Monday, October 26, 2009

The war against Christmas gets started early

And the best part is that this one is taking place at my son's elementary school. Every year around this time, my son's school puts on a family movie night. My son started Kindergarten this year, so everything at this school is new to me, but apparently, this movie night is a big deal, with families showing up with sleeping bags to snuggle in and watch the flick.

This year, the parent who is organizing the movie night - which is to take place sometime in mid-November - chose The Polar Express as the movie to be shown. Santa will show up to the event, hot chocolate will be served, and apparently, kids and parents are very excited for the event to happen.

Then along comes the principal. She wrote the parent organizer and told her she would have to "nix" the film and the appearance by Santa. In fact here is the verbatim email that the principal sent the parent:
...I heard that the movie night is becoming a “Christmas type” theme. When we first talked, you mentioned a “hot chocolate” type of wintery movie night. In keeping with the district’s board regulations, I would ask that the “Christmas” theme, including Santa Claus, be “nixed”. I’m sure you can find other ideas for a “winter” theme, without excluding our families that don’t celebrate Christmas.
I have always been astounded by this whole "We can't do it if just one person is offended" philosophy. If that's the standard, I'm sure any movie that is picked is bound to offend someone. Let's just cancel Movie Night. I swear, the killjoys out there won't be happy until the enjoyment is sucked out of everything.

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ain't welfare grand?

You're an aunt. You have just watched your two and three year-old nephews taken to the hospital in critical condition (the three year-old later died) from burns suffered in a house fire after being left home alone by the aunt and the boys' so-called mother.

Let's see what the aunt thinks about all this, and pay special attention the aunt's comments during the last 30 seconds or so of the news report. I seriously question if this woman is even human:

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hello, I'm "Nobody"

These Congresscritters are nothing if not predictable. They are always coming up with new ways to show off their utter ignorance and make fools of themselves while doing it. The latest to put his lack of constitutional knowledge on display is Senator Patrick Leahy of (Dumbass-Vermont).

When asked by a CNS news reporter where the Congress gets its constitutional authority to force the American people to purchase health insurance, Leahy got indignant that a commoner would dare to ask such a silly question. You can click here to hear the audio, otherwise here is a transcript of the exchange:
Q: I just want to know where, in your opinion, does the Constitution give specific authority for Congress to give an individual mandate for health insurance?

LEAHY: What — we have plenty of authority. Are you saying there is no authority?

Q: I’m asking –

LEAHY: Why would you say there is no authority? I mean, there’s no question there’s authority. Nobody questions that.

Q: But where — I mean, which –

LEAHY: Where do we have authority to set speed limits on an interstate highway?

Q: Well, the states do that.

LEAHY: No, no, the federal government does that.
Actually, Senator, the states do that, although admittedly, the federal government does strong-arm the states into passing the kind of speed laws the federal government wants, otherwise the states could lose federal highway funds. Hardly an argument one would want to make to defend their position about the powerful benevolence of the federal government. And what is with this "Nobody questions that," with "that" being the authority of Congress to pass whatever the hell kind of law they want? There are millions of nobodies out there (including yours truly) who question the federal government's authority every waking moment. Speak for yourself, Senator!

This argument about the limits of power that many statists and kleptocrats in the Congress don't seem to think exist goes back to Article I Section 8 of our Constitution. It is in that Article and Section that the powers of Congress are listed. And if you read the 10th Amendment, you will see that Article I Section 8 is an inclusive list - meaning - Congress only possesses the powers that are specifically listed. These powers include things like establishing a system of weights, measures, and monetary value; establishing roads for postal delivery; funding an army and navy; establishing patent, copyright, and immigration law; making laws regarding bankruptcy and our armed forces. Last time I checked, health care is not on that list. Neither is education, but that is a post for another day.

Ah, but the slippery slimebags of the Senate (and House) have found a way around the list of specifics, and that is the introductory sentence to Article I Section 8:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States....
Pay special heed to the line about providing for the "general Welfare" of the United States. For quite a while now, various Congresscritters and federal bureaucrats have used that line to justify just about any law that Congress passes. What has been lost to many is that this sentence is an introduction that precedes the specific list of powers that Congress possesses so that they may indeed provide for the common defence and general Welfare of these united States.

James Madison had concerns about the introductory sentence when it was included in the Constitution. Here is what he had to say about it:
With respect to the words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.
I would say that is pretty cut and dried. Patrick Leahy is not the only brain trust who is wiping his caboose with the Constitution. Just the other day, it was Representative Steny Hoyer (Dumbass-Maryland) invoking the General Welfare clause as justification for the Congress doing whatever it wants. I wonder what James Madison and the other writers of the Constitution would think about Leahy and Hoyer's interpretation of their document?

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mao is my homeboy!

How leftist is the Obama administration? Try off the charts. Of course there is the man himself, Barack Obama telling us in one of his books that communist Frank Marshall Davis was a huge influence in his life. But then we have some of the people working for him. First we have Van Jones, a self-admitted communist, leaving his position after the heat became too great. Then we have Valerie Jarrett, the woman who hired Van Jones after all the "exciting" work he had done in Oakland; you don't think she didn't know his background? She reveled in it. Then we have Obama's communications director Anita Dunn, who gave a high school commencement speech where she had some awfully nice things to say about one of the most notorious mass murderers in world history, Mao Tse-Tung. After all, his philosophy is one that Ms. Dunn looks to most:

God in Heaven, how have we gotten here?

Good Day to You, Sir

You Decide

They say this guy is drunk. Personally, I think he is in shock after seeing the tax bill he will be receiving to pay for all of the spending by Obama and the Congress.

You decide:


Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, October 12, 2009

The dim bulbs lord over us

I don't know if this is truly sinking in yet for most people, but in 2012, our incandescent light bulbs will be no more. That soft, warm pleasing light that has illuminated our lives will be replaced by a rapidly pulsating and toxic harshness that will make life that much more miserable.

And as usual, who is it that is imposing their morality on us? The dim bulb environmental activists using the power of government to make us live the way they want us to live.

ReasonTV has summed it all up for us in this succinct yet informative video:

If this were merely a dopey California state law, I would go to Nevada for my incandescent light bulbs, hiding them from the border inspectors as I crossed the state line. However, since this banning of our old light bulbs is a federal law, there will be nowhere to hide.

Funny, I have checked Article I Section 8 of the Constitution several times, and I can't find anything in there about Congress having the power to ban light bulbs. Yeah, yeah, I know: light bulbs didn't exist back then. Hmmm, I'm looking it over again, and I don't even see anything about banning candles or oil lamps either.

Isn't it great having a scolding school marm for a government?

Good Day to You, Sir

Congratulations, President Obama!

Seeing as how I am the recipient of Time Magazine's designation as Person of the Year for 2006 - remember this?

- I wish to congratulate our president, Barack Obama, for his Nobel Peace Prize, which, according to the Associated Press,
Rather than recognizing concrete achievement, the 2009 prize appeared intended to support initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.
Or as the Nobel Committee itself put it,
"We trust that this award will strengthen his commitment, as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, to continue promoting peace and the eradication of poverty," the foundation said.
Two other U.S. Presidents have received the Nobel Peace Prize: Theodore Roosevelt for brokering a peace between Russia and Japan, which ended a horrific war being fought by the two countries; and Woodrow Wilson for - misguided as it may have been - creating the League of Nations in an attempt to give the world's nations a forum for settling their differences peacefully (COUGH - World War II).

At least you can make the argument that these two presidents accomplished something; they made something happen toward bringing peace to the world. Even the Nobel committee admits that Obama was given this award with the hope (there's that word again) that Obama will work toward creating a peaceful world.

Is there anything about this man that counters the notion that he is nothing but an empty suit? At least I had accomplished something concrete when I became Time Magazine's Person of the Year: I had created a blog a full year earlier, and it has now been running for over four years. Obama was President for less than three weeks when he was nominated for his Nobel Peace Prize.

Nevertheless, from one award winner to another: Congratulations Mr. President. You deserve your award as much as I deserved mine!

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, October 09, 2009

The mother of all puns

I am currently planning ahead on my 8th grade lesson plans as much as I can, so during my prep period today, I was brushing up on the War of 1812. The biggest battle of that war - the Battle of New Orleans - took place a couple weeks after the peace treaty was signed, but the belligerents at New Orleans didn't know that. The British commander, Major General Edward Pakenham, was killed during the battle, and his body was shipped back to England in a barrel full of rum. Apparently in life, Gen. Pakenham had a rather surly personality, and this gave rise to a hilarious comment that was uttered by one of Pakenham's relatives upon the General's return in the barrel of rum. Wait for it...

"The General has returned in better spirits than he left."

Now that's funny, er, punny!

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Best line of the day

It goes to David Limbaugh - brother of Rush Limbaugh - who is a lawyer and accomplished columnist in his own right. In his latest column about the horrid appointees that our Dear Leader Obama keeps assigning to his cabinet, Limbaugh fired off this little nugget:

"It's not Obama who didn't vet Jones, but the MSM who have never vetted Obama. Had they vetted Obama, they would have realized that he is Van Jones."


Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, October 05, 2009

What became of the Kelo decision?

In 2005, a 5-4 majority of the United States Supreme Court passed down a decision which, in my opinion, will go down in the annals of the Court's history as one of their worst - right down there with Dred Scott vs. Sandford.

In the case of Kelo vs. New London, Connecticut, the Court gave the greenlight to the city of New London to tear down the homes of Susette Kelo and the rest of her neighbors in the city's Fort Trumbull neighborhood. It was the intention of New London to raze the neighborhood's houses in order to make way for a Pfizer plant, a hotel, and condos.

So, New London has had control of that land for the last four years. How is that redevelopment coming along? Read this article from National Journal Online and prepare yourself for the wave of nausea that will envelope you. And as you read, keep in mind that New London's big argument before the court is that this neighborhood needed to be destroyed in order to obtain higher tax revenue from the new businesses that would be built there instead.

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I was wondering when this was going to be addressed

I must admit that I experienced a rather intense case of schadenfreude when our Dear Leader Obama fell flat on his face in his effort to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.

Although I was pleased to hear that the Olympics were instead awarded to a city, country, and continent that has never before hosted an Olympic Games, one of my first thoughts about the location was concern about Rio de Janeiro's crime problem.

It didn't take long for me to trip across an article where someone else expressed similar concern.

Not only did Rio - a city of 7 million people - suffer through just over 2,000 murders last year, what makes that number worse is that 20% of those murders were committed by the city's policemen!

Like any upcoming host city, Rio has its work cut out for it.

Good Day to You, Sir


My son attends Kindergarten at an open-enrollment public school near our home. Even though we live a mere five-minute walk away, there was no guarantee that he would get in, but he got in. This K-6 school has an API score in the 940s out of a scale of 1,000. In comparison, the middle school at which I teach just surpassed 700 for the very first time this year. Those inner-city hellhole schools that Hollywood loves to make movies about usually score in the 400-500 range.

So what makes my son's school so much more successful than most other schools in the state? Yeah, yeah, it's open enrollment... so what? I have read of plenty of charter schools out there whose scores suck and they are closing up shop, so park that excuse. My wife and I got a taste of why our son's school scores so high when we received a contact list of all the parents of all the students in our son's class. My wife immediately noticed something about the list that she felt compelled to share with me.

Of the 21 students in my son's class, every single one of those students was living with his or her married, biological parents. Coincidence?

There were no single mothers; no custodial parent with the other as an alternate contact; nothing but two-parent families who both share the same last name (except for one couple who kept their own last names, and their son has a hyphenated last name). Coincidence?

The day after my wife showed me this list, I spent about 10 minutes scrolling through the "Guardian Contact" information on my PowerSchool program at work. I was hard-pressed to find any students of mine who live in a two-parent household that is so prevalent at my son's school. Students at my school predominantly live with only their mother, or with a parent and stepparent, or with a grandparent, or with a sibling. I have a minute number of students who live only with their fathers, and they tend to be just as well-adjusted as my two-parent students. The only class period I teach that did have a majority of two-parent households just happened to be my one and only XL/GATE class. Coincidence?

Don't misunderstand what I am saying here. I teach some wonderful, hardworking students who come from single-parent households, and I teach some apathetic and/or misbehaved students who come from biological two-parent households. But statistically, there is no mistaking the fact that overall, students who come from households in which they live with both married, biological parents tend to be the ones that shine both academically and behaviorally. It is no coincidence.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, October 02, 2009

You can't improve on nature

I can't remember if I have mentioned this, but my school was moved to a new campus this year. Our old campus was taken over by a charter school in my district, and we were moved to a brand new campus that had been built the year before and was only about a mile or so down the road.

One of the things about my new campus that I found intriguing is that we have an all-weather track, and the infield inside the track is astroturf instead of grass. It's pretty funny to think about, but in my 37 years, I had never walked on astroturf until the other day, when I finally stepped onto the infield. It was quite squishy because of the bits of ground up black rubber that are underneath the green turf.

Unfortunately, I found out something else about astroturf. It may look inviting with its dark-green hue, but it doesn't retain the same cooling properties as good old fashioned grass.

On an extremely hot late-summer afternoon, the entire student body and staff went out to the infield for the first rally of the year. The students were to sit on the field in a large U-shaped pattern, with the rally activities going on within the U. The air temperature was just under 100 degrees, and I swear the temperature of the turf had to have been somewhere between 110 and 120. While real grass provides relief from the heat, astroturf actually reflects heat back and makes it even worse!

I was not the only person who has never dealt with astroturf. It turns out that our Principal knew nothing about it either, and didn't realize that holding a rally on astroturf on a hot Sacramento afternoon wasn't the best move. The rally had to be called off after just 10 or 15 minutes and the students were returned to their classrooms. The students had staged a mini-mutiny by refusing to stay seated because their butts were burning. I can't say I blamed them.

Good Day to You, Sir