Archive for February, 2007

When “Gallagher” is the best choice

February 27, 2007

College Drops Punishment of Professor for Politically Incorrect Math Question

FIRE’s long-fought case at Bellevue Community College (BCC) has finally drawn to a close. Last week, BCC announced that it would no longer pursue a week-long unpaid suspension of Professor Peter Ratener, who composed a math exam problem that featured a woman named Condoleezza dropping a watermelon off the roof of a federal building. [. . .] Ratener responded to public outcry that he was a racist by issuing an apology for his gaffe, explaining that he attempted to use humor to relieve the tension of test-takers, and that in years past he’d used the example of the comedian Gallagher dropping a watermelon. Because students no longer recognize the name Gallagher, Ratener explained, in 2004 he had substituted the name Condoleezza, not realizing the possible racial implications.

High school nostalgia

February 26, 2007

Jon sent me a link to our old high school tonight. What a depressing experience that was, to browse the site. In a nutshell, everything was better when we were there.

The most obvious of today’s bad news is that students all must wear a school uniform. Gone are the days when one could approach one’s t-shirt selection philosophically, analytically, in anticipation of arguing a plausible defense of oneself if one were called to the principal’s office (I never was, but I did think about it). What was it, exactly, that legitimized a Smiths The Queen Is Dead t-shirt, but banned a Metallica shirt? Gone, too, are the days when one could wear acid-washed jeans (if one wanted to). Man, I’m glad I went to high school when I did.

The other crazy thing I’m not keen about is that grades are now posted online for parents to see. I wasn’t a bad student, but it’s just another piece of freedom taken away from the student.

In my browsing of the site, I hit a typo about every 45 seconds. It was ridiculous. Mostly these were just two words run together with no space. But on my old English Honors teacher’s site, I saw two errors I’d slam my students for: a singular/plural conflict, and the word “usually” spelled “ususally.”

Bad.

On top of all this, the school has got about 4 trillion more students than when I was there, and less land (overall).

*Shudder* I can’t imagine being in high school there right now. I don’t have to worry about ever working there, apart from the fact that I wouldn’t apply . . . on top of being a rank Papist, I don’t even have the requisite degree from a Calvinist college.

James Cameron, et tu?

February 26, 2007

James Cameron’s coming out with his own version of The Da Vinci Code in the form of a documentary that says Jesus was never resurrected, and that he had a son by Mary Magdalene.

Snore.

This CNN article says that archaeologists and religious scholars are skeptical of Cameron’s claims:

“How possible is it?” Pfann said. “On a scale of one through 10 — 10 being completely possible — it’s probably a one, maybe a one and a half.”

While you’re wasting your time with me, check out this amazing story of a piano plagiarist. Joyce Hatto passed off scores of recordings by others as if they were her own, and the scandal was only discovered after her death of cancer last year.

——
UPDATE: Scott points out that Hatto’s scandal makes Milli Vanilli look not so bad!

More NOI(se)

February 26, 2007

The NY Times’ discussion of the Nation of Islam made me laugh this morning:

Imam Muhammad Siddeeq, an Indianapolis cleric and senior aide to Mr. Mohammed, said that for the Nation of Islam to survive, it must turn more toward mainstream Islam.
[. . .]

He echoes many others in arguing that the Nation should abandon some of its teachings. The Nation holds, among other teachings, that the group’s founder, W. Fard Muhammad, was the Mahdi, or savior, sent by God to Detroit around 1930 and that spaceships hovering above the earth will eventually play a major role in smiting sinners and rescuing the righteous.

“Those are ideas for kindergarten, a trip to Oz,” Mr. Siddeeq said. “Those are not ideas for people living in the real world.”

A savior in Detroit? Spaceships? BAAHAHAHAAA!! This is nothing more than the NOI trying to outdo Christianity and “normal” Islam. The Christian savior appeared on earth in a worse place than Detroit, and normal Muslims have their sacred meteorite they kiss (the more ancient version of NOI’s “spaceships”). The comedy is so good that I can overlook the confusion of having 99% of their leaders differentiated by only a single vowel (Mohammed vs. Muhammed). They quote someone later on who may as well be named Mr. Everymuslim: ” ‘We are not imitators of Arab culture; that would put us in an inferior position and make them our superiors,’ said Muhammad Muhammad, a 40-year-old adherent from Oklahoma City.”

Another choice quote, from the man who may succeed Farrakhan:

“There are a few black politicians and a few millionaires and a couple billionaires, but the fact is that our people are dying,” he said in an interview. “Our struggle to integrate and be accepted has left the masses behind.”

The article itself notes that NOI encourages black separatism. So what this guy means by his seeming paradox is that there are “masses” who want to be separate, and other “masses” who are the dreaded Other . . . the non-blacks, non-Muslims. NOI has been “struggling to integrate and be accepted” by the wrong masses, leaving the right masses behind.

The article also says that NOI is popular in prisons because of its “struggle against racism”. Here we have entered the realm of the New Liberal Vocabulary. In the NLV, racism does not mean the unequal treatment of all races; it means lack of preferencial treatment for blacks (or more generally, for ethnic minority groups–unless that minority happens to be white). By the way, nowadays “racism” is often applied to non-race issues as well. If you are suspicious of Islam, for example, because of the fact that 99%+ of suicide bombers happen to be Muslim, you are both “Islamophobic” and “racist”. Islamophobia is bad because fear of ideas, unless they are GOP policies or Christian teachings, is irrational and should be considered a medical condition. And why people say that so-called “Islamophobes” are “racist” is beyond me–race has nothing to do with it. I’ve been called racist in this respect before, but I’d be suspicious of anyone, regardless of skin color, who thought it was laudable to blow oneself up in a crowded marketplace.

Farrakhan’s Bermuda trip imminent

February 25, 2007

CNN reports today that Louis Farrakhan is near death . . . but when he dies, how much do you want to bet there will be some crazy group of NOI people who say that, like Elvis and Tupac, Farrakhan isn’t really dead–that in fact, he’s with Elvis and Tupac, in Bermuda. (I was told this once, about Tupac, by a retarded teenager, which is why it wouldn’t be surprising to hear it from a developmentally-normal adult NOI member.)

And how does the end of the CNN article grab you? Farrakhan says:

“If Jesus and Mohammed were on this stage, they would embrace each other with love. If Moses and the prophets and Abraham the father would be on this podium with all the prophets, they would embrace each other.”

Somehow I seriously doubt this . . . Moses would kick Mohammed’s ass for all the anti-semitism in the Muslim world (he’d have a few Christian asses to kick, too, but that’s another story). And Farrakhan’s quote equates Jesus and Mohammed, which is also bogus, since Jesus wasn’t just a prophet, and it’s debatable whether Mohammed can be dignified with that title.

I rant, and really have better things to be doing than reading CNN and then blogging about it.

Flannery O’Who?

February 23, 2007

I should categorize this post under “Comedy” and “Tragedy”–only I don’t have that latter category.

I was invited to dinner by some church friends the Sunday before Lent. Several people were invited, but the only ones able to come were myself and one of the priests at our church.

We conversed about this and that, and then Father P. asked for help remembering the name of “that woman who died when she was 39.” Point-five seconds later, I said “Flannery O’Connor?” And his reply? “Who’s that?”

It was all I could do not to scowl. This man has the care of souls, and is unacquainted with the 20th century’s greatest author of Grace? Was this guy home schooled by Iranian mullahs? I was stunned.

Turns out he was trying to remember Anna Nicole Smith’s name. Afterward I told him, “By the way, whenever someone can’t remember a woman’s name, I always suggest those two, and in that order: Flannery O’Connor, Anna Nicole Smith.” He didn’t think that was quite as funny as I do.

Go back to Plan A, guys

February 18, 2007

From Yahoo News:

BANGKOK, Thailand – At least 28 bombs exploded Sunday in apparently coordinated attacks in parts of southern Thailand plagued by a Muslim insurgency, killing three people and wounding more than 50, the military said.
[. . .]
Violence in the south has been escalating in recent months despite a major policy shift by the military-imposed government, which is trying to replace an earlier, iron-fisted approach in dealing with the rebels with a “hearts and minds” campaign.

Was the iron fist not working? Anyway, get back to me on how that “hearts and minds” campaign works out for ya . . .

Headlines of the day

February 16, 2007

China death sentence for ant scam

Here’s the first paragraph:

BEIJING, China (Reuters) — A Chinese man has been sentenced to death for conning people out of 3 billion yuan ($387 million) in a giant scam to breed ants, local media said on Thursday.

Reportedly one bilked investor killed himself in the wake of his losses, but don’t you think death is too harsh a penalty for an “ant scam”? (That would sound like ASCAP, if ants were songwriters.)

A close second for unbelievableness:
Woman, 84, confesses to sex with boy, 11

No quotation seems necessary here. I am puzzled, though, at their definition of “sex”. And wonder how strong is this 84-year-old, and was the boy unconscious, or just as sick as she was, not to run away?

Warning to “MILF” users

February 2, 2007

I think it’s a vulgar term, but if you’re one of those people who now and then uses the acronym “MILF” in your writings, be aware that it also stands for “Moro Islamic Liberation Front”–a Muslim separatist group in the Philippines. They just staged a jail break.