Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011

Welcome to readers dropping by from Dan Phillips' Biblical Christianity blog, which is one of my favorites in the blogospere.  He also blogs at Pyromaniacs, another of my faves, and (allegedly) the #9 Christian blog on the earth with almost 200K hits per month!  Thanks to DJP for sending his esteemed readers my way!

Fed instructs teachers to Facebook creep on students  
The Daily Caller
"Education Department officials are threatening school principals with lawsuits if they fail to monitor and curb students’ lunchtime chat and evening Facebook time for expressing ideas and words that are deemed by Washington special-interest groups to be harassment of some students...."...Facebook is developing new features that will make it harder for principals to miss episodes of online “harassment,” and so will increase the likelihood of government action against the teenage users of Facebook and other social-media..."...The leading advocate for the expanded rules is Kevin Jennings, who heads the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Jennings founded the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network advocacy group, and raised at least $100,000 for the Obama campaign in 2008..."...Ken Trump, a Cleveland-based school-safety consultant, says the administration is so determined to focus on gay and lesbian teens that it is asking Congress for $365 million to conduct bullying-related school surveys in 2012..."...The primary purpose behind the administration’s initiative is to “create a social and political climate where it is impossible to express conservative moral beliefs” about sexuality, even when research data shows those beliefs help many people live prosperous and happy lives, said Laurie Higgins, the school-advocacy chief of three-person Illinois Family Institute, in Carol Stream, Ill...."

As schools begin to rely more and more on technology, parents will need to be vigilant about protecting the privacy rights of their children.  Many schools are now issuing school-owned laptop computers to their students, which will give the schools many new avenues for "creeping" on their students.  In addition to the inherent loss of privacy with Facebook, the new threat of school district retaliation against unpopular viewpoints is chilling. 

A Note to House Republicans Patting Themselves On the Back
Red State - Erick Erickson
"I hope John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Jeb Hensarling, and the rest of the House Leadership and those Republicans who supported the 3 week continuing resolution “cutting” $6 billion realize this:
The daily amount of interest we will accrue on our national debt is greater than the $6 billion saved over three weeks. In other words, these cuts have done nothing to save us any money."

I'm extremely disappointed that my congressman, Rep. Jim Renacci, went along with the House leadership and voted for the continuing resolution, which didn't remove the Obamacare slush fund, didn't defund Planned Parenthood, and didn't do a thing to solve the towering deficit problem. Congressman Renacci campaigned on a platform of repealing Obamacare and reducing the deficit, but on fourth and one, he punted the ball back to the Democrats' side of the field.  I applaud brave GOP members like Michelle Bachman, Mike Pence, Allen West, and Louis Gohmert who are serious about tackling these enormous problems that are jeopardizing the future of our country. 

Judge Convicts Nurse: Free Speech Does Not Cover Encouraging Suicide | The Blaze:
"Freedom of speech is no defense for a former nurse who engaged in “lethal advocacy” when he encouraged an English man and Canadian woman to kill themselves after searching for depressed people over the Internet, a Minnesota judge said in delivering a guilty verdict against the man.
"The judge found William Melchert-Dinkel, 48, guilty Tuesday of two counts of aiding the suicides of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, who hanged himself in 2005, and Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, who jumped into a frozen river in 2008...
"...Melchert-Dinkel was not merely expressing ideas about suicide The court finds that defendant’s speech imminently incited the victims to commit suicide, and can be described as ‘lethal advocacy,‘ which is analogous to the category of unprotected speech known as ’fighting words‘ and ’imminent incitement of lawlessness,’” Neuville wrote."

Forget flashcards! Watch reality TV and get into college | Los Angeles Times: 
The L.A. Times reports that students were given the following essay prompt on a recent SAT test:
“Reality television programs, which feature real people engaged in real activities rather than professional actors performing scripted scenes, are increasingly popular ... How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?Do people benefit from forms of entertainment that show so-called reality, or are such forms of entertainment?”
I've had this complaint about SAT questions for years.  They generally focus on some aspect of pop-culture, much of which is unfamiliar to students who don't spend their evenings in front of the TV as well as those who don't attend public school. There was a time that students were tested on a common body of knowledge that was rooted in study of the traditional liberal arts. While the question above is a writing prompt, designed to test the student's ability to write a coherent essay, taking a position and defending an argument, assigning such a silly topic - what educator Charlotte Mason would have called "twaddle" - demeans and dumbs down the the integrity of the test as well as those being tested. 

Is a Tsunami an “Act of God”? | The Daysman:
"There is a lot of controversy right now about whether or not hell is real.
But there is much less doubt about whether or not tsunamis are.
This raises a couple of questions. Is a tsunami an “act of God,” as the insurance companies tell us? And if so, is his role active or passive?
Assume for a minute that he is passive. Then we want to know why he didn’t prevent the tragedy in Japan. And if he is active, we want to know why he caused it.
We can safely say he cares about it, which makes it harder to argue he is passive about such things. No one wants, or needs, a passive God. And clearly the scripture says he is not:
You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,like grass that is renewed in the morning:in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;in the evening it fades and withers.For we are brought to an end by your anger;by your wrath we are dismayed.(Psalm 90:5-7 ESV)" 
Read the whole thing. It's a great response to an immeasurable tragedy. 

After all the doom, despair, and agony this week, I needed a little cheering up, so I turned to one of my favorites: Rhett and Link's Buffet Song. This just never gets old for me...


Pierre Saikaley said...

The time is coming, and perhaps now here, when the Government will take over the internet. As our world rapidly becomes more connected through social media, I believe it will find ways to over regulate and control usage, as well as keep tabs on citizens. Apparently there is an app or ones being developed that can use facebook data as facial recognition and profiling of individuals.

Point: the relative freedom of the internet now is a short lived phenomenon. Enjoy it while we careful what you visit.

Paula said...

Net neutrality is a big concern as well. I hadn't heard about the FB facial recognition, but it doesn't surprise me. I scored one of the Google Chrome notebook prototypes and the first thing it tried to do when I turned it on was take my picture. It kind of creeped me out a little.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the link, Paula.

Paula said...

I enjoy your blog, Wally, and am happy to point others there!