What Nightmares Are Made Of

The first and last stories from this week’s issue (7 October 12) are posted here: the first because you’ve got to shudder at the thought of the poor kid trying to escape a kidnap attempt …when you see the guy’s mug shot. And the last because I want to talk about how the tagline came about — and give you a place to politely discuss the story, if you wish.

First, the kidnap story:

He Could Run,
But Could Not Hide

A 10-year old boy reported to his soccer coach in Santa Ana, Calif., that a man had grabbed him in the street, trying to kidnap him. The boy’s 19-year-old cousin had helped him escape. The boy pointed the culprit out to the coach, who went after him — but the coach couldn’t get a good grip on him, and the man escaped. Police arrived soon after, and found the suspect in the backyard of a house. Victor Joseph Espinoza, 55, a “documented gang member,” according to police, was booked on suspicion of false imprisonment and child annoying, with “gang enhancements” added. Police described Espinoza as weighing 435 pounds. “I was just mad at the time because the kid was crying,” said the coach, who asked to remain anonymous. (RC/KTLA Los Angeles) …A sports coach couldn’t keep up with a 435-pound man who had just been in a fight with a 10-year-old boy and a 19-year-old girl? No wonder he wanted to remain anonymous.

Espinoza’s mug shot:

Victor Joseph Espinoza's mug shot
Documented Gang Member: Victor Joseph Espinoza allegedly tried to kidnap a 10-year-old boy. I think the kid’ll have nightmares for years to come.

The second story delves into (gasp!) politics:

Bigot

When Samantha Pawlucy, 16, arrived at her geometry class at Charles Carroll High School, in Philadelphia, Pa., teacher Lynette Gaymon told her to take off her shirt. It was “dress-down day,” and students were free to wear T-shirts, but Gaymon, who’s black, said wearing the shirt she chose “is like me wearing a KKK shirt.” Gaymon even shouted into the hallway, “This girl is wearing a Romney/Ryan shirt in my classroom!” Another teacher approached Pawlucy with a marker as if to cross out the Republican candidates’ names. Gaymon, who was removed from the class, claims she was joking, but the girl was so embarrassed she was reluctant to return to school. When her parents visited the school to complain, students cursed at them. Violent threats have been made against both Pawlucy and Gaymon. (AC/Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, WCAU Philadelphia) …Does this mean we need to invade Philadelphia and bring them democracy?

Alexander’s original tagline for that story was: “…What happened to free speech and nonviolent elections?” That was OK: it’s pretty matter-of-fact, so it’s “thought-provoking” even if it’s not humorous.

But when Alexander sent the story to me, he commented, “OK, this story has gone from ‘ridiculous, but worked out in the end’ to ‘when does someone invade and bring them democracy?'”

I replied to say the last part would make a great tagline! And he refined it as you saw on the story.

Can’t Have It Both Ways

Liberals love to say I’m a terrible right-wing conservative; conservatives love to say I’m a terrible left-wing liberal. Few on either side see the irony of that fact, nor do they seem to understand that yelling names at someone is a pretty ridiculous way to change someone’s mind: the ad hominem attack is pretty much an admission that they can’t convince anyone of the merit of their arguments.

While this is not going to be a forum to argue your side (either side!) of political points, I do welcome your polite comments about either story. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are out to “destroy the country” as so many argue (see ad hominem above), but not allowing others to wear a shirt that states their opinions in public (such as a public school!) is not democracy, it’s outrageous, and it doesn’t matter whether that opinion is from the left or the right: it’s still wrong. And, by the way, so is threatening the girl or her teacher with violence!

I think Alexander’s tagline on the story is not only light, but is seriously thought-provoking. It’s time we had some serious discussion about politics in this country without resorting to name-calling, anger, or violence. And the last story this week is a great place to start.

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74 Comments on “What Nightmares Are Made Of

  1. I don’t know what to suggest for the Philly incident, but I find it utterly cringe-inducing. When a teacher appoints oneself as Supreme Dictator of dress and political thought (“…in MY classroom…”) and resorts to a defense of menacing movement as “only joking,” I’m truly afraid for students everywhere, and only reaffirms my conviction that the dregs of society are hired to “educate” our children. Yes, there are good, dedicated teachers out there, but they’re a threat to the educational establishment and their presence is not tolerated.

    And what kind of intelligent teacher makes an automatic association between the Republican Party and the KKK? I have yet to hear Romney or Ryan call for stringing up people of color for daring to aspire for improvement of their lot. That girl is likely to have nightmares about school just as bad as that 10 year old kid seeing that behemoth trying to grab him.

  2. Randy, you & I share at least one commonality (probably a lot more than one). We have both been vilified by the radical extremists of the big two political parties, for the unpardonable sin of applying rational thought to the current trend of bumper sticker politics.

    It is not often that I wish to see someone’s employment terminated, especially in this economy. I will happily make an exception in this case. Lynette Gaymon needs to find a job more in keeping with her propensity for violence against children.

    Thank you for keeping us informed.

  3. Politics has no place in the classroom! By that I mean that the personal politics of teachers has no place in the classroom. Good (and equal) discussion of the issues is important, but a teacher should never make a production of asserting his or her own views. Nor should teachers ever do or say anything (even as a joke) which might single a student out like Gaymon did. Was she disciplined by the school? I hope so. While she doesn’t deserve the threats, she definitely should be disciplined!

    She was removed from the class. I doubt that will be the end of it, however. “What” remains to be seen, though the school might hide the facts claiming a “personnel issue.” -rc

  4. The second story is just another example of people’s backward way of “supporting” their positions, whether it is in regards to race, culture, gender, religion, politics, etc.

    Promote what you like instead of bashing what you hate. Of course, people would have to stop and think rather than emotionally attacking everything different from themselves.

  5. Of course you are a “terrible right-wing conservative” and a “terrible left-wing liberal.” You actually think.

  6. Does anyone else think the ACLU seems to be selective in when they intervene? What if the student wanted to wear a Obama/Biden shirt in South Carolina and was denied there? Would have been all over the news, and somehow Al Sharpton would have been involved.

    This is exactly the sort of partisan crap I was talking about. This story is all over the news, Harry! Did you see the list of publications Alexander used as sources?! Those were three of hundreds from all over the world.

    As for the ACLU, read this before you come back hat-in-hand to apologize for this garbage you tried to pass off as a thoughtful comment. -rc

  7. I’m guessing the teacher isn’t a history teacher — the KKK’s original breeding ground was the post-Civil War Democrats, wasn’t it?

  8. Removal from the class is not discipline unless it carries some other penalty; otherwise, she’s just been given an extra free period during the day (and I say this as a teacher.) More than discipline, she needs to be reeducated as to the proper role of an educator.

  9. On the first story, a coach worth celebrating and you have to tweak him for letting a 450 lb man get away? (Accounts I read show he “suffered injuries from his encounter with the coach.”) Really? I think I would be a bit winded after taking down a 450 lb man in a tackle. A little disappointed, Randy.

    Now on to the second story. The attitude of that teacher and others like her around the country are exactly what is going to hurt the next candidate for President not of the Caucasian persuasion. People want to be able to discuss and oppose the position of their president without getting racist label applied to them at every turn of their heads.

    It goes to show how education is devolving so much it seems. When I was in High School, I had several teachers that would let us argue politics in class, never taking a position unless everyone seemed to be aligned on one side of the issue and only then they would step in and argue the other side. It was quite confusing to some of us because it seemed they argued conflicting policies quite often. Only after I graduated did I learn their true political leanings. (One was very liberal and one very conservative, the other a moderate, but still not sure about her.) But, most of them just wanted to teach us to think, not what to think. In class they frequently took the side they very much opposed to give us a sounding board of what the opponents thought.

  10. Why does it seem all politicians are on the “far left” or “far right”? Where have all the moderate, common sense politicians gone?

    They were all shouted down by those from the far left/right — and voters were dumb enough to believe them and vote them out. Sad, ain’t it? -rc

  11. The tag line in the first story missed the point. It didn’t say the coach couldn’t catch the guy, it said he couldn’t hold onto the guy. Have you ever tried wrap your arms around someone with that much girth?

    As for the second story, the teachers were wrong, wrong, wrong. Unless there was a no-political-Tshirts policy, the student had every right to wear that shirt. (And I am far from being a Romney-Ryan fan.)

    I’m a bit surprised that readers aren’t grasping the unexpected comment in the tag. It’s supposed to be something you wouldn’t expect, to jar you into thinking about how you would react in such a situation. It’s not healthy to take every tag literally! -rc

  12. First story: That guy is big enough to be a one-person gang… And why does somebody that old feel the need to belong to a gang?

    Second story: My fear is that the attitude shown in the school will spread, leading this country to only have one political party — which, of course, is the last step needed before we have ZERO political parties (and you thought Zero Tolerance was bad?)

  13. People act like hysterical idiots because that is what gets them attention. If we stopped paying attention to it, it would stop. This includes not only us “everyday” people, but the politicians as well. I determined some years ago that I would never listen to or watch another political ad — and I haven’t.

    We have evolved to become a society that likes entertainment, and hysteria is (unfortunately) entertaining. Thinking and acting like someone who isn’t headed for the looney bin might be boring, but it is the only way we can ever pull our society up out of the pit we’ve dug for ourselves.

    We really need to point the finger at ourselves for encouraging extreme behavior and entertainment at the cost of thought and substance.

  14. I had to laugh at the tagline for the second story, even though it was a bit sad. I have stronger feelings about this election than usual and disagree strongly with those around me who are on the other side of the political spectrum. That being said, I wouldn’t object to someone wearing a t-shirt or other clothing for the opposite side (unless it was a location where it was not allowed; for example, at my work we have a strict policy on this for ANY political party). If there was a requirement that students not wear something with a political statement on it then use whatever option is normal at that school to have the student change (calling the parents to bring different clothing, sending the student home, whatever). If not, just deal with it. Asking a student — especially a girl — to take off her shirt in class is way out of line. Not that you don’t know this already, but still.

    You know what I like the best about your comment? You didn’t say which side you’re on/which side you disagree with. Because for this comment, it doesn’t matter. That is intelligent discussion! -rc

  15. First story — Soccer coach — no hands. Should have been kicking the guy.

    Last story — loved the tagline. Yes, the teacher was seriously wrong.

    Hah! -rc

  16. Perhaps of schools got back to basics and teaching, instead of being “fun and game palaces”, this would not have happened. Clearly something went wrong. The solutions are simple:

    1) I do not think schools need dress down days, where students or staff can wear any dammed thing they please. Let us all go back to uniforms, and cultivate a professional climate, please. (This is one possible solution.)

    2) This was a badly thought out thing by staff. They clearly must not have explained what a dress down day was, and instituted proper protocols and limits. Else some kid COULD have shown up with a KKK shirt. While solution 1 is preferable, giving some proper instructions might have prevented this. eg: Saying “Please, No politics.” beforehand.

    3) We are not told what t-shirt the teacher wanted to kid to wear. I think this is important. It appears a black kid is a Republican. Odd, but possible. Still, I worry about teachers acting the way they did. (Solution 1 does prevent this kind of nonsense!) What if a male black teacher and told a young female white girl to change? Oh Boy! We also have the problem of “history”. Did this kid do this innocently, or provocatively? What is this kid’s history of behaviour at this school? These sort of details are important to a final resolution.

    4) Clearly the teachers need to be reprimanded, as does the staff, and the student. Perhaps a day without pay would act as motivation to do better next time… As for the student, well this is the sort of thing that should go on the dreaded “permanent record”. But you can bet nothing will be done. Which teaches an important lesson: There are no consequences or accountability requirements in schools!

    3) The girl’s race isn’t identified, and I don’t know what it is. Only the teacher’s race was mentioned, to put context to the KKK comment. 4) Why does the student need to be reprimanded? I don’t see any evidence she did anything wrong, making her behavioral history irrelevant. -rc

  17. BTW, where in the article posted here does it say that the 19-year-old cousin is a girl?

    In the tagline. -rc

  18. The t-shirt thing would be funny….without the comparison to the KKK and IF they were peers not student/teacher. It’s a shame that some educators don’t know how to be appropriate and give the rest of the noble profession a bad rep.

  19. Yes, Randy, you *ARE* a ‘terrible right-wing conservative’ AND a ‘terrible left-wing liberal’. Your complete and utter failure to blindly accept the rhetoric spewed forth by both sides of the aisle makes you a terrible political pawn 🙂

    As for the stories, in the first the guy is probably lucky he got away from the coach. And the second, I read about that in a local paper. As others have commented, that sort of behavior does not belong in schools. Period. Politics DO belong in schools — as a part of the educational process and presented without any bias on the instructor’s part. Students need to learn about politics and how the political system in this country operates. They do not, and should not, need to be told what to think about a particular party or ideology. As for the threats, the students and any others that cursed at or threatened both the student and teachers involved should also be subject to disciplinary actions. While I feel the teacher was very wrong in this case, that does not mean that threats and violence are required. I would hope that the school will pursue appropriate disciplinary action against the teacher. Such actions on the part of an educator are inexcusable, in my opinion. By the way, I think either tagline for the second story was good, I do agree the one that you ran is better.

  20. Good for you for pointing out this story, Randy. But you equivocate when you represent yourself as “fair-minded”. You are not.

    Some months ago, I looked through your Facebook postings going back three or four weeks from that point, and showed how almost every political post was anti-conservative and/or anti-Republican. I showed you your actual posts, Randy. YOU wrote them. And the bias was undeniable.

    Yes, in an especially egregious case such as this, you are willing to point out lies from the Left. Good for you. But please do not pretend that this occasional bone to the dog somehow makes you fair-minded and impartial. You are neither.

    You err, sir. Nowhere on this page to I claim to be “fair-minded” nor “impartial” — and it’s foolish to claim that I did so. I am in fact terribly unfair — to the stupid, the nasty, the mean people who demand rights, yet disclaim responsibility. I also work hard to provoke people, and it’s utterly stupid to not realize this, especially when I post stuff like this (and so recently!) You seem to not understand that it’s my job to provoke people — do you really not know what TRUE’s slogan is, in HUGE type on the front page of this site: “Thought-Provoking Entertainment.”? When the hell are you going to put two and two together? And I anticipate your next objection: Do I provoke the left, too? Any idiot knows the answer to that is yes. Do you really need me to take you by the hand and point you to examples? I will, if you admit you’re too biased to see them for yourself. -rc

  21. To anyone thinking that holding back a 435 pound man is easy… an extremely well conditioned athlete will often be in the 5-10% body fat range. This clown is obviously not in prime shape. Let’s assume he’s more like 50%. That still equates to over 217 pounds of bone and muscle — a good bit more than most 230 pound guys can boast. If a 230 pound guy decides he really needs to get away from your grip, he’ll be able to make it pretty difficult to hold on to him. Add to that this guy’s girth, and it just got tougher. I give the coach credit for at least trying — sad to think about how many people would be more inclined to look for a phone and let the folks that get paid to protect us “earn their keep”.

    As for the situation in Philadelphia, I can’t imagine any explanation other than reverse bigotry and attempted abuse of power. If there are many teachers in Philadelphia as ignorant as Gaymon, I’m glad my kids and grand-kids were educated in Texas!

    What I find sad about our political climate (well, one of the MANY things I find sad about it) is that Obama is vilified by some because he’s black, and Romney is vilified by some because he’s a Mormon.

    Personally, I’m not overly impressed with either of them, but neither of those reasons should even enter into the equation, in a thinking man’s mind.

  22. According to the United States Supreme Court (with who, of course, you may respectfully agree or disagree) it is *not* a violation of the First Amendment for a high school to bar students from wearing “message” T-shirts (political or otherwise). See Palmer v. Waxahachie Independent School District, a case in which a kid wore a T-shirt with the message “San Diego” to school. That was construed as a violation of the dress code. A parent brought him, as a change of clothing, a John Edwards T-shirt. That put him in violation again. A federal appeals court held for the school district and the Supremes declined to hear the case.

    Randy, all the news stories about this teacher may have been slightly out-of-kilter if the Philly schools have a policy against messages on T-shirts and the teacher was just enforcing school policy.

    The stories I saw were silent on whether political message shirts were allowed or not on “dress down day”. But even if they were, this case wasn’t handled well. -rc

  23. Once again, you utterly miss the point, Randy. You claim to speak the “truth”. By definition, the “truth” is impartial. If your only vendetta is against stupidity, as you claim, then you can find at least as much stupidity (or, dare I say it, more) on the Left as (or than) on the Right. Yet you continue to attempt to portray yourself as “truthful”.

    This is not a matter of offending people, Randy. You are good at that. It’s a part of your personality, something you have honed. Rather, this is about your claim to “truth”. Truthfulness is not partisan or biased. You are both.

    Come on, Randy. You can think. You occasionally even exhibit the ability to do so. Now, put that thinker of yours to good use and actually consider what I have written. You portray yourself as an honest, truthful man — which means that you strive to be unbiased. But you do not strive to be unbiased. You are not truthful, except in the way a little child is “truthful” when he tells his mother he didn’t take the cookie (instead, he got his baby brother to take it for him).

    Or, if you are truthful, then truthfully explain why your recent (going back several years) political examples are so heavily biased against conservatives and Republicans. I have already demonstrated this to be factual. Now explain it.

    I’ve laid out my terms. If you’re incapable of finding even a few of the many examples of my slamming the left here, SAY SO and I’ll hold your incapable little hand and point you to some. But I’m sick of the whiny “poor me, I’m oppressed!” bullshit — bias, pretending to be offended by bias that has been proven again and again and again and again and again and again and again not to be there, and this is the last time I’m posting your whining. LOOK FOR YOURSELF, dammit, with your eyes open. -rc

  24. Guess I really had to step away from that to get the point of the first tag. But, then we all have our sacred cows and tend to get a little miffed when you make a steak out of it, even when it is juicy.

    To Stephen, Redmond:

    Randy is far, far more dangerous than his bias for the left/center/right. He is, you see (*gasp*), a thinker. In the age of sheeple, does he think he can get away with this? 😉

  25. I am surprised that nearly all the posts here seem to think it is OK to wear a political T shirt to school.

    When I went to school (in Australia), and I believe it is still the case, it was forbidden for a teacher to espouse political or religious views to students. That being the case, surely it is equally inappropriate for a student to be wearing clothing displaying political views? It would also be inappropriate in most workplaces.

    It makes a good case for wearing a school uniform, which is much more common in Aus than it seems to be in the US. In this case it was a dress down day (mufti day) anyway so I guess it wouldn’t have made any difference.

    All that aside, it would seem the teacher’s comments and reaction were also quite inappropriate.

  26. What’s missing from school today is “Critical Thinking,” formerly (?), a required class for a BA/BS degree in California. Mr. Ford, who was a great teacher, taught there were always three or more sides to every issue. It takes ernest discussion to learn. School, by definition, requires us to process information and think. Unfortunately, thinking begins at home not at school. Like the five blind men who saw the elephant, we believe we are right.

  27. I thought the “equivocation” comment was very funny. Maybe there have just been more stupid people on one side recently than they other!

    As for the stories, I think the best way to avoid problems with t-shirts is to state in the dress code that no political t-shirts are allowed in school. But the teacher’s reaction was all wrong and she should be punished. I think she forgot that she was supposed to be the adult.

  28. Sorry. One look at that gang member (even if I didn’t know he was involved in a gang), and I would have just checked on the kids and tracked him unless my second career was a sumo wrestler. Guys that big remind me of the old joke:

    Q: Where does a 300lb gorilla sit?
    A: Anywhere they want!

  29. Story 2, the sad part is the effect the teacher’s behavior will have on the rest of the students in that classroom and in the school. The typical knee-jerk reaction would be for the school to prohibit future wearing of political statements. That, sir, is a violation of freedom of speech. Have we devolved to a nanny state?

  30. I think it makes it worse that this happened in a school. School should be a place where you learn AND where you go to have your mind broadened and challenged. I think high school and college should be a time when your assumptions are challenged but are challenged like you do, Randy — without fear or favor. I think we’re losing that, especially in college (if I may expand the topic). At some point challenging the status quo and the powers that be, came the new status quo in education (even high school, but especially college). There are lots of good schools and tons of good teachers who challenge their students to think for themselves and know how to challenge assumptions on both the Right and Left regardless of the teacher’s preferences. But, it seems to me, that more and more often, the prevailing milieu leans pretty heavily to the Left (esp. on college campuses) and teachers and textbooks are considerably more likely to challenge the assumptions of the Right than to challenge the Left. Those who TRY to be even-handed (I don’t believe anyone succeeds 100%), should want educators to challenge both sides.

  31. This wasn’t the venue for a teacher to be seeking participants for a “Girls Gone Wild” video. I would think that if the girl had stripped off the shirt, statutory rape might have been the charge.

  32. I like what you said about ad hominem attacks; I can’t imagine that they have ever influenced anyone’s opinion about any topic.

    On the other hand, consider political posters, bumper stickers, billboards, and tee-shirts. There isn’t room to expound any serious issues or campaign promises, so they usually say nothing more than “Smith for Congress”. The very few that do try to list issues, over-simplify them to the point of being ridiculous: “Smith: for less crime, more employment.” (Does anyone think that the opponent is for more crime, or less employment?) My point is that if these posters, bumper stickers, billboards, and tee-shirts didn’t influence Someone, no political campaign would waste money on them — but every campaign seems to have them. I can’t see WHY they matter, but apparently they do.

    Is “Smith for Congress!” really more effective than “If you’re not pro-(some issue) you’re a moron!”? If so, why?

    Very simple: it’s social proof. That’s why I want readers to tell friends they subscribe to TRUE: “I respect Allan, and if Allen likes it, it must be worthy.” -rc

  33. Randy certainly needs no defense from me; however, I AM unashamedly, admittedly right-wing biased without apology. And, at times, I might detect a little left leaning bent to some of his comments. (Others might make a similar observation about me.) But I could never accuse Randy of being a liberal. Biased? Of course. Usually with biases from BOTH sides of the political spectrum. That’s people, everyone has their own personal bias, depending upon the topic. I think they call themselves Independents, which does NOT mean they MUST vote for someone on a political ticket of that name.

    And I don’t recall Randy ever stating that he tells the truth, and only the truth. The name of the publication is This is True, which means that the incidents he cites have really happened. Not that his opinion of such incidents is the only truth. And, really, there is no such thing as Absolute Truth. (Isn’t that statement, in itself, an “absolute truth?”) Philosophy aside, truth is mitigated by circumstances, and as we’ve seen in many of these discussions, circumstances are perceived differently by various people.

    Otherwise, we’re back to Zero Tolerance. “There is only ONE truth, and nothing else can be tolerated.” If that were the case, we would not need human intelligence to differentiate it, but only a computer to reaffirm it.

  34. The first story is just plain funny.

    The second story, this is something I have been reading more and more of. Teachers attacking students for their political opinions, often the teacher is bringing the topic up. Overwhelmingly the majority of them seem to be pro-Obama, or anti-Romney and some are downright violent. I was raised to believe that if I couldn’t come up with sound reasoning that my side was the right side, maybe i was on the wrong one, now though it seems that it is all mud slinging, name calling, and people getting angry and violent about their opinions, and not a single competent thought to be had in it all. More and more people are being bullied for their opinions, or being told how to think. The book 1984 may have been a few years off, but we seem to be moving toward that future at an alarming rate.

    With that all being said, before angry people come rushing in to label me as being far one side or the other, or the other.. I hate the 2 party system, it is causing a line to be drawn, and people to take sides. I do not want to be on a “side”, I want to pick and choose the candidates for their ideas and convictions, not the party they have backing them.

  35. I’m disheartened to see comments here arguing that political messages in schools should be banned. If the reasoning behind it is to prevent issues where others get upset by the political message and cause problems, we’ve got it backwards. Is it any wonder that political discourse has been lowered to current levels when people are sheltered from ideas that differ from their own? The answer is not to take away the right to express one’s views, but to foster true tolerance and respect for the views of others and to reprimand those who fail to demonstrate it. This cannot happen in a sterile environment where anything that may offend someone has been barred.

  36. As a staunch Reagan Republican, I dismay over the obliviocy of people like “Stephen, Redmond” who take the right off into stupid directions. It’s not enough to glory in Randy’s showing the idiocy of the Democrat teacher; Stephen has to take that huge win which even he describes as “especially egregious” and turn it around into an utter loss for conservative thought, dismissing this clear example of Randy’s nonpartisanship. That’s what I mean by applying Randy’s wonderful word “obliviocy” above.

    This is True is obviously anti-stupid, rather than anti-Democrat or anti-Republican, and this has been demonstrated repeatedly during the 18 years it has been published. Randy challenged Stephen to THINK and just browse around the site a bit: SURELY he’d see this. But Stephen stupidly doesn’t even bother to take up that challenge, just coming back to show more stupidity and more inability to realize that Randy knows he’d easily win such a challenge. Then again, obliviots won’t clue in to such obvious bait; rather, they’ll just keep making themselves, and all Republicans by extension, look more and more stupid — Randy doesn’t have to lift a finger. And that’s precisely what the problem has been these past several years.

    As Randy knows, Clinton and Gore were easy targets because they did and said stupid things. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman!” and “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” We may not like Obama’s policies, but he hasn’t said anything so remarkably stupid to my knowledge. Like other commentators, Randy had a heyday with such Clinton and Gore comments, but always by calling out the individual’s stupidity, not belittling their party.

    Unlike Stephen, I have a memory. I remember stories here raking Democrats over the coals in delicious ways, such as Bill Clinton (not to mention the entire “Fornigate” special issue), Al Gore (also later here), Ted Kennedy, California State Senator John Burton (which Randy even titled the “Democratic Ideal”!), Hillary Clinton, and more — all of those quickly found in my Kindle copies of the TRUE books.

    Add to that Randy’s rather passionate defense of gun rights, which was also stupidly dismissed by many on the right as some sort of aberration. Yeah: 20 stories slamming the right is “proof positive” that Randy’s a left-winger, but 25 stories slamming the left (or upholding the right) is just “aberration” after “aberration” — as if any rational reader who pays any amount of attention would buy that.

    This is the mentality that brings us comments about “legitimate rape” and, more recently, the idea that science is “lies from the pits of hell,” which further reinforce the notion that Republicanism is a bastion of idiots and extremists who embrace fantasy over fact, taking the party further and further from Reagan’s ideal. Of course Randy and others pick up on that and make fun. That’s what they do for a living. The blame isn’t on Randy for laughing at it, the blame is on the speaker — more often a Republican — for saying it.

    To sum up, I still believe Reagan’s words: “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor.” –Reagan chastising a staffer for canceling a meeting with a political opponent.

    No one will agree with everything Randy says, but I appreciate his willingness to go out on a limb to make people think, which is his explicitly stated goal. I agree with that approach at least 80 percent, and disagree 100 percent with Stephen for making Republicans look even dumber right before an important election.

  37. While I tend to agree with the majority of the comments about the second story that if not political T-shirts were to have been allowed, that should have been stated BEFORE the dress-down day, I find it quite interesting that one of the points of the tagline has been overlooked…Philadelphia is where our democratic republic was truly signed, sealed and delivered!

    Now that’s thinking about the story! -rc

  38. This is *not* an isolated incident. You run into people everywhere — very often in online forums — who feel they have the right to demand censorship of things *they* don’t want to see.

    I wish I could remember (or remember to look up) who said this, but it is the rule our family tries to live by: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

  39. Like James, I too am dismayed by the stance taken by Stephen. I definitely enjoy it when Randy points out ridiculous acts by liberals, but I can accept the humor when he points out the same by conservatives.

    I remember when political discussion was allowed and encouraged in school and I also experienced teachers taking opposite sides at different times to encourage us to think.

    During those discussions in high school, one of my classmates warned me that if I continued to support Goldwater for President, the war in Viet Nam would escalate and I would end up getting drafted. Maybe I should have paid more attention, but I continued to support Goldwater and five years later I went to Viet Nam.

    Although I am an ardent conservative, I have friends who are very liberal and we are able to have reasonable conversations. I am also dismayed by the recent reports that President Obama did not prepare for last week’s debate because he does not think Governor Romney is a worthy opponent. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil were at opposite ends of the political spectrum but respected each other and were able to work together.

    I also have friends on the far-left and far-right, and listening to them widens my understanding of the world, and how others see it. That is certainly a good thing; isolationism is frankly stupid. -rc

  40. There seem to be a number of opinions whether political messages should be permitted (or not) in school. In fact, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) was a US Supreme Court ruling that established that a student’s right to Free Speech did not end at the school doors. In fact, it specifically limited school censorship on the basis of merely “possible” disruption.

    Subsequent Supreme Court decisions have modified the ruling for specific purposes, such as definite disruption (Bethel School District v. Fraser, 1986), or to promote illegal activity (Morse v. Frederick, 2007). There was even Hazelwood School District v Kuhlmeier (1988) that upheld a school’s right to limit editorial comment in school-sponsored publications, appropriate to another blog entry about a student who demanded her right to include whatever picture suited her in the school’s yearbook.

    However, the core principles of Tinker v Des Moines remain intact. In this situation, it was the teacher causing the disruption, and student reactions were a result of administrative frenzy, not from the student’s exercise of Free Speech.

  41. The T-shirt story reminded me of an email that may or may not have been true: A company owner had to lay off some of his employees back in 2009, and could hardly decide who to let go. The company was running well, and everyone was needed. However, he finally decided how to choose who to let go. He went to the parking lot and read the bumper stickers on the cars (the political ones) and those whose bumper stickers didn’t agree with the owner’s ideas were let go.

    Same thing could happen in schools. The kids who wore T-shirts that weren’t up to the teachers’ standards would flunk.

    Sort of kidding.

  42. The story of the teacher and student makes me angry, not because of any political implications but because a teacher singling a student out for their opinion in front of their peers and in such a manner is tantamount to bullying. A teacher should very well know better. Whoever said that taking the student out of the class is not punishment because they get out of class was never made fun of for their opinion in front of judgemental (sp?) peers. The social trauma for some students in school is bad enough without teachers throwing fuel on the fire.

    A teacher said that taking the teacher out of that class wasn’t punishment. That’s a different thing. But I agree that singling out a student for ridicule before her peers is outrageous professional malpractice, no matter what the topic. -rc

  43. I called you a liar. I apologize. I should not have used ad hominems. I tell my children that “He did it first!” is not a valid excuse for misbehavior. The same applies to me. Let me try again, with less vitriol.

    Your newsletter is called “This Is True”, not “This Is Factual”. What you write is indeed (mostly) factual. But truth is more than mere fact. Truth depends on facts in a correct context.

    You delight in pointing out stupidity, to the degree that the impression I often get is that you believe anyone not named “Randy Cassingham” is stupid. Okay, whatever. But your examples of “stupidity” are drawn primarily from several favorite whipping boys:
    – Social and political conservatives
    – Republicans (which is different from the first item)
    – Religious folks
    – Those who are ignorant of science and the scientific method.

    This methodology is not “true”; the stories may be (mostly) factual, but the overall impression is unbalanced and false.

    Then, when you finally do get around to posting the occasional example of the stupidity of the Left, you can’t help but crow about how equal-opportunity you are in your criticisms. Which is absurd, of course, and not factually correct. Surely even you admit that you are not in the least impartial when it comes to your sources of “stupid” stories. You favor those mentioned above.

    Obvious example: Obama’s administration has been shockingly opaque and untruthful, arguably moreso than any in my (and your) lifetime. Shall we count up the number of anti-Obama, anti-Democrat stupid stories (and there are plenty) that you have written over the last four years and compare the rate to the anti-Bush, anti-Republican stories of stupidity you wrote over the duration of the previous administration?

    Do you really believe the rates would be equal? I have not done the test, but I have little doubt that the results would be identical with the Facebook test I did some months back, showing your postings to be very steeply biased.

    So your utter lack of impartiality weakens any claim you have to “truth”. Your newsletter may be mostly factual, but so are the Huffington Post and the Drudge Report. I would not call either of those web sites particularly truthful, any more than your “This Is True” newsletter and site merit the designation. Truth is much more than mere factuality.

    (On a separate note: Mocking and belittling those who are ignorant of science and the scientific method makes you look mean and bullying, not enlightened. Like you, I find such folks somewhat irritating to deal with. But in most cases, their ignorance is not caused by dishonesty. You would do better to focus on dishonest stupidity rather than simple naivete. And you would do well to spread your mockery and hatred-spewing around to the political Left; at least it would make your newsletter and web site more truthful, as it claims to be.)

    I appreciate your apology. That said, I cannot be responsible for your silly “impressions” that are so clearly counter to fact. This is True is not meant to encourage readers to make fun of everyone else, it’s about, as I said here less than a year ago, that “We all do dumb things sometimes. We see ourselves in the stories, and hopefully we’re ‘not that dumb’ and vow to think more, and be stupid less.” What a sad thing that you chose such a negative view of the world.

    And despite all the examples that James came up with (which I appreciate: I sure wouldn’t have put in that time!), you still insist that I target “Social and political conservatives” and “Republicans”. So I have to agree with James: you are, indeed, and absolute closed-minded obliviot. Your apology took you in the right direction, but you still have a lot to think about. Start with re-reading James’s response slowly and carefully, then Barry’s. I truly respect that they are able to laugh at themselves, rather than insisting that they can only laugh at others. -rc

  44. As has already been noted, a teacher that endeavors to instruct students HOW to think is very preferable to one that focuses on teaching our children WHAT to think.

    Unfortunately, our educational systems seem to have opted for the notion of teaching them NOT to think. It’s disturbing to see how many kids (and even MORE adults) are willing to check their brains at the door and facilitate that. Nevertheless, I think history has shown us that free thought is contagious.

  45. “Does this mean we need to invade Philadelphia and bring them democracy?”

    Unfortunately, I think so. Like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia is a place with a one-party system. The winner of the Democratic primary is the election winner in each place. Republicans don’t stand a shot in h e double hockey sticks of getting elected to anything in either city.

    The tag line reminded me of so many years ago when Sophie Masloff was the mayor of Pittsburgh. She traveled to eastern Europe (Romania, I think, but I don’t remember for sure) during the time of the Iron Curtain to promote the benefits of two-party democracy there. I laughed when I read that in the local paper, considering that Pittsburgh is not a two-party democracy, having only one-party rule by the Democratic party. Nothing has changed in either city since then.

    C’mon, Ed: you’re not 6 years old. The word is “hell”. The only thing more hellish than a two-party system is a one-party system. I prefer three strong parties, myself. We’re not there by a long shot. -rc

  46. Just an aside to Stephen, Redmond. Just wondering if you even noticed the Sacred Cow that Randy carved up back in August? Fella by the name of Randy Cassingham. Just seems to me Randy is pretty even handed with his just desserts if he serves himself up when he so deserves it.

    Now, back to the issue at hand. I just had another thought about the teacher mentioned above when my brother reminded me of the way the final grade was determined in our American Civics course. The teacher allowed us to pick between two opposing viewpoints for a mid-term paper which would determine 10% of our grade and then assigned us each the opposing view for a paper to be the final and would determine 25% of the grade. By the time I took the course it had changed to the lowest of the two would carry the heavier weight. (Due to younger siblings knowing in advance about the final paper assignment.) Her total thrust was to teach us to see *both* sides of the issue well enough to argue the points from either side.

    The best papers were distributed and we were tested on reading them. One that struck me was a boy in my class who earned the only A ever given by this teacher for both papers. His assignment? For the first paper, to argue that the civil war was about slavery. His second assignment to argue that the civil war was not about slavery but about states’ rights. Both papers were well written, articulate, heavily documented and on point. And yes, this student was a black student. And I remember his statements to this day at our graduation. The gratitude he had for the teacher who taught him to “think from every side of an issue” and only then “choose how I would position myself on an issue.”

    I shudder for students today who don’t get such lessons, but instead get spoon fed the issues and the teacher’s viewpoint on them. No longer it seems do we learn to think and make up our minds about the issues. Instead of changing this nation as our predecessors did and leaving our mark upon it, the future generations will merely parrot out the changes advocated by the articulate. This way lies tyranny.

  47. I’m sorry to say that I’m not surprised. I’ve seen enough people say Conservatism/Liberalism is a mental illness that nothing surprises me anymore. Going to any new site’s forum is flat out depressing. Try being a climate change skeptic. Then you have governments and psychological journals claiming that you’re crazy.

    What I’m shocked at, though, is the teacher. The teacher should know better.

    And as a man quite representative of the stereotypical political position of my state, I have to agree that you are an equal opportunity offender. Thank you Mr. Cassingham, you have more than earned the honorific.

  48. I’ve been reading the free This is True for quite a while. I found it by accident while searching for Stella awards. I upgraded recently when you put out there that you needed more paying readers. I’m glad to get the additional stories. What I don’t understand from some of the above comments is why so many people think this is about a political agenda. Most of your stories have no political persuasion at all. From Stephen’s comments, it’s obvious that he follows you here and on facebook for some time faithfully. If your opinions bother him so much, why does he do that? If I don’t like a book, I stop reading it. If I don’t like a TV show, I change the channel. Life is too short to spend time following someone on the internet who gets you so upset that you feel inclined to be rude and insulting. Grow up.

    You do raise good questions, Karol — and I don’t know the answers. Despite Stephen’s one attempt to apologize and “try again with less vitriol,” I’ve not posted two other comments he has made on this page — due to them being so filled with vitriol that I didn’t read past the first few words before hitting the Kill button. I used to be quite puzzled as to why people choose to be so offended by things that aren’t there, but gave up on trying to figure it out: as you say, it’s foolish to let it take up too much time! -rc

  49. I think everyone has missed a central element to the story. Though it makes for good outrage; it is possible that the incident can be seen with a different lens. It’s not uncommon to joke with students in a playful way about their choices/preferences. For example to respond with mock horror when they wear a t-shirt from the rival of a teacher’s favorite team. This can often create bonding between teachers and students and create an atmosphere that brings up divergent view points in the classroom, in a lighter way. When read carefully it sounds to me that this is exactly what happened. Perhaps the teacher’s mistake was one of misjudging this particular student’s ability to read and respond to the intent. High school can be an awkward age, full of insecurities. The article says the girl was embarrassed. It’s easy to jump to an assumption about the root of that embarrassment. Things can snowball pretty quickly when one responds from outrage rather than hearing out all sides first (those of you who are parents will know that sometimes kids versions of events can vary widely from what actually happened). I’m not saying that that’s what happened here but perhaps it’s easier to use this story to let out moral outrage about politics, teachers, that state of democracy etc. Wars have been started on less. Seek first to understand then to be understood.

  50. Re the first story: Anyone want to bet that gang member is going to get it big time from the other cons while he’s in prison? Child molesters are among the lowest of the low in prison society, with pet thieves and animal molesters being the lowest of the lot.

    Re story #2, that teacher’s behavior was unprofessional at best. I agree with those who suggested she should find another line of work — IMO, she shouldn’t be working with children. The other teacher who came by and wanted to cross out the message on the T-shirt should also be subject to disciplinary measures.

  51. I am curious, Randy; you’ve often mentioned how you have liberals accuse you of being conservative, and conservatives accuse you of being liberal. Does it happen just as often of liberals claiming you as one of their own (same for conservatives)?

    What an interesting question. Just as often? Heck no! The question is, Has it EVER happened? And the answer is, not that I can recall. I’ve had a lot of people recognize me and my thinking as like them, but they don’t identify as “liberal” nor “conservative”, but rather “independent” or “middle of the road” (which is the term I use a lot) or “libertarian” (usually with a small L; they’re not generally members of the Libertarian Party). These are the people who have rejected the party-line thinking of both sides and choose instead to think for themselves, and are seriously bothered by partisanship tearing the country apart, rather than coming together to solve the very real problems that we have. Independents are the biggest portion of voters — we outnumber both Republicans and Democrats — yet our voices are marginalized by those in power. It’s democracy at its worst. -rc

  52. Not quite sure what to make of the “documented gang member” (whatever THAT means) trying to kidnap the boy, other than I hope he at least gets a fair trial, and appropriate punishment if found guilty.

    I’m a pretty “fluffy” gal myself, and it would seem that trying to corral a kid, especially one who is in shape (playing soccer) would be a challenge for a fit adult, let alone this guy.

    As for that “teacher,” so terribly offended by her student’s shirt, it would have been just as easy — not nearly as dramatic as this Drama Queen needed, obviously! — to simply ask her to go to the girl’s room and turn that shirt inside out if she didn’t have another one available to change into that was less “offensive” or “controversial.”

    In addition, if you have to explain you were “joking,” as in, “meant to make people laugh,” then you either need new material, or to work on your delivery while looking for another job.

    Finally, let this be a lesson: when you allow a “Dress Down Day,” be it school or a workplace, be prepared for the consequences if you say, “Dress Down Day” without setting some ground rules, such as policy on political or religious statements, and the “inappropriate visibility of body parts,” meaning see through, unbuttoned, unzipped, otherwise unfastened, or cut too low.

    I think you need to start a society for ALL of us “Radical right wing conservatives”/”Terrible left wing liberals.”

    You could call it the “Radical, Terrible Right/Left Wing Conservative Liberals,” which sounds like a great child’s book, too, along the lines of an old favorite, “Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

  53. There have been some comments (both here and on a news site) suggesting that school uniforms are a good way to deal with it. I strongly disagree. Expressing individuality is not a problem that needs to be solved!

  54. I would have hoped that Stephen would have looked at his final statement and checked out what he was saying before going on with it. He said you pointed out more things about Bush than Obama. Last time I checked, Bush was President for eight years, Obama has not yet finished four years. Of course there will be more to point out in a Presidency lasting eight years than one lasting less then four. And then there’s more opportunity for dumb things to happen and be pointed out. Not that I’m calling Bush “dumb.” But people are fallible and things that seem right sometimes are shown to be mistakes later and then they seem like dumb things to do, in hindsight. So if we have eight years of Obama, surely there will be ample opportunity to point out mistakes made so that Stephen will have his chance to reverse his opinion or at least maybe actually think about it.

  55. Everybody seems to be ignoring the much more important issue raised by these stories: there’s a crime called “child annoying”?

    Apparently a lot of us are going to prison. -rc

  56. The thing that troubled me most in the second story was the second teacher, who took the side of the first, pretending to deface the student’s t-shirt. That would be assault, an actionable crime, if she really did it.

    The fact that the second teacher joined in suggests a deeply political and hostile environment exists in this school. One that is not amenable to open discourse and critical thinking.

  57. Randy, I love you man. I wish I had the right combination of aplomb and audacity to handle detractors as well as you do here. I laughed out loud at your challenge/accusation “Do you really need me to take you by the hand and point you to examples? I will, if you admit you’re too biased to see them for yourself.”

    I will use that soon and often in my work as an engineer. 🙂

    Having said that, the reason I am responding here is more serious. I have been reading your work for (about) 10 years now and have no idea what your personal political leanings are; other than your description. Yes, you sometimes skewer my sacred cows, which makes me wonder “Why did I hold that cow in such esteem?” But you also skewer my opponents’ sacred cows, which makes me think, “Wonder if [insert opposing friend name here] saw this?”

    Thank you for many years of excellent work, and for supporting freeloaders like me who are too cheap to pay for the good seats. If it means anything to you, I often feel guilty for reading the free version when you deserve recompense… but something in my background/makeup just makes me a cheapskate; maybe the two kids in college?

    Hail fellow well met!

    I’m glad you can’t figure out my “political leanings,” since they’re not the point. The point is thinking about why you lean the way you do, and deciding if it’s justified — just as you’ve done. I don’t want people to feel guilty, though: either you can afford to support TRUE, or you can’t. If TRUE ever goes “off the air” it will be because too many of those who could afford it, and loved it, couldn’t be bothered to support it. -rc

  58. Hyperbole from the left! Hyperbole from the right! Where, I Askew, is the hyperbole from the middle?

    Where indeed. -rc

  59. I once argued in a debate (for a speech class) a position that I was strenuously against. I wonder how that teacher could teach anything without thinking about and understanding both sides.

    Even math has arguments.

  60. I see no problem with anyone being either far-left liberal or far-right conservative. Conversely, I see no superiority in being (or claiming to be) middle-of-the-road or moderate.

    Consider Amendment I to the Constitution.

    I find it hard to condemn stupidity because it is involuntary and relative: there isn’t much a stupid person can do about it and everybody is stupider or smarter than someone else.

    However, ignorance is voluntary, and thus to be despised.

    However, stupid or smart, knowledgeable or ignorant, so long as a person behaves in a polite and civilized fashion, I see no problem with any opinion.

    Therein lies the problem with the behavior of the teacher in Philly.

  61. You & i have at least one thing in common: my “conservative” friends like to refer to me as “the left-wing, bleeding-heart socialist/liberal” and my “liberal” friends refer to me as “that right wingnut, redneck reactionary.” hmmmm, we must be doing SOMETHING right!

    Hear hear! -rc

  62. I’ll be the first to agree that I’m a very partisan, liberal Democrat. I’ve also been a teacher at the high school level. I actually really love discussions with people with different views than mine — how else will I learn something new?

    I am also the chief Democratic election judge at my precinct. As a judge, I am absolutely mandated to act in a nonpartisan manner, and nobody’s ever had the slightest complaint about my work– and my precinct is extremely conservative.

    The teacher in the second story behaved in a manner unbefitting a professional, and absolutely should be removed from that classroom and disciplined. I would, however, be interested to learn if there was some other part of the story that we haven’t heard. Perhaps the student had been a discipline problem herself, and made a point of trying to bully the teacher?

    I’ve not seen any evidence of this — even though the story was obtained from three different sources. -rc

  63. I guess I am reading different second story from most people. It all went wrong for me the moment a teacher chose what a student should wear without regard for the established dress code and the student’s preference. That, to my mind, is just abusive. Any considerate human being would notice that another is more comfortable wearing a collared shirt, or whatever, than what had been offered, regardless of the ideology involved.

  64. When I was going to school, the teachers were supposed to be role models. From what I read in the story, the school board wants their students to graduate as closed minded, shallow individuals with no tolerance for anybody who does not think exactly as they do, when they do.

    So much for a free and open democracy. I congratulate the board for ensuring our collective problems get worse.

  65. What I find the most interesting is the fact that, historically, the KKK was a child of the Democratic Party in the south! While it is a Bad Thing that someone with this sort of attitude has been turned loose on innocent children, it is an undeniably Good Thing that she was not trying to teach them history!

  66. Another example for compulsory school uniforms — so teachers and administrators don’t have to worry about gang colours, political/rude slogans, rich kids showing off their latest Prada purchase to barefoot Joe etc etc.

  67. Common sense isn’t so common these days and the things that people know for sure that just ain’t so are overwhelming the actual facts. Just as it is easy to ridicule Palin for statements made by Tina Fey, the feelings and impressions of well-meaning, “right-thinking” individuals are paramount in believing they are correct and entitled to censor and remove opposing ideas. Anyone differing in opinion, belief or knowledge is not intelligent enough to have an independent thought and must be protected from themselves.

    Rational debate and argument is just too hard — it requires logic, rhetorical skills and a sound knowledge of objective facts. Acting on feelings and mental constructs is much more comfortable and satisfying and anyone granting validity to both sides of a question has already lost.

  68. I am always appalled when people from either side of the political arena show their lack of wisdom by making unwarranted and uninformed comments about your own bias. Now, honestly, anyone saying that they are unbiased is just silly — we all have blind spots. But those of us who like to think about issues individually and not subscribe to some particular party’s line tend to have much more, well… complex biases than others, I think.

    However, I find your responses to the poster to be pretty much just as disturbing as his own sillines. When you resort to your own name-calling, cursing, and text that seams to SCREAM your frustration — well, it doesn’t make you sound intelligent. It makes you sound — to me at least — like another version of the screaming left or the screaming right.

    Is it impossible to counter prejudice, ignorance, and lack of critical thinking with a calm, reasoned response? Does it show wisdom to rail loudly against those who will never listen?

    I enjoy your newsletter, and I think you are a generally thoughtful person. But I think that tirades only diminish your influence.

    Sometimes people just get to the end of their ropes. After years of accusations from both sides, to have Yet Another Obliviot start over from scratch was just too much. -rc

  69. I am always just speechless when someone compares the Republican Party to the KKK. Don’t these people know that KKK was, for all purposes, the militant wing of the Democratic Party?

    Well, several people have pointed that out in the comments before yours. It is interesting that everyone expects everyone else to read their comments, when they haven’t bothered to read the others themselves. But to your point, yes, it’s ignorant. And it’s becoming clear why! -rc

  70. This story remined me of the guy who was arrested for wearing a pacifist t-shirt during the run up to the Iraq war. I surprised myself by finding it just as offensive.

  71. I find all the comments about Southern Democrats and the KKK interesting. They all seem to overlook the fact that, in the aftermath of LBJ’s “Great Society” campaign, these same people did an about-face and converted en masse to the GOP in protest of the civil rights movement. Today’s GOP is composed largely of the same group that used to call themselves Southern Democrats.

  72. Ironically, I think they missed a “teachable moment” in the second story. Upon seeing the shirt, the teacher could’ve stepped outside her subject for a different lesson. “Oh, I’m for the other side, but leaning to undecided. Convince me to vote your way.” Then they could get into a real debate on the issues with the entire class fact-checking. (I’m assuming online’s available to students during the day — I have no idea if it is since I graduated more than 30 years ago, when we would’ve considered something like a Siri pure magic.)

    But Paul: that would be an example of thinking, rather than reacting! -rc

  73. Frankly, I doubt that a teacher would want to take any time from classroom instruction if the subject wasn’t related to the class being taught. Political science is one thing; such a debate might fit in, but discussing politics during an English or math class would be another thing entirely.

  74. Ironically, the teacher DID take time away from classroom instruction, unrelated to the class being taught. Frankly, I’m seeing an ever-increasing attitude that we have a “right” to be offended, and it behooves us to voice that right with much hyperbole. (“I didn’t get a harrumph out of that man!” ~ Blazing Saddles)

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