Friday, February 29, 2008

What's the Matter With Obama Supporters?

While Mrs. Miller occasionally indulges her guilty pleasure of following celebrities (at right, her favorite dress from this year's Oscars), one of my vices is following the law-gossip blog Above the Law (even further right, my pick for best dressed).

Anyway, last week an AtL post caught my eye: Obama, BigLaw, and Taxes (Or: Obama = $34,000 Paycut) As the title suggests, the post calculates the stiff tax increase an associate at a big firm would face under an Obama administration. But despite the fact that theseattorneys have a reputation of greedily jumping to whichever firm pays the most, a vast majority them are Obama supporters. What gives?

A few years ago, I stumbled over a book called What's the Matter With Kansas by Thomas Frank. The book's basic premise was that evil Republican strategists (often named Rove) had tricked working-class Kansans (and other middle Americans) to vote against their economic interests. Frank doesn't bother considering other explanations; after all, doesn't everyone know that those hillbillies are stupid?

Maybe it's cause I spent some of my childhood in southwest Missouri a couple hours from the Kansas border (I even attended the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield once), but I can think of two other good explanations. First, I'd bet that there are many conservative Kansans whom would rather not "take from the rich and give to the poor" even when they are the poor. These folks would consider that practice to be "stealing." But even beyond that, I am certain that many Americans care about unborn babies, traditional marriage, national security, and a host of other issues more than their direct economic self-interest. But Mr. Frank, blinded by his Marxist-materialistic orthodoxy, just assumes that they've all been duped!

I wonder what Mr. Frank would say about these Obama-supporting lawyers? Would he berate them for allowing themselves to be duped by David Axelrod (Obama's Rove) and It's probably safe to say, he wouldn't. He'd be quick to point out that they either think their taxes should be higher or that Obama's positions on other issues are worth taking a financial hit. 

All I am trying to say is that there's nothing "the matter" with Obama-supporting lawyers. They plan on voting for the candidate that best represents their values (I just happen to radically disagree with those values). I guess the real question is what's the matter with Mr. Frank that he can't give conservative Kansans the benefit of the doubt?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Head's up

Our girl is holding her head up for extended periods of time now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Halcyon Days

Thanks to a generous loan from Paul, we are now a two-computer family. The increased domestic bliss created is nearly inestimable. It's not that either of us go into withdrawal when we are denied access to the internet, it's just that it feels that way.

A nursery in the City

Here is Evangeline's nursery.

Or, more accurately, Evangeline's nook.

Space is a scarce resource in New York City. Although the City boasts the largest population of any US city, its 8-plus million residents are crammed into 322 square miles. No wonder New Yorkers rarely make eye contact or smile at other people on the street; it's the only way to maintain a semblance of privacy. And there really isn't much privacy. Moments shielded by fences, yards, and cars in the suburbs spill out into the streets here. Some of the stranger things I've seen include a woman riding a bike with two dozen red balloons tethered to the back, several people lugging a fully-made bed, a dwarf impersonating Michael Jackson, an occupied body bag, a violent domestic dispute, and full frontal male nudity. The last sighting confirmed in my mind why so many people flee to the suburbs to raise their children.

A consequence of the scant space is that real estate is ridiculously expensive. Most people live in tiny apartments like our burrow. These apartments demand creative use of the space. For example, I'm storing our summer clothes in suitcases in the bedroom closet alongside my crock pot, and windowsills sub for bookshelves.

Preparing for Evangeline's arrival has further challenged our limited space. Initially, I obtained a crib from CraigsList. But after we measured the crib and the small rectangle of space in our bedroom, we realized that if the crib went in, we would basically have to crawl over the crib to get to our bed. So we gave away the crib and purchased a favorite of urban parents--the mini co-sleeper. We use our bed as a changing table and store her clothes next to ours in the chest of drawers. Fortunately, Evangeline doesn't know the difference. And before she has a chance to realize that her "country cousins" have their own rooms, we'll be back in the suburbs ourselves.

All this talk reminds me of the lyrical refrain of another New York resident:

Santa Fe
Are you there?

Do you swear you won't forget me?

If I found you would you let me come and stay?

I ain't gettin' any younger

And before my dyin' day

I want space

Not just air

Let 'em laugh in my face

I don't care

Save a place

I'll be there

-Jack Kelly, Newsies

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

One month old


We celebrated by posing for pictures for the grandparents.

UPDATE: She is now 21.5" and 9 lbs. Woo-hoo!

(guess who needs a nap?)

Cooking again

Last week marked my post-birth foray into the culinary arts. Up until that point, my mom, my church, and, in an anti-urban move, the frozen meal section of Costco have supplied our suppers.

The recipe for the inaugural meal came from Seth & Janet's blog. The recipe caught my eye because it contains cayenne, and my husband and I enjoy meals that make you cry. I fudged the recipe by increasing the seasonings and tenderizing the chicken with this handy tool. And, boy, was it YUMMY. Thanks Remsnyders!

Cayenne Rubbed Chicken (with my revisions) Serves 2

Course salt and ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
Fresh greens

Cut chicken breasts in half and pound to ¼ inch thickness. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on a bed of fresh greens, and pile on the salsa.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Strange love for McCain

I provided an all-too-thorough analysis of the presidential primary elections back in January. Now that the Republican Party has essentially selected John McCain, it seems time for an update. Instead of more of my bloviating, here is the quality analysis of a lawyer-friend of mine:
To quote the subtitle to Dr. Strangelove: "How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb"

McCain, in this case, being the bomb.

Well, before Super Tuesday, I put McCain's odds for winning the GOP nomination at 95%. Safe to say that number increased (I had McCain winning 620 delegates, I think he'll end up with 720ish).

So, as a matter of political reality, I've spent some time contemplating McCain. I think he's obviously better than the Dems on foreign policy. On judges (which I care about more, or view to be a more decisive issue), McCain is likely to support good Justices, even though I don't trust him.

I wrote quite passionately before with reasons not to trust McCain - Gang of 14 chief among them.

However, in a two-party race, James Dobson is wrong; it would be foolish to allow Clinton or Obama to appoint 5-6 Justices. Their picks definitely will set the clock back even further on Roe - not to mention the rest of Constitutional law.

I'd much rather trust Mitt or Huck to make those picks, but that's not my choice anymore. So, I've decided to start defending McCain on this regard. Even though I don't totally trust him, and will issue a big fat "I told you so" if he appoints Justice Souter type picks, I think our chances are way, way better with him in the Oval Office. We may not get a picks like Michael Luttig or Janice Rogers Brown, but maybe we'll get someone like Senator Cornyn. For more on the judiciary aspect, I agree much of what Calabresi and McGinnis said in the WSJ (sans their spin on Gang of 14 and distrust of Mitt).

On the Gang of 14, the NRO editors said it better:

We believe that a President McCain would prefer to appoint conservative judges, for example. But would he fight for them or cut a deal with Pat Leahy? That is the fear that underlies the complaints about McCain's membership in the Gang of 14.

That's exactly my concern. But even with that concern, can I really say I'd rather risk Obama/Hillary picks? No. Not even close.

About all the domestic issues, McCain is very similar to Bush, and we I think we all agree that Bush was a less-than-ideal-but-better-than-the-alternative president. I'll take that choice again, any day. On immigration and campaign finance reform, Bush knifed us just as much, if not more so (expressly promising not to sign campaign finance reform before taking office).

On taxes, McCain is not totally committed, but again, marginally much better than the Dems who are constantly invoking class warfare rhetoric and basically calling for massive theft from the rich to give to the poor. McCain's theft is much less, and all moral normative claims aside, less theft is better than more theft.

Certainly McCain, the "Maverick," has enjoyed sticking his thumb in the eye of conservatives. But his electability is an asset, and the alternatives are grim.

Finally, I'll add that I think we may have over-estimated Mitt's electability. Despite my trying, I've been unable to move may of my strong conservative, Evangelical-type friends to support Mitt. He's never surged in the national polls, and despite spending vast sums of money, people just don't like the guy. I think I know why; it's because he's too slick. As a lawyer, this never really bothered me, but it appears to bother tons of people. (Not to mention the vast hoards of evangelicals who simply won't vote for a Mormon, and will make up any reason to justify that end result).

So, in the end, maybe the primary process has worked well, and we avoided picking a marginally better (Mitt used to be liberal after all) but less electable candidate. We did avoid picking a pro-choice candidate. Sometimes I think we forgot that Giuliani would be far worse for the pro-life cause than McCain, even on McCain's worst day. Beggars can't be choosers. Griping about McCain at this point is simply begging.

As for Huckabee, I think he strongly evidences how Evangelicals are important to the GOP. Everyone but John McCain got that message. Huckabee was not strong enough, in the end, to capitalize on his Iowa victory. He changed too many positions and said too many stupid things. I really tried to love Huckabee, and still think he's a more natural, brilliant speaker than anyone else in the field. But, you just can't change positions, as he has, and fail to raise money, as he has, and be viable. Huckabee as Veep, or maybe a future GOP nominee is exciting to me. He's still really young.

So, I expect McCain to win, to pick someone other than Mitt or Huckabee as Veep (someone like Sarah Palin, the Gov. of Alaska), and for all of us Christian conservatives to fight hard for McCain. I even hope, cleared away from the emotion of the primary process, Dobson will support voting for McCain. If you really care about Roe and protecting the unborn, how could you not support McCain in the general?

That's politics; you never get what you really want. Prudence dictates that we take incremental steps.

It's time to start loving the bomb.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Face time

Evangeline discovered her father's face yesterday. (Before that, her visual obsession was the black picture frame hanging on the wall behind the couch.)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl

I'm sick. Very sick. Nasal passages draining, sneezes abounding, and a fever making me feel like I'm on illicit narcotics. (Not that I'd know!)

This illness has put a crimp in our Super Bowl watching plans. Bethany, who has embraced baseball and football as a way to show her love for me, was excited to finally go a Super Bowl party for more than just the food. I guess there's always next year (when my Seahawks will be playing in the game).

All of this has reminded me of my father. A decade ago, my father's birthday fell on the same day as the Super Bowl. He fell quite ill, which would have been bad enough. But then our septic tank backed up and our front yard smelled of sewage. He went outside in the cold and unearthed the tank, while the rest of us piled into the van and drove away to watch Elway beat Favre.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, "Thanks, Dad." Just as Bethany was moved to salute her mother, these two weeks of parenting have dramatically increased my appreciation for everything my father did for me. With that said, praise be to God that, at least this year, our toilets are working fine and Evangeline didn't go to the party without me.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Uncle Paul Pays a Visit

Thursday night, Evangeline's Uncle Paul came over for dinner. He treated us to delectable Schnackies and we enjoyed rousing conversation.

As can be seen at right, Paul asked to hold the little girl. He has taken to calling her "Junior" as he explained over on his blog. Evangeline was on her best behavior and didn't utter a sound.