North Korea

UPDATE: Welcome, Hugh Hewitt readers- our blog is a family friendly blog by homeschoolers for homeschoolers and others interested in news, politics, family, and homeschooling issues.

UPDATE 2: More on N. Korea here, where we have excepts from the State Dept. Report on human rights violations
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One afternoon a handful of years ago, the Deputy Headmistress sat with her stomach churning as a Japanese friend relayed some dreadful news from North Korea. She was explaining to the Headmistress the North Korean famine, and the grotesque atrocities all too often suffered by North Korean citizens. The Headmistress will not go into those details here, because children read this blog.

The famine in North Korea is a direct result of government oppression, tyranny, and cruelty, in fact, insane and evil policies of the North Korean government. So imagine how disgusting it would be if an American newspaper, staffed by Americans who never worry about where dessert is coming from, let alone their next meal, actually published an article comparing human rights violations in America to those in North Korea, and finding them roughly equivalent. Imagine how despicable it would be for an American journalist to permit herself to be used as ventriloquist’s dummy for a north Korean agent spewing his poison and lies onto the front pages of an American newspaper.

unfortunately, we do not have to imagine it. The L.A. Times has done it.

Common Room Scholars may read the good Hugh Hewitt’s reporting of this poisonous story here.

The Times article defends North Korea’s human rights violations by saying, roughly, “What country has a perfect record? Certainly not the U.S.” So Mr. Hewitt links to a U.S. report on human rights violations in North Korea in order that we better judge that comparison. This is not reading for the faint of heart, and the Deputy Headmistress believes that Scholars younger than the Head Girl will be happiest if they do not click on that link and read the report.
The Headmistress shares just two small sections of this report for the benefit of Common Room students:

There are between 5,000 and 50,000 prisoners per kwan-li-so [prison camps], totaling perhaps some 150,000 to 200,000 prisoners throughout North Korea.16 Both perceived wrongdoers and up to three generations of their extended families are arrested, or, more accurately, abducted by police authorities and deposited in the kwan-li-so, without any judicial process or legal recourse whatsoever, for lifetime sentences of extremely hard labor in mining, timber-cutting, or farming enterprises. The prisoners live under brutal conditions in permanent situations of deliberately contrived semi-starvation.

The most strikingly abnormal feature of the kwan-li-so system is the philosophy of collective responsibility, or guilt by association- yeon-jwa-je whereby the mother and father, sisters and brothers, children and sometimes grandchildren of the offending political prisoner are imprisoned in a three-generation practice. Former prisoners and guards trace this practice to a 1972 statement by Great Leader Kim Il Sung: “Factionalists or enemies of class, whoever they are, their seed must be eliminated through three generations.”

Common Room students may also click on the link to Powerline’s coverage, where we learn a little bit more about the background of the ‘reporter’ behind this story.

The Deputy Headmistress checked out a few of the other links from Hugh Hewitt’s report, but she had to stop. Some of them were just too painful to read. The above approved links are just enough to give the Pipsqueak and JennyAnyDots a grasp of this situation suitable for their years.

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What the Doctors are telling us

This week has been crammed with, well, cramming. All Ye College Students & Future College Students: Don’t schedule a CLEP exam the same week as midterms. It can be done (a fact for which I am very thankful), but there’s no telling how many years you lose off your life or how many white hairs you get during the week. I can tell you that there are many wee morning hours spent muttering random geographical, historical and mathematical facts.


That’s not what this post is about, though. In a spare few minutes snatched from studying this week, I read this column by Baltimore Sun columnist Susan Reimer, discussing Dr. Mel Levine’s new book. Dr. Levine is an eminent pediatrician who has spent more than 30 years in the field. His new book is about the troubling phenomenon he’s witnessing. What is happening? These children, once grown up, are not ready for adulthood.
To quote Reimer: “Not only are these children remarkably unprepared to be grown-ups, he has concluded, but their parents and teachers have actually made it more difficult.”
and, “ The things that stood them well in high school – athleticism, good looks, the ability to do well on a multiple-choice test – mean nothing in the workplace, where there are no test scores, no report cards and where the expectations are rarely spelled out.

In addition, these children – sheltered, diverted and never given responsibility by their parents – are dismayed to find that their jobs are not “fun” and do not pay enough to keep them in the style to which they have become accustomed.”

(emphasis mine)

So these children are not being well equipped for the Real World? Even with their public school experiences? Or could we say that it’s *because of* their public school experiences?

Consider Dr. Levine’s solutions (again, quoting Reimer’s column):

“Among his most interesting suggestions is that we expose our children, more often and more thoroughly, to adults: friends, neighbors and relatives, as well as shop owners and other professionals in the community.

Only that way can our children learn what it is adults do for work, and how they live.

“Each adult can serve as a short textbook chapter for a kid,” he writes. “

Funny… I’ve got a vague feeling I’ve heard this before. Maybe from the homeschooling world?

Isn’t it nice to have further validation that homeschoolers aren’t some alien life form? Dr. Levine is offering a solution that homeschoolers have been relying on for years: Children need interaction with adults so that they can be adults.

Perhaps the thing that caught my attention the most was the notion that it’s the public school children who are sheltered. After having this word bunged* at homeschoolers for years one can’t help feeling vindicated to see it used in a public school sense.
~

*I just looked up this word at Dictionary.com. I had a vague notion that it was British for flinging/tossing. I love it when I’m correct about silly words like that. They’re so very useful!

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Tell us where you’ve come from, tell us where you been…

But it really doesn’t matter, grab your chair and fill your platter and dig, dig, dig right in….*

bold the states you’ve been to, underline the states you’ve lived in and italicize the state you’re in now…

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

Found at the Tulip Girl’s blog.

*From the song “If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked a cake”

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Woo. And Indeed, Hoo

Congratulations to the Head Girl who just called to tell us she PASSED her Western Civilization CLEP test for a sweet three college credits.

She had intended to take the Macroeconomics test, but after doing the preview test, decided she should wait and take a course in Macroeconomics, and so she switched her CLEP schedule to Western Civ last week.

That’s right- she decided about a week ago to take the Western Civ CLEP, scheduled it during midterms for her regular courses, took the test today and now has those three credits. We are pleased.

Seconds after hanging up the phone with the Head Girl, the Head Grandmother, better known around here as Granny Tea, called, so the Headmistress was able to be, well, the Head Reteller of this fine bit of news.

Granny Tea said that since public school teachers get a bonus when their students do well, she thought the Headmistress ought to get a bonus for having successfully homeschooled the Head Girl from first grade through high school and enabling her to be the sort of student she is. The Headmistress likes the way Granny Tea thinks.

Dare we say that like the Head Girl, she has a good head on her shoulders? We think we do.

We shall now close so that the Headmistress can go dance a joyful celebratory jig.

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It’s about Freedom

Update: See also the Carnival of Freedom for the most recent freedom round-up.

Via Instapundit, a link to a terrific article in the Times, UK, by Gerard Baker, which contains this reminder:

In a speech one month before the start of the Iraq war in 2003, Mr Bush laid out the strategy: “The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life.”

Thanks also to The Anchoress, who sends us to The Corner – a pleasant corner it is, too, where are reminded that the military name for this war in Iraq has always been Iraqi Freedom.

Freedom is on the march other places as well, and Common Room scholars should be sure to have referenced the Ukraine and Lebanon in their news notebooks (the Deputy Headmistress trusts that the Common Room scholars need no reminders to maintain their news notebooks).

The Headmistress admits to feeling somewhat out of the loop on these events, and offers the following primers and links as possibly helpful for placing them in context. If any Common Room Readers, Gentle or otherwise, can off other sources of information suitable for young maidens to read, the Headmistress would welcome them. She is sure the Young Maidens would also, being the sort of young people who are always yearning to shed the shackles of ignorance (right?).

Lebanon

The Virtual Information Center has a brief Syria Primer.

The Consulate General of Israel to New England has a page of articles and links about Syria and Terrorism.

Ukraine

The Tulip Girl has much worth reading. Specifically, the Headmistress recommends

Ukraine Backgrounder, a link rich post taking you to maps, encyclopedia entries, and more.

A Picture of Ukraine, which quotes an essay by a Ukrainian novelist.

Love, Faith, and Hope in Ukraine, quoting a post from a Ukrainian citizen

Update: March 5, 2005- a current link to the Tulip Girl’s page added.

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