Monday, June 27, 2016

The Closing of the American Mind Part 147: What's Being Taught in US History

Today, I was grading essay exams from one of my US history classes when I can across this gem:
After the American Revolution was won, the following years saw the loss of the very personal independence that many of the colonists desired. The first step in this deprivation was the United States Constitution, whose control did not rest in the hands of the common man. The Constitution gave power to a strong, elitist central government that was removed from the people. With the rise to power of the Federalist Party, this elitist idea once again was promulgated.
Not only was the essay plagiarized (source), it shows an alarming trend in diseased progressive thinking.

Progressives have long known that the US Constitution is the only thing standing in their way from creating a federal socialist dictatorship. They've long promoted their counterintuitive concept of the Constitution as a "living" document. In plainspeak, this means that progressives feel free to have the Constitution say whatever the hell they want it to say.

As case in point: The US Supreme Court recently struck down a Texas law that made it a tad more difficult for women to kill babies get an abortion. According to the SCOTUS ruling, the Texas law posed an "undue burden" on women's "constitutional right" to have an abortion.

Only by the stretch of delusional progressive imaginations is there anywhere in the US Constitution a right to abortion. Yet, since the Supreme Court ruled against protecting the unborn in 1973, progressives have marched along in lock-step with the ideal that abortion is a constitutional "right."

But I digress. Back to the student's essay. Progressives no longer seem content to rend the meaning of the US Constitution to fit their dogmas. The trend now is to dismiss completely the document as a bad idea - an elitist grab for federal power.

The shame of this completely inaccurate reading of history is the damage to future generations it will produce. School children will grow up generally thinking that the Constitution was an evil that had to be endured until "enlightened" government could replace the old, corrupt elites.

The result will be yet another generation far removed from learning that the US Constitution is the last, best ideal standing in between them and the tyranny of bad government.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

2016 Paul Revere Award

From Curmudgeon at Political Clown Parade:
Our award honors these bloggers because they, like Paul Revere, were not born to wealth.  They are ordinary men and women who are involved citizens keeping their readers informed of events which may touch their lives.
Thank you Curmudgeon and those conservative bloggers who voted for Euripides' Self Evident Truths.

Keep up the good fight.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Diseased Body of America

If America today were a human body, it would bear the ravages of a parasitic disease affecting the brain.

America's brain has been taken over by a parasite named progressivism. This parasite, in order to preserve itself, has cut off sight and sound from the brain, so that it processes information without crucial input from these key sensory organs. Cutting off sight and sound is the parasite's self-preservation tactic, as it could not survive if it could both see and hear.

Without eyes and ears, the parasite-infested brain thinks it is in control of both internal and external systems. When the outside world refuses to behave as the parasite dictates, it responds with a kind of spastic attack. The parasite lashes out at the world it cannot see nor hear, angered by the outside world's inability to conform to its limited viewpoint.

Because of the progressive parasite, the body itself atrophies from disuse. The arms wither into weakened tools that try to feed the body, but lack the strength to do so. The arms grow thin and pale, atrophied from malnourishment. The parasitic brain smiles in response, leaving the arms to wither and inviting a host of external parasites to invade the body.

These new parasites feed off of what flesh remains to the body, heading straight for the fattest parts in order to deprive the body's muscle tissue access to stored energy. When healthy parts of the body try to fend off the infection, the parasite-brain cuts off all aid and calls those parts of the body names.

Without sight and sound, the body flails around, feeling its way to make sense of the outside world. Limited to processing information only through feeling, the body begins to resemble a zombie, ever more grotesque as the small bit of brain left untouched by the parasite can no longer heal the dead and dying tissue.

In this zombified body, the genitals become overextended and gain a disproportionate amount of importance. The parasite-brain then demands that the rest of the body be defined by the sexual urges of over-developed genitalia. When healthy parts of the body reject the impulses, the diseased brain attempts to bypass the healthy area, starving it to death.

What does remain of the body of America is a strong and good heart. It beats and continues to feed the body, despite the best efforts of the parasite-brain to cut it out of the entire system.

Yet, what the parasite-brain cannot understand is that without the heart, the entire body dies and gets trampled under the feet of others whose bodies are healthier and not rendered deaf and blind.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

On the Road Again

Idaho Falls
Well, I'm on the road (or rather in the air) attending a teaching conference in Idaho. Traveling by air is an experience I don't enjoy much anymore.

I will say that despite the best efforts of the TSA, I was allowed to pass through the Sacred Portal of Security in order to put my rear end into a seat especially designed for anorexic phone poles. Despite being a short guy, my shoulders do not fit within the allotted space for passenger comfort. Getting bumped by every butt that passed by in the isle was not an endearing experience, especially considering the flight crew on Delta airlines.

While standing around in two different airports, a lot of people walked up to me and asked me all sorts of questions or asked for directions. I’m not sure what kind of face I had on, but apparently I wore my “Yes, please ask me your inane question” face. (Despite what my students say about me, I answered their questions as best as I could.) Perhaps I should have worn my “Does Not Play Well With Others” t-shirt. Hmmmm. Planning for the next time I have to fly somewhere.

I did try to help one young thing by offering her a place in line and helping to lift her luggage. She, being of the millenial generation, could only grunt in reply to my attempts to be kind. Apparently, speech was beyond her ken. In life, I've found that being kind to people will often get you smiles and pleasant conversation. Alas, I think the millenials have broken the system.

Helpful travel hint: Two Excedrins with a Coke chaser can really be a game changer.

I was also treated to a completely entertaining display from a flight attendant. You know the federal regulation where we all have to be taught how to use a seat belt? Her speech, badly read from a script, and her dismal performance in demonstrating the intricacies of an oxygen mask, became high art in their utter lack of enthusiasm.

Well, it's nine o'clock at night here in the Land of Potatoes and really flat farmland, and the sun is still shining brightly through my west-facing window. Whoever invented daylight savings time should be treated to slow torture and then mercilessly executed. In Arizona, we don't put up with all this daylight savings time garbage.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Prescient George Orwell and Obama's Ministry of Truth

I have, on occasion, made the comparison between the dogmas of modern progressivism and the ideas expressed in George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984. While any government has elements of disfunction and deception, Obama's administration leads the field when it comes to imitating Orwell's concept of doublethink.

Yesterday, Loretta Lynch, the current poor excuse for Attorney General of the United States, released a redacted transcript of a 911 phone call made by the Muslim terrorist who attacked and murdered people in a nightclub in Orlando. Amidst Obama's deception to willfully ignore the religion and the motivation behind the terrorist attack, Lynch took it upon herself to scrub all references of radical Islam and ISIS from the 911 call that the disgusting Muslim terrorist Omar Mateen made in order to broadcast his religion and motivation.

In redacting the transcript, Lynch even refused to print the word "Allah," opting instead to substitute the word "God." As a note, ask any Christian or Muslim. The two names are not interchangeable.

Because of just and accurate public ridicule, the entire transcript was subsequently released.

We know that politicians lie. We know that government hides its idiocies from its citizens. However, the fact that the current administration is attempting to rewrite reality even as it happens constitutes doublethink that would stymie Orwell himself.

That President Obama would use Islamic terrorism to blame the citizens of the US, the 2nd Amendment, and inanimate objects is unconscionable. That Ms. Lynch would redact a text to exclude what everyone already knows is in it, is an act worthy of the most dysfunctional of governments.

We truly are living in a time when Orwell's cautionary tale describes modern progressive philosophy. No sane person who reads 1984 thinks that the society controlled by Big Brother is the way government ought to be.

Progressives, on the other hand, seem to be diving into that dystopian pool with both feet.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Sermon: A Modern Reading

Excerpts from Isaiah 3

The people will oppress one another,
Every man his fellow,
     and every man his neighbor;
The child will
     trash talk elderly people
And the ignorant
     will trash talk the honorable,

The USA is ruined,
And America is fallen;
Because the people
     speak and act
     against God,
And they provoke him.

The way they dress
     witnesses against them;
And they broadcast their LGBT sin,
     they don't hide it.
Woe unto their soul!
Because they have
     done evil unto themselves.

And God says:
"Why do you crush the people,
And grind the face of the poor?"

Besides that God says:
Because women are full of pride,
And walk with their noses in the air
And seek only lewdness and power,
Twerking as they go,
Therefore God will condemn all
     their licentious secrets.

They hide behind degrading
     or expensive clothes.
They tattoo and pierce themselves,
     instead of showing their beauty.

But God will change things.
Instead of perfume,
     there will be rottenness;
And instead of expensive dresses,
     there will be rags;
And instead of curled hair,
     there will be baldness;
And instead of Armani jackets,
     there will be sackcloth.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Illogic of the Gun Control Argument

The progressive argument to ban assault rifles, or to pass "common sense" gun laws is completely based on a fallacy of faulty premises. These arguments are red herrings - arguments to through the American people off the track of the true causes of gun violence.

Here's one example of a progressive argument simplified down to its basic premises and conclusion:

  1. The terrorist in Orlando was easily able to purchase a gun.
  2. The terrorist in Orlando used the gun to kill people.
  3. Without a gun, the terrorist in Orland could not have killed people.
  4. Therefore, we need stricter gun laws to keep guns from killing people.

Analyzing this argument, we can see that premise (1) is true. In many states in the US, anyone who has not committed a felony can purchase a gun. The terrorist in Orlando had not committed any felonies up to that point.

Premise (2) is also true.

Premise (3) however, is not true and is also a faulty premise. The idea that guns cause violence is just as silly a premise as the idea that cars cause collisions or that hammers cause nails to be pounded into wood.

Perhaps the idea rests with the "powerful assault rifle" concept that so many news media reported. Without such a "powerful assault rifle," the terrorist could not have killed so many people. This is also untrue. Just this week in Cameroon, 42 fisherman were found floating dead in a lake, killed by Boko Haram terrorists. The week before 20 people were killed in Syria by a suicide bomber. The terrorists in Paris used guns, which are illegal in Paris. The 9/11 terrorists used no guns to take down the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The premise which blames the gun fails a simple test when compared with reality.

The conclusion (4) does indeed follow from the argument, but is not true, partially because of the faulty premises, and partially because it argues from a separate premise that gun laws actually reduce crime and violence.

This is not true. As an example, Mexico, which has severe gun laws, also has one of the highest homicide rates in the world (source). Jamaica, Honduras, Brazil, Puerto Rico, all have high homicide rates.

More often than not, however, progressives will argue along these lines:
  1. A mass shooting occurred.
  2. The mass shooting wouldn't have occurred if there were no guns.
  3. Therefore, the gun is to blame for the mass shooting.
Premise (1) is a given. When mass shootings occur, we can note them as a given act of violence.

Premise (2) is true. If there were no guns in the entire world, there could never be any mass shootings. Premise (2) is also so improbable as to make it silly. Wishing there were no guns, and actually removing all guns are two entirely different things. No amount of wishing can make premise (2) become a reality.

Conclusion (3) doesn't follow. To blame guns, gun sales, gun ownership, or the mere existence of guns on violence is absurd. The premise to this argument, that all progressives neglect, is the premise of the will of the shooter. The gun didn't make the shooter commit violence any more than a fist would make me smack a liberal in the face for being so ignorant.

What happens here is that progressives create a false causal link between guns and violence, where there is only a correlation. Yes, we have gun violence in the US because we have guns. No, the guns didn't cause the violence. They were merely the tool used to commit the violence.

Progressives only seem to have this strange disconnect of causal relations when it comes to guns. Rarely do they blame knives, blunt instruments, bombs, cars, or fists. Yet these "weapons" are also used to promote violence. For example, in 2014 in Arizona, of the 258 total murders, 105 of them were committed with something other than a firearm. (That's about 41%.) (source).

Does the presence of guns cause more murders? Again, in Arizona, gun homicides have decreased since the passage of the constitutional carry law in 20120 (source). This is in direct contrast to the progressives' dire warnings that gun violence would increase in the state. Yes, the drop in homicides is a causal relationship with the passage of the constitutional carry law.

I want to make two points here. First, and foremost, progressive arguments always stem from false premises, which are mistaken as truth. Second, the progressive appeal to blame guns for terrorist acts or mass shootings is logically unsound. In fact it's downright silly.

Such an ideology is also downright dangerous. It ignores the root causes of terrorism and displaces them with a red herring argument.

Such red herrings always leave a bad stench.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Threat by Any Other Name: Why President Obama Refuses to Name Islamic Terrorism

In a statement at the White House, President Obama commented on his inability to say the words "radical Islamic terrorism."

As he put it, "Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. … There’s no magic to the phrase of radical Islam. It’s a political talking point."

In response to Obama's response, why should the President of the US name the enemy in worldwide terrorism?

1) By naming the enemy, the administration could formulate effective policy and strategy on how to best combat terrorism. (This is opposed to the ineffective and dangerous policy that is in place.) It is far too clear that the current administration's policy in the Mideast is bankrupt, handing Islamists free reign to terrorize their own people, to plan terrorism in the West, and to recruit ideologues to take up arms in defense of a corrupt, evil ideology.

2) By naming the enemy, the US intelligence community could be let loose to pinpoint those who are most likely to wage war inside the US, without fear of losing their jobs because they expressed opinions about Muslims that weren't politically correct.

3) By naming the enemy, we could finally have a real dialog about Islam, instead of fomenting more hatred against innocent people.  This includes the idea that Islamist terrorism is a cancer boiling up inside of Islam. While it is part of Islam, it is an aberrant growth within the body of Islam that threatens to destroy the healthy tissue.

4) By naming the enemy, Obama would undermine the progressive fantasy that terrorism is a mere crime.

5) By naming the enemy, Obama would undermine the utterly foolish border doctrine allowing thousands of unemployable people into the US, along with those who wish to wage war against the people of the US.

6) By naming the enemy, Obama would no longer have an excuse to undermine the foundational principle of the individual right to protect ourselves with firearms. Justice Alito settled this in 2010 by saying, "It is clear that the Framers . . . counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty."

7) By naming the enemy, Obama could no longer blame the violence on the "intolerance" of nameless Americans who disagree with his dogmas. Convenient labels such as "homophobe," or "bigot," or even "Christian right," could no longer be applied when acts of terrorism are committed in the US. His rhetoric would therefore be emptied of the vast pool of hatred built into progressive dogma.

It's clear why Obama cannot name the enemy in terrorism. Too much of his own ideology is tied up in protecting his own bankrupt dogmas.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

President Obama's Speech about the Orlando Shooting

The Islamist terrorist shooting in Orlando was an act of despicable evil. Yet, the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama cannot bring himself to act or to even speak of terrorism with any kind of authority or without letting his own progressive dogmas get in the way of speaking truth.

Here are some thoughts and questions about President Obama's speech after the terrorist act:
Today, as Americans, we grieve the brutal murder -- a horrific massacre -- of dozens of innocent people.
Right off the bat, Obama is incapable of calling terrorism what it is. By using the term "murder" he, right in line with progressive ideology, puts terrorism into the realm of crime, rather than as an act of war.
Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate.
As many have already pointed out, Obama is incapable of saying "radical Islamic terror" or "Islamist terror." This relegates terrorism to an amorphous kind of violence that, according to progressive dogma, has no perpetrator. There is no "enemy" in terrorism, just destructive acts that occur at random by anyone and everyone. Only the weapon is left to blame as an enemy.

Without naming an enemy - radical Islam - Obama allows that anyone could be a terrorists, you, me, the neighbor across the street. Anyone has this potential in progressive dogma, rather than a group which defines its terrorism as a part of its practice of Islam.

By including the phrase "an act of hate," coupled with terrorism, Obama signals that the progressive concept of "hate crime" is somehow more heinous than regular, plain old terrorism. Most people would nod their heads at this statement and say, "Of course this was an act of hate." Obama, however, uses the term in a specific way, indicating that since a gay club was targeted, this crime was also a hate crime.

In effect, he's saying, "See? This is what homophobia leads to. This is why we need special laws that protect gays."

The conclusion is rather silly, given what we know of Islamist ideology and its abhorrence of homosexuality. The conclusion may also be completely false as new evidence comes to light that the scumbag terrorist may also have been gay.
We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer.
Obama refuses to acknowledge the detestable terrorist's stated connection with ISIS, instead diluting his statement with an appeal to the evil terrorist's "motivation." Again, showing that he understands terrorism as a crime, rather than as an act of war, Obama sidesteps any reference to Islamists, even though the terrorist clearly stated his "motivation" in a phone call to 911 during the siege.
What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred. Over the coming days, we’ll uncover why and how this happened, and we will go wherever the facts lead us.
Yes, yes, yes, the disgusting terrorist was filled with hatred. Obama's statement, however, again refers to a specific keyword in progressive dogma which connects the slime-ball terrorist as a homophobe. Such a worldview simply cannot recognize "wherever the facts lead us," as Obama has already begun the process of hiding the facts.
This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends -- our fellow Americans -- who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub -- it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.
Here's the meat of Obama's "heartfelt" statement. He got the obligatory stuff out of the way in order to preach the gospel of homosexuality. Of course, anyone with half a brain knows that no nightclub in the entire world is "a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights." What utter nonsense.

Yet Obama wants to bamboozle the American people into thinking that somehow a gay nightclub is a noble and empowering place. This, of course, fits in with progressive dogma, which must promote poor choices with noble causes. Seriously, when was the last time an all-night debauch and bender produced anything more noble than regret and a hangover?

But that's not the point to our President. He must paint a pretty picture of civil rights and solidarity and empowerment simply because it fits in with his progressive dogma about hate crime.
So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American -- regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation -- is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.
Obama's statement is not a threat to Islamist terrorists. His statement is a threat to any American who disagrees with the political ideology of the left. His talk of "values" is a thinly veiled reference only to progressive values. To progressives, hate is a far more heinous crime than terrorism. (Notice how at this point Obama puts the word "hate" first in the list?) Because hate leads to terrorism, anyone who would dare even to disagree with the new "values that make us Americans" is in danger of being labeled a terrorist.

This includes regular, ordinary, non-Muslim Americans who may happen to disagree with progressive dogmas.
Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle. This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.
And now we finally get to the "tough action" that Obama promises the American people. How easily he slips into the worn-out memes of the progressive left. Terrorism isn't war, it's a crime. Hate is the worst offender. Guns are evil. "Powerful assault rifles" are even more evil than evil guns.

I checked all of my guns just this morning, including my "powerful assault rifles." Not a single one of them ran out last night and committed an act of terrorism. None of them infiltrated a gay nightclub and shot up the place. None of them even know where a gay nightclub exists around here.

When Obama says, "we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be," what he's really saying is, "We need no throw out the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution because it's getting in the way of my progressive dogma."

Let's face it, blaming guns for violence is too easy. It's a bit like blaming the hammer for striking the nail too well. Blaming guns ignores the root causes of terrorism. Blaming guns allows the dogmas of statist government takeover to take root. Blaming guns allows progressives to feel good about themselves without having to tackle the real root problems of Islamist terrorism.

When the President of the United States cannot even properly identify the enemy, the war, and the ideology behind it, would we expect any less from him than to blame the tool used to commit the violence?
May God continue to watch over this country that we love.
This may be President Obama's most hypocritical statement of all. It's clear where his ideology lies. Progressive dogma leaves little room for the Creator's hand in affecting the lives of so many who reject him.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Some Thoughts on Orlando's Islamic Terrorism

Like you, I woke up to the news about the terrorism in Orlando. It, like all acts of terrorism, is a heinous act of pure evil.

Here are some thoughts I had about the shooting:

A couple of conceal carry folks in the gay club could have saved a lot of lives.

The club was attacked for several reasons. It did have a bunch of homosexuals. It was a gun-free zone. It was guaranteed to be jam-packed in the middle of the night.

What makes a person, presumably a sane person, wake up one day and decide to wage jihad and to shoot people in cold blood? Oh. that's right. Islamist ideology.

Is there some kind of jihadi switch that says, "OK, it's now time to take my ideology to a whole new level and go out and kill people?"

I can understand when children are brainwashed to hate anyone who doesn't share the same ideology, but how do we explain those who are "converted" later in life to such evil? The answer to that question will be the answer to stopping Islamist violence.

Progressives are dysfunctional when any kind of violence occurs. Obama cannot say "Islamic" to save his life. The skewed view that a hate crime is somehow worse than terrorism is a mental disorder.

A national gun ban didn't stop the terrorists in Paris. There must be something else behind terrorism than easy access to guns.

The news media have responded just about how you'd expect. The most liberal sources blame homophobia (as if that is somehow a more virulent evil than radical Islam) and calling for gun bans. The moderate sources (where there are any) call this both terrorism and a hate crime and are calling for gun bans. Conservative sources call this Islamic terrorism.

Yes, Muslims tend to hate homosexuals. The tragedy of progressive dogma is its inability to blame the real, actual, identifiable ideology, in favor of helping Islam by making people afraid to "judge" a corrupt system.

Obama's and Hillary's failed Middle East policy have a direct consequence of the spread of ISIS and the spread of Islamist ideologies here in the US.

Progressives will ask the silliest of questions: "Why didn't the FBI act to take out Mateen, confiscate his guns, and stop the violence?" A person who asks that question doesn't deserve to live in a free country.

What other questions come to mind?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Living in Metacognition, or Another Failure of Universities

It happened again. I found myself out in public, sitting at an outside café, watching the people go by. I don't know why sitting and watching people fascinates me. Perhaps it is the myriad personalities that show through the white noise of hundreds of people gathered together. Perhaps it is the flow of chaos as people stream past, picking a restaurant, or heading to the movie theater. Perhaps it is the time spent when I find myself most introspective.

For nearly my entire life, I've lived in a state of metacognition, thinking about what I was thinking. Such a life is both a blessing and a curse.

With practiced metacognition, I am able to analyze what goes on around me and can reach quick and accurate assessments. It is what makes me a high-rated chess player, or allows me to digest dozens of books a month.

On the other hand, my metacognition also makes me appear aloof and distant, as I am unable to "live for the moment" without first analyzing the situation around me. Behind all my conversations and encounters, I am analyzing at a separate level from the here and now.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I discovered that most people don't analyze everything they do. Most people think about thinking only every once and awhile. Some never do and rely on reactions and emotions to guide them through life.

So what does this have to do with the price of beans in Upper Sandusky?

University studies used to focus classroom studies on training the mind in metacognitive skills. This is precisely why universities used to teach the Classics. Socrates was the master at training his students to think about thinking, then to use their discoveries to analyze the world around them. This is what Socrates meant when teaching about the examined life.

In today's university, however, there is no more room for the examined life. There is no room for metacognition. There is no room even for thinking, let alone thinking about thinking.

For example, here's the Vision Statement from Arizona State University:

And here's ASU's Charter:
ASU is a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom we exclude, but rather by whom we include and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.
Nowhere in the charter or vision is there any mention of learning, or of thinking, or of much of anything except the vague sense of ASU's role in the community and a responsibility for economic, social, and cultural welfare.

This is not education. This is indoctrination. There is no hint, no smidgeon, no stain of an vision to teach students how to think. Hence, most who eventually graduate are ignorant of how to think. Only mere handfuls of students leave the university as thinking adults with any skills whatsoever to analyze the world around them.

The rest become the mindless drones, defined only by their ignorance of the world around them.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Some Observations on the Day


It's summer and I have a slight break in my teaching schedule. With nowhere in particular to go and nothing in particular to do, here are some random observations for the day.

Does anyone else think that the photo of Hillary gloating at gaining enough Democrat votes for the nomination makes her head look yuuuuuuuge? I don't usually go for the blatant ad hominem attacks, but seriously, that's one really yuuuuuuge head.

Hillary, by the way, is so uninspiring to Democrats everywhere that she'll lose the election just because she'd disfranchised half of them.

Speaking of huge heads, here's one of the best clips from the movie So I Married an Axe Murderer.

I took my life into my own hands yesterday and ventured into Chipotle for dinner. This particular place has a Harkins Theater and is close to the ASU campus. Hence, it attracts the student population away from their safe spaces, if only for a few hours.

I've been inured against most of the disfigurement that passes for fashion. One young woman, however, had gauges in her ears the size of Krispy Kreme donuts. Heck, they may even have been donuts stuffed into her gaping wound of ear skin.

Fashion comes and goes with the passing years. Ink covering half the body and pierced ears the size of donuts are forever.

Perhaps inkers get addicted to new tattoos because they can't just go out and buy a new pair or shoes when the fashion changes.

I only wish I'd brought my camera along.

I shoot a Canon 7D Mark II. I'm not rich enough for a really high-end body, so I spend all my money on lenses. This particular Canon body, however, captures really great photos.

Back to school. I teach all my summer classes online this year. Each day brings whole new depths of ignorance that I never knew could possibly exist. Perhaps my students all have yuuuuuge ear gauges that are pulling the brains out of their heads.

I note that Richard Simmons is "transitioning" into a, well, "trans." I think I speak for the rest of the world when I ask, "What took him so long?"

I am incredulous how many telemarketing calls are made to my land line each day. I'd get rid of the phone, except that it's included with my cable internet and I use it as a home number for the myriad places that demand a phone number. I never answer the stupid thing, but the calls keep coming and the robot dialers keep leaving messages.

The latest round are extremely annoying recorded calls that have a conversation. It's pretty bizarre stuff:

"Hi. This is John Wayne from Direct Funeral Services. We're just calling to verify your information. Could I get your first name, please?....Thanks. And now how about your last name?...Thank you...."

Most of the marketing calls have blocked numbers so I can't turn around and block theirs. It looks like it's time to change my landline number again.

I've been on a Joss Whedon marathon while school's slowed down to a crawl. He certainly has produced a lot of good stuff, up to and including Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

His best, besides Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, is Firefly. My favorite Firefly quote?

"Also, I can kill you with my brain."

If you haven't seen Firefly, here's a taste:

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Universities Are Failures

As I sat down for a minute today, looking for a source of inspiration to write about, I thought of the decaying university system and felt myself distinctly uninspired.

In just the past five weeks that I've been teaching classes during the summer term, I've run into:
  • more plagiarism than ever before (some 10 cases in five weeks).
  • more students who think that turning in crap justifies an automatic A. (I've received 12 email complaints to date).
  • more students who turn in late work (sometimes weeks late) then expect full marks. (My syllabus says late work receives no credit.)
  • more students (30+) who email me to ask questions that were already answered in the announcement/class email. (This is driving me nuts!)
  • more students who cannot read a six paragraph primary source document. (Eighty-five percent of the class missed the question on the reading.)
  • more students who demand special accommodations (late work, extended exam time, changes in class policy, grade changes, extra credit).
  • more students who've sent in grievances to my department when they couldn't get what they wanted. (There have been more this semester than all my previous semesters combined.)
  • students who cannot read or write.

In the last case, I have to wonder why a person who cannot read or write would ever think that going to college is a good idea. Perhaps the answer is in the question.

The students who have tendered grievances is a most worrisome case of progressivitis. Progs have shown that if they yell louder, complain more, file grievances, and call people names, they can pretty much get anything they want.

(Perhaps that's why the progs hate Trump so much. He yells just as loudly as they do, but doesn't say the right things. Trump is a genuine threat to their modus operandi.)

The result of all this is a student population which is the least prepared in any generation and the most politicized (even taking the 60s into account).

These students are arrogant.

These students are ignorant.

The combination of the two is explosively dangerous.