The US Has Too Much in Common With…

Azerbaijan.

I got this email from a prayer group. Read it and weep. I did.

M-W- and his wife S- “are missionaries in Baku, Azerbaijan, (a predominantly Muslim country) with Campus Crusades.  During the past year they have suffered persecution in the form of a corrupt judicial system.  It seems as if someone high in the government has been paid off, and as a result, the Supreme Court there has taken their house from them.  The W- bought and paid for the house in full a year and a half ago. “

And our Supreme Court agrees that such a thing is right. If the government wants your house, the government has your house.

Sex and Love: Reality and Fiction

The fact that these romance books have the sex coming first is a symptom, I think, of our society’s illness. We as a society equate sex with love. That becomes a big problem when you are looking for love. Because where you find sex and how you are most likely to find love are not the same.

Sex is good. I have no objection to sex.

But sex is not love.

Love, married love anyway, should involve sex. Sex in marriage can be an exciting, breathtaking experience.

But you don’t love someone because you had sex with then in the first four hours after you met them. You don’t even know them. They don’t know you. Maybe, if you are both incredibly flexible or committed or lucky, you can make it work. But love ought to come before sex.

Love is a commitment. Love is a choice. Love is permanent.

Sex is short, fantastic, and not necessarily related to anything else.

They aren’t the same things.

32 years, 43 million dead

Today is the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

My husband was adopted 40 years ago. When he was eight, he turned from the TV and said, “I’d be dead.”

A girlfriend from grad school was molested by her brother’s friend, with her brother’s knowledge. He took her to Planned Parenthood, who gave her a test and told her she was pregnant. Her brother signed her up for an abortion. There was to be no telling Mom and Dad. … She didn’t go. … Turns out, she was so young and so innocent, she hadn’t been raped, so she couldn’t possibly have been pregnant. But why would PP help a molester rather than the victim?

My mother was refused entrance into a hospital with a miscarriage because the staff thought she had given herself a homespun abortion. She almost bled to death before she reached a hospital which admitted her. So she supports legalized abortion when no one will be turned away.

43 million Americans have died. Legally. Aided and abetted by all of us. May God forgive us.

Yellow Ribbons DO Mean Something

Written 11/19/04

Tonight I went to WalMart to get some stuff and I noticed that the three cars between me and the door all had “support the troops” ribbons on them. I read a blog where a commenter said, Why do they put those on their cars? It isn”t supporting the troops. He’s right. The ribbon doesn’t. But every time I see one, I pray for their safety and for their families. And I have one on my car and that’s not the sum total of my support for the troops. Anyway, his rip annoyed me. Probably because I have one of those “useless” ribbons on my car. Oh well.

What else do I do?

pray

write letters (65 so far)

send packages (25 plus 8 to go out tomorrow)

act as a clearing house for a group to send packages

Blackfive posted a similar comment on his blog 11/30/04. Those yellow ribbons are symbols, but they are part of the support too. I don’t think he should get his panties in a wad because he thinks the $5 for the ribbon could be better spent elsewhere. (Plus, mine was free. And my mom bought hers for $1.)

Middle class life

To quote someone, “I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich. Rich is better.”

I know what it is like to count pennies for food and still not have enough. I know about having to turn off your electricity because you can’t afford the bills. I know about being hungry.

I don’t know about starvation. I don’t know about food stamps. I don’t know about other aid programs. We didn’t do any of those.

What does it mean to be middle class?

It means you have enough money to buy a house and have your utilities on. Maybe not on as warmly or coolly as you like, but on. It means you have enough money to buy food. Whatever kind of food you want. Organic. Junk. Fresh food. Frozen food. Canned food. It means owning a car that you can drive. Getting it fixed when it breaks, even if it means you’re a little tight on something else. It means working because you need the money to pay for your house, your utilities, your food, your car, your bills.

It doesn’t mean doing whatever you want when you want. It doesn’t mean having freetime and freedom to do what you will. It doesn’t mean a fascinating job that you love and freedom to do that job. It doesn’t always mean freedom to do the job you have, at least not the way you want to do it.

It doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to quit working. It doesn’t mean you’ll get to tour the world. It doesn’t mean you’ll have the nicest house, the nicest car, the most fabulous clothes. It doesn’t mean you’ll get to take vacations every year. Sure you’ll have time off, but you’ll probably spend it visiting relatives.

Being middle class means having enough money to support the American Dream. But not enough money to have the American Dream without working.

Being middle class means having some money in the bank. But not enough to pay for a major problem if it occurs.

Being middle class means having clothes, but maybe buying them from Walmart because they’re cheaper there.

Being middle class means sleeping in a neighborhood where you’re not terrified someone is going to break in or do a drive by shooting.

Being middle class means having something worth stealing but knowing that if it’s stolen, you can still live without it.

Being middle class means knowing where your kids are and being grateful for the knowledge.

Being middle class means having things to do and places to go. And doing them and going there.

Being middle class means you are richer than most of the rest of the world, but you don’t feel it because you know other people who are better off than you are. (Of course, you know people who are worse off, too, but who wants to compare yourself to them?)

Being middle class means you have more and less. More money, less time. Or more time, less money. Or maybe less time, less money, but more than you expected to have. Or more than your parents had. Or more than your parents had at your age.

Being middle class means knowing when you’re sick because you have money and/or insurance to go see the doctor when it looks like something is wrong.

Being middle class means knowing you can’t afford all the stuff you want and making choices.

Rant over. Got to go do something I agreed to do to help the community.

Being middle class means I have something I can give back. And it’s me.

Family Planning-of vacations

When we all started getting married years and years ago, we agreed to a simple Christmas/Thanksgiving plan. We would go to in-laws for one holiday and our parents for one holiday and then switch the next year. We've all been doing that for years.

Except my youngest sister. Her husband somehow (on purpose) always manages to plan something they “just can't miss” on the family holidays she is supposed to be with our family. Last year it was a trip to Mexico. This year it is a trip to her in-laws, since his mother is having surgery. But he has plenty of money. They could have flown in on Tday or after. He has plenty of vacation. They could have gone the next week. But they aren't.

My mom is furious and hurt. She says she isn't going to plan anymore family get-togethers. I told her it wasn't fair to punish the rest of us because M is such a control freak. S feels it is safer/easier to disappoint all of us than to tell M no. I think that's a bit scary. I love R to death, but if he were doing something like that I'd say, “Fine. Go visit. I'm going to my parents' like we said we would.”

My brother made his reservations only after making sure my sister was really going to be here. My middle sister made her reservations three months ago and made sure that M knew that she was coming and expected to see S for Thanksgiving.

All I can say is M is a jerk. If it would not make life worse for S, I would call and talk to him about rescheduling the trip. But I guess it would make it worse.

Americans v. Europeans, and a rant on mileage

Mrs. du Toit is a homeschooling mom who uses a bit more profanity than I do. She also writes complete essays. (My excuse is I'm too busy grading.) But I found a great essay she wrote on the differences between Americans and Europeans.

She did have a statement I have to disagree with. (It's a theme, I think.)

“Like most Europeans, many Americans never travel farther than 100 miles from their home towns?ever. Packing a suitcase and a picnic basket for the 120 mile journey from New York to Connecticut is not that unusual. We knew quite a number of people (most in fact) who lived in New Jersey, who had only been to New York City a dozen or so times in their lives. They were really uncomfortable traveling THAT far (all of 30 miles). As a tourist, I?d been to Manhattan more than they had. They just weren?t interested in leaving the comforts of known territory.”

I did go to a comedy club and one person admitted never having left the state of Texas. But Texas is a big state. Drive for fourteen hours most places and you'll go through a couple of states. It was less than ten hours from NW Indiana to Pennsylvania, and that was when the speed limit was lower. In fourteen hours from Houston, TX I can get to my aunt's house in a miniature town not too far from Lubbock, TX. It's only four to get to Dallas. Three and a half to get to Austin. Six solid hours to get to Abilene. Nine to get to Midland. About fourteen to get to El Paso. Four to get to San Antonio.

I made the trip to San Antonio four times this summer. That's 186 miles from where I live to the first sign about it. I actually drove almost 250, because first I had to drop the kids off at my parents. According to them that is 62 miles from my house. But the straighter way is about 48.

I went to Austin twice this summer. Once to take a girlfriend out to lunch for her birthday. That was fun.

I'm older and I don't like to drive as much, but back in 86 I made a seven hour one way trip every weekend for eight months. I drove about 16 hours one way two or three weekends one school year.

I may not be typical, but I don't think I am that unusual.

The tutoring program I am in has students coming from up to 60 miles away. That's for school twice a week.

One of the heads of the homeschooling program's extracurricular classes is from New Jersey. She and her family make the trek up there at least twice a year.

When my boys were first born, my folks lived in New Jersey. The folks came every month to see us. Dad would fly into Houston for work and then he and mom would drive from Houston up to see me. Every month. For two years.

I obviously come from a traveling family. My grandmother went to California in a wagon. (She's much older than I am.) My mom was born in CA, raised in AZ, married a Texan and followed him all over the country. They retired from New Jersey to south of Houston.

My best friends… My best friend from college grew up in Andrews, moved to Midland, then on to Abilene, and now lives in Houston. I know she's been more than 120 miles from home because it is way more than that to get home to see her folks every holiday.

My best friend from grad school grew up outside of Abilene and that's where she lives now. But between then and now we were in grad school in Indiana together and she and her husband moved between Austin and Hawaii after that. Way more than 120 miles there.

My best friend from NC is from Kentucky. A bit longer than 120 miles to where she lives now. Plus they vacation in Florida twice a year, also more than 120 miles.

My two best friends from Austin… One was a military brat and she's been to Japan several times. So she's probably done more than most people. The other was an immigrant's daughter. She was the first in her family to go to college. When I met her in Austin she was nine hours drive from home. (540 miles.) Now she lives in NC. Another 20 or so hours from here.

My friend Deb who I met here is from Iowa. Iowa is way more than 120 miles from here.

My husband is from where we now live. And about six other places, all farther than 120 miles away. His best friend is also from here and back again. He went to college 14 hours from home and then 6 hours from home. Then he went to California, two solid days of driving. Then to Ohio for his residency. His wife is from Ohio, but they met in Texas. At least 12 hours drive from her home.

My husband and I dated while he lived in New Mexico and I lived in Texas and while he lived in Ohio and I lived in Indiana. Definitely not a close relationship there.

I do have one friend who lives here, grew up here, went to school here, etc. But I am fairly sure she has been outside the state at least.

So what do you think? Are you one of the people who stays close to home? Or do you travel? I really want to know. I'm wondering if “like attracts like” and I just know the only people in America who still travel.

Mom's birthday: a minor rant

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. My youngest sister and I had agreed to take my parents out to dinner Sunday night for Mom's birthday. At 3:40 I called my mom. Just to make sure everything was still on. We were getting ready to leave.

Mom says she doesn't know anything about it. Even though I had talked to her about it on Saturday and my dad on Friday. I guess “doesn't know anything about it” translates to “your sister didn't mention it.”

I call my sister. Most of the time she doesn't answer her phone and she waits 3 days to return those messages left on her machine. She actually answered.

“Oh, I don't think we're going. We went out with Mom and Dad for lunch.” You know, we talked about this. We agreed on dinner so that my family and I could go to our church. Had I known we weren't going to do this, I would have skipped church. I would not have been happy, but I would have skipped church.

Turns out my sister's husband has to work and the baby's acting up and “since we already went out” we're not going out.

Then I find out my middle sister, who lives in NC, has been in town for two days. She'll leave on Tuesday and I will see her at Chili's for lunch and a ten sentence conversation, if it's like the last time she came to visit.

You know, I do live across a huge city from my parents and my sister. But we almost live in the same city. For all the contact, my parents might as well be back in New Jersey. At least then they came to visit one weekend every month.

I'm glad I took my mom flowers on Saturday. She's 58 now.

Incredible Frustration

Even though I am a teacher and have taught for years, I am feeling, for the second time in my life, incredible frustration with one of my children's school teachers. Since I have been their primary, almost their only, teacher, that's a little disconcerting.

Am I frustrated with the history teacher because she is in fact being unduly hard and misleading? Or is it my perception of her actions because my precious son is the one who is having difficulties?

I, of course, think it is the first problem. I am not in the class, so I do not know for sure, but I have seen the notes my son has taken to prepare for this exam he is supposed to take. I have to trust that he took the notes she gave. He did miss several notes, so I am not concerned about those. We had to look up the information and so his answers are much more complete on those questions. But on some of the questions he has very specific answers. Supposedly knowing everything on the review list will enable him to make a hundred on the test. But I've now looked at the test and I know that they will not.

The teacher has asked the parents not to use the test to guide the students' review. And I hadn't. We've gone over the two pages of notes plus the map time and time again. We, in fact, have notecards on everything in the review sheet and even more. But I have now opened the test and I know that one of the answers he has on his review sheet is not sufficient to answer the questions on the test. He memorized all the answers on the review sheet. In fact, he knows all the information on the review sheet. But it is not enough.

Now the question becomes did she give sufficient information and he is just such a slow writer that he missed several notes, specifically about Jamestown? That is certainly possible. He does write slowly and it is hard to take notes when you write slowly. Or did she just assume that the information he has on the sheet would be sufficient to answer the questions? It's not. She is a very strict grader and I know that she does not want the simple facts he has written down there. She wants to know more.

I do not find this frustrating simply because of the test. I have been helping him with his homework, making sure he has done it and is caught up with the work, since he is only 10. (Of course some of my high school students need their parents to help with that, too.) Yet despite the fact that I am a teacher and I was a history major, many decades past, and that I have been helping him and making sure it's all done, he still doesn't have an A average. It's a low B.

This is not my work and I have not been doing it, simply insuring that he got it done, but oftentimes I do not think I would have done any better. I'm 41. I have a PhD. I think I would be making a low B in this class. That disturbs me.

It disturbs me for several reasons. One is that I want my son to succeed. I want him to feel that he is smart and good at school. This is his first non-home class which is for an academic subject and he is not doing great. Yet this is his favorite and best subject. Another is that if I couldn't get an A, how can she expect middle school kids to do so?

I have spoken to her about the amount of time it takes M- to do his work. We spend at least an hour every day working on it. Her answer was that her son only spends 30 minutes on it. So her son can do the work in an hour that it is taking my son 7 hours to do. Have I put my son in over his head? Is he really not old enough for this class? Is it too much for him academically?

In some ways it seems it must be. It is taking him 7 hours and he and I together aren't getting it enough to get an A.

But I don't want it to be. I don't want to take him out of this class and have him feel he wasn't good enough. I want him to enjoy the class. He enjoys the subject.

Also, if I take him out, he's going to be sitting in study hall while I work. That's not a good use of his time. He's already in study hall for three hours a week. During that time he does his science and math for the whole week. (Well, no experiments, but other than that…)

I wish I knew what to do.

Sick stuff

A guy rapes a baby, takes pictures of it, pleads guilty, and gets five years in jail. Read about the furor here.

I wanted to know about recidivism in sex offenders–that is, the likelihood they would repeat. I googled it and found this. Doren (1998), in a review of the research, reports that the true recidivism base rate over 25 years for extrafamilial sexual abusers is 52% and for rapists is 39%.?

That's a bit more than “not likely to do it again.” And who cares if he's likely to do it again? That little girl is going to live with that for eighty years. I think he shouldn't get out till she's at least grown up. What about all the other little girls around him?

Castro, Stalin, Kruschev= Conservatives

World Net Daily adds the information that the academics of the study felt that Castro and Stalin are conservatives.

“From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination,” they wrote, according to a press release issued by the University of California at Berkeley.

“Conservatives don't feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positions, he said, according to the Berkeley news release.”

“Berkeley's Sulloway said the research is the first of its kind, synthesizing vast amount of information to produce an “elegant and unifying explanation” for political conservatism under the rubric of “motivated social cognition.”

The article goes on and on. It does not purport to add to the comments of the study, but simply by selecting which comments were quoted, the World Net Daily lets you know they are liberals.

This whole study, to use an old-fashioned expression, is horse hockey.

Two flaws with the Berkeley study

Fear and aggression

Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity

Uncertainty avoidance

Need for cognitive closure

Terror management

These are the characteristics which the Berkeley study on conservatives found were consistent among the people they studied. Guess what? They are consistent across all people.

This study was fundamentally flawed in two ways.

One, the study labeled as conservative anyone who the liberals did not like. Their “conservatives” include

Adolf Hitler (a national socialist)

Benito Mussolini (a socialist)

Ronald Reagan (a conservative republican)

Rush Limbaugh (a conservative republican)

Fidel Castro (a Marxist communist, which is a form of socialism)

Joseph Stalin (a Marxist communist)

You cannot simply decide that the people you don't like should be labeled as anything other than “the people we don't like.” This is a major flaw in the study.

Since academia is primarily a liberal group, however, I do not expect to see many rebuttals in the academic presses.

A second flaw with the study has already been mentioned. The five characteristics of conservatives. What they really are is five characteristics of people across national, cultural, and time boundaries.

Terror management: This was when, as a child, we were taught to hide under our desks from tornadoes. We would be as well-protected as we could be in school and we had the feeling that adults knew what to do. This is terror management. Turning on a night light for your two year old is terror management. Finding out from a friend if the girl will accept a date with you if you ask her is terror management. Using statistics to console yourself over a loved one's illness is terror management.

Need for closure: This is the reason we have funerals, wakes, burials. People need to say good-bye to the person they loved and realize they are gone. It is one of the main reason for open-coffin funerals in the US. It is the reason morticians make a lot of money for dressing and putting make-up on the departed. It is also the reason books say “The End.” And the reason that we have official divorces, even though you can have common law marriages.

Uncertainty avoidance: This is the reason we have contracts. Yes, I know what you said and you know what you said and we both know what I said, but we need a piece of paper which makes those things clear so that we can avoid uncertainty later on down the road. Ah-hah! Anyone who has signed a contract, including those four liberal scholars, are conservatives. It is the reason people write down formal job offers, so you will know you are really being offered the job. It's the reason why your child may ask you a hundred times, “Are we really going to go to Astroworld?”

Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity: Okay. Dogmatism is one thing and intolerance of ambiguity is another. However, since the researchers themselves lumped them together, I can deal with one and the other will be knocked out. So, intolerance of ambiguity means that we want to know what you mean. That was the whole point of writing their research. They wrote it because they wanted to show “unambiguously” the character traits of conservatives. Intolerance of ambiguity is why people expect a yes or no answer to a yes or no question. If one of those professors has a student who writes a paper and tells the professor what is in the people but doesn't turn it in, that student will not get an A because the idea of the paper was good. The professors will not tolerate the ambiguity of the possibility that the paper wasn't really written. It is also the reason they sent out press releases to explain what their research said. They didn't want their study findings to be ambiguous to non-academics.

Fear and aggression: Here we go again, lumping two things together that don't go together. If this had been a conservative paper, the study would not even have been published. Who has never felt fear? Fear of failing, whether your doctoral defense or your first spelling test or your role as parent. If your wife is dying and you feel fear, does this make you a conservative? If you are afraid of heights or spiders or public speaking, are you a conservative? By this definition, that conservatives are those who have fear, the entire world is conservative. If that's true, these four academics ought to relax. They're on the same side as Hitler and Mussolini.

These two flaws with the study are real, relevant, and debilitating. The study is inaccurate because what it purports to study is not, in fact, what it does study. Therefore, any conclusions which the study draws are faulty and have as much likelihood of being right as a dart thrown by a first time dart player.

"Pinata of asininity"

PittsburghLIVE carried an article about the Berkeley study on conservativism.

A snippet from the article:

Anyway, Jack Glaser, one of the lead authors of the Berkeley study, acknowledged in a media release that a study focused solely on why right wingers aren't right in the head might seem “partisan.” But, he explained, there is a “host” of information available about conservatism and comparatively little about liberalism.

But why, exactly, haven't they studied why people are liberal? Perhaps it's because the profession thinks it's “abnormal” to be a conservative in the first place.

After all, psychiatrists study why people murder or why some people believe they're Napoleon or why they think Carrot Top is funny. But they don't study people who take showers. Why? Because taking a shower is normal, and therefore uninteresting. Perhaps it says something interesting about a profession that sees conservatism as so abnormal so as to be worth studying.

If you go back and look at the list of characteristics that define conservatism, you'll discover that it applies to liberals, too. Fear of ambiguity, a desire of cognitive closure, etc: These are human traits, not conservative ones.

Reagan, Limbaugh, Hitler, and Mussolini= conservatives

The study was conducted by four American university researchers, and its findings were reported in an article in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin, titled “Political Conservatism as Motivated by Social Cognition.” It purports to show psychological links among Ronald Reagan, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Rush Limbaugh and other “political conservatives”

The enlightened professors concluded that certain psychological motivations characterize conservatives, including “fear and aggression, dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity; uncertainty avoidance; need for cognitive closure; and terror management.”

This article comments on Berkeley's study of conservativism. It mentions that Nazis and Fascists were liberal socio-political movements. (I guess these four researchers missed that.) The following is from the article:

Let me give you a few other examples of the liberals' seeming inability to make intellectual distinctions. They seem too narrow-minded to understand that:

perjury, obstruction of justice and contempt of court are different from merely “lying about sex”;

likening Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh to Hitler is the grossest form of hate speech they otherwise pretend to decry;

the desire to reverse liberal judicial activism is not conservative judicial activism;

one can favor action against Iraq without being a “neo-conservative”;

opposition to affirmative action is born of egalitarianism not racism;

advocacy of government-forced wealth redistribution is not synonymous with compassion, and opposition to it is not incompatible with compassion;

their championship of tolerance as the highest virtue is inconsistent with their intolerance toward conservatives, particularly Christian conservatives;

opposition to federal control over education is neither anti-children nor anti-education, but precisely the opposite;

the tax code can affect economic behavior such that marginal tax rate cuts do not result in dollar-for-dollar losses in revenue;

the terrorist threat of suitcase nuclear bombs does not obviate strategic missile defense (SDI) ? we continue to face multiple threats;

developing SDI is not an offensive gesture, but defensive, and should not be deceptively dubbed “Star Wars”;

America can attack Iraq without attacking all other despotic regimes in the world and not be guilty of inconsistency in its approach to foreign policy;

school choice will liberate and uplift minorities;

irresponsible gun control measures will cost, not save lives;

promoting “separation of church and state” often stifles rather than promotes religious freedom

How Smart Are You? Unless You are 13 or less

I wrote about the IQ test at Emode. What I didn't know was that if you are less than 13 it won't give you the information. And it is set up for lots of monkeying around. You can't get around it by going backwards and entering something else.

Also, they must have put a cookie on my machine, because they knew who I was when I went back.

FYI.

Pissy emails

Got a short, lambasting email from someone on a group I am in. Well, she used to be on the group. She said we didn't forgive her, couldn't forget her mistakes, and didn't critique her writing. The group was for critiquing writing.

I didn't know she'd done anything to be forgiven for. I didn't know she'd made any mistakes on the list. I didn't see any writing that she sent the group. Although someone said she sent a story idea through. But I don't critique those unless there is a major hole in it.

I sent a polite note back and it bounced, saying she wasn't accepting email from me. So I sent it again, with a different email address. I also said that I thought it was interesting that she would send us a note denouncing us and not let us even reply.

She answered back saying that she was glad I found it interesting. Lots of things in life were interesting. Why didn't I go think about them?

Apparently God isn't interested in me talking about it or reading her stuff now because though I have stuff going back two years in my mail trash, there is nothing from her that resembles a story. But then I can't find the note I sent her or the one that she sent me back.

I think, though I hate it, that if you are going to send pissy emails, you should let the people reply. I hate signing my name to pissy emails, even when the people deserve it. But I do. I also read their answers, even if it drags me down a bit for a while.

Let me say this, unless I tell you I don't forgive you or say you are an idiot, the chances are good that I didn't even know there was something to forgive you for. I am not rude or anything, but if I'm that upset with you, you will know.

It is obvious the woman has some other issues. I'm sorry her life is hard, because it is. But I didn't make it that way and I didn't do anything to deserve that letter. Not even not critiquing writing she never sent me.–But it is bugging the crap out of me anyway. I wanted to enjoy my life and this group and she just stung me and a whole bunch of people who have never done anything rude to her that I could see… I guess maybe there was some private emailing. But then she should have jumped their case and not “ours,” which includes me.

That was a rant.

Reading and responding to a rant

Was reading an anti-war blog this morning. A very negative, inaccurate blog. I try to read alternative views, to keep my vision clear. This one said that you and I are stupid. Well, if you are an American he said you are stupid. He said I am an “uneducated clod”. He said my neighbors were. (Remember blogs are addressed to the reader. “You and yours” means “me and mine” to the reader.)

He also, foolishly, said that he was sure I didn't know the last 5 books I'd read. Because Americans are too stupid to read. He said my neighbors wouldn't know either. He took my answer off his site and disconnected comments from it.

This was my answer:

Goddess by Mistake

The Little Girl in the Blue Dress

The Other Linding Girl

The Wedding Assignment

The Baby Assignment

The Culture of Mesopotamia

Wonders of the Ancient World

The Tomorrow Log

A Fantasy Hero

A Summer's Breeze

The Mesopotamians

The Babylonians

The Assyrians

Archaeology and the World

Dummies Guide to Myth

Universal History of the World: Early Civilizations

Ancient Mysteries

GURPS: Low-tech

My Sister Celia

Sweet Adventure

The Curtain Rises

When Love is Blind

song Cycle

No More Secrets

One Good Man

The Black Gryphon

This is a short list, maybe half, of the books I read THIS WEEK.

Maybe the people you know don't read, but the people I know do. (Except for two.)

That's the end of my answer.

I was ANGRY. I normally am just a bit pissed off by people saying our president is Adolph Bush, that socialism is better, that we are war mongers (those who use the right word, anyway). But I was furious that someone, I assume an American, would tell fellow citizens that they are too stupid to read.

I went to nursery class this morning to teach the three year olds like I do on Thursdays. I asked my fellow teachers, who I only see at class and do not know personally, if they could name the last 5 books they've read. The shortest list was 11. The longest was 17. That's from 3 people, women who teach nursery school.

I asked my parents if they could name the last 5 books they've read. They did. My mom has read 9 in the last two days.

Of course, since I read a lot, you would expect people I know to read a lot. I do know three people who don't read a lot. But they can also tell me the last five books they've read. One of them is a doctor and he reads multiple technical/medical journals every month.

A quote from the blog that made me so angry.

Our education level is far below, MANY other countries in the world. Consider the latest statistic that over 60% of Americans read below a 4th grade level. Don’t believe it? Name the last five books you’ve read in the past year. Ask your neighbor to do the same. (If you can do it without naming a magazine article from Car and Driver, I applaude you.) You get a gold star and can consider yourself part of the “elite” 40%)? The rest of the world knows we’re a bunch of uneducated clods…

According to our government, though, our children have an average education for other highly industrialized nation. Our government wasn't too happy that we were average, though. But we certainly aren't below average for the world if we are average for industrialized nations. I would be amazed to find someone outside our own country calling us uneducated clods. Because we aren't.

According to a 1993 literacy study, the average American reads between 8th and 9th grade level. That includes those who are in and grew up in a culture of poverty and are totally or functionally illiterate. According to the site above, most medicaid patients read at a 5th grade level. So according to this, even the functionally illiterate read at the 5th grade level.

If someone is going to say something like you and I are stupid, they ought to be able to back up what they say. And they can't. Because we're not.

What does that tell you about the rest of what they say? It isn't reliable.

Minor rants.

Dixie Chicks. The Houston Chronicle today talked about Maines Friday response to her earlier remarks in London. Many radio stations got calls from listeners asking them to pull the Dixie Chicks' music. Several put up web polls. Their listeners were 75% for pulling the songs. Stations are supposed to pay attention to their listeners. So, many of the radio stations pulled the music.

One said, “We didn't want to get on the band wagon.” Meaning we don't want to do what our listeners want?

One said, “This is America. You're allowed to say what you think.” You betcha. And we're allowed to not like it and boycott your work or business because of it. Remember the civil rights movement?

The Houston Chronicle mentioned the info that Maines apparently forgot, most Texans and Country music fans are very patriotic. My dad, being a Texan and CW fan, was particularly unhappy with the statements.

Click here for another opinion.

Manners on the Net

This is a minor rant. Not directed at anyone at blog-city.

If you receive a private email, it is good manners to respond privately. Not to post it on the net and lambast the person who wrote it. If you must lambast them, do it privately.

If someone posts about you in a blog or posts on your blog, feel free to respond in the comments or on your blog. (Although avoiding too much vulgarity is always good for this Miss Manners.)

I try never to diss anyone in my blogs. If I want to diss them, I'll tell them to their face or in an email. (Well, some politicians excepted.)

I was on a “support board” where the moderator posted a message which had been sent to him privately. Then someone got on and said, “Couldn't we do this in private?” Well, it was in private, till the moderator posted it. Poor manners. It was rude to the person who sent it (not me) and to the people who had to read it (since it wasn't addressed to them). I'm not on that support board anymore.

It's the net. It's available across the whole world. That doesn't mean we should be rude.

oh, joy!

That's sarcasm.

One of the administrators called tonight, fairly late, 9 pm, and said that another administrator, who had not been in on the discussion, thought that I should call each and every one of the students' parents and explain what we talked about in relation to suicide. She did say I could skip her son's call. But that means that on Saturday morning I have to call a bunch of people I don't know and “explain” that we discussed suicide and what we said about it. Ugh.

Oh well. I guess that comes with being a responsible adult. Darn. Can't I be an irresponsible adult? (I guess not, since I tell my kids it's how you act that counts, not how old you are.)

It does make sure I review all the other essays and throw any questionable content out now, so I don't end up making a bunch of other Saturday phone calls.

And this is the first class of the semester.

My goals are to help the kids understand essays and be better writers. I can do this. I've done it before with hundreds of kids. I can do it well. It is, after all, the whole focus of my PhD work.