Friday, July 10, 2009

Sarah Palin: Death by a thousand cuts?

There have been many pieces on Sarah Palin lately. They come from many different angles; most of the ones I've read are good. Jonah's is insightful and thoughtful, as usual. So is Ross Douthat's.

Insightful, thoughtful... but are they useful? These are basically opinion pieces highlighting her strengths and weaknesses, and they have merit. But this one by John Fund actually explains why she stepped down.

This situation developed because Alaska's transparency laws allow anyone to file Freedom of Information Act requests. While normally useful, in the hands of political opponents FOIA requests can become a means to bog down a target in a bureaucratic quagmire, thanks to the need to comb through records and respond by a strict timetable. Similarly, ethics investigations are easily triggered and can drag on for months even if the initial complaint is flimsy. Since Ms. Palin returned to Alaska after the 2008 campaign, some 150 FOIA requests have been filed and her office has been targeted for investigation by everyone from the FBI to the Alaska legislature. Most have centered on Ms. Palin's use of government resources, and to date have turned up little save for a few state trips that she agreed to reimburse the state for because her children had accompanied her. In the process, though, she accumulated $500,000 in legal fees in just the last nine months, and knew the bill would grow ever larger in the future.

This is the kind of thing that news media glosses over, not just because of ideology but because of the yawn factor. Just like the ACORN agitators and their role in Obama's rise -- where's the story? You get better ratings when you say magic words like "pregnant teenager" or "Republican scandal". Here's Fund's depressing conclusion:

....Ms. Palin mostly likely will not run for president -- in 2012, at least. She made many mistakes after suddenly being thrust into the national spotlight last year, but hasn't merited the sneering contempt visited upon her by national reporters. She simply was not their kind of feminist -- and they disdained the politically incorrect life choices she had made.

In helping to convince Sarah Palin that her road forward in national politics would demand even more sacrifices and pain than exacted from most politicians, the media did nothing to encourage women or people of modest means to participate in politics. By sidestepping her critics, Sarah Palin is now moving to another playing field where she has more control over the rules of the game. Her friends say her critics may call her a "quitter" now, but they should wait and see what new role she decides to fill. She may wind up having the last laugh.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"It's so lonely when you don't even know yourself"

I feel like I should say something about Michael Jackson, but I think this song pretty much sums up what I think.

It's a mercy to not get famous, a "gift to be simple" as another song reminds us. But if you do get famous, you'll probably need to get help, hopefully before it's too late.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Medical System Rant

My cousin's wife was just induced and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy (5 lbs, 11 ounces), so thanks be to God.

However this is what irritates me. The reason they induced three weeks early was that they said the baby wasn't growing anymore. This was based on three ultrasounds they did within a one-week period. How the hell are they going to be able to tell there is no growth from images in such a short span of time? So they sit these two down to freak them out–this is their first pregnancy–and say something might be wrong so we're going to induce three weeks early. Nothing showed up as wrong on the first ultrasound–why did they do the next two? These things are all done "just in case", thank you Mr. Trial-lawyer. I'm sure that they were ready to section her if the labor they induced wasn't "progressing" as they say, at least not progressing fast enough to allow the doctor to leave on his precious schedule. So that would have been even more moolah, but too bad–they missed that score.

This seems to me to be one of the things which is placing a huge strain on the medical system, driving up costs and why maternity insurance is so high. If it were a one-off I wouldn't be so strident, but I've heard too many stories of medical professionals scaring people–sometimes advising abortions... and the baby turns out 100% healthy. It's all to shorten "turn-around" on the process and thereby increase cash flow from the insurance firms.

We've done a total of two ultrasounds for six pregnancies. I know we're at the other end of the spectrum, doing home births with midwives and paying out of pocket with an HSA and that's not for everyone, I'll admit. You do have to admit that we're keeping costs down this way. I know I shouldn't extrapolate my own experience into data, obviously, but it just seems this obsession with multiple ultrasounds smells like a scheme to milk the coverage, especially at the tail end of an otherwise uneventful pregnancy. If the Government takes over there will be even more milking of the system going on, methinks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Encyclical: "Love in Truth (Caritas in veritate)"

Pope Benedict XVI's new encyclical is out. Inroduction:

Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:22). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).

I uploaded a slightly easier to read PDF version here. Hopefully the Pope won't sue me.

Teen World Savers!

Sponsored by Huggies.

Check it out: Madonna of the Streets in the background around :52.

I don't think animals like me either, but I only kill what I need for food. That's one difference between me and a psychotic killer, I suppose.