Re: Shawn Macomber’s Romney One Leg:
I am Swedish and I used to read your website every morning (my time) because I am a conservative and I thought so was your paper. But now I am going to wonder.
Why this witch-hunting on Mitt Romney? He is a solid conservative and I am stunned that a magazine like yours is behaving like this. Go hunting for the Democrats.
— Marianne Andersson
In Mr. Macomber’s generally well-done article, he demonstrates exactly what is wrong with the punditry/political activist class. He anoints certain subjects, certain words and phrases as too sappy to be talked about. The experts insist that we, the common voter, will be turned off by these references. They have also anointed other subjects, other words and phrases as “mean spirited” and certain to turn off voters because of mean spirited partisanship. These pundits/political activists are so wrong, and they either can’t, or won’t see it. Of course every poll simply confirms the conventional wisdom because of the way that the questions are written and/or because we have been trained to tell the pollsters what they want to hear. If we told them what we really thought, we would be put down as simple, ignorant rednecks whose opinions don’t matter anyway.
And so as the results come in from the primary contests, the pundits will once again be shocked, and we will be treated to unending hours of “what it all means.” Of course such analyses will, as often as not, be completely clueless.
How could those folks at that school in Iowa possibly be influenced by that sappy family values stuff? How could that possibly influence them in a positive way? Well, Mr. Macomber, it is because so many of them were just regular folks that believe in home and family, and country and our flag, and who love and honor our military folks, and get a tear or two when the National Anthem is played, or the flag goes by, or they hear “Taps.” Yep, just a bunch of fly-over country rubes.
Their attitudes positively affect the Huckabee campaign, and the Ron Paul campaign also. These attitudes are why Thompson is not dead. Guess what, Rudy G doesn’t get it either, that is why he is slipping.
— Ken Shreve
FAIR AND BALANCED
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Dr. No on Ice:
I just wanted to let you know that I was impressed by Shawn Macomber’s well-written article on Ron Paul, “Dr. No On Ice.” It was very fair and did not contain any of the editorial opinions that, frankly, belong in editorials, not journalism. Even though I am a hard-core Ron Paul supporter, I found the article both entertaining to read and informative.
Though I am not a regular reader, I will undoubtedly pay more attention from now on. My opinion of The American Spectator has gone up quite a bit.
— Scott Frost
Re: RiShawn Biddle’s The Myth of High-Stakes Testing:
Social graduation. Exemption from exams, or meeting the standards of those exams. Low requirements of the exams.
You know… I think my future children are going to be homeschooled, from top to bottom. It’s an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while inside my head, there’s no need for practical consideration as yet, future children are still only a theory at this point. But I still can’t help but wonder just what has happened to schools of this country. It’s even odder because I work in an industry that directly supports our schools. I know that board members and staff really want to do what’s best and prepare children for their futures. So where is the disconnect?
I think that Fred Thompson nailed it when he called the teacher union the greatest threat to our schools. I think the idea of only public education is also a serious threat, as it both supports the teacher union and listens to it with too large an ear. The total lack of objective standards to evaluate teachers are another major problem. But the biggest single problem is lowered expectations. With the lack of competition and rewards for achievement, we have removed all incentive for our students to get out there and do better.
Now, let’s get real about education. Absent any serious disabilities, there is no reason for a 17-year-old [not] to be able to do each of the following:
Read and evaluation a written essay, able to identify the central idea, the main arguments in support of that idea, and provide a reasonable response in support or dissent.
Perform mathematical operations on level with “Algebra 2” complexity. The simple fact is that until you reach trigonometry, you’re still dealing with basic arithmetic
Answer and evaluate basic questions from a wide verity of physical sciences.
Identify significant dates and figures in the history of the United States, their state of residence, and civilization as a whole. Basic history, folks.
Know the Bill of Rights and the main powers of the three government braches as outlined in the Constitution.
Doesn’t really seem like much, does it?
And yes, I purposefully left out the ability to identify symbolism, metaphor, and other common “English” skills. While these are great skills to have, I don’t think they’ll get applied very often unless you go into teaching or creative writing of some form.
But hey, even if everyone in the country got behind a solution such as this, it probably wouldn’t change much. I personally think it’s more the in the government’s interest to keep us poorly educated. Easier for them to take power away from us then.
— Charles Campbell
All the rhetoric, the game playing, and everything else designed to obscure the deterioration of educational standards fall by the wayside when reality hits: American children perform woefully in comparison to kids from other countries (even Third World countries) on standardized tests.
Memo to unionized educrats, hyper-sensitive, anti-test parents and “feel good above all” kids: it’s a global economy, and the rest of the world doesn’t care if future American workers can handle it or not.
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
I am surprised that nothing was said about federal class action lawsuits against those who enforce gateway or minimum graduation standards. Part of the story is below, the rest on the link provided:
Ohanian Comment: A lot has happened since we first read about Latricia Wilson. She sent me this update. Kudos to this young woman for fighting back against a system that denied her a high school diploma.
The Federal Class Action Lawsuit that was filed against the Tennessee Department of Education will go to pretrial on 9/05/2008 at 9:30 am. The pretrial will be held in the Federal Building. The class action law suit was filed on July 24,2007, on behalf of thousands of students that did not receive a high school diploma for failure to pass the Gateway/ Exam. The Gateway exam is a high school graduation requirement.
This lawsuit is challenging the constitutionality of the testing requirement. This is the first time that a standardized test has been legally challenged within the state of Tennessee. The class action lawsuit filed is the first law suit to be filed in the state to challenge the No Child Left Behind & State Law requirement in this state.
— Danny Newton
BEAT THE PRESS
Re: The Prowler’s Iowa Jitters:
Mike Huckabee is afraid his less-than-conservative record will see the light of day, and he should be. Why in heavens name should conservatives, even social conservatives, support a man who seems to believe in tax increases, government spending, blanket amnesty for illegal aliens (forget this was Reagan’s policy too), in-state tuition for illegal aliens, expanding the welfare state and a foreign policy agenda straight from the Democrat’s anti-American and anti-Bush playbook?
He may be saying the right things about God, abortion and social values, but Mike Huckabee is a populist not a conservative. Who cares if he’s a Christian or Baptist minister? Jimmy Carter is a Christian and a Baptist, but that didn’t stop him from being America’s worst President. Hillary Clinton claims to be a Methodist and Barack Obama boasts his Muslim heritage will be an advantage in dealing with Islamic imperialists.
I’m skeptical of both since like most Democrats they seem willing to sell out America for power and foreign approval. Mitt Romney is a Latter Day Saint so he’s probably pro-family and a hard worker — so what? We’re not electing the nation’s “Imam” (though Democrats act like they want to) or “spiritual leader.” If Huckabee wants to be “Pastor-in-Chief” he needs to go back to Texarkana and pick up the mantle he laid down for politics and mammon. Still if conservatives and Republicans choose to nominate “Elmer Gantry” or the second coming of “Ross Perot” I’ll be casting my straight ticket ballot for him (as would Reagan if he were alive), because what the Democrats offer (a has been First Lady, a madrasa-educated deceiver, and an ambulance chasing trial lawyer) is worse as demonstrated by the terrorist appeasing and earmark spending Democrat Congressional majority.
— Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Re: James Bowman’s The Fame Factor:
My personal opinion is that the rising number of young men shooting up schools, malls and churches is directly attributable to their sudden realization that, unlike the safe world of Mommy’s Basement and the Public School, the real world makes no accommodation to what they “want” or their “neediness” or how hard they try. The world is pass/fail and does not give a rat’s patootie about them as individuals, any more than a hurricane cares who is trying to cross a raging river on a plank bridge. Twenty-somethings who have never been thwarted a day in their lives are simply incapable of dealing with the rage that builds up at an uncaring world that won’t bow to them the way Mommy and Teacher did; they have never been taught self control and, being too old for screaming and rolling on the floor, they kick it up a notch and take it out on all those they believe have wronged them by giving them a strong taste of failure.
Until parents start dealing with this when the child is still screaming and rolling on the floor of the grocery store, and teachers continue what parents have begun by allowing actions to have consequences that hurt, this trend will continue.
— Kate Shaw
FATHER AND SON
Re: Lawrence Henry’s Our Family’s Words:
Thank you Lawrence Henry for you delightful article, “Our Family’s Words.” Your words evoked in me a delightful poignancy as I remembered my long departed father. He was a backwoods philosopher who was fond of using the kind of colloquialisms that, as a child, I found endlessly amusing.
When a job was almost finished or a destination almost reached, he invariably said, “We’ve got the mule by the tail and a downhill pull!” My favorite, however, was his observation that “the Good Lord made me backwards. He made my nose to run and my feet to smell.” To my children’s dismay, I find myself becoming more and more like him with every passing year.
— David Atchison
I noticed the “letters to the editor” fallout regards subject article was not too favorable for McCain. Because the objections to McCain were well chronicled, I will just add “dream on,” Jennifer.
— Wade White
Franklin, New York
SO MUCH FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS
Re: Charles Paul Freund’s A Brutalist Bargain:
And we should care about this because?
— Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina
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