The Locker Room

September 13, 2006

Boy Oh Boy!

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 4:50 PM

Congrats, Terry!

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Where has all the Good Stuff gone?

Posted by Michael Moore at 3:41 PM

I saw this article today on the new movie where Dubbya gets killed, but what happened to movies like this?


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Re: Experts say..

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 3:13 PM

Having zapped my original blog on this earlier, I will quickly remark that the turnaround from NTSM is a welcome surprise but not a hopeful one. Recall, we have been through a massive plan for a 'reform' process before. Then, as now, the scoundrels who acceded to, if not caused the problem have simply changed costume to become the reformers.

'A Nation at Risk' and its folow-up 'Our Schools and Our Future: Are We Still at Risk?' should have amply demonstrated that this is a failed strategy. Math is not alone in this morass.

The breakdown of American [math] education looks like a classic example of the failure of central planning. The planner/culprits are the U.S. Department of Education, the teachers' unions who strongarm parents and the public and and extort tribute that enhances teacher power, education policy that places children in the stranglehold of the public temples of education, and of course most of our politicians who play all sides and all sides against each other in the education game.

Notice, there are no parents or children at the real decision-making level. Their presence would be appropriate, but most inconvenient.

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Re: that was quick

Posted by Jon Sanders at 2:34 PM

A commencement speaker doesn't count, Mitch. Nor for that matter does a hastily designed "directorship" handmade for a failed national-ticket Democrat. Here's why they don't count: the university is bringing them in.

"Most of us implicitly understand" that isn't nearly on the same plane as a "consortium of [student] groups on the UNC campus" bringing them in.

Stop laughing.

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Wow, that was quick!

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:21 PM

Scroll down to the post at 9:59 a.m., and you'll find Jon Sanders highlighting a discussion about bringing more liberals to Chapel Hill.

With that discussion in mind, it's hard not to chuckle when you learn the identity of the next commencement speaker at UNC-CH.

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Re: Michael Lind

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 2:10 PM


You bring up a good point about the Lind commentary -- he thinks socialism and libertarianism are both dead. Given the continued creeping socialism at all levels of government, Lind is clearly wrong about the former. His alternative future is of an open-immigration, pro-globalization elite versus a nativist majority.

No clue what might be the elite or majority opinions on schools, eminent domain, economic incentives, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, or secret holds.

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Re: Response to Katie

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:16 PM


Jonah Goldberg offered a good assessment of Katie Couric's new endeavor in the latest print edition of National Review (or NRDT -- "National Review Dead Tree," in the lingo the young folks use nowadays):

But the broader point about Couric is: Who cares? The Big Three anchor system is a nostalgic cargo cult in a profession which can't bring itself to accept that the era when these broadcasters were "the voice of God" (in the words of one CBS exec) is long gone. All this chatter about how Couric is a "pioneer" fails to grasp that the frontier is closed. It's like hailing the first woman steamship captain long after the rise of the locomotive and the automobile. Yeah, it's an accomplishment. But it's an accomplishment on a sharply sliding scale -- something like holding the best Oktoberfest in Orlando.

The unprecedented long runs of Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings disguised the fact that their influence diminished as news consumers derived benefits from the growth of non-broadcast competition, the development of new technology, and the success of openly ideological news sources.

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Wednesday chuckle

Posted by John Hood at 12:53 AM

The opening paragraph of a local column in the Hendersonville Times-News:

The term "dating antiques" refers to estimating the age of things. It does not refer to taking a very old person of the opposite sex to the movies.

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Don't Expect Too Much

Posted by John Hood at 12:29 AM

If the nation isn't responsive to an anchorwoman for the evening news, I think it's highly unlikely that they'll be receptive to a woman on the presidential ticket. My apologies, Dick.

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The socialist path

Posted by George Leef at 12:26 AM

Thinking back to my post of yesterday on Michael Lind's argument that libertarian politics is dead, I think it follows if he's right that what we have to look forward to (whether in glee or dread) is the gradual socialization -- and increasing politicization -- of the United States. A country that is further along that path than the US is Sweden and this article gives a depressing look at its high unemployment, lethargy, and domination by the government.

Bastiat called the state "the great fiction whereby everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else." The inevitable result of a redistributive state is that people will squabble over a shrinking national output while industrious people and capital leave.

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Getting out the big Guns!

Posted by Michael Moore at 12:05 AM

Well, when it gets close to Election Day in the fall you start seeing photos of politicians getting out their shotguns to win over the Second Amendment folks.  Heath Shuler is a mountain boy and it seems some of the Washington "moderate" Democrats like to carry around shotguns, but somebody else tried that approach too.   

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Some witnesses named for Geddings trial

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:44 AM

A prominent lawmaker, state cabinet member, and some lottery commissioners have confirmed they've been called on to play a role in the federal trial. 

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Charlotte school reforms

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:34 AM

The district announces its plans

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What a load of garbage

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:22 AM

No ... really

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Misusing Churchill

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:09 AM

Fumbling to find another item on the Internet this morning, I found a recent speech from Steven F. Hayward, who has spent much of his professional life researching and comparing Churchill and Reagan.

The speech takes Al Gore to task for invoking Churchill and his language for the cause of global warming alarmism:

In An Inconvenient Truth Gore ratchets up the comparison, making out skeptics of his eco-apocalypticism, or doubters of the proposed remedies such as the Kyoto Protocol, to be the moral equivalent of Nazi appeasers. Gore cites the conclusion of Churchill’s 1936 speech attacking appeasement: "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences."

After offering examples of a more historically appropriate reference to Churchill -- Reagan's comments during the debate over SALT II in the Carter years -- Hayward returns to Gore:

Whereas the mistake of the arms control process was trying to turn a moral problem into a technical problem, Vice President Gore is trying to turn a technical and economic problem--greenhouse gas emissions--into a moral problem of the same dimension as totalitarianism. And one of the further oddities or ironies of this case is that then-Congressman and later Senator Gore was one of the few liberals who resisted the attempt to turn the underlying moral dimension of the arms control problem on its head with the idea of the "nuclear freeze"--the simplistic idea promoted, as Harvey Mansfield pointed out, by people who thought Ronald Reagan a simpleton. Throughout this bitter controversy, Gore remained firmly in the camp of arms control technocrats, offering some serious and thoughtful ideas in the field, such as the single-warhead midgetman missile. The more you look at Gore’s useage of Churchill in connection with climate change, the more it looks like a clumsy attempt to boot the foot of an athlete or elegant dancer in a wooden clog.

If the writing interests you, you might enjoy Hayward's short book Greatness (Crown Forum, 2005). A solitary rainy day would give you enough time to read this account of the remarkable similarities between the man who warned of the Iron Curtain and the man who did more than anyone else to tear that curtain down.

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Re: And the experts say ...oh, wait...

Posted by Lindalyn Kakadelis at 10:48 AM

Hal Young's blog on the latest report AND reversal of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ recommendations regarding math instruction is good news to those of us who knew memorizing multiplication tables were important. How long will it take to reach the classrooms of students already behind from the constructionist method of teaching? Wonder if the General Assembly will have to pass legislation before the Department of Public Instruction will incorporate these new recommendations into the Standard Course of Study?  
Remember reading? It took the General Assembly passing GS 115C-81.2 - Comprehensive plan for Reading Achievement -  for standards to include phonics. Even though DPI incorporated phonics in the Standard Course of Study, the schools of education continue to lag behind teaching future teachers this method. 
Let’s see what happens to math.

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Enough Oil for 140 Years?!!

Posted by Chad Adams at 10:40 AM

And that is if there are NO conservation efforts which there will be.  Bad news for the Church of the Environmentalist.

VIENNA, Austria - The world has tapped only 18 percent of the total global supply of crude, a leading Saudi oil executive said Wednesday, challenging the notion that supplies are petering out.

     Abdallah S. Jum’ah, president and CEO of the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known better as Aramco, said the world has the potential of 4.5 trillion barrels in reserves - enough to power the globe at current levels of consumption for another 140 years.

Again, we should recognize that technology continues to find better, more efficient ways to extract petroleum reserves and better, more efficient ways to use it. Those advances have a great deal more to do with the market than regulations forcing change.  One would think all of that efficiency would be hailed by the evangelists of the environmental movement, but as it stands, ALL news is always BAD news.

Also important, there is actually a DEBATE about the amount of oil and that debate means that facts will ultimately guide future policies on oil (or at least there's hope).  Whereas debate is largely held at bay by the Inquisitors of the Church of Global Warming (a branch of the Church of the Environmentalist). 

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Re: Ashcroft at UNC

Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:59 AM

Shannon, regarding that Ashcroft event you mentioned in your post, right now on (last referenced here when folks planning to trample someone else's property uninvited justified the idea by citing Gandhi) there is a post citing that event and seeking to know "How to bring more prominent liberals to UNC."

That sounds a lot like asking how to bring more Catholics to the Vatican. Nevertheless, it's fun to note that the responses are arguing over how little a "liberal" speaker could take for a speech. That is, they are discussing how that person should take the time to travel to Chapel Hill to give a speech for a pittance as opposed to other uses of his time. One finds a large speaker's fee "disgusting"; another says that the "bozo" liberal who required a huge speaking fee "would be putting money ahead of taking some personal responsibility for stopping our impending societal train wreck." Others try to reason to the True Price of "progressive speakers."

Apparently, even "prominent liberals" understand free-market principles and opportunity costs when it comes to their own capital — in this case, their time, speaking ability, ideas and celebrity — and have a revealed preference not to give those things freely to their fellow-travelers in Chapel Hill who apparently feel entitled to them ("From each according to their means, to each ..." ad nauseam).

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Luke Lucas 1, Doug Berger 0

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:31 AM

Warren County Commissioner Luke Lucas asked the question all county commissioners would probably like to ask the General Assembly: 

If you can't take over Medicaid with two and a half billion dollars, how much money do you need?

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Protestors just want to show off

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 08:58 AM

Yesterday, former Attorney General John Ashcroft spoke on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill at Memorial Hall. From all press accounts, Ashcroft spoke about his term as attorney general and also the passage of the "Patriot Act," which he defended. However, as could be expected protestors attempted to distract Ashcroft during his speech "he fielded interruptions and accusations from audience members" and "one group of students, in a coordinated effort, walked out of the theater in the middle of the speech."

So what's that going to accomplish, walking out of a speech in protest? Who comes up with these ideas? Do they honestly expect people to agree with them when they do stunts like this? If anything, it will only garner the cheers of those who agree with their positions and make others shake their heads, thus adding nothing to political debate.


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Re: "arguments"

Posted by George Leef at 08:56 AM

Excellent demolition job, Jon!

Perhaps the most bothersome thing about it is Fitzsimons' eagerness to launch an attack on what he presumes to be my motives. He doesn't know me at all, but feels comfortable in asserting that I want to deny opportunity to poor people. That's flat out false.

We see this kind of thing from the statists all the time. Whenever they confront a solid argument against their cherished notions about the benefits of an ever-expanding state, the first and often the only retort from them is to impugn the motives of those who think otherwise.

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Tucker Carlson and the Cha Cha

Posted by John Hood at 08:24 AM

I admit it — I tuned into ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” last night to see how Tucker Carlson would do. The answer is: not well. He tried (a little) and failed (a lot) to dance the cha cha.

In my defense, there are reasons and ironies. For one thing, I used to be a ballroom-dance teacher myself. For another thing, there was a time at the Heritage Foundation in the mid-1990s when I shared an office suite with Tucker and, gulp, Stephen Glass. Got to know both fellas pretty well, though I would not claim to be the public-affairs Zelig that Jon Ham is.

Embarrassing story about Glass, by the way. When he got the offer to join the staff of The New Republic, he asked me to lunch to discuss it, knowing that I had worked at the magazine a few years before. He seemed nervous and concerned that he wouldn't be able to cut it at TNR. I reassured him — saying something like “I'm sure you are a good enough writer and reporter.”

JLF employees may passionately hope I have become a better judge of character. . .

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And the experts say ... oh, wait ...

Posted by Hal Young at 08:21 AM

From the NYT in today's News & Observer, Tamar Lewin reports the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has reversed its 1989 report's recommendations about math instruction.

The 1989 report nudged the nation away from rote learning and toward a constructivist approach playing down memorization in favor of having children find their own approaches.

Right, there was nothing as helpful as stepping down off the shoulders of giants and rediscovering objective facts like the multiplication tables. Great idea! And we've got 18 years of eroding test scores to prove it.

I'm glad they're finally recognizing the error. Now if they'll just tell third graders to put away the calculators and start pushing pencils again.

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Partisanship blocks spending control measure

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:07 AM

Ten years after a bipartisan Congress endorsed a line-item veto for then-President Bill Clinton (later ruled unconstitutional), a weaker version is running into roadblocks on Capitol Hill.

Gary Andres has details here.

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Bradley Smith skewers Feingold

Posted by Jon Ham at 07:18 AM

Former FEC chairman Bradley A. Smith doesn't let Sen. Russ Feingold skate on First Amendment questions regarding the McCain-Feingold bill. In a column in The Examiner, Smith says: 

For just a few sentences after telling us the law “doesn’t ban or censor any speech,” he tells us that McCain-Feingold was necessary to prevent some voices from being “drowned out” by others. As McCain-Feingold does nothing to affirmatively create or encourage speech — it offers no subsidies or platform for political speech — the only way it can prevent anyone’s voice from being “drowned out” is through the suppression of other speech — and that is indeed what McCain-Feingold does, as the senator must know.

And this:

Sen. Feingold can say what he wants, but he cannot deny that the explicit purpose of McCain-Feingold was to reduce the political speech of American citizens.

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