Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Day of Reckoning

Well, I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't very disappointed by the results of

Tuesday's Presidential election. I'm a conservative through and through so naturally I wanted the more conservative candidate, John McCain, to win. However, I also feel a sense of happiness for the African-American people of the U.S. The election of Barack Obama symbolizes the final removal of the dark stain left by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in our country. Now all African-Americans can look at President Obama and finally say that they have a full share in the American dream.

Barack Obama is soon to be the POTUS,and therefore he is MY president. I intend to treat President Elect Obama with the honor and dignity that the office of POTUS deserves. Nothing irritated me more than extremists on the left and right (but mostly on the left) that denigrated President Bush constantly for 8 years with all sorts of ad hominum attacks. It's fine to disagree with his policies, but can we not act like adults and disagree respectfully? I hope Democrats (and whoever else) realize what they have done and apologize for it (yeah right).

I wish President Obama and his family all the best. I hope that Obama is pragmatic and centrist in his governance. His past record in the Senate and Illinois State senate indicated to me that he was very liberal in his views, but I hope he has grown and realized that the U.S. should be governed in a center-right or center-left fashion. Partisanship is for Congress and the POTUS should be above that. President Bush, although I disagree with him on several issues, was a good example of putting the country first and he also was quite gracious to his critics. Sometimes I thought he was too gracious because the press attacked him so viciously, yet he just shrugged it off.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what the next four years brings. Here's to a successful (for the whole country) Obama presidency. God bless America!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saving the Planet is for Suckers!

I couldn't help laughing as I read this report by the U.K. government regarding disposable diapers versus cloth diapers (or nappies as the Brits call them):

A government report that found old-fashioned reusable nappies damage the environment more than disposables has been hushed up because ministers are embarrassed by its findings. (Well, at least they're trying to be transparent.)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has instructed civil servants not to publicise the conclusions of the £50,000 nappy research project and to adopt a “defensive” stance towards its conclusions (e.g. Those are not the disposable nappies that I knew!).

The report found that using washable nappies, hailed by councils throughout Britain as a key way of saving the planet, have a higher carbon footprint than their disposable equivalents unless parents adopt an extreme approach to laundering them (in other words, make your kid wear the same one for three days straight and then wash them by pounding them on a rock).

To reduce the impact of cloth nappies on climate change parents would have to hang wet nappies out to dry all year round, keep them for years for use on younger children, and make sure the water in their washing machines does not exceed 60C.

The conclusions will upset proponents of real nappies who have claimed they can help save the planet. (Ya think?)

The report found that while disposable nappies used over 2½ years would have a global warming , impact of 550kg of CO2 reusable nappies produced 570kg of CO2 on average. But if parents used tumble dryers and washed the reusable nappies at 90C, the impact could spiral to . 993kg of CO2

So what can we conclude from this report?

1. Cloth diapers are a major pain in the butt that won't save the planet and so all you "greenies" that use them just to feel noble--sorry!! You are NOT reducing your carbon footprint so you'd be better off buying carbon offsets from my brand new company Plant a Tree for Gaia (TM).

2. Many entities with an agenda (i.e. the UK government in this case) will squelch reports that disagree with their preconceived notions and promote those that agree. This is called propaganda.

3. It's best to view studies with a critical eye, no matter what side of the debate you're on. This study may mean something, but I'm sure another study will come out in the future that contradicts this one. So I think one should just use a little common sense, not follow trends.

For example, I use disposable diapers because they are convenient, sanitary, and they reduce the risk of diaper rash because they are so absorbent. I'm not really concerned about the amount of waste that they generate because I live in Texas--there is a lot land here, much of it barren. Cloth or reusable diapers, on the other hand, are not convenient, not as absorbent, and use up a lot of water in washing them (Plus they have a high yuck factor). Water is a precious commodity in Texas, especially in the summer. Most summer we end up rationing our water for our yards. So there is no compelling reason to switch to disposable diapers.

As far as the argument for reducing one's carbon footprint, I'm all for saving energy (it saves me money) but I'm not convinced that reducing carbon output is going to make a bit a of difference in our planet's well being. As I said before, I'm agnostic on "global climate change" based on carbon output. There's compelling evidence on both sides of the debate. one of the biggest reason I tend to be skeptical is because Al Gore (a.k.a. the Goracle) is one if its biggest proponents and if you remember the 2000 elections, he tends to exaggerate everything. Plus he's a flaming hypocrite based on his owning a huge house and luxury boat, not to mention his jet-setting around the world. Basically, if the Nobel Peace prize committee and Hollywood love him, then I'm pretty sure he's full of it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

NEWSFLASH! Unknown blogger endorses John McCain!

I haven't posted anything for a while, mostly due to computer issues and a continuous aversion to writing. But if you can't tell from my earlier posts, I'm a news/politics junkie. My recently acquired Centro phone allows me to feed that addiction--I can get the latest poll results and campaign gaffes in seconds whenever I want. However, blogging on a mobile phone is virtually impossible unless you want to be at it all day and have huge blisters on your thumbs. Truthfully, I can't wait until this election is over because it is stressing me out--BIG TIME. I know this is supposed to be the Democrats's year to win back the presidency because President Bush has been such a MISERABLE FAILURE or so the MSM tells me, but I really can't believe that a majority of my fellow citizens would vote for Barack Obama. Although McCain is not my ideal candidate (Mitt was my man), he is light years beyond Barack Obama and thus I am officially endorsing John McCain and Sarah Palin for POTUS/VPOTUS. I know, I know...I'm sure they'll be thrilled to hear they've been endorsed by a blogger of little consequence.

My philosophy of government is pretty simple--leave me the heck alone so I can take care of my family! I like low taxes, accountability, efficiency, and most of all, COMPETENCE in my government. Republicans have been pretty good at the first thing, but have been pretty lax on the latter three. But the Democrats have been consistently bad on all four things for a very long time. When was the last time you heard of a fiscally conservative Democrat? Usually, they want to tax more, spend more, and add numerous more governmental programs.

To me, the entire Democrat platform is based on envy--which results in at best socialism or at worst communism. Obama revealed his socialist philosophy in his comments to Joe the plumber. Spread the wealth? Are you kidding me? Believe me, it is possible for the poor to be as greedy and envious as the wealthy. It's a human failing, but it is not a good idea on which to base one's government.

I'm not a libertarian a la Ron Paul in that I believe that every single department or governmental program not specifically mentioned in the Constitution should be eliminated, but I do think that the bureaucracy should be considerably trimmed and made more efficient. I don't think tax dollars should go to fund the National Endowment for the Arts or PBS and numerous other pet projects i.e. get rid of pork barrel spending. I'm a federalist in that I believe that the federal government has usurped too many powers that should be relegated to the states. For example, I think states should be able to regulate abortion and marriage laws without the interference of the feds. If a state (with consensus of its citizens) wants to allow gay marriage, I'm okay with that (but don't approve of it) as long as it is not forced on the rests of the states by the courts.

I also think states and local governments should be allowed to legislate moral and social issues based on what their citizens prefer e.g. if one silly state wants to legalize drugs and/or prostitution that is their prerogative. And they shouldn't ask for federal money to bail them out of the resulting fallout from their poorly thought out social programs.

Some moral issues such as abortion (and previously slavery) involve human rights, and I think the federal government is obligated to step in, e.g. the 13th and 14th amendments. The 14th amendment didn't just protect former slaves, it prevented states from abusing minority citizens. For example, under the 14th amendment it would have been illegal for the state of Missouri to expel Mormons simply because they didn't get along with their neighbors. I would not be opposed to an abortion amendment that prohibits abortion after the first trimester except in the case where the mother's health is at significant risk. An amendment would also be voted on by the citizens and not forced on the country by the judiciary. Obama et al. don't seem to have a problem with judicial activists judges, while McCain opposes them and favors strict constructionists.

In conclusion, I'm supporting McCain/Palin because I think they are less likely to take money out of our pockets and waste it on stupid things that the federal government has no business doing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Sad Tale of Scar the Rabbit

One reason why I haven't posted much lately is because my life has just seemed so mundane--nothing out of the ordinary. I really didn't think my readers would be interested in hearing about the latest potty-related achievements of my 3-year-old or tales of irritating Walmart clerks. But something weird did happen to me today.

We'd had a little cotton-tail rabbit hanging around our front door for the past week. He'd made himself at home in our holly and hawthorne bushes , and would venture out in the evening. It had almost become a nightly ritual of taking the boys out to watch the rabbit scamper around. This rabbit was unusual in that it had a 5 inch long scar on it's back, so naturally I named him Scar. He's probably had a close call with a predator--out here we have coyotes, bobcats, rattlesnakes, owls, and hawks.

Anyway, i hadn't seen Scar for the past two nights, so I thought maybe he'd left to find better digs. But when I pulled into my driveway after coming home from the store, i noticed a small brown mound on the top of our mailbox. I jumped out of the car for a closer look and to my dismay I discovered it was a severed rabbit head. At first I thought it was a prank a la "The Godfather," and I was angry that some punk kids would do that to a cute little rabbit. But I changed my mind about that after I examined and disposed of it so that my 3-year-old wouldn't see it and freak out. The head appeared to have sustained trauma caused by an animal (I don't want to get too graphic here for those of you sensitive souls), and was probably a couple of days old based on insect activity (been watching way too much CSI).

My husband also mentioned seeing a hawk circling around our house Saturday afternoon, so Scar's luck probably ran out that day. A scavenger bird (such as a vulture--they love to hang around on trash day) probably found his little body and dropped part of it. For it to land like that on our mailbox was pretty unlucky and strange, but at least I didn't find it by stepping on it while playing with my kids in the yard. My 3-year-old has a hard enough time going to sleep because of the "man" in his closet, so I'm glad he didn't see poor little Scar.

So there ends the sad tale of Scar the rabbit. I know it's all part of the food chain, but I still feel a little sad, like I've lost a pet. Maybe I'll feel differently about rabbits next year when I start a garden and the little pests eat all my plants. Then I'll be like Mr. McGregor in the Tale of Peter Cottontail--trying to whack the little thieving bunnies with my hoe and bake them in a pie. Eww, rabbit pie.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Does Modern Technology Simplify or Complicate Our Lives?

I just recently updated my phone to a Sprint Centro, and this phone can do everything (except clean my house). I can record take pictures, make videos, watch T.V., listen to music and podcasts, check my email, surf the web, call or text anyone, play games, read books, find a map location, etc. It's really useful, but it can also be incredibly distracting. I could waste a whole lot of time messing around with this thing, to the detriment of my family and friends (crackberry indeed!). Luckily, the novelty wore off after the first week (and after I tried to plow through the 300 page manual). So it is nice to have a compact organizer/computer/phone/camera and it does simplify my life in that I don't have to carry a separate date book and phone around. It's nice to be able to check email and browse the web when I have a moment to spare. But moderation, as with most things, is the key. Isn't that true of most of the conveniences we have now? They simplify our lives so that we have more free time to waste messing around with our gadgets or consuming media.

That's one reason why I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like to. It detracts from the time I could be spending with my family or working on projects that are a higher priority. Don't get me wrong. I think blogging is a blast and it's a great tool for communicating ideas and keeping in touch with family and friends. But for now, I'll have to settle on posting infrequently, since I am a slow writer and I generally like to post pithy essays when I can.

Anyway, back to modern technology. Do any of you have some gadgets that you simply can't live without? I admit that I would be lost without a computer. I have to check my email at least twice a day and have a list of daily must-read web sites. I'm not really into text messaging (for one thing, I feel compelled to use correct grammar and spelling all of the time).

And look at me, I've already spent way too much time overthinking this post on a relatively simple topic. Argh!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pet Peeve #487 - Politically Correct Cartoons

I know, I know. It's been a long time since I last posted. I have no excuses except that life has felt quite hectic, but if I had to list out my schedule of what I do every day, it would sound like I have plenty of time to kill. Most of the time I'm making sure my 10 month-old doesn't kill his little fool self as he's trying to get around, and the rest of the time is spent entertaining and cleaning up after my 3 year-old. By the end of the day after I've cleaned up dinner and put the kids to bed, I have about 60-90 minutes to my self. And lately, I've had other pressing things to work on.

But back to the point of this post. My 3 year-old loves to watch Curious George (CG) on PBS. Most of the time, I have no problem with this because CG usually teaches kids about science and math concepts. The only drawback is that George is a monkey, and therefore can't talk. So my son often hoots and hollers like a monkey instead of talking. And once in a while, the writers will throw in some politically correct (read liberal) issue like recycling. Ok, that's fine since I do a bit of that myself. And then there's the appropriately diverse cast with characters of different skin tones, ethnicities, and species (dogs, cats, elephants, skunks). Fine, George lives in a large city based on NYC so there should be plenty of diversity (although I doubt many city dwellers would be thrilled with the large variety of animals running loose).

Occasionally, however, it gets a little ridiculous. During one interlude, some kids visit a bicycle shop in Boston named "Bikes, Not Bombs." Er, okay. One little boy helpfully explains the name, "They sell bikes here, not bombs." Obviously. The name of the shop is just the kind of liberal sanctimony that drives me up the wall. I mean, who defines themselves as something they are not? I wonder if the owners of the shop also have stores named, "Coffee, Not Coffins," "Art Supplies, Not Artillery," "Donuts, Not Dynamite," or "Juice, not JDAMs." Ridiculous!

And then there's Clifford the Big Red Dog (or Clifford's Puppy Days). One day last fall I was thinking, "Gee, Preston watches a lot of great kids shows on PBS. Maybe I should send them a couple bucks for their pledge drive. And then an episode of Clifford comes on called "Fall Feast." So Clifford's owner, Emily Elizabeth, and her family make some yummy food to take to their grandma's house for the "Fall Feast," but they get stuck in the railroad station with all their neighbors who have all made their culturally appropriate side dishes for their own "Fall Feast." Of course, I've figured out that "Fall Feast" is their code word for a politically-correct-let's-not-offend-anyone-with-a slight-reference-to-giving-thanks-to-deity major holiday more commonly known as THANKSGIVING! I mean, come on people! Who actually says, Happy Fall Feast?!

Maybe it's an east coast thing that I haven't heard of because I'm down here in the Bible Belt, but this is taking political correctness too far. Maybe they'll stop saying have a happy Fall Feast too because it might offend depressed people who don't get to go visit their grandmas so then it will just be, "Have a Fall Feast or have a Day (or not). So anyway, my thought of contributing any money to PBS just disintegrated at that point. I figured that they've got my tax dollars, and they're lucky to get that much for this crap.

And to make things worse, a few days later I had to suffer through an episode where Emily Elizabeth and her friends shared the ways they celebrated the "First Snow" of winter, i.e. Christmas. Good grief! I should have called up and complained that PBS was discriminating against people that lived in places where it didn't snow, like Texas. Maybe that saying is true--the squeaky wheel gets the grease--and the people that are offended by all things American or Christian spend all their time complaining to the powers that be and that's why we get stuck with this kind of P.C. crap. Maybe it's time for the rest of us to mount our own campaign to wrest back our holiday celebrations from the grinches in this country. What do ya'll think?

Update: Upon further reflection, I think the campaign should be called the "Let's Offend Everyone and Have a Great Time Doing It" campaign.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Basements, Closets, and Twisters, Oh My!

It's been a relatively exciting couple of weeks while my computer's been down. First we had some spring storms wreak havoc in the DFW area. Spring is tornado season in North Texas, and although I've lived here for almost 10 years, I still can't get used to the tornado sirens. I can't imagine anything more scary than your house being torn off it's foundation while you and your kids cower in your closet. My Texas-born friends are pretty blase about--Oh yeah, we just jump in the bathtub with our pillows and blankets. It's like camping. Um, sure. Except while camping you don't run the risk of being skewered with a tree or flung 100 yards across a field while you're sleeping.

There's two classifications for storms with possible tornado development--1) tornado watch, where there's a possibility for formation of a tornado and 2) tornado warning, where a tornado has been spotted and those in the area had better take cover and PRAY. And where does one take cover when a tornado is bearing down on them? In Texas, it's an interior closet, or a bath tub. There are no basements here. Why, do you ask? Well, when we looked into it while we were building our house we got a number of answers--the soil is not right for it, the water table is too high, the limestone under the topsoil is too hard,etc. The real reason we found is that hardly anyone knows how to do it correctly and therefore it is prohibitively expensive. I suppose one could build an above ground bunker out of concrete, but again that is very pricey. I suppose most people figure it's cheaper to just take your chances that your house won't get hit and if it does, the insurance will cover the cost to rebuild. Okaaay. At least the weather forecasters and tornado spotters are on the ball.

So anyway, last Thursday at 3:30 a.m. we were all jerked out of a sound sleep by the tornado sirens down the street. I ran upstairs and scooped up my older son, ran down the stairs, and picked up my youngest, and we all huddled in the closet as my husband fiddled with the T.V. and radio so we find out what was going on. Fortunately, none of the homes in our neighborhood suffered any major damage, although throughout the area many trees were uprooted, and power lines knocked out due to straight-line winds of 50-70 mph. A couple of small tornadoes were later confirmed to have touched down and damaged some homes, but fortunately no one was killed (one man was seriously injured however).

I learned few good lessons about emergency preparedness:

1) Remain calm. It does no good if you and your children are shaking and screaming for dear life. Plus, if nothing happens you will feel pretty silly and your kids may want to sleep in your bed with you every night until they leave for college. Praying helps a lot here.

2) Keep everything you may need in an emergency in a handy place e.g. inside the closet where you "take cover." If a tornado is bearing down on your house, it's not a good idea to run out of your "safe room" because you forgot the toilet paper that you might need if the toilets get blown away.

3) If you happen to have a 72-hour kit (as all "good" Mormons do), it's helpful to pack the emergency radio and batteries on top so you don't have to dig through all the diapers, cans of chili, and granola bars.

Overall, we made it through the storms unscathed. We got the kids back to sleep and managed to catch a few winks ourselves before getting up for work and preschool. I feel horrible for people that actually experience a tornado. It's no fun feeling you are at the mercy of the weather or wondering why this scary thing happened to you. I'll take hurricanes any day over tornadoes. At least with hurricanes you have some warning and can pile the kids in the car and drive inland. Yay, we're going camping!