To all those following and praying for Heather, Jon, and Judy Wilson:  Judy's trial resumes this afternoon.  I'm no longer there to continue my blow-by-blow commentary, but I'll pass on the news as I am able.  Jon is now scheduled to appear as a defense witness, so prayers for him and his testimony would be appreciated.   (I find it bizaare that he was ping-ponged that way—he was originally scheduled, like Heather, as a witness for the prosecution—but my prosecuting attorney friends don't.  Facts are facts, and you use whomever you need to establish them.)

There may even be a verdict today, so prayers for the judge would also be a very good thing!

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 7:20 am | Edit
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The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently doubled its recommendation of vitamin D intake for children, from 200 IU to 400 IU per day.  Not only is vitamin D important in the prevention of ricketts, but there is increasing evidence that its deficiency can promote type 2 diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.  Some doctors think 400 IU may not be enough.

This recommendation is all well and good, but I draw the line at this:  Breastfed and partially breastfed infants should be supplemented with 400 IU a day of vitamin D beginning in the first few days of life.  The reason?  [B]ecause of vitamin D deficiencies in the maternal diet, which affect the vitamin D in a mother’s milk, it is important that breastfed infants receive supplements of vitamin D. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Edit
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The Associated Press hasn't taken up the story yet, though I know from experience that will probably change.  I wish private grief could remain private; since it is not, however, I need have no qualms about providing updates for those whose love and prayers support the particpants in this unfortunate drama.

Nearly six years after Isaac's birth, and more than four after she was charged in his death, Judy Wilson's formal trial began.  Although they support Judy and never wished her to be charged, Heather and Jon were subpoenaed by the prosecution as witnesses—the only eyewitnesses other than Judy herself.  Required to report to the Allegheny County Courthouse by 8:30 a.m. on Monday, we packed ourselves up—three sleepy children, breakfasts for eating in the car on the way, a cooler with lunch and snacks, an overstuffed diaper bag, Jon's laptop bag (Lime Daley service must be available, trial or no), a bag of books, toys and games, plus jackets, blankets, baby slings, and oh yes, legal paperwork—and headed for Pittsburgh, in the middle of rush hour.  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Edit
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Three years ago I read and reviewed Lu Hanessian's Let the Baby Drive, and recently my thoughts have been returning to that insightful book.  Today's Frazz brought it again to mind.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 7:33 am | Edit
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When an article from my "to blog" backlog, a recent post from one of my blogging contacts, and an article from the most recent issue of a magazine I respect all converge, I can take that as a good suggestion for today's post.

Jennifer Fulwiler writes the Conversion Diary blog (formerly "Et Tu?"), which I've featured before (here, among other places).  This is her article in America.  John C. Wright is a science fiction writer.  It was his blog post that alerted me to the First Things article.  Read his introduction, but don't settle for his summary of the article.  Instead, read Mary Eberstadt's The Vindication of "Humanae Vitae" yourself. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 11:04 am | Edit
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I hate to give such horrors any more publicity, so if you already view Planned Parenthood as evil incarnate, don't follow any of the links on John C. Wright's post, Footnote to Modern, Ever-Changing, Ever-Evolving Moral Standards.  If, on the other hand, you still cling to the hope, as I did for a long time, that the omni-present organization might not be utterly irredeemable, you owe it to your children to take a look (with them out of the room, of course—preferably out of the house).  I wish I could cleanse my brain of those cute, Sesame Street-like videos, but sometimes it's useful to know just how bad the situation really is.

I like the idea of socially responsible investing, but this has reminded me that whatever harm might be done by an undesirable gnat stock amongst those in our mutual funds is dwarfed by the camel damage paid for with our tax dollars.

Oh, by the way.  In case you miss it (which I recommend), take my word for it that when the folks at Planned Parenthood use the word "abstinence," they mean something entirely and disturbingly different from what you, I, and the dictionary do. So define your terms carefully (and make them define theirs) before conceding agreement on any point.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 6:21 pm | Edit
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A friend of ours has four children.  They're all still less than eight years old, and have yet many years to develop their tastes in music, but where they stand now offers some food for thought.

When the oldest was in utero, his musician mother was teaching at a college, and was totally immersed in classical music, particularly opera.  He is now very bright, intense, and serious, with a lovely boy soprano voice and a love of classical singing to go with it. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, July 6, 2008 at 12:54 pm | Edit
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I shouldn't be surprised when what is said in comic strips mirrors opinions expressed by essayists in more serious venues.  After all, both get their inspiration from the same human condition, and humor is an efficient and effective way to make a point.  Nonetheless, I always take note when I hear the same message from widely divergent sources, as happened when I read in close succession Francis Schaeffer's The God Who Is There and John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education. When an evangelical Protestant theologian living in Switzerland and a self-described lapsed Catholic schoolteacher from Pittsburgh, writing on issues that apparently differ markedly, make the same historical and philosophical point, perhaps I had better listen.

The conjunction of Mallard Fillmore and Mike Thomas, about which I wrote yesterday, is less portentous, perhaps, but today's has signficant social and philosophical implications. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 8:00 am | Edit
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I don't recall the era of the 1960s with fondness; it wasn't all bad, but it was a messy, unkind time that accelerated our culture's decline in the areas of civility and decent behavior.  However, there must be more of the 60s in my make-up than I thought:  I'm finding good reasons to distrust The Man.  :)

Just as the National Education Association adamantly opposes home education, the American Medical Association, unnerved, perhaps, by Ricki Lake's popular home birth movie, The Business of Being Born, has taken direct aim at home birth.*  Reaction against yet one more threat to personal freedom has come from across the political spectrum, from the far left to the far right.  Congratulations to the AMA for provoking agreement between pro-choice and pro-life groups.  Wink (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 4:53 pm | Edit
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The comic strip Baby Blues, like Dilbert, often frustrates me because of its negative views.  Its depiction of family life does not usually reflect my experiences, and the recognition of one's own situation is a key ingredient in good humor. But whenever I begin to decide it's not worth reading, Baby Blues (again like Dilbert) comes up with a priceless strip.  Today's says so much on several levels that futher commentary would be foolish.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, June 9, 2008 at 6:14 am | Edit
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Thanks to John C. Wright for bringing to my attention Story Time by Andrew Klavan, in City Journal.

Read it. It may frustrate you, it may make you despair, it may inspire you; it will certainly break your heart.

Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)

Let me write a nation's songs, and I care not who writes its laws. (various attributions)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, June 6, 2008 at 8:14 am | Edit
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My feminism tends to be of the on-again-off-again sort.  As a child—thanks to parents who encouraged me—I never considered any good character trait, activity, or occupation to be off limits because of my sex.  I didn't think much about feminism back then; I just acted, becoming the first girl to break the sex barrier in my high school's stage band, and the only or one of just a few girls in some of my science classes.  This sounds tame and silly from a 21st century perspective, but it was a big deal back then.

When Feminism became a movement, however, I soon had to distance myself from it, largely because it distanced itself from me.  I was (and am) all for equality of opportunity—as much as is physically possible; I don't ever want to see men getting pregnant—but when Feminism veered into being anti-man and pro-abortion, when it denigrated the role of homemaker and made the two-income family first common and then in some cases necessary, and when it invoked "political correctness" over the very words we speak and even started calling God "Our Mother," that's when I turned away.  Not from my beliefs, which hadn't changed, but from the movement and the label.  Women were now included, and succeeding, in nearly every possible opportunity; it was time, I believed, to give feminism a rest. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, June 2, 2008 at 8:41 am | Edit
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I like academia. I love college campuses, chem labs, and the smell of libraries with old books. Places and institutions dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, to study, investigation, and discussion. In an odd way, I feel more at home on a college campus than in most places. They feel exciting, challenging, and yet as comfortable as a pair of well-worn shoes. That my own college experience differed significantly from my theoretical ideal did not do much to diminish my belief that a college professor had a near-perfect job in a near-perfect setting.

Pausing to let my professor friends recover from their choking fits.... (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, May 30, 2008 at 8:54 am | Edit
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I recently finished reading a book called The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom.  That's not what this post is about, because while the author, David Kupelian, does have some important insights into how our culture got to be the way it is, his tone is too strident to allow me to recommend the book with particular enthusiasm.  However, he cites his sources well, and thus I am able to give full credit for what is perhaps my favorite part of the whole book, the following great quote from G. K. Chesterton.

Sex is an instinct that produces an institution; and it is positive and not negative, noble and not base, creative and not destructive, because it produces this institution.  That institution is the family; a small state or commonwealth which has hundreds of aspects, when it is once started, that are not sexual at all.  It includes worship, justice, festivity, decoration, instruction, comradeship, repose.  Sex is the gate of that house; and romantic and imaginative people naturally like looking through a gateway.  But the house is very much larger than the gate.  There are indeed a certain number of people who like to hang about the gate and never get any further.
G.K.'s Weekly, January 29, 1928

It is a great tragedy of our day that we have been all but convinced that the gate is all there is, that the house and fields beyond it are, and have always been, no more than a romantic, imaginative dream—at best.  Perhaps we need a Puddleglum to stamp on the enchanted fire and clear our heads.

Perhaps the strident tone of Kupelian's book is, after all, just the un-enchanting smell of burnt marsh-wiggle.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 10:35 am | Edit
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I don't enjoy reporting bad news, really.  It makes me sound old and curmudgeonly.  Okay, so I am old and curmudgeonly, but that's beside the point.  So today I feature an exciting story from the Philadelphia Inquirer:  Midwife Diane Goslin has emerged victorious from a court case in which the State of Pennsylvania accused her of practicing medicine without a license by assisting at home births.  (See my previous post.)  The author of the article, Angela Couloumbis, and the headline writer who created the title, Birthing Women Win Legal Decision understand that this victory is not about one person's profession, but about one of our most basic freedoms:  choosing where and with whom we will give birth to our children.

I could point out that some of the rejoicing may be premature: the State is considering appealing the decision, and the court only dealt with the charge of practicing medicine, not with the problem that Pennsylvania is not among the 22 states in this country that recognize the Certified Professional Midwife license.  There is cause for joy, to be sure, but not for letting down our guard.  But we'll take our victories one at a time, and be thankful for daily bread even if we're not certain of next week's provision.

Anything less would be curmudgeonly.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 10:00 am | Edit
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