Thursday, July 15, 2010

Remember When.....?

The News was The News? Something was always happening in the world, or seemed to be, and journalists had the integrity to REPORT the story, not DISTORT the story. There were few issues with coloration or bias in news reporting: "Just the facts, Ma'am," and thank you very much. Walter Cronkite and that sort of thing. Today I saw a headline on CNN. Front page. Center Top. "Oil crisis leaves puppies homeless." Now I hate this oil debacle as much as the next guy (unless the next guy is a Senator from Texas), but can we quit playing the heart-string game here CNN? I'm also a big-time animal lover, but I'm more concerned about the people whose lives have been so adversely affected by the spill, that they can't keep food on the table for their families, or a roof over their head, let alone be able to adopt a puppy. C'mon, Media! I prefer mine Media-Well, not Media-Rare or Raw. What's tomorrow's headline gonna be?
"BP spill causing depression among Latvian orphans." There you go! Don't be depressed because you're an orphan, or that you live in Latvia, but because there's a leak in the containment cap half-a-planet away. People in this Country worry about CREATIONISM being taught in schools, but they need to worry more about it playing across the newspapers and TV screens all across the USA. Creation of whatever truth or half-truth seems to sell in America. Ah yes, I remember America. Big place. We all used to be Americans. Not any more. The Media (or TheM for short) have seen to it that blue people hate red people, and all people hate some other people, for reasons no people really understand but are told BY GOSH YOU'D BETTER!! TheM sure do rile things up. TheM used to be called a "circus", and if you ask me that's only partially right because both are filled with clowns. Regardless of who I'm supposed to hate, I've made my decision....I hate TheM!

Customs and Border Protection Officers in Buffalo, New York had a strange case come before them this week. Eugene Todie was crossing back into New York from Canada July 9, and was asked to step inside for further discussion when it was discovered he was using someone else's passport. The investigation also found Mr. Todie is on probation in NY State, and was not supposed to leave the country under any condition. Then one of the Officers noticed Mr. Todie was wearing an ankle bracelet, and questioned him about it. Mr. Todie seemed to get a frog in his throat (sorry, couldn't resist), then replied that a probation officer-friend gave him the bracelet, to wear as a show of support for actress Lindsay Lohan. She too had to wear an ankle monitor for alcohol abuse, and like the suspect she didn't allow something as insignificant as a Court order keep her from traveling outside the US, if she darn-well felt like it. Records show the Buffalo man was on probation for criminal contempt already, and when he appears in federal court July 20th, on charges of misuse of a passport and lying to Homeland Security Officials, he's likely to get significantly more cage-time than the 90-days Ms. Lohan received. Lohan behold, I believe Mr. Todie done found himself a SOUL-mate. "Todie went a-courtin', he did ride!"


Speaking of New York, there was an interesting story in the NY Post recently, concerning the Education System in the Empire State. State school officials had promised to crack down on soft-test-grading to end the near-automatic advancement of students who REALLY were unprepared for promotion to the next grade. Personally, I had never heard of the phrase "soft-test-grading" until reading this, but as it turns out there's an even more peculiar name attached to the issue: HOLISTIC RUBRICS. That's apparently some New Age garbage-speak for
"NO CLUE HOW TO REALLY FIX THE PROBLEM." The newspaper found that grading guidelines had been relaxed, so that if you missed a test problem, you could at least get partial credit if you were "close." Among examples cited by the Post, from a 4th-grade math test:

How many inches long is a 2-foot-long skateboard?

Correct Answer: 24

But here's where insanity crept in. Students were given "half-credit" if they answered 48, I guess because both numbers are divisible by 2 and maybe you could multiply twice if you were shooting spitwads while trying to answer or something. Another question:

If you have 35 book boxes, and each contains 10 books, how many books are there in total?

Correct Answer: 350. But you still "earned" half-credit if you answered 150 or 250, because, well, I guess because at least you got the last 2 numbers right. However, if you were foolish enough to put down just 50 as your answer, it was ruled out for half-credit. In the words of a wise school official, "50 is just too far away numerically from being the real right answer."

So by New York school logic, if you had put 450 or 550 as your answer, wouldn't that entitle you to CREDIT-AND-A-HALF?!!