Friday, September 28, 2007

The Power of Gut Instincts

I think that we have gut instincts for a reason. It is probably the last subliminal vestiges of our animal ancestors and it has to do with senses that we no longer cognitively control or acknowledge. I have always regretted going against my better judgement or instincts. I think that reticence on the part of children with strangers is a normal protective system. But it's not popular. The shy kids are always the ones picked on at school, seldom recognized by teachers or parents. So programs exist to actively lure kids out of their normal hesitation. While extreme shyness can be crippling, I think we have gone so far the other way that our kids, especially our daughters, are becoming targeted by people who exploit ethnicity, poverty or status to manipulate young girls into actions that place them in danger. What is one of the first things a college freshman hears at orientation? It's a cycle of "accept everyone, learn new things, experience life." Back that up with a healthy dose of celebrity behavior on TV and in movies and you have a young student, on their own for the first time, deliberately avoiding the warning signals that should be going off in her brain to say no, to seek protection or to run away. This isn't an attempt to blame the victim, please don't get me wrong-that blame lies completely on the dirtbag that chose to take an innocent life for no good reason whatsoever.

But as parents and as educators, we need to ask ourselves if in our quest to raise young women and men who survive to adulthood, we aren't being just a little too naive with the concept of blanket acceptance for everyone. I know it isn't a word filled with positive vibes, but sometimes, being "discriminating" is a good thing. You don't pick a car that you know has a history of blowing up-that's being discriminating. You don't eat day old smelly fish-that's being discriminating. Yet when it comes to people, if you refuse to take an action a manipulative scam artist can trot out the race card, or the poverty card, or the "I'm a stranger here myself" card and the unwitting or unwise young person may just go along with what could be a very bad situation. This poor girl isn't the first one even in Denton to suffer such a fate. It happens more often than we really want to know. It used to be that at 18 you were considered an adult, treated like and adult and expected to make decisions like an adult-and the schools and society worked to make that happen in the years preceding graduation. Now we have high school seniors who have had 12 plus years of a social safety net. They get to college and assume all their contacts and activities have been checked out as safe. Life isn't like that. We need to make sure our kids know that before they walk out the door.


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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Who Reads Newspapers?

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I freely admit to lifting this from a post at FoxDFW and I am pretty sure they found it on some other blog, but this list bears repeating.


"1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country -- if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who’s running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who’s running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store."

My add-ins at #12. The Chicago Tribune is read by people who vote for Democrats but think, speak and act Republican.

#13. The Dallas Morning News is read by people who vote Republican but act Democrat.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

ILLEGAL Immigration is the Key Issue

Too many Democrats are actively running away from the issue of Illegal Immigration. They refuse to address it in a meaningful manner and in fact collectively resemble bratty five year olds with their fingers stuck in their ears yelling "nahnahnah" to block out the drumbeats that are the increasing frustration that most voters, not just Republicans, but Democrats and Independents as well, with the inability of Congress and the Feds to get a grasp on what this deluge of illegal immigrants is doing to our nation. I have included a couple of current quotes, but I also have a four year old blog post from a Democrat who even back then was frustrated with the way her party and her candidates were ignoring the issue of ILLEGAL immigration. Once again, it's not the legel immigration most people mind. This isn't Jim Crow retroactively kicking in. Instead it is a steady, measured and what appears to be a coordinated effort by the Mexican government to rid themselves of their unwanted lower classes and palm off the responsibility for education, health and welfare on the United States.
Here's the Blog
And while you are waiting, here's a quote from another source.

"Regarding the Ongoing, Nationwide, Immigration Debate:

"Localities that fail to cooperate with DHS in identifying criminal aliens in their custody may end up paying a steep price. They ensure that criminal aliens who could otherwise be deported, are released back into the community to commit further crimes, which they do at an astonishing rate. A Government Accountability Office study found that 55,322 criminal aliens were arrested a total of at least 459,614 times, averaging over eight arrests per alien. The Department of Justice expressed its surprise at the 'extremely high' rate of re-arrests for criminal aliens when it found that that 73 criminal aliens in a study group were arrested a total of 429 times. Localities that adopt 'sanctuary' policies, in an effort to be welcoming to both legal and illegal immigrants, need to consider whether such policies have the effect of attracting and incubating crime."

-- Senator John Kyl (R-AZ), Finance Committee
Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight
and Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on
Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security



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Friday, September 21, 2007

The Tyranny of Techies

I would be the first to admit that much of what our culture has become is because of our advanced technology. But I am beginning to think that the love of technology just for the sake of technology is supplanting the love of money as the root of all evil. There are many of us who have computers, do email, surf the web, and that is all we do. There are others who are far more invested in not only using technology but in pressing its use, even when unnecessary, on other applications. Many school districts are actively requiring that teachers learn an entire slate of computer applications. Some of these such as email and gradebooks are necessary. Others are not. There are some applications that a classroom teacher will never use. And yet because it is required, proficiency is also expected. This is also going on in our businesses and communities. Many seniors are getting shut out of community access because they don't know how to use computers and let's face it, after a certain age, many just don't want to learn. This is also going on in industry. When you have a boss who demands reports that are so lengthy, so complex that they get in the way of doing the job, is that use of technology really improving the bottom line? People who don't actually have to do those tedious reports, but just command that they be done, have no idea the amount of work involved because when they have such reports, they hand it over to their subordinates or secretaries. I can see knowing certain programs if you are an engineer or an accountant, but if you are in customer service or sales, the constant quest to create technological easter eggs for an increasingly unnecessary function eats up time that would be more efficiently done on the job. I think this comes from the college grads of the 1980's who majored in computer science and thought computers would solve all our problems. Well its twenty five years down the road and we really don't have a paperless society because we still have to print everything out-even the powerpoints we present at meetings. Technology is a wonderful servant but a cruel master. Ask anyone who has an insufferable IT manager or a hinky connection to their server. And we have become so reliant on it that we cannot function without it. We know more about network interface than we know how to discuss problems face to face with our co-workers. Sorry, but this smacks more of Brave New World than of the Bright Future we were promised. So back off the cell phone, power down the PC, light an old school fire in the fireplace and have a conversation for a change.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Democrats and Moveon.org Are At It Again.

The story linked to the title above covers a situation where the more radical fringes of the Democrat party is trying to stampede the entirety of the party into blind allegiance. They want the most radical platform supported by the likes of George Soros and his organization to be The Platform of the Democrat candidates in 2008.

This may be the sheer hubristic folly that brings them down. Most pundits and even some conservatives consider this election the Democrats to lose. But when you go out of your want to alienate those who serve, you must recall that there are large numbers of people of color, middle class kids and urban kids who use their military perq's to pay for college. When you insult a uniformed leader of the forces of the United States, by association you are also insulting all those who have and who still do serve in the armed forces. While on the surface, this appears to be just another silly stunt to attract publicity, it's just as offensive as virtually using the names of dead soldiers to create a mock cemetery across from the President's home. Oh wait, that was them too. I think what is most galling about this issue is that many of these folks who would NEVER allow their own kids to fight, are having their right to protest and make fools of themselves by the sacrifices of these men and women.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Where Were You On 9.11.2001?

Where were you on 9/11? Where were you when the towers fell? I think too many people have forgotten. Many of today's high school students were sheltered from the images. And now we have a generation that has been insulated from what is going on in the real world. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to allow them to see what really happened on that horrible day. If you haven't written down where you were and shared it with your kids, you should do that. This is their Pearl Harbor. This is their Valley Forge.
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