July 31, 2004
Oh, and I could've gone my whole life without hearing Michael Moore say "who's your daddy"...
July 26, 2004
Members of the NAACP, Citizens for a Better Peoria and the 'African American Leadership Alliance' held a press conference Friday morning. They say they are concerned about the process by which William Salzman got approved as the new Manual High School principal.
Apparently "local black leaders have complained for months that a core group of board members have discussed district matters in private and without input from the board's two black members." OK. Whitey's getting together in secret and trying to keep the man down. Riiight.
Ross said she's "not one to cry racism" regarding the hiring, but the surprise vote shows a "lack of sensitivity" on the part of some board members.
Lack of sensitivity towards what, exactly? I know I don't know the whole story, but Salzman was already the assistant principal, he received over 100 letters of support from faculty and parents, and the summer is coming to a close and they need a principal.
Why on earth can't a white man effectively principal Manual?
July 22, 2004
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And look at this horrible photo.
July 18, 2004
I had to pull radio watch in the War Room last night, and somebody left a copy of the April edition of People Magazine there. So on radio watch, I read how Survivors Rob and Amber are in Love, Kelly Osborne is in Rehab, Omaarosa has a suprising past, and how Reese Witherspoon and hubby Ryan Phillippe bought a house in Los Angeles for 4.9 million. And you know what, after reading that magazine, for a split second, I was glad I was here in Iraq, and not back in America.
Hawk talks in the same post about the lore that people spout off as fact, namely that no one is interested in joining the military anymore because of the deployments. I understand that to not be true, even though I've heard several of my students say the same thing. We talk often in our class about avoiding "lore", like Americans are the fattest people on the planet or more black men are in prison than in college. These common-knowledge bullcrap statements are thrown around all the time because people think they could be true and never bother to research them. Same with the enlistment: it seems plausible that people would no longer want to join the military knowing the dangers involved, but it seems that recruitment and retention rates are steady. That article took me ten seconds to find; why don't most people bother to take those ten seconds before they propagate lore?
July 17, 2004
Which is why what John Kerry did at the NAACP looks especially foolish and freaky to me. You can express respect and admiration without making yourself part of the in-group. You can share common ground, but there is a fine line you need to respect.
This morning the AFN News channel was on and on about Martha Stewart. I switched over to the Pentagon Channel and caught their news broadcast instead. Top stories: the tale of a group of MPs in Iraq who are transferring duties over to the Iraqi police, the birthday of the Army Rangers, and the recycling program at Ft Knox. Much more interesting, in my opinion, than Martha Stewart.
July 16, 2004
The California State Education Secretary made fun of a little girl's name. The NAACP got involved, saying it never would've happened if the girl were white. Um, the girl is white. And when the NAACP figured that out, they said
"Race is not a factor in this issue," Dymally said in Thursday's statement, adding that Riordan had apologized a second time. "It is time for us to move on."
So the State Education Secretary makes fun of a six year old, and it's no big deal, as long as she's not a minority. For the love of pete.
Reminds me of a story back in high school. Our teacher was calling roll on the first day and came to our Indian friend's name, which she proceeded to make fun of, saying it sounded like the noise you make when you sneeze. He was a little taken aback, but retorted with the funny quip, "Well, at least I'm not a Pollack," since her name was obviously Polish. He was kicked out of class and sent to the Dean. As he got up and walked out of class, he said, in a calm tone I'll never forget, "But you sneezed my name."
Come to think of it, those two stories aren't that related. Well, except that they both involve jackasses.
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My bad: Dymally is not associated with the NAACP. They made ridiculous errors and bad judgement calls independent from one another.
July 12, 2004
And I loved being in class with Soldiers. A long while back I wrote about a professor who was using his class time to discuss his anti-war views, and I thought that active duty soldier students shouldn't have to be exposed to that in a class the military is paying for. However, after this weekend, I trust that Soldiers can hold their own. There were several students who actively challenged the prof when he said things they disagreed with, and there were also two clowns in the back row who were calling bullshit under their breath and mumbling quips about making parking lots. When the prof said things that we didn't agree with -- that Europe's position on the death penalty is much more enlightened than the US's, that al-Qaeda was nothing to be worried about, that we should understand the root causes of the Palestinians' beef -- there was always a hand in the air to voice an opinion. Even though the prof knew his stuff, none of the students simply took his more opinionated statements at face value.
Bunker's back in the building with a great post about the relationship between government and society. There was an interesting, and tangential, moment in class when the prof said that the US was no better than Iran or China for having the death penalty, and that even though roughly 85% of the population supports it, a civilized society would not allow it. He pointed to Europe as being more modern and classy for having banned the death penalty. I went home that night and checked on the stats; I found that support is declining in the US but rising in Europe. (Here's another interesting site.) I just don't see how abolishing something that anywhere from 50 to 70% of people support is a sign of civilization or modernity. Why should a government say, "We know you want this, but we don't think you're capable of making such a grown-up decision so we're just going to decide for you"?
Another thing that came up in class was the "America has no culture" meme. The "American culture is nothing but Coke and Nike and Big Macs" crap. And then the prof said that American culture is no different than European culture. I strongly disagree. (Den Beste's said it all before; see here and here and here and here. And many other places too.) The many problems we're facing today vis a vis alliances and the UN are a direct result of the widening gap between cultures. We're not, as one student jokingly said, "not good enough to be British." We do indeed have a culture that goes beyond Supersize. Just ask Abkow Edow and Madina Idle.
All in all a good experience. Some bits I disagreed with, but for the most part the prof did a good job of just reporting the facts, which is hard to come by in education today.
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July 07, 2004
Q. What is the appropriate response to the UN when they whine we didn't ask permission to transport uranium that could be used for dirty bombs?
A. The same response the American delegate made at the UN in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut when the Canadians condemned the actions taken by American in apprehending Terrance and Phillip.
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