July 31, 2005

About Time

Why in the world didn't anyone think of this earlier?! And why does it seem like the British Intelligence is far more swift than our own? I don't recall this clean a sweep right after 9/11. Granted, our country was reeling from the horrific attack and tremendous loss, but man are the British on a roll. It seems each time the news is updated a new headline appears about more suspects being nabbed. I guess that island doesn't produce the best murder mystery writers for no reason.

I am a huge fan of intelligence and military strategy, especially anti-terror counterintelligence and strategy. One of the most effective anti-terror strategies was carried out by the Royal Dutch Marines in the Netherlands when a faction of Indonesian terrorists took an elementary school and a train hostage. (I'm trying desperately to find a detailed account of that story.) It was a brilliant and masterful operation. At the moment when the Marines wanted to hit the terrorists the hardest, they cut off  communication between those on the train and those in the school. The lack of communication made them panic and ultimately brought them to a timely defeat.

Why it hasn't occurred to any intelligence agencies to cut off the communication between terrorists cells, as the British have finally done, is a loss to me.  It would be the logical deduction to conclude that the fewer communication avenues, the harder it would become to coordinate attacks, thus leading to fewer terrorist attacks. I know that might seem elementary, but it's true. There might be sporadic pockets of terrorism, but it wouldn't be quite the systematic and coordinated effort that it is now.

While it's most likely pointless to speculate how many lives could have been saved if that had been done sooner, it's fantastic that the websites are shutting down now. Yet another victory against Islamic terror.

Posted by Portia at 02:24 PM | Comments (2)

July 30, 2005

Left Coast Writers

I am so excited! I am now a part of The Bear Flag League. I admit, for some time I've had blog envy when I saw that little California flag on fellow bloggers' sites. But now I get one of my own!! :)

Here is just a little bit about the League from their website:

The Bear Flag League is a consortium of Conservative bloggers who are current or former residents of the State of California. We enjoy the camaraderie of our fellow Left Coast bloggers and the spirit and struggle of being in the minority as Conservatives living awash in a sea of Liberals.

Treading water in the sea of Liberalism is cake for a former swimmer. :) It's a bit wavy every now and then, but at least I don't have to hold 10 pound bricks over my head. Although listening to Ted Kennedy can feel tantamount to that exercise.

Anyhow, I've blogrolled the rest of the alliance on the left (of the page, not the aisle). And I have the little bear on the left as well. This is cool.

Update: So I'm trying to put that stuff on the left hand side of the page. I have the hardest time with logos on this site. I know it's me, but for now I'm blaming typepad. Keep you posted.

Posted by Portia at 09:46 AM | Comments (7)

July 28, 2005

The Enemy Within

Oh, I fully missed another mark! I didn't read that IRA article all through before I posted about it. There's an even crazier person quoted at the end! (Scroll to the very bottom and enjoy.) Oh, this is great.

It's classic liberal dogma: sympathy for the murderer, not the murdered. Norman Geras, a brilliant professor at the University of Manchester, has written an article on the obsession the left has with "root causes," provided they're approved root causes. The Guardian, to my surprise, actually published it last week. In it, he says,

It needs to be seen and said clearly: there are, among us, apologists for what the killers do. They make more difficult the fight to defeat them. The plea will be - it always is - that these are not apologists, they are merely honest Joes and Joanies endeavouring to understand the world in which we live. What could be wrong with that? What indeed? Nothing is wrong with genuine efforts at understanding; on these we all depend. But the genuine article is one thing, and root-causes advocacy seeking to dissipate responsibility for atrocity, mass murder, crime against humanity, especially in the immediate aftermath of their occurrence, is something else.

This is a must read article. The longer version is published on his blog. This is a great piece. The Guardian must have fallen asleep when they let this one pass. He even knocks them in the first paragraph. Do you see how many links I'm giving you?...hint, hint...read it!! :)

He is exactly right. I've seen this sort of thing first hand on many occassions. The day after 9/11, in one of my ridiculous leftist exercises called a college class, my lesbian, liberal, American-hating professor came in flanked with papers and a slideshow chronicling her take on why we deserved to be bombed. My class, liberals and conservatives alike, was horrified. Girls started crying and the young men challenged her complete lack of respect for the deceased. I raised my hand and let her have a piece of my mind. I was shaking and choking back tears out of complete astonishment and horror. That was shocking. It isn't anymore. I'm not sure what is worse.

So, read the article in The Guardian or on his blog. See? Two more links...no excuses people.

Posted by Portia at 09:10 AM | Comments (1)


I have to say, I have been quite impressed with the British Intelligence that has been executed since the London bombings. Every day, it seems, there is another headline telling of a new arrest made in connection with either the original, or the botched copycat. Today, a new raid was made that resulted in the arrest of 9 suspects. I'm sure the police are having the time of their life. They seemed relatively useless when I was there, walking around with no guns. This must be such a rush for them.

There have been a few strange stories regarding the London bombings, and the most comical I've seen was this one: Ex-IRA Bomber Warns British Shoot-To-Kill Policy Only Provokes Terror. I could not stop giggling when I read this headline. I think that is one of the funniest statements I've read in a long time. The article is quite biased against the strategy of the British Police, as you could fully ascertain from the title. The number one source quoted in the article is a former murderer. Great reporting.

But back to the statement. (Laughing again), would it really provoke more terror if you knew that if your homemade bomb didn't go off the British would kill you anyway? That's like saying that the death penalty encourages murder. Dennis Prager once gave a great hypothetical. He said that if the government said that if a person committed murder on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, he would automatically be sentenced to death, the murder rate would rise, but on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

It is tragic that an innocent person was killed accidentally by British forces. It's more tragic that 52 innocent people were killed by bloody terrorists (sorry, no pun intended).

And on another note, honestly...do the media really expect us to take them seriously when their number one source in an article is an admitted murderer?

Posted by Portia at 08:49 AM | Comments (4)

Great Opportunity

As a reviewer for Mind & Media, I'm constantly getting emails about all sorts of things--new books, cds, and movies. I just received an email about a movie that has been shot as a documentary telling the true story of  a little Japanese girl that was kidnapped in 1977. I won't give everything away, because I'm posting the director's comments, and you'll want to read those.

Anyhow, the film is in post production and they are trying to raise money to distribute the film to festivals and other such events. Here is a note from the director with an opportunity to help them get this film out. If nothing else, at least you know about it before anyone else does.

ABDUCTION: The Megumi Yokota Story

Imagine for one moment your child is late from school. You look up at the clock. You think, 'This is a bit strange. Normally, she's home by now.' You go to the school. You're told she went home a long time ago. Suddenly, that panicked feeling all parents dread hits. A night goes by, she doesn't come home. Another day, a week, a year, 5 years, 20 years goes by and still no word. That was the nightmare the parents of Megumi Yokota, a 13-year-old Japanese girl, lived after she disappeared in November, 1977. But that was just the beginning of the Yokota family's nightmare. In 2002, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il admitted that his spies kidnapped Megumi and 12 others in order to train their secret agents in the culture and ways of the Japanese.

When my wife and I first heard this shocking true story we decided that it was something Americans had to hear. At the time, we were working full time and had no outlet to tell the story. So, with some room on our credit cards and a few dollars in our savings account, we took off to Japan and began shooting a documentary that has changed our lives. For more than a year, we have followed the Yokota family as they struggle to get their daughter back.

Our film is not a political or investigative work. It is a powerful, moving testimony to a parents' love for their child and what that love looks like when it is put to the test. More importantly, it is a story about the strength of family. It is a story you simply have to see to believe.
At the moment, we are in post-production, which means we are assembling the film in an edit room. The final film will be ready at the end of September. Our plan is to enter it in to film festivals around the world, starting with the Sundance Film Festival, one of the most prestigious. The only trouble is we do not have enough funds in place to show it publicly. We need your help. More importantly, the family of Megumi Yokota needs your help. Some very important people agree with us. Jane Campion, Academy Award-winning director of "The Piano" saw some of our footage and signed on as Executive Producer. Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Ambassador Tom Foley, National Geographic Senior Asia Writer Tom O'Neill, Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) and many others count themselves as supporters.

If you want to help us tell this very important story to people here in America , please contact us at safarimedia@yahoo.com . For more info on us, check out our website at www.safarimedia.net.

We are especially looking for large corporate or individual donations (more than $5000) since our immediate needs are in the tens of thousands.

Donations can be made to the film via the International Documentary Association, one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world. They are backing our film by allowing us to use their charitable status to receive donations.

Please make your check payable to:

"International Documentary Association"

Please write "Abduction" on the check.

Mail to:

Safari Media
PO Box 33957
Washington DC


Your funds will help us pay for the largest expenses in our budget, namely rights to use music, archival video footage, sound engineering (so it can be shown in a theater) and the high cost of transferring our digital tape to film.

This story has the power to change people's lives not just in Japan but here in the United States as well. Help us do that.

Thank you for reading this.

Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim

Co-Directors, "Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story"

Posted by Portia at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005

Why Liberals Are Misguided, Part MMDLXX

I don't doubt the sincerity of people's beliefs. At least not often. But that, in no way, validates wrong or misguided thinking. One can be fully sincere in the belief that the Second Law of Thermodynamics holds no water. That person holds no marbles. The sincerity doesn't outweigh the reality.

Moreover, I don't doubt liberal's sincerity in their beliefs. I doubt their beliefs. One such belief I am taking issue with is that of censorship. While I am sure that prior to President Bush's inauguration, liberals accused conservatives of censorship (I'm quite sure that was tossed around during Pres. Clinton's trists), this unsubstantiated and erroneous fallacy has picked up tremendous steam in the last 5 years.

Here are some very recent examples. It has recently come to light that California's beloved Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, has a prominent anti-American piece of artwork (word used loosely) above his desk in his Sacramento office. The picture depicts the United States, painted in a flag design, being flushed down the toilet, and the caption reads, "Tanks to Mr. Bush." Once discovered, many conservatives, including the California Republican Party took issue with Mr. Lockyer's taste in art and his decision to display an anti-American representation in his government office. Naturally, Lockyer's office has not answered the challenges posed by conservatives, but rather they decry, "Censorship!!"

In another recent event, an art director (term loosely used) was fired after an appearance on The Daily Show that highlighted a sexually explicit picture involving President Bush, and Arab sheik and a barrel of oil selected for an art gallery. Again, with catlike reflexes, the director cries, "Censorship!"

Not once did either of the accused owners of bad art ever think that their poor taste and wretched judgment could be the cause of the uproar. Why take personal responsibility for being socially insensitive, anti-American and inappropriate? Their definition of censorship seems to include any situation in which one party would approach another party regarding inappropriate, or ill mannered speech. In that case, my parents have quite a history of censorship.

In a way, yes, perhaps they are being censored--in the same way my parents and teachers have censored me--but not to the extent they'd like to believe, nor in the manner that history has known it. Censorship, as it is generally defined, is a systematic maneuver performed by an official group, such as the government or a religious group. It is generally done toward members within that group. Therefore, with that widely accepted, but little known definition, their tantrum is quite unfounded.

Savanorola was censored. Dante was censored. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin has been censored from public schools, as has the Bible and the theory of Intelligent Design. (And might I mention that none of the last three has come from anyone near affiliated with the right.) If censorship is attention called to bad behavior, then we are censored every day. What liberals would call censorship, most other people would call exercising wisdom, restraint and sensitivity to a surrounding environment.  It's another popular misbelief--conservatives want to censor everything oppositional. Not only is this untrue, it is actually the converse that is true.

It's not the Right taking the word "Christmas" out of the workplace and schools. It's not the Right that disallows prayer in school, or fights tooth and nail to keep abstinence teaching and alternative theories of creation out of school. Oddly enough, it is the Left that sees it their civic duty to remove crosses, the Ten Commandments and other "offensive" phrases such as "under God," from the public eye.

It is not censorship to pressure collectors of bad art to remove offensive pieces. It is a company's or individual's right to free speech.

But who am I to confuse people with the facts?

Posted by Portia at 02:39 AM | Comments (5)

July 22, 2005

War of the Words

Mike at Captoe has quite a different review of The Thinking Toolbox. :)

Here are some other Mind & Media reviwers' take on the book:

Cross Blogging

Mommy Brain

After Progress

Stand Up and Walk

Tapscott's Copy Desk

The Acton Institute's PowerBlog (This is an excellent, in depth critique of the text. But what else would one expect from The Acton Institute? :)

Lexical Light (This is a preview, not a review. Just FYI)

Richard Williams offers a harsh criticism regarding several problems he sees in the book. My only criticism of Mr. Williams: Why on earth are you using LiveJournal? Ick. :)

One last thing I failed to mention in my review. I am, in no way, compensated for reviewing these books. We are given free books by the publishers (through Mind & Media) and are allowed to air whatever criticism we might have. That's it.

Posted by Portia at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

Review: The Thinking Toolbox

Ttt_1 The greatest raison d'etre behind this site is to promote critical thinking. There is a tremendous lack of this skill in our society and the world today. And it is a skill. It's not an inherent trait, though I do think that some are predisposed to being logical and reasoned. It is a learned ability, the ability to critically think and assess various situations. This is most certainly a skill not taught in our schools today, at least not in the public sectors, and I can't say it is highly emphasized in most of the private schools I've encountered. This could probably be explained through several reasons, but I think two primary reasons are 1. The teachers themselves don't critically think about issues, and 2. Educators don't feel it is that necessary (it's also quite difficult to teach).

A brief glance at the state of our education system today could easily leave one feeling pessimistic and depressed. So it is more than a delight and reason to hope when books like The Thinking Toolbox by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn come along. This book is phenomenal. It should be required reading for every living being.

The Brothers Bluedorn set out to teach students (13-18 years of age) the basics of logic, argumentation, critique, research and the scientific method. I have never seen a book that so clearly and concisely delivers on this endeavor. The book contains "35 lessons that will build your reasoning skills." Each lesson is no more than 4 pages, with 2-3 pages of exercises at the conclusion to help solidify what was just learned.

I have about 8 private students that I am tutoring this summer and every one of them, fourth graders to high schoolers, is going through this book with me. And the best part of it is: they love it. That is the real litmus test here. Not only do I love this book but the students get it and they ask to do it every time we're together. My fourth graders can now tell you the difference between a discussion, a disagreement, an argument and a fight, as well as tell you the definition of a fact, inference and opinion.

There are lessons in this book that are too advanced for smaller children, such as those on corroborating evidence, but students in junior high and high school take to it like a fish to water. I have always believed that the reason why students often do poorly in school is because no one believes in them and challenges them enough. This book proves that theory. The students find themselves quite challenged by the lessons and exercises. I can almost hear the wheels in their head turning while they try to connect the dots in the mysteries or arguments with which they are presented.

The book breaks down into four sections. The first is called "Tools for Thinking," and covers such topics as facts, inferences, or opinions; finding premises and conclusions and how to defeat your own argument. The second section, entitled "Tools for Opposing Viewpoints," deals with primary and secondary sources, corroborating and circustantial evidence and has a few lessons that are mysteries the student is to figure out based on previous lessons learned. The third is "Tools for Science," or the scientific method and teaches students the importance of observation, experimentation, the difference between science and pseudoscience and guides them through many projects. Finally, the last section is solely dedicated to projects that put all the student's newly acquired information to work. Projects are based on preference and learning style. Toolbox is also brilliantly illustrated by Richard LaPierre.

While this book was primarily written as a guide to budding scholars, it has been nothing short of delightful to read. I have learned these things many times over, but it re-enforces my knowledge as well as teaches me new methods to approach the subjects. I have loved reading this book. I think every student of critical thought should make it a priority to read this book and share it with others. If you homeschool your children, please buy this book. Buy several copies.

The Bluedorn Brothers also have another book that is a simpler introduction to logic, called The Fallacy Detective. They also have a website called ChristianLogic.

I am excited and hopeful to see the difference this book makes in the world of home education. The Thinking Toolbox has my highest recommendation.

The book was provided by Mind & Media for the purpose of review and recommendation. To find out more, please visite their website BlogforBooks.

Posted by Portia at 11:27 AM | Comments (5)

Life in LA

It's a wee bit late, or early depending on your perception, so reviewing a book seems a bit irresponsible right now. However, I can say this...that darn Hurricane Emily is sucking all the moisture and cool weather from SoCal. It's hotter than heck here and muggy as well. It's not humid, but the air sits so you hit a wall whenever you walk out of any air conditioned location.

Man, me and Dennis. We're quite a team.

Let me say though, that is one reason why I love Southern California. We don't have tornados, hurricanes, hail storms or any other natural disaster that makes walking outside an impossibility. We have an earthquake about every 15 years, those are actually kind of fun as long as no one gets hurt.

Well, that's all for now. We Angelenos are sizzling. I'm fair, but it's really bad when you get a sunburn from driving 20 minutes north. :)

Signing off. :)

Posted by Portia at 01:22 AM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2005

Dang TTLB Ecosystem and Their Fascist Ways

I'm quite competitive by nature, so the recent discovery of The Truth Laid Bear's Ecosystem is no good for me, for a number of reasons.

I'm a wee bit perturbed that blogs named Soulfish Stew, Ratboy's Anvil and Libertarian Leanings are higher on the food chain than something as substantive as a Shakespearean character reincarnate. I mean, what is wrong with the world?

Here are a few reasons why it might be a bit difficult to put the darn Daily Kos out of business:

  1. I don't know what hoops I need to jump through to become a marsupial. (I never thought I'd say that.)
  2. I don't get paid for this. Hence, my paying jobs are somewhat priority.
  3. I don't see a quick end in sight. For a competitive person, this is a tough one. I more than reveled in the instant gratification that was destroying my amphibious foes (also known as swimmers from another team). Not so with the blog world.

So I resign myself to my current status as a Flappy Bird, (clenching teeth) even though last week I was an Adorable Rodent!! ...Why did I ever go to that site?

(Oh, and in case you are scratching your head at the lack of links to the aforementioned blogs, ain't no way I'm thrusting them higher up that ladder!:)

Posted by Portia at 10:23 PM | Comments (11)

Welcome Additions

I have two new blogs on my Bloggerville roll. Joe's site is atop. And Writing Right is just beneath. I think you'll like WR. It covers a variety of topics including the persecution of Christians, Islam (and how Christians are persecuted under Islam), pop culture, Christianity, politics, etc, etc, etc. It's very informative, written concisely and with great gusto. Enjoy!

Posted by Portia at 09:15 AM | Comments (2)

July 19, 2005

O Happy Day

Today is a happy day, well, really it was yesterday that I got this news, but that's beside the point. Today is still a happy day. My good friend Joe Wainer informed me that he finally has a blog! Yea!! It's about time Broseph.

Just a little history behind the man. I first met Joe somewhere around 3 1/2 years ago when we were both working at a seminary our founding pastor began. I was the administrative assistant to the President and CFO; Joe was the assistant to the Dean of Students and other titles I can't remember. We were fast friends. At the time, Joe was engaged and in a long distance relationship (He and his now lovely wife Liz hail from Florida. He left; she stayed.) and I was anxious to meet his fiancee, especially after learning that we shared the same birthday. (More birthday memories here.)

After the two got married, they returned to SoCal to start their life together. Liz left all of her friends and family in Fla, so I made it a point to befriend her as I could only imagine how that must have been. She quickly became one of my favorite people, and remains one of my closest, most cherished friends.

To sum up, Joe and Liz are excellent people. They both have such a heart to see those in their college years and the upcoming generations lead with the courage and conviction we've seen and read about in our predecessors. They are currently the college pastors at our church. In addition, Joe has had the opportunity to travel with some amazing evangelistic ministries and details his trips on his blog. This is a man you want to know. He will most certainly be among the movers and shakers that helped shape a growing generation, both here and abroad. I am lucky to know him and his wife and count them a tremendous blessing and gift to my life and my family's life. (My parents have adopted them as their Floridian children.)

I highly recommend his blog. It's a baby blog. He's only had it but a week. Let's welcome them into the happy blogging family that is...um...us. I'm sure you'll soon grow to love them as I have.

Posted by Portia at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

My 15 Minutes

Waiting for Emily. ...Isn't everybody?

Bracing for Emily. ....Come on, guys. I'm not really that bad.


My favorite recent headline involving yours truly:

Emily's Threat to County Wanes.

I always thought I'd be influential, but who knew?

Posted by Portia at 04:23 PM | Comments (6)

Sad, Sad, Sad, Sad World

Just when you thought the education system in California couldn't get any worse, the feel-good solutionless liberal crowd that is every board of education has come up with something that should make every educated person cringe. Yes, I think you know what I'm talking about. Ebonics is being suggested for the San Bernadino School district. Pushed or forced would be more accurate. The theory behind this nonsense is that since Oakland decided that Ebonics was a "real language," black students should learn in that language. I have so much to say on this issue, so bear with me.

First of all, ebonics is not a language. A language is an extremely complicated system of grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and other structures. Real languages are those such as Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Chinese, etc. Ebonics doesn't even qualify as a dialect. Simply because Oakland said it was a language doesn't mean it is. But again, liberals in the education system aren't too worried about what actually works. They want to know what is easiest, what won't cost their increasingly large pocketbooks anything, and what feels the best.

Classical education should be the standard form of education in this country. It's amazing to me how many liberals tout European ideals as a panacea for what ails us, but they completely overlook the fact that Euros are all bi or trilingual, one of those languages being English. If European students can learn English, certainly our own students aren't beneath such a task. And it isn't just Europe, it's all developed and developing countries.

This effort will do more to keep black students down and out than anything else. These people are concerned that black students aren't going to college and see this initiative as a solution?! Well, the kids are in for a royal surprise when they find out Mr. Ph.D. doesn't speak ebonics. Good luck, guys! If it isn't obvious to everyone that these politicians and bureaucrats aren't interested in challenging these students, believing the best in them and pushing them to their academic limit, then I don't know what could make it so. This is another lie perpetuated by the liberal community: that it is conservatives that keep minorities down. On the contrary, we think they should be subject to the same testing, the same standards as everyone else because we believe they are equal or at least capable of the same status. Liberals, specifically black leaders, want the rules changed so that minorities will never have to be high achieving individuals.

Several things in the article itself are worthy of pointing out. This sentence, for example, is classic: "Texeira said research has shown that students learn better when they fully comprehend the language they are being taught in." English loving readers are laughing right now. Texiera should wear a shirt that says, "Prepositions are words you never end a sentence with." Yes, please let's have these people in charge of our future leaders education.

At the end of the article, a black activist (also proving his own ignorance) says, ""We have led the way before the civil-rights movement opened the door for women's rights and other movements.' " Yes, I do remember Martin Luther King, Jr. being a terribly inarticulate, illiterate dimwit. What a ridiculous statement. To even compare the dumbing down of education to the civil-rights movement is insulting. King, Jr. and others fought to get blacks an equal footing with the white community. Now, the "black activists" are seeking to undo everything their "predecessors" did. They want separate, racially divided educational systems. And once their system goes up in flames, students drop out in larger numbers and are stuck with low-grade jobs, they'll be back, blaming white Republicans for the mess that has become the California school system. Mark my words.

Reader advisory: The article linked atop may cause severe emotional distress, viceral reactions and more conservative anger. It is also poorly written. Be advised.

Posted by Portia at 03:22 PM | Comments (5)

July 15, 2005

That Gene Wilder

I love Monty Python, and I love Gene Wilder. I just saw a short snippet of Will & Grace and I have to post some of the lines he had as Will's boss:

"Will, I need you to help Short Margaret and Black Margaret. They have so much work to do. They're both in over their heads. Especially Short Margaret."

"I understand heartache. My wife just left me. Well, it was 15 years ago, but I'm reliving it now with the new medication that I'm taking."

Wilder: Come on, Will. Let's go have a drink.
Will: But, sir, it's only 8 in the morning!
Wilder: (pauses to think) It's okay. We'll have eggs too.

I love that guy.

Posted by Portia at 12:09 AM | Comments (1)

July 13, 2005


Well, it's official.

Posted by Portia at 09:46 PM | Comments (5)

Attila's Hunt

We have a contest! In his stand up routine, Jeff Foxworth says, "Sophisticated people invest their money in stocks and bonds. Red necks play the lottery." Well, now you have an opportunity to win something better than millions of dollars. That's right. You could win Mark Steyn's book. If you aren't familiar with the man, shame on you. He's brilliant and his book "is worth it's weight in gold." He's also on my "Must Read Columnists" blogroll. Point, click, read...now! :)

Alright...the details. Fellow Cotillion member, Joy McCann, or Little Miss Attila, is trying to find a name for her copyediting business. The winner walks away with Steyn's book. Check out the existing suggestions and make sure to show the world how witty and intelligent  PortiaRediscovered readers really are. Don't fail me! :)

Posted by Portia at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

Oh no!

I always liked Storm from the X-Men, frankly I was more of a non-Anna Paquin Rogue girl, but I never intended it to grow to anything this dangerous. My apologies to any who come to harm or are affected financially by the mess my namesake seems to be creating. I swear, things have a mind of their own. I would not be directed anywhere near the Caribbean or the United States if I had a choice in the matter. There are other places I might think of targeting if I could focus my powers in laser-like ways. (Three guesses.) But alas, my Mom Nature is an unpredictable woman.

I'm appealing to Father God to override her and bring peace. The wind and waves still know His voice. Lord, calm the seas.

Posted by Portia at 10:02 PM | Comments (6)

Linky Love

I've decided that I have an obligation to give back to all the communities I'm currently involved with, which would include the blogosphere. Therefore, every once in a while (maybe weekly, no promises) I am going to link to posts of those on my blogroll. I love reading them. I hope everyone else does, but in case your hand never moves your mouse the left of the screen for political reasons, I thought I might just make your life easier. Here are some great posts by none other than the greatest bloggers, outside The Cotillion, of course.

As a math tutor, I more than appreciated this post by Red Guy illustrating just how far the education system in America has come, or gone. And, of course, I had to add my two cents to the post.

MacAttack. MacStansbury.org or .net or .something discusses the food pyramid in blogdom.

Blogizdat has the scoop on SCOTUS. And other great links, naturally.

The Night Writer on humane torture. Yes, you read that right. (Not sure why his title does that in the permalink, oh well.)

More SCOTUS specs by DaddyPundit, who also is Reviewer of the Week at Mind & Media. Congrats, sir!

Lisa at R Cubed answers those ridiculous statements justifying terrorists.

Captoe has William Faulkner on The Flag.

Finally, SpearShaker has the Quote of the Week... last week, but who's counting? :)

That about does that. Hope you read them. They are all well worth it.

Posted by Portia at 01:03 PM | Comments (8)

Tuesdays with Portia

There have been a few things I've wanted to post about in the last few days but haven't been able to due to work or spending time at the beach. The latter being more enjoyable, of course, eventhough it resulted in strange sun burn patterns.

Anyhow, in case you haven't been able to read many columns on terrorism lately, have I got what you need!

  1. Amir Taheri writes about dealing with terrorism. This man knows what he's talking about. He's a brilliant author from Iran whom I was able to see have a discussion with Dennis Prager a few years ago at a synagogue in Beverly Hills. That was an amazing experience. His article carries great credibility since 1. he knows what he is talking about, and 2. he comes from the same culture that produces men like the new Iranian president.
  2. In an extremely biased "news" piece, AP outlines the results of the G8 meeting. I'm personally outraged at most of the outcome. I cannot believe the Palestinians will be handed $9 billion! Why don't we support the Taliban and Al Qaeda while we're at it? Unbelievable. I am very proud of President Bush. It must be nauseating for him to have to deal with these backward, double minded, cowardly leaders (Blair exempt, of course).
  3. Your parents probably always told you, "Life is Unfair." Well, indeed it is. Life can also be so incredibly ridiculous that a cliche just won't do.   
  4. And, lastly, what would life be without celebrities claiming imaginary influence over world events? Not like Bono doesn't deserve credit for his past work with Africa, but Live 8 didn't raise a dime for the "starving, AIDS afflicted, poverty stricken people of Africa." (In fact, all of the involved artists received tremendous increases in record sales after their performances, some of which might be donated to charity..how noble.) It was just a bunch of self-righteous whiners hoping they wouldn't have to do actual research and actual work to help solve a multi-faceted problem that cannot be solved simply by throwing money at it.
  5. One more final thing to be repeatedly redundant: Cotillion is having its weekly ball today. Sisu is one of the lovely hostesses. And Instapundit linked to us! A terribly exciting development.

Posted by Portia at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2005

Blogger Frustration

Maybe some of you fellow bloggers can relate with this frustration I have, constantly. :)

Most circles I travel in know that I am a passionate person. Much of that passion is thrown into things of the political nature, such as issues concerning the Supreme Court, Foreign Aid, Liberalism and Ted Kennedy, oh and more recently, Brian Williams. I think I am only moderately politcally involved. I forgot to vote in Los Angeles' Mayoral Election (seemed futile anyway). I didn't volunteer for the re-election of President Bush. In fact, I'm really not politically involved at all. I'm aware. If I feel it will make a difference, I'll write to congressmen and senators, or others, but that's few and far between.

People who are completely unaware of world and domestic events, however, swear I'm running in some type of election. When they introduce me at parties, they introduce me as someone who "knows a lot about politics." When they want to introduce me to a guy, they tell me, "Oh, you two will hit it off just great. He likes politics." AGH!!

I was recently at another "gathering" when a slightly political topic came up among the group I was talking to. One of them made a remark that would work in a perfect world (and believe me, I wanted her suggestion to be a possibility), so I quickly spoke up saying, "Well the reason that would never happen is because their government is completely corrupt and could care less about the nation's inhabitants." Cue the blank, uncomfortable stares and cricket noises. Cue my frustrated silence at once again talking outside the realm of typical feminine topics. AGH!, again.

I don't think I'm interested in anything that everyone else shouldn't know about. I care about the persecution of Christians and Jews worldwide. I care about terrorism. I care about the AIDS epidemic in Africa, the restructuring of the Iraqi government, the treatment of women in the Middle East. I don't think these are obscure issues that only specialized people would have interest in. I think everyone should be, if not deeply aware, at least headline readers.

I understand if you're a mom of three kids and can't read a paper. Trust me, I'd understand that. But what excuses do other people have? I'm just tired of being "political girl." I'm not. I just care what happens in the world.

Does anyone else have that experience in social circles? It'd make me feel so much less alone. :) One is the loneliest number.

Posted by Portia at 08:23 PM | Comments (4)

July 07, 2005

The Life of Brian, Pt. II

The Journalistic Stylings of Brian Williams, con't:

This grim situation that has befallen London has got me thinking again about my comparison of America's Founding Fathers to terrorists.

Could I have been more right?!?! Man, I've hit the jackpot! I mean, stay with me here...the Founding Fathers didn't like England. Al Qaeda doesn't like England.

The Founding Fathers waged war on England. The "terrorists" have sort of waged a type of war on England.

The Founding Fathers wore funny clothes. Misunderstood Muslims wear funny clothes...not that there's anything wrong with that. (Man, I miss Seinfeld.)

I'm working out the kinks in my theory, but vindication is so sweet. More to come. Currently, I'm attempting to expand my vocabulary. Big words drive right-wingers nuts.

Here are some words I'm incorporating into my daily vernacular (like that one?):

superfluous, pleonastic, superorgatory, residuary, opprobrious, intemperate

That's all for now. More to come.

Signing off, This is Brain Williams, NBC News.

And yes, Katie, I still hate you.

Posted by Portia at 08:52 PM | Comments (2)

We Report, You Decide

Neville Chamberlain: Germany isn't that suspicious. Let's talk about it.
Winston Churchill: Let's take 'em out before they take us out.

The U.N./"Global Community": We've just been attacked. Let's hold a committee in a few weeks and talk about it. Maybe hold hands and sing Kum Ba Ya.
George W. Bush: You can run but you can't hide.  Let's fire up those jets, shall we?

Tim Robbins: Our response to 9/11 should be to plant trees. (No joke, he said that.)
Bruce Willis: Mr. President, where do you want me?

Bruce Springsteen: If I weren't so coked out, I might have an informed opinion. Wait, we were attacked?
Toby Keith: We'll put a boot up your @$$, it's the American way.

Michael Moore:
It's our foreign policies that made them do it.
Ann Coulter: It's your ugly face that made them do it.

Dick Durbin: Our troops are Nazis.
Zell Miller: I'll show you Nazi.

Democrat: John Edwards has agreed to channel their inner children to help us understand their motivations.
Republicans: Mr. President, the jets are fired up.

History: GW was right
Revisionist history: GWho?

Posted by Portia at 02:04 PM | Comments (7)


Can anyone even stomach this man's hypocrisy? Ick. Enough of the "condemnations" after innocents have been slaughtered. My favorite part is that they had to vote to condemn the attacks. LOL. What a waste of space, the U.N.  Here's a novel idea...how about taking preventative measures to protect innocent, Western civilians?! I seem to recall one leader with the guts enough to do so.

When will the U.N. learn that no one cares what it thinks because it doesn't care about anyone but itself anyway? Enough is Enough. Annan, why don't you answer some questions about the Oil-for-Food scandal before you start waxing poetic about the "attacks on humanity?" 

In the meantime, we stand in solidarity with you Great Britain.

Posted by Portia at 01:41 PM | Comments (1)

Not Again


It is never ideal to wake up to terrible news. I can vividly remember my dad waking me up with the news that one of the Twin Towers had been attacked. This morning, my mom woke me up with the news that London had been attacked. My heart sunk, immediately. All I could think was, "Not again."

I am extremely impressed with Prime Minister Tony Blair. I have no doubt that he will exhaust every resource to bring these terrorists to justice. I am paraphrasing, but he said at the G8 summit, "Our determination to preserve our way of life is greater than the terrorists' determination to cause death and destruction." We're behind you 100% PM Blair. And after the emotional aftershocks have subsided, you'll probably find we're the only nation behind you, just as you have been toward us.

My heart goes out to England. I worry for how this will unfold. They have an overwhelming number of Middle Eastern citizens in London. Most of them are probably upstanding people who love the freedom they know in that city. But it is such a concentrated city with such a population of Muslims, that I can only begin to fathom how difficult this task will be. They've had some of the biggest pro-Palestinian, pro-terrorism demonstrations. There was even an "honor killing" (a father stabbed his teenage daughter to death for falling in love with a Christian boy) about a year ago in London. This will not be easy.

God be with you Mr. Blair and all who have been affected. We stand behind you as those who know what it is to be attacked but refuse to be victimized. Our thought and prayers and support are yours.

For news that is faster and easier to read than MSM websites, I recommend checking Little Green Footballs for updates and related stories. They have their finger on the pulse of terrorist activities, so they'll have a great deal of stories to relate to this attack.

Posted by Portia at 08:48 AM | Comments (8)

July 06, 2005

Teaching a Man to Fish

I've just seen an introspective movie, so you'll have to forgive the following most obvious insights. I don't have a therapist, this is my cheap alternative.

If there is one thing I've learned (and there's not, but I'm just trying to sound deep and profound) through studying history, life experience, travel and the like, it's that people don't change. At least not that much. Let me explain for those who are my underground conscientious objectors. People don't change. Either a person is one committed to changing and bettering himself, or he's not. That, most likely, will never change.

Those who cheat, steal, lie, manipulate and justify their behavior are the ones who will not change, short of an act of God. That is not to say that those who lie, cheat, et al and did so out of genuine ignorance and experience a tremendous conversion (Saul of Tarsus comes to mind), cannot change. Those are often the only people who do.

There are really three kinds of people in the world. (I could be totally off...again, just go with me on the profundity...okay?) There are those who always seek to do right, long to contribute to society and make a difference in the world. There are those who live in the dark, aimlessly wandering, bumping into all manner of obstacles, but then encounter a light. Plato's Cave is a phenomenal analogy of this situation. Then, there are those who have experienced both worlds but choose darkness. Tell tale signs of either disposition can be seen quite young, in the teen years, I believe.

It is vitally important that people not diminish the formative years that are adolescence. I am angered by those who dismiss teenagers as stupid, self-centered, impossible, etc. Yes, they can be these things, sometimes all at once, but they are not defined as such at all times. Those are the years in which they form opinions that will last with them for the rest of their lives. Those are the years in which their character is truly shaped.
I think the liberals know this and that is why the educations system and the entertainment industry is as it is. Keep a teen from thinking, keep him feeling, and you'll have him forever.

C.S. Lewis spoke of this in The Screwtape Letters. Wormwood and Screwtape are writing back and forth and Wormwood says, "Our Father [Satan] wants cattle that will eventually become feed. The Enemy {God} wants men who will eventually become sons." (Possible paraphrase due to book's absence.) How true. What a responsibility we have to the next generation.

Alright, I'm done. If you stuck with me all through, you should either be commended or given a better task to do because clearly you must be bored. :)

Thanks for reading. ~Me

Posted by Portia at 11:18 PM | Comments (2)


Sitting back, nibbling on Madelines and drinking Diet Dr. Pepper (I'm housesitting...it's all they've got), it occurs to me. Emotions can be both a blessing and a curse. We can see the blessings in every day life: children hugging their parents out of love for them, people rescuing stray dogs, students supporting Starbucks because the company has helped them through many an all-nighter.

But we can also see the downside of emotions, namely liberalism, (kidding people!! kind of) and how emotions can often blind people to the truth of a matter simply because the truth "doesn't make them feel good."

Case in point: Live8. Or, should I say no point in case. What the heck did that show accomplish anyway? A bunch of hedonistic, filthy rich celebrities playing for emotionally crippled teens who all think they are "helping the greater good" by complaining about a situation. Agh. Not once did they take up a collection to feed the poor in Africa. They just complained about the situation and "put pressure" on governments (aka, President Bush) to send more of our tax dollars to corrupt governments in that continent.

But, it made them feel good. That's why they practice Kabbalah and Scientology. It makes them feel good. No matter that none of it is effective. As long as it feels good, it must be right.

It wouldn't make them feel good to know that the more aid that is sent, the worse the situation gets. It wouldn't make them feel good to know that it was when the British and the French left Africa that the continent took a nose dive. It wouldn't make them feel good to know that the corrupt officials and tribesmen in Africa are all Muslim and that the ones truly helping the AIDS situation and poverty are Christians. Nevermind that Pres. Bush has already tripled the aid to Africa and has done more for that continent than any other U.S. President. None of that feels good, even though it's true. Therefore, it's better to live in a solipsistic, Shirley MacClaine world and ignore everything that might contradict their emotional paradigm.

The celebrities who actually are making a difference, sans Bono, weren't there. They were doing things like...not complaining and making an actually change. Angelina Jolie just adopted another child from Ethiopia who would most likely have starved to death or died of AIDS. Gary Sinise is collecting school supplies and delivering them to students in Iraq. These people don't even talk the talk. They just walk it.

Live8 was a tremendous concert, I'm sure. But that's all it was. Too bad. If they all got off their high horses and got informed, they might actually make a difference.

Posted by Portia at 02:03 PM | Comments (3)

The Life of Brian

A glimpse into the private journal of NBC's Brian Williams:

June 30, 2005

"Tomorrow I cover the story of the president-elect of Iran. I'm really having a hard time coming up with unique angles and bylines. D*%@ that Katie Couric. She can say whatever she wants just because her husband died of colon cancer. Well, gosh, why don't you shoot me cause my wife is still alive!?! *Sigh* Okay, I'm better.

Ugh...another thing. I HATE that people call me "Brian Wilson." I"m not a freakin Beach Boy...I'm a newscaster dagnab it!!

Alright, back to the newscast. Think Koppel. Think Jennings. He got away with some outrageous statements. I think it's because of the accent. Think Canada. Hmmm. Okay, everyone has a problem with this president because "supposedly" he kidnapped a few Americans decades ago. Man, doesn't "water under the bridge" mean anything anymore?

My producers are going to kill me if I can't come up with something. Okay...newly elected leader who has terrorist, fascist connections. OOOH!! I can compare him to George W! Yes, that's it! Half the country hates him and he has some shady connections from the past, but we still elected him, kind of. That's perfect.

Well, now that I think about it, those flippin bloggers might jump down my throat like they did to whats-his-face at CNN. Maybe not. Hmm.

Better yet, why don't I compare him to the original George W...perfect! Our founding fathers kidnapped and beheaded people! I read that somewhere. Oh my producers would be so proud. I've had what they call an "independent thought." Okay...I've got to get to work now...founding fathers/terrorists. Brilliant.

Katie Couric eat your heart out."

Posted by Portia at 09:38 AM | Comments (2)

July 04, 2005

Happy Birthday, America!!


(Images generously provided by The Pirate's Cove.)

Happy Birthday to the Greatest Nation on God's Green Earth!!

In honor of our men and women who make our country the "land of the free and home of the brave", and in the tradition of The Cotillion, on this great day I am linking to a few military blogs. These are phenomenal websites. Please visit.

Intel Dump's site owner writes of the news about his upcoming deployment to Iraq.

Steven Kiel, on active duty in Iraq, gives some suggestions that would enable our troops to do what they are best at: fighting terror and securing the future of Iraq.

Mr. Minority  salutes our great nation with a tribute.

Brain Fertilizer wishfully hears "Taps" playing in the distance for the CIA. 

Gentlemen, you are what makes this country so great. Thank you for your service. God bless you and in the words of our President, "God Bless America." Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, everyone!!


Posted by Portia at 10:21 AM | Comments (1)