December, 2014 archive
Chartering a Course for Disaster 0
Another one bites the dust.
“It’s unfair to receive notification over the weekend that the school will be closed,” said Jihan Pauling, a parent who organized a rally outside the charter’s main campus.
Citing insurmountable financial obstacles, the Palmer charter sent letters to families and staff on Friday informing them that the school would close permanently Wednesday.
The move sent teachers on quests for new jobs and information about filing for unemployment, and left families of the school’s 675 students in kindergarten through eighth grade scrambling for new schools.
Lee Camp’s Bank Shots 0
“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0
A polite society is a clean society.
A 10-year-old was accidentally shot in the leg when his father was cleaning a gun that had not been unloaded, police said.
How is this an “accident” and not “negligence”?
And, in further news of the polite . . . .
A woman was shot and killed by her toddler son inside a Walmart Tuesday morning.
The boy, who was sitting in the shopping cart, reached into his mother’s purse and grabbed her gun, according to sheriff’s officials. The gun went off, striking the woman.
If everyone was always packing, no doubt this would not have happened. The kid would have had his own gun and wouldn’t have needed his mother’s. Or something something something gun nut paradise.
Some Things Never Change 0
In the Roanoke Times, Halford Ryan traces the history of the Stars and Bars. He concludes that its symbolism cannot be (you will pardon the expression) whitewashed:
Chauvinistic Neo-Confederates and their fellow travelers want currently to hawk the Stars and Bars without regard for its historical, symbolic and divisive impact on others.
But many recognize the flag’s disruptive symbolism for what it was then and for what it is now. They do not honor the flag now nor respect what it stood for then.
The Confederate flag in 1861-65 symbolized exactly what it signifies in 2014: rebellion over slavery against the United States of America.
Follow the link to see how he reached this conclusion.
Q. When Is a “Gym” Not a “Gym”? 0
A. When it’s a “Human Performance Center.”
I’m not sure which is worse: Racists or politicians who pander to racists. (Of course, sometimes, a pol is both at the same time.)
Nevertheless, it can be fun to watch them wriggle when they get caught, even when you know that, ultimately, they will slip off the hook because they do, indeed, represent their constituents.
I guess this shows some progress. At least, it has become–er–unseemly to be openly racist; now, racists are restricted to code words except when they are amongst their own. When I was a young ‘un, it was perfectly acceptable to be an openly racist politician.
Henry Ward Beecher:
It’s easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top.
An Awakening 0
A Republican travels to China and discovers the reality of white privilege in America. Here’s a bit; read the rest.
Privilege isn’t necessarily undeserved superior treatment; it’s the ability to enjoy trust within the community without having to earn it. The benefit of the doubt is a powerful form of privilege that can only be noticed once it’s gone.
I recently traveled to China on business, joined by a colleague on his first visit. We are both white males, yet my travel companion stands out in the crowd. Local citizens flocked to capture a glimpse and snap pictures of his towering 6’ 5” frame, blonde hair and blue eyes. While I expected a reaction from the local crowd, I wasn’t prepared for a very new experience: the benefit of the doubt I have always enjoyed vanished.
Misdirection Play, “Stifle It, Ethel” Dept. 0
In response to all the police are good/police are bad business lately, I’ve noticed a lot of people saying things like, “You have no right to comment on this; you’ve never been a police officer.”
I noticed the same thing when people wrote about soldiers and war around Veterans Day. And Memorial Day.
And when I wrote some critical pieces about Israel over the summer, I was told I shouldn’t say anything because I didn’t live there.
Basically what I’m saying is that this is a popular move to end a discussion.
It’s an old tactic: When you got nothing, change the subject.
Follow the link for the rest of his post.
Misdirection Play, Threat Assessment Dept. (Updated) 0
Jared Diamond thinks we are looking for bogeymen in all the wrong places.
We Americans today are focused on the wrong threats to American democracy. We are obsessed with threats from overseas: from terrorists and Islamist extremists, and from other countries. But realistically, while terrorists and Islamists and other countries will continue to cause trouble for us, the chance of their ending American democracy is nil. The only real threat to American democracy comes from Americans themselves.
Read the rest. It is not comforting.
Cavalcade of Stupid 0
“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0
Another chapter in the hunt for politeness:
Moore was hunting with a group of about 5 to 6 family and friends when one of them shot a deer, according to Captain Robert McCollough with SCDNR.
McCullough said they went back to find the deer and were following a trail of the wounded deer’s blood when one woman tripped.
The woman’s gun went off and accidentally shot Moore.
Have these persons never heard of a “safety”?
No Place To Hide 0
I saw a local police car recently. Since the last time I had a close view of one, they seem to have grown license plate scanners pointing in every direction.
James Lileks has some wonders about those license plate scanners.
I’m not paranoid on this issue. I don’t brace the paper-delivery person every morning and say “how do you know I live here?” I can see why the police would want a searchable database of everything that ever happened. Your profession colors your view of what’s reasonable and necessary. . . .
But there is the small matter of protecting that database of license-plate pictures. You know how this will go: City announces gigantic 40 terabyte database of license photos “so secure God himself could not hack this file, and I say that fully aware that such a taunt led to the sinking of the Titanic.” An hour later a group called iC3B3RG puts every license plate picture online.
Discovery in divorce trials could romp through the data and uncover so many things.
By the bye, Lileks has some great collections of memorabilia on his website, which I first stumbled over back in early days of the innerwebs.
Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt 0
At Psychology Today Blogs, Kenneth Worthy tries to understand Republican denial of climate change. He finds a confluence of authoritarianism, short-term economic self-interest, and social dominance.
The U.S. Republican party stands alone in the developed, industrialized world as the only major political party to fail to acknowledge that global climate change is real, is damaging (not just to nature but to people and the economy), and requires us to change the way we do business. Not that other U.S. politicians have rallied vigorously enough to lead the nation to significantly reduce fossil-fuel and other emissions that cause climate change. But the Republican party, with all of its denial that the problem even exists, presents perhaps the greatest obstacle to action against climate change, particularly now that they will control both houses.
Despite an annoying overuse of jargon and acronyms, it’s worth a read.