Well, that business about the chair breaking wasn't exactly the best part of the day, but it sure was funny at the time.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Well, that business about the chair breaking wasn't exactly the best part of the day, but it sure was funny at the time.
...but not with Sudoku. I gave up on that after it sucked a couple of hours out of my life, leaving no trace of anything productive, useful, or even fun, toward the end. In each game I played, just when I thought I had several rows, squares, and columns wrapped up, I'd discover an extra "1" or "9" or whatever where it shouldn't be. "D'oh!!!"
I'll let my husband remain the unchallenged Soduku champion.
So no Sudoku for me, but I've been busy anyway with our little homeschool, or as the DPI likes to put it, our "home-based private educational program". I'm happy to say that it's going very well. We're in the fifth week of the quarter, and having the best start to the year we've ever had.
I attribute that mostly to the fact that I've spent the last year paring out the non-essentials from my life (including teaching at Carroll College, doing the homeschool group newsletter, and a few other things).
Still, I am finding a little time to blog again. (It beats Sudoku any day, hands down.) You can find me over at the BBA today, posting about the ban on human cloning that was just passed by our State Senate, and which is just about to be vetoed by our governor.
(I spent a few moments there trying to think of a choice adjective to put in front of "governor", but my mother always said that if you can't say anything nice, you must be talking about a Democrat. Wait, that's not what she said! But you get the point.)
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Drudge links to this as his main headline today.
I disagree with this assessment (from above link):
Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss cited telephone breakdowns as a primary cause of reporting errors, but said the fact that most evacuees were poor African Americans also played a part.What's he saying here? That white people would have been less likely to start these kinds of rumors, or less likely to pass them on? I'm not so sure; I've heard plenty of gullible white people passing along all kinds of urban legends as gospel truth.
"If the dome and Convention Center had harbored large numbers of middle class white people," Amoss said, "it would not have been a fertile ground for this kind of rumor-mongering."
Perhaps blacks are more used to living with violence in their neighborhoods, so they were willing to believe that murders and rapes could be taking place. It's also possible that oral story-telling is more central to black culture, but that's just flat-out conjecture on my part. (I surely hope it doesn't sound racist because it's absolutely not meant to be; when you're as much of a white-bread suburbanite as I am, it's hard to have a good ear for these things, and of course these days, almost everything can be construed to be racist.)
I still think much of the blame has to be placed on the media itself for accepting and passing along wild rumors as fact. I warned about this here and here.
Of course, the reporters are only human, and they, too, were caught up in the true horror of witnessing the disappearance by drowning of a beloved American city.
The Corner is on top of this story now (h/t Instapundit).
And as far as my blogging during this: Golly, I wish I had posted about my skepticism on the reports of young girls being raped and killed in the Superdome. As I said to my husband at the time, "Weren't there any men, any fathers, in that place? Because if there were, they wouldn't have let anybody do that to a young girl -- or any woman, for that matter!"
I also wish I'd posted about my doubts about the stories of scores of bodies being piled up in the Superdome and Convention Center.
Then I could really crow about my astute blogging. As it is now, I can just sort of weakly pat myself on the back for my tepid little warnings about media inaccuracy.
Oh well. Next time. If, God forbid, there is a next time.
When I titled this post the way I did, it was meant to be humorous, of course.
But look at this google search that brought someone to my blog today.
Normally I'd be happy to be the first hit on a google search, but I'm not so sure that being the first hit on a search for a classic example of bad writing is a good thing.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Here's the truth about what happened in the Dome and the Convention Center in New Orleans.
"I think 99 percent of it is bulls---," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Lachney, who played a key role in security and humanitarian work inside the Dome. "Don't get me wrong, bad things happened, but I didn't see any killing and raping and cutting of throats or anything. ... Ninety-nine percent of the people in the Dome were very well-behaved."I knew that those stories about gang rapes, throat-slittings, and other mayhem were just wild stories and rumors. Every televised report I saw about it was always, "Somebody told me." Never, "I saw a murder in front of my own eyes." Not once.
The other reason I was very skeptical is that every time I saw footage from inside the Convention Center (Geraldo's report on FOX, for example), they were reasonable and well-spoken, and the people in the background were quietly sitting or walking around, not rioting, shouting, fighting, etc.
Yet even Matt Labash seemed to fall for some of the worst stories.
And that's not even the worst of it. A block away, I meet Patricia Watts, a postal employee, standing in the back of a line for escape buses, a line she's stood in futilely for three successive days. The buses never came. Watts tells me that there are dead babies, and that they are being kept in the freezer in the kitchen of the convention center. I dash to the side service entrance to confirm this and am forbidden from entering by an Arkansas National Guardsman. "Sorry sir," he says. "We can't let you in." I tell him why I've come, and though he hasn't seen them personally, he tells me it's his understanding that the story's true. "But I can't let you enter in case something happens to you." God forbid a reporter should slip and fall on his way to checking out dead babies in the freezer.See what I mean? No one had really seen them -- but they all believed the unbelievable.
So why didn't the media do its job? Why did they just pass along false rumors, and racist ones at that?
Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan said authorities had confirmed only four murders in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina - making it a typical week in a city that anticipated more than 200 homicides this year. Jordan expressed outrage at reports from many national media outlets that suffering flood victims had turned into mobs of unchecked savages.No kidding! But then, why would we expect the highest standards of journalism from MSM? Haven't we learned?
"I had the impression that at least 40 or 50 murders had occurred at the two sites," he said. "It's unfortunate we saw these kinds of stories saying crime had taken place on a massive scale when that wasn't the case. And they (national media outlets) have done nothing to follow up on any of these cases, they just accepted what people (on the street) told them. ... It's not consistent with the highest standards of journalism."
And why did we all believe the worst about the people of New Orleans? We were willing to believe that our fellow citizens were monsters.
Was there some racism involved? If it was racism, it was black on black racism as well, because the black folks seemed to believe and pass along the stories just as readily as the white reporters.
Was it just fear of what was happening as we watched a city destroyed by a storm before our very eyes?
Was it a lack of critical thinking, a certain gullibilty? Or just the love of a good urban legend in the making?
And why are we still so willing to believe the media?
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I'm posting over at the BBA again about this topic.
My fear is that too many citizens have given up. I feel this way myself sometimes; that it's hopeless, government spending is out of control, the system is completely broken, we are no longer a republic, we are an empire, and those who hold the purse strings are so far removed from those who earn the money in the first place that there's no way to get it back under control.
I'm encouraged by this, this, and this, but disheartened by the lack of response from local bloggers so far.
Monday, September 19, 2005
It's infuriating that the media only offers two choices in polls about how to pay for Katrina: Either cut spending in Iraq, or raise taxes.
There are other options! First, start with Glenn Reynolds' great poll. See what a difference it makes when you give people other response choices?
Now, Glenn and N.Z. Bear have teamed up to get the blogosphere involved in idenifying pork in the federal budget. I posted about it at the BBA. The idea is to identify spending that could be cut so that we can pay for Katrina.
So far, bloggers have identified almost $13,000,000,000 in pork. I'm sure by the time you click on that link it will be higher.
The object of this exercise should be to find pork that we personally are willing to sacrifice. It's always easy to point to someone else's federal windfall as wasteful, but harder -- and far more productive -- to cut our own dependence on government money. (See this post for one example of the attitude you'll need to cut the purse strings.)
It helps to always remember that "government money" is nothing but our own money taken from us in the first place, of course.
I'm going to call the New Berlin mayor today, to find out what kind of federal money we get here, and I'm also going to call my State Rep and State Senator.
Anyone else want to join in, please do.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Saturday, September 10, 2005
I've been posting a little bit over at the Badger Blog Alliance about the possibly illegal confiscation of guns from New Orleans residents.
The thought of the New Orleans police being the only ones with guns is somehow not very reassuring. I wouldn't feel any better about it if I lived down there, either.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
There is a tendency in the Modern age to think that the problems of our forefathers are behind us, and for the most part they are, but its times like this that remind you just how weak we are in the face of true disaster.
We are all living just 72 hours from the 18th century.
It probably surprised a lot of people when homeschoolers said they didn't want the $100 tax credit that State Senator Tom Reynolds put in the budget at the 11th hour back in July. (Just a clarification: Doyle vetoed it; see the link for details.)
Why? Because all the cliches apply:
The fact is, Wisconsin is a good state in which to homeschool and we really don't want to mess with that. In one study, Wisconsin ranked third in the nation in terms of educational freedom.
Our state homeschool laws work well; we don't need to change anything about them. As soon as you do -- even to provide a tax benefit of any kind -- you make homeschoolers a target for new legislation.
The immediate impulse would be, "You're getting some tax money back? Then we need to make sure you use it well!" or some something similar.
Yes, we homeschoolers pay double -- or triple -- since we pay our taxes for public schools, we pay for our own books, curriculum, and all other educational materials, and in some cases we also help support parish schools.
But that's OK.
To our state government: Please, just leave us alone. Let us educate our children without your interference, your bureaucracy, your mandated tests which require that we "teach to the test" at the expense of real education.
We're doing just fine without all that.
In fact, if you want to do better at educating children in the public schools, come talk to me. I can give you some pointers on curriculum that just might be helpful.
(Welcome, Carnival of the Badger readers!)
(Or not... see the update at the bottom!)
As my reward for an intense day of homeschooling (all four kids: religion, math, grammar, Latin, music, reading, penmanship, history), I decided to have a little fun and took one of those silly "which person are you?" tests.
Well, honey, do you agree? (Oh, and by the way, I found this on another homeschooler's blog -- not at the "Free Cupid Dating Site" or whatever, so don't worry!!)
You scored 26% grit, 28% wit, 19% flair, and 40% class!
|You are class itself, the calm, confident "perfect woman." Men turn and look at you admiringly as you walk down the street, and even your rivals have a grudging respect for you. You always know the right thing to say, do and, of course, wear. You can take charge of a situation when things get out of hand, and you're a great help to your partner even if they don't immediately see or know it. You are one classy dame. Your screen partners include William Powell and Cary Grant, you little simmerpot, you. |
|My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating|
UPDATE: Actually, my husband isn't Bill Powell. He took the Classic Man test, and my husband is....
He scored: 23% Tough, 23% Roguish, 4% Friendly, and 47% Charming.
Sounds about right to me.
(Changed the time stamp to keep this near the top for awhile; it's just too much fun to let it drop down right away!)
Category 5 storm nearing La. coastline
August 29, 2005
By Mike Hasten
BATON ROUGE -- Loaded with winds clocked at 175 miles per hour and a storm surge of 34 feet, Hurricane Katrina had both barrels aimed at New Orleans late Sunday.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered evacuation of the Crescent City less than 24 hours before the Category 5 storm was expected to hit.
Nagin's order came moments after President George W. Bush told Gov. Kathleen Blanco that he wanted everyone to get out of New Orleans, if possible.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Here's a good example. It's pretty close to slanderous, and here's why. (Read that entire second link!)
This is important. Yes, we as a nation have to focus on relocating the evacuees, and rebuilding New Orleans, somehow - but we can't let the media get a free pass on this.
Just remember: We've learned over the past year or two (thanks to bloggers) that MSM absolutely cannot be trusted. We know they are so biased that they can't even see the whole truth, much less report it.
So as you read or view coverage of the disaster in the south, just remember that. When they blame Bush, and write stories about his "failure", remember that.
And if you want another current reminder of how they cannot be trusted, read this.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Please give something to disaster relief if you have anything to spare. We gave to Catholic Charities today; that would be a good one, unless you already have a favorite.
Click here to go directly to their donation page.
I joined the TTLB donation roundup. It's always heartening to see the huge sums of money that ordinary people can raise to help in a case like this.
Technorati tags: flood aid and hurricane katrina
And here's the link to Glenn's roundup.
UPDATE: If you do make a donation, you can go to the TTLB site and log your donation, indicating that this blog encouarged you to donate to Catholic Charities. Thanks.
It's too overwhelming for me to blog about; once I'd start, I wouldn't be able to write about anything else. So this is my only post on it, and then I will not blog again for a long time, but will keep my nose to the grindstone of homeschooling and homemaking, and praying for God to have mercy on all those wretched souls trying to survive the aftermath of Katrina.
I'm posting this because it's the only shred of hope I've found in this whole awful thing so far.
One man was lying partway on a cot, his legs flopped off the side, a forgotten blood pressure monitor attached to his right arm. Some people had wrapped plastic bags on their feet to escape the urine and wastewater seeping from piles of trash. Others, fearing the onset of disease, had surgical masks over their mouths. An alarm had been going off for more than 24 hours and no one knew how to turn it off.Read the whole article.
Suddenly, incongruously, the first notes of Bach's Sonata No. 1 in G minor," the Adagio, pierced the desperation.
Samuel Thompson, 34, is trying to make it as a professional violinist. He had grabbed his instrument — made in 1996 by a Boston woman — as he fled the youth hostel Sunday where he had been staying in New Orleans for the last two months.
"It's the most important thing I own," he said.
He had guarded it carefully and hadn't taken it out until Wednesday afternoon, when he was able to move from the Superdome into the New Orleans Arena, far safer accommodations. He rested the black case on a table next to a man with no legs in a wheelchair and a pile of trash and boxes, and gingerly popped open the two locks. He lifted the violin out of the red velvet encasement and held it to his neck.
Thompson closed his eyes and leaned into each stretch of the bow as he played mournfully. A woman eating crackers and sitting where a vendor typically sold pizza watched him intently. A National Guard soldier applauded quietly when the song ended, and Thompson nodded his head and began another piece, the Andante from Bach's Sonata in A minor.
Thompson's family in Charleston, S.C., has no idea where he is and whether he is alive. Thompson figures he is safe for now and will get in touch when he can. In the meantime he will play, and once in a while someone at the sports complex will manage a smile.
"These people have nothing," he said. "I have a violin. And I should play for them. They should have something."