Monthly Archives: September 2008

Democrat or Republican: Christians and Voting

There’s an underlying assumption in political circles. That assumption is that voting Republican means voting Christian values and voting Democratic does not. That’s simply not true. I don’t think the Republicans have a retainer with God even though there are some who’d like the American people to think that.

It’s a very difficult election decision, isn’t it? We have only two real choices. A vote for a third party would be simply wasted, so what do you do? On the one hand we have Barack Obama who clearly is in favor of abortion. Abortion is most certainly wrong in God’s eyes, so we can’t vote for him. The other choice is John McCain who divorced his first wife (after he returned home from the war to find her disfigured from a disease) but God hates divorce! (Jesus’ words, not mine.) So we can’t vote for John McCain either. Logically, we can’t vote for either one because both have violated God’s will so should we not vote at all? That would mean the non-Christians would have a free-for-all and get to choose the type of government we have. That’s no good either and we’re left with our original choice: Obama or McCain?

I don’t know for certain who will become president or who would even be the best choice. I personally believe that the track record of the current Republican administration has been disastrous on a number of levels. People who think we’re better off now than 8 years ago should probably vote for John McCain. People who think we are worse off now should probably vote for Obama.

I read the following article just this past week. It better highlights some of the issues facing Christians when voting. It’s objective and well written.

What’s Wrong with the Democrats (and Republicans) and “The American Dream”

I trust everyone will pray about their vote and be an informed voter.

Binary Hopscotch

Binary Hopscotch (ft080921)

Binary Hopscotch (ft080921)

I love the FoxTrot comic strip!

The SLANT Method for Student Engagement

SLANT is an acronym for 5 common visual indicators of student engagement. The indicators are:

  • Sit up
  • Lean forward
  • Ask questions about the topic
  • Nod your head
  • Track the teacher with your eyes

Generally speaking, students who exhibit even one of these 5 indicators during a lesson are engaged in the topic. This can also be generalized to any speaking situation with participants.

This sounds like a good thing to put up on the wall of my classroom.

Warren Buffett: The Rich Need to Pay More Taxes

Billionaire Tells Congress the Tax Code Is Unfair to Lower-Income Americans
ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3869458&page=1

An honest rich man! On national news, no less! Jesus talked about these kinds of people as being extremely rare in Matthew 19:23-26:

23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (KJV)

Do you think you’ll ever hear about someone like this again? And regardless of your political persuasion this IS a commentary on the current political situation. It seems to me that the American people, particularly those of faith, have a very difficult decision this election.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” – attributed to Edward Burke

Flip Video Facts

Flip Video

Flip Video

If you’ve gotten yourself a Flip Video Camcorder from TheFlip.com, congratulations! You now hold in your hand an excellent and inexpensive video recording device. The quality of the video remains excellent without becoming blocky or grainy even on a large display. If your camcorder came with a TV Out cable then you’ll even be able to watch your videos directly on the big screen.

On the Flip Side, it doesn’t exactly come with great instructions and there are a few quirks of the software, so here are a few facts and advice on troubleshooting:

How do I install my Flip Video camera?

Simply plug in your Flip Video on the computer you wish to use. It will automatically install the software stored on it. This will most likely have to be done using an administrative login. The installation took about 10 minutes or so (on my slower machine), but only has to be done once per computer used. When complete, your computer will have both the 3ivx Codec and a program called Muvee Maker installed. If these aren’t in your Add/Remove Programs list in the Control Panel, or only one is, then uninstall the one, switch to an administrative login and plug it in again to see if it will fix the problem itself. If everything goes as planned, Muvee Maker will eventually load with your videos in its inventory.

The next time you plug in your Flip Video it will only take a moment to get access.

What software is included and gets installed automatically?

The 3ivx Codec and a program called Muvee Maker are automatically installed on any computer you plug your Flip Video into.

Honestly, close Muvee Maker and don’t use it. Excluding possibly elementary students, it’s a terrible video editor! Use Windows Movie Maker instead. To access your videos, go through My Computer and get to the files that way. Your Flip Video will show up like a regular flash drive with its own drive letter. Your videos are in one of the strangely-named folders. Look around and you’ll find them.

(Thank you, Chris Goodson!)

Where are my Flip Videos?! I saved them to my computer using Muvee Maker.

First, don’t flip out! Muvee Maker automatically makes a Flip Videos folder in your My Documents. Any videos you choose to save to your computer will be stored there. The version I have does not give you any other options on where to save.

No sound?!

There is one quirk. If you try to preview movies directly in Windows Media Player, the movie will show without sound even though the sound is included in the file. However, if you open the video clips in Windows Movie Maker (which uses an embedded Windows Media Player) it sounds normal. Weird, huh?

(Thank you, Chris Goodson!)

How do I save Flip Videos directly to my Flash Drive? Or access both simultaneously?

Since they both show up as Flash Drives, accessing both at the same time can be difficult. They might both be assigned the same drive letter. This grants access only to the first one plugged in. Additionally, certain computer network configurations might assign drive letters that are already in use. This also prevents access. Here are two potential ways around this for you:

  1. The less-technical way is to first plug in your flash drive and then restart the computer. The flash drive gets precedence over any assigned drive letters and grants you access. Now plug in the Flip Video and you should have access. If not, restart a second time with the camcorder plugged in. This takes longer than option 2 below, but it’s much easier to do.
  2. [For Windows XP] Plug in both devices. Now, right-click on My Computer and select Manage. This opens the Computer Management window. Choose Disk Management under Storage. In the pane to the right, you should see a list of connected disk drives. In this list, you should find both your Flash and Flip Video drives. For each one: Right-click on the listing and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths… Choose a new, unused drive letter. Click Yes when you are asked if you are sure. Repeat for the other drive letter. You should now have access to both at the same time. These steps must be repeated on any computer you wish to use to access both simultaneously, but only the first time. The computer will remember the assigned drive letters in the future.

(Thank you, David Gartner!)

Sleeping Through the Night

My baby daughter is finally sleeping through the night now. The first night would have been September 13th, but my wife had to get up to change her diaper at about 5:30 AM. So that one doesn’t count.

On September 14th, however, neither of us had to get up! The little one went to bed about 11 PM and stayed in the bed until about 6 AM when my wife and I had to get up to get ready for work. Mind you, we had to put her pacifier back in her mouth during the night when she would start wiggling which woke us up, but we did not have to get up out of the bed until morning came.

What a sweet thing it is to stay in the bed through the night!

School: 1957 vs 2007

Scenario 1

Alex gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 – Alex shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.

2007 – Police called, Alex expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 2

Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2007 – Police called, SWAT team arrives, Johnny and Mark arrested, charged with assault. Both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3

Jeffrey won’t be still in class, disrupts other students.

1957 – Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2007 – Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin, becomes a zombie, tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4

Suzie falls while running during recess and scrapes her knee. She is found crying by her teacher, Richard. Richard hugs her to comfort her.

1957 – In a short time, Suzie feels better and goes on playing.

2007 – Richard is accused of being a sexual predator and loses his job. He faces 3 years in State Prison.  Suzie undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Scenario 5

Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

1957 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets out his shotgun to show Jack.

2007 – School goes into lockdown, FBI called. Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 6

Zack is walking home, trips on a skateboard left by another student in the school yard, and injures his leg. He cries out in pain.

1957 – Zack is sent to the nurse’s office where he is given a band-aid and an aspirin. The principal then gives Zack a ride home.

2007 – The principal calls 911 and Zack’s parents. Zack is rushed to the hospital and given emergency surgery. This causes chronic phantom pain in Zack’s leg and nightmares. Zack undergoes physical therapy for 4 months and sues the school for 2 million dollars plus his medical bills. Zack wins the lawsuit and decides to attend private school. Zack’s former principal is fired, goes on a blacklist, and can never hold a job in education again. The school Zack used to attend is boarded up due to insufficient funding and community ridicule.

Scenario 7

Pedro fails high school English.

1957 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2007 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 8

Travis takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, and blows up a red ant nest.

1957 – Ants die.

2007 – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security, FBI called. Travis charged with domestic terrorism. FBI investigates family. Siblings removed from home. Computers confiscated. Travis’ Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 9

Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2007 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse.  Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang.  State psychologist tells Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison.  Billy’s mom has affair with psychologist.