Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The latest Carnival of Education...

... is now open for your viewing pleasure. Yours Truly made the cut this week.

Good Day to You, Sir

I no speaka you language

I have previously regaled you with the story of a note I confiscated in one of my classes that was being passed back and forth between two seventh grade girls, one of whom referred to me as a "nigga."

I received another gem of a note from one of those girls a couple of days ago, but this time, it was written directly to me. This girl is a bull in a china shop. She walks into the classroom (mostly tardy) and turns it upside down. She doesn't stay in her seat, she never brings pen or pencil or paper, and makes a point of borrowing said items from someone on the other side of the classroom so she can make a big production of going over there to retrieve said items. On the way, she blaps other students in the back of the head and generally causes a ruckus. When I remove this student from the classroom or hold her back at the end of the period to talk to her, our conversations are pointless, because as soon as I begin speaking to her about her behavior, her eyes fixate on the ceiling, and she loudly and rudely talks a mile a minute in order to drown me out. Forget about calling home; there is no available number. The only thing I can do at this point is mail a letter or make a home visit. The other day, I sent this girl to another classroom with a behavior paragraph to fill out. Instead of doing the behavior paragraph as instructed, she came waltzing back into my classroom with the following note. I have rewritten it as is, with no corrections for spelling or grammar. You know, before I started teaching, I knew that kids talked this way, but I honestly never contemplated the fact that they wrote that way too:
Plez Read

I aint gone do dis I do not like dis school I do not like da boy Im sittin by I do not like you da reason why I do not like dis school is because all da peps do is talk bout me and they need to mind they own bizness da reason why I dont like da boy Im sittin by is cuz he always sayin stuff bout everyone includin me da reason why I don't like you is because you is always blammin stuff on me and you never listen to me when I need to talk to you but I listen to you when ever I start talken you cut me out always Im trren to tell you mr. [Chanman] I don't like da boy Im sitting by so can you please move him or move me thank you 4 reading and listenin to dis.
Please understand that the reason she is so upset is because I moved her away from the friend with whom she was passing the previous note in the first place. It's not about "da boy" I sat her next to; she wouldn't like anyone I sat her next to. She wants her partner-in-crime back and she is mad at me for separating them.

My question is, and I am serious: later on in life, do these students learn that they can't write this way in the real world? Do they know that no employer will accept this misspelled street slang? When the moment arises, will the students who write like this be able to switch gears and write in proper English? I am honestly at a loss here.

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, February 25, 2007

An Inconvenient moment during the Oscars

I just saw An Inconvenient Truth win the Academy Award for Best Documentary. The Gorebot got up there and gave his usual litany of hot air, telling the crowd at the Kodak Theater how important it was to address global warming; the warming he of course blames on us rubes.

The funny thing was watching the reaction shots of the adoring myrmidons in the audience as their Goracle spoke. With all the head-bobbing going on, you would think they were all fellating him from afar. One woman was pumping her fist up and down as if... never mind.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, February 23, 2007

As long as there are tests, there will always be prayer in schools

High stakes testing is coming up. The teachers have drilled, the students have studied, the administration has given their pep talks to both staff and students. Testing is upon us. Is there anything more we can do to ensure the students score well? How about we get the Almighty involved in this. I know! Let's anoint the students' desks!

Money quote from this article:
"We thought it was vandalism. It was greasy. It was oily," said fourth-grade teacher Chris Becker, who resigned later that week to take a teaching job in Citrus County.

"One of my colleagues said she was told by one of the secretaries it was prayer oil," he said. "I was very offended by that because I'm not a Christian." (Chanman's emphasis)
Get over yourself Mr. Becker, get over yourself. And just to head off the inevitable comment from one of my critical readers, which would be something along the lines of Well, Chanman, how would you feel if a bunch of Buddhist teachers drew Dharma Wheels on your kid's desk? That's easy - I WOULD THANK THEM FOR CARING!!! These Christophobes really need to find something else to get their panties in a wad.

Good Day to You, Sir

This time, a broken neck is a good thing

Unlike the previous post, where a teacher's neck was broken by some thuggish students, this time, a man's neck was broken for a good reason: he was robbing people at gunpoint, but the people fought back!

Some elderly American tourists on a cruise were taking a bus tour in Costa Rica, when they were held up by three armed robbers. Click here to find out what happened next. I'll give you a hint: just because one retires from the military, he doesn't lose his instinctual defensive training.

Good Day to You, Sir

They thought this would get their iPod back?

In Germantown, Pennsylvania, two high school students assaulted their math teacher after he confiscated an iPod from one of them. They broke the poor guy's neck. Now the two students are in the slamma. There is a policy banning electronic devices at my campus. On average, I confiscate probably three or four iPods/MP3/CD players a week. I can think of some students on my campus who, if I confiscated their electronic device, would like to do to me what those two Germantown students did to their teacher, but I can't imagine any students on my campus getting froggy enough to actually jump.

What really got me in the article was this blurb near the end:
...both students face serious criminal charges and will be expelled. (Philadelphia Schools CEO) Paul Vallas also said the two students involved in the attack were in the process of being expelled from the school because of disciplinary reasons. (Chanman's emphasis)
What were these two clowns still doing on campus? I see this horsecrap in my neck of the woods too. There are some select students on my campus who are always the subject of faculty consternation. We teachers scratch our heads and ask each other, "What is that kid still doing here? How many more chances is he going to get before they finally get rid of him?" We know the answer. It's a mixture of bad court decisions, bad lawmaking, and timid administration. The legal system and our legislature has tied our hands and feet together to the point where it is now impossible to truly get rid of student. Expulsion isn't even expulsion anymore. After the wayward student has shown acceptable progress in some worthless, gobbeldy-gook anger management program, his expulsion is rescinded, and he can come right back to the campus from which he was removed in the first place. The the video news story that accompanies the article features Mr. Vallas admitting that the two students were also expelled from Roosevelt Middle School when they attended there, but (Pennsylvania) state law only allows a student to be expelled for one year. I see California isn't the only state that has lost it's bloody mind. The whole situation would be a pathetic joke, but for the fact that these disruptive, violent, shameless hooligans are ruining the education of the students who truly give a hoot about their education. Hence, I find nothing funny about it.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, February 22, 2007

So how do you explain Yosemite?

In the year and a half that I have been writing this blog, I don't think I have ever done a post on global warming. I have sometimes asked myself why, and when it comes down to it, I think it because frankly, I find the whole thing to be rather tedious. I have come across some of the members of the Church of Global Warming in my masters degree classes that I recently finished, and there was no discussing it with them - their minds were made up. To them, I am a global warming "denier" who, according to Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman, is right up there with Holocaust deniers. I think what mystifies me is why the believers of global warming are so hell-bent on believing it so much. Many of my questions were answered after I read Michael Crichton's new techno-thriller called State of Fear. The book's story is a work of fiction, but in a unique twist, the scientific and technical dialogue of the characters is heavily footnoted, and statistical charts and graphs pepper the novel's 500+ pages. State of Fear is an answer to the hysteria about global warming, and is quite an action-packed thrill ride at the same time.

Now first, let me clarify something. According to many measurements, the earth's atmosphere has been heating up. I have no problem conceding that point if that is what the data show. My disagreement with the true believers involves the cause of this heating of the earth's atmosphere. If there is any human contribution at all, it is a negligible one. I believe that the real reason people like Al Gore ("the Goracle") so adhere to the belief that we humans are causing global warming is so that people like the Goracle can use the belief as an excuse to control the benighted masses. It comes down to the old leftist canard of "We know what is best for you." Author Mark Steyn calls these people "ecochondriacs", and I think they are full of a lot of hot air.

Here are just a small few of my random observations about the contradictions and fallacies of the Church of Global Warming:
  1. In reference to this post's title, one of the things that gets an ecochondriac's hands wringing is the melting of glaciers in some parts of the world. Question - how does one explain Yosemite Valley? How do you think that valley was formed in the first place? A glacier cut it. So where's the glacier?! I don't think people were producing very much carbon when the glacier that formed Yosemite Valley, disappeared from Yosemite Valley. The same question applies to any other valley out there that was obviously cut by a glacier, yet there is currently no glacier in it.
  2. Did you know that the 1930s were hotter than this current decade? How is that possible if they didn't have near the industry that we have now?
  3. Did you know that the 1930s and 1940s saw a lot more destructive hurricanes than this current decade?
  4. After the horrible 2005 hurricane season, which included Katrina, ecochondriacs were hyperventilating about the hurricane seasons to come. Yet, the 2006 season saw not one hurricane hit the United States mainland.
  5. World-wide temperatures dropped from the 1950s to about 1980, even though carbon emissions were going up, up, up the entire time. If increasing carbon emissions cause global warming, then how did the temperatures go down?
  6. Speaking of those dropping temperatures that started in the 1950s, by the 1970s, many of the same chicken littles who today, are panicking about global warming, were the same chicken littles who were warning us about the inevitable ice age that was bearing down upon us.
  7. The other day in Washington D.C., a conference on global warming had to be cancelled due to an ice storm.
  8. The term "global warming" kind of melts away - so to speak - during the winter months. Global warming doesn't really sell when people are freezing their knickers off in 10 feet of snow in upstate New York. No during the cold season, "global warming" gives way to "climate change". Once the heat waves of summer kick in, so does the term "global warming".
  9. I have always wondered why ecochondriacs scoff at research that questions the validity of the global warming theory, saying that the study is "tainted" by funding from industry, yet they think that studies funded by the environmental movement that "prove" global warming is horrible and man-made are considered to be objective and as pure as the new-fallen snow.
  10. Why was a gross polluter like China exempted from the Kyoto Treaty, yet the U.S. was not? Is China's pollution cleaner than ours? Does only American and western pollution cause global warming?
  11. If Al Gore and other ecochondriac celebrities see no problem with driving around in a Prius even while flying in a private jet that puts more carbon in the air from one flight than 100 Priuses could expel in a year, then is there really much to worry about?
  12. Al Gore justifies his use of flying in a private jet by claiming that he buys "Carbon Offsets" to neutralize his "Carbon Footprint". Gee, that sounds suspiciously like a pre-Lutherian Catholic buying an indulgence to cancel out his sins.
All people have religion of some sort; even people who claim they aren't religious. What often happens is that a non-religious person simply adopts a belief in something else that approximates religion. Communism and Environmentalism are two prime examples. They both require faith in the unknowable, strict adherence to practices, excommunication, and patron saints *cough* Al Gore *cough*. I have yet to read Ann Coulter's book Godless: The Church of Liberalism, but I have already observed much of what I am sure she said in the book.

I realize that I am but a humble, ignorant, middle school history teacher with no background in environmental science, climatology, or meteorology. The Church of Global Warming loves to point out the lack of credentials, Ph.D.s, and seals of approval that some global warming critics have. Even when they do have a Ph.D., then the critic doesn't have the "right" kind of Ph.D. You can't win with these people. However, I did a quick search and found an article written by a professor from leftist Canada who thinks the idea of man-made global warming is a bunch of hokum. Here is the link, enjoy!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm freezing; I'm going to get in my nice warm bed.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, February 19, 2007

Time to replace "E Plurubus Unum" with "Oink Oink"

Most Americans are overweight. Whenever I venture out of the house and walk the streets or the malls of Sacramento (or teach at my school), I see fat people all over the place. When I was in the Army, I was stationed in Germany and Macedonia for two years back in 1990s. In both those countries, I never saw anywhere near the abundance of obesity that I see in this country, and that includes beer-swilling, schnitzel-loving Germany. This observation was further confirmed when my wife and I took a weeks-long vacation to France and Italy in 2003. In Europe, you just don't see as many lumbering, gasping, overweight people that are so ubiquitous in the States. Why?

I read an article this weekend in the Scene section of the Saturday (2/17/07) Sacramento Bee. The article was written by a Doctor Michael Wilkes from U.C. Davis, who was giving his opinions about what to do about our obesity problem. Some of his recommendations were rather silly and, dare I say, totalitarian; others I partially or wholly agreed with. Before I get to his recommendations about how to limit obesity in the United States, here is his partial explanation of why the problem exists here and not so much elsewhere:
Experts point out that the French and Japanese are far slimmer than their American counterparts, despite nearly identical levels of physical activity. When the Japanese or French move to the United States, they gain weight. The smoking gun is clearly the American diet, based on high-calorie, high-fat, low-fiber foods.
He is partially right; the American diet is indeed high-calorie and high-fat, but so is the French diet. Have you ever checked the fat content of escargot slathered in butter? How about the chocolate croissant and the quiche lorraine that I consumed in the boulangerie across the street from our Paris hotel? No, the big difference between American food and the rest of the world is not so much what is in our food, but how much of it we eat. At the French restaurants in which my wife and I dined, the size of the entree portions was just enough to leave me satisfied, but not full, and I still wanted more when I finished. When I ordered a Coke, the server would bring out a small bottle of Coke. Once I drank it, that was it; if I wanted another one, I would have to pay full price for another one. Then there are the restaurants in the U.S. Have you ever been to a Claim Jumper restaurant? The food is to die for, but your entree is enough to feed at least three people. The Cheescake Factory is in the same category. And when you order a soft drink in most American restaurants, they bring you out a large glass of it, and you can have unlimited refills. Have you ever seen how many empty calories there are in a soft drink? And don't even get me started on those 44-ounce Big Gulps in the mini-marts out there.

Please don't think I am on a high and mighty horse, here. Do I partake of these huge-portion restaurants and their unlimited refills on soft drinks? Not all the time, but you bet I do! Do I need to lose about 20 pounds? Notwithstanding the picture on my profile of me golfing and showing off my svelte physique, it wouldn't hurt for me to drop from my current 220ish to around 200. But if I ever choose to change my eating habits and my nutrition lifestyle (and my wife and I have already started), it will be on my terms because I wanted to make the change. Here is where I differ with Dr. Wilkes. Many of his recommendations begin with the premise that I am too much of a dummy to understand how to eat right, and it is up to the government to save me from myself. He says,
Unfortunately, the U.S. government is not very good at implementing aggressive, comprehensive interventions to address major social problems... it will require the government to admit it has a responsibility to help and create programs that do not require great effort by the public, with built-in incentives for businesses, schools, and individuals to do the right thing. It will require mandatory actions, because voluntary actions are not working.
Ahh! Spoken like a true totalitarian: If you can't persuade people to do what you would like them to do, then use the power of government to force them. Here are his recommendations that fall into the "goose-stepper" category:
  1. Ban advertising of junk food on TV and radio, and in movie theaters.
  2. Place a tax on junk food, and use the revenue to fund fitness programs for children and to reduce the cost of nutruitious foods such as fruits.
  3. Require health-insurance companies to provide weight-loss programs that have proved effective, and perhaps give people an incentive to participate.
  4. Require new housing units, particularly those in poorer areas, to have open space, fitness centers, and bike lanes.
  5. Require 50 percent of all food sold in vending machines to be high in fiber and nutritious.
  6. Provide tax incentives for businesses that offer meaningful, effective fitness and dietary programs for all employees.
Every one of those recommendations involves the choice of the individual being required to give way to the compulsion of government. Ban advertising? First Amendment anyone? Tax on junk food to fund fitness programs? Yeah, that worked well with cigarettes; when the taxes caused fewer people to buy cigarettes, the government started giving subsidies to failing tobacco farmers! Require health insurance companies to provide weight-loss programs? What if I am in perfectly good health and I don't want my premiums raised for a program I don't need? Housing units with open space and fitness centers? All that will do is raise the price of housing in "poorer areas" and keep more poor out of houses in the first place. Fifty percent of vending machine food must be nutritious? What if it doesn't turn a profit? Is the government going to reimburse the vendor for the lost profits he has to eat... so to speak? Tax incentives for businesses that offer fitness programs for employees? How much longer is the government going to further gum up the 30,000-pages-and-counting U.S. Tax Code in an effort to manipulate human behavior?

Bottom line? Dr. Wilkes is just another utopian busybody who - though he apparently doesn't realize it - wants the government to point guns at people and force them to help obese people to get in shape. It's a losing proposition from the get-go. Not to mention, the last time I checked, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says nothing about Congress being given the power to make people eat right and exercise. I don't think those 55 men who met in Independence Hall during the summer of 1787 envisioned a Federal Government that would become a demonic Richard Simmons.

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, February 18, 2007

From where do my readers hail?

Darren at RightOnTheLeftCoast (see blogroll) made me aware of this feature whereby I can see where my readers are from. Let's hope it works.

Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

Friday, February 16, 2007

What's in a name?

Apparently quite a bit at C.M. Goethe Middle School in Sacramento. The school is named after Sacramento real estate tycoon and philanthropist, Charles Matthias Goethe. There is also a county park and a local road named after him as well. There is currently an effort underway to erase Goethe's name from the school. *You may have to register to read the article.

The controversy is that C.M. Goethe, who was born in 1875 and died in 1966, was a white supremacist and a supporter of eugenics. This doesn't sit well with some parents and staff at the middle school, which is located in the Meadowview area of South Sacramento. This area is mostly minority, high poverty, and high crime. The people who live there are precisely the kind of people that C.M. Goethe proposed be bred out of existence through eugenics. There is a movement brewing among many Meadowview residents to change the name of the middle school.

Believe me, I understand where the complainants are coming from. If some American city had a Che Guevara Middle School, I wouldn't be too enthused about that either; especially if my kid was attending it. On the other hand, Che wasn't a local philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to the community with the intention of making it a better one; C.M. Goethe did that for Sacramento. So the dilemma is, do you choose to recognize the good works the person did, or do you focus on his personal failings?

I know it would be a very easy thing to do if they just changed the name of the school and were done with it, but what kind of Pandora's Box is being opened if they did this? Let's look at some other examples of what can happen shall we?

Henry Ford - He was an anti-semitic xenophobe, and made no secret of this fact. However, he also made the automobile affordable for the common man and helped to change our society forever in a very positive way. Every time the fam and I drive the three hours to my parents' house that would have taken over a week on a horse, I can indirectly thank Henry Ford. I don't own a Ford automobile, but millions of people do. Should we stop buying Fords because the founder of the company hated Jews? And how about the Ford Foundation? It gives away millions of dollars every year; usually to leftist causes I might add. What should we say about all these organizations who have no problem accepting grant money from a foundation named for an anti-semitic xenophobe?

Robert Byrd - The geriatric senator from West Virginia was once a member and recruiter from the Ku Klux Klan. In response to the integration of our military, he was quoted as saying that he would never fight, "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds." Senator Byrd is a master pork barrel politician, and there are dozens of buildings, roads, and bridges named for him in West Virginia. Should all those names be changed because Senator Byrd belonged to the KKK and made no secret of his disgust with the black race?

Margaret Sanger - The founder of Planned Parenthood, and one of the patron saints of the pro-abortion crowd. Sanger believed in eugenics just like Goethe did, but I don't see the benevolent and tolerant members of the political left wiping their hands of her or her Planned Parenthood organization.

George Washington - He owned slaves for goodness' sake, yet our nation's capital city (which is predominantly black by the way) and one of our fifty states is named after him, along with countless towns, colleges, and organizations. Do all those names need to be changed?

Speaking of slaves, I noticed something amusing in the Sac Bee article. A seventh grade student at C.M. Goethe Middle School was asked by the reporter what the name should be changed to. The student threw out several suggestions including Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, and Ulysses S. Grant. I know he's only a seventh grader, so I will give the kid a pass, but I was amused by his choice of Ulysses S. Grant. Although his generalship saved the North from defeat in the Civil War, throughout the war, Grant was a slaveowner; he only gave up ownership of his slaves after the 13th Amendment - which outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude - was ratified in 1865.

So what to do about this whole name issue at C.M. Goethe Middle School? My take on it is that there are a lot more pressing issues in the Meadowview area of Sacramento that these busybodies should be worrying about. How about the violent crime, illegitimacy, poverty, lack of education, gang warfare, shootings? I suggest that the people working toward changing the name of the school would be better to focus their efforts on changing the face of their community.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The latest Carnival of Education... up and ready for your enjoyment. This week, it is at the Education Wonks.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Three lessons from the Salt Lake City shooting

Radical Islam, uncontrolled immigration, and gun control. All three of these issues made (or possibly made) an appearance at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. An 18 year old man named Sulejmen Talovic - a Bosnian Muslim immigrant - opened fire in the mall and killed six people.

Lesson #1: Radical Islamic violence might have made yet another appearance in our country.
Did Talovic do what he did in the name of Allah and Jihad? Too soon to know for sure. However, I am definitely beginning to notice a pattern of incidents, including this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this. At what point does it stop being a bunch of random incidents, and instead become a piece of a much larger picture?

Lesson #2: We need to seriously rethink our immigration policies
Why was Sulejmen Talovic in the United States? Where were the safeguards that are supposed to keep people like this from our shores in the first place? Our country changed forever when the Immigration Act of 1965 was passed. After none other than Senator Teddy Kennedy swore up and down that this law would not change the face of America, the Immigration Act of 1965 did exactly that. It reversed the strict immigration policies that had been in place since the mid-1920s. During that 40 year interval between 1924 and 1965, our country had taken a breath and worked to assimilate the millions of immigrants who had arrived on our shores since the 1880s. Our country's doors have been wide open ever since, with so many immigrants, both legal and especially illegal, coming in that we have been like a person trying to drink from a fire hose. Now before you starting slapping me with the "xenophobe" and "racist" labels (lefties often like to call me names rather than put forward a cogent argument), let me make it perfectly clear that I am all for legal immigration. If someone from another country wants to come to our country, adopt our American culture, be self-sufficient, and not bring in any diseases that we eradicated decades ago, then I say bring 'em on in, welcome to the United States of America! If they want to come to our country and keep one foot in their former country, not learn our language, live on the public dole, and infect our citizens with drug-resistant Tuberculosis, Whooping Cough, Polio, Leprosy, and all these other archaic diseases that are making a comeback, then I'm sorry, they must find another country. Oh, and also, if they want to come to our country in order to walk into a shopping mall and kill our fellow citizens, perhaps that shouldn't be allowed either. Immigrants to our country used to be screened; this needs to happen once again.

Lesson #3: The only thing that can stop a criminal with a gun is someone else with a gun
I already know what the gun control crowd is thinking about this incident in Salt Lake City. I can hear their whiny voices pounding against my skull: "Well, if guns were banned, this Sulejmen guy would never have been able to do what he did." Nope, sorry folks. The bad guys will always be able to get guns. All the gun laws do is disarm the law-abiding citizens who are afraid of being arrested and having everything they have worked for in life ruined if they are caught with an illegal firearm. All the newspapers and city officials are hailing the good samaritan off-duty cop who brought Sulejmen's shooting spree to a premature end. And how pray tell did this off-duty cop do that? With a gun of course. Here is a quote from the afore-linked CNN article that sums up how things might have gone differently were it not for the heroics of an armed private citizen:
Sulejmen Talovic wanted "to kill a large number of people" and probably would have killed many more if not for the off-duty officer who confronted him Monday evening, Police Chief Chris Burbank said.
How did an assistant principal stop Luke Woodham from killing more students at a high school in Pearl, Mississippi in 1997? By going to his car and retrieving a gun, which he put to Woodham's head while Woodham was reloading. How did two men at Appalachian Law School in West Virginia stop a murdering gunman a couple of years ago? They went to their cars, got their guns, and aimed them at the murdering gunman. How could Susanna Gratia Hupp have saved dozens of lives - including those of her parents - at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas in 1991? If she had been able to carry on her person, the gun she had left in the car because of Texas' gun laws, she would have been able to shoot George Hennard as he prowled the inside of the restaurant, shooting people at will. The final body count for that incident was 24. What finally ended that incident? A police sniper's gun. One way or another, a gun ends these incidents. It's just a matter of when the gun gets there. Will it be a private citizen's firearm that is on the scene at the beginning of the incident, or a policeman's firearm, used minutes or hours later when the carnage has already taken place. The mall in SLC was lucky to have an off-duty cop to help save the day. What about if he hadn't been there? How many more people would have been killed by this shooter? The way to cut down on violence is not to disarm innocent people and leave them at the mercy of the predators of our society. The way to cut down violence is to allow law-abiding people to carry the means to defend themselves. The supposed "Wild West" of the 1800s saw a many fewer murders than we see in our country today. What changed? Back then, just about everyone was armed, so committing a murder was mostly a very expensive proposition. Today, life is cheap, as most would-be victims out there are defenseless against criminal predators who are not afraid of breaking laws against theft and murder, let alone some silly little gun law.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, February 12, 2007

Shoebat disruptions could have been much worse

Lee Kaplan, a frequent contributor to FrontPageMagazine (see blogroll), has written a detailed account of Walid Shoebat's speech that I attended at UC Davis last week. I had earlier been warned and posted about the possible disruptions that might be planned by the campus Muslim Students Association (MSA). In the end, they silently stood up in unison a few times and then made a grand silent entrance as soon as Shoebat's speech was over. This was after they were specifically warned at the beginning of Shoebat's speech, not to disrupt it. It could have been worse - much worse. Here is what Kaplan found out about what the MSA actually planned to do:
The MSA had planned to fill up several rows in the school’s Freeborn Hall when Shoebat spoke (this they did -Chanman) in order to chant and drown him out. Using a cell phone, they intended to phone a member stationed outside the building to start a fire so as to empty the auditorium. What’s more, they had ample to reason to think that they could do so without penalty. Organizers and sponsors of the Shoebat speech, who included the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the UC Davis College Republicans and campus Hillel, were initially informed by the UC Davis campus police that were the MSA to interfere with the event, there was nothing to be done. It would be considered “freedom of speech.”
Now I know why many of those Muslim students had red duct tape over their mouths with the word "SILENCED" written on the tape: they didn't get to shout down the speaker and set fires! If yelling the word "FIRE!" in a crowded theater is not considered to be free speech, then I doubt that setting a fire in order to stop someone from speaking would be considered free speech either. So why didn't the MSA students go ahead with their disruptive plan? Thank Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement:
That’s when the organizers decided to take action. They demanded that the MSA students be warned of the consequences if they did disrupt. An attorney and organizer also informed the university of legal statutes in California, upheld by the Supreme Court in a similar case that involved disruption of Martin Luther King Jr. while speaking during the Civil Rights Movement, and which provided the basis for arrest and prosecution. They further informed the school’s administration that the same rules applied in the university’s codes of conduct. Just prior to Shoebat’s speech, a student organizer notified the MSA that any intentional disruption would result in actual ar rests and prosecutions and would not be tolerated. The MSA remained silent throughout the entire speech and question period, choosing to walk out later midway through the event.
So in the end, not only did the MSA students not walk the walk, but judging by their silent protest, they didn't talk the talk either. Fine by me.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, February 08, 2007

My only observation about the death of Anna Nicole Smith

Believe me, I will keep this short. With her death, this whole sordid tale has taken quite a Shakespearian turn. It all began with the 1995 death of ANS's husband - who was 63 years her senior - J. Howard Marshall. Once he died, the legal battle over the inheritance began between ANS, and her step-son (!) E. Pierce Marshall, who was 30 years her senior. Last summer, E. Pierce Marshall died, then several months later, ANS's 20 year-old son Daniel died. Now Anna Nicole Smith has died. That is a lot of dead people. No, I am not putting forward any conspiracy theories or supernatural curse theories. I just find it... intriguing.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Shoebat speaks uninterrupted, Muslim students act like imbeciles

I just returned from Walid Shoebat's speech, which he gave at Freeborn Hall on the campus of UC Davis in Davis, California, which is located about 20 miles west of Sacramento. Security was very tight, and there was no way that I was going to be able to get my digital camera past their phalanx. My MP3 player is another story. That one got by unmolested, so I was able to capture the entire speech/Q & A on the MP3 player's voice recorder. Mr. Shoebat played to a packed house; so packed, that his speech was about 30 minutes late getting under way because it took so long to seat everyone. I have always been horrible at guessing crowd numbers, but it had to be somewhere between 500 and 1,000 people in attendance. A good number of those spectators were members of the UC Davis Muslim Students Association. As you can guess, they are not big fans of Mr. Shoebat. In fact, they were handing out flyers to the crowd lined up outside Freeborn Hall. The flyer talked about what a fraud Mr. Shoebat is and how he should be deported from the United States for being a terrorist. Wow! I think this is the first time they have ever wanted anyone deported for terrorist activity connected to militant Islam.

Freeborn Hall had a bunch of chairs on the floor in front of the stage and podium. Behind those floor chairs was a sort of pull-out stadium-style seating. I sat a few rows up that so I could see over all the people sitting on the floor level below. In these floor seats - front and center behind the reserved seating - sat the Muslim students. They were all wearing white t-shirts and a strip of red duct tape on their arm in some sort of show of solidarity. Some wore a strip of the tape over their mouths with the word "silenced" written on the tape with a black marker. This is where college student protesters can just get silly. How in the hell were they being "silenced"? As these students sat or stood around talking before the speech got underway, several of the students were scurrying about, making sure everyone was in the proper uniform, pointing this way and that, coordinating whatever it was that they were planning on doing. While I watched them do that, I looked around and took in the fact that this was the first time that I had ever attended something like this on a college campus. I have always heard and read about these events, but I had never had the chance to attend one. I felt creeped out by this air of Orwellian doom that hung over the place where I got the chilling feeling that if these students and some of the other attendees were not deterred from acting on their true feelings, then you would want to be anywhere but there. I find it hard to put into words the feeling that I had.

Once the presenter came out to introduce Walid Shoebat, I hit record on my MP3 player. The presenter made it clear to the audience that disruptive monkey business would not be tolerated, that any disrupters would be arrested, and that video cameras were on hand to record any disrupters for use in legal proceedings against them. Nevertheless, the Muslim students made their presence known. As soon as Mr. Shoebat began to speak, the students, in silent unison, stood up and remained standing for about 5 to 10 seconds, then they sat down again. It was bizarre. The first thing Mr. Shoebat did was take issue with some of the errors and mistruths that had been attributed to him on the flyer the MSA students had been handing out outside Freeborn Hall. The funniest one was where the students said Mr. Shoebat was lying about his friendship with another terrorist because nothing could be found linking the two. This was supposed to be a blow against his bonafide credentials as a former terrorist. Mr. Shoebat made the students out for the immature fools they are when he pointed out that they had spelled his friend's name wrong. He spelled the name for them and then told them to Google it and they would find all the corroborating information they needed. He really punked them on that one, making them look like incomptent fools - like that was hard to do. He also shot them down on their insistence that he be deported from the United States for being a former terrorist. He told the students that if they had done their homework, they would know that he can't be deported because his mother was an American, and so was he.

Mr. Shoebat then launched into his life story, his birth to an American mother and a Jordanian father, his mother becoming trapped in the male-dominated world of Islam, and his childhood of indoctrination into the world of hating the infidel, his career as a terrorist, his moment of clarity when he had a civil conversation with a Jewish woman while on an airline flight and found that maybe Jews and Christians weren't dogs and monkeys after all. Throughout the rest of his speech, there were several more times when the Muslim students in the audience would creepily stand in silent unison, keep standing for about 5-10 seconds and then sit down again. I specifically remember them doing this when Shoebat, while talking about his conversion to Christianity, questioned whether or not Muhammad was really a prophet. I could tell the Muslim students didn't like this one bit. Shoebat engaged them by pointing out that in this country, he could say that he didn't believe that Joseph Smith of Mormon fame was a prophet, or that Jews can say they don't believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and that is OK. But question Muhammad's status as a prophet, and the Muslims will give quite the reaction that you don't seem to get from any other religion. Mr. Shoebat did an excellent job of insulting these Muslim students in a very tactful and fact-filled way. The Muslim students later stood up a third time when Mr. Shoebat criticized the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a poop-stirring organization which decries the slightest negative comment regarding Islam. This is the organization that has gone after the Fox show 24 when the season's terrorists are Muslim. Several members of CAIR have been arrested and convicted of supporting terrorism, and higher-ups in the organization have stated that they would like to see the United States be governed by Sharia law.

When he finished his 45 minute speech, Mr. Shoebat began his Q & A session. This was the cue for the Muslim students to silently leave en masse. As they filed out of Freeborn Hall, they all had their hands raised while making the "peace" sign. At one point, an audience member said something to the effect of, "If you want to live in peace with us, then why are you leaving?" One of the male MSA students turned around and gave a hateful glare that sent a chill down my spine. One of his more sensible colleagues put his hand on the hater's back and gave him a nudge toward the door. Mr. Shoebat made a comment that he was sorry to see them go and not get to field any questions from them. He has a very sarcastic and playful confrontational style that diffuses any chance of physical hostility, yet does a masterful job of pointing out the foolish positions of his opponents. The man was an electrifying speaker.

The Q & A was very informative, but of course you always get the chatty hotheads who want to give their own lecture rather than ask a question. One questioner tried to tell Mr. Shoebat that the Muslims in the middle east didn't oppress anyone, and gave the Christians in Egypt as an example. Mr. Shoebat shut him down right there, and gave a masterful history of the treatment of the Coptic Christians in Egypt, the treatment of the Armenians at the hands of the Turks, the Black Christians in southern Sudan, and a few other examples. These dummies got up there thinking they could blow smoke up this Shoebat's caboose, somehow forgetting who they were talking to: an ex-PLO terrorist who lived, breathed, and ate the Quran, hating the infidel, nursing historical grievances.

When the Q & A came to an end and everyone filed out of the Hall, the Muslim students were all outside holding signs, the biggest of which said Islam is Peace. Yes, that cliched statement was apparently the best they could muster. The last time I checked, Islam meant Submission.

I would love to post any or all of my audio of the speech, but I confess ignorance as to how or whether or not I can do it. At least you got this much of the lowdown from me in this post. Attending this event was a significant investment of money and especially time, but it was a priceless experience, both from listening to the speaker, and watching the antics of some of the audience members.

Good Day to You, Sir

*Update - This afternoon, I found a story (horribly biased against Shoebat by the way) from the Sacramento Bee that gave the audience count as 1,800. I told you I am bad at guessing the size of crowds!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fasten your seatbelts!

I mentioned a couple posts ago that I am going to Freeborn Hall at UC Davis tomorrow night to see Walid Shoebat give a speech. The title of that post is I just hope he doesn't get shouted down. Tonight, Darren from RightOnTheLeftCoast (see blogroll) emailed me to give me a heads-up about this post from Little Green Footballs. It seems that my fears of Mr. Shoebat's speech being disrupted are not unfounded. The campus Muslim Students Association is supposedly planning to not let Shoebat speak by disrupting him.

I don't know if this will really happen or not, but I plan on doing something to record what happens. I don't have a video camera, but I do have an MP3 player with a voice recorder, and a digital camera that can take little 10-15 second films. I don't know if security will be cracking down on electronic devices, but at the very least, I will most likely be able to sneak in the MP3 player.

This should be an interesting experience!

Good Day to You, Sir

Passing along some note stories

When it comes to note passing in my classroom, I am not one of those sadistic-type teachers who reads the confiscated note to the entire class, but I do confiscate it.

Today, I had not one, but two memorable note confiscations. During fourth period, I saw a male student - we'll call him John Smith - passing around a note to some of the students around him. I walked over and confiscated it, putting it in my pocket as I continued with the lesson. At the end of the period, John came up to me and asked me if he could have the note back, as it was a letter from his dad. I told John to see me later because he was going to be late for class as it was. When I got a chance to look at the note, I noticed that it was a letter inside an torn-open envelope. It was addressed to the student, and the return address looked essentially like the following:

John Smith, Sr. #1234567
C.S.P. San Quentin
San Quentin, CA 94974

For those who might not be in the know, "C.S.P." stands for "California State Prison". San Quentin is a maximum security lockup where California's one and only death chamber is located. I assume this student's dad is not on Death Row, but the fact he is residing in San Quentin means he didn't merely steal a car for a joyride. Needless to say, I took the letter over to the student's next class and handed it to his teacher to give it to him. I wanted that letter in my possession as little as possible.

Not two periods later - sixth period - I confiscated another note. There are two girls in that class who sit next to each other who I should have separated a long time ago; why I had not, I'm not sure. Finally, today, I had reached my limit, and I separated them. I kept Girl #1 in place, and sent Girl #2 to another seat. They protested as much as you would expect, but Girl #2 went to her new seat without too much fuss. About 20 minutes later, I saw Girl #1 trying to hide a note from me that she had just received. I walked over, took it, and put it in my pocket. I always nonchalantly put a confiscated note in my pocket and just move on with the lesson, then read the note later after the students leave.

After 6th period was over, I took the note out of my pocket, and to my astonishment, here is what it said - word for word, uncorrected, and unedited:

Girl #2: hey gurl I Hella mad man dis nigga moved me the hell ova here
Girl #1: I No lets be bad
Girl #2: forreal lets be talking out and stuff. and laugh OUT LOUD LOL!

OK, I don't understand why they spell it "gurl". Next, I guess I should feel honored that Gurl #1 referred to me as a "nigga". I hear students on campus say that to each other all the time, and it seems to be a friendly moniker. I guess this means I have been accepted as one of them?

All kidding aside, I don't know if this is bad, but I felt such a feeling of cathartic pleasure during during my phone conversation with Gurl #2's mother as I read to her - word for word; including the word "nigga"- what her darling daughter had written in the note. The mother was absolutely mortified. As for my phone call home on Gurl #1, the home phone has been disconnected, the cell phone number netted me a recorded voice telling me that the person at that number is currently not accepting calls, and the third number was a wrong number. It is this gurl that needs a call home more than the other one, and naturally, I can't contact anybody at home. Kinda tells you why there is such a problem in the first place.

The only thing I am still left wondering from all this is whether or not these two girls can spell any better than they did in that note. I am wondering if I should give a copy of it to their Language Arts teacher?

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Is it racial profiling or common-sense police work?

I found this NY Daily News article linked on Drudge: NYPD frisked blacks at 5 times rate of whites. To the uninformed eye, one could look at that headline and think, why those racist bastards. The reality of this statistic is not as... ahem... black and white as one might think.

I admittedly don't have crime statistics for New York City broken down by race.

UPDATE 2/12/07: I just happened upon those statistics. Here is a description from Heather MacDonald of City Journal:
In New York City, blacks committed 62 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults from 1998 to 2000, according to victim and witness identification, even though they make up only 25 percent of the city’s population. Whites committed 8 percent of those crimes over that period, though they are 28 percent of New York residents. These proportions have been stable for years and remain so today.
However, I do have murder statistics for the nation as a whole from the United States government. If you look at those numbers, blacks in New York are getting off easy, since in the entire country, blacks are 7 times more likely to commit murder than whites. Here is the graph:

But that is only half the equation. The real irony is that the vast majority of the victims of these black murderers are black themselves. If the "critics" who are railing against the police in the article would spend half their energy badmouthing these criminals instead of the police, maybe we would see some progress in reducing crime. Here is a graphic breakdown of who is more likely to be a victim:

As you can see from the graphs, the reason for the disproportionate number of contacts between the NYPD and black citizens is because it is a most unfortunate fact that blacks in this country commit a disproportionate amount of the crime.

Now, this is where I usually get one of my troll commenters telling me that I have a problem with black people, like has happened in the past. I have previously answered those ad hominem attacks and I won't waste my typing on it again. I will say this - judging by those numbers, the people who do seem to have a problem with black people... are other black people.

Good Day to You, Sir

Did you know there's a war on?

I can think of few things that would be more terrifying to me than running out into the open where people are aiming for and shooting at you. What can be even more terrifying than that? How about when you do it three times and you know that the shooters are expecting you to show yourself again. Please take somber pleasure in reading about the heroic actions of another of our servicemen who distinguished himself in the War in Islamic Fascism:

Good Day to You, Sgt. McDade

Saturday, February 03, 2007

How we used to be, and how I wish we still were

First, let us set up the modern-day situation. Anyone who has ever visited K Street in downtown Sacramento can attest to the fact that especially during weekends, it is a wasteland of bums... excuse me, homeless people, and all kinds of weird... excuse me, eclectic characters roaming the street and alleyways. Tonight, I found out that our city's derelicts were not always treated so tolerantly.

I didn't get a chance to open up today's edition of the Sacramento Bee until dinnertime. There was a 150 year anniversary insert that included a reproduction of an edition of the Bee for Tuesday, February 3, 1857. As I perused what was going on in town 150 years ago, I came across this in the local news section - not the editorial section mind you - the local news section:
ATTENTION LOAFERS -- Recent accounts from all portions of the mine, show that there is plenty of work for all honest men, and those willing to labor can obtain from two to three dollars per day and board. There are about three hundred loafers in this city who have not performed a day's work for many months, being too lazy to do anything but beg and spunge on their neighbors, friends, and the public, and some means should be adopted to get rid of them immediately. If the Marshal would instruct the police to arrest every vagrant known to them, and if the Recorder would give them one week in the chain-gang, or the privilege of leaving town within twenty-four hours, the city would be cleared in less than a day. Now is the time to get rid of the vampires, as they cannor plead in extennation of vagrancy, "inability to obtain employment."
Taking into account the leftist proclivities of the Bee's current editorial staff, can you even fathom something like this being written in our local paper today? Nay, can you imagine this being written in any local paper in our country? Keep in mind, this was the attitude of the United States during our country's ascent, not during our decline today, where attitudes toward the bums on our streets are much more permissive. What a fascinating view into the window of our city's past.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, February 02, 2007

An "electrifyingly" ridiculous proposed law

Seeing as how I hail from California, it's pretty sad that the following info got by me unnoticed and I found out about it from a blogger in Vermont (see She's Right on my blogroll), but here is the bad and the ugly:

Leave it to the loonies of the California state legislature to come up with a bill like this one. Lloyd Levine, a Los Angeles assemblyman and a Democrat (Shocking! Get it? Shocking?), wants a law passed in California that would force Golden State residents to only use those spirally-looking flourescent light bulbs in their homes and businesses. With all the problems our fair state is facing right now, I am glad to see that the legislature is looking out for me by prioritizing and only concentrating on the most pressing issues. Remember though, the lefties always swear up and down that they value personal liberty more than the right and that it is the right that is always pushing their values on other people.

I hate, and have always hated, flourescent light. That infernal buzzing noise literally gives me a headache, and the light is never bright enough; it always has a washed-out feeling to it.

Next thing you know, the government is going to tell us how many gallons of water our toilets can use when we flush... wait one sec... what's that?... Damn!

Good Day to You, Sir