Friday, June 30, 2006

Don't be devastated too badly

I hate to put a crimp in the lives of the handful of people who read this blog, but it is time for Chanman and his family to go on a little R&R. I will be somewhere for the next several days where there is no newspaper, no computer, no internet, no email, not even a telephone.

I know you will all be waiting with baited breath for my return to the blogosphere. Until then, you all need to get out more.

Good Week to You, Sir

Let's make them all bubble boys/girls

You have probably heard of the absurd attempts by educators, administrators, psychologists, parents, and trial lawyers to protect children from ever experiencing pain; both physical and mental. This has manifested itself in the infamous banning of dodgeball, along with other games. Now, in the face of increasing ridicule, the campaign to save children from their childhoods is actually beginning to widen. Playground equipment is on the chopping block, along with the whole idea of recess itself.

I think of some of the games that we played when I was in elementary school in the 1980s. I LOVED dodgeball, and our teacher would often have us play it (and would participate as well) during our daily P.E. Yes, I said daily P.E. Kids in elementary school today are lucky to get P.E. once a week. During recess, some of the other boys and I would play Smear the Queer. It was an extremely simple and fun game with a rather unfortunate name. If you have never played it, here are the rules: You have a group of boys. A ball - preferably the football variety - is thrown in the air. Once it lands, one of the boys takes it upon himself to pick it up and run like hell. That is because he is now the queer, and it is the job of the other boys to catch him and take him down. Once the queer is tackled. The ball is thrown up again, and a new boy takes it upon himself to pick up the ball and evade being tackled. It was loads of fun to cut, dodge, and sprint as I tried to keep from being dogpiled. Did I get hurt sometimes? Yes. Did I heal? Yes. Did I have a rip-roaring good time? Yes.

The problem is that there is a group of people in this world, and especially in this country, that have a slight quirk: They are scared to death that someone, somewhere is having fun. The goal of these nabobs of negativism is to put a stop to that. These busybodies must be stopped.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bloggers + Coffee = Great Conversation

I met with fellow blogger Darren of RightOnTheLeftCoast (see links on left) at an evil capitalist Starbucks this morning. Before we knew it, we had yapped for almost two hours. Darren is a fellow secondary teacher (he of the high and I of the middle variety), and a graduate of West Point.
It's nice to confirm that there are actual real people behind the words that you read.

Darren was a very knowledgeable guy, and I look forward to pow-wowing over caffeinated beverages again in the near future.

Good Day to You, Sir

I figured as much

When I heard that the bodies of the two American soldiers kidnapped by al-Qaeda had been found, I took it for granted that what would be found would not be pretty. I hate it when I'm right. The headline reads: Military Official: At least one of kidnapped soldiers was beheaded.

I wish I could remember where, but I also read somewhere that the soldiers' severed genitals were stuffed in the mouths of their severed heads. I need to confirm that report. Either way, does in matter? In light of all the other horrible things that were done to these two soldiers, redundancy begins to set in.

Tell me again why so many on the left get their panties in a wad about Gitmo, but brush this off with a wave of their hand?

Good Day to You, Sir

Another one bites the dust

Must I point out that this guy was an illegal alien?

Here is the kicker quote from the article about the execution in Texas of serial killer, Angel Resendiz:
The [Supreme] court also rejected an appeal by the Houston-based consul general of Mexico questioning the Mexican national's competency and challenging the constitutionality of the lethal injection process as cruel and unusual punishment. Capital punishment is not allowed in Mexico.
This was an easy fix. If you are Mexican and you want to kill people, but don't want to be executed by the state of Texas, then stay the hell out of the United States! Must I think of everything?

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Are you one of these people?

Saturday night, the fetching Mrs. Chanman and I left the kids with Grami and made the trek to the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Marysville to catch the Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows. My wife is a dyed-in-the-wool Counting Crows fan.

I don't go to concerts very often because of one major factor, and I was reminded again of it last night: Jackasses who stand up out of their seats and start dancing. If you are one of these people who commit this dastardly sin, I may know you and love you in every way, but if you stand up at a concert and remain standing, then in that regard, I regret to inform you that you are a jackass. When you stand up and dance, you are blocking the view of the people behind you; not just the person directly behind you, but many people, all of whom paid the same price for a ticket that you did. How nice that you now have a fabulous, unobstructed view of the stage. But how about you keep in mind that the universe does not revolve around you and there are other people behind you who do not wish to follow your lead and stand for the entire concert.

Don't get me wrong, I am not some curmudgeonly party pooper. I love to have a good time and shake my ass too. But when I go to a concert, I go there to watch the band, and I pay good money to do it. I do not pay good money to look at the back of the person in front of me while s/he blocks my view of the reason I came there in the first place. If you want to dance, do it with your butt planted in your seat.

I can already hear some of the arguments against my position on this topic:

Why don't you just stand too?
I already mentioned that I don't want to stand all night, but also remember that if I stand so I can see, then I am forcing many people sitting behind me to stand so they can see around my 6'2" 220+ lb. frame. You see, I am actually considerate and think of others, which is why I refuse to stand at a concert, even if I cannot see.

Why don't you just watch the concert on the jumbovision screen? If I wanted to watch a concert on T.V., why would I drive all the way to Marysville and sit, surrounded by jackasses, in 103 degree heat? I would just stay home and watch a concert video.

Why don't you just realize that people are going to do it and let it go? Because, Lord help me, I have sufficient faith in my fellow man to think that they can change their ways and get with the program. Besides, have you ever watched some of these people dance? If bad dancing were a crime, they would get the death penalty! Or as Elaine's dancing was described in the famous Seinfeld episode, "It looks like a full-body dry heave." I was especially amused by this mental-case obvious ex-cheerleader making the devil-horn-with-the-index and pinky fingers "rock on" sign and repeatedly jamming it into the sky . Uh, Hon... it's a Counting Crows concert, not AC/DC.

So, I have already delved way too deeply into this topic, but that goes to show you just how much it pisses me off.

I do have one funny story of something that happened during the concert. I happened to see some sort of strange movement on the shoulder of the guy sitting two rows in front of me (the rows in between us were empty). I focused on his shoulder and saw what I can best describe as an albino black widow spider whose body (not legs), was the size of the tip of my pinky. It was HUGE! I'm not saying it was a black widow, it just looked like one. I watched the spider crawl across the guy's shoulder thinking that any second he would feel it and flick it off. Nope. Once the spider began to crawl up the guy's neck, I could sit still no longer. I got up and basically slapped the guy on the back of the neck as I swept the spider off of him. He turned around and looked at me as if he was ready to kick my ass; I can't say I blame him. My wife was thinking the same thing, as she had not seen the spider and was wondering why her husband had just whacked this strange man on the neck. Over the noise of the band, I yelled at the guy, "SPIDER!!!", then pointed at the little bugger as it was crawling away. The guy saw the spider and his jaw dropped open. I then stepped on poor Mr. Spider. Sorry my arachnoid friend, wrong place, wrong time. After the impromptu spider execution, the guy reached out his hand and we shook. My good deed for the day was complete, and the best thing is, that guy never stood up and danced during the concert.

Good Day to You, Sir.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

On the other hand...

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog on a regular basis probably knows that one of my pet peeves are those gawd-awful looking saggy pants worn by our youth. Turns out that maybe these ridiculous saggy pants still worn by boys and men-who-still-wannabe-boys have a purpose under heaven after all. It seems that cops hope the style never goes away, as it makes running suspects easier to catch. I'm having very satisfying visions of clueless perpetrators running from the cops as they hold up their pants with one hand, or even better, hopping instead of running because their pants are down around their ankles.

My dad was a cop during the long hair and afro days of the 1970s. He has told me that he enjoyed that style too because all you had to do to control a suspect was grab a handful of hair.

Good Day to You, Sir

Typical media (non) coverage

Out of curiosity, I went to all the major news websites to see what kind of coverage they had about the finding of WMD in Iraq. I found nothing. Only Fox News carried a headline about the WMD find, let alone any mention at all. CNN, ABC News, CBS News, MSNBC, and USA Today had absolutely no mention of the WMD on their homepages when I checked them all just after 10pm tonight.

CNN's top headline said Marines file murder charges; this is regarding the 7 Marines and one sailor arrested for allegedly murdering an Iraqi. ABC News had a top story about al-Zawahiri (an al-Qaeda terrorist) releasing a new video, and of course, the Marines being charged with murder. CBS News carried a headline that read Is Insurgency thriving since Zarqawi? MSNBC's headline was about how cities are losing their middle class neighborhoods. USA Today had a headline about a delayed space shuttle mission. Again, with the exception of Fox News, not only did none of the other major media websites carry a headline about this WMD find, they did not even mention it all on their homepages.

Liberal bias in the mainstream media? Nah, it's just an urban myth.

Good Day to You, Sir

No WMD? Not so fast, Sean Penn...

At the Oscars in 2004, Sean Penn inserted a little comment into his Best Actor acceptance speech about there being no WMD in Iraq. This was one of thousands of references I have heard over and over - from callers on talk radio, leftist guests on the cable news shows, and mainstream news broadcasts - about there being no WMD in Iraq. "Funny," I always thought, "If there were never any WMD in Iraq, then how did Saddam gas 5,000 Kurds in 1988? How come Clinton and the Democrats said that Saddam had them back in 1998?"

Today, it seems as though the first big WMD find in Iraq has been confirmed. The not so surprising part is that this news might be new to us, but the information is rather old. Apparently, records of WMD finds have been kept since our invasion in 2003, but some of the classified documents are just now being released. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will direct you to a blogger who has a lot more time on her hands to write about this big news than I do: Michelle Malkin.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Prisoners' Dilemma

I am sure that you all have heard about the fate of the two American soldiers - PFC Christian Menchaca and PFC Thomas Tucker - who were taken "prisoner" by Islamic terrorists at a checkpoint near Baghdad the other day. In what has become a par-for-the-course action on the part of the terrorists, the two American soldiers, both privates first class, were tortured, mutilated, and ultimately killed. The bodies were so disfigured that it will take DNA testing to ensure a positive match.

In light of this latest atrocity committed against American servicemen, I am sick to death of listening to the anti-war/anti-American left wring their hands over the alleged mistreatment of our prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the supposedly horrible treatment of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, and the alleged massacres of Iraqi civilians at Haditha and some other Iraqi locales.

When we take prisoners in this war, we ship them to tropical Cuba, supply them with prayer rugs and an arrow painted on their cell floor indicating the direction of Mecca, meals that comply with Muslim diet requirements, and of course a personal copy of their beloved Quran. When we do mistreat prisoners, we put underwear on their head and make them form naked human pyramids. Then the American perpetrators of these acts are punished and imprisoned. If any atrocities were committed at Haditha by our Marines, you can be assured that the guilty parties will be punished. The more I hear about Haditha though, the more I think the charges against our Marines are a sham.

Treatment of prisoners is an entirely different story when one of our soldiers is captured by our Islamic enemy. During the war in Afghanistan, a Navy SEAL named Neil Roberts fell out of a hovering helicopter during a fire fight. He was taken prisoner by three al-Qaida members and was killed in cold blood right there on the battlefield by the terrorists shortly thereafter. So much for compassionate treatment of prisoners by our enemy.

In Iraq, the first American soldier taken prisoner was named PFC Keith Maupin. He was captured during our initial invasion of Iraq and was not heard from, until finally a video was released on a terrorist website showing Maupin kneeling and being shot in the back of the head. The video has not been authenticated since you never see Maupin's face, but to this day, he is still unaccounted for.

Don't forget about the members of that Maintenance unit (the Jessica Lynch incident) who were ambushed and captured in Nasariyah at the beginning of the war. Several servicemen who were taken prisoner were later killed and half-buried in a building basement.

Then today, the news came that our two missing soldiers were found dead on a street in Baghdad. Details are still sketchy, but it was confirmed by an Iraqi government official that the soldiers' bodies showed signs that they were, "killed in a barbaric way." I didn't catch where he got his info, but I caught a snippet of the Dennis Prager radio talk show where he was talking about the soldiers' eyes being gouged out and their bodies being worked over with a machete. The Fox News article to which I just linked quoted a statement from al-Qaida in Iraq that said they had "slaughtered" two "Crusader animals". In Arab parlance, "slaughtered" means that the soldiers' throats were cut, if they were not beheaded.

At Gitmo, we sometimes utilize sleep deprivation and hot/cold room techniques to try to extract information. Wow... how awful.

If they haven't already, I'm sure that our soldiers have figured out that if it appears that they might be captured, they better fight to the death, because a worse fate awaits them if they fall into the hands of the enemy. No soldier deserves to die in the manner that these two American enlisted men did.

Good Day to You, Sir - and God bless those two soldiers and their families.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hanging in there

My rate of blog activity has been suffering lately. I just have a lot on my plate this week, as we have begun our last week of school. That's right sports fans, while many of my fellow education bloggers are already enjoying the good life, I don't get done until June 23. That is the price we pay for having the month of March off.

What with getting in grades, organizing and cleaning my classroom, beginning a new college class, and getting ready for my son's 2nd birthday party this coming weekend, my time is limited. Once this school year ends, a lot of the pressure will be off. I am looking forward to the next school year to begin in August, as I will receive that all-coveted tenure. The attrition rate for new teachers at my site is atrocious. I feel lucky to be one of the survivors. Most of the new teachers I started with in August 2004 are no longer with me. They either got chewed up and spit out by the middle schoolers we teach and said, "to hell with this", or they didn't get invited back by our administration. I was astonished to find out how many teachers who left my school last year, did so involuntarily. That makes me feel even more blessed that I was apparently considered competent enough to keep.

So there, I have posted proof that I am still alive and kicking. Meanwhile, I need a vacation!

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, June 16, 2006

McKinney beats the rap

So, I guess if you are a "female, black congresswoman" (her words, not mine), then it is OK to hit a police officer Today, a grand jury failed to bring an indictment against Representative Cynthia McKinney of Georgia for striking a Capitol Hill Police officer who tried to stop her after she skipped a security checkpoint without wearing or showing proper identification.

I'm sure that we all know what would happen to one of us if we did the same thing, but as you know, some people are more equal than others.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Evolution of Dance

Just a little something for your Friday morning. This is just about the best darn video ever emailed to me. Ah, memories, memories.

Good Day to You, Sir

Where do your rights come from?

Today, we began the final lesson of the year; that lesson being the Age of Enlightenment when all those famous political thinkers like Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Hobbes, and Voltaire gave us those nifty ideas about individual freedom, equality, and limited government that made their way into the founding documents and philosophy of this great nation of ours.

My standard method of introducing this topic is to ask my students where their rights come from. Specifically, I ask them, "Who gives you your rights?". Their typical answers often make me want to gag. Here are some of my favorites:

  • The government (always one of the first, and worst, responses
  • The president (imagine depending on Bill Clinton to give you your rights)
  • The Congress (shudder)
  • The courts (yes, they covered all the bases!)
  • Parents (not bad, but I'm almost 34, and I don't ask my parents permission anymore)
  • Yourself (not bad, but what if I give myself the right to kill that guy over there?)
  • The majority vote (Democracy isn't all it's cracked up to be: what if the vote was "kill everyone with brown skin"?)
Finally, some student would finally put the rest of them out of their misery by saying the correct answer, which is God or Creator. I am always scared to freaking death at the number of people who think that it is the government that gives them their rights. If there is one thing my students remember when they walk out of my classroom for the last time at the end of the school year, it is that their rights come from their Creator, and their rights cannot be taken away without due process of law, which doesn't include a majority vote.

Tomorrow is my last instructional day of the year. Next week is the last week of school, and my plan is to show Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World while I finish entering grades. This will be the first film I have shown all year, so it doesn't bother me all that much. The best day next week will be the last. I will be a chaperone for the trip our 6th/7th graders are taking to a local water park. While they have their fun, I will be getting a tan and gabbing with my fellow teachers/chaperones.

The best thing is that when the new school year begins in August, I will receive the coveted status of tenured teacher. After that, I won't be so prone to keep my trap shut.

Good Day to You, Sir

"Another grim milestone is reached"

That is what the media says every time an certain number of dead American soldiers is reached; that number usually being some factor of 500 or 1,000. Today, our new number is 2,500. I remember when we reached 2,000, the unlucky soldier who died to reach that number was profiled by the media, and thoroughly obsessed over. This is not to say that the soldier should not be profiled, but what made him any more special than dead soldier #1,999 or 2,001, other than some arbitrary number?

I can't help but wonder, during World War II, did the press keep a daily and diligent count of our dead? I also wonder how our media of today would handle the casualties we suffered during World War II? (408,000 dead and about 700,000 wounded).

I should have linked to it, but I saw a great letter to the editor in the Sacramento Bee right around the anniversary of D-Day. The letter writer gave some possible D-Day/WWII headlines if today's press had been around back then. They were to the tune of:

15,000 French civilians killed in Allied invasion

Scores of U.S. paratroopers drown in invasion misdrops; Eisenhower to be investigated

2,000 U.S. troops killed in one day in Normandy; is the war a lost cause for the Allies?

Operation Market-Garden fails; is the war a lost cause for the Allies?

Huge German counter-offensive in the Ardennes; is the war a lost cause for the Allies?

One month of fighting and the Marines have yet to take Iwo Jima; is it a quagmire?

7,000 Marines killed in only one month on Iwo Jima; Admiral Nimitz to be investigated; is the war a lost cause for the Allies?


To steal a phrase from Spiro Agnew, I have never seen such a bunch of nattering nabobs of negativism than when I watch typical news coverage of the war in Iraq.

Good Day to You, Sir



Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wait a minute...

I was told that the homeless and the mentally ill are just harmless souls that we shouldn't be afraid of.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, June 09, 2006

The blast that killed Zarqawi

Have you seen it? Here is a link to where you can view it. It is eye-in-the-sky footage that is priceless. Witness the terrible beauty of raw, explosive, American power. I have one question about the blast. Watch the horizontal plumes that travel away from the main blast at almost perfect right angles. How did they get the bomb to explode that way?

I just hope your computers have the capability to watch the footage. I think you need Flashplayer in order to view it.

By the way, in an update to my earlier post, you may have heard that it was confirmed that the blast did not kill Zarqawi right away. He lived just long enough to be captured by American soldiers and realize that he had been captured by American soldiers. We know this because even though he was dying, as soon as he realized he was surrounded by Americans, he tried to crawl off the stretcher on which he had been placed, in an effort to get away. As soon as he was put back on the stretcher, he went to meet Allah. How sweet that is, that he knew that the infidel got him before he croaked. What a great ending!

Good Day to You, Sir

Molest a child, lose your life

The legislature of the state of Oklahoma just passed a law making certain sex crimes, including child molestation, a capital crime.

I think this is an excellent move. I don't know what it is about molesting children, as opposed to other types of crimes, but these highly disturbed people just cannot stop. Once upon a time, you didn't have to rise to the level of murdering someone in order to get the death penalty. Rapists used to be executed as well. In 1960, California sent Caryl Chessman to the gas chamber for rape; he never murdered anyone. But what exactly is murder? What if, instead of someone's life, you take away her dignity, her innocence, her very soul, instead?

Many people think it is overkill (pardon the pun) to execute people for crimes that don't include murder. I think one of the reasons you see so many rapes and molestations nowadays is because those perpetrators know that they won't be killed. The improper thoughts that lie deep in the hearts of men are always there, it is just a matter of whether or not those thoughts are turned into action. Once upon a time, the fear of justice, either from God or from frontier vigilantes, kept those urges in check, but no more; not in this time or society. As the old quote goes, we have become so civilized, we are now uncivilized. This move by Oklahoma, and other states as well, such as South Carolina, is a call to return to more "savage", yet ultimately, more civilized ways.

Good Day to You, Sir

Vietnam vs. Iraq

Lots of people on the left loooove to compare our current war in Iraq to our past war in Vietnam. The left was never more influential than during the Vietnam War, and they have been trying to recapture that magic ever since. Why not try it with the Iraq War? The problem for the left, according to Victor Davis Hanson - definitely one of the smartest guys in the room - is that the differences between the two wars are numerous. However, according to Dr. Hanson, if the left gets its way and the U.S. bugs out of Iraq too soon, the aftermath of the two wars would be tragically similar.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The frosting on the cake

This is outstanding. I swear, sometimes the foreign newspapers have the best info. Read about the operation leading up to the bombing of Zarqawi's safe house (with him in it), and read about his last moments. The best part is that the bastard suffered before he died, and he got to witness the arrival of the infidel at his abode before he croaked. Here is the money quote:
The house, and all inside it, was wiped out. However, Jordanian sources last night said Zarqawi did not die instantly. Though mortally wounded, he was alive when Iraqi and US troops arrived on the scene. His brutal reign ended 10 minutes after the bombs fell. Ten others died with him, among them a chief aide and two women.
Good Day to You, Sir

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the political arena

I was listening to Michael Medved during my lunch break today (as I often do). His guest was Michael Berg, the father of Nick Berg, who was beheaded on video by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the late leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Mr. Berg, who is currently running on the Green Party ticket for a congressional seat in Delaware, is obviously a very disturbed individual. He does not blame Zarqawi for the death of his son Nick, even though authorities are quite sure it was Zarqawi's own hand on the knife that severed Nick's head. Mr. Berg blames George W. Bush for the death of his son. Now I am no fan of most of the things GWB is currently doing, but to absolve Zarqawi of any wrongdoing...?

Mr. Berg was full of stereotypical liberal cliches. He said that there are no evil people; only evil actions - imagine that, I just talked about this a few posts ago. He said that he felt sad that Zarqawi was killed because he feels sad when any human being is killed, and Zarqawi has a family that is mourning right now, too - of course, I don't consider Zarqawi to be a human being. When asked by Medved how Zarqawi should have been punished had he been taken alive, Mr. Berg said - I am not making this up - that Zarqawi (and all criminals for that matter) should have been given restorative, rather than punitive, justice. For Zarqawi, that meant he should have spent the rest of his life working in a hospital for children who have missing limbs. Being around this day after day for the rest of his life would have caused Zarqawi to see the error of his ways. Wow! I was thinking that Zarqawi would have probably tried to identify all the non-Muslim children and then kill them.

Some people who read this might be thinking, "C'mon Chanman, give the guy a break, his son was murdered." This brings me to a related topic that is hot in the news, and that is Ann Coulter's new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism. As she has begun promoting her book, the leftist media has put her on the hot seat for criticizing several 9/11 widows and their political views. She calls this situation "liberal infallibility". The lefties find these sad cases such as the 9/11 Widows, Cindy Sheehan - whose son was killed in Iraq, or congressman John Murtha, who served as a Marine in Vietnam. These people are then sent out to parrot the leftist political points about the war and other leftist causes. If we on the right disagree with those political points being made by these people, then we on the right are considered heartless insensitive clods for daring to criticize these poor people in their time of distress.

This point applies to Michael Berg. I am sorry he lost his son. If my son grew up to be murdered in that way, it would tear my heart out. But as soon as Michael Berg began going on radio and t.v. in order to criticize President Bush's foreign policy (one of the few policies of his that I halfway agree with), and when Mr. Berg threw his hat in the ring to run for congress, then all bets are off. He can no longer hide behind the murder of his son in order to deflect criticism for the political stances that he publicly takes. He and his supporters cannot say, "Oh boo-hoo, how can you disagree with me like that when I have lost my son in such a horrible manner! Have you no compassion for what I am going through?" This applies as well to Cindy Sheehan, who has gotten to the point where she uses her dead son as a mere prop in order to "authenticate" her political positions. Never mind that her son didn't agree with her political positions. If he had, he wouldn't have been in the military or in Iraq to begin with.

Good Day to You, Sir

See Ya!

What a great subject for my 200th post! There have been false reports and rumors before, but it looks like this time, it is the real deal. The bloodythirsty cockroach named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq is officially dead. He was killed in a U.S. air raid along with several of his lackeys. This of course does not mean that we can pack up toys and leave the sandbox, but this is a huge victory, both strategic and especially moral.

Zarqawi personally cut off the head of Nick Berg in that horrible video from 2004 as the bound victim screamed until his trachea was severed. Zarqawi ordered numerous bombings in Iraq that killed thousands of people, including innocent women and children, and this guy wasn't even Iraqi - he was from Jordan. All these lefties who say the U.S. has no business being in Iraq had nothing to say about this foreigner Zarqawi being in there and causing real heartbreak.

Good riddance to you Zarqawi.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It's all about Generation Me

That is the title of a column by Reuben Navarette, a center-left syndicated columnist whose writings often show up in the Sacramento Bee. I often disagree with Mr. Navarette, especially concerning immigration issues, but I'm with him all the way on this subject.

He describes people who were born in the 1990s, 1980s, and yes, the 1970s (I was born in 1972), as Generation Me: a demographic raised by parents and educators on a steady diet of meaningless feel-good platitudes in an effort to raise self-esteem. Navarette wrote this column after perusing a new book from psychology professor, Jean Twenge called Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled -- and More Miserable Than Ever Before. You may have to register with the Bee in order to read the article online, but here are the three most important paragraphs from the column:

...Many of these little treasures were raised in protective bubbles with nanny-cams and decals on car windows that read: "Caution, Baby on Board." From there it was off to public schools, where in the early 1980s, building self-esteem had become nearly as important as teaching math or English. Parenting experts, child psychologists and educators agreed: Boosting students' self-esteem would make them more confident and more successful. Some school districts did silly things such as discouraging teachers from using red pens to correct assignments. Red, it was said, had a negative impact on a student's self-image.

...members of Generation Me have gone through life feeling as if the world revolves around them because, well, for much of their lives, it has. A lot of them have a sense of entitlement. They think they're too good for menial jobs or even blue-collar work, and when they do step into an interview for white-collar employment, they're ambitiously eyeing the vice presidency. They want to make an impact on society, do something fulfilling, and if along the way they become rich and famous, then all the better. They're notoriously impatient, and they won't hesitate to quit if a given job or project doesn't live up to expectations.

...So why does this matter to the rest of us? There's the obvious answer: These are the workers and taxpayers of the future who will, one day, have to keep society afloat.
They'll find that easier to do if they don't constantly throw in the towel at the first sign of roadblocks or adversity. These kids have always been told they would succeed. But along the way someone should have told them that there is a lot to learn from failure.

Amen.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

And for this, he gets detention!

My Dad graduated from high school in 1959 and my mom in 1962. I have asked them on occasion, "When you were in school, what would have happened if a student said 'XXX' to a teacher?" Their answer is usually, "No student would have said that to a teacher." So I say, "OK, work with me here. Let's say that the student did say it, what would have happened?" The answer is always, "That student would have been expelled." I often think about these conversations with my parents when I take note of the penny-ante punishments that students at my school receive for the dumbass things that they do, over and over again.

I have observed that what used to get you expelled, now gets you suspended. What used to get you suspended, now gets you detention. What used to get you detention... you get the point. Here is a perfect example:

A couple of days ago, I was walking out of my classroom right at the end of the school day. I noticed two eighth graders - a boy I knew, and a girl I didn't - having a serious verbal confrontation. They were all up in each other's faces pointing and yelling. I told them to break it up and get off campus as all students are required to do at the end of the day. They complied and I began walking away. Not five seconds later, they were right back at it. I went back to them and told them to either break it up, or they would both accompany me to the office to call home. The girl complied and walked away. The boy? Well, the boy decided to test me. This boy - we will call him Syd'Quan (his real name is almost as ridiculous) - began to smart off to me, telling me that he didn't have to leave and that he could do anything he wanted. I told Syd'Quan to accompany me to the office, and he refused to comply. I again told Syd'Quan to come with me, because he needed to call home. He again refused to comply, this time saying to me, "No! Get the fuck out of my face!" At that point, I could see that this was hopeless, so I told him I would be writing a referral and have a nice day. I marched straight to the office, filled out the referral, and turned it into the VP's box.

This morning, I checked my mailbox and saw that I got my copy of the referral back from the VP. And what did young Mr. Syd'Quan receive from the VP for his offense? He received a call home from the VP, he was called into the VP's office where he received a review of the proper conduct page in our school agenda/planner, and an hour of detention before school. WOW! Excuse me while I stand here astonished at the harsh measures handed out to our young transgressor.

This little bucket of goo told me to "get the fuck out of my face" and he gets an hour of detention?! Hell, why not tell that to a teacher if that is all that is going to happen to you? I recently read about what makes teachers want to leave the profession, and right up there was lack of support from administration. I don't plan on leaving the teaching profession any time soon, but things like this make me see how some could want to. We are, to borrow a famous phrase from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, defining deviancy down. If you plunked my school into a time machine and took these kids back to, say, 1959, probably half of them would be expelled or suspended on their first day. Even who we often consider to be "good" kids would have trouble adjusting, because again, what is accepted now as "good" would have been considered borderline 40 or 50 years ago.

It is a shame to watch as the inmates run the asylum.

Good Day to You, Sir

They cannot be that clueless...

Hat tip: Little Green Footballs

This is a scanned picture of page A3 of the Sunday, June 4 edition of the Toronto Star. The article is talking about the arrest of 17 terror suspects in Toronto. These suspects were caught with, among other things, enough ammonium nitrate fertilizer to make three Oklahoma City-sized bombs. Read the analysis paragraph under the headline:

'[The terrorist suspects] represent the broad strata of our community,' The [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] says. 'Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed.' Aside from the fact that virtually all are young men, it's hard to find a common denominator. (my emphasis)

It's hard to find a common denominator? Well, perhaps I can be of assistance. I found a list of the names of the 12 adult suspects. Look at the names and see if you can spot a common denominator:

1. Fahim Ahmad, 21, Toronto;
2. Zakaria Amara, 20, Mississauga, Ont.;
3. Asad Ansari, 21, Mississauga;
4. Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30, Mississauga;
5. Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, Mississauga;
6. Mohammed Dirie, 22, Kingston, Ont.;
7. Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24, Kingston;
8. Jahmaal James, 23, Toronto;
9. Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19, Toronto;
10. Steven Vikash Chand alias Abdul Shakur, 25, Toronto;
11. Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21, Mississauga;
12. Saad Khalid, 19, of Eclipse Avenue, Mississauga.

Do you see it? I know! Look at their residences; they are all from Canada! No, that can't be it. It must be something else. I know! They are all men! No wait, that was already mentioned. Hmm, I just can't find it.

In all seriousness, are the RCMP and the Toronto Star that dense, or are they so afraid of offending certain members of the community by pointing out the obvious, that they prefer to let people think they are that dense?

For being a "religion of peace", Islam sure intimidates people against speaking their mind, doesn't it? I am just glad that these 17 practitioners of the religion of peace were caught before they got their chance to carry out their allegedly planned attacks.

Good Day to You, Sir

Kinda makes you feel small

Check out what the earth looks like from Mars...

Hat tip: Fark.com

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, June 04, 2006

It's always someone else's fault

I came across two anecdotes from the wacky world of edu-ma-cation that I thought I would share with you.

The first one comes from an article from the website, Common Conservative (see blogroll on right). Author Nancy Salvato describes her witnessing of a conversation between teacher and pupil(s):
Recently, I heard this conversation transpire in a classroom between a teacher and a group of students huddled around her.

Teacher: (answering student arguing with her about being in danger of failing) “Who is it hurting when you don’t turn in your assignment? Is it hurting me? No, it’s hurting you. How can I grade an assignment if it isn’t in front of me? Now all of you know that you lose 11 points a day until the assignment is turned in, but I’m going to give you a break and only take off 22 points even though all of you should be receiving Fs because it has been over five days since the due date. I’m giving all of you class time to complete and turn in your late work.”

Response from one boy in the group of students: “No, its hurting you because if all of us receive bad grades then our parents will know that you are a bad teacher because this many people shouldn’t receive such low grades and then the principal will have to fire you for doing a bad job.”

No kidding, I listened to this and the teacher didn’t respond. She had several kids around her and I’m not sure she really heard him, so many were trying to explain themselves. I did, though, and when he saw me looking at him, he said to me, “It’s true, you know.”

I did know… however, dumbstruck at his arrogance, I just looked at him in amazement.
I have only been teaching full-time for four years, and I have already lost count of the number of times I have been threatened by a student that he was going to sic his parent on me, or that that he was going to have his parents sue me; mostly for some pretty horrific behavior on my part like enforcing a homework deadline, or kicking the kid out of my class for disruptive behavior, or for being racist because the kid was black/hispanic/asian as he was missing homework or disrupting my classroom.

The second article comes from my friend George over at MimmenBlog (see blogroll on right). He describes a reality check that he had to layeth down upon one of his students:
She hands me her paper, which was due in January, on the last day of school asking if I would change her grade from a "D" to a "C". This is the first time she has submitted a paper, even though she was my student in Fall. I hesitantly oblige. Later, while reading the paper, warning bells begin chiming. I discover, after one and a half hours of research that her paper has been cut and pasted from the internet.

I hand her a folder. Inside is "her" paper and copies of the original sources (Only the introduction and conclusion were not copied. The entire paper, word for word, comes from four different internet sources). I walk away. She later catches up with me, informing me that $22,000.00, her admission to a private college, and her financial aid, is riding on this grade. My heart breaks . . . I tell her I will think about. I did. I later called her house, speaking with her father, and telling them that the grade stands. The father agrees.

My reasons:

1. I assigned the paper in September.
2. She missed the two draft deadlines (I did have forgeries of other students for the roughs as well. They were told they would receive no points for the rough, and would still have to do the paper, and that I would be watching them.)
3. I nagged her to turn in a draft, was willing to extend the due date of the draft, and offered help.
4. I extended her paper due date beyond the Fall Semester.
5. I accepted the paper in May, when it was due in January. Turns out it was not hers.

I found out from her dad that she lied to him. She told him that she had turned the paper in to me in January. When I asked about the date of her paper ( which is January she claimed she could not remember when it was due so just put that at the top - she lied to me to.)

Friday evening the mother calls. She apologizes for her family, says she is embarrased, and with tears slips in a request for me to help her daughter. Saturday afternoon, the phone message icon indicates that there is a message. I listen. It is from the student. With tears she begs for mercy, admits a mistake, and indicates that she is paying for what she did.

I still think she is missing the point. The payment for what she did is in missing school and the money. She has to pay the price for this sin. I can't pay it for her. She has not yet admitted the heinousness of what she did, which was more than just copy a few lines off the internet.

The grade stands. Wouldn't you agree?
Right up to the very end, some kids just don't get it do they?

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Infantilization of our culture

I have used this term before in previous posts, and I thought I would take a few moments to expound upon the subject with a few examples that I have seen during my time as a teacher and as an adult. What I mean by the infantilization of our culture is that I have noticed a disturbing trend at almost all age groups whereby people act less mature than they should. Don't get me wrong; I love how many baby boomers in their 50s and 60s refuse to hobble around like little old men and ladies like our wizened citizens of generations past. What I am talking about is immature behavior by some of our younger generations. A few examples:
  1. I teach at a middle school. I notice that many students, both male and female, wear backpacks that are way too young for them. I see 7th and 8th grade girls with backpacks adorned with Dora the Explorer and Strawberry Shortcake, and I see 7th and 8th grade boys wearing Spongebob Squarepants backpacks. When I was of middle school age, my friends and I would not have been caught dead wearing something that my 3 year old niece would go ga-ga over (she loves Dora the Explorer)
  2. The final time I went trick or treating during Halloween was when I was 11 years old, and even then, I felt really self-conscious about it. Once I reached middle school age, neither my friends nor I would have dared gone trick or treating. That was "kid stuff", which after elementary school simply wasn't done. Now? Last Halloween, my wife and I greeted high schoolers at our door, dressed up and trick or treating like they were still 8 years old.
  3. The intentional misspelling of words. This is one of my biggest pet peeves of this whole hip-hop garbage: Boyz, thugz, tha, Timbaland (instead of Timberland), ya self, wit (instead of with), gangsta, gurl, fo shizzle my nizzle, ad nauseum... Once upon a time, being grammatically correct and a good speller was something that people strove for. Now it is a sign of being an uptight chump. When I was doing my Today in History feature with my students not too long ago, I read to them about when Al Capone got convicted of tax evasion. Many kids had never heard of Al Capone, so I told them that he was a gangster in 1920s Chicago. Many kids laughed and tried to correct me - "Mr. Chanman, it's not gangster, it's gangsta." Uh, no kids. I can guarantee you that Al Capone never referred to himself as a gangsta.
  4. The younger generations intentionally dress themselves as inaccurately as they spell. I have talked about this before too. Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld came up with the perfect name for this phenomenon: the cult of inaccuracy. You can spot a cult member by identifying some very telltale signs: sagging pants that are four sizes too large, t-shirt that is five sizes too large, shoes untied, baseball cap cocked upward with the bill turned sideways. Please, wear the cap backward if you must, but for all that is good and holy, don't wear it sideways.
  5. Were it not for the wrinkles, I have sometimes had difficulty distinguishing a mother from her daughter as they were walking together. We know that many middle school and high school age girls dress like prostitutes nowadays. What is really disheartening is when you see their nearing-middle-age mother dressing the same way. I always wonder if it is a chicken/egg scenario. Does the daughter dress like that because her mom does, or does the mom dress like that in the hopes that her daughter will like her more for attempting to look hip?
  6. The discontinuation of dressing up to travel on airplanes and trains. Once upon a time, people dressed to kill while traveling. Now they just dress in whatever. We have lost much of our formality in society, and formality is a mark of maturity.
I am sure that I could think of some more examples, but you get my point. I am glad that some things have changed. I am happy that many men have eschewed the old father/son relationship where the father refused to put down the bowler hat and watch fob and actually play with his kids. But for goodness sake, Moms and Dads, please don't forget to instruct your sons and daughters that there is a time and place to dress up and to act in a mature manner. And never forget that you are not their friend (at least as long as they are kids), you are their parent.

Good Day to You, Sir