Saturday, July 17, 2010

The True Face of Campus Progress

A Report from the Conference

This last week, Youth for Western Civilization dropped by the left-wing "Campus Progress" conference here in Washington D.C. It was held in the Omni Shoreham hotel, with the main portion of the conference taking place in an ornate ballroom filled with a massive stereo system and two giant projection screens. The conference was headlined by big name speakers like Samantha Powers, John Podesta, Van Jones, and dozens of other presenters and panelists flown in with all expenses paid for the weekend. At least George Soros isn’t lacking for money in the Obama Recession.

All our favorite leftist archetypes were in attendance:

The advocates for the re-distribution of wealth – You know the type. The angry scowlers of the Al Sharpton strain who demand affirmative action and blame white people for black and Hispanic economic disparities, directing a constant barrage of eye-daggers at anyone who appeared to represent "the man".

Illegal aliens and their apologists – They were there in force. Their main objective is the so-called DREAM Act which would give illegal alien minors the ability to become permanent residents if they go to college. According to these law breakers, borders and sovereignty are a thing of the past... for Western countries. It's of course essential that Mexico, Honduras, Vietnam and all the other places these illegals hail from maintain their sovereignty, culture, and identity, while the United States is transformed from a “melting pot” into a “tossed salad” in the never ending pursuit for diversity and inclusion.

The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender advocate) legions – These were the most prominent groups there. We were unable to guess the gender of many of them. A number of them were wearing shirts advocating a "marriage boycott" until all states begin issuing "gay marriages". Good luck with that.

Even the restrooms were not safe from social engineering. Each men's restroom was designated as a "multigender restroom." However, for the women’s restrooms, there was no transgender symbol. Only females were allowed in female restrooms. The irony of this "discrimination" seemed to escape them entirely.

David Cho, the winner of one of the organization’s awards, took to the stage to proclaim that he was an illegal alien. His speech consisted of complaints that even though he had gone through the California educational system (no doubt at significant taxpayer expense) he had difficulties finding jobs due to his "status," which he felt was "discriminatory."

"We now have SB 1070 brewing in Arizona, a state that’s sweltering under the heat of oppression, and we now live in a society which restricts young children and students solely on the basis of their status," he proclaimed. This is the Arizona that recently decided to dismantle the speed cameras in the state, hardly a move consistent with "a state that’s sweltering under the heat of oppression." Left unmentioned was the nefarious discrimination against convicted felons, drunk drivers, and sex offenders "solely on the basis of their status."

Although he was proud to announce that he was "undocumented", and list the jobs he and his family illegally work (many of which are the type in which one is commonly paid under the table), no federal agents showed up to arrest him, nor is there any sign that any legal or law enforcement action will be taken in the future to restrain him from continuing to break the law. One can easily imagine this would not be the case had an American citizen proclaimed "I don’t pay my taxes," "I drive without a license," "I sell marijuana for a living," or any other proud announcement of ongoing and purposeful law violation. Rather than living "in the shadows," criminals like Cho can flaunt their illegal status confidently because they know they have the American Establishment on their side.

David Cho has high ambitions for someone who isn’t even an American citizen: "I ultimately want to become a U.S. Senator, because I want to make changes in this country," he announced. Of course, we want to make changes too, though probably something far removed from the kind of "Change" we’ve been suffering through the last two years. Cho concluded, "Let us rededicate ourselves to the commitment and the involvement in the common effort to create a new society, and a new nation." One wonders who this "us" is, what "new nation" he wants to create, and why he has to do it here. As Americans, we generally like the nation we have now and don’t want it to be replaced.

The various sessions on specific issues were predictable. Granting amnesty to illegal aliens was the subject of one of the morning sessions, entitled "Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets." The main argument put forth by this panel was that with millions of illegal aliens leeching off the institutions and taxpayers of our republic, "it only makes sense" to give them citizenship. As stated above, their foremost goal is the ludicrously named DREAM Act, which would give young adults illegally residing in the United States the opportunity for permanent residency. Americans who do not have access to a college education or law abiding immigrants who are trying to obtain permanent residency would be ignored. One of the requirements for the law would be "good moral character." Voluntary deportation and legal entry into the immigration process would be a good test of that, but we are pretty sure that’s not what the panel meant.

The mantra of "multiculturalism" was everywhere at the event, even in areas seemingly entirely unrelated. For example, another morning panel we attended on "The Force of Food" was ostensibly organized to discuss organic and sustainable food movements. A number of YWC members and supporters have recently become intrigued with ideas about backyard gardens and getting away from corporate-produced, processed food (which often relies on huge numbers of illegal workers to produce). Therefore, we actually expected some practical help from this panel. Instead, rather than advice on how to build and organize such movements, the focus was on "getting minorities involved."

The panel centered on complaining that there was a "lack of access" to organic and healthy foods in "minority areas," without addressing the underlying culture of this demographic that creates the market forces that generate this pattern. A self-described "Native American tribal activist," Terrol Dew Johnson, complained that there was only one grocery store on his Tohono O'odham reservation, and that "the largest aisle is soda pop and junk food." Another panelist lamented that the supermarkets have departed Los Angeles, and the new tenants in these buildings are liquor stores.

The federal "Superfund" law which mandates clean-ups of polluted "brownfields" even drew a part of the blame, as one of the panelists said that McDonalds was the only company able to pay for such cleanups before building on certain urban sites. However, one would think that large organic and health food chains such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s would just as easily be able to afford such cleanups, were there any demand for such stores from the people who live in these areas. Of course, since the CEO of Whole Foods publicly opposed the Obamacare bill, he might be persona non grata in the eyes of the extreme Left.

One questioner, who appeared to be a middle-to-upper class white girl, asked the panel what could be done to bring organic and healthy foods to her area in Philadelphia, which she described as predominantly black. She talked about how she saw no interest whatsoever from the black community in organic or healthy foods. The panel was unable to come up with any answers, saying that the process would be "slow" and could "take a decade or more" to come up with any noticeable shift. One panelist said that he would be speaking at Swarthmore within a few months, but the questioner replied that "unfortunately" she would be on a month-long vacation in France during that time. It’s doubtful that the Eurotripping activist Left will actually be making changes in inner city dieting anytime soon.

One of the afternoon panels we was called "Race and the Recession." The general theme of this panel was that regardless of the ebb and flow of our global economy, white people are responsible for black and Latino disparities in wealth and income. The most recent evidence was President Obama's stimulus bill which was supposedly intended for minorities. However, some of the money ended up going to whites. This, of course, is "stealing the money from people of color," and "as a country of color, we need more programs to elevate the rainbow coalition."

(We should note that because this was a left-wing event and we are quoting Leftists, the following paragraphs contain vairous expletives and racial slurs.)

Ironically, the other afternoon session which we attended, on the topic of "Promoting Progress Through Comedy," was mechanical and boring. The one exception was a "joke" by Baratunde Thurston of The Onion that Mel Gibson’s black friends must be a "pack of raping niggers," which Thurston said he could "only say… because I’m black."

Van Jones seems to have learned his lesson from last year, and like most of the major speakers took care to sound as mundane as possible. One who didn’t get the memo was an individual of indeterminate gender named Andrea Gibson. She went on a few long rants, saying such things as "Our sky is so perfectly blue, it’s repulsive – somebody tell me where God lives, because if God is truth, God doesn’t live here." Her view on supporting the troops was "fuck your yellow ribbon."

Although her time was expired, she decided to stay for one more rant, since, as she put it, "I can’t get off the stage without being gay." She ranted about "the patriarchy," recounted a fit of rage from her lesbian girlfriend when she commented that she’d "like to eat that checkout clerk," and expressed her anger at people who do not want to redefine marriage to enable her to marry her girlfriend "but the fuckers say we can’t because you’re a girl and I’m a girl!" One of the best moments of her life was "the time we saw two boys kissing on the street in Kansas, and we both broke down crying, because it was Kansas…we were born again that day!"

Another interesting speaker was Beau Sia, who opened up with "I don’t need a gong to make my entrance, I’m Asian-American!" and recounted a series of racial achievements and his pride in them, statements which would have been described as "racist" and "supremacist"if they had come from a white person. He then proceeded into another tirade in which he described himself as "a developed nation jerk-off," and rambled wildly about "saving the world" from some sort of apocalypse.

What do we take away from this? Campus Progress seemingly has little to do with generating solutions, even in theory, for issues like the economy, job creation, national security, health care, trade, or education. Instead, it is a collection of tribes united only by their hostility to Middle America and everything that it stands for. It's simply George Soros backing the next generation of Jesse Jackson-style shakedown artists and freakish exhibitionists. They have no solutions for America's future – more than that, they're not even trying.

The next event being hosted by Campus Progress here in D.C. is "Drag Bingo," featuring "the biting commentary of DC’s best drag queen, Shi-Quita-Lee." I think we’ll pass.


Angry parents accuse British school of 'dumbing down' English by showing The Simpsons in class

A father has started a petition against 'dumbing down' after his daughter's school ditched literary classics in favour of The Simpsons. Joseph Reynolds was horrified when his 13-year-old daughter spent six weeks studying the popular US cartoon in English lessons. Homework assignments included watching episodes of the TV series.

His petition calling for Shakespeare to replace The Simpsons has now gained more than 300 signatures.

But the school, Kingsmead Community School in Somerset, has defended its curriculum, claiming the programme helps students 'to become critical readers and analysts of complex media texts'. It insisted it was merely following the National Curriculum, which requires that students study 'moving image' texts. And it said 'many other schools' used The Simpsons to teach English.

But Mr Reynolds, 44, a marine engineer from Wiveliscombe near Taunton, branded the programme the 'Turkey Twizzler' of the curriculum and called on Education Secretary Michael Gove to act to remove it.

'When I asked my daughter what she had done today in her English class, and she said The Simpsons, I thought it was a hook to get the kids interested in something more intellectual,' he said. 'But six weeks later she was still doing The Simpsons.

'I'm not some moral crusader against The Simpsons. I find it witty and clever and watch it at home. But it's a TV sitcom and it doesn't belong in the classroom. 'I do think we should raise the level a little for our children. Children should be studying text of the highest quality and I don't believe this fits the bill.'

Mr Reynolds wife, Denise, 39, said: 'Someone said to my husband that Homer was the modern day Hamlet but how can these kids make a connection like that if they are not learning about Shakespeare?'

Mr Reynolds wrote to the school to raise his concerns but both the head and governors defended the use of the programme.

In a letter, the school claimed that analysing the opening sequences of the Simpsons was similar to analysing the opening of Dickens' Great Expectations.

Mr Reynolds added: 'Most of the parents I have met have been unaware that their children are studying The Simpsons and they were shocked when I told them. 'All I can do is try to change it. The Simpsons has dominated English lessons for six weeks. My daughter will never get that time back. I don't think it's good enough. It's dumbing down.'

There are suggestions The Teletubbies was used in lessons for 11-year-olds, while Mr Reynolds' daughter will next year study the Hollywood romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You. It is a modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew.

Mr Reynolds said he no longer 'trusted' Ofsted inspections after the school was rated 'outstanding'.

But headmaster Geoff Tinker said: 'The National Curriculum requires that students study a range of texts including moving image texts. 'We, along with many other schools, use The Simpsons to develop analytical essay writing and thinking.

'The Simpsons is excellent for analysing the use of satire, parody, irony and humour - enabling students to become critical readers and analysts of complex media texts.'

He said students also studied Shakespeare, classics such as Jane Eyre and Great Expectations and poets including Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke.

'Mr Reynolds has his own view about the merits of The Simpsons, which we do not hold,' he said. 'Our GCSE results in English Language and English Literature stand up to scrutiny and do not support Mr Reynolds assertions about "dumbing down".'


Australia: School computer scheme probed

THE Auditor-General is probing the Gillard government's $2.4 billion school computers program. This comes on the heels of multiple inquiries into Building the Education Revolution bungling. The outcome - due to be reported to parliament in the spring session - has the potential to damage Julia Gillard in a knife-edge election campaign.

"The objective of this audit is to assess how effectively (the federal Education Department) implements and manages the Digital Education Revolution initiative, with particular focus on payment arrangements, monitoring and reporting on the fund, and on-costs," the Australian National Audit Office stated in its latest work program, published yesterday.

News of the audit came a day after the Prime Minister admitted in a nationally televised speech that the delivery of the BER program was flawed, because it was designed in haste amid the global financial crisis.

The DER scheme, to cost taxpayers $2.4bn over seven years, aims to give high schools at least one computer for every student in Years 9 to 12 by the end of 2011.

The Auditor-General also revealed his office was investigating a $2.5bn scheme to set up trade training centres in schools, and flagged "potential audits" of the My School website, which compares school performances nationally.

The auditor also plans to probe the administration of $2bn a year in childcare subsidies to families, as well as the Council of Australian Governments agreement to provide a preschool place for every Australian child by 2013.

All the audits implicate the sweeping portfolio of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, which Ms Gillard managed before she wrested the prime minister's job from Kevin Rudd last month.

Queensland's Audit Office yesterday revealed it was conducting an inquiry into how the state was spending its $2.1bn slice of the $16.2bn BER scheme.

The auditor refused to comment on his secret investigation, but The Australian understands it will include the first comparison of BER construction costs between public and Catholic schools.

Queensland opposition education spokesman Bruce Flegg yesterday lodged a complaint with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, asking it to investigate possible collusion in the BER scheme.

The Australian revealed in April that Queensland's Master Builders Association had negotiated the fee with the government, on behalf of eight construction giants, to manage $840 million of BER work without going to tender.


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