Day by Day

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tying in to the post below

Curmudgeonly & Skeptical has a post up about Kalifornia's court ruling against home-school. Lots of links to good articles.

The Ragin' Mrs. and I were having dinner over at the neighbor's house, and the topic of public education came up. Needless to say, I don't think they'll ever discuss that topic around me again, if they ever invite me over again. I got a little vocal. OK, a lot vocal. Bottom line is, the publik skool sistim is messed up. Probably not salvageable. It needs to be scrapped and redesigned from the bottom up. And the first thing to do is to change who is allowed to teach, and why.

Meanwhile, we learn that those “credentialed” teachers so prized by California courts and teachers’ unions compare very unfavorably to people credentialed in other professions. To become “credentialed,” teachers have to major in education. According to economist Walter Williams: “Students who have chosen education as their major have the lowest SAT scores of any other major. Students who have graduated with an education degree earn lower scores than any other major on graduate school admissions tests such as the GRE, MCAT or LSAT. Schools of education, either graduate or undergraduate, represent the academic slums of most any university. As such, they are home to the least able students and professors with the lowest academic respect."

Clearly, too many “credentialed” teachers don’t know much. Or, to paraphrase Maine humorist Tim Sample: “They don’t even suspect much.” The slow ones – and trust me, there are a lot of slow ones in public education – don’t want any light shining on just how slow they are. That’s why they fight standardized testing for teachers. The first time Massachusetts forced new teachers to take a basic competency test in 1998, an astonishing 59% of them failed. These were college graduates (education majors) taking a test that Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran said: “a reasonably educated ninth grader could pass.”

Former Boston University President and Massachusetts Board of Education Chairman John Silber wanted to eliminate teacher certification, or “credentialing” as California calls it, because it was keeping really bright people out of the teaching profession. However, teachers’ unions blocked him. Why would unions favor credentialing when they disdain standardized tests? Because it’s easy to pass college education courses and difficult to pass standardized tests which cannot be fudged. I’ll bet a lot of the 59% who flunked the teacher test graduated with honors from their college education departments. Grade inflation there is rampant.

If it weren't for three teachers at my high school, I would have dropped out, gotten a GED and moved on with my life. It was that worthless. Most of the important knowledge I have I learned after I left that particular hell hole. I can't think if anything that a publik skool does that a private school can't do better with less money. Everyone always swoons when they hear how much private school costs. Really? Does anyone look to see how much is being spent per student in the publik skool sistim? In many cases, it is MORE than the tuition of a private school. My niece goes to a private school, and the tuition is around $7,000 a year. That's a nice chunk of change, no doubt. But the publik skool sistim where they live spends approximately $8,000 a year PER STUDENT.

And yet publik skool students as a rule cannot begin to compare with private school students. Someone is getting ripped off. Us.

At this point, I can't think of any good reason to keep America's publik skool sistim in place. It's failing, miserably, time and time again. It doesn't need more money, it needs a complete and total overhaul. And the teacher's unions need to be taken out back and shot for the good of the country.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Damn those fundies!

We all know the state of publik skools in America sucks. There's no question. Well, one Susan Jacoby lays it all on the line.

With her new bestseller, “The Age of American Unreason,” Susan Jacoby adds fuel to the public bonfire. Americans are not only increasingly knowledge-challenged, she argues: they’re also proud of it. “America is now ill,” she writes, “with a powerful mutant strain of intertwined ignorance, anti-rationalism, and anti-intellectualism.” This new, insidious strain–at odds with reason, objective facts, and modern science–has grown over the past twenty years, she writes, and is incredibly dangerous for American culture and politics.

…For Jacoby, Protestant fundamentalism, particularly in its resistance to the teaching of evolution in public schools, is intellectual enemy number one.


Got that? It's not the curriculum based on self-esteem rather than actual results that's at fault. Nope. It's not the constant lowering of standards that's at fault. Nuh-uh. It's not the mediocrity of the teachers protected by tenure and a DNC backing union that's at fault. Nah, it's those damn religious whackos!

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Found at Cold Fury.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama's "God Damn" Minister

Barack Hussein Obama may not be a Muslim, but he's no Christian like I've ever heard of:The 'Rev' of Hate and Mentor to Barack (video links)
"Barack knows what it means living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people," Wright said. "Hillary would never know that.

"Hillary ain't never been called a nigger. Hillary has never had a people defined as a non-person."
...
"US of KKK A," -- Rev. Jeremiah Wright
...
"Hillary is married to Bill, and Bill has been good to us. No he ain't! Bill did us, just like he did Monica Lewinsky. He was riding dirty."
...
“Fact number one: We’ve got more black men in prison than there are in college.

"Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run.

"We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional killers. ... We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. ... We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. ... We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means.

"And ... And ... And! God! Has got! To be sick! Of this shit!"
...
“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”
...
“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he told his congregation.
...
"Racism is alive and well. Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. No black man will ever be considered for president, no matter how hard you run Jesse [Jackson] and no black woman can ever be considered for anything outside what she can give with her body."
...
"America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. . . . We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns, and the training of professional killers . . . We bombed Cambodia, Iraq and Nicaragua, killing women and children while trying to get public opinion turned against Castro and Ghadhafi . . . We put [Nelson] Mandela in prison and supported apartheid the whole 27 years he was there. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God."
...
"We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against it as being anti-Semitic. . . . We care nothing about human life if the end justifies the means. . . ."
...
"We started the AIDS virus . . . We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that Third World people live in grinding poverty. . . ."
...
"His depth on analysis [sic] when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye-opening," Mr. Wright said of Mr. Farrakhan. "He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest."
...
" Mr. Obama went on to explain Mr. Wright's anti-Zionist statements as being rooted in his anger over the Jewish state's support for South Africa under its previous policy of apartheid. As with his previous claim that his church gave the award to Mr. Farrakhan because of his work with ex-offenders, Mr. Obama appears to have made that up." -- WSJ's Kessler
Barack Hussein Obama's "God Damn" Minister blames you for 9/11.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

YAF’s Jason Mattera confronts JFKerry(D)

As a follow up to the latests frauds from the newest phony soldier, eg. "Phonies", who misrepresent their service to claim moral authority and are selectively featured by the MainStreamMedia in spite of their non-representative views:
Winter Soldier II : Ludicrous Lies on Parade
Michelle Malkin

Hot Air TV: Sen. John Kerry confronted about Winter Soldier II (video)
We’ve got another joint YAF/Hot Air TV production for you, just in time for the anti-war confab known as “Winter Soldier II” that kicks off in Washington, D.C. tomorrow and runs through Sunday. YAF’s Jason Mattera, our intrepid special correspondent who cornered Jack Murtha in September, is back in the halls of Congress.

This week, Jason caught up with the original Winter Soldier, Sen. John Kerry, and confronted him about his unsubstantiated, troop-smearing testimony.

And no... JFKerry(D) has still not released his military records.
Cross Posted at DANEgerus

Thugs, jackboots, and the US Government

It seems like the jackbooted thugs of the BATFU don't like criticism. Because while Ryan Horsley of Red's Trading Post was in court, dealing with said thugs, one US Marshal Judicial Security Inspector David A. Meyer (dave.meyer@usdoj.gov) took Mr. Horsley aside, and directed him to deliver a message to David Codrea, the owner of the Blog The War On Guns.

"Inspector Meyer asked me to contact you in regards to posting any information with the intent to threaten, intimidate, or incite the commission of a crime of violence against that covered official... "

In short, the thug said "You tell him to shut up, you see? 'Cause otherwise we're gonna pay a visit to HIM, see? And he won't like it!"

Mr. Codrea's response.

If you ever needed proof that the FedGov was way overgrown and too big for it's britches, here's yet another clue-by-four across the forehead. Good on Mr. Codrea for not backing down. And the Federal Government can go to hell.

I love my country, but I fear my government.

Awakening

I can't agree with everything this guy says, but it seems to me that he's waking up to a few realities.

And I began to question my hatred for "the Corporations"—the hatred of which, I found, was but the flip side of my hunger for those goods and services they provide and without which we could not live.

And I began to question my distrust of the "Bad, Bad Military" of my youth, which, I saw, was then and is now made up of those men and women who actually risk their lives to protect the rest of us from a very hostile world. Is the military always right? No. Neither is government, nor are the corporations—they are just different signposts for the particular amalgamation of our country into separate working groups, if you will. Are these groups infallible, free from the possibility of mismanagement, corruption, or crime? No, and neither are you or I. So, taking the tragic view, the question was not "Is everything perfect?" but "How could it be better, at what cost, and according to whose definition?" Put into which form, things appeared to me to be unfolding pretty well.

Ten bucks says all his hoity toity pals, who used to praise his work and hang off every word he said, now treat him like a pariah and shun him like a leper. Seriously, you have to read the whole thing.

Prior to the midterm elections, my rabbi was taking a lot of flack. The congregation is exclusively liberal, he is a self-described independent (read "conservative"), and he was driving the flock wild. Why? Because a) he never discussed politics; and b) he taught that the quality of political discourse must be addressed first—that Jewish law teaches that it is incumbent upon each person to hear the other fellow out.

And so I, like many of the liberal congregation, began, teeth grinding, to attempt to do so. And in doing so, I recognized that I held those two views of America (politics, government, corporations, the military). One was of a state where everything was magically wrong and must be immediately corrected at any cost; and the other—the world in which I actually functioned day to day—was made up of people, most of whom were reasonably trying to maximize their comfort by getting along with each other (in the workplace, the marketplace, the jury room, on the freeway, even at the school-board meeting).

And I realized that the time had come for me to avow my participation in that America in which I chose to live, and that that country was not a schoolroom teaching values, but a marketplace.



Found at Curmudgeonly & Skeptical.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And since I'm the only one who hasn't mentioned it yet

Elliot Spitzer, the governor of New Yawk, got busted schlepping a prostitute to the tune of $5,000 a pop.

Sauce for the goose and all that. Petards, hoisted thereupon, etc.

What did people expect? Let's go over all this again:

1) He's a politician.
2) He's from New York.
3) He's a Democrat American Communist Party member.

That's three strikes right there. He's crooked. It's not a matter of if he's crooked, it's only a matter of if he would get caught. And he did. And oh by the way, any other politician who meets those three standards is crooked as well.

Also, 90% of the politicians from California. Both parties. Crooked. Count on it.

Going to quote it whole

Because cutting it into bits and pieces would not do it justice, and I want this posted around the world.

Now I know that going back to what education once was and its purpose are over. Further, there have always been more ways to learn a trade than to get an education. That’s a feature, not a bug. Learning a trade was once the near-exclusive bastion of apprenticeships and there’s something to be said for that method.

As Aesop said, the problem with learning a trade at a university is that you learn it wrong, although it does provide grounding in the concepts. I know that is true for folks who come out with Theatre/Film degrees, at the (typical) ripe old age of 24--when it is TOO late to begin pursuing an acting career (unless you’re a character actor). Unless the goal is to teach acting, a degree in it is useless from a professional-actor standpoint.

But that isn’t why parents send their little darlings off to get a degree in Theatre/Film. They do it so their starry-eyed kids will have a “fall back” when the reality of their hopes and chances are dashed, and they get serious about life and making a living. So we have parents who are all too anxious for their children’s hopes and dreams to be destroyed, crushed by the realities of life, for the “better” purpose of making a living.

As I said, the purpose of that type of degree is totally useless in the sphere of working in the field (although the old boy/girl network it provides has been useful to many).

What is astonishing, however, is the complete disconnect on what has been happening in the world and the *gasp* coincidence of destroying education, its purpose, and what it once meant.

We have folks with parchment on their walls running industry, with the morals of sharks. They have come out of the degree mills with the ability to make money--lots of it, and they see that as the goal and purpose in life.

It wasn’t THAT long ago that the perspective was entirely different. Making a living, even a good one, was seen as a means, but not the end. The goal of making a good living was to enable one to afford a life of quiet contemplation, of travel, and of the finer things that the education gave the student the taste for. Now the acquisition of possessions, however tawdry and banal, is seen as the goal.

The acquisition of wealth, for the sake of being wealthy, is now the exclusive pursuit of far too many.

It is no surprise at all that we have disasters like Enron and WorldCom. They were run by men with degrees, and technical competencies in their respective fields, but no education whatsoever. It is no surprise that the pickings for elected representatives is tiny, as if non-existent.

If they had ANY education they would not have been the scoundrels and cads they show themselves to be.

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (to name just two) were educated men… probably a handful of the last of them America produced. It isn’t an accident that they devoted a great portion of their life to public service. That’s what educated men do.

Business once cared about an education degree because it provided some degree of certainty that the person you were dealing with had their priorities in proper order. They could be counted on to do the right thing, to be men of honesty and integrity, with morals to avoid all temptations. The great burden of their education made it near-impossible for them to do otherwise. The great big baton of Western Civilization had been passed to them, and dropping all that man had learned and become was just too magnificent to allow it to be casually set aside when there were financial benefits or carnal pleasures to be had.

Education is not education when it provides anything with which to make a living, or anything we might think of today as “useful.” It concerns itself entirely with how you make your life, not your living. An educated man can learn any trade, but a tradesman can do only what he has been trained to do. The minute it becomes something to do, instead of something that is, it is no longer education.

We have this perception that honesty, integrity, and character are things that are endowed in men like legs and arms. And they are not. Civilizing people was the goal of education--exclusively. That small segment of the population, no more than 1% to 5% who were educated, went out into the world with these high ideals and kept them alive.

Now we have Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and an assortment of bad boys. Wealth itself is lauded as a demonstrative of something important. “Pioneers of Industry” are even lauded, and not recognized for the pirates they’ve become.

There are a few institutions that remain committed to education, but they suffer from the pressures of parents and industry to provide skill-training. Their programs have been altered to such an extent that they might as well throw in the towel completely.

Nock was once asked to become the chair of philosophy at a prestigious university. He’d written extensively on the subject, lamenting the loss of education throughout the world (and that was in the 1920s). He politely declined the offer, saying he’d be a useless bungler. He said that all that he would know how to do would be to take his students on their first day of class to the school library, and with great fanfare open the doors and point to the books, “there” and leave them to it.

We’re going to have to figure out how to do it differently. There are a few parents who get this and understand it, but they do it without fanfare or notice… and then there are folks like Mark (who started this thread), wanting to pursue knowledge for the sake of bettering himself, and by extension, the world around him.

We could achieve it in a myriad of ways--through the formation of Socratic Societies (there are quite a number out there, if folks look). The salon tradition is sickly, but not dead.

I doubt, however, that we’ll achieve any measure of success. We’ve gone too far down the road of believing that “all men are created equal” speaks to quality of character, rather than equality in the law, and anything that smacks of elitism is immediately shot down as bad.

All we have left are the books… and if we can keep them from the fires or banned lists, they might continue to serve their purpose… for the few who seek them out and can understand them.

Education in and of itself doesn't mean a damn thing, especially with schools and universities today. Without a foundation to build on, all an education gets you is an over-educated simpleton who can't be trusted to do much of anything. I've seen way too many people who have an education, but don't know the first thing to do with it. They have the know-how, but not the know-why.

Think I'm kidding? Look at all the Democrat American Communist Party politicians, advocating for policies which have been tried and failed. The people who vote the politicians in have degrees, don't they? How can they then advocate for a system of government which has been shown to fail in every country it's been tried?

They have an education, but that just doesn't mean what it used to.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Why you should carry a gun

Because you never know when some deranged Leftist is going to try to gun people down. Or plant a bomb. Standard Leftist/Marxist. They can't win with ideas, so they have to try to intimidate with violence. Just following the standard communist doctrine there. Problem for them is, they haven't disarmed us yet.

There's a maxim that I try to teach the various kids around here. A maxim that I try to live by:

"Don't start the fight. But make damn sure you finish it if someone starts it."

Found at Michelle Malkin.

You want a peek into a conservative mind?

Then go forth and read. Here's a little taste:

I'm tired of it. Tired way down deep. It's the new slave class, the new Company Store that makes me pay for the fantasies and guilt trips of the privileged few who score a sweet government job. And will continue to vote largesse unto themselves as long as they can get away with it. And nobody on the Left will ever use the word, "greedy" for such. I read today where Wellstone didn't provide Workers' Comp for his campaign staff that died with him in the plane crash, so the taxpayer, the little guy, gets to ante up one more time. He was another one, another Hope and Change hypocrite.

Fuck 'em all. Fuck FDR and LBJ and O-ba-ma.
Found at Spat's place.

The Culture of Entitlement

Michelle Malkin links to a couple of pieces written by one Franklin Schneider. They're a hoot, that's for sure. The first piece I'll link to is a nice, hateful rant about the different places he's worked. Now granted, I've dealt with my fair share of bullshit in the workplace, but you know what? If I didn't like it, I FOUND ANOTHER JOB.

That's not the worst of his writing, though. Oh no, the worst of it is where he complains that he didn't get enough unemployment.

When the federal economic stimulus package hit the news in January, my latest run on unemployment was just going dry, and the mere prospect of getting another job was enough to make my testicles retract into my body. When reports surfaced that a three- or six-month (!!) unemployment extension was going to be part of the package, it seemed like government was finally doing something for the little guy, instead of just the fat cats and whiny Christians. I spent the next two weeks Google News-ing “unemployment extension economic stimulus” every 10 minutes.

When the package including the extension failed by one vote, I was so fucking pissed at the United States government that if an al-Qaeda recruiter had pitched me at that moment, I’d be in the Afghanistan desert as we speak, screaming Arabic at the top of my lungs while bayoneting an Uncle Sam mannequin.

What a nice guy, eh? He's going to stop getting my tax dollars, and he's pissed about it.

Not only do I feel no guilt whatsoever about sucking from the state’s teat, I feel that I’m absolutely entitled to it. First of all, the employer that fired me pays for half of my unemployment, and fuck them.
Mr. Schneider then goes on to prove that he has absolutely no knowledge or idea of economics.

Second of all, it’s really my money in the first place. See, your employer never pays you what you’re worth—there’s a surplus, some of which goes toward overhead and various other business costs, and the rest of which is kept as profit. (This is what Marx was referring to when he talked about “exploitation of the workers.”) A tiny fraction of this surplus—which, again, has been skimmed off of my labor—is put into a government-mandated account to go toward unemployment checks for fired workers. So yeah, it’s my money. Give it back. And since most people’s lives are so devoid of meaning that they’d rather go directly into another shitty job than be forced to confront the sheer emptiness of their existence, most of that money never even gets distributed.
This guy has no clue. And from the sounds of it, he's never HAD a clue. Does he know how much money a company is forced to spend on every employee? Does he know how much money in various taxes a company has to put out for each employee? Obviously not, or he would not have penned that mind-numbingly stupid screed.

And reading even farther down, you see that this guy does not want to be a contributing member of society at all. He just wants us to give him our money so he can do whatever he wants:

Another friend of mine—also an old hand at unemployment milking—tried for months to get fired from a local movie theater. After witnessing shenanigans that at most work places would not only get you fired, but would also get you arrested, he realized they had him in check. After much hand-wringing, he walked out mid-shift.

We saw each other in the grocery store a few weeks back, during the economic stimulus debate. He’d read about the wrangling over the unemployment extension and said he’d thought of me.

“The best part,” he said, chuckling, “was when one of the senators supporting the extension was like, ‘These people want to work, they want nothing more than to work but through no fault of their own, they just can’t find jobs!’”

“Yes, I want nothing more than to go into an office for eight hours a day and get ordered around by inferior people. It’s not about the money! I’ll do it for free!”

“My life is empty if I can’t man a cash register. Please, I want to contribute!”

“Goddamnit, why can’t I find a job? It’s almost as if I’m not trying at all!”

We amused ourselves in this manner for several minutes.

Ha ha fucking ha, you worthless fart-sniffer.

When I was laid off in Seattle, I had another job in a month. ONE MONTH. And thanks to the fact that I didn't blow my cash on too much stupid shit, I didn't apply for unemployment. I made it without any help. But then, I was raised to believe that you had best not count on anyone else for your life. To do so makes you little more than a slave to someone else's whims.

Mr. Schneider willing places the chains on his own wrists. Notice that the option of running his own business never even crosses his mind. I know people who hate the 9-5 bullshit. I know people who would rather slit their own wrists than work in a cubicle in some office where the HR assholes demand every little PC motto be enforced.

These people find non-office jobs, or they start their own businesses. And they couldn't be happier. But they also are self-reliant people, not sniveling little parasites like Mr. Schneider.

Let's face it; if Mr. Schneider the teat-sucking tick wants to do nothing but lay on the beach and bad-mouth his former employers, that's his prerogative. But nobody should be forced to pay for it. And if he thinks he has a right to my tax dollars, he's got another thing coming.

OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH!

Dennis Hastert's Congressional seat went to a Democrat American Communist Party member!

Um.... so that's going to change things how?

Some of the blame has to fall on Hastert himself. His run as Speaker got marred by corruption and massive increases in pork-barrel politics, two themes not without their connections. He personally benefited from pork legislation that increased the value of land he owned as part of a trust. He also fought to protect William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson from an FBI investigation into bribery and corruption rather than take a more reformist stance that demanded transparency and clean government.
The guy was a corrupt shitheel who tried to protect other corrupt shitheels. He was part of the problem. He was SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE during a period when we had a Republican president and Republican control of Congress.

His accomplishments? Nothing. No, rewind, dub over, it was LESS than nothing. Federal spending went up, the GOP crumbled like little bitches before the Dimocrat opposition on any topic, corruption ran rampant, and the conservative principals that got them elected into office were thrown right out the window. It was a giant leap backwards for the GOP, and it led to the Republicans getting kicked in the nutsack in 2006.

Unfortunately, I really don't think the GOP has changed any. They're just a little less socialist and corrupt than the Democrat American Communist Party.

We're so screwed.