Rants, Musings, and Mental Meanderings of a former Conservative Christian Mother. Standing Strong against ignorance, preconceptions, labels and excessive housework. Celebrating original thought, religious freedom, parenthood, free enterprise and chocolate.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Great Military Debate

... or at least one of many. I have edited this post to add a great quote and an EXCELLENT article I came across. To see the article now (if you've already read this post) click here, or click on the link by the mention of Charlie Rangel wanting to reinstate the draft.

I had a conversation with one of the typical anti-war types the other day. You know, the whole "This war is all about profit for Halliburton" and "Only dumb poor kids with no other future are recruited" and "No one in government has family in the military, they just send poor black kids to die for their hopeless causes" and "Our government hates our military - they are just numbers to them, not people" routine. I have given these arguments some thought, and - Surprise! Now I'm going to give my opinion. That's the fun of a blog. In person you have to bite your tongue and be polite, but on my blog I can speak my mind. Hey, it's a free cyberspace, you don't have to read it.

"This war is all about profit for Halliburton."

This one makes me laugh, because I have realized that mentioning the war without saying the word "Halliburton" is impossible for a liberal. It jumps out, like a sneeze or a cough. The liberal will be on a wonderful rant on how they just know Bush sent Hurricane Katrina to kill all the poor black people in New Orleans, and "Halliburton" will blurt out before they even know it's coming. It doesn't even have to be applicable to the argument. Anyway, I guess I just assume that if the government wanted to throw some shady profits to a certain company, like, Halliburton for example, they could have found a much simpler and easier way to do it than taking an entire country to war. Washington is full of politicians on both side of the aisle that are there to further their agendas and make their friends rich. They do it well, and they do it often. They don't have to take America to war to do it. My guess is... there was a little more to their decision.

"The government doesn't send their own kids, they recruit poor black kids with no other future to be their cannon fodder."

Well, it sounds good, but unfortunately the facts speak quite differently. It is NOT only poor black kids that join the military. If there seems to be a large number of children from middle to lower income families - that's because they are the largest group in America! And, since I have many friends and family members in the military, including my own brother who will be leaving in a few weeks, I actually find it offensive to insinuate that the military is comprised of a bunch of losers that had nothing better to do with their life. They were sitting around a school playground drooling when a recruiter came and offered them the world. Being ignorant and having no concept of what they were doing, they signed up! WRONG. I know this is a difficult concept for many liberals to grasp, but some people actually still think the military is an honorable profession! They are joining to make something of themselves, to pursue a dream, and to accomplish something they can be proud of. Not because they had no other option in life. My brother is proud to fight for his country, and being an intelligent and motivated young man there are many things he could have done with his life. HE CHOSE THE MILITARY, and I dare anyone to say it to my face that he got talked into it because he couldn't cut it for anything else. I remember the push to reinstate the draft by a certain Democrat congressman (Charles Rangel D-N.Y.) who was complaining about this very thing. The draft was shot down, and the facts were made clear. We have an ALL VOLUNTEER army, and it just so happens to be the greatest military in the world.

Edited to add this quote I came across by Edward Bernard:

Then there is the military. Both in war and in peace, high-status Americans think that volunteer soldiers have no brains and no education. The truth is otherwise. Many U.S. officers have master's degrees and Ph.D.s., and more than a few NCOs and enlisted men have bachelor's degrees, which they came into the service with or earned while in the military. In U.S. Special Forces, composed of sergeants and officers, being comfortable in at least two foreign languages and foreign cultures is a sine qua non.

"Our government hates the military - they aren't people to them, just numbers."

This argument has an element of truth to it, although I don't believe the government as a whole hates its military. I have a hard time explaining this, and I hope I am not misunderstood. From a logical standpoint, the government cannot put the human interest of the army personnel ahead of the country's best interest. By that I mean, sending any person into harm's way (to war, for example) is putting the country's interest first, and the individual human interest second. All commanders know that, though they may love their soldiers fiercely, they have to be willing to send them on missions knowing some or many may not return. If all military decisions were made putting the comfort and safety of the military AHEAD of the mission, we would never achieve victory. The emotional support of the military men and women needs to come from us at home!!!! We need to be writing them letters/e-mails, sending them care packages, doing all we can to show them we support them and what they are doing. Now, this administration has made some decisions that I believe have slapped the military and veterans in the face. I am not going to be naive and say that they have always been 100% supportive and always done the right thing. I am simply pointing out that the government is going to put the country's best interest first, and the military serves the country. They aren't going to be buddies. In reality, the soldier is just government property. So, if you think that they need to be treated better - get out there and do something about it!!! And if it's something beyond your control (a policy decision, a benefit reduction, a lengthened deployment) then let your voice be heard! Write your elected officials, raise a ruckus. This is a democracy, after all. We're not as powerless as you think.

Overall, I am tired of those who are always AGAINST everything, but never FOR anything. They hate Bush, but who do they love? They hate the government, but they don't even vote or get involved in supporting any cause. They are against the war so they bash the military, but what causes DO they support? What actually IS worth dying for to them? Living to hate is such a pointless, dissatisfying existence. Live to accomplish things, and make the best of any situation. Even if you were against going to war, we are there now. Now we need to support the men and women fighting this war and shut the heck up about Halliburton.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Contempt For Things Broken

Every once in a while, an illustration that the pastor uses will just really hit me. While we were up north this past weekend, the pastor was saying that people have, by nature, a contempt for things broken. He told us about a rubber mallet he bought, used once, and SNAP! Off broke the handle. He sawed it off, shaved it down, and used the handle to fix a hammer. While using the hammer, a knot in the wood of the handle came loose and caused the hammer to be lopsided. He said you would swing it, and it would just flail around wildly. By now he was so frustrated he went to his table saw and proceeded to saw the handle into pieces! He said he was just so fed up with that handle, that he destroyed it beyond the point of any usefulness. He then pointed out that, although we laugh at that story, many of us act exactly that way with the broken people we come across in our lives. How many of us shrink away from a drug user, roll our eyes in disgust at a teenager aborting her second baby in two years, write off an errant child who makes a series of stupid decisions, or gossip about a woman whose marriage falls apart due to unfaithfulness. Why is it we have such a contempt and disgust for broken lives? The Bible says, "A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench." More plainly, God doesn't kick you when you're down. Christians, are we so wrapped up in our own "righteousness" that we forget that our whole purpose here on earth is to reach out to others? Do we look at those still ensnared in sin with disgust? If so, shame on you. It is only by the grace of God that you and I are not in their shoes. If we were truly aware of how much of God's grace is involved in making us who we are, we would be so overcome with humility and gratitude to the Lord that there would be no room for the pious pride that seems to be the lifeblood of so many so-called Christians. I know so many Christians who have in fact been a stumbling block to their family and friends because, rather than reaching out to them and seeking to win them, they had to make sure everyone knew how disgusted they were with their "wicked ways." I know many will immediately pipe up with, "But we can't condone their sin!" To be honest, that answer is just a lazy way out. There are many ways we can reach out to the hurting and broken without enabling their lifestyle. I know I have made the personal commitment to try to be aware of this in my own life. It is not our call when someone has "thrown their life away." As long as they are living, no matter how bad it gets, it is our responsibility to fight to the end, even if all we can do is pray. When we stand before the Lord, we will give an account of those whom we had the chance to reach and are lost because we thought we did the spiritual thing by proudly displaying our contempt for things broken.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Funny Headlines

I know I've been on an "Iraq War" kick lately - Sorry. Whether you agree with it or not, we are all tired of this war, and I can only imagine that the soldiers and their families are especially "war weary." So, I don't want to get in a blogging rut or anything - but I just got such a kick out of this e-mail I had to post it. I have been having some technical difficulties, and in fact this whole post has been erased once!! Anyway, I am trying it again, hopefully it works this time.

Updated to Add: Okay, I am just not getting these to space evenly, no matter what I try. Just use your head and I'm sure you can figure out which caption goes to which picture! Sorry about that...

Here are some pictures the media forgot to show us. If they had, these are the captions they likely would have shown:

While Asleep on Duty, Soldier Uses Iraqi Child as Body Armor

Terrified and Angry Iraqi Children Thank GIs for Not Opening Fire on Their Soccer Game

Another Example of Soldier Engaged in "Tickle Torture"

GI Hangs Iraqi Child By His Fingertips!

Troops Force Iraqi Children to Seesaw Till They Talk
Iraqi Child Bites GI in Self Defense

Soldier Employs Controversial "Talk or I'll Tickle You" Method. Another Example of Failed Intelligence Gathering.
American Soldier Tries to EAT Iraqi Child

Evidence of Forced Child Labor

P.S. If you want the scoop on the first picture, click here for the great story!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Pardon my ranting...

I do not have the time to give this the full attention it deserves, but this has just really pushed my buttons. I will hopefully be able to give a better update later.
The New Republic, a seething mass of liberals vomiting their hatred for all things conservative and spewing socialist opinions in the forms of facts, had been publishing a column called The Baghdad Diarist by a "passionate and talented" writer (their description, not mine) calling himself Scott Thomas. He claimed to be writing from Iraq while serving in the military, and was sharing stories of our troops gloriously representing their country by crushing stray dogs by swerving their Bradley Military Vehicles (have you seen those things?!!? How do you make them "swerve" exactly...), mocking a women whose face had been horribly disfigured from an IED, and wearing the bones of dead Iraqi children as crowns. I'm sure TNR put as much effort into validating these stories as Dan Rather & Company put into document verification. It involves a process similar to this:
1. Does it bash the military?
2. Does it try to portray the war and those fighting it in the most despicable light possible?
3. Oh heck, does it in any way further our radical, left-wing agenda?
Yes to all three? Cool! Let's print it!
I'm sure it comes as no surprise that after a lot of pressure and a military investigation of "Scott Thomas," it's been revealed that just about the only true thing he wrote was that he is in the military. I went to TNR to see what their response to this was, and let me tell you, only read their response if you have a barf bag handy. Here is TNR's reply. My favorite line in this was, "If the truth ends up reflecting poorly on our judgment, we will accept responsibility for that. But we also refuse to rush to judgment on our writer or ourselves." You refuse to rush to judgement!?!? Ironically, "rush" is too slow of a word to describe just how quickly you pounce on any anti-war propaganda someone is willing to dream up.

What makes me so sick about all of this is that so many liberals claim, "We support the troops, just not the war." Sorry, but that is a hypocritical, self-serving statement. Don't claim to support the troops, then gleefully race to publish any sick story that disparages the character of our men and women in uniform. I would like to think that the unmasking of "Scott Thomas" as a fraud will cause at least one liberal to pause and check the facts before assuming (and promoting the idea) that the Iraq War has turned all of the men and women serving there into babbling crazed idiots.

But, I doubt it.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Heart-wrenching Photo

I was so moved by this picture. War definitely has its ugly side, and this is it. At the same time, you can just feel the soldier's raw emotions as they try to rescue this child. (This photograph was taken moments after a terrorist attack wounded this little girl.)

I've done some research on the photographer who took this picture. His name is Michael Yon and his images are all very powerful. However, he has written that he feels the above picture "most completely embodies his experiences in Iraq."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

If the Old Barn Needs Paint...

I got such a laugh out of this article, Cosmetic Appeal. I don't personally buy the really expensive cosmetics, I'm more of a L'oreal, Maybelline, Cover Girl... and a bit of Avon thrown in for good measure. But, I do know I like (and, dare I say, sometimes really need) my makeup!!! I especially liked the part about her husband sitting and watching her put on makeup, mesmerized by the process. Chad used to do the same thing! He comes from a home where none of the females used makeup, so he found my morning transformations especially fascinating. So, here's to all of us who need to paint a bit of "pretty" on our face now and then! Hey, I love being a girl.

Baby Genius? Think again!

It seemed to become quite the craze - all those DVDs that promised to turn your child into a genius. Just plug them in, and get on with your life! Now, any mom with a brain knows there is never any substitute for good, old-fashioned one-on-one interaction with your baby... but now there is a study that says children who are plugged in at an early age actually have smaller vocabularies. I am sure more and more research is out there and will soon prove just how detrimental television is to very young minds. Hey, I'm the first to say it's nice to have a break now and then, but let's not let it progress to where our children spend the majority of their day drooling in front of a screen with that vacant "TV stare" on their face.

Click here for the story:
DVDs don't produce Brainy Babies

Monday, August 6, 2007

Taking Time for MOMMY

There is some good advice in this article!! Any other good "sanity saver" tips you'd like to share?

Mom Care
Keep up your daily mom maintenance so you don't run out of gas.
By Barb Vogelgesang

"Is everyone buckled up? I just need to get gas, and we're good to go." I looked in the rearview mirror at the four young faces depending on me to get them to their various practices, doctors' appointments and friends' houses. I checked for my grocery list and pulled out of our driveway grateful that our minivan enables me to meet these needs. A few months ago, though, I ran out of gas! The five of us sat by the side of the road waiting for help. Our lives stopped because I hadn't kept up the daily maintenance of our vehicle.

Moms can run out of gas, too. If we don't care for ourselves in the midst of mothering, we'll break down and fail to meet the needs of our family. So how do we keep up the daily maintenance on Mom? Following is my personal care and feeding plan so I don't run out of gas.

Downtime is crucial. If I'm cranky and tired, the atmosphere of our house suffers. I've given myself permission to go to sleep early. The laundry can wait until morning to be put away.

Sharing the joy of raising our children with my hubby is important. Instead of hoping my husband will know when I need help, I specifically ask for his help. When it's his turn to make dinner, I agree that macaroni and cheese with hot dogs is delicious.

Great girlfriends are a must. Real friends don't tempt us down the path of gossip or self-pity. They inspire us, love us, pray with us, keep us accountable and give us tangible help that we can give back. I use e-mail and the telephone to keep in touch and plan mom playdates to keep me in top condition.

Training my children to be a family team is essential. My four kids help with chores and the everyday stuff of running a house. Their participation has allowed me to avoid the stress of disorder and disharmony. The team mentality spreads out the responsibility so it doesn't all fall on my shoulders.

Asking for help when I need it is vital. I am omni-nothing. But God is omni-everything. I continually ask him to place the people and resources in my life to help me accomplish all that's before me. I also work on accepting others' help and beat back the issues of pride that say I can and must do it all myself.

Having a creative outlet is FUNdamental. God, the ultimate Creator, made us in his image, and I need to satisfy the creative part of me. Writing and teaching theatre enable me to pursue goals beyond the household chore list.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical. Good eating habits, regular exercise and the continued renewing of our minds is essential to mom health. Taking a walk with some moms while our children have dance class, trading the mocha latte for water and reading a book instead of watching TV are great alternatives.

Learning to enjoy my children is significant. I didn't always enjoy my kids. I had to surrender to motherhood. But changing my perspective from seeing my children as my "work" to acknowledging that my children are my "recreation reminders" has been an incredible blessing to me.

My best refueling comes when I remember to connect with God. I have to be flexible to his plans instead of my own. Ongoing growth and intentional care for my body, mind and spirit fill my mom tank. Then I'm ready for whatever life has in store.

Barb Vogelgesang is a busy mom of four active children. She sees mothering as an exciting adventure because she's never sure what's going to happen next. A popular retreat speaker and MOPS Area Coordinator, Barb loves encouraging and inspiring moms. Copyright © 2007 by the author or Christianity Today International/MOMSense magazine. May/June 2007, Vol. 10, No. 3, Page 14

Say THANKS to our troops!

Here is a cool link where you can send a postcard to someone in the military. Let's Say Thanks

Click here for FAQ about this website.

I thought this was a pretty cool idea! This would really be a great way to have your kids send something, teaching them a valuable lesson in taking the time to show your appreciation for someone. Of course, it's not just for kids. I think the more cards that get sent the better!!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Breastfeeding Awareness

Governor Jennifer Granholm has declared August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Michigan. On a grander scale, communities around the world will celebrate World Breastfeeding Week from August 1 - August 7.

Linda Wieser writes the following, with, as you would expect, my own comments added:

...if, as a society, we are promoting good health, we need to promote and support breastfeeding. Human babies are born with very immature immune systems and depend on their mother's milk to provide them with the immune factors they need to fight infection. In fact, half the ingredients in breast milk are food for the baby's growth and development, and the other half are immune factors! It's like food and vaccine all in one package. That's why babies who do not breastfeed have a higher risk of ear infections, respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, bacterial meningitis, and urinary tract infections.
I suggest that, this August, all of us take a minute to decide how we can support breastfeeding families. If we know pregnant women, we can share with them the risks of not breastfeeding so they can make an informed choice.
(edited by yours truly to add: Then again, let's not get preachy considering there are situations such as adoption where breastfeeding is not a viable option...) In public businesses, we can welcome breastfeeding mothers to feed their babies whenever they are hungry. (edited once again to add: Specifically, we'd like a clean, private place where the more modest of us can nurse without feeling like a side show!!!) If we are employers, we can support our employees by providing a private space and sufficient breaks to breastfeed or pump. We will not be doing this because it's the latest fad, but because supporting and protecting breastfeeding is the healthy choice for the child, mother, and society.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I'm a Little Confused

In April of 2004, President Bush signed "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" into law. This was also known as "Laci and Connor's Law" due to the highly publicized trial of Scott Peterson. This law makes it a separate and additional crime to kill an unborn child. Of course, there is an exemption in the law for the mother that gets an abortion. After all, it's a crime if someone else does it, but the mother has the right to choose. As if this isn't ridiculous enough, there is a new kink. Check out this grisly story from Ocean City, MD where the remains of four pre-term infants have been found on this woman's property.

I found this part of another article on the same story especially interesting:

State Delegate Susan K. McComas, a Republican who co-sponsored the 2005 bill, said the exemption was added by majority Democrats who feared the bill would restrict a woman's right to abortion. "We weren't contemplating a woman doing something to her own fetus," McComas said.

Prosecutors and police concede it could take months to sort out all the physical evidence and determine what charges, if any, may be appropriate for Freeman if the three sets of older remains found in her home and Winnebago belonged to her."It may turn into a war of experts, with the prosecution experts saying the fetus was viable and the defense experts saying the fetus was not viable, or it's impossible to know whether the fetus was viable," said Baltimore attorney Andrew D. Levy.

Another article states:

The timing is critical. If the pre-term infants were too young to be considered viable outside the womb, Freeman can't be charged with murder. And if they died before Maryland passed its 2005 fetal homicide law, it may not be a crime even if they were old enough to live outside the womb and Freeman caused their deaths.
The fetal homicide law was designed to penalize those who kill a pregnant woman or her viable fetus, but it includes a provision shielding pregnant women from prosecution for actions that result in the death of their own fetuses.

Basically, if they can prove that the four babies, assuming they are her babies, found on this woman's property were "not viable," (how on earth are they going to prove that?!?!?) this woman will walk because of the provision in the law protecting the mother from prosecution if she kills her own unborn baby. As long as the baby is killed before it can survive outside the womb, this law does not apply. How twisted is this?

Welcome! Now, about that title...

Hee, hee. I get a lot of "Nice blog, but what's up with that title!??!" It's based on the phrase, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." This feminist slogan is often attributed to the esteemed leader in the feminist movement, Gloria Steinem. She actually heard the phrase from Irina Dunn, who, ironically, says she based it on another saying, "Man needs God like a fish needs a bicycle." Aside from illustrating that feminists lack the ability to form a creative or original thought, I believe both sayings have led many a man and woman into a life of emptiness and a lack of fulfillment. This fish needs her bicycle, whether in reference to my God or to my man. Beyond needing them, my entire life purpose is wrapped up in my relationship with them and their love for me.

So that's it. Hope that clears up the confusion. Oh, and welcome!! ;0)