Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.09.30

I was feeling a little daunted today. On top of the national and international downers, we've got some things going on around here that require a more than usual expenditure of time and energy. Then I remembered this song from an old Frank Sinatra movie.

Not the usual Happy Hour fare, but now I do feel more energized...

Get The Tar And Feathers Ready

Just saw this. Disgusting.

Oklahoma military officials warn of fake death notification hoax
Military officials are warning families of service members about a hoax involving fake death notifications to family members in the Oklahoma City metro area.

Oklahoma Army National Guard Lt. Col. Max Moss said the family of a Navy serviceman was approached this week by two people claiming to be Army Casualty Notification Officers, wearing camouflage uniforms.

The spouse was told her husband had been killed and she was then asked to sign paperwork. The woman refused and called Tinker Air Force Base for assistance.
I don't know if this was some sort of identity theft scam or just (JUST?!?) a sick prank or protest, but either way those involved should be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. And I mean it literally, not figuratively.


Thank goodness the woman approached in this case had the presence of mind to call the appropriate authorites. But can you imagine the initial shock and pain she felt? What kind of cruel, heartless, sadistic bastard and/or bitch could even contemplate putting someone through that?

I take it back. Tarring and feathering is too good for them. Perhaps impaling...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

We Knew This Was Coming...

... and it certainly didn't take long.

Alleged actress/comedian Janeane Garofalo had this to say about Herman Cain.
"Herman Cain is probably well liked by some of the Republicans because it hides the racist elements of the Republican party. Conservative movement and tea party movement, one in the same."

"People like Karl Rove liked to keep the racism very covert. And so Herman Cain provides this great opportunity say you can say 'Look, this is not a racist, anti-immigrant, anti-female, anti-gay movement. Look we have a black man."
Here's the video. Don't watch it unless you have low blood pressure, a strong stomach, and nothing heavy to throw at the monitor.



Unsurprisingly, this came out during a conversation the frumpy one was having with über-kook Keith Olbermann on the show no one watches. Garofalo went on to say that Cain is either being paid by racists to run or he’s suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

The sad thing is that these people really believe this stuff ... and they're on TV ... and vote ... and reproduce...

Reality TV Really Sucks

I've never watched a reality TV show in its entirety. I don't get the appeal. In fact, I find it all very unappealing. This guy has the right idea.


Of course, this post does not apply to Storage Wars...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who Cares?

The trial of Michael Jackson's doctor is monopolizing the news today.

Yawn...

One less freaky pedophile out there preying on kids.

Good riddance...

Yes We Cain!

A recent article in the American Thinker speculates about the delightful prospect of Herman Cain facing off with barack obama in 2012.
Herman Cain winning the Florida straw poll is encouraging.  It means an honest, straight-talking non-politician can cut through the flowery rhetoric and be taken seriously. 
Amen, brother!

Sadly, the main thrust of the story is that the "Herminator" is (a) a long shot to win, and (b) not ready for prime time. I'm not going to get into either one of those two assertions today. Rather, I'm going to focus on the remainder of the article and indulge in the fantasy that Mr. Cain actually wins the Republican nomination. 
Right out of the gate, the first thing that would be striking about a Herman Cain vs. Barack Obama presidential race would be the comparison between Barry dragging out and setting up two Teleprompters to answer a few questions and Herman standing next to him, hands in his pockets, pithy retort at the ready.

On jobs, the President's usual approach is to attempt to razzle-dazzle with flowery rhetorical proposals that sound good on the campaign trail but, in practice, don't work.  Herman's method is to listen to his opponents, look at the crowd, smile, and off-the-cuff respond to half-baked ideas with: "It's time to get real, folks. Hope and change ain't working. Hope and change is not a solution. Hope and change is not a job."

After watching Bobble Head Barack turn from right to left reading what someone tells him he believes off a scrolling Teleprompter, oh, to be able to watch Herman Cain lean over a debate podium and hear him say, "We need a leader, not a reader."
Then there's the racial issue.
On the left, racism is defined as: "People who oppose Obama," and in the past Mr. Cain has in fact admitted, "I guess I'm a racist."

The confusion surrounding having two black candidates for president would make for interesting theater.  Take for instance Black Panther poll watchers standing guard for racial equality.  How would they know whom to wave their clubs at on Election Day?  Do the Panthers intimidate whites voting for Obama or blacks voting for Cain?  How would they figure out who is voting for whom?  What a quandary.
Oh, delicious irony!

Even better: a Herman Cain - Allen West ticket. Wouldn't that blow some liberal minds.


Imagine. A successful businessman and Baptist preacher paired up with a genuine war hero running against a community organizer and muslim sympathizer who's sidekick is ... what ... a former senator and perpetual motion gaffe machine. The choice couldn't get much more clear-cut than that.

Unsurprisingly, however, the loonies on the left are revealing their true colors. For example, we have Morgan Freeman spouting all sorts of nonsense.


Morgan Freeman has become a pathetic caricature of a dignified black man. While that is sad, it's nowhere near as disturbing, disgusting, and disgraceful as this.


And they say the Tea Party is racist...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Technology Is A Two-Edged Sword

In this case, literally.

I tell my students that technology is a tool, and like any tool can be used to produce good outcomes or bad. This incident, like one a couple of weeks ago, is an extreme example of negative consequences that can result from using social media.
... a newspaper editor whose decapitated body was found over the weekend in the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo appears to have been targeted by a drug gang carrying out a reprisal for her work on social networks.

Though no investigation has yet been carried out, a message was found next to the body indicating that she was killed by members of organized crime "in retaliation for the information that the victim had distributed in social networks denouncing the activities of criminals in Nuevo Laredo..."

Earlier this month, attackers left threats mentioning two websites on signs beside mutilated bodies in northern Mexico. A woman had been hogtied and disemboweled and left dangling from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo. A bloodied man next to her was hanging by his hands.

Signs left near the bodies declared the pair, both apparently in their 20s, were killed for posting denouncements of drug cartel activities.
That makes getting unfriended on Facebook pretty innocuous.

Both incidents occurred less than ten miles from my office and apartment.

To give you some idea of how much the cartels have intimidated local media, this story received little if any coverage in the Laredo area. 

Which makes this story pretty interesting. A&E is planning a new TV series on Laredo. It premiers on Thurs. Oct. 13.
"Laredo, Texas is under siege. The small city on the U.S.-Mexico border is overrun by the sophisticated and large-scale trafficking operations of Mexican drug cartels. Given unprecedented access, A&E documents a unique, dedicated team of local cops, members of the Laredo Texas Police Department Narcotics Unit, who are waging a daily battle to protect the U.S.

The largest inland port on the U.S.-Mexico border, Laredo is the premiere gateway used by Mexican drug cartels to transport illegal narcotics into the U.S. and export billions of dollars in cash to Mexico. "Bordertown: Laredo" gives viewers exclusive access to the explosive drama, violence and conflict that unfold daily along the U.S.-Mexico border through the unique perspective of five Mexican-American cops determined to take back their community."
Check it out. You just might see a middle-aged over-weight bald-headed blogger in the background of some scenes (not me, of course - I'm young, could pass for a male swimsuit model, and have a full head of thick, luxurious, wavy hair).

What a mess...

Public Education - An Oxymoron?

I could make a career out of documenting the failure of our public school systems, but I have better - or at least more interesting - things to do. So I'll restrict myself to posting this notice of what Pima Community College in Tuscon AZ is doing to increase standards. I have no idea where Pima CC stands in relation to its peers, but based on my experience with community college transfers I suspect they're not that far away from the middle of the pack.

Arizona college to require 7th-grade skills
Pima Community College in Tucson will restrict admission to high school graduates or GED holders with at least seventh-grade proficiency in reading, writing and math, starting in 2012. The new admissions standards will encourage success, writes Roy Flores, the college president.
Think about that. There are high school graduates out there who are unable to read, write, or do 'rithmatic at a seventh grade level. How on earth did they advance to the eighth grade, much less graduate?
“Students who test below this level have little chance of succeeding in a college environment,”
Candidate for understatement of the year. 
Of 35,000 students at PCC, about 2,300 students — 6.3 percent — test below the seventh-grade level.
This is so sad on so many levels. IMO the most depressing thing about all this is that the public school system is doing such a huge disservice to the very people it is supposed to be helping - the students.

There are a myriad of reasons, but again IMO the majority of the blame lies with parents who abandon their responsibility to their kids and just hand them over to our public schools. It's been said that we get the government we deserve. Well, we also get the public school system we deserve.

With that as a backdrop, it is interesting to note that obama recently announced he was exempting states from requirements of George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Law.
What’s the major difference between George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law and the new education program that will be announced by President Obama today?

It’s there in the very sentence above.

The Bush law is a law. It was the result of arduous bipartisan negotiations that led to an agreement between, of all people, Bush and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

The Obama program is a program. It is federal fiat, a decision about what’s best by your superiors in the Obama administration. It’s a unilateral move to bypass the legislative process. It may or may not be good education policy.
Reasonable people can disagree on the effectiveness of the No Child Left Behind law, but at least it was a first step in holding public schools accountable for the quality of the education they are imparting to their students. And it was approved by conservatives, moderates, and liberals, gaining a consensus that seems impossible in these contentious times.

Unfortunately, none of that matters to obama and his teachers union supporters. Accountability be damned...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bonus FOD 2011.09.26

The woman applying for a job in a Florida lemon grove seemed to be far too qualified for the job, given her liberal arts degree from the University of Michigan and her jobs as a social worker and school teacher.

The foreman frowned and said, “I have to ask you this: “Have you had any actual experience in picking lemons?”

“Well, as a matter of fact, I have!” she said. “I’ve been divorced three times, owned 2 Chryslers, and I voted for Obama.

(Stolen from Mostly Cajun, who stole it from some dude named Bob.)

FOD 2011.09.26

Charles Krauthammer is, for my money, the best political columnist of our time. He is articulate and insightful, without being overly snarky. It also helps that he and I share the same position on most issues.  :-)

In his most recent column he reminds us of obama's true nature: "a staunch believer in the redistributionist state, a tribune, above all, of “fairness” — understood as government-imposed and government-enforced equality."
In a 2008 debate, Charlie Gibson asked Barack Obama about his support for raising capital gains taxes, given the historical record of government losing net revenue as a result. Obama persevered: “Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”
Think about that for a minute. The downgrader-in-chief advocates using tax policy to advance a social program of 'fairness' (whatever that is) regardless of any negative consequences for revenue collection. That's a questionable position at any time, but a particularly disastrous one when the national debt and deficit have reached unparalleled heights and the economy is shaky at best. It also provides a disturbing insight into obama's ideological perspective.
A most revealing window into our president’s political core: To impose a tax that actually impoverishes our communal bank account (the U.S. Treasury) is ridiculous. It is nothing but punitive. It benefits no one — not the rich, not the poor, not the government. For Obama, however, it brings fairness, which is priceless.

Now that he’s president, Obama has actually gone and done it. He’s just proposed a $1.5 trillion tsunami of tax hikes featuring a “Buffett rule” that, although as yet deliberately still fuzzy, clearly includes raising capital gains taxes.

He also insists again upon raising marginal rates on “millionaire” couples making $250,000 or more. But roughly half the income of small businesses (i.e., those filing individual returns) would be hit by this tax increase. Therefore, if we are to believe Obama’s own logic that his proposed business tax credits would increase hiring, then surely this tax hike will reduce small-business hiring.

But what are jobs when fairness is at stake? Fairness trumps growth. Fairness trumps revenue. Fairness trumps economic logic.
Focusing solely on the capital gains tax issue, the "economic logic" in question is the fact that taxing capital gains is actually taxing capital investment. Raising the tax rate will reduce the incentive for investors to commit capital to businesses, stifling economic growth in the midst of the current near-recession. Furthermore, capital gains are already taxed at what the Wall Street Journal calls "prohibitative rates," due to the fact that capital gains are taxed twice.
The problem is that this is a tax increase on capital investment, which the U.S. already taxes at prohibitive rates thanks to our high corporate tax rate of 35%. Capital gains and dividends are taxed twice, first as corporate profits and then as payouts to individuals. Their real capital gains tax rate is closer to 45% than 15%, which is why politicians of both parties have long supported a capital-gains rate differential.
Both the WSJ and Charles Krauthammer agree that obama's so-called Buffet rule is bad economic policy. The WSJ ascribes it to politics.
We rehearse all of this because it shows that the real point of Mr. Obama's Buffett Rule and his latest deficit proposal isn't tax justice or good tax policy. It is all about re-election politics.
Krauthammer thinks its obama being true to himself.
That’s why “soak the rich” is not just a campaign slogan to rally the base. It’s a mission.
I think they're both right...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Funnies 2011.09.25

The last few posts have talked about exams, so let's carry on with that theme.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 

A gorgeous young co-ed came into my office after the exam. She glanced down the hall, closed my door, and knelt down pleadingly.

"I would do anything to pass this exam," she said.

She leaned closer to me, gazed meaningfully into my eyes, and slowly licked her lips. "I mean..." she whispered, "...I would do...anything."

I stared into her eyes. "Anything?"

"Anything."

My voice became husky as I repeated "Anything??"

"Absolutely anything."

My voice turned into a deep whisper. "Would you...study?"

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 


? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Two college students had a big exam coming up. They decided to party instead. They showed up at the exam and told the professor that their car had broken down the night before due to a very flat tire and they needed a bit more time to study.

The professor told them that they could have another day to study. Both students crammed all night until they were sure that they knew just about everything.

Arriving to class the next morning, each was told to go to two separate classrooms to take the exam. They just shrugged and did as they were told. As each sat down, they read the directions:

"For 5 points, define an information system. For 95 points, tell me WHICH tire was flat."

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 

 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 

The week before the exam I reminded my class that I would not give any make-up exams. "Now class, I won't tolerate any excuses for you not being here tomorrow. I might consider a nuclear attack or a serious personal injury, illness, or a death in your immediate family, but that's it, no other excuses whatsoever!"

A smart-ass student in the back of the room raised his hand and asked, "What would you say if tomorrow I said I was suffering from complete and utter sexual exhaustion?" The entire class started laughing and snickering.

I smiled at the student, shook my head, and said, "Well, I guess you'd have to write the exam with your other hand."


 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Surprised And Shocked Follow-Up

I recently posted about the struggles some of my students had with an open-book exam. Several readers commented, making an assortment of valid points, which prompted me to think a little more about the situation.

Harper asked: Are these freshmen? Do you ever get contacted by their mothers? While I do have one kid that struggles with organization, even he knows to take the basics to class.
No helicopter parents, thank God. Since it's a required core course, I have a mix of grade levels. There are freshmen, sophomores, and even a few juniors. Most of the juniors are transfers from the local community college. Here's what I think is the underlying problem.

Generally speaking, our public school system is failing to do what it is supposed to do. Back when most of us went to school we learned the basics - the three R's, if you will. We also were held responsible for our behavior and actions (or inactions). In today's schools, the curriculum has been dumbed down and special interest groups have been pandered to (see, for example, this article discussing the recent controversy over textbooks used in the Texas public school system). Students are coddled. If they don't study, or forget to bring their homework to school, they are met with understanding and counseling instead of negative consequences. Thus they learn that it doesn't matter if they screw up - they don't get in trouble. They also graduate from high school woefully unprepared for college.

Community colleges are now basically two-year extensions of high school (at least on the academic side - on the vocational side, they still seem to be doing a good job). At our university we have a one-year remedial program for students with poor reading, riting, and 'rithmatic skills. So even at the university level we are doing the high schools' job to a certain extent.
I think you should capitalize on their failures. Buy some Scantrons and pencils and offer them at a 500% mark up to those that forget. Perhaps the price could go up with each subsequent purchase by the same student.
Several years ago I did that. I would bring extra scantrons and pencils to class. If a student didn't have one I gave them the choice of buying one from me for $5 or running over to the bookstore and back, with no extended time to complete the exam. Of course, they ran instead to the dean and complained.
I explained that I was simply reinforcing what we taught in the business school: buy low sell high, the time value of money, and opportunity cost. Of course that didn't fly, so we came to a mutual agreement that I wouldn't teach that class any more. Now, however, we have a new dean and a new department chair.
I sense a deja vu moment approaching.
Bear said: I'm gonna make my little brother read this, then re-warn him for the 734th time about the dangers of majoring in Beer & Girls during his higher education.
Bear, I would suggest your little brother major in whatever academic discipline he's interested in, and minor in Beer & Girls. That's what I did, and it only took me ten years to get my undergraduate degree.
My parents, however, cut me off after two.
 Old NFO commented: That is pretty @#@&* sad... Glad I'm not gonna be around when this generation takes over (if they can).
The sad part is that these kids aren't stupid, they're just unprepared (see my comments above). Once they're properly motivated and learn that they'll be held accountable, they shape up pretty quick. It's just getting them there that's tough. The scary part is that a large number of this generation will never learn the concept of personal accountability, because they've been raised with a dependency addiction and an entitlement mentality - "the gum'mint will take care of me."
kerrcarto pointed out: Every year (when I rated highways for TxDot) we had to get certified. It was a three day course. Two teaching days and one test day. It was an open book test. I have seen 40 year old men flunk it. I always wondered how the fuck you can fail an open book test, but year after year I watched it happen.
I can't speak to the TxDOT test, but I think there's two immediate reasons some of my students stumbled on the open book test. First, they didn't come to, or didn't pay attention to, the discussions in class where we explained the material. The test is written such that you can't just look up the answers, but must apply the concepts to a specific context. For example, I don't ask them the definition of a transaction processing system. That would take about 15 seconds to find in the glossary. Instead, I ask something like "HEB (a local grocery store) has approximately 10,000 customers daily. Each customer buys an average of 20 items. What type of information system should HEB use to capture and process data about customer purchases?" If they don't know that a transaction processing system is designed to collect and process detailed information associated with high-volume transactions in a short time frame, they'll have a hard time figuring out the answer.

The second reason is that, again as previously mentioned, the students' reading, comprehension, and reasoning skills are poorly developed in the public school systems.
This turned into a longer post than I intended, so I'll stop for now. But the problems with public schools is one of my hot buttons, so I'm sure I'll have more to say at a future date.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Something Stinks Around Here

Let the dogs out tonight right before going to bed. After a few minutes I heard a sudden burst of frenzied barking. I figured they had treed a coon. Happens every few weeks or so. The coons come up around the house at night looking for food or water. So I went outside to call off the dogs and bring them back in. Of course they didn't come when I called, so I went down the hill to round them up.

Turns out it wasn't a coon. It was a skunk. I rousted out the wife and kids and we spent the next hour or so merrily dousing the mutts with various concoctions of tomato juice, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dishwashing detergent, and feminine hygiene products.

Bottom line - no one is happy. The dogs have been banished to the laundry room for the night, and are wondering why we don't love them any more. There is a faint lingering odor of eau de skunk on all of us, despite showering and vigorous scrubbing, which will inevitably spread throughout the house and worm its way into the bedclothes, necessitating a day of laundry.

And we have to get up at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow for a family function.

Remind me again why we live in the country...

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.09.23

I have found my new political party!!! Grab a Shiner, crank up the volume, and enjoy.



Boy, that Boris Yeltsin can boogie down...

Surprised And Shocked

This semester I'm teaching the Introduction to Information Systems course, a class that is required of all business majors, regardless of whether or not they are an IS major. I haven't taught this particular course in several years. Instead, I've been teaching the capstone course for graduating seniors and a couple of grad courses. I'd forgotten what the intro course was like.

I gave the first exam of the semester to my Intro class yesterday.
"Class, I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Reality."

"Mr. Reality, meet my students."
I had students show up that I haven't seen all semester. In spite of repeated advance notice, including multiple postings in our online chat room and multiple emails sent to each and every student, there were still a number that showed up without (A) a scantron (the machine-readable form for recording the exam answers); (B) a pencil (for filling out the scantron); (C) the book or their notes (it was an open-book exam); or (D) all of the above.

I am not the bookstore. I do not supply scantrons, pencils, or books to students. For some strange reason, this surprised and shocked them.

I had students wander in with less than 30 minutes left in the class, and then ask if they could have extra time to complete the exam because they didn't get as much time as their classmates. I said "No." More surprised and shocked students.

If they think they're surprised and shocked now, just wait until they get their grades.

UPDATE: I finished grading the exams. One student got a 54 - a fifty friggin' four - on an open book exam. How is that possible?!? There was also a 56, a handful of D's, and around 10 C's. There are 45 students in the class, so over 1/3 of them scored a C or lower on an open book exam.

I weep for the future...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Big Brother Is Watching You - Even After You Tell Him To Stop

Maybe it's time for all of us to re-read 1984, with emphasis on the slogan "Big Brother is Watching You." That certainly seems to be the case with Government Motor's new OnStar 'privacy' (*snort*) policy.

Government Motors is now spying on you via OnStar even after you turn it off.
If you're the owner of a fairly new General Motors product, you may want to take a close look at the most recent OnStar terms and conditions. As it turns out, the company has altered the parameters under which it can legally collect GPS data on your vehicle.

Originally, the terms and conditions stated that OnStar could only collect information on your vehicle's location during a theft recovery or in the midst of sending emergency services your way. That has apparently changed. Now, OnStar says that it has the right to collect and sell personal, yet supposedly anonymous information on your vehicle, including speed, location, seat belt usage and other information.
Note that the "other data" mentioned above includes your credit card information. Also note that the new so-called 'privacy' policy allows GM to share or sell that information to other parties.
Who would be interested in that data, you ask? Law enforcement agencies, for starters, as well as insurance companies. Perhaps the most startling news to come out of the latest OnStar terms and conditions is the fact that the company can continue to collect the information even after you disconnect the service. If you want the info to be cut off all together, you'll have to specifically shut down the vehicle's data connection.

"Under our new Terms and Conditions, when a customer cancels service, we have informed customers that OnStar will maintain a two-way connection to their vehicle unless they ask us not to do so."
In other words, you can opt out of the data collection, but you have to do so twice. Once when you discontinue the service, and then a second time to tell GM you really mean it. Kind of like those little popup boxes that ask "Are you sure you want to delete this file?"

In this case I'd like to delete GM.

Of course, in true government fashion, it takes three weeks to process your request and turn off the service. In the meantime, OnStar keeps collecting your data.

Or you can just pull the fuse.

Just another reason why I'll never buy a Government Motors product...

Looking For Common Sense? Don't Look Here

I am on the faculty at one of the two largest state university systems in Texas. I work with people who are intellectually gifted, but who are similar to obama and members of his administration in that they have no real-world experience, massive egos, and miniscule common sense. Three examples:

1. The university president was wandering around campus on a Friday a few months ago and noticed that there were relatively few students around compared to Mondays through Thursdays. That's because, like most universities, our classes are scheduled for 1.5 hour slots on Mondays/Wednesdays and Tuesdays/Thursdays. Total weekly class time is thus 3 hours.

The president's solution to the 'problem' of campus under-utilization is to scrap the Mon./Wed. schedule and instead implement 1 hour classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Total class time is still 3 hours a week, but now students and faculty have to be on campus on Fridays. Needless to say, this has met with a large pushback from both groups. So far the president has stood firm. He has yet to articulate a compelling reason for this change, other than to repeat "The new schedule enables us to utilize the campus buildings more fully." He doesn't seem to understand the math that 2 x 1.5 = 3 x 1.

It should be noted that the president is an English Literature major.

2. Like most campuses, parking is at a premium. Last school year the faculty parking lot was gated, with access controlled by a magnetic card. This safeguarded us from the hordes of students circling through the parking lots like vultures. It also made it possible to use the card in different vehicles, if you happened to use another one for whatever reason.

This year the gates are gone and the cards replaced by a 'special' faculty sticker that is applied on the windshield. If you drive a second car, you have to buy a second sticker - and they ain't cheap. Furthermore, the penalty for parking in the faculty lot without the 'special' sticker is $5 for the first three offenses. Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for the students to figure out that $5 was a small price to pay for a premium parking spot. Now faculty are showing up late for class because our lot is full.

As a form of protest, some of us have begun a rotating schedule of parking in the president's reserved spot.

He is not amused.

3. I'm in the business school. Business schools around the world are accredited by the AACSB,a 'quality control' organization similar in concept to the Good Housekeeping seal of approval or the Underwriters Laboratories label. In general, AACSB accreditation is a good thing. It signifies that the school is devoted to providing a quality education, as set forth in a series of standards and guidelines.

AACSB emphasizes the concept of continuous improvement. A major part of the AACSB accreditation process is a review of the process and metrics used to measure such improvement. Unfortunately, over time the bureaucrats and administrators have taken over the AACSB, and become embedded in the member schools, to such a degree that actual outcomes are practically immaterial. What this means in practice is described below.

In year 1, School A's students are assessed as meeting 50% of the learning outcomes designated by that school. In Year 3, School A's students now meet 55% of the learning outcomes.

In Year 1, School B's students are assessed as meeting 75% of their learning outcomes. In Year 3, that figure remains constant.

In the eyes of AACSB, School A is doing a better job than School B because its results show improvement. AACSB is unconcerned with the actual outcomes. What matters is the process, not the result.

Fortunately, most faculty are truly focused on ensuring that their students leave class knowing more than they did when they came in. We don't need an outside agency to come in and tell us how to do our job. I'm not opposed to being evaluated or assessed. But for goodness sakes do so in a manner that makes sense.

Okay, enough venting for a while. I'm off in search of a cold Shiner to help erase the frustration that's been building since the semester began...


UPDATE: Evidently it's not just my university that lacks common sense.

No-Show College Professor's Excuse: He Died in April
University of Pennsylvania students who were puzzled by a no-show professor later found out why he missed the first day of class: He died months ago.

The students were waiting for Henry Teune to teach a political science class at the Ivy League school in Philadelphia on Sept. 13.

University officials say that about an hour after the class's start time, an administrator notified students by email that Teune had died. The email apologized for not having canceled the class.

Teune died in April at the age of 75.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pass This Bill

Somehow this is all Bush's fault - or the Tea Party's, or the Republicans', or Rick Perry's, or Sarah Palin's, or ... well, you get the idea.
Senate Democrats still have not decided when to take up the jobs bill President Barack Obama announced with great fanfare to a joint session of Congress almost two weeks ago. In addition, they are still working to determine if they will vote on the bill in its entirety or augment it with additional job growth ideas of their own.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appeared testy at a news conference Tuesday when asked about the schedule for the bill and whether all Democrats would support it...
Whatever happened to "Pass this Bill"?

Get Your Mind Out Of The Gutter

It was a long weekend ... followed by an even longer Monday ... so today's post is quick and dirty.

The objective is to help you realize that you've got a dirty mind. Get thee to church soonest.


My first thought was probably the same as yours, but after a close examination it could be a lamp.

The next one's a little more abstract, but with a little imagination you can see something besides the wine glasses.


While we're on the subject of alcohol, here's an interesting use of beer bottles.


Then there's the 'Candid Camera' approach.


Whew, all those pictures have gotten me a little heated up. Maybe a nice drink of water to cool off...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All In The Family

obama's Uncle Omar has been in the news lately for (1) getting arrested for driving drunk (in a delicious bit of irony, he had just left the Chicken Bone Saloon); (2) being in the country illegally since 1992; and (3) becoming the poster child for obama's illegal immigration policy.
Want to know what the U.S .would look like under Barack Obama's amnesty for illegals? Look no further than the president's own family, warn officials for the Washington watchdog organization Judicial Watch.

"President Obama's 'Uncle Omar' is the face of what is wrong with the Obama administration's lawless and dangerous approach to illegal immigration. Instead of being deported, as the law requires, Uncle Omar was allowed to roam the streets and endanger the lives of innocent people, including a law enforcement officer," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

"And Uncle Omar is exactly the kind of person that local police would have been able to easily keep off the streets as a result of new immigration laws in states such as Arizona and Georgia, which are being challenged in court by the Obama administration," he said.

Obama's illegal alien uncle was arrested last week for allegedly driving drunk after leaving the Chicken Bone Saloon in Framingham, Mass. He was accused of nearly hitting a police car.

Onyango Obama reportedly is a citizen of Kenya but apparently ignored a deportation order in the 1990s and has been a fugitive since.
 
This story is familiar to those of us who stay abreast of current events, as is the fact that this is not the first obama relative to violate the law and stay in the country illegally.
The situation is not the first involving an illegal alien relative of the president. Last year his aunt, Zeituni Onyango, was granted asylum in the U.S. after she was rejected in a request for asylum in 2004 but stayed in the U.S. anyway.
What is disturbing about Auntie Zeituni is not her casual disregard of U.S. law (well, yes that is disturbing, especially as it seems to run in the family). But what is particularly disturbing is her arrogance and sense of entitlement, as displayed in the video below. It's about 4 1/2 minutes long, but well worth watching just to gain an insight into the obama family perspective on the law and what they believe this country owes them.

video

It's also worth noting that obama's aunt has lived for many years on public welfare - taxpayer dollars - without receiving a single penny from her millionaire nephew the prez.

That speaks volumes about what kind of person he is, and what kind of family he comes from.

Monday, September 19, 2011

FOD II - 2011.09.19

Today we have a bonus FOD post, courtesy of JammieWearingFool commenting on 'Class Warfare May Make for Really Good Politics But It Makes for Rotten Economics'
When I first saw Obama planned to institute a "Buffett Tax" I mistakenly thought he'd be levying taxes against his wife every time she bellied up to the all-you-can-eat buffet line.
 * * * * * * * * * *

And here's a visual to accompany Harper's FOD post.


FOD 2011.09.19

As obama's approval ratings plummet and the country lurches from one crisis to another, liberals are experiencing buyer's remorse. Calls for Hillary Clinton to run for the presidency in 2012 are increasing in volume and stridency.
At a New York political event last week, Republican and Democratic office-holders were all bemoaning President Obama’s handling of the debt-ceiling crisis when someone said, “Hillary would have been a better president.”

“Every single person nodded, including the Republicans,” reported one observer.

At a luncheon in the members’ dining room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday, a 64-year-old African-American from the Bronx was complaining about Obama’s ineffectiveness in dealing with the implacable hostility of congressional Republicans when an 80-year-old lawyer chimed in about the president’s unwillingness to stand up to his opponents. “I want to see blood on the floor,” she said grimly.
So much for civility and cooperation from the left.
A 61-year-old white woman at the table nodded. “He never understood about the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy,’” she said.
Maybe that's why the left is so bitter. They're paranoid.
Looking as if she were about to cry, an 83-year-old Obama supporter shook her head. “I’m so disappointed in him,” she said. “It’s true: Hillary is tougher.”

In Connecticut, a businessman who raised money for Obama in 2008 said, “I’m beyond disgusted.” In New Jersey, a teacher reported that even her friends in the Obama administration are grievously disillusioned with his lack of leadership—and many have begun to whisper about a Democratic challenge for the 2012 presidential nomination. “I think people are furtively hoping that Hillary runs,” she said.

The son of a longtime Democratic congressman from Texas, a 73-year-old lawyer, is so enraged with Obama that he’s threatening not to vote for the 2012 Democratic ticket—the first time in his entire life that he’s contemplated such apostasy.
On Real Time With Bill Maher, the host said that as far as he was concerned, Obama might as well be a Republican, and added that he thought last week represented the tipping point in Obama’s presidency.
Maher's an asshole, of course, but no matter.
When one of his guests said that Clinton would have been a better president than obama because she would have been “a more effective negotiator in the halls of Congress,” Maher replied “She knows how to deal with difficult men.”
Ooohhhhhhh - throw Bill under the bus with barry...
Among Clinton fans, particularly older women, the language was frequently far more caustic. “Obama has no spine and no balls,” said a 67-year-old New Yorker.
For once I find myself agreeing with a liberal.
Other observers contrasted the president’s declining popularity with Clinton’s widely acclaimed performance as secretary of State. “To be blunt, her resume outshines the incumbent’s,” ... Clinton’s approval rating is close to 70 percent while Obama’s is around 40 percent.
Such polls notwithstanding, insiders insist that Clinton will not challenge her president for the 2012 nomination, and many pundits dismiss the idea as political suicide. “A challenge from Clinton would be a complete disaster, both for her and for the Democrats,” wrote Jon Bernstein on the Plain Blog political site.
Sadly, it appears unlikely that Hillary will actually challenge obama in 2012. But the dems still have a predicament. The incumbent squatter in the Oval Office faces a difficult reelection campaign, with the outcome very much in doubt. Fortunately for them, there is an alternative.



 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Funnies 2011.09.18

Football season is now in full swing - finally!


Q: Where do quarterbacks go when they get old?
A: Out to pass-ture.

Q: What do you call a lineman's kids?
A: Chips off the old blocker.




"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
 - Football commentator and former Washington Redskins player Joe Theismann

"The reason women don't play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public."
 - Phyllis Diller



Two guys are talking about an upcoming wedding. One says, "It's ridiculous, he's rich, but he's 95 years old, and she's just 24! What kind of a wedding is that?"

The other says, "It's a football wedding."

The first asks, "What's a football wedding?"

The second replies, "She's waiting for him to kick off."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quick Hits

A black guy, a Muslim, and a Communist walk into a bar.

The bartender asks, “What can I get you, Mr. President?”

(H/T Sondrakistan, who also gets credit for the following.)

“Michelle Obama sightings can be reported to SASQUAAAAAAAAAAAATCH”



Speaking of Attack Watch:

From EddieRobbins: "My neighbor removed his Obama bumper sticker. I think he's a racist."

From DickMeyers: "Bless me #AttackWatch for I have sinned. I have muttered naughty words about our Dear Leader 9 times & have doubted his divinity a few times"

From joaniekensil: "Ate refried beans & chips for breakfast which is sort of racist foodist - Carbon emissions to follow."

(H/T The American Spectator)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.09.16

My 17 year-old son, who like most teenagers thinks he knows everything, very diffidently asked me about the best way to ask a special girl out. I immediately seized on this opportunity to share with him the suave and debonair techniques I used when I was his age to sweep young ladies off their feet... (you may have to turn the volume up - the recording level's a little low)

How Much More Of This Can Be Shoved Under The Rug?

The mainstream media is outdoing itself in willfully ignored the burgeoning pile of dirt that the obama administration is frantically trying to sweep under the rug. 

There is blood on the hands of obama and his minions.
Weapons linked to ATF's controversial "Fast and Furious" operation have been tied to at least eight violent crimes in Mexico including three murders, four kidnappings and an attempted homicide.

According to a letter from U.S. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the disclosed incidents may be only a partial list of violent crimes linked to Fast and Furious weapons because "ATF has not conducted a comprehensive independent investigation."

When added to the guns found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in the U.S., the newly-revealed murders in Mexico bring the total number of deaths linked to Fast and Furious to four.
There is money flowing to obama from donors in exchange for favors that cost the taxpayers $$$ and threatens our national security
- obama administration ignored warnings about Solynda 
White House officials discussed the political ramifications of a possible default by a troubled solar energy company that received more than $500 million in federal loans.

The emails show the Obama administration privately worried about the effect of a default by Solyndra Inc. on the president's re-election campaign.

At least three reports by federal watchdogs over the past two years warned that the Energy Department had not fully developed the controls needed to manage the multibillion-dollar loan program that provided more than $528 million to Solyndra Inc., a now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer.

The Silicon Valley company was the first renewable-energy company to receive a loan guarantee under the 2009 stimulus law, and the Obama administration frequently touted Solyndra as a model for its clean energy program. President Barack Obama visited the company's Fremont, Calif., headquarters last year.

Even as Obama praised the company's plans to hire more than 1,000 workers, warning signs were being sent from within the government and from outside analysts who questioned Solyndra's viability as a "going concern."
- obama administration pressures Air Force General on behalf of campaign donor
The four-star Air Force general who oversees U.S. Space Command walked into a highly secured room on Capitol Hill a week ago to give a classified briefing to lawmakers and staff, and dropped a surprise. Pressed by members, Gen. William Shelton said the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to make it more favorable to a company tied to a large Democratic donor.
Two comments on that last item: (1) the source was msnbc - if you're a 'progressive, when you've lost msnbc, you're really in trouble; and (2) compromising our national security to gain a political advantage is beyond despicable. It borders on the treasonous.

Speaking of treasonous, there is the Justice Department's intervention on behalf of terrorist-related Islamist organizations ("political appointees in the Obama Justice Department prevented the prosecution not only of Ahmad and CAIR but of other Islamist organizations designated as unindicted coconspirators")

And of course, who can forget the infamous Justice Department's racially-motivated failure to prosecute a clear-cut case of voter intimidation?
A former Justice Department attorney who quit his job to protest the Obama administration's handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case is accusing Attorney General Eric Holder of dropping the charges for racially motivated reasons.
If you're searching for a common thread between the above cases - besides obama, that is - it's Eric Holder.

If he knew about them, and it's hard to see how he couldn't, he's corrupt and needs to go. At the very least he should be removed from office. In a just world, he would be prosecuted.

If he didn't know, he's incompetent, and still needs to go.

Either way, his ass should be dodging a boot on his way out the door.

Are you paying attention, Attack Watch?

There Is No Way On God's Green Earth I'll Use Any Of This Stuff

As you can tell from the time stamp on this post, it is late at night. Several Shiners have made their influence felt.

Normally I would have left this dump about 8 hours ago and headed for home, but the friggin' administrators that like to think they run this place have scheduled a mandatory meeting for mañana. They don't have anything better to do with their time, so we have to get together from 2:00 - 4:00 Friday afternoon: topic = nonsense, participants = babbling fools.

What makes it even worse is that this weekend is Dies y Seis, or the Mexican Independence Day from Spain (not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo, or the Mexican Independence Day from France). That means the traffic going from here to my real home will be much heavier than normal, resulting in a more stressful commute than usual..

Fortunately, I just ran across some tips on the Internet that will reduce my stress by making me look, feel, and smell  my manly best.
Dry shampoo, cleansing gel, lift express ("My wife loaned me this stuff, and it really tightened up and hydrated my face. Now I save it for special occasions."), body balm, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue ("I've been wearing Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue since it came out, but I wear the one they make for women." - well of course you do, sweetie...), Eye Defense Cream, and last but not least, Texturizing Paste.
How did I survive 40+ years after puberty, including three in the Army, without Texturizing Paste, whatever the Hell that is?

So anyway, I'll wander into that waste-of-time meeting tomorrow, sit there and twiddle my thumbs for a couple of hours, and then head north, where my beloved wife is anxiously awaiting me.

Brace yourself, Darlin'...

Help In These Troubled Times

As I was driving home this week worrying about all the crap going on in Washington, and all the problems in my personal life, I saw a yard sign that spoke to me. It said:

NEED HELP? CALL JESUS. 1-800-005-3787

Out of curiosity and desperation, I did.

A Mexican showed up with a lawnmower...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Justin Bieber Wears Women’s Jeans
Justin Bieber wears what's comfortable -- it's as simple as that. The pop sensation rocked the red carpet at Dolce & Gabbana's Fashion's Night Out event in New York City, where he spoke about his own fashion choices, including women's jeans.
Of course women's jean are more comfortable for the Biebster. They're not cut to accommodate 'the package,' which he obviously lacks...

Setting A Good Example

As anyone who's ever worked with young people knows, they learn more by watching what you do than by listening to what you say. "Do as I say, not as I do" just doesn't work with kids.

Which brings us to the Tacoma public schools teachers union.

Tacoma teachers ignore judge's order, return to picket line
Teachers and some 28,000 students in Tacoma, Washington, were supposed return to school Thursday after a judge ordered the striking teachers to halt their protest -- but that didn't happen.

The Tacoma School district had to cancel classes because many teachers did not show up for work Thursday, despite the judge's order on Wednesday...

Many teachers returned to the picket line Thursday instead of complying with the court order, according to CNN affiliate KCPQ.

A Washington state court judge issued a temporary restraining order and ordered that schools reopen immediately after the Tacoma School District took the striking teachers and the Tacoma Education Association union to court.
Tyler Firkins, the attorney for the teacher's union, said the school district was not negotiating in good faith and that if the strike continued, students could make up the missed time later.
Yeah, right. The teachers union is going to agree to extend the school year into their summer vacation? I don't think so.
"Whether my child misses a week or two, it's not going to affect her education," Firkins said of his daughter, who he said attends classes at a Tacoma public school.
That tells you everything you need to know about the quality of public education delivered by unionized teachers.
"This is about teaching our kids to stand up to bullies," said Andy Coons, president of the teacher's union. 
It may be a lesson in standing up to bullies, but in this case the bully is the union. The teachers are placing their wants and desires above the public good, and ignoring the law. Is that really what you want to teach your kids?

 In the meantime, single-parent families and families with two working parents are thrown into turmoil. And what about the students from 'poor' households? How will they get by without their taxpayer-subsidized breakfasts and lunches? Not the union's problem.

It's clear that the union doesn't care about the students.

After all, students don't pay dues...

Pigs Fly - and Republican Wins NY 9th Congressional District

 New York, New York - if you can make it there you can make it anywhere
Democrats, from the rank-and-file to President Obama, are worried -- as they should be -- about the surprise victory of a novice candidate, Republican Bob Turner, in New York City's 9th Congressional District.

Democrats had every advantage they could have asked for. They outnumber Republicans 3-to-1 in a district Dems have held since 1923. They vastly outspent Turner and the GOP, and even called in big guns like ex-President Bill Clinton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to campaign for the losing Democrat, state Rep. David Weprin.

But they still lost.

It seems clear that voters, including a significant number of Democrats, are angry at Obama's policies -- so dissatisfied that they are willing to vote for newcomers, like Turner, who have never held political office.

Weprin's strategy largely consisted of calling Turner a tea party candidate and pledging allegiance to the Democratic line, on the assumption that his party's election machinery and support from unions would win the day. That was a mistake...
Candidate for understatement of the week.

Desperate democrats like Debbie Whatshername Schultz and Chuckie Schumer are in full spin mode.
Schultz Blames Orthodox Jews

Schumer Says District is 'too Jewish'
It's interesting to note that Weprin, the democrat loser, is Jewish, while Turner is Cathlic. Imagine that - those darn Jews crossing party lines to vote for a Catholic. Maybe obama shouldn't have made a practice of throwing Isreal under the bus.

Regardless, most of the nation will perceive this as a referendum on obama and his policies. That's something the democrats must change if they're to have any hope in 2012.

Since they have no chance if they run on obama's record, their only hope is to come out swinging early and often. Brace yourself for a long, nasty, dirty campaign.

Cornered rats can be dangerous...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Real World Sucks

Yesterday I lectured in class about the role social media plays in today's world. In an unsettling coincidence, yesterday obama and his minions rolled out their 'Attack Watch' website, where all the good little snitches can go to rat out anyone who dares criticize Dear Leader.

That's bad enough, but in a truly disturbing and frightening coincidence, yesterday two bodies were discovered hanging from a bridge that spans the Texas-Mexico border.

Bodies hanging from bridge in Mexico are warning to social media users
It was a chilling message: two bodies with signs of torture found hanging from a pedestrian bridge in the border town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
A man and a woman, both in their early 20s, were left hanging like cuts of meat. The woman was hogtied and disemboweled, her intestines protruding from three deep cuts on her abdomen. She was then hung from the bridge by her feet and hands, topless. The bloodied man was suspended next to her by his hands, his right shoulder severed so deeply you can see the bone. 
Two posters left near the bodies declared that the pair -- a young man and woman -- were killed for denouncing drug cartel activity on a social network.

Bloggers who specialize in sharing news about trafficking have been threatened in the past, but this could be the first time that users of such social networks have been targeted.

The effect of such threats could be chilling, as several areas in Mexico -- including Nuevo Laredo -- have media outlets that self-censor out of fear of retribution by the cartels. In light of this censorship, blogs and social networks such as Twitter have surged as alternatives to keep citizens informed of dangers in their community.

Now the users of those networks appear to be under threat.
What kind of animals do things like this? Sick, sick, sick...

Hidden below is a picture of the unfortunate pair (Warning - graphic image). Click on the button to Show/Hide the image.



That bridge is less than 10 miles from my university office. Tomorrow I have to go back in that same classroom and hope to God that all my students are still there. Then we will have to talk about the news, just like we talked about 9/11 yesterday.

I try to use real-world examples in my lectures, but this is not one I'm looking forward to...

We're Number One!

Texas is #1 in a lot of things, not the least of which is our self-image. However, this is one #1 we could do without.
Texas just finished the hottest June through August on record for any state in the U.S., weather officials said Thursday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Murphy told The Associated Press that Texas' average ... beat out Oklahoma's ... in 1934 (in the midst of the Dust Bowl years).

The record was announced as raging wildfires and scorching heat continued ... over the past week, adding to the human, economic and agricultural toll of a historic drought that climatologists said was only growing more dire.

The dry conditions, coupled with persistent temperatures well above 100 degrees, has sparked wildfires throughout the state. So far this year, 18,719 fires have burned over 3.5 million acres and thousands of homes and other structures, according to the Texas Forest Service.

More than 95 percent of the state's pasture and rangelands are rated as poor or very poor, leaving little for livestock to eat or drink. Texas officials peg damages at more than $5 billion.

I grew up around here, and have lived in Texas most of my adult life, but I've never experienced an extended period of high heat and lengthy drought like this one. It's just been relentlessly brutal, with no relief in sight. The high today here in South Texas was 104 - 104 friggin' degrees in the middle of friggin September - with no rain in the 10-day forecast.

I don't know if it's the weather or my advancing age (well, it's not so much the years as the accumulated mileage) but I feel worn down and wore out. Over the last several weeks I've been sluggish, unmotivated, and on edge. I really have to force myself not to snap at my wife, kids, dogs, or students.


 It's like having PMS...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's Not My Fault

One of the components of obama's porkulous stimulous American Jobs Act is a series of free trade agreements that most agree will help breath life into the economy and encourage job growth. The problem, as I've noted before, is that the agreements remain sitting on obama's desk. He must send them to congress before they can be passed, yet he persists in blaming congress for the delay.
Nearly a dozen Republican senators on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama to quickly send Congress three long-delayed trade deals that they said would help put Americans back to work.

"If the president really cares about jobs, he will send up the agreements immediately," Senator Rob Portman told reporters, referring to deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia signed more than four years ago.

The senators said they were frustrated that Obama has repeatedly called on lawmakers to approve the trade pacts but still has not formally submitted them to Congress.

"We can't pass them if you don't send them up," Senator Roy Blunt said, noting the trade deals have been on Obama's desk since he became president in January 2009.
Yet somehow this will all be made to appear as if it's congress' fault.

Sigh...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Late Night FOD 2011.09.12

From Jay Leno:
President Obama named his new $447-billion legislation the American Jobs Act. Better than the original name, the Save My Ass Act.

A new L.A. Times poll says 75% of Californians think the country is headed in the wrong direction. It's so bad that 60% of Californians are thinking about returning to Mexico.

Government statistics show the U.S. economy created zero jobs in August. President Obama now says he's confident this month he can double that.

The NFL season kicks off Thursday night right here on NBC. We are all very excited. The game will be on right after the season finale of President Obama.

FOD 2011.09.12

With such an unparallelled record of achievement, is it no wonder that obama's poll numbers are dropping almost as fast as the stock market?





All of which brings us to yesterday, when he participated in the national day of service training for his future job.


He'll probably screw that one up also...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

I make my living with words, but they are the dry, passionless words of textbooks and research reports. On a day like today, when our memories are awakened from their slumbers and our emotions aroused, I’ll rely on the words of others more eloquent than me to tell the stories of heroes, victims, and villains.

Never forget the victims.

Never forget the heroes.

Never forget the sons-of-bitches that did it.


Never forget the victims.


They began jumping not long after the first plane hit the North Tower, not long after the fire started. They kept jumping until the tower fell. They jumped through windows already broken and then, later, through windows they broke themselves. They jumped to escape the smoke and the fire; they jumped when the ceilings fell and the floors collapsed; they jumped just to breathe once more before they died. They jumped continually, from all four sides of the building, and from all floors above and around the building's fatal wound. They jumped from the offices of Marsh & McLennan, the insurance company; from the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond-trading company; from Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 106th and 107th floors -- the top. For more than an hour and a half, they streamed from the building, one after another, consecutively rather than en masse, as if each individual required the sight of another individual jumping before mustering the courage to jump himself or herself. One photograph, taken at a distance, shows people jumping in perfect sequence, like parachutists, forming an arc composed of three plummeting people, evenly spaced. Indeed, there were reports that some tried parachuting, before the force generated by their fall ripped the drapes, the tablecloths, the desperately gathered fabric, from their hands. They were all, obviously, very much alive on their way down, and their way down lasted an approximate count of ten seconds. They were all, obviously, not just killed when they landed but destroyed, in body though not, one prays, in soul.

 A friend of mine lives in NYC. She’s a reporter for Reuters. She was on the scene that day, watching in horror as victim after victim plummeted to their death. To this day the only time she can talk about it is halfway through a bottle of rum.


Never forget the heroes.


The story of The Man in the Red Bandana has been in the news lately. There are many, many other heroes of that day, and of the ten years after, but the saga of Welles Crowther resonates with me for one simple reason. I often carry a red bandana in my back pocket – have done so for decades. While I would never compare myself with Welles, after reading his story I say a simple little prayer for him and everyone else whenever I pull that bandana out and mop my brow, or wipe my hands, or use it to clean my glasses, or whatever.
They sat bloody and petrified -- the lights out, smoke engulfing the room and pain searing through their bodies. There was no escape from where they were in the South Tower, in pieces after being hit by United Airlines Flight 175 as far as they could tell.

Then out of nowhere, a young man burst in and took control. In a strong, authoritative voice, he directed them to the stairway -- which was veiled by darkness, wreckage and haze -- telling the injured to get out and the healthy to help them down.

"I see this incredible hero, running back and forth and saving the day," recalled Judy Wein. "In his mind, he had a duty to do -- to save people."

"He's definitely my guardian angel -- no ifs, ands or buts -- because without him, we would be sitting there, waiting [until] the building came down," echoes Ling Young.

Wein and Young were separated by a few minutes and a few floors that day, but they share a similar story and a single hero: Welles Crowther.

Both women credit the equities trader and volunteer firefighter with saving their lives and dozens of others on September 11.

But until a few months ago, Crowther was just an unforgettable face to Young. Wein remembered his penetrating eyes, firm voice and the red bandana he wore over his nose and mouth that late summer day -- but didn't know his name.

That changed late last May, when a New York Times article featuring a description of the man in the tell-tale bandanna led Welles' mother, Allison, to Wein and then to Young.

Allison said the New York medical examiner's office told them Welles' body had been found intact, with no signs of burns, alongside firefighters and emergency workers then running a command center in the South Tower's lobby.

Authorities speculated, according to Allison, that Welles was aiding the rescue effort as a civilian usher when he died, suddenly and painlessly, when the building fell.

"He was the cowboy coming in to save the town," Wein said. "In this day and age when we have no real heroes, here was a young man who basically gave his life," she said.


Never forget the sons-of-bitches that did it.


Flight 93 should be remembered for many reasons.
Foremost is that it was the first victory in the War on Terrorism, though it came at a high price. The terrorists' plan depended on the passenger's common assumption that their temporary cooperation with hijackers would likely result in their eventual release or rescue, which is how most hijackings had ended in the past.

That assumption forever changed the instant Flight 93 passengers learned the fate of the other three hijacked planes. The passengers knew that any chance of survival was not a matter of negotiation and diplomacy -- it was a matter of fighting force with force. That is exactly what America should have been doing all along with Islamic terrorists and their supporters.

Passenger Jeremy Glick spoke these words to his wife minutes before the crash: "Our best chance is to fight these people, rather than accept it." His words were true before 9/11 and they are still true today.

Never forget the victims.

Never forget the heroes.

Never forget the sons-of-bitches that did it.