New Pew Poll: American Electorate’s Radical Shifts in Attitudes, Values

21 05 2009

New out this morning as the current president and past vice-president make their starkly contrasting terrorist torture speeches about what it REALLY means to be American:

In seven short years, the American electorate has radically changed, as voters’ priorities have shifted . . .according to a comprehensive survey released Thursday morning by the Pew Research Center.

Pew Graph by Party ID as Independents Rise

The title describes it well:
“Independents Take Center Stage in Obama Era
Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2009”

It’s crammed with all sorts of data and trends to think about. Our attitudes on schools firing teachers for “morals” (homosexuality) happened to be the last thing mentioned in the commentary I just read:

On cultural — as opposed to economic — matters however, the country appears to be moving decisively towards greater social tolerance. . .

The percentage of people who say “school boards ought to have the right to fire teachers who are known homosexuals” has fallen from 51 percent in 1987 to 28 percent this year. At the same time, the percentage who do not think school boards should be empowered to fire gay teachers has grown from 42 to 67 percent.

Obama’s speech transcript here. Video here.

Cheney’s speech both video and transcript here.


Fun and Freeing Homeschool Interviews for Families

21 05 2009

Way to go, Deb! Smart and funny do go together and this is the latest evidence.

If you’re a Thinking Parent of any stripe, you have GOT to go to this blog, “Homeschooling: Freedom and Fun for Your Family” — you’ll recognize lots of the names already up and the ones to come, including Pam and Sandra, Betty Malone (writestuff) and Valerie, Nance and me at some point — and then add the interview link to your blogroll, keep it handy for the next time some Ladenblather pretends to want to know about homeschooling and unschooling life.

And if you want to play along with your own interview, I’m assured you’d be most welcome. . .

Guess Who Told College Grads Real World Beats Google and YouTube?

20 05 2009

“Turn off your computer,” he told the Class of 2009. “You’re actually going to have to turn off your phone and discover all that is human around us. Nothing beats holding the hand of your grandchild as he walks his first steps.”

The complete speech is available on YouTube.
But Mr. Schmidt, whose company owns the video site, would probably recommend that you don’t waste a lot of time watching it.

—Josh Fischman
Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wired Campus

Salute When You Call My Son a Cross-Dresser!

19 05 2009

JJ’s comment today at teacher Darren MacFarlane’s conservative education politics blog, about kilt-wearing Utah schoolboy mistaken as cross-dresser — by his own (shockingly ignorant) principal!

Gavin’s father, Preston McFarland, hopes the incident leads to discussions and education about Scottish heritage, an important part of the history of Weber County.

“I’m just kind of shocked,” he said. “Living in Utah, so many of our ancestors are from that area.”

Ben Lomond Peak was named by Scottish settlers and Ogden boasts a high school where students are encouraged to wear kilts — Ben Lomond High School.

The school’s bagpipe corps endures some occasional teasing from other schools when it competes or travels outside of the Ogden area, said adviser Cory Jensen, but generally the kilts are viewed with respect and an appreciation for Scottish culture.

“Here at the school, they are completely supportive,” Jensen said. “They are looked at as a manly thing.”

Students of Scottish heritage will wear kilts occasionally even if they aren’t in the bagpipes corps, he said.

Here We Go Again With The Kilts“:

Mrs. C just mentioned your stupid-school-principal post when she saw photos of my 13-year-old son in his Ross family tartan kilt Saturday, playing his D Naill great highland bagpipes in his first Scottish games.

My career was in public schooling but he’s never been sent to school, always happily unschooled, and this is the best example I’ve seen lately of WHY! 🙂

Although in a wicked twist of ethnocentrism, I can report that there was another piper about Young Son’s age, whose dad Read the rest of this entry »

His Pipes, His Pipes Were Calling

18 05 2009

Saturday Young Son played the pipes in the Tallahassee Scottish Games for the first time, and cut such a dashing figure (and had such a fine mentor, of course) that he was invited to march with the massed bands in the opening ceremony, too. Like Shakespeare’s Juliet, this was “an honor he dreamed not of” and very exciting for us all!

Then the ceilidh (dance party) at Gill’s Steakhouse & Tavern that night held more surprises I’ll tell you about too, but it’s not an illustrated story, so it can wait a bit. 🙂

Young Son with John and Katie McIlroy preparing to march in the "massed bands" opening ceremonies



She was forty-seven million years old, and real

16 05 2009

Anybody remember that old Popeye joke, how Wimpy would say
“I will gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today” . . .?

Today I say, why wait until Tuesday when you can know some new beef about where we really came from today?

FavD’s Upcoming Three-Volume Memoir

15 05 2009

titled, ““Why the Girl Who Sits in Front of Me Deserves to be Executed via Guillotine, and Other Things I Learned at a Four-Year State University”:

What is up with this attitude? Why are you in a 3300 level class that you don’t even care about?