18 July 2005

Oooh, that's gotta hurt

[source, source]

[Irshad Manji] recalls asking Mohamed al-Hindi, political leader of Islamic Jihad, where the Koran glorifies martyrdom; he insisted it was there, but even after looking up books and phoning colleagues, he couldn’t find one reference. “His translator suggested I better go if I wanted to leave alive,” she recalls. “I asked why he had even given an interview, and the translator said, ‘Oh, he assumed you would be just another dumb westerner’.”

I think we can see who are the ignorant and parochial people in this little story.

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You can't make this stuff up

[source, source, source]

Making the rounds of the district’s 12 schools I found competition everywhere.

In a 10th-grade English class, I found kids writing essays on citizenship for a local bar association’s contest. Moving on to a middle school, I saw seventh-grade science students drawing posters for a county humane society contest in hopes of winning stuffed animals. That afternoon, I watched third-graders hop around a gym as part of a national charity’s pledge drive. The kids who hopped the longest won crayons and coloring books.

When I counted up the number of competitive activities in classrooms — more than 200 in one school year — I knew it was time to put on the brakes. It wasn’t easy, but with the school board’s support and principals’ cooperation, we reclaimed the instructional program. Competitive activities were still allowed, but they were held after school for students who wanted to sign up.

As noted, this is not a parody. The article is filled with claims about the evils of competion, not one of which seems to bear any relationship to reality. For instance, that competition “Does not motivate students to do their best”. Clearly this person has never talked to student athletes, who claim quite distinctly that they can’t get good times except in a competitive race.

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It's treason to me


Never say we aren’t willing to help an editorial subject in distress, and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm clearly needs some friendly advice.

Last month the state legislature buried the Democratic Governor’s top legislative priority, a grandiose proposal to raise taxes on insurance companies, banks and thousands of small businesses that private studies said would have cost up to 20,000 jobs. Ms. Granholm’s plan was widely criticized, including in these columns in March and in an op-ed article on the opposite page last Thursday by state legislator Rick Baxter, a Republican, and Hillsdale College Professor Gary Wolfram.

Ms. Granholm was not pleased, going so far as to denounce the op-ed as “treasonous for the state of Michigan.” The authors’ high crime? Exposing Michigan as a high tax state and criticizing Ms. Granholm for wanting to raise taxes. Her choice of words was no inadvertent slip of the tongue, by the way—a Howard Dean-like temporary loss of sanity. The Governor has used the “t” word repeatedly and has even suggested that Mr. Baxter “should be removed from office.”

At least Granholm wasn’t questiong Baxter’s patriotism, but only his loyalty to the person and policies of Governor Granholm. After all, we can’t have members of the Duma legislature engaged in counter-revolutionary activities.

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