Posts tagged with Social Responsibility

Islamic Terrorism forces Censorship in United States

A Muslim group has threatened South Park creators for insulting Muhammad by casting him in a bear suit.

UPDATE July 21, 2010 - Alleged Terrorist Arrested

Reuters: Man behind "South Park" threat arrested. Zachary Adam Chesser has been arrested on charges of providing material support to an extremist group.

I am not a fan of Comedy Central's animated situation comedy South Park; I just do not find it entertaining. In fact, when I have tried to watch it I usually end up changing the channel. The show is vulgar and full of innuendos. However, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the content of this show. Moreover, it is not subject to Federal Communication Commission regulations since it is not a network broadcast show. Of course, Comedy Central can choose to censor any material it carries; however, they usually do not.

Never the less, when a radical "Muslim group warns 'South Park' creators of death", Comedy Central did choose to censor an episode of South Park; they have even removed the episode clips from their website. threatened Trey Parker and Matt Stone with assassination, showing a gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was shot and stabbed to death in 2004 by an Islamic fanatic. The Muslim group made the threat because Parker and Stone had insulted Muhammad by casting him in a bear suit.

Comedy Central has not seen fit to censor the show when it has insulted other religious leaders, political leaders, or protected groups. However, they did react to terrorism. The radical Islamic terrorist simply made a threat and Comedy Central surrendered.

Radical Islamic Terrorist: 1, The First Amendment and American Freedom: Ø

UPDATE: 04/23/2010 The following is taken in whole from this Hollywood Reporter story.

'Muhammad' now a dirty word on 'South Park'

Now "South Park" can't even say the words "Prophet Muhammad."

After last week's episode of the Comedy Central series sparked a threat (and yes, it was certainly a threat) from a radical Islamic website, the network has cracked-down-for-their-own-good on creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone during last night's continuation of the show's storyline.

For those who missed the drama, the show's 200th episode last week mocked the one "celebrity" that the series has been largely unable to depict, the Prophet Muhammad, who was hidden from view in a bear costume. A U.S.-based website then warned Parker and Stone they could end up like Theo Van Gogh (the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered by Muslim extremists after depicting Muhammad on his show) and even posted the address of the show's production office. The site has since been shut down.

Last night, "South Park" continued the controversial Muhammad storyline, but with a key difference: every instance of the words "Prophet Muhammad" was bleeped out, making the episode practically incomprehensible, especially to anybody who missed the previous week.

The character of Muhammad was once again also hidden from view, covered by a large block labeled "censored."

A Comedy Central spokesperson confirmed it was the network's decision to bleep the words.

The Muhammad content is also not available on the South Park Studios website.

A message on the site states: "We do not have network approval to stream our original version of the show. We will bring you a version of [episode] 201 as soon as we can."

Ironically, "South Park" apparently shows an image of the Prophet Muhammad briefly in its opening credits that has gone largely unnoticed.

UPDATE: Parker and Stone comment on "South Park" censorship: In the 14 years we've been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn't stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn't some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle's customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn't mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We'll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we'll see what happens to it.

This CNN video investigates the South Park episode and Revolution Muslim's threats.

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Fun Pictures of Recent Comment

This is a compilation of pictures that I have used as commentary.

UPDATE - July 21, 2010 - This blog will be updated regularly as photo opportunities present themselves. What is a photo opportunity? That is when I want to make a comment with a picture, but don't want to write a new blog. This update also includes a format change. The pictures will now be the link to the back story - just click on the link to go to the story or comment that the picture represents.

Click on the links to go directly to the picture; click on any picture to go to its background story.

Quick Links:

15 Minute parking Meters

School Board Collage

Dino's Dome Home


Also see: "The Oread hotel falls victim to vandals".

KTAG Checkered Flag


Also see: "The Oread hotel falls victim to vandals".

Oread's Obama Is A Fraud

Perkin's KU Mile High Club

Arensberg Shoes Gas Leak

Fraser Hall Flag Poles

The Eldridge Expansion

Schlitz Beer

Laird's Target Off the Mark

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Extreme Politics - The Radical Right and Loony Left

Radical right, loony left. Right winger, left winger. Right wing extremist, left wing extremist. Nazi, zealot, American terrorist, American taliban, Un-American, traitor, and even snolly-gusters. Snolly-gusters? Yes, according to journalist Bob Schieffer, Harry Truman referred to Republicans as "a bunch of snolly-gusters". Mudslinging and name calling is as old as politics. Can anything be done to lesson some of the rhetoric?

Let's begin with a definition of extreme. I like Merriam-Webster for definitions:

Extreme - 1 b: going to great or exaggerated lengths; 3: situated at the farthest possible point from a center.

Thus, an extreme position is the one that is furthest from the center, norm, median, or average. An extremist is the person who takes, or occupies, that position. By definition, no political party can fully occupy the extreme position; it can only be occupied by a select group that have exaggerated ideals.

First, a review of what the political spectrum is would be in order.

Due to the well established two-party political system, many in the United States see political positions as a point on a line:

Unfortunately, it is this view that leads to much of the name calling in politics. This limited view forces far more people into two categories, thus increasing the number of people that must appear to be extremists.

One solution is to recognize that political positions actually tend to fall more accurately in to one of four political camps; a centrist, or moderate, could be considered a subset of any or all of these:

With the realization that the political continuum is not a straight line, or even a circle, but rather a multidimensional continuum, comes the understanding that not as many individuals can be extremists.

Here is an illustration, using 25 dots (political viewpoints) per quadrant (placed with no representative meaning):

Here, the 100 viewpoints are on one straight line:

This congestion of view points creates an erroneous perception that there are many extremists; when, in fact, the amount of extremists is rather limited. This is due, in part, to the fact that we like to place everything into segments. When you look at the last fourth of each line (imaginary or real) on both charts you will notice that the "extremists" in the four separated camps total 12; while those forced onto the straight-line easily double that number. Perception can appear to be reality.

What is it that places a person, by perception if not in reality, in the far extremes of the political spectrum? I believe there are two causes: Single-issue politics and Convictions. Exasperating this is the fact that the second usually drives the first.

Conviction refers to the depth of belief that someone has regarding an issue. Some have said that a conviction is that which you are willing to die for to uphold. For example, many men and women of our country have demonstrated their conviction in the belief of freedom by making the ultimate sacrifice defending the United States. Another example of a right (conviction) to die for is seen in the mis-attributed quote of Voltaire, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Convictions can lead people to concentrate only on one area of politics. Current political examples of high profile single-issues include: abortions, guns, and health care. Social Security, energy, environment, and economical interests are sometimes benefactors of single-issue politics. Single-issue politics can also include special interests such as farm subsidy, finance, or transportation. Regardless of the issue, it can skew the political horizon.

A single-issue voter that is driven by conviction may tend to espouse their views from an emotional, rather than an intellectual, position. Those driven by emotion sometimes vacate their intellectual arguments and appear to be an extremist decrying a heartfelt, yet oft misguided, position. Knowing the reason that many veer into emotional arguments should result in an opponent being less aggressive for two reasons. First, tolerance and compassion should come into play. Second, their is no logical argument that can overcome an emotional argument.

Finally, extreme politics would seem less extreme if those claiming to be tolerant - were tolerant. And, if those claiming to be compassionately conservative - were compassionate and conservative.

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Barack Obama - Dictator of United States? Bush: “It would be easier.”

American screenwriter and director Woody Allen in an interview with the Spanish language newspaper, "La Vanguardia" stated, “I am pleased with Obama. I think he’s brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him.”

How would Allen have the Republican Party "get out of his way and stop trying to hurt [Obama]?” Simple. Allen believes that "it would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly."

UPDATE: May 18, 2010

One of the hallmarks of a dictatorship is to nationalize key industries. Thus, Woody Allen is not the first to project the possibility of a dictatorship. US Representative Maxine Waters , during a Congressional hearing with oil executives stated, “And guess what this liberal would be all about? This liberal would be all about socializing — er, uh. [Pauses for several moments] …. would be about … [pause] … basically … taking over, and the government running all of your companies.”

Chris Matthews, on his MSNBC show ”Hardball,” asked why [President] Obama did not go after BP: "Why doesn't the President go in there, nationalize an industry and get the job done for the people?" Matthews than apparently recommended the Chinese approach, "They execute people for this. Major industrial leaders that commit crimes like this."

UPDATE May 19, 2010 - What did Obama say?

UPDATE: May 20, 2010 - Many seem to believe that George Bush's joke about being a dictator is equivalent to the statements made in earnest by Waters, Matthews, and Allen. Therefore, in the interest of fairness, here is Bush's comment.

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Fred Phelps, Homosexual Haters, and False Fundamentals

The purpose of this writing is simply to expose the fallacy that is The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) and its founder Fred Phelps. Phelps and his family act in hateful ways and misuse the Word of God to justify their Pharisaical actions. The perverted Phelps claims a belief in the teachings of the Bible; yet, he purposely misleads his family, church, and the public as to the content of those teachings. Therefore, it is stipulated, for the sake of argument, that the Bible is the absolute authority pertaining to this discussion. Whether a reader agrees with the Bible, or not, is irrelevant to the Bible's ability to expose the heretical actions of Phelps and his misdirected congregation of sinners since it is used, by them, to justify their immoral actions.

The mission of the Church is generally accepted by theologians as the command given by Jesus, to his disciples, in Matthew 28:19-20. That command, as found in the New International Version, states, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Phelps has made the mission of his congregation to preach hatred of homosexuals. Nowhere in the great commission does Jesus single out a particular sin. The reason? Jesus came to satisfy the penalty for all sin. In fact, the Phelps group even hold up signs proclaiming God's hatred of the world.

God does not hate the world; nothing could be further from the truth. John declares, in the most famous of all Bible verses (John 3:16), "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." The radical and bigoted Phelps claims that not only does "God Hate the World," but that "God hates fags," He has no Biblical basis upon which to make either claim.

Ultimately, the paradox presented by Phelps and his congregation is whether or not "God hates fags." The fact is, Phelps can provide no Scripture to support the false claim that provides the basis for most of the congregation's protests. Yes, the Bible does name homosexuality as sin. 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 groups homosexual offenders with idolaters. adulterers, drunks, and prostitutes. "Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers. Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." However, Paul goes on to explain that from any of these sins some "were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." That is to say, from a scriptural viewpoint, sin is sin. God does hate the sin. Genesis 19 details the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom (the root for the word sodomy) and its sister city were destroyed because God found no righteousness in the city. However, he gave the people the opportunity to repent because he loves the sinner.

Fred is wrong. God does not hate fags; he loves fags. Homosexuals, according to Phelps' Bible, are sinners that are loved by God. He loves them so much that he specifically named the sin as one for which Jesus died. stat tracker for tumblr

Let me reiterate, the purpose of this writing is to expose the reasons that Fred Phelps and the WBC are in error. To do so requires that WBC actions be repudiated by the Bible as it is their source of motivation. Those who disagree with the Bible may do so. However, this blog is not about the validity of the Bible, rather it is about the Bible's condemnation of Phelps and WBC.

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Lawrence’s Third High School - Reconfiguration Result

There have been two public forums and discussion has occurred at several Lawrence Public School's (LPS) School Board meetings regarding the reconfiguration of high school grades. Many in the community have asked, "Why should 9th grade move to the high school buildings?" There are many compelling reasons to do so. These include logistics of teaching multiple year courses, combining secondary teaching positions, and access to specialized classes. There are also valid reasons to keep the status quo. Safety and security of younger students in a more open environment, social and emotional concerns, and capacity limitations of the existing high schools are all valid concerns.

However, all of the reasons - pro or con - put aside, there is one end result that will occur as a result of moving the 9th grade to Lawrence High and Free State High schools: A third high school will be built; or significant additions will be made to the existing structures. Is this the real agenda of the Administration or School Board? It may be or it may not be; that is irrelevant to what will happen. All one needs to do is look at the historical actions of the district and the future becomes very clear. Simply stated, history repeats itself unless someone causes something to happen to purposely change it.

Let's look at the historical record.

The LPS School Board voted to close Centennial School, adding it to a consolidation list that included Riverside and East Heights Schools in 2003. This was presented as a necessary move to offset expected budget shortfalls for the next school year. However, this was merely cover for a plan that had been maturing for nearly 30 years. An archived news story from February 5, 1975, ”Centennial parents unhappy with plan” reveals that at least 27 years before it was finally used by LHS, Centennial was doomed to close for that very purpose. It took officials nearly thirty years to get past parents and voters; however, persistence and obfuscation eventually won out.

More recently, we find that Lawrence High School is still awaiting completion of a highly controversial football stadium, practice fields, and new tennis courts. Was this an idea that just happened to spring to mind when the District found itself with leftover money from a 2005 facilities improvement bond issue? Did the School Board approve the $9.2 million athletic fields on a whim? No, the idea was brought to light in this Lawrence Journal World (LJW) editorial from 1990, ”FACILITY PROPOSALS SMACK OF POLITICS”. It was revisited prior to the opening of Free State high school as the district attempted to work with the City to provide a solution.

How do the historical examples of closing Centennial School and the building of high school athletic fields relate to a third high school? They have provided historical evidence that what the Administration and/or School Board lobbied for in the past, predictably, happens in the future. Therefore, a review of any history of promoting a third high school would be relevant.

For nearly 20 years the LPS Administration and School Board has desired and planned for three high schools for Lawrence. A plan was brought forward on April 16, 1992 that set the stage for the construction of Lawrence's fourth junior high, Southwest; and, the second high school, Free State. Lost in the frenzy of studies, bond issues, and votes was the District's final goal: three high schools and four middle schools. An archived LJW article, ”SCHOOL COMMISSION CONSIDERS 3 PROPOSALS,” details the plans, "...In the meantime, the district will have built a third high school, thus creating three high schools with about 1,130 students each."

Southwest Junior High and Free State High Schools have been completed from that original plan. Moving ninth grade students to the high schools will put into motion that which will be necessary to complete the goal of three high schools. Once the ninth grade has been relocated to the high schools, the Administration and School board will take immediate notice of the overcrowding of the high schools and move to alleviate it. The answer will be either a third high school or adding ninth grade wings to the existing schools.

More to the point, on October 28, 2007 School Board President Scott Morgan affirmed the District's commitment to a third high school. Board member Mary Loveland has said that future decisions should include accommodating a possible third high school. This commitment may have been further confirmed when the District paid $1.73 million for 76 acres of land as recently as October 26, 2009. In addition, the Board has set aside up to $2 million for site evaluation, improvements, and architectural fees. These are not fees that would be incurred if the property was simply "an investment" as Board members have implied.

Regardless of the justification and reasoning, voters need to know this: Moving 9th grade students to the high school buildings will cost taxpayers an estimated $32 million in new construction. Wait, add another $6 million for a third stadium and athletic fields. That may be reason enough to delay reconfiguration.

Finally, this needs to be said. School Board members and Administrators need to become transparent. They should provide all of the facts and all of the reasons for change and quit hiding their agendas.

Then again, maybe the School Board and Administration is transparent already. Many in the community have seen right through them.

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THE IRS - An April 15th Declaration



Poll - Should USD 497 seek renewal of principal?

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Since the resignation of Elias Espinoza as Wakarusa Valley Elementary School Principal, the district has had a second elementary school principal resignation. The resignation of the Langston Hughes principal leaves a vacancy. Espinoza had stated that he intended his resignation to be a step ahead of mandated lay-offs. Parents at Wakarusa Elementary believe Espinoza to be a good principal and worth the effort of persuading him to stay in the district. His retention would save the district the cost of a search to fill the vacancy.

Should the District ask Espinoza to rescind his resignation since there is now a vacancy?

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The National Debt - What does it mean to you?

The national debt grows at a rate of about $1 million per minute; or, $1.4 billion per day. Sit back, watch, and enjoy a few million dollars of time.

The current (approximate) population of the United States is 308,160,000. That means each citizen's share of the debt is just under $42,000; or, $109,000 per household (2.59 people).

The whole of the debt is nearing the total of our nation's Gross Domestic Product. Almost half of the debt is owed to other countries. The national debt is enough money to purchase a nice car or truck for every man, woman, and child in the country. The average household could buy a household, take vacation for 52 weeks, or eat 23 meals per day at a fast food restaurant.

The numbers are becoming unfathomable for many. A million was difficult to comprehend, a billion was a thousand times worse; but a trillion - actually 12 trillion - what is that?

What puts these numbers in perspective for you? Is there anything that translates into 12 trillion for you? How about your personal share of the debt? Get out the calculator and compute how you can visualize the debt and your portion of it.


Superintendent Doll: Lacking in Experience

UPDATE April 8, 2010: One contributor to the forum questioned the District Office Pictures (below) as being representative of Dr. Doll's experience. This blog specifically exposes Doll's experience and abilities regarding budgeting, personnel, and district size (enrollment). These graphs utilize data collected from the Kansas State Department of Education reflecting the last year Doll served as the District Superintendent of Rock Creek and Louisburg; USD 497 data is actual finals reported for the 2008 - 2009 school year.

UPDATE April 7, 2010: "Wakarusa Valley, Broken Arrow elementary schools to share principal" Either you get it at this point or you don't. The absurdity is astounding.

UPDATE April 6, 2010: January, 2009, "Maize Schools Announces Superintendent Finalists," Rick Doll one of three chosen for interviews. However, "Maize Selects Doug Powers As New Superintendent."

UPDATE April 5, 2010: These pictures of Doll's Administrative Offices provide a real-life visual of his experience compared to his position at USD 497.

UPDATE March 30, 2010: Further demonstrating his inability to make good decisions, Doll makes a personnel announcement reporting that, "Wakarusa Valley principal resigns". This was a poor time to make this announcement; it has the appearance of retribution. Doll may not have been able to prevent the resignation; however, he continues to demonstrate poor judgment in releasing this information without the benefit of a good public relations campaign.

The Lawrence Public Schools Board of Education was tasked with finding a replacement for former Superintendent Randy Weseman upon his resignation in 2009. They eventually sifted through several candidates and chose Dr. Rick Doll. Dr. Doll assumed the reigns of command to the District at a most inopportune time. Although Dr. Doll has a winning personality and endearing charm his leadership of the District during the current budget crisis has been far from exemplary. It is as if the School Board had only two qualifications for Superintendent candidates.

First, the new Superintendent must appear to be the old Superintendent. That is, he must look like his predecessor.

Second, and more disturbing, he must be willing to live out his alternate persona: Peter Principle. Those unfamiliar with business and management principles may not be familiar with the Peter Principle. The Peter Principle is the principle that "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence."

This may be the case with Dr. Doll. Let's take a look at Doll's experience as it relates to his current position.

There is no elementary school administrative experience. All of Doll's administrative experience is in the secondary or district level. This may explain the current propensity to push the majority of budget cuts towards the elementary schools.

Doll's progression as a Superintendent shows an increasing amount of responsibility. This is demonstrated by the increase of students, personnel, and finances at each promotional level.

Dr. Doll began his district administrative career as an assistant superintendent in rural Kansas. Later, he became the Superintendent of Rock Creek USD 323; a district with a total enrollment that is nearly equivalent to either of Lawrence's High Schools. Rock Creek's total (including all schools) personnel fall just short of the quantity located at Lawrence's Administration Office. The final budget managed by Dr. Doll was $6.5 million; about 5% of Lawrence's budget.

Doll then served as Superintendent at Louisburg USD 416. Louisburg has an enrollment of 2000 students, and an annual budget of $17 million. Doll nearly tripled his budgetary responsibility while not quite doubling the student responsibility. Doll had three highly-compensated administrators that reported to him. He served as Louisburg's Superintendent for four years.

Doll's next “promotion” was to Superintendent of one of the largest districts in the state, Lawrence Public Schools USD 497. Lawrence has over 10,000 students, a $114 million budget, and is one of the City's largest employers. It could be that he is now in over his head.

Another tenet of the Peter Principle is that the person who has been promoted to his point of incompetence, tends to remain in that position. Therefore, those below him remain in their positions, accomplishing all of the real work. This may explain the Superintendent's unwillingness to consider any significant cuts to his highly-compensated staff of Administrators. They, in essence, provide his job security.

School Board President Scott Morgan, at the March 9th meeting of the School Board was passing public comment forms back and forth to Dr. Doll; Doll was attempting to create some order of the chaos. Morgan, referencing the remedial task, jokingly said to Doll, “What did we hire you for?”

Many in the community are asking that very same question.

Read Further: Dr. Doll Just Waiting to Close Schools

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