Jazz rendition of Wayfaring Stranger

The video is messed up, but I enjoyed the music. I don’t listen to much jazz and I know nothing really about it (I don’t know that much about music, period, but I really don’t know much about Jazz), but I like this. I like several jazzed up versions of songs I’ve heard, but I think I am the only member of the family who does.

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Favorite resource for drawing lessons

Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad book and programs are great favorites- especially with The Boy and me. Kistler is known on PBS as Commander Mark, and he’s cheesy but wonderful- you really do learn how to draw some basic stuff through his program (s).

He has several youtube videos up, and plenty of other short drawing lessons available on his website.

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Free stuff from Amazon

Free Song Download from Amazon!!

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Links and Thinks for Friday

the President’s administration has really treated Poland so badly it’s embarrassing.

Dr. Zero has an outstanding post up at Hot Air’s Greenroom. Go forth and read and understand:

The “right” to food, health care, a job, or the other staples of the socialist menu can only exist in the absence of individual rights. Most fundamentally, the State can only provide benefits to some by violating the property rights of others. This crucial concept of progressive taxation on individual income is based on the idea that the State has a moral right to confiscate and re-distribute resources, which transcends any individual citizen’s right to his own property.

Having conceded the supremacy of the State’s needs over the rights of the individual in this area, we find ourselves endlessly fighting over just how much of his property the individual has an absolute right to retain… and the only logical answer is “none.” There is no ethical reason why a government that taxes some people’s income at 35% cannot tax it at 70%, 90%, or higher, to meet the needs of those in the lower tax brackets. We have also established the precedent that those “needs” are infinitely flexible – there are no iron-clad rules that prevent the State from deciding that access to the Internet, mass transportation, food, or housing are “rights” that it has a duty to provide.

Unemployment is at its highest rate since June of 1983, which, not at all coincidentally, is around the time the HM signed up to join the Air Force- and there were so many people scrambling to join the military that they did not have room for him until October. We were promised that if we got the trillion dollar spending plan passed this would not happen. It could hardly be more clear that this President does not understand basic economics, but then, I don’t think he really cares about economic reality, anyway.

Obama’s Green Jobs Czar is a ‘Truther.’ (update: he resigned around midnight Sunday night the fifth of Sept.) He signed a truther petition and is linked to the movement as far back as 2002. His defense is that he signed that petition without reading it, making him the perfect guy to handle billions of taxpayer dollars. But Tapper of ABC finds this doubtful:

But in March 2002, a march in San Francisco was called to demand a congressional inquiry into 9/11. Jones was on the “organizing committee.”

On a minor note, if you had any doubt that Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs drank the Obama kool-ade (I very Freudianly typed ‘kook-ade’ at first) and jumped the shark, see his defense of Van Johnson (at one point it was that Van Jones’s name was forged)-you can get the link from this post with Ace’s fisking of that defense (this is not even a claim Van Jones made for himself).
Van Jones also supports a cop killer- pretty freaky stuff here. The thing about Czars and Obama’s proliferation of them is that they don’t get the usual screening. We can see why Obama would want to skip that.

He’d like to skip a lot of things- like getting the American people on board with his health care plan. But there are good reasons why Americans are not on board:

Of the 46 million uninsured, 9.7 million are not U.S. citizens; 17.6 million have annual incomes of more than $50,000; and 14 million already qualify for Medicaid or other programs. That leaves less than five million people truly uncovered out of a population of 307 million. Americans don’t believe this problem—serious but correctable—justifies the radical shift Mr. Obama offers.

Keeping in mind this truth from Henry Hazlitt’s classic, “Economics in One Lesson”:

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

John Stossel looks at what we don’t see from the government’s cash for clunkers program:

Those car buyers were either going to trade in their used cars soon or they weren’t. If they were, Cash for Clunkers simply moved up the schedule. The stimulation of the auto industry occurred earlier. Big deal. But if buyers planned to keep their cars longer, the program imposed costs that are less visible. Without the government incentive to buy cars, consumers would have bought other things — computers, washing machines, televisions. The manufacturers and sellers of those products didn’t get to make those sales. Why should the auto industry get privileges at the expense of others?

Then there are the mechanics who would have serviced those used cars. They’ve lost business. Some will be laid off. Nor should we forget low-income people who depend on the used-car market for their transportation. The cheap cars they would have bought were destroyed.

What about the alleged environmental benefits? Assuming that cutting carbon emissions is worthwhile, was Cash for Clunkers helpful? It’s hard to see why. People who traded in inefficient cars for efficient ones will likely drive more and therefore use more gasoline.

Even if carbon emissions are cut by a lot, economist Christopher Knittel says the program will cost more than $365 per ton of carbon saved.


Health care in England
– can you say ‘death panel?’ I thought you could:

Several British doctors, experts on palliative care (which means the compassionate treatment of the dying in order to make them more comfortable), have registered alarm at a trend in British medical practice:

Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.

“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients.”

The CPSC requests more funding for next year so they can hire more people to follow Craig’s list and catch you selling your kid’s old Polly Pocket dolls (which should now be collectables, so just call them vintage collectables).

Just for kicks and giggles- Japan’s new first lady is quite the character. How many first ladies do you know who say they’ve been to Venus?

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Study Guide for the President’s Speech to Little Kids

If my child were in public school…. well, I have to stop there, because I cannot imagine that scenario anymore.

We might very well watch the Obama infomercial for children, and here is what we might do ahead of time. In case you’re wondering why we only ‘might’ watch it, that would be entirely conditional on my ability to remember on September 8th to watch it from the Whitehouse site:

Junior high school students and older would have a few lessons in recognizing propaganda and indoctrination attempts.

We would read biographies of Chairman Mao and Stalin.

We would discuss the Constitution and the three branches of government, stressing what their powers are, how they come to office, and whether they work for us or we work for them (ideally, I mean). Here’s a helpful site for children on the Constitution and the three branches of government.

We would then focus in on the separation of powers.

The Separation of Powers devised by the framers of the Constitution was designed to do one primary thing: to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist. Based on their experience, the framers shied away from giving any branch of the new government too much power. The separation of powers provides a system of shared power known as Checks and Balances.

Three branches are created in the Constitution. The Legislative, composed of the House and Senate, is set up in Article 1. The Executive, composed of the President, Vice-President, and the Departments, is set up in Article 2. The Judicial, composed of the federal courts and the Supreme Court, is set up in Article 3

.

Each of these branches has certain powers, and each of these powers is limited, or checked, by another branch.

For example, the President appoints judges and departmental secretaries. But these appointments must be approved by the Senate. The Congress can pass a law, but the President can veto it. The Supreme Court can rule a law to be unconstitutional, but the Congress, with the States, can amend the Constitution.

All of these checks and balances, however, are inefficient. But that’s by design rather than by accident. By forcing the various branches to be accountable to the others, no one branch can usurp enough power to become dominant.

And then we would talk about the tenth amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I might ask some leading questions of my own about enumerated powers.

The beauty of the Constitution is its brevity. It does not attempt to mandate too much, like some constitutions which are hundreds of pages long. Any power it does not grant the federal government, and which is not otherwise expressly forbidden, is left to the states.

If my students were old enough, we would read through the Constitution and look for the part where the Federal government has the right to involve itself in local schools, to bypass the school-boards, or to write curriculum.

Questions to ask students:

How long can a President serve in office? How many terms can he serve?

So, will Obama be the President when you are old enough to vote?

What are the President’s approval ratings right now?

According to the head of the Department of Education, No other president has asked all the public schools in America to tune in to listen to him give a speech, and had the Federal government spend its time and resources to write a study guide helping to shape the way you think about the President’s message.

If you are listening to the radio or watching television at home and you disagree with what is said, what can you do about it? When you are listening to a political speech at school in class and you do not like what he says, what can you do about it?

Define “Captive audience.”

Why do you think he wants to talk to you?

The President did not go through the school boards or the state board of education, but sent private e-mails to the principles of each school telling them to have the children watch his speech. What might be some reasons for that?

Is there anything wrong with the President encouraging the nation’s children to work hard in school? Why might some people think this is a good idea? Is there any reason some people might think it’s a bad idea?

Some people are worried that this not all the President is going to do- why might that be?

In the first study guide the President’s friends at the Department of Education made for schools, they said students should

Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals.

Is it the President’s job to ask for you to do things to help him? Is it the teacher’s job to hold you accountable for not ‘helping’ the President?

What if you do not want to help this President? Should that be something you should have to tell your teacher? What does it mean for your teacher to ‘make you accountable’ for helping the President? How do you think a teacher would hold you accountable for helping the President?

What is more important- our country, or the President? Why do you think this study guide said you should help the President?

A lot of people have been talking about this, and that study guide has been changed this week, so it doesn’t say the same thing any more. Suddenly, the website says something different. Now you are asked to write down your short term and long term education goals in a letter to yourself that you will give to your teacher who will keep it for you for later.

These two things are not very similar. Why do you supposed they’ve changed?

This section of the study guide is for children who are in kindergarten through sixth grade. Who knows those children best- the President or their parents? Should you take your goals from a total stranger who doesn’t know you without thinking carefully about it?

The President also wants teachers to get children to think about these questions:

*What is the President trying to tell me?

*What is the President asking me to do?

*What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?

But you should also ask yourself:
WHY is the President trying to tell little children anything without their parents there? What are some motives he might have?

Does the President have a right to tell all the little children in America what to do without consulting their parents? Who is responsible for children? Why didn’t the President ask parents and children to listen to his message together and talk about it together?

Should the President be telling little kids what to think?

Do politicians usually send their children to public schools? Why might that be?

The Whitehouse study guide says:

“Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials?”

Is it important to only listen, or is also important to ask questions, to question authority, to think about whether or not you agree with those officials?

Read about the Milgram experiments and watch these youtube videos. Should the people in the Milgram experiments have listened to the man in charge or should they have argued with him?

Did the President try to create certain feelings in you? If so, what emotions did he try to bring out, and how did he do that?

Other questions.

These questions are from the PDF study guide for high school:

Short readings. Notable quotes excerpted (and posted in large print on board) from
President Obama’s speeches about education.

Brainstorm or Concept Web: Why does President Obama want to speak with us today?
How will he inspire us? How will he challenge us? What might he say?

Brainstorm or Concept Web: What other historic moments do you remember when the
President spoke to the nation? What was the impact? Students could create a
Cause/Effect graphic organizer.

The person who wrote these questions wants you to assume you will be inspired. Why? The way these questions are worded is leading- that is, the question itself is slanted in a way to influence you to give only a positive, Pro-Obama response. What if you did not find it inspiring?

Listening with a purpose: Inspiration and Challenges. Using a similar double‐column
style notes page as the one above, the teacher could focus students on quotations that
either propose a specific challenge to them or inspire them in some meaningful way.
Students could do this individually, in pairs or groups

Guided Discussion:
• What resonated with you from President Obama’s speech? What lines/phrases do you
remember?

Whatever happened to critical thinking? Why not ask simply ‘what did the President say?’ and ‘Do you agree or disagree, why or why not?’

Further reading: John Taylor Gatto– how public education enforces conformity of thought.

P.S. Reminder: When Bush delivered a speech to schools (and I am not aware that he had the education department prepare a study guide where children were told to write a letter to themselves about what they could do to help the president, and teachers were to collect those letters and hold the students accountable), the Democrats were so incensed they held hearings about it:

Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush’s appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. “The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC,” Ford began. “As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event.”

Unfortunately for Ford, the General Accounting Office concluded that the Bush administration had not acted improperly.

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