekko's comments on Doyle's site, but it is also on a lot of blogs, and I believe refers to the early blizzard they had in the plains in October:

"Up here in the Northern Plains we just recovered from a Historic --- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" with a historic blizzard of up to 24" inches of snow and winds to 60 MPH that broke trees in half, stranded hundreds of motorist in lethal snow banks, closed all roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10's of thousands.

George Bush did not come....
FEMA staged nothing....
no one howled for the government...
no one even uttered an expletive on TV...
nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.....
no one asked for a FEMA Trailer House....
no news anchors moved in.

We just melted snow for water, sent out caravans to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars, fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Aladdin lamps and put on an extra layer of clothes. Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early...we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.

Gravity Always Wins!"
RunRyder, Bismarck, ND

1682 Naked Republican Lawyer

Although I was pretty sure I'd written about this when it happened, I can't find it in my blog search. Anyway, Stephen P. Linnen is trying to save his private law practice from the shambles he created when he was sent to prison for 18 months for jumping out from behind buildings and bushes and photographing his surprised victims' stunned expression. He did this naked. He has served some time in the Franklin County Jail, and will do the rest at home. He says, although he may have pinched a few, he didn't assault anyone. The judge didn't want him labeled a sex offender, but I sure don't want him in my neighborhood, Republican or not.

He says it was an addiction--he did it for the jolt. Next time, fella, just go to Starbucks.

November 2003 story

1681 All Hallows' Eve

November 1 is All Saints' Day on the Christian calendar, and the day before is All Hallows' Eve, or Halloween. However, it didn't start out as a Christian holy day. The early Christian missionaries who spread through Europe didn't try to eradicate the local religions, but rather just folded them into their own. All major Christian holidays have pagan roots, or Christianized roots, if you prefer. Christmas and Easter with all the strange symbols like trees, yule logs, bunnies and colored eggs are pagan in their symbols, but not in the current meaning. So when Christians complain about consumerism and the "real meaning" they should understand that way, way back, it was about worshiping something other than the one, true God. When secularists try to take a Christmas tree out of the public square, I wonder if they have any concept that they are kicking out their own!

Nevertheless, there is a lovely tale about Halloween and its beginnings among the Celts who used to be all over Europe at this well written site by Jack Santino.

"Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. Since they were pastoral people, it was a time when cattle and sheep had to be moved to closer pastures and all livestock had to be secured for the winter months. Crops were harvested and stored. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle."

1680 Bill Gates advice

I think I had a pop-up today that told me it is Bill Gates' 50th birthday. Then at Bonita's site I saw his 2004 address at a high school commencement, where he makes mincemeat of some of the things kids learn in school. It can be found on a holistic site, or at Bonita's.

Here's a few of my favorites.

Rule 7. Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9. Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

1679 This is not the way to honor Rosa Parks

A Californian complains about 100,000 stalled and stuck motorists who were forced to pay tribute to Rosa Parks on Tuesday:

". . .the westbound Santa Monica Freeway (a.k.a. Interstate 10), was partially closed for roughly 20 minutes in the middle of rush hour so that a memorial service could be held to honor Rosa Parks. KFI news announcer Terri-Rae Elmer and traffic reporter Mike Nolan indicated that the two right-most lanes of the freeway were closed for about a mile, along with several on-ramps. This small portion of the freeway is named for the recently deceased Rosa Parks."

When visiting my husband's family, I've always thought LA area traffic was horrendous--I'm not sure I could tell their snarls from their crawls.

1678 Blogger has good advice on page design

The host of my blog,, which is owned by Google, has a good advice page on Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. I thought #9 was particularly important, and I always pass this along to anyone I help who is setting up a blog. I also frequently remind the younger folks at LISNews that they need to be very careful about what they say about their co-workers and boss. Afterall, information is the librarian's business, and they are expert snoops and have long memories.

"9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss
Whenever you post anything to the Internet -- whether on a weblog, in a discussion group, or even in an email -- think about how it will look to a hiring manager in ten years. Once stuff's out, it's archived, cached, and indexed in many services that you might never be aware of.

Years from now, someone might consider hiring you for a plum job and take the precaution of 'nooping you first. (Just taking a stab at what's next after Google. Rest assured: there will be some super-snooper service that'll dredge up anything about you that's ever been bitified.) What will they find in terms of naïvely puerile "analysis" or offendingly nasty flames published under your name?

Think twice before posting. If you don't want your future boss to read it, don't post."

I regularly violate #8 which reminds bloggers to have a focus in order to develop regular readers. When it comes to information, I'm an omnivore, which is why I've split off to specialty blogs for some topics, but this one goes from personal to politics to pets to page design.

1677 Mississippi will come back

My son-in-law will be sent to Florida by his insurance company. Like many of the other people who go into devastated areas, insurance adjusters provide an important service in times of need--and have a unique viewpoint. Angle of Repose, an insurance adjuster from California, stopped by and left a comment on my previous post, so I took a look and found this message of hope and many photos that are worth a thousand posts:

"If this deputy represents the citizens of the devastated Mississippi Gulf Coast, I predict that southern Mississippi will emerge from this disaster stronger than ever. This man was polite, generous, happy, confident -- not a bit of whining or complaining about him. He didn't know if he was going to rebuild his house or sell his property. He mentioned that big money developers are moving in. I posted earlier on how this could change the area, not necessarily for the better. But whether homes or large hotel/casinos are built in this area, Mississippi will come back strong."

Unfortunately, things don't look as good for Louisiana where he says there is much griping and moaning.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

1676 Architects join forces to sketch a new Mississippi

Miami-based architect Andres Duany says Mississippi had been destroyed by urban sprawl long before Katrina, and now he has a vision to rebuild it without strip malls, office parks, and housing subdivisions. So he's gathered some of like mind and they're dreaming: Chicago Trib story reprinted in Archi-Tect.

"For Biloxi, the designers advocated tearing down an elevated highway and replacing it with a ground-level boulevard that would feed traffic into the depressed downtown business district, instead of bypassing it. They also would return two-way traffic to the downtown's forlorn pedestrian mall and encourage casinos, the engine of the city's economy, to have shops that faced outward toward the street rather than turning inward, as suburban malls do."

No one really expects Mississippi will be rebuilt on the dreams of outsiders, but some fresh ideas couldn't hurt. Afterall, who but architects have designed the mess we have now inside and outside our cities?

1675 Norma’s short list for Supreme Court

Thanks to WaPo for the bios. So if you detect some affirmative action on my list, blame it on my Democrat years.

—PRISCILLA OWEN, 50: Owen was confirmed in May for a seat on the 5th Circuit after a drawn-out Senate battle. Democrats argued that Owen let her political beliefs to color her rulings. They were particularly critical of her decisions in abortion cases involving teenagers.

—EDITH BROWN CLEMENT, 57: On the 5th Circuit since 2001, Clement is known as a no-nonsense judge with a reputation for being tough on crime and meting out stiff sentences. Her 99-0 Senate confirmation vote to the circuit court in November 2001 suggests she has broad appeal. She was touted as a top possibility for the vacancy to which Roberts was nominated.

—JANICE ROGERS BROWN, 56: Newly confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after a bitter Senate battle and filibuster, Brown is an outspoken black Christian conservative who supports limits on abortion rights and corporate liability.

—ALICE BATCHELDER, 61: A judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Batchelder has been a reliable conservative vote on abortion, affirmative action and gun control. Bush’s father appointed the former high school English teacher to the court with jurisdiction over Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

—KAREN WILLIAMS, 54: A former trial lawyer, Williams is known as one of the most conservative judges on the nation’s most conservative federal appeals court, the Richmond-based 4th Circuit. In 1999, Williams wrote the 4th Circuit opinion that would have paved the way for overturning the landmark 1966 decision in Miranda that outlines the rights read to criminal suspects. The Supreme Court voted 7-2 to let it stand.

—MAURA CORRIGAN, 57: The Michigan Supreme Court justice is a walking billboard for the conservative mantra of judicial restraint — the notion that judges should stick to interpreting the law and not making it. Her resume includes a number of firsts, among them: first woman to serve as chief assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit, first woman to serve as chief judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

—MAUREEN MAHONEY, 50: Often described as the female version of Chief Justice John Roberts, Mahoney, a lawyer in private practice, clerked for the late Justice William Rehnquist, served as deputy solicitor general under Kenneth Starr and has argued cases before the Supreme Court. Mahoney might upset conservatives with one of her major court wins, the landmark University of Michigan Law School case defending affirmative action.

1674 Democrats demand a moderate

Now that Hurricane Harriet has passed out to sea, Democrats are regrouping and saying they hope Bush selects a moderate. Like Ruth Bader Ginsberg perhaps? Did they demand that Clinton nominate a moderate? George Bush really isn't much of a conservative except on abortion, and if he thinks he can save a few babies in the next 30 years by successfully nominating a pro-life judge, I say, it's worth a try. I doubt that the laws will ever be turned back, but some of those babies just might grow up to be president some day, or help pay your Medicare bill and Social Security.

Update: Now about all that caving in to the extreme right wing: Jeff Goldstein writes--"Question: how many “bases” does the President have, exactly? I mean, for years we’ve been hearing from Democrats and the legacy media how James Dobson, Hugh Hewitt, the evangelicals, et al, are Bush’s “right wing” conservative base—but these are the very people who, in addition to GOP party pragmatists, by and large were most supportive of the Miers nomination.

And yet today, all I’m hearing is that Bush caved to his “extremist” “right wing base.” "
HT Sister Told Jah

I wondered about that, too. So are there right-wing-secularist like Ann Coulter and George Will who were having hissy fits about Harriet, and right-wing-religious like Dobson and Hewitt? Or are the Democrats just mad because now they'll have to have a real debate about issues involving the court.

1673 How many ways can you say, Be Prepared?

Can you believe those Florida whiners? Or the American tourists in Cancun who think the U.S. military or FEMA should rescue them from shelters? Hello! How many days warning did you folks get? Six or seven? Some complainers are out-of-state. I know a very bright, well-educated, professional Columbus woman stuck in Florida, who just assumed she’d hop on a flight right after the hurricane. I guess she thought they’d leave all those jets just sitting on the run way waiting for her. She had plenty of time to get out before Wilma--in fact, had to change her ticket to stay.

And the media is playing right into it. Last night ABC Evening News was tsk-tsking because 72 hours after hurricane Wilma passed through there were long lines of people waiting for food and water and ice. I rarely ever buy food in quantity, but even at our house with what I have on hand from week to week, we could eat nicely for three days. I’d rather go without ice than stand in line for 7 hours in hopes of getting some. Where are their brains?

If I knew a hurricane was coming to my neighborhood, I would leave. However, since they sometimes don’t go where expected, I’d have my charcoal grill ready, my bathtub filled with water (actually, I don't have one, but most people do) and several filled ice chests in reserve. I’d have flashlights and candles, a lot of cash on hand, and a gasoline powered chain saw. I’d have sandwiches made up ahead of time, and if I had a lot of food in the freezer, I’d use it up or cook it the week before the hurricane hit land.

Responsibility. Common sense. Ingenuity. Planning. Foresight. Backbone. These are what are in short supply in some people’s homes--first, second and third responders have none to give away.

Doyle is a Floridian and she thinks the same and so does Florida Cracker.

1672 Laura Bush's new education push

A story in USAToday covered Laura Bush's new focus on programs to rescue young boys. At one point in the interview where the descreasing enrollment of young men in college is brought up, she says:

"I think we need to examine the way we're teaching children from elementary school. Are we asking boys to sit still when they really want to jump around? Is it because boys have fewer and fewer role models because such a large percentage of elementary teachers are women? I suspect those are the reasons."

About 25 years ago I attended one of the gazillion workshops of my career and remember a speaker who believed that young boys do better in spatial and abstract reasoning than girls because they DO NOT have male teachers and thus from an early age have to try to figure out by guessing and making mistakes, just exactly what those lady teachers want. This fine tunes the brain, apparently. Little girls, just have to imitate and follow the rules. That's the only place I've ever heard that idea, and it may be crazy, but there are many more male teachers in the lower grades than there used to be, and boys aren't doing as well.

The theory probably doesn't apply to private, single gender schools where other factors like wealth and education level of parents come in to play.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

1671 Ah Judy, we hardly knew ye

There are some key phrases in the memo from Bill Keller, New York Times, to Jim Romanesko (journalism industry news and forum, published by The Poynter Institute) absolving himself and the Times of any credit or blame in the WMD stories preceding and during the Bush administration, or in defending Judith Miller. This message is so full of “shoulda, coulda, woulda,” I’d be embarrassed to have it out there where reasonable people can see it. I've selected a few phrases, and added some of my own under the breath comments. I don't think I could have gotten away with this many excuses in my job. Could you?

what I should have done differently

I wish I had chosen my words more carefully

we wish we had made different decisions

the clarity of hindsight

I wish we had dealt with the controversy over our coverage of WMD as soon as I became executive editor.

It felt somehow unsavory to begin a tenure by attacking our predecessors

a huge new job

get the paper fully back to normal [after the last big scandal of lack of oversite]

I feared the WMD issue could become a crippling distraction [it wasn‘t on my radar because we all believed it]

[it was] a year before we got around to really dealing with the controversy [WMD]

published a long editors’ note acknowledging the prewar journalistic lapses [does not list these lapses]

we intensified aggressive reporting aimed at exposing the way bad or manipulated intelligence had fed the drive to war [does list these points, but now we know why all the negative reporting]

By waiting a year to own up to our mistakes, we allowed the anger inside and outside the paper to fester [this is soooo touchy feely]

we fostered an impression that The Times put a higher premium on protecting its reporters than on coming clean with its readers. [well, you’ve certainly corrected that one, haven’t you, by hanging Miller out there]

If we had lanced the WMD boil earlier [but you didn’t know it was a boil--your paper supported WMD stories, especially during Clinton years]

wish that when I learned Judy Miller had been subpoenaed [what is your usual routine when a reporter is subpoenaed?]

and [wish I’d] followed up with some reporting of my own

under other circumstances it might have been fine [what would those circumstances be?]

I missed what should have been significant alarm bells [finally, some admission of guilt]

I should have wondered why I was learning this from the special counsel [but I didn’t]

This alone should have been enough to make me probe deeper [but I didn’t]

I’m pretty sure I would have concluded [but we’ll never know, will we]

we were facing an insidious new menace in these blanket waivers [huh?]

But if I had known the details of Judy’s entanglement [I try never to ask reporters about their sources or truth of the stories]

I’d have been more careful in how the paper articulated its defense

[there should be] a contract between the paper and its reporters [long list learned in journalism school]

how we deal with the inherent conflict of writing about ourselves [as I’m doing now, badly]

rival publications are unconstrained [everybody’s doing it, especially that mean right wing]

I don’t yet see a clear-cut answer to this dilemma [but please, I don’t want to be fired like the last guy]

1670 Kindergartner's free speech

Can a kindergartner's poster be hung on the bulletin board of the school if he depicts Jesus? Well, after 6 years, the court of appeals has sent it back to a lower court for another look at free speech.

"Antonio Peck, who attended Catherine McNamara Elementary School in Baldwinsville, N.Y., as a kindergarten student during the 1999-2000 school year, included an image of Jesus and other religious elements in a poster created in fulfillment of a homework assignment on the environment.

The student reportedly was expressing his belief that God was the only way to save the environment."

I suppose the school administrators thought the next step would be forced teaching of Creationism, if a 5 year old thought God could save an errant human race from self-destructing.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan remanded the case back to a federal district court Monday [Oct. 17] for further consideration, so I suppose this could end up someday in the Supreme Court, or by the time little Tony graduates from college. WorldNetDaily

The boy's counsel said: ""The school humiliated Antonio when the teacher folded his poster in half so that the cutout drawing of Jesus could not be seen. To allow a kindergarten poster to be displayed for a few hours on a cafeteria wall, along with 80 other student posters, is far from an establishment of religion.

"To censor the poster solely because some might perceive a portion of it to be religious is an egregious violation of the Constitution." " NewsMax

"In the Peck vs. Baldwinsville School District case, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals joined with the ninth and eleventh Circuit Courts who hold the view that discrimination--even in the public school setting--is unconstitutional.

Conversely, the first and tenth Circuit Courts opine that discrimination in the public school context is permissible.

This split in opinion could land Antonio in the Supreme Court--something which Staver says he would be all for." Catholic News Agency

The child must be white, male, a non-immigrant and non-handicapped, because I didn't see anything about this in the MSM. If you did, just correct me with the link.

1669 Falling behind in math

At Carnival of Education this week I noticed an item on teaching math, always my weak area. But I was happy to see they did it right in the old days, even if I didn't catch on.

". . . in Japan, Singapore and Russia, they do teach math differently. They teach it correctly. They teach content. They teach skills and facts as a foundation upon which understanding will be built. They teach like they used to in the U.S." Kitchen Table Math

Math wasn't required when I went to college, so I took an evening class at OSU in the mid-70s. New math was really BIG then, but fortunately a high school math teacher was teaching the class. I squeaked through with an A- I think.

1668 Where are you safer?

This tidbit comes from Dane Bramage's blog, and I can't verify its source. But it is an interesting thought.

"If you consider that there have been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000.

The rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in our Nation's Capitol, which has 20 some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq."

Actually, many of the deaths of our military in Iraq have been caused by accidents, not firearms or bombs. This is probably going around in forwarded e-mail and just hasn't caught up to me yet.

1667 What do the Democrats need to do

to take back the Congress, the Presidency and the Courts? Well, a few weeks ago all you needed to do was type in “Democrats need. . .” into Google and you’d find that Democrats were longing, begging even, for some good, strong ideas, values and concepts. But that’s all changed during the Fall of 2005. Bush has stumbled badly and his base is discouraged. And it’s this, not ideas or programs, that has energized the Democrats. It’s really pathetic--from both parties--isn’t it? The Democrats still have no ideas, but they’re smelling blood, and they know how soft and wimpy the Republican voters are. The President of big, bold ideas cracks up when he should be going for the gold. He should be rallying the troops and giving us one of the best courts in the history of the nation. Here’s what one Dem wrote (probably last November):

“I disagree with most of the President’s agenda. As a Democrat that’s no surprise. But I am jealous of Republicans. They have a leader taking bold steps domestically and internationally. Where is the Democratic leader with big ideas? Why am I stuck with candidates who, when faced with these issues, lamely come up with lock-boxes, school uniforms and foreign consultations?” Chris Burke. Raw story. Can’t find a date on this column (I think it is defunct), but it appears to be late November 2004.

Most of these Google headlines are from Democrats like Helen Thomas, Ted Kennedy, Carville, and liberal MSM columnists. A few are from blogs; very few from Republicans.

Do Democrats Need Their Own Gingrich?

The Democrats Need a Spiritual Left

Democrats Need Changes on Abortion

Democrats Need to Support Major Paul Hackett (Iraq war vet)

Do Democrats Need the South?

Democrats Need a New Plan for Social Security

Democrats need a consensus builder for mayor

What Democrats Need to Leave Behind in Order to Win

Democrats need to start acting more like the people's party they once were

Dems need stronger narrative to win

Democrats need a twang

Democrats Don’t Need a New Message—They Need Ideas

Democrats need to come up with some ideas

Democrats Need to Hang on to Values

Democrats Need To Prepare Now For Another Social Security Push By The GOP (too bad that didn’t happen)

Is Harry Reid the leader the Democrats need?

Democrats need fire in belly to save party

Democrats need to be introspective: Kerry was a lousy candidate

Democrats need a strategy

The Democrats will need every black and Latino vote they can get

Democrats need to get over themselves on Iraq

Democrats Need to Rejoin America

1666 Mom, she's just a puppy!

My son's been telling me that about his chocolate lab Rosa for 2.5 years. I don't know what she's eating these days, but she's done wall board and bedspreads. Jelly has a great post about her dogs. Some great photos and text if you feel like scrolling. I have no idea who Jelly is, but she has a cool looking blog.

1665 This is adorable

You can create your own ad. This is really cute and if you're stuck at home with a terrible cold and have nothing to write about except Alka Seltzer Cold Plus, go to the Ad Conceptor and plug in some details. I selected "athletic shoes, plus edgy, plus over 55." A video came on of two guys trying to sell old fogies like me the idea that I needed new shoes. Pretty cute. I don't know if it will replace real ad writers, but it's good for a laugh. Now I'm going to go back and try my hand at fast food. Did you hear that McDonald's is going to start posting nutritional info on its packaging? Where's the fun in french fries if you have to read how much salt and fat they have?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

1664 Full coverage

Today's apron styles are so impoverished and lacking. They really don't cover much. I hang on to the aprons my mother made for me. One is actually a remake of a skirt I wore in high school and she took it apart and made it into an apron when I got married. Waste not, want not. By the time she whipped this little number up, Mom had made many formals for her three daughters, a wedding dress, attendant dresses, suits, bedspreads, tableclothes, etc., so she didn't use a pattern.

Another one sort looks like a maternity smock and covers all the way up to the neck in a teal and white gingham check and has big pockets and snaps in the back. The apron is covered with stains from pitting cherries. The clothing it protected has long since disappeared from my closet, but it remains. Stained and fragile, but ready for a day's work if needed. The pattern, which I still have (Simplicity 6809), also has a child's option. Another is reversible--from the color scheme (gold) I suspect Mom made it in the late 60s or early 70s.

I also buy old aprons at resale shops because they are so much better than anything you can purchase new today and have no quotes about the sexy cook on the front. However, most are the hostess style, and I really prefer those with a bodice, because that's where the gravy splashes. Even when I was an adult visiting my parents, my father would remind me to put on an apron if I was doing something in the kitchen.

Anyway, I've found a wonderful vintage apron pattern site. Barb, who calls her blog "Woof Nanny" because she is a pet sitter, has many interesting scanned patterns.

1663 A dog's eye view

Jinky is in New England in the second worst weather they've ever had there. He's doing a running commentary on the trip and compares New Englanders to the people he sees in Hollywood.

"The New England humans look like a different species than the humans in Hollywood or Paris. They smell different too. They're not doused with perfume and the females don't wear as much make-up or high spikey shoes. There’s no weird, expressionless botox look here and the lady human lips don’t look like huge jelly donuts, stuffed with their own ass-fat. The human males here all look like they could build stuff. In L.A., the human males look all like manicured poodles. Even the dogs in New England are ten times bigger. And the dogs here work."

Jinky's account of the fall foliage in New England. Don't miss his story of the Rumanian orphan.

1662 Who's your daddy?

Politburo Diktat is creating a geneology of bloggers. The Commissar is asking bloggers to list

"your blogfather, or blogmother, as the case may be. Just one please - the one blog that, more than any other, inspired you to start blogging. Please don’t name Instapundit, unless you are on his blogchildren list.

Include your blog-birth-month, the month that you started blogging, if you can.

If you are reasonably certain that you have spawned any blog-children, mention them, too."

Well, like Topsy, I just growed and growed. I saw the topic of blogging on misc.writing (Usenet) and noticed several regulars were starting "blogs." MW was getting very nasty and posting there was getting difficult because of trolls and idiots. Then I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal that listed and rated five hosting sites. I noticed that was free, and that was in my price range. I think I had occasionally come across blogs in searching the internet, but didn't know what they were. I had probably read Samizdat a few times, and because I know a little Russian knew it meant self-published. Still, I didn't know an ordinary person with little html or coding training could write a diary on the internet at no cost.

My blog-children I know, but most have miscarried after a few entries. They are either too busy, or have nothing to say. The number one characteristic of a blogger is having something to say.

1661 Storms continue up the coast

Some areas of the northeast have had over a foot of rain this month and more is on the way. I suspect the leaf peeper season hasn't been too great this fall. My son-in-law is being sent to Wilma-country in Florida (insurance adjuster) and could be gone for several weeks. He's had a really heavy load this year spending many week-ends in Cleveland helping his parents.

1660 Reasons to marry him

Eddie Renz designs blog templates and lives in Plano, TX. I got to his site by reading his mother's blog Live love laugh. He also has a blog called "Marry me," and is up to reason #77. This is reason #76, "I like to work hard and I will provide for my family, but I will never put my work before my wife and children. I was taught to put God first, Family second, and then make room for everything else." Sounds like a winner, doesn't he?

1659 Hollywood Dog

I've been on the prowl for a Chihuahua (female, puppy, brown) for my daughter. My grand-puppy died a year ago at age 18. I am sympathetic being an old softy about pets, but with my life experience, I know pets give back more than you can give, but that they are animals, not children. So I'm downloading photos and e-mailing breeders and decided to look at a Chihuahua rescue site. From there I find, Jinky, the Hollywood dog who has his own blog and was a rescue dog. In some of his photos he looks sort of Chihuahua-ish and in others I think one parent was maybe a dust mop. This site is a hoot. And it looks to me like Jinky's got a pretty good life. I think he's either got a movie or book contract.

Jinky and Mom

But now if you've finished looking at floating objects, there is a more serious part to this post. The number one killer of dogs is not disease, poisoning or hit-by-car; it is human behavior. People turn their pets out or give them to a kill-shelter when they can't handle their behavior problems, which are usually caused by poor breeding (puppy mills and backyard breeders who sell to pet stores) or neglect or abuse. The rescues (bless their hearts) have no problem placing the "adorables," who are usually young and well socialized. But the geriatric or arthritic or biters, are a real problem. Here's one story from Chihuahua Rescue of a young male rescued from a back yard breeder whose dogs were so in-bred and poorly socialized, that they're having problems finding people who want them, to no one's surprise.

Believe it or not, there is a dearth of prospective adopters who come to our kennel asking for Chihuahuas who bite, hide under furniture for days at a time and have tumors or chronic anal gland infections. However, with patience and careful screening, we do work to find qualified homes for these dogs, as we did with his brother and sister, and, finally BG. The foster home who had taken his 2 sibs, had an opening and was able to take BG and the sire of all three. In comparison of the 3 sibs, 2 of whom had been in a stellar and nurturing home environment since 8 weeks of age and BG who had been at Chihuahua Rescue since 8 weeks of age, BG was actually better adjusted! He displayed less stranger anxiety and was markedly more socialized with humans and other dogs! This is due to the loving and safe environment all dogs live in at Chihuahua Rescue, plus the exposure they recieve to caring, positive interactions with a variety of volunteers and staff. All the dogs at Chihuahua Rescue know that they are loved and cared for and we will never kill them because of a mistake made by humans.

Is Boy George looking for you?

For photos of puppy mills and backyard breeders (you'll find the results in the pet stores and at rescues) go here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

1658 Pork Cracklins

Republican voters are fuming. And they're not just mad at President Bush. They believe, and I agree, their Senators have turned tail and run--run from fiscal responsibility. I can't imagine how that bridge to nowhere ever got passed, but now that it's getting a second look--Tom Coburn wanted to redirect some pork projects to rebuilding New Orleans--and Republicans and Democrats alike screamed like stuck pigs. That Alaskan bridge is going to serve 50 people and cost $228 million, but only 15 out of a hundred Senators had the guts to vote with Coburn and point out the stupidy of it. Here's what Ed at Captain's Quarters says:

"We worked our butts off to get a GOP majority in both houses of Congress for better fiscal management -- and yet in one simple test, only 12 of them vote to support their supposed party platform.

So now we have GOP majorities and capture the White House but can't cut pork, can't confirm conservative attorneys on the Supreme Court, and open up new entitlement programs worth billions of dollars for prescription medication?

Talk about a moment of clarity."

1657 Help is still needed

in Mississippi. As we watch Wilma, these folks still need water and ice. Locusts and Honey.

I've traveled more than I thought

create your own visited states map

I had to remove the map, because it would show in Firefox, but not in IE without messing up the screen. Anyway, I've only missed Louisiana and Mississippi. Arkansas and Oklahoma were added this year--really lovely places to visit and vacation.

Hat tip to Michael Golrick.

1656 Beer and Gambling

Sometimes I get discouraged with Lutheran blogs. I just signed on to a Lutheran blog directory which had a bunch of gambling ads on it. I know sometimes you can't control that depending on what company your blog is registered with, but really, is gambling healthy for anybody? Why are Lutherans pining for the old days of proper liturgy and dress if they are advertising gambling businesses? And they'll have to get back to me--I suppose I could be rejected. Other Lutheran blogs have all that beer stuff and busty women ads. German roots and all that. Smells like something rotting in the barn to me.

1655 The Name Plame and who's to Blame

Returning from Indianapolis yesterday, we were listening to NPR. OK, OK. I know it’s not the most unbiased source in the world, but my taxes support them too! Anyway, the story was the “Valerie Plame” case and who is the only person interviewed? A Washington Post reporter--missed his name. That’s it. No one else.

Here’s what Robert Novak, whose column started it all, said over two years ago:
“First, I did not receive a planned leak. Second, the CIA never warned me that the disclosure of Wilson's wife working at the agency would endanger her or anybody else. Third, it was not much of a secret.”

I still don’t know why he revealed her name in his column when he was asked not to by a CIA official, and I have no idea why Novak didn’t get in trouble, however, he continues (Oct. 1, 2003)
“At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson's wife had inspired his selection but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause "difficulties" if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson's wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name. I used it in the sixth paragraph of my column because it looked like the missing explanation of an otherwise incredible choice by the CIA for its mission.

How big a secret was it? It was well known around Washington that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Republican activist Clifford May wrote Monday, in National Review Online, that he had been told of her identity by a non-government source before my column appeared and that it was common knowledge. Her name, Valerie Plame, was no secret either, appearing in Wilson's "Who's Who in America" entry.”

So can you leak something that everyone knows? Apparently, in Washington you can. If you’re reporting for NPR, you don’t even have to ask that question.

1654 Worried about Avian Flu?

We'd probably have a drug in place to lessen its affects if it weren't for all the people, countries and politicians who think pharmaceutical companies should be doing pro bono work. We used to have 37 vaccine makers, and now we have 3. So what does the FDA do? Not much. But you can bet it will be President Bush's fault if you or your loved one gets the avian flu. Opinion Journal Saturday's article "Political Virus":

Our political leaders keep telling us to fear the avian flu, and in one sense they're right: We should all be scared to death about how much damage our political leaders will do responding to the avian flu.

Consider Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who declared this month that he hoped concern for "intellectual property" wouldn't "get into the way" of procuring widespread vaccines for a potential avian-flu outbreak. In other words, companies that make vaccines should abandon their patents at Mr. Annan's whim. This kind of hostility to property rights is precisely the reason we now have a shortage of vaccines and drugs to combat this potential pandemic.

Hat tip to Beggar's All, an LCMS blogger.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

1653 Hollywood the victim

Wondered what that new George Clooney movie is all about? It has a subtext, according to Read it here.

1652 The Purple Finger Victory

Victor Davis Hanson points out something the Iraqis did in their vote last week:

"The Western media was relatively quiet about the quite amazing news from the recent trifecta in Iraq: very little violence on election day, Sunni participation, and approval of the constitution. Those who forecasted that either the Sunnis would boycott, or that the constitution would be — and should be — rejected, stayed mum.

But how odd that in the face of threats, a higher percentage of Iraqis in this nascent democracy voted in a referendum than did we Americans during our most recent presidential election — we who have grown so weary of Iraq’s experiment."

Maybe we Americans need a few more threats in order to get us to the polls. I know some people in their 30s who have never voted. Imagine taking freedom so lightly.

Anyway, VDH suggests that in order to get their violence quota, the cable news had to send someone to Toledo, Ohio that week-end.

1651 Spin Sisters by Myrna Blyth

Our November topic at book club will be Spin Sisters; how the women of the media sell unhappiness--and liberalism--to the women of America by Myrna Blyth (St. Martin's Press, 2004). It's not a heavy topic--our first two selections of the year were detailed biographies--and a quick read, because a lot of what the author says you've already thought (if you are a woman).

Blyth got a lot of criticism for this book, as I recall, because she was, and admits it, part of the problem. When she blew the whistle on her "sisters," they were understandably defensive. But I also noticed 4 or 5 references to 9/11 in the first 3 chapters, so I think that event had a huge impact on her evaluation of what she did for a living (she may discuss this--I haven't finished the book). Her critics are particularly in denial that the media (TV and women's magazines) lean to the left. I don't have any women's magazines lying around (except in my premiere issue collection), but I've leafed through enough to know that politics isn't limited to the cookie bake-off between the candidates' wives.

However, I want to clear up a misconception that I see when authors are leading up to the current woman's movement (ca. 1970). Blyth included--because she includes some background about what led up to magazines trivializing women's lives. What's her name, The Feminine Mystique lady, seems to have left the impression that women in the 1950s all stayed home and were bored watching kids and baking cookies for homeroom parties.

So, I thought about the adult women I knew growing up in a small town (2800) in Illinois. It was a little different, maybe, because it had a printing/publishing industry. But many younger people don't realize that small towns 50 years ago used to have businesses (before the days of malls), and many of these were owned and managed by husband and wife teams who employed other people and served the community. My own mother did not work outside the home, but here's what I saw (but never gave a second thought to) growing up:

Women in business with their husbands who were present and on the floor every day:
Furniture store
Ben Franklin store
Two drug stores
Hardware store
Appliance store
Dry cleaners
Dry goods-shoe store
two restaurants
Funeral home
jewelry store

Women who owned business not involving their husbands
two women's dress shops with employees
children's clothing store with employees
beauticians who owned their own shops and employed others

Professional women

Piano teachers
Avon and other door-to-door saleswomen
Soloists and performers at churches, concerts, weddings, etc.
Writers and reporters for publications

Clerical workers
telephone operators
dental assistants
medical office staff
nursing home staff
retail clerks
tellers at the bank and savings and loan
variety of positions at printing plant, publishing house, magazine fulfillment agency

Auto mechanic (only one)
Youth workers at churches

No, I didn't know any women doctors, pastors, or bankers, but I didn't know any laundresses or cleaning women either.

1650 A lovely home wedding

We attended the wedding of a great-niece yesterday in Indianapolis which was held at the home of her aunt. The very first wedding I ever attended was my Aunt Dorothy's which was in our home. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen--black hair, red lipstick and fingernails (which I probably hadn't seen before) and a handsome groom. I was probably about 5 years old and considered old enough to attend, although my brother went to a babysitter's. I was so anxious to try the wedding cake which had little silver balls on it, and so disappointed to find out they tasted like rocks!

Dusti's colors were red and white and she looked lovely. The groom had earrings in both ears, but he was pretty cute too. Things are different today. Sigh.

Dusti and her attendants

Before the wedding the guys were all in the family room watching football.

Dusti and Dan, the bride and groom

Saturday, October 22, 2005

1649 The needs of men

Marylaine Block who writes Ex-Libris for information junkies has an interesting article on the underserved: MEN. You can find it here. It's not exactly a blog, I think she calls it an e-zine.

1647 The NBA dress code

Isn't it silly to try to tell grown men who are millionaires how they should dress? So what if they want to look like junior high wannabees and look like hip-hop drop outs? They are trying to impress the guys in the hood, not you and me, so of course they want to wear side-ways baseball caps, jeans with the crotch at the knees, t-shirts and bling, bling. Dressing preppy never kept these guys from beating up their wives or doing drugs. This is almost as silly as the NCAA telling schools what they can use as mascot names.

Friday, October 21, 2005

1646 The negative news media is not news

Although I didn't keep track of the reports of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan that were negative or positive, I'm not surprised that the Media Research Center found the coverage negative, with even the positive stories under reported. The Executive Summary says the news media presents an inordinately gloomy picture and positive accomplishments are lost in stories of assassinations and military losses (as I reported on the military losses being inserted in the story of the Iraq vote on the constitution, even though 5 of the 7 were from accidents). MRC analysts reviewed all 1,388 Iraq stories broadcast on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News from January 1 through September 30:

Network coverage has been overwhelmingly pessimistic.

News about the war has grown increasingly negative.

Terrorist attacks are the centerpiece of TV’s war news.

Even coverage of the Iraqi political process has been negative.

Few stories focused on the heroism or generous actions of American soldiers.

It’s not as if there was no “good news” to report.

In the days leading up to the January elections, most of the positive stories appeared in the last two days, when the networks realized they were going to lose an important story if they didn't jump on the bandwagon of hope: "Out of 343 stories that discussed Iraq’s political process, negative news stories outnumbered positive ones by a four-to-three margin (124 to 92), with another 127 stories providing a mixed or neutral view. More than a third of the stories featuring optimistic or hopeful developments were broadcast over the course of just two days, January 30 and 31, the moment of Iraq’s historic elections.

With all three news anchors in Iraq, the networks gave the elections heavy coverage. While all of the evening news broadcasts had featured gloomy predictions before the vote, the large turnout and relative tranquility of the day provided a pleasant surprise. Of the 40 stories that focused on Iraq’s political process on January 30 and 31, fully 80 percent cast the situation in hopeful and optimistic terms."

Daniel over at (library site overwhelming liberal to radical) asked if I ever read or listen to non-conservative reports. Well, how could you help but know the liberal angle? It is everywhere, and you have to search out the conservative viewpoint. Or even the positive, Christian viewpoint, for that matter.

Full Report, part I.
Full Report, part II.

Right on the Left Beach suggests: "Over time, the policy of President Bush to oust Saddam and incubate democracy in Iraq will be viewed favorably. In five to ten years, you will not be able to find many people in America that will admit to being against Operation Iraqi Freedom. You will still find Bush Haters but even they will consider OIF the right policy instituted for the wrong reasons."

1645 Get off the phone and drive

Vinni's got some good points, here.

1644 Kennedy on Chappaquiddick

The 100 top speeches ranked by American Rhetoric lists Ted Kennedy's appeal to the people of Massachusetts as one of the top 100 speeches of the 20th century. Then he is listed also for his 1980 DNC speech, Truth and Tolerance speech, and Eulogy for his brother; his brother John, the president, is only list for six! I find it hard to believe that Ted Kennedy is that great a rhetorician--especially that the excuses he made about Chappaquiddick ranks as a great speech--or even believable. Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan, whom I considered two of the most outstanding speakers in my lifetime, only made the list once (Chisholm) and twice (Jordan).

1643 Democrats on family values

Now where do you suppose the liberals are going on this one? Hmmmmm? Came in my mail today. They're trying to tell us that Americans have already rejected the traditional one man one woman marriage as a base for the family.

“America is changing profoundly. In the 1950s, 80 percent of all Americans lived in a home where the head of household was married. Now, that number stands at 52 percent. The number of young people growing up in single-parent households has jumped from 10 percent in the boomer generation to the current figure of 26 percent.” GQR Research.

So if you see a survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, you know who they work for.

1642 More about the golf course

Two days ago I blogged about the golf course repairs. I was particularly interested in what looked like bandages to me. Today the chief groundskeeper stopped by my table at the coffee shop and told me what is going on. That white mattress looking thing is called a sandtrapper and is made of a fiberglass type material. The sand will be placed on top but it will remain underneath the sand. A new type of sand produced in Chardin, Ohio will be used. The cost of the renovation is $3.5 million he said, but we tax payers aren't footing the bill, he told me. There is an endowment supported by an alumni gift (Phipps) that provides the funding, and the fees from the current players maintains the course. Jack Nicklaus is the designer of the renovation. This press release uses a lower figure, but then it is 1.5 years old.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

1641 Big clue they were in deep do-do

“It was also at that time that I realized that the size of the crowd [at the Superdome] was a big concern at the EOC. Terry Ebbert, the city’s Homeland Security Director, made an announcement in the EOC that struck me. He asked the maintenance staff to gather up all of the toilet paper in city hall and any other commodities they could find and immediately take them over to the Superdome. I specifically note this because it told me that supplies at the dome might be a serious issue.” Testimony of Marty J. Bahamonde

Testimony from today’s Senate Committee on Katrina. This was found at Sabrina Pacifici’s blog--and it looks like an excellent site to bookmark for this kind of legal stuff. Left leaning but useful.

1640 Myths about gun control

John Stossel wanted to know why gun control laws weren't reducing crime, so he asked an expert--a criminal. Interesting stuff. Noticed at Billoblog.

1639 Women, do you do this?

Do you expect everyone else to adjust to your schedule so you can work, or do community service or golf and be a mommy too? My husband is on jury duty this week. It's an important case--murder. They could have finished up today. All the evidence has been heard and the jury is in deliberation and the alternates have been dismissed. One morning one of the women was late arriving--problem with the kids--so they had to wait. Today, one of the women announced she'd have to leave at 3:30 because she had to pick up her kids. So the entire jury has to go back tomorrow, when they could've finished up today. This is disrespectful of everyone involved--the victim, the victim's family, the defendant, the State of Ohio and the other jurors. If she does this on jury duty, I'm betting she does this in meetings at work. I was on a jury two years ago, and I thought a couple of the jurors were as dumb as a box of rocks, but no one was disrespectful of the process.

And one woman brought along her portable TV so she wouldn't miss her soaps on her lunch hour. Another brought in a huge brief case of work from the office, but of course, was never able to open it. I think it's called a "look at me I'm important" bag.

In the 70s and 80s I cobbled together work schedules so I could be home when my children were, and took the corresponding pay and promotion cuts. My mantra is, you can have it all, but not all at the same time. During all those years I got one call for jury duty and asked to be excused because the kids were more important than my civic duty which if you are a registered voter will come around again. And again. Don't run that poor working mother by me--these women were professionals. If you think this is harsh, you haven't heard me on daddies who leave their families for a new sweetie.

1638 Mouse Dirt

Yuk. When I was a little girl our family moved to Forreston, IL into a house that was on the edge of town near the open farm country. It still had an outhouse, and there was no modern kitchen. This must have been quite a challenge for my mother who had grown up in a home that had all the modern conveniences long before the rest of the country became accustomed to electrified homes and indoor plumbing. There really wasn't a true housing shortage after World War II, despite what you read in the history books. It was government regulations and rent control that caused a shortage by removing less desirable homes from the housing market. After all, we had the same number of people and housing units in 1946 that we had in 1941. If a house should have been off the market, it was ours. Mother rolled up her sleeves and remodeled it and when Dad sold it in 1947, it had a nice kitchen and a bathroom. We drove past that house in 1999--still looks much the same and is well kept.

However, when the weather turned chilly in the fall, the little critters came in the house to get warm, and when you'd open the bottom drawer of the stove or a kitchen cabinet, there were the little trails of mouse droppings, and a furry gray thing would scamper across the floor and we children would all shriek and run out of the room. Except my brother. I don't think he shrieked, because little boys like to chase, grab and poke frightened little animals.

Yesterday my computer mouse was getting really balky. It wouldn't maneuver fine movements, like removing the glare from my glasses in photographs. So I unplugged it and took off the ball cap. With a toothpick I started carefully removing the "mouse dirt" and it was just all over the place. Now it is smooth rolling.

1637 They wouldn't listen to me

It was common knowledge 10 years ago that the professional schools at Ohio State (veterinary medicine, law, pharmacy, medicine) were becoming quite lopsided and feminized. At a veterinary faculty meeting I raised the question why we couldn't start recruiting men for some balance, since being a librarian I knew what happens when a profession becomes dominated by women--salaries and prestige and power go down. No one wanted to address the problem. Sadly, they knew they couldn't and keep their jobs, but after the meeting several male faculty told me they agreed with me.

Now today's USAToday has a story on the gender gap in higher education. I hate to say "I told you so," but I told you so.

1636 Adult children living at home

Recently I received an e-mail from Tina, one of my closest childhood friends. Her parents moved when we were 16, but the few times we've been together over the years, it's not hard to catch up. But she mentioned a 25 year old grand daughter. I about fell out of my chair. I remember her daughter (mother of the grand child) as a darling toddler, and she's engraved on my memory that way.

Say what you will about people marrying young, but it usually got them out of the house. Yesterday's WSJ had an article about the growing number of adult children returning to live with their parents after college, career mishapes, and marriage failures. I've been hearing that for 20 years, at least, but perhaps it is always a fresh story if you're not aware of "boomerang kids."

I visited my great aunt last week and met for the first time her youngest son (my first cousin once removed). She is a widow and he is single and about 50 years old, so this makes a wonderful housing arrangement for them both. He has a nice home, and she has someone to keep the yard and house in good repair and is able to stay in her own home without fear.

But it sounds like a bad idea for the 25-40 years olds. What do you tell the potential date about who might answer the phone? Or where you live? Do all their friends live this way so they think it is cool?

The author had some suggestions on how to deal with the returning descendants, and I've added my score for reality. 1) Talk about your own struggles as a young person. 4 whoops of laughter. How many kids want to hear about the "old days" when you didn't own a car, had only one black and white TV and a coin operated wringer washer in the basement of the apartment building? 2) Draw up a plan. 3 whoops. Been there done that. No one over 16 wants a parent to devise a plan or budget, no matter how much sense it makes. It always screams, "Here's what you need to do. . ." However, I do this anyway because I write such great plans. 3) Treat them like adults--charge rent, assign cleaning responsibilities, cooking, etc. 2 whoops. If you're charging her rent, she has a right to keep 3 week old pizza scraps and dirty undies all over her room, doesn't she? 4) Financial help-- arrange loans to wean them away from you. This one makes some sense. Pay the deposit on the apartment; make a car payment if necessary, but do something to get them standing on their own two feet and out from under yours.

Our children never returned home as adults--in fact, they left too young (18), in my opinion. But we have helped them financially over the years, with car payments, bills, etc. We've helped them both buy homes, and I think that is a good investment for them and for us. I plan to move in with them some day and leave pizza scraps and dirty laundry around the house.

Home for visit

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

1635 As we watch Wilma

One thing I noticed at the museum today when I read the explanation of the empty frame was that Hurricane Katrina was called "our nation's worst natural disaster." This is not true. Here's the information on the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 from the Sun Sentinel site:

"1900 -- More than 6,000 die after storm washes over Galveston
The nation's deadliest natural disaster, the storm struck with little warning late on Sept. 8. Storm tides of 8 to 15 feet inundated Galveston Island and portions of the nearby Texas coast. The tides were largely responsible for the 8,000 deaths, with some estimates ranging as high as 12,000."

Just because it happens within your frame of memory, doesn't mean nothing worse ever happened.

1634 JAMA, JAMA is its name

Ask me again, and I'll tell you the same.

Cover: Andrew L. von Wittkamp, Black Cat on a Chair

I just go crazy when USAToday and Wall Street Journal spell out Journal of the American Medical Association. It changed its name in 1959 to JAMA.

Anyway, the infamous "today's issue" (there's a phrase that drives librarians crazy) apparently revealed some unsavory information about gastric by-pass surgery for the morbidly obese--patients are dying at a much higher rate than first thought. However, because they are using Medicare figures, and these people were severely disabled by their weight to even qualify for Medicare, they don't have records for people using private insurance for this study. Nor do they have records to show that medical problems requiring non-hospitalization have decreased. Often this surgery needs to be followed by surgery to remove huge skin folds. There's a lot that can go wrong.

Still, does it make sense that one man's family sues Vioxx because he died of an irregular heart rate and that drug which helped millions live with the pain of arthritis is taken off the market; but many people die after by-pass surgery and 48% are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days and the procedure is still used and recommended for unhealthy, obese people who can't lose weight any other way. Somehow, these figures aren't making sense to me. Most public libraries carry JAMA, so go look at it and see what you think.

"Early Mortality Among Medicare Beneficiaries Undergoing Bariatric Surgical Procedures" David R. Flum, MD, MPH; Leon Salem, MD; Jo Ann Broeckel Elrod, PhD; E. Patchen Dellinger, MD; Allen Cheadle, PhD; Leighton Chan, MD, MPH. JAMA. 2005;294:1903-1908. Abstract:

"Results: A total of 16 155 patients underwent bariatric procedures (mean age, 47.7 years [SD, 11.3 years]; 75.8% women). The rates of 30-day, 90-day, and 1-year mortality were 2.0%, 2.8%, and 4.6%, respectively. Men had higher rates of early death than women (3.7% vs 1.5%, 4.8% vs 2.1%, and 7.5% vs 3.7% at 30 days, 90 days, and 1 year, respectively; P<.001). Mortality rates were greater for those aged 65 years or older compared with younger patients (4.8% vs 1.7% at 30 days, 6.9% vs 2.3% at 90 days, and 11.1% vs 3.9% at 1 year; P<.001). After adjustment for sex and comorbidity index, the odds of death within 90 days were 5-fold greater for older Medicare beneficiaries (aged 75 years; n = 136) than for those aged 65 to 74 years (n = 1381; odds ratio, 5.0; 95% confidence interval, 3.1-8.0). The odds of death at 90 days were 1.6 times higher (95% confidence interval, 1.3-2.0) for patients of surgeons with less than the median surgical volume of bariatric procedures (among Medicare beneficiaries during the study period) after adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidity index.

Conclusions: Among Medicare beneficiaries, the risk of early death after bariatric surgery is considerably higher than previously suggested and associated with advancing age, male sex, and lower surgeon volume of bariatric procedures. Patients aged 65 years or older had a substantially higher risk of death within the early postoperative period than younger patients."