Sunday, August 31, 2008

Of Hurricanes And Cable News Sunday

As Hurricane Gustav bears-down on the Louisiana coast, the cable news channels have been covering the story all day. (See CNN's here.)

And so they should cover this major news event.

I grew-up in Florida, which is Hurricane Country.

And, interesting as it may seem, one of the things that many Florida folks used to say, (and many still do say) is that these monster storms don't hit the big coastal cities head-on.

At least they haven't hit them since the early 1960s.

Before that time, Hurricanes often did devastate large coastal cities.

These same people say that nowadays the storms "wobble" away from the larger coastal cities and strike nearby less populated (and most often relatively poorer) towns instead.

Among many other examples, they point to Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew while noting that each storm had major cities (New Orleans and Miami, respectively) in their sights and, within a few hours of landfall, "unexpectedly" veered away from their predicted courses. (Katrina devastated the Mississippi towns of Pass Christian and Biloxi while Andrew all-but-destroyed Homestead, Florida.)

With New Orleans again in peril, I hope and pray that there will be another "wobble" that takes the storm far enough westward into Louisiana's bayous thereby minimizing the damage to long-suffering New Orleans and the Mississippi coast.

We'll find out Monday when, (and if) various government officials use those oft-repeated phrases "we dodged a bullet," and "it could have been a lot worse."

Now for the record, we do not generally believe in conspiracy theories.

And we do not believe that anyone in the "government" can "make" such a gigantic force of nature as a Hurricane change its course one bit. At least not with current technologies.

But what if, hypothetically-speaking, somebody (or somebodies) in the "government" could influence the course taken by any one of these killer storms just enough to prevent a direct hit on a major coastal population center in the United States? Would we, the American People, be told about it?

Meanwhile, we'll continue to keep the people of the Gulf Coast in our thoughts and prayers.

Update: (Monday, Sept. 01, 2008, 4:05 P.D.S.T.) Brian Williams of NBC reported (to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann) "Thank goodness Gustav took that little unexpected 'hick-up' to the left. We dodged a big bullet." [Ed's note: "to the left" was westward.]



Saturday, August 30, 2008

China Arnold: Monster

This creature masquerading-as-a-mother murdered her baby by cooking the little girl in a microwave oven:
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- A mother was convicted Friday of killing her month-old daughter by burning her in a microwave oven, with jurors rejecting a defense attorney's claims there was evidence that someone else was responsible.

China Arnold, 28, showed no reaction when the jury's verdict was announced and then lowered her head, looking down at the defense table.

Relatives in the courtroom cried and covered their faces with their hands.

She was found guilty of aggravated murder and faces the death penalty when sentenced.

Arnold was accused of killing daughter Paris Talley in 2005. A judge declared a mistrial in February, and the retrial began August 18.

Jury deliberations started Thursday following closing arguments.

Prosecutors said Arnold intentionally put her baby in the microwave oven and cooked the child to death after a fight with her boyfriend.

Arnolds' cell mate testified that Arnold confessed to putting the baby in the microwave and turned it on because she was worried her boyfriend would leave her if he found out the child wasn't his.

The baby's DNA was found inside the microwave in Arnold's apartment, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion said there was evidence someone else was responsible.

He cited testimony from an 8-year-old boy who said he saw another boy walk into the kitchen of a nearby apartment with the baby, heard the microwave go on, and then later saw the burned baby in the microwave.

Judge John Kessler declared a mistrial February 11 after he privately heard testimony from the juvenile.

In rebuttal, however, the 8-year-old's mother testified Wednesday that they lived some distance away and they were not at Arnold's apartment complex when the baby died.

Her former live-in boyfriend also testified that he was certain the boy was not at the location.
As is the case with other mothers female humans who murder their offspring, this one will not receive the death penalty. (They never do...)

Whatever the punishment Arnold does receive, you can bet your bottom-dollar that it won't include sterilization, either.

Update: (09/08/08) Heh. I knew she wouldn't get the death penalty. The jury "wimped out," and gave this mother creature life in prison "without possibility of parole." (On the other hand, if the murder had been committed by a man the outcome would have been altogether different...)


Friday, August 29, 2008

Administrative Buffoonery Or Crazy Like A Fox?

Oftentimes, stupidity needs no explanation:
Iowa Central Community College President Robert Paxton will collect $400,000 from the school in return for his resignation.

After 13 years as president of the Fort Dodge school, Paxton resigned Wednesday, one day before the school’s board of trustees was scheduled to discuss an undisclosed “personnel matter.”

The special meeting was called after The Des Moines Register published a July 4 photograph of Paxton aboard a boat with a group of young people, holding the spigot of a small beer keg suspended over a young woman’s open mouth.

College trustee Mark Crimmins was aware of the photo before it was published and told the Register that Paxton had done nothing improper and the matter wasn’t deserving of the board’s attention.

When questioned by the Register, Paxton initially denied knowing anything about the photo or any recent boat outings with young people. After being told that Crimmins had already informed the Register that he had seen the photo and the two men had discussed it, Paxton acknowledged the photo’s authenticity. He said he had done nothing illegal or improper.

But the photograph, along with Paxton’s explanation for it, was picked up by other media outlets and sparked a heated debate in Fort Dodge over the personal conduct of public officials.

At today’s board meeting, the trustees met for eight minutes and agreed, without discussion, to accept Paxton’s resignation and approve a compensation package for him. The deal calls for Paxton to receive $200,000 in January 2009 and $200,000 in January 2010.
Since Paxton is getting some $400,000 in order to leave his job, was this man's actions truly stupid? Or is Paxton much wiser than many might think?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Notes From The Education Underground

Each and every year some well-intended naive soul teacher comes around and solicits for the United Way. Here's an example why I don't give 'em a nickle:
For months, the United Way of Central Carolinas board said Gloria Pace King was worth every penny of her controversial $1.2 million pay package.

Tuesday, 37 of those board members unanimously called on their longtime CEO to resign or be fired.

King's fall was breathtakingly quick, but not clean.

Critical questions remain. How the board handles them will affect 91 nonprofit agencies and the thousands in need that they serve.

Can the board regain enough public trust to rescue its ongoing fundraising campaign?

How will it settle accounts with King, even as it pays her interim replacement $20,000 a month?
Read the whole disturbing thing.

The United Way has a long history of well-paid executives who run amok while living large from expense accounts financed by donors.



Let's Carnival!

The 186th edition of The Carnival of Education (hosted this week by SharpBrains.) is open for your educational pleasure!

And don't forget to round out your educational experience by taking a look at the Women's Independence Day Edition of The Carnival of Homeschooling.


EduDecision '08: The Hillary Factor

Last evening, I watched Hillary Rodham Clinton give her speech in support of Obama at the Democratic Convention.

Interestingly, she never promoted (or even mentioned) Obama's fitness to be the commander-in-chief. (I don't think McCain's handlers will overlook that omission either.)

In my opinion, her remarks were a lukewarm endorsement at best.

But don't take my word for it,
go over there, take a look, and judge for yourself.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Carnival Entries Are Due!

Entries for the 186th edition of The Carnival Of Education (Hosted this week over at SharpBrains.) are due. Please email them to: afernandez [at] gmail [dot] com . (Or, easier yet, use this handy submission form.) Submissions should be received no later than 9:00 PM (Eastern) 6:00 PM (Pacific) Today. Contributions should include your site's name, the title of the post, and the post's URL if possible.

Visit last week's midway, hosted over at Bellringers, right here.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway should open Wednesday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Notes From The Education Underground

Today was the first day of classes in our junior high school.

The kids seem to be OK;

All 193 of them.


We classroom teachers will be getting our first monthly pay check six weeks after we reported for our first day of work last week.

For what is now the sixth year, I'll be receiving the same take-home pay.

And, like the prices down at our local Wal-Mart, what is expected of us continues to increase each and every year.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Those Pistol-Packing Texas Teachers

Did you hear the one about the School District who wants their teachers to pack heat?
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry indicated Monday that he supports a school district's decision to allow teachers and staff to pack guns for protection when classes start this month.

Trustees of the Harrold Independent School District approved a policy change last year to allow employees to carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings.

"There's a lot of incidents where that would have saved a number of lives," Perry said after a news conference in Austin.

Texas law outlaws firearms on school campuses unless specific institutions allow them.

District policy requires a teacher carrying a gun to school to have a Texas concealed handgun license, authorization by the district to carry the weapon, training in crisis management and hostile situations, and ammunition designed to minimize the risk of ricochet.

The 110-student district is 150 miles northwest of Fort Worth, near the Oklahoma border. It has about 50 teachers and staff members.

Asked whether other districts should take similar measures, Perry said, "It's up to those local school districts."

Superintendent David Thweatt has said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff's office, leaving students and teachers without protection.

Officials researched the policy and considered other options for about a year before approving the policy change, Thweatt said.
Due to their Exaulted Rank, we can't help but wonder if the school principals will be armed with Tommy Guns.