Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
"His sexuality, specifically because he’s the ONLY ONE, and because gay men are painted as unathletic in our culture, makes it a big part of the story."
Really? In my experience gay men (and far more prevalent stereotype about lesbians is that they are quite common as female athletes) are regarded as fitness freaks, very competitive, and quite athletic. It isn't that gay men aren't perceived as athletic it's that heterosexual athletes in generally mainstream athletics don't like homosexuals. Basketball, football, baseball, hockey, soccer, even tennis and golf all are generally sports that are hostile to gay men and that is an entirely different problem. Certainly no one who watches figure skating cares one way or the other and probably not in diving either.
Had Matthew Mitcham been a gay basketball player or discus thrower or even a swimmer then it would almost certainly been far too big a story to suppress over ratings concerns.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
"[Heidi Dalibor], 20, was arrested earlier this month in connection with a pair of books overdue for several months."Really? If this absurd display of authoritarian control doesn't shock you, then how about this one:
"Eleven-year-old Katie and three-year-old Sabrina Lewis have been selling spare melons, radishes, and of course, zucchini from their family garden at a roadside stand on Saturday mornings. Recently, the cops showed to bust them."Bureaucracy and statism out of control yet again.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
"Those behind the privately funded initiative said they saw many positive results on which to build, including an 8 percent increase in the number of AP tests taken and a 19 percent increase in students scoring at the top point level."
So, more kids took the tests and less passed? I call that a disaster.What actually happened should be obvious... the students who were already motivated to do well did even better. Students on the bubble overreached by taking exams and failed them and of course the unmotivated students didn't even bother.
I suspect that it was a deeply disenfranchising experience for the middle-ground students and irritating to the poorer performers.
Surely the program was well intended but it obviously failed to address the underlying reasons why so many black and hispanic students perform poorly in academics. It's awfully difficult to get the correct answer when you don't know what the problem is.
I don't know the answer but I do know that public schools are not primarily structured around academic success. Colleges are set up to keep you in school as long as possible, elementary is daycare, junior highs are prisons, and high school is primarily designed to keep bands of criminal teenagers from roaming the streets while keeping the teachers unions happy. Not exactly ideal for solving this problem...
"Either rescind the order or enforce it," Ellison said. "Either make it happen or let it go. I want a level playing field."
It would seem that liberty, property rights, and freedom of association are not his primary concern but rather equality. I often feel like I'm living in the wrong century, caring as I do about such anachronistic and outdated ideas as freedom.
So the Wall Street Journal reports that this Congress hasn't been doing much in the way of passing legislation:
"In two decades of record keeping, no sitting Congress has passed fewer public laws at this point in the session -- 294 so far -- than this one."
It seems as though they have been spending the bulk of their time on meaningless drivel:
"...no Congress in the same 20 years has been so prolific when it comes to proposing resolutions -- more than 1,900, according to a tally by the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense.
...Congress has saluted such milestones as the Idaho Potato Commission's 70th anniversary and recognized soil as an "essential natural resource."
I'm not even sure how to respond to this but I will try.
It's always my preference for Congress to do as little as humanly possible because then they can't do much in the way of damage. I'm more than a little pleased that they are wasting their time on such meaningless nonsense but it makes me think that maybe it's time to consider a part-time Congress?
A man can dream...
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
"We found Mr. Lynch guilty on all five indictments. I think the majority of us thought he was a nice man with good intentions who didn't stay within the parameters of the federal law. Under the federal law we had no choice but to find [him] guilty."
Friday, August 8, 2008
By now you've probably heard about the brainless July 29 police assault on Cheye Calvo of Berwyn Heights, Md., and his family. First the cops plant marijuana on them, then storm the house, terrorize Calvo, his mother-in-law, and his wife, and shoot dead their two Labrador retrievers. Despite having apparently been investigating a pot-smuggling ring for some time, the cops didn't even know that Calvo is the community's mayor.
Bold portion is my highlight.
In no other report on this subject, is the idea that the drugs were planted ever even suggested. In fact, the origin of the marijuana is well documented and explained, so why on earth would this blogger think to suggest that they were planted? I don't know, perhaps someone should ask him:
This kind of paranoid outrage and disdain for evidence is extremely common on the left, especially in the blogosphere, and supports my general sentiment that the primary psychological state of a leftist is irrational terror.
Good luck with whatever your issues are, don't let this spread beyond the two of you.
"Today, news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences for Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave."
Interesting. Not only does McCain feel comfortable giving orders (considering that his knowledge of the South Ossetian conflict likely comes from nothing more than a few minutes worth of briefings), but then has the audacity to suggest to these two warring states "what is most critical." I tend to think that Georgia and Russia have some ideas as to what is critical, that is after all why they are fighting in the first place. Not that Sen. Obama is much better. The Senator from Arizona isn't done yet though, as he goes on to suggest that the very stability of Europe is at risk. Seriously?
First of all, what business of the Senator McCain's is it to involve himself in what is essentially a border dispute? There is very little risk of this spreading, unless of course other nations recklessly, arrogantly, or needlessly insert themselves into this conflict.
Secondly, is Europe really threatened by this? This is a region of the world that has dealt with localized and not-so-localized conflicts for more than two millenia. Is there any reason to think that this will be any different or any worse? In short, no.
Georgia and Russia have an issue and it's not one that concerns most of the rest of the world. It is a private issue between them and it will reach resolution without our meddling. One side will win and one side will lose, built up tension will be released, people will surely die, and maps will likely need to be redrawn. Or we could try to maintain "the stability" of the region and watch this issue flare up for rest of eternity or descend into chaos as tends to happen whenever the international community gets its collective panties in a knot about something.
And so this is the issue at hand: Does the U.S. have anything at stake in this conflict worth (an oil pipeline seems to be about it) the potential risk of involving ourselves in it? Is it appropriate for a potential president to be so casual in his decrees and condemnations concerning the seriousness of this issue to both Georgia and Russia? Should we even bother with attempts at mediation and U.N. resolutions considering how regularly they are simply ignored?
Considering the limited risk to the U.S. and Europe, why not simply allow this conflict the hash itself out and we can console the loser with a nice U.N. resolution after the fact? Why not indeed...
Thursday, August 7, 2008
An interesting bill sb 1322 now sits on California Gov. Schwarzenegger’s desk, having already easily progressed through the state assembly and senate. This bill’s basic function is to remove all of the anti-communist regulations and restrictions on teachers in California, thus putting communism on a level playing field with the wide range of other -ism’s.
This bill is interesting to me because it's legislative success suggests one of two things... either communism is now so utterly passe in this country that no one fears it or that it’s underlying ideas are so common that no one finds explicit communism objectionable anymore.
Conservative bloggers have already started in on this topic here, and here with the slightly panicky tone that is oh-so familiar for regular readers. They fear that without authoritarian rules designed to ostracize anyone with communist ideas, then our schools will soon be turning out generation after generation of leftism indoctrinated drones. I believe this passage to be the most troubling to them:
"This bill would delete provisions that prohibit a teacher giving instruction in a school or on property belonging to an agency included in the public school system from teaching communism with the intent to indoctrinate or to inculcate in the mind of any pupil a preference for communism. The bill would also delete provisions that a teacher may be dismissed from employment if he or she teaches communism in that way."
Perhaps they have a point... but I doubt the one that they will likely think of. The problem isn't that our public schools will turn generations of kids into happy little leftists because they already do that. The problem is this bill suggests that we have completely abandoned the principle that we should be teaching people how to think, not what to think. Most people who read about this bill will worry that their children are being influenced in favor of communism when they should be concerned that their children are being indoctrinated rather than educated.
A teacher who teaches communism with the intent to indoctrinate or predispose someone to it should be fired because preaching and indoctrinating is not their job in an educational environment. Our teachers should be cultivating intellectual curiosity, sound methodology, historical context, and logical skills, etc. but not indoctrinating. It shouldn't matter what ideological predilection an academic has, he should leave it at the door and strive to sharpen the conceptual faculties of his students.
The language in this bill flagrantly acknowledges a philosophical premise that the left has been pushing for years: that the human rational faculty (empiricism, reason, and applied logic) is useless in knowing the truth of the world and therefore educating to those ends is pointless.
In their world, you can't teach a student to understand anything because their is nothing to understand, thus it is simply a battle of which emotional ideology is to be impressed upon the next generation, ideally theirs of course. No point in striving for impartiality because it is impossible and futile. No reason to train students minds to think logically, rationally, and efficiently because it is a lie. Just accept your base emotional whims and go with the heard.
Accepting the notion that education is simply cultural indoctrination, absent of objective value, is to completely abandon its purpose, value, and utility. Given that, what underlies the left's vigorous support of the public school system, if not to educate and enlighten?
Simply put, they believe that the purpose of education is to indoctrinate. Ultimately it is their intent to mold generation after generation into compliant, harmless, unthinking, desperately confused robots seeking some authority to submit to. That is what is scary about this bill - it is the tacit approval of this coming to pass.
Gov. Schwarzenegger should veto this bill and should follow it up with the decimation of the entire public school system in California. It is obviously horribly corrupted by irrationalism and the only thing that can fix it is nature itself.
Sir Francis Bacon once said:
"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed"
The natural world is reality and it has rules. Every misstep and every violation of those rules will be mercilessly punished; the world enforces its nature absolutely and relentlessly. Those same rules, when understood and obeyed, open the door to immense human potential as well as a kind and benevolent universe. Civilization is the byproduct of a far stricter adherence to that fact than those cultures which still dwell in poverty and barbarism. Within civilization, complete liberty is man's most natural state and the free-market (i.e. capitalism) its economic expression. Only the coercive force of the state (or chaotic violence) can corrupt the market and nowhere is that corruption more apparent than the public education system.
State sponsored education attempts to violate one of natures rules: that of accountability. The state taxes the people in order to subsidize public schools. It regulates the competition and controls its curriculum. The schools are funded based on forced attendance and not on achievement or quality. Coupled with an obscenely powerful teacher's union, and meddling politicians the public schools have become ineffective bastions of irrationalism, inefficiency, and leftism. It is only their sheltered existence and the states ruthless oppression of competition that keeps them in existence. In the natural world they would have died out years ago.
Let loose the market upon education such that it can devour the weak and irrational parts of. Force the school system to abandon it's absurdities or die as a consequence. The insipid and irrational ideologies such as communism stand little chance in the market place of ideas and a school system which accepts them will justly whither away, bested by the superior, more rational schools which will necessarily and inevitably evolve.
In a free society, without government intrusion, it is the rational, and their institutions, that will flourish and they would have nothing to fear from any phantoms of communism. They need not worry about their culture being corrupted because the market, and nature itself will continuously cleanse such irrationality from the civilized world.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
To lament the conservative one first must know what he is and what he must do.
Evelyn Waugh once said:
"[Kipling] was a conservative in the sense that he believed civilization to be something laboriously achieved which was only precariously defended. He wanted to see the defences fully manned and he hated the liberals because he thought them gullible and feeble, believing in the easy perfectibility of man and ready to abandon the work of centuries for sentimental qualms."There are not many statements that more clearly and concisely illustrate what it means to be a conservative and the troubling nature of a liberal.