Friday, March 31, 2006


Religion, etc

The Glendale News Press printed my letter.

More importantly, the return of the Latin Mass seems to be more of a certainty.


You may also want to check out the L.A. Catholic blog. He's got some interesting thoughts.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


It Just Gets Worse

The administration today sent an email to the staff that indicates that future walkouts will be met with tough penalites including expensive truancy tickets. But give the school's past of laying down the law and then randmonly enforcing (if at all) concerning L.A. clothing, Raider clothing, hats, phones, etc. neither the students nor the staff are ready to believe that this time the administration actually means what it says.

What further infuriates is the following line from this morning's email: "We would also appreciate it if you would not make any personal comments for or against the protests."

Here is the text of my response:

Since when did speaking out to uphold the laws of our nation become wrong in the Covina Valley Unified School District? Is the "C" for citizenship and our responsibility to be role models just talk for WASC, or does it really mean something?

I understand the desire not to exacerbate the problem in an election year, but I am not a Machiavellian. I do not plan to be a blowhard and incite the students. I shall lead by example which is more than I can see from our superintendent.

God Bless America!

I am sick and tired of the anti-American tone taken by some of our students and, apparently, the administration of our school district.

And remember the words of the Purdue band!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


The Proper Response

The United States of America is a nation of laws. If we abandon that premise, we will dissolve into a quagmire. Obeying the laws is key to an orderly society that we can all enjoy.

The illegal alien issue and the choice to ignore that they are illegal is a choice to attack and destroy the concept that we are a nation of laws.

When the laws are broken, the offenders need to be punished appropriately. Our government has failed to prosecute the corporate interests that break the law, nor do they choose to effectively deal with the illegal aliens themselves. So many are not deported. Most are arrested and released on their own recognizance.

This type of "slap on the wrist" mentality sends the signal to all levels of society that breaking the rules brings minor, if any, consequences on this issue.

That is especially true at the school district level in Covina, where the district proposed and the schools accepted the following "punishment" for yesterday's walk out:

"Information in regards to today's festivities. Students who walked out are marked truant and need to be sent for readmits. Students who participated today will receive a half hour detention if they missed two periods or less, and an hour if they missed more than two periods. These truants cannot be cleared. If students choose to walk out again they will recieve the same detention, but will be cited for a truancy ticket."

The slap on the wrist response to the walk out of approximately 1,000 plus law breakers is asinine and an insult to those of us who support the rule of law.

Monday, March 27, 2006



The students at my place of work decided to have a walk out today, replete with Mexican flags...

500,000 people protested in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday goaded on by the far left Mayor of Los Angeles.

Walk outs are happening at many southland schools today.

Where is the INS when you need them?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


An Open Response to Ray Shelton

On Monday, The Glendale News Press published a letter to the editor by Mr. Ray Shelton entitled Religion defeats its own purpose which was written in response to a religious community forum in which the paper asked, "What is humanity's greatest threat? (The most common answer was, "hunger.") Mr. Shelton argued that the real answer is "religion" in that neither religion nor a God could supply directives that would then supply the basis of morality. Mr. Shelton links the commands of a potential external consciousness with threats and not morality. The Hobbesian conclusion for Mr. Shelton is that external rules are threats, therefore, the only real morality is the one that is individually and internally perceived and determined.

Michael Novak writes in his recent First Things article entitled "The Truth About Religious Freedom" (March 2006) that, "atheism, however, as (Pope) Benedict points out, may be a position of passionate commitment, but it cannot be a position of reason. No man knows enough about the conditions of existence to know for certain that there is no God." Mr. Shelton claims that it is a "fact that religion is based on a falsehood - the fantasy of a God." It seems to me, and to Mr. Novak, that a more tenable anti-religion position would be one of agnosticism, but Mr. Shelton has put himself in the God-like position of knowing for sure that God does not exist. How odd.

Mr. Shelton also claims that there is a "law of causality" that can only be described as being an external law; what, then, is its primary source? What is the primary source of the laws of physics? More importantly, what is the primary source of the laws of logic that Mr. Shelton assumes supports his argument?

Could the answer possibly be, "God?" I should think so even if he abuses the rules of logic in an attempt to make his case.


That's Amore?

I certainly hope that the Vatican has enough sense to cease its relationship with wine maker Robert Cipresso after he teamed with a porn star to create line of wines. Click on the link above for the story.


Stay the Course

Those who are against the Iraq war seem to be against Bush and Blair in their respective countries. The myopic and blatantly political tone found in the attacks against B & B indicates that those doing the attacking have no clue as to the stakes in the long term battle against terrorism. The question that should be asked is why are the enemies of democracy, Bin Laden, Iran, Syria etc. so eager to help the terrorists (aka "insurgency" in the MSM)? The answer is that democracy threatens their type of dictatorial rule and promotes human rights over their extremist philosophies.

Tony Blair gave an excellent speech in defense of the involvement of the Special Relationship led forces in Iraq yesterday. One of the better stories covering the event can be found in The Times of London.

I am thankful that leaders like Blair and Bush know what the modern sinews of peace are. Thankfully, they are trying to lift the Iron Burkha that is trying to descend over the Middle East.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Invest Right for Your Blood Type

Given that crackpot Peter J D'Adamo's nonsensical book Eat Right for Your Blood Type has conned significant numbers of people to irrationally change the way they eat and that he has made a boat load of money off of his scam, I have decided that may be I should write my own book: Invest Right for Your Blood Type.

Here is my thesis:

Type A

You are a fruit and vegetable type according to D'Adamo. Thus you should invest in agricultural products. You should also avoid investing in any cosmetic companies because the F&V type generally become smelly hippies with streaks of gray in their hair. In the long run, it is likely that you will end up locked in some human chain protesting the eventual shut down of Air America. Since it is likely that you will be gassed, maced and pummeled by the police, I suggest that you also invest in these products. Sure, you will be supporting "The Man" but you will also be making a buck off of him as well. Savor the sweet irony as it is non-caloric and not prohibited by the diet. You may also want to invest in the Peanuts line of products as you are likely to end up worshipping the Great Pumpkin.

Type B

You should eat a balanced diet, except that you should avoid chicken. So it was YOU ALL ALONG who started the bird virus! But I digress. Since you are a "balanced" person, your portfolio should be balanced as well. Of course, if you buy into all of this nonsense, you are actually way off balance, but let's go with the assumption that D'Adamo is a marketing genius. I suggest that you get hundreds of annual reports from a variety of sectors. Use the largest scale from Monty Python and The Holy Grail placing a chicken (yes, I know it was a duck in the movie, but I am sticking with the the reccomendations of the diet) on one side and the reports on the other. Adjust the number of reports until it counter balances the evil chicken and invest in them.

Type AB
You are a cross between types A and B. You should consume mostly a vegetarian diet with some protein. Sticking with this theme, you should buy stocks that mostly begin with the letter A, but with some B's thrown in for variety. Either that, or the whole AB thing is a subliminal plug for Anheuser Busch.

Type O

Oh, you univerisally wanted blood type! You are to eat mainly protein. But let's be honest. Since you are universally used, so should your money follow the same path. Send all your money to me since you would be "used" anyway. Trust me, I'll invest it wisely.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Is There Someone Worse Than Mahony

I guess that we could really hate live and live in Orange County. Bishop Ted Brown, a Mahony crony, seems to be interested in trying to out-Mahony Mahony.

Read this, but not near a meal time as you will either lose your appetite or vomit.

Monday, March 13, 2006


What I Have Learned From My Students

This past weekend I graded the essays for World War II written by my Honors World History and U.S. History classes. I learned the following:

1) Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1991.

2) Japan attacked Peal Harbor with an atomic bomb which is why we wanted to nuke them.

3) Hitler killed all the Jews because they were taking food away from Germans.

4) Stalin lived his life in a Machiavellian manor (I'd like to see that house!).

5) Stalin sheared the peasants.

6) Kulak can be spelled many different ways: kutok, kuluk, kuku, koolak...

7) So can my last name: Mckindy, McKinney, McKendrick (another teacher at the school), McKindly (obviously written by an optimist), and, my favorite, McKinky.

8) The United States used the A-bomb on two Japanese cities: Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

9) Hiroshima and Nagasaki were countries that were not associated with the Japanese and should not have been bombed.

10) Stalin personally killed over 50 million people (I'd love to see his appointment calendar).

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Together in Aiding and Abetting

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is running its annual tax the rich parishes program of Together in Mission. Remember that if you parish does not meet its archdiocesan financial target, the archdiocese will simply tap into your parishes assets to make up the differnece.

This is an outrage. But the problem goes further. Since the vast majority of the financially struglling parishes apparently cater to congregations that have substantial numbers of illegal aliens, supporting those parishes aids and abets those who break the laws of our country.

This year, my wife and I are sending money to some "poor" people we know in another country, who, by the way, have properly and legally applied to immigrate to a country where the chances for economic enrichment exist (no, not the USA).

God Bless them for doing the right thing. We will reward them in our own little way with the money that would otherwise help illegal aliens.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Fixing Northview

Getting Started: Reculturing Schools to Become Professional Learning Communities by Robert Eaker, Rick DuFour and Rebecca DuFour should really delete its secondary title since the concept of reculturing does not necessarily apply to all schools. The authors point out that schools should celebrate and build on their successes, and that some schools are closer to the Professional Learning Community (PLC) system than others. Thus, some schools will need only be tweaked. Northview High School is a school in need of tweaking as it has had many successes in improving student achievement.

Schools that adopt the PLC concept make:

"'learning' rather than 'teaching' the fundamental purpose of (the) school. (Schools) (f)ocus on the three key questions: What do we expect students to learn? How will we know what they have learned? And (sic) how will we respond when students don't learn?" (p. 111)

What will these PLCs look like? In reality, the English, Math and Foreign Language Departments at Northview are already functioning as PLCs in that they collaborate, have benchmarks, and give and analyze common tests. Additionally, each department discusses ways to improve student achievement. The great benefit of the seven-period system is that these departments will be able to meet on a more regular basis during the school day instead of trying to be creative with meeting times (such as during lunch). What will the PLCs do? Part of the answer is found in the preceding paragraph; however there is more. Common assessments are critical to measuring what the students have learned (what they should learn is defined by the California and district content standards). Deciding what to reteach and which students need more time and support are outcomes of these meetings. How to teach is left to the individual teachers, but they are encouraged to share ideas and materials.

At the high school level, PLCs are generally created for each department. It is critical that the PLCs be given adequate time to actively collaborate, and the proposed seven period schedule will allow Northview PLCs to do just that. With 10 preparation periods per week for each teacher, two will be designated as PLC time. Thus the leadership at the administration level is creatively addressing the age-old lament of "we don't have enough time!"

Unfortunately, Rick DuFour uses a poor analogy when trying to emphasize that learning is the focus instead of teaching. He writes:

"Most schools are content to allow learning to be the variable, while they hold time and support as constants. But not a learning community. (sic) Learning is the only constant in a professional learning community." (p. 37)

Later he writes:

"Despite the best efforts of teachers, every year in every school - including professional learning communities - there will be those students who simply do not 'get it.'" (p. 99)

DuFour contradicts himself in that in the first quote he argues that learning is a constant and that by tweaking the variables, schools will get a constant result. The second quote recognizes that the conclusion of the first quote is wrong.

This contradiction is not a reason to reject the system. A more realistic approach can be demonstrated through an analogy: If a worker who is paid by the hour wishes to make more money at his job, he can either work more hours and/or ask for (and get) a raise. In a similar way, if teachers decide that they want their students to learn more, then they can manipulate the variables. DuFour ignores the variables of parental involvement and personal student responsibility in his initial formula, and these two variables are not given much attention in his version of PLCs.

But, that does not mean that these variables cannot be given more attention in the Northview PLC system. DuFour and his co-authors recognize that the PLC system is not a cookie-cutter system in that all PLCs should look a certain way. In fact, DuFour states that the creation of effective PLC systems may very well be messy and difficult at first. Thus the recipe for success at Northview may not be the recipe for success at Covina. What recipe works best will be decided through consensus (but not unanimity) by the department PLCs.

PLCs will not have total control over the formula. The formula for success will have to include the content standards of the district and the state. Additionally, the district is requiring that more and more disciplines adopt a common assessment system that includes benchmarks and pacing guides. The PLC system will, however, give teachers a great deal of control and, maybe more importantly, a voice that is heard. The end result should produce a staff that is passionately motivated to come to work each day that will help the students learn more than they, both the teachers and the students, originally thought was possible.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


The Cowardly Cardinal

Although he did little to protect our children from open pants priests, Cardinal Roger Mahony has now weighed in again in the illegal immigration debate by proposing, among other things, much more open borders. Part of his poor reasoning rests on his assumption that terrorists would not brave crossing the desert.

Really? You mean they would brave losing their lives flying a plane into a building or blowing themselves up in a truck bomb, but they wouldn't prepare themselves well enough to hike across a desert (has he been to the Middle East lately? Most of it is a desert!).

I certainly support his and the Church's position to provide for the spiritual needs of any Catholic who presents himself to a parish in the archdiocese, but to publicly declare that he is willing to break the law and that he wants his priests and employees to follow suit in areas dealing with civil violations (therefore not dealing with spirituality and the sacraments) is to promote sedition.

Of course, the great coward is so afraid of his opponents that he won't even let them listen to his sermons, launching a pre-emptive first strike against one with no evidence that anything "bad" would have happened. At least President Bush knew that Sadaam was a bad guy and a real threat. I guess Roger felt that his power of persuasion as shown in his sermon would have little effect on his opponent.

How pathetic.


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