Friday, April 27, 2007
Are Universities Learning From the Virginia Tech Massacre
On Monday, April 23, a 38 year old graduate student at the University of Cincinnati threatened to "outdo the massacre at Virginia Tech..."
"If you think Virginia Tech was something, wait till I come up there," Karsten Taylor allegedly told a UC adviser in a phone call Monday, according to a complaint filed in Hamilton County Municipal Court.The incident was reported Monday. No arrest until Wednesday.
UC police arrested Taylor on Wednesday.
The adviser reported the incident Monday. UC police waited for Taylor to show up for a 10 a.m. class Wednesday - but when he didn't, they tracked him to an off-campus location and arrested him, Patterson said.
It appears the UC police made no serious attempt to locate Mr. Taylor until Wednesday. Their first attempt consisted of a lame, we'll just catch him when he comes to class.
When Mr. Taylor didn't show for class, the UC police finally decided to actually go out and find him, which they apparently did with little trouble. But there was somewhere between a day and a half and two days between the time of being informed of the incident and actually apprehending Mr. Taylor. Pretty poor.
What about notifying the students? The university's performance was not any better.
Charges were not filed until Wednesday, the same day that students were notified by e-mail that threats had been made on campus.The threats were made Monday. Students were not notified until Wednesday. I sent an email to the student newspaper at UC and they responded that the notification was sent out Wednesday morning, April 25, shortly after 9:00 AM.
So much for informing students quickly.
Fortunately, probably less than 1 threat of this type in a 1000 actually reaches fruition. But, if universities are going to get serious about campus safety, they're going to have to get serious about campus safety.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Protection, Pork and Political Correctness
Part of what struck me is his point that because the system neglected to follow through on Cho's court-ordered treatment, it failed those who were killed (obviously) but also the isolated, lonely, angry man himself. Hard though it is to think empathetically about him, it is worth noting that the laxness and/or unwillingness of the professionals and administrators to do anything about what they knew and saw...Cho absolutely would have been hauled out if he "had written slurs."
Unfortunately, it is also true that if he had written racial slurs instead of violent imagery, he would have been hauled right out of there.
The incident of the 14 year old boy and the hateful ham illustrates this point quite well. A harmless, but offensive and tasteless prank brings the weight of the world down on a middle school student. But, obvious violent ideation by an adult, so severe that is scares nearly everyone with whom he has contact, is overlooked. Political correctness destroys lives in many ways.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Mental Health Blunders
Much of the discussion today revolved around the shootings at Virginia Tech. One comment McConnell made was that if Cho had been committed a psychiatric hospital, he wouldn't have shot anyone because people don't mail guns to psychiatric hospitals.
But, in at least one case, someone did. During the mid-70's, I worked the weekend shift in the adolescent unit at a state psychiatric hospital in Tennessee. A 14 year old boy in the unit received a package one day. Because of the "privacy" of first class mail, the weekday staff gave the package which contained a loaded pistol to the boy without inspecting it.
Other places I had worked would tell the patient that they could open the package in the presence of staff or the package would be kept from them until discharge. Somehow this alternative never occurred to the brilliant staff.
Needless to say, that weekend, at night when I wasn't there, the boy brought out the pistol. He and some others tied up two staff members, stole a state owned van and drove off. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.
This was the greatest of many incidents I witnessed that eventually convinced me that a career in mental health wasn't for me. I just wish I wasn't a slow learner and had headed in a new direction more quickly than I did. In my circuitous route to my present job, I worked at a health club, newspaper, nursing home, substitute taught, sold computers and maybe a few other things. In none of these other settings were the other staff as lacking in common sense or as nutty as most of the people I worked with in mental health.
I will qualify my statements to say that there were a few very good mental health professionals with whom I did work. But, for the most part, they fought a losing battle for the overall effective treatment of the mentally ill.
McConnell's comment brought back that memory that hadn't crossed my mind for years. It also reminded me how many of the mental health "professionals" I had worked with were egotistical and incompetent. And all too often, these were the ones that somehow rose to the supervisory and administrative positions. But almost all of them were very sensitive and caring. </sarcasm off>
Friday, April 20, 2007
Harmful Hate Ham
On April 11, a white student placed a ham steak in a bag on a lunch table where Somali students were eating. Muslims consider pork unclean and offensive.Certainly, this prank deserves repercussions, but not as heavy handed as are being dealt. Mr. Wessler overstates his case when he claims it is "part of a process of escalation." Reading the article the complaining Somali student's words seem rehearsed. His (or maybe Mr. Wessler's) thoughts seem to well defined for a middle school student.
Placing ham where Muslim students were eating was "an awful thing," said Stephen Wessler, executive director of the Center for Prevention of Hate Violence. "It's extraordinarily hurtful and degrading" to Muslims, whose religion prohibits them from being around ham. It's important to respond swiftly, Wessler said.
"Incidents like this that involve degrading language or conduct are often said by the perpetrator as a joke. I know that conduct is never static," he said. "It's part of a process of escalation."
One thing is for certain, these words will become even more true due to the heavy-handed, totalitarian approach of the principal and Mr. Wessler, "At the school the next day, I didn't feel safe. I felt like everybody was against me. Before I felt like I fit in, and everything was normal."
Indeed, taking heavy handed approaches, such as used by the principal and advocated by Mr. Wessler, to inappropriate pranks increase the likely hood of increase violence in the future. Somali students are given the message that they deserve special treatment, that their rights supersede those of non-Somalis. What happens if they don't get the special treatment they have been taught they deserve? The paranoia in the "didn't feel safe" statement could be the beginning of "a process of escalation" that ends in violence.
The way this incident has been handled is not good for either party.
Anyone with a simple understanding of human nature would realize that. Apparently Mr. Wessler and the principal have a poor understanding of human nature or believe that ramming their "values" down others throats is perfectly acceptable. Their approach will do more harm than good. Friends of the disciplined boys will harbor bad feelings towards the Somalis, the principal and others, as will many parents.
Christ realized this. Thus the teachings of turn the other cheek, walk a mile in their shoes, and love your enemies. None of us are perfect Christians but it is good advice for many situations, including this one, none the less.
But, of course, many left wing radicals ridicule Christianity and despise it. Yet, they seem to love the religion that degrades women and has no respect for other religions.
According to Aafaq, the dean of student affairs at American International University, Abu Hamza Hijji, responded, writing that Allah the Most Merciful forbids praying for mercy for the non-Muslim dead, or even for the non-Muslim living,...More here at Dhimmi Watch.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Liberals: Bashing, Blaming Bush
Bag News Notes includes some pictures and in depth analysis.
What are those tell tale signs letting you know that, in the midst of a tragedy, the Photo Op White House is thinking (as much or) more about PR, and "undoing" Katrina, than about simple aid and comfort?From the comments to this post:
1. Are they all really feeling the loss?Not only is their level of cynicism disgusting, they blame Bush for that too.
2. Good timing to profit from the personal tragedies at Virginia Tech. No time lost to get there.
3. Disgusting, can't shake the habit! All hype no sorrow. Doesn't he get it?
4. Yes there is still support for him. He came to share the grief, WOW. Cannot get why are they all looking at a deciderer's image on a sport's screen? Is it 1984?
6. Interesting selection of color to write on! Decision to write on the edge, above the red... yes the blood has not reached him.
What the hell was all that flag and salute stuff about when he arrived? Is it ever about anything but me, me, me? That was the last thing they needed down there.
Good lord, it's embarrassing. He is so shallow and so pathetic. How can people be taken in by it? He's so in love with himself, it's disgusting. .
I think it is very, very sad that the president of the United States has so alienated Americans like me that my first reaction to his gesture and words is cynicism.
It's sad that we feel more cynical about Bush being there than glad to have him there.
It's a bit late for this self-indulgent, hyper-partisan, sneering spoiled child to attempt to play National Healer at this stage of his term of office.
Michael Shaw at HuffandPuffPost:
We have a photo-op White House that has always approached any event, first and foremost, in terms of its "backdrop" potential. We have an administration, lately reduced to a clown show, desperate for absolutely anything that can run off with the news cycle.From the comments:
Last week the media wallowed in Imus.And on it goes. I included the first comment although it was not a Bush bashing. The callousness surprised me.
This week they're wallowing in Virginia Tech.
Get over it and move on. .
I wonder if anyone was turned away for wearing an anti-Bush T-shirt? .
Dubya Gump humiliated himself after the speech by the Governor of Virginia. The Governor pretty much shot from the hip and spoke from the heart while Dubya Gump read his indifferent diatribe about being in the wrong place at the wrong time and how some merciful God would bring it all home to roost in some merciful grace. .
Actually I think it's a fairly good representation of Bush. A fuzzy image speaks of someone who is empty, uninformed and lives in denial. Out of focus is precisely who he is. .
From Andrew Foster Altschul at HuffAndPuffPost:
The Headline: “You're a Monster, Mr. President “
I'm sure we will hear from them eventually. But it may take a while, because, unlike President Bush, they've got some real and difficult human emotions to work through first. I am so sorry for them, and for everyone at Virginia Tech, for what has happened today, and for the fact that the president of their country is too self-absorbed to have really noticed.From the comments:
He is a monster.This post was about this:
He has an empty head, speaks nonsense words and concepts and wants a blank check for war.
First, while callous and insensitive, this is not a new low for Bush. He *has* done much worse. If you've only just now realized that he is a sociopath, then you haven't been paying attention. .
Cut George some slack. He's bought and paid for by big business so of course he is going to protect weapons manufacturers from any public backlash. Where's Charlton when we need to see somebody who has really sold his soul to the corporate devil.
"The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms," said Perino, in the first White House response, adding the utterly meaningless "but that all laws must be followed,"Here are the FIRST words Perino said on President Bush’s behalf at that press conference,
“Good afternoon. I have several announcements and then we'll go to questions.The statement Altschul claims were the first words out of the president’s mouth were in the second paragraph of the response to the ninth question by the press. There’s nothing like using a tragedy for political purposes and then accusing someone else of doing the same. Of course, such liberal hypocrisy is common. Truthout.org didn’t hesitate to push their anti-gun agenda. But, let’s don’t use a tragedy for political purposes, oh no!
The President was made aware of the Virginia Tech shootings. He was horrified and his immediate reaction was one of deep concern for the families of the victims, the victims, themselves, the students, the professors and all the people of Virginia who have dealt with this shocking incident.”
Here’s another great post with enlightening comments.
Bush Has No Sense of Propriety... or ShameApparently the rumors I’ve heard about liberals being addicted to NPR are true. My car radio has buttons which I can push to instantly change stations. Quite amazing, really.
Below is a blog entry from the Philadelphia Inquirer today. It could not have been more timely, as far as I was concerned, particularly when I was forced to sit and listen to the empty homilies that Bush uttered at the Memorial Service this afternoon at Blacksburg. 'Forced' because I was stuck in traffic when NPR broadcast the insert of his words. I tried to turn down the volume, but the piece was longer than I thought and I caught bits of it, despite my best efforts.
Can anyone explain why he had to GO TO Blacksburg?
Soime of the commenters get it,
That's what presidents do. They're figureheads. They go, offer comfort, say a few words, and so forth. If it was President Kerry you'd object?
Defending Duhbya on this one, even though I can't stand the sound of his voice: This is part of the President's job, for reasons I don't really understand, but still one of the duties of the office. The fact that Bill was good at it and Duhbya isn't is just one more thing that works that way.
But most join in the hatefest:
This has been going on for 6 years. I doubt anybody is shocked that he will use it for a political photo op.Remember the flack Bush’s Dad caught because he didn’t visit hurricane victims in Florida? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’s all about hating Bush, not doing what’s right.
And we can expect the same kind of followup from our President on the Gun Culture of Violence as we saw with his followup on Katrina. But at least he hasn't declared war on South Korea, so there's that. .
I assume that he could not make his 'moving' statement from Washington, and that his presence did not, as the blog notes it probably did, in any way intrude on the private grief of those who actually knew the victims. .
Now, now, people. I'm sure he hated doing it as much as you hated seeing him do it. .
There’s been lots of supposition that political correctness may have hindered the process of dealing with Cho effectively before this incident happened. And, of course, a liberal found a way to preach about political correctness. Again, at HuffAndPuffPost, Earl Ofari Hutchinson managed to write an entire column complaining about the use of the term “an Asian man” being used by the press to describe Cho before his identity was released.
The casual mention by some campus officials, students, and in some press reports, that in early reports identified the Virginia Tech shooter as an unnamed, "Asian man" could've easily planted the dangerous public seed that there was an Asian menace to the shootings.Hutchinson pulls in the Oklahoma City bombing and the early Mid Eastern connection reports to it, etc. With reactions like Mr. Hutchinson's, it's little wonder that many think political correctness contributed to this problem, it did.
But there was that dangling reference to Cho as "an Asian man." While the Korean president's response was a genuine and heartfelt expression of human sympathy for the dead, the same day a Korean Consular official at a meeting with this writer and other civil rights leaders in Los Angeles pointed to another worry the government had about Cho's killing spree. Korean officials feared that many Americans might see the murderous assault as something more than the act of a lone deranged, individual. This was not a totally false fear. Cho was South Korean, and though he lived in the U.S. since he was a boy, he was called "a resident alien." That could easily stir anti-Asian and anti-immigrant hatreds among some.
Another reason Korean officials worried is the prolonged history of vicious baiting and stereotyping of Asians. This type of casual typecasting is especially sensitive issue among Korean Americans. Memories are still fresh of the 1992 L.A. riots.
What if the killer had been white of European ancestry? Would Hutchinson have complained about the killer being described as a "white male?" I doubt it. But many commonly stereotype white males as racist, violent, etc. Is it OK to add to that stereotype? Maybe we should restrict ourselves to referring to people as "hominoids" and avoid any reference to race, gender, color, hair, age, etc.
In the L.A. riots, the Koreans were targeted by another minority. The overwhelming population of the country supported the Koreans. Hutchinson claims the Korean president’s apology is heartfelt, as well as it might have been. But, Hutchinson gives a list of reasons it may not have been heartfelt but for social/political reasons instead. Of course, for George Bush it is just a photo op.
Cho was an extremely disturbed individual. The "causes" for this tragedy are complex and we will never fully understand why.
I must wonder where the hearts of these liberals are and whether they are truly capable of feeling genuine empathy. Or, is everything just an opportunity to attack someone or something you hate?
Monday, April 16, 2007
Say A Prayer: Carnage on Campus
The incident reaches such a horrific level that I doubt anyone would have anticipated it. Yet, the talking heads on the cable news networks are busy criticizing and condemning the Virginia Tech administration for not shutting down the campus, etc. immediately after the initial shooting of the two girls at the dormitory. Who would have foreseen the eventual outcome?
A mass shooting of this level is an event so rare in the U.S. that it has never happened before. Who would have thought that the shooting would re-erupt more than two hours later. In my memory, mass shootings usually occur as a single continual incident. This incident say a lull of two hours between the initial shooting and the second spree.
To expect the school's administration to foresee the unforeseeable is unfair. Consider how the city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and the Federal government reacted to Katrina, an event predicted to come for decades.
The talking heads question how the shooter could have walked across campus with the weapons unseen. Have they ever heard of a book bag? Pistols don't take up much room. A police officer I know often carries a 9mm Glock in a fanny pack when off duty.
On virtually any campus, this mass killing would have been easy to carry out.
But the talking heads are already blaming video games, rap music, paintball, etc. for the culture of violence that lead to this massacre. The rush to judgement is a deluge. Nancy Grace sounds like an idiot. Larry King actually is using restraint. Pat Brown, criminal profiler, seems to be advocating a police state to prevent such tragedies in the future. The shooter, reportedly, was Asian. Maybe, we should make the equally ridiculous statement that we ban Asian students.
After watching the 7:30PM press conference at Virginia Tech, I have to wonder if there is a more clueless group than the press. To begin, they asked only two questions, fifty different ways. And, they seemed to misunderstand every answer.
Say a prayer for the victim's, their families and everyone impacted by the tragedy. And, try, just a little, to remain rational.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Stop Global Warming and Pass the Maple Syrup, Please
“When it comes to global warming, I don’t exactly think President Bush is doing such a hot job,” said 12-year-old New Yorker Tiffany Cordero."Hot job?" Well, little Tiffany has a way with words. I'm sure 12-year-olds easily grasp the complexity of "climate change."
Some of the climate change awareness activities amused me.
Participants in Step It Up 2007 will be skiing down a disappearing glacier in Wyoming and diving to a coral reef off the Florida Keys. In Vershire, Vermont, they will be eating pancakes to highlight concerns about how climate change could affect maple syrup production.Skiing down a glacier? I wonder how much CO2 was produced to drive the glacier and reach the point from which the skiing began.
In New York City, blue-clad protesters will line up to mark where rising sea levels could move the coastline. San Franciscans will load up their low-emissions vehicles with stuffed polar bears for a trip to a local Hummer dealership, to illustrate worries that warmer temperatures could wipe out the species' habitat.
My son and I ate waffles this morning. Does that count as a global warming awareness activity? Additionally, I made the waffles in my own kitchen with my recently purchased waffle iron. We didn't drive anywhere to eat, thus producing excess CO2. I think we have enough carbon offsets for the next week, now.
Scuba diving a coral reef off the Florida Keys also seems a great way to combat global warming. It's only a 160 mile drive from Miami to Key West. Of course, the divers could already live in Key West which means they only have to board a smoke belching, CO2 producing boat to travel to the reef. Ever check out the mpg of a boat? Really, really bad. MPG for a 23' runabout:
At 4000 RPM, the boat was traveling at 28 miles-per-hour, and the FloScan showed fuel consumption at 17 gallons-per-hour. Let's do the math. Come on now, this is really basic stuff, but you can cheat and use a pocket calculator if you have to. The boat was getting 1.65 miles-per-gallon. (28 MPH ÷ 17 GPH = 1.65 MPG)OMG! An H1 is an economy car by comparison.
We all need to be aware of climate change. It's going to happen, man-made or not. Since we have plenty of time to respond to the threats of climate change, I suggest we begin moving the megalopolises of the eastern seaboard about 20-30 miles or more from the coast. We not only have to worry about rising sea levels from global warming but giant tsunamis.
As for maple syrup, a fellow just east of Portsmouth, OH makes maple syrup from sugar maples in the area. If you compare the average temperatures for
to Woodstock, Vermont
Hopefully, all the climate change alarmists had a fun time with their "rallies" but next time how about something a little more meaningful. And, try not creating so much CO2 in the process.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Curious Juxtaposition:Crop Damage from Cold/Global Warming
(Posted April 10, 2008)
Massive crop damage around the South
Record-low freezing temperatures around the South over this past weekend had a devastating impact on crops that could result in damages in the billions of dollars and higher prices for produce in the coming months.
The post immediately below it, posted April 9, 2007.
I love how it's "climate action" now instead of global warming. Liberals, or is that "progressives" now, love playing with words and ignoring reality. I just can't wait until we have full control of the Earth's climate.
Climate action rallies set for this weekendThis coming Saturday, April 14 marks Step It Up 2007, the first National Day of Climate Action. There will be more than 1,300 gatherings across the country, from big rallies that aims to draw thousands, to modest global-warming awareness events organized by small groups of concerned citizens.
Imus Silenced, Will Sharpton and Jackson Be Next?
Now, maybe, the MSM can focus on not giving a forum to people who have fomented more racism than Imus ever did, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Sharpton's race based exploits include the Tawana Brawley false rape claims, inciting those who stabbed to death rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, and inciting protesters in the Freddy's Fashion Mart rent fiasco which resulted in the death of 7 employees. Has Imus ever been involved in any situation that resulted in the death or serious injury of anyone? If he has, no one has mentioned it.
Jackson is famous for his anti-Semitic "himey town" remark. Here are examples of Jackson concerning the Duke rape case.
But Jackson said there's plenty of circumstantial evidence that something happened to her at the March 13 party.More from an article written by Jackson, himself, in Black News.
It is particularly horrible because these white men hired black women to strip for them.
"That fantasy's as old as slave masters impregnating young slave girls," he said.
“Divorced Mother Of Two, Working Way Through College, Allegedly Raped, Abused By Gang.” Had the headline read that way, the fury would have been great.The article if full of the assumption of guilt. Jackson portrays stereotypes of white male college students as bad as the stereotypes that racist whites have of blacks. He also disparages the 5th amendment with his "code of silence" crap. Jackson's words utterly ooze racism against the "white kids."
We know that the two women were abused.
Black women; white men. A stripper; and a team blowout. The wealthy white athletes – many from prep schools – of Duke; and the working class woman from historically black North Carolina Central. Race and class and sex. What happened? We don’t know for sure because the Duke players are maintaining a code of silence.
The history of white men and black women – the special fantasies and realities of exploitation – goes back to the nation’s beginning and the arrival of slaves from Africa. The patterns associated with this history arouse fears and evoke too many bad memories.
And there is Duke, a private school stocked with affluent, mostly white kids, often referred to as the plantation.
As Rebecca Hall of the University of California in Berkeley, who studies images of African American women in the culture, states, “Turn on a music video. A black woman is somebody who has excess sexuality….It’s excess sexuality that white men are entitled to.”
I wonder how many black kids learn to hate whites by reading and hearing such blather. Jackson and Sharpton are more guilty of Imus' sin than Imus. It's time for the MSM to quit the double standard and quit providing a free podium for these two characters. But, don't bet on it happening any time soon. I saw Sharpton on MSNBC and Larry King at the same time this evening.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Who's Funny Now?
Now I'm wondering what happened to the funny liberals? Did they forget how to tell a joke? Rosie O'Donnell only rants and raves. The only laughs she gets are the sad chuckles along with the shaking heads. Ellen DeGeneres has taken the talk show route also. She still manages to get a laugh or two I imagine (I've never watched her show). But I wonder how many are like the lame "we elected Gore in 2000" joke she made at the Oscars. How sad. Get over it. You lost. Cheaters win. :-)
Al Franken wasn't funny enough or interesting enough to keep Air America above water. Now he's become a humorless, narcissistic candidate for Senate. He still looks kinda funny, though.
A few days ago, I blogged about Don Imus' insult of the Rutgers' women's basketball team. He claims is was just a bad joke. In fact, the joke was so bad that liberals are trying to disown Imus.
It's hard for liberals, nay near impossible, for liberals to face up to their own foibles and hypocrisies. I wonder if any will speak out against the hypocrisy of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, two of the worst race baiters in America who made racist accusations and assumptions concerning the proven innocent Duke lacrosse players, attacking Imus.
I disagree with the "ton of bricks" coming down on Imus. The few times I've listened to his show, I found him boring. But, he does some good. And, I don't think he truly meant any harm by his comments. Like many other liberals, he just ain't funny.
Makin' Bacon Crime
Obviously this was meant to offend the Muslims. But some freedoms, including freedom of speech, are more important that not being offended. I have found no significant that a great deal of the Muslim world worries about offending others.
This is a religion in which rewards are offered for the murder of those that write against it or draw cartoons offensive to it. A religion in whose name thousands, maybe millions, of innocents have died by bombings and other terrorist actions. A religion that makes the actions of the Catholic based Irish Republican Army look almost insignificant.
G M Roper does provide an example here of some Muslims that wish to live in peace with Jewish neighbors. Unfortunately, it is also an example of how some Muslims wish to kill all Jews.
As for books, Koran, Bible, Bhagavad Gita, etc., here is a story that expresses my feelings.
The Zen master Mu-nan had only one successor. His name was Shoju. After Shoju had completed his study of Zen, Mu-nan called him into his room. "I am getting old," he said, "and as far as I know, Shoju, you are the only one who will carry on this teaching. Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. I have also added many points according to my understanding. The book is very valuable, and I am giving it to you to represent your successorhip.""Peaceful" Muslims and C.A.I.R. would be much better off convincing their less peaceful brethren to change their ways than claiming to be offended by every little thing. Otherwise, their disingenuousness shines through.
"If the book is such an important thing, you had better keep it," Shoju replied. "I received your Zen without writing and am satisfied with it as it is."
"I know that," said Mu-nan. "Even so, this work has been carried from master to master for seven generations, so you may keep it as a symbol of having received the teaching. Here."
They happened to be talking before a brazier. The instant Shoju felt the book in his hands he thrust it into the flaming coals. He had no lust for possessions.
Mu-nan, who never had been angry before, yelled: "What are you doing!"
Shoju shouted back: "What are you saying!"
Let Go of My Lego
You know, this whole thing is so idiotic I’m almost left speechless. Almost.Unfortunately, neither PsychoPhil or I can adequately describe the utter stupidity and insanity of the teachers who couldn't stand Lego City.
I was going to rip on a few more things in this article, but I just can’t stand it. I want to close the browser window its in and be done with it.
The Anchoress posted on this in early March. But, PsychoPhil found an article where two of the teachers attempt to explain Why We Banned Legos." Keep in mind that schizophrenics of all shapes and sizes can "rationally" explain all their delusions. When working in mental health, I listened to schizophrenics provide details descriptions of how I could read their minds, radio waves affecting them and all the other usual stuff. Just because a couple of teachers sound "sane" doesn't mean they are.
The article begins:
Carl and Oliver,* both 8-year-olds in our after-school program, huddled over piles of Legos. They carefully assembled them to add to a sprawling collection of Lego houses, grocery stores, fish-and-chips stands, fire stations, and coffee shops.A couple of paragraphs later:
Children dug through hefty-sized bins of Legos, sought "cool pieces," and bartered and exchanged until they established a collection of homes, shops, public facilities, and community meeting places. We carefully protected Legotown from errant balls and jump ropes, and watched it grow day by day.The teachers observe and document the important social, planning, and creative skills the children develop through spontaneous play involving Legos. The children understand well enough the various ingredients needed to make a community. What the children are doing and learning are skills and knowledge that only a few "toys" allow.
After nearly two months of observing the children's Legotown construction, we decided to ban the Legos.
Legos, building blocks, Erector sets, Tinker Toys and such fertilize the creativity of children in ways that few other things can. They can experiment with design, learn basic engineering and construction principles. When using Legos in interactive play as the children described above, they also learn and develop a broad spectrum of social skills, negotiating, give and take, cooperative goal setting, perseverance (spending two months to build a Lego town shows a great deal of perseverance on the part of 8 year olds). All these are skills that their "upper-middle class" parents most likely used to become upper-middle class.
But the all seeing, all knowing, autocratic teachers decided this was all bad.
Then, tragedy struck Legotown and we saw an opportunity to take strong action."Full democratic participation?" Looks more like a dictatorial decision by the teachers. I fully recognize and believe that teachers should have the ultimate say so in their classrooms within reason. Let's just call it what it is, and it's not democratic participation.
Hilltop is housed in a church, and over a long weekend, some children in the congregation who were playing in our space accidentally demolished Legotown.
We met as a teaching staff later that day. We saw the decimation of Lego-town as an opportunity to launch a critical evaluation of Legotown and the inequities of private ownership and hierarchical authority on which it was founded. Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation.
The "inequities of private ownership and hierarchical authority"? This school, Hilltop in Seattle, is a very expensive PRIVATE school. Three months tuition can cost as much as an entire year at the parochial high school my oldest son attends. Plus, the teachers have no problem exercising their hierarchical authority.
Later, the teachers talk of a field trip in which they discuss such metaphysical questions as, "Does a farmer own her produce? Or does the consumer own it?" According to the quotes provided, the kids have this one figured out. I would certainly hope so. This seems a rather inane, simple question even for 8 year olds.
Later, the kids were allowed to return to "playing" with Legos but with the teachers rules: "Create teams of two or three people, decide as a team on some element of Pike Place Market that you'll build, and then start constructing." So the death of creativity and spontaneity begins.
When I was growing up we could play for hours on end with building blocks, Tinker Toys, etc. (I never had any Legos. Sniff, sniff.) We played football, baseball, basketball, tag, Kick the Can, etc without adult supervision. Now, it seems that adults feel the need to control every aspect of children's lives. But, many of the most important social and interpersonal skills are best learned through spontaneous activities and play. Adults are only needed to observe for a distance to prevent the minor possibilities of injuries or violence.
Too many adults have too many control issues.
"Hey, Teacher, leave those kids alone!" - Pink Floyd
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Tsunami Coming! And Other Disasters Soon To Follow!
For the east coast of the Americas, a tsunami may well do the sweeping. An island in the Canary Island chain, La Palma, contains the geologic prerequisites to create a tsunami that will engulf the entire eastern coast of the United States as well as most of the remaining eastern coasts of North and South America.
The link above provides colorful illustrations and complex mathematical formulas to describe the event.
Impending doom surrounds us. The Discovery Channel specializes in perfect disasters. Indeed, Discovery Channel is where I found out about La Palma. We also face doom from super volcanoes, giant asteroids, comets, disease, famine, and God knows what else.
With this overload of threatening catastrophes, how can one respond? Planning for the future begins to seem useless. Living for today looks like the only option. The dooms day alarmists need to cool it just a little. A constant state of alarm cannot be sustained by an individual nor a society. Constant stress harms the body, individually and collectively.
How about giving us a break, all you dooms day prognosticators?
In the mean time, maybe we should move everything back from the coast 15 or 20 miles, just in case.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Imus Insults Rutgers Women's Basketball Team
Imus started out talking about the Rutgers team as, "some rough girls from Rutgers. They got tattoos," and then went on to call them "some nappy-headed hos."Gees. What's Imus hiding under that cowboy hat? A vacuous cranium?
He compared them to the Tennessee team, saying "The girls from Tennessee -- they all looked cute."
The conversation then went on to compare the game to "the jigaboos versus the wannabes." Media Matters reported that the show's executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, made that comment
Being a huge Tennessee Lady Vols fan, I generally only take notice of other colleges only as far as their threat to Tennessee's championship hopes. I was fortunate enough to watch Tennessee romp over Ole Miss in the NCAA Regional Finals in Dayton, OH. I clutched my fingers as Tennessee pulled out a victory over North Carolina in the last few minutes of the game by making an incredible 20-2 scoring run.
Then in the NCAA Championship, Tennessee out-defensed the best defensive team in the country to earn their 7th national championship.
As for Rutgers, they proved themselves to be worthy opponents. They scrapped and fought throughout the entire game. They only let up with less than 30 seconds in the game and victory was obviously out of reach. Rutgers' Coach String proved why she is the second winningest coach in NCAA women's basketball.
The Rutgers players showed sportswomanship and practiced fair play. They represented themselves and their school honorably. What a shame that an overrated, boring talk show host would make such pathetic, insulting, ungrounded remarks. Sure, Mr. Imus apologized but apologizes rarely suffice.
BTW - Many of the Tennessee players are cuties, especially Candice Parker. But, more than that, they can play some ball!
UPDATE: More Here at a Rutgers' fan's blog. (Hat tip to >Instapundit)
Friday, April 06, 2007
A Little Global Warming, Please
From the National Weather Service:
Cinci temps 4/06/07
TEMPERATURE (F) YESTERDAY
Temperatures were 15F below average.
Wind speeds averaged 15.8 mph with gusts to 32 and steady winds as high as 28 mph. The wind whipping between the tall buildings in downtown Cincinnati reached much higher velocities.
The low this morning was 18F. Brrr! This afternoon, we had snow.
Here is a screen shot of the 7 day forecast:
Another low of 18F tonight and 17F tomorrow night! These will be record lows. If I wanted to live in Minnesota, I would have moved there.
Where's global warming when you need it, or, at least, a little regional warming.
UPDATE: Instapundit has been enjoying Cincinnati's winter weather while visiting his brother.
In their Wednes day Whackies, Sigmund, Carl and Alfred point out at Hempfield Area High School in Pennsylvania a student was incarcerated for 12 days because school officials forgot about the time change.
Cody Webb was arrested last month, after Hempfield Area High School received a bomb threat on their student hotline – which provides a range of information to students about the school - at 3.17am on March 11th. They believed they’d found the culprit when they traced the phone number they thought was responsible to Webb.I wonder if they'll include this situation in the group problem solving portion of the academic team competitions. I hope a lawsuit in on its way.
Unfortunately, they forgot that the clocks had switched to Daylight Saving Time that morning. Webb, who’s never even had a detention in his life, had actually made his call an hour earlier.
Despite the fact that the recording of the call featured a voice that sounded nothing like Webb’s, the police arrested Webb and he spent 12 days in a juvenile detention facility before the school eventually realised their mistake.
Webb gave an insight into the school’s impressive investigative techniques, saying that he was ushered in to see the principal, Kathy Charlton. She asked him what his phone number was, and , according to Webb, when he replied ’she started waving her hands in the air and saying “we got him, we got him.”’
(Hat tip to G M Roper.)
This story about a 13 year old being arrested for writing on her desk has made it to the cable news networks. 90% of the students in my old schools fit into this criminal category.
"MY child is 13-years-old -- doesn't it stand that I'm supposed to be present for any questioning?" Silva said. "I'm watching my daughter, she's handcuffed to the pole. I ask the officer has she been there the entire time? She says, 'Yes.'"At least the mother makes some sense. Having attended a parochial school for seven years, I always chuckle when I hear stories of strict, harsh nuns. But, they always had more sense than this.
On her report card, under conduct, Fraser has earned all "satisfactory" marks and one "excellent" mark.
"My daughter just wrote something on a desk. I would have her scrub it with Soft Scrub on a Saturday morning when she should be out playing, and maybe a day of in-house and a formal apology to the principal," Silva said.
Democrats in the Michigan state legislature decided to show they can be as stupid and lacking in judgment as teachers and school officials by proposing that Michigan buy MP3 players or iPods for all students in the state.
Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.I generally refrain from quoting Michael Savage, but, more and more, I believe the title of his book Liberalism Is A Mental Disorder hits the nail on the head. I can't imagine how iPods will improve the educational process. Although, listening to iPods rather than the idiot teachers, school administrators and legislators above would aid students' development of common sense.
No cost estimate was attached to their hare-brained idea to "invest" in education. Details, we are promised, will follow.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
To paraphrase Dean Wormer, "Conceited, arrogant and stupid are no way to go through life." Remember, Bluto became a Senator too.
A CEO Speaks Out On Global Warming
On Al Gore:
He is not joking when he says, "He is more dangerous than his global warming."And here is one of the best damn paragraphs I've ever read.
"Some wealthy elitists in our country," he told the audience, "who cannot tell fact from fiction, can afford an Olympian detachment from the impacts of draconian climate change policy. For them, the jobs and dreams destroyed as a result will be nothing more than statistics and the cares of other people. These consequences are abstractions to them, but they are not to me, as I can name many of the thousands of the American citizens whose lives will be destroyed by these elitists' ill-conceived ‘global goofiness' campaigns."I'm jealous of Mr. Murray's way with words.
Sure, Mr. Murray is not an objective bystander. But, none of us are. And, it does not make any of his words less true. Just look at the lifestyles and residences of Al Gore, John Edwards, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and innumerable other rich global warming alarmists.
Overpopulation: Good or Bad?
Without immigrants pouring into the nation's big metro areas, places such as New York, Los Angeles and Boston would be losing population.The U.S. is far from over-populated and keeping it that way seems a good idea. If Los Angeles lost population, maybe its famous smog would decrease.
Many smaller areas, including Battle Creek, Michigan, Ames, Iowa, and Corvallis, Oregon, would lose people as well, according to population estimates released Thursday by the Census Bureau.
"Immigrants are filling the void as domestic migrants are seeking opportunities in other places," said Mark Mather, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau, a private research organization.
The New York metro area, which includes suburbs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, added 1 million immigrants from 2000 to 2006. Without those immigrants, the region would have lost nearly 600,000 people.
Without immigration, the Los Angeles, California, metro area would have lost more than 200,000, the San Francisco, California, area would have lost 188,000 and the Boston, Massachusetts, area would have lost 101,000.
Further down the article:
There are about 36 million immigrants in the United States. About one-third are in the country illegally. The Census Bureau, however, does not distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants.Why doesn't the Census Bureau distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants? Is this another example of keeping our collective head in the sand and ignoring the problem?
The government's claim to be providing us security from terrorists is little more than a bad joke when 12 million people are roaming our country illegally.
Amazing Discovery - Ancient People Melted Steel With Fire!
From About Archaeology.com:
Damascus steel is that it was made from a raw material called wootz steel. Wootz was an exceptional grade of iron ore steel first made in southern and south central India and Sri Lanka perhaps as early as 300 BC. Wootz was extracted from raw iron ore and formed using a crucible to melt, burn away impurities and add important ingredients, including a high carbon content (nearly 1.5% by weight---wrought iron typically has carbon content around .1%).Surely this can't be. For as we all know, the first time in history that fire melted steel was on 9/11. (ref: Rosie ODonnell)
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Control Freaks Attack
The local authorities plan to monitor compliance with the new tax legislation from helicopters, whose thermal sensors will detect burning grills. Now I wonder, how much CO2 does a helicopter engine put out? How many grills would have to be be lit to exceed the emissions of these helicopters during their tax flights?Helicopters vs. grills? Looks more like a government money grab and needless intrusion into individuals privacy.
But, in England, intruding into privacy in order to control peoples every action has become an art form. CCTVs that talk to people are being installed across England.
Talking" closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras which allow operators to shout at people behaving badly are to be installed across England, the government announced Wednesday.For anyone who has read Vonnegut's "Player Piano" this rings familiar. At 80,000 square miles, Britain is about half the area of California. 4.2 million CCTV cameras! That's surveillance! And, now the cameras can nag you like your Mum. A real nanny state.
The scheme lets local council workers in a control centre monitor pictures from the cameras and talk to them if they feel they are doing something wrong.
The cameras were piloted in Middlesbrough, north-east England, where they have been used to reprimand vandals and litter bugs, but now loudspeakers are being fitted to cameras in another 20 areas.
Britain has some 4.2 million CCTV cameras and the government's privacy watchdog, Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, warned last year that the nation risks "sleep-walking into a surveillance society".
Just wait and see how much the red light cameras proliferate in the U.S.
The other day, DrHelen posted on how overprotecting our kids is reaching epidemic proportions. One link I really enjoyed reading was a "Psychology Today" article, "A Nation Wimps.
One of the underlying themes of all this was the control freak parents. The desire to control their children's experiences and environment is so strong that it is, well, uncontrollable.
Global warming alarmists literally believe they can control the entire world climate. Of course, this begins with controlling you and me while they fly around in Gulfstream jets and drive SUVs.
All this makes me wonder how long it will be until We will be trapped in a Brave New World like the one described in 1984.
At least we'll all be equal. Although, some will be more equal than others.
One characteristic I've noticed about control freaks in my observation: the control freaks themselves most often are out of control in their own lives. There seems to be a similarity to obsessive-compulsive disorder in that the control freak tries to establish some modicum of "control" by controlling others while they, themselves, remain out of control.
Being controlled by others is the antithesis of the American ideals of liberty and freedom. Being controlled by those who are out of control themselves is a recipe of disaster.
The video is taken from the opposite side of the Ohio River showing the Roebling Bridge. John Roebling designed and built the bridge. He used it as his prototype for the more famous Brooklyn Bridge.
Carew Tower suffered no damage from the lighting.
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