Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why would engineers be overrepresented among terrorists?My best guess would be that these groups are looking for people with the technical background to make and trigger bombs. There are other, pop psychology, explanations, but I'll spare you.

The report does remind me of Sayyid Qutb to American society in the late 1940s, which lead him to a write the book Milestones, one of the foundations of Salafism which calls for worldwide revolution and a new Caliphate. Most of the leaders of Islamist terrorist groups were influenced by Qutb's writings, which are totally at odds with any sort of religious tolerance..

Get rid of education majors.
“We have known these principles for some time, and it’s intriguing that schools don’t pick them up, or that people don’t learn them by trial and error,” said Robert A. Bjork, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Instead, we walk around with all sorts of unexamined beliefs about what works that are mistaken.”

Take the notion that children have specific learning styles, that some are “visual learners” and others are auditory; some are “left-brain” students, others “right-brain.” In a recent review of the relevant research, published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a team of psychologists found almost zero support for such ideas. “The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing,” the researchers concluded.
I've thought for a long time that schools were ignoring proven concepts in favor of fad theories. I learned phonics in third grade, which helped me to learn to sound out and spell words and provided a structure for future study of languages and exceptions to rules, but somehow, later educational theories managed to displace this approach with the idea that children should learn to recognize whole words. My impression from hearing other adults read out loud is that too many of them recognize the first few letters in a word and then guess at the rest of it, instead of taking it a syllable at a time (if they know what a syllable is) and sounding it out. The advantage of this approach is that it helps one to recognize quickly whether the word is a new one or a familiar one. It also helps with our arcane spelling rules, whether you like them or not.

There are many other concepts, such as repetition techniques like flash cards, recitation and drills, that are the foundation of music learning, but have been abandoned in schools. And how many more there may be that I don't know about worries me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Speaking of Infrastructure

Levees aren't the sexy, green kind of projects that Obama's base would love to see, but they'd save a lot more lives and property than light rail and wind turbines. We've got to drop the locust model of spending and go back to the ant model.

GOP insiders warn against getting cocky.

As well they should. The most cheering thing about current politics is the apparent impotence of the lies of the past in the face of voter anger.

How the media made Terry Jones a star. An on air poll on Fox yesterday came to the same conclusion, although the results blamed Obama in second place, which I thought was overstating it.

Rules are for little people

Especially taxes, apparently. We really ought to make Congress and members of the administration personally liable for all deficits, and establish some objective criteria to be met before taxes can be increased.

OK, that needs to be thought through, but something needs to be done to stop people from spending more money that the nation can afford.

There's a new tribute album to John Prine. I just hear "Let's talk dirty in Hawaiian" by Those Darlins. Sounds like something Ann Althouse would be posting about:
I just stepped down from the airplane
When I heard her say.
“Wacka Wacka, nuka, licka
Wacka Wacka nuka licka
Would you like a ……Lay

It sucks to be a bedbug

"As the female lacks a genital opening, the male pierces her abdomen with his hypodermic genitalia to leave his sperm in her abdominal cavity."

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Cordoba wins this round.

We had a strong horse, a weak horse and a horse's ass. The strong horse has gotten everything he wanted and it cost him nothing. The weak horse thinks it has been more noble and tolerant. There will always be more horses' asses.

This whole thing feels like hardball being played by the forces seeking a new Caliphate. I don't think Park 51 has any money of its own, and I don't think it would be so stubborn the money men weren't interested in the symbolism of the being withing earshot of the WTC site. Like Jerusalem, there's a Mosque where the symbol of past glory has been destroyed and will not be rebuilt. The call of the Muezin will echo over Ground Zero. Will New Yorkers even have a Wailing Wall?

I think the backers of this mosque have won a tactical victory, but it will turn out to be a strategic mistake. Americans are in no mood to keep worrying about how thin-skinned Muslims are. If our troops pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq, the big losers will be Muslims, because they'll be back to killing each other in no time. Rauf belittles the claim that Ground Zero is hallowed ground, but if that's his position, what reason do Americans have to see Mecca and Medina or any other Islamic centers as any more worthy of respect?

The Celebrity Endorsement fallacy is alive and well. This isn't tolerance; it's appeasement. We're selling our birthright, and we're not even getting any pottage.

Why India is the future

A healthy society must have and value children. It's just that simple. The common theme in feminism and all gender politics is a denial of that fact and that's why they're dangerous. That is not to say that they don't have some valid grievances, just that you can't remedy them by strangling society.

My fingers are swelling up.

I've been commenting all day on Dennis Miller's DMZ and as flat affect on Ed Morrisey's show. I'll be lucky if I can use the TV remote by tonight. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Burn the Mosque! Destroy property! Kill bystanders!

(Disclaimer: This is a parody of the tactic of radical Muslim Imams in the Middle East and Asia to every fancied provocation in the West, not an actual incitement to riot. Stay in your homes and watch TV.)

Rauf threatens violence

In an interview with Soledad O'Brien, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf who will head the Middle Finger Moaque in Manhattan if it is built, says:
“If we move from that location, the story will be the radicals have taken over the discourse. The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack… Our national security now hinges on how we negotiate this, how we speak about it.. . .

The imam told O’Brien “had I known [the controversy] would happen we certainly would never have done this.” Asked if he meant he would not have picked the location, Rauf said, “we would not have done something that would create more divisiveness.”
Jim Treacher responds:
But you did, Imam Rauf. You’ve failed spectacularly at your professed goal of tolerance and healing and all the other buzzwords. Now you’re telling us that if we don’t all applaud your mistake, it will be seen as an attack on Islam? If we don’t do what the terrorists want, the terrorists win?

By all means, let’s have more emotional blackmail, and more condescending lectures about how anyone who dares to oppose this thing is a dupe and a bigot. That’s really turning the tide of public opinion
Was he really this insensitive, or did he expect to push this through on the strength of playing the "tolerance" card and then let Muslim societies proceed on the assumption that it really is that easy to insult Americans? He certainly has made a conquest of Mayor Bloomberg.

The message we need to be sending Islam is not to push its luck, and if it wants to co-exist with us, it needs to consider shelving its Sharia law system in non-Muslim countries. In Muslim countries, the medieval brutality of beheadings, stonings and mayhem continues to give Islam an image of cruelty rather than piety and forgiveness. If they don't like the image of the Prophet they have created in the minds of Westerners, they should examine themselves first and ask why he is seen that way. It's not because we just hate foreigners. We don't admire Torquemada too much these days either.

Czar of Asian Carp? I know that the invasion of Silver and Big Head Carp from China is a serious problem. They are moving up the Mississippi. They breed like crazy and have no natural predators. Worse, the Silver Carp seem to be a highly nervous strain, which doesn't exist in China, and reacts to passing boats and motors by leaping out of the water, so that boats need to be fitted with chain link fencing to prevent injury to the occupants of the boats or even knocking them out of the boat.

The absurd thing is that Obama doesn't trust this problem to be dealt with by Congress or the Fish and Wildlife Service. He appoints a "Czar," an appointee who reports only to him. I wonder if he has a White House Putting Green czar or a Golfing Czar or Tennis Court Czar. This seems to be a slightly attenuated form of the micro-management bug that contributed to Jimmy Carter's fecklessness.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Apparently climate continues to change even in the past.

The effective mechanism is scientific studies.

Do it yourself affirmative action.

By Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)TX

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Mayor Daley calls it quits. The city that works has quit working. My prediction, Blogo or Rahm Emanuel.

Don't get cocky? Why not?

Obama seems to be intent on reminding us all how inept he is. The Republicans hardly have to say anything except "He's wrong," and probably shouldn't.

Voter fraud has been a widespread open secret for as long as I can remember. Both parties have engaged in it, but it's become practically an institution in Democratic strongholds. It's an affront to our system of government and a threat to the ability of the people to control the government.

I'm glad to see that someone is raising it as an issue once again, because the news media won't. The ACORN scandals should have raised a hew and cry, but instead it was treated as a victim.

It's now obvious that this administration has no interest in enforcing the laws, either in letter or in spirit, and that its real goal is undermining the nation's integrity.