The usual excellent line-up from the Watcher’s Council

I’ll be reading and voting on the following materials tomorrow:

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

It looks like excellent stuff to me.

Wednesday round-up *UPDATED*

Original thoughts have fled my brain.  Still, with others thinking for me, I still perform a public service by passing their writings on to you.  In no particular order, and with more reliance on some sources than on others:

Robert Harris is a talented writer.  I have on my bedside table right now his most recent book, The Ghost, about a ghost writer, which I was able to pick up for $1.29 at Goodwill.  Right now, I don’t think I want to read it.  Why not?  Because Harris proves (again) that talent and morals are often utterly unrelated.  He likes Roman Polanski.  Others like Roman Polanski.  Roman Polanski is really talented.  So it’s just really unfair to pick on him for the fact that, a long time ago, Polanski drugged and raped a 13 year old.  Let me repeat that last bit:  he drugged and raped a 13 year old.  We know he did because he’s said he did.  By the way, doesn’t this remind you of Obama’s defense of his own ghost writer, which is that Ayers admitted to crimes that happened so long ago, who really cares?  If your politics are good, all is forgiven.

By the way, on the same subject, when you read this list of Hollywood machers demanding Polanski’s release because it’s so unfair that he thought he could travel abroad safely, only to get himself arersted, ask yourself this question:  How many would be delighted to see Bush or Cheney arrested should they set foot on foreign soil?

Jake Tapper’s one of the good guys — an honest reporter.  Here, he has a very funny report about the reports on Obama’s deviations from truth in his press for ObamaCare.

These two interesting stories are completely unrelated, except that the both use the word “police”:  one is about a suspicious (to say the least) private police force takeover in Montana; the other about the complete collapse of the British constabulary, once one of the finest in the world.

Obama might be more effective in the Middle East peace process if he actually listened to the Palestinians.  Doing so, he’d learn that their number one concern isn’t settlements, it’s the horrors visited upon them by their own government.

More to follow.

UPDATES:

See Steve Schippert on the dangerous (and, in a way, lazy) thinking now emerging from Biden’s mouth on the administration’s behalf with regard to Afghanistan.

John Stossel on lies, damn lies and Obama’s statistics.

Sick day open thread

I’m not sick, but the children are, and my computer had a few hiccups this morning.  The computer is back, but the kids are still languishing, so I’m off to a slow start.  I’ll be back soon, I promise.

E-Verify at risk in California

I got this notice from the North Bay Minutemen:

If Arnold does not veto AB 1288 before Oct 1, then AB 1288 will become law in California.  AB 1288 prevents any city or county in California from requiring any business to use E-Verify.  If AB 1288 becomes law, CLEC, http://clecnovato.com, will be shut down, at least in the short term.

You have about 24 hours to tell Arnold to save E-Verify in California!

Send him an email, free fax, or printed letter at:

http://capwiz.com/caps/issues/alert/?alertid=14106466&type=SW

FYI, the Department of Homeland Security describes E-Verify as follows:

E-Verify (formerly the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program) is an online system operated jointly by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Participating employers can check the employment eligibility of new hires online by comparing information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against SSA and Department of Homeland Security databases. More than 145,000 employers are enrolled in the program, with over 7.6 million queries run through the system in fiscal year 2009 (as of August 29, 2009).

E-Verify is free and voluntary, and is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security numbers.

Sounds so sensible, doesn’t it?

Put your money on those the Dems attack most fiercely

We conservatives have tended to be “go along to get along” people.  If the media says someone is crazy, we back off, ’cause we don’t want to scare ordinary Americans.  Mark Steyn usefully reminds us that the media isn’t “ordinary Americans” and that media goals are antithetical to conservative success:

The media would like the American Right to be represented by the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, decent old sticks who know how to give dignified concession speeches. Last time round, we went along with their recommendation. If you want to get rave reviews for losing gracefully, that’s the way to go. If you want to win, look at whom the Democrats and their media chums are so frantic to destroy: That’s the better guide to what they’re really worried about.

How do they live with the cognitive dissonance?

Our local town council elections are coming soon.  The candidate statements in the Voter Information Pamphlet are so generic as to be meaningless, so I did what I always do:  I went out on the internet, looking for information.  I discovered that one of the candidates donated to Barack Obama.  With that in hand as the only information I had on her, I crossed her off my list.  I don’t need a big government person sitting on the Council of my small, somewhat indebted town.

Today, though, I had the opportunity to talk to the gal and I discovered that she’s a fiscal conservative.  I can vote for her in good conscience.  That’s great for my town, because I think she’ll win a place on the council.

What troubles me, though, is how in the world sensible people can square their core values (fiscal conservativism, equality of opportunity, etc.), with being liberals?  Only cognitive dissonance could allow a bright fiscal conservative to place her hopes in Obama, the man who is going to rewrite the whole definition of Big Government when it comes to America.

Tune in next week when the Empire State goes Red & Black to honor the Nazis *UPDATED*

Okay, maybe I’m overreacting, but WHAT THE HELL IS THE EMPIRE STATE DOING HONORING A BRUTAL REGIME THAT KILLED TENS OF MILLIONS OF ITS OWN CITIZENS, THAT STILL PUNISHES SPEECH WITH TORTURE AND DEATH, THAT USES SLAVE LABOR, AND THAT SEES ITS POLITICAL PRISONERS AS ORGAN DONOR MACHINES?

Just asking.

And yes, I’m definitely a hypocrite, because my house is filled with things made in China.  The sad fact is that there is a lot of stuff nowadays that you can’t buy at all unless you’re willing to accept Chinese manufacture.  Most Chinese goods are poorly made (and that’s not even touching upon the food poisoning and lead poisoning issues) so, as a savvy consumer, I try to avoid them, something separate from also trying to be a relatively principled shopper.  The fact remains, though, that Chinese goods are ubiquitous and my money supports that regime.  I still think, however, that being a prisoner of the marketplace is different from giving the Communist government itself the kind of accolade and honor that goes with colors on the Empire State.

UPDATE:  I’m not the only one asking this question.

Confirmation that liberalism is a religion — and Obama is the God *UPDATED*

The Breitbarth site headlines the following video as follows:

SHOCK DISCOVERY:  COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS PRAY TO PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA

With my pre-Obama mindset, I promptly inverted the language and read it as a normal sentence:

SHOCK DISCOVERY:  COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS PRAY TO ELECT PRESIDENT OBAMA

How naive I was.  This political activism group, in a Church, led by people in vestments, prays TO Obama.  Obama is their God.

UPDATE:  Ed Morrissey notes the possibility that the crowd is saying “hear our cry, Oh God!”  Or that some are saying “Oh, God!” and some are saying “Obama.”  He’s got a poll for those of you who want to chime in.  As for me, given that it looks as if a minister is giving an impassioned invocation about health care to a political group, I’m just wondering about that church’s tax exempt status.

Does anyone know about the Challenge Day program? *UPDATED*

Have any of your children done a Challenge Day?  I can’t tell if it’s harmless, helpful, or touchy-feely, PC psychobabble crap.  The self-congratulatory website promises that “everyone” will “Live their lives in service by Being the Change.” Since my daughter got invited, I want to know what it is.

UPDATE:  Terry Trippany found this for me.  Doesn’t make the program sound good.  As for me, the tip off was the Oprah recommendation.  Whether she recommends books, presidential candidates, or creepy school encounter sessions, I’m against it.

Obama’s State Department botches again

In the digital age, perils lurk everywhere.  Most organizations know that.  When I sign my kids up for Chorus or Girl Scouts or soccer, the organization asks me for permission to use my children’s photos on line or in other publicity material.  Obama’s State Department, however, didn’t think that far ahead, and has now put the daughters of the Spanish Prime Minister at risk.  Will this amateur hour nightmare never end?

Bret Stephens writes an unusually elegant takedown of Obama’s foreign policy

I always like the way Bret Stephens thinks, but I’ve seldom even noticed how he writes.  He’s a great writer — clear and concise — but he’s never struck me as a particular luminous writer.  I think he must have been inspired when he wrote about the rebirth of the neocon movement, in large part because the bad guys are still here, but Obama is remarkably feckless when it comes to dealing with them.  How else to account for the lovely prose and imagery I quote below:

My answer [to a French journalist asking about the rebirth of neoconservatism] was that the neocons are back because Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il and Vladimir Putin never went away. A star may have shone in the east the day Barack Obama became president. But these three kings, at least, have yet to proffer the usual gifts of gold and incense and myrrh.

[snip]

As for Russia, its ambassador to the U.N. last week bellyached that the U.S. “continues to be a rather difficult negotiating partner”—and that was after Mr. Obama cancelled the missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic. Thus does the politics of concession meet with the logic of contempt.

All this must, at some level, come as a surprise to an administration so deeply in love with itself. “I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world,” Mr. Obama told the U.N.’s General Assembly last week with his usual modesty. He added that those expectations were “rooted in hope—the hope that real change is possible, and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change.”

Yet what sounds like “hope” in, say, Toronto or Barcelona tends to come across as fecklessness in Warsaw and Jerusalem. In Moscow and Tehran, it reads like credulity—and an opportunity to exploit the U.S. at a moment of economic weakness and political self-infatuation.

[snip]

Where neocons do put their faith is in American power, not just military or economic power but also as an instrument of moral and political suasion. Disarmament? The last dictator to relinquish his nuclear program voluntarily was Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, who did so immediately following Saddam Hussein’s capture. Democratization? Contrary to current conventional wisdom, democracy is often imposed, or at least facilitated, by U.S. pressure—in the Philippines, in the Balkans and, yes, in Iraq. Human rights? Anwar Ibrahim, the beleaguered Malaysian opposition leader, told me last week that “the only country that can stand up” to abusive regimes is the United States. “If they know the administration is taking a soft stance [on human rights], they will go on a rampage.”

Treat yourself well and read the whole thing.

Urine or you’re out

Got this in an email today:

THE JOB – URINE TEST (Whoever wrote this one deserves a HUGE pat on the back!)

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In
order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test with which I have no problem. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don’t have to pass a urine test. So here is my question. Shouldn’t one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them? Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their rump–doing drugs, while I work. Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check? I guess we could title that program, ‘Urine or You’re Out’.

The Kevin Jennings ‘Fistgate’ (and your kids) Update by Guest Blogger Terry Trippany

Update – It seems that the article I wrote on September 9th (below after the jump) was a precursor to the latest Obama administration scandal. Jim Hoft and the Washington Times picked up where I left off. Never let it be said that we didn’t warn you!

Barack Obama’s “safe school’s czar” Kevin Jennings hid pedophilia from authorities.

Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings was a huge Obama supporter.

Warren Throckmorton has this and more on the latest case of pedophilia that Obama’s Safe Schools Czar hid from officials.

In an op-ed dated today but available online over the weekend, the Washington Times assails Obama safe-schools appointee, Kevin Jennings for his handling of a 15-year old student’s sexual revelations when Jennings was a young teacher.

According to Mr. Jennings’ own description in a new audiotape discovered by Fox News, the 15-year-old boy met the “older man” in a “bus station bathroom” and was taken to the older man’s home that night.

FOX News has also reported on this and pointed to that recording. That audiotape was recorded by someone who attended a speech Jennings gave in Iowa in 2000 and then given to me. The relevant clip is here. You can read more about Brewster and the controversy in the article, Remembering Brewster and in this prior post on the topic.

Original Article Below


One Small Victory – As One Radical Agenda Item is Quelled More Are Sure to Surface, The Kevin Jennings Appointment and the Arne Duncan Agenda – September 9, 2009
[Read more...]

Just a thought about Mr. and Mrs. Obama’s push for the Olympics

I think the world has sized Obama up and concluded that he’s weak, very weak.  The Olympics are a good example of this.  One theory has it that Chicago is in, and that the price for that is Obama’s appearance before the Olympic Committee.  In other words, Obama got bossed around both by Chicago and by the Olympic Committee.  He’s sort of weak in that scenario, but he still gets what he wants.

But another theory (mine, to be precise) is that the matter is still up in the air, that Obama is going to the Olympic Committee as a true supplicant, and that the OC still has the power to turn him down.  With a strong president, this situation would never have arisen.  First off, a strong president wouldn’t have gone begging for an Olympic game.  Second, of course, the OC would never dream of sayin no.  But here, how tempting to have the President of the United States on his knees before you, and have the power to say “no.”

I guess time will tell, but either scenario paints a depressing picture of what it takes for the Left and the world at large to “like” a US President.

President Obama stages his own retreat from Afghanistan *UPDATED*

When Bush was in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan was the good war and Iraq was Vietnam.  Now that Bush is gone, and Iraq is holding stable (for the time being at least), the liberals can give over their pretense about the possibility of a good war and, instead, given in to their default and instinctive position, which is to recast Afghanistan at Vietnam.  Fine.  This is not the post I’m choosing to use to argue about whether or not the US should be in Afghanistan, or what its goals should be if it’s there.

Fortunately for me, I’m in the position to ignore things about goals, or troops, or any other big or small details about a War.  For me, thoughts about the war are academic, because it’s not my responsiblity.  It is, however, Barack Insane Obama’s responsibility and, to date, he’s shown that he absolutely refuses to step up to bat.  In other words, the situation with Obama is so bad that he’s not even doing a 1974 redux that sees America run away from a war.  Instead, our extraordinarily self-obsessed President is himself running away from the war.

You heard me right — Obama is staging his own retreat.  He refuses to talk to his generals about the situation.  Steve Schippert explains what’s going on, and also provides useful information about the things Obama thought were more important than even a quick phone call to those generals operating under him (because, though he’s pretending it ain’t so, he is still Commander in Chief).

UPDATE:  Flopping Aces has a good timeline — with quotes! — showing the Obama’s own personal war game, from gung-ho blood lust to strategic retreat, all without any expenditure of actual energy on his part.

What happens to a scientific consensus when the underlying data is corrupt?

Well, I don’t actually know what happens to a politically driven scientific consensus about man-made global warming when the underlying data is corrupt.  But I can tell you that you can watch this cognitive dissonance begin to play out if you check out the Strata-Sphere post that examines the opinings of economist (and idiot) Paul Krugman against a backdrop of solid information regarding grossly erroneous data about global warming where none actually existed.

After you’ve read AJ’s post, please forward it to friends or post it on your own blogs.  Considering the fact that our President considers global warming of far greating importance than world terrorism or economic meltdown, we need to get facts out there.  As we’ve shown with the health care debate, when facts reach ordinary people, when they leave the ivory towers and news rooms, they matter and they galvanize people to act.

An excellent summary of the whoppers in Obama’s speeches about health care

Obama lies.  He does not merely prevaricate, waffle, beg the question, evade, mince words or engage in any other delicate dodge around the truth.  When it comes to the health care bill he is trying to sell American, he and out and lies.  He tries to sell us big, fat, juicy, completely false representations of facts.  You and know this, but I have to give Michael F. Cannon and Ramesh Ponnuru lots of credit for putting together one of the most lucid, compact summaries I’ve seen to date explaining the biggest of those lies.

A link junkie

Thanks to the link I got from Glenn Reynolds, I had my best day ever in more than five years of blogging.  I now know exactly how a junkie feels when that first rush of heroin hits the vein and then the brain.  Withdrawal tomorrow, as I sink to my usual numbers (nothing to be ashamed of but not thrilling either) will be very, very painful.

Watcher’s Winners for the week of September 21

The Watcher’s Winner’s for last week are:

Winning Council Submissions

Winning Non-Council Submissions

Obama keeps Hitler analogy in the public eye

Is Obama telling a true story or not?  I don’t know and with Obama’s credibility gap, it’s impossible to tell.  It doesn’t matter, though.  What does matter is that, by relaying this anecdote, Obama is keeping alive the Obama/Hitler analogy:

President Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner last night, discussing false claims made about the health care reform bill, told a little anecdote.

“I was up at the G20 — just a little aside — I was up at the G20, and some of you saw those big flags and all the world leaders come in and Michelle and I are shaking hands with them,” the president said. “One of the leaders — I won’t mention who it was — he comes up to me. We take the picture, we go behind.

“He says, ‘Barack, explain to me this health care debate.’

“He says, ‘We don’t understand it. You’re trying to make sure everybody has health care and they’re putting a Hitler mustache on you — I don’t — that doesn’t make sense to me. Explain that to me.’”

You and I aren’t dumb.  We know Obama told this anecdote to a black group as a way to make it clear that, all he’s trying to do is help poor folk (read:  black folk) and he, a black man, is subject to the ultimate insult of being called Hitler.

Not that my blog has any impact on Obama and his acolytes, but let me try to set things straight for Obama and that “world leader.”  There is actually a legtimate reason why some (although by no means all, or even a critical mass) of ObamaCare opponents like ObamaCare to Nazi social policy and, therefore, liken Obama, the driving force behind ObamaCare, to Hitler, the driving force behind Naziism.  (And I’m NOT defending the use of the Obama/Hitler meme, I’m just explaining it.)  Although the historically ignorant keep trying to deny it, Naziism was a Leftism philosophy.  The party’s official name was the National Socialist Party.  Socialists socialize things:  they take whatever they can out of the private sector and put it into the government sector.  The more they take, the more control they have over their citizens.

Obama’s self-serving and vicious little anecdote aside, the ObamaCare issue is not about “mak[ing] sure everybody has health care.”  Putting aside the question of whether that’s even the government’s responsibility, there are actually lots of ways to make sure everybody has health care without giving the government more power.  Instead, there are myriad possible ways to expand health care that specifically result from giving the government less power.  You can create greater competition by allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, which would lower prices; you can decrease the thousands of regulations that hamper the sale of insurance and the practice of medicine; you can stop requiring insurer’s to sell premium insurance to everyone, whether they need or want it; you can put a cap on outrageous malpractice claims; you can take employers out of the equation so that individuals shop for health insurance just as they do for all other forms of insurance; and so on and so forth.

Alternative, to expand health care, you can do what Obama and his fellow socialists want and take over the medical system, making it a branch of the government. In that way, you can monitor how people work, what they eat, what they drink, how they exercise, perhaps how they procreate, whether babies deserve to be born, etc.  That’s rather extreme, but we know that, in even the most unextreme cases, rather like Santa doling out presents based on whether people have been naughty or nice, the government can start to dole out health care to those the government deems worthy — the young and productive.  The British have certainly gone this route.  While the average young or middle-aged Brit gets decent enough service for colds and appendix attacks, woe unto the Brit who reaches a hoary old age or gets a fatal disease.  If you’re salvageable, the care is adequate.  If you’re not, tough luck. That’s a slippery slope.

If you travel far enough down that slippery slope of government decisions about deserving sick people, you start getting to the Nazis.  No, Obama is not Hitler.  No, the Democrats are not Nazis.  But government health care opens the door to rationing on an extreme scale, with ever more categories of people classes as undeserving of government beneficence and, eventually, undeserving of life itself.  (My great uncle went that way:  A manic depressive one day; a Nazi created corpse the next.)  And once a government starts deciding that people are undeserving of life for health reasons (they’re a burden, not a benefit, to the state), government has a nasty habit of deciding that people are undeserving of life for other reasons, such as ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, etc.

Americans are a freedom loving people.  While Ken Burns may think that the only good idea ever to come out of America is the National Park system (this is true, ’cause his new show is named The National Parks : America’s Best Idea), I’d like to go out on a limb here and suggest that America’s best idea is limited government, with its emphasis an individual freedom and responsiblity.  History has shown, over and over, that unlimited government is a slippery slope, and whether one dresses Obama up as Clement Atlee, or Harold Wilson, or Mao, or Hitler (the most recognizable one of the bunch), the point is the same — like them, and possibly with the best intentions in the world, Obama wants to limit Americans’ freedoms by making every fact of American life subject to government mandate.

When Obama, speaking to a black audience, uses a “world leader” as his ventriloquist’s dummy to imply that conservatives are calling him Hitler because he’s a black man who wants to improve poor/black people’s lives, he is being dishonest or disingenuous.  The relatively small number of protesters who have made the Hitler analogy, while they definitely made a PR mistake, used the analogy to drive home a point about the ultimate dangers that can arise when we let government grow too big, and they’ve used the most memorable and recognizable symbol around to make that point.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Is our children’s education really getting as self-referential as I think it is?

I’ve been nostalgic lately, and have been thinking a lot about my favorite stories and books from my elementary school days in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  One story I particularly remember from my time as a 4th grader was about a teacher who had in her class a girl from a very run down neighborhood.  If I remember correctly, the girl had very dirty, shabby clothes, so the teacher gave her either a bar of soap or a new pinafore, I forget which.  The child, inspired by the teacher, went home and cleaned herself up.  Her family members, seeing her look clean, were impressed, and they too began to wash themselves and wear nice clothes.  Looking and smelling as good as they did, her parents realized that their house was dirty, so they cleaned it.  Then they painted it — inside.  With the inside immaculate, they were embarrassed by the exterior, so they cleaned and painted that too.  The neighbors, impressed by this single shiny house in the neighborhood, decided that they, too, wanted to live that way.  And so, because of a bar of soap (or a pinafore), an entire community was transformed.  I just loved that story.

Other books I vividly remember were the Laura Ingalls Wilder stories, which first made me aware of the wonders of our modern civilization and the extraordinary courage of our pioneer ancestors.  (Well, my ancestors weren’t exactly pioneers, living either in the shtetls or grand houses of Europe, but I’m talking our collective American ancestors.)  I also recall a marvelous book about a young woman in Colonial America who was kidnapped by Indians.  It was not a politically correct book, but I happen to know, now, that it was based upon an actual memoir written by a young woman in Colonial America who was, in fact, kidnapped by Indians.  In other words, it wasn’t PC, but it was factually accurate.  As for me, I didn’t take away any negative lessons about Indians  en masse.  I was simply impressed by the young woman’s courage and fortitude.

Another story that’s lived with me was one about a soldier in a fox hole somewhere in the Pacific.  With bullets whizzing overhead, he discovered that he was sharing his fox hole with a poisonous snake, which promptly bit him.  The story told about his desperate fight for survival, as he put a tourniquet on the wound and tried to outlast the poison.  He did survive (of course, since the story was told in the first person), but the last line informed us, the riveted 4th grade readers, that he still had a hole the size of a teacup in his thigh.

In other words, the stories I remember reading as a child were outward looking.  They were about grand adventures, and heroism, and courage, and good and evil, and moral obligations.  They took me outside of myself.  My peers, when pressed, remember similar stories.

And what all of us have noticed, but only I remark upon, is the fact that so many of the stories our children read in their schools are what I call navel-gazing stories.  They’re about kids who are bullied at school, or who have an eating disorder, or who have an alcoholic parent, or who are shy, or any number of other Oprah-esque scenarios of somebody’s personal soap opera.  The child protagonist always triumphs in the end, whether that means s/he tuns the table on the bullies, eats healthy food, forces the alcoholic parent into a rehab facility, or makes a big speech, but I don’t see my kids feeling inspired.

There’s nothing big in these books.  They’re about ordinary people with problems.  Ho-hum.  Neighborhoods aren’t changing, frontiers aren’t opening, external forces (war, snakes, Indians) aren’t requiring people to act with fortitude.

Even Anne Frank, the perennial Holocaust book, isn’t outward looking.  It is, instead, a remarkably claustrophic book about people who are not coping with the Holocaust, but are struggling to cope with each other.  I don’t mean to insult the book.   I truly think it’s one of the great masterpeices of adolescent writing, and one of the great works of the Holocaust.  Nor do I mean to denigrate the suffering of those in the Secret Annex, only one of whom survived the war.  And I really weep every time I think of the appalling suffering that accompanied Anne’s death.  Although the children’s versions of the book tend to have Anne dying peacefully of typhus, she didn’t.  Anne died alone, with her dad having vanished, and her mother and sister having preceded her to death.  It was winter, she was starved, she had no clothes, and typhus is not a lovely disease from which to die.  But they don’t tell that to the children.  As taught, there’s nothing epic about Anne’s suffering and ending.  It’s all about getting along with people in the attic.  (For my one other, very big, problem with the message from Anne Frank’s book, go here.)

The books are children read tell them morality is dictated by feelings.  If it makes the adolescent narrator or protagonist unhappy, it’s bad.   And yes, eating disorders, and drinking problems, and bullying are bad, but these are details.  They’re not about the larger scope, the bigger pictures.  The kids don’t look at epic struggles, whether physical, as in war, or moral.  Everything is just another soap opera in the lives of the citizens of a pampered nation.

I’m sorry for my kids, and I’m not surprised that they grumble a lot about the stuff they have to read.  All that navel gazing can get mighty dull.