Irrational Rodents

 crazed-mouse.jpg

A recent Drudge headlined proclaimed, “Scientists Create Mentally Ill Mice.” It linked to a Reuters article  about a breakthrough in genetic engineering.

 It made me wonder: How did the scientists know the mice were deranged? Well, according to the article, it quickly became obvious to the scientists.

One of the mice was heard musing that John Edwards would probably make a fine president. Another was overheard to say that we should stop fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban, bring the troops home and give dialogue and diplomacy a chance. While a third made a big speech about how the government should be running the nation’s health care industry so we can get the same quality health services as British people.

I tell you, it’s downright barbaric what those scientists did to the minds of those rodents. It’s twisted.

Different Car. Same Girl.

On February 12, 1989 I drove the car up to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City and collected my wife and a 3-day-old baby girl. With pomp and fanfare all captured on VHS tape, we brought Caitlin home, along with a mountain of infant paraphernalia, baby girl accouterments, and a heaping, swirling, throbbing sense of uncertainty that we were remotely qualified to take care of the frail, lovely little thing.

As it happened, we didn’t break her and the authorities never came knocking on the door holding papers declaring there had been a terrible mistake. . . that clueless people aren’t supposed to be entrusted with tiny human lives. In fact, over the next five years, the same heavenly bureaucratic oversight that allowed us to get the first one sent us two more baby girls. An embarrassment of riches.

On August 16, 2007, 17 days from now, we’ll gather up a small mountain of big-girl accoutrements and load up for a move once again. Different car. Same girl. Only this time the move is out. Away.

You see, somewhere along the line that baby girl had the nerve, the unmitigated gall, to become a young woman. A curvy, funny, smart, beautiful Jesus-loving woman. One who got herself accepted to a great college. That’s gratitude for you.

Yes, I know millions of families have done this before. And we’ll be only one family in a vast multitude that are experiencing the very same thing at that very same time two weeks from now. But this is my family. That’s my baby girl.

That’s my dinner table that will now be set for four, not five as has been the case for almost 14 years. That will be me telling the restaurant hostess “Table for five please. . . Oh wait. . . I’m sorry, I mean four. Just four.” That’s my house that will ring with one less laugh. That’s my cheek that will be graced with one less nightly kiss. That’s my father-heart that has swelled and healed a little with every “G’night Daddy. I love you so.”

And so you’ll have to forgive me if there’s a selfish part of me that thinks it’s all so very unfair.

Of course, she’ll be back. But we all know it will never again be quite the same. But that’s okay. What has been, has been very, very good. Far better than I deserve.

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"Scott Thomas" Identity Revealed. Plot Thickens.

Sorry readers. I’ve been on the road for several days with little time and limited internet access.

 As you may know if you’ve been following the story on the blogs, the identity of The New Republic’s anonymous soldier-correspondent became known a few days ago. He is Scott Thomas Beauchamp and he is indeed a active duty soldier in Iraq. However, everything he has written remains very much under a cloud of skepticism.

Dean Barnett has the latest on the story and links over at Hugh Hewitt’s blog. And some background here and here.

Too Good to Check

There is nothing we humans enjoy more than having our deeply entrenched biases and presuppositions validated by events. Even when those presuppositions are false and the events never happened.

That’s why so many on the left jumped on the allegations of rape against the Duke lacrosse team. And it may be why the mainstream media unquestioningly accepts allegations of misconduct by U.S. soldiers.

 Mac Owens makes this comparison in a powerful way in this piece over on National Review online.

Check it out.

Does TNR's "Scott Thomas" watch The Family Guy?

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As regular readers know, I’ve been following the evolving story of the pseudonymous military reporter for The New Republic who uses the name “Scott Thomas” whose recent reports of outrageously dishonorable behavior by U.S. service personnel have come under increasing scrutiny (See my posts here and here.)

One such fantastic tale involves a group of soldiers from Forward Base Falcon discovering a Saddam-era mass grave containing the remains of many children. Supposedly one soldier took the top part of a child’s skull and wore it like a crown off and on for the rest of the day.

Now added to the voices pointing out the implausibility of this story comes the voice of Maj. Kirk Luedeke, a spokesman for Forward Base Falcon. NRO Online has details here.

As I was doing a little channel surfing last night before heading to bed and I came across an episode of The Family Guyin which the father, Peter, comes across an ancient Indian burial ground in his yard and proceeds to take a skull and do sophomoric things with it throughout the rest of the episode. The episode is a spoof of the movie Poltergeist, titled “Petergeist.”

Of course The Family Guy is a cartoon for adults and is filled with the usual sexual innuendo, gross-out jokes, sacrilege and off-color language, so I post this link to some highlights of this episode with some trepidation.

Nevertheless, I think it’s important because it may indicate that “Scott Thomas” may knowingly or unknowingly be incorporating an episode of a cartoon into his “reports.”

Here’s a link to a portion of the episode. Once again, PG-13 content this way lies:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6t_XIx0Tj4

This makes me wonder if there are movies and television shows that have featured young men openly mocking the face of a woman who has been disfigured in an accident, or driving wildly to intentionally run over dogs. Wouldn’t be surprised to find there are.

Update:

The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb whose questions got this whole party started continues to be the best source for updates. See his blog here. 

Harry Potter? Let Me Save You Some Time

Spoiler Alert! 

I haven’t read a single line of a single Harry Potter novel. Nor has anyone in my household. But it’s all the buzz. This new one is about some “deadly mallows,” which is apparently a reference to some poisoned sugary confections.

It’s all very sad really. First a lot of stuff happens. Then a Snipe kills a Bumbledork, as many people speculated might happen. But then Smeldebard learns about it and is really ticked, and goes on a Snipe hunt.

There were lots of rumors about Smeldebard kidnapping Don, but they were so bogus. Don is actually killed by Beatrix Potter in The Battle of Hogswallup. Then a bunch of things are magically turned into other things. And then some of those things are turned back into the things they were. But not all of them. Wands are waved.

By the way, Harry Potter is not a horcrux. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Eventually, Smeldebard is killed in the Department Of Motor Vehicles. And Harry doesn’t die.

It all ends with Harry, Hermione Gingold, and Kramer locked up in jail. And then he wakes up beside Suzanne Pleshette. It was all a dream. 

McChickens for McMansions?

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Well, nearby Colleyville, Texas has made the news. . . or at least the blogs. Today Jonah Goldberg at NRO Online continued a running debate he’s been having about which pet has been a more useful friend of mankind—dogs or cats—by offering this post about the growing popularity of chickens as pets. 

He quotes from this article in the Philadelphia Daily News:

Can we at least agree that chickens are worse pets than both cats and dogs — though arguably more “useful”?

More People Turn to

 Chickens as Pets

COLLEYVILLE, Texas – The leaves shiver, the branches quake and 9-year-old Sophia Genco bounds out of the bushes, clucking at the top of her lungs while sprinting after a flock of scurrying chickens. She isn’t chasing down dinner. She’s just playing with one of the family pets.

The Gencos are among a growing number of urban and suburban families keeping chickens in their backyards. While the birds don’t cuddle like kittens or play like puppies, owners say they offer a soothing presence in the yard and an endless supply of organic eggs.

 I would guess that the casual reader in Philadelphia would see the dateline “Colleyville, Texas” combined with a headline about chickens as pets and visualize a hickville little town strewn with trailer homes and halter tops. Of course those of us who live around here know that Colleyville has one of the highest median home values in Texas.

The fact is, as you drive around Colleyville and neighboring Southlake, you’ll see enormous mansions on huge, estate lots with a few horses, cattle, chickens , guinea fowl, etc., grazing in the yard. (Do chickens “graze”?) A guy up the road from me has a zebra, two llamas and a donkey in his back yard.

Why? Because owning livestock in Texas earns you a sizable break on your property taxes, which tend to be high in Texas because the state doesn’t have an income tax.

So you’re wondering. . . Are we planning on getting some chickens anytime soon? Hmmm.. How big are those tax breaks? There is a greenhouse out back that could make a fine coop. . .

The New Republic's New "Fabulist"

You would think the New Republic might have learned something from the humiliating Stephen Glass affair.

You may recall that that Glass was the TNR editor who was fired several years back when it came out that most of the “facts” in his stories were fiction. See here.

Now TNR is publishing fishy-smelling, uncorroboratable reports of bizarre soldier misconduct in Iraq by someone claiming to be a soldier writing under a pseudonym. The thing is, these tales simply don’t ring true (as Michael Goldfarb over at the Weekly Standard points out here.) In fact, they sound like the combat soldier version of urban legends.

But let’s assume for a moment that there’s a kernel of truth in these accounts. The fact remains that for every one of them there are ten thousand acts of heroism, compassion, humanitarianism, valor and goodness by our service men and women that the MSM and publications like TNR will not report because they don’t fit their preferred narrative.

Just as in the final years of the Vietnam War, one the key components of the media pacifists and leftists campaign to undermine public support for the war is to deliver constant reports of atrocities and outrages. It worked back then.

As I said a couple of weeks ago, “It’s 1972 all over again.” 

Myths Die Hard

A logic exercise:

A: Sunnis despise Shiites.

B: Al-Qaeda is a Sunni movement.

C: Therefore there is no cooperation between Sunni Al-Qaeda and Shia Iran.

The above logic is pretty much an article of faith among the proponents of surrender and retreat in Iraq and of “dialogue” with Iran. It makes for a compelling argument except for one little flaw—though the first two premises are correct, the conclusion is wildly, glaringly, dangerously wrong.

You hear the assertion frequently from the left when arguing that we should just pull out of Iraq and let the chips fall where they may. Even well-informed, clear-headed conservatives like John Derbyshire of National Review have fallen prey to it.

Interestingly, just three hours after Derbyshire posted the thoughts linked to above on NRO’s “The Corner” today, Larry Kudlow posted this and linked to this.

Both point to the the just-released report by the NIE (National Intelligence Estimates) which shows:

  1. …that Al-Qaeda and Iran are snuggled all warm and toasty together in bed.
  2. …that Al-Qaeda in Iraq will soon be a threat, not only to women and children the schools and marketplaces of Iraq, but also American women and children in schools and malls in America.
  3. …and that the withdrawal (sorry, I mean “redeployment”) from Iraq currently being called for by congressional Democrats and shiny celebrities will make the place a safe haven for one of Al-Qaida’s most dangerous iterations. 

Thus, I think it’s time for a new logic exercise for the white-flag Democrats. Let’s ask them the following series of questions.

A: Given that Al-Qaeda continues to seek to attack U.S. citizens on their own soil; should we be taking the fight to Al-Qaeda when and where we can? Like in Afghanistan? If yes…

B: Given that Al-Qaeda is currently very present and active in Iraq AND we have a huge, ready-to-fight force in Iraq AND wide latitude to attack them; shouldn’t we stay there and engage them? If no…

C: You need to explain. Why do you advocate fighting Al-Qaeda everywhere except in Iraq, where have the greatest ability and freedom to fight them? And finally…

D: Why should any American trust you to defend our interests, our economy, and our very lives?