Archive for March, 2006

Slavery in the North

Monday, March 20th, 2006

As a history buff, I found this interesting:

A group of mostly white seventh and eighth graders sleepily sauntered into their school library, soon to get a surprise awakening about a part of their town’s history they never knew existed.

“Did anybody in this room know there were 60 enslaved Africans, people, human beings, buried a mile from here?” Alan Singer, a professor at Hofstra University, asked them. “Those people have been erased from history. It is as if they never existed.”

Singer and Mary Carter, a retired middle school social studies teacher, were in Oyster Bay recently to speak to the kids – part of a quest to develop a public school curriculum guide focusing on slavery’s impact in the northern U.S., specifically New York.

It’s good to see interest in showing the role slavery played in the North as well. Slavery was a crime against humanity, and treating it as only a sectional issue downplays its horror.

Dream Season Ends

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Yes, Tennessee’s men’s basketball season came to an end with a disheartening 80-73 loss to Witchita State. Of course it was disappointing, but this season won’t be remembered for today. It will be remembered as the year Tennessee men’s basketball turned the corner. Who could possibly have imagined that a team who lost its two top scorers from a 14-17 season the previous year would win 22 games, the SEC East, be ranked in the top 10, make the NCAA tournament, get a #2 seed, and make it to the second round, along the way sweeping Florida, Vandy and Georgia, winning at Rupp Arena, and beating Texas? Not I.

The future is indeed bright for the Vols. Opinari sums it up best:

I loved watching this team. I loved listening to the coach. I loved the publicity we got all season. I loved being proud to wear my orange and white during the winter months and not just because of the Lady Vols.

Next season we will be in the preseason NIT, showcasing a wiser group of kids, and integrating perhaps the Vols’ best freshman class since Ernie and Bernie. Will we win 22 again? Will we go deeper in the tournament? I believe so. I believe this basketball team will go as far as chemistry and effort will take them. And with a few more shots falling, and a little luck, maybe we’ll show up in Atlanta for the Final Four, and not just because we happen to have tickets.

It’s good to dream in March, and know you’re not just hallucinating. Heh.

Go Vols, and thanks for a terrific run.

Basketball season isn’t over yet for Vol fans. The Lady Vols take to the hardwood today against Army. Good luck, ladies! You’ve made us proud all season (and dozens of seasons before), and I know you will continue to do so!

What the ACLU Really Wants

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Via Stop the ACLU

Smokey VIII Dies

Friday, March 17th, 2006

Smokey VIII, Tennessee’s mascot from 1995 through 2003, has died. The Vols compiled a 91-22 record during his tenure, including two SEC championships and a national title. Smokey IX currently serves as UT’s mascot, the latest in the line of Smokeys dating back to 1953.

Wish That I Was on Ole Rocky Top…

Friday, March 17th, 2006

A glowing article about Tennessee from ESPN? Will miracles never cease?

There is much to like about this sports-crazed school — the local area code is VOL — but my favorite is the way Tennessee names just about all the campus streets after someone. Tooling across campus is like driving through Volunteers history. There’s Neyland Drive and Johnny Majors Drive and Peyton Manning Pass and Chamique Holdsclaw Drive and Todd Helton Drive and Phillip Fulmer Way (which, I can only assume, will be downgraded to Fulmer Alley should the Volunteers lose to Vandy again).

And, of course, there is Pat Head Summitt Street, which really ought to be an interstate.

Read the whole thing. Otherwise, you’ll miss tales of conceptions at Neyland Stadium and tips for drinking moonshine.

What Academic Freedom Means

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

I never tire of Thomas Sowell. His column today is outstanding as always:

Academic freedom is the freedom to do academic things — teach chemistry or accounting the way you think chemistry or accounting should be taught. It is also freedom to engage in the political activities of other citizens — on their own time, outside the classroom — without being fired.

Nowhere else do people think that it is OK to engage in politics instead of doing the job for which they are being paid. When you hire a plumber to fix a leak, you don’t want to find your home being flooded while he whiles away the hours talking about Congressional elections or foreign policy.

It doesn’t matter whether his political opinions are good, bad, or indifferent if he is being paid to do a different job.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Walter Williams on the whole “he shouldn’t be taping lectures” argument:

I’ve taught economics for 37 years. I encourage students to record my lectures. Moreover, I tell them that the class deals with positive economics and if they hear me make a statement appearing to be an opinion, without saying so, they are to raise their hands and say, “Professor Williams, we didn’t take this class to be indoctrinated with your personal opinions passed off as economic theory; that’s academic dishonesty.” I also tell them that if I ever preface a comment with, “In my opinion,” they can stop taking notes because my opinion is irrelevant to economic theory.

Hello world!

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Kilby Wants to Ban Violent Video Games

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

My distinguished state Senator Tommy Kilby (D) wants to ban the sale of violent video games (via Professor Reynolds:

Add Tennessee to the list of states considering gaming legislation. Last week, Democratic Senator Tommy Kilby filed SB3981, which would make it illegal to sell or rent an “extremely violent video game” in the state of Tennessee.

The bill defines the phrase “extremely violent video game” as “a video game in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being,” with a number of clauses specifying that a game would have to be patently offensive to prevailing community standards, among other things, to be considered extremely violent.

The law also takes into account whether or not the virtual victim is an authority figure, whether the victim is conscious of the abuse taking place, and whether the player of the game intends to inflict severe mental or physical pain or suffering on the virtual victim.

What a joke. Senator Kilby needs to read the Constitution.

Defeat in the War on Terror

Friday, March 10th, 2006

You’ve probably heard that the P&O, the United Arab Emirates company that was poised to take over six port terminals, has backed down. Following a 62-2 committee vote to block the deal, the company concluded that it simply had no chance, and handed the ports over to an American company.

Frankly, I can’t recall ever being this disgusted with the actions of our elected officials. Following 9/11, President Bush declared that the world was “either with us or with the terrorists.” The UAE went out of its way to be with us. No less an authority than General Tommy Franks praised their efforts and declared the port deal safe. Yet apparently the Hillary Clintons and Peter Kings of the world know more about national security than Gen. Franks.

The American public opposed the port deal, which is understandable. Most everyone had the initial reaction that it was a bad deal. This would have been a good time for our elected officials to step in and explain that the company was a legitimate company, that the UAE was our closest ally in the Arab world, and that said company would have no responsibility for security. I’d expect Democrats to exploit the situation; they’d never miss a chance to run to the right of Bush on national security, even if it means embracing racism. The Republicans – with at least one exception – also exploited the situation. Both parties fanned the flames of mass hysteria instead of trying to defuse them. That’s not leadership. That’s demagoguery.

So what happens now? We may well have lost out best friend in the Arab world. You simply can’t kick someone in the teeth and expect help from them. And the UAE is in a good position to retaliate. As Professor Drezner points out, the UAE has big time Boeing contracts they could cancel. They could also demand our troops leave their country (not likely, but possible). All this because Congress couldn’t resist exploiting our fears – and igniting racist passion. The next time someone spouts off about Bush alienating allies, remember this.

For years, Usama bin Laden and his ilk have railed about how Americans will never respect or trust Arabs. Then our Congress goes and proves him right, in the process angering our Arab friends and potentially turning millions of moderate Muslims against us. What an effective strategy for winning the War on Terror.

Wish That I Was on Ol’ Rocky Top…

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

Congratulations are in order for the Lady Vols, who defeated LSU today to win the SEC tournament. Pat Summitt has proven yet again she is the greatest women’s basketball coach of all-time, and quite possibly the best ever basketball coach, period.

I also want to recognize the men’s team, who defeated arch-rival Vandy yesterday for their 21st win of the year. The Vols were picked to finish fifth (out of six) in the SEC East, yet finished first. At the beginning of the year, Vol fans wondered if the Vols would reach .500 and get an NIT bid. Now, they’re in a strong position to get a third or fourth seed.

Tennessee is very fortunate to have two great individuals, Pat Summitt and Bruce Pearl, at the helms of our basketball programs. My only regret is that I didn’t get a chance to go to a game this season.