Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Singing for Obama

Obama, the man, has become a religion.

The beginning of the video makes it appear that this was just something that happened in California neighborhood. Not quite. Confederate Yankee has the source of the video. It was put together and funded by some wealthy Hollywood types. The children are from the elite Colburn School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. The teacher's over the top enthusiasm as the children sing is a bit creepy. It looked like this class was pretty "white" too. I think I only saw one African American in the mix.

Seems like the wealthy folks in this school are just the sort that Obama and his pastor had such utter contempt for when Obama wrote in his book, "White man's greed, runs a world in need." Maybe they can add that as another verse to the song.

Speaking of books, did you know there's a children's book about Obama too? Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope.
"Ever since Barack Obama was young, Hope has lived inside him. From the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of Indonesia to the plains of Kenya, he has held on to Hope. Even as a boy, Barack knew he wasn’t quite like anybody else, but through his journeys he found the ability to listen to Hope and become what he was meant to be: a bridge to bring people together."
If Obama is such a uniter, why didn't the Congressional Black Caucus vote with Pelosi?

Monday, September 29, 2008

A voice of restraint

My Congressman, Thad McCotter (R), did not support the bailout and had some pretty strong words for his fellow Congressmen today,

"In the 1832 Bank Panic, Andrew Jackson had the question of whether he would remove the Bank of the United States’ charter. The people in the bank did not like that. They threatened the prosperity of the American people and in the middle of the panic Andrew Jackson looked at these bankers and said: “There are no necessary evils in government. The treasury to you, gentlemen, is closed"...

Today we are in a global financial bank panic. It is the first of our global economy. We are seeing a leveraged bailout of the United States treasury. And in the end these interests that want your money are threatening your prosperity. And the choice you face is this. You will lose potentially, for prosperity for a short period of time, at the expense of your long-term liberty. Once the federal government has got you to take that risk and pass it onto you as a quote-unquote moral hazard, they will be in the marketplace and as the free market is diminished your freedom itself is diminished. And as your Congress does not stand up to these and put forward a better plan that truly protects the taxpayers and truly has the long-term interests of the United States at heart, you will be in jeopardy of losing both your prosperity and your liberty...(Read the full text here)

Thankfully, unlike Obama, McCotter doesn't want to "treat us like investors." and is willing to once again say, "the treasury to you, gentlemen, is closed."

The larger question remains unanswered. Will this bailout, in whatever form it takes, bring about a greater tolerance for a government solution to every crisis? So much so that all the powerful have to do is create a crisis, in order to take over a larger and larger portion of the private sector. Just wondering. After all, it was Congress that created this crisis and now they are claiming to be the only ones capable of a solution. (Watch as Democrats including Obama advisor, Franklin Raines, say there wasn't a problem at Freddie and Fannie.)

Why are we trusting them to fix what they messed up?

The answer is simple, because most of us (me included) are too uneducated about basic economics that we can't even understand the basics of what's going on. We are at the mercy of those that tell us what they think and divide along party lines. I blame the public schools. An educated electorate is a requirement to retain a representative republic. We are supposed to hold our representatives accountable but we can't because we don't even understand what they're saying. And sadly, most of them don't seem to understand what they're saying either.

Nancy Pelosi doesn't appear to have any clue about what to do and can't even direct the members of her own party. Bush, Obama, and McCain all appear to be waiting for someone to turn on the teleprompter. Perhaps their collective ineptness and ignorance will keep our country from unbridled socialism. (I can hope can't I?)

That's why McCotter's small rebuke to Congress was such a breath of fresh air. By the way, McCotter's speech wasn't long; but if you don't want to read the whole thing, watch the two minute You Tube here.

Tebow Laws

I and my computer have both been ill. After sleeping most of the weekend, I am on the road to recovery. We are not so sure about my computer. But there is a topic that has come up recently in our home and among our homeschool friends: whether homeschoolers should be allowed to participate in high school sports teams.

My two sons love to play basketball and would like to test their skills on a high school team. But we're not going to go that route because of the added restrictions it would impose upon us. There are homeschool sports leagues forming in our area that will have both a football and a basketball team. My sons will participate in the basketball team. But exposure to college scouts isn't as likely; so many families opt out of homeschooling in high school and allow their children to go to public school so their children, especially sons, can play sports.

Thanks to the success of Tim Tebow, a homeschooler who played football and went on to win the Heisman Trophy, many states are attempting to pass "Tebow Laws" which would permit homeschoolers to play on a public sports team. According to ESPN, 24 states allow homeschoolers to participate in some extracurricular activities.

Despite getting a little bit of grief from my sons, we're not in favor of the laws because of the addeded restrictions to homeschooling such laws may bring. The counter argument is that playing on a sports team is a "right," because we pay taxes and should be able to participate even if we don't attend the school.

Would you support laws that allow homeschoolers to play on sports teams? If there is no law in your state, would you permit your son to drop homeschooling in order to play on a high school team? And if you had a highly talented son like Tim Tebow, would you consider moving to a state that allowed homeschoolers on sports teams?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Compulsory investing

In in remarks prepared for a speech, Barack Obama said the following about the federal bailout,

[I]f American taxpayers finance this solution, they should be treated like investors. That means Wall Street and Washington should give every penny of taxpayers’ money back once this economy recovers."
For Obama to say that we are "investors" implies voluntary cooperation. What if I don't want to "invest?" Only someone who views our money as his money, would think that we are all "investors" in this debacle. And just when does this economy recover, Senator Obama? I'd like to know when I can look for a return on my investment, with interest of course.

It's not just bailing out Freddie and Fannie that Obama would like us to invest in either. In the same speech, he proposed a two billion dollar Global Education Fund "to erase the global primary education gap by 2015."

Amazing. After decades of compulsory investing in public education in the United States, we haven't ended the education gap, but elect Obama and give him two billion dollars and he'll make the whole world literate in just seven years!

And because Obama can multi-task, he would like us to invest in mosquito nets around the world and eradicate malaria by 2015; and at the same time invest in a global "Health Infrastructure" that trains medical professionals around the world and "gives them incentives to stay there."

The world is Obama's kingdom, and our wallets are his piggybank to invest as he desires.

(Why do I have the sudden urge to start sing, "He's got the whole world in his hands?")

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Your Urgent Help Needed

From Rod Dreher comes one of the best responses yet to the bailout,

Dear American:
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson
Wouldn't it be nice if we could just delete this bailout like we do the rest of the spam that invades our lives. I say, forget about suspending the campaign lets suspend taxation and garnish the income of all those who wouldn't vote for earlier reforms of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and those who got campaign contributions from these institutions. Obama and other Democrats top the list of beneficiaries. With only four years in the Senate, Obama is the third highest in contributions received.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

College blogger contest

A contest for college students who blog.

Doublethink Online is pleased to announce the second annual America’s Future Foundation College Blogger Contest. The purpose of the contest is to encourage original liberty-minded blogger journalism on college campuses and to identify young conservative and libertarian talent who wish to pursue careers as journalists and writers....

Judges will judge finalist blogs on quality of the blogs, the intellectual merit of the posts, and the ability of the blogs to make a meaningful contribution to their college campuses.

There is a very respectable group of bloggers and journalists judging the contest including two of my favorites, Jonah Goldberg of the Corner and Jonathan Adler of The Volokh Conspiracy First place prize is $10K. Deadline to enter is December 31. All the details are here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Obama and Education

Barack Obama often speaks about education, but rarely does he refer back to his four years of experience as the chairman of an educational foundation known as the Chicago Annenburg Challenge Project (CAC) to bolster his credibility. Stanley Kurtz explain why in today's Wall Street Journal.
From 1995 to 1999, he led an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), and remained on the board until 2001. The group poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists.

The CAC was the brainchild of Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground in the 1960s. Among other feats, Mr. Ayers and his cohorts bombed the Pentagon, and he has never expressed regret for his actions. Barack Obama's first run for the Illinois State Senate was launched at a 1995 gathering at Mr. Ayers's home.
With the details and associations clearly layed out, it is obvious why Obama is attempting to silence Kurtz rather than rebut the charges.

Kurtz isn't the only one being harrassed for saying what he thinks about Obama, a fifth grader was suspended this week when he wore a homemade t-shirt to school that said, "Obama...A terrorists best friend." The comment from the boy's father, a proud conservative, was priceless,
"It's the public school system, let's be honest, it's full of liberal loons."
No kidding. If the young lad ever makes it to Harvard he's likely to find just as many liberal loons there. Commentary Magazine contributor, Jacob Benson, wrote about his first American history class at Harvard. The class was supposed to be on the American Revolution, but the professor managed to turn it into an Obama commercial.

All of this lunacy reminds me why we homeschool and won't go to Harvard. In our school, we allow our children to express all the anti-Obama sentiment they wish and you'll never find the teacher lecturing positively on Obama while discussing the American Revolution.

You can learn more about homeschooling at this week's Homeschool Carnival, hosted by A Pondering Heart.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Federal Bailout Boondoggle

I haven't posted anything on the financial crisis or the bailout, mostly because I'm too busy, too ignorant of the facts, and on a day-to-day basis dollar amounts that go much beyond $10 are beyond my comprehension. (My hubby is the number cruncher in our family.)

However, I came across a few facts that puts the Wall Street $700 billion bailout into perspective. $700 billion represents more than $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. In case you're wondering there are about 305,186,613 people in the United States.

Putting it another way,
[T]he entire appropriation for discretionary spending by the U.S. Department of Education in fiscal year 2008 was $59.2 billion. So the proposed bailout is roughly 14 times the entire department's budget, which includes grants to districts to help educate disadvantaged kids, spending on students in special education, and money for Pell Grants and other college access programs.
Are we officially on the fast track to socialism?

The vote on the federal bailout would tell us quite a bit about the governing philosophy of both McCain and Obama. Unfortunately, neither candidate seems willing to actually commit to going back to DC to vote on the measure. Does anyone else wonder how, with over 300 million people, we got stuck with these two as our choice for President?

The "why" of education

From my email...

I am a Mother of two, 8yr old daughter and 5yr old son. I am thinking about homeschooling. I don't really know why except that since my son started school, I have not been at peace. He doesn't want to go to school, actually he never has wanted to be away from me. I was a preschool teacher for three years at the preschool he went to (but not his teacher) My daughter has been a straight A student for two years and now is all of a sudden bringing home D's on her tests!

I was very intrigued by your blog since you are doing it and have 6 children. How do you do it? One of my biggest concerns is how my son would do if we stayed home for school. He is strong willed and very set on things. We don't exactly see "eye to eye." I do not want to put any undue stress on either of us.

Since you are a Mother of 6 and you homeschool, I just thought you might
have a bit on insight you could share.
Your situation and questions have many threads interwoven together and depending on which aspect you place your emphasis you could come up with a different solution. Are you going to focus on your daughter who is struggling or your son who may give you a struggle if you bring him home?

Perhaps a better approach to detangle the different aspects is to start with the basics questions:

Why do we educate? or similarly;
What does it mean to educate a child?

These may sound like a simple questions, but they aren't. The key is to move past the method of education and ask yourself , "Why do you care that your son knows anything about anything?"

You might even consider approaching this from a different angle and ask yourself, "what do you want your children to be (not just know) when they leave your care?" Are you a Christian? If so, do you want your children to share your faith and your biblical worldview? If not, what worldview do you wish them to have?

Also worth consideration is what type of relationships do you want to develop between family members? Are you willing to work through the issues and likely conflicts that arise with your strong willed son so that you will have a stronger relationship that endures throughout his adult life?

Once you establish the answer to the "what" and "why" questions regarding education, the "where" and "how" of education will become more obvious. Our answer to those questions led us to homeschooling as the only acceptable option. But your answers may be entirely different than ours and thus your conclusion entirely different.

In other words, the goal must be defined before the methodology can be determined. I cannot determine what your educational goals are nor should I. That is the responsibility of every parent to determine. I could convince you to homeschool and tell with you all the good things that have come about because of our choice, but if a biblical worldview is not your worldview and my goals are not your goals, then the end result might be a great disappointment to you.

I wrote a post a while back in response to a mother who called asking similar advice called, "why we educate?" Reading that article may help you understand things more clearly.

For those who have already made the decision to homeschool and are wondering how we do it with six children, I'll answer that in a separate post.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Are we fighting a Holy War?

Charlie Gibson couldn't get Sarah Palin's "exact words" right. I don't think he'd understand this video, which puts Palin's "exact words" in good company, either. Watch all 5 minutes.

Thankfully, most people living in this country are not as ignorant as Charlie Gibson and understand exactly what Palin was saying.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Greatest Challenge

I participated in a panel discussion earlier this week at a local homeschool support group. Many of the moms (and one dad) present were new homeschoolers and some were veterans. But no matter how long a family has been home educating, there seemed to be one constant struggle - comparing ourselves to others. I laughed and offered the cell phone number of my seventeen year old son when a mother attending the meeting thought that I was the "perfect" homeschooler. Not even close. But I could definitely relate to her struggle.

For me, the greatest challenge has been having a picture in my mind of what homeschooling is supposed to look like - the mythical perfect homeschool family. I would compare myself to that perfect ideal and those that I thought lived it out. I never measured up. It didn't help that I had met a few families early on that used one particular homeschooling curriculum that presented this ideal rather strongly; that their method was God's way to homeschool. We didn't use the curriculum, but somehow their ideal mixed with my own insecurities created an image in my mind of what a homeschool family was supposed to be.

Try as I might, I could never compete with that ideal any more than I could the image of a super-model or June Cleaver for that matter. Consequently, everything I did never seemed quite good enough. In the quest for perfection, I'd change methods or curriculum. "Ditch and switch" characterized the first few years of our homeschooling. But the minute I'd switch something new would come out that was "better" than what I was using. Remember, homeschooling is a business with a marketing plan that caters to our insecurities.

This was challenging to overcome; until I finally ditched the image of perfection and switched my focus away from my ideal to God's plan for our family. Doing so helped increase my confidence to homeschool and I actually began to enjoy my children. Imagine that! Instead, of focusing on what I thought they should become, I began to concentrate on who they were right then and enjoy them. It was actually a relinquishing of control and letting God help fashion and shape our family into His image not the perfect image in my mind.

There are no perfect homeschool families. There are no perfect home school mothers. There isn't a perfect method or curriculum. But there is a perfect God, who takes all this imperfection and somehow turns it into something good. To God be the glory.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Proabortion and the Roe Effect

A few readers, either by email or in the comments, took exception to the use of the "hateful" term "proabortion" in my post Born to Die. That post discussed the Canadian doctor who publically worried about Palin's example of carrying a Down Syndrome baby to term and giving birth because it may cause other women to do likewise and thereby reduce the number of abortions. Reader Nance commented,

"So the possibilities are:

(1) applaud the choice to have a Down's Syndrome baby or

(2) be labeled "proabortion.

"That's it? There are not other possibilities in your worldview? I don't know the doctor you've labeled in this post. He may be a horrible human being. But isn't it just a bit disingenuous to slap that odious label on all of us in favor of choice? Or maybe you only meant to call this one particular doctor this nasty name?

To which I reply: If abortion is not odious and just a choice of the mother and her body, then the term pro-abortion isn't odious either; it's just a choice of this writer and her blog.

Does anyone else get the idea that abortion is the central issue of this election among many voters, especially women?

The buzz in the hair salon yesterday was the election, Palin's nomination, and Obama's Illinois record on infant's born alive. Surprising for me, I didn't even say anything; they already knew all about it. More evidence of the Roe Effect?

One thing is for certain, ads like this one by Gianna Jesson are going to make the abortion issue even harder to ignore.

UPDATE: Milehimama created an excellent image that sums up the issue quite nicely.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Mother's Devotion

The other day, while waiting for my Office Max copy order, I recognized an older woman standing next to me as the mother of a former neighbor. I smiled and reintroduced myself. She quickly returned the greeting and asked if I was the homeschool mom with all the kids on that particular street. Guilty.

She began to tell me about how she often takes care of her two grandsons and to ask me a little bit about how I taught my children to read. Thinking she was interested in teaching her grandsons, I asked their ages.

"Oh, it's not for them." she replied, "They're 6 and 7 and already reading very well. It's for my daughter, Lisa. When my grandsons come over, they often do their school work and Lisa wants to join in but can't because she doesn't know how to read. I think she's finally ready and I want to teach her. Do you think it's possible?"

I paused, not knowing exactly how to answer her. Spying an opportunity to break into the conversation, my four year old began to chatter away on how she was learning to read too. While I wondered what to say, the Scripture verse "with God all things are possible" popped into my head.

"Yes, I think you can."

Using the back side of an Office Max bag, I jotted down the first few lessons of Alpha-Phonics from memory along with its title and my phone number. Her confidence seemed to increase but she still seemed hesitant, "I'm not a teacher. Are you?"

"No. The only children I've taught to read were my own and it was all on-the-job training." I gave her some more tips. My daughter kept trying to interject with details as well.

"Do you think it'll take very long?"

I chuckled. "You've waited this long for Lisa to get to this point, what's the rush? Be patient, take all the time you need, and enjoy the moment." She grinned.

This precious mother reminded me of so many new homeschool moms that I meet who are excited and anxious for the day their children finally learn to read; only this mother has waited a lot longer than most.

Lisa is 48 and has Down Syndrome.

As we walked out of the store, she raised her hand to the sky and said, "God has finally answered my prayer. You are the first person I've met who thinks I can actually do this."

I'm not really sure who was more inspired as we both drove away.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Homeschooling Debate

Are homeschool kids at a disadvantage?
Each year more than a million children are homeschooled in the United States, and that number is steadily growing. While some parents believe homeschooling is an ideal situation, others fear that a student's education can be severely hindered in such an environment. When making a decision about your child's education, which is the more reasonable school of thought?
That's the question being discussed at opposingviews.com between the California Federation of Teachers (orange bar) and HomeSchool Association of California (red bar).

There's lots to dissect in the CFT's argument and a place for you to say what you think. Have fun and be nice. (HT: Tammy)

Did anyone see Michael Phelps homeschooling Quiz Bowl sketch on Saturday Night Live? I heard it was typical mock the homeschooler comedy. I couldn't find the YouTube but here's one reviewers take on the sketch.
Sketch 1: Homeschoolers versus regular highschool in Quiz Bowl!, a reach for the top analogue. Phelps as a page-cut sporting homeschool moppet. He has two lines, the best is about blood particles that carry oxygen. Hemoglobin? Nope, tiny gremlins. Hah. Also, the force Sir Issac Newton discovered that causes objects to fall? “Lack of faith?” Not as funny as I’d hoped. The host takes over as he gets frustrated with the idiocy and religious mania of the homeschoolers, and the slack-jawed delight of the highschoolers.
Typical for SNL, sad night for Phelps.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The ABC's of Homeschooling

CBS Sunday Morning did a fairly lengthy segment on why many parents homeschool and its growing popularity among non-whites. The tag line for the show, "Today's Model Of Personal Education Is Not Your Grandmother's Home Schooling."

My favorite quote,

"It sounds like a wonderful ideal," Smith said, "but you did have to sacrifice?"

"Of course," Robinson said.

"Here's a child who takes cello, who play soccer, who's a boy scout," she said. "And they wanted him to be a thug and wear his pants under his behind, because of the color of his skin."

Homeschooling has allowed her son to rise above the stereotypes in school and at the same time allowed his proud mother to rise above them in the community. Nothing will bring reforms in public education quicker than homeschooling in the African-American communities across our nation.

(HT: Daryl)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin on Gibson

I didn't watch the interview. But I've watched the clips and it looks like Palin was Palin and Gibson was Gibson. I think this quote from NY Times writer, Alessandra Stanley, captures how it went pretty well,

"At times, her eyes looked uncertain and her voice hesitated, and she looked like a student trying to bend prepared answers to fit unexpected questions.

Mr. Gibson, who sat back in his chair, impatiently wriggling his foot, had the skeptical, annoyed tone of a university president who agrees to interview the daughter of a trustee but doesn’t believe she merits admission."

Here's a clip that seems have stirred up both sides.

Video of what Palin actually said and some analysis is here.

The Anchoress provides some thoughtful analysis and a lot of great links.

All in all those that like Palin, found something more to like. Those that don't found more not to like. The interview didn't accomplish anything, except maybe make more people - on the left and right - dislike the media even more.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Born To Die

Palin's decision to choose life could create a crisis for the pro-abortionists because others may follow her example and keep their Downs Syndrome babies and thereby reduce the number of abortions.

"Sarah and Todd Palin's decision to complete her recent pregnancy, despite advance notice that their baby Trig had Down syndrome, is hailed by many in the pro-life movement as walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

But a senior Canadian doctor is now expressing concerns that such a prominent public role model as the governor of Alaska and potential vice president of the United States completing a Down syndrome pregnancy may prompt other women to make the same decision against abortion because of that genetic abnormality. And thereby reduce the number of abortions.

If Palin's nomination accomplished one thing, it has revealed that the abortion debate is becoming less about a baby's right-to-life, but society's insistance that some babies must die. God help us.

I thank God for mothers like Palin and author Barbara Curtis and many others who have chosen to see their Down Syndrome children as a blessing from God. Curtis has 12 children, four have Downs Syndrome children --one by birth and three by adoption.

Palin -vs- Patriarchy

This Presidential candidates have yet to appear in their first debate, but the secondary debate over whether mothers should hold civic office is in full swing. Here's a CNN clip of Pastor Voddie Baucham debating Margaret Feinberg, moderated by CNN correspondent Kyra Phillips. Each side holds their own pretty well, but things do become a little intense at the end . (Note: The discussion begins at 1:00 after the news about Iraq.)

Doug Phillips follows up with what he believes might have been Baucham's answer to the final question.

For those that think that Palin is a theocrat in disguise, the fact that Pastor Baucham is speaking out against her should quickly dispell that myth. Few, if any, women who hold a Christian theocratic worldview would accept the nomination for Vice President. Their reason can be found in the Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy, #13 and #14 hosted on Phillip's Vision Forum site.

While Pastor Bauchum maintains that, as a mother, Palin should follow the biblical mandate to be a "keeper of the home" the extreme left side of this cultural divide is claiming that Palin is not even a woman. Wendy Doniger, Professor of the History of Religions at University of Chicago’s Divinity School wrote,

"Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman. The Republican party's cynical calculation that because she has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!) she speaks for the women of America, and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage. She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women. "
So much for being pro-choice. It appears you can't even be a woman anymore if you don't make the choices "real" women would make. Can someone please explain to me how having only one one child and dropping them off at the bus stop or day care makes a women more sympathetic to the problems of other women and able to speak on behalf of all women?

Honestly, taken together, the extreme right and the extreme left are making Palin seem mainstream. I'm sure that's exactly what McCain was aiming for when he picked her.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We're gonna lose this election!

The left side of the blogosphere is now seeing the Obama implosion looming on the horizon and they're becoming totally unglued.

"Something is not right. We have a terrific candidate and a terrific VP candidate. We're coming off the worst eight years in our country's history. Six of those eight years the Congress, White House and even the Supreme Court were controlled by the Republicans and the last two years the R's have filibustered like tantrum throwing 4-year-olds, yet we're going to elect a Republican who voted with that leadership 90% of the time and a former sportscaster who wants to teach Adam and Eve as science? That's not odd as a difference of opinion, that's logically and mathematically queer."
According to our wise liberal sage, who is to blame? The press! There's no more "functioning press" in this country.

His solution?

"Obama and Biden should also create a "master sound bite sentence" and repeat it hundreds of times. It should be so true that even the corporations can't screw with it when it makes the airwaves. Here's my attempt: "Katrina, four dollar gas, a trillion dollar war, rising unemployment, deregulated housing market, global warming...no more."
If that's his idea of an effective sound bite, he's right -- they are gonna lose this thing.

(Note: There is some profanity in the link.)

In a related story, Time Magazine asks, "Can Obama Win Back Wal-Mart moms?

Dissing Hillary and smearing Palin with lipstick jokes are looking like the biggest mistakes of Obama's campaign. I half wonder if Hillary isn't smiling just a little as she puts on her own lipstick and heads off to work.

Update: Joe Biden is now admitting that Hillary might have been a better pick.
Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. She is say close personal friend and qualified to be president of the United States of America. She is easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America and quite frankly it might have been a better pick than me, but she is first-rate. I mean that sincerely. (YouTube here.)
Is this his way of saying, "I want out?"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Palin and Lipstick Jokes

With this latest episode of "inartful phrasing," Obama is being criticized by the conservative punditry for what appeared to be a thinly veiled attempt to capitalize on Palin's successful "pit bull" joke at her expense.

"You can put lipstick on a pig," he said to an outbreak of laughter, shouts and raucous applause from his audience, clearly drawing a connection to Palin's joke even if it's not what Obama meant. "It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years."

The McCain campaign is crying foul and demanding an apology. Obama insists he wasn't referring to Palin. Maybe so, but at this stage of the game, why take the chance and make it appear like that is exactly what you're doing?

Salon on the other hand left no doubt about what they intended when they ran this headline today, "What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick"

"John McCain announced that he was running for president to confront the transcendent challenge" of the 21st century, "radical Islamic extremism," contrasting it with "stability, tolerance and democracy." But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers."

Barack Obama is also a professing believer in the Christian faith, so why are Obama supporters fearful of Palin's Christian faith but not his? Obama successfully wiped Reverend Wright off the political landscape, do they really want force it all back to the forefront now, so close to the election?

Like Obama's attempt at humor using lipstick, any attempt to compare Palin's Christian faith to Muslim fundamentalists is bound to backfire on Obama. But desperate times, call for desperate measures and Obama appears to be getting to that point.

Obama looks to China for ideas

Obama seems to have a certain affection for China. A few weeks ago, he told us that the Chinese infrastructure is "vastly superior to us now. Which means if you're a corporation deciding where to do business, you're starting think... Bejing looks like a pretty good option. Why aren't we doing the same thing?" (YouTube here.)

Now he wants to copy their approach to after school care,
"And we’ll help ensure that more of our kids have access to quality after school and summer school and extended school days for students who need it - because if they can do that in China, we can do that right here in the United States of America."
Putting down the United States of America and comparing it to China isn't going to play well in America's heartland. They also have a one-child policy in China, Senator Obama. Should we copy that too, so that we can pay for all the "improvements" that will once again make America equal to China?

The cycle of life

Our first day of school didn't start the way I had planned. Instead, it began with my husband's head deep inside the dryer and a trip to the laundromat for me at 7 AM. At the last minute, I decided to wake up my 17 year old son and take him along to carry the baskets full of wet towels. He wasn't pleased, but I needed the help.

While we sat there watching the towels spin, my son and I began to talk about the upcoming year. He has a full academic schedule - a mixture of college and homeschool work. In his spare time he's also playing the role of Diesel in the stage production of West Side Story and working part-time as a life guard.

As I dropped in two more quarters to keep the dryer spinning for another cycle, he started to come alive. He began to open up a bit about how confused he is about the future, what he wants to do after his senior year, and all the choices he's going to start making on his own. Then he said,

"You know mom, many people fear death. Not me. It's making choices about my future that I fear more. If I make a dumb one, I've got to live with it the rest of my life."

He kept talking for a little while longer. I listened, searching for something to encourage him, but nothing ever came. The dryer buzzed and we quickly moved from the philosophical to the practical. There were towels to fold and children at home waiting to use them.

As we drove home, I realized that I was no longer sitting next to my act now, think later impulsive son, but a thoughtful, more serious young man who had taken ownership of his life. I blinked away a sudden burst of emotion and turned into the driveway.

Life's most significant moments often begin with a small seemingly insignificant decision, like dragging your teenager to the laundromat at 7 AM.

That's it. That's what I wanted to say to him in the laundromat. Make wise small decisions and the future seems to take care of itself. I turned to tell him, but he was already two-steps ahead, carrying the fresh bundles inside the house, ready to begin the day.

The time to speak was gone. It is now time for me to decide to finally let go and let him live it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Gaffe Watch Central

We interrupt this blog for a live Gaffe Watch Update.

Every liberal blogger and those in the elite media seem to be on Palin Gaffe Watch with a fervor that rivals the attention given to Hurricane Gustav before the Republican Convention. Yet, Palin seems to be thriving under the intense scrutiny and Gaffe Track Radar is showing that the real storm may be brewing in the Obama camp. Palin seems to have thrown their campaign into a state of chaos, the likes of which we haven't seen since the evacuation of Hurricane Katrina. Add to that the woes of his Celebrity-in-Chief, Oprah Winfrey, and we may end up with a category 5 storm on the horizon, revealing that maybe God isn't really on the Democrats side after all.

The Palin watchers are trying to create a big storm out of Palin's first "gaffe" that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not public, but private companies. Since this is Palin's first gaffe we'll name it, Hurricane Baraccuda, and call it a category 2 at the moment. Like Palin, most people thought that Fannie and Freddie were public companies too and once the Bush bailout happens, they soon will be. So what difference does a few weeks make?

But Obama seems more than a bit rattled by the attention being paid to Palin, giving opportunity for a few gaffes of his own. The conservative blogosphere is seizing the moment and making a big deal out of Obama inadvertantly referring to his "Muslim faith" in a question on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. Currently this storm, Hurricane Faith, is a category 3, which is gathering in intensity and could be upgraded shortly given Obama's admission that he was too flip in his "above my paygrade" response to Pastor Rick Warren, Biden's admission that life begins at coneption, and the loss of two allies in the media who would have cleaned it all up and told us all what they really meant to say.

Gaffes are never a good thing and bound to happen when you speak as much as the candidates, but the hope is that you can recover from them quickly. With less than 60 days until election day, it may come down to who makes the least costly gaffe. It's anyone's guess who recovers with only minor damage and who drowns in an ocean of their own words.

Rest assured, the gaffe watchers will be on the scene to provide you with all the latest coverage. So batten down the monitors, gas up your Starbucks card, and get ready for the the final months of this long election season.

This is Spunky, reporting live from Gaffe Watch Central.

We now return to regularly scheduled blogging.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

It is finished (almost)

I set a goal at the beginning of the summer to get my kitchen painted, my 120" oak table refinished, and new curtains made for the windows. I finished the first two projects this weekend! I don't mind painting, but I don't ever want to hold a power sander again! My hands are still vibrating. Thank goodness my boys were available to rescue me.

If the colors don't come through, the walls are yellow with the back wall red. The darker back wall makes my long kitchen (12 X 24) seem a little less narrow, especially with the long table. The curtain fabric is waiting patiently to be sewn in the corner. (If Palin hadn't gotten the nomination, I'm sure that would have been done by now.) With school starting tomorrow, I'm not sure when that will get done. But at least we can all eat at the same table again.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Todd Speaks, Oprah Silent

Todd Plalin is obviously proud of his wife and proud of his country.

"If I’d had a crystal ball a few years ago, I might have asked a few more questions when Sarah decided to join the PTA. It wouldn’t have mattered, though; when my wife starts talking about reform, corruption and making government work for the people, it’s just best to get out of the way."

Do you think Todd Palin's support of his wife will quiet the Patriarchy crowd? I didn't think so either.

By the way, if you haven't heard Oprah doesn't want to get political so she's NOT asking Sarah Palin to be on her show.

"At the beginning of this Presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over."

Yeah, right.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Am I for Sarah Palin?

A reader writes and asks,

"I have only read your blog a handful of times, so I don't really know who you are or what you believe. However, I thought I would look at your blog because in light of this controversial election, I thought I would see what your thoughts were. I can't decide from what I have read what your views are. Are you for Sarah Palin? I am not for her because of the many Biblical principles her life violates (being a wife and a mother). I was just curious how you thought about it. My husband and I are trying to decide if we are even going to vote at all. I look forward to hearing from you."
In answering whether I am for Sarah Palin, let me first state that I am not against Sarah Palin - no matter how I vote on election day. I think she has a great life story and tells it well. I wouldn't make some of the life choices she has made, but the same could be said about a lot of my friends. I'm not against them either.

Two weeks ago, I wasn’t planning on voting for either major candidate. The nomination of Sarah Palin has caused me to take a second look at the Republican ticket. But a look is not a vote, not even close. Palin is the #2 on the ticket, and that says a lot. We’re all excited about the #2, but that does not change a thing about #1.

Remember, when we vote for Palin, we get McCain too.

McCain could have just as easily picked Lieberman or Ridge. And given that he didn’t, both of those men (or others like them) could feature in a McCain presidency. Do you want Ridge to be head of the Department of Health and Human Services? Remember, McCain is the man who signed McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Feingold, and McCain-Lieberman. So as much as I like seeing him partner with a “soul mate” conservative, he’s crossed the aisle to link arms with a few too many Democrats and liberals.

Many Christian conservatives see the biblical woman, Deborah, when they look at Palin. Maybe so. But we must be careful when we look to the Bible for our metaphors; after all, there was another prominent man who betrayed the faithful with a kiss.

By the way it isn't just Republican's for Palin that want to bring biblical metaphors into the campaign. Insulted disciples of Obama want to remind us all that
"Jesus was a Community Organizer, and Pontias Pilate was a Governor."
Enough already!

(Note: I don't plan on live blogging the McCain speech, I'm not sure I'll even watch it. With McCain reading is the same as listening. But if I do watch, I may check in at BlogHer live chat to see what they're saying.)

A "pit bull" brandishing a baby

It's always a treat to read what the lefties are saying after the Republicans have a good night, but commentary on Palin's speech last night was absolutely ridiculous. Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish offered this terse bit of criticism,

"Did I just see Cindy holding Trig? I mean: can we have it one way or the other? Either the family is out of bounds or it is in the spotlight. Brandishing a Down Syndrome child as a campaign statement is daring the press to ask questions about him. And if you are going to hold the baby in front of the cameras, how can you say that the details of his birth cannot even be discussed?"
It's ironic. To the left, the choice to allow a doctor to brandish a weapon to suck the life out of a downs syndrome baby is not out of bounds, but let a family pass around their adorable infant born alive and the liberals go bonkers and cry, "Stop brandishing your baby!"

If having a child in front of the camera is daring the press to ask questions about the birth then when are the media going to start asking if Obama's kids are really his, given how little he's actually home? Honestly, I don't think Obama supporters really want to discuss the details of Trig's birth, remember their guy can't even decide when life begins.

Unlike the rest of America, Sullivan didn't find Piper Palin's spontaneous strokes of Trig's hair a slick move at all. (If you missed this precious clip, the YouTube is here.)

"10.40 pm. We've just seen a picture of a seven year old cradling and stroking the hair of a Down Syndrome infant. This, apparently, is relevant to deciding who should be the next vice-president of the United States."
Trig and Piper are part of the Palin family. Had they decided to keep Trig away from the the eye of the camera, everyone would have cried, "Scandal!" Oh wait, they're already doing that.

Towards the end of his commentary, Sullivan puts on his serious pundit's hat,

"11.03 pm. However admirable it is to be a mayor, is it really necessary to drip contempt for people who work as community organizers? It seems to me that Palin
doesn't quite have the stature to be putting down someone who has won millions of people's votes. This is a much more partisan speech than I was expecting."
Gee, who'd have thunk that the Republican's would be "partisan" at their own convention? Clearly, Sullivan doesn't take too kindly to a woman poking fun at his man, Obama. Spunky's translation of Sullivan: "Come on, Palin. Get with the program. Shattering the glass ceiling is fine, but leave the pristine image of "The One" intact please!"

If putting down people who've won millions of votes is off limits, I'd say Barack Obama doesn't quite have the stature to criticize George Bush who earned 134,000,000 votes in 2000 alone. I'm sure we'll see all partisan criticism of Bush cease ASAP.

It does appear that a "pit bull" wearing lipstick, brandishing a baby certainly has the left quaking at the keyboard. If this is the best they could come up with, I'd say Palin won the day. Time will tell if it's enough to win the election.

The full text of Palin's speech is here. Hopefully the sarcasm comes through as well in print as it did live. If you're interested my commentary on Palin's speech is here.

If you're looking for more absurd lefty commentary, you'll have to find that on your own.

Update: I know I said find the absurd commentary on your own, but the Palin complainers are just beside themselves. Now it's her hair.

"With her long, straight, often pinned-up locks, Palin looks one humid day away from fronting a Kiss cover band.

It’s about 20 years out of date," said Boston stylist Mario Russo of the Alaska governor’s ’do. “Which goes to show how off she might be on current events."

And what does Nancy Pelosi's or Hillary Clinton's hair say?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Palin -vs- Obama

Here's an excerpt from Palin's speech tonight answering the charge of inexperience,

"I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better. When I ran for city council, I didn’t need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too. Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities."

Will this election become a choice between Obama and Palin?

Live streaming of Palin's speech is here.

Here are my thoughts on this convention so far,

I liked Romney's bit about liberal-vs- conservative, but otherwise a forgetable speech.

Huckabee still bugs me as much today as he did during the campaign. But his comment about Palin getting more votes as mayor than Biden got as candidate for President was good.

The Governor of Hawaii needs more practice with a teleprompter. Can we move on now?

Palin's children look cute and awestruck. How long before someone asks about them being up past their bedtime?

I usually read speeches and never watch them, after tonight I know why.

Guilliani wants to know who we want to hire? Can I please have a few more resumes? Great line about Obama voting "present." He needs to stop now before America goes to bed.

Nice shot of Cindy McCain holding Trig Palin. Does Cindy McCain ever have a bad hair day?

Todd Palin sure looks proud of his wife as Guilliani compliments Sarah Palin and becomes a soldier in the Mommy Wars asking "when do they ever ask a man if he has enough time?"

Palin's family is beaming as Sarah lets her hair down and takes the stage.

I enjoyed watching the reactions of her family as they were introduced. Piper is a doll.

"The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick." Great line.

The community organizer line quoted above was well timed and delivered. My daughter just walked into the room and said, "She's a great speaker." I agree.

Forget the mommy wars, Sarah has started a "media war." She doesn't care what they think.

As governor, she drives herself to work, put the jet on e-bay, and fired the chef. I'd have kept the chef.

Bypassing Biden she goes straight for Obama, "He has authored two memoirs, but no major legislation." We'll hear this again. Great use of mockery for the Obama styrofoam convention set going back to a Hollywood studio.

It was a good speech, now it's time for the pundits to tell us why it really wasn't.

I'm not sure the speech will be enough to get me to vote for McCain, but it certainly didn't give me a reason not to.

Here's the best video of the night, Piper Palin licking her hands to slick down baby Trig's hair. You can't stage it any better than this. It's absolutely priceless.

Role Reversal

Not only is Sarah Palin reversing roles in her own family, she's forcing many liberal feminists to reverse their position on the role of mothers - when the mother is a conservative mother of five. I have to admit it is sort of fun to watch Washington Post writer Sally Quinn a bit flumoxed by McCain's choice of a working mother; even saying that her nomination is a "distraction" because no one is talking about Barack Obama anymore. Boo hoo. I imagine Michelle Obama might be a bit bummed too, the plight of the working mother was her signature issue.

by burghnews

I wasn't planning on watching any of the RNC convention, but I'll be tuning in tonight to watch Sarah Palin.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The VP Next Door

I'm still working through all my thoughts (and blogs) about Sarah Palin. One theme that keeps running through many of the articles is the how Palin's "normalcy" will appeal to the suburban mom.

Her daughter’s pregnancy highlights another part of Palin’s appeal. Her normalcy. Here’s a woman who has run a business, raised a family, who is sending a son off to Iraq, who has another son with a disability, and now has to help her teenage daughter face motherhood. These are experiences that millions of American moms have shared, can relate to and understand.

Sarah Palin is as accessible as Obama is exotic. Her life story is simultaneously exciting and mundane. All the way from Alaska, she comes to America as The Girl Next Door.

I may get into a bit of trouble for saying this, but I'm a suburban mom so here goes. It's one thing to relate to Sarah Palin's struggle as a mother and quite another to know that she could be struggling with them as Vice President of the United States. Normalcy is a good quality in a friend, but is it a desirable quality in a leader?

As a voter, I want to be reassured that Sarah Baracuda is sturdy and capable, ready to handle the demands of being vice president. I want to know that she's as confident in her decisions 3 AM as she would be at 3 PM . As a mother, I want to be reassured that Sarah Palin is sometimes stressed and feels inadequate and can't handle the demands of life. I want to know that at 3 AM she is the one who rocks baby Trig back to sleep, leaving her a bit incoherent and in need of a Diet Coke at 3PM.

Motherhood is a calling which can’t be ignored and worthy of respect just like the Vice Presidency. Sarah Palin risks disrespecting both. If she appears too confident as a leader, she risks appearing less normal as a mother. If she lets us know she struggles as a mother, she risks appearing less capable as a world leader.

It's a tough act and the election may hinge on how well Palin balances the role.

As mothers, we want to know that our leaders are confidently watching the world, so that we can peacefully rock our babies baby to sleep - just like the mom next door.

The old saying goes, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, but do we want the hand that rules the world to be rocking the cradle the night before?

Previous posts on Sarah Palin:
The audacity of home.
Worth a second look?
The NEA praises Palin

Monday, September 01, 2008

NEA praises Palin

Note: Post has been updated below.

National Education Association President, Reg Weaver, had some nice things to say about Palin.

"While she is only in her second year as Alaska’s governor, she has thus far shown herself to be a supporter of children and public education. She comes from a family of educators. Her father was a teacher, her brother is a teacher, and her mother was an education support professional. In her less than two years as the state’s chief executive officer, she was able to increase per-pupil education spending, and she is opposed to sending public money to support private schools through political schemes like vouchers.Her selection, however, has certainly taken the issue of experience off the table for political debate."
Take it for what it's worth; but for many women teachers, who are working mothers, this might give them a reason to look at McCain/Palin when they might not otherwise.

Palin is the mother of five children. The Palin's plan on teaching their high school daughter at home using the state-funded IDEA program.
"To participate in our homeschool program, at least one parent/guardian must be in the home actively engaged in the education of the children."
That will likely be her husband, Todd. He took a leave of absence from a petroleum company when she became governor to avoid "potential conflicts of interest" and "make more time for the family."

Whatever you think about Palin, her announcement has made this race very interesting and very tight.

Update: Palin has just announced that their daughter, Bristol, is pregnant. This discredits some false allegations from the weekend and perhaps explains Palin's decision to homeschool.

Mrs. Palin and her husband Todd said in a statement:
"Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realise very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family."
Good for them. I'm proud of the Palins and their daughter, Bristol, for choosing life and accepting their unborn baby as a blessing not a "punishment." "
Look, I got two daughters - 9 years old and 6 years old,” [Obama] said. "I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.
The contrast couldn't get any more clear.

In my neighborhood the first sign went up - for McCain. This wouldn't necessarily be news except that this family has never had a Republican sign in their yard before; but they have had a plenty of Democrat signs, including one for Kerry/Edwards four years ago. Anecdotal evidence that something has definitely changed in this election.