Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is Mugabe going to leave peacefully or violently?

It's election time in the southern African country of Zimbabwe. Once the breadbasket of Africa, this former British colony - called Rhodesia at the time - has deteriorated to the point where they import rather than export food, and they now cannot afford the food they import, because inflation is running at about 165,000% (no, that is not a typo!), and unemployment is running at about 80%. The blame for all of this dysfunction can easily be laid at the feet of Zimbabwe's totalitarian dictator of 28 years, Robert Mugabe. Of course, Mugabe has an excuse for all this, calling his opponents, "stooges of former colonial ruler Britain, and says the nation must, "make sacrifices to overcome its colonial legacy." Hmm, you mean like Hong Kong? They were a colony of Britain too, and I don't see any problems there that are happening in Zimbabwe. The difference is in the leadership of Mugabe.

Robert Mugabe is a communist and a racist who has collectivized a good portion of Zimbabwe's economy, and who has brutally removed white farmers from their land so that the spoils can be turned over to Mugabe's supporters. Like most brutal dictators, Mugabe has no intention of giving up power, even though he is 84 years old. Sure, he holds these so-called "elections" every few years, but that is only to prop up his image to the rest of the world so he can justify his hold on power. Keep in mind that Saddam Hussein was "elected" every few years himself, usually receiving over 99% of the vote (shocker!).

The last time there was an "election" in Zimbabwe, Mugabe declared himself the winner, even though the results were seriously in doubt. This time, the opposition party (rightly) proclaimed their winning status in an attempt to force Mugabe to justify his claims and prove that he didn't manipulate the election like he always does. Mugabe's reaction today was to proclaim any attempt to declare him the loser of this election as being a coup d'etat, and as one of his government ministers cryptically said, "We all know how coups are handled."

So, gut check time. If Mugabe declares himself the winner again, and threatens any opposition to his reelection with death, what are the people of Zimbabwe going to do? Are they going to acquiesce, or will the bullets start flying? How much is enough? Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, "All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." Have the people of Zimbabwe become so accustomed to the brutal and incompetent rule of Mugabe, that they are once again willing to suffer under him? Or is it time for the people to right themselves? Over the next several days, we shall see.

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, March 29, 2008

North Korea: An alternate universe

Hat tip to WorldNetDaily (see blogroll) for making me aware of a fascinating series of short videos shot in North Korea by two journalists posing as tourists posing as journalists posing as tourists (Hey, it's North Korea we're talking here!). Here is a description of the process of getting permission from the North Koreans just to enter the country:
Getting into North Korea was one of the hardest and weirdest processes VBS has ever dealt with. After we went back and forth with their representatives for months, they finally said they were going to allow 16 journalists into the country to cover the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang. Then, ten days before we were supposed to go, they said, “No, nobody can come.” Then they said, “OK, OK, you can come. But only as tourists.” We had no idea what that was supposed to mean. They already knew we were journalists, and over there if you get caught being a journalist when you’re supposed to be a tourist you go to jail. We don’t like jail. And we’re willing to bet we’d hate jail in North Korea.

But we went for it. The first leg of the trip was a flight into northern China. At the airport the North Korean consulate took our passports and all of our money, then brought us to a restaurant. We were sitting there with our tour group, and suddenly all the other diners left and these women came out and started singing North Korean nationalist songs. We were thinking, “Look, we were just on a plane for 20 hours. We’re jet-lagged. Can we just go to bed?” but this guy with our group who was from the LA Times told us, “Everyone in here besides us is secret police. If you don’t act excited then you’re not going to get your visa.” So we got drunk and jumped up onstage and sang songs with the girls. The next day we got our visas. A lot of people we had gone with didn’t get theirs. That was our first hint at just what a freaky, freaky trip we were embarking on...
After pulling some serious strings, these two men landed in Pyongyang, and were given a whirlwind tour of the country by their guards and handlers; and I do mean whirlwind. They would be awakened at dawn, driven for four hours and shown around some monument or museum. One minute, they would be allowed to film, the next minute they would be threatened with jail time if they kept filming. They were ushered into Potemkin restaurants, Potemkin waiting rooms, Potemkin hotels, and even a tour of the U.S.S. Pueblo, which the North Koreans captured in 1968. I always knew North Korea was a seriously fouled up place to be, but this video series shows a world beyond even my imagination. There are fourteen videos in the series, with each video lasting between 3 to 5 minutes. If naughty language offends you, please note that the host/narrator drops an F-Bomb every once in a while.

By the way, if you are ever in North Korea, DO NOT ever stand in front of a picture of Kim Jong Il!

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, March 28, 2008

Censorship, Islamic style

In this country, if something controversial is going to be played on television or radio, opposing groups might organize some sort of boycott of the advertisers or letter-writing campaign. When you are a radical Muslim, and a documentary about radical Islam is going to be made available for free viewing on the Internet, there is only one thing to do: Death Threats!

A politician from the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, wrote and produced a 15-minute documentary about radical Islam and its encroachment upon Europe and the Netherlands. The documentary is entitled Fitna, which is an Arabic word that loosely translates as test of faith in times of trial, which sums up pretty well Europe's experiment in secular tolerance.

Fitna was released yesterday, and was to be made available on an Internet Service Provider that agreed to show it. At the last minute, after threats of death from the usual suspects, the ISP backed out. This morning, a video sharing site called LiveLeak, which is similar to the more well-known YouTube, was hosting the video, and I had the chance to view the entire thing. I will tell you my impressions of it in a bit. This afternoon, I went back to LiveLeak so I could show the film to my wife, and instead of Fitna, there was this announcement in its place:
Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.

This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.
Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one anothers culture.
We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high.
This is par for the course when there is any criticism of Islam, radical or otherwise. The same thing happened when the Muhammad cartoons from Denmark were released. The cartoonists are still living under threat of death, especially cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew this now famous caricature of Muhammad:

For this cartoon, hundreds of people died, in riots all around the world. Why do you think this guy at the top of this post is carrying a sign saying "Freedom go to Hell"? He was at a cartoon protest in London.

As for the film itself, it certainly made its point. The best part about Fitna was the lack of narration or outside analysis. It simply contained verses from the Koran, along with photo and video images of the bombings, beheadings, and mayhem wrought by Islamic terrorists, along with video/audio of Imams and clerics who call for all this violence to happen, and call for Islam to once again rule the world. It is the best kind of criticism when you don't have to say a word, and you simply play back the words of your opponent - much like the rantings of the good Rev. (Emeritus) Jeremiah Wright.

The good news about the distribution of Fitna is that LiveLeak got the job done. They had it available on the Internet for a sufficient amount of time for every Tom, Dick, and Harry to record it and make it available elsewhere. I just checked YouTube and Google Video, and found Fitna at both sites. I would link you to a URL, but chances are the link would be no good by the time you got there. Just go to either of those sites, type in "Fitna" and see if it is there. If one person's posting of Fitna is taken down, someone else will post it right back up. Once something is put on the Internet, it never goes away. There are too many vigilant people out there who are ready to spread something to the masses, even if the original source takes it off line.

This is what makes the Internet so wonderful: the dissemination of images, ideas, and information. Hence, it's no surprise that in most Muslim countries, the Internet is tightly controlled, and heavily censored.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Like mother, like daughter

I have been swamped with happenings during my "relaxing" Easter vacation. I have been moving things around the house at the behest of a house stager who our real estate agent hired in order to help get our house sold. On top of that, I have spent the last two nights from 6-10pm taking a CPR class through the Red Cross so I can clear my teaching credential. Busy, busy!

In all this busyness, I haven't had a chance to remark on Hillary Clinton's hilarious remarks about dodging "sniper fire" in Bosnia back in 1996. Typical Clinton embellishment and coverup. The funniest part is that now Bill and Hill have enlisted their daughter to cover for Candidate Hillary!

The most telling feature of this video is the moaning and groaning from the Hillary-loving audience when Chelsea is given a direct question about her mother's "sniper fire" claim, along with the fawning applause when Chelsea avoids the question with a pathetic attempt at giving a diverting answer:

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Quotes are cool!

Let's face it, blogging can be very time consuming; especially when you are doing it for free. I am currently enjoying week one of two of my Easter vacation, and it seems I have less time to blog now than when I am working. This brings me to something I would like to do from time to time, and that is to feature some of my favorite quotes. Is it filler and an easy way out when I don't feel like spending an hour at the computer and want to go to bed instead? You bet your bippy! As wise a sage as I like to think I am, I can't hold a candle to some of the people whose quotes I have saved on a word document over the years. So, here is your first one (four actually). If you like these and subsequent quotes, I suggest you copy, paste, and save them too.
"I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering. ... A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power should, I think, be steadfastly resisted... Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our National character." --Grover Cleveland

"I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds ... I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution." --Grover Cleveland

"I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity. ... It would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded." --Franklin Pierce (14th President of the United States)

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." --James Madison (The "Father" of our Constitution)
As you contemplate the "conservatism" of these quotes, keep in mind that Grover Cleveland and Franklin Pierce were both Democrats!

Good Day to You, Sir

Tidbits on the Church of Global Warming

Some of the high priests of the Global Warming cult met in the Caribbean this week to discuss how to make a fortune through the selling of 21st century-version indulgences. British billionaire Richard Branson, former Brit Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the founders of Google and Wikipedia were among those present. The headline of an article about their meeting - At island retreat, Branson and friends seek to save a "world on fire" - about sums it up for me, not to mention this quote from the article:
The Caribbean getaway was the brainchild of Richard Stromback, a former professional hockey player who struck gold as a clean-technology entrepreneur. Stromback, the chief executive of Ecology Coatings, joked that a gathering like this might seem nefarious to some people.

"In James Bond movies, evil-doers meet in exotic settings to plot the destruction of the planet," Stromback said, puffing on a cigar before dinner one night. But the people here, he said, were plotting to save the planet.
Riiiiight. Meanwhile, it seems the "world on fire" is being doused. Apparently, the world has been cooling down since 1998, but these Global Warming cultists refuse to even comprehend it. The most astonishing part is that even the head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - long venerated by leftists as the ultimate authority on Global Warming - admits that this ten-year trend is for real.
"....The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."
I'm sure the CofGW will find some way to discount this information or the veracity of the article. They always try. Of course, one of the cult's primary methods of keeping their dream alive is to indoctrinate the next generation. I received the following lesson guide in my mailbox at work the other day. I took it home and scanned the cover:

Get 'em while they're young and impressionable!

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Please don't mix politics with the Olympics

In light of what the Chinese government has been doing in Tibet as of late, there has been increased murmuring about a possible boycott of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in China. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) should have known better than to award these Olympic Games to an evil, totalitarian country like China. The crackdown currently going on Tibet serves to remind the IOC of that fact.

However, as much as I dislike China's policies regarding Tibet, regarding forced abortions and infanticides, harvesting the organs of executed political prisoners, and a myriad of other issues, I do not support a boycott of the Olympic Games in any way, shape, or form. A boycott has happened in two other Olympics - it accomplished nothing, and it was hypocritical to boot.

The United States and its allies (sans Great Britain) sat out the 1980 Moscow Olympics in order to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Did it get the Soviets out of Afghanistan? No, they didn't leave until 1988. Then, four years later, the Soviets and their allies (sans Romania) boycotted the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Did that do any good either? No. In both cases, government officials, diplomats, and the average Joe didn't experience a lick of difference in their lives. Amateur atheletes on the other hand - athletes who dedicated their lives to sport and only had so many chances to make it to the Games - were devastated.

Boycotting an Olympics is hypocritical because that is the only thing that is boycotted; other relations with the country in question go on. Let's say the United States did boycott the Games in Beijing: would we stop trading with China? If what China is currently doing is bad enough for its Olympics to be boycotted, then it is only right that we should stop buying their goods as well. Boycotting an Olympics is an empty gesture that only hurts the athletes and the viewers who have both spent the last four years awaiting the world's best competition.

The interesting part about this state of affairs is that when the Olympics were going on over 2,000 years ago in Greece, wars were actually postponed or suspended while the Olympics were under way. Once the games ended, the war started back up again. Compare that to the modern Olympics when they were canceled in 1916, 1940, and 1944 due to the two World Wars. If a war couldn't stop the ancient Olympic Games, then a disagreement with a host country's policies shouldn't either. In the future, the IOC should circumvent the issue by only awarding the Olympics to countries that have a proven track record as one that does its best to champion human rights, not violate them.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Carnival of Education

This week's edition is underway at So You Want to Teach. I didn't submit an entry this week, but there is always something great to read at the Carnival. So if you are a teacher looking for resources or a good war story from classroom, check it out!

Good Day to You, Sir

"But he likes it when I call him a 'Nigga'"

That is what a black student told me the other day when I took that student to task for getting his black friend's attention by saying, "Yo, Nigga!" Not a day goes by on my campus that I am not assaulted on all sides by this infernal word; especially when I have morning yard duty on the quad. Every time I identify a student uttering that word, I pull him or her aside and give my boilerplate admonishment. I often tell the wayward student, "Do you see me going up to my white friends and saying, 'What's up Cracker?' 'What's going on, Honky?'." Does this approach do any good? I often get an understanding chuckle from the student, but in the end, who knows if my intervention makes any headway. I will bet though, that for some of them, it could be the first time in their lives that anyone has ever told them that using that word in public is wrong; yes, in private too, but I'm not going to follow them home!

Mychal Massie, a columnist for WorldNetDaily, has a wonderful essay about the casual use of the word "Nigga" or "Nigger" among blacks. He acknowledges that some blacks consider it a term of endearment to call each other "Nigger", but in reality, he believes that the use of the word in any context is hateful. As Massie puts it:
Would any reasonable parent call her little girl an ugly, stupid, b--ch ho as a way of showing affection? Would a husband call his wife a sloppy, dirty slut in front of her friends and family as a way of showing his affection for her? Not likely.

Why? Because people who respect themselves and honestly respect others do not show their affection with such loathsome and baneful language. Yet, there is a growing cacophony of black voices that argue calling one another the N-word is a perfectly acceptable way showing affection, respect and endearment for one another...

No matter how one defines the word today, it is a vile pejorative with connotations intended to demean and insult. Any attempt to make it something else is not "tragicomic"; it is wrong. Adding insult to the perverse reasoning that attempts to recognize the word as one of endearment is the mindset that claims "we can, but you can't" – i.e., usage of the word is limited to blacks only.
I agree that this term of endearment rationalization doesn't hold water. I have seen with my own eyes the hateful use of this word among my black students. Last semester, a fight almost broke out in my classroom between two black boys. They were squaring off and pushing each other a bit. One was yelling, "Bring it Nigga! Bring it Nigga!," while the other was shouting "Shut up Nigga!" Believe me, these two were not using that word as a "term of endearment." If I shut my eyes and listened, it could have been two Klansmen yelling at a black bystander.

This word will continue to be used in its current casual fashion until black community reaches some sort of critical mass, and says, "enough!" I have to say, I marvel at the irony every time I, as a white person, have to tell a black person not to call another black person a "Nigga." What a world, what a world.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama tries to save his candidacy

On the way to work this morning, I caught the first part of Barack Obama's speech in which he attempted to distance himself from the ugly, racist, hateful rhetoric of his pastor of twenty years, the Revagogue Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

The speech did not get off to a good start. In the first paragraph were two glaring errors. You can pooh pooh the errors as trivial if you like, but keep in mind that isn't some middle school history class; this guy is running for President of the United States! All emphasis is mine:

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

Sorry Candidate Obama, the group of men who drafted the Constitution were not creating a democracy. A democracy is the last thing they wanted. If you read the Constitution, you will not find the word democracy or democratic located anywhere in that document. What you will find is this passage from Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government....

This country is (supposed to be) a Republic, not a Democracy. In a Republic, we elect representatives who pass laws that are in accordance with our unalienable, God-given rights. In a Democracy, our rights are whatever the majority of voters deems them to be. In a Republic, your rights cannot be voted away, no matter how popular the urge might be. in a Democracy, your rights can be voted away according to the whim of the majority.

Next, the Philadelphia convention didn't last, "through the spring of 1787." The convention started in the Spring of 1787. It lasted through the summer, and concluded in late September of that same year. A small detail I know, but when you are giving a speech as a candidate for President of the United States - a job that requires you to swear an oath to defend the Constitution - you may want to show that you know when the document was written.

That was just the first paragraph.

Later, Obama got to the gist of his speech:

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

Sorry Candidate Obama, you can condemn, you can castigate, you can denounce, you can criticize Wright's rants all you like. I will always answer this with one phrase: Twenty years. For twenty years, you sat in the pews of Trinity United Church of Christ listening to Wright's crap, tithing thousands of dollars to this church, having the revagogue Wright himself marry you to your wife Michelle, having the revagogue Wright himself baptize your children. Sorry Obama, but you entered into a voluntary relationship with this creep and you never repudiated anything he said until it became politically necessary. And you never did leave the church.

This next quote is where Obama really lost me:
I can no more disown [Reverend Wright] than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

Wow! Way to throw your grandmother to the wolves in an effort to save your political career. There is one problem with this analogy. You can't choose your relatives. Your grandmother is your grandmother, and there is nothing you can do to change that. Your pastor however is entirely your choice. Yes, you can disown him. Barack Obama should have done so 19 or 20 years ago.

One of my fellow social studies teachers (a total leftist who grew up in Berkeley) saw me in my car in the parking lot as I was reacting to what I was hearing Obama say during the speech. When I got out of the car he asked me if I was listening some funny statement by one my "right wing talk hosts." I said, "No, I'm listening to Obama make a pathetic attempt to distance himself from his pastor." My co-worker knew about this controversey but tried to minimize it. As we arrived at the doors of our respective classrooms, my co-worker told me, "I wouldn't make too big a deal out of this", to which I replied, "If Obama is elected president, you bet I will!"

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fun with my son at the Air Show

The California Capital Airshow is in town this weekend. In fact, as these words are typed, I can hear the faint roar of a jet engine in the direction of Mather Air Field where the show is being held.

Yesterday, I took my son - he will be four in a couple of months - to Mather so we could check out the action. We spent just under four hours at the air show, and although we were exhausted when we got home, I couldn't have asked for a nicer experience as we got to bond with some guy time while indulging his (and my) love for airplanes.

This air show was very well organized, and one thing that was obvious was the attention that was paid to security. There was an armed presence throughout the area. The security was military, with loaded M-16s and M-203s, and the soldiers were wearing floppy boonie hats and body armor. I snapped this shot of a group of them as I entered the air show:

One photo I would have LOVED to have gotten, but I just couldn't make it happen, would be of the protesters who were standing at the entrance where the cars entered the parking lot. There were about eight of them, with signs that said things along the lines of "These airplanes are weapons of death" or "These airplanes are used to kill people" or something along those lines. Had my son not been with me, I would have walked from the parking lot back to the entrance to take these clowns' pictures, but it was a long walk, and my son has little 3 year-old legs.

An air show has two main attractions: there are the kinetic displays, which would be the planes performing maneuvers in the sky over the runway, and the static displays, which are the planes that are permanently parked and available for viewing and walking through/sitting in. The most frustrating part of taking pictures at an air show is that unless you have a super-expensive camera with an awesome zoom and super-high-speed shutter, then the pictures of the airplanes in the sky often turn out to be rather anticlimactic. Please keep that in mind as you look at the images I captured with my little digital camera:

After sitting in some helicopters on display, such as a Blackhawk and Huey, my son and I made our way the massive C-5 Galaxy. My son loves this plane and has watched every video of it that you can find on YouTube. This airplane is too massive to contemplate; even this photo doesn't do it justice. The best thing to do was to put my son under one of the plane's massive engines to give a better idea of scale:

I continue to wonder how something that large can fly, no matter how big the engines are. Compared to my son, the engines look huge. Compared to the rest of the aircraft, they actually look rather small.

The people under that tail also give you an idea how massive the C-5 is.

The airshow included some vintage aircraft going all the way back to World War II. I was pleased to see a P-51 Mustang fighter and a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.

The P-51 Mustang was just about the limit of what could be achieved with a propeller-driven aircraft. It ruled the skies of Europe until the Germans fielded the Me-262 jet fighter right at the end of the War. The B-25 is what Jimmy Doolittle used in the April 1942 bombing raid on Tokyo in which he and his men flew them off the deck of an aircraft carrier.

On to the demonstrations:

The first one we witnessed was a couple of Army Blackhawk helicopters dropping some soldiers - air assault style - onto the tarmac.

A pilot named Sean Tucker put his Oracle Biplane through its paces. He does things in that plane that seem to defy the laws of physics, sending the plane end over end like a giant has just tossed it. Somehow, Tucker always pulls the plane out of its tailspin and climbs back up for more.

A Harrier showed what it can do, with the pilot hovering near the crowd and then actually drifting backward. When the Harrier is hovering, the jet engines are unbelievably loud.

This Coast Guard C-130 Hercules flies out of McClellan Air Park all day long just about every day, and often buzzes our house. It always impresses me to watch a big airplane fly so low to the ground. Note the Blue Angel F/A-18s parked in the foreground.

I was hoping to get a better view of the Blue Angel F/A-18s, but that is as close as you could get. I understand of course: if your life depended on that airplane running properly, would you want thousands of people touching it and climbing all over it?

And here are the Blue Angels in action! Still pictures could never begin to do them justice, but here are some more shots just the same:

There were certain portions of this air show when I began to get tears in my eyes. Seeing the power, technological creativity, and good ol' kick-ass American military might of some of these airplanes - both modern and from wars past - made me swell with pride. I can't wait to go again next year!

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, March 15, 2008

More peace and love from Obama's revagogue

Hat tip to for posting this clip from Hannity and Colmes, which has some new material from Obama's wild and wacky spiritual adviser.

My favorite is where the good reverend admonishes black men for killing other black men, because they should instead be joining forces to fight the "enemy." Gee, I can't imagine who this "enemy" might be?

This is just getting worse and worse for Barack Obama.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wouldn't want to make those Muslims mad at us

Headline from Fox News:

Mukasey: Execution, Though Appropriate, Would Make Martyrs of 9/11 Plotters

I mean, really - do you honestly think it matters whether or not we execute them? These Islamic crazies are going to be pissed off at us no matter what we do. Let's do the right thing then, and execute these throat-slashing cockroaches.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sac Bee still mystified by cause of TB outbreaks

I'm noticing a pattern. Every March for the last three years, our local fishwrap, the Sacramento Bee, has run an article about the growing presence of tuberculosis in our area. In March 2006 and March 2007, I dutifully commented on the Bee's comical confusion about why these TB outbreaks happen, while at the same time, employing tortured attempts to downplay the obvious reason. In today's Metro section, the Bee sticks with the tried and true and has included yet another report on the virulence of TB in the Sacramento area. They give away the ending right in the headline:

TB cases are up in four area counties: Placer traces most of the infections in 2007 to people born overseas. (Chanman's emphasis)

You might think that the Bee is putting itself out there by alluding to this fact in the headline, but then all you have to do is read the first paragraph. Again, all emphasis is mine:
While tuberculosis continues its steady decline in California, it spiked last year in four Sacramento-area counties for reasons that aren't fully understood.
Oh, I think I understand just fine; all I have to do is skip to the middle of the article:
In 2007, just three of the people being treated for TB in Placer County were born in the United States, and they all caught it from close contact with a person born overseas, [Placer County community health director] Mark Starr said. The other 10 sufferers came from Myanmar, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, South Africa and South Korea. Statewide, about 76 percent of tuberculosis cases occurred in people born outside the United States, according to statistics posted online by the state Department of Public Health.
The obvious question is how many of these people "born overseas", as the Bee so delicately puts it, are illegal? Another good question is, if some of these people who were "born overseas" had TB when they legally entered the United States, why weren't they stopped from... entering the United States? See, once upon a time, there was this place in New York Harbor called Ellis Island. Legal immigrants were screened there for health problems, and if they had anything, like, oh I don't know, tuberculosis maybe, then those infected immigrants were sent back from whence they came. On the west coast, we had Angel Island in San Francisco Bay performing the same function. Notice both immigration stations were located on islands? That was so a) an immigrant of any condition couldn't just bypass the gauntlet and be-bop into our midst, and b) so that immigrants with deadly and/or infectious diseases would be naturally quarantined from the mainland.

Somewhere along the way, it was apparently decided that testing newly arrived immigrants for these diseases was detrimental to self-esteem or something, so that little detail was nixed. Of course with illegal immigrants, there is no paper trail at all, and so into our borders they jaunt, coughing and wheezing all the while.

Fear not though, for that aforementioned health director, Mark Starr, has something to say about comments like mine:
What's clear, however, is that with the developing world harboring so many potential cases of TB, the disease can't be successfully fought within any one country's borders... In today's world, there's no sense in pointing fingers. we should be solving problems.
Who put this guy in charge? My dear Mr. Starr, pointing fingers is one of the first and most crucial steps to solving the problem. How do you solve the problem without pointing out where everything is going wrong? Two things must be done: stop illegal immigration through direct and indirect enforcement, and bring back medical screening of legal immigrants like we once had.

Wow! That was easy. As for you Sacramento Bee, we will speak about this again next March!

Good Day to You, Sir

Obama resorts to insulting our intelligence

It was pathetic enough that Barack Obama considered the Reverend Jeremiah Wright to be his "spiritual advisor." What is even more pathetic is the song and dance that Obama is now putting forward in an effort to distance himself from the good reverend and the racist, anti-American statements that he was caught uttering on tape during some of his many sermons. For audio and video examples of these statements - "AmeriKKKa", "God Damn America", 9-11 was the chickens coming home to roost - just see my previous post.

I'm sure Obama was hoping that the magic he currently enjoys with voters and especially the fawning news media would cause this controversy to blow right over and he could keep on chugging. Instead, it became apparent today that the situation was beginning to snowball - time for damage control. Barack Obama made a statement today, which was picked up by the New York Times:
On Friday, Mr. Obama called a grab bag of statements by his longtime minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., “inflammatory and appalling.”

“I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue,” he wrote in a campaign statement that was his strongest in a series of public disavowals of his pastor’s views over the past year...
Here is where Obama's statement enters the land of the clucked tongue:
“The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation,” he said.
C'mon Senator! You have been attending this church for 20 years, with Reverend Wright as its head pastor during that entire period... 20 years! Do you actually expect me to believe that you just happened to not be in the pews during the times that Reverend Wright went off on hate-filled tirades like this? If Obama truly found statements like these to be appalling and worthy of outright rejection, then you think he would have walked out on that church at least 19 years ago. That 20-year record of attendance is a show-stopper. No matter how much Barack Obama tries to distance himself from the race-baiting rantings of Jeremiah Wright, one only needs to point to the two decades that Obama has attended that church. Let's say that Obama and his family attended an average of 40 Sundays a year. That is 800 chances to walk out of that sanctuary during the middle of one of Wright's sermons and never look back. Obama didn't do it. Instead, he had Jeremiah Wright preside over his marriage to Michelle Obama, and he had Jeremiah Wright baptize his children. I cannot overemphasize the exasperation and disgust that I feel toward not only Jeremiah Wright for his rantings, but The Obamas for apparently accepting it as gospel, and for the news media for taking this long to discover the true nature of Barack Obama's attitude toward race relations in the United States of America. Get the hook for this clown.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Obama's "spiritual advisor" is a hateful racist

Since he entered the presidential fray, questions have floated around about Barack Obama's Afrocentric church of which he has been a member for the last 20 years. During that time the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has been headed by a pastor named Jeremiah Wright, whom Obama has called his "spiritual advisor." Obama even borrowed the name of one of Wright's sermons - The Audacity of Hope - as the title of his recent book.

In the last few months, more and more has been coming out about the racial and political views of the Reverend Wright, including a cozy support of Crazy Louie Farrakhan, who is an outright racist and Jew-hater. Up until this week, all the talk of Wright's views have been rather academic and, quite frankly, ho-hum. Now Obama has some explaining to do. Video and audio of some of Wright's sermons (insane rants is more like it) have been shown on selected t.v. news shows, and of course, they are spreading far and wide on conservative talk radio and the blogosphere. Michael Savage has a good roundup of the audio soundbites of Reverend Wright, here and here. Some of these soundbites are repeated in the video below, but not all of them. My favorite audio soundbite is where Wright is instructing his followers to not say "God Bless America", but rather, "God Damn America."

Best of all, here is some video of the good Reverend getting his whitey-hating groove on. My favorite part is where the rev insists that Barack Obama is not rich or privileged.

Good Lord! This is the man to whom Barack Obama looks for spiritual guidance? What scares me even more is the joyous hootin', hollerin', swayin', and clappin' rippling throughout the audience as they give the reverend a big Amen while he spews his racist hatred. I am noticing a pattern. Between this Wright character and Obama's America-bashing wife, Michelle Obama, you have start to wonder what Obama's true views are. Which of course brings us back to why so many people are nervous about the fact that Obama has yet to really take a stand on many issues and the news media is so busy fawning over him, that they haven't taken the time to ask him. With all the coverage in the alternative media being given to the racist rantings and ravings of Obama's "spiritual advisor", perhaps the days of the mainstream media giving Obama a pass could finally come to an end? I'm not optimistic.

Good Day to You, Sir

John Kerry gets punked by Mattera

Jason Mattera of Young America's Foundation has a set of stones the size of a couple of bowling balls. Last September, he wrangled John "Abscam" Murtha into an impromptu interview in the halls of our nation's Capitol, and this time, Mattera's target was John "Jenjis Khan" Kerry.

In 1971, Kerry told blatant lies and exaggerations to Congress about the behavior of our soldiers in Vietnam. This was after Kerry had attended a meeting with other anti-war vets (and faux vets) called Winter Soldier. In a few days, some Iraq/Afghanistan War veterans will be meeting at Winter Soldier II in order to defame our honorable servicemen serving in those two theaters of operation. Mattera begins his interview by asking Kerry if he has any words of advice for the veterans who will be attending Winter Soldier II:

John Kerry is so slimy, I feel like I need a shower after watching this clip. I'm wondering how many fakes will be at this Winter Soldier II meeting? Fakes like this guy:

This is Jesse Macbeth, who for a while was a darling of the anti-war left as he spun tails of atrocities that he committed against Iraqi civilians. Never mind that none of his stories were true, and that in reality, he never even made it out of basic training! Macbeth ended up serving time in jail for lying about his service record and falsifying his service documents.

I am not suggesting that there haven't been any crimes committed by our soldiers in either Iraq or Afghanistan - even during World War II, 69 U.S. soldiers were executed for murder or rape in the European Theater alone - but there is an obvious difference between the criminal acts of a small group of individual soldiers who are usually punished for their actions, and a sanctioned and organized campaign of murder and terror that has been carried out by so many armies and their commanders throughout history.

I too have serious issues with the way these two current wars are being waged, but vilifying and smearing our troops is simply shameful.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Daily Show gets one right

If you have ever watched Jon Stewart and The Daily Show on Comedy Central, you will know that this satire of news and current events leans notoriously to the left. However, when you are showcasing a bunch of leftist-totalitarian wackos like Code Pink, even The Daily Show looks conservative by comparison. This feature on the Code Pink protests of the Marine Corps recruiting station in the People's Republic of Berkeley is absolutely hilarious. Hat tip to Hot Air (see blogroll) for bringing it to my attention.

This feature on Code Pink quickly brought to mind my own encounter with a peace-loving member of this organization at a local anti-war protest a couple years ago. I took a picture of her for posterity:

Good Day to You, Sir

Park the self-righteousness for a sec and think!

Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro has incurred the wrath of many hyperventilating grievance mongers out there for daring to question Barack Obama's competency as a presidential candidate.

In a recent interview, Ferraro said what many people are only thinking, and that is that Barack Obama would not be where he is were he not black. Instantly, the Obama campaign responded by calling Ferraro's remarks "patently absurd."

Really? Absurd? Take a freshman senator from Illinois and make him white, and just see how far he would get in the presidential campaign. Let's do a little comparison. I'm sure you all remember Dan Quayle. He was our vice president under George H.W. Bush, and served from 1989 to 1993. Throughout the 1988 presidential campaign and all through his four years in office, Quayle was hounded mercilessly by the press as being too young and too inexperienced to be our vice president. I remember when Dana Carvey would play George Bush in Saturday Night Live skits, Dan Quayle would be played by a little kid who would sit in Dana Carvey's lap.

When Dan Quayle took office, he was 42 years old. If Barack Obama wins the election, he will be 47 years old. When Dan Quayle took office as vice president, he had served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was in the middle of his second term as a U.S. Senator when he was tapped to become V.P. That makes a total of 12 years spent in the U.S. Congress when Dan Quayle became vice president. Barack Obama spent 7 years in the Illinois state senate before becoming a U.S. Senator in 2005, meaning he had been in the U.S. Senate for a scant two years before announcing his candidacy for president in February 2007.

I make this comparison not to point out what a fabulous candidate or vice president Dan Quayle may have been. I make this comparison to show the inconsistencies in people's perceptions of the two politicians. Dan Quayle actually had more experience going into the 1988 election as a vice presidential candidate than Barack Obama has in the 2008 election as a presidential candidate. Yet Dan Quayle was the butt of jokes for years because of his "youth and inexperience." Where is that same rancor and ridicule towards Candidate Obama? What is the difference between Obama and Quayle? To ask the question is to answer it.

Actually, Geraldine Ferraro - a leftist hack for whom I have little positive to say - has answered that question for us. For this she is being raked over the coals for pointing out the obvious.

NEXT: Does being the put-upon wife of a two-term president along with serving as a carpet-bagging senator for two and a half terms qualify you as being president either? Oh my Lord how I do despise this election.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I smell a sequel

In Se7en, a violent and moody piece of film-noir, and one of my favorite all-time movies, Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt play two police detectives on the trail of a brutal murderer whose victims have all committed one of the seven deadly sins. The murderer dispatches each victim in a way that reflects the sin that the victim was committing. For instance, the first victim is an obese man who is forced at gunpoint to eat can after can of spaghetti sauce until his stomach bursts. Another victim is a model whose face the killer horribly disfigures, and then the killer gives the model a logical choice. He glues a phone to one hand (so she can save herself if she wants) and a bottle of sleeping pills in her other hand. Rather than live the rest of her life with a scarred face, the model chooses an overdose of sleeping pills.

Freeman and Pitt had best be ready to be called back for a sequel, for today, the Catholic Church has identified se7en additional deadly sins, and some of them are doozies! Here they are:
  1. Polluting
  2. Genetic engineering
  3. Being obscenely rich
  4. Drug dealing
  5. Abortion
  6. Pedophilia
  7. Causing social injustice
OK, I can get on board with 4, 5, and 6. Numbers 1 and 2... eh. It is numbers 3 and 7 that are giving me fits. What is wrong with being obscenely rich? The mere fact that you are that rich is not necessarily a problem. Bill Gates is "obscenely rich." How many people are making a good living by being employed by Microsoft? How many people are making a good living by selling things to people employed by Microsoft? How many people have made good livings by using computers that have Microsoft products on them? How many people... you get the idea. On that so-called deadly sin, all I can tell the Catholic church is that ENVY of other people's wealth is a very ugly (and deadly) sin indeed.

Then we have that ever hard-to-define social justice canard. The best definition I can think of for social justice is to abuse a certain group of people in the present in order to atone for abuses of a different group in the past. A perfect example is Affirmative Action. Whites and males used to discriminate towards Blacks and females in academia and in the workplace, so now the tables have been turned. This of course begs the question of whether discriminating towards white males (and Asians) is any less sinful?

It is too late at night for me to stretch my brain like this, but I'm sure I could take these new deadly sins and apply each of them to one of the original deadly sins - for instance, "obscenely wealthy" could simply be put in the Greed category could it not? And couldn't pedophilia be included in the Lust category?

All in all, these new and improved Seven Deadly Sins seem rather redundant and unnecessary. If the Catholic Church is hoping to win over new converts by embracing political correctness, I think they are making a serious miscalculation. I'm not a Catholic, but this latest move by the Church does nothing to make me want to switch from the Presbyterian church I currently attend.

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Name that Collectivist!

This multiple-choice quiz is a little long, but it's hilarious and worth playing; you don't have to play the whole thing if you don't have time.

The best thing that the quiz shows you is that it is pretty bad when you can't tell the difference between a quote from Hillary Clinton and a quote from Josef Stalin.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, March 06, 2008

All you need is love... FUEGO!

Since the beginning of this blog almost three years ago, I have mentioned my fellow social studies teacher in the classroom next door who has a big Che Guevara poster on his wall. From time to time, he will also wear a Che t-shirt to work. He had on one such t-shirt today. In addition to the iconic image that we all know and despise, there was a quote of Che's underneath the picture:
"At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that a true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love."
I came this close to saying something to my fellow teacher, because the moment I read that quote, another quote of Che's came immediately to my mind:
"This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate."
Now that sounds more like the Che Guevara I know. The only thing he loved was killing bound and blindfolded victims. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask this teacher if they sell Che shirts with his hate quote on it, but I just couldn't do it. I have to work with this guy, and despite our totally opposite political viewpoints, we get along quite nicely and have some very intriguing and long conversations about other matters relating to schools and students. Besides, he hasn't said anything about this poster I recently hung up in my classroom, even though I know he has seen it:

I would welcome any reader input about whether or not I should say anything to Mr. Che-phile, but for now, I guess I won't say anything to him unless he takes issue with this poster.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

OK, this made me a little moist

I tip my hat to (see blogroll) for this one. Don't leave home without it!

Good Day to You, Sir

For the (personal) record

My previous post got me thinking about my track career in high school and college, and I began to try to remember what my best times were in the different events in which I either specialized, or just ran to see what I could do. I ran track from my freshman year in high school in 1987, to my final year of junior college in 1993, with a stress fracture thrown into the 1992 season. My high school didn't have a Cross-Country team, but I ran it in college. I did OK, but I just wasn't made for anything over a mile; especially when running over hill and dale. Track and Field has been my favorite sport as long as I can remember. I have attended (as a spectator) the 1991 NCAA Championships, the 1990 and 1999 California High School State Meets, and the ultimate experience: every day of the 2000 Olympic Trials which were held here in Sacramento. And of course, I never miss watching the Olympic competition on the tube. My specialty was always the 800m, with the 400m being my other event for the first couple years, and then later switching to the Mile instead.

So, without further ado, here are my personal records in every event in which I competed:
  • 100m - 11.5
  • 200m - 24.1
  • 400m - 51.7
  • 800m - 1:59.1
  • Mile -
    • On the track: 4:34.6
    • On the road: 4:27
  • 2 Miles -
    • On the track: 11:11.0
    • On the road: 10:37
  • 4 Miles - 23:46
  • 5 Miles - 31:29
Not earth-shattering, but pretty respectable times in my opinion.

If any of my readers competed in Track and Field or Cross Country, please feel free to brag in the comments section!

Good Day to You, Sir

On your mark, get set...

This was a first for me. I was walking from the office back to my classroom this morning after having made some copies. As I meandered along the quad, I glanced over just in time to see one boy swing at another. The boy who swung then walked away and yelled, "Fuck you, Nigga!"

That of course caused me to change direction and begin walking toward Mr. Potty Mouth. I walked up to him and said, "Good morning! My name is Mr. Ch..." That's as far as I got. The kid looked at me, then looked at my I.D. badge, then took off like a shot! I mean he sprinted as fast as his legs could carry him. For a second, I stood there dumbfounded. I had never had a student run away from me before. Had I known who the student was, I would have just let him run and written up the referral at my leisure. However, I had no idea who this kid was, and I wasn't about to count on some bystander student giving up the name. So, I decided "Oh, what the heck", and I sprinted after the student.

It's been 15 to 20 years now, but I ran track in high school and college (400m/800m/Mile). This morning, I was glad to see that my almost-36 year old legs still have the magic. I caught up to that little jackrabbit, and the funniest part is when he looked behind him with a slight grin on his face, that quickly disappeared when he realized that I was right on his tail. He ran for a couple more seconds, put on the brakes, and then began walking as if he had been doing so the whole time. I asked the student for his name, but he refused to give it to me. I followed him while repeatedly asking for his name until I saw a campus supervisor up ahead. The c.s. knew the kid and once I had his name, I disengaged.

Later that day, I wrote up a referral for Mr. Running Man - chuckling with each word of my narrative. Sometimes, I love my job!

Good Day to You, Sir

Carnival of Education

The latest edition is ready to be read at the Education Wonks. They have included a post from yours truly. That would be my assessment of why Hiram Johnson High School is a mess.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Something upon which Barack Obama and I agree

Hat tip to Joanne Jacobs (see blogroll):

During a speech to a mostly black audience in Texas the other day, Obama had this to say about education:
“It’s not good enough for you to say to your child, ‘Do good in school,’ and then when that child comes home, you’ve got the TV set on,” Obama lectured. “You’ve got the radio on. You don’t check their homework. There’s not a book in the house. You’ve got the video game playing.”

Each line was punctuated by a roar, and Obama began to shout, falling into a preacher’s rhythm. “Am I right?”

“So turn off the TV set. Put the video game away. Buy a little desk. Or put that child at the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework. If they don’t know how to do it, give ‘em help. If you don’t know how to do it, call the teacher.”

By now, the crowd of nearly 2,000 was lifted from the red velveteen seats of the Julie Rogers Theatre, hands raised to the gilded ceiling. “Make ‘em go to bed at a reasonable time! Keep ‘em off the streets! Give ‘em some breakfast! Come on! Can I get an amen here?”

Whooooooooooooooooo, went the crowd. “You know I’m right,” Obama laughed. “And, since I’m on a roll, if your child misbehaves in school, don’t cuss out the teacher! You know I’m right about that! Don’t cuss out the teacher! Do something with your child!”

Good Day to You, Sir

A Primer on men's hats

I wish I had lived in a time when the Fedora was in style. Slowly but surely, I see more and more men wearing them; especially in downtown Sacramento around the Capitol on a rainy day. But for the most part, the only hats you ever see men wear these days are baseball caps.

I came across this post from an interesting-looking website called The Art of Manliness. Give it a look-see, and find out the history and current status of the hats that men have worn in our society since the 19th century. It made me want to go out and buy that Fedora right now.

Good Day to You, Sir

You have to ask yourself: was it the wife?

Causation or coincidence? I wonder if Barack Obama is asking himself that question as he went down to defeat tonight in the big primaries held in Texas and Ohio.

Before tonight, Obama was on tear, having been victorious in every Democratic primary since after Super Tuesday. So what changed? I would chalk up one reason as being Michelle Obama's abrasive personality and big mouth. After telling us how Barack Obama would make us work and how she was proud of her country for the first time in her adult life, I have a strong suspicion that many Democrat voters got rubbed the wrong way; especially in a patriotic state like Texas.

I am by no means saying that Michelle Obama is the only reason the Democrat's Messiah lost tonight, but one cannot help but wonder how many votes he lost tonight because his wife can't seem to keep her trap shut.

Oh, and the Son of Cain locked up the Republican nomination tonight as Mike Huckabee called it quits. Woo hoo.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, March 03, 2008

Step away from the voting booth!

If you haven't checked out American Thinker (see my blogroll), you ought to. It has become a must-read for in-depth thoughts on the topics of the day/week. One frequent contributer is a writer named Selwyn Duke. In his latest installment, Mr. Duke suggests what to many is unthinkable and states that it's not such a good idea for everyone to vote. I have always agreed with this sentiment, but in our Republic-cum-Democracy, to suggest that some people shouldn't vote is downright heresy. Mr. Duke made one observation that was particularly poignant. In speaking of the importance of having an educated populace in order for our electoral process to work properly, Duke says,
And one needn't be disenchanted with universal suffrage to agree. It's one thing to have one man, one vote; it's quite another to have one man, one obligation to vote. Yet we still hear that it's our "civic duty" to go to the polls. Well, no, actually, it's a civic duty to make ourselves worthy to do so.
In other words, getting an education and ensuring that you are informed about the issues of the day is much more important than just blindly going out there and voting because you have been told that it is your duty to do so. Duke later posits that it is educated people who are most likely to vote on their own accord anyway. It is the uneducated and indolent who have to be convinced by get-out-the-vote busy bodies to go down to their local polling place. If they have to be cajoled and plied with God-knows-what in order to get them to vote, do you really want people like that casting a vote in the first place?

Duke ends his essay with this final observation:
I won't hold my breath waiting for a good answer, but I will mention another irony. Liberals are completely taken with gun control; some of them even say that no one but the police should own firearms. Yet they believe that people too irresponsible to have their finger on the trigger should influence the choice of who will have his finger on the button.
Amen! Of course, being the absolutist that I pride myself in being, I would go even further. In my America, just being educated wouldn't be good enough if you wanted to exercise the right to vote. The finer details would have to be worked out of course, but I believe that anyone who is on the public dole - that is, receiving a subsistence check from the government - should be ineligible to vote. It is too much of a conflict of interest for those people to have the power to choose politicians who are simply promising to hand over more of the taxpayers' money to those who didn't earn it. That is one of the big reasons we are in the mess in which we currently find ourselves. When the United States was first starting out, the only people who could vote were white, male, property owners. Take out the white and the male qualifiers, and I am totally on board with that policy.

Of course, if that were our country's voting policy, where would the Democrats find anyone to vote for them?

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, March 02, 2008

How to point out the supposed hate on the right:

Apparently, you do this by having a left-wing newspaper columnist write the most hate-filled screed that I have seen in some time. This little gem by San Fran Chron writer, Mark Morford, entitled How to hate Barack Obama: Right now, deep in the GOP dungeons, they're planning their racist, disgraceful assault. Whatever will it be?

And that's just the title to the article! Read on, and you will find that the writer has pulled out every little catch phrase and buzz word in a leftist's bag of tricks:
  • People on the right are racist
  • Fox News is right-wing
  • People on the right shop at Wal-Mart
  • People on the right live in trailer parks
  • People on the right are paranoids who will stock up their bunker with Ding-Dongs and Coors
  • People on the right are troglodytes
  • People on the right are afraid of having a black president (then why did they try to recruit Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice?)
  • People on the right are a bunch of "angry white fat men"
  • People on the right have gun racks in their pickup trucks (Hey, I don't have a problem with that, but the writer uses it as an epithet.)
  • Yet another Republican candidate for president is stupid ("McCain himself ain't exactly the world's sharpest tack")
  • Republicans are the "party of old, white, sexist, racist, classist, warmongering men"
  • The views on immigration of people on the right are "hateful and isolationist"
  • Bush stole both elections
Now, I realize that some of my readers may even agree with some Mr. Morford's sentiments; to tell you the truth, maybe even I do - McCain doesn't strike me as being the sharpest tack either. My motivation for writing this post was simply to showcase the outlandishly huge number of left-wing cliches about people on the right that was somehow shoved into a single newspaper column. Mr. Morford, it seems like you have been wanting to get all of that off your chest for quite some time. I hope it was therapeutic for you, because it seems as if the next stage was for you to go out and start killing folks. I trust that this exercise in stream-of-consciousness helped to assuage your seething rage.

Good Day to You, Sir

I'm surprised this quote made it into the article

I don't blog much about the ongoing whack-a-mole game being played between the Israelis and the self-proclaimed Palestinians. If I did, my blog would pretty much sound like a broken record: Palestinians shoot rockets into Israel, Israelis give a strongly worded warning for it not to happen again, Israel is condemned by the international community for abusing the poor put-upon Palestinians, Palestinians shoot more rockets into Israel....

The situation between Israel and the self-proclaimed Palestinians is not unlike the relationship between two siblings, with the Israelis playing the role of the wishy-washy older brother with the patience of Job, and the Palestinians as the snotty, conniving younger brother. You've all seen or heard about this scenario: the younger brother endlessly torments the older brother - dancing around him, hitting him, kicking him, stepping on his feet. The older brother takes all of this abuse, knowing that if he does anything about it, the younger brother will run off and cry to the parents, who for whatever reason, tend to dote on the snotty younger brother. Finally, his patience being all used up, the older brother snaps and punches the younger brother in the nose. Sure enough, the younger brother goes crying to the parents with a good sob story about how he was being picked on by the older brother. The parents then send the older brother to his room without any supper. And so it goes, time after time after time after time....

This is why I was so pleasantly surprised to see the self-proclaimed Palestinians caught in lie during this latest exchange of gun and rocket fire between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And where was this lie mentioned? Why, in the New York Times! Hey, even a broken clock is still correct twice a day, right?

In this latest clash on the border between Gaza and Israel, the "fighters" (New York Times' terminology) in Gaza were shooting Qassam rockets into Israel, and the Israeli Defense Forces determined it was finally time to shoot back. At first, the Times article sticks to the usual template by informing us of all the children and innocent adults in Gaza who were killed in the crossfire, but then they make a very important distinction:
Hamas (the terrorist organization that controls Gaza --Chanman) said that one girl, Malak Karfaneh, 6, died Friday night from an Israeli strike on Beit Hanun in northern Gaza, but residents said that a Palestinian rocket had fallen short and landed near the house, killing her and wounding three siblings.
So Hamas spokesman chalk up the girl's death to the Israelis (natch), but even other Palestinians had to admit that it was a Palestinian rocket that actually caused her death. We are talking about Islamic terrorists who believe they will go to paradise if they kill the Jewish apes and pigs (the terrorists' terminology for Jews). Do you really think these animals are going to worry their little beards about any civilians who get killed in the midst of a Jihad against the Infidel? There is little wonder that Palestinian civilians are killed in Israeli air strikes, considering that the cockroaches who are shooting off the rockets purposely place the rocket launchers among the civilian population for maximum propaganda effect, should an errant Israeli missile that was intended for a rocket launcher, instead hit the house full of children right next door.

This brings me to another telling quote from the article:
In Gaza on Friday, Hussein Dardouna, 50, was burying his son, Omar, 14, killed while playing with his friends by an Israeli strike aimed at a rocket-launching team. “I couldn’t identify the body of my son,” he said. “It was very hard until I found the head of my son. I’m against these rockets, but I am afraid. What can I do? If I protest they will hit me, they will kill me.”
The "they" of whom Mr. Dardouna speaks ("they will hit me, they will kill me) are not the Israelis. "They" are the terrorists in Gaza who are launching these rockets into Israel. No wonder that so many Palestinians continue to live in Israel rather than in Gaza, which the Palestinians control, preferring the "hell of Israel" to the "paradise of Arafat."

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Why couldn't they find the teachers they needed?

UPDATE 3/6/2008: Welcome Michelle Malkin readers! Make yourself at home and take a look around.

There is a public secondary institution of learning in Sacramento called Hiram W. Johnson High School. Supposedly, things are not as bad as they used to be, but just say the words "Hiram Johnson High School" in the greater Sacramento area, and people's thoughts will turn to images of the 'hood, gangs, violence, out-of-control students, inept administrators, and harried teachers. This is the school that convinced famous teacher Jaime Escalante of Stand and Deliver fame, to quit teaching. He had transferred to Sacramento and Hiram Johnson High to perform the same magic that he had accomplished down south, only to throw up his hands in despair and leave the teaching profession. Granted, he was getting old and was ready to retire, but here is what Escalante told the Sacramento Bee in 1998 when he decided to put down the chalk... er, whiteboard marker:
Escalante said he was not able to achieve the same levels of success at Johnson that he did in Los Angeles for several reasons, including a high turnover of vice principals that hampered his ability to build a comprehensive math program.

Another difficulty, he and others said, was connecting with the diverse array of families whose students attend Johnson. At Garfield, Escalante enjoyed smooth communication and an easy rapport with the families of his mostly Latino students. At Hiram Johnson, he found that many parents either didn't understand or objected to his demanding style and requests that students come for tutoring on weekends.

Escalante also said he found many of the teenagers of the '90s less motivated and more hardened toward adults and learning than those of a decade ago.
I bring up Hiram Johnson H.S. because of yet another useless education article in the Sacramento Bee. At the top of Saturday's Metro section was an article entitled: School's class shift criticized: Lawyer who blasted Johnson High's lengthy use of subs also finds fault with its solution.
Sacramento City Unified officials overhauled Hiram Johnson High School's master schedule in November to get rid of classes that had been taught by substitute teachers for nearly three months.

In the shuffle, at least two dozen students designated as "English-language learners" were removed from an intensive language tutoring class and placed mostly in elective classes including piano, art, French, and Spanish-for-Spanish-speakers, according to the students and their records....
The article goes on to talk in more detail about the school's teacher shortage and the disposition of the students whose schedules were changed:
In November, several concerned teachers brought to light a teacher shortage at Johnson High that had left nearly 400 students in classes with substitute teachers. District officials attributed the situation to the last-minute departure of three teachers before the school year began and an unexpected increase in enrollment.

Officials said at the time that they had fixed the problem mostly by moving students from substitutes' classes into under-enrolled classes with permanent teachers.
In an amusing twist of coincidence, a bunch of students - from a school that is 31% Hispanic, mind you - were moved from a second period English class to a... landscaping class. This excerpt from the article was priceless:
Some of the students who were transferred into the landscaping class said they did not understand the placement and that the class has been a waste of time. "We just plant. I already know how to do that," said Jose Hernandez, 15.
I earlier called this article useless because it avoids the one burning question that the writer is apparently afraid to ask: Why couldn't the school find enough permanent teachers to make the use of long-term substitute teachers unnecessary?

Allow me to take a stab at this one: Among many other extenuating factors, perhaps one of the biggest is that few teachers in their right minds would want to teach at Hiram W. Johnson High School. This is especially true when it comes to the subjects which are difficult to fill, such as Math, Science, and Special Education. If I was a Calculus teacher who could pretty much name my own ticket as to where I want to teach, why would I want to work in an environment such as Hiram Johnson when I could pick from any number of wonderful and relatively peaceful schools in the leafy suburbs? That statement may rub some of you the wrong way on some kind of warm and fuzzy "but what about social justice?" level, but the cold hard reality is that this is the way the situation often works. Even if your Calculus students are the diamonds in the rough at that school, you are still working in a toxic environment that assaults your senses from the time you get out of your car in the parking lot, through your many necessary trips through the hallways and quads, and your extra teacher duties which involuntarily thrust you into the chaos of the general student population. So the question remains: Why put up with that, when you can work somewhere else that is much more peaceful?

I realize that I am being highly speculative here - I don't even know the subjects that were taught by the three teachers at Hiram Johnson who left at the last minute. However, you are not going to tell me that those three positions could not have been filled; especially if they were positions in Social Science, Language Arts, or P.E., where candidates are plentiful. Finding teachers and hiring them is not the problem; retaining teachers and getting them to stay is the problem. When a school makes a name for itself as an institution that chews up new teachers and spits them out, then eventually, hiring does become a problem.

Whatever the difficulties were in finding new hires to make the subs unnecessary, the fact of the matter is that Hiram Johnson's reputation is its own worst enemy.

Good Day to You, Sir