For Those That Think It’s Only the Right

In the wake of the horrifying shootings in Arizona, there are those that have said that the hateful rhetoric needs to be taken down a notch or two. In this I totally agree. What I don’t agree with is people like Bill Maher, who last night on Anderson Cooper’s show made the statement that all of that rhetoric was coming from the right and that nobody on the left was guilty of such vile speech. Well, for those of you that agree with him, take a look here. Michelle Malkin has done a tremendous job showing that stupidity and vile, hateful speech knows no political philosophy or party.

EVERYONE needs to dial it back a bit.

Let’s Make A Deal

From The Washington Post:

Charles Krauthammerr: Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 – and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years – which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

Everything about this deal disgusts me and validates my belief that ALL the politicians are two-faced, hypocritical, party-first, damn-the-electorate-full-spend-ahead-whatever-it-takes-to-get-reelected jerks.

This “deal” gets us:

  • Tax cuts (well, not really cuts, but a halt to the imminent increase)
  • Spending increases

What a deal! At a time when our total debt (including unfunded mandates) is roughly $75 TRILLION (that’s right, not the paltry $15 trillion or so that you’ve heard about) we’re gonna add, rather than subtract from that total. I guess it’s that in a world of insanity, it’s the sane man that watches it all go down the tube and shrugs with atlas.

What happened to the great “victory” of the fiscal conservative tea-party republicans? It’s in the same hole as Rangel’s ethics, buried, covered with the feces of our one party government.

Not that I have any strong feelings on the matter.


Really Governor?

Take a look at this story from today’s Boston Globe front page:

From The Boston Globe:

Patrick vows to work to change immigration laws – The Boston Globe: [Governor Patrick] said he wants to implement all 131 recommendations contained in an administration report last year, which includes controversial measures such as in-state tuition at public colleges and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants

That’s right, people of Massachusetts, your governor, the one that YOU elected (I didn’t vote for him) wants to give people that are here by virtue of breaking our laws the same benefits that you work and pay taxes for… which is bad enough… but he wants to do it when the state is facing a $2.5 BILLION shortfall.

Massachusetts had tried several years ago to pass a law granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students, saying it would bring in $2.5 million in revenue a year if 600 students enrolled. But the measure failed in the House.

Excuse me? But aren’t all the state universities and colleges already fully enrolled, and in fact over-enrolled? If these 600 people were to gain admission, 600 people from legal residents (including citizens, and legal immigrants) would not be allowed to attend.

The implications of this go well beyond driving and education (when you get a driver’s license, you can register to vote and use it for identification when voting, as an example).

Just as a reminder, the last governor to do the right thing on this issue was Romney, who worked out a deal with the federal government to allow state police arrest illegal immigrants and turn them over to federal authorities… an order rescinded immediately by Governor Patrick.

Think about it people, especially the next time you vote for governor. It really does matter.


Are you smart enough to teach grade school?

From Roger Ebert’s Journal :

Are you smart enough to teach grade school?: This is a certification examination for prospective teachers, prepared by the Examiners of Teachers for the Public Schools in Zanesville, Ohio, in the late 1870s:

Uh…. after looking at those questions, I know I’m not smart enough. But what’s of more interest to me is that I’m willing to bet money that most of our teachers today would fail the test too. Certainly some of the questions are archaic, but many aren’t. Here’s an example:

6. Give rule for forming plural of nouns ending in “y,” with examples. Give plurals of staff, radius, miasma, Miss White, rendezvous, talisman, loaf, grief, seraph, Mussulman, forceps, spoonful, who, beef, s, x, 6, and madam. Also give the singulars of kine, ashes, banditi, swine, animalcula.

Yikes! That’s basic stuff… knowing the plural form of various nouns that don’t follow the rules. How many teachers could get the correct answers for the whole question? Can you?

How about this one:

9. Write the past tense and past participle of these verbs:

Lay, Seek, Sit, Get, Dare,Thrive, Lie, Set, Light, Loose, Fly, Flee, Chide, Overflow, Catch, Lose, Swim, Climb, Drink, Stay, Leap, Quit, Swell, Burst, Eat.

Do you remember what a past participle is? If I asked my high school and college kids what it is, would they?

Is this part of the dumbing down of America, or is it the evolution of the language?

The Tenth Inning, Part 1

Last night I watched the first part of Ken Burns followup to Bsaeball, The Tenth Inning. Overall it was fantastic, just as the original documentary was. There was one part that stuck out for me though. Much of the show, as expected, was either covertly or overtly about steroids and how it affected the game. At one point, the speaker was the genius comedian Chris Rock, and he said (paraphrasing from memory), “who wouldn’t take a pill to make more money at their job? You would [motioning to Ken Burns off camera]. If you could take a pill to get paid like Steven Spielberg, you’d take it, everyone would.” Ouch! I’d never thought of it in those terms, and if I dig deep, I’d have to admit, reluctantly, that I would. This does not excuse what all the juicers did for all those years, but it makes it more understandable. Thoughts?

Tiger’s Return

Well, it’s finally here, the final week of winter. Oh, I know that the calendar says that spring started a couple of weeks ago. But it’s not really spring until Sunday afternoon at Amen Corner at the [[Masters]].

A view of the 12th hole at Augusta, the second leg of Amen Corner

This year is a bit different at The Masters than any other year though. It’s the Year of the Tiger, and the year that [[Tiger]] tries to make amends. Will he be able to quell the rancor of the crowds and score at Augusta? I hope so.

I have to say that from the beginning I was a huge supporter of [[Tiger]]. He seemed to do it the right way both on, and off the course. Well, clearly, his antics off the course have proved me at least half wrong, and some of his behavior on the course has left a lot to be desired as of late.

Hopefully the past few months have given him a full serving of humble pie and he’s willing to come back with more respect for the game, for his fans, for women, and especially for his family.

‘Stand and Deliver’ teacher dies of cancer


‘Stand and Deliver’ teacher dies of cancer: “During his tenure at Garfield High School, many of our students excelled in learning, aspired to a higher education and went on to become very successful in various careers,” Los Angeles School Superintendent Ramon Cortines said. “Today, they are living testaments to a teacher who demonstrated how high expectations coupled with constant support can overcome obstacles to a quality education.”

I remember [Stand and Deliver]( in a theatre way back in 1988. I was completely blown away by the story. I loved the fact that given any kind of a chance and some help, these underprivileged students were able to rise up and pass the Calculus AP exam. What’s even more amazing is that it was, for all practical purposes, a true story. What’s even more amazing is that teachers didn’t have much use for it.

I remember talking to a teacher friend of mine who complained that the real story couldn’t have been like that, that it must have been modified by Hollywood to make the film more exciting. Well, it turns out he was wrong and that it is about 90% accurate, and about 100% accurate in all the details that matter.

Another amazing, but probably not too surprising, thing is that the teacher’s union opposed what he was doing because he was taking on too many students in his classroom! The union had negotiated that the classroom max was to be 35 students. He took on more than 50. Was the union concerned that the students weren’t being taught well? Nope… the students in those classes passed the AP exam at better than a 90% rate. A phenomenal achievement. The union was more interested in protecting their (other) members than helping the children (he was doing a labor of love)… as I said, not much of a surprise (the next time you hear the teacher’s union supporting something for the benefit of the children, take it with a grain of salt).


This leaves would-be school reformers with a set of uncomfortable questions. Why couldn’t Escalante run his classes in peace? Why were administrators allowed to get in his way? Why was the union imposing its “help” on someone who hadn’t requested it? Could Escalante’s program have been saved if, as Gradillas now muses, Garfield had become a charter school? What is wrong with a system that values working well with others more highly than effectiveness?

He was a unique teacher that showed what can be done when someone cares. Perhaps, as he passes, teachers and school districts around the country will be inspired as they read his example (and maybe even watch that fantastic film), stand up to the politicians and unions, and really deliver and leave no child behind.

Time for a new Pope?

From The London Evening Standard:

Pope ‘led cover-up of child abuse by priests’: The Pope played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests, according to a shocking documentary to be screened by the BBC tonight.

In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety.

The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it. And, to keep victims quiet, it threatened that if they repeat the allegations they would be excommunicated.

If this actually happened (and given the recent issues that have surfaced, I think it likely), there’s no choice for this Pope but to resign.

They let Cardinal Law get away with it nearly a decade ago, and that was troubling enough. But now the Pope?!? It’s time for a complete overhaul of the church hierarchy. This cannot go on, and cannot be ignored.

A Review of Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories”

From Entropy Production:

Entropy Production: All Medical Science is Wrong within a 95% Confidence Interval
or: A Review of Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories”
: Recently I read a very impressive book by Gary Taubes, previously a reporter for the journal Science. The work in question is, “Good Calories, Bad Calories.”‘ In the book, Taubes collects research to challenge the common knowledge of nutrition: that fat is bad for you, that we should eat polyunsaturated vegetable oils, that we should exercise for sixty minutes a day, etc.

One cannot help but wonder how a number of the weak hypotheses that Taubes explores came to become common knowledge in the field of nutrition? Taubes paints a picture of a few egotistical researchers who were able to effect what was essentially scientific fraud, by fitting their bias to the data rather than examining it critically. In Taubes words (p. 451), “it is difficult to use the term “scientist” to describe those individuals who work in these disciples [ed: nutrition, chronic disease, and obesity], and, indeed, I have activity avoided doing so in this book.”

This article is a fantastic summary and commentary on Gary Taubes enlightening book. I highly recommend purchasing and reading the book. It changed my life for the better (starting with article that Taubes wrote for the New York Times Magazine). Since reading the article / book and following (for the most part) it’s tennets, the following has happened to me personally:

  • I’ve lost 50 pounds
  • My blood cholesterol has dropped from 220 to 160
  • My trigycerides have dropped
  • My blood pressure has dropped

If you are overweight or borderline diabetic, you NEED to read this book.

Drinking age of 21 doesn’t work


Commentary: Drinking age of 21 doesn’t work – One year ago, a group of college and university presidents and chancellors, eventually totaling 135, issued a statement that garnered national attention.

The “Amethyst Initiative” put a debate proposition before the public — “Resolved: That the 21-year-old drinking age is not working.”

…Most of the rest of the world has come out in a different place on the drinking age. The United States is one of only four countries — the others are Indonesia, Mongolia and Palau — with an age as high as 21. All others either have no minimum age or have a lower age, generally 18, with some at 16.

Young adults know that. And, in their heart of hearts, they also know that a law perceived as unjust, a law routinely violated, can over time breed disrespect for law in general.

Exactly correct. In a country that was founded on the ideals of freedom and responsibility, that it can be acceptable for someone to be old enough to die for one’s country, but not old enough to raise a tankard of ale in tribute to that same country is insane. That it’s legal to drive at 16 (which causes WAY more deaths every year than drinking), and consent to sex at 16, and vote at 18 (which has a direct impact on the future of the country), and smoke at 18 (which is WAY more unhealthy than drinking)… that you are considered an adult in every way in this country, but you can’t have a beer is just plain stupid.