January 31, 2007

Common sense is dead

Does this make any sense?
Two Osceola County parents said their son was humiliated at school when he was suspected of wearing "gang-style" clothing. Saint Cloud Middle School said only a handful of students were searched last week when they got a complaint.

The parents told Eyewitness News, if their son was wearing low baggy pants or a bandana, by all means he should have been sent home, but he wasn't. He was wearing a Florida Gators t-shirt.

Robert and Sara Crosby can't understand how their son could be connected to gang activity, especially by wearing a Gators t-shirt.
Now, if it were a Virginia Tech shirt, I could understand...

But seriously, who is really providing the distraction? I remember wearing various different t-shirts in school and never was accused of wearing gang apparel; no one I know was. Why? Because t-shirts showing your favorite team or school generally is not gang apparel. In fact, last I checked, most gangs do not have a strong affinity for school.

I also see little reason to believe that getting rid of "gang apparel" will stop or even slow down gangs. There are other ways around this; are schools going to start sending home every kid who has a tattoo next? Hard to change those, and forcing kids out of schools will only accelerate any moves they might make towards joining a gang.

Common sense people. The one place children are best suited is school, and making them feel unwelcome there is foolhardy at best. I am not saying not to look for the signs; I am saying that, sometimes, you need to look at more than one piece of evidence.

January 29, 2007

James Webb: John Kerry's long-lost son?

DJ notes the flip-flop.
"The majority of the nation no longer supports the way this war is being fought; nor does the majority of our military"
James Webb after the SOTU.
"I don't believe that there is any politician who has the right to say that he or she is speaking for the troops, for the military"
James Webb on Face the Nation.

Seriously, what do Democrats see in politicians like this? Whatever happened to taking a stand for what you believe in?

January 27, 2007

More on our failing teachers

Coryoth of kuro5hin shares the concerns I noted earlier this week.
The real tragedy is that, because mathematics is a heavily layered subject, each new topic building upon the previous ones, once students fall behind catching up can be a nightmare. Indeed, students often meet a rude awakening in late high school or at college when their limited mathematical repertoire fails to provide the necessary tools to fully grasp the next topic. Even worse, by failing to impart the core skills of abstraction, and logical systematic approaches to dealing with abstract objects, we are denying students the very skills necessary to even begin to expand their mathematical toolkit. At its heart mathematics is about abstract and logical thought, and without these core skills no student can hope to succeed in mathematics.
This elaborates on a point I had made.
...down the road, they need a mastery of the standard algorithms... To understand the more advanced mathematics, I definitely needed the basics. Middle school teachers cannot be expected to have to teach students why multiplication and division work because they did not learn by the fifth grade
And I think we are already seeing the results. They were sure there would be 100,000, but they cannot even seem to count.

January 23, 2007

Congrats Chad!

Word is coming in from the Richmond War Room: Chad Dotson is the new District Court Judge for Wise County.

Chad's Commonwealth Conservative, then blogged under the pen name John Behan, was the first Virginia blog I read; it was only a couple weeks after that that I got to meet Chad for the very first time. As well spoken as he is written, he encouraged us to get into blogging, and to let him know if we were blogging so he could help to spread it further. That initial meeting gave me a big push into blogging, and I have continued to write since.

If Chad is half as good a judge as he was a blogger, then there is no doubt that justice will be served for the next six years in Wise County.

January 22, 2007

No wonder the US is falling behind in education

As a student in elementary school, I learned the basics of mathematics using the classic algorithms thankfully. I am completely unfamiliar with the methods displayed in this video, and should I have kids one day, would be unable to help them if they are taught improperly. I would like to think that I have a mastery of the basic, if not some of the more advanced, mathematics, and I credit that with an effecient, methodical approach.

Unfortunately, this is consistent with the criticisms of education today. Some of the textbooks Miss McDermott displays do not focus solely on math, but also move into geography (in my time, part of the broader course of social studies). Do the teachers not have enough time to teach social studies seperately? I guess between all the time they teach students about diversity, acceptance, and other politically charged topics, there is very little time left to teach them the basics they will desperately need in an ever-more competetive world. The biggest complaint I have about my early education was that we failed to make it to the Cold War in my history courses, leaving me to have to learn about it on my own later on, and this can only be blamed on the end of the school year. Yes, it proves there may not always be enough time to teach everything, but if the basics are there, the rest can follow.

And let's face it. How stupid will a student look guessing and checking their multiplication while solving a calculus problem? If any of you out there reading this are educators, please take this into consideration. There are ways to get to the students who need more help, but it is foolish to place at risk students who are capable of learning and mastering mathematics, let alone any other subjects that appear to be sorely neglected.

January 21, 2007

Playing Catch-up

Work has set me a little behind, and as the snow (and the subsquent change to ice) will be giving me a day off tomorrow, I felt it would be a good time to run through a number of interesting links I have found recently.

- Still against the War in Iraq? Feel that Democrats have always been the voice against it? Free Republic has complied a very convincing list of quotes concerning conflict, many of which show the former problems of Iraq and the support of many now-antiwar Democrats.

- Speaking of the war, Evan Coyne Maloney notes the problems of a politically correct war, which is what he suggests is a war of appeasement, rather than victory. Well worth the read, and while you are there, check out some of his videos as well, a small series of short documentaries.

- For the trifecta, a father speaks out against a pull-out, wanting his son's service to not be in vain. Kingsman Green served Britain well, and he is a hero here in America as well.

- James Young links to The House of Erastothenes to question Bush Derangement Syndrome. To put it simply, Democrats avoid action and hate Bush because he feels that action must be taken. I imagine President Bush's speech given on the fifth anniversary of September 11th might drive them insane.

- Debate over an apology for slavery here in Virginia has been raging, and Vivian has led the way. Such an apology makes no sense, because those who were responsible of it are no longer around, and I find it hard to believe that the topic will be dropped even if it were to pass. Vivian is a smart woman, but I often wonder if she thinks that blacks were the only oppressed race. Jerry Fuhrman has something to say about the debate too, and he thinks that it would be best to not dwell on the past.

- And UVa basketball posted two good wins this week, against Maryland and Wake Forest, after a rough stetch where they lost three straight games. The ACC is stacked this year, and UVa has remained in the thick of it all. It would be good to see the Hoos finally make it back to the NCAA tournament, even if the last time they made it was before I started college. Wahoowa!

January 19, 2007

Near light speed travel?

I think DC must be near a spatial anomaly. I know that more than two weeks have passed since the new Congress took office, yet Democrats are hailing the time it took them to pass their six primary items at only 42 1/4 hours, claiming to be within the first 100 hours they promised. Time is a funny thing, and very dependent on perception I guess. Either that or taking a day off to watch a football game set at night throws them for a loop.

A meteorologist finally chimes in

James Spann, a meterologist from Alabama has chimed in on the global warming debate because of Heidi Cullen's statements, and he's blowing the lid off of the work of "climate experts".
I have been in operational meteorology since 1978, and I know dozens and dozens of broadcast meteorologists all over the country. Our big job: look at a large volume of raw data and come up with a public weather forecast for the next seven days. I do not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype. I know there must be a few out there, but I can’t find them. Here are the basic facts you need to know:

*Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon. No man-made global warming, the money dries up. This is big money, make no mistake about it. Always follow the money trail and it tells a story. Even the lady at “The Weather Channel” probably gets paid good money for a prime time show on climate change. No man-made global warming, no show, and no salary. Nothing wrong with making money at all, but when money becomes the motivation for a scientific conclusion, then we have a problem. For many, global warming is a big cash grab.

*The climate of this planet has been changing since God put the planet here. It will always change, and the warming in the last 10 years is not much difference than the warming we saw in the 1930s and other decades. And, lets not forget we are at the end of the ice age in which ice covered most of North America and Northern Europe.
It comes as no surprise to me that money is a motivating factor for global warming. The government is infamous for handing out lots of money for scientific research, but what sense would it make to give money for research to suggest there is no global warming? If there is no global warming, it would make no sense to waste money on it, right? Yeah, if you have some common sense apparently.

And natural changes in the weather patterns are almost always ignored, because again it is hard to hype up something that we do not have any impact on. Where would the money go if we did?

It is clear why those like Mr. Spann have remained quiet. They see nothing to get worked up about. Now, though, their credibility may be called into question when they all appear to hold the same view on a widely disputed (no, there is not a consensus) "theory", and their very jobs may be at stake if they do nothing. It is time for more of them to speak up and question Heidi Cullen; maybe it might make Al Gore shut up when he has so many qualified experts speaking against global warming.

January 18, 2007

Flipping faster than a flapjack

A Democrat calls for action in Iraq, and when President Bush endorses it, the Democrat backpedals. And this time, it isn't John Kerry.
On Dec. 5, Newsweek magazine touted an interview with then-incoming House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes as an "exclusive." And for good reason.

"In a surprise twist in the debate over Iraq," the story began, Mr. Reyes "said he wants to see an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops as part of a 'stepped up effort to dismantle the militias.' "

"We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq," the Texas Democrat said to the surprise of many, "I would say 20,000 to 30,000."

Then came President Bush's expected announcement last week, virtually matching Mr. Reyes' recommendation and argument word-for-word -- albeit the president proposed only 21,500 troops.

Wouldn't you know, hours after Mr. Bush announced his proposal, Mr. Reyes told the El Paso Times that such a troop buildup was unthinkable.

To add insult to injury (both self imposed interestingly enough), he made another key mistake. While I would not expect the average American to know which Muslim sects are associated with terrorist organizations, one would think that a politician should be knowledgable on the subject, particularly one who has had to deal with the topic for a few years now.
Unfortunately for the new House intelligence chief, this is his second (some would argue his third) major blunder in the space of one month. When asked by Congressional Quarterly reporter Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda was a Sunni or Shi'ite organization, he answered: "Predominantly, probably Shi'ite."

As Mr. Stein wrote later: "He couldn't have been more wrong. Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shi'ite showed up at an al Qaeda clubhouse, they'd slice his head off and use it for a soccer ball."
Guess I gave him too much credit.

Undermining Science

Heidi Cullen lacks a knowledge in the basic workings of science; what is funny about this is she is a climate expert at The Weather Channel. She believes strongly that global warming is a big problem for this planet. Now, this is, in and of itself, not the basis for the criticism; while I find people who believe global warming to be rather naive, at least she can try to back it up with experimental findings. However, she now is suggesting that anyone who disagrees with the theory should lose their scientific certification.
"If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn't agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns.
What she fails to note in all this is that scientific theory is not a perfect thing. Scientific theory, to be good theory, must be falsifiable; that is, a scientific theory cannot be made in a way so that it is not challengable. Good theory should be able to stand on its own against criticism. She claims that she is tired of politics getting involved in the debate, but she introduced politics on her own by calling for those in charge to rescind the status given to these scientists.

Many comment on her blog concerning her views. One commenter named Dan wrote:
It is really good to know that this country and its so called professionals, have gotten to the point that they belive that someone who does not think like they do should be stripped of there AMS Creds. Welcome to the new USSR.
Throckmorton stated:
The Weather Channel is not a scientific institution. It is a media outlet. It is known in meteorological circles as "The Commercial Channel". It is known for male talking heads with egos, and female talking head with low cut sweaters. Nice. I am a meteorologist and on the rare occasion when I watch it, I do only that: turn the sound down and watch a quick view of radar and satellite loops. Then I get on the internet and look up actual model data and output for myself. Watching the Weather Channel for scientific reasons is like watching SpongeBob to get oceanographic information.
And a Michael posts a good response to her "theory":
...for the last 11 years the sun has actually been far more active than usual. It is now nearing the end of a CYCLE that will see a reduction in solar flares and general solar activity. Sit tight for the next 10 years, because the MAIN HEATER OF THE EARTH is cooling off for a while. Look it up. (http://www.sec.noaa.gov).
There are a lot more comments, including more criticism, some who are bashing those criticizing Miss Cullen (apparently, those who call out "fascists" don't seem to have any trouble using it for their needs), and a few Christians using scare tactics to convert people (ugh, see here and here if you want my opinion on scare tactics within Christianity). And if you go there, let Heidi Cullen know that science is supposed to promote many different theories, not censor people.

January 16, 2007

Jimmy Carter: Terrorism is A-OK

Just when you think that Carter could not be any more foolish.
It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.
Wait a second. What was that again?
It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings...
Jimmy Carter just put a condition on the end of terror by Islamic radicals. While it is not entirely surprising to hear this, as so many Democrats these days seem to be anti-Israel or anti-semitic, you would think Jimmy Carter would have learned after spending 444 days watching Iran stick their tongues out at us while Ronald Reagan was whipping his butt in the polls (hmm, I wonder why?).

Why do I feel that it would take something like this to get through to him? And worse yet, did we (and I mean we in the entirely encompassing manner) just elect a bunch of Carter clones to Congress recently?

January 12, 2007

Nail on the Head

100 hours of hypocrisy and obnoxiousness

Democrats planned big things for their first 100 hours; unsurprisingly, they have shown little class and have had some difficulty keeping their promises.

First off, their simple promise of getting things done in the first 100 hours. Little did we know that they would define what 100 hours meant (sound familiar?). When I went to the polls, I did not expect that the new leaders would take a whole day off to see a football game played that night. I am pretty sure that that was a wasted 24 hours. The AP article referenced above suggests that Democrats are on pace to finish their promised legislation on time, but counting Championship Friday (as should be done), they are clearly behind.

The Democrats made a big deal about minimum wage hikes (something that will cause more problems for a strong economy and many people right now then it will fix), but apparently only for those whom do not represent some interest. Democrats accuse Republicans of being "for big business", but when Nancy Pelosi allows American Samoa to be ignored because Del Monte is among her representation (Del Monte has a large portion of employees in American Samoa), she shows there is little to trust when it comes to the new leadership.

And then, there is, as Bill O'Reilly might put it, "the most ridiculous item of the day." In a tasteless attack, she hit Condoleeza Rice for not having children. Suddenly, having children is a prerequisite for assuming some form of leadership in the federal government.

I do not pretend to know Condi's feelings, but I would not at all be surprised if this greatly hurt her. Say what you want about the war, but when the Democrats, who claim to be the party of the minority and claim to support non-traditional families, go after someone because they do not have a traditional family, they show they do not have the moral high ground. And they can complain of the war "hurting families", but last I checked, our military was still meant for volunteers. My father, a man in the military himself, always had this to say: "if you do not think you will be going to war when you join the military, you should not join at all." War is not a given at any point in history, but if you are a soldier, you know that it can happen at any time, and this should likewise be understood by the family of a soldier.

Once again, the only Democrat who seems to show any class is Joseph Lieberman.
I applaud the president for rejecting the fatalism of failure and pursuing a new course to achieve success in Iraq
While so many are criticizing President Bush for a plan that has not even been tested yet, Senator Lieberman still stands for national defense.

But his comrades (if they can be called that after the recent election cycle) have continued to show that why Republicans would have been the better choice. 2008 is not too far away, and some new blood in the Republican party should reinvigorate the base and bring back the leadership that this country deserves.

January 07, 2007

Fun with statistics

Overall American military deaths and casualties are down in Iraq in 2006 from 2005, but some media outlets still are trying to make 2006 out to be the worst year in Iraq. Just like in most cases, it is easy to distort the numbers; how can people be expected to come up with an accurate conclusion if they are given the wrong idea?

January 04, 2007

UVa destroys Gonzaga; Final Four in their future?

UVa had a rough few games after exams in San Juan. But they are back and looking even better than in their first win of the season over then #10 Arizona. Yesterday, they destroyed Gonzaga, a team that has been a power player in NCAA basketball for a few years now, 108-87 at the JPJ. They led by 34 at the half, scored a UVa record 18 3-pointers, and Sean Singletary scored a personal record 37 points. UVa is 8-0 at home, but still struggling away from C'ville, 0-1 on the road and 1-2 at neutral sites. UVa next plays Stanford, with vengeance on their minds (Stanford knocked UVa out of the NIT last season) and momentum on their side.

Earlier this season, many sports commentators picked UVa as a sleeper for the Final Four. If they play like this the rest of the season, they may stand a good chance. Even in a tough ACC, games regularly played like this should get UVa a 10-win season in conference and 20-wins overall.

Go Hoos!

January 02, 2007

UVa is producing some leaders

First, Karin Agness started the next big thing in conservative activism. Now, Whitney Blake of The Cavalier Daily and Politickchick is a writer for The Weekly Standard (link goes to her most recent article posted online). Congratulations on the great opportunity Whitney!

Now, all we need is another president from the University of Virginia. How about Chad Dotson or Lighthorse Harry?