Archive for April 6th, 2009

April 6, 2009

Credit where due for the POTUS

by Smitty (Hat Tip: Insty)

The Rhetorician seems to miss the point:

The Tea Party movement seems to get bigger every day, but that is not the case for Democrats.

This is our Community Organizer in Chief (COC) here.
I daresay he’s tracking to score more legitimate protesters in his first 80+ days than his predecessor scored in 8 years.
Let us celebrate this man. The importance of the 9th and 10th Amendments have been on a decay curve since FDR. We have now got somebody far enough off track, feeding us a Constitutional Pearl Harbor of sorts, that the sleeping giant may awake.
Buck up. Admit that John Sydney McCain would have just delayed this moment a bit. It is not a bug, but a feature that the majority elected such a wrongheaded person last November. Sure, the survival part will bite, but, with enough hard work, this can be the country’s political nadir.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to attend your local protest on 15April. Attend one on 04July. Keep attending them. Fight the RINO Republicans who are equally party to the decay of the country.

(Bonus points to anyone recognizing the image)

April 6, 2009

Dave Weigel: Scaring liberals to death

My buddy Dave went to the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot in Kentucky, returning with a collection of photos that inspires an angry fever of militiaphobia among liberal bloggers.

It is always amusing to see the shocked reactions of liberals when they realize that the Second Amendment is still valid, and that there are millions of Americans who take it seriously.

“Hey, wait a minute — they may be inbred backwoods hillbillies, but they’ve got all those guns!”


April 6, 2009

Religious Right, R.I.P.?

“The obituary of the Religious Right has been written many times before. The defeat of Pat Robertson’s GOP primary bid in 1988, the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, his re-election in 1996, his acquittal by the Senate in the Lewinsky sex-and-lies scandal — all of these were causes for self-congratulatory gloating by opponents of the Religious Right.
“And I should add that this gloating has been, and is now, bipartisan: Many Republicans have been deeply resentful of the influence exercised by Christian conservatives. The fact that John McCain was able to get the 2008 GOP nomination, after infamously insulting the leaders of the Religious Right as ‘agents of intolerance’ during his 2000 primary campaign, is perhaps the best evidence for any argument about the declining influence of Christian conservatism.”

April 6, 2009

‘Maximum feasible non-cooperation’

My earlier post about Ray Moore and his book, Let My Children Go, got linked and commented upon by the Creative Minority Report.

You should go read that, if only for my response to a commenter — a Christian who works as a public-school teacher in Texas — in which I thumbnailed my philosophy of maximum feasible non-cooperation with the public school system.

My wife has homeschooled our children since 1997. Our oldest daughter attended one year of public-school kindergarten, then did two years in a Christian grade-school before we finally decided to homeschool. None of our other children has ever attended a public school, or ever will, if I can help it.

When our three oldest children got old enough for high school, they attended private Christian schools. Our oldest daughter graduated with honors at age 16, the youngest member of her class, and is now a sophomore in college. Our 16-year-old twin boys — well, they’re both good students, but they’re more into working, playing guitar, breeding pythons, fixing cars, and girls. (My own plan is for the boys to matriculate at The University of Parris Island, home of the Fightin’ Jarheads.)

But last night I was working late (got a deadline project) after I’d left that comment at Creative Minority, and needed to make a run to the convenience store. “Where you going, Dad?” said 16-year-old Bob, who was on the phone with his girlfriend. “Can I drive?”

So Bob drove me to the store, and as the price of that privilege — the boy just got his learner’s permit and loves to drive — he had to listen to my lecture about the systemic flaws of the government education system, and how The Myth of the Good Public School perpetuates this flawed system:

“All learning is individual. . . . You can teach a group, but only the individual learns. . . . Therefore, the idea that a school is ‘good’ because the students on average score well on standard tests is fundamentally false.”

Once you understand this, you realize what’s wrong with The Myth of the Good Public School. The school is taking credit, as an institution, for the individual achievement of its students. The “good” school doesn’t necessarily have better facilities or better teachers, it simply has more good students.

Well, what would happen if the “good” school had fewer good students? What if smart parents with smart kids decided that they were no longer going to let those tax-siphoning bureaucratic mediocrities at the local public school take credit for their child’s achievement?

What if the good kids in that district were all home-schooled, or attended private schools? The aggegate average test scores at the local public school would decline, The Myth of the Good Public School would be exposed as a lie and, if such a movement began to snowball into a national phenomenon, the entire evil soul-destroying system of government education would collapse under the weight of its own transparent bogusness.

Maximum feasible non-cooperation. Think about that: “Going Galt” as a parent.

BTW, my son is an excellent driver. Nature or nuture? I started teaching my kids to drive when they were 12. Both of my brothers are truck drivers and, of course, that hillbilly NASCAR gene runs deep. One thing for sure, my boy didn’t learn to drive because he was taught in any school. Except maybe Old School.


UPDATE: In the comments, “Anonymous” (whose name is apparently Philip) links to his own blog post in which he accuses me of “knuckleheadedness . . . ignorant, naïve, paranoid, and delusional.” And his argument is based on . . what? His own memories of his own public school days.

Well, since Anonymous Philip wants to get all into the anecdotal ad hominem — accusing me of being motivated by a resentment of “wedgies”! — perhaps he should be reminded that two can play that game. Which of us is more qualified to speak with authority on the problems of American education?

Let me remind you that I spent the years 1987-91 covering prep sports — dealing routinely with coaches who were also teachers, counselors and administrators — as sports editor of the Calhoun (Ga.) Times. This was followed by a stint 1991-97 at the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune where I was, among other things, editor of the weekly schools-and-youth section of the paper. So that’s roughly a decade I spent covering schools.

Perhaps I should mention that, for a couple of semesters of college, I was actually an education major before changing my mind, but I did coursework in such subjects as developmental psychology and pedagogical methods. So there’s that. My late Aunt Barbara was a high-school biology teacher in Georgia, recognized by the “STAR” program as one of the state’s best in her field. And then, of course, I am the father of six children, the eldest now a dean’s list college sophomore. Plus, I was for five years editor of the “Culture Etc.” page of The Washington Times, where I frequently covered issues involving education.

Therefore I would not hesitate to assert that, in terms of experience, observation and general knowledge, my authority to address the problems of public education is many magnitudes greater than that of Anonymous Philip, who apparently has no children and hasn’t deal with education since he was himself a student.

“Well, I turned out OK” is not a persuasive argument, Philip. In a nation where 90 percent of children attend public schools, the average adult alumnus of public schools is average, eh? This doesn’t prove anything about the system itself and, if anything, is an argument against any proposed reform. Hey, y’all, Philip attended public school and he’s hunky-dory, so let’s keep doing more of the same!

One of the problems with arguing against a pervasive and persistent evil like government schools is that very few people have any experience of doing thing any other way. Sic semper hoc — ‘Twas ever thus — and therefore the possibility of alternatives is dismissed peremptorily, and nothing else is ever attempted.

We encounter the same sort of resistance to, inter alia, Social Security reform. If the Republican Party had managed a sweep of Congress in the 1938 mid-term elections, then followed up by winning the White House in 1940, it is possible that they might have repealed what was then a novel experimental program. But more than seven decades after it was created, Social Security has entrenched itself, no one can even remember how Americans cared for their elderly prior to 1937, and as soon as anyone says “reform,” you’ve got the AARP and the Democrats ginning up nightmare scenarios of Granny starving to death under a bridge.

Unlike Social Security, however, parents can opt their children out of public education and — contrary to what Philip claims — it really doesn’t have to be that expensive. The main expense for homeschooling is that one parent (usually the mom) has to forego full-time employment outside the home in order to teach the kids. This is a sacrifice for most couples, but not usually the financial disaster some might imagine. (The two-career household is another one of those things that has entrenched itself so deeply in American life that people have trouble imagining alternatives.)

Homeschooling is a radical alternative, and it tends to have a revolutionary impact on your worldview. Once you realize that your kids can actually learn more at the dining room table with Mom as their teacher than they can learn in a big school under the certified tutelage of professional educators, you cease to be intimidated (as most Americans unfortunately are) by the supposedly superior wisdom of “experts.” It is a very empowering experience.

My kids are growing up confident, cheerful and independent. Perhaps they don’t have all the advantages that a two-career household could provide with the assistance of a taxpayer-funded education. But I wouldn’t trade my six kids for six dozen Philips, whose message is, “Don’t try anything different! Don’t fight the system! You can’t win!”

Can’t never could.

April 6, 2009

The TBoggolanche!

Welcome, moonbats! Remember: Hits is hits. Linky-hate is just as valuable as linky-love to the capitalist blogger and, having twice been nominated for Andrew Sullivan’s prestigious “Malkin Award,” I sure don’t complain about linky-hate.

Now, TBogg told you that Rule 5 is about “giving wingnuts something to masturbate to,” but in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation, here’s something extra-sexy especially for TBogg readers!

And since the spirit of generosity requires me to do you such excellent favors, let me suggest three books you should read:

Y’all have fun!

April 6, 2009

Entrepreneurial youth

One of my 16-year-old sons just said to me, “Guess how much money I made today? $250. And guess how long I worked? Six hours.” He and a buddy contracted to do some yard work for a lady, clearing brush and trees and cleaning her gutters. She paid them $500.

“Dad, we cut down five trees. That would have cost her like $800. We gave her a great deal.”

Capitalism lives!

April 6, 2009

Double-Ds Down Under

Australia has a terrible problem:

The bra market is expanding, literally. Up to 40 per cent of Australian women now buy bras with a cup size of DD or higher, new figures from lingerie suppliers show. In the 1950s, the most common bra-cup size was a B – three sizes less than a DD. Modern breasts are getting so large that some bra companies have introduced cup sizes as high as K, The Sunday Telegraph reports.
Experts blame the cleavage boost on obesity, contraceptive pills and artificial hormones. Myer lingerie buyer Kerryn Sawyer said sales of DD-plus bras have grown from about 20 per cent of sales to 28 per cent in just five years.

Note the reference to “experts.” Where do you go to school to become an “expert” on breasts? Perhaps I could get a scholarship, some work-study credits or something in the Obama administration’s vocational retraining program.

I’m not going to name the blogger who sent me that story with the plea, “Not sure I could do this justice, but I bet you could.” However, since this one’s sure to get me at least another week in the doghouse – my beloved wife reads the blog — dude, you better hit the tip jar.

BTW, I’m obligated to point out that this is a legitimate political news story because it’s linked at Memeorandum, with further Insightful News Commentary at the Moderate Voice and PoliGazette. It has not yet, however, been linked by Professor Glenn Reynolds. Maybe once he realizes that you can’t spell “Dodd” without “DD” . . .

UPDATE: Welcome, TBogg readers! Be sure to see the super-sexy message just for you!

April 6, 2009

Daniel Hannan: resisting quangocracy and the EU

By Smitty
Eloquent as when flailing his Prime Muddler, Daniel notes why he shan’t emigrate to the colonies, despite invitations, describing a wonderful day in Shropshire. His conclusion is both complimentary to the Founders and a reminder that we shouldn’t try to suck up all the good leadership in the world.

And where did the ideology that actuated the American Revolution originate? Who first came up with the idea that laws should be passed only by elected legislators? We did. That idea was Britain’s greatest export, our supreme contribution to the happiness of mankind.
Forget subsequent flag-waving histories of the War of Independence, and go back to what the colonist leaders were arguing at the time. They saw themselves, not as revolutionaries, but as conservatives. In their eyes, they were standing up for what they had assumed to be their birthright as freeborn Englishmen. It was Great Britain, they believed, that was abandoning its ancient liberties.
And here, my friends, is Britain’s tragedy. The things those colonists feared – the levying of illegal taxes, the passing of laws without popular consent, the sidelining of Parliament – have indeed come about. They have come about, not as the result of Hanoverian tyranny, but in our own age, driven by rise of the quangocracy* and the EU.
To put it another way, British freedoms thrive best in America, and British patriots should be campaigning to bring them home. I’ll be staying here, Larry, working to repatriate our revolution.

*The initial letters (the first two letters for the first word) of “quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization.”

UPDATE (RSM): Thanks to his recent appearances on Fox News, Hannan is becoming something of a hero to American conservatives. I saw him just this evening on “Hannity’s America,” warning against the consequences of socialized medicine. Good on ya, Smitty, for linking Hannan.

April 6, 2009

Obama: Stop, Or I Will Say ‘Stop’ Again

by Smitty (hat tip: Powerline)

“This provocation underscores the need for action — not just this afternoon at the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.”

I should probably play the “wait and see” card. Possibly, BHO will pull a rabbit out of his hat.
I suspect that the United Nations is only slightly better than no United Nations. What do you expect from an organization which had Alger Hiss involved in its formation? OK, that’s historically accurate but served up as a cheap shot. However, the Security Council offers anything but security or council, e.g. Africa.
One hopes that “action” isn’t as much a mixed bag as the UN Law of the Sea Convention. As Carter’s stillborn second term continues to unfold, though, optimism is hard to achieve.