Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I just hope he doesn't get shouted down

Yesterday, I bought my ticket to go listen to a presentation by former PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat, who will be speaking at Freeborn Hall on the campus of U.C. Davis on Tuesday, February 6th, at 7pm. Mr. Shoebat has written two books about his life as a former Islamic terrorist and his eventual conversion to Christianity and renouncement of his former life.

I posted this quote from Mr. Shoebat a few months ago:
...The other dangerous trend is that all fundamentalists are being lumped as fanatics. At the BBC in England during one interview the interviewer stated to me that “the problem with today’s world is fundamentalism” to which I responded “Christian fundamentalists give the world a headache, I confess, but Muslim fundamentalists will whack your head right off your shoulders, sir” I was quickly thanked and escorted out of the BBC.
This is the kind of event where I can easily see the intolerance-in-the-name-of-tolerance crowd showing up to shout down or otherwise disrupt Mr. Shoebat from giving or finishing his speech. I have to admit, I will be rather intrigued if this happens because I have read many times about the intolerant antics of the left-wing protestors on our college campuses and seen some film of it - you hopefully have seen my post about what happened to the Minutemen at Columbia University - but I have never watched it happen in person.

On the other hand, I am really interested in what Walid Shoebat has to say, and I will be bummed if he is forced from the stage by the left-wing and activist-Muslim crybabies in the audience who may recoil in horror at the thought of an opposing point of view. If you think I am being overly dramatic, I again refer you to the Columbia University post link above.

Whatever happens, be assured that I will provide a full report. And if you want to go to this event yourself, there might still be tickets available. Call the U.C. Davis box office at (530) 752-1915. And thank you to reader Tia for the tip about Mr. Shoebat's visit to U.C. Davis.

Good Day to You, Sir

In-service Blues

On Monday, my entire district met at one of our high schools for an in-service training day. It still means going to work, but at least it is a break from the relative stress of teaching students.

As usual, for the most part, this in-service day was a waste of my time, but there was one bright spot. We all started in the gym, where we listened to a guest speaker named Stephen Peters. He is a former teacher, vice principal, and principal who has written several books and heads a publishing and motivational speaking company. He is very in tune with the motivational problems many of today's students face. He particularly focused on the behavior and performance of our minority students. At one point he showed a short film that asked a bunch of middle school-age boys what they wanted to do when they grow up. While the white and asian boys wanted to be doctors, lawyers, or maybe a firefighter here and there, almost every black boy interviewed said he wanted to be an NBA player. I can vouch that this is the case on my campus too, as that is a common answer when that question is asked at SST meetings with students who are struggling.

Mr. Peters then put a copy of the front page of the New York Times that showed a picture accompanying an article declaring that school was back in session for the year. The picture showed a bunch of students looking at their teacher. Front and center in the photo is a cute little black boy looking up at his teacher with a look of wonder and admiration, seeming to enthusiastically say, "What are we going to learn about today???" Mr. Peters said, "The question we need to answer and address is, how do so many of our minority students go from being this little boy here who admires his teacher, to one who admires these guys?" The image of the NYT article disappeared from the screen, and up came pictures of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., two gangsta rappers who were both murdered in the 1990s, and whose influence still holds sway over the hip-hop generation today.

Mr. Peters displayed a very telling chart on the screen that graphically demonstrates what we teachers are facing every day in the classroom. The chart showed the results of a study that was done by, I believe, the University of Michigan, and indicated the top five influences in young people's lives over the past few decades. Here is a reproduction of the chart:

When you have the double whammy of the crap our youth watch on television and listen to on their iPods, plus the blind-leading-the-blind influence of their peers, it is small wonder that we teachers often find ourselves pulling our hair out by the end of the day.

While the rest of the day was essentially a waste, I did enjoy Mr. Peter's presentation very much.

Good Day to You, Sir

More on the "We oppose the war, but support the troops" nonsense

I have been engaging in a back-and-forth in the comments section of one of my recent posts concerning all these anti-war protestors who say they support the troops in Iraq, even if they are against the war. I said in the original post that you can't have it both ways; you cannot support the troops by emboldening the enemy to keep on fighting our troops.

A reader - CentFla - who says he is a former Marine (I'll take him at his word), took issue with my stance and gave me the website to Iraq Vets Against the War. Just like in Vietnam, we have veterans of the war who are now protesting it, but in the fairness of presenting both sides, let's see what these soldiers - currently serving in Iraq - have to say about people who say they support them, even if they don't support the war.

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I just saw "Letters from Iwo Jima"

It was a very well done movie, and I enjoyed it more than Flags of Our Fathers. I realize that Flags had a large backstory to tell with the War Bond drive after the battle and what not, but I found that Flags jumped around way too much as one second we're watching combat on Iwo Jima, then we're jumping forward a few months to the War Bond Drive, then we flashback to Iwo Jima. I never got confused, but my patience began to wear thin.

Letters from Iwo Jima was a more straightforward, more conventional war movie, with just a few quick pre-war flashbacks. The twist of course was that the movie looked at the battle for Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective, complete with Japanese subtitles. As the viewer, it is quite an exercise to watch a movie from the enemy's point of view. As I watched the protaganist(s) of the movie attempt to cross No Man's Land in order to link up with their unit, and get shot at by nameless, faceless U.S. Marines, I found myself hoping the Japanese soldiers would make it, but also hoping that they would get killed too. After all, for any of them to live meant more U.S. Marines dying in the battle.

On my way home from work the other day, I turned on Michael Savage in time to catch him in a tirade about how Clint Eastwood, who directed Letters, tried too hard to rehabilitate the image of the Japanese soldier and gloss over their atrocities. After watching the movie, I have to say that I mostly disagree with Savage. The movie did have scenes that illustrated the brutality of the Japanese during World War II. In one scene, some Japanese soldiers drag a captured and terrified U.S. Marine into a cave and taunt him for a few moments before using him for bayonet practice. There is also a pre-battle scene where a Japanese officer instructs his men to specifically target American medics. Yes there are other atrocities that were committed by the Japanese during the War, like performing horrible medical experiments on prisoners in Manchuria, the Rape of the Chinese city of Nanking, the Bataan Death March - but none of those events happened on Iwo Jima; and the movie was only about Iwo Jima. Perhaps Savage was unhappy with the fact that the movie humanizes the Japanese soldiers to a certain extent, showing them talking about their families back home, and their lives before the war, along with all the usual gripes and terrors experienced by soldiers in combat conditions. But what did Savage want the movie to show? I was in the Army, and I can easily surmise that a Japanese soldier was just as bitchy and bored while digging a fighting position as I was. To show this fact is not acknowledging to everyone that the Japanese were then just as righteous as we were in the fighting of World War II.

Ironically, the worst brutality the Japanese inflicted during World War II was often on themselves. Dying with honor was very important to them, and they would usually kill themselves rather than be taken prisoner. This was graphically shown in the movie when a group of enlisted men - at the behest of their officer - hold grenades to their chests and are turned - one by one - into a mass of flesh lying on the floor of their cave. Watching that scene, Eastwood's direction made it clear that these soldiers did this act, maybe not so much for national honor, but more because of the tremendous peer pressure being put upon them by the other soldiers and the officer in their midst. Quite often, the Japanese soldiers seemed to be more at risk from their fellow soldiers than from the Americans, for if they retreated from a fight, even if it was to live to fight another day, or if they even had "unpatriotic" thoughts, they were in danger of being killed by their own officers.

Letters from Iwo Jima was just recently nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. I believe that the movie deserves that nomination, and I'm glad it got the nod rather than Flags of Our Fathers. Letters did a wonderful job of illustrating the duality of man's nature, where he can be a most brutal being, while tenderly dreaming of the life he left behind.

Good Day to You, Sir

But remember, they "stand with the troops"

I have had up to *here* with the old kooky anti-war canards, "I don't support the war, but I support our troops", or, "We stand with the troops", or, "If you want to support our troops, then bring them home." I'm sorry, but you cannot have it both ways. You cannot support the troops by saying and doing things that embolden our enemies to continue their attempts to kill and maim our troops. How much shorter of a time it possibly could take for our job to be done overseas if we didn't have a fifth column dragging down our every attempt at bringing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a desirable conclusion.

You may have heard about the big anti-war rally that was held on the Mall in Washington D.C. over the weekend (just like you probably didn't hear about the huge anti-abortion rally that was held in the same spot last week; but I digress). Greeting these anti-war protesters was a small counter-rally. Among the counter-protesters was Josh Sparling, who lost a leg in Iraq. One of these anti-war kooks spit at Sparling. For those who would doubt my word, that bastion of conservatism, The New York Times, makes the call
There were a few tense moments, however, including an encounter involving Joshua Sparling, 25, who was on crutches and who said he was a corporal with the 82nd Airborne Division and lost his right leg below the knee in Ramadi, Iraq. Mr. Sparling spoke at a smaller rally held earlier in the day at the United States Navy Memorial, and voiced his support for the administration’s policies in Iraq.

Later, as antiwar protesters passed where he and his group were standing, words were exchanged and one of the antiwar protestors spit at the ground near Mr. Sparling; he spit back.

Capitol police made the antiwar protestors walk farther away from the counterprotesters.

“These are not Americans as far as I’m concerned,” Mr. Sparling said.
Quite a unique way to "stand" with Corporal Sparling, is it not?

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Iranian Connection

I opened up this morning's Sacramento Bee to see an above-the-fold AP news story on the front page about the circumstances surrounding the demise of four of our brave soldiers in Iraq. Recently, in the city of Karbala, an American-manned outpost was attacked, and five U.S. soldiers were killed. Now, we are starting to find out more details. One soldier was killed outright during the fighting. The other four U.S. soldiers, however, were found dead with bullets in their heads more than 20 miles from the scene of the firefight. It turns out that these soldiers had been captured/kidnapped, then ruthlessly executed later on.

But that's not all. The "insurgents" (terrorists) who did this were able to gain access to these American soldiers by driving up to the front gate driving black Suburban SUVs and wearing the full regalia of American combat fatigues and equipment. The terrorists even spoke English. Their ruse was believable enough to get them through the front gate, and then the shooting began.

When I read this story in the Bee, my first thought was where did these terrorists get the money and training to pull off this operation? It takes quite a bit of funding to obtain several Suburban SUVs, American uniforms and combat equipment, American weapons, and the opportunity to train and rehearse for such an operation. I always hear how these terrorists in Iraq are terrorists in the first place because they can't get a job and are enraged by their poverty and circumstances, so what gives? I came to the immediate conclusion that the government of Iran has got to be behind this operation. They have already begun to be implicated more and more with supporting the terrorists we are fighting in Iraq, with President Bush (finally) authorizing the other day for our troops to engage and kill any Iranian agents they run across within the borders of Iraq, and I surmised that this is exactly something that Iran would be behind. After doing a little surfing this afternoon, it turns out that I am not the only one to come to this conclusion.

Here is a link from to a story by blogger Bill Roggio, who has spent months in Iraq with our troops. According to Roggio's sources, Iran's fingerprints are all over this atrocity, and if this is truly the case, what is our government going to do about it? We have been wussy-footing around with Ahmad-Ima-whackjob for long enough already. What will it take for our elected leaders to finally grow the cajones necessary to buck oh-so-enlightened world opinion, and take out this wanna-be Hitler?

On another note, this is another example of the true face of our enemy. When we capture enemy combatants, they get a paid vacation to the Cuban tropics where they gain weight while in captivity, and they get a cell with an arrow painted on the floor indicating the direction of Mecca. When our troops' actions go beyond that, such as the Abu Ghraib scandal, the offenders are punished and the New York Times runs stories about the "abuses" and "torture" for literally months on end.

When our troops are captured by the enemy, they are either executed on the spot, or they are taken somewhere to be tortured first, then executed, either by being shot or beheaded. Where are the months of New York Times stories about that? The double standard on the part of the mainstream media (Fox News excluded) absolutely sickens me.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Did you know there's a war on?

Here is this (I'm trying to remember to make it weekly!) week's entry, detailing the valorous actions of a member of America's military, serving in the War on Islamic Fascism. If it's too small for you to read, you can click on it to make it bigger:

Good Day to You, Staff Sergeant Richburg

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

761 Down, only 11,999,239 to go

Of course, I am using the low-ball estimate of only 12,000,000 illegal aliens in our country. There was a much ballyhooed arrest sweep of illegal aliens today in southern California. These were illegal aliens who had outstanding warrants for all kinds of crimes, including failure to show up to their deportation hearings.

I see that President Bush is still pushing his amnesty-that-isn't-amnesty program for handling the illegal alien issue, mentioning it again last night in his anemic State of the Union speech. It is his position on this immigration issue alone that makes me put President Bush in the worst-U.S. Presidents-in-history category.

Good Day to You, Sir

The 103rd Carnival of Education... now open for your viewing pleasure. I have already perused said Carnival, and I came across this short video about the college application process that is a laugh riot. The melding of music lyrics and visuals is extremely creative!

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A little diversity in the White House if you please?

I found this interesting article on RealClearPolitics (see blogroll) that brought up something that I have pondered in the past. If Hillary! won the election in 2008 and served two terms, we will have had either a Bush or a Clinton in the White House from 1989 to 2017 - a total of 28 years. That right there is enough to make you not want to vote for Hillary! How about a little new blood?

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, January 22, 2007

Hillary! Panics!

Surprise, surprise: After literally years of saying she wouldn't run for president, Hillary! (Don't call me Clinton) Rodham has surprised no one - except the media apparently - and has thrown her hat in the ring for the White House. Oh sure, she has only formed one of those "exploratory" committees, but c'mon, this woman has been scheming toward the White House since she met her philandering benefactor from Arkansas. The only reason she is doing it now is because she was starting to see her momentum slip away before it even got started due to the excitement of Barack Obama's early entry into the '08 race. Richard Adams from one of the across-the-pond newspapers calls it.

You will notice that I keep calling her "Hillary!", complete with exclamation point. I do that because she has been calling herself that - complete with exclamation point - since she first ran for the senate in New York in 2000. She avoids using the Clinton surname like the plague in her campaigns, not wanting to remain encrusted by her husband's presidue. Don't believe me? Just look at this screenshot of her "exploratory" website:

I guess she has ditched the senate campaign era "!", but the first-name-only policy remains in place.

I don't feel like doing the play-by-play laundry list of all the reasons that this woman shouldn't be elected dogcatcher, let alone President of the United States. I'll just make it simple: She is an ethically-challenged, totalitarian socialist. I will even back up that statement with just one of many examples: HillaryCare. Back in 1994, when Billy Jeff put her in charge of the Health Care Reform Committee, the policy crafted by Hillary! dictated that doctors and patients could be arrested for giving or seeking medical care outside the socialized government health care system that Hillary! had dreamed up; dissent is not an option in Hillary's! world.

The usual M.O. for Hillary! supporters is to accuse dissenters like me of not wanting a woman to be president, or as a man, of not liking "strong-willed" women. That's a bunch of ad hominem bull pucky. I have no problem with a "strong-willed" woman being president, as long as she is a "strong-willed" woman who is politically libertarian-conservative! If she were a little younger and constitutionally eligible, I would vote for Margaret Thatcher in a heartbeat. If she were alive, I would vote for Jeanne Kirkpatrick. Don't give me the tired old crap about America being afraid to elect a woman president. That is as bad as continuing to say that a black person can never be elected president. Again, it's not the skin color, it's the politics. The reason I would not vote for Hillary! is the same reason I would never vote for Barack Obama. or Jesse Jackson. or Al Sharpton. They are all left-wing socialists. If Clarence Thomas or Thomas Sowell threw his hat in the ring, they would have my vote no problem.

Many people think that Hillary! is unelectable, that she pisses off too many people; that her personal and political background would rally the Republican base and send droves of conservative voters to the polls in order to keep her out of the Oval Office; that Barack Obama's star has risen so high that it has caused hers to sink. I hope that is the case. I was talking to fellow blogger George on my way home from work today, and he posited his hope that the fact that Hillary! represents the northeast like Kerry and Dukakis before her would kill her chances of becoming president. The problem is that this woman is a chaemeleon: she "has always been a Yankee fan"; she just recently found out that she is part Jewish; she wasfor the Iraq War when it served her purposes, now she is against the war. She is a master at being all things to all people, and too many of the masses seem to fall for it, not to mention the fact that she will undoubtedly pull in a lot of female voters simply because she is female - her politics be damned. Interestingly, Hillary! hails from Illinois, Arkansas, and most recently New York. So she would have the leftist northeast and Pacific states in her pocket without much of a fight. During campaign stops to the midwest, she will lay on her midwestern twang and talk about her Illinois roots. When campaigning in the south, she will switch to her southern accent that she perfected as the First Lady of Arkansas and emphasize her alleged fondness of living in and representing our southeastern region. Geographically and politically, she has much of the country covered. George did point out one thing that, if it happened, would mean a most unbeatable Democrat ticket: Hillary!/Obama 2008. I break out in a cold sweat just pondering it.

Quite simply, this woman's personality coupled with her totalitarian politics scares the daylights out of me, and yet, all I see from the Republican side is a deep-set case of anemia. The election of 2008 is going to be a frightening experience.

Good Day to You, Sir

Math education follies

One of my favorite edubloggers is Instructivist; I just wish s/he would post more often, because it is always fascinating stuff. Instructivist is a math teacher, and blogs passionately about the sad state of math education in our country.

Anyone who follows the travails of our educational system and its declining performance may have heard of "fuzzy spelling" and "fuzzy math". I myself have read many books and articles about those subjects, and I have seen fuzzy spelling in action, such as encouraging students to invent the spelling of words rather than learn the correct spelling, because learning the correct spelling would "stifle" their creativity. Meanwhile, the kids never do learn how to spell properly. I never really got the full story about how fuzzy math works... until now.

Instructivist has linked to a YouTube video that was produced by what looks to be a local T.V. weatherlady in the Seattle area. She made the video in order to shed light on the math curricula that is being used in her childrens' schools. She does an excellent job of showing how these fuzzy math curricula take the simple and make it agonizingly difficult. The video is about 12 minutes long, but it is worth every second if you want to see the insanity that is being taught in some public schools around the nation. No wonder so many of our students stink at math! Just watch a young 'un try to count change behind the cash register if the register doesn't do it for them. Better yet, look at the confused look on their face if the price is $15.25 and you hand them $20.25. That happened to me just recently.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Carnival of Education posted for your viewing pleasure at the blog of Dr. Homeslice. I don't have an entry this week, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out.

Good Day to You, Sir

So who decides what is "fair"?

Ah, the most feared sentence in world history: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you. In this case, our newly anointed Democrat-controlled Congress is beginning to make noises about "helping" me make up my mind about controversial issues by reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine that Ronald Reagan deep-sixed back in 1987.

A little background: In 1949, the FCC instituted the Fairness Doctrine as a way to ensure that both sides of controversial issues were presented on the limited number of frequencies that comprised the public airways. Station managers quickly discovered that if they ran afoul of any arbitrary notions of what some FCC bureaucrat deemed to be "fair", the station could be heavily fined. So instead of working toward presenting both sides of controversial issues, broadcast media just steered clear of controversial issues altogether. Boy did that make for interesting radio and television... snooorrrrrre.

In 1987, Ronald Reagan (God bless his heart), let the Fairness Doctrine die a well-deserved death, and within a year, Rush Limbaugh was syndicated, and the wild and wooly world of Talk Radio was born. The problem for the lefties out there is that it was Conservative Talk Radio that prospered, while Liberal Talk Radio largely foundered (Air America anyone?). Even though the left was getting its message out with NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, et. al., having any dissenting voices, even merely on the radio, was simply unacceptable. For the last 20 years, the left has salivated at the thought of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine and shutting down conservative talk radio. Now that the Democrats have taken back Congress, talk of resurrecting this dagger aimed at the First Amendment is beginning to be heard again. Just the other day, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Moonbat-OH) said that bringing back the Fairness Doctrine would be an important part of a "progressive agenda" in reining in the media. This morning, Laura Ingraham - one of those dastardly conservative talk radio hosts - had Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) on her show where he defended his support of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. Hinchey's arguments were just pathetic. You could feel the contempt he has for us rabble as he attempts to save us from ourselves. The best part of the interview was when Laura stumped the Congressman by asking him if the Fairness Doctrine would apply to Hollywood; after all, TV shows are broadcast on these limited frequencies, and they definitely address controversial issues. For instance, if a lefty show like Law and Order lambasts gun owners, would the producers of Law and Order have to film another episode that shows the other side of the story? It can quickly become absurd, and that is exactly the point. Let the free market decide what views will be heard. The airwaves are a little different now than when the Fairness Doctrine was implemented in 1949, and even when it was ended in 1987. The biggest change of course is the Internet. With instant access to newspapers from not only around the country, but around the world, along with video, cable TV, and super-sensitive radios that can handle a lot more different frequencies, the Fairness Doctrine is an outdated tool that the lefties simply want to use as a hammer to pound the conservative media into submission.

When you start letting the government decide what viewpoints are fair and not fair, you are asking for tyranny; and tyrannical is exactly what the Fairness Doctrine is: it is a naked attempt by government to limit people's free speech. To quote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, I do believe our creator endowed us with an unalienable right to speak our minds that the 1st Amendment firmly tells the government it shall not take away.

Good Day to You, Sir

My favorite show on TV doesn't disappoint

Over the long MLK weekend, I took my two year old son up to God's Country to visit my parents while my wife used a free Southwest Airlines ticket to take our infant daughter with her and go visit her sister and family way down in the far southern reaches of our state. There was a deep freeze happening in California over the weekend, with even Sacramento waking up to 25 degrees. Where I was however, it was a whopping 5 degrees when I woke up Saturday morning. I walked outside to get a feel of the air, and within under a minute, my face and fingers hurt. My son however seems impervious to the cold. I bundled him up and he spent a good part of the morning tooling around in my parents' backyard.

Since I was away from home and visiting, I held off on watching the new season opener of 24 until tonight (thank you DVR!). It's another barnburner. It's late and I have to work tomorrow, but I had just a few short observations about the new season:

1. I would have liked to have seen the season involve the Chinese angle more. They make good villains.

2. I am glad that Fox had the balls to use radical Muslims as the terrorists again. After they essentially gave in to CAIR* a couple of seasons ago, it is nice to see that not only are the show's writers facing up to the reality of our times, they are doing a more authentic treatment to the topic than last time.

3. I was sorry to see the Curtis Manning character get killed off, but I had a pretty good idea he was going to buy the farm this season.

4. Watching Jack Bauer wrap his teeth around a terrorist's throat and rip out a portion of his trachea and carotid area is about as good as it gets. Don't forget the coup de grace, when Jack quickly turned his head to the side and spit out the mouthful of flesh and gristle. AWESOME!!!

Good Night, and Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, January 12, 2007

Now, on to another union matter

This time, it's the minimum wage. Will the American people and our politicians never learn? In the November election, several states passed propositions on their ballots that raised their state minimum wage, and now Congress, along with the signature of our "Republican" president, has raised the federal minimum wage. Excuse me while I thumb through Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution so I can find where it says that the Congress can pass laws dictating what employers are going to pay their employees.

The minimum wage is one of the biggest scams going. You do know don't you that one of the most enthusiastic supporters of raising the minimum wage is our country's collection of labor unions? Believe me, it isn't because the unions support the poor, downtrodden entry-level worker; quite the opposite. When the minimum wage is raised, employers either cut down on hiring entry-level workers or let go of some that are already working. This cuts down on competition for the unions. They don't want entry-level workers coming in for lower pay because it puts a big damper on their justification for higher union pay.

I find it amazing that in the 1940s and 1950s - before the minimum wage really got out of hand - black teenagers were actually slightly more likely to be employed than white teenagers. Nowadays, the unemployment rate for black teenagers is astronomically high. Haven't you ever wondered what happened to all those jobs that kids used to have, like grocery store delivery boy, theater usher, newspaper boy, and gas station jockey? What happened to those jobs? The minimum wage killed them, and with it, the minimum wage has killed millions of opportunities for young people to learn work skills that would eventually help land them higher-paying jobs, while at the same time, providing a valuable service to their community. Think of all the shut-in elderly people who thanked their lucky stars that a boy on a bicycle could deliver their groceries to them. That option no longer exists like it once did.

I know many people will disagree with me on this one, because I have heard the arguments from the pro-minimum wage side many times. Just think about it this way. When the government sets the minimum wage - I believe it was set at $7.25 yesterday - what the government is saying is that it is against the law for someone who is incapable of producing $7.25 worth of goods and services in an hour, to work. How compassionate of the liberals (and that includes our President) to do this for the working man. And why only a $2 an hour raise. If it is tough to live on $5.15 an hour, is $7.25 going to improve things all that much. As long as we are doling out compassion with other people's money, why doesn't Congress quit wussyfooting around and raise the minimum wage to $15 or $20 an hour, and then no one will be in poverty. This is simply feel-goodism masquerading as public policy; but then it is always easy to feel good when you are spending other people's money.

And then there is my favorite canard: "But we must raise the minimum wage because you can't raise a family on $5.15 an hour!" News flash - you are not supposed to raise a family on the minimum wage. If you have a family, and you are only making the minimum wage, then you have screwed up royally; You should have waited until you got some education and job skills before having children. The answer is to take responsibility for your life and not make stupid choices, like dropping out of school, or having children when you are still in high school. Doing things like this will almost guarantee that you will be poor, or at least struggle financially a lot more than you should have to. This is when proponents of the minimum wage pull out the exceptions to the rule; the sob stories that they say justifies the wage hike. But that's what those stories are: exceptions to the rule. I'm sorry but the rule is, the people who are trying to survive on minimum wage mostly only have themselves to blame.

Yes I know, Booooo to you Chanman; you are cold, heartless, and cruel. Well you know what? Success didn't just fall in my lap. I worked my butt off, I joined the military partly to pay for college, I worked a crappy job when I was getting on my feet after I moved to Sacramento, I went through long nights going to college after putting in a full day of work. It was tough, but I did it, and it makes me feel good when I look at my accomplishments. The best part is that I didn't have to care for and pay for any kids while I did all this. As soon as I was a college graduate and gainfully employed, only then did my wife and I start a family. It is such a simple formula, yet so many act like it is some big mystery, and that includes our Congress and our President. Shame on them for working to sink the economy while they act like they are saving it.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Myths the teachers unions bank on

I found an interesting article on FrontPageMag by Jay Greene of the American Enterprise about the myths of the teaching profession that the teachers unions have a vested interest in propagating. Some of you teacher-readers out there may disagree with Greene on a couple points, but overall, I think he is dead on. I won't summarize any part of the article; you can go and read it yourself. Instead of the myths, I will give a list of what Jay Greene says is the reality:

1. Schools receive plenty of funding; more than they ever have before.

2. Teachers receive better pay than many comparably paid professions.

3. Poverty and social pathology are not automatic impediments to learning.

4. Class size reduction does not improve performance enough to justify its hefty price tag.

5. Teacher certification doesn't necessarily produce a better teacher.

Read the article.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, January 08, 2007

Fan Mail!

Imagine my surprise when I checked my email this afternoon and saw that I received a comment on a post that I wrote almost a year ago. That's fine, I know how it probably goes: someone is Googling a subject, my blog post pops up in the search, the person reads my post, and if they feel strongly enough about it, they take the time to comment. I am assuming that is how Luis found my post on the phenomenon of the ubiquitous Mac Dre t-shirts that blanketed my middle school campus at this time last year (the fad seems to have since diminished). As you will see in his comment, Luis was not happy about my harsh words directed toward the late Mr. Dre. Read now, the eloquent prose of a proud member of the hip-hop generation:
Yeah, you suck this is one of the worst persuasive papers I've read in my life. The fact that you slander one of California's best rappers-right next to Tupac-is fucking outrageous. and it's kind of weird how you failed to mention all the good Mr. Hicks did by opening up rec centers to keep teens off the streets, and cleaning up gang related graffiti. So, yeah, you suck.
Thank you Luis; coming from you, I will take your remarks directed toward me as a compliment. Let's visit a few of your choice comments shall we?

I was not aware I was writing a persuasive paper. Luis must have learned that term yesterday in his sophomore language arts class; keep impressing us with the big words, Luis. California has a "best rapper"? I thought they were all the worst. Rap pretty much lost me after about 1989 or 1990 when happy party rap of Young M.C. and Tone Loc went by the wayside. Besides, what do you mean by "best rapper" anyway? Are you talking about their so-called musical ability? I wasn't. I am speaking of the penchant of these thugs to fill the minds of our youth with violent, mysoginistic, racist lyrics and images of a most vile nature. I don't give a crap about how good they are at keeping a beat, I care what they are doing to my country and my society. Case in point are Mac Dre and your other hero Tupac Shakur. I already mentioned in the post-in- question about Mac Dre's previous career as a bank robber. Then Luis, you go and forget to mention that Tupac comes from a family of murderers, cop killers, and robbers, and was himself arrested, tried, and convicted of sexually assaulting a 19 year old girl. He was also supposed to be in the movie Menace II Society, but was replaced after he assaulted the movie's directors (the Hughes Brothers). He also paid out about $500,000 in a wrongful death lawsuit that resulted from the killing of a six year old child who took a stray bullet from one of the thugs in Tupac's entourage during a shootout with rival gangsta rappers. Way to be an upstanding role model, Tupac! The tragedy is that so many students that I teach eat this "gangsta" stuff up and want to be just like Mac Dre and Tupac. The "thug life" did wonders for those two "artists": both ended up shot to death.

Now back to Mac Dre. Luis took me to task for not mentioning all the good things that Mac Dre did, like opening up rec centers and cleaning up graffiti. Wow! What a saint Dre was. Hey Luis, did you know Adolf Hitler loved animals? Did you know that John Wayne Gacy, the Illinois serial killer who strangled 33 young men, was a party clown who enriched the lives of countless children? It's easy to fall under the spell of the goodness of evil people, Luis. I remember when Washington state Senator Patty Murray commended Osama bin Laden for being, "Out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful." Yeah, forget the fact that Osama masterminded the African embassy bombings, the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, and September 11 attacks; he built schools and roads! Forget that Mac Dre robbed banks, glorified defiance of proper authority and good order, and even in death, continues to lead our youth astray by making the "thug life" look glamorous; he built rec centers and cleaned up graffiti.

Thank you for commenting on my blog, Luis, but you really need to stop listening to that hip-hop crap and start finding some more constructive role models... yours suck!

Good Day to You, Luis

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Did you know there's a war on?

I have posted on this subject before; see here for the last one. The Defense Department maintains a website that profiles the courage of some of our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I like to honor a chosen medal recipient. I am toying with the idea of making this a weekly feature.

Good Day to You, Sergeant

And all our press ever talks about is Abu Ghraib

I got this from Boortz (see blogroll). I can't even read the caption to the picture without my eyes welling up.

Good Day to You, Chief

Friday, January 05, 2007

Well! If Hosni Mubarak says it....

Hide your heads in shame everyone: Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, says that images of Saddam Hussein's execution were "revolting and barbaric."

Really? I have noticed over the last couple of days that the political left and the Muslim world have worked themselves up into a bit of a tizzy over the conditions and timing of Saddam's execution.

The last time I checked, hanging has historically been a pretty common way to execute people. I think it is still an accepted method in a couple of U.S. states, such as Washington. Of course, Saddam was taunted by his executioners moments before his demise. Was that "revolting and barbaric"? Let us never forget why Saddam was hanged in the first place.

Do you want to see "revolting and barbaric"? Here is revolting and barbaric:

Here is "revolting and barbaric":

Here is "revolting and barbaric"; copy and paste the following link to your browser:

In case you don't have the stomach to watch, or you can't get the video to work, here is a description of the short video given by the website: Executing dissidents: 100 grs of explosives put into the shirt front pocket. The wires are attached to a car battery and...

I think what Hosni Mubarak should do is sit down, take a breath, and have a nice hot cup of shut the f*** up. I also see in the article that Mubarak brought up this already-tired Muslim bromide about how terrible it is that Saddam Hussein was executed at the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid, saying,
"People are executed all over the world, but what happened in Baghdad on the first day of Eid al-Adha was unthinkable. I didn’t believe it was happening. Why did they have to hurry? Why hang him when people are reciting their holiday prayers?"
Now now, let's have the whole story; apparently during Eid, people aren't just praying, they are also slaughtering animals like it's going out of style. You wanna see "revolting and barbaric" again? Click here (if you have the stomach) to see what was going on as many Muslims were complaining about Saddam being executed during their holiday. I will post my favorite photo from the bunch:

How I wish that we could just keep out of that part of the world all together. The problem is that even if we aren't interested in the Islamic world, the Islamic world is always interested in us. There are millions upon millions of Muslims out there who will not rest until we all submit to Allah (the very definition of Islam). If we don't submit, they would do the very same thing to us that that guy is doing to the camel.


Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Finished! ...sort of

Tonight, I presented my final assignment in my final class in my Masters of Education (Curriculum and Instruction) program. WHEW! But before we start breaking out the champagne, in order to receive my masters degree, I still have to study for and pass a comprehensive exam that I will take in late March.

Also, my GI Bill doesn't run out until June, so I will take a couple more undergrad courses this winter and spring in order to pad my unit count so I can move over on my district salary schedule; that, and the undergrad courses are history/social science and not the dreadfully dull education classes that I had to endure. There is nothing so empty and meaningless than college courses in education - they have no substance to them. It is as if the professors and authors just pull stuff out of their keesters as they go along. I was reminded of this last fall when I filled an empty term in my masters schedule with an undergrad class on the Constitution. After five classes in a row of education theory and philosophy - much of it written by people who barely worked in a classroom - here I was sitting in this Constitution class, learning something of actual substance. It felt good. Then it was back to the fluff of education classes. But now, my last class is over, and I am excited to start my undergrad class in a few weeks; this one is on medieval European history! Now we're talkin'!

I swear, once my GI Bill runs out and I finish those undergrad classes in June, my plan is to never darken the door of a college classroom again. I am burned out on being a student; I want to go back to just being a teacher.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tell me again why I teach middle school?

And the amusing part is that this story didn't even happen to me. From Joanne Jacobs' wonderful edublog (see my daily reading list), I discovered a telling article from the New York Times that illustrates everything that is wrong with today's youth and today's society.

A public library in Maplewood, New Jersey has had to close its doors every weekday afternoon because it can no longer tolerate the out-of-control behavior of the many middle schoolers who swarm there every day after school gets out. The New York Times is notorious for not letting you read its online articles without you having to register with their site first, so I will paste a few choice excerpts from the article. Otherwise, try your luck by clicking here.
Every afternoon at Maplewood Middle School’s final bell, dozens of students pour across Baker Street to the public library. Some study quietly. Others, library officials say, fight, urinate on the bathroom floor, scrawl graffiti on the walls, talk back to librarians or refuse to leave when asked. One recently threatened to burn down the branch library. Librarians call the police, sometimes twice a day.

This comfortable Essex County suburb of 23,000 residents, still proud of its 2002 mention in Money magazine on a list of “Best Places to Live,” is no seedy outpost of urban violence. But its library officials, like many across the country, have grown frustrated by middle schoolers’ mix of pent-up energy, hormones and nascent independence. (Welcome to my life! --Chanman)

Increasingly, librarians are asking: What part of “Shh!” don’t you understand?
Here's a shocker:
A backlash against such measures has also begun: A middle school in Jefferson Parish, La., that requires a daily permission slip for students to use the local public library after school was threatened with a lawsuit last month by the American Civil Liberties Union. (emphasis, mine).

Librarians and other experts say the growing conflicts are the result of an increase in the number of latchkey children, a decrease in civility among young people and a dearth of “third places” — neither home nor school — where kids can be kids.
Then we come to a quote from a crybaby defender of these young 'uns' boorish behavior:
Linda W. Braun, a librarian and professor who has written four books about teenagers’ use of libraries, said the students want only to be treated like everybody else.

“If there are little kids making noise, it’s cute, and they can run around, it’s O.K.,” Ms. Braun said of standard library operating procedure. “Or if seniors with hearing difficulties are talking loudly, that’s accepted. But a teen who might talk loudly for a minute or two gets in trouble.”

She added: “The parents don’t want them, the library doesn’t want them, so they act out.”
So to defend these adolescent hellions, this lady has to pick on toddlers and deaf/hearing-impaired old people. Those two groups don't know any better, these middle schoolers DO! And they want to "be treated like everybody else"? Like a friend of mine succinctly stated recently, the issue with middle schoolers is that they want to be treated like adults, but they still want act like children.

To end this string of excerpts, I conclude with a quote from a middle school student who essentially uses a form of blackmail-lite in his complaint about the library's new hours:
Outside the library, students who use it gave the new hours two thumbs down, way down.

“Kids will get into real mischievous activities” with the library closed, warned one teenager, Jonathan Brock, a student at the district’s alternative high school program.
No, we wouldn't want the kids to be so mischievous that a public library would have to be closed or anything like that.

Good Day to You, Sir

Swearing by the Quran

Back in the November '06 elections, Democrat Keith Ellison was elected to Congress from the state of Minnesota. Ellison is a former member of the racist Nation of Islam and remains a devout Muslim. As a matter of fact, Ellison is the first Muslim ever elected to the United States Congress.

Seeing as how we are fighting a war with the more extreme members of the "Religion of Peace", Ellison's candidacy (along with his ties to the NoI) was a lightning rod of controversy from the get-go. Ellison has not helped matters with his plan to be sworn into Congress tomorrow with his hand on a Quran instead of a Bible. Is the world going to come to an end when this happens? No, life will go on. But chalk it up as one more nail in the coffin of our country's Christian heritage. Oooooh, I can just hear the bristling and discomfort from some of my readers out there at the sound of that term: Our country's Christian heritage. Some Americans may not like this fact, but they would have trouble denying it; the United States of America was founded on the precepts and beliefs of Christianity. The great thing about Christianity is that it is willing to tolerate other religions, and that is why you don't have to be a Christian to live in the United States - as a non-Muslim, try entering Mecca or Medina sometime; you'll lose everything from the neck up. But because our nation was founded in the tradition of Christianity, even if you are of a different religion, you cannot neccessarily practice every aspect of your faith in this country. If you subscribe to an ancient Aztec faith, you do not have the freedom to go around cutting peoples' hearts out. If you are a Muslim, you do not have the right to cut off your daughter's clitoris (I will save my disgust toward male circumcision for another post). The bottom line is that no matter what your religion, if you live in this country, you must follow its laws, and those laws - by and large - are steeped in the teachings and traditions of Christianity.

This is why it bothers so many Americans that Keith Ellison is willing to place his hand on a book that has nothing to do with the founding of this country, and in fact, calls for customs and laws that are anathema to our way of life, such as calling for the killing of people who are not of a certain faith, and the legally sanctioned unequal treatment of women. If you want to read more about these misgivings, I direct you to a series of columns here, here, and here, written by public speaker, Jewish philosopher, and one of my favorite radio talk hosts, Dennis Prager. Prager has taken a lot of heat from the left for his outspoken criticism of Ellison's desire to be sworn in with a Quran.

I heard and read today in the news that the Quran that Ellison will use at his swearing-in ceremony tomorrow will be one that was owned by Thomas Jefferson and was donated to the Library of Congress by Jefferson after the War of 1812. It doesn't take much of a leap to see what Ellison is doing here: See? Even Thomas Jefferson, our third president and the author of the Declaration of Independence, was tolerant of Islam because he owned a Quran! So it's OK that I am being sworn in on a Quran tomorrow - I have Thomas Jefferson in my corner.

Thomas Jefferson had experience with Islam all right; during Jefferson's presidency, it was he who sent the U.S. Navy and Marines to Tripoli to fight the Muslim Barbary Pirates in order to stop them from kidnapping anymore of our sailors and merchants and holding them for ransom. Think of it as our first war on Islamic Terrorism. Going back to the 1780s when he was our ambassador to France, Jefferson had spoken out against the United States' policy of paying annual tribute to the Barbary Pirates in order to curb their cutthroat and kidnapping ways. And this tribute that the U.S. coughed up every year was no small matter; in 1800, one year before Jefferson took office as president, the ransoms and tribute we were paying amounted to 20 percent of our government's annual revenues. Almost immediately upon taking office in 1801, Jefferson sicced the Marines on the Barbary Pirates, hence the famous song lyric, the shores of Tripoli.

In 1786, Jefferson recounted a conversation that he and John Adams had with an ambassador from the Barbary Pirates,
“We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the Grounds of their pretensions to make war upon a Nation who had done them no Injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our Friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation. The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
Wow! That Islamic screed sounds rather familiar. It could have been written yesterday; not 220 years ago.

According to the previously linked MSNBC article, Thomas Jefferson's Quran was printed in England in 1750, but it doesn't give the year that Jefferson acquired it. This means I can only speculate, but I would bet good money that Jefferson read that Quran in order to fulfill Sun Tzu's famous maxim, Know your enemy.

I am not fist-shakingly angry about Keith Ellison swearing his oath of office on a Quran tomorrow, but it does leave a rather bad taste in my mouth; especially his seeming misrepresentation of Thomas Jefferson's reasons for owning a copy of the Quran.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

A prosperous 2007 to everyone. Keep on readin' the blog!

I was just thinking that right now 10 years ago, I was a young single soldier stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, and I was sitting in a 30th story hotel room in downtown Seattle, looking out the window at fireworks shooting off the Space Needle.

Now? My wife fell asleep two hours ago; my 2 1/2 year old son is sideways, asleep on his bed; my 8 month old daughter is bundled under a fleece blanket in her crib; people are setting off little firecrackers down the block from our safe and secure home; tomorrow, I go back to my stable and secure job. My kind of New Years :)

Good Year to You, Sir