August 31, 2007

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are NYT: Analogies Are Meaningless (Unless They Favor the Left) by Big Lizards, and Like a Suppository, Only a Bit Stronger by The Dissident Frogman.  Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  1/3NYT: Analogies Are Meaningless (Unless They Favor the Left)
Big Lizards
2Separate But Unequal
Soccer Dad
1  1/3What, Do You Think?
Done With Mirrors
1  1/3"Sanctuary" Cities
The Colossus of Rhodey
1  1/3Victor Davis Hanson -- Why We Must Study War
‘Okie’ on the Lam
1Jesus, Lord! Are They All Hypocritical Bastards?
Right Wing Nut House
1Iraq As Vietnam... Or Vice Versa
Joshuapundit
2/3The New Conspiracy Theorists
Bookworm Room
2/3They Don't Understand the Incentives (Updated)
The Glittering Eye
1/3Local Blogger, Democrat Leader, Urges Jasper-Style Truck-Drag of Jewish Republican
Rhymes With Right

VotesNon-council link
3Like a Suppository, Only a Bit Stronger
The Dissident Frogman
2Misfire: AP's Bogus Ammo Shortage Story
Confederate Yankee
1  2/3Anticipation vs Denial
Dr. Sanity
1A Recurrent Theme: On Moderate Muslims
ShrinkWrapped
1What Exactly Is the Crime?
Captain's Quarters
1Watching Al Jazeera, Part III
Seraphic Secret
2/3Roger L. Simon: Not Blogging the Beijing Olympics
Pajamas Media
2/3God's Jewish Warriors -- CNN's Abomination
CAMERA
1/3Why Mike Huckabee Can't Be the Conservative Choice for President
Say Anything
1/3King Monument Criticized Over Artist
Booker Rising
1/3This Is What Sadness Looks Like
Logosphilia

Posted by Hube at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2007

Major political stories of the day ...

...according to MSNBC.com circa 11:00am EDT:

Four out of five political stories of the day ... about Larry Craig?? Well, he IS a Republican, after all.

Posted by Hube at 03:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 29, 2007

I'd be quite remiss ...

... if I didn't thank Jonah Goldberg of National Review's The Corner blog for linking to my snarky post from yesterday about "gay offsets."

Posted by Hube at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Major political stories of the day ...

... according to MSNBC.com (circa 4:50pm EDT):

A practical joke on Karl Rove! SOOO important to MSNBC, they had to mention it twice!!

Posted by Hube at 04:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 28, 2007

Maybe Craig can buy "gay offsets"

By now you've most likely heard of Idaho Senator Larry Craig's [alleged] dalliance in a men's airport bathroom. The pundits have been out in force with the hypocrisy charges, and rightly so considering Craig's past stances and actions. But considering how often liberals react when conservatives question people like Al Gore and other "greens" about their own hypocrisy, I'm wondering when we'll hear these same libs wondering about "why shoot the messenger" and saying "but isn't the real issue ..." regarding the Craig incident.

Perhaps Craig can be like many Hollywood dopes (and Al Gore) but instead of purchasing carbon offsets he can buy gay offsets to "reduce his gay footprint" (or, more accurately, his "wide stance").

Posted by Hube at 08:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A big entertainment "HUH??"

My buddy Brent informed me of NBC10.com's "20 Best" and "20 Worst" science fiction films of all time. The list was compiled by NBC-10 employees (which is Philly's NBC affiliate). The "Best" list had little to argue with; however, the "Worst" list has quite a few ridiculous choices. Let's take a look ...

#20: "Superman Returns." You mean to tell me that this long-awaited sequel is the 20th worst scifi film of all time?? It wasn't a great movie, but it certainly wasn't bad, let alone one of worst ever. Please.

#18: "Aliens Vs. Predator." OK, it's a bad movie, but 18th worst ever? As Jack Warden's henchman says in "Used Cars," "'Ya gotta be jackin' me!"

#14: "RoboCop." This is the first choice which shows NBC-10's employees are utterly clueless. "RC" is actually considered one of the best scifi flicks ever. You wanna see bad, check out its sequels, yo.

#13: "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines." Though clearly inferior to the first two Ahnuld flicks, there's still absolutely no way this is #13 worst of all time. The F/X alone preclude it.

#9: "Predator." This is the biggest travesty of the entire list. Like "RoboCop," this Ahnuld actioner is one of, if not THE, best of the Austrian bodybuilder's films. Even generic TV movie guides give it three of four stars. Again, for this to be on the list, but not its sequel, shows what lamebrains NBC-10 has. I mean, many sequels are on this list, yet "Predator" makes the list ... but "Predator 2" doesn't?? "Species 2" is on this list (#12), but "Species" isn't even ON the list -- which means these heavy thinkers believe "Species" is superior to both "Predator" AND "RoboCop"!!?? Absolutely bonkers.

#7: "A.I." Not surprising that this film made this "brain trust's" list since the film requires one TO THINK. While not a great scifi offering, it is light-years from being one of the worst.

#6: "War of the Worlds (2006)." The brief commentary says this film "didn't live up to the original." I disagree, but even if I did agree, that surely doesn't make this Tom Cruise flick number 6 on the worst films list!! This original take on the classic story is WELL worth the look if not for the sound (yes, sound) effects alone. I'm serious.

Where they got it right:

#16: "Short Circuit 2." See what I mean about sequels? There are gazillions of 'em that are lame.

#10: "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace." Actually, I don't believe this qualifies as one of the 20 worst films ever, but I'm listing it anyway because George Lucas ought to be ashamed of himself for making this [long awaited] pathetic sequel to the original "Star Wars" trilogy.

#3: "Waterworld." There are worse scifi movies, but this is borderline. Way too long with a cool premise that was wasted, we get a glimpse of what'll happen if we don't listen to Al Gore. Oh, and Kevin Costner has gills.

#1: "Battlefield Earth." Soooo bad it's worth watching for the [unintentional] laughs alone. Probably the biggest "COME ON!" of the whole film: John Travolta and Forrest Whittaker come from a race of aliens who evolved on a planet where one spark of fire in its flammable atmosphere will incinerate their whole world. Yet, they use metal and combustible materials all the time. Got that?

Posted by Hube at 04:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Here we go again

A guy gets a fractured skull, loses teeth, a busted nose and other injuries, and here's the official News Journal description of the man's assailants:

[State Police Cpl. Jeff] Whitmarsh said the attackers were described as being in their early 20s; three of them were dressed in cut-off pants and white, sleeveless T-shirts. The fourth was wearing jeans and a white, short-sleeved T-shirt.

What obvious -- and helpful -- descriptive facet is omitted? Doesn't the NJ realize that these criminals can easily change their friggin' clothes at a whim? Or do they think they'll just keep wearing the same outfit all the time, sort of like the characters in Charles Schulz's "Charlie Brown" comics? (That'd be "Peanuts," actually.)

A commenter at the NJ article states that he heard on WDEL that the attackers were white. So? As a white male myself I am OFFENDED that the News Journal DID NOT report the race of these attackers. I detest political correctness in ANY form.

In a word, "Sheesh."

Posted by Hube at 04:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 27, 2007

Proof: The News Journal is politically correct

A few days ago I e-mailed the News Journal asking why this article failed to mention the race of the assailants who have been victimizing Hispanics recently. They responded with their editorial policy regarding such matters, established by an asst. managing editor. Note that in its first paragraph, it says it's "not about being politically correct." You be the judge:

Our policy is not about being politically correct, it's about being accurate. Race is such an unreliable descriptor. What race is Halle Berry or Tiger Woods or Jennifer Lopez? They are extreme examples, but project them onto everyday people and you see the problem.

Or what real information is conveyed in a description that says: She is a 5-foot-6-inch white woman with brown hair? How many women fit that description? Who is that of use to? By the way, that description is of me -- and I haven't committed any crimes.

I offer you these excerpts from Keith M. Woods, a noted journalism scholar, in an essay called "The Language of Race": "What, for example, does a Hispanic man look like? Is his skin dark brown? Reddish brown? Pale? Is his hair straight? Curly? Course? Fine? Does he have a flat, curved nose or is it narrow and straight? Telling the public that he’s 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, with a blue shirt and blue jeans says something about the person’s appearance. But what do you add to that picture when you say Latino?

"And what is black? It’s the color of pitch. Yet, the word is used to describe people whose skin tones can cover just about every racial and ethnic group in the world, including white people. What does the word "black" add to the mental picture the public draws? How do you draw the lips? The eyes? The nose? What sort of hair does a black person have? What color skin does a black person have? The combinations are infinite.

"All racial and ethnic groups do share some common physical characteristics. Still, we don’t see the phrase "Irish-looking man" in the newspaper, though red hair and pale skin are common Irish characteristics. Would a picture come to mind if a TV anchor said, "The suspect appeared to be Italian"? Couldn’t many of us conjure an image if the police said they were looking for a middle-aged man described as "Jewish-looking."

"There are good reasons those descriptions never see the light of day. They generalize. They stereotype. And they require that everyone who hears the description has the same idea of what those folks look like. All Irish-Americans don’t look alike. Why, then, accept a description that says a suspect was African-American?

When police have a surveillance photo of a suspect or a sketch -- by far the best way to help citizens identify someone sought by the police -- we are happy to run that.

Personally, I am struck by the absolute arrogance of this. Keep in mind that the police report and local radio all included the race of the attackers in their reports of the incidents against local Hispanics. (Note, too, the irony that "Hispanic" was used in the NJ to describe the victims ... OK, I know I know ... they or the police probably told the NJ themselves their ethnic background, but you get the point.) I mean, consider:

  • She is a 5-foot-6-inch white woman with brown hair? How many women fit that description? Who is that of use to?

If there was a killer out there, wouldn't you want this information -- to narrow down the number of potential suspects just a little??

  • Telling the public that he’s 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, with a blue shirt and blue jeans says something about the person’s appearance. But what do you add to that picture when you say Latino?

A LOT! You've now excluded a TON of potential suspects! And doesn't the editor realize that this 5-foot-8, 180 lb. man can actually change his "blue shirt" and "blue jeans" -- but not his race? Are you kidding me??

  • Still, we don’t see the phrase "Irish-looking man" in the newspaper, though red hair and pale skin are common Irish characteristics. Would a picture come to mind if a TV anchor said, "The suspect appeared to be Italian"? Couldn’t many of us conjure an image if the police said they were looking for a middle-aged man described as "Jewish-looking."

That's right, we don't see the phrase "Irish-looking man." We do see -- and should see -- the phrase "white man with pale complexion and red hair." "Irish" is not a race, after all. Nor is "Jewish."

  • "There are good reasons those descriptions never see the light of day. They generalize. They stereotype. And they require that everyone who hears the description has the same idea of what those folks look like. All Irish-Americans don’t look alike. Why, then, accept a description that says a suspect was African-American?

See response above. "Irish" is not a race much like "Nigerian" is not. White is a race as is "black." In the US, "black" is synonymous with "African-American" (due to, I might add, the insistence of [some] black leaders). This is why the public would be best informed if the race of police suspects was revealed along with other pertinent info.

But here you have it -- to the News Journal, valuable information for the public isn't as paramount as being fearful of "stereotyping" a group of people. Despite what the NJ says to the contrary, this is the epitome of political correctness, folks.

Posted by Hube at 06:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

The Delaware Sierra Club's Carol Taylor makes the following statement in a letter today:

As stewards of our planet, we are faced with an undisputable challenge that no human has ever before faced. We're running out of pure breathable air, potable water and, in the case of Delaware, vital farmland to feed us.

Really? According to the Index of Leading Environmental Indicators for 2002, things are actually improving:

  • Air quality is improving and is going to continue to improve. "Since 1970, aggregate emissions of the six 'criteria' pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Acts have declined 29 percent, at the same time that the US economy grew 150 percent, auto travel increased by 143 percent, and total US energy consumption (the primary source of air pollution emissions) increased 45 percent." And guess why -- technology and stricter regulations.
  • Water quality is improving. "Water quality is measured very poorly and inconsistently in the United States, but several measures indicate substantial improvement. Wetlands loss has virtually ended, for example."
  • The United States is not running out of farmland or open space. The rapid growth of American metro areas in recent decades has fueled the understandable perception that we are "running out of land." New methods of analyzing satellite imagery have revealed that most of the statistics on land cover in the United States are turning out to be wrong by a high order of magnitude. How cities should grow is an important issue, but choices should be made based on accurate information.

It's not surprising the groups like the Sierra Club have to resort to scare tactics. This is how they operate in order to get needed funds and members. After all, how much money would be flowing in and how would membership increase if the S.C. put out a press release stating what it says in the bulleted list above? The dopiest line in Taylor's letter is where she says "and, in the case of Delaware, vital farmland to feed us." This is misleading on two levels: One, it presumes that we who live here in Delaware need to have our own [state] farmland in order to eat (or, at least, to have an adequate food supply). Nothing could be further from the truth. Second, she asserts that the planet as a whole is in danger of running out of food (as a result of land loss). Even the frenzied United Nations realizes that food production isn't a problem in and of itself. It's how it's managed.

Carol ends her letter by stating "We cannot afford skepticism. We must instead have hope, faith and optimism." We do have hope, faith and optimism, Carol. We have faith that we can solve any problem that comes our way, as we've demonstrated countless times over the centuries. The skepticism comes when people continually hear the cries of doom from folks like yourself.

Posted by Hube at 03:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 26, 2007

And Sanctuary Cities are bad??

Stopping drugs and illegals is not the job of the Border Patrol. I'm serious.

Greg at Rhymes With Right has the story.

Posted by Hube at 07:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Just in time for the start of school: Politicized education

Here in Delaware teachers have to complete 90 "clock hours" of training/classes/conferences etc. every five years for relicensure. Out in Oregon, teachers "must demonstrate cultural competence." The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) definition of just what "cultural competence" is can be summed up by Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo (my emphasis):

... she asserts that the group found a consensus that cultural competence is more than just effectively meeting the needs of all students by providing teachers with the requisite knowledge and skills. Rather cultural competence entails actively challenging the status quo and advocating for equity and social justice. That involves the need to incorporate institutionalized notions of power, privilege, and oppression into the definition...(and) the need to acknowledge power differences and silencing. Thus, for many, Ms Castillo's report continues, cultural competence is transformative and political.

At least she's brazen enough to just come out and say so!

Fortunately, the attempt to codify this nonsense into Oregon law was halted by the state House of Representatives (again, my emphasis):

The Bill never made it to the floor of the House because when Rep. Linda Flores and her legislative staff studied the Bill and the Summit report, they concluded that the law is unconstitutional because the TSPC, guided by the Summit decisions, effectively demanded that individuals be tested to assure that they possess specific attitudes and beliefs as a condition of employment.

This didn't thwart the educrats, though. They forged ahead with their plan. Can't have "non-believers" of the multiculti dogma actually teaching now, can we??

Expect to see court challenges if/when someone is denied relicensure based on this garbage.

Posted by Hube at 10:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 25, 2007

More bizarre Mike Vick defenses

Lawrence O'Donnell actually titles his Huffington Post column "What's Wrong with Killing Dogs?" and goes on to compare what Vick did with ... catching (and possibly eating) fish:

What's wrong with what Michael Vick did? I have no inclination to do what he did with dogs, but I have no comprehension of what all the fuss is about. Most people who are upset about killing dogs or letting them attack each other have at some point in their lives caught a fish, which is as extreme a form of murderous torture of an animal as I can imagine.

Not only have most of them caught a fish, they have actually eaten many more of them than they've caught. Which is weirder, killing an animal or eating its dead flesh? Most of us have never eaten dog meat, but in some countries it is a delicacy. Is there something evil going on in those countries? Are they violating the natural order of things?

Manonman, and I thought this guy was a nut! Aside from the fact that fish feel little to no pain at all, O'Donnell misleadingly begins his column with the question "So it's a federal crime to be mean to dogs? Who knew?" Hey Larry, "mean" in Vick's case isn't quite an apt adjective, you friggin' dunce. He participated in the purposeful torture of dogs that did not fight well -- the forced fighting bad enough in itself.

Still, O'Donnell has a point about other countries that eat dogs and how they're killed there. Commenter "dan" raised such a point in my other post about Vick. But we're talking about the US! Would O'Donnell write an article titled "What's wrong with imprisoning political dissenters?" and "make the case" that, since other countries (like China) do it, it's somehow acceptable?

I just don't get lefties sometimes ...

(h/t: Newsbusters.)

Posted by Felix at 12:44 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Scarborough doesn't challenge Bush-Hitler comparison

Joe Scarborough, on his new "Morning Joe" show on MSNBC, didn't utter a peep of a challenge to Naomi Wolf's assertion that the Bush administration is like -- yep -- Hitler:

... what's happening in America is really much more recognizable if you look at other times and places where leaders have closed down open societies. And what I found through my reading, for the research I did for The End of America, it's really scary but it's important for us to face so that we can, you know, basically save the country in time, what is clear that in every historical situation in which a leader is seeking to close down an open society, to put pressure on a democracy, to weaken it, to shift it toward a more repressive regime, or even to crush a pro-democracy uprising in a society that isn't free, they take the same ten steps, and that these ten steps have been taken systematically by the Bush administration, and we're really so close to a tipping point at which it will be difficult to redeem democracy unless we act now.

I mean, you saw this happening in Italy in the 20s, in Germany in the 30s, in East Germany in the 50s, in Prague in the 60s, in China in the 80s. Again and again leaders that are trying to push through things that make it hard to recover democratic practice terrify the population and often the threat is real. So I really think it's important for our leaders to get some perspective because right now people are so traumatized by the threat of being cast as soft on terror that they are scared to stand up for the Constitution.

Joe may not have challenged Wolf, but commenter "Mica the Magnificent" did with his own "ten steps" that threaten open societies:

1) Have an agendized press; 2) Implement the Fairness Doctrine; 3) Buddy up with and praise dictators; 4) Keep U.S. dependent on foreign oil. No oil drilling in U.S. owned territory; 5) Make a mockery of the current president for the enemy to enjoy; 6) Compare Islam with other religions and see no difference; 7) Call the war on terror a 'bumper sticker'; 8) Work for and insist on defeat in Iraq to embolden our enemies; 9) Have sanctuary cities so the terrorists can walk freely among us; 10) Call our enemy survellience system a 'domestic spy program' and keep the public uninformed and misled.
Posted by Felix at 12:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2007

Mark King rocks

How does this guy (my favorite bass player of all time) play the bass lines he does and sing so well -- at the same friggin' time??

(And is that Prince William playing the sax solo there, or what?)

Posted by Hube at 10:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Don't call it a hate crime!!

The News Journal reports:

Three more robbery attacks by a gang of assailants near the Canby Park Shopping Center in Christiana Hundred have Delaware State Police alerting the Hispanic community that residents are being victimized in these recent strong-arm robberies.

Though police said all but one of the victims were Hispanic and the robberies were reportedly committed by assailants who are not of Hispanic descent, the incidents are not being classified legally as hate crimes.

My emphasis. "... and the robberies were reportedly committed by assailants who are not of Hispanic descent." You've gotta be joking. This must be News Journal-speak for saying that the assailants were black. In the article's comment section, one commenter links to the police report which shows the attackers were black. And there's your reason why these aren't going to be considered hate crimes!

Why can't the News Journal state this most obvious of physical traits ... as the police report indicates? Why do local radio stations note the attackers' race? (I heard a report on WDEL this afternoon saying that the assailants were "several black males ages 16-20.") If we had only the WNJ to go by, we'd be on the lookout for a group of white men. Or Asian men. Or black men. Or Indian men. Or middle eastern-looking men.

Yeesh.

Posted by Hube at 04:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Is the United States an Imperialist Power and Does It Matter? by Right Wing Nut House, and How The New Republic Got Suckered by Pajamas Media. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
4Is the United States an Imperialist Power and Does It Matter?
Right Wing Nut House
2St. Nietzsche
Done With Mirrors
1  1/3Horrific Nineveh Bombing Shows Counterinsurgency Working
Big Lizards
2/3Noriega Rips Cornyn For Representing Texans The Way They Vote
Rhymes With Right
2/3On Science, Fashion & Being PC
‘Okie’ on the Lam
2/3Papa Giuliani
Bookworm Room
2/3God's Warriors?
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1/3Christians and Democrats: An Open letter To Anne Rice
Joshuapundit
1/3A Misguided College Senior
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3The Economic War On Terror
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
4How The New Republic Got Suckered
Pajamas Media
1  1/3The Peace Racket
City Journal
1  1/3Israel and the Double Standard
Yourish.com
1  1/3The Technology of Our Dissent
Beijing Wide Open
1UK Civics Class Asks: What Would Muhammad Do?
Sweetness & Light
2/3The VSP Club
The Washington Monthly
1/3Arming Teachers
Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher
1/3"Consensus": Wrong
Logosphilia
1/3In Another Country
JustOneMinute
1/3How To Educate Inner City Poor
Kavips

Posted by Hube at 04:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 23, 2007

The latest Mike Vick defense: "We all do it"

So says Gary L. Francione in today's Philadelphia Daily News. Now, you might be saying, "Huh? I don't treat dogs like Vick! I LOVE my dog! I love ALL animals!" But Francione has a beef (pardon the pun) with people who eat meat and other animal products period:

There is something bizarre about condemning Michael Vick for using dogs in a hideous form of entertainment when 99 percent of us also use animals that are every bit as sentient as dogs in another hideous form of entertainment that is no more justifiable than fighting dogs: eating animals and animal products.

There is something bizarre about Reebok and Nike, which use leather in their shoes, suspending products endorsed by Vick. They're not going to allow a guy who allegedly tortures dogs to endorse products that contain tortured cows.

Gar goes on to cite a character from one of his books called "Simon the Sadist" who gets off on blowtorching dogs. He then asks us "How are those of us who eat animal flesh and animal products any different from Simon? He enjoys blowtorching dogs - we enjoy the taste of flesh and animal products."

Yeah, OK. While there has been an unflattering history in the slaughterhouse industry, astonishing changes have taken place over the last few decades. Francione also claims that "there is no 'need' for us to eat meat, dairy or eggs." I trust he might have a seizure if he reads this. But the obvious is that Gary is being puerile for equating the purposeful heinous torture of a domesticated (and intelligent) animal that people utilize as a member of their family with chickens and steer that have been used as food animals for centuries.

Posted by Felix at 09:35 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Boston Globe gets wise on "teacher gap"

A few days ago I wrote about a Globe article that blamed everything but lack of preparation and knowledge for a "teacher gap" in Boston. Now the same Globe has an op-ed that shows not all of their employees are silly:

Inadequate preparation, not cultural bias, is the most likely explanation for the high failure rate among black and Hispanic candidates. Similar to the achievement gap problem between white and minority students, a solution requires educators to target the academic deficiencies of prospective teachers and provide them with remedial support.

Of course, it would be incumbent upon the teachers (or prospective teachers) to seek out that support, unlike the reverse regarding classroom students.

Bravo to the Globe for a sensible editorial.

Posted by Felix at 07:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 22, 2007

"Sanctuary" cities

Today's News Journal features an AP article about the recent shootings of three Delaware State University students in Newark, NJ. Amazingly, the AP manages to not even mention once that some of the suspects are illegal aliens. Not only that, it fails to mention the controversy surrounding Newark's "sanctuary city" policy where local officials are not permitted to check into criminal suspects' citizenship status. Jose Carranza, an illegal immigrant from Peru, had THREE prior felony convictions before [allegedly] murdering the three DSU students, yet there was no query as to his citizenship status. Indeed, he was released on bail. Now, three young college are dead. Melvin Lovel, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, is also a suspect in the murders.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker was unrepentant about his city's policy. First, he blasted GOP prez candidate Tom Tancredo for coming to his city and criticizing his city's policy.

"These folks descend from out of town to protest in front of City Hall at this time; I find that troubling," he said. "Talking about anyone being complicit in such a heinous crime — I find those words vulgar."

What is vulgar, Mr. Booker, is your defense of this blatant violation of federal law. It is also vulgar that the feds let you, and other mayors across the US, get away with it.

In addition, last night Booker further explained his rationale for Newark's policy in a clip featured on "The O'Reilly Factor." He claimed it would make people feel "uncomfortable" if they constantly had to worry about being inquired about their immigration status. In the NY Times,

Mr. Booker said he was frustrated that Mr. Carranza had been freed, but, responding to the debate surrounding the suspect's illegal status, has come out firmly against involving city police in immigration matters.

He said such a role would hurt relationships with what he called "the most marginalized and vulnerable people within our community."

"My Police Department does not play an I.N.S. function," Mr. Booker said. "We are not to be running around doing interrogations about whether someone is documented or not."

My emphasis. Newark's municipal council had adopted a [non-binding] resolution "that commits the city to being a 'sanctuary' for immigrants," but the New Jersey Star-Ledger's Tom Moran argues that there's apparently a loophole in it that permits law enforcement officials to inquire as to immigration status when investigating a crime. This seems to be in conflict with what municipal council member Ronald C. Rice has proposed since the shootings: "an ordinance that would require the police to contact federal authorities about illegal immigrants in custody."

Gee, y'think with all these conflicting matters it's any wonder why Newark police are unsure as to exactly what to do? And after all, if it's the mayor's own desire that no immigration inquiry take place, what policy do you think will prevail among local law enforcement?

In addition, can someone (a liberal) explain to me the difference whereby mayors such as Booker can blatantly and overtly disregard federal law, yet leftists are silent -- and even agree with Booker; yet, George Bush is definitely "circumventing the Constitution" and "breaking the law" when it comes to separation of powers/inherent powers interpretations?

UPDATE: The New Jersey Attorney General has seen the light apparently:

New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram yesterday ordered police officers to notify federal officials whenever an illegal immigrant is arrested for a serious offense.

Milgram said the recent slayings of three college students in Newark - by a group of suspects that included two undocumented immigrants out on bail facing other serious charges - dramatically highlighted the need for a uniform policy on how local, county and state law-enforcement officers work with federal immigration authorities.

She issued the guidelines yesterday, to go into effect immediately. The need for them, she said, had been known to law-enforcement officials before the sensational Aug. 4 killings in a Newark schoolyard, but was "brought home to us by the tragic events."

Under the new rules, when a person is arrested for a serious crime, including driving while intoxicated, local police "shall inquire about the person's citizenship, nationality and immigration status."

Posted by Hube at 07:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 21, 2007

Best bands that never existed

Instapundit has the link to a site which lists the "The Ten Best Bands That Never Existed." I knew Spinal Tap would be on the list, as well as the Blues Brothers, but some of the choices just SUCKED. I mean, where's Josie and the Pussycats, for cripe's sake? And commenter "James P" is my hero for making the comment I was planning on writing. He asks, "What about The Riverbottom Nightmare Band from the HBO special Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas??

The RNB (keyboardist and band leader "Chuck" is pictured above left) was a bunch of animal misfits attempting to win a talent show in the HBO Jim Henson-created special. I laughed my ass off as a young teen when it first aired (1977) and I still do whenever I view it (my sister once bought me the video as a Christmas present). I'll never forget the classic line from "The Nightmare" -- the song the group sang at the talent contest. The lead singer, a weasel wearing a Kangol cap over his eyes, bellows "WE DON'T BRUSH OUR TEETH ... 'CAUSE THE PAIN ... MAKES US FEEL MEEEEEAAAAAANNNN!!"

OK, maybe it ain't that funny now, but keep in mind just who the audience was for the special. And then recall what a genius Jim Henson was -- especially since the #1 band on the list was "The Muppet Show's" Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem!! (See below.)


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Third remake of a 1956 classic (spoilers)

Me and the Mrs. went out to catch "Invasion" yesterday afternoon. This is the second [major] remake of the classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" which was an allegory for communist infiltration. (Hey, 1956? What would you expect?) In the original, star Kevin McCarthy is fleeing the alien invaders at film's end -- invaders who've "replaced" humans, taking over their bodies. A depressing ending to be sure as humanity's days are clearly numbered.

The 1978 remake starring Donald Sutherland is even darker. Like the original, the aliens are "plant-like"; they duplicate a human's features leaving the human to die, and the replicas are essentially devoid of emotion. That is how Sutherland and the other remaining humans in San Francisco are able to live among the alien duplicates for a time. The ending of the remake, like the original's, is dark and somber as the aliens appear victorious. Co-star Veronica Cartwright has successfully managed to survive among the invaders, and when she glimpses Sutherland walking down the street, she summons him. Oops. Don has been taken over, and he lets out a hideous alien scream to warn his brethren that he's discovered a human.

"Invasion" veers as Nicole Kidman takes the lead role. (By the way, I am not very partial to blondes and especially redheads, but Kidman is SMOKIN' in this flick! She has now colored her hair blond.) A space shuttle has crashed and appears infected with some sort of alien virus. (This to me was a clear nod to "The Andromeda Strain.") Unfortunately, the head of the US CDC is among the first to be infected, and he promptly infects his closest confidantes. Thus, they're able to trick the public into getting "innoculations" against the virus -- but it's actually the infection itself! The aliens are not plant-based this time; they're actually an intelligent "macro-virus" that uses human brain tissue to take over its host. Kidman and new 007 star Daniel Craig have a buddy who discovers just this, and they quickly seek protective shelter where they can study the virus further. It turns out that Kidman's son and cameo-appearance star Veronica Cartwright (from the 1978 version) who is a patient of Kidman's have a special type of antibody in their system which gives them immunity. This leads to a cure, and unlike the first two versions of the film, this one ends with the aliens being defeated, and those who were infected, cured.

In an interesting twist, while the original movie dealt with the Red Scare and subsequent paranoia, the new one features a Russian ambassador who lectures Kidman, Craig and others at a dinner about the "chaos" that is the world, -- how civilization can crumble at any time when it's convenient. Of course, the US in particular is reprimanded: the ambassador (played by Roger Rees, better known as "Cheers'" Robin Colcord) mentions Iraq and New Orleans. This -- from a Russian.

The irony of all the films is peculiar, too. The only way peace on the planet can actually be achieved is by letting the aliens win. Since they essentially have a hive-mind, individuality is no more and everyone's goals are the same. One of "Invasion's" funnier moments is when we glimpse on a TV a news bulletin announcing a "US-Venezuela Peace Pact," and a [obviously CGI-doctored] scene where President Bush and Hugo Chávez are hugging one another.

Speaking of being lectured, two previews of upcoming films demonstrate that anti-Americanism in modern film surely is not on the wane. Richard Gere is starring in "The Hunting Party" about war press correspondents, and -- surprise -- uncovers news where the US is supporting a Bosnian war criminal. George Clooney is the main guy in another soon-to-be released flick, "Michael Clayton," this time dealing with corporate/government intrigue where -- surprise -- corporations kill people and the government seemingly doesn't care.

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August 20, 2007

Everything but ...

... not studying/knowing enough. That's the basis of this Boston Globe article that focuses on why more black and Latino teacher applicants fail the state teacher test at rates more than twice that of whites.

The problem is so persistent that a special state task force of teachers, state education officials and hiring directors has been set up to find out why minorities don't do better on the tests.

Oh brother. And what will this task force look for? For some reason I had a feeling that historical personal study habits and overall knowledge base (like GPA, SAT scores) would not be among things considered. I was right:

Some deans of education schools are raising questions about whether the lower results among minority applicants shows the tests are culturally biased and whether the quality of education that minority applicants receive is good enough.

Which is pretty much exactly what I'd expect deans of education schools to focus on. But they'd better be careful on that last point -- someone may take that as a "racist" statement against Historically Black Colleges.

Some minority applicants say the tests includes questions that white applicants and those with liberal arts backgrounds can more readily identify with, such as questions about ancient literature or investing in the stock market.

I see. So if a white person stated that "blacks generally aren't interested in the stock market," that wouldn't be regarded as a racist comment by these black teaching applicants, or by those education college deans, right?

A Cambridge lawyer said he's planning to file a class action lawsuit against the state Department of Education and the testing company on behalf of three minority teachers who failed the test multiple times.

But of COURSE! It's sure a lot easier to file a lawsuit than study up for that exam, right?

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WNJ letter writer nails it

Is it me or does WNJ letter writer Denise Craig hit the nail right smack on the head? She says,

Graffiti in the west Wilmington area is everywhere. I think it's an epidemic in northern Delaware in general.

I live in the WoodCrest community near Banning Park and St. Matthew's Church, and am disgusted and embarrassed at the graffiti that keeps popping up each day. I have begun to clean it off in my spare time only to have it show up in the same places weeks later. I laughed while traveling down I-95 North only to see graffiti all over the very expensive "traffic alert" signage.

Additionally, even locations considered to be higher income residential areas such as Hockessin and Greenville are not escaping the plague.

I must admit to uttering a "CRIPES!" the other day as I was driving through north Wilmington. The quantity of graffiti is indeed appalling. It covers street signs small and large, utility boxes, bus stop stalls. Generally "upscale" neighborhoods aren't immune.

Maybe it'll take complaints from residents in those areas to get some action taken.

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Some teachers are just clueless

File under "What Were You Thinking?"

No one told teacher Barbara Finnan she had to buy $50 worth of chewing gum for her pupils at Baltz Elementary School. She even has a policy of no gum chewing in class, and the school also does not permit it.

But she read somewhere that chewing gum helps children think. And so, for a week's worth of testing, she bent the rules a little and bought the gum with money out of her own pocket. To her delight, the scores did go up a little, although she'll probably never know if the gum did it. (Link.)

My emphasis. Ah, she "read somewhere ... "! Must be like too much of that other educational "research" that is so friggin' scientifically flimsy as to be insignificant. Is Ms. Finnan seriously trying to garner sympathy by revealing this anecdote? Puh-lease. And why would she just come out and blatantly admit that she violates her own school's policy? What does this say to the kids, for that matter?

It is indeed no secret that teachers spend out of pocket money for classroom supplies. I'd say on average that I spend $30-50 each year on such supplies. The key is to do it intelligently -- use it for things you know you absolutely need and that are essential. Ms. Finnan (and article author Ed Kenney) sure didn't do us fellow educators any favors by including in the column -- much less LEADING with it -- how spending half a C-note on gum is imperative!

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August 19, 2007

Once again: Teachers "not doing enough"

Former Wilmington, DE mayor Jim Sills opines in yesterday's News Journal about how schools and teachers "aren't doing enough for parents" -- specifically those from low-income and minority areas. Basically, Sills says, since schools constantly advocate for parents "to get involved," they must then also put money and personnel behind that advocacy:

More specifically, school officials are rightly criticized for publicly highlighting the significance of parental participation, but yet failing to provide definitive implementation strategies for real parental participation.

This absence of parental participation plans (meaning budgeted finances and assigned personnel) has contributed to African-American and low-income parents (a) not feeling any "significant sense of ownership" of public schools, and (b) having low levels of parental participation in Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings. Unfortunately, we are left with a very large contingent of low-income parents, who feel ill equipped to give their children sufficient personal support in school settings.

My emphasis. First off, define "real" parental participation. What does this mean? And regarding community: Wrong, Mr. Sills. What has significantly contributed to lack of "sense of ownership" among such parents is the fact that forced busing effectively dismantled the sense of community that [formerly] predominantly minority schools possessed. When nine of the twelve years that [city] kids go to school take place in suburban schools -- which are quite a ways distant from city neighborhoods -- not only is that sense of community shot, but it's that much more difficult to even get to school/teacher meetings, especially for poorer families.

Many minorities feared just this prior to busing in New Castle County. But now that busing was (and in many respects, still is) reality -- meaning that the original plaintiffs got what they desired -- it is now incumbent upon school and teachers to get parents to "get involved"?

Sills continues,

This problem is accentuated by the failure of school boards to hold teachers accountable, in union contracts, for taking more responsibility for interaction with school parents.

Sills should really narrow this down. My district historically has set aside two couple-day spans for parent conferences during the school year, not to mention times during each day when parents can come in for meetings. Is it me, or does this sound like a fairly darn adequate amount of time for teachers to meet with parents? (Not to mention virtually almost any day after school!) But Sills brings up an instance 25 years ago when, as Christina School Board President, he wanted the teachers union to accept language that would have required teachers to attend four or five PTA meetings a year. He rips the union for then fighting a mandate to attend only one meeting per year, and now, for there not being any union language at all regarding such meetings.

Let me see if I got this straight: If there are parents who already won't (or can't) show up at parent-teacher night, at conferences now matter when scheduled, night or day, somehow requiring teachers to attend four to five (or even one!) PTA meetings a year will somehow THEN get these parents to come out?? And does Sills know the average quantity of parents that come to PTA meetings these days?

If Sills is such an advocate for "meaningful" parental participation plans, where is his own? In the article, why does he not even touch on some ideas that would be included in such a plan? I'd be very curious as to exactly what they'd be. Are they actually reality-based or just, unfortunately, more pie-in-the-sky nebulous banter?

Posted by Hube at 03:50 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 17, 2007

Hube radio: Tomorrow at 10:30am

Tune in to WILM 1450 AM Saturday morning at 10:30 to hear yours truly spout truly intellectual ramblings on "Money & Politics in Delaware" with Dace Blaskovitz!

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It's not a hate crime -- even though they admit it

The ever-awesome John Rosenberg proves -- yet again -- why "hate crimes" statutes are a sad joke.

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Drink too much? Get in trouble as a result? Sue the NFL!

Via AOL's Fanhouse blog:

The Cincinnati Bengals' official web site is reporting that suspended linebacker Odell Thurman has filed a claim of disability discrimination against the NFL, and Pro Football Talk is reporting that suspended Buccaneers cornerback Torrie Cox has filed a similar claim.

The players say the league is discriminating against them because of the league's belief that they're alcoholics.

Y'see, the league has a thing called a "substance abuse policy" whereby players can get suspended if they, well, abuse certain substances! Ah, but a thing called the ADA -- Americans with Disabilities Act -- may get in the way. It "recognizes" alcoholism as a "disability."

Why stop there? What about marijuana or other drug use? Steroids? What about domestic violence?

When you think about it, what couldn't be covered under the ADA if bored EEOC lawyers are looking for something to do?

Posted by Hube at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Giuliani questioner: "You've got to wonder"

A woman at a New Hampshire town meeting asked GOP front-runner Rudy Giuliani "why he should expect loyalty from GOP voters when his children aren't backing him."

The questioner, Derry mother Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien, opened by thanking Giuliani for how he handled the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and introduced him to her 5-year-old daughter, Abby, who was playing on the floor next to the platform where Giuliani stood.

Prudhomme-O'Brien, 36, wasn't certain about Giuliani's answer.

"If a person is running for president, I would assume their children would be behind them." she said. "If they're not, you've got to wonder."

She said the issue is a question mark that is "going to stay there for a lot of people." (Link.)

Gee, maybe it's because Rudy didn't exactly have an amicable divorce from his first wife? Maybe it's because his children from that marriage are adults and can make up their own minds? And hey -- aren't we constantly reminded that "dissent is patriotic"? What could be more "patriotic" then than by dissenting from your very own dad?

I wonder if many liberals "wonder" about the "question mark" surrounding Al Gore and his own possible prez run. After all, he could not even carry the very state he served in the Senate for so long. You've "got to wonder."

Posted by Hube at 09:42 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The "Don't Make Waves!" Theory of Iraqi Politics by Big Lizards, and General James Mattis -- Attacking the al Qaeda "Narrative" by Small Wars Journal. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
4The "Don't Make Waves!" Theory of Iraqi Politics
Big Lizards
3Political Fairy Tales **Bumped ('cause it was getting lost below)**
Bookworm Room
1  1/3Globalization Killed the Bison?!
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1Re-Crafting U.S. Foreign Policy
The Glittering Eye
1An Interesting Morning
Rhymes With Right
2/3A Straw in the Wind
Right Wing Nut House
1/3Roundup With Weekend Monkey, 8/10/07
Joshuapundit
1/3Mitt Wit
Done With Mirrors
1/3Needed Perspective
The Colossus of Rhodey

VotesNon-council link
3General James Mattis -- Attacking the al Qaeda "Narrative"
Small Wars Journal
1  2/3Progressive For Racist Smears? (Update: Progressive Wises Up A Little Late)
Captain's Quarters
1  2/3The Difference Between Reward and Punishment
Yehuda
1  1/3Are You Black Enough?
Logosphilia
1  1/3In Memory of Kimberly
Aaron's Rod
1Fathers, The Third Victim of the Abortion Industry
Intellectual Conservative
2/3Wait, I Thought Our Quota for Epic Debacles Had Been Exceeded!
The Belgravia Dispatch
1/3Gen. Petraeus Talks to a Liberal
Redstate
1/3False Altruism
JunkYardBlog
1/3Huckabee's Results In Iowa Poll -- It's the FairTax, Stupid!
The Liberty Papers
1/3Clap 'Em In Stocks!
Eternity Road

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August 16, 2007

Best classic video/arcade games

MSNBC.com has a fun article up today detailing what the top five classic games of all time are. I can't say I agree with their choices; then again, there were so many games to choose from I can understand just how difficult the job is. Here are some of my favorite classics:

1. ASTEROIDS. I was probably better at this game moreso than any other. The key is destroy all the asteroids except for one tiny one. Then, you position your ship at one side of the screen and wait for the 1000-point small flying saucer to pop out. You could zip over to the other side of the screen if you missed zapping it right away, and continue firing while flying backwards. The saucer couldn't do the same, and you could rack up major points (and extra lives) this way -- much to the chagrin of the old Mr. Donut shop that had the machine!

2. XEVIOUS. This game was sickeningly addictive. I used to spend hours (and gazillions of quarters) at Concord Mall learning the finer points to this game's strategy. And the cool thing was is that there ARE things you have to learn -- there are myriad hidden items you need to zap and/or rescue. The graphics of the game were ahead of the curve of most other arcade games of the era, too.

3. DRAGON'S LAIR. Talk about a game you have to learn! One of the first laserdisc-based games, a player controlled a knight working his way to rescue to a damsel in distress. And the way-cool thing was, everything was an actual moving cartoon! I must've plunked down over a $100 in quarters before I was able to finally defeat the god***ed dragon! But the cool thing was, once you were able to do that, you were the envy of everyone in the arcade as they crowded around to watch you play. (Of course, by "everyone" I mean "geeks," but the occasional nice-looking girl was impressed, too!)

4. DIG DUG. I used to play this get-you-hooked nonsensical game at various Wawa stores. This time, you're underground trying to dislodge numerous items while keeping your distance from assorted baddies. If one gets too close, you can inflate(!) them until they explode! WTF!!

5. BERZERK. I actually have this old arcade fave on my classic Atari 2600 system (which, yes, still works!) In it, you're a supposed average joe who is caught in a maze with electrified robots who -- wouldn't 'ya know it? -- are firing lasers at you. But at least you can fire back, and you'd better if you wanna win the damn game!

In case you're wondering, I am LONG over my adolescent addiction to video games unlike many adults I know. I just cannot get back into them even though today's games are so vastly superior to the ones I grew up with. Yeah, I still have that old Atari system, but I can't remember the last time I used it. My daughter has numerous current-era games, but I just can't find the interest. I guess I just burned myself out back in those late-70s, early 80s!

Posted by Hube at 11:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 14, 2007

New blogroll addition

Be sure to check out Right Ringtail, a site devoted exclusively to right-leaning political 'toons, or, as they say, "blomics"!

Posted by Hube at 05:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A misguided college senior

That would be Brian Till of Haverford College, who writes in today's Philly Inquirer that the plight of today's inner cities is -- wait for it -- the fault of racism. Before I continue, Brian should be accorded a bit of leeway as he is a college student, and in today's college environment, with its emphasis on all things "group mentality/entitlement, it is fairly easy to understand how Brian has been "sucked in."

TWO WEEKENDS ago, fours kids from Newark, N.J., were shot in cold blood in their neighborhood schoolyard. All were African-American, all headed to Delaware State. Three young men were killed, the woman survived. There's a resurgence in violent crime sweeping through our inner cities, and segregation is worse today than it was at the time of Brown v. Board of Education. We know it's true, but we pretend it isn't so.

And the point is ...? That supposedly worse segregation than 50+ years ago and a resurgence of violent crime are somehow linked? And exactly on what basis does Till make the claim that "we know it's true" that segregation is "worse today" than 50 years prior? And even if it is true, so what? Here we go again -- someone who fails to grasp the difference between LEGAL segregation and CHOSEN segregation. During the era of Brown, Brian, segregation was LEGAL. Today, as I'm sure you've seen at college with their race-exclusive dorms and ceremonies, segregation is largely a CHOICE.

This country has stopped talking about race. My generation, the twentysomethings, has never had a national conversation on the topic.

The answer to this is an obvious one. I'll get to it shortly. But first, there hasn't been a cessation of such a conversation, but when folks like Brian lament the supposed "lack of conversation," what they really mean is that they are very disgruntled that more [white] people don't share THEIR views on race. Views which he amply demonstrates further in his article: Brian is aghast that there have been white plaintiffs that have challenged polices of racial preferences at colleges and elsewhere. He believes that this is due (in part) to the current [white] generation's "sense of entitlement."

But the reality that we think we see is a far cry from the truth. Today's America is still separate and unequal. Nonetheless, we are, to a large extent, without guilt. The sins of our fathers and grandfathers don't weigh on our conscience, and I'm not arguing that they should.

Then why bring it up? And yes, America is separate and unequal. But as noted above, it is "separate" today not because of race-exclusive laws, but largely by choice. Economics is another factor. Which leads to the "unequal" claim: No society will ever be truly equal as individuals are not equal. The belief in equal outcomes is one of the most fallacious in history.

But what should weigh on us is the reality in front of our eyes. The reality we refuse to look at. Our unwillingness to approach the inner cities, to talk about race and the structures of racism, to understand that racism can exist even if we personally aren't discriminating.

Today's embedded, structural racism is far more easy to ignore, and far more difficult to combat, than the state-endorsed racism of the last century. But this suburban generation's sense of entitlement and detachment from the inner city, and its belief that it isn't racist, is a dangerous combination. It creates the idea that the state of the urban poor isn't a function of discrimination, just a tough reality that can't be fixed.

The question that should be asked in this case is "Are the problems that the inner cities face today DUE to racism?" As noted above, Brian wants us to believe they are, and hence, we need to "talk about it." Unfortunately, as La Shawn Barber often blogs, the Brians in our country don't want a real discussion about race and the inner city because it would involve bringing up some very uncomfortable facts. Disastrous illegitimacy figures. Disdain for schooling. Absent parents. And more.

I'll be the first to agree with Brian that this generation's sense of entitlement is a head-shaker, yes. But the belief that the state of the urban poor isn't a function of discrimination is a quite valid one. Does racism cause a 70% illegitimacy rate? Does it foment lack of school study and focus on academics? In other words, I'd ask Brian precisely how racism causes these things and where the "line" is that minorities would draw that divides the "[due to] racism" and "personal responsibility" halves.

If we're to change the racial landscape, my generation of white Americans must recognize the structure of racism it sits on. It must come to understand that "not being racist" is nowhere near enough. If we're to bridge this divide, we must start by opening our eyes.

But consider, Brian: You included the civil rights struggles of the 50s-60s in your article. Great figures like Martin Luther King Jr. touched [white] America's soul because he was absolutely right. America changed because the majority was convinced of the moral rightness of King's (and others') advocacy. Your desire to "change the racial landscape" in the manner in which you prefer isn't getting many takers for a reason. And that's because, although the vast majority of white Americans recognize the history of this country hasn't been kind to African-Americans and that racism does indeed still exist, they just don't buy into your argument that said racism is the prime factor behind the ills of the contemporary inner city.

Again, that conversation you want to have is a one-way talk: Racism is the blame. I know -- I've attended such "talks." Moderators amazingly wonder why "more white participants don't speak up." The reason is obvious: Any views contrary to the above are met with derision which possibly includes the accusation of the "R" word. Maybe this is largely a cause of the suburban apathy to which you object. The aforementioned La Shawn Barber has frequently written about how even many black speakers have been chastised by other African-Americans for being contrarian to the opinion you hold.

Do you really want to have an all-out honest discussion, Brian?

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I thought just one is it: decompose

10 things to do when you're dead at the airport.

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They need to raise taxes

China bridge collapse kills 28, injures 22.

Posted by Hube at 03:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another educational "theory" bites the dust

The Washington Post reports today on a study that washes away the theory that -- similar to that of forced busing -- mixing neighborhood families by income will improve [poor] children's academic performance.

Many social reformers have long said that low academic achievement among inner-city children cannot be improved significantly without moving their families to better neighborhoods, but new reports released today that draw on a unique set of data throw cold water on that theory.

Researchers examining what happened to 4,248 families that were randomly given or denied federal housing vouchers to move out of their high-poverty neighborhoods found no significant difference about seven years later between the achievement of children who moved to more middle-class neighborhoods and those who didn't.

Although some children had more stable lives and better academic results after the moves, the researchers said, on average there was no improvement. Boys and brighter students appeared to have more behavioral problems in their new schools, the studies found.

"Research has in fact found surprisingly little convincing evidence that neighborhoods play a key role in children's educational success," says one of the two reports on the Web site of the Hoover Institution's journal Education Next.

My emphasis. This will come as sad news, no doubt, to "progressive" education researchers like Richard Rothstein and Richard Kahlenberg (the latter is quoted in the Post article and offers -- surprise -- a critical analysis of the new study). Both were featured prominently -- and favorably (of course!) -- in a Wilmington News Journal article three years ago (not coincidentally around the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Ed.). Besides desiring highly unlikely-to-be-implemented "solutions" (Rothstein wants housing in America to be integrated by income), the two exhibit the "bigotry of low expectations" throughout the article. Rothstein states that schools with a majority "poor" population just cannot match the academic achievement of middle-class schools. How sad. And, unfortunately, schools like Harlem's Frederick Douglass Academy prove him dead wrong.

But, again, it's not a surprise. I suppose it's just the logical progression: The results of [forced] busing proved a bust to the duo's theories, so they have to "move on" to a similar, yet different, approach. Now that's been torn asunder, too.

Always remember this telling factoid about [progressive] educational "research."

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“Primitive and Vague”

That's what Judge John Daniel Tinder said about the constitutional basis of Laura and Scott Bell's school uniform lawsuit. [Mom] Laura Bell says that they're "not going to give up" and she complained about having to possibly pay the school district's legal costs:

“When you’ve got that much money, and they’re going after the little guy?” she said. “Where there priorities?”

"That much money"? Are you serious? When parents file ridiculous lawsuits that not only take up the district's time but MONEY too, the district's priorities are right on target in trying to recoup legal fees. You know, like, it just might dissuade other sue-happy and risible parents from going to court in the future. reading the comments following the article, it appears 99.9% of readers agree with me.

(h/t: Joanne Jacobs.)

Posted by Hube at 09:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2007

Dopey Philly Inquirer Letter of the Week

Adam Brown of Philadelphia thinks President George Bush "has escaped public criticism" unlike Barry Bonds:

It is troubling to me that the American media so relentlessly vilify baseball player Barry Bonds ("The record has been broken, but the taste is rancid," Aug. 9), yet President Bush has for years escaped the public criticism that so many of his actions should have provoked. Why look to a baseball player as the barometer of our nation's decline when a far more damning symbol of our worst cultural attributes presides over our government?

My emphasis. Um, in a word -- HUH??? President Bush has escaped public criticism??

In other news, Brown has just returned from Mars after a seven-year sojourn.

Posted by Hube at 09:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The "Gee, what a surprise" headline of the day

Wilmington Man Stabbed.

Posted by Hube at 09:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hube -- now a contributor to NewsBusters.org

Last week my blog writings apparently caught the eye of NewsBusters.org head honcho Matthew Sheffield ... and he sent me an e-mail asking me to become a contributing writer! I should be making my first contribution by the end of the week. Which, I know, just makes your day!

Posted by Hube at 08:54 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 10, 2007

A fitting end to my papi-in-law's visit

My father-in-law Carlos is a terrific guy. He's also one of the funniest dudes I know. On the day before his departure back to Costa Rica, we watched (in Spanish -- did you know that with Comcast digital cable you can switch the audio to different lingos? It mainly only works with various movie channels) "Commando" -- one of Ahnuld Schwarzenegger's first "big" movies. If you want to laugh at one of the most cliché-ridden action flicks of all time, this is the one. Carlos and I were in tears from laughing so hard at how ridiculous some of the scenes were. (Of course, we elaborated on them to the Nth degree during the film.)

AOL today has a list of the worst action movie clichés, and "Commando" has a good portion of them, that's for sure. Let's take a gander ...

1. Henchmen Are Lousy Shots. "Commando" is possibly the BEST example this! Ahnuld makes his way through literally hundreds of mercenary soldiers (supposedly the "best" and who support deposed some fictitious Latin American dictator played by Dan Hedaya -- Carla's hairy husband from "Cheers") without getting hit by a single bullet. The only thing that slightly injures him is an adjacent exploding grenade. Not only that, but these soldiers don't seem to appreciate the value of taking cover; they willingly run right out into the open to serve as fodder for Ahnuld's machine gun!

2. The Female Hostage. In this case it's Ahnuld's daughter [now-very hot] Alyssa Milano.

4. The Death Trap. When Ahnuld's main nemesis Bennett finally has the governator at his mercy, does he kill him? Of course not! He allows Ahnuld to coax him into hand-to-hand combat which, as we all know, usually doesn't bode well for Ahnuld's opponent!

5. The Ticking Time Bomb. It's not a bomb in this case, but Ahnuld has a mere eleven hours to track down his daughter or she'll be killed. And the only way he can even do this is to somehow escape from an airliner that is taxiing down a runway! And yep -- he does just this, in what has to be the single most suspension-of-reality moment in actioner history: Ahnuld makes his way down to the landing gear (in the process never setting off a warning light in the cockpit!) while the jet is roaring down the tarmac for takeoff. As the plane gets airborne, Arnie jumps -- and lands right in an adjacent marsh. Does he get injured, or even just express some mild discomfort from this daring move? Not in the least! He gets immediately up, takes off his blazer, and begins running back to the airport! Oh yeah -- his clothes somehow get dry in a mere two minutes.

7. The Expository Speech. In the climax, badly beaten up bad-guy Bennett has Ahnuld dead to rights with his pistol. But he continues to rant while the guv looks around, detaches a steam pipe from the wall, and then throws it directly into Bennett's mid-section!

11. Jack Bauer Syndrome. After decimating an island stronghold all by his lonesome, and after getting shot (finally, someone hit him!) and beaten by Bennett, Ahnuld greets his military superiors (and a then-hot Rae Dawn Chong) none the worse for wear.

That covers the AOL list, but they admit they left off a bunch of stuff. Here's some reader suggestions. "Commando" has a few more that may or may not be mentioned (admittedly, I haven't read the entire list of reader suggestions):

  • Ahnuld "suits up" just prior to his annihilation of the deposed dictator's mercenary minions (see below). Why does everything he does while suiting up make a dramatic noise? Does tying your shoelaces really make such an aggressive sound? And afterwards, why does he stand there for 3-5 seconds posing with all his gear? Who's he impressing?

  • Why was there virtually no traffic in LA when Ahnuld and Rae Dawn Chong were speeding after badguy Sully? Especially in the hills where we didn't see a single vehicle other than the two involved in the chase! Oh yeah -- when the cops actually nab Ahnuld for breaking into that "weapons depot" -- not a single vehicle is seen driving down the city street other than Rae Dawn Chong's, who's assisting Ahnuld! (This was a reader suggestion.)
  • Another reader suggestion brings up how chairs always break on people's backs, not the other way around. There wasn't such a scene in "Commando," but we do witness Ahnuld and fellow "Predator" star Bill Duke er, uh, duking it out in a motel room. The room's walls must've been made of tissue paper as at one point the struggling duo go plunging straight through 'em into the next room! (Of course, there was the obligatory couple having sex in that room, including the gratuitous boob-shot.) Oh, and how does even Ahnuld manage to get Duke airborne with a single punch? Duke's easily Ahnuld's height if not overall size.
  • A reader suggests that good and bad guys never have to park far away in parking lots. There's always a spot right where they need it. Bad guy Sully and goodie Rae Dawn Chong both manage to score parking spots right at the entrance to the local mall. Sully actually nabs the very first spot right next to the parking garage entrance! Isn't that usually reserved for handicapped drivers?

I probably went WAY overboard on this, but such is my pre-beach sojourn Friday posting! Enjoy, natch!

Posted by Hube at 11:14 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are My Excellent Adventure At Yearlykos by Right Wing Nut House, and Bread and a Circus, Part II of II by Michael Yon. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week...  I'm eager to see next week's entries!  Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3My Excellent Adventure At Yearlykos
Right Wing Nut House
2Tancredo and Tonic
Done With Mirrors
1  2/3Newsweek Attacks Global Warming Deniers
‘Okie’ on the Lam
1  1/3Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
Bookworm Room
1  1/3Gonzales, Intelligence, and Perjury: The Penultimate Word
Big Lizards
2/3The Racists, Classists At Mother Jones
Cheat Seeking Missiles
2/3I Didn't Do Squat -- Now Give Me a Passing Grade!
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3How Do You Know When a Bridge Needs Attention?
The Glittering Eye
1/3Grading Policies
Rhymes With Right

VotesNon-council link
1  2/3Bread and a Circus, Part II of II
Michael Yon
1  1/3My View of Islam
The Washington Post
1  1/3A Bridge Too Far
Lone Star Times
1"Grim Milestone" Reached: 500 Palestinian Arabs Killed By Each Other This Year
Elder of Ziyon
1The Crystal Ball
The Belmont Club
1Propaganda Redux
OpinionJournal
1"Diversity" and the Rhetorical Dodge
Protein Wisdom
2/3Lexicon
Logosphilia
2/3Is DailyKos Really Rush for Liberals?
Road to the Middle Class
2/3Beauchamp Recants
The Weekly Standard
1/3Trapped Within the Dragon's Lair -- Exclusive
Right Truth
1/3Liberal Bloggers Conference ‘Sea of Middle-Aged White Males’
La Shawn Barber's Corner

Posted by Hube at 08:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 09, 2007

"Multiple preventive steps"

Another crazy McDonalds lawsuit, this time from West Virginia:

A Monongalia County man is seeking $10 million from McDonald's after an employee put cheese on his sandwich.

Jeromy Jackson, his mother Trela Jackson and his friend Andrew Ellifritz filed a suit July 18 in Monongalia Circuit Court against the popular fast-food chain because Jeromy Jackson is allergic to cheese.

According to the suit, Jackson, his mother and friend went to the drive-thru at the McDonald's on Chaplin Road in Morgantown on Oct. 30, 2005. Jackson claims he ordered two "Quarter Pounders" without cheese, stating he was allergic to cheese.

"From this point forward, Mr. Jackson repeatedly asked as to the status of his food and whether it had no cheese, and took multiple preventive steps to assure his food did not contain cheese," the suit says.

The suit says Jackson received his food, bit into one of his sandwiches and immediately began to have a severe allergic reaction. He was rushed to United Hospital Center in Clarksburg.

I see. Was one of those "multiple preventative steps" actually LOOKING AT THE DAMN BURGERS BEFORE YOU BIT INTO THEM??

Check out the pic of the Jackson's attorney. Tim Houston: Teenaged Lawyer! I can visualize the ad now ...

Food allergies? IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT if you
fail to check your food. I can successfully
mask your blatant incompetence with phrases
like "multiple preventative steps" and
"inculpable recklessness."
Call ATTORNEY TIM HOUSTON
1-800-GET-RICH

(h/t: Taranto.)

Posted by Hube at 03:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Needed perspective

Claude Lewis writes in today's Philly Inquirer that "It is a travesty and a tragedy that African American successes largely have been left out of history books."

I'd say that Mr. Lewis hasn't really looked over modern textbooks.

If anything, history textbooks have become hostages to just about every ethnic "interest group" that wants members of its group to be presented in as positive a light as possible. Felix discussed one such instance here a year and a half ago, and mentioned that I was once a member of DeTAC -- the Delaware Textbook Assessment Committee -- back in 2000. One of the functions of that group was investigating this "hostage crisis." What we found was contrary to what Claude Lewis describes; indeed, modern history textbooks do a quite excellent job of covering the history and accomplishments of minority ethnic groups. In some cases, this coverage occurs at the expense of obviously more significant events and/or people. For example, we noted that The American Journey by publisher Glencoe McGraw-Hill (1996 edition) attempts to make all groups

equally important to development of American history ... Inclusion of the contributions of women and minorities is beneficial when it relates to the main themes of historical development, but forcing trivial information into the text to ... increase the number of politically correct paragraphs creates a disjointed and unsatisfactory narrative.

While Mr. Lewis is obviously correct in that in the past "Blacks quietly excelled - one almost wants to write 'quietly,' but it wasn't quiet, it was simply not acknowledged - in the sciences, architecture, inventions, art, and many other fields" ... but the question remains that, in a history textbook, how much emphasis should be placed on these accomplishments in the entire -- and limited by publisher space considerations -- scope of American history? Lewis brings up figures like Garrett A. Morgan who, among other things, developed the traffic light. I knew about Morgan because -- surprise! -- I recall reading about him (and other black inventors) in ... a history book! But how much space in a standard history text should a figure like Morgan warrant?

DeTAC found that two of the three American history texts we reviewed seemed to "go out of its way" to arbitrarily include contributions of women and ethnic minorities merely to assuage "bean counters" and to act as "self-esteem enhancers." And, in addition, many negative aspects of American history in general were emphasized at the expense of the positive. The American Journey was one text; the other was Boyer's The American Nation by Harcourt Brace & Co. (1998). The latter, for example, gave as much space to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II as the Battle of the Atlantic, the Battle of the Bulge, the Allied bombing of Germany and the Normandy invasion put together. Senator Joe McCarthy was portrayed as as big a threat as Stalin, Khrushchev, and global communism in general.

This "victimization" and "ethnic inclusion" theme can be traced to the 1992 National Standards for History whose principal author, UCLA Professor Gary Nash, who stated that American history is the story of outcast groups "struggling under difficult conditions and ... in large and small ways, refusing to submit to abuse, discrimination and exploitation." In these new standards, important uprisings led by Daniel Shays and Nat Turner are given less emphasis than those led by Jacob Leister and the Paxton Boys. The 1848 declaration at Seneca Falls by a conference of feminists gets more coverage than either the Declaration of Independence of the Gettysburg Address. Once word of these new standards got out, the US Senate voted to repudiate them 99-1 and to cut off federal funds for them. But this didn't stop textbook publishers from putting out "safe" texts that "satisfied" as many groups as possible.

I understand and sympathize with Mr. Lewis' concerns. Unfortunately, I don't think he has really examined modern textbooks (and by "modern" I mean within the last 20 years or so). Given his age (he is up there in years) I believe he is perhaps using his [old] personal recollection of texts that did a regrettably disastrous job in covering the events and accomplishments of Africans/African-Americans (and other minority groups).

Posted by Hube at 10:24 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 08, 2007

Good thing he writes for a big-time newspaper!

Unfortunately Ron Williams gets grammar and spelling lessons from these peons.


Posted by Hube at 09:45 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Now I've friggin' heard everything

Now the looney environmentalists want you to become a sick, slothful slug in order to "save" the planet:

Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.

Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

OK. So now we can save the planet for ... what, exactly? For the few of us to enjoy that won't have succumbed to heart disease, hardened arteries and you-name-it?

LIVE. YOUR. LIFE.

(h/t: Newsbusters.)

Posted by Felix at 02:41 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Hank Aaron: Still home run champ

"Breaking" news: Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run last night against the Washington Nationals. During a post-game press conference, Bonds said “This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period.”

Uh huh:

And from what I hear, they'll be giving out the following set of bobblehead dolls to fans 14 and under tonight at the Giants game:


Posted by Hube at 10:01 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 07, 2007

The end of Mike Protack's [still-as-yet-successful] political career?

First State Politics demonstrates what blogging is all about here. Great stuff.

Posted by Hube at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Like Mike Newdow, he has no life

David Wallace Croft "says he is fighting against the influence of 'Judeo-Christian monotheism.'" You know, the dastardly social effects of singing "Silent Night" at school holiday concerts. A teacher who wore a t-shirt of a Christian university. But the biggest fight of his life is yet to be decided: That moment of silence his kids' school has each morning.

He and his wife, Shannon, are suing Gov. Rick Perry and the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district, arguing that the state's minute of silence, in effect since 2003, is unconstitutional and amounts to state-sanctioned school prayer.

The lawsuit says a Rosemeade teacher told Mr. Croft's son that the minute of silence held each morning was specifically for prayer. She then bowed her head, clasped her hands and began to pray.

"Moment of silence bills have been popping up in additional states," Mr. Croft wrote on his blog. "To have millions of public school children waste a minute of education each day for a practice that has no secular purpose seems to me like a great sin."

Oh GOSH! A whole minute of instructional time -- LOST! That is a "GREAT SIN"! Hey, anyone else detect the irony in Croft using a religious term -- "sin" -- in his description? (And maybe Croft can move to Boston. Wonder if he'd sue those schools for their great sin?) If some of the instances are true -- like a teacher telling his kid that the moment of silence was specifically for prayer, then that certainly is out of line. Croft also had issues with Boy Scout rallies during school hours and a poster that contained the phrase "In God We Trust." These are gray areas that may or may not have legal hassles. For instance, was the Scout rally during an assembly? (Croft claims they recruited during the rallies, which, if true, is out of line, in my opinion.) Was the phrase "In God We Trust" on a poster of a coin or some other U.S. currency?

In my view, I think there'd be less animosity towards folks like Croft and Mike Newdow if there was more consistency by these so-called "activists." Muslims are allowed to actually pray -- even in public schools -- based on some sort of a "reasonable accommodation." It has happened right here in Delaware, and most recently in San Diego. [Public] Universities have installed footbaths for Muslim students. And, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals banned the Pledge of Allegiance but allowed Muslim prayers to be recited as part of a course on religion. But when a very nebulous "moment of silence" is permitted, well then these activists scream STOP EVERYTHING! WE KNOW WHAT YOU'RE REALLY ATTEMPTING TO DO!!

Another thing to consider is the contradiction inherent in this view. Not for Croft, perhaps (he says he is a libertarian), but for all the progressive leftists who demand "tolerance" and "respect" for "diversity." It is evident in the examples I note above regarding Muslims, yet the very same respect and tolerance is rescinded when it comes to the majority. Less, even, as a mere moment of silence where prayer is legally noted as only ONE possible thing to do during it! And demanding an end to religious-themed songs at holiday concerts? Where's the "tolerance" there? Is it wrong for atheists (or Muslims, or Buddhists or whomever) to be exposed to the Judeo-Christian culture via song? I thought diversity was all-important!

Posted by Hube at 04:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

"Solution": Put the most experienced teachers here

Chee-yeah, right. That'll help.

Posted by Hube at 02:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

NYC principal defends "intifada" t-shirts

From the New York Post:

Activists with ties to the principal of the city's controversial new Arabic-themed school are hawking T- shirts that glorify Palestinian terror, The Post has learned.

The inflammatory tees boldly declare "Intifada NYC" - apparently a call for a Gaza-style uprising in the Big Apple.

The organization selling the shirts, Arab Women Active in Art and Media, shares office space on Brooklyn's Third Avenue with the Saba Association of American Yemenis.

Dhabah "Debbie" Almontaser, principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, defends the shirts:

"The word [intifada] basically means 'shaking off.' That is the root word if you look it up in Arabic," she said.

"I understand it is developing a negative connotation due to the uprising in the Palestinian-Israeli areas. I don't believe the intention is to have any of that kind of [violence] in New York City.

"I think it's pretty much an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society . . . and shaking off oppression."

Uh-huh. I wonder why it is that non-Muslim Americans have to be ultra-sensitive to Muslim feelings at all times, yet the reverse isn't true. I mean, New York City has a very high Jewish population, yet these Muslims don't see anything wrong with selling -- and wearing -- a shirt whose message is equated with Palestinian terrorism against Israelis and Jews in general.

Turnabout is fair play, as they say. Maybe the ADL can bring about a lawsuit accusing the Arab Women Active in Art and Media of a hate crime.

Posted by Hube at 02:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

School uniforms, dress codes

USA Today reports on parents who're suing to allow their kiddies to wear what they wish to [public] school:

Parents Laura and Scott Bell filed suit over an Anderson, Ind., uniform plan that will begin when students return to school Aug. 20. A hearing was scheduled today in federal court in Indianapolis.

The Anderson policy requires black, navy or khaki pants or skirts and a solid-color shirt with a collar.

"As a parent, we felt our rights were being violated," says Laura Bell. They have five children, ages 5 to 17.

The Bells' suit makes two claims: that the uniform requirement violates their children's constitutional right of free expression and that it violates the guarantee of a free public education. The Bells would have to pay $641 for five sets of pants and shirts required by the policy, Laura Bell says.

My knee-jerk reaction to this sort of toplofty attitude is one of disdain. And in this case, that reaction holds. Thankfully, the track record of such suits in favor of such plaintiffs is not good:

Most lawsuits against school uniforms fail, says David Hudson, a First Amendment scholar at the First Amendment Center in Nashville. Judges usually decide that uniform policies are meant to improve schools and not to suppress student speech, he says.

Did the Bells ever complain about the cost of buying notebooks and other school supplies -- based on their aforementioned "guarantee of free public education"? Would the Bells have a problem with girls wearing skintight high shorts in warmer months with revealing halter tops? What about boys wearing their jeans down around their knees while their boxers protrude prominently?

Our school's dress code isn't as strict as Anderson's. We require a collared shirt OR any other type of shirt that has some sort of district/school logo on it (such as phys. ed. t-shirts). Any kind of pants are permitted as long they do not have holes or cut off areas, and are worn properly (ie, the waist not dangling around your knees). Shorts must be of knee-length (this was especially for girls), and no "revealing" tops are permitted.

The actual data on whether dress codes actually improve education and/or the school atmosphere is conflicting. I think, however, a policy such as my school's is quite sensible in that it doesn't really "stifle" what kids want to wear yet enforces a commonsensical guideline on proper manners/attire.

Should there be restrictions on what kids wear to school?
Yes
No
  
pollcode.com free polls

Posted by Hube at 12:33 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 05, 2007

I've been tagged ... again

This time by Rhymes With Right.

Eight Random Facts About Hube:

  • 1. The sickest I've ever been was when I got food poisoning in Costa Rica in 1986. I was laid up in a hospital for two days, and then the rest of that week. I lost 12 lbs. at a time when I barely weighed 155 lbs. (and I'm -- and was -- 6'3").

  • 2. I once played baritone sax in a jazz band that toured Europe for three weeks.

  • 3. Speaking of which, I once earned "Best Woodwind Soloist Award" at a jazz festival. I played tenor sax then.

  • 4. The only American president I ever saw in person was Gerald Ford. (He gave a speech at the University of Delaware in the late 80s.)

  • 5. My first car was a 1969 Chrysler New Yorker. It could hold eight people comfortably!

  • 6. My coolest car was a white 1972 Datsun 240-Z, completely restored. My wife can't drive a stick, and then we had our daughter, so I had to sell it. ARGH!

  • 7. The first song I ever learned when I learned to play bass was Duran Duran's "Planet Earth."

  • 8. My interest in politics was sparked by my 11th grade International Relations and 12th grade Poli. Sci. teacher (one and the same person).

I'm wary of "tagging" anyone; feel free to pick up on this meme if you so desire!

Posted by Hube at 09:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 04, 2007

Not quite yet, I'm afraid

Catherine Herridge, a reporter and substutute anchor at Fox News, made the statement this afternoon (while I was making lunch) that actor Sean Penn was visiting the "communist country" of Venezuela.

OK, I know you guys lean right and all, but although Uncle Hugo Chávez is a loon and cuddles up to Fidel Castro, his country ain't YET a communist basket case. YET.

Posted by Hube at 05:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I thought University of Delaware had learned its lesson?

Maciej Murakowski, a student at UD, was suspended by the university for creating an "offensive" website:

One of the allegedly offensive posts involved a listing of fictitious sexual positions including one that mentions gang rape and another called “The Sociopath,” which suggests killing a partner after sex.

Reportedly, a student took offense. One student. And the university determined that the site was “disruptive to the community.” Of course, it was "determined" that the site offended women, a "protected" group especially at universities. A psychiatrist determined Murakowski was not a threat to himself or others, and even though he was allowed back to classes at UD, he still wasn't permitted to live in housing.

I had thought UD had known about that thing called the First Amendment back when a few students attended a party dressed in garb that was offensive to Hispanics. Guess not. Looks like they'll have to learn the hard as Murakowski is suing.

Posted by Hube at 04:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 03, 2007

Dems: They really don't care about "honest" votes

The next time you hear Democrats squealing about "an honest, fair vote," just roll your eyes and chuckle. Y'know, the 2000 and 2004 elections were "stolen," yet any measure designed to require showing photo ID in order to vote is vigorously opposed, by Dems, and now votes in Congress are ignored.

But after all, the Dems did it for a "good" reason: to make sure illegal immigrants get those welfare benefits!!

UPDATE: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: “We control this … not the parliamentarian” after said parliamentarian attempted to legitimately close the vote. (Link.)

But, you know, Bush is the real "dictator."

In a related matter, the senate OK'd FISA revisions last night (60-28). "The McConnell-Bond legislation was based on a request submitted by the Director of National Intelligence to Congress in April, to clarify laws concerning the monitoring of terrorists on foreign soil."

But, but, but ... didn't Dems argue incessantly that it was a no-brainer that Bush had clearly used illegal means to monitor said communications? If this was the case, then no "clarification" would be needed, right?

Posted by Felix at 05:12 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Most important factor ignored!

I saw the report of this study a couple days ago in which Ohio State sociology and poli. sci. professor David Jacobs concludes that "the postsentencing capital-punishment process continues to place greater value on white lives." One thing in particular stuck out at me, and James Taranto noted it too in yesterday's "Best of the Web":

But the second page of the interview reveals that the study had a fundamental methodological flaw:

Q: [Did the disparities reflect] the nature of the crime? Or was it simply race?

A: We don't have much data on the nature of the crime. But Supreme Court regulations require a state to come up with aggravating and mitigating factors for capital cases. Aggravating factors might include, say, the killing of a child or torturing a victim. Mitigating factors might include the age of the offender or their childhood experience, whether they were abused, etc.

Emphasis mine. Jacobs doesn't have much data on the nature of the crimes?? As Taranto notes,

How can one possibly draw conclusions about who gets executed and why without taking into account "the nature of the crime"? This would seem to be the most important variable, but Jacobs simply discounts it, even after conceding that "we don't have much data." Are we wrong to suspect that Jacobs's "plausible explanations" are actually preconceived notions?

Indeed! This is like studies that denounce "irregularities" in mortgage (or other) lending to whites compared to blacks ... without taking a person's credit history into account. Look, blacks may indeed be put to death at a rate greater than that of whites, but ignoring the nature of crimes committed seems to place the entire study in scientific jeopardy. I'd be more inclined to argue economic factors: Black Americans, who are in general less well-off than whites, are unable to afford better legal representation.

Posted by Felix at 12:36 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

I finally nailed down a first place showing!

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are NEA Also Confused About SCOTUS Decision Regarding Race & Schooling by The Colossus of Rhodey, and Baghdad Raid Night by Michael J. Totten. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
3NEA Also Confused About SCOTUS Decision Regarding Race & Schooling
The Colossus of Rhodey
2  1/3Whose Freedom? What Is Speech?
Right Wing Nut House
1  2/3"He's Not My President."
Bookworm Room
1  1/3Some More Thoughts On Chief Justice Roberts' Health
Rhymes With Right
1Miracle On Sand
Big Lizards
1More Disturbing Questions
Done With Mirrors
2/3Desert Mirage: Bush Administration To Offer $20 Billion Arms Deal to the Saudis
Joshuapundit
2/3Yet Another Taxpayer-funded Incentive For Illegal Aliens?
The Education Wonks
1/3Perhaps We Should Dunk the Administrators in the Toilet
Cheat Seeking Missiles

VotesNon-council link
3  2/3Baghdad Raid Night
Michael J. Totten
2Build a Better World By Destroying Wealth!
Classical Values
1  1/3Is the War Lost? Three Inconvenient Truths About Iraq Right Now
TCS Daily
1  1/3Nail Job Down First, Then "Go Sharia"
Gerry Charlotte Phelps
1  1/3The Perils of Hate Crime Laws
The Volokh Conspiracy
2/3Regents Meet, Part 1
The Drunkablog
2/3What Problem?
The QandO Blog
1/3Parsing Gonzales and Prepping for Greymail
JustOneMinute
1/3The Extremism and Bigotry of PA "Moderates"
Elder of Ziyon
1/3The American Left, Foundering
Publius Pundit

Posted by Hube at 10:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 02, 2007

I didn't do squat -- now give me a passing grade!

Rhymes With Right links to a NY Times story where a teacher was overruled by an administrator regarding the changing of a student's grade:

Mr. Lampros’s introduction to the high school’s academic standards proved a fitting preamble to a disastrous year. It reached its low point in late June, when Arts and Technology’s principal, Anne Geiger, overruled Mr. Lampros and passed a senior whom he had failed in a required math course.

That student, Indira Fernandez, had missed dozens of class sessions and failed to turn in numerous homework assignments, according to Mr. Lampros’s meticulous records, which he provided to The New York Times. She had not even shown up to take the final exam. She did, however, attend the senior prom.

Through the intercession of Ms. Geiger, Miss Fernandez was permitted to retake the final after receiving two days of personal tutoring from another math teacher. Even though her score of 66 still left her with a failing grade for the course as a whole by Mr. Lampros’s calculations, Ms. Geiger gave the student a passing mark, which allowed her to graduate.

Ms. Geiger declined to be interviewed for this column and said that federal law forbade her to speak about a specific student’s performance. But in a written reply to questions, she characterized her actions as part of a “standard procedure” of “encouraging teachers to support students’ efforts to achieve academic success.”

My emphasis. I cannot begin to express what a complete buffoon this woman is. I am happy that Lampros decided to make a stink out of this, as that is precisely what I would do. Lampros did have sort of an indication of what he was getting into, however, as detailed by the school's grading policy:

He took particular note of the stipulation that a student who attended class even once during a semester, who did absolutely nothing else, was to be given 45 points on the 100-point scale, just 20 short of a passing mark.

Let's see, what's an appropriate adjective here? "Ridiculous"? "Ludicrous"?

To make matters worse, Fernandez's mother exemplifies the attitude of way too many parents these days:

“My daughter earned everything she got,” she said. Of Mr. Lampros, she said, “He needs to grow up and be a man.”

That's right, Mrs. Fernandez. Your daughter earned a solid "F." Not what she was given by the preposterous "generosity" of Ms. Geiger. And Mr. Lampros' masculinity is not in dispute. What is is your ability to be a parent. I mean, check it:

Mr. Lampros recalled one comment that Mrs. Fernandez made during their meeting about why it was important for Indira to graduate. She couldn’t afford to pay for her to attend another senior prom in another senior year.

Fortunately, I have never encountered a situation where my principal (or other administrator) demanded that I change a student's grade. In fact, they have been most supportive of my decisions in the [few] instances where there has been some sort of dispute. Admittedly, I do not even know if admins. are allowed to change a grade without a teacher's permission. That's the case in Texas, as Greg at RWR notes in his post -- that is, admins. cannot change a grade without a teacher's OK. Probably the most memorable example of a parent berating me about her kid's grade was very early in my career; mom was upset that the 50% her child had earned got him a grade of "F." She asked, "But can't he get credit for the work he has done?" My reply was, "He has gotten credit. 50%." She still didn't get why this was an "F." And, unfortunately across the US, there are too many administrators who feel likewise -- that virtually any work done by a student warrants at least a passing grade. They believe that failing grades "discourage" students. This was perfectly exemplified years ago here in Delaware during the Adele Jones saga.

Jones was a math teacher in Delaware's Indian River District. The claim was that "she failed too many students." She ended up being fired, but was reinstated when a judge ruled that her due process rights were violated. But the telling item is when this story was told on one of the big networks' news magazine shows ("Dateline" it may have been, if memory serves). One of Jones' administrators came right out and said it: "Bad grades do not motivate students." I was completely flummoxed. In other words, a teacher should not assign a "bad grade" (usually meaning a "D" or "F") to a student -- no matter what the lack of performance -- because "it won't motivate him/her." Hell, Jones should have argued that poor performance reviews and worse, her firing, "don't/wouldn't motivate HER to do better"! You can see just how pathetically ridiculous this all becomes.

What happens when these students (like Lampros' and Jones') move on to the REAL WORLD? It doesn't look pretty.

Posted by Hube at 12:03 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Eagles' McNabb: Mike Vick supporter

Just what the Eagles need as the NFL season is about to get underway: QB Donovan McNabb backs his buddy, accused dog fighter/torturer/killer Mike Vick, and to top it off whines that penalties for pampered athletes are too "tough":

"I'm a supporter of Vick," McNabb said. "That's because I'm a good friend of his and also we're guys that obviously compete to win the Super Bowl. We push each other.

"I think for some of the guys that have made the mistake and now that their season is taken away from them, the question goes out of what happens next? Because when some people get things like that taken away from them, they just continue to go down. You hope nothing but the best, that they've learned from their mistakes to move on where they can get back out on the field and play. Being suspended for a year? That's tough. That's tough...."

OK, I can sympathize with the first sentiment somewhat. A guy's a friend is a friend, and you gotta stick by him to a degree ... especially as the official (legal) word is "still out." But "tough"? A convicted-Vick being suspended for possibly a year ... too "tough"?

Just yet another example of how overpaid athletes are out of touch with the real world.

Posted by Hube at 11:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 01, 2007

Wouldn't go into Iraq, but ...

... would invade Pakistan if "they don't do more to stop terrorism." So says Barack Obama.

  • Obama said if there "was actionable intelligence."

  • Response: How is that significantly different from the "actionable intelligence" that precipitated the Iraq invasion? (Talking points answer: "Our intel will be 'better.'")

  • Critics have said the Iraq invasion was "destabilizing."

  • Response: "Analysts say an invasion could risk destabilizing Pakistan, breeding more militancy and undermining Musharraf."

You think? Oh yeah, and one more thing: Pakistan has nukes. That, and I thought there wasn't a "War on Terror"! Isn't that just a bumper sticker?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would possibly send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists, an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive.

That would be Hillary Clinton, and she is 100% on the money.

Posted by Felix at 10:19 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack