Monday, July 31, 2006

The Mainstream Media sure does love Cuba

I just read this article from the Associated Press about Fidel Castro's failing health and his upcoming surgery. Whenever the news talks about Cuba, I am so amused at their verbal contortions as they try to put a happy face on what is one of the world's most oppressive regimes.

Here is a quote from the article:

The United States was the first country to recognize Castro, but his radical economic reforms and rapid trials of Batista supporters quickly unsettled U.S. leaders.

"His radical economic reforms" included stealing houses from rich Cuban landowners and giving them to his commie cronies (and himself), and sending schoolchildren out into the sugarcane fields to work as virtual slaves, thereby establishing a communist system that gutted the country's economy and infrastructure.

The reporter mentions the "rapid trials of Bastista supporters", but failed to mention that after their "rapid trials", they were taken to La Cabana prison and put up against a bullet-pockmarked wall (FUEGO!!), sometimes being shot personally by the prison's commandant - one Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

Here's another quote:

Meanwhile, Cuban revolutionaries opened 10,000 new schools, erased illiteracy, and built a universal health care system.

Oh Lord! Someone praising Cuba always brings up the schools, literacy rate and healthcare canards. My three standard answers are the following: what good is going to school when the only education you will receive is one steeped in Marxist ideology and hatred for the United States? What good is literacy going to do you, when all you can read is what the Cuban government allows you to read? What good is free health care when the hospital has no supplies, and the doctor is making more money as a cabana boy at the local hotel full of Swedish tourists than he is practicing medicine?

You would think these Castro-philes could think of more compelling arguments when they sing Cuba's (Castro's) praises.

Good Day to You, Sir

If I hear the term "disproportionate response" one more time, I'm gonna lose it!

That is the line that Laura Ingraham has been saying all week on her radio show (that's what is nice about summer break, I actually get to listen to her). She has been saying this in response to the rote mantra about how Israel should be able to defend herself, but that its reaction to Hezbollah's raining of rockets on Israeli cities has just been too heavy-handed and "disproportionate" to the circumstances. After all, all Hezbollah did was cross the Israeli border, kill eight Israeli soldiers, and kidnap two more. How does that justify killing hundreds of poor innocent Lebanese civilians in airstrikes and blowing up multiple bridges in buildings?

Hmmm... how indeed? I didn't have to think very hard about this scenario to find countless examples of "disproportionate" response. The best example was the very one used by Charles Krauthammer in an excellent op-ed that ran in the Sacramento Bee yesterday. I also found his column online at I highly suggest you read it, and here are a couple teasers to get you started:
The word that obviates all thinking and magically inverts victim into aggressor is ``disproportionate," as in the universally decried ``disproportionate Israeli response."

When the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, it did not respond with a parallel ``proportionate" attack on a Japanese naval base. It launched a four-year campaign that killed millions of Japanese, reduced Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki to a cinder, and turned the Japanese home islands to rubble and ruin. Disproportionate? No. When one is wantonly attacked by an aggressor, one has every right -- legal and moral -- to carry the fight until the aggressor is disarmed and so disabled that it cannot threaten one's security again. That's what it took with Japan.

Britain was never invaded by Germany in World War II. Did it respond to the blitz and V-1 and V-2 rockets with ``proportionate" aerial bombardment of Germany? Of course not. Churchill orchestrated the greatest land invasion in history that flattened and utterly destroyed Germany, killing untold innocent German women and children in the process.
Pearl Harbor was the very example that immediately came to my mind when I began thinking of this disproportionality crap. Next Krauthammer snippet:
The perversity of today's international outcry lies in the fact that there is indeed a disproportion in this war, a radical moral asymmetry between Hezbollah and Israel: Hezbollah is deliberately trying to create civilian casualties on both sides while Israel is deliberately trying to minimize civilian casualties, also on both sides.

In perhaps the most blatant terror campaign from the air since the London blitz, Hezbollah is raining rockets on Israeli cities and villages. These rockets are packed with ball bearings that can penetrate automobiles and shred human flesh. They are meant to kill and maim. And they do.

Which brings us back to this cartoon:

Does anything look disproportionate here?

I know that this is all a big game. The pro-Hezbollah side is quite aware that they are the aggressors in this fight. But they know that there are too many anti-semitic haters of Israel who are going to believe their blubbering B.S. about Israeli "aggression" and "disproportionate response." The pro-Israel side knows its B.S., Hezbollah knows its B.S. - the problem is with the rest of the people out there who still get their news from the big three networks on television who don't come near to getting the whole story, and are much more likely to swallow this whole moral equivalency/cycle of violence malarkey that we see over and over again on the news where the defensive actions of Israel and the actions of the Arab terrorists who want to annhilate Israel are put on an even keel. On a lark, I watched the NBC Nightly News tonight, and was sickened by what I saw. Every story had to do with how Israel is beginning to look more and more like the bad guy in this fight. Damage to Lebanon from Israeli airstrikes - both infrastructure and people - was shown again and again. Meanwhile, not one mention of Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel was made, nor was any damage to Israeli buildings or people by Hezbollah's Katyusha rockets ever shown. This is where I just have to say it: I want to grab that pompous asshat, David Gregory, by his blow-dried hair and sock him in his simian-like face. He stood there for three minutes straight and did nothing but bash Israel.

Enough of my ramblings; read the Krauthammer column. The truth shall set you free!

Good Day to You, Sir

***By the way, I know the cartoon shows a Palestinian terrorist (Hamas), and not a Hezbollah terrorist, but these two terrorist organizations are equally guilty of using civilians and especially children as human shields.

An Illustration...

of the difference between the Traditional methods of teaching versus the so-called Constructivist methods is to be found at one of my favorite websites, Two entries from a teacher chat room are highlighted, making for a very interesting comparison.

Here is what a traditional teacher in a 5th/6th grade classroom had to say:
Subject: Re: critical thinking
To: Multiple recipients of list

As I "looped" with my former 5th graders into 6th this fall, I spent the summer preparing for the new 6th grade curriculum. I loved the 5th grade curriculum, but when I surveyed the 6th, I was dismayed at the seemingly diverse and disconnected topics I was going to teach. I know that everything doesn't have to be integrated, but 5th grade seemed to naturally fall into themes that flowed together.

Then about midway it hit me ( I guess I finally did some critical thinking!) My former 5th graders were fascinated with the idea that some revolutionary "thinkers" such as Petrarch and Boccaccio were able to turn the world upside down with their ideas about life and to initiate the founding philosophy of the Renaissance. They totally "got" humanistic philosophy, and loved discussing its influence.

Well, here I was with Isaac Newton in my Physics class and the Enlightenment and French Revolution in my Core! (This, of course following the study of Ancient Greek philosophy.) Our goal this year is to answer the fascinating question of how Isaac Newton (like the humanistic philosophers during the Renaissance) set the ideas in motion to turn the world on its ear again and indirectly "cause" the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the Declaration of Independence, and the American and French Revolutions!!!
Wow! I would truly love to be in that class. Now let's see what is going on over in a typical Constructivist classroom (5th grade):
Subject: Halloween craft with dried orange skins

Hi ...

I do craft work using the skins of dried citrus fruits that can be put on a shee of paper with elmers glue. The dried outer skin has no glue and maintains the wonderful citrus smell. You can put the peels in the shape of a pumpkin ...

You can also take just a large slice from the end of an orange and it looks like a pumpkin face ... especially if you cut into it with an exacto knife (no kids here) ... or add decorations.

You can dry at a low heat in the oven ... experiment (so many possibilities regarding lessons ... how the size changes, how the taste of the skin changes, weight ... etc. You can also use a food dehytrator.

I actually do a craft idea that is related to this ... "My car is a lemon and an orange and lime too" ... In this case for the wheels I actually dry two slices of the citrus fruit.
It carries over to middle school as well. Before he became a vice principal, one of my social studies colleagues had his students out in the athletic field flying kites as part of his unit on ancient China.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Arab/Israeli conflict... In a nutshell

One could start a whole new blog dedicated only to the goings-on in the Middle East. At this late hour, I don't have the strength to recap a history of Israel's existence since 1948 and its subsequent struggles to survive. So instead of me blathering on and on about a small outpost of Judaism in the Middle East being attacked over and over again by a bunch of thuggish Nazi-worshipping death cultists, I will just sum the whole situation up with a simple cartoon I found.

Any questions?

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Back from another sojourn

The fam and I just returned from another mini-vacation. We left a day earlier than expected because our air conditioner decided to stop working during a record heatwave. So we escaped from the oven-like Central Valley for the mountains of Northern California, which because of the statewide heatwave, weren't appreciably cooler, but cooler just the same. We traveled to my parents' home in the little town of Burney, located in California's volcano country in the northeastern part of the state. On Monday, we took a day trip to the city of Mount Shasta, which - surprise, surprise - sits on the western slope of Mount Shasta itself. I never tire of visiting the Mount Shasta area. My wife once asked me where I would live if I could pick anywhere, and I chose Mount Shasta City. There is a road called the Everitt Memorial Highway that begins in Mount Shasta City, then climbs to about the 8,000 foot level of the 14,162 foot high mountain. At the end of the road, I took this shot:

I don't know who the guy in the photo is, but I appreciate his role as my use of scale. Although I love Mount Shasta, the town of Burney is high up on my list of favorite places also. Burney is about one hour southeast of Mount Shasta, and is built upon and around blankets of lava flows that are tens of thousands of years old. I love that high volcano country where the forests of Ponderosa pines intersperse with the black volcanic rock and red pumice; kind of like this:

Down the road from Burney are a collection of lava tubes, the most famous in the area being Subway Cave; so named because when you walk in it, you feel like you are in exactly that - a subway tunnel. We didn't make it to Subway Caves on this trip, but here are two pics from the last time we went:

One of the places on the top of my list of where I want to take my wife and kids is the Lava Beds National Monument near Tulelake in extreme Northern California. Think of an area with hundreds of caves like Subway Cave, but a lot bigger! I have been there a couple of times before, but my wife hasn't. I would like to wait until our kids are old enough to walk/crawl in the lava tubes with us.

By the way, when we got home, I replaced the thermostat in our hallway. So far, the A/C is running like a champ. Of course, now the heat wave is coming to an end; currently it is a chilly 97 degrees outside. Why couldn't the A/C work properly when it was 111?

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

John Dewey: Incompetent teacher?

Anyone who has been through a teaching credential program, or especially a Masters in Education program like I have, cannot have helped but hear the name John Dewey. It's not like we have a choice; as teachers, his philosophical ramblings are practically shoved down our throats.

John Dewey did more to ruin the institution of education in the United States than any other individual. He is most responsible for changing education from an individual academic pursuit, to one of social utilitarianism. Dewey was a socialist who believed that our schools should be used as factories that would mass-produce good little young socialists. Dewey's supporters swear up and down that this is not true, but would you expect them not to? Any cursory reading of Dewey's works will prove otherwise.

I am currently reading a book by Henry Edmondson III called John Dewey & the Decline of American Education: How the patron saint of schools has corrupted teaching and learning. One of the juicier bits of information I have read so far is the following:
The most astonishing symbol of education's surrealistic separation between theory and practice is this: although he has told millions how to teach elementary and secondary students, John Dewey himself was a poor teacher. He had trouble maintaining discipline in both the secondary teaching posts he occupied, and when he left the latter in Charlotte, Vermont, "the townspeople... were glad to see him depart.
In the endnote for this information, the author further explains,
...[e]ven an ardent admirer like Sydney Hook admitted that Dewey's teaching - this time at the college level - was so uninspired as to violate "his pedagogical principles."
So here you have a man who is worshipped the world over in the educational community for his writings and philosophy on methods of teaching, and the man could not even control the young students in his own classrooms! This is a textbook example of the problems faced by the political left regarding intentions versus results. My colleagues on the left often believe that as long as their heart is in the right place, the results of their (misguided) endeavors do not matter. In this case, we have out-of-control classrooms - then and now - due to the adherence to Dewey's rhetoric, but golly gee, don't his ideas sound great? Democratic education, pragmatism and practicality in the classroom, learning in a social, rather than an individual paradigm... who cares if in reality, it leads to an educational train wreck.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

So I have some pictures for you after all!

Lucky me, I forgot that George gave me his homemade sign that he held aloft at the rally. Not bad for the limited time he had, don't you think?

Good Day to You, Sir

Don't you just love the Nazi salutes being given by the Hezbollah goons? Shows you where their politics lie, doesn't it?

So I went to a rally today, but...

I can be such a ditz sometimes; I forgot to bring my digital camera! This afternoon, fellow blogger George Mimmen of the MimmenBlog (see links at right) and I attended a "Support Israel" rally on the west steps of California's state capitol. The rally was put on by a group called Christians United for Israel. I am horrible at guessing the size of crowds, but I can say with some confidence that the number of supporters in attendance was in excess of 500 people. The pro-terrorist crowd that showed up in response (I'll get to them in a second), numbered around 20 Kool-Aid drinkers. The shame is that instead of showing you pictures of all this, I will have to describe it instead.

The rally was pretty straightforward. There were a few speakers, including Sacramento vice mayor Rob Fong, and the head of the Israeli consulate in San Francisco. His speech was a joy to listen to, for he did not sugarcoat his words with platitudes. He said that Israel has only fought one war - it started on the day of their independence in 1948, and it hasn't quit since. Many of the pro-Israel people in attendance carried professionally produced signs that said
  • Israel wants peace; Hamas wants war
  • Israel wants peace; Hezbollah wants war
  • Christians for Israel
  • Israel gave up Gaza for peace, not 800 rocket attacks
As usual, the best entertainment came from the terrorist supporters and the moonbats who occupied the sidewalk that parallels the street in front of the capitol. Here are some of the signs I saw:
  • You can stop this war now!
  • Stop Israel's ethnic cleansing campaign
  • 9/11 was a colossal hoax
  • Stop U.S. aid to Israel
  • Preemptive war is premeditated murder
  • Impeach Bush
  • Bush and Olmert, we'll see you at the Hague
  • Gaza: Witness to genocide
Additionally, there was a human-shaped cardboard cutout with a star of David on its chest with the words "baby killer" written above the star; there were various Palestinian flags, along with a Lebanese flag and a Syrian flag, and of course the footprint of the American chicken - a peace flag. The counter-protesters were a mixed group of swarthy middle-eastern types wearing kaffiyehs, and aging hippies long-of-tooth looking for a way to recapture the protesting glory of their youth.

The two sides were kept well-separated by CHP officers on foot, horseback, and bicycle. The only transgression was by a tall bony lady carrying a sign that said W: Worst President Ever! She walked behind the pro-Israel speakers podium while holding her sign aloft. A CHP officer on a bicycle intercepted her and sent her scurrying back to her side.

Once the pro-Israel rally was over, the crowd broke up and left without incident. Some of them even walked right through the small throng of pro-terrorist people in order to get to their cars. Perhaps the crowd of cops in that area prevented anything from going down?

So there it is - the second political rally I have ever attended. The first was a counter-protest to the anti-gun Million Mom March rally held at the capitol on Mother's Day back in 2000. I would love to attend more political rallies, but they tend to be held on weekday mornings when I work for a living. Thank goodness I am on summer break!

Good Day to You, Sir, and keep up the fight Israel! Continue to defend yourself!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Malkin fasts with Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan recently began a hunger strike to support bringing the troops home. But her idea of a fast is perhaps a little different than what you and I think it is. To illustrate this point, blogger/columnist extraordinare, Michelle Malkin, spends a day on the Cindy Sheehan hunger strike. She eats exactly what Mama Moonbat Sheehan allowed herself. Click on the video and see if Michelle was able to survive.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

D.C. stands for Disgusting Crime

I am confused. The city of Washington D.C. today declared a "crime emergency" because violence and malfeasance has gone through the proverbial roof in that blighted city.

Apparently, two separate groups of tourists were held up at gunpoint by robbers on the Captial Mall, and an aspiring political activist, Alan Senitt, was stabbed to death in Georgetown after being held up at gunpoint (becoming D.C.'s 13th homicide this month) and his girlfriend was sexually assaulted while being held at gunpoint. You probably notice my repetitive use of the word "gunpoint". This is where my confusion begins. For the last 30 years, it has been absolutely illegal for a citizen to own a gun in the city of Washington D.C. Our nation's captial city has perhaps the most stringent gun control laws in the nation. Yet, here they are declaring an emergency because of this year's vicious upswing in crime involving the use of guns. Perhaps this could be happening because of the old adage: If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Do yourself a favor, and read columnist Ben Shapiro's reasons for why citizens must own and carry firearms.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wanna see some leftist "peace" protesters in action?

This video was posted on Michelle Malkin's Hot Air website. I always enjoy watching the true colors of the so-called "tolerant, progressive left" come shining through. They just cannot help themselves.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, July 10, 2006

U.S. soldiers' bodies were desecrated

A video has been released by the al Qaeda cockroaches who kidnapped and brutally murdered two American soldiers last month. In the video, the two soldiers dead bodies are lying on the ground in a pool of blood. One of the soldiers had been beheaded, and one of the terrorists holds the head up for the camera. Another terrorist puts his foot on the head of the other soldier (he had not been beheaded at that point), then flips the soldier over on his back. One of the dead soldier's genitalia was showing, so the terrorists were kind enough to blur out that image. They wouldn't want to show anything obscene, now would they?

I will not post the video or still pics of this travesty directly on my blog, but here is the link where you can view it if you want to. You may ask why I would encourage you to view such a vile thing. I can only say that one of the biggest problems we have in this country is that many of us have no idea how vicious and bloodthirsty our enemies are. It is the same reason that once upon a time, I posted a link to photos of two Christian Indonesian schoolgirls who were beheaded by some more practitioners of the Religion of Peace. Sun Tzu said to know your enemy. We must know what he is capable of.

Good Day to You, Sir

The Russians bag their own Zarqawi

Shamil Basayev, the Chechen Muslim mastermind of some of Russia's most deadly terrorist attacks was killed today by Russian military forces. Basayev was behind the Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002 that killed 130 Russian civilians. In 2004, Basayev was responsible for an even bigger and more deadly attack at a school in Beslan, Russia that killed 331 people, including well over 100 children. Now, I freely admit that the Russians aren't babes in the woods either, but these Chechens are ruthless, and surprise surprise, they are devout practitioners of the Religion of Peace. In the face of such thuggery, the only thing the Russians can do is be ruthless back.

Just in case the horrors of Beslan slipped from your mind, behold an example of Basayev's handiwork at that school turned charnel house. Please only click on the link if your stomach is strong.

Good Day to You, Sir

How Nerdy am I?

I am nerdier than 35% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

So, it appears that I am not the nerd I always thought I was; I am but a mere "Nerd Wannabe." It turns out that 65% of respondents to this survey are nerdier than I am. Think of me as the Booger character in Revenge of the Nerds (What the f*** is a frush?).

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The results are in, and they are ugly

One of my favorite columnists, Dr. Walter Williams, just came out with a devastating article relaying the atrocious test scores of our nation's black 4th and 8th graders.

At the school in which I teach, almost 30% of the student body is black, and like every other campus I can think of, it is the black students with the lowest standardized test scores across the board. I won't rehash the reasons for this about which I have written before. I will simply say that as a teacher, it is so damn frustrating to watch these otherwise intelligent students throw their academic careers away so they aren't thought less of by their peers.

Do students of other races have that same problem? Sure, but one only has to look at the standardized test scores to see which racial group is being hit the hardest by a poisonous culture that applauds lack of effort.

Good Day to You, Sir

Back from God's Country

My wife, kids, and I are back from our week-long vacation, and oh what a wonderful trip! We spent 7 glorious days in a cabin that sits a 30 second walk from a small alpine lake south of Lake Tahoe. In deference to the propietors of the lake, will not divulge the lake's name. They enjoy their customers, but they don't want too many customers. The lake is surrounded on three sides by massive granite peaks and ridges. This is one of the peaks, and who should be looking up at it, but my son. He quickly got cabin fever, so I accompanied him on many a trek through the woods in an effort to burn off his endless supply of energy.

I so enjoy the woods, and I hope to instill that love of the outdoors in both of my children. This yearly pilgrimage will certainly help. I think it was the philosopher Rousseau who said that being separated from nature turns man into a savage. In order to civilize our children, my wife and plan on getting them into the "savage" woods every chance we can get.

Please enjoy the other pictures that follow. I am tired of trying to figure out how to put multiple photos in one post without it looking like crap, so I finally decided to make each photo its own post. Think of this as a very extended edition of God's Country!

Good Day to You, Sir
One afternoon, some friends of mine and I climbed the extremely steep ridge/mountain that surrounds the lake. The lake at which we stayed is in the foreground. We weren't able to go all the way to the top of the mountain, because there was still snow covering the last 100 yards or so (the peak is just under 9,000 feet). The snow in itself wouldn't have been a problem, but the climb is so extremely steep, you would take an unstoppable and probably fatal ride if you slipped. How steep is the climb you may ask? Well, combine my out-of-shape body, 7,000 or 8,000 feet of elevation, and an almost vertical climb, and you have me tossing my cookies halfway up the mountain. Yes folks, I am embarassed to say (but humble enough to admit) that I threw up during the climb to this wonderful view you see before you. When it comes to photography, I guess I really do suffer for my art.
As we got back from our hike, the sun was beginning to set on the lake. I am a sucker for taking pictures in late afternoon sunlight. Don't you just want to jump right in?
My son, doing his best impression of a discus thrower. In all seriousness, for a two year old, he can really heave a frisbee, and accurately to boot! As you can see, the view from the beach is absolutely stunning.
Jumping for joy that I am on vacation and I am in my beloved woods. My family and I are already looking forward to next year!