Thursday, January 19, 2017

Domestic Links of Interest

Adobe Spark (1)

Two articles on the Obama Presidency
The failure of the Obama Presidency

Chait grouses that the 2009 stimulus was dismally small and admits that the Republican critique of it as funding “a wish list of long-standing Democratic policies” had “an element of truth.”
Yet he also celebrates it as saving us from depression. Really? The downturn actually ended in June 2009 as the first stimulus checks were being signed. Only an Obama fanboy would argue, just as a fire is going out, that the whole forest is about to burn down.
Moreover, deep recessions (such as the 1981-82 one) that cause people to cut way back are generally followed by booming rebounds. This one wasn’t. Far from turbo-charging the economy, the stimulus was such a dud that five years after the recovery began, 72 percent of Americans said in a poll that they thought we were still in a recession. “The stimulus ultimately failed to do what America expected it to do — bring about a strong, sustainable recovery,” wrote Michael Grabell of ProPublica.
That’s hard to dispute given the sluggishness of the recovery — economic growth has been by far the weakest of any post-recession period since World War II. But Chait has zilch to say about that. Nor does Chait mention that Obama is the first president since Herbert Hoover to fail to preside over a single year of 3 percent growth. But hey, Obama fans, stay in your bubble. It’s cozy there.
Sealing himself off certainly didn’t work for the Bubble President, though. President Obama entered office thinking: “They love me! So they’ll love everything I do!” No. He had no backup plan for what to do if Congress became less than generous with the rubber stamp. Virtually every president has to negotiate with Capitol Hill — Ronald Reagan faced hostile Democrats in the House for his entire presidency — but Obama thought horse-trading was beneath him.
So he contented himself giving speeches and signing executive orders that Donald Trump is about to feed into the shredder. It looks like Obama’s chapter in the history books is going to be much like his résumé when he was elected president: thin.
On the Worst Presidency

Much will be written of the Obama legacy. He will no doubt quickly sign a lucrative contract to produce a book explaining the glory of these past eight years, awful as they were. While most folks have understood that things were falling apart at the most basic levels, Mr. Obama, in his own mind, saw them progressing from one success to another. He flew over it but he never really saw America. His basic character was pretty accurately described by Plato and Aristotle. Like Mr. Clinton, he probably would have been elected for a third and fourth term were it not for the reaction to, yes, Franklin Roosevelt and the two-term limitation.
I will pass over his religious views. His is a popular leftism that identifies religion as politics. Catholics were slow to recognize the efforts Mr. Obama made to identify religion and positive law. No leeway was left. Religion could not stand in the way of social “progress.” Who could have imagined even a decade ago that the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion traditions would be under fire for holding back the social engineering that Mr. Obama and his friends foisted on the country’s embassies, laws, military, healthcare, medicine, schools, environment, and even in the food we can’t eat.
But is there nothing good that this still relatively young man accomplished? The comedian Jack Benny was once famously confronted by a robber who insistently demanded, “Your money, or your life!” To which Benny replied, “I’m thinking! I’m thinking!” Mr. Obama has made it necessary for us to recall a whole order of being that was relentlessly overturned step by logical step. Do I think that this countrywide recollection is taking place? “I’m thinking! I’m thinking!”

How Planned Parenthood plays with their statistics:

Matt Walsh - stop asking me to fund your sex life!!
Nobody on Earth accepts and tolerates everything, nor should they. Things should only be accepted and tolerated if they are acceptable and tolerable. Liberals deny that any standard of acceptability and tolerability can be imposed, yet they have no problem ruthlessly imposing such standards themselves. So it isn’t that conservatives are less tolerant than liberals, it’s that we have different ideas about what is tolerable. Liberals clearly believe that my ideas and my very existence are intolerable, proving that they do not actually consider tolerance a universal principle. They’re right. It’s not.

How Roe from Roe V. Wade became pro-life

As a young mother, in a troubled marriage facing an unplanned pregnancy, she was advised by friends to assert falsely that she had been raped in order to obtain an abortion. When this scheme failed she was referred to a young, pro-abortion feminist attorney Sarah Weddington who used McCorvey and her case as a means of attempting to overturn Texas’ abortion laws. Eventually, Weddington took the case all the way to the Supreme Court, resulting in “Roe V. Wade.” 
By the time the case was her in the Supreme Court, McCorvey had already given birth to a daughter.
“I was a very confused twenty-one year old with one child and facing an unplanned pregnancy,” McCorvey has said. “At the time I fought to obtain a legal abortion, but truth be told, I have three daughters and never had an abortion.” 
McCorvey said that from 1969 to 1984, "I lived with a lie that I had told." She could not accept all of the pro-abortion rhetoric, discovering that there was nothing to connect the promised benefits of abortion with the truth and the reality she saw on a daily basis.

New options for moms with breech babies. 

Next, Anke presented results from her MRI study Does pregnancy and/or shifting positions create more room in a woman's pelvis? (J Ob Gyn, Jun 17 2014). The study examined how pregnancy or changing positions changed the pelvic dimensions. They scanned 50 pregnant women and 50 non-pregnant women (mostly midwives from their unit). Each woman was scanned in both a “modified squat" and in a dorsal spine position.
Anke's research team measured the pelvic inlet, the midpelvis, and pelvic outlet (a total of 6 measurements). The results were really exciting: modified squatting makes the pelvic inlet slightly smaller, while the midpelvis and outlet are larger. As midwife Anne Frye says, when the baby isn’t engaged yet, don’t get the woman squatting. Anke commented, "You midwives already knew that, but as a doctor I didn’t know that!"

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lesson plan ideas for the presidential inauguration!

Angela N. via Flickr licensed cc

Whether you like the new president or not, inauguration only happens every four years and is a truly American event!  Here are some ideas for understanding and even celebrating the American Inauguration!

PBS presents the inauguration and the constitution - explore how the founding fathers had this all spelled out! and the amendment that changed a few things.

I do Solemnly Swear - for kids grades 3- 5. 

All the Inaugural presidential addresses!!

Graph the ages of the Presidents at their inauguration! (This might be a fun President's Day Activity too!)

Inauguration videos on C-Span

Test your knowledge of the inauguration!  Grades 6- to adult!

Inauguration pack for Kids!! - Tons of information here!

Some Inauguration Supplies!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

St. Anthony - a midwinter reminder for Moms

My contribution to this month!

It often seems to me that the Church has strategically placed little feasts and celebrations throughout the liturgical year just to bolster the spirits of the faithful. Today is one such feast day as we honor St. Anthony the Abbott.

Today’s feast is right in the first weeks of Ordinary Time. The twinkle of Christmas is still a glowing memory, school semesters have started, and the work schedule is back in full swing. For most people, spring breaks and hopefully nice tax returns are the bright spots in an otherwise long, long winter stretching ahead over the horizon to a distant Easter. But before all of that, we have this little feast day as a place marker – a little stop on the road to give us a chance to contemplate the life of a saint who lived thousands of years ago but is still memorialized on the modern church calendar.

St. Anthony didn’t become a great saint by doing big important things. He didn’t write a tome, or influence a council. He wasn’t known for his robust preaching or supernatural healings. His holiness came from seeking to be simple.

That’s why his feast day seems to be so perfectly situated right here at the start of ordinary time. But what can a modern Catholic mom learn from an ancient celibate monk?

Lots! Everyone has their own crosses to carry. In family life, there are all of the crosses that come with having a spouse and raising a family. But celibacy and the monastic life has its own set of sacrifices. What we learn from St. Anthony is one way of working towards holiness in our lives – seeking quiet time and simplicity.

At this point in mid-January, we can concentrate on bringing order to our homes, to our families and to ourselves, free of the obligations and celebrations of Christmas and burdened primarily only with the crosses of daily living. St. Anthony took care of his family responsibilities first and then sought solitude to pursue prayer and living a simple life.

As moms, we put our families first too. But maybe now that school has started and schedules are set, we can try to carve out a little more time for prayer and contemplation – not as rigorous as Lent, but certainly good preparation for whatever that Lenten practice will be in a few weeks. By following St. Anthony’s example, we can find inspiration doing something simple without great fanfare or effort – Anthony had the desert, but perhaps for us it will be a corner, a dining room table, or our own bedrooms, maybe even a quick stop at church if time allows and as our commitments permit.

St. Anthony lived to a ripe old age of 105, yet he persevered until the very end in his Christian duties. Very few of us will know what it physically feels like to be that old, but I imagine it has its challenges. Perhaps today we can think of that too as we persevere in spite of whatever drags us down now – knowing that finding time for prayer is just as refreshing and necessary for our well-being as eating, exercising and bathing. It’s a necessity – not a luxury, and maybe with the example of the ancient old hermit keeping his own discipline alone in the desert in mind, we can find the inspiration to make and take the time to be silent and still in prayer – at least for a little while.

St. Anthony of Egypt – pray for us!

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Simple Woman

Outside my window...

My little girls sitting at the iced over skating area - that was too warm to skate on!

I am thinking...

about the inauguration this week and how ridiculous it is that there are marches and protests. Against what? The peaceful transition of power?  And I really don't care how many busses show up for the (Some) Woman's March on Saturday- the real important show of support happened in November and the Republicans won. It's time to get over it.

Frankly, I'm more interested in the March for Life on January 27 and I'm sure those crowds will once again be huge- and once again the media will ignore it!

I am thankful...
that January so far has been kind of mild.

I am pondering...
Diocese of Cleveland has a new requirement for volunteers who want to work with children. I blogged about this back in 2004 and also here and here.  After the sex scandal in the church, the Diocese came up with a program to ensure volunteers are aware of signs of abuse and were trained to spot and prevent it. This was called Virtus Training. 

The update was informative and thankfully, mostly online. My biggest take away from it is that if someone really wanted to mess with your life, all they would have to do is report suspicions to the authorities -no questions asked because the church is still quaking from the abuse scandal of 10 years ago.

The speaker mentions this right at the beginning here.

at 21:09 admits it is a "low threshold."

While I understand the gravity of the situation and the need to protect children, I'm also concerned about false accusations based simply on suspicious and the problems that can come from that. I'm acutely are of this because 10 years ago, I received this online threat and took action. 

I am hearing...
the hum of my newly repaired computer. It's very quiet now.

In the kitchen...
Pork chops tomorrow I think

I am wearing...

Mom Outfit January 15, 2017

What I wore to church. I looked at my Christmas photos once more and noted that I am only in one picture. So in an effort to have more photographic evidence of my time on the planet, I'll try to snap a couple every month.

I am going...
  • to walk or work out every day with Pfilates . Couldn't believe how weak my arms were after missing 3 weeks. I started back with the three pound weights last week but was able to do 5 pound weights today.  
  • to cut my carbs via the Wheat Belly Total Health: The Ultimate Grain-Free Health and Weight-Loss Life Plan recommendations - no more than 15 grams of carbs per meal.
  • start Miss C. on a regular program at the library.
  • Get a good start on the school semester.
  • Prepare for my homeschool Latin Class at co-op.
  • Sign up for this year's weddings. 

I am reading...

My article for this book was yesterday!  Had a lot of nice feedback and discussion on it on Facebook's St. Teresa's Online Book Club!

From the Learning Rooms...

    Adobe Spark


    Prairie Primer  - Social Studies and Science this semester!
    Saxon Math Grade 6
    Exploring Creation with Botany
    Trail Guide to Bible Geography
    CYO Cross Country practice
    Children’s Choir at Oaks of Righteousness Co-Op

    Isadora: Senior year!
    Art Studies at Akrona Art
    Parish Choir St. Sebastians
    Spelling U See Per Dr. Holinga
    Saturday Soccer League

    A quote to share...

    "Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."
    Carrie Fisher

    A picture to share...



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    Saturday, January 14, 2017

    7-Quick Takes

     photo seven-quick-takes-friday-2-300x213_zps0988a8ef.jpg
    Join the other Quicktakers at This Ain't the Lyceum.

    1. True confession - my Christmas tree is still up. So is the manger scene. So is the garland draping the doorway and fireplace. Last Sunday we were on the mend from a week with the flu so although we weren't sick, we were all just a little fatigued. Tackling the tree just seemed unnecessarily burdensome.


    It was also Noah's first Cross Country Banquet for school, and since I had never been to a sports banquet on the collegiate level, we went.

    It was nice. Every runner that showed up was recognized and appreciated, which was nice to hear as a parent.


    The food was good too.

    Here's the difference between high school and college as far as I can tell - in high school they need you to keep your grades up to stay on the team. They do in college as well, but it seems that having a high grade point average helps the team in a broader way that I am not totally clear on. So, even though Noah is the slowest guy on the team (and by slow I mean running 6-minute miles instead of 5-minute miles) he is a valued member of the team because of his high GPA.

    I'm still trying to figure all of this out, but I know Noah was glad to know that his contribution is appreciated.

    2. Over the holidays, Miss C's parents let me know, somewhat informally, that she will be doing pre-school and perhaps even kindergarten here. I am happy about that but also a little nervous. Homeschooling your grandchild is a little different than homeschooling your own child. For one thing, when we have a war of wills, Miss C will demand to go home!! and at 3 years old, she definitely has her own strong will.

    But overall I'm excited to teach her some of the things I have learned in teaching her aunts and uncles, and I look forward to revisiting some of our favorite books again.


    3. The logic class I am teaching for co-op is interesting. The ages are 8th grade through 12th, with Izzy being the oldest student in the class. Three of the students are siblings, and as of Tuesday there was only one boy. I think there will be two more boys but they have already missed two classes, so I wonder how that is going to work out.

    As we get to know each other, I hope that I can fill our class time with more discussion and that it's not just me up talking for 30 minutes or more. I'm also hoping that the students will start finding logical fallacies on their own to share with the class.

    As I mentioned earlier, I was very blessed to have Meryl Streep's speech to illustrate the Strawman argument this week.  I also used the Trump/Clinton second debate to illustrate the Red Herring.

    One of the books I am using to prepare for the class suggested resorting to humor when someone has used an ad hominem attack against you, and this exchange with Ronald Reagan is classic. I played it for the kids and they loved it!

    4. This class is not brimming over with high schooled homeschool students. There are a couple of reasons for that. Of course, the most obvious reason is that many homeschoolers start attending public or private school during their high school years.  But in Ohio, there is also a big push to have high school students do college work to save money on a college education.

    I am of two minds on this- depending on the day, I could argue it passionately either way.

    Argument A)  High school is a relatively recent invention that came about to warehouse young people and keep them out of the work place so that adults would have a better shot at finding and keeping jobs. This is why you read that our founding fathers finished college at such a young age - they didn't have to mess around with high school! Their education just naturally flowed into higher education and was rewarded with a degree.

    5. Argument B) But since we know that the adult brain isn't done developing until the 20s, it makes sense to keep teenagers in an educational environment constructed for them so that they can continue to be nurtured and develop in a mentally, psychologically and physically appropriate way. Thrusting them into collegiate academics at a younger age can be stressful. Also as homeschoolers, I think there is something to be said for using the last years of childhood to instill the values we want them to have and spend the last precious moments of youth with our kids before they leave the nest.

    But honestly, I go back and forth on it. I'm glad Noah graduated with some college credit from CLEP tests. I wish he had more credit for cost reasons. But I'm glad I had him home last year and we were able to work on his studies together.

    Like I said, I could argue passionately for either way.

    6. The joy of having a daughter- I can finally delve into the Bronte Sisters!! Something I knew my sons wouldn't enjoy as much as she is!! We started Pride and Prejudice this week!

    Haworth - Bronte Country

    Sonia Moratta via Flickr licensed cc  The Bronte Sisters

    7.  I don't like Joe Biden's politics , and I disagree with just about everything he stands for - but I did think this was touching (even if it does take this award "with distinction" down a couple of notches).

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    Thursday, January 12, 2017

    My Domestic Links of Interest

    Adobe Spark (1)

    Cleveland Doc forced to apologize for his anti-vax article - cause you know - group think!

    We live in a toxic soup. There are over 80,000 chemicals used in various industries country-wide. There are over 2,000 new chemicals being introduced annually. We breathe in these chemicals through exhaust, eat them in our processed foods ( just look at the labels that have 20 or 30 ingredients and good luck pronouncing their names), textiles (clothing, bedding, furniture), and personal care products, including make-up, deodorant, shampoos, and soaps.

    Toxins accumulate in our fat cells if they are not eliminated and interrupt normal bodily functions. Your body should be a finely tuned machine with all of the organ systems working in concert together. But when toxins disrupt normal function, problems can occur. Those problems include cancers, auto-immune diseases, neurologic problems like autism, ADHD, and Parkinson's disease, and the most prevalent chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

    Why are we so sick in 2017 despite the best access to healthcare? The body has wonderful built-in systems to help us detoxify. The liver and kidneys try to do an exceptional job keeping up with filtering out the "stuff" (toxins included) we don't need. Our skin - the largest organ in the body - will release toxins in the form of perspiration. Our breath will release toxins with each exhalation. When our gut is healthy and our microbiome (100 trillion organisms that live in our intestinal tract, within our airway, and on our skin) intact, our bowel movements help rid unwanted toxins.

    I like to think of our detoxification system as a big bucket. As long as the toxic soup stays within the bucket, our body can naturally eliminate what we don't need and help us live at the highest quality of life. But what happens when the bucket starts to overflow - which is exactly what many of us have been facing our entire lives? The body may not have the capacity to eliminate our current exposures and THAT IS WHEN BAD THINGS START TO OCCUR.

    Robert Kennedy meets with Trump on Vaccine Safety.
    Kennedy seems to feel similarly. “I think President Trump can be any kind of president that he wants to be. He’s probably come into office less encumbered by ideology or obligations than anybody who has been in political office.” Perhaps anti-vaxers and vaccine conspiracists see an ally in Trump’s supposed “outsider” status.

    Republicans Plan to repeal Obamacare in name only.

    The problem is that they plan to repeal only the taxes, subsidies, and Medicaid expansion, but will retain every page of the insurance coverage regulations that are responsible for making insurance actuarially insolvent and depressing the job market. Thus, we are confronted with the worst of both worlds in which the public perception is that Obamacare will be repealed, but the worst aspects — the aspects of the leviathan that are solely responsible for unaffordable premiums and the lack of choice in the market place — will be preserved. 

    Don’t be fooled. Unless Congress hears the wrath of the grassroots and unless Trump clarifies his plan on Obamacare, the record high premiums aren’t going anywhere. - See more at:

    A Catholic Family with 13 kids and no Debt!  and a look at their finances. 

    My kids all start working and saving at a young age. By age 12 or so they are babysitting, cutting grass, shoveling snow and doing odd-jobs for people. So far they have all been good savers. Which is a good thing because they pay for their own iPods, phones, cars, gas, car insurance, and college.

    The kids buy reliable (we hope) used cars and pay for all the maintenance, gas, insurance etc. We try to find cars that old people no longer need. They are usually well maintained and have low miles. All five of the older kids have cars. Plus my wife and I have three between us. It looks a lot like a used car lot in our driveway. I’m sure our neighbors love us.

    The First Day of Homemaking for the New year!
    We cannot have perfectly spotless houses in showroom condition. Certainly not.  But we can take the time, throughout the day, to be about the business of housekeeping. It takes work and effort and creativity to keep a home in order.  It also takes a cheerful willingness to make home a peaceful, happy place to be.


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    Wednesday, January 11, 2017

    The Logical Fallacy of Meryl Streep

    The girls and I just got done watching Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia over the holiday season and thoroughly enjoyed it. We also saw the The Devil Wears Prada last year and even one of Stree's older works in the Holocaust. We enjoy her movies very much - which made it all the more disheartening to hear about her speech over the weekend at the Golden Globes Awards.

    Frankly, I'm just getting a little sick of hearing the political views of my favorite celebrities  - which is not that they don't have the right to say these things, but it's very irritating that they seem to think that I should care or indeed HAVE TO CARE about how they view the world.

    But the truth is, I don't. I don't have to care about their political views to enjoy their work and constantly trying to get me to is wearing thin.

    This semester I am finally teaching a subject that I have been passionate about for some time - Logic. I'm usingThe Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning as a text, but also a lot of information from The Great Courses. Our very first week we learned about something called the Halo Effect -

     The halo effect is a type of cognitive bias in which our overall impression of a person influences how we feel and think about his or her character. Essentially, your overall impression of a person ("He is nice!") impacts your evaluations of that person's specific traits ("He is also smart!").

    Whenever a celebrity tries to influence our thinking they are banking on the allure of their own halo effect, and Ms. Streep is no different.

    But that wasn't her primary logical fallacy. She gave quite a litany of actors and actresses who were foreign born and now work in Hollywood to provide "art" for the rest of us, and she threatened the masses with the elimination of art as entertainment if all of these "foreigners" were taken away.

    She, in essence, stood there and built her own strawman fallacy and then threatened us to knock it down. The reality is, no one is threatening to deport LEGALLY working actors and actresses. Legal immigration isn't an issue for anyone except for Meryl Streep and anyone who wasn't paying attention hard enough to understand that legal immigration isn't under attack by anyone.

    She also built two other strawmen - that somehow Hollywood and the Press were unfairly maligned and apparently powerless to do anything about it, clearly ignoring the fact that she was using the bully pulpit to shape a fallacy to her liking and that the equally mighty press would, could, and did back her up in the days following her speech.

    Ms. Stree'ps contention that Hollywood and the press are so maligned and impotent to fight back was especially funny given that this was all done at televised event!

    Luckily this was all very timely for me as we were covering the strawman fallacy in in class today and her speech was a wonderful example to share with my students.

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