Weekly Meanderings, 26 May 2018

Weekly Meanderings, 26 May 2018 May 26, 2018

Thanks again to those of you sending me links, especially this week JS.

George Yancey, a good read:

I hate the fact that Donald Trump is President of the United States. Sometimes I just stop what I am doing and think, “We have a reality TV show conman who is our president.” Then I consider what sort of world I live in. I was one of those who was convinced that Trump would not win the Republican nomination and then when he won the nomination I was convinced that Clinton would defeat him. Clearly I was wrong but I was not the only one who was wrong so I take a little solace in that. So here we are with what I think is the most incompetent, unsuitable president our country has ever seen.

So you would think that I would be part of the spreading “resistance” that has been mounted against Trump. As much as I bad mouth Trump you think I would be one of the leaders in it. And I have plenty of friends who are part of that resistance. They eagerly jump on any news about Trump’s Russia’s connections or any bad news that comes out about him. But I cannot join them in this. I do not want a failed presidency. A failed presidency is not good for our country, and I do not wish it upon us.

But there is more to my hesitation to be part of this resistance than the desire to not have a failed presidency. I think there is something wrong with this resistance and I cannot get on board with them. Some of this is summed up in the recent article by Gerard Alexander. He points out that the Democrats have presented themselves in a way that illustrates an arrogance to non-progressive voters. This type of arrogance is a big part of what made Trump’s victory possible. I am disturbed that so many Christiansvoted for Trump, but I have to acknowledge that Clinton and the Democratic party did very little to try to convince them to do otherwise.

As of right now I want to see Trump defeated in 2020. But the idea of his defeat does not excite me. Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm for his potential loss is considering what comes after Trump. I see little evidence that progressives or the “resistance” crowd have any desire to truly listen to those who voted for Trump. It seems that Trump supporters are only enemies to be defeated and not people with real problems. I do not know how to get through to them that while Trump is not the answer to their problems that these individuals have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. Perhaps replacing Trump with progressives who see half the country as “deplorable” will be an upgrade in leadership, but I am doubting that it will be much of an improvement.

The problem may be confidence. Or to be more precise overconfidence. I do not like Trump’s pronouncements that he can fix anything. Whether he actually believes that or not is debatable, but I find it insulting that Trump proclaims himself to have an ability to fix everything when I know that is not true. But I find many progressives also to be overconfident about their ideas. This overconfidence often comes out in the way they envision those who disagree with them. I think it is this overconfidence that leads them to having dismissive attitudes to many who supported Trump.

A very fun post by Chris Gehrz on Sherlock Holmes’ religion.

Matthew R.J. Brodsky:

As for Palestinian actions, their internal politics, or their societal struggle, they don’t matter. If there are allegations of corruption involving an Israeli politician, reporters are all over it. If the accusations involve Palestinians, those stories usually fall by the wayside. Outside Israel one likely won’t read about the father of two in Gaza who recently set himself on fire in protest of Hamas’s mishandling of the humanitarian situation. That was how the so-called “Arab Spring” began, with a street vendor in Tunisia who engaged in self-immolation; he was striving to make a point. Yet reporters would likely be tripping over themselves to get the story out if he had blamed Israel instead.

All of this points to what should be painfully obvious by now: After 70 years of a failed strategy to secure their statehood in place of Israel, Palestinian leadership would still rather use its population as cannon fodder for a media stunt and its reconstruction aid for building terror tunnels than devote resources to building the institutions necessary to run a state and provide for its people. The longer Palestinians cling to the mythology that they will kick the Jews out of Jerusalem, flood Israel with millions of refugees, and replace the Jewish state with a state of their own, the more distant the prospects for progress become. That change is even more unlikely to happen while mainstream media outlets remain wedded to the promotion of Palestinian fiction.

5000 year old (Egyptian) beer remade.

Paige Patterson removed:

FORT WORTH — Prominent Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson was removed from his job as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary amid an evangelical #MeToo moment: a massive backlash from women upset over comments he made in the past that are being newly perceived as sexist and demeaning. Seminary leaders were unspecific about why they made the dramatic move, issuing a statement that didn’t mention the controversial comments and saying they were moving “in the direction of new leadership” due to challenges related to “enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity.”

The brief statement released early Wednesday said Patterson will be president emeritus, “for the benefit of the future mission of the Seminary.” He will receive compensation and may live on campus as “theologian-in-residence” at a brand new Baptist Heritage Center, the statement said.

After 13 hours of closed-door sessions, the seminary’s trustees appointed D. Jeffrey Bingham, the seminary’s dean of the school of theology, as interim president. Bingham has worked for numerous evangelical institutions, including Criswell College, Dallas Theological Seminary and Wheaton College.

The seminary board’s decision, announced by its chairman, Kevin Ueckert, will likely come as a relief to the thousands of women who had called for Patterson’s removal, said Karen Swallow Prior, an English professor at Liberty University who attends a Southern Baptist church.

“Misogyny and disrespecting women has nothing to do with scriptural teaching,” Prior said.

Mackensy Lunsford:

The grounds of the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women are surprisingly gorgeous.

The Swannanoa Mountain range looms beyond the southern border of the campus, drawing attention from barbed wire looping over chain-link fencing.

Some of the 365 women who call this minimum-security facility home are working beyond the fence this morning, hands in the dirt, plucking spinach, driving posts and pulling weeds.

This is the Seasons of Grace Garden, created by inmate volunteers and Sally Reeske, who has been teaching horticulture at the women’s facility through Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College for three years.

Some of this produce will go to MANNA FoodBank, a regional food pantry. Some will go to the prison cafeteria. But all of it helps to grow a sense of responsibility and worth in the participating prison population.

Women qualify for the program with a record of good behavior. In return, they get fresh air and a crash course in real-world skills, such as growing food or selling produce at a market stall.

The garden also helps cultivate both practical skills and the fortitude to cope with the emotional toll of imprisonment, said Rob Phillips, a program supervisor and educational program coordinator at the prison.

“If you believe in grounding theory at all, it’s very good for a lot of these women. They come in very broken and depressed and down, and you can see them take part in this program — a lot of people have been tremendously helped by this program.”

The Citizen Times was asked not to interview the inmates, but was allowed to observe the work day, during which Warren Wilson College Farm managers drove a tractor through the wet spring Earth, plowing a new garden plot.

The offenders, after leaving the fenced prison grounds for the nearby plot, quickly appeared lighter, smiling and focused on the task at hand. They seemed unburdened, for a moment, of the mental load of incarceration.

One unnamed resident, quoted in a facility-approved press release said, “I’ve been living in a room for so long. I need the exercise, the sunshine, and the fresh air. (The garden) has been amazingly opening for me. It’s life. It has made me feel alive again.

The prison offers a separate state-funded, certificate-earning horticulture program through A-B Tech that teaches skills from growing vegetables to landscaping.

Bird poop clue:

MEDINA, Ohio – Clues can come from unusual places, and sometimes they land in just the right spot. In Medina County, bird droppings may turn out to be the crucial clue that solves a multi-county crime spree.

“Anything and everything you use to make an identification,” said Detective Jim Cartwright. “It’s probably the strangest one I have to date though.”

On April 30, a front door was shattered at the Fraternal Order of Eagles on Rittman Road in Wadsworth. Surveillance video shows masked men wearing gloves inside the building. One of the men is seen pulling a dolly and roaming the halls. The other man was captured rummaging through the bar area.

The men busted open three interior doors and stole about $8,400. Some of that money would have been donated by the Eagles to community groups, according to trustee Ken Myers…. Video showed the crooks drive off in a 2018 Chevy Silverado, and detectives noted that the getaway vehicle appeared to have bird droppings on the hood. “The bird poop is what we picked up on,” Cartwright said.

In the meantime, detectives obtained another surveillance video form Tab Property Enhancement, a landscaping company in Hinckley. Investigators said the same pickup pulled onto the property on April 29 and loaded a $16,000 mini excavator onto a stolen trailer and drove off. …

The big break in the investigation came a few days later when Strongsville police reported that two men were overdosing in a pickup truck. A Strongsville officer, who was aware that Medina County detectives were looking for a similar truck, contacted the sheriff’s department. Cartwright responded to a tow yard and noticed the bird droppings were on the same spot on the hood as seen on the Eagles’ surveillance video. Detectives are now building cases against two suspects who could be involved in as many as 15 other similar crimes in Medina, Lorain and Cuyahoga counties.

Testing is the solution for educrats:

FL: Continuing the War on Littles

Of all the toxic effects of test-centered schooling– here’s some news from Florida:

Nearly half of the children who attended a state-funded voluntary pre-kindergarten program last year were not ready for kindergarten this year, according to the preliminary results of a new test administered last fall.

I was desperately hoping that the next line would read “and so Florida officials concluded that there was something definitely wrong with their test and probably with their expectations for kindergarten students as well.”  But alas, I was doomed to disappointment.

The test was a new one this year, administered in the first month of kindergarten, because it’s never too soon to make children understand that they go to school in order to take standardized tests. Besides the newness of the test, there are other bad reasons for the result:

This set of scores is based on children who attended VPK during the 2016-17 school year. The state didn’t decide on STAR as the assessment tool until the summer of 2017, so the providers could not gear their instruction toward a specific test.

In other words, they weren’t given a proper chance to teach to the test. Because when you send byour four-year-old to school, you want her to spend time learning how to take a standardized test. I mean, how better to foster a love of learning and school.

Several pre-K providers are quoted as being disappointed by the poor results and sad that they didn’t have enough advance warning of what test the state would use. Because pre-K ought to be organized around a state test, rather than the needs and health and wonder and natural exploration of four year olds. Also, one pre-K provider is called Tiny Tots University. Florida– what the hell is wrong with you?!

The TTU rep notes that the test does not in any way measure how far the student has come (because, you know, some of those three year olds are just big slackers), which speaks to one of the fatal flaws of test-centered schooling– its complete disregard for what a child can be expected, developmentally, to accomplish in a certain time period. Instead we just keep moving the bar, so kindergarten is the new first grade, or maybe second grade, and pre-K is the new 1st grade, and fetuses had damn well better start drilling SAT vocabulary by the second trimester.

Oh, and did I mention that this test is administered on a computer. A five year old is supposed to navigate a standardized test. On a computer. [HT: JS]

 

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