Saturday, May 10, 2008

Davis versus Childers

Greg Davis got a mention in the WaPo this Sunday, complete with a picture that makes him look about one toothpick short of Jethro Clampett. The article was about the desperation felt by the GOP over several recent special election losses, suggesting a Davis loss would signal an important trend. Actually, the trend began when the WMDs weren't found.

Let's face it, we're seeing just how much of a boat anchor Bush has become to his party. His inability to articulate a positive vision was put in perspective by moderate Republican Tom Davis in the article:
"When Bush tries to articulate a vision," Davis said, pausing to choose his words carefully, "he will butcher the Gettysburg Address. Obama, he will make an A&P grocery list sing."
That of course has no bearing on the substance of either man, and as we've seen, there's some wind blowing around inside Barack's suit. But perception is reality in politics.

I agree with Tom Davis that the GOP should take a lesson from these losses and stop the shallow attacks against Obama and try running on their own vision and beliefs, if they have any. Is that too much to ask?

Meanwhile, some of the radio commercials for Travis Childers are hilarious in their stereotypical portrayal of Childers as a good ole boy in line with conservative Mississippi values and such. Funny, the Childers people bristle at the notion of the GOP trying to link him to Obama (even though he showed up on Barack's web site) but he doesn't seem at all eager to link himself to Nancy Pelosi, who's shown us nothing but investigations since taking power while doing nothing to get out of Iraq or stop rising gas prices, as was promised. And who wouldn't want more of that success?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Thaddeus Matthews -- truther

Heard his show on KWAM today. He was discussing race relations with a white caller and the conversation turned to Reverend Wright's take on 9/11--roosting chickens and so forth--to which Thaddeus questioned the official account, suggesting maybe those terrorists were of the domestic special agent variety.

The dude is entertaining and I enjoy the perspective (after all, Barack told us all to go forth and have race discussions) but when people devolve into that nonsense it's good-bye time for me.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Discrimination at Hollis F. Price?

By now most have heard about the Memphis high school principal making national news for ordering a list of all couples in her school, some of whom were gay, then calling their parents to inform them of this shocking news. Not only that, but apparently she also prohibited them from participation in a field trip to New Orleans because:
..as one of his teacher's explained, he would "embarrass" the school by engaging in gay affection.
Of course the ACLU is involved, fighting for their rights while the Memphis City Schools can see no evil to this point.

If the facts in this case are true as presented it sounds like an open and shut case should it reach litigation. Personally I'm not too hip on homosexuality, or any other sexuality on school grounds inhabited by kids under 18, but there are matters of privacy. Nobody deserves to be embarrassed in this manner by a publicly paid school official. It's none of her business.

But that's not what interests me here. The school itself interests me. Keep in mind this is Memphis, the city of racism and corruption (John Ford, now relaxing in Federal Prison in Louisiana, comes to mind) so naturally there's a tendency to sniff rats around every corner whether they exist or not.

The school in question, Hollis F. Price, is a public school located on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen University in downtown Memphis. The school, again, funded by taxpayers, opened in 2004 and offers a chance for selected kids to earn college level credits through a rigorous high school program. As a result, the school ranks pretty high on the school ranking websites.

It's part of a small group of schools nationwide participating in the "Early College High School Initiative", others of which can be seen on this page. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was involved in setting up the program.

In 2006 there were 101 students, 101 of whom were black. Not sure what the ratio is today or whether race is even a requirement. According to this site it's not, yet it does clarify:
...designed for students who may be underrepresented in a traditional setting,
In this case 'underrepresented' means:
Its priority is to serve low-income young people, first-generation college goers, English language learners, and students of color, all of whom are statistically underrepresented in higher education and for whom society often has low aspirations for academic achievement.
So it all depends on how the deciders decide to interpret the word underrepresented. Again, this is a public school. That means it's funded by our property and sales taxes and probably means they cannot discriminate by race, creed or color or sexual preference, etc. There's no allegation they are, at least with admissions, just providing an FYI.

Want your kid to apply? Here's a link to the application form, which includes the odd prerequisite of reading Langston Hughes' "Not Without Laughter" and being prepared to discuss it during the interview. What of Hughes? From his wiki site:
Hughes, like many black writers and artists of his time, was drawn to the promise of Communism as an alternative to a segregated America. Many of his lesser-known political writings have been collected in two volumes published by the University of Missouri Press and reflect his attraction to Communism.
No, I'm not saying he was and furthermore am not pretending to be an expert on his life or struggles. For other perspectives try this, this, and this. Interestingly, the new pariah of the black left, Jeremiah Wright, dropped Hughes' name in his speech at the National Press Club this past Monday. Not real surprising since Wright seems in many ways a man who became disillusioned living in the "land of the free", just like Hughes.

But let's cut to the chase--it certainly appears that kids wanting admittance to this school MUST read the book, which chronicles the black experience in small town America by a writer with communist leanings, to even be considered. Wonder how a child of Vietnamese or Taiwanese or Lebanese heritage would do on that interview? Or a poor white kid? Is the Tennessee Board of Regents involved in this?

I'm willing to be corrected on any of this if it's wrong, which I hope it is. What we seem to have is essentially a private school being operated by public funds with a selection process that appears discriminatory. That's not an attempt to tear down the potential benefits of the program for both students and society as a whole, rather, just meant to point out how our tax dollars are being used in a culture obsessed with fairness at every turn.