Friday, March 31, 2006

Of Vegetables and Signs

The monthly issue of the school paper came out today. The faculty advisor for the paper is stellar, a top-notch man who knows what he's doing. I can only assume that the low quality of the stories lately is caused by the poor raw materials he has to work with.

In today's issue was a story, with information supplied by unbiased source PETA, about companies that test their products on animals. In fact, one of the graphics was a large-font list of such companies. Remember that the last issue included a lengthy story about Darfur. Is the school paper becoming a left-wing soapbox?

I saw at least one classroom that had the PETA list posted in the window. A former student of mine, one slightly further to the right than I am, asked if he could hang a sign in my window. I'll summarize its contents: "Save a baby. Kill an animal." Hyperbole, gotta love it. There was more on the poster, but you get the idea. It was the opposite extreme from PETA, with a few hidden nuggets of value in there if you looked closely enough.

He hung up the sign right before lunch. To be honest, I was surprised to see it still hanging after lunch. It was there when 5th period started, and it was there when 5th period left. When 6th period started, though, the sign was gone. I was not pleased. "Where is my sign?" And moments later, "Who ripped down my freakin' sign?"

One student copped to it. "I had to. I'm a member of the Vegetarian Club" she said, or some similar reply. What do they call these? Ah yes, "teachable moments". And this was a good one.

We discussed acting on logic, not emotion. Even one of my liberal students (he's a closet conservative, I swear it) quoted Justice Kennedy by saying that the antidote to speech we don't like is more speech, not less--we need to speak and point out the flaw in the reasoning of the person whose speech we don't like, not try to stifle his/her words (with speech codes, by tearing down signs, by shouting down speakers, etc). I gave my opinion that if your argument is not strong enough to stand up to scrutiny, if it's so weak that you have to forbid or at least cover up that scrutiny--perhaps by tearing down a sign of that scrutiny--then perhaps your argument isn't worth supporting.

Did I bring in a little "liberal vs. conservative" into the discussion? You know I did! I had to, it's expected of me :-) But for the most part I let it be known that we don't go tearing down signs and posters we don't like. It's un-American.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

International Baccalaureate

From Joanne (see blogroll at left) we learn about a school district in Pennsylvania that is dropping its International Baccalaureate program, ostensibly because it's too expensive. According to these two news reports, though, part of the reason is that IB is anti-American.

We have an IB program at a high school in our district. If it's taught by lefties, I'm sure they'll say it's not anti-American. If it's taught by righties, I wonder what their response to these charges is?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Go To The Carnival!

This week's Carnival of Education is up and running here.

So-Called Cost of Rising Test Scores

Today's major Sacramento newspaper has this story about schools that reduce electives in order to provide students with the extra math and/or reading instruction they need in order for the schools to show adequate yearly progress (AYP) under the dreaded No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

If the schools are doing this in order not to be labeled as failures under NCLB, their motivation is all wrong. They should be doing it to provide the education they're tasked to provide to the students. Allow me to be blunt here--what good is a ceramics class to a kid who can't freakin' read above a third grade level?

I myself attended school in the Grant District. I spent my first four years of teaching in that district. I know John Ennis, the Grant teachers union president quoted in the article. He's a good man, but he's clearly wrong here:

"When you take away elective classes, I think it's a tragedy," said John Ennis, president of the Grant teachers union. "I want a well-rounded citizen."

John, if they can't read, they're not well-rounded. We've got to get our priorities straight. If it takes NCLB to get our priorities in order, then so be it.

Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

One of my students sent the following to me. I don't know who this author is; I don't know anything about him. I don't even know if he's a real person or, if he is a real person, if he actually wrote the following.

But I'm going to quote it here, because every word of it is true.

INTERNET EXPLORER USERS: I can't figure out why this looks like crap when using IE. It looks beautiful using Mozilla Firefox, the browser you should be using anyway. I can only recommend that you cut/paste this essay into a word processor and view it that way. I apologize for Bill Gates' screw-up!

Update, 4/3/06: It's easier to read now. Line breaks are in some strange places, but at least it's more readable now. Thanks, Rightwingprof!


By LTC(RET) Dave Grossman, RANGER,
Ph.D., author of "On Killing."

Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so
because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy
things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time,
that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution,
or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth
defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William
J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November
24, 1997

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:
"Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle,
productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is
true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the
aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that
the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent
crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time
record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans,
which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is
considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since
many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number
of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation:
We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is
still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent
people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or
under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me, it is like the
pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will
grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its
hard blue shell.

Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and
someday the civilization they protect will grow into something
wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves
feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out
there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it.
There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The
moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep.
There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to
protect the flock and confront the wolf."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive
citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy
for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath,
a wolf.

But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your
fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone
who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of
darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep,
wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what
makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the
world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why
they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits
throughout their kids' schools.

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police
officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more
likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire,
but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial.
The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too
hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the
wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference,
though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the
sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will
be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least
not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that
there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell
them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in
our airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would
much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself
white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries
desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough
high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have
had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they
just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack,
however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers
had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This
is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at
the door.

Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded
hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt
differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel?
Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a
sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is
a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter,
checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and
yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a
righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but
they move to the sound of the guns when needed, right along with the
young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep
pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day.
After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most
citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes."
The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been
on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you
are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself
into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but
he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able
to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted
of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory
crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement
officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by
body language: Slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They
chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one
out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically
primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can
choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more
Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was
honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was
the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to
alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he
learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons,
Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which
authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the
terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the
passengers - athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to
sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown
number of lives on the ground.

There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil
of evil men. - Edmund Burke

Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of
police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep,
real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are
wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a
human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay,
but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and
your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to
protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs
are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust
or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path,
then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate,
equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment
when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

For example, many officers carry their weapons in church. They are well
concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt
holsters tucked into the small of their backs. Anytime you go to some form
of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer
in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such
an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to
massacre you and your loved ones.

I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the
break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The
other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I
asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he
knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that
incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and
opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he
could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun.
His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's
body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you
have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"

Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer
was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would
probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and
would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their
cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers
in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires
and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards
against them.

Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often
their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog
quietly asks himself, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live
with yourself if your loved ones were attacked and killed, and you had
to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically
destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is
counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror
when the wolf shows up.

Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when
you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't
train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy.
Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically
survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear, helplessness and
horror at your moment of truth.

Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11
book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms
with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it
has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think
they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new
violence is all the more unsettling."

Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in
small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on
some level. And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all
aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes.

If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you
step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending
that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a
lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a
weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and
say this to yourself..."Baa."

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no
dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of
degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and
on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on
one end or the other.

Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in
America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a
few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the
warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you
move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree
to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and
psychologically at your moment of truth.

If It Weren't For The United States Military There Would Be NO United
States of America

Monday, March 27, 2006

Men Who Want To Be Fathers

On a few occasions I've blogged about the legal inequities that consign men to second-class citizens where their children are concerned. On a feminist blog I was even accused of being a mysoginist, among other things, for espousing my belief that men and women should have equal opportunities for "choice" when a child is conceived. You can read the post that sent me to that feminist blog here.

In today's Boston Globe is an article by a woman--and it makes some sense. It doesn't propose any solutions, but it does articulate how not level the playing field is. I especially liked these paragraphs:

You would think that, unlike men who seek to avoid their paternal responsibilities, fathers who want to be responsible for raising their own children would at least encounter societal sympathy and support. Sadly, that has not generally been the case. Unwed fathers who contest adoptions are often faulted for not taking affirmative steps to find out about the child's existence, and in some cases are blamed even if they were actively deceived by the mother. Often, they're suspected of being abusers whose real hidden motive is to control the mother.

The issues of men burdened with responsibility for unwanted pregnancies, and of men who are not allowed to be fathers to wanted children, are linked by a common thread. Biology has made men and women unequal with regard to reproduction. In recent decades, thanks to both technology and social change, we have made strides to alleviate the inequality for women, helping them avoid unwanted childbearing. But we have lagged far behind in equalizing the situation for men. We cannot ask men to be equal parents while giving virtually all the power in reproductive decisions to women.

I, too, was accused by one of the feminists of wanting to control women.

Tagged By Polski3

Here's the latest in "get to know your blogger" memes: Who are ten of your favorite recording artists and which two of their songs are your favorites?

*Fleetwood Mac: You Make Lovin' Fun and Sara (special mentions go to The Chain, Gypsy, Seven Wonders)
*Stevie Nicks (solo): If Anyone Falls and Rooms On Fire (special mention goes to Stand Back)
*Journey: Who's Crying Now and Don't Stop Believing
*Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Dogs on the Run and The Waiting (special mention goes to American Girl)
*Elton John: Your Song and Candle in the Wind (special mentions go to Rocket Man, Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me, and Someone Saved My Life Tonight)
*REM: The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight and What's The Frequency Kenneth (special mention goes to Crush With Eyeliner)
*Heart: Never and Alone (special mention goes to Barracuda)
*Jimmy Buffett: Fins and Margaritaville
*U2: Beautiful Day and In God's Country
*Billy Idol: It's So Cruel and Catch My Fall (special mentions go to Mony Mony and Flesh For Fantasy)

Music is obviously a much smaller part of my life than it was in, say, the 80s, as evidenced by my selections. I mean, I like Third Eye Blind,Three Doors Down, Toad The Wet Sprocket, and Collective Soul, but I can't imagine I'd go to one of their concerts because I only have a couple really like 'em songs from each of them. It's not like I have several albums and have been into them for years.

Closing Down a Charter School

Major Sacramento newspaper columnist and blogger Dan Weintraub wrote a few paragraphs about a charter school in Oakland that's getting shut down due to poor performance. I'll ignore the fact that if poor performance is the standard, just about every school in Oakland could be closed down.

Anyway, the principal is a firm believer in "experiential" learning, and says that, for example, learning about the parts of plants is best accomplished by planting and growing real plants rather than learning about them from a classroom slide. Weintraub's comment is, as the British would say, spot on:

You would think that students who master the parts of plants by experiencing them in the world would be able to answer simple multiple-choice questions about those plant parts on a test, perhaps even better than students who try to memorize the material from worksheets and chalkboard notes.

Of course they would. In fact, the test questions should be a breeze if the experiential learning was genuine and not time-filling, feel-good, non-academic nonsense.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Another Supreme Court Decision I Don't Agree With


The case arose after a Georgia woman, Janet Randolph, called police to say her husband had absconded with their son. When officers arrived, she told them he was also a cocaine user. About that time, Scott Randolph showed up, said he had taken the boy for fear she would spirit him out of the country, and denied using drugs.

One of the police, who had no search warrant, asked the husband if he could search the house. He said no. So the officer asked the wife, who obliged.

The cop went in and found a straw coated with a powdery substance. When Scott was indicted for cocaine possession, he argued that the search was invalid because he had refused consent.

The trial court rejected the claim because, it said, his wife had authority to admit police to their joint residence. But the Supreme Court took a different view: While she could have let them in when her husband was absent, he was present, and therefore had the right to bar their entry. Only if there was an emergency, such as the threat of domestic violence, could the cops enter over his objection.

Who's to determine what constitutes an "emergency"? I agree with the trial court--the police had permission to enter the house. I can't imagine it takes a unanimous approval from all house occupants before police can enter.

Getting Rid of the Electoral College?


This Seattle Times opinion piece spells out an extra-constitutional way to bring about the "majority rules" idea that so many seem to have such a penchant for, but it also spells out some of the pitfalls. Here's the primary reason to keep the college as it now exists:

It is no accident that the Founders chose to elect the president by counting votes in the states, since they wanted to emphasize that this is a federal republic with sovereignty shared between the states and Washington.

Folks, we do not live in a democracy. We live in a federal republic. And I want to keep it that way.

Get rid of the Electoral College and you may as well get rid of the Senate as well.

Another Stupid, So-called "Sexual Harassment" Incident

Honestly, can 8-year-olds really sexually harass each other? And if one 8-year-old pinches another's butt, is going through a bare-light-bulb-interrogation really the appropriate way to handle it? My elementary school teachers probably would have handled it thusly, "Keep your hands to yourself." And if we didn't, we'd probably have had to sit on the bench at recess.

I don't see how treating an 8-year-old's action the same as we would an 18-year-old's transgression does any good for anyone.


I'm on a blogger's roll today--I keep reading posts about education that I must reproduce here.

This next entry comes from Tall, Dark, and Mysterious, a college math professor in Canada. TD&M wrote a post about students who complain about her (I don't know why, but I think I recall TD&M being a her....) blog, and summarized certain students' views about grading thusly:

  1. Grades are meaningless.
  2. Therefore I should give higher grades.
  3. You don’t really get educated in school, remember? Grades are meaningless.
  4. Grades are a means of recognizing students for their ability.
  5. Which was not acquired or honed in the classroom in which those grades were assigned.
  6. Making grades kinda disconnected from the grader and the material being graded.
  7. Still, because they determine employment prospects, grades are super important to students.
  8. But still meaningless.
It's scary how many times I've heard similar sentiments from fellow teachers, or worse, from instructors in my credentialing program. And any teacher who reads this and says "Anyone who believes those things believes in crap!" I ask you, do you believe any of those things with regards to standardized testing?

Good Students vs. Bad Students

I was reading a post on RightWingProf's blog and came across this statement, with which I cannot help but agree:

Oh yes, there are bad students. There are bad teachers, too. But we all had bad teachers. The difference between a good student and a bad student is that a good student does not use his teacher as an excuse for being too lazy to do the work.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Religious Teens Hold 2-Day Event in SF

Via newsalert we learn about a gathering of 25,000 teens in San Francisco, there for a 2-day event decrying the sex and violence glorified in pop culture today. How were they welcomed in lovely Baghdad By The Bay? Why, by a board of supervisors condemnation and protesters who called them fascists, of course!

Way to go, San Francisco. Love it when you show that tolerance your city is so famous for.

The Chron reports:

"Battle Cry for a Generation" is led by a 44-year-old Concord native, Ron Luce, who wants "God's instruction book" to guide young people away from the corrupting influence of popular culture.

Luce, whose Teen Mania organization is based in Texas, kicked off a three-city "reverse rebellion" tour Friday night intended to counter a popular culture that he says glamorizes violence and sex. The $55 advance tickets for two days of musical performances and speeches were sold out, but walk-up admission was available for $199.

After stops in Detroit and Philadelphia in the next few weeks, Luce wants to unleash a "blitz" of youth pastors into the communities to do everything from work with the homeless to find new ways to bring others to Christ. He challenged youth leaders to double the size of their groups in the next year.

And then he plans to return to San Francisco next year to chart their progress.

That's bad news to Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who told counterprotesters at City Hall on Friday that while such fundamentalists may be small in number, "they're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco."

Luce didn't flinch in the face of the counterprotest.

I agree completely with the final statement in the newsalert post:

Here's an interesting question to ponder: who's more tolerant, Assemblyman Mark Leno or evangelicals?

And the irony award goes to idiot Peter Cobb:

"There is a real intolerancy to homosexuality in a lot of these organizations," said Peter Cobb, an organizer with Not In Our Name.

Ah yes, "intolerancy". None of that in San Francisco.

What do these wonderful San Franciscans want? Would it be better if these kids were celebrating sex and violence? Knowing San Francisco, the answer is yes.

I detest that city. Why does such a beautiful place have to be as f***ed up as the day is long?

Teaching Students vs. Raising Children

Sounding much like a 60s band but definitely not, Joanne and the EdWonks have both discussed a Chicago schools plan that will send bags of non-perishable food home with students who may not have enough to eat over the weekend. While I can't imagine anyone's being against feeding hungry children, I'm certainly not convinced this is the most efficient way to do that or that it's even right-headed.

It's time we answer these questions: Where do the responsibilities of parents stop, and schools begin? How much overlap should there be?

Schools are not staffed with social workers. Schools are staffed with teachers, counselors, and other staff who are trained to do specific jobs related to running a school. If a child is being beaten, the school's responsibility stops at notifying the appropriate government agency that is staffed to handle that family problem. If a child doesn't have enough clothing or the appropriate/necessary kind of clothing--I know there are teachers out there who buy clothes for students, but that only fixes the immediate problem and doesn't do anything long term; it's like giving a man a fish instead of teaching him to fish, as that child will have a different teacher but the same problem next year. Etc. Etc. Etc.

There are more appropriate organizations, both governmental agencies and community assets, that can help students in need. As one commenter on EdWonk's post said, if we spend too much time raising the children we won't have much time to educate them. That summarizes all the thoughts swirling in my head earlier this week when I heard one of our counselors lament that we don't teach "character education" at our high school. Too many people want to do too much social work in our schools, and not enough teaching. Oh, I can hear the cries now: You can't teach the kids if they're hungry/violent/hurting/whatever, and that's correct. The school should not necessarily be the place that cures those societal ills; rather, it should be a place that recognizes and identifies students suffering from those ills and refers them to those best trained to provide the help.

We have good, caring people staffing so many of our schools, but that isn't enough. Let's send the kids where their issues can best be addressed, whether or not sending them elsewhere deprives us of the ego boost of feeeeeeeling like we're doing something good.

We should teach the children at school, not raise them.

Now, back to sending food home with the kids on Fridays. Don't we already have food stamps to address hunger? And what's going to happen to these children over the summer? My solution for when schools identify that kids might be going hungry over the weekend: reach out, several ways and several times, if necessary, to the adults in the community, and invite them to the school--where representatives from various community and government agencies can talk about food stamps, food lockers, job training, and whatever else is available. Because all of those things will still be available during the summer, when the kids will no longer be getting their sacks of food from the schools.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Schools, or Transportation?

Here's major Sacramento newspaper columnist and blogger Dan Weintraub's take on a transportation proposal, and how it relates to public education:

Don Perata's "Rebuilding California" political action committee has donated $25,000 to Californians to Improve Traffic Now, the coalition that wants to "fix" Prop. 42 so that revenue from the sales tax on gas is forever walled off from the general fund. That's the same idea that the CTA last week asked members to oppose because, the union argued, it would give transportation a higher priority in the budget than the schools.

Posted by dweintraub at March 23, 2006 04:45 PM

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This Week's Carnival of Education

Week 59!

Pi Day

March 14th is Pi Day, in celebration of the mathematically irrational ratio that starts with 3.14. For science geeks (who are going to die anyway) there are June 2nd and October 23rd, tandem dates for celebrating Avogadro's Number (6.02x10^23rd).

Anyway, some students in the Pittsburgh area got to celebrate a little and hopefully learn a little, too. At my school, I brought in an apple pie for the staff lounge.

Declaring A "Major" In High School?

That sounds like a fancy term for choosing a "track", be it college, vocational, or homemaking track. But it's still a dumb idea. The most reasonable quote/suggestion:

"Why not encourage internships, and let high school students continue to get the best preparation for a broad-based liberal arts and sciences education while still in high school?''

Apparently because that would make too much sense.

Hat tip to Joanne (see blogroll at left) for the story.

It Was Real, And I Was Right

Back in November I posted about the Quaker peace activists, in Iraq to dig up dirt on American atrocities, who had been kidnapped by terrorists. More recently I posted that the American in the group had been killed. Today the rest have been freed by American and coalition forces.

Take a look at the November post and the five possible outcomes that I foresaw. Unfortunately, it appears that #5 is the winner.

Update, 3/25/06: A member of an emaillist of which I am also a member had his own comments on this topic. I received permission from him to post them here:

You might have thought he was stepping through a minefield -- the way that Doug Pritchard, co-founder of Christian Peacemaker Teams tip-toed through a press conference called to celebrate the "release" of three members who were kidnapped in November, along with an American whose body was found recently in Baghdad.

Pritchard got through a lengthy statement and almost through the Q&A without even acknowledging that US and British soldiers had risked their lives to free the hostages. And that's not easy: how exactly do you announce a rescue without ever mentioning the rescuers. Well, you remember your real agenda, and choose your words carefully: you express your joy (not once, but three times) at their "release".

As though some sort of conflict resolution had prevailed and sweet reasonableness had persuaded the kidnappers to let these hostages go -- just weeks after they tortured, handcuffed and shot the one American among them. As though the lion had at last lain down with the lambs. That is to say, you lie.

As though to do the normal, "Christian" thing, and express gratitude in your prepared statement, or even acknowledge the selfless bravery of soldiers with guns, might somehow shake your belief system and contaminate a joyous occasion.

And so for all anyone listening to this press conference knew, the hostages were simply "released" onto the streets of Baghdad or "returned" in some sort of immaculate reception, to allied forces.

Except that it was difficult for Pritchard in the Q&A to dodge obvious questions about the "operation" that had secured their release. The closest he came to acknowledging that soldiers had played a role came when an opportunity to smear them presented itself in the form of a question about the earlier circumstances of the American's death. Having viewed a video clip of the press conference, I can only paraphrase, from memory: "we don't know those details . . for all we know, he may have died in a prior raid, like this one".

So much for Christian virtues, at least as practiced by Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Jim O
Tarrytown, NY

P.S. (sent later--Darren)
I see that CPT published this "addenda" to their 3/23 press conference at 9 P.M. that night -- after being skewered for half a day, both here and in the UK, about their ingratitude. Just an oversight, they pretend. In further atonement, the next day they judiciously used the word "rescue" for the first time -- the one they avoided like the plague in the first prepared statement.

Idiocy in Minnesota

A city employee, with her own money, bought Easter decorations and placed them in the lobby of City Hall. She was told to remove them because they might be offensive to non-Christians.

I can't be the first to notice the irony of this occurring in a city called St. Paul.

Also, I don't recall any Bible stories about a bunny that delivers chocolate eggs. If anyone can cite the chapter and verse, I'd be happy to admit my ignorance right here on this blog.

Do only Christians celebrate Easter? Does everyone who hides Easter eggs for the children go to church? Is there any religious component at all to fake green grass and chocolate bunnies?

Is the annual Easter Egg Hunt on the White House lawn unconstitutional?

Are we losing it as a country?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

John Stossel Is Definitely Not Making Many Teacher-Friends (and good for him!)

Back in January, John Stossel of ABC's 20/20 killed a sacred cow, carved it up, barbequed it, and had it for dinner. He made some not-so-very-flattering comments about public education in a report called Stupid In America. The teachers unions were not impressed.

Protests. Letter-writing campaigns. Denunciations in the union rags. Calls for Stossel to teach for a day because he can't possibly know what he's talking about. You'd almost think Stossel had outright lied. It's not like he said that he hadn't had sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinski, or anything. =)

I don't know if this was part of the original plan or not, but Stossel's been writing about education every week now for about a month and a half now. Was this string of essays planned, or are they a response to all the flack he's taken from, primarily from teachers unions? I don't know, but I'm having a hard time finding where he's mistaken. If Stossel made any mistake at all it was in focusing too much on the situation in New York City; even though the lessons are applicable across the country, it would have been better to have picked examples from across the country.

Here are his essays:

Teacher Unions Are Killing the Public Schools

Teacher Unions Reward Mediocrity, Fail the Students

Competition Works. Let it Help Our Schools

The Inescapable Facts on Public Education

Answering the Teachers Unions

Public Schools Evade Real Accountability

Stossel and ABC are left-leaning. They have no reason to air these concerns except to report the truth. They have no dog in this fight.

The titles of three of the above posts refer to the unions. That should be an indication of part of what ails the education field. I'm currently reading a book called The Teacher Unions: How They Sabotage Educational Reform and Why--and the author's a former union organizer, negotiator, and delegate. Instead of addressing the issues that are brought to light by Stossel's reporting, by the book I mentioned, by the legions of people who opt not to be in a union (in right-to-work states) or who opt out as agency fee payers (like I have to do here in California), the unions merely shout down the opposition and insist everything's just fine, thank you. And why shouldn't they? They're entitled to my money by law here in California; they don't care one whit about me. They're not accountable to me; in fact, the unions aren't accountable to anyone. This point is made consistently, but what's the motivation for the unions to change? After all, they're going to get my money no matter what.

Anyway, I hope John keeps writing on this topic.

Saddams Weapons, Redux

Lefties won't believe the Duelfer Report. They probably won't believe an Iraqi general, either.

Now I have no way of knowing whether this man is telling the truth or not. But I find it interesting that I only find out about his comments from Instapundit, not from network news or

Jon Stewart interviews the guy and he says there were weapons of mass destruction? I wonder how Jon took that. Like the post says, Jon isn't known as a mouthpiece for the Bush Administration.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Don't Be A Science Teacher

The first school at which I worked had a teacher death. One of our science teachers didn't make it to work one morning. The department chair called the teacher's home, where his wife discovered that he had died peacefully in his sleep. He was 50 days from retirement.

At the next school at which I taught, one of our science teachers fell over right in front of class. She died several hours later in the hospital. Her daughter attended our school. I don't think the teacher was even 40 yet.

And just a few minutes ago I read the following, from the major Sacramento newspaper:

SAN FRANCISCO — A sixth-grade teacher collapsed and died in a school hallway in front of two students, school officials said.

Lanre Ladeinde, 52, from Sacramento, was seen falling to the floor near a restroom entrance at Roosevelt Middle School on Monday, said Lorna Ho, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Unified School District.

A staff member called 911 but resuscitation efforts on the math and science teacher failed, Ho said. The area was cordoned off so other students would not see the body and the school brought in grief counselors.

The cause of death was not immediately known. An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday, according to the medical examiner’s office.

What common thread do you see in these three stories?

Yucky Parent Conference

I had a conference with the parents of one of my students today. Sometimes these conferences frustrate me; this was one of those times.

The student tries hard and does almost all assignments, and even does ok on quizzes. On tests, however, this student bombs. Miserably. It's not even close.

The parents asked what they should do, what they could do, to ensure the student performs better. I know it's a natural question for a parent to ask, but it's a weird question for a teacher to be asked.

If I knew how to get the child to do better, I'd already be doing it and the child would be getting an A.

That's not to say that there's nothing else I can do, far from it. Whenever students have difficulty learning something I take different tacks to see if an alternate method works. But I don't know beforehand if any given method will work on any given student or group of students. Again, if I knew that, I'd already be using the "model approach" and I'd be superteacher and my students would be every teacher's dream.

So I had to give some canned answers to the parents, slightly modified for their child's specific weaknesses. Honestly, if I had the silver bullet I'd already have used it.

Then came the, well--I'm not sure what to call it. These parents weren't so angry as to attack, but they were reaching for anything they could their hands on to get me to change their child's grade. "My child says that you test stuff that you don't cover in class." That isn't accurate. "Well, a lot of teachers at this school do." I think to myself, your child's had six, maybe as many as seven teachers at this school, well under 10%; you can't know what "a lot" of teachers do. "My child does all the homework. In my book that means at least a D." Grades have to reflect a level of mastery of the material covered, which is why 80% of a student's grade comes from tests and weekly quizzes. "I wasn't very good at math, either." Please don't tell your student that; in their mind it excuses their poor grade. And again, "Are you sure you're testing the material you're covering in class?" Here's the review packet I'm handing out tomorrow and here's next week's test; note the similarity in the tasks required on the two documents. "My child has test anxiety." To myself I think, I sure hope you're not feeding that.

I recommended that they ensure their child starts reviewing the chapter today in preparation for next week's test, not wait until the night before. I said that their child needed to take some responsibility for learning by asking questions during class about unfamiliar material in the assignments. I recommended more frequent contact between us adults so they can monitor their child's progress. They decided to increase the outside tutoring they're getting for their student to several hours a week, up from one hour. And of course, I'm always available before school and sometimes am available after school.

The meeting didn't end poorly, and it wasn't what I would consider contentious. But I felt like I was on the defensive the whole time because I couldn't give them what they wanted, which was some single idea that would cause their child to do well on tests.

I'm soliciting comments here. What was wrong with this conference? How could I have conducted it better? Or am I totally off base here, and it went seemingly fine?

Strikes in France

Here are two links to opinions about the strikes in France. Both of them are very good.

Before you scoff at the French, consider the U.S. connection

Socialism Makes People Worse

Both give a glimpse of where we're heading if we in the United States continues down the socialist road.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Viewing The Air Show Pictures

I use a generic Blogger template to create this blog and that has some advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that I don't need to know any HTML to get this spiffy looking product. One disadvantage is I don't know any HTML, so when there are problems I don't really know how to fix them.

I've viewed the air show posts with both Internet Explorer and Firefox. The formatting looks much better in Firefox. In IE there are copies of pictures, and text out of place, that aren't there in Firefox. Can't explain it.

Also, Firefox has an interesting feature that I don't see in IE. If you click on a picture, you get only that picture in the window. Click that picture again and you get an enlarged picture (the files I uploaded were about 900K each, and Blogger shrinks them to fit them on the blog) which in just about every case gives a much crisper view than the smaller picture on the main blog page. Even the dark pictures look pretty clear when enlarged. Click the back arrow to go back to the main blog page, then go to the next picture.

Hope you enjoy them.

Blue Angels Pictures

California Capitol Air Show

That's where my son and I spent several hours yesterday. The major Sacramento newspaper reported that over 50,000 people attended on Saturday and I haven't seen a count yet for Sunday, but I can tell you it was many tens of thousands of people.

Imagine, all these people were there to see weapons of war.

Anyway, I could tell you all sorts of stories, but instead I'll let the pictures do most of the talking. This post will include non-Blue Angels pictures; the next post will include many of the Blue Angels pictures I took.

Fans of army sports will like the F-18 above :-)

And if I have misidentified any aircraft below, please leave a comment correcting me!

This fine American was parked outside.

KC-10 tanker

Did you know you can pretty much see through a jet engine?

F-5/T-38's are such sexy aircraft. Look at the lines.

Even NASA gets cool aircraft with this F/A-18 Hornet.


E/A-6B Prowler, used for fleet electronic warfare

C-17, the replacement for the older C-141's

A World War II era P-51

Oh look, this pretty little aircraft shot down 6 Nazis. War is sometimes an ugly business.

A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed the Warthog. It's the first aircraft I ever wanted to fly.

With it's engine placement, doesn't the A-10 look like a plane with mouse-ka-ears?

Another F-5 with it's sleek appearance.

The front of the C-5 Galaxy opens, just like the rear does. And for you old-timers, there's no longer a Military Airlift Command (MAC). It's now Air Mobility Command.

A B-52. Eight jet engines. Wow.

An A-10 and a P-51 flying next to each other. Note the size difference.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Teaching in Britain

I've long harbored this fantasy of being an exchange teacher in Britain for a year, and taking my son with me for at least a semester to give him the remarkable experience of living in another country. Maybe I should rethink this.

Interesting tidbits

Before I post all about today's airshow, where the dumpling and I spent all day, I thought I'd link to these two posts brought to us via Instapundit (see blogroll at left):

Predictions vs. what really happened in Iraq

Three years of deaths in Iraq equals one month's in Vietnam

I won't get to the airshow post tonight, so enjoy the posts above in the interim.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sticker Shock

In the mail today I received a packet from Norwich University. It contained information about their Masters in Military History program, a 2-year online masters degree.


This is for a degree that, except for one week at the end of the program, is done entirely online.

I love the subject matter, and have no doubt I'd be personally enriched by such a program. But what's the point of being enriched when I'm made poor by the cost? I could get a degree in "instructional technology" or somesuch from National for half that cost.

What the heck are they thinking???

Which Is Worse?

The information on this blog, or the laudatory comments afterward?


Friday, March 17, 2006

Losing One House of Congress Might Be A Good Thing

A little divided government goes a long way, and I've recently posited that the current Republican-controlled Congress is spending money like a drunken sailor in an Asian port. Someone needs to slap the Republicans in Congress a little bit and remind them that we used to be the party of small government. If it takes the Democrats' winning one of the two houses of Congress to jolt the Republicans into realizing that something is terribly wrong, then so be it.

But not both houses, though. That's just crazy.

And the President needs to get on board, too. Otherwise, we're just milking this Republican control for all we can get out of it for up to eight years, then we'll lose it all and will have to content ourselves by sitting back and saying, "What a time it was." But it wasn't, or isn't, or whatever. I want my small government. I want my low taxes. I want my political conservatism.

Continuing Education For Teachers

I've heard of diploma mills before, but this is ridiculous. I think.

Reasons For The Iraq War

Lefties won't accept that this is true, either. Via Instapundit (see blogroll at left) we get this from the Wall Street Journal's

The Bend of History

"President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a 'free and peaceful Iraq' that would serve as a 'dramatic and inspiring example' to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict."--editorial, New York Times, Feb. 27, 2003

"One prominent neoconservative, Francis Fukuyama, asserts in a new book that the administration embraced democracy as a cornerstone of its policy only after the failure to find unconventional weapons in Iraq. The issue was seized upon to justify the war in retrospect, and then expanded for other countries, he says."--New York Times, March 17, 2006

Who's surprised? Not me.

Schools of Education

I've often blasted schools of education. Don't believe me? Use the search engine at the top left corner of this window and search for "dispositions". I've also discussed "social justice" and "cultural competence", buzzwords that spew forth from schools of education like so much pollution from a smokestack. Unfortunately, all I can do about it is write and inform so others can beware.

One man did something about it.

It is not unusual for conservatives to complain about schools of education. Well, not to toot my own horn, but I have actually done something on this score: I closed one.

It's a small victory, but a bigger one than I can hope to achieve at this point.

He says the very things I've been saying in this blog:

I wanted my little college to cease feeding the monster. Schools of education mis-prepare would-be teachers in many ways. They deprive those would-be teachers of the opportunity to learn more important, substantive things during their undergraduate years; they require students to take hugely time-consuming courses of dubious intellectual value; and they inculcate would-be teachers in the educrats’ pernicious ideology. It’s an ideology that insists that virtually all of America’s social problems derive from institutionalized prejudices; that most knowledge is “socially constructed;” and that children are best taught by allowing their natural creativity to flourish, rather than by actually trying to teach the habits of self-discipline and mindfulness. Substantive knowledge and real skill in areas like mathematics, reading, and writing are clearly tertiary concerns at best for most teachers, because they are less than tertiary concerns for SOEs. (schools of education--Darren)

I don't make this stuff up, folks; it's true. Every last word of it.

Granted, California doesn't offer undergraduate degrees in education anymore; would-be teachers here can take a "liberal studies" curriculum (or something more focused, if they desire) and then spend a 5th year, a year beyond the bachelor's degree, in a school of education pursuing the pablum that Mr. Wood describes above. Either way, it's a bad deal for students.

Bertrand Russell vs. Paulo Freire

Too many people I work with are taking CLAD courses (Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development--think "bilingual ed") and some have become enamored of Paulo Freire, an education nutball if ever there was one. His Pedagogy of the Oppressed sounds wonderful to those socialists and and other lefties who, again, see people only as groups and not as individuals.

Freire's belief was that there were two kinds of education, banking and problem-posing. Banking is what I think of education--an instructor has knowledge and teaches it to students. This is bad, according to Freire and his devotees, because someone in charge--the oppressor--has decided what the student needs to learn and merely fills that student's head with facts of the oppressor's choosing. The oppressed student has no say in this matter. Problem-posing, however, is the end-all, be-all of education. You allow the student to become a social activist who supposedly learns academic content by solving problems in his or her community. As I've said before, the lefties love this idea of turning students into social activists without ever really teaching them anything.

Bertrand Russell, however, had a different idea. According to one Kieran Egan, “Bertrand Russell, after his first disastrous experiment in organizing a school, observed that the first task of education is to destroy the tyranny of the local and immediate over the child’s imagination."

Russell is correct. The purpose of education is to get a child to see what's beyond his own nose.

Truth Doesn't Matter To Lefties

I work with a raving moonbat who is convinced that--well, you know what he's convinced of. He's a moonbat, you know what he believes. He asked me to post this little "essay" he wrote on my blog. Here it is.

He's upset that I won't refute his points one by one. I told him that God himself could tell him he was wrong and he wouldn't accept it, so I see no reason to spend my time doing it. If you want to know what the life of a conservative teacher is like, the kind of people I interact with on a daily basis, read this so-called essay in that light.

Veep Dick Cheney is the point man to try and shore up W’s popularity that has plummeted in large part because of alleged distortions of prewar intelligence by the CIA and White House. Cheney is calling those making the allegations of distortion of prewar intelligence “liars”, ”dishonest” and “reprehensible.”

Here’s my rationale for questioning the integrity and accuracy of the prewar intelligence that came out of the CIA and the White House. It is my belief that after reading this we all have the responsibility to question not only the CIA, but our president. Those that question the prewar intelligence are neither liars, dishonest nor reprehensible.

1) Cheney said repeatedly that Mohamed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, had met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague in 2000, a claim that the CIA has reported to be iffy at best. Contrary to Cheney’s claim, a CIA report from 2002 reported that the issue was “contradictory” and “not verified.”

2) Why has the Senate GOP leadership refused to allow an investigation into the validity of the prewar intelligence that was presented to Congress to move forward?”

3) Bush in the State of the Union speech stated that yellow cake uranium was being smuggled out of Niger into Iraq even though 3 separate CIA reports PRIOR TO Bush giving his State of the Union speech claimed the information was based on forged documents. When Joseph Wilson did the right thing and reported on the President’s inaccuracy in an editorial in the New York Times, his wife’s identity as a CIA operative was leaked. The White House’s response was not the sort of apology I was looking for. The president didn’t say a thing and a statement out of the White House said that the Presidents statement on yellow cake uranium “did not rise to the level of inclusion in the President’s State of the Union speech.” DID NOT RISE TO THE LEVEL OF INCLUSION? That’s the apology for this unimaginable misstatement? Thank you Captain Obvious. Of course inaccurate statements shouldn’t be included in the State of the Union speech. We all know that. What I want to know is how intelligence that was reported to be false in 3 separate reports made it into the speech to start with. How’s about an apology for the monumental error to boot. It did not rise to the level of inclusion is neither an explanation nor an apology. One GOP representative from New York said that Valerie Plame “got what she deserved.” Really? Let’s say hypothetically that the information Wilson wrote in his editorial was false (WHICH IT WASN’T), did Valerie get what she deserved? Let’s say hypothetically that Wilson was wrong to point out the blatant inaccuracy of Bush’s statement (WHICH HE WASN’T), did Valerie get what she deserved?

4) The German equivalence to the CIA known as the BND, warned the US PRIOR TO the US going into Iraq, that the intelligence that Colin Powell used in the UN to justify military force, had been repeatedly exaggerated and were based on an unreliable informant. Of course I found this story in the liberal media on page 23. Makes perfect sense for the liberal media to bury such a story on page 23. Don’t you think that the Germans alleging that the US went to war based on exaggerated and an unreliable source resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and a quarter of a trillion dollars thus far to be a front-page story? I guess those wacky liberal media types don’t know how to spin a story or could something else be at play?

The unreliable Iraqi informant known as “Curveball” was offered a salary, housing and protection for information on Iraq. Curveball still lives in Southern Germany with his family in a furnished apartment, with a stipend and language lessons for his entire family. You think an Iraqi cab driver might fabricate stories for this sort of deal?

Here’s the real skinny. Based on Curveball’s information, Bush said that Iraq had at least 7 known mobile biological factories that were producing agents. This was a claim he made in speeches and radio addresses on several occasions. Powell also repeated these claims to the UN when laying out the US’s rationale for support of an Iraq military action. He claimed “eyewitness testimony” for the allegations and that the intelligence was “solid.” Powell went on to say that the Iraqi trucks could produce enough weapons grade microbes “in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people.” Powell has since admitted that Curveball was the eyewitness he referred to in the UN address. Since that time even Powell has said the case “ has totally blown up in our faces.”

Before giving you background on Curveball, here’s what the BND was telling the US prior to the US military action in Iraq shortly after Powells speech to the UN.

a) “He is not a stable psychological guy.”
b) “We made clear that we (BND) could not verify the things he (Curveball) said.”
c) “We were shocked (at Powell’s UN testimony). We had always told them (CIA) it was not proven…It was not hard intelligence.”
d) Curveball “only heard rumors. He gave a third hand account.”
e) “The Iraqis were all laughing when we asked about him. They were saying ‘This guy? You’ve got to be kidding.’”

Keep in mind that Curveball was the chief source of inaccurate prewar intelligence according to a commission appointed by Bush earlier this year. Also keep in mind that we never interviewed him until a year after the invasion. Only the BND interviewed him prior to the invasion and they said not to trust the information. Yet that didn’t stop those advocating going into Iraq from citing Curveball as an “eyewitness” that was “solid intelligence.” To make matters worse the US ignored evidence that the UN weapons inspectors disproved all of Curveball’s accounts before the war. Senior CIA officials embraced the bogus intelligence nonetheless and only admitted error 14 months after the invasion.

Here’s what Curveball told the BND. He said he had assembled equipment on only one truck and had heard secondhand about others. Furthermore he could not identify what the equipment was designed to produce. David Kay, who headed the post invasion search for weapons said, “He (Curveball) was not in charge of trucks or production. He had nothing to do with actual biological agents. He never actually saw them producing agents.” Kay now says that Curveballs motive was to receive a German visa not start a war. Kay also found that Curveball had been fired from his job at the alleged mobile weapons facility in 1995. His claims to working on germ weapons were posed 1995. Another former CIA official found that Curveball had previously been jailed for a sex crime and had been working as a taxi driver after being fired in 1995.

Curveball’s information was the foundation and primary basis for invading Iraq resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and a quarter of a trillion dollars? Sadly, I believe it was. Put your self in the place of the Iraqis. Wouldn’t you be just a bit upset about the US occupation in your country based on this justification? Of course the White House justification has since evolved into spreading democracy to the region, but that wasn’t the pitch to the UN in February of 2003. That pitch wouldn’t have gone over too well here at home either.

5) CIA agents were passively pressed to provide intelligence that supported an invasion of Iraq.

6) The 9/11 Commission spent millions of dollars and found no credible link between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda. But of course. Allow me to explain. These guys hate each other. Indeed they share a hatred of the US and Israel, but that’s where the commonality ends. Hussein was anything but Muslim. Creating an Islamic state was far from his goal. Not so with bin Laden. For one thing women in Iraq had more rights and freedoms then almost any other Middle Eastern nation. Certainly much more than they’re going to get under this Islamic based constitution. DON’T GET ME WRONG. The world is a better place with this murderous and torturing dictator out of power. It simply wasn’t worth the price the US has had to pay though, but I digress.

Bin Laden on the other hand is a hard core Islamic fundamentalist. The rights that women had in Iraq were reprehensible to him and directly violated the Koran in his eyes. Bin Laden is similar to Don Corleone from The Godfather. Corleone, although a cold-blooded murderer, was a devoted family man. An odd moral dichotomy to be sure. Bin Laden, although a mass murderer, is a fundamentalist Muslim fiercely devoted to God. Again, an odd moral dichotomy. Hussein could give two squirts of piss about the Islamic religion. He would allow torture and rape of his fellow Muslims without a flinch. Bin Laden would never be a part of this disgusting practice. His religion would never allow it. Odd for a guy that murders but true. In short, there never was an Al Qaeda link with Iraq. With Hussein out however, there is one now, the invasion of Iraq has created it unfortunately.

7) The Downing Street Memos show that the White House had intentions of invading Iraq prior to the 9/11 hijackings.

8) Not a single 9/11 hijacker was Iraqi. That was al Qaeda and Osama that was responsible and if you’ve forgotten, he’s still on the loose though we haven’t heard about it for awhile. He’s likely in a cave between Pakistan and Afghanistan. That’s where our military focus should be. Most of the hijackers were Saudis, but for some reason that’s never mentioned.

Of course there’s much more, but isn’t that enough to question the White House and CIA without Cheney calling those that question “liars”, “dishonest” and “reprehensible?” HOW DARE YOU! I’m one angry American. All Americans need to call for an honest investigation now without further obstruction from the republican senate leadership. The stalling must end. Truth now. All democracies require truth in order to properly make decisions. I don’t believe we’re getting it. To quote my sis, “I just wish that someone would give this guy a blow job so that we could impeach him (Bush).” As if manipulation of intelligence wasn’t enough.

Only In California

I'd like to think this couldn't happen in California, but since it did, maybe it could happen only in California.

Alberigi was diagnosed in 1986 with panic disorder and agoraphobia, a fear
of public places. He accused the county of bias in failing to accommodate his disability.

For most of 14 years with the county's Human Services Department,
Alberigi was allowed to interview Medi-Cal clients by phone, but a promotion he applied for in 2001 required meeting clients in person.

He was denied the promotion and eventually went on permanent medical
disability. He sued the county in 2003.

He won. How much, you ask? Over $6 million.

The man can't meet with people and wasn't hired for a job in which he'd have to meet with people. And for that he was allowed to sue. And win. A lot of money.

This doesn't happen often, but words escape me.

Lefties Got It Wrong On The War

As they have on so many other things, America's lefties got the war wrong. However, facts have never stood in their way before.

Via Instapundit (see blogroll at left) comes a link to this Investor's Business Daily article about some of the many documents captured in Iraq that are only now beginning to see the light of day. Combine the information in these documents with the Duelfer Report and the recently released tapes of Saddam talking about weapons of mass destruction, and you begin to wonder how anyone can challenge the necessity of that war with a straight face.

Among the enduring myths of those who oppose the war is that Saddam, though murderous when it came to his own people, had no weapons of mass destruction and no terrorist designs outside his own country. Both claims now lie in tatters...

Even as the media studiously avoid these new documents — just as they avoided 500 hours of Saddam's personal tapes showing his scheming on WMD — it's clear the U.S. did the right thing in invading Iraq and taking out a formative terrorist threat.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bogus Posting

You Are Coke

A true original and classic, you represent the best of everything you can offer.
Just the right amount of sweet, just the right amount of energy... you're the life of the party.

Your best soda match: Mountain Dew

Stay away from:Dr Pepper

Your Sexy Brazilian Name is:

Danilo da Costa

You Are Las Vegas

Wild and uninhibited, you enjoy all of life's vices.
You're a total hedonist, especially with sex, gambling, and drinking.
You shine brightly every night, but you do the ultimate walk of shame each morning.

Famous Las Vegas residents: Wayne Newton, Howard Hughes, Penn & Teller, Siegfried & Roy

I do like Vegas. But I never thought of myself as being like Vegas.

Your Love Element Is Fire

In love, you are a true listener and totally present.
For you, love is all about feeling more alive than you've ever felt.

You attract others with your joy and passion.
Your flirting style is defined by your strong ability to communicate.

Fun and play are the cornerstones of your love life.
And while your flame may burn too brightly, it's part of your appeal.

You connect best with: Wood

Avoid: Water

You and another Fire element: will likely burn out quickly

I answered this quiz for someone who devastated me. Water. Go figure. I sure can pick 'em, huh?

Your Brain's Pattern

Your brain is always looking for the connections in life.
You always amaze your friends by figuring out things first.
You're also good at connecting people - and often play match maker.
You see the world in fluid, flexible terms. Nothing is black or white.

Last sentence? Totally wrong.

Your Job Dissatisfaction Level is 17%

Sure, no job is perfect - but yours is pretty close.
You're resepcted by your co-workers and boss.
Plus, you usually get credit for your succcesses.
Don't quit, unless you know you've got something better lined up.

I guess that's good news, right?

You Are 36% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Is this good news?

Your Seduction Style: Au Natural

You rank up there with your seduction skills, though you might not know it.
That's because you're a natural at seduction. You don't realize your power!
The root of your natural seduction power: your innocence and optimism.

You're the type of person who happily plays around and creates a unique little world.
Little do you know that your personal paradise is so appealing that it sucks people in.
You find joy in everything - so is it any surprise that people find joy in you?

You bring back the inner child in everyone you meet with your sincere and spontaneous ways.
Your childlike (but not childish) behavior also inspires others to care for you.
As a result, those who you befriend and date tend to be incredibly loyal to you.

If only this were true.


Nutty and gooey - you always satisfy.

This seems true.

You Are 26 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Didn't I take this quiz before? And didn't I get the same result?