Thursday, October 31, 2013

Are conservative purists just as harmful as RINOs?

Are you a conservative purist? Ann Coulter has some words for you, and they are not flattering. She believes that you and the Republican Establishment are equally guilty for the failure of the Republican Party to run candidates who could win, thus leaving us with the Democrat-controlled Senate and White House, and Obamacare. She defends Kentucky's Mitch McConnell and points to Louisiana, Alaska, Minnesota, and Arkansas as four states where Republicans should be able to elect Senators next year.

The Lyin' King

Guest post by Suzann Darnall

A cousin sent me a political cartoon showing Obama dressed up as the Cowardly Lion from the Land of Oz. The title was "The Lyin' King". It struck me as fitting on sooo many levels!

I believe Obama is cowardly. I think he is first and foremost afraid of the truth. Second, I think he greatly fears that the American people will discover the facts about who he really and truly is . . . which is not who he purports to be. He is afraid to do his job, like dealing with Congress. He prefers to sit in isolation, protected from reality, and sign Executive Orders like they are royal decrees. He is also afraid to allow free and honest discourse about what he and his cohorts are doing to our freedoms. Unfortunately our supposedly free press aids and abets him in shutting down anything that is not in the Progressive script.

Obama very much lives in an imaginary land like Oz. A place where nothing is as it seems and realism is ignored. He has his minions, but I am never quite sure if they are the somewhat creepy Lollipop Kids or the definitely nasty Flying Monkeys. Then, he has not just one Wicked Witch, but an ever expanding cast of women willing to do his evil deeds. I also believe he has more than one person hiding behind the curtain manipulating him.

He lies continually. I am not sure he is even capable of telling the truth on anything! They can label his lies as anything they want, but it still comes down to him lying! He does not tell the truth. His idea of campaigning AND governing seems to be to weave fairytales and then read them off his teleprompter in hopes of putting people to sleep so they will miss his disastrous transformation of America. Any time he is caught in a lie it is labeled that he was misunderstood or he misspoke. Facts are facts, truth is truth, and if you go away from those it is false and a lie! Obama lives in the ' hood . . . the falsehood!

He most assuredly sees himself as uncrowned royalty! It is totally evident in his excessive spending on lavish vacations, dinners, and parties. As well as his appointing of czars, executive orders, and other methods he uses to bypass the checks and balances in our form of government. He wants to be surrounded by only "yes men" and hear no criticism whatsoever.

I have never liked the movie "The Wizard of Oz" and I particularly dislike the Cowardly Lion. To me a lion should be a noble and majestic animal . . . just as I feel the President of the United States should be a noble and honest man. But, in the fantasy land of Washington DC, as in the Land of Oz, things are warped from what they should be into something that is convenient, and usually fake.

I definitely think Obama is perfectly suited for the lead role as the Lyin' King. But, he is just as definitely NOT suited for his current role as President of the United States . . . because in this real life show he is completely incapable of taking the lead. Because being a leader means taking responsibility for both the good and the bad. He will not even take responsibility for the words that come out of his mouth. Especially the lies.

© Suzann C. Darnall, OCTOBER 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Two more cases of willful blindness

How did the truth about Obama elude conservative intellectuals like George Will and Charles Krauthammer, while an Ohio plumber saw right through him? Victor Volsky answers the question at American Thinker.
Their powerful intellectual equipment helped them willingly suspend disbelief. While common people saw things the way they were, the sophisticates processed reality through the filter of wishful thinking, buttressing their delusion. A clear-cut case of willful blindness if ever I saw one.

Machines, or waterfalls?

Emily Freeman quotes this passage from a book entitled Real Church by Dr. Larry Crabb:

“Life is art. And art demands creativity; it cannot tolerate formulas. Building a good marriage is art. Handling relational conflict is art. Trusting God with your sexual addiction or depression or fear of disapproval is art. God doesn’t provide recipes to cook up a delicious life because He can’t. Machines aren’t beautiful; waterfalls are. We’re not machines. We’re more like waterfalls, waterfalls who are persons.”

I'm glad we're not machines, aren't you?

Can we practice the future today?

Emily Freeman writes,

We don’t plan for anxiety and we don’t hope for it, either. It tends to show up without an invitation. Same goes for doubt, procrastination, comparison, and defeat.

If you could design your future, what would it look like?

A spoke, but not the wheel

Emily P. Freeman writes,

Sometimes the most important things that happen to me are those that take months or even years to unpack. I would do well to wait and give it all some room to breathe.

That is surely true for me. Sometimes my emotions are so strong, as in my recent trip to see my kids, that I just have to give myself some time to unpack those emotions.

How about you?

Reaping the harvest

October has been harvest time in North America. Ann Voskamp realizes that

no harvest of holiness, of happiness, was ever reaped by anyone who didn’t make a field inside of themselves to be alone long with God. Maybe that’s the only harvest there is at the end of the day, at the end,

the only thing that God ever asks

is that you answer no long enough to the loud

to have time to be out standing in this field

where real yield is found in the yes to His proposal of intimacy

where you can see who is fulfilled

in the way they bow.

A sea that never stops coming in

Have you ever thought about the fact that the colors we have been seeing this month in the trees are the true colors of those trees? Ann Voskamp writes,

That all summer, the chlorophyll of the leaf, all that green, absorbs the sun and releases food. And it is this cycle of chlorophyll that cloaks the leaves’ pure colors. “But come the fall of the year — the chlorophyll ebbs. And the green dims.” All this brilliance, all this burning God-love – it is always here.

Life can blind and truth can hide in plain sight. But this blazing love of God for you never stops burning underneath everything.

If we would stop producing the chlorophyll of hurry and worry — we’d see the colors of grace, right where we are.

Life has all these blinding cycles of its own – but our God is always blazing love.

When there is an intentional slowing to whisper thanks to God — there is an incredible awakening to the burning love of God.

The ungrateful see little of His great love; but the grateful feel their heart is a shore and His love is a sea that never stops coming in.

Only a grateful heart sees God’s great love everywhere.

It’s as simple and profound as this: We would worry less if we gave thanks more.

The chlorophyll of hardened cynicism drains.

And it begins to happen and nothing could be truer than what Pascal said: “Instead of complaining that God had hidden himself, you will give Him thanks for having revealed so much of Himself.”

The shadows dim –

and all the trees and all the thankful, they ignite, seeing and believing the true colors of now.

The American character

What is the American character, as opposed to other nations? Sarah Hoyt, a native of Portugal, now an American who has lived in the U.S. for at least three decades, takes a stab at it this morning. These are the qualities she believes make us unique.

We're playful. We spontaneously organize in clubs and associations. We don’t take orders well. The flip side of that last one is that we have a "we fix it" mentality.

Sarah adds,

This “We fix it” thing is why Americans open their purses and their hearts to help the less fortunate, whether it’s the person with too many kittens to feed down the block, or the victims of the tsunami across the world, in numbers the rest of the world doesn’t even come close to matching.

More qualities of the American character:

We are flexible. America is the least racist, homophobic, sexist and any other discriminatory thing you can think of. We have a positive craze for self-improvement. The future comes from America.

Sarah concludes,

Come and give me a hand. We’ll come out of this collapse thing better than ever, stronger than ever. The future? Man, is it going to be snazzy, and new, and completely unexpected.

Boy, are you going to love it!

You ain’t seen nothing like us yet!

Brilliant satire, or did it really happen?

I don't know if you will be horrified or elated to hear this shocking news. Homeland Security has taken out Humpty Dumpty. Manhatten Infidel, as usual, is first to report the story.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Beware!

Found at American Digest

Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, IRS, NSA, and on and on and on

Found at i Own the World

Modernity without competence, style rather than substance

Daniel Greenfield writes at Sultan Knish that

Our technocracy is detached from competence. It's not the technocracy of engineers, but of "thinkers" who read Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Friedman and watch TED talks and savor the flavor of competence, without ever imbibing its substance.

These are the people who love Freakonomics, who enjoy all sorts of mental puzzles, who like to see an idea turned on its head, but who couldn't fix a toaster.

The ObamaCare website is the natural spawn of that technocracy who love the idea of using modernity to make things faster and easier, but have no idea what anything costs or how it works.

Obama mocked Mitt Romney's criticism of his Navy cuts by telling him that we don't fight with bayonets and horses anymore. Bayonets and horses are outdated. In our glorious modernity, we spend fortunes to build websites that don't work instead.

Our modernity is style rather than substance. It's Obama grinning. It's the right font. It's the right joke. It's that sense that X knows what he's doing because he presents it the right way.

Competence is built on the unhappy understanding that things won't work because you want them to, they won't work if you go through the motions, they will only work if you understand how a thing works and then make it work by building it, by testing it and by expecting failure every step of the way and wrestling with the problem until you get it right.

But government is magic and the appearance of a thing is just as good as a real deal.

The wrecking ball of Obamacare

From the editors of National Review Online:

So far the part of the Obamacare rollout that is going most smoothly and affecting the most people is the cancellation of current insurance polices. In states around the country, hundreds of thousands of people are getting notices from insurers that their plans are no longer allowed by the law. All told, 16 million people may be dumped from their policies, in flagrant contradiction of President Obama’s famous promise that you can keep your health plan if you like it.

When and if the website is finally functioning, many of these people won’t like what they see. In contradiction of another famous Obama promise, they will be charged more for their insurance to subsidize the costs of other people on the exchanges. For millions of Americans, Obamacare will be an experience in plumbing the depths of the dishonesty of President Obama’s case for his signature domestic accomplishment.

Ultimately, the only way to allow people to keep (and buy) the insurance they want is to repeal the law and foster a true market in health insurance. Until then, the wrecking ball of Obamacare swings.

Marxism in our public schools

Are our kids being taught from Marxist textbooks in our public schools? Yes. Last week I accompanied my two sons and daughter to their school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Son Jon had suffered an injury to his knee while tackling someone in a football game at lunch time on Tuesday. Friday we went to the school to get his homework for the days he had missed. One of the teachers I met was the woman who teaches both him and his brother, Greg, history (in two different classes). She was very nice, and complimented both boys for being "critical thinkers."

On her desk I noticed a book by the Marxist Howard Zinn, entitled A Child's History of America. I picked it up and thumbed through it, and asked her if she balanced Zinn with the views of writers on the right, who love America. She smiled and said that she only uses Zinn to teach the children to have empathy for native Americans.

Later, Jon told me that Zinn's book is the one the teacher used when teaching the class all the negative information about Christopher Columbus that he had shared with me earlier this month.

Trying to tip piss out of a boot

What will happen if (when) the American economy collapses? Sarah Hoyt has experienced it, because she grew up in Portugal. Will we go back to the Stone Age, or just the frontier days? Sarah thinks neither.

Things just get dirtier, shabbier, and more unreliable. The niceties of civilization peel away.

First, don’t count us out. We’re Americans. Rising Phoenix-like from the ashes is what we DO. It’s our individual story. Most of us who came here came to build a new life because the old one had crashed badly – economically, emotionally or otherwise.

Americans – self selected, having come here to start again or descended from people who did – look at messes and go “How do I fix this?”

Like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah does not think the progressives who are running the country are competent. I like the way she expresses her view:

Please! These people couldn’t tip piss out of a boot with instructions written on the sole.

Yes, they’re dangerous. Their certainty and their incompetence makes them dangerous.

A crash might be inevitable. Staying down after a crash ISN’T.

The future is not written anywhere. It’s up to you to create. We must be prepared. We must be ready to pick up. We must be ready to rise from those ashes and go forward.

This is no time to go wobbly.

Someday

Found here.

Learning to love

What have you inherited from your parents? I am not talking about money. Here is an example of what I am talking about.

Frustrated? Wash their feet!

Here is a post from a woman who is parenting three young boys. After an exasperating day of home schooling them, she got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Her thoughts turned to her boys. Something (Someone?) told her to wash their feet. Her post is about that experience, which changed her perspective.

Thanks to Emily Freeman for linking to The Life Artist.

Celebrating the miracle of life

A doctor who sings to his babies after they are born. "Singing to a future important person." Connecting to families. His motto: "Confront every encounter with a smile on your face and a song in your heart."

Thanks to Emily Freeman for embedding this video at her blog.

What makes joy elusive and cynicism easy and stress normal?

Ann Voskamp writes,

Joy is the way to live bravest of all.

What makes joy elusive and cynicism easy and stress normal and why do women choke down pills and food and shame instead of choking out what’s wrong? What makes us scared to death to be real… so we just live dead?

It's not only women who do that, Ann.

They say anger makes us anxious, that anger makes us depressed, all this rage that we keep swallowing that makes us weak and sick.

This anger that we keep downing that gives us a soul ache.

Anger can kill you if you bury it — or if you don’t give it to God.

Venting hurts your-self, Biblical lamenting heals your-soul — bravely expressing pain while unwavering in the unrelenting goodness of God.

Paul hadn’t just suggested it — he commanded that we must:

… “be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16–18).

But, Ann writes about a man she knows and a woman she knows, and Ann asks,

And there’s this wife who can’t get out of bed and a man breaking for her, breaking himself for her, and a woman trying to open her hand to a God who may take away the deepest prayers and parts of her, and we’re all breaking here, we’re all choking down all this hurt, and how in the name of glory is there this command to be joyful?

Giving thanks in all things is how to pray continually — and this is the way to get to the joy. This is the way to do God’s will for your right now.

Anger makes us sick and weak and bound and the therapy is in the thanks.

Thanks therapy is God’s prescription for joy.

This isn’t trite — this is treatment. Breathing oxygen to live, it can seem ridiculously simple too. Jesus always leaves the option open for you to choose: “Do you want to be well?”

Sometimes we hurt so bad, we can’t even think to say yes, we forget how to mouth thanks. I stand with the man who just keeps holding a woman, who just keeps breathing thanks for her until she remembers and breathes on her own.

At this point Ann shows photos of children playing amongst fallen leaves:

Everything that falls, turned back to thanks, unlikely therapy turning a fallen world.

Were our souls made for fame?

Were our souls made for fame? Emily Freeman shows the You Tube video of the man who won on American Idol last May.

Emily writes,

You could see it, as he stood there overwhelmed with his own success and attention, like his soul was turning inside out and he didn’t know how to handle it. When he started to cry, all he could do was put his head down and walk straight into the arms of his family. He disappeared in them, like he was hiding in the comfort of his own smallness.

The crowd and the cameras were cramming importance into him by the truckload, but it seemed he didn’t want to receive it, couldn’t receive it. How wise.

Whether you watch the show or not, it is a fascinating study of how we mill about here on earth, putting our stars on certain people, lifting them up to places they never asked to be lifted up to.

They share their art and we want to hear it, but soon, if they get too big or too much attention, they become the object of our narrowed eyes and pointy fingers. If we can’t win, then neither can they.

We do it with our athletes and our movie stars and our professional Christians, too. We know better than to worship them, but we put them up slightly higher than ordinary. We forget (or maybe we never really understood) that He holds all things together, all things that were created for him and through him. He is the firstborn over all creation. All. Creation.

Our souls were not made for fame. Our souls were made for the Famous One. O God, save us from ourselves.

Recovering our passions, and becoming who God wants us to be

Ann Voskamp had a guest poster a few days ago. Her name is Emily Freeman. She writes,
I think of my son, playing cars on the sunroom floor.

What would happen if I began to pray for a vision for his future – for the courage to write his own stories, for the faith to survive his own shattered dreams, for the eyes to see Jesus no matter the cost or circumstance?

What if, instead of seeing those childhood dreams and desires as meaningless, what if we began to uncover the ways we come alive and consider how these might be ways Jesus wants to come alive in us?

What if the art we make – whether the work of our hands, the words of our mouth, the simple movement towards others in our ordinary days – what if these are the ways Jesus wants to show Himself to a weary world?

What if the art you make and live is a daily grace God has in mind for someone else?

And your way of living art is one of the million little ways God wants to show himself in the world?

The person of Jesus lives in people like you. He has made his home within us. How might he want to come out?

Don’t despise the small way, the ordinary day, the little way of Jesus.

Dare to respect his work, his making of you, and consider how he might want to show himself through the unique filter of your personality.

What if someone had done this for us?

May our loves never leave us, at least not for long.

May our passions not be buried so deep by our pain and brokenness that they become impossible to recover.

May we know God and in turn, know ourselves.

Halloween candy

Guest post by Sara Agard, age 9

Halloween is fun, getting all that candy. But one thing: you can get very sick eating all that candy!

So I came up with an idea. Only eat up to ten pieces of candy a night, if you don't want to get fat (no offense).

It's the only way not to get fat or sick, and still have some fun eating candy.

Sharing our real selves

Ann Voskamp writes today,

Why do we keep thinking we have to be somebody different to get the love of anybody at all.

Why do we keep thinking who we really are couldn’t be who He really loves.

Why do we believe that to be blessed we can’t be ourselves. We hide ourselves because we don’t think we can be loved for ourselves.

I’m thinking it’s that — We wear masks when we feel barely loved.

Are we missing Jesus in our days — because we go through our days missing chances to share our real selves?

What if no one had to dress up any better, any stronger, any braver — and we just handed out words that bless to everyone just as they are in all their real and honest messiness?

What if we weren’t about dressing up as good — but about giving the blessing now?

This changes your life and a thousand more: Only speak words that make souls stronger.

Now let me write down words written spontaneously by my nine year old daughter Sara, while I sat with her at the kitchen table in New Mexico last weekend.

Personality

by Sara Agard

I think everyone has a personality. But there's one problem: some people try to have different personalities just to fit in! I think you should be who you are. That's the way God made you. So just be yourself and don't be put down!

One day you will stop trying to be someone else and just be yourself. But, you might just mess up your life even more!

So, just be yourself. And keep your personality.

That's what I think about personality. Like my personality...I try not to be someone else.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mrs. Cruz

Ashley Parker has written this interview with Heidi Cruz, wife of Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

A Glitch in the System

Guest post by Suzann Darnall

I am pretty sure it is Obama who is the glitch in our system of government! He and his fellow socialite socialist travelers. They can mess up a whole lot in a very short space of time. They have in fact developed glitches to a fine art!

I used to have a small website building business. I am self-taught in the computer language HTML. I still maintain and update two websites of my own: suziezoo.com and WoolyMammoth.Org. They are relatively simple website constructs. One is for showcasing my quilting business, while the other is for posting my political views. But, although I am self-taught and prefer simplistic websites, I do know where to go for the fancier bells and whistles used for an online presence. It just isn't that hard!!!

One of the simplest things to do is look at a website's source code. This can be done by clicking on "View" in the top bar of one's browser, then click on "Source". This will show you the code used to build the webpage you are viewing. You can simply copy the code, and then tweak it to your needs. This is how I first learned HTML.

There are also numerous programs and businesses that offer online shopping carts, forms, email programs, and the like. Some are even free online. They often have the code pre-written and a user simply has to cut-n-paste to add the function to their website.

This isn't rocket science. It is all available online, in books, and known by computer nerds of all ages. It is just about impossible to not be able to find a more than adequate website builder in any community across the United States. Kids in elementary schools are even learning to build webpages and write computer programs. But, Obama's gang managed to find an incompetent group in another country to vastly overpay to not do the job right!

It is hard to track down the exact cost of the broken ObamaCare website. Some say it cost upwards of $300 million, others put the figure at more than $500 million. For ease in mathematics, I will use a midrange estimate of $400 million. At $200 an hour for a computer tech the administration bought themselves two million man hours. That is 50,000 regular 40 hour work weeks. The equivalent of about 1,000 years of standard work weeks. That is an awful lot of billing time and money for a website that doesn't work. Especially since they crammed it into about three years' time. Hmmm . . . a year only has 26, 208 hours in it. Three years contains less than 79,000 hours. But, I am pretty sure the techies weren't working 24/7 for three years running. Sooo, just how many people did this company have working on this website? And, why did none of them know the coding they were using was a decade or more out of date???

Millions of shoppers visit eBay or Amazon each day, if not each hour. Mom-n-Pop online shops manage to maintain an untroubled flow of orders despite not spending millions of dollars on an outdated defunct ordering system. And, most of the online shopping sites offer security levels of information protection that are apparently missing from the Sibelius nightmare. If big and little shopping sites can manage to not be overwhelmed by traffic, why wasn't the ObamaCare marketplace able to achieve the same? Another big question: why was the ObamaCare website outsourced to a Canadian company? America has some of the most innovative computer and software companies and individuals in the world. Our products are often the stuff other countries pirate to sell for less. So, what possible reason would Obama and his minions have for giving the work to foreigners when so many Americans are sorely in need of jobs and money? Is it just that they hate America???

I for one am quite pleased that ObamaCare has another glitch in its implementation. I hope they never get anything about ObamaCare to work. For one thing, it is all nothing but a great big lie. They keep selling it as health care, but it is actually just health insurance. There is still no promise that you will be cared for by a doctor after you buy it. It is kinda like buying a gift coupon for a store you've never heard of, been to, or even seen advertised. How do you know there is a place to get something back for the money you've spent?

Even some of Obama's Democrats and followers are beginning to slide away from toeing the party line. Some are calling for delays others are just criticizing it in total. A lot of the Red State politicians are beginning to see the looming 2014 elections as a danger zone if they are on the wrong side of this debacle. American citizens are beginning to be very aware of the little ineffectual man behind the curtain who has been pretending to be the great and powerful wizard. Turns out the wizard of Washington DC is just another snake oil salesman passing himself off as a medical expert.

I think many people thought they were catching hold of the coattails of a star by signing on to support Obama and his dream of ObamaCare. Instead it would appear they got hitched to a glitch.

© Suzann C. Darnall, OCTOBER 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A letter to China

Like me, a friend of mine at work has two sons. His are younger than mine. I think one is in kindergarten and one is in pre-school. His younger son was composing a letter to Santa Claus the other day, just to make sure Santa got the letter before the Christmas rush.

The father heard the older son coaching the younger son: "No, don't write to Santa! Write to China! Haven't you noticed that all our toys come from China?"

The dad told me that he believes the older son believes China is a person, similar to Santa Claus, but one who definitely exceeds Santa Claus' production capabilities!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Boys will be boys

My son Jon injured his knee playing football at lunch period at school yesterday. Tomorrow I will drive down to New Mexico to be with him for a couple of days. Blogging will be light or non-existent until Saturday night or Sunday.

The doctor is worried about an injury to his growth plate, since Jon is only thirteen. He put Jon in a cast and told him not to move for the next week. Do you know how hard that is for a thirteen year old boy?

(He made the tackle).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Give the woman some water!

Strength

Ann Voskamp writes,

Cynicism isn’t strength and ranting doesn’t rejuvenate and frustration can never accomplish what Faith can.

She wonders,

Does my life testify to my belief in the power of complaint — or the power of Christ?

She realizes,

A smile is where the first strong surrender to His will and His joy begins.

She asks,

Why let anything steal your joy?

If the Joy of the Lord is my strength, then why let anything steal my strength?

The Joy of the Lord is our strength — and anger leaves everyone weak.

Let something steal your joy — and you let something steal your strength.

Some do's and don'ts from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey gave a talk recently at Y Combinator’s Startup School. Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch covered the speech.

He told the crowd that he creates notes for each person he meets, building detailed lists of important things that come from meetings with them, or that he’d like to relay to get things done. He also has a “Do” and “Don’t” list that he takes a look at daily.

That Do list is as follows:

Stay present

Be vulnerable

Drink only lemon water and red wine

Six sets of 20 squats and push-ups every day

Run for 3 miles

Meditate on this list

Stand up straight

Spend 10 minutes with a heavy bag

Say hello to everyone

Get 7 hours of sleep

And the “Don’ts”:

Don’t avoid eye contact

Don’t be late

Don’t set expectations that you can’t meet

Don’t eat sugar

Don’t drink hard liquor or beer during the weekday

Sarah Palin for President. We could, and have, done much worse.

Sarah Palin writes today at Breitbart.com about the corruption in Washington D.C., Obamacare, and the rise of the conservative grassroots.

Obamacare in its current corporatist form isn’t meant to last. It’s meant to push us towards full socialized medicine with a single-payer system.

Our already broke country will go bankrupt even faster under the unsustainable strain of this expanding welfare state, and our economy will suffer under the stagnation of permanently higher taxes.

As Obamacare is being implemented, Americans can’t afford to pay for it. We can’t even sign up for it on the impossibly cumbersome websites, but the IRS will fine us for not doing so anyway! Obama gave his pals, and Congress gave themselves, tickets off this train wreck via waivers. Cruz and Lee fought for us to get the same relief the big guys got. The media and disloyal politicians turned on them and, divided, we lost. Now we little guys are stuck on this train, which will soon collide with hardship and real-world economics that don’t pencil out. Friends, by the time the electoral stars align for this hoped-for GOP hat trick the country will be out billions, if not trillions, more of our tax dollars and will have already begged D.C. to relieve us of this corporatist nightmare even if it means a socialized single-payer system. And once there, do you think we’ll ever go back and strip this “entitlement”? Unarguable history proves otherwise.

GOP politicians claim they’re against Obamacare and promise to repeal it. But when it came time to stand up and use the Constitutional tools they have – the power of the purse strings – to finally halt the implementation, they balked, waved the white flag, and joined the lapdog media in trashing the good guys who fought for us.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, these same politicians are covertly pushing through amnesty despite evidence that the 33 million newly legalized voters will overwhelmingly lean Democrat! Obviously this makes the likelihood of a GOP hat trick electoral victory, and hence the repeal of socialized healthcare, even more improbable.

We aren't buying it

Robert Spencer writes in his book Religion of Peace: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t,

Jews, Christians and peoples of other faiths (or no faiths) are equally at risk from militant Islam—especially gays and women.

The most determined enemies of western civilization may not be the jihadists at all, but the leftists who fear their churchgoing neighbors more than Islamic terrorists.

Doug Giles writes,

Listen, 21st century truth reconstructors … you’ve gotta relax. Please do us all a favor and go get healed from your bad Sunday school experience and lay down your church-grinding axe. Thinking people aren’t buying the “Christianity = Islam” smack.

Therefore, gay guy, loosen that neckerchief and relax on the anti-Christian rhetoric, okay? Atheists, dial down and go back to studying monkeys (or whatever you do), and secularists, switch to decaf and exhale because you guys are barking up the wrong tree in trying to paint Christians as a coercive, could-be-violent cabal like militant Islam.

Why do so many people choose decency?

Richard Fernandez writes that

Once you realize that nobody will save you it is clear that you can’t go back to the six pack and featured game even if you could still afford the beer and cable.

The greatest mystery in the world is whatever possesses so many people to choose decency.

Read the whole thing here. Via American Digest.

Are you one of those small scale thinkers?

Found at American Digest, where Gerard adds,

I hope you don't think on such a small scale that that you believe stuff like this "just happens."

If so, seek help. It's not hard to find. At the same time, don't expect any personal attention. As you can see, He's got a lot on His Mind.

The miracle of professionally made signs appearing on short notice

Gerard posts this at American Digest, and a commenter wonders,

"Sure would be nice to know how they came up with those fancy, professionally made signs on such short notice. It takes the government 8 months to buy a box of ball point pens, so where did all those signs come from on such short notice? Say, you don't think this was planned, do you?"

"The Resurrection and the Life"

Which is greater the Resurrection or the Life? Gerard Vanderleun asserts it is the latter.

Is enough ever enough?

Is enough ever enough? Stan Kroenke married a Wal-Mart heiress. Now he and/or his sons owns the Denver Nuggets, the Pepsi Center, the Colorado Avalanche, soccer and lacrosse teams, the St. Louis Rams, and he is the eighth largest landowner in the United States. To see who owns even more land than he, go here. You have to own at least 100,000 acres in order to make the top 100 landowners list.

Via American Digest.

Time to get off the hamster wheel

FREE HUMAN SIZE HAMSTER WHEEL AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE PICK UP. CAN ACCOMODATE UP TO 200 LBS. FULLY FUNCTIONAL. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR HOUSES WITH SMALL CHILDREN OR ANIMALS. 50 LBS OF SHREDDED NEWSPAPER ALSO AVAILABLE.

I WILL NOT HAVE THIS IN MY HOUSE ANY LONGER.

TAKING APPOINTMENTS TO VIEW THE WHEEL THIS WEEK.

Gerard Vanderleun found this. It is from an actual ad on Craig's List from a woman in Brooklyn.

Ideology is easy; principles are difficult

George Friedman writes today about US history of trying to take prudent action within the framework of the Jeffersonian principle of avoiding foreign entanglements.

Jefferson undertook the complex and dangerous purchase of Louisiana because he thought it carried less risk than allowing the territory to remain in European hands.
The risk, of course, was retaliation from the British.
In the same way, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, realizing that avoiding foreign entanglements was impossible, tried to reduce future risk.

Today, of course, the Islamists want to kill us. Friedman writes,

But the real challenge of the United States is defining the emerging threat and dealing with it decisively.
It does not appear to me that our leaders are doing that. We are not even allowed to call people like Nidal Hasan a terrorist! Our soldiers' training manuals are scrubbed of references to any Islamic threat. We are arming al Qaeda terrorists in Syria. We take no action in Benghazi to support and protect our ambassador and four courageous men.

But, hey, who am I but a mere citizen journalist/blogger?

Monday, October 21, 2013

They are still mothers of boys

Han writes,

feminism has been so successful in converting the masses to believe that women still are victims and exaggerating the privilege and evil inherent in having a penis. Men will often be seen as whiners if they raise any issues.

Now, however, there are some females who have spoken up for men. Christina Hoff Sommers and Helen Smith are two that I have read.

Ted writes,

Women have a stake in men’s future, as they are still mothers of boys and despite operating from a feminist mindset I’m positive most mothers want their sons to have a fair shot.

What do you think? Should men welcome the support of women like Smith and Sommers?

I'm only passing along what I read!

Did you know that in the womb male babies' hands tend to hang out around their crotch area? They play with themselves! Female babies' hands tend to be up around their heads. That is how Rollo Tomasi found out through an ultrasound on his wife in the "right" trimester that his baby would be a girl.

I thought they wanted us to be "sensitive"

Can a man display weakness in front of his female companion? Morpheus writes about it here:

This is perhaps one of the most bitter of all the components of the Red Pill. You’d like to think there is this one person…your mate/spouse that you can reveal ALL to in terms of your personal emotions and feelings and get comfort from, but if you go down that path excessively you are attacking the foundation of respect a woman has to have to love you.

The truth is most all women want to believe their man is as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar, and get very disturbed at any hint that a man has lost emotional control. I’ve actually read comments from multiple women on various sites remarking on just how disturbing and unsettling it is for a man to display the emotion of being upset or distraught.

Now I don’t think this means a man has to go through life with his mate/spouse as a stoic fortress that never shows an ounce of sadness, disappointment, being upset, but it does mean you have to be judicious about how much, when, and the reasons why for communicating those emotions.

I think this is the reason men usually have one or two really close male friends that often go back to childhood. Very often, that is the one person you can tell all to without fear of being perceived as weak. In contrast, I do think part of a woman’s love is based on a man’s strength and it will be increasingly difficult to love a man perceived as weak.

The bottom line is I believe you have to stay mindful when it comes to displays of weakness. If you’ve chosen wisely, you should have some slack, but if it becomes a too frequent occurrence don’t be surprised if the relationship ends up as wreckage on the rocks.

Painful truth of reality versus blissful ignorance of illusion

Since I am not much of a movie-goer, or movie-watcher, I had not heard of the concepts of red pill and blue pill. Wikipedia says,

The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, are pop culture symbols representing the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red) and the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue).

The terms, popularized in science fiction culture, derive from the 1999 film The Matrix. In the movie, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix. The red pill would lead to his escape from the Matrix and into the "real world".

In the USA white women's marriage rate dropping much faster than men's

HanSolo writes,

From 2000 to 2007, the rate of never-married white women that married in the next 5 years fell much faster than that of never-married white men. The most striking example is found in comparing the 30-34 y/o male and female cohorts. In 2000, the female rate was 34.1% that would marry in the next five years and the male rate was 28.7%. By 2007, the female rate had plummeted by more than 1/2 to 16.8% while the male rate had only fallen to 24.6%. What was a 5.4% female “edge” in 2000 became a 7.8% “deficit” by 2007, or a 13.2% relative drop in the female minus male rates.

Here is the graph:

More information and graphs can be found here.

What's it all about?

Is sex mostly about emotional intimacy, or is it purely physical? Which part of the equation is more important to you? TedD raises questions here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Insanity

Sadie Gurman reports in the Denver Post that the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department (one of the most populous counties in Colorado) is being monitored by the U.S. Justice Department, because it has had a policy of not hiring people who cannot prove they are legal U.S. citizens!

The sheriff's office has since told those rejected applicants that they can reapply for jobs and has agreed to revise its hiring procedures as a result of the federal probe, the results of which were announced Friday.

"We absolutely deny we did anything wrong," Sheriff Grayson Robinson said. "We were always under the impression we could require proof of citizenship for people to serve as peace officers."

Nevertheless, he said his office is complying with the terms of the Justice Department's agreement, which mandates retraining for employees and subjects the office to random audits and inspections, among other stipulations. Robinson said the agreement came after lengthy discussions between his office and federal authorities.

Screaming donkeys

Thanks to JohnE at Ace of Spades for linking to the video.

Nearly 30 million people are currently living in slavery

Walter Russell Mead writes,

An eye-opening study from the Walk Free Foundation has found that there are 29.8 million people living in slavery today. The non-profit organization, which released its first annual global slavery index earlier today, defined slavery as including human trafficking, forced labor or indebted servitude, forced marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children. Reuters reports:

It found that 10 countries accounted for 76 percent of the 29.8 million people living in slavery – India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh….

Thanks to Ace of Spades for the link

Oh, oh. Hitler just found out that Obamacare is a trainwreck.

Powerline has another one.

What role are the unions playing in the decline of America?

Open Blogger at Ace of Spades tries to figure out what went wrong in our culture. One of the biggest culprits, she believes, are the unions.

Not all unions have the history of corruption and strong-arm tactics as the teamsters. Some, as I understand it, such as the union representing rural postal carriers, is rather benign by comparison but... They all seek to elevate the cause of the worker over that of the businesses which employ them. Profit is evil, unless it is in the hands of the union bosses themselves. They are in it for themselves, and the concept "brotherhood" and all the warm fuzzies that implies are just jargon to make their members feel good about being part of a cause greater than themselves. (See: Socialism, Environmentalism)

These are the organizations now running the culture machine and, worst, our education system.

Unions are a parasite which consume the host organism. As such, their ranks have shrunken considerably over the years. Today, the total percentage of union workers in the U.S. is under 12% with only around 7% of private industry being unionized. But, make no mistake, if the Democrats have their way, this trend will be reversed in dramatic fashion. Don't think that just because it isn't on the front burner that Card-Check has been forgotten.

Card check? The US Chamber of Commerce says,

By forcing workers to sign a card in public - instead of vote in private - card check opens the door to intimidation and coercion. Over 70% of voters agree that a private election is better than card check.

Under the proposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), if the NLRB verifies that over 50% of the employees signed authorization cards, the secret ballot election is bypassed and a union is automatically formed. Introduced in the U.S. Congress in 2005 and reintroduced in 2007[1] and 2009,[2] the EFCA provides that the NLRB would recognize the union's role as the official bargaining representative if a majority of employees have authorized that representation via majority sign-up (card check), without requiring a secret ballot election.[3]

Barack Obama is a supporter of card check.

How did it happen?

Open blogger writes at Ace of Spades, asking how did how did the United States of America become indebted to China?

The most prosperous, freedom-loving, self-reliance-driven country in the world is now in debt to China. Americans are not indebted to another country... NO! That's just not the way it works. America is the country to which OTHER nations are indebted. We are the nation who bails out the sickly Democracies around the world. WE are the ones who establish leverage through the indebtedness of others. How the hell did this happen?

Socialism! That's it! It's creeping into our lives in such small measure that it is upon us before we take notice. It's insidious in nature. Socialism feels good. It sounds like such a good idea until you find yourself up to your neck in brown-shirts, as we did just recently with the takeover of national parks by the Obama-directed NPS police.

What are your children learning about the Holocaust?

Elizabeth Scalia links to this video, showing the difference between bright college students who went to public schools in states that mandated classes about the Holocaust and students who went to public schools in states that have no such mandate.

Reversing the narrative

Kathy Jackson linked to this wonderful story. A guy gets on the Bart train and sees an attractive woman. The train isn't crowded, but he goes up and sits right behind her.

He waited until the train was in motion to make his move--a true sign of someone who knows how to make the environment work to their advantage. Then he leaned forward. "Hi." "How you doing?" "What are you reading?" "What's your name?" "I really like your hair." "That's a really nice skirt." "You must work out."

It was painful to watch. She clearly wanted nothing to do with him, and he clearly wasn't going to take the hint. Her rebukes got firmer. "I'd like to read my book." And he pulled out the social pressure. "Hey, I'm just asking you a question. You don't have to be so rude." She started to look around for outs. Her head swiveled from one exit to another.

What happens next is all about reversing the narrative.

Are you in a fixed mindset, or a growth mindset?

Kathy Jackson at Cornered Cat.com says the reason she carries a gun is because she can't carry a policeman. She also says

The most dangerous place I ever stood was between a cornered cat and an open door.

When a cat feels threatened, she gets away from the danger as quickly as she can. She doesn’t care what damage she inflicts on her way to safety, but she’s not interested in fighting for fighting’s sake. She does only as much as she needs to do in order to escape. She doesn’t deal in revenge. If she feels threatened, she simply leaves. Efficiently.

Until she needs to use them, her claws stay sheathed. She doesn’t go around threatening to maul people. She’s cuddly, she’s cozy, she likes to curl up next to a crackling fire on a cold winter’s day. She’s great company. But don’t try to trap her in a bad situation.

Kathy's goal in writing her blog is to

inspire people to take personal responsibility for their own lives and their own safety.

In a recent post Kathy quotes from a book by Carol Dweck entitled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, which outlines two different ways of thinking about the world.

The first way of thinking, which Dweck calls a fixed mindset, emphasizes native talent, inborn abilities, and non-changeable labels like “smart” or “talented.” From a fixed mindset perspective, it’s better to feel talented than it is to risk failure. Fixed mindset people find it very comforting to think, “I’m smart, so I could have ____ if I’d tried.”

The other way of thinking, which Dweck calls a growth mindset, says that people can change and develop, and that your inborn traits are not as important as what you do with them. This mindset values the process of learning, embracing mistakes as the way to learn how to do better. From a growth mindset perspective, the saddest words in the world are, “Well, I could have ____ if I’d tried.”

Do you find yourself operating in one of these two mindsets? Are you a different, better person than you were a couple of weeks ago or a couple of years ago? Are you learning from your mistakes? Can you talk about that with others, or must you always portray yourself as perfect? When something bad happens, do you look for someone to blame? Or, can you look at it as how can I learn from this experience, and do something different next time? Are you open to honest criticism? Or, do you hide your struggles and deny your errors?

Kathy writes,

we can each strive for creating a lifetime habit of holding a growth mindset, of being open to possibilities and deliberately seeking out challenges as a way to spur personal achievement.

As for me, I go back and forth between the two mindsets. I will set a goal for myself to spend much more time in the growth mindset.

Via Andy at Ace of Spades

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why a Brazilian likes the Tea Party

At the Ace of Spades blog there is this by a Brazilian:

Remember the story about a Yale professor, embarrassed because Tea Partiers aren't as stupid as he thought? Read this comment on that Yale professor's blog, by a self-identified Brazilian named, Rodrigo Del Cistia Andrade

Let me add an international twist:

I am a Brazilian self-taught Software Engineer. I also taught myself English, to the point where I managed to hold a Cambridge CPE, despite the fact that I've never stepped on anglophonic soil and zero formal training. So my analytic and reasoning faculties seem to be in working order.

Now, with that out of the way, here's why I strongly identify with the Tea Party: in my view, they are right, and they are the US's lifeline. They represent the virtues that led to American Exceptionalism (and YES, this does exist).

I find caricaturing Tea Partiers extremely ironic, and it would be hilarious, weren't it so revolting. In my experience, being a lefty liberal is EASY. It is the default stance of the intellectually lazy. All you have to do is feel (specially "good about myself" kind of feel), and never solve anything. Here's, in my view, why:

I live in the logical endpoint of Fabian socialism. Born to and raised in a culture where the concepts of "right" and "left" are non-existent (I take that back, actually "right" is a language stand-in for "evil"). We have over 30 political parties, and they are all some variant of the left. From Social Democrat parties to "Trotsky-ish" parties. Our *current* constitution, which dates back all the way to the Guns 'n' Roses era (1988), is pretty much a Soviet Constitution (1936) copy/paste job. Culturally, the population is in pretty much a state of "1984 meets Brave New World" in terms of ideology.

Brazil is also a country where:

- the utter government control of the private sector trough bureaucracy managed to destroy entrepreneurship. To the point that it exists, it has to deal with the accepted fact of life that the bribes which feed the corrupt bureaucrats demand to allow business to exist have to be factored in business plans.

- a crushing tax burden that sustain a permanent dependent underclass of favelados in welfare ensures the populists remain eternally in power and that any semblance upward mobility is quickly "corrected". For an employer to put 10.000 in the pocket of an employee, with will costs him nearly 18.000, so jobs market are always tepid at best so informal work and tax dodging schemes are commonplace.

- The relentless attack on Catholicism (the historical prevalent brand of Christianity practiced here) over the past decades eroded any semblance of morality form a large chunk of the country, and that coupled with utter corruption and/or incompetence of law enforcement made way for drug cartels to take over. Violence and crime spiraled to such inhuman degrees that between the 50K murders in average a year, this year we saw a soccer referee stab a player to death and then be beheaded and quartered in the field by the spectators for his trouble. His head was placed in a spike in the middle of the field, as an added dramatic bonus.

This act barely caused a murmur.

I could go on for ages with more evidence of social rot, but you probably already got the gist of it.

Now, remember, being immersed in this cultural cesspool since birth I, like most Brazilians, never even *knew* that this wasn't actually just "the way things are". I mean, we get a gut feeling that something is off, but like Plato's cave dwellers, light is something really frightening and instinctively avoided. And the *obvious* solutions by all the *smart people* are always the same: more government "compassion". More "social programs". More "awareness". Less "greediness".

Imagine my shock when by a quirk of fate a Mark Levin book ended in my hands. That led me to Burke, Locke, Smith, Mises, Friedman, Hayek and many others. Conservative philosophy is what gave me a glimpse of the shinning city in the hill and a will to fight, along with a battle plan, to improve my lot in life, and of those I can reach.

So, Dan, I understand you are surprised that your results showed Tea Partiers not the raging buffoons the media portrays them as being. The most obvious things are often the easiest to miss. But never doubt that being conservative is quite the intellectual effort, if only to overcome the moroseness of the mind that liberalism creates imposes with all its group-think and easy answers.

Best wishes,

Rodrigo

Brainwashing Americans

The Media Research Center examined stories in the big three t.v. networks regarding the government shutdown.

“The broadcast networks invariably blamed Republicans for the impasse; spotlighted dozens of examples of how Americans were being victimized; and ran scores of soundbites from furloughed federal workers and others harmed by the shutdown — even as they ignored examples of how the Obama administration and Senate Democrats were working to make the shutdown as painful as possible,” said the report.

Nightly, 20 million Americans heard “a version of the shutdown story that could easily have emanated from Barack Obama's own White House,” said the new report from the Media Research Center. Sign Up for the Paul Bedard newsletter!

The report, provided to Secrets, found that a total of 41 stories blamed Republicans for the shutdown. None blamed the Democrats. Another 17 blamed both sides.

In addition, those interviewed by the night news broadcasts by ABC, CBS and NBC whacked the Republicans by a six-to-one ratio, said the report.

What will save us?

Ace writes,

The last big innovation in American industry was the internet, and while this does provide certain improvements in informational efficiency, it has nothing like the game-changing effects of the rise of mass production, or the rise of the steam engine and then the gas-powered engine, or the rise of electrification, the explosion in agricultural productivity, and so on.

Those were major technological breakthroughs that provided immediate increases in wealth and then even more increases over a period of decades, as the technologies were further exploited.

The internet boom and potent, cheap computing power provided a small boost in the mid-nineties, and by 2010, its capacity to increase efficiency was all but fully exploited.

So, what will save us?

If a man speaks his mind in a forest, is he still wrong?

Nobody has a clue what the world will look like in five years. Yet, we are educating children to be doing what? Children have extraordinary capacities for innovation. Are we encouraging that? Or are we squandering their talents?

What importance do we attach to creativity? "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." "We are educating people out of their creative capacities."

"Kids will take a chance. If they don't know, they'll have a go!" "They're not frightened of being wrong." By the time they become adults, they are frightened of being wrong. All children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.

The whole world is engulfed in a revolution. Intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct. How do people discover their talent? Why are women better at multi-tasking?

Have you read Ken Robinson's book entitled Epiphany? Sounds like a good one. Update: I looked at our local library and did not find it. However, I found Finding your element : how to discover your talents and passions and transform your life published in 2013.

Got a fidgety child? Send her to a dance school, or put her on medication for ADHD and tell her to calm down?

Are we seeing our creative capacities for the richness they are? Are we seeing our children for the hope that they are? Our job is to help our children make something of the future!

How can our education system produce students who learn, grow, thrive, innovate, and problem solve?

Most of us would agree with this statement:

Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking are increasingly crucial to the global economy.

How do we get there? Mind-numbingly boring government mandated curriculum taught in a rigid top-down manner? No, that is resulting in bright children being bored out of their minds. Joshua Davis writes in Wired that

the dominant model of public education is still fundamentally rooted in the industrial revolution that spawned it, when workplaces valued punctuality, regularity, attention, and silence above all else.

Students are material to be processed, programmed, and quality-tested. School administrators prepare curriculum standards and “pacing guides” that tell teachers what to teach each day. Legions of managers supervise everything that happens in the classroom; in 2010 only 50 percent of public school staff members in the US were teachers.

The results speak for themselves: Hundreds of thousands of kids drop out of public high school every year. Of those who do graduate from high school, almost a third are “not prepared academically for first-year college courses,” according to a 2013 report from the testing service ACT. The World Economic Forum ranks the US just 49th out of 148 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction. “The fundamental basis of the system is fatally flawed,” says Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford and founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. “In 1970 the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1999 the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. We need schools that are developing these skills.”

That’s why a new breed of educators, inspired by everything from the Internet to evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and AI, are inventing radical new ways for children to learn, grow, and thrive. To them, knowledge isn’t a commodity that’s delivered from teacher to student but something that emerges from the students’ own curiosity-fueled exploration. Teachers provide prompts, not answers, and then they step aside so students can teach themselves and one another. They are creating ways for children to discover their passion—and uncovering a generation of geniuses in the process.

Theorists from Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi to Jean Piaget and Maria Montessori have argued that students should learn by playing and following their curiosity. Einstein spent a year at a Pestalozzi-inspired school in the mid-1890s, and he later credited it with giving him the freedom to begin his first thought experiments on the theory of relativity. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin similarly claim that their Montessori schooling imbued them with a spirit of independence and creativity.

Sergio Juárez Correa is a teacher in a school on the Mexican side of the border of the United States in the town of Matamoros. These are his students.

Correa asks open-ended questions and then lets students figure out solutions.

This is a picture of Correa and one of his students, Paloma Noyola Bueno.

Paloma received the highest math score in the country, but the other students weren’t far behind. Ten got math scores that placed them in the 99.99th percentile. Three of them placed at the same high level in Spanish. The results attracted a quick burst of official and media attention in Mexico, most of which focused on Paloma. She was flown to Mexico City to appear on a popular TV show and received a variety of gifts, from a laptop to a bicycle.

Juárez Correa himself got almost no recognition, despite the fact that nearly half of his class had performed at a world- class level and that even the lowest performers had markedly improved.

Juárez Correa had mixed feelings about the test. His students had succeeded because he had employed a new teaching method, one better suited to the way children learn. It was a model that emphasized group work, competition, creativity, and a student-led environment. So it was ironic that the kids had distinguished themselves because of a conventional multiple-choice test. “These exams are like limits for the teachers,” he says. “They test what you know, not what you can do, and I am more interested in what my students can do.”

Many thanks to Ann Voskamp for linking to this article.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Is this the door to Hell?

Door to Hell, Derweze, Turkmenistan located in Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert, the eerie cavern has been on fire for more than 40 years. It was discovered in 1971 by Soviet geologists when the ground beneath their drilling rig suddenly collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of 70 metres (230 ft). As the huge crater was filled with potentially poisonous natural gas the decision was made to set it alight. Scientists expected it to burn itself out within a few days, but fast forward several decades and, amazingly, the fire is still as fierce as everPicture: Rex Features

found here via Ann Voskamp

Honey, do you have the camera?

A couple take pictures inside Antelope Canyon, Arizona, which is the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land near Page, ArizonaPicture: AP

Found here, via Ann Voskamp

The tunnel of love

Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine. A young couple walks down a leafy 'tunnel of love' near the town of Klevan, east Ukraine. The tunnel is actually a three kilometre section of private railway that serves a nearby fibreboard factory. A train runs around thrice daily through the ethereal 'tunnel' delivering wood to the factoryPicture: Rex Features

Found here via Ann Voskamp

Why hasn't the child protection system found an adoptive home for this boy?

Read his story here.

Via Ann Voskamp

What are you going to do when your government turns on you?

Sarah Hoyt writes about dominance.

Males establish their dominance by fighting, sometimes to the death. But females – ah, females are something special, and anyone who has ever gone to an all girls’ school will know our species uses the same method – establish their dominance by bullying to such an extent that underling females stop ovulating, due to extreme stress.

The only people who believe a female hierarchy is peaceful and caring are males who look at it from the outside and see the dominant female’s constant interfering and “bless her heart” as a “caring” thing and not the horrible oppression it is.

So – this is where we are. Men no longer fight in public, not even to defend women. But women do still bully and push and shove in private, and drive other women insane.

Is society better for it?

Instead of men jostling and threatening each other, we have women appealing to an all powerful government whom they want to guard, protect and look after them.

What are you going to do when your government turns on you? And what are you going to do if all those cozy things you voted for become oppressive? The one who pays for you to give birth might also decide you need a forced abortion. Why not? Most other countries who have that kind of power have, at some point or another. The one who pays to keep you in comfort will at some point decide that you’ve lived long enough.

How is pretending men and women are exactly the same and their relationships are exactly the same even sane?

What happens when you build your entire society on a lie? The lie that women need no protection might seem to favor women – but if it did, how many women would now be at the mercy of government, and how many children growing up fatherless.

You can laugh at the punching out matches in old books and movies, but look at our illegitimacy rate, our drugged-to-the-gills young women, our fatherless children, our dropping-out-of-society male youth.

Who are you to laugh at the structures of the past?

What aren't you doing?

Do you think about what might have been? Sarah Hoyt writes,

Pretend you’re a time traveler. You just managed to come back to here now: your body, but a future mind. Look around. What aren’t you doing? What are you failing to allow yourself to do: creative stuff, interesting stuff, learning stuff.

Are you taking any risks? I take few these days, although that has not always been the case. Hoyt wonders,

Still, maybe a little more gambling is needed, a little more getting out of my comfort zone. I’m wondering “what’s the slightly crazy alternative I can take? And how might it pay off?”

We will come for you

Eamon writes about an in-the-bone tradition found in America.

It comes from a strain in our culture, from the heart of being American. Firefighters and Police and Citizens rushed to the Towers. College students walked into the recruitment office during Vietnam. Teachers and mechanics and bakers stormed the beaches of Normandy. Farmers faced down the mightiest empire in the world.

It is this strain that runs through the heart of educators who run to the sound of guns to stand and die between violence and their children. It is in the blood of the people who rush the madman before he can take another life. In the bones of the police officers who flock to the call of distress to interpose their bodies between violent disorder and civilization. In the souls of the military when they shove down their doubts and fears and shoulder the sword and shield of our nation.

It’s not a geographical thing, nor a matter of birth or genetics. It is a deeply American philosophy that calls out to those around the world who would be of us. Those who are American in their bones and blood and soul. Who, despite rabid individuality, feel the call to face violent horror visited upon their fellows with resolve and to step toward that horror in response. Not in retribution, but to stand beside those fellows and do what must be done.

Those who follow this strain of thought feel that pull toward the sound of American cries. That pull comes not because we are invested in nationalism, but because we are invested in individualism. Our founding, our Constitution and our culture are replete with the fundamental understanding that the individual is the unit of value in our society. It is this understanding that shines forth around the world and draws people to our shores. It is this belief that each of us, in ourselves, is worth fighting to defend that gives the desolate hope. It is this truth that threatens the foundations of tyranny.

Those who follow this strain of thought believe the promise that should have been made in Benghazi was this: You stand. We’ll have fighters overhead soonest. Behind them our bombers prepare. Behind them we have birds in the air bringing special operations personnel your way. Behind them the Airborne and the Marines. Behind them the light mech, and the heavy mech and the infantry. Behind them the American divisions muster, starting now. Pushing toward you, as we speak, churning the water to froth, the American carrier groups. Behind them, running deep, our submarines. Behind them the Coast Guard secures your home. You stand, we will come for you. And know this while you stand: if you should fall before we reach you, before your blood dries on that fallen soil we will stand in your stead in that very dust. We will own the hallowed ground where you lay, even if in the doing we must lay down beside you. And we will bring you home.

Are you in chains? Who put them on you?

Sarah Hoyt writes that

we’re all more mixed than you think.
Okay, then, what makes us the way we are? Is it more our race or our culture? Sarah believes it is mostly
self-forged chains.

Say you’re in a family where an artistic temperament is viewed as a mark of genius. You’re going to develop very differently than if you’re in a family where order and performing rote tasks are valued. Since most of these “decisions” are made before you can talk, chances are that you’ll end up thinking you’re that way naturally.

So, what I’m saying is that all humans are portions of this and that, and most humans have talents and abilities they’ve never developed.

Now, that said, yes, some populations consistently test lower for this and that, or do better at this and that. Part of it might be culture. (Do you know how hard it is to tell the effects of say nutrition on the brain as it develops? Or how the effect of not using the brain in a certain way from VERY early on show up later on?) And part, yes, is hereditary.

But surely discrimination exists?

BUT unfortunately Marxism, taught not just at our universities but on a grand scale across the world, teaches people that it is impossible to succeed in the face of discrimination.

EVERY minority in the US is taught this. EVERY nation that’s poorer than the US (all of them, pretty much) is told that they are poor BECAUSE the US is rich and “discriminates” against them.

Add in political correctness and teachers who’ll demand less from certain kids because of… well, the “soft racism of lowered expectations.”

What we do know is this – if you go through life adhering to Marxism, believing victimhood is a sort of glorious condition, and excusing all your failures by someone else holding you down, you WILL FAIL.

we have absolutely no clue what part of a human’s performance (if any) is influenced by his/her race and in fact, it’s far more likely to be influenced by his/her Marxism (acknowledged or not.)

Why do our church leaders and politicians have such a love affair with Karl Marx?

To put it mildly, Sarah Hoyt is not a fan of Karl Marx.

You want to look at the decay of Western civilization? It’s mostly the unexamined absorption of Marxist ideas. Take the Marxist theory of value. It is utter nonsense of course. The idea is that what gives value to something is the labor put into it.

The REAL theory of value goes something like this: something is worth what people are willing to pay for it.

We’re supposed to prioritize the good of the collective over the good of the individual. Then we get into sociology/politics/moral/religion, where the idea of collective guilt and collective punishment has taken hold.

White men?

Mostly what they get is blamed for the “historical oppression of women” and slavery and stuff that wasn’t happening when they were born, wasn’t happening when their fathers were born, and into which they had absolutely no say.

White women?

they’re “victims” because women are in the victim class of Marxism. And so women now are born without sin and OWED. No, it doesn’t matter what they’re owed. Whatever their little heart desires, I guess. They also always get to claim discrimination when things don’t go their way.

ALL our society is run according to the theory of classes and designated historical victims.

But, you say, Sarah, no one takes the Marxist theory of classes seriously anymore!

Really? No? That is why we have people talking about the “one percent” as though they were an homogeneous group? That’s why we have taxes on people who “make too much.” (Too much for what?) That’s why our entire tax system is based on redistribution.

Marx thought that wealth was a finite pie. That meant that for you to be rich someone else had to be poor. And colleges still teach it that way. No, seriously.

None of Marx’s theories stands up to real world examination or real world scrutiny. And yet you have people running around declaring themselves Marxist and neo-Marxist. And, inexplicably, people don’t point and laugh.

His ideas have penetrated how things are done UNEXAMINED. Which is the only way they could penetrate because if you examine them they crumble into incoherence.

What about our churches? Don't get Sarah started on our churches.

SOCIAL justice was never part of the gospel or of any Western religion. Justice, guilt and sin are individual and expiated as such.

Only Marx thinks that on the terrible day of judgment in which he doesn’t believe, people will come before their Lord in classes and ranks of standing, and be condemned or forgiven according to things they could do nothing about.

Read much more here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Now is not the time to be demure in joy

Ann Voskamp writes about the trees in October:

The trees down through the woods filled all summer with sun and now they spill with it.

The trees of the fields, they dance now with the glory before Him.

In October, what is real is seen: even the trees burn with primeval fire for their Maker and First Love.

Now is not the time to be demure in joy.

In October any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible.

Joy isn’t ever in a season, but in the way we see.

His Grace, His mercy, His love — saturating everything.

Islamic conquest leads Christopher Columbus to discover the new world

All of a sudden a few days ago someone told me it was Columbus Day. Did you know that there was a link between Islamic conquest and the discovery of the new world by Christopher Columbus? Alan West writes about it here.

My middle school son tells me that Columbus should not be celebrated, according to what he is being taught in public school.

Cruciform and Eucharistic

Mark Buchanan writes that

The Christian life has two basic shapes: cruciform and eucharistic. It is about giving and thanksgiving. It is about dying to self, and abounding in gratitude. Like Christ, we are called to live cruciform lives – arms stretched wide in giving and receiving. And through Christ, we are released to live eucharistic lives – arms stretched wide in thanking and rejoicing.

Here’s an irony: almost all deeply thankful people, at least that I know, have less of everything – less health, wealth, beauty, opportunity: everything – than entitled people. That’s because their thankfulness is not so much a response as it is a choice. It’s a resolve. It’s a conviction. They choose thanks over complaint, over coveting, over self-pity. In the eyes of the thankful, all life is eucharistic – literally, a good gift, a good grace (though sometimes well-disguised). They choose, therefore, over and over, to give thanks in all things and for all things, sometimes in spite of many things.

And they also choose the obvious outworking of thankfulness: generosity. Real gratitude always engenders rich generosity. Eucharistic living always flows into cruciform living, a life of giving yourself away.

Did you know that this week is thanksgiving week in Canada?

Update: Ann Voskamp comments: May Thanksgiving be a lifestyle, not just a holiday!

Entitlement Nation

Tyler Durden writes at Zero Hedge,

The following items comprise what is defined as the key Non-Defense Discretionary Spending (NDDS) components of government outlays:

Job training and worker dislocation programs

All elementary, secondary and higher education

Health research and training

Consumer and occupational health and safety

Federal law enforcement and Federal judicial system

Pollution control and abatement

Air, ground and water transportation (FAA, Coast Guard)

US Army Corps of Engineers

General science research, NASA

Energy R&D and demonstration projects

NIH/CDC spending on disease control and bioterrorism

International drug control and law enforcement

Why do we bring it up? Because the following chart shows the ratio of historical and projected government spending on entitlements - these are self-explanatory - to all the non-defense discretionary items listed above. It shows a disturbing trend.

What's next? Ten things that are coming with Obamacare

Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet M.D. writes,

Think about what this ineptitude means in the bigger debate about Obamacare. The administration spent 3½ years and $698 million of taxpayers' money to develop this software. They've known since earlier this year that the system wasn't ready to support the rollout of the exchanges. Yet they proceeded anyway, apparently unconcerned about their faulty software costing Americans millions of hours of frustration and lost productivity.

These same bureaucrats continue to assume more and more control of our medical care. What does their incompetence say about how they will handle making life-or-death medical care decisions?

Like a parasite taking over its host, Obamacare will commandeer almost 20% of our economy, crowding out private options.

So, what can we expect to happen next?

1. The expansion of Medicaid, with increased cost burden for taxpayers. Medicaid is a combined state-federal program initially designed to help the neediest among us. But it has burgeoned to cover medical costs for about one in every five people. Today, Medicaid pays for two of every five babies born in the United States, and three of every five people in long-term care facilities in the US.

Obamacare will add another 20 million new Medicaid dependents. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, that Medicaid expansion will add an average of 13% to state budgets in costs for 2014 alone.

Even though Medicaid was designed to help the poor, studies have consistently shown that Medicaid recipients receive worse medical care than people without any health insurance at all! Medicaid patients have longer waits to see a doctor, fewer specialists to choose from, and poorer medical outcomes overall. A particularly morbid piece of evidence is that on average, Medicaid patients die sooner after surgery than people who have no medical insurance.

Essentially, Obamacare is forcing 20 million more Americans into second-class medical care with Medicaid.

2. "Sticker shock" as the reality of higher health insurance premiums hits home. The majority of Americans, especially those who are young and healthy and therefore have paid low premiums in the past, are seeing their health insurance premiums rise between 50% and 150%. Further, employers are cutting full-time workers back to part-time by reducing employees' hours per week from 40 to 29 or less, to avoid having to provide those employees with expensive, Obamacare-compliant coverage.

The "Affordable Care Act" has become anything but affordable for most people.

3. Large and small employers are cutting health insurance benefits. To deal with this onslaught of rising costs, businesses have a series of bad options: fire or lay off workers, cut health insurance benefits for everyone in the company, or reduce full-time employees to part-time so they don't qualify for health insurance benefits, as I mentioned above.

Unfortunately, some businesses will be forced into the worst option of all: going out of business.

4. The employer-based health insurance policies that remain will have higher out-of-pocket costs for employees.

Remember when candidate and then President Obama said you can keep your own insurance plan? Nope.

5. Fewer types of health insurance policies can be offered under Obamacare.

Remember when candidate and then President Obama said you can keep your own doctor? Nope.

6. Many people cannot keep their doctors.

7. Further destruction of Medicare.

8. Loss of ownership of your medical records.

9. More waivers and exemptions for the political elites and Democrat cronies.

The Obama Administration and its political appointee, HHS Secretary Sibelius, have granted over 1,000 waivers and special exemptions to various Democrat donors, political allies, unions, and others. Obama's politically connected friends are the only Americans who won't suffer under Obamacare's onerous regulations, ballooning costs, and 20 new taxes.

10. On January 1, 2014, the Individual Mandate to purchase Obamacare-compliant health insurance goes into effect.

Dr. Vliet writes as an independent practicing physician with medical practices in Tucson and Dallas focused on issues of endocrine aging in men and women from puberty to late life. Dr. Vliet is a registered political Independent, and is also medically independent of all health insurance contracts since 1986. Her allegiance is to and for patients.

This article is excerpted from the Zero Hedge blog.

Turning the internet into a tool for surveilling anyone and everyone

Abuses are inevitable.

New Fed Nominee: no business or banking experience!

Phoenix Capital Research points out at Zero Hedge that the new nominee to head the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen is yet another academic with no banking or business experience whatsoever! The same was true with her predeccessors, Greenspan and Bernanke. The results speak for themselves:

1) Three stock market bubbles

2) A US Dollar that has fallen 20% in value against a basket of global currencies

3) Falling real incomes

4) Higher costs of living

5) An unprecedented outsourcing of wealth from the US to OPEC, Wall Street, and China.

6) The US receiving its first credit downgrade.

Which will we prefer, simple, or complex thinking?

Robert D. Kaplan believes that

World leaders in many cases should not be classified in black and white terms, but in many indeterminate shades, covering the spectrum from black to white.

There is surely a virtue in blunt, simple thinking and pronouncements. Simplifying complex patterns allows people to see underlying critical truths they might otherwise have missed. But because reality is by its very nature complex, too much simplification leads to an unsophisticated view of the world. One of the strong suits of the best intellectuals and geopoliticians is their tendency to reward complex thinking and their attendant ability to draw fine distinctions.

At Stratfor, Kaplan gives examples from around the world, then concludes,

Fine distinctions should be what geopolitics and political science are about. It means that we recognize a world in which, just as there are bad democrats, there are good dictators. World leaders in many cases should not be classified in black and white terms, but in many indeterminate shades, covering the spectrum from black to white.

Complexity and fine distinctions are things to be embraced; otherwise geopolitics, political science, and related disciplines distort rather than illuminate.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I don't remember this in the Bible, but I'm sure it is in there.

Go here to read a clever story about Obamacare.

Dr. Ben Carson speaks plainly about Obamacare

Thanks to Chicks on the Right for posting the video of Dr. Carson.

You go, Congressman Gowdy!

My favorite Congressman, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, grills the head of the National Park Service regarding the erection of barricades to keep veterans from visiting memorials, while allowing pot smoking occupiers to camp out on Park Service land for a hundred days. You go, Congressman Gowdy!

Thanks to World Net Daily for posting the video.