Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
...According to Peter Schweizer at the UK's Daily Mail.
The following is an excerpt from an actual voter's guide put out by the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder, Jefferson County, Colorado. Amendment 3A proposes a tax increase and Amendment 3B proposes a bond issue for the county schools -- projected amounts for the amendments are a tax increase of $34 million per year and a total bond debt of $754 million.
SUMMARIES OF WRITTEN COMMENTS FILED WITH THE ELECTION OFFICER
The following summaries were prepared from comments filed by persons FOR the proposal:
Yes, the economy is bumpy now, but Colorado has always been able to beat national trends because we INVEST in ourselves. Jeffco homeowners will accomplish the goals in 3A for only $2.92/month for each $100,000 of actual home value. YES on 3A is the right investment.
Taxes should be increased $34 million annually by a mill levy of 4.4 mills. Past increases have not resulted in the desired student performance improvement and a greater infusion of funds is required. Compared to other professions and trades, teachers are poorly paid and hopefully beginning salaries in the six-digit range can be offered within three or four years.
Senior citizens with fixed incomes are hard-pressed to shoulder increases in property tax. These people should recognize that their reduced productivity calls for them to be replaced by the youth of our nation. This measure calls for some of the property taxes to be earmarked for:
"Expanding options for career job skills and technical training to prepare students for today's work world." Half of these should be committed to the following:
Seniors on fixed incomes, to whom this school tax is burdensome, need training, as well as compassion. They must be offered the opportunity to learn how to locate more modest accommodations than those they currently occupy, and how to cope, in other communities if necessary.
This tax increase furthers the goals of our teacher unions. It is consistent with a presidential candidate's promise for change, and hope for progress toward the Socialist utopia through education. This increase could create a pad until the oppressive TABOR measures can be repealed, and the Amendment 23 extra millions for schools be made permanent. The same criteria and logic should be applied in consideration of ballot question 3B, resulting in a resounding approval of the $754 million debt. This will add as much as $69 million to the $34 million for 3A, annually, a picayune amount considering the future of our youth and well-being of the District's employees.
But wait! The Jefferson County School District just caught wind of this deceit and trickery! Evidently no one from the school district read the voter's guide until 10 days before the election. Quick! Send out a notice to all parents in the school district!
Here's the official rebuttal:
Voter TABOR Statement is Not District Endorsed
In response to continuing questions, the following is a public statement issued by Jeffco Public Schools regarding the summary of written comments for the 3A/3B Ballot Propositions printed in the 2008 Jefferson County Tabor Notice booklet.
The booklets were mailed to Jefferson County registered voters recently as required by state law.
The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights gives citizens the right to express their views on ballot measures, and have their views amplified at government expense through the so-called TABOR notice. The statement that appears in the TABOR notice is NOT the statement of the School District and the Jefferson County School District does not condone the remarks made by a citizen who submitted comments for publication in the notice that many people find misleading and offensive.
Instead, court decisions make it clear that government officials may not deny a citizen access to this avenue of communication because government officials believe the citizen’s comments are sarcastic, offensive, or even dishonest.
Jefferson County School District has great regard for its senior citizens; does not intend to pay its beginning teachers six figure salaries, and has no interest in establishing a socialist utopia.
(Editor's note: "Yeah, right!")
The Jefferson County School District is confident that the voters of the community will make an informed decision on ballot measure 3A without regard to political dirty tricks.
Friday, October 24, 2008
I felt a sore throat coming on last night after my husband left for his weekly nocturnal adoration hour. I decided to go to bed with a great book...A Canticle for Leibowitz. I didn't read too long before my eyelids were getting heavy.
My husband stayed home sick today. And we've got several sick kids, including one with strep.
Hey, kids! Let's read some nursery rhymes!
Monday, October 20, 2008
It didn't make the print edition. Nor did Catholic Exchange answer my query. The National Catholic Register thanked me but said it was too close to the election. (They have a long lead time).
So, dear readers, please pass the link along to your friends, neighbors and others who might be tempted to vote Democrat. ;-)
By the way...they changed my title...too close to home?
Monday, October 13, 2008
Attention: Home Educators! Have your students enroll now in the Young Writers Program of National Novel Writing Month.
It's free...and students can create their own word counts. My kids are giving it a go this year. And we downloaded some really creative workbooks from the website, put them on a CD and took it to Kinkos, where they printed them out with a spiral biding and laminated covers. Cost about $15 each (or what you'd pay for a nice workbook). My kids are fighting over the workbooks, so I might have to go and print up some more.
Home Educators don't forget to sign up on the YW site as an Educator and have access to the Teacher's Lounge!
Remember: National Novel Writing Month begins November 1st.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
1. a penguin (I was only 4 or 5 at the time).
2. a Hawaiian (but my mom told me you actually had to be born one, which I found grossly unfair and totally against the attitude of the '70's which said women could be anything they wanted to be...I was about 6 or 7)
3. a nurse
4. a teacher
5. a U.S. Naval Officer
6. an astronaut
7. a writer
Things I have done:
1. I wore combat boots--on several occasions--most notably for a week during the summer of 1984, when, as a second-class midshipman, we had our U.S. Marine Corps
2. Flew upside-down in a T-2 in Pensacola, Florida. Decided I didn't want to fly for a living.
3. Sailed on a 98-foot yacht from Annapolis, Maryland, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and visited several ports of call, including New York City. While underway, in heavy seas, with 95% of the crew seasick, we had a fire at sea.
4. Sang back-up for Donna Summer (with the U.S. Naval Academy Women's Glee Club) at Pres. Reagan's 1985 Inaugaration Gala. Backstage, Lou Rawls told us, "Ya'll sounded real good;" Crystal Gale told us we looked "pretty" in our formal dinner dress uniforms; and Dean Martin winked at me. (Okay, I admit he winked at a lot of young ladies that evening). Oh, and Frank Sinatra sang with a glass of scotch in his hand and Tom Selleck was holding hands with his lady friend while all of us gals were desperately trying to catch his eye.
5. Shook President Ronald Reagan's hand when I received my Baccalaureate degree, May 1985.
6. I met Diego Maradona when I lived in Naples, Italy.
7. I have been mistaken for a prostitute. (In Naples, Italy).
8. Although I've never been arrested, I did have a police officer shine a flashlight in my face once and say, "You look familiar. Have you ever been arrested?"
9. My dh and I appeared on the Maury Povich show. (When Philosopher-Mom was deemed too smart, she gave them my name, I was phone-interviewed and deemed ditsy enough for the show). The topic of the show was, "Childfree by Choice," and we were the freaks with FIVE children! (Addendum: Also on the show was, Ben Wattenberg, who displayed great class in congratulating us on our five kids and he inscribed a copy of his book, The Birth Dearth, to us: "To Debbie and Joe...who are doing their part...with high regard, Ben Wattenberg, NY/NY 11/93.")
10. I once considered changing my name to "Aurora Borealis." *
Things I have eaten:
2. Rocky Mountain oysters
4. frog legs
Jobs I have actually had:
1. Youth Conservation Corps youth worker--2 summers
3. 45 caliber pistol instructor
4. communications watch officer
5. telephone officer (liason with the Italian telephone company)
6. celebration of the bicentennial of the US Constitution coordinator
7. security officer
8. crisis pregnancy volunteer
9. Girl Scout leader
10. homeschool mom
* O.K. Not really. That one was supposed to be a joke. But I do think it's a pretty cool name.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Dear Edmund, who is a 2nd degree black belt recommended, and who has attempted to test for 2nd degree decided on a previous occasion, was not able to break one of his three boards in three tries, and thus didn't pass on to 2nd degree decided today. He will attempt his entire testing, which is quite lengthy for 2nd degree black belt, again on December 20th. Third time's a charm. His good sportsmanlike conduct is commendable, and I hope to one day have as good a form as he does.
Also testing were my "Tiny Tigers," JP and DJ, who did a fine job with the under 7 year-olds. They were testing for their green decided belts. And Bernadette, did a super awesome job testing for her brown belt decided. She broke her boards on the first try!
Not testing today due to some "attitude" difficulties, was young Paul. He should have been testing for brown belt recommended, but his instructor and parents agreed that his performance has not always been the best and that it would be unfair for other kids who actually paid attention in class and worked hard. The upshot of that is that my driving schedule is going to continue to be crazy hectic as I have to drive kids to most of the 14 classes we take each week and Paul won't be able to join his sister in her classes, thus eliminating 3 of those classes.
Aren't we terrifyingly and ridiculously good-looking in our pure-white uniforms and belt?
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Of all the issues that divide Republican and Democrat candidates, none is more crucial this election year than the issue of protection of human life, from conception to natural death.
Sadly, the party that has traditionally stood for human rights, for the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized, is the party that has made abortion a sacramental rite on the altar of lies.
We don’t know when life begins.
There are some inconvenient truths that Democrats have been scrambling to deny ever since the advent of Roe v. Wade in 1973, which took away some states’ rights to outlaw abortions. The court found a privacy clause in the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment, which they used to support their majority opinion. The opinion dismissed the concern that the unborn might also be entitled to some of these rights to privacy, stating that since we are unable to know when life begins, we must not worry ourselves about it. Yet, wouldn’t the more prudent stand be one of preserving life, even the very possibility of life?
Thanks to advancements of modern science and medical technology, there is now, no doubt about when life begins. Whether or not an unborn child has human rights, is another question, which can only be decided by the legislature and the courts.
Abortion is a women’s health issue.
Waiting in the wings, for a Democrat-controlled legislature and presidency, is the “Freedom of Choice Act,” which would overturn any and all state regulations on abortion, such as: parental notification laws, regulation on unsafe abortion clinics, abortions provided by non-physicians, and taxpayer funded abortions for any and all reasons, including sex selection and as a form of birth control. It would also overturn the federal ban on partial birth abortions, which the Supreme Court upheld in 2007.
The high priest of this religious zealotry is Senator Barack Obama, who, on his own website states: “…it's never been more important to protect a woman's right to choose. Last year, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 5-4 to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban, and in doing so undermined an important principle of Roe v. Wade: that we must always protect women's health. With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women's fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election.”
Interestingly, “women’s health,” is a vague term which is batted around as if abortion is somehow a form of preventive medicine, like vaccinations or flossing. Common sense tells us abortion is less about women’s health and more about doing away with inconvenient children.
The declaration of human rights is above our paygrade.
Since the Democratic leadership seems to be spending a great deal of time discussing the abortion issue, let’s examine some of the things they’ve been saying:
Sen. Barack Obama, at the Saddleback Forum, was asked by Pastor Rick Warren: “When does a baby get human rights?” Note, he didn’t ask him, “When do you think life begins?” as has been quoted throughout the media. He asked him, “When does a baby get human rights?” This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask someone running for public office. The protection of human rights should be paramount to the duties of public office. The government is in the business of deciding what rights will be granted to which people.
Instead of answering, “Under Roe v. Wade, a baby gets human rights if that baby is chosen to get rights by its mother; otherwise, it's when the baby is born into an environment where a live birth is desired;” Sen. Obama said, "You know…I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my paygrade."
Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was asked by Tom Brokaw to comment on Sen. Obama’s answer to the above question, but Brokaw misquoted Pastor Warren’s question, saying, “what would you say to Sen. Obama about the question of when life begins?” Her misguided answer drew immediate rebuke from Catholic bishops throughout the United States. There is no question that she misrepresented thousands of years of Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life. Yet she was not held accountable by the media for her wrong answer.
Senator Joe Biden’s comments on abortion are even more puzzling. Jumping into the fray after Obama and Pelosi, Biden was asked on Meet the Press, “When does life begin?” His response was that he knows when it begins for him. “Look, I know when it begins for me; it’s a personally [sic] and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I’m prepared to accept the teachings of my Church.”
Author aside: Joe…Can I call you Joe? I have some more questions for you, Joe: Since when is the question of when life begins a “personally and private issue”? Can the beginning of life be anything other than a scientific fact? Are you saying there are multiple realities? What’s alive for you may not be alive for another? And, if you’re really prepared to accept the teachings of your Church, which says it is a grave sin to assist one in procuring an abortion, including voting for laws enabling abortion, then how can you say you’re “pro-choice”? And if, as you say, “…life begins at conception…” how can a just and free country allow the killing of that life, based on the inconvenience of the child?
While we may disagree on the appropriateness of doing away with inconvenient children, there must be no doubt that abortion is the taking of a human life. Science can and does answer with specificity when life begins. It is our elected officials who must decide when human rights begin.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I'm doing so after the good example of my friend, Anna Scott Graham, who welcomed my family upon our arrival in northern England in June 2000, with a batch of freshly picked strawberries. Now that's neighborly!
The idea is to force yourself to write. Just write and write and write. And maybe, just maybe, out of that glob of 50,000 (or more) words, you'll have something worth reading. Or maybe not. But it sounds like a great way to get the creative juices flowing. And since I've talked about writing a book for years and years and years, but never done something about it, I thought this sounded like a great excuse.
And, particulary noteworthy for homeschoolers, there is a great site for young writer's so they can participate as well.
I've convinced my dh and several of my kinders to take the plunge with me. I'll keep you posted on how we do!
Monday, October 06, 2008
The people that we saw going in and out this afternoon looked to be mostly the workers. They don't look at you. What amazes me is the strength I feel when I pray there. Evil has no hold over the voice of Truth. The evil one knows his days are numbered. The power of the cross will prevail.
Here's an interesting story about what's going on with the 40 Days of Life in other parts of the country. Eduardo Verastegui, the handsome star of the movie Bella joined the prayer vigil in Los Angeles and some of the nurses came out just to meet him!
Saint Bruno, pray for us!
Author's note: After reading my friend, Philospher-Mom's, posting on Answer to Challenge Math Problem for Gestational Genuises , I started thinking about some child-related math questions of my own. This is the result.
Last year, a local family magazine ran an article on large families. They wanted to know funny stories and interesting anecdotes that would make people-who-drive-normal-cars-that-still-hold-their-entire-family laugh. They wanted to know things like: how many loads of laundry we do each week (10-12), how many socks are included in that set (168, plus or minus one, since there's always an odd number), how many gallons of milk we drink each week (5-7, same number of loaves of bread), and how many times we've forgotten kids at various locations throughout the planet (Editor's note: deleted for space).
They were too tasteful to ask more personal questions regarding pregnancy and bodily fluids--after all, it is a family magazine!
But you, gentle readers, are eager to know these intimate details, so I have decided to hold nothing back. So pour yourself a cup of coffee, turn down Oprah, and enjoy the math.
How about the total length of time I've been pregnant? 76 months. This includes 8 full-term pregnancies, 1 miscarriage and 2 adoptions. (Math answer: that's 6 years and 4 months).
How long have I been a nursing mom? A whopping 111 months! (That's more than 9 years...and that includes a 14+ hour military transport flight from Naples, Italy to the U.S. via Germany and Iceland with me in uniform and a newborn infant whose diapers I changed on the in-flight tray table...remember that next time you dine at 30,000 feet!)
How long have I been a homeschooling mom? Over 17 years.
We currently have 3 in college. We will have between 1 and 4 in college every year for the next 16 years (assuming all go to a 4-year college after high school).
We currently have 5 teenagers.
I've driven a 15-passenger van for 13 of my 21 years of marriage.
If you add up my kids' ages, you'll find we have 113 kid-years' experience as parents. (Editor's note: we should be honest and subtract the first 2 years of our youngest 2 children's lives because they didn't come home to live with us until they were 2 years old). O.K. That makes 109 kid-years!
So that should make me some kind of authority on parenting, right? All I know is this: before I had kids, I thought I had time. Now that I have kids, I know I don't have time. Before I had kids I thought I knew what love was. Now that I have kids, I do know what love is. Before I had kids, I thought I had patience. Now I have kids, and I'm just beginning to learn the meaning of patience.
Finally, my top ten rules learned after 109 kid-years of parenting:
1. Keep your sense of humor.
2. If it stinks, wash it.
3. "Because I said so," is a good enough reason.
4. They are cuter when they're asleep.
5. No matter how much we try to deny it, the fact is, we do become our mothers.
6. This, too, shall pass.
7. We need these kids as much as they need us.
8. (Often said 9 months later): "What were we thinking?"
9. Tell God (or your mother) your plans; it'll make them laugh.
10. If all else fails, see #1.
copyright Debbie Nowak 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Have they ever happened to you? I had one of my own last night.
My husband and went to see Les Miserables at the Arvada Center for the Performing Arts last night. It was an impluse purchase...$45 tickets on a weeknight. We took along 13 year-old budding actress, Joan, and her friend, M. (They paid for their own tickets...I figured teenage girls who would pay that kind of money to see a show deserved to go...)
Shortly after arrival, as we were standing in the lobby, me sipping Merlot from a plastic cup, dh sipping Coors from his, I spotted a face in the crowd that struck me as a face from my long-ago childhood. I was not going to let this moment pass. Having let moments like these pass before, I've learned in my mature years to capture the moment. So I purposely left my husband and strode up to the man (whose face I noticed) and his wife.
I asked them if they were Mr. and Mrs. C...they said "yes," and I introduced myself with my maiden name. They remembered me! Their daughter had been my best friend from 1st grade through 4th grade. In 5th grade we moved from Denver to Del Norte, a small town in a remote part of Colorado. Their daughter and I had kept in touch, sporadically. I think I last saw her when I was in high school and the two of us attended Girls' State at the same time.
I had many lovely childhood memories of being at their home. They were the only Catholic family that I knew. Their home was different from mine. First of all, there were twice the number of children...four! Second, the walls had religious pictures on them. I distinctly remember one in the kitchen of a peasant praying before eating his meal. And I remember seeing pictures of their girls in white communion dresses and wondering what that was all about.
Their home was always open and was always a place of love and joy.
I still can't believe I recognized them after 35 years...or that they remembered me! Perhaps my memory isn't as bad as I thought it was...
While I'm on the subject, I have to tell about a couple other God moments I've had.
One was about two years ago, when I was working in the nursery of my kids' school. In walked a tall blonde women who introduced herself as D... She and I chatted for a few minutes about Guatemala, as she noticed my two boys were Guatemalan. She told me she had lived there for over 7 years, working as a nurse in a mobile medical unit. Her husband was the business side of it, she said. They had just moved to Colorado and were homeschooling and using the same option school we were using.
I said goodbye and began driving home. But it suddenly hit me and I turned around, parked and went back into the nursery.
I asked her what her last name was and she told me. I told her that I had met her husband when we were in Guatemala to visit our boys before we adopted them. We had brought with us two suitcases full of shoes and medicines for their medical mission. I had totally forgotten about it when I first met her!
A month or so later, I was on retreat at the Abbey of St. Walburga, for a knitting retreat. It was my first retreat at the new abbey location (they had been located in Boulder before moving to northern Colorado). The retreat leader introduced herself on Friday evening and thus we began our knitting retreat. Her name didn't seem familiar to me at the time. It wasn't until later the next day, when she was talking about being raised in a small town in Colorado, but also moving to Africa, where her dad was a missionary doctor, that I had a clue. I asked her the name of the small town in Colorado. She said "Del Norte," and I realized who she was! Her mother was my Girl Scout leader and I remembered going to her house sometimes for meetings. Her dad had been a doctor in our small town, but had gone back to Africa with his family. The funny thing was that she was not Catholic, (nor was I when I lived in Del Norte). And she had never led a retreat before. Yet, here she was, at a Catholic Benedictine monastery, leading a retreat. And here I was, someone who knew her from her childhood.
Those are God moments to me. I think God gives us these glimpses into the mystical body of Christ...or maybe they're just glimpses into our humanity and how we're linked to one another. I am constantly amazed when this happens.
I'm thinking of more God moments as I write...but they'll have to wait until next time...