Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Life Is Not All Politics, Education, and Family

There is food! Glorious food! I admit to being addicted to Hog On Ice, almost to the point of obsession. I am attempting to make the Timpano for Christmas Eve. Arrrrgg. One of my future visits to Florida I’m sure to be arrested, trying to find the Man Camp! If I do manage to procure a teaching position down there, well let’s just say I will be included or some people are going to have to move. I mean the idea of men doing the cooking and OMG, I’m unsure who does the cleaning up. Hmm, maybe this plan needs work. . .

Then there is the
Carnival of Recipes. Oh lord! Now it’s a bit difficult to follow, as the site hosting keeps changing. I keep hoping it would find a permanent blog home. Ah well, I keep finding the links.
Well today I found while grazing at Hog site, this link I posted in title. Ah man, gotta get in on this. Not for my site, I follow others recipes, but in nominations!

"Thanks to the US. . ."

This is the first I've heard of this speech, though I haven't been listening to the news I have been reading a bit:

[. . .]

All of this activity came to a halt when Karzai, dressed in his flowing green silk coat and black lambskin hat, approached the microphone. He thanked Vice President Cheney for making the trip from Washington and then turned his attention to the American people:

Whatever we have achieved in Afghanistan--the
peace, the election, the reconstruction, the life that the Afghans are living
today in peace, the children going to school, the businesses, the fact that
Afghanistan is again a respected member of the international community--is from
the help that the United States of America gave us. Without that help
Afghanistan would be in the hands of terrorists--destroyed, poverty-stricken,
and without its children going to school or getting an education. We are very,
very grateful, to put it in the simple words that we know, to the people of the
United States of America for bringing us this day.

Sadly, most Americans never heard these words. Gratitude, it seems, is not terribly newsworthy. Neither is democracy. The Washington Post played Karzai's inauguration on page A-13, a placement that suggested it was relatively less important than Eliot Spitzer's decision to run for governor of New York or the decision of the U.S. government to import flu vaccine from Germany. . .

Most Definately A Greater Russia Is One of My Concerns

Read the whole thing:

[. . .]
So, how did we get to this remove? Not all of it can be levelled at a paranoid Russia. Had the West mounted a serious attempt to aid Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we might have had a better chance of a democratic Russia. Instead, Washington was intent on never allowing Russia to emerge again as a major power. The expansion of NATO up to the Russian borders, including basing NATO planes in Lithuania, NATO activity in the Caucasus, and the prospect of the Ukraine joining the EU and NATO, may turn out to be a fatal step in the history of the 21st century.

President Putin has made it clear that Moscow should not allow this erosion of Russia's geopolitical space. The Chief of the Russian General Staff has written: "A powerful military stationed at our borders with no declared objective poses a threat to any non-NATO country. Sensible leaders would realise this and prepare to counter the threat."

The problem is that Russia, after 400 years of autocracy, has never felt its independence threatened in this way before from European hegemony. The forthcoming elections in Ukraine may just provide Moscow with the pretext it requires to assert control over what it sees as vital geopolitical space.

On the Emerging China

I haven't read Vincent Carroll, at least that I remember. I found this via Real Clear Politics and will watch his column in the future.

Hanson On Chickens Coming to Roost

I must admit to my own part in this. As is often said, READ THE WHOLE THING:

Of course, we are amused by the spectacle. Privately, most Americans grasp that with a Germany and France reeling from unassimilated Muslim populations, a rising Islamic-inspired and globally embarrassing anti-Semitism, and economic stagnation, it is foolhardy to create 70 million Turkish Europeans by fiat. Welcoming in Turkey will make the EU so diverse, large, and unwieldy as to make it — to paraphrase Voltaire — neither European nor a Union. Surely Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia will wish to get in on the largess. Were they not, after all, also part of the historical Roman mare nostrum, and did they not also enjoy long ties with France and Italy?

So, to our discredit I suppose, we are enjoying Schadenfreude after our recent transatlantic acrimonies: Europe preached a postmodern gospel of multiculturalism and the end of oppressive Western values, and now it is time to put its money (and security) where its mouth is — or suffer the usual hypocrisy that all limousine liberals face. The United States has its own recent grievances with the Turks — its eleventh-hour refusal to allow American troops to come down from the north explains why the now red-hot Sunni Triangle never saw much war during the three-week fighting. Recently a minister of a country that gave rise to the notion of 20th-century genocide slurred the United States for resembling Hitler, who in fact was an erstwhile Turkish near ally. Still, our realists muse, how convenient that Europe may carry the water in bringing Turkey inside the Western orbit and prevent it from joining the radical Islamic fringe. Knowing it is in our interest (and not necessarily in the Europeans') and will cost them lots and us nothing, we "on principle" remonstrate for the need to show Western empathy to Turkish aspirations.

Something to Share

The Anchoress and her family have been enduring one of life's sad challenges. I was there myself a little more than a year ago, it is so hard. My mom had been sick for at least 8 years, the last 3 were very bad, the last nearly unbearable. Funny thing, well not so funny, we have no regrets other than her suffering yet we now remember the laughter. . .


One day a small opening appeared on a cocoon, a man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force it's body through that little opening.

Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further so the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.

The butterfly then emerged easily but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened.

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of it's life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the opening, were God's way of forcing the fluid from thebody of the butterfly into it's wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved it's freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been.

We could never fly.

I asked for strength...And God gave me Difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for wisdom...And God gave me problems to solve.

I asked for Prosperity...And God gave me Brain and Brawn to work.

I asked for Courage...And God gave me Danger to overcome.

I asked for Love...And God gave me Troubled people to help.

I asked for Favors...And God gave me opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted.I received everything I needed.


Must Read-On Military Thoughts

Via Grim’s Hall. A Very interesting essay, especially for someone like me, who has never been that much of a war student. I tend towards reading on what has taken a people to war, not so much the wars themselves.

It fit in very nicely with what I read this morning, which I stumbled across at 2Slick’s site. If I learn nothing else today, this has been a good day.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Why? Kerik Withdraws

Seems that there are questions on his interests in taser guns. Not that important to me, but that's me. I have no problem with Giuliani. What will Bush do?

Update: Appears that there is a 'Nanny problem.'

This Pretty Much Sums Up My Take On the Reporter Through Soldier Mouthpiece

Slap the reporter for not coming clean with what was done. That said, along with not making clear that the forward troops DO HAVE ARMAMENT, I agree.

Peace to All That Complete the Journey

Best of the Web has a obit, that can’t help but remind me of the bravery and inspiration of the Anchoress’ beloved brother, S…

From Best of the Web:

Brudnoy had been sick on and off with AIDS and cancer since 1994, "often breaking free from the clutches of death to return to the airwaves, to BU, and to his favored Starbucks on Newbury Street in what seemed a matter of weeks." The Globe's description of his on-air style gets it just right:

In an age of radio hosts who try to achieve high ratings by slinging brutal insults against public officials and athletes, Brudnoy has always stood a world apart. A self-described libertarian, he appears as consumed by curiosity as by opinion. He is the rare host who reads the books of his author-guests. And he sheaths his most pointed questions to politicians in politesse.

WBZ Web site has more on Brudnoy, including an interview with him yesterday conducted by WBZ anchorman Gary LaPierre.

We met Brudnoy twice, both when we were a guest on his show. In 2002 we took a break from a vacation to join him in his Boston studio for an hour to discuss current events, especially the impending liberation of Iraq. One point of disagreement was the French: We maintained they would eventually cave in and go along with America; he was much more skeptical, and of course he turned out to be right.

On the 'brother of the Anchoress:

. . .Now, some would think that sitting beside the hospice bed of a formerly strong, beautiful man who now weighs 68 lbs and is fighting like a braw and bonny warrior to live just a while longer, I would find nothing else in the world of comparable sadness. They would be wrong. Your column is surely the spiritual match to the physical agony my brother is enduring. While S might lose his contest of the flesh, though, he will certainly prevail in the spirit, and this gives us cause for hope, and even for a sort of joy. . .

Headline is Canada, Should be US

Looks like Canada is soon to join Britain, France, Spain, Russia, China, Germany, Australia and the US in support of Kofi Annan. I am very embarassed by the US, read the whole thing.

On Reid On Thomas

James Taranto deals with this racism head on, using Chafets of the NY Daily News and Brock from Media Matters. Truth to tell, it's blatant and unforgivable.

Happy Hanukkah

Excellent column by Dave Kopel at Glenn Reynolds.com.

Democracy and Iraq

The above link lays out why I think democracy via the elections has a decent chance in Iraq. I believe this in spite of the truth that Friedman wrote about recently. While many of the ‘best and brightest’ did leave Iraq, one thing I have noticed since the inception, nay the planning of the war, many want to return.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

They Must Really Love GOP Dominance

Hee hee, Terry McAuliffe as a synonym for GOP. Yeah, right.

Bush Legacy

I think the private family/hospital visits are going to be part of the Bush legacy, in much the same manner that letter writing was part of Ronald Reagan's.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Slow Postin

Tonight I've been working on final for master's course. Tomorrow is the class, nothing like last minute momma. Friday I will be posting more letters on SlaughterRock's site. Forgive me and read some of the linked sites.

Too Good Not to Link To

Two links to Michelle is a bit much, nevertheless, it's worth it.

Eco Terrorism

Michelle addresses this issue via the Maryland homes going up in flames. Actually, I wonder of homegrown terrorism based on things like ecogology, animal rights, gun rights, tax rights, etc. Kind of like the American Revolution out of control. Voices in the dark, but without a clear light.

Kofi On Islamic Extremists and Those That Aren't

Via Daily Pundit. Kofi makes pronouncement that the world should not judge Islam by the extremists, but rather by the middle. He calls upon the ‘middle’ to state their views, assuming they are not with the extreme. ~rolleyes~:

Annan urged people to condemn terrorist and violent acts carried out in the name of Islam but which "no cause can justify."

"Muslims themselves, especially, should speak out, as so many did following the September 11 attacks on the United States, and show a commitment to isolate those who preach or practice violence, and to make it clear that these are unacceptable distortions of Islam," he said.

Annan said "it is essential that solutions come from within Islam itself" and suggested and suggested that the Islamic scholarly principle of "ijtihad," a process of critical inquiry, could foster free debate into what is good and bad in Muslim cultures as well as others.

He stressed that Islam "should not be judged by the acts of extremists who deliberately target and kill civilians."

"We should not underestimate the resentment and sense of injustice felt by members of one of the world's great religions, cultures and civilizations," he said.

"And we must make the re-establishment of trust among people of different faiths and cultures our highest priority," Annan added, saying that failure to do this threatens world peace and development.
[. . .]

The Right Number of Troops

I've been thinking of this for months now, finally a post that speaks my thoughts. When I grow up, I hope to be able to do this.

Homeless: This Is NOT It!

via Best of the Web. I must admit to some confusion, the point is What? There are homeless, living in Chicago area I cannot deny this. There was under Clinton and there is under GW. The point of this article, is lost on me.

Bush's First Term

I really was burned out on politics for a bit, at least in the 'red' v. 'blue' sense, but Polipundit has a post up that brings back why GW deserved the win and why I worked on his campaign. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Father's Obituary For His Son

Via SlagleRock, I thank son, father, and the whole family:

My son, the soldier, comes home for good.
At last report he had left Iraq and was waiting a flight in Kuwait. With luck he will be in Germany today and then on to Texas. By the way, he is called "remains" but I know better. He is my son.
I want to tell you about him. Not because he is so great a guy - although I think so, but because he represents the thousands of sons and daughters America is sending to far away places to secure our peace and our liberties at home.
[. . .]
Read it, have a hankie close by.

Time to Get Writing

I’ve been encouraging you, my readers to participate in SlaughterRock’s letter campaign. My students have joined in. I thought you might enjoy one of theirs:

December 2004

Patriot’s Poem

Dear American Patriot,

I am sorry for your mishaps, your problems, and your doubts,
I hope this poem shows you what life is all about.
From us here in Chicago, to the people in Bel-Aire,
We wish you luck in the Marines or if you are in the air.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, and other holidays too,
I hope you know we think of you every day, not two.
I think you are courageous and good within the heart,
America is a big family, of which you are an important part.

I hope you know I am thankful for all of your hard work,
For sure I will know who you are with a red, white, and blue shirt.
You are in this poem, which is a work of art,
I know you were loyal all, right from the start.

I believe in many things, even Santa Claus,
I hope you will make it home and get through every cause.
It is a good thing that you make it through day and through night,
I know you will be skilled in any way you fight.

This is the end of my poem that is full of rhymes,
I want to see you make it home; I can’t wait for that time.

Seventh Grade Student

Monday, December 06, 2004

Just In-Truth for the Ages, Almost

Words of wisdom, though if only it was one of each:

"Love starts with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a tear."

My Letter to an American Soldier

I wrote about this letter writing campaign last night. Here's my first go:

December 2004

Dear American Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Air Corp Member,

’Thank you,’ is inadequate for what I owe all of you. In most cases now, you are serving with the full knowledge of the likelihood of being in harm's way. September 11, 2001 still seems unreal to me though I do know it happened. More importantly I know you are paying in the price in a real way, again I thank you. I wonder if you all know that the overwhelming majority of Americans DO support your efforts and are grateful? I want to tell you, they do and they are!

The world is becoming safer in the sense that I very much doubt there will be jets torpedoing buildings in the near future. For the most part, the planners of such attacks are dead or on the run. Running from YOU! Believe me, most of your fellow citizens know this, and appreciate your sacrifice.

It matters not the season of the year home is always missed. Now though with the holiday season here, I have no doubt that it must be felt a little more keenly than the everyday-to-day wistfulness. While I'm sure that it cannot compare with what your family and friends are experiencing, many of us are also more aware, thus more grateful at this time of year.

It kind of brings to mind Scrooge taking into his consciousness those of ignorance and want. I found the following poem; it reminds me of all of our troops and the message of the season. I hope you enjoy it!

Christmas Poem
by G.K. Chesterton

There fared a mother driven forth Out of an inn to roam; in the place where she was homeless all men are at home. The crazy stable close at hand, with shaking timber and shifting sand, grew a stronger thing to abide and stand than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes, and strangers under the sun, and they lay their heads in a foreign land whenever the day is done. Here we have battle and blazing eyes, and chance and honor and high surprise, but our homes are under miraculous skies Where the Yule tale was begun.

A child in a foul stable, where the beasts feed and foam; only where He was homeless Are you and I at home; we have hands that fashion and heads that know, But our hearts we lost---how long ago! In a place no chart nor ship can show under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wife's tale, And strange the plain things are, The earth is enough and the air is enough For our wonder and our war; But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings And our peace is put in impossible things Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening Home shall all men come, to an older place than Eden and a taller town than Rome. To the end of the way of the wandering star, to the things that cannot be and that are, to the place where God was homeless and all men are at home.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy New Year! I pray for your safe return.

Kathianne Wheaton, IL

Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Time of Thankfulness

This is probably going to be posted on Monday, as Blogger seems to be down, (well maybe I'm lucky!). I had a wonderful day, attending my daughter’s performance in Concert Choir at her university. Along with 15 close friends and family, we had a celebratory dinner afterwards. Really helped to get in the Christmas spirit.

Others are paying the price for those of us lucky enough to be with our families over the holidays, it’s what they do, but a bit of gratitude is also due.
2Slick links to SgtLizzy, who was wounded in an IED attack. Luckily she is recovering, her driver was much less fortunate, say a prayer for both. Drop Lizzy a comment, while she is getting deluged with emails right now no reason not to let her know we are reading.

Small Town Veteran has a post linking to SlagleRock’s Slaughterhouse, asking for blogosphere’s help in writing general letters to the military, that can be printed and carried by hand to folks over there. Seems he has a friend deploying on Christmas Eve, leaving behind his wife, new baby, and three other children. Writing a letter shouldn’t take all that long. . .

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