Posts Tagged ‘education’

The Five – An Intro

Hey folks.  You may (or more likely, may not) have noticed that I’ve been in a serious blogging hiatus lately.  That’s been due to equal parts work, lack of time, and good ol’ fashioned writer’s block.  But I’ve missed this a lot, and I want to try something to get back in a groove.  Hence, this post.

For as long as I can keep it up, I’m going to try to make at least one post a day that includes Five things: a Photo of mine, a Memory, a Shared idea from something I read or heard, a Thanks/appreciation, and something fresh and New.  These won’t necessarily be political things – in fact, most probably won’t be.  If you’re just here for the politics, then you may just want to hope that I come around quickly and start unleashing my inner conservative warrior with relish again soon.  Otherwise, enjoy my attempt at structured writing to kick me out of my doldrums.  Don’t be surprised if this is more intermittent than I am hoping, but I’ll do my best.  And now, the Five.

A Photo

Waterfalls are probably my favorite natural feature. This is the top of one of the finest waterfall canyons I've ever walked: Johnston Canyon, in Banff, Alberta.

A Memory

This picture was taken only two days after I was involved in a serious car accident while on vacation in the Canadian Rockies.  It resulted in the death of the two motorcyclists who hit our car but thankfully no serious injuries to my family.  It was shockingly sudden, both how the event destroyed our family holiday, and how we were back on vacation within 24 hours, with a new car, a revised itinerary, and a renewed (if distracted) focus on some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve witnessed.  While the accident affected all of us (my stepdad just signed the settlement with the insurance company this month, 2 years later), I’m pleased that we were strong enough to marshal on and enjoy the remainder of the vacation.  It’s a reminder that tragedy can strike at any time, and that the world in its wonder continues, with or without us.  It’s up to us to choose to rejoin it.

A Share

Michael Barone’s article on the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) guidance on campus justice reminds us how far from “liberal” thought our liberal overlords have taken us.  Having myself participated in the campus justice system of my alma mater, I can speak to the desire of student justices and representatives to treat their fellow students fairly.  What often gets lost, however, is how administrators can’t help but use the system for their own agendas.  Campuses all across the country have used seemingly-innocuous conduct rules to attack the Greek system, excoriate Christian groups, and chill free speech by conservative students.  The OCR letter is aimed at making it easier to do just that, and it shows us that liberals’ work will never be done until they brainwash reform collegiate communities into perfect shadowboxes of their ideology.  Voltaire would not be pleased.

A Thanks

A belated thanks to USAA, Hertz, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for making the awful hours after the accident described above easier than I ever could have imagined.  Each of them went out of their way to help us move quickly beyond the tragedy.

Something New

Are we over-automating in some areas of our life?  I’m no Luddite, and I love my iPad and XM Radio as much as the next guy.  But sometimes I think of my electric toothbrush sometimes and wonder, really?  I brushed my teeth just fine for the first 30 years of my life – no cavities even!  Is this something I need to plug into the grid for?  Same with my grocery list app on my iPad.  I found myself using a LOT more time the other day trying to get exactly what I needed typed into my tablet, when less than half the effort would have created a perfectly-acceptable, pencil-scribbled list to take to the supermarket.

We’re always in the midst of questioning whether some of the time/space/material saving devices of our recent past are really better for us – think reusable grocery bags.  And regardless of whether you think global warming is upon us or a ginned-up conspiracy to take away your luxury shower head, energy costs money and resources.  So maybe before you choose to add that next app to our smartphone because you can, consider whether it’s a smart or dumb way to perform that task.  It may save you time and money in the end.

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On the Marque, 11/4/09

A few worthy thoughts gathered from the internets:

  • Dan Gerstein of Forbes Magazine explores the makeup of the White House staff and the impact it may be having on the President’s performance.  Comprised primarily of what Gerstein quotes an insider to be “political hacks,” the staff’s tendency to fight, win, and be snarky when compromise, concession, or moderation might be the smarter play might explain a lot about Obama’s tin ear for the public mood.  Of course, it does beg the question – if your whole staff is made up of political consultants, shouldn’t they be able to win you either New Jersey or Virginia?
  • In the “truly creepy” department, I bring you the expanded list of honorific Obama song and dance routines from our nation’s schoolchildren, courtesy of Big Hollywood.  Easily the oddest lyric, although probably also the silliest and least-disturbing:

You don’t believe me, I hear you say
But Barack’s as Irish, as was JFK
His granddaddy’s daddy came from Moneygall
A small Irish village, well known to you all


  • In case this doesn’t give you enough night terrors about what your kids are larning in dem skools, the U.S. military would like to have a word with you.  They tell us that fully 75% of all Americans aged 17-24 are ineligible to join the Armed Forces.  Why?  They’re too fat, stupid, or corrupt.  Since a good proportion of those who are eligible will choose other career paths, this is an incredibly difficult challenge for military recruitment — either lower the standards for the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen, or spend more and more on recruitment to chase fewer and fewer worthy candidates.  And of course, the rest of us get to deal with the rejects.  Oh, goody.
  • Rich Lowry explains why Obama will ignore my recommendation to go to Berlin, calling it the “most telling nonevent of his presidency.”  I agree.  During her White House visit yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel went out of her way to thank the American people for their support in the years leading up to German unification.  Our President responded by closing the press briefing.
  • Speaking of travel, Jay Nordlinger highlighted a comment by David Pryce-Jones regarding the emerging lefty tourist habit of the grand tour of Iran.  It’s so good, I hope Mr. Pryce-Jones will forgive my copying it wholesale here:

This anthology passage has come to mind several times recently in connection with present-day fellow-travellers visiting Iran in just that same spirit of willing self-deception. Here are advocates of human rights enthusing over the general happiness of Iranians even while disgusting crimes of murder and rape are routine in the prisons. Here are ecologists promoting windmills everywhere at home, obsessed with their carbon footprint while oblivious to the Iranian nuclear program. Socialists and Leftists in a permanent fury about American foreign policy have nothing to say about Iranian sponsorship of terror far and wide. Pacifists and aesthetes are so eager to see the splendours of Qom and Mashhad that they are oblivious to the Islamist Republic’s testing of long-range missiles and repeated threats to exterminate its enemies. Feminists eager to uncover gender discrimination in their own sphere respond to the plight of Iranian women by praising the attractive colours of their clothing. Tourism to Iran is apparently the latest fashion among rich Westerners, and they come back saying that the country is peaceful, prosperous, no danger to anyone but altogether a brilliant success. My dear, let’s meet up at Isfahan, you have to see those mosques.

History is riddled with examples of liberals exhibiting their moral superiority through brave acts of monied extravagance.  But it’s hard for me to understand why these politically-motivated tourist escapades would deliberately ignore severe human suffering and obvious government oppression.  Maybe sleeping mere minutes away from tortured political prisoners has a certain sort of thrill, but it must be reserved for those who feel thrills going up their legs when they hear President Obama speak.

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Today’s theme is quality time:

  • A high school teacher in Alexandria writes a moving, yet troubling, article in Sunday’s Washington Post, exploring why his students are about to graduate without an education (hint: it’s missing fathers and busy mothers).  The immutable, bracing tragedy of it all comes flying at you from the first sentence.  How is THIS not a national crisis worthy of a national debate?  One reason — the side on which the truth lies is out of bounds for polite discussion.
  • One provocative opinion on why we spend less time with our kids these days comes from And Now You Know: it’s taxes.  I’m still thinking about how much I agree with the post — could we instead be working for lifestyle more than taxes?  are our kids merely entertaining themselves in more solitary ways? — but the fact that I’ve thought about it for a good day or two means it’s worth a look.
  • Harkening back to yesterday’s post (a record day at the Letters, by the way – thanks to all who stopped by), Power Line tells us that President Obama has turned down Germany’s invitation to join its celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  I’m surprised – I thought the guy was all about striking Reaganesque and Kennedyesque poses.  This Administration is willing to make a trip across the Atlantic for four and half hours of wooing Olympic officials but unwilling to party with a key ally as it remembers the epic moment of its national reunion.  Apparently all Obama wanted out of Berlin was its votes?

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