Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama

This is very powerful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Memories of Marxist Professors

Barack Obama shrugs off charges of socialism, but noted in his own memoir that he carefully chose Marxist professors as friends in college.
-Fox News

This sure brings me back to the old days. All these years since I attended UCLA, whenever anybody mentioned Liberal Professors, I nodded knowingly. I, too, had Marxist professors in college.

It was just before I graduated that I found myself taking an elective class in Sociology at UCLA in 1987. I didn't know what to expect. I mean, what exactly *is* Sociology? OK, so I'd go in with an open mind. When I was presented with a TON of Marxist material, I was taken aback. HUH? What is going on here? Did we not win the Cold War? Yikes! Did I complete the class? Yes. Did I complain, raise my hand, or otherwise try to argue with the professors? No. I knew I had stumbled into a bastion of American Marxism, and I walked quickly in the other direction. America has freedom of thought and freedom of speech, so they had a right to their opinions. But I didn't need to be a part of it.

My father explained communism to me when I was very young. I remember his explanation. He told me communism is where you own a cow. And the government comes and takes it away. Definitely not the American way, I thought. I have thanked my lucky stars every day of my life that I was born in America. When we own a cow, we get to keep it. I love this country. I love our freedoms. I love the American Dream, where anybody can come from anywhere and through hard work and perseverance they can make a good life for themselves. My parents and grandparents did it. My husband's father came to America as a teenager, fresh from wartime Shanghai, after having escaped the holocaust. While his teenage older brother worked and put food on the table, he went to school and became an electrical engineer. No parents to help them. Nobody but themselves. He met a nice lady, married and had 5 children who all grew up to marry and are raising families successfully. No welfare.

I remember when my friend from college, N, told me that her buddy from Harvard Law School, Barack Obama, was running for President of the United States in the Democrat Primary. Would I like to volunteer? Or donate money? Or attend a fundraiser? I told her I was a Republican. Also, I felt I didn't know much about Barack Obama. I would be careful to listen and learn more. I mean, you never know.

And now I hear he was the type of person in college who *sought out* Marxist professors? Sorry. But that is the exact opposite of me. But wasn't that a long time ago, you ask. Yes. But look at what Barack Obama's views are right now, Today. He wants to "spread the wealth". Those are his words. When he was asked in greater detail if he would still go ahead with that tax plan if increasing taxes of small business hurt the economy such that there would be LESS wealth to "spread around", would he still go through with it? He said yes, in the interest of "fairness". So it is not about enriching the poor at all. It is about punishing the achievers in society. This is the opposite of the America I was raised to love.

I hope you will look very closely at the candidate you wish to vote for. I know we need a change from these last 8 years. But this kind of change takes away from our children. It gives them a country with less hope, not more.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Redistributive Change

Welcome to the Socialist Republic of America.

Does everybody understand that the "change you can believe in" is a shortened slogan from Barack Obama's old mantra of "Redistributive Change"? Make sure you know who you are voting for. Here is a recording of an interview where he speaks clearly about his views about the redistribution of wealth. He said that the courts cannot do enough, so it needs to be done legislatively. His discussion is not about whether it is right to redistribute wealth or not, but how it is best to go about it.
"Redistributive Change" in Barack Obama's own words
Once scary part is where he says that the Warren Court wasn't radical enough. That they failed to break free from the Constitutional constraints of the Founding Fathers. And that the Constitution is a "charter of negative liberties". How can he take the oath of office if he doesn't support the Constitution?

Saturday Night Live

I think SNL has *way* too much influence in politics. It has been grating on me these last couple of months, let me tell you. Now, finally, there has been a fun change of topic. Did you see the political skits last Saturday night? There was one with Senator Joe Biden and Rep John Murtha "where they attempted to blow the election for Senator Obama", and another one with Senator Barack Obama and Michele Obama
purchasing 30 minutes of network air time. Hilarious!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Political Cartoon

This cartoon is telling.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Who knows how the election will go?

I certainly don't.

But I will be following the IBD Tipp Poll now, instead of the other polls, because it turned out to be the most accurate poll in the 2004 election.

Yesterday, October 23rd, it had Obama with a 1.1 percentage point lead over McCain. Today, October 24th, Obama has a 3.5 point lead. However things turn out, I want all my friends to know that there are no hard feelings.

Besides, whoever doesn't win will be able to shake their finger in a few years and say, "I told ya so!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Good IEP Meeting Today

I was, of course, properly dressed for the meeting. I had Miss I take a piccy of Baby A and myself before I changed to regular clothes after the meeting. It is tough making it to a meeting at 7:20am, but the good news is that afterward, you have the rest of the day to relax.

The great thing is that I got everything I wanted for my son yet again. And he has been doing better on the program this year. He is starting to be less anxious and depressed. He is smiling and joking more at school. He does much less homework this year. He is continuing with jujitsu, which he still LOVES. At school, he will continue on the schedule of 90 minutes per day in the Resource Specialist Program (small group tutoring for Math and Writing), 30 minutes per week counseling with the school psychologist, 30 minutes per week with the Speech and Language teacher working on socialization in a small group. And a short course of 45-minute sessions with an occupational therapist working on fine motor for handwriting and far-point copying skills.

After I sat down in the meeting room, the first person in was the lady from the district. My eyes opened wide and I thanked her profusely for taking the time to come to the school for my meeting. She said she saw it on the schedule and wanted to see how things were going. She is the one who made everything happen last June after I sent the letter complaining about the bullying. With her interest, everyone at the school sat up and took notice. And here she was again today, not only coming to the meeting but acting as scribe for the meeting minutes. There is still work to do, but he is making noticeable progress. And even the computer teacher told me last week that R was "coming out of his shell" this year and seemed different/better. So I concluded the meeting by thanking everyone again and again for all that they are doing for my son. I want to reward them for doing the right thing. His well being is SO important to me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Windy Sukkot

I don't know if you remember last year how I posted a picture of the boys hanging fruit in the Sukkah outside of our house? We build this booth every year as part of a Jewish Festival called Sukkot. We eat in the Sukkah for 8 days and nights. The problem this year is that we experienced strong Santa Ana winds the first day, and the newly assembled Sukkah was pretty much destroyed. This is what I found in the morning.

This hearkens more than usual to the time when the Hebrews were wandering in the desert for 40 years and lived in fragile booths.

I decided I needed some comfort food.

There was a surprising incident. Our ice maker suddenly and inexplicably started making ice again. Here you see ice-maker ice sitting on top of a bed of store-purchased ice.

Things got better and we had a wonderful week dining alfresco.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yard Sign Vandalism

I noticed some problems with the yard signs this past week. On Sunday it got Bad.

In California, there is a proposition, Prop 8, which, if passed would be a constitutional amendment stating that marriage is between one man and one woman. A proposition to this effect was passed here a few years ago, but it was reversed recently by the state Supreme Court, on the grounds that it is not constitutional. A constitutional amendment is by definition "constitutional" so the court will not be able to reverse it if it passes. My town is pretty conservative, so there were several Yes on Prop 8 signs popping up. I had not seen any for No on Prop 8 until around Thursday. I saw one on the main corner near my house where all the other candidates put their signs on the city landscaping area. About an hour later I drove by the same corner and the the No on Prop 8 sign was missing. Now all the Prop 8 signs are missing from the main streets. There are no signs at all on the main streets of my city that refer to Prop 8, with one exception shown below.

On Friday I saw that a neighbor of mine put up a No on Prop 8 sign. Then on Sunday I saw that the sign was torn and re-taped together with a message taped to the sign. As if somebody had torn it up. Disturbing.

So Sunday afternoon I was driving back home and saw someone who appeared to be installing a large Yes on Prop 8 sign by the main boulevard intersection in town. I looked over because the sign was shaking and I thought, hey, that guy must be putting the sign post into the ground. Then I saw him reach around and tear off the front part of the sign, which was a yellow vinyl banner, and he took off running with the yellow banner bunched under his arm toward a black Audi getaway car. I thought, wait a minute! He's not putting up a sign, he's STEALING the sign! Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another man tearing up a small No on Prop 8 sign from the same group of signs. I got angry and pulled into the deserted parking lot that the car was speeding through to see if I could get a look at the license plate. There was a slow-moving car in front of me that prevented me from getting too close. I guess it wasn't meant to be. Besides, there were no good plates. The car had dealer plates, and I couldn't read them. I called the police later to report what I saw, and they said, was the car black? I said yes. They said they were already investigating it. On Monday I drove by and snapped this cell phone picture out of the car window. What you can't see in this picture is that the ply wood has a rim of yellow vinyl on it, with grommets still attached.

So let me tell you. California may not be a "battleground" state in the presidential race, but the Gay Marriage issue is huge and very emotional on both sides. I'm saddened by this and a little bit frightened. I witnessed 2 sign vandalisms occurring at the same time by opposing sides. It would not take much for these confrontations to turn violent. I sure hope nobody gets hurt.

All is calm in my yard. Just to be safe, though, we put a guard baby out front.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Memories of Socialism

I remember that the family I stayed with in Sweden was griping A LOT about their tax system. They told me that the government encouraged a certain style of living. If they had porcelain tiles in their bath/shower, instead of the rubberized wallpaper they had, they would be taxed. If they had a wrought iron decoration on the outside of their house, they would be taxed. They were particularly sad about Bjorn Borg. He had been unable to come home to Sweden because he was overly successful. This had happened prior to my visit. These lessons helped to congeal in me a fear and loathing of anything that smacks of socialism. I found a blog post that addresses this:

Globalization has been an ally of taxpayers. Because it is increasingly easy for jobs and capital to cross borders, politicians are being forced to eliminate or reduce taxes that penalize productive behavior.

The latest example comes from Sweden, which is now eliminating its tax on wealth:

Maybe the next Bjorn Borg won’t feel compelled to move to Monaco now that Sweden plans to scrap a decades-old “wealth” tax that imposes levies on assets — not just on income. …The move, expected to be approved by parliament later this year, underscores the country’s efforts to keep successful Swedes and their capital at home by changing its fabled but costly welfare state.

“It’s not sustainable to keep taxes that radically diverge from other countries,” Finance Minister Anders Borg, who is not related to the tennis great, told The Associated Press on Thursday. “Not if you want the money to stay in the country.”

Sweden is not alone. The article notes that other nations have been forced to eliminate this punitive levy on capital:

Several European countries have dropped taxes on wealth in the last decade, including Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland.

Switzerland and Monaco seem to be the favored destinations of Sweden’s tax exiles. At least the new government recognizes the damage caused by punitive tax rates. The wealth tax is being abolished in an effort to lure talented entrepreneur and capital back to Sweden:

[T]he wealthiest Swedes have fled the country, including IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, No. 4 on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s richest people. He lives in Switzerland. Five-time Wimbledon winner Bjorn Borg moved to tax-haven Monaco in the late 1970s. The principality is also home to many Swedish sports stars such as Alpine skier Anja Paerson, high-jumper Kajsa Bergqvist and triple jumper Christian Olsson.

The government says more than 500 billion kronor, the equivalent of almost C$83 billion of Swedish capital, is outside of the country’s borders. “This is money that, if it was brought home, could be invested to create jobs and welfare in Sweden,” the country’s coalition leaders said in a joint statement this week.

Stefan Persson, the main owner of fashion retailer H&M, threatened to leave the country in the 1990s because of the wealth tax. The Social Democratic government at the time changed the law, giving him an exemption.

…Borg, the finance minister…added it was necessary for Sweden to remain competitive in an increasingly globalized economy. “It’s a step on the way back toward making Sweden an entrepreneurial society,” he said.

posted by Daniel J. Mitchell on 03.31.07 @ 1:42 pm

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Back Story

I realized that my overseas readers might not fully understand the "Joe the Plumber" issue that came up this past week. Joe the Plumber is a man who met Senator Barack Obama on the campaign trail and asked him if he really intends to raise taxes on those making over $250,000 per year. This would be a problem for Joe, because he intends, through his own hard work, to purchase the plumbing business he has worked for. Here is the clip of the original meeting. Original campaign trail question by Joe the Plumber to Barack Obama

The issue became a center point to the subsequent presidential debate. Here is a portion of the debate. Presidential Debate re: Joe the Plumber

Sadly, the Loony Left launched a smear campaign against this citizen. They dug up his divorce papers, tax records and birth certificate. Anything they could find to try to discredit him. What they don't understand is that Joe is not running for office. It really doesn't matter what the facts are surrounding his life. What matters is that Barack Obama plans to raise taxes during a recession. He plans to raise taxes on small business. Small business provides 90% of American jobs. So if you think that this tax plan is a way to "stick it" to the "rich people", understand that regular people will lose jobs because of it. Understand that we will be telling our children that they should work hard and try for a better life, but G-d help them if they make more than $250,000 per year. Then they will be punished.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stealing Joe's American Dream

The "Joe the Plumber" portion of last night's debate really spoke to me. I have strong feelings about socialism. I saw how destructive socialism was when I spent a summer in Sweden in 1980 as a foreign exchange student. I spoke personally with the children there, particularly the high school students. As an American, I was filled with high aspirations for my future. At the time, I wanted to become a doctor. I had the hope that if I worked hard and applied myself, that I could make a better life for myself and my family. This is the American Dream. The students in Sweden had no hopes for their future. They told me in no uncertain terms that they intended to slide through life and they did not intend to do anything great. Why work hard like that, they said, when the government would come in and take it all away? If you work hard in Sweden, they take all your money, and you end up supporting 4 other families in addition to your own, and the drunk down the street has a nice apartment, paid for by you.

Senator Barack Obama's plan to increase taxes on those making over $250,000 per year will hurt me here, now, where I live. My husband is a doctor, and I stay at home to raise our children. He employs about 10 people directly. Increased taxes will hurt a lot. We live in Southern California, and it is very expensive to live here. We are not rich. But we pay our mortgage every month. And we pay a lot in taxes already, and we employ people who pay taxes and contribute to the economy. Doctors are in a hard spot, when you think about it. My husband didn't start making money until ten years ago, when he was around 35 years old. And as a surgeon, he will not be able to continue his work into his old age. So his earning years are limited. He did everything right. He did what we teach our children they should do. He went to school, tried hard, learned, went on to higher education, tried hard, and succeeded. Is it right to punch him in the teeth for that? Is it right to take from the small businesses and "spread the wealth"? Doing that makes all the honest, hard working people regret their efforts. And it teaches the children that hard work and honest effort does not pay off. It makes you a target.

This is not right. Please help to preserve the American Dream for ourselves and for our children. Vote for John McCain.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Yummy birthday

My oldest boy is now an adult. 18. He wanted to go out to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, so that is what we did. Too bad DD is out of town, she really would have enjoyed it. It was my first time there. Super yummy food. A tad expensive, but I would have spent as much on a bouncer for a young child's party, so we might as well enjoy a more grown-up party now, right? He has a new cell phone, some new type similar to an I-phone. We spent the whole time playing around with it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My trip pics, Missouri

I wish I had more pictures from our numerous family gatherings. I did more cam-corder taping than still pictures. Perhaps I will be able to capture pics off the tapes. Or I might get some by email later.

I found these round farms intriguing. I always thought farm land was more square or rectangular. Crop circles, anyone?

Cool anvil-shaped thunderhead. Just like the textbooks.

My first view of the St. Louis Arch. Uh oh. Try to stay in the lane.

And here I was driving in the dark clinging to the information on the Garmin navigation system to know that I wasn't lost.

Our first lunch outing as a group. Fun and full tummies.

Who knew picking cotton could be so much fun!

I wasn't sure if this picture would turn out. Pretty good for driving at full highway speeds, eh?

Mommy's cuddle bear.

Snow over the Rockies already.

I think this is the Grand Canyon.

A happy little traveler.

And here is a view of downtown Los Angeles right before we touched down.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

family relations, family revelations

The trip was fabulous. Better than my wildest dreams. I can't believe it. I have a large family. I'm in shock. My DH always had the family on his side. When we got married, tons of people came from his side, and a few stragglers trickled in from my side. My parents and siblings from up north. Nobody from the midwest. And now, suddenly, I have an aunt I never got to know, 4 WONDERFUL cousins, and 12 awesome, well-behaved nieces and nephews. I had SO much fun visiting them. I can't WAIT to go back. I am having a hard time putting into words why it was so great. I think it is because they are so Real. Kind. Curious. Down-home. Loyal. Sweet. Dutiful. I don't know. These paltry words don't do them justice. Anyway, suffice it to say that they really made me feel part of the family. They asked me about everything. And they cared. They wanted to know what happened and when and to whom, and they celebrated my victories and suffered my pain. And vice versa. And they are staunch conservatives. YES!

Additionally, Aunt M is feeling much better. And she got good news at the doctor visit the prior weekend. If things go well with her, she may yet have 2 to 5 more years, since her cancer is very slow-growing. This is great news and perked everybody up. She is eating and gaining strength every day. She went out to meals with us, and even drove to the grocery store by herself once to pick up mums.

There was one bombshell for me personally. Aunt M told me that I have a great great grandfather who was Jewish. HUH? REALLY? COOL! He is my father's mother's grandfather on her father's side. He was a German Jew and converted to Catholicism. I was raised Catholic. I asked my Dad yesterday why he never told me. He says he never knew. So I guess my grandmother did more chit-chatting with her daughter than with her son, which makes sense.

I took a lot of pictures. And I took pictures of this cool photo album with pictures from 1900 through 1960. I need to load them up and crop them and see about the quality. I'll share some when I can.

I'm still walking on air since this weekend's trip. Burning with a happiness so profound and deep that even political debates can't extinguish.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More Cell Phone Pictures

These kids know how to have fun.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm outta here!

No really. I am. I'm programming this to post when I am already on my way to Missouri to visit relatives from my Dad's side of the family. I'll get to meet Aunt M, who I don't really remember, in person, probably for the last time, as she has terminal cancer. I'm hoping that seeing baby A will help to cheer her up, if at all possible. And I will get to meet my 4 cousins, all about my age, give or take 7 years. And their 12 kids, mostly girls, between them. (Don't you just LOVE commas?)

I'm bringing a box of ear plugs to share with my seatmates on the airplane. I imagine that Baby A will be doing his high-pitched shriek, because now he is mobile, and he won't understand why he will not be allowed to motor around the cabin. And the fact that he now has 7 teefies. That eighth one has to be in there somewhere, and I'm sure it will be moving and causing discomfort.

I'm also going to do my most intelligent packing, as we need to try to fit both our stuff into one small carry-on suitcase if we are to avoid checked bag fees and extra waiting at the airport. Not to mention the lost-bag risk. Then after I get there, I will rent a car and drive another 2.5 hours to the destination.

My feelings are so mixed. I'm ecstatic to meet my long-lost relatives. They have been so kind and upbeat on the phone. I feel so happily anticipated, and a little nervous to meet so many new people at once. I mean, to them there will be just me to deal with. But I will be alone in a sea of virtual strangers. But I think I'm up to the task. I am really a shy person in my core, but I have spent my whole life practicing and pretending not to be shy and this will be one of the payoffs for all that effort. I should be able to do pretty well socializing despite my inner discomfort.

And then there is Aunt M. I'm so sad that she is ill. I had just been ratcheting up my contact with her this summer. Remember the family movies I made DVDs of? I sent her a copy. It was weird how it happened. I was watching the movies and there was a couple that I didn't recognize. And they had a little baby. I kept trying to figure out if the baby was one of my older brothers, and who the people were. Then it occurred to me that it was Aunt M. and her husband. As I watched the movies the thought suddenly occurred to me how precious the footage would be to her. And I KNEW that nobody had sent it to her, although most of the footage was filmed by her father before he died. But my dad, her brother, was the family "techie", so he received the film and camera stuff. This upset my sense of justice. And I was angry with myself. I mean, I knew of the films since I was a child. We used to watch the films in the 70's in the garage (where it was dark). When I was a kid, I never questioned who the people were on the film that I didn't recognize. After all, aren't there always random relatives running around who you don't know when you are a kid? So I sent her the DVD without delay, but didn't hear back from her after she received it. Looking back, that must have been the time that she was diagnosed with cancer. So that makes sense that she was preoccupied and didn't write back. Then when I talked to my cousin a few weeks ago to arrange this trip, I asked her if she knew I had sent the DVD to her mom. She said, "Yes, I WATCHED it! It was GREAT!" Isn't that cool? They all got to see footage of the grandparents and their parents in their youth after all these years. And of the eldest child as a baby.

So sadly, right when I'm in the middle of trying to cultivate a closer relationship with Aunt M, THIS happens. :-( And from what I hear, she is REALLY upset about it. I mean, who wouldn't be. The course of her cancer means that she will have to have numerous operations to correct blockages to her colon, until she finally succumbs, probably to one of the operations. She is in her mid 70s.

So I'll update you after this weekend. Wish me luck on the plane and with the relatives. I imagine I will be surrounded by sweet women and children and enveloped in southern hospitality. Oh, and I will not abandon my blog. I have scheduled another post after this one to appear during the weekend. He he. Gotta love the new technology of post-dated blogging.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

When will it be December?

I'm missing my daughter. I went through the back-up procedure for my cell phone and saw some pictures of her last visit here before she left in August. Here are some pictures of her saying goodbye to the boys, and drinking Water at a restaurant. We love our late-night forays for dessert, just the 2 of us after the little ones are in bed. That is the best time for warm brownies covered in ice cream and hot fudge/caramel. December can't come too soon for me.