Featured Article

The Gods of Liberalism Revisited

 

The lie hasn't changed, and we still fall for it as easily as ever.  But how can we escape the snare?

 

READ ABOUT IT...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Try Parenting

In addressing the Robbinsdale Radicals' dislike for my dislike of this preschool initiative, I forgot to address his comment about mental health screening for kids.

Here's what I think of mental health screening for kids: What a bunch of hooey.

Okay, now that I've made my position clear on that, let me add a link to a piece I just came across from Phyllis Schlafly that will perhaps expand on my profound comments for those who may already be knee-deep in the hooey: "Try Parenting Instead Of Mental Health Screening." Or "Try Parenting" for short. This is good advice for not just children's "mental health problems," but many of today's maladies.

So many parents today are either too lazy to parent, or too afraid of setting standards and boundaries (might be mistaken for a Right-wing radical), or too wrapped up in being their child's "friend" to be parents.

So because so many adults are too lazy or too afraid to parent, we have teen sex/pregnancy problems, drug and alcohol abuse among children, gang activity, lousy academic achievement, poor work ethic when they read adulthood, and an almost endless litany of societal ills.

Children don't just develop morals and responsibility from cosmic osmosis; they have to be taught. And if parents don't teach them, no one is going to do it adequately. The educational system can try, but it's never going to do it as well as parents can and should.

Want to fix the majority of today's problems? Start parenting!


Movie Review: FoxFaith's 'Sin Eater'

I was intrigued by the title of this one. From the Christian Post:

Set in the Appalachian Mountains in early American history, the movie explores a community of Welsh settlers that practice an eerie ritual in the wilderness. When a member dies, a cursed human, known as the “sin eater,” appears, so that he may “eat away” the past sins of the deceased individual, discharging them of their transgressions.

The film revolves around the story of a young girl in the population named Cadi Forbes (Liana Liberato) who becomes intrigued by this cursed figure. Overridden by her own guilt over a childhood incident, she seeks the man out to try to empty away her sins while she is still alive.

On her quest to discover the sin eater, she uncovers a dark secret that may divide the whole community while she also begins to understand how to gain true salvation.


The review continues on to say that while some "faith" films are shoddy work with a "Christian" label slapped on it to draw the faithful, this one is put together well.

I can't vouch for the film in any way beyond what was said in this review, but it sounds interesting and I plan to watch for it.


Preschool: Some Things Should be Common Sense

The Robbinsdale Radical takes me to task for the post on what a bad idea Governor Rounds' preschool initiative is (I would have though he'd hug my neck for opposing a Republican governor so much these days).

From the piece against preschool that I did in the Rapid City Journal a few weeks ago, I have compiled lots of information from numerous studies that show that not only are any academic boosts from preschool dissipated by the third grade (a royal waste of money, considering they have 9 more years to go), but it is often harmful to take kids away from family so young. I just became aware of this one this afternoon: All-Day Kindergarten Failing as Education Reform.

That children belong with family should be common sense, but then there isn't much common sense floating around these days.

And Curtis' statement that a minimum wage increase is somehow going to accomplish that is pretty weak. Unless you increase it far beyond what the economy could stand (even short term, because it would cause the overall cost of living to skyrocket very soon), it wouldn't suddenly "enable" parents to spend more time with their kids.

Lack of income isn't even a factor in most of the instances where both parents work outside the home (see "
My wife has a master's degree in learning disabilities, yet she chose to remain home with our children. She tutors from home and makes peanuts compared to what she could in the public school system, but being able to nurture and teach our children was more important to her (and me). And though I now make enough that we're not in a panic every time an unexpected expense comes along, it wasn't that many years ago that there was absolutely nothing left over from paycheck to paycheck. Yet even then we considered our children's development and well being more important than a new car, a big-screen TV, or fancy clothes.

It's a matter of priorities, and our children should be right up there at the top. You can't make parents make their children their highest priority, but you don't need to keep adding things to society--at taxpayer expense--that make it easier and easier to look to someone else to do what parents should be doing. Preschool is one of those things.


Stealing from Abortion Clinics

This story out of Tennessee makes me stop and think. They're prosecuting a woman for attempting her own abortion, but it she'd gone to an abortionist, she'd have been celebrated as a choice hero.

"It makes absolutely no sense that a woman could be charged with a crime against the child while she was pregnant, but yet if she tried to have the child aborted, she would be perfectly legal in that right to do so,” said Cindy Pare, AAA Women's Services.

Pare, from a local pregnancy counseling center, sees the law as a double standard, telling a woman it's okay to end the life of an unborn child in one instance but not in another.

But the law is clear. You can not take matters in your own hands. “It makes absolutely no sense that a woman could be charged with a crime against the child while she was pregnant, but yet if she tried to have the child aborted, she would be perfectly legal in that right to do so,” said Cindy Pare, AAA Women's Services.

Pare, from a local pregnancy counseling center, sees the law as a double standard, telling a woman it's okay to end the life of an unborn child in one instance but not in another.

But the law is clear. You can not take matters in your own hands.


Is it that, or is it because she deprived the abortion clinics of money they felt was rightfully theirs?


New York Deep in the Grip of Climate Change


Gotta love that global warming...


Another CS Lewis Novel to Become a Movie

Another of CS Lewis' books is set to become a movie, according to the Christian Post:

The movie attempts to tap into the crossover popularity of the author whose first adaptation, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, pulled in $744 million worldwide, according to Variety. The sequel to this, Prince Caspian, is expected to release next year.

The Screwtape Letters is a book that takes on the form of a series of letters written from a senior devil, Screwtape, to a subordinate, Wormtongue. In the letters, the elder gives advice on how to secure the damnation of an earthly man who the letters refer to as “the Patient.”

The comprehensive advice that Screwtape offers his nephew on undermining faith and encouraging sin is filled with examinations of human nature and Christian doctrine.


It may be difficult to make a movie of this one--even more so than Narnia--but if they can pull it off, it should be very good. Even astute and intellectually honest liberals will likely see things they recognize in our current culture.


The Politics of the Man Behind "24"

For those who are fans of the Fox network series "24," this article from the New Yorker is great.

Each season of “24,” which has been airing on Fox since 2001, depicts a single, panic-laced day in which Jack Bauer—a heroic C.T.U. agent, played by Kiefer Sutherland—must unravel and undermine a conspiracy that imperils the nation. Terrorists are poised to set off nuclear bombs or bioweapons, or in some other way annihilate entire cities. The twisting story line forces Bauer and his colleagues to make a series of grim choices that pit liberty against security. Frequently, the dilemma is stark: a resistant suspect can either be accorded due process—allowing a terrorist plot to proceed—or be tortured in pursuit of a lead. Bauer invariably chooses coercion. With unnerving efficiency, suspects are beaten, suffocated, electrocuted, drugged, assaulted with knives, or more exotically abused; almost without fail, these suspects divulge critical secrets.


Even if you've never watched 24 but wondered what it's about, this article will more than fill you in; in fact, by the time you're done, you may want to jump in, even though the current season is several episodes advanced.

Warning, though: the article is VERY long, though interesting, so grab a Coke or something before you sit down to read it.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Early Childhood Education Discrimination

The state Senate passed SB 115, the preschool bill, today but maybe they missed this piece from Dr. Karen Effram, a pediatrician, at campusreportonline.net:

No preschool program has shown academic benefit beyond the third grade. In addition, Georgia has spent over one billion dollars on universal pre-K and seen no improvement in test scores, and Oklahoma has lost ground on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading test despite universal pre-K. no differences in test scores between those participating and those not participating, and both Georgia and Oklahoma, which also has universal pre-K were in the bottom 10 performers on gains in the fourth grade NAEP reading tests.


Not only is preschool a bad idea in taking children away from parents at an earlier age, numerous studies show it's a waste of time from the perspective of academic achievement.

Let's hope the House gets it right when it's their turn to vote...


HPV Vaccinations Controversial in Several States

There was considerable discussion in the South Dakota blogosphere of the "free" HPV vaccinations initiative of Governor Rounds a few weeks ago.

It seems the issue of vaccinations for something that could be avoided with moral behavior--especially when mandated--is causing a ruckus in other states.

Earlier in the week I read about the controversy in Texas. Now this from OneNewsNow.com about Virginia:

But Michelle Newman, interim director of Concerned Women for America of Virginia, is urging the General Assembly to hold off on the mandatory vaccination legislation, calling such a measure a 'rush to judgment.' Advocating the vaccinations, she says, 'is going to encourage many parents to not bother to look further into some of the side effects that could happen, which was analyzed by the National Vaccine Information Center.'


I normally have no beef with pharmaceutical companies, but Merk is actively lobbying to make these vaccinations mandatory. When you couple that with the fact that it doesn't cost a penny to keep your legs closed or your fly zipped, that doesn't sit well with me. Merk has a right to promote its product, but mandates and taxpayer funding for such things are altogether different.

With even USA Today's opinion page urging restraint, it appears this isn't the slam-dunk some people once thought it was.


Movie Review: FoxFaith's 'Sin Eater'

I was intrigued by the title of this one. From the Christian Post:

Set in the Appalachian Mountains in early American history, the movie explores a community of Welsh settlers that practice an eerie ritual in the wilderness. When a member dies, a cursed human, known as the “sin eater,” appears, so that he may “eat away” the past sins of the deceased individual, discharging them of their transgressions.

The film revolves around the story of a young girl in the population named Cadi Forbes (Liana Liberato) who becomes intrigued by this cursed figure. Overridden by her own guilt over a childhood incident, she seeks the man out to try to empty away her sins while she is still alive.

On her quest to discover the sin eater, she uncovers a dark secret that may divide the whole community while she also begins to understand how to gain true salvation.


The review continues on to say that while some "faith" films are shoddy work with a "Christian" label slapped on it to draw the faithful, this one is put together well.

I can't vouch for the film in any way beyond what was said in this review, but it sounds interesting and I plan to watch for it.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bob Ellis Archives

Archived columns by Bob Ellis.


On the Offensive for your Beliefs

Some people--even within my own camp of conservative Christianity--fault me for being too "combative" and "offensive" in the public arena.

While I understand where they're coming from, and acknowledge that I must be on guard against crossing the line, there is a reason why I approach issues in a bold, unapologetic manner: you don't win by taking a defensive strategy. Another way of putting it might be that you won't win people over if you act like you don't even have some passion about what you're saying. (Besides, there's no need to slink around like a scared puppy when the truth is on your side).

Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily has a piece on conservatism yesterday that examines this truth.

First, one must understand that conservatism is, by definition, a defensive agenda. When one's goal is simply to "conserve," or preserve, or to hold onto what is good and right, you have abandoned the idea of advancing. In military terms, your objective would be holding on to turf, rather than attacking, defeating the enemy, taking new ground.

That is essentially what happened after Reagan was gone. Reagan, despite his embrace of the "conservative" cause, intuitively understood that defeat was certain if your fight is limited to defending. To give you a contemporary illustration of how this works in the real world of conflict, the U.S. won the first part of the war in Iraq, when it fought aggressively to defeat the defined enemy. After that, the focus shifted to defending. And the result should be obvious to all.

Reagan was on offense – in his domestic agenda and, especially, in his foreign policies.


Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against his church. Now I admit that until a few years ago, somehow I had this picture in my mind every time I heard that phrase which was very conflicted and contradictory (I'd be willing to bet that many other Christians have this same image). I always saw these iron gates flying through the air and hitting a church building. Though I always saw this image in my mind, at the same time I was always struck by the thought that there was something wrong with that picture.

I can't remember what caused the light to come on for me, but a few years ago it finally dawned on me that the gates of some stronghold don't normally go flying through the air and hit something else. Gates are, after all, a defensive instrument, but I was seeing the gates of hell in an offensive mode and the church in a defensive mode of being the one under attack. And on the heels of this revelation was the greatest revelation: Christ's church isn't supposed to be a defensive institution.

Jesus was as kind as he could be in the appropriate circumstances. But he pulled no punches when confronted by evil or evil people. Look up some of the "name calling" Jesus and his apostles did, if you don't think behavior should be named what it is and people called what they are.

Jesus intended his Church to go on the offensive, to attack the strongholds of evil in the world, to break down the gates of lies, deception and spiritual slavery to "rescue the captives" and help people into the Light.

You can't go on the offensive by huddling behind your stained-glass windows and hunkering down on your pews on Sunday. You can't go on the offensive if you're too afraid of offending someone else's "value system." You can't go on the offensive if you're busy compromising with evil. You can't go on the offensive if you're accepting the lie that church and state are separate, or that religion and science don't mix, or that faith and the real world have nothing to do with each other.

Farah, in talking about conservatism, also points out the same span of the battlefield for the conservative Christian (hint: it's borders don't end at the exit sign on the way out of church on Sunday):

Conservatism is also hopelessly inadequate as an agenda because of its near total reliance on "politics" as the battle ground. The real battle for the hearts and minds of the people doesn't take place in election cycles. It takes place every day when they watch television, when they read their newspapers, when they go to church, when they go the movies, when they send their children to school, when they listen to music, when they go to college.


Until Christians--and conservatives--get it through their head that playing "puppy dog politics" is always going to keep them on the defensive, they're going to continue to lose ground. If you Christians and conservatives WANT to lose ground, to look like a bunch of losers, a bunch of timid idiots, then just keep it up, because you're on the right track. But if you really believe in the ideals you're mumbling about, then quit mumbling, speak them clearly and fight for them!

While conservative Christians shouldn't be offensive just for the sake of it, or out of casual disregard, neither should we shrink from taking the fight to the enemy (the enemy isn't so much the people on the other side as it is the ideology and spiritual strongholds). And just like Jesus and a number of the people who worked for him weren't shy about calling evil for what it is, neither should we.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Scientist Throws Cold Water on Global Warming

Timothy Ball, PhD, is a climatologist who throws some cold water on the myth of man-made global warming. He reveals it for the hysterical liberal myth that it is:

I was as opposed to the threats of impending doom global cooling engendered as I am to the threats made about Global Warming. Let me stress I am not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.


Dr. Ball isn't just a Right wing radial like me. He has a PhD in climatology from the University of London and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg.

Global warming is just a bunch of socialist bunk designed to cripple business in general and the West in particular. Intelligent people would do well to avoid this faerie tale.


Why Socialism is so Destructive

LewRockwell.com has an absolutely EXCELLENT piece on the welfare state. Among the tremendous amount of insightful analysis in this piece, I believe this paragraph goes right to the heart of why most social programs are absolute rot to our society:

Government programs have not only created dependency, but have allowed people to escape the social norms that were the result of centuries of successful social behavior. The welfare state put in place a series of incentives that broke people free of the restraints of personal discipline. Before the advent of the full-blown welfare state, an out of wedlock birth was a familial disaster. The moral constraints of the time had some very good economic reasoning within it. Without a father, a single mother would have an extremely difficult time providing for the child, and her fitness for marriage would come into question for many suitors. The result was most likely to be either extreme poverty, an additional burden on the mother's parents, or adoption for the child. When the government steps in and subsidizes behaviors that in previous generations would have resulted in great hardship or even death, a sort of social Gresham's Law takes place where bad behavior chases out the good. Why have a father and husband around when the state will assure your financial situation? Why find a new job when you can collect unemployment for some time? The changes in societal incentives have resulted in a change in societal rules.


The rot of socialism isn't confined to the example of out of wedlock births (in fact, it runs across a broad spectrum of societal ills), but it is one of the most poignant examples of how families--the foundation of a stable and healthy society--are devastated by the institutional practice of doing for people what people should be doing for themselves.

Please take the time to read this entire piece. If you ever wondered why I'm so adamantly opposed to big government and socialism, you should thoroughly know why by the time you finish this article.


Death Penalty Should Be Retained and Used More Often

I just posted a piece on the death penalty on the main Dakota Voice website. A much shorter version of this had been planned for my Rapid City Journal column.

I had planned an altogether different piece for the RCJ this week, but I was unable to complete a series of interviews necessary to do an informed piece in time to make my deadline. The shorter version of this death penalty piece was Plan B, but when the House bill for the repeal of the death penalty died in committee Friday, I had a third column already written and sitting on the back burner that I considered more pertinent, now that the repeals chances went from slim to almost nil. You’ll see that Plan C one Tuesday in the Journal (it’s no less pertinent, just a matter of timing with committee hearings, votes, etc.).

This death penalty piece is intended to address many of the flawed arguments floating around regarding the death penalty. Those include everything from bleeding heart liberals who never met a guilty criminal, to misguided pro-life people who somehow manage to find moral equivalency between killing an innocent unborn human being and the state execution of a murderer who would brutally torture and take the life of another human being. The shorter version of this I had planned for the Journal barely allowed me to cover the ground I needed to in the 500 words allowed me in that forum, so at least by posting it online at DakotaVoice.com, I was able to lay out the facts and rationale a little better.

In the final analysis, there is absolutely no reason to repeal the death penalty, and every reason to not only keep it, but to drastically step up not only its frequency of use, and reduce the pathetic 12-year-average it takes from sentencing to execution.


 
Clicky Web Analytics