Alligators 'n Roadkill

Alligators 'n Roadkill
On The Road


Friday, March 25, 2011

The Speech That Should Be Made By Every American High School Principal.

There is a talk radio guy named Dennis Prager. He was a fixture on the radio in Southern California for around twenty years before he went syndicated, and now he can be heard across the country. He wrote a column last year, sort of thinking ahead, and he titled it as "A Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give." He originally published it on July 13, 2010, and it very quickly spread around the internet. Unfortunately, as all too often happens today, it was attributed to several different (but for-real) principals across the country, and now has become something of an urban legend. In an effort to avoid that continuing (the urban legend part), I am forwarding it, and posting it on my Blog, so that people can read what he had to say, and form their own opinions about it:

To the students and faculty of our high school:

I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling

than to teach young people.


I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our

school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the

ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against

you, against your teachers, and against our country.


First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not

care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow, or white. I

could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian, or

European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave



The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize,

is your individual identity -- your character, your scholarship, your

humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is

American. This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans.


If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial, or religious identity through

school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity-, race-

and non-American-nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto

of America , one of its three central values -- E Pluribus Unum -- "from

many, one." And this school will be guided by America 's values.


That includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that

divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language,

religion, sexual orientation, or whatever else may become in vogue in a

society divided by political correctness.


Your clubs will be based on interests and passions -- not blood, ethnic,

racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate

narcissism -- an unhealthy preoccupation with the self -- while the

purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs

that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy,

languages you do not already speak, carpentry, and more. If the only

extracurricular activities you can imagine being interested in are those

based on ethnic or racial or sexual identity, that means that little

outside of yourself really interests you.


Second, I am not interested in whether English is your native language. My

only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking

and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has

united America 's citizens for more than 200 years, and it will unite us at this

school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants

has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without

excellent English-language skills, I will have been remiss in my duty to

ensure that you are prepared to compete successfully in the American job

market. We will learn other languages here -- it is deplorable that most

Americans only speak English. But if you want classes taught in your

native language rather than in English, this is not your school.


Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this

school will reflect learning's elevated status. This means, among other

things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in

our society dress more formally for a meal at a nice restaurant than they

do for church or school. These people have their priorities backwards.

Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.


Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school's

property -- whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If

you can't speak without using the "F-word," you can't speak. By obscene

language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission

plus epithets such as the "N-word," even when used by one black student to

address another, or "bitch," even when addressed by a girl to a

girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you

will be among the few of your age to distinguish instinctively between the

elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.


Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school self-esteem

will be attained in only one way -- the way people attained it until the

state of California decided otherwise a generation ago -- by earning it.

One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.


Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away

from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring you

about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or

global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom-wearing and

teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. There will

be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are

not white, or not male, or not heterosexual, or not Christian. We will

have failed if any one of you graduates from this school and does not

consider him or herself inordinately lucky -- to be alive and to be an



Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of

our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand

them out to you.


I totally agree with what Mr. Prager wrote there, and I would also like to hear that every high school principal in the nation would give such a speech. But, I fear that few would have the courage to do so, and fewer still would have a job for very long after saying things like this. That's kind of sad, isn't it?

Friday, March 18, 2011

More Food For Thought.

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience. - George Bernard Shaw

"What do they got that I ain't got? Courage!" – The Cowardly Lion

Many years ago, long before any of us was born, as I may have mentioned before, the first American Army was called a militia. And, from the online, I have borrowed this: [In U.S. history], "the whole body of men declared by law amenable to military service, without enlistment, whether armed and drilled or not" (1777). The idea of creating this force was then pretty much the only reasonable option open for a group of loosely connected colonies to provide for their own defense against what they viewed as a serious threat to their peace, security, and freedom. That was then, and this is now. We have fast forwarded some two hundred plus years, and now let's take a look at the huge Military Industrial Complex (MIC), that has effectively replaced that little militia. This MIC is controlling huge resources of the once proud nation that grew from those humble beginnings of that poor, ill-equipped and totally untrained militia.

And, it is time to ask ourselves why do we still need to have such a powerful military? (Granted, we surely went out and made us a whole bunch of new enemies subsequent to September of 2001.) But, apart from having become the biggest bullies on the block, why do we need to have more than a token military force?

And, now that I think of it, what happened to being admired and looked up to as the world's leader in everything? Nowadays, instead of being innovative, or original, or capable of providing so much of what the world wants or needs, we are simply seen as greedy, as we enmesh ourselves in a pursuit of other peoples' raw materials (read oil). We are so greedy that we have pursued wars in places no one had ever heard of, or if we had heard of them, we quickly dismissed them as being insignificant. We make war on people who did not, as a nation, ever do us any harm.

And, now, we are so distracted by these senseless wars, and we have expended so much of our precious resources on these wars, that we have forgotten what got us here in the first place. Worse, our economy is so deep down in the dumps that the politicians are grasping at straws looking for quick fixes (while ignoring some of the obvious solutions). First, and most obvious, if we were to make the MIC just sorta shrivel up and die, then if we were to close down the horrendously expensive Pentagon, and go through the Federal budget looking for military BS programs that only serve to waste money, I bet we could clean up a huge part of our deficit, and improve the economy by doing so.

Don't forget, a lot of American Industry was able to make the transition from a war footing, at the end of WWII, and knock out huge quantities of manufactured goods that the world wanted, and that made our economy one of the strongest the world has ever seen. That could be done again, with minimal effort. For one thing, and think about this just a bit, we still make too much weaponry, too many weapons. Too much effort is spent in seeking a market for those weapons (to the point of creating meaningless wars?), when the whole world would be so much better off without the weapons and without the wars. So, instead of listening to the politicians who always claim that we have to 'oh, so gradually' disengage ourselves, let's just pull the hell right on out of the Middle East! We didn't get into these wars 'oh, so gradually!'

Why can't missile manufacturers help to make affordable aircraft? Who needs tanks and Jeeps, and HumVees and stuff? Outdoorsmen? Sell to them, then. As for firearms, nobody honestly needs them (not even the cops, if truth be told), nor ammunition for such, so either turn to manufacturing something else, something that is actually useful, or go out of business. I know. I know. That's heresy, isn't it? But, so what? Maybe it is going to take some major changes to actually achieve improvement in this world.

And, finally, here's a thought. We still have too many homeless people in the U. S. A., don't we? How about, since we are going to close it down anyway (in my little dream scenario, that is), we just open up the Pentagon for as many homeless as can cram in there? I bet that would be a lot of people, wouldn't it?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Free at last; thank Gawd almighty, I am free at last…….

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas 

I think I have done a good thing after not too much soul searching. I have decided to stop reading the online every day. I had been an almost fanatical reader of that so-called news source for some years. But, gradually, it began to dawn on me that Mr. Brodell's rag is not so much a news source as a combination platform for his politics and merchandising along with a national source for gossip and innuendo. I noticed that he only prints a certain kind of reader letter, and that he tends to run stories that keep reader anxiety at a high level.

An excited reader is what he seems to want, and he can have them. I have removed the link from my browser, and have resolved to stick with the online Top 10 Costa Rica,
Tico Times, and InsideCostaRica for my online news fix each day. You see, one of the things that sticks in my craw about AMCR is the tendency to run controversial stories, not always based on fact or logic, and then fail to ever accept letters to the contrary from readers (unless, of course, he can stir up more controversy in such a way as to continue to support his own opinions, while keeping readers' anxiety levels high).

So, if you put his content together with the fact that his pages are mostly advertising, what are you left with? Very little, actually. Therefore, this was an easy decision to make, and one that should have been made a long time ago. I am now into my second week without it, and missing it less every day. While it may have been helpful at times to provide semi-current reports of weather or maybe outages of the 3g Kolbi cell phone network (as if I need an outside report of such an event, since I am usually one of the first to know), overall I find that I can exist quite well without it.

So, now that my morning news fix has been altered, what do I now look for? I am not sure why, but I have been looking for more news from back home (Texas). But, that might be coupled together with the fact that we are more often able now to watch live television that originates in Texas (Austin). So, that now, by looking online I can flesh out some of the fluff that the local Austin stations talk about. Right now, for instance, the school district in Austin is facing a huge budget deficit. Surprise! (That gives me an idea for another piece - later).

Well, it is no longer morning, I got my news fix already, but now I see that the day is waning, and it is about time to turn on the TV and catch up on national and Austin news and weather. Maybe I'll have a beer, too………care to join me? (sure beats reading AMCostaRica, don't it?)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another Syndrome Bites The Dust………

Lord, what fools these mortals be! - William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Act 3 scene 2

Oh boy! I can hear the uproar now. This goes right along with my recently expressed opinions about Homeopathy, and the demand for 'organic' foods, and the (imagined?) need for huge quantities of so-called food supplements, not to mention the fixation of some people on only eating 'health foods,' and let's not forget the needless worry over gene manipulation in food, or the mistaken belief that immunizations for children should be refused (leading to an increase in diseases that had almost been wiped out) and all that other stuff. I know. I know. By now your'e wondering what in the world am I talking about, right? Well, here's a recent news article:

Chronic fatigue syndrome has been controversial ever since 1984, when a cluster of cases in an upscale Nevada resort town attracted national attention.

Now a British study in The Lancet is likely to open another chapter in the medical saga.

Comparing four different treatments for CFS, researchers find that psychotherapy and gradual increases in exercise were clearly better than specialist care or an approach favored by many CFS advocates called "adaptive pacing," which helps patients live within their limits.

The results were quite clear," Dr. Michael Sharpe of the University of Edinburgh told one reporter. "When a therapist worked with the patient to help them do better over time, it produced better function and less fatigue." Sharpe is the paper's senior author.

The two therapies that proved superior in the study are:

  • Twice-a-week cognitive behavior therapy to change the way CFS patients think about their devastating fatigue, or to reduce their fear of exertion; or
  • Similarly frequent sessions that gradually increase a patient's activity level, within the patient's ability.

    Would you believe this is very close to what some folks said about this thing many, many years ago? In other words, "get up off your lazy butts, and get moving!" And, of course it was all in their heads, and while it is true that this will piss off a whole bunch of folks, can you imagine how many folks are now vindicated? This so-called syndrome (along with some other prominent diagnoses over the last twenty or thirty years) rightly deserves to be shown for what it is in fact, and maybe now some folks can get on with their lives. Can you imagine how much money was tossed away seeking treatment for this condition over the years? How many charlatans made huge amounts of money by offering treatments for this condition? How many people were duped into paying for all kinds of treatments that really could not have ever been efficacious?

    Now, not long after I found the reference you can see linked below, I saw one of those scrolling lines while watching an American TV news program, that mentioned that it is true that Lyme Disease and CFS share certain diagnostic commonalities, but a simple blood test will confirm Lyme Disease, so that indicates another door is closed to those who wanted to cling to the mistaken belief that CFS somehow has a viral cause. Want to know more? Here is the URL for the article I found referenced on NPR:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lawrence of Who?

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. - George Santayana

So, what is really going on over there? You know, over there in the Middle East?

We may well be witnessing some truly remarkable events in and around the Middle East of late. First Tunisia, then Egypt, maybe Iran, maybe Libya, maybe Bahrain, maybe Yemen, and who knows? The more pressing question, however, is what is behind this apparently sudden uprising of the people in these various countries? If, indeed, a large part of these uprisings are due the use of social networking web sites and tools, how long will people in these kinds of countries be able to continue to make free use of these tools? And, more importantly, who or what will take the place of the former leaders of these various places after the dust settles?

Will we see that this entire domino effect was actually and clandestinely started by something or someone sinister, with ulterior motives (Iran)? Maybe it was all intended to cause the downfall of various governments just to supplant whoever was in power with more religious fanatics like the Ayatollahs? In other words, is this all just a prelude to a larger portion of the world's population coming under the sway of religious zealots? Not a good thing, from most vantage points, unless of course one is a religious zealot.

Or, will we see some democratic governments emerge? That possibility is pretty hard to visualize, at least for me, given the history of that part of the world. The traditions, the cultures, and, unfortunately, the religious beliefs as I understand them to be in those places just do not lend themselves to any movement that can lead to a democratic form of government. They sure can lead to a populist movement (Iran), but the end result is seldom much good for the average Mahmoud on the street. So, I am very skeptical of a good long term outcome over there.

I am also troubled by the little information that is coming out of Tunisia, where this began not so long ago. On the one hand, there was the report of rather significant numbers of Tunisians fleeing that place, and seeking refuge in Italy. That, together with a denial of any problems on the part of whoever is in charge in that unfortunate nation, and a refusal of any outside assistance, is very troubling.

I know it is too soon to have any answers to my questions, but I - for one - am hopeful that some folks who've never had it might finally begin to see what it is like to live in freedom. Time will tell. Oh, yeah, I saw something clever the other day about what is happening in Egypt. Somebody asked the question, "Do you suppose this whole thing in Egypt is just a pyramid scheme?"