Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another "Grim Milestone" alert

Just once, I would like to see the media report a significant amount in the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq without using the now hackneyed and cliched term "grim milestone".

Unfortunately, no matter what term is used, the fact remains that we have now lost 3,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. If you add our dead from Afghanistan, we passed the "grim milestone" of 3,000 quite a long time ago. So far, we have lost 353 American troops dead in Afghanistan, for a total of about 3,355 lost so far in the war against Islamic fascism. To keep abreast of our casualties, go here.

Notice I use the term "Islamic fascism", not "Terror". You don't fight a war against terror, anymore than we fought a war against sneak attacks after Pearl Harbor.

And let us not forget our wounded. Dying in a war is awful, but losing a limb, or your eyesight, or your hearing, or your ability to procreate, or your ability to walk is also devastating. So far, the number of U.S. wounded in Iraq is 22,565. Add the toll in Afghanistan of 1,084, and you get a grand total of 23,650 Purple Hearts. God Bless them all, and here's hoping that in 2007, we can find an effective and honorable way out of this mess in which we find ourselves.

Good Day to You, Sir

Ding Dong! The witch is dead!

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Will this solve all of Iraq's many problems? Of course not. Is it a step in the right direction? You betcha! Yesterday, Saddam Hussein, the Butcher of Baghdad, assumed room temperature as he was executed for just one of thousands of crimes against humanity that he and his henchmen committed against the people of Iraq. I have seen a film of his hanging that was taken by a witness with a video cell phone; Saddam looked frightened, but composed.

Before anyone gets all weepy about a 69 year old man kicking at the end of a rope, let us revisit some of the atrocities that he inflicted upon his own people, and keep in mind that these thousands were just as scared as Saddam Hussein was at the thought of their impending death or disfigurement, but Hussein went in a much more merciful fashion.

These atrocites included the following:

# Medical experimentation

# Beatings

# Crucifixion

# Hammering nails into the fingers and hands

# Amputating sex organs or breasts with an electric carving knife

# Spraying insecticides into a victim's eyes

# Branding with a hot iron

# Committing rape while the victim's spouse is forced to watch

# Pouring boiling water into the victim's rectum

# Nailing the tongue to a wooden board

# Extracting teeth with pliers

# Using bees and scorpions to sting naked children in front of their parents

# And of course, sending clouds of poisonous gas descending upon villages and towns.

So if you look at Saddam at his execution and feel any sympathy for his predicament, just remember other images like this:

Saddam sure didn't give a crap about these people at the moment of their death, now did he?

Keep in mind, much of the fence straddling and lack of cooperation from many of the Iraqi people toward the American presence and the push toward Iraq's democratization has been caused by the fear that somehow, some way, Saddam would make it back into power - and in that case, Allah help anyone who collaborated with the Americans. Now that Saddam is taking the eternal dirt nap, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Good Day to You, Sir (no, not you Saddam)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2: 1-14

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Now that's what I call Losing my Religion!

Do you remember that great 1991 song by R.E.M.? It had a bit of controversy at the time because it didn't mean what people figured it meant. Losing one's religion is really an old southern slang term that means you're flying off the handle.

That is exactly what this guy has done, that is, if he ever had a handle off which to fly to begin with. If I was to ever set myself on fire in protest of something, I know that it would not be for this guy's twisted reason. Think of it as the ultimate act of moonbattery! This is the second person in recent days to set himself on fire to protest something in this country. A vicar fatally set himself ablaze in Germany last month, but at least it was for a more admirable cause.

Meanwhile, I will continue to refer to the two spans of time off as "Christmas Break" and "Easter Break" - just like I always have.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Carnival of Education

The 98th running of the Carnival is up for your enjoyment at the Median Sib blog. Be sure to check out the Carnival of Education next week: it will be hosted by my buddy Darren at Right on the Left Coast (see blogroll).

Good Day to You, Sir

Have you seen this... man?

More and more, I hear people say that political correctness will get us all killed. The slavish adherence to PC by airport security in this country certainly played a hand in allowing the 9/11 terrorist attacks to happen, and in England, a quivering attempt to not offend Muslims has made it possible for a cop killer to flee from justice.

The United Kingdom has a law in place that dictates the prohibition of requiring a Muslim woman from removing her face veil (called a niqab, and pictured above) at security checkpoints for purposes of positive identification. Well surprise, surprise: this insane law was exploited by the most wanted man in the UK and made possible his escape to Somalia where he is now under armed protection, while the British policewoman he shot and killed lies in her grave, unavenged.

The suspect, Mustaf Jama, evaded British law enforcement by using his sister's passport and niqab to impersonate her and board a flight for Somalia. Knowing that British airport officials would not make him remove the niqab from his face, Jama flashed his sister's passport, and walked right on the plane to freedom.

This may have happened across the pond in the United Kingdom, but c'mon, can't you easily see the same thing happening here in the near future? Too many Americans are under the spell of political correctness to the point where they are so scared to death of being considered intolerant or insensitive, that they apparently would rather die for real.

A big hat tip to Little Green Footballs (see blogroll) for bringing this tongue-clucking story to my attention.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, December 18, 2006

They like me! They really like me!

Please, please... Thank you... you are all too kind... OK... you can stop clapping now... OK you can clap a little more.

That's right, I have been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year... seriously! The only catch is that so has everyone else. In a major watering down of their yearly bestowment, Time has seen fit to mimic the everyone-is-special mindset of our youth soccer leagues and public schools by awarding every person in - presumably - the world with the title of Person of the Year. How does Time justify this? They are recognizing the fact that the Internet (and the people who use it) has totally changed the way we do just about everything: how we communicate, how we shop, how we get our news, how we study. One of the biggest innovations of the Internet has been the blogosphere, to which I make my own humble contribution with my continued publishing of Buckhorn Road.

These little information dispensers called blogs have slain giants. Just think about the fate of Dan Rather when he tried to pass off some fabricated National Guard documents in an effort to unseat our President. In no time flat, the blogosphere had pointed out that the documents were fake, and so was Dan Rather. Would that have happened before the Internet came along? Don't think so! How about the Reuters "fauxtography" from the war between Israel and Hezbollah last summer? I doubt that the mainstream media would have exposed Reuters in the pre-Internet era; it was the bloggers who did it instead.

When bloggers first came on the scene, traditional journalists derided them as people writing in their living rooms while wearing their pajamas; there is even a blogger news service called Pajamas Media. Now look at the number of journalists and other newspeople who keep blogs themselves. Look at how snippets from my blog (and others) have been featured in the newspaper of record for the city of Sacramento.

It's a whole new world out there, and I am proud to officially be a part of it.

Good Day to You, Sir

An adrenaline rush of a movie

I just got back from watching Mel Gibson's latest movie, Apocalypto. I know there are some historical inaccuracies - show me a period piece movie that doesn't have any - but Apocalypto was a masterpiece just the same. Where the movie shined was in costuming and understanding human behavior; both that of the characters and of the audience.

The costumes in this movie were breathtaking. The feather-adorned headdresses, the masks worn by the sacrificial priests, the face and ear piercings of the villagers, and even the garb of the conquistadors who make an appearance at the movie's end, all made you feel as if you were watching real events in Mayan history, not a bunch of actors dressed up for the screen. The Mayans had the right amount of dirtiness and grubbiness that you would expect from people who are living in conditions where they are too crammed together. Gibson did the same thing in The Passion of the Christ. I still think about the gnarly yellowed teeth and grimy uniforms of the Roman soldiers in that movie. That is so much more accurate than the pristine costumes that came right off the hangars for movies like Spartacus and The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Mel Gibson's script and direction made for some truly heartbreaking scenes. The part of the movie where Mayan warriors have raided a village and are killing, raping, and taking prisoners made me sit there and thank my lucky stars that I live in the relatively peaceful calm of my beloved country. As I watched the male villagers get taken down and hogtied on the spot by the Mayan warriors, while the villager's wives and children looked on, visions and bad thoughts swam around in my head as I placed myself and my family in that very same predicament and I thought about how horrible, how hopeless, I would feel. For most of this movie, my heart raced and my pulse pounded in my neck as I squirmed with unbearable anticipation at the fate of the protaganist and his family. Gibson did a masterful job of getting my emotions invested into the movie's characters; even of the villans who chase the protaganist in the movie's third act.

Oh, and then there were the scenes of human sacrifice that Meso-American civilizations were so fond of practicing. Gibson made the scenes very graphic, but he could have made them even more graphic, and didn't. Don't let any horror stories you may have heard about the human sacrifice scenes in Apocalypto scare you away from seeing this movie.

Apocalypto is a real gem, not only as an achievement in filmmaking, but as a check on reality. Many people believe or have been taught that North America was this Garden-of-Edenesque paradise until the Europeans came along and ruined everything. Apocalypto demonstrates that humans live up to their reputations as cruel beings not only in all periods of history, but in all locations as well. Most people are unaware that one of the factors that made it possible for Hernan Cortes to defeat the Aztecs was the help of smaller tribes that so hated the Aztecs, they were willing to cast their lot with the Spanish in an effort to get rid of the Aztecs. And why did these tribes so hate the Aztecs? The Aztecs were always on the search for humans to sacrifice and they found many victims by conducting raids on the weaker tribes outside their empire in a fashion very similar to the raid you see the Mayans undertake in Apocalypto. Did the Europeans commit atrocities against the Meso-American civilizations? Of course. Were the hands of these Meso-American civilizations clean before the arrival of the Europeans? Not on your life. Apocalypto shows how "human" the Mayan civilization could be.

Go see Apocalypto.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A simple question can answer a lot

On a cabinet behind my desk in my classroom, I have a collage of photos of my family taped all over one of the cabinet doors. There are pictures of me with my wife, me with my wife and two kids, pictures of my two kids; both by themselves and together.

Today in class, a black female student took an extended gander at all the photos behind me and then asked in all seriousness, "Is that yo girlfriend?" I even had her point to who exactly she was talking about, and she pointed at my wife. Again, the student was dead serious with her question.

Think about that for a moment. It didn't even cross this student's mind that the woman in my photos - the woman sitting next to me and holding our children - could be my wife. This student just automatically assumed that Mrs. Chanman was my girlfriend. When you look at the statistics, I'm not surprised that my student would think this way. According to the Brookings Institution, 85% of black children can expect to spend all or some of their childhood in a single-parent family, and almost 70% of America's black children are born outside of marriage. Overall, 37% of all of America's children are born out of wedlock. This is not one our country's finer trends. I continue to find it interesting to think that my kids are practically a minority in that they live with both parents who are married to each other in their first and only marriage. This is light years away from what a huge number of students at my school experience.

This student of mine is not an easy one to deal with. I have given up calling her mother with the expectation that it will do any good; the mother always tells me that she doesn't know what else to do with her daughter. So now I just make the obligatory phone call when I suspend this student from my classroom for a day or two. The father? He's in prison.

My job can often be a perpetual bummer as I watch these underparented youths try to make their way in the world while I try my hardest to counter this deluge of social pathology by offering my knowledge of history and life experience that I have accrued during my 34 years in this world. Taking on all of this is like trying to empty the ocean with a shot glass. All I can do is keep on scooping.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, December 11, 2006

If you dress like a thug, you are a thug

The sagging pants, the size XXXXXL t-shirt, the baseball cap on the head cocked at the 10 o'clock position (or worse, the 4 or 8 o'clock), the gold teeth (grillz), the cornrows, the unlaced $200 basketball shoes. You all have seen it; you all know the feelings that well up inside you when you do see it, and the feelings aren't happy ones. I am at once slightly intimidated and full of pity when I see my students dress like this. Intimidated because I don't know if it is just for show or if they really are capable of violence; full of pity because in some cases, I know the student to be harmless, yet he will have problems as he gets older because if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck....

I see I am not the only one with this mindset - not that ever thought I was. Columnist Stanley Crouch from the New York Daily News often writes about the destructive behavior of today's wayward youth, and his most recent piece is no exception. Normally, I link to the site and give you a few choice paragraphs to whet your appetite. In this case, Crouch's piece is so dead-on, I am going to do the ever-so-rare full copy and paste. I will however, link to the article anyway. If you want to read it at the NYDN site, go for it.
To move up, kids must stop being slaves to fashion

A man once told me that things began to get bad in Brooklyn when the drug wars grew to such an extent that a grown man could no longer chastise a young man for being loud or dropping trash in front of his house without fear of having a pistol pulled.

As far as he was concerned, that was the point at which adults began to lose authority because they became afraid of the young black men who were wearing the hooded sweatshirts, the big jackets, the drop-down pants, the expensive sneakers. The barbarism of gold teeth had yet to appear.

That was part of what has surely become a cultural crisis in which young black men adorn themselves with surface trappings and take on the obnoxious vulgarity of thugs in order to meet the expectations of young black women who have embraced their own degradation, seeming to find it sexy. That degradation is expressed in the misogynistic doggerel that dominates popular hip hop recordings.

Added to this low-lying mix are the supposedly sympathetic white liberals, who are more than happy to submit gutlessly to the black middle class. These white liberals have been intellectually hustled into believing that the inarticulate thug and the freelance slut are young black people in their natural state.

The black middle class, terrified of being defined as a group that kowtows to "white values," does not tend to have the nerve to stand up to this crabbed vision of life or ethnic "authenticity."

But, at the end of the ride, the ones losing and left holding the bag are neither white liberals nor the black middle class. The tragic losers are those black kids who believe that their true identity is achieved through illiteracy, thuggish behavior, dropping out of school and psychologically ingesting the subterranean attitudes toward women that are espoused by pimps. They are sloughing through a spiritual sewer, incapable of knowing just how much it stinks.

But these kids are not the only ones who have absolutely no idea of what a culture is - which is neither a handful of slang phrases, clown or slut dress and offensive behavior.

As one young man told me when I saw him walking at night with a group of guys who seemed on the verge of anarchy but were merely playing a part, the whole thing is a come-on to get girls, who have made the thug into a sex symbol.

"We don't want to shoot anybody, to rob anybody, or to get into a fight. We know the honeys like all of this. If they didn't, that would be the end because we go the way they go," he said.

The solution may have to come from the women, who have been known to get men to act right when they have gotten tired of them acting like animals.

To face this crisis and the fact that the street thug impersonation is now considered "cool" and is attached to the multibillion-dollar hip-hop industry, will take some doing. After all, let us not forget that Harriet Tubman said that she could have gotten many more slaves off of the plantation if she could have convinced them that they WERE slaves.

The trouble was that they believed that slavery was a natural state and one that they should accept as no more than the way life was.

Originally published on December 11, 2006
Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ahhhh! THAT'S where I know that name.

This happened well over a month ago, but I just now had a realization that makes it all relevant. At the University of Pennsylvania, it is a tradition for the president of UPenn to have a Halloween party at her house. During the party, the president, Dr. Amy Gutmann, posed for pictures with various students who showed up to the party decked out in their Halloween garb. One of the pictures taken that night with Dr. Gutmann was this one:

The student next to whom she is standing is named Saad Saadi, and as you can see, he is dressed as an Islamic suicide bomber. Yes it is Halloween, so his costume is sufficiently scary, but there are some tasteful limits, even for Halloween costumes. Would you dress up as a slave? Hitler? A person with Down's Syndrome? An Islamic suicide bomber?

Dr. Gutmann later released a mealy-mouthed statement explaining that she did not at first realize that Mr. Saadi was dressed as a suicide bomber. If she couldn't figure that out at first glance, then she should probably have that Ph.D. of hers revoked, or at the very least - in the words of my father - she should take out her IQ card and lower it a few points.

So how do I know Dr. Amy Gutmann? Well, I don't know her personally, but I know way too much about how her mind operates. I recently had the revelation - I'm a little slow on the draw sometimes - that in one of my Masters in Education classes that I took last year, I had to read Dr. Gutmann's book, Democratic Education. It had to be one of the most eye-crossingly dull stack of pages I have ever had the misfortune of reading. Judging by her book that I endured, and her ill-advised pose next to a guy dressed as an Islamic suicide bomber, I would say that Dr. Gutmann might have a lot of book sense, but not much common sense.

To top it all off, I see in her Wikipedia profile that Dr. Gutmann is Jewish. She might as well have posed for a photo with a student dressed up as an Auschwitz guard.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, December 08, 2006

Reason number #2748 why Congress can bite me

They exempt themselves from the rules everyone else has to follow.

This article is an unintentional laugh riot. It explains the trials and tribulations of smokers in our nation's Capitol building. They are banished to a few small rooms in the basement, with the exception of the Speakers Lobby. Apparently, this is a high falutin' room where the powerful meet and greet; the political smoke-filled room if you will. Washington D.C. has a ban against smoking, as well as the federal government in federal buildings, of which the Capitol is considered. Naturally, everyone else can't smoke if they want to (not that I want them to), but the Congress exempted themselves from these rules against smoking indoors.

The new Sheriff in town, San Fran Nan Pelosi, is from the most anti-smoking region of our nation's most anti-smoking state. She is considering shutting the damper on smoking anywhere in the Capitol. Not that I like Nancy Pelosi mind you - I think she is a grating, socialist, hypocritical pinhead - but kudos to her if she makes Congress follow the rules everyone else must follow - even if it is only something as trivial as this.

The funniest part of the article was this passage:
"I can't breathe when I step in there," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, who has been a lonely scold against smoking for years, trying to get the Republican leaders to stamp out tobacco.
What is so funny about that? Have you ever seen Henry Waxman?

If he can't breathe with those nostrils, then that smoking room must look like a summer afternoon in San Francisco.

Cough! Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Al Gore forgets to take his meds again

Yesterday, Al Gore told NBC News that the war in Iraq is, "The worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States." Wow! That is quite a statement. Maybe Mr. Gore is being a little rash here. There has to be some other event in our country's history - Vietnam - that was an even worse mistake than the Iraq War. How about you my gentle readers? Can you think - Vietnam - of any other possible candidate for worst strategic mistake - Vietnam - in the 230 year history of our country?

Right now, I have on my history teacher cap as I ponder - Vietnam - what could possibly have been a worse strategic mistake - Vietnam - than the war we are currently fighting in Iraq. Well, I keep thinking - Vietnam - and nothing is coming to mind. I guess - Vietnam - that Al Gore may be correct after all. I just can't think of any other example - Vietnam - that I can use to refute his stated position. I'll just have to keep working on it - Vietnam.

Good Day to You, Sir - Vietnam

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Quote of the day, and insanity of the year

First the insanity part: This report with recommendations that was just released by the James Baker-led Iraq Study Group has as one of its recommendations that Syria and Iran should help stabilize Iraq by helping to calm the situation between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims who are fighting there.

Iran and Syria, stabilize Iraq? Now for the quote of the day; leave it to Ann Coulter:
The "bipartisan" Iraq panel has recommended that Iran and Syria can help stabilize Iraq. You know, the way Germany and Russia helped stabilize Poland in '39.
'Nuff said.

Good Day to You, Ann

Another day in the trenches

This incident actually happened yesterday, but I finally have time to mention it. I thought you would all get a kick out of an anecdote about what we teachers face nowadays.

My student teacher took over my fourth period class a couple of months ago. Aside from some struggles with getting the class to settle down, she is doing a very good job after being thrown in the deep end. The other day, I was in the little connecting room off my classroom, having an impromptu conference with one of my students who is struggling socially. All of a sudden, my student teacher opened the door and ushered in Juan Gama. Juan is a little 8th grader with a bad case of Napoleanic complex and a penchant for doing practically nothing academic, both in class and at home. As my student teacher directed Juan toward a nearby seat, she informed me, "Juan was throwing Skittles at me and other students." This happened near the end of the period, so I had Juan stay in that seat until the bell rang and lunch began.

I had Juan stand at my desk as my student teacher wrote his referral, and then I was going to take Juan along with his referral to the office. While the referral was being written, Juan kept trying to leave the classroom without permission. Three times I told him to come back and wait until we were finished. The fourth time, he walked out the door and kept walking. I followed Juan out the door and walked alongside him, the whole time instructing him to go back to my classroom. Juan kept walking with this ridiculous looking stone-faced stare. After giving him five chances to go back to my classroom, I finally said, "Fine, have it your way. Keep walking to the office, but just know that you just dug your hole deeper." As Juan and I walked toward the office, he began spitting on the ground near my feet. Four or five different times, he hocked up some saliva and spit toward my feet, not hitting them, but spitting near them.

Isn't that awesome? The warm and fuzzy part is that it appears that nothing will happen to our young spitter. I turned in my student teacher's referral for the Skittle-throwing incident, along with my referral stapled to it, and I had a conference with the Vice Principal and Juan during my prep period yesterday. This morning, I ran into the VP near the mailboxes and he told me that he hadn't given Juan a punishment yet, but had talked to his Mom (I had already called Mom right after the incident; she was ambivalent at best). If nothing has happened yet, I don't see much happening at all. He should have been sent home immediately! I had a bad feeling yesterday during the conference with Juan and the VP when the VP asked me if I have ever had to send Juan out of the classroom before. No, I haven't; I have had plenty of other discipline issues with him, but nothing that ever warranted kicking him out. When the VP asked me that question, I knew that he will probably get off with a tsk-tsk and a warning. This is precisely why my campus continues to be dogged by discipline problems that we shouldn't be experiencing. Those students are given waaaaaay too much leeway. As that socially inept student explained to me during our impromptu conference, "I am a sheep among wolves!" Her life at school is hell every day because of students like Juan.

I would love to have Bluejay, who is one of my regular readers and who graduated from high school in 1962, tell us what would have happened to young Juan if he had spit at a teacher, thrown candy at a teacher in the classroom, and refused to follow a teacher's directions in a junior high school in the late 1950s-early 1960s. How about it Bluejay?

Good Day to You, Sir

Hmm, I detect a pattern

I just finished perusing the monthly education union rag known as the California Educator, which is put out by the California Teacher Association (CTA). There were an interesting series of profiles of schools that have done an admirable job of closing the achievement gap between white/asian students and black/latino students. As I read the four profiles, something jumped out at me from three of them: See if you can spot the common thread from these three quotes from three of the four profiles:

...Teachers say the school's turnaround coincided with the arrival of Principal Mikara Solomon seven years ago....

...But the arrival of Principal Debbie Everett four years ago finally brought stability and support for teachers, which evolved into a shared vision for student success along with collaboration to make it happen....

...Alum Rock Association (AREA) members unanimously attribute the change to the arrival of Principal Glenn Vander Zee. His leadership, they say, has made all the difference in the world, along with his willingness to work with the teachers union to implement change on many levels....

I for one can attest what it is like to work for a horrible principal and a somewhat effective principal. Thank goodness that right now I am working for the somewhat effective principal; I still think she is a little too weak-kneed when it comes to standing up to blustering parents and their out-of-control brood.

Principals make a huge difference in their organization just like an effective leader makes a difference in any organization. It comes down to the willingness to listen to other points of view, but realizing that in the end, the final decision is yours; and if you try to please everyone with your decision - teachers, parents, students, classified staff - you will sink the school. It takes huevos to be a school principal, and all too often, we get mealy-mouthed politician types who don't want to stand up to anyone, least of all the unreasonable parents whose little angels can do no wrong.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, December 04, 2006

From the "So let me get this straight" Department

A school principal in New Mexico takes one of his students to a barbershop to alter a haircut with a possible gang symbol shaved into the back of the student's head, and now the principal is in legal trouble:
[The student's] father, Fidel Maldonado, Sr., said Thursday that he's talked with an attorney and planned to speak with APS Superintendent Beth Everitt on Friday.

"For him to take my son and take him out of school without my consent, against his own will, is wrong," said the elder Maldonado.
I will freely admit that what the principal did was not a good career move, but I couldn't help but notice something. If the student was a schoolgirl in California seeking an abortion, the voters of our once great state recently said that doing that without parental consent is a-ok. Changing a haircut? For shame! Getting an abortion? Go for it kid!

What a screwed up world we inhabit....

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fighting Internet censorship

One of my biggest fears is that one day, the U.S. government, or worse, the United Nations, will take control of the Internet and regulate it into the ground. There are totalitarian countries all over the world that are already engaging in this practice of censoring the Internet; the most notorious case being China. What really makes China's situation bad is that Google has aided and abetted China in that effort. Wanna see? Here is a screenshot of what came up when I went to regular American version of Google Images and typed in Tiananmen Square:

Seems logical enough; the massacre of June 4, 1989 is what I think about whenever I hear the words "Tiananmen Square." Now, if you go to the China version of Google - the only one people in China can access - and do the same thing I did above, here is what you see:

Hey! What happened to the guy standing in front of the tanks? What happened to the Goddess of Democracy? This is what happens when you let governments regulate things - especially totalitarian governments.

I was interested to see this post from Michelle Malkin where she wrote about a new software program called Psiphon (sigh-fawn) that allows one to bypass the censors. If you read the updates to her post, you will find that there might be a few snags regarding this software, but just the fact that the possibility of beating the censors exists at all is a step in the right direction. Rather than my re-explaining everything about Psiphon, just go to Malkin's post and she will tell all.

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Fun and games at Michigan State Junior High

Republican Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo is one of the big movers and shakers in the fight to curb illegal immigration into the United States. How much of a mover and shaker? Let's just say that even though they are both Republicans, Congressman Tancredo and President Bush and President Bush's brother aren't exactly friends. All this week, Tancredo and Jeb Bush, who is outgoing governor of Florida, have been trading barbs, with Tancredo stating that Miami looks like a third world country, and Jeb Bush firing back that Tancredo is a "nut." Here is what Congressman Tancredo had to say recently about President Bush's view on immigration:
"People have to understand what we're talking about here. The president of the United States is an internationalist," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. "He is going to do what he can to create a place where the idea of America is just that – it's an idea. It's not an actual place defined by borders. I mean this is where this guy is really going."
Now, what does Michigan State have to do with all this? Three days ago, Congressman Tancredo gave a speech on immigration at that campus and all hell broke loose. In an exhibition of mature and adult-like behavior, protestors against Tancredo's presence on campus pulled a fire alarm not once, but twice during Tancredo's speech. Each time, the building had to be evacuated. Now that is one convincing point of view that the protestors have used here; they really brought me over to their side. This quote from one of the protestors didn't help either:
The State News quoted protester Randy McPhereson, who carried a sign saying, "Where's the wall to keep you out?"

"God works in mysterious ways," McPherson said about the second fire alarm. "(Tancredo) shouldn't be here." (Chanman's emphasis)
It happens again and again: leftists talk about how mean-spirited and evil we conservatives are, yet when is the last time you heard of a liberal/leftist speaker on a college campus being pelted with pies (David Horowitz, Ann Coulter), pelted with salad dressing (Pat Buchanan), or being shouted down (Mike Adams) by conservative protestors? Having seen that throwing food doesn't produce the desired effect, these moronic student protestors who are 20 going on 12 have started pulling fire alarms. In all the time they spend protesting, they must have not yet taken Logic 101. I did, and I learned that the person who begins yelling, calling names, and attacking his opponent is doing so because he has lost the argument.

Good Day to You, Sir