Wednesday, 26 November 2008

What at least one Russian is thinking...

The psychological affects this sort of article plays in the minds of Russians and Americans in how we handle the next few years could be huge.

Get up, America.
Get up out of bed. Get up out of your holes. Get out of your clouds.

Speak up, Americans. Speak up and out. Project your voice to the nations. Be heard, but have something of value to say.

We are not a people to be dominated. Neither are we Rome, who must conquer to feel its strength. Our strength is in our roots, Our strength is in our courage. Our strength is in our audacity to be worthwhile.

We are entering a cycle civilizations have been within before. DO NOT IMITATE THEIR MISTAKES! We have children who know not their history untouched or revamped; they know not their strength, their honest to GOD rights. Get on your knees you lost children, find your hearts and then find your blasted stomachs and make some sense of this mess.

Look past the tree you are swinging about in the branches. Look at the trees around you. See the aged ones, see the sproutlings, see the ones bent and crooked from strikes of lightening but yet life sprouts from their roots. WE ARE NOT DEAD, WE HAVE ONLY TO BE BORN ANEW WITH THE MEMORY OF ONES WHO WENT BEFORE AS OUR GUIDES. Go and seek their counsel.

PsSHAH, Russia. Go back to the bread lines if this is how you think you will become again.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Required Reading For Homeschool Families

The Party’s Over
By Patrick Buchanan

The Crash of 2008, which is now wiping out trillions of dollars of our people's wealth, is, like the Crash of 1929, likely to mark the end of one era and the onset of another. The new era will see a more sober and much diminished America. The "Omnipower" and "Indispensable Nation" we heard about in all the hubris and braggadocio following our Cold War victory is history.

Seizing on the crisis, the left says we are witnessing the failure of market economics, a failure of conservatism.

This is nonsense. What we are witnessing is the collapse of Gordon Gecko ("Greed Is Good!") capitalism. What we are witnessing is what happens to a prodigal nation that ignores history, and forgets and abandons the philosophy and principles that made it great.

A true conservative cherishes prudence and believes in fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and a self-reliant republic. He believes in saving for retirement and a rainy day, in deferred gratification, in not buying on credit what you cannot afford, in living within your means.

Is that really what got Wall Street and us into this mess -- that we followed too religiously the gospel of Robert Taft and Russell Kirk?

"Government must save us!" cries the left, as ever. Yet, who got us into this mess if not the government -- the Fed with its easy money, Bush with his profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by liberating Wall Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy? For years, we Americans have spent more than we earned. We save nothing. Credit card debt, consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, corporate debt -- all are at record levels. And with pensions and savings being wiped out, much of that debt will never be repaid. Our standard of living is inevitably going to fall. For foreigners will not forever buy our bonds or lend us more money if they rightly fear that they will be paid back, if at all, in cheaper dollars.

We are going to have to learn to live again without our means. The party's over.

Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain politically independent. But this generation decided that was yesterday's bromide and we must march bravely forward into a Global Economy, where we all depend on one another. American companies morphed into "global companies" and moved plants and factories to Mexico, Asia, China and India, and we began buying more cheaply from abroad what we used to make at home: shoes, clothes, bikes, cars, radios, TVs, planes, computers.

As the trade deficits began inexorably to rise to 6 percent of GDP, we began vast borrowing from abroad to continue buying from abroad. At home, propelled by tax cuts, war in Iraq and an explosion in social spending, surpluses vanished and deficits reappeared and began to rise. The dollar began to sink, and gold began to soar.

Yet, still, the promises of the politicians come. Barack Obama will give us national health insurance and tax cuts for all but that 2 percent of the nation that already carries 50 percent of the federal income tax load.

John McCain is going to cut taxes, expand the military, move NATO into Georgia and Ukraine, confront Russia and force Iran to stop enriching uranium or "bomb, bomb, bomb," with Joe Lieberman as wartime consigliere.

Who are we kidding?

What we are witnessing today is how empires end. The Last Superpower is unable to defend its borders, protect its currency, win its wars or balance its budget. Medicare and Social Security are headed for the cliff with unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars. What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a Katrina-like failure of government, of our political class, and of democracy itself, casting a cloud over the viability and longevity of the system.

Notice who is managing the crisis. Not our elected leaders. Nancy Pelosi says she had nothing to do with it. Congress is paralyzed and heading home. President Bush is nowhere to be seen.
Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke of the Fed chose to bail out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go under. They decided to nationalize Fannie and Freddie at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of billions, putting the U.S. government behind $5 trillion in mortgages. They decided to buy AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance giant sink beneath the waves.
An unelected financial elite is now entrusted with the assignment of getting us out of a disaster into which an unelected financial elite plunged the nation. We are just spectators.

What the Greatest Generation handed down to us -- the richest, most powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the highest standard of living any nation had ever achieved -- the baby boomers, oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have frittered away.

Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, "The Death of the West,", "The Great Betrayal," "A Republic, Not an Empire" and "Where the Right Went Wrong."

Pat Buchanan’s web site:

Friday, 1 August 2008

It is good to know a few locals who farm...

Saturday mornings now find the 5 kids and I up by 6am, kissing Daddy goodbye and preparing our truck to carry our drink stand and supplies over the 7 mile gamble to Taylor's Farmers' Market . We spend a bit of Friday preparing the actual drinks themselves as well as fixing up another upcycled bag to sell. The whole idea was as a dynamic homeschool project: cooking, finance, economics, marketing, graphic design, photography, time management all rolled up under a borrowed tent.
We arrive just after 7 along with the other sellers who are busy setting up in the brief coolness of an early Mississippi morning. Everyone is helpful and jovial with each other, setting up sun baked tents, carrying ice chests stuffed with fresh fare and scouting out where they'll spend this day's earned money. By 8 our beloved John "Day O" Daigle sings out our call to market song, "Day-O." Its time to get ready for the waves of folks arriving in hopes of good music (here's the ever so talented McCain brothers of McCain Pinion and McCain),
colorful, not to mention healthy produce,tasty homemade breads,
real fruited jellies, and some bodacious garlic grown by The Garlic Lady herself, Mrs. Daigle .
Have to mention there's even Brooke Hamilton's southern fried pies like we wished our Grandma taught us to make. Can NOT forget those.
OK, maybe not waves of folks but there is a good head count. We set out a special mat our friends brought us from last year's visit of family in Malaysia and set the baby upon it with his bottle and toy. Like a sixth sense for comradery, most of the vendors' children know just where to go- over to that drink stand that has a large mat, lots of children, occasionally free sips of lemonade and toys donated from other sweet vendors who remember what it is like to haul children everywhere!
John Daigle plays a fantastic, low key collage of folk, celtic, western (Cash fan here!) and traditional American music mixed in with episodes of storytelling.
We clap with both hands so he knows just how much we appreciate him getting up there and sharing what he hears in his heart. Those of us who have no instrument to play out what we hear in ours look forward to the music part of market day.
As the heat comes on, our tummies begin a familiar rumble and remind us we were in too much of a hurry to eat breakfast. Emileigh's is there to the rescue. Let me stop right here and now to tell you, I have to count my shiny pennies carefully, but the food at Emileigh's is worth the price. It is REAL cookin'. Homestyle meets Eclectic in their menu. As if that is not enough, the owner (I'll have to find out just who this is to shake their hand...) has generously provided two boxed meals for each vendor booth this summer. That is GENEROUS with a capital, glowing G. They don't pinch the food back in those boxes either, same amount goes in as does for a paying customer.
Now for the folks who have visited my once lovely, but now cluttered-with-kids-and-such home, you'll know I don't have time for decorating or the dollar to pursue it. I make do with hand-me-downs and the occasional clearance item my hand can't do without. It shows too. So, I can't say from personal experience what the new and crowd collector the Southern Living Idea Home out there looks like on the inside yet as it costs a mere $5 to pass through. I figure I'll get out there when its cooler. But, as the ladies from the social groups around here say, I hear its fabulous. We toured through one of the Plein Air houses (market is held in the Plein Air neighborhood) when we first noticed the neighborhood going up. People, it was just lovely. Good grief. I sound like I've been in one of said social groups. OK, it was done so well it made me want to shuck a few kids and goats and move in. It was small, but the whole concept I could idealize over. Small neighborhood, fresh houses, Saturday morning market and nearby antique shopping is just a quick jog down the road. Mayberry visits the 21st century.

Back at our drink stand, you'll find my youngest daughter, 8 yo YaYa, (Director of Quality Control and Strategic Efficiency) sitting on the ice chest, wearing the vendor apron I made, patiently expecting the next passerby to be thirsty. I think I can just hear her mind-speaking to them, "You are thirsty. You ARE thirsty. Your throat is dry. Forget about that bottle water in your purse. YOU WANT FRESH JUICE!" Literally. She does the whole Vulcan stare thing.

Five year old, Little Man, will be in the nearest clay and sand pit he can dig in with the other sand fleas. (Director of Crowd Control, as in if you don't want to share the dirt cloud, you may need to move to the next booth) Those kids take home a sack of sand in their hair alone, but the pockets, dear Heaven, the loads in their pockets are enough to stop the washing machine.

Chickie, my ten-year-old-thinks-she's-a-grownup, flits about as a social butterfly (Director of Public Relations) lighting upon each booth offering shiny things, good smelling soaps and babies in need of surrogate hips for the carrying . She organized a passel of kids on the mat last time (maybe Director of Leisure Management?) and they colored scratch off stickers kindly donated by The Smell Good Lady- Anni, who has fine aromatherapy oils, massages and jewelry. Her necklaces make your neck just happy to be a neck that day.
My not-so-bronze Spartacus, a 14 yo I carry about with me as my personal manservant, is either cleverly passing out tempting sips of our drink samples (Director of Marketing) or taking photographs with improved technique. His style is a lot like mine so perhaps our homeschool curriculum could be considered to encompasse "Photography Arts." Perhaps. Recently he has discovered a friendship in Mr. Daigle who shares his interest in the mandolin. I suppose every manservant has to have a back up skill.
The wee 9 month old one, Z (Zed as our dear friends pronounce it), occupies his time in the heat by either kicking back with the bottle or challenging the castle building Sandfleas to a demolition derby. Sometimes he changes the rules and turns it into an eating contest. Either way, the big kids don't appreciate it.

As for me, you can bet your last dollar, I'll be standing somewhere in mid-conversation counting 1,2,3,4,5... and you were saying? 1,2,3,4,5.... Chickie, don't let him eat that! 1,2,3,4,5...I'm sorry, do go on. 1,2,3,4,5...If I wanted to share your muscles with every other overwhelmed person out here, I'd have advertised! Now please~ come help ME with that tent! Daddy's waiting...1,2,3,4,5...

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Medieval History Lesson

This is part one of three. You can go to You Tube and see the other two parts, a nicely done program on medieval Ireland and its successful struggle against the Norse.

Mr Tweedy

Autumn Semester Planning Lads and Lassies

I am sitting here at my desk, the wooded hills of north Mississippi are baking in the Dog Days Summer sun, and I am having a thought or three on my 14 year old lad’s curriculum for the Fall Semester. Having successfully homeschooled one lad from grades 1 through 12, and now having him on the Chancellor’s List (circa 3.80 plus GPA) at university, etc., I am feeling dangerously confident that I can pound enough facts, figures, and vocabulary into my 14 year old’s noggin.

the author with Michael Schumacher's Ferrari

Math we know we are going to kick the stew out it this year. Will start off with a review (I am big on reviews). This will take the form of a workbook of math below his current level; this being done just to top of his tank, oil the math gears in his brain, etc. Then it will be back to our assault on the big A, i.e. algebra, at his grade level. I will make him eat fish at least three times a week to grow the necessary grey matter. He has a natural ability to do math. I am glad he has this gene, but sad to report it skipped my generation. I have to work like a termite to digest my math.

He’s reading at a university level, so no need to work on comprehension. This semester we will work on his composition skills, i.e. making sure he can express himself on paper with pen, via keyboard and computer screen, and through speech. I do professional writing myself so with luck this will go easily. It is a matter of organising your thoughts logically and then putting them down; reading them, doing a re-write, i.e. edit the piece, then on to a final draft and then proofing the piece. I will show him how to outline, a good outline is the battle largely won. Now this is especially important for homeschoolers as to have knowledge and not be able to express yourself cancels out your work. One must know how to communicate via the spoken and written word in a manner and a level accepted in the educated and professional world. That’s the ball game folks, you HAVE to be able to communicate.

So where are we 1) Math, review and then heavy duty Algebra and 2) English Composition. Now there is a fair start.

Next will be languages, we are doing Irish and Spanish. But I am dangerously close to adding a bit of Latin. I have, in the last few years, come to the opinion that all Westerners should learn Latin. My lad hears Latin in Church, so he’s familiar with its sound and knows some ecclesiastical Latin, so the shock of actually studying it should not smash against his noodle too hard.

Now I am going to run him through American History, Colonial through the early Republic. This also acts as a civics and current events lesson. He will learn that when Democrat Obama promises Change that this really means High Taxes to Redistribute Wealth which is then an introduction into political systems, i.e. socialism in this case. You see how it all ties together.

Now I don’t like to mimic the public schools in number of topics taken. I think one of reason the Mississippi public schools are not successful are the sheer number of subjects studied on a daily basis. It is chaos set in a chaotic environment, not good. I prefer a different paradigm, one in which we work longer on one subject daily for a semester so that the kittens can really understand profoundly the topic. It becomes part of who he is at that point, not just something that will be forgotten when he’s through with it.

Here in Mississippi certain members of our legislature annually try to regulate homeschools. They actually want us to be more like the public schools. Now let’s think about this. Homeschools are successful, their students have test scores much higher than do public schools, and our academics are first rate, our schools clean and made for learning sister. Their schools have behavioural problems, school shootings, poor academics, low test scores, good students are held back by slackers, their students lack social skills, their schools are insanely secular to the point of ignoring the last 2000 years of Western history, etc., etc. Now it seems to me that they should be trying to copy us. We have successful schools; our academics are excellent, etc. Why would they want successful homeschools to follow their disastrous programs??? There is a lack of logic being applied you see. But I guess that figures as most of the know nothing legislators are products of the public schools that they champion.

Back to point: Fall Semester 1) General Mathematics and HS Algebra, 2) heavy duty English Comp, 3) American History, Colonial Period through the Early Republic, 4) Languages, Spanish, Irish, and introduction to Latin, 5) Music, in this case base guitar study and practice. This semester will run from 1 September to the second Sunday of Advent. That’s what I have so far. There is always a chance we could add something if the need comes up of course.

Barry R McCain © 2008