Saturday, October 27, 2012

Buddy Holly

For old times sake. The best music video ever. Circa 1995. =w=

Monday, October 22, 2012

Romney/Ryan Tax Plan

The Romney/Ryan Campaign have finally released their budget plan. You can find the details HERE.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shaky Pedastals

I have really wanted to believe Lance Armstrong. Despite years of allegations I always gave him the benefit of the doubt although admittedly there was always a nagging little voice in the back of mind warning that something didn't seem right about Lance.

I shrugged off the French journalists as jealous xenophobes. I blew off the American journalists as attention hungry muckrakers. I dismissed his former teammates as bitter.

But the evidence continued to pile up. Even his best friends gave up the goods. Lance himself gave up trying to defend himself. But then it got even worse. Reams of evidence has been released that show that Lance not only used PEDs he was active in pushing them on others. It has been revealed that he was the mastermind of a wide spread and sophisticated doping operation.

Nike (NIKE!) has ditched him. Lance has even been forced to step aside from his own cancer fighting charity LIVESTRONG.

And it's all terribly sad. This guy misled millions of fans. He was the inspiration for so many cancer fighters and athletes. And now it turns out that he was a cheat. He was a dealer. He was a criminal. All while playing the sanctimonious cancer survivor card. And there's even a possibility that he got his cancer as a side effect from doping. That's mere speculation but testicular cancer is indeed a well known possible side effect of the type of PEDs he's been accused of taking.

Dwell on that one for a minute. The one thing that gave him moral credibility, the one thing that kept a lot of people off his back, the one thing that served as a huge inspiration to others...surviving cancer...may have been caused by him cheating and breaking the law. It's in the realm of possibility that he may have never gotten cancer had he not taken PEDs.


I watched all seven of Lance's Tour de France victories. I rooted him on. I wore the yellow bracelet. I argued in his favor through years of allegations. Turns out he wasn't worth it.

Of course this happens when you place your faith in human beings.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No words...

Dinesh D'Souza is one of the most dangerous men in America. But fortunately his hubris has finally caught up with him.

His "documentary" Obama:2016 was nothing more than character assassination. Even the conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, dismissed it out of hand as the ravings of a right wing lunatic. In fact, that is an insult to right wingers and lunatics everywhere.

In his debates and interviews, desperate for credibility,  Dinesh always reminds people that he is a college president. However, he conveniently forgets to remind people that when he took over The King's "College" it had seventeen students. It was a school that had gone bankrupt and actually dissolved until revived by the Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru). Until recently the school's motto was "God, Money, Power." At least they put God first.

Academic credibility? D'Souza does not possess an advanced degree nor had he ever taught before becoming a "college president."

And now World Magazine, an evangelical magazine, has exposed him as a full fledged hypocrite. At a values conference in South Carolina event organizers discovered that he was sharing a room with a woman he introduced as his fiancee. Even more interesting was the fact that he wasn't divorced from his first wife at the time. The King's "College" is now investigating. D'Souza says that he did indeed share a room with the woman but that "nothing happened." Their engagement has since been called off.

What an absolute and disgusting hypocrite who's an embarassment to anyone who identifies themselves as a Christian.

My Newest Hero

On the back wall of my classroom I have a section I call the wall of heroes. Lined in a row are figures both current and historical who inspire me in some way. I added a new portrait this week. Malala Yousafzai is a 14 year old girl who lives in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. She has been a passionate advocate for the right of girls to attend school. For the past few years, since she was eleven, she has written and spoken eloquently about the transformative power of education. 

The Taliban extremists who live in the region found her a great threat to her twisted ideology. Last week they boarded her school bus and in front of her frightened classmates shot her twice, once in the head and once in the neck.

Miraculously she survived the attack. Her life still hangs in the balance. At the time of this writing she was in critical but stable condition. The Taliban have vowed to murder her should she survive this first attempt at assassination.

She is an inspiration to me. I hope she is able to resume a normal life. I hope the attempt on her life can finally galvanize the Pakistani people to once and for all reclaim their nation from these mindless thugs.

Malala Yousafzai (1998 -      ) is one of my newest heroes.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Specialization Schmelcialization

My whole post-secondary academic career I was pressured to specialize in one particular area of history. Problem is, I get bored easily. I am fascinated by all areas of history. I didn’t want to dedicate my life to one highly specialized area of study. I didn’t want to dedicate years of my life to one subject. Some enjoy that level of detail. I, however, am a proud generalist. This shot of my daily topic board is what I love best about my job. In one day I’m ranging all the way from Chinese philosophy to French religious history. It’s also why I actually like having three different preps (classes). In fact that’s one reason why I’m pursuing a Masters in the Humanities at SMU…it allows me to range all over the spectrum of history, art, religion, culture and literature.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Weirdness of Homecoming Week

So sophomore Kevin Olvera made this light-up mouse helmet to wear on Homecoming Friday. He “scavenged” materials from around his house and garage. The shell is made made from an old world globe. Kevin built it in only a day. Now, I’m not sure how this relates to KHS Homecoming. The helmet is gold in color which is one our school colors. But regardless, I was greatly impressed by the creativity and work behind the creation of this mask thing.

Monday, October 08, 2012

State Fair Madness

Went to The State Fair of Texas today. Some photos of our excursion can be found on my Flickr site HERE.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Incomplete Thoughts on Free Will

Six students from the high school where I teach were involved in a fiery car accident this past week. Their Suburban rolled over and crashed into an electrical tower. The SUV caught fire. Two students were thrown from the vehicle. Three others were trapped. One student heroically dragged the unconscious students from the burning overturned wreck. All six survived although some are dealing with long term injuries.

People are describing their survival as miraculous, that God must have had his hand on them. 

I must admit that I'm not so sure. On April 19th, 1995 me and two college classmates were scheduled to take a tour in the Murrah Bulding in Oklahoma City. One of them called the night before to cancel due to a school golf tournament. Had he not cancelled we may have been in that building when it was bombed. We possibly survived that day because of a fluke phone call ten hours before the explosion. 168 others, including over a dozen children, weren't so fortunate.

In 1984 I survived a traumatic car accident while my sister who was sitting next to me was permanently disabled. Three people in the other car were killed that day.

I know all the theological arguments and pithy statements suggesting otherwise, but I can't easily accept the idea that God chooses to save some and allows others to die or suffer. I especially can't accept that fact when some pretty rotten human beings survive these things while some Christian people, like my former student Collin who drowned this past summer, do not.

You can psychoanalyse me all you want. You can say I have survivor's guilt or whatever. But I wholeheartedly reject Calvinist predestination or fatalism. I believe in free will. I believe that we live in a fallen world. I believe that things in this life are not fair. I cannot accept that God chooses at certain times not to intervene to save someone from death on this earth when he has the power to do so. His salvation is fulfilled when we do die and enter His Kingdom.

And yet, perhaps contradictory to my position I still pray every day for God's protection for my son and wife. I will continue to pray for healing for people because one, prayer is meant more to get us into communion with God rather than provide Him with a wish list and second, I'm well aware that my ideas about the nature of His intervention could be wrong or short-sighted or both. My comprehension of His grace and mercy are pathetically ignorant.

I do believe in God's calling, however I do not believe we have a predetermined path. Many Christians fret about big this God's will or not? I believe that if you are walking in true relationship with him you are always in God's will no matter the circumstances.

I do believe God does intervene in the world through the Holy Spirit. I do believe The Holy Spirit comforts, empowers and provides wisdom. 

Yes, I know you can drive buses through the holes in these views of faith. But the question is, how much do you truly believe in free will?

photo: that was the Suburban, yes a Suburban, the six students were riding in. It was completely burned up.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Wait, what?

"This contemptuous disdain for our elected leaders of either party is worrisome and unhealthy for our democracy." Dr. John Mears - SMU

Dr. Mears is a legendary professor on the Hilltop. I'm currently taking his course The Cultural and Intellectual History of Europe. I agree wholeheartedly with his assessment.

The other day, one of my friends posted on facebook that he had overheard a conversation in a restaurant between two old men who were comparing President Obama to Hitler. My friend, a Republican who does not support Obama's re-election bid, was nevertheless shocked that these two ignorant fools actually believed what they were saying.

What was more shocking was some of the comments posted on my friend's status. Many of these are people I knew at SNU and are supposedly educated although their words indicate otherwise. One said "Those old guys are right! Look at Obama's agenda!" Another said, "He may not be like Hitler personally but governmentally he has a lot in common, after all Nazi means National Socialist." Another said "we can never truly know what's in Obama's heart."

My moderate Republican friend tried valiantly to argue that no matter how much he disagrees with Obama on matters of policy, comparing him to Hitler is the height of insanity. He said Obama has never invaded another nation with the the goal of wiping out an entire race and so on...

Although tempted I refused to comment on the facebook status because I know how much of a waste it is to argue with morons. Logic doesn't apply to these folks.

First, Hitler's National Socialism has nothing in common with the Marxist Socialism that right wing whackos accuse Obama of espousing. Only the word is the same. In fact, Nazis considered Communists their mortal ideological enemies. National socialism did not favor a planned economy. Nazis had no problem with the concept of private property. Most upper-class businessmen in Germany and Italy favored the fascists because they represented order in the midst of economic chaos.

And most true socialists are upset that Obama isn't socialist enough for their liking. Obama has deep ties with Wall Street. It was his administration that bailed out the banks and the auto industry. It was the Bush administration that propagated a war for no good reason, created the No Child Left Behind standardized education system and The Patriot Act which brought government intrusiveness into private lives to a whole new level. And everyone knows Bush was no socialist or fascist.

The last time America had a balanced budget was during a centrist-Democratic administration. America's debt has grown expotentially more under Republican administrations. Yet there are fools out there who compare Obama to Hitler, ignoring the fact that Hitler was a rascist who executed people of color by the millions.

Disagree with Obama but leave the contempt and mischaracterizations aside. Yes, I've been guilty of the same treatment toward other political figures. But I now realize how dangerous such behavior is. Please join me in trying to help promote civil dialogue in this nation.