The personal and the political

The personal — On the bright side, no one in my house has swine flu yet.  On the not quite so bright side, my washing machine died with a load full of sopping wet, not-yet-clean clothes inside.

The political — I’d say Chris Christie is going to win a big, fat gubernatorial victory, wouldn’t you?

Ricardo Leon Sánchez de Reinaldo, aka Rick Sanchez, fails to toe the CNN party line in the great Taos hotel name Anglicization debate.  This isn’t new, but it’s interesting since Taos is nearby, and it’s been relatively big news here in New Mexico.  Facebook even has a Create an Anglicized Name for Rick Sanchez page, which, as you may well imagine, has quite a few less than flattering suggestions, some of which, predictably, involve a nickname for Richard that rhymes with Rick.  Santa Fe New Mexican columnist Inez Russell (no relation) is a fan, and contributes to the merriment.

Pelosi and company have delivered a 1990 page health care monstrosity. War and Peace is only about a thousand pages.  So is Gone With the Wind.  So if you were going to read the whole health care bill, it would be like sitting down and reading War and Peace from cover to cover, then immediately picking up Gone With the Wind and reading that cover to cover too — except that both of those books have interesting plots that hold your attention, and aren’t written in dense and dreary legelese.  That’s not new news either, but it’s been a busy week, non-politically speaking.  As usual.

So, off to the laundromat, I guess, kids in tow.  Dragging wet and dirty laundry across town is enough to take most busy moms’ minds off politics — and that’s exactly what Nancy Pelosi et al. are counting on.  We’re all too busy with our own lives and our own problems to pay attention to politics.  Well, not this mom.

Not this one either.   Thanks, Pauline.   Thanks for staying in the game.

Look who’s shaving her head

My friend Tanya Van Dyke, that’s who.  She’s doing it through St. Baldrick’s, an organization that raises money for childhood cancer research.  It works like this:  someone, like Tanya, agrees to shave her head in order to get her friends and family to donate money to St. Baldrick’s for cancer research.

Personally, you couldn’t pay me (or my favorite charity) enough to shave my head, but Tanya’s less vain than I, and she’s going to — unless she chickens out (she’s pretty fearless) or her husband manages to talk her out of it (he may, but I doubt it).  I won’t shave my head, but I will donate on Tanya’s behalf, since it would be a crying shame if she shaved her lovely hair for nothing.

Pearls before swine

Via Memeorandum, I read TV Newser’s report that President Obama spent two and a half hours giving an off-the-record briefing to a small coterie of left-wing media luminaries including Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC (which, unlike Fox News, actually is a news organization), Maureen Dowd, best known for overuse of sexy double-entendres in her New York Times columns,  and Gwen Ifill, author of The Breakthrough:  Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.

It’s still a relatively free country, so Mr. Obama can spend 150 minutes of his time with anyone he likes, but I find it ironic than one of his guests, Mr. Olbermann, complained on his show back in the bad old Bush days of 2006:

The President takes 90 minutes worth of your taxpayer dollars to entertain right-wing radio yackers in the Oval Office…

H/T to Allahpundit at Hot Air for that priceless little gem.

I wonder if the esteemed Mr. Olbermann — a genuine journalist if ever there was one, unlike non-journalists such as Bret Baier, Chris Wallace or Brit Hume at Fox — recalled the remark during the 150 minutes he spent hanging out with the commander in chief and  absorbing his pearls of wisdom?

Now you can stop wondering about the title.

Absentee blogger

That’s me this week, still trying to get our school routine back on track after the vacation.  There just isn’t a lot of creative energy left over for writing.  Oh, and you didn’t miss the NMI link; I took this week off, the first time I’ve done so since I began writing the column.

I’m not taking a complete media holiday, however, as I will be down in Albuquerque tomorrow to tape an episode of New Mexico in Focus on KNME.  I’ll be one of the panelists in a segment called “The Line.”  It’s the first time that I’ll have appeared on television as a political pundit.

The end of the vacation and the Nobel Peace Prize

Today I woke up in my own bed again after ten nights in various hotel beds, couches and air mattresses on the floor.  My back will take a few days to recover, both from that and from far too many hours in the car.  I’d give just about anything to spend the morning at home, doing piles of laundry and sorting through all the junk mail to find the bills, but the girls have religious ed at the Cathedral, then mass, so off I go again.

The penultimate day of our trip began for me at 5:30 a.m., and for my poor husband half an hour earlier, when he awoke in the dark, turned on the laptop and read that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.  He read it on Free Republic, so he assumed that some Freeper had read a satire in The Onion and made a fool of himself posting it as a genuine story.  A little web surfing disabused him of this very natural assumption.

I write “poor husband” because the man had to sit there for half an hour with no one to whom to express his utter incredulity.  When I woke up and he told me, I said, “Very funny,” and went to the computer.  “No, I’m serious,” he said.  But I wasn’t falling for it.  The guy’s an inveterate joker, and likes nothing better than to telll some outrageous lie and get you to believe it, so he can then laugh at your gullibility.

My first source for news is usually Memeorandum, and sure enough, there it was:  Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize.  I laughed till I cried, literally.  My husband and I laughed so hard together we were both too breathless to explain to Elizabeth, who is a light sleeper and awoke at the sound of so much mirth, what was funny.

After incredulity and hilarity came compassion.  Poor, poor President Obama, I thought.  He must be mortified.  He thinks a lot of himself, but I was sure he would see the absurdity of the award, and could not help but be embarrassed by it.  I have little doubt that Mr. Obama has fantasized about winning the Nobel Peace Prize, but winning it in the eighth and last year of a staggeringly successful two-term presidency over the course of which he’d brought peace and joy to the world.  Nuclear weapons would be a distant memory, Ahmadinejad would bestow the kiss of peace upon Netanyahu, and the lion would lie down with the lamb.

But now those fawning jackasses in Oslo have ruined the fantasy.  They gave him the prize for doing nothing at all, and now even if he does become the greatest peacemaker in the long, bloody history of humankind, there won’t be any meaningful way of recognizing him for it.

The Wall Street Journal editorial says everything I’ve been thinking.  I have no idea what the columnists and bloggers I usually read are saying, because I’ve been too busy traveling and recovering from traveling to read them.  Maybe I’ll update later with some links, but maybe I’ll just do laundry instead.

Update:  laundry.

My mom went to Nordstrom and all I got was this lousy blog post

In the information age, having too few computers with online connections is an even greater hardship than having too few bathrooms.  Here, belatedly, is the link to my column at NMI this week.  It’s about Obama and the Olympics (and old story by now) and my take on it may surprise you.

There were so many blog posts I mentally composed while driving my tribe of children around the freeways of this accursed city, but since the sci-fi geeks of my youth were wrong and they haven’t invented USB jacks that go straight from your brain to your laptop, I was prevented from casting my pearls of wisdom before your eager eyes.  Oh well.

Tonight I’ll be at a hotel with wi-fi, so you might have an actual post to read instead of a disjointed pastiche of a tired mother’s thoughts.  Or not.

Because bloggers are supposed to post every day

Or at least every weekday.  That’s what they say.  They.  You know they, right?  I’m not sure exactly who they are, but they probably have fewer children than I do.  Or they might have more, but they are guys, and have wives to go along with all those kids.

This week, my four children and I are staying with a friend who has one child, along with another friend who brought her two children.  For those of you who went to school after they started that “new math” thing, that makes three moms and seven kids.  And, I might add, only two bathrooms.

I keep telling myself, the Von Trapps had seven children all by their own selves, so it’s really not that many, right?  Well, sort of.  The Von Trapp children were used to being one of seven (not to mention their parents being used to a houseful of servants) and it’s a little different when the children are accustomed to different sizes of households and different styles of parenting.

But my friends and I knew it would be a circus (those were our exact words) before we planned this crazy trip, and we’re still glad we came.  My back will recover from the air mattress, and we and our children will have the memories.  The good memories will remain, and the not so good ones will go the way of the backaches.

Throw enough money at Johnny and surely he’ll read

This is the title of my NMI column that ran yesterday.  Normally it runs on Tuesdays, but they ran it early.  I wanted to leave the Allen Weh interview as the top story on Monday, so I did not link to the column until today.

Coincidentally, a commenter on the Weh interview linked to his blog post casting doubt on the standard Republican platform of lower taxes and smaller government:

Look, if you want less government and lower taxes, it means you’re not going to work at solving the DWI problem and the low academic achievement in the public schools. And all the other problems that people expect government to solve.

For my rebuttal regarding education, please read my new NMI column.  For my thoughts on DWI, see an NMI column I wrote a couple of months ago.

Later this week, I’m packing up all the kids and heading for a short vacation with two of my best girlfriends and their children, so you may be reading less politics and more posts like this and this.  Or you may not be reading anything at all, if I can’t get the wireless internet to work or if I spend too much time playing Risk with the kids.

Allen Weh, candidate for governor of New Mexico

The first time I saw Allen Weh was when he addressed a meeting of the Santa Fe County GOP a little over a year ago. Weh was then chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, and as he spoke, my husband leaned over and whispered, “I’ll bet that guy’s a Marine.”

Indeed he is.  Not just a Marine, but a decorated combat veteran who served two terms in Vietnam and was recalled to active duty in the Gulf War, in Somalia, and most recently in Iraq in 2003-04.  He joined the Marines as an enlisted man, attended OCS and later UNM, and retired with the rank of Colonel.

Here in New Mexico there are no beaches, but Col. Weh hopes to storm the Capitol here in Santa Fe, first in the primary against Doug Turner, Janice Arnold-Jones and Susana Martinez, and then in November against presumed Democratic nominee Diane Denish.

I’ve always been very open about the fact that I am an active, involved Republican. I do not claim impartiality in the governor’s race. I will support whichever Republican is nominated.  Thus far I have not publicly endorsed any of the four declared candidates for the Republican nomination, since I have met only three of them personally, and would like to meet the fourth before I make my final decision.  Now that I have had the opportunity to speak with Allen Weh at some length, however, I have to say that I am impressed.

Col. Weh graciously gave me almost half an hour of his time on Saturday as he was driving down to Ruidoso, putting in one of many full days spent crisscrossing the state in his truck.  He told me that it is not unusual for him to drive 450 miles in a day, meeting with voters from Farmington to Hobbs in hopes of winning their votes in the Republican primary next spring.  I was not particularly surprised to hear it, since I myself have run into Weh at Santa Fe events no less than three times since June.  This is a man on a mission, clearly.

But what is his mission?  The issues page of his comprehensive and well-organized website highlights a number of areas in which he hopes to make an impact as New Mexico’s next governor.   The first of these is, perhaps not surprisingly, government corruption.  Weh announces on his website that

New Mexicans will see an end to special contracts for big campaign donors and personal friends.

He reiterated this promise during our interview, affirming that businesspeople who contribute to his campaign can expect only one thing from a Governor Weh:

I’m going to create a better business climate, and that’s all.

That better business climate can be created, he believes, by a fiscally responsible budget.  This means, Weh believes,

Three simple things:  keep taxes in line with the states around us, make our state government lean and efficient, and reduce unnecessary regulations.

Could he give an example, I asked, of unnecessary regulations?  He replied that the dairy, agriculture, oil, gas and mining industries were all over-regulated, and that when he meets with businesspeople in these industries throughout New Mexico, they complain about being harassed by regulations that exceed the national standards.  Weh believes this places an unfair burden on New Mexico businesses, affirming:

If it’s good enough for the EPA, it ought to be good enough for New Mexico.

This sounds more like the pronouncement of a businessman than a politician.  Then again, Allen Weh is not a politician.  He is a businessman, the founder and CEO of CSI Aviation Services.  He has never held elective office, but did serve as chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party from 2004 until January 2009.

Because 2006 and 2008 were hardly stellar years for Republicans in New Mexico, there are some who hold Weh responsible for the party’s lackluster performance.  When I asked Weh how he would respond to such criticisms, he replied:

Most people realize that a state party chairman has no control over national political headwinds, and the headwinds that compelled Republican defeats in 2006 and 2008 were the result of dissatisfaction with the disgraceful behavior of some Republican congressmen, with the failure of some Republicans in office to live up to their principles.  It was the result of dissatisfaction with President Bush’s war policies.  If someone things I’m powerful enough to compel all the changes in the national political headwinds…

Clearly, this is a man who holds no illusions about being able to “transform” New Mexico.  He is not promising Hope and Change, just a government free from corruption and over-regulation.

Education is another area which Col. Weh intends to make a priority if elected.  His website affirms that he will expand charter schools and give parents real educational choice.  When I asked if this included vouchers, he replied that he thinks vouchers would be a good thing for education in New Mexico, but acknowledged that they will be a hard sell in the legislature, and that charter schools may be the only thing he can realistically hope for.  Obviously this is one candidate who understands Harry Callahan’s sage advice:  a man’s got to know his limitations.

The last policy area we discussed was public safety.  Weh writes on his website that he plans to strengthen state police, which he says in under strength and lacks the resources it needs to protect New Mexico’s rural communities.

I asked him if prison reform would play any role in his public safety policy, and his response was immediate and emphatic:

Absolutely! We need to have a total review of our policy of incarceration, figure out who really needs to be in prison.  I want to make sure that the bad people who hurt people, people who are doing violent crimes, are put in prison and kept there.  That includes serial burglers.

For non-violent crimes, I’d emphasize some sort of non-incarceration alternative.  Weed out less violent offenders.  We need to hold them accountable, certainly, but that may not mean sleeping in a bed in a prison cell at night.

A law and order Republican who is passionate about prison reform?  A tough, no-nonsense Marine combat veteran who thinks we need a sensitive, nuanced way of dealing with crime rather than just calling for more prisons?  Then again, this is a Marine who posts on his Facebook page recipes of meals he enjoys cooking for his wife and family.

Today, Allen Weh stands out among political candidates because of his military background.  When I was young, almost every politician was a veteran.  Not always a combat veteran, but a veteran who had done military service of one kind or another.  This, of course, is no longer the case.

I asked Col. Weh how he thought his military experience had prepared him for the governorship:

There is no question that that experience has given me certain abilities to do things that no one else can unless they’ve had those experiences.  If you’ve been shot at, it builds a little character.  If you can handle that pressure, you can handle just about anything.  The experience of combat enables me to see things differently than a lot of politicians, who see crises everywhere.  They get upset and emotional about things that don’t upset me at all.  There isn’t anybody I’m afraid of.  Nobody.  Legislators on the other side of the aisle…I’ll reach out my hand to them, but I’m certainly not afraid of them.

Whether they end up being afraid of him we’ll have to wait and see.

You’re all racists

UpdateNMI published this column today, September 27, 2009.  Original post (written September 21) below:

You’re all racists — that was to have been the title of my New Mexico Independent column today.  But about an hour after I submitted it, I received an e-mail from my new editor (my previous editor, David Alire Garcia, having left not only the New Mexico Independent, but New Mexico as well, to my great sadness) at NMI announcing that she was calling a temporary moratorium on columns about race because the comments on recent columns have become so incendiary.

Even though the editor of the New Mexico Independent has decided that “this issue is not going anywhere good,” I’d just as soon all my hard work and profound insights not to go waste.  Fortunately, I have another venue here at Moralia.  My little blog doesn’t get as much traffic as NMI, it’s true, but at least I have sole editorial control here.  And I’m not finished writing about this issue.  Not by a long shot.

Neither are a lot of other conservatives, like Sister Toldjah, Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek, A Conservative Teacher, Jonah Goldberg (at whose table I sat at the New Mexico Turn Around conference where both of us spoke on Friday), S. Weasel (who ruminates on how to turn the same savage wit she unleashed on the Clintons for eight years on the Obamas without being raaaacist),  McCain, Cassandra at Villainous Company, Kathy Shaidle, Ed Driscoll, David Brooks (HT: Patrick the Paragraph Farmer), Another Black Conservative and, as I linked the other day, but whose excellent treatment of the issue deserves another plug, Nice Deb.

So here’s the column that was supposed to run at NMI today.  The column that was going to get the commenters at NMI too riled up for safety.  The column my editor didn’t want you to read. But as I said before, here at Moralia, I am the editor, and I get to decide what gets published and what doesn’t.  Having complete freedom of expression doesn’t pay quite as well as writing for somebody else, but as the MasterCard commercials say, it’s priceless.

You’re all racists

written for (but not published by)

The New Mexico Independent

“You’re all racists!”  That’s the meme sweeping the mainstream media and left-leaning websites these days.  Conservative opposition to the Democratic policies championed by President Obama.  Everybody is saying it.  Former President Jimmy Carter is saying it.   Frank Rich of The New York Times is saying it.  Orlando Romero of the Santa Fe New Mexican is saying it.  All the cool people are saying it, so it must be true, right? The fact is, conservatives oppose leftist politicians because they try to enact leftist policies.  Barack Obama is a leftist politician and therefore conservatives oppose his policies.  Because the swing voters who joined committed leftists to elect Obama are now having second thoughts, the liberal media elite is now desperately searching for a way to bring those swing voters back, and has decided that guilt-tripping them with accusations of racism is their best bet.

I frequently hear how racist people still are in the South and in some other regions of the United States.  I will admit that I have never lived in the South (as opposed to the Southwest) so I cannot speak personally of the Zeitgeist concerning matters of race in conservative circles there.  I do have a number of friends who are Southerners and Republicans, and I can say that I’ve never heard any of them make racist remarks about Barack Obama even though I have heard them attack his policy positions.

This is not to say that there aren’t younger racists in the South and other regions of the country.  I’m sure there are.  I just do not believe that there are even a tenth as many of them as the recent glut of opinion pieces suggests. There will always be people with anti-social and even pathological attitudes in our society.  There are people walking the streets among us who will at some point in the future commit murders and rapes, people who will kidnap and molest children, people who will swindle the elderly and the feeble-minded.  The fact that there are sadists and sociopaths among us does not make us a nation of sadists and sociopaths, however.

There are men in our society who hate women, men like George Sodini, who last month went on a shooting spree in  which he murdered three women and injured nine more, because he felt as though women rejected him sexually.  The fact that a small percentage of men burn with murderous rage against women does not make American men as a whole misogynistic.

Likewise, there are people in our society who hate blacks.  A few are violent, pathological racists, who think the murderous violence of the KKK was fully justified.  More are racists of a milder degree, people who would never condone the murder of a black person, but who would be distressed if their son or daughter dated one.

In personal conversations with other conservatives, I have heard exactly three people make racist remarks about the president.  All three of them are in their 80s.  These are people who were already well into adulthood during the 1950s, when segregation was still considered acceptable by a large minority, if not the majority, of the white population of this country. The vast majority of Republicans, Libertarians and registered independent conservatives who voice opposition to Barack Obama do so because they oppose his policy positions.  This is true of the overwhelming majority of conservatives under the age of 60.  For the most part, Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers and people younger even than that do not share the often frankly racist sentiments of some elderly people.

President Obama wants to take the country in a direction those of us on the right see as the wrong direction – dangerously wrong.  That is why the great majority of us oppose him. The allegations of racism against conservatives are not only slanderous, but ignorant.  Didn’t we vote against John Kerry, a white man, in 2004?  Didn’t we vote against Al Gore, a white man, in 2000?  Didn’t we vote against Bill Clinton, a white man, in 1992 and 1996?  And did not Barack Obama, a black man, win a great many more votes from white Americans than either Kerry or Gore?

The case of Bill Clinton is particularly damning to the “they’re all racists” argument.  Imagine Bill Clinton had been a black man rather than a white man.  When Republicans in the House of Representatives impeached Clinton, the pundits would have cried racism, arguing that conservative targeting of Clinton’s sexual peccadilloes was playing to the stereotype of the highly sexualized black male, that the right was demonizing him because we were afraid of a sexually predatory black man who threatened white women. But, alas, Bill Clinton was a sexually predatory white man, and so the argument could not be made.

In the early days of Barack Obama’s presidency, it was mainly crackpots like Janeane Garofalo who were insisting that everyone who wasn’t in lock step with the president’s policy agenda was a racist.  Now, more respectable voices are picking up this slanderous rallying cry.  Shame on actual racists, but shame on those who slander principled conservatives as racists, too.

Worth a click

I’ve been working on the speech I’m giving at the New Mexico Turn Around conference in Albuquerque tomorrow, so I didn’t have time to write a post today.

I did want to take time to link to Nice Deb’s excellent post debunking the leftist charges of racism again anyone who has the temerity to criticize any of President Obama’s policies.

Nice job, Nice Deb!

Ignore them and maybe they’ll just go away

This, apparently, was the line of reasoning at the Santa Fe New Mexican, whose editorial staff elected not to cover the Tea Party held here in Santa Fe at the State Capitol on Saturday, September 12.  This egregious example of biased journalismis the subject of my New Mexico Independent column today.

Santa Fe Tea Party: the sequel

Just a reminder that Santa Fe’s second Tea Party will take place tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the east side of the Capitol building.  Speeches begin at 2:00.  More information here.

It’s going to be a very long day for me, with Fiesta, the Tea Party, followed by choir practice for the girls and mass at the Cathedral, and I’ll be on my own with all four girls.  Barring illness or other dire emergency, I’ll be there, and hope to see you there, too.

Jan Helfeld is my hero

Apparently this journalistic genius has been interviewing politicians (and making asses out of quite a few of them) for some time now, but I hadn’t heard of him until I saw the video of his interview with Congressman Pete Stark (D-Calif).  After Stark realizes that Helfeld has made his repeated assertion that a bigger national debt means we’re a richer country (no, I’m serious, that’s really what he said) he goes Stark Raving Mad (I know I’m not the first to make this pun, but really, it’s too good to resist), drops an f-bomb on camera and threatens to throw Helfeld out a window.

I first saw the video at Hot Air, where Mad Congressman Stark had to share billing with two other leftist loonies in a post Allahpundit called “Too many Democratic congressmen behaving like jackasses for bloggers to keep up anymore.”  He got the video from Michelle Malkin, who made it a hot web property even though it’s about a year old.

Picking up on Stark’s sneering where-did-you-go-to-college-and-do-you-have-a-PhD line of defense, Smitty at The Other McCain has less than flattering things to say about “PhD weenies” so I should point out that Pete “do you have a PhD?” Stark does not, in fact, have one himself.  All he’s got is an MBA, which means that my academic credentials (a Redneck Republican blogger has a PhD???) trump his.  Being an intellectual doesn’t make you a weenie, any more than being a Republican makes you a redneck.

Being Pete Stark, however, does make you the internet laughingstock of the hour.  Fortunately for Mr. (not Dr.) Stark, the internet is a fast-paced place, and tomorrow some other jackass will have usurped his place on Memeorandum.

Taking the finger instead of giving it

Used to be when people got mad, they might give you the finger.  Apparently, that’s old hat, and now they take the finger instead, in this case, biting it off:

California authorities say a clash between opponents and supporters of health care reform ended with one man biting off another man’s finger.

When I read the headline “Finger bitten off during California health protest,” I would have bet just about anything that the guy doing the biting was in favor of socialized medicine, and sure enough, I was right.  What are the odds?

Isn’t it interesting how it’s always leftists bemoaning the decline of civilized political discourse?  You know, the leftists who routinely call us redneck, fascist and retarded?  Can you imagine what the hue and cry would have been if it had been an opponent of socialized medicine who bit off the finger of a supporter?  As it was not, the response from the left has been more muted.  Ben Smith reports that MoveOn called the incident “regrettable.”  Confederate Yankee‘s cleverly titled post — Yes We Can(nibal —  has a link to a Politics Daily story which actually reverses the parties to the incident, claiming that the conservative bit off the finger of the liberal.

In reactions from the right — I particularly liked Another Black Conservative’s post title:  Hungry for health care.  True to her name, Nice Deb doesn’t think Mark Steyn (or presumably anyone else) should be laughing about it. Malkin, Fausta a, The BlogProf, Red County and The Jawa Report also weigh in.

Not quite sure I get Wonkette‘s sarcasm, calling the biter “MoveOn.org Librul Monster” — emphasizing, perhaps, just how dumb we Republicans are, I guess?  Maybe some of us can’t spell liberal, but at least most of us aren’t cannibals.  Then again, the MoveOn.org Librul didn’t actually consume the finger (it was reattached at the hospital) so I guess you can’t really call him a cannibal.  What, then?  Truly, words (even misspelled ones) fail in this case.

I’ve been trying to get this posted before someone else uses my title.  Riehl World View almost did, but not quite.  Speaking of titles, McCain gives Yes We Can(nnibal) the Blog Headline of the Day Week Decade award.  Definitely more than day or week, but I’ll have to give it a few years before I say decade.  As I wrote above, however, it’s awfully good.   I’d say finger lickin’ good, but Nice Deb might slap my wrist.

They’re Uncle Sam’s kids now — he paid for them

My NMI column this week will, I think, become one of my all-time favorites.  Here’s the opening.

When the news came that Santa Fe’s public schools would get some of the federal stimulus bounty being handed out by a benevolent Democratic Congress and president, few suspected that some of that federal pork would turn rancid.

One of the things the school district did with the federal largesse was to fund an after-school program at seven Santa Fe schools, including E.J. Martinez elementary.  First, grateful parents felt the soothing touch of Uncle Sam’s velvet glove.  Only when it was too late did they feel the iron fist inside.

Click here to read the rest.  If you have children — and maybe even if you don’t — this story will shock and appall you.

Santa Fe’s next mayor

Ah, the New Mexican.  I can always count on them for unbiased journalism.  The bold headline on yesterday morning’s top story was

‘A real grudge match’

The match is the mayoral race between incumbent David Coss and recently announced challenger Asenath Kepler.  The grudge, the paper obviously means to imply, is Kepler’s, since she had served as city manager until Coss got the city council to fire her.  The actual quote (which is why the headline actually ran inside quotation marks) is anonymous.  I quote (non-anonymously) from SFNM reporter Julie Ann Grimm’s story:

Although other candidates could still try to get on the March 2 ballot, the contest between Coss and Kepler is shaping up as a polarizing race, even if no other contenders emerge before a December deadline. “That’s going to be a real grudge match,” said one politics watcher.

Said one politics watcher.  A “politics watcher.”  An unnamed “politics watcher.”  What, exactly, is a politics watcher?  I watch politics, so I guess that makes me a politics watcher. By that standard, so are my husband, my aunt and my best friend.  So are my hairdresser and my husband’s barber, for that matter.

And because an anonymous “politics watcher” (the reporter’s aunt or hairdresser, perhaps?) calls the race a grudge match, the New Mexican’s editor decided that would make a catchy title.  Never mind that it basically dismisses Kepler as a vindictive former employee out to get revenge on her former boss.  Never mind that maybe, just maybe, Kepler really does think Coss is doing a poor job as mayor, and that she could do better.

Unlike the folks at the New Mexican, I make no claim to impartiality.  I know Asenath Kepler, and am proud to support her campaign for mayor.  I do not know Mayor Coss personally, but I do know that the city’s burglary rate has more than doubled while he’s been on the job.  The top brass of both police and fire departments took early retirement because they didn’t trust Coss and the city council to treat them fairly.  The graduation rate at Santa Fe public schools is only 54% and a staggering 26 out of Santa Fe’s 31 public schools (that’s 84%) failed to meet Federal No Child Left Behind standards.   Public safety and public education are both in shambles.

If you’d like to hear what Asenath Kepler would do as mayor, you can hear from her directly at Cathedral Park Tuesday, September 1 at 5:30.

Our tax dollars at work

I don’t often advocate spending taxpayers’ money, but amid all the waste and pork, there are some public works projects that need doing, including an I-25 interchange at Richards Avenue in Santa Fe.  My NMI column explains why.

The most sense I’ve heard anyone make yet about health care reform

A Facebook friend posted the link to this article, and because my friend leans leftward, and the piece is in the Atlantic, and ran six pages, and is entitled “How American Health Care Killed My Father” (here we go with a diatribe about the evils of health care being a commodity not a right, I thought) I almost didn’t read it.  After I began reading, and discovered the author, David Goldhill, was a Democrat, I almost stopped.  I’m really glad I didn’t.

I quote extensively from it in my New Mexico Independent column, but the whole thing really is worth a read.  It elaborates lucidly and persuasively on his point that

Insurance is probably the most complex, costly, and distortional method of financing any activity; that’s why it is otherwise used to fund only rare, unexpected, and large costs. Imagine sending your weekly grocery bill to an insurance clerk for review, and having the grocer reimbursed by the insurer to whom you’ve paid your share. An expensive and wasteful absurdity, no?

Is this really a big problem for our health-care system? Well, for every two doctors in the U.S., there is now one health-insurance employee—more than 470,000 in total. In 2006, it cost almost $500 per person just to administer health insurance. Much of this enormous cost would simply disappear if we paid routine and predictable health-care expenditures the way we pay for everything else—by ourselves.

His solution is not just a libertarian “pay for it yourselves, guys, tough luck if you can’t” approach, and does include a safety so that the destitute do not fall through the cracks.  As I wrote at NMI,

Despite what you might think, I am not opposed to this.  Our tax dollars already pay for the health care of the destitute.  I am all in favor of a system that would require fewer tax dollars to achieve the same — or in all likelihood far better — results.

Nobody — not even Republicans — wants poor people dropping dead in the streets because they can’t pay a doctor.  Okay, maybe some Libertarians do.  But I’m not a Libertarian.  I’m not opposed to all taxatation and all government.  But I am opposed to the disastrously misguided attempt by Congress to “reform” our system of paying for health care.  If that bill, or some slightly modified facsimile, passes, our health care system is going to get worse, not better.

Don’t take my word for it.  Take Democrat David Goldhill’s.

Or you can admit Goldhill is mostly right, but advocate the passage of an asinine bill anyway, as Matthew Yglesias does with tortuous…what?  You can’t call it logic, even tortuous logic:

Defeat of the current legislative effort will demoralize proponents of health reform, teach politicians that any talk of modifying Medicare is politically toxic, and basically result in another 10-15 years of the status quo followed by some kind of budget crisis.

Passing the kind of ideas that are currently on the table would still leave us with a system with a lot of problems. But it would ameliorate several of those problems, and solve a few. It would also, I think, teach politicians the lesson that it’s possible to change the health care system. And that might lead to more and better reforms down the road.

My head spins at the irrationality.  The bill will not fix the underlying problems anyway, but we need to pass it so that those who want change won’t be demoralized, and legislators can be taught the lesson tha it’s possible to change the health care system.  Um, they’re legislators.  They make laws.  Laws that change things.  They know that already, and don’t need to be taught this obvious fact by the passage of a stupid and pointless law.

I thought people who went to Harvard were suppsed to be smart.  Matthew Yglesias went there, and so he can impress people by dropping the H-bomb at cocktail parties.  But if his brand of deluded irrationality is what Harvard is producing these days, I think I’ll save my money and send my kids to UNM instead.

Not that my family will necessarily have a choice, mind you, since by the time I’m old enough to have chronic health problems, there won’t be any money left for Medicare, and our children’s college fund will have been sucked dry by the maladies of our old age.

Luján healthcare townhall tonight

Today, Mon. Aug 17 at 7:00 p.m. Northern New Mexico’s Congressman, Ben Ray Luján, is holding a healthcare town hall at the Unitarian Church at 107 W. Barcelona Rd.  It will feature a panel discussion with  health care professionals — no doubt cherrypicked by Mr. Luján so that they will all say health care reform is vital, and the Democratic plan is just what we need.

As it happens, there is a GOP event at La Posada this evening, and most of the Republican leadership in Santa Fe will be there, and so not available to attend the townhall.   What a coincidence!

The townhall was announced only a few days ago, no doubt to lessen the possibility of any coordinated activity GOP hooligans — that’s what our wonderful and impartial local paper, the Santa Fe New Mexican, considers us, to judge from the admonition in its editorial on Saturday:

While many in liberal Santa Fe probably support health-care reform, especially with so many self-employed people who must find insurance outside of the workplace, we trust that those who oppose reform can discuss their concerns without the shouting and hooliganism that has occurred elsewhere in the country.

These town halls, rather than a shouting match, should be a place for citizens to talk to their elected leaders — a discussion that should result in both leaving better informed.

The problem is that so many of our elected leaders have already made up their minds to support this disastrous plan, and they are not in the least interested in becoming “better informed” by hearing what their constituents have to say.  They think we’re a contemptible lot of rabble-rousing hooligans who are too ignorant to know what’s best for us, but since that pesky First Amendment gives us dumb rednecks the right to speak our mind, they have to go through the charade that they are listening.

Man’s inhumanity to man

I wrote this long, grim post several days ago, but as often happens, had to leave the computer before doing a final proofread and hitting “publish” and then was too busy to get back to it.  The news stories discussed are a few days old, but the sentiments are timeless.

It’s hard not to be a misanthrope when you read as many ghastly stories in the newspaper as I did this Thursday morning.  After dropping off the kids at the sitter’s house, I went to get a pedicure, and started reading the paper as the pedicurist got to work.  New Mexico’s appalling drop-out rate on the front page, but I already knew about that sad story.  China executes two men for defrauding investors on page 2.  Heh, maybe we should try that here.   Euna Lee and Laura Ling home, Ahmadinejad sworn in amid protests, and Sotomayor gets more GOP support on page 3 — I’m happy for Lee and Ling, expected as much for Uncle Mahmoud, and am not getting particularly worked up about Sotomayor, since I believe “pick your battles” is as good advice in politics as it is in parenting.

I won’t bore you with the entire contents of today’s New Mexican, so fast-forward to page A-8, where the real ugliness starts:  previously convicted sex offender Kenneth Leon Mills is sentenced to 133 years for kidnapping a 9-year-old girl from her bed and raping her in an alley. I’d link, but as usual, I cannot find a link at the New Mexican’s site.  I know they’re going through hard times, but really, if they’re going to have an online version, they really ought to get their act together and do it right.  Here’s a link instead to KOAT’s story about jury selection for the trial.

Across the page on A-9 was the story of George Sodini, who shot up an aerobics class at a health club, murdering three women and injuring nine more before turning the gun on himself.   Can’t find the link for that one either, so here’s the story in a different paper.  His online diary chronicled years of frustration and anger because women didn’t like him, so he decided to take it out on the ones at the gym who wouldn’t give him the time of day either.

On the same page as the health club massacre was the kind of story that makes any mother get a sick, hideous feeling in the pit of her stomach when she reads it.  It is the horrific story of Diana Schuler who, while driving drunk, high and in the wrong direction, killed her 2-year-old daughter, her three nieces aged between 5 and 8, three adults and herself.  This time, the New Mexican came through with a link.

My head started to spin as I finished reading the Schuler story.  There I sat, getting my nails done of all things, while in terrible world in which I live, little girls were getting raped, women were getting murdered because they wanted flatter abs, and a couple had lost all three of their children and no doubt felt as though their entire world had just caved in around them.  It was all just so soul-crushingly ugly.  And here I was, getting my nails painted red.  Like blood.

Sometimes the ugliness of the world overwhelms me.  Man’s inhumanity to his fellow man reaches such depths of evil that my head begins to ache when I contemplate it.

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

So sang a penitent King David in Psalm 51:5, after he had sent a man to be killed in battle so that he, David, might have the dead man’s wife.  Murder, adultery and abuse of power, a story thousands of years old, merely one of thousands — millions — of stories of human cruelty.

Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III proudly inscribing his war crimes on stone, or one of his later successors, Sennacherib, inscribing his on clay:

their strong, walled cities I beseiged, I captured.  People, horses, mules, asses, cattle, and sheep, I brought out from their midst and counted as booty.  And their small cities, which were beyond numbering I destroyed, I devastated, and I turned into ruins.

Cities into ruins, populations massacred and enslaved — Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Huns, Mongols…on and on and on went the killings, the rapes, the mutilations.  The massacres of Jews at Mainz and Worms during the First Crusade, and the massacres of Jews a thousand years later at Dachau and Auschwitz.

I don’t remember when I first became aware of the Holocaust, but it was probably when I read The Diary of Ann Frank.  But I read and read and read about it as a teenager, the tears rolling down my cheeks, stunned at the capacity for cruelty in my fellow human beings. For decades afterward, I avoided books and movies about the Holocaust, because they left me too disturbed for too long.  Now that I am a mother, the children of the Holocaust haunt me.

Diana Schuler killed her daughter and nieces through negligence — or whatever it was — rather than through the kind of sadism that made Kenneth Leon Mills rape that little girl, and whatever combination of sadism and self-deception that made Nazi camp guards herd little Jewish girls and boys into the gas chamber.  The self-pitying narcissism that drove George Sodini to snuff out the lives of three innocent women on exercise mats is far removed from the lust for power that made Sennacherib order the butchery of  women and children and men from one end of his far-flung empire to the other.

Or is it?  What makes us sacrifice the lives of others on the altars of our own egos?  Is it, as David wrote in his Psalm, because we are sinful from the time our mothers conceive us?   David, who earned the hand of  Saul’s daughter by presenting the foreskins of 200 Philistines.  David, who prayed in the same Psalm,

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

If Kenneth Leon Mills had prayed for a pure heart, would that 9-year-old girl still have her innocence?  If George Sodini had not felt cast from God’s presence, would those women still have their lives?  If Diana Schuler had felt the joy of salvation, would it have been enough to save her daugher and the daughters of her brother?

I wonder.  And I pray — for all of them.

Read his lips

Again and again on the campaign trail, he repeated the same mantra.  The words might vary ever so slightly, but the message was the same:

Let me say this again:  no family earning less than $250,000 will see any form of tax increase.  Period.

Every time Old Man McCain would say that Obama was going to raise your taxes, the smooth, slick, suave young senator would smile disarmingly and repeat the promise in that deep, reassuring voice of his.

Do you remember that?  Does it remind you now, perchance, of a certain vilified cowboy ex-president’s dad swearing to all the political gods in 1988,

Read my lips:  no new taxes.

And now Geither says,

We’re going to have to do what’s necessary.

Of course they are.  We — John McCain, Sarah Palin and everybody who voted for them — knew that all along.  The savvier Obamanistas knew it too, and just kept their mouths shut about it so the rest of Obama’s supporters — those poor, gullible fools who actually believed their charismatic young hero — could be led down the primrose path.

Now Obama is saying the government isn’t going to take over private health care.   Some of you poor fools probably believe him.   Because a lot of us don’t, he’s got Linda Douglass of the White House Health Reform Office doing damage control at the White House blog.  Amid the sunshine and roses propaganda, there is even an appeal to good patriotic Americans to report to the White House anything they see on the internet that “seems fishy” (politicospeak for “calls a snow job a snow job”):

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.  These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Big Brother is watching you.  And me, no doubt, after somebody e-mails flag@whitehouse.gov to report me.

In the post, Douglass refers to a video that purports to show that President Obama wants to end private insurance…but of course that’s just misinformation from the kind of people you’re supposed to report to the White House for further observation.

Watch the video and make up your own mind.  In it, Obama says clearly back in 2003 that government health care wouldn’t completely replace employer health coverage immediately.  Not immediately, but eventually.  There would be a transitional period.

Whatever.

What others are saying about the health care mendacity, propaganda and intimidation:  Below the Beltway, Drew at Ace, Ace at Ace, Caffeinated Thoughts…more to come.

Blog links on thegood-cop-bad-cop tax farce later — have to go do kid stuff now.

OH Mommy kicks off her stilettos and gets political

OH Mommy is the moniker of Pauline Karwowski, author of the blog Classy Chaos.  She’s listed on my friend MIT Mommy‘s blogroll, and I stop by periodically for a dose of something light and entertaining when I’ve had enough for the moment of politics.  OH Mommy never writes about politics, or at least not that I’ve seen in my strolls around her site.  She writes about her children and shopping for shoes and other feminine pursuits.

Yeah, well, not today, she doesn’t.  Today, the heretofore apolitical OH Mommy has written an impassioned attack on the government health care plan being proposed by the Democrats.  It was a follow-up to Saturday’s post, entitled Because no one reads blogs on the weekend… here’s a political post.  She found out otherwise, when the post garnered 121 comments.

Karwowski’s post is significant not because she has said anything I or any number of political writers haven’t said already.  It is significant because, until now, she has not been writing about politics, and now she is.  Why?  Because she is frightened by the direction the statists in charge of our government want to take this country.   And well she might be.  She immigrated to the United States from Poland at age five, and there’s nothing like having loved ones who have lived under the iron boot of communism to make you appreciate liberty more than the average upscale suburban soccer mom.

As I wrote not too long ago, I believe the rumors of the death of conservatism in this country have been greatly exaggerated.  I believe that there are a lot of OH Mommys out there, women and men who haven’t been all that political up to now, but who are getting scared at the direction things are taking.  Damn scared.

So let me second OH Mommy’s closing words today

Our voices can be heard.  It’s time to stop corporations and special interest groups dictating what our elected officials do.  Write your representatives. Call them.  Blog about it people!  Don’t be afraid if someone will call you a self righteous soccer mom who got married too early and has no concept of real life.  If you don’t like something or have an idea…. Let your voice be heard.

I will hold your hand.

I will, too.

Update — Also speaking out:  MIT Mommy, [your blog post here].

Solving the problems of the world, one crusade at a time

My local paper, the Santa Fe New Mexican, is experiencing financial difficulty.  Join the club.  And no wonder, since how on earth can a print newspaper compete financially with internet news sites that run on a fraction of the cost and provide faster and more diverse content?   Some people think this spells doom for us as a society, and the government needs to step in and subsidize newspapers before they go extinct and bring an end to civilization. My NM Independent column this week takes a rather different view of the matter, as you might expect.

Saving the endangered newspaper isn’t yet a hot button issue, but it may become one.   Why not?  Once the left succeeds in having the state take over health care, they’ll discover something else that will turn into a national catastrophe if the government doesn’t take action to save all us dumb rednecks from ourselves right now immediately this CAN NOT WAIT!!!!

Saving the newspapers may not be the next great crusade.  It may be the fight against obesity.  It may be the landfill crisis and the unbearable tragedy of free paper and plastic bags being given out at stores.   It may be the fight against global warming.  It may be making college as free as elementary and secondary school, since like medical care, higher education isn’t a commodity, but a right.  It may be a crusade for universal breastfeeding and the end to the horrendous practice of formula feeding or a full-tilt assault on unnecessary c-sections or the implanting of more than one embryo in IVF procedures.   Whatever.  It will be something.  It always is.

Why?  Because leftists are utopians.  They want to create a perfect heaven here on earth, since the celestial heaven is a figment of the imaginations of ignorant fools who cling to guns and God.  They simply cannot accept the fact that the world we live in is not, nor will it ever be, perfect.  There are always going to be problems, and “fixing” one problem with nanny state intervention often gives rise to a whole host of new, unforeseen problems.  Think China and the “one baby per family” campaign that led to a generation so lopsided in sex distribution that millions of men can’t find wives.

I’ve written about this before.  This morning, I read Thomas Sowell’s latest column, in which he makes the same point in his usual lucid way:

The universe was not made to our specifications. Nor were human beings. So there is nothing surprising in the fact that we are dissatisfied with many things at many times. The big question is whether we are prepared to follow any politician who claims to be able to “solve” our “problem.”

If we are, then there will be a never ending series of “solutions,” each causing new problems calling for still more “solutions.” That way lies a never-ending quest, costing ever increasing amounts of the taxpayers’ money and– more important– ever greater losses of your freedom to live your own life as you see fit, rather than as presumptuous elites dictate.

Ultimately, our choice is to give up Utopian quests or give up our freedom. This has been recognized for centuries by some, but many others have not yet faced that reality, even today. If you think government should “do something” about anything that ticks you off, or anything you want and don’t have, then you have made your choice between Utopia and freedom.

I wish Dr. Sowell would run for president.  Every conservative I know would vote for him.  Oh, wait.  I forgot.  Conservatives don’t like Barack Obama because he’s black, not because he’s a statist.  Never mind.

Boring blog = happy children

Jon and Kate Gosselin are getting a divorce (unless it’s the most brilliant publicity stunt ever to boost ratings) and instead of blogging about it, I played Apples to Apples with my kids.

President Obama shot his mouth off about a white policeman arresting a black professor, sparking an endless debate among bloggers and pundits, but instead of entering the fray, I took the kids to the Plaza for lunch and ice cream.

The internet exploded with a rumor that Sarah and Todd Palin were divorcing, and instead of writing about that, I read to the girls.

The health care and cap and trade bills loom like vultures over our battered and bleeding economy, and instead of posting, I played Risk with my two eldest daughters, whose nonagression pact held long enough for them to crush their father and me like bugs and rule the world between them.

I wonder what stories I’ll get to ignore next week?

Can big government make us thin?

I’m posting the link to my NMI column late, since I was traveling back to New Mexico today, and it wasn’t up yet before I left for the airport.

Since I was in vacation mode, I had no idea what to write for NMI this week.  I had been trolling the internet for something other than Professor Gates, Sarah Palin and Obama’s birth certificate (ye gods, not going there for all the tea in China, thanks all the same) when lo and behold, I found this little gem right in my own New Mexican back yard (front page, actually).  So thanks to my very own senator, Jeff Bingaman, I had my column.

Senator Bingaman wants Uncle Sam to help us all get thin and healthy, and I while think it would be wonderful if his plan could actually succeed, I think that’s about as likely as me saying no to a green chile burger from El Parasol.

Don’t get me wrong — Bingaman’s right.  Americans are too fat.  A lot of us need to lose weight.  I mean really need to lose weight.  But I just don’t see more federal bureaucracy prying people off the couch and onto the treadmill.

Speaking of green chile burgers, I’d love one right now, because I’ve been in North Carolina for a week and they don’t make them there.  I had to settle for ribs, hush puppies and sweet tea instead.  I’ll be pretty bummed when Congress finally bans that sort of thing so we can all be thin and healthy.

Thoroughly modern me

The other day I mentioned we’d been to Old Salem to see how the Moravians lived, but that day we would be hanging out at the pool.  Well, we’ve done a lot of hanging out at the pool since then.  Normally, I like to do a lot of culturally enriching type sightseeing when I travel, but this time I’ve been a very indulgent mother, and when the kids want to go to the pool, to the pool we go.  We did drag them off to Durham to see the magnificent Gothic Duke Chapel, but then it was back to the pool again toute de suite.

I don’t know what other people think about when they are in the pool (how nice the water feels? am I getting too much sun? do I look fat? is that cute guy looking at me?) but I’m too old for the cute guys to look at, and am a historian, so I was thinking about the Moravians.

Look at the clothes those people wore.  The old Moravian buildings have been restored and are staffed by people who wear completely authentic Moravian clothing, made in the old Moravian manner in authentic Moravian workshops.  We watched a tailor punch buttonholes with an awl (with which Elizabeth cut her finger because “Don’t touch the tools” means “Go ahead, I double-dog dare you” in kid-language) and sew the edges with linen thread that had been spun from flax on a bona fide 18th-century spinning wheel.

The lady in the long Moravian dress said linen is very cool, but still, that was a long dress with long sleeves and there was an apron and a cap and I don’t care how cool linen is, I still say my sleeveless cotton sundress and sandals are a whole lot cooler.

Speaking of cooler, the old Moravian buildings are air-conditioned now, because not only would tourists like me not set foot in them in July otherwise, but the museum would have a devil of a time getting employees to work in them.  Throw in the long dresses and breeches and that would be the end of it.  So, the place is authentic except for the air conditioning, which is a pretty big “except.”

So that’s what I was thinking about when I was swimming slowly on my back in the pool just before sunset, feeling cool and comfortable and lucky to be alive at a time when I could float around in cool water in a very modest one-piece swimsuit that the old-time Moravians would have called me a shameless whore for wearing.

As a historian, I love history.  But I don’t romanticize it.  The world was a very hard place before the 20th century.  Even in places where you could wear cool clothes and swim to your heart’s content, like Hawaii before Captain Cook found it and the sugar-planters and the missionaries came, life wasn’t as easy as it is for us today.  Besides having as their staple carbohydrate poi, which I think is just awful, those carefree Hawaiians practiced human sacrifice.

The Moravians didn’t have to deal with the specter of being an offering to Pele, but they didn’t get to swim naked in the ocean either.  As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, it’s always something; if it’s not one thing, it’s another.  Either you’re stuck in a long dress in a sweltering house or you have to eat poi and worry about ending up under the cornerstone of a heiau.

But not me.  I’m a 21st-century woman, and for that I am very, very thankful.

The kids, the pool and the Moravians

No post yesterday because I was at Old Salem seeing how the Moravians lived in the olden days.  My daughter Elizabeth is having a wondeful time with her friend Jane, enjoying being one of a pair of big girls instead of the eldest of four little ones.  I am still getting over the fact that Jane’s brother Thomas, my godson, is not a little kid anymore, and often ends up being part of the adult conversation instead of playing with Elizabeth and Jane.

No historical excursion today, just walking to the community pool with the kids.  Again.  I think it will be our fourth trip there.   And maybe a blog post later.  Or maybe not.  This is the life, really.

Oh, and I’m glad I’m not an 18th century Moravian.

Do the math

That was my title for my NM Independent column that runs today (or ran yesterday, since I’m late posting the link and most of you won’t read this until Wednesday morning) but my editor changed it.  There are already 16 comments, but I haven’t read them yet as I just arrived at my friend’s house in North Carolina and am too tired to see how deluded and misguided my fan club (yes, I’m being ironic) thinks I am.   The subject of the column is the hideous economic free-fall we’re in, and the willful refusal of President Obama and the Democrats in Congress to accept the fact that we can’t spend our way out of it.

All quiet on the blogging front

I haven’t lost interest in my blog; I’ve just been busy.  On Tuesday my eldest daughter and I leave to visit Cathleen and Patrick O’Hannigan in North Carolina, and I set Monday as the deadline for getting my book proposal in the mail to a publisher.

Which book?  Why, the book I had practically finished a year and some odd months ago when I started this blog.  The book this blog effectively killed.  Well, the blog and the column and homeschooling the kids all had a hand in putting a stake through the metaphorical heart of my manuscript.

I hate not finishing things I start, so I swore I’d get the proposal in the mail before we left for the Tar Heel State.  It’s going to be close, but I think I’m going to make it, especially if my husband takes all the kids down to Magdalena tomorrow.

Once I get to North Carolina, where I will have my laptop, wireless internet, only one child to take care of, and no household to run, I should have lots of time to write many erudite and/or controversial blog posts.

Or maybe I’ll just sit on the porch and drink mint juleps.

Your doctor is a liar

Someone just did a keyword search for “my doctor said I had to agree to selective reduction in order for him to implant 3 embryos” and found my blog. I hope she comes back again and sees this post, because honey, this one’s for you.

This doctor is lying to his patient in the hope he can terrorize her into killing her unborn child(ren). This doctor is doing something very, very unethical. Therefore, in my not at all humble opinion, you lie to him. Tell him whatever he wants to hear so he’ll implant the embryos. Chances are, you’ll only conceive one baby. Outside chance, twins. On the very, very rare chance that all three take and you conceive triplets, they are your children, and you tell him you’re not killing any of them and find another doctor to deliver them.

Good luck and God bless. If you ever come back to my blog, please let me know what happened.

Update: This reminds me of the women I’ve heard over the years tell me that their doctors told them that they had to have amniocentesis when they were pregnant. I had all four of my children at what the obstetrical profession calls “Advanced Maternal Age” (over 35). And I never once had an amnio. I told the doctor “no thanks” and that was that. Well, that was that for the first three pregnancies, anyway, because my doctor was a fellow Catholic who respected my willingness to forego the test. The fourth pregnancy was in a different city with a different doctor who was obviously uncomfortable with my refusing the test, but since I obviously knew my rights and was adamant, there was nothing he could do. Sadly, all too many patients do not know their rights. Doctors act as though their recommendations are mandates, and patients let themselves be bullied into procedures they don’t want.

Perhaps once we have socialized medicine, and the government’s in charge of everything, doctors really will be able to force their will on patients. At the moment, however, the patient is the customer, and the customer is always right. That’s the American way. It saddens me to no end that this is may not always be the case. Please, please, please, my fellow citizens and patients, do not let it happen.

Facebook is killing my blog

Seriously. I have wasted more time on Facebook the past few days than I can believe. Maybe wasted isn’t the right word, because certainly it’s nice being able to keep up with what your friends and family are doing, but still, I really did blog a lot more before I started spending so much time there.

I never did write the Gosselin post I started last week. Or the post I’ve been mentally writing about the mass psychosis that seemed to afflict millions of people after Michael Jackson died, leading them into paroxysms of public mourning the likes of which I haven’t seen since Princess Di, and even that wasn’t this extreme. Or all the other posts I think of when I’m folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher or putting on make-up, then never get around to writing.

I was going to write a blog post using this quote

In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet, and say to us, “Make us your slaves, but feed us.” They will understand themselves, at last, that freedom and bread enough for all are inconceivable together, for never, never will they be able to share between them!

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Grand Inquisitor from The Brothers Karamazov

as a jumping off point, but I posted it on Facebook instead.

Is Facebook evil, or am I just weak? The latter, I know. Alcohol, tobacco and sex aren’t intrinsically evil, but sometimes the things weak humans do with them are.

And now we’re off to Madrid, NM, which people here pronounce MAD-rid rather than ma-DRID for some reason I haven’t yet figured out. That means that tonight, the post I won’t find the time to write will be about MAD-rid.

Drat. I just Googled “facebook killing blog” and found this. And I thought I was being original. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to be original. As it says under my Facebook profile picture,

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Just another tequila sunrise — and make it to go

New Mexico has a huge drunk driving problem. A little over a week ago, four teenagers were killed. A few years ago, five members of the same family. Before that, it was a mother and her three small children. It never seems to stop. I have no idea why New Mexicans do this in numbers so much greater than Americans at large, but they do. My NMI column this week discusses what we should — and shouldn’t — do about this terrible problem.

When are you going to blog about Sarah?

That’s what people have been asking me on Facebook and in e-mail. They don’t bother to add her last name, since Sarah Palin has now joined the ranks of celebrities who can be referred to by first name only — at least in the highly politicized circles in which I travel.

I wanted to, I really did, but family pressures intervened. How Governor — soon to be ex-Governor — Palin has managed to do all she has with her large family is beyond me, but I suppose when you have five children over an 18 year period it’s not quite the same as having four over a 7 year stretch, so maybe I have an excuse.

Anyway, when I heard the news on Friday that Palin was resigning, my first thought was, small wonder. There she was up in Alaska trying to do her job and not only was she being hounded by frivolous ethics complaints, but she was the subject of a brand new hit piece in Vanity Fair — long after the last campaign and long before the next, a harbinger of the vitriol that will spew if and when she launches a bid for the nomination in 2012.

I read some of the online commentary before I saw the video of Palin’s speech, and much of that commentary confirmed what had been my initial guess: she was sick of it, fed up, getting out of the dirty business of politics, good-bye and good riddance. Those on the right were saying no wonder, as I did, while those on the left were sneering words to the effect of don’t let the door hit you on the way out, you crybaby prima donna bitch.

Then I watched the video, and realized she had no intention of getting out. My first thought was, she’s got to be kidding. You don’t quit your first term as governor and then expect people to elect you president. And then I listened to her again, and realized that she knows that. She knows that this simply isn’t done — not in the game of politics as it’s usually played, anyway. She said several times that this wasn’t “politics as usual” and she wasn’t kidding.

She said that the taxpayers of Alaska had been hit with a $2 million bill for those frivolous ethics complaints — all of which Palin has successfully defended — and that as long as she remains in office, they are certain to continue coming fast and furious. This, she said, is not fair to the taxpayers of Alaska. She herself has run up legal bills of half a million dollars, and that bill would certainly go up as well. Because she has become an incredibly polarizing national figure, she can no longer govern Alaska the way she did before John McCain chose her as his running mate.

If she has accomplished what she set out to as governor, is handing over her office to a lieutenant governor she trusts and who will not be handicapped by national notoriety, and will save Alaskans a lot of money by stepping down, then a case can be made that she’s not being a thin-skinned quitter who doesn’t finish what she starts, but truly is thinking outside the political box and doing what she believes is right despite the risks to her own political future.

This is not to say, of course, that there aren’t political benefits to her choice. It frees her up to travel the lower 48 making contacts, building grassroots campaign infrastructure, raising money, and campaigning for other Republicans who can return the favor in 2012. Those who hate Palin will say that’s all there is to it.

For those who think Palin shot herself in the political foot on Friday, it’s a glorious time to be a liberal. First GOP golden boy Mark Sanford self-destructed in a sex scandal that not only wrecked his career, but gave leftists the added pleasure of being able to have a laugh at Sanford’s private e-mails to his mistress. And then Sarah up and quit. “And another one gone, another one gone, another one bites the dust!” the Obamanistas exulted.

Maybe. The funny thing about politics these days is, as Yogi Berra used to say, it ain’t over till it’s over. A couple of short years ago everyone who knew anything was saying a young, black first-term senator could never wrest the nomination from the well-connected wife of a popular former president. I have no idea what’s going to happen in 2012. And nobody else does either.

What the rest of the crowd is saying:

Anchoress on the initial announcement, thinking there must be an illness or marital trouble brewing and Sarah just didn’t want to talk about it, and then upon later reflection, thinking maybe she’s crazy like a fox after all. Bill Kristol, saying she was crazy like a fox from the get-go.  Melissa Clouthier agrees.  Fausta says she’s done for.  John Hawkins is hedging his bets.   Michelle Malkin not saying much but has a lot of links.

Ace had an outstanding post on Sarah just before her resignation, then said after the resignation that the fat lady had sung, she’s toast. Russ posting at Ace’s site couldn’t disagree more, however, and he and Ace are agreeing to disagree.

Stacy McCain thinks Sarah knows just what she’s doing, and then follows his own Rule 5 with a picture Sarah would probably not appreciate. One of McCain’s bloggers, Smitty, seems markedly less smitten, observing:

if it’s merely trading one megalomaniac for one with longer hair, then it’s a difference making little difference.

They’re having a field day over at the Grey Lady. Gail Collins wrote one of the most pedestrian, ham-handed hit pieces I’ve yet to see. If you’re going to be a bitch, at least do it with a modicum of cleverness, the way Maureen Dowd usually does. Not this week, however, when Dowd’s column is almost — but not quite — as close to cringe-worthy high school journalism as Collins’s.

Speaking of high school, Erik Sean Nelson at Huffington Post used the announcement as an excuse to make retard jokes. Wonkette and KOS are having a similar sort of fun. If these folks get a little more mature they might give Gail Collins a run for her money.

Ben Ray Lujan among the most far left in Congress

Today my NMI column discusses northern New Mexico’s Congressman, Ben Ray Lujan, was one of a small House minority voting against an amendment to prevent federal money being used to employ illegal aliens. The issue was such a no-brainer that the Democrat-controlled House voted 349-84 in favor of the amendment, with both other New Mexico Democrats (Martin Heinrich and Harry Teague) voting yes.

And what about my fellow New Mexicans, Ben Ray’s constituents? Why, they were too busy watching Michael Jackson retrospectives on TV to care.

Celebrity culture

Yesterday I was writing about Mark Sanford when practically everyone else in the world was writing, talking and at times crying about Michael Jackson. I wonder what infinitesimal percentage of Americans is like me in finding politicians more interesting than celebrities. Today, in order that my readers can be reassured that I’m not a completely hopeless geek, I’m going to take a break from writing about politicians and write about celebrities instead.

It really is bizarre how celebrities die in threes. And the three who died this week all mark in different ways the passing of my youth. Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson were a fixture of TV during my childhood and young adulthood, and the end of their late night reign marked the end of an age of pop culture innocence. The post-Carson-McMahon years have seen a steady coarsening of late night TV talk. I wonder if Ed McMahon watched Jon Stewart and the rest, or whether it was too depressing for him, a reminder that his own kinder, gentler era of comedy was dead and buried.

Of Farrah Fawcett I have little to say, beyond that I watched Charlie’s Angels just like every other girl in junior high, and that glorious mane of hers gave my teenage self a mild inferiority complex, since my hair just never would even remotely do what hers did. She was a good actress with bad taste in men, and to my knowledge never joined the parade of Hollywood ignorami lecturing her fellow citizens about politics. From what little I know about her, her life was hardly idyllic, but wasn’t as awful as the lives of many other tormented souls who’ve been chewed up and spit out by the beast that is Hollywood.

Speaking of tormented souls, Farrah’s death was bumped from the headlines almost immediately by the news that Michael Jackson had given up the ghost. When I was a child, the Jackson Five were huge, and it saddens me that a cute, tremendously talented little boy I used to watch sing and dance with his older brothers grew up into a freakish hermit and alleged pedophile rapist. I say “alleged” because Jackson was never actually convicted of molesting any of the numerous children with whom he had unorthodox “friendships” over the years. Celebrities (O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, etc.) are notoriously hard to convict, and before his final descent into madness and bankruptcy, Michael Jackson had enough money to pay off an army of parental accusers. Given what any reasonable person must conclude about Jackson’s past relations with young children, the outpouring of love for him now amazes me. Yes, he was a talented singer and dancer. Extremely talented. No argument from me on that. But I find it deeply disturbing that so many people are willing to shrug and say, “Oh, well,” about his alleged crimes just because he could sing and dance like nobody’s business, and they have nostalgic memories of watching the premiere of the “Thriller” video with their friends.

Our society has such a love affair with celebrities that we even turn parasitic losers who feed off celebrities into celebrities. I speak, in case you can’t guess, of Perez Hilton. I don’t read Perez Hilton’s blog (you’re not really surprised, are you?) but I do get the RSS feed for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood, where I very much enjoyed Ben Shapiro’s mercilessly funny exegesis of Hilton’s latest effusion of narcissism. I’m not going to write much about Hilton, a.k.a. Mario Lavandeira, because (a) I can’t top Shapiro, and (b) I think Hilton/Lavandeira is a wretchedly unhappy and troubled young man who is so vicious to others because he’s consumed with self-hatred.

Jon and Kate Gosselin are celebrities of more recent vintage, and I’ve actually blogged about them before (here , here and here). But this post is long enough already, so I’m going to save the Jon and Kate material for tomorrow’s entry. Stay tuned.

Let them read the Constitution

My NMI column this week isi a response to last week’s piece on socialized medicine, which generated over 100 comments, breaking the NMI record. The comment war on today’s column has already begun.

Guest blogging today

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a guest blog, but today I’m doing one for MIT Mommy, who is off on a rustic three-week holiday with her family, with no internet access. Could I survive? Could you? Our society’s dependence on technology, and whether this is a good or bad thing, is the subject of my guest blog.

Prayers for Jane

What I went through with Portia is nothing compared to what Patrick and Cathleen are going through now with their daughter Jane. My heart breaks for them. Please say a prayer.

Angry leftists help right wing nut job break record

My editor at NMI tells me I’ve broken their record for comments — 100 so far on my health care column. Many of these, naturally, are from leftists insulting me, telling me I have no idea what I’m talking about, that there are no facts or evidence in the column (um, it’s an opinion piece, not news reporting), that they hope I never (read: hope I do) have a terrible health crisis in my family that will make me realize the tragic error of my wicked, wicked ways.

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera (as the King of Siam used to say).

Nobody’s called me a right wing nut job so far this time, or if they have, my editor removed the comments before I saw them. Someone did liken me to Marie Antoinette, however. Let’s just hope that once the leftists get their way on socialized medicine, gay marriage, salary caps for private companies and the rest of their agenda, they don’t try to bring back the guillotine.

Update
: I’m usually much better with titles than this. Realized after the fact that this one should have been called “Let them eat green chile.”

The Cathedral

Some recent pictures of my (not so) humble parish church now that the exterior scaffolding has come down, revealing a freshly scrubbed facade. The scaffolding is still up inside, where the new paint job is about three quarters done, and the difference between the “before” and “after” parts is really striking.

Health care is broken but the government can’t fix it

This week’s NM Independent column. It’s already been up long enough for teenage commenters to begin calling me ignorant.

Bookworm summer

It’s summer so we’re on vacation from homeschooling, so I should have more time to blog, not less, right? Somehow it hasn’t worked out that way.

Seems like I spend half the day writing down book titles in reading log books. My eldest two daughters signed up for the summer reading program at our public library, and in the first week filled up the log book that was supposed to last all summer.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled to death they’re reading. I just kind of wish it wasn’t mostly Scooby Doo and Berenstain Bears and Arthur books that they finish in five minutes and come running to me demanding I write the titles in the log. It also amazes me that a few stickers and cheesy prizes could inspire so much literacy that they’ve practically forgotten about SpongeBob and all the other horrid cartoons they usually want to watch.

See? Evil right wingers do like some government institutions.

Because hot conservative women have to stick together

Because I know Dave Maass reallly, really misses reading my thoughts on Sarah Palin:

I’m a little puzzled as to why people are demanding David Letterman apologize for making a joke about Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old daughter getting knocked up by Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez.

Are there really people who still don’t understand that making lewd jokes about the young daughters of politicians is only inappropriate when the politicians are Democrats? Don’t they know that Republicans are so foul, so depraved, so dedicated to keeping down the downtrodden that all’s fair in the campaign to make them look ridiculous? And don’t they realize that, as horrible as Republicans are in general, Sarah “Slutty Flight Attendant” Palin is so evil, so vicious, so ignorant, so bigoted, so racist, so utterly subhuman that it’s positively patriotic to mock her, and given her extraordinary loathsomeness, that her minor children are fair game, too?

Update: Apparently, my sarcasm was lost on some readers, who actually thought I was insulting Palin in this post rather than defending her. Good grief. Click on her name in the tag cloud at right at catch a clue, folks.

Other blog reactions:

John Nolte offers his own Top Ten List, which is pretty clever.

Ace notes that Letterman:

“knocked up” his long-term live-in girlfriend accidentally. And that he did not marry his babymama for six years or so…I don’t really get it. Why is a 17 year old girl to be ridiculed for the same carelessness the 122 year old decrepit fossil David Letterman exhibited?

More from Lileks, Anchoress, Little Miss Attila, Malkin. Nothing yet from McCain (not the senator with the daughter it became very cool to make fun of for being, among other things, fat the minute her dad stopped being a bipartisan maverick and became the GOP presidential candidate) because he’s too busy thinking about who The 15 Hottest Conservative Women in the New Media are.

Ahem. I think someone is missing, don’t you?

How did I become a soccer mom?

There are cleats and shin-guards and absurdly long socks all over my house. I am driving three different children to three different practices at two different parks on three different days, and trying to fit meals and swimming lessons and all the rest in somehow. Wake me up and tell me I’ve been dreaming. Please.

I never wanted my kids to play soccer. I don’t like soccer. I briefly dated a soccer player in high school, but thankfully not long enough to have to feign an interest in the game.

So why are they playing? My husband wanted them to. For years I resisted, but finally he wore me down, as he always does, so here I am. A soccer mom.

The other day at Tessie’s practice, I found myself absurdly proud of how she could dribble (I had no idea they called it that, thought dribbling was only in basketball) the ball faster and farther than any of the other kids. I was happy for her because their uniforms are blue, her favorite color.

I suppose the next thing will be learning all the rest of the ridiculous soccer jargon and actually being able to understand how the stupid game is played. The things we do for our kids.

And I thought c-section recovery was bad.

When murder isn’t murder at all

Last month, a Santa Fe man killed his girlfriend Sarah Lovato, their unborn child, and Lovato’s father. Even though the baby was full term, due any day, and he shot his girlfriend in the belly multiple times, Mariano Leyba, Jr., can’t be charged with the baby’s murder, because the baby wasn’t a human being, you see. At least in New Mexico. Read the rest of the story in my New Mexico Independent column.

Belated blog anniversary

I missed it! I can’t believe I actually missed my own blog anniversary. My first post was May 19, 2008. I remember four days later, during a busy week when I had houseguests, and started writing this post, but never finished it.

I haven’t been finishing much lately. Only the necessary things. And the blog isn’t necessary. Or lucrative, since I don’t run ads (someday, maybe, if I ever have time to research how it’s done) and don’t have a tip jar (which some people have told me I should, but I just can’t bring myself to do it). Then again, it did get me a columnist job at the New Mexico Independent, which doesn’t exactly pay enough for me to quit my day job (oh yeah, my day job doesn’t pay either) but at least it pays for the bandwidth.

In my first post (which, I have to admit, sounds a little stuffy now) I asked whether the world really needed a new blog, and concluded that it didn’t, but that I was going to start one anyway. At the time, a friend told me I ought to start two blogs, one personal and one political. I thought about it, since her point had merit. A lot of people who like my personal posts are probably turned off by my politics, and some readers who enjoy the political posts are probably bored by the ones about my kids and the minutiae of a semi-suburban, semi-rural housewife’s life.

But so what? If they don’t want to read it, they don’t have to. And even if I did write a purely political blog, it would never in a million years be one of the big ones. As Michelle Malkin said in a profile of five prominent women bloggers about how to succeed in the blogosphere,

it takes a work ethic. You’re not going to be successful if you only post 2 or 3 times a day…

I will never be successful on the scale that Malkin is because the idea of only posting 2 or 3 times a day at this point in my life is nothing short of ludicrous. I don’t even post once a day. The past month or so, I’m lucky if I post three times a week. I just can’t sit and post for several hours a day, every day, rain or shine, sick kids or well. I’m not Michelle Malkin, who has two kids who go to school, and probably a nanny as well. I’m a homeschooling mother of four who likes to cook everything from scratch and read to my kids and take on stupid projects I ought to be smart enough to leave alone.

Considering my recent lack of consistent posting, I was pretty amazed today when my stat program reported over 1400 hits so far today. The really amazing thing to me is that my total hits during the past year (I installed the stat program in June 2008, a couple of weeks after I began the blog) have been…drumroll, please…245,979.  That’s almost a quarter of a million!

And that’s without following The Other McCain’s rules for How to Get a Million Hits on your Blog in Less than a Year.  Who has the time?  Not I, obviously.  And anyway, even if I could get a million hits, I don’t know how to make the statistics appear on the blog itself, the way they do with SiteMeter, but will try to figure it out.  If I find the time (ha!).  I could just sign up with SiteMeter, but don’t really want to start the counter from zero at this point.  Vanity of vanites.  All is vanity.

And now the baby’s crying and I have to go.  As usual.

Goode show

Mike Judge is a comic genius. I got more good laughs out of King of the Hill than just about any recent show with the exception of South Park. And now — oh, happy day! — Judge has a new show out, The Goode Family.

The Goodes, a family whose extreme political correctness provides much of the show’s comic fodder, don’t have much in common with the conservative, blue collar Hills, but there are similarities between the two families. Mrs. Goode is, like Peggy Hill, the butt of far more jokes than her husband. This, I suppose, would lead feminists to label Judge a misogynist, but I think it’s just because as a guy, he identifies more with guys, and this makes him give a little more common sense and humanity to his lead male characters.

The show premiered last Wednesday, but I didn’t hear about it until Friday, so I watched it on Hulu. I had heard it lampooned leftists, but as Mike Judge is no dummy, there were a few barbs at the far right thrown in to season the mix.

The show is hilarious. Go watch it.

Selfishness as social policy

My NMI column today explores how a Santa Fe elementary school’s reprieve from closure — thanks to Governor Bill Richardson’s spreading around some of the New Mexico taxpayers’ wealth — illustrates a very big problem in American society as a whole.

Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court

A few weeks ago, I predicted that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee would definitely be a solid liberal, and would probably be a female Hispanic.

I also promised that I would not pillory the nominee. And I won’t. Because there is no point. Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed. If some skeleton is found in her closet and she has to withdraw, President Obama’s next nominee will be just as liberal, just as dedicated to justice on behalf of groups and categories rather than individuals, and that person will be confirmed.

As the President reminded his Republican opponents not long after the election, “We won.” The “and you lost so shut up and let us run the country the way we want” remained unspoken, but we got the idea.

They did win. So now he gets to pick the Supreme Court justices and the Democratic majority in the Senate gets to confirm them. I accept that. I think conservatives who are calling for battle lines to be drawn are choosing the wrong battle. This one can’t be won.

But that doesn’t mean that I like Judge Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy. I find her ruling in the Frank Ricci case deeply disturbing. As summed up by David Paul Kuhn at Real Clear Politics, the particulars of the case are as follows:

In 2003, the New Haven fire department had several vacancies for new lieutenants and captains. Candidates for promotion had to take a written and oral test. Candidates had three months to prepare. Ricci gave up a second job to study. Because he is dyslexic, Ricci paid an acquaintance more than $1,000 to read textbooks onto audiotapes. He studied 8 to 13 hours a day. And he succeeded. Ricci’s exam ranked sixth among the 77 candidates who took the test.

But New Haven’s civil service board ruled that not enough minorities earned a qualifying score. The city is more than a third black. None of the 19 African-American firefighters who took the exam earned a sufficient score. The city tossed out the exam. No promotions were given. Ricci and 17 other white firefighters, including one Hispanic, sued New Haven for discrimination.

In 2006, a Federal District Court ruled that the city had not discriminated against the white firefighters. Judge Janet Bond Arterton argued that since “the result was the same for all because the test results were discarded and nobody was promoted,” no harm was done.

But in reality, the decision meant that Ricci and other qualified candidates were denied promotions because of the color of their skin. This is the essence of discrimination. The exclusion of a person from earned advancement because of his or her race. The Ricci case exemplifies decades of faulty policy that mistook equal opportunity for equal outcome.

When the case came before the three-judge panel of the New York federal appeals court, Arterton’s ruling was upheld in an unsigned and, as the New York Times described it, “unusually terse decision.” One of the judges who upheld the ruling was Sotomayor.

This case lays out as starkly as possible the difference between liberal and conservative philosophies. Conservatives believe in equality of opportunity while liberals believe in equality of result. Conservatives believe that justice should be color-blind while liberals believe that white men today ought to pay for the privilege that white men had in the past — even if those white men today happen to be the sons and grandsons of working-class immigrants rather than the sons and grandsons of the privileged. Conservatives believe the law ought to treat people as individuals while liberals believe the law ought to treat them as members of groups classified by ethnicity, sex, and sexual orientation.

I am not calling for a filibuster to stop the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor. What would be the point? They won [and we lost so get over it]. The next justice is going to be a liberal who believes in the equality of outcome and different standards of justice for people based on their race and sex. So what difference does it make whether it’s Sonia Sotomayor or someone else who thinks just like she does?