Saturday, January 25, 2003

Go and see "the Pianist", Roman Polanski's latest masterpiece!
My wife and I just went to see "The Pianist" tonight. A wonderful movie and the music is absolutely delightful. It is based on the survival story of a pianist who spends the war hiding in Warsaw. What I really admired in the way Polanski relates the story is that even though he doesn't hesitate to show German brutality, he doesn't turn it into another Schindler's list. He deals with the violence and the cruelty as almost routine at that point in time and let's the real story of this survivor remain front and centre. The audience in the theater we attended was mostly Jewish and we did hear a few people obviously crying during the showing. The movie is not a tear-jerker though. It focuses on brilliant images, a few excellent dialogues and outstanding acting.
Don't just go see this movie....RUN!

Friday, January 24, 2003

Our peace-loving Palestinians have outdone themselves...
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

A Palestinian soccer tournament has been named after the suicide bomber who killed 29 people and injured 140 last year during a Passover seder, according to the official Palestinian Authority daily Al Hayat Al Jadida. Hamas member Abed Al-Basset Odeh walked into the dining room of the Park Hotel in the coastal city of Netanya on March 27 and detonated an explosive device amid 250 guests participating in the holiday meal. The soccer tournament's seven team also have been named after "shahids," or "martyrs," according to a translation of the newspaper story by Palestinian Media Watch.

The paper reported today that the "Tulkarm Shahids Memorial soccer championship tournament of the Shahid Abed Al-Basset Odeh began with the participation of seven top teams, named after shahids who gave their lives to redeem the homeland." Odeh was from the West Bank town of Tulkarm. The report said that Odeh's brother Isam "will distribute the trophies." Palestinian Media Watch said the article did not specify whether children or adults are participating in the championship event.

One of the teams in the tournament also bears Odeh's name. The other teams are Raed Carmi, named for the slain Tulkarm Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade commander; Wajdi Al Hatab, for the Palestinian youth who requested cake be distributed after his martyrdom; Tarek Abu Safaka, who killed three Israelis in a Feb. 10, 2002 attack; Tarek Alqato, an Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade operative killed in a clash with Israeli troops; Mahmud Marmash, a suicide bomber who killed five Israelis in a May 2001 attack in Netanya; and Husam Al Hamshari, a youth killed in a clash with Israeli troops.

In a report last year, Palestinian Media Watch said that under the Palestinian Authority, numerous schools, summer camps and sports teams are named for terrorists, and symbols of violence continue to be used in education and sports. PMW said in an August report that U.S. funds, through USAID, helped renovate the Dalal Al- Mughrabi school, named for the female terrorist who participated in the bus hijacking and murder of 36 Israelis and an American, Gail Rubin, in 1978. A summer camp was named for Ayyat al-Akhras, a woman who blew herself up in a supermarket in Jerusalem, and another camp honored Jihad al-Amarin, commander of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, responsible for the murder of numerous Israelis.
Sickening

I received an e-mail this morning (from that awfully cute grandmother of mine), with a truly disturbing commentary by William Grim. Later, I found a link to it on RightWingNews, which is fortunate since I could not have posted such a long commentary on this site.

It seems that Mr. Grim went to view a screening of Roman Polanski's new film 'The Pianist', a holocaust movie, while he was in Germany. As you can imagine, watching such a film in Germany is different than watching it in New York City or Toronto, but not for the reasons you'd expect. Here are a few clips from his commentary. They'll shock you. You should read the whole thing as soon as you get a chance.

The Eternal Nazi: Watching Roman Polanski's The Pianist in Germany

There's an old joke that say inside every German there's a Nazi yearning to get out. While a gross overstatement, there is, I'm unhappy to report, more than a little truth to that old chestnut.

[...]I have to admit that it is a strange experience to watch a Holocaust film in Germany. It's even stranger when you're the only American in the midst of about 200 Germans. But perhaps the strangest thing of all is to watch the reactions of the Germans as the events of the movie unfold. You hear a lot about how Germans are so ashamed today of the behavior of their countrymen during the Nazi period and about how much they've done to atone for their past sins. Don't buy that bill of goods. If the audience of the screening I attended is any indication of German attitudes in general, it doesn't augur well for the future. Remember, this wasn't an audience composed of skinheads from the neo-Nazi enclaves in Karlsruhe and the former DDR. This was a group of Germany's best and brightest: educated, middle class, sophisticated denizens of a major cosmopolitan city.

[...]One scene in particular is seared into my consciousness. The Jews of Warsaw have been herded into the Ghetto. While a group of Jews is waiting to cross to the other side of the street, several Nazi thugs force some elderly Jews to dance at an increasingly faster tempo. Weakened by malnutrition, hobbling on crutches, riddled with heart and lung infirmities, many of the Jews fall to the ground in sheer agony. It's a sickening scene. But there they were, today's educated, freedom-loving, let's-all-hold-hands-and-love-one-another Germans, laughing at torture.

[...]Another scene from the movie that stands out is when an SS guard announces to a half-starving Jewish work detail that they will be receiving an additional portion of bread with their rations, one that they can sell to other Jews, because "everybody knows how clever the Jews are at selling things." This time the audience fairly rolled with laughter.


A Star in the making

My little sister Leorah seems to be following in our (mine and my father's) footsteps. She has started her own blog. Oh, but wait...there's a catch: She's nine. Start your day with a great big smile and go take a look at the next big thing: The Animal Lover's Blog

Notice a pattern in her first three posts:

POST 1:
My hampster pet life...
I had a hampster named Fergus. He had a very bad cold. And he died.


POST 2:
My tropicana and angel fish...
My tropicana fish were small. In my tank I had a filter to cleen the tank. One dayI found all seven of my tropicana fish sucked in to the filter!!!


POST 3:
My pet life with fish...
I had a fish named Goldy. She lived for 3 years! It is rare for a fish to live that long. One day, I went to look at her, but... she was not in her tank eneymore!!!


tee hee....."enemore". I love it!
Next week, Leorah will analyze Bush's State of the Union address, as well as the European's foreign policies towards the US and the Arab world. Stay tuned!
"Girl on the Right" calls it quits to blogging

Click on her logo to visit her one last time.



Good Luck! You'll be missed.
They have nothing to hide...

This morning, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said "Today we know from multiple sources that Saddam has ordered that any scientist who cooperates during interviews will be killed, as well as their families. Furthermore, we know that scientists are being tutored on what to say to the U.N. inspectors and that Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as scientists to be interviewed by the inspectors"

To another questioner who suggested it was "self-destructive" for the United States to simply ask others to "trust us" without divulging what it really knows about Saddam's weapons programs, he said some data could not be disclosed without compromising or endangering the lives of intelligence sources.

"I must say I find it rather astonishing that the issue is whether you can trust the U.S. government," Wolfowitz said. "The real issue is whether you can trust Saddam Hussein... a man who makes ricin, who makes anthrax, who makes botulism, and has no compunction whatsoever about consorting with terrorists."


[via RightWingNews]
Freedom of expression is alive and well at York

Damian Penny notes that "a student centre at the Toronto university has blocked Daniel Pipes from speaking for fear of violent protests like the ones at Concordia". Furthermore, "York University Professors have also cancelled a lunch with Pipes, allegedly because of his involvement with Campus Watch. Note the irony: Pipes is being accused of "McCarthyism," and as a result, he's being blacklisted." Interested in the story? Get the goods from Damian whose got links to all relevant stories.
Pfft....first week of February.....I told you it'd be later!

'It's war within weeks'

UPDATE:On the other hand, Steven Den Beste of USS Clueless doesn't agree with me. He says: "I'm becoming extremely confident in the prediction that the beginning of hostilities will be the 1/31 or 2/1. (I still lean towards 2/1 but Jan 31 is possible)".

Thursday, January 23, 2003

What?!?!

I love NRO, but Susan Konig is just nuts. What on earth is she talking about? In her most recent column, she tackles the incredibly common "problem" of having to explain to a 6-year old what an abortion is. Has this woman ever met a kid? Does she really think that parents need to insert a section about abortion into their "birds and bees" speeches? Gimme a break. Unless parents talk to their kids about abortion, it's not something that they find out about until much later on in life. Kids certainly don't think about these things without some serious prompting from adults. Sonig acts as if the fact that kids "won't be satisfied with interpretations of reproductive health, rights, or choice. For them, it's all about babies." helps back up arguments being made by pro-life people. It doesn't. This woman hasn't helped the pro-life cause at all.
I will not surrender!

Deep freeze in the Deep South

A hard freeze warning was issued from the Florida Panhandle, where temperatures were expected to drop into the teens or low 20s, south to Miami, where it was expected to reach the low 30s.

Next week I'm heading down to Florida for a conference and I'll be damned if I'm going to let a little bit of freezing weather keep me from the beach. For cryin' out loud - it's Florida! What do they mean "low 20s"? Are these guys for real? I know what I'll do....I'll use Murphy's Law. I'm going to pack my ski jacket, sweaters and mittens and "forget" to bring my bathing suit and sunglasses, that way the weather is bound to be exceedingly hot when I arrive. Ahhh....the satisfaction of a perfect plan. Sweet!
Awwwww



Savages. Let's give 'em a country!
Condi speaks

This morning I had the pleasure of reading Condi's latest editorial in the NY Times. Very good. Very worth reading how she explains "Why We Know Iraq is Lying"
Very "Wag the Dog"-esque

When President Bush gave a speech touting tax breaks for small businesses today, he stood against what appeared to be a backdrop of cardboard boxes stamped “MADE IN U.S.A.”

But the boxes in the south St. Louis warehouse had actually been painted on a large screen behind the president. The real boxes in the warehouse were stamped “Made in China,” although someone tried to obscure the stamps by plastering over them with blank white labels.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

I'm &*^%$&*^% cold!

Today I came home to find that there had been a power outage during the day. My clocks are all messed up and for some reason, the power problems made my lightbulbs die even though all the lights were off when the problems began....the lights started flickering and hissing when I tried to turn them on...I kid you not. Also, I couldn't understand why there was so much cold air coming from my windows, until I got up close and noticed ice on the inside part of my window (that's right...on the INSIDE). How does that happen? Anyway, here I am in the dark, freezing my ass off, kicking myself for not having replaced the spare lightbulb that I used last time this kinda thing happened. Now, I know some of you like to tease me about hating the cold weather so much, but I assure you I'm not being a "typical Torontonian who can't suck it up" about this....it's really very cold in here. I think I might go out and buy one of those power-sucking, energy-loving, warm and glowing space heaters tomorrow. Either that or I'll have to add yet another blanket on my bed.
Useless trivia...but freaky nevertheless!
Subject: American History
Look what happens when a President gets elected in a year with a "0" at the end.

1840: William Henry Harrison (died in office)
1860: Abraham Lincoln (assassinated)
1880: James A. Garfield (assassinated)
1900: William McKinley (assassinated)
1920: Warren G. Harding (died in office)
1940: Franklin D. Roosevelt (died in office)
1960: John F. Kennedy (assassinated)
1980: Ronald Reagan (survived assassination attempt)
2000: George W. Bush ????????????

And to think that we had two guys fighting it out in the courts to be the one elected in 2000.

You might also be interested in this.
Have a history teacher explain this if they can.

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head.

Now it gets really weird.

Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.

Now hang on to your seat.
Lincoln was shot at the theater named "Ford."
Kennedy was shot in a car called "Lincoln" made by "Ford."
Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.
And here's the "kicker"

A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland.
A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.
Dreher vs. Goldberg? Dreher wins

In today's NRO, Rod Dreher and Jonah Goldberg debate the morality of the death penalty. In my opinion, which is absolutely unbending on the issue of state-sponsored murders (or whatever else you want to call executions), Dreher, who argued the anti-death penalty side, was bang on, and Goldberg was not.

Goldberg's argument collapses (for me, at least) in the opening paragraph, when he argues that today's justice system is "more reliable" than it used to be, and so the use of the death penalty is okay. I'm sorry? More reliable? His assertions are correct if you admit that having 35 innocent men on death row today, makes the system more reliable than it was when there were 100 innocent men on death row in the 40s. I am, however, not moved, nor am I impressed by this argument in the slightest. Unless someone could prove to me that an absolutely infallible justice system existed, I'd be unwilling to debate the issue past this point. What's that you say? I'm being stubborn? Damn straight! I'm a firm believer in the "better to set a thousand guilty men free than execute one innocent man" stance on executions and no one, not even Goldberg, has been able to change my mind. Perhaps taking the life of an innocent man is a risk you're willing to take in the name of revenge for so many brutal murders that have been committed. Ok, it's your choice. But what if that one innocent person was your father? What it it were your mother? Would you bow your head and say "Well, other than the fact that my mother is being executed for a crime she didn't commit, the system works!". I doubt it.

Now, on to the next argument. Do murderers deserve to be executed? My feelings on this issue are a little more ambiguous. In general, I don't like the idea of human beings sitting around a table, making decisions about when another human being is going to die. The thought disgusts me and has been the source of my tendency to categorically deny the legitimacy of killing criminals who "deserve" to be die for their crimes. On the other hand, I have not, thank God, ever known anyone who was murdered. If, God forbid, anyone should harm someone near and dear to my heart, I'd be the first one to stand up and demand the most brutal, harsh and inhumane punishments for the monsters who would commit such crimes. So, while I do believe that some people deserve to die for their crimes (and it wouldn't bother me to look a convicted murdered in the eyes and say so), we're still left with the problem of having people deciding the fates of other people. I mean, isn't that what we're punishing the criminals for doing? How can we teach people that they have no right to play God, and then turn around and do just that? Do we beat people who are charged with assault? Do we rape rapists? Do we steal the personal belongings of thieves? Of course not. Why? Because assault, rape and theft are wrong. They're against the law. So is murder, whether or not you call it a cold-blooded killing or a state-sponsored execution.

I don't even need to touch the racial issues surrounding the fact that American death rows look like a Harlem basketball team, nor am I going to pay any credence to the idea that the system would be more legitimate if it's racial makeup was identical to today's American society. And I'm certainly not going to depend on the argument that poor people don't get proper representation and are, therefore, more likely to end up on death row......I'm not even sure I like that argument much anyway. No matter how you square it, there are far better reasons to get rid of the death penalty than its inherent racism and "classism". As my father always says, the government sets the moral tone for the whole country, and I think that the death penalty sets a really crappy tone. As Mr. Dreher said, I do not care if truly guilty murderers die. But as long as we live in a society in which we can adequately protect ourselves without shedding blood, thus risking killing innocent men, we should err on the side of life.

Yes, we should.

UPDATE: How can Americans have the death penalty and today's National Sanctity of Human Life Day?
UN Impotence

Andrew Sullivan has a great post today about how the latest moves by France, Germany and China to pre-emptively declare that they'll block any actions against Iraq, will finally expose the uselessness of the UN.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Dancing Bush

DancingBush.com is probably one of the funniest things I've seen in a while, which is sad 'cause the whole thing is really pretty juvenile. In any case, it never seems to get less funny. You've gotta go and check it out. I think the second "Dance Moves" button from the top is the funniest.
And here's the letter I sent Neil Macdonarafat (CBC) regarding his latest attempt at embarrassing Sharon:

Dear Mr. Macdonald,
You latest biased action in the Middle East, trying to embarrass Israel's PM at a meeting with the foreign press is the last nail in the coffin of your objectivity as a journalist.
You are an embarrassment as a journalist and as a Canadian. And as a taxpayer, I resent having to fund the CBC and your salary so that you get a podium to spew your lies, exaggerations and ignorance.
It is sad that you chose to side with the terrorists, murderers and child killers rather than use Canada's moral position in the world to further an agenda of peace and understanding. Supporting Hizbollah and terrorism in general will create more terrorism. The blood of the latest Israeli children killed by terrorists will be on your hands.
You no longer have any legitimacy or moral authority as a journalist claiming to be objective and I would suggest that the only moral and honest thing to do would be to resign and go to work for those that you so enthusiastically support.
Yours truly,

I am not expecting any response. Heck, this is the CBC we are talking about. Does anyone know whether, as a taxpayer, I can legally oppose having any of my tax money going to this sad organization? Damian, any thoughts?
Jaggi Singh to speak at McGill

Freshly returned from his recent trip to Israel, Jaggi Singh, professional Palestinian protestor and shit-disturber extrordinaire, is scheduled to speak at McGill tomorrow night. Yes, that's right, it's all a part of Campus Equity Week. Throughout this week o' fun, students can attend lectures about transgendered lifestyle, radical feminism, anti-capitalism, Singh's favorite fantasy - Palestinian right of return, as well as other lectures about timely and relevant things that touch all of our lives.

Mr. Singh was arrested today for having assaulted someone at the anti-Netanyahu protests last September. While under arrest, he was served with legal documents banning him from ever entering the University again.....Singh is not, after all, a Concordia student. Not to worry though, he'll be out of the slammer well before his scheduled appearance (which, of course, I helped pay for with my student fees). My question is, why would McGill allow the guy to speak on campus when they know that he's been arrested on several occasions in several different countries, as well as charged with assault of a 73 year old Holocaust survivor? Not to mention the fact that his speech on global migration, called "Nobody is an illegal immigrant", focusses solely on the Palestinian refugee issue and will be turned into a "we hate Israel" festival.

Is it just me, or could McGill have found a speaker who was a little more appropriate and a little less criminal?
What were they thinking?

In this week's edition of Time Magazine, there was special section on "America's Ultra-Secret Weapon". Yes, that's right folks, a secret weapon that the US government told Time Magazine about so they could tell the whole world about this new piece of machinery. Do they really think we buy into this stuff? But let's, just for a moment, play along and suspend our disbelief. Suppose that Time did have insider info about this new weapon. Why would they publish all these secrets for everyone to see, including, of course, the terrorists who want to kill every American (and necessarily every Time employee as well).

This is along the same idiotic lines as when the Washington Post (on September 13, 2001) thought it'd make a fine story to research and publish a drawing of the flight path that would produce the most civilian deaths if one were to fly a crop duster over Washington DC and spray everything with deadly poison.

Don't they know our enemies speak english? Why are they giving them ideas?
The CBC we know and love so well

CBC Journalist Schemes to Embarrass Israel's Prime Minister

Neil Macdonald, the Mideast correspondent for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting), forged a plot this week to publicly embarrass Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Macdonald spearheaded a drive to boycott the prime minister's annual party for members of the Foreign Press Association (FPA), which represents 300 foreign correspondents working in Israel. Macdonald wrote to fellow FPA members, suggesting that "on an official level, let the FPA send a single representative to the reception. Meanwhile, I intend to be absent. And I urge my colleagues to find other work that day, too."

Macdonald's scheme was to have Prime Minister Sharon show up to an empty banquet hall.

In the end, 300 journalists packed Jerusalem's David Citadel Hotel on January 20 -- and it was Macdonald who was embarrassed.


If you're Canadian, as I know many of you are, it's important to recognize that you do, in fact, pay this man's salary. This type of thing warrants a serious slap on the wrist.....in fact if he had opposed the current leadership in any ofther Middle Eastern country, he may have lost his wrist altogether. In any case, I'm a huge proponent of letter-writing (actually, I'm a huge proponent of getting masses of people to write enough letters to make the CBC's computers crash, just like they did for the Washingtong Post), so I urge you to take the time and write to our dear friend Mr. Rabinovitch, President and CEO of CBC (robert_rabinovitch@cbc.ca) to let him know how you feel about his employees in Israel.

[via Damian]
Now that's what I like to wake up to...

Early Iowa Polling Shows Gephardt With Slight Lead Over Lieberman; Kerry Places 3rd; 60% Say Bush Re-Election Likely

Monday, January 20, 2003

Wise beyond his years

Mader has, by far, the best MLK Day entry on any blog I've read today. Go read it now.
Why is it that the people who are on the right side of decency and democracy always have the absolute worst PR abilities in the Universe?

Israel has lost about 10 times more people to terrorism than the US per capita, it has won 4 wars against enemies 50 times more numerous who were trying to annihilate them, a good chunk of them are holocaust survivors or their descendants who just wanted to live in peace in a piece of real estate no larger than a small state in the US, they have absorbed successfully waves of immigrants who were fleeing persecution or economic hardship, they have created the only democratic state out of a desert and while surrounded by tyrants, fascists and kleptocrats....and yet, the whole world (other than the US, the other country inept at PR!) is against Israel, siding with the terrorists, opposing the removal of one of the worst mass murderers in history, kissing the ass of all Arab states as some kind of model enlightened society!

And then there is the US. They want to go to war against Saddam apparently because he is failing to prove that he does not have something? I mean, WTF? I would be hard pressed to prove that I do not own a pink elephant! Never mind that the guy has started 2 wars against his neighbours (killing over 1 million people), that he has committed systematic genocide against several ethnic groups, that Iraqis can't even conceive of such things as free press or free elections, that torture and rape are a routine, daily occurrence throughout the country, that he has used poison gas to raze entire villages (making Bhopal seem like no more than a blip on the poison gas Richter scale), that he is probably one of the most rabid racist and anti-semite around these days, that he routinely uses children as human shields and so on.

And so the best we can do is say that we are angry that he refuses to show something that he may be hiding while ignoring all these other things that he is NOT able to hide. Is Ari Fleisher an idiot? Is Condo a moron? What is wrong with these people? Why are they letting the anti-war, anti-globalization, tree-hugging, Birkenstock aging hippies call the shots here? Can't they afford a good spinmeister? And these guys want to run a war? Please!
Indoctrination

This weekend in Vegas, hundreds of anti-war protesters gathered in front of the Bellagio Hotel to protest a war against Iraq. Apparently, journalists covering the story were surprised to find that many of the protesters were highly uninformed on some of the issues.

Many protesters in their teens and 20s said they were against invading Iraq but had trouble articulating their reasoning for that viewpoint beyond saying they believed all war is wrong.

"Unless they attacked us, and then we'd have the right to defend ourselves," said Joe Sutphin, 17, a Coronado High School junior who came to the protest with friends.


[via RightWingNews]

Academic racial-profiling

For those of you who are interested in Bush's recent decision not to support the proposed quota system that was to be put in place at University of Michigan, you'll adore this article by Deroy Murdock from National Review Online.

Michigan offers a pristine example of what Bush calls "the soft bigotry of low expectations." The university's admissions officers do not practice the nasty, snarling bigotry born of hatred, but instead the polite, smiling bigotry born of pity. Yet it is bigotry nonetheless.

[...] How dare Michigan's administrators automatically assume that minority applicants are disadvantaged and downtrodden?

[...] This is academic racial profiling. If — as civil-rights activists scream until they swoon — it is wrong for cops to see a black man and assume he is a criminal, why is it right for Michigan to see someone and assume he needs special help simply for applying while black?


Mr. Murdock isn't the only one who has asked this question in the past few days. Why isn't anyone answering?
Multi-tasking

Thousands on people took to the streets in San Francisco for an anti-war protest on January 18th. After the rally, the "activists" they quickly switched their slogans, posters and chants and headed into the streets for an anti-capitalist rally. IndyMedia proudly announced that their valiant little activists smashed store windows, committed acts of vandalism and generally caused a giant mess. Starbucks (which was full of customers at the time of the attack), Victoria Secret, the SF Chronicle, British Consulate, CitiCorp and the INS building all sustained substantial damage.



So basically, what we see is that these so-called "peace activists" are actually just a bunch of criminals. But then again, that's not terribly surprising from a group who would rally to keep Saddam Hussein in power.
What on earth posessed me to study calculus?

Prof: Math courses watered down

CHICAGO, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- College math courses for the numerically challenged are the equivalent of English courses based on classic comics, a University of Chicago mathematics professor says.

Now there's a math course I could've used! Seriously though, I've thought, for a long time now, that North American schools have got to do something about teaching math to (the many) students who really don't catch on. I remember having trouble with math from a very early age - about 6 or 7 - and the problems simply compounded from there. Problems with subtraction made multiplication and division difficult for me, and algebra was just a total loss. Once I got to high school, the knowledge gap between myself and the students who did understand, was so large that it seemed absurd to have us in the same class. But, as one would expect, we were put in the same class, and by the time I graduated from high school with honors distinction, I had also received a 17% in my calculus class (the teacher informed me that he had never actually given such a low mark in his entire career.....thanks bud, what a peach!).

It is my firm belief that educators really don't know how to deal with slow math learners. They don't seem to have special techniques and don't seem to be studying new options either. To me, this is a huge problem because math is used as a "weeder" subject - a method of distinuishing the "cans" from the "cannots" for everything from medical school to business schools. Struggling with math is a serious handicap in life and it closes a lot of doors for students who can't do it. I'm not a big Euro-fan right now, but I do think we could learn something from their math teachers (Asia, of course, would be a fine model as well). Why is it that European and Asian students consistently score higher in math than their North American counterparts? What's their secret?

White House reacts to weekend of anti-war protests...

U.S. units on hunt to track and kill Saddam

Although that article is serious, Right Wing News has a satirical look at this morning's press conference with Ari Fleisher:

This weekend anti-war whack-jobs took to the streets in a last push to preserve murderous regimes. The Whitehouse seemed unperturbed by all the demonstrations.

"I think the president welcomes the fact that we are a democracy and people in the United States, unlike Iraq, are free to protest and to make their case known," said Whitehouse Press Secretary Ari Fleischer at a press conference, never once looking up from the Gameboy Advance in his hands.

"But what about the protestors who were beaten with their own ‘No Blood for Oil’ signs by men who claimed to have been paid by the Whitehouse?" asked one reporter.

"I think the president welcomes the fact that we are a democracy and people in the United States, unlike Iraq, are free to yadda yadda yadda," Fleischer responded, now staring at the Gameboy quite intensely, apparently fighting a boss monster in the game Metroid Prime that he was playing.

"You’re not even paying attention to us!" shouted another reporter.

Fleischer then angrily chucked his Gameboy at the reporter, striking him in the head. "There, I paid you some attention."

"Ow! That hurt!" cried the reporter.

"Ow! That hurt!" Fleischer repeated in a high-pitch, mocking voice.

"You’re the meanest press secretary ever!" the man yelled before running out of the press conference crying.


Sunday, January 19, 2003

Oops

Israel's First Astronaut Busy, Forgets Sabbath

Now that's what I call an oversight.
Jesse Jackson sucks....

Where do I begin? Last Wednesday on Donahue's political talk-show, Jesse Jackson discussed affirmative action and his beliefs about Bush's decision not to support, what he calls the "quota system" that was to be put in place at the University of Michigan. When an anti-quota, black commentator on the show attempted to get his point across, Jackson interupted him and said "No one has inspired more blacks for hope in America than I have".

First off....is that sentence structure even allowed? More importantly, it really peeves me when Jackson acts as one voice for all blacks, especially when the good fellows at B.O.N.D (Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny) - a black organization - are about to hold their annual "Repudiate Jesse Jackson Day". Aptly, this festive event coincides with the annual Martin Luther King Day (tomorrow, January 20) and is sure to bring out more than just a handful of anti-Jackson activists.



Rev. Peterson (One of the event's main organizers) said, "On the first anniversary of 9-11, the American people are paying their respects to the victims of the terrorist attacks, and President Bush is preparing the nation for possible war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Meanwhile, domestic enemies like Jackson are concocting ways to undermine our war efforts." Rev. Peterson added, "For Jackson to demand that we open our borders and stop profiling suspected terrorists in time of war is insane!"

Yes, 'tis

In a recent statement Jackson said, "…He (Ashcroft) had been a foot soldier for the race-bait, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-civil rights politics of the radical right." He added, "Ashcroft's Justice Department is a threat to established American civil rights and civil liberties…" Jackson also said that, "The Bush White House considers itself above the law, and immune to scrutiny and accountability." Jackson and others including the NAACP, AFL-CIO, National Organization for Women, ACLU, and the Arab American Institute are making numerous demands including: an end to racial profiling, voting rights for ex-felons, same-day voter registration, and for more relaxed immigration laws.

"Jesse Jackson is out of control! He has lost his moral authority to lead, and he is desperately trying to make himself relevant both on domestic and international affairs," said Rev. Peterson. "Our goal is to repudiate Jackson once and for all and show the entire nation that this man is a racist, anti-American who is a threat to the security of this country. Furthermore, I'm offering Jesse Jackson a 'free one way ticket to Baghdad' if he'll turn in his passport and promise never to come back," concluded Rev. Peterson.


I'd willing to provide the peanuts and drinks for the long flight over. Sadly, this event is only taking place in Los Angeles, and so I won't be able to attend the rally, despite being incredibly excited about the whole thing. Go get 'em guys!
"My kingdom for a.....parka"





Can you guys believe this weather? I've been shivering for about 3 days now, and with tomorrow's "estimated high of -18'C", it doesn't look like I'm about to warm up any time soon. Now that "hell has frozen over", here are the unexpected things that I expect to take place withing the next few days:

a) Saddam Hussein will step down and retire to Florida where he will convert to Judaism and spend Sunday mornings eating bagels and cream cheese, but not before holding democratic elections in which a gay Iraqi will win the Presidency,

b) Condoleeza will break her silence and finally admit to a two-year affair with Michael Moore.

c) Barbara Streisand will win the "Most cherished and least obnoxious celebrity opinion" award.

.....and finally, now that hell has frozen over, it looks as if:

d) I'll be attending today's anti-war/ solidarity with Palestinian human rights rallies in Montreal.

Will post more later, but for now I'm off to a bagel and cream cheese brunch with the fam....