Friday, February 27, 2009

Is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal really Kenneth from '30 Rock?

Hmm.. tough call. Apparently I'm not the only one to see a similarity. A new Facebook page titled "Bobby Jindal is Kenneth the Page" has attracted more that 11,438 new members since Monday. Following President Obama is no easy task. That was pretty obvious after Jindal's folksy Republican rebuttal on Monday night. Critics have been giving the poor guy a hard time. Didn't see it? Check out Mr. Jindal's Neighborhood here.

Obama's Troop Drawdown Decision Will End Iraq War in Late 2010, Officials Say

Could it possibly be true? Could the war that began over false pretenses and control of oil finally be ending? According to this article,
The Iraq war will come to an end on Aug. 31, 2010, senior officials said, following President Obama's decision to end all counter-insurgency missions by that time. Obama told top leaders in Congress on Thursday that he will transition the mission in Iraq to training, advising and engaging in limited counter-terrorist operations, according to congressional sources.

The president is expected to deliver a speech Friday at the Marine base in Camp Lejeune, N.C, in which he will order the immediate drawdown of the 142,000 Marines and Army personnel in Iraq.

Obama's decision reflects his belief that "there have been real advances" in the country and, as result, the U.S. military should now be ordered to carry out "a fundamental change in mission," senior administration officials said.

Obama told lawmakers about his decision on Thursday. He told lawmakers the troops remaining in Iraq after Aug. 31, 2010, will carry out new missions and will be trained and organized in a way that de-emphasizes combat-readiness and intensifies the focus on these three missions:
-- Train, equip and advise Iraqi security forces
-- Support civilian operations in Iraq aimed at reconstruction, redevelopment and political reconciliation
-- Conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions

Apparently Pelosi and Reid are against this plan, but McCain and some other out-on-his-own conservative agree with him. It seems our current president can do nothing right. I would say A plan, is better than no plan. 4 billion a month is better than 12 billion spent on this stupid war, I suppose, but what of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Korea? What of our economy? That's 8 billion a month we could spend right here at home in places like, I know, education, creating jobs, and improving our health care system!

Oh, but wait, that's spending money on American's. Why on earth would we want to do that?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ah, if only I liked sushi....

A Japanese sushi chef has developed a fantastic Obama sushi: "Obama's skin is Amis (small shrimp). Hair is black sesame, fish paste teeth." See here. paste teeth. Sounds excellent..

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Attack of the mighty cheese - The Return of The Amazing Race

Where in the world was The Amazing Race this week?
Anybody have any guesses from the picture above? Truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

I love this tv show! I love to live vicariously though other people. Even strangers! That's why I like this program so much more than Survivor. In The Amazing Race, the landscape is as much of a character to be watched as the contestants, who unfortunately are always cast the same from season to season without much variety.

The challenges appear to be as funny as ever this year. From the rolling fifty pound cheese incident last week (they're lucky no one died from a deadly cheese smack to the head) to the pie-in-the-face smacking (which made me hungry).

The contestants include, as always: two blonde's without a clue ("I’ve never felt like such a dumb blonde in my entire life.”), a couple from the sticks, siblings that fight, a dating couple that gets along so-so, two parent/son teams, two of the tiniest stunt men I've ever seen, and of course, married couples trying to save their relationships while they travel. Because you know... that's the best place to work on a marriage.

Overall, it looks to be a satisfying season. Waa-hoo.

Monday, February 23, 2009

We surround them?

Glenn Beck....hmm... I just don't know. I've heard he's not at the top of the "Worst Conservative Radio Shows" list. I've heard he's a Mormon. I've heard he's not a Republican (*cough*). I've never even looked at anything he's done, or had any opinion on him whatsoever until I read this. "This" is spreading like wildfire across the conservative bloggernacle, these....nine principles.

If so, then you’ve fallen for the Wizard of Oz lie.
While the voices you hear in the distance may sound intimidating, as if they surround us from all sides—the reality is very different. Once you pull the curtain away you realize that there are only a few people pressing the buttons, and their voices are weak. The truth is that they don’t surround us at all.

We surround them.

What a warm and friendly mantra. So Glenn Beck's not a Republican?
Really, because this whole "We surround them, send your pictures to me" theme sounds a little mutinous against those who currently control the Whitehouse. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I wouldn't think that if this whole thing didn't reek of Fox News.

But, what of these supposed "principles",do I believe in any of them?
Because according to Glenn Beck, if you don't believe in 7 of the 9, you must be really bad, or at least that's the cozy impression I'm getting from his website.

The Nine Principles

1. America is good.
Sure. True. America is good. No argument there, as long as we are adhering to our laws, and compromising no one else's.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
Okay, I believe in God, but I will not force other's to believe as I do.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
Okay. Sounds good.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
Okay, the family is sacred, but as far as the ultimate authority, what about supposed abortion rights Mr. Beck?

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
Okay, I agree, but does that include our government and the torture that's been going on at Guantanamo Bay?

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
Here's where these start to sound, well, to put it simply....mean. I' m rich and you're poor and that's just too bad because.....(continued to #7). What about providing equal opportunity for all?

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
Again, the perfect degree of sly meanness. Charity and love really win out on this one. What is it with this...air of superiority?

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
I agree with this whole-heartily. If you don't like what's going on, say it out loud.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Okay, I guess I can't argue with this one, but I would've worded it differently. I believe the government should work for every single American: the rich and poor, the healthy and sick, and the males and females of every race and religion.

You Are Not Alone

Okay, these aren't that bad. I agree with most of them in one way or another. I guess what bothers me about this "We Surround Them" campaign and the "lifting of the curtain" that's going to happen in the next few weeks, is the whole attitude behind it. The whole - us versus them - attitude. This kind of language doesn't unite a nation; it divides it.

And Glenn Beck, he sounds just as cocky and arrogant as the rest of the conservative show boats around the country on the radio.
I was hoping he'd be different.
But I guess money talks, even to a guy like him.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This makes me all warm and fuzzy....(hee hee)

Mayor Virg Bernero of Lansing, Michigan trounces on an anchor from Fox News. Do my ears deceive me? Is someone finally fired up about the treatment of the middle class (the squished dirt on the bottom of Wall Street's - aka rich people's - shoes)? It's about freakin' time!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hail to the Chief

Anyone else see the new list that came out ranking our presidents? I thought it was pretty interesting. C-SPAN did a survey of 65 historians and professional observers of the presidency and had them rank each president according to 10 leadership attributes. These included public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic managment, moral authority, international relations, administrative skills, relations with Congress, vision and agenda setting, pursuing equal justice for all, and performance within the context of times.

The top ten out of 42 are:

1 - Abraham Lincoln
2 - George Washington
3 - FDR
4 - Teddy Roosevelt
5 - Harry Truman
6 - JFK
7 - Jefferson
8 - Eisenhower
9 - Woodrow Wilson
10 - Reagan

Some other interesting rankings:
15 - Bill Clinton
18- George H. W. Bush
27 - Nixon
36 - George W. Bush
42 (last) - James Buchanan

The ranking shows the results from this year and from one done in 2000. I find it interesting because many of the rankings changed, like George H.W. Bush who went from 20 to 18 and Jimmy Carter who fell from 22 to 25. Clinton changed the most by going from 21 to 15. This movement illustrates that presidential reputations are influenced by present-day concerns, said survey adviser and participant Edna Medford. "Today's concerns shape our views of the past, be it in the area of foreign policy, managing the economy or human rights," Medford said in a statement.

I found it interesting that FDR did so well yet he made the Depression last 7 years longer then it would have otherwise (add sarcasm here). And I was surprised Clinton was up so high. I had always heard he was a good president but I guess I really only heard that from Democrats so I only halfway believed them. I guess they were right!

Nixon was higher than I thought he would have been but I guess it just goes to show I really don't know much about his actual presidency other than the scandal. George W. Bush is about where I expected him to be. Not the worst but not anywhere near the best. But, like Edna Medford said, maybe in 10 years he will be thought of differently like all of his supporters think will happen. Stranger things have been known to happen but I won't hold my breath.

For a complete list of the presidential rankings click here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Anti-Shaving Feminists Unite!

Seriously, the funniest commericial evah! I cried, I laughed so hard. This girl is my hero.

Should I be worried?

A family member gave me this book yesterday.
I think I'm going to kill myself....Ugh.

Digital Health Care: Stimulus or Socialism? (With Mr. Subliminal)

The headlines: Some say spending $19B to computerize medical records will lead to jobs (yah, waa-hoo). Others see the start of nationalized health care (boo-hoo).

So, is that $19 billion intended to create much-needed jobs and fix a health care system that's choking on paper (tree killers)? Or is it a stealthy opening move toward national health care (the evil empire)?

Many economists and health care experts (But what do they know?) say the plan is worthy of stimulus money because it will create tens of thousands of jobs in information technology, and other computer-related industries (the genius's need work).

But, many Congressional Republicans (blah, blah), conservatives, my brother-in-law included, and Mr. Robert Moffit at the Center of Health Policy at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, have said that the provision is nothing more that a Trojan horse for the Obama White House's true aim (turning us into a Nazi state) - transforming the nation's health care policy with as little public debate as possible, heading toward a European-style health care system with rationed medical care (the dreaded Socialism).

The American Medical Association (real people in the medical field that know what they're talking about) responded to these statements saying that the provisions wouldn't "create a federal system for electronically tracking patients medical treatments or for monitoring compliance with federal treatment standards."

Not all Republicans are unhappy though (?????). David Merritt, project director of the Center for Health Transformation, a group founded by Newt Gingrich (oh heaven help us), said the health technology provision is a job-creator and is needed to rescue the nation's health care system (hell has indeed frozen over).

It's no secret that I think something needs to be done about health care in this country, see here, and here, and this new legislation seems to be a way to create jobs, cut health care costs, cut back on paper products, and make things easier for medical professionals. So, what's the problem? Must we lag behind other countries and remain in the 20th century forever just because this may lead to nationalized care (France here we come!)?

I just don't get it. I think we should drastically cut the insurance benefits of those in Congress (just like about every other business in the country right now), and see how quickly health care becomes a priority for BOTH parties.

Now that would be CHANGE we can believe in.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A difference between boy and girls..

On the way home from school yesterday, after the obligatory exchange of Valentine's and "healthy" snacks in their individual 5th grade classes, my daughter and her friend quickly began to assess their Valentine cornucopia with much excitement and vigor in the back seat of our truck. Who gave what to whom and why was a big topic of conservation between the two of them. Did any particular Valentine from any specific boy have special "meaning"? How were they signed, neatly? Quickly? Were the cards homemade? Expensive? What kind of treats were given? All could be signals that some cute boy might like you.

The night before these festivities, my daughter had painstakingly chosen and addressed each one of her Valentine's with great care. Reserving the more special ones for kids, more specifically boys, that she liked.

I had no idea it was so complicated.

My son, who is now in high school, never cared about such things. In fact, when he was in elementary school, I had to do his Valentines every year, and force him to sign them. After the parties were over, he would immediately take the candy off any obvious girl card, you know the one's with a barbie or Disney princess on them, and throw the card away, or it up in front of them at school. Ugh. Great.

What had I done to raise such a monster? tsk. tsk.

The same thing happened to me in second grade. I was, of course totally in love with a boy in my class, Jeff Rich was his name. Ah, he could sing like an angel and I got much exercise trying to catch him during recess kiss tag. I'd made a special Valentine just for him. The nervousness, the unbridled excitement that filled me when I finally had enough courage to hand it to him was almost overwhelming, and what did he do? He ripped it up in front of me.

Sometimes a heart can be torn as easily as paper. Crushed. Traumatized. Depressed. That's probably why I still remember it.

Was this boy a monster too? Or are boys just different than girls in regards to love and expressions of it?
Who knows, but as I see the differences in my children, and I look at my husband, and the fact that he will probably forget to get me a Valentine's card, I will try to remember that the sexes are different.

Do we females expect too much?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday gentlemen. Oh, how I love a man, or boy, in a beard...

And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life

I'm not three. I'm Nash.

According to a recent MSNBC article, beards are back. I would also add, beards are the marshmallow whipped in the cocoa, the garlic in the mashed potatoes, the cheese on the pizza. And yes, I relate all yummy things to food. I would argue that they never left!

Except in this case below. They ran out of the building screaming on that one. (I tried to find the video of this, but apparently CBS pulled it from YouTube citing copyright infringement.) I only saw part of it, and what I did see was hysterical, in a train crash sort of way.

Life poets never have need to comb their hair, what can I say?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ah, If Only Women Could Run the Country....

I've been trying over the past week to get excited about this stimulus package, but I look at the number of job losses and I get depressed. Our country sinks further into oblivion and yet our lawmakers continue the schoolyard politics.

Apparently, everyone in Washington is an economist now. Everyone is an expert on the New Deal polices and how they did or didn't work. Forget the years of study, forget your degree. Now all you need is to be rich enough to run for political office. That's the only qualification you need to make such judgements.

President Obama recently said such while introducing his economic team (men and women who are actually economists by profession),
You’ve got some economists and some folks who think they’re economists. By the way, these days everybody thinks they’re economists.”

Our lovely Senator Mike Crappo from Idaho said recently, that he rejects most economists' view that government spending stimulates the economy. He said the bill fails even economists' standard. Even though "I don't profess to be an expert."

Ah, the truth will set you free. If only some more on Capitol Hill would make such comments, instead of bringing up what they consider FDR's failed New Deal policies. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said (and according to Carlos at Thinking or Sitting experienced what he called New Deal denialism),

But one of the good things about reading history is you learn a good deal. And, we know for sure that the big spending programs of the New Deal did not work. In 1940, unemployment was still 15%. And, it's widely agreed among economists, that what got us out of the doldrums that we were in during the Depression was the beginning of World War II."

Huh, are you now an expert, Senator McConnell?

Even President Obama thought it odd, has all of the Congress and Senate been taking a correspondence course in economic history?
And in fact there are several who have suggested that FDR was wrong to intervene back in the New Deal. They're fighting battles that I thought were resolved a pretty long time ago.”

So is it true I wonder, did FDR's plan indeed fail? Was it in fact WWII that drew the US out of the Depression and FDR's policies only made it worse? Let's look at some numbers.

GDP, the most common tool economists use to measure the health of the economy looked like this from year to year:
1929 (start of Great Depression) - 8.813
1930 - 8.054
1931 - 7.537
1932 - 6.557
1933 (FDR takes office in March) - 6.473
1934 - 7.173
1935 - 7.812
1936 - 8.828
1937 - 9.281
1938 - 8.961
1939 - 9.684
1940 - 10.534
1941 (US enters WWII) - 12.337

Do number's lie? I thought number's were indeed, like Switzerland. They remain neutral, and hold no political agenda.

An historian, Jonathan Alter, a senior editor at Newsweek and author of “The Defining Moment,” about FDR’s first 100 days, said:

"It’s ridiculous. [McConnell] needs to spend a little time in the library in Kentucky and read more than the right wing critiques. What was he imagining, that tax cuts got us out of the Depression? It was GOVERNMENT SPENDING that got us out of the Depression. First, FDR was able to cut the unemployment rate from 25% to 14%. Now they might not consider that successful (unless) you were in that group of millions and millions of Americans that were put to work and had their hope restored. Overall the New Deal was tremendously successful.”

Nobel Prize winner for Economics Paul Krugman, stated this about the effect of FDR's listening to Republicans in 37-38 when he tried to balance the budget (note the dip in GDP during those years on the graph above):

"Note in particular that in 1937-38 FDR was persuaded to do the “responsible” thing and cut back — and that’s what led to the bad year in 1938, which to the WSJ crowd defines the New Deal.Implications for Obama: be inspired by FDR, but don’t imitate him slavishly. In particular, your economic policy should be bolder, not more cautious.”

Now seriously, to say FDR's policies had no influence on the Depression is just ludicrous. But at the same time, I believe that the beginning of WWII did eventually influence the numbers. The war meant jobs, even before the U.S. became involved militarily. But if you look at the graph, the arrow was already heading up long before then. And in truth, since I wasn't even alive during those strenuous years, I look to the people who were. They kept FDR in office for three terms!

I'm sorry, but contrary to the supposed, self-made economists that make up the Republican legislative branch of our government right now, belittle him all you want. FDR did something right. His actions were the bridge over a disastrous tidal wave.
Admit it.
Accept it.
Move on.
Let's get the country moving again.
***I'm kidding about the women thing. We'd probably be just as bad..

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rush Limbaugh "I'm not participating in a recession."

Apparently everyone else is, Mr. Limbaugh.
Let's all hope the executive and legislative branches of our government
can act like grown-ups and come to an agreement soon, before the only jobs left in the country are finding you and Ann Coulter a date.
I won't hold my breath.
Unless I'm standing by you Mr. Limbaugh, then I'm afraid I must.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cowabunga! Two Cow Economics

Enough with the political speak! Stimulus, schimulus.
Finally something written in an a-moosing enough way for me to understand! I found this here.
Grab a big glass of chocolate milk and take a look.

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away...

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twentytimes the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Udderly hilarious.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Yes Pecan!!

In honor of our new President, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream created a new flavor, Yes, Pecan!

For George W. they asked for suggestions from the public.
Here are some of their favorite responses:

* Grape Depression
* The Housing Crunch
* Abu Grape
* Cluster Fudge
* Nut'n Accomplished
* Iraqi Road
* Chock 'n Awe
* WireTapioca
* Impeach Cobbler
* Guantanmallow
* imPeachmint
* Heck of a Job, Brownie!
* Neocon Politan
* Rocky Road to Fascism
* The Reese's-cession
* Cookie D'oh!
* Nougalar Proliferation
* Death by Chocolate... and Torture
* Freedom Vanilla Ice Cream
* Chocolate Chip On My Shoulder
* Credit Crunch
* Mission Pecanplished
* Country Pumpkin
* Caramel Preemptive Stripe

A Tale of Two Jessica's

I thought after I had a baby I would lose the weight quickly and look like I did before I had one. HA!! That's a good one isn't it. :) I was so naive... I saw all of these Hollywood stars who looked like they weren't pregnant in the first place a week after having a baby. I was thin before I had my first baby so I thought I would be like them. Well, I could barely even move a week after childbirth, let alone remotely resemble what I used to look like pre-pregnancy.
I know stars have nannies and personal trainers but still, how do they look so good so quickly? Well, thank you Jessica Alba for revealing a little secret. She recently gave an interview and admitted to wearing a girdle to help with the extra baby fat. Granted, I figured a lot of these women did this but it is just so refreshing to have one admit it! They aren't perfect! They struggle with baby fat, just like we do. She also said she tried working out to help lose the weight and she would just cry afterward. Thank you Jessica Alba, a kindred spirit.
Now, I am sure unless you have been living under a rock you have heard all the kerfuffle going on about Jessica Simpson's weight gain. I'm just curious what other's thoughts are on this subject. She has definitely exploited her body image to help further her career. So, when you build your image based on your body are you fair game when you gain weight?
For me personally, I don't think her weight gain is that big of a deal. So what if she is no longer a size 2. My only problem with those pictures are those horrible pants she chose to wear! Eeek! But, I digress... The girl is just really happy right now. So she doesn't look like she did when she did the Dukes of Hazzard, big deal. She admitted to working out for hours each day to look like that. Do people really think women over 22 can just naturally look that good without a ton of effort? Since she looked so good before is she now expected to maintain that image forever? It must be tough being a woman in Hollywood. No wonder the women wear girdles after having babies.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Random Question

I have had this nagging question in the back of my mind, and I was hoping some of you may have studied this in greater detail and might have an answer.

The question is concerning child baptism. I absolutely, totally, completely understand the doctrine which teaches us that children under 8 who die do not need to be baptized because they are perfect and it is therefore unnecessary. That doctrine I have absolutely no problem with- I get that completely. I am having trouble, however, reconciling that with the other doctrine that says in order to enter into the Celestial Kingdom you must be baptized. The Bible Dictionary talks about how baptism is not just for a remission of sins, it is also required to gain entrance into the CK- which makes sense to me, because don't you have to be baptized before you can be endowed and receive other ordinances? So, if that is the case, wouldn't even those who died before they were of age also need to be baptized?

This question is by no means causing me to question my faith, I just don't understand how those two doctrines are combatible- they seem to contradict each other. Any insights from the smartest women I know????

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An easy way to make money?

The headlines read: Last week, a single woman who lives with her parents in California gave birth to eight babies.

She already has six children, ages two to seven. All have been conceived, including the octuplets, with in-vitro fertilization from supposedly the same donor sperm.

A team of almost 50 delivered the babies and each will have to stay in the hospital for at least a month and most likely have behaviour and physical problems from being so premature.

Hospital bills? Into the millions. If she doesn't have insurance then who pays for all this mayhem? We do. Great.

Some people are questioning why a doctor would perform such a procedure on a woman who clearly has a problem, nor the means to pay, or absorb into her life, such a venture.

Last I read, this woman's mother claims she's had enough and was planning on kicking her daughter out when she gets home from the hospital.

Rumor has it she's seeking 2 million to be interviewed.

So the ethical questions are - Do we have the right as a society to tell people how many children they can have? Is it a doctor's job to monitor such a thing? Is it his or her job to tell someone: no you don't make enough money, or you aren't married or you already have enough children so you can't participate in in-vitro fertilization at this clinic?

Some doctors are up in arms about this, saying they can't tell a patient what to do.
I'm inclined to agree.

But... I don't agree with making money off of your children, or in her case, having children. She claims eight was not the original number. That they must've multiplied because of all her hormone therapies, whatever that means.
But ,whoever her crazy, nameless doctor is, he or she should've warned her that that was a possibility!

Like that boring cable show of the family with 18 kids that all start with the letter J, I'm generally against profiting from your offspring like that. Asking for money to be interviewed makes the woman now seem to be a bit...shady. Stupid. Looking for a buck.

Consequences...they are the ultimate mother-in-law in the room, hovering, waiting to inflict justice.

So now, I don't even know. What is the fine line that a doctor can't cross? Is there one? To prevent this from happening again, do we want doctors making those decisions for us?