|One Nation, Under God...||
"The real democratic American ideal is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but |
that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance." --Henry Ward Beecher
Check this cat out:
Saturday, February 01, 2003
Posted 3:13 PM by WiN
Yet another seemingly senseless tragedy struck our nation this morning. For me, it seems to come in waves - April 19th, September 11th, and now February 1st. I was overwhelmed with sadness after the bombing, especially whenever I thought about the innocent children in the daycare center. September 11th was more numbing, more remote yet still saddening - it seemed like the whole country was affected, not just my little corner of it. And now this - another tragic blow to our national sense of security.
But, as Ecclesiastes tells us, to everything there is a season. And through times of mourning often comes new hope, and new strength. Just as April 19th bound Oklahoma City up in the heart of all Americans, and indeed people of compassion all over the world; as September 11th drew Americans together to stand shoulder to shoulder, ready to defeat whatever malevolent forces had arrayed themselves against us, so now this tragedy binds us even closer in our special relationship with Israel and her people. Both countries have lost heroes, but never so dramatically at the same time and place. We weep together, we mourn together, we seek to comfort each other. But both countries also realize that there are those in this world who do not share our grief, and in fact stand sure of the hand of their god in this tragedy. The Jerusalem Post had these quotes from Palestinians (link requires registration):
"They were sent to space to spy on the Arabs and Muslims," said Rudainah Salman, a 28-year-old schoolteacher from Ramallah. "I have no sympathy for the astronauts because they were doing something bad to us. Allah punished them because of their bad intentions. I hate the Americans and the Israelis because of what they are doing to our people."These are the people with whom we have to do, and this is the way they think. We are saddened, but we are resolved, and we place our trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, knowing true justice will win out. The details may be dim, but the final outcome is assured. All who stand on the side of God and His people will prevail, and all who oppose Him will fall by the very sword they wield against us. May His justice come swiftly, and God strengthen and give wisdom to President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon.
Friday, January 31, 2003
Posted 2:31 PM by WiN
EU Strikes Blow for Freedom...
...from porcine boredom.
I wasn't going to blog this. Honest. It's just too easy (the phrase "fish in a barrel" comes to mind). I mean, with quotes like this
We don’t want to come across as the nanny state, but the important thing is to see pigs happy in their environment...this story is tailor-made for a 'Blogging 101' class. So what made me change my mind? This post. [via my old pal John Cole at the palatial new MT Balloon Juice digs]
Posted 11:10 AM by WiN
I just figured out what was causing my page to look wack - sorry for the recent ugliness. These templates rapidly become a virtual "Fibber McGee's closet", making them hella to edit.
Posted 10:34 AM by WiN
Groundhog Day=Booty Call?
And you thought those little guys were checking their shadow? Nope, they're scopin' some coochie.
Posted 9:44 AM by WiN
You may have heard, the White House postponed a planned Poetry Symposium when some of the participants said they would use the opportunity to air anti-war views. So, to fill the void (and encourage 'diversity' in political poetry, I'm sure), James Taranto has suggested an impromptu pro-war poetry symposium, hosted by Best of the Web Today. Here's my first effort:
A brutal dictator named Saddam*Go ahead and try your hand at it, then send your masterpiece here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Any form of poetry is accepted, but I get the impression James prefers poetry that actually rhymes.
Thursday, January 30, 2003
Posted 12:25 PM by WiN
Exile for Saddam?
Well, there is talk again today that Saddam and his top officials going into exile would result in a peaceful solution the problem of Iraqi aggression. This trial balloon has been floated before, most recently during last Sunday's political talk shows. At first blush, this seems to me like a terrible idea. How can you let such evil escape justice? I don't think it is unrealistic to say that would be like offering amnesty to a Pol Pot or Mao Tse-tung. But the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that making the offer is the right thing to do, and politically smart as well.
First, it's a good fire-break against peacenik criticism. The argument can be made that well, we didn't really want to kill Saddam, we just wanted to depose him, and we gave him a fair opportunity to escape with his life. Second, some have pointed out that the offer will cause everyone in the Iraqi high command to start considering what their fate would be, should Saddam bug out and leave them holding the WMD bag. They might start putting out feelers for taking advantage of the opportunity, whether Saddam decides to go down with the ship or not. And even though it has yet to be discussed publicly, I believe there is a third component to the offer.
Former U.N. inspector David Kay has said, effectively, that the only "inspections regime" that would work in Iraq would be indistinguishable from an occupation (as pointed out on NRO). So, as a condition of the exile/amnesty agreement, the U.S. and its' allies are, in fact, permitted to occupy Iraq much as Germany and Japan were post-WWII. A thorough inspection is, indeed, done - perhaps over the next two years, with a deposition taken from every scientist and technician who even knows how to spell weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, a parallel humanitarian effort implements nutritional and medical care infrastructures and governmental and administration experts help the Iraqi opposition forces forge a new government. Once agreed-upon milestones are reached, occupation forces begin a staged withdrawal, ultimately leaving a healthy country in the control of moderate Iraqis.
Or, we could just march through the Republican Guard like crap through a goose, surround Baghdad, evacuate the populace and start drilling depleted uranium holes in all Saddam's deep bunkers until he either raises the white flag or is introduced to his 72 virgins. I know which scenario my money would be on.
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Posted 3:11 PM by WiN
Another Amazing WylieBlog GoogleFact
I rank Numero Uno, ahead of The Daily Standard, when Googling for "Larry Miller" conservative commentary
Posted 2:45 PM by WiN
Weapons of Mash Destruction?
Posted 2:44 PM by WiN
"We Will Not Pander"
A direct quote from last night's Democratic Response to the SOTU address [also from Taranto]:
We will fight to protect a woman's right to choose and we will fight for affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity in our schools and our workplaces. Above all, we will demand that this government advance our common purpose and not pander to narrow special interests.Um, just which "narrow special interests" do you not plan to pander to? Homosexual Second Amendment Advocates? And how about this oxymoronic combination: affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity? Those wacky Dems, they always get that "equal opportunity" and "equal outcome" stuff mixed up.
Tell ya what: we'll let the Republicans and Libertarians take all those folks who think they're paying too much in taxes and that the Federal Government is responsible for protecting the American people from attack, and the Democrats can take the folks who don't think they pay enough in taxes, the homosexual lobby, the feminist lobby, the unions, the trial lawyers, 'victim' minorities and anyone else who will buy their line. I know which side I'll be on, how about you?
Posted 1:42 PM by WiN
Rainbow Warrior = Maritime 'California Boot'?
Ya gotta love those wacky lefties! Yesterday, they decided to slow down the war effort in England by parking the 'Rainbow Warrior' across the entrance to a military dock and boarding one of the supply ships. But I see a serious flaw in this particular report, written by an 'Environment Editor'. It states
Greenpeace activists positioned their boat, the Rainbow Warrior, at the entrance to Marchwood military dock in Southampton yesterday morning and dropped anchor, making it impossible for any boats to enter or leave.Now I confess to almost total ignorance of naval warfare, but I seriously doubt that one boat, no matter what size, would make it 'impossible' for military vessels to go anywhere (unless of course it was scuttled in a shallow channel). I think those lefty loonies should be put on notice:
If you plan to try another stunt like this again in Old Blighty, you better[via the incomparable James Taranto]
Posted 8:29 AM by WiN
State of the Union
I watched last night's SOTU address last night (on Fox, of course) with rapt attention. Like most Americans who tuned in, I was waiting for those fatal words, "Saddam, all your ass belongs to me" (or something to that effect), but of course was somewhat disappointed in that respect. But other than that, I thought it was an excellent SOTU, well delivered and substantial without being too over-the-top with the legislative 'laundry list' and without the interminable Clintonesque introducing of 'special guests' and knowing glances at specific people at strategic points in the speech. Although I didn't, um, 'peak' during the address, as Peggy Noonan seemed to have based on her post-address analysis, I did find myself suppressing a lump in my throat a few times, particularly on the lines "Tonight, let us bring to all Americans who struggle with drug addiction this message of hope: The miracle of recovery is possible, and it could be you." and "Once again, this nation and our friends are all that stand between a world at peace, and a world of chaos and constant alarm. Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility." I must admit I did wince a little when the old Bush 'smirk' crept in after the line "we are holding corporate criminals to account". Was that Tom DeLay he was winking at?
I haven't read any analyses today (yet), but I suspect the reaction will be much like what was presented on Fox last night - conservatives will praise Bush to the heavens (gliding over the anachronistic discussion of 'hydrogen cars') and liberals will basically continue parroting the 'war-mongering, oil-crony-sucking-up-to, reproductive-rights-endangering, tax-refunds-to-his-rich-buddies, old-folks-and-children-in-the-snow' line. Libs will say that the Bush tax cuts will benefit only the 'rich', despite the family-of-four-earning-$40,000 example. They will say he's 'fiscally irresponsible' for wanting to cut taxes and 'creating' insurmountable budget deficits (one wonders where this liberal obsession with the deficit was during the 80's). They will say he's trying to 'destroy' Social Security and Medicare by proposing the kind of institutional reform that is necessary to preserve them beyond current voters' lifetimes. They will say he's 'rushing to war' after 12 years of Iraqi dissembling, deception and outright defiance (did I mention that I have Feb. 5th circled in red?).
But you know what? I actually think the American people, all 100 million (by some estimates) that watched last night, have enough common sense not to be duped into Democratic 'groupthink' anymore, to decide for themselves that yes, they want Social Security to be there for their kids and grandkids, and for them to be able to pass on some of their hard-earned retirement funds if they should die prematurely. That they would rather that we strike Iraq now, before Islamist fanatics release Iraqi-supplied deadly poisons or worse on major U.S. metropolitan areas. And that they would rather have an extra $1,000 or so in their family budget this year, rather than in Washington to be spent on Robert C. Byrd Memorial Rest Areas. And that maybe, this year, electing Republicans wasn't really as horrible a decision as Democrats would like everyone to believe. And that, after a 16-year hiatus, America is really back on the road to greatness again.
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Posted 10:13 AM by WiN
Choice in the Third World
If the evidence reveals that the poorest worldwide are achieving better educational outcomes without the state, then this should inspire and buttress appeals for increased school choice in rich countries. It also raises anew the question: what on earth is government doing in education at all?As Lisa says, an excellent article.
Posted 9:21 AM by WiN
Return of the Jebbi
Florida voters set themselves up for a mess when they approved a constitutional amendment to reduce class sizes in the state's public schools, but returned to office the man who campaigned strenuously against the measure: Gov. Jeb Bush. Faced with implementing an initiative he opposes, Gov. Bush squared the circle by floating his own method to cut class sizes… offer vouchers to students in overcrowded classrooms.I couldn't find the original story on the Education Intelligence Agency site, but it sounds like a dandy of a battle shaping up between the public education lobby and, um, common sense. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: With just a teeny bit of Googling, I found the original article.
Posted 8:55 AM by WiN
No Child Left Behind?
Well, only 4,900 to go... Families sue over denied school transfers
Now I'm not a big fan either lawsuits or the NCLB (aka mau-mau Teddy Kennedy) Education Bill, but this seems to be an excellent provision to try to make the public school monopoly live up to. I just wonder (and I'm sure Joanne knows), could that 'tutoring' be done by a parent or grandparent i.e. home schooling? I bet that would take a big chunk out of that backlog.
Monday, January 27, 2003
Posted 10:24 AM by WiN
$20 million lawsuit for teaching?
Another great article from Friday's WSOJ on how public schooling works in Washington D.C. (which happens spend more per pupil than any other school system in America).
When I asked other teachers to help me stop a fight, they reminded me that D.C. Public Schools banned teachers from laying hands on students, even to protect other children. You have to be made of iron to wait passively for the security guard while one enraged child tries to hurt another. Almost every time I broke up a fight, one of the combatants would fabricate a story about how I had hurt him. The parent would report this accusation to Ms. Savoy, who would call in an investigative firm employed by the school system to interview me and student witnesses. By February, four teachers, including me, were under investigation on corporal-punishment charges.Anyone still wondering why achievement scores are so low?
UPDATE: Just in case anyone's forgotton just why D.C.'s per-pupil spending is so high, here's a reminder from Deroy Merdock, with an excellent suggestion for the incoming congress.
Posted 10:05 AM by WiN
American Public Educational Establishment
What we know and have known for a very long time is that nearly half of America's black teenagers haven't a hope of attending even the least-known two-year community college anywhere. What is the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson doing about this scandal? He is calling George W. Bush "the most anti-civil rights president in 50 years." Given those shameful (high school) graduation rates (approx. 45% nationwide), one wonders what the "pro-civil rights" presidents were doing the past 50 years.
In a meeting at our offices, the head of Middle States said explicitly that colleges were obligated to provide remedial classes to teach black students what they hadn't learned in their high schools. She argued, and it is an interesting argument, that because the high schools were an admitted wasteland, colleges had a moral obligation to help minority children get a real secondary education. If so, where's the outrage over the wasted billions spent in America on unionized teachers' salaries in inner-city schools? Senator Lieberman?Recommended reading - see just how poorly black students are served by the monopoly public educational establishment aka the NEA.
My Bloginality is INFP
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come
A personal note: I have only had one Iranian acquaintance in my life, but I definitely considered him a friend. While I was in college (second time round) I had a part-time job as a self-serve gas station attendant. The senior employee was an engineering student named Rahim. The school I attended had (and probably still has) a significant middle-eastern student population, a lot of them in engineering. This was also during a period (mid-eighties) when Iran was not a popular place to be from (Iatolla Khomeini era). Since he was obviously middle-eastern, people would sometimes ask him, "Where are you from?" to which he would reply, with a sly grin "Persia".
He was not very political, so the topic of Iranian politics rarely came up. Occasionally he would show me some propaganda sheet he had picked up on campus, written in Farsi, and translate some of it for me. He also delighted in the ridiculous political cartoons showing Uncle Sam in various uncomplimentary poses. He seemed to regard the whole thing as humorous, but he got very serious when he spoke on rare occasion about the danger his relations back home faced from the oppressive regime. He had married an American and intended to stay here, at least until things got better back home.
I can't count the number of times he helped me out with work-related situations like swapping shifts and taking over for me in emergency situations. I gladly did the same for him. He was especially enamored with a nice "fuzzbuster" I had that I used for my many trips to Dallas. He borrowed it for a couple of trips he had to make to El Paso, where a former professor was holding a term paper of his "hostage" and he was negotiating to have the paper approved in order to get credit for the course, which was holding up his degree. He returned from his trips singing the praises of the magical device.
I lost track of him, of course, after I quit the job but to this day he is the face of Iran to me - friendly, helpful and a little mischievous, with a heart of gold. I wish him and all the people of Iran good will and the blessings of freedom.