Monday, December 31, 2007

A Village in Arkansas Is Missing Its Idiot

Good Lord, where to begin...
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Yet another smarmy episode for the “Why Mike Huckabee Is Wildly Unfit to Be President” file: whining that Mitt Romney is mean to him, Huck prepares an attakc ad of his own, then decides to take the supposed high ground by not running it—just before airing it for reporters.
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You might be surprised to hear that such defense hawks as Frank Gaffney, John Bolton, and Richard Allen are foreign policy advisors to Mike’s campaign. Y’know who else was surprised? Gaffney, Bolton & Allen.
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The governor took some, uh, interesting lessons from Benezir Bhutto’s assassination.
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A lot of people have things to say about the Huckster. And they ain’t pretty.
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Despite what the
decreasingly-credible Michael Medved may say, it’s way past time to get this bozo off the national stage.
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UPDATE: Here’s the video of Huck’s press conference to show the ad he doesn’t want you to see (think about that for a minute), as well as the revelation that—surprise!—he’s lying again. It seems Huckabee is claiming he decided not to run the ad ten minutes before making his speech, yet TV stations were told not to run the ad two hours before.
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As for the ad itself, you notice that it doesn’t actually address any of Romney’s anti-Huck claims?

Off to Protest Global Warming? You'd Better Bring a Coat

Hat tip to Dennis Prager for this Washington Times piece by geophysicist David Deming, which chronicles quite a few record decreases in temperature the globe’s seen this year. The conclusion:
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If you think any of the preceding facts can falsify global warming, you're hopelessly naive. Nothing creates cognitive dissonance in the mind of a true believer. In 2005, a Canadian Greenpeace representative explained “global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter.” In other words, all weather variations are evidence for global warming. I can't make this stuff up. Global warming has long since passed from scientific hypothesis to the realm of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo.
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Al Gore, call your office…

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

...and all through the web,
Not a creature was stirring,
'Cept this terrorist dead.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Lovefest Continues

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Ah, yes, dear Mr. Freiburger and his
little neocon fantasies. What do you have to say about the fact that Iran curtailed its nuclear weapons program in 2003, yet King George just recently acknowledged the same fact?
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The “fact” our lib-of-the-day refers to is actually a National Intelligence Estimate—which,
according to Alan Dershowitz, “falls hook, line and sinker for a transparent bait and switch tactic employed not only by Iran, but by several other nuclear powers in the past.” This, by the by, would be the same Iran that’s still doing this. And this. And this. Yeah, I really feel good about giving these guys a clean bill of health.
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President Bush has been caught in a lie. Or is it a situation for people like you, Calvin, that you think the president's own intelligence "cooked" the intelligence?
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First, no he hasn’t. Second, what does “you think the president’s own intelligence cooked the intelligence” even mean? Is it a vain attempt at wit?
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Maybe this quote by Herman Goering (he was a Nazi, in case you don't know, since you supposedly received such a poor education at Fond du Lac High School) at the Nuremberg Trials can explain it better for you:
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Such a poor education? I never said anything of the sort. Shouldn’t we expect
a college professor to read a little more carefully, and get the basic facts right when he attacks someone?
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"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding to the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same in any country.”
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Predictably, our friend sees Nazis around every corner. Never mind that the attack, and the continuing threat, are all too real. It figures.
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On second thought, I'm trying to talk logically to a neocon.
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“Trying” being the operative word…

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ALL Report: Choice on Earth

It figures that, as we celebrate a birth, Planned Parenthood would rear its ugly head.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Recap: Huck, Mitt & Fred

Looks like I spoke too soon about the potency of Mike Huckabee’s campaign—his standing has improved pretty dramatically in recent weeks. I still can’t see him winning the nomination, but I can see him further dividing the cultural Right, thereby helping Giuliani’s chances.
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Of course, once people take notice of you, the warts get noticed too—and Huck’s got warts in spades.
This Hot Air post links to a lot of the details, and there’s even reason to question his credibility on his main/only selling point, social conservatism. Most recently, Huck’s been taking flak for his foreign policy vision, which is peppered with complaints to the effect of “George Bush has been too mean,” both to the international community and to Iran (yes, that Iran).
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Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has picked up a couple major endorsements: National Review
makes a compelling argument that not only is he the best man for the job, but his nomination is necessary to keeping the Republican coalition together; and Judge Robert Bork trusts Romney to shape the Supreme Court as President. Mitt’s much-speculated-about “Faith in America” speech (transcript here, video here) was outstanding, as well. From religion’s actual role in our nation’s past to its proper role in her present, he brought these truths to the public eye with eloquence and passion.
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It hasn’t all been clear skies for Mitt, though. Romney’s recent Meet the Press appearance
highlighted his past willingness to consider a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as well the fact that he stands by his support for an assault weapons ban and the Brady Bill.
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On immigration, I’d be lying if I said Romney’s changes of opinion don’t give me pause, and I don’t begrudge anyone for mistrusting him. But again, there are also reasons to be wary of his opponents (check the Hot Air link above for the dirt on Huck, and my archives for Fred Thompson). Speaking of immigration, though, Romney’s not the only one who’s seen the light—here’s the “consistent conservative”
arguing for a path to citizenship, every bit as recently as Mitt, if not more so.
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As for guns, Romney is wrong. But every member of the Republican field is lacking in some way. It’s our job, then, to take a hard look at our priorities as conservatives. If gun rights are your number-one issue, then by all means, vote for Fred. I’m a full-spectrum conservative who understands and values the right to bear arms as well as the next guy. But I consider one million abortions annually a greater injustice than assault weapon bans, so the right to life takes precedence—and
there (as well as marriage), Thompson is lacking. Further, as I’ve argued before, the fact that Mitt is sticking to his guns (no pun intended) seems to run counter to the idea that he’s a phony who abandons his opinions for expediency.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Is This the Best You Can Do?

And another vain attempt to demonstrate the error of my ways, this time courtesy of Brent Schmitz:
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Mixed metaphors aside, Mr. Calvin Freiburger seems to think that Fond du Lac High School is full of evil liberal educators that are out to indoctrinate your children in their evil liberal ways.
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It’s never a good sign when the falsehoods start in the first sentence. I wrote: “I was blessed to have many outstanding teachers. But I also encountered some teachers who were precisely the kind of liberal fanatics Rob Hynek warns us about.” Does that sound like I’m claiming FHS is “full of” them?
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My own experience at the same school paints a far different picture. As an AP political science student, I was a witness to several informal issue debates in which the participants were two teachers. One of them I would describe as liberal, and the other was a conservative Gulf War veteran. Both were excellent teachers and great friends.
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Their discussions were always polite and focused on the merits of a particular position; the debate never became personal. These exchanges taught me that through debate and argument that the best ideas are found. It is through discussion that we develop and reinforce our own thoughts and philosophies. It is also in these exchanges that our minds can be changed.
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Good for him. However, just because he had certain experience with certain teachers doesn’t disprove the fact that I had different experiences with different teachers.
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Mr. Freiburger seems to devalue debate and disagreement within the American political sphere. Evidently, only conservative teachers are worthy of community support and funding, as per the veiled threat he makes at the end of his letter.
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This is an absurd mischaracterization of what I wrote, and I challenge Mr. Schmitz to back it up with a single one of my words. Only teachers who do their jobs—liberal & conservative alike—are worthy of community support & funding. Teachers who use their authority to advance any personal agenda—liberal & conservative alike—are not.
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In a few months, I am going to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (yes, that liberal bastion) with a degree in political science. It is clear to me, as a student of politics, that oftentimes in the political debate we are so busy hurling partisan insults that we lose sight of what is at stake.
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If Brent really cared about the integrity of debate, he would debate my actual words, not mischaracterizations.
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In this case, the education of more than 2,000 students at Fond du Lac High School is in the hands of many teachers, some liberal, and some conservative. Just like America. And that's the way it should be.
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If that were the case, there’d be no problem. But that’s not what we’re talking about, Brent. Read a little closer next time.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Back to School

My latest letter has another challenger. Today Daniel Sitter writes:
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Calvin Freiburger, the recent graduate from Fond du Lac High School, wrote a lucid, impressively worded diatribe about liberal teachers still in our schools.

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The majority of teachers Calvin learned from in his own words were "outstanding," but there were some liberals among them that felt the Iraq war was a big mistake.
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I didn’t say that having liberals among my teachers was the problem. Indeed, I’ll be the first to say that among the good teachers, I knew a number to be liberal, and I never learned the ideology of most of the rest (I do know of a few who were conservative—but they never abused their positions by pushing a right-wing agenda in class). Nor do I object to considering the Iraq War a mistake. Political opinions become an issue in the classroom when a teacher uses his authority to try to persuade his students to adopt a political belief, and when he presents disputable (or flat-out false) political propositions as facts, and when he does so at the expense of the actual class subject—all of which happened at Fond du Lac High School.
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I'm sure the majority of the other teachers, whatever their political affiliation, made up for any liberal bias that Calvin may have encountered.
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It’s true that, on balance, I got a good education at FHS. And while teacher indoctrination may not have harmed me personally, since I had a solid grounding in political values & independent thinking, many students can’t say the same—they simply hear these things from an authority figure they’re supposed to be able to trust, and understandably assume what they hear is on the level. Moreover, any class time spent ranting about George Bush is time spent not discussing a class’s actual subject. Indeed, at times my senior year Western Literature course would get derailed by as much as a full week because our resident lefty had ideological grudges he preferred to indulge in.
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In any organization, there are going to be people who abuse their posts. That’s understandable. However, it's the duty of those who run the organization to deal with such people. If they don’t, then we have a problem that demands scrutiny. I’ve seen no evidence that the powers-that-be in the FdL School District have any interest in holding partisan teachers accountable.
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As a teacher in Fond du Lac, I'm very proud that Calvin is involved in these discussions and has passion for his beliefs. I'm also impressed with his writing and willingness to take a firm stand. He must have had good teachers who helped him examine his ideas and develop his opinions.
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Of all the things for which I owe my public education, rest assured that my political & philosophical development are not on that list. Isn’t it remarkable how arrogant Mr. Sitter seems to be, that one of his first instincts is to claim credit for something his profession had nothing to do with?
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What makes me afraid is his self-righteousness and implied superiority in his writing.
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Again, I think our friend has self-righteousness issues of his own. But for the record, I don’t consider myself inherently superior to anyone. What I will admit to is this: when I see people abuse the trust a community places within them—entrusting them with the community’s very children—I believe they, along with their apologists, should be stood up to by all the concerned, responsible members of the community.
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He is already dismissing those he disagrees with as "all wet" and feels he is "beating a dead horse" when addressing legitimate concerns millions of citizens have in the great United States. I think his narrow world view has something to do with age, but perhaps the reason goes deeper than that.
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No, I dismiss those who spout bumper-sticker-caliber left-wing talking points as “all wet.” And as I originally explained, this dead horse has been beat and beat. The argument has been amply waged on the Reporter’s opinion page, and I’ve contributed my share (for example,
here and here). I opted not to rehash Iraq in detail because I wanted to focus on the education angle, which is also important and gets nowhere near as much attention. It has nothing to do with narrow-mindedness, and everything to do with staying on topic.
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With radio hosts spewing hate across the airwaves and television shows polarizing viewers in an us-against-them culture, perhaps we should have something to fear from the schools.
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I should have guessed: hatemongers like Rush Limbaugh are the real problem! If you actually listen to Rush and his radio brethren, you know Dan is utterly mischaracterizing them (though I will admit that Michael Savage is too much of a loose cannon to be a good representative of the industry. Still, he is the exception to an otherwise-impressive rule).
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Maybe we don't do enough to make sure our students have an open mind and understand that although opinions differ, insulting and condescending opposing viewpoints do not further the discussion at all.
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Open minds? My whole point has been that the teachers I’m talking about don’t care a whit about cultivating open minds; they want to churn out new liberals. As for the tone of debate, I think the opposition’s moral authority in that area has been, shall we say,
diminished of late. Politics is a rowdy arena, and people should know better than to get worked up over a little blunt talk & ribbing every now & then (I think most do). What is appropriate? Calm debate is always the ideal, if it’s possible, and I’ve done that when I can. Sometimes, though, there are offenses that need to be condemned, and sometimes reasoned debate is flat-out impossible.
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Calvin missed that point, and I for one am hoping we don't let another student miss the point either, no matter what the politics may be.
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Au contraire; your point has been well-taken...and rebutted.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What's Wrong with Our Schools: Exhibit A

Recently this letter, by a Mr. Glenn Perry, appeared in the FdL Reporter:
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I am saddened by the response to a letter about the war written by a 14-year-old girl.

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In his response, Mr. Rob Hynek writes about misinformation from other parents and from public education. I take that personally.
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I am a teacher in the public education system and the information usually is not incorrect. First of all, the reason we are over there is from misinformation from our president and vice president. Actually, it came from lies, not just misinformation.
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Secondly, in case you did not learn this in school, the problems in the Middle East have been going on for hundreds of years and there is nothing we are going to do to fix it. You cannot change people that do not want to be changed.
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Third, as for Congress cutting funding, they have tried twice to no avail from scared Republicans and the president.
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Fourth, if this war is actually to keep us free over here, then why is it that the politicians that believe so strongly about it and call the men and women who are dying over there heroes (which in fact they are) would not be willing to send their own children to fight for our freedom?
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Here are some real facts. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Vice President Cheney asked Allen Greenspan not to talk about the oil crunch if the war took place. And most of all, our president and vice president knowingly stepped up and lied to our faces about what they actually knew was or was not over there — and then tried to make others look bad because they tried to get the truth out before and after.
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These are the facts, and no matter how you try to cover them up, the truth will always come out.
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In today’s paper, I responded with this:
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Teacher Glenn Perry is “personally” offended by Rob Hynek’s charge that schools feed our kids misinformation. He then proves Mr. Hynek correct by rattling off ignorant, simpleminded inanities about the Iraq War—the President knowingly lied, no WMDs, blah blah blah. Curiously for an educator, he also displays an apparent desire to see politicians with which he disagrees “send their own children” to war. To state the obvious, nobody “sends” their children into an all-volunteer military.
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These horses have been beaten to death (I’m starting to feel like a broken record debunking the same lies over & over again whenever liberals tell them), and serious observers already know Mr. Perry & his ilk are all wet. The education angle, though, is worth delving into. He wants us to believe we’ve nothing to fear from our schools, yet instead of talking about education, he spends most of his letter ranting about Iraq—proving that, yes Virginia, we do indeed have something to fear from our schools.
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As a 2006 Fond du Lac High School graduate, I was blessed to have many outstanding teachers. But I also encountered some teachers who were precisely the kind of liberal fanatics Rob Hynek warns us about, hyper-partisans for whom the Left matters more than the students.
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People of Fond du Lac County, Glenn Perry and others like him are teaching your kids. Keep that in mind next time your School Board asks for your trust and support.
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UPDATE: Props to Keith Hellwig for taking on indoctrination, as well.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

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