Friday, March 31, 2006

QUICK! Somebody call Golden Palace...

It's a sign!!!

Don't worry, I'll be back with the cranky posts as soon as I'm done shaking off my hangover...

Point by Stupid Point (Cell Phone Edition)

So we're getting a good look at why Sweeden isn't exactly a hotbed for medical research by the recent bush league study showing that incresed cell phone use can cause brain tumors, despite every other report ever published showing that there is no definite correlation either statistical or medical. Like my point by stupid format on the sports page (regarding NFL celecration rules), I'm just going to hit the main points and provide commentary. I looked for the actual study itself but was unable to find it on the Center's website. I did find this though: a project studying how subjective Neurophysiological symptoms are connected with mobile phones.

"researchers at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life said they looked at the mobile phone use of 905 people between the age of 20 and 80 who had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and found a link."

Ignoring that the completely leaves us in the dark involving what sort of "link" was found, you can't go looking only at people who have brain tumors and get an idea on if that brain tumor was caused by anything. You'll have to look at similar folks who did not get a brain tumor.

"A total 85 of these 905 cases were so-called high users of mobile phones, that is they began early to use mobile and, or wireless telephones and used them a lot" [emphasis mine]

Given that mobile phone service methods have changed a lot over the past few years, even if these folks are getting brain tumors from the phones, we do not know if the current crop of phones are contributing to the problem or if this occured because of phones that are no longer in production and/or use.

"The study also shows that the rise in risk is noticeable for tumors on the side of the head where the phone was said to be used"

This is the most interesting point made in the article. It still doesn't rule out other possiblities and it still doesn't lay out a clear cause and effect pattern. Do tumors occur on the same side as your cell phone ear for other reasons? For example, might it have to do with which side of your brain is dominant? You cell phone ear and the side a tumor is on could both be effects of the same cause.

""The way to get the risk down is to use handsfree," he told Reuters."

Huh? Given that handsfree is a pretty new product on the market, how exactly was that proven to help those who "began early" in their mobile phone usage? Or is this guy just making an opinion with no real facutal basis, either statistical or scientific.

Do I think that cell phones cause brain tumors? I don't know but these guys don't know either, even if they claim otherwise. Much like smoking, it will probably take a long time to put together any real statistical and/or scientific evidence that cell phone use leads to tumors.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Eating Cake

You knew it was coming, didn't you?

This is the part of the conversation where the Southern Liberals and the Really Real Conservatives get to spend time doing one of our most favorite-est bipartisan-y things in the world:

Making fun of France.

Seriously, you guys, when over one million of Frech people take to the streets to protest reality, you've already been eating that cake (and drinking Fuzzy Math Kool Aid) for a long, long time.

Luckily, there are still some adults in that country who upheld the legality of reality, and pretty much put the onus onto Chirac to get the kids to move out of Ma-mA's basement, shower, shave and do some work.

I don't even know why politicians and economists are discussing this. If you have a nation that only works part-time and can never get fired, your economy is going to suck. Kruschev wasn't talking crazy when he said the USSR would bury us, he just thought we'd all go the way of France long before now.

Welcome to the real world, kiddies! Life is like one of those old Nintendo games, you never actually win; it just gets harder and faster until you die.

And this brings us to one of our own New Rules: If anyone on this blog, ever, tries to criticize America by using France as an example of how to do things right, you loose the argument, immediately, and SAWB and I get to show up at your house and throw stale croissants at you.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Upscale Wal-Mart Update

Over the past weekend I was in the Dallas, TX area. While there, I really tried to slot enough time to make it out to the new "upscale" Wal-Mart in Plano, TX since I was only half an hour away. Sadly, I didn't get the chance to but I did do a few informal interviews with friends and family memebers over the new store. Out of about 15 people I asked about the new store, only one has been. My aunt who lives in Plano says it was busy its opening week said that the cars sure didn't look like cars from Plano residents. She went in to check it out and said that it looked like a plain old Wal-Mart to her. She did note that they have hardwood flooring in the clothing section but they've been making that conversion in all of their stores since it's the laminate is cheaper to maintain than carpet. She did also notice that there was a coffee shop where they usually put a snack bar, McDonalds, or Subway/Blimpie. Her final verdict is that she is sticking with Target and Kroger for "those type" of shopping needs.

I also have a few relatives from south Dallas (Waxahacie for those keeping score at home) who plan on checking out the store at some point because of what they heard on the news about it. I will give Wal-Mart a little credit for creating a freak show atmosphere that worked so well for Wal-Mart openings in the early 80's. There are some people I've talked to who are genuinely excited to check out the new fancy Wal-Mart in Plano. Unfortunately for Wal-Mart, most of those people I talked to don't actually live in Plano. In fact, most of them live south of Dallas which would require them to drive to the other side of the city in a pretty traffic-ridden area (I-35E) to get to the store in the first place. Then again, that's where most of my family lives in the metroplex area.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Speaking of Tolerance

And the People Truly Working For It

The Iran Freedom Concert was a success up at Harvard, bringing together people of different religions, tastes, politics and nationalities in order to demonstrate a positive solidarity with students in Iran. The organizers were nice enough to send me a link to some pictures from the show, as well as what the Boston Globe had to say about it.

For any new readers tuning in, we already started talking about Rock & Roll as foreign policy and though some naysayers may think this is just activism for activism's sake, I'll point out that there is a huge Iranian population in the West and the East who have Internet access and satellite television. This population overwhelmingly wants true freedom for the Iranian people, and I think that's something worth saying over and over until it becomes reality.

Tolerance and you...

Ah, springtime. The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and the liberals are coming out of their holes to show off their new tolerance and inclusion coats.

Now, I'm pretty well numbed to the usual gaggle of protestors that come out of the woodwork any time some group of Jeebus-ites holds a rally, but it is new and exciting for me when an elected official jumps into the fray on the side of the protestors.

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


Isn't that a lovely sentiment? Here we have a group of young people, who are promoting clean-living, tolerance, and happy-times, and Mr. Leno wants to remove them from San Francisco. This really is stunning to me, as San Francisco has long billed itself as the city that tolerates anything and everything.

Granted, the Pals-of-Jeebus brought some of this down on them, by making it a drawing point that they were going to host a pre-rally event at the San Francisco City Hall where, "several months ago, gay marriages were celebrated for all the world to see", however, I don't think this gives Assemblyman Leno a free pass into passing an official condemnation of the group's activities.

All that aside, it is refreshing to me and my cold, black, empty, conservative heart, dear readers, that the inclusionary, group-identity liberals be the ones on the downwind side of this one. As paT and I have discussed many a time, on and off this humble blog, it's things like this that will keep the conservatives in power for eons, and eons, and eons, no matter how noble the grassroots changes are on the left.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Stepping In It

And "it" refers to a big, fat, steaming pile of bull****!

Apparently, author Robert Alter has decided to prostrate himself at the Altar of Oprah and vy for the millions upon millions of dollars to be made by telling women they are perfect and telling men that all the problems in the world are their fault.

At least he doesn't try to cover it up as some insightful study, as the title of this cow pattie is: Its (Mostly) His Fault: For Women Who Are Fed Up and the Men Who Love Them.

Not surprisingly, a book like this is slated to sell gazillions as women who are unhappy with their crappy lives look for someone else with a crappy life to blame for their misery. Because of the untold oodles of cash that will be making it into the coffers of the part-of-the-problem publishers, the Today Show's book report & excerpt library gives us some tantilizing quotes about how to hate your life.

"Part of me loves and respects men so desperately, and part of me thinks they are so embarrassingly incompetent at life and in love."
...
"Let’s face it, we men don’t know squat about relationships. We don’t really do relationships. We do work, we do sports, we do cars, we do wars, and we do sex (which is what often passes for relationship with some of us), but we don’t really do relationships."
...
"I’m a guy. I don’t know squat about relationships. If you want to know the truth, I’m scared to death of relationships, the reason being that there’s a secret little part of me that so needs a relationship, that’s so dependent on a relationship — with a woman, with this woman who I married — that if I ever admitted it, especially to myself, the sheer power this woman has over me, I’m a goner."

This sounds, to me, like a speech the losing team's coach gives in the locker room before a game. This is like a anti-pep talk for the spineless.

Mr. Alter, I don't know what men you are hanging out with, or what men you talk to, or even what kind of man you are, but I gotta tell you, dude, stop hanging out with men who have no common sense, no spines and no manners. Tell your desperate houswife readers to ditch their losers and find some real men to get hitched to. Barring that, tell 'em to grow a little self sufficiency and make some friends.

Just an FYI, most of the fellas I know are pretty self-actualized in what they do, and when confident, mature women get married to confident, mature men - you don't too many problems. Yeah, there are some growing pains as confident, mature people butt heads over their way of doing things, but all in all it works out.

Women, I'll save you $30 and the pain and suffering that comes from living in an illusion and I'll do it for free.

To these 'fed up' women who married the men described in this book: you knew he acted that way when you married your loser boyfriend. Don't date losers. You knew he acted that way when you decided to become the wife of a mama's boy. Don't date mama's boys. You knew he was broke, and you wanted to fix him, now you learn that's how the factory made him in the first place. Shoulda kept your damn reciept. Every single one of you 'fed up' women is married to a man who ain't your first choice. Shouldn'ta drove off the good man you did have cause he did one little thing wrong.

Moral of the story: find yourself a real man who's confident and mature and knows how to act. It ain't that hard, I know plenty of 'em. Stop expecting the real men to come to you, most of the real men have real jobs, real friends, and real hobbies - these real men are lookin for real women with real jobs, real friends, and real hobbies and they ain't impressed that your only talent is hangin' at the bar lookin' cute. That will get his attention, but you gonna have to work to keep his attention once you got it, 'cause, unlike Mr. Alter says, he don't need you and your drama in his life. Why? Because he's already got his business handled, he's already got his needs satisfied. You are a luxury item until you prove otherwise when you are dealing with a real man, no matter what a buch of spineless milquetoast pundits say on Oprah because they have a publishing deal.

Have fun with your loserman, honey.

Now, get in the kitchen and fix him some pie before goin' out and spending his hard earned money buying a book that's gonna tell you a bunch of stuff about how badly he sucks.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Twenty-six

About fifteen minutes ago, I met the attorney who litigated Roe v. Wade: Ms. Sarah Weddington, of the University of Texas-Austin. She delivered the 24th Annual Edith House Lecture, which is named for one of the first two women to graduate from the UGA School of Law (in 1925), who was also co-valedictorian of her class. Ms. Weddington's lecture was on leadership in general and on her experience as a woman in the legal profession. I must remark Ms. Weddington is a compelling and affable figure. However, I will not endeavor to convey my impression of her; by reciting the following two facts, I leave you to form your own.

Roe was the first case in which Ms. Weddington's litigated a contested issue.

When the Supreme Court handed down its 7-2 decision in that case in 1973, Ms. Weddington was twenty-six.

At the reception after her lecture, I asked her a question with a somewhat ulterior motive: what she did to prepare for Roe. Her answer was simple: she got everyone she could to read over her brief, every organization that would to file amicus briefs, and every law student, attorney and professor that would to moot the case with her. (Mooting a case is similar to rehearsing a play. You have people fill in the roles of the justices and opposing counsel and you practice arguing your case.) She mused over whether her former professors participated so enthusiastically because they hoped she would win (which she said she doubts) or because they simply enjoyed pretending to be Supreme Court justices.

The ulterior motive: I am currently engaged in a Moot Court competition here in Athens. Every 1L participated in the first round. I made it to the Round of 64, and this morning discoverd that I had proceeded to the Round of 32. Though none of us know entirely what to expect, the justices for next weeks' Rounds of 32, 16 and 8 will likely be mooted by 2Ls and 3Ls who are on Georgia's Moot Court team, and possibly the professor in charge of that program. For the Semi-Final Round, the justices will be mooted by several of our professors. For The Final Round, the justices might well be mooted by actual justices and judges.

Though I am thankful to have advanced thus far, I do not expect to advance beyond next week. Last night, arguing in the Round of 64, I was uncomfortably nervous for reasons I cannot describe. And all I was doing was arguing a hypothetical case before the Supreme Court of Lumpkin, which was comprised of three individuals who are either close to the same age or who are the same age as I am:

Twenty-six.

Jackassery, I cast thee OUT!

So, yeah. It looks like UGA is trying to take another bite out of the rampant assclownery that is tailgating at UGA.

Story time.

We (paT, myself, and others), used to park at the Creswell God Lot(tm) for tailgating. It was convenient, it was close to the stadium, and most of all, it was free. This arrangement worked fine for a couple of years, then, suddenly, someone else decided that they were going to take our spot. They would triple park, and hold spaces for their friends, they would move tailgating stuff I had placed earlier, and in one instance, told someone who was holding the area for us that we had to move. That was the last straw.

I'm all for maintaing one's space, but to try and forcibly remove someone because you want the space more, and are unwilling to share, or merge the tailgates? I'm glad I don't tailgate there anymore.

Do I think this will fix all of the on-campus tailgating issues? No. It's a start though. The next step, in my mind at least, is to designate the intramural fields as tailgating areas, and run constant shuttles to and from the stadium to the intramurals. Beyond that, well, we're going to have to create some more land from somewhere, and quick...

We could always give you back to the Taliban....

What is it lately with folks? The US breaks you out of the clutches of the enemy, and the slap us in the face. You may scroll down for SAWB's take on this, but I'm much less inclined to worry about Canadian hippies after reading the rest of the news.

Like the Afgan Clerics who are calling for the execution of an Afgan who converted from Islam to Christianity. Uhh. What? Here's the quote:

"The people will not be fooled," said Abdul Raoulf, cleric at Herati Mosque. "This is humiliating for Islam. ... Cut off his head."

Raoulf is considered a moderate cleric in Afghanistan. He was jailed three times for criticizing the Taliban's policies before the hardline regime was ousted by U.S.-led forces in 2001.

Boy, I sure am glad that's considered 'moderation' in Afganistan. Guess it lets everyone know how bad the Taliban really was, if they were locking this bozo up for being too liberal.

I also don't like that the Afgan government is gonna try and weasel out of this by saying homeboy is mentally unfit for trial. If the media hadn't picked up on this story, the dude would have been executed at the hands of the Afganistan government.

I ran across an article on MSNBC aptly titled "For Afgans, allies, a clash of values." Do you think? Hearing about this situation seems to have galvanized plenty of folks here at home:

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, complained in a letter to Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "How can we congratulate ourselves for liberating Afghanistan from the rule of jihadists only to be ruled by radical Islamists who kill Christians? . . . Americans will not give their blood and treasure to prop up new Islamic fundamentalist regimes."

In another open letter to Bush, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said it was "the obligation of our government" to take action in the case. The group warned that in Afghanistan, there is no legal guarantee of religious freedom and the judiciary is instructed to enforce Islamic principles. "The door is open for a harsh, unfair or even abusive interpretation of religious orthodoxy to be officially imposed," it said.

This is my huge problem with this Administration's foreign policy: it is not a change from what we had pre-September 11th. Back in the day, the CIA worked with Osama Bin Laden and his cronies in Afganistan because the Soviets were really bad. Now we're working with these knuckleheads because Osama Bin Laden and his cronies are really bad. In 20 years, who are we going to be working with against this current group of knuckleheads?

You know what they say about the definition of insanity, and the reasons we learn history, right?

I know these guys have a shady history, but even the Council on American-Islamic Relations is stepping up and calling shenanigans! (from lead article)
Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement calling for Rahman’s release. “Religious decisions should be matters of personal choice, not a cause for state intervention,” the Muslim civil liberties group said.


I reckon when you've got the Family Research Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations together on something, that's some big news.

We could always drop you back off...

Let's hear it for mud in your eye! Apparrently, while grateful for being rescued by Coalition forces from their Islamic captors who murdered one of their group, they want us illegal occupiers out of Iraq, since that'll solve everything up real nice.

Perhaps we could just drop them back off where we picked them up with a note to the guys we rescued them from...

This is why I don't go out of my way to help people...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Upscale Wal-Mart?

I'm going to start out by going ahead and telling you that I am not a fan of Wal-Mart. I get most of my groceries there because they are about 5 miles closer than the next nearest grocery store (who I do still go to on occasion for their excellent meat deals) and their name brand diaper prices are ususally the best around. Other than that, I'd rather go elsewhere.

So Wal-Mart has done a pretty good job of getting every penny they can out of lower and middle class America. They're now setting their sites on upscale shoppers by offering fancy wine, high end electronics, and a sushi bar among other things at a test site out in Plano, TX (which has become quite the upscale area in Dallas from what I hear).

This plan really shows to me that Wal-Mart has absolutely no idea why the upscale shopper goes to Target instead. Sure Target has some decent name designer clothing but they don't have much along the lines of high-end electronics and they sure don't have a sushi bar. What do they have then? Target has a better shopping experience. Target is often less crowded and is more accessible with a shopping cart. Most importantly though, people can actaully get through the checkout line at Target in a reasonable fashion. This is partially due to Target's policy of opening a new checkout lane whenever more than three people are waiting in line. I can't count the number of times I've been into Wal-Mart when there is the one regular lane open and the four self checkout stations full of customers who have absolutely no idea how to do self checkout. I've also noticed that Target's cashiers are much more likely to fetch a supervisor for help when they encounter something they cannot immedeately handle (like incorrect price ringing up) but that may be anecdotal evidence on my part and not actually company policy.

This brings me to perhaps the biggest reason Target has the upscale shoppper advantage right now. Target doesn't have the riff raff. Wal-Mart won the retail battle for lower and middle class America and quite frankly the upscale shopper doesn't want to shop in the same building. They don't want to be stuck behind the lady using 30 paper food vouchers to purchase her groceries and they don't want to shop around the people who are there to hang out on a Friday night. If Wal-Mart is serious about gaining the upscale shopper audience, then they need to open a Wal-Mart and then open a Tram-Law right next store (or better yet across the street) that is everything Wal-Mart is not: a clean well-oiled machine of a store. They're simply not going to get the low-end and high-end shoppers together under one roof. Stores like American Fare and Hypermart have tried that before. They're no longer in business.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Keeping Up With Mississippi

Remember, folks, 'real' journalists didn't have time for the Corey Maye case, but the Agitator is still making things happen.

Thank you, Radley, for keeping at this. Thank you, Mr. Reynolds for the hattip.

(Speaking of Mr. Reynolds, I will have a full report on his latest book coming soon. Don't worry, SAWB, the copy is yourn come April...)

No Miracle

So, the World Baseball Classic is over with Japan hammering Cuba 10-6.

Before this thing started up, I remember reading several sportswriters (though I didn't, at the time, think to copy the links) that didn't even want Cuba to come to this big dance. Their fears? A Cuban win, especially over the United States, would give Castro a 'Lake Placid Miracle' moment.

Were those sportswriters right to be worried? How much face do we stand to loose when the US participates in such events around the world? I remember several years ago, the US national soccer team got into a World Cup group with Iran and Yugoslavia & how that was viewed. I will always remember Chastain & the US Women's Team defeating China in free kicks.

But how much impact do y'all think those big international events, and exclusion or boycotting them, affect things on the worldwide stage?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Rock & Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

I didn't get this published before the concert ('cause I'm a big slacker), but just the fact that it happened is news enough for me. I heard about it and I thought about the Monsters in Moscow concert in '91. I thought I remembered something about rock concerts being staged in West Berlin loud enough so they could hear it in the East before 1989. And I wonder if they ever played music on Radio Free Europe.

Maybe I'm reading a lot into this news. I probably am. I may sound like a big ol' hippie for it, but I think Rock & Roll - American Culture - is what will deliver us from our current troubled times. And I'm not talking about the McCulture of the suburbs, I'm talking the spirit behind Rock & Roll and all the good and true and fondly remembered things of childhood and youth. (Where I grew up, headbanging was as American as apple pie) It won't be the only thing that will win this for us, that is for damn sure, but I think the American Dream is intimately tied to rebellious youth and the spirit of Rock & Roll.

Those American Dreams - that Rock & Roll - make us the beacon of light in the world that we are. And when military options aren't on the table (as they weren't against the Soviet Bloc) Rock & Roll could be our most potent of strategies. I'd bet on Elvis over the Mullahs any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

Here's hoping we see more of this.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Harvard Students Hold "Iran Freedom Concert" in Solidarity with
Iranian Student Movement for Democracy and Civil Rights

CAMBRIDGE – On Saturday, March 18, Harvard University will host the Iran Freedom Concert, a rally organized by Harvard students to support their counterparts in Iran. Prominent Iranian student leader Akbar Atri and Harvard's Undergraduate Council president John Haddock will address the crowd.

"As tensions rise over nuclear issues, our diverse student coalition wants to spotlight the human side of the Iran crisis," said co-organizer Adam Scheuer, a senior and editor at the Harvard Middle East Review.

"Iranian students are denied basic rights Americans take advantage of every day. But there is a brave student movement in Iran working for change, and we need to support them." Widespread student protests in Iran have broken out in recent years, despite a brutal crackdown by the regime's security forces.

The concert, which begins at 9 p.m. at Leverett House, features leading campus musicians and speakers from campus groups exposing repression in Iran. Nine organizations are co-sponsoring, including an unusual alliance of campus Democrats and Republicans.

"The coalition doesn't take a stand on policy debates like foreign intervention," explained freshman co-organizer Alex McLeese. "But we agree that the fundamental rights of Iranians cannot be held hostage to diplomatic maneuverings over Iran's nuclear program."

The Iran Freedom Concert takes place just before the traditional Persian new year of Norouz – reflecting the students' hope for a new day for freedom in Iran.

"Iranian students are arrested for what they write on their blogs and have to take their exams in handcuffs," noted freshman co-organizer Nick Manske. "In fact, the essential elements of this concert are illegal in Iran: live singing, mixed dancing, and discussing social messages. Not to mention the restrictions on women, minorities, and journalists."

That message is being echoed on campuses across the country, with simultaneous rallies planned at Georgetown, UPenn, Duke, and other schools. Prominent Iranian dissidents, as well as the American Islamic Congress, are sending statements of support.

"This is a critical moment for Iran," Scheuer said. "Iranian activists need to know that American students are ready to help them hold the Iranian regime accountable. We want to help our counterparts in Iran seize the moment and advance their civil rights movement."

For more information, see http://www.IranFreedomConcert.com or call 617.661.0053.

Tropical Contact High

So, it is actually a little bit chilly today in Island City, but I don't mind 'cause it'll get back into the 70's and sun next week.

But I know most of y'all in the northern hinterlands of the state (and points north) are probably languishing in the pre-springtime 50's, dreaming of girls in bikinis, the sun on your faces, and walks on the beach.

Since most of y'all will be stuck indoors for the next coupla days (and 'cause I don't give fellow Island City blogger Virgil near enough props), here's a way to bring a little sunshine into your lives: the Redneck Gourmet's Strawberry Key Lime Pie. Try that the next time you're watching Bad Boys II or CSI Miami or some other 'fun in the sun' based show whist y'all try to stave off the scurvy.

I'm gonna give that partikkular recipie a shot the next time the 'rents & I have a backyard barbecue (the Pops don't eat chocolate, so this could go over tremendously). I'm sure margaritas or rum based beverages will feature prominently...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Pat's!

Once, after he showed me Boondock Saints for the first time (for which I will forever be thankful), my brother, a friend of his and I were telling Irish jokes in the basement living room of a house he used to live in on Macon Hwy.

The joke I told:

Q: What do you call two gay Irishmen?

A: Michael Fitzpatrick and Patrick Fitzmichael.

For whatever reason, Pat and Mikey were not amused.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Field Trip

To discuss Women's History Month, we're all taking a field trip over to DADvocate. Good stuff, and brief.

Also, he gives some righteous props (here and here) to Carolyn Maupin, who more than deserves it for stepping up in the face of tragedy. Her son is MIA but presumed dead in Iraq, but will never be bereft of prayers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The difference between you and me...

The Democrats Secret Plan for World Domination Tour 2006 has been unveiled today by Nancy Pelosi. It's about time. I was getting tired of waiting to see which horses were going to be beaten into submission this year.

I'll highlight a few of my favorite points here, which I'm sure will foster much meaningful discussion.

"On my way over here, I was thinking of all of you and thinking about a letter I recently received from a software engineer. Her name is Myra, and she is in the information technology industry -- she has been for her entire career. Her job is testing software for wireless-systems providers. She wrote, 'I loved my job, and I was good at it.'

"In 2003, her entire department was laid off because their jobs were outsourced. It was a shock to them. To add insult to injury they were told that they had to train their successors, or else they'd lose their severance. You've heard that before - it's a story that we've heard over and over again. In fact I read a report recently that said 36 million jobs were susceptible to outsourcing. What are we doing about it?

"When Myra wrote me, she had already been out of work for a year. She had cashed in her 401(k) and had no health insurance. She wrote: 'If Congress ended tax subsidies to companies that outsourced jobs overseas, I would still have that job that I love.' Democrats promise to end these tax subsidies.


Hate to tell you, kids, but this is the free-market at work. If what you're doing, no matter how good you are at it, can be done as well for less somewhere else, kiss it goodbye. It's sort of the same reason that US automakers are getting killed in the marketplace, and have been for years. Cost of business here vs. cost of business elsewhere.

At the same time, why Myra didn't just suck it up, and find another job doing anything else, rather than sit around and wait for 'another job she loved' to show up, is the bane of my nanny-state hating existence.

"Here in the U.S., when we talk about 'universal service,' we're talking about making sure that everyone has a voice dial tone. We have really fallen down in the list. When the countries that are ahead of us talk about 'universal service,' they're talking about universal broadband deployment. In the last decade, the United States has slipped from leading the world to the 16th in the world. So our agenda guarantees that every American will have affordable access to broadband, and we intend to achieve it in five years.


Lemme know when you dig up the universal right to cheap , fast, intarweb pr0n in the Constitution. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Do I think that it's absurd that wireless/wired high speed service costs what it does here, and that the service is as spotty as it is? Yes.

Do I understand why the telecom companies are more than a little hesitant to sink an obscene amount of money into a new telecom transmission system to span the entire country, which would have to entirely replace the existing copper-wire infrastructure, and force just about everyone to get a new home-phone? Yep.

Do I understand that replacing that sort of infrastructure over the entire country is a task of the sort of magnitude that is the same reason that we'll likely never see nationwide high-speed rail like all those progressive European/Asian countries have? Yep.

Do I think Nancy and the Demos are clueless about this? Yep.

"In order for us to be competitive, it is necessary for us to have energy independence. The technology is there and we intend to achieve energy independence -- it's about our competitiveness, it's about our national security, and we intend to achieve energy independence within ten years. We can do it.


OK. Fine. Let's start by drilling for oil in ANWR, and off the coast of Florida/California. Let's build more nuclear power plants. Wind/Solar/Water power ain't going to cut it.

"Democrats have a proposal for health care for all Americans, and we intend to do so within five years.


Neat. Pay for it with the taxes that are already being collected. Better yet, give me a tax break if I choose to not be a part of your Socialist system. I mean, if I choose to not be a drain on the system, you can stop draining from my wallet.

"We absolutely must pass an increase in the minimum wage. It's been a long time since the last increase, but if you looked at the charts of the purchasing power of minimum wage earners it's going down. There has not been an increase in eight years and you see the income of corporate America's CEOs - it's immoral.

"I was told that an entry level person at Wal-Mart, who works his or her entire career at Wal-Mart, would make as much as the CEO makes in two weeks. A lifetime of work versus two weeks in the executive suite -- this is not America, this is not fairness, this is not the basis of a strong middle class that is essential for our democracy. We must change that in our country.


There's a reason that the CEO makes in two weeks what a minimum wage earner makes in a lifetime. Mostly, it's about effort and choices.

"An important principle that is essential to our competitiveness and ensuring that all Americans participate in the prosperity of our country is the right of all Americans to organize. Fifty-seven million American say they would join a union if they had the chance. But too often, they face harassment, intimidation, and coercion when they try to exercise that right.

"That is why Democrats are fighting to pass the Employee Free Choice Act; Congressman George Miller will be here shortly to talk about that. He's the author of this in the House, along with Ted Kennedy in the Senate. As of today, we have 212 cosponsors in the House. The bill will guarantee that when a majority of workers in a company want a union, they will get a union.


This scares me more than anything. So, say, if out of a 100 employee want a union, for some inexplicable reason, 51 vote for a union. Are all 100 required to join? Can I opt out? Might I be able to remain a *GASP* individual?

"Corruption is writing an energy bill that gives obscene subsidies to oils companies that are making huge profits and raising the prices at the pump and costs on home heating oil for America's families.


Something tells me that Nancy knows the difference between profit and profit-margin, but she knows that if she explains that, these 'record setting profits' will look pretty normal. Oh, and last I checked, business were in the business of making money for their shareholders.

"We must have 100 percent screening of our containers that come into our ports. Hong Kong receives 11 million containers a year, 100 percent of them screened. In America, only 6 percent of containers that come into our ports are screened. So this issue about our ports is not just about operating ports, it's about real security for all Americans.


Hong Kong has an exponentially smaller coastline, with many times fewer ports to patrol, than the US does. Do I think that we should scan everything that comes in? Yep. Do I think we should wait a bit until the technology comes in that will make it more cost-effective to do it? Yep.

Thoughts? Fire away...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

School Colors

By the way, I found out that - because I have a blog and I attach my really real name to the things I say - I cannot teach in Georgia without fear of losing my job arbitrarily. Maybe this is only an Island City thing, but I'm onna raise some serious stink about it iffin' it is true. (I'm going to file that one under the the left getting shafted by political correctness.)

So back to the Coastal life: we have a problem in Glynn County, and it has to do with our schools. I know. Get your shocked faces on. We're actually discussing the results of the whole situation on the Glynn County Democratic Party website. It has to do with the color of teachers in our schools. Folks on our side have been called 'segregationists' because we would like to see more minority teachers in the schools. It doesn't look like it, but it has become a pretty big issue here on the Coast.

I'll give ya some background as to why:

It appears that there is a dearth of minority teachers in our school system. The numbers I have been presented say that only 15% of our school teachers are non-white of origin. Now, this percentage is abysmally low for almost any county in South Georgia. (As a side note, I also wonder about the percentage of male teachers to female teachers, as equally important.)

A part of this that isn't talked about much is that we have a shortage of teachers, period. This particular double edged sword really makes this debate kind of unique. It allows Glynn County to recruit and hire teachers based on percentage goals without having to worry about strict adherence to quotas. (Which, to my knowledge, we have never done.)

The other edge to that sword is that not enough teachers opt to come here and teach. I don't know why this is the case - maybe it has something to do with the big black cloud of being on probation from SACS for the last few years, or maybe the big, smelly factory that sits in the middle of town, or maybe it has something to do with kids like me going to school here back in the day. I don't know. The teachers we do have are (for the most part) really, really good, but we need more of them.

Now, in an effort to catch two squirrels with one bird feeder, the Glynn County School Board decided to hire some international teachers, (called the Visiting International Faculty, or VIF) so we'd have enough teachers, period. Several are from Jamaica and one is from Canada. I know several of them, and they are qualified and stand up folks. With the hiring of these cats, we got to import some needed quality teachers and we got to import some teachers not of the caucasian persuasion.

Sounds pretty win - win to me.

There were some growing pains, to be sure, usually involving grading (Jamaica and the US are on completely differnt systems) but those got worked out. Crisis averted, our hard working Board pressed onward, trying to get back neat things for our schools like SACS accreditation and school roofs that didn't leak.

But noooo, here comes Hackery and Jackassery, represented in this case by the two Hyper Republicans on the Glynn County School Board. I was at one of the School Board meetings where this stuff came up. I guess that these two thought they should make the VIF a big fat issue of divisiveness in Glynn County for no particular reason.

First of all, there was the cost. But when someone did some simple multiplication and found out the total cost was comparable to hiring 15 qualified domestic teachers, that one kind of goes away on its own.

Second, there was the idea that the contract had been done improperly. This confused some members of the School System (the non-elected education administration professionals) because usually, if you find some problems in the contract, you fix them - and quietly. But Hackery and Jackassery weren't interested in fixing a problem as much as they were in creating an issue out of a non-issue.

The third one was discussed most 'eloquently' when our new Superintendent recommended we keep the VIF with pretty high support from the non-elected education professionals. Said Hackery: "Something's not working right in our system that we cannot find and hire good (domestic) teachers ... This is a serious problem."

I wonder if he'd like pictures of exhibits A & B?

Monday, March 13, 2006

War Stories

So, when SAWB and I agree on stuff, you know there is some validity to be had. You see, both he and I believe that the Mainstream Media has done an awful job of (among other things - many, many other things) covering the Iraq war.

I don't want to put words into my friend's mouth, and to be fair, he and I disagree about many, many (many, many) things surrounding the circumstances of this war. We try not to get into that particular debate, because we've gone over that ground so many times, we can (and have) literally cut and pasted the arguments to save time.

But our disagreements ain't what this is about. It is what we do agree on that is important, and it bears repeating over and over and over.

You see, our brother and sister Americans in the desert are holding a whole damn nation together with little more than force of will and blood. I think that everytime we hear from the MSM & punditry about what a fiasco this war was, how badly it has been run, the coming Iraqi civil war, that we loose something necessary. I don't know exactly what it is, but I know it ain't there.

It is, in fact, like some Americans can't wait to loose this one, that they can't wait to say 'I told you so,' & that just makes me sick. I hate hearing it. I hate sounding like it. I hate that I have to agree with some of the things that are said on that side of the argument. Two conservative pundits, including George Will, have allegedly taken up the 'we can't win' manifesto (if anyone can find that link, I'd appreciate it). It is one thing to criticize constructively, it is another to destructively complain.

Though I know I've crossed the line from time to time, I try to keep it in the first category. I probably haven't done the best of jobs. I hate that too.

So when I came across this Newsweek article, I was shocked. I had to sit down and read the whole thing start to finish. I also had to share, just in case any of y'all done missed it. We hear so much of the bad news day to day, maybe we need to hear more about the good guys.

Men like that make me terribly proud to be an American. I think it's worth saying over and over and over. I think SAWB may agree.




PS: If he doesn't I'm sure he'll put me in my place.

PPS: Speaking of Navy, you probably can't outdrink them, I don't care where you went to school or what dorm you lived in (they don't either, apparently). It is not wise to try.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dead Malls

Not exactly news, but I've run accross this site recently and thought I'd share it with the group. The indoor shopping mall, that giant that supposedly slaughtered downtown shopping as we knew it, is apparently now dying out itself in many places. I find this topic very interesting for several reasons.

First and foremost, I loved going to the arcade when I was younger and malls are where arcades used to be. I'm sad to see that so many arcades have dies. Malls in general are only worse off for it.

Secondly, I've always been intrigued by the relationship between downtown shopping, malls, and "big box" stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, etc. Wal-Mart catches a lot of flack for killing Downtown USA but malls already got that ball rolling as early as the late 60's and early 70's in many locations. Also, those smaller Wal-Marts being left behind in the wake of building Super Centers is nothing compared to the gigantic carcasses left behind from a dead mall.

The third reason I find this sort of thing interesting is that I've personally seen the decline of all three malls I used to frequent as a kid out in Dallas, TX. One is finally dead (Forum 303 - listed on the Dead Malls site). It's death blow came when the AC went out and would cost $3,000,000 to fix. That AC was installed when the mall was new in 1969 and I can remember it failing quite often. The second is severely crippled with the loss of three of its four anchor stores (Six Flags Mall) with only a movie theater and a Dillards Outlet store keeping it afloat. Many of the stores surrounding this mall have been levelled now. To get an idea of the area, imagine an old chateau-style House of Pancakes converted into an adult book store. That actually happenend to a store just outside Six Flags Mall. The rest of the stores had even worse fates. The last mall is in such a crime ridden neighborhood that the mall has even changed its name from Red Bird to Southwest Center in an attempt to change its terrible image. Southwest Center is still hanging on with three of its 4 original anchors (out of 5 current anchor spots), but only because there is virtaully no competition in the area. I've also seen the death of Roswell Mall here in Georgia.

Some of the more interesting malls listed on this site are Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, IL. That is the mall featured in the car chase in Blues Brothers. Also Sherman Oaks Galleria is listed. That is the California mall where they filmed the interior mall scenes for Fast Times at Ridgemont High and was once the happening mall for the valley girl scene in California. The site also has a glossary with some pretty interesting terms like labelscars (Fading or dirt left behind from a sign on or in a mall. Labelscars leave a readable marking, which is very helpful when identifying former stores.).

So what is taking the place of the indoor mall? The two newest fads are outdoor shopping centers and power centers. Many of the outdoor centers claim to be outlet malls but don't typically have many outlet stores in them. Others are trendy "lifestyle centers" offering the upscale shops that malls used to have. The other trend seems to be the new "power centers." A power center is a shopping area that has several "big box" stores and little else. A good example of this is in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. There's a shopping center with a Target, Dick's, Office Max, and Publix. The parking is a deck in the middle of the stores and the stores themselves are on the perimeter.

Many of these dead malls are eventually converted into something useful but some, like Forum 303, are still standing since the cost to level the mall (which is built like a Soviet militray bunker) and rebuild on it is more than the land sitting on it is worth.

(Edited after further reading to clear up grammar a bit.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

They Key to the Middle East

Mr. Bush, tear down this wall!

I remember hearing a State of the Union speech not too many years ago, when the phrase "Axis of Evil" was coined. I remember feeling punched in the gut when the American President, to the whole world, added a bit of jackassery to the trio by throwing in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Some of you may think I'm batcrap crazy for saying this, but the road to peace in the Middle East and assured victory over al-Quaeda will run through Tehran. This is not an idea that fits very well within the framework of modern American narrative - veiled women and turbaned mullahs burning American flags and calling us the 'Great Satan' - but one day very soon, we are going to have to face the facts regarding this most strategically important nation.

The Iranians have been through a lot in the last 50 years. Neo-conservatives may dismiss the importance, but they cannot dismiss the facts: Iran has been demanding constitutional & democratic changes for decades upon decades, and our hand in turning those reforms back led directly to the revolution of 1979 and the Mullahs we have to deal with today.

Memo to foreign policy wonks: When you support a brutal autocrat, and the people cry out for freedom, those people may learn to see you as the enemy, too. If the revolution gets hijacked by people who see you as the enemy, your interests are in big trouble. If those people are brutal autocrats themselves, hiding behind religion or ideology to secure their regin, then the people who cried out for freedom in the first place are still there, and they still have no freedom. (Please see also: China, Columbia, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Phillipines & Vietnam, to name a few. Jury is still out on Pakistan, Saudi Arabia & Palestine who are at various stages of the above scenario.)

Luckily, that last part of the scenario is what puts us in an important position. The people who cried out for freedom in the first place are still there, and last time I checked, the American Dream of liberation and self determination was a Dream shared by the vast majority of freedom seeking people around the world. We know the Iranian people share this dream.

The people of Iran have staged two pro-freedom revolutions in the modern era. They elected a pro-Iranian, pro-reform cleric to their Presidency, and returned him for a second term. The people are ready, and are working for change. But like every nation, these people are proud of who they are, and with the hatchet still bright between our two nations, we walk a fine line with any action we take.

I don't often agree with much of what Christopher Hitchens has to say, but I found myself reading this one in amazement. His suggestion is so audacious, it may be the most effective. Regarding Iran:
our options are down to three: reliance on the United Nations/European Union bargaining table, a "decapitating" military strike, or Nixon goes to China. The first being demonstrably useless and somewhat humiliating, and the second being possibly futile as well as hazardous, it might be worth giving some thought to the third of these.
...
Appearances sometimes to the contrary, they are not mad—or not clinically insane in the way that Saddam Hussein was and Kim Jong-il is. The recent fuss about the obliteration of Israel is largely bull****
...
They know as well as you do what would happen if they tried to nuke Israel or the United States. They want the bomb as insurance against invasion and as a weapon of strategic ambiguity to shore up their position in the region.
...
But they have a crucial vulnerability on the inside. The overwhelmingly young population—an ironic result of the mullahs' attempt to increase the birth rate after the calamitous war with Iraq—is fed up with medieval rule.
...
Iran has been forced to permit a lot of latitude to its citizens. A huge number of them have relatives in the West, access to satellite dishes and cell phones, and regular contact with neighboring societies. They are appalled at the way that Turkey, for example, has evolved into a near-European state while Iran is still stuck in enforced backwardness and stagnation, competing only in the rug and pistachio markets. Opinion polling is a new science in Iran, but several believable surveys have shown that a huge majority converges on one point: that it is time to resume diplomatic relations with the United States.

Maybe I'm just naive, but I can't even imagine the sense of victory it would bring both the people of Iran and the United States to see that embassy opened up again.

Before you write that off as total fantasy, keep in mind that so far, we've buried the hatchet with the South, Germany, Japan and Russia. We rebuilt three of those four, and I think we could win in Iran without firing a single shot.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Reconciliation

It takes a lot not to be very angry with my father sometimes. Not for the reasons any normal kids or young adults or young men are angry at their fathers, either. Noooo. In my family, it ain't an argument over who takes out the trash or walked the dog or who got the big piece of chicken, that would be too simple.

My father thinks I'm a great son, and he's a great dad, except he seems to believe I like to kill babies.

I'm serious. While normal 'houses divided' are based on college football teams, I'm trying to convince my father that my goal is not to destroy the United States of America. I'm a Pro-Choice, Choose-Life, "Safe, Legal and Rare," Culture of Death Catholic, and he likes to 'criticize' my beliefs by pretending he doesn't know he and I disagree.

Ask Sprout if I'm lyin,' he deals with this, too.

I couldn't even go over to the house today. With the State of South Dakota picking fights over this issue, and Georgia meandering along the path, I could almost see him in his recliner, hiding behind some news magazine, practicing his questions. He'd wait until I was settled in the living room, playing with the dog, and then he'd switch the TV to a news channel and wait - the trap set, him ready, me unsuspecting...

So instead of dealing with that load of nonsense (the 'conversation' never goes in a positive direction, as you might imagine) I decided to get some thoughts together on the topic and see what y'all thought.

I've tried to enunciate my beliefs as well as I can on the issue of Choice vs Life (and how I don't see them as mutually exclusive) but I always come up short. It is very difficult to demonstrate my deep personal respect for life while maintaining my deep belief in legal freedoms and my support for medicine and women's health. It is also very difficult to explain to those on my left that this issue is defined by the way they talk about it, and that they have lost the debate when it comes to the terminology and politics of the situation.

Luckily, William Saletan (author of Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War) can enunciate these things I believe quite well.

We'll start with a recent article of Saletan's that takes much of this week's events into account. He makes the case that the Roe decision, and the amount of political capital spent to defend it, is actually keeping us in a culture war stalemate, and that we on the forward moving side of the issue need to move past it:
Pro-lifers can't launch the post-Roe era, because they're determined to abolish its guarantee of individual autonomy, and the public won't stand for that. Only pro-choicers can give the public what it wants: abortion reduction within a framework of autonomy...
The road out of Roe won't be easy. Conservatives are already fighting early-abortion pills, morning-after pills, sex education, and birth control. But that's a different fight from the one we've been stuck in since 1973. It's a more winnable fight, and a more righteous one.

(Italics applied by HR.)

In a more striking example of how the center-left and the left-left differ, centrist Saletan got into a running dialouge with leftist Katha Pollit over this very topic. Here are some highlights from February 1 that I think are highly important:
Dear Katha,
Let's start by explaining to readers why we're having this conversation. Last week in the New York Times, I urged pro-choicers to wage war on the abortion rate through birth control and sex education. This week in The Nation, you replied that "anti-abortion moralism" would hurt women and abortion rights. You argued that pursuing an explicit goal of zero abortions would "do the antichoicers' work for them." I think you've got it exactly backward.

First, let me tackle some of your objections around the periphery of our disagreement. You say the limits of our education and health-care systems make "zero abortions" unreachable. True. Peace is unreachable, too, but we try. That's the nature of goals.

From February 2:
Take another look at that California poll I mentioned. Seventy-one percent of respondents don't want Roe overturned. Seventy-six percent favor "the government providing funding to programs that provide teens with birth control methods or contraceptives." Eighty-nine percent say it's appropriate to tell high-school kids "how to use and where to get contraceptives"; 54 percent say it's appropriate to tell middle-school kids the same thing. Yet 56 percent agree that "it would be a good thing to reduce the number of abortions." And here's the kicker: "Which of the following do you believe would be most effective in reducing the number of abortions?" Option 1: "Enacting more restrictive abortion laws." Option 2: "Providing more access to contraception." Five percent of respondents choose both. Twenty percent choose restrictive abortion laws. Sixty-six percent choose contraception.

Admittedly, it's California. In the case of Roe, national polls average about 10 points to the right of this survey. Let's suppose the same is true of the other questions: Nationwide numbers are about 10 points more conservative than in California. In that case, the majorities for Roe, contraceptive access, and contraceptive education are all somewhere in the 60 percent to 70 percent range—and so is the majority for reducing the number of abortions. There's your pro-Roe, anti-abortion, pro-contraception majority.


And, from February 3 and the really real kicker for the left-left:
Katha, if we agree on virtually all of the policy questions, isn't politics the whole ballgame? Look at our wish list: more birth control, more sex ed, more emergency contraception, more male responsibility, more health insurance. How much of that agenda can we get without government action? And how much action can we get from a government of which we control not a single branch?
That's why I quote polls instead of letters. It's not because I don't care about women. It's because polls tell us what the public thinks, not just what our friends think. Without the public, we have no power. And without power, we're no good to women at all.

Why is that such a kicker? For this we go to Saletan again, two years ago. He was protest march slogans to point out how abrasive leftists only play into the hands of the right:
Marches attract passionate advocates and concentrate them in one place. They foster the illusion that you and your sisters who have filled the National Mall represent a cross-section of America. You don't. Most Americans hate abortion and don't consider themselves feminists. You need the votes of these people. Praise abortion, shout about patriarchy, and you'll alienate them for another decade.


Maybe now, with the Constitutionality of Roe about to be seriously challenged, the left-left will start realizing how badly they need the center with them on this issue. I doubt I'll ever be able to convince good men of principle like my father and DADvocate, who believe so passionately in their respect for life and their definitions of life, to agree with me. But if the left-left would understand that most pro-life opinions aren't founded in a hatred for women, and that the anti-life rhetoric they cling to is only making matters worse, we wouldn't need to convince anyone. America is already there.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mikey's First Post

I don't usually do this, but I think this comment by Mikey re: the Colorado Schools Whiny Snot fiasco is a particularly good one - so good, in fact, that I decided to give Mikey his own post for it. I think this one may start a new thread dealing with American education today and what in the world is wrong with it. (I have edited just a tad bit for flow, and I hope Mikey will forgive me for my slashing pen...)

Sayeth Mikey:
Jackasses abound with this particular situation. The teacher was a jackass for getting so far off subject he couldn’t find it with GPS. The whiney student is a jackass for going and telling “mommy” when the big, bad teacher was mean. The school administrators were jackasses for suspending the teacher for voicing an opinion. The 150 students were jackasses for not coming to the teacher’s defense until after the suspension. The other teachers at that school were jackasses for not walking out with the students in support of their colleague.

This kind of thing is a problem we see a lot of. Teacher/Coach X does something student Y doesn’t like. Student Y has a big ol’ hissyfit and tells his mommy/school administrators. Mommy/school administrators have a hissyfit of their own because they’re afraid of just about everything. Teacher/Coach X is forced to cave and spoiled student Y gets his/her way.

Come on, guys, let’s all just grow a pair huh?

Regardless of how idiotic this particular teacher was, he was still the teacher. By undermining his authority in the classroom and giving into this whiney little snot of a student, the administrators succeeded in teaching an entire school that all they have to do is throw a fit to get their way.

The best lesson I learned in High School was that sometimes the person in authority is a moron, and you just have to deal with that. Because I learned that particular lesson (one, I might point out, that the whiney little snot has not learned) I have successfully dealt with a number of idiotic bosses and supervisors. What’s this kid going to do when his future boss turns out to be a moronic jackass? He’s gonna go tell his mommy.

It’s not because of “kids like [Dadv] and Pat that we have these stringent laws.” It’s because we have hypochondriac, overprotective parents who fly off the handle at every given opportunity, a public school system terrified by its own authority and absolutely unwilling to use it, and a government that refuses to back up its schools.

If parents aren’t willing to let their kids fend for themselves at least a little from time to time, then they should get used to the idea that they’re going to have to support these little cry-babies their entire lives.

If teachers can’t handle a little harassment coming from the snot-nosed 16 year old in the back row, they should find a different profession.

If reporters can’t find something more newsworthy to fill their pages with than one whiney moron’s fit over what another whiney little moron had to say, I’m canceling my subscription.

Experimentation

Blah blahs, blah blah!

Blah blah blah blahder blah Blah and Blah blahways blah blah blah blah blah? Blah blah. Blah blah'er blah blah blah a blah blah blah on blahurricane_bladio and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah!

Friday, March 03, 2006

High Shool Students

So, lately, I've been lamenting the fact that the students who now attend the olde Alma Mater seem to have grown soft and spoilt and have lost the edge that used to make grown ups and rivals tremble at the mere mention of the words..."Red Terror."

No prank wars, no underground and off-limits magazines, no crying teachers, no honest debate, no scavenger hunts, no breakfasts at Savadore's during first and second periods, no skipping class to pick up donuts or subs, no tearing apart buildings, no good bands playing out every weekend, no crappy bands with good props playing out every weekend, no shameless taunting of annoying administrators, no really real hangovers, no hiding the fact that you're breaking the rules. It was like, class on 96 left and they just up and forgot how to be kids.

Now, they have a giant egg war, put nasty pictures of their girlfriends up on the web, and try to engage in as much straight up property destruction they can manage.

Apparently, this student body lack of imagination and backbone is a widespread phenomenon. Some kid in Colorodo has a jackass for a teacher and the whiny little snot decided to tape the teacher's 'liberal' rant and broadcast it as proof of indoctrination. This led to the teacher's suspension, and around 150 students walked out of class to protest that suspension. Conservative pundits like Malkin have picked up on it, and even DADvocate can't believe it:
Quite amazing. I never experienced any thing like it during all my school years. The teacher, Jay Bennish, was recorded by one of his students. Mr. Bennish goes on a rant of epic proportions. I can't understand how a man who hates this country so much can stand to hold a job where the source of his salary is government funds.

I reckon this one is going to be used in the 'liberals ruining academia' narrative.

Let me say a few things, and they have nothing to do with what this particular teacher said to this particular student. I don't care about the subject matter. I've had debates with the most conservative teachers one can get (who would call me a "Rabble Rouser" because of my politics) and the most liberal professor I've ever had raised the most ruckus when she decrided sweet Southern Barbecue in favor of the spicy Texas variety (she almost caused a riot). But apparently, I haven't been 'oppressed' or 'indoctrinated' in the classroom because, unlike this Colorado whiny snot, I wasn't gonna take it! That's right, snotty, I fought for my right to party, and you shame the names of students from Ferris Bueller to Bart Simpson by rolling over to your jackass teacher in class, taping it and playing tattletale. Number one, grow some cajones. Number two, stop snitchin.

What I take significant issue with here is this Colorado student's reaction to a jackass teacher. We've all had jackass teachers, you whiny little snot, and they went on rants and raves about a great many things. Back in my day, if these jackasses did this sort of thing, we'd shut 'em down looong before their jackassery ever got anywhere near 'epic proportions.' And I looked at that teacher's lines of reasoning. Any member of the CO96 Model UN Team, or any of our friends for that matter, heckfire - 80% of kids in our school could have (and would have), blown the jackass's argument out of the water by the third paragraph. Even if we'd have agreed with him, his fanny woulda got derailed in the 7th when we got bored of hearing his voice.

Even if he'd have had the correct combination of talent and skill to keep us on topic after the 7th paragraph, he'd be dealing with a gallery of shouted questions along with assorted boos and hisses from both sides of the asile.

Then both sides of the aisle would have proceeded to ignore his jackass and begin debating each other, loudly, wildly and with nigh any abandon. Other teachers would have to come into the room because the rukus would be indicative of some sort of fight going on.

In the confusion, six students would sneak out of the classroom and go to lunch or the beach or both. Any remaining students who did not want to be a part of the conversation would use the cover of the ones who did to completely ignore what was going on.

In 15 minutes, there should be no discernable conversation on an audiotape because there would be 18 people talking at the same time, or hooting 'hells yeah' or booing and hissing some point being made.

Whatever 'vocabulary' this jackass teacher was talking about would be summarily dismissed, the test would be postponed another day, the papers would be due a week later and the bell would ring, ending conversation abruptly leaving the jackass teacher wondering how he let it all get away from him.

Next week, I'll tell you what we would have done to the jackass teacher, had he been the whiny little snot and told on us for turning his classroom into pandemonium.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

February Jackass of the Month

Ok kids, here are our 6 nominees, in no particular order, for Jackass of the Month.

Jeramy Stevens
Bode Miller
Google
Bryant Gumbel
Ohio Democrats
Rioting Muslims

Now, here are the rules, since some of you weren't clear last month:
Rank your nominees 1-6.
One nominee per rank.
Ballot box stuffery, and other voting shenanigans, will get you added to the list.
6pts for first, 5 for second, etc.
I'll do the math after next friday.

Vote away!

Winter Games

Reporting from Torino/Turin is Hurricane Radio Sports own international correspondent, Laddi. He comes to us with this report from where the streets have no signs.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Jackass?

Maybe I just wasn't paying any attention, but did we actually nominate a "Jackass of the Month" for February? C'mon, y'all! Harry Belafonte beat out Matt Leinart, Pat Robertson and Bill O'Reilly for the Jackass of January Award because voters thought two of the three (Patty Boy and O'Really) are actually professional jackasses, and therefore deserve less notoriety.

Did anyone nominate anyone in for February?

Sidebar: Someone else has decided to try and give awards out daily. It is a big task, and we wish them luck. Visit them now at the Daily.

The Simpsons

I remember back in the day when my folks didn't want me and the Sprout to watch "The Simpsons" because they believed the hype. Parents and pundits were appalled at the time because Bart Simpson didn't do what he was told, and was a proud underachiever. My parents wanted me to be an obedient little book nerd, and thought this cartoon would set a bad example.

Talking about underachievement, today this poll says that more Americans are familiar with "The Simpsons" than the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I think this particular poll is a little simplistic. The Simpsons were a funny, weekly cartoon with memorable characters. You watch two episodes and you know who Homer and Bart are. There's not much debate when Bart says "eat my shorts." The First Amendment, however, is usually talked about by boring high school civics teachers, legal experts and self important punditry (Hi, my name's Patrick....). Every time you hear about it, someone's trying to lecture you. I've read about the 1st Amendment for years and years, and I'm still about 100,000 pages of case law short of knowing really what it means, and every time we bring it up we have a spirit of the law vs the letter of the law debate.

But off the top of my head:

First Amendment: Prohibits establishment of religion, ensures freedom of the press, ensures freedom of peacable assembly, ensures the right to petition for grievances (?) and there are one or two more I can't name. (Feeling kind of like a dummmy, now)

Simpsons: Homer, Marge, Lisa, Maggie, Bart, Ned Flanders, Krusty, Milhous. (Feel like I should know more about them as well....)