Thursday, March 16, 2006

Extremist Wacko's

I'm really fed up. I just finished listening to the recently-released audio clips of that wacko UNC-CH student who ran over nine people in his SUV. (You can listen to it here.) What in the HELL is wrong with some of these people. Thankfully, some Islamic groups have already issued condemnations for the act... I wonder what (if anything) George Clooney or Sean Penn will have to say on the subject.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What's up doc?

I've always heard some of the horror stories coming from countries that have a National Health Service, but never found a good source for some of the info.

Well, I just found a GREAT blog discussing national health care, and what can go wrong. Dr. Crippen, in his diary, relates what really happens on a day-by-day basis when you're saddled with socialized medicine.

Look, I'd love to see everyone in the U.S. have inexpensive access to quality medical care. But from everything I've read and heard (and I looked into this a fair amount back when Hillary tried to push this through her, er, Bill's White House), the dangers of a NHS far outweigh any apparent benefit. My son recently hyperextended his knee while playing basketball... he had an MRI appointment within 1 1/2 weeks (it's today, in fact). And his knee isn't all that bad... he can't straighten it as much as he should, but he can walk around on it (he limps a bit). He's not in any pain; it just stiffens up on him after sitting for awhile. So 1 1/2 weeks; hmm, not bad. How long would he have to wait if we had a socialized system like Canada or the U.K.?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Tit for Tat?

Now this is really disgusting. The Sheaf, the student-run newspaper of the University of Saskatchewan, ran an editorial last week discussing the Mohammed cartoon controversy, along with their reasons for not running the cartoons. Specifically, they state that because of the violence shown by fanatics, they don't want to stoke the fires. But then they turn around and run (mistakenly, of course... yeah right!) a cartoon showing Jesus giving oral sex to a "capitalist pig". Just how do you make that mistake, anyway... is there no oversight from the editorial staff on what gets published?

Hmm, maybe it's time to rape and pillage!

Education in America

Our wonderful teacher unions are at it again... desperate to save their cushy, taxpayer-financed, difficult-to-fire-from jobs, they're attacking anyone who questions our public school system. Now it's John Stossel, of ABC's 20/20. John's had a series of tv and internet reports detailing some of the problems with America's education system. I'm sure everybody's heard the claims; U.S. students are falling behind in test scores, especially in the critical areas of math and science, when compared to the rest of the world; public schools are costing more money and delivering less product; school choice has worked in other countries and works here when it's attempted. (See some of his great columns here).

I don't know the answers, and I don't know enough to say whether John (and many others) are right or wrong. I do know, from personal experience, that public school teachers run the gamut from caring, very intelligent, highly effective teachers to lazy, incompetent slobs doing just enough to keep their positions. How do I know this? I work for an education software company in the research department, and I regulary visit and observe public schools.

My point, however, is that the teacher unions just plain don't want to address the issues that John Stossel raises. Instead of addressing the issues, they're demonstrating today at ABC offices in New York, Chicago, and others. The organizers claim his reporting "so violates the democratic principles of open-mindedness, balance, and fairness we hold dear as educators of Social Studies, and so departs from the standards of objective and unbiased journalism...".

Violates the democratic principles of open-mindedness? What the hell are they talking about? Just because they don't agree with John's reporting? C'mon, gimmee a freaking break. And why haven't they addressed the concerns and questions that are raised? Teachers unions are in a purely defensive mode across the country; how about spending some of this energy improving school education instead of attacking critics?