Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Rocky Start

Arising early,

Rachel & I jumped into finishing the Gems, Geodes & Cave Drippings tests on kit minerals that Caleb,she & I were doing last night. Fun, fun, fun!
We have amethysts, bornite, calcite, magnetite, mica, pyrite (fool's gold), red jasper, rose quartz, talc (did YOU know that was a rock?) plus a bunch of stuff from our own rock collection box: coal, flint, fossils, and plenty of unidentified but great to speculate about items.

The kids got to examine, streak test (scratch the rock on a white tile to determine it's streak color - nothin' nekked runnin' 'round here except Molly> the dog), determine luster, transparency, tenacity (has nothing to do with stubbornness), weight, determine cleavage (as in break apart > for any teen boys reading) & fracture, a magnetism test, fizz test (no, Jacob, nothing "blew up", sorry to disappoint) and the Mohs hardness test.

Rachel was doing some of this to prepare for a section of American Heritage Girls - an excellent excuse to jump into a quick unit study: We still get to make crystals and play with geodes - small explosions are possible, chemical reactions are a given. Science ROCKS! (pun intended)

By any chance did you notice that both appear freshly shorn? Their favorite hairstylist attacked on Tuesday.

About American Heritage Girls, they are relatively new on the scouting scene. Ours is the fourth troop established in FL. The group is Christian oriented. Their second mtg is tonight, thus the geology mini-cram session.

Here is Rachel displaying the frosting work she learned at the first mtg. You can't see it in person because the only thing she enjoyed more than learning to make the leaves, stems, stars, flowers and trim was getting to eat the cake right after I took this photo. She has some additional assignments in the cake decorating section that I anticipate will be delicious.

Now that you're hungry, here's some political tidbits to help keep you on that diet. You can thank me later.

Aunt Louise e'd this interesting election video put out by Catholics to me. Thanks, Auntie!

and I found an intriguing article from their site:
Palin called “a fatal cancer to the GOP”
by Brian Burch

New York Times columnist David Brooks appearing at an event for The Atlantic magazine had this to say according to a
post at HuffPo:

[Sarah Palin] represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party. When I first started in journalism, I worked at the National Review for Bill Buckley. And Buckley famously said he’d rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty. But he didn’t think those were the only two options. He thought it was important to have people on the conservative side who celebrated ideas, who celebrated learning. And his whole life was based on that, and that was also true for a lot of the other conservatives in the Reagan era. Reagan had an immense faith in the power of ideas. But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I’m afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices. I think President Bush has those prejudices.

Setting aside Brooks’ own prejudices, does he have a point? Does Sarah Palin really represent a movement to “scorn ideas entirely?” Or is it actually the ideas themselves that David Brooks fears?

In case you haven’t noticed, Sarah Palin has become not merely a political target for the media elite, but also a threat. She doesn’t speak their language, or accept the premise that a successful politician must pontificate as if they know every answer to every problem, or articulate her positions in a way that oozes sophistication. She is a plain talker. And therin lies the problem.

Palin’s charm and political attraction subsist in her simplicity, and even, her admirable naivete. Her feigned unawares of the ways of Washington during the veep debate is acutely genuine. Every time she pretends to be a D.C. talker (the Couric interview), she stumbles. But when she abandons the political categories created by the media, she shines.

Brooks’ judgment merely confirms the vast divide between east coast elites and the rest of America. Palin has plenty of ideas, and even more good instincts. After all, its not for lack of ideas that Washington is failing. Witness the hundreds of millions of dollars used to fund “think tanks,” policy outfits and political campaigns. Brooks’ ‘idea’ types abound in Washington, and less than 10% of America approves.

The last thing we need is more politician-professors to tell us how to think. Buckley’s “first 2000 names in the Boston phone book” comment was about the need for common sense judgment in politics, and less calculated political pragmatism. Some might even call it “main street” values.

Then again, the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book? The Alaskan phone book would make me feel much better.

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