August 31, 2004

Elegant Innovation

HP may want to be associated with the word, "Invent", but I salute a manufacturer innovative enough to marry technology to aesthetics:

Apple's new G5 iMac.

May it be wildly successful.

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posted by Linda at 05:29 PM : Comments (2)
August 27, 2004

Have a good weekend!

And Happy Birthday to me! I'm...officially, None of Your Business!

Ignore the silver nesting in my flaming mane! Celebrate my laugh lines, dammit, or I will beat the living...

Erg, sorry.


I won't be pub crawling. I don't like hangovers. But my husband arranged for The Miss to have a slumber party at Gramma's tonight, and has promised me a jaunt to Our Bar, as well as supper somewhere.

So, I'm starting my weekend a little early, with no other posting from me, today. I had lots I wanted to say, especially about Israel's first gold medal! Congratulations!!

(But, I have a leech that I can't get rid of, even though the problem does not reside in the hardware I support. This means that I have to focus on him, instead of something I enjoy. Jerk.)

In the meantime, be safe, take care of each other, and have a great weekend.

Gal Fridman, HaTikvah!

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posted by Linda at 09:35 PM : Comments (5)
August 26, 2004

Bitch slapped

Best quote all day:

'"There will be a time for debates after the convention, and during the next few weeks, John Kerry should take the time to finish the debates with himself," responded Bush-Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt.'

From this article.


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posted by Linda at 06:34 PM : Comments (0)
August 25, 2004

Childhood gently knocks

It's kind of neat when something from your childhood visits.

I was born in Texas. I have family all over the place. In the summer, we used to go out to visit an aunt with a house on the river in New Braunfels. We'd float down the river in inner tubes.

I just took a call from a customer in New Braunfels.

All of a sudden, I can smell it again, and I wish to gods I was on the river right now, instead of cooped up in the office.

I love Colorado. It'd take a lot of hard talking to get me to move back to Texas after seeing places like this, and Alaska, and Oregon, and Tennessee, and all the other places I've been.

But sometimes I really miss it, you know? I miss the people, and the soft accents, and the unique practicality, and the fact that -- with the exception of my husband -- Texas may be one of the last places in the US where a man will take off his hat when he goes indoors, and blandly hold doors for ladies and feminists alike.

Not to mention that's it's practically illegal to not be armed down there. :)

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posted by Linda at 07:09 PM : Comments (1)
August 24, 2004

The Electoral College and the Ignominy of Trying to Cheat It.

"Of the 46,000 registered in both states, 68 percent are Democrats, 12 percent are Republicans and 16 percent didn't align themselves with a party, the newspaper reported on Sunday."

The excerpt is taken from an article found on Yahoo! News, "Thousands Registered to Vote in 2 States -- Report"

This is a Federal offense. Violators can be fined up to $10,000 per offense, and jailed for up to 5 years.

It's time for a review of how the Electoral College works.

Every state gets a number of Electors equal to the number of its U.S. Senators (always 2), plus the number of Representatives allocated by the state's population, and determined in the most recent Census. The political parties and/or independent candidates in each state submit a list of candidates to the state's chief election official. The candidates on this list are equal in number to the state's electoral vote.

Usually, the major political parties select these people in their State party conventions, or through appointment by each state's party leaders. Third parties and independent candidates merely designate their people. After their caucuses and primaries, and during their national conventions, the parties nominate their candidates for president and vice president. Third party/independent candidates have to follow different procedures, according to individual state laws.

So far, so good, right?

OK. After that, the candidates who have been nominated have their names submitted to each state's chief election official so that they will appear on the general election ballot of each state.

Every four years, on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, every person (who chooses) to vote in their home state casts his or her ballot for the party slate of Electors representing their choice for president and vice president. (If you look, you'll see that general election ballots usually just read, "Electors For," instead of listing the individual electors.)

Now pay attention, because this is where it gets important, and this is where people who don't understand the Electoral College start frothing at the mouth, and demonstrate exactly who slept through high school civics classes.

The party slate who wins the most popular votes in the state becomes that state's Electors. (It has nothing to do with which candidate gets the most individual votes, and everything to do with the party that carries the state. Clear as mud?) So, whichever presidential ticket gets the most popular votes in a state wins all the Electors in that state. The exceptions to this are Maine and Nebraska, where two Electors are chosen by statewide popular vote, and then the remainder by popular vote in each Congressional district.

On the Monday following the second Wednesday of December, each state's electors meet in their respective state capitols and cast their electoral votes: one each for president and vice president. Electors are prevented from voting for favored sons of their home state due to the fact that one of their votes must be for someone from outside the state. (This is seldom a problem anymore.)

Following this, the votes are sealed and sent to the President of the Senate, who reads the votes aloud before both houses of Congress on January 6th. The presidential candidate with the most electoral votes (one over half the total) is declared president, with the same process applying to the candidate for vice president. If no one takes the absolute majority of electoral votes for president, then the U.S. House of Representatives selects the president from the top three contenders. Each state casts only one vote, meaning that the Representatives from each state must come to agreement, and an absolute majority of states is required for that man to be elected. Similarly, the vice president is selected by the Senate from among the top two contenders.

Once the president and vice president are elected, they are sworn into office on January 20th.

Registering to vote in two states is illegal. You are one person. You get one vote. The government doesn't care how many addresses you have.

Here's a nice overview of the rules:

Please be aware of the following prohibited acts of fraud and misrepresentation:
· You may not make any false statement of claim that you are a citizen of the United States in order to register or vote in any federal, state or local election.
· You must not vote more than once in any election that includes a federal candidate (please not that this does not include voting a replacement ballot after a spoiled ballot was invalidated).
· You must not procure or submit materially false, fraudulent or fictitious voter registration applications in any election that includes a federal candidate.
· You must not submit false information as to name, address, or period of residence in a voting district for the purpose of establishing voter eligibility to register or vote in any election that includes a federal candidate.
· You must not procure, cast or tabulate materially false, fraudulent or fictitious ballots in any election that includes a federal candidate.
· You must not pay, offer to pay or accept payment for voting, registering to vote, withholding a vote, or voting for or against any candidate in any election that includes a federal candidate.

The FEC has more.

I know this is going to be hard for the asshelmets who want to subvert my nation's democratic process, but like them or not, these rules are there for a reason, and have been established as the fairest possible way to make the election process work in a nation of this size. They protect everyone.

You see, the Electoral College was founded with an eye to the difficult question of how to elect a president in a nation that was then comprised of 13 large and small states, each concerned about their own rights and powers, and suspicious of a central national government. (For more information on the framing of the Constitution, and the bitter brangles that ensued throughout the muggy summer of 1787, see my 3 posts here, here, and here.)

What's more, the population was spread up and down the Altantic seaboard. Travel was a difficult, drawn-out event. Communication took forever, and could be outdated or even skewed by the time it arrived at its destination. (You play the telephone game over 1,000 miles and see how correct the original message is by the time it gets to the end of the road.) So, national campaigns were both undesirable and impractical. When one considers the size and population of the nation today, it becomes clear that election by pure popular vote is still as impractical as it was then.

At first, Congress toyed with the idea of being the responsible party for electing a president. However, this was quickly rejected because the choice would be too divisive, and was a clear avenue for corruption and partisanship. It was also felt that such an arrangement would upset the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches of the nascent government.

Another thought was to have the state legislatures elect the president, but this too was dismissed from the fear that the president could then be too heavily influced by the legislatures, and that the federal authority would be eroded, leading to the dissolution of federation.

Then, there was always the concept of popular vote. This was rejected not out of distrust of the common man, but because the Founding Fathers felt that without sufficient information about candidates from outside the state, people would default to voting for their "favorite son". This could lead to the event of no clear majority for any one man. It also meant that the choice of president would most often fall to the vagaries of the largest, most populous states, with no regard for less populated geographies.

So, compromise was reached through the Electoral College. This would keep the republic from dissolving over squabbling between states maneuvering for their own interests, keep the larger states from undue influence, and still leave the choice in the hands of the common man. The other advantage was that people could vote locally, without the need for long journeys elsewhere.

The similarity of our Electoral College to the Centurial Assembly System of the Roman Republic makes an interesting side note. In that system, the adult male citizens of Rome were divided into groups of 100, according to their economic status. Each group cast only one vote for or against various Senate proposals.

Now, our Electoral College makes no distinction between economic classes, and the number of votes per state is determined by the size of its Congressional delegation. Still, the idea is the same; which, when we consider the sort of classical educations enjoyed by our Founding Fathers, makes a sort of sense. They would have been well-versed in history, its lessons, and the best way to leverage the past for a better future.

The Electoral College has evolved over time. The 12th Amendment, for example, requires that each Elector cast one vote for president, and then another for vice president. The original method had Electors casting two votes, with the runner up becomming vice president. Also, political parties evolved: "We are a republic!" "No, you jackass, we are a democracy!"


Moving along, this is a good resource for a history of the Electoral College. I was gratified to see that the author shares my own understanding of its evolution and similarity to the old Roman Republic way of doing things.

My point is that the Electoral College, for better or worse, is the way things are done now. Election laws are mandated for the sake of fairness. Trying to cheat that process is detrimental to all, and reveals the sort of sordid dishonor running rampant throughout the country today. True, there are Republicans who have done this, as well as independents. But of the 46,000 people recently discovered registered to vote in two states, 68% of them are Democrats. What does that say about the current state of the party of Andrew Jackson and John F. Kennedy?

I think we can all agree that we're concerned about the direction the country is going. If we weren't, the debates wouldn't be so acrimonious and impassioned. (This is actually a sign of the health of the union. Be concerned when millions of opinions suddenly drop to only one or two.) Nevertheless, the best way to change the system is to work from within it.

I call for an investigation to learn the scope of the fraud. How wide ranging is this issue? In a bitterly contested presidential election year, this sort of cheating is very, very suspicious, and bears closer examination.

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posted by Linda at 08:21 PM : Comments (3)
August 23, 2004

George Examines the Rassmann Incident

Since John Kerry has run for the Presidency on his Viet Nam record, the subject is open to examination. George presents an excellent and thought-provoking analysis about why the official record isn't one to be trusted, as there is indication that Kerry wrote it himself.

Go read the post. In addition to links that take us on a virtual tour of a swift boat, George masterfully deconstructs the events of March 13, 1969, and puts them back together, resulting in some glaring holes in the account. He also posits theories on the real cause of the reported damage to the boat, herself, and explains why Rasmussen's perceptions may have been colored that day.

And he doesn't come right out and say it, but he also points out a major difference between a real hero, and a vainglorious attention hound: the real hero always plays down his deeds with quiet modesty.

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posted by Linda at 10:22 PM : Comments (1)

How about some reasoned answers, Senator?

I have an observation to make.

If someone falsifies their resume, and it is discovered, what happens?
They either don't get the job, or they get fired.

And, considering John Kerry's exaggerations (all right -- lies) about his military service, why should he be seriously considered for the job of President of the United States of America?

Truly, he hasn't shown the class or self-discipline that the office requires. Instead of answering the charges of other Swift Boat Veterans with facts and cool logic; instead of entering the debate with a gentlemanly mein, he has chosen to litigate.

His demeanor in the face of the anecdotes provided by Swift Boat Veterans For Truth has been anything but statesmanlike. In fact, his arrogance and unreasonable attitude throughout his entire political campaign serves to convince me that this man is too unstable, too uncontrolled, and too unreasoning to lead.

Actions do speak louder than words. His actions speak of someone who cannot take great personal pressure or confrontation. He falls apart, he goes on the defensive, and he stoops to ad hominem attacks on his opposition.

How would he react the first time some diplomatic scenario went sour?

The office of the President of the United States of America demands a cool head, steady hand, great personal discipline, and the ability to take criticism and confrontation with humor, dignity, and fortitude.

I see none of this in John Kerry. I see a man who accuses his accusers of lying, but provides no factual information to validate his own stance. I see someone who falls off his bike, and curses his bodyguard for it. He claimed that he was involved in clandestine Christmastime operations in Cambodia -- that these events were seared into his memory -- yet, when confronted with the timeline that disproved his synchronicities, he backed away, dissembled; retracted. I see someone whose wife has so little class and poise that she would tell a reporter to "shove it", when the wife of her husband's opponent has gracefully held her silence in the face of far worse heckling.

For all of me, they seem self-serving, self-flaunting, and utterly insincere. These are not the sort of people one ushers into the land's highest office. These are the sort of boorish people you "forget" to invite to dinner, because she's too shrill and he starts telling tired old war stories that get embroidered with each retelling.

John Kerry is advised to step back, calm down, and begin answering the questions posed. If he wants to lead America, then he has to hold himself to higher ideals of conduct. The American people demand no less.

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posted by Linda at 05:39 PM : Comments (3)
August 20, 2004

Make Sure the Semi-Auto Ban Sunsets on Schedule!

According to my newest edition of The Federalist, it seems that Feinstein and Schumer intend to press for a roll call vote to politicize their desire for the renewal of the Clinton-Feinstein-Schumer Gun Control Act in time for the upcoming election.

The Semi-Auto Ban, as it is most commonly called, is due to sunset on September 13 of this year.

Let's make sure that the gun-grabbers hear America's true voice, and not the voices of syncophants, and the uneducated.

Visit Patriot Petitions, and add your name to the list of those who reject the renewal of the Semi-Auto Gun ban.

And while you're at it, remind your representation that you expect them to firmly oppose any attempt to renew this unconstitutional legislation.

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posted by Linda at 09:25 PM : Comments (1)

In Which Linda States It The Way She Sees it...

Patricia Ann Miles' body was found in Arkansas, and I'm sick with helpless rage. The rush of emotion: horror, and sorrow and pity and empathy for what her poor mother must be going through inevitably brought me to thoughts of what it is we're fighting for, anyway?

Some days, it seems so dark. Everywhere I look, I see another account of horror; another child is hurt, another man loses his life. Then there are the politicians, using good and evil as flashcards to advance their own agendas, and I see the darkness and the light in these men, and I have no choice but to choose the man whose inner light is brighter than his darkness, and I revile the other man with every fiber of my being.

So what are we fighting for? Why are we involved in "imperialistic" activities in the Middle East? Why do other political entities repudiate us?

It comes down to protection. Our national emblems represent a deep-seated conviction. Here, in America, is refuge for the downtrodden and dispossessed. Of all the nations on earth, this is the one where anyone, from anywhere, can come and succeed or fail by their own lights. This is the one place on earth where an immigrant can come, and during his or her own lifetime, become one of us: an American.

It's worth defending. Our very spirit is one of shelter. We welcome those without a home. Of any place on earth, this is the one that is closest to the dream of the Shining City. We welcome and protect those who are weaker than ourselves.

So, we fought in WW I and in WW II. We fought Korea and Viet Nam and Gulf War I, and now we fight the War on Terror. We fight to protect ourselves, and the small ones in our midst: our children, our mothers, our elderly and infirm. We fight in foreign lands to keep danger away from our home towns, and we even fight to protect the people of lands ground under the heel of despotism and facism.

We went most recently to Iraq because there was a chance that their despotic leader had weapons he could use against us. Our duly elected President, George W. Bush, led us into Afghanistan and Iraq in case the intelligence was true. It's better to be wrong than to lose thousands more countrymen. Bitten by 9/11, we weren't going to let that dog close with us again. Since we were going anyway, we could do something for the people of those two lands. Some of us realized that although the political structures of those nations had to go, the people weren't to blame. It was that concern for the helpless that kept us from pushing the "Instant Win button". The human atrocities committed by the Taliban and Saddam Hussein in the years leading up to the invasion are well-documented, no matter how hard the press and politicos try to hide and forget about them, now. So, we've put an end to the rape gangs and human shredders and the blinding of toddlers because Daddy one day passingly questioned an edict of Saddam's.

They can hate us. It's OK. We've still done them a service. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are alive today; unabused, free of rape, and whole of body, with food to eat because we came along. At the rate Saddam was going, those folks would be rotting in a mass grave somewhere. We intervened the same way in France sixty years ago. They revile us now, too, and I wonder how much of that dislike is due to their own shame because they didn't have the power to free themselves without a leg up from us.

Abu Ghraib acknowledged: I have damned the perpetrators of those heinous activities before, on this blog, and Gods damn them for it as well. They are a disgrace to their uniforms and their country. They betrayed the most basic precepts of human dignity and liberty; ideals upon which this nation was founded. Damn them. May they end like the dogs they are.

'Hatred!" Someone will scream, "She's engaging in hate speech!"

Perhaps, by a narrow and uneducated definition, I am. I hate anyone who would hurt a child. I hate anyone who would commit rape or murder. I hate someone who would hold the entire population of a nation under his thumb -- and by that I mean real repression, Iraqi-style; not the free dissent of ideas and opinions like we have in this country. Last time I checked, we were all still locked in acrimonious debate about what this nation should be, and exccept for those who commit violent acts, no one's been hauled off in the dead of night.

I hate people who use violence to impose their theopolitical views on others. Yes, I hate terrorists. I hate the very idea of Hamas, Hizbollah, al Qaeda, Al Aqsa, and the PLO.

I hate anyone who would harm someone weaker than themselves. I hate anyone who uses fear and propaganda to cow others. I hate liars, traitors, thieves and thugs.

That seems like a lot of hate, doesn't it? Maybe it is, but my hatred of evil, destructive people is only counterpoint to the love I feel.

I love my family. I will do anything to protect them. I love my friends and countrymen, even the ones I've never met, and yes, even the ones with whom I passionately disagree. I love my home, my gods, and my country. I will fight anything that threatens them.

That's why we Americans fight, when it comes down to it. Our richness has given us a vision of greater love, greater empowerment. We see someone who doesn't have it, and we want to share. It feels so damn good to be free that we can't stand it when someone else doesn't have what we have. We'll work to remove the block so they can breathe without fear, and have hope in the dawn.

With that said, I hope you'll understand what I mean when I say that I hope someone shoots Patricia Ann Miles' killer in the head. It may not bring her back, but it'll keep another child from being harmed by the same animal.

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posted by Linda at 07:18 PM : Comments (0)
August 19, 2004

Happy Dance

Guess who's just been approached to do another Toys For Tots drive?

I can't wait! I so cannot wait! I loved doing it last year, and I will adore doing it again!


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posted by Linda at 11:18 PM : Comments (0)

Domestic Terrorists: PETA

Go take a look at some of PETA's tactics.

Those are compassionate people, huh? So worried about animal rights that they would traumatize a human child.

Sweetheart? If I ever catch one of these child-abusing fuckwads around our daughter, you'll have to come up with bail money.

I'm going to do what my Dad did, and teach her to hunt at a young age, so when one of these "activists" does walk up to my daughter she will have the fortitude to sing out, "I love animals! They're delicious!"

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posted by Linda at 08:49 PM : Comments (1)

My New Song

I've been listening to The Eagles. I got "The Very Best Of..." as an early birthday present.

It's been a long time since I first heard it, but this song brings a smile to my lips.

It's my new anthem.

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posted by Linda at 08:08 PM : Comments (0)
August 17, 2004

Air France: Discriminatory?

And while I'm in a ranty mood, here's a tip o' the hat to my reader, David J. for this gem:

Limbless Woman Sues Air France Over "Torso" Snub

"August 13, 2004
A wheelchair-bound woman with no limbs has sued Air France for discrimination, alleging she was kept off a flight by a gate agent who told her a "torso cannot possibly fly on its own."

Adele Price, 42, a British citizen, sued the airline in Manhattan federal court seeking unspecified damages.

Price, who was born without limbs because her mother took the drug thalidomide during pregnancy, said in the suit she is able to manipulate a wheelchair and has traveled by air many times.

The suit states that she had bought a ticket in 2000 for travel between Manchester, England and New York. After Price had checked her luggage, she alleged that she was stopped by an Air France agent who told her that "a head, one bottom and a torso cannot possibly fly on its own."

Price said in the suit that Air France let her take another flight to New York but only after she was able to get a companion to go with her. However, Price said she had to pay for the companion's airfare and lodging.

She said the airline also made it difficult for her to return from John F. Kennedy Airport to Britain by requiring her to get opinions from four US doctors certifying she was able to fly alone.

A spokeswoman for Air France had no immediate comment.


David observed, and I agree: "If we use the Euros’ tactic of extrapolation of one lout to represent all of the U.S., [then the comments of the Air France agent are indicative that France is surely a nation of haters]."

What was that homily about all generalizations?

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posted by Linda at 06:49 PM : Comments (0)

Terrorists Intimidating the Media

Via Honest Reporting, we have another gem of an article this morning:

The Intimidation Continues

"...Two days after the liberation of Baghdad, a senior news executive at CNN disclosed that his network had for years been sanitizing its reports from Iraq. In an op-ed column titled "The news we kept to ourselves," Eason Jordan confessed that CNN routinely chose not to report on the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein's regime. To have revealed the truth, he wrote, "would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff."

Suppressing news by threatening reporters with violence or death is one of the dirty little secrets of Middle East journalism. In his 1989 memoir "From Beirut to Jerusalem," Thomas Friedman wrote that "physical intimidation" was a major impediment to honest reporting from Beirut during the years when southern Lebanon was in the grip of Yasser Arafat's PLO.

"There were...stories which were deliberately ignored out of fear," Friedman admitted. "How many serious stories were written from Beirut about the well-known corruption in the PLO leadership...? It would be hard to find any hint of them in Beirut reporting before the Israeli invasion." Instead of reporting what they knew, journalists censored themselves. "The Western press coddled the PLO," Friedman acknowledged. "For any Beirut-based correspondent, the name of the game was keeping on good terms with the PLO."

My question is, how much do they continue to suppress? From scoops picked up on blogs around the blogosphere, as well as from voices like Alaa at The Mesopotamian, it's apparent that it's rather a lot.

In fact, the article from Honest Reporting (Go. Read. It.) gives us a glimpse:

The ongoing intimidation of journalists removes the presumption that media coverage is fair and unbiased, as Jacoby writes: 'Journalists like to cultivate a reputation for fearlessness, for a publish-and-be-damned commitment to putting out the story no matter what. The reality is not always so heroic.'

With the magnitude of this problem, one can't help but wonder if some important stories are being suppressed, for example:

August 2: Palestinians accused of aiding Israel are attacked first in a PA prison, then gunned down in their hospital beds. Imagine the outcry in the media and from human rights groups if Israeli troops were to storm a hospital and open fire within! But was this story even mentioned on your local news?

July 22*: When a Palestinian teenager tries to prevent Palestinian terrorists from using his family's backyard as a base for rocket fire into Israel, the teenager is shot dead by the Hamas terrorists. Did this story make your local news?

August 11: After terrorists from Yassir Arafat's Al Aqsa Brigades detonate a bomb at the Kalandiya checkpoint, killing two Palestinian bystanders and wounding more than 10 others, the head of the Jenin branch of the terrorist group apologizes, explaining, 'We didn't expect people to be killed.' And the PA cabinet secretary shows callous disregard for innocent life by stating, "These groups must avoid every spot where there is a possibility that a Palestinian will be there."

Yet news outlets such as Reuters ignore these statements, choosing instead to print PA Prime Minister Qureia's boilerplate announcement that the attack merely 'harmed Palestinian interests.'..."

So, what does this mean?

This means that anyone who relies on mainstream media for their worldview is not getting the whole story, and that everyone should dig deeper to find out the whole story, garner their own understanding, and research every side of any topic.

To be anything less is to be the mind-slave of resources who are self-admittedly tainted.

(*I edited their original link, finding another online reference at Haaretz. This one is in English. -- L.)

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posted by Linda at 06:30 PM : Comments (0)


"After European representatives launched a campaign against Israel's separation fence, and voted against Israel at the UN general assembly, the EU is planning a separation fence of its own. The EU plans to build a fence to separate its new members - Poland and Hungary - from its new neighbors - Russia, Belarus and Ukraine - to prevent the free movement of migrants seeking to enter the EU.

Israeli companies that specialize in the construction of warning fences and security systems will participate in tenders to build hundreds of kilometers of fences along the EU's new eastern border."

From this article, with a hat tip to LGF. The emphasis is mine.

So, let me get this straight. It isn't OK for Israel to build a fence in order to protect their people from Palestinian nutjobs who routinely strap bombs onto their bodies in the name of terror, but it is OK for the EUroweenies to build a fence to keep out people from Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine? What did they do? Do they have to start bombing railroads to receive overtures of welcome?

Whatever. On the other hand, am I the only person who catches the irony of the fact that Israeli contractors are being wooed for the job?

Unvarnished hypocrisy.

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posted by Linda at 05:40 PM : Comments (0)
August 16, 2004

Interview: Phase 1

I was invited to interview. Phase 1 is written. I can't talk about the content of the questions, or of the answers that I gave, but I can say that I was honest, and tried to keep an eye on my career needs, as well as the needs of the business.

I hope it isn't detrimental to return the questionnaire on the self-same day I received it. It's just that I've been thinking about a lot of that stuff for some time already.

This was my time to shine. Let's just hope that I do so well at the face-to-face interviews.

[crossed fingers / open network textbook]

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posted by Linda at 10:00 PM : Comments (0)
August 13, 2004

Prayers Winging

To those good folks in Charley's path, please know that good thoughts, prayers, and vibes are coming your way.

We pray for your safety, and the safety of your loved ones, and that the storm will be less than they project. We pray that all will be well, and that you will shortly be greeted by the twinkle of real sunlight, and the kiss of gentle zephyrs on your face.

Be safe.
We're thinking of you.

(Dear Readers: If you like to couple physical action with spiritual, please visit this page to make donations or volunteer.)

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posted by Linda at 09:39 PM : Comments (0)
August 12, 2004

Note to Self: Breathe

Aug. 13th UPDATE:
The good news is that she's fine, now! Whatever she did to her elbow rectified itself before we could get to the Dr.'s office. (The visit with the pediatrician could be --and may yet be -- a whole post, in itself.) She was still sore last night, and had a restless night, but I let her sleep in late this morning, and when she woke, she appeared to be mostly recovered.

I, on the other hand, feel like I haven't slept in a week. I think I want to stop and get beer tonight. And cigarettes.

Thanks to those who sent prayer, good vibes, and virtual hugs.

I'm worried. The Miss woke up crying this morning. She's favoring her right arm. Considering that she's been demonstrating signs of right-handedness, it's a concern when she will not raise that arm to embrace her doll or favorite stuffy.

She's holding the sippy cup in her left hand, only. When she sits, she drapes her right arm across her lap and occasionally grips the elbow.

Karen and I found a reddened spot on her elbow this morning when we were looking her over. It hurts her when we bend the arm. Mostly, she just wants it to be left alone.

She was fussy at times last night, crying for no apparent reason. In retrospect, it was when she was being jostled around in play. I also remember that she had no interest in handling her own fork last night (it wasn't anything I noticed at the time because, well, she's a toddler). But when you take it all into gestalt, something's up.

Karen's keeping a weather eye on it for me. She'll let me know how it goes. I'm hoping Little Miss only strained something, and that it'll be fine before long.

But in the meantime, I get to worry.


11:25 a.m., MST:
I talked to the babysitter a little while ago. The Miss is still favoring her elbow. At Karen's suggestion, I called the pediatrician, and they want to see The Bean. It seems that little ones can get a type of "nurse's elbow" in which it dislocates and pops back in, or partially dislocates...because she's using the arm, it may not be dislocated at the moment, but they suspect that's what's happening. They want to check her out in-office, and then show me what needs to be done just in case it happens again.
Dislocation? "Happening again"?

I am not reassured. Where are you today, beloved husband? I've been trying to reach you by phone, and I just keep getting your vmail by cell or by your desk phone.
Please call me? I need talking down.

11:40 a.m.
He just called me. I feel better, but now the g*d*m*f* clock is crawling.
Tick, you bitch! TICK!

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posted by Linda at 04:23 PM : Comments (2)
August 11, 2004

Thirty-Five Months

It's been thirty five months since 9/11, and there hasn't been a single (successful) strike on US soil since.

It's pretty clear that al Qaeda and their buddies are hoping to hit us again. And despite my faith that they will be thwarted in their attempt, I have only one thing to say to the terrorist bastards who are calling for Americans to conflagrate in hell:

You first, bitch.

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posted by Linda at 11:48 PM : Comments (0)
August 10, 2004

And we're back in three...two...

Not a lot of activity on this blog of late. Actually, glancing back, I haven't been doing much in the way of original posting all year long. I have become, as Den Beste so archly observed, a "linker".

Oh well. Maybe next year will be better. Samhain is less than two months away; we'll see if the coming year is more prosperous and less hectic than this.

I'm not really apologizing.

Despite the dearth of posting 'round here, I haven't surrendered the fight. It's just that I ask myself what is the point? I haven't convinced anyone else to change sides. Trying to do so just results in flying spittle and wildly hurled accusations of this-and-that. No one else will ever convince me to take their position. If anything, all the reading and research and discussing I've done over the last couple of years has just refined the fact that I am a right-leaning libertarian. (Go visit the Political Compass if you have no idea what I'm talking about.) I love this country so much that I shall work to preserve it, starting within my own community.

And I'm voting for Bush.

Because I think John Kerry is a fuckwad who is in no way fit for office.

And I believe that democratic ideals are memes that should infect the world, and that we've done a Good Thing in Iraq and in Afghanistan. I also believe that this is all just the Beginning, and that we have to continue moving forward to defang or destroy theocratic authoritarian regimes that breed terrorist mindsets from learned fatalism. It's a measure of how we've hurt al Qaeda in particular, and terrorist groups in general, that they're creaming their jeans in the hope that they can hit us again.

Besides that, I'm sick of politics. Either you have vision and can see that the War on Terror is waged to save our lives, or you can get all pinched and constipated and start spittle screaming about Bushco/Halliburton/Lies + Died/Idiot Cowboy Imperialist Motherfucker Who Must Somehow Die.

I hate that bullshit, and I'm sick of arguing with people who think that Bush is the worst thing that could ever happen to us. He isn't. Period. The End. The worst thing that could happen to us is the loss of Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We the American People stand more of a chance of losing individual liberty if communist-sympathizer Kerry and his EUroweenie fellating buddies get into office.

Before anyone screams about the Patriot Act: during past wars, certain civil rights were stripped in order to protect the people. Civil War? Abe Lincoln? Habeus corpus? Anyone? Bueller? Ok, what happened as soon as the Civil War was over? The rights were returned? That's right. Here. Have a milk bone. World War II: domestic POW and incarceration camps. What happened after the war was over? The people were released and recompense paid? Very good. Here, have another. Good boy.

9/11? Gitmo? Wow. Peole held there get to pray to their particular deity, they eat good food, they bathe daily, they have secure quarters, and they get to exercise, read, etc. Wow. What's been happening out there? Select people have been freed, and the others are being reviewed case-by-case? Holy shit. All we're doing is keeping them from trying to kill their guards? How...brutal of us.

That's my opinion. So again: I'm voting for Bush.

Moving right along, because I'm sick of presenting the arguments why, after careful consideration, I'm supporting the man (if you have questions then Read. The. Fucking. Blog. It starts here. Follow the archives up to the point where I moved to Munuviana, and then read everything here. Follow the links and trackbacks. That's a great deal of the evidence that supports my position. Then, THEN I might debate with you. But if you can't be bothered to look at my sources, then screw you.)

Am I angry today? Not really. I'm just sick of the idiocy, and I'm eager to go vote in the Primaries.

Yes, it's been a crazy year. Life. Work. Finances. Politics. It's hard to juggle it all and do it well. Considering that Family is more important to me than cyberspace, and also considering that I need my job to support my family, this blog is waaay down low on my list of priorities.

In other words, I like my husband and daughter best. It's OK. You'll get over it. Ask your closest companion for a hug. There. That's better, isn't it?

Speaking of the Li'l Miss, she's been in an extraordinarily good mood lately. Happy Baby with a vengeance, she's speaking in phrases: "I 'kay," "Daddy do," "Nana, mine," "Mama, book," "Sassy kitty cat m'ow."

She still doesn't say "love you", but she does blow kisses and she throws herself into our arms for huge squirmy, giggly hugs. She loves the babysitter's cat, Sassy. ("Sassy! Kitty cat! M'ow!") After seeing how gentle she is with the furpal, and with Karen's encouragement in my ears, I've begun a gentle campaign to reintroduce a cat to our household. But, due to spousal wisdom and insight, it's already backfired. My husband holds the very reasonable position that if there's to be a cat for The Bean, then she needs to be capable of caring for it: feeding, watering, catbox cleaning, et al.

It means that the house will probably be fur-free for the next couple of years, at least.

I was dressing her for bed last night in the pink pajamas that make her look like a fairy princess. She extended one foot so I could put the sock on, and I did what I always do: I kissed each perfect, pink toe. She giggled, "Mama," and it hit me. She's already growing up. I paused and studied her face. She becomes more of a blend of me and her father with every passing day. In four more months, she'll be two.

When we snuggle in the big rocking recliner at night, it isn't for rocking and lullabies anymore. It's for rocking and reading. She picks out four books. I read them to her, and we examine the pictures. She names the things she has the words for. I give her the names of other things. Her vocabulary grows daily.

The babysitter tells me that every morning, a little after breakfast, my child wanders toward the child-sized recliners in the living room. There she sits, curled up, reading to herself. She often stays there for a good thirty or forty minutes, just paging through, pointing and naming things.

We want to encourage that. So...when we're a little ahead of the money game, I want to get her this. It'll match the living room furniture! She can sit on it for years to come.

Her father has spoken of the day when he can take her to a coffee shop, and sip coffee while she enjoys milk and a pastry. I'm looking forward to the day when we can quietly share an hour or so, each quietly absorbed in a good book.

In the meantime, we have other milestones to reach. I had an email exchange with the manufacturer of her crib, yesterday. It seems that all I have to do in order to convert the crib to a toddler bed is remove the drop rails, and if I so desire, replace them with a toddler's bedrails. The manufacturer said it doesn't matter which brand of bedrail, just make sure it fits snugly against the mattress. (Of course!)

We also have to get her completely weaned from bottles. She only has one a day, and that at bedtime while we snuggle and read. She won't like it, but the bottle is going away this weekend, and she'll have one of her sippy cups instead.

Her father has begun teaching her a few (socially acceptable) phrases for bodily functions. The groundwork for potty training is being laid. A potty chair will be the next piece of gear to come into the house, probably within the next three weeks. I'll keep you all posted on that adventure.

And finally... the hiring manager for the job I mentioned is taking resumes for two more days. After that, we'll see if I make the first cull. After that, we'll see if I can remember how to interview worth a damn. After that, we'll see what he decides, and if I get offered the job, well... I'll let you know if I still cast a reflection in the mirror after having accepted a promotion in Big Technology.

Until later, then.

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posted by Linda at 06:10 PM : Comments (2)
August 06, 2004

If you read one thing today...

Then read this.

Oh, I stood up and applauded! I would love to hear Ridge, Condi, or even Rummy say that.

(Hat tip to His Imperial Rottieness.)

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posted by Linda at 11:56 PM : Comments (3)
August 03, 2004


A new job is opening up within my team. It offers a promotion, increased responsibilities, and better pay.

Although the job handles technical escalations, and not technical writing or process-focused duties, I plan to try for it, nevertheless. First, to fail to apply for it after the years that I have spent on the phone would spell professional suicide. (Yes, Virginia, there are nuances to applying for internal promotions. To fail to do so now would be construed as a regrettable lack of motivation, and could disqualify me from serious consideration for future opportunity.)

The job itself really wouldn't be my cup of tea. I and the hiring manager both know it, but we both also know that we need to dance the dance. I need to apply, and he needs to interview me based upon my seniority and experience.

The odds are that I won't get this particular job. There are other applicants with more certifications and degrees who would better fit the position. But by applying, I show that I'm ready for the next phase of my career. It will make managers think of me when a more suitable role is created.

Gods, I hate office politics, but it does put food on the table, and you never know -- I might get the job, and then have the time of my freakin' life. It's 3rd tier support. I would be empowered to say and do things that I could never say and do as a rank-and-file support rep. I would have more power to impact the follow-through on lab-level escalations, and it would give me a whole new perspective on the business. I would be able to advocate for customers like never before.

It's an exciting thought.

Speaking of carpe diem, I've been thinking a lot about how we really do create the circumstances of our lives.

Now, bear with me. I'm trying to put words to an instinctual understanding. What follows will not be perfect, but it is an honest attempt to express something I know to be very true. I can write, revise, and post other entries ont he subject as I begin to articulate my understanding. (Just one of the many reasons why I blog.)

We each guide how our life progresses. No, not to the extent that a rape victim is responsible for being abused, although there may be some responsibility for not carrying a gun, or failing to take a self-defense course, and choosing to do whatever it takes to make sure that the would-be predator is permanently removed from our gene pool.

What I mean is that life is a series of choices, and how we react, what we select, does impact future options.

As an example, two women are faced with unemployment. One woman throws up her hands, and decides 'this is it'. She clearly visualizes the loss of her home, her vehicle, her possessions, etc. It is below her dignity to even begin to consider menial-type jobs, because the job she held before was just oh-so-cool. She instantly rules out positions in food service, retail, entry-level administration, construction -- whatever. In fact, as those options are brought up, she has numerous reasons why these options will never work for her, and why she is incapable of finding a niche other than the one she just lost.

She chooses to paint herself into a corner of helplessness, because she's already defeated in her own mind. She is incapable of considering other options, especially the ones that she considers to be beneath her dignity and physical capability.

This choice limits other choices to come. Each self-defeating choice after that, with all the attendant reasons for the limitation, just narrows the scope further until her worst fears do come to fruition: dispossession, homelessness, hunger, and perhaps -- in the extreme end -- death.

What's worse, these sorts of people tend to lash out at those who try to help them; belittling them as intellectual inferiors because their very hopefulness makes them blind to what this woman perceives to be immutable truth: it's all over. Only the slow spiral to obscurity and death remains.

The other lady looks around, takes stock and sees where her unemployment comes from. She acknowledges her part in it, and takes responsibility for it, even if it really wasn't her fault, as in corporate downsizing or interoffice politics. In fact, this gal probably saw it coming, and has a contingency plan.

Even if she doesn't, she still decides to make certain personal sacrifices in order to make ends meet. Instead of saying that she can't do physical labor because of her bad back or knees, she decides to apply for those jobs anyway, as her resume may convince prospective employers to offer her a different, less physical position. Or, she decides to sell off everything she owns anyway, and simplify her life in a more humble abode until her job prospects can improve.

The point is that this woman clings to hope, and she doesn't make excuses. Instead, she sees her unemployment as a means to make a change, branch out, and diversify her job skills. She knows that sooner or later, she will land (or create!) a job doing something she enjoys, while making a comfortable wage. She knows that dispossession is just the loss of things, and that they can be recovered. She also knows that the object of greatest value -- herself -- can never be taken if she refuses to surrender it.

One woman is hopeless, dejected, resigned, and offers excuses. The other woman is hopeful, creative, determined, and makes no apologies.

One woman vanquishes herself. The other woman beats the situation, and betters herself.

I've always been more like the second woman. Life sometimes sucks. In fact, life can suck for years at a time. But I know that in the end, with perseverance, the wheel does turn. I don't give up, I don't give in, and I sure as hell don't come up with long lists of circumstances that hold me back. I never limit my options, even if it does mean I might wind back up in PT because I strained my bum rotator cuff.

Life is about choice, and about learning as you go. If you let fear or physical discomfort hold you back; if you put on the blinders of limitation, you might as well go lay down in that ditch you dug for yourself.

I choose to live my life with responsibility and accountability for my own choices. I mean to teach my daughter to do the same, without apology. To do anything else is to buy into victim culture and identity.

Self-empowerment or excuses? Which is it?

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posted by Linda at 06:23 PM : Comments (1)
August 02, 2004

True Friends

I have some really good friends.

Ethne sent us a care package filled with goodies like baklava and caramel brownies. She also included a Yankee jar candle (yummy spicy harvest smell: must...decorate...for...Samhain.), and a cuddly chenille teddy bear for The Miss. (Who loves it -- just loves it. Baby Girl, meet Ted E. Bear.)

We've been binging on sweets all weekend long, singing her praises.

The other friend (we'll call her 'Mistlifter') got me an early Birthday present. It's a tinker toy catapult for my desk.

It works.

My reign of terror has begun.
[cue evil laughter]

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posted by Linda at 04:58 PM : Comments (1)