Saturday, April 26, 2008

Preacher, Politician

The idea that the Bill Moyers interview of Rev. Jeremiah Wright is somehow bad for Obama is ridiculous.

It is a carefully crafted PR campaign to tame Rev. Wright, make him appear harmless, and get him out of Obama's way before the convention.

The PBS television interview hung over Obama, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, as he campaigned Saturday in Indiana, trying to bounce back from a defeat in Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary.

Being the front-runnner, why would the interview hang over him? Why would a defeat in Pennsylvania disturb him? What he probably finds most disturbing is that people in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, whom he pissed off with his "bitter" comments about guns and religion, are at least as smart as he is, and know when they have been insulted. His defeat in Pennsylvania was likely due to crossover voting by conservatives as a strategy to keep Hitlery in the race, and the Democrat party in chaos.

Race, race, race. The Democrats and the liberal media love to beat the race drum. Rev. Wright loves race-baiting. He says that his comments were taken out of context:
"To put an element of fear and hatred and to stir up the anxiety of Americans who still don't know the African-American church, know nothing about the prophetic theology of the African-American experience, who don't even know how we got a black church," the Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Friday night.

The party of racial equality and diversity loves equality and diversity as long as it means their candidate gets elected. To wit, the U.S. Senate race of 2006 in Maryland. In April 2005 the Baltimore Sun announced the results of a poll it conducted, stating that Michael Steele (black, Republican) would run in a statistical dead heat against either former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume (black, Democrat) or Representative Ben Cardin (white, Democrat) of Baltimore county. Cardin was brought in by the Democrat party to run against Mfume. Cardin went on to beat Steele, and denied the seat to what would have been Maryland's first black Senator.

Obviously, Clinton, Inc. would not allow anyone, black or white, to defeat Hitlery if it was within their power. And powerful they are. Much of their machine remains in the Democrat party hierarchy.

The worst of all this is that no matter who gets to be President of the United States, it will be a dopey, non-conservative Senator with a desire to cement his own power at the expense of freedom.

Back from California

San Diego has perhaps the most agreeable climate in the U.S. Warm during the day, cool at night, and always a light breeze. I think we saw about 3 flies and 2 gnats during the week.

In the city of Carlsbad, just north of San Diego, there is a drinking establishment called the Port Brewing Company, locally referred to as the "bottle bar." It is a small place with no barstools, but one may order pizza or other food from the restaurant next door and have it delivered to the bar. The reason it is called the "bottle bar" by the locals is the great variety of beers available from around the U.S. and the world. These bottles fill about a dozen refrigerators surrounding the bar area. Imagine a 7-11 with their glass-door refrigerators filled with nothing but beer. Find a beer (we tried "Fat Tire" ale from Colorado, "Green Flash" IPA and "Lost Abbey" ale, both from San Diego, several Lambics from Belgium, "Demon Hunter" from Italy - I could go on), have it opened, drink. Like drinking in your favorite beverage store, except instead of getting kicked out, they just charge you for what you have consumed.

On a different note...

I have not been a passenger on an airliner since before September 11th. I thought that the rumor about the TSA selecting unlikely people for additional screening was just that-a rumor. Ha. Both times we went through "security," I saw blue haired grandmas and military looking white men being given the random wand, while all sorts of al-Quedas only had to endure the indignity of removing their shoes. We need to take a cue from the Israelis. We need to stop looking for bombs, and start looking for bombers. If that means racial profiling, then so be it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

California: Beer Tax Up by 1500%?

San Jose Mercury News reports Assemblyman Jim Beall wants to increase the state tax on beer to 30 cents per 12 ounce container. He estimates the tax will generate about $2 billion a year, which will be promptly flushed down the government commode in the form of health care services, "crime prevention," and programs to prevent underage drinking and addiction.

Add this to the price increase due to the worldwide hop shortage, and depressed barley production due to global warming, beer in California could become really expensive.

Public School Budgets and the Homeschooling Parent

Our oldest son was enrolled in kindergarten last fall at our local government school. He has always been a bright and inquisitive kid with a natural learning ability - what you logophiles might call an autodidact. We sent him to school to experience social interaction with children his own age. Big mistake.

While he enjoyed making friends with the other kids, and having new experiences, there was much that he (and we) did not like. Such as riding the bus for nearly an hour (one way), being tired from getting up at 6 am, and being away from home all day. I especially did not like the school's encouragement of collectivism; school supplies which we paid for and labeled with our son's name were immediately confiscated and placed in a general pool for community use.

He gradually became resistant to reading at home. Before school started, he knew the alphabet and was able to read a few simple words. The more he was exposed to school, the worse his reading became - when we could get him to try. He would guess at words that he previously had been able to read without hesitation.

I attribute his decline in reading performance to the government school's teaching method of "developing phonemic awareness." I will not delve into an Ed T&P discussion here, but this reading instruction method is based on what is known as "whole language," where, in place of learning letter sounds (phonics), students are required to memorize whole words, or parts of words, and guessing is encouraged. Accuracy is not essential, or even required, so long as the student "understands generally" what is being presented. The problem (one of them, anyway) is that the student is only given the bluntest of tools for learning new words. He must guess his way around, by comparing the "shape" of the new word with the "shapes" of his list of known words. Phonics teaches the student the "code" of the letters, so that any new word may be immediately read, and the student can then focus on learning the meaning of the word.

We pulled our son out of school at Thanksgiving break, and he is so much better for it. We spend about 15 minutes nearly every day on reading, using a phonics book. We use flash cards and play math games regularly. His handwriting continues to improve. And his younger brother, who just turned four, is picking up on all of it. They are even learning to play chess, which they nearly beg for.

So I find it quite amusing when I receive breathless e-mails from PTO types encouraging me to contact the county board of supervisors, or sign this or that petition, in order to preserve the full funding of the school board's budget. I have no earthly idea what the budget contains. There may be an item funding the purchase of kittens and puppies to make crush videos with, for all I know. My requests for a copy to review go unanswered by the school board. We are required to fund the school through our property taxes, despite the fact our children will not be educated there, but we are blind to how the school board spends our money. Why would I sign a petition sine scientea?

Please feel free to correct my Latin.

For a great homeschooling resource book, try The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. The phonics book we use is written by one of the authors of Well Trained Mind. It is: The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.

Monday, April 07, 2008

That's Hot

Dancer at Topless Club Catches Fire During Routine

Hitlery Calls for Olympic Boycott

Actually, just the opening ceremony. She wants President Bush to skip it. Read the story here.

Italian Wine Tampering

Via Llamabutchers, Italian wine is under investigation for adulteration. The cheap stuff allegedly contains more than just the Sangiovese grapes:
Police in the far north and south of Italy found evidence that cheap wine was being cut with sugar and sulphuric and hydrochloric acid, L'Espresso said.

The good stuff is under suspicion as well:
In a separate investigation at the luxury end, 600,000 bottles of vintage Brunello di Montalcino have been seized by investigators who suspect winemakers used grapes other than Sangiovese, the only ingredient allowed in the Tuscan wine, a favourite of U.S. connoisseurs, L'Espresso magazine reported.

How very convenient. I suspect the "investigators" will find it necessary to have the wine "tested" for inferior grapes, etc., by friends and family.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Concealed Carry

Senator B. Hussein Obama wants to roll back concealed carry laws.

Why? Because “I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could [get shot during] altercations.”

He holds this incorrect position because he is a socialist. Self-defense and individual responsibility are in direct opposition with his Marxist-style socialist views. Despite evidence which clearly shows violent crime is reduced once concealed carry laws are put into effect, Senator Obama wants to remove our God-given right of self preservation and replace that right with the empty promise of "increased police presence."

Police are a reactive force. They are not obliged to protect you. They arrest people for breaking the law, but only after the law has been broken. By then, it may be too late.

For those who may be ignorant on the subject of concealed carry permits, let me describe the process I went through in Virginia: An application is made to the local court, including proof of completion of an approved handgun specific firearms safety course (in my case, the DD 214 form showing my Army service was accepted) and a $50 fee. Two fingerprint cards are made. A thorough background check (criminal and mental health) is done. Any evidence of use or trafficking of illegal drugs voids the application. Finally, after a waiting period of a month and a half, the permit is issued. The permit may be revoked at any time for any sort of criminal violation.

Why would a criminal, intending to break the law anyway, bother with the permit process? Who is more likely to shoot an innocent person, the predatory criminal or the law-abiding concealed carry permit holder? Studies of firearm use show that while guns are used to stop crime, they are not usually fired in the process. Just pointing a gun at the criminal is sufficient motivation in most cases for the criminal to either flee, or await his arrest by the police

Where people are disarmed, criminals are armed and have free reign. Violent crime of all sorts is perpetrated. Just look at Washington, D.C. and the Heller case.

By the way, the second amendment guarantees a pre-existing (to borrow from the HealthCare debate) right, granted by God, not by government.