21 September 2007

The Fall of the religious right? Keep dreaming, Kos.

Kos thinks that the evangelical Christian Right is imploding. He points to some schisms within, some stridency in their political claims (like that's new!), and some movement on the part of Republican politicians to distance themselves from the evangelicals.

I'll give Kos leeway for his political analysis. He knows way more about the strategies of political candidates than me, and if he says the Republican candidates are sucking up less to the evangelical Christians than before, I'll take his word for it. However, I know a thing or two about the religious right, and I would say that he's going way too far in saying that a little in-fighting, some crankiness, and some apocalyptic claims about the decline of politics adds up to an implosion.

From a scholarly perspective, there is some consensus around the quote by political scientist, Amy E. Black: “I’m sensing the emergence of an old guard and a new guard." This seems to be the case, where younger evangelicals are focused more on environmental issues and social issues like poverty.

What Kos implies, but is not the case, is that this generational split means that somehow people are becoming disillusioned with evangelicalism, or that evangelicals are becoming depoliticized in some way. You may even get a sense from reading his post that younger evangelicals are somehow pro-gay or pro-choice. None of this is true. Large numbers of people are joining evangelical churches, and there is no sign of decline. These next-generation churches are concerned with poverty and environment, but they are still very conservative on issues of sexuality and gender. And they intend to be political.

I don't know what this means for presidential elections, and I don't know whether this group will be a big factor in 2008. However, this is a very powerful network, with growing memberships, and as much political energy as ever. Just because there are new ideas in the mix doesn't mean they are going away.

19 September 2007

Ahoy, Mateys!

Shiver me timbers, it's Talk Like a Pirate Day! Hoist the mizzenmast and pour me a cup of grog.

Did I ever tell you about the time I took John Fox's introductory seminar on R? When a fellow student asked where the name came from, I said it was the Statistical Tool of Pirates, AaRRRRR! The room went as silent as Davey Jones' Locker - grimey land lubbers!

High School Kids Wear Pink

Oh, Canada. Some days I'm just so glad to be here.

At a time when some places are making men wear pink as a punishment for bad behavior, you Nova Scotia kids are standing up for a fellow student who got picked on because he wore a pink shirt on the first day of school. They bought dozens of pink tank tops, half the school wore them, and the bullies were shamed.

The Grade 9 student arrived for the first day of school last Wednesday and was set upon by a group of six to 10 older students who mocked him, called him a homosexual for wearing pink and threatened to beat him up.

The next day, Grade 12 students David Shepherd and Travis Price decided something had to be done about bullying...

They used the Internet to encourage people to wear pink and bought 75 pink tank tops for male students to wear. They handed out the shirts in the lobby before class last Friday — even the bullied student had one.

"I made sure there was a shirt for him," David said.

They also brought a pink basketball to school as well as pink material for headbands and arm bands. David and Travis figure about half the school’s 830 students wore pink.

It was hard to miss the mass of students in pink milling about in the lobby, especially for the group that had harassed the new Grade 9 student.

"The bullies got angry," said Travis. "One guy was throwing chairs (in the cafeteria). We’re glad we got the response we wanted."

Jeremy would be proud.

(ht, Eszter)

17 September 2007

Oy, we get our air from Ohio

Blech. More bad news about the air quality. It's talking about cities in the U.S., but up here in Ontario, we get over half of our air pollution imported from the States (the rest we make ourselves!). I better look into bubbles for next summer.

12 September 2007

Preschool rocks, preschool sucks

Well, preschool seems to be okay, but the extra hour of aftercare for the Kid--which brings his day away from home to 4:30pm, a half-hour shorter than his former daycare day--is a disaster. He was the last kid there one day, and he was just about last every other day. He is freaked out by the older kids, so having them around makes things worse, not better. When I scramble to pick him up at 3:30, when the other moms are there, he's so happy, but the other days he's a scared, worried, freaked out mess.

He may get over it. Other kids may start using the after care. Repeat 5 times, take a deep breath, and have a glass of wine, Mom.

06 September 2007

Big Boy Bike for Kid

As promised, here's a picture of the Kid on his big two-wheeler. He graduated from tricycles to the 16" bike, bypassing the 12" teensy weensy bike. This means it's just a smidge big for him at the moment, but hopefully will last him at couple seasons (Note to my California friends: up here, we put the bikes away all winter!)

He's doing great on it, but he did crash into a bench today, severely bending one of the training wheels. Who needs those anyway?

First Day of Preschool!

Well, it was yesterday, really, but who has time to post on the first day of preschool?

The Big Kid is now packing his lunchbox and backpack to the Montessori preschool, where he will soon learn differential calculus and iambic pentameter. We celebrated the first day by riding his brand new Big Boy Bike (photos to come) and whining about not going out to dinner for pizza. A momentous occasion.

03 September 2007

Happy Labor Day!

We're all worn out after a long weekend of nothing special. The neighbors' bake sale was a particular highlight. Who knew they had a trampoline and a zip cord in the back yard? Hours of fun.

Goodbye, summer. Hello, fall!

02 September 2007

Good Day

A good day for me these days is one where the sun is shining, and I can get the whole family to do some chores together out in the fresh air. Yesterday, we swept up the back yard, and this morning, we washed the cars. Guest bed built and made up - check. Toilet paper holder installed - check. Dishes, laundry - almost done. If I can get to the grocery store and tidy up the living room, it will be a good weekend all around.

Should I mention yesterday's visit to the neighbors who have a son the same age as Kid? Or the BBQ and margaritas planned for this evening? Nah. Should I worry that I haven't done any work for my paid job? Nope. Just going to enjoy the day.