… a veritable cornucopia of things to piss you off …
Serving up the latest in Zero Tolerance and Obama fare … mmm, mmm, good!
Five California high school students were told they could either turn their t-shirts inside out or go home on May 5th for wearing t-shirts with US flags on them. The Vice Principal said he was afraid for the boys’ safety since they were wearing these “incendiary” shirts on the “only day” that Mexican students can express their national pride. When the boys refused to turn the shirts inside out – pointing out, among other things that the shirts are not a violation of the school dress code, that they each have several different US flag shirts which they wear all the time without challenge, that the Mexican students wear Mexican flag shirts any time they feel like wearing them, and that they felt that turning the shirts inside out was disrespectful to the flag, to them and a violation of their first amendment rights — they were sent home. On Tuesday, May 11, following a school board meeting in which multiple parents expressed their displeasure at the situation, Superintendent Wesley Smith said, “They have a right to wear those shirts on school campus, on all of our campuses, they shouldn’t have been asked to take them off.” The superintendent also said an investigation into how administrators handled everything on Cinco de Mayo is still underway and should be complete by June, after which they’ll decide if any disciplinary action should be taken. [FOX News, ABC News]
Remember when Joe the Plumber asked Obama exactly what he wanted to do if elected, and Obama, speaking off the cuff, said that “it’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success, too. I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.” Remember when people said that sounded an awful lot like Socialism if not full blown Communism and his supporters accused them of over-reacting and blowing things out of proportion? Well, on April 28, Obama went off the teleprompter and tried to paraphrase while speaking in Quincy, Illinois. Here’s part of what he said: “We’re not, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money. But, you know, part of the American way is, you know, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product or providing good service. We don’t want people to stop, ah, fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow the economy.” Silly me, and here I had no idea that Obama gets to decide when we’ve “made enough money” — or whether or not my success was “fairly earned” providing a good product or a good service. Furthermore, I must admit that I didn’t have a clue that it was my responsibility to “grow our economy,” core or otherwise. All these years, I thought I was supposed to be growing my own economy so as to support my family. [Google It™ or you can *watch* him say it under the fold]
Ten-year old Leighann came home from her Texas elementary school in tears, afraid to tell her parents that (for the first time in her life) she had gotten in trouble at school. Leighann and her friend were under orders to serve a week’s detention during lunch and recess, and they had to write an essay about what they did and why it was wrong. What had they done? Leighann’s friend gave her a single Jolly Rancher candy. Leighann’s parents say the punishment was extreme, but school officials insist it was not. Jack Ellis, superintendent for the school district, says it’s a matter of following state guidelines to limit the amount of junk food in schools. “Whether or not I agree with the guidelines, we have to follow the rules.” The state Department of Agriculture does in fact mandate that school lunch foods need to be baked rather than fried, nutritious rather than loaded with empty calories and things like that. But a department spokesman says that there is absolutely nothing in the rules that compels a school to punish a student for bringing his own junk food to school, that their policy does not prohibit friends from sharing a Jolly Rancher candy, and that if a parent wants to pack candy in the child’s lunch, they can. The department even sent a letter to the school reminding staff that state policy doesn’t outline such punishments but the school is not backing down. Leighann’s parents say the school routinely goes too far in punishing students: Students at the school are required to wear a belt. A few months ago Leighann’s younger brother was given an in-school suspension for failing to wear one even though his father called the school secretary to explain that their new puppy chewed up the boy’s only belt that morning. The boy was made to “sit in a room all day and stare at a wall.” Leighann’s parents say that they’re pulling their kids out of the school at the end of the school year; if necessary, they say they’ll send them to private school. [FOX News]
On the Side
Speaking at Hampton University in Virginia, President Obama suggested that “less is more” when it comes to absorbing news content and urged graduates to take a skeptical eye toward news from blogs, cable television and radio as well as modern gadgets like iPods and PlayStations. Obama told graduates that the class of 2010 is “coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy. With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs, and on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all — to know what to believe, to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s not. Let’s face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I’ve had some experience in that regard.” You will no doubt recall that last September, the president used a string of major network and cable interviews to scold the media for playing up “outrageous” political comments. Then Obama and his administration spent much of last fall criticizing Fox News in specific. It’s now starting to seem that targeting cable and blogs has become something of a hobby: In February, he urged Democratic senators to turn off their televisions. He singled out FOX, CNN, MSNBC and blogs, urging the lawmakers to get out of the “echo chamber.” In March an e-mail was sent to Senate staffers warning them not to visit The Drudge Report out of concern for a non-existent virus. Pointing out that nobody has used the media more masterfully than Obama, Brent Bozell, president of Media Research Center, says that in order to prove his “sincerity” about media and technology gripes, Obama should delete his massive e-mail list and take his staff off TV. “It’s just posturing on his part. He is trying to put himself in opposition to those forces to improve his status with the public.” [FOX News]
Two years ago, 5-year old Ryan lost part of his left leg in a lawnmower accident. His leg was amputated below the knee, and he wears a prosthetic limb. Ryan is a kindergarten student, and the bus ride from his home to the school is about an hour long. He and his 7-year old sister used to ride the bus to and from school every day, but that stopped earlier this month because the school has informed Ryan’s parents that they must transport Ryan and his sister from now on. Why? Kids on the school bus — older kids, some as old as 13 — have been bullying Ryan, calling him names and taunting him. They’ve stolen Ryan’s backpack. They’ve tried to pull off his prosthetic leg. Ryan’s dad spoke with the parents of the kids involved and he thought the matter was resolved, until May 4th, when Ryan was given a black eye after being punched on the bus by a 13-year old who is one of the biggest kids on the bus. After talking to the boy’s parents and getting nowhere, Ryan’s dad asked the bus driver and the school principal to do something about it, because “He’s young, he’s five, he’s disabled. I can’t ride the bus and stand up for him, you know. He can’t defend himself, so who easier to pick on than a kid who gets punched in the eye and sits quietly in the corner. I asked for the child to be disciplined. I asked for him to be suspended from school to teach him a lesson because there’s a zero tolerance for bullying. Instead we were told Ryan will no longer be on the bus, that it’s not safe for him or my daughter and that we have to drive them the round trip.” When Ryan’s dad complained, the school district offered to pay for the gas to make the trip each day. [CBC News]
You’ll find that video under the fold, as promised. Think of it as the after-dinner mint.