Earlier this month there was a news story about a Florida father who found a note composed by his son as a school assignment where the boy wrote that he is willing to give up natural rights in exchange security
. The dad is fuming. On a related note, Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC recently turned heads by declaring that not only do our children belong to the community instead of the parents
, but that citizens can vote “to impinge on individual freedoms in order to advance a common good
." Wait, others get to choose what my children are taught, in the name of what’s good for the collective? That’s what’s happening now, and promising to become worse.
Many of us are upset because of the indoctrination in the schools.
Want to fix it? Here's the first problem: there is no way to avoid "indoctrination"; the word literally means to teach or impress some kind of doctrine or principle
. There's no escaping it when any kind of teaching is the goal.
So, do I indoctrinate my children? You bet! --if
you're looking at the original meaning. Any time you teach something, you 'indoctrinate'. One of my parental responsibilities is to teach: to raise my children
. Because of this, my freedom of religion is also inextricably tied to how and what my children are taught: I'm accountable to God for what I do or don't teach. Nowadays most people only think of the negative connotation of ‘indoctrinate’- which has become the politically correct definition- the kind of teaching that stifles critical thinking
. More than one side sees the other as being guilty of this.
What we're actually upset with, then, is WHO is teaching WHAT to our children. That leads to the main problem- our school system and its curriculum is set up with little to no local input, answerable to officials in varying levels of government. Even more concerning, Common Core makes this issue increase dramatically. One solution to the issue is to homeschool, but that is not an attractive or viable option for many people. In addition, Common Core even stretches its tentacles into homeschooling
through its database tracking system for all children, preschool through age 20, and by rewriting pre-college tests like the ACT.
Here's what would
solve the problem: (1) return to local control of schools- and by this I mean the principal and the teachers
of any one particular school, who will now make their own curriculum choices, including -gasp!- whatever religious instruction is wanted, and answer directly to the children's parents instead of government, and (2) allow parents to have their child attend whichever school they wish to attend; since each school will develop its own flavor of 'indoctrination', the parents can choose what is closest to their own beliefs. Instead, now government arrogantly glosses over parental responsibility and attempts to replace God by making us all accountable to them. The family
is the basic unit of society, with parental rights and responsibilities, and as such, parents should have the ultimate say in how the children are raised and what they are taught. Let the schools be directly accountable to parents and recognize that the parents
will eventually answer to God for how they teach, train, and treat their children. As parents and citizens, please stand up for your rights to keep the federal government of our domain
photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/
Today I read an article detailing Nestle's 'horrific' discovery that children are actually helping harvest the cacao in Ivory Coast
. They pledged to help end the practice, and bewailed the fact that the practice still exists despite industry's discouragement of it. They mentioned in passing that the recent political and economic turmoil (civil war) in Ivory Coast has made it necessary for everyone, including children, to work, and that farmers had to work "excessively long hours". The FLA (Fair Labor Association)'s brainy solution is to end child labor by... ending poverty.
I'm sorry, Nestle and others are misguided.
You cannot end poverty without the people improving their own situation- which can only be done by either consuming less than you earn, or earning more than you consume. Where do the money and goods come from, without lots of individual effort?
I grew up on a farm. I wasn't happy with that fact until the year before I graduated, when I realized how much of a blessing that hard work had been. I also saw my parents work harder than I had. When it was hay-baling time, that hay had to be baled at exactly the right stage or it lost nutrition. On top of that, we had to work around the weather. If it rained, we had to either wait for the hay to dry out, or bale it quickly before the storm hit. My dad worked 16-hour days during the summer to begin with, and that extended up to 24-30 hours straight during baling. We older kids had to be out the door by 6 a.m. the whole summer to move sprinkler pipes: quarter-mile long systems made of forty-foot lengths of aluminum, each needing to be unhooked, carried forward 40 feet through tangles of knee-high alfalfa, hooked back together, and turned on. I drove tractors, planted acres of grain, learned to shoot a rifle (at ground squirrels destroying our irrigating system), tossed heavy hay bales, bottle-fed calves in minus-30-degree weather, slogged through early-spring mud, lost boots and socks to mud holes in fields-- and learned to stop, think, notice, and appreciate better what was around me. The summer of my junior year in high school, I saw that not only had the work helped shape my attitude and outlook, it also gave me a chance to work together with my family, strengthening ties and accomplishing mutual goals.
Too many times our good intentions, forced on others, lead to serious deterioration of a nation. The extent to which our own nation has mandated child labor laws has resulted in a nation of young and middle-aged people with a serious entitlement mentality. They don't understand that progress and prosperity have long, hard work at their core, and believe too often that someone else should provide for them. Take the Occupy Wall Street group, for instance. Or nearly any liberal/progressive.
I wish that my children had the opportunity
to spend long days harvesting cacao pods- or strawberries- or whatever else bureaucrats think is "too hard". It's difficult for me, as a citydweller, to find enough work for them to keep their minds and bodies healthy. They can't get official "jobs" until they're 14 or 16, by which time many of their lifetime habits have already been developed. I've been surprised when my children think it's "too hard" learning to ride a bike, or to learn their math facts, or anything that has delayed gratification. Hard work not only develops muscle and sinew but character and tenacity.
Justice William O. Douglas stated, “Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good from their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation."
Nations go through challenging times, it's required of everyone to work or to stay in spiraling poverty.
Work is not a bad thing. People emerge stronger.
________________________More than 150 years ago, a French economist wrote about the same thing, declaring that only bad economists confine themeselves to the visible effect. Here's an excerpt from Frederic Bastiat's "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen". It's brilliant. You can read the entire excerpt at http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/what-is-seen-and-what-is-not-seen-2/ or the whole essay at http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html
This excerpt is from the first chapter of
Selected Essays on Political Economy, translated by Seymour Cain and edited by George B. de Huszar, published by the Foundation for Economic Education.In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.
There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.
Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.
The same thing, of course, is true of health and morals. Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are its later fruits: for example, debauchery, sloth, prodigality. When a man is impressed by the effect that is seen and has not yet learned to discern the effects that are not seen, he indulges in deplorable habits, not only through natural inclination, but deliberately.
This explains man’s necessarily painful evolution. Ignorance surrounds him at his cradle; therefore, he regulates his acts according to their first consequences, the only ones that, in his infancy, he can see. It is only after a long time that he learns to take account of the others. Two very different masters teach him this lesson: experience and foresight. Experience teaches efficaciously but brutally. It instructs us in all the effects of an act by making us feel them, and we cannot fail to learn eventually, from having been burned ourselves, that fire burns. I should prefer, in so far as possible, to replace this rude teacher with one more gentle: foresight. For that reason I shall investigate the consequences of several economic phenomena, contrasting those that are seen with those that are not seen."
What's an example that you have seen of this principle?
Have you seen pallets lying around your town? Have you wondered what to do with them? This video has rapid-fire ideas; some I've seen, most I hadn't!
Since it's so fast, though, my personal suggestion is to watch it straight through, then watch it again with your cursor on the 'pause' button.
(If you like the tune, it's "Popcorn" by Gershon Kingsley; my favorite version is with the Swedish Chef from The Muppets
. But I digress...)
Do you know the difference between baking soda and baking powder?
How long have they been around?
Baking soda, sodium bicarbonate
is an alkaline powder; when it is mixed with acidic ingredients, the two react and form carbon dioxide bubbles. The bubbles lift and lighten batter as it bakes; baking must be done right away, before the bubbles dissipate and you lose its leavening power. Common acidic ingredients include vinegar, buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, cream of tartar, brown sugar, and honey. Baking soda also helps foods brown better, since moderate alkalinity, along with heat, is a catalyst for the Maillard Reaction
(the reason, other than caramelization, that cooked foods turn brown).Baking powder
is a combination of alkaline, acid (cream of tartar), and starch. You don't need to use acidic ingredients in recipes using just baking powder, since the balance is already there. Most baking powders are made with two different alkaline powders- one that reacts right away (baking soda), and one that reacts only with heat. This way you can save some of that leavening power for when the food is actually IN the oven. The starch is there to help absorb moisture so the powders don't react in the can and to help the powder stay free-flowing.
To use baking soda instead of baking powder, use 1/3 the amount, and make sure there's something acidic in the batter. For instance, if your recipe calls for 1 Tbsp (which is 3 tsp.) baking powder, you can use 1 tsp. baking soda, and use buttermilk- or sour milk- instead of regular milk. Or mix in 1 tsp. cream of tartar. Or use brown sugar instead of white.
This works in reverse, too: if your biscuit recipe calls for buttermilk and you only have plain milk, use it but switch that 1 tsp. baking soda for 1 Tbsp. baking powder (or whatever it calls for, keeping that 1:3 ratio).
As far as I can find, baking powder wasn't invented until the 1800's, but leavening powders have been around at least for centuries. Some of the earlier ones include:Baker's Ammonia
(ammonium carbonate, "hartshorn"; NOT cleaning ammonia!- which is poisonous)- made from powdered reindeer horn. (Seriously.) This one actually has characteristics more of baking powder, substitutes 1:1 for it, and makes cookies especially crisp and light.Potash or pearl ash
(potassium carbonate, an alkaline salt)- made by adding water to the ashes of 'vegetables' or weeds, steeping overnight, then evaporating all the water by boiling. The fine 'ash' left is used as baking soda. There's a fascinating article on the process in the 1802 "Domestic Encyclopedia
"Saleratus, or soda ash
(sodium carbonate, an alkaline salt)- also known as washing soda... sometimes used also in the boiling water step of making bagels, as it helps them brown better (Maillard reaction!!!). An interesting bit of chemistry with this one is that when you heat sodium bicarbonate
(baking soda) by itself above about 160 F, you end up with sodium carbonate
(washing soda), with byproducts of carbon dioxide and water (which dissipate into the air). 2NaHCO3
(sodium bicarbonate) → Na2CO3(sodium carbonate)+ H2O
(It works fastest at 400 F.)
Baking soda's first large-scale appearance was in 1846, when a factory was built to make this new product, created by doing the opposite of the formula above- dissolving sodium carbonate in water, then pumping in carbon dioxide. (There's a more efficient method now.)
Can you believe we've had this useful leavener less than 200 years, and baking powder less than 150? Boy, are we spoiled in the kitchen nowadays...Read more:
My vivacious 86-year-old grandmother bottles pineapple on a regular basis- has since before I was born- since she lives near a plentiful source. She is one of those people who knows how to make anything
out of anything
and waste precious little to none of it. As she ate some of my fresh pineapple salad
earlier this week, she related how she'd been teaching my cousin to bottle fruit. I was intrigued with what she told me about using the peel and cores. Growing up, we kids used to always chew up the cores, which are admittedly tough and less flavorful, but we could only handle a few before the acids started hurting our mouths. See the slideshow above to learn what she does with them.
Once you've cut the pineapple into wedges, free of cores and peels, it's ready to cut into whatever size you want. You can then bottle it, freeze it, or use it right away. Like all cut fruit, it has a relatively short refrigerator life.