Monday, March 30, 2009

An Energy Thought That Occurred to Me Today

As it was announced that the CEO of GM has tendered his resignation at the bequest of Congress, and the story went on to talk about the GM Volt -- the electric car that they are finalizing, a thought occurred to me....

The strength of the Volt is that you can go 40 miles on an electrical charge from your house. Okay, sounds great. A good to and from work car. And it will use gasoline and recharge its battery from that as I understand, so it CAN go farther. The story touted it as the first car that makes electricity a viable, cheap fuel.

Only is it? How can we count on that?

My concern is the Cap and Trade taxes that are being brought about to discourage most current methods of electrical production. Obama has PROMISED our electrical bills will go up, a lot. He promised it even in his campaign. There is even talk that the new power grid could have the ability to charge extra if we use too much electricity or keep our thermostat too high.

Where does that put using electricity to fuel these new generation electric cars? We might get a tax credit for it, but the cost of electricity soon enough may more than make up for that little reward for thinking "green."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Obama Uniting the Right?

Here's an interesting article on The Standard's blog

Though I really wonder if that is true. As a matter of fact, I don't think it is.

People don't get united through "what we don't want." They are united by what they hold in common. That's why Reagan worked. He emphasized that.

Take the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, for instance. I use it as an example because I am always amazed at how what is going on in our church body, politically, is a strong reflection of what is going on in our government. However, it doesn't surprise me, since the LCMS governing structure was modeled on it.

Those who are conservative and confessional have been trying to take back the presidency for many years now, but have never been able to succeed. Instead of focusing on what they believe in common, they often focus on particular points that they feel particularly strongly about and that leads to further division, much like how the Republicans have social Republicans, evangelical Republicans, and economic Republicans. Each feels their particular issues are the most important and will then attack the others or refuse to join with them in order to emphasize their particular point. Look at how the Republican party tried to win moderates by minimizing the voice of the evangelicals, and how really, they've been losing strength ever since they claimed that there is enough room under "their umbrella" for differing views on abortion.

While I'm not going around saying "We need a Reagan," we do need someone who can emphasize those similarities and bring those groups together. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is not necessarily true. They could just be another enemy for different reason.

If there is no way to unite on common values within the Republican Party, instead of just a common enemy, the party can just as easily collapse, and with many voters' disgust with the Grand Ole Party's abandonment of its values and its inability to communicate those values in an effective way -- that is truly a possibility.

The last election did not put forth a candidate who was a true leader with a solid sense of hope for America, except for Sarah Palin, but she wasn't the candidate. But the fact that she did so was why so many gravitated to her. McCain was one who just had the most hope of standing for just enough to unite conservatives and moderates into a place of complaisance. When he ran back to "rescue the government" but that rescue meant voting for a bailout that made no sense to Republican or American sensibilities, all was lost.

If Limbaugh, Steele, McCain, and other leaders cannot get along, it doesn't matter that they are against Obama, because they will be individuals against one very powerful, unified force. They can be flicked away.

"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand; and if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Mark 3:24-25

We do not have a common enemy if we consider each other to be the enemy as well. I fear for the Republican Party (and yes, for the LCMS ). For some reason, the Republican Party has always been the one that has falls and has to be reincarnated (though the Democrats' message is the polar opposite of what it was pre-FDR). I'm wondering if we are about to see this party restrengthen, or die to be reborn as something else -- which will happen. It is the party that has left the values, not the values that have let down the party. A good portion of the American people still believe in those values.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

To Thine Own Curls Be True

I've always had curly hair. Not kinky tight curly hair, some might call it wavy, but there are tight ringlets underneath. They flattened somewhat when I was a kid, going to bed with wet hair, and so were relatively unimpressive and shapeless. When I was old enough to lift a hair dryer, I feathered it, straightened it, curled it under, etc.

Problem is, as I got older (and with each subsequent pregnancy) my hair has gotten thicker and thicker. Blow drying actually hurts my wrist and I was growing more and more frustrated. Then my friend Polly posted about a book called Curly Girl, which talks about how curly hair needs to be treated completely differently than straight.

Here is a great description of the method

And yes, it is rather shocking at first. Don't use shampoo? Yep. Curly hair is more porous than straight hair, and harsh detergents in shampoo make it frizz. You scrub your scalp with conditioner to get the oils off the skin (treating the scalp like skin, but not treating the hair like skin...because its not). Rinse with cool water, put in a gel, and allow to air dry or diffuser dry. Lots of people worry about it getting oily, but what I've found is the drying properties of shampoo cause the hair to produce more oils. After a week or two with conditioner oily, the scalp only produces the oils that it needs.

I'm wearing my hair longer than I ever have (a few inches above my bra strap, for lack of a better geographical marker), and I like it, because it is easy and most of the time, it doesn't look bad. I don't have to wash it as often, because again, my scalp isn't producing as many oils.

What I didn't expect is the psychological difference. I have had lots of experience with how liberating it can feel to embrace aspects of my life that I was fighting (breastfeeding, being a stay at home mom, homeschooling), but I didn't even realize that I was fighting a part of who I am, feeling bad about my hair (especially living in a humid environment), but WOW. This has been so wonderful. In a way it is simply embracing a part of me that I didn't really even think was important. Maybe because it was a fight with something that wasn't important is why it feels good.

Now, I'm not going to make any Pantene commercials anytime soon, but I personally have been happy with it. It's been fun. It's been easy.

Now my only problem is that I have been loath to et it cut because even that is really different. Before I discovered this method, I have often been tempted to let it go curly and have asked for stylists who knew how to work with curly hair. They always say they do, but it never really was right and never had any shape. So I gave the chapter to my stylist, Laura, whom I really do like, and she already said the care portion made sense, but she has never tried the cutting method before (cutting dry, cutting individual curls to find their shape, and then rinsing and styling under a hot lamp). So we are giving it a try, and I am kind of scared. I did get a couple of names last night off of a naturally curly hair site . So if it doesn't work, I have a couple of numbers to call, but growing out mistakes isn't the easiest thing in the world. Cross your fingers for me!