Bomb Throwing Pacifist
Friday, March 31, 2006
Renewing America, the Alan Keyes Way...
One year ago today, 41-year-old Terri Schiavo succumbed to 13 days of forced dehydration and starvation, following the court-ordered removal of her feeding tube.
Her impending death raised a clamor among millions, including a president and a
pope, and deepened a cultural fault line in America.
Schiavo, who sought the removal of his brain-injured wife's feeding tube over the objections of her parents and siblings, pulls no punches, dishing dirt on Schindler family members and every lawyer, activist and politician – including President Bush – who advocated keeping Terri alive.
"There's no doubt in my mind that Terri was suffering from bulimia nervosa," Schiavo writes with newfound confidence in a theory he admits lacks evidence and which was debunked by the medical examiner in his report of Terri's autopsy released June 15, 2005.
In purporting to link Terri's collapse with her father, Schiavo attempts to turn the tables on the Schindlers. Since their 2002 discovery of the report of a full-body bone scan done on Terri a year after her collapse that indicated she'd sustained several broken bones and led the interpreting radiologist to conclude she was the victim of abuse, the family publicly has wondered whether it evidenced violence on the night of Terri's collapse.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
(Another) Reagan in '08!
I mean, who on earth can the GOP come up with nowadays? Tom Delay is under investigation for corruption and in any case would never be president anyway. He's just too dirty and common and vulgar (accusations which, despite the official rhetoric about being "the party for the regular people," are actually quite potent in the GOP). Frist? Ditto (although this time on insider trading chargers). Santorum? Eh, he was involved in that whole Schiavo mess. Guilani or McCain? Sorry boys, you're just too damn squishy and liberal (McCain's "don't vote for me but put down Bush as a write-in in 2008" ass kissing spectacle notwithstanding).
The one dark spot on the horizon as far as I can tell in Senator George Allen from Virginia. Not only is he right-wing crazy in the mold of W., but he also has so far managed to escape any of the taint of corruption that has been floating around the GOP recently. And to make matters even better, he's from my home state. Go figure.
Fortunately for you, gentle readers, Townhall has decided to fill in the blanks and has conveniently serialized the Republican candidates for 2008. However, before you read the following, I strongly recommend you visit Jesus' General to familiarize yourself with the enigma that is George Allen. After all, it isn't every day that you get to find a man who actually expresses regret at having supported hate-crime legislation because through an oversight he neglected to note that one of the groups he was voting to protect was homosexuals. How embarrasing. ANd so, without further do, here is Elliot Peirce (a project manager for Starboard Communications, a conservative political marketing and strategy firm in Lexington, South Carolina- at the tender age of 23 no less!). Take it away Elliot!
COLUMBIA, SC -- George Allen is a serious contender for the Republican nomination for president. A former governor, he wears cowboy boots and can often be found outside with his can of dip.
Well, we've got the cowboy boots and chewing tabbacky. I'd say he's 80% there.
Consequently, some Republicans like Allen, because he seems the most like George W. Bush—a charge Allen can’t quite understand, and frankly, rejects. "I don’t know why people say that," he said.
A member of the political and social elite who pays identity politics with his "working man" roots and is somehow able to convince the ordinary Americans that he's just a regular guy who happens to be running for President. And who's dad is a priviledge and semi-famous Hall of Fame football coach. Yeah I have no clue how people could make that link between the two.
"My two role models are Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan. Most people who know me think I’m most like Ronald Reagan." At the start of his speech, Allen proclaimed himself a "common sense, Jeffersonian conservative" and later quoted Patrick Henry.
You heard it here first kids. In keeping with his role model, Thomas Jefferson, George Allen will promote close ties with France, will break the alliance with England, and force congressional cafetria workers to call freedom fries "pommes frites de liberte."
In fact, his talking points on government were so similar to Reagan’s that it seemed as if he had just read a few of the Gipper’s speeches on the way down to South Carolina.
Yet another conservative plagarism scandle. Imagine that. On a side note, it is interesting to see the divergence between the two thought models here. On the one hand, us blue-staters tend to think that copying someone else's ideas and speeches is immoral and bad. For the right, that's all about staying "on message." If it wasn't for the fact that this is a Townhall column, I'd almost be tempted to see that last sentance as a bit of a rebuke.
Allen passionately emphasized his Reagenesque fiscal conservatism and Jeffersonian ideals on limited government. Most of his speech focused on lessening government and lowering the burdens placed on businesses.
And in keeping with Reagan's fiscal conservatism and Jefferson's love of small government, Allen will make riding up another multi-trillion dollar defeceit his first priority and ask congress to invest trillions more into an anti-missle shield that barely works, all the while cutting down on the waste and fat that really hurts America- like public education, school lunches, and public library budgets.
He added, "Government doesn’t create jobs […] but government should get the field ready." In other words, government should get out of the way.
You know, for a second there, I thought that George Allen and I agreed on something. He almost seemed to be making sense. But then Elliot's helpful commentary shot that intriguing possability to bits. Damn. And I was just about to crack a good one too...
One way for government to get out of the way is to lower taxes. "Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem; Washington has a spending problem," he said. "The taxpayers are the owners of the government. That’s who we [Congress] work for."
And like most good, red-blooded Americans, it is our sincere hope that we can continue to downsize and scale back our emplyee's operations in order to justify cutting back on their pay, all the while happily opening up new and exciting foreign governments overseas where the costs of doing business are a lot lower.
Our focus right now needs to be on extending the tax cuts: the capital gains cut, the dividend cut, and the elimination of the death tax, which sunsets in 2010." Tax cuts equate to economic growth. He added, "The tax cuts since 2001 have created 5 million new jobs in the private sector
That's funny. According to the facts I have here, unemployment was up to 6.4% in 2003, the highest level it had been in over 9 years. In fact, under this administration, Bush was the first president to create fewer jobs than the economy lost since the Truman administration. Right now, the unemployment level is at about 4.8%, representing about 7.2 million people. I'm sorry that the facts to not match your opinions, Mr. Allen. I will revise them immediately.
Allen went on to argue that Congress should view the taxpayers’ money as its own and spend it frugally, just as members would spend their own paychecks. "We need to look at things and see if it is absolutely necessary to spend the taxpayers’ money," Allen argued.
$250 Billion-plus war? Check.
Perhaps his most innovative suggestion is the "Paycheck Penalty." Congress often doesn’t pass the appropriations bills in time and adds millions of dollars worth of pork spending at the last minute. "If Congress does not pass the appropriations bill by October 1, the start of the new fiscal year, [congressmen’s] paychecks will be withheld. It’s their job; they need to get it done."
Considering the median net worth of your average congressman is about $350,000, I'm sure they're quaking in their boots that they might lose their government health insurance.
Allen also touched on immigration. He replied, "First and foremost, we need to secure our borders. They have been neglected." He highlighted the need for more personnel, more fences (both real and virtual), and more detention centers. "I don’t think we should reward illegal behavior […] you must punish illegal behavior, or you’ll get more illegal behavior." He also replied, "I’m not for amnesty […] I’m for immigration, but it must be legal immigration."
So much for those "Todos Unidos Con Allen" bumper stickers.
Of course, Allen couldn’t visit South Carolina and not field tough questions on social issues. When asked about abortion, he stated, "That should be decided by the states." He seemed to think the South Dakota ban is too strict and added, "I personally would add an exemption for rape and incest." If the Nebraska ban on partial birth abortion—which will soon be before the Supreme Court—is upheld, Allen foresees the Senate passing a ban again. "We did once, and it was held up."
So basically, what you're saying Elliot, is that Allen is against abortion, except in the cases when he is for it? That sounds pretty...oh I don't know...flip-floppy to me...
Allen also defended the 2nd Amendment. "The 2nd Amendment is part of our Bill of Rights." "Law abiding citizens should be able to protect themselves and their property," he stated.
Including Especially really valuable property, like their lady-folk's wombs!
Unfortunate for Allen’s presidential prospect tour, the senator has an opponent for re-election. James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy running as the opposing Democrat. However, with the right effort and the same message on which Allen has delivered for Virginia since being in Congress, he should emerge victorious.
Well, considering the last time Allen was unseated it was because Virginia redistricted in order to be more racially diverse and representative and to comply with federal laws, I'd say so long as the minority vote can be surpressed effectively the whole "A vote for a democrat is a vote for gays, abortions, France, and Osama" line should work pretty well."
Allen is clearly the secret presidential frontrunner in the minds of many political types in South Carolina.
Not anymore-ooooops. Elliot! Elliot! Ix-nay on-ay e-thay ecret-say andidate-kay. Ou'll-yay uin-ray erything-evay!
Friday, March 24, 2006
So basically, rewind back to about two weeks ago. The Washington Post, in an attempt to balance out some kind of perceived imbalance in their journalism decide to hire a guy by the name of Ben Domenech to blog his serially paranoid and neocon-bordering on fascist- views for the world to see. 24 years of age, a graduate of William and Mary (my alma mater), and already boasting an impressive resume as a speechwriter and intern on capitol hill (how on earth a 24 year-old got such comfy positions without polishing some serious old white and rich knob is beyond me, but whatever. It's not like incompetence and cronyism is anything new in the GOP). Yet another attempt on the part of the mainstream media to fit in with the hip kids over at Fox News in the "lookie lookie! We can be patriotic too" arena if you ask me. You can find this blog here.
Among other doozies, he accused Coretta Scott King of being a Communist on the day of her funeral and in the same breath bitched that while W decided to attend her interring, he could only be bothered to call in an message of support to some pro-life group. Its bad enough that this guy's a dyed in the wool racist, but the fact that the WaPo would actually see fit to hire such an asshat on the grounds that they need to bring "balance" to their institution and allow him to blog under their banner is nothing short of despicable. Well, young Mr. Domenech's career may be over soon. Because faster than you can say "holy hot military escorts, Jeff Gannon!" fearless researchers on the left side of the aisle have discovered that Ben hasn't exactly been a paragon of journalistic integrity. Apparently he's a plagarist as well and spent a lot of time copying chunks of published work wholesale when he was writing columns for the William and Mary student newspaper, the Flat Hat (which, I might add, featured my old roomate Dan Schumacher as editor in cheif for a number of years). Your Logo Here, Kos, Obsidian Wings, and Sadly, No! have the stories.
Hey Ben, last time I checked, William and Mary had a very strict policy regarding plagarism. It'd be a shame for such a promising young man's career to be cut short so early by such nasty things as having one's degree revoked. I will reproduce the relevant text from the honor code below for your convenience.
That had to hurt...
The term "assignment" includes any work, required or volunteered, and submitted to a faculty member for review and/or academic credit, or any work, required or volunteered, submitted for publication in a College-sponsored or other publication, or any work, required or volunteered, submitted for use in conjunction with a College-sponsored event or activity. All academic work undertaken by a student must be completed independently unless the faculty member or other responsible authority expressly authorizes collaboration with another.
Plagiarism occurs when a student, with intent to deceive or with reckless disregard for proper scholarly procedures, presents any information, ideas or phrasing of another as if they were his or her own and does not give appropriate credit to the original source. Proper scholarly procedures require that all quoted material be identified by quotation marks or indentation on the page, and the source of information and ideas, if from another, must be identified and be attributed to that source. Students are responsible for learning proper scholarly procedure. While any amount of improperly unattributed material may be sufficient to find plagiarism, a student may be presumed to have acted with intent to deceive or with reckless disregard for proper scholarly procedures when a significant amount of improperly unattributed material is presented as if it were the student's own work. In the absence of direct proof of the accused's intent, the hearing panel shall determine whether the amount of improperly unattributed material is so significant that intent may be presumed.
UPDATE: Wow, that didn't take long. Ben Domenech's blog, Red America, was officially shut down at 1:17 p.m. this afternoon after he resigned amidst a rapidly escalating plagarism scandal. So much for Ben's 72-hour career with WaPo. Details from the announcement below.
Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. Washingtonpost.com will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.
We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.
Well, I'd say getting no-talent asshats like Domenech out of their cush Washington Post offices is indeed a powerful positive turn. As Steam might sing, Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, heyy-eyyy-heyy...GOODBYE!
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Blast from the past!
KILLER, COWARD, CON-MAN GOOD RIDDANCE, GIPPER ...MORE PROOF ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG
Sunday, June 6, 2004
by Greg Palast
You're not going to like this. You shouldn't speak ill of the dead. But in this case, someone's got to.
Ronald Reagan was a conman. Reagan was a coward. Reagan was a killer.
In 1987, I found myself stuck in a crappy little town in Nicaragua named Chaguitillo. The people were kind enough, though hungry, except for one surly young man. His wife had just died of tuberculosis.
People don't die of TB if they get some antibiotics. But Ronald Reagan, big hearted guy that he was, had put a lock-down embargo on medicine to Nicaragua because he didn't like the government that the people there had elected.
Ronnie grinned and cracked jokes while the young woman's lungs filled up and she stopped breathing. Reagan flashed that B-movie grin while they buried the mother of three. And when Hezbollah terrorists struck and murdered hundreds of American marines in their sleep in Lebanon, the TV warrior ran away like a whipped dog then turned around and invaded Grenada. That little Club Med war was a murderous PR stunt so Ronnie could hold parades for gunning down Cubans building an airport.
I remember Nancy, a skull and crossbones prancing around in designer dresses, some of the "gifts" that flowed to the Reagans -- from hats to million-dollar homes -- from cronies well compensated with government loot. It used to be called bribery. And all the while, Grandpa grinned, the grandfather who bleated on about "family values" but didn't bother to see his own grandchildren.
The New York Times today, in its canned obit, wrote that Reagan projected, "faith in small town America" and "old-time values."
"Values" my ass. It was union busting and a declaration of war on the poor and anyone who couldn't buy designer dresses. It was the New Meanness, bringing starvation back to America so that every millionaire could get another million.
"Small town" values? From the movie star of the Pacific Palisades, the Malibu mogul? I want to throw up.
And all the while, in the White House basement, as his brain boiled away, his last conscious act was to condone a coup d'etat against our elected Congress. Reagan's Defense Secretary Casper the Ghost Weinberger with the crazed Colonel, Ollie North, plotted to give guns to the Monster of the Mideast, Ayatolla Khomeini.
Reagan's boys called Jimmy Carter a weanie and a wuss although Carter wouldn't give an inch to the Ayatolla. Reagan, with that film-fantasy tough-guy con in front of cameras, went begging like a coward cockroach to Khomeini pleading on bended knee for the release of our hostages. Ollie North flew into Iran with a birthday cake for the maniac mullah -- no kidding --in the shape of a key. The key to Ronnie's heart.
Then the Reagan roaches mixed their cowardice with crime: taking cash from the hostage-takers to buy guns for the "contras" - the drug-runners of Nicaragua posing as freedom fighters.
I remember as a student in Berkeley the words screeching out of the bullhorn, "The Governor of the State of California, Ronald Reagan, hereby orders this demonstration to disperse" and then came the teargas and the truncheons. And all the while, that fang-hiding grin from the Gipper.
In Chaguitillo, all night long, the farmers stayed awake to guard their kids from attack from Reagan's Contra terrorists. The farmers weren't even Sandinistas, those 'Commies' that our cracked-brained President told us were'only a 48-hour drive from Texas.'
What the hell would they want with Texas, anyway? Nevertheless, the farmers, and their families, were Ronnie's targets.
In the deserted darkness of Chaguitillo, a TV blared. Weirdly, it was that third-rate gangster movie, "Brother Rat." Starring Ronald Reagan. Well, my friends, you can rest easier tonight: the Rat is dead. Killer, coward, conman. Ronald Reagan, good-bye and good riddance.
There are no doubt those on the right side of the blogosphere and political spectrum who will rejoice and point to the liberation of the CPTers as proof of American success in Iraq, proof of the weakness of the insurgency, and proof that the United States and it's allies must "stay the course," no matter how many lives are lost, shattered, or disrupted in the proces. To them, I think the best answer is perhaps that from the CPT itself, which can be found here. It reads in part,
We remember with tears Tom Fox, whose body was found in Baghdad on March 9, 2006, after three months of captivity with his fellow peacemakers. We had longed for the day when all four men would be released together. Our gladness today is made bittersweet by the fact that Tom is not alive to join in the celebration. However, we are confident that his spirit is very much present in each reunion.
Harmeet, Jim and Norman and Tom were in Iraq to learn of the struggles facing the people in that country. They went, motivated by a passion for justice and peace to live out a nonviolent alternative in a nation wracked by armed conflict. They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers. We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.
Farewell Tom. By standing by the side of the Iraqi people during this bitter, cruel and unjust war with the full knowledge of the risks you ran and consequences you faced, you are a testament to pacifists, Quakers, and indeed, Christians worldwide.
"And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
This post brought to you by Sadly No!
If I hear one more wingnut blame THE MEDIA!!!!! for Bush's low poll numbers, or for falling public support for the Iraq war, I am going to scream.
Look, wingnuts: the dreaded liberal press was around in the '80s, no? And going by your "MSM OUT TO GET ALL REPUBLICANS!!!1!" theory, they should have been out to get Ronald Reagan, no? But did their biased leftist loser-defeatist coverage stop Reagan from being a broadly popular president across the country? Nuh-uh. In fact, when Reagan was president, he didn't have the alternative wingnut media like FOX News, Powerline or talk radio to pimp for him- he had to deal with Helen Thomas and Dan Rather all by his fucking lonesome. And unlike the current crybaby-in-chief, "he had a pair" (to use one of Peggy Noonan's most glorious phrases).
OK, so if the press isn't responsible for Bush's low approval ratings, could it be that maybe- just fucking maybe- most people think Bush is doing a shitty job? Or that the Iraq war hasn't been worth all the blood and treasure we've put into it? Just wondering.
Indeed. As one of my friends once said, "Dude, blaming the goddamn liberal press for Bush's poor performance is so 2003. Come up with something better."
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Nobody Beats the Bish!
However, before you get too excited and leap to the conclusion that maybe someone as insane and wingnutty as only the editor of the National Review can be might actually be marginally grounded in reality, let us not forget the fact that certain pundits (among I am fortunate to count myself) were saying as much way back during the lead-up to war in 2002. As such, while it is certainly nice to hear such words coming from the radical right wing of the Republican party, it is however sad that unlike his mirror opposites over on the left, he didn't have these thoughts, oh, THREE OR FOUR YEARS AGO! However, do not dispair. I do in my heart feel that such a man as he is destined for greatness and may one day rise to the challenge of accurately observing the world around him...if only on a 5-10 year time delay (which will still put him ahead of the game as far as the Superbowl T.V. coverage is concerned. Anyway, on with the show!
by William F. Buckley
You know, I had to have spent a good 15 to 20 minutes over the course of my lunch break finding a more ridiculous and assinine way to string together three or four completely unrelated sentances, but surprisingly enough, I just couldn't do it. However, never fear! In order to facilitate this column's undying ricockulousness, I have imported my absolute favorite peice of English-to Chinese-to English media to assist us in the translation of the above. Assisting me with today's Sino-Sithese translation of Mr. Buckley's master work will be Anakin Skywalker in a little piece we like to call "Backslash of the West."
There is an unseemly fight brewing between the Catholic Church in America and the U.S. government. A searing division is under way centering on immigration policy. There are 11 million people residing in the United States illegally. Americans aren't easily upset about people who take playful liberties with the law. As long as you pay your taxes, you can buy a joint of marijuana without going to jail, as, two generations ago, you could buy a shot of whisky.
There is an unseemly fight brewing between the Catholic Church in America and the U.S. government. A searing division is under way centering on immigration policy. There are 11 million people residing in the United States illegally. Americans aren't easily upset about people who take playful liberties with the law. As long as you pay your taxes, you can buy a joint of marijuana without going to jail, as, two generations ago, you could buy a shot of whisky.
There is poorly-sewn conflict making tea with convergence on Catholic Church and U.S.A. government in U.S.A. A burnt toast regiment is sailing near heart of visitor police. 11 million people are residue in Untied States without legally. Americans no with difficulty people who start freedom game with legality. Taxes are pay long, elbow you marry Juana if no jail, reborn whiskey you get shot.
Oddly enouh, I think my version actually reads better and makes a little more sense.
For years a Mexican who wished to live and work in the United States had only the problem of getting himself across the border. Eleven million people managed that problem. The rules have got stiffer, and to do it now requires a little ingenuity and exertion, and you might even have to hide in a truck full of oranges for an overnight ride into Arizona, or whatever.
For long time Mexican desirous of live in Untied States have great difficulty in carrying of Mexican desirous of live in Untied States bridge frontier. 11 millions peoples are for good. Now rulers stiffer, is now need engine and great tiredness. Even! Conceal in orange truck of Ari's Sauna for ride into top of dark or other places.
Thank God someone besides Jack Abramoff is on the lookout for stiff rulers! Oh well kids, don't let me have all the fun. Go to Townhall and try it yourselves, today!
So it does, Mr. Wan. So it does.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
The joy of homeschooling...
As such, instead of taking the time to come up with something really incisive and smashing with which to beat the fascists, I simply said "screw it. Let's just pick the most assinine colum we can find and go from there." And while actually choosing one out of the untold countless myriads proved to be quite possibly the most difficult task out of the entire process, I am pleased to report that we have a winner. His name is Nathaniel Blake, and his topic for today is going to be on home schooling (a topic near and dear to my heart as well). Take it away, Nate!
by Nathanael Blake
Last week a New York Times article profiled the ordeal of academic applications: essays, interviews, application consultants, tuition of $10,000 a year or more, and the stress of separating families.
The article was about private preschools in New York City. The following is
representative of the tribulations chronicled among well-heeled parents.
Nathan, I hate to break it to you, but while I am sure there are some parents out there who do want to spend that much money and effort on their child's education, the NYT article you mentioned (which can be found here, btw) doesn't really seem to spend a whole lot of time talking about what these preschools offer. After all, depending on how many hours the teachers work, the after school programs offered, and how long the preschool in in charge of keeping the kids, $10,000 would not be an unreasonable sum to expect. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER),
"[T]he National Center for Education Statistics projects the total cost of a year of K-12 public school to be $8800 for 2002, with an average pupil- teacher ratio of 16:1...Therefore, NIEER assumes the average cost of preschool during the academic year would be the same as the K-12 cost-per-child, approximately $8800."
Thus, adding in a 5-10% cost of living differential for the expenses involved with living in NYC, the cost of $10,000 a year for preschool doesn't sound excessive. After all, a year of regular education by itself costs close to that much, and is only free because it is funded by the government via the joys of public education.
And if you're trying to use this as an excuse to plug homeschooling due to it's cost efficiency this early in the game, then I hate to break it to you, but a full-time parent staying at home to teach and mind the house...let's see...2080 hours in a year plus a minimum wage of 5.15 (plus 50% to be generous since we hope most people fit to teach kids can do a little better than minimum wage)= $16,068.00. That is the basic cost of a year of homeschooling your children, if not more, representing the lost income the second parent might be making if she or he had decided to let the kid attend public school and go out into the workforce to earn money. Under that model, a year of preschool will actually cost you about $6,000 LESS than homeschooling your children.
For me, reading this story increased my determination that if probability wins out and I marry and have children (I'm archaic enough to believe that to be the proper order), they will be homeschooled.
Hopefully you won't be so archaic as to inform the happily just-married missus of your grand pedagogical plans for her until after she's already married to you with a child on the way, eh? I've got to say it, but I can't help but admire a man who not only knows what he wants out of his life, but has already figured out what he wants out of his future wife. Let's just hope you get this all squared away before you tie the knot.
But though over one million children are homeschooled in America, there's a surprising amount of resistance to the idea, even from many who support other alternatives to the state schools (i.e. charter and private schools).
When I tell people about my plans for my (hypothetical) children, I invariably hear the same infratentorial objection, which is that they won't "socialize" properly. No one ever tells me that homeschooling will stifle my children's academic ability.
It all depends Nate. If your wife is a young earth, six-day creationist who believes that Black people are the descendants of Ham and that global warming is just a myth, then I think it would be fair to say that your children's academic ability will suffer as well, yes. If she actually is semi-qualified to teach children and can at least be trusted to teach the basic facts as to why the sky is blue and where dinosaurs come from, then the only real stunting your children will experience is the knowledge that Mom is somehow much smarter than dad, and yet through some cruel twist of fate she ended up shackled to him for all time.The stereotype is quite the opposite: homeschoolers are smart but socially inept.
There are, to be sure, examples of failed homeschooling, but its general record is better than the government's schools.
I'll take that bet, but it is of course contingent on what kind of a "record" we are talking about here. If we're talking about the education of production of well-rounded, literate people with years of experience interacting with different people away from home, then no. If the record in question is that of cranking out barely-educated religious fundamentalists who cruise right in to plumb positions at Bob Jones University, Liberty University, and political internships on Capitol Hill as a result of their "White Christian Minority" status, then you're bang on target.
There are occasional comments about the difficulty of homeschooling.
To be sure, it takes sacrifice, and there are some families that cannot undertake the task.
Fortunately for your family, any prospective mate will have to undergo a rigorous battery of tests including a willingness to submit to patriarchal authority, spousal obedience, and dignified silence in the presence of her natural superior. Sure, it will be a tough sacrifice on her part, but I'm sure you will prevail in finding such a woman eventually.
Yet what are we to make of the wealthy New Yorkers who send their toddlers to pre-schools with tuition higher than my university's? They aren't driven by necessity, but by the desire to get their children out of the home and out of the way. This begs the query: why have children if you don't want them to interfere with your life?
Nate, I have a hard time believing that these parents who are making tremendous sacrifices in terms of money, time, energy, and effort on behalf of their children's educations are doing it out of a desire to get their children out of the home and out of the way. After all, if they don't want to have to deal with kids all day long and can afford to shell out $10,000 a year for preschool, there are plenty of starving college kids out there who would be thrilled at the chance to be an au-pair for a wealthy, high-status family. After all, is it not possible that one of the reasons (if not THE REASON) these families are jumping through all these hoops is to make sure their children get a top-quality education from the get-go? Or is that just too crazy?
I think that the least parents can do is to match the Spartans and allow the kids to be raised at home for the first seven years. Longer is better--even through high school.
And of course to continue the ancient Spartan tradition of under feeding them so that they are encouraged to toughen up and steal food. And of frequent beatings. And of oily, naked, man-on-man (completely heterosexual, mind you) wrestling.
But the cry goes up that they must be socialized. In response, most homeschoolers point out the many activities available to them, from sports to music to church...
...to hunting to fishing to Bible reading to target practice to weapons maintenance to watching wrestling on the tee vee. Heck, I'd say this give my childhood dream of being raised by Jaguars in the Amazonian rainforest a run for its money.
They're right: as homeschooling usually teaches more in less time, it leaves more time for both play and social activities. And I can attest that most of the long-term homeschoolers I know posses fine social abilities.
If by play and social activities you mean whittling, moving the lawn, playing Amazing Grace on the guitar and reading the Left Behind series for kids, then yeah. The long winter evenings must just fly.
Nevertheless, this view concedes too much. Why do we even assume that modern schools are a healthy way to socialize a child and set a standard homeschooling must match? The socialization of our school system is profoundly anti-social. Edmund Burke wrote of civilization as a partnership "between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born." In the schools, society doesn't even consist of the various generations of the living.
I agree. We must bend the rules of the public school system to allow for the admittance of the undead. It is the only way we can have a more Burkesque approach to raising our children! Of course, you'd still have to tackle the problem of Bob the zombie chewing on little Suzie's leg, but at least it would teach her some halfway decent social skills!
On a more serious note, where does this guy get off saying that public schools do not allow for a society that consists of the various generations of the living? I'm just guessing here, but any single public elementary schools is bound to have children within 8 years' age difference, not to mention the middle aged or elderly teacher, the youngish assistant/T.A., the middle aged principal, the indeterminate cafeteria ladies, and the friendly old minority janitor who only appears to be about 60, but was already working at the place when your great grandpa was solving arithmatic problems on his slate near the classroom stove. Now, I'm just guessing here, but unless Nathan here grew up amongst the Papuan Hill People of New Guinea, it doesn't really appear that he had a whole lot of generational diversity in his school environment either.
The standard (though rarely articulated) definition of successful socialization is to "fit in" with a lot of immature little savages raised by television, video games, and the internet. Spending at least 35 hours a week, nine months of the year, with 20-30 kids of one's own age (with a harried adult supervising) is the antithesis of what is needed in order to learn how to function in society.
While some would argue that learning to interact with a multitude of different people from different ages, races, genders, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds and interests would ultimately be an enriching and rewarding experience and would teach a child much about who he or she is and what he or she believes, it is quickly apparent that Nathan just hates children. I like to think that it's as simple as that folks. As such, his children must be protected and sheltered from any evil influences and problems they might have when forced to deal with bullies, unreasonable expectations, or ridiculous assignments. It is only by being insulated from non pre-approved other children that the Blake kids will ever stand a chance to growing up in the mold of their old man.
Give me the shut-in homeschoolers any day; from their family and their books, they will at least have some notion of life beyond their cohort and how to interact with it.
Or at least they will have internalized their parent's values to the point where any actual experience they may have with their own generation later on which challenges their preset beliefs will be seen as abberant and purged.
Enough with socialization; let us look at a case for homeschooling.
The strongest argument for homeschooling is the education that takes place in the public schools, or rather, the lack thereof. Reports on the sorry state of America's schools come out regularly, and it's always interesting to see how many spots we've fallen and what tiny nations (like Luxembourg and the Czech Republic) outscored us academically.
The problem isn't a lack of funding.
Egad, old bean! You mean the fact that both State and Federal funding for public education have dropped dramatically since the Reagan years has nothing to do with the subsequent decline of American public education! What an extraordinary revelation.
Rather, much of it is due to a fondness for egalitarian gestures. As Christopher Lasch observed, "Given the underlying American commitment to the integral high school – the refusal to specialize college preparation and technical training in separate institutions – make-work programs, athletics, extracurricular activities, and the pervasive student emphasis on sociability corrupted not merely the vocational and life-adjustment programs but the college preparatory course as well."
So according to Nate the reason why the American public education system sucks is because...well it sucks and there are no good programs. Apparently funding isn't an issue at all and the only reason schools don't have more in the way of sports, work-transition training programs, and extracurricular activities is presumably because despite the massive amounts of funding available (*pause, studio laughter*) teachers are just being lazy and sitting around loafing when they could be oiling up kids for their next wrestling match or teaching them how not to use a pneumatic nailgun. Nathan, schools need money for programs. You can't just expect the teachers to hold a bake sale every time they need a new catcher's mitt or need to hang new chains on the basketball basket now, can you?
People have varying intellectual abilities, and however much it may offend liberals, half the population is below average.
Which is why it is so essential that these people be identified and rounded up, and then assigned a place in the new order to labour as drones in the service of the Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Albert Jay Nock noted, "While very few can be educated, everyone who is not actually imbecile or idiotic can be trained in one way or another," thereby influencing the decision to "convert our schools, colleges, universities into training schools…but continue to call them educational institutions."
The rot extends from preschool to the universities, and there is no easy program for rejuvenation. But if you want the best for your children in their higher education, think about what and with whom they're learning in their lower levels, and consider taking a hand in their education. Not all families can homeschool, but it deserves more respect than it gets, and I think it the best option available.Especially if "taking a hand in your children's education" consists of showing up after a hard day's work, kissing your wife, sitting down at the dinner table and asking "so, what did little Jimmy learn in school toda? *wink wink*"
Well folks, that's all for now. Join us again next time!
Monday, March 20, 2006
Remember, Remember, the Vth of November
I have seen the terrorist, and he is me. And you. And all of us.
But don’t worry, because being a terrorist is now a good thing. As we've been told by the media, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter…or masked superhero as the case may be.Yeah, I agree. Life is so much easier when we can stick easy, convenient, pre-defined labels on people in order to categorize them as friends or enemies and completely shut off our sense of the generalized other.
So even though V threatens to detonate a load of explosives strapped to his chest, killing dozens of innocent people at the BBC (oh, excuse me, BFC) if they don't give him air-time, just think of him as Batman — a little overly-dramatic and conflicted perhaps, but also sexy and an undeniable force for good.
I can see him this way because of all the Wachowski Brothers have taught me. My eyes have been opened, and I am no longer an automaton of the Right-wing religious-military-industrial complex.
And I now think that the Bush administration blew up the twin towers and tried to blow up two other U.S. targets on 9/11 in order to scare Americans into giving them more power.
I think that conservatives hate art, literature, and music—especially jazz music—and want to lock it all away because, well, they’re just mean like that.
I think that Catholics are in league with Republicans, and that together it is they, and not radical Islamists, who would like to exterminate all homosexuals and execute anyone that produces material critical of the Church-State.
I think that the West's military personnel are the ones who place hoods over innocent people's heads then mercilessly torture and kill them, and that broadcasts of Islamo-fascists doing so are so much laughable propaganda.
But most of all, in true V style, I think that documents, like buildings, are only symbols, and that burning them can change the world. Therefore, I propose that we storm the National Archives and torch the Constitution—the document responsible for unleashing the Great Evil that is America.
Oh, but wait, the movie is "dystopian" and therefore has nothing to do with current events. The "yellow-alerts" the vile dictator employs are a coincidence. The campy television show in which vaudevillian Al Qaeda operatives torture busty blondes, suggesting that the threat of terror is as fictional as it is ridiculous, means nothing. The balding talk show host with a pill-popping problem isn't intended to smear a real person.
The hangdogs can't have it both ways. Either the movie has nothing to do with the War on Terror and it's awful, or it has everything to do with the War on Terror and it's appalling.
Thankfully, cartoonish acting and a juvenilely self-reverential plot means no one except teenage boys (the ones in the row in front of me kept muttering, "Yeah, anarchy!" as London blazed) and crazed George Clooney disciples will take this movie's "important ideas" seriously.I wouldn't worry too much about them just yet Megan. The fact that they didn't walk out of the movie theater with a hard-on and head for the nearest recruitment office after the National Guard commercial leads me to believe that they have a little more emotional stability and intellectual staying power than you give them credit for.
Those are the people who are this very moment wailing, "Free speech! Free speech! The Wachowskis have every right to promote their beliefs!" To them I say, yep, they sure do.
And I have the right to unmask them for the ignorant, irresponsible, paranoid filmmakers that they are.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
And people wonder why we liberals hate congress(men/women)
All that changed this afternoon. For you see, ladies and gentlemen, as I was trolling renewamerica.us for some jucy morsels to whet my appetite for a good old fashioned 1932-style conservative ass-whupping, I had the extraordinarily bad luck to stumble across this particular peice by none other than our good friend and loyal cleptocrat, Natan Tabor!
While loyal readers will have known for some time now that Tabor is planning on running for congress, it wasn't until a few moments ago that I realized the truly deranged nature of this political candidate (all my previous exposures to his particular flavor of radioactive nutheaddery has been fairly limited in scope and only then filtered through the safety goggles and sarcasm-filter of Sadlyno! and World O' Crap) .
Before we go any further, I would first like to give you a brief overview of this young man's accomplishments so as to better acclimate you to what you may expect a little later on in the post. These are courtesy of World O' Crap
Yes, youngish Nathan served as an intern for Oliver North (the paper-shredding Jesse Helms), and for Jesse Helms (the old Jesse Helms). He also worked on the campaigns of Elizabeth Dole (the female Jesse Helms), Mark Earley (the non-convicted Chuck Colson), and Randy Forbes (some politician who may or may not be some manifestation of Jesse Helms)...
[From] a page that features a 2004 Winston-Salem Journal article about Nathan, we learn Nathan isn't just a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, North Carolina -- he's also a Vice President in his family's "soy for menopausal women" business, and a millionaire. (The paper said that "The company has been successful enough to put Tabor's net worth at between $1 million and $5.1 million, according to Federal Election Commission filings.")...
I want Nathan to fight to get me the same American dream he's lived. You know, the one where your mother makes your brother give you a job in his food supplement business -- and before you're 30, you're a millionaire with plenty of time on your hands to run wingnut sites and run for various offices!
However, it was only upon scrolling down the length of renewamerica.com's website and clicking on this particular column did the true unhinged madness of Nathan Tabor and his family dawn on me. As such, like the first lab engineer at Chernobyl, tapping the guages and muttering "that can't be right," I felt the slow but steady wash of dreadful realization come over me: not only is this guy truly bat-shit crazy, but he's running FOR THE CONGRESS OF NORTH CAROLINA!!! Please allow me to take a few moments so that you may also learn the implications of this revelation (courtesy of Sadlyno!).
Nathan Tabor is one of my all-time favorite wingnuts. In the past, he has advocated outlawing adultery; he has blamed abortion for illegal immigration; he has attacked Abe Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson while standing up for segregationists; and he has blamed human trafficking on pornography. And now, he's decided to run for North Carolina State Senate.
However, in order to give those of you out there a fresh look at the latest pile of steaming, glowing, radioactive manure he has laid out for us (and no doubt a nice preview of what the people of North Carolina can expect to see in their Capitol Building in the future if this bozo gets a seat), we at BTP are delighted to bring you...
By: Nathan Tabor
Each election year, you'll find a candidate who says we desperately need to pour more money into our public schools. Ignoring the property tax burdens on senior citizens, the candidate will say that taxpayers need to be prepared to spend more on education — even if it entails incredible sacrifice.
And we're off! You know, oddly enough, while the democrats have no shortage of candidates who like to do stuff like make sure Schools can afford to replace textbooks every 25 years or so, it does take a special breed of wingnut to maintin that not only is raising taxes to help boost school funding an unecessary inconvenience, but goes out all the way and calls increasing educational specing an "incredible sacrifice."
There is little doubt that education can be a sound investment. But I have to wonder what schools are using all that tax money for, given the results of a new study by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum.The survey showed many things, but here is the most startling fact of them all: Americans know more about the TV cartoon known as "The Simpsons" than they do about the First Amendment.
I suppose that, in an age where trivia is king, this should not be all that surprising. However, it should provoke some serious soul-searching among public officials, teachers, and parents.
While I do agree that it is a sad fact that fewer Americans can name more ammendments than members of the Spimson family, I hate to break it to you, but I woulnd't really be too too worried if I was a teacher. Because, you see, the survey (which can be obtained here, by the way), was a survey conducted on 1,000 random ADULTS around the country via telephone and is only rated at the 95% confidence level (usually the minimal accepted standard for scientifically valid statistical research). Now, considering the fact that you average American is well known around the world for being as dumb as a brick and terminally incurious (the fact that someone like Nathan Tabor could actually run for State office is a tantamount admission of this fact), it's hardly as though the survey was conducted on a bunch or Mrs. Browning's 3rd Grade Social Studies class following their unit on American governance.
According to the study, only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. For those of you hazy on this point, the five freedoms are freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition for redress of grievances. Yet, more than half of those surveyed could name at least two members of the Simpson family.
Interesting. Five bucks says Nathan couldn't name all five of them off the top of his head either. Oddly enough, he doesn't say. I mean, I don't know about "self-made" businessmen millionaires who attended Pat Robertson's Regent University, but most of us out in the real world have other jobs and responsibilities and can't be trusted to name elementary school lesson plans off the tops of our heads (want to try a few? Name the first 5 presidents of the U.S. Name 5 signers of the Declaration of Independance. Name 3 of the planets. Name any 1 of the 6 noble gasses).
Oh, but there is this gem: one in five people surveyed thought the right to own a pet was protected under the First Amendment. But the question we need to ask ourselves as Americans is not who's minding the dog — but who's looking out for our own basic rights as citizens.
But, let's be clear here. There's plenty of blame to go around. While it's true that maybe we should have all paid more attention at school, how much of the school calendar was devoted to the First Amendment — one of the most precious rights the founding fathers could have given us?
I agree. While naysayers will claim that a balanced, well-rounded education is the best way to prepare children to become productive future members of society, true patriots like Nathan Tabor know that the best form of Education is to focus on the really important stuff like quaint, seemingly antiquated notions of free speech. That and the right to own guns, the Christian origins of America and the
Civil War War of Northern Agression (and how it wasn't about slavery at all). But as Nathan points out, even should we switch to an All-Patriot(tm) curriculum in our public schools, how on earth will we be able to make sure the children are paying attention to the lists of their forefather's accomplishments instead of carving "Suzy Jenkins Likes Thomas Fremont Nuh-Uh!" on their desk?
Here's why this is so important: there are numerous instances today of individuals trying to take away our freedoms. For instance, our freedom of speech is threatened by those who say that the only allowable speech on our college campuses should be politically correct speech.
Dude, we're not trying to force you to be polite to other people here. In your case, assholism is clearly congenital. We're just trying to minimize the potential for a lawsuit when you get your ass kicked by the Nation of Islam football players and complain the school didn't do a good enough job of protecting your rights.
Our freedom of religion is routinely targeted by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, who want to ban God from our schools, courthouses, and civic buildings.
Because while we can all agree that the Constitution specifically protects freedom of religion, people like Nathan Tabor tend to get caught up in the idea that having an official moment of the school day reserved for worshipping God is the purest expression of the principle of Church/State separation and the Freedom of speech.
Freedom of assembly is challenged by those who believe the only legitimate protests are the left-wing kind.
Hey Nathan, does this look familiar?
Of course, the news media routinely trumpet freedom of the press — but it is only one segment of the press many of them are interested in. For instance, conservative columnist Ann Coulter is vilified for expressing her anti-left, anti-establishment views.
Fox News is accused of pandering to the right — even though its mission is to provide fair and balanced coverage.
In an Associated Press article, Joe Madeira, director of exhibitions at the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, said he was actually surprised by the results of his survey.
Madeira told the AP, "Part of the survey really shows there are misconceptions, and part of our mission is to clear up these misconceptions. It means we have our job cut out for us."
It obvious money isn't the solution to our education woes. We must return to teaching the basics.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
This Post Brought to you by Nice Guy Eddie
First of all, it wades nose-deep into the realm of one of the perrennial wingnut favourites, the topic of ABORTION and as such you can pretty much bet your mamma's amble turnover that it's going to be extra wingnutty. Second of all, maybe I'm the only one who feels this, but it just flattens me that a lecture about the horrors of abortion is being delivered by someone who looks like he could have been Chris Penn's stunt double in Josh and S.A.M. Assuming of course that Chris Penn wore a goatee. And was a lot greasier looking. And about 20 pounds heavier. And the sort of person you'd expect to see hanging around the parking lot of an adult video store, trying veyr hard not to appear conspicuous. In short, just the kind of guy you never EVER want to have reproducingm unless you need cheap slave labour for when NASA plans to colonize Pluto. In any case, without furhter ago, we at BTP are happy to bring you
By: Doug Hagin
Are the sands of time running out on legalized abortion in America? Are the American people, armed with clear scientific and medical evidence finally ready to ban the barbarism that is abortion? Certainly, the proponents of abortion have seen their lies of "choice" and a "woman's body" and "reproductive freedom" exposed by medical advances like ultrasounds, and sonograms. So again, consider the question; are these the dying days for abortion?
In recent weeks, pro-life Americans have abandoned, at least to some degree, the tactics of changing people's hearts and chosen a more direct, legislative attack on abortion. Indiana, South Dakota, and Michigan, have taken the lead in this new war for human rights and sanctity of life.
In Indiana women, seeking abortions would be told that human life begins at conception. While this law would not ban abortion, it would allow women to receive medical information about their baby. The pro-choice crowd, of course, is vehemently opposed to such legislation. Cannot have women making fully informed choices I suppose.
In Michigan, a new amendment to the state constitution, proposed by Michigan
residents would establish that a person is alive at conception. Such a
designation would serve to give the unborn constitutional rights to due process
and equal protection.
The 1973 Roe v Wade decision nullified state that prohibited abortions. If that ruling were to be overturned, states would regain the authority to ban or restrict abortions. So clearly, the residents of Michigan are hoping to lay the groundwork to ban abortions.
Whether or not Roe V Wade will actually be overturned, of course is up in the air. A new law in South Dakota could make its way to the US Supreme Court, and abortion foes are hopeful the court will throw out Roe V Wade if that happens.
Other states are also considering laws restricting or banning abortions. Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina are all currently weighing legislation to chip away at abortion rights. This is a grand time in America, the people, through their legislatures are speaking out in a very clear and concise fashion. Their message is clear and just. America wants to honor human life and to protect the most innocent and vulnerable among us.
So, let the fight commence over which direction America will move in. Will we continue to allow the legalized butchering of innocent and helpless human beings in the womb? Will we continue to turn a blind eye to what is as clear a violation of human rights as anyone could ever imagine?
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Suffer not the children! Please, not the children!!
Mar 2, 2006 by Marvin Olasky
You know, it's not often that we at BTP spend too much time focusing on the looks of people who bother submitting columns to places like Townhall and RenewAmerica. After all, most sane people would consider it punishment enough that they should have their geologically-scaled idiocy displayed for all the world to see through the glory of the internets. Hell, most people would be embarrassed if people even found out that they surfed Townhall.com, much less helped flesh out the bulk of its contents. However, we do have a reputation to maintain and should we let this particular little picture pass us by without comment, rumour might spread that we were going soft, and then no amount of shanking guards or setting fire to child molesters would be enough to restore our cred in cellblock 6.
Who is our Winston Churchill now? Sixty years ago, onHehehehehehehehehe...I'm sorry, I just can't help it. I mean, even though I must admit that I have't read more than two sentances of this peice, I just can't help snickering at the idea of listening to a lecture on geopolitik from a guy who looks like he might be one of Goofy the dog's relative's.
March 5, 1946, in Fulton, Mo., Winston Churchill spoke of how "From Stettin in
the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the
Who is our Winston Churchill now?
His speech signaled the beginning of an American and British understanding that the Cold War had begun. When the Soviet Union speedily developed nuclear missiles, that war threatened to become fiery -- and the threat remained for the next four decades, until Ronald Reagan stood firm and the Soviet empire disintegrated.
Now a new threat looms. Just about the only similar answer that George Bush and John Kerry gave in their first debate two years ago came when they were asked to define the "single most serious threat to American national security." Both answered, "Nuclear terrorism." Last year, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Homeland Security secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff all said or implied the same.
And yet, we see paranoia regarding the Patriot Act, even as Harvard professor Graham Allison, the author of "Nuclear Terrorism," states a nuclear attack on U.S. soil within the next 10 years is probable. We see political positioning about which company will manage a port, when the real problem is that security is inadequate at all our ports. (A nuclear bomb could be smuggled across our still-porous borders, but it's easier to import one by sea in a cargo container.)
Churchill in 1946 knew that the United States and its allies were living on borrowed time. He wisely contended that: "We cannot afford, if we can help it, to work on narrow margins. ... If these all-important years are allowed to slip away, then indeed catastrophe may overwhelm us all." He uttered words about Soviet leaders 60 years ago that are now relevant in the Middle East: "I am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness."
Our best opportunity to avert disaster is to stay strong and deny the terrorists secure bases. Some might credit the Bush administration for winning us some time by having the United States go on offense, rather than sit back on defense.