Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I Wrote This In A Useless Class

Well, this was a sad year. For the first time, the joy of summer vacation was overshadowed by thoughts of how screwed up next year is going to be. And I didn't do a thing about it.

At the big staff meetings, there was no chance. They should change the name from "staff meeting" to "principal's lecture" because all you do is sit there while he lectures. Most of the time, he treats these lectures as if he were speaking to an audience of three year olds. If "I think you're all retarded" is implicit in everything he says, can't he just get it out of the way at the beginning and save us the attitude? There is no staff input or participation. I've tried to raise my hand and comment several times, and the response is always "Sorry, we've just got so much to get through that we don't have any time for comments." I just learned that the Department Chair meetings (heads of each department meeting with the principal) go the same way. Eventually, I stopped raising my hand and contemplated all the ways I wished I could die rather than be lectured again. And I didn't do a thing about it.

We do have a sort of grievance committee that is set up to hear faculty concerns at the school site. Let's call it the Petitioner's Council. I am on this council. It is scheduled to meet once a month, with a monthly report of issues presented at the following faculty meeting. We met twice in the fall. I did not pursue more meetings. Just like everyone else, I was grateful for one less unpaid, after-hours meeting per month. I never complained. And I didn't do a thing about it.

One of my activities this summer will be to look at what went wrong, what needs to be done to make it right, and why, quite frankly, our school is destined to fail at it. Even if I didn't do a thing about it, I did make a beef list, so I've got a few ideas about where to start. It must be around here somewhere . . .

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Wictory Wednesday! (Early Edition)

This week Wictory Wednesday presents Diana Irey for US Congress. Diana is running against ex-Marine Rep. John Murtha from Pennsylvania who needs no explanation as to why he should be replaced. This race began as what seemed to be an uneventful race against an incumbent who not only didn't expect competition, but is planning on making a run to become House Minority Leader.

Diana Irey served for ten years as commissioner of Washington County and served on a number of boards and commissions, bringing jobs and fiscal discipline to the local government. She supports not only lower taxes but lower government spending. While Murtha's campaign seems to revolve around nothing else but the Iraq War (albeit an important issue), Irey is approaching running for office with a variety of stances on issues including supporting victory in Iraq and treating soldiers with respect, not as criminals.

Most importantly Diana is not a beltway bureaucrat and has served only in local offices until now. She will not only bring a local perspective to a seat that is held by an individual more concerned with his own national profile, she will support balanced budgets and intelligent policy-making to a Congress that has shown itself to be free with the money entrusted to it.

Please consider supporting the campaign of Diana Irey for the House of Representatives for the 12th District of Pennsylvania.

This has been a production of the Wictory Wednesday blogburst. If you would
like to join Wictory Wednesday, please see this post or contact John Bambenek at jcb (dot) blog [at] gmail {dot} com. The following sites are members of the Wictory Wednesday team:

Moving Update Soon

So I'm over at Miss Tori's now. More on that soon. Just so you know. Oh, and not the blog, I mean I moved to her place from the hermitage.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Wictory Wednesday!

It's campaign season again, which means the return of Wictory Wednesday. This is an effort begun during the 2004 election season, in which every Wednesday, we highlight a Republican running for this or that important seat in the House or Senate. This week, we are highlighting Rep. Jean Schmidt from Ohio.

Congresswoman Schmidt is a supporter of private property rights against the
rising level of abuse of eminent domain by cities and states. Emiment domain is the widely criticized practice by which local governments kick you out of your home, pay you a (now very deflated) price for your house, and then hand it over to big business. Some of the rampant abuse of eminent domain has had governments pay only $1 for property worth over a million, and the City of New London charging "back rent" for citizens who exercise their legal rights and challenged the city's eminent domain action in court. Congresswoman Schmidt is commited to ending the abuse of local governments by curtailing eminent domain.

Representative Schmidt has been a strong proponent of fiscal responsibility and has cosponsored legislation to give the President a line-item veto to help curtail the abuse of earmarks tagged on to legislation. She also understands that part and parcel of cutting taxes is reducing spending, not increasing it.

Lastly, Representative Schmidt understands that a nation worthy of the title of
nation must secure it's borders. This is not to say all legal immigration should be stopped, but it should be a matter of common sense that immigration should be regulated and orderly. While it may be difficult to craft a solution to illegal immigration, it does not follow that an open-borders, full amnesty, and large payoff to illegals is the way to go.

Please consider donating to Representative Schmidt's campaign or volunteering your time.

This has been a production of the Wictory Wednesday blogburst. If you would
like to join Wictory Wednesday, please see this post or contact John Bambenek at jcb (dot) blog [at] gmail {dot} com.

The following sites are members of the Wictory Wednesday team:

Monday, June 12, 2006


When Shall I Return? Today!

So why couldn't I write about the That 70's Show finale (one of the better sitcoms overall, but a so-so ending)?

Why couldn't I write about Americal Idol, and how Taylor has some weird quality that you can't look away from? How, since I normally watch the show for the judges' put-downs, I was surprised that I actually tuned in to see Taylor perform? How I would actually consider buying his CD?

Why couldn't I write about 24, and what on earth they might do with the China situation?

I've been moving. I can't believe it either, but slowly, things have come together at the hermitage, and it actually looks semi not crappy when you get all my crap out of it. My current status is living with Miss Tori while we look for a new place together. Of course, we're talking California real estate, so who knows what will happen next?

Oh and the incumbent Pombo vs challenger McCloskey? Pombo won just fine and will stand for re-election in the fall. Honestly? There's no way I would ever vote for McCloskey once I learned that the unions were supporting him. That immediately says to me "We're the unions, and we want to get rid of the incumbent so we can tear McCloskey down as an anti-semite during the general election and get a Democrat into this traditionally Republican seat." I hope this wasn't one of the seats they were counting on changing hands. Sorry Dems, better luck next time, haw haw haw!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Wictory Wednesday Returns!

It's campaign season again, which means the return of Wictory Wednesday. This is an effort begun during the 2004 election season, in which every Wednesday, we highlight a Republican running for this or that important seat in the House or Senate. This week, we are highlighting Mark Kennedy, who plans to move up to the Senate from the House, where he has served three terms.

This week, Wictory Wednesday presents US Rep. Mark Kennedy for the Senate in Minnesota. Having served 3 terms in the US House of Representatives, he has the advantage of name recognition in the state.

Current the race is to replace retiring Senator Mike Dayton (D) and is considered to be a race where the Republicans stand a chance in picking up a seat in the Senate.

Mark Kennedy spent 20 years as a CPA before entering politics, which brings with it the hope that when he gets to the Senate he might help his fellow Senators on their problem of spending more than they have. He has come out against the spending habits, and the "earmark" process specifically. A particular reform he mentions which is unique is giving the President a line-item veto that allows the President to veto specific clauses in legislation instead of having only an up-or-down say. This increase in the accountablility of the Congress will only help the problem of a tax-and-spend Congress.

Rep. Kennedy understands that the best way to educate children is to put control of the schools in the hands on local officials and parents, not Washington or detached bureaucrats.

Lastly, he realizes that the path to a better health care system is not further detaching patients and doctors from the decision-making process. Our health care system is designed so that insurance companies don't have to meaningfully answer to their customers which results in what every economist would expect, a system that doesn't meet the consumer's needs.

With public opinion of Congress at an all-time low, Rep. Kennedy provides one of the few examples of someone who has some ideas and fights for them.

This has been a production of the Wictory Wednesday blogburst. If you would like to join Wictory Wednesday, please see this post or contact John Bambenek at jcb (dot) blog [at] gmail {dot} com.

Many thanks to John for getting things rolling this year! If I have any kind of skills, you should see links to other participants below.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Pete McCloskey Can't Catch A Break

Sure, they say there's no such thing as bad publicity, but they didn't mean politics, did they?

Here are the two sides of Pete McCloskey that I've seen. Side one: Richard Pombo hates marines and the widows and children of soldiers killed in Iraq. At least, that's all I've learned from the political ads McCloskey runs around here, where I initially became aware of him a few weeks ago (did I mention he's challenging Pombo in the Republican primary in my district?). Shouldn't McCloskey's ads be telling me about Pete McCloskey? Of course, I'm sure there are ads that talk about his views, I'm just saying the only ads I recall (which to me says the ads McCloskey runs the most often) are the ones slamming Pombo. Then again, what do I know? McCloskey's the professional politician.

Side two: McCloskey seems to have some problem with Jews and Israel. Needless to say, I'm not hearing this from McCloskey ads, nor am I hearing it from Pombo's ads. The only Pombo ad I recall had to do with him intervening in some enviromuck and making things right so that marines can engage in realistic training that saves lives in combat, even if it means squashing a few lizards or beetles. I've wondered a few times if Pombo is short of money or something, since I haven't noticed him fighting back much on the air. Again, what do I know? Pombo's a professional politician too, even if I never got so much as a form letter in response when I emailed him one time.

No, what I hear about McCloskey I hear at places like Dean's World (him again!), where McCloskey came up in the comments to this post by Mary Madigan about the Council for the National Interest, a group not very friendly to Israel and the dreaded Israel Lobby. CNI ran a full page ad in the New York Times that could be considered "pro-Hamas" as Miss Madigan noted. Following the link, you can find a pdf of the ad, which favorably refers to the widely discredited (fifteen articles at Powerline alone are here) Israel Lobby piece by professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. The ad notes that the piece "had to be published in London," presumably because no one would touch it here in America because of the "taboo on discussing the Israel Lobby." CNI is the organization of Paul Findley, who was once a Republican congressman. Findley is a pal of McCloskey, and McCloskey has even written at least one piece for CNI lavishly praising Arafat, whose greatness simply isn't recognized now, but will be in the future (thanks Cinnamon). Not such a great start.

Then there's Instapundit, linking to a Volokh piece (one of three on McCloskey and his endorsements from the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times) that notes McCloskey is "the same man who has referred to the 'so-called Holocaust,' in a speech before the Holocaust revisionists at the Institute for Historical Review." Yikes! Pro-Arafat, anti-Jew, and denies the Holocaust? Is he going for some kind of record? And speaking of Records . . .

This article in the Stockton Record (Stockton, California, located in the district in question) notes a donation hastily returned by McCloskey:
A man federal authorities have investigated for financing al-Qaida and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad wrote Republican congressional candidate Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey a $2,100 check on Friday.

Neither M. Yaqub Mirza nor an attorney who has represented him during the investigation returned calls from The Record on Wednesday asking why. But it could be because of McCloskey's friendship with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, his long history of supporting American Muslims or his persistent criticism of Israeli foreign policy.

McCloskey said Wednesday he will return the money.

Ha ha! As I write this, another McCloskey ad just aired. What did I learn about him this time? I learned the Pombo gets money from big oil and hates the environment! You can't make this up. At least it will all be over in five more days.

PS - According to the Record article, other politicians have also returned donations from Mirza, who has donated to politicians of both parties (although examples from the article suggest four dollars to Democrats for every dollar donated to Republicans). One who didn't? Cynthia McKinney, who got $500. When did Mirza donate to her? A little nothing date that probably doesn't mean anything to you with the numbers 9/11/01. And that's another bit of sarcastic coincidence you can't make up.

Actual Update: Let me thank Hank Shaw, who wrote the piece for the Record, and everyone linked above for the contributions they made that made this piece possible. Thanks!

Two Things For You To Read

Rudy Rummel is someone I see posting at Dean's World fairly often. He does a lot of work on global politics, and I first became acquainted with him in the context of the democratic peace, the notion that democracies don't go to war with each other. Lately, he's been writing about what he calls mortacracies, governments that kill their own citizens, often as a direct policy of the government. Just yesterday, I read Rummel's piece about tribal culture in Africa, and how that culture is reflected among blacks in America today. It was an eye-opening piece, and I felt like I really learned something new. Thanks for that, Rudy.

Some of his articles at Dean's World are printed in full, while others begin with a paragraph or two, followed by a link to his own blog. Please read the full African culture post here.

My second reason for writing is to note that Aziz P, another poster at Dean's World, has proposed starting a new regular feature there called Africa Watch . . .
the purpose of which is to highlight events in Africa that have a direct bearing on African liberty and the war on Terror. Rather than a links roundup, the focus will be a single post or group of related posts at other blogs with substantive analysis.

Unlike many of my other posts, I will post AfricaWatch only at Dean's World and not cross-post them at any other blog so that we can try and attract and focus attention and discussion here, and I ask your all's help in publicizing it on other blogs.

Well, writing about it here might fairly be called anti-publicity, but I guess every little bit helps, even this extremely little bit. If I understand correctly, Africa Watch will locate/identify/suggest posts from wherever, and bring the discussion to the comments at Dean's World. If you've never been there, you really should check it out, and if I haven't said it before, the commenters there are civilized, sharp, intelligent, diverse in views, and generally some of the best commenters you'll find anywhere. Which is why I don't comment there, obviously. There's nothing stopping you, though. If you've got something to say, and you can communicate in a respectful manner even when you strongly disagree with someone, go ahead and register to comment. Perhaps you, too, are worthy of this latter-day Algonquin Round Table.

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