Monday, April 30, 2007

California teachers are quitting in droves? How come?

This article has been swarming the edublogosphere, as well it should. According to the article, studies show that 22% of California teachers are leaving the profession after only four years of teaching. In inner-city high poverty-type schools, the rate of departure is 10% per year. Read the article to find out the reasons why, but don't expect to have the most obvious reason explained very explicitly. It is mentioned, but it gets rather lost in the clutter instead of being front and center within the article. Leave it to a commentor at the end of the article to state what should have been better addressed in the article:
No one apprarently (sic) dares to mention the obvious: the 'children' (barbarians and proto-criminals would be a better term) themselves drive the teachers away (from either the school or increasingly from the profession) through psychological and physical assaults that administrators, parents, and the system at large all tolerate. The problem with public schools are the barbarians that populate the schools. Unless that issue is confronted (at it likely will not) teachers will leave as soon as they can find a way out. I speak as a former NYC teacher
I saw an office referral in the hopper this morning from another teacher. Apparently one of our charming "frequent flyer" students called him a "fat fuck". Now why would teachers want to leave something like that?

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, April 27, 2007

Did you know there's a war on?

I have been remiss in my duty of posting these, but here is the amazing story of a medic in Iraq whose toughest patient was himself. I continue to be amazed that stuff like this is happening every day in Iraq, and we don't ever hear about it from the losers in the dinosaur media. Shame on them.

...helped save the lives of seven Iraq policemen, that last part should say. I am still trying to figure out the finer points of screen capture.

God Bless all our sheep dogs who take on the wolves of the world.

Good Day to You, Sir

Anatomy of a dress code violation

Once again, the names have been changed to protect the (not so) innocent.

Sally is a student in my 6th period class. She is a pleasant girl unless things don't go her way, and then she turns nasty. The other day, I casually noticed a sweatshirt she was wearing, as the vivid design caught my eye. The front of the sweatshirt was plastered with a recurring pattern of what appeared to be small pink silhouetted pictures of hairstyle items: combs, blowdryers, lipstick, and... razor blades? I'm not exactly sure how to describe the front of the sweatshirt, except to say that these four small items were shown over and over again, almost in a geometric pattern, so that the front of the sweatshirt was adorned with over a hundred pictures of these same four items again and again. I didn't give it much thought during class. When class ended, Sally came to my desk to check her grade. Now that she was only two feet away from me, I got a closer look at her sweatshirt.

Up close, the appearance of the items was not as innocent as the first glance. The "blowdryers" had trigger guards and front sight posts. The handle of the "blowdryers" had what appeared to be brass knuckles on them. The "lipstick" looked more like a bullet and casing. And then of course were the razor blades, which still looked like razor blades; the refill kind like Paulie uses in prison to cut the garlic thin in Goodfellas.

I told Sally, "Are you aware your sweatshirt has pictures of guns and bullets all over it?" Sally immediately became very defensive and insisted that those were blowdryers and lipstick. I started pointing out the trigger guards and front sights on the "blowdryers" and the shape of the bullets, but Sally would have none of it. I told Sally to remove the sweatshirt, but with a smug and haughty tone, she told me she couldn't because she only had a spaghetti-strapped tanktop on underneath, and those aren't allowed to be worn at school. "Neither is that sweatshirt", I told her. I directed Sally to the office so that the admin could deal with her dress code violation. She bitched and moaned all the way out the door. I entered something in my computer really quick, then exited my classroom to ensure that Sally made it to the office (My prep period had just started). I walked toward the office to find several campus security people giving Sally a ration of crap about her sweatshirt. They had stopped her because she didn't have a pass and must have inquired about her destination. I made sure that Sally made it into the office, then I went about my business.

The next day during lunch (the period before I have Sally in class), I walked by the V.P.'s office on my way to the mailbox, when who should I see sitting outside the V.P.'s office but Sally with the same sweatshirt on again. The campus security folks had obviously nabbed her again. I asked Sally, "You're wearing that sweatshirt again?" She went into another tirade about how they weren't weapons; they were just beauty products. The next period soon started, and Sally walked in about five minutes late. She was still wearing the sweatshirt. I pointed at the door and told Sally to go back to the office. She told me, "But [the principal] told me I could wear it!" Sadly, I believed her, but I sent her back to the office anyway. Several minutes later, my phone rang. It was the principal. I was informed that Sally was cleared to wear the sweatshirt, that the pictures were just beauty products, and to quote the Principal, "I really don't see what the big hubbub is about." A minute later, Sally was back in my class. Wearing the sweatshirt.

Later that day, this email from the principal's secretary appeared in my inbox:
Sally is wearing a SALON theme sweatshirt. [the principal] is OK with this. Sally has been advised about her passion and attitude towards staff regarding this sweatshirt. I'd imagine if nothing is said to her she won't say anything about it. Thank you for your understanding.
A rather snooty admonishment toward teacher and campus security I would say. I shrugged my shoulders, marveled at the consistently inconsistent enforcement of our dress code, and went on with my day. But fear not. The day after that, this email from the principal appeared in my inbox:
Hi Folks,

I would like to clarify that at the time that I evaluated Sally's sweatshirt, I was not fully informed nor did I look closely enough to look beyond what I thought were "salon items". After gathering more information, I called Mr. [Sally's grandfather] this evening, and expressed my concerns about the content of her sweatshirt and the violence that was being disguised as hair salon items. [The grandfather] was entirely supportive particularly in light of recent events**. He agreed not to allow her to wear the sweatshirt to school.

Thank you for your patience,

**Virginia Tech massacre, naturally
Why, oh why must we teachers be second-guessed like this? Do you think I sent Sally to the office not once, but twice, because I had nothing else better to do that day? I couldn't help myself; I had to reply to the principal with a friendly little dig:
I appreciate that. I was trying to think of the last time I saw a hair dryer with a trigger guard and a front sight aperture ;)
To which she gamely replied:
No prob. Thanks for having a sharp eye. :-)
The funny thing about all this is that shirts with weapon imagery really don't bother me all that much. When I was in middle school, I wore a t-shirt with a Marine aiming an M-16 with the caption, "Visit Lebanon: Help a Syrian meet Allah!" This was during the tail end of our ill-fated intervention in the Lebanese Civil War back in 1983-84. At least my shirt was patriotic, rather than nihilistic like the shirts worn today. But dammit, if we are going to have these dress code rules, and these rules against cell phones being on during class, and the presence of MP3 players on campus at all, they must be enforced, or get rid of them. And until it is decided to get rid of a rule, I will enforce that rule. To do otherwise; to look the other way, does nothing but build a sense of contempt in our students for the authorities on campus.

Sometimes, I feel like Elliott Ness in The Untouchables. When asked by a reporter what he'll do if Prohibition is repealed, Ness replies, "I think I'll have a drink". I don't necessarily agree with this weapon imagery ban, but as long as it's a rule on campus, I will consistently enforce it.

Now, about the boy in my 8th period class who the other day was wearing a .223 caliber bullet hanging from a chain around his neck. Yep, I confiscated it.

Good Day to You, Sir

Life as a party pooper

You are at a social function. One of the guests with whom you are conversing casually mentions what bastards the Republicans are and how they want to kill old people and starve little kids. Believe me, I've been there. More than once, I have bitten my tongue, given a little grunt, and changed the subject. Why? The other person had no problem making his views known; why did I feel it necessary to hold my tongue just to keep things civil? Let's make it clear that nowadays, I am not so quick to clam up. I guess I get braver as I get older, and I have called people on their comments and made them defend them. Rather than turning meek, I think its rather fun to put these kind of people on the spot.

In the past though, I think I didn't speak out when I should have, because it is tougher to be a conservative; because you have to be the adult. You have to be the one who says, "No!" No, you cannot spend billions of dollars on welfare. No, you cannot give black people reparations for something that happened 150 years ago; No, it's not right for a single mother to have 10 kids. As a parent and a teacher, I know that I am not going to be very popular when I tell my children or my students, "No", but I realize that it must be done. I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh much anymore, but long ago, he said it best. He said that it is easy to be a liberal because all you have to do is just say "Yes!" to everything. No matter what the cost, just start a new social program, or pass another regulation.

Andrew Klavan from City Journal (a quarterly magazine that I wish was monthly) has produced an amazing article that verbalizes the feeling I as a conservative have had my entire life. Here is an excerpt to get you started:
Of course, like everything, this candor has its price. A politics that depends on honesty will be, by nature, often impolite. Good manners and hypocrisy are intimately intertwined, and so conservatives, with their gimlet-eyed view of the world, are always susceptible to charges of incivility. It’s not really nice, you know, to describe things as they are...

This, I believe, is the reason conservative politicians so often lose their nerve, why they back down in debate even when they’re clearly right. No one wants to be condemned as a brute—especially not conservatives, who still retain some vague memory of how worthy it is to be a lady or gentleman...
Read the entire article - it is a gem.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hillary! is kissin' more uh thaim greeuts

Once again, Hillary Rodham Clinton has spoken before a black audience, and once again, she is guilty of the worst possible kind of pandering as this midwestern Wellesley grad starts talkin' like she's at a minstrel show. Good Lord, I am embarassed to watch this woman. Check out the newest edition of Southern Fried Hillary.

Oh, and the worst part is that she was making this speech at the convention of the National Action Network, which is the organization run by that Jew-hating, white-hating, race-baiting, violence-inciting hatemonger Al Sharpton, who seems in the video to be quite amused at white bread Hillary hamming it up for the black crowd.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, April 23, 2007

"Gun Free Zones" are Logic Free Zones

This is so simple. Look at the man above and ask yourself, is he going to abide by any gun control law? The answer to that question is the core issue regarding the efficacy (or lack thereof) of such laws. If Cho Seung Hui thought nothing of violating Virginia's murder laws dozens of times, and Virginia's attempted murder laws dozens of times, what on God's green earth makes delusional gun control advocates believe that Cho would not violate any of Virginia's gun control laws?

I'm sure you have all heard the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. This definition truly applies to the people out there in the New York Times and the "gun safety" groups like the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center. After every massacre where an evil mass-murdering gunman slays multiple unarmed victims who are cowering in paralyzing fear or are trying in vain to outrun a bullet, these anti-gun organizations predictably call for even more gun control.

One such gun control law that played a major part in last week's murder and mayhem was the one that forbade anyone on a Virginia school campus - students, faculty, or administration - from possessing a firearm. This law designated campuses like Virginia Tech as "Gun Free Zones". That worked out really well, now didn't it?

This law against guns on Virginia campuses was passed in the wake of another campus rampage back in January of 2002. A disgruntled student killed three people and wounded three people at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. What is ironic is that the body count could have been much worse were it not for two students who, independent of each other, ran to their cars, retrieved their firearms, and used them to subdue the shooter. This part of the story was either not mentioned by the media, or tepidly mentioned at best. Usually, media articles merely mentioned that the shooter was "subdued" by other students, and never mentioned the defensive use of firearms.

The bottom line is that you are never going to be able to keep guns out of the hands of criminals who are willing to break our laws. Pandora's Box was opened for firearms a long time ago, and you cannot close it. What you can do is not pass laws that give criminals free reign to do as they please in an disarmed society. Contrary to popular belief, the "Wild West" of 19th century lore was actually a very peaceful time and place. Violent crime was restricted to a few locations among a small demographic of young men. Otherwise, wanton murder like we often see today was almost unheard of because criminals knew, for instance, that to simply insult a woman, never mind rape or mug her, would mean probable death at the hands of law abiding citizens. Like the old quote goes, an armed society is a polite society.

I also chuckle at these gun control zealots who wring their hands over the "easy availability" of guns today. Are you kidding me? Do you know how easy it was to legally get your hands on a gun before about 40 years ago? My father once told me a tale from his childhood that shows just how available guns used to be. In the town in which he grew up in Oklahoma in the late 1940s/early 1950s, the local hardware store had a barrel full of surplus .45 pistols from World War II. Buying one of those pistols was as easy as grabbing one out of the barrel and plunking down $10 at the cash register. Once upon a time, guns were much more available, yet gun crimes were just a fraction of what they are now. What changed? Among other cultural factors, gun control became much more stringent starting in the late 1960s. Who loves gun control? Tyrants and criminals. If you outlaw guns, tyrants and criminals are the only people who will still possess them. That is not a society in which I want to live.

Something else is sticking in my craw about all this. In several blogs, articles, and political cartoons, I keep seeing this smarmy sarcastic comment that describes Cho Seung Hui as "exercising his 2nd Amendment rights". Here is an example from a blogger I otherwise respect very much. This is an inaccurate and absurd statement. Far from exercising his rights, Cho was grossly abusing and violating that right. The right to bear arms is necessary to carry out the right to defend yourself from tyranny and crime. Cho was defending no one. The travesty of all this is that Cho's victims were not allowed to exercise their 2nd Amendment right to possess a firearm for the purpose of defending themselves and others. You must also understand that we don't have the "2nd Amendment right" to do anything. We all possessed the right to bear arms long before the 2nd Amendment was written. All that amendment does - just like the other amendments - is affirm to our government that it may not take away or violate the God-given rights which we possess from birth.

One more thing: It is so easy to remember the perpetrator of these vicious mass-murders, but it can be difficult to remember all the victims who were mass-murdered. They are the ones who should be remembered. The victims of the Virginia Tech shooting can be seen and honored here. God Bless them all and their families, and if you could ask these victims, I wonder how many of them would have wanted to be armed when Cho Seung Hui stormed into their classroom?

Good Day to You, Sir

I just gained a whole lot more free time!

Just call me Chanman, M.A.

As some of you may remember, I have blogged about my experiences with educational absurdity as I have worked towards my Masters Degree in Education through Chapman University these last two years. On March 31st, I spent four hours taking the comprehensive exam that I was required to pass in order to receive my degree. That exam was a booger bear; it took me the whole four hours to answer five questions.

Today, the results of the exam came in the mail, and here is what it said:

Dear [Chanman],

Results of the March 2007 comprehensive examination have been returned. I am pleased to inform you that you have passed the comprehensive examination for the Master of Arts in Education, emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction.

Congratulations on passing the examination. Best wishes for the future, both personally and professionally.

Sincerely yours,

Barbara Rodriguez, Ed.D.
Division Chair, Education
Now, I will be the first to admit, that with the exception of moving me over on the salary schedule and making me eligible for a 3% salary stipend, this degree is basically worthless. At most, it could get me some sort of drone job at the district office. However, it does feel good to have that sense of accomplishment that comes with my successful completion of this, my LAST degree. I started this Masters program when my son was just a year old, and I completed it during the birth and first year of my daughter's life as well. Not to mention my responsibilities as a husband and a relatively new teacher, and you can surmise that I had my hands full. Oh, and don't forget to throw in my blogging obsession!

Speaking of that, I am convinced that blogging helped me pass the exam. Typing my thoughts on a regular basis did wonders toward keeping the connection between my mind and fingers quite limber. When it came time to tackle five questions in four hours, one of the first things that came to my mind was the fact that I had done a similar amount of writing on my blog. With that in mind, the comp exam was a piece of cake!

So, since I went back to college in 2000, the final score is:

B.A. completed in 2002
Secondary Teaching Credential begun in 2002 and completed in 2003
Masters Degree begun in 2005 and completed in 2007

Essentially, it seems like all I have done since this century started is go to college. Now it is time to stop. If you think I am going for my doctorate, you've been smoking too much of the wacky weed. Besides, if getting a doctorate means being as loopy as all of the Ed.D.s and Ph.D.s who taught me, then I want no part of it. I am convinced that to successfully receive your doctorate, you must be so obsessive about your subject that by definition you are a little mentally unstable. Not dangerously mentally unstable, just... in a benign sort of way.

Now that I am done with going to school, I'm not sure exactly what I will do with myself. This coming summer will be the first one since 1999 and the first one ever as a married man, where I will not be taking some sort of college class. I am looking forward to thinking of ways to fill the time. I know I have a garage to clean out and organize.

Good Day to You, Sir

The project saga is over!

Done! The play structure that I started building on April 7th, was finished in time for my daughter's 1st birthday party on Sunday morning the 22nd. I literally was screwing in the final pieces as the first guests were arriving. So without further ado, here are three photos of the completed play structure with my daughter sitting in her chair swing in order to provide some scale. I took these photos this afternoon when I got home from work:

I think my favorite part of the structure is the fact that you can climb up the big ladder on the left to the crows nest, crawl through the big green tunnel, and end up in the club house on the upper story. It is really neat to sit in the clubhouse and look at the entrance to the tunnel and see the crows nest at the other end. I also like how the lower story has a play area as well. My fearless daughter, who is able to walk with a wobbly jaunt, has already conquered the big slide, but she still needs someone to catch her at the end. My son is all over that thing and has free reign of all features. Polski3 commented that his sons spent a lot of time in their play structure. Our babysitter also told us that her younger brother and sister practically lived in their play structure. This is exactly the scenario I am hoping will happen with my two kids. Of course, if they want to play in it, they are going to have to compete with their Daddy! Now to hook up that extension cord and power strip...

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hi! Remember me?

I'm that guy, Chanman, who used to run a blog called Buckhorn Road. I can't remember the last time I went this long without posting, but I have a good reason. Here it is:

This project has been going on since Easter Weekend, and I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My Dad helped me with the six green support posts on the bottom, but everything else, I have screwed, hammered, drilled, and pounded into place. Almost every day after work, I have been plinking away at the 60 pages of instructions. I have never considered myself to be a Mr. Fix-it type of guy, so building this play structure for my kids has been a real confidence booster for me. The whole process gets my testosterone flowing, and has made me feel quite manly.

On the right side of the main structure will be a slide, and on the left side will be two large horizontal beams with a swing set on the bottom and a tunnel with a crawl space on the top (you can see the two beams and the tunnel on the ground at left). The tunnel will be accessed by the window on the left side of the clubhouse on the upper floor. At the other end of the tunnel will be a ladder studded with those rock climbing things you see everywhere. All those boards stuck into the ladder are to keep my son from accessing the upper story until the slide is mounted. I think my daughter, who turns one on Sunday, is now also capable of climbing to the top.

It's a really cool play structure. I have already figured out a way to run a green extension cord from the back patio, along our fence, into those cypress trees behind the structure, and then string the cord from the cypress trees into the back wall of the clubhouse. The cord will be plugged into a power strip, and then you can mount a light into the rafters and plug in a radio. Uhhh, this structure is for my kids right? My wife told me I could plug in a laptop with WiFi and she would never see me again!

I have a post in the works about the massacre at Virginia Tech (did you think I wouldn't), and I will be discussing that soon. Thanks to all of you for your continued readership.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, April 13, 2007

What does a guy have to do to get suspended around here?

***The names used in this post have been changed to protect the (not so) innocent...

Harken back to Thursday morning. Third period had just started, and my students were still filing through the door. Once they were in, the door was still propped open. I was picking up my clipboard to take roll, when one of my students said, "Mr. Chanman, you better get out there!" I walked to the open classroom door to see Myron, one of my third period students, squaring off against a student from another class. I yelled to Myron, "Get in this room right now!" Myron looked back at me for a second, looked toward his nemesis, and then violently shoved him full on in the chest with both hands. I ran over to the two students and stood in between them, facing Myron, telling both of them to disengage. Myron continued to aggressively lunge toward me in an effort to get at his opponent. I yelled at Myron to go to the office, and he finally complied. I turned around to the other student and asked for his name. He said, "Jamal". I said, "Jamal What?" He said, "Jamal Johnson." I told him to stay put while I alerted the office of Myron's impending arrival, and when I came outside, "Jamal" had split. At this point, one of my students said, "Mr. Chanman, that guy's name isn't Jamal, its Khalid." I verified this information, so that kid got a referral for lying to me, and I understand that he's on his way out for other offenses anyway. But now, let us focus back on Myron, who also received an office referral from me.

This is by far, not the first time I have dealt with Myron. He was previously suspended for five days earlier this school year for sucker-punching a student in my classroom during third period. Why did Myron do it? Because he felt like it, apparently. Myron is mean as a snake, and has previously verbally assaulted me on several occasions, screaming at me at the top of his lungs after I have attempted to redirect his behavior. So the score is, total disrespect toward me, not a lick of work done in class all year long, and two physical assaults committed against fellow students, both of which I have witnessed with my own two eyes.

Fast forward to this morning. After physically assaulting another student yesterday, in full view of the rest of my third period students and me, who comes walking into class but Myron. I couldn't believe it. I had stupidly assumed that he would actually be suspended, but there he was.

I snapped.

I told Myron to gather his things and go to the office. Of course he protested, but I said, "Go!" I then picked up the phone and informed the vice principal that I was sending Myron to him and that Myron was not welcome in my class today. The VP asked me why, and that presented a bit of a dilemma. I wasn't about to discuss the case in front of my entire class, and that is what I told the VP, but he persisted. I simply told him that it was a safety issue and that I would talk to him in his office during my prep period. My students aren't stupid; as soon as they heard me say the words "safety issue", they knew I was talking about Myron, and the class erupted into one part laughter, one part scoffing at me, and one part cheering.

When my prep period arrived, I had my sit down with the VP. I told him that I was quite astonished that Myron walked into my class after what had happened the day before, and that I could not in my good conscience allow him to stay there. What kind of message does that send my students that you can assault another student and then be right back in the classroom the next day. Not only that, I don't feel safe in the classroom with Myron in there. He has a terrible temper, a proclivity to assault people, and he is nearly as big as I am, and I am 6'2"/215. The VP hemmed and hawed, telling me that Myron and the other student received detention, and that I can't punish Myron twice for the same crime by sending him out of the room.

[Jaw drops to the floor]

Detention? Both of them? One physically assaulted the other, and the other lied to me about his name. WHY WEREN'T THEY SUSPENDED??? And this same administration sits there scratching their heads at staff meetings as they wonder what they can do to quell the behavioral disturbances on our campus. How about giving real consequences for their actions?

But have no fear, the administration is currently in the process of starting up a new program at our school. It's called the Peer Mediator program, and student-candidate interviews are currently underway. Students on campus are trained as peer mediators, and so the next time Myron and Khalid (who has gang ties by the way) get into a fight, some other tweeny-bopper on campus can try to get these two to shake hands and make nice. The world of public education is truly an alternate universe.

Good Day to You, Sir

Communism Chic revisited

I have received a relatively generous outpouring of opinion regarding my previous post about one of my students who came to class one day wearing a t-shirt with a big Soviet Hammer and Sickle on the front. Many of these commenters arrived at my post through the latest Carnival of Education, where that post was featured. I forgot to alert my dear leaders of the latest Carnival of Education which was released last Wednesday, but you can still check it out at its home site, the Education Wonks.

Many of my visitors who left comments disagreed with my revulsion at the sight of the Hammer and Sickle, and called me to task for comparing it to the Nazi Swastika. I began to write a response to my detractors in the comment section of that post, but I quickly realized that my lengthy retort requires a new posting. I will answer some of my critics' concerns via a Fisking style, and I also want to thank those commenters who all expressed their disagreements in a most articulate and polite fashion. Even though they are wrong , I truly enjoyed reading their comments. So away we go:

First there was Tinny Ray, but I'm still trying to figure out what the heck he was talking about.

Next, commenter Jeff had this to say:
Communism is a type of government. That's it. However you may feel about it, however it may have been flawed in past executions, the idea is not inheritly evil. People died as a result of botched attempts at establishing this type of government - partly because that's the nature of large-scale revolution, just like when the United States was formed, and some because of corrupt leaders and the difficulties associated with trying to make a new, radical idea reality. Completely aside from whether or not it could ever work, I don't think this shirt is offensive. To stifle it is to avoid conversation about a legitimate, if failed, philosophy.

Nazism, on the other hand, specifically targeted groups for extermination. It was evil from its birth, it was designed to be evil.
No Jeff, Communism is not simply a type of government. It is a political ideology that is slavishly followed by many people who are not a part of any government. Do they want to make it a part of their government? You bet. Of course, so did the Nazis. And please, please Jeff, please tell me that you did not just compare the Russian Revolution of 1917-21 to the American Revolution of 1775-81. The Russian Revolution, and every other Communist revolution for that matter, worked toward squashing anyone who stood in the way so that the end result may be a society where the people are slaves of the leviathan state, and where personal and economic liberty are anathema to the goals of the party elite. The goal of the American Revolution was to create a society of economic and personal liberty that had yet to be seen on this earth, and they succeeded. The United States became a country that not only worked toward preserving the freedom of its own people, but spent much blood and treasure ensuring the freedom of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Can you say the same of Communist societies?

Communism is "legitimate", Jeff? How is it legitimate to steal - by force - the fruits of the labor of one person and hand that fruit to another? Jeff, can I come over to your house, put a gun to your head, take your money, then hand your money to that homeless guy over there? Didn't think so. Since government only has the powers that we the people give it, how are we supposed to give the government the power to do something that we ourselves cannot do? Communism (and socialism, of which Communism is just an evolutionary stage) both fly in the face of human nature, and only oppressive government force can keep people in line.

Commenter Jack Phelps had this to say:
But there is a key reason that communism and socialism are given passes relative to national socialism--it's because violent racism was a fundamental party line of the latter, where the deaths caused by the former were rooted in economic and political rather than racial causes.
Jack is trying the old but-the-Nazis-were-racists-and-the-Communists-weren't routine. First, does it matter to the dead person that he was killed for economic and political reasons rather than racial ones? He is still dead! But I have more to add. Communism may not be known for being a racist ideology, but they still kill, imprison, and enslave based on other kinds of bigotry. Instead of certain racial minorities, Communists hone in on religion and social-economic class. Karl Marx himself called religion, the "opiate of the masses." In every communist society, religion is banned or restricted, and practitioners of religion are repressed and harassed. When the Soviet Union was formed, one of the first things that happened was that churches were burned and religious officials were killed or imprisoned. China still imprisons religious dissidents to this day. Just ask the Falun Gong. The other task that fledgling Communist governments complete is the subjugation and confiscation of the lives and assets of the hated Bourgeoisie. Private capital is confiscated by the government, and any dissenters are imprisoned or executed. Che Guevara shot them at La Cabana prison near Havana, and Pol Pot in Cambodia was so ruthless in his desire to eliminate anyone of means, people with eyeglasses were marked for death because it meant that they were probably educated. So please don't tell me that Communists don't mark designated groups of people for death like the Nazis did. Communists just target a different demographic.

And then there is Anonymous. Only someone who remains anonymous would give us the tired old canard about the United States being guilty of its own atrocites, so we don't have any right to criticize the excesses of Communism. Anonymous said:
Several million indigenous people were the victims of United States expansion into what are now the Western States. Civilians were abused, diplaced, subjegated, raped and murdered.

These extra stars on our flag can be seen to grace many a patriotic t-shirt.

Doesn't anyone who truly cares about history, as it seems that this blog does, acknowledge that the US was created through forced expansion and genocide?
You mean the United States isn't perfect? Stop the presses!!! Yes, we did some horrible things to the Indians, and the Chinese, and the Mexicans, and of course there is the issue of slavery. The difference is that since the founding of our country we have worked to make amends to those we have wronged. What is unique about the United States is not that we have committed atrocities; what is unique is that we have done so much to stop it from happening again, both here and abroad. We have paid reparations to the Indian tribes and granted them autonomy, we freed our slaves, we helped save the world from Nazi and militant Japanese fascism, we stared down the Soviet Union and kept them from extending the Iron Curtain around the entire globe, we give billions of dollars in foreign aid every year (I wish we wouldn't). Have we slipped up along the way? Yes. Is it our policy to enslave the world? No. You can't say the same for Communism. How can I prove it? People vote with their feet. How many people are busting their hump to emigrate to America every year? Millions. How many people have busted or are busting their hump to emigrate to the Soviet Union, Red China, North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam? Nope, not many.

Sorry about the long post, but I wanted to make sure my readers get a detailed glimpse into the minds of just a few of the many people out there who are still willing to apologize for Communism. Again commenters, thank you for your thoughtful posts, but you are simply wrong, wrong, wrong.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus Firing: Changing the subject

Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star wrote a searing column about what isn't being addressed regarding the controversy over the remarks of Don Imus, and the selective indignation of the people who were supposedly offended by his racial and sexual insults about the Rutgers womens' basketball team. Whitlock is angry that while Imus is being nailed for his remarks, the source of those remarks goes unanswered.

To give you an idea of what Whitlock is talking about, here is a telling paragraph from his column:
While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.
Whitlock takes Jackson, Sharpton and the rest of their ilk to task for taking the easy way out by attacking a washed up white radio host, but failing to attack the hip-hop culture that spawned Imus' remarks in the first place. There are some other choice comments from Whitlock that bear mention:
It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent. Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves...

In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive...?

I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do...?

No. We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.
Those are just some of the highlights of this no-holds-barred explanation of the deeper problems behind Don Imus' idiotic comments. He didn't just think them up on the spot; he picked them up from a popular culture that was created for and followed by many of the same people who claim to be offended by what Imus said.

By the way, if you haven't already figured it out, Jason Whitlock is black. Good for him for having the courage to call these charlatans out and demonstrate their hypocrisy for all the world to see.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

... and finally, Mike Nifong's head on a platter

That's the final item on a long list of demands that I would be making if I were one of the accused Duke lacrosse players. Their ordeal at the hands of an overzealous, lying, race-baiting prosecutor is finally over. Today, the Attorney General of North Carolina, after previously taking the case away from Nifong, dropped all charges against the three Duke athletes. I think Michelle Malkin summed up the situation best on her blog:

And let's not forget:
Meet Crystal Mangum. She has been the anonymous source of this whole mess as she weaved story after story, each of which conflicted with the other. This woman must have some severe psychological problems that will hopefully, finally, be addressed. Apparently this was not the first time she accused a group of men with gang-raping her.

If I were a North Carolina legal official, my first order of business would be to disbar Mr. Nifong, thereby forcing him to give up his post as District Attorney for Durham, NC. If I were one of those accused Duke athletes, I would be preparing a lawsuit to take every penny Nifong has. I'm sure that is in the works.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Obligatory Title: Pistol Packin' Mama

A nine-months pregnant woman is working behind the counter of her husband's store. A robber walks in with a paper bag over her hand and demands money. See what the pregnant clerk did to protect her cub.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, April 09, 2007

More penance for the white guy

So this is starting to become a pattern: white guy makes fun of black people, white guy apologizes profusely, white guy appears on radio show of some race hustling poverty pimp to apologize some more. First it was Michael Richards, and now it is Don Imus' turn to kiss the big black boot.

I won't defend what Don Imus said on the radio the other day; in fact, I don't really have much to say about it at all. Don Imus is a bizarre tired old man who I can't really even stand to listen to, even if I agreed with anything he has to say. I mean c'mon, what is with the cowboy hat and the duster that he wears while he does his radio show? And the last time I was channel surfing and caught his schtick on MSNBC, I could have sworn the man was drunk.

As offensive as Imus' comments were to some people, what I find even more offensive is that he went groveling to the feet of Al Sharpton, a man who has done more to hamper the progress of black people than Don Imus could ever dream of doing. Sharpton has still never apologized for the Tawana Brawley hoax, he is responsible for the deaths of 7 people as a result of Freddy's Fashion Mart incident in 1995, in which Sharpton was trying to get rid of a "white interloper" and Jewish "Diamond Merchant" in Harlem. One of Sharpton's myrmidons helped things along by burning the building down and killing seven people inside. Al Sharpton is a racist, a bigot, and a hatemonger. The fact that Don Imus went to him in order to apologize causes me to just shake my head and ignore the whole thing.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, April 06, 2007

Communism Chic

A student walked into my fourth period class today wearing a black t-shirt with a huge red Soviet hammer and sickle on the front of the shirt.

I gave the student some semi-friendly ribbing about it because I didn't have time to go into it further, but this student's wearing this t-shirt bothered me greatly. Imagine this student walking into class wearing a t-shirt with a big Nazi swastika on it. In my opinion, there is no difference between the Nazi swastika and the Soviet hammer and sickle. In fact, the ideology behind the hammer and sickle has been responsible for far more deaths than Nazism could ever dream about. Historians differ on the exact number, but the average number of deaths attributed to Communism in the 20th century falls somewhere around 100 million, but most estimates steer more toward 150 to 200 million. Why in all that is good and holy would a student find no problem wearing a shirt that glorifies that carnage? You could chalk it up to ignorance, but again, I doubt the student would unknowingly wear a swastika shirt to school, so it has to be something else. There is also a select group of students at my school who wear the ubiquitous Che Guevara t-shirt. Again, why is that accepted when wearing a Heinrich Himmler t-shirt would not go over so well?

I am being a bit rhetorical here, because I already know the answer to my question. Communism is given a pass because, in typical leftist fashion, intentions count more than results. Too often, communists are looked at as a bunch of harmless fuzzy idealists who only want to help the common man; those are the intentions. The problem is that everywhere communism was implemented, mass slaughter and subjugation soon followed; those are the results.

The ultimate irony in all this is that during the first couple years of World War II, the communists defended the actions of Hitler and the Nazis... until Hitler invaded the Soviet Union.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Is this an "Illegal Alien Story"? Sadly, yes

I'm sure you have all seen the movie A Christmas Story, about Ralphie and his misadventures as he attempts to secure a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. It was directed by Bob Clark, who is also famous for kicking off the teen sex hijinks movies of the 1980s with Porky's.

Bob Clark and his son were killed yesterday by a drunk driver in southern California. When I heard that over the radio, I will admit that the first thing I thought to myself was that the drunk driver was probably an illegal alien. Keep in mind that the news story on the radio didn't even give the name of the drunk driver; my guess was based totally on a gut feeling. Later on, I found this news story online, and lo and behold, the drunk driver was 24 year old Hector Velazquez-Nava, an illegal alien from Mexico.

Driving while being an illegal alien (DWBIA?) has been a story that has started to gain traction in the media as we see more and more of it. I even glimpsed one article recently that chalked it up to being part of the "immigrant culture" (?!)

But who am I to badmouth illegal aliens? They are all here to work and be productive citizens right? Right?

Good Day to You, Sir

Mrs. Pelosi goes to Damascus

This image pretty much sums up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's little jaunt to the Middle East, where she sucked up to the terrorist-supporting leader of the terrorist-supporting country of Syria. Everything she is doing gives legitimacy to a regime that deserves no such recognition. The fact that she is there is bad enough, but then she goes around with this mysoginistic Muslim head-cover. As an American politician on state business, I would tell them to go piss up a rope and throw that head covering in their face. But not San Fran Nan; as a Democrat with impeccable liberal credentials, she recognizes the need to cuuuuulturally seeeensitive to her Syrian friends. Here is what my go-to political cartoonists Cox and Forkum think of her visit:

So while Pelosi pussyfoots with the Syrians, they continue to support Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and terrorist groups in Iraq who are killing our troops. I swear to God, if I was President, I would have Pelosi arrested as soon as she came back to our shores. She's yours Democrats, you need to deal with her.

Good Day to You, Sir

Black president paranoia

In my four years as a history/government teacher, discussions about the presidency and presidential elections obviously come up in the classroom. When the subject of a future black president comes up, without fail a black student will ask me a question that essentially sounds like the following:

"Mr. Chanman, isn't it true that if a black president ever got elected, they would have him killed?"

It happened again today.

This question has been asked of me at both the high school and middle school levels, and I am still too shocked to give a coherent answer right away because I simply find it unbelievable that these conspiratorial theories still exist in the black community; right up there with the U.S. government trying to kill them off with crack and AIDS.

First off, the students are never able, or are to embarassed to articulate who the "they" is who would have a black president killed. Second, a February article in the Christian Science Monitor quotes a poll that says 95% of Americans would be willing to vote for a black American for President; that doesn't exactly make it sound like our country is still dripping with racism. Third, I can think of plenty of people who would love to see our current President killed, and George W. Bush is as white as white can be. I don't think wanting to kill the president is a racial issue; it is a political issue. Finally, it bothers me to no end that so many Americans of African descent still have their heads stuck in the 1950s. In addition to the black president assassination scenario, many of my black students seem to think that the KKK is still a major influence in our society, when in actuality it is now essentially a bunch of mouth-breathing yokels meeting in a swamp shack; they think that the vast majority of black Americans are still living in poverty and living in the ghetto. According to author Mona Charen, as recently as 1991, half of all black Americans believed that 75% of black Americans live in poverty. The actual number is around 26%; still not good, but by no means a majority.

One of the battles we all face in improving race relations in this country is the battle of the minds. All of these myths that are still harbored in the black community are poisoning relations on both sides of the racial divide, and an effort must be made - especially by the Republican party - to begin addressing these myths and provide the real story of the amazing amount of progress that blacks have made in the past 50 years. The Democrats are certainly not going to try to fix it. They depend on an angry and dependent black community in order to keep them voting Democrat.

Good Day to You, Sir

Another little angel who can do no wrong

From Clearwater, Florida comes the story of a high school senior who "suddenly and without thinking about the consequences", mooned his teacher. The student was suspended and transferred to another school. Now the student and his parents are suing.

These parents out there have got to stop protecting their little darlings from the consequences of their stupid actions.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Carnival of Education

The midway is now open at the blog Getting Green. Check it out, as yours truly made "the honor roll." Be sure to check out the post by Ms. Bluebird about what a difference it makes when the troublemakers are not in the classroom that day. I have often observed this pleasurable phenomenon, while at the same time, lamenting what could be.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, April 02, 2007

It's all about the science, right?

I'm in a saucy mood tonight, so I thought I would just take a second to take a gratuitous potshot at the true believers over in the Church of Global Warming. Here you go:

Tragically, I cannot remember where I copied this cartoon. When I remember where I saw this guy's collection, I will provide a link to his site, because his cartoons are hilarious!

Good Day to You, Sir

2007 Campus Outrage Awards

These are always so fun! Every year, the Collegiate Network puts out their list of the looniest, most insane things that happened this year on our loony, insane college campuses. I would think that the hardest thing for these listmakers to do would be to winnow the number down to the finalists.

In case you don't want to read the whole thing, I have taken the liberty of giving you a synopsis of the list:

1. The College of William and Mary banned the Christian Cross from their chapel because they didn't want to offend people of other faiths. Hmm, if I was in a synagogue, I don't think I would be offended to see a Star of David.

2. UC Berkeley gave out scholarships to convicted drug users because, with their convictions, they couldn't qualify for regular financial aid. Oh, and the scholarships were funded with student fees.

3. Johns Hopkins University financially approved the appearance of a porn movie director on their campus. When a student newspaper brought this fact to light, the administration of JHU tried to ban the newspaper from being distributed on campus so as to cover up the visit by a porn movie director which was funded with student fees.

4. After the people of Michigan passed an anti-affirmative action law in a state-wide election, the University of Michigan began fighting tooth and nail to have the law overturned. Lefties love to sing the praises of democracy and "power to the people"... unless the people don't see things the leftists' way.

5. Members of the campus chapter of the College Republicans at San Francisco State University stepped on some homemade Hamas and Hezbollah flags in an anti-terrorism rally held on the campus. For this "offense", the CR's were put on trial by the SFSU administration. The College Republicans were eventually found not guilty, especially after much light was shined on this case in the right-wing blogosphere and in the alternative media. I just can't help but wonder if there would have been a trial if those CR members had been stepping on an American flag.

Good Day to You, Sir

The Rich already pay their fair share, and then some

One of the red-meat catchphrases from the left that drives me crazy is the one about making the rich "pay their fair share". Dishonest and ignorant leftists alike try their best to make it appear that the government slakes its thirst for tax dollars by raking it in from the poor while leaving the rich largely unmolested. This sorry scenario could not be further from the truth. The IRS released its tax collection figures for 2004, and as you can see from the accompanying graphs, if someone is getting taken to the cleaners, it is not only the rich, it is the top 50% of income earners in this country. I will post the stats first, and then break down the juicier information that I gleaned from it.

This first chart breaks down the average amount of taxes paid per income quintile. For instance, the first line shows that taxpayers who made $23,700 or less paid, on average, $1,684 in federal taxes. The bottom line shows that taxpayers who made more than $99,500 paid, on average, $57,512 in federal taxes. The column on the far right shows that income earners who made less than $23,700 got back from the government, on average, $14.76 worth of government services for every $1 that they paid in taxes. The taxpayers in the highest income bracket received $0.32 for every dollar that they paid in taxes. Translated: The rich pay most of the taxes, and the poor reap most of the benefits of those taxes. Translated another way would be "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." My kudos to the reader who can tell us who said that. For a supposedly free-market country like the United States, the answer may surprise you.

This second chart makes you cluck your tongue even more. It shows that the top 1% of income earners pay just under 37% of all federal taxes. Compare that to the bottom 50% of income earners who pay only 3.3%. And what is in my opinion the most astonishing number of all is that the top 50% of income earners pay almost 97% of all the federal taxes. So what you have is the top half of the country supporting the lower half. Keep these numbers in mind the next time someone tells you that we need to raise taxes on the rich, or that tax cuts for the rich are made on the backs of the poor.

I have a better idea, let's get rid of the income tax, and FICA, and Medicare. Our government and its people survived just fine without the income tax all the way to 1913; we could easily do it again. We survived just fine without Social Security all the way to 1935; I would rather invest my own money in something that actually turns a profit, not piss it away with a complusory Ponzi Scheme like Social Security. We survived just fine without Medicare all the way into the 1960s; now the cost of medical care is rising out of sight thanks to government subsidies like Medicare. As the late Libertarian Harry Browne once said, "What government does best is break both of your legs and give you a pair of crutches and says, see, if it wasn't for the government, you wouldn't be able to walk."

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, April 01, 2007

If the truth hurts, then you should learn to grit your teeth

Here is a London Times article that calls attention to the trend in Great Britain of teachers choosing not to teach subjects such as the Holocaust and the Crusades for fear of offending their Muslim students. Boy, Sharia law is alive and well in the land of tea and crumpets. The funny thing about the Holocaust is why would Muslim students be offended by its mention, hmmm? Wasn't it the German Nazis who carried out the Holocaust? Perhaps its because the Muslim world is rife with Holocaust deniers, including the President of Iran.

I teach 7th grade world history. The standards for that grade include the birth of Islam and the Crusades. I have had some of my Muslim students tell me that Jesus was a Muslim; that Islam was not spread by the sword, rather it was spread through "gifts" (whatever that means); that the Christians were the sole aggressors in the Crusades, and a myriad of other lunacies. Do I cower from my Muslim students for fear of offending them? Heck no, I am glad to expose them to historical facts that counter some of the sicko propaganda that I am sure some of them are being fed at home; you know, like the idea of Islam being spread through gift-giving rather than the threat of subjugation or death if you don't convert to the Religion of Peace.

I can't say I fully blame the teachers in Britain for their cold feet about offending the Muslims. Great Britain arguably has the most viciously radical Muslims of any European country. Only in Britain have I seen photos of Muslim rallies that sport signs like this:

Gosh, is what I just wrote about Islam considered by this guy to be an insult? If we in this country start kowtowing to people like this monster above - and some of us already are - then start preparing yourselves for signs like these in cities all over America. I will not submit!

**UPDATE: I had a commenter write in to challenge the validity of the newspaper articles about this story. So you don't have to worry about what the newspapers say or don't say, I have tracked down the actual study from the Department of Education and Skills in Britain and linked it right here. It is a PDF file, so you will need Adobe Acrobat to read it. The controversy in question is mentioned on page 15 of the study.

Good Day to You, Sir