Friday, March 13, 2009

"Race to the Pole" and anti-Mormonism

I recently finished a very interesting book - Race to the Pole: Tragedy, Heroism, and Scott's Antarctic Quest, by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. When I picked it up I thought it would be an interesting book about how early explorers lived and died in their quest for the antarctic. I only later found out I was stepping into a historical controversy.

Sir Fiennes is a modern explorer of note. He has apparantly crossed Antartica on foot, and performed a number of other extrordinary feats. In the mid-1970s a biography came out that was highly critical of explorer Robert Scott. From this book, the contemporary view of Scott has become one of a bumbling idiot, according to Fiennes. According to Fiennes, the book even went so far as to accuse Scott's wife of an affair, and the head of the Royal Geographical Society of being a homosexual, all with no substantive evidence. Further, Fiennes pointed out that the other author had never been to Antartica.

I have yet to read the other book, so I can not comment on it directly. However, much of what Fiennes said about the way Scott kept his diary and the nature of scientific expeditions resonates with my own experiences. Thus, it gives merit to his book in my mind.

Now, I have not researched the history of Scott enough to resolve this historical question to my satisfaction. However, I see Sir Fiennes engaged in a very similar struggle to that of polygamists. They are contending against sensationalist writings that have become considered "common knowledge." Just as such things as the weather conditions in March 1912 have come to light with further research, items such as the "FLDS on welfare" fallacy have been debunked by adversarial witnesses such as Texas officials. It is clear that "common knowledge" has been wrong, it is more a matter of seeing how far it has drifted.

A couple of good parenting sites

Commenter Saif Ali Pervez has a couple of good parenting sites. Since it was in the comments, which can often get lost, I thought readers would appreciate it if I "bumped" the sites in the post.

Parenting Tips

Early Childhood

I will say, though, the question has been raised as to whether the NAEYC should be renamed the "National Association for Acreditation Nightmares. ;)

Copyright infringement a $150,000 Crime?

Note - Given the pointing out of errors in my earlier post, I have edited the earlier edition. This may leave some comments sounding strange.


Copyright infringement carries a fine of up to $150,000 per incident. While the penalties on copyright infringement are ridiculous, so are the penalties on polygamy. But those who promote the importance of following stupid and overreaching laws should first make sure that they are obeying all the stupid, overreaching laws.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Very Interesting Take on Abuse at School

Kurt Schulzke really picks up the "story behind the story" on this one. Sex abuse in the public school system is a serious problem. How often does it happen? Is there a better way that is less prone to abuse?

My children are in public schools right now. The schools have a policy of trying to keep parents away from the schools. I had to be fingerprinted during normal working hours to be a volunteer! It made me wonder if it was worth it. Certainly, there needs to more parental oversight of public schools. Like the mother in the article, am I being intellectually dishonest if I say "I’m very protective about my children,” since my children are in public school? Of course, my wife would say I'm not being protective when I allowed and encouraged them to wrestle this year. ;)

Has she been a bad girl this year?

While nothing has been proven, it seems there is a preponderance of evidence that Swinton made the fraudulent phone calls. She is free, and Texas is totally dragging their heels in bringing her case to court. I can not say with certainty that Rozita is responsible for the kidnapping of 460+ children. Bigotry certainly played a large role. But she is certainly an accomplice to kidnapping, guilty of fraud, and guilty of religious persecution if the charges are true. When is Texas going to bring her in for a hearing? Why have they not persued her case with any speed or interest? How can this possibly be reconciled under the "equal protection" clause?

Fall of Reynolds - Coming soon to a nation near you!

There is some interesting insights posted on a blog with the provocative title "The Fall of Reynolds." Renn OldsBuster posts a very insightful article on "Siamese Polygamy." Why would it be wrong the two ladies joined together to marry one man, or two? Would it be illegal? Would the law allow them to live their own life the way they choose, as it is certainly not hurting anyone else? I would hope sanity would reign.

Unfortunately, a BluesMan did not respond to that article as near as I can tell. Also, BluesMan neglected to tell Mr. Oldsbuster how his predictions were wrong about the appeals court, wrong about the Texas Supreme Court, and wrong about the question of the search warrant coming to trial, and is wrong about a JD being a real doctorate. Perhaps the last error is part of the reason for the first three, as his ego and "Javert Syndrome" prevents him from seeing imperfections in laws.

Mohammad's birthday

The Jawa report says that today is the birthday of the prophet Mohammed. I must admit I have not found corroborating evidence, but since the Muslims use the lunar calendar it may be difficult to track.

Either way, I once participated in a "Interfaith Dialogue club" that was started by Islamic students. In addition to participating in discussions, I was MC at a three-night guest speaker seminar, and spoke myself at a Ramadan dinner. In addition, we have had Islamic neighbors from Egypt who were good friends, let their children come over to our house, and even came to a 4th of July picnic with us. One of my sons best friends had a father from Lebanon, and the family was also Islamic.

Ironically, the father had been betrothed to a cousin in Lebanon before he fled to the United States. His wife confessed to mine that at first she was worried if he ever went back to Lebanon he would marry her, since the betrothal can not be broken. But, when they did go back, she met the lady, and was really impressed. She said that if her husband did decide to marry her, it wouldn't be a terrible thing. Though this is all third hand, I thought it an interesting attitude as my wife absolutely abhors polygamy -- one reason among many others I will never become a polygamist.

Anyway, back to Mohammed. Wikipedia reports that he had 13 wives, and it is commonly assumed that several thousand Muslims practice polygamy. It seems to me that many people have found spiritiual inspiration in the teachings of Mohammed, and have lived a better life because of it. I think Muslims that want to practice polygamy should be allowed to practice it without the government forcing them to choose between their conscience and the law. It seems to be a very reasonable arrangement for families to have that flexibility.