THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Toy (Soldier) Story”: Scorn and ridicule rained down on Coventry (RI) Public Schools Superintendent Ken Di Pietro and Tiogue School after a hat adorned with toy soldiers made by eight-year-old David Morales to honor US troops was banned under a “zero tolerance” weapons policy. Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio, the retired head of the RI National Guard. Gen. Centracchio made it up to the boy by awarding him a challenge coin and reassuring him that he did “nothing wrong, reports The Associated Press:
[Di Pietro] said in an e-mail … that the no-weapons policy shouldn't limit student expression, especially when students are depicting “tools of a profession or service,” such as the military or police.
“The event exposed how a policy meant to ensure safe environments for students can become restrictive and can present an image counter to the work of our schools to promote patriotism and democracy.”
If only common sense were contagious, and schools nationwide would rethink their no-weapons policies.
Editorial Note: Noting that “The purpose of a no weapons policy is to prevent weapons from being brought onto school grounds because accidents happen, and because they escalate fights,” Lemonfemale, a reader and occasional contributor to this blog, takes a metaphysical approach to the controversy in an E-mail exchange: “There is a famous painting by Rene Magritte of a pipe. Below it are the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”). Same theory. The toy soldiers are not carrying guns. They are images of soldiers carrying images of guns.”
† Honor Killing And Beheading: Stereotype Or True To Type?: Margaret Wente, a columnist with The Globe and Mail (Toronto) discusses the shocking honor killing of 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez, at the hands – literally – of her Pakistan-born father and brother because the girl wanted to wear Western clothes and to work outside the home:
[T]his tragedy raises some extremely troubling questions. What happens when large groups of immigrants cling to values and beliefs that diverge so sharply from the mainstream? And can we still rely on the passage of time to smooth the differences away? …
In 2001, Aqsa’s father, Muhammad, brought over his wife, Anwar Jan, and their seven other children. Aqsa was the youngest. All the older children were eventually married off to first cousins back in Pakistan, in unions arranged by their father. All the spouses have emigrated to Canada. …
In rural Pakistan, and many other Muslim parts of the world, defiance of male power is as serious as defiance of Allah. Aqsa’s father and brother both told people they were justified in killing Aqsa simply because she was embarrassing the family in front of the neighbours. …
Aqsa’s entire family was dedicated to resisting Western values, not adopting them. They were determined to cling to the ways of rural Pakistan. …
Decades ago, illiterate Italians also immigrated to Canada, bringing with them a harsh, patriarchal culture where religion dominated all. But they didn’t marry cousins imported fresh from the old country. And so they began to raise their children differently.
[Hat Tip: Mark Krikorian, Center For Immigration Studies]
Bursitis, sciatica, loss of bladder control: These are not the ailments of youth. Nor are the other complaints my girlfriends and I discuss over lunch. Add in the self-loathing generated by our complaining, and you start to see the full pathos of the aging baby boomer.
These days, I watch firm, smooth-skinned girls walk by with way more lust and envy than my husband does. I want to pinch their perfect flesh. I can no longer discern between a pretty young woman and a homely one because youth alone has become so deliciously beautiful to me.
Ah, if only I had that girl's body, but could keep my current brain.
In the piece, Koss relates how a friend has, perhaps prematurely, updated the eyelash batting of her youth with what she calls “little-old-lady cuteness” (“[s]he claimed to have gotten a great parking spot at a Dodgers game by calling the attendant ‘Honey’ and telling him she had a sore hip”) and vows that “I am not yet ready to embrace my inner granny, at least not until I've got a grandkid to dangle.” The author must mean “dandle.” Instead of lamenting losing the firm, smooth-skinned face and body she once had, she should keep working on that brain she fancies is superior to the grey matter inside the heads of pretty young women.
† Updates To Previous Posts (Obama’s One-Two Cha-Cha-Cha): Pakistan-born-cum-homegrown-terrorist Faisal Shahzad, 30, deprived Attorney General Eric Holder the opportunity to prove his controversial theory that terrorists can be successfully tried in civilian courts by pleading guilty to 10 terrorism and weapons counts stemming from his failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, reports WCBS-TV (Channel 2-NYC):
Shahzad made the plea and an accompanying statement as U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum began asking him a lengthy series of questions to ensure he understood his rights before accepting his plea.
Cedarbaum asked Shahzad if he understood he might spend the rest of his life in prison. He said he did.
At one point, she asked him if he was sure he wanted to plead guilty.
He said he wanted "to plead guilty and 100 times more" to let the U.S. know that if it did not get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, halt drone attacks and stop meddling in Muslim lands, "we will be attacking U.S."
But that’s not all he said. Here are some choice bits from the court transcript, according to The Associated Press:
I want to plead guilty and I'm going to plead guilty a hundred times over because until the hour the U.S. pulls it forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan and stops the occupation of Muslim lands and stops killing the Muslims and stops reporting the Muslims to its government, we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that. …
I would point out one thing in connection to the attack, that one has to understand where I'm coming from, because this is - I consider myself a mujahid, a Muslim soldier. The U.S. and the NATO forces, along with 40, 50 countries has attacked the Muslim lands. …
I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people, and on behalf of that, I'm avenging the attacks …
† Updates To Previous Posts (fourth item, Mortgage Loan Modification Less Than Advertised): The Associated Press reports that “[m]ore than a third of the 1.24 million borrowers who have enrolled in the $75 billion mortgage modification program have dropped out. That exceeds the number of people who have managed to have their loan payments reduced to help them keep their homes”:
Last month alone,155,000 borrowers left the program - bringing the total to 436,000 who have dropped out since it began in March 2009.
About 340,000 homeowners have received permanent loan modifications and are making payments on time. …
As more people leave the program, a new wave of foreclosures could occur. If that happens, it could weaken the housing market and hold back the broader economic recovery.
Even after their loans are modified, many borrowers are simply stuck with too much debt -- from car loans to home equity loans to credit cards.
"The majority of these modifications aren't going to be successful," said Wayne Yamano, vice president of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a research firm in Irvine, Calif. "Even after the permanent modification, you're still looking at a very high debt burden." …
Consumer advocates had high hopes for Obama's program when it began. But they have since grown disenchanted.
"The foreclosure-prevention program has had minimal impact," said John Taylor, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a consumer group. "It's sad that they didn't put the same amount of resources into helping families avoid foreclosure as they did helping banks."
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, A To Z Approach On Illegal Immigration In AZ): Though a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that 58 percent of respondents support AZ’s anti-illegal immigration law and a new Rasmussen survey finds that 56 percent of voters do not want the U.S. Justice Department to challenge the legality of the law in court, the Obama administration is, once again, going against the will of the people, reports The New York Times:
The Obama administration has decided to file a lawsuit to strike down a new Arizona law aimed at deporting illegal immigrants, thrusting itself into the fierce national debate over how the United States should enforce immigration policies.
The federal government only occasionally intervenes forcefully in a state’s affairs, and it carries significant political risks. With immigration continuing to be a hot issue in political campaigns across the country, the Arizona law, which grants the local police greater authority to check the legal status of people they stop, has become a rallying cry for the Tea Party and other conservative groups. …
[I]n focusing on Arizona, the Obama administration is making a politically risky calculation: the move could help repair America’s image south of the border but open the administration to charges that it is trampling state’s rights. And a legal battle could energize the right during an election year.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the law's constitutionality.
† Updates To Previous Posts (sixth item, Fed Up With Farmers): Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, the daughter of an immigrant farm worker, is targeting farmers who employ children and underpay workers, reports The New York Times:
Across the country, hundreds of thousands of children under 18 toil each year, harvesting crops from apples to onions, according to a recent report by Human Rights Watch detailing hazards to their health and schooling and criticizing the Labor Department for past inaction.
A federal law adopted in 1938 exempts agriculture from child-labor rules that apply to other industries. It permits children 12 and up to work without limits outside of school hours, exposing them, critics say, to pesticides that may pose a special threat to growing bodies and robbing too many of childhood itself. …
A proposal to ban the hiring of 12- and 13-year-olds, cap working hours by 14- and 15-year-olds and keep teenagers out of hazardous jobs is gaining support in Congress. Some 91 representatives have co-sponsored the Care Act, put forth by Lucille Roybal-Allard, Democrat of California.
Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, said he planned to introduce a similar bill in the Senate. The American Farm Bureau, the nation’s largest farm lobbying organization, has opposed it, saying it could imperil the tradition of children working in farm communities.
This spring’s restrictions on teenagers in North Carolina were unsettling for some parents who said they counted on their earnings, and for teenage migrants, some traveling on their own.
“I need to help pay our own way,” said Edgar, 15, who has helped support two younger siblings since his mother rushed back to Mexico in 2009 for a family emergency. Last spring, he often skipped school to spend 10-hour days picking blueberries, he said. He was disappointed to be turned away by a farm on a recent Saturday and hoped that growers would let him work after the school year ended.
Note that the children who are the focus of the Labor Department’s efforts to prevent their exploitation are not the sons and daughters of farmers, but the sons and daughters of illegal aliens.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, 10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador focuses on Chef Payton Curry, 31, who became a surrogate father to 19-year-old Scooter Venetis, whose father skipped out when the boy was two and whose mother was incarcerated on drug and gang-related charges from his fourth through ninth birthdays. Curry rescued Scooter from becoming a high-school drop-out who spent his days in a drugged and drunken haze, reports The Arizona Republic:
When Scooter is cooking with Curry, he doesn't think about bad grades or worse friends, his absent father or his complicated mother.
He thinks only of the motion of the kitchen: "ticket, stick it, saute pan, oil, throw it in, hot pan, salt, plate, swoosh, fish, sell." …
Scooter needed everything that Curry could offer: kitchen instruction and a professional education, but also lessons on being a man.
Curry needed to feel like he had wisdom to give. …
Curry came to graduation. He met Scooter's mother and grandmother. When Scooter walked out in his cap and gown and met Curry's eyes, they both teared up. Scooter got his diploma. He threw his hat into the air. Family and friends rushed onto the field to join the graduates.
Scooter's mom hugged him, crying, and "Chef Payton was right there," Scooter says.
"He's like, my papa."
When Scooter came back to work, Curry gave him a graduation present: an apron, with stripes, just like his.
"That thing means so much to me," Scooter says, "almost more than my graduation. There's a lot of responsibility that comes with getting your stripes. You've got to bust your ass to get 'em, and prove to everybody else that you earned it."