Sunday, October 31, 2004

The real truth . . .

"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
~ United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis [1856-1941] ~

via the Iowa Council for the Social Studies online newsletter

uh oh!

You Aren't Scary, You're Scared


Probably even scared to see how this quiz came out!

How scary are you?

Saturday, October 30, 2004

October's Almost Over

Thought I'd better post before the month was totally gone!

I'm out at the farm on my new wireless network with my house tied into a wireless network being beamed from on top a large white grain elevator about one and a half miles away. This new system beams through the trees - which is why I hadn't joined it sooner. I initially tried to rely on Starband out here but it was off more than it was on and eventually - even after I'd become a "certified Starband installer - and the back-up dial-up just drove me nuts. Before I knew it, I would spending hours waiting for pages to download - so it was easier just to stay in town on the cable modem.

When we finally worked our calendars together, I couldn't stay out here to play with the new system. I'm also on the new Powerbook I bought when I was visiting my friend Cathy in Minnesota. I haven't been able to play with it much because I can't find out where I wrote down the password for my cable network - and don't want to screw up the whole system by resetting it and not having the other ones work on it. But, out here I could make it work. Since I am in the middle of 160 acres, I'm not too concerned about anyone warchalking my network out here. We did have to name it, however, so the Tablet PC could find it.

If I get into blogging enough to eventually try to figure out Movable Type, my ISP will try to help me. He's also looking into Voice Over IP with

I'm trying to finish up a Houghton Mifflin project - as with any big project, there are numerous intermediate deadlines. Since I am at the end of the foodchain, however, I am expected to make up the difference. This time, however, my stress level just wouldn't take it. I keep doing what needs to be done first and give teaching my classes priority - so at least I am ready to go with them (after spending the last two years being overwhelmed with NCATE - go to for more info.) The product of my NCATE work is available at and then scroll down to Assessment.

I've learned so many new teaching techniques and assessment techniques and have had to do so much "documenting data" that I haven't had much time to try out what I've learned.

I spent yesterday at the Kansas City branch of the National Archives and we're good to go for our Nov. 10 workshop up there with our Project eHIKES teachers. I even squeezed in Gates BBQ and made my first trip to the Whole Foods Store - will have to go there more often. The couple who runs the Mall Deli said it was one of the places to go to find both fresh and gourmet food.

I'm going to go back to watching "Something's Gotta Give" and get some dinner before it gets too late. I'm glad our several days of 80 degree weather are over - it's back to cooling off at night. Also have to remember to rotate back off daylight savings time. I must have been gearing up for it since I've been sleeping a bit later.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Debate Parody

This is great. My favorite is "Bye Bye Kerry" - of course!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Maple Leaf Festival

Yesterday was Carthage's annual Maple Leaf Festival. The weather was perfect - crisp (I almost needed another jacket besides the sweatshirt jacket I had on) and the sun was out and the leaves were at least starting to turn. Saw lots of old friends . . . and former students of all ages (from the junior high and high school and college). I was talking to a high school friend and a former college student walked by (he's a teacher there now) and my high school friend said "surely he wasn't one of your students . . . ?" and I replied, "yes, in fact, he was . . . and in college and not one of the first years I taught . . . " :-)

Also re-connected with one of my former teachers who is a Macophile - she will be especially helpful as I explore my new PowerBook . . . . We're so much alike - she was just born a few decades before me or she'd have been a college philosophy professor.

This week I get to go to Philadelphia to meet the directors of the other National Archives branches as well as the national education director. It should be informative and fun.

Tomorrow I'll be teaching about Ronald Reagan and the 1980s - the decade in which most of my students were born. The teaching class will be watching A Class Divided. - you can watch it here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Election 2004

This appears to be a balanced report on the election - with a great deal of information on the web site, too. I think I am ready for it to be over. The rhetoric is getting really off-the-wall besides being downright mean.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Free Speech at UNC

From Cliopatria:

Free Speech at UNC

Last week, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued an important ruling touching on many of the ideological divisions affecting the academy. The matter involved a case at the University of North Carolina, in which an English professor named Elyse Crystall ended a class by asking whether heterosexual men felt “threatened” by homosexual men. One student (an evangelical Christian) responded that he would not want to take his son to a baseball game where two men were kissing, and that a Christian friend of his was propositioned by a gay man and found the experience “disgusting,” but that “threatened” would be too strong a word for the feeling.

The next day, Prof. Crystall sent an E-mail to the entire class saying that “what we heard thursday at the end of class constitutes ‘hate speech’ and is completely unacceptable.” She apologized “to those of us who are now feeling that the classroom we share is an unsafe environment,” and promised to do her “best to counter those feelings and protect that space from further violence.” The student’s remarks, she continued, constituted “a perfect example of privilege. that a white, heterosexual, christian male . . . can feel entitled to make violent, heterosexist comments and not feel marked or threatened or vulnerable is what privilege makes possible.”

Upon learning of the E-mail, Crystall’s department chairman met with her and the student, stated that the E-mail was inappropriate, and monitored the remainder of the class to ensure that the student suffered no formal or informal retaliation.

This is a great example of some of my professorial colleagues going way over the top - they have in fact created a hostile environment for those with less politically correct belief. She opened the door for free exchange and had an excellent opportunity to explore controversial issues and then slammed it right shut. Aren't we supposed to teach diversity of thought and, when we explore that same diversity of thought with students, we help them better understand and truly tolerate the points of views of others?

This greatly troubles me even as a professor in a small regional state university. I couldn't believe when I heard a colleague in a related department assert that it wsa his job to disabuse his students of any of their beliefs in any realm of the Christian faith or religious belief in general because none of them could truly learn to think if they were religious. What?????? While I know the studies show that the more intelligent you are, the less likely you are to practice formal religion, it does not make the two concepts mutually exclusive . . . . .what limited thinking - just the opposite of what we are supposed to be encouraging in our students. I love certain parts of the "life of the mind" but not the view that "since I am smarter (and have letters behind my name to prove it), I know better than the citizens of the state that pay my salary, my health benefits, and my retirement." "Academic freedom" is now being used as an unnecessary crutch and hurting our students.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]