Four More Years

Here's a rather sobering anti McBush ad. Pass it around.

Bring Back The Draft!

Andrew J. Bacevich is a retired colonel who makes a lot of sense. Here he is on Moyers. Give this guy a position in government!

I say bring back the draft because this guy is basically saying that unless we the people take back our country, and have a vested interest in it (like sacrificing for it)we will continue to imperialize the presidency, and demean our own citizenship. The draft seems an exceptionally good way to get folks vested!
From Open Left

Update: Sullivan gets an email from a former soldier serving under Bacevich. Impressive.

A. James Bacevich was my Colonel while I was in the 11th ACR stationed in Fulda, Germany. Not sure if you know much about his background, but he was, I believe, passed over for general and retired. His being passed over was at the time attributed to his having been the CO of the unit during the largest accident ever, which happened on July 11th, 1991, at Camp Doha in Kuwait, when our motor pool blew up injuring a few people and rendering the base inoperable. I was there, and it was a terrifying mess. You can read about it here.

Long story short, some folks in them motor pool were doing some maintenance, and put the halon fire extinguishers in an ammo carriers for m109's (artillery vehicles) on mechanical safe, a heater caught on fire, ammo cooked off, and it caused a chain reaction.

My squadron was the one on rotation to be guarding (the other two were in the field doing maneuvers and border stuff), and I was asleep in one of the big airplane hangers when a 100 pound 50 caliber machine gun came flying through the roof and landed about 10 feet from my bunk, part of one of the vehicles blown up in the initial series of explosions

If rumors are true, because of that accident, a few weeks later, Schwarzkopf himself came to the base and and visited Bacevich, and a few months later, he was replaced. Col. Bacevich allegedly took full responsibility for the mess, even though it was not his fault (it was the idiot mechanics who had the halon on mechanical safe), but he believed in accountability. As such, he is the only man to ever be CO of the 11th ACR to be passed over for Brigadier General. Before that, command of the Blackhorse was a sure stepping stone for General. Another soldier who was also there discusses it here.

At any rate, when you talk about Bacevich, not only has he lost his son to this stupid war we both supported, but he is just a decent, honest, honorable, good man. At a time when no one ever takes responsibility, he is a man who believes in it, and walked the walk.


The Democratic Platform: We Sort Of Like NCLB

We have an education angle in the new Democratic Platform. Unfortunately it bends towards the kind of reform I think is dangerous to public education. You can read about it here. Here is a key snippet:
We will promote innovation within our public schools–because research shows that resources alone will not create the schools that we need to help our children succeed. We need to adapt curricula and the school calendar to the needs of the 21st century; reform the schools of education that produce most of our teachers; promote public charter schools that are accountable; and streamline the certification process for those with valuable skills who want to shift careers and teach.
They are embracing the research meme, charter schools, and have removed opposition to vouchers. Michell Rhee surely will be advising Obama soon. Ugh!

Update: I realize that research is crucial to knowledge. I love and revere science, the scientific method, evolution, and chocolate. Education research has issues of validity many other research endeavors don't have. The whole "research-based" pedagogy thing is problematic because when you look at teaching, it appears more art than science; or maybe art based in science. It's more like jazz. It's hard to teach jazz, you can either do it, or not.

Update II: I wrote this in June, and it relates.


They're Underage!!!!

Like we didn't know already, the Chinese Woman's Gymnastics team is in violation of the rules. They are supposed to be 16 in the Olympic year, and these kids are like 6 or something. Here is the proof!
So. What do we do now? Cause a stink? If you watched the opening ceremonies, you should be scared to death that the Chinese, if they so desired, could crush us like so few ants. I say let them have the gold, and we step back, slowly.

Happy Birthday Social Security!

73 years ago today FDR gave us Social Security. Now let's see if I ever get to collect!


Thank God!

This is a fantastic development! A judge just ruled that the University of California can deny course credit to bible-thumpers!!!! Praise Jesus! Here is the article.

Judge says UC can deny religious course credit

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

(08-12) 17:25 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge says the University of California can deny course credit to applicants from Christian high schools whose textbooks declare the Bible infallible and reject evolution.

Rejecting claims of religious discrimination and stifling of free expression, U.S. District Judge James Otero of Los Angeles said UC's review committees cited legitimate reasons for rejecting the texts - not because they contained religious viewpoints, but because they omitted important topics in science and history and failed to teach critical thinking.

Otero's ruling Friday, which focused on specific courses and texts, followed his decision in March that found no anti-religious bias in the university's system of reviewing high school classes. Now that the lawsuit has been dismissed, a group of Christian schools has appealed Otero's rulings to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

"It appears the UC is attempting to secularize private religious schools," attorney Jennifer Monk of Advocates for Faith and Freedom said Tuesday. Her clients include the Association of Christian Schools International, two Southern California high schools and several students.

Charles Robinson, the university's vice president for legal affairs, said the ruling "confirms that UC may apply the same admissions standards to all students and to all high schools without regard to their religious affiliations." What the plaintiffs seek, he said, is a "religious exemption from regular admissions standards."

The suit, filed in 2005, challenged UC's review of high school courses taken by would-be applicants to the 10-campus system. Most students qualify by taking an approved set of college preparatory classes; students whose courses lack UC approval can remain eligible by scoring well in those subjects on the Scholastic Assessment Test.

Christian schools in the suit accused the university of rejecting courses that include any religious viewpoint, "any instance of God's guidance of history, or any alternative ... to evolution."

But Otero said in March that the university has approved many courses containing religious material and viewpoints, including some that use such texts as "Chemistry for Christian Schools" and "Biology: God's Living Creation," or that include scientific discussions of creationism as well as evolution.

UC denies credit to courses that rely largely or entirely on material stressing supernatural over historic or scientific explanations, though it has approved such texts as supplemental reading, the judge said.

For example, in Friday's ruling, he upheld the university's rejection of a history course called Christianity's Influence on America. According to a UC professor on the course review committee, the primary text, published by Bob Jones University, "instructs that the Bible is the unerring source for analysis of historical events" and evaluates historical figures based on their religious motivations.

Another rejected text, "Biology for Christian Schools," declares on the first page that "if (scientific) conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong," Otero said.

He also said the Christian schools presented no evidence that the university's decisions were motivated by hostility to religion.

UC attorney Christopher Patti said Tuesday that the judge assessed the review process accurately.

"We evaluate the courses to see whether they prepare these kids to come to college at UC," he said. "There was no evidence that these students were in fact denied the ability to come to the university."

But Monk, the plaintiffs' lawyer, said Otero had used the wrong legal standard and had given the university too much deference.

"Science courses from a religious perspective are not approved," she said. "If it comes from certain publishers or from a religious perspective, UC simply denies them."


This article appeared on page B - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle


Hillary's Campaign Did What?

They were planning on portraying Obama as unAmerican? No way!

I'm Back!

But after a 10 hour drive, I am not ready to blog in earnest. Must shower, then sleep, then find out what happened while I was in the woods.

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