Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thank you, the Atlantic and…

…intrepid reporter Conor Friedersdorf for publishing and holding an interview with Mark Oppenheimer which contains this gem:

The most common flaws in religion reporting are the same as common flaws in all reporting: lack of skepticism, taking the speakers' words for it. We always have to be skeptical, even of monks and priests and imams and rabbis. And we have to remember that power corrupts, so the people we are likely to revere may be the most likely to fail us.

Was ever published a better rationale for the phrase

Trust, but verify?

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The kerfuffle about General McChrystal has hit the editorial and op-ed pages of The New York Times.  The paper’s editorial staff, Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, and Max Boot (Max Boot?!?) all hold forth today, June 23, 2010.

All have interesting points, and they vary.

It’s a little amusing to note that there is a little blurb at the end of Boot’s commentary.  It reads: “Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is writing a history of guerrilla warfare and terrorism.”

Mr. Boot once wrote regularly for the Los Angeles Times.  He’s a conservative.  To learn that he’s writing “a history,” and remembering recent revisionist practices of certain members of the right wing (not Mr. Boot himself), causes one immediately to think, “Well, I hope he’s not re-writing the history.”  You know, in case “revisionism” is catching.

Trust, but verify.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

If…(and a big “if” at that)

…when all is said and done and “gay marriage” is a norm for the United States, will people see that their religious leaders snookered them for a long time about gays and lesbians?

And when the non-gays realize the snookering occurred, will they then begin to ask, “What else have they been lying about?”  Resurrection, Virgin birth, rewards in Paradise, Chosen People, Nirvana?

Could that be the end of religious corruption as we have come to know it in the 21st century?

Trust, but verify.

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Monday, June 14, 2010


Here, dear Gentle Reader(s), is a quote from The New York Times’ Ross Douthat:  “the peculiar left-wing misogyny that greeted Palin’s candidacy.”

Misogyny greeted Palin’s candidacy?  Really?  How?  When?  Wasn’t Palin’s introduction back in August, 2008, a “Wow!” moment?  Didn’t she walk up those steps full of confidence and energy, ready to take on the job?  Yes. 

True, just a couple of weeks later, when the true Palin readiness to step into the Oval Office became more apparent (she wasn’t), the shine of her candidacy began to fade, but was that misogyny?

How was it misogyny that the first true blow to Palin’s luster come with the Katie Couric interview?  That was a female journalist asking, appropriately, somewhat substantive questions of the candidate, and the candidate was woefully unprepared to provide answers. 

That’s not misogyny, that’s preparation—and lack of preparation.

Douthat, sadly, has fallen into the pattern of the naysayers of “conservatism” of the early 21st century:  History doesn’t quite fit?  Re-write it.

Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Education Reform—the missing element

Alas, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the search for a meaningful education reform program continues, unabated, without a reference to the most meaningful relationship in the equation—parental guidance.

For example, in the latest edition of The Atlantic, July/August 2010, David Brooks on page 41 pens that the “core issue” is “the relationship between teacher and student.  It is mushy to say so, but people learn from people they love.”  Brooks goes on for three more paragraphs, but not once is there a mention of parents.  Do children not love their parents?

Bash unions and their allegedly self-protecting rules all you want; pour money into the system; fire every school superintendent; replace all school boards with correct-thinking people; turn every building and campus into a charter school; nothing will bring results without a concurrent program to involve the parents in a more meaningful way than merely suggesting unplugging televisions, game systems, and cell phones.

In my 35 years of teaching, all of the better students, regardless of GPAs, had a firm and involved hand at home.  All of them.  The less-than-better students and I struggled as best we could, with varying results.

When it comes to education reform, check that the package offered has a parental involvement program.  If not, don’t support it.  It won’t work.

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

SCOTUS—syn. Scrotum; tea-bag

According to The New York Times, the Roberts’ Gang has once again screwed the middle and lower classes’ abilities to run for office.

The Scrotum Roberts court has struck down the Arizona law intended to level the financial playing field for candidates for office.

This means that the Carly Fiorinas of Arizona have a free hand to buy elected offices, thus freezing moderate Republicans out of the field.

SCROTUMSCOTUS has taken similar steps recently.  The Times editorial lays them out for you. 

Check it out, and support Mr. Obama’s choices for the Federal court system.

Trust, but verify.

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