Tuesday, March 31, 2009

National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day

The seventh annual National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day is April 28, 2009.

On this day, all pro-life persons are invited to make a positive statement of their pro-life beliefs by wearing T-shirts with a pro-life message.

The official T-shirt for this year is a classy design with two-color printing on a black background. It's available from Heritage House in standard and women's styles, and with long ($10) or short ($8) sleeves. The message on the back reads:

If he's not alive, why is his heart beating?
If he's not a human being, what kind of being is he?
If he's a living human being, why is it legal to kill him?
Choose Life.
Or choose from dozens of other messages to create your custom shirt. Regularly priced at $11.95 for T-shirts with a single design (choose to place it on either front or back), today is the last day to get them at the fantastic special price of $5 each! Use coupon code V10T. For a little extra, you can choose from several background colors or display messages on both front and back.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Physics for High School

I've been researching physics resources for high school, asking friends what they use, and checking Internet sources. Yes, it's a little early yet, but I really like physics!

Here are a couple of intriguing possibilities:
Physics in Your Life from the Teaching Company, taught by Professor Richard Wolfson

This has rave reviews ... and it sounds a lot more comprehensive than the title implies. Plus, like all other Teaching Company products, it's guaranteed to satisfy. This title is currently on sale for $100 (regularly $375).

Conceptual Physics from Kinetic Books

This is an "interactive textbook" on CD ROM. The concept seems somewhat similar to that of Teaching Textbooks, but most of the offerings are for high-school to freshman college-level physics. I found a demo on their site. Pretty cool! It seems to have a good balance between written text and activities, and also supports a variety of learning styles. Seems pretty affordable, too, at $30 for a CD that can be used for more than one student. You can add the printed textbook for another $15.

They also offer a "Virtual Lab" CD that allows the student to vary input parameters and watch the results. I wonder whether they randomized it a bit to produce realistic results. If you've done any real life lab work, you know how suspicious exact results are!

Couple of reviews online: at NSTA, and at the Homeschool Magazine

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Pro-choice" = "no choice"? *Updated*

This is so outrageous, it is hard to write calmly about it.

The Obama Administration plans to revoke conscience protection for pro-life medical professionals.

The Bush Administration put into place a Department of Health and Human Services rule that protects doctors, nurses, and other health professionals as well as hospitals from discrimination because of their pro-life views. In short, it protects the rights of health professionals and of hospitals to refuse to participate in murder. Without this type of protection, doctors and nurses are subject to coercion (losing jobs or facing other punishment) to act against their consciences. More on the rule here.

The Obama Administration has made public its intention to remove this protection from medical professionals who refuse to assist in the killing of innocents. This is not "choice" but tyranny.

By law, there must be a 30-day period for public comment before the rule change can be implemented. If people of good will can apply enough pressure, this can be stopped.

As Cardinal George points out, we recognize the right to conscientious objection in other areas as well, such as objectors to war not having to serve in the military, or those who object in conscience to capital punishment not having to carry out the death penalty. Watch the video -- definitely worth your time.

Then go to the USCCB site and click the link to submit your comment supporting conscience protection. Alternatively, go to Freedom2Care and use either the link for patients or for healthcare professionals. Both sites offer plenty of additional information and background.

The comment period ends April 9, so please act soon. And, as always, please pray for God's mercy.

Please note that this action, though similar to one of the provisions of FOCA, is completely separate from that Act.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pope: Young People, Evangelize the Net

As reported by ZENIT, Pope Benedict exhorts youth in these words as part of his message for World Communications Day, May 24.
'Dear brothers and sisters, I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives,' he said. '[T]he proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if the technologies are to serve our mission adequately.

'It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this 'digital continent.' Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: The greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the 'Good News' of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people.'
See the full article here.

H/t: Janet

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We're Back!

Our family is now back home from our ~2 week road trip. I'll be posting photos and such soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ah, that explains it

Heard Arne Duncan speaking about charter schools. Apparently, when they talk about expanding charter schools, they mean union-run charters. With all that that implies.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Education Reform?

I just happened to hear about President Obama's speech on education reform. He's certainly talking a good line: rewarding teacher merit with pay raises, for example, and increasing the number of charter schools, even making them available where they are currently not permitted.

Somehow I find myself a little skeptical about it. The teacher unions, which Obama admits he "owes", have adamantly opposed both of these ideas. And in Chicago, his old stomping grounds, Obama was a consistent and loyal supporter of the aforementioned unions. And his appointee for the Dept of Education hails from Chicago, which has a ... shall we say less than stellar reputation for actually educating kids.

So, while I'd love to see these changes happen (some others he mentioned I'm not so enthusiastic about) I would be very surprised to see any substantive positive changes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Paschal Mystery Eggs

There are several different versions of this idea around, including a commercial variety called "Resurrection Eggs." I am not certain where the idea originated, but it may have been from the Real Learning Forums. The name of "Paschal Mystery Eggs" definitely comes from Jenn Miller's post on this thread in that forum, which also gives details of a longer version.

Here is the version that we use. Get 12 plastic eggs that can be opened and filled, and a regular dozen-sized egg-carton. Inside each egg place the listed object together with a slip of paper with the corresponding Bible verse. You may want to also include an explanation of the significance of the object, or simply discuss the significance when you open the egg. Number the eggs from 1 to 12, and place them in reverse order in the carton.

We open one egg per day beginning on the Wednesday before Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday.

Fill the eggs as follows:
Day 12: Mark 12:22
a small cracker or piece of "Matzoh" to symbolize the bread & wine of the Last Supper.

Day 11: Matt 26:33
Feather or picture of rooster to symbolize the rooster that crowed 3 times.

Day 10: Matt 26:33
3 dimes to symbolize the 30 pieces of silver that Judas received to betray Jesus

Day 9: Mark 15:17
Thorns to represent the crown of thorns (rose thorns work well)

Day 8: Matt 27:31
Nail to represent the nails on the cross

Day 7: John 19:17-18
Small metal or paper cross represents the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

Day 6: John 19:23-24
A die or couple of dice to represent the lots that were cast for Jesus' clothing.

Day 5: John 19:34
Toothpick or toy lance to represent the spear which pierced Jesus' side.

Day 4: Matt 27:57-60
Piece of white cloth to symbolize Jesus's linen burial cloth.

Day 3: Mark 16:1
Cinnamon stick symbolize the burial spices.

Day 2: Matt 27:62-65
Rock to represent the stone over the mouth of the tomb.

Day 1 EASTER MORNING! Mark 16:5-6
This egg will be empty to symbolize the tomb that was empty because Jesus was risen!!