Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Christian Schools Sue UC System

This is an interesting issue -- the UC system will not accept high school coursework by applicants when the classes use textbooks which have a Christian worldview.

I wonder if this is an issue with other universities?

It's all the more interesting as the UC system has been throwing its weight around in a number of ways of late, such as pressuring the College Board to change the SAT test.

A Concise History of New Orleans

Michael Barone has an interesting post answering a question which has probably occurred to more than one of us over the last couple days: how did such a large city come to be built below sea level?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Slumgullion?

As a proofreader, I love this article about Judge Roberts' precision with grammar and language.

I've now added the word "slumgullion" to my vocabulary :).

(Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

Colleges vs. "Helicopter Parents"

While colleges may have a valid point about students needing to learn to be independent adults and solve problems, it seems to me that a very big issue is glossed over in this article -- colleges resent parents holding them accountable, but simply want parents to keep cutting those checks for $40,000+ per year, no questions asked.

One also tends to wonder if some colleges are concerned about students being more separated from parents so the colleges can more successfully indoctrinate the students into the left-wing thinking so common on campus. I attended a college night for several Southern California colleges last night which was a real eye-opener, in and of itself.

As for the comment "You add a $40,000 price tag for a school...and you have high expectations for what you get"...well, duh! Perhaps the colleges have brought this "problem" on themselves to an extent by charging the cost of a home for a college education for a single child.

As a parent who will have a child in college in another year, I certainly expect a college to be responsive to its consumers. Unfortunately the "We know best, send us your taxes or tuition checks but don't ask questions" attitude too often pervades formal education at all levels: schools want parents to participate when it benefits the school, but don't want parents to ask pesky questions. And at the college level this attitude can be masked with the mantra "You're not letting your child become independent."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hugh Hewitt & Tim Rutten Discuss the Media

Hugh Hewitt was interviewed by Tim Rutten of The Los Angeles Times. Rutten's column, which was rather shallow and dismissive of the idea of Mainstream Media bias, was published in the Times on Saturday.

Much more interesting is the transcript of Rutten's actual conversation with Hewitt, a wide-ranging talk on the bias at the Times, the state of talk radio, and much more. The transcript is now posted at the Radioblogger site. Worth spending time with, especially for insight into the mind of someone writing for the Times.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Glass-Bottomed View of the Grand Canyon

I loved our trip to the Grand Canyon last year, but having a mild fear of heights, I didn't want to get too close to the edge.

Needless to say, I won't be trying this glass-bottomed perch on our next visit -- particularly as they're going to charge $25 a person!

The Republic of Pemberley

Here's a fun site for all things Jane Austen. It's chock full of info on the upcoming new version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE starring Keira Knightley.

(Hat tip: Mrs. Happy Housewife.)

The first time I saw a clip from the new version of P&P I was surprised to see a house as recognizable as Chatsworth standing in for Pemberley. Chatsworth, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, is perhaps the most beautiful place I've ever visited, bar none.

It's hard to imagine this new version measuring up to any of the three major preceding versions -- initial trailers looked a bit drab -- but on the other hand it's pretty hard to mess up when the material is Jane Austen. Perhaps the lead actress sharing the same last name as the fictional hero in my favorite Austen production, EMMA, is a good sign :).

Harry Potter as Christian Allegory

A very interesting interview with a professor from Baylor University comparing the Harry Potter books to the Narnia and Hobbit books as great Christian allegory.

A book on the same topic is LOOKING FOR HARRY POTTER by John Granger.

Homeschoolers Excel on ACT

According to this source, homeschoolers score higher than the national average on the ACT college entrance test.

As statistics like this continue to pile up, homeschooling will doubtless continue to grow at a steady pace.

Third Source Verifies Able Danger

This story keeps growing.

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters (linked at left) always has the latest developments.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Mandatory Tipping?

USA Today has an informative article about a trend toward including mandatory tipping ("service") charges in restaurant and hotel bills.

I'm a bit dubious about this idea. On our recent vacation most of our service was great and was appropriately recognized, but I would not have been happy being billed 15 or 20% for the grouchy waitress who forgot half our order.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tonight's Concert

I've loved Larry, Steve & Rudy Gatlin since my college years. They combine gorgeous harmonies -- coming from the same gene pool really adds something to the sound -- with Larry's amazing talent as the writer of all their hit songs. They put on a great show, nearly two hours solid of music with no intermission. (Alas, though, they didn't sing my favorite Gatlins song, "Love is Just a Game.")

Incidentally, Larry will begin a national tour starring in WILL ROGERS FOLLIES this Saturday.

Update: See more on Will Rogers Follies here.

Eminent Domain Outrage

The Supreme Court's eminent domain decision in the Kelo case was bad enough, but this new angle takes the cake. The City of New London is charging the residents back rent for having remained in their own houses while attempting via the legal system to prevent the city from transfering ownership of their homes to another private entity.

The residents will thus thus not be paid by the city for their property, but instead have to pay the city for the pleasure of being evicted.

Among other things, this is clearly a warning shot to other homeowners not to attempt to prevent the seizure of their property, but to quietly comply or risk the same fate, being turned out of their homes in deep debt.

Unbelievable.

Senate May Hold Hearings on Able Danger

The Senate Judiciary Committee may hold hearings on recent revelations which throw the work and conclusions of the 9/11 Committee into great doubt.

Rep. Curt Weldon says at least 5 people will testify that information identifying lead hijacker Mohammad Atta was available prior to 9/11 but was not allowed to be shared with law enforcement for legal reasons. The Committee has denied that this took place.

On Monday the Pentagon said it could not verify the Able Danger claims, but Rep. Weldon says the Pentagon spokesman is now "backpedaling" and adds "There's something very sinister going on here."

For more on this story check Captain's Quarters (linked at the left of this page) for regular updates. Ed Morrissey has been doing an outstanding job covering all the angles.

Real Fight on Roberts Hasn't Started

Robert Novak indicates that the Democrats have not yet truly begun to fight John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court, and provides new evidence suggesting things may get pretty ugly.

Yesterland

I'm still in "Disney Mode" as I experience Disney World Withdrawal (grin!). Yesterland is one of the most interesting Disneyland sites on the Web, filled with photos of rides, stores, and restaurants which are no longer in existence.

If you click on Casa de Fritos under Frontierland, you can even see the Mexican restaurant where I once worked. During the early '80s the name changed from Casa de Fritos to Casa Mexicana.

Enjoy a trip down Memory Lane!

Food Magazine Fun

Along with my new interest in cooking comes a new interest in food magazines. My favorite is Cook's Illustrated, with its foolproof, clearly explained recipes, but I also like Everyday Food. Their summer "Grilling Issue" was outstanding.

Here's a piece from USA TODAY earlier this summer discussing the variety of food magazines available.

I'd love to hear recommendations from others!

More on Daylight Saving Time Extension

I've been catching up on some reading and came across this July ABC News article on the Daylight Saving Time changes coming in 2007.

Michael Downing, quoted in this article, also wrote a New York Times Op-Ed piece while I was away. It's no longer available to read without a fee, but he mentioned in his column that in some locales the sun won't rise until 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. during the weeks added on to Daylight Saving Time.

What is Congress thinking?!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

VBACs a Thing of the Past?

From USA TODAY comes this interesting article about the rise of c-section rates and the decline of the VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). The steeply falling VBAC rate is not due to new medical research or other medical reasons, but because of the cost -- hospitals need to have an anesthesiologist and surgeon standing by on call -- and fear of lawsuits. (This seems somewhat counterintuitive to me, as a c-section is expensive major surgery, which always carries a risk in and of itself.)

As someone who had two uneventful VBAC births, I am saddened by this new trend toward unnecessary major abdominal surgeries. The trial lawyers strike again.

The NYT on Disneyland's Autopia

Having just returned from Walt Disney World, I have Disney on the brain this week (grin). Here's a fun article on Disneyland's Autopia -- which, incidentally, is considerably more charming than Disney World's Indy Speedway at the Magic Kingdom.

(Hat tip: The Disney Blog.)

Conservative Episcopal Church Wins Legal Battle

The Biblically orthodox St. James Episcopal Church of Newport Beach, CA, has won a legal battle against the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. St. James and two other Southern California parishes left the United States Episcopal Church as the result of disputes about Biblical interpretation and the ordination of a homosexual bishop, and the three parishes are now under the oversight of the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda.

An Orange County Superior Court judge has ruled that St. James, not the diocese, owns the rights to its church building and property. The Diocese is expected to appeal.

This ruling seems likely to encourage other Biblically conservative parishes who wish to remain in the Anglican Communion but not the U.S. Episcopal Church, which seems to be in the process of splintering.

As a conservative Episcopalian myself, I find this a very positive development. It will be interesting to see if it is upheld on appeal.

Cake Batter Ice Cream Alert!

To the great relief of those of us addicted to their Cake Batter Ice Cream, Cold Stone Creamery is working on a new recipe. You may recall Cold Stone had to withdraw the flavor earlier this summer after problems with salmonella.

If you click on the above link you can submit your email address to Cold Stone to be notified when the new version of Cake Batter is available in their stores.

Thomas Sowell on Educating Bright Children

Thomas Sowell is always an interesting read...here he eulogizes Julian Stanley, an advocate for the education of gifted children, and in the process discusses issues with gifted education in the United States.

Returned From WDW

Back from a wonderful trip to Disney World... Getting back in blogging mode, here's an interesting update about Disneyland from Al Lutz's MiceAge. He updates the California Screamin' coaster situation and has other interesting news for Disneyland fans.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Gone Fishin'

Time to visit Mickey Mouse and friends. Back in a few days :).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Farewell to Miss Ellie

Sorry to learn today of the death of Barbara Bel Geddes. My favorite Bel Geddes film is I REMEMBER MAMA, also starring Irene Dunne.

A blogosphere-related side note of interest: Bel Geddes's daughter, Betsy, sells used books online. Her site is Book Rescue.

Sincere condolences to the family.

New From Power Line!

Power Line, one of the biggest and very best blogs going, has started a new resource, Power Line News. Check it out!

Disney Closes Last Hand-Drawn Animation Division

Disney historian John Canemaker writes in the Wall Street Journal that from now on, it's computerized animation only for Disney.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"Parental Rights vs. Public Schools"

This article ties in nicely with my last post about protecting children in a culture that's "gone mad." A father in Massachusetts is in a legal battle with a school district that refuses to notify parents prior to teaching kindergarten children about families with same-gender parents. The district asserts that the topic of same-gender marriages or parents is not teaching about "sexuality" and doesn't meet their requirements for parental notification, and they thus refuse to honor his request for prior notice.

Schools assuming they have the right to act "in loco parentis" and make decisions which properly belong to parents is something with which I had regular experience before I decided to begin homeschooling. There are, of course, exceptions, but unfortunately all too often the same public school administrators who encourage -- even beg -- parents to be involved seem to want that parental involvement only when it suits the school, rather than respecting parental authority and input.

Rebecca Hagelin on Protecting Our Children

Rebecca Hagelin writes a good column on "Protecting Your Family in a Culture Gone Stark Raving Mad," which is the subtitle of her new book, Home Invasion.

Rebecca's article provides an interesting counterpoint in some respects to David Brooks' "The Virtues of Virtue", commented on below on August 7th.

Some of Rebecca's suggestions are common sense to many of us, including improving family life and taking a hands-on approach to your children's education, but it's nice to see a bunch of good ideas concisely summed up. I'll be checking out her book.

I mentioned in a post on Sunday my interest in improving my cooking skills this year. One of the reasons behind that is a family life improvement which Rebecca suggests -- more meals together!

A New Job for Former Senator Zell Miller

Our favorite Democrat, former Georgia Senator Zell Miller, has been appointed by President Bush to a seat on the American Battle Monuments Commission.

New Biography of Martha Washington

The more I've learned about George Washington, the more I appreciate just how crucial he was in the successful creation of our country.

A new biography of Martha Washington has just been published. Rather interesting, the new cover painting of Martha at age 25 was created with the aid of computerized "regression" of a portrait of Martha at an older age. It saddens me to think of the great history lost when she destroyed her lifelong correspondence with George upon his death.

A link to the book is here.

I also highly recommend an older book, Mount Vernon Family by Elswyth Thane. I was especially interested to learn about the parental role George played with his stepchildren and grandchildren.

Bush 44?

Brendan Miniter of the Wall Street Journal suggests that Jeb Bush would have a good chance to win the White House if he changes his mind and decides to run.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Real Little Town on the Prairie

CNN has this interesting article about DeSmet, South Dakota, the setting for several of Laura Ingalls Wilder's LITTLE HOUSE books.

Over the years I've visited LITTLE HOUSE sites in Kansas and Missouri. I hope to make the trip to South Dakota in the next few years.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, which maintains two of the Wilder houses in DeSmet and publishes a regular newsletter, is an excellent organization which has been in existence for decades.

Dessert, Anyone?

From the Lovescool ("For the Love of Dessert") blog comes this heavenly-looking recipe for "Cinnamon Sable" cookies, complete with stage-by-stage photos of the baking process.

This is a website with excellent photography and recipes which I enjoy checking out on a regular basis. A good way to start a Monday :).

High School Textbooks and the Joy of Reading

Here's an excellent column from last week's USA Today addressing the problems with high school literature textbooks.

The only one of my children not currently homeschooling is a high school senior, and she heartily concurs with the author's points. The same girl who loves to read Shakespeare for fun on summer vacation finds literature textbooks deadly dull. Fortunately they will mainly be reading complete novels this year!

Hawaiian Apartheid

This issue is starting to percolate around the blogosphere, as the Senate prepares to vote next month on a measure which would give Native Hawaiians their own separate government based on race.

(Hat tip: Power Line.)

There is more here in Steven Greenhut's column from Sunday's The Orange County Register.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Keep the Space Shuttle Crew In Your Prayers

They'll be landing in the wee hours, Pacific Time, but perhaps the sonic boom we usually hear on re-entry will wake us up.

A live thread to follow the landing coverage has already been started at Free Republic. This thread contains schedules, maps, and links to live video coverage.

Free Republic scooped the Mainstream Media with coverage of the Columbia disaster, as various FReepers reported unusual things they were seeing in the sky in real time. We trust that unlike last time, this thread will have happy news.

Update: It's quite interesting, looking at the re-entry maps, the shuttle will not be passing over California as usual. Instead, the re-entry passes over Central America. Unless they end up having to land at Edwards Air Force Base due to poor weather, we won't be hearing the usual sonic boom as the shuttle passes over California.

Daylight Saving Time Change Will Cause Technical Problems

When one looks at the time-consuming minor hassles which will be caused by switching to more weeks of Daylight Saving Time in 2007, one really has to wonder just how much energy we'll be "saving"! It might not be Y2K, but the entire nation having to simultaneously learn how to manually program VCR's could be interesting.

More on the history of Daylight Saving Time here.

I'm still wondering, with only four months of Standard Time in 2007, does that mean Daylight Saving Time becomes Standard Time? :)

Sunday Dinner

Earlier this year I decided I wanted to learn to really cook, and develop the ability to make more than the handful of "old standby" meals I've been preparing for years.

Cook's Illustrated's THE COMPLETE BOOK OF CHICKEN has been an invaluable tool as I've worked on my goal. It explains the whys and wherefores behind each recipe in detail, which is a great help in the learning process. I highly recommend it.

"Braised Chicken and Vegetables" (Pg. 104) is a new family favorite.

"The Virtues of Virtue"

David Brooks sees a number of positive statistical trends as indicators that our society is in the midst of "moral self-repair" and embracing more traditional values.

I like Brooks' positive attitude, but wish I couldn't immediately think of a number of recent issues which point in the opposite direction of Brooks' "moral revival." The ongoing attempt by many on the left to change the definition of marriage is but one example.

A Disneyland Blast From the Past

This website pays tribute to Disneyland's long-gone Monsanto Adventure Through Inner Space ride, including photos, the ride script, and more.

When I was very, very little I used to believe that I would really shrink on this ride :).

Gary Sinise is One of the Good Guys

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld paid a visit to the set of CSI: NEW YORK last week to personally thank actor Gary Sinise for his Operation Iraqi Children efforts. Sinise and SEABISCUIT author Laura Hillenbrand founded the organization to provide school supplies which American troops distribute to Iraqi children.

Sinise has also made two visits to Iraq with the USO.

Giant M&Ms Coming Soon

Mega M&Ms will be 55% bigger than regular M&Ms, and come in colors including maroon, teal, and gold.

I'm perfectly happy with M&Ms as they are -- and the new dark chocolate M&Ms are great -- but as an M&Ms fan I'm going to have to try these :).

Peter Jennings Near Death?

A FReeper with network connections has posted at Free Republic today that Peter Jennings' condition has become quite grave. Michelle Malkin (linked at left) has also picked up the story.

Sincere kind wishes to Jennings and family at this difficult time.

Sunday Evening Update: It has been announced this evening that Peter Jennings has passed away.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Barone is Blogging

Michael Barone, perhaps the foremost expert on American politics and trends, has begun blogging. He's sure to be a must-check site.

Saturday Afternoon NASCAR

Once upon a time I thought NASCAR was just colorful cars going around and around in boring circles :). My older son became interested, and the younger soon followed. I began learning about NASCAR just so I could talk with my boys about their interest with a tiny bit of knowledge. Next thing I knew, I was a fan myself. The circles aren't so boring when you know about the personalities behind the wheel.

Our favorites are often the "veterans," who aren't really all that many years older than I am (gulp). Here's a good profile of Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin, who are in their final seasons this year -- although Mark may be tempted to drive in 2006, staying behind the wheel until Jamie McMurray can take over the No. 6 car in 2007. At the USA TODAY site there's a link to a story on another veteran, Dale Jarrett, in the righthand column.

"The Doctor Is Out"

A beautiful column by Tony Snow on Senator Frist's recent endorsement of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Cincinnati Reds Are a Class Team

The Reds pitched in this week to take care of a 6-year-old boy whose grandfather collapsed from an ultimately fatal heart attack during a game. The boy was cared for by players in the bullpen and the clubhouse until his parents got there. It's lovely that the little guy's sad experience wasn't compounded with a lonely wait in the security office or elsewhere. Instead, he'll remember that when it really mattered, an entire baseball team was there for him.

In a week when our trust in some baseball heroes slipped a notch lower (think Rafael Palmeiro), it's great to know that even in the midst of a game these players recognized what was really important and acted accordingly.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"Teaching Teenagers to Take Orders"

We've been angry with the NYT today, but they do provide this enjoyable read, about a nonprofit group which is providing internship opportunities for inner-city high schoolers at high-end restaurants. A great example of private enterprises doing good work in their community.

A restaurant captain can ultimately make a six-figure income. Who knew?

More on the NYT and the Roberts Children

Brit Hume reports tonight that the NYT actually went as far as to ask adoption lawyers how to obtain the Roberts' sealed adoption records.

Just amazing.

See Michelle Malkin for more. The NYT's assertion that they merely made "initial inquiries" with "sensitivity" doesn't jive with Hume's reporting, nor was it justified in the first place. Plain and simple, the paper was on a fishing expedition at the expense of four- and five-year-old children.

MSM: Children Aren't Off Limits

First it was the Washington Post ridiculing the children of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts for being too nicely dressed.

Now it seems the New York Times is sinking to a new low. According to today's Drudge Report, the paper has an investigative reporter prying into the adoption records of Roberts' children.

There just aren't words to describe how low the Mainstream Media has sunk.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Homeschooling Illegal in Germany

A disturbing story from Germany, where parents have been fined by the government for refusing to allow their children to attend a play the parents disapproved of on religious grounds. German parents are not allowed to opt out of any of their children's classes or activities, even something as innocuous as a play.

What's worse, homeschooling has been illegal in Germany since the time of Hitler, and parents who have attempted to homeschool are losing guardianship of their children.

(Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

The Unseriousness of the Left

Once again a lefty shows just how silly liberals have become. Columnist Reg Henry attempts to make a case that John Roberts being a nice guy is scary.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Great Election News From Ohio

A Republican won a special Ohio Congressional race today, defeating a Democrat Marine veteran who, as Rush Limbaugh pointed out today, was deliberately omitting his party affiliation from his advertising.

It's All Bush's Fault

The DNC seems to have taken a page from Jonathan Chait's strange editorial last month, in which he criticized the President's exercise habits as "creepy."

The DNC is now blaming the President for any children's physical fitness problems or program cuts. The responsibility for childhood obesity lies with the President, according to the DNC.

Apparently the DNC has never heard of the concept of parental responsibility.

Another example of just how unserious the DNC has become. Anything Bush does, even placing a priority on staying in shape, is fodder for the Democrats' reflexive criticism.

Attention Parents of Future John Wayne Fans

This week two of the Duke's long-missing movies, THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY and ISLAND IN THE SKY, are released on DVD. These films were recently aired on AMC and received the highest ratings in the channel's history.

As for the article's comment that maybe a 13-year-old isn't ready for Wayne's movies, I heartily disagree. Wayne's movies are timeless and in my experience are eagerly watched by young boys (RIO BRAVO is the favorite at our house). And what better role model for a young boy than the Duke, who exemplifies so many great qualities, including leadership, patriotism, determination, and courage under fire.

Update on California Adventure Coaster Accident

Al Lutz has all the latest info up today on MiceAge.com. Al suggests operator error was not the problem.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Robert Novak Breaks His Plame Silence...

...at least somewhat, to correct misinformation from last week's Washington Post. He promises "more to come."

I'll be curious to know the entire story.

Newer›  ‹Older