To read the tribute to SFC Marcus Muralles, please click here
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Hmmm... he gets sent to the office, and he wants to go home. So they call the cops, handcuff him, and put him in the adult lock-up.
Granted, at this point, we only have the mother's account of what happened. But I only need to read one line to know where I fall on this story:
It's illegal to keep a juvenile at an adult facility.End of story. I'm very much NOT a proponent of suing everyone in sight. Unless there's a whole lot we don't know, I'm willing to bend in this occasion. If the school couldn't control the boy, call the parents and SEND HIM HOME. He's a third-grader, not a high school thug with a bad attitude. The school responded incorrectly. The police broke the law. A child, who broke the rules, should have been appropriately punished. (If he just got into a playground skirmish, then no recess for a couple of days along with writing his times tables (0x0 through 12x12) a dozen or so times during those recesses would have been just fine with me. If he threw the basketball in self defense, then he should get a pat on the back.) Instead, he was treated like a common criminal.
We wonder why our kids have so many problems. Don't get me started. We might be here all day.
Monday, August 30, 2004
just a note
Whose side is he on again?
Oh, well. Thanks, Tom, for the support of our president. Knew we could count on you!
Update on the "Update on Kerry Fatigue"
There might be hope yet...
One funny thing. She tried to "shh" them. Oh, yeah. That works EVERY time.
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Movie Review- Princess Diaries 2
I went with R and her kids to the movies today. We went to see The Princess Diaries 2- A Royal Engagement". It was a cute movie. I liked it. I only saw one glaring continuity error, but I wasn't paying that much attention. Hector Elizando and Julie Andrews did a great job, as usual. I felt kind of sorry for Lord Andrew. But you knew they were doomed. Lord Nicholas is cuter, and his uncle is the bad guy. There's an empassioned speech about equal rights. And there was plenty of happily ever after to go around.
Best line from the movie- "I can't herd sheep with a bicycle." Guess you had to be there.
Next? The Princess Diaries 3- A Royal Baby ???
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Update on "Kerry Fatigue"
Sen Kerry's campaign headquarters in Washington refused an opportunity to deny the report. Despite repeated telephone calls from The Telegraph, a spokesman refused to comment. Another Democrat official said merely: "In Vietnam, John Kerry proved his patriotism beyond question. Everyone knows that."The other thing that makes you go "hmmm..." is the whole discharge date controversy. He went off active duty and into the Reserves in order to run for office way back in the day. But the dates are weird- for someone who hated serving in the Navy so much... why was his disharge date not until '78? I'm not saying anything... I'm just putting it out there for someone else to say something.
Friday, August 27, 2004
A Political Quiz
How twisted do you have to be...
UPDATE: Evidently, there are two different versions of the toy, one with the airplane, and one with Osama bin Laden.
To Every Thing There is a Season (Eccl 3:1)
- A time to speak encouraging words- This is seen at every Bengals (the boys' football team) practice. The seven (yes, I said seven) coaches are wonderful encouragers, with at least as many compliments as corrections. And the corrections aren't done in anger. (And, no, they're not doing that positive coaching stuff, per say. The coaches have just been around long enough to know that yelling only does so much, but getting down on the field and showing the kids what you want does wonders.)
- And a time to scream- I can probably count on one hand the number of times our head coach has ripped into the kids. And it's always the same thing- safety. Last night, he saw one of the boys lead with his head during a tackling drill. He lost it. Called all the players around him, told them just how many push ups and laps they were going to do if he EVER caught them leading with their heads. And then, he explained why. The boys know that when Coach yells, there's always a good reason. And they were just a little somber after that dress-down. Not because they were ashamed- because they are learning the dangers and responsiblities that come with the sport.
- A time to press on to success- T2 loves playing football. And, he had made some progress over the last two seasons. But, according to the coaches, he's really coming on strong this year. He'll probably never be in the NFL (genetics may not "let" him get there- both in his size and the lack of athletic ability that at least one of his parents was cursed with). But he's having so much fun, and he's basking in the praise of a group of men he has come to respect.
- A time to choose a new path to success- T1 has never loved football the way his twin brother does. He's tried- he really has. He loves the team, and he idolizes his coaches, but he hates tackling and being tackled. He likes watching the game, but he dislikes playing it. At the beginning of the practice season, one of the coaches told me that he actually feared for T1's safety, because the boys are bigger and tougher now. So, the coaches asked T1 to be the Manager/Trainer for the team. He was so excited. For the first time, he was excited about going to practice. He dove into his new job with an enthusiasm that surprised everyone. He finally found his position on the Bengals. Last night Coach gave him his official "coaching staff shirt"- I think it meant even more coming from Coach.
- A time to win, and a time to lose- Our first scrimmage is tomorrow after team pictures. Our first game is next weekend. Last year, the boys lost one game. They're hoping that's the case this year, because there's more at stake. They're old enough to qualify for the playoffs, with the ulimate goal being the Pop Warner Super Bowl at Disney's Wide World of Sports (Dec. 5-11). No pressure. Really.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Second, Drudge links to this story where a top Democrat says that they want Attorney General Ashcroft to open a criminal investigation on the connection between the 527 group Swiftboat Veterans for Truth and President Bush. To quote Senator Kerry, "Bring it on!"
Third, NRO has a helpful list of 20 questions for the MSM to ask Senator Kerry.
Finally, I just read something for the first time, and it floored me. To my knowledge, this little tidbit has never been on the MSM. I haven't been able to find a "true" news article that references this, so if you have contrary verifiable information, let me know. Quite a few opinion pages on several respected news sites have mentioned this, so I'm taking this as true until proven otherwise. The tidbit? Kerry didn't enlist in the Navy- he enlisted in the RESERVES. And the Naval and Coast Guard Reserves were the least likely to get called up. But he did get called up. Hmmm... so will MorOn.org do an add calling him a coward for trying to get out of going to Viet Nam?
I'm not casting aspersions on Kerry's decision to join the Reserves. There were many honorable men and women who did the same thing during the Viet Nam conflict, and there are many more who do the same thing today. And, Kerry didn't run across the border like so many others. Unfortunately, his campaign's web site has items questioning President Bush's courage because he joined the National Guard. Yet once again, Senator Kerry, you can't have it both ways.
For more Kerry analysis, check out George's site, as well as the Swift Vets site and the Viet Nam Vets for Truth site.I don't claim to be an expert when it comes to Kerry (he gives me a headache), but George is doing a great job of sifting through the minutiae, and the SVFT and VVFT are trying to get their stories out.
Society... Going to Hell in a Handbasket one Costume at a Time
Fast forward to this morning. Fox and Friends had a segment on a costume company selling "Child Pimp and 'Ho" costumes. Imagine little Tommy dressed up like Huggy Bear, and little Tina dressed up like one of his lovely ladies.
Things change. I know that. This just seems beyond anything I could have imagined.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Last year, we home schooled the boys. It was awesome- we had a blast. I'll admit it- I pushed the boys last year. Not hard, but I did my best to see what they were made of. And I wasn't disappointed. (During the school's profile testing from K-3rd grades, the boys always tested out close to the top of their class. Not the top, but close). Knowing how well my kids had done in the past, except for grade specific material (ie- spelling) we chose curricula that was just a little bit ahead of the boys' grade level. And didn't mention it to the boys. And they did great. They tested well above grade level in math, and hubby was teaching them the Periodic Table and the basics of nuclear energy (and bombs). They learned about the ecology of the Panama Canal, and they can read a topographic map (I'm really proud of that one). They did a unit study on lizards, and another one on Thanksgiving. They made a clay model of the digestive system. And they learned a lot. I didn't have a concrete representation of what they learned except for the grades I kept. No standardized testing to worry about. Just learning.
Fast forward to this year. As we moved from room to room, each teacher took some time to explain what they would be covering this year. That's where I got a little frustrating for me. A lot of this year will be review for them (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). They will definitely learn a lot in Language Arts, and they'll get some good experience with scientific theory in science. Math will be good, because their math teacher will challenge them- she's good at that. Social Studies will be interesting- they're going to go over US History, which is what we did last year. (I can't wait until the first time the teacher calls the US a democracy, and one my boys raises his hand and says, "The United States is a Representative Republic, not a democracy. Democracy on a national level is mob rule." That will be a proud day.)
But what really bugged me was one little acronym- TAKS. The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. It's the standardized test that the State mandates for all public school children each year.
I dislike that they will potentially hold back a child who made decent grades because he doesn't pass this one test. But, more than that, in every classroom, we heard that the TAKS is based on the curriculum objectives set forth by the State, and they will spend the school year preparing the kids for the TAKS tests. Maybe it's because I'm not worried about my kids passing the TAKS test (they took the 5th grade test last year just to see how they did, and they did just fine, thank you very much), but I want them to teach my kids what they need to succeed throughout the rest of their educational career, not just teach them to pass one test. (Yes, I know the argument that this is a measure of their overall knowledge base and by thoroughly covering all of the curriculum guidelines, they are giving the kids a better chance at future success. And, yes, all children without major learning disabilities should be reading on grade level by 3rd grade. But I don't think that a 4th grader's ability or lack there of to write a good essay is a clear indicator of academic prowess- some people are scary smart and can't write. And it doesn't mean you need a special test.) Just give the teachers the tools to teach, get rid of the PC crap, and let them teach.
I really didn't expect to feel to passionately about this. I thought I'd go tonight, meet the teachers, meet some of the parents, and be ok with it. But I taught the boys and they did just fine without the special tests. I don't like the idea of students possibly being shorted on a learning experience so that the State can see how they've learned. But I know the State needs some way to gauge how the teachers and students are doing, and they need concrete parameters. But this just doesn't make sense to me.
OK, on to my story of our "adventure." I called the bookstore last week to get the details. I was told that we could not bring in books purchased outside their store, that people will start lining up several hours before the scheduled start time, that the line would be outside (but we could bring chairs, coolers, etc), that Gen. Franks would be signing one book per person, and that he would not be personalizing the books.
So, the booksigning is supposed to start at 6pm, and it's an hour's drive from here. Plus, the line will be forming several hours beforehand. Hmmm... I picked up R at 2pm, and away we went.
Got there a little after 3pm. No one was in line outside, so we went inside to check it out. Once inside, we were told, no, the line will be inside (an elderly couple had already staked out the head of the line); no, we couldn't bring in our chairs, etc.; and we couldn't bring in our purses. (Huh?) So, we buy our one copy each of the book and go back to the van to wait for more people to show. Finally, at 4pm, we head in, and we're numbers 11 and 12 in line. Not bad.
So, there are 9 chairs set up for the beginning of the line. R and I just plop down on the floor- we don't care. A little old lady walked up to the "gentleman" in the last seat to ask him where he got the chair. "Well, this is the last one here, but you might be able to just grab one from the media area and move it over." At this point, the "gentleman's" wife gets up off the floor and gets a chair for the woman, takesit to her place in line, and sets it up for her. I was not a happy camper. I wanted to tell him to get up off his butt and give her that chair like a civilized gentleman should. I didn't because his wife was so quick to react. (In his defense, he did get up and let his wife sit down later).
So, R & I are sitting there, chatting up a storm (anyone's ears itching? Yeah, we were probably talking about you!) and we notice that some people have more than one book. How can this be? Well, he would sign more than one book per person. So, I head up to the checkout to buy more books. Get up to Register 5 just to be told that I was SUPPOSED to buy the books at #1 or #2. Whatever!
Before the signing starts, a guy comes over the PA to say that, if you want to get back in line after Gen. Franks has signed your book, then he'll personalize it. By this time, there were about 500 people in line. No matter how cool "Best wishes, Beth! Love, Tommy" might have sounded (or absurd for that matter) we decided it just wasn't worth the extra hour and a half.
Gen. Franks arrives. Applause.... He talks to the media- no idea what he said. Then he started signing books. They had it set up so you're up at the table with him without a bunch of people crowded around. That was nice. And, like I said, he's a very nice man.
Within about 10 minutes of when he started signing books, we were headed out the door. Back into the van with the cooler full of munchies that we didn't get around to eating. Head back to I-35 South. Stopped in Georgetown for some yummy German food. Dropped R off at home, and got home in time to give Thing 1 and Thing 2 hugs good night. Nice ending to a fun trip.
You know, I love spending time with my family, and so does R. But, there's just something special about spending time with a friend. It's tiring and invigorating all at the same time. We talked almost the entire time about a wide variety of topics, and we didn't run out of things to say. It's great to have someone to share my political/news junkie-ness with. Hubby would have gladly gone with me if I had asked him to, but I think he was grateful when I said that R and I were doing this road trip. (When I got home, he said, "Now, who is this guy?" He's not a news junkie, and I almost always like that about him- he's a good balance to my 24/7 need for information.)
Living in the Liberal Haven of Austin ™, we don't get many opportunities to shake hands with some of the Great Ones. That's ok... as long as we can Road Trip!
PS- did anyone notice the handy dandy new HTML thingie I learned to do? It isn't much, but it's one more thing I didn't know how to do yesterday!
Monday, August 23, 2004
uh, Sen. Kerry, your swiftboat is sinking...
- Kerry stands by '71 atrocities claim
Yesterday, [John] Hurly [national director of Veterans for Kerry] agreed with the testimony and said Kerry stands behind it.
"Absolutely," Hurley said. "He's a leader. He came back, and he spoke the truth."
Asked repeatedly by Wallace if Kerry had overstated what happened in his testimony in 1971, Hurley emphatically said no.
"John Kerry says that he regrets the use of the language that may have offended some people," Hurley said. "He is not -- he stands behind the facts of his testimony. He stands behind the facts that atrocities were being committed in Vietnam."
- O'Neill to Kerry: Sue me
Author-vet challenges candidate to put up or shut up
"If he was actually in Cambodia on Christmas Eve in 1968, he should sue me," said O'Neill. "If, in fact those other five boats on March 13th, 1969, if they all fled like he did instead of staying like he knows they did, he should sue me."
- Dole: Kerry never bled in Vietnam
Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole suggested Sunday that John Kerry apologize for past testimony before Congress about alleged atrocities during the Vietnam War and joined critics of the Democratic presidential candidate who say he received an early exit from combat for "superficial wounds."
Dole also called on Kerry to release all the records of his service in Vietnam.
- Judicial Watch Files Complaint against Kerry with SECNAV
These acts are clear violations of the legal prohibitions on individual citizens negotiating with foreign powers (18 U.S.C. ’ 953) and the constitutional prohibition against giving support to our nation’s enemies in wartime (Article III, Section 3). Additionally, as a commissioned officer of the Naval Reserve, Senator Kerry was subject to the UCMJ, and likely violated Article 104 (“Aiding the Enemy”) through his actions with the North Vietnamese/Viet Cong delegation.
I could go into a thoughtful dissertation on Kerry's record, as an officer in the Navy, as an antiwar activist, and as a US Senator. I could pick apart his public persona. Nah... I'll just leave you with this:
Senator Kerry, you've put all of your campaign eggs in your swiftboat, and your swiftboat is sinking. Fast.
Sunday, August 22, 2004
President Bush's "Secret Trip" to the Olympics
PRESIDENT BUSH PLANS TRIP TO OLYMPICS, SOURCES TELL DRUDGE. MAY ATTEND IRAQI SOCCER GAME. 'TRIP BEING PLANNED IN SECRET'... SECURITY CONCERNS AND 'DISRUPTION' OF GAMES AT ISSUE...I know that Drudge has all kinds of amazing sources placed everywhere, but, come on! If it was really super secret, then Drudge wouldn't know about it. Case in point- Bush's trip to Iraq for Thanksgiving. I have to admit, I don't think I want the President going to Athens for the gold medal game is Iraq makes it that far. It would be too easy for Kerry and Co. to use it against him. And, no matter how grateful the Iraqi people are for being liberated from Saddam Hussein's regime, I don't think they'd appreciate the seeming politicizing of their situation. The Olympics are supposed to be an absence of politics and conflict. (I said supposed. I remember the Olympics back in the 80s when they weren't fully attended for one reason or another. I remember when the medals race was as important, if just for 3 weeks, as the arms race.) By having the President there, the press would focus on him, and not on the athletes, and those are the people who deserve the honor right now- the athletes, not the countries that liberated them.
This is the part that got to me:
Khatoon, who looked very happy after the marriage, said: "For that act [of rape] I hated him. Sometimes I felt like I wanted to tear him to pieces.Like I said, wrong on so many levels.
"But I have a different feeling for him now. I have forgiven him because he has chosen me as his wife. I have to love him now."
Saturday, August 21, 2004
That's more like it
Teresa: John not qualified to be president
Thursday, August 19, 2004
A True Party Animal
They set a trap using as bait some doughnuts, honey and two cans of Rainier Beer. It worked, and the bear was captured for relocation.Yup... had to be a guy. Was his name Homer? Hmmm... do they have AA for bears?
UPDATE: From what I can tell, Homer the drunk bear stole a beer truck in New Brunswick, Canada, drove it across the continent to Washington, where he proceeded to have his drinking binge. OK, so it was a different brand of beer. But it's too eerie to be a coincidence, right?
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
How Would Jesus Vote?
From the Texas Faith Network, we have this at a conference yesterday in (guess where?) Austin. Go, figure.
AUSTIN, Texas - Just a few miles from George W. Bush's former office at the state Capitol, a panel of religious experts weighed a question with relevance to many people of faith: How would Jesus vote?
Well, I don't want to ruin the surprise just yet, but suffice it to say that I don't quite share the opinions of those at the conference.
It's a complex topic that can't be boiled down to simple political terms, said religious leaders who attended a Texas Faith Network conference in Austin on Tuesday. Hmmm... can't be boiled down to simple terms? Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah... Lurch keeps saying that about foreign policy.
Many at the conference voiced concerns that the religious right dominates discussions of faith and morality in politics. They complained that issues such as abortion and gay marriage seem to take priority over hunger, corporate crime and even the war in Iraq. Obviously the many at the conference spend most of their time paying heed to the mainstream media. The Media is responsible for abortion and gay marriage being at the center of discussion. They need real issues- things that cause tension between political parties. I mean, really. Everyone is saddened by children going hungry. I doubt anyone except those committing corporate crime believe that skimming off the top is ethical or moral. And the war in Iraq... I'll get to that later.
James C. Moore, co-author of "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George Bush Presidential," drew laughter and applause when he offered his view to the moderate to left-leaning crowd of about 250 clergy and lay leaders.Wow, with a last name like "Moore," what more could expect from this guy?
"If ever there were a bleeding-heart liberal, it was Jesus Christ," Moore said at Congregation Agudas Achim synagogue. According to dictionary.com, some of the definitions of liberal include:
- Tending to give freely; generous
- Generous in amount; ample
- Not strict or literal; loose or approximate
"I think the carpenter from Galilee was the original Democrat."
He has got to be joking me! Right?Jesus was apolitical- remember the "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to G-d what is G-d's. ( my paraphrase)? But let's get back to the article- I'll fill in my blanks as I go.
Some research has found that white Christians who attend worship services at least once a week are far more likely to vote Republican, while less frequent worshippers and those who are not religious tend to lean Democratic. Many analysts have criticized Democrats for failing to more effectively reach religious voters.
"The sound bites and the headlines have co-opted people of faith," said the Rev. Tom Heger, pastor of St. John's Presbyterian Church in Manchaca, south of Austin. "It would be a surprise to a lot of folks to discover that there are some very faithful, regular church attendees who aren't going to vote for Bush."
Nope, it wouldn't surprise us much at all. A majority of Catholics tend to vote Dem. So do most Jews. I realize that there is a generational component to it- decades ago, it was the Dems who (supposedly) supported Israel, and J.F. Kennedy was a Catholic. I've never understood either of those groups endorsing liberal candidates in recent years, but, then again, my Catholic aunt and uncle can't understand me being a conservative.
Conservative pastors such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson "would have us believe that morality is all about where you stand on abortion, how you treat homosexuals. I think that is simply wrong," said John D. Moyers, senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for American Progress.
I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain to people that Falwell and Robertson don't speak for me. While I believe that they are true men of faith, they don't represent me anymore than NOW does. And no, where you stand on abortion and how you treat homosexuals (which is TOTALLY different than how you feel about homosexuality) is not all that encompasses morality, where you stand on those issues tend to be indicators of where you are on other moral issues.
The presidential race pits President Bush , a Republican who openly professes his evangelical Christian beliefs, against Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a Roman Catholic who is more hesitant to discuss his faith publicly.
And it's quite sad to think that the Media, this late in the race, still feel the need to point this out. Either you know this already or you don't really care.
The Rev. Timothy Tutt, pastor of United Christian Church in Austin, declined to say whom he will support in November, but balked at the perception that Bush is the only choice for people of faith.
"As I read the Scriptures and as I understand faith, God's side is the group that's feeding the poor, caring about children, making sure that people have enough food to eat — not killing others," said Tutt, who opposes the war in Iraq.
Uh, Rev., have you ever talked to a Republican? Have you ever asked them how they feel about hunger? How they feel about children? Hate to break the bad news to you, but we're on G-d's side. We, the "evil" wealthy Republicans, give more to charitable organizations than any other group in the US, or the world, for that matter. We want to see the poor treated with dignity and helped in tangible ways.We care so much that we want them to lose their dependency on others and be able to care for themselves and then help others as they were helped.
And we care about children in ways I think the Left had forgotten- teaching them, not only in the classroom where they learn math and reading and science (hopefully), but outside the classroom, at home and in church, in scouts and in sports, about responsibility and dignity, loyalty and faithfulness, about what character means and that character counts. We strive to teach them that hard work and determination reaps rewards that are far more important than anything the government could ever hand you. I want my children to know that, when the day is done, if you need help to get back on your feet, fine, but get back on your feet and repay the favor as soon as possible. Nothing worthwhile is handed out, because, by being free, it ceases to have value. That is how we care about our children.
And as for killing others, reverend Tutt, we didn't start this war. 19 men hijacked 4 planes on the orders of one man. That man started this war. And that man had ties to another man, who gave him money to fund his campaigns. Those men, who killed others for sport are not on G-d's side. We are the people with the army that has liberated 50 million people in the last 3 years and rescued countless people from the torture chambers, rape rooms, and brutal executions of Saddam Hussein's regime. We, the people who are trying to stop this evil from taking over the world, are on G-d's side.
Juan Galvan, Texas president of the Latino American Dawah Organization, a group of Hispanic Muslims, said he's certain Jesus would not vote strictly for Republicans or Democrats.
"Prophet Jesus, or Isa as Muslims call him, would look at the stance of politicians on various issues before voting," Galvan said. "He would weigh in the good and bad of each individual."
You're right, Mr. Galvan, Jesus would weigh the good and bad of each individual. But, as a Christian, I believe that all have sinned and fallen short. Therefore, no one is good. Jesus would only see His good in those who have accepted him as Lord and Savior. He would only vote for devoted Christians, in my mindset (and that of most evangelical Christians).
Michael Jinkins, a pastoral theology professor at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, said: "Based on my reading of the Gospels, I think Jesus might surprise us all on his voting record. He was far less 'religious' than the people who criticized him most."
That depends on your definition of "religious." If you mean "overtly preachy; wearing your faith on your sleeve," then Mr. Jinkins is correct. If you mean faithful, devout, in relationship with G-d, then Mr. Jinkins is dead wrong. Jesus was intensely religious- he obeyed Jewish religious law whenever possible (and whenever it didn't interfere with the Higher purpose of the Law.) It is my prayer that someday I can be religious as Jesus was (and is) religious- simply living my faith for all to see.
In fact, Jesus might not support Bush or Kerry — or anyone else, for that matter.
"Jesus was not one to take sides on political issues," said Derek Davis, director of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University in Waco.
While there were obviously no Democrats or Republicans during the time of Jesus, different groups vied for attention, including the fundamentalist Pharisees, the aristocratic Sadducees, the spiritually devout Essenes and the revolutionist Zealots.
"Interestingly, Jesus never sided with any of these groups but remained above such earthly disputes," Davis said. "This does not mean we should do the same. He was God. We are mere humans."
Finally, at the end, something I can completely embrace. Jesus was looking to a Higher Kingdom, not the petty politics of this world. And, to the opposite extreme, He was looking at the Kingdom of each individual's heart. Who is the ruler? Where does their loyalty lie? Are they good managers of the resources given them? Are they faithful?That's what He cared about, and that's what we should care about. We shouldn't concern ourselves with "How would Jesus vote?" I doubt He would. He would pray fervently for those in power, and for wisdom for those who are voting. And He would ask that each of us, as we prepare for the election, search for the answers to these questions: Where is the candidate's heart? Where is their loyalty? Are they good managers of all they've been given? Are they faithful?
And, I think He would ask us to answer that questions of ourselves, no matter what our religious belief system. Who or what rules us? Where is our loyalty? Are we good managers of what we've been given? Are we faithful? Once we're sure of where we are, then we can decide who we think Jesus might have voted for.
Laura Bush in St. Louis
Something else (besides the custard) stood out as I read the press release.
After that Mrs. Bush went onto the W Stands For Women rally in St.Louis where she spoke to over 900 women of all ages (and a few men).
At first glance, if you're not familiar with the political make up of St. Louis, that doesn't seem like a lot of people. Granted, it's a week day, so that cuts into turnout at Republican rallies. But, this is the city that kept electing Dick Gephardt time after time; this is the same city who held the polls open late to boost Dem votes in the 200 election; and this is the same region where voters are registered in up to five different locations and you'd be amazed to learn that Aunt Millie (who's been dead since '85) has been a loyal, consistent Dem voter ever since her untimely demise. This is the city where unions and special interest groups rule the roost. Looking at the 900 folks who came to see Mrs. Bush at the rally today in light of your crash course in STL politics, that's a pretty impressive crowd. I'm impressed.
Hmmm... are the Cards in town? Maybe Mrs. B could take in a game before she heads off to the next rally.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Adding to the blogroll
Check out some good reading by heading over to some of their sites.
Flip Flop Olympics
Monday, August 16, 2004
Survivor, Texas Style
Due to the popularity of the Survivor shows, Texas is planning
to do one entitled, "Survivor-Texas Style".
The contestants will start in Dallas, travel to Waco, Austin,
San Antonio, over to Houston and down to Brownsville.
They will then proceed up to Del Rio, El Paso, Midland,
Odessa, Lubbock and Amarillo. From there they will go
on to Abilene, Ft. Worth and finally back to Dallas.
Each will be driving a pink Volvo with bumper stickers that
read: "I'm gay......I love the Dixie Chicks......Boycott Beef......I
voted for Al Gore......George Strait Sucks......Hillary in 2004......I'm
here to confiscate your guns."
The first one that makes it back to Dallas alive, wins.
For Whom the (School) Bell Tolls
Last year we home schooled, which was awesome. But that means the boys are a little out of practice on how "school" works. Last year, they could do their math work on the couch, and their reading up in their room. For some reason, I think the teachers will frown on them sprawling on the floor to get their work done. Oh, well...
A couple of observations as the school year starts. First, why do the girls look so much more mature than the boys? And the girls are cuties, too. My boys claim that they're not old enough to care yet. Can't say I believe them. Not completely, anyway.
Second, the Texas Department of Agriculture updated their nutritional guidelines for school. Because of that, my kids can't take cupcakes to school for their birthday to share with their class. And they can't bring "cakes, cookies, or other sweets" for snack time. And they can't share their bad-for-you goodies if they pack them in their lunch. Geeezzzz...
I know WHY they're doing this, and I almost think it's a good idea. They believe that they need to help combat childhood obesity by providing a healthy environment for school kids. Works for me. Saying "no yum yums in school" isn't gonna help much. Hmmm... Maybe if you teach this generation of children about healthy YUMMY food choices and the detriments of obesity and the benefits of exercise, then they'll make wise choices and buy fruit for THEIR kids instead of candy bars and chef salads instead of Happy Meals. A cupcake 5x a year for a classmate's birthday isn't gonna tip a kid's scale- a lifetime of learned poor eating behavior will.
And another thing... telling a kid "sweets are bad" are a good way to get some kids to pig out on them. Telling an adolescent that anything is verboten is the easiest way to get them hooked on it. Case in point- drinking. Growing up, I was taught that alcohol in itself was not evil, just the excessive use of it. I learned from my dad the fine art of nursing one drink for the evening. When I went off to college, yup, I drank. But I can count on one hand the number of times I've been truly drunk IN MY LIFE. On the other hand, my hubby was told that drinking alcohol was wrong, excess or not. So, he goes off and joins the Navy, and guess what? He drank himself silly for a while (even got smashed in front of my parents once, but that's a story for another day). So, can anyone guess what we're teaching our kids about alcohol? That a glass of wine can be the perfect addition to a meal, that a bratwurst begs for a beer to make it a complete meal, and a margarita can be a work of art. And that drinking in excess is stupid for all the obvious reasons (DUIs, drunk driving deaths, damage to liver and other body parts, plain old acting dumb, making poor choices under the influence, etc.)
What do we teach the boys about eating? Eating cake every day isn't very smart, but a nice slice of cake out to eat or for a birthday or special occasion is awesome. Nope, you can't have cookies for lunch, but you can have a couple after lunch. Before you can have a baggy of cheetos, you need to eat some fruit. Did you drink your milk today? If not, then no soda or Kool-Aid. You have to eat your veggies as well as the protein. The important thing is that WE teach our kids that, not the school (which can be a help). No matter what the school does, if Mom and Dad are only buying junk ("'cause Lil Jimmy won't eat anything else") then the kid's gonna end up overweight and in poor health. (Yeah, I know there are a lot of other factors, but I'm trying to keep it simple. Work with me here, people!) And, I'm sorry, but if all there is in the house is good-for-you munchies, the kid won't starve.
Well, enough about food. Back to school. I'm gonna miss having my kids around all the time. That was fun. But they're going to have fun, once they get in the middle of it. They're in different classrooms, but each has a boy from their football team in the room with them. And, they'll be the big fish in the little pond, taking on responsibility. And it's not like I won't be busy- I've volunteered to be room mom for both classes. Big fun !!!
Toby! Toby! Toby!
Last night we drove down to the Verison Amphitheater near San A. to see the Toby Keith "Big Throwdown" concert (we being hubby, R, her hubby and me). We had a blast! (OK, hubby had an ok time- I had a blast!)
First, we had to get there. Drove southbound on I-35- no signs for the amphitheater. R thought she remembered that it was X exit, so we took it. Nope, but, that's where they ate, so it has to be back up the access road in the other direction. No prob. Stopped into a Rudy's BBQ - the worst bbq in Texas according to the sign- and asked direction. "Turn left, go under the bridge, and follow the signs." OK, I can do that. At the stop sign where we're supposed to turn, there's actually a sign. Good. Start driving down this little two lane (that's being generous) road. Passed a goat farm. Decided we'd gone WAY too far, we turned around. Came to an intersection (which I had BLAZED through the first time) and there's a small handpainted sign on the corner "Concert" with an arrow pointing to the right. We follow it (pass another edge of the goat farm) until we get to the nice police officers who are directing traffic. Turned into the lot- and drove past a third side of the goat farm- cute goats.
Parked and walked up to the gate. Guys in one line, girls in the other. You got patted down prior to the handheld metal detector going over you. Then you can go inside. I know it's necessary now, but that doesn't mean I don't long for the days when you just walked in and sat down.
Bought the t-shirt (didn't get the Whiskey Girl shirt- but that's another post). Purchased the margarita, found our seats. Very good seats.
Had a brief debate with hubby over whether or not rock music fans are snobs. I won- they are. (my argument- they get so wrapped up in their subset of a genre that they refuse to listen to other genres- yes, I'm stereotyping. Country music fans, while they may not like all other genres, they usually respect them and will listen to them.) This all got started because the walk in music was a mix of blues and 70s and 80s rock. Hubby was confused.
Spent the remaining time before the opening acts looking over the technical aspects of the amphitheater and the cool toys the bands brought with them. ( I can no longer just "go to" a concert- I now analyze the equipment, dissect the cues and lighting choices, listen for proper mix, and contemplate blocking and transitions) They had some cool toys that I would love to get my mits on. Just for a little while.
Scottie Emerick was the first opening act. He did a great set, even if it was only 15 minutes long. Terri Clark put on a wonderful show also, and she played for about 40 minutes. Made me want to go out and get her greatest hits cd. (I think one of my very few complaints about the evening was the amount of time between acts. If it was intentional, to give everyone a chance to grab another beverage and use the facilities, then ok. It worked. Seemed like a long time to me, though.)
A large white sheet (for lack of a better term) hung in front of the stage. This was for the traditional pre-act video that has become a staple of Toby Keith concerts in the last couple of years. Awesome video (nope- not gonna spoil the fun in case someone reading this is going to see the concert later). The screen is removed to show the band and the set (basically, the inside of a bar, complete with the restroom facilities.) What followed could be called many things- all of which are synonymous with "wonderful."
Some highlights include: the "duet" with Willie Nelson (via video- I was impressed with the flawless sync between the live band and the audio from the video); some of the more colorful changes to the lyrics (to fit the location and the potential rowdiness of the crowd); and a cover of Bob Seger's "The Fire Down Below".
The coolest parts of the evening revolved around two songs. Toby pointed out a group of soldiers who had just returned from Iraq (with the admonishment that "if you want to know what's going on in Iraq, ask a frickin' soldier who's been there, not some Hollywood celebrity.") (Amen! Preach on!) Then he sang "American Soldier," which never fails to bring just a little more patriotic pride to my heart and a tear to my eye, followed by "The Angry American (Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue)." That always gets you. At least it should.
That's how the concert ended (well, the encore was the Seger cover, which was cool). We finally found the van - we knew we left it out there somewhere. Got into the line of cars getting out of the parking lot like ants in a line, not really knowing how to get back to the highway, just following the car ahead of us, right past... the goat farm. Hubby was wondering if you leave goats out at night, or do you put them away. We had no idea. Got back to R's house sometime after 1am, woke the boys up, got them into the car, and headed for home. I'm convinced it took me 7.3 seconds to fall asleep once my head hit the pillow.
I'm so happy that Toby is enjoying all this success. With the Dixie Ch*cks feud and everything, it could have gone one of two ways. And I think it went one way for Toby, and the other for the Ch*cks. Country music fans are nothing if not patriotic. The battle between Toby and Natalie is over, but they are both remaining true to their beliefs and feelings. The Ch*cks are doing some dates with the Moveon crowd to try to get W ousted. Toby is singing about the American soldier and putting more pride in America's heart. I know whose cds I'll be buying from here on out.
hey! I've been linked!
Thanks for nag... I mean encouraging me to do this! Hope it's half of what I think it could be!
Be afraid! Be very afraid!
This is the future home for my random thoughts. Politics? Probably. Parenting? You bet. Cooking? I'm no Steve , but I do my best. Drinking? who, me? Travel? A bit. Volunteerism? Once in a while. Funnies? Whenever the mood strikes. Lots of randomness? Wouldn't want to be predictable now, would I?
I have but one humble request. If you're gonna post a comment, keep it reasonably clean. You never know when my kids (or my parents) might decide to check out my blog. And I wouldn't want to have to explain it to them. KWIM?
Friday, August 13, 2004
Nickname: Beth, Buffy, MuMu
Height: 5' 5"
Level of Education: B.A. Psychology
Birthplace: Belleville, IL
Marital status: married
How many children: Two (identical twin boys)
Do you drink (alcohol): Yes, on occasion
Do you smoke: I have occasionally smoked a cigar, but that is very rare
Favorite outdoor activities: floating on a raft in a pool, watching my kids play sports
Favorite indoor activities: cooking, reading, surfing the web
Favorite colors: green (NOT lime)
Favorite type of music: almost anything except rap and folk
Favorite musical groups/performers: Wideawake, Toby Keith
Favorite soundtracks: Phantom of the Opera
What's in your home CD/Casette player right now: Classical Music for People who Hate Classical Music
What's in you car CD/Casette player right now: Wideawake (all 3 cds), Chris Gaines, the Gateway praise cd, and the Billy Joel musical soundtrack
Do you play an instrument: piano
One pillow or two: one or two, sometimes none, sometimes three
Croutons or bacon bits: bacon bits
Favorite salad dressing: honey mustard, raspberry vinaigrette
Have you ever had your appendix or tonsils removed: tonsils (and my gall bladder, if that matters)
Have you ever gone skinny-dipping: nope
Do you make fun of people: not if I can help it
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up: actress, astronaut.
What would be your dream job now: mom
Have you ever been convicted of a crime: nope
Places you'd most like to visit: Mars, Australia, Russia, Germany (again) Wales (again)
Your first car: 69 VW Beetle
Dream car: Carmen Ghia convertible
Shampoo/Conditioner: Pantene Color Vive
Favorite season: Fall
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Favorite board/card game: Spades, Trivial Pursuit
Favorite hobbies: reading
Favorite sport to play: football, volleyball, softball
Favorite sport to watch: Football
Least favorite sport to watch: golf
Most humiliating moment: like I’m gonna tell anyone… geeez
Do you have any siblings: One younger sister
Do you get along with your parents: oh, yeah
Favorite place to chill: either our house or a hot tub
Favorite place to visit: Belleville
What is your bad time of day: morning
What is your good time of day: anytime after 5pm
Favorite perfume or cologne: Obsession, Poison
Favorite scent of candle: vanilla
Favorite flower/plant: roses
Favorite subject in school: history, science, choir
Least favorite subject in school: Math
Favorite authors: Stephen Boyett, Tina Leonard, Christine Feehan
Favorite book genre: I'll read anything
Favorite book: “Ariel: A Book of the Change” by Stephen Boyett
Favorite magazine: eh
Favorite movie you have seen recently: LOTR Return of the King
Favorite movie of all time: Ladyhawk
Other favorite movies: all the LOTR, the Star Wars movies, romantic comedies
Favorite actors/actresses: Matthew Broderick, Kevin Sorbo, Brandon Frasier
Favorite TV programs: Good Eats, CSI, 24
Favorite comic strip character: Odie
Favorite food: grilled seafood
Chocolate or Vanilla: depends- chocolate is a mood food for me
Favorite ice cream: spumoni
Favorite Snapple: diet lemon tea
Favorite alcoholic Drink: 7&7, a nice Chardonnay
What is your bedtime: midnight-ish
Best on-line friends: Tina, Denita, the VRWC gang
Best friends: Rhonda
Worst enemies: I try not to have them
Interesting fact about your childhood: I’m adopted
How many rings before you answer the phone: 2, if I can help it.
The first thing you think of in the morning: where the snooze button is
Favorite thing to do when you're home alone: read, watch tv, surf the net
Things that make you feel good: completing a challenge, hanging with friends, a hug from my boys
Things you don't like: melon (of any kind), Seinfeld, telemarketers, people who don’t take “no” for an answer, karaoke
Worst feeling in the world: being alone
Best feeling in the world: Being in love.
Do you get motion sickness: nasty headaches, if that counts
Roller Coasters - Deadly or Exciting: Deadly
Thunderstorms - Cool or Scary: Very scary
Pen or Pencil: Pen
Do you like to drive: definitely
Do you sleep with stuffed animals: not anymore
Did you have imaginary friends or a blanket as a child: yup
What is on the walls of your room: painting that I did to match the room, and a print that a friend of mine did
What words or phrases do you overuse: actually...
Coolest things anyone ever gave you: The best thing anyone ever gave you was my parents. My birth mother put me up for adoption when I was born, and I went home when I was 4 days old with the most awesome parents on earth.
How would you characterize your political leanings: I am a conservative, leaning toward libertarian (except I’m too conservative socially to be one). I’m a fairly strict constitutionalist.
If you could pick one super-human power, what would you choose: fly
The Lord Bless Thee
The Lord Keep Thee
Make His Face to shine upon Thee
And be gracious unto Thee
The Lord lift up his countenance upon Thee
And Give Thee Peace.
Amen (Numbers 6:24-26 The Blessing of Aaron)
It is the obligation of the righteous to stand between evil and the innocent.