That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

Archive for August 2009

Academic Bias Latest Blow to White Male Students

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bandshirtI read an article in the Independent Collegian today about a group of students at the University of Toledo who have gotten sick and tired of putting up with liberal professors picking on them and correcting their mistakes.   I had many experiences during college with liberal professors who marked me down for my political biases, particularly in math classes.  White males are already in a very difficult position in most universities in this country.   This sort of bias only makes life harder.

Even in English literature classes, professorial bias reared its ugly head.  One time, I had gone down to Atlanta to visit a girl over Spring Break.   By a weird coincidence, my sister had taken the same class with the same professor 5 years earlier.   She had been kind enough to give me her old papers and while the professor changed the assignments, this one remained the same.   My sister had received a 95 on her paper on Paradise Lost.  I retyped it and made only the changes that the professor had indicated in grading my sister’s paper.   My sister with her overabundance of college partying had turned in her paper “late as usual” according to the cover page.   I turned mine in on time.  The result?  She got a 95 and I got an 83.

That sort of bias and more exists on today’s campuses.   Try explaining to a geology professor that you know the planet is 6,000 years old because the Bible tells you so and don’t even get me into history or political science classes.   I once had a South American History professor try to tell me that the United States was responsible for many of South America’s problems.

We need colleges to show respect for all points of view.  Many of the supposed facts they teach have a liberal bias.  They even use Arabic numerals.  To me, that’s extremely unamerican.  We need the colleges to show the same kind of sensitivity that the town of Sedalia, Missouri had when the School Board banned the Smith-Cotton High School from wearing shirts which seemed to promote the idea of evolution and just as disturbingly the idea that apes could play brass instruments.   “I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” said band parent and district teacher Sherry Melby,  “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

With the school year just starting, it’s time we stop the political correctness and start being supportive of students with all political viewpoints or at the very least those that are right of center.  There is room in this country for moderates, neo cons, traditional conservatives, and libertarians.


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August 31, 2009 at 8:22 pm

In Praise of Texas Secession

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Eric Clapton’s song Layla is a very key piece of rock and roll history.   Clapton had written that song to George Harrison’s wife Patty.   In fact, Eric Clapton was eventually successful in getting her to leave the Beatle guitarist for him.  It was a tribute to the two guitarists’ friendship, the  free love of the 1960s, or heavy drug use that the 2 men remained very good friends.   I would have hated to be in Eric Clapton’s position.   When you convince somebody to leave their happily married life you now have a ton of responsibility you wouldn’t normally have in a relationship.   When you tell somebody that you have a once in a life time love and that even the bonds of matrimony shouldn’t hold you apart, it makes it tough to leave her alone the following Saturday to go drinking with your buddies.

There was a big rally in Austin of nearly 200 Texas secessionists yesterday.   These secessionists are sometimes called tenthers because they  believe that everything from Social Security to Medicare to the federal highway system violates the Tenth Amendment. According to the petition, Texas officials must either “immediately move for the restoration of the complete and unadulterated Sovereignty of Texas, explicitly adhering to the 10th Amendment wording of the U.S. Constitution,” or “move immediately for complete Secession from the United States of America.”

I hate to see Texas go, but like all conservatives I am very concerned with following the original intent of our founding fathers regardless of how contradictory it can be at times.   This brings us back to that Eric Claption, George, and Patty Harrison love triangle.

When Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, he had actually sent Robert Livingston and James Monroe to buy New Orleans and West Florida from Napoleon for up to $10 million.   At first, the French weren’t interested, but after losing Haiti and needing money to pay for costly European wars, the French agreed to sell the entirety of the Louisiana Purchase to the Americans for $15 million.  The problem is, this is not what Thomas Jefferson had wanted.   In fact, he was pretty sure he couldn’t do it constitutionally because the Constitution said nothing about a President having the power to buy new land.   In the end, he tried to make the deal as a treaty to get around the Constitution.

When Texas first joined the Union, we made the kind of promises to Texas that Eric Clapton had made to Patty Harrison.   We told Texas that they should be with us and we wouldn’t free their slaves or make them convert to Catholicism like the Mexicans would.   Now at first the United States refused to allow Texas into the Union, but Texas was crafty.  Sam Houston threatened to ally itself with England and the US didn’t think they had a choice.  In many ways, this is analogous to a woman pretending to be pregnant to get you to marry her.   Frankly, our whole relationship with Texas has been based on that kind of deception.   It is clearly time to let Texas go and in fact the really infuriating thing is you know Texas is the type of state that will eventually start calling us and bothering us to take it back when as a country we are ready to move on with our own lives.

Like Eric Claption, we made promises to Texas, but at the time we didn’t reallize we were being played.   Texas has always been a playa and Texas will continue to be one.  The moral of the story is that when you see how a state or territory treats the country its with, it is a very good indication of how it will treat you.   We can still buy our oil from Texas and as they’re trying to replace science with the Bible I am pretty sure there are a lot of things they’ll need to buy from us.   In fact, for every 88 cents that Texas sends to the United States government, it gets $1 worth of services back.  In the end we will be money ahead by letting them go.  Maybe they’ll go back to Mexico.  This was never going to be a long term relationship and unfortunately, it’s gone on way too long.

Written by thatsrightnate

August 30, 2009 at 7:35 pm

My Quest for Music without Soul or African Influence

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I have been searching for some time for a way to get in touch with my roots as a white person by finding a musical form that is purely white and not influenced by African music and especially soul. Now, this is not racist.   In fact, African-American influence has done so much for music that it’s very difficult to find a musical art form that remains exclusively white and not influenced by other African culture.  Now, it isn’t true that white people do not have soul.  Somebody like say, Van Morrison has a lot of soul.  Here is Jon Cleary, a piano player giving an example of a white guy with soul:

He’s not making fun of black musicians or trying to sound black.  He simply is somebody with a lot of soul.  Unfortunately, the African-American influence is very clear in his piano playing and his singing.   My quest to find a whiter more Caucasian musical style brought me far away from the Creole influence of Jon Cleary’s New Orleans to America’s heartland.    It is here that Celebration Iowa takes incredibly talented high school students and shows them how to sing and perform while removing all remnants of distracting soul from their music.   I believe I have found my cultural heritage with Celebration Iowa 2007’s performance of We Built this City:

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August 29, 2009 at 2:45 pm

The Educational Miracle That Saved UNO

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An ungrateful community resident complains about UNO

I hate to write about local stories because I know that I am shrinking my audience.   Why would anybody care about what’s going on in Chicago if they lived in New Jersey.   I’m happy to say that with Arne Duncan as our Secretary of Education, this Chicago miracle may well be exported to a school district near you.   I’ve talked about charter schools before and raved about them.  They’re a great way to crush the teacher unions and at the same time use the free market to make some good money educating children.

The UNO Charter School Network has been around Chicago since the early 90s and  now has 9 schools in the Chicago area named after important Hispanic figures like Bartolome de las Casas who was an important figuring in bringing African slaves to the Americas.  The United Neighborhood Organization began as a grassroots movement on the Southside of Chicago, but has since moved way beyond that.   Their charter schools are now nationwide and they are very close allies with Chicago’s Mayor Daley.   In fact, they had a back to school celebration this week that doubled as a rally for Mayor Daley’s pet project bringing the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.   They just took $100,000,000 in stimulus money to build new charter schools, but now let’s get to the educational miracle.

Up until June, De la Cruz middle school was a top performer.  It had won the Spotlight Award from the state board of education for 2008 and despite being in a neighborhood with a lot of students still learning English and a serious gang problem, De la Cruz had managed to be a rare educational success story in the city of Chicago.   Unfortunately, when the city cut bus service to the school attendance dropped and while small classes are a selling point for charter schools, in public schools it is called “under utilization.” At an emotional meeting last year in front of Arne Duncan it was announced that the school would be closed and the building demolished.

At that point, most urban school districts would have given up the building for dead as it closed out the year, but Chicago is the city of broad shoulders.  A new phone system was put in, a perpetually leaking basement was plugged, installing new windows, and  repair and renovation was taking place all the way up until the last day of school.  Yesterday, at the Chicago Board of Education meeting all that repair paid off.  It seems that UNO needed a building for its Octavio Paz school and now with all the repairs the former De La Cruz building is now inhabitable.   The city was able to lease that building to UNO for $1.  Now everybody’s happy, right?

Unfortunately, we still have the ungrateful parents of the neighborhood aren’t thrilled to have a UNO moving into the building.   They can’t understand why their school was too small, but UNO would be able to cap their enrollment at 480 students for the year.   UNO continues to build an amazing power base.  Big-time national players have taken notice. Former President Bill Clinton once courted UNO. The group has promoted the interests of North America’s largest waste hauler, Waste Management Inc., utility giant ComEd and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.  However, it was yesterday’s educational miracle that makes me think they have friends in even higher places.  They are truly blessed.

Kennedy and Katrina

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ted_carolineThe news is naturally wall to wall Kennedy coverage today.   The conservative blogosphere has a very different take on things.  Sarah Palin’s Facebook page has comments like “good riddens”, “Ted Kennedy dying has made my day….”, and “this country is now much better off, one less socialist, anti freedom senator.” When Robert Nowack died recently, I read some fairly harsh comments from the left as well.

I always find it interesting when a political party claims to be true to the intents of the founding fathers.   This is to assume that our founding fathers spoke in unanimity.  One of the ugliest political feuds ever was between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.  The personal attacks that these men and their followers attacked with would have made Karl Rove blush.   Eventually, a very odd thing happened.  They didn’t begin to think the same way, but they began to get through the acrimony and became friends.  Their letters are a national treasure that show us very different perspectives on our government.   They both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  On his death bed, John Adams spoke the ironic words, “Jefferson still lives.”

In recent years, Lyndon Johnson would not have been able to pass the Civil Rights bill without the help of Republicans like Everett Dirksen.  Ronald Reagan was good friends with Tip O’Neill who was a leading opponent of his administration.   This brings us back to Kennedy who managed to have friendships with some of the most conservative members of congress like Orin Hatch.  If we are serious about accomplishing anything as a country we need to bring civility back to politics.  There is a way to criticize a person’s policies and to not abandon your own principles without making personal or hateful attacks against the people who oppose you.  I think Kennedy got this.

Senator Kennedy will be buried on this coming Saturday.   I am a bit worried that this will take all the air out of the room so to speak in regards to other news stories.   This is a shame because August 29th is also the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina breaking through the levee and putting 80% of New Orleans under water.   Now, I am sure that the cut in funding to the levees and the policy of turning over wetlands to developers had nothing to do with the hurricane and Michael Brown did a heckuva job in coordinating the recovery efforts in New Orleans, but somehow George W. Bush still gets blamed.  The city is coming back, but there’s still a lot of work to do in New Orleans and we need to do it to protect President Bush’s legacy.

On my time on Twitter, I’ve met some amazing people, but one that stands out is Karen Dalton Beninato.  She’s married to bass player Jeff Beninato from the  band nomrflogothe Dbs and she’s a great writer in her own regard.   After getting displaced from New Orleans Jeff and Karen founded the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund.   The fund exists to help those still struggling to repair their lives after Katrina and there are many many people.   I’m a bit worried that their Jackson Squared efforts to raise awareness and support for those still in need will be drowned out by the Kennedy funeral and Michael Jackson’s birthday.   If you’re a music fan they’ve got some great downloads and they have a variety of posters, apparel, and other merchandise to bring you joy while helping those in need.

Now, I know what you’re thinking–“Nate this doesn’t sound like you at all. What do you care about New Orleans?”  You got me.   Yesterday, Neal Boortz mocked Obama for his pledge to rebuild New Orleans.   Boortz said, “Obama wants to rebuild New Orleans?  Build it and they will come.  They? The debris that Katrina washed out.”  He then went on to suggest that those who left New Orleans should work in prostitution.

Now all of this sounded good to me and then it occurred to me.   If they are washed out of New Orleans, where will these people go?  They’ll go to Main Street, USA.   This is where Boortz is wrong.   We need to get those people moved back to Louisiana as quick as we can before New Orleans spreads.  Imagine what it’ll be like to be stuck in traffic because a band starts processing down the street playing jazz music.   I’m just terrified at the thought of having my doughnuts replaced by beignets or seeing KFC replaced by something approaching Willie Mae’s Scotch House.   Let’s repatriate these people before the Survivor cover band that plays at our local bar on Tuesday is replaced by Jon Cleary or Dr. John or worse yet that TGI Fridays you drink at becomes a Snake and Jake’s.   The quicker we get this debris back to New Orleans the easier it is for us to stay protected from a creeping creole epidemic.

Torture Report Proves Dick Cheney was Right

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Let’s face it, the war on terror has been Hell.   We’ve had to get pretty rough in our interrogations and as a result we’ve broken international laws and we’ve done some of the very same things that we have tried others for after wars in the past.   When the Japanese water boarded our brave soldiers in World War II we were outraged.  It’s now difficult to claim the moral high ground when we condemn torture inflicted by other countries.  For those of you who have never done it before, I can tell you the moral high ground is extremely overrated.  Yeah,  we tortured some terrorists and yes some of the people at Gitmo weren’t even terrorists just anti-US or available for an Afghan warlord who wanted to collect a bounty.

Still, one must remember what the world was like in the days, weeks, and well years after the attacks on the World Trade Center that we had know way to know was a terrorist target.   Dick Cheney told us back in April that there were 2 memos that the Obama administration was covering up that would show that the Bush torture doctrine may have cost us our international reputation and created a new generation of terrorists, but it saved lives.

It is very clear from the reports that Dick Cheney was right.   While much of the useful information was gained from conventional methods, from torture we learned some very important pieces of information:

  1. al-qaeda is made up of Muslims who wish to strike at the United States.
  2. What traits al-qaeda was looking for in Western operatives.
  3. That KSM had been in jail in the United States for not paying his bills before 9/11, which was part of the reason he so hated the US.
  4. That many detainees dislike water boarding.

To me, a little moral high ground and national reputation is a very small price to pay for quality information like the above that could potentially disrupt an attack on American interests, possibly on American soil.    I know, we were able to defeat the Soviets and the Nazis without resorting to this kind of tactic, but al-qaeda are fanatics.  Times have changed.   Unfortunately, the CIA remains technologically backwards.  They continue to use dark highlighters that appear solid black when run through their cheap copy machines.  This makes it very difficult to tell what they’re talking about sometimes.  In the end though, it remains clear we would not have won the war on terror without people like Dick Cheney who were willing to take risks.

Written by thatsrightnate

August 25, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Charter Schools Will Fix Education if We Let Them

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As today is the the first day of school for many children in this country, I thought I’d address the charter school movement.  It is an area that I feel very strongly about and one that I hope we can all agree upon.   The support that these schools get from both the left and the right makes me believe that like the landmark No Child Left Behind legislation, this is something we can all get behind.  Education in this country is in a very sorry state.  If we are going to be able to compete with the top education countries in the world like Finland despite having higher childhood poverty than any industrialized country, but Mexico and an extremely high child mortality rate, we need to get our lazy teachers to do something. Charter Schools get public money, but are freed from the strict controls placed on public schools.  In this way they are like the brave folks of Blackwater or as they are now called Xe.

Charter Schools began for four noble reasons:

  1. To replace the ineffective public education system with a profit-based system.
  2. To give wealthy, involved, and politically connected parents a chance to separate their children from the less desirable children in their community.
  3. To create an island of educational utopia because fixing the public schools would be way too much work.
  4. To crush teacher’s unions.

Charter Schools have not been very successful in raising student achievement on standardized tests, but aren’t schools supposed to be about more than test scores?  KIPP for instance has managed to open 82 schools in 19 states in a relatively short amount of time.   The profit motive is a great incentive  to keep expanding.   The public schools don’t have this kind of incentive.

Teachers unions are crippling education.   Let’s face it.   Where else can you make 30K a year or more for watching a couple dozen adolescents for 6 or 7 hours, still get a 20 minute lunch, and take your work home with you instead of staying in a depressing cubicle until you’re finished.   Worst of all, like cops and firemen teachers have ridiculous due process rights that require a school district to prove that they’re incompetent in order to fire them.   In a charter school, they can fire you that day if your shoes and belt don’t match.  That’s the way corporate America is and that’s the way our schools should be.  Public schools also require teachers that work for them to be licensed and certified.   Charter schools are freed from this bureaucratic monopoly of the education process.

Chicago is currently in the middle of an educational renaissance.   In fact, the program Chicago has established is called Renaissance 2010.  I hope that former Chicago Superintendent Arne Duncan will bring this program national.   Every year, the city opens up 10-20 new charter schools and closes some public schools.  Conceivably, this educational miracle will be completed by next year and I can’t wait.   The Heritage Foundation and some other conservative think tanks have no trouble being for charter schools and being against a public option for health care because they don’t want to see public and private insurance competing.   On the other hand, I think the two issues are one and the same.   Public schools don’t work for the same reason public health care wouldn’t work.   More charters mean more profits and more profits mean more learning.

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August 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm