Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Very Sinister

Below is a chain email I just received. You may have already gotten it.
Read it again.

History Lesson

Have a history teacher explain this----- if they can.

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.

John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.

John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.

Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.

Both Presidents were shot in the head.

Now it gets really weird.

Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.

Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.

Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.

Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.

Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names.

Both names are composed of fifteen letters.

Now hang on to your seat.

Lincoln was shot at the theater named 'Ford.'

Kennedy was shot in a car called 'Lincoln' made by 'Ford.'

Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.

Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran and hid in a theater.

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

And here's the kicker...

A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland

A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.

Creepy huh? Send this to as many people as you can, cause:

Hey, this is one history lesson people don't mind reading.

Coincidence, you say? I say NO! It's obvious that the malevolent hand of Karl Rove is at work here. Pass this on to your friends . . .if you dare!


Monday, May 30, 2005

Our Memorial Day Parade

Here in our small suburb that's gone from being small town America, to home of the underclass, to trendy suburb, creating its current economic rebound, we had a Memorial Day parade. It was probably like thousands of others across this great country, except for the one aspect that made ours better than all of the others. My daughter marched in this one. She played her flute with her elementary school band. It was cool. The whole parade lasted about a half hour. It had all of the groups you would expect in a parade: marching bands, public servants, police and fire department, republican party, democratic party, girl scouts, the garden club, the laleche league, and the one group I wish I had a camera for, the peace now group. My wife and I forgot the camera so I can't show you the gigantic flying doves on poles they made out of bedsheets. These are some of the people who remind me of The 40 Year Old Hippie by Ted Richards.


Two Opinions

I don't know how it got past the editors, but Mitch Albom has an impressive, thoughtful rebuttal to the immoral terror supporters at Amnesty International. It ran in yesterday's Free Press.

I'm not sure why, but maybe in the name of balance, they also ran this piece of idiocy in the occasional "A Point Well Made" editorial feature. Once again, according to this editorial, we Americans must understand and be more sensitive to the feelings of the Muslim world. If only we weren't so arrogant and insensitive to our Muslim brethren, they would love us and live in peace with us. So even though the Newsweek story of the Koran flushing incident was a fabrication, we still have to understand that - um - that - um - that- Wait a minute! We have to understand that no matter what sort of terrorism is committed by a Muslim, it's the fault of the United States. Well, that certainly simplifies things, doesn't it.

Of course, that's only my interpretation. I'm sure the author, M. A. Muqtedar Khan, chair of the Political Science Department at Adrian College and Director of International Studies would use different words. But hey, I'm only an infidel. I might get confused over these matters.

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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Comparative Educational Quality

I linked to Tehran's Killing Fields from Little Green Footballs. It's a disturbing article but being obnoxious and somewhat anonymous, I was ready to offer sarcastic comments on how the world and "human rights" organizations would blame the Jewish/American/Zionist/Crusader/Bush boogy man, until I got to this line:
The quality of Iranian education is high, comparable to Western countries.
I'm not sure if says more about Iran or more about the West, but it does make one wonder how we're going to maintain our civilization. We're under attack from the outside. We're under attack from the inside. And we're not educating our children as well as a theocratic, barbaric nation, whose population is under the thumb of criminal mullahs, and where the biggest concern when stoning an innocent woman to death is the size of the stones.

Should I worry yet?

Or am I reading too much into this?

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Why I Love the Blogosphere aka Why My Local Newpaper has Become Irrelevent

In the blogosphere (fast becoming, for me at least, synonymous with the Internet) I can read news and commentary by; Michelle Malkin, Victor Hanson, Orson Scott Card, Mark Steyn, Ann Coulter, James Lileks, Thomas Sowell, Melanie Phillips, Walter Williams, Mona Charen, Jeff Jacoby, Jonah Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes, Oriana Fallaci, Martin Kramer, Dennis Prager, Jonathan Tobin, and others. Contributers to one site offer leads to intriguing reading at other sites. I can bounce from blog to blog, from website to website until my wife and kids are begging me to get off because they have business and schoolwork to do on the computer. I can laugh along with the jokers at IMAO and Iowahawk, not to mention the rich archives of jokes and cartoons scattered around the Internet.

In my local newspaper, I can read articles extoling the peacemaking skills of Abbas, while ignoring the continued Palestinian terrorist attacks and constant incitement to violence in the Palestinian mosques and schools. These same articles question Sharon's dedication to peaceful coexistance, because, as a Jew, he dares defend his country against terror. I can read the same tired canard of Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld deceit that has gotten us into an "Iraqi quagmire" without an "exit strategy". Even the comics page has lost some of its luster. Too many "cartoonists" can't draw or write.

Yes, there is the most foul, disgusting, racist crap on the internet also. I can avoid it though, or I can go to the racist, anti-semitic, pro-jihad sites to see what they're really saying. My local newspaper won't tell me, so I have to find out on my own.

Good bye local newspaper.

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Interesting Thoughts by Orson Scott Card

I found this piece by Orson Scott Card offers some excellent points on the outrage over the Koran that was not flushed down a toilet.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Mishandling a Charge of Abuse

The headline of the Detroit Free Press Article reads: Pentagon admits to Koran abuse. The bold line below it claims: Guantanamo prisoner takes back toilet claim. Am I just a brainless right-wing extremist, or are these contradictory headlines?

After reading the article, contributed by the Associated Press, the most damning phrase in the article says that ". . . guards or interrogators mishandled the Koran of Muslim prisoners. . .". It goes on to state that the original claim of Koran meeting toilet was retracted. And let's face it. Mishandling is not abuse - unless you condone this article, which was run by the Free Press on the day of Israel's independence, and is chock full of Palestinians condemning Israel and blaming the Jews for all of the problems of the Palestinians.

Did the headline writer not read the article? Or was he or she offering a "nuanced" version of the truth? I'm sure there's no intention to steer the readers' emotions in any anti-American direction. After all, we've been assured time and time again that there is no liberal bias in the Main Stream Media.

Right. I'll believe that on the day I'm ready to purchase that ocean-front property in Nebraska!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Iraqi News

I linked to Michael Yon from Michelle Malkin. He's a reporter in Iraq with a blog. While all of the news he's reporting isn't good, it's honest, and he's got a great explanation of how the "news" from Iraq is reported, filtered, and simplified until the MSM decides it's dumbed-down enough and negative enough for consumer consumption. It's got the usual anti-American, sensationalized, we're-in-a-quagmire, bush-lied-people-died style of reporting beat every which way. Yes, there are other stories coming out of Iraq, but this is one worth reading.

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Sunday, May 22, 2005


I lept over to Eject! Eject! Eject! at the recommendation of another blogger. Go here now for a good read and an important point of view.


What, Me Blogging?

Crazy, busy week, this past week, with the usual working, tutoring, shlepping the kids places. That's OK, I thought, I'll be able to do some posting this weekend; this bright sunny weekend that turned out to be a perfect weekend for gardening.

So after spending Friday night driving my son to an event he commited to an hour's drive away, I got up Saturday so my wife and I could go to the gardening store.

Actually there was some free time before we went. I hit a garage sale and picked up an ancient Science Fiction Book Club copy of Inter Ice Age 4 by Kobe Abe.

My wife and I spent most of the day though, completing our flagstone patio and planing some new flora around it. My daughter tended her garden (but I did most of the weeding, sometimes weeds have bugs you know), and my son was off at his far away event. In the evening, my wife and I went to a gala at our synagogue in honor of some long-time members.

More gardening today, even though it rained; household chores, correcting papers, and now I get to sit and wonder: How do the big time bloggers spend all those hours in front of their computers? Do they have jobs? families? periods of sleep?

When I'm done here, I'm going to prepare my weekly note to parents, letting them know about all of the fascinating things we are doing in class. As a special bonus, each and every parent letter is individualized with a progress report letting every parent know how many assignments their little genius has turned in and how many they are missing. Parents love that. Kids hate it.

Maybe I'll have more time to post this week.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A Mark Steyn Tsunami Update

Here is a brilliant column by Mark Steyn. He does more than just update us on the tsunami relief effort.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Shut Up and Get Over It!

Here's something from Mohammed Daraghmeh of the Associated Press which was run in today's Detroit Free Press.It seems the Palestinians are still upset that Israel exists. If only they would have said something!

For them, it's a day of outrage and mourning. Why? Because all of their problems are caused by Israel. In the article a Hamas member, while calling for the destruction of Israel, refers to it as a "cancer". Mahmoud Abbas, Israel's partner in peace(?!?!) had this to say,
"Our people will never forget, and the generations will never forget," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech aired on Palestine TV. "On that day, a crime was committed against a people who were uprooted from their land and whose existence was destroyed and who were forced to flee to all areas of the world."
I'm sure he was holding an olive branch in his outstretched hand as he made that statement.

Surprisingly, no mention was made of Jews who were uprooted, forced to flee to Israel, or murdered in pogroms throughout the Muslim world in the Twentieth Century. Nor was there any mention of the many and varied contributions made by Israelis.

As I constantly tell my elementary school students: People who are failures make excuses. Successful people don't have to. Someone needs to tell that to the Palestinian people.

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

You can do anything but stay off of my Blue Suede Koran

I was blog bouncing, following stories about the fake but innacurate report from Newsweek on the Koran flushing incident, starting at Little Green Footballs then checking out Michelle Malkin; linked from her to USS Neverdock and from there, linked to The Beleaguered Christians of the Palestinian-Controlled Areas, by David Raab. It's a lengthy but enlightening and valuable article. Remember the siege of the Church of the Nativity? According to the article:
When the siege finally ended, the PA soldiers left the church in terrible condition:

The Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity seized church stockpiles of food and "ate like greedy monsters" until the food ran out, while more than 150 civilians went hungry. They also guzzled beer, wine, and Johnnie Walker scotch that they found in priests' quarters, undeterred by the Islamic ban on drinking alcohol. The indulgence lasted for about two weeks into the 39-day siege, when the food and drink ran out, according to an account by four Greek Orthodox priests who were trapped inside for the entire ordeal....
The Orthodox priests and a number of civilians have said the gunmen created a regime of fear.
Even in the Roman Catholic areas of the complex there was evidence of disregard for religious norms. Catholic priests said that some Bibles were torn up for toilet paper, and many valuable sacramental objects were removed. "Palestinians took candelabra, icons and anything that looked like gold," said a Franciscan, the Rev. Nicholas Marquez from Mexico.

Should we be surprised? We know there's a double standard when it comes to Islamic desecration of Jewish and Christian holy sites. And even when it comes to slaughtering innocents, how much outrage is expressed when a busload of Israelis is killed by a homicide bomber, compared to the outrage over this non-crime against Islam?

Also, as Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs reminds us, Newsweek is ready to take the word of a lying jihadi, but doubts the veracity of our own army spokesmen.

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When Terrorists Use the Media

Great column by John Tierney of the New York Times.
When the other reporters and I finished filling our notebooks, we wondered morosely if we could have done a service to everyone - victims, mourners, readers - by reducing the story to a box score. We all knew the template: number of victims, size of the crater, distance debris had been hurled, height of smoke plume, range at which explosion was heard.

There was no larger lesson except that some insurgents were willing and able to kill civilians, which was not news. We were dutifully presenting as accurate an image as we could of one atrocity, but we knew we were contributing to a distorted picture of life for Iraqis.

The standard advice to newly arrived journalists at that time was: "Relax. It's not nearly as bad here as it looks on TV."
It's well worth reading. He makes some excellent points.

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Friday, May 13, 2005

How to Mount an Effective Smear Campaign

Make sure the smear gets passed around and repeated everywhere. And I mean everywhere! For example, here is the opening paragraph of Terry Lawson's Detroit Free Press review of the new Jet Li movie, UNLEASHED:
It was once an acting-class staple to become an animal. Not a human animal, like Hannibal Lecter or John Bolton or Andrew Dice Clay, but the sort of animal that purred or squwked or dragged its knuckles on the ground.
As we can see, it's also important to demean the reputation of the one being smeared in a clever(?), light-hearted manner, while at the same time increasing the viciousness as the smear campaign continues.

How low can the anti-Bolton dolts go?

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Bias at Newsweek?

According to Newsweek's recently added Blog Watch feature,
Iraq continues to bedevil Coalition forces and the new Iraqi government. University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole offers a sober perspective at juancole.com
. Thinking that Newsweek wouldn't lie to a long time subscriber like me, (even though they have maliciously dumped on Daniel Pipes in the past, and heaped unwarranted praise on The Daily Kos) I sauntered over for a look.

If you're looking for a gleeful recounting of the latest suicide bombings, defeatism, and the wish for terrorist victories, this is your blog. For actual sober perspective Democracy in Iraq, Healing Iraq, Iraq at a Glance, or some of the other Iraqi bloggers might better serve your interests. You can also check out the latest by Jack Kelly in today's Jewish World Review. Mr. Kelly's perspective makes a lot more sense than that of Mr. Juan-Body Count-Cole.

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Things Israel Does

AUT members, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, college students, and others who think divestiture from companies who do business with Israel is a good idea, should read the following article carefully, maybe even a couple of times to gain its full impact. For more information, go to Israel21c

The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year. Israeli trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following: The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israelibranch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirelydesigned, developed and produced in Israel. The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.Voice mail technology was developed in Israel. Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis. Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia and China). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel's Air Force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16's. This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the U. S.According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry'smost impenetrable flight security. U. S. officials now look to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats. Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined. Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people --as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S.(3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has thehighest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world -- apart from the Silicon Valley, U. S.Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U. S.Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East. The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK.On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.Twenty-four per cent of Israel's workforce holds university degrees,ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees.Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews at Risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel.When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.When the U. S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day -- and saved three victimsfrom the rubble.Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship -- and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world.Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity. Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process,an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books. Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert. Israel has more museums per capita than any other country. Medicine... Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment. Every year in U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes. Israel's Givun Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used to view the small intestine from the inside, the camera helps doctors diagnose cancer and digestive disorders.Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure.The new device is synchronized with the heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors. Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. Israel places first in this category as well. A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the ClearLight device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct -- all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue. An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California's Mojave desert. All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other country on earth.

Now, ask yourself; would the world be better off with Israel (or the Zionist entity if you are a truly hate-filled, blind fool) or without it?

As long as you're still here, answer this question: with 20 percent of the world's population, why aren't muslims contributing to the world at even a fraction of the pace that Israel, with less than 0.01 percent of the world's population is? Could it be that they're too focused on the destruction of Israel and that's where they're pouring their vast resources?


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

IMAO and the UN

My son and I are now proud owners of IMAO "10 top UN Slogans" t-shirts. As his is black and mine is blue they're not quite matching, but they're still quite dashing.

He may be screwing up in Geometry, his bedroom might resemble Fallujah after the US Marine's last visit, but he still recognizes at the tender age of 15 that the former hope of the world has turned into a vast, scandal-ridden, anti-semitic, anti-western, anti-democratic cesspool.

He doesn't follow the news as closely as I do, but if he did, I'm sure he would agree that we need John Bolton in the UN. No, Bolton won't clean it up, but he won't suck up to Islamic dictatorships or members of the EU. And he won't apologize for United States policy. We need Bolton!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Macbeth for Kids

I've been reading Macbeth with my fourth graders. The real Macbeth by Shakespeare, not one of the many children's versions. I teach in a small "urban" district, one beset with all of the maladies of other "urban" public school districts. But I was determined that we would read Macbeth. After reading Romeo and Juliet with a group of fifth graders a few years ago, I knew it was possible.

First, of course, I had to teach the class to read. I did it using The Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking, published by The Riggs Institute. It was a struggle, but it paid off. While not everyone is as fluent as I'd like, we're reading Macbeth, bit by bit, every day. The exciting thing is that most of the students are enjoying it. We stop a lot to discuss things like plot, character, and "what did he just say?" I've read this play before, I've got my heavily annotated edition, and I do a lot of explaining, except for the dirty parts. We just pass over those.

I'm amazed almost daily at how well some of my students are understanding the motivations of the characters, what they're thinking, possible future plot directions, and themes. Some of the essays they've written about the play have shown remarkable perception. Some haven't.

Either way, it sure beats the stuffings out of reading the district approved dreck the rest of the fourth grade is subjected to.

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

How the Irish Saved Civilization

This is the first in Thomas Cahill's "Hinges of History" series. This is the first of four that have been published. There will be seven when he's done. I read GIFTS OF THE JEWS (second in the series) a while ago. You should read it too. HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION was more entertaining, but then outside of a few rakes like David and the young Solomon, the Old Testament Jews were a pretty dour lot. Not that they didn't help create the world as we know it, but one would probably rather have a few drinks with the early Irish, both pre and post-Christian, although later in life, Noah certainly demonstated serious skill in over-imbibing.

It's amazing what one person with a compelling idea and the charisma to inspire others can do to change the world. By convincing the warlike Irish to become literate, St. Patrick remade their society and guaranteed the survival of at least some of the ancient Greek, Roman, and Irish texts in addition to creating the foundation of a new Irish literature.

As Mr. Cahill states late in the book,
The Greek bible, the Greek commentaries, and much of the literature of ancienct Greece were well enough preserved at Byzantium, and might be still available to us somewhere - if we had the interest to seek them out. But Latin literature would almost surely have been lost without the Irish, and illiterate Europe would hardly have developed its great national literatures without the example of Irish, the first vernacular literature to be written down. Beyond that, there would have perished in the west not only literacy but all the habits of mind that encourage thought. And when Islam began its medieval expansion, it would have encountered scant resistance to its plans - just scattered tribes of animists, ready for a new identity.

With the survival of Western Civilization once again at stake, it's important to realize that the rise of the west didn't happen automatically. People created and fought for what we have today. This is a book that helps one appreciate what we have, why we have it, and how easy it is to lose.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Colonel David Hackworth died today

I first heard of Col. Hackworth upon the publcation of ABOUT FACE, his fascinating autobiography. I knew it was something I wanted to read. My father also wanted to read it, so in a bit of self-serving filial piety, I bought him a copy for Father's Day. He doesn't read much, and doesn't keep books so I knew once he was done with it, he would be happy to dump it on me. I looked at it as a win-win situation. And I thank Col. Hackworth for giving my father and me one more thing to share.

As much as I enjoyed reading the book, and learning his insights into war and fighting, the thing that struck me was his condemnation of the career brass who have no function except their own advancment. The way he described these military bureaucrats reminded me of the educational establishment of which, being a teacher, I am at the bottom of. Excellence is discouraged. Keeping the status quo intact is rewarded, and CYA is the order of the day. I meant to write him a letter about that, but I never did. You're not interested in my excuses.

I followed his columns in Newsweek. I remember in the aftermath of Sept. 11, one of the TV stations was about to interview him over the phone. They tried to put him on hold in favor of Hillary Clinton who they had just gotten ahold of. He hung up and I changed channels. I picked up a copy of his HAZARDOUS DUTY in hardcover at a garage sale for a quarter last summer. I'll be reading it soon.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Where can I get one of these?

Where can I get one of these? Posted by Hello I'd like one of these in my neighborhood. People should know what we're facing after all.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005


This isn't the entire message. I didn't get permission, so I only swiped part of it. It is quite a sermon though.

I have an announcement to make. If you know anything at all about Jewish
history, then hear me well, for this is an incredible announcement. There
was an amazing story that appeared in the papers yesterday. It is a two part
story, and I am not sure which part is the most amazing. The first part of
the story came from the Italian news agency, Ansa. It said that Pope
Benedictus XVI invited the chief rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Riccardo di Segni, to
be his guest at his official installation as the new pope, which will take
place tomorrow.
Let me stop there for a moment, and say that again: Pope Benedictus XVI
invited the Chief Rabbi of Rome to be his guest at his official installation
as the new pope. Let me ask you: what would your grandparents and mine have
said if they heard that the Pope, the leader of more than a billion
Catholics, had issued a formal invitation to the chief rabbi of Rome to be a
guest of honor at his coronation? I think that they would have been stunned.
For in their lifetimes, such a thing would have been inconceivable. Do I
have to tell you for how many centuries and in how many ways the Catholic
Church demonized and persecuted and mistreated the Jews? Do I have to tell
you about the blood libels and about the number of times when mobs, fired up
by the sermons that they heard on Easter Sunday, broke into Jewish homes and
pillaged? Do I have to tell you that, according to the Taz, it is advisable
to drink white wine instead of red wine at the Seder because of the blood
libel? And we have lived to see the day when a pope invites the chief rabbi
of Rome to be his guest at his coronation? Surely our ancestors would have
recited the Shehechiyanu at such a momentous event in our history. This is
not a moment to be taken for granted. History was made today.
Let no Jew grumble and let no Jew complain that this pope comes from
Germany or that, in his childhood, he was part of a Nazi youth group. Bite
your tongue, and do not repeat such calumnies. For you should know that this
pope was instrumental in writing the declaration on the relationship of the
church to the Jewish people that was issued by the Vatican. And you should
know that this pope came out of his childhood with an understanding of what
Nazism is and that he has opposed it ever since. And you should know that no
one has the right to label him or condemn him without knowledge. This is a
pope who, on the first day of his pontificate, in his first statement to the
College of Cardinals, announced that he wants to have dialogue with other
faiths. And this is a pope who has invited the chief rabbi of Rome to be his
guest at his coronation. And therefore, let us all wish him well and let us
pray that he will be able to continue in the footsteps of his predecessor.
And now, the second part of the story, one which I think is as just
astonishing as the first part. Do you know what the Chief Rabbi of Rome did
when he got the invitation to attend the coronation of the new Pope? The
Chief Rabbi of Rome responded to the invitation from the Pope and said,
respectfully, but clearly: thank you, but no thank you. He wished the Pope
very, very well and said that he and his people would be praying for him on
this day. And he thanked him for the invitation. But he explained that this
Sunday, the day of the installation of the Pope, is the first day of Pesach,
and therefore he will be with his people at services and so he regrets that
he cannot attend. What would our ancestors have said to that? There was a
time when, if a pope or a cardinal or a bishop or a priest invited Jews,
they came-whether they wanted to or not. They came out of fear. But now,
this rabbi feels free enough that he can turn down the invitation. For him,
Pesach has priority over the pope's installation. And by demonstrating that,
he is teaching us what it means to be a free man.

It certainly does give one something to think about.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

Memories of Clinton

Besides "the dress" what other memorabilia is there from the Clinton years? Well, how about North Korea's nuclear program? And now they're testing missles. Clinton gave North Korea nuclear technology only after they promised to use it only for peaceful purposes. Maybe his mind was on his "specially flavored cigars" at the time.

But according to Hillary,
"Put simply, they couldn't do that when George Bush became president, and now they can."
She has the nerve to blame Bush for N. Korean bellicosity? Idiot! Haven't you learned anything from history? It's the appeaser who always takes it up the you-know-what.

I'm seething over this one!

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

More on AUT

I always thought that bigots came from the uneducated, easily led segments of society and that prejudice against certain groups of people was a sign of ignorance. The "scholarly" members of the British AUT (minus the ones who have enough sense to repudiate the organization) prove me wrong. Here's a great piece on the AUT boycott of Israeli universities.



My fourth graders just finished reading Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves out of the Junior Great Books series. One of the aspects of the story that we discussed was the nature of unearned wealth. How does it affect people? As the discussion progressed, one student brought up the Donald Duck story we read together. It was originally published in WDCS 126, vol 11, no.6, March 1951. In that story, a tornado comes along and empties Uncle Scrooge's money bin, and scatters all of his money throughout Duckburg and surrounding towns. The citizens of Duckburg and elsewhere are instant millionaires and every one of them decides to retire and run off the see the world.

Of course, nobody can get what they need anymore because all the stores have closed as the owners have split. The only ones still working are Uncle Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, and Louie on Scrooge's farm. Everyone has to come to them to buy the necessities of life, and due to the immutable law of supply and demand, Uncle Scrooge gets all of his money back.

We compared the two stories, and discussed if their was a common moral lesson. What made me happiest though, was that they remembered the story and were able to apply it to a story many months later. There is hope!

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