Monday, September 29, 2008

Domestic Violence?

Wednesday begins a new era in our country:

From the Army Times:

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.

But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

I thought this was the National Guard's job.

I found the following statement from the Department of Homeland Security a little unnerving:

There is no credible, specific intelligence suggesting an imminent threat to the homeland at this time. Still, we are closely assessing potential threats and response planning leading into and following the electoral process in 2008 to 2009. Heightened coordination and planning among intelligence community and law enforcement partners is being undertaken solely out of an abundance of caution, and focuses on preventive and preparedness measures for the transition period between administrations.

Maybe it's just me--I haven't been around for a great many "transition periods between administrations"--but I never noticed any sort of conditions that would be considered "potential threats" during previous elections and transition periods. I've seen more people upset after their particular football team loses than what typically happens when their presidential candidate loses.


While we were distracted by the economic bailout news over the weekend, the Senate passed and sent to the president a spending bill which includes $25 billion worth of loans to American automakers so that they can retool their factories in order to produce more energy efficient cars.

Ford is already producing energy efficient cars in South America, so why can't they do so here without the help of U.S. taxpayers?

Perhaps this kind of stuff is what the government is anticipating making us mad enough to be considered threatening.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How to Entertain Your Writing Professor

I just came from one of my small group writing workshops where I supervised my students' critiquing of each others' essays. Today's assignment was a process analysis essay, in which each writer had to describe how to accomplish a task and make that task relevant to a particular audience. There were some really good essays today, but one stood out from the rest. Its title:

Get in and Get Her Out: The Guide to Getting Laid While Still Living With the 'Rents

I have to say, it was one of the most entertaining and well written process analysis essays I've read in a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two Reasons Not to Pass the Bailout Bill in its Current Form

From the text of the bill (emphasis mine):

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.--The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.--The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

In other words, the Secretary may interpret this Act as allowing him to create whatever rules he deems necessary.

Translation: This bill gives the Secretary the power to do whatever the hell he wants to do.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

In other words, the Secretary's actions are not subject to scrutiny from anyone.

Translation: This bill makes the Secretary above the law and answerable to no one.

No one man should ever be handed this much power. Ever.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Don't Know Much About Economics

I don't understand much about the economy, but I know that if I make bad decisions with my money and go broke, the government is not going to step in and take away my debt and make that debt someone else's responsibility. Isn't that what is happening now? The banks that have made bad decisions are being "bailed out" and the taxpayers are now responsible for that debt. This doesn't seem right to me.

Also, if the feds are creating all this new money that the government is going to use to "save the markets" (that's how I heard it on TV), doesn't that create inflation? So we taxpayers are now responsible to pay this debt with money that we have to work harder to get and that now won't buy as much milk as it used to?

I'm sorta scared, and I'm not sure how scared I should be. They didn't teach me enough about this in school.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Trixie Update

After a week of antibiotic treatment and pain medication, Trixie is still experiencing a lot more pain than she should. She is back at the vet today (our regular vet this time) to be checked out. The wounds on her back are a little infected, and she has a slight fever. She also has some fluid buildup on her belly, which prevents her from wanting to lie down. Consequently, she isn't sleeping much. The vet is going to sedate her and see what's up with her swelling and why she's still having so much pain. We'll know more this afternoon.


Update: Tuesday 9/16 12:20 p.m.

Trixie has some abscesses in the muscle tissue in her abdomen, where some of the muscle fibers were torn. The vet had to put in three drains tubes to drain out those areas. Trixie rested nicely overnight and is feeling better today. She's in a lot less pain than yesterday morning, but she'll need to remain in the hospital at least another night.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pet Emergency

Monday morning we had a pet emergency. A stray dog that had been hanging around the neighborhood for a few days chased my little Jack Russell, Trixie, into our yard and viciously attacked her. The black lab got ahold of Trixie around the midsection and picked her up off the ground. I rushed and grabbed the dog's collar and held on until it put Trixie down. Trixie ran off around the back of the house, and the neighbors who had been out walking took the dog away.

At first I didn't think the wounds were very bad, but I realized she was in pain and scared half out of her mind, so I ended up taking her to the vet--not our regular vet, but the one closest to our house--and they treated her wounds and gave her antibiotics and pain medication.

Ironically, when I was at the vet's office, I noticed a sign on the bulletin board advertising a lost dog that fit the description of the dog that attacked Trixie. I took down the number, and Husband called that evening. Sure enough, it was their dog. The man was sort of surprised that the dog would attack like that, and when Husband showed him our vet bill, he pulled out his wallet and paid it without hesitation.

Trixie has two wounds on her back and two large gashes on her belly. We were pretty worried Monday night because she wouldn't eat, and she didn't rest much that night. But by Tuesday morning, she seemed to feel a bit better, and she was ready for her breakfast when I gave it to her. She's still not comfortable lying down, but she's gradually feeling better. In fact, she's become very demanding from receiving so much attention and thinks she's queen of the house. I think that's a really good sign.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Policics as Usual

Jon Stewart points out some typical political hypocrisy: