Saturday, July 07, 2007

You're not special, you're a welftard-in-training! 

If 7/7/07 is so "lucky", why have I encountered noxious and dumb sentiments at every turn?

For example, a recent Jeffrey Zaslow column in the WSJ features quotes from LSU Finance Professor Don Chance, who had a revelation about why young adults feel so entitled.

The semester was ending, and as usual, students were making a pilgrimage to [Prof. Chance's] office, asking for the extra points needed to lift their grades to A's.

"They felt so entitled," [Chance] recalls, "and it just hit me. We can blame Mr. Rogers."

Fred Rogers, the late TV icon, told several generations of children that they were "special" just for being whoever they were. He meant well, and he was a sterling role model in many ways. But what often got lost in his self-esteem-building patter was the idea that being special comes from working hard and having high expectations for yourself.
Obviously, Mr. Rogers alone can't be blamed for this. But as Prof. Chance sees it, "he's representative of a culture of excessive doting."

Prof. Chance teaches many Asian-born students, and says they accept whatever grade they're given; they see B's and C's as an indication that they must work harder, and that their elders assessed them accurately. They didn't grow up with Mr. Rogers or anyone else telling them they were born special.

By contrast, American students often view lower grades as a reason to "hit you up for an A because they came to class and feel they worked hard," says Prof. Chance. He wishes more parents would offer kids this perspective: "The world owes you nothing. You have to work and compete. If you want to be special, you'll have to prove it."

So, an LSU prof slams Mr Rogers for representing the "culture of excessive doting". The Prof had his "revelation" about Mr. Rogers around the same time that a Mr. Rogers exhibit was becoming a permanent addition to the Louisiana Children's Museum in New Orleans. How neighborly of him. Here's a little recent history about the museum, and the new Fred Rogers exhibit (which is excellent):

The museum was closed for 10 months following the August 2005 hurricane. It suffered extensive roof and water damage, and its staff of 40 dropped to a low of four, said Julia Bland, the museum's executive director.

In June 2006, more than 5,000 visitors came out to celebrate the nearly 21-year-old museum's reopening. Tens of thousands of visitors have gone through the museum since.

Bland said New Orleans is a city of neighborhoods, which makes the Mister Rogers' exhibit a natural addition. The museum shows kids how to pilot a tugboat down the Mississippi, shop at a grocery store and learn about healthy habits.
The hands-on exhibit invites children -- and adults -- to step into Mister Rogers' world. The only thing behind glass is an original pair of sneakers worn by Fred Rogers on the show, which still airs today.
Visitors can enter the exhibit through a front porch and come into Mister Rogers' living room. They can play with a miniature trolley, try costumes on in King Friday's castle and play with puppets in X the Owl's big oak tree.

I hope the Mr. Rogers exhibit doesn't infect the tugboat and grocery store activity centers with its childish, entitlement mentality.

Oh good fortune! Maybe today is luckier than I thought. I was busy thinking about a response to Prof Chance, when I found an especially wonderful comment at the WSJ's online forum for the Jeffrey Zaslow article. (It got quite a few responses from irritated Gen Xers.) I'll reprint much of the comment, because it captures everything I wanted to say and then some-- putigergirl writes:

Having grown up with Mr. Rogers, I can definitively say that I was a teenager before I knew his name was Fred. He also referred to others on the show by Mr. or Mrs. whatever (example: Mr. McFeely, the postman). When he had questions, he went to experts and treated them with dignity. How is this not respecting elders?

Additionally, his opening song ended with "I'll be back when the day is new. You'll have things you'll want to talk about and I will too." So, he taught that we should share our own experiences and listen to those of others. In a 3-5 year old's eyes (the target group for Mr. Rogers, as far as I know), this is the best way of teaching the concept of a two-sided conversation.

In his teaching that "you" are special, he also taught that everyone is special. Remembering that Mr. Rogers started in television in 1968, this was an important message for him. In his youth, his parents adopted a black boy, so Mr. Rogers understood firsthand the need for understanding differences and understanding that everyone has something to bring to the table. Teaching that everyone is "special" was his way of doing this. It was not a method to boost the egos of his viewers.

As an educator of university students, I would ask this professor why he thinks that students are coming to him to boost their grades. Perhaps he actually does boost grades more often than not and has received such a reputation.
But please, don't blame Mr. Rogers for teaching children honesty, responsibility (remember feeding the fish every day), and curiosity. If I do say so myself, that is just in poor taste.

That shiftless ne'er-do-well Mr McFeeley will be present (in costume) at the Louisiana Children's museum. Witness this childish, entitled exchange (may need to turn volume up):


Update: FOX News takes up the cause!


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Friday, July 06, 2007

Nagin considers bid for Guv 

How does an embarrassing and incompetent Mayor appear more embarrassing and more incompetent? By running for Governor, of course!

The Dead Pelican directs us to this 99.5fm story, which must be read in full to be believed. Here are some snippets:

Mayor Ray Nagin said he is still focused on being Mayor but acknowledged he continues to consider a bid for Governor.

While he has denied reports that he has told key staffers that he has decided to enter the race, Nagin said "there's a wide open Governor's race and we'll take a little look at it."

"Wide open"? Remember the whiz kid you endorsed last time around, Ray? Well, he's running again, in case you hadn't heard. And he's the undisputed frontrunner.

"Just imagine if I ran for Governor and what the national press would do with that," Nagin said, but then added " the race is kind of boring right now."

Focus group research on a Nagin candidacy has been conducted in at least three cities and sources have told 99.5FM radio that an announcement of Nagin's entrance into the race may come within a week to 10 days.

YRHT is duty bound to remind readers that last year Chad Rogers, the publisher of the Dead Pelican, said he would have voted for Nagin. Then only a few months later Chad speculated that the open primary system may have prevented New Orleans from electing a "better Democrat" such as Mitch Landrieu!

The Louisiana Conservative's Mike Bayham also supported Nagin's re-election, after his first choice (Peggy Wilson) somehow didn't make the runoffs like Bayham had hoped.

Hall of Fame Nagin Enabler Rob Couhig* will doubtlessly chat up this latest political rumor about Nagin. It's wonderfully stupid, and therefore perfect for talk radio. And be sure to check out Couhig's recently updated blog at 99.5fm! (Note: the "update" is a handsome new picture of Couhig. The actual content of the blog hasn't been updated since Couhig crafted his March 28th post about Mitch Landrieu's inability to be a bold leader.)

Will Couhig, Rogers or Bayham endorse the incompetent laughingstock Nagin for Governor? Do they still like his philosophy? Do they still think he "understands business"? Do they hope he can do for Louisiana what he's done for New Orleans? Do they think he will be a great ambassador for the "Gret Stet"?

Or will they decide to endorse a competent candidate this time around?

Just thank goodness Mitch Landrieu isn't running. What a brutal dilemma our Bright Stars of the Conservative Blogosphere would face then! Imagine the wonderfully strategic "reasons" they'd have to invent, so that they could argue (once again) why Nagin is preferable to Mitch! Or perhaps they might finally admit they were horribly wrong about one of the most important elections in New Orleans' history. Yeah, fat chance.

Jeffrey has covered this Absurd Louisiana Political Scenario involving Nagin from the beginning. (Yes I realize that phrase is beyond redundant.)

* Unanimous selection, first ballot

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B. Obama speaks at Essence Fest 


"The role of the next president is to make sure that the rebuilding of New Orleans is at the top of the national priority list," Obama said Thursday afternoon before his appearance at the festival. "Part of the reason I think folks in Louisiana feel discouraged is that we have not heard this White House or this president even mention it. He didn't mention it in the State of the Union address, and he hasn't mentioned it since. When our president is not focused on the issue, it does not end up on the front page of the papers."
Not only did Hurricane Katrina generate goodwill, he said, but it also provoked a collective sense of shame in the images of poverty and helplessness splayed across the news when storm victims were stranded in rancid water with no food or supplies.
"The moment in which suddenly all of America looked and realized what we lost in this country was almost two years ago, right here in New Orleans, when people recognized we were no longer the America we hoped we would be, that we had lost any sense of fellow-feeling, any sense of mutual regard for each other... It was here in New Orleans that we realized we can't have a government that decides cronyism is more important than confidence, or rhetoric is more important than results. We were reminded of something America should not have to be reminded of: that the legacy of race and poverty in this country continues to shape our lives each and every day. That is what we understood here in New Orleans."

I'll be supporting Obama for President, and am optimistic about his chances to upset Hillary for the Democratic nomination.

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A volunteer associate pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church of Slidell was booked Tuesday on two counts of aggravated sex crimes involving juveniles and 47 counts of possession of child pornography, authorities said.

This wouldn't have happened if this man understood "our" heritage, and obeyed the biblical "laws" written in the Cyrillic alphabet at the Slidell Courthouse. Then he would've "known peace". (Explanation here.)


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LSU considers "rogue" gator for Prez 

The Times Picayune reports that John Lombardi, "the controversial chancellor" of UMASS and former president of the University of Florida, may be on LSU's short list of candidates to become university president.

Although LSU officials were tight-lipped about Lombardi's possible future at [LSU's] 11-campus system, officials at the University of Massachusetts said that Lombardi is in Louisiana and they expected him to be recommended Friday as [current LSU pres. William] Jenkins' successor.
Critics and supporters alike have called him brilliant, but also irreverent, abrasive and a rogue leader.

A decade ago, Florida newspapers reported that Lombardi, who is white, called the first African-American chancellor at Florida State University an "Oreo," generally considered a pejorative, racially charged term describing a black person who is acting like or overly accommodating to whites. Newspaper reports said Lombardi apologized and said he used "Oreo" to mean the chancellor was an African-American man who succeeded in a white world.

As a son of a Florida State alumn, and one who did graduate work at FSU, I can't say I'm enthralled by LSU's potential choice.

Now, granted, the students at UMASS have done some good things recently, and they seem to like Lombardi. So, I applaud them, and will respect their judgment about chancellor Lombardi , who didn't condemn their protest of Andrew Card.

Perhaps "rogue leaders" like Lombardi who use the "Oreo" epithet may simply be prone to misunderstandings. Right?

Update: Today, the LSU Search committee recommended Lombardi to be President of LSU.

Correction: The T-P erroneously stated that Lombardi called the chancellor of "Florida State University" an "Oreo". Actually, the comment was directed at Adam Herbert, the chancellor of Florida's State University System (which oversees Florida's 10 public universities). No wonder this "furor" didn't ring a bell.

Here's some background about the kerfuffle.


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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Blockhead geologist lectures "climate refugees" of New Orleans 

A misinformed Op-ed in the Hartford Courant sets Pistolette off. It's by a Professor of Geology at UCONN, who writes:

Why is Hurricane Katrina back in the news? Because journalists of color cast it as a racial issue on June 28, 2007, during the All-American Presidential Forum, attended by eight contenders for the Democratic nomination.

I agree that the tragedy has a racial dimension made worse by administrative bungling. I just wish that one of the Democratic contenders had been forthright, calling the Katrina tragedy a natural disaster, and recognizing that the displaced people are the most visible group of climate refugees since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.
The brutal geological reality is that people of every color left New Orleans as climate-related refugees. I believe that the real reason New Orleans remains unfixed - without police and fire protection and with vacant hospitals - is because objective visionaries and smart money sees such rebuilding as a risky, if not wasteful war against nature.

Pistolette wrote a blistering response which should be enjoyed in its entirety.

Much more at Ashley Morris: the blog and Varg's The Chicory.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Didn't intend to do any more posts until after the Fourth... 

But some things are just too damn important.

Nicolas Cage and his 16-year old son have produced a comic book called Voodoo Child!

Cage and his 16-year-old son, Weston, brainstormed an idea that would become Voodoo Child, a six-issue illustrated series that hits shelves July 11 and marks one of the first launched by an A-list actor.
Voodoo Child is different because it's "more spiritual than, say, a Superman or a Batman," Cage says. "That's always been more effective because there's more believability to it."

The stories will be rooted in some real-world scenarios. Set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Voodoo Child tells the story of Gabriel Moore, a child murdered in the antebellum South by secessionist soldiers.

Just before dying, the boy puts a voodoo curse on his soul, leaving him in a netherworld to cope with gang violence and abductions in the modern-day city.

Weston says he had tinkered with the idea since seeing hurricane damage in New Orleans, where he and his father lived part time for years.
New Orleans has a multicultural history that has earned worldwide attention since the hurricane, Weston says.

"Bad things seem to happen to great cities. And there are a lot of stories that deserve to be told from there," he says.

The above link has a graphic of one of Voodoo Child's frames which you can enlarge and read, if you have the stomach for it. (Update: Blake's got it.) Call me a worrywart, but I'm concerned that Nicolas and Weston's "spiritual" comic book depiction of post-K New Orleans may turn out to be... a tad hokey. Hopefully not. Maybe one of the villains will be from a big Insurance company, or from FEMA, or from USACE's N.O. division....

I'll give Nicolas Cage a mulligan if need be, because he was perfectly exultant as King Bacchus 2004, and because the last half hour of Vampire's Kiss is still one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

For the record, my favorite comic book is The Phantom Stranger.


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Punk Rock Independence Day 

This year, the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame Museum is featuring an exhibit called "Revolution Rock: the Story of the Clash". On the brick walls of the exhibit, you'll see framed pictures and tour posters and newspaper articles about the Clash.

One of the concert flyers on display is from 1977, and announces "Sex Pistols w/ The Clash, Buzzcocks".

Probably a memorable and historic show.

Imagine it: no bouncers behind barriers, no Ticketmaster fees, no "stay in your seat" b.s.... just pure punk rockery. Fresh, exciting, vital energy.

However, every band in that blockbuster lineup owes a debt to an American band named the Ramones, who played the Roundhouse in London on Independence Day, 1976. Members of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Buzzcocks (and the Damned) were all part of the audience during that momentous show. Play the video clip below, for more details. It's from the Ramones' "End of the Century" documentary.

In the "End of the Century" interview, the late Joe Strummer spoke of seeing the Ramones for the first time, and said: "It was like a white heat because of the constant barrage of tunes. You couldn't put a cigarette paper between one tune ending and the next beginning... You couldn't get any tighter if you'd been in New Orleans all your life."

The Clash initially copied the Ramones style, then went on to diversify and evolve and become "the only band that matters" (related story here).

On the 30th anniversary of the Sex Pistols' release of their "Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols" album, some are asking what "debt" the blogosphere owes to punk rock's ethos. It sounds funny, but think about it. The blogosphere has its share of fast blasts of emotion and reaction, just like early punk did. It's a place to vent at the powers that be, and agitate for change, and be your own individual, among other things.

Johnny Rotten's true creed (or "stoa", if you will) has always been:

Never hand over your own power. And when they ask you to go away. Refuse.

Not a bad personal code. Nor would it be a bad code for a city, or a region, or a "Gret Stet" or a blogosphere.

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. Here are YRHT posts from previous Independence Days: 2004, 2005, 2006 (+ lagniappe)

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Breaking News 

"Steaming turd" delivered to Senator Landrieu's office!

Details here.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

The RSCC's Keith Rush courted "known believers in the Aryan cause". 

Nobody but the Flaming Liberal and myself seem to care about this story about Keith Rush, but I will continue to flog it, because I think it's noteworthy when supporters of Nazi racists are elected to the Republican State Central Committee.

Here's what happened. The (6/12/07) Times Picayune reported that "Veteran conservative radio talk show host Keith Rush, 75, has been elected to the Republican State Central Committee, the governing arm of the state Republican Party. Rush was nominated by fellow broadcaster and Kenner Mayor Ed Muniz and longtime party activist Vincent Bruno for a seat that covers a district in Metairie." The T-P didn't mention that Rush was one of Duke's biggest supporters back in the day, when Duke was repeatedly running for higher office as a Republican. At one time, Vincent Bruno was David Duke's "spiritual advisor". (Superb work there, Bruno!)

Now, apparently, the state GOP has no problem with Keith Rush being elected, unopposed, to its state governing committee. Why is that?

For some context, here are some excerpts from James Gill's T-P column from April 21, 1991, titled "BLACK DISTRICT AND A DUKE PROTÉGÉ" (thanks again to the Flaming Liberal):

There may be a hot time ahead for the Jefferson Parish Council, which could include both a black and an unabashed fan of David Duke among its ranks after this fall's elections. Over the objections of the council, hitherto the exclusive preserve of white males, a federal appeals court has upheld a redistricting plan that will create a black-majority district.

At the same time, Duke has endorsed unemployed radio talk-show host Keith Rush for the council. "Dear David Backer" is the somewhat confusing salutation on a begging letter Rush has just sent out to known believers in the Aryan cause. And how is Mrs. Backer?

Rush has tried for elective office before, his most glorious moment coming when he made the runoff against John Schwegmann for a seat on the Louisiana Public Service Commission some 10 years ago.
Now he resurfaces in the reflected luster of David Duke. "He thinks like we do. He believes in the things we believe in, " Duke tells his supporters in an endorsement letter.

Over in the new black-majority district, they will not be pleased to hear it, since Duke, among other things, published a newsletter that advocated the dispersal of undesirable strains into ethnic homelands and has enjoyed partying to celebrate Hitler's birthday. Rush has been a Duke fan, on and off the air, from the beginning.
Whatever the merits of Rush's campaign platform, in electing to run as a Duke protege he has invited the racist vote into this camp...

That Duke's endorsement is a great help in East Jefferson is beyond question. And Rush endorsed is significantly better off than Rush alone. But it is a tall order to lift the host of a long-forgotten radio show to public office.

So, in 1991 David Duke endorsed Keith Rush to his Nazi racist supporters, because Rush "thinks like we do". James Gill stated that Rush has "been a Duke fan... from the beginning", and as a "Duke protege" he "invited the racist vote" into one of his campaign efforts. And somehow this ancient Duke supporter gets nominated by Duke's former spiritual advisor, and is elected, unopposed, to the governing arm of the State Republican Party. Again: how can such a thing happen?

Will no Louisiana Republican denounce this great leap backwards for their party? And will respected media pundits bother to criticize Keith Rush this time around, or will they give this former "David Duke protege" an undeserved pass?

Update: Bobby Jindal's campaign manager refused to comment about this matter. Kenner Mayor Ed Muniz, who nominated Rush to the RSCC, has not responded to repeated requests for comment or explanation about his choice.

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"I personally thought it might be Moses or some Russian or Greek figure." 

"I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it." -- John Stuart Mill

The stupidity surrounding the "Jesus picture" controversy is now approaching Olympian levels.

To review: for some bizarre reason, the Slidell Courthouse has a copy of a 16th century Russian Orthodox Jesus holding a Russian bible showing verses from the Gospels of Matthew and John. The overall depiction is known simply as "Christ the Saviour". Below the portrait, on the wall of the courthouse, are the words: "To know peace, obey these laws". After someone complained about the display, the ACLU rightfully asserted that the portrait violates the First Amendment and asked that the picture be taken down.

That's when people started acting stupid. Judge Jim Lamz of Slidell City Court initially played dumb, and claimed he didn't know who was depicted in the portrait. He said: "I don’t know who it is. I personally thought it might be Moses or some Russian or Greek figure. I wasn’t sure." If Lamz can't tell Jesus from Moses from "Russian figures" like Trotsky, I don't think he's smart enough to judge matters of law. But I bet he knew the picture really was Jesus, but feigned stupidity just to buy time.

Today the paper reports that Judge Lamz is refusing to take the picture down (even though for years he didn't know what the hell it depicted). Also, Slidell's Mayor is getting all huffy puffy:

Slidell Mayor Ben Morris condemned the ACLU in harsher tones, while invoking the memory of Hurricane Katrina. As he spoke, damage from the storm -- long watermarks and cracked plaster -- was clearly visible on the courthouse behind him.

"I fight daily with FEMA for the recovery of our city, and now we must fight these tyrants, this American Taliban, who seek to destroy our culture and our heritage," Morris said.

"Our culture and our heritage"? What heritage?!! Our Russian Orthodox heritage!? No one knew what the hell the words on the portrait even meant, and now everyone is going apenuts! People were being instructed, in the courthouse, to "obey" laws written in a language they didn't understand, yet when someone complains and wants the picture removed, the judges and mayors raise hell about how "our" sacred "culture" is being destroyed.

[Acting director of the ACLU's Louisiana chapter Vincent] Booth said it was ironic that Morris would condemn a theocracy such as the Taliban rule of Afghanistan while defending a religious picture in a public building.

AMEN BROTHER! I'm so glad they printed Vincent's sublime response. I know Vince personally, and spoke with him the other night. I'm very confident that he and all the other theocratic "tyrants" at the ACLU will prevail in this dispute. Why do I think this? Because the ACLU is full of domestic legal terrorists who hate our freedom. And how do I know that to be true? Well, a stupid conservative told me so!

Here's a project. Below is a picture of Moses or Jesus or some Russian or Greek figure. I don't really know for sure. And under the portrait are some words, and I don't know what they are either. Now, do me a favor and print out the photo and words, and stick it on the wall of your workspace, and leave it there for ten years. Whenever someone asks why you have this on display, tell them it's part of your "heritage" and "culture" and that you will fight tooth and nail before you let some politically-correct liberal totalitarian tell you what to do.

Повинуйтесь мне, или иностранцы украдут вашу страну и сделают Вас рабами.

And today's crushingly unfunny Family Circus comic depicts God saying the "Pledge of Allegiance" (which, as you know, begins "I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America").

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