Friday, September 22, 2006

Family Vacations

Well, wish me luck--I am going on a weekend retreat to the mountains with my immediate family for the first time in over 30 years (the last vacation I took with my whole family was at the age of ten when we traveled less than an hour to a camp ground). My father later told me he had contemplated suicide with his five kids in the back of our old station wagon fighting the whole way. I, however, remember the vacation as really exciting and fun--but I was looking at it through the eyes of a kid. I have since gone on several nice vacations with individual family members which have always been a pleasure--but this time, the majority of my family will be there, except for my wonderful father who died four years ago and a brother who lives too far away. I look forward to a chance to get away and re-connect with my siblings and mother in a relaxed setting away from the problems of life for a while. Life is so complex these days with family responsibilites, work, family illness, problems etc. but it is in the moments of quiet with friends and family that life really happens. It is best to savor them while we can.

Update: Well, the vacation was a big success--everyone had a wonderful time and got along beautifully. The one downside was that the cabin we rented was totally made of wood, with no runners, meaning that the floors and stairs were very slippery--I had warned my mother, who is in her sixties to be careful about falling, but of course, I was the one who took a tumble. I fell down a flight of stairs (after trying to catch a cup of coffee I had stupidly dropped), bruised my tailbone and a toe, along with my ego, but it could have been worse. Other than that, it was great.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Too Much Homework?

Is homework for kids a good thing? I have never thought so--now a new book, The Case Against Homework, says that there is no link between homework and achievement for elementary students:

For elementary-school students, Cooper found that "the average correlation between time spent on homework and achievement … hovered around zero." In Kohn's book, he highlights a 1998 study that Cooper and his colleagues did with second- through 12th-graders. For younger students, the amount of homework completed had no effect on test scores and bore a negative relationship to grades. (The results weren't quite so grim for older students. Their grades rose in relation to the amount of homework they completed, though their test scores did not.) Kohn looks at these findings and concludes that most homework is at best a waste of time and at worst a source of tedious vexation.

All I know is, last year in elementary school, my kid and her friends were miserable and cranky, with hours of homework every night that seemed senseless. (The picture is her homework from one day last year -- the backpack is full, and weighed 19 pounds. PLUS the stack of books next to it.) Now, in middle school, homework ranges between zero to fifteen minutes a night--all very manageable. I have seen the kids in her middle school blossom into happier, more cheerful beings who have time for other interests. Is less homework the reason? It sure seems like it to me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Podcast with Jim Geraghty

geraghtycov.jpgToday, we talk with National Review Online blogger Jim Geraghty about his new book, Voting to Kill: How 9/11 Launched the Era of Republican Leaders. He discusses whether 9/11 will make a lasting difference in American politics, what the Democrats can do to win back "security moms" and other national security voters and whether Hillary Clinton can save the Democratic Party.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here or for no download waiting time--click here and click on the grey flash player. For those with dial-up access, you can click here. If you would like to visit our archives of previous shows, go to

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Carnival of the Insanities

The Carnival of the Insanities is up over at Dr. Sanity's blog.

We Thought We Were the Movers and Shakers, So How Come Everyone is Laughing at Us?

Well, forget the tits, it's all just really about the blog lunch that backfired. The lefty bloggers thought they hit the big time lunching with former President Clinton but all that happened is that the blogosphere was reminded of Clinton's prior groping behavior and inappropriate conduct. Maybe if some on the left would stop being so reactionary, people might start listening to them again. But they can't seem to help themselves. By piling all over Ann Althouse they made sure that everyone was reminded of Bill Clinton's checkered past, and of the lefty blogosphere's worship of (Democratic) power over principles.

Update: The reason this woman will not be going back to Feministing:

The part I don't understand is this: Who did Jessica think she was aligning herself with when she decided to be a part of this picture? If she truly believes that a woman deserves to be seen as more than a collection of sexually-appealing body parts, then why would she choose to associate herself with Clinton of all people? It just doesn't make sense. Then today when I visited her website I see this post: Anti-feminist hypocrisy.

Now, can someone please explain to me how Jessica could have a post on her site talking about how a woman posed nude in some photographs and still have some justifiable complaint about people discussing her breasts? Am I the only one who noticed that the link on that post is to another post entitled "Somebody Slap this Slut"?

Given all of this, I see her gripe regarding a discussion about her breasts to be quite hypocritical. If Ann's post was as "un-feminist" as Jessica seems to think, then what should we think of what's on her website? How can someone with a blog featuring a discussion about how a woman's nude photos showed her "open wide" really have room to complain about this post? I'd love to hear some of those who are so offended by Ann's post show how that's logical.

As for the idea that Clinton should have felt honored to be in the room with these bloggers, all I can say is this: I think that all of these people deserved each other because I figure every politician needs sheeple who support him and Peter Daou went out and found Clinton a group of bloggers who were willing to sell out progressive causes in order have the opportunity to take that photo.

I gave up on feministing months ago when the writing on the wall came in the form of Jessica

1. deciding to allow her readers to repeatedly make racist comments to a blogger that she had interviewed


2. leaving this interview (along with the despicable comments) on her site despite the interviewee's request for feministing to remove the post since she no longer wanted to be associated with what they were willing to allow there. That means I have a little more time to explore other blogs. I know one thing for sure. I'd definitely prefer to check out Althouse regularly before I'd ever go back to visiting Feministing when I'm on the look out for logical arguments but hey, that's just me. What do I know, I'm just another inconsequential black chic whose probably just envious because I can't be just like these clowns, right?

Apparently, this is not the first time that the Feministing blog has had problems with hypocrisy. It probably won't be the last.