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May 01, 2007

Consider the Source

Former Senator Fred Thompson has something to say about the criticisms heaped on the US by her "allies":

It bothers Americans when we're told how unpopular we are with the rest of the world. For some of us, at least, it gets our back up -- and our natural tendency is to tell the French, for example, that we'd rather not hear from them until the day when they need us to bail them out again.

But we cool off. We're big boys and girls, after all, and we don't really bruise that easily. We're also hopeful that, eventually, our ostrich-headed allies will realize there's a world war going on out there and they need to pick a side -- the choice being between the forces of civilization and the forces of anarchy. Considering the fact that the latter team is growing stronger and bolder daily, while most of our European Union friends continue to dismantle their defenses, that day may not be too long in coming.

In the meantime, let's be realistic about the world we live in. Mexican leaders apparently have an economic policy based on exporting their own citizens, while complaining about U.S. immigration policies that are far less exclusionary than their own. The French jail perfectly nice people for politically incorrect comments, but scold us for holding terrorists at Guantanamo.

Russia, though, takes the cake. Here is a government apparently run by ex-KGB agents who have no problem blackmailing whole countries by turning the crank on their oil pipelines. They're not doing anything shady, they say. They can't help it if their opponents are so notoriously accident-prone. Criticize these guys and you might accidentally drink a cup of tea laced with a few million dollars worth of deadly, and extremely rare, radioactive poison. Oppose the Russian leadership, and you could trip and fall off a tall building or stumble into the path of a bullet.

There's more. Read the rest, including why he considers criticism form our allies as a badge of honor.

For someone "not" running for President, he sure as hell acts like he is.

Run Fred Run!

h/t los de Babalu

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 02, 2007

Fred Nails It AGAIN

Fred Thompson either needs a paycheck SO badly that he's settled for making political commentary, or he's setting himself up BRILLIANTLY for a presidential bid in '08.

Today Fred tackles "healthcare" (**cough, bullshit, cough**) in Cuba, and a possible documentary on same by Michael Moore:

You might have read the stories about filmmaker Michael Moore taking ailing workers from Ground Zero in Manhattan to Cuba for free medical treatments. According to reports, he filmed the trip for a new movie that bashes America for not having government-provided health care.

Now, I have no expectation that Moore is going to tell the truth about Cuba or health care. I defend his right to do what he does, but Moore's talent for clever falsehoods has been too well documented. Simply calling his movies documentaries rather than works of fiction, I think, may be the biggest fiction of all.

While this PR stunt has obviously been successful -- here I am talking about it -- Moore's a piker compared to Fidel Castro and his regime. Moore just parrots the story they created -- one of the most successful public relations coups in history. This is the story of free, high quality Cuban health care.

The truth is that Cuban medical care has never recovered from Castro's takeover -- when the country’s health care ranked among the world's best. He won the support of the Cuban people by promising to replace Batista’s dictatorship with free elections, and to end corruption. Once in power, though, he made himself dictator and instituted Soviet-style Communism. Cubans not only failed to regain their democratic rights, their economy plunged into centrally planned poverty.

As many as half of Cuba's doctors fled almost immediately -- and defections continue to this day. Castro won't allow observers in to monitor his nation's true state, but defectors tell us that many Cubans live with permanent malnutrition and long waits for even basic medical services. Many treatments we take for granted aren't available at all -- except to the Communist elite or foreigners with dollars.

For them, Castro keeps "show" clinics equipped with the best medicines and technologies available. It was almost certainly one of these that Moore went to, if the stories in the NY Post and The Daily News are true.

Nothing about this story inspires doubt, though. Elements in Hollywood have been infatuated with the Cuban commander for years. It always leaves me shaking my head when I read about some big-time actor or director going to Cuba and gushing all over Castro. And, regular as rain, they bring up the health care myth when they come home.

What is it that leads people to value theoretically "free" health care, even when it's lousy or nonexistent, over a free society that actually delivers health care? You might have to deal with creditors after you go to the emergency ward in America, but no one is denied medical care here. I guarantee even the poorest Americans are getting far better medical services than many Cubans.

The Cuban "official" story is one of a model of public health success: increased longevity and quality of life based on a preventative health focus.

Folks, the only reason Cuban "healthcare" focuses on preventative medicine is that once people get sick, there's very little available treatment.  The truth of the matter is more like this. (pictures and MORE references, if you can stomach them at the link.  Let this serve as your warning.)

Fred continues here describing his take on Hollywood's love affair with the cagastro regime, and the hypocrisy of people like Michael Moore.  It's well worth the read.

Honestly, the more I hear from Fred, the more I like.  Run Fred Run!

h/t the Babalusians, who are also Fred fans!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

How I spent my afternoon

Rear ended by a dude going full speed, probably without insurance......  I was stopped.

Yes, I'm ok.  A little stiff and nervous, still.

Here's what my poor baby car looks like now:

the front, driver side fog lights

The rear damage....

Here's what I did to the guy I got pushed into....

And here's what hit me:

The perfect advertisement for an SUV, no?

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:01 PM | Comments (27) | TrackBack

May 04, 2007

The GOP debate

Yeah, I missed it last night (I've watched parts of it, since).  It was pointless.  For two very important reasons:

1. In one hour, 10 guys get about 5 minutes each, which isn't really enough time even for soundbites.

2. No Fred.  Why should I watch a debate over a YEAR AND A HALF before the election if it doesn't even include the guy I suspect I am going to get to vote for?

Turns out, I was entirely right in my thinking about this.  Michelle Malkin, who liveblogged the whole thing was "getting whiplash" trying to keep up.

From what I've seen/ read, looks like (as expected) Giuliani was the big loser.  Didn't prep well enough and stumbled through the few hardball questions he was tossed.  Tancredo may have helped his cause by focusing on his major issue, and the other "small dogs" probably helped themselves by getting their names out there more.  Romney and McCain, the other "tall dogs" either stayed steady or lost a bit.

The whole thing was mostly unremarkable except for the puerile questions.

Sister Toldjah also has a pretty in-depth liveblog post.

If you didn't see it the video is here (behind a commercial, and a disclaimer that doesn't apply), just hang on for the video. When the first video is over, it will tell you which is the next segment, so just click.

On the Fred front, he'll be speaking tonight to a gathering in Orange County, CA, to be shown on C-SPAN.  Catch the best non-candidate in the race live!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dear Students

My gal Ricki has some words for college students as they are about take their spring semester finals and receive their grades. It's as true for my students as it is for hers:

[T]his is aimed at everybody who fails to understand that going to college means they're supposed to put some effort into their education:

1. No, I don't offer extra credit. Especially AFTER the final exam, when you would be the only one with the opportunity to do it.

2. I'm really sorry you got a D, but if you had paid attention to what I was saying earlier in the semester, and if you had paid attention to the fact that all the grades on the tops of the papers I handed back to you were Ds, it should not come as a shock to you.

3. I'm terribly aggrieved that you will, in fact, not be able to graduate. However, there are consequences for one's actions and one of the consequences of not doing the work in a class is that you fail the class. And one of the consequences of failing a class may be that you do not get to graduate. However, after the final exam is not the most opportune time to consider this possibility.

4. No, I cannot give an "incomplete" because you failed the class. "Incomplete" is for people who are PASSING, but, say, give birth three weeks before the semester is over. Or break their leg. Or have to care for their post-op father. Do not demean the purpose of an "incomplete" by trying to use it to save your own sorry ass.

5. And to all the people who call me on the phone 20 minutes after a (non-machine-graded) exam is over to ask me if I "have [their] exam graded yet" - stick that phone where the sun don't shine. First off, I'm not a mindreader, so I can't predict you're going to call me, and so, grade your exam first. Second of all, you're not entitled to get your exam graded any faster than anyone else's. Third, if you call me on the phone, it just slows me down, and it makes me annoyed to boot. Fourth, if I WERE clairvoyant and knew you were going to call me up asking if I had your exam graded, you can bet your sweet bippy that exam would be at the very bottom of the stack.

On the first day of class, I give my students Ricki's Super Secret Advice For Success In College. It is: "Don't piss off your professors."

Please consider that advice in the coming week. I still have your grades to assign.
Amen Sistah!  I suspect many of you educators out there know exactly what she's talking about too!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:25 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Where is the outrage?

Today Fred asks the tough questions about gender oppression in the Middle East and elsewhere:

One of the worst examples of this gender oppression was Afghanistan during the Taliban days. Women were not allowed to go to school, to work outside the home or even go out in public without a male family member. A woman with a medical emergency, but no male relatives to take her to a doctor, was expected simply to suffer or die. An aged woman with no one to bring her food was expected to starve. Too many did.

Life for women under the Taliban and similar governments ought to inspire anger and indignation in everybody, especially human rights advocates. Im constantly surprised, however, by the apparent apathy among many who say they care about the rights of women and other minorities.

I doubt, for example, that our television networks have spent as much time exposing the horrors of life for millions of women in pre-liberation Iraq and Afghanistan as theyve spent covering Abu Ghraib. For some reason, everyday atrocities such as the endemic beatings, honor killings and forced marriages of women just dont seem to be newsworthy.

The other side of that coin is that we also rarely hear about dramatic improvements in the lives of women when they come about due to American actions.

Fred's right.  Where is the outrage at the perpetrators of these crimes?  Where is the praise for those who come in behind and right the wrongs?  Whether the hero is from the US or anywhere else?

Why does the media CONSISTENTLY portray the US as the world's only bad guy?  Because we supposedly know better than the savages who live in other, less-advanced countries?  Are they saying that people from other countries are STUPID?  Or just that we should expect this kind of behavior, as we would from children, or animals who don't know any better?

Evil is evil.  Cruelty is cruelty.  Period.  It shouldn't matter whether it's a battered wife in Peoria or a widow starving to death in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.  Everyone should be brought to task for their bad acts equally.

On the other hand, good is good, too.  And it should be praised.  Yet we never hear the good stories, the uplifting moments, the people and programs that reach out.  All we hear is the bad, when it finally gets reported.

We should challenge ourselves to do as Fred ultimately suggests, to look at both sides of the story and ask "Where is the outrage?  Whence comes the help?" and put these events back into real-life perspective, rather than seeing them only in the harsh blue glow thrown off by the boob tube.


Posted by caltechgirl at 01:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The MOST important column you will read this year

Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari makes a compelling case for the continued support of Iraq by the US and her allies:

Last weekend a traffic jam several miles long snaked out of the Mansour district in western Baghdad. The delay stemmed not from a car bomb closing the road but from a queue to enter the city's central amusement park. The line became so long some families left their cars and walked to enjoy picnics, fairground rides and soccer, the Iraqi national obsession.

Across the city, restaurants are slowly filling and shops are reopening. The streets are busy. Iraqis are not cowering indoors. The appalling death tolls from suicide attacks are often high because of crowding at markets. These days you are as likely to hear complaints about traffic congestion as about the security situation. Across Baghdad there is a cacophony of sirens from ambulances, firefighters and police providing public services. You cannot even escape the curse of traffic wardens ticketing illegally parked cars.

It's a fantastic piece that tells the side of the story that we rarely ever hear. The rest is excerpted below the jump.

Hey Dummocrats, you really think we should leave now?

h/t Kim at Wizbang

Read More "The MOST important column you will read this year" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 04:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 05, 2007

That Fred speech I was talking about? -- UPDATED

UPDATE: This video is a series of highlights. The full speech is presented in four parts below the jump.

Here's last night's Fred speech, as mentioned below:

Also, Weekend Pundit has a great roundup of recent Fred links.

Read More "That Fred speech I was talking about? -- UPDATED" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 11:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Shout Out to the Milbloggers!

The second annual Milblog conference was held today in Washington, DC.

I participated via web feed and the live chat room, and it was a privilege to interact with many of the leading voices of the Military Blog community.  The folks who participated in the chat are here.  I enjoyed speaking with all of you!

One of the highlights of today's conference was the opening address, presented via video by President George W. Bush:

Kudos to Andi for putting the whole thing together so brilliantly. Thanks to all the panel participants and speakers for sharing your thoughts. And last but not least, thanks to BloodSpite and Mrs. Greyhawk for running the live chat and streaming video!

RG has pictures of the Tiara Gals who were present for today's festivities.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 06, 2007

The Princess is getting a puppy sister! Scratch That

One of the CaltechMom's friend's dogs recently had puppies, and as we've been thinking long and hard about getting a little sibling for the Princess, she offered us one, and we accepted!

The new puppy is a little black standard smooth-coated Dachshund, and CaltechMom will pick her up tomorrow.

The only problem is that we won't get to meet her until after Mom has had her for a couple of weeks.  And she needs a name before then!.

This is where you all come in.  We're having a hard time giving Puppy-girl a name!

We'd prefer a girly name, two syllables, since that's easiest for the dog to learn, and something suitable to a little black doxie.

Also, it can't rhyme with "Molly" or "Dolly" because the Princess' name already does.

Have at it folks.  There may be a prize for the person suggesting the eventual name!

No Dog. She called my mom tonight and said her brother took my dog for himself. The rotten bastard.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:02 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

May 07, 2007

Your Daily Fred

Fred sits down with Breitbart on the afternoon after the GOP Debate. The discussion touches the GOP debate, whether he'll run, and what Americans are looking for in a President.

The video is here.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this video is that it's a single shot, no cuts, no edits.

This is honesty, or he deserves about 12 Oscars.

Run, Fred, Run!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:47 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

May 09, 2007

Today's Fred

In today's column, Fred responds to George Tenet's questionable recollections about National Security and intelligence in the days leading up to 9/11.

Interestingly enough, Fred seems to take issue more with the MEDIA and their handling of Tenet's claims than with what Tenet has to say for himself.

Some excerpts from the piece:

I havent read the book, but I have followed the media accounts. My attention was drawn to Tenets statements that al Qaeda is here and waiting and that they wish nothing more than to be able to see a mushroom cloud above the United States.

Naturally, the media emphasis is not on that. Its attention is on any differences Tenet had with the administration. The medias premise is that Iraq should not have been considered a real threat to us and that the administration basically misled the country into war. While one may take issue with Tenet on several things, I was intrigued that on some very important issues, Tenet did not follow the media script when answering Russerts questions.


On the issue of weapons of mass destruction, although Iraq undoubtedly had such weapons in the past, Tenet acknowledges that everybody got it wrong as to whether they would have them at the time of the invasion. On the nuclear issue, he said that the CIA thought that Saddam was five to seven years away from a nuclear capability unless he was able to obtain fissile material from another source.

A couple of things occur to me here. In the first place, is five to seven years that far away? Since four years have passed since the invasion, that would be only a year from now if we had not invaded. If he had been able to obtain fissile materials, the time could have been much shorter. There are over 40 countries in the world with fissile material sufficient to make a nuclear bomb and much of it is unguarded.

The CIA could have been on the short side or on the long side of the estimate. They have underestimated the capabilities of hostile nations before, such as North Koreas missile technologies. Also, Tenet acknowledged that before the Gulf War, the CIA had underestimated how far along Saddam was on his nuclear program.

All of this hardly fits with the notion that Saddam posed no threat. As Tenet made the media rounds, he may have helped the administration as much as hurt it, but he was in no danger of having that fact highlighted by his interviewers.

I think Fred makes an excellent point here about CIA intelligence. We KNEW. KNEW. that Saddam had WMDs. The evidence is overwhelming. Just because he didn't have very many LEFT at the time of the initial conflict DOES NOT MEAN that he wouldn't attempt to restock. Or get newer, more dangerous toys.  And the fact that they thought those "new toys" were coming in 5-7 years doesn't detract from the danger.  Ladies and Gentlemen, The CIA's "5 years from now" is NEXT YEAR.  Probably less than 12 months, even.  And what if that was an OVERestimate.

I don't even want to contemplate THAT in the context of the United States NOT going after Saddam.  Do you?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 11, 2007

The Turning of the Tassel

Congratulations to Amanda on graduating from the University of Miami today!

Big bear hugs for the graduate!

I am so proud of you.  It took a lot of persistence, some bumps in the road, and long nights studying, but I know you have accomplished so much, and I couldn't be happier for you!  Wish I could be there too!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mentally exhausted. Ready to snap.

See today's Friday F**k Off for details.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:49 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 13, 2007

Lessons from Mom

I've learned a lot of lessons from my Mom over the years. So many, in fact, that if I tried to list them, it would take me right through to Tuesday. All the little things, like sit up straight, be polite, don't chew with your mouth open. And big things too, like A$$holes usually bite themselves in the behind, and that each of us has enough strength to handle what life sends our way, no matter whether we like it or not.

But as I look over my life, I realize that I have learned many valuable lessons from some of the women in my life who are Moms, too. Each of their lives impacts mine by reminding me of the things we so often forget.

From Bou, to be aware of the quiet moments, the small incidents of everyday life, because it is those times which have the most meaning and are the most endearing.

From Christina, that Feistyness and Grace and co-exist. It's tough to balance being a lady AND a first-class smart ass, but some how she manages everyday. Also that persevering through the last 5% of the task is worth all the rewards that wait at the end.

From VW, to stop and smell the roses, and take a picture or two along the way. Those pictures and our memories are all we keep from our past.

From Beth, and the other Blue Star Moms, that courage is as important on the homefront as it is on the field of battle, and the courage at home is the mainstay of the men and women at war.

From Margi and Elizabeth, that the unlooked-for blessing is often the MOST fulfilling. Most of us would never plan to have a baby at 40, more than a decade after the last one, or walk out on a high power, high dollar job that affords us a comfortable lifestyle and professional fulfillment, but each of them has found untold wonder in the unexpected places that their lives have taken them.

And from Helen, who is not a mother yet (give her a few more months), I've learned not to judge. The girl has had an interesting life. She's done things that make people scratch their heads and cluck their tongues, but I've never known anyone who consistently makes such good choices for HERSELF. It wasn't always that way, I suppose, but it seems she has learned herself and knows herself maybe better than anyone I have ever known. I admire that, and from it I have learned that each of us has our own way, and no one else has a right to question what we know in our hearts are the right choices for ourselves.

For them and for so many more who put themselves out there every day, sharing their wit and wisdom with an unsuspecting world, thanks for everything that you do.

Happy Mothers' Day, everyone!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 14, 2007

Reflecting from the other side of the fence

When I was a student, in high school, college, and even in graduate school, I had it impressed on me that the BEST way to make a good impression on my teachers was to work hard, be polite, and keep my sh*t together.

And frankly it always seemed to me to be a good idea, especially when asking for a favor such as extra help, a letter of recommendation, or a sit-down meeting outside the classroom.

I wonder sometimes if those lessons have been lost on the next generation. (BTW, next generation?  As if.  I was there myself less than 10 years ago!)

I am the initial point of contact for students in two of our programs once they have been accepted.  Among my many jobs is testing coordinator, and so once students know that they are coming to our school, they contact me to set up placement exams.

I can't believe the way these kids talk to me.  Do they not recognize that I am one of their professors?  Do they not have any respect for my position or the impact I can have on their future careers?

Here's a brief list of do's and don'ts for those of you still in school:

DO introduce yourself to your professor and ask any questions you would like answered.

DO NOT call your professor THAT YOU HAVE NEVER MET BEFORE by his/ her first name.

DO be timely in responding to any communication from the school you will be attending

DO NOT use that response to ask for special favors or to complain about what we are asking you to do.

DO purchase your class materials and texts ahead of time

DO NOT whine at me because you couldn't get your sh*t together before class begins

DO arrive at class on time, with your notebook, and ready to listen

DO NOT eat, check your email, or text your friends in my class.  This will NOT help you get a good grade.  Listening and taking notes will.

DO your homework when assigned

DO NOT ask me for extra time because you are confused.  No one else is.

I just wish someone could tell MY students this!

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:04 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

May 15, 2007

Putting it into perspective

Ladies and Gentlemen, the wussification of America, illustrated:

Lost cause my ass.  Kudos to our troops and their commanders for pursuing the LEAST bloody war in this country's history.  Quit whining you pussies and step in and support the men and women out there who really put themselves on the line FOR YOU.

h/t Michael Totten, who found it here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:02 AM | Comments (41) | TrackBack

Attention all Chris Muir stalkers

(that means YOU, wRitersBlock, and you Harvey)

Chris Muir will be the guest on tomorrow's Steve H. Graham Blogtalk Radio show.

9:30pm Eastern, Wednesday May 16.

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

An Open Letter to Michael Moore

Dear Mooreon,

You really shouldn't attempt to play big boy games until you are potty trained and no longer wail for Mommy at the drop of a hat.  Oh, and BTW, not that you care, but you can't hide behind Mommy's skirts and question her parenting skills at the same time....

Love and Kisses,


Friends and Neighbors, if I wasn't 100% behind Fred before, I am now.  Not only did he best the Mooreon in HIS OWN MEDIUM, it was a timely, witty, and on-point response. 

Can you imagine a President with this kind of response to our enemies?  Fred gets it.  He totally gets it.  For more on this, see Bob Krumm's commentary on Fred and the OODA Loop.

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:53 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 16, 2007

Bound and Gagged Tagged

The lovely Ken S hit me with this one:

Pick out ten favorite movies, then look them up at IMDb. In the overview at the top of each movie's page, there are "Plot Keywords," usually five of them. (Plus more, if you click the link.) Take the first five, and post them. Then the rest of us get to play movie buff and see if we can guess them.
Ok, folks here goes. Y'all know me so this should be a piece of cake, right?   To make  it even easier, these aren't necessarily my MOST FAVORITE, but ones I love to watch again and again, and especially I can fall asleep to them.  In no particular order (that would be too easy!):

1.Anachronistic/ Jewish Humor / Nazi / Actor Playing Multiple Roles / Nazis
(none of these has much to do with the film. Huh.)

2. Christmas/ Concert Scene/ Choreographer/ Choreography/ Dancer
(this is SO EASY)

3.Badminton/ Happy Birthday To You/ Money / Dungeon / Disney Animated Feature
(good luck!)

4. Moon/ Messiah/ Wilhelm Scream / Wuxia Fiction/ Alien Civilization
(yeah, WTF????)

5. Ex Nazi / Air Base / British / Eccentric / Doomsday Machine

6. Fortune / Dysfunctional Family / Quirky / Friendship / Party
(suckers... that's a hint BTW)

7. Dirty Cop / Dock / Criminal Mastermind / Burn Victim / Manipulation

8. Catholic Church / Catholic / Roman Catholic / Blues Music / Country Music

9. Female Killer / Honeymoon / Police / San Francisco California / Serial Killer

10. Multiple Murder / Sidekick / Blind / Sam Spade / Hercule Poirot

Two Bonus, because they didn't fit in the 10:

11. Severed Arm / British Film / Corporeal Mortification / Severed Leg / British

12. Hungry / Fantasy Life / Hardship / Stylized / Enchantment

Play along in the comments, and answers will be posted tomorrow.

As for tagging, well, I'm supposed to tag 10 people, so I'll tag
Mrs. Who,
Beth C,
and Richmond.

Mostly because I want to know what your favorite movies are.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:27 PM | Comments (26) | TrackBack

May 18, 2007

Who said this?

(you can look here for the answer and the rest of the piece if you don't want to guess)

"Whether or not the Internet can elect any particular candidate in any particular race, it's clear that all of you and our many friends across the blogosphere and the Web are part of a true information revolution. That's why so much of my effort has been focused on talking to Americans through this medium. By empowering individuals and building communities, the Internet provides a way of going around the inside-the-beltway crowd to reach people in numbers unheard of not that long ago.

I believe this direct communication and discussion is going to have an enormous impact on our political process. Our nation is facing unprecedented threats, and the challenges of globalization. We have a 70-plus trillion dollar entitlement shortfall and a government that is not effective in important ways.

To solve our problems, we have to realize that our country is pretty evenly divided along party lines. With close numbers in the House and the Senate, there will be no real reform without real bipartisanship. Too often, what we are seeing isn't an effort to find solutions, but rather insults and purely partisan politics. There are many good and responsible people in government who are willing to work together, but the level of bipartisanship needed for real progress can only be achieved when politicians perceive that the American people demand it."

Sounds like someone who should run for President, doesn't it?

h/t BethC

Run, Fred, Run!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 22, 2007

The Da Vinci Code Review

Ok, so I had been avoiding reading Dan Brown's Da Vinci code. With all of the freaking hype, I just wanted to make it go away. This, in spite of the fact that I have read all of the other novels he's written, and I love them.

The only question I have is why did no one tell me how much I would like this book sooner?

Reasons why below the fold for the 3 of you who haven't read the book and don't want spoilers.

Read More "The Da Vinci Code Review" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 08:17 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Political round up

Here's what I've been thinking about politically lately:

Fred on the UN:

I'm never particularly surprised when the United Nations seems to oppose human freedom rather than promote it. At least a third of its member nations aren’t democratic themselves. Many that claim to be, are only barely so.

An organization that treats democracies and dictators equally cannot be expected to be a pure force for good. When Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Il have as much say in U.N. matters as the entire populations of Poland and New Zealand, you’re going to have problems.
Fred on the immigration bill:
The immigration reform bill worked out late last week by Senate Republicans and Democrats likely will fail, former senator and possible presidential candidate Fred Thompson said here Sunday.

Thompson, speaking at the National Restaurant Association annual show, said the bill will not win the support of the American people because they don't trust senators' promises to block illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border into the U.S.
"Nobody believes them. It goes to the bigger issue of the lack of credibility our government has these days," said Thompson, who was greeted with hoots and applause from the 2,300 convention attendees who filled a ballroom at the McCormick Place convention center.
Thompson also was harshly critical of China, saying the military and economic threat the country poses is among the critical issues - along with untamed growth in entitlement spending - that are not being dealt with while the U.S. is fixated on the war in Iraq.

"I call it 'The Day After Iraq,' " Thompson said. "It's not a pretty picture."

He said China is "making deals with every bloodthirsty dictator they can" to feed its growing economy's need for energy.
And finally, the best explanation of the immigration issue I've seen yet, by Cobb, comparing immigration to traffic:
I don't think we have too many cars on the road, but everyone who subverts the system destroys the commons and undermines the rule of law as well as respect for it. The only way to establish respect for the process of immigration in America is to insist on enforcement for the law. You simply cannot drive around with no plates and tags. If this system isn't fixed for real, then there is going to be road rage.
There's much more, and this brief quote doesn't do the analogy justice.

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Note to self:

Red Eye flights are great if you actually manage to get some sleep. You know, instead of reading books.

Also, what the holy blue f*ck is it about flying that makes you so f*cking tired and sore at the end of a flight?  Even a short flight? I swear to all the deities I can think of (including the God of Partial Credit) it was a 51 minute flight from Chicago to Detroit, and I could barely haul my cookies out to the frigging curb afterward.

I just want to go home!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 23, 2007

200 K coming up!

Linky Love for Mr./Ms. 200,000!

We are 156 hits away!

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:16 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 24, 2007

Moms and Sons

Today was a good day for mother-son blogging:

Oddy shares some pie with her little man.

Bou and Bones discuss girls

Seaturtle just doesn't understand where they get it from.

VW shares pictures from PreK graduation fun

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 25, 2007

May 25, 1977

Happy Birthday Star Wars!

So, did you see it on opening day?  I was 6 months old then, so the answer is NO for me. In fact I didn't see one in the theater until Return of the Jedi.

How has Star Wars affected/changed YOUR life?
Posted by caltechgirl at 09:15 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 27, 2007

Movin' on up.....

Well, we finally closed on the house on Thursday.

According to the contract, they had to be out at 5 pm that day.  We arrive at 5:05 with a pile of new locks and a bottle of champagne.

By 8 pm ALL the locks had been changed.

Anyway, we arrived at 5:05.  To find that the MOTHERFUCKERS had had the power turned off.  And the water, too.  This is POST 5  pm on Thursday before Memorial Day.  My choices are get it turned on Friday or go camping in my new house til Tuesday.

8:00 am Friday, I called our friends at Pasadena Water and Power.  I explained my plight and told her that we had been TOLD.  EXPLICITLY. that the services would be on, and that we would merely have to call.  And what was I supposed to do with nowhere else to go before Tuesday? (we are in the process of furniture moving, and we will be actually living there starting tomorrow night).

She took pity on me, charged me a small fee for same day service (they usually will not do same-day on Friday or the day before a holiday) and told me it would be on by 7pm.

A lovely gentleman was there by noon.

He, it turns out, is the dude responsible for our service area, and was ALSO the dude who turned the power and water OFF the previous afternoon.  He told us a very interesting story.  Seems Pasadena removes the actual water and power meters from a residence if it is to be vacant more than a couple of days to prevent meter theft.  His paperwork actually asked him to remove both meters because the house was supposedly going to be empty for quite a while.

However, as he is frequently in the neighborhood, he had seen the "For Sale" sign and had seen it being taken down, so he decided to save himself some work, and left the meters behind, as he assumed (correctly) that removal of the sign meant the house had been sold.

So when he got the call from dispatch he said "I knew it" and drove right over and turned us back on.  Took him 3 minutes.

Best $40 I ever spent.  Thanks Pasadena Water and Power.

Fucking cocksuckers.  Trying to screw me over again.  I hope they rot in hell.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:25 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

May 29, 2007

Just an update....

The house looks like a box tornado hit it.  Seriously.

And my brain is SO not functioning.

More after we get the internet working in the house tomorrow morning.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:14 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Useful links for my LA area peeps

First up, for those of you in the SGV area, a great new blog: Foothill Cities.  FCblog focuses on local happenings and politics in the cities along the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains from Pasadena down to Pomona.  It's how I keep up with local Pasadena news.  PS-N is nowhere near as responsive or informative!

And for everyone in LA, the LAFD News and Information blog, the official blog of the Los Angeles Fire Department Media and Public Relations office.  Great informative site about major fire incidents, including details, traffic difficulties, etc.  Also a great source of info about the department and department-sponsored public events.  I wish more public service agencies would maintain similar sites (hint hint LAPD, Pasadena PD, CHP, etc.).  Recently, their coverage of the Griffith Park fire and resulting evacuations and closures was EXCELLENT.

Thumbs up to both sites!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 31, 2007

A Modern Commandment

Of Ellison:

"Thou shalt take thy garbage out from thy dwelling-place when the midden-heap becometh full, and deposit it in the Great Big Rolly Thing By The Driveway. Do this, lest thy habitation become stinky: I am the Lawd.

"On the second day and on the fifth day, thou shalt roll the Great Big Rolly Thing to the boundary of thy driveway, even unto the edge of thy driveway, that the Garbage Men may come to remove it from thy dwelling-place.

"And on the first of the month, thou shalt send thy Check-Offering unto the Garbage-Men, that they may continue to do their service, and the Crap in thy Dwelling-Place shall not become as numerous as the stars in the sky. It shall be a commandment unto you from generation to generation."


Read the rest of Ellison's thoughts on modern life and it's reliance on waste removal.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

By Request....

A little Photoshopping for the Zonkmeister:

Darth Zeejus

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:28 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack