Thursday, November 29, 2007

Henry Hyde (1924-2007)

A good man has passed away and we would be remiss if we didn't note his passing. Henry Hyde died today at the age of 83. This column describes part of Hyde's contribution to the pro-life movement.



Trent Lott is a senator from Mississippi, not Missouri, as we mistakenly had it in our post titled Political Terrorists.

We've corrected the original post and thank Jason for pointing out the error.


Sudanese Orcs

This is the thanks Gillian Gibbons gets for forsaking a comfortable life in England to go to Sudan, a suburb of Mordor, to work among the poor. She and her students named a Teddy Bear Mohammed and members of the religion of perpetual outrage are now calling for her to be whipped and even executed:

Gillian Gibbons faces 40 lashes and a year in jail after after being charged with insulting Islam.

Extreme Islamic groups said Mrs Gibbons "must die" and urged Muslims to hold street protests after prayers tomorrow.

Read the whole story. You'll marvel at the utter savagery of the Sudanese who think it glorifies God to call for the death of a kind, generous woman for having named a Teddy Bear Mohammed. What a vicious, cruel, bloodthirsty, stupid and petty deity they must think Allah to be. What vicious, cruel, bloodthirsty, stupid and petty people they themselves must be.


Defining Dangerous Down

Here's a nifty example of solving a problem by defining it away. Some of our nation's schools have been designated "persistently dangerous schools" (PDS). They are PDS because they have high rates of violent assaults. So how does Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) address the problem? She has introduced a bill that changes the designation "persistently dangerous schools" to "schools which do not have a safe climate for academic achievement."

"This will remove the stigma," she explains, "associated with high violence."

Well. We certainly don't want to stigmatize violence in our schools. When you stigmatize something you usually get less of it and why would we want less violence? Besides, if we stigmatize violence somebody might get the idea that our schools are filled with dysfunctional cretins and sociopaths and that would be misleading. They're not really filled with them, after all.

The article linked to above tells us that:

Chuck Buckler, Maryland's director of student services and alternative programs, said the original term is unpleasant -- akin to telling parents that they were sending their children to a war zone.

To be sure, we absolutely don't want parents to think that they're sending their children into Fallujah everyday, even if all the evidence tells them that they are. It's a comfort to these parents, we're sure, to be told by school administrators that all the stories of classroom and cafeteria violence they hear from their children, though not exactly untrue, are just not helpful in creating a positive image of the school.

Another good way to avoid the appearance of being a war zone is to simply resist all but the most severe criteria that would identify your school as such:

In Virginia and the District of Columbia, offenses that meet the threshold (of being labelled a PDS)are those that would result in imprisonment: among them, homicide, arson and assault with a deadly weapon. In Maryland, they are offenses that would result in expulsion or a suspension of 10 days or more: bringing a weapon or drugs to school or engaging in repeated fights. Brawling, bullying and making threats generally do not count toward the designation.

So the day to day fear that many students and teachers live in doesn't count toward identifying your school as dangerous. Evidently, only if you've been murdered can you say that you attend a dangerous school.

More than half of the states require their benchmarks to be met for three consecutive years in order to receive the label PDS. In Maryland, a proposed policy that would have defined persistently dangerous schools based on only one year of data was thrown out because it would have identified 36 schools, according to the Department of Education report.

How clever. Everyone agrees that there can't possibly be 36 dangerous schools in the fair state of Maryland, or any other state, so let's simply not identify them as dangerous and then there won't be. What a wonderful solution. Let's try it with other things. Since there are too many poor people living in the U.S. let's lower the standard for poverty to, say, $5000 a year instead of $20,000 and we'll have solved the problem of poverty overnight!

At one school last year, Anacostia Senior High School, private security guards working under D.C. police recorded 61 violent offenses, including three sexual assaults and one assault with a deadly weapon. There were 21 other nonviolent cases in which students were caught bringing knives and guns to school. But Anacostia is not considered a persistently dangerous school and rightly so. After all, no one was killed.

Exactly. How can anyone say a school is violent if no one has ever been murdered there?