Saturday, January 29, 2005

Trial by Jury

A short while ago a fellow Poland resident (who I happen to know personally) served as an alternate juror in a malpractice suit. This past Sunday, his letter to the editor on the subject was printed in the local paper. Consequently, the local Libertarian Party officials who spotted the letter, clipped it and sent it to the author - along with an invitation to join the friendly libertarians for dinner. They had written things like "very good article!!" on the clipping (yes, exclamation points included).

Knowing I was politically active, the author offered the invitation to me, I declined, though I was tempted by the possibility that the dinner would be free. Anyway, the Letter to the Editor was great, and when combined by the setting off of Libertarian radar, I thought I would post it here everyone who doesn't read The Vindicator.


Dear Editor:

Life is filled with unusual experiences, and I have just had one. In my 59 years, I have never served on a jury and never even been called to serve. Despite my long history as a driver and registered voter, I have always escaped the clutches of the court house - until now.

As luck would have it, I not only was called, but I was seated on a jury (albeit, as an alternate so I had all the wonders of a trial with none of the responsibility). And in keeping with this vein of good luck, it was a medical malpractice suit - a subject on which I have many strong opinions.

Apparently strong opinions or even potentially strong opinions are not welcomed in the jury box. The lawyers did everything in their power to exclude anyone who was not malleable to their cause. This is euphemistically called jury selection, but in reality it is jury stacking. It gave me an icky feeling and enhanced, rather than diminished, some of my biases.

Once the jury was seated and admonished by the judge to be objective, limited and secretive, the trial began. However, one cannot easily dismiss the implications of his admonishment. He was basically telling the jury that they must follow the law regardless of how bad the law might be. In this case, it was a fairly benign directive. But down South, in the age of Jim Crow, it had some very ominous implications. I am a firm believer in jury nullification - within reason. I was an unwelcome addition to this jury, but at least I was just an alternate.

As a medical malpractice case, it was simple enough. A doctor failed to diagnose the onset of a heart attack. The patient died as a result of the complications from that attack. And the family was suing for just compensation - say, as their lawyer so ineptly suggested, $400,000.

This highlights an important point. If you want to win one of these cases, get yourself a good lawyer. It's all about presentation. I've been involved in several trials and next to bias, the most deciding factor was presentation. Good presentation requires a good lawyer. A strong case would also help, but a weak case with a good lawyer is more effective than a strong case with an inept lawyer.

This case had it all: good lawyers, inept lawyers, crying relatives, befuddled doctors, expert witnesses, contradictory testimony. I won't bore you with the details except to say when you cut through all the legalese, histrionics and confusion the case boiled down to what the doctor was required to do, what he was expected to do and what he should do. Therein was the solution to this case and, for that matter, to tort reform.

Now I'm a lawyer basher by nature, but this case made it clear to me that tort reform is a medical problem not a legal problem. What the medical profession needs is a strong dose of standardization. With standardization, they (the doctors) could agree on what was expected and required and desired. And once they agreed, they could lobby the judiciary to accept that standard. Once accepted, judges could dismiss cases that didn't violate the agreed upon standard no matter what some kook expert, dug up by some slick lawyer, might testify too. As is, few cases are dismissed because the only standard on which these cases are judged is that the plaintiff deserves his/her day in court. But that's a very costly legal standard.

What have I learned from all of this? First, my biases are still intact. The judges and lawyers will never solve this. It's their bread and butter. It's not about the insurance companies. If anything, they are the only ones trying to bring some standardization to the system. It's the doctors. They are their own worst enemies. They need to standardize their practices in the same way that Burger King, General Motors, and Bank One standardize their practices. Once done, we would no longer need these costly Ad Hoc arguments over would of, could of, should of, in every court room in America.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ah, the Irony

Yesterday, I ranted a bit about the Summers & Science situation. Soon afterward while speaking with a male blogger (and fellow scientist) I realized an additional subtle point about this whole kerfuffle (other than the fact that I really do enjoy saying "kerfuffle").

I asked this person if he had seen the segment about Summers on Special Report. He said, "I wasn't really paying attention at that point. I'm not really all the interested in that story."

I started laughing because it was all just too ironic. I realized that his nonchalance about a "women in physics" controversy is exactly what the mad women are mad about.

My guess is that part of the reason people object to the suggestion that there could be a genetic factor creating a ceiling in women's scientific understanding, is that they want to argue that men have greated a ceiling of scientific advancement. It's like a liberal victim move. They want to be sure that men are doing everything they can to encourage women in science, that they are hyper-aware that "we need more women" in science or whatever.

The fact that the Unnamed Blogger Scientist had no interest in the story illustrates the exact unawareness that these women want to expunge. I told him that, and he replied "I can tell you, there's no conspiracy against women in science at universities. That's why I don't care."

Still, it's funny.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hume reads Taranto

Tonight, on the last All-Star panel segment of Special Report w/Brit Hume, Brit referred to the "Kerfuffle" over Larry Summers (alleged)"Where have all the science women gone" comment. I have no idea where the word Kerfuffle comes from, though I feel I should because I am vaguely aware that the word has started showing up quite often lately. At any rate, Taranto used the word in yesterday's Best of the Web:
The Boston Globe weighs in on the Larry Summers kerfuffle. Here's the penultimate paragraph:

There is also pressing work for Summers. He should continue to raise controversial issues and tough questions. But he must do so with greater diplomacy and a keener knowledge of current issues. Future queries might ask both about individuals--why are few women in science?--and institutions--why doesn't science attract more women?
Apparently the Globe editors are unaware that asking just those questions are what started the kerfuffle in the first place.

Presumably, the Boston Globe sees some merit in asking those questions. Charles Krauthammer agrees. He said tonight that Summers made a "perfectly reasonable" suggestion that there might be an genetic component to the lack of women in science. He further stated that there is no evidence to prove the contrary - that is, there is no scientific evidence that there isn't anything genetic that separates male and female understandings of different subjects. And, interestingly enough, I don't see a lot of science-minded women racing to disprove this idea that has certainly been around as long as women have been getting the "vapors" at the very thought of the idea itself.

Now, as a woman with a Bachelor's degree in physics, I have been following this story since I first read about it in the Wall Street Journal. When a female interior designer with zero interest in science brought it up at dinner that same night, I knew that a ...kerfuffle was on the horizon.

So I'm a woman in science...but I'm not actually in science, as it were. I really wish I could say that Harvard didn't hire me to teach physics there because of some genetic deformity or something - but I can't. You know the real reason Harvard hasn't hired me?


Moreover, no physics grad schools admitted me.

Again. Because I didn't apply. And it's not as if I didn't apply because I thought I was physically incapacitated from performing up to the high level of Physics graduate studies - I just wasn't interested.

I think before Mr. Summers comments become even more blown out of proportion someone should ask some questions about how many women are actually applying for these science positions and how many are being turned away and WHY. The WHY is very important you see, because otherwise it's just some bizarre cousin of affirmative action, only now for science minded women.

The fact of the matter is there are just less women in science, especially in physics. In my graduating class there were about 8 physics students, 3 of them women. Are they intimidated? Maybe. But I think a lot of men are too - at least that is my understanding based on 3 years of saying that my degree is in physics and hearing people of both sexes say things like "Physics?! Oh boy!"

Personally, I'm not that impressed with it - and I'm a woman, for whatever it's worth.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Anti-Tolerance Movement

Today Eric at Evangelical Underground has a spot-on post: "Redefining Tolerance." Most importantly, he addresses the frustrating notion that Jesus was "tolerant" in the way that it is used today - "respecting the beliefs or practices of others". Here are the final two paragraphs:

We don’t have to look any further than Jesus’ dealings with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Now if Jesus met the criteria in the definition above for being tolerant, would he have even brought up the woman’s sin of having five husbands? Of course not. He would have respected her beliefs or practices and went along his merry way. But He did not do that did He? Instead we see the Savior witness to the woman, exposing her sin and offering her a solution. Not very tolerant on our Savior’s part now was it?

Although we have this perfect example of Jesus’ lack of intolerance, (along with many others) we still see progressives and liberals spinning away the actions of our Savior in the hopes their agenda can only day be a bit more palatable for the evangelical crowd-and there are clear indicators that it’s working. Again I’ll state that Jesus clearly taught love, and there is a big difference between love and tolerance.

Eric's absolutely right to use the example in John 4 of the woman at the well. That story is a great example of Jesus forgiveness in spite of the reactions of the rest of society. That woman had to go the well in the middle of the day when it was the hottest because she didn't want to see other people, she was shocked that Jesus would even talk to her. He did talk to her, but not to simply look the other way when it came to her sins. His tolerance of her and love for her showed itself in exposing her sin and encouraging her to "go and sin no more."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Voter Fraud & Fractal Patterns

Those two things may seem like an odd couple, but not to Drew.

And I totally agree that Same-day voter registration is like begging people to cheat the system. The Ranger complained about this practice in Minnesota as well. It's even worse than Ohio's provisional ballot fraud-friendly feature.

Christian Blogging

Today I added a blogroll, though not the personal one I was battling with a while back (I haven't tried to tackle it again since I had to sound the retreat.)
Nope, this one is Joe Carter's big Christian blogroll which I think is pretty neat.

But if you really want to see excitement, you should check out this post by Adrian Warnock. After Hugh Hewitt called him the John Wesley of the blogosphere, I knew I had to check it out. He's on a mission to get more recognition and readership for Christian Bloggers, and I think this is a great mission. Just like anything else, if Christians want to have an influence they need to get involved - and get involved in a way that is noticed by more than just their friends and family. Hopefully, Adrian's drive and excitement will continue to spread and the effect will be impossible to ignore.

Also, if you are interested in attending a God Blog Conference in Arizona sometime later in the year, you can leave a comment here. Hugh Hewitt is set as the Key Note Speaker and many others have already endorsed the idea.

Or, if you can't wait till this fall or you'd just rather travel to Tennessee, check out Bill Hobbs' Blog Conference information. This one has Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.

All in all, it's good to see that the Christian interest in blogging that was so high during the election is now managing to grow even more - generating these great events.

"Where ever two or three are gathered..."

Everything you could have possibly wanted...

...from two days ago...

Seriously, if you're interested in some good articles and posts from the weekend, check out the Ranger's handy Sampler - all carefully spell checked and everything.

I particularly like anything that takes on the LA Times. Three cheers for Hugh Hewitt.

Friday, January 21, 2005

This Very Morning...

My own copy of Hugh Hewitt's Blog arrived on my snowy doorstep.

Now I just have to wait for it to achieve room temperature so that I don't have to wear gloves to read it.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

American Motivations, Self Interest and Self Preservation

Jonah Goldberg's afternoon analysis of the President Inaugural address seems to relate loosely to the themes discussed in this post (including the comments) and this one - both concerning motivations and concerns of aid workers in the Tsunami region. However, in Goldberg's piece the question concerns why American is doing what it's doing - why our country should be concerned with the welfare and freedom of other countries.
Now [Woodrow] Wilson has long been a villain to conservatives — and deservedly so. The superficial similarities between Bush’s rhetoric and deeds and Wilson’s has caused some to worry. Wilson’s idealism and incompetence unleashed or hastened many of the horrors of the 20th century, abroad and at home. But there’s a key difference between W and Wilson. While Wilson rightly championed liberty, he refused to ground his messianic zeal in American self-interest. Time and again he insisted America had “no selfish ends to serve” and that the U.S. was going to war solely because “the right is more precious than peace” — as if Americans should be ashamed of their self-interest. This made WWI a war of choice and do-gooderism more similar intellectually to Bill Clinton’s efforts in Haiti and Bosnia than George W. Bush’s in Iraq and Afghanistan.

George W. Bush grounds his doctrine in the soil of American self-interest. “We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.” And: “For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny — prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder — violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat.”

This has the priorities in the right order. We fight tyranny because it is in our interest to do so. We are morally justified in our task because the fight against tyranny is a noble cause.

This is exactly right. It may seem small of America to help others not just because it is good and nice for them, but because it is good for us, but at least it's also responsible and intellectually honest. When the individuals of American's military join up, we say they are brave to "serve and protect." We say they are putting their lives on the line for us, for our freedom and safety. Anti-war protesters complain that our Armed Forces in the Middle East are dying for a country that doesn't care, for a region that doesn't like us, for purposes that are not true to those of "freedom and safety of the United States." But when we look at America's involvement abroad in the way that President Bush explained it today, we see that spreading freedom abroad does indeed protect our freedom.

There's nothing wrong with American self-interest in these instances. I doubt that many of the Iraqis that are no longer suffering under a murderous dictator care why America came their to help, they are just relieved that they did.

Our military men and women should be proud to know that wherever they serve, in every country and on every ocean, they are doing their duty to protect the lives of Americans and the freedom of America.

An abundance of Prime Numbers

This John Derbyshire post from earlier this week reminds me that I got a John Derbyshire book for Christmas: Prime Obsession.

Before anyone thinks that it's a new piece of thrilling fiction, here's the subtitle:
Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics

Soooo..anyone want me to live blog it??

I mean, how can you say no, especially considering this encouraging sentence from the prologue:
I claim at least this much: I don't believe the Riemann Hypothesis can be explained using math more elementary than I have used here, so if you don't understand the Hypothesis after finishing my book, you can be pretty sure you will never understand it.

Can't wait for me to get started, can you?

Now now, don't all clamor at once, I can't take the cacophony...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Ultimate Lemonade

Earlier this week, while reading up for my post about the Tsunami aid workers and evangelizing, I saw this article: Christians 'Exploiting' Tsunami Disaster, Group Says.

It wasn't until the final sentences that something jumped out at me:
[The Council on American-Islamic Relations's] newsletter also linked to a second report, this one in the Philadelphia Inquirer, saying that evangelical Christian groups plan to bring the Gospel to tsunami victims along with relief supplies.

The Inquirer quoted one missionary as saying that the tsunami disaster "is one of the greatest opportunities God has given us to share his love with people.""

Now, there is nothing after that to explain how they feel about it. My guess is that the Inquirer things that missionaries are using this horrible disaster to share about Christ.

And you know what, I bet they are, and why shouldn't they? I think it's important to understand that we can use a tragic event to a positive advantage without taking joy in the suffering of others. The Tsunami happened. Thousands died. It is horribly tragic, but it happened. There is nothing we can do to change it now, why shouldn't Christians try to make something good out of it, such as the salvation of souls?

Many Years and Millions of Preventable Deaths

Steve Bragg at Double Toothpicks has a short, but stirring observation about the Tsunami and the possibility that Roe V. Wade may return to the Supreme Court:
Here's a think-fact for you: about 1.7 million babies are killed in abortions each year. That is more than double the most exaggerated of estimates for the Boxing Day tsunami deaths. So, two tsunamis per year, every year, for decades. An act, not of God, but of man.

The greatest evil of the abortion lobby is not its efficiency in murder; no, it's the level of acceptance and complacency with which this moral outrage, mother of all Holocausts, is treated in this country.

It's a gimme

I had to link to Darn Floor for this sentence:
Points are awarded for the use of the word "sclerotic."
...and I think Drew knows it.

Plus, a good John Kerry dig always helps:
Jeff Larkin notes that John Kerry is in full campaign mode again, and complaining about the Ohio election which he decided not to contest before he decided to contest it. I wonder if he'll have anything to say about election fraud in Wisconsin, where the margin of victory was far closer than in Ohio, and where it's quite likely he didn't win. Nah, that would require "integrity, integrity, integrity."

Monday, January 17, 2005

When are words necessary?

Lately I've noticed that the things that seem the most ironic (or perhaps coincidental) may actually be things that God puts out there to make us think more about something we may have been initially inclined to think about only a little bit.

This Sunday, our Pastor talked about Jesus choosing His disciples and the first acts of healing they performed as they traveled. Towards the end of the sermon he talked about how we as a small church in a small town can affect the world, but that in order to do that we have to obey God and we have to go out there and do something. And then he quoted St. Francis of Assisi, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel -- if necessary, use words."

I wrote that down in my notes with a question mark. Growing up in the Catholic church, I'd heard that saying many times before, but in the last few years, something about it always struck me as odd. I made a note that said, "I understand that we have to go and show love to the people of the world - Christ's love - but if we don't tell people that the love and compassion come from Christ, how will they know we be preaching the Gospel?"

And I didn't think anymore about it.

Then today I was reading this guest post by Mark Sides at Stones Cry Out. The initial theme of the post was about whether or not Christian aid workers in the Tsunami region should evangelize while serving there.

While reading the post, I immediately remembered the St. Francis quote from Sunday morning and my repeated misgivings about it. Sure enough, at the end of Mark's post, what do I see, but this:
Besides, providing aid is a form of witness, and perhaps a more powerful witness at that. As St. Francis of Assisi said, "[p]reach the Gospel -- if necessary, use words."

Overall, I think Mark has some good points about the whole question. In the case of the Tsunami, the victims needs aid. However, I would be deeply troubled if I thought that aid workers were at all hesitant to share the Gospel because they are there under the banner of "aid worker." Christians are Christians first and foremost, we do a lot of things in our lives, but at no time should we be worried about sharing the Gospel, of course in the "wise and sensitive manner" that Mark suggests, for we should not be "not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" [Romans 1:16].

Additionally, I think the quote by Gospel for Asia's KP Yohannon in the Crosswalk article is important to consider:
Now when we talk to people about death and eternity and what is to come, I can tell you -- strike while the iron is hot

That is especially true if, as he says, that people in the area are more "receptive to the Gospel" which is certainly likely after so much death and destruction. The purpose of Gospel for Asia is to work and serve in that region. They know the mood of many of the native peoples and they have worked for years to understand how best to reach them for Christ.

Also, what characterizes the "activist" approach that Mark refers to? I ask that question, not only in the context of the Tsunami, but in the larger context of preaching the Gospel. I may not just go up to people and say "Hey, what do you think about Jesus? Have you confessed Him as your Savior and Lord of your Life?" However, I would say things like "Praise the Lord" or "Thank you Jesus" or "God really worked this and such out for me" when sharing a story of something God did in my life. I consider those to be active approaches and a way to share the Good news of Christ without doing something that may seem pushy.

In other words, I think we all can show that love that Christ has for others, by actively sharing about the love, grace and mercy that God has shown to us in our lives.

Obviously this is a large and difficult question, and I am strongly considering revisiting it soon, and encourage others to do so as well.

But if I had to answer my question up there right now, I would say "Yes, words are necessary." Words, especially words that testify to the power of the Gospel, are the only things that separate the understanding of our motivation. Some people just like to do good things for people, and that's great. But ideally, Christians like to help people because their love for God and God's love for them compels them to do so. If Christians desire to "preach the Gospel" through their actions, then it seems they must use some words to explain that that is what they are doing.


The AP has a positive headline

...something shocking enough to warrant its own headline.

Poll: Americans Hopeful on 2nd Bush Term

While the shoe did drop before the end of the first sentence:
A majority of Americans say they feel hopeful about President Bush's second term and have a generally positive view of him personally, but they also express continued doubts about Iraq

I have to applaud the ol' AP for not using that second half of the sentence as the headline itself.

Maybe there are even more reasons to hope :)

Ok, one more time, "Disenfranchisement" means what?

Back in October I spent a post or two talking about the myth and misunderstanding of the word "disenfranchised."

This past Friday, James Taranto informed us that the problematic usage of this word has reached down to Georgia:
"For the first time since 1975, the Georgia House of Representatives has no African-Americans who serve as committee chairmen," reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Members of the Legislative Black Caucus--all Democrats--said Wednesday they had been disenfranchised. Black House members noted that in the Republican-controlled Senate, two African-American Democrats were given committee chairmanships.

It would be a good "Note to everyone ever" to say: "Hey you, stop using the word 'Disenfranchised' as well as any variation thereof because you probably can't do it correctly. At all. Ever. So please, just stop."

However, if they did stop then we would get to read these great, vocabulary building paragraphs from Taranto on the subject:
"Disenfranchisement" actually means being denied the vote, but Democrats of late have started using it as a dysphemism for "losing." There's no disfranchisement in the Georgia House; it is normal in American legislative bodies for the majority party to hold committee chairmanships.

The problem here is the political isolation of black Americans, who overwhelmingly vote for the minority party. There's an easy way for members of Georgia's Legislative Black Caucus to have a chance at chairing committees: by changing their party affiliation.

First, I have to give Taranto credit for forcing me to look up "dysphemism" so that I could properly fold it into my vocabulary, then I have to acknowledge that he is absolutely right.
Democrats don't want to lose, and so they want to find a way out of it by accusing someone else of "disenfranchising" them even when no voting is involved. The Black Caucus continues to support the Democrats for reasons I'll never understand...and African American voters continue to support Democrats for more reasons I don't understand. I think vaguely it has something to do with FDR, but that was years ago, let's catch up. Either that, or let's go back further to the Republican who risked his life for the freedom of all - Abraham Lincoln.

Note to self (and possibly other bloggers)

If you have a little feeling that you should save your post as a draft because your computer hasn't randomly re-started in quite sometime and might do so SHOULD save it as a draft...because it is definitely going to happen...and much sooner than you think.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

The "Large Wall of Water" Ride

With the aid of a super-nifty title, Drew posts about all the name-changing going on in the Wisconsin Dells. It seems that the "Great Tsunami" ride that opened there in July will be given another name along with a ride called "The Hurricane."

Drew's comments are on target:
On one hand, I fully understand and even support the decision to rename "The Great Tsunami" wave pool. And I suppose it beats the option of making "The Great Tsunami" more authentic by adding floating corpses. However, renaming "The Hurricane" seems less compelling somehow. There's got to be a limit. People die in blizzards, but Dairy Queen soldiers on. The convenience store near my home sells a fast-food item called a "tornado," but I've never considered that insensitive to people who live in trailer parks.

Yes, and doesn't McDonald's sell something called a "Flurry"? I don't think they were trying to be polite, because a loosely connected band of snowflakes does carry with it certain death. I just think they were trying to steal Dairy Queen's idea and give it a different name.

Certainly naming a ride "Tsunami" give the ride a pretty mythic air...which makes me wonder if I was just easily excitable as a child because I loved the ride at Geauga Lake called simply "The Wave." Sounded scary enough to me at the time. I was scary! A giant pool of water that sucked out in a sort of slow unsuspecting way and then there was a loud buzzer noise and a wall of water came washing over the pool - Hold on tight or plug your nose!

Anything for a cookie...

For those who are more artistically gifted then I will ever be, Rick Brady is having a "Design the new logo for the new Stones Cry Out site" Contest.

He is starting out with a rather nice entry that reminds me of the red clay mountains of Sedona in Arizona. You can submit your entry to him by email:
rick (at) alohalee (dot)com

Also of note: apart from the great feeling of knowing that your art will be seen on a great website everyday...the winner also get some homebaked cookies.


Maybe I'll go find a graphic arts class to sign up for....

Hope for fans of losing (and soon to be losing) football teams

Peter at OneBigSwede has apparently been feeling some Minnesota Viking malaise lately, even with their win over Green Bay last week. But in spite of all that, he still wants to be "ready for some football" and posts a humorous Michael J. Nelson essay to help others like himself be better prepared for the big games.

Here is an excerpt (I chose the first paragraph because I was amazed Nelson could relate the Minoan Civilzation to the NFL and the second paragraph because I love foosball):

And it's tough to even fake rowdiness when your team stinks. This year, the Vikings have so far played not so much like Vikings as they have, say, Minoans. Nothing against the Minoans: I'm sure they had a fine civilization, as ancient civilizations go. It's just that they're not renowned for their fierceness. Great clay pots. Just kind of a wimpy people.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways fans with losing teams can get ready for some football, and encourage their rowdy friends to come over and prepare themselves for some as well! To start, try getting everyone ready for some foosball. It's a very similar game, except in football the men are larger and have arms, but otherwise it's hard to tell them apart. Foosball is a good warm-up, because it's about 1/18th scale, so it takes eighteen times less effort to get ready for it.

Who knows, maybe fans in the northeast will need to be reminded of their love of football after today. [New York and Pittsburgh, I'm looking in your direction since the game is now tied...)

Friday, January 14, 2005

Handicapping in Hindsight

Does anyone have a final count on how many times this week Fox All-star Mara Liasson characterized the President's first term accomplishments as "Easy." She may have even used expressions like "Candy" and "Cake." Now I like cake and candy as much as the next person (assuming the next person likes it a lot) but I don't understand why Mara is insisting on saying these things, especially in the large quantity in which she is saying them. I think that Mort Kondracke may have expressed a similar opinion, waving away tax cuts as if they were the secret hope of every congressman and senator in Washington. I think that Fred Barnes finally got tired of it too, because he said something like "No one said it was easy at the time!"

And he's exactly right. In the last four years no one said "Oh, it will be easy to get Congress to agree to tax cuts."

To her credit, Mara tried to defend her repeated statements by saying that while members of Congress may not want things like tax cuts, the people in America want them.

Yeah...moments like that make me wonder if she's been paying attention. Lots of people are somewhat silly and don't want tax cuts...they want welfare or national health care or a myriad of other government programs that the tax cut money would finance.

Additionally, if the majority of American people really wanted tax cuts, then 40 Senators would not be voting against it along with X number of Democratic Congressmen. They all have to be re-elected and if tax reductions were such a beloved favorite of the American people at large, then Congress would support it as an act of self-preservation and then it would, in fact, have been easy for the President.

This scenario however, is decidedly not the case.

The President worked hard in the first term, from tax cuts, to Afghanistan to homeland security to Iraq and beyond. In the second term, it's clear that he plans to work even harder. Perhaps four years from now, the difficult things he accomplished will make the first term look like a breeze, but that will never mean that it was in fact, easy.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The (Relatively) Infinite Potential Well

An interesting thing happens when one has not posted to one's blog in a while - the potential barrier to posting continues to grow until the lax poster feels like the "Comeback post" has to be of some great important, something incredibly stellar. something worthy of a comeback in the first place.

This phenomenon was foremost in my mind during recent weeks as I considered what I would write to jumpstart my website. When I saw the posts about World Relief day, I knew that was worth overcoming my own relatively silly concerns.

Which is why I find this Rick Brady sentence so hilarious:
Abigail Brayden is back and she uses her first post in over a month to draw attention to Captain Ed's January 12 World Relief Day.

In that one line, Rick has managed a compliment on the content of my post as well as a somewhat back handed compliment on my lack of posting. Too funny.

It's no problem though, we bloggers need to be held accountable. In fact, one of my concerns was whether I was ever going to make it back on Rick's meal-themed blogroll. Now, after reading this post, I'm even more skeptical of my chances...


Today's key word brought to you by the letter "O"

Darn Floor's recent post gets the link for using "ostensibly" in the first sentence. I quite enjoy this word, though invariable my usage of it forces me to stop and wonder if I've actually used it correctly.

The post itself is an interesting one, analyzing a recent van trip by Senator Feingold and quoting James Taranto in the process (always an added bonus).

However, it is this quote that gave me the best visual:
So I piled into a van with some friends in Milwaukee and drove from Wisconsin to Alabama.

Is anyone else picturing overly stuffed clown cars??
I think that especially appropriate because the whole affair seems like something to which the Ranger would say "Clownville."

However, I must object to a footnote Drew's earlier post where he disses the word "blog." It might indeed by ugly sounding, but it sure is fun to say.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Today's the Day - Give to World Vision

Today is January 12th - time to donate to World Vision's Tsunami Relief Effort.

I was going to say "...if you haven't already done so" but I think that even if you have, you can again. When I think about the money we spend on things...just yesterday I bought a Hawaiian shirt because last summer I wanted one and they were all too expensive. Now true it was on Clearance for $3.50, but I didn't really need it and if I can spare money for things like that, then surely I can spare more money to donate to those who perhaps lost all their clothes and their house and worse...their family.

So join us and click on the World Vision link and give today, perhaps again, to those who need it.

Thank you.

ps: Check out Captain Ed's note about today where he also includes a list of other blogs who are helping. With all the talk about the blogosphere in 2004, it is great to see that we can band together and start 2005 in such a wonderful way :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Preparing for January 12th

A short while ago, Sean noted a very worthy Captain Ed organized event. Tomorrow is January 12th and it is going to be a special day to try extra hard to get donations for World Vision's Tsunami Relief Effort.

Additionally, I know of a few other fantastic organizations that are also raising money to help in the region:

Compassion International - I sponsor two children through this organization which meets physical and spiritual needs of children and communities all over the world on a daily basis.

Samaritan's Purse
- Franklin Graham's organization that works with children and families in underdeveloped regions around the world all year long. [Toll-free # 1-800-567-8183]

Gospel for Asia - Christian Organization focusing mainly on training native Christians to minister in their own countries. As their name suggests, their focus is on Asia, with workers in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. You can read GFA updates on the regions hit by the Tsunami here.

The title of Sean's post: "Give till it hurts!" echoes a call in Hugh Hewitt's book "If it's not close, They can't cheat," referring to donations to political campaigns. I know many of us took up the call then, and it was certainly an important cause - but this one is even more important. I can't imagine there being any limit on the amount of need in that region and our donations today will be a blessing for years and generations to come.