Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just don't send your kids to public school, okay?

You've probably heard about this already, but here are links to no less than three songs (the first link contains two songs) that public school children were taught earlier this year praising Dear Leader. The first two songs were at the same school in New Jersey. I haven't found out in what school the other one was made. Here's a story about the two New Jersey songs. Here is more about the school's unabashedly partisan politics.

The lyrics are pretty incredible, especially the part that says, "He said red, yellow, black or white/All are equal in his sight." That was supposed to be, er, Jesus. The line is borrowed from "Jesus Loves the Little Children"--"Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight." But hey, God, god, Obama. All the same, right?

It's funny how liberals always talk about context when it can fuzzify an issue but never want to talk about it when it is clarifying. Conservatives thought there was maybe something a little creepy about Obama's speech to school children being as it was followed by a "study guide" including questions like, "How can you help the President?" Liberals said, "What? What? Reagan gave a speech to school children." And conservatives tried to point out that there wasn't this kind of brain washing personality cult about Reagan among the controllers of children's education. But nobody was listening.

Now you know why we think there's something creepy about Obama's connection to school children. Because of context.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Great prayer

Wow, here's a great prayer that I just ran across on this Catholic blog, which was in turn linked by Jeff Culbreath.

Here's the prayer:

Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cock-sureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken. Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint - some of them are so hard to live with - but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people.
And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Silence forbidden--TV abuse permitted in nursing homes

We have some neighbors we like very much. J. and his wife B. are in their eighties. A few years ago, Eldest Daughter did a wonderful series of recorded interviews with J. about his service in WWII. Truly the great generation.

Up until now, except for one short temporary stay on the part of J., J. and B. have remained independent in their own home with the help of their children and grandchildren who live locally. But now B. has developed such problems walking and getting up and down that she is--Lord willing, temporarily--having to stay in a nursing home, at least until she can get enough strength through physical therapy to get around at home once more. Her husband just doesn't have the physical strength to help her in and out of bed, to the bathroom, in and out of a wheelchair, etc.

Turns out she is being driven crazy by a roommate who leaves the TV on from 8 a.m. until past 11 p.m. Roommate won't communicate, or can't, and the nurses refuse to turn the TV off until later than 11. Apparently there is no rule about this, though the management has admitted there probably should be.

To me, this is nearly the equivalent of torture, at least for a totally innocent person like B. (Note: I'm not saying it would be wrong to play a TV from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. if it would get KSM to talk about terror plots.) But seriously, I'm horrified. I need quiet in my own life, and I could stand a lot, perhaps even the exile of a nursing home, if I were at least allowed to concentrate on a book or on prayer and reflection. But that all day, every day, no silence, no peace, and no one willing and able to's awful to think of.

And I've heard that it could be worse. A church friend says her mother-in-law's roommate at a nursing home leaves the TV on all night. So no respite at all. That home has a rule, but it's not enforced. The nurses refuse to do anything.

I know there are much worse and more important things to be thinking about concerning the care of the elderly and nursing homes, but this really bugs me. Isn't there anyone sensible and humane in charge who would at least pair residents up according to their TV preferences? Perhaps designate a few rooms for people who prefer quiet? Surely with even a small amount of creativity and good will, people like B. and the mother-in-law could be spared this. If nothing else, getting good sleep at night is important for health, strength, and recovery from illness.

Meanwhile, I wish there were something more practical I could do than putting up a horrified blog post. Maybe there is. I've heard about this product called TV-B-Gone. I wonder if B. would use it if I managed to smuggle one in...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Michael Card--"Walking on the Water"

Via Eldest Daughter, here is a fun bluegrass-style song from Michael Card. It's about the Apostle Peter and is called "Walking on the Water." (I haven't figured out how to embed from this site yet. It isn't as simple as Imeem.) If you like country music, bluegrass, etc., you'll like it. I'm also told, by ED herself, that the banjo in this number is played by none other than Bela Fleck, and if that doesn't get you over to listen to it, you don't like banjo.

Well, whaddaya know: Thanks to Bill Luse, who helped me do the embed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Great condensation of the President's speech on health care

I ought to write something profound about 9/11, but I cannot think of anything profound to say all by my lonesome. At W4 it has been done much better.

I also ought to, and plan to, put up a post about the murder of a pro-life sign-holder here in Michigan. I plan to do that at W4, most likely tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, via VFR, here is an absolutely hilarious condensation of the President's speech on health care. Read it for fun. Here are a few favorite bits:
If you have insurance, you’ll be able to keep it. If you don’t, that’s bad, because people who have insurance have to pay for you. That’s not fair to the people who pay insurance. Really, it’s kind of socialistic. So, I’ll make you buy insurance, unless you can’t, in which case I’ll make other people buy it for you.

There’s waste, fraud and abuse in health care, which is why it needs to be taken over by the government.

People who say bad things about my health care plan are liars and dreadful human beings. There needs to be more civility in this discussion. Bush caused 9-11. People who say bad things about my health care plan are trying to scare people, and everybody’s going to die if we don’t get this thing passed now.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Songs to Die for--"Go the Distance"

Indulge me. I'd never heard this song before until my friend Rich posted a clip here of a short version of it by a capella group Return 2 Zero. (Well worth listening to if you like a capella male ensembles at all.)

So, yes, I know (because Eldest Daughter told me) that it came from the Disney movie Hercules, which I'm not at all interested in seeing. And I know it's a bit sentimental. But I like it a lot. For one thing, it appeals to my love of an 80's sound, even though it wasn't written in the 80's. (Very fun electric guitar solo in the middle, and wonderful synthesizer trumpets at the beginning.) Looked all around to find a complete version of it. So here it is: "Go the Distance," sung by Michael Bolton. Try not to be too distracted by the missing apostrophes in the lyrics. It's useful to have the lyrics running in front of you as you listen. Discussion follows.

Note to Bill Luse: You did that great video of "You Raise Me Up" for Easter this year. New assignment--a similarly moving video to go with this one. I suggest images of military homecomings and perhaps a picture or two of Mr. Schindler, who recently went Home to his hero's welcome and was much on my mind while listening to this.

The lyrics are really awfully good. They have an interesting dual quality--an interplay between what E.D. Hirsch calls "meaning" and "significance." It's pretty clear to me that the authors didn't intend a Christian meaning. Probably something more like general inspiration with a hint of a love song. But Christian, and even Greco-Christian tropes (the marathon race) are simply part of Western consciousness, and they couldn't get away from them. The song resembles "You Raise Me Up" in that it can be thought of either as secular or as Christian, and it resembles it as well in expressing some deep human longings that are most satisfied by a Christian world view and by what Christianity promises.

Begin at the beginning:

I have often dreamed of a far-off place
Where a hero's welcome would be waiting for me.
And the crowd will cheer when it sees my face,
And a voice keeps saying, "This is where I ought to be."

Here is C.S. Lewis in "The Weight of Glory," on heaven:

In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness....I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you--the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence;...We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience....The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged; to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. And surely, from this point of view, the promise of glory...becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.
Lewis would have said that the song writer was speaking far more truly and of something far more important than he could possibly understand.

The song also tells us, "I won't look back" and "I know every mile will be worth my while," and it evokes throughout the metaphor of life as a race with an on-looking crowd.

Here is the Epistle to the Hebrews:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let ue lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith...

And here is the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Philippians:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

...and to the Corinthians:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
...and to the Romans:
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
There is, however, one respect in which the song will not bear a Christian interpretation: It treats one's attainment of the goal--coming to that place where you belong--as entirely a matter of one's own effort. And the Apostle Paul also reminds us,
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.
Ultimately, it is not within our power, unaided, to "stay on track" and to go the distance. We will fail, every one of us, alone. That is why we need the Author and Finisher of our faith, the One who is able to keep us from falling. Let us look unto Him and go the distance for the crown of life with His help.

A reader's excellent point on pro-growth and pro-life

A reader wrote via e-mail with the following, to my mind excellent, comment apropos of the long threads at W4 about growth, property, "suburban sprawl," etc.

The fact is we went from having less than 200 million people in 1930 to having 300 million in 1990. More now. Where are we supposed to put all these people?

In addition...the total number of households is WAY above 1/3 more than in 1930. Where are we supposed to put all these houses?

The flip side of a pro-life mentality is a pro-growth development policy. Or (just to cover the logical options), a proportionate decrease in living standards.

I just thought that was excellently put. I have zero patience with the to my mind arrogant idea that everyone in the world has a moral obligation, which perhaps can even be pushed or enforced by the government, to live either in crowded cities or on "authentic" subsistence farms. Let the crunchies do that if it pleases them, but the suburbs have been a great boon to a great many people. People have to live somewhere. The idea of crunching (pun intended) them into the cities or spreading them out on preserved small-farm land without the in-between option of the suburbs is inhumane and manifests an inhuman green attitude. At some point, these semi-green conservatives are going to have to make a choice--either they can keep accepting hysterical environmentalist claims that the existence of the suburbs is destroying the oceans (yep), or they can start asking some pointed questions. Either they can maintain their sentimental hatred of Wal-Mart and "sprawl," or they can start thinking in terms of what is actually best for all the human beings who live in this country.

Meanwhile, I think we're very blessed to have options.