Wednesday, May 31, 2006

He Must Take Us For Idiots

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said it's his official duty to attend boxing matches in Nevada and that he did nothing wrong when he accepted complimentary ringside seats from a state agency that was lobbying him.

"I would be criticized if I didn't go," Reid told reporters Tuesday after addressing a veterans group in Las Vegas. "It's just like going to an Ohio State football game, an Arizona State football game - in Nevada, boxing is it. I have an obligation to make sure boxing is conducted properly not only in Nevada but around the country."

The Nevada Democrat was responding to an Associated Press story that
detailed how the senator had accepted free tickets possibly valued at several thousand dollars from the Nevada Athletic Commission, the agency that regulates boxing in the state.

Look, if he accepted some free tickets and there's nothing wrong with it, then don't make up this b.s. story. If there is something wrong with it, cop to it, apologize, and don't do it again--it's not like it's a major deal, even if the tickets were worth a couple thousand dollars. I mean, going to a sporting event isn't like accepting cash; people can forgive some boxing matches.

But they won't forgive you if you try to come up with some weasel excuse for why it's ok.

The recent stupidity and arrogance of those in Congress is definitely bipartisan. Is that a good thing???

Update, 9:29 pm:

"In light of questions that have been raised about the practice, Senator Reid will not accept these kinds of credentials in the future in order to avoid even the faintest appearance of impropriety," spokesman Jim Manley said.

I thought he had an obligation to go.

Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Guy

From Instapundit (see blogroll at left) we learn that Michael Moore is being sued by an Iraq War veteran.

A double-amputee Iraq-war vet is suing Michael Moore for $85 million, claiming the portly peacenik recycled an old interview and used it out of context to make him appear anti-war in "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Sgt. Peter Damon, 33, who strongly supports America's invasion of Iraq, said he never agreed to be in the 2004 movie, which trashes President Bush.

I hope the guy gets a huge award. I'm not usually into humongous awards, but Moore's big enough to handle it. Huge? Humongous? Big enough? Get it? Sometimes I slay myself.

Carnival of Education

This week's is guest-hosted at Education in Texas.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'm Not Sure This Is A Good Idea

NCAA approves instant replay
May 30, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) - Instant replay will become a part of Division I-A football games after all.

More than two months after tabling the issue, the NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) on Tuesday approved a proposed video-replay system for games starting this fall.

University of Michigan Minority Graduation Rate

From John at Discriminations (see blogroll at left) comes an interesting post in which the following comment was completely ancillary--but it spoke volumes to me.

And let me also say (I don’t think I said this before), that the 67% rate at the University of Michigan is disgusting. UM spent untold thousands of dollars in its successful effort to defend the right to discriminate on the basis of race, but it obviously lacks the interest, will, or ability to see to it that the minority students for whom it lowered the admissions bar actually get an education and graduate. Those short-changed students are no more than emblems of UM’s liberalism, easily discarded once they have served their purpose of jacking up the “diversity” numbers.

Ted Nugent Quote

Some reporter for The Independent interviewed Ted Nugent, who gave what I consider to be among the best answers ever to a question.

“What do these deer think when they see you coming?” I ask him. “Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner? Or, there’s the man that shot my brother?”

“I don’t think they’re capable of either of those thoughts, you Limey assh*le. They’re only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French.”

See, you libs? Now that's funny!

Via LittleGreenFootballs.

Follow-up To My Memorial Day Posts

Here's a World War II-era B-17 bomber with a Cold War-era B-52. The 17's, known as Flying Fortresses, entered service in the 1940's, while the 52's, known as Stratofortresses, entered service in the 50-s and are still flying today.

It's hard to believe that those two bombers are so close in time, yet so far apart in all capabilities. Technological progress is a wonderful thing.

Education Cartoons

Food Wars In Schools

The New York Times has a reasoned article about the food police in today's schools.

Some schools say they are concerned about food allergies, and it is true that for some children a stray bite of someone else's peanut butter sandwich can mean anaphylaxis and even death. But I don't think allergies are the main reason that districts across the country are racing to put new food policies in place. After all, children are allergic to strawberries, wheat and dairy, too, but there are no proposals that I'm aware of to ban any of those foods.

I fear there's something else at work — a fear borne out by a flier my fifth grader brought home saying that at the monthly pizza hot lunch, no child would be allowed to buy a second slice of pizza. The district says the new ruling is to avoid bad feelings caused by "inequities": if everyone can't have extra helpings, no one can.

This solution may seem rather Solomon-like. But if equity is the issue, I'll eat my lunch tray. I believe the schools are overreacting to the so-called obesity epidemic, and in the process are doing our children more harm than good.

The Collapse of Reason

From the Boston Globe:

AT A TIME when conservatives dominate all three branches of government and hold an increasingly large share of the Fourth Estate, the academy remains the last liberal stronghold. You would think, then, that liberal intellectuals would offer some thoughtful and productive critiques of conservative policies. But instead, argues one leading liberal intellectual, the academic left is making itself irrelevant by embracing ideological extremism and trying to purge its ranks of those who are not politically correct. (emphasis mine--Darren)
Libs just can't stand Fox, can they? Maybe I should get cable so I can watch it.

Let's hope they make themselves irrelevant even faster.

Monday, May 29, 2006

My Dad's Parents, on Memorial Day

Both of my dad's parents served in uniform during World War II. Grandpa enlisted in the Army Air Corps well before Pearl Harbor, and spent the war repairing bombers in Britain. The picture above shows him, with his section, in front of a B-17--the same type of aircraft that has been flying low and slow over my house the last couple days. He served 20 years in the Air Corps/Air Force, and after retiring, served another 20 in the civil service doing what he did so well--repairing aircraft. He's rested here for the last 9 years:

His grave is just to the left of the large military memorial.

Nana also served. She was a British subject when the war broke out, living in Coventry, and answered her country's call to duty by serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, a "women's branch" of the British Army. She rose to the rank of sergeant, serving as an IFF operator (identification, friend or foe) in a mixed-gender anti-aircraft artillery battery. In the following picture she's in the second row, just right of center.

Nana was discharged from service in 1943. She's still physically quite healthy, and currently lives in an assisted-living community not too far from me. Her Alzheimer's Disease prevents her from telling me the stories she used to tell me about her wartime service, but I still remember them. She was tickled to pieces when I found an 8x10 picture of her in uniform, which she now displays it in her apartment at the home. Nana was proud of her service to her country.

Nana brought my toddler dad to the United States shortly after the war ended. They lived with my "grandfather's people" in the hinterlands of Pennsylvania until they could finally join my grandfather at his new assignment in Massachusetts. It was the first of many places across the United States where they would be stationed. She became a US citizen not long after coming here--and this country has seldom had a more devoted daughter.

Nana and grandpa met in late 1942. I used to have the v-mail grandpa sent to his parents in which he mentioned meeting "a new girl"; I hope to find it. They were married for over 60 years.

Memorial Day

The Washington Times printed the Gettysburg Address in honor of Memorial Day. It is fitting and proper that they should do this.

As we are now engaged in what will be a lengthy war for the survival of civilization itself, I will quote from that speech. Lincoln's words are as valuable and meaningful today as they were 143 years ago in the fields of Pennsylvania. To those that have died in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and to those who will yet die in this war in places not yet known, I honor you by invoking the words of one of the greatest of American presidents:

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain....

Memorial Day Slap In The Face

Ah yes, those tolerant liberals. They're not full of hatred at all....

Update, 7:24 pm: How interesting. They already took it down. Guess they don't want us outsiders seeing what really goes on over there. I wonder why that could be. Might it be because they know that most Americans would be ashamed by it? Or angered by it? Or both?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

X-Men 3 Already Exists In Real Life

My son and I just got home from seeing X-Men 3, a movie that I'll give 2 thumbs up. He's out playing, and I thought I'd check out for a moment. Read an editorial saying Bill Clinton should be Secretary General of the UN, and saw a news link on the right side of the page. I clicked it.

I'm not going to spill the beans on the plot turns of X-Men 3, but the main story is that a "cure" for the mutants has been developed. I followed that link above because it immediately bridged the gap for me from the movie I just saw and the society in which we live. Were the mutations an "illness" to be cured, or were they a natural evolution for humans? Is homosexuality an "illness" that can be cured, or is it a naturally-occurring phenomenon?

Should schools be pushing a homosexual agenda, and should the so-called other side have its say as well?

Public Schools and San Francisco

SF couldn't stay off the radar forever, I guess. NewsAlert has the skinny, via the SF Chronicle, about this oh-so-liberal, so-called progressive city and the atmosphere in which its schools operate. Here's the money quote from the Chron, showing again the hypocrisy under which liberals operate:

Many San Francisco parents say they love the idea of public schools -- for other people's children. Nearly a third of kids in San Francisco attend private and parochial schools -- 3 1/2 times the rate of California as a whole. Personal wealth and the city's large Catholic contingent contribute to the phenomenon, but so do negative perceptions about the public schools.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Update on Bush Derangement Syndrome

I haven't addressed BDS in quite awhile, but for those of you who doubt that it's a real malady, perhaps you should read this and tell me if you haven't changed your mind. It's more real than Morgellons Disease, and at least as creepy.

Update, 5/28/06 1:31 pm: More here. This time, Bush is detaining American citizens by the hoard, and locking them up. Somewhere. Maybe. Obviously, the affliction known as BDS wreaks ungodly havoc on the logic centers of the brain.

Oh, and I love comments #5 and 9.

Indonesian Earthquake

Bush caused it? Remember that he caused the big tsunami over there, too.

What's conveniently being forgotten here is that Indonesia is the world's most populous Moslem country. Huge tsunami and huge earthquake within two years? Either Allah's pissed, or it's no coincidence.

I think we can pin the blame on the WZC (Worldwide Zionist Conspiracy).

Smoke Me Out? Do Without.

Of course I know the school can do this, but the question is, should they?

I'm conflicted on this. I thought universities stopped acting in loco parentis back in the 1960's, but it seems that at least at Chico State the good ole days are here again.

There's no debating it -- the Chico State forensics team will not argue this fall.

School officials announced Friday they are canceling the season because about seven or eight members of the 30-student squad have been using marijuana and cocaine on team road trips and at off-campus parties.

How many classes do you think they'd have to cancel if they had a similar rule for professors--who are also adults, just like the vast majority of these students are?

"If you're a member of a student organization like this, and you're travelling and representing the university, there are responsibilities," said Phyllis Fernlund, dean of the College of Communication and Education at California State University, Chico. "We're really disappointed."

I understand the "representing the school" argument, but unless they're coming to competition stoned, I don't see why the university needs to get involved at all. Are they going to cancel seasons for those teams in which students--gasp!--have sex without benefit of clergy? What about those that use foul language? What about those who drive above the speed limit on the way to competitions?

What if students have conservative viewpoints, and post them online? I'm sure many such posts would not support university policies--maybe we should just ban those students from competition as well.

Some might say this seems like a good idea, but I think it's unreasonable:

Last year, the university implemented a requirement that all freshman complete an online alcohol abuse prevention course.

I don't support smoking pot or underage drinking, but this sounds a bit too much like indoctrination for my taste.

What Was The Teacher Doing?

From the Education Wonks (see blogroll at left) I learn about this story, with this teaser (pardon the pun):

The video, which is called "cahs porn" and was shot from several angles, shows the girl straddling the boy and holding her spread legs up in the air. The boy is seated at a desk with his back to the front of the classroom. The video shows the actions of the two students and picks up background sounds - including what sounds like an adult's voice. According to reports to The Daily News, that voice belongs to the teacher of the class.

What was the teacher doing such that he or she couldn't see this going on in class? Amazing.

I guess someone took my "sex room" article from a couple years ago and put it into action--sort of.

Nickel and Cent Content Exceed Face Value

There are some recurring stories in the numismatic (coin collecting) press: should we get rid of the $1 bill so the $1 coins will circulate, and should we stop producing the cent and just round all purchases paid in cash to the nearest nickel.

Well, this blog isn't the appropriate place to go into the pros and cons of each of those positions, although my 6 loyal readers might well have guessed that I have pretty firm opinions on both topics! However, an article on the cover of the May 23rd issue of Numismatic News sure got my attention, as it relates to the second of the topics above:

"Escalating metal prices are not only pushing the cost of striking a U.S. cent above face value, but they have pushed the cost of a nickel above face value as well.

"If the Mint had to buy zinc, copper and nickel at current prices, it would cost 1.4 cents to strike each cent and 6.4 cents to strike each nickel...."

The US mint "makes money" two different ways. One way is the physical production of money, and the other is through what's called seigniorage--the difference between the cost of making a coin and the face value of that coin. For example, if a dime costs 3 cents to make and is worth 10 cents, that's 7 cents seigniorage for each dime made. Think of it as profit. I don't have figures for how many dimes are made a year, but over 2 billion quarters were made last year. You can see how much money we're talking about here. Numismatic News says that in the next fiscal year, if copper and nickel prices stay at these historic highs, the mint could generate $45 million dollars less in seigniorage due to increased costs of all coins, including losing $32 million minting nickels and cents.

There's another lengthy article in the same issue that states that, contrary to popular legend, there is currently no law that exists that prohibits the melting of minor US coins.

Liberal Bumper Stickers Aren't Funny

We have a teacher at my school whose car is plastered with all the bumper stickers you might imagine from someone I'd consider a nutjob. It's good that I have such a strong stomach.

Have you ever seen the "Visualize World Peace" bumper stickers? What about their humorous sidekick, "Visualize Whirled Peas"? I like the latter.

A few months ago, some anonymous person put a bunch of "Stick it to Bush" bumper stickers in my mailbox at school. Reading the information on the back of the package I see, "Bumper sticker slogans courtesy of The Daily Kos" and "Manufactured in China". I'm not surprised by either of those statements. Oh, and "Copyright 2004 Herter Studio LLC, all rights reserved."

What libs don't get is that they're not funny. Evidence Air America, the talk show saviour of the American Left, and its dwindling fortunes. Libs thought that Colbert guy was funny, but I barely cracked a smile once during the whole routine. Anger isn't funny, and snide isn't funny. Incidentally, stupid isn't funny, either. "Sore Loserman", after the 2000 election? Now that's funny! Great play on words, and true to boot!

So back to my bumper stickers. Here's what it says on the back: "Celebrate your freedom of speech with these 10 hilarious, tongue-in-cheek bumper sticker postcards... Stick them on your neighbor's Hummer." Here are the bumper stickers, see if you think they're hilarious.

So, were you rolling on the floor laughing? I'm not. "We're Gooder!" is kind of cute, and "More Trees, Less Bush" isn't entirely stupid. But the others--are there really people who think those are hilarious? I mean, they're so stupid, they're such lame attacks that I don't mind discussing them here. If they were effective barbs against the President I'd probably just have thrown them away, but someone actually thought they'd get to me with these. To be funny, and to be effective barbs against the President, they need to apply directly to him, like the two I mentioned (as did the Sore Loserman poster against the babies it was directed against). "Leave No Billionaire Behind"? That's a slam on Bush? There are no billionaires who support Democrats (George Soros, Bill Gates)? "One person, one vote"? I guess Chicago and New Orleans have been run by President Bush for a long time....

Actually, when I get some hay for a b-b-gun target in the back yard, these stickers will *definitely* be among the first targets. Someone gave them to me as a gift, and I should get some use out of them.

You know what I just noticed??? Three were three missing from the pack! There's a list on the back, and one said "Bring Back Monica Lewinsky". Nope, wouldn't want me to have that little reminder, would we?

My guess is someone gave these to me to attempt to needle me. Didn't work; I didn't see them as effective attacks, or even effective barbs, against the President. Now, want to see something that will needle the libs? I want this t-shirt! Now that will cause fits of apoplexy down at the co-op, or in Berkeley, San Francisco, or Boston! I already have these three shirts, and I so enjoy wearing them in places where I know the libs will be a-gatherin'. =)

Watching them huff and puff? Now that's funny!

Friday, May 26, 2006

"Dad, Can You Help Us With These Poles?"

My son got a tent and a sleeping bag for Christmas, and tonight is his first opportunity to use the tent. He and a friend from down the street will be camping in the backyard tonight.

I was in my bedroom reading Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine when I heard the title call from the backyard. Isn't that what every dad lives to hear? Yes, the call, the opportunity to pass down the manly arts from father to son--in this case, how to set up the tent. I rushed out as fast as I could; dad is needed.

Past lessons include rolling up the sleeping bag and reading a map. Barbecuing will be coming up soon!

Two Years Since The Cal Poly Debacle Ended

I remember this story.

The ACLU can defend Nazis who wanted to march through Skokie; FIRE defends people like the defenseless Steve Hinkle, who was subjected to university-sponsored, -sanctioned, and -enforced harassment.

It ended two years ago this month.

Thank God for organizations like FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

I Support Federalism

The Republican Party used to support federalism. Now it doesn't seem to. Why we have to do these stupid types of things--that we know won't pass--is far beyond me.

The MPA (Marriage Protection Amendment--would define marriage as straights only) would amend the U.S. Constitution to forbid gay couples to marry. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., says he will bring the amendment up during the week of June 5. It has zero chance of passing by the required 67-vote majority, as Frist knows. In 2004, the amendment garnered only 48 Senate votes, and the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group, figures it will get only about 52 votes this year.

Is this really the biggest thing we have going on? Are there absolutely no issues more pressing?

I believe in states' rights. The amendment listed above isn't really about states rights, though, because it actually amends the Constitution. Still, there's no reason to take marriage laws away from the states and give authority over them to the federal government, so why do it? Apparently because of what's called "the base"--religious conservatives.

I'd like to go back to the days when "the base" meant small government, fiscal conservatives.

But back to federalism. In his book Lies My Teacher Told Me, confirmed socialist author James Loewen wrote, in a chapter on John Brown and Abraham Lincoln, "Historically, whatever faction has been out of power in America has pushed for states' rights." Sounds like it could be true to me, and he knows more about the topic than I do, so I'll accept that statement. It's certainly true here.

At bottom, what many MPA proponents want to forestall is not judicially enacted gay marriage; it is gay marriage, period. They say that an institution as fundamental as marriage needs a uniform definition: a single moral template for the whole country.

That argument would seem more compelling if marriage were more important than human life. Many of the same conservatives who want the federal government, not the states, to settle gay marriage also want the states, not the federal government, to settle abortion. Sen. George Allen, R-Va., for example, supports the MPA, but he would like to see Roe v. Wade "reinterpreted" so that states would decide the fate of abortion. Although the 2004 Republican platform calls for a "human life amendment to the Constitution," you will look in vain for any such amendment on the Senate floor.

Two questions for anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion Republicans: If states can be allowed to go their own way in defining human life, why not allow them to go their own way in defining marriage? Where constitutional amendments are concerned, why is preventing gay couples from marrying so much more urgent than preventing unborn children from being killed?

Yes, why? I'd love to have an answer to the questions above.

I support federalism.

End Of The Year Rally

The End of the Year Rally at school is always fun. There's the slideshow, the senior cheerleader performance, and then the senior class leaves the gym--walking out on a red carpet while the under three classes fantasize about their turn to walk on that carpet.

It took a little longer than expected to get the projector set up and running, and someone turned off the lights. Instantly, cell phones all over the gym were opened, pads illuminated, waving slowly back and forth in the darkness. Today's version of lighters!

It was very funny to watch.

What Kind Of People Are These?

Everyone has probably heard the tale of Kitty Genovese, and marveled at the reactions (or lack thereof) of her neighbors.** Certainly all of us who've heard the story wonder how people could be so callous and disinterested in the suffering of another human.

And then we read about what recently happened on Mount Everest, and wonder what we as a people have become.

By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA, Associated Press Writer Fri May 26, 2:24 PM ET

KATMANDU, Nepal - The story, an open secret in the crowded nylon city of base camp, trickled out from the high Himalayas: a British mountaineer desperate for oxygen had collapsed along a well-traveled route to the summit.

Dozens of people walked right past him, unwilling to risk their own ascents.

Within hours, David Sharp, 34, was dead...

But many of today's Everest climbers are on commercial expeditions, some paying tens of thousands of dollars to guides who are under fierce pressure to get their clients to the summit...

As a result, Bradley said in a telephone interview, Everest climbers may be forced to decide whether to jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime investment to help a dying person.

"If you're going to go to Everest ... I think you have to accept responsibility that you may end up doing something that's not very ethically nice," she said. "You have to realize that you're in a different world."

**Wikipedia goes much easier on the neighbors than any story I've ever heard, but it's possible I've heard the sensationalized story because it's, well, sensationalized!

How Can I Get A Gig Like This?

Let me see if I have the facts straight.

A basketball coach, near the end of one of his worst seasons at the university, is fired--after saying publicly that the school could buy out his contract.

The school bought out his contract:

The athletic department's fundraising arm is paying Richardson $500,000 a year through 2008 under terms of his buyout clause.

He sued, saying he was fired for racial reasons!

Richardson said after a hearing at the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that "they came after me" when he spoke out against racism at the Fayetteville school.

Fortunately, he lost the suit. Still, wtf???

Again, a recap.

1. Losing season.
2. Wanted to be bought out.
3. Got bought out--to the tune of a half a freakin' million dollars for what, six years? 2002-2008?
4. And he's complaining about this?

How do I get a gig like this?

Is Cindy Sheehan Still In The News?

I haven't heard from Mama Moonbat since she was crawling all over Venezuelan honcho Hugo Chavez. Apparently she's written a book, though, and writer Catherine Seipp has something to say about it.

My two favorite parts:

Cindy Sheehan's maudlin narcissism has already been extensively examined, but for those unfamiliar with her philosophy, Dear President Bush is a good primer. “Was it freedom and democracy?” she asks rhetorically about the purpose of her soldier son Casey’s death. “Bulls**t. He died for oil.” This comes a few pages after her solution for problems in the Mideast: “We need to be more fair with policies that way too heavily favor Israel.”

But did Casey die for oil or Israel? Because if it’s Israel, then the obvious Peace Mom solution would be to do whatever those oil-producing,
Israel-hating countries want. But if Bush only cares about oil, like she says, then why does he “way too heavily favor Israel”?

Good point. And then:

You still have to wonder about the absolute moral authority of someone who considers the mass slaughter of civilians justified if it means her own particular soldier son might still be alive.

Yep, you sure do.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Latest Fracas At My School

I teach at a relatively high-performing school--at least, our students generally do well. For example, over 80% of last year's graduating class went on to a two-year or four-year school, if memory serves.

We offer a number of Advanced Placement courses and generally our students do quite well on AP tests. For those of you who don't know, these tests are created by the College Board and are seen by some to be an "outsider's" reflection on the rigor of our courses.

These courses are driven by the AP tests, for which the student might get college credits if he/she scores high enough. Accordingly, many of our AP teachers give their course final exam shortly before the AP tests, sort of as a warm-up for said tests.

Here's the issue that seemed to blow up this week, and today turned into a tempest in a teapot--AP tests are given at the end of April. By that time students have already taken their "final" exam as well as the AP test. But school continues until June 12th.

Earlier this year, and again earlier this week, our school administration put out the word that they expected AP students to be in class and learning. They may have achieved all the standards of the AP course and test, but they are still students in a public school and could still be participating in meaningful learning. Several of our AP teachers say that the course the student signed up for is complete, and it's entirely ok, after the college-level slogging that they've endured since last August, to relax now and watch videos, play cards, or pursue other recreational pursuits in class.

I certainly understand both sides of that argument, but I'm more receptive to the administration's argument. If I taught a class in which I could reasonably cover all the necessary standards with over a month to spare in the school year, I'd personally consider that month as a gift in which I could teach what I thought important or interesting in a way I thought best, unencumbered by any outside requirements. Talk about in-depth exploration of a topic, student presentations--no doubt the list could go on! Then again, though, that's what I might do, it's not what others would do--or what others are doing.

This week, a couple administrators started to make an issue out of AP students who weren't "engaged in meaningful instruction", and some of the AP teachers really got bent out of shape about this administrative hassling. Emails flew, discussions were had, meetings were held. And the outcome? Status quo.

Why the heck would the administrators make an issue of this if they didn't intend to see it through? As it turns out, all they did was tick off a bunch of teachers for absolutely no gain.

Seared, Seared Into His Memory

Wasn't it bad enough when John Kerry had memories of spending a Christmas in Cambodia--the memories were seared, seared into his memory--proven patently false by his own journal entries? Well, F-bomb Kerry isn't alone! It seems that his predecessor on the losing end of a presidential ballot, Al Gore, has some not-quite-real memories seared into his consciousness as well.

This kind of stuff is just too funny not to post. I don't even have to comment on it--make your own call.

Guinea Pig

I don't think I volunteered for this, but apparently this blog was a test subject for some journalism program. Here's what I received them:

JOU 503 said...

Hopefully no one else is reading old posts from so far back, but needed to come back to the beginning (and then again, maybe you'll take moderator perogative and keep this between us girls).

Sorry for the intrusion. Hopefully no harm, no foul. Time to move on. We collected four weeks of observations, including one week of participatory posting, and that's our data cut-off point.

Toshi would have loved to have continued with the Manners piece but maybe he'll be happy duking it out with SoCalPundit for a while.

Damien will send you a quick summary of what we were looking at to your email address as posted in your profile.

Thanks in advance for being a good sport about this. Personnally, liked the site, at least when it was covering education. The Peoples Republic of California sounds as interesting as our inner city, but at least the state is involved. Here, it's all squabbles among the fiefdoms.

Quick observations: High rate of derogatory names in titles (stupid teachers, idiot teachers), very low rate of same wrt your audience (high civility rating), relatively high rate of links to original works (vice links to links), moderately high rate of original writings (low rate compared to all blogs, high rate compared to political blogs.)

Blog on,
Ira G
Will (William)
Damien (Damiano)
JOU 503: The Democratization of Journalism

Darn, now half my readership is gone!

Nope, no moderator perogative here. I don't have a problem with putting the information out. I'm glad to get a high civility rating--it's something I've stressed on here several times. As for name-calling titles? Guilty as charged! Anyone who doesn't like that is an idiot!!! =) The only thing I'd clarify is that this isn't primarily a political blog, but an education blog, although obviously those topics sometimes become one.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Another Al Gore Movie?

Apparently there's one coming out soon, and this one ranks up there with all the other moonbat movies when it comes to global warming. Wasn't it just 30 years ago that we were being warned, in almost paranoid terms, about global cooling?

Well, here's a climate professor's take on the movie--and it isn't that great.

"An Inconvenient Truth" is billed as the scariest movie you'll ever see. It may well be, but that's in part because it is not the most accurate depiction of the state of global warming science.

Based on his whole essay, that's classic understatement.

Update, 5/26/06 6:22 pm: Here's more on Gore.

Update, 5/28/06 9:16 am: And more from the "conservation for me, but not for thee" crowd:

A LOOK AT GREENHOUSE HYPOCRITES AND THEIR GULFSTREAMS, over at Hot Air. More background from Gregg Easterbrook here, and an account of Al Gore's carbon consumption on his film tour here.

If you don't fly commercial, don't talk to me about greenhouse gases or conservation.

Update, 6/4/06:

Before we jump to government energy-planning, let's look at the track record of the sky-is-falling crowd. Didn't we hear in the 1960s that the "population bomb" would cause food riots in American cities and mass starvation globally? Didn't the Club of Rome in the 1970s predict the end of mineral resources by now? Wasn't global cooling the scare before global warming? Isn't it suspicious that the problem is always individual behavior, and the solution is always government action?

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.


After some video bonding time with my son, I happened to surf upon the last 20 min or so of the final episode of Friends. Talk about bringing back memories! Honestly, that was probably my favorite non-Star-Trek show ever.

I wish my Rachel had gotten off the plane....

Busted For What You Put On Your Myspace

For the most part, I would like schools to focus more on what students do at school (get to class on time, act appropriately) than what they do outside of school (online activities, partying). If our schools spent more time on the 3 R's and less time on self-esteem, on wallowing in family issues, and on helping kids hide abortions from their parents, one would think that a lot more academic education would take place.

What kids put on their Myspace accounts is not the school's business--unless the students make it the school's business by threatening school personnel, by bragging about school vandalism, etc. This topic has been addressed on other edublogs and the opinion seems to be prevalent that schools should butt out. Want to put pictures of your underage drinking on your site? Why should school officials care? Want to put sexually suggestive pics of yourself online for the whole world to see? Just don't be looking at them on school computers and there shouldn't be an issue. Some said that schools should just print out the pictures and give them to the parents, to which I reply, why? Do you call the parents when you see the just-licensed-sophomore screech the tires out on the street after leaving school? Do you call the parents of every kid you know or suspect smokes pot? There's something about this I just don't like.

Apparently, some schools don't agree. But the Instapundit and I do agree.

California High School Exit Exam Reinstated By State Supreme Court

In what I can only describe as a win for education and for the rule of law, the state supreme court has apparently ruled that the CAHSEE is a valid exercise of the legislature's authority--and the requirement to pass it in order to get a diploma has been reinstated, sort of.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, a Democrat I can vote for, has issued this statement.

It's not a done deal yet, as the major Sacramento newspaper reports:

On May 12, Alameda Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman suspended the graduation requirement for the Class of 2006, saying California was ill-equipped "to adequately prepare students to take the exam," especially in poor, underfunded areas of the state.

The high court stayed that ruling and ordered the 1st District Court of Appeal to hear the case, but did not say when - leaving students who failed the test in a state of legal limbo.

Unless the Court of Appeals drops everything and decides this issue within the next couple weeks, students who have not passed the test will not graduate. That's about 10% of this year's graduating class statewide, believe it or not.

So, it looks like there's going to be more hearings on the matter. But the Supreme Court did its job in this case, and it was definitely the right decision for education.

Carnival of Education

This week's Carnival is guest-hosted over at NYC Educator, who couldn't have a better, "pithier" description of my post that's included.

Irony At The ACLU

Via Instapundit, who got it from a New York Times article:

The American Civil Liberties Union is weighing new standards that would discourage its board members from publicly criticizing the organization's policies and internal administration...

Given the organization's longtime commitment to defending free speech, some former board members were shocked by the proposals.

Consistency. What a concept.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Collection of Unrelated Articles

The reading at was so good tonight that I thought I'd take only a few of the articles I read and link to them here. Titles will be in full, commentary brief.

Is It Xenophobic to Regulate Entry into the US?

By Ed Koch
No commentary needed.

Mississippi Has a Place for Heroes: Jail

By John Stossel
Here, Stossel talks about why price gouging (specifically after Hurricane Katrina) isn't such a bad thing. He ends his essay this way:
"High prices are good because what they do is they give people -- and companies -- the incentive to bring supply in ... and help people in the time of crisis. Without that price increase, who has the incentive to bear the risk of stocking up to take care of people?" said economist Roberts.

You may not believe me or Roberts when we say "gouging" is good, but will you believe three Nobel Prize-winning economists? Nobel Laureate (1992) Gary Becker says "gouging" is the "fairest and best" way to get supplies to those who need them the most. "That's a good thing," added Vernon Smith (2002). And Milton Friedman (1976)?

"The 'gougers' deserve a medal."

The New Temptation Of Democrats
By Ruth Marcus

Based on her last paragraph, I'm going to assume Ruth is a liberal Democrat who doesn't think much of God or of religious people:

So, by all means, let Democrats woo evangelicals and cast the message in a way that speaks to religious voters. But in doing so, keep in mind: What does it profit a party to gain a demographic but lose its soul?

Revisionist History

Antiwar myths about Iraq, debunked.

I've written about this before, and linked to similar articles. Lefties will dismiss the inconvenient truths contained within, but the open-minded among us know.

Harry Reid & The End of Liberal Thought

By Dennis Prager

Prager is further to the right than I am (people in California who don't know any better may disagree, but it's pretty easy for a conservative to be to the right of me), but I'll agree with his article about liberalism.

Welcome to the thoughtless world of contemporary liberalism. Beginning in the 1960s, liberalism, once the home of many deep thinkers, began to substitute feeling for thought and descended into superficiality.

One-word put-downs of opponents' ideas and motives were substituted for thoughtful rebuttal. Though liberals regard themselves as intellectual -- their views, after all, are those of nearly all university professors -- liberal thought has almost died. Instead of feeling the need to thoughtfully consider an idea, most liberal minds today work on automatic. One-word reactions to most issues are the liberal norm.

He states that anyone who disagrees with a liberal is a racist, homophobe, sexist, imperialist, or is intolerant. These one-word put-downs are designed to stifle debate by silencing or shaming the recipient. It would be like a moderate conservative who called everyone who disagreed with him a communist :-)

Then, in what I can only consider to be a stroke of brilliance, Prager explains my liberal students to me.

[T]hese words make it easy to be a liberal -- essentially all one needs to do is to memorize this brief list and apply the right term to any idea or policy. That is one reason young people are more likely to be liberal -- they have not had the time or inclination to think issues through, but they know they oppose racism, imperialism and bigotry, and that they are for peace, tolerance and the environment.

Genius. I've said for years that one of the interesting things about high school and college students is that they have an amazing ability to learn, but they have next to no experience about how the adult world works. Prager's explanation says the same thing, only so much more clearly.

So that's a small sojourn through my evening's reading. Now, good night.

Essay on Racism

I often agree with Wendy McElroy. Here's a recent essay of hers in which she asks if racism in America is worse today than in, say, the 1980s.

Before you write Wendy off because this essay is on the FoxNews web site, let's read a little about her:

Wendy McElroy is the editor of and a research fellow for The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. She is the author and editor of many books and articles, including the new book, "Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century" (Ivan R. Dee/Independent Institute, 2002). She lives with her husband in Canada.

Now, her essay.

I believe it is worse and that the measures intended to remedy racism are a major cause of the deterioration. Decades ago, the issue of race needed shaking to its root. On a cultural level, any honest re-examination would have resulted in improvement. On a legal level, removing Jim Crow laws and all other references to race within the legal system was necessary.

But instead of removing references to race, many laws and policies used race as a filter to define the treatment an individual would receive not only by government but also in non-governmental arenas, such as employment.

The institutionalization of racial bias occurred on both a federal and local level. (emphasis mine--Darren)

I think she's onto something here.

New Acronym In Academia

RightWingProf has created a new acronym to describe large swaths of the professoriate: UACJOB, pronounced "wackjob". Go read his hilarious post about the UACJOBs he works with and the conferences he attends with them--then decide whether you want to laugh or cry.

College tuition is going which direction? At how many times the rate of inflation?

Here's a comment on that post:

I have never – NEVER - seen academia described as accurately as this. I swear on my life, these people do exist in every institution. I have been ostracized for everything about me, down to the mundane fact that I own a dog, by people like this.

There are people out there who don't want me to have my Boom-boom? I'm probably oppressing him or something.

Bias In Academe

I don't know what biases the American Council of Trustees and Alumni are, but they've issued a report that, in its first paragraph, substantiates what conservatives inside and outside of education have been saying for years--there's a liberal bias in our universities. Here's a summary from their website (see May 12, 2006 entry):

As the University of Colorado prepares to issue a report on tenured ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill, a new study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni concludes that professors like Churchill are systematically promoted by colleges and universities acros s the country at the expense of academic standards and integrity. Focusing on U.S. News & World Report's top 25 private colleges and universities, and the Big 10 and Big 12 conference schools, the report examines departmental websites, on-line course descriptions, electronic course syllabi, and faculty home pages in a wide range of liberal arts disciplines. From this broad survey of publicly available materials, ACTA finds that “the kinds of politically extreme opinions for which Ward Churchill has become justly infamous are not only quite common in academe, but enthsuiastically embraced and rewarded by it.” The study concludes that “throughout American higher education, professors are using their classrooms to push political agendas in the name of teaching students to think critically.”

Update, 5/24/06 12:20 pm: I don't go looking for this stuff, yet I find it so often that it must be prevalent. From Erin O'Connor's blog:

But not all of Purdue's courses live up to the standards the university
sets for them. Consider Purdue University -- Calumet's spring 2006 edition of Sociology
(Introduction to Sociology). A student in the class describes it at, noting that until the last month of the term, Soc 100 was
a thoroughly respectable course. At that point, however, the student notes that
the test became "very PC and biased." Describing study sheets on "Race &
Ethnicity" that the professor distributed, the student notes that

For that test, the teacher handed out stapled sheets of notes to the
students. Each sheet had 6 squares of information, 2 columns down, and 3
rows across. On the second sheet, two squares contained biased political and PC messages. The first one on the top left corner reads
Minority and Dominant Groups
* Minority Groups - people who are singled out for unequal treatment-regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination
* Dominant groups - those who do the discriminating-have the
greatest power, most privileges, & highest social status-Privileged position attributed to superiority
What these notes imply is that dominant groups are the only ones who discriminate against people, and that minorities are defined by unfair treatment instead of a simple case of lower population.

The other square of notes appears on the second sheet at the bottom right corner which reads:
Old-fashioned racism vs. modern racism
-Old-fashioned racism: overtly expressed prejudice

-Modern racism: prejudice that is expressed more subtly
* Opposing affirmative action

There you have it. There can be no principled opposition to affirmative action; it's all racist.

Exit Exam Update

Apparently, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell (a Democrat, I might add) was serious about appealing that idiot superior court judge's ruling invalidating the use of the high school exit exam.

School administrators across the region are planning graduation ceremonies with Plans A and B as they await word from the California Supreme Court on whether the high school exit exam will be reinstated as a graduation requirement this year...

The state appealed the case to the California Supreme Court on Friday, asking the high court to reinstate the test as a graduation requirement...

It remains uncertain whether the state Supreme Court will rule on the case at all because it has not gone through a court of appeal. But the court requested additional briefs from lawyers for the state and from the law firm that sued over the exit exam.

That's a sign that a decision is imminent, said the court's spokeswoman, Lynn Holton.

"This is definitely on a fast track," she said.

So, what's the problem?

Still, some students who fail the test could end up graduating before a ruling comes down -- leaving open the possibility that the rules change by the time another school holds its graduation, and those students would have to have passed the test to earn a diploma.

And wouldn't that be a sticky wicket?

Here are a couple of plans that school districts have for how to deal with students who haven't passed the exit exam, even if its implementation is upheld:

The San Juan Unified, Grant Joint Union High and Galt Joint Union High school districts were already planning to allow all students who had completed their coursework to participate in graduation, even if they'd failed the exit exam.

Those districts are now prepared to give students a diploma if the court ruling stays as is, or a certificate of completion if the ruling changes.

I've worked in two of those three districts. And incidentally, I'm ok with the "certificate of completion" compromise.

The Graduation Gap

The Rocky Mountain News has a story about graduation rates for the Denver public schools, and the results are shocking in that they're not what we usually hear about minorities and graduation rates:

Black girls graduated last year from Denver Public Schools at a higher rate than white boys and far outpaced black boys in the class of students who started the eighth grade in DPS. (boldface mine--Darren)

I'm wondering where the sensitivity training advocates are, because it's pretty obvious to me that there's some institutionalized sexism and racism in the Denver schools. Those teachers need some training on how to reach, communicate with, and teach, boys.

Sarcasm aside, something very interesting is going on in the DPS. Is it something good that they're doing with girls, something they're doing wrong with boys, both, or is it something else entirely? And is the methodology used in the Rocky Mountain News' analysis of the data valid? I'm not qualified to answer that last question but the Denver schools deserve some close scrutiny, whether for good or for ill.

Universities, Our Founts of Diverse Thought

Here's another story about a university that's taken official action because it doesn't like the views of some conservative students.

Viewpoint discrimination. Isn't it a lovely thing? And I especially like the author's final thought:

Do these creeps ever listen to their own words?

Am I the only one who really used to believe that universities were places where different viewpoints were presented, debated, and--gasp!--tolerated?

More On Meathead's Universal Preschool Initiative

Joanne (see blogroll at left) links to an LA Times article which, again, points out how expensive and foolish Rob Reiner's Proposition 82 is. I love Joanne's final sentence, referring to lawblogger Eugene Volokh:

Eugene Volokh points out the requirement that all preschool teachers hold college degrees -- with no evidence that the degree makes a difference -- may prove discriminatory against Hispanics and blacks under "disparate impact" theory.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Diversity at the University of Oregon

Alexander Kleshchev is a mathematics professor at the University of Oregon. He immigrated to America in 1995.

Professor Kleshchev wrote an interesting piece in the local Eugene, Oregon, newspaper. In it he addresses the usual issues about the lack of conservatives on the UO faculty, and he does it in a way sure to infuriate lefties:

A study by a UO economist reveals that the Democrat-to-Republican ratio among UO professors exceeds 15 to 1. Given that the ratio in Oregon is close to 1 to 1, what could possibly explain this? The most staggering thing is that nobody cares. The typical response is: "Conservatives are just stupid." If you want to know how conservative people feel when they hear that, substitute "women" for "conservatives"...

Denial: "It doesn't matter whether professors are liberal or conservative because it does not influence what they teach." Response: Try, "It does not matter whether professors are black or white because it does not influence what they teach."

Denial: "Conservatives don't want to go into academia." Response: Substitute the word "women" to see what is wrong with this.

And I really like this quote:

A selectively bleeding heart is a known part of the human anatomy - we call it hypocrisy.

Did I mention that he's a math guy? =)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Shocker! Left Is Inconsistent! has a fantastic essay about the double standard towards Islam on one hand and Christianity on the other.

I was reminded of that double standard by the debate over the Da Vinci Code, and how perceived blasphemy against Christianity doesn't seem to raise the ruckus that it does against Islam.

More specifically, compare the debate over the movie and the reactions of those it offends, with the Muslim reaction to what they saw as blasphemy against Islam several months ago.

Then, the publication of cartoons by Danish newspapers that poked fun at the Prophet Muhammad provoked officially encouraged riots across much of the Muslim world.

Complaints that this response was an affront to the notion of free speech were then shouted down by those who suggested the need for greater sensitivity to Muslim religious views (emphasis mine--Darren)...

The Da Vinci Code is probably even more an insult to Christian believers than the cartoons were to Muslims, because it challenges fundamental long-held doctrines about the divinity of Jesus and the Bible.

There is some irony that when the uproar over the cartoons surfaced, most U.S. newspapers and television stations declined to show the offending drawings to avoid offending the beliefs of the more than a billion Muslims around the globe.

Meanwhile, portions of the U.S. media are not just offering the movie, but encouraging through their coverage of it a discussion about the truthfulness of Christianity's basic tenets.

None of this is to imply that there is anything wrong with making and showing the movie. I'll probably watch it.

However, I'm happy I won't have to worry about Christians burning down the theater around me.

I've said it before, I'll say it again--consistency is not a strong suit for the left.

Here's another example. John at Discriminations (see blogroll at left) had a post about the toothless Senate bill amendment to declare English the "national" (not "official") language of the US. Here's the inconsistency:

The ever-reliable Democratic Minority Leader, Senator Reid, commented on cue that this amendment was “racist.” Senator Salazar (D, Colo) added that it was “divisive and un-American.”

I [am] always impressed that Democrats who defend distributing all sorts of government goodies on the basis of race and ethnicity, favoring some and disfavoring others, are quick to spot “divisiveness” in programs others see as unifying.


Union Membership--My 1000th Post

I was discussing compulsory union membership with a new friend this weekend, and she said something so profound that I had to write it down. Considering how many times I've written about unions or about America/patriotism, I offer up her quote as my 1000th post here on Right On The Left Coast:

Deep down, every freedom-loving American should be against compulsion. --Sandra Crandall
Hear hear.

Schools Support Students *And* Deployed Parents

So many parents have been deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan in the years since September 11, 2001. Certainly any parent reading this can imagine how difficult it would be to be away from your family for an extended period of time, would marvel at how adept our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are at dealing with having to miss out on so much of their children's growing up.

It's hard on the children, too. Of course some of them may worry about their parent's physical safety, but there's a bigger issue than that--just the total absence of a parent.

Fatima, who will graduate from Northwest High in Clarksville on Saturday, said her dad has missed her 16th birthday, her 18th birthday and her senior prom. "I think he's been to one of my softball games and I've been playing for three years," she said.

But she said the distance and separation are easier to handle because so many students in her school share the same problem.

"None of us are out of place because your dad's not here," Fatima said. "We all support each other."

Fatima attends school near Fort Campbell, KY, and her father, like so many others from Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne (Air Assault), is deployed to the desert. Think about the added difficulties attendant to teaching at a school in which so many children are dealing with what Fatima is.

There's a company in Florida, though, who's going to make dad's (and, in some cases, mom's) absence a little less painful for this year's seniors. Using equipment designed for sports teams, XOS Technologies will be putting on the internet streaming video of graduation ceremonies--so parents like Fatima's can watch their children walk across the stage. And XOS will be doing it at no charge.

"It gives me a wonderful fulfillment, knowing that although I'm here in Iraq, I will still have the 'almost there' experience of watching my daughter walk across the stage," (Fatima's father Michael) McElveen said in an e-mail.

This doesn't happen much, but at this moment, words fail me--in a good way.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Seattle Schools, Part II

Seattle seems to be taking the bullets for San Francisco lately, as this is my second post this week on the lovely City by the Sound.

First there was this post, which discusses a blatantly racist (and leftist) policy from the Seattle Public Schools. Then today we read this:

Seattle Public Schools enrolls 47,000 students — less than half the number it had 40 years ago — but operates 99 buildings, three-fourths what it had in 1965. The district hasn't closed a school since 1989.

I wonder if there's any connection there at all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Multiculturalism and Diversity, A Story From Class

If you want to read something about diversity, affirmative action, etc. with which I agree 100%, then read this post at NewsAlert. Top notch catch there, a definite keeper.

Now onto my story from class today.

In my pre-calculus class we've been reviewing logarithms. We've completed all the state standards for trig and math analysis (which together constitute a pre-calculus course) and now, on the advice of one of our calculus teachers, I'm reviewing the Algebra II topic of logs.

Today's topic was trying to determine the equation of data that, when graphed, are seemingly exponential in nature--that is, the data could be described by the equation y=a*e^(bx), where a and b are constants and e is the base of the natural logarithm, a constant approximately equal to 2.718. Fitting data of this type to a specific curve can be rather difficult, so we "linearized" the data (if you're interested in the specifics of what I'm talking about, please email me at the address in my profile).

The data in my sample problem was the population of India, in 10 year increments, from 1950 to 1990. We were able to linearize the data and, knowing all about slope and y-intercepts of straight lines, were able to determine that the population of India (in hundreds of millions) could be modeled by the equation y=3.5*(1.022)^x, giving India an average population increase of 2.2% per year since 1950.

This type of data analysis is the epitome of "When are we ever gonna have to use this?" and, while the concept is actually quite simple, it takes awhile to sink in.

In one of my classes I have two students who are of Indian extraction; they even have non-English first and last names! Both of them took great glee in working this problem, and both of them made a point of feeding the beast that they knew was running through my head:

"I really feel a part of the math curriculum now."
"I don't think I could have done this problem if it involved the population of England."
"Now I understand this problem."
"I can tell that, by choosing this problem, you really care about me as a person."

Did you hear that, you multiculturalist lefties? The very minority kids you're trying to pander to can see right through your bigotry and condescension--and they laugh at you!

This Week's Carnival of Education

Another collection of great posts, found here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Coins, Education, and Civil Rights

After reading and posting about the Seattle Schools disgrace, I'm glad I found something more positive to write about.

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I'm a numismatist. I've collected coins since 1974, when I took my first trip to Europe (my mother was in the army and I'd visit her in the summers). While I have plenty of US coins, world coins are my favorites. After all, there are a lot more of them--in many more interesting designs--than we have to offer in our own country.

I've brought coins to school and guest-lectured in history classes. I've even used them to demonstrate applications in math class--how old is this coin minted 200+ years BC, for example, shows a use for subtracting negative numbers. Converting from Moslem AH dates to Christian era AD dates requires a 2-step algebraic equation.

This post is about American coins, though, and the designs that are, or should be, on them. Today I was reading a recent issue of Numismatic News and came across the following statement: "The CCAC (Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee) has endorsed 2007 commemoratives that would honor the 50th anniversary of the desegragation of Little Rock Central high School ...." This means that, if approved, the US Mint would be authorized to strike 500,000 commemorative $1 coins for this anniversary. The Mint strikes commemoratives each year, and for the past several years has kept the number of commemoratives annually to just a couple. Here's what's been commemorated since 2000:

2000: Library of Congress, Leif Ericson
2001: Capitol Visitors Center, American Buffalo
2002: Salt Lake City Olympics, US Military Academy Bicentennial
2003: First Flight
2004: Lewis and Clark, Thomas Edison
2005: John Marshall, US Marine Corps 225th Anniversary
2006: Benjamin Franklin Tricentennial "Scientist", Franklin "Founding Father"

I might have missed one or two, but you get the idea. Also, there are commemorative half dollars.

As you can see, some of the places, events, and people commemorated are a bit more worthy than others. Certainly, the desegregation of Central High in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education was a watershed event in the civil rights movement and is worthy of being commemorated on a $1 coin. I myself would buy such a coin.

There's also been a lot of talk in the American numismatic press of honoring Dr. King on a coin. I can't imagine there won't be a commemorative in 2009 to mark what would be Dr. King's 80th birthday, but there was no such mention in the article I quoted above. Some have also mentioned 2008, which would mark the 40th year since his assassination. To be honest, I'd rather celebrate his birth than his death. There's also 2013, the 50th anniversary of his I Have A Dream speech.

I don't support a commemorative coin for Dr. King--well, not only a commemorative coin. It's time; he deserves to be on a circulating US coin. Commemoratives are fine, and they serve their purpose, but let's put him on coins that everyday Americans will see every day.

The cent is out. Not only will 2009 be the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, it will be the 100th anniversary of his bust being on the front of the cent. Something big has to be planned for that. The cent is now costing the Mint about a cent to make, perhaps slightly more when all costs are factored in. The cent is probably not long for this world; let's keep Dr. King away from that train wreck waiting to happen.

Can't touch the nickel. The Virginia delegation in Congress had a fit when the reverse of the nickel was changed for two years to celebrate the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark mission, and they threw a tantrum until the law was written stating that Monticello would return to the reverse of the nickel when the Lewis and Clark design was finished. Virginia owns the nickel.

The quarter is in circulating commemorative mode until 2008 with the State Quarters Program, and in 2009 six US territories and districts (DC, Puerto Rico, and Samoa, for example) might end up on the back of the quarter. Remove Washington? Did I tell you how the Virginians freaked out over the nickel?

The half dollar isn't circulating. It's a flop. It shouldn't even be made anymore.

The dollar coin doesn't circulate. Besides that, there's talk (has it been approved already, perhaps?) of issuing circulating dollar coins honoring each dead President--and there will be a gold non-circulating coin for each of the First Ladies. I don't recall if the Presidents series will augment or replace the Sacagawea dollar--which is in itself a beautiful coin--but it looks like the dollar is out.

And that leaves the dime.

Franklin Roosevelt has been on the dime for 60 years. To paraphrase Al Gore, "It's time (pause) for him (pause) to go!" There's been talk of putting President Reagan on the dime, but then you have the political crying about replacing a Democrat (Roosevelt) with a Republican (Reagan). You laugh, but that's a serious issue to some people! Doesn't matter that the only Republican on our coins now is Lincoln--what matters is that there'd be another one if we put Reagan on. Can't have that in our polarized political climate!

Yes, the dime is small, but it's going to be around for a long time. People use dimes every day. And let's face it, neither the obverse nor the reverse of the dime is very attractive right now. Without looking, can you even tell me what's on the reverse of the dime? And if you look now, can you tell what it is you're looking at?

Now imagine Dr. King on the obverse of the dime--not in profile, like the bust of a dead President, but looking more out of the coin, like Jefferson on the Lewis and Clark nickels or, better yet, on the 2006 nickel. Let your mind wander as to what would be on the reverse of the dime--the Lincoln Memorial? A bus? A black and a white hand reaching out to each other (yes, you can "color" the hand on the coin with texture)?

Dr. King deserves more than a one-time, one-year commemorative that only 500,000 people could own. He is great enough to be on coins in every American's pocket, and his time has come.

Contact your senators and representative today.

Racism In Seattle Public Schools

Would you want your children to go to schools where this is the ideology?

Here's some definitions of "racism" from The Seattle Public Schools:
Cultural Racism:
Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as “other”, different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.

Institutional Racism:
The network of institutional structures, policies, and practices that create advantages and benefits for Whites, and discrimination, oppression, and disadvantages for people from targeted racial groups. The advantages created for Whites are often invisible to them, or are considered “rights” available to everyone as opposed to “privileges” awarded to only some individuals and groups.
A truly great moment in public education.Seattle has more dogs than children in the public schools.Maybe this is one of the reasons.Via Blog
Emphasizing individualism as opposed to collectivism is "white"? In what parallel universe?

The Craziest Thing I've Ever Heard

Mexico Threatens Suits Over Guard Patrols

AP - 2 hours, 10 minutes ago

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - Mexico said Tuesday that it would file lawsuits in U.S. courts if National Guard troops on the border become directly involved in detaining migrants. Mexican border officials also said they worried that sending troops to heavily trafficked regions would push illegal migrants into more perilous areas of the U.S.-Mexican border to avoid detection.

They're going to sue us, in our courts, for enforcing our laws.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Via LiveScience and

Many animals engage in deception, or deliberately mislead one another, but only humans are wired to deceive both themselves and others, researchers say.

The entire article is even more interesting than that snippet.

Horrible Manners

Have we as Americans forgotten all about manners?

My students have never heard of the "rule" that says that gentlemen remove caps when coming indoors. I have the ladies do so as well, since the caps they wear are not part of their "outfit" but are just like those the guys are now wearing--primarily, baseball caps. I didn't wear caps as a kid/teenager, so I had to wait until I got to West Point to be taught this rule explicitly. However, a meandering down the center of any mall will show that this behavior isn't taught anymore. Heck, how many people don't even remove their hats during the national anthem at a sporting event?

Then there's manners related to how you treat a guest. Here's an example of how not to behave.

Another Idiot Teacher

What was this guy thinking?

ST. JOSEPH, Missouri (AP) -- A high school teacher has apologized forasking students to write about who they would kill and how they would do it, and officials said he will likely keep his job.

The World Turned Upside Down

I guess the President and his team have more information available to them than I do, but I still have a hard time accepting this:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Libya and remove the North African country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the State Department announced Monday.


Generals have been in the news lately. I love the contrasting news coverage.

Six retired generals criticize Secretary Rumsfeld and the press fawns over them. I guess I should see it as positive that some in the press now have respect for the viewpoints of military officers! What is amazing to me, however, is that no one has stopped to think about what the press seems to be wanting--our military brass to challenge the civilian leadership. Is there anyone with more than half a brain who really wants that? Isn't there a reason those smart guys in knickers and white wigs made the military subordinate to civilian control?

Then we have the air force general who's been nominated to head the CIA. Oh, we can't have that! He's military!

Consistency has never been a strong suit of the left.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dumb teachers

I'm not as dumb as this one and I hope I'm funnier than these were. I'm definitely better looking.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Health Care

Today I read an editorial that stated outright that "health care is a right."


Who granted this right? I know that the Creator granted all people the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our Constitution guarantees other rights but doesn't actually state the source(s) of those rights. Where is it written, besides in the editorial I saw, that health care is a right?

The superficial fools will scream, "It's part of life! As in, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!" Food is necessary for life, too, but I don't see anyone (yet) suggesting that the government provide food for everyone, food stamps notwithstanding. Would you want the government responsible for providing your food?

The government ensures a standard of healthy food, sure, but it doesn't provide each of us with tonight's dinner. The government also ensures a standard of healthy medicine (FDA) and works to track and find cures for all sorts of diseases and other illnesses (CDC). But it doesn't provide our food to us--because it's not a right--and it shouldn't provide our health care to us, either--because health care isn't a right.

But to hell with this life talk. I want to talk about the pursuit of happiness. If health care is a right because it promotes life, I want a trip to Vegas so I can pursue some happiness. Sounds stupid, doesn't it? I can hear you now, "I don't want to pay for this guy's trip to Vegas!" And I don't want to pay for your health care. I don't want to pay for your dinner, either. There are some things that we should be responsible for on our own.

"But health care is so expensive!" you cry. So is a condo in Turnberry Place in Vegas, but no one is suggesting the government buy me one to promote my happiness. How might the market bring health care costs down? Is there a market-oriented solution to this so-called crisis?

Why yes, there is.

NEA/CTA, eat your hearts out!

Update, 5/13/06 8:28 pm: I just saw this quote on Instapundit and thought it applies here as well:
The current health insurance system sucks; turning it into a government monopoly will increase, rather than decrease, the overall level of suckage.

Girl Scouts Have A "Cultural Sensitivity" Badge. Seriously.

I never would have guessed, but I guess I should have known. Now I do.

What brought me this knowledge? This Tongue Tied post. Here's the full story from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

I wonder if they have a "Brainwashed" Badge. Oh yeah, it's the same badge.

Not One State Has Complied With NCLB's "Highly Qualified Teacher" Provisions

California isn't specifically mentioned at all, so I assume we're in the top tier of having over 90% of our teachers classified as "highly qualified".

WASHINGTON — Not a single state will have a highly qualified teacher in every core class this school year as promised by President Bush's education law. Nine states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico face penalties.

The Education Department on Friday ordered every state to explain how it will have 100 percent of its core teachers qualified — belatedly — in the 2006-07 school year.

In the meantime, some states face the loss of federal aid because they didn't make enough effort to comply on time, officials said.

States don't have to do this, but if they don't, they risk losing federal education dollars. In that regard, this most definitely is not an unfunded mandate.

I love this quote:

"At some point there was, I suspect, a little bit of notion that 'This too shall pass,'" said Henry Johnson, the assistant secretary over elementary and secondary education. "Well, the day of reckoning is here, and it's not going to pass."

Let's read what these requirements are, the ones that some states thought must pass.

The 4-year-old No Child Left Behind law says teachers must have a bachelor's degree, a state license and proven competency in every subject they teach by this year. The first federal order of its kind, it applies to teachers of math, history and any other core class.

Do these sound like extreme requirements to you? I mean, the nerve of those in Washington, insisting that teachers have proven competency in subjects they teach!

And there are those (NEA, anyone?) who scream that the feds should just fork over the money because we know what's best for students. Amazing.