Monday, November 27, 2006

#327 - Dr. Phil Chimes In (and Out) (UPDATED)

So the Dr. Phil Franchise jumped into the homeschool debate. I only bring this up because the good doctor unfortunately smacks of "credibility" whenever he tackles a controversial subject. It has little to do with whether his opinions are in any way correct. It has far more to do with Dr. Phil having more of a "National Enquirer" kind of audience.

You know the folks I'm talking about. These are the folks who hear something on one of those CBS sound-bite reports ("homeschooling causes child abuse!") and the next thing you know this obscure prejudice has become firmly engrained in the listener's psyche. No amount of empirical evidence to the contrary will shake them, either. These are the same people responsible for most of the conspiracy theories ("JFK was killed by abused homeschoolers!") in the world today.

You might guess by now that I give little, if any, credence to Dr. Phil's opinions of homeschooling. You would be correct.

But, to be truthful, I really could care less what the overly vaunted Dr. thinks about anything. Hey, his weight loss strategies are not bad, but that doesn't mean that everything that comes out of the man's mouth is something with which I automatically agree. After all, the man is a clinical psychologist, which means he gets paid by the word. The more words he comes up with, the more money he makes. More power to him.

That said, I also understand that there are many in the homeschooling community (see the HSLDA's harrumph here) who have and will take umbrage at Dr. Phil's statements. More particularly, he seems to think that homeschool is fine up to a point, and that point is high school. By high school, he opines, the kids are in more need of association with peers (and peer pressure by extension, I guess) in order to develop properly. Or as properly as any psychologist is capable of understanding.

All this takes me back to why I homeschool.

Primary of which is, I don't homeschool because (or in spite) of Dr. Phil. Really. Nothing that Dr. Phil says has any bearing whatsoever on why, how, or for how long we intend to homeschool our children. Neither should he have any bearing on that process. Dr. Phil, being a psychologist, is a mere resource. Someone to whom one might turn if they were conflicted about something and just didn't seem able to overcome the obstacles. But for a family in our position - one where Mom and Dad are in 100% complete agreement about homeschooling - such a resource is not required.

Nor do I need Dr. Phil to validate our decision. (I could make some sort of statement that I don't need anyone to validate our decision, but that sounds altogether too maudlin, even for me.)

This, then, becomes the single greatest weakness in the homeschool "movement" (for lack of a better adjective). While there are a great many hard-working, dedicated homeschooling families who have produced countless well-adjusted and properly educated kids, there are also those on the fringe who vacillate. These are the families that people like Dr. Phil tend to interview.

That's just good TV, I'm afraid. Dr. Phil would get absolutely nowhere having my family on his show because we're just too darned unremarkable as homeschoolers go. We are not separatist nutcases who homeschool to spite the government; we simply don't trust the government to adequately and safely educate our children. We do not "unschool" our children; neither do we force them to sit bleary-eyed in a classroom trying to keep up with the super-achievers or being dragged down by the underachievers. Homework is a non-issue. Socialization likewise, unless the Mother of All Experts would like to pooh-pooh church and family as primary socialization networks. Our student-to-teacher ratio is 2:1, unless Daddy steps in and helps in which case it's more like 1.5:1. Find that in any public school today.

No, if Dr. Phil showcased my family on his show, we would only be depicted as an exception rather than the rule.

Want the real scoop on homeschoolers? Try talking to some. Don't ask Dr. Phil which ones, though.

UPDATE: Just by way of clarification. I've been surfing around on this issue (LOTS of emotional response to DP's show!) and have found that Dr. Phil came down pretty heavy against "unschooling." Just for the record, Mrs. Woody and I are not unschoolers. We follow more "classical" homeschooling lines. Also, the definition of unschooling has shifted somewhat since I first got involved in the homeschooling environment. Twenty years ago, unschooling literally was the process a family went through upon taking children out of public school in preparation for schooling at home. Sort of a public school detox, if you will. These days the term apparently is used nearly exclusively for those folks who wish to take a completely unstructured approach to their childrens' education. That's just not our style. We have well-established, very firm educational goals for our girls, so the current definition of unschooling truly does not apply here. I choose not to judge unschooling one way or another, but I'm absolutely certain that it wouldn't fit in our family dynamic at all.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

#326 - A Troubled Path In (Not To) the White House

ccwbass at Way Off Bass [Full Disclosure Statement: Yes, he is my literal brother by birth. Deal with it.] points out the rising tide of interest in Mitt Romney's seemingly inevitable campaign for President.

In this case, "interest" may not necessarily represent a good thing, depending on which side of Romney's de facto campaign you happen to be. I, of course, think it can only be a good thing to have a faithful Latter-day Saint in the White House. So much should be obvious. But I advise caution on one point:

Having a Latter-day Saint in the White House does not equal having an infallible man in the White House.

I say this without having given Brother Romney a whole lot of study. I say this more from the perspective of one who has come away from election after election being disappointed in the reality versus the promise of any given candidate - particularly those who have ended up in the White House.

In 1976 I was just barely old enough (I'd made the deadline by something like a whole week) to vote in the general election. In fact, I turned 18 between the primary and the general, so I hadn't even participated fully in the decision-making process that year. It goes without saying that my only recollection of that election was the choice between Ford or Carter for President. Even though a purely nascent Republican at the time, I remember instinctively mistrusting Carter. Perhaps it was his smile. I well remember the old joke that said "never trust a smiling politician." The problem is, they all smile when they're running for office.

Anyway, Carter made it to the office having ridden a wave of anti-Establishment sentiment. "I will clean house," he'd said, hoping that we would believe that Nixon's criminal misuse of the office was somehow the only thing that needed fixing. Ford had been the "caretaker" President, and never could get folks behind him. His "healing act" of pardoning Nixon was, I suspect, the true death knell of his too-short term in office. Inflation and other national woes might have been overlooked but for that.

There is no doubt that Carter is a good man. If we measured him strictly by his adherence to his beliefs (and isn't this what Romney will be subjected to over and over again?) he stands as a man of far more integrity than, say, Clinton. Reagan was another man of integrity who simply let his government get away from him. His personal beliefs never wavered, but he had many unscrupulous people working for him. This had the effect of tainting his presidency with hints of scandal while he himself seemed able to rise above them to the end of his term.

Both Bushes have been men of integrity as to their personal beliefs, but both men have also been products of the professional political machine. In other words, while their intentions have been honorable, they both have shown blindness to some principles so they could defend their actions to pursue other means. This makes them good but misguided men.

As one who sees another Clinton in office as one of the predicted signs of the Apocalypse, I must look once again to the Republican slate of candidates in 2008. McCain will court the moderates because he knows that's where the safer high ground lies. But Mitt Romney has a triple disadvantage where the national press is concerned. He is not only a conservative (as opposed to McCain's moderate), but he is a right wing conservative by association. Worse still, in the eyes of a rather large voting bloc, he is a Mormon right-winger, which will have him continually being roasted and barbecued by the Southern Baptist Convention, among others.

Fortunately, the SBC has not had a wonderful track record of predicting winners or losers in any given election. They will be, however, a force to be reckoned with in the press, which is where this coming election is most likely to be fought.

But let us assume for a moment that Romney somehow keeps it clean and finds himself sitting in the White House. Mission accomplished, right?

Not entirely.

The first thing Romney will find himself fighting is the long-established, well-oiled machine that is Washington politics. He will find himself - as every president has ever done - having to dance with the devil to get things accomplished. And the "devil" does not necessarily represent the guys who voted for the Donkeys, if you get my drift. As Reagan found, the devil often masquerades as a trusted advisor who is left to manage things pretty much on his (or her) own and conveniently fails to inform the Commander in Chief when treading a treacherous path. Thus the Chief Executive becomes guilty by association, and any attempt to correct such things "quietly" always becomes a scandal of cover-up.

Could such a thing happen to MItt Romney? Of course. And this would be the bad thing. Not just because such a thing might happen, but because such a thing might happen to a "Mormon" president of the United States.

I say this because it has always amazed me that the press reports things two ways: Either a man bit a dog (news), or a Mormon man bit a dog (bigger news!). It never fails. No matter how significant the crime, it always becomes somehow more significant if committed by a Mormon. Always.

You know that scene in the book "All the President's Men" where the crooks are brought before the judge at their arraignment and one of them, when asked his name and occupation, mumbles "CIA" under his breath? Remember how that catapulted Watergate from "just another break-in" status to "full-blown constitutional crisis" status in, like, fifty pages? This is what happens whenever the term "Mormon" is applied to any report of a crime, scandal, or misunderstanding as reported in the press.

So, yes, I root for a Romney campaign. Given the current choice, I'd much rather have a Romney than a McCain in office come 2009. But I'm also realistic enough to realize that no matter who takes that office is going to have their hands full if they wish to both govern and yet remain a person of integrity.

It just goes with the territory.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

#325 - As If to Prove My Point

The Wholesome Image™ continues unabated.

#324 - A (Very) Little Humor

Step-Dad Z-Meister has waaaaaay more friends than a normal retiree should be allowed. I base this on the number of emailed satires he forwards to me, nearly always from someone new (to me, at least).

This first one just made me chuckle. At least the punch line did.
Regardless of where one stands on the issue of the U.S. involvement in Iraq, here's a sobering statistic.

There has been a monthly average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theatre of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2,112 deaths.

That gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers.

The firearm death rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000 Persons for the same period.

That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in the U.S. Capital than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: The U.S. should pull out of Washington
Not altogether far-fetched, I think.

More along the lines of something that will likely get me some snarky responses from more moderate readers comes this snorter. For the record, I actually know the guy that passed this one along. This fellow (name withheld to protect the libelous) is one who both worked on my teeth and sang tenor with me in the Ventura County Master Chorale. Heaven only knows where he got it:
A Lady wrote a lot of letters to the White House complaining about the treatment of a captive insurgents (terrorists) being held in Guantanamo Bay.

She received back the following reply:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20016

Dear Concerned Citizen,

Thank you for your recent letter roundly criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Quaeda detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Our administration takes these matters seriously and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington.

You'll be pleased to learn that, thanks to the concerns of citizens like yourself, we are creating a new division of the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care.

Your personal detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence next Monday.

Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud (you can just call him Ahmed) is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of complaint. It will likely be necessary for you to hire some assistant care-givers.

We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter.

Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his "attitudinal problem" will help him overcome these character flaws.

Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences. We understand that you plan to offer counselling and home schooling.

Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We advise that you do not ask him to demonstrate these skills at your next yoga group. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless (in your opinion) this might offend him.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with you or your daughters (except sexually), since he views females as a sub-human form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him and he has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the new dress code that he will recommend as more appropriate attire.

I'm sure you will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the burka over time.

Just remember that it is all part of "respecting his culture and his religious beliefs" -- wasn't that how you put it?

Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks like you keep us informed of the proper way to do our job. You take good care of Ahmed - and remember, we'll be watching.

Good luck!

Cordially, your friend,

Don Rumsfeld*

*Now doing "an outstanding job" as emeritus consultant to the new guy.
Thanks, Bob!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

#323 - Hoffa Reappears. Sorta.

It happened while I was still in high school. (Note: there are disputations as to what, exactly, "in" high school means, but that's not for this story.) Jimmy Hoffa, former Teamster boss and Mafia beneficiary disappeared quite suddenly in July of 1975. This was news that riveted a nation because Hoffa was one of those larger-than-life characters that I'd grown up hearing about. He was a favorite target of Robert F. Kennedy when Kennedy served in his brother's cabinet in the 60's. He was constantly associated with the Mafia, whether deserved or not. Turns out he probably wasn't in the Mafia, but when dealing with the Mafia close is bad enough.

Then, of course, there were the wild rumors and speculation. If the Mafia got him, where'd they bury him? My personal favorite was either the end zone or one of the cement supports of Giants Stadium. I particularly loved the "buried in cement" scenario because it always reminded me of Hoffa being tossed, Jack Lemmon-like, into a giant gloppita-gloppita machine.

So Hoffa became a perfect metaphor for disappearing without a trace, preferably by less than savory means. I found this to be a comfortable disappearance. Here was a man for whom I had no respect disappearing probably because of ties with one or more crime families in a case that is still considered unsolved.

Except for the confession.

Turns out there was a confession, and many people now find it to be highly credible. Hoffa was apparently done in by someone he trusted and had frequently used as his own muscle in some of his shadier dealings. He either did not know or somehow overlooked the fact that this same man was himself a hit man. Poetic justice, methinks.

So, after literally decades of fanciful speculation and amateur detective work, the "truth" comes out in this hit man's own death-bed confession. I've never read the book, but if I get bored sometime I might look for it.

Apparently Hoffa was murdered the same night he was supposed to meet with Mafiosos to "clear the air" between them. Instead, he gets two bullets in the back of the head, and a quick ride to a local funeral home where he is incinerated and, presumably, scattered to the wind.

Mystery apparently solved.

I believe I'll miss it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

#322 - Well, No Wonder...

Christmas is coming. Rapidly. However, the internet shopping junkies have already been trolling for deals, and the Woundup keeps popping up on their radar screens.

I suppose that's because folks began coming here by accident looking for Woody's Roundup® toys and such. My apologies. As I mentioned before, you won't find anything here about the Roundup. That's partly because I'm too old for that stuff, partly because my Woodyettes just aren't interested in that stuff, and partly because I fear Disney® Lawyers™ far too much to even mention Woody's Roundup©™® with impunity.

No, shoppers, at the moment the only shopping advice you'll find here is why you should avoid Il Divo™®etc. According to the Cranky Reviewer, Il Divo (so I quit attributing... so sue me) causes brain cancer, infertility, and is responsible for single-handedly destroying civilization as we know it. Or something like that. The Cranky Reviewer's reviews frankly begin to run together in my fevered brain at this festive time of year.

So, anyway, sorry if you came here under false pretenses.

Merry Christmas©!

Monday, November 13, 2006

#321 - Life By Committee - Revisited

Dredging through Drudge this evening I came across a reference to a highly disturbing article. A Bishop in the Church of England has indicated that children who are severely deformed or disabled at birth should be allowed to die under certain circumstances. At first, this struck me as sounding awfully familiar. But there's a small difference in this case. Holland's Groningen Protocol actually codifies circumstances under which life should be terminated - effectively placing the Dutch government in the role traditionally assigned to God, or courts (as when dealing with convicted murderers). In this case, however, Anglican Bishop Tom Butler of Southwick appears to be arguing for a more traditional approach to this deeply emotional issue. He indicates that
...there are occasions when it is compassionate to leave a severely disabled child to die.
With this particular statement I actually agree. When writing about the Groningen Protocol, I recounted the story of a young couple with whom I was acquainted whose very premature baby was born with multiple deformities, none the least of which was a brain that had developed with no more than a stem. After long consultations with family, doctors, and local church leaders they made the painful decision to not attempt any extraordinary lifesaving procedures; not even a respirator, if memory serves. The baby lived barely a week, during which they snuggled her, named her, blessed her, bonded with her as best they could, and generally enjoyed this small life for as long as God had granted them. It was a very significant experience for me, and I learned much about how we should protect both the lives as well as the spiritual welfare of our children and loved ones. Their family "portrait" probably still hangs on their family picture wall.

Reading further, however, I found this rather chilling statement by the Reverend Bishop:
[The Bishop] has also argued that the high financial cost of keeping desperately ill babies alive should be a factor in life or death decisions.
While I believe I know what prompted this statement, it unfortunately sounds far too Groningen-like for my taste.

Look, unless you're born rich or put off having children until you've made your pile, no one is ever ready for all the burden and responsibilities that go along with raising offspring. Even the rich ones have their challenges laid out for them, unless they prefer to abdicate everything to the care of their nanny. But the parent who, when presented with a desperately sick child, has as their first thought, "How will we pay for all of this?" is one who should have reconsidered becoming a parent in the first place.

Admittedly, I have only ever known a small handful of people who have had to go through these decisions in their own lives. Some, like the couple I mentioned previously, are friends. Others are extended family. A few are merely chance acquaintances. But in every single case when discussing the subject, their first and foremost thought was always, "What would be best for this child?" Thoughts of financial burden or worries about how to rearrange their lives to accomodate such a child are always secondary. For a true parent it has little to do with money or inconvenience, and everything to do with wishing - indeed, hoping against hope - that their precious baby didn't have to suffer so.

So while I think I understand that the Bishop was merely trying to provide some practical guidance in this instance, his concerns for financial considerations in what is already a highly emotionally charged decision for parents make the Anglican Church seem just a little cold-blooded.

It's not Groningen, but it could be.

#320 - More Public Service

To all you yahoos good people who arrive here looking for Woody's Drive-In in Salt Lake City, this link's for you.

I've visited Woody's a few times over the years. Mrs. Woody's brother happens to live in the area, and it's a sort of tradition for us. It's a cholesterol palace, but, hey, it's no Chuck-A-Rama either.

The food is pretty good and the atmosphere is friendly. Not a bad place to eat, but a heck of a commute from Anaheim, California.

#319 - Two Questions

(H/T: Dave Barry)

First, why is this considered news? This sort of thing happens all the time in the entertainment biz. This is why Trump invented pre-nups in the first place.

Second, whom does she think she's kidding?

Britney fears the raunchy footage will destroy her wholesome image[.]

She has a "wholesome image?"

[checks dictionary]

Umm... only if Bill Clinton is re-writing the dictionary. No, I believe Ms. Spears burned that particular bridge a looong time ago.

Makes for fun blog fodder, though.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

#318 - Who Really Won?

Silly question, of course. According to the ever-reliable "the Onion," the politicians won!


(H/T: Dave Barry)

#317 - Congratulations, Nancy and Howard!

Let me be the first to heartily congratulate the Democrats on their truly decisive victory in the House of Representatives. You have your absolute moral mandate. Good for you.

Not to pressure you, or anything, but I can't help thinking about Pelosi's First Hundred Days scenario. I've just been running back through some memes and threads over the past couple of years and wanted to point out to you what our expectations are, now that you're in power. I'll even be generous and give you two whole years:

1. You are not allowed to fail in Iraq. You can spin "fail" any way you wish, but failure is not an option. Certainly not based on what your expectations were while we were in control. If you have a plan for withdrawing our troops, now's the time. To be considered successful, however, let me remind you that at the same time you're bringing our troops home, the new Iraqi government must be able to continue to govern effectively for at least a few months after we leave. That will give you time to declare that it was Iraq's failure to govern and not our withdrawal that did absolutely nothing to ease the violence in that region.

2. Katrina must never again be allowed to happen. My goodness, the fuss you made over the government's multiple failures to deal with such devastation. So, I'm assuming that in the next two years you will not only have repaired the levee system, but will also have ensured that evacuation plans will not include having thousands of busses sit idle in a parking lot somewhere instead of using them to move people to higher ground.

3. Political corruption. Not allowed during your tenure. And we get to adjudicate your behavior by exactly the same standards you applied to Republicans. Fair?

4. Gay marriage. It goes without saying that one of your first orders of business will be to override the votes of people in all the states where they legally enacted protection of marriage laws. I just hope you're not expecting that we who voted for those laws will stand up and cheer when you do so. Please also do not act shocked when some of the more extreme elements of our party begin using the words "censure" and "impeachment" in conjunction with your name. This is not a threat, but merely a friendly warning.

5. Stem cell research. Just wanted you to make sure that when you pass stem cell research legislation, you have done so having already a complete knowledge of the true benefits of that research before you rush off to create (and then destroy) innocent lives. Note that I say "true benefits" rather than "political benefits." Really, we just might think a little less of you if those benefits turn out to be elusive.

6. Abortion. Now, just because I voted down our California initiative that would have required 48 hour notice to parents before terminating a minor's pregnancy, I don't want you to get the false impression that I somehow support abortion as a fundamental right. I believe I have made it abundantly clear in previous writings that I truly believe that elective abortion is a golden passport straight to Dante's seventh level. Although, since I imagine Hell to look a lot like the Capitol building, I suppose you'd be quite comfortable there.

7. Ooh! Let's not forget about the economy! Our expectations, now that Pelosi is the de facto empress of the nation, is that you will not only leave the economy in as good or better shape than it is now, but that you will also eliminate poverty and tax only the rich (defined as those people making more money than I do). You will also make it possible for corporations to continue to do business so they don't have to keep laying off thousands of workers every year.

8. Global warming. You will of course commit the United States to the Kyoto protocols, or whatever replaces them. This means that the United States will not only take the lead in eliminating global warming, but will also admit and apologize for having caused global warming in the first place. That means that, while you're busy keeping our economy on track, you will also be prepared to pay exorbitant amounts of money to developing nations who were callously destroyed by our negligence. We have a guilty conscience, after all.

9. Immigration. You have two years to resolve this thorny issue. Really, two years ought to be plenty of time, so long as we suddenly acquire a national backbone about our current revolving-door borders. May I point out that allowing thousands of people to cross our borders without control of any kind places us in a kind of double jeopardy? Sure, you have your potential terrorism problem, but there's also an economic angle to be considered here. Isn't it possible that those same rich people you plan to tax might get a little tired of supporting entire third-world nations within our own borders? You know how expensive health care is, for example. Just a thought. (I know I sound a tad cold-hearted on this one. My apologies. I just think it would be cheaper in the long run to simply help developing nations beef up their own health care rather than try to cure them here. Our doctors have better lawyers, and that's always more expensive.)

I could have added something about impeaching Bush, but I kind of see that as a waste of our time, don't you? I mean, we had Clinton dead to rights - in flagrante delecto so to speak - and wasted all that time in the trials rather than preventing 9/11. So I'll just leave the whole Bush-impeachment issue off the table for now. I'd suggest you'd do the same, but, hey, I'm not in power anymore.

Anyway that's it. It's not much more than we would ask of Santa Claus, really, except that Santa is more likely to deliver on his promises. I'm sure you understand; we just really don't want you guys to mess up now that you've got the ball.

#316 - Fun With Insomnia

Yet another thing you can do with insomnia is...


Of all the time-wasting nonsense. My only excuse is that I've had flu today (now going well into tomorrow) and I'm restless. I'll try to get some sleep now, but I just wanted you to know how much I suffer for my art.

Well, I don't so much suffer as mess around.

Actually, I'm avoiding housework for the most part.


#315 - Uncle Woody's Election Night Woundup - UPDATED

UPDATE: Whoops. Serves me right for speaking too early in the process. Turns out that I was overly optimistic about the state-wide offices.

Uncle Woody's final ballot initiative tally remains 5 out of 13. The two close ones (84 and 90) were decided not in Uncle Woody's favor. More bond debt and some private developer will soon be telling you to find lodgings somewhere else, thank you very much. Boo hoo.

Uncle Woody's final tally on the high-visibility offices of Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Insurance Commissioner was nearly commpletely wrong. Turns out Arnie will be getting in touch with his inner-Democrat as he works with Dems in all of those offices, except for Insurance Commissioner. 'Nother words, business as nearly usual here in the Golden State.

For all that, my "shoulder shrug" (as attributed by Way Off Bass) has not materially changed:
I realize it's obligatory for a Republican blogger to say something about today's election. What I'm really supposed to say, of course, is that I'm depressed, gonna slit my wrists, and move to, um, well, whatever nation has a strong conservative base today, and, um... gee. Can't think of one right off-hand. Cam mentioned Australia, but only because they have a PM with a backbone right now. The rest of the country is just as politically screwed up as we are.

Oh, well. No matter. Even though I'm supposed to wax suicidal over our apparent loss in the House, I just can't get too worked up over it. Really. So Pelosi is the Presumed Speaker now. So what? If she's busy in Washington, that means she's not paying too much attention to California, and that suits me just fine. Also, I can't say we didn't have this one coming. We've known for some time that anti-war sentiment would fester into a revenge/payback election in the mid-term, and it did. It was inevitable. Enough people are fed up with the Iraq situation that they're really hoping a Democratically controlled House will somehow be able to talk some sense into our international policy.

Fat chance, of course. To do that, they still need to elect a Democrat to the Big House in 2008, and right now they can't find a coherent enough voice to galvanize their base. If Romney doesn't foul himself up in the next two years, he could make things very uncomfortable for any Democratic front-runner. McCain ceased to be relevant to any conservative base a long time ago and is now only fit for news fodder.

But back to today. Those who actually bothered to read my "Curmudgeon's Guide for Young Conservative Voters" already know that Uncle Woody called 5 out of 13 ballot initiatives with 2 still close enough that no one can call 'em. The two, by the way, are the Parks (and other infrastructure) Bond initiative - #84 was leaning Y (against my N) at last count. Prop 90 was leaning N against my Y. 90 is the Eminent Domain initiative, and I think there are enough developers and business execs in this state to keep this one down. I'll probably lose this one.

The ones I pegged were: 1A (Transportation Fund Protection) - Y; 83 (Sex Offender Monitoring) - Y; 85 (Waiting Period & Parental Notification) - N; 87 (Alternative Energy Bureaucracy) - N (this is particularly satisfying because Bill Clinton appeared in numerous ads giving a doctored stump speech to urge its passage. Heh.); 89 (Campaign Reform) - N.

Of course I'm not losing sleep over the ones that got away. Most of them were either tax increases being voted down, or bond issues being approved. We just live in a state where the word "debt" is meaningless to far too large a portion of the population. The voting population, at any rate. I'm used to it now.

Locally the races ran exactly as anticipated. Our congressman ran unopposed in this district, so no surprise there. Schwarzenegger won against Angelides, and even though I'm no fan of the Muscle-Bound One, I'm far less a fan of the Fraudulent Huckster. Republican wins for Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, and Insurance Commissioner are also satisfying. In fact, of the statewide offices, the only head-scratcher is Jerry Brown (former "Governor Med Fly" Brown!) for Attorney General. His campaign ads called him "independent." Not since he left his father's house he isn't. Also, the man has never shown himself to be particularly tough on crime. He probably grows his own pot, but that may just be my personal hysteria speaking.

Uncle Woody's Bottom Line: No change. Really. Not one race that was either won or lost today will have any immediate impact on me or my family. Gas prices will go up or down depending on whether OPEC can quit squabbling long enough to limit production as they continually threaten. Public education will continue to become less and less relevant to my circumstances over time, unless someone begins to threaten my rights to homeschool. Nothing about that in this election, that I've heard or seen. My taxes will not be going up in the immediate future, unless Arnie listens to his Chiefette of Staff too much more.

Having Democrats in charge of the House only means that Bush now will have an excuse for his lame border-control policies. It also means that we will continue to hear partisan bickering over how and when to disengage ourselves from Iraq, with the Dems pushing harder than ever for their cut-and-run scenario. Bush is pretty much a lame duck now, but would have been with or without a Republican House for the next two years anyway.

Back to bed, citizens. Nothing to see here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

#314 - It's Coming!

I'm pretty sure the Book of Revelation names this as one of the signs of the Apocalypse.

#313 - Way Off Bass Reviews Christmas Albums

Not a moment too soon, too.

Cam and I are (arguably) musicians. That means that we not only have both performed in our fair share of Christmas concerts over the years, but we also have a fairly good-sized collection of Christmas music to help get us in the mood every year at about this time.

(This is a lie, actually. Unlike the annoyance we feel at Christmas muzak assaulting our senses at the mall a full month before we're ready for it, Christmas musicians begin dealing with Christmas music in September. What's more, we enjoy it. So, it was only a lie to say that Christmas hits us at this particular time of year. It was not a lie to say that we have good-sized collections. This has been your caveat emptor for this post. Thank you.)

Since Little Bro has remained single for a goodly portion of his adult life, it's safe to say that he has had, oh, ample opportunity to build up his collection. It's also safe to say that, good as my collection is, I still envy him his. Generally.

Anyway, check out the reviews WOB has posted thus far. I'll have to think about the "Cornets for Christmas" album, but I'm already looking for ways to drop broad hints to Mrs. Woody that her darling hubby would love to get his ears on the "Christmas Fantasy" album. I can always use another recording of "Fantasia on Christmas Carols" and I, too, love the Warlock "Bethlehem Down." I first became acquainted with Warlock's music in high school, and I've been a devotee ever since.

Seasonal Greetings!

#312 - Ad Hominem Kerry

Good ol' John Kerry. Like my brother, I really miss Kerry from a blogging perspective. The man just reeks of opportunities for snarky posting of the highest caliber. He is one of the reasons the Woundup came into being in the first place. (Well, that, and not wanting my brother to have all the fun.)

Kerry, for his part, has not left us bereft of material. Although other things have occupied my mind and column space of late, Mr. Kerry has once again managed to prompt at least one more post.

Kerry's blab about our "uneducated" military backfires for a couple of reasons. I work with many, many military and ex-military individuals who are as sharp as any MBA's I've ever met. Not a few of them actually happen to be MBA's, as well as a decent smattering of post-graduate degrees from all the academic disciplines.

By the same token, many of the people I work with who had military careers are, like myself, relatively uneducated. That is, they never pursued their college studies. They opted instead to enter the workplace and prove themselves as being just as capable and intelligent - indeed perhaps more so in many cases - than their "educated" counterparts.

Whether college grads or not, they chose military careers for many reasons, none the least of which was receiving assistance with their schooling. The fact that they loved their country enough to have wanted to serve is, I think, one of the burrs under Kerry's saddle, but that's fodder for another post.

But Kerry himself is germaine to the point of this post: Lack of a formal education is no indicator of intelligence or ability. Mr. Kerry likewise proves that neither is having an education any guarantee of smarts. (Appendix A would be John Murtha.)

Keep talking, John. It always does our side a world of good.