Just for you, my dear Northerners, I have run around the house changing the clocks, and will get up unconscionably early tomorrow. Daylight Saving Time makes little sense in our part of the world, and it seems yet more ridiculous to make the change even earlier this year.But I do recall that it wasn't so bad to have the time change when we lived up north. So I'll put up with it for your sakes. But it does show what part of the country really runs the government, doesn't it?
Why the Rest Hates the West: Understanding the Roots of Global Rage, by Meic Pearse (Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 2004)
This is not a book review; not yet. I long to write about Meic Pearse's book, but it deserves a detailed and extensive review which I cannot at the moment accomplish. Rather than wait entirely until I can put in the requisite time and effort, however, I'm posting this placeholder, because this is an incredibly valuable book! Its somewhat unfortunate title calls to mind the hand-wringing post-9/11 whine, "Why do they hate us?" but Why the Rest Hates the West is a serious, insightful analysis of the chasm between modern Western culture—more precisely, "anti-culture"—and the rest of the world that no one with more than a few years left on this earth can afford to ignore.
Find the book! Read it! Then come back here and tell me what you think.And I'll put Li'l Writer Guy to work on the review.
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When I read the story of Melissa Busekros, I wonder anew why some people are so anxious to subject our country to the authority of international governing bodies. Fifteen-year-old Melissa was ripped from her home by German police, committed to a mental hospital, and placed in state custody, all because her parents, concerned that the chaotic environment of her school had contributed to her failure in two subjects, chose to have her tutored at home the next year. She was (and apparently still is) cut off from contact with her parents and siblings, with the excuse that she is suffering from "school phobia" and contact with her family would exacerbate the problem.Homeschooling is illegal in Germany. That's bad enough for German citizens, but could be disastrous for the rest of Europe if the German philosophy gains the upper hand in European Union politics. And should the United States decide to submit to the authority of the United Nations or another international authority, we would put ourselves at risk of similar tyranny. (More)
I'm not holding a grudge, and have recently fallen in love with Japan and her people, but history, remembrance, and memorials are important, so it is sad to note that FDR's date which will live in infamy is mostly ignored.
Central Florida news teams were positioned to cover what they thought would be the big news of the night—the election—and had to scramble when the weather took center stage.Have you ever stood in the ocean and had a wave suddenly break over your head? Now imagine that the wave doesn't recede, but continues to pour over you for half an hour, and you have a picture of yesterday's rainstorm. If there's been a heavier downpour in all our 20-some years here, I don't remember it. (More)
Economists are accustomed to drawing conclusions from statistical studies and aggregations of data. It's hard to reduce economic behavior to controlled, double-blind studies, and laboratory rats aren't necessarily a good model for corporate rats. So it came as no surprise to me that some Cornell University economists thought they might get a handle on the elusive cause of childhood autism by studying rainfall and the availablity of cable television. Working from the assumption that children spend more hours watching television in households that have cable TV, and in locations where high rainfall keeps them indoors, and observing significantly higher rates of autism in communities with a confluence of those conditions, the researchers suggested early television viewing as a possible trigger for autism spectrum disorders.When I first read about the study, I was reminded of a story Peter Drucker tells, in his marvelous, autobiographical, historical commentary, Adventures of a Bystander, about an outstanding statistics teacher at the University of Minnesota. (More)
Hunter has accepted the (unpaid) position of president of the Christian Coalition of America. The author of Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why the Tactics of the Religious Right Won't Fly With Most Conservative Christians plans to take the Coalition in a new direction, moving its headquarters from Washington, DC to Central Florida, and seeking to broaden its approach and appeal.
"There ought to be more than just gay marriage and pro-life issues, because the Bible is concerned with all of life. We need to do everything we can to relieve poverty, to heal the sick and to protect the Earth."Much remains to be seen, but it sounds like a positive change.
Let me make clear up front that I'm glad our grandchildren are on schedule for most of the currently-recommended childhood vaccinations. I can be pleased with that because their parents have taken the time to research the issues, and decide which vaccines they think are worth the risk, and which are not, and are willing to pay the extra costs—in money and time—to spread the vaccinations out rather than subject their children to the assault on the immune system caused by receiving many vaccines on the same day. Moreover, the children are breastfed, which helps their immune systems deal with the vaccines.
Vaccines have prevented much suffering and death, and they do work; witness the frightening polio outbreaks in Africa when immunication efforts were hindered by Muslim clerics skeptical of both the vaccines and the good will of the vaccinators. But they are far from risk-free, and the government and the medical community are doing parents a disservice by pushing vaccinations as if they were entirely safe and absolutely essential for their children's health. (More)
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You didn't think our political culture could go any lower? In a reminder that we have made no forward progress since 1999, when David Howard of Washington, DC was forced to resign his city government job because he used the word "niggardly," Massachusetts' Governor Mitt Romney has apologized for referring to the disastrous Big Dig project as a "tar baby." (More)
When Larry Summers, then President of Harvard, dared suggest that genetic differences between men and women might, in general, predispose them to greater abilities in different fields, I had no problem with that. When he was pilloried and forced to resign, I was appalled (though not surprised) at the continuing evidence that liberals aren't necessarily liberal, those who call loudest for tolerance aren't tolerant, and "academic freedom" is an oxymoron. If the presence of a Y chromosome instead of an X can make differences that are visible and obvious, to insist that it can't possibly make more subtle differences, and to forbid inquiry into the matter, is as bad as the Catholic Church in Medieval times. Worse, because I don't think the Church ever claimed to be open-minded.
Yet as fast as Harvard tried to distance itself from Summers' heresy, there are more serious worms in its own apple. (More)
The sad thing is, I'm not surprised.
During the 18 months we lived near Boston we heard a lot about the Big Dig, experienced plenty of inconvenience thanks to the Big Dig, and heard much political grumbling about cost overruns, delays, and incompetence. We didn't actually see much work being done on the project, however, and it was hard not to wonder if there was some politcal/union stranglehold on the project. Accustomed as we were to Florida roads projects, in which a "crew working" sign is usually followed by a crew working—day, night, weekends, holidays, whatever it takes to get the job done—it was shocking to see the massive construction project lying fallow so much of the time. But apparently such lack of haste did not reflect a commitment to doing the job right.
Will yesterday's partial collapse, in which a concrete slab fell from a tunnel roof onto a hapless motorist, finally cause someone to examine the entire political system that bred such tragedy? It's only the latest in a decades-long series of problems, so I doubt it.Which is too bad. I fell in love with Boston, and Massachusetts in general, during our stay. There is much about that part of the country that I miss terribly. But the Big Debacle seems only to be a sign, not an abberation. The rest of the country—Massachusetts included—mocks Florida's politics and its voting problems, but as one who has lived and voted in both places, I can say without a doubt that democracy is alive and well in Florida, while the political process in Massachusetts sometimes felt like a tunnel with a crumbling roof.
Our local library has a subscription to Ancestry.com, the genealogical research site. Unfortunately the response time is slow, and one day a couple of months ago I was working near enough the “New Releases” shelf to do some browsing during the otherwise interminable wait between entering my request and the return of the results.
The bright cover of Brett Kingstone’s book caught my eye. I was not impressed by the title, which sounded Limbaugh-esque and evoked images of conspiracy theorists. I brought the book home, thinking Porter might enjoy it, but did not expect to read it myself. It didn’t sound like my kind of book.