Thursday, July 30, 2009

More on ObamaCare

This is a follow-up to my earlier post about the President's proposed health care plan.

To read more interesting thoughts about ObamaCare, see here or here or here...

For some interesting (sometimes disturbing, sometimes hilarious) video thoughts, check out this or this or this or this...

What's good for the goose...

...ought to be good for the gander.

Though they are getting some intelligent resistance and opposition, members of Congress appear to be near passing the Health Care Plan proposed by President Obama. The infuriating thing to me, however (besides that it will ensure that more of my tax dollars fund abortions, that the quality of health care that Americans are currently able to enjoy will be severely compromised, and that billions more dollars will be added to the deficit as a result of its passage) is that while my family and I - and you and yours - will be forced to accept this Health Care Plan, the members of Congress who are voting it into existence will not.

"Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment in the Ways & Means Committee that would have required Members of Congress to enroll immediately in the government-run health plan that would be established under the Democratic bill. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) offered an amendment to put his committee on the record in support of enrolling Members of Congress in the government-run plan as well. While the Wilson amendment was approved by voice vote in the Education & Labor Committee, the Heller amendment was killed in the Ways & Means Committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel."

This is from a web post by Republican House Leader John Boehner, where he acknowledges the "long list of common-sense changes House Republicans proposed this month while the bill was being considered by the Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce, and Education & Labor Committees. These amendments, which were designed to make the health care bill more palatable to the American people, were unceremoniously crushed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her committee chairmen with little public attention or debate."

(Apparently, by the way, union workers who helped Democrats win Congress and the White House and whose support will be key in getting a health bill signed into law may also be getting some exemption perks...)

There isn't much to be done, but since I do believe that Edmund Burke quotation which acknowledges that,"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," I wrote a letter to my Congressional Representatives:

Dear [recipient names were inserted here],

It is unbelievable to me that any members of Congress are considering
voting for and approving the Health Care Plan proposed by President Obama, yet are also planning to refuse to require Congress to be covered by said health care. If you think ObamaCare is good enough for all Americans, it ought to be good enough for you. If you vote for a plan you refuse to participate in, you will verify a lack of integrity and a lack of concern for your constituents. The American people will not put up with a government that foists upon its people policies that they themselves will not endure.

Sincerely,



Of course, this last sentence isn't entirely true, since we put up with the fact that they establish their own payraises using taxpayer money, that they are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, and that they even consider themselves above a city-council imposed city-wide smoking ban in the capitol city. Note also that very few of them choose the public school system which they so graciously endorse for "all Americans," opting rather to send their own children to private schools using their hefty taxpayer-provided salaries.

Yes, I would like for all Americans to have access to affordable health care, but socialized medicine won't help anybody.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Farewell, Big Bad Wolf

The world’s first suspended roller coaster, which debuted in 1984 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, will give the final ride through its artificial Bavarian village on Sept. 7, 2009.

The Big Bad Wolf has been the first "real roller coaster" ride for three of my four children, as the suspended car gives a feeling of enclosure and an illusion of security that aids the very young to be "very brave." Curled up next to Mom or Dad, hiding one's face down in the car, little guys can do anything...

Too bad little EL isn't going to make it. She won't even brave the Grover coaster in the new Sesame Street Forest of Fun yet...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Get a Can of Wasp Spray

When asked about using pepper spray for self-defense in the home, safety educators and police departments recommended that you get a can of wasp spray instead. The wasp spray, they say, shoots up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate; with pepper spray, you have to get too close and your attacker can more easily overpower you. Apparently wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker and must be treated medically with an antidote at the hospital. Another plus? It's a whole lot cheaper!

The video below shows footage of a self-defense instructor recommending this product's use in this way. You have to watch through a 15-second advertisement for a local Toledo credit union in order to get to the news story.





Monday, July 20, 2009

This Was Once a Love Song


My offering for this month's writing prompt on Poets Online*

THIS WAS ONCE A LOVE SONG
This was once a love song
But I had to drop the melody
(Which was fine with it, since it knows I
could never write one anyway.
At least not a good one.
And it would have only liked a good melody, thank you very much.)
I kept hoping to capture the ideas as he did
so long ago,
singing.
The minstrel called me "Laura" and spoke of
"Life so simple," which (of course)
It turned out not to be.
He thought things would be different, I'm sure.
And I'm sure I promised as much
with my eyes
and my smile
and my whispered dreams...
back before I became the one
"to have and to hold"
even when you are sick to death of it
and don't want to
but do.
It is content not to be a love song, because
no one writes loves songs about pasta
or ear aches
or vomit
or stretch marks.
There isn't much crooning about tire swings
and loose teeth
and fingerpaint
and lullabies.
Love songs whisper promises they never keep,
never making it to the finish line.
They end before they really begin,
like Easter eggs still in the carton
or chocolate pie that is an empty shell.
It knows it, and so
thanks God to no longer be
the attempted love song.
It would be much happier as a soundtrack,
going lovely here
and frightening there
and loud
and soft
and gentle
and grand
But since it knows I cannot write this, either
It will just hold my hand
through the agony
and the laughter
and the tears.
And smile at him
with gratitude
for constancy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crazy Love

Hats off to the Rebelution Blog for making me aware of this free audiobook download of Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love. It is available free from ChristianAudio.com during the month of July.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Holding Hands

Although the research is a couple of years old by now, I just came across this article which indicates that, "Married women under extreme stress who reach out and hold their husbands' hands feel immediate relief." Although I have known of many studies which indicate that married couples are physically healthier than their single counterparts, I had not known of research indicating that married love can be an immediate and significant antidote to the stress response in the body.

The study involved happily-married women who were lying in an MRI machine, knowing they were soon to begin receiving random shocks to an ankle. Brain scans showed significant activity in regions normally associated with anticipating pain, regulating negative emotions, and heightening physical arousal.

However, when the husband was permitted to reach into the imaging machine and touch his wife's hand, the activity level in all those brain areas indicating stress plummeted.

"The women received significantly more relief from their husbands' touch than from a stranger's, and those in particularly close marriages were most deeply comforted by their husbands' hands, the study found."

I have always known that to take my husband's hand helps to calm me when I'm scared or anxious, but I haven't known what a physical phenomenon was at work.

Last week, my fifteen-year old daughter had all four of her wisdom teeth removed. They allowed me in the room just after she began to come out of the unconsciousness induced by the general anesthesia. She was groggy, confused, packed with gauze, and still rather delirious. I knew that later, she wouldn't remember anything happening right then. I knew that she was still under the effects of the anesthesia. I knew that the panic and fear in her eyes would pass as she regained her bearings and found herself again in her right mind. But I'm so grateful that my natural response to seeing her overwhelmed face and eyes brimming with tears was to reach out and take her hands. She couldn't understand anything I was saying or process my smiling face and soothing tones, but maybe, just maybe, her body felt me grasp her hands and settled more easily into peace.

Thank you, Lord, for the reminder of what a gift You have given me in my husband. May I take greater advantage of the glorious privilege of reaching out for his hand...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cell Phone Cheating

Reason I Love Homeschooling #723: Your students actually learn the material, do the work, write their own papers, and take their own tests.

Here are some not-so-surprising results from a Common Sense Media poll, released on June 18, 2009:

(The survey was commissioned by the San Francisco non-profit group Common Sense Media and was conducted by The Benensen Strategy Group. The national survey studied 1,013 middle- and high school students from around the country.)
  • 83% of 1,013 teens surveyed had a cell phone.
  • Teens with cell phones send 440 texts a week on average, with 110 occurring in the classroom.
  • Nearly two-thirds of students with cell phones (65%) use them during school, regardless of school policies against it.
  • 35% admitted to cheating in school using the phones.
  • 65% said others in school cheat with them.
  • Even so, 23% feel that storing notes on a cell phone for use during a test is NOT cheating. Less than half (only 41%) believe this to be cheating.
  • 20% said texting friends on the cell phone about answers during a test is NOT cheating, while still less than half (45% ) say it is.
One could wonder exactly what they were admitting when they did confess to cheating with their cell phones (which more than 1 in 3 did), if texting answers to friends or retrieving stored answers from your phone is not considered cheating!

(Remember our former president who "Did not have sexual relations with that woman?!" Our students are learning well the lessons of semantics, splitting hairs, redefining terms, and engaging-in-whatever-behavior-you-want because it's-nobody's-business-but-your-own and everyone's-doing-it.)

Here's to students who are still allowed to be told that certain things are right and that other things are wrong... who understand what cheating is... who are excited about learning and want to expand their knowledge... whose teacher knows if they know the answer or not...

Is homeschooling "old-fashioned"? You betcha: the students don't use cell phones (or anything else) to cheat on their tests. They actually just learn the stuff. What a novel idea.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How Firmly They've Been Nailed

John Piper today, on Twitter:

DEALING WITH YOUR SIN: Don't minimize how many times you've failed. But magnify how firmly they've been nailed (Col. 2:14).
updates

The Ignominy of Bikini Shopping with Your 8-Year-Old Daughter

I have a friend whose name is "Nasty." Not really, of course, but that's what everyone calls her. Everyone. Her real name is Helen, but years ago a young nephew laughingly decided to call his Aunt Helen - who was gardening and elbow-deep in dirt and mud at the time - "Aunt Dirty." That stuck, but just with family... until one unfortunate day at a party when some other friend asked, "What is it your nephew calls you? Aunt Nasty?" And that was that. She's been Nasty ever since. To everyone.

At least that's the way it was told to me when I met her some three decades ago at the age of twelve. She was an older lady (who isn't, when you're twelve?!) who lived near the bayfront condominium that my father's company kept for hosting visiting executives. When it wasn't in use, it was available for us to sit, oceanside, on the outside deck. We used it often. We met the neighbors, who became our friends. Aunt Nasty and her husband Chuck were among them.

Aunt Nasty lived at the beach. I mean that literally and figuratively, as she was actually out in the sun and surf just about daily. She was tanned to a deep golden brown year-round, and she always wore a bikini.

She has to be into her seventies by now. And though she and her husband have moved from that bayside condominium to a nearby oceanfront retirement community, Nasty still lives at the beach. Literally and figuratively. And she still wears a bikini.

What does all this have to do with The Ignominy of Bikini Shopping with Your 8-Year-Old Daughter? Everything. Because yesterday I went bikini shopping with my sweet EL.

This was not bikini shopping for her, mind you, but for me. I have a secret stash of inexpensive bikinis that I wear only in the privacy of my own family... at Grampa's backyard pool when no guests are present, or at the beach when we are clustered as a family unit of private little beach chairs. Why? I've posted about this issue before (modesty and bikinis and why I wear one anyway), but I'll say it again here in the words of Nasty's husband, Chuck: "Since Helen wears a bikini, all the good parts glow in the dark."

So yesterday, I was picking up a couple of things at WalMart with my daughter EL, and we found a clearance rack of bikini separates. The price was right, so we decided to see if we could find any in my size. (You never know what is your size until you try them on, by the way, but I started at "extra large," at least with the bottoms! They were bikinis, after all... usually only skinny people wear them.)

Trying on bathing suits is never a fun thing, but trying on bikinis at 42, after giving birth four times, is downright depressing. The only way to lighten things up and turn them fun? Cram yourself into a fitting room with your 8-year old daughter while you do it...

EL, casually: "I don't want to be extra large when I grow up."
me: "Well, nobody wants to be extra large. You don't really choose to become extra large."
EL: "Well, they eat less. And they exercise. That seems like 'choice things' to me."

Then, a bit later, rather timidly: "Not to be rude, Mom, but let's leave that one for someone else..." Apparently, there's bad, and then there's really bad...

Oh, the price you pay for glow-in-the-dark good spots!