Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Is There Hope for France After All?


There are times when I envy those people who belong to an exotic ethnic group. I would love to be proud of my heritage and my ethnic "culture". But alas, I am French (half French, anyway). There are but two things that make me proud to be french - the Eiffel Tower, which ushered in the age of skyscapers, and of course, the magnificent Statue of Liberty. Other than that what could a frenchmen possibly be proud of. Thank God my sir name comes from my germanic father... My particular French bloodline comes to America via Canada, which makes me think that my French ancestors knew enough to get out when the gettin' was good. Smart people.

I comes as a bit of surprise then that I read this weekend that French voters turned a thumbs down on ratifying the new EU constitution. I had always thought that it was France (and Germany) that were the driving force behind the creation of this United States of Europe known as the European Union. French voters are sour on the current government in power and this vote was a clear finger in the eye of a government that was pushing hard for ratification.

The French electorate is unhappy about the state of the economy, unemployment and also immigration policy. The French had been so worried that their beloved culture was being Americanized that they failed to see that the real threat was from Muslim immigration. French Muslim's have no love for French heritage or French history.

Radical change in the way the French economy is run and even more radical change to immigration policy is needed if the French intend to save their country. I personally doubt the French have the guts to do what needs to be done, but I hope for good things. They are going to need to turn back the socialist mindset and strictly control immigration (something our own government has failed to do). They voters are worried that cheap labor from poorer EU nations will flood France and drive down wages and bury their social service systems. Does this sound familiar to you my fellow Americans?

If I had to predict which way France will go I am afraid I would be less than optimistic. Rather than curb their socailist tendancies media and government ministers will declare capitalism (yes, there are still a few capitalists in Europe) the root of all evil and steer their country closer to communism. This is already happening in Germany. France and Europe are at a crossroads, no longer beholden to the US as the protected lamb to the Soviet's wolf, yet too weak to stand up and fight for themselves. Only Great Britian has taken any sort of stand economically and militarily, but, there too, socialism's rotting core is consuming a once great nation. There is no Maggie Thatcher on the horizon. Thanks to America and the Marshall plan the one thing most of Europe has going for it is free elections. We pray the voters will see the light and begin to reject the welfare state attitude that permeates most of Europe.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Half Full Americans

The glass is half full. This, according to a recent poll by a New Jersey medical school, stunned the researchers. Yes, Americans are overwhelmingly optimistic. It's not that we, as Americans, don't have a lot to be positive about. We do, after all, live in a free and prosperous nation. It's just that we are positive and optimistic in the face of an unending media onslaught of how bad everything is and how terrible America is. Spending just one day bathed in mainstream media saturation we learn that Americans are fat, lazy, violent, stupid, self-absorbed and most of all, arrogant. According to conventional wisdom we trample on the rest of humanity while sucking up most of the worlds resources.

How can we Americans possibly feel good about ourselves and our future? Because we know the truth. We live the truth, and it's not what we see on TV. We know that people are basically decent and that it is the exceptions we read about in the paper. We know that our leaders, most of them anyway, are also decent human beings and "want" to do what's right. We know that the basic American system set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are as solid and as fundamental as the day the quill was put to the parchment.

We also know our history. It is without question that each generation has lived longer, richer and healthier lives than the last. There no reason to assume this phenomenon won't continue. If we simply look at the plight of the elderly in 1905, one hundred years ago, it is almost unfathomable how far we have come as a society. Back then life expectancy was less than 60 years and the elderly were the poorest demographic in the country. Fast forward to 2005 and the elderly are far and away the richest demographic with many living well into their 80's . Why shouldn't we be an optimistic lot?

A while ago I posted a piece called "Put On a Happy Face" which explains exactly why the Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health at the New Jersey Medical School came to this conclusion. As humans we may pine nostalgically for the "good old days" but as the Carly Simon song says - these ARE the good old days.

For all of us who get up each morning to put in an honest days work and in doing so reject the victim mentality we have confidence that things will be better tomorrow. Despite what foreign and domestic media pundits say about America, this nation, the land of the free and home of the brave, is still that shining beacon of freedom and hope for the politically and economically repressed. We witness this everyday as our borders are breached, our hospitals and schools reach capacity, all by desparate people who share in some way our American optimism.

Lastly, is it any coinsidence that America being the most religious nation is also the most optimistic? Well, is it?


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Paint by Numbers II

Here now, my latest painting... A north shore landmark and now a state park, Split Rock Lighthouse is perhaps the most recognizable lighthouse among the many gracing the shores of Lake Superior. The inspiration for the painting was an old calendar photo. I decided to make it a fall scene to add color and sparkle.

"Autumn At Split Rock" (c)2005 Craig Willms

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

photo holder

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Core Curriculum: Your Feelings

Johnny, I know you can't read or write, but what's really important is how you feel about it.

How can America lead the world into a brave new future when we are failing our own children so miserably. The public education system as it is, controlled by the teachers unions and state bureaucrats, has replaced academics and logic with self-esteem and feelings. This over emphasis on feelings does not prepare the next generation for the harsh realities of life. When you couple this with the prevalent urban youth culture that elevates an anti-intellecual doctrine we have all the makings of a national disaster.

In her book "One Nation Under Therapy" author and scholar Christina Hoff Sommers explores the "feelings" racket fostered by the healthcare and educational systems. Her previous book "The War Against Boys" made her public enemy number one with the feminists and academes. Merely reading excerpts of these books makes one wonder if you're reading a stand-up routine. The truth is these touchy-feely peddlers are in control. They are so blinded by their own feelings they refuse to admit that they are doing more damage than good.

One of the ways they get away with controlling the way children "feel" about their country and culture is with text books. In a startling Weekly Standard piece reprinted by FrontPageMagazine.com Pamela R. Winnick shows how text books are used to devalue America's founders, the American cultural melting pot and white people in general. Many states, we learn, require standardized text books so that even the good teachers who are appalled by these tactics are prevented from teaching otherwise.

This is nothing new, of course, it has been going on since the the 70's when I was going to school. However, with more and more state control peeling away any responsibilty from the local community the trend is frightening. Ironically, the private schools, especially urban faith-based ones, constrained by tiny budgets wind up getting their text books donated by the local public schools. So, while there may some respite for concerned parents who send their kids to private schools the net result is the "feelings indoctrination" is only slightly behind.

I don't think anyone can deny that this insane path we are leading our children on is already having a chilling effect. A simple stop a convenience store or a gas station reveals the educational state of our youth. Sure they are more in touch with their feelings but I would prefer they get in touch with my proper change! My own children, even with as hard as we try to make them critical thinkers, give up far too easily to their "feelings" when things get hard. I swear no one at their school has ever said to them - "tough, I don't care if you don't feel like doing your assignment, you're going to do it!"

Amazingly, once these intellcually (and some would argue, emotionally) stunted children join the real world at age 25 or 26 they quickly learn the boss doesn't really give a damn about their feelings if they can't get the job done.


Thursday, May 05, 2005


Overwhelmed and beaten down...

Sorry I have been so absent lately. It's not there hasn't been a ton of great stuff to comment on it's just that my "day job" is killing me right now. Since I honor my employers privacy on the internal goings on (and the lunacy) I won't go into it here. Besides it would be boring as hell. All I ask is that you stop by now and then to see if I'm back at it!

Topics I'd love to discuss:

-The President's press conference: What he actually said vs What the newspaper headlines said he said...

-Ann Coulter's recent visit to a pair of shining examples of institutions of higher learning: St Thomas University and St Olaf's College, making Minnesota proud!