Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

It has been such a busy day today that this is the first chance I've had to blog and I don't have much of a chance now. Mostly I just want to say Merry Christmas. I hope you all have a joyous and blessed day!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Via KOMO News 4 - KOMO 4 News Special Report: Inflammatory Breast Cancer
SEATTLE - Breast cancer is something women think they know all about: Look for lumps; have mammograms; see our doctors.

But none of that will save you from one silent breast cancer killer that women know virtually nothing about.

It's called "inflammatory breast cancer," and it's something every woman must know about.

[. . .]

Andi was just 16 when she died from IBC. She was too embarrassed to tell her mother her breast looked funny. It was slightly enlarged and her nipple was inverted -classic IBC symptoms.

Other symptoms include: rapid increase in breast size, redness, skin hot to the touch, persistent itching, an orange peel texture to the breast and thickening of breast tissue.
I had never heard of inflammatory breast cancer before. It definitely sounds like something that all women should make themselves aware of. Especially since, according to the article, many women with IBC are misdiagnosed as having an insect bite. The whole article is definitely worth reading.

H/T: Sherry Taylor via email.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What an odd choice

Via Reuters - FACTBOX: Vladimir Putin - man of the year
Russian President Vladimir Putin was named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2007 on Wednesday for bringing stability and renewed status to his country.
And for the record, it would seem that the authors of the Reuters article find it an odd choice as well. The majority of the article actually talks about all the things that Putin has done while in office as President, none of which seems particularly good from a Western view point. What was Time magazine thinking?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No answers in Aruba

Via MSNBC - Aruba ends probe into Holloway disappearance
Authorities have closed the investigation into the disappearance of Natalee Holloway and do not have evidence to charge anyone, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The three young men who were last seen with the Alabama teenager have all been notified that they will not be charged, prosecutors said.

"The public prosecutor's office and the police have gone the extra mile and have exhausted all their powers and techniques in order to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the girl," it said.
Real life is seldom like television. On TV they almost always get the bad guy, but in real life they often get away.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Comprehensive v. Abstinence-only sex education

Via WaPo - Abstinence Programs Face Rejection
The number of states refusing federal money for "abstinence-only" sex education programs jumped sharply in the past year as evidence mounted that the approach is ineffective.

At least 14 states have either notified the federal government that they will no longer be requesting the funds or are not expected to apply, forgoing more than $15 million of the $50 million available, officials said. Virginia was the most recent state to opt out.

Two other states -- Ohio and Washington -- have applied but stipulated they would use the money for comprehensive sex education, effectively making themselves ineligible, federal officials said.

[. . .]

The jump in states opting out follows a series of reports questioning the effectiveness of the approach, including one commissioned by Congress that was released earlier this year. In addition, federal health officials reported last week that a 14-year drop in teenage pregnancy rates appeared to have reversed.
I find this article interesting because I've never thought that abstinence-only education was a very wise idea. I have not looked closely at the numbers, but I'm also well aware that both sides will find numbers and ways to use the numbers to their own advantage, so I'm not that interested in seeking them out either. The one thing that I do know is that no education program is ever going to get all teenagers to abstain from having sex. I have no problem with schools teaching that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases, but sex is also a natural human behavior that begins to appeal to individuals when they enter puberty. If all they know is that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid these problems, but then they decide they are not willing to go that route, they will not know how to protect themselves and are more likely to find themselves in bad situation. I believe they should at least know that there are other options that will help them to protect their health and well-being. I think that is what health education (and as a subset sex education) is all about.

We should teach them about the physiological aspects of our sexuality, the psychological repercussions of engaging in sexual activity, and the physical consequences that can result from both protected and unprotected sex. But it is also of the utmost importance that they know how to protect themselves if they decide to engage in these activities. It should not be about morality. Let their parents teach them about morality. Some would say that we should let their parents teach them about sex education, but I disagree. We should have trained professions who can teach them about the scientific aspects of sex and leave the moralizing at home.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mutilated Christmas songs (Ron Paul Edition)

Did you ever want to take possibly the most annoying traditional Christmas song ("Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer" is possibly more annoying)around and make it even worse? Well, obviously these people wanted to, and they succeeded!

However, I must say, if he could do most all those things (I'm not really in favor of getting rid of the FDA) I would vote for him. However, the President doesn't really have the power to do all that stuff by himself, and there is no way in Hell that the Congress is going to go along with most of it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fun with flowers

My husband bought me a dozen roses yesterday and I decided to take some pictures of them. I know the pictures are similar, but if you have a favorite, tell me about it. I was thinking about enlarging one of them to frame and put one the wall in my living room (it's rose themed), but I'm not sure which one would be best.

I think I'm most partial to the middle one. I think it has the crispest image for enlarging, too. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Via CNN - Huckabee apologizes for comments on Mormons
Huckabee states:
"I'd like to think that my being a Baptist isn't a factor in people voting for or against me."
Somehow this statement strikes me as somehow disingenuous. I think that he is counting on the fact that he is a Baptist minister to garner him quite a few votes from the Religious Right. And while I completely agree with Romney's position on the issue of religion in the campaign, at least in principle,
He continues to believe that this campaign should not be about questioning a candidate's faith. While it is fair to criticize an opponent's record or policy positions, it is out of bounds for one candidate to question another's personal faith.
I think it is ridiculous to think that it isn't or won't be an issue.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh the irony!

Via CNN Money - Fed cuts rates by a quarter point
The Federal Reserve lowered an important short-term rate by a quarter of a percentage point Tuesday, the latest in a series of rate cuts that the central bank hopes will stimulate an economy some fear is on the brink of a recession.

But stocks plunged following the Fed's announcement as Wall Street was disappointed the Fed did not act more aggressively. The Dow dropped nearly 300 points, or 2.1 percent, while the S&P and Nasdaq each fell about 2.5 percent.
No real commentary on the issue, as I avoid discussions of economics at all cost, but I found the reaction ironic. I guess you just can't please Wall Street.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Six things to remember

On the last day of my world politics class, I told my class that there were some things that I hoped I would remember and take with them from the class (because I knew they wouldn't remember the specifics of the class). I thought they were some good things to keep in mind when dealing with politics in general and with world politics in particular. So here they are, for what it's worth:

1. Be willing to doubt - that includes the things that your government tells you, other governments say about themselves and others, and especially the things that we are so willing to believe with little or no proof. The things that we want to believe are often the things we should analyze the most closely.

2. Don't let emotion rule your mind - human beings are always going to have emotional responses to stimuli, but we do not always have to act on those emotions. Especially in the realm of politics, it is best if we can take a step back and look at the possible ramifications of our actions before we proceed. In particular, a state has certain responsibilities and core objectives that have to be considered, and emotional responses can often be work against these objectives.

3. There are few absolutes in life - most things in life and all the people you will encounter, either personally or in the political arena, are neither all good nor all bad. Sometimes good people do bad things and sometimes bad people do good things. We can't always disregard something just because it doesn't fit our ready made mold and not everything fits neatly into our preconceived categories.

4. The whole world is not just like your home town (or home country) - it is so easy to develop a provincial attitude. We must always consider that other people in other countries are not always going to see things the way that we do, and that does not necessarily make them wrong, stupid or backwards.

5. It's easy to criticize from an easy chair - an armchair warrior is no different from an armchair quarterback. It's easy to second guess the actions of other people when you are not in their position. I know that it is cliche at this point, but it is still true: you shouldn't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. And, it is much easier to tell someone what to do than to do it yourself.

6. Justice does not equal revenge - so often when we say we want justice what we really want is revenge, but they are not the same thing.

Now if nobody has any questions, class is dismissed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kring speaks about Heroes Volume 3

Caution - Very slight spoiler alert

Via TV Guide - Exclusive: Tim Kring Explains Heroes' "Generations" Finale
The fate of Nathan, who was shot during a TV press conference, and of Niki, who may have died in an abandoned building explosion, are "up in the air and will be determined when we come back after the strike," Kring says.

[. . .]

Not to worry. There are plenty more baddies coming after the writers' strike concludes. In fact, the title of Volume 3 — "Villains" — says it all.

"We've introduced a cadre of them over the course of the show and we're going to see them rise up," Kring says. "Just as the heroes have found each other to save the world, the villains will do the same with the opposite intent." And their numbers may be legion. "The Company has catalogued many of these people over the years. There may be more of them down in that basement than we have alluded to so far."
And there is an upside to the writers' strike:
Originally, Quinto was not going to be available for much of Volume 3 because of his commitment to the new Star Trek film. Now, with the strike dragging on, he'll likely be done playing young Spock by the time Heroes returns to production.

Christianity and Heroes

On last night's episode of Heroes, Adam/Kensei said that God had wiped the Earth clean with the flood and that he was trying to do the same thing with the virus.

Prior to that, my middle son and I were discussing the use of Biblical names for characters in the show. And my sister had previously suggested that maybe Kensei had taken the name Adam because he was the first person to have a power like the current "heroes" and we discussed the possibility that he could actually be the common ancestor of all the current characters that have powers, considering that he has been around for 400 years.

So, anyway, my son and I came up with a list of several characters with Biblical names including: Peter, Isaac, Noah, Micah, Matt (if his name is Matthew), Nathan, Gabriel (aka Sylar), Eden. Then after Adam made the reference to the flood, I really wondered if Mr. Bennett being named Noah had any significance.

So, what do you think? Does it mean anything?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Standoff at Clinton office ends peacefully

Via Yahoo News and AFP - Hostage-taker at Clinton office surrenders
A man claiming to be armed with a bomb took over one of US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's campaign offices for more than five hours Friday before surrendering to police.

The man, believed to have a history of mental illness, walked into the New Hampshire office at around 1:00 pm (1800 GMT), taking three women, a man and a baby hostage and reportedly demanding to speak to the former first lady.

[. . .]

US media said that Eisenberg was well known locally, had a history of mental problems and wanted to draw attention to the state of psychiatric health care in the United States.
One has to wonder about such a stunt. What exactly is the point of pretending to (the articles says it was actually road flares not a bomb) try to blow up the campaign office of a presidential primary candidate that is more likely to actually do something about his supposed issue of concern than what the current administration is doing? Well, I guess if he really is mentally ill then logic might not be the place to look for an explanation.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm a bit surprised

I don't really have time to read the article in full or blog about it right now, but I was surprised when I saw this headline on my homepage this morning: CNN - Musharraf steps down as army chief
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf stepped down as the country's military leader Wednesday, the day before he was to be sworn in for a third presidential term -- as a civilian.
I knew he said he was going to, but I'm a little surprised he actually did it. However, I would be even more surprised if his stepping down actual changes his relationship with the army in any significant way.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor dead at 24

Via the Chicago Tribune - Redskins' Taylor Dies Day After Shooting
Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died early Tuesday, a day after he was shot at home. He was 24. Family friend Richard Sharpstein said Taylor's father told him the news around 5:30 a.m.

[. . .]

Taylor was shot early Monday in the upper leg, damaging an artery and causing significant blood loss.
When you first hears that someone has been shot in the leg you don't normally think of it as being a potentially fatal wound if treatment is received right away, but obviously it can be. My prayers go out to his family and friends, especially his baby daughter who will never really get the chance to know her father. What a tragic loss.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Redskins' Sean Taylor shot in the leg

Via WaPo - Redskins' Taylor in Critical Condition After Shooting
Redskins' safety Sean Taylor was shot at his Miami home early this morning and is in critical condition. The motivation for the shooting is still unknown. I'm sure there will be regular updates at WaPo and other news outlets.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

President of France or Lounge Singer, you decide

Today I was grading news journals that my students turned in Monday. One student had written about this article from the BBC. When I saw the picture in the article the first thing that came to mind was that Sarkozy looked like a lounge singer and it looked like he and Bush were performing some kind of dance routine when the picture was taken.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Back at the beginning of the semester it seemed like such a good idea to have my students write news journals. And while I still think it is a good assignment, grading them is NOT fun. It really shows me who is understanding the material and putting real effort into the assignment and who isn't, however. Ah well, some day I'll learn. . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

That's interesting logic

Via WaPo - In Paul They Trust (The Feds May Differ)
Federal agents on Thursday raided the Evansville, Ind., headquarters of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code (Norfed), an organization of "sound money" advocates that for the past decade has been selling a private currency it calls "Liberty Dollars." The company says it has put into circulation more than $20 million in Liberty Dollars, coins and paper certificates it contends are backed by silver and gold stored in Idaho, are far more reliable than a U.S. dollar and are accepted for use by a nationwide underground economy.

[. . .]

News of the raid lit up Ron Paul online forums yesterday, the latest unlikely episode in a campaign that began as an idiosyncratic bid by the veteran congressman but has grown into a cause with the potential to influence the GOP contest. Paul, 72, has attracted droves of disaffected Republicans and independents to his platform, which includes ending the war in Iraq, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service and adhering to a strict libertarian interpretation of the Constitution.

[. . .]

"People are pretty upset about this," said Jim Forsythe, head of the Paul Meetup group in New Hampshire, who said he recently ordered 150 of the copper coins. "The dollar is going down the tubes, and this is something that can protect the value of their money, and the Federal Reserve is threatened by that. It'll definitely fire people up."
So let me get this straight, this is an organization that is trying to undermine the US dollar in an attempt to bring back the gold standard or silver standard or some non-fiat currency. They have been circulating their private currency for some time now, as a way to undermine legal US currency. They are now using the falling exchange rate of the dollar as justification for their actions. This seems like self-justifying logic to me: "we can try to make something bad and then complain when it turns bad." Yeah, that's reasonable.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some overdue pictures

Seeing Steven Taylor's pictures of fall color from his trip this weekend reminded me that I never posted any pictures from my trip to Washington last month. So here they are. Enjoy!

Addicted to the Internet?

I don't doubt it. I know a few people that probably fall into that category, myself included.

Via NYT - In Korea, a Boot Camp Cure for Web Obsession
Up to 30 percent of South Koreans under 18, or about 2.4 million people, are at risk of Internet addiction, said Ahn Dong-hyun, a child psychiatrist at Hanyang University in Seoul who just completed a three-year government-financed survey of the problem.

They spend at least two hours a day online, usually playing games or chatting. Of those, up to a quarter million probably show signs of actual addiction, like an inability to stop themselves from using computers, rising levels of tolerance that drive them to seek ever longer sessions online, and withdrawal symptoms like anger and craving when prevented from logging on.
I don't really get angry when I can't log on, but I often spend waaaay more than 2 hours a day on the Internet. But if I have to go to boot camp, I can think of at least a couple of people that I'm planning to drag along with me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Which do you like better?

Here is an old FFM that I found by accident.

Which do you prefer:

01. CHEESE or CHOCOLATE? (that's a tough one)
03. COFFEE or TEA?
06. YOGURT or CREAM CHEESE? (by itself, yogurt; in things, cream cheese)
07. RICE or PASTA?
08. CAKE or PIE?
13. DIET SODA or NO SODA? (I mostly don't drink soda anyway)
30. MEAT or VEGETABLES? (depends on the meal)

Feel free to join in.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Maybe that explains it

As a teacher I often wonder how it is that what I say can be so totally misunderstood or misinterpreted. Maybe this quote explains it.
A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
-Bertrand Russell
It would explain a lot, that's for sure.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Speaking of things I like

I love this song!One line in the song talks about saying "I love you":
Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough
I can definitely understand the sentiment there. Sometimes saying I love you just doesn't seem to get the point across well enough.

On the other hand, I would say that while I love you is often said too much, it also isn't said enough. Too often in life we say I love you when we don't really mean it and we don't always say it when we do really feel it. It is okay to say I love you to your spouse or significant other, your child or your parent. But so often we have people that are so important to our lives, our dear and close friend, that we don't say I love you to, but we wouldn't know what to do without them.

So, to my dear friends, I do love you, even if I don't say it. You're the best!

I like this cartoon

Cartoon via WaPo

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Strike is On

Via CNN - Hollywood writers go on strike
The strike by Hollywood writers is on. Writers and studios broke off talks late Sunday after 11 hours of negotiations.

The talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers were called by a federal mediator. The producers said a deal couldn't be reached.

The writers want more money from the sale of DVDs and a share of revenue generated by the sale of TV shows and films over the Internet. The studios say the demands are unreasonable and will hamper attempts to experiment with new media.

Picketing starts in the morning in New York and Los Angeles.

The walkout will affect late-night talk shows first, then daytime talk shows and soap operas. Studios have stockpiled movie scripts and prime-time TV has completed shows in hand to last until early next year.
As it won't affect things like reality shows and sports broadcast, I guess people won't have to go back to reading books right away. Who knows, if it goes on too long maybe the producers will turn to buying the rights to film fan fiction.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More reasons to fear a Giuliani administration

Today we have even more information on Rudy and his authoritarian tendencies from that wild-eyed democracy-loving, radical anti-authoritarian, Dr. Steven Taylor over at Poliblog. Check it out!

All joking aside, it is a serious issue and something that potential voters should make themselves acutely aware of before casting their votes.

Quote of the day

This quote doesn't come from one of those massive quotation database site, but from another blogger, Matthew at Like Cooking a Small Fish. The quote comes from his post that explains the name of the blog.
The story of the 20th century might well be that despite our self-conception as rational beings, most “rational” plans for ordering society produced undesirable results, whereas stable political and economic outcomes were generally obtained naturally and democratically, without constant top-down control.
The quote originally caught my attention because it uses the word "rational", but I really think he makes an excellent point about the importance of democracy and the limitations of rational action. Maybe in a democracy, the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts.

h/t: Poliblog

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Truth in advertising?

Tonight for dinner we had the stuffed flounder pictured below. I just had to share what I thought was amusing.

The front of the package says "Proudly Made in the USA" (I know it's a little blurry, but I did the best I could).

Then when you turn the package over, you get the punchline, so to speak.

It says "Product of China, Further Processed in USA." Somehow that just doesn't seem like something that should be allowed to bill itself as "Made in the USA". What do you think?

More TV News

This should come as no surprise to anyone who struggled through watching the first episode of Viva Laughlin, the show was canceled after only 2 episodes. I have to think that if the show had debuted in its intended normal time slot and the next episode had been a week away instead of just 3 days away it wouldn't have made it to two episodes. I really hadn't intended to watch the show at all, but I was out of town and in the hotel room for the night and wanted to stay up to watch the local news. The musical-type nature of the show was something I couldn't imagine would last. There was a point when my husband thought that the two cops were going to bust out into song, but thankfully they did not. It was just so totally lame and the main character was such an ass, I would have been greatly surprised if it had lasted any longer than it did.

My thoughts on Bionic Woman

I finally got around to watching Wednesday's episode of Bionic Woman (full episodes available here). It is probably my favorite episode so far. As I was watching it I was thinking that I liked it better but I couldn't put a finger on why. Then about 3/4 of the way through it I realized what it was: no Sarah Corvus. In the last episode or so I've just felt like Sarah confused the storyline instead of adding anything positive to it. I don't have anything against Katee Sackhoff and I think the character of Sarah could be an asset to the show if they could ever decide how they want to play it. Until they do, however, I'd be happy for them to keep her written out.

Another thing I liked about this episode was the fact that there were not problems with the bionics. She's brand new for heaven's sake, just let her use the bionics and discover all that she can do. If they want to have the bionics start failing, they should really wait till the end of the season and have it be some kind of cliff hanger. I feel like they are doing it at this stage to try to make some sense of what they've done with the Sarah character, but it really just isn't working for me.

I do still have a few issues with the writing in this episode. They just make Jaime seem so naive. It would seem to me that someone with her life experiences wouldn't be quite so trusting at this point in her life.

Also, the scene with Antonio and the terrorist currier in the apartment didn't seem too realistic to me either. If he was willing to kill an American citizen just because he knew about bionics, it seems unlikely to me that he would be so understanding of a terrorist who is doing what he's does because his family was killed.

There is definitely some moral ambiguity in the practices of the company that Jaime now works for, but that doesn't really bother me at this point. It is sorta like HRG (Claire's dad) on Heroes. Sometimes he seems like a bad guy and you are rooting against him and then the next thing you know you are rooting for him. I think that is how the company is going to be on here too. I think it is illustrative of the ambiguities in real life. No one is all good or all bad.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

FOX News and the "Don't Tase Me Bro" video

On Thursday I was at a local auto dealership having my new car serviced. I was waiting in the waiting room reading a book while they serviced the car. Like most local establishments in my hometown that show news channels, the television was tuned to FOX News (Ugh!). I was generally trying to ignore the TV and read, but then a news story came on about the "Don't tase me bro" incident in Florida and it caught my attention. The story was about the fact that the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement had found that officers to be within their rights to use a taser on the student (Andrew Meyer). As part of the story they replayed the latter part of the video where Meyer is being dragged off and then shocked with the taser. The news caster (I don't know who he was, but it was around 10:15ish in the morning) who was telling the story commented that he could just watch that video all day long and commented that Meyer should have "taken it like a man" instead of yelling like that. I was thoroughly disgusted. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the video (or are just like the news caster and enjoy watching it) here is the whole video:

Now I know that the video went viral and obviously many, many people enjoyed watching it, but I certainly couldn't imagine watching it all day long or even over and over multiple times. And particularly the tasing scene is something I don't want to watch again. What strikes me about the commentary is that if that guy were to be tased I have a hard time imagining that he would "take it like a man". My guess is that he would be suing the cops that did it just like Meyer is doing.

Now I can see that Meyer was over stepping the bounds a bit with his questioning (or his introductory commentary as it were), but John Kerry said that he wanted to answer the question. Plus, if his commentary was totally out of bounds then people like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh ought to be tased as well. They talk over people and make wild accusations all the time. If anyone who is rude or just has ideas that conflict with the mainstream should be arrested and tased then shouldn't we all just get to walk around with tasers all the time and tase most everyone we see?

It seems to me that if Meyer wants to be a journalist some day he is going to have to refine his questioning skills, but it hardly seemed like behavior that deserved being arrested for. Plus, if they weren't arresting him for it, how could he be charged with resisting arrest?

Friday, October 26, 2007

For anyone who mistakenly thought the CIA was made up of civilized human beings. . .

Via the BBC - Lock of "Che's" hair sold at Dallas auction
A lock of socialist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara's hair and related items were auctioned on Thursday in Dallas to a Houston-area bookstore owner for the very capitalist sum of $119,500 (52,000 pounds).

[. . .]

The curious collection had belonged to Gustavo Villoldo, 71, a former CIA operative who helped hunt Guevara down in the jungles of Bolivia in 1967 and who claims he cut off the lock before burying the guerrilla fighter with two of his comrades.

[. . .]

A scrapbook containing what Heritage says are previously unpublished photos of the dead guerrilla went with the hair. One shows a group of rag-tag soldiers brandishing rifles and standing proudly around his corpse like hunters posing with a trophy. Others show his corpse propped up, eyes wide open.

And Europeans had the gaul to say that Native Americans were savages for taking scalps over a century ago. Well, tell me how this is any different. But then again, what's more civilized than taking "fun" pictures with a dead guy? Puleez!

H/T: Yvette via e-mail

Friday, October 12, 2007

12 years and counting!

Today is my 12th wedding anniversary and I couldn't be happier. I'm married to a wonderful man who loves me dearly and whom I love dearly.

I looked back at my post from today a year ago and I am happy to report that today is indeed a much better day. No trips to the hospital for tests and no soccer games to get kids to. I don't even have to go to work today. In addition to that, it is a beautiful fall day with nice fall-like temperatures. I couldn't ask for a better day to celebrate my anniversary on.

Today we are again planning to have a nice quiet dinner for two in Montgomery. We are actually planning to spend most of the afternoon in Montgomery today. We were going to stop in and visit some friends, but since they are a little under the weather today, we will have to miss out on our visit, but I still anticipate a very nice day.

And the Nobel Peace Prize goes to. . .

Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Via WaPo - Gore, U.N. Body Win Nobel Peace Prize
Former vice president Al Gore and a United Nations panel that monitors climate change were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today for their work educating the world about global warming and pressing for political action to control it.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee characterized Gore as "the single individual who has done most" to convince world governments and leaders that climate change is real, is caused by human activity and poses a grave threat. Gore has focused on the issue through books, promotional events and his Academy Award-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."
And if, like me, you are wondering what global climate change has to do with world peace, here's your answer:
As with last year's award to Bangladeshi banker Muhammad Yunus, whose pioneering use of small loans to the very poor contributes to the stability of developing nations, this year's prize focused on an issue not directly involving war and peace, but seen as critical to maintaining social stability.
I have to say that there is something a little ironic about the fact that the man who won the office of President in 2000 started a war and the one who lost the office won the Nobel Peace Prize. Interesting.

Voluntary Infant Cold Medication Recall

If you have small children (under the age of 6) you should check out this list of recalled infant cold medicines from Consumer Healthcare Products Association. It is especially important for children under 2 but also affects children up to age 5.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Don't send your toddler to Arkansas

Via CNN - Misplaced 'not' in Arkansas law allows babies to marry
An error in a new law that allows Arkansans of any age -- even toddlers -- to marry with parental consent must be fixed by lawmakers, not an independent commission authorized to correct typos, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The law, which took effect July 31, was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry, while also allowing pregnant minors to marry with parental consent.

An extraneous "not" in the bill, however, allows anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.
I just couldn't resist clicking on that headline. As it turns out, the law could stand until 2009. So if you just happen to have a toddler you want to marry-off, now's your chance.

I'm Mystique

Your results:
You are Mystique

Mr. Freeze
Poison Ivy
Dark Phoenix
Dr. Doom
The Joker
Lex Luthor
Green Goblin
Sometimes motherly, sometimes a beautiful companion, but most of the time a deceiving vixen.

Click here to take the "Which Super Villain are you?" quiz...

H/T: PoliSciFi

Well, at least he's tall

If you are not a big fan of Republican Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson, then you have to read this Op-Ed column by Gail Collins in the NYT. This was one of my favorite parts:
But at least the Democrats who nominated Kerry did not imagine that they were choosing him for his down-home personality. What exactly is the point of Fred Thompson? He once got elected to the Senate by driving around Tennessee in a red truck (which, critics carped, he ditched as soon as he was out of sight of the last voter).

He persuaded people that his opponent was wrong when he claimed Thompson was nothing but a “Gucci-wearing, Lincoln-driving, Perrier-drinking, Grey Poupon-spreading millionaire Washington special interest lobbyist.” Of course, that was some time ago, and things have changed. Thompson is now a Gucci-wearing, Lincoln-driving, Perrier-drinking, Grey Poupon-spreading millionaire Washington special interest lobbyist and actor.
It is not especially informative, but it is awfully funny.

However, if Thompson is YOUR MAN, then move on along, there's nothing for you to see here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


It would appear that I missed my own blogiversary. Well, happy blogiversary to me about a week and a half late (It was back on the 15th of this month.).

Monday, September 24, 2007

If you just can't wait for more Heroes

I found a site that has a little info on the next 3 episodes of Heroes. Not really spoilers, more like what the TV Guide might have as a description. And it does say that the info could change. For all of you Star Trek fans out there, Nichelle Nichols is scheduled to be on the Oct. 15th episode. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

This is bothersome on so many levels

Via the BBC - Germany 'drops CIA extradition'
Germany has dropped a request to the US to extradite 13 suspected CIA agents accused of abducting a German citizen, officials and media reports say.
A justice ministry official reportedly confirmed an article in the German weekly Der Spiegel that said the US had refused the extradition request.

[. . .]

A spokeswoman for the justice ministry in Berlin told the Associated Press news agency Germany had decided against passing on to US authorities the extradition demand of the prosecutors in Munich.

[. . .]

"Mr Masri has pursued litigation for civil damages here in the US and this litigation is ongoing," he said.

"To date, US courts have barred his suit based on the US government's assertion of state secrecy concerns."

[. . .]

Mr Masri says he was kidnapped in Macedonia in 2003, flown to a secret jail in Afghanistan and tortured there.

He says he was detained for five months before being released in Albania after the Americans realised they had got the wrong man.

Okay, where to begin? The US sends CIA agents to kidnap a foreign national, take him to another country, and torture him. I have a problem with that right off.

Next, the man doesn't seem to have any legal recourse in his own country or in ours. This too seems wrong. The German are apparently afraid of pissing off the US, which seems a little odd at this point, but that's how they are telling it. And the US seems to have very little sense of justice anymore because everything has become a matter of national security. Where (or when) will it all end?

You are what you eat

Via CNN - If we are what we eat, Americans are corn and soy
Proteins and fats in your food are incorporated into your body and brain with potentially profound effects on your health and even your behavior.

[. . .]

"We are what we eat with respect to carbon, for sure. So if we eat a particular kind of food, and it has a particular kind of carbon in it, that's recorded in us, in our tissues, in our hair, in our fingernails, in the muscles," Dawson says.

[. . .]

"We're like corn chips walking because we really have a very, very large fraction of corn in our diets, and we actually can't help it because it's an additive in so many of the foods we find on the market shelves," Dawson says.

[. . .]

Americans also eat an extraordinary amount of soybean oil, another key ingredient in most processed foods.
Now apparently Europeans don't eat as much processed food as we Americans do. It makes me wonder, what the heck do they eat and how, as an American, do I avoid processed food. Also, it would seem that we could avoid anti-depressants if we just ate more fish.
Our bodies need a balance of omega-6 fatty acids like soybean oil and omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil, Hibbeln says. Over the last century, our diets have shifted almost completely to omega-6 fatty acids.

"It's quite likely that most of the diseases of modern civilization, major depression, heart disease and obesity are linked to the radical and dramatic shift in the composition of the fats in the food supply," Hibbeln says.

Our brains are composed of fatty acids, and an absence of omega-3 fatty acids can actually change our behavior, according to Hibbeln.

Hibbeln's research suggests diets containing omega-3 fatty acids found in fish reduce depression, aggression and anger, while improving mental well-being.
Now my question is, what if you eat fish that has been fried in soybean oil or corn oil? And I thought soy was supposed to be good for you anyway. Who knows anymore?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Melting Ice - Heating Debate

Via the BBC - Ice loss opens Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is one of the most fabled sea routes in the world - a short cut from Europe to Asia through the high Arctic.

Recent years have seen a marked shrinkage in its ice cover, but this year it was extreme, Esa says.

It says this made the passage "fully navigable" for the first time since monitoring began in 1978.

[. . .]

Scientists have linked the changes to global warming which may be progressing faster than expected.
Whether global warming is due to human activity or just natural cycles, it would seem that the Northwest Passage opening up is a big deal. It seems clear that we going to have to learn to deal with the repercussions of these climate associated changes whether we like it or not. I find it interesting that it is already causing some international debate and disagreement.
The opening of the sea routes are already leading to international disputes.

Canada says it has full rights over those parts of the Northwest Passage that pass though its territory and that it can bar transit there.

But this has been disputed by the US and the European Union.

They argue new route should be an international strait that any vessel can use.
And I'm sure there will be more unforeseen circumstances that arise from these global climate changes that will require international attention and negotiation as time goes on.

So soon?

It is hard to believe that tonight is the season finales for Monk and Psych. It seems like they just started back, and in the grand scheme of things they did. The "new season" that is now ending just started in July. Oh well, I guess I'll have something to look forward to in January. Maybe I'll buy the first season of Psych on DVD so I can at least see the reruns, and I'm not normally a rerun type person.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Is there much interest in Fred Thompson?

Looking at my blog traffic, I have to wonder how much interest there really is in Fred Thompson at this point. Thanks to this post I wrote back in June, and the subsequent link I got from buzzfeed.com, my blog traffic has tended to almost directly parallel interest in Fred Thompson. When the media starts talking about him, my traffic increases drastically. Looking at my sitemeter, Fred's announcement of his official candidacy only garnered a 3 day spike in my blog traffic with a sharp drop off after that. In the past, the increased traffic has tended to last longer and taper off more slowly. Maybe it doesn't mean anything, but I found it interesting.

The Via Media

WaPo - Democrats Push Toward Middle On Iraq Policy
Democratic leaders in Congress have decided to shift course and pursue modest bipartisan measures to alter U.S. military strategy in Iraq, hoping to use incremental changes instead of aggressive legislation to break the grip Republicans have held over the direction of war policy.
As an Episcopalian, I have to admit that I'm fond of "the middle way." And really, if one is thinking logically, it was apparent that this day would eventually come. One can only do the same thing for so long without success before realizing that a different path is the only viable option. This is a democratic society after all, one designed to protect the rights of the minority as well as the majority. And this is true in Congress as well as society as a whole. It only makes sense that the Democrats in Congress would eventual come around to the notion that compromise is the best answer here, if not the only answer.

This, however, I find quite irritating:
MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group that has spent months pressuring Republicans to turn against the war, is now threatening to turn on Democrats who temper their positions.
I don't understand why MoveOn.org would prefer continually banging their heads against the wall to some incremental change. Isn't incremental change still "moving on"?

Monday, September 10, 2007

I couldn't resist

I know, I haven't blogged anything in over two weeks and I end my silence with something like this, but I just couldn't resist.

The question is: Do you know how American beer is like making love in a canoe?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The EU makes a request

Via the BBC - EU urges Texas to end executions
The European Union has urged the governor of Texas to stop all executions as the state prepares to carry out its 400th death penalty.

[. . .]

The statement from the Portuguese presidency of the 27-nation bloc said: "The European Union strongly urges Governor Rick Perry to exercise all powers vested in his office to halt all upcoming executions and to consider the introduction of a moratorium in the State of Texas."

It continued: "There is no evidence to suggest that the use of the death penalty serves as a deterrent against violent crime and the irreversibility of the punishment means that miscarriages of justice, which are inevitable in all legal systems, cannot be redressed."
And it is a request that I am sure will not be granted, or at least I would be utterly amazed if it were.

I agree that the death penalty is not really a deterrent. According to what I have read on the matter, studies seem to indicate that both the death penalty and murder are evidence of a society's belief that killing someone is the answer to a problem, whether it be the problem of the individual or the problem of the society. Therefore, the two will continue to go hand-in-hand.

I find it interesting how often the US is finding itself on the receiving end of calls for ending inhumane activities. It is, however, nothing new that the EU would like to see an end to the death penalty.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Via the BBC - Rare dead star found near Earth
Astronomers have spotted a space oddity in Earth's neighbourhood - a dead star with some unusual characteristics.

The object, known as a neutron star, was studied using space telescopes and ground-based observatories.

But this one, located in the constellation Ursa Minor, seems to lack some key characteristics found in other neutron stars.

Details of the study, by a team of American and Canadian researchers, will appear in the Astrophysical Journal.

If confirmed, it would be only the eighth known "isolated neutron star" - meaning a neutron star that does not have an associated supernova remnant, binary companion, or radio pulsations.

The object has been nicknamed Calvera, after the villain in the 1960s western film The Magnificent Seven.
It is still cool but not quite as cool as it initially sounds, as the "near Earth" designation is very relative. The neutron star is actually outside the Milky Way Galaxy:
Calvera's location high above the plane of our Milky Way galaxy is also a mystery. The researchers believe the object is the remnant of a star that lived in our galaxy's starry disc before exploding as a supernova.

In order to reach its current position, it had to wander some distance out of the disc.
I guess in terms of the infinite void of space, that is nearby.

Ancient chewing gum?

I noticed this article when I finished reading the story about Leona Helmsley. When you see a headline like this you just have to click on it: Student dig unearths ancient gum
A 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum has been discovered by an archaeology student from the University of Derby.

Sarah Pickin, 23, found the lump of birch bark tar while on a dig in western Finland.

Neolithic people used the material as an antiseptic to treat gum infections, as well as a glue for repairing pots.
What more is there to say about that, really.

RIP - Leona Helmsley

Via the BBC - US property tycoon Helmsley dies
US property tycoon Leona Helmsley, who was famously quoted as saying "only the little people pay taxes", and was later jailed for tax evasion, has died at 87.

Mrs Helmsley died of heart failure at her summer home in Greenwich, Connecticut, her publicist said.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A bad situation gets worse

Via WaPo - 3 Mine Rescuers Die, 6 Others Hurt
A cave-in Thursday night killed three rescue workers and injured at least six others who were trying to tunnel through rubble to reach six trapped miners, authorities said. Mining officials were considering whether to suspend the rescue effort.

It was a major setback on the 11th day of the effort to find miners who have been confined at least 1,500 feet below ground at the Crandall Canyon mine. It is unknown if the six are alive or dead.
It is such a tragic situation when those who are trying to help rescue others get injured or killed during their efforts.

This whole ordeal seems to underscore the danger that is still very much associated with coal mining. I am reminded of a commercial that ran a year or so ago advertising coal. The commercial featured young, hard-bodied men and women, scantily dressed, and working in a coal mine. The tag line was something like, "Coal (or coal mining, I forget) never looked so good" and the point was to promote clean-burning coal. My husband and I both found it greatly ironic that the song they chose to use in the commercial was "Sixteen Tons".

Now while it may be true that coal burns cleaner now than it once did, mine safety rules have increased and I assume miners no longer have to live in mining camps and "sell their souls to the company store", it seems hard to imagine that coal mining could even come close to the glamor that commercial implied. These recent mine collapses would seem to bolster my position on the subject.

And of course I'm aware that the commercial was never intended to be an accurate representation of coal mining, nor is it likely that it was intended as a miner recruiting tool. It was simply a way to make the consumer feel less guilty about over-consuming fossil fuels. I wonder if recent events will have any affect on the consumer mind-set.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another damaged heat shield

Via NYT - Inspection Finds Debris Penetrated Shuttle’s Tiles
A close-up laser inspection by astronauts on the space shuttle Endeavour revealed on Sunday that a three-and-a-half-inch gouge penetrates all the way through thermal tiles on the shuttle’s belly, and left NASA officials urgently calculating whether a spacewalk for repairs is needed.

A chunk of insulating foam ricocheted off a fuel tank and smacked the shuttle during liftoff last week, carving out the gouge.

The unevenly shaped gouge, which straddles two side-by-side heat shield tiles and the corner of a third, is 3.5 inches long and just over 2 inches wide. The inspection on Sunday showed that the damage went through the one-inch-thick thermal tiles, exposing the felt material sandwiched between the tiles and the shuttle’s aluminum frame.

Mission managers expect to decide Monday or Tuesday whether to send astronauts out to patch the gouge.
I know that the mission managers want to avoid another Columbia disaster just as much as the rest of the country does. However, I am left wondering why this is becoming a recurrent problem with the space shuttle. Is it that newer technology is not actually better technology? What is the problem? It would seem that after Columbia they would have done everything in their power to stop the insulation from flying off in the first place. Maybe it is just time for the space shuttle technology to be retired, as I believe I have heard they've considered doing soon.

Tommy Thompson drops out of the race

Via WaPo - Tommy Thompson Leaves Race After Poor Showing in Iowa Poll
Former Wisconsin governor Tommy G. Thompson dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination last night, a day after finishing sixth in the straw poll in Ames, Iowa.

Thompson had pledged to leave the race if he did not finish first or second in Saturday's straw poll. His showing reflected the fact that, though he devoted considerable time to campaigning in Iowa, traveling to all 99 counties, he never generated excitement among Republican activists for his candidacy.
Well, at least that will serve to clarify things if good ol' Fred D. Thompson decides to get off his fanny and actually declare candidacy. Other than that, it seems like something of a non-event, as he seemed to have no chance what so ever of winning the nomination anyway.

Karl Rove, Quitting!?!?

Via WaPo - Karl Rove, Adviser to President Bush, to Resign
Karl Rove, the architect of President Bush's two national campaigns and his most prominent adviser through 6-1/2 tumultuous years in the White House, will resign at month's end and leave politics, a White House spokeswoman said this morning.

Bush plans to make a statement with Rove on the South Lawn this morning before the president departs for his ranch near Crawford, Tex. Rove, who holds the titles of deputy chief of staff and senior adviser, has been talking about finding the right time to depart for a year, colleagues said, and decided he had to either leave now or remain through the end of the presidency.
This seems odd; it is way too hot outside for Hell to have frozen over. I wonder why he would do such a thing? The official line says:
But we know he wouldn't be going if he wasn't sure this was the right time to be giving more to his family, his wife Darby and their son.
However, there is of course speculation that there is much more political reason involved (I mean, what politician or public figure ever really quit work to spend more time with his family?).
Fellow Bush advisers have said they believe the congressional probes have been aimed in part at driving Rove out.
Honestly, I find it hard to imagine that Rove is being "driven out". I can see him leaving a sinking ship, but not being driven out by Democrats. I wonder if this will have any affect on Alberto Gonzales's tenure in the administration.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Why does who hate us?

Via Slate - Why Do They Hate Us? Strange answers lie in al-Qaida's writings.
Why do they hate us?

Americans have been asking this question for nearly six years now, and for six years President Bush and his accomplices have been offering the same tired response: "They hate us for our freedoms." With every passing year, that answer becomes less convincing.

Part of the problem has to do with the question itself. Who exactly are they? Are we referring to al-Qaida and its cohorts? Are we talking about Iran, Syria, and the other nation-states whose interests in the Middle East do not properly align with America's? Or perhaps we mean Hamas, Hezbollah, or the myriad religious nationalist organizations across the Muslim world that share neither the ideology nor the aspirations of global, transnational groups like al-Qaida, but that have nevertheless been dumped into the same category: them.
The whole article is an interesting read and takes an interesting perspective on the issue.

Near the end, the author alludes to a question:
Because, if we are truly locked in an ideological war, as the president keeps reminding us, then our greatest weapons are our words. And thus far, instead of fighting this war on our terms, we have been fighting it on al-Qaida's.
Why are we fighting on their terms? It is a very interesting question indeed.

"unlike fossils -- anthropological theory is seldom fixed in stone"

Via MSN - 2 Human Ancestors Probably Co-Existed
A fragment of upper jaw and a skull found in Africa are helping rewrite the textbook on how mankind came to be millions of years ago.

Gone is the step-wise theory of one ancient species, Homo habilis, dying off as another, Homo erectus, takes over -- to give rise later to modern-day Homo sapiens.

In its place are two fossils uncovered in Kenya that appear to show habilis and erectus lived together in close proximity for more than half a million years, about 1.5 million years ago.

The findings, from a paleontology team led by Meave Leakey, wife of renowned paleontologist Richard Leakey, were published Wednesday in the Aug. 9 issue of the journal Nature.

"If they are correct, that simple kind of tree -- where you went from habilis and erectus takes over -- clearly is no longer the case," said Jeffrey Laitman, director of the Center for Anatomy and Functional Morphology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City.
It's not surprising to me that such a find would come along and paleontologist would have to change their ideas. I studied anthropology and human evolution as my major area of study (within a social science degree program) as an undergraduate. Certainly this doesn't make me an expert, but did reveal to me all the guesswork that goes into creating theories about creatures that lived and things that happened millions of years ago. There is such limited information out there, or at least a very limited amount that has been unearthed and studied in a scientifically non-biased way. Human beings have a need to know, and researchers have a need to act like they know or have found indisputable proof of something.

As the article goes on to point out:
Still, Laitman cautioned that -- unlike fossils -- anthropological theory is seldom fixed in stone.

"These fossils don't come with name tags on them, and this is tough stuff to try and pinpoint," he said.
But the truth is, we will probably never know. For all we know, we are really the descendants of Golgafrinchan hairdressers.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Ask and ye shall receive

Yesterday, over at Poliblog, Steven Taylor noted an article that mentioned the fact that many of America's bridges received the same rating (structurally deficient) as the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota. In a comment to the post I wondered which bridges they were. Well, today my sister emailed me an answer. Via MSNBC - State by State: 'Deficient' or 'Obsolete' Bridges. The linked page features an interactive map of the US with each state color coded by the percentage of bridges rated 'deficient' or 'obsolete'. If you click on a state you are then directed to a list of the major bridges in that state that received either of those ratings. It is very interesting.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Quote of the day

Via the Quotations Page - A quote from Will Rogers
The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that's out always looks the best.
Will Rogers, Illiterate Digest (1924), "Breaking into the Writing Game"
US humorist & showman (1879 - 1935)
Yep, I can't argue with that too much. . .

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Could Hillary be over-confident?

Via Real Clear Politics - Clinton's Campaign Commits Big-Time Goof
When Hillary sharply disagreed with Obama's pledge, in the South Carolina Democratic debate, that he would meet with the leaders of rogue nations like North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela, she was undoubtedly shooting from the hip. But when she and her campaign spent an entire week attacking and ridiculing Obama -- and now are well into their second week of criticism -- they appear to have lost their marbles.

Put very simply, Hillary is on the wrong side of this particular issue for the Democratic primary electorate. Scott Rasmussen's daily tracking poll shows that Democrats agree with Obama that the president should meet with these foreign leaders without preconditions by 55 percent to 22.

[. . .]

Even as Hillary was calling Obama "naive" and "irresponsible" for his position, her adviser, Mark Penn, was going even further. He told the New York Daily News that Hillary's answer on meeting with rogue-state leaders was "a presidential moment" and that it "was an essential moment that showed she knows what it means to be president."
First of all, it would seem that referring to a position as "'naive' and 'irresponsible'" during the primary process, when that position is held by a majority of your party's constituency, is not wise. It seems to me that it would come across to the voters as an insult to their intelligence.

In addition, I can understand the fact that sometimes presidents have to be "presidential" and make the hard decisions that need to be made, even if it goes against the popular will, at least from time to time. However, considering the current state of public opinion toward the current administration, and its over-use of that prerogative, I don't think I'd be as quick to place myself in that same spotlight as Hillary is doing. In fact, the article goes on to note:
Do they not know that the issue is bad for them -- or, with Hillary staking out an intransigent and stubborn position, do they not care?


Meanwhile, Obama, correctly reading the mood of the Democratic electorate (or correctly reading his polls), mocked Hillary's position as "Bush Cheney-lite," emphasizing Hillary's insider way of thinking.
In fact, my sister already considers Hillary to be simply "more of the same" in terms of stubbornness and unwillingness to admit mistakes.

What I see in Hillary is a sense of entitlement. She sees herself as the obvious choice for the nomination (almost heir to the office) and believes that the rest of the Democratic electorate sees her in that same way. As I've said many times before, I hope that she doesn't get the nomination. Hopefully her stubbornness and sense of entitlement will begin to resonate with the people who are looking for a change from "business as usual". I don't believe that we will ever actually achieve that change or that such a change is ever truly achievable.

Hopefully as the campaign progresses the Democrats will wake up to who Hillary really is and stop being mesmerized by the name "Clinton." My grandmother thinks she will be something of a Lurleen Wallace, but I know she won't. I don't know how many people out there are under her same misconception.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

More Food Recalls (Sara Lee Edition)

Via the FDA - Precautionary Recall Alert Issued for Selected Whole Wheat Fresh Bread Products
Sara Lee Food & Beverage is issuing a
voluntarily and precautionary recall of selected whole wheat bread products produced at the company's Meridian, Miss. bakery and sold at grocery retailers in the following areas of the country: the entire states of Mississippi and Alabama, most of Arkansas, far southeastern Missouri, western Georgia, southwestern Tennessee, southeastern Louisiana and the panhandle of Florida. The affected products may contain small pieces of metal.
The link above has the entire list of recalled breads. I swear it is getting to the point where one has to be suspect of anything not grown or produced at one's own home. It is just ridiculous.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Even more pictures

My two older boys having a snowball fight in mid-July at Rocky Mt. National Park.

A chipmunk eating a nut in Rocky Mt.

The Grand Teton Mountains

A few more pictures

Me at the "Grand Canyon" of Yellowstone

A Bull Elk in Yellowstone

My husband and my boys at Mammoth Hotsprings

A Grizzly Bear in Yellowstone

Big Horn Sheep in Rocky Mt. National Park

Vacation Pictures

St Louis Arch at Sunset

Mt. Rushmore

Me and my boys at Yellowstone

A Bison in Yellowstone

A Bald Eagle in Yellowstone

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Irony Anyone?

Via WaPo - Outsourcing the Picket Line: Carpenters Union Hires Homeless to Stage Protests
The picketers marching in a circle in front of a downtown Washington office building chanting about low wages do not seem fully focused on their message.

[. . .]

Although their placards identify the picketers as being with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, they are not union members.

They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs.

[. . .]

The carpenters union is one of the most active picketers in the District, routinely staging as many as eight picket lines a day at buildings where construction or renovation work is being done without union labor.
Is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony in using non-union labor to protest the use of non-union labor?

On the one hand, it is nice to see that there are groups out there that are willing to hire the homeless and ex-cons. On the other hand, I feel like this whole thing says something not too good about our society at the moment. The bottom line here seems to be all about the bottom line. In other words, they don't want to have give up their own paid time to go protest. They just want to pay someone else to fight their battles for them while they continue with life as usual. To me at least, that does not say anything good about them.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will say that my father-in-law was a union carpenter for much of his career in carpentry. His local union was very good to him and has continued to be very good to my mother-in-law since his death.

Overly confident?

I've been wondering lately if maybe the Democrats are getting a little over confident about the 2008 Presidential election. Last Friday, while having dinner with some friends, the conversation turned to the 2008 election. One person asked another what the chances were that a Democrat wouldn't win in the next election. The response was that the Democrats would definitely win in 2008. In fact, this person went on to say that he thought it would just be wonderful if Obama would just recognize his youth, accept second place and be Hillary Clinton's VP running mate. He went on to suggest that this scenario would practically guarantee 16 years of Democrats in the White House (8 for Hillary and 8 for Obama). This kind of attitude worries me.

I am afraid that too many Democrats may think that any candidate the Democratic Party puts forward will automatically win. After the last election cycle, I am unwilling to think that way. It is true that Bush is much less popular now than he was then, but Bush isn't running.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm back!

My two week long vacation to Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park has finally come to a close. We had a pretty good time. I'll probably be posting some pictures soon. I've got a lot of news to catch up on. Maybe regular blogging will resume soon.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A little vacation fun

While we were at Big Sky, MT we did a little whitewater rafting. Anyone who's interested can check out the pictures from our float down river here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Amazing "Man Bites Dog" Story

Via CNN - Man bites dog to rescue puppy
A Chinese man bit to death a fierce dog that was savaging his beloved puppy.

Awakened by the puppy's yelps, a villager named Geng first tried to chase the dog away by hurling watermelons at it, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The farmer then threw himself on the dog, clamping his teeth around its neck and eventually killing it.
The puppy lived and the man was injured.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Libby NOT going to prison after all

Via WaPo - Bush Commutes Libby Prison Sentence
President Bush commuted the sentence of former aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Monday, sparing him from a 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case. Bush left intact a $250,000 fine and two years probation for Libby, according to a senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced.
I suppose this shouldn't come as a surprise. In reality, Bush had no reason not to pardon him. It's not he's worried about it affecting his approval rating or anything.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Some Second Quarter Numbers

Via CNN - Obama raises $32.5 million, thought to be a Democratic party record
Presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama raised at least $32.5 million in the second quarter of 2007, topping his first quarter effort by nearly $7 million, the Illinois Democrat's campaign announced Sunday.

The Obama campaign said the senator raised "at least" $31 million in the second quarter in primary money, and a total -- counting $1.5 million in general election funds -- of $32.5 million.

Senator Clinton has not reported her second quarter number yet but
Spokesman Howard Wolfson said Thursday that the New York senator and former first lady expected to be out-raised by Obama. Wolfson said she would raise "in the range of $27 million" in the second quarter, putting her total take for the year north of $53 million.
Looking down the candidate list, according to the article, Edwards raised $9 million, Richardson raised $7 million, and Dodd raised $3.25 million.

I'm glad to see that Obama is ahead of Clinton. Hillary likes to try to make people think that she is the candidate apparent, so to speak. If Obama keeps raising more money than her, it will make that line a little harder to sell.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Siegelman and Scrushy head to the federal pen

Via WSFA News - Siegelman and Scrushy Sentenced to Prison

Siegelman got just over 7 years (88 months) and Scrushy got just under 7 years (82 months) plus they both have fines to pay, community service, etc. According to the article, they have 10 days to file an appeal, but they are currently in custody.

Well, Paris got her time cut in half for good behavior. I wonder how much time these two will actually serve.

Running for the VP slot?

Via WaPo - Bill Had His Al, and Hillary Might Have Her Bill
Running for the vice presidency is a delicate operation, but Bill Richardson seems to be getting the hang of it.

The New Mexico governor is running for president, of course, but should that fail he has already mastered the first responsibility of the running mate: Don't overshadow the top of the ticket. This trait was in evidence yesterday when Richardson gave a lunchtime foreign policy speech in Washington at the exact moment Hillary Clinton was giving one of her own.
Of course it is obvious that at this stage of the game Richardson doesn't seem to have a snowball's chance of winning the Democratic nomination. He doesn't have rock star appeal of the front runners and the American public likes to be swept off it's feet whenever possible. But what about the number two spot on the ticket? I'm sure Richardson would jump at the chance.

Does he actually have a chance at the number two slot? It is really rather early to making speculations, but I'll put in my two cents anyway. I find it hard to imagine that Hillary would pick Obama, or vice versa, if either wins the nomination, which at this point seems highly likely. Each one would fear that the other would be too likely to upstage him or her.

Edwards has held the VP spot on the ticket before and it didn't seem to carry too much weight in 2004. He's a Southern boys, but I doubt he's going to bring very much of the South with him for the ride. He certainly didn't last time.

Richardson could be good ticket balancer for Hillary, as the article above suggests. He's a Westerner and a Latino, which could add a nice balance for a white female New York Senator. He's also a bit more conservative than she is on issues like gun control, etc. However, even though I like Richardson's resume, having him on the ticket might not be enough to get me to vote for Hillary. I just have a purely irrational dislike for the woman. I suppose I would have to vote for her in the general election if I felt like my vote counted, but since I know that it doesn't (living in Alabama and all) I just might have to find a Third Party candidate to cast a vote for if the Democrats pick Hillary.

I'm not sure how good Richardson's chances would be if Obama gets the nod. A ticket with an African American and a Latino may be more than America is willing to deal with at this stage of the game. I'm not saying it's right, but it still may be true. I'm not sure who Obama would pick, given the current field.

Something Missing?

Is it just me, or is there something missing from this article in the Washington Post (Eagles' Comeback on Brink of Being Official)? Oh, I don't know, like the article itself! I assume they will fix it eventually, or who knows, maybe the title was enough. Here is a screen capture of what the page looked like when I viewed it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My how time flies!

Via LA Daily News - Paris leaves jail in style
Paris Hilton was released from jail shortly after midnight Tuesday amid a throng of television camera lights and hovering helicopters capturing the end of her 23-day imprisonment.
I guess it is obvious that I wasn't paying much attention to the news yesterday or else I certainly would have heard about this sooner. Oh well, it's not like I really care.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saying good-bye to an old friend

Okay, so it is really an old car, but it seems similar. I sold my old car, a 1994 Ford Escort, today. I actually haven't driven it since we bought the new one, but it seems odd for it to be gone. I'm going to miss having a standard shift car, it was always so fun to drive. Oh well, all good things must come to an end, and it was a really good car.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Quote of the Day

And, unfortunately, the story of my life, or at least it seems so at times.

From The Quotations Page
I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
Robert McCloskey, State Department spokesman (attributed)

I liked this one as well:
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
George Bernard Shaw
It sorta defines, in a nut shell, how I feel about patriotism.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Find your ideal candidate

I found links to a couple of quizzes at ChimpsterNation and I thought they were interesting. I took both of them. The first one suggested that I agreed most closely with Dennis Kucinich, but I didn't like that quiz as well. The second quiz (found here) seemed a bit more thorough. These were my results:

1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
2. Alan Augustson (86%) Click here for info
3. Barack Obama (85%) Click here for info
4. Dennis Kucinich (84%) Click here for info
5. Joseph Biden (77%) Click here for info
6. Wesley Clark (75%) Click here for info
7. Al Gore (74%) Click here for info
8. Hillary Clinton (74%) Click here for info
9. John Edwards (74%) Click here for info
10. Christopher Dodd (73%) Click here for info
11. Bill Richardson (64%) Click here for info
12. Mike Gravel (61%) Click here for info
13. Ron Paul (51%) Click here for info
14. Kent McManigal (47%) Click here for info
15. Elaine Brown (43%) Click here for info
16. Rudolph Giuliani (30%) Click here for info
17. Mike Huckabee (30%) Click here for info
18. Tommy Thompson (26%) Click here for info
19. John McCain (25%) Click here for info
20. Mitt Romney (20%) Click here for info
21. Chuck Hagel (17%) Click here for info
22. Fred Thompson (13%) Click here for info
23. Jim Gilmore (12%) Click here for info
24. Tom Tancredo (11%) Click here for info
25. Sam Brownback (11%) Click here for info
26. Newt Gingrich (10%) Click here for info
27. Duncan Hunter (5%) Click here for info

It doesn't surprise me too much that my closest match is to a Green Party candidate. Oh well, go take it and see what you find out about yourself and your favorite candidates.

And I will confess, of the Democratic front-runners, I am leaning toward Obama at the moment.