Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Encouraging Physical Activity
My kids are quite active. My daughter plays basketball during the colder months and has taken up softball this summer. She still likes to shoot basketball in the driveway whenever possible. Plus she has her usual running around activities. My 13 year old son plays football, skateboards, bikes, plays paintball, and picks on his sister. I can't remember the last time they played a video game. It's been 2-3 months at least.
Perhaps much of this is inherited or learned through modeling, neither their mother nor I sit still for too long unless we're dead tired. Maybe if kids don't see parents sitting around they won't sit around either. Or maybe it's in the genes.
Probably it's a combination of things. Air conditioning makes it more pleasant to stay inside during hot days. Many people are addicted to electronic entertainment of some sort. Small yards make is harder to play outside and enjoy it.
One reason I bought the house where I currently live is the large yard. We can throw ball, play football, plant a vegetable garden, fish, etc. I place a high priority on physical activity because I enjoy it. It seems too many people have lost the ability to enjoy physical exertion. And, now we have to have special programs to get kids to do what kids in every previous generation did naturally, be physically active and play outside.
Monday, May 29, 2006
The Da Vinci Code - No Biggie
The concept that Jesus may have had children is not new. I first heard it thrown out in a discussion more than 30 years ago. Frankly, I don't fully understand the furor over this. There is no compelling reason to believe it true but for some seem to like the idea. However, some believe that the moon landing was faked also.
I found it somewhat amusing that some albinos found the movie offensive because of the portrayal of an albino as an assassin.
The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentationare is launching a campaign against the Tom Hanks film of "The Da Vinci Code."Perhaps I'm too callous but every demographic is negatively portrayed in movies at some time or another. I don't remember any albino groups protesting Michael Bowman's portrayal of a psychopathic serial killer in "Me, Myself and Irene."
NOAH had unsuccessfully asked film director Ron Howard to change author Dan Brown's "hulking albino" character Silas, The New York Post reported Sunday.
A California teacher who is albino wrote to Brown in 2003 voicing her concern over the "hateful" stereotypes assigned to albinos in literature and film, the newspaper said.
Of course the albino protest pales in contrast to the hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world rioting, burning embassies, and such.
Oops, that isn't happening. Is it?
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Being the friendly sort Tex and Olive would always invite me in for a chat. Being the friendly sort myself, I always accepted the invitation. Almost every visit included Tex relating his experiences as a infrantyman in World War II. Although I was nearly 40 when I first met Tex, I never had any real understanding of the experiences of war.
Serving in North Africa under Patton, Tex saw his buddies ground into the sand my German tanks that would stop over a foxhole, reverse one tread and spin in place until it had ground the soldiers in the foxhole into the dirt. He said he could still hear his fellow soldiers screams. From the inflection of Tex's voice, I knew he did.
Tex fought in many battles and eventually lost half of a leg in the Battle of Monte Cassino at the Rapido River in Italy. This was especially difficult injury for Tex as he had been a star basketball player in high school. Coincidentally, one of my sister's father-in-law was captured by the Germans in the same battle.
Tex died a few years ago. He had survived to be mayor of the small town where he lived. A street now bears the name "McDonald." But his memory, although I only knew him for a short time, lives on in the stories he told me. Greater than the actual details of battles and events was the emotion in his voice. His experiences as a soldier left left an impact still visible after nearly 50 years.
Then I think of all the millions of men and women who sacrificed for this country and the world. Except for a very few, they were ordinary people like Tex who showed extraordinary courage and determination.
This goes back to the Revolutionary War, to George Washington and his troops. Perhaps there has never been a braver, more inspired group in history. Washington and his wealthy, powerful cohorts had much to lose and little to gain materially. The troops only had dreams and hopes of freedom and self-determination and nothing but their lives to give for it. They pitted themselves against the greatest power in the world and won.
Let us never forget to offer our gratitude and to carry on their mission.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Our Narcissistic Congress
Oops, one thing I can add is that narcissists have a strong tendency to be egosyntonic.
Egosyntonic is a medical term referring to behaviors, values, feelings, which are in harmony with or acceptable to the needs and goals of the ego, or consistent with one's ideal self-image.Essentially, one who is egosyntonic is quite satisfied with the way they are, whether or not their behaviors, etc. cause pain and problems for others. As such they have little or no motivation to change which makes the problem extremely difficult to alleviate.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Arlington National Cemetary
My son, then 12, took this picture earlier this year during spring break. He understands the sacrifice our soldiers have made for us. Do you? Why is our Federal government intent on giving away what these brave people fought for? Thank you, brave souls.
Too Short for Prison??
Or Too Pretty??
Cheyenne County District Judge Kristine Cecava issued the sentence Tuesday. She told Richard W. Thompson that his crimes deserved a long prison sentence but that he was too small to survive in a state prison.I wonder how small the children he molested were. Thank God for these compassionate judges. Without them someone might actually be punished for their crimes.
If you paired this guy up with Debra "Too Pretty" Lafave, they could run a child porn industry and walk. I bet the overwhelming majority of illegal Mexican immigrants wouldn't tolerate this for a second.
Federal Legislative Branches Abandon America
Michelle Malkin has good coverage of this pile of crap. The swarm of fresh illegals looking to take advantage is already beginning. Here, here, here, and here. She has more too.
With their reaction to the FBI search of Congressman William Jefferson's office, too many Representatives have shown that they really do think they are above the law and scoff at the American people. Cynthia McKinney just scratched the surface of this. Good posts at Instapundit.
Remember, we do have term limits. It's called voting for the other guy. This may have to be a two step process. First, we vote for the challenger, whomever that may be party affiliation doesn't matter, in primaries and general elections. Secondly, in the next election we actually vote for whom we want. This two step cleaning process may disinfect Congress well enough that they actually represent the American people.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
The Animals ARE Out to Get Us
Southern Illinois University is rolling out a public-awareness campaign about the hazards deer pose to humans, and it apparently couldn't come at a better time.Be careful out there, folks. Bambi has the glint of a killer is in his eye.
A year ago, deer threatened or injured at least seven people on the university's Carbondale campus during fawning season. Now — with fawning season soon to reach its peak — campus police say three people were injured by a female deer Tuesday
Opening Your Mind Isn't Very Hard
I completely stopped reading for a while, except for required school assignments, because I was judgmental about "bad" books, on the one hand, and only interested in them, on the other. Shortly after I got married, my husband and I found ourselves unprepared for an airplane trip and therefore without reading material. We found the airport store and he eagerly grabbed a Helen MacInnes story about Venice and asked me something along the lines of what did I want. I said a father-mimicking version of you must be kidding, I wouldn't read this junk. Knowing that it had been a long time since I read just for fun, he casually suggested I buy the junkiest book I could find. I scanned the over-wrought cover art and selected Peyton Place. I totally loved it and went on to read all of Grace Metalious's books and have been reading all kinds of both 'trashy' and 'good' books ever since, voraciously. So today, Mother's Day, my thanks to Chesterton for giving me a chance to remember, and to my children's father because of whom I stopped judging in such foolish ways and because of whose union with me and co-production of two wonderful people, I feel graced and loved today.Two things struck me about her post.
First, that she is selfless enough plus cares and loves her husband enough to make a public expression of it on Mother's Day.
Secondly, the sometimes negative influence parents have on children with probably no awareness of it. Just Muttering's father apparently heavily prejudiced her against ordinary literature. I remember my father prejudicing me against many things just by my listening to his everyday conversations.
Often he would make comments to the effect that the more technical disciplines, such as engineering, computers (when they became common), and many of the sciences and the people in them were uncreative, boring, repetitious, uncreative, boring, repetitious, etc. All the creativity and excitement lay in the humanities, social sciences (except for sociology), and fine arts. He often made deprecated sales people and business people.
Consequently, I spent a lot of years trying to find a spot where I could be happy in a field that was "acceptable." My first strong clue that maybe I should be pursuing a more technical field came when I took the GRE exam my senior year in college. I scored some where above the 90 percentile in the quantitative side although 85-90% of my course work had been humanities and fine arts.
During graduate school I took a required computer lab course, loved it and found I had a strong aptitude for it. After that I began slowly taking computer classes and continued to enjoy them and do well. Seven years ago I made the big career move into computer programming. I'm very happy I did and wish I had done so sooner.
Ironically, I find a great deal of creativity and excitement in the field. Solving a programming problem is much like solving a brain teaser. Computers are actually quite limited in their basic functions. You must combine and arrange these functions in a variety of ways to attain the result you wish. I think of it as similar to what an artist does with the primary colors.
As parents we have a responsibility to our children to allow them to explore various interests regarding careers, sports, hobbies, etc. without being fettered by our prejudices. Discussing with children the pros and cons of all of these but our incidental comments and actions may have consequences way beyond our intentions if we are not careful. If we are still carrying around the prejudices of our parents, we need to toss them aside like Just Muttering did.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Bragging Time, Part CCCCCCCLXXXXIII
A few weeks ago, she showed me the skirt she had made. The skirt had a double ruffled bottom (I guess that what you call it) and wasn't the simplest thing you could make. I thought she did a good job and told her so.
Today, I came home from work to discover, that as part of the sewing class, her skirt had been entered in a 4-H contest and she was the county champion! Next she gets to show her skirt in the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville later this summer.
My daughter never ceases to amaze me. She has a quiet confidence along with the necessary ability to do many things, and she does. In the third grade she decided she would the reader of the year for the entire 3rd grade at her school. (Over 100 3rd graders) She did it, scoring a reading level equivalent to a high school freshmen.
To top it off, I found out about my daughter's accomplishment just before going to my 13 year old son's band banquet. One of the highlights of the banquet was that his band scored "distinguished" in a recent band competition at Morehead State University. My son plays the baritone horn. I'm just proud that he's good enough to be part of a band that good.
Some days having kids can feel like pure hell. But days like today remind me that my kids often give me more than I can ever give them.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Mexico's Immigrant Job Approach and Lousy Economy
In the United States, only two posts — the presidency and vice presidency — are reserved for the native born.Another interesting tidbit:
In Mexico, non-natives are banned from those and thousands of other jobs, even if they are legal, naturalized citizens.
Foreign-born Mexicans can't hold seats in either house of the congress. They're also banned from state legislatures, the Supreme Court and all governorships. Many states ban foreign-born Mexicans from spots on town councils. And Mexico's Constitution reserves almost all federal posts, and any position in the military and merchant marine, for "native-born Mexicans."
The foreign-born make up just 0.5 percent of Mexico's 105 million people, compared with about 13 percent in the United States, which has a total population of 299 million. Mexico grants citizenship to about 3,000 people a year, compared to the U.S. average of almost a half million.Not too surprising, the only Americans going to Mexico are tourists or retirees looking for a cheap place to live.
Also, some interesting items from SFGate.
Roughly 10 percent of Mexico's population of about 107 million is now living in the United States, estimates show. About 15 percent of Mexico's labor force is working in the United States. One in every 7 Mexican workers migrates to the United States.Maybe we really should invade Mexico. I am woefully ignorant of Mexico's natural resources, etc (beyond the fairly obvious) but it is hard to believe that it couldn't increase its economy by $20 billion if it wanted. Apparently, it's easier for the politicians in Mexico to send their pawns over the border to make enough money to support them instead of create a economically strong nation.
Last year, Mexico received a record $20 billion in remittances from migrant workers. That is equal to Mexico's 2004 income from oil exports and dwarfing tourism revenue.
The money Mexican migrants send home almost equals the U.S. foreign aid budget for the entire world, said Arturo Valenzuela, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University and former head of Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration.
"Where are we going to come up with $20 billion?" to ensure stability in Mexico, Valenzuela asked at a recent conference. "Has anybody in the raging immigration debate over the last few weeks thought, could it be good for the fundamental interests of the United States ... to serve as something of a safety valve for those that can't be employed in Mexico?"
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Mother's Day & Liberalism
Calling her on last Sunday evening we had a pleasant conversation for 30-45 minutes. We discussed my father who has been having medical problems, my siblings, my children, etc. At one point she mentioned that my sister and her husband had gone to see Charlie Daniels in concert. She related how, apparently, early in the concert Mr. Daniels made a reference to a song that was patriotic or supportive of the efforts in Iraq. My mother related that the crowd did not react and it ended up that Mr. Daniels didn't play the song. In reading the newspaper article I find no reference to this and all of this is my mother's understanding according to what she thinks my sister told her. But I found it curious that the highlight of the concert for my liberal mother, and maybe for my liberal sister, was the song not played.
(DISCLAIMER FIRST: While this sister is a liberal Democrat, I find her to be open minded and quite accepting of opposing opinions. She is one liberal with whom I actually enjoy discussing politics because we can actually explore issues. I highly respect her as a mother. She is generally as sympathetic to the cause of men and that of women. PLUS, she simply forwarded this to me in an email that she had received from someone else. Some parts of the email not quoted here were quite cute.)
One of my other sisters emailed me this story:
THE MOMMY TEST I was out walking with my 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that. "Why?" my daughter asked.Why is it so frequent that the "uplifting" of women involves the putting down of men? Is this what we want to teach our children?
"Because it's been laying outside, you don't know where it's been, it's dirty and probably has germs" I replied.
At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked, "Wow! How do you know all this stuff?"
"Uh," ...I was thinking quickly,"All moms know this stuff. It's on the Mommy Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mommy." We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.
"OH...I get it!" she beamed, "So if you don't pass the test you have to be the daddy" "Exactly" I replied back with a big smile on my face and joy in my heart. When you're finished laughing, send this to a Mom.
The irony of this attitude is that is perpetuates attitudes that feminists supposedly don't want perpetuated. Women are judged in comparison to men. The standard for women is based upon men.
Mother Interferes With Father's Visitation, Judge Gives Her 30 Days
Alleged interference with the peaceful transfer of a child to a parent for legal visitation was not taken lightly by Bracken Circuit Court Judge John W. McNeill, Friday.I bet if more judges took this approach visitation problems would decline sharply and fathers paying full child support would improve.
After traveling for nearly four hours to pick up his child for visitation in Brooksville, Jack Brown told officials he was met by a group of people, allegedly associated with the child's mother, who had other ideas. His attorney had photographs as evidence.
When Mary Karen Kordish told McNeill that she had not been told by him (McNeill) to bring her child to Brown for his visitation time alone, McNeill reminded her that the previous proceedings had been video-taped.
"Do you want to see the tape?" he asked Kordish.
Except, those 25,000,000 children weren't exactly abandoned by their fathers since over 80% of the divorces are filed by women, who get custody 90% of the time. Or the fact that fathers pay child support in full 90% of the time when both parents are awarded joint custody. Modify that to visitation "privileges," and the rate drops to 78%. Take away all fatherly contact and that's when the deadbeat dads show up--only 40% pay support.I favor joint physical custody. It is working out quite well with my kids. My ex-wife fought it for years. But when the above judge took office she quit filing change of custody petitions. Perhaps she and her attorney knew this judge wouldn't play around.
A Shortage of Resources
Why the large increase? Immigration, obviously. My question is, “How large of a population can the U.S. support in a manner at least as good as today’s? According to this paper from Cornell University, we already far past a population level that can be sustained long term on solar energy alone.
At present levels of fertility, mortality, and migration, the U.S. population will rise one-third by 2080. A modest increase in fertility could drive it past a half billion. We could be heading eventually toward population densities like those in present-day China. Comparisons to China clearly emphasize why the United States will be unable to maintain its current level of prosperity and high standard of living, which is based on its available land, water, energy, and resources. We know that supplies of fossil energy, a nonrenewable resource, are being rapidly depleted. In just 16 years, most U.S. oil resources will be consumed. Fortunately, natural gas reserves will last for nearly 50 years while coal reserves will carry us about 100 years.These conclusions are not very encouraging.
With a population of 40 to 100 million, the United States could become self-sustaining on solar energy while maintaining a quality environment, provided that sound energy conservation and environmental policies were in effect to preserve soil, water, air, and biological resources that sustain life.
California’s population grows at a rate of 60 people per hour. Negative Population Growth (NPG) adds to the dire outlook of overpopulation. Overpopulation is a world wide problem. Some think the Earth is more than a billion people beyond sustainable levels.
Despite our unwillingness to face reality, our country, and the world, possesses finite resources. To paraphrase Dennis Miller, water is our planet’s most abundant resource (other than air). Water is also the most essential to life other than air. In many areas we are already experiencing dramatic shortages of water. For many people, especially those who live in the Eastern United States, this is hard to imagine. Currently, I live within a quarter mile of the Ohio River. I grew up a few hundred yards from the Tennessee River. Both places get a lot of rainfall and water is everywhere. But such is not the case in the Western United States or other parts of the world.
The children’s website, Science for Kids, discusses the water shortage in the western U.S.
An area called the Colorado River Basin, which stretches from Wyoming to Arizona, is in the middle of the worst drought in at least 500 years. Rivers in this region are at their lowest levels ever recorded.Here is a paper on water use along the Colorado River.
If the drought continues, the results could be disastrous. The river basin is a major source of water for big cities, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. Entire ecosystems depend on this water, as do ranchers and many other people who live and work in the area.
More on the water shortage:
MSNBC: “Colorado River lower than during Dust Bowl”
Time.com: “Water has been called the oil of the 21st century. It is in ever shorter supply, and its price is rising in thirsty cities and farming regions from the Middle East to the American West. And what Kuwait is to oil, Canada could be to water.”
This is, like overpopulation, an international problem.
National Geographic: “That the planet's fresh water is consumed profligately is beyond doubt, particularly in agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of all water use. Getting more out of each drop of water is imperative, for as the world's population increases and the demand for food soars, unchecked irrigation poses a serious threat to rivers, wetlands, and lakes. China's Yellow River, siphoned off by farmers and cities, has failed to reach the sea most years during the past decade. In North America not only does the Colorado River barely make it to the Gulf of California, but last year even the Rio Grande dried up before it merged with the Gulf of Mexico. In Central Asia the Aral Sea shrank by half after the Soviets began diverting water for cotton and other crops. Elsewhere, countless small rivers have gone dry.”
The BBC makes the obvious connection between overpopulation and the water shortage. “If you want to induce mental meltdown, the statistics of the worsening global water crisis are a surefire winner.
Two-fifths of the world's people already face serious shortages, and water-borne diseases fill half its hospital beds. “
Of course, we are all aware, hopefully, of the oil/gas shortages, lack of new oil refineries, lack of oil exploration, lack of new drilling, etc. As the U.S. creeps closer and closer to a major crisis, little is being done to avert the crisis nor even officially recognize it. Controlling our population is an important facet of the solution.
If we allow millions to illegally immigrant into our country the task of successfully dealing with energy shortages, water shortages, health care needs, the need for decent housing, ad infinitum, becomes much greater. We often accuse politicians of acting according to the polls and thus creating a short-term approach. Many of us are just as guilty because we use poll results to exalt our positions. We need long term planning and action and we, the public, must push for it.
Our government demonstrated quite clearly, at all levels, during the Katrina crisis it’s inability to act effectively in a short-term crisis. There is no reason it will do any better in a long-term crisis. Politicians are too worried about polls and pandering for votes. We all need to forget about the polls and insist on needed action.
Daily Kos, which I rarely read (if fact, I found this thanks to WhitesCreek), proposes a comprehensive energy plan. I’ve only skimmed through it but it seems to be reasonable and is, at least, a starting point.
But how many millions of people can we continue to let into our country, legally or illegally, before the sheer numbers overwhelm our resources and ability to adapt? The answer to this is beyond the scope of my skills and knowledge. However, I do know we need to slow down and figure this out before it’s too late. Many say that the U.S. cannot be the world’s policeman. The U.S. can’t be the world’s welfare system either. We need to do what we can but if we destroy ourselves in the process, what then?
Thursday, May 18, 2006
We're All Immigrants - Trite and Simplistic
The most recent immigrants in my family arrived in the U.S. pre-1900. The earliest arrived pre-Revolutionary War and fought for our independence from Britain. Are the pre-Revolutionary War settlers considered immigrants? How can you immigrate to a country that doesn't exist?
The real problem with this logic is that, under it, you have to allow anyone into the country any time they wish to enter. Immigration anarchy. Tracking the Senate debates and actions, this seems to be just what they want. (George Voinovich, Republican from my state of Ohio, is performing poorly. He thinks he's a Democrat. Unless there is significant improvement, next election I will not only vote against him but work for his defeat.)
Using the logic of "we are all immigrants." We can also say we are all conquerors. And, thus, perhaps we should conquer Mexico. Looking at Mexico, its people are obviously suffering to the extent that they gladly risk life and limb to sneak into the U.S. with the hope of becoming one of the richest poor people on the planet, which is much better than being one of the poorest of the poor. Look at the conditions in the countries most recently conquered by the U.S., Germany and Japan.
These countries had been obliterated. Their infrastructure almost completely destroyed. But, under the kind hand of a benevolent conqueror, they recovered to be two of the most technologically advanced, economically strong countries in the world.
Mexico would crumble like the Three Little Pigs' straw hut. A great portion of its population probably would welcome U.S. takeover. Ridding Mexico of its corrupt government and putting it on the path for a strong economy and the ensuing higher standard of living would inspire the Mexican population. And, as they recovered and grew, Mexicans might like to visit the U.S. to sightsee, surf in Hawaii and take pictures of where uncle Jose lived before he returned to the prosperity of Mexico.
Certainly, Mexico has the natural resource and the hard working manpower to be a great and wealthy nation. Mexicans simply need to be freed of their corrupt government.
Although I now live in Southern Ohio, my accent and idiomatic use of the language quickly betrays my Southern roots. "Ya'll" easily rolls off my tongue. Indeed, finding a replacement term poses a great challenge to me. I call any carbonated soft drink a "Coke." It's not unusual for my to ask visitors if they'd like a "Coke." A "yes" response is followed by, "What kind would you like, Pepsi or Sprite?"
I would have thought I'd have a little Midwestern as that's where I presently live. But, no, the South rises again.
|Your Linguistic Profile:|
|50% General American English|
|10% Upper Midwestern|
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Illegal Immigration Gestalt
One aspect of all this that made sense was "forming a Gestalt." As I understood this it meant being able to look at the whole of a situation or situations and seeing how everything was interrelated and such. It seems that we need to form a Gestalt concerning immigration. Presently, too much focus is being directed to the specific issues involved, closing borders, amnesty or not, guest workers, etc. But the issues go far beyond the obvious.
President Bush has given his speech to America how to handle illegal immigration. Congress is working hard to do almost nothing while trying to appear to do a great deal. Some may say I'm cynical. Maybe so but past history is on my side.
But some questions continue to be unaddressed. How long can the U.S. support Mexico's weak economy? The majority of illegal immigration exists only because the economy in Mexico fails to provide even a sustenance living for a large portion of its population. While many argue that illegal immigrants are driving much of our economy, illegal immigrants also send our cash to Mexico and over burden our social, health and governmental resources.
Curiously, liberals who frequently support any environmentalist cause that pops up fail to see how a burgeoning population threatens our natural resources. Already the mighty Colorado River shrinks to a trickle before it reaches the ocean. When water, an abundant resource, is in short supply, how long can other resources. If you need more wood to build houses, how do you save the forests? To light and heat those houses we need more electricity. We'll need more gas for more cars. All this leads to increased pollution decreased natural habitats and all our societal systems being pushed closer to their limits.
All this and there is still the issue of this country belongs to its citizens. Why should we give it away? Our obligations of humanitarian support to the rest of the world have real limits. Government showed quite convincingly during the past hurricane season its lack of preparedness to deal with predictable disasters. Government on all levels needs to focus on the needs and wishes of its citizens first.
Liberals apparently fail to see that continued influx of large conservative Catholic populations will eventually erode their political base. (Although, presently liberals believe Hispanics will increase the liberals' political base.) A large proportion of Hispanic immigrants oppose abortion, gay marriage, and other liberal causes. Illegal immigration does have some positives.
John Gibson at Fox News pointed out that "half of all babies in America under five are minorities and the majority of those were Hispanic." Good (conservative) Catholics tend to have large families. But most of all, this statistic points out that 50-60 years down the road we may well be a predominantly Hispanic country. I don't find this too worrisome because I believe that most Hispanics want to and will assimilate into American society. While Cinco de Mayo may become a larger celebration, we will still be Americans. Many groups have ethnic celebrations.
Lou Dobbs, at CNN.com, lambastes Bush's speech. Actually, he lambastes Bush, Republicans and Democrats.
Both political parties are complicit with corporate America and special interests in placing so-called immigration reform ahead of border and port security. That mindlessness speaks volumes about our elected officials' commitment to the national interest and the weight and influence of corporate America over both parties.In these two sentences Dobbs sums up the problems in our Federal government, a lack of commitment to the national interest, i.e. the best interests of the country's citizens, but a great commitment to corporate American, the campaign funds they receive from corporate America and a to great focus on corporate profitability.
One consequence that no one else seems to have noticed is the impact of Hispanic immigration on the average height of adult Americans. At first I thought of this jokingly, and still do. But, surprisingly, I found evidence of a factual basis for this. If you Google for average height U.S. countries, you will find limitless links pointing out how other countries are catching and passing the U.S. in average height. Every theory I found tied this to the increase in junk food consumption in the U.S. But I wonder. The table on this page at Wikipedia shows an interesting statistic.
|5 ft 10.2 in||5 ft 4.6 in||20-39 non-Hispanic whites|
|5 ft 10 in||5 ft 4.6 in||20-39 non-Hispanic blacks|
|5 ft 6.8 in||5 ft 2.3 in||20-39 non-Hispanic whites|
Clearly, comic relief excepted, many issues face this country and illegal immigration poses a more complex challenge than being related. But controlling our borders stands essential in our security and autonomy. That so few Senators realize this disturbs me.
I suppose that many of my concerns are based in feeling that too many things in our country are floundering out of control with little concern for the future impact. We're like a runaway train barely staying on the tracks and the politicians keep telling us, "Look what good time we're making." We need to slow down, decide where we are going and how we can get there. To a ship without a port, no wind is favorable.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Bush's Immigration Speech: Inadequate
That middle ground recognizes that there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently Â and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record. I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law Â to pay their taxes Â to learn English Â and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship Â but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law. What I have just described is not amnesty Â it is a way for those who have broken the law to pay their debt to society, and demonstrate the character that makes a good citizen.The message here is that if you break the law long enough we will take it easy on you. I still say. Don't bother to round up and deport. First, secure our borders, all borders. Many, perhaps most, illegal immigrants from Mexico return to Mexico on a regular basis. Indeed, they are temporary workers, make them re-enter properly and as temporary workers. Illegals found in the U.S. should face the full extent of the law not some ex post facto forgiveness. Why should an illegal immigrant who has been her 5 or 10 years receive preferential treatment over one who’s been here 5 or 10 days? Makes no sense.
Some think we should be afraid of the immigrants.
Remember those immigration protests of hundreds of thousands of Latinos in the last couple of weeks? Imagine those as immigration riots.Ooooh, they might riot. Let's cower in fear. Same logic many used regarding the Mohammed cartoons.
Think we had a "law enforcement" issue before?
Another aspect that I dislike is that, once again, the law-abiding citizen and/or legal immigrant take it on the nose. Whether it is gun control, Homeland "security", or whatever popular causes the government takes up, life doesn't change much for the criminals. Prison is prison. But those who follow the law suffer more intrusion into their privacy; pay more in whatever the cost in time, money and effort to comply with the law. Government loves to take the money of the good guy while pandering to the demands of the undeserving.
Overall I fall somewhere between Michelle Malkin and HurricanRadio. I certainly don't share HurricaneRadio's optimism, probably because I'm older. For me the proof is in the pudding. For too many years politicians have made promises and failed to deliver. In this case, the promises aren't that great.
When Animals Attack
The other animals are out to get us. I'm convinced there is a multi-species conspiracy whose goal is to harass, embarrass and attack humans. In the past I have reported on the eagle that stole a woman's beloved pet Chihuahua at a downtown gas station, and about the woman who beat up a moose after being attacked while cross-country skiing. I, myself, had a violent confrontation with a squirrel in my own home. Now there are reports from northern California of bears that are making concerted efforts to humiliate and starve vacationers.Things seem to be getting much worse. All evidence points to an escalation of hostilities by the animals.
Six years ago, a bear fatally attacked a woman in the Smoky Mountain National Park marking the first fatal bear attack in the parks history. More recently, a bear members of a family in the Cherokee National Forest not far from the Smoky Mountain National Park. A six year old girl was killed, her mother critically injured and her brother injured.
Now, in a weeks time, alligators killed three women in Florida. A bear also attacked a man in Banff National Park in Canada.
Maybe all this is related to George W. Bush's presidency. Today CNN.com ran this headline: Bush announces border security plan, Deadly gators attack in Florida. Are alligators sympathetic to the cause of illegal immigrants? I don't know but be afraid, be very afraid.
On a more serious note, don't forget that wild animals are wild animals. Be careful out there.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Deb What are you drawing?Anyone, who is honest with themselves and has seen the movie "Napoleon Dynamite," realized that the movie is the best movie since "Citizen Kane." "Napoleon Dynamite" defines a sub-culture within our youth. How else could a "delicious bass" have become the romantic gift of choice. If you don't understand the genius of "Napoleon Dynamite," have yourself checked for mental deficiencies. But I digress.
Napoleon Dynamite A liger.
Deb What's a liger?
Napoleon Dynamite It's pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a lion and a tiger mixed... bred for its skills in magic.
Ligers, a cross between a tiger and a lion, really exist!!! Reading through my children's May, 2006 issue of National Geographic Kids I found an article on ligers. To read the full article you will need to find an issue or wait until it is posted on their website. Presently the short blurb linked to above is all that is available.
Unfortunately, ligers do not have magical powers. Being rather sickly creatures, ligers reach a gigantic size, some being almost as large as a tiger and lion combined. They only exist in captivity. There is only a small portion of the world where tigers and lions, the necessary ingredients for a liger, co-exist, India's Gir National Forest. There is no evidence of cross-breeding in the wild.
Paintball field today, killing field tomorrow?
13 Year Old Paintballer Prepared for Attack
Paintball: Harmless Fun or Teaching to Kill
The center is well run with plenty of referees and other staff. Any equipment you need is available for purchase or rent. But as I set watching the paintball battles an ominous thought over came me. Is this harmless fun or are we teaching kids to shoot and kill others? How far does the Testosterone level of the participants rise during the game and the handling of the weapons?
My son's "marker" is capable of shooting up to 30 rounds a second. That's firepower. While a compressed gas powers the paintball guns, usually CO2 (greenhouse gas!!), they are not silent. The staccato popping of the paintball guns brings a realistic feeling to the battles. The kids learn marksmanship, battle tactics, group strategies and to shoot their opponents.
There is also an almost complete absence of females. Yesterday the only females were an occasional mother dropping off or picking up her son. A couple of times I've seen teenage girls play but they didn't seem to enjoy it. Perhaps they don't have enough testosterone.
Can this be good?
May be we should have these guys perform a study on this.
Hat tip to DrHelen.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Kellogg's Smart Start, DrHelen Would Like It
According to Kellogg's only 13 percent of the women in America know that heart disease if the greatest killer of women. DrHelen knows. She has blogged several times concerning the tremendous public awareness of breast cancer while heart disease is the greatest killer. She has described her own experiences with heart diseasehere.
Some may be cynical regarding Kellogg's heart disease campaign because of the obvious profit making implications. This is how capitalism works. There is nothing wrong with making money by providing a product or service that benefits others. Health care professionals do it all the time.
I say kudos to Kellogg's for broadening the awareness of a deadly killer.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Extinction of the Mammoths
Climate shifts were probably responsible for the extinction of the mammoth and other species more than 10,000 years ago, not over-hunting by humans, according to new research published on Wednesday.I find this hard to believe. As we all know humans are responsible for every harmful occurrence on this planet in the past few dozen millennium, more specifically George W. Bush.
Radiocarbon dating of 600 bones of bison, moose and humans that survived the mass extinction and remains of the mammoth and wild horse which did not, suggests humans were not responsible.
Accelerated Reader - I Don't Like It
All of this is good and well, what bothers me is the point system used. Students are assigned reading goals. The goals are based on points. Each book is worth a certain number of points based upon the books length and difficulty. The better readers must read a great deal more than the poorer readers to reach their goals. My son mentioned the other day that his reading goal is 40 points and that some people in his class have goals of only 4 points. Yet, they receive the same credit towards their overall reading grade for reaching their goal. Hardly seems fair.
Since my children are excellent readers their goals reach the higher more difficult levels. The quantity they must read leaves little time for enjoyable reading. I believe the use of the program actually has damaged their enjoyment of reading. Because books must be on the list as well as available in the school library, finding desirable reading material may be a difficult task. This is especially true for my son, who prefers non-fiction.
Over the years, according to my children, some beat the system by deliberately scoring low in the Star test in order to have goals with fewer points. Hardly the motivation to read that you would want. My children's enthusiasm for the school reading program certainly wanes.
While I can't deny that the schools have done a good job of teaching my children to read (but everyone in my family, immediate and extended, reads well), I worry that they have taken the fun out of it. The constant pressure to achieve a goal makes it too much like work. I also wonder if AR isn't a crutch for teachers and an educational system that doesn't want to do the work of teaching.
While I loved reading from the start, I learned a new level of enjoyment from my 8th grade English teacher who explained symbolism, metaphors, analogies, etc. She would help us see deeper into what was written. Her enthusiasm was contagious. Although I continued in school to earn a M.S., I still consider her the best teacher I ever had, by far.
Kids seem to be learning the mechanics of reading but neither the love of reading nor the appreciation of literature that only comes from discussion with a learned person. But much of this may also be a result of the accountability and "no child left behind" pressures. My children's schools rank in the top 10% in Kentucky. But are they really learning or just learning to do well on the tests?
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Nature: Good for ADHD and Allergies
What children today are missing, Louv says, is more than just another form of fun. Nature engages all of the senses in a way that few other experiences can. "We need natural experiences," he writes. "We require fully activated senses in order to feel fully alive."For those worried about stranger danger, a sidebar points out some interesting facts.
Louv supports his argument with recent studies suggesting that direct exposure to the outdoors can reduce the incidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), decrease stress, and boost children's creativity and concentration. Research has shown that "Kids who play outdoors were calmer, more open to conflict resolution, and did remarkably better in science and math," he says.
He cites research, such as a University of Illinois study, which suggested that children as young as 5 with ADHD show a reduction in symptoms when exposed to any kind of nature.
Another study showed that people who could see a natural vistaÂforest, landscape, or mountainÂfrom their hospital bed recovered faster than patients whose view was limited to urban vistas.
Why does nature have such a profound effect on the human psyche? Louv thinks that exposure to a nature setting demands "immersion attention"Âthe use of all of one's senses. That kind of exposure in turn boosts the brain's ability to sustain "directed attention"Âthe concentration and focus that allows a child to stay attentive long enough to, for example, finish a homework assignment
In the United States, fewer than 300 children were abducted by strangers in 1988. Strangers kidnapped 115 children in 1999, according to the National Incidence Study on Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway Children in America.Looking at my own experiences growing up and as an adult, I always value my time in the woods and otherwise outdoors. When I was 7 years old, my family moved to a new house on a large lot (1 acre plus), which was 75% wooded. Much of my neighborhood was wooded with 5 acres directly across the street that remained empty for several years. Living in an area located inside a Tennessee River horsesbend ben, if I walked a few hundred yards east or west I was at the river. A couple of caves were within a mile of our house. Needless to say, I spent a huge chunk of my free time engaged in various activities in the outdoors, exploring, canoing, spelunking, cliff climbing, fishing and more.
According to the 2005 Duke University Child Well-Being Index, children are safer now than they have been at any time since 1975. Violent victimization of children has dropped more than 38 percent.
When I selected the house in which I now live, the outdoor area won me over. The house itself is rather non-descript and needs a few repairs. Outside I have a little over an acre, a vacant lot on one side, a creek suitable for fishing behind the house, vacant woods across the street. Fish, ducks, and beavers populate the creek.
My kids and I love the outdoor area. Despite the ordinary house, no one ever speaks of wanting to leave. We also reside in a rural area. Several of my ex-wife's brothers farm. Outdoor experiences are abundant. I believe this exposure to nature gives them a perspective on the world and a great understanding of the ecosystem that goes beyond a scientific understanding and onto a grasp of the beauty and harmony of the natural world. (I hate to use the word "ecosystem" because it fails to embrace the art of the natural world.)
The May issue of National Geographic contains an article on allergies, "The Misery of Allergies." According to the article, many researchers now think that the extreme cleanliness of our society contributes to an increase in allergies. An early in life exposure to "beneficial microbes in dirt and animal waste may help the immune system distinguish later in life between real threats and bogus ones."
We need to remember we are a part of nature not an outside observer. Modern man developed a disconnect with nature. We don't want to get dirty, wet or have limbs and weeds brushing against us. But it may be the best thing for us.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Better Than Splitting An Arrow
Police in Seattle said they have proof that a man they shot to death was pointing a gun at an officer.Robin Hood, eat your heart out.
Police fired four shots, and one of their bullets went directly into one of the chambers of the suspect's gun. The bullet from the .40-caliber Glock police handgun shoved the bullet in the man's .38-caliber revolver backward, according to The Associated Press.
A deputy police chief said he believes "it is impossible to conclude anything other than the fact that the suspect was pointing a weapon directly at the officers."
Bush's Spanish Isn't So Hot
"The president speaks Spanish, but not that well."Hmm. His English ain't that hot either.
Now, about those nuclar weapons in Iran.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Moral Clarity, White Guilt, Failure of Government
Unfortunately, large segments of American society no longer have the ability to confront real evil. People lack the confidence and moral clarity to stand up to intimidation.How true. The unending, vacillating debates over Iran, Iraq, illegal immigration and many other issues often revolve the inability or unwillingness to look at the world with moral clarity.
Moral clarity requires that one actually have a belief system of something other than relative morality. For many in today's world this seems quite difficult. These people are always ready to excuse away deviant or criminal behavior due to parenting, social conditions, poor education, and etc. ad nauseum. But as soon as they hear another take a clear moral stand they begin yelling intolerance, racism, fascism, bigotry, judgementalism, and more.
About a month ago I discovered Shelby Steele while he was being interviewed on some show on some sort of public cable TV channel. (Not very specific, huh?) He was talking about "white guilt" and how harmful it was to our society, even to those who were supposedly benefiting from the guilt.
Today Instapundit pointed out that on Tuesday, May 2, the WSJ published an opinion column by Steele regarding white guilt and how it creates a lack of ability of the white Western nations to effectively wage war, deal with terrorists and the such.
I call this white guilt not because it is a guilt of conscience but because people stigmatized with moral crimes--here racism and imperialism--lack moral authority and so act guiltily whether they feel guilt or notQuite a read.
Because dissociation from the racist and imperialist stigma is so tied to legitimacy in this age of white guilt, America's act of going to war can have legitimacy only if it seems to be an act of social work--something that uplifts and transforms the poor brown nation (thus dissociating us from the white exploitations of old).
White guilt makes our Third World enemies into colored victims, people whose problems--even the tyrannies they live under--were created by the historical disruptions and injustices of the white West. We must "understand" and pity our enemy even as we fight him.
At hurricaneradio Patrick Armstrong has written several excellent posts concerning the Mayday illegal immigrant protests. One post contains a link to Publius Pundit. Publius points out the failure of our government to act as it should.
The only reason they were able to get into the United States in the first place is because the government didn't - no, refused to - do its job. Despite an increase from just over 4000 border patrolmen in 1992 to 11,380 patrolmen in 2004, the number of illegal immigrants has surged from some 3.9 million in 1992 to 11.1 million in 2004 due to lax measures on arrest and deportation.While I don't fully agree with Publius Pundits recommendation on how to deal with illegal immigration, I fully agree that the illegal immigration problem is the fault of our own government not fulfilling its responsibilities and duties.
It's funny how an arrogant, condescending man like John McCain can say, "You can't do it, my friend" to a group of American workers. John McCain and his cronies, Republican and Democrat, haven't done it. Congress of the last 6 plus years has been a lesson in abject failure. It appears our Congress needs to weigh the political winds before it can take a stand on any issue. There is a near complete lack of moral clarity. It's all about which action will garner the most votes or look best in the polls. Thus the illegal immigration problem is especially complex.
If I'm soft on illegal immigrants will I gain more votes from newly nationalized illegal immigrants than I'll lose from current voters? Can I spin this to keep the votes I have and gain new immigrant votes? What will be the time lag between giving illegal immigrants amnesty and getting their votes? Will I be able to ride out the storm until then?
These questions and many others must be driving the politicians crazy. Of course, if they had any moral clarity, weren't subservient to white guilt and were actually dedicated to doing their job of upholding the Constitution the choices would be clear. Making the right choices might not be easy but people of character have been making the right choices for centuries and dealing with the consequences.
For many it is fashionable to insult and criticize the "old white men" how founded this country. But one thing is sure, they acted with conviction, belief and courage. The leaders of the American Revolution were powerful, "privileged white males." They had a lot to lose including their lives. Their courage was such that Charles Carroll, the richest man in America at the time, signed his name on the Declaration of Independence "Charles Carroll of Carrollton" so that the British would know exactly to which Charles Carroll the signature belonged. (He was also the only Catholic to sign the declaration.) Boy, we've come a long way since. Mostly downhill.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Shut Down America Day A Bust
Sure there were the protesters carrying Mexican flags and signs demanging "their" country back. (I'm sure they garnered a lot of sympathy with that approach.) The only thing that really bugged me was this opinion column at FoxNews.com. Here Susan Estrich goes on about how we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. (You could even argue this for the Indians if you go back far enough.) Therefore, we must be lenient with illegal immigrants. In all fairness, Estrich doesn’t want to cave in and give away the farm but her argument is faulty.
If I smoked pot, did drugs, binged drank in my younger days, am I supposed to accept and tolerate this in my children? I think not.
While the U.S. is a rich country with a wealth of natural resources that may be unduplicated in the world, the resources fall short of infinite. In the same manner that environmentalist argue we need to protect our natural resources, we need to protect all our resources.
Protecting our resources demands controlled, managed immigration. It doesn’t matter that our ancestors were immigration. It doesn’t matter if you feel guilty about what our ancestors did to the Indians or owned slaves. We must deal in the “here and now.”
I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."McCain thinks a “clean” government is more important than free speech. I’m not sure what he has in mind but I imagine that Red China and North Korea may well have a “cleaner” government than the U.S. There are certain risks that come with freedom and democracy. I'd rather take those risks than have the totalitarian system that may be necessary to have a inordinately "clean" government. Of course, the people that would be most impacted by this would be me and you, not the rich and powerful like McCain.
The D. C. Examiner argues that McCain is a good argument for term limits. While I have my doubts about the value of term limits, I can’t argue with the need to limit McCain’s term.
What really boggles my mind is that McCain is so out of touch with America, Americans and their values that he apparently has no foresight into the impact of his statements on his presidential aspirations. A person of even moderate cleverness would know to more carefully hold their tongue.
Now McCain’s statements will be heard as sound bites played by his opponents. He has committed a more grievous error than Howard Dean’s yell. He just doesn’t seem to know it yet. But that’s OK; at least he has exposed enough of himself for us to save ourselves from him.
Hat tip to Instapundit.
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