31 May 2009

Sunday Scripture

For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
-Doctrine & Covenants 76:5

27 May 2009

Trying Math Mountains

My Mom, a kindergarten teacher, swears by Math Mountains. She's been telling me all about the good things they do, and I've been listening. So I made some felt parts this afternoon & we tried it out. If you look closely, there is a 6 on top of our green mountain. I may re-do the numbers because they're hard to see. But Monkey liked it, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he did with it. One of these days I'm going to stop underestimating him! Now I need to talk to Mom some more about fun things to do with this fun new game. (Up there at the top is Mary and Baby Jesus, who were observing the process because it was important to Monkey that they be there. How sweet!)

Don't Bug Me

24 May 2009

Browsing Tutorials

Make your own cake - and cupcake - stands with thrifted vases and plates.

Turn a cute but too small skirt into an adorable apron.

A cute knitted hat that I like better in these colors.

This one's not a tutorial, it's an invitation for folks to make an apron for the sew-along she does every so often. It looks like fun. I may have to try it out.

23 May 2009

Bags: Complete



I am making another with larger squares; these are cut at 2 inches. The new bag's squares will be 3 inches, and done in blues & purples with a tan bottom. Got the fabric picked out and cut and I'm all ready to go, but I decided that if I do the sewing when I'm this tired I'll make dumb mistakes that I'll just have to unpick later. So I'm blogging about it instead. Good thing I have a spell checker. I'm really tired tonight.

Oh. I used Pink Penguin's Fabric Basket tutorial. It's a nice one. And it makes pretty bags. Plus, she links to a truly wonderful box corner tutorial.

Wisdom of God; Foolishness of Man

More from Les Miserables:


There are men who dig for gold; [Monseigneur Bienvenu] dug for compassion. Poverty was his goldmine; and the universality of suffering a reason for the universality of charity. 'Love one another.' To him everything was contained in those words, his whole doctrine, and he asked no more. The senator to whom we have referred, the gentleman who thought himself a philosopher, once said to him, 'You see what the world is like, every man at war with every other, and victory to the strongest. Your "love one another" is pure folly.' - 'Well, if it is folly,' said Monseigneur without disputing the matter, 'then the soul must enclose itself within it like the pearl in the oyster.' Which is what he did.

Les Miserables, Book One: An Upright Man (Page 69)

22 May 2009

Success

I've been reading Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, and I loved this bit about success:


It may be remarked in passing that success is an ugly thing. Men are deceived by its false resemblances to merit. To the crowd, success wears almost the features of true mastery, and the greatest dupe of this counterfeit is History. Juvenal and Tacitus alone mistrust it. In these days of almost official philosophy has come to dwell in the house of Success, wear its livery, receive callers in its ante-chamber. Success in principle and for its own sake. Prosperity presupposes ability. Win a lottery-prize and you are a clever man. Winners are adulated. To be born with a caul is everything; luck is what matters. Be fortunate and you will be thought great. With a handful of exceptions which constitute the glory of a century, the popular esteem is singularly short-sighted. Gilt is as good as gold. No harm in being a chance arrival provided you arrive. The populace is an aged Narcissus which worships itself and applauds the commonplace. The tremendous qualities of a Moses, an Aeschylus, a Dante, a Michelangelo or a Napoleon are readily ascribed by the multitudes to any man, in any sphere, who has got what he set out t get - the notary who becomes a deputy, the hack playwright who produces a mock-Corneille, the eunuch who acquires a harem, the journeyman-general who by accident wins the decisive battle of an epoch. The profiteer who supplies the army of the Sambre-et-Meuse with boot-soles of cardboard and earns himself an income of four hundred thousand a year; the huckster who espouses usery and brings her to bed of seven or eight millions; the preacher who becomes a bishop by loudly braying; the bailiff of a great estate who so enriches himself that on retirement he is made Minister of Finance - all this is what men call genius, just as they call a painted face beauty and a richly attired majesty. They confound the brilliance of the firmament with the star-shaped footprints of the duck in the mud.

Les Miserables, Book One: An Upright Man (Page 64)

Open Letter



After viewing this video, I sent the following letter to Mr. Graham, the Senator from South Carolina.



Mr. Graham,

I apologize for using your constituent's form; I was unaware of any other way to contact you. I felt that this message was important enough to send, although I am not a constituent in your district.

After viewing your remarks on YouTube, I thought it was important to write you and let you know that men like you are the reason that I identify with the Constitution Party, rather than the Republican Party. Men who pay lip service to ideals that the Republican Party used to stand for are of no use to me, and the Republican Party is now so full of them that it is largely indistinguishable from the Democratic Party.

You say you are a Regan man. Regan said, “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” Yet you specifically reject libertarian principle.

I hear a lot about Republicans needing to solidify their base and firm up their voting foundation. But as long as politicians are more worried about winning than they are worried about principle I don't believe it will happen. I believe that unless the Republican Party makes deep and meaningful changes they will ultimately be replaced, as they replaced the Whigs.

Men like you will decide the fate of the Republican Party. Will you make choices that bring voters like me back to the party? Or will you (and others like you) continue as you have been and drive true conservatives into the Libertarian and Constitution Parties, to seek our representation through other, more principled men?

Sincerely,
[me]

21 May 2009

Ron Paul on the State of the Nation

Could it all be a bad dream, or a nightmare? Is it my imagination, or have we lost our minds? It's surreal; it's just not believable. A grand absurdity; a great deception, a delusion of momentous proportions; based on preposterous notions; and on ideas whose time should never have come; simplicity grossly distorted and complicated; insanity passed off as logic; grandiose schemes built on falsehoods with the morality of Ponzi and Madoff; evil described as virtue; ignorance pawned off as wisdom; destruction and impoverishment in the name of humanitarianism; violence, the tool of change; preventive wars used as the road to peace; tolerance delivered by government guns; reactionary views in the guise of progress; an empire replacing the Republic; slavery sold as liberty;

We have broken from reality--a psychotic Nation. Ignorance with a pretense of knowledge replacing wisdom. Money does not grow on trees, nor does prosperity come from a government printing press or escalating deficits.

We're now in the midst of unlimited spending of the people's money, exorbitant taxation, deficits of trillions of dollars--spent on a failed welfare/warfare state; an epidemic of cronyism; unlimited supplies of paper money equated with wealth.

A central bank that deliberately destroys the value of the currency in secrecy, without restraint, without nary a whimper. Yet, cheered on by the pseudo-capitalists of Wall Street, the military industrial complex, and Detroit.

We police our world empire with troops on 700 bases and in 130 countries around the world. A dangerous war now spreads throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. Thousands of innocent people being killed, as we become known as the torturers of the 21st century.

We assume that by keeping the already-known torture pictures from the public's eye, we will be remembered only as a generous and good people. If our enemies want to attack us only because we are free and rich, proof of torture would be irrelevant.

The sad part of all this is that we have forgotten what made America great, good, and prosperous. We need to quickly refresh our memories and once again reinvigorate our love, understanding, and confidence in liberty. The status quo cannot be maintained, considering the current conditions. Violence and lost liberty will result without some revolutionary thinking.

We must escape from the madness of crowds now gathering. The good news is the reversal is achievable through peaceful and intellectual means and, fortunately, the number of those who care are growing exponentially.

Of course, it could all be a bad dream, a nightmare, and that I'm seriously mistaken, overreacting, and that my worries are unfounded. I hope so. But just in case, we ought to prepare ourselves for revolutionary changes in the not-too-distant future.



My source.

20 May 2009

Monkey Hug

Daddy: Can I have a hug, Monkey?

Monkey: Yes. (Plays with chair.)

Daddy: Can I have a hug, Monkey?

Monkey: Sure. (Still no hug.)

Daddy: Can I have a hug, Monkey?

Monkey: Under the table. (Climbs under the table.)

Daddy: Well, OK Monkey, I'll go fill up my water cup then. Good to see you.

Monkey: (Cries.) I want hug! Under the table.

Daddy: (Goes back to Monkey & kneels down.) {{Hug}}

What We're Up To


Monkey tried out the chop sticks when we had raman noodles. I was pretty impressed with how he did!



This is chives from our garden. Our first harvest of the year!



These are bags that I'm making. They are works-in-progress, still needing handles & linings & such. Jessica, you should let me know which you like better.

16 May 2009

Adding My Snowflake

... in hopes of an avalanche.

Ron Paul introduced HR. 1207: the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, in order to get a decent audit done on the Fed. You can read a summary of the bill, or try the full text. It's still more or less plain English and reasonably short. If you're the petition signing sort, you could try the petition that Campaign for Liberty - Ron Paul's organization - has set up. Even if you don't sign, they've got a pretty good plain English explanation of what it is and why it's needed.

There are 165 cosponsors this evening. Is your Representative one of them? Have you written to thank them or encourage them to become a cosponsor?

The next step for this bill to become law is that Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, needs to schedule it for debate and a roll call vote. You can write her and ask her to schedule it. Or there's always that petition, though I prefer to write her myself.

What say you? Are you going to write? Why or why not?

Ron Paul on Current Fiscal Policy

"There was a lot of expression of the outcry about this spending and the deficits we have and the deficits exploding and the Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid underfunded, and we are in the midst of a crisis. But it doesn't seem to bother anybody about spending. But the truth is, the Treasury is bare. The Treasury is empty. And yet we continue to spend all this money. ...

What about the financial calamity that is coming? I'm afraid this is the way this will end, through another financial crisis much bigger than the one we currently have, because you can't create $2 trillion of new money every year and expect this system to continue.

The Soviet system collapsed because they couldn't afford it. Their economic system was a total failure. We did not have to fight the Soviets. Even though they were a nuclear power, they collapsed and disintegrated. And that is what we have to be concerned about, because we cannot continue to finance this system and pursue a policy which endangers us."

Read more...

14 May 2009

Nature Study: In the Garden

It is finally both warm and dry enough to get out into the garden, so that's where we went today for our nature study. Weeds don't seem to be terribly bothered by cold and wet weather, so we had a good crop of them to pull out of the garden. Monkey thought it was pretty interesting when I pointed out that there is more plant under the ground, so I gave him one of the weeds that had come out with a lot of root attached and he looked it over.





I learned last year that there needs to be enough tools to go around, or else we have problems, so this year we already had enough to share between us. Monkey was very industrious about raking and troweling the ground. He planted some sugar snap peas for me. I'm not sure that he would have, had he realized that once the seeds were in we'd have to stop digging there in order to give the "baby plants" a chance to grow! But there's still quite a bit of the garden that isn't planted yet, so he survived it. I may have to leave a spot that is just for digging so that he can still "help" me without killing the plants once we have the whole thing finished.



We saw a number of creepy-crawlys. I made a point of showing him the worms when I found them. I was a bit surprised because at first he looked repulsed, and he never would touch them, though he did say that including them in his Nature Book was a good idea, so we took a picture. It must not have been so bad because he told Daddy about them this evening, and then in his prayers said, "Thank you for worms." Munchkins are so wonderful!

Charlotte Mason on Habit


'Habit is ten natures.' If that be true, strong as nature is, habit is not only as strong, but tenfold as strong. Here, then, have we a stronger than he, able to overcome this strong man armed.

But habit runs on the lines of nature: the cowardly child habitually lies that he may escape blame; the loving child has a hundred endearing habits; the good-natured child has a habit of giving; the selfish child, a habit of keeping. Habit, working thus according to nature, is simply nature in action, growing strong by exercise. ...

But habit, to be the lever to lift the child, must work contrary to nature, or at any rate, independently of her. (Vol. 1 pg 105)


Or, in other words, things get easier with practice. Virtues, vices, skills; it all gets easier with practice. The more you practice the piano, the easier it gets. The more you practice kindness and gentleness, the easier it gets. On the other hand, the same is true of practicing sloth, idleness, and cruelty.



[I]t rests with parents and teachers to lay down lines of habit on which the life of the child may run henceforth with little jolting or miscarriage, and may advance in the right direction with the minimum of effort. (Vol. 1, pg 107)


As the Good Book says, "Train up a child..."



[W]e are brought face to face with the fact that, whatever seed of thought or feeling you implant in a child––whether through inheritance or by early training––grows, completes itself, and begets after its kind, even as does a corporeal organism. (Vol. 1, pg 108)


Now that is an interesting thought! It seems to me that this is very similar to what Alma was saying when he talked about experimenting on the Word, and planting the seed of faith in our hearts. Charlotte has simply applied the principle to education rather than faith.


And here we have the reason why children should learn dancing, riding, swimming, calisthenics, every form of activity which requires a training of the muscles, at an early age: the fact being, that muscles and joints have not merely to conform themselves to new uses, but to grow to a modified pattern; and this growth and adaptation take place with the greatest facility in early youth. Of course, the man whose muscles have kept the habit of adaptation picks up new games, new muscular exercises, without very great labour. But teach a ploughman to write, and you see the enormous physical difficulty which unaccustomed muscles have in growing to any new sort of effort. Here we see how important it is to keep watch over the habits of enunciation, carriage of the head, and so on, which the child is forming hour by hour. The poke, the stoop, the indistinct utterance, is not a mere trick to be left off at pleasure 'when he is older and knows better,' but is all the time growing into him becoming a part of himself, because it is registered in the very substance of his spinal cord. The part of his nervous system where consciousness resides (the brain) has long ago given a standing order, and such are the complications of the administration, that to recall the order would mean the absolute re-making of the parts concerned. And to correct bad habits of speaking, for instance, it will not be enough for the child to intend to speak plainly and to try to speak plainly; he will not be able, to do so habitually until some degree of new growth has taken place in the organs of voice whilst he is making efforts to form the new habit. (Vol. 1, pg 113-114)


This seems to be yet another reason to get the little ones outside: much more movement and activity happens outside, which will strengthen the growing body in all sorts of different ways that cannot be achieved inside playing quietly. I must get Monkey outside more. Charlotte makes her point about physical activity, but she then uses that point to illustrate the same principle working in mental activity:


What we are less prepared to admit is, that habits which do not appear to be in any sense physical––a flippant habit, a truthful habit, an orderly habit––should also make their mark upon a physical tissue, and that it is to this physical effect the enormous strength of habit is probably due. (Vol. 1, pg 114)


I suppose that today we'd say these things in terms of building new neural paths and that sort of jargon, but the idea is the same no matter what words you use to clothe it. Activities and thoughts repeated become easier and more perfectly executed with practice. And using this principle in our own lives and our children's lives allows us to achieve considerable growth.

13 May 2009

Blog Hopping

I've been having a look at the Charlotte Mason blog carnival this evening, and there are some interesting things in this issue.

Jessica, at Established Work, has some really interesting ideas on how to teach spelling. It sounds like it ought to work, though it'll be a while before I can test it out. Has anyone else tried this sort of spelling work?

Barb has some great thoughts on high school. I should fighure out a way to freeze them so I can read them again in about 10 years.

It's totally a detour, because she's not doing the CM Carnival, but I loved these thoughts on imagination.

12 May 2009

Random Bit of Politics

The Scope of Obama's Spending Defies Words:


Republicans are facing that obstacle as they try to explain the dimensions of Obama’s spending plan. The GOP pollster told me he tries to explain it by asking people to think of a dollar as a second — one dollar, one brief tick of your watch. A million seconds, the pollster explained, equals eleven days. A billion seconds equals 31 years. And a trillion seconds equals 310 centuries.

The task of educating voters got a little more urgent Monday, when the government announced the not-terribly-surprising news that federal tax revenues will be smaller this year than previously thought. After a review of the Obama budget’s numbers before formal submission to Congress, Budget Director Peter Orszag said this year’s deficit will be $1.841 trillion — $89 billion more than previously estimated. If you’re listening to the ticks of your watch, that’s about 570 centuries.



He says he still wants to spend more on health care, in fact, he's quoted later in the article: "I’ve said repeatedly that getting health care costs under control is essential to reducing budget deficits, restoring fiscal discipline, and putting our economy on a path towards sustainable growth and shared prosperity.” I'd like to know how ANY of his plans are fiscally responsible?? It's lunacy to go into that much debt! And it just doesn't matter what it is that you think you are buying! Debt is not our friend!


Here's an interesting photo essay about how we treat our flag. I knew that Americans don't, in general, take care of the flag the way we ought to. It was really apparent at Niagara Falls last summer, when the Canadian side's American Flags looked better than the American side's. I was shamed to discover that it was the same thing in Michigan, after we drove across Canada before coming home to the US. But I had no idea how much of America's use of the flag is flat out illegal.



The Headmistress is still kindly monitoring the FLDS situation in Texas. Or, rather, what she is monitoring is the outrageous actions taken by the Texas state government against the FLDS. I've worked with kids who were removed by CPS. Those kids were removed for compelling, heartrending reasons. My aunt, who is a good woman, works with CPS in Utah. I know there is a place for CPS, a need to protect children from those who hurt them. But reading the Headmistress over the past several years has opened my eyes to all sorts of problems with the way it's being done there in Texas, and it makes me worry about the sorts of powers that are given to CPS and the sorts of people that sometimes get that power, get the bit in their teeth, and get out of control. The Headmistress wrote about the problems CPS has with the Constitution a while ago. Here's another of her criticisms of CPS: they practice legalized kidnapping. She also takes aim at the practice of accepting anonymous tips from the public as the basis of CPS actions. Makes some good points. Mind you, while this is a blog, she's citing her sources all the way through, and they're either regular media outlets or official documents released to the public or other similarly reputable sources. The Headmistress isn't just making this up. And it's chilling stuff.

Dogs vs. Cats

Read their diaries. Laugh very hard.

Library Trip




We grabbed the bike & trailer today and headed to the library for our weekly trip. Monkey was very patient with me: we went to the hold shelf first, and then to the upstairs adult non-fiction section to grab the book I didn't have on hold, and then we finally made it to the "kid's part." He did look at some books, but I didn't have my camera out at that point, so I can't show you how cute he is when he looks through the books in their carpeted train cars. Maybe next time.

09 May 2009

That's My Boy!

Monkey took his Aunt Kate to the children's museum so that Daddy & I could go to the temple. We had a great time, and so did they.

03 May 2009

Things to Do Outside

One of the hardest things about going outside is figuring out what to do. So I'm making a list. If I miss something, add it in the comments please?

Outside Stuff

*Go on a walk
*Ride a bike
*Gardening
*Push Monkey in the swing
*Pick flowers
*Fly a kite
*Shoot some hoops
*Nature Walk
*Play catch
*Go camping
*Play sports
*Running
*Take pictures
*Stargaze
*Moongaze
*Birdwatching
*Cloud watching
*Swimming
*Hiking
*Rollerblading
*Lawn care
*Playdates at the park
*Reading
*Canoe/kayak
*Sketching

01 May 2009

The Role of Government Examined Powers of a Proper Government

Previous Installments:
The Proper Role of Government, by Ezra Taft Benson
-- read the full text.
My commentary as I study his article:
Part I (Foundational Principles, Origin of Rights)
Part II (Separation of Church and State)
Part III (Source of Governmental Power)
Part IV (Powers of a Proper Government)
Part V (Government = Force)
Part VI (The US Constitution)
Part VII (Local Government)
Part VIII (Legalized Plunder)


Picking up where I left off last time:


THE PROPER FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT
This means, then, that the proper function of government is limited only to those spheres of activity within which the individual citizen has the right to act. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute the wealth or force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by man. No man possesses such power to delegate. The creature cannot exceed the creator.

In general terms, therefore, the proper role of government includes such defensive activities, as maintaining national military and local police forces for protection against loss of life, loss of property, and loss of liberty at the hands of either foreign despots or domestic criminals.



I really like this. Particularly the first paragraph. I like how he's said it in so few words, I like the clarity of the idea, I like the freedom that it encompasses. Government as a defense against these few things. Not a nanny, not an all-powerful protector/enforcer. Not a benevolent "uncle" passing out favors to the deserving, but a mechanism for the common defense. In addition, this statement, particularly when coupled with the example of the horse he gave earlier (discussed in Part III), also make a clear and easy litmus test. Could I, personally, do it to my neighbor? If I cannot, in good conscience, compel my neighbor to do something, I have no business asking my Congressmen to compel them. I cannot delegate power I don't have! No matter how noble the cause, if it fails this test it does not fall into the "proper roll of government." Every single one of the welfare programs, social security programs, even educational programs, fail this test. Many of the things the government does are well-meaning things that, should the government step aside, would need to be taken up by private citizens, businesses, and charities. Saying the government's involvement is wrong is not the same as saying that the programs have no merit and should not be replaced with some private endeavor! However. We have, over time, allowed our government to become far more than it ever should have been and it's not just. It's not good for those who are forced to give, and it's not good for those who feel entitled to the handouts either.


THE POWERS OF A PROPER GOVERNMENT
It also includes those powers necessarily incidental to the protective functions such as:

(1) The maintenance of courts where those charged with crimes may be tried and where disputes between citizens may be impartially settled.

(2) The establishment of a monetary system and a standard of weights and measures so that courts may render money judgments, taxing authorities may levy taxes, and citizens may have a uniform standard to use in their business dealings.

My attitude toward government is succinctly expressed by the following provision taken from the Alabama Constitution:

“That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.” (Art. 1, Sec. 35)



I think that Alabama was onto something when they included that in their state constitution! It is plain to me that the majority of the government programs currently available are "usurpation and oppression," though many of them have what I would agree are good and worthy goals. But is it really right to send my neighbor to jail for refusal to participate in a collection to provide health care to needy children or any number of other worthy causes? And what if that neighbor happens to have an child in need of medical attention themselves? Is it just to insist that rather than taking care of their own, they must still contribute "their share" to the general fund for nameless children? Is it really even a charitable contribution? It makes me think of what Brother Oaks said at our last conference:


The worldly aspiration of our day is to get something for nothing. The ancient evil of greed shows its face in the assertion of entitlement: I am entitled to this or that because of who I am—a son or a daughter, a citizen, a victim, or a member of some other group. Entitlement is generally selfish. It demands much, and it gives little or nothing. Its very concept causes us to seek to elevate ourselves above those around us. This separates us from the divine, evenhanded standard of reward that when anyone obtains any blessing from God, it is by obedience to the law on which that blessing is predicated (see D&C 130:21).


Entitlements, as they are called, take up a huge portion of the federal budget. Nobody wants to talk about cutting entitlements. It's uncivilized and heartless to even consider it. But I can't think of how entitlements would be defensive. They seem to fall much more into the forced "charity," or wealth re-distribution. When you bring wealth re-distribution down to a neighborhood level, it's theft, plain and simple. If I take money from one neighbor to finance another neighbor's education, medical needs, or housing, I would be charged with theft. Yet we recently elected a president who openly talked about wealth re-distribution as an important part of his presidency. And, true to his word, he is re-distributing. But it's the government, so nobody calls it theft.

(It's a little off topic, but I think there is another thing to consider when pondering the value of the social programs administered by the government. It is generally agreed that when selecting a charity it is wise to find a well-administered charity so that the donation will have the maximum impact on the cause with the minimum spent on the administration of the charity. I know that the Federal Government would never make it in a side-by-side comparison of efficiency and effectiveness! Government inefficiency is legendary! Given the option, I would much prefer to make my social "donations," currently confiscated as a tax, to organizations that I was comfortable with the goals and administration thereof. Many many of the uses taxes are put to are things that I would never consent to have my name associated with were it voluntary. Planned Parenthood's easy abortions, funded in significant part with public monies, comes to mind as a quick example. And I would never choose an organization with as much waste as the government.)


An important test I use in passing judgment upon an act of government is this: If it were up to me as an individual to punish my neighbor for violating a given law, would it offend my conscience to do so? Since my conscience will never permit me to physically punish my fellow man unless he has done something evil, or unless he has failed to do something which I have a moral right to require of him to do, I will never knowingly authorize my agent, the government to do this on my behalf.

I realize that when I give my consent to the adoption of a law, I specifically instruct the police – the government – to take either the life, liberty, or property of anyone who disobeys that law. Furthermore, I tell them that if anyone resists the enforcement of the law, they are to use any means necessary – yes, even putting the lawbreaker to death or putting him in jail – to overcome such resistance. These are extreme measures but unless laws are enforced, anarchy results.



I think that one of the most difficult things about having freedom is that your neighbors, even the ones you don't get along with, the ones who value different things, also have that same freedom. Many of the laws we now live with come from someone saying, "it isn't decent, they shouldn't be allowed to ______." But in order to secure freedom for ourselves and our posterity, we have to allow that maybe the things that are important to me are not important to my neighbor. People need to be free to choose for themselves. I think this is one of the most difficult tests of our commitment to freedom. When we authorize the government to pass a law, we ought to be very sure that it is a just law. It must pass the test: "Could I punish my neighbor for non-compliance, were it my responsibility to do so?"

Unusual Use for a Crock Pot Lid

Monkey discovered this afternoon that he can do something new and fun with the lid to my crock pot. So he asked me to take a picture. Thinking that a picture would not communicate very well what he was doing, I asked him if he would prefer a picture or a video. This is the result.



After doing the little ones, we finished the vacuuming that we'd been working on. Well, I finished it. He was my supervisor, observing from the safety of the couch. You never can tell about those vacuums; they could grab your toes at any moment! Once that was done he went right back to the lid, only this time he used the bottom side.

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