Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So even if I had been an Obama supporter I think I'd have jumped ship after seeing this one:
via Ace of Spades.
Once when reminiscing about those working days, my girlie (who was maybe 4) asked "Back when you was a man?"
Individually, the extra-electoral efforts are irrelevant. But in the aggregate, they start to add up. In 1996 Obama goes to court, challenges the petition signatures of mostly African-American voters, and gets all his rivals eliminated from the ballot and so de facto runs unopposed.In 2004 sealed divorce records were strangely released destroying the chances of his chief Democratic rival Blair Hull; then in the general, lightning again struck, and Republican front-runner Jack Ryan's sealed divorce records were likewise mysteriously released—and he too crashed, in effect, leaving Obama without a serious primary or general election rival.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
"Now, I don't believe that government can or should try to solve all our problems. I know you don't either. But I do believe that government should do that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide a decent education for our children...."
Hm, seems like lots of people are providing decent educations for their children without the government's help. If my kids' recent standardized test scores are any indication - and I don't think test scores are the best indicator of learning, but people in the government school systems seem to think so - we are doing just fine, thanks. Beyond fine.
Real change is finally giving our kids everything they need to have a fighting chance in today's world. That begins with recognizing that the single most important factor in determining a child's achievement is not the color of their skin or where they come from; it's not who their parents are or how much money they have. It's who their teacher is.
Of course this was from a speech to the American Federation of Teachers. And he has to be sure to get their votes, so what else could he say?
Quotes stolen from Spunky Homeschool, but seen lots of places.
Also, see Semicolon's Monday's List: Obama in his own words
Update: More of that speech to the AFT:
In fact, his [McCain's]
Real change is finally giving our kids everything they need to have a fighting chance in today's world. That begins with recognizing that the single most important factor in determining a child's achievement is not the color of their skin or where they come from; it's not who their parents are or how much money they have. It's who their teacher is. It's the paraprofessionals and support staff and all of you in this room. It's those who spend their own money on books and supplies, come early and stay late comparing lesson plans, who devote their lives to our next generation and serve as role models for the children who need one most because you believe that's what makes the extra difference. And it does. After all, I have two daughters. I know what their teachers mean to them.
Note that his two daughters do not attend public school (from ABCNews Political Radar):
The elite charter school (Chicago Lab School) costs between $15,000 to $20,000 a year in tuition. Michelle Obama currently sits on the board.
Now I don't really care if politicians and other wealthy people send their kids to private school. I don't begrudge them that privilege. But I don't like it when they complain about others abandoning the public school system when they have done just that. Of course people who send their kids to private school, or homeschool them, still support the local schools with their tax money. But, obviously the Obamas have a lot more financial flexibility than the people he claims to want to help.
But then there's this: why would we expect him to be comfortable with the idea of kids learning from their parents and not from state-approved teachers? Why would we think a President Obama would want homeschoolers teaching something other than the government line?
Am I getting paranoid? I am more than willing to be wrong on this.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Reign of the LORD’s AnointedWhy do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
"Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us."
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
"As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill."
I will tell of the decree:The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."
1Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
PS: I don't know why that spacing is so weird.
Yesterday she scored her first goal, to tie the game. I showed my true colors as a bad mom, zoning out and not really paying attention till I heard the cheering. I could see my girl was close to the action and quietly asked who made that goal, muttering that it couldn't have been my girl. Then I realized it was her!
She floated all the way home. I think this will give her the boost she needs to spend more time at home practicing.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Today the wind is just howling, leaves are flying all over the place ("It's raining leaves!" someone says), and the kids are making kites. Oh, this morning we did our catechism, and went over some math and grammar in preparation for the standardized tests the kids are taking tomorrow. Yes, I confess - I'm teaching to the test! We will read history over lunch, just before we head out for Occupational Therapy for the boy, and a long walk in the park for the girl and dog (and me). When we come home we'll read some historical fiction about the Russian Revolution.
But right now, my kids are making kites, running around with them, fixing them, improving them... getting fresh air and exercise, and being best friends again.
Sometimes people express concern for my kids because they aren't with their age-peers all day. But most kids the age of mine aren't into making and flying kites. The boys talk about cell phones and tv shows and gamecube. The 4th grade girls talk about clothes and pop stars and compare Hannah Montana gear. Oh, there are exceptions, but most of the "schooled" kids we meet are way too sophisticated to run around the yard with a homemade kite.
Maybe my kids will take their kites, and some kite-making materials, to the next homeschool park day in case it's windy again. Then all the kids could have a blast together. But today, the two of them are happy to spend this time together, and I'm happy that they have the freedom to do this.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Palin: I'm concerned about and focused on just the next two weeks, Drew, and again getting that message out there to the American public. Thankfully, too, the American public is seeing clearer and clearer what the choices are in these tickets. I think, some revelation just occurred, not just with Joe the plumber but revelation occurred with [Democratic vice presidential candidate] Joe Biden's comment the other night that, he telling his Democratic financial donors saying that, he said mark my word, there's gonna be economic, and, or international crisis he said, if Barack Obama is elected, because he will be tested and he said there are four or five scenarios that will result in an international crisis with an untested presidential candidate in Barack Obama and -- first I think we need to thank Joe for the warning there. But, Joe's words there I think, can shed some light, too, in terms of the contrast you have in the tickets. John McCain is a tested leader. He has gone through great adversity. He has the scars to prove it. He has shown his true leadership. It hasn't just been all talk, and Joe Biden's comments there about an untested, as he had said in the primary, unprepared candidate to be president, I think was very telling.
CNN: [LAUGHS] I mean, did Joe Biden get a pass?
Palin: Drew, you need to ask your colleagues and I guess your bosses or whoever is in charge of all this, why does Joe Biden get a pass on such a thing? Can you imagine if I would've said such a thing? No, I think that, you know, we would be hounded and held accountable for, what in the world did you mean by that, VP presidential candidate? Why would you say that, mark my words, this nation will undergo international crisis if you elect Barack Obama? If I would've said that you guys'd clobbered me.
The full transcript here.
Related item at The Corner, wherein Byron York corrects CNN's misrepresentation of his words.
And a hilarious piece from Iowahawk on Biden's prediction of doom.
Go ahead and call me racist and elitist now. But really - are "get out the vote" drives a good idea? Why don't we just expect people who want to vote, to register and vote? Is it hard to do? I've registered to vote in 3 states (not all at the same time) and never found the process particularly burdensome. And if people don't care about informing themselves about an election, should we care if they don't vote?
Some other thoughts that came to me as I watched soccer practice tonight:
- Why don't we educate people on the rights and responsibilities of voting in school? Senior high school Civics, anyone? Students who turn 18 during the school year can be encouraged to register - if their parents aren't already taking care of that.
- Stop funding ACORN and other community organizer groups and give the money to county registrars of voters instead. This could enable them to set up registration events in neighborhoods throughout the year so the registrations don't come in a huge pile all at once, just before the election. If low-income neighborhoods have a particularly low number of registrations, put more resources there, but - no quotas, no bribes - if people don't want to register, don't force them. Oh, promoting a candidate in the course of work should be a firing offense.
- New residents of a community could get registration materials mailed to them. I am pretty sure that's how I've gotten registered at least a few of the many times I've moved - registrations forms just appeared in my mailbox. Surely the Postal Service is in on this?
- Stop new registrations 60 days - OK, maybe 45? - before an election so there is time to verify people. Maybe make exceptions for people who move close to the election.
- Don't let people vote if they can't answer basic questions about the candidates, such as "who is Barack Obama's running mate?" OK, I don't think we could do that. Could we?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Today I wanted to go over some math stuff with my boy but when we were trying to dash out of the house we couldn't find the book; funny how that is, in particular since when we got home I found the book immediately, in the exact place it is supposed to be, and where I swear I looked twice before we left.
So we talked about the election. He wanted some history; who had run in the last election, and how Senator Obama came to be known well enough to be running for President. We just talked about how all that worked out, and somehow came to talking about Obama as the first black man to be a candidate and how this would be a historic election. He went on to comment that either way it would be, because McCain would be the oldest (surely not a feature for most people) and of course there's Palin.
We talked a bit about the fact that it was historic for a black man to reach this point. This boy does not really get that. Surely he notices that most people around him are white; he also notices that when we drive through the really rundown part of town to the orthodontist, most people are black. But he doesn't really get why that is or why it should be that way. He doesn't see any real difference between black, white, Asian... isn't that the way it's supposed to be? I don't get into a lot of discussion of race except to say that some people might not vote for Obama because they don't want a black President, and some will vote for him simply because he is black, but that people should vote based on what a person has done in the past and how that compares with what they say they will do in the future.
We talked about other parties and he asked if the Communists had a candidate in this election. He is fascinated with the Soviet Union and the Cold War; the idea of communism really disgusts him. We talked a bit more about taxes and what taxpayer money (I try not to use the term "government money") should be used for. Of course the first thing he brought up was the military. As always we got on the topic of "poor people" and welfare and how some people do need help; he said something about "also needing to help people who don't want to work" - whoa, where did that come from? No, I said, we should not help people who don't want to work.
He always seems vaguely dissatisfied with these discussions, as if there is more to talk about but he doesn't know what it is. In a few days or weeks some unanswered question that has been percolating in his brain will come out, and we'll start all over again.
He is taking a series of standardizes tests this week; unfortunately none of the topics of this discussion will be covered. Still, I guess the way we spent our time was at least as useful as going over fractions, and much less frustrating than working on finding the lowest common denominator.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Well, sort of. Yesterday on a long car ride we (the boy and I; my girlie zones out of these conversations) talked a bit about economic policies. I asked what makes more sense for the government to do about taxes for a wealthy person who owns a business: have him pay high taxes so the government can give the money to poor people, or have him pay lower taxes so he can expand his business and maybe hire some people to work for him.
"Low taxes so he can hire people and give people something productive to do." (That may not be the exact quote but the "something productive" part is, for sure. We use the word productive around here a lot, sometimes when confessing our lack of productivity.) I don't remember the rest of the conversation. Of course we acknowledged that there will always be people who can't work, or can't work at jobs that pay a lot and thus must be helped. (At one time this was done by the family and the church, not the government. )
"But just giving people money even if they don't work is (dramatic rise of voice): communism!"
Anyway, I came across this via Instapundit and really like this philosophy:
IF ELECTED, OBAMA WILL BE MY PRESIDENT
You can talk about “voter fraud” and “stealing elections” all you want but the fact remains that if Obama is certified by the electoral college and the House of Representatives as President of the United States, that ends the discussion in our republic. There is no more important aspect of democracy than the minority accepting the will of the majority. The constitution gives the minority certain protections against getting steamrolled by the majority. But it doesn’t give the minority the right to torpedo the legitimacy of the winner.
This is more than a question of “fair play” or being a “sore loser.” The Constitution says we have only one president at a time. Given the importance of that office, it is stark raving lunacy to seek to destroy the man occupying it.
The fact that the Democrats and the left have acted like 2 year olds the last 8 years doesn’t mean that if Obama is elected we should throw the same infantile tantrums and look for ghosts in the machine – or accuse the opposition of foul play without a shred of physical proof, only the paranoid imaginings whipped up by people who knew exactly what they were doing – undermining the legitimacy of the elected leader of the United States government.
Today an NPR announcer (why do I do this to myself) made a sneering comment about conservatives threatening to leave the country if Obama is elected, and went on, with apparently no sense of irony, to talk about people who left the US when Bush came into office, and are now thinking maybe they can come back.
Update: Another point of view on the topic.
But, natch, focus moved from the main point, which would be Obama's socialist tendencies, and into irrelevant interest into the plumber's life. I like Glenn Reynold's comment:
They've done more investigations into Joe the Plumber in 24 hours than they've done on Barack Obama in two years . . . .
It doesn't matter who he is, how much money he makes or even if he's really a plumber. What matters is Obama's response to his question about taxes. "Spread the wealth," "don't want to punish you for your hard work, but..." But no, it's more important to take the focus off Obama's socialist tendencies and trash this guy.
Somewhere I read that he is being harassed now. Obama really ought to make a specific and strong comment about that and call off his attack dogs - even if he didn't set them on the guy in the first place. It should be OK to ask a Presidential candidate a tough question. That it might not be is a pretty good indicator of the state of free speech and political discourse in an Obama administration.
But I must confess of late to a recurring sense of foreboding, about a great many things. Now, prognosticating about the future is a fool’s game, to be sure; a review of most any futurist’s predictions invariable shows a predictive rate substantially less than could be had by tossing a coin.
In a world which incessantly rips its cultural chords at rock-concert levels, it is no small feat to listen to the still, small voice — and harder yet to distinguish it from the countless seductive whispers and wishes of life long lived in self-gratification and indulgence. Yet that voice ever quiet is nevertheless persistent — and it seems to be speaking with an urgency and clarity which is hard to dispel.
We are standing, I sense, at the edge of an abyss — and the earth beneath our feet is shifting and unstable.
Now I am not a Left-Behind reading kind of person. I don't have an "in case of rapture..." bumper sticker on my car. I know a couple of you might be thinking that... But, yes, this is about how I feel right now.
So it behooves us to stand back; to turn off the TV, shut down the browser, put down the paper, turn off talk radio, and truly listen — not to the screeching banshees with their banal hysteria, but rather to that inner source, be it spirit, or soul, or mind, or the wisdom acquired by life’s experiences.
Take a moment, if you will, for a brief look around, surveying our 21st-century world. Let yourself absorb the panoramic view, all 360 degrees, not averting your eyes at things which are unsettling or fear-provoking.
For years we have tolerated incompetence, corruption, dishonesty — and yes, greed — in government while looking the other way. On those rare occasions when politicians have made principled stands, we have rewarded them with a firestorm of political assault, full-throated media ridicule and criticism, and enormous financial pressure from lobbyists pouring money into the pockets of those who purport to represent the people. We have elected a government of the people, in the most literal and disgraceful sense: we have elected, and kept in office, those who share our desire for self-gratification and materialistic acquisition at the expense of character, moral integrity, honesty, and prudence. The cesspool which is our current Congress is what we have reaped by our own actions — or perhaps more accurately, by our inaction. We have elected those politicians who are like us in every way — and we hate them for it. They are, after all, created in our own image.A young person dear to my heart recently told me that this is the most important election of his life. I've got news for him: every election from here on out will be the most important. Unless and until we somehow elect someone who can truly unite us, each election to come will have more anger, more corruption, more uncertainty, till this country is torn apart.
If you are a person of faith, it is time to dig in, hard, and quit playing games — your life may depend on it. If you are skeptical of such matters, consider: upon what will you lean when your world collapses? Will your considered indifference and intellectual smugness about us fools of faith save you? What will you do when all that matters to you is taken, and you are left, finally, profoundly alone with naught but that frightened face in the mirror?
If you are a person of faith, you might be nodding your head right now. If you are not, you probably think the writer and I are both crazy. But go read it all anyway. Think it over. Maybe you'll still decide I'm crazy. Or maybe not.
Monday, October 13, 2008
We are finally up to World War I. Now my boy has already read quite a bit about World War I but I was still surprised when he continually interrupted my reading to tell me what I was about to say. He may not be able to spell "Austro-Hungarian Empire" but he sure knows what it was and how it relates to the war. He knew about the Allies and the Central Powers, the Lusitania, and the battle of the Somme. I didn't even make him take notes (we're working on study skills now) but I bet he will ace the test for this chapter.*
So, it was a good "school day." But of course, if asked what he's doing in school these days, the kid will always reply with the classic answer: "oh, nothing much."
Oh, I found this passage particularly interesting:
...The Germans sent a secret telegram, in code, to the German Ambassador in Mexico, telling him to make a deal with the Mexican government. If Mexico would fight on the side of the Germans, and Germany won, Germany would reward Mexico. It would take the land thgat America had claimed during the Mexican War and give it back to Mexico....
Before the Germans could actually make this deal, British cryptographers managed to get a copy of the telegram and decoded it. American newspapers published the contents of the telegram, so that American citizens all across the country could read it. Both the British and the Americans were outraged by this sneaky attempt to pull the United States into the war.
If my kids were older, and it was appropriate to discuss the problem of media bias in this election, I'd ask: would the press handle this event differently today, and if so, how?
*I don't always give tests, and sometimes I just give open-book or open-note tests, but I need something for the old portfolio and everyone needs to learn how to take tests. I use the test booklet published for the Story of the World series.
Tonight I decided to read ahead a bit to our next chapter: the Russian Revolution. Somehow this sounds strangely relevant:
Lenin tried to tackle the problems of Russian poverty in a new way. To make sure that the rich people of Russian didn't own all the land while the poor people had none, the Communist Party decided that all of the land in the whole country would belong to the government! The government would allow people to use the land equally. Instead of individual Russians building business, making money, and perhaps forcing other Russians to work for little pay, the government would own and run most of the business - not just the electric and water company, but hospitals, school, grocery stores, bookstores, and even hot dog stands. [Hot dog stands in Petrograd? - ed]
This new way of living, "communism," was supposed to make sure that the government, instead of a small group of powerful people, had control over Russia. But who was in the government? That's right - a small group of powerful people, Lenin and his followers!
And look at how well that worked out for the Russian people! This will make for some great discussions, though I probably shouldn't scare my kids by comparing Lenin with Obama, Pelosi and Reid.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The kids wanted to go to, and we took along a couple of their friends we brought home from church. On the way there I coached them in proper behavior. They were all thrilled with the prospect of being on the TV news. Then I told them they had to behave in a way that would be OK with their parents and grandparents if they saw it. That deflated them a bit.
Well, the excitement wore off pretty quickly and after getting their free cookie and pop they were off to the playground. (Yeah, the boy is a little old for a playground but this one had a climbing wall that's almost sort of challenging.) It looked more like a retirement home picnic than a political rally. I got to talk to a state-level candidate's handler, but not the candidate himself - he was talking with someone and she said he had to move on to his next event. No tv cameras. They may have been there earlier but left out of boredom.
I did get a McCain yard sign and yes we put it up. But I'm not voting for McCain so much as I am voting against Obama. Voting against the "socialist tsunami" that may ruin our economy. (Follow that link only if you want to be really scared.) Voting against mandatory volunteerism and universal not-yet-but-soon mandatory preschool. (Think it won't ever be mandatory and think once it is he won't be going after homeschoolers? Call me paranoid, go ahead.) Voting against the biased press and voter registration fraud. Voting against the idea that it's OK to call a sitting President a terrorist and call for his death, but not OK to say that a candidate has a terrorist for a buddy. Voting against abortion any time, for any reason. Voting against Nancy Pelosi. Voting for free speech and not worrying that the slightest critical comment toward the President will be an indication of my racism because I must dislike him simply because he's black.
I don't remember my parents ever speaking badly about any President. I think, though we never talked about it, that they would think it right to teach children to respect their elected officials. So if it's to be President Obama, I'll teach my kids to respect him even if we don't agree with his policies. But I hope I don't have to do that.
Oh, in church today our pastor prayed that God would grant us a better President than we deserve. Indeed.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I was listening carefully, waiting to hear the NPR guy ask how they were going to verify the registrations of people without an address. He had his chance: Secretary Brunner explained the verification process, which includes sending a letter to the address on the verification form. If the letter comes back, they know there's a problem with the registration. So, a simple question: how would that work when the letter goes to a homeless shelter and the person is not there anymore?
Well, he didn't ask. Now this is supposed to be an astute news guy who has already researched this issue and should know more about it than me, a suburban homeschooling mom/housewife. But no. The question did not come up.
My head was ready to explode. It was all I could do to keep myself from screaming "ask her the question!" But there we were, on the way home from the neurobehavioral specialist with whom my kid spends 2 hours each week learning how to train his brain to pay attention, live in the moment, and control his responses to situations that cause him stress or make him angry. Mom is learning to control herself too.
But it still makes me angry. Then, there was a teaser for an upcoming segment: responding to reports about offensive comments from people attending McCain/Palin rallies. Not from the candidates, from the people attending. Oh, come on. As if no one ever made offensive comments about the Republicans at any Obama rallies?
When I had the chance to rant to the seminarian about it, he just said "you're assuming objectivity from these people." Oh, silly me.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
. . .professor Donald Hindley, on the faculty for 48 years, teaches a course on Latin American politics. Last fall, he described how Mexican migrants to the United States used to be discriminatorily called "wetbacks."
And guess what happened next...
Sunday, October 05, 2008
But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
6 I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made." Isaiah 43:1-7 (ESV)
I don't know if that passage was chosen because of the election, financial crisis or other current events. Anyway, a good thing to hear and read.
But then I came home and saw this:
As the Gateway Pundit says:
Could you even imagine if a conservative group were to run dead Obama ad?
Of course not. And why are the pulling up that old rape kit story?
But then, when reading in Robinson Crusoe to my kids tonight, I came across this:
... how frequently, in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself we seek most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into it, is the most dreadful to us, is often-times the very means or door of our deliverance, by which alone we can be raised again from the affliction we are fallen into.
So, as of 9:14 pm EDT, I am in the not despairing part of the cycle. I'm also not reading any more news or blogs for the rest of the night. Well... maybe.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
WHO is "Will, Good"?
If there are more suspicious donors to the Obama campaign, we won't know until long after the election as long as their aggregate contributions are below the legal limit. Mr. Timmerman was particularly curious about 11,500 contributions from overseas totalling $33.8 million.
CNN recently sent a reporter to Little Diomede Island, the westernmost part of Alaska (2.4 miles from Russia) to determine whether Sarah Palin had ever been there to see Russia with her own eyes. But CNN - and the rest of the media - have been incurious about the Obama campaign's fund-raising.
And this video report on registering voters in Ohio.
OK, you might say, Republicans play dirty tricks too. Send me the links.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
I'd really like someone to explain to me why high-profile abortion advocates are not being excommunicated. People like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. Why are they still allowed to take Communion when they so obviously flout the laws of their church? And looking at it the other way: they obviously disagree with this very basic doctrine of their church, so why do they still call themselves Catholic?
And, look, I agree with the governor. She imposed a windfall profits tax up there in Alaska. That's what Barack Obama and I want to do.
We want to be able to do for all of you Americans, give you back $1,000 bucks, like she's been able to give back money to her folks back there.
Yeah, baby, she did it, so why don't we just vote for her since she already knows how?
I really, really hope to see that in a McCain ad tomorrow. Even though it may be too late...