Saturday, June 28, 2008

Out of the area

Not that I have been blogging all that much this summer anyway, but I am going to be away from the computer for a week. We are making our annual pilgrimage to one of the most beautiful places on earth: a small lake near Lake Tahoe. If you want to see where I am going, click here to see a picture I took and posted two years ago.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Find the common thread

Earlier this week, our local fishwrap, the Sacramento Bee, ran a two-part series on the failure of our county Child Protective Service agency to stop the murder of children who CPS had previously known to be abused.

The Bee gave a list and profile of some of the murdered children from the last 15 years or so. I will give an abbreviated version of that list with the relevant details that will enable you to find something in common with every single one of these children.
  • Julianna Lacefield, age 4, was beaten to death while in the care of her mother's boyfriend
  • Christopher Cejas, age 12, was starved, beaten and tortured to death by his father and stepmother
  • McImely Dearing, age 7, was shaken and beaten by his mother's boyfriend
  • Feliciana Reyes, age 10 months, was found dead in the back seat of her mother's car in 2004. The mother had stabbed her husband in the back (literally) in 2000.
  • Alexia and Akira Noel, age 3 months, were left in their car seats in a bedroom and died of dehydration and hyperthermia. Arrested were their parents: Vanessa Rose Hackett and Ernest Dashon Noel.
  • Travis Smith, age 2, died of a fractured skull after his father, Bradley Price, threw him into his playpen. Travis was Price's son by a girlfriend who dropped the child off for visits with Price, his wife and two other children.
  • K.C. Balbuena, age 3, was beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend
  • Daelynn Foreman, age 12, who had cerebral palsy, died of malnutrition and neglect in her mother's home.
  • Taylor Ward, age 9, was killed when her mother, Kahja Taylor, committed suicide by smashing her car into a moving train.
  • Tamalhya Moore, age 17 months, was smothered by her foster mother, Tamekca Walker.
Do you see the connection? Do you see what's missing from that list? In not a single one of those cases did the abuse happen in a home where there was a married mother and father who were both the biological parents of the child... you know, a traditional family? It was either a boyfriend, or a single mother, or two biological parents who, judging by their different last names, never married.

I have been sitting on this blog post for a few days now, but what finally prompted me to write about it was an article in todays Metro section of the Bee telling us of yet another dead child. Let's see who is responsible this time:
A 20-year-old man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the beating death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, authorities said. Thomas Jerome Martin was arrested on suspicion of murder and an assault resulting in the death of... Valeeya Brazile [who was] found unresponsive in her bedroom in the Fair Oaks apartment that Martin and the girl's mother shared...

...Martin and his girlfriend have a young child together, but Valeeya and her brother are not Martin's children.
Once upon a time in this country, the majority of children grew up in a home with both of their biological parents who were married. Now, the number of children who are fortunate enough to live in this arrangement are the minority. Does this mean that abuse doesn't take place in two-parent, married households? No. Does this mean mothers and their boyfriends can live together with a child and not beat him? Yes. But it is all about numbers, and the optimum situation is for a child to live with his married, biological parents. If that happened more often, perhaps we would see fewer of these horror stories.

Good Day to You, Sir

Bask in the glory of a rational SCOTUS decision

Read it and weep, gungrabbers!
1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a
firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for
traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Pp. 2–53.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but
does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative
clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it
connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically
capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists
feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in
order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing
army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress
power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear
arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved...

3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to
self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban
on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an
entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the
lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny
the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense
of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional
muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the
home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible
for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and
is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument
that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily
and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy
his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement.
Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment
rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and
must issue him a license to carry it in the home...
If you want to read the entire 157-page majority opinion written by Antonin Scalia, then click here.

The Supreme Court of the United States finally called on right. In a 5-4 vote, the Court found in District of Columbia, et. al. vs. Heller that the ban on handguns in Washington D.C. violates a person's God-given right to defend himself as guaranteed in the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution. The vote among the members of the Court went as you would expect:

In the Majority: Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Sam Alito, and Anthony Kennedy.

Dissenting: John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, and Stephen Breyer

This decision of the Court doesn't mean that any swingin' moron can go out there with a gun; no right isn't absolute - yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater is a common example. However, this is a huge victory for those of us who believe that stopping law-abiding citizens from arming themselves only emboldens criminals and makes our society even more violent.

Although I hold little respect for George W. Bush, I will give him props on one thing. Neal Boortz (see blogroll) said it best:
Here's something else you may want to ponder as the uproar over this ruling spreads. (Oh, those poor Brady people). Without the appointments made to the Supreme Court by George W. Bush, this [decision] probably would have been completely different. With Al Gore in the presidency your right to own a gun for self-defense would have been ripped away today.
It is a great day in this country!

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

People are enjoying themselves! Let's ruin it!

There was a riot at a public pool in south central Los Angeles. Many of the pool-goers were angry that the pool had to be cleaned due to their filth, so they assaulted several employees and threw them into the pool.

As the pool manager so simply put it,
"The water wasn't safe," pool manager Christopher Molina said. "It is our responsibility to make sure the water is safe. But they wanted us to know this was their pool and we just worked there."
I can't believe I actually have to share the same planet with people who would do something like this.

Good Day to You, Sir

2,064 feet and rising

The Burj Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has surpassed 2,000 feet, and is now officially the tallest man-made structure on earth. When it is finished, it will top out at 2,684 feet. To put that in perspective, that is about 1,400 feet taller than the Empire State Building. Here is a photo of construction in progress from March of this year. Click on the image for a better view and see if you can pick out the Burj Dubai from the surrounding buildings :


Good Day to You, Sir

How to speak like a Democrat - in one lesson

A very succinct yet instructive lesson from the floor of the United States Congress. You won't need to take notes; he brought charts.

I believe you will need Windows Media Player to view this video.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

BOHICA time in Congress

Have you ever heard of the acronym "BOHICA"? It's one of my favorites. It stands for: Bend Over, Here It Comes Again. This perfectly describes what is being done to us in the hallowed halls of our horrendous House of hedonists (and the Senate too). In an 83-9 vote (let's hear it for bipartisanship!) the U.S. Senate has passed a $300 billion bailout for homeowners who just couldn't seem to make their mortgage payments. Funny, I have been paying mine on time... where's my bailout?

The article I have linked gives a perfect list of examples of why our national legislature is such a house of horrors:
Still, conservative Democrats known as "Blue Dogs" are concerned about how to pay for the measure, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus call it unacceptable, arguing it doesn't do enough to address the needs of black Americans...

Congressional leaders also are divided on how high to place loan limits that apply to government mortgage insurance and financing. The Senate bill sets those limits at $625,000 while a House-passed version puts them at $730,000 - a crucial difference in high-cost housing markets like California, home to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi...
And the Orwellian quote award of the day goes to Senator Chris Dodd for this gem:
``What better gift on independence could we give the American people than a sense that this, their Congress of the United States, can come together, despite political differences, and craft legislation to make a difference for our country,''
First, did he mean "independence Day"? Nevertheless, Dodd is describing our fellow Americans sucking off the teat of the taxpayer to the tune of $300 billion dollars, and he is describing that as an example of INDEPENDENCE?! Who keeps electing these clowns? Duh - the same people who want to suck off the teat of the American taxpayer to the tune of $300 billion.

There is a small amount of sanity in our congress, and bless their squishy hearts, it is coming from the Republican side of the aisle:
"They expect the federal government to turn their backs on responsible lenders and borrowers and renters waiting - waiting - to become first-time homeowners, and support those groups that have pushed our housing market into decline with bad loans and bad investments," said Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. "This bill is a federal government bailout."
So folks, as the classic bumper sticker says, keep paying those taxes... millions on welfare are depending on you.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rest in Peace, George Carlin

A truly funny man has died: George Carlin died of heart failure last night. While I didn't agree with much of his political worldview, I found him to be absolutely hilarious nonetheless. One of my favorite bits of Carlin's was his dismantling of the euphemistic and sometimes nonsensical instructions given during airline flights. If you can't handle profane language, don't watch. Otherwise, enjoy the genius of George Carlin.

Here is Part 1:

And Part 2:

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wii hate wallpaper!

Not much blogging going on with me so far this summer. With updating of our new house in full swing, I barely get much time to even check the news, let alone blog about it.

The biggest challenge in the new house has been the wallpaper. The elderly lady who owned this house, bless her heart, had almost every room either partially or fully decked out in the most hideous wallpaper you can imagine. In 2008, you would think that they have come up with an easy and hassle-free system of removing wallpaper, but they haven't. It still must be scored, sprayed, steamed, and peeled... bit, by bit, bit. My wife has done the lion's share of removing the wallpaper, while I come behind with the sander and drywall mud and spackle to patch the various holes.

Every once in a while, we do take a break, and when we do, we spend time with our new toy that we received as a gift from my mother-in-law: a Wii. For those of you who are not familiar with this oddly-named device, a Wii is a video game system that gets you out of your chair and doesn't allow you to sit there, slack-jawed and drooling, as you operate a joystick. No, the Wii has a remote that you hold in your hand, and your actions with the remote control the actions of your character on the television. If you are playing tennis, then you must swing your remote like a tennis racket; if you are playing the boxing game, then you are standing up and jabbing your remote like a punch. There are times where you have to be careful and not get too close to the television, or you will accidentally punch the screen. If we are going to own a video game system, this is definitely the one I would choose. You can't beat a video game that gives you a healthy workout at the same time!

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, June 20, 2008

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit

Further enforcing the notion that support for Barack Obama has gone beyond the political and has entered the realm of religiosity, a bunch of Obama's Hollywood sycophants have put together a little music video set to one of his speeches full of empty rhetoric.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll hurl.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Isn't there also some saying about a paved road?

One of my favorite quotes, and very fitting in our life and times:

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of
authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution
was made to guard the people against the dangers of good
intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well,
but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but
they mean to be masters." ---Daniel Webster

Good Day to You, Sir

I guess his relatives don't watch the news

One easy way to get a person on the left to instantly go apesh** is to suggest that Barack Obama may have some Islamic influence in his background. His supporters have even created a website to fight this "smear."

Shoot, I don't know if Obama was ever a Muslim, but it is pretty interesting watching his cultish followers over here swear up and down that he has nothing to do with Islam, but his half-brother who lives in Kenya was recently quoted by the Jerusalem Post, and I guess Malik didn't get the memo:
Barack Obama's half brother Malik said Thursday that if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background. In an interview with Army Radio he expressed a special salutation from the Obamas of Kenya. (emphasis mine)
Apparently, Obama's relatives in Kenya just take it for granted that he was/is a Muslim. So which is it? Once again, you get the feeling that we are not being given the straight story by the Obama campaign.

By the way, I tried to link that article from the Jerusalem Post's website, but it has been removed from their website. A Google search will bring you to links in their results, but on the JP's site, the article has been removed. Luckily, a lot of other blogs posted the accompanying photograph that has Malik showing off a photo from the 1980s showing him and Barack in native garb.

Good Day to You, Sir

Long on heart, short on brains

Dennis Prager is not too enthused about the heavy support that our nation's youth shows toward Barack Obama:
We regularly hear about Barack Obama's appeal to youth, about how he has been able to excite and mobilize a generation of young people to become politically involved, his rare ability to excite young people and about how many new voters will register (and vote Democrat) as a result.

All this seems to be true. The question, however, is whether it is a good thing for the country and not just for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

The answer is that it probably is not. With a few exceptions – and those exceptions are usually those rare cases when young people confront dictatorships – when youth get involved in politics in large numbers, it is not a good thing....
Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, June 13, 2008

RIP, Tim Russert

Tim Russert, NBC News reporter and host of Meet the Press, has died. He was a member of the left-wing media, and he showed his bias from time to time, but I did enjoy watching Tim Russert do the electoral mathematics on his little whiteboard during presidential election coverage.

My condolences to Russert's family and colleagues.

Good Day to You, Sir

A Disturbing Juxtaposition

Hat tip to Little Green Footballs (see blogroll) for linking to this USAToday article about an Ohio judge who has a problem with the supposed cruelty that is meted out to condemned prisoners who are put to death by lethal injection.

There is more than one issue about this photo that must be addressed. First, you will notice the two heroes of this judge who adorn his wall. This is not the first time that an Obama supporter has been photographed with a Che Guevara poster on his wall. There is most definitely a similarity regarding the cult of personality that both figures have attained with members of the political left. Let's just hope that when/if Obama is inaugurated as president, he doesn't adopt Che's methods of dealing with his political opposition.
Which brings me to my next point: here is a judge who believes that the methods used during lethal injection are too painful, and I wouldn't be surprised if this judge is against capital punishment to begin with. That said, his idolization of Che Guevara becomes even more puzzling. If lethal injection is too painful, how does the judge feel about a bullet in the back of the neck, which is how Che often had his victims dispatched? If the judge is indeed against capital punishment, how does he deal with the fact that his hero Che had thousands of men and boys put up against a blood and gristle-spattered wall and shot?
My next concern about his judge is who elected this moron; or is he even elected? How would you like to be in his courtroom? Actually, if you are a criminal, I would bet you will make out pretty well with this joker in charge. I'm sure he shares the culturally Marxist assertion that criminals do what they do because of society's oppression. If this guy is elected to his judgeship, hopefully this photographic evidence of his radical and hypocritical views will be addressed when he runs for reelection.
Good Day to You, Sir

Happiness is...

It is 11:25am. The 7th graders are at the waterslides in Roseville, the 8th graders had their graduation ceremony at 9:30 and have gone home. I am sitting in an empty classroom, listening to Dennis Prager on the radio. All my valuable items that will stay in the classroom through the summer are locked away in my cabinet. My Parent Contact Phone Log has been cleaned out; my email inbox has been cleaned out; my desk is stacked with a small number of items that are going home with me; my classroom desks are straight, and the chairs are stacked; my microwave oven has been cleaned.

Now I just have to sit around until 1:40 when our minimum and final day of the school year ends. After school ends, I will meet with some of my fellow teachers at Chevy's for a well-deserved drink and some of my beloved flautas. Tonight, my parents arrive to check out my new house and stay for the weekend. Waiting for me at home are my beautiful wife and my two lovely children with whom I am about to enjoy an 8-week summer vacation.

Life is good.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

John McCain is stuck on stupid

Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth. Here is the headline:

McCain says gas prices won't drop and could rise

And here are the priceless quotes from the article:

I don't think [the price of gasoline is] going much lower, and it could go higher," McCain said on NBC's "Today Show." "I don't think so, not when you've got a finite supply, basically, and a cartel controlling it...."
"...And [the oil companies] should be embarking on research and development that will pay off in reducing our dependence on foreign oil," he said.
Before I tear into these idiotic statements, I have another McCain quote for you. This is the Son of Cain talking about the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR):
As far as ANWR is concerned, I don’t want to drill in the Grand Canyon, and I don’t want to drill in the Everglades. This is one of the most pristine and beautiful parts of the world.
So, let me talk this through in an attempt to make sense of the absurdity. McCain admits that the price of oil is determined by the supply, which he describes as "finite." OK, I'm with him so far. He then admits that a controlling "cartel" - that would be OPEC - limits our supply of oil, therefore raising the price of gasoline. Economics 101 will tell you that if prices are rising due to low supply, then the answer is to increase the supply. Since OPEC won't do it, it is incumbent upon our own country to use the natural resources that the good Lord gave us, and reduce, as the Son of Cain puts it, "our dependence on foreign oil." Is the Son of Cain willing to approve the use of our own natural resources, as either a member of congress, or as president? As you can see from his quote about ANWR, the answer is no. Instead, he compares this northern wasteland to the Grand Canyon. Never mind that the area in ANWR that would be drilled is about the size of your typical metropolitan airport. Would drilling in ANWR solve our problems? No. However, not drilling there and off our coasts just preserves the status quo, and the status quo right now means the price of gas spiraling upward.

We are so screwed in November.

Good Day to You, Sir

Don't forget the scariest quote of all

Expanding upon my previous post, I just remembered the scariest quote of all from the Obama campaign, about which I have blogged before. Again, we turn to Obama's bitter half:

"And Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism, that you put down your division, that you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones, that you push yourselves to be better, and that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual - uninvolved, uninformed...."

Now that he is the presumptive nominee for the Democrats, the more the Obama campaign continues, the more frightened I become. Of course, with the Son of Cain out there also spouting off about how he is going to combat global warming, I don't see a happy ending no matter who gets elected.

Good Day to You, Sir

OK, now he's really starting to scare me

This one flew under my currently cluttered radar screen, but I have to comment on it. Eight days ago - June 3 - Barack Obama said something astounding in his speech in St. Paul, Minnesota after seemingly clinching the Democrat nomination. Read this and shudder. Speaking about his nomination, Obama said:
...I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal....
Good. Lord. Almighty. The man is a megalomaniac. I don't know how else to describe it. Meanwhile, you have the Obamessiah's wife telling us that he is going to save our souls, because, "We have to fix our souls - our souls are broken in this nation."

As Hugh Hewitt said upon hearing this garbage, "Lemme tell ya', whenever someone from the government comes to you and says, 'We have to fix your soul,' be VERY afraid."

And I say that when someone tells you that he move the oceans, you should also be VERY afraid.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I F****** knew it!

I almost never blog about sports, other than track and field, but this must be mentioned. I was just checking Drudge, when I noticed a little headline:

CLAIM: Refs fixed NBA playoff series, other games

My first thought was that it must be the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Kings and the Lakers. I have lived in Sacramento since 1998. I became a big Kings fan after about a year of living here; this was just when the Kings were sorta kinda starting to get good. By 2002, they were on the top of their game, and by June of that year, they were facing a stellar Lakers squad that included Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Robert Horry, and Derek Fisher. The series went to Game 7, and it was obvious that the referees were doing everything they could to help the Lakers win. Kings coach Rick Adelman even got in hot water for basically saying as much after the game. The Kings had come within a hair's breadth of making it to the NBA Finals where they would have dismantled the New Jersey Nets. Instead, they went home as the Pacific Conference Champions.

Sacramento has always lamented the loss of that 2002 series, and we have always muttered that the fix was in. For this muttering, we have been called whiners and sore losers and such.

So, when I clicked on the Drudge link, guess which playoff series turned out to be the one that was allegedly fixed? Yep. There is little that can be done now, six years later; you can't go back and play the games over. However, hopefully this can put to rest the notion that Sacramento was just whining about the horrible officiating. We wuz robbed!

Ever since the 2003 season, I haven't followed the Kings very much. Over the ensuing years, the members of the 2002 squad either retired or were traded away. To me, the Sacramento Kings will always be Vlade Divac, Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic, Doug Christie, and Chris Webber, with Bobby Jackson as their sixth man. Without them, I can't imagine the Kings with any other players.

Good Day to You, Sir

Definition of a Bummer:

Catching some sort of flu-like cold that has taken my voice from me and has me coughing up phlegm that is hard enough to break glass. Just what I wanted for the final week of my school year!

Luckily, my 8th graders are traveling to an amusement park for their year-end trip tomorrow, so little to no teaching will be going on.

Three more days!

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, June 06, 2008

You must lead by example

Meet Heather Fong. She is the Chief of the San Francisco Police Department. Knowing what we know about that wonderful, yet deeply flawed city, Heather Fong is exactly
the kind of police officer you would imagine the city of San Francisco would choose as its chief of police. The city reached near perfection with this hire:

Minority? Check.

Woman? Check.

Apparent Lesbian? Check

Masters degree in Social Work from San Francisco State? Check.

All that's missing is her being confined to a wheelchair, and then we would achieve the quintfecta.
I can't stop chuckling over the words of Dirty Harry in The Dead Pool: "Well, personally I think teaming up with a Chinese American is gooood for the department's image."

I also always chuckle when Michael Savage (who broadcasts from San Francisco) mentions Heather Fong on his show. He always refers to her as the little cop whose hat keeps falling over her eyes.

In spite of all her qualifications on the political correctness checklist, the million-dollar question is whether Heather Fong is qualified to be in her lofty position; both in regards to technical and tactical proficiency, and to leadership ability?

Apparently not.

It seems that Heather Fong has just been too darned busy in her capacity as chief of police to qualify with her service weapon. And just how long has it been since she qualified? Try around five years. SFPD officers are required to qualify with their service weapon every six months, and Chief Fong has missed the last ten deadlines. She freely admits this, but her admissions seem to carry an air about them that says, "What're you gonna do about it?"

It is easy for for one to make the argument that Fong is, after all, the chief of the entire department; honestly, when is she going to have to use her service weapon? The simple retort to that is a matter of leadership. As a leader, you don't ask anything of your troops that you are not willing to do yourself. Nothing makes the troops lose respect for their commander faster than when the troops are required to perform a task that their commander considers him (or her) self above doing.

This was demonstrated to me personally when I was in the Army, and stationed in Germany in the mid-1990s. We were on the qualification range with our M-16s, and who should be in the foxhole next to mine, but a one-star general. I have to say, I was thrilled. Here was this Brigadier General performing the same task I was, and showing himself to be human at the same time as he cussed and giggled when he missed a shot, and bantering with me between phases of the qualification. One could have made the same lame argument here: when is that one-star general possibly going to find himself in a situation where he will have to use a weapon? We have now established that that isn't the point, now is it?

As a teacher, I have always tried to follow the tenets of leadership in that capacity as well. When I tell my students to pick up the trash at the end of the period, who do you think is the first one walking around the room picking up other people's trash? As I do it, I tell my students that if I can pick up trash, they can do it as well. There is this review game I play with my students called Stump Mr. Chanman. When they watch some documentary film about any historical topic, I have them take notes in the form of questions they can ask me at the conclusion of the film. If a student's question "stumps" me, the students get a treat; usually a Jolly Rancher candy or something equally inconsequential to me, but a treasure to them. Again, I don't have my students do something that I cannot do myself, such as absorbing information from that film.

Leading by example is probably the most important thing that someone in a position of authority can do. Even if your leadership abilities are lacking in other areas, your willingness to endure the same hardships as your troops is always a huge plus in your ability to influence them into getting the job done. By not qualifying with her weapon, Heather Fong is telling her "troops" that they don't matter as much as she does. How is she supposed to lead them if they are not going to be willing to follow?

In my not-so-humble opinion, Heather Fong should resign and allow a true leader to take the reins of the San Francisco Police Department.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, June 05, 2008

It is a hard heart that kills

The weapon is just a tool. Getting rid of the weapon will not get rid of the criminal urge or the human ingeniuity to carry out the criminal act.

This from jolly old England:
The 15-year-old schoolgirl was found dead in an elevator at a south London apartment building this week, the 16th teenager slain in Britain's capital this year. Most, like Dawit, were stabbed to death — and most of their killers were other young people.

The deaths have sparked fears of a knife crime "epidemic" among Britain's young, and spurred the government to announce tougher penalties for teens caught carrying a blade....
So what is next? Outlaw knives? Knowing the current state of politically correct insanity that has infected our friends across the pond, it would not surprise me at all to see my hyperbole become reality.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The numbers are in, and I assure you, it's not me

I just finished tabulating and scrubbing my grades, and while there aren't very many "A's" (you have to EARN them in my class), there were also a lot fewer "F's" than I expected. Out of a total of 199 students that I teach over the course of 6 periods every day, there were 26 "F's," which gives me a failure rate of about 13%. My worst class was my 7th grade first period. Out of 35 students, there were 9 "F's." That is a failure rate of 26%. However, like I said: not nearly as horrific as I expected.

I took the time to look up the semester grades of each and every one of these 26 students in each and every one of their classes, and I was satisfied by what I found. I don't mean that I am satisfied that they are failing. I was satisfied to see that with the exception of just one student, their failing of my class was not an anomaly. The other 25 students were failing at least one other class. In fact, most of the students weren't not even failing just two classes. Most of them were failing at least three. On top of that, the majority of all the failing grades that I saw in all classes were not those close darn-it-just-missed-it 58% variety. These "F's" were the hard-core 50%-and-under types - going all the way down to the single digits (even in P.E.!). I have to hand it to the failing students at my school. It seems that they put a lot of work into not just failing, but failing spectacularly. Of course, at the middle school at which I teach, why not fail? The district passes you on to the next grade, regardless.

I have to add, I did watch something this morning that I rarely see: Accountability. One of my failing 8th graders has failed most of his classes this school year, and last school year too. This morning, our principal, the student's teachers (including me), and the student's mother sat down with the student to discuss retaining him and making him repeat the 8th grade. This retention was being requested by the mother. You can bet your sweet ass that my district would never initiate something like this.

I'll cut to the end of the meeting and tell you that the student is going to be retained. He will attend the K-8 school in our district next school year and repeat the 8th grade. He began to cry as he began to realize what this meant. Did I feel sorry for him? Well, as I watched him cry, I thought of all my lessons that he disrupted by furtively meowing like a cat. I thought of all the silent reading sessions that he disrupted by sitting there without a book and talking. I would tell him to stop talking, get his book out, and read; but I would be met with his exasperated looks and comments: "But I didn't briiiiing a book!" As if this excused him from disrupting silent reading. I thought of all the experiments I had to conduct - seeing which part of the room in which I could seat him so as to find the least amount of disruption. Put him in the back and he made as much commotion as possible so that students would turn around to watch him. Put him in the front, and he would be constantly turned around and talking.

So, did I feel sorry for him? Not on your life! Welcome to reality, Sport. I'm just sorry it took until the end of 8th grade before it finally crashed down around you. Here's hoping you get a clue and find success next year... as an 8th grader.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, June 02, 2008

You're only 20 years too late!

Well la-dee-frickin'-da: Barack Obama and his wife have quit their membership with Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The sad part is that so many people will defend him now because, after all, what is there to complain about? He quit the church didn't he?

The problem with Barack Obama quitting TUCofC is his impeccably bad timing. Quitting in June of the year of the election doesn't really show that he quit out of a sense of moral outrage at what goes on in that insane asylum he called his church for the last twenty years. It shows that he could no longer handle the heat of criticism every time one of his "spiritual advisors" mouthed off with racially-charged and hateful rhetoric. If he was truly leaving the church because of what they say and believe, then he would have walked out of the pews around 1988.

Obama's money quote was this one:
"It's clear that now that I'm a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will imputed to me even if they totally conflict with my long-held views, statements and principles," he said.
Well... yeah. You are, and should rightly be, judged by the company you keep. For the last twenty years, Barack Obama kept company with a congregation of racist, America-hating grievance mongers. He shouldn't be surprised now that he would be looked upon as a racist, America-hating grievance monger, especially when he spent months defending these people even after their spittle and spew came to public light.

On Newsbusters, they ran a conversation between two talking heads (both likely Obamamaniacs) on CNN. One of them said:
"You know, he's getting criticized -- okay, he acting like a typical politician.... He's bailing out of the church. Well, he would have been accused of the same type of things if he stayed in the church. He can't win."
Well... yeah. As we go through life, our actions have consequences. If you choose to attend and donate money to a racist, anti-American church for over twenty years, what is there to say? You chose your path, and the path was not a righteous one. In my eyes, and the eyes of anyone with any kind of moral fortitude, Obama is indeed trapped, as he should be. He stayed way too long at this church, and whether he stays or quits, either way it is too late. There is nothing he can do to make amends. Even if he truly had a total change of heart and a reversal of his views that are shared with TUCofC, his continued attendance of that church makes him unfit for the presidency. Think of former California gang member, murderer, and death row inmate, Tookie Williams: I'm glad he found Christ and was sorry for his crimes, and I'm sure he will find forgiveness from God... that doesn't mean that he still shouldn't have been executed.

Barack Obama still seems to express this naive surprise that people are so repulsed by his membership in Trinity United Church of Christ. He just doesn't seem to understand why this makes people so angry. His cluelessness on this matter alone should give people pause in their support of his run for the presidency.

Good Day to You, Sir

Congress barking up the wrong oil derrick

Why do certain members of Congress drag the CEOs of American oil companies before their committees? Because those are the only CEOs who would actually show up. It turns out that private oil companies from the United States are dwarfed by their foreign competitors:
Just how big is America’s Big Oil club? Well, the biggest of the big—ExxonMobil—is ranked only around 20th of the world’s largest oil producers. Exxon owns a modest 1.08 percent of the world’s proven petroleum reserves.

The oil producers that are larger than Exxon are all state-owned entities—that is, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuela, Mexico, etc. Not only are those producers foreign (meaning they lie outside of Congress’ jurisdiction and therefore won’t be called on the carpet to account for the pain Americans feel at the gas pump), they are notoriously corrupt and inefficient. (Gee, maybe not everyone who is in government is so pure after all.) These nationalized operations are plagued with mismanagement and inferior engineering. The results are subpar recovery rates and the premature decline of their oil fields—a major reason why global supply is struggling to keep pace with demand.

If those vast foreign oil resources were managed by America’s Big Oil—the real professionals of the trade—the global supply situation would be much improved. The problem, for all of us who long for lower fuel prices, isn’t that American Big Oil is too big, but that its share of the global petroleum market is too small.
American oil companies could be a heck of a lot bigger (and give us a much bigger supply of oil) if the same members of Congress who hold these show-trial hearings would allow these oil companies to drill for oil in all these domestic locations that are currently off-limits.

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A great quote for your Sunday evening

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness
for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and
sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And
prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, Who justify
the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous
man!" ---Isaiah 5:20-23

I can think of a couple presidential candidates and other assorted politicians who fit this bill very well.

Good Day to You, Sir