Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tuesday Tempura

A teacher in Pennsylvania makes an example out of a stinking Broncos fan student.

A 17-year-old high school student said he was humiliated when a teacher made him sit on the floor during a midterm exam in his ethnicity class -- for wearing a Denver Broncos jersey. The teacher, John Kelly, forced Joshua Vannoy to sit on the floor and take the test Friday -- two days before the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC championship game. Kelly also made other students throw crumpled up paper at Vannoy, whom he called a "stinking Denver fan," Vannoy told The Associated Press on Monday.

OK, first, not cool to make him sit on the floor during an actual exam. A normal class -- maybe. But not a midterm. Not cool. Second, I don't think he "made" anyone throw paper at the kid. This was Steeler country, and he was wearing a Broncos shirt. That was clearly voluntary paper throwing.

Kelly said Vannoy, a junior at Beaver Area Senior High School, just didn't get the joke. "If he felt uncomfortable, then that's a lesson; that's what (the class) is designed to do," Kelly told The Denver Post. "It was silly fun. I can't believe he was upset."

What?!? Being "uncomfortable" was the lesson? What the hell does that mean? Is this an S&M class? Maybe it is. It is a public school. [UPDATE: It was an "enthnicity" class. What the helk is that?]

Vannoy was wearing a No. 7 Broncos jersey on Friday, because he is a fan of John Elway, the Broncos' retired Hall of Fame quarterback. Vannoy said he was so unnerved he left at least 20 questions blank on the 60-question test, and just wants out of Kelly's class because he's afraid the teacher won't treat him fairly now that the story reached the media.

OK, I agree that I would want out fo the teachers' class after this because of the concern for revenge. But let's not be a John Elway pansy about the whole thing.

Punish the teacher. Give the kid a new test, and let him switch classes. Then tell him to be a freaking man.


Finally, a Lefty with the guts to admit that he doesn't support the troops. Joel Stein's position supports all the Right rhetoric about not being able to "support the troops" and not support the mission. He had a point, and he makes it. With a little humor to boot.

And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

That is a funny line. But I think his logic breaks down just like the logic of the Right that says you can't support the troops if you weren't in favor of the war breaks down.

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

That was a funny line also. But the distinction I think he fails to address is the difference between an immoral mission and a moral mission but bad choice to go to war. Some (commies mostly) believe that going to Vietnam was immoral. Some simply believe that it was a bad foreign policy decision. Stein actually addresses these issues -- sort of. The above quote leads one to believe that Vietnam's lesson was "avoid foeign conflicts with no pressing national interest." That is a good public policy postion, but it would mean that we don't stop genocide in Ruwanda. Is that his message?

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn't going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He's going to be looking for funnel cake.

That wasn't as funny. And he sounds like he thinks the Iraq war is immoral ("unjust" v. "immoral" - you make the call). But he doesn't say so. There I would disagree most emphatically.

Iraq may or may not have been justified on WMD grounds or on risk assessment grounds as to the United States. Those are debateable issues.

What is not debateable among resonable people is that Saddam was a brutal distator in the small group of dictators that any foreign power would have the moral right to depose just for altruistic reasons. That doesn't mean he was the worse. But no country that takes it upon itself to depose Saddam, or that nut in North Korea, or Mugabe, is engaged in an unjust war. Maybe an unwise one, but not an unjust one.

I know conservatives who believe that the U.S., as a general rule, should "avoid foeign conflicts with no pressing national interest." for that reason they opposed going into Iraq. But now that we are there, they want to win decisively and quickly and come home.

That is opposing the war and supporting the troops. It can be done. Stein doesn't get it. Which means he is proabably a stinking pinko commie, but I won't know for sure unless I read more of his stuff. Which I probably won't do.


Shelby Steele writes in the WSJ a nice article about race, the Democrats and Republicans and Sen. Clinton's "plantation" remark at a MLK day rally last week. Read it all, but I found this particularly worthy of repeating:

But this Republican "weakness" [the inability to pander to groups] has now begun to emerge as a great--if still largely potential--Republican advantage. Precisely because Republicans cannot easily pander to black grievance, they have no need to value blacks only for their sense of grievance. Unlike Democrats, they can celebrate what is positive and constructive in minority life without losing power. The dilemma for Democrats, liberals and the civil rights establishment is that they become redundant and lose power the instant blacks move beyond grievance and begin to succeed by dint of their own hard work. So they persecute such blacks, attack their credibility as blacks, just as they pander to blacks who define their political relationship to America through grievance. Republicans are generally freer of the political bigotry by which the left either panders to or persecutes black Americans.

No one on the current political scene better embodies this Republican advantage than the current secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice. The archetype that Ms. Rice represents is "overcoming" rather than grievance. Despite a childhood in the segregated South that might entitle her to a grievance identity, she has clearly chosen that older black American tradition in which blacks neither deny injustice nor allow themselves to be defined by it. This tradition, as Ralph Ellison once put it, "springs not from a desire to deny the harshness of existence but from a will to deal with it as men at their best have always done." And, because Ms. Rice is grounded in this tradition, she is of absolutely no value to modern liberalism or the Democratic Party despite her many talents and achievements. Quite the reverse, she is their worst nightmare. If blacks were to take her example and embrace overcoming rather than grievance, the wound to liberalism would be mortal. It is impossible to imagine Hillary Clinton's "plantation" pandering in a room full of Condi Rices.

This column is worth a few minutes of your time.


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