Quote of the Day – PSH Edition

This one is by email suggestion. Reader “Cormac” sent the link. Jennifer of In Jennifer’s Head brings the snark on the day that concealed-carry in national parks becomes legal. I hope she’ll forgive me, but her post is not excerptable, it’s of a piece and 100% USDA Prime snark, done rare just like I like it:

Today is the day that all law-abiding gun owners will collectively lose their minds and begin shooting the moment they cross the invisible barrier between national parks and everywhere else. As someone who has passed the sheriff’s background check, the OSBI’s (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation) background check, the FBI’s background check, I intend to avoid any national parks so as to avoid the creeping insanity. I would hate for today to be the day that I break my non-murdering streak.

Thank goodness the law requires me to remove my firearm before entering a school! Just think about the carnage that’s been prevented by limiting the freedoms of all those dastardly permit holders.

Bravo, Jennifer, bravo!

Obama Said

Obama Said . . .

. . . during his Primary victory speech,

“This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow . . .”

And he was RIGHT!

Climate scientists withdraw journal claims of rising sea levels

Study claimed in 2009 that sea levels would rise by up to 82cm by the end of century – but the report’s author now says true estimate is still unknown

Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings.

The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, one of the top journals in its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It used data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between 7cm and 82cm by the end of the century.

Between 7 and 82cm? Those are the limits of the error bars? And we’re supposed to strangle the economic output of Western nations on data not even good enough to produce results THAT bad?

Character Matters

Character Matters

John McCain is running for re-election to his Senate seat in 2010. His primary challenger is former Congressman J.D. Hayworth, currently a radio talk-show host in Phoenix.

McCain is spending a lot of money on radio advertising here in Tucson. At least, I hear a lot of his ads, which are read by an almost whispering woman with a sultry voice. A while back he was running an ad about how Hayworth voted to spend money on “snakes in Guam” – an example of pork-barrel spending typical of regular Republicans, while John “Maverick” McCain would never do such a thing! “Character Matters” is his motto in these ads.

Except the legislation that included the funding for researching “snakes in Guam” was HR1588, The National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (PDF). The wording in this act was as follows:

Subtitle B— Environmental Provisions Reauthorization and modification of title I of the Sikes Act (sec. 311)

The House bill contained a provision (sec. 311) that would amend section 670f of title 16, United States Code, to reauthorize section 108 of the Sikes Act (Public Law 86– 767), by striking, “fiscal years 1998 through 2003,” and in each place it appears inserting “fiscal years 2004 through 2008.” The provision would also express a sense of Congress regarding the Department of Defense (DOD) outsourcing of natural resource manager functions. Finally, the provision would establish a five-year DOD pilot program for management, control, and eradication of invasive species on military installations in Guam.

The Senate amendment contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes with an amendment that would require the Secretary of Defense, to the extent practicable and after consultation with the Secretary of Interior, to incorporate in an Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan the management, control, and eradication of invasive species that are not native to the ecosystem of a military installation in Guam and may harm readiness, the environment, the economy, or human health and safety.

In other words, the Senate version included the same funding.

McCain voted in favor of the Act.

The “Snakes in Guam” ads aren’t playing anymore.

Now he’s running “French fruit fly” ads. In this one the same sultry-voiced female speaks quietly of how Hayworth voted to fund research into “fruit flys in France.” Same kind of argument, Hayworth is obviously no conservative if he votes in favor of this kind of pork-barrel spending, right?

The problem is McCain’s used this one before, during his presidential campaign. Only he sent Sarah Palin out to do it:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCXqKEs68Xk&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&w=640&h=505]

“Fruit Flies in Paris France” – this came, apparently, from the Citizens Against Government Waste “Pig Book” for fiscal year 2008.

One problem, though. J.D. Hayworth left office January 3, 2007. He wasn’t around to vote on that bill.

Now the sum total of these two pieces of pork was less than $1,000,000.

McCain voted in favor of the $700,000,000,000 BAILOUT bill.

Yes, character matters. And McCain no longer has any. I wouldn’t vote for the guy for dog catcher.

I’m not a big fan of Hayworth, but I hope he wins.

Reasoned Discourse

Reasoned Discourse

I appear to have offended Markaphasia. Apparently through an act of omission – I haven’t written anything condemning Joseph Stack’s re-enactment of 9/11 on an office building in Austin, Texas earlier this week in his attempt to wreak vengeance upon the Infernal Revenue Service. Since, according to Marxadelphia, Stack was obviously part of the America’s version of “The Base” (aka Al Qaeda), my omission is obviously tacit approval of his act.

I’ve left a comment over at Marxy’s blog, which, BTW, is titled a most martial “Notes from the Front”. Is that the Eastern Front, or the Western Front, I wonder?

Anyway, suspecting that the comments over there might degrade into what we in the Gunblog Community derisively term “Reasoned Discourse,” I’ve decided to print my comment in its entirety here as well:

Once again, Markaphasia, you illustrate just how right I am when I say that you are a perfect an example of the Left in this country. Thanks.

You say that you “have stated previously that it was only a matter of time before people who think like Stack start committing acts of violence.”

I believe I’ve been saying it longer than you have, since 2003 at least. I’ve also said that such acts are the acts of people pushed beyond their thresholds of outrage, and they’re not helpful to my side of the argument.

Now, one thing I’d like to point out is your lack of reading comprehension. You state, in quotation marks (that’s “verbatim” just so you know): “As has been said many times at TSM, ‘the time for reasoned discourse has passed.'”

Really? Please point, by means of a hyperlink, to that phrase in any post I’ve written. You just accused me of wanting to kill you“As a Holocaust survivor once said, ‘When someone says they want to kill you, believe them.'” – using those words as your evidence.

The closest you will come, I believe, are these words from my recent and oh-so-accurately titled Überpost What We Got Here is . . . Failure to Communicate:

Their vision is an activist vision, while the constrained vision is a largely passive one, intent largely on limiting the power of government to judge or interfere with individuals exercising their individual rights.

It is, indeed, a conflict of visions, and the time for passivity is over.

Which you, apparently, have read as a call to arms for “the base” to rise up and kill . . . you?

And you call us hyperparanoid?

Indeed, the time for reasoned discourse is over. It does not, however, follow logically that the alternate to “reasoned discourse” is violence (except if you’re a Leftist.)

As Thomas Sowell has pointed out, repeatedly, the Left, the Unconstrained Vision, believes that talking and reason is all that’s necessary to prevent violence, but when that fails, all they have left (no pun intended) IS violence. On the Constrained Vision side, we believe in deterrence.

Or as Clint Eastwood once so famously said: “Go ahead. Make my day.” 😉

Quote of the Day – Global Warming Edition

Quote of the Day – Global Warming Edition

(T)he movement to stop climate change through a Really Big and Comprehensive Grand Global Treaty is dead because there is no political consensus in the US to go forward. It’s dead because the UN process is toppling over from its own excessive ambition and complexity. It’s dead because China and India are having second thoughts about even the smallish steps they put on the table back in Copenhagen.

Doorknob dead.

As the Post story shows, the mainstream media is now coming to terms with the death. Environmentalists are still trying to avoid pulling the plug, but the corpse is already cool to the touch and soon it will begin to smell. As the global greens move from the denial stage of the grief process, brace yourself for some eloquent, petulant and arrogant rage. Tears will be shed and hands will be wrung. The world is stupid, uncaring, unworthy to be saved. Horrible Republicans, evil Chinese, demented know-nothing climate skeptics have ruined the world and condemned our grandchildren to lives of sorrow and pain. Messengers will be shot; skeptics will be blamed for asking questions and the media (and the internet) will be blamed for reporting the answers.

— Walter Russell Mead, How Al Gore Wrecked Planet Earth

Should be fun!

Constructive Criticism

In the comments to Why I Keep Marxadelphia Around, reader and sometimes critic juris_imprudent argued:

Back to Gramsci again Kevin? This fellow will surely go down in history as the most influential man in Western Culture in more than a 1000 years. To a small degree I agree with Markadelphia – this is one of many theories of education. It is a crackpot one no doubt – but then what leftist dogma isn’t? But I don’t see evidence of growth – hell sixteen (not particularly impressive) schools 40 years after the peak of leftism in the U.S., 20 some years after the fall of communism in the West?

I remember La Raza from when I was in HS in the 70s. It was just as stupid, out of place and non mainstream then. The old radicals carved out a little niche that they still hold onto – big whoop. That does NOT explain the overall decline in education that has taken place since the 50s/early-60s. Nor do I buy into any Gramsci-rooted plot to destroy Western Civ, any more than I buy into Truther, Birther or ChemTrailer folderol.

Everyone has a favorite bogeyman in education. Once it was New Math, then whole language followed by that self-esteem stupidity. A true conservative would argue for the tried and true (all the way back to teaching Latin), but the graduate system of our universities demand new and novel ideas or you just aren’t a PhD. So a lot of bad ideas end up getting floated into a lot of areas; education is not immune, and may be more susceptible than others for a number of reasons.

Others rose to my defense, but let me say it myself: Yes, I’m aware that there are many other problems going on in the public education system besides the outright Marxist brainwashing that I illustrated in The George Orwell Daycare Center and Balkanization. I’ve never denied that, but I’ve never emphasized it either.

It has been my contention, however, that the root of the decline in America’s education establishment does, in fact, go back to the influence of the thoughts that propagated from the Frankfurt School and its disciples. As Unix-Jedi noted one comment further down:

Literacy rates *dropped* after “professional education” took hold. Literacy rates were steady from colonial times up to the 1940s, when they started to drop.
Gee, what changed there?

We had a system that successfully taught literacy and numeracy, and starting sometime in the 1940’s our public school system went off the rails. In the 1960’s the booster rockets kicked in.


What influence caused the initial changes that have brought us to where we are today, and why do those in this system fight so hard to prevent fixing the obvious problems?

Continuing my habit of letting other people say things if they can do it better than I, here’s Unix-Jedi again:

The educational system as it’s currently constituted, with the CLAIMED GOALS IT HAS, has utterly failed. Which means that 1) The stated goals aren’t the real goals or 2) it’s incapable of meeting the goals. (Conceivably, 3) the goals are unreachable, despite the fact historically they have been met.)

I rule out #3. I’m utterly convinced that at this point #2 is the case, but I’m also convinced that we’ve reached #2 through decades of effort by a small and ever-changing group of people that embodied #1.

Reader Jason chimed in with this criticism:

I generally like what you have to say, Kevin. But “Gramsci’s plan” sounds like fear mongering (almost like the “blood in the streets” fallacies that gun banners used against ccw). I wholeheartedly agree that CP is bad and we should fight against it, but let’s not blame all of education’s problems on it.

Fair point. It was not my intention to lay all the blame at Gramsci’s – one man’s – feet, though I acknowledge I can be read that way. I will say again, however, that I do lay the blame for the overwhelming majority of the destruction of America’s public education system to the founders of the Frankfurt School and “Critical Theory.” It began in the universities, and it has trickled down through them, the Schools of Education, and the state school boards until we have what we’ve got today.

I do not believe that the people involved think that what they’re doing is the deliberate destruction of the public education system, leaving our children illiterate and innumerate. I think the overwhelming majority of them – like Markadelphia, and like Dr. Augustine Romero – believe that what they’re doing is truly what’s best for the kids in their care.

They’re simply unable to recognize that they’re wrong. By now, they’re the products of their own systems, and in higher academia (as several others have noted) its a self-reinforcing system, continually producing more of the same.

These people end up in charge of the school systems and the systems in charge of the school systems. Teachers who actually teach are, as John Taylor Gatto illustrated, forced out of the system or neutered. Those who contribute to mediocrity (or worse) can’t be forced out with high explosives. The rest, as one teacher and fellow blogger put it a while back, are just trying to “save the ones they can.”

Markadelphia complains,

These EDU posts, Kevin, serve no purpose nor present any sort of concrete solution whatsoever.

The point of the Education pieces I write is to illustrate that the system is broken beyond repair. It CAN’T. BE. FIXED. It’s too entrenched, it’s occupied by people who cannot be changed and can’t be fired. It’s unionized. It’s even federally-funded now, and there’s an entire Cabinet-level department that since 1980 has spent over $995 billion supposedly to better educate our kids.

Well? Why aren’t we getting what we pay for? Are the stated goals the real goals?

I don’t think so. Do I think it’s all one grand Gramscian conspiracy to destroy Western Civilization? I think at least in part it began that way, but it’s taken on a life of its own. Let me rework a classic Demotivator:

How else do you explain, for example, New York’s “Rubber Rooms”?

(John Stossel has more on the topic.)

The “concrete solution?” Take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

And start over from scratch with schools paid for directly by parents. Hell, there’s lots of empty commercial office space available, let’s take up Tom McClintock’s idea! Disconnect school funding from property values, and make education spending tax-deductible. Close the Department of Education and shut down State involvement in education with the exception (grudgingly) of standards testing.

But for $Diety’s sake, don’t send your kids to public schools if you can help it. They deserve better.

Why I Keep Marxadelphia Around

As I said in Why I Do This,

He’s too perfect an example of the Left in this country not to let him illuminate their failings.

This week he provided yet another example.

In the comments to my post Critical Pedagogy, Marxadelphia responded:

It’s a good thing I have the day off today. What a load of lying bullshit. And further proof of ridiculous paranoia. As usual, you start with your belief and then succumb to confirmation bias.

These EDU posts, Kevin, serve no purpose nor present any sort of concrete solution whatsoever. They don’t even accurately address the actual problems. In essence, they sum up an emotional reaction–one that typifies the right these days–comprised solely of hate, anger and fear combined with a complete lack of factual foundation.

OK, two assertions are made here: One, the post linked is “a load of lying bullshit” and my Education posts “don’t even accurately address the actual problems.”

Let’s investigate those claims, shall we?

The linked piece states:

The Critical Pedagogy Movement is coming to a school near you and it means to change the world.
One child at a time.
Most people have never heard the term, ‘Critical Pedagogy’. That is intentional.
Anyone not involved in the educational community would have little reason to be aware of this leftist theory of education. If it were merely a theory however, there would be little reason for concern.
The primary assumption of critical pedagogy is that disparities between individual and social group outcomes in life are due to entrenched societal oppression. So, if anyone or any group has ‘more’ than another it is because they are either oppressing others or benefiting from the ‘oppression of the masses’.
Thus, all whites benefit from an unjust social system and, as a result are inherently guilty of racism.
Advocates implicitly deny any definition of the ‘pursuit of happiness’, which does not result in equality of outcome. That necessarily limits American’s liberty and their pursuit of happiness to the politically correct calculus of Critical Pedagogy theory.
Pedagogy is defined as ‘the art or profession of teaching’. That definition is sometimes shortened by advocates into ‘the teaching’. The theory of critical pedagogy was first fully developed and then popularized in 1968 by the Brazilian educator and influential theorist Paulo Freire. His seminal work, the Pedagogy [The Teaching] of the Oppressed, was highly influential within the US leftist academic community and in 1969 Freire was offered a visiting professorship at Harvard University.
His subsequent work was highly influential with the Bill Ayers of the world. One might think of Paulo Freire as the Saul Alinsky of the US leftist educational community. Critical Pedagogy is the educational arm of the ‘social justice movement’, which is the political arm of “liberation theology”, all of which are aspects of ‘Cultural Marxism’.

OK, there’s a pretty firm statement with assertions that a particular person is the focal point in pushing the “Critical Pedagogy” curriculum. A quick Google search on “Critical Pedagogy” brought up a link to the University of Colorado, Denver School of Education and professor Martin Ryder. Among the many links there, directly below one to The Frankfurt School, are several dedicated specifically to Paulo Friere. Nineteen, specifically, more than for any other topic covered on that initial page.

It would appear that the author is on to something, no?

Now, as to the assertion by that author that “The Critical Pedagogy Movement is coming to a school near you and it means to change the world,” let’s look at a piece I wrote in 2008, Balkanization. That piece was about a particular program that is apparently still running in the Tucson Unified School District schools called “Raza Studies.” (The link to the original newspaper stories are broken, so you’ll have to take my excerpts at face value.) The story indicates that the program, while “under fire” could grow, and reach younger children.

What is it? It’s described as an “ethnic studies” program. “La Raza” in Spanish translates to “The Race” in English.

Raza Studies serves about 500 high school students, who take a four-course block of history, social justice and two Chicano literature classes.

It’s the end of the school year and Raza Studies students at Tucson High Magnet School are presenting research findings to their principal.

Their PowerPoint presentation is critical of policies toward English learners; some concerns hinge on whether students are funneled to vocational tracks, and some focus on inferior equipment.

Then comes an exploration of classroom décor, with photos of classroom items students consider culturally insensitive.

First up is a baseball poster, which they say should be soccer or rugby to validate other cultures. Next up flashes the Pledge of Allegiance and a patriotic poster featuring the Statue of Liberty, the American flag and an eagle.

“Most of the kids are from a different country, and this is showing them that this is the country that’s the greatest and yours doesn’t matter,” a student maintains.

So they’re not teaching math, English, physics, chemistry, anatomy, etc., they’re teaching the students to see the world through the lens of oppression, are they not?

Augustine Romero took over as head of ethnic studies two years ago, after running Raza Studies for four years. In his view, the system already divides students by ethnicity.

When he was a senior at Tucson High, his father asked school counselors to make military recruiters stop calling. His counselor couldn’t believe Romero planned to go to college.

He proved the counselor wrong, and the 41-year-old just finished his doctorate. “Yes, there are examples of people who have made it, but we’ve made it by having to work harder than most people because we’ve had to endure the inequities of the system,” he says.

As I said back then, anybody who gets a Ph.D has to work harder than most people, but it would appear that Mr. Romero has an ethnic chip on his shoulder. But here’s the kicker:

Romero summons the work of Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire to explain the premise of the program, hauling out a dog-eared and extensively highlighted copy of “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” He points to a passage: “This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.”

(My emphasis.) I wonder where Dr. Romero got his Ph.D? Was it one of those schools of Education referred to in Critical Pedagogy, or another? And does it matter?

Here’s what a participant in the program, one of the teachers, had to say:

John Ward taught in the department in the 2002-03 school year. Of Latino heritage despite his Anglo-sounding name, Ward was all for more thoroughly integrating the contributions of Mexican-Americans into U.S. history. But once he started teaching, he became concerned about the program’s focus on victimization.

“They really wanted to identify the victimizer, which was the dominant group — in this case white America — and they wanted students to have a revolution against upper-class white America,” says Ward, who now works as a state auditor.

“They had a clear message that political departments in the U.S. are arms of the dominant culture designed to keep minorities in the ghetto and to keep them downtrodden. They’re teaching on the taxpayers’ dime that police officers and teachers are trying to keep them down. What a perverse message to teach these kids.”

Such messages, he says, won’t be found in the program’s textbooks, such as “Occupied America.”

“The department doesn’t look bad on paper. It’s what happens verbally that moves the debate from benign to pernicious,” Ward says.

The tone worried him: “The students had become very angry by the end of the year. I saw a marked change in them.”

Of course this concern was played down by Romero:

Romero says anger is essential for transformation, but insists teachers work to transform that anger into something positive. “For me, there’s a real fine line between anger and awareness,” he says.

He chalks up the dispute with Ward to politics, saying Ward didn’t fit in because he was a conservative while he and the teachers in the department are liberal.

Gee, ya THINK?

Now here’s a really interesting part. In a second piece by John Ward himself, we’re told:

During the 2002-2003 school year, I taught a U.S. history course with a Mexican-American perspective. The course was part of the Raza/Chicano studies department.

Within one week of the course beginning, I was told that I was a “teacher of record,” meaning that I was expected only to assign grades. The Raza studies department staff would teach the class.

I was assigned to be a “teacher of record” because some members of the Raza studies staff lacked teaching certificates. It was a convenient way of circumventing the rules.

I stated that I expected to do more than assign grades. I expected to be involved in teaching the class. The department was less than enthusiastic but agreed.

Immediately it was clear that the class was not a U.S. history course, which the state of Arizona requires for graduation. The class was similar to a sociology course one expects to see at a university.

Where history was missing from the course, it was filled by controversial and biased curriculum.

The basic theme of the curriculum was that Mexican-Americans were and continue to be victims of a racist American society driven by the interests of middle and upper-class whites.

In this narrative, whites are able to maintain their influence only if minorities are held down. Thus, social, political and economic events in America must be understood through this lens.

This biased and sole paradigm justified teaching that our community police officers are an extension of the white power structure and that they are the strongmen used “to keep minorities in their ghettos.”

It justified telling the class that there are fewer Mexican-Americans in Tucson Magnet High School’s advanced placement courses because their “white teachers” do not believe they are capable and do not want them to get ahead.

Yes, that’s right, The MAN wants to keep them DOWN!

Now, let me reiterate my point from Critical Pedagogy: Future teachers are being taught this stuff. They are coming to SCHOOLS NEAR YOU, and bringing it with them. They are INFLICTING IT ON STUDENTS in your school systems – not all schools, and not all students, but it is being spread. It is the outgrowth of the Frankfurt School, and it is part and parcel of Gramsci’s plan to destroy Western culture from the inside. And it’s working.

So to Marxadelphia’s assertion that Critical Pedagogy was “lying bullshit” and “paranoia,” I say, “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.”

I suggest, if you wish to read further, that you read the entire Balkanization post, The George Orwell Daycare Center (bring lunch, it’s long), and also I Say We Take Off and Nuke the Site from Orbit . . .

Now there’s a “concrete solution”!

Quote of the Day – American-Occupied America Edition

Quote of the Day – American-Occupied America Edition

I mean, you’ve got to be a decadent Westerner to wake up; note “Dammit, my computer’s dead”; unplug the mouse and keyboard from it and plug them into the spare computer sitting on the desk right next to it because you couldn’t be bothered to go find your netbook and power it up and then whine wirelessly to all your friends on the intertubes about how much your life sucks.Tam