Archive for October, 2007

Progressive Hypocrisy

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

The main complaint about Iraq couldn’t be uttered in America without inciting the hew and the cry of progressive thinkers and rightfully so, because the main complaint is patently racist. The idea goes like this: the Iraqi people, Muslim people, Arab people, are inherently incapable of living in a free, democratic society. Their tradition, intelligence, culture, history, family structure, and to a less extent, their religion inhibits their evolution as a people. In a sense, they are, like so many inferior cultures, condemned to the bottom of the world’s rubbish heap.

Now, imagine these sentiments being used to describe, say, black people or women (remember the outrage at Ann Coulter for her thoughts on American women and voting?) or even Muslim Americans.

The second complaint, like unto the first, is essentially: Why should we care? If the people of the Mideast want to kill each other and be stupid, it’s their own damn fault. This argument is easily undone by that little inconvenient truth–the Twin Towers crashing down in Mid-town Manhattan. The burnt out hole gapes there even now, a hollow reminder that what happens there, can affect what happens here.

There was a time, and even now, when progressives fought for the rights of everyone no matter their location or citizenship. There have been many urgent (and to my thinking, valid) pleas to save the Sudanese people–to save the black Christians and Muslims there from genocide imposed by lighter-skinned racist Muslims. So, it’s still possible for progressives to claim those ideals, but they don’t embody those ideals consistently. They learned from Gandhi’s struggle for a free India. They learned by watching their fathers fight WWII to maintain a free West. These experiences planted the seed for the American civil rights movement. This Baby Boomer generation used Flower Power, sit-ins, resistance, etc. and they misused it, too. The valiant struggles of people like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi became tools for rebellious, amoral, narcissistic, spoiled, privileged young people more enamored with sex and drugs than freedom, man.

The sons and daughters of the Free Love generation didn’t leave their hypocrisy behind. In this generation, they’ve honed their language of oppression but forgotten the truly oppressed. If the victim group doesn’t meet their special criteria or if the oppressed is liberated by a perceived enemy (anyone remotely conservative or with the initials G.W.B.) the victims aren’t worth saving. A genocide would be preferable to people being freed by someone who doesn’t have the proper credentials or, more importantly, language of The Movement.

That George Bush has been one of the most progressive presidents in history galls the so-called progressives. Todays progressives want to conserve the past. Attached to a Ma Sheehan version of the world, they strive to protect and look inwardly. Some even doubt the reasoning to liberate Europe during World War II. Why This perverse reasoning is as narcissistic as it is suicidal.

The only oppressed people worth saving are those who won’t matter to America’s own self-preservation. Today’s progressive would rather America shrivel and die than reach out and spread the seed of democracy. Saving, of course, means using strength and power and fighting and dominating over enemies.

Power over is the language of oppression, but it’s also the action of the liberator.

What this means is that the Left will never acknowledge an Iraq success. It will, at the first opportunity, attempt to rob George W. Bush of any success. Genocide is preferable to the President being favorably viewed in history’s light.

Who is the true progressive? Who is liberal? It’s been a long time since the Left has qualified as either.

School Stress Evaporates At Home

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

The stress in our family has lessened so significantly since starting to home school. My kids already had severe test anxiety at the ripe old ages of 7 and 9. That’s a problem. The result of their anxiety was a defeatest attitude: if they couldn’t be guaranteed super-success, they didn’t want to try. I don’t think yoga at school would have helped much. It might have helped a little. Maybe getting rid of homework would have helped the generalized anxiety. In fact, I’m quite sure it would have helped.

Two and a half months into home schooling and the results are promising. More relaxed family (including me–an unintended benefit) and more relaxed kids. Shhhh, don’t tell them, but the tests I write for them are harder. I’m pushing them to comprehend. They are being forced to remember not just what, but why. And still, they are more relaxed. They have also received their first “bad” grades and survived. They are learning to go back again and study and get it and then try again.

With home school, there is no homework. Well, not like is generally understood. They are reading and reading the “required” texts but they don’t realize what they’re doing. When we talk through and do assignments off of books they enjoy reading, they’re doing work, they just don’t really notice.

I wasn’t sure at the beginning, the curriculum scared me because of its simplicity, but I simply must sing the praises of Math-U-See. It is amazing. The comprehension of math concepts is so complete and simple. The kids are motoring through it.

Another curriculum, this one for handwriting called Handwriting Without Tears, is nearly miraculous. My son, who has problems with deciding where to put the pencil and has fine more strength problems viewed learning cursive with apprehension. He literally looked suspiciously at the text book. Not now. Loves it. My husband said, “He wrote that?!” It’s been pretty amazing.

We are also using Sonlight for Reading, Vocabulary, Spelling, Phonics, Grammar, History, Geography, and Bible. It is a literature-based curriculum and it’s fantastic. The text books are original works. The kids are reading a couple Robert Lewis Stevenson poems a week. They are learning a couple Aesop’s fables a week. They are reading out loud. They are explaining the moral of the story. They are creatively writing. Each week, we are going through a couple pieces of children’s literature.

For people like me who find the notion of putting it all together daunting, the Sonlight system is flexible yet structured. The only work I add for myself, is more testing. At least every other week, I put together a comprehensive test for the kids to make sure they are retaining what they learn. This week, they have learned the basics about the Phoenicians, Spartans, Athenians, the architecture of columns, the story of Romulus and Remus, Rome, the Olympiad, Homer’s Odyssey (which they are dying to read), Eastern Europe, Romania, Italy, what was significant about Mecca and the rise and fall of King Saul, the rise of David and the friendship between David and Jonathon. That’s a lot. And that’s all on the test. Plus dates for the Peloponnesian War and the original and reinstated Olympics. It’s definitely a survey of History and Bible this year. It will be the foundation for the next four years when we go back and look, in depth, at those times.

And they aren’t stressed. Can you imagine? They love it. We haven’t had an art project or science project in a while. We have made cave man pictures and created hieroglyphics. When we get to Pompeii, we’ll explode a volcano. They have more time for the arts–music and drama are during school hours. Dance is after school twice a week.

All in all, I don’t think the stress in school comes from the volume of material or even the focus on testing. The running from one activity to another, the inability to slow things down to have a question answered, the frustration of having play-time or recess taken away to finish up work, the inability to get a drink when thirsty or run to the bathroom without missing something, the boredom when a topic is already known, the pressure to perform during timed tests (in second grade) and on and on. The schools must meet the needs of many kids so some of the flexibility needed to reduce stress just can’t happen. I’m amazed at the stellar job the teachers do. It is certainly not easy.

So, it’s admirable that the High School principal wants to put in a program to reduce stress for kids. That’s an excellent goal. I’m just not sure it’s possible.

Screening for MRSA

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Oh, this IS a hoot. A hospital will screen incoming patients for MRSA? Will they test staff pens, their equipment, doctors and nurses who are the most likely vectors for the spread? Will they start spending more time hand washing and employing basic hygiene?

Pardon me, but this new effort is quite a bit like screening at the airport. It’s a big nuisance that will do little to stop the spread of disease.

File This In "Be Careful What You Pray For……

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

You might just get it. ” The Southeast is a parched land these days. Clark Stooksbury says:
“The irony is that most of the Southeast could use a hurricane. Whatever damage one might do on the coast, if a tropical depression were to dump heavy rains over Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee, it would be a blessing.”

Glenn Reynolds chimes in, “Yeah, I’ve been watching the computer models for Noel and wishing that the tracks would shift westward.”

Prayer works. Prayer power people might want to remember to reverse course. And for those who worship Gaia commenter 3R says:

Point well taken. The very slow 2007 hurricane season has featured two Category 5 storms, both of which made landfall in Mexico. According to reports, the liklihood of two such storms making landfall anywhere in the same season is low.

But then there’s the very slow 2006 season to explain, which if I recall correctly featured NO Category 5 storms. And then there are the reports of unusually cool Atlantic waters…heck, let’s blame this year’s California fires on global warming, make some more dire predictions, and see how the 2008 hurricane season turns out. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Is God listening and Gaia ignoring the pleas?

Pathology Vs. Cure

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

At left, Houston Texans Ability Camp.

Do our infirmities define us? Ann Althouse is reading Oliver Sack’s latest book (I have yet to read it, I read his first two) and says:

What do you think about this notion of illness as part of one’s character? Normally, we see illness as an alien invader to be fought off or, if that is not possible, endured.

Can it be both?

My autistic son has moments of such purity of soul that a “neurotypical” person just doesn’t have even at moments of perfect centeredness. And then, he will be so obtuse and self-involved that I want to scream and yank him out of the disease–the disease that is robbing him of interpersonal interaction, the disease that is robbing me of closer relationship with my son. My son gives me a glimpse of God and the next minute all I see is pathology.

There is little that’s pretty about pathology. It looks ugly on slide and it looks ugly in life. I’ve had patients talk about “my diabetes” or “my cancer” or “my manic-depression”, like it’s a pet they proudly nurture and care for. Far be it for anyone, including a doctor, to intrude and suggest that the disease doesn’t define them, that it is a hurdle to overcome. Oh no, the disease becomes the raison d’etre. It becomes existence. The disease becomes an excuse, the crutch to not build character. And that narcissistic passivity eventually defines them.

Even without an enabling victim, disease is a burden. Autism might be interesting and even sweet things are a by-product, I still want it gone. It is an enemy to me and to my son. The world is a mystifying place for him when he’s not locked in his own orbit. He will grow up. I will grow old and I worry.

That’s disease. It robs a person of experiences and potential. It may bestow some gifts but it takes away others. It renders a person helpless and dependent. How is that good? These hardships can develop character for both the sufferer and the care-giver, but it’s just so much mumbo jumbo to say that physical or mental maladies are lovely. Althouse continues:

Sacks writes so beautifully and tells such interesting stories that it’s hard to resist his point of view. He is thoroughly excited and fascinated by the brain abnormalities of the individuals he studies, and he expresses this emotion through the romanticization of disease and the perception of the disease as part of the integrated whole of the person. As I reader, I catch his excitement, but I worry sometimes that it’s wrong to look at other people this way.

Oliver Sacks is a kind, gentle scientist and observer of human behavior. He doesn’t reduce a child or adult struggling with some neurological disorder to their disease. He sees a complex and interesting organism. He also sees potential. That openness was a breath of fresh air for a new generation. It has only been the last fifteen to twenty years when parents are no longer being blamed for “making” a child autistic. Parents and families were likewise blamed for schizophrenia and other neurobiologic diseases. So Dr. Sacks has worked, thankfully, in a non-judgmental way to bring formerly stigmatized diagnoses into the mainstream.

Still, Ms. Althouse has hit upon the truth. Let’s not romanticize these infirmities. Let’s find cures.

Omnipotent Government, Omnipresent Individuals

Monday, October 29th, 2007

A lady sits in her living room surfing the net and bags more terrorists than the FBI. No way, in the world of Jason Bourne and the Loony Left and even some of my friends, the U.S. government
knows all. Sees all. Controls all.

As if.

The FBI connection this woman works with has to go the local library for internet access. Yup. They’re omnipotent alright.

There are valid concerns. The law enforcement community is set up to solve crimes that have already happened, not prevent crimes that may happen. To my way of thinking, the real fear ought to be that with our archaic system, we’re still a wide-open target, all the purse dismantling action at the airplane gate notwithstanding.

Let the individuals passionate about prevention unleash their individual abilities. At least with loads of individuals sifting through the Internets for terrorists, Americans can be an omnipresent Army.

Georgeous Day

Monday, October 29th, 2007

I’ve been struggling about what to write today. There’s plenty of material, of course, but it’s so breathtakingly gorgeous outside that I just want to enjoy the weather.

Oh, and did you notice that the hurricane season was light this year instead of horrible? I don’t want to say “I told you so“. What am I saying? Yes, I do. I told you so!

Our Press Could Be Worse

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

It could.

The Next President: Who Americans Hate The Least

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Am I the only one who is just not digging the Presidential contenders of any political stripe? I’ve tried to analyze the ennui and it comes down to a couple things, maybe a little bit of each:

  1. All the contenders seem like “C” students who are overachieving.
  2. None of the contenders are all that charismatic. Obama has fizzled and Huckabee has the “aw shucks” thing going. But no one seems to possess the characteristic that I’ve come to value so much more during President Bush’s presidency: the ability to telegenicly make an eloquent point seem simple to understand.
  3. It’s been too much too soon. The Presidential political season isn’t a season it’s global warming–pervasive, with no beginning and no end, with certain facts and personalities amplified by the press.
  4. Speaking of the press. Can we just crown Hillary now? I mean, it’s like so totally a foregone conclusion.
  5. Are we in La La Land?

Mark Steyn and Peggy Noonan have both hit the theme recently: Hollywood, the MSM and average Americans have this detachment to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan–like it’s not really happening. It’s pretend.

That La La sensibility has extended to the Presidential bid. Like it almost doesn’t matter who runs things anymore. Everyone sucks. That seems to be reflected in the poll number for the President and Congress.

Maybe the next Presidential election outcome will be the person everyone hates the least.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Incumbent Anti-Terrorism Voting Acts

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

It’s terrible when incumbents face destruction. Extreme measures must be taken. And in Pennsylvania and other places like Georgia, they have been taken.

Expect more incumbent monkey business as their poll numbers plunge. Voters don’t just feel blandly about their local and national representatives, they are coming to loathe them. And Congress Critters and local politicians are fighting for their safety every way they know how.

Absolutely sincere in their one belief: ME!