April 30, 2007


Here's an excellent Cold Fury post about "putting the ‘conserve’ back into conservative." It is the most sensible argument for going a little green I've ever read. My husband and I love to play the Stick It To Chavez Game. Every time we buy a new lightbulb or purchase a car, we try to imagine which choice would hurt Chavez the most. And if we save the environment a little along the way, all the better.

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A great Jonah Goldberg article about how pointless public opinion is:

HUGE NUMBERS of Americans don't know jack about their government or politics. According to a Pew Research Center survey released last week, 31% of Americans don't know who the vice president is, fewer than half are aware that Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House, a mere 29% can identify "Scooter" Libby as the convicted former chief of staff of the vice president, and only 15% can name Harry Reid when asked who is the Senate majority leader.

Also last week, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that two-thirds of Americans believe that Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales' firing of eight U.S. attorneys was "politically motivated."

So, we are supposed to believe that two-thirds of Americans have studied the details of the U.S. attorney firings and come to an informed conclusion that they were politically motivated — even when Senate Democrats agree that there is no actual evidence that Gonzales did anything improper. Are these the same people who couldn't pick Pelosi out of a lineup? Or the 85% who couldn't name the Senate majority leader? Are we to imagine that the 31% of the electorate who still — after seven years of headlines and demonization — can't identify the vice president of the United States nonetheless have a studied opinion on the firing of New Mexico U.S. Atty. David Iglesias?

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April 26, 2007


Mark Steyn is awesome, as usual: Let's be realistic about reality

But you can't do that at Virginia Tech. Instead, the administration has created a "Gun-Free School Zone." Or, to be more accurate, they've created a sign that says "Gun-Free School Zone." And, like a loopy medieval sultan, they thought that simply declaring it to be so would make it so. The "gun-free zone" turned out to be a fraud -- not just because there were at least two guns on the campus last Monday, but in the more important sense that the college was promoting to its students a profoundly deluded view of the world.

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April 23, 2007


Interesting study on how women need to quit their bitching: Surprise -- Men Do Just As Much Work As Women Do
For the record, my husband works way more than I do. He always has. Even when I had two jobs and felt like I was going nuts, he was deployed. So he always trumps me.

Posted by Sarah at 08:12 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

April 22, 2007


I'm back home visiting my parents for the weekend, so I have not been on the computer. Blogging will resume in a few days.

On Friday, my flight schedule was pretty lame. I had a one-hour flight, a four-hour layover, and a 1.5-hour flight. Ugh. As I sat down to whittle away at those four hours in the airport, I realized something horrible: I had left one of my knitting needles on the coffee table at home. Four hours with no knitting and nothing to do except try to drown out the endless CNN loop above my head. I was miserable, as any true knitting addict would be. But I called a knitter friend and laughed at my situation: Here I was in an airport that's a major R&R hub, where I saw dozens of soldiers obviously anxious to get home, and I was ready to cry because I couldn't knit. I joked with my friend that I should tell one of these soldiers how much harder my life is than his because I was having knitting withdrawals.

Ah, that Perspective again...

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April 18, 2007


Hilarious line from Steyn: "Apparently, when two hip-hoppers are up on stage doing their 'Who was that ho I saw you with last night?/That was no ho, that was my bitch' shtick, they're just keepin' it real. When a white guy does it, he's just keepin' it real unlikely he'll find gainful employment again."

And from an article by a civilian contractor in Baghdad: "Why are the Democratic Party, the mainstream press, the human rights groups, the UN leadership and the "social justice" crowd currently pushing policy that virtually guarantees an Iraq genocide? Are they not familiar with what transpired after the US abandoned South Vietnam to the communists? Can they not see that their cries for US withdrawal threaten to take Iraq to the same places as the killing fields of Cambodia and Bosnia and Rwanda?"

Also, I've been reading the book The Tipping Point, and I wanted to plug it here, to be a maven for the book, if you will. It is so good, I am reading it with a giddy smile on my face. I love this book. If you're looking for something interesting to read, check The Tipping Point out.

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I met a very shrewd homeless man yesterday. He was camped out in front of the doggy bakery. What a clever idea: nothing says "I have extra cash" like a lady buying sweets for her pup. I had to give him my change after that display of decadence.


Today is Charlie's 2nd birthday. It seems like an eternity since we celebrated his 1st. This year he doesn't have any friends to invite over, but we're working on it. I think I may have found a rottweiler for him to be friends with.

Charlie's come a long way from impersonating a sweet potato.


He's a good dog. Mostly.

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April 17, 2007


Do you know what one man has taken away from this earth? "One of the top five biomechanics researchers in the country, working on movement dynamics in cerebral palsy", and another professor whose "research has enabled better aircraft, superior composite materials, and more robust aerospace structures." Not to mention the countless contributions to society these Virginia Tech students could've made after they graduated. I can't even find the words to explain how utterly disgusted and sad I feel.

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When I was a substitute teacher, there was some sort of verbal exchange going on in the back of the 7th grade classroom. I intervened and must've said something about respecting the students around you -- I don't remember my exact wording, but I'll never forget the reply I got -- and the girl said, "My mom says I don't have to respect anyone who doesn't respect me first." Sheesh. I think about that girl often, especially when I saw one teenage girl who lives in my neighborhood walking down the street wearing a shirt that said "Respect Me!", as if respect is something you can demand without any give-and-take.

This notion of automatic respect is detrimental. You can't preemptively demand respect when you've done nothing to earn it. A person earns respect through his actions and words, not just by saying he wants it. I'm afraid as a society we're starting to get the concept of respect backwards, especially in these days of multiculturalism where everyone is supposed to be respected and revered no matter what.

I thought of that seventh grader today when I read about this poll out of the UK:

There have been calls for a wider debate on whether it is appropriate for the full veil to be worn in public at all. But a Gallup Poll to be published this week found most Muslims firm in the belief that Islamic women should be free to wear it.

While 55 per cent of all those polled thought that removing the veil was vital for integration, only 13 per cent of Muslims agreed.

Instead, they thought that the Government needed to change its economic and political policies toward Islamic countries and show greater respect to Islam.

That last line was the kicker for me. They don't have to do anything to earn the respect, they just should automatically get it. Most British Muslims are just regular upstanding people, but there's still a scary contingent out there that thinks the London bombing was justified and that "Western society is decadent and immoral and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end." Explain to me why people like that deserve respect when they certainly don't give it.

I'm kinda tired of this whole "you must respect me" nonsense, especially from a religion that has major global problems. I think Islam needs to start earning respect.

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I just got around to flipping through the weekend's Parade Magazine, and it was pretty depressing. It was the annual edition of "What People Earn," complete with articles about how only rich people make any money. Sigh.

By most economic measures, 2006 was a great year. Despite rising interest rates, high oil prices and the sharpest housing downturn in 15 years, inflation was low, productivity rose steadily, corporate profits reached a 40-year high, the stock market soared and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.6%—the lowest level in more than five years. Strong hiring in service businesses like education, health care, finance, travel and entertainment more than offset big job losses in the auto and housing sectors.

But in the midst of this booming economy, more than two-thirds of Americans told pollsters that they don’t believe life for their children’s generation will be better than it has been for them. Only 27% of those surveyed last year thought the nation was headed in the right direction; and this year, 71% of respondents said the country was on the wrong track.

Why are the American people so stupid? Have we really become a country where we don't think we're making progress? That is just sad.

“I’m sorry to say I feel the rich are getting richer, and the rest of us are fighting to survive,” says DeAnna Forman, who made $25,000 as a bartender in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. “I feel like I’m always trying to catch up.” Kirk Kuchera, who earned $8,300 as a behavioral counselor for youth in Austin, Minn., agrees. “It appears to me that the lower middle class continues to work its way down the economic ladder, while those at the top of the corporate ladder move higher and higher at an unbelievable pace,” he says.

It appears to me that you need to take an economics class, or at least read a Thomas Sowell book. I know, when we type up the section not-so-cleverly entitled "The Rich Get Richer," let's not actually quote any rich people! Let's just quote bartenders and other player-haters who have a chip on their shoulder! Great idea, roll presses. How about actually asking one of these elusive Rich People™ how much money he had to spend in order to become rich, or how high his blood pressure is, or how many times his cell phone rings when he's on vacation. Then ask the bartender the same questions.

Experts are concerned about wage inequality too. “We’re in an economy that provides outsized, almost lottery-style gains to certain people in certain professions,” says John Challenger, president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global outplacement firm.

"Lottery-style gains." Nice wording. Nevermind how many years you go to college or how hard you work or how creative or inventive you are...you've simply won the lottery if you strike it rich. It's just, like, so unfair, man, that the florist and the yoga instructor can't make as much as the CEO of Halliburton. (Yes, that's right, they put the CEO of Halliburton's salary right next to the Air Force staff sergeant's, coincidentally right above the salary for someone who works in product placement.) I should totally be able to be a high school counselor and have weekends and holidays off and also get lottery-style gains! Stupid rich people.

In summary: The future of this country is going to hell in a handbasket, except for all these Clampetts who somehow managed to become CEOs. And life's not fair.

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April 16, 2007


There's an argument going on at Political Radar over Hillary Clinton's qualifications for being president. I thought this comment by "colin" was spot-on:

Yeah it would be nice to have a woman be our President. But we cheapen the historical significance of such an event by putting our hands over our eyes to the weaknesses of a female presidential candidate just so we have a skirt at the podium with the seal of the President of the United States.

That's how Halle Berry won an Oscar, and it's the driving force behind affirmative action. When you pick someone based on anything other than his actual qualifications, you are screwing up. Who wants a token for a president?

Posted by Sarah at 08:07 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 15, 2007


It's called SpouseBUZZ Live. Here are just a few of the key ingredients: dynamite, pole vaulting, laughing gas, choppers -- can you see how incredible this is going to be? -- hang gliding, come on!


Bottle Rocket quotes aside, if you're anywhere near California in mid-May and want to come to a fun event, SpouseBUZZ Live is the place to be! Click on the logo for more info.

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April 14, 2007


Victor Davis Hanson has a dream:

In this dream, I heard our ex-presidents add to this chorus of war-time solidarity. Jimmy Carter reminded Americans that radical Islam had started in earnest on his watch, out of an endemic hatred of all things Western. I imagined him explaining that America began being called the “Great Satan” during the presidential tenure of a liberal pacifist, not a Texan conservative.

Bill Clinton would likewise add that he bombed Iraq, and Afghanistan, and East Africa without congressional or U.N. approval because of the need for unilateral action against serial terrorism and the efforts of radicals to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

George Bush Sr. would in turn lecture the media that it was once as furious at him for not removing Saddam as it is now furious at his son for doing so; that it was once as critical of him for sending too many troops to the Middle East as it is now critical of his son for sending too few; that it was once as hostile to the dictates of his excessively large coalition as it is now disparaging of his son’s intolerably small alliance; that it was once as dismissive of his old concern about Iranian influence in Iraq as it is now aghast at his son’s naiveté about Tehran’s interest in absorbing southern Iraq; and that it was once as repulsed by his own cynical realism as it is now repulsed by his son’s blinkered idealism.

And Bill Whittle has posted Seeing the Unseen Part 2

Reader Oda Mae had a visitor when we lived in Germany who came to work on a project with Germans for a few weeks. He told a story at dinner that the Germans told him they could never imagine living in the United States, that it is so scary that the government could just make a person disappear. Oda Mae's friend looked at them puzzled and asked what on earth they were talking about. They replied, "Well, we've seen it on Enemy of the State." They thought a Will Smith movie was the truth about the US government.


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April 13, 2007


You know your life is remarkably good when your dreams are filled with knitting angst. If the hardest thing I have to deal with in my life is whether the best way to connect all these colored squares I've been making into a blanket is whipstitch or single crochet, then life is good indeed.


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As someone who has a hard time falling asleep, I found this utterly hilarious.

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I heard this story on the radio yesterday -- that British swans were turning pink and some American scientists found a cure -- and what struck me and made me laugh is that the swans on the Thames river belong to the Queen, because apparently in the 12th century the Crown claimed ownership. Ha! Royalty is so weird.

I'm reminded of my Swedish class; our teacher used to organize these debates about social issues, and they were always a lot of fun. But I'll never forget the time she tried to divide the class to argue for and against having a royal family. No one could think of a single reason to argue for it! So we ended up as a class debating the teacher. We kept asking her how a people who are so intense about equality and lagom could be content to pay up to 60% of their income in taxes while another family got a free ride. You see this dress Victoria is wearing? You paid for it! Our teacher clearly didn't understand our protestations, saying that Swedes liked the royals and thought it was a good tradition. But she didn't get any takers among the Americans to argue for royalty.

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I got my first kiss while I was wearing a tuxedo.

It was a friend's 13th birthday party, which was the same night as the Morton Pumpkin Festival. (Yeah, that's not a joke. I love the Midwest.) We would attend the party for a while, and then my friend and I would rush to the festival where we were performing a lip sync of "The Chapel of Love." (This story didn't feel that ridiculous until I started writing it down.) Anyway, I was the groom in this dance number, so halfway through the birthday party, I went off to change into my tux. I came back to say goodbye, and my darling boyfriend took me over by the window and gave me my first kiss under the moonlight.

I was reminded of how wonderful that moment was when I read this paragraph in a long letter to surly teenage boys:

Look all people in the eye, even the haggard mother-types. Women like me, the ones who buy baby wipes and supersize tampons and organic milk and a guilty 24-inch Slim Jim and Us Weekly? We remember you. We remember you well. Not you in particular, but we remember how those of your age and species treated us at an early and difficult age, and it mattered. It mattered more than you knew at the time, more than we knew at the time. What you do now, how you treat the young women in your life after your shift at Big Y? I am here to tell you that it matters very much.

I am a lucky woman. I am lucky because I somehow managed to associate with boys who treated me well at the age when it mattered.

This boy from the birthday party, he was a dream. He still is. He is still one of the nicest men I have ever met, and I try to remind his parents of it every time I see them. He was a hopeless romantic, constantly writing me love letters and bringing me potted violets to the school dance. He was adorable and thoughtful and wonderful, and when I went to my high school reunion, my husband jokingly reminded me not to go home with this guy when it was over. He is the exact perfect first boyfriend anyone could ever want for her daughter. I was so lucky.

The second boyfriend was also a perfect gentleman. He was darling and nice and sweet and we could kiss until the cows came home. Oh, how we kissed. I can't tell you how many movies I was supposed to have seen in 1991 that I completely missed because I could sit lip-locked with this boy for hours on end. It makes me giggle to think about how naive and sweet we were together, just holding hands and kissing endlessly. And he too has turned into a wonderful adult. He's a C-17 pilot, and in fact I saw him a few weeks ago as he passed through town after shuttling soldiers to Iraq.

My third boyfriend never got the chance to turn into a wonderful adult. He was killed in a car accident when we were 16, so in my mind he'll always be the eccentric 8th grader who was really into Canned Heat and The Doors at a time when everyone else was out buying Vanilla Ice. I told him I loved him after we watched Pink Floyd's The Wall, and he broke his nose trying to sneak over to my house in the middle of the night. He's been gone for half my life, and I still miss him and wish I could've seen him grow up.

I had other boyfriends in my life, and some were better choices than others. But no one -- save my husband -- can top these three, the three who perfectly capture how teenage boys should treat girls. During middle school, when so many kids have a rough time, I met some of the best men I've ever known. I love these boys and always will. If I have a daughter, she will know these stories; if I have a son, he will have big shoes to fill.

I remember exactly how I was treated at 13. I was blessed.

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April 12, 2007


Lileks writes about Hewitt's new book on Mitt Romney:

The point is made with greater clarity in Hugh’s book, which cautions against putting Belief into the mainstream pundit’s meat-grinder. Because once Faith is a fair target, every aspect of faith will be put under the microscope. If you can dismiss a candidate for his belief in the golden tablets, then transubstantiation is next on the list. You want to snigger about Mormon undergarments? Fine; the next time a Sikh runs for public office, quiz him about the same issue. You want to probe a Mormon for the ways in which their Jesus narrative varies, you’d best do the same to a Muslim candidate. And if you can’t see yourself standing up in a press conference asking a Muslim candidate whether Christians will have a problem with him because he doesn’t think Christ died on the cross, you’d best throttle back your zeal for digging into a Mormon.

Amen to that. I can understand how a person can believe one religion and reject others, how he might think someone else is wrong or misguided or ignorant, but I cannot stand it when someone thinks another's religion is weirder than his.

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I started watching War in Europe tonight, and I realized I had never before heard Roosevelt's Washington's Birthday Speech as the US entered WWII. Boy, how I wish I could hear this speech today. The whole thing is awesome, but this was the part I heard on the movie:

We know now that if we lose this war it will be generations or even centuries before our conception of democracy can live again. And we can lose this war only if use slow up our effort or if we waste our ammunition sniping at each other.

Here are three high purposes for every American:

1. We shall not stop work for a single day. If any dispute arises we shall keep on working while the dispute is solved by mediation, or conciliation or arbitration -- until the war is won.

2. We shall not demand special gains or special privileges or special advantages for any one group or occupation.

3. We shall give up conveniences and modify the routine of our lives if our country asks us to do so. We will do it cheerfully, remembering that the common enemy seeks to destroy every home and every freedom in every part of our land.

This generation of Americans has come to realize, with a present and personal realization, that there is something larger and more important than the life of any individual or of any individual group -- something for which a man will sacrifice, and gladly sacrifice, not only his pleasures, not only his goods, not only his associations with those he loves, but his life itself. In time of crisis when the future is in the balance, we come to understand, with full recognition and devotion, what this nation is and what we owe to it.

And Roosevelt discussed the flypaper strategy long before Andrew Sullivan:

Those Americans who believed that we could live under the illusion of isolationism wanted the American eagle to imitate the tactics of the ostrich. Now, many of those same people, afraid that we may be sticking our necks out, want our national bird to be turned into a turtle. But we prefer to retain the eagle as it is -- flying high and striking hard.

I know I speak for the mass of the American people when I say that we reject the turtle policy and will continue increasingly the policy of carrying the war to the enemy in distant lands and distant waters -- as far away as possible from our own home grounds.

But imagine anyone accepting this from today's president:

Your Government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst, without flinching or losing heart. You must, in turn, have complete confidence that your Government is keeping nothing from you except information that will help the enemy in his attempt to destroy us. In a democracy there is always a solemn pact of truth between government and the people, but there must also always be a full use of discretion, and that word "discretion" applies to the critics of government as well.

This is war. The American people want to know, and will be told, the general trend of how the war is going. But they do not wish to help the enemy any more than our fighting forces do, and they will pay little attention to the rumor-mongers and the poison peddlers in our midst.

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Deployments have been extended to 15 months. I understand this. I know why it has to be done and why it makes sense. I consider us lucky that we even have deployment "ends", unlike in WWII when they fought until they were dead or the war ended, whichever came first. I know all of these things logically, and I accept them as a consequence of war. But. I know what my husband was like after 13 months of non-stop work. I heard his voice around the ninth month, right before R&R, when he sounded robotic and detached. I felt his monotony and f*ck-it attitude in every conversation we had. That's a long time to be at war. I feel sorry for these soldiers who will have to ball up and tough it out.

Posted by Sarah at 01:39 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

April 11, 2007


I think the Pope should've chosen his words more carefully when he said on Easter that "nothing positive comes from Iraq." Tell that to the women Uday raped, the children who were released from prison, and the girls who are going to school for the first time. Noel of Cold Fury reminds us that the Pope was once a forced member of the Hitler Youth; maybe he'd do well to remember what American sacrifice can achieve. Michael Novak thinks that the Pope is having a hard time transcending his European outlook on the world, and writes:

The Coalition forces cannot oblige Iraq to form a successful, patient, slowly maturing democracy. But the Coaliltion forces are giving the people of Iraq the chance to do so — a rare and precious chance in the Arab world of the last one hundred years. Maybe the vision will not succeed. But do not say that the vision itself was not positive. It was, indeed, noble, and carried out with much self-sacrifice, heroism, and devotion to others. Many Coalition forces willingly laid down their lives for the liberty and human rights of people who had earlier been strangers to them. Do not, dear European friends, contemn nor trivialize these generous sacrifices.

Posted by Sarah at 09:43 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


I found a great comment over at Blackfive by a guy named Geo(AeroEng). It was in response to a post wherein a lefty blog criticizes her fellow lefty bloggers for not sharing the love with linkage. She says that it's a shame that

people whose worldview is so narrow, intolerant, exclusive, and hateful are so much better at supporting their ideological soulmates than we on the left, whose values run to diversity, inclusiveness, a place at the table for everyone, human needs before defense contractors’ wish lists.

I know, I know. Muffle your guffaws. Geo(AeroEng) responds with:

Perhaps its because we on the "right" are willing to put aside differences for a common goal. Here on B5, I've seen posts and comments from the "religious right" to "libertarian" to "classical liberal" and many other unique (and stereotyped) view point. On many issues, we actually DON'T agree. I remember firestorms about topics from gays in the military to legalizing drugs. Regular poster debated regular poster. In the end, we agreed to disagree and behave civily. In the end, we know that we have some common ground and are willing to focus on that. We, unlike many on the left, are more than tolerant of other's beliefs differing from our own. Something to say about us placing a high value on freedom.

One pair of posts struck me as representative of why we, as a community, work. In the post concerning Cpl. Emery, Orion and Carrie had this exchange:

Orion: I may be pagan, but I'll pray for him and the Sarn't Major as well.
Carrie: Orion,
I don't care if you worship a can of kidney beans..
all the positive energy that we can muster is needed right now.
All of it.
Just do what you do.....it is all good.

On a place like the Daily Kos, I'm sure this would have devolved into a blow by blow against a certain religion (most likely the roles reversed or militant atheism vs. christianity/paganism). On the left, one must buy into the party line completely. Various groups fight for supremancy of THEIR goals and only theirs.

Here, it was cherished. WE don't give a hoot about every issue at once, only the important ones.

We know when to argue, we know when to unite, like any good, if slightly disfunctional family. Family looks after family.
Maybe the left just doesn't get it. In a way I pity them.

Amen to that. I think my blogroll is fairly diverse. I don't agree with everything my favorite bloggers say. And I thought I agreed with everything CaliValleyGirl says, until she disagreed with me about the 15 British sailors! I enjoy listening to Neal Boortz and Rush Limbaugh on the radio because I agree with them about as often as I disagree with them, and they disagree with each other often too. "The Right" is a very broad tent, but we band together with our common ground and face the problems at hand. I even was excited to find the blog But I Am A Liberal! yesterday, because the common ground is there for us too. I can disagree about the details, but I can't disagree about the basic underlying values.

I can't speak for the Left because I've never been a part of the Left, but I have a hard time seeing that it's the Giant Table With A Place Setting For Everyone that this blogger says it is. And what will they do in 2008 when their common ground -- that Bush is the root of all evil -- is gone?

I love being a part of the big tent that is the Right. And I continue to identify with and vote for people I disagree with on a lot of things, because at least our core set of values are aligned.

But I really need to put a stop to disagreeing with CaliValleyGirl.

Posted by Sarah at 08:42 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 10, 2007


I'm sorry, did I read that correctly? Markos Moulitsas charges $9000 per week for ads on his blog? Holy cow, that's major scratch. And what a sweet gig: he barely writes anything and has minions who do all the work. Niiice.

Let the record show that I've never made any money from this blog, save the cut I got from The Blog of War. Unless you count the Iraqi dinar that R1 sent me while he was deployed...

Posted by Sarah at 04:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


I finished Victor Davis Hanson's awesome The Soul of Battle last night. This is how the book ends, in the epilogue called "The End of the Democratic Marches?" published in 1999:

Had Epaminondas led the Allies in Desert Storm, he would have set up new defensible societies for the Kurds and Shiites, and held of the Iraqi Army until both cultures were safe from retribution. Sherman would have preferred to cut a swath through Iraq, leveling every one of Saddam's "palaces," torching his munitions factories and the entire industrial infrastructure of his war-mkaing, and destroying for good measure the homes of the Baath party elite, who should learn the wages of supporting a murderer. Patton, of course, would have headed straight for the Iraqi capital and not left until the Republican Guard was annihilated and Saddam Hussein was dead or in chains.
The great danger of the present age is that democracy may never again marshal the will to march against and ultimately destroy evil. In the era of television, the image of war's brutality in our living rooms may stop the attack; the education system of the present, with its interest in self-esteem, sensitivity, and the therapeutic, may not turn out sufficiently idiosyncratic audacious -- and well-read -- leaders; and instant communications may serve to bridle a mobile column at its moment of victory. But even a greater peril still in present-day democratic society is that we may simply have forgotten that there finally must be a choice between good and evil, that the real immorality is not the use of great force to inflict punishment, but, as the Greeks remind us, the failure to exercise moral authority at all. When men like Epaminondas, Sherman, and Patton go to war to stop evil and to save lives, there is a soul to their battle that lives on well after they are gone.

As Clinton said, Think about that the next time you're high.

Posted by Sarah at 07:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 09, 2007


I've developed a bad case of knitting ADD recently. For ten years I was a one-project woman, but lately... I think it started when I got my job and I was knitting things for home and things for work and I realized that there's no reason why I can't have multiple items going at once. So now I sit on the sofa surrounded by pieces of a baby blanket, an octopus with two tentacles, an afghan, the back of a sweater, and half a purse. And that wasn't enough to satisfy my mind yesterday, so I worked for 24 hours on this little fellow.


Looks like a pig mated with an anteater, but he's got a certain charm. He'll hop in the mail tomorrow and be on his way to warmer climes, as a long-overdue and much-anticipated gift for someone who was always there to rescue me when my husband locked me out of the house in Germany.

And holy crap, Space Invaders socks. Can I fit another project on the sofa?

Posted by Sarah at 02:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Chuck Z can sure make me laugh:

I support and defend the constitution. Period. It says that the Predisent is my commander in chief. If the commander says "Go, Kill, and Keep Killing, because thy are the enemy of freedom, then I go and kill. If the commander later says that his intel was flawed, and they aren't necessarily all that bad, well, anyone in uniform understands that the intel guys are mostly boobs anyway, who play LOTS of dungeons and dragons when thy aren't giving the boss their "best guess."

Posted by Sarah at 08:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 08, 2007


I got an off-the-record email from a reader whose job involves working on some next-generation equipment for the military, and I realized that we military families don't do enough to thank these people for all their hard work. My husband gets all the glory for his service to our great country, but these men and women working in research and design do the very unsexy job of testing equipment that will save my husband's life. And we never thank them, never make Budweiser commercials clapping for them in the airport, never give it a moment's notice that these people work long hours to figure out how to shave just one more pound off of the IBA without sacrificing quality.

We owe them our thanks.

If you're out there, if you read my blog and you work in the industry that makes this war machine possible, I thank you. From the depths of my heart. Your work makes my husband's work possible. You keep him safe. You keep our country safe. We need to remember you more often.

Here's a booming HOOAH! from this Army wife to those who make it possible.

Posted by Sarah at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
-- John Stuart Mill

After Nick Berg, after Ken Bigley, my husband and I have discussed on numerous occasions what we would do in the unlikely event that he was ever taken hostage. I've said before that we gather strength from brave men like Fabrizio Quattrocchi. And I nod in agreement with this retired Army colonel who expresses disgust and dismay with the way the 15 British sailors chose self-preservation above any other values.

What ever happened to name, rank, and social security number?

I know this war is different than one fought in the past. Steve McQueen kept bouncing his baseball with little fear of having his head sawed off with a dull knife. You never know today if you'll be brutally murdered on a propaganda video or allowed to convert and be released. But it's not worth it to me to sacrifice my honor on the off chance I'd get to go home. I've been brought to tears by Vietnam POWs in AFN commercials enough times to know that your honor is all you have in these situations. These Brits sacrificed their honor and their country just so they could live. That captain said that they couldn't fight back against the Iranians who were taking them because then they would've surely died. Isn't this a war? Haven't you prepared yourself for the possibility that you might have to give your life in it? If not, you have no business wearing that uniform. Keep your damn leisure suit; if I were the British military, I'd yank those soldiers' uniforms so fast it'd make their heads spin. But no, the Brits are letting these sailors make book deals.

What is wrong with us these days?

Is there nothing we'll stand for? Nothing worth dying for? Nothing even worth sacrificing a small amount of discomfort for? Couldn't these sailors have at least pretended that they felt bad about their total acquiescence instead of laughing about f-ing Mr. Bean with their captors? They looked like they didn't have a care in the world, as long as they saved their own asses. Woo hoo, we're going home, and all we had to do was capitulate and sell out our country to do so. What a deal!

If this is the stuff we're made of today, we're doomed.


See also Cold Fury's The Seinfeld Sovereign

Also, cooler heads prevail hos Victor Davis Hanson, who begins with "It’s probably a good rule to do the opposite of anything the Iranian theocracy wants. Apparently, this government is now doing its darnedest to be bombed. So, for the time being, we should not grant them this wish." Sithmonkey comes up with a great alternative to bombing Iran, which you should read here.

Posted by Sarah at 09:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 07, 2007


See, here's an example of what I wrote about yesterday. Yes, there are some drawbacks to the current body armor. But it takes time to pinpoint the problems and come up with solutions, to test out the solutions, and to implement them. For pete's sake, we didn't know what the shortcomings of the original IBA would be until they were actually used in theater! But now they've improved upon it, namely to make it lighter, change weight distribution, and even supply a quick release to instantly remove the armor in case of drowning or fire. That's brilliant and applicable, but the only way we knew we needed it was to let the original design run for a while. Nothing is perfect the first time around, but that Time article acted like the Army has given up on trying to improve the situation. Army's broken, guess that's it. That's absurd: they're constantly working to make life better for our warriors. Remember...Civil War soldiers had $175 worth of gear, OIF's have $17,000. But people act like our government is shortchanging our troops or throwing them to the wolves. They're working on it, dangit. It took seven years to design and build the LM, right?, a lunar module that had never been seen before. Well, IBA is a new concept too, and it will take time and effort to get it right.

Grr, I get so worked up over this stuff. Deep breaths.

Posted by Sarah at 10:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 06, 2007


"America's Broken Down Army" is a completely disheartening article. I could fisk just about every paragraph in the thing, but the fact that it was even written makes me want to cry. I will say a couple of things.

"For us, it's just another series of never-ending deployments, and for many, including me, there is only one answer to that—show me the door out," wrote an officer in a private e-mail to Congressman Steve Rothman of New Jersey.

If Time had asked my husband for his opinion, they'd've gotten the exact opposite answer. He's looking for the door in, trying to figure out how he can be more useful to the Army.

"Their wives are saying, I know you're proud of what you're doing, but we've got to get out of here," says Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star general.

If McCaffrey had asked me, he would've gotten the exact opposite answer again. I am so proud of what my husband is doing, and I am doing everything I can to help him get closer to the fight.

After training to fire the artillery's big guns at foes 15 miles away, his unit is pulling infantry duty. "I love the Army," the 12-year veteran, a native of Columbus, Ohio, says, "but I hate this war."

No one in the Army is doing what they trained to do in AIT or OBC, save 11Bs and 19Ws. And everyone hates this war. My husband hates this war. But he still thinks we have to fight it.

Three weeks before his enlistment was up last year, the Army ordered him to Iraq for a second tour. He had been planning to live with his wife in Chicago and attend film school by now. Instead, Santopoalo stalks Sunni insurgents through the palm groves. "You start to think about what life could be—sitting on a beach drinking a Corona," he says. "That's when it affects you."

My husband and I had two very different reactions to this quote. My husband said that this is the most normal feeling in the world. All soldiers wish they were relaxing and drinking beer, all the time. He's leaving for the field this weekend, and he says he knows all week he will wish he were at home in his recliner. That's what soldiers do: dream of relaxing. My reaction is the same reaction I have whenever I think of my own husband deploying: our life is not worth more than anyone else's. If my husband doesn't deploy, someone else will. Someone has to do the job, and we have never once thought that we've already done our time and now it's time for someone else to do it. Until this war is over, it is ours to fight.

I could go on and on about this article, about how they mischaracterize the Blue to Green program as the Army "cannibalizing" the Air Force, or how they beat that eternal dead horse that is uparmored HMMWVs. Their own figures make the argument that the Army is doing everything a lumbering bureaucracy can do to make this better:

A World War II G.I. wore gear worth $175, in today's dollars. By Vietnam, it cost about $1,500. Today it's about $17,000. [...] The Army said at the start of the war it would need 235 armored humvees; the number is 18,000 today—and each time the Army improves the armor on the truck, the insurgents improve their IEDs. The Army has packed on all the armor a humvee's transmission and axles can carry, so the military is rushing to buy 7,774 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles for an estimated $8.4 billion—more than $1 million each. Their V-shaped undercarriage is designed to deflect blasts from the soldiers on board.

Yes, the Army thought OIF, this one stage of the Global War on Terrorism (oops, can't say that), wouldn't last so long. So freaking sue them. Whiny microwave, drive-thru culture...you can't have everything you want as fast as you want it. This is a war. War sucks. People have to fight in it and they have to die in it. Forgive my lack of empathy, but I just finished reading a book on Sherman's march in the Civil War, and I have a hard time shedding tears that we've got to let more folks with GEDs in the Army to meet recruiting goals. Union men in the Civil War fought for years on end with no employer benefits waiting for them back home, fought to end the slavery of other men; they were in no danger of becoming slaves themselves. Today we fight an enemy who wishes all of us to submit, to become slaves to shariah. Forgive me if I don't care if you have a marijuana bust on your record or a low ASVAB, so long as you want to help us fight this long and awful war.

Is the Army broken? Maybe it wouldn't seem that way if we didn't constantly harp on it. Men in WWII parachuted all over kingdom come and were lucky to have a weapon and a cricket when they landed. Patton didn't have enough gas to advance his Third Army. But Americans didn't sit around and harp about how broken-down we were. They didn't gripe about how soldiers on the beaches of Normandy didn't have kevlar and uparmored landing crafts. They fought with the Army they had and didn't write four-page articles on how doomed they were.

Anyone with an ounce of perspective knows that war sucks and nothing is ever perfect. There's nothing wrong with striving to do better, but this constant naysaying and tearing down of our military is a bunch of baloney. I'm tired of hearing how crappy our Army is and how awful life is for everyone involved. We don't even know the meaning of the word crappy.

Posted by Sarah at 12:56 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack


Like Tarantino? Read this.
Heh: only "4 3/4 films underneath his belt." Personally, I loved his room at the hotel.

Posted by Sarah at 10:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 05, 2007


A writer from the Reform Party of Syria says Pelosi just turned the clock backwards for women:

As a Muslim, I fully understand respect of our religion by visiting US officials and I applaud that respect. Had Speaker Pelosi worn the Hijab inside a Mosque, this would have indicated respect but for Pelosi to wear it on the streets of Damascus all the while she is sitting with the self-imposed Baschar al-Assad who has come to symbolize oppression and one of the reasons why women are forced to wear the Hijab as they turn to religion to express their freedom is a statement of submittal not only to oppression but also to lack of women's rights in the Middle East. Pelosi just reversed the work of the Syrian civil society and those who aspire for women's freedom in the Muslim countries many years back with her visual statement. Her lack of experience of the Middle East is showing.

Assad could not have been happier because Syrian women, seeing a US official confirming what their husbands, the Imams in the Mosques tell them, and the society at large imposes on them through peer pressure will see in her wearing a Hijab as a confirmation of the societal pressures they are constantly under. No one will ever know how many women took the Hijab on after seeing Pelosi wearing it. The damage Speaker Pelosi is causing with her visit to Syria will be felt for many years to come.

That's what happens when you walk around with two ounces of knowledge and ten pounds of multicultural baggage. I'm sure Pelosi thought she was being respectful, but she merely confirmed the idea that all women -- even women who are third in line to the Leader of the Free World -- should be covered and submissive. Shame on her.

Posted by Sarah at 07:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 04, 2007


Here's what I want to know: Why do I live on an Army post named after a Confederate douche instead of the real hero of the Civil War?

You'll perhaps remember that my husband took on the task of speaking for Sherman at our last duty station. He has read much about this great man, including Victor Davis Hanson's The Soul of Battle. I sat down with this book a couple of weeks ago, forcing myself to slog through Hanson's offhanded knowledge of ancient Greece in order to learn about Epaminondas. (If Hanson says he's worth knowing about, then it's worth muddling my brain with B.C. timelines and maps of Peloponnese.) But what I really wanted was to get to page 123 and start The March to the Sea. I haven't been disappointed.

It has given me great pleasure not only to learn about Sherman but to see the passages my husband highlighted in the book, to see Sherman through his eyes and know what impresses him as a soldier. And to read about Sherman and smile, seeing at times a reflection of my husband.

What a good book. And I haven't even gotten to Patton yet.

(There's a blogger out there who speaks far more eloquently about Sherman than I ever could...)

Posted by Sarah at 05:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Hey, did you hear? The Global War on Terrorism is over. Done. Finished.
[smacks dust of her hands]
Now what?
Oh, that's right...keep fighting a, um, global war on, um, terrorism.

I don't even know why they'll bother teaching my husband Farsi; they may as well just teach everyone Newspeak.

Posted by Sarah at 11:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I have been sitting here for about two hours trying to come up with something interesting to say. I have decided to give up and post a photo of the dog instead.


Posted by Sarah at 08:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack