Child’s Calendar Beautiful, Between Whiles

Get work, get work; be sure it is better than what we work to get.
~Mrs. Browning

A man’s reach must exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for?
~Robert Browning

One cannot always be a hero, but one can always be a man.
~Goethe

For he that will say and nothing do
Is not worthy with good company to go.
~ From Everyman

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Child’s Calendar Beautiful, Eighth Year, October

The Last Leaf
by Oliver Wendell Holmes

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o’er the ground
With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of Time
Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round
Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And he looks at all he meets
Sad and wan,
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
“They are gone!”

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has prest
In their bloom,
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said–
Poor old lady, she is dead
Long ago–
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow;

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff,
And a crook is in his back,
And a melancholy crack
In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.

There is some excellent background information, including notes by the author himself, here.
I especially enjoyed this comment by the author:
“I have lasted long enough to serve as an illustration of my own poem. I am one of the very last of the leaves which still cling to the bough of life that budded in the spring of the nineteenth century. The days of my years are threescore and twenty, and I am almost half way up the steep incline which leads me toward the base of the new century so near to which I have already climbed.

“I am pleased to find that this poem, carrying with it the marks of having been written in the jocund morning of life, is still read and cared for. It was with a smile on my lips that I wrote it; I cannot read it without a sigh of tender remembrance. I hope it will not sadden my older readers, while it may amuse some of the younger ones to whom its experiences are as yet only floating fancies.”

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Feed me, feed me!

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FYB took this picture of one of the kittens sitting in their food bowl. He looks kind of like he is begging for food.

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Fish

Friends of ours once asked us about homeschooling. She was very interested, particularly on behalf of one of their children, a child who was just losing all her sense of self in the public school environment and found herself discouraged and beaten down every single day, falling further and further behind in an environment that just wasn’t working for her.
He was opposed to homeschooling for a number of reasons, none of which made much sense to me. He thought children should spend more time with their peers than with adults. He placed a very high value on fitting in and being part of the culture. He thought kids who did not fit in with school culture were somehow deficient and the best solution was to immerse them in more school culture.
To be brutally honest, the wife was really our friend- he was somebody we tolerated because he came with her. He was really one of the most arrogant, misinformed, pigheaded men I have ever met. He claimed to be one of the most open minded men he knew, and he was always giving us lectures and reading material about his own point of view on a topic, trying to get us to open our minds (that is, to think just like him). But he refused to read anything we tried to give to him in turn, telling us he didn’t have time for that stuff. He had an incredibly high opinion of himself, not really justified by anything we knew of him. He reminded me much of a bantam rooster.
So it was rather difficult to know how to respond when he told us, “I don’t see any problems with public schools at all. I went to them, after all, and I turned out just great.” And he really did puff out his chest and smirk at us in a most oily and self-satisfied way. I’d never seen anybody puff out his chest in such odious self-satisfaction before. I’d read of it in fiction, and now I was watching his round little chest puff out in the most approved pouter pigeon fashion. I wished I could stop staring, but it was impossible not to goggle. Not only did we have a rather different opinion, but keep in mind that he had approached us, after all. We dropped the discussion and continued to be friends with the wife, tolerating the husband for her sake.
I thought of him today when I read this interview with C.S. Lewis’ stepson, Douglas Gresham, in the fall issue of The Old Schoolhouse:

“Look what we do: we observe what God has designed, a pair of
parents, one of each sex, and two pairs of grandparents, often with a few
aunts and uncles thrown in. In fact, a Family. This is the unit
designed by God Himself for the specific purpose and ministry of raising
each new generation.
Then what do we do? We take the child and remove him from this
carefully designed support group of parents and close family members, all
of whom share a genetic bond with the child, and plunge him into a mass
group of his peers, all of whom are as ignorant and as demanding as he
is, with one adult stranger supervising. In terms of the
psycho-emotional development of the child, this is complete madness.
A child is best nurtured by having the one-on-one attention from
each of the two parents for a specific period of time each day. …I am referring to normal, well-adjusted, good parents.
And with our modern habits of sending children away from their home and
families for the better part of every day, these [well-adjusted parents]
are becoming more and more scarce as the vast majority of people are
damaged or scarred emotionally and intellectually themselves by being
exiled from their home and parents and placed in the hands of strangers
at a young age.
It is a trans-generational progression exacerbated by the fact that
those who are damaged very often are not even aware of it. If I had
known back then what I know now, my children would never have gone to
school until they were at least 18 years old. Satan hates what God loves
and God loves us, Mankind. The basic unit of Mankind is the Family, so
Satan has targeted the Family, and he has been pretty successful, mostly
by using “good intentions.” I think that “School” is one of his very
clever inventions. As far as I am concerned, schools are for fish.”

There’s much, much more to the interview, very worthwhile reading.
Our friends? I heard something of them recently. The child who started school as a sweet, quiet and charming child and who grew increasingly withdrawn the longer she stayed in school ended up with an eating disorder and a couple suicide attempts. Her sister left home asap to get away from that terrific father, and now lives in another country partly so as to be as far from him as possible. He still thinks he turned out great and is quite the success story.

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Pitiful puppy

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Isn’t he just adorable?

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The Fox

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A fox jumped up one winter’s night
And begged the moon to five him light,
for he’d many miles to run that night
Before he’d reach his den, O!
Den, O! Den,O!
For he’d many miles to run that night
Before he’d reach his den, O!…

… John ran up to the top of the hill
And blew his horn both loud and shrill.
Said the fox, “that’s pretty music, still
I’d rather be in my den, o!
Den, O! Den, O!
Said the fox, “that’s pretty music, still
I’d rather be in my den, O!”

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The UN and Global Taxation

Should the UN have the right to collect taxes from nations?

Jonathan Kallay says yes:

On cannot ignore also the role of taxes in redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor. On a local and national level, there are several good reasons for wealth redistribution. One is an issue of fairness. The rich are often the greatest beneficiaries of the stability and infrastructure created by government. It is only right, then, that they should pay for this benefit.

and also:

The major critiques of global taxation (Mendez reference a critique by Fred McMahon, which I cannot find to read) seem to revolve around the feasibility of a global taxation system, as well as the concern that global taxation will threaten the sovereignty of individual nations and move us towards a Huxleyan ‘world state’. This latter argument seems naive about the current system of global financing at best (and, at worst, an intentional slippery slope argument aimed at people’s fears and xenophobia). As mentioned, the US is already ‘forced’ to pay dues, and provides voluntary funding elsewhere to serve its own political ends; under a global taxation system it could continue to withhold funds with impunity. However, global taxation moves funding of international programs from the political arena into the economic one. By withholding the taxes it owed, the US would not only be demonstrating an unwillingness to support a more efficient global market (a market it claims to strongly endorse), but it would be sending a signal to its own citizens that they can withhold taxes whenever the government engages in activities they don’t politically support- a dangerous message, indeed.

Except, of course, an important distinction is that our government is elected by us, the voting, taxpaying citizens. We had a little tiff about taxation without representation a couple centuries back. The UN is not elected and those citizens paying the hypothetical taxes have no say in its policies and operations.

James Na says no, and he says so in a Seattle Times editorial here, and on his blog Guns and Butter. In the comments he says,

” I oppose “global governance” and one-world government. The authority to tax is a sure sign of sovereignty. The UN is taking steps to acquire taxation authority, including that over the United States.

I think that is a dangerous precedent.”

Me- I hardly think that the agency involved in the largest financial corruption scheme ever ought to be giving the authority to impose global taxes. Nor ought an agency so given to self-delusion (Belmont club), a lust for control (Belmont again); and the funding of terrorism have the moral or legal authority to tax any nation.

See Eye on UN for more.

Updated: ooops. I published this without the last link in the last sentence. Corrected now.

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The Miers Nomination

From Ed at Captain’s Quarters:

I have supported Miers’ confirmation up to now, almost exclusively on two bases: presidential prerogative and an assumption of basic competence, both on her part and the White House. The questionnaire has my confidence in the second basis badly shaken. The slapdash manner of its preparation tells me someone isn’t taking this seriously, and since Miers has her name on it, that’s her responsibility. The way she managed to antagonize Specter adds to that impression. She’s striking me as an imprecise and sloppy nominee for a position that requires absolute clarity and precision.

Given that, my reliance on presidential prerogative remains … but it doesn’t outweigh my objection to getting a substandard jurist on the Supreme Court. Waiting until the hearings for her to get exposed as that will prove a political disaster for the President and the GOP. For those reasons, I’d strongly suggest that the White House look for a way out of this, and fast.

Click on the link to see what concerns him. It worries me, too.

The Anchoress, the one blogger I kept checking back to, hoping to have my worries assuaged, my hope in this nomination restored, is still keeping a ‘wait and see’ stance, but even she admits, “quite honestly, although she is certainly an admirable and accomplished woman, she hasn’t yet shown me anything that indicates she is worth the beating W is taking over her. I am trying to understand it.”

The RCN had some sort of conference call which reassured the Anchoress and Lori Byrd (who did not need much reassurance). Anklebiting Pundits saw things differently.

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Feed me, feed me!

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FYB took this picture of one of the kittens sitting in their food bowl. He looks kind of like he is begging for food.

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Pitiful puppy

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Isn’t he just adorable?

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