June 27, 2009
What is work, and what is play? Some say that when you enjoy your work, it isn't work at all. I would contend that these people have perhaps settled on an endeavor that doesn't require them to work very hard. Though Nic loves the endeavor he's chosen, it has worked him to the bone trying to learn about it.
There hasn't been much play in Nic's life over the past five years. I mean that in the best way, because it reflects on the mountainous amount of work he has been doing in that time.
Did you know that he went directly from a bachelor's degree to his master's program, pausing only long enough to bid his well-loved Chicago apartment adieu before trekking to the unknown territory of Kalamazoo, Michigan?
Did you know that, despite all apprehensions about the outcome of the program, and after unknown hundreds of hours of reading complicated and often confusingly technical analytic philosophical texts, he today completed his master's degree in philosophy?
Did you know that while he was earning that degree in his own classes and coursework, he also taught at least one section (sometimes more) of undergrad-level courses, earning him the distinction of being chosen as the outstanding excellence in teaching award winner for both his department and for the university-wide selection?
Did you know that this degree and awards comprise hundreds of hours of time spent reading, thinking, writing, reading, preparing, teaching, reading, questioning, lecturing and, yes, more reading? There is never a break, never time to read for fun, rarely even time to sleep enough.
Nic also managed to apply to PhD programs during the winter, while he was taking two classes and teaching two. And would you believe he was accepted to the first program he wanted, and several more?
Nic would probably say he doesn't deserve all this praise. That might be because he is too modest, so I will say for him that I've seen the time, energy, emotional and mental effort that he has put into earning his credentials, and he has more than earned the accolades I'm giving him.
So, my hat is off to Nic in celebration of his earning this degree and I can't wait to congratulate his next academic achievement!
And, just because it's nice to see him happy, here are some recent photos of Nic at play.
June 26, 2009
Nothing satisfies me more these days than seeing a foreign nation going public with its own declaration of right-on opinions.
Personally, I've long since stopped caring about the "global warming debate" because I am so convinced that mankind is not primarily responsible for the Earth's heating and cooling cycles, and no amount of Al Gore scare-tastic facts will dissuade me. I say phooey to wind power, biodiesel cars, those fancy (read: expensive) lightbulbs and, especially, a cap and trade bill! Way to take the gas (literally) out of our auto industry, Pres. O!
But I am thrilled to see that scientists in other countries are speaking up - maybe out of sheer frustration with the U.S.'s refusal to give creedence to scientific evidence that doesn't support their agenda - in opposition to the cap and trade bill being pushed by Congress (being voted on today, by the way). Some nations have even eliminated global-warming friendly laws and squelched any new legislation of its kind from popping up.
Check out this article on The Wall Street Journal online and be encouraged! If you've previously been considered a global warming "denier" (pretty scathing language if you think about other references to historical denials), you'll be happy to know the rest of the world is more with you than against you.
Happy Friday! Let's celebrate the (hopefully) denial of the cap and trade bill by setting off all those fun non-eco-friendly fireworks you've been saving!
June 23, 2009
Just wanted to write quickly that I do hope to be posting some original material soon. I have had a massive headache and have been too distracted to sit down and write lately, but I have a couple of things in the works and I hope to post them later this week, or early next week at the latest. Sorry for the long pause, content-wise, but I hope you have been enjoying all the links and clips. Please continue to check back soon, as I may even put up more photos- yeah!
It's not that I want him to fail. BUT, I am very pleased to see other people, especially in the press room, finally asking questions of The One that require him to defend his position. I'm encouraged that not everyone is asking the neat, pre-packaged questions like ABC or Huffington Post.
Via HotAir which, if you haven't checked out yet, you'll soon realize it's a goldmine for current news. I "borrow" from them all the time!
June 20, 2009
In the tumultuous political haze in Iran, protesters of the rigged vote run from the Basij (government police) and, when in large enough groups, steal their night sticks or pelt them with rocks. Occasionally they chant for the end of the dictatorship, or the death of the dictator, it's hard to make out which it is because of the general din being overheard, some of which is gunfire, some of which is hitting and killing those protesters. The Iranian people stand in fear of the outcome of the events, wondering whether the world, any nation, will come to their aid, even if simply in word and not deed. They fearfully, prayerfully await that answer.
But in another corner of the world, a man stands in front of many faces awaiting his most important answer, an answer that might just decide the rest of the night and, possibly, even the lives of those around him: Will it be one scoop or two, President Obama?
Yes, because while Iran quite literally burns, our current coward-in-chief decided that he'd rather go out for dessert with his two girls than think about that icky Iran situation. Ugh, foreign affairs are so... foreign. They are so far removed from the United States, a delightful land of plenty both materially (thanks to capitalism, which he'd like to forget) and politically (thanks to his own hubris, which he is quick to remind us).
I know what you gentle readers might say, "It's father's day weekend! Isn't even the President allowed a little r&r with his kids for that?"
Well, yes, of course he is. But perhaps it is not unfair either to request he take care of work matters before going out for two scoops with sprinkles?! I certainly think a coup in the making deserves more thought than his "I urge the Iranian government to stop the violence" rhetoric.
When I said a while ago that I didn't think Obama would institute any "real change" because he doesn't have any real opinions, I was wrong. He has opinions, but they are limited to domestic issues. Iran's controversy, of course, falls out of that sphere- unless you believe what's going on there is a matter of somewhat democratic issue, which Obama himself first stated, then sort of retracted in favor of the "why don't you guys just dialogue it out" shtick.
Obama's a man- Nic calls him the "un-man," which is so trenchant- who relies on ideology alone, so when a real, bloody battle is being fought out because of a difference in opinion over a piece of that ideology (in this case, the opinion of who gets to decide the leader of a nation, the people or the government in office), he has nothing real, nothing comforting or helpful to say.
So instead, he goes out for ice cream.
What flavor, you ask? The best and only choice for an un-man, the most un-flavor there is: vanilla.
June 15, 2009
Top U.S. officials are now saying that the election was obviously rigged. How else could the third party candidate only receive 1% of the vote? How could Mousavi lose by so wide a margin when last week the nation was in almost full support of him? The Ayatollah is requesting a recount be done, with little enthusiasm.
There are riots all over Tehran and other cities in Iran, with at least 50 dead. I'm sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, already injured in attacks from the riot police and as bystanders. Please watch some videos on what's going on - hotair has good links - and keep them in your thoughts and, if possible, on your blogs and public accounts. Why should they be beaten senseless for merely trying to elect whom they want to elect?
I don't know much about the situation, but it's bloody and brutal and the corrupt government under Ahmadinejad's rule is behind it. Oh, and he has said publicly that he "can't guarantee the safety of Mousavi." That alone should be enough to arouse suspicion that he's up to no good.
June 13, 2009
P.S. This begins a week-long series of photo posts, since N suggested I should let someone else see them. Reluctantly, I agree. Please do your best to ignore how random the order is... Hope you enjoy!
We've seen many sunsets while on the road between MI, WI and IL.
Pousse-Pousse likes to stay home and watch for birds.
The birds I've seen have mostly been through the sun roof.
Visiting an old stomping ground while conferencing in Chicago.
When it finally thawed, I used these tools to cultivate...
And I would've helped blow out the candles, but was told, "No ladies allowed!"
On a Chicago pass-through we saw hot pink hydrangeas and had sushi.
We also got to visit with this hot pink chica and her hospitable parents. Oh, and the newest addition to their family...
Pousse, once again left at home, snoozed and dreamed of running down long hallways in a new apartment.
I miss dearly spots like this little backyard barbeque when we leave.
But, home is where the scrabble is, and we can take it with to a new city.
As long as he has these shelves to climb, P is happy anywhere.
In a month or so, we leave Kzoo and head back out on the road...
More photos to come of the new city of residence...
June 10, 2009
Crosstalk had a program on Tuesday talking about the importance of raising our children with a Christian education. And I don't mean having Christians in public schools, because a few small voices there- heck, even a couple hundred loud voices- won't change the pc-driven, secular humanist state of the government school system.
The guest stressed that starting a church-school is not difficult, does not require much funding, or even accredited teachers. There is a plethora of solid Christian curriculum available for low cost; one of those mentioned by the guest was found at Alpha and Omega Ministries, the online theological ministry of Dr. James White. I didn't even know he had elementary-level education sources, but I'm sure it is solid doctrinally. (Visit here for more information on Dr. White and his ministry.)
I can't stress enough the importance of raising up children within a Christian framework. And not just as an alternative to the "rational, scientific" secular worldview; we all know that view is BLATANTLY BIASED. The myth of neutrality is just that, a myth, and the secular humanist side is so rampant that children need to learn their presuppositions- such as their toting rationality and empiricism as if those were ONLY available within a secular view when, in fact, they ONLY make sense in light of God's truth!
Please, listen to this program. I hope you will also pass it along to any parents you know, or church members, or both, who have almost school-age children and are unsure what to do with them. I think a small group of parents who rotated responsibility of hosting school at their homes could accomplish this, too! Hopefully this program will give you some good ideas.
Is it lame of me to let videos- made by other people, no less- do the talking this week? Well, so be it. When you don't know what to say, bring out the visual aids!
This one comes from politicalmath.wordpress.com, by way of Hot Air (I really should start finding my own links and stop incessantly biting from them!). It demonstrates the promises made by Obama regarding how many jobs would be saved or created- promises made prior to the "stimulus" bill being hastily signed into law- in order to articulate the necessity of signing said bill.
You might say this disparity between Obama's promises and the reality of his policies has stimulated me. But, unfortunately, his plan has not stimulated the economy to the tune he hoped it would. There's that blasted mantra of his again- "hope"- so maddeningly overused and underappreciated by The One. You might say he is singlehandedly stripping the word of all its power. How can someone use a word so much without knowing its meaning? (Ah, but that's the same question I ask myself when I hear the phrase "that begs the question" being employed when someone clearly means "that prompts me to ask.")
June 9, 2009
June 8, 2009
If you have been paying attention to the most recent speeches from our dear Pres., you will notice his penchant for both/and language (meaning, he makes sure to legitimize each side of the debate, while retaining his annoying holier-than-thou attitude). I said it a while ago, that he doesn't have any real committments to most foreign issues. His agenda is clear- to sovietize our nation- and anything outside of that is, well, kinda boring.
Update: Parisienne Farmgirl's comment!
"Let me be clear. I understand where you are coming from. From my humble beginnings, my family, my many faiths. Mine is the American story. Yes I can.
From Obama Beach to Paris I am everywhere, I have lived every story. After turning water to wine I will present to you 600,000 jobs this summer. Let me be clear.
Now is not the time to divide ourselves further by differences in religion. Mine is a story of diversity and thriving in a challenging environment. Even though 9/11 was a trauma to our country, Yes we can. Yes I can. Yes I can close Gitmo. For ours in not a country of torture even though some would say my constant use of certain pronouns could be determined as torture. Perhaps that is the fault of those listening to certain talk show hosts, who watch certain t.v. stations. You've got to turn off Fox New. Yes you can. Yes I can.
Just like I fulfilled my promise to Michelle by taking her to Paris post election I will fulfill my promise to the American people by parting the waters of the Mississippi and clearing the way for thousands of underpriveleged to March to the land of Milk and Honey. Yes we can.
With my nomination of Judge Sodomyor we can now rest assured that a Latina woman will make decisions in a way that will spread equality and the wealth around. Yes she can.
Now is not the time for fun but I have my jet waiting for yet another trip. So much hope to spread, so little time but mine is a story of diversity and conquest.
Yes I can."
June 6, 2009
Mark Steyn, similarly, offers a fresh perspective on foreign policy and a glimpse into the future of our nation's place in it. What do I mean? You'd have to read Steyn to know exactly; as your faithful scouter of all things truthful in a world of embellishments, half-truths and bald-faced lies, I've posted his article from today (found on National Review online.com).
I should mention, he's also devastatingly funny. Enjoy!
As recently as last summer, General Motors filing for bankruptcy would have been the biggest news story of the week. But it’s not such a very great step from the unthinkable to the inevitable, and by the time it actually happened the market barely noticed and the media were focused on the president’s “address to the Muslim world.” As it happens, these two stories are the same story: snapshots, at home and abroad, of the hyperpower in eclipse. It’s a long time since anyone touted GM as the emblematic brand of America — What’s good for GM is good for America, etc. In fact, it’s more emblematic than ever: Like General Motors, the U.S. government spends more than it makes, and has airily committed itself to ever more unsustainable levels of benefits. GM has about 95,000 workers but provides health benefits to a million people: It’s not a business enterprise, but a vast welfare plan with a tiny loss-making commercial sector. As GM goes, so goes America?
But who cares? Overseas, the coolest president in history was giving a speech. Or, as the official press release headlined it on the State Department website, “President Obama Speaks to the Muslim World from Cairo.”
Let’s pause right there: It’s interesting how easily the words “the Muslim world” roll off the tongues of liberal secular progressives who’d choke on any equivalent reference to “the Christian world.” When such hyper-alert policemen of the perimeter between church and state endorse the former but not the latter, they’re implicitly acknowledging that Islam is not merely a faith but a political project, too. There is an “Organization of the Islamic Conference,” which is already the largest single voting bloc at the U.N. and is still adding new members. Imagine if someone proposed an “Organization of the Christian Conference” that would hold summits attended by prime ministers and presidents, and vote as a bloc in transnational bodies. But, of course, there is no “Christian world”: Europe is largely post-Christian and, as President Obama bizarrely asserted to a European interviewer last week, America is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” Perhaps we’re eligible for membership in the OIC.
I suppose the benign interpretation is that, as head of state of the last superpower, Obama is indulging in a little harmless condescension. In his Cairo speech, he congratulated Muslims on inventing algebra and quoted approvingly one of the less bloodcurdling sections of the Koran. As socio-historical scholarship goes, I found myself recalling that moment in the long twilight of the Habsburg Empire when Crown Prince Rudolph and his mistress were found dead at the royal hunting lodge at Mayerling — either a double suicide, or something even more sinister. Happily, in the Broadway musical version, instead of being found dead, the star-crossed lovers emigrate to America and settle down on a farm in Pennsylvania. Recently, my old comrade Stephen Fry gave an amusing lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London on the popular Americanism “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” — or, if something’s bitter and hard to swallow, add sugar and sell it. That’s what the president did with Islam: He added sugar and sold it.
The speech nevertheless impressed many conservatives, including Rich Lowry, my esteemed editor at National Review, “esteemed editor” being the sort of thing one says before booting the boss in the crotch. Rich thought that the president succeeded in his principal task: “Fundamentally, Obama's goal was to tell the Muslim world, ‘We respect and value you, your religion and your civilization, and only ask that you don’t hate us and murder us in return.’” But those terms are too narrow. You don’t have to murder a guy if he preemptively surrenders. And you don’t even have to hate him if you’re too busy despising him. The savvier Muslim potentates have no desire to be sitting in a smelly cave in the Hindu Kush sharing a latrine with a dozen halfwitted goatherds while plotting how to blow up the Empire State Building. Nevertheless, they share key goals with the cave dwellers — including the wish to expand the boundaries of “the Muslim world” and (as in the anti-blasphemy push at the U.N.) to place Islam, globally, beyond criticism. The non-terrorist advance of Islam is a significant challenge to western notions of liberty and pluralism.
Once Obama moved on from the more generalized Islamoschmoozing to the details, the subtext — the absence of American will — became explicit. He used the cover of multilateralism and moral equivalence to communicate, consistently, American weakness: “No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.” Perhaps by “no single nation” he means the “global community” should pick and choose, which means the U.N. Security Council, which means the Big Five, which means that Russia and China will pursue their own murky interests and that, in the absence of American leadership, Britain and France will reach their accommodations with a nuclear Iran, a nuclear North Korea, and any other psycho-state minded to join them.
On the other hand, a “single nation” certainly has the right to tell another nation anything it wants if that nation happens to be the Zionist Entity: As Hillary Clinton just instructed Israel re its West Bank communities, there has to be “a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions.” No “natural growth”? You mean, if you and the missus have a kid, you’ve got to talk gran’ma into moving out? To Tel Aviv, or Brooklyn, or wherever? At a stroke, the administration has endorsed “the Muslim world”’s view of those non-Muslims who happen to find themselves within what it regards as lands belonging to Islam: The Jewish and Christian communities are free to stand still or shrink, but not to grow. Would Obama be comfortable mandating “no natural growth” to Israel’s million-and-a-half Muslims? No. But the administration has embraced the “the Muslim world”’s commitment to one-way multiculturalism, whereby Islam expands in the west but Christianity and Judaism shrivel remorselessly in the Middle East.
And so it goes. Like General Motors, America is “too big to fail.” So it won’t, not immediately. It will linger on in a twilight existence sclerotic and ineffectual, declining unto a kind of societal dementia, unable to keep pace with what’s happening and with an ever more tenuous grip on its own past, but able on occasion to throw out impressive words albeit strung together without much meaning: empower, peace, justice, prosperity — just to take one windy gust from the president’s Cairo speech.
There’s better phrase-making in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, in a coinage of Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Committee on Foreign Relations. The president emeritus is a sober, judicious paragon of torpidly conventional wisdom. Nevertheless, musing on American decline, he writes, “The country's economy, infrastructure, public schools, and political system have been allowed to deteriorate. The result has been diminished economic strength, a less vital democracy, and a mediocrity of spirit.” That last is the one to watch: A great power can survive a lot of things, but not “a mediocrity of spirit.” A wealthy nation living on the accumulated cultural capital of a glorious past can dodge its rendezvous with fate, but only for a while. That sound you heard in Cairo is the tingy ping of a hollow superpower.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2009 Mark Steyn
June 5, 2009
Have a firey Friday, and a nice weekend everyone.
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, June 5, 2009
President Obama repeatedly insists that American foreign policy be conducted with modesty and humility. Above all, there will be no more "dictating" to other countries. We should "forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions," he told the G-20 summit. In Middle East negotiations, he told al-Arabiya, America will henceforth "start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating."
An admirable sentiment. It applies to everyone -- Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria, even Venezuela. Except Israel. Israel is ordered to freeze all settlement activity. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton imperiously explained the diktat: "a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions."
What's the issue? No "natural growth" means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining. It means no increase in population. Which means no babies. Or if you have babies, no housing for them -- not even within the existing town boundaries. Which means for every child born, someone has to move out. No community can survive like that. The obvious objective is to undermine and destroy these towns -- even before negotiations.
To what end? Over the past decade, the U.S. government has understood that any final peace treaty would involve Israel retaining some of the close-in settlements -- and compensating the Palestinians accordingly with land from within Israel itself.
That was envisioned in the Clinton plan in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, and again at Taba in 2001. After all, why expel people from their homes and turn their towns to rubble when, instead, Arabs and Jews can stay in their homes if the 1949 armistice line is shifted slightly into the Palestinian side to capture the major close-in Jewish settlements, and then shifted into Israeli territory to capture Israeli land to give to the Palestinians?
This idea is not only logical, not only accepted by both Democratic and Republican administrations for the past decade, but was agreed to in writing in the letters of understanding exchanged between Israel and the United States in 2004 -- and subsequently overwhelmingly endorsed by a concurrent resolution of Congress.
Yet the Obama State Department has repeatedly refused to endorse these agreements or even say it will honor them. This from a president who piously insists that all parties to the conflict honor previous obligations. And who now expects Israel to accept new American assurances in return for concrete and irreversible Israeli concessions, when he himself has just cynically discarded past American assurances.
The entire "natural growth" issue is a concoction. Is the peace process moribund because a teacher in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is making an addition to her house to accommodate new grandchildren? It is perverse to make this the center point of the peace process at a time when Gaza is run by Hamas terrorists dedicated to permanent war with Israel and when Mahmoud Abbas, having turned down every one of Ehud Olmert's peace offers, brazenly declares that he is in a waiting mode -- waiting for Hamas to become moderate and for Israel to cave -- before he'll do anything to advance peace.
In his much-heralded "Muslim world" address in Cairo yesterday, Obama declared that the Palestinian people's "situation" is "intolerable." Indeed it is, the result of 60 years of Palestinian leadership that gave its people corruption, tyranny, religious intolerance and forced militarization; leadership that for three generations rejected every offer of independence and dignity, choosing destitution and despair rather than accept any settlement not accompanied by the extinction of Israel.
That's why Haj Amin al-Husseini chose war rather than a two-state solution in 1947. Why Yasser Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in 2000. And why Abbas rejected Olmert's even more generous December 2008 offer.
In the 16 years since the Oslo accords turned the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians, their leaders built no roads, no courthouses, no hospitals, none of the fundamental state institutions that would relieve their people's suffering. Instead they poured everything into an infrastructure of war and terror, all the while depositing billions (from gullible Western donors) into their Swiss bank accounts.
Obama says he came to Cairo to tell the truth. But he uttered not a word of that. Instead, among all the bromides and lofty sentiments, he issued but one concrete declaration of new American policy: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," thus reinforcing the myth that Palestinian misery and statelessness are the fault of Israel and the settlements.
Blaming Israel and picking a fight over "natural growth" may curry favor with the Muslim "street." But it will only induce the Arab states to do like Abbas: sit and wait for America to deliver Israel on a platter. Which makes the Obama strategy not just dishonorable but self-defeating.
June 3, 2009
The Susan B. Anthony List is hosting a contest for all young pro-lifers, with the winning videos receiving $1000 scholarships!
SBA List is a leading pro-life organization, helping spread the word early about Kathleen Sebelius and frequently updating us on abortion legislation being proposed, even in its infant stages. (Sorry for the unintentional pun.)
If you have a 12-18 year-old pro-life kid in your house, this is his/her chance to support the unborn in a unique way! SBA List will feature the winning videos in an upcoming online campaign for life.
June 2, 2009
Is there more to say than that line packs in? Perhaps. On CrossTalk today, Tom DeWeese ("one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, property rights and back-to-basics education") commented candidly on the state of our union. The president and founder of the American Policy Center, and Editor-in-Chief of The DeWeese Report, delivered a stern warning that socialism IS afoot. It's not coming, it's here. And the best way to stem the tide is to keep fighting it with every capitalist bone in your body.
DeWeese ended the second portion of the program by going into detail about what might be next on Obama's Socialist Neo-Anarchist Protocol (O-SNAP! I just made that up.) : natural supplements and organic food. When Pelosi said that "green" cars are what people should want to buy, you can bet she and her deceptive cohorts have it in mind to limit products to only what you should want. What did I say last month- we're headed toward Sovietism.
Click this link to go to CrossTalk for Tuesday with Tom DeWeese.