December 31, 2009

If I Could Be Honest


If I could be honest with you for a moment...

This has not been a good year. And, as much as I'd like to post a list of the greatest moments of this year now almost past, a list of some good things will have to suffice.

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This was year number three of my blog.

There's something to be said of this accomplishment, even though my blog today is a far cry from its beginnings. As I read more bloggers, of varying styles, my own inclinations of what is important to report seem to fine-tune. I do believe that everything I post is post-worthy, and I hope you find Fear & Trembling a good source of elsewhere ill-reported news.

However, I do hope to get back to more original work as the year begins. I can't promise much in the way of spiritual insight (as the early stages of F&T offered), but I would like to do more creative writing in the form of both personal narrative and "tying it all together" pieces. I have a personal goal of writing familial stories for my Dad - at his request - and I'd like to honor that by posting them here.


I started my own business.

I majored in art from my freshman year and was committed to being a "professional artist" as a career; little did I know that job would become desperately scarce with overabundance of the pool of artists, the twists of modern artistic taste, and the economic downturn. But I always loved every stage of the creative process and knew I would find a way to incorporate it into my adult life. My concentration was fibers/sculpture in school, and now I am making fabric baby toys as a side business! Who knew it would come full circle like that?

I've also discovered a real entrepreneurial spirit within me while setting up my etsy shop, butterbean. From designing the patterns, choosing fabric and the actual construction to marketing, advertising and networking, I have found a genuine interest in selling that I wouldn't have guessed I had. At first it was hard to imagine that anyone would think my products were cool, useful or fun. But that's just the self-deprecation that overwhelms me. When I reassured myself that I'm making quality items at reasonable prices, it became a lot easier to be confident!


I finally got a real job.

Well, I don't know if anyone else counts "admin asst" as a real job, but since it is at a reputable company with possibility for job growth, it counts for me.

I am extremely thankful that I was able to find work - and good work at that - in this economy. I was unemployed for two and a half months, but it was so grueling and awful that my heart breaks for those who have suffered it longer. And as much as I've complained about my bachelor's degree giving me no more clout than anyone else who has one, I think it played a major role in my getting this job.

My degree is not just a "piece of paper," it's a guarantee that I can work hard for intangible goals, that I can use my mind to solve complex problems, and that I have the ability to work through tedious steps of a process to get a job (which I may or may not agree with) done. If you've been to a liberal arts school, you know what I'm talking about!

I am very thankful for the opportunity to excel in this company. And if we meet in person, I can tell you everything I've already learned about long term care insurance. Just be warned, I've always got my salesman's hat on. =)


Nic earned his Master's from Western Michigan University.

Many people seem to not know this happened! I guess it went over without a bang, since he didn't have a graduation ceremony, and he then went straight to another program (PhD) at Wisconsin shortly thereafter. However, if earning a bachelor's (which many people do) is a big deal, then a Master's should rank pretty high on peoples' lists.

There is a popular misconception that, if you choose what you "do" in life (meaning, a career), that you should have absolutely no complaints about it, and it should be easy for you. But just because you had a say in the career choice (meaning, it wasn't the only job available) doesn't mean it won't be hard. In fact, academia is taxing both mentally and emotionally in unique ways.

I'm willing to put out there that jobs requiring a high level of abstract thought are NOT easy. Keep in mind that, just as you can only train your body into a certain level of performance, so goes it with the mind. And how do you train your mind to "do" philosophy? Beats me; I ended my philosophical career path at the b.a. level, after realizing I did not have the mind capacity for it. For everyone else, Nic included, you read hours of complicated philosophical text in hopes of grasping at an iota of comprehension. Then you do it again. And again. And again... Even your "breaks" are comprised of catching up on reading you didn't have time for/didn't understand the first go around. It's truly exhausting... and I'm just a spectator!

All this is to say that Nic earning the higher degree, applying for and getting into a great PhD program for philosophy, applying for and getting a fellowship (the highest honor) for that program deserves recognition, praise and, probably, a nice bottle of wine from me as well.


Lastly...


Nope, that's it. I know, it's a short list. But the other "big things" from this year aren't really much to talk about. I've moved so many times that it's old hat, wishing for a house instead of an apartment won't bring me one, and having the money I want for pretty much anything else I'd like to talk about is just a matter of saving. For now, the apartment is fine and the bills are getting paid, so what else can I say?

I hope this year was great for you... I've been reading that it has been for many... and this new one brings some ease to any discomforts you are currently feeling. If you are a Christian, I hope for your growth in Christ and to find a good Reformed church to go to =)

Happy New Year to you all.

--Victoria

December 24, 2009

Final Thoughts for 2009

This is something I posted at the beginning of last year. As we draw nearer to the celebration of Our Savior's birth, I hope we are all thinking of Him more than ever, and drawing near to the reality of His saving work in Christ.

I pray that this year He will remove my unbelief. It's so terrible and terrifying to live without knowing Him... to think that He has forgotten you, or never knew you. Terrifying, yet another reason to study His word and doctrines in hopes of drawing close once again (or, for some, in the first place).

Merry Christmas to you and your family. Let this be a common prayer, that we would each come to know Him in a real way this year; to know Him as He truly is and to honor Him as such.

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There are so many reasons we could be cynical, aren't there? There are undeserving people getting hired to luxurious positions of influence while earnest, hardworking people can't find a job at all.

There are babies having babies, babies killing babies, silly women trying to lead others by the power of their personalities while decent, gracious women who just want to love their kids and bake pies are demeaned as "backwater."

There are agents in popular culture who savagely force-feed us stories of murder, rape, white-collar crime, violence against the vulnerable and sexually perverse exploits while yet gentle teenagers genuinely struggle with whether or not hand-holding is ok.

In my own time and family, I have seen more emotional fallout than material struggle. There have been years of troubling, high-decibel fights, a divorce and remarriage, a difficult custody trial, drug abuse, unpredictable disease, psychological depression, two instances of jailing following arrest, too many "I hate yous" and too few "I love yous."

On the national scale, we have an outgoing President who some feel has been God's punishment on our nation because he helped us go to war. On the other hand, we have an incoming President who some feel has floated into office on a false pretense that his being black means something substantial about racism in America.

And in my own mirror, I have seen my once highly-admired beauty fall strand by strand into the sink, inexplicably, taking with it a great portion of both pride and confidence, leaving behind questions to be answered only by God Himself: How? And why? If you had asked me then, the best part of me had been taken away for no good reason.

There are many, many reasons to be misanthropic. Yet today I find myself an optimist, not a cynic. It is not because I see so many undeniably good, selfless acts committed by people every day, nor because I see myself doing similarly. In fact, it has nothing to do with people at all. I can be an optimist only because God is One who does everything selfishly for Himself, and because I am one of His people.

Romans 8:28-32

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

December 23, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

Dear Blogger friends,

I know I neglect this blog.... my cynicism about politics really gets me down, and I just don't feel like posting. I feel more like.. sewing! I've been very busy these past few months sewing baby blocks and other toys for my etsy shop, butterbean (check my sidebar for thumbnails).

If you know a young child (ages 1-4 are perfect) who is in need of a gift (a little too late for Christmas, but maybe for belated, or an upcoming birthday), please check out my shop! I have blocks in two sizes, balls in several options, some magnets and (very soon) pillow sets. All items are made from modern prints - damask, argyle, polka dots, abstract- in fun color combos (pink/brown, blue/green, blue/copper, yellow/pink) . They can be made with or without rattles and other fun sounds inside.

They have been purchased for regular fun use as well as therapy toys and travel pillows (for car naps they are a perfect size). I utilize a hypo-allergenic polyester stuffing and brand new fabric. One of each block has an ironed-on logo tag which is very secure.

Shipping is low, as they are quite light. You do not need to be an etsy member to purchase; if you would like to custom order, please e-mail me at: butterbeaninfo@gmail.com . If you know of anyone - sister, niece, coworker, fellow blogger - who is stylish and a mom-to-be, these make a unique present. Many satisfied children and moms!

Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your families.

December 21, 2009

Say Thank You to the Troops

Hello all,

Here is a link to a site where you can send personalized cards to soldiers currently serving overseas. The cards were designed by U.S. schoolchildren. You pick the design you like, add a pre-printed message or write your own, and Xerox prints and sends a shipment of them out to U.S. soldiers every day until Christmas.

What better was to show your appreciation and say Merry Christmas to those serving in a country where open displays of celebrating Christmas are not allowed, unless on a military base (which has m.p.s)? They may not get to have a tree, but at least this way they'll get a message of thanks and Christmas well-wishes while they're away from their families.

I sent quite a few. I don't think it matters how many you send... I sent four I think. Why not take 5 minutes and send a dozen? I guess that means I should send some more!

Xerox U.S. Military thank you Christmas card link

December 17, 2009

Michael Moore's Wisdom

Michael Moore says we should boycott Connecticut, because Liebermann is opposing the public option portion of Reidcare, thus preventing it from moving on to a final vote.

What exactly does it mean to “boycott” a state - Just stop vacationing there? Stop buying CT-made products? I don’t even know what CT sells, let alone how to get those things. Actually, I think I’ll START shopping for CT-made items, like I started shopping at Whole Foods when its president wrote an editorial opposing a public option. And, of course, I’ll continue to boycott Moore’s idiotic, faux jingoistic p.o.c. movies. :)

From thehill.com:

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore on Thursday called for a boycott of the state of Connecticut in reaction to Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) opposition to key provisions of healthcare reform legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently removed the public option and Medicare-buy in proposal, which the centrist Lieberman opposes, from the bill in order to attract centrist votes. Reid needs 60 votes in order to break a Republican filibuster of the bill.
Moore focused his anger on the Connecticut voters who reelected Lieberman in favor of liberal candidate Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) in the 2006 elections.

He tweeted:
People of Connecticut: What have u done 2 this country? We hold u responsible. Start recall of Lieberman 2day or we'll boycott your state.

Lieberman has become the scourge of the left for withholding his vote on healthcare reform due to the inclusion of the public health insurance option and the Medicare buy-in proposals.

There is no provision in the state of Connecticut to recall public officials. “


I bolded that last part because it’s funny that Moore thinks recalling an official is something they even do there. He could’ve checked that fact first, before he reacted. But, we know that’s not his style…

November 25, 2009

It's (Not) Always Sunny in the Scientific Community

"For more than a decade, we've been told that there is a scientific "consensus" that humans are causing global warming, that "the debate is over" and all "legitimate" scientists acknowledge the truth of global warming. Now we know what this "consensus" really means. What it means is: the fix is in."
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I know I haven't written for awhile. New job, new hours and basically no desire to get back on the computer when I've been on one at work all day.

But, this story is just too good to not share. It's a major journalistic find - a series of e-mail between major scientists working in the "global warming" arena admitting to one another that the outcome they would like to see (meaning, that the globe is warming) does not fit the numbers they are coming up with (!), and flatout admittance that they have used the freedom of information act to block these facts from being publicly leaked, in order to prop up the global warming agenda.

I've both linked and copied the story below, because I'm not sure how long it will be on the site. PLEASE read this story, it's rare to find such good, tangible evidence of the global warming agenda's proponents' obvious lies and manipulation. Hopefully this story will spread and the scientists (if you can call them that; they sound more like magicians to me, pulling numbers out of thin air) will be prosecuted as well.

Enjoy this breath of fresh air as you head into your Thanksgiving weekend. One more thing to be thankful for: the strong thread of honest journalists that still remains! Have a great holiday. Me, I'll be headed south to experience some real warm weather, made by the sun. :)


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Global warming e-mails article on RealClearPolitics


November 24, 2009

ClimateGate: The Fix is In
By Robert Tracinski

In early October, I covered a breaking story about evidence of corruption in the basic temperature records maintained by key scientific advocates of the theory of man-made global warming. Global warming "skeptics" had unearthed evidence that scientists at the Hadley Climatic Research Unit at Britain's University of East Anglia had cherry-picked data to manufacture a "hockey stick" graph showing a dramatic-but illusory-runaway warming trend in the late 20th century.

But now newer and much broader evidence has emerged that looks like it will break that scandal wide open. Pundits have already named it "Climategate."

A hacker-or possibly a disillusioned insider-has gathered thousands of e-mails and data from the CRU and made them available on the Web. Officials at the CRU have verified the breach of their system and acknowledged that the e-mails appear to be genuine.

Yes, this is a theft of data-but the purpose of the theft was to blow the whistle on a much bigger, more brazen crime. The CRU has already called in the police to investigate the hacker. But now someone needs to call in the cops to investigate the CRU.

Australian journalist Andrew Bolt has a good overview of the story, with a selection of incriminating e-mails that have already been discovered in the hacked data. Note that these e-mails reveal more than just what it going on at the CRU, since they involve numerous leading British and American climate scientists outside of the CRU.

These e-mails show, among many other things, private admissions of doubt or scientific weakness in the global warming theory. In acknowledging that global temperatures have actually declined for the past decade, one scientist asks, "where the heck is global warming?... The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." They still can't account for it; see a new article in Der Spiegel: "Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out." I don't know where these people got their scientific education, but where I come from, if your theory can't predict or explain the observed facts, it's wrong.
More seriously, in one e-mail, a prominent global warming alarmist admits to using a statistical "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures. Anthony Watts provides an explanation of this case in technical detail; the "trick" consists of selectively mixing two different kinds of data-temperature "proxies" from tree rings and actual thermometer measurements-in a way designed to produce a graph of global temperatures that ends the way the global warming establishment wants it to: with an upward "hockey stick" slope.

Confirming the earlier scandal about cherry-picked data, the e-mails show CRU scientists conspiring to evade legal requests, under the Freedom of Information Act, for their underlying data. It's a basic rule of science that you don't just get to report your results and ask other people to take you on faith. You also have to report your data and your specific method of analysis, so that others can check it and, yes, even criticize it. Yet that is precisely what the CRU scientists have refused.

But what stood out most for me was extensive evidence of the hijacking of the "peer review" process to enforce global warming dogma. Peer review is the practice of subjecting scientific papers to review by other scientists with relevant expertise before they can be published in professional journals. The idea is to weed out research with obvious flaws or weak arguments, but there is a clear danger that such a process will simply reinforce groupthink. If it is corrupted, peer review can be a mechanism for an entrenched establishment to exclude legitimate challenges by simply refusing to give critics a hearing.

And that is precisely what we find.

In response to an article challenging global warming that was published in the journal Climate Research, CRU head Phil Jones complains that the journal needs to "rid themselves of this troublesome editor"-hopefully not through the same means used by Henry II's knights. Michael Mann replies:

I think we have to stop considering "Climate Research" as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.

Note the circular logic employed here. Skepticism about global warming is wrong because it is not supported by scientific articles in "legitimate peer-reviewed journals." But if a journal actually publishes such an article, then it is by definition not "legitimate."

You can also see from these e-mails the scientists' panic at any dissent appearing in the scientific literature. When another article by a skeptic was published in Geophysical Research Letters, Michael Mann complains, "It's one thing to lose Climate Research. We can't afford to lose GRL." Another CRU scientist, Tom Wigley, suggests that they target another troublesome editor: "If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted." That's exactly what they did, and a later e-mail boasts that "The GRL leak may have been plugged up now w/new editorial leadership there."

Not content to block out all dissent from scientific journals, the CRU scientists also conspired to secure friendly reviewers who could be counted on to rubber-stamp their own work. Phil Jones suggests such a list to Kevin Trenberth, with the assurance that "All of them know the sorts of things to say...without any prompting."

So it's no surprise when another e-mail refers to an attempt to keep inconvenient scientific findings out of a UN report: "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. K and I will keep them out somehow-even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" Think of all of this the next time you hear someone invoke the authority of peer review-or of the UN's IPCC reports-as backing for claims about global warming.

This scandal goes beyond scientific journals and into other media used to promote the global warming dogma. For example, RealClimate.org has been billed as an objective website at which global warming activists and skeptics can engage in an impartial debate. But in the CRU e-mails, the global warming establishment boasts that RealClimate is in their pocket.

I wanted you guys to know that you're free to use RC in any way you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through.... We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you'd like us to include.

[T]hink of RC as a resource that is at your disposal.... We'll use our best discretion to make sure the skeptics don't get to use the RC comments as a megaphone.

And anyone doubting that the mainstream media is in on it, too, should check out New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin's toadying apologia for the CRU e-mails, masquerading as a news report.

The picture that emerges is simple. In any discussion of global warming, either in the scientific literature or in the mainstream media, the outcome is always predetermined. Just as the temperature graphs produced by the CRU are always tricked out to show an upward-sloping "hockey stick," every discussion of global warming has to show that it is occurring and that humans are responsible. And any data or any scientific paper that tends to disprove that conclusion is smeared as "unscientific" precisely because it threatens the established dogma.

For more than a decade, we've been told that there is a scientific "consensus" that humans are causing global warming, that "the debate is over" and all "legitimate" scientists acknowledge the truth of global warming. Now we know what this "consensus" really means. What it means is: the fix is in.

This is an enormous case of organized scientific fraud, but it is not just scientific fraud. It is also a criminal act. Suborned by billions of taxpayer dollars devoted to climate research, dozens of prominent scientists have established a criminal racket in which they seek government money-Phil Jones has raked in a total of £13.7 million in grants from the British government-which they then use to falsify data and defraud the taxpayers. It's the most insidious kind of fraud: a fraud in which the culprits are lauded as public heroes. Judging from this cache of e-mails, they even manage to tell themselves that their manipulation of the data is intended to protect a bigger truth and prevent it from being "confused" by inconvenient facts and uncontrolled criticism.

The damage here goes far beyond the loss of a few billions of taxpayer dollars on bogus scientific research. The real cost of this fraud is the trillions of dollars of wealth that will be destroyed if a fraudulent theory is used to justify legislation that starves the global economy of its cheapest and most abundant sources of energy.

This is the scandal of the century. It needs to be thoroughly investigated-and the culprits need to be brought to justice.

November 2, 2009

Planned Parenthood director quits...


Planned Parenthood director quits after watching abortion ultrasound

posted at 3:00 pm on November 2, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
(re-posted via hotair.com)

After eight years working at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, including two years as its director, Abby Johnson suddenly decided that she could no longer participate in abortions. What pushed Johnson out was both an ultrasound of an abortion and a renewed emphasis on the cash-generating business in the failing economy. After being told to deemphasize prevention and market for abortions, Johnson finally had enough:

According to Johnson, the non-profit was struggling under the weight of a tough economy, and changing it’s business model from one that pushed prevention, to one that focused on abortion.

“It seemed like maybe that’s not what a lot of people were believing any more because that’s not where the money was. The money wasn’t in family planning, the money wasn’t in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that,” said Johnson.

Johnson said she was told to bring in more women who wanted abortions, something the Episcopalian church goer recently became convicted about. …

Johnson now supports the Coalition For Life, the pro-life group with a building down the street from Planned Parenthood. Coalition volunteers can regularly be seen praying on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood. Johnson has been meeting with the coalition’s executive director, Shawn Carney, and has prayed with volunteers outside Planned Parenthood.

The television station has video of Johnson’s interview at the link, so be sure to watch it.

October 29, 2009

A scary part of the new health care bill

reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/health/policy/30health.html?hp



Not only does the new health care bill include what Nancy Pelosi calls a "millionaire's tax," which will tax the most wealthy of our nation and funnel the money into paying for the $894 billion health care plan*, but it also includes federal funding for abortions.

And, Nancy Pelosi has proposed a rule for the debate on the new 1,900 page health care bill that would deny any opposition the opportunity to debate portions of the bill that include federal funding for and plans that allow for elective abortion.

Please contact your representatives today to encourage support for the Pitts-Stupak amendment, which would allow for debate on these portions of the bill. Please also ask them to stand by the fact that abortions are NOT health care!

Here are two links via the Susan B. Anthony List (a pro-life organization) that will allow you to contact your state representatives concerning this amendment. Please ask them to support the Pitts-Stupak amendment, and to oppose the Pelosi Rule:

link to Susan B. Anthony List - contact your rep to support Pitts-Stupak

link to Susan B. Anthony List - contact your reps to say abortion is not health care


It only takes a minute to contact your reps on both issues. Please find the time to do this, to keep abortion out of the health care bill.


*The new bill, like an earlier version, retains a surtax on high-income people, but increases the thresholds. The tax would hit married couples with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $1 million a year and individuals over $500,000 — just three-tenths of a percent of all households, Democrats said.

October 28, 2009

44,000 Ghosts

Perhaps single-payer health proponents don't think anyone checks their facts. For that matter, democrats in general seem to think the "average American" spends little to no time questioning the "facts" and figures they put forth to bolster their causes. A few cases:

* Is the Earth really warming up at an alarming rate, such that if we don't shoot atmosphere-sustaining gases into space we're all going to die? No, but Al Gore would have you believe it, based on his faulty temperature statistics. In fact, the Earth's temperature is cooling down, which is completely normal, and the heating/cooling process does not necessarily rely on humans to either help or hinder.

* Is welfare a useful, temporary tool for minority and low economic class citizens to utilize while they continue to search for work? No, it actually fosters a mindset of dependence on the government as well as indifference to or defeatism in finding work. Fact is, when President Clinton cut welfare benefits, more people returned to work, including unwed mothers and high-school educated poor, two groups that democrats had long been trying to encourage into the workforce. Who knew that the motivation people needed to work was simply less government assistance and more available employment?


As usual, behind the healthcare debate is another democrat who knows more than you and, under the guise of watching your back, blatantly disregards your ability to think critically about the issue. Instead, he chooses to persuade you with emotional appeals, citing huge numbers and saying that these represent those who die every year without health insurance!

Consider that when the numbers game is played by the other side, it's immediately considered fabrication and unworthy of even checking for validity. For example, one might mention in an article that almost 50 million abortions have been performed between 1973 and 2009 in the United States alone. Worldwide, that number skyrockets to over 960 million since 1973 (and through the end of 2008). Those are guaranteed deaths, nay, murders committed for a vast number of reasons (the least likely being that the life of the mother is in danger). But as soon as you mention that its unborn babies being killed, politicians roll their eyes. "Don't make this a political issue!" someone might even demand.

Unfortunately, health care run by the government by definition IS a political issue, which is precisely why so many people don't like the sound of it. Politics come first over policy, with our increasingly socialistic Obama administration mandating that everyone have health insurance. When the command caused citizens to revolt, Nancy Pelosi and her cronies switched tactics, parading fellow democrats out to repeat emotionally-charged statistics of the "number of Americans that die every year from a lack of health insurance." Tragically, and predictably, this number is completely convoluted, having its origins in a study that the practitioners admitted was wrought with potentially highly inaccurate information.

Below is an excerpt from Michelle Malkin's recent article, "The bogus death statistic that won't die," which you can read completely by clicking on this link. She cites the statements of both Alan Grayson, the representative from Florida who oft quotes the 44,000 figure, as well as the scientists who conducted the research behind the convoluted number:

"Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida has found his calling: death demagogue. First, he accused Republicans of wanting sick patients to "die quickly." Next, he likened health insurance problems to a "holocaust in America." Now, he's unveiled a new website entitled "namesofthedead.com" in memory of the "more than 44,000 Americans [who] die simply because they have no health insurance."

To boil it all down in plain English: The single-payer scientists had no way of assessing whether the survey participants received insurance coverage between the time they answered the questionnaires and the time they died. They had no way of assessing whether the deaths could have been averted with health insurance coverage. A significant portion of those classified as "uninsured" may not have been uninsured, based on past studies that actually did verify insurance status.

But the Himmelstein team just took the rate of uninsurance from the original study (3.3 percent), applied it to census data and voila: More than 44,000 Americans are dying from lack of insurance."


And, just to give you a glimpse of how desperate Pelosi and co. are in getting their bill to pass, here are a few submissions* to a nationwide video campaign using children for both emotional appeal and to simultaneously educate them to be dependent on big government. Right on?








*Organizing for America, Team Obama & the DNC’s perpetual campaign arm, is holding a health reform video contest.

October 23, 2009

Breaking: All major networks support FoxNews in White House freeze out

The White House offered an exclusive interview with one of the cabinet's "czars." The only catch? FoxNews isn't allowed to be there.

In a surprise gesture of solidarity, all the other networks invited - NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC - said that they would not participate if Fox was not allowed to along with them.

Giving credit where it is due, the mainstream networks have made the absolute correct move in backing up Fox and denying the White House power over the press. Though they regularly support President Obama's policies, they've proven that at least someone at the msm sites is wholeheartedly opposed to sanctioning one of the integral tenants of democracy, freedom of the press.

October 18, 2009

Rushing to Destroy a Man

*For those of you who don't use Hot Air (www.hotair.com) as a daily news source, you may be unawares of the superb, anonymous contributor named Doctor Zero. He consistently delivers trenchant analysis of the absurd goings-on we see played out via the White House socialist program, their mainstream media cohorts and big-name/low-class leftist ideology bloggers who love them.

But before you read his, I'd like to unravel the not-so mysterious fears of the media behind the complete shutting down of Rush Limbaugh's prospective bid for partial ownership of the St. Louis Rams. First, Al Sharpton drummed up negative controversy over some racist statements he alleged that Limbaugh made. No one could verify or source the quotes but even so, every major cable outlet (except Fox of course) ran with the white-hot story of an evil white man who got rich of being a bigot only to have his reputation stained by the very divisive remarks he made.

Then a "race studies" junior professor got onto MSNBC and posed the theory that Limbaugh wants ownership of the Rams because it's like "owning slaves." That allegation is so ludicrous and demeaning that the host should have questioned it. Instead, she and everyone else at her white-guilt riddled agency felt the "responsibility" to repeat the theory again and again, in an attempt to rid themselves of the undesired labor involved in actually sticking to a journalistic conviction that people should be given the benefit of the doubt, especially when such a disgusting claim is being made. But again, we live in a time...

Unfortunately the quote allegations turned out to be completely false. The quotes were finally sourced to someone other than Limbaugh; in fact, to an imaginary person. But since we live in a time when a Presidential con-didate does not have to prove he's an American citizen before the media annoints him, no one bothered to see if the quote was real or not before plastering it all over their pathetic "news" channels.

See how ravenous they all were to bring Rush down? Reminds me a little of the Palin debauchle; is being a little "country" really worth discrediting a woman to the point of calling her a "dumb b---ch?" Likewise, Rush Limbaugh never made the comments Al Sharpton alleged, nor would his audience have put up with it if he had. But, again, we live in a time when "conservative values" equals "racist teabaggers" in the minds of so many talking heads on ABC, CNN and MSNBC. It's amazing that on the word of Al Sharpton, himself no stranger to racist comments (or can only white people be racist?), several players from the Rams signed a petition to remove Limbaugh from the bid for ownership of the team. As if they have ever asked who owns the team before first finding out how much they'll be getting paid this season.

So a man's dream has been utterly foiled by incompetancy, irresponsible and irrational accusation. Please, let's remember how many chances Obama got, how many quotes were explained away, how many associations discredited, so that he could achieve his dream. The difference between owning a footbal team and being the director of the free world? Apparently, some dreams are worth lying to save, and some are not.


********************************************************************
Link to Doctor Zero's "Defending the Invincible" on Hot Air
(also will be linked in my side bar Doctor Zero section)

October 15, 2009

You Don't Want to Work With This Guy

Let's get this straight, just for the record. The Obama administration does not use its own people as a shield.

However, if there's a way to make things happen and somebody needs to take the fall, it may as well be someone whose name will be forgotten. Not Barack Obama; it's practically a brand name. But maybe someone else...

So if you're Yosi Sergeant, you might get the boot after you've successfully drummed up an art campaign for promoting "the President's platform." A campaign that the White House's Office of Public Engagement asked you to coalesce the moronic street art movement to push.

And if you're Anita Dunn, you'd better get your resume in order for when you start sounding a little too confident about the perils of Fox News, and the White House dismisses you in order to "distance themselves" from the stir caused in the general population.

Who can forget Obama's good pal Van Jones, the self-professed communist who wanted to set into action a real distribution of wealth plan - which was inspired by the President, - who got shown the back door when the public outcry against his philosophy rang loudly. Obama said he didn't even know Jones had a real position in the cabinet. Really?

ACORN makes an appearance on the list with several low-level employee firings that took place after the prostitution sting revealed illegal operations in five different offices around the nation. In his usual I-didn't-know-anything-about-that way, our President disloyaled this group faster than the ACORN ladies offered to help the kids evade taxes.

Obama's done that before, of course, with Jeremiah Wright. The man who Obama claimed was like family to him was thrown to the wolves with meat tied around his neck. And by that I mean Wright's own words pouring out of his mouth. Self-indicted, or sacrificed by a candidate hungrier for a famous office than the Reverand was to distort the Gospel?

Last, but really first, to go off the radar was Vice President Joe Biden. He's the foreign policy expert who, when shown not to know his way around the Middle East countries, was relegated to fetching O's morning caffeine and nictotine binge. You can call him VP Cup O' Joe now. Hilary Clinton should thank her lucky stars that she wasn't vetted for VP to the big B.O. Surely political suicide would have been her fate then, too.

Of course, the media would have you believe that Glenn Beck singlehandedly brought these people down, or at least some of them. The others "made mistakes" or "spoke out of turn" or simply proved incompetant. But despite their inadequacies, they all have something in common: they were all appointed to a position of power by President Obama. Whether it was through silent compliance with their rhetoric, or explicit direction, President Obama is responsible for building them up and, likewise, bringing them down.

October 8, 2009

As Old As You Feel

I didn't really want to write about myself.

On your birthday, people tend to give you a free pass to do whatever you want. You want to eat nothing but cake all day? Do it! Hang out in your pjs watching "Mad Men?" It's your day!
Wait, this is actually sounding like a typical unemployed day for me. Let me begin again.

I didn't really want to write about myself. But the only people who read this blog are, presumably, people who like me, so they'll/you'll do me the service of allowing me my soapbox. Not that you have a choice; it's my blog, nyah nyah!

Did I mention I did not turn six today? Believe it or not, I'm twenty-three birthday wishes past that age. At least, chronologically. But I'll answer the question everyone likes to ask, "So, how do you feel being ___ years old now?" I'd like to answer a couple of ways.

I feel much younger than twenty-nine. I feel as though my whole life is ahead of me. I feel as though the thirties are the time I'm really going to come into my own, stylistically, vocationally, physically. In this way, being twenty-nine feels like an incredible blessing because I have made it this far and, God willing, have so much time left.

I also feel much, much older. I've a lot to be regretful about. Say that's silly or it isn't the cure for heartaches and friendships lost, that's fine. I've done things/been places/met people/neglected people such that I can't be proud. I think this regret has aged me prematurely. I feel the weight of a seventy-four year old woman whose memories of loved ones are tinged with a sincere wish that more care could have been given them. Bittersweet memories because love is still so strongly felt for them, yet they are now lost in time, distance, or mental state and can no longer be reached.

I feel like I grew up too fast and then, as a teenager, just wanted to be a child. Now I just wish I was an adult. I wish I looked like one. I wish more I acted like one.

This is all for naught if I don't mention who I think I should be in God's eyes. I know; the Proverbs 31 woman, right? She carries a weight, too, but at least she knows who she is. That's how I want to be.





This is what twenty-nine looks like for me.

October 5, 2009

Please Pray for my Aunt Monica

I know that anyone who reads this blog probably does pray, and often. I want to put in a request for the healing of my Aunt Monica's pancreas, which she hurt in an accident several years ago and has had problems with ever since. This summer she was hospitalized twice, and now she is in for a third time. She is very worried that, given the seriousness of her pancreas failing, she may not survive.

Please pray for a possible surgery that would grow liver cells onto her pancreas to restore it, or that she could survive without this organ. People who lose their pancreas usually end up having severe diabetes and sometimes are completely disabled because of the complications. But that would be a blessing considering there is a strong possibility she may not make it through a surgery at all, or the pancreatic failure would mean the end of her life.

She is a young woman - only 45 - and has a wonderful husband (my uncle on my mom's side) and three great kids. Her oldest, Kyle, is my favorite cousin. They are a very close family and would be devastated by losing her. Please pray for her recovery, in some form. Thank you.

October 1, 2009

Familia de la Hermana Lea

New photos of my sister Lea and her cute little family. Sheesh, even baby Joe is smiling!
P.S. They are die-hard Minnesota Twins fans, though they have lived in Virginia for almost a decade. You can take the girl out of Minnesota...











September 23, 2009

Epitaph

I don't know how to preface this, so I'll just write as it comes to mind.

Earlier today my Grandpa passed away.

He was 94 years old. He was the only grandparent I was ever close to. My Mom's mother died fairly young, and her father didn't really contact us (or my Mom, for that matter). My Dad's father died at a very young age (around 34) and his mother passed away when I was a young thing (4).

Grandpa Mike was the only grandparent I spent time with, but without that title he'd still be the best one. He was exactly how you'd expect a grandparent to be: encouraging, generous and complimentary to your every whim. Gently chastening, but never pushy.

Random things I remember about him and his life... He was the only member of our family who was utterly non-confrontational. Well, maybe if you tried to assert that any team was better than Chicago. Even then, he'd be happy to settle it with a game of horseshoes in the driveway. His neighbors loved him. His house on the southside was one of those long, one-story brick ones, with a tiny square of yard in the front and back. Their backyard always housed an inflatable pool for us in the summer, and an umbrella table with chairs for the adults to sit and talk. Grandpa enjoyed a vodka martini with two olives which, if you were lucky, he'd let you have one of.

Grandpa's favorite place was the lake cabin, where he was the captain of the iron skillet and pontoon boat. He had old swimming rings and a great inflatable canoe my sisters and I fought over. He was no sidelines guy: he'd help you build a sandcastle, or score your dives, or put you to work if you wanted it. He also "borrowed" wildflowers from the neighbors' yards when we went on long walks.

He always wanted to travel, but never made it outside the United States. But he liked to hear stories about other family members' trips, especially my Dad's. The last time my Dad talked to Grandpa, he perked up when another trip to India was mentioned. He enjoyed living vicariously through his kids and grandkids. He loved that my cousin is spending a semester in Prague.

I don't know what he believed, other than treating people decently and not asking for too many favors out of life. He didn't argue or talk politics, he didn't offend the more liberal of my family by saying things like, "I believe the woman's place is in the home," like my Grandma Lu did once (I got a kick out of that). He didn't take sides. But he desired to join a church, as recently as this past year, and maybe that means something. I think it did to him.

I loved him and am thankful that when people talk about grandpas, I know I had the kind other people wished they did. I prayed for him often, and hope for him what I do for everyone: eternal life through the grace of God. I know my Grandpa was thankful to Him for a long, good life.

Please pray for his wife, Luella; I think she was not ready for him to go yet. She is shaken and, as a result, her faith appears to be. Please pray for her comfort and reassurance of God's providence. Thank you.

That's my Grandpa on the front right, with his wife Luella.
Back row is my Dad and Mom, Uncle Jim and Aunt Nancy, and cousin Sam.



Grandpa Mike, 1915-2009.

September 21, 2009

Bikes & Blessings; Together at Last!

Found on "The Sarcastic Lutheran" (a.k.a. Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, an ELCA Lutheran female pastor):

her "blessing of the bikes"


I have heard of blessings similar to this, most recently a blessing of backpacks for the schoolchildren of a church. It's one thing to symbolically hope the kids have a successful year. But, bikes?

On my second trip to India, I witnessed a "blessing of the motorcycle" ritual. It took place outside a hindu shrine for the bull god, whose name escapes me. First the motorcycle was adorned with garlands of chrysanthemums. Then it was sprinkled with two kinds of liquids, I think the first was coconut milk, but I don't recall the other. Finally, the motorcyclist's owner/rider took hold of the handlebars and moved the bike forward, so that it crushed a lime underneath its wheel. I wish I was making this up.

The owner was thrilled, and breathed a huge sigh when the lime was crushed. It was as if he thought an evil spirit - formerly possessing the motorcycle to drive too fast, or come dangerously close to hitting pedestrians, or simply go so slowly that the owner risked being late to work - had finally been released from the bike.

But... aren't we in charge of our own bikes' handling and execution? Therefore, a bike blessing is silly and pointless. Why not just hand out free helmets?

And on that note, I think I'll go for a bike ride myself.

September 20, 2009

God Has Done Marvelous Things

All around here it is fall. It is just starting and I love it already. In the gardens you wouldn't know the season had changed but for the produce, squashes and gourdes of all kinds. The birds, butterflies and gardeners are still savoring the full sun and scents of God's bountiful harvest, pretending it's summer yet.

The day changes, the season changes, people change, and God is still providing us with splendor.

Here are my recent photos from the Eagle Heights gardens, with a couple of my tomatoes to start. Enjoy the start of a new week!

Heirloom variety, can't remember which one!

Sweet little cherry tomatoes have been enjoyed for weeks.

Welcome!



Pear-shaped gourds.

An unusual zucchini!

A mountain of squashes.

Bippity, boppity boo!

Sunburst sunflower.





Curly peppers.

Butterflies pollinate the flowers, too. But mostly they sip nectar.


Must...resist urge to...grab handfuls of raspberries...from someone else's garden!



Bright purple beans.

More unusual plants and flowers.

Lovely dahlias (I think).



*All photography by Victoria for Fear and Trembling. Please do not copy. Not that I think you would, but in case you were contemplating it. Thank you!

September 18, 2009

A Brief Plea

There's always a lot going on in our nation that we don't hear about. How can we digest it all? In this information age, with high-speed internet and zillions of blogs reporting different angles to every story, who can keep up?

I can't, but I offer you my thoughts - some grand, mostly small - about everything that gets "caught in my web." That seems to range from budget beauty tips to politics as usual, with random photography and color culture commentary somewhere in between. I suppose you could say I'm indecisive about what I like, but I rather enjoy being a catalogue of obscure bits of information. The occasions on which I write something trenchant or thoughtful, though rare, bring this blog together into a pretty good summation of who I am.

More often than not, I am drawn to write about "current" issues when they pop up in the media. But they are never "current" to me in the sense of being fashionable to talk about; many of the topics considered "hot" are things I've mused on for awhile. Not to say I've come to any particular conclusions on all of them, but on some my moral meter reads consistently. The importance of allowing children to be children, to not mature them before it's time, is one of those.

This morning I read a story about Dr. Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon and ingenue from Oprah's show, who has been promoted to a solo gig hawking his "real doctor" tips with a non-clinical approach. So long as he's offering his tips and tricks to age-defying by diet, how to jump start an exercise routine and five common preventable diseases, I'm all for it. As a huge proponent of preventative care, I urge people to maintain healthy diets and exercise. Totally non-controversial.

But what about the topic of sex? Is it still considered taboo to discuss on television, to a general audience and without any pretense of modesty? You can probably guess where I fall on this issue. Frankly, if you're an adult who wants to hear other people talk about genital parts and the "physiology of an orgasm," knock yourself out. I think it's a little twisted and inappropriate, but it's your prerogative, Bobby Brown.

However, if you're a child, the answer is yes - some topics, including sex ed on t.v., are off limits for you. The right time for a kid to be educated about sex is when his/her parents think it is right, and education should be age-appropriate. No, it should not be taught in schools, at any age. Feel free to label me a backwards hick, but my sex education came at a very young age (and not from my parents) and proved to be detrimental to my actual understanding of the content. In fact, I think it messed me up big time for my teenage years and into adulthood, too.

Why am I suddenly mentioning kids you wonder? It's because of the time slot when Dr. Oz's show airs: 3 p.m. Most kids are just getting home from school at that time and many are flipping through the channels. If they flip to CBS, see an anatomical model of sexual organs and two people pointing out the specifics, will it be morbid curiosity or fear that decides whether to watch or not? For many, many kids, the curiosity will outweigh the fear of getting caught watching something they shouldn't be, not in small part due to the fact that Mom and Dad are both at work for a few more hours.

And just what will they see if they decide to chance it? Dr. Oz was thrilled to announce on his debut show, "Today, we're talking sex. I'm excited because for the first time, using cutting edge animation, we can go inside the female body and see what happens during an orgasm."

Stop right there. Do you want this guy teaching our children about orgasms? Notice there is no context to his set-up; no one is told that sex should be between a man and his wife, and between consenting adults, etc. I realize his audience - adults in the studio - presumably know these things, whether they abide by them or not is another thing. But who's in the at-home audience? It could be anyone. Let's go on with a quote from the article I read:

"The 'animation' had outline images of the penis, the vagina, as well as the breasts, and it even showed men and women lying on top of each other as scientists studied computer screens that depicted the participants' sexual arousal."

Again, I don't have a problem with him discussing these topics, with adults. I have a problem with the time of day at which they are broadcast. If they want to air it during prime time, fine. Parents will be home and can monitor what is being watched. However, when it's just kids at home, stuff like this shouldn't be available to them. At the ages kids who are watching might be (elementary school, middle school), they will not comprehend what is being shown to them and might be tempted to discuss it between themselves. I'm not being crude; it's a reasonable suggestion that kids would act inappropriately if influenced to do so.

There has always been an outcry against pornography, and with good reason. It is a complete distortion of what is intended (by God) to be a special event between certain people, who have made commitment to one another. I would argue that, for children, explicit clinical discussion of sexual organs and processes is no different than pornography, because they don't understand what's being said.

All they see is pictures, or models, and actions. They hear a man saying that there is a "sexual famine" going on in America and that orgasms are good, whether they happen with someone else (not specified) or, as his guest doctor friend put it, "...with the person you most love: yourself." There is no discussion of the specialness of sex between married people, or about the guilty horror or despair one feels when they act outside of that.

There will probably never be an afternoon show that depicts sex between married people the way it is supposed to be. We will continue to watch the sexually-deviant be paraded before us: the adulterers, the unwed mothers, the teenage studs. We will never hear a follow-up story that begins with, "I wish I hadn't had sex..." that also ends with, "Thank God I understand how much it means now! I'm saving myself for marriage." Call me a cynic or a realist, but I just don't see it happening. The ratings have proved too high for immodesty to take a backseat to chastity.

But instead of just complaining, I decided to do something about it. I wrote to CBS and asked them to please consider a different time slot for this show. I highlighted that, while it may be merely questionable material for adults, it is certainly inappropriate for children whose parents may not be home to help explain things to them. Nothing too political, just the facts: talking sex to kids = wrong. Please stop it.

I am posting the link here to the CBS feedback site and will continue to send them comments until I receive a response I'm happy with. If you agree with my argument here, please consider also sending them a note to the same tune. Maybe if enough of us respond they will consider moving Dr. Oz to Oz (or at least, somewhere else in the time slot).

CBS viewer feedback link here





September 17, 2009

I Ain't Gaga for this "Lady"

This will be brief, please just let me vent.

I have wanted for a long time to write about Lady Gaga. Much to her chagrin, it's not because I consider her to be interesting, or edgy, or - her favorite term - avant garde. Despite her best self-promotional intent to convince me otherwise, I do not think she is an artist. Rather, I think she's tacky and contrived.

She says she's an artist. Why? Because she wears shreds of clothing, weird masks and performs bizarre "dances" onstage whilst dousing herself in blood during - I kid you not - a mock crucifixion. That doesn't make you an artist any more than it made Piero Manzoni an artist when he put his own excrement in a jar and sold it in galleries.

She says she's unique and original. Why? Because she has come up with a completely new combination of costumes, face paint and sexual innuendo. Except if you recall that Madonna and David Bowie at all, because if you do you'll notice she has stolen every one of her ideas from one of those two.

She calls herself a lady. This would be laughable if it wasn't so disrespectful to women who cultivate ladyhood. Women who keep their mouths shut when all they have to say is stupid. Women who don't advertise their promiscuity. Women who have something more to offer the world than a long string of expletives.

Posting pictures of this person would be allowing her some amount of credibility, which I assure you she has none of. Just be thankful this may be the first and last time you hear about her. Sorry for the rant.

September 16, 2009

"There's gotta be a way to embarrass FoxNews on this one..."

Oh, dear. Jon Stewart is no political neutral, but since he's on the liberal side he gets special leeway on calling out his own people. In this case, being the ACORN expose, Stewart is the ONLY one calling them out.

Being bashed by someone other than conservatives... and a comic at that... that's gotta hurt, mainstream media.

But, it's their own fault for sleeping in on the ACORN story and letting two 20-somethings break it to the country via Fox. You snooze, you lose!

Click here for Jon Stewart clip.

September 15, 2009

Real Journalism

Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe are my new heroes. These two are the brains behind the Acorn exposure videos. Finally, some real journalism. It's refreshing and invigorating to see that Hannah hasn't been deterred by the media's poor handling of the news; she saw a problem and wanted to fix it, not avoid it. I could learn a lesson...

And here are the videos, in the order they've been released:

Baltimore, MD



Washington D.C.



Brooklyn, NY





San Bernadino, CA

Beyond Help

You can't reason with unreasonable people.

In the spirit of this week's awards shows, below is a list of articles highlighting the "best of the worst" in the category of double-standard columnists.

Their academic credentials are of no significance, meaning that any degrees they hold don't amount to a hill of beans as far as common sense goes. If you're a regular Joe, one who hasn't attended academia, you should take comfort in knowing that you are no less an authority on the best direction of our country than any of these writers. In fact, since your mind has not been polluted by racial theory, historical revisionism, or feminist prose, you are probably far ahead of the curve in the most important area we have left to ourselves: thinking our own thoughts.

**********************

Here's the list:

Maureen Dowd, New York Times, "Boy Oh Boy"


Mike Lupica, Daily News, "Shrill shouters betray post9/11 promises to be the best we can be"



E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post, "Joe Wilson and Our Character..."

September 11, 2009

Domestic Terrorism

Today we are all remembering, for the eighth year in a row, when the Twin Towers came down. Built by American ingenuity, destroyed by hostile self-righteousness, they are now more of a symbol than they were standing in the Manhattan skyline.

I was walking to morning class when I approached the dorm I normally cut through to save time. At a distance I saw several students standing motionless, staring blankly at a t.v. screen. In that moment I thought, "Many people have just died." My whole school shut down so we could watch coverage. A friend of mine said, "You know what this means? We're going to war."

I called my Mom, whose birthday is also September 11th, desperately wanting to know if either of my brothers-in-law would be deployed. As it turns out, they both were; one for six months and the other three years. The latter had only one break, which came when he was struck with shrapnel from a suicide bomber's blast, a bomber who had infiltrated their base and exploded himself in the mess hall.

I can truly say that my life has not been the same since that day in 2001. I was a staunch liberal at the time, but everything started to turn conservative when the issue of homeland protection came into play. I had never thought of it, but when I did my conclusion was "whatever is takes to keep us safe."

Despite his foibles, President Bush did that for us. He kept us safe. According to my bro-in-law (the three year veteran, who is now an Officer in the Army linguistics division), there are terrorists everywhere, so many you can hardly keep track. Part of what he does is help to track them. So he's keeping us safe, too.

Will President Obama keep us safe? I truly do not know. I was struck with anger, then fear at his portrayal of America abroad, his saying over and over again that we have done wrong and are asking for forgiveness. As far as I remember, no one offered an apology for bringing down the Towers. No one who was responsible, I mean. Yet we are now advertising to the world that our involvement in keeping smaller, less armed countries safe was imperialism? Something does not compute.

We have domestic terrorists, too. Just today in Michigan, two men were brutally gunned down by a man with a personal grudge against them. One of the victims was a long-time pro-life supporter, who was simply holding up a sign in front of a high school when shot multiple times. The killer (in custody and has confessed to both murders, as well as the planning of a third) is a domestic terrorist. When murder is the answer for a disagreement of policy or politics, it's terrorism.

There is no telling what tomorrow, or next year, or the next decade will bring. President Obama may have a second term, he may not. We may be attacked again, we may not. One thing will surely come to pass: those who pray for the demise of terrorism and put their faith in a gracious and holy God to accomplish it will not be disappointed. As a citizen and believer, this is your best defense.

September 10, 2009

Old News

In honor of President Obama not saying anything new in his health care speech last night, here is some old news from our corner of the world.

About two weeks ago, we attended the wedding of Nic's friend Ed and his new wife Sam. The service was in a beautiful spot in downtown Chicago; beautiful both inside and out, as you will see in the photos below. The ceremony took place outside in the courtyard, sheltered by brick buildings covered in, you guessed it, cascading ivy. The weather was great and the thoughtfulness of having a cocktail-refreshment hour prior to the ceremony - which took place at a time most of us would have wanted to be eating dinner - was very much appreciated.

I love hanging out with Julia (of friends Young and Julia), pretending to take professional photos when in fact neither one of us has read our manuals yet! This is a source of guilt for both of us, but we're both self-professed lazy in that area. It's fun to just experiment and see what you come up with, too.

That said, here are some faux professional photos I took that day. Some of them turned out pretty cool; then again, how can you go wrong taking pics of super people and their well-behaved offspring? I think I have more pictures of Caitlyn that Julia does! She's just so darn cute.

****************


Pre-ceremony cocktail hour.

Flower girls, swirling and twirling away in adorable taffeta.

The courtyard decorated for the ceremony.

Ed and his nephews, "best men in waiting."

Caitlyn!

Everybody happy to celebrate with Ed and Sam.

Program for the event.

Sam had three dresses for her weddings - the first ceremony took place traditionally Catholic with only immediate family. She got to wear the other two dresses at this ceremony.

Shadows from the lanterns lining the ballroom at the Ivy.

Nic, Young, Ed and Peter.

September 7, 2009

FYI : The Truth About "46 Million Uninsured"

From the CATO Institute:

"For the record, according to the latest figures from the Census Bureau, 45.6 million Americans currently lack health insurance. This is actually down slightly from the 47 million that were uninsured in 2006. However, those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

For example, roughly one quarter of those counted as uninsured — 12 million people — are eligible for Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), but haven’t enrolled. This includes 64 percent of all uninsured children, and 29 percent of parents with children. Since these people would be enrolled in those programs automatically if they went to the hospital for care, calling them uninsured is really a smokescreen.

Another 10 million uninsured “Americans” are, at least technically, not Americans. Approximately 5.6 million are illegal immigrants, and another 4.4 million are legal immigrants but not citizens.

Nor are the uninsured necessarily poor. A new study by June O'Neill, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, found that 43 percent of the uninsured have incomes higher than 250 percent of the poverty level ($55,125 for a family of four). And slightly more than a third have incomes in excess of $66,000. A second study, by Mark Pauly of the University of Pennsylvania and Kate Bundorf of Stanford, concluded that nearly three-quarters of the uninsured could afford coverage but chose not to purchase it. "


The actual bottom line number of people who cannot afford to buy insurance amounts to 14 million, not 46 million. (Hot Air.com)


September 6, 2009

NEWS FLASH: Van Jones resigns

This morning, citing what he called a "vicious smear campaign" as the catalyst, Energy Czar Van Jones resigned from the position at the White House. *Click here to read his "I'm resigning for you, not for me" explanation.

Think about this for a minute: airing video and audio clips - of Jones saying he's a black nationalist, that he strongly believes radical change is needed for "social justice," that he thinks white environmentalists have essentially "poisoned black communities" because they don't understand black people, calling Republicans names - merely airing these clips is a smear campaign. What about the truth of his statements? There he is, saying these things, and even as they aired recently, not entirely taking them back. You get the feeling Jones reluctantly apologized for his statements, but still internally stands behind them.

The bad side of this resignation: Jones will not likely disappear completely, but will probably play a significant role under the radar that White House "czar" positions are beholden to.

The good side: NBC, CBS, ABC, the Washington Times, the New York Times didn't have a story on this guy until this morning. Keep in mind that the past associations - not to mention his two arrests for riot activity - started to surface late Wednesday of last week. So, the conservative blogs, talk radio and Fox News (practically Glenn Beck singlehandedly!) were able to bring this guy's past into the light.

Makes you rethink the mainstream media's assertions that conservative media is a small, powerless group, doesn't it?

September 5, 2009

The Indoctrination Wagon

Did you know about the President's plan to speak to public school children about the importance of education and how they can help him achieve our goals?

Hope of all hopes, it looks like the indoctrination wagon has rolled into town!

You may remember that the last time it made a stop, it deposited a large honor on several school children who got to participate in what's sure to be called the music event of the century! No, not Michael Jackson's death. These lovely, innocent children got to sing the "Yes We Can" song of hope and change not only for their teachers and invited parents, but ultimately the whole world gained access to the delightfully hopeful ditty by way of the internet.

And if we got it through the internet, you know it must be quality! Think of all the other great things the internet has brought us in the past: online gaming, thousands of sites only one letter off from what you're actually looking for, giving you a fun game of turkey chase! Not to mention pornography.

But I digress. This post is all about the President looking after his own. His own. Why, surely you must agree that the public schools - run by government grants and filled with teachers union staff - just as much belong to the President. In fact, he's taking the time to directly speak to your children; when's the last time you had a chat with your kiddies about personal responsibility? In that sense, you could argue he has more right to them than you do.

Oh, you did just talk to them about personal responsibility? And it was because they're home with you most of the time, offering you plenty opportunity for meaningful conversations about values? Clearly this post doesn't address everyone; you hundred or so home schooled kids across the country are exempt.

For the rest of you lucky k-6 public scholars, you should consider it a great honor that your President wants to talk to you. Yeah, YOU. It's a great opportunity for you to prove to everyone how loyal you are to the President. And what better way to show your support of him than to do everything he says? Actions speak louder than words. Who needs words when you've got civic responsibility to worry about? You can't be bogged down with learning the complexities of the United States constitution; you've got work to do!

If, due to unforeseen circumstances, you are unable to attend school on the day of the address, don't worry. Your teacher will have individual copies to hand to every student, and your parents are required by law to show it to you every night. Ok, technically, it's not law yet, but they know the consequences of failure in that regard. Plus, you can help them be good citizens - like you want to be - by reporting any suspicious behavior to teachers you trust. You'll know you can trust them if they have the logo shirts with "afl-cio" on them. Those are the good ones. Or, simply write to the White House itself via their website. Now, be a good little comrade!

Kids, remember that no one became an accomplished citizen in one day, and not without really doing the legwork. Well, the President did, but that's not important. Your teachers will chart the personal goals you set for yourself and the progress you are making toward them. If you are not making progress, they will remind you. Don't be afraid of setting the wrong goals, either. Your teacher will help you determine which are acceptable.

Teachers, parents, children: This is the time for robust social action! Some people nowadays seem to be dragging their feet against the change we could be making if we all just did what we were told. A lot has changed since the founding fathers wrote the constitution. We don't have to worry anymore that the President or the Congress will have too much power, now that the good guys are in office! We know that they have our best interests in mind because they tell us they do. What, do you think they would lie to us? I don't think you get voter approval by promising one thing and delivering another!

Let's bring everyone onto the same team in the spirit of hope. Let's rally together to be the change that we seek. Let's remind each other what it really means to be an American:

To serve the government obediently and without question or confrontation.

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