"the dumbest blog i've ever seen."

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    -Samuel Adams

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Washington Post on liberal faculty

Kudos to Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post for doing such a detailed piece on liberal bias in American academia. Got to love his lead:

College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.

The results of the study are explained by one of the researchers, Robert Lichter, a professor at George Mason University.

"There was no field we studied in which there were more conservatives than liberals or more Republicans than Democrats. It's a very homogenous environment, not just in the places you'd expect to be dominated by liberals."
Unfortunately, this is just more of what conservative students and faculty have known (intimately) for decades: being conservative counts against faculty in the achedemic work world. Some, of course, are still willing to deny that this "homogenous environment" has any significant impact on students.

When asked about the findings, Jonathan Knight, director of academic freedom and tenure for the American Association of University Professors, said... "It's hard to see that these liberal views cut very deeply into the education of students. In fact, a number of studies show the core values that students bring into the university are not very much altered by being in college."
Oh? Perhaps students are rebelling after all when they are told by their professors they need to set personal belief aside if they want to achieve real critical thought. That’s an interesting development!

Besides which, as the piece goes on to cite, "a Harris Poll of the general public last year found that 33 percent describe themselves as conservative and 18 percent as liberal."

With this kind of contrast of academia with the real world, how can anyone expect that students will not be affected in some way. Rare is the moment when a liberal professor is openly critical of conservative view--therefore, I would hypothesize that student's say they haven't changed, without really understanding how their new "knowledge" has been applied to them through an inch-thick blue colored lens.

There’s plenty more to read in the actual piece.


Computer problems...spring break.

Those are the reasons for the most recent slow-down here. Thanks to those who do check back with us. Again--and I feel like it's been mentioned a hundred times at least--this is still a work in progress. If you know of students who are interested in contributing, or you are interested yourself, drop me a line. Remember, we make no bones about being biased to the right--that's just who we are. However, contributers are required to excercise a high degree of fairness none the less.

Yes, today is the first day of classes here. Time to start the presses again.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Philadelphia: declaring a cease-fire

The city of brotherly love is at war. The enemy is a spiking homicide rate.

Hat tip Drudge (linked to this article):

What are they doing to fight this war?

They are going to the public on bended knee, saying what amounts to "please tell us where the bad people are hiding. We'll even cart you out of the state away from all these bad people who don't want you to testify; we'll keep you safely away from it all (including your job, your livelihood, your home, your church, your friends...your life)."

District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham vowed that her office will protect witnesses, even if it means sending a moving van to their home to take them to safety the day they come forward.

“...we can move you out of the state; we can move you across the country,” Abraham said.
What else are they up to?

Mayor Street said under certain circumstances he would consider help from the Pennsylvania State Police and even the National Guard.

Street has declared the violence throughout the city a crisis and as a result has ordered the full review of police department policies and has suggested a full moratorium on the issuing of gun permits.
Is there something wrong with this picture? I would dearly love to understand how a moratorium on the issuing of gun permits could possibly slow down the homicide rate. Does anyone think that Philadelphia has leniant gun laws? I would hazard to guess that if the people with permits were responsible for the homicide problem, most all of them would be aprehended at a moment's notice.

I think it's time they woke up and started issuing MORE permits for safe and legal carry of firearms. This is just another case of citezenphobia. It's a government who treats the people as if every one of them is a criminal.

On a side note:
Does anyone remember Project Exile from 2000?

That was a program implimented first in Richmond, VA with tremendous effect (cutting the murder rate by over half) and in a number of other cities till Congress finally passed a bill to those standards (I don't know if it passed the Senate). Project Exile was conceived to turn up the heat for felons in posession of firearms. Arbitrary prison time was mandated if a felon was found to be carrying a gun.

Philadelphia was one of the cities to use impliment Project Exile. Considering the fact they have a different mayor since then, I can only assume that enforcement has slacked off. Unless someone actually believes that tougher sentences lead to more crime.

I don't think Project Exile has been implimented nationwide. I think the Senate version may have run into some trouble. I had trouble finding info on it.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Turning over leaves

These past weeks are a long story but thankfully a simple one.

This is finals week at Western. For the author, the last three weeks have been something of an early, extended finals week. The good news is that it's over and posting can continue. While spring break doesn't mean unlimited time, readers in the future should still find more regularity in delivery of content.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Another Vatican Schiavo statement

Cardinal Renato Martino president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has made another (belated in my opinion) call for justice in the Terri Schiavo. I know I was highly critical in my last Terri post about the Vatican silence on the issue and they have since stepped up to the microphone, so to speak. I am grateful but still unhappy it took so long to hear anything about such big issue.

On the other hand, this particular statement is thorough and covers a lot and shows a lot of concern (from BlogsForTerri):

... in just a few days, [if her husband and the courts have their way, ]this is exactly what will happen to Terri. She will be completely deprived of water and food. She will have excessive suffering and pain inflicted upon her which will lead to her cruel death ...

We plead, we make the urgent appeal for the life of a helpless human being...a person with whom we all share our God given human dignity.
How can anyone say that her best interests have been taken into consideration?
Do read the whole thing and keep checking back at BlogsForTerri--they provide up to the minute information.

Crossposted at Meneltarma

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Not of this world

Marsha Richards from Sound Politics just posted about the official teaching standards for K-12 education in our state--yes, OUR state (Washington State for the geographically challenged). As much as we have begun to look like Florida in our election process, one wonders who's example we are following with these kind of standards:

According to our Superintendent of Public Instruction, a "below standard" teacher is one whose "students believe there are right and wrong answers to questions and work to determine what those are. [They] come up with immediate responses to questions and move quickly to the next task."

An "above standard" teacher is one whose "students know their ability to construct understanding and think reflectively about a problem is more valuable than correct answers."
Not in my world. I think the concept of critical thought is being *somewhat* skewed here. Anyone agree?

Richards includes a link to a Word file with the complete standards so be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

David Brooks: Why not here?

David Brooks published a fascinating piece in the NY Times editorial page yesterday, titled, "Why not here?" The question is a representation of a larger question running through the national minds of many oppressed countries as they look at the success in Iraq; as they look at the revolt in Ukraine; as they see democracy at their very fingertips. If you, like me, are a free subscriber to NYTimes.com, I recommend reading the whole piece. Otherwise...

Brooks explains that the American will to dream big dreams and do the impossible is infectious, and stands in stark contrast to the prevailing attitudes of modern Western Europe, as he here explains:

It's amazing in retrospect to think of how much psychological resistance there is to asking this breakthrough question: Why not here? We are all stuck in our traditions and have trouble imagining the world beyond. As Claus Christian Malzahn reminded us in Der Spiegel online this week, German politicians ridiculed Ronald Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech in 1987. They "couldn't imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany."

But if there is one soft-power gift America does possess, it is this tendency to imagine new worlds. As Malzahn goes on to note, "In a country of immigrants like the United States, one actually pushes for change. ... We Europeans always want to have the world from yesterday, whereas the Americans strive for the world of tomorrow."

Stephen Sestanovich of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote an important essay for this page a few weeks ago, arguing that American diplomacy is often most effective when it pursues not an incrementalist but a "maximalist" agenda, leaping over allies and making the crude, bold, vantage-shifting proposal - like pushing for the reunification of Germany when most everyone else was trying to preserve the so-called stability of the Warsaw Pact.
Indeed, Reagan was vilified to an extreme degree. No one could imagine anything else but the continued threat of Soviet Russia as long as there was a Europe for it to threaten. It’s ridiculous to suggest, first of all, that Bush has completely “gone it alone,” as much as it is to suggest that he is the first to ruffle so many feathers.

Crossposted at Head West, Turn Right