Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Saturday Night, I Can't Stop Laughing

Start at the above and scroll down, don't be drinking! This man has actually written a cookbook! Supposedly he also practices law, but check out the times of postings... ;-)

Powerful Writing Regarding "Why Do They Hate Us"

Hat tip, ¡No Pasarán! Nelson Ashcher has a well reasoned piece on why it may be that we are asking the wrong questions. Here's a bit from his conclusion:

In the same way as the murderers of 911 used the West’s technology against itself, the contemporary left will do its best to turn democracy into a suicidal pact. This is already being done, obviously. The fight for Guantanamo Bay is, in many ways, as important as that for Baghdad. And, whenever a British born terrorist is released and sent back to the UK, to be joyfully acclaimed by the pages of “The Guardian”, “The Independent” or through the waves of the BBC, that fight is being lost. Radical Islam is being given one more tactical victory and
the left’s strategy is being vindicated.

There has been some talk recently about the probable inevitability of a nuclear attack on the mainland US in, say, the next ten or fifteen years. The Berlin Wall’s orphans are already busy creating the slogans, formulating the dogmas, writing down the articles and books that will allow them, when the worst happens, to lay all the blame on the victims, making retaliation as difficult as it can be. They’re carefully preparing their case and the court is already in session.

Great Saturday Find

Hat tip, Instapundit. Laws for the bloggers, in verse!

Why Does The World HATE America? It Makes Them Feel Better!

Hat Tip David’s Medienkritick. The above piece by Dominic Hilton is a wonderful description of why others seem to feel the need to ‘bash America.’ There’s a little something for everyone, from psychological explanations, (it’s Freudian); to economic; to political, (multiple zones of power, anyone?); to cultural.
Check out Medienkritick’s take on the above, but also his comments section. Fun read so far!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Ask Anyone, The Europeans Love Americans, The Problem Is Bush

Thanks to Erik, we can see that it doesn't look to be the correct story, much less 'whole one'. Here's a bit, but there is lots more, read it all:

Of course, Max Jacobson's column in the International Herald Tribune somewhat takes the winds out of the sails of the legend that it is only Bush that people oppose, as the former Finnish ambassador to the United Nations deflates the canard that the members of the UN are lucid, visionary, and doing little else but trying to overcome reactionary America's opposition to a bright, peaceful future.

The United States … is like a magnet that both attracts and repulses. The other four governments [i.e., the other four permanent members of the
security council] determine their positions less on the merits of the case under discussion than by the state of their relations with the United States.

Eason Jordan Resigns!

Either CNN was going to have to agree to the tape release, or Eason was going to have to go. Guess the choice wasn't that hard.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A Little James Bond Music Here, "Nobody Does It Better"

I still love the Onion, but Scott Ott has them beat! On the Ward Churchill brouhaha, (hat tip: onedomino):

Little Eichmanns Group Celebrates Prof's Free Speechby Scott Ott

(2005-02-10) -- In a celebration of free speech inspired by a University of Colorado professor who compared America's 9/11 victims to Nazis, an ad hoc consortium of business leaders announced today that it would fund an endowed professorship in honor of Professor Ward Churchill.

The business group, Little Eichmanns for Free Speech, said it "rejoices in Mr. Churchill's efforts to open a fresh dialogue between America's businesspeople and the academics whose important work is funded by the overflow of our insatiable greed."

The group said it would donate a "substantial sum" to create an endowment with the condition that "Mr. Churchill be appointed as the Little Goebbels Professor of Ethics, in recognition of his efforts to establish the reputation of businesspeople in a fashion reminiscent of what Joseph Goebbels did for the Jews."

Under the terms of endowment, university news releases about Mr. Churchill's research and public speaking must always identify him with the phrase "the Little Goebbels Professor of Ethics."

A spokesman for the university's board of regents said it "welcomes expressions of free speech, especially when they're written in the memo field of a personal check."

Heck of A Way To Start the Day. NK Admits Nukes

Not that most of us didn't assume this was so:

"We ... have manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's ever more undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the (North)," the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Everything Can't Be Serious!

Just surfing around, getting ready to turn in and what do I find on Tim Worstall’s blog, but this really cool site.

Played with that for 15 minutes, have to go to bed!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Yessir, Want A Headache? Read This

Oh man, this is so, so, well I want to say convoluted, but that would be an understatement. Shoot, words fail me.

JOSCHKA FISCHER: Looking to the history of my continent of Europe, we had two totalitarian challenges. The first one was the challenge of the Nazis in my country, which led to almost a complete destruction of my country, not only in a physical sense but morally; and the second one was Bolshevism and the Stalinist threat. At the end, Europe overcame all these challenges, and today Europe is a continent moving forward to the integration.
Maybe it's just me, but what is it I've been reading about Europe?

Getting the Eason Jordan Scandal

For anyone not tied into the blogosphere, this has been a non-story. I know, I've been upset by it but find no one that even has heard of it. ~shaking head~ As usual, Glenn has the post that encapsulates what is the story:

February 08, 2005

THE LONG GAME VS. THE SHORT GAME: Gerard van der Leun thinks that CNN has, for the moment at least, successfully defused the Eason Jordan scandal:
"The Eason Jordan vs The Bloggers match ended its first set today with a high lob set-up from Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post put away by an overhand smash by Mr. Adams of Davos who announced that the videotape of the Davos meeting, in which Jordan claimed the US Military was deliberately killing journalists in Iraq, would not be released to the public. . . . In this world, if it doesn't happen on television it doesn't happen, and without the videotape this will not happen on television."
I hate to accuse Gerard of old-media thinking, but I think that's what's going on here. It's true, of course, that without video the story won't get a lot of play on TV. But that's the short game, in which the goal is getting rid of Eason Jordan. Or hanging on to him.

The long game is different, and Jim Geraghty
gets it:

What we need from the Davos conference organizers is simple - the tape of what Jordan said. It would be good to get the entire event, but really, what is at issue here is what Jordan said, and how much he backtracked.

If the Davos organizers refuse to release it, and CNN refuses to call for its release, and the BBC refuses to call for its release, and every other news agency refuses to call for its release...

...then remember this, the next time the media gets up on a high horse about the public's right to know. Remember this the next time Dick Cheney has a meeting with energy executives. Remember this the next time reporters complain about Bush not holding enough press conferences, and not doing enough interviews. Remember this the next time they talk about the
importance of a free press, and an informed citizenry.

Because it's all conditional. None of this applies when the situation includes a media executive
says something in a big forum that he later realizes he doesn't want the public to hear. Then all of a sudden, none of this matters, because it's bad form for other news agencies to look into the story if he wants it to go away. "Bad manners, old chap. We journalists have to stick together."

You don't need TV for those ideas to spread. And when they do -- and they are -- getting rid of Eason Jordan doesn't matter so much. Because neither does Eason Jordan. On the other hand, if the Eason Jordans of the world are all untrustworthy, self-interested boobs, and seen as such, it's going to be hard to sustain public support for press freedom. Unless, perhaps, enough people are blogging that the public sees its own face on "press freedom" and not the likes of Eason Jordan's.

posted at 03:14 PM by Glenn Reynolds

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The idea of performance pay — a notion once reviled by most teachers — is getting a warmer reception here. Teachers are trying hard to prove they're worth the money, from more frequent student testing, to e-mailing parents, to trying out different styles for their students.

"Just rewarding people for having put in a lot of years, that's one of the things the public gets upset about — and justly so," said Kris Sandy, a high school English teacher. "In terms of having some more reasonable examples of what we do every year to improve our curriculum and be better teachers, that's perfectly reasonable."

The pilot project in the La Crescent-Hokah district and a handful of others in Minnesota comes as several other states examine the way teachers are paid.


I like the idea of being 'paid for performance.' The obvious problem in judging performance is that there are skewed classes; some higher, some lower. I currently teach at the jr. high level and there is a wide range of results among the teachers pertaining to the same students. It seems pretty obvious that if the students are able to perform at a superior level in social studies or science, they should not be receiving a 'D' or worse in reading. Yet consistently that has been the case, regardless of a high performing classes or less motivated.

The difference between the teachers has much to do with realistic expectations, knowledge of subject matter, rapport with students, and perhaps most importantly classroom management. If the students do not respect the teacher it makes it very difficult to teach, much less learn. I would assume that these factors apply from kindergarten through high school. So how would a district measure performance?

I don't think that any one measure would be fair, but there are some areas that I think should be open to discussion. It should be required of a district to have each teacher observed by at least two adminstrators several times per year. Lesson plans should be checked and evaluated, most importantly verified that what is written is what is being taught.

There should be standards applied to comparing past performance of the students, standardized test results, student & parent evaluations. Problems with teaching or behavior management should be noted, discussed, and remedial help given early in the year based upon observations. School administrators should be aiding the teachers in maximizing their performance, for the benefit of the students.

Communication between teacher and students, as well as keeping parents informed should be noted. A teacher that is keeping all informed is helping to build a foundation for learning. Teachers that strive to keep abreast of successful methodologies and incorporate some of these into their teaching style, should be rewarded. While graduate or methodology programs may be attended, many teachers fail to utilize what was taught.

I have no doubt that there are some of you, whether teachers, parents, or students that have better or more suggestions than me. I'd be thrilled to have you leave a comment.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Mainz Germany Is Where President Bush Will Visit

Doesn't look like friendly confines. At the Medienkritik site, there are pictures and coverage of a parade that is very anti-American in tone. There is a call to action at the bottom of the post, but first you must visit!

UPDATE: HEY USA! This is what the city of Mainz, Germany (the city that will host President Bush in two weeks) thinks of you. CLICK HERE.

Davids Medienkritik encourages all Americans to email all of their elected representatives with a link to this article:


If you would like to contact the city of Mainz, Germany with your opinion, email the Mainz Office for Public Relations at: mainz.online@stadt.mainz.de

HERE is a webpage with further contact info for Mainz, Germany.

Easongate Is Born

The new parents, I don't think happy is the correct adjective, are:

Blackfive from Blackfive
Brian Scott from The Blue State Conservatives
Chester from The Adventures of Chester
Bill Roggio from The Fourth Rail

The purpose of this blog is as follows:

· Act as a clearinghouse for information related to Mr. Jordan's recent and past statement concerning the United States military.

· Provide analysis and commentary on the developing situation.

· Advocate CNN to take real and meaningful disciplinary action against Mr. Jordan.

· Create a petition expressing the public's displeasure with Mr. Jordan's statements.

· Gather information on CNN's advertisers and make this information available to the public.

Our hope is that CNN will launch an investigation into Mr. Jordan's past and recent history, and take appropriate action. The staff of Easongate is not confident CNN will address this situation without external pressure, however, so we hope to provide the means for the public to place pressure on CNN to act.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Chrenkoff! Good News From Afghanistan

There seems to be quite a lot. The ending of drought and lack of media to report on what's happening lead off. Read it all.

NON Story of the Week

How many heart surgeries? Duh!

Is This A Result of Faster, Faster?

The mainstream Palestinian movement Fatah (news - web sites) said Sunday it would agree to a mutual cease-fire with Israel in the West Bank and Gaza, and it ruled out attacks against civilians inside Israel — boosting peace prospects ahead of an upcoming summit.

I'm Not Into The Superbowl

If the Bears were in it I would watch. They are not, by a longshot. Who is? I dunno. In the meantime, I'll use the pause to catch up on the news.

Ward Churchill

Ok, my tendency is to say his is a fraud or a pig. You decide.

Winds of Change Confronts The Opposition

Hat Tip, Instapundit. Here are the hard questions that the opposition to the administration should be addressing. While I do not usually quote the entire post, these are important and I hope I’ll be forgiven:

Liberals are or should be aligned with progressive politics and values. So in light of political progressives who eschew President Bush's war against Saddam, a few questions:
  • What would have been the best, most legitimate way for Iraq to achieve democratic elections? Can it be applied to Burma, North Korea, Iran, and other dictatorships?
  • If your answer to this question involves the UN, address the UN's corruption with the Oil-for-Food scandal, sex slaves in the Congo, and the inability to prevent the Rwandan genocide.
  • If the top dogs of the UN are profiteers for the containment of dictators like Saddam, and their representatives trafficking sex in the countries they purport to peace-keep, how can the UN be a legitimate force for democracy?
  • Are tyrants defeated with soft power, or merely contained until they fade away? Is contained fascism simply the unstated and accepted cost of soft power? If it is, should Hitler have been opposed?
    What can corrupt soft power?
  • Are there any circumstances where hard power is warranted?
  • If the UN is too corrupt and impotent, and the US is too sovereign to represent the world, what organization would you propose instead?
  • Would a 'UN-D' -- a variation or branch of the United Nations, except the members are all democracies -- be a better legitimizing force for democracy than either the United States or the current United Nations?
  • If you had to wear a uniform and be put in harm's way, but could choose the flag you fought for, which flag would it be: Your family crest; your town's flag; your state's flag; your country's flag; your religion's flag; the UN, NATO or EU flag; or an NGO flag. Why?

Inside The "New" DNC

(Hat Tip, Will Collier at Vodkapundit)

The machinations are not pretty. Best reporting I've seen from The New Republic, (they have the access to DNC biggies), in a very long time. The Dean wing does seem to be taking over:


One of the most inept attempts to stop Dean was engineered by Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House leader. According to numerous Democrats, Pelosi not only feared Dean, but she feared the potential anti-Dean of the race, Martin Frost, an ex-representative who was redistricted out of his Texas seat by Tom DeLay's political machine. Frost had challenged Pelosi for leader two years ago, and they have had a poisonous relationship ever since. She tapped former Indiana Representative Tim Roemer as her preferred candidate and persuaded Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to back the decision. It proved to be a pivotal moment, revealing once again how the rules had changed.

When Roemer jumped in, the race had already congealed into Dean versus a field of unknowns. Now Roemer threatened to stamp out Dean's other competitors. But he was unprepared for what would happen next. The entire field of candidates, in concert with the insular liberal blogosphere, rose up and destroyed Roemer.

The hit was silent and deadly. One day I received by messenger a dirty and smudged envelope with no return address. Inside were five pages of anti-Roemer opposition research about his positions on everything from Israel and abortion to labor and Social Security. The same information was fed to numerous blogs, which quickly declared Roemer anathema. "Unless Roemer publicly, loudly, and completely repudiates his recent [pro-privatization] position on Social Security, he is utterly unacceptable as DNC chair," said a post on the pro-Dean site MyDD.com, which served as a key clearinghouse of information about the race. (Roemer did repudiate that position, but it wasn't enough.) By the time Roemer showed up on "This Week" for a Sunday morning announcement of his candidacy, which, in the old days, might have helped solidify him as the establishment choice, he was badly damaged. He spent most of his interview with George Stephanopoulos defensively responding to bloggers he had clearly never heard of, like MyDD and The Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum. "The bloggers, the Internet is a very, very useful tool for us to communicate with voters, ideas. I'm very excited about it, but it can also misinterpret a vote," he complained.

Roemer never recovered. In St. Louis days later, at one of five candidate forums held around the country for DNC members to interview the aspiring chairs, Roemer rose and, glaring at Dean and candidate Simon Rosenberg, lashed out at the "secret e-mails" that were circulating about him. He angrily defended his pro-life record and testily challenged the DNC members to show some tolerance on the issue. It was a brave speech, but it was also the end of his candidacy. Applause was scattered and perfunctory. In New York the next week, he told DNC members, "We shouldn't let a special interest group decide our view on choice." This time, the audience hissed.

The Roemer episode not only exposed the power of the blogs and the weakness of the Hill leadership, it also fatally wounded Frost. He had spent the heart of the short campaign tied up making the case against Roemer instead of attacking Dean. For instance, in a letter sent out to the 447, Frost wrote, "Our party cannot be adequately led by someone whose primary qualification to serve as Chair is his opposition to core Democratic beliefs." By the time Frost turned his attention to Dean, it was much too late. "Roemer," says a top Democratic strategist speaking of the whole affair, "was a debacle."


Cheney On Iraq Democracy; Not Iranian, Not American; But Iraqi

Either AP or Yahoo! really are messing with this headline:

"Cheney Says He Doesn't See Iraq Theocracy "

Here's what he said:

"They will do it their way," Cheney said. "They will do it in accordance with their culture and their history and their beliefs and whatever role they decide they want to have for religion in their society. And that's as it should be."

The United Iraqi Alliance — a Shiite-led group whose leaders have ties to neighbor Iran — has taken a big lead in results being tallied for the Jan. 30 election.

Cheney said he does not think that means Iraq will have a theocracy like that in neighboring Iran, where individual rights are restricted.

The vice president noted that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, has said he does not believe clerics should play a direct role in the day-to-day operations of government.
"I think there are a great many people involved in the political process in Iraq who will seek some kind of balance," Cheney told "Fox News Sunday."

"But in the final analysis, the bottom line for everybody to remember here is, this is not going to be, you know, an Iraqi version of America. This is going to be Iraqi. It's going to be written by the Iraqis, for the Iraqis, implemented and executed by them," Cheney said...

Looks Like The Eason Story Will Finally Break In MSM

Captain Ed has this story so covered, there really is no point in devoting more ramblings to this. Just go to his site and start scrolling. This is just another example of the blogs lighting a fire under the MSM. At the time I'm writing this, his lead post is on the Coleman of Strib fame, another example of the same phenomena.

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