Posts Tagged parenting

Facts, Not Fear: H1N1 Edition

I have to put this out there. The paranoia and fear surrounding the H1N1 flu vaccines is not only completely misplaced, but potentially very dangerous. This is just off the top of my head, make sure you check out the resources that are available out there.

This vaccine HAS been tested on millions of people now. It is based on the same principles and technology of the seasonal flu vaccine. All they are doing is changing which strain of virus is targeted. The shot contains inactivated (i.e. NOT live) virus. Serious adverse affects are extremely rare and, to date, there have been no fatalities associated with the vaccine.

For those who say that H1N1 is no worse than seasonal flu, take note: this flu IS worse than the seasonal flu because it is novel and is not following the typical patterns of the seasonal flu. Check out the wildly different pattern H1N1 is taking. In addition, when there are serious cases of it, they are affecting a different population, namely young healthy people, rather than the infants and elderly, as the seasonal flu does.

From the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

Currently the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (sometimes called “swine flu”) seems to be causing serious health outcomes for:

  • healthy young people from birth through age 24;
  • pregnant women;
  • and adults 25 to 64 who have underlying medical conditions.

Let’s get facts out there rather than fear, people. There is a veritable scientific army of dedicated people out there doing their damndest to keep us safe and healthy and it’s a smack in their faces to assert that they are trying to “poison us” or bilk us for money. Personally, I am extremely grateful that we have such scientists and doctors . I will be getting both the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccine and will make sure my kids do too.

Here are some straight forward, science-based resources to answer any questions:

http://cdc.gov/h1n1flu/
http://cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/public/vaccination_qa_pub.htmhttp://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/10/cries_the_antivaccinationist_why_are_we_1.php#more

There are a ton more resources out there. Be smart, get the facts and do the responsible thing.

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You stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!

Sometimes I just have to wonder if some people have any fucking brains at all. Via ajc.com:

You damn kids get off my lawn!

"You damn kids get off my lawn!" - Fucktard who likes slapping babies

Sonya Mathews, the mother of the 2-year-old child, told police that both were walking in the aisles of the Rockbridge Road store when Roger Stephens, 61, approached and said “if you don’t shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you,” according to a police report.

A few moments later, in another aisle, Stephens grabbed the 2-year-old and slapped her across the face four or five times, according to the report.

Stephens then told Mathews, “See, I told you I would shut her up,” according to the report.

I call myself a pacifist, but if that son of a bitch had done that to my kid I would have beaten the everliving shit out of him. Not so peaceful, I know, but there is a primal urge to defend one’s offspring and damn if that situation doesn’t seem like a good time to give in to it. Slapped her four or five times? And then bragged about it to the mother?!? Fucker is lucky he’s not in the hospital with the woman’s shoe rammed so far up his ass that he’d need to use shoe polish to brush his teeth.

If you want even more stomach-churning ignorant fucktardery on parenting, check out the comments here.

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I love kids!

Their minds are amazing. The simplicity of their logic sometimes gets right to the crux of the matter. Watching them grow and learn is such a thrill.

I met my wife and kids at the bookstore the other day. We were switching cars so that I could take the young’uns home and she could go out. After a few minutes of perusing such literary classics as Fancy Nancy and The Boxcar Children, the two rugrats and I went outside with the kids while my wife checked out with the armful of books they had selected.

The bookstore had some nice benches right outside the front entrance. My daughter eschewed the bench for the pleasures of sitting on the ground (“See dese ants? They are my babies! I yuv dem!”). My son sat with me on the bench and proceeded to chat. He’s a big fan of chatting.

“I know you don’t believe in god,” he said.

We’ve always told him that various people believe different things. He knows that the ancient greeks (among others) had a number of different gods. He liked the story about the sun being pulled through the sky by a god in a chariot. Especially since he knows that the sun is ginormous ball of plasma out in space. And we’ve explained the Jesus thing to some degree; christmas and easter kinda needed that part so that he wasn’t thoroughly lost when visiting my mother. But we never had much talk about “god” in general.

A while back he mentioned god and it occurred to me to ask what he thought god was. “He’s just this guy who invented nature,” was the reply. Not bad for someone with limited exposure to religious types. We left it there.

He’s been curious about this lately. And since his favorite past time is listening to the conversations of my wife and I, he’s starting to pick up on things that we used to talk over his head about. So he wanted to know about hell. “Some people believe…” we began as we usually do, “that if you don’t believe in their god you go to a place called hell where you are tortured for all eternity.” “That doesn’t sound very nice,” he phlegmatically replied. And he left it alone.

He heard the term atheist and wanted to know what that was. “It’s someone who doesn’t believe in gods,” I told him. “Are you an atheist?” he wanted to know. “Yes,” I replied. And he left it alone.

I’ve been reluctant to follow up with him on this subject. He is an extremely inquisitive kid, so I figured that if he wanted to know more he would ask. I didn’t want to indoctrinate him by preaching my set of beliefs (or lack thereof) any more than I wanted my mother to indoctrinate him with stories of Jesus. I hadn’t come up with any sort of official “talk” to have with him about religion, though my wife and I have discussed how we want to handle it.

“I know you don’t believe in god,” he would occasionally say out of the blue to me. “That’s right,” I would reply, always expecting the usual follow-up question from him: why? But he never went there. I suspect that he was pondering it, as much as a 6 year old can ponder anything, given their attention spans.

So this time, when he told me that he knew I didn’t believe in god, I wasn’t really expecting the conversation to go anywhere. “Why don’t you believe in him?” came the next question. Without missing a beat, and much to my own surprise, I replied, “Because there is no evidence for a god. No one has seen it or found any evidence that one exists.” He responded, “Oh, kinda like Santa Claus. No one sees him, either.”

Oh shit, now I had stepped in it. It’s one thing to have an existential discussion about a deity, but Santa? My wife was gonna kill me. She loves Santa. She’s quite aware that we provide “Santa’s” presents. She’s been up with me at 3 am on christmas morning still wrapping gifts. But she still believes. She loves the magic and the thrill of it, the spirit of Santa. It’s woo, but it’s fun. I don’t buy the crap about how when the “lie” of Santa is revealed it destroys children. I wasn’t devastated when I figured out that Santa had the same handwriting as my dad. For us, it’s about an attitude of giving and knowing doesn’t make it any less rewarding. All that being said, we weren’t going to keep the charade going until he went away to college. The expectation was that as he got older he would begin to figure it out. We wouldn’t lie if he flat-out asked if we were Santa.

Fortunately, I was able to steer the conversation back to the safer topic of god. As we drove home, he asked a few more questions about my lack of belief. I explained that I thought that the natural world was already such an amazing place that I didn’t feel that we needed to invoke the supernatural to appreciate it. I started talking about the wonder of the universe, of it’s origins in the Big Bang, of the evolution of life and how it led to us.

After a few minutes of listening, he said, “You know what? I’m with you. I don’t believe in god either.” This wasn’t quite what I had expected. “You know,” I said, “you don’t need to make up your mind right this second about this. I’m not trying to convince you or tell you to believe a certain way.” “I know,” he replied, “I just agree with you. God doesn’t make sense.” I went on to continue to assure him that he didn’t have to make a decision right now and that he would have plenty of opportunities throughout his life to evaluate the evidence and ask questions and make up his mind.

So for now, the Turkey doesn’t believe in god.

Update: Edited for grammar so my wife quits making fun of me 🙂

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Out on the town

The kids have a sitter and the Goddess and I are heading out for an evening of fun and frolic. Probably not too much frolic, I’m not really a frollicer. Is that how you spell it? (UPDATE: The Goddess says I’m supposed to add a ‘k’ and make it ‘frollicker’) We’ve got tickets for the midnight showing of the new Harry Potter flick so we’re leaving early and making a whole night of it. Dinner at The Melting Pot (mmmmm, fondue), hanging out with friends, a movie; an actual date! I’ll be live blogging the event… wait, I’m being informed that I will NOT be live blogging. That’s right, I’ll be tweeting… what, no tweeting either? Oh. Apparently the powers that be (i.e. The Goddess) have determined that the iPhone will be spending the night deep in a pocket. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll have a good time anyway.

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Weekend of Adventure

The Goddess has taken off for New York. She’s having a weekend in the big city with her sister. I’m here with the lizardlings till Sunday night. So far we’ve played dollies, built with Legos, watched Mario Bros. cartoons and now MK is making me wooden food from her play kitchen. I certainly won’t be bored this weekend.

I sometimes have a hard time balancing my attention between the two little ones. MK demands a great deal of attention and interaction. She’s a very communicative almost-3 year old. When the Turkey was that age our only focus was on him, so it’s difficult to think about how much individual attention he got versus what MK gets. Turkey also requires a lot of attention, but he’s 6 so he is much more able to entertain himself. His imagination is tremendous and the bulk of his play is dressing up and pretending to be various characters. He loves to make costumes. Right now, there’s a storm trooper tumbling through the living room, complete with paper helmet and a white t-shirt with storm trooper armor drawn on.

One thing that I’m extremely proud of with regard to our parenting is that we actually play with them. My parents never played with my Star Wars figures with me, or built Legos. We participate completely in their play; we dress up, play action figures and create fantasy worlds to explore together. Don’t get me wrong, my parents didn’t neglect me. We read constantly and discussed the world around us at great lengths. My curious questions were met with, “let’s go look it up in the encyclopedia”. I would wrassle with my dad and we went to the go-carts almost every Friday night. But actual play was left for me to do by myself.

Now I’ve got to go and play with the lizardlings. MK is boogie-ing to the new Depeche Mode album. I think it’s time for dance party!

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The single greatest threat to home education

Oh, boy, here we go. Get ready for a long one. Once again the stupid has reared its ugly head in the homeschooling community. A “concerned” parent posted a letter to a homeschooling list from the Home Education Foundation (HEF) that reads, in part:

If the Democrats take the US Senate and the White House, one of the first things they will most likely do is to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. President Clinton, actually signed it, but did not take it to the Senate because the Democrats did not have the majority at that time needed to pass it. However, if during the upcoming election, the Democratic party takes control of both the US Senate and the White House, it will most likely pass. Some news reporters are saying that Republicans may not win enough seats in the US Senate to even filibuster.

Good lord! The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child? We can’t give those little crumb snatchers rights!

This is the greatest single threat to home education we have ever faced in this country. The teacher’s unions pour millions of dollars into Democratic campaigns and as you know the Unions do not like home schooling. In fact, their platform usually has a plank opposing home education or requiring parents to be certified teachers. I have never used fear to motivate people and I am not doing it now. I am just reporting the facts.

Go to www.hslda.org, type in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and read until you are convinced this is a serious threat. If you are not sure that HSLDA is reporting the truth, go to http://www.un.org/children/conflict/keydocuments/english/theconventionont6.html and read the actual document. I did that about 14 years ago. It is very disconcerting. This treaty would strip parents of their rights and give them to the child. Ask the question who will decide what is in the best interest of the child?

Riiiight, not using fear. Suuuuure. So, of course, I have to go have a look. I’m a masochist that way. Let’s start with the basics. The HSLDA, or Home School Legal Defense Association, is ” a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.” So far, so good. How about some details. According to their FAQ:

4. Is HSLDA a Christian organization?

Yes; however, HSLDA’s mission is to protect the freedom of all homeschoolers. Although our officers and directors are Christians, HSLDA membership is not limited to religiously based homeschoolers. We respect parents’ rights to make the appropriate choices for the upbringing of their children. We have no agenda to make all public and home-based classrooms religious or conservative. Our primary objective is to preserve the fundamental right of parents to choose home education, free of over-zealous government officials and intrusive laws. We do put on a national conference annually and invite the board members of state organizations with whom we have worked for many years. Most, if not all, of those organizations have Christian leaders, but many serve all homeschoolers regardless of religious affiliation, as we do.

Hmmm. A couple of entries down the all-inclusive facade begins to crack:

6. What is HSLDA’s relationship to Patrick Henry College (PHC)?

HSLDA’s board of directors founded PHC as a college that emphasizes the apprenticeship model of education and will positively impact our culture.

Patrick Henry College opened its doors on September 1, 2000 to prepare and develop leaders who will fight for the principles of liberty and our home school freedoms through careers of public service and cultural influence. The College’s distinctives include a deliberate outreach to home schooled students; practical apprenticeship methodology; financial independence; a general education core based on the classical liberal arts; a dedication to mentoring and discipling Christian students; and a community life that promotes virtue, leadership, and strong, life-long commitments to God, family and society.

The College’s board of trustees is completely separate and distinct from HSLDA’s board of directors and the College operates independently of HSLDA. Michael Farris is chancellor of the College, and is General Counsel of HSLDA directing litigation and federal legislative efforts.

Although Patrick Henry College and HSLDA are separate and distinct organizations, our board’s purpose for founding the College remains the same and HSLDA continues to support Patrick Henry College financially and structurally. Specifically, HSLDA donates use of facility space and a portion of revenue earned from interest income to the College. This support is based upon our belief that it is not enough to rely solely on the defense of homeschooling in the courts and in the legislatures in order to maintain our freedom to homeschool and control the upbringing of our children in the future. We must be proactive in providing virtuous leaders in government and other key spheres of influence in order to preserve our freedoms.
[emphasis mine]

I’ve touched on the subject of Patrick Henry College previously, when the president was on The Colbert Report. Basically I said, “This school is apparently primarily a place for religious homeschoolers to send their kids to college after preventing their children from actually learning anything factual about the nature of the world around them.”

But don’t take it from me. Here it is from the horse’s ass mouth:

8. Why does HSLDA support efforts to constitutionally define marriage as between a man and a woman?

The following answer is an excerpt from a letter written by HSLDA Chairman of the Board and General Counsel Mike Farris:

. . . We are a Christian organization (see answer to question number 4 above). This colors our way of thinking about many things. Fundamentally, it is reflected in what we believe is truth.

All truth is God’s truth. Man’s knowledge is limited. We think we know something only to find that future generations have found that we really didn’t know what we are talking about.

The truth is that God created the family. It is God’s view of the family that is reflected in our western civilization and in our law until very recently. If we tear down this God-based view of the family, then all of the God-based principles in our society are ultimately at risk.

The masturbation over the sky-daddy continues for a while. Here’s the crux of the matter:

It is impossible to say that the God of the Bible would sanction rights of homosexual marriage. Thus, there is no such right in a God-based theory of rights. Any man-made theory of rights is no theory at all. … HSLDA is not willing to move into an era of human privileges. We believe this would jeopardize our liberty to teach our children at home and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Blessings,

Michael Farris

Soooo, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights; they don’t mean squat, right? Because they’re man-made rights? Or are you cool with them because they allow you the freedoms to spout your totalitarian, theocratic, dominionist bullshit?

So now we’ve seen a little bit about where this group is coming from.

The letter concludes:

Whoever wins the White House could detemine whether we continue to
enjoy the freedom to home educate our children or not.
The following is taken off the HSLDA website. Please read this and
consider the consequences before you vote in this election.

Thank you,
Brenda Dickinson
Oppose the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Oppose the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?!? Who would want to oppose something like that? Those UN bastards must be trying to sneak all kinds of nastiness in there, hoping the title of the convention would distract us. Let’s see what HSLDA has to say about this horrible abomination:

After years of debate within the international community, child’s rights activists reached an agreement in 1988 which created a comprehensive charter advancing the agenda of the children’s “liberation” movement. What the child’s rights advocates have for over two decades been unable to accomplish through the normal legislative process, may now be realized in one sweeping blow.

If ratified by the U.S. Senate, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child would undermine families by granting to children a list of radical “rights” which would be primarily enforced against the parents. These new “fundamental” rights would include “the right to privacy,” “the right to freedom of thought and association,” and the right to “freedom of expression.” Such presumptions subvert the authority of parents to exercise important responsibilities toward their children. Under the UN Convention, parental responsibility
exists only in so far as parents are willing to further the independent choices of the child.

OMG! How dare they suggest that children are deserving of such disgusting rights as “the right to privacy,” “the right to freedom of thought and association,” and the right to “freedom of expression.” What subversion! The fabric of society will be ripped apart if we treat children as humans!

Although several of the treaty’s provisions offer generally positive, nonoffensive platitudes, a substantial portion of this charter undermines parental rights. Some of the more relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child are summarized below.

Severe Limitations Placed on the Parents’ Right to Train Their Children

Because children are no better than dogs and need to be trained rather than taught.

Under Article 13, any attempts to prevent their children from interacting with material parents deem unacceptable is forbidden. Children are vested with a ” freedom of expression” right, which is virtually absolute. No allowance is made for parental guidance. Section 1 declares a child’s right to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.”

I’m beginning to see why they object to such “radical” notions. I mean, who wants their little brats darlings to express themselves? Or to “seek, receive and impart information”? Next thing you know, they’ll be demanding that we let kids think. Oh, the horrors!

In Article 14, children are guaranteed ” freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” Children have a legal right to object to all religious training. Alternatively, children may assert their right
against parental objection to participate in the occult.

Whoops, there it is, disguised as “freedom of thought”. Those tricky devils, trying to force us to let our kids think. Is there no end to their subversive tactics? Apparently not:

The Convention Would Entrench the Right of Teenagers to Abort Their Babies

Oh, noes, the liberals are coming for our fetuses!

Under Article 16, the “right to privacy” is ranted to children. This UN sanctioned “privacy” would seemingly establish as the child’s right to obtain an abortion without parental notice, the right to purchase and use contraceptives, and the right to pornography in the home.

God forbid we let them use contraceptives and prevent the situation in which abortion becomes an option. (My reserves are sarcasm are running low. I don’t think I can keep this up much longer. OK, just one more section.)

Mandatory Outcome Based Education

The American Bar Association’s 1990 publication Children’s Rights in America: U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Compared to U.S. Law states that Article 29 will force public and private schools in America to adopt “federally prescribed curriculum content.” Each child
must be prepared to be a responsible citizen by having “the spirit of understanding, peace, toleration, equity of sexes, and friendship [for] all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups of indigenous origin.” All children must be taught the principles of the treaty. This is OBE mandated curriculum of the worst sort.

I don’t know what OBE is, but, dammit, we can’t let them force us to give our children “the spirit of understanding, peace, toleration, equity of sexes, and friendship[for] all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups of indigenous origin.” They might become friends with teh blacks. Or teh A-rabs. Or worse, they might consort with *shudder* atheists.
[/sarcasm]

My bullshit barrier has overloaded. This is one of the most twisted interpretations of a document since the christian fundamentalists co-opted the bible for their own purposes. I would heartily recommend that you all read the original UN document. It sounds like a pretty damn good idea to me. “This is the greatest single threat to home education we have ever faced in this country” my ass. I’d say the single greatest threat is religious wingnuts like you ruining it for the rest of us. But then, I’m just a fetus-eating, devil worshiping, “spread-the-wealth” democrat communist. What do I know.

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I was really hoping we were past this

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I was aware of racism, but it seemed to me to be a much more hidden, insidious thing than what I heard about from the past. Apparently, it’s much more in the forefront than I had realized, and runs deeper too. When I read articles like these, I am in shock:

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Neo-Nazi Republican Delegates in Michigan

I had actually thought that our British friends were a little more advanced on this subject, but then I read Man shot three times by racist gunman – for wearing Barack Obama T-shirt

I know, I’m naive. I truly don’t know what the best approach is. My 6 year old son doesn’t know the term “black” or “white” when describing people. When he asked me why his friends had such dark skin, I showed him my sickly-pale white arm and compared it to his mother’s olive-skinned Greek beauty. I compared those to his own tanned skin and explained that everyone was different and that different melanin levels caused different skin color. That’s how I always thought about it.

He’s going to have to understand the dynamics of race as he gets older, but for now I just don’t want him to have to deal with such hatred. I want to delay the end of innocence. The lament of all parents, I imagine.

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