Monday, February 28, 2005

Thomas and his Influence

That's what I figured:

"Naturally I taught my students Thomas Aquinas, but I found it difficult to do so. The problem was that his arguments presented such a strong appearance of truth. For the very beauty of this appearance, I had to exercise strong discipline not to weep. One of my students in those days asked permission to put a personal question. "I’ve been listening carefully," he said, "and I figure that you’re either an atheist or a Roman Catholic. Which one is it?"

You can see why, when I finally returned to Christian faith, I wanted that one foot in Catholic tradition."

And the rest as they say, is history. Aquinas may be among the most underrated thinkers in the minds of modern folk. Oh that's right, we're "enlightened". Calvin runs a very close second.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

A suprising conversion

This is interesting:

From relapsed catholic : "'During the 1990s, J. Budziszewski rose to prominence as one of the leading intellectual lights among Evangelical Christians in America. A political theorist with a special interest in the natural-law tradition, he was highly sought as a speaker at conferences organized by groups such as the InterVarsity Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ. (...) 'For some Evangelical Protestants, then, it came as a jolt when, on Easter Sunday 2004, Budziszewski was received into the Catholic Church. After maintaining a public silence about his conversion for several months, Budziszewski agreed to tell the story to CWR...'"

I'll bet it was Aquinas that moved him across the goal line.

Lame

I've been away at a conference that tragically offered no internet access. I'm getting on a plane this morning but I'll be back blogging soon.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Prager comes to CU

If you live in Colorado, you should mark your calendar and come to CU Boulder to hear Dennis Prager on March 2.

He will be speaking on the topic: "Why are America and Israel the Two Most Hated Nations?"

I feel pretty confident that he will comment on Ward Churchill at some point in the evening.

Should be worth $10. Heck, I'd pay per view.

See you there. I'll post pictures if they let me take them.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The New York Newsprint

Jay Rosen has a great take on the way mainstream media like the New York Times, look down their nose at Blogs:

"The Guardian weighs in: 'Jordan's demise may be much more significant than it first appears.'

The Guardian piece has Steve Lovelady's remarks about 'salivating morons' originating in what he told the New York Times, but of course the Times got them from PressThink, a blog that it failed to name. It's happened before: the Times will say 'online' rather than 'PressThink,' as it did Feb. 14: 'The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail,' he lamented online after Mr. Jordan's resignation. (Another example.) Next time I quote the New York Times I think I will do it this way: 'As Paul Krugman said in newsprint last week...'"

Corporate Blogs

I find that as I explain what blogs are to people, it seems that blogging is a fringe activity more similar to bomb making than using a cell phone or fax machine. Well in case you needed more proof that blogs are mainstream, behold this blog from General Motors written by the Vice Chairman of GM. There's probably something to learn from this for every organization, whether for profit or otherwise.

I learned about this blog from a great interview with Hugh Hewitt on the second hour of Dennis Prager's radio show.

I just bought Hewitt's book, Blog. I couldn't stand it anymore so it will come tomorrow probably and i'll dive into it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

How to make your Blog popular?

Seth's Blog: "step 3: be controversial. Try to get a CNN VP to resign under pressure. Yell when you can speak, scream when you can whisper. "

Here's a better idea Seth: When you use your blog to make thinly veiled accusations and disparaging remarks about blogs that hurt your philosophical allies, include links to those you are heckling so that people don't assume that your analysis is just bigotry and falsehood.

Oh, and writing stuff worth reading is important too (like you said). Or at least linking to stuff worth reading.

A CU Professor weighs in on Churchill

CU Professor Paul Campos brings candor to CU and Churchill and the culture of Affirmative Action:

"The privileges created by tenure are supposed to insulate faculty from political pressures in general and censorship in particular. Yet those of us in the academy, if we were candid, would have to admit that few places are more riddled with the distorting effects of politics and censorship than university faculties.

Academics claim to despise censorship, but the truth is we do a remarkably good job of censoring ourselves. This is especially true in regard to affirmative action. Who among us can claim to have spoken up every time a job candidate almost as preposterous as Churchill was submitted for our consideration? Things like the Churchill fiasco are made possible by a web of lies kept intact by a conspiracy of silence.

The University of Colorado hired Churchill onto its faculty because he claimed to be an American Indian. Anyone who has the slightest familiarity with research universities can glance at his resume and state this with something close to complete confidence.

Churchill thus represents the reductio ad absurdum of the contemporary university's willingness to subordinate all other values to affirmative action. When such a grotesque fraud - a white man pretending to be an Indian, an intellectual charlatan spewing polemical garbage festooned with phony footnotes, a shameless demagogue fabricating imaginary historical incidents to justify his pathological hatreds, an apparent plagiarist who steals and distorts the work of real scholars - manages to scam his way into a full professorship at what is still a serious research university, we know the practice of affirmative action has hit rock bottom. Or at least we can hope so.

As someone of generally liberal political inclinations, I support affirmative action in principle. (And I have surely benefited from it in practice: My parents came to this country from Mexico in the year of my birth, and I spoke no English when I started school.) In theory, the argument that aggressively seeking out persons of diverse backgrounds can enrich the intellectual life of the university has great force.

Affirmative action is based, in part, on the idea that it will help us understand the viewpoints of the conquered as well as those of the conqueror, of the weak as well as the strong, of those far from power as well as those who wield it.

Too often, these sentiments are abused by those who sacrifice intellectual integrity while engaging in the most extreme forms of preferential hiring. Ward Churchill's career provides a lurid illustration of what can happen - indeed, of what we know will happen - when academic standards are prostituted in the name of increasing diversity. "

Wow! That was bracing.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Treason?

Rocky Mountain News: David Kopel: "The radio pair have done superb work on the Churchill controversy; among their contributions are playing excerpts from Churchill's CD, Pacifism as Pathology, in which he explicitly urges his audience to perpetrate more 9/11-type attacks in the United States."

That's treason isn't it?

It's a joke!

ScrappleFace: Little Eichmanns Group Celebrates Prof's Free Speech: "(2005-02-10) -- In a celebration of free speech inspired by a University of Colorado professor who compared America's 9/11 victims to Nazis, an ad hoc consortium of business leaders announced today that it would fund an endowed professorship in honor of Professor Ward Churchill.

The business group, Little Eichmanns for Free Speech, said it 'rejoices in Mr. Churchill's efforts to open a fresh dialogue between America's businesspeople and the academics whose important work is funded by the overflow of our insatiable greed.'

The group said it would donate a 'substantial sum' to create an endowment with the condition that 'Mr. Churchill be appointed as the Little Goebbels Professor of Ethics, in recognition of his efforts to establish the reputation of businesspeople in a fashion reminiscent of what Joseph Goebbels did for the Jews.'

Under the terms of endowment, university news releases about Mr. Churchill's research and public speaking must always identify him with the phrase 'the Little Goebbels Professor of Ethics.'

A spokesman for the university's board of regents said it 'welcomes expressions of free speech, especially when they're written in the memo field of a personal check.'"

You gotta love Scrappleface.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

From Dan Rather to Eason Jordan

I don't know if you have been following the Eason Jordan (CNN Executive) scandal. I've been loosely following it via my favorite blogs. Why is it important? It is another milestone in the new era of media and information.

HughHewitt sums up the sea change:

"In Thursday's WeeklyStandard.com column I detailed how the blogs beat MSM on the story like a bongo drum. At this hour, if you type 'Eason Jordan' into the search engine of the Los Angeles Times, there will be no matches. None. The Times is not alone in having utterly failed its readers. A senior news executive has been forced to resign from an international news powerhouse for remarks he made about the military, the story is two weeks old, and the 'paper of record' of the West Coast does not have story on it in its archives, which probably means no stories at all, though search engines do sometimes fail.

The Times is not alone for demonstrating again a 'news judgment' hopelessly skewed by liberal bias. Some big papers got a 'just-in-time' treatment of the story into their pages, but most of those gave no hint that a real opinion storm had developed around Jordan, and none of them pushed the story along. It was new media's work, and only new media's that brought accountability to Eason Jordan and CNN."

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Sex Blogging 3

Following up on my earlier sex blogging posts here and here...
John Leo explains what Lawrence Summers could have said:


"Yesterday I spoke bluntly at a closed academic conference and offered some possible explanations of why women are less represented than men in the upper reaches of math and science. In addition to the cost of the time women spend in bearing and raising children, I said that innate sexual differences may be playing a role.

"This was a politically incorrect thing to say, but I believe it is true. An enormous literature on sexual differences has been piling up for 30 years or more. Everybody knows about this work, but it is one of the large elephants in the academic living room that nobody is supposed to notice. It is officially invisible. Careers can end if you see it.

"The literature points to one conclusion: The sexes are different. Males and females have different aptitudes, and they make choices based on those aptitudes. Males tend to outperform females on mathematical reasoning, mechanical comprehension and spatial ability, while females tend to outperform males in such areas as language use, reading comprehension, verbal fluency, verbal memory, spelling and mathematical calculations. On many verbal tasks, women as a group are decisively better than men and remain so all their lives.

"In addition, there is a persistent finding that men tend to prefer to work with 'things,' while women, more than men, prefer to work with people. This may sound like a stereotype to you. It is certainly true that when the doors to high-paying professions were closed to women, females gravitated, by necessity, to valuable but lower-paying 'people' fields like nursing and teaching. But now that the barriers are finally coming down, women are still opting in great numbers for 'people' fields. We have seen a great surge of women into law and medicine but far less female interest in engineering, math and the hard sciences.

"On the whole, women tend to avoid fields with a low social component -- mechanical engineering, particle physics and entomology, for example. Women tend to favor fields with a high social dimension -- anthropology, sociology, psychology (particularly developmental and child psychology but not physiological psychology). Even within scientific fields, women lean toward more 'social' areas such as medicine, nutritional science, environmental health, biology and bioengineering.

"In his book 'Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality,' Kingsley Browne says that one important reason why girls turn away from science is that they tend to find it 'boring,' not a 'fun puzzle to study,' or to conclude that 'science breaks down people's ideas of right and wrong.'

"Camilla Benbow and David Lubinski, well-known researchers at Vanderbilt University, have spent more than 20 years tracking a group of 5,000 males and females who had been identified as mathematically gifted when they were 12 to 14 years old. Eight percent of the males, but only 1 percent of the females, pursued doctorates in math, engineering or physical science. More females than males received degrees in the life sciences, health or medicine. The females did not veer away from the hard sciences out of lack of opportunity, doubts about competence or fear of failure. The 5,000 gifted children knew they were good, but the females had different values and many made different choices.

"What is the lesson here? That it may be a great mistake to insist on equal male-female representation in every area of academia. The social sciences are now heavily female. Law and medicine may well become predominantly female too, while the hard sciences stay mostly male. Is there anything wrong with that? Benbow and Lubinski say frankly that 'there may be a need to consider a degree of unequal representation' in certain fields. 'Unequal representation' is threatening only if we think that respect for the choices made by our young people is less important than worrying about a perfect gender balance."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Jason Mitchener ~ Biography

Sure enough, the Jason from the post below is the Jason that I knew in college. I was first involved with Campus Crusade at ASU and that's where Jason's life was changed:

Jason Mitchener was born with a rare neuromuscular disease that now confines him to an electric wheelchair and requires him to use a ventilator to breathe. His body may be confined, but his spirit soars free.

Raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Jason spent his childhood chasing after academic success and popularity. He desired to be noticed for something other than his disability. Jason achieved academic success and was quite popular in school, but when he started college at Arizona State University in 1988, something was missing.In the second semester of his freshman year, Jason was invited to the weekly meeting of Campus Crusade for Christ. Religion wasn't new to him, as he had been a member of an Eastern religion called the Baha'i Faith, but these young Christians helped Jason see that he needed a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jason had been chasing after everything except what he needed most... Jesus.

After giving his life to the Lord, Jason got involved in many Christian activities on the college campus. He thought he had his life planned out and looked forward to perhaps starting a
performing arts ministry. All that changed suddenly in December of 1991 when he was admitted to the hospital with major breathing difficulty. A few weeks later, he was in a long-term care facility and connected to a portable ventilator that
was breathing for him.Jason thought his dreams had ended and gave up on God. But God didn't give up on him. After six months of not wanting to live but fearing death, Jason finally reached out to the Father for help. God helped him and told
Jason to share his comfort with others.

With newfound hope, Jason turned his attention to writing and preaching. His song lyrics and devotional writing inspire and encourage Christians to draw closer to God. Jason has had his songs released on three CDs by Christian independent artists. In 2003, he published his devotional book "Just Passing Through: Notes from a Fellow Traveler." Later that year, Jason released a music CD also titled “Just Passing Through: Notes
from a Fellow Traveler” which is a collection of ten contemporary Christian songs written or co-written by Jason but performed by talented studio musicians. Jason is also an accomplished digital artist using 3D software to create vibrant
images. Finally, Jason is a Christian speaker sharing his testimony "Power in Weakness" whenever and wherever he has the opportunity.

Jason currently lives in Phoenix and attends Crossroads Christian Fellowship.

You can read Jason's Testimony here.


Million Dollar Death

I haven't yet seen the movie but I got this interesting email from an aquaintance who has a critically disabled family member:


"Dear Friends,
It's time for academy awards again. "Million Dollar Baby" has been nominated. We'd just like to tell all our friends out there (and actor/director Mr. Eastwood) that not all disabled Americans are ready to be euthanized.

Our Matt started college last week, taking one class on Thursday afternoons -- Art of the Cinema. (chosen because it meets general ed requirements and transfers to all UC's, CSU's & USC's, a four-year degree being one future goal). Matt continues to work out a Project Walk 3 days a week in addition to doing some outpatient PT/OT to work on his deltoids.
As soon as the authorized rehab sessions are over, it will be back to PW 4
times a week. If anyone felt bummed after seeing "Million Dollar Baby," and needs an antidote for despair, read Jason Mitchener's testimony below, and/or click on the URL below and see how REAL fighters face adversity.

Thanks to you all for your ongoing love, support, & encouragement,
the Wilds
http://www.projectwalk.org/ProjectWalk_gaitCenter/theBuzz/theBuzz.htm

Disabled Christian Author Speaks
Against “Million Dollar Baby” Movie
Ventilator-dependent, confined to a wheelchair, and living in a rehabilitation center, Christian author and speaker Jason Mitchener has much in common with Hilary Swank’s character Maggie at the end of Clint Eastwood’s boxing movie “Million Dollar Baby.” The difference is that Mitchener is a true fighter.

(PRWEB) February 1, 2005 -- “I wanted to stop the moviegoers as they left the theater to tell them Maggie wasn’t the typical ventilator-dependent, disabled person. Most of us want to live.”For Christian author and speaker, Jason Mitchener, Clint Eastwood’s film “Million Dollar Baby” was just another inspirational boxing movie until the surprise third act when Hilary Swank’s character Maggie ends up as a quadriplegic and ventilator-dependent. Mitchener, who is also confined to a wheelchair and ventilator dependent, was at first excited to see a movie portray someone similar to him. “But when I saw Maggie asking Clint Eastwood’s character to end her life, I wanted to scream, ‘Don’t do it! Life is worth living.’”

In 1991, Mitchener was admitted to a rehabilitation center at the age of 21. He couldn’t bathe, feed, or dress himself. Paralyzed from the shoulders down due to a rare neuromuscular disease, he now required a ventilator to help him breathe. “At first, I felt useless, like my life was over. But I knew God had bigger plans for me.” Those plans included the publication of his devotional book “Just Passing Through: Notes from a Fellow Traveler” which he typed with a stick held between his teeth.“Eastwood’s film shook me to the core,” Mitchener says. “It was yet another attempt to show that the life of a disabled person has no value.” Mitchener proves his value every day by ministering daily to the hundreds of people who subscribe to his e-mail devotional messages. He is also a talented digital artist
and songwriter who has had songs recorded on CDs by three Christian music artists.“I couldn’t understand Maggie’s wish to end her life. She was a boxer, but she stopped fighting,” Mitchener says.

With his fierce desire to encourage others through his love for life, Mitchener is the true fighter.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
More on the subject? Did Eastwood choose to direct this film as a vendetta
against the suit filed against him for violating the ADA act?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Why 'Million Dollar Baby' infuriates the disabled
By Lennard J. Davis. (excerpted)
Lennard J. Davis teaches English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also professor of Disability and Human Development at UIC's School of Applied Health Sciences.

Although Clint Eastwood's film "Million Dollar Baby" continues to garner
praise and awards -- a Director's Guild Award for Eastwood, seven Oscar
nominations, as well as best actress and director for the Golden Globes --
a mounting furor around the film accompanies these kudos.In Chicago last week, Not Dead Yet, a group of people with disabilities,
assembled at night to protest what they say is the anti-disability stance of the film. A demonstration also was held in Berkeley, Calif., and more are planned in other cities. How can there be such a wide gap between the critics and the disability activists' point of view?
(Note to readers: This story reveals a key plot twist in "Million Dollar Baby.")

The film tells us the story of a poor but feisty young woman, Maggie (Hilary Swank), who wants Frankie (Clint Eastwood) to train her to be a boxer. Initially he refuses, but when he gives in, she becomes an unbeatable opponent in the ring -- until she breaks her neck and becomes a quadriplegic. At that point, the film throws a left hook and switches from a Rocky-themed plot to a disability tragedy. When Maggie loses a leg to bedsores, she gives up her wish to live and begs to be euthanized by Frankie. And with a little soul searching, he agrees.

Many people with disabilities, including the National Spinal Cord Injury
Association, a national advocacy group with 13,000 members, see the
film as one that uncritically advocates euthanasia for quadriplegics.
There are no scenes in which anyone at the hospital tries to deal with Maggie's depression or offers her counseling or at the least an anti-depressant. And the feisty girl who would stop at nothing to fight in the ring, who after the accident musters the energy to tell her hillbilly family to bugger off, strangely changes character and becomes someone who gives up her ghost rather quickly -- even refusing Eastwood's offer of sending her to college (his one attempt to affect her despair).

Roger Ebert wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times that, "The characters in movies do not always do what we would do. That is their right. It is our right to disagree with them." He added, "What kind of movies would there be if everyone in them had to do what we thought they should do?" Ebert's right that freedom of expression and creative license are valuable things and every right-minded person should fight to preserve this right. But he's wrong if he thinks that films don't have a powerful influence on how we think about ourselves and the world.

Not an impartial artist
In this story, it is important to know that Eastwood isn't just any impartial artist in the area of disability. In fact, he has actively testified before the House Judiciary Committee against the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Eastwood is the owner of the Mission Ranch Inn in Carmel, Calif. A patron with disabilities had sued under the ADA claiming that the hotel restrooms were inaccessible and the only accessible guest room was more than double the price of other rooms in the hotel.
Eastwood was cited for some of these violations, although the major claims in the case were dismissed.

Angered by the ruling, Eastwood went to Congress to lobby for a bill that would have substantially weakened the ADA by requiring a 90-day notification of violations. At that time, Eastwood said that the ADA amounted to "a form of extortion."Although Eastwood didn't write the script, he did select it, act in it, direct and co-produce it. Is it surprising that "Million Dollar Baby" isn't particularly sympathetic to the views of people with disabilities? If a film were obviously anti-gay, or anti-women or anti-abortion -- would all the film critics rally around it and tell us what a great film it was?

So why do so many critics like this film? Could it be because they actually have very little knowledge or contact with people with disabilities, deaf people, blind people, quadriplegics -- except through the media? Many people, critics included, know very little about them or their issues. While it is rare to find a college student who isn't well versed in race, class, gender and sexuality -- few if any know about their fellow Americans with disabilities.Ironically, one of the ways that many people do actually know about this group is through movies. Think of all the films that have been made about people with disabilities: "The Miracle Worker," "Johnny Belinda," "My Left Foot," "Children of a Lesser God," "Rain Man," "Elephant Man," "A Beautiful Mind" and many more.

And this year's crop are close to garnering awards -- "Ray," "Aviator,"
"The Sea Inside" and "Million Dollar Baby." Come to think of it, if you want to be nominated for an award, you might just want to do a disability movie.

These films generally show us people with disabilities triumphing over their "handicap" or living the tragedy of the disease. Great themes for an uplifting feel-good film or a tearjerker. These films, for the most part, are made by abled people who are using the issue of disability to rally the forces of hope and pity. People with disabilities in film tend to be lionized or thrown to the lions. But they almost never are made or written by people with disabilities -- so the actual life experience of people who have walked the walk, tapped the cane, or wheeled the chair, isn't really reflected in many of these works.

F.X. Toole, who wrote the story on which "Million Dollar Baby" was based, had a heart condition throughout his life, his son said, and "had strong feelings about not wanting to live in a reduced state."

So-called normal people are fascinated and haunted by the person with a
disability, probably because, unlike any other identity, one can go from being a normal to a quadriplegic in a matter of seconds. Most white people aren't going to become black in their lifetimes, and most men (with a few exceptions) aren't going to become women in the near future -- but the shaky and uncertain position of being normal can easily convert by a simple medical report into a state of being disabled overnight. That's why most film viewers are so quick to either idolize or pity the disabled person (almost always played by a normal actor), and are so quick to acknowledge euthanasia as a quick fix to the as-yet unfixable condition of quadriplegia.

Inaccuracies portrayed
One of the areas of distress to people with disabilities is that "Million Dollar Baby" is so inaccurate and unnuanced about life with quadriplegia.
Eastwood wasn't interested in reality, like other normal filmmakers who make movies about the disabled, they are dealing in the grand myths and legends that surround the idea of disability rather than the reality of living with a disability.

It is true that "Million Dollar Baby" is only a film, but when it comes time for many people to make health decisions about themselves or a loved one's future, what experience or knowledge will they fall back on? Few people have personal experience with severe disabilities, and few will take the time to find out about what life is like living with deafness, blindness or disability. No, most people will fall back on what they know -- which is what they have garnered from novels, plays, films and television shows. So, it's only when such art forms begin to reflect the real lives of people with disabilities, will most folks get a better understanding of the 15 to 20 percent of Americans who live and cope daily with disabilities."



I need to do some research but I think I actually went to school with Jason Michener at Arizona State. He was already disabled, and already a fighter.

FIRE's Torch

FIRE's Torch:

"America's colleges and universities are, in theory, indispensable institutions in the development of critical minds and the furthering of individual rights, honest inquiry, and the core values of liberty, legal equality, and dignity. Instead, they often are the enemies of those qualities and pursuits, denying students and faculty their voices, their fundamental rights, and even their individual humanity. The university setting is where students are most subject to the assignment of group identity, to indoctrination of radical political orthodoxies, to legal inequality, to intrusion into private conscience, and to assaults upon the moral reality of individual rights and responsibilities. Illiberal university policies and practices must be exposed to public criticism and scrutiny so that the public is made aware of the violations of basic rights that occur every day on college campuses."

Check out this blog devoted to exposing the death of free speech on campus.

Only Offensive?

Nelson Archer via Instapundit.com -:
"Those whom the fall of the Berlin Wall had left orphans of a cause, spent the next decade plotting the containment of the US. It was a complex operation that involved the (in many cases state-sponsored) mushrooming of NGOs, Kyoto, the creation of the ICC, the salami tactics applied against America’s main strategic ally in the Middle-East, Israel, through the Trojan Horse of the Oslo agreements, the subversion of the sanctions against Iraq etc. I’m not as conspiratorially-minded as to think that all these efforts were in any way centralized or that they had some kind of master-plan behind them. It was above all the case of the spirit of the times converging, through many independent manifestations, towards a single goal. Nonetheless we can be sure that, after those manifestations reached a critical mass, there has been no lack of efforts to coordinate them.

And so, spontaneously up to a point, anti-Americanism became the alternative ideology that came to fill in the vacuum left by the failure of traditional, USSR-based communism and its Maoist or Trotskyite satellites. Before 1989, the global left had something to fight for: either the strengthening of the communist states or the correction of what they called their bureaucratic distortions. To fight for something is simultaneously to fight against whatever threatens it, and thus, the leftists were anti-Western and anti-Americans too, anti-capitalistic in short.

Now, whatever they wanted to defend or protect doesn’t exist anymore. They have only things to destroy, and all those things are personified in the US, in its very existence."


This may explain why Micheal Moore, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, et al. have much critique and little alternative.

Murder

Human remains found in house: "Kenneth Lee Allen, 29, and his sister, Kari A. Allen, 18, confessed to St. Charles County, Mo., investigators that they were involved in the deaths of their mother and two grandparents, authorities said."

I'm speechless.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Burt's Face

ThisisLondon: "Plastic surgeon Alex Karidis, who regularly treats celebrity clients at his central London practice, said: 'The problem with Burt is that his skin has suffered an awful lot of sun damage, which has made it look crepey and lined."

Either this is a misprint or there's a new adjective that is even worse than creepy: being compared to french food. Poor Burt Reynolds. It seems the beauty myth is not just for women any more.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Linked

Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means: This might just be one of the most interesting, thought provoking books I've ever read. And I'm only half way through it.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Instapundit.com - Ward Churchill/Leftists in the Academy round up.

Instapundit.com - has a round up of left wing hatred for America and Jews found on your local Univeristy faculty.

I bet with a little effort and digging a round up like this could be posted every week.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Pursue 'safe and tried path' to success

From xelns:
Pursue 'safe and tried path' to success
"If you haven't been to a college campus lately, here's a quick primer on the current freshman/1st year class:

• 26 percent frequently talk about politics.

• 48 percent had 'A' averages in high school.

• 33 percent say the death penalty should be abolished.

• 23 percent say racial discrimination is no longer a problem in America (though at historically black colleges, that figure drops to 14 percent).

• 51 percent spent less than an hour per week reading for pleasure in their senior year of high school.

Each fall since 1965, first-year students at more than 400 four-year colleges and universities sit down to a massive survey developed by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. It asks about everything from their intended majors to their political and spiritual values.

The participants probably don't realize that they are throwing their mite into a treasure trove. For college administrators, the survey results can be a road map for future course offerings, financial aid, and counseling services. For social scientists, it's a chance to explore a nearly 40-year arc of shifting values.

From her vantage point as dean of first-year students at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Voncile White says that students in recent years have become much more worried about choosing the "right major" and boosting their résumés with community service.

"I find them a lot more reluctant to explore something they haven't done before - they'd rather take a safe and tried path," Ms. White says. "We're engaged in a struggle to try to get them to become educated individuals rather than just people who know a lot of stuff."

Her observations follow some of the trend lines in "The American Freshman/1st year students" the annual report by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). Results were released Monday from the fall of 2004, the 39th year of the survey. The nearly 290,000 responses were statistically adjusted to reflect the nation's 1.3 million full-time freshmen.

For the past 25 years, there's been an increase in the percentage of students who place a high value on "being very well off financially," and a parallel decline in the importance of "developing a meaningful philosophy of life".

When the survey started in the 1960s, focus groups insisted that the "philosophy of life" choice be added to the list of important goals students could check off. "That was the most popular value," says Alexander Astin, founding director of HERI, who has been involved with the project from its inception. "Most of the decline occurred during the '80s - the Reagan era, the 'Me' era."

Other changes help explain students' concerns about their financial futures. With rising college costs, for instance, the portion of students who plan to work full time while in school has more than doubled since 1980, to 6.3 percent.

There was a slight uptick in favor of developing a meaningful philosophy of life, but researchers won't call it a reversal of the trend unless it continues for another year or two.

The overall pull of materialism in society is prompting many colleges to do more "to encourage exploration of the inner life," Mr. Astin says.

Some campuses are reviving Western Civilization and Great Books courses, which send the message "Know thyself," he says. The trend of service-learning also requires self-reflection. And many colleges now have "Freshmen 101" programs. "The best are an attempt to get the students to look at what the college is offering and to make sense out of it in terms of their own values and aspirations and hopes," Astin says.

A spinoff project on spirituality in higher education is also in the works at HERI, tracking students all the way through college to explore the interaction of academics, religion, spirituality, and other aspects of college life. A pilot study found that by junior year, church attendance drops off significantly, but more students place importance on integrating spirituality into their lives (58 percent of juniors, compared with 51 percent of freshmen).

When it comes to political engagement, first-year students don't come close to their 1960s counterparts, but one-third still say it's very important to keep up with political affairs.

Nearly half consider themselves "middle of the road" politically, but the numbers are growing on the far right (2.2 percent) and far left (3.4 percent). Those extremes saw the biggest single-year increase in the 35 years the question has been on the survey, perhaps because of the polarized presidential election season of 2004, says Linda Sax, a UCLA professor of education and director of the survey.

Some of the most noticeable changes over the life of the survey have been prompted by the women's movement, Astin says. Women and men are much more similar now than in the 1960s and '70s, in everything from their career interests to their values. One notable difference this year, however: More women (36 percent) than men (16 percent) say they frequently feel overwhelmed by all they have to do."

xelns: Pursue 'safe and tried path' to success

xelns: Pursue 'safe and tried path' to success

Pursue 'safe and tried path' to success
If you haven't been to a college campus lately, here's a quick primer on the current freshman/1st year class:

• 26 percent frequently talk about politics.

• 48 percent had 'A' averages in high school.

• 33 percent say the death penalty should be abolished.

• 23 percent say racial discrimination is no longer a problem in America (though at historically black colleges, that figure drops to 14 percent).

• 51 percent spent less than an hour per week reading for pleasure in their senior year of high school.

Each fall since 1965, first-year students at more than 400 four-year colleges and universities sit down to a massive survey developed by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. It asks about everything from their intended majors to their political and spiritual values.

The participants probably don't realize that they are throwing their mite into a treasure trove. For college administrators, the survey results can be a road map for future course offerings, financial aid, and counseling services. For social scientists, it's a chance to explore a nearly 40-year arc of shifting values.

From her vantage point as dean of first-year students at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Voncile White says that students in recent years have become much more worried about choosing the "right major" and boosting their résumés with community service.

"I find them a lot more reluctant to explore something they haven't done before - they'd rather take a safe and tried path," Ms. White says. "We're engaged in a struggle to try to get them to become educated individuals rather than just people who know a lot of stuff."

Her observations follow some of the trend lines in "The American Freshman/1st year students" the annual report by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). Results were released Monday from the fall of 2004, the 39th year of the survey. The nearly 290,000 responses were statistically adjusted to reflect the nation's 1.3 million full-time freshmen.

For the past 25 years, there's been an increase in the percentage of students who place a high value on "being very well off financially," and a parallel decline in the importance of "developing a meaningful philosophy of life".

When the survey started in the 1960s, focus groups insisted that the "philosophy of life" choice be added to the list of important goals students could check off. "That was the most popular value," says Alexander Astin, founding director of HERI, who has been involved with the project from its inception. "Most of the decline occurred during the '80s - the Reagan era, the 'Me' era."

Other changes help explain students' concerns about their financial futures. With rising college costs, for instance, the portion of students who plan to work full time while in school has more than doubled since 1980, to 6.3 percent.

There was a slight uptick in favor of developing a meaningful philosophy of life, but researchers won't call it a reversal of the trend unless it continues for another year or two.

The overall pull of materialism in society is prompting many colleges to do more "to encourage exploration of the inner life," Mr. Astin says.

Some campuses are reviving Western Civilization and Great Books courses, which send the message "Know thyself," he says. The trend of service-learning also requires self-reflection. And many colleges now have "Freshmen 101" programs. "The best are an attempt to get the students to look at what the college is offering and to make sense out of it in terms of their own values and aspirations and hopes," Astin says.

A spinoff project on spirituality in higher education is also in the works at HERI, tracking students all the way through college to explore the interaction of academics, religion, spirituality, and other aspects of college life. A pilot study found that by junior year, church attendance drops off significantly, but more students place importance on integrating spirituality into their lives (58 percent of juniors, compared with 51 percent of freshmen).

When it comes to political engagement, first-year students don't come close to their 1960s counterparts, but one-third still say it's very important to keep up with political affairs.

Nearly half consider themselves "middle of the road" politically, but the numbers are growing on the far right (2.2 percent) and far left (3.4 percent). Those extremes saw the biggest single-year increase in the 35 years the question has been on the survey, perhaps because of the polarized presidential election season of 2004, says Linda Sax, a UCLA professor of education and director of the survey.

Some of the most noticeable changes over the life of the survey have been prompted by the women's movement, Astin says. Women and men are much more similar now than in the 1960s and '70s, in everything from their career interests to their values. One notable difference this year, however: More women (36 percent) than men (16 percent) say they frequently feel overwhelmed by all they have to do.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

normblog: Sunday, Sunday

normblog: Sunday, Sunday: "Indeed. But there is joy and there is illusion, and the two don't have to be shackled together. Liberals, democrats, people on the left, who could not yesterday, and cannot today, find it in themselves to rejoice about what Iraqis, in their millions and after all they've been through, bravely did... how miserable, what unfortunates. Just think how many of these same people would have been overjoyed had, say, George Bush lost last November to John Kerry. Would they have foregone immediate expressions of that joy for cautious, hard-headed analysis of the upcoming Kerry presidency? Would they hell. They would have been whooping it up from New York to San Francisco, from Auckland and Sydney to Berlin. The analysis, in that event, would have waited until tomorrow or the day after, or else been allowed to stand side by side with fulsome sentiments of celebration. But for the people of Iraq, different rules.

No, the truth, the thing that so many cannot digest or stomach, is that the road to what happened yesterday was opened by a Republican US president whom they despise and a New Labour prime minister whom they hold in only slightly higher regard than that, while they themselves were marching and otherwise disporting themselves in a way that would have closed off that road for who knows how long. Well, if you could not take pleasure from what happened in Iraq yesterday, I extend my commiserations. For Iraqis and a lot of other people who felt able to share in their celebration it was a very good day."

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