Monday, December 31, 2012

Kim by Rudyard Kipling (1901)

The January selection for our book club is Kim by Rudyard Kipling (1901). I'm finding it very interesting, and Kipling's knowledge of the country of his birth which he left at a young age is amazing. Also enlightening are the notes and introduction in my used paperback copy (Penguin, 1987) by Edward Said, probably read by thousands of high school and college students in the last 25 years. Dinesh D'Sousa calls Edward Said Obama's founding father.... "One of Obama’s founding fathers who remains relatively unknown is the Palestinian radical Edward Said. Prior to his death in 2003, Said was the leading anti-colonial thinker in the United States. Obama studied with Said at Columbia University and the two maintained a relationship over the next two decades."

Said is actually an excellent writer, and I’m thankful to have his critical analysis of a novel 110 years old.  But as a man without a country, a U.S. immigrant always unhappy with his adopted home, he reminds me so much of all the transient (in soul and sometimes body) faculty and foreign students I knew at the University of Illinois in the 1950s-60s. Because I was a foreign language major many of my instructors were emigres—driven from homeland by politics or war.  First degree relatives shot, burned or imprisoned, never to be seen again.  The cultural heritage of centuries ripped away.  Many of my classmates came to the U.S. as “displaced persons” as toddlers or children after WWII--grateful for their lives, but always mourning what had been lost to Stalin, or Mao, or Hitler, or Tito, etc.  Some had been ethnic Chinese whose families had lived for years outside China, sort of double displacement.

No matter what is good in the novel Kim, Said can't get past British imperialism, as Obama can't get past what he calls American imperialism. One can substitute Said's situation for what he says about colonial powers/Kim's: "For what one cannot do in one's own [homeland--anywhere in the middle east or Asia] where to try to live out the grand dream of a successful quest is only to keep coming up against one's own mediocrity and the world's corruption and degradation, one can do abroad." (p. 42 introduction, Penguin ed.) I think Said enjoyed his tiny celebrity status as the ultimate anti-colonialist, and he would have been a nobody in any other country without the give and take and freedom of speech he was allowed in the U.S. and classrooms filled with adoring disciples ready to deny anything good in Western civilization.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

If you live with a librarian. . .

Lunchtime conversation may include, “I was looking at the UN statistics on homicide yesterday and noticed some very odd things.” Then the spousal eyes glaze over—sandwich in hand he heads for his man cave.

Of course, the compilers warn that not all countries keep stats the same way, nor are all current. But you can’t miss the obvious—the homicide rates for North America-- Canada (1.6 per 100,000) and the United States (4.8)--are far lower than Central and South America. Brazil 21 per 100,000, Columbia 31.4, Dominican Republic 25, Jamaica 40.9, El Salvador 69.2, Honduras 91.6. 

And then there is poor little French speaking Haiti (6.9)—apparently far safer than its island neighbor, Spanish speaking Dominican Republic, which is much more wealthy and developed.  And the African countries are almost as high—Cote d’Ivoire is 56.9 for instance, Lesotho 35.2, Malawi 36, except those African countries with Islamic rule have low homicide rates.  (Maybe covering up the women works since most homicides are committed by men.) The tables don’t specify guns or knives, clubs or poison. But countries with lower gun ownership than the U.S. do have higher homicide rates. 

Like every other bad social charting, our homicide rate soared with the war on poverty and then began dropping in the 90s, although it hasn’t returned to the 1950s level before the government encouraged men to leave their families and let them fend for themselves.

Norway has the highest rate of gun ownership in Western Europe, yet possesses the lowest murder rate. In contrast, Holland's murder rate is nearly the worst, despite having the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe. Sweden and Denmark are two more examples of nations with high murder rates but few guns

There are plenty of statistics out there—but I’m sure Congress will just throw them at each other since this isn’t about life, safety or property, but about politics.

As they play kick the can again


the President gives everyone a raise for showing up!

Why liberals hate Tim Scott, a newly appointed black Republican from South Carolina

“Taxation is a form of slavery. When a man does not receive the benefits of his toils because it is taken from him by the government, that is a form of slavery. As a black man, he [Scott]should be anti-tax.

Looking back at the creation of the unions, one must remember that unions were created in order to keep the black man from getting certain jobs. Even today, the Democrats in the state of New York do not allow BOCES programs in the state’s five big-city minority-student school systems because they don’t want black kids to learn a trade that might enable them to compete with white tradesmen for unionized jobs. As a black man, Rep. Tim Scott should be anti-union.

As far as abortion, when one reads the words of the Eugenists who promoted abortion to kill off black babies in the wombs of their mothers in order to “improve the genetics of the population,” and when one considers the fact that abortion mills are purposely placed in ghettos where they’ll be more likely used to kill black babies, it is no surprise that Rep. Tim Scott is against abortion.

All three of these things that this liberal despises Tim Scott for opposing are things that the Democrat Party use to institutionalize inequality in society.”

The Frederick Douglass Foundation

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mental illness and guns

Mack Rights writes about how the mentally ill respond to psychotropic drugs

“People talk about mental illness all the time, but they don’t too often speak of the side effects of psychotropic anti-depressants. Nor do they like to talk about the fact that 90% of mass murders are done by those on psychotropic drugs. Nor do they talk about the fact that many on these drugs commit suicide due to constantly changing brain chemistry. Nor do they talk about why so many on these drugs actually mentally snap.

While I’ve written about this more extensively in the past, I’ll give a brief description. Anti-depressants and ADHD drugs very often change the brain’s chemistry so that it begins to rely upon the artificially high level of neurotransmitters in their brain’s synapses. These neurotransmitters then guarantee that the drug taker feels good all the time, no matter what happens. This is bad when the taker of the anti-depressant suddenly doesn’t like the fact that he or she is no longer able to feel sadness upon being informed of sad news. Many of the normal emotions in life are then repressed. The feeling of artificial and euphoric happiness is the feeling all the time no matter what is going on.

Eventually, the person may try to experiment with trying not to take the drugs that the brain has become reliant upon. A crash occurs. A major crash sometimes. The brain’s synapses become devoid of the neurotransmitters that we require to function in life. This crash can also occur when the drug is replaced with another. These crashes are common. By the way, if you are taking anti-depressants or ADHD drugs and are freaked out by what I’ve just written, please do not try to quit using these drugs without help from professionals. The addictions are real, and the withdrawals are severe.

And that’s why guns aren’t recommended for people whose happiness depends upon the use of a drug to maintain an acceptable brain chemistry.”

Gun control laws and liberal policies

What became of Mark Basseley Youssef?

Jeddah had Raif Badawi of Saudi Arabia could get the death penalty for his offenses against Allah--an internet web site “Saudi Arabian Liberals." Don't we have someone in jail in this country for being offensive to Allah and the Muslim faith? Blamed for something he didn't do? Benghazi?  So what's happening with Mark Basseley Youssef? Amnesty International considers Badawi to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. What has AI said about our government's prisoner's freedom of expression?

He got a year in prison

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's not about children, about safety, or violence, it's about politics

A gun control debate in Congress is probably needed, because the general public needs to hear about declining gun violence rates and the thousands of gun laws on the books; also include our failing mental health system and rising violent themes in movies and video game industry. Then let Jamie Foxx testify and brag about his killing only white people in his latest movie.
"Ivy League bound youngsters in private schools across the nation are the beneficiaries of top notch security systems which almost always include armed personnel. Yet ruling class pols like Obama and Bloomberg want to deny regular folks the same security their children enjoy. Obama, with his four-year "under the radar" push against our Second Amendment rights, has no problem suggesting the underclasses put their kids in harm's way."
A task force report on firearms dated April 2002 on violence involving children based on a systematic review of all available studies. They went to a lot of work, but I doubt Congress will ever consider it because the task force couldn't determine the effectiveness of the firearm laws to prevent violence or reduce violent outcomes. Minds are already made up and this has become a political issue, not one based on facts and figures.
When Britain and Australia disarmed their citizens, the criminals did what the bad guys always do--they didn't obey the law.
Homicide is primarily a problem of maleness--victim and perp--youth and ethnicity. Homicide rates among non-Hispanic, African-American males 10-24 years of age (62.2 per 100,000) exceed those of Hispanic males (21.5 per 100,000) and non-Hispanic, White males in the same age group (3.4 per 100,000) (CDC 2009a). Obama ignored these facts until white suburban children were killed, then said he had been too busy fundamentally transforming our society to do anything like appoint a task force. Can't imagine why blacks support him, except for his race.
No surprise here. "Researchers found that people who played a violent video game for three consecutive days showed increases in aggressive behavior and hostile expectations each day they played. Meanwhile, those who played nonviolent games showed no meaningful changes in aggression or hostile expectations over that period."

More abortion coverage for military women

I certainly don’t think of abortion as “healthcare” since someone always dies, but was surprised that the U.S. military was “behind” the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) coverage of abortion (for any reason, even gender selection, any time even when viable) for its staff. In fact, ELCA congregations are required to carry this insurance.

“Congress, in the pre-Christmas rush, passed a Democrat-sponsored provision that will allow women in the U.S. military to use their health insurance to pay for abortion in cases of rape or incest. Right now, the Defense Department pays for abortion only when the mother's life is at stake.
The expanded abortion coverage is included in the defense authorization bill that is now on its way to President Obama for his anticipated signature. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), introduced the abortion measure.”

Tribute to the Minnick boys

I didn't expect to ever see our family on YouTube. Here's a very touching tribute to the Minnick boys, sons of my cousin Evelyn Corbett. I noticed it on the Facebook page of their brother-in-law, married to my first cousin, once removed. They spent much of their childhood in Mt. Morris, Illinois and attended school there. Lonnie died in January of 2010, and Larry died in February of 2010.  Julian (little blond boy near the end) died in 1987.

What we’ve come to expect—David Gregory



End of the year contributions

The Christian’s first responsibility is to tithe to the home congregation where we worship, serve and enjoy the fellowship of Christian friends. Our home church supports through our tithes and offerings over 50 missions from food pantry to crisis pregnancy to campus outreach to foreign missions and missionaries.  However, there are many other worthwhile organizations and services from which we benefit directly or for which we pray, or to which we’d like to add additional support.  There are some that were dropped last year due to their health insurance for paid staff covering abortion (something which many ministries may soon have no control over if it is mandated by the President and HHS in a move to squelch religious freedom). Also this year there were many political appeals, and after the election and our earlier donations which failed to make changes, we did not continue.

Four of these have direct ties to people we know from within our congregation who are serving the Lord full time.  Because I listen to or watch a lot of Catholic media which I find superior to what is available on Protestant stations, I support them (no advertising).  Lakeside, of course, is a private Chautauqua association where we have had a second home since 1988, and where we vacationed with our children beginning in 1976.  We benefit tremendously from its outstanding programming 10 weeks during the summer, and want it to continue for many years in the future.  My husband has been on several boards there and teaches at the art center.

                       ualc window 001

Pregnancy Decision Health Centers, Columbus $100

Lutheran Bible Translators $100

Eternal Word Television Network, Alabama $25

St. Gabriel Catholic Radio AM 820. Columbus $25

168 Film Project, John Ware $25

Pinecrest Community, Mt. Morris, IL $25  (broken link)

Hilltop Preschool, Columbus, Jane Leach $25

World Mission Prayer League $25

Into the Field (Jennifer Cameron)  $25

Cum Christo  $25

C.O.C.I.N.A.  (Haiti) $100

Lakeside Association  $1250

          Oak St. cottage

Prayer on public property

Apparently, religious faith is OK on state property in times of crisis. In an article on how to help children cope with the Newtown tragedy at an Ohio State medical website, I noticed this suggestion: "Please keep all of the victim’s families in your prayers."

(Apostrophe alert, but since the writer's heart was in the right place, I didn't correct it.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Where is the logic?


What a bunch of liberal boobs

wrote one reader when the NY paper, The Journal News, published the names and addresses of gun owners of several NYC suburban counties.  “You also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob (both those who don’t have guns, and those who do, since often burglaries about about stealing guns).   The paper has treated law-abiding gun owners, exercising their 2nd amendment rights, like sex offenders.  Everyone in that community should drop their advertising and subscription to that paper.  Somewhere I think I saw on the internet that the home address of Janet Hasson, president and publisher, had been posted. I supposed it would require too much real journalism to find the illegal guns.

When I went to college, an A was an A

But not anymore.  The more prestigious the college, the more grade inflation.

“Contemporary data indicate that, on average across a wide range of schools, A’s represent 43% of all letter grades, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988. D’s and F’s total typically less than 10% of all letter grades. Private colleges and universities give, on average, significantly more A’s and B’s combined than public institutions with equal student selectivity. Southern schools grade more harshly than those in other regions, and science and engineering-focused schools grade more stringently than those emphasizing the liberal arts. At schools with modest selectivity, grading is as generous as it was in the mid-1980s at highly selective schools. These prestigious schools have, in turn, continued to ramp up their grades. It is likely that at many selective and highly selective schools, undergraduate GPAs are now so saturated at the high end that they have little use as a motivator of students and as an evaluation tool for graduate and professional schools and employers.”

Christian cruises

The only Christian cruise we ever took was in 2009 when a group of Lutherans and Greek Orthodox from Columbus, Ohio, traveled to the Holy Land via a cruise ship after flying into Greece.  It was a fabulous, spirit filled trip.  We did have good food and some Christian entertainment, but nothing I would call hedonistic.  It’s just a great way to travel (we were bussed to the sites after docking).  One woman did meet her future husband on the cruise (he was a waiter).  This Catholic blogger seems to see it as a particularly distasteful Protestant form of entertainment and doesn’t like it that Catholics are now doing it.

I can see Protestants having Cruises, there is some logic there. In most Protestantism (not all), there is no sanctuary and entertainment is a key factor in bringing in the crowds, so a Cruise makes sense. Plus, with the contraceptive and divorce mindset firmly implanted, a Cruise is great for those couples who are holding off having kids so they can see the world first, as well as a great place to find a second spouse. And with Christians in general not too far removed from the mainstream Paganism, it seems a Cruise is a venue all Americans should be up for. And that's why Catholics should not be following behind.

Vinyl is thriving

Who knew? My son, that’s who.  He keeps up on these things with his playing guitar and composing. He told me yesterday when he showed me a new album by his neighbor who is the drummer with Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes.  But today's Columbus Dispatch has an article about it. Says the young people know about vinyl but we old folks still think it's dead. Yup.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday Memories—December 24, 2012

                          Christmas 2001

Remembering Christmas gifts through the years--not from my past--but our kids'. Hippity hops; a cardboard puppet stage that had to be assembled the night before; little cars with miles of tracks; bathrobes and slippers made by my sister; stretch Armstrong; board games like Racko and Stratego; educational (of course) magazines from Grandma and Grandpa Corbett; Fisher Price anything when they were still made of wood from Grandma and Grandpa DeMott; a Chicago Bears sweatshirt from Auntie Lynne Wilburn; Barbie doll clothes and stuff; and others for which I'd have to drag out the photo albums (remember those clumsy things before all photos were imprisoned on smart phones?).

The above MM banner is a bit more recent—Christmas 2001—the last in our home of 34 years.  The books are Tolkien I believe.

Today’s torturous ultra-high heels remind me of Chinese custom that lasted over a thousand years

"The practice of binding feet was originally introduced about a thousand years ago, allegedly by a concubine of the emperor. Not only was the sight of women hobbling on tiny feet considered erotic, men would also get excited playing with bound feet, which were always hidden in embroidered silk shoes. Women could not remove the binding cloths even when they were adults, as their feet would start growing again. The binding could only be loosened temporarily at night in bed, when they would put on soft-soled shoes. Men rarely saw naked bound feet, which were usually covered in rotting flesh and stank when the bindings were removed.”  Jung Chang, Wild Swans: The Three Daughters of China

Beginning at an early age, the bones in a girl child’s feet were crushed as toes were bound and arches were destroyed.  She was in constant pain, but her bound feet were her greatest asset. I suppose corns, bunions, callouses and broken ankles plus being unable to walk or run  is less painful, but it still amazes me that women  still do this to appeal to men.




"I regret binding my feet," Zhou says. "I can't dance, I can't move properly. I regret it a lot. But at the time, if you didn't bind your feet, no one would marry you."

As we roll off the fiscal cliff

Don't be fooled as we roll off the fiscal cliff. It's not about the wealth of the top 1 or 2 percent. The federal tax system is "progressive" and has been for close to 100 years--wealthier people pay taxes at a higher rate than others, but there just aren't enough of them to impact our debt. That plan he dangled during his campaign isn't enough to float the government even 2 weeks. You can't get blood out of a turnip--even the top 20% of households now pay more than 94 percent of income taxes. What he really wants is the wealth of the middle class, that middle bracket (20%) of the 5 quintiles. Now, there's something that really matters, and you all have it, so in this administration it obviously belongs to someone else--our government. (The 2 lowest quintiles--40%--pay no federal taxes--they get money and stuff from the gov't).

Away in a manger


Bless all the dear children, born and unborn.

Forbes list of top 10 grossing movie stars

Do you suppose any of them will come out against violence in movies; or will they just point fingers at the NRA?

1. Robert Downey, Jr. total box office for the year: $1.5 billion

2. Kristen Stewart, $1.2 billion

3. Christian Bale, $1 billion

4. Daniel Craig, $951 million

5. Robert Pattinson, $793 million

6. Taylor Lautner, $779 million

7. Andrew Garfield, $752 million

8. Jennifer Lawrence, $748 million

9. Will Smith, $624 million

10. Mark Wahlberg, $598 million