Monday, December 31, 2007

Reason 49879898 why I homeschool

Students gear up for Iowa. This is the article that made me lose my breakfast yesterday.

Their friends may be wrapping up their holiday break playing Wii video games, watching reruns of "Gossip Girl" or drinking too much mocha at local coffee shops.
But the students in an Ann Arbor high school class are packing for a whirlwind, firsthand look at presidential politics in Iowa.
As part of the Picking the President class at Ann Arbor Community High School, 24 students are to board a 6 a.m. flight to Des Moines on Wednesday.
After they land, they'll be working on the campaigns of their favorite candidate until the Iowa caucuses begin at 7 p.m. Thursday -- all while other students at the high school are off until next Sunday.

Humn, I wonder who their favorite candidates are? I'm sure it's a nice mix ...

"I really feel like we'll be making some changes," said Estelle Drent, a senior who, like most of her classmates, supports U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Most of the students support abortion rights, abhor the war in Iraq and would like to see the United States regain its reputation around the world.

Color me shocked.

They read the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly and watch the Sunday morning news shows, recapping the week's events on the campaign trail at each Tuesday night class.

But, I'm SURE their teacher encourages them to read from a wider variety of news sources than that. I mean, after all a teacher is supposed expand their educational opportunities. Who is the teacher anyway? I'm sure he is unbiased.

And they, or their parents, are willing to pay the $260 needed for airfare, food and lodging. But many are planning to stay with Iowans willing to open their homes.
They use words like integrity, electability and vision.

Great. They sound like robots already.

And they respect the importance of Iowa's caucuses, knowing that the field of Democratic and Republican candidates will be whittled with the results of the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
"For each of the parties, there are only three tickets out of Iowa," Lansing political consultant Dan Pero told the class earlier this month.
Thirteen of the 24 students support Obama, calling him a fresh, exciting leader who would bring diversity and a more contemporary vision to the White House.

But, what about CHANGE. Will he bring change? I'm dying to know.

"I just don't want another old white person in there," said Erik Levinsohn, a 17-year-old senior. "This is going to be like a second Christmas for me. I'm totally geeked."

What was it that MLK said about judging people? I can't really remember...

Only one student -- Liz DeMonte, a 15-year-old sophomore -- supports a Republican (former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani). She considers herself a fiscal conservative, but a social liberal.
"I don't really like any of the other Republicans," she said. "None of them are pro-choice, and that's pretty important to me."

@@. I throw up my hands. Honestly, I'm just lost. One Republican out of 24 and she's pro-choice?

Just one student -- Mira Fishman, a 15-year-old sophomore, will campaign for Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.
"Women have been held back for so long. It's really important to break down those barriers," said Fishman, who also likes Clinton's position on health care, the environment and the war in Iraq.

Because NOTHING is more inspiring to young women than a femal erole model who got to where she is today because of her husband. And her husband's lover.

Five students like former Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, primarily, they said, because of his dedication to eradicating poverty in the United States.

Uhm ... good luck with that.

Four have chosen New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson because of his experience in the legislative and executive branches -- and for strategy.
"There's a distinct advantage of going with Richardson," said Lydia Austin, a 16-year-old junior. "With a smaller campaign, we can get much more involved and have a more integrated part in the campaign. I feel it's going to be a better experience."
This will be the second time the class has been offered by the Ann Arbor schools.
In 2004, Chuck Wilbur, a senior adviser to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, taught the class and took 13 students to New Hampshire to work in the days before that primary.
Word of mouth swelled the class to 24 students this year.

Tell me I'm not the only one who has a problem with this. Chuck is a Granholm appointee; her education policy advisor. And he's also a teacher in a class on the political process.

But, of course, can you think of a better way to make future Democrats?

Jingles the Snowman

My 5-year-old son received this for Christmas from my mother (obviously bizarre gifts run in the family). It is FOUR pounds of chocolate. Keep checking in for the snowman's progress as it gets eaten.

This is "after" my son's first session with Jingles.

Offered with minimal comment

I think you'll want to *clicky* to see it in it's full glory.

My mother received this for Christmas from her brother.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Michigan Trivia

I got this from one of those email things:

Interesting Information for People Who Live In Michigan
1. Governor Granholm is the 3rd highest paid Governor in the country at $177,000 in salary. This does not count her $60,000 expense account. Only the Governor of New York and California make more than her!
2. Governor Granholm's husband has 3 assistants paid by the state. The highest paid assistant makes $117,000 a year.
3. Our state Congressmen and Senators are the 2nd highest paid at $79,650 in salary. This
does not count their $20,000 expense account. Only California legislatures make more.
4. Our teachers are the 3rd highest paid teachers in the country
5. Our cigarette tax is the 4th highest
in the country
6. Our Corporate Income Tax rate is the 7th highest.

Funny how we don't have enough money to pay our bills and the only answer is for us to pay more in taxes, when our public servants are getting fat on our sweat!

Why the frak does her husband get assistants?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Poem for me

Written by Jack M, over at Ace's.

Happy Collectivism

Morning, Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a good holiday. We survived, although my husband is (still) sick.

Anyway, since it's the twenty-six, and the first day of Kwanza, let me be the first to say ... Happy Kwanza, Comrade. The radio just did an interview/rundown of the ideals behind each day, and several of them smacked of socialism. Perhaps, of course, I see socialism everywhere? I'm hypersensitive, you're thinking, right? Well, I googled socialism and Kwanza ... and apparently I'm no the only one:

The specific values celebrated in Kwanzaa, however, suck. They are socialist-Marxist-collectivist-totalitarian crap. Everyone seems to tiptoe around Kwanzaa feeling that they have to be respectful, I guess because they are fearful of being called a racist. However, I find it terrible to see such a self-destructive set of values foisted on the African-American community. These values are nearly perfectly constructed to keep blacks in poverty - just look at how well these same values have played out in Africa.

See, that's what I was thinking. Maybe I'm not crazy. The seven days are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Now, some of those jump right out at you. I'm looking at you Ujima and Ujamaa. Coyote Blog can take it from here; he took the "values" with their definitions from the offical Kwanza site:

Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race

On its surface, this is either a platitude, or, if serious, straight Marxism and thoroughly racist. Think about who else in the 20th century talked about unity of race, and with what horrible results.

In practice, the notion of unity in the black movement has become sort of a law of Omerta -- no black is ever, ever supposed to publicly criticize another black. Don't believe me? Look at the flack Bill Cosby caught for calling out other blacks.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves

Generally cool with me -- can't get a libertarian to argue with this. When this was first written in the 60's, it probably meant something more revolutionary, like secession into a black state, but in today's context I think it is fine.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together

Um, do I even need to comment? This is Marxism, pure and simple.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

OK, I said the last one was Marxism. This one is really, really Marxism.

Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

There's that collectivism again

Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

I guess I don't have much problem with creativity and make things better. My sense though that if I was to listen to the teaching on this one in depth, we would get collectivism again.

Imani (Faith)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

What about in ourselves as individuals? Through all of this, where is the individual, either individual responsibility or achievement? It is interesting that a holiday that was invented specifically to be anti-religious would put "faith" in as a value. In fact, Karenga despised the belief in God as paying homage to "spooks who threaten us if we don't worship them and demand we turn over our destiny and daily lives."

However, this is in fact very consistent with the teachings of most statists and totalitarians. They tend to reject going on bended knee to some god, and then turn right around and demand that men go on bended knee to ... them, or other men. This is in fact what this "faith" was about for Karenga - he is a statist laying the foundation for obedience to the totalitarian state. He wants blacks to turn over their destiny and daily lives to their leaders, not to god.

So, do you really want to see the spread of this holiday? Is wishing someone a "Happy Kwanza!" as harmless as it appears?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Looking on the bright side ...

Glass is half full optimism from The Pool Bar regarding outcomes when the Democrats win the next election.

I like the first one best:

Abrupt withdrawal from Iraq results in chaos in the Persian Gulf region, which leads to $300/barrel oil. Global warming grinds to a halt, and Al Gore finally shuts the hell up.

I kinda dig that blog.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another book I'm reading ...

The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom.


Lack of education simply results in students' seeking for enlightenment wherever it is readily available, without being able to distinguish between the sublime and trash, insight and propaganda. For the most part students turn to the movies, ready prey to interested moralisms such as the dipictions of Gandhi or Thomas More - largely designed to further passing political movements and to appeal to simplistic needs for greatness-or to insinuating flattery of their secret aspirations and vices giving them a sense of significance. Kramer vs. Kramer may be up-to-date about divorces and sex roles, but anyone who does not have Anaa Karenina or The Red and the Black as part of his viewing equipment cannot sense what might be lacking, or the difference between an honest presentation and an exercise in consciousness-raising, trashy sentimentality and elevated sentiment. As films have emancipated themselves from the literary tyranny under which they suffered and which gave them a bad conscience, the ones with serious pretensions have become intolerably ignorant and manipulative. The distance from the contemporary and its high seriousness that students most need in order not to indulge their petty desires and to discover what is most serious about themselves cannot be found in the cinema, which now only knows the present. Thus, the failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency - the belief that the here and now is all there is.

And, by "lack of education", he doesn't mean what you may think he means. Modern education is "lacking" because it fails to teach the "Classics" - including the Bible. Students don't read enough of the good stuff.


"I Am Legend" - the story. OMG, was it good. Find it. Read it (preferably before you see the movie.) Be warned, though. I thought it was a full book, and almost cried when, halfway through the paperback, the story ended. The remainder of the book is other short stories.

Honestly, I'm still smarting from that.

I also read Mark Levin's "Saving Sprite" - which made me cry.

What is everyone else reading?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who loves his bone?

Oskar does, that's who!

Speaking of loving the bone ... can you believe that Jamie Spears is preggo? Of course, you can.

"Funky Chicken" sums up sorta what I was thinking, over in the comment's at Ace's :

Oh, and some advice for Disney, which apparently needs it: if you create a TV show for elementary-school age children, and your 16 year old "star" moves in with her 19 year old boyfriend, you probably need to introduce her to Norplant or Depo Provera ...

I mean, CRIPES, my daughters watch that show. GOOD JOB DISNEY (ED - I mean, Nick, but it doesn't change the sentiment).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We've got snow ...

You certainly can find THIS dog in the snow ....

This is real early this morning ... we've gotten a few more inches since then.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Now I'm morally bankrupt

For spending (a lot of) money trying to save Greta. Here in comments. You see, there are sick and starving children, who all would have been saved if I had simply put a bullet in her head. I suppose, euthanizing her myself who serve as additional monetary savings, and thus even more sick and starving children could have been saved.

Or, something like that.

So, while you're out shopping for Christmas, spending money on things other than sick and starving children, don't forget that you are morally bankrupt.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blast from the past

David Bowie, Loving the Alien acoustic.

Man, I loved this song.

Three Cheers for Candice Miller

Rep. Miller Urges President Bush to Release Jailed Border Agents
Contact: Audra Miller
Contact Phone: (202)225-2106
Contact Email:
WASHINGTON, DC—Congresswoman Candice Miller (MI-10) today signed a letter to President George W. Bush asking that he pardon border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. Ramos and Compean were prosecuted for their actions in attempting to apprehend a Mexican drug smuggler who brought 743 pounds of marijuana across our border. They were sentenced to 11 and 12 years for wounding the drug smuggler on the United States border with Mexico in 2005. Miller released the following statement:

“It is time for these men to come home,” Miller said. “They should be released for time served after six months. The conviction of these border agents rested on testimony from a known drug smuggler. It is outrageous that the drug criminal was given immunity by the Department of Justice in order to testify against the two law enforcement officers that were trying to stop his illegal activities. It is time the President let Agents Ramos and Compean go home to their families.”

Here is a reminder of what happened:

In February 17, 2005, Ramos and Compean were patrolling the border town of Fabens, Texas, when a Mexican illegal alien and drug smuggler, attempted to secret nearly 800 pounds of marijuana into the United States in his van. Agent Compean chased Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila by vehicle and on foot, ordering him to stop. Compean says Aldrete-Davila ignored him, pushed him down, and assaulted him, whereupon the agent called for backup, drawing seven additional units, including Ramos. When he arrived on the scene, he heard gunfire, saw Compean bleeding on the ground, and the fugitive – still refusing to stop as commanded – stealing furtive glances over his shoulder while holding something shiny he believed to be a handgun. Both state they felt threatened, and both fired rounds in the alien’s direction, Ramos striking him in the buttocks. The alien got away, but the two men had jeopardized their own well-being to keep his noxious contraband off our streets.

Returning to Mexico, Aldrete-Davila related his misfortunes to his mother, who contacted the mother-in-law of Border Patrol agent Rene Sanchez. Sanchez in turn tipped off a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who went to Mexico to offer immunity if Osbaldo would act as a state’s witness against Ramos and Compean: the feds wanted to prosecute the agents shooting the alien narcotics supplier.

To sweeten the immunity deal, the feds paid for Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila’s medical treatment of his ailing backside – a taxpayer-funded recuperation at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. He showed his gratitude by breaking his immunity agreement in October 2005, when officers say he attempted to smuggle 1,000 pounds of marijuana into America. The prosecution further extended its immunity to this felony and sealed the indictment from jurors. Aldrete-Davila repaid this new shower of grace by suing the federal government for $5 million, alleging the shooting violated his civil rights. However, he agreed to help in their criminal prosecution, as well, and the feds are apparently happy to collaborate with the pusher as long as he helped put effective lawmen behind bars.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Huckabee Review

On the WOT and Gitmo.

Symptoms that he's woefully disengaged from international politics. And, by extention, not exactly qualified to deal with such issues as president:

Huckabee defended himself in Miami this morning, according to CBS News’ Joy Lin, saying his “major concern” in 2002 was to try and “revive a sagging economy” impacted by the recession. “Our rice markets were in trouble…At that time, my primary responsibility was simply to hear the concerns unique to my state,” he said.
Since then, Huckabee said, he had been able to find new markets for the rice market by going to Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea to find Asian markets for the state’s rice. Another reason for the policy change, explained Huckabee, was that he was “really not that aware” of the issues the issues that exist between Cuba and the United States.

“Being in Arkansas, that’s not one of the issues I am in close proximity with,” he said.

Flipper on immigration; he was for illegal immigrants (receiving in-state college tuition) before he was against it (Minuteman endorsement),

Taxes - he's for a flat tax, but his record in Arkansas shows a tradition of increased taxes:

Huckabee oversaw tax increases, including 37 percent higher sales taxes, 16 percent higher motor fuel taxes and 103 percent higher cigarette taxes, according to Americans for Tax Reform in Washington.

And this:

the average Arkansas tax burden increased 47% over Huckabee’s tenure. Huckabee supported (in chronological order) a sales tax hike; gas and diesel fuel tax hikes; another sales tax hike; a cigarette tax hike; a nursing home bed tax; another sales tax hike; an income surcharge tax; a tobacco tax hike; taxes on Internet access; and higher beer taxes.

Jonah Goldberg on Huck:

Huckabee represents compassionate conservatism on steroids. A devout social conservative on issues such as abortion, school prayer, homosexuality and evolution, Huckabee is a populist on economics, a fad-follower on the environment and an all-around do-gooder who believes that the biblical obligation to do "good works" extends to using government -- and your tax dollars -- to bring us closer to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

For example, Huckabee has indicated he would support a nationwide federal ban on public smoking. Why? Because he's on a health kick, thinks smoking is bad and believes the government should do the right thing.

And therein lies the chief difference between Paul and Huckabee. One is a culturally conservative libertarian. The other is a right-wing progressive.

Robert Novak on Huck:

The rise of evangelical Christians as the force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger: What if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own? That has happened with Huckabee, a former Baptist minister educated at Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

There is no doubt about Huckabee's record during a decade in Little Rock. He was regarded by fellow Republican governors as a compulsive tax-and-spender. He increased the Arkansas tax burden 47 percent, boosting the levies on gasoline and cigarettes. When he lost 100 pounds and decided to press his new lifestyle on the American people, he was hardly being a Goldwater-Reagan libertarian.

There is no doubt about Huckabee's record during a decade in Little Rock. He was regarded by fellow Republican governors as a compulsive tax-and-spender. He increased the Arkansas tax burden 47 percent, boosting the levies on gasoline and cigarettes. When he lost 100 pounds and decided to press his new lifestyle on the American people, he was hardly being a Goldwater-Reagan libertarian.

As a presidential candidate, Huckabee has sought to counteract his reputation as a taxer by pressing for replacement of the income tax with a sales tax. More recently he signed the no-tax-increase pledge of Americans for Tax Reform. But Huckabee simply does not fit within normal boundaries of economic conservatism, such as when he criticized President Bush's veto of a Democratic expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Calling global warming a "moral issue" mandating "a biblical duty" to prevent climate change, he has endorsed a cap-and-trade system that is anathema to the free market.

So, in summation, if the only issues you care about are abortion (anti-), gay-marriage (anti-), and guns (pro-) - Huck may be your guys. As good as a flat-tax may seem, I have a hard time believing such a thing is anything but a pipe-dream, and certainly Huckabee doesn't have a good track record in regards to taxation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's been a week?

Well, crap, I just didn't have anything to post. I'm doing some research on Huckabee though, so I'll get back to you.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Uptown, antiwar, Man

Nothing brings out the holiday spirit like an anti-war Christmas carol from Billy Joel:

"Christmas In Fallujah"

It's Evening In the Desert
I'm Tired and I'm cold
But I'm just a solder
I do what I am told

We Came with the Crusaders
to save the holy land
It's Christmas In Fallujah
and no one gives a damn

And I just got your letter
And this is what I read you said

I'm fading from your memory
so I'm just as good as dead

We are the armies of the empire
We are the legionnaires of Rome

It's Christmas In Fallujah
and we ain't never coming home

We came to bring these people freedom
we came to fight the infidel

there is no justice in the desert
Because there is no god in hell

They say osama's in the mountains
deep in a cave near Pakistan

But there's a sea of blood in Baghdad
A sea of oil in the sand

Between the Tigris and Euphrates
another day comes to an end

it's Christmas In Fallujah
Peace on earth goodwill to men

it's Christmas In Fallujah
hallelujah hallelujah

The proceeds go to Homes for Our Troops which builds homes for returning, disabled soldiers. So, at least that's a good thing. But, why (oh why) couldn't Joel write a Holiday song that gave TRIBUTE to our soldiers? That would have been a tad more in the spirit.

This is more like it:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday Greetings

Elf Yourself.

Music suggestions?

As a b-day gift to myself, I'm looking for some new Christmas music. Any suggestions?

Recommend Clay Aiken or Mariah Carey and you will be banned.

Monday, December 03, 2007

You learn something every day

Like, last night, I learned that I am a sexist conservative who supports a particularly virulent strain of sexist Socialism.

The "sexist socialism" I "support" is that I believe men bear some responsibility for the children they create.

I guess I should just join NOW