Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is "self-esteem" devouring the life of the mind?

Turfgrrl quotes an Hour article by Amanda Pinto:
However, West Rocks Principal Lynne Moore said middle schools are not solely responsibly for freshmen’s achievements — they may have poor grades as they begin in high school because teachers there are not doing enough to support students, Moore said.
Okay, I'll ask the obvious question: why do West Rocks students now need more support than students from Nathan Hale?

I can contribute one little data point to this problem. Last election, West Rocks was my polling station. I walked around the school with a friend for a bit after I voted.

Something amazing struck me: when I was a Norwalk middle school student, the walls were full of posters about art and history and foreign countries and biology and the periodic table. But in West Rocks, the walls were full of motivational posters and cheezy "I'm OK - You're OK" posters.

A sing of changing standards? Maybe, but maybe a sign of how little Norwalk's schools value the life of the mind.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hamas steals Arafat's Nobel Peace Prize

This sounds too good to be true, but the Jerusalem Post says it, so I guess it really happened. Hamas looters have allegedly looted Arafat's home and stolen his Nobel Peace Prize. Little Green Footballs summed it up nicely in a single sentence:

That will save the Nobel Committee the trouble of awarding Hamas the prize; they already have one!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Salvadore Corda vs. the miserable tax-paying hobbits of Norwalk

I just loved turfgrrl's take on Corda's outrageous slur:
He must have thought he was being clever when he pointed out, during the BOE finance committee meeting that the “public” was not there in great numbers. All I could think was that he was as masterful as Dr. Evil in his island hideout bemoaning the fact that only his henchmen were there.

Officer Callahan "at center" of assault investigation

Officer Liam Callahan, who as you may know got the Connecticut Board of Mediation and Arbitration to rule that body snatching is not grounds for firing a policeman, is the subject of an assault investigation (Norwalk Advocate). He is merely a suspect; nobody has accused him of anything yet. I certainly hope that there is nothing to this story. But the incident gave the reporter, John Nickerson, an opportunity to recap the story thus far:
  • On Memorial Day, 2005, Alfred Caviola tragically died in a car accident.
  • According to an internal investigation by the NPD, Officer Callahan stole part of Mr. Caviola's skull, and bragged that he was going to make an ashtray out of it.
  • The state Board of Mediation and Arbitration found that the facts were as the city alleged, but ruled that body snatching is not valid grounds to fire a police officer in Connecticut.
  • Officer Callahan returned to the Norwalk Police force, against the will of the city, his commanders, the overwhelming sentiment of his fellow officers, and the citizens (not that they have any say in the matter of course.)
  • The city offered the Caviola family an undisclosed sum of money for their grief.
  • Officer Callahan is investigated for brandishing a gun in a men's room in another town.
  • The city's counsel said that neither the family nor their lawyer contacted the city about the offer, "which he called unusual."
So summing up, we've gotten to the point where stealing body parts, making them into ashtrays, brandishing guns in men's rooms and outrageous violations of our citizens' right to a democratic and responsive city government are all usual -- but a grieving family that doesn't grab at a juicy settlement is somehow "unusual."

Monday, June 04, 2007

More legal questions about fireman literacy

The federal government does not think that firemen need to be able to read well. (I learned about this from Walter Olsen at Point of Law.)

Now let's ask ourselves: what would the world look like today if the brave firefighters who rushed to the Pentagon after the attacks of September 11, 2001 hadn't been able to read orders and disaster plans?