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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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12/24/2004

What to teach?

My son Sam is now four and it is time to think about school. Or not. Or not would mean homeschooling which, amazingly enough, my partner Susan is advocating. As much of the burden would fall to her this is a huge factor.

The possibility of actively helping decide what Sam is going to learn brings up an interesting question: what would I like to see taught.

My own list - recognizing that there is a fairly set curriculum for homeschoolers in BC - seems to start with history. World history with an emphasis on Europe and the Near East. As well, history of science and medicine. Quickly that expands into useful hands on stuff. Do Newton's optical experiments, build a catapult, explore the five basic machines, build a generator, raise a frog or two. While I can have fun with the history of music and art I am going to have to sub out any actual art or music teaching being bereft of any artistic or musical talent whatsoever. (Happily Susan is a qualified piano teacher so we just have art to cover.) At least one second language and there is nifty computer software to do the heavy lifting here. And, of course, build your own computer and actually know where the !#!@$ hard drive is.

Yes, I know, he is just a little kid and this sounds like an awful lot of stuff. But the advantage to homeschooling is that kids tend to spend a lot more time "on task" in the regrettable language of the education world which means the actual "school" part of the day can be covered in between two and three hours. Which leaves the rest of the day open. Susan will need a break and my thought is that I would do a "supplemental" hour and a half a day.

Kids spend twelve and a half years in school. Nine months a year, five instructional hours a day. In principle, 900 hours a year although that is rarely the actual number. That's 11,000 hours. While many flourish it is difficult to see 11,000 hours of benefit in even the brightest conventionally educated graduate. (I know simply because I TAed a couple of sections of PoliSci 100 at UofT composed entirely of Ontario Scholars with Grade 13, none of whom could write. (Well one, but he had done the first eight years of his schooling in a good English school.))

The entire question is up for grabs at our house. Any thoughts, suggestions, comments would be grand.

12/23/2004

Newfi Gall

Is it just me or are the Newfoundlanders utterly out to lunch.

The provinces have been pushing to retain 100 per cent of offshore energy revenues without paying a penalty in clawbacks to equalization payments.

Ottawa now takes 70 cents of every dollar by reducing equalization payments.
Danny Williams

Finance officials have said that under the latest offer, Ottawa will end the clawback scheme. This would result in additional revenues for the provinces, ranging from $2.5 billion to $3 billion, they say.
cbc
I have never understood the logic of wanting the offshore oil and gas royalties (to which the provinces have no constititutional entitlement) and the same level of equalization as would be the case if there were no such revenues.

It is more complicated than that as Premier Williams underscored in a CBC interview:
What the issue is, once we get to equalization, the equalization border - the five province standard - once we get equalized, we are not asking for equalization. That’s where the misunderstanding is: we are saying that once our revenues get to a point where we no longer need equalization, we don’t want it. We’ll be the same as every other province that gets equalization - New Brunswick, Prince Edwad Island, Nova Scotia. What we want, though, is the right, after we equalize, to keep 100% of our revenues, our provincial royalty revenues. The cap prevents us from doing that. So what they’re saying is once you equalize, you don’t take equalization, but when you go beyond you can’t keep 100% of the revenues once you get to Ontario - why not? Alberta does, Saskatchewan could, why couldn’t we? What would deny us the right to keep 100% of our royalties?
cbc
In fact Alberta and Saskatchewan have full ownership of their resources whereas the Newfoundlanders and Nova Scotians do not. However, what Williams is arguing is that the feds should not claw back any equalization payments unless and until Nfld becomes a fully have province.

As I understand it, at the moment if Nfld gets $1.00 in oil revenue, Ottawa takes .70 form the equalization which would be otherwise payable. Under the proposal on the table, Ottawa would stop doing that until Nfld had the same fiscal capacity as Ontario and then would continue the policy of reducing the equalization.

This seems rather generous to me. But I may be missing something.

What it costs

"Mark" was put on a stretcher and laid along a wall. A small monitor on his hand would tell the nurses when he was dead. Even a cursory glance said it was inevitable. Mark had a head wound that left brain matter caked in his ear and all over the stretcher he was lying on. I knelt next to Mark and placed a hand on his chest. His heart was barely beating but it was beating so I put my face close to his ear to pray with him. If you've never smelled human brain matter it is something unforgettable. I had something of an internal struggle. He's practically dead so why stay? He probably can't hear anything! A prayer at that point seemed of little value. But I couldn't risk it. I prayed for Mark and led him in the sinners prayer as best I could. There are few things in this life that will make you feel more helpless. After that, I needed some fresh air.

chaplin

12/22/2004

Go Read

Jim Bennett writes about the world. Instapundit catches it...Now I pass iton. But go make a coffee or get a good long drink because it is long, occassionally badly edited and important.

Nominated

Frequent commentor, ranter and all round strange man, Robert McClelland, is running "Best Canadian Blogs 2004". Apparently I am a Conservative blogger.....Who a thunk it? Were it not for the company, aka competition, I'd be shocked and appalled to be called a conservative.

Good for Robert for putting this up. Voting starts January 1. Needless to say it is an honour just to be nominated and I could in no way condone multiple voting, having your grandmother in Sarnia spend her otherwise empty days clicking my name or behaving in any similar fashion.....But if you must....

Dead Trees Falling

A chart of newspaper circulation in the US...

Putting up subscriber walls is not helping.

Christmas Blogging

For the next few days I will be "doing Christmas". Which is my favorite time of the year. Blogging may be light or heavy, who knows...

Merry Christmas to you all!

12/20/2004

Flooding is a Feminist Issue

via tim blair via the monger Canadian - and don't it make you proud - Angie Daze told the UN Conference on Global Warming,

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - Severe weather caused by global warming can pose greater physical danger to women than men, a Canadian attending a UN conference on climate change said Friday.

"For instance, often women don't know how to swim, so in a flood situation that can lead to a higher instance of death or injury," Angie Daze, a program manager with a Canadian group called Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change, said.
cbc
The Monger's inner self is a bit damp with laughter at this lunacy. Blair's commentors suggest that this has to be a send up. One commentor points out that while the global warming female connection is, perhaps exagerated and, hey, women have more than a few survival edges:

Women have a higher proportion of body fat and tend to float much more easily than men. Also women tend to be more slight of stature making them less of a target for comet sized hail stones, tornadoes and falling dogs from Kansas.
Now, just for fun, I wonder if Ms. Daze had her way paid by our friends the feds? As ever, proud to share a country with Ms. Daze.