There's a lot of talk these days about the death of handwriting. Conservatives, especially, bemoan it right along with the "dumbing down" of history and English. There was a time when I, too, fretted about it and put it in the same category as "slouching towards Gomorrah."
No longer. For the past twenty years I've been trying to convince fellow homeschooling parents to lighten up, especially in the last decade as we've become less and less dependent on anything handwritten. I get static from the folks who believe if it's old it must be better than anything new, but I respectfully disagree. More than once I've used the example that when I graduated high school in 1972 you weren't considered educated if you couldn't use a slide rule. My kids don't know what a slide rule is, and I'd bet money that most of you can't use one even if you have a vague idea of how it worked.
Lovely handwriting is just that: lovely. But it is not a necessity and it will become even less relied on than it is at this dawning of the millennium. I love it that my best friend has beautiful handwriting and that I get to see it when she sends me a card in the snail mail. But I will not put the burden on my children and grandchildren to develop a skill which has no real relevance in modern life unless they have a particular interest in it.
With that disclaimer, I invite you to read but will not take part in TIME magazine's
Mourning the Death of Handwriting
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - How much are politicians straining to convince people that the government is stimulating the economy? In Oregon, where lawmakers are spending $176 million to supplement the federal stimulus, Democrats are taking credit for a remarkable feat: creating 3,236 new jobs in the program's first three months.
But those jobs lasted on average only 35 hours, or about one work week. After that, those workers were effectively back unemployed, according to an Associated Press analysis of state spending and hiring data. By the state's accounting, a job is a job, whether it lasts three hours, three days, three months, or a lifetime."Sometimes some work for an individual is better than no work," said Oregon's Senate president, Peter Courtney.
With the economy in tatters and unemployment rising, Oregon's inventive math underscores the urgency for politicians across the country to show that spending programs designed to stimulate the economy are working—even if that means stretching the facts.
The rest of the scoop here:
SPIN METER: 'Help Wanted' counting stimulus jobs
Tonight, Annie brought her daughter Erin in, with Aubrey's daughter Abigail and Kristen's daughter Carrie, and the three of them showered together, under Annie's supervision. After the usual squeals of glee, I caught the strains of the following song, being sung by all three girls and Annie:
All through the night
Dwell in His promises
Walk in His light
Darkness shall flee
At His command
All through the day and night we’re in His hands...
Now if there's a sweeter sound anywhere, I don't know where it would be...
Here's a picture of them when they got out of the shower:
It's wonderful to be a Granny.
Let me get this straight. I loan you $250,000 so you can buy a house, and you put up the property as collateral and agree to make monthly payments. You end up not being able to make the payments, and I threaten to take the house back. BUT WAIT--Barney Frank says I can't? I have no right to be paid back? Where will the incentive be for the banks to loan to the rest of us??
Frank threatens banks to stop foreclosures
I think I'm now majority titanium and steel!
I guess it was inevitable?
The Green Bible
Actually, I think the most remarkable thing here is that the City Council of Santa Cruz couldn't think of a single reason not to hear her out...
And they wonder why we homeschool.
hat tip: The Papa
So now we know Big Brother's name...
Amazon CEO apologizes for deleting Orwell books
President Obama's rhetoric last night summoned the memory of "1984," George Orwell's novel of a nightmarish future -- where the slogan of the rulers is "War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength."
The president assures us that he will cut health-care spending. . .by adding $1 trillion to health-care spending.
He says that "health-care decisions will not be made by government". . .while he sets up a new Federal Health Board to tell doctors what treatments they can offer and to whom and under what circumstances.
Obama told the media, "I will free doctors to make good health-care decisions". . .by telling the physicians what to do.
When the president says he guarantees the "same coverage" to people who like their current health-insurance policies, he means that their current HMOs, insurers and doctors will be the ones to implement the protocols and instructions the government hands down to them -- not that we'll have our current freedom of decision-making.
When he blandly assures us that we will "stop paying for things that don't make us healthier," he really means that his Federal Health Board will overrule your doctor and stop him from using his own best judgment in your treatment.
The president will "get the politics out of health care" by putting it under government control.
Obama says that he will not "add to the deficit" to fund health care. But the bill reported out by Rep. Charlie Rangel's Ways and Means Committee leaves $550 billion unfunded.
The president says that he'll identify savings that will reduce the need for more taxes -- even though the Congressional Budget Office refuses to say that his "savings" will actually work and warns that the bill will really be added to the deficit.
He repeatedly tells us that he'll cut health-care spending. What he means is that he will cut doctors' incomes and will turn down patients -- particularly the elderly -- when they seek medical care that his bureaucrats disapprove of.
And he ignores that cutting incomes in the medical field will reduce the number of doctors and force further rationing of care.
The president opines that he will replace the most "expensive care" with the "best care" by empowering government officials who have never met you to substitute their judgment for that of your doctor, who has examined you thoroughly.
When Obama laments that "14,000 people lose their insurance every day," he is referring to the job losses that his own failed efforts to end the recession have permitted.
He warns that health-care costs are gobbling up money that employers should use to raise wages and worker pay -- yet the plans he backs would require employers to pay 8 percent of their payroll as a tax or provide insurance to their workers.
The Obama plan highlights greater preventive care -- but, at the same time, cuts medical incomes and so will cut the number of doctors who might provide it.
The stimulus package, in the Gospel According to Barack, was "designed" to work over the next two years. But at the time, he demanded immediate passage to "jump-start the economy" -- something that clearly did not happen.
Medicare and Medicaid are "driving the deficit" even as he increased the amount of red ink by at least $800 billion in six months with little, if any, increase in the cost of either program.
He says he "expects" banks to repay their TARP money. In fact, they're lining up around the block to do so -- but the Treasury will only permit a handful of them to do so.
In summary, Obama's health program will promote "lower cost and more choice" by increasing spending by $1 trillion, telling patients what care they're permitted to have, and limiting their access to quality care.
Orwell's heirs should sue for violation of copyright.
When the temperature at the National Weather Service station dipped to 58 degrees at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, it wiped out the previous record low for the date of 60 degrees, which was set in 1877.
NWS forecaster Bobby Boyd noted it was the third consecutive morning when Nashville either tied or broke a daily low temperature record.
Coolest July 21 recorded in Nashville as cool wave continues in Tenn.
Yesterday I crossed the six-week mark since the repair of my fracture. This was a milestone because I couldn't put any weight on it for six weeks. I've started putting the weight back on it now, and though it feels very weird, it's absolutely delicious to be able to walk on two legs. Don't ever take it for granted...
There's not much to be thankful for in all the strife over the new universal health care legislation, but it is nice to see that not even the Democrat party can agree amongst themselves. It might not take any resistance at all from the GOP to scuttle this monstrosity.
This morning Shelley had Dave paint her room. Gold. With sparkles. Yeah, it's Shelley ;-)
It's so much fun having twelve of us in the same house. Never a dull moment. And Friday brother Danny and his family will come for the weekend and add to the party for a couple of days. Good times!
“Be sure you see this most wonderful and astonishing of all truths: God took the record of all your sins that made you a debtor to wrath . . ., and instead of holding them up in front of your face and using them as the warrant to send you to hell, God put them in the palm of his Son’s hand and drove a spike through them into the cross. It is a bold and graphic statement: He canceled the record of our debt . . . nailing it to the cross (Col. 2:14).”
- John Piper, This Momentary Marriage (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2009), 45.
(via First Importance)
How do we know? Well, if the guy who was smart enough to be the president of Harvard says it, must be true, right?
Of all the statistics pouring into the White House every day, top economic adviser Larry Summers highlighted one Friday to make his case that the economic free-fall has ended.
The number of people searching for the term “economic depression” on Google is down to normal levels, Summers said.
Searches for the term were up four-fold when the recession deepened in the earlier part of the year, and the recent shift goes to show consumer confidence is higher, Summers told the Peterson Institute for International Economics. [Emphasis mine]
Yep, this is the kind of Bozo that's tinkering under the hood with the largest economy in the world. I'm comfortable, you?
Larry Summers cites Google search as progress
July 17, 2009 --
PRESIDENT Obama promises that "if you like your health plan, you can keep it," even after he reforms our health-care system. That's untrue. The bills now before Congress would force you to switch to a managed-care plan with limits on your access to specialists and tests.
Two main bills are being rushed through Congress with the goal of combining them into a finished product by August. Under either, a new government bureaucracy will select health plans that it considers in your best interest, and you will have to enroll in one of these "qualified plans." If you now get your plan through work, your employer has a five-year "grace period" to switch you into a qualified plan. If you buy your own insurance, you'll have less time.
And as soon as anything changes in your contract -- such as a change in copays or deductibles, which many insurers change every year -- you'll have to move into a qualified plan instead (House bill, p. 16-17).
When you file your taxes, if you can't prove to the IRS that you are in a qualified plan, you'll be fined thousands of dollars -- as much as the average cost of a health plan for your family size -- and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan (House bill, p. 167-168).
It's one thing to require that people getting government assistance tolerate managed care, but the legislation limits you to a managed-care plan even if you and your employer are footing the bill (Senate bill, p. 57-58). The goal is to reduce everyone's consumption of health care and to ensure that people have the same health-care experience, regardless of ability to pay.
Nowhere does the legislation say how much health plans will cost, but a family of four is eligible for some government assistance until their household income reaches $88,000 (House bill, p. 137). If you earn more than that, you'll have to pay the cost no matter how high it goes.
Are you ready? Better start saving up now for all that universal, lower-cost health care. While you're at it, decrease the number of exemptions on your withholding and be prepared for a whopping big tax bill.
And don't say I haven't been warning you.
O'S BROKEN PROMISES
Today Thomas Sowell is contemplating the unfairness of it all:
Sometimes, when I hear about "disparities" and "inequities," I think of a disparity that applied directly to me-- the disparity in basketball ability between myself and Michael Jordan....Think about it: Michael Jordan made millions of dollars because of having a talent that was totally denied to me. Through no fault of my own, I had to spend years studying economics, in order to make a living.
Government to the rescue!
A Personal Inequity
I think I'm going to try this! And then, I'm going to teach it to my kids!
Joe Biden: ‘We Have to Go Spend Money to Keep From Going Bankrupt’
Man Charged $23 Quadrillion for Smokes
Okay, so here's the deal. If you are successful enough (and/or insensitive enough, gosh darn it) to earn over $350,000 a year, we've decided to punish you by forcing you to buy insurance coverage not just for yourself but for all the people who are either indigent or for the people who would rather spend their money on other things than all that expensive health coverage. I mean, there are iPhones, right?
And notice by my emphasis below that the 5.4% is only greasing the skids. It will be more. Lots more.
July 15 (Bloomberg) -- House Democrats plan to fund the broadest U.S. health-care expansion in four decades by increasing taxes on the, imposing a surtax of 5.4 percent on couples with more than $1 million in income.
The legislation unveiled yesterday would place additional taxes on households with more than $350,000 a year in income and calls for further increases if the measure doesn’t hit a target for cost savings. The provisions are intended to raise $544 billion over 10 years. [emphasis mine]
Obviously health care is now a constitutional right. As is a free cell phone if you can't afford one. Keep your eyes open, friend. It will not stop here.
Nearly all my professors are Democrats. Isn't that a problem?
UK health booklet's message: Teen s*x can be fun
ACE Hardware stores
Freelance writers :-)
Labels: Theater of the Absurd
And don't miss the last nugget...
Trivial Pursuit in Washington
This weekend the family and I (well, I mostly watched) did a major overhaul of our bedroom, trying to make the arrangement and traffic patterns easier and less conducive to the kind of mishap from which I am still recovering. I'm delighted with the results and enjoying a more open feel. It really was a family effort including sons-in-law and grandchildren. They are TERRIFIC!
So this week we'll get to see the media and the Democrats temporarily shift their fawning and their "thrill up the leg" from The One to the woman he has nominated to continue our country's slouching toward Gomorrah on the Supreme Court. I don't suppose the outcome is in doubt...but I do hope that before finally being seated she will be exposed for the dangerous judicial activist she is and will continue to be.
Annie's BBQ brisket sandwiches and roasted potatoes made for a DELICIOUS Sunday dinner!
I'm sure it says something...though I haven't figured out just what...that when I hear the name of a current television show, there's only about a 20% likelihood that I've even heard of it, let alone seen it. Maybe I'm old? I've lost interest? There are more shows now so you can't possibly have heard of as many of them as before?
Is Leon Panetta for real? Does no one have the courage to tell the man (or his boss) that he is so far out of his league as to engender little other than laughter? Can we please bring back the grownups?
One of the things I miss during the summer is a nice oil/kerosene lamp. During the summer I can't stand the thought of one more heat-producing element, but I do miss that comforting glow.
I'm currently reading John Piper's The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God. One of those books you hope will never be over.
And as my love for books continues to increase even as my available shelf space continues to decrease, I'm again thinking about a Kindle. I know, I'm hopeless. I think if every single book I wanted to read were available on audio, I might not consider it, and yet there are times when holding a book is preferable to sitting or standing with earbuds in your ears. So I'm just sayin'...
I can't tell you what fun it is to have all the children and grandchildren in town. All have season passes to Six Flags and are enjoying frequent outings over there, despite the heat. The little girls are having sleepovers and the boys are having water gun fights and the teenagers/young adults are having movie and game nights and just generally enjoying one another. This is the life...
Hope you have a great week and stay COOL!
By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON | Posted Wednesday, July 08, 2009 4:20 PM PT
The Obama administration might like to "spread the wealth around," but its proposed "health care reform" wouldn't spread consumer choice around. Rather, it would constrict consumer choice substantially — except for the very rich.
That's the great irony of President Obama's ambitious health care agenda: His administration, which seems to feel little empathy for the rich, is paving the way to a two-tiered system in which only the very rich would have a choice.
Under ObamaCare, the rich would continue to get the care they want — whether here or abroad — by paying for it out of their own pockets. The rest of us would stand in line and wait for rationed care.
Most Americans want consumer freedom. They want to be able to shop for health care value — for the best care, at the best prices. They'd like to have a lot more freedom to shop for such value than they currently have. That's why Democrats are couching their proposed expansion of government-run health care in the language of competition and choice.
Listen to the president as he pitches the centerpiece of that agenda — a "public option," a form of Medicare for all. He says it's merely a way to give Americans another choice: People can buy private health insurance, just like now, or they can instead choose the government option.
But millions of middle-class Americans who are happy with their employer-provided insurance would soon find the choice isn't theirs to make.
The government would make it cheaper for employers to contribute to the government-run option than to keep providing private insurance.
Millions of employers would do the math and pick the government option. The "public option" would provide a choice — for millions of employers, against the wishes of millions of employees. [emphasis mine]
PLEASE, if you care about what's about to happen to your own health care, read the fine print and the projections of the "unintended" consequences. I put "unintended" in quotes because this is exactly what Obama intends but just doesn't want us to know it. Yet.
In ObamaCare, Middle Class Gets The Shaft
WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shut the door Thursday to a resolution honoring Michael Jackson because debate on the symbolic measure could raise "contrary views" about the pop star's life.More here:
Lawmakers are free to use House speeches "to express their sympathy or their praise any time that they wish," said Pelosi, D-Calif. "I don't think it's necessary for us to have a resolution."
A resolution sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, cites some of the singer's charitable acts and proclaims him an American legend, musical icon and world humanitarian.
Even before Pelosi's comments, some Democrats said privately they did not support the resolution and a divisive debate would hurt House efforts to muster the votes for priorities such as health care and climate change.
Pelosi: Resolution on Michael Jackson unnecessary
Labels: Theater of the Absurd
While I do not agree with the author that "we agree that basic health insurance should be universal" if what he means is that I should be forced to pay for yours, I do think there's a lot of sense in what he's saying. If we're going to be forced by Obama and Co. to buy a bill of goods, shouldn't it at least be the bill most likely to provide some tangible benefit AND be sustainable in some basic sense?
If you've raised children over the past 40 years, you've seen "Sesame Street." For years, "Sesame Street" had a segment featuring this song: "One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong."
There were always four objects. Three of them were very similar, while the fourth was distinct. Young viewers were challenged to discern which object was different.
My kids are older now, but as a physician, I have been reminded of "Sesame Street" as Congress undertakes debate over health reform, especially the so-called public option -- a government-funded and managed insurance plan supporters claim will provide choice and competition in health care.
Public option proponents like to predict that this new optional insurance will work "just like Medicare, but for everyone," a line that sends chills of sheer terror through medical providers.
Medicare has four parts: Parts A through C and Part D, the fairly recent prescription drug benefit implemented by the Bush administration. Let's put Medicare to the Sesame Street test. A and B are wholly government-funded and operated. C is different, but still government-run. All are effectively single-payer systems.
In contrast, Part D is federally funded and organized, but administered by private insurance providers. Market competition impacts its costs. Which of these parts is not like the others?
Read this physician's answer and the implications here:
After a full week of vigorous (euphemism for "torturous") physical therapy, I am definitely much stronger than I was last week. Thank God for some really good therapists and a location very close to our house.
Despite my semi-isolation, it's been a fun, loud week at Granny's House. Baking marathons, shopping trips, little-girl sleepovers, late movie nights, water fights in six inches of a splash pool, and the annual swapping of sister clothes and shoes have brought all the smiles we're used to when we're blessed enough to have all the kids and grandkids in the same place for even a few weeks.
I can't claim to get in Sarah Palin's head and know all the reasons that prompted her to make the decision to resign. What I do know is that as I've watched her since the election, I've often wondered if I'd be willing to stay in a situation that continues to devastate her family. Ironically, the very "ethics" rules she put in place to combat a state full of corrupt politicians became the weapon of choice of her enemies as they have slowly and painfully drained her family of resources, forcing her to defend herself against ridiculous charges. But whatever her explanations, she will continue to be ridiculed and marginalized by the left and by elements of the so-called "big tent" right who are embarrassed by her very existence. At least now she can breathe and take some time to think about whether she wants to continue to subject herself and her family to more of the same in the run-up to 2012...
Planning an airline trip this summer or fall? Check out this handy comparison of the fees charged by the different carriers for checking bags, changing itinerary, sending unaccompanied minors, etc. The fees can really make a difference! (Click on the chart to enlarge.) The State of the American Airline Industry
The Papa has been monitoring the attendance and activities at the Tea Parties around the country this weekend. Not that you'd have heard much about it anywhere else, what with all the MJ-All-The-Time coverage and the mainstream media's reluctance to even acknowledge the rising discontent in the country over the economic "fixes" we're enduring. But it is interesting to see how many folks braved heat and rain yesterday to make sure their voices were heard.
And speaking of weather, San Antonio is experiencing one of the hottest, driest summers on record. The upside is that our economy here is one of the best in the country--not that it's great anywhere right now, but if you're willing to endure three-digit days and brown lawns, you can live in a place with fairly low unemployment, still-booming housing and hotel industries, a state with no income tax and no budget deficit, and a business environment that is attracting employers coming from both coasts. But did I mention it's really hot?
I'm enjoying a little book called Life's Little Annoyances: True Tales of People Who Just Can't Take It Anymore. There's something therapeutic about hearing other people's strategies for dealing with phone menu loops, rude clerks, junk mail, rejection letters, etc. Amazon has it for a bargain price, so get a copy and make yourself feel a little better :-)
Last night I dreamed that I went out with the kids in the yard and did cartwheels. Hope your dreams for the summer are just as fun but more realistic ;-) Have a great week!
And they will be.
After being asked when the public should begin judging the success of the nearly $800-billion stimulus plan, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs answered, "I think we should begin to judge it now."
Let's take his advice.
The administration warned that if we failed to support a stimulus package, unemployment would hit a dire 9 percent by 2010. With the stimulus, unemployment, it claimed, would stay in the 8-percent range.
This week, the Labor Department announced that the jobless rate jumped to 9.5 percent, higher than any time since August 1983.
It's not as if the administration was close. As the New York Times notes, "the difference between the situation that the Obama advisers predicted and the one that has come to pass is about 2.5 million jobs. It's as if every worker in the city of Los Angeles received an unexpected layoff notice."
Don't get too dejected, though. We still have an economic plan with a heaping dose of hope.
Surely, you'll feel better when the president begins doling out his two-pronged, faith-based explanation — and if we're lucky, he'll do it at a "town hall" meetings with approximately 100 of his closest friends.
First, you should always assume things could have been worse.
If you can stomach the particulars, go on reading:
A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered.
Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another.
The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.