Monday, December 18, 2006
I've been mildly amused at all the Virginia bloggers who have taken credit - to one degree or another - for Jim Webb's victory in November over George Allen. The fact that a few thousand of the 4.5 million elgible voters ever read a political blog (much less followed one regularly) before the election (let's make it a liberal 10,000 that read them, that's a staggering 0.2%) is lost on these people as they all heap praise on one another and themselves and, like puppy dogs, lap up affirmation when it comes from The Big Dogs.
So SWAC Girl makes the announcement that Senator Ken Cuccinelli wants to organize something called the Internet Republicans of Virginia, not a bad idea, and bloggers are beside themselves with excitement.
This from Not Larry Sabato:
Cuccinelli moves GOP past Dems on Blogs
Ken Cuccinelli has just announced an attempt to amend the Republican Party Plan to create an official group for Republican bloggers. This will move the Republicans well past the DPVA who is (sic) still taking credit for what Democratic bloggers did this year, despite never contacting most of us.
Bearing Drift says the frontrunners for this position are Shaun Kenney, Jon Henke and t. Three potential excellent choices.
Note to DPVA: Call Ben. His feelings are hurt.
Note to the rest of you: Get a grip.
Kingmakers? 0.2%? Please.
I'm reminded of Newsweek magazine's ranking of the top 1,000 high schools in the USA. While there were a few dozen cited that are located in the Washington DC to Virginia Beach corridor here in Virginia, there was only one making the list from all of Southwest Virginia. One. And it was Blacksburg High School where all the Virginia Tech professors and employees send their kids.
Learning to change at Jackson
By Mary Beth Jackson, The Wythe Enterprise
Since their school's in improvement under No Child Left Behind, students at Jackson Memorial Elementary are eligible for special services, such as free tutoring.
To make parents aware of the private help available for their children at no cost, the school recently hosted a vendor fair. Representatives of two vendors were available to answer questions; but parents from only three families showed up, said Principal Joe Phillips.
Phillips believes lack of parental involvement is posing the most significant challenge for him and his staff as they try to bring Virginia Standards of Learning scores (the state's annual measuring stick for academic progress) up to par. He says that while parents crowd sporting events to the point of taking all available parking, they are not participating in Parent-Teacher Organization meetings and academic activities.
"It just seems like in the area of academics, parent involvement is not what it needs to be," he said. "It gets frustrating, because my heart's in it. I love what I do."
Sherry Williams, chair of PTO, says that after a year with the group, she was reluctant to take the helm again this year.
"I was very hesitant to come back for a second year because I felt like there was no interest," Williams said. "I was heading a program that [...] we have 233 students, but we may have five teachers and four parents at a PTO meeting." (link)
I shudder to think how we'll fare when Newsweek releases its Bottom 1,000.
I've never been one to criticize teachers for our public schools' problems. I've always blamed the lazy, disinterested, pampered, mindless, directionless children who suck up oxygen in our institutions of learning for twelve years, graduate with diplomas in hand, and join the ranks of burger flippers at McDonald's, learning (finally) to ask those former students from Blacksburg, now community and business leaders, who drive up to their window, "You want fries with that?"
If you parents want that to be your children's destiny, keep your heads buried in that TV screen, watch your Survivor Vanuatu, and count on your children to take out a loan when you reach old age to buy you a set of false teeth.
Your kids' future is your future. And what a frightening future it is that you're making for yourselves.
The Taliban are reportedly regrouping and regaining strength along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with the Islamist fundamentalists there becoming a growing menace for western troops stationed nearby. So how do the French respond?
Need you ask?
France to cut troops in AfghanistanA general reorganization. Don't you love that euphemism?
The Associated Press
Paris -- France is to withdraw its 200-strong special forces from Afghanistan, all of its ground troops engaged in the U.S. anti-terror operation there, authorities said yesterday.
The decision to pull the elite troops, based in the southeastern city of Jalalabad, comes as the Taliban militia is gaining strength despite the strong engagement -- some 32,800 troops -- in NATO's International Security Assistance Force. France has balked at sending its 1,100-strong NATO contingent outside the relatively safe Afghan capital, Kabul.
"There is a general reorganization of our [troops]," Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said during a visit to Afghanistan. (link)
Like the French army reorganized generally at the beginning of World War II when the Germans threatened Paris, by discarding their uniforms, strapping on swastika armbands, and substituting Deutschland über alles for La Marseillaise. And by reorganizing their forces in far-away north Africa until the Allies began pushing the Germans out of their own country.
The French are retreating in the face of the enemy ... again.
The situation in Afghanistan can only improve now.
(1) The most respected commander alive today thinks it's a bad idea and (2) the number-one Democrat in the country is in favor:
Powell Casts Doubt on Troop Increase
By Hope Yen, Associated Press Writer
Washington (AP) -- Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is casting doubt on a plan under consideration by President Bush that would increase troops in Iraq, calling the U.S. Army overextended and "about broken."
The incoming Senate majority leader, however, offered qualified support for a troop surge, saying it would be acceptable for a few months as part of a broader strategy to bring combat forces home by 2008.
"If the commanders on the ground said this is just for a short period of time, we'll go along with that," said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. ...
Powell, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman for the first President Bush during the 1991 Gulf War, said if more troops were proposed, commanders would have to make their mission clear, determine whether they can accomplish it and what size force is appropriate.
"I am not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this communitarian violence, this civil war, will work," said Powell ..." (link)
Harry Reid. Colin Powell. Who to trust. Who to trust.
But don't think for a minute that this freedom you've been handed includes the mere mention of Jesus, pal:
Talk in Class Turns to God, Setting Off Public Debate on Rights
By Tina Kelley, The New York Times
Kearny, N.J. — Before David Paszkiewicz got to teach his accelerated 11th-grade history class about the United States Constitution this fall, he was accused of violating it.
Shortly after school began in September, the teacher told his sixth-period students at Kearny High School that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark, and that only Christians had a place in heaven, according to audio recordings made by a student whose family is now considering a lawsuit claiming Mr. Paszkiewicz broke the church-state boundary. (link)
The bastard. He "... broke the church-state boundary" by talking to students about God. But only a lawsuit? Mr. Paszkiewicz should have been dragged from his classroom and summarily stoned to death. The Taliban knew how to deal with people like him; we could learn a great deal from them.
And the Supreme Court would be supportive.
That "church-state boundary" reigns supreme.
The Episcopal Church here in the U.S. has been moving steadily leftward in recent decades and has been losing membership accordingly. When the church leadership decided to ordinate a gay bishop, a huge percentage of the remaining congregation said: Enough is enough. This is no longer a church; it's a social movement. And they walked away.
And more are walking:
Episcopal Parishes in Virginia Vote to Secede
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
Two large and influential Episcopal parishes in Virginia voted overwhelmingly yesterday to leave the Episcopal Church and to affiliate with the Anglican archbishop of Nigeria, a conservative leader in a churchwide fight over homosexuality.
Five smaller churches in Virginia also announced yesterday that they had voted to secede, joining four others that have already left and three more expected to announce their decisions soon. Some affiliated with other archbishops in Africa.
Most of the breakaway churches in Virginia are joining the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, an offshoot of the Nigerian church led by the archbishop of Nigeria, Peter J. Akinola. (link)
None of this will register with the rabidly liberal church hierarchy. In response to the initial threats to break away, Episcopal bishops got together and, with a little in-your-face, elected a
So the Episcopal church is imploding, its conservative members are jumping ship, and its leadership is on a mission
Nigeria. A message so loud. So clear. So lost on deaf ears.