Tuesday, September 28, 2004

OpinionJournal - The Florida Myth

OpinionJournal - Featured Article; The Florida Myth

I'm so, so, SO tired of people trying to create situations that didn't happen. In this piece, the story that somehow there was widespread voter intimidation against racial minorities in Florida in 2000 is addressed. One of the conclusions:

"... the idea that racial animus rather than all-around incompetence produced higher spoilage rates for blacks, or accounted for their misplacement on the infamously inaccurate "felon purge list," is fanciful at best. In Florida, as in many other states, the manner in which elections are conducted, including all of the essentials of the voting process, is determined at the county level.

"Which leaves the "stolen election" crowd with these inconvenient facts: In 24 of the 25 Florida counties with the highest ballot spoilage rate, the county supervisor was a Democrat. In the 25th county, the supervisor was an Independent. And as for the "felon purge list," the Miami Herald found that whites were twice as likely to be incorrectly placed on the list as blacks.

"The real spectacle here is that some Democrats are only too willing to exploit the painful history of black voter disenfranchisement for some short-term partisan advantage. And it just might backfire. Democrats played up the Florida fiasco in the 2002 midterm elections, repeatedly telling blacks that their votes hadn't been counted in 2000. Rather than being riled up, many black voters believed what they were told and stayed home."

Check out the entire article. Interesting

Friday, September 24, 2004

Start Of School Very Different For Parents Of Boys, Parents Of Girls - Glenn Sacks

Start Of School Very Different For Parents Of Boys, Parents Of Girls - Glenn Sacks: "Simply put, modern schools are not boy-friendly. This can be seen from the time boys enter school, when many of them are immediately branded as behavior problems. The line of elementary school kids who used to gather every day after school in my son's class for their behavior reports--all boys. The names of kids on the side of the chalkboard who misbehaved and would lose recess--all boys. The nine million children, many as young as five or six, who are given Ritalin so they will sit still and 'behave'--almost all boys.

Girls get better grades than boys, and boys are far more likely than girls to drop out of school or to be disciplined, suspended, held back, or expelled. Boys are four times as likely to receive a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as girls, and the vast majority of learning-disabled students are boys. By high school the typical boy is a year and a half behind the typical girl in reading and writing.

Modern K-12 education is not suited to boys' needs and learning styles. Success in school is tightly correlated with the ability to sit still, be quiet and complete work. The fact that many young boys are bodily kinesthetic learners who crave physical, hands-on and energetic lessons is inconvenient, and is thus largely ignored.

The trend against competition and the promotion of cooperative learning strategies run counter to boys' natural competitiveness and individual initiative. Group projects and lessons in which there are no right or wrong answers, and from which solid conclusions cannot be drawn, tend to frustrate boys, who often view them as pointless.

Efforts to make schools gentler and to promote women's writing, while understandable, have pushed aside the action and adventure literature which boys have treasured for generations. In their place are subtle, reflective works which often hold little interest for boys."

What can I say - this guy is right! We need a revival of the "action and adventure literature" for our little boys. There is nothing wrong with giving boys and girls different assignments!

As the mother of 2 boys and one girl, I can tell you that boys need an entirely different approach to schooling and learning than girls do - not just because of their learning "styles" but because of their entire testosterone-soaked little brains.

However politically incorrect this may be, boys are different from girls! Vive l'difference!

In the name of "helping" girls, we have totally disregarded our boys. How about we go back to gender-based academies at least through middle school, and preferably through high school? Both girls and boys would get the educational emphases they need without the distractions of the other gender.

And just don't even get me started on our abandonment of the gifted children! That's another rant!

Why Conservatives Love Rathergate - Monte Kuligowski

"Everyone loves a story where a little David takes down a haughty Goliath."
This is a very cogent article about Blathergate.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Thursday, September 23 / September 10 (Church Calendar)

Commemorated Today
Afterfeast of the Nativity of the Theotokos
Martyrs Menodora, Metrodora, and Nymphodora at Nicomedia. Martyr Barypsabas in Dalmatia. Saints Peter and Paul, Bishops of Nicaea. St. Pulcherius the Empress. Synaxis of the Holy Apostles Apelles, Lucius and Clement of the Seventy. St. Ioasaph, monk of Kubensk (Vologda). St. Paul the Obedient of the Kiev Caves. St. Cassian, abbot of Spaso-Kamenny and Cyril of White Lake Monasteries. St. Salvius, Bishop of Albi (Gaul).
O Holy God-Pleasers, Pray to God for Us!

-- There are five occupations which help to gain God's benevolence. The first is pure prayer; the second, psalmody; the third, reading the Holy Scriptures; the fourth, contrite remembrance of one's sins, of death and the terrible judgment; the fifth, work with one's hands.
-- If while still in your body you wish to serve God like the incorporeal beings, strive to have in your heart a secret unceasing prayer. For in this way your soul will come near to resembling the angels even before death.
From: Abba Evagrius on Prayer

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Reflections on how to vote: Orthodox Christians and the Presidential Election

Very interesting article! We are, indeed, either "Reluctant Democrats" or "Reluctant Republicans."

George Bush, Alvin Toffler and the Third Wave

Ran across this interesting place:

Alan Toffler and the Third Wave

Michael Finley is a futurist. In this executive summary of his article about Toffler's Third Wave theory, he discusses the Third Wave and it's effects.

I've been thinking about our society quite a bit lately. Don't know if it's because of my age, the silly season or what. Seems to me that we are in the midst of a major paradigm shift away from a corporate-based society and toward an entrepreneureal society. This is certainly in keeping with our historical roots, and was predicted in the 70's, 80's and early 90's by the futurist, Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi. I read their books back then - wish I had kept them!

In this silly season, of the two candidates, Bush supports the inevitable shift, and Kerry attempts to stop "The Third Wave" predicted by the Tofflers. Can't say that Kerry is being particularly realistic about it. He wants to move toward the upshot of Toffler's Third Wave, individuation, diversity, and entrepreneurship.

It isn't comfortable to live through a major paradigm shift, and we can't rely on the practices of the past. Michael Finley points
"In a not-always-pleasant way, the third wave began decentralizing the machine heart. Today is a time of transition, in which we witness the curious spectacle of massive second-wave-type enterprises adapting to the third-wave appetite for differentiation.
Take the coffee example. In the 1920s each town had its distinct coffee flavor. In the 1970s it was Maxwell House and McDonald's scalding coffee, from sea to shining sea. By the 1990s, an explosion of mom-and-pop coffeehouses took place across the country. Today you stop, as I did recently, at a coffee shop in Talladega, Alabama, and order a double latte of decaffeinated Kenyan with a finger of amaretto hazelnut syrup in .
Or you can have the best of all worlds, second wave McDonalds' standardization combined with third wave product choice, by walking into any of the 2,000 Starbucks coffee shops nationwide.
In retail, we have witnessed the second-wave juggernaut Wal-Mart break upon cities small and large, with the third-wave possibility of a single store selling 100,000 different items."

He goes on to point out:
"The clearest sign of changing politics is the decay of political parties. The day when a Franklin Roosevelt can put together astring of four elections by combining a handful of voter blocs(farmers, labor, intellectuals, the rural South, and the urban North) into a single lasting coalition is gone. Election todayrequires stringing together hundreds of splintered grassrootsgroups : the nonsmokers, AIDS activists, save-the-whales peopleand what-have-you.
Every group is passionate, and narrow in focus. It is in every way a more daunting process, and it is conducted, as making frankfurters should not be, in full view of the public. It is no wonder that no one, in the United States, in Japan, in Italy, or anywhere, believes in parties any more. Parties were a static second-wave, homogenized, massified function that do not seem relevant in the more volatile, diversified, heterogeneous third wave."

We are moving away from dependence on big government and big business and toward depending upon ourselves as small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises take over the economy. The resiliant, those who can, in the words of the Marines, "improvise, adapt and overcome," in a positive way will be the ones who come out on top.

While no politician and no political party are perfect, some are more forward-seeing than others at various points in time. At this time, the party most capable of forward-seeing is the Republican Party. An example of this is the recommendation that small companies be able to work together to form blocs to obtain the same low rates for insurance that large corporations receive. They seem to realize that his is not the time for "warm fuzzy" feelings and making people "feel good." It is a time to help people to move from the previous paradigm into the
new paradigm.

This is very American! Although immersed in what Toffler called "the First Wave," the agricultural life, people who were forward-thinking moved away from their static societies and came to what became the US in a spirit of individualism and entrepreneurialism. We began to move through the Industrial Revolution and to leave our small farms to work in cities or to work for giant corporate farms.

In a return to the entrepreneurial and individual spirit of our forefathers, we see small businesses springing up like mushrooms in spare bedrooms and the corners of living rooms and dining rooms. A person with a computer and an internet connection can set up a business in less than 2 hours, and be making money at it in a couple of days. What isn't immediately perceptible is that these people DO have jobs! They just have a different kind of commute - across or down the hall instead of across the city or down the freeway. These people are not so much using traditional resources, but rather are manipulating the resources of other businesses. They are often "off the books" or in the "grey economy" in that they don't pay many (if any!) taxes and do not use many (if any!) tax-supported resources.

Many people have gone into entrepreneurial businesses in order to avoid being tax-supported. They don't want to be on welfare or on SSI - they see themselves as competant and capable of taking care of themselves better then the government can.

Kerry wants people to be taken care of by "Big Brother," entrepreneurs want to take care of themselves and Bush supports that position.

Kerry has a love-hate relationship with big business, entrepreneurs use big business to further their own ends, and Bush supports that position.

These are only a few reasons that I suspect Bush will win. He is improvising, adapting and overcoming by surfing well and riding that Third Wave, not fighting it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Where Kerry Stands on Iraq - A Kerry-English translation. By William Saletan

Where Kerry Stands on Iraq
A Kerry-English translation.
By William Saletan
Posted Monday, Sept. 20, 2004, at 3:27 PM PT

.... Solicitousness, spending, job training, public employment, crime prevention through economic aid. It sounds a lot like domestic liberalism. I'm sure Kerry would object to that simplification of his position. I'm sure he thinks all of his views are more complicated than I've outlined here. But we're about to have an election. We need a clear picture of how Kerry's position on Iraq differs from Bush's. This is it.

Finally! Someone can translate Kerry's Stands!! er ... Shifts? er ... Dances? er ... Oh well. And the beat goes on .....



Now, the New Criterion does point out that Blathergate is based on lies!

comment on annika's journal

annika's journal - a wonderful Blog!

What I don't understand is, why so few people recognize that Blathergate is simply another example of the dissolution of our values and mores! Burkett lied, and it took 6 days before someone stood up and said, "He lied, we fell for it," much less, saying, "It is wrong, wrong, wrong to lie."

Tuesday, September 21 / September 8 (Church Calendar)

Commemorated Today
St. Serapion, monk of Spaso-Eleazar Monastery (Pskov). St. Lucian, abbot of Alexandrov. St. Arsenius, abbot of Konevits. New-Martyr Athanasius of Thessalonica. New-Martyr Alexander (Jacobson) (1930). (Greek Calendar: Martyrs Rufus and Rufianus. Martyrs Severus and Artemidorus. St. Sophronius of Iberia, Bishop) Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos: "Kursk-Root" Icon of the sign"; "Pochaev"; "Kholmsk"; and others. Repose of Elder Daniel of Katounakia, Mt. Athos (1929).
O Holy God-Pleasers, Pray to God for Us!

The story of Mary's birth is not found in the New Testament, but in the writings which are not part of the [canonical] scriptures. The tradition of this feast teaches that Joachim and Anna were a pious Jewish couple who were among the small and faithful remnant - "the poor and needy" - awaiting the promised messiah. The couple was old and childless, and had prayed earnestly to the Lord for a child, since among the Jews, barrenness was a sign of God's disfavor. In answer to their prayer, and as a reward for their unwavering fidelity to God, the elderly couple was blessed with the child who was destined, because of her own personal goodness and holiness, to become the Mother of the Messiah - Christ.

The fact that there is no Biblical verification of Mary's birth is incidental to the meaning of the feast. Even if the background of the event as celebrated in the Church is questionable from a historical point of view, the divine meaning of it "for us men and for our salvation" is obvious. There had to be one born of human flesh and blood who would be spiritually capable of being the Theotokos, and she herself had to be born into the world of persons who were spiritually capable of being her parents.

The feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, therefore is a glorification of the miracle of Mary's birth, of Mary herself, and of her righteous parents. It is the celebration as well of the very first preparation of the salvation of the world.
Theologic Website; Quoted from Orthodox Family Life, 1996(c)
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"It is regrettable that the immaculate conception, not to be confused with the virginal birth of the Saviour, is a concept of the Mother of God which the Roman Church assumed in 1854 and with which the Orthodox Church is in total disagreement. This concept holds that Mary was born without the stain of original sin brought upon all mankind by Adam and Eve. But the Orthodox position holds that since Jesus Christ is God, he is, therefore the only one who is without the original stain."
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson on al Qaeda and terrorism on National Review Online

Victor Davis Hanson on al Qaeda and terrorism on National Review Online

This is an interesting comparison of Western society, the US in particular, with Athens of the mythical period of Theseus. The problem is, it's too true to be good! This writer makes some terribly telling points.


St. Elizabeth, Mother of the Forerunner

St. Elizabeth, Mother of the Forerunner

Saturday, September 18 / September 5 (Church Calendar)
Holy Prophet Zacharias and Righteous Elizabeth, parents of St. John the Forerunner
Saints of the Day

Commemorated Today
Holy Prophet Zacharias and Righteous Elizabeth, parents of St. John the Forerunner.
Martyrs Urban, Theodore, Medimnus, and 77 Companions at Nicomedia. Martyr Abdias (Abidas) of Persia. Martyr Sarbelus of Edessa. Martyrs Ththuil (Thithail) and his sister Bebaia. Virgin Martyr Rhais (Raisa) of Alexandria. Martyrs Juventius and Maximus at Antioch. Appearance of the Holy Apostle Peter to Emperor Justinian at Athira near Constantinople. Martyrdom of HolyPassion-bearer Gleb, in holy baptism David. Martyrdom of St. Athanasius, abbot of Brest, by the Latins.
O Holy God-Pleasers, Pray to God for Us!

(From the Prologue from Ochrid)

The Holy Prophet Zacharias, father of St. John the Forerunner, was the son of Barachias, of the tribe of Aaron, a high priest in descent from Abia, and held the eighth degree of service in the Temple in Jerusalem.

His wife, Elisabeth was sister to St. Anna, the mother of the holy Mother of God. In the reign of King Herod, the child-slayer, Zacharias was serving one day in his turn in the Temple in Jerusalem. An angel of God appeared to him in the altar, and Zacharias was afraid. But the angel said to him: "Fear not, Zacharias," and informed him that his wife Elisabeth would bear a son in answer to their prayers, for Zacharias and Elisabeth were both old. When Zacharias doubted the words of the heavenly messenger, the angel told him: "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God," And Zacharias was made dumb from that moment, and did not speak until his son was born and he had written on a tablet: "His name is John." Then his mouth was opened, and he glorified God.

Later, when the Lord Christ was born and Herod began killing the children in Bethlehem, he sent men to find Zacharias's son and kill him, for he had heard of all that had happened to Zacharias and how John was born. Seeing the soldiers, Elisabeth took John in her arms -- he was eighteen months old at that time -- and fled from the house with him to a rocky and desert region. When she saw where the soldiers had driven them, she cried out to the mountain "O mountain of God, receive a mother with her child!" and the rock opened and hid the mother and child inside itself. Herod, furious that John had not been killed, ordered that Zacharias be cut down before the altar. Zacharias's blood spilled over the marble and became as hard as stone, remaining thus as a witness to Herod's wickedness. At the place where Elisabeth hid with John, a cave opened and a spring flowed forth, and a fruit-bearing palm grew up by God's power. Forty days after Zacharias's death, blessed Elisabeth also entered into rest. The child John stayed in the wilderness, fed by an angel and guarded by God's providence, until that day when he appeared by the Jordan.

Troparion of Righteous Elizabeth
(Tone 8)
The barren wilderness thou didst make fertile with the streams of thy tears; and by thy deep sighing thou hast given fruit through thy struggles a hundredfold. Accordingly, thou hast become a star for the universe, sparkling with miracles. Therefore, O righteous Mother Elizabeth, intercede with Christ God to save our souls.

Kontakion of Righteous Elizabeth
(Tone 4)
Like the full moon, thou didst receive the light of righteousness from the Messiah, the noetic Sun, O Elizabeth beloved of God, and with Zacharias didst walk in all the commandments of the Lord. Wherefore, blessing thee with worthy hymns, we magnify the Lord, the most compassionate Light, Who illumineth all.

Righteous Elizabeth is my Patron Saint. On this day I am mindful of the example of obedience to God that she sets me.

Friday, September 17, 2004

ROCM Music Scores (English)

ROCM Music Scores (English): "http://www.rocm.org/e_scores.htm"

This is a wonderful site with much Russian Orthodox Music. Do visit it!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Thursday, September 16 / September 3 (Church Calendar)

Commemorated Today
Hieromartyr Anthimus, Bishop of Nicomedia, and those with him: Martyrs Theophilus deacon, Dorotheus, Mardonius, Migdonius, Peter, Indes, Gorgonius, Zeno, Virgin Domna, and Euthymius St. Theoctistus, fellow-faster with St. Euthymius the Great. (services combined) Martyr Aristion, Bishop of Alexandria. Martyr Basilissa of Nicomedia. St. Pheobe, deaconess at Cenchreae near Corinth. Blessed John "the Hairy", fool-for-Christ at Rostov. St. Ioannicius, Archbishop of Serbia. New-Martyr Polydorus of Cyprus. Martyr Edward of England . (Greek Calendar: Martyrs Chariton and Archontinus. Emperor Constantine the New.) Repose of Priest Peter, fool-for-Christ of Uglich (1866).
O Holy God-Pleasers, Pray to God for Us!
(My thanks to the Protection of the Mother of God Parish for their list of Saints of the Day!)

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"Which is better: to pray with the lips or with the mind?" The answer is that we must use both forms: pray sometimes in words, sometimes with the mind. But it is necessary to explain here that mental prayer also involves the use of words which in this case are not heard, but are only pronounced within the heart.

St. Theophan the Recluse, The Art of Prayer.

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How is it possible to follow the political process and remain focussed on God? It is only possible through constant prayer - prayer even as we read impassioned words, prayer even as those words fall upon our ears. We must pray always - that we understand the truth and not permit the passions and misspeaking of politicians sway us. We must pray and avoid following that path of least resistance and allow ourselves to be swayed by the passions.

It is our responsibility to take part in the political process by becoming as informed as possible and to vote on the appointed days. Our vote should be consistent with the Mind of the Church which is the Mind of God. We must read and hear the words of all sides and apply the intellect God has given us in an attempt to understand all the issues and facts. We must fast and pray, asking God to illumine us and to show us the way He would have us follow.

May God, the True God, Who loves mankind, enlighten us and keep our feet walking in His Way.