Posts Tagged ‘Students’

15-Year-Old Beaten and Gang Raped for 2 Hours After Homecoming Dance

October 27, 2009

I just heard about a story out of Richmond, CA that really made my blood boil. On Saturday, a 15-year-old girl was beaten and gang raped for 2 hours after she left her school’s homecoming dance. After leaving the Richmond High School homecoming dance around 9:30 P.M. to get a ride home with her father, the girl ended up meeting up with some kids on the school campus who were drinking.

Richomnd Police Lieutenant Mark Gagan told reporters, “The series of events that occurred over the next two and a half hours got more severe and more vicious to where she was ultimately gang raped, beaten and her injuries were so severe that she had to be sent to the hospital in a helicopter.”  The victim is still in the hospital, currently in stable condition.

There’s been some controversy over whether or not the school is safe.  After being asked by reporters if he thought the school was safe, one male student said, “No it’s not. Not at night time.”  Charles Ramsey, a Richmond school board member disagreed, saying, “It is a safe school, 95 percent of the students here perform well, do what they’re expected to do, but do we have a part of the campus element here that is out of control?  Yes.  We do understand and are not putting our head in the sand around the fact that Richmond has a lot of issues and problems in terms of safety.”

The school district spokesman, Marin Trujillo said, “There’s just so much control that one can do after that, once they leave the sidewalk we can’t follow them home,” regarding the safety of the homecoming dance.

Since the attack, 2 arrests have been made: a 15-year-old student, as well as a 19-year-old former student, Manuel Ortega, who was caught as he tried to flee the scene of the crime.

Gagan said that police arrived as the 2+ hour-long rape was still taking place, and that “we’re looking at four to seven active participants of sexual assault and extremely violent felonies.  We’re also suspecting there were up to a dozen people who witnessed what had happened and their involvement is unknown.”

The 15-year-old male was arrested after being pulled from class for questioning.  Another student was pulled out of class for questioning, but was released.

What I’d like to know is how the heck could 12 people stand by and watch this happen?  What kind of sick twisted person wouldn’t call the police!  The people who joined in and raped and attacked this girl need to be arrested and locked up for the rest of their lives.  I would argue that they should probably be given the death penalty, considering how heinous of a crime this was, but the death penalty isn’t an option in rape cases any more.  But they should certainly be locked up for the rest of their lives.  A crime this heinous and disgusting deserves a harsh punishment.

And while those who watched may not be charged with any crime (depending on whether or not they cheered it on, they could possibly be charged as conspirators or accomplices in the crime), they need to take a look at themselves and ask, “What the heck is wrong with me?”  How could you sit by and let something like this happen to a 15-year-old girl!  What’s wrong with you!

It’s stories like these that make me begin to lose hope in humanity. When 4-7 people gang rape a girl, and 12 people sit around and watch, there’s something wrong with what’s going through our children’s heads.  I don’t know what, but something needs to be done.  Sitting by and watching something like this is unacceptable, and the people who watched this rape are should have to live with a whole lot of guilt for the rest of their lives.  I hope they realize how despicable it was for them to just sit by and watch.

And I hope the other attackers are caught and arrested.  My thoughts and prayers are with the victim of this attack – hopefully she recovers soon, but I have no doubt that she will be mentally scarred for years to come.

UPDATE: Somebody from Newsy, a video news website asked me to embed their story covering the gang rape:

more about “Newsy | Girl Gang Raped While Others …“, posted with vodpod 

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

President Obama’s Speech to Students Was No Big Deal

September 8, 2009

Recently, I’ve heard a lot of concerns from conservatives saying that President Obama’s speech to students today was going to be a means for him to indoctrinate students with socialistic and liberal ideals.  Personally, I doubted that this would happen – I figured that the President’s speech would be nothing more than the basic “Stay in school.  Don’t do drugs.  Strive to be the best you can be” speech that presidents have been giving for years.

And I was right.  I didn’t find anything indoctrinating or partisan about the President’s speech to the students of Wakefield High School (Arlington, VA).

If you’d like to see a video/transcript of the speech, those are available here, courtesy of ABC.

It was honestly a good speech to students – he emphasized the importance of staying in school, saying, “If you quit on school, you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.  What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country.  The future of America depends on you.”

He talked about the responsibilities of parents: “I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.”

And he made some good points encouraging students not to just give up and make excuses: “But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude.  That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.”

So, I think the lesson that some people need to learn from this is, not everything has to be political.  A speech to high school students about staying in school really can be just that.  Just because we disagree with President Obama on health care or other issues doesn’t mean that we need to cry “Foul!” and run around screaming “Socialism!” and “Indoctrination!” all over the place, because that degrades the level of debate that we should be engaging in politically and brings the entire political system down to a level of grade school childishness.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Parents of 2 Suspended Cheerleaders File Lawsuit Over Nude Photos

December 8, 2008

Alright, so here’s a story I heard about that’s supposed to be featured on the news tonight, but I figured I’d go digging and just do the story now: On Monday the parents of two Bothell High School cheerleaders filed a lawsuit in the King County Superior Court against the Northshore School District (in Washington).  The suit alleges that school officials acted unfairly when they suspended the girls from the squad earlier this year after nude photos of the teens circulated through the student body via text messages.

Here’s the background on the case (according to the lawsuit):

  1. Summer, 2005: A topless photo of one of the cheerleaders is taken and sent to her then-boyfriend’s phone.
  2. Summer, 2005: The picture is accidentally sent to other BHS students.
  3. June, 2008: The other teen’s photo was taken when she and another cheerleader used their cell phones to take totally nude pictures of themselves.  Those photos were later accidentally sent to other BHS students.
  4. Shortly after the June pictures were taken: BHS school officials heard rumors the pictures were circulating the student body, especially within members of the football team, so the school sent a letter to all of the cheerleaders’ parents.  That letter said that if inappropriate photos were found, the consequences could be suspension from the squad.
  5. Football players were also told to delete the pictures from their cell phones if they received them
  6. August: BHS administrators received copies of both photos.
  7. Some dispute has arisen over who contacted the police first, and whether or not the school properly notified the girls’ parents about the photos.
  8. One girl is suspended from the squad for 30 days.  The other is suspended from the squad for the year.

Attorney Matthew King, representing both families, told reporters that  the lawsuits allege that BHS administrators violated the girls’ due process rights by needlessly sharing the photos with other school staff members and failing to promptly report the matter to police as child pornography.  King also said that it was unfair that the teens were suspended, but that football players and other BHS students who sent/received the texts were not punished.  King told reporters, “We’re not technically challenging the sanctions as being too strict, we’re saying they weren’t evenly enforced across the school.  There should have been some punishment meted out to those who were in possession of the photos. … It seems like the girls are getting the brunt of it.”  King wants the disciplinary action expunged from both girls’ school records.  Additionally, he wants the girl who was suspended for the whole year to be reinstated to the team, and he is demanding an apology from BHS officials for their lack of discipline on other students.

Northshore spokeswoman Susan Stoltzfus disagrees, saying that the school acted appropriately, reporting the photos to the police and giving the girls a chance to appeal their suspensions to both a disciplinary committee as well as the School Board, saying, “Everyone along the line agreed the discipline was appropriate.  Obviously, we take these things seriously, but we really don’t believe this [suit] has a lot of merit.”

King also claims that the district’s student handbook doesn’t specifically prohibit what the girls did, and that it doesn’t outline outline potential disciplinary action for a case like this.  He told reporters, “My clients fully realize what they did was stupid,” and that they never wanted the photos to be distributed.  King said that he still does not know how they were accidentally sent out.

Northshore officials again disagree, saying that the girls violated the district’s athletic code  According to Stoltzfus, “When you sign up to be a cheerleader–or for any student activity–you agree to certain codes of behavior.We consider them student leaders, and we want them to be role models.”

I took a look at the athletic code, and although it doesn’t expressly prohibit the production or distribution of child pornography (or any pornography), it does state the following:

Northshore School District
Student Athletic Code

The opportunity to participate in the athletic program in the Northshore School District is a privilege available to all students. Because of the public nature of athletic programs sponsored by the district, students choosing to participate are expected to conduct themselves at all times during their season of participation and between consecutive seasons in a manner that will reflect the high standards and ideals of their school and community. These high personal standards for conduct promote maximum achievement, safe performances, commitment to excellence in health and conditioning, and fulfill responsibilities as student leaders by setting a positive example for other students.

The regulations below are included in the Addendum of the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities Concerning Pupil Conduct. In addition to this Code of Conduct, individual schools may establish other expectations specific to their own individual programs.

Students must meet the standards for interscholastic eligibility as outlined in Article 18 of the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association handbook, the KINGCO League and the Northshore School District and their individual school. Copies of these rules and regulations may be obtained from the school Athletic Director upon request.

The expectations for being a participant in a schoolʼs athletic program, including specific eligibility requirements, training rules and team rules shall be communicated to team members at the beginning of the season of participation. All program expectations and team rules shall be in writing.

Any athlete in a District-sponsored athletic activity who willfully performs any act that substantially interferes with or is detrimental to the orderly operation of the Districtʼs athletic programs shall be subject to discipline. As participants in extracurricular programs, students are faced with choices. If a studentʼs choices interfere, impede, hinder their personal or group/team performance or render the individual as unfit to serve as a representative(s) of the districtʼs schools, they forfeit the privilege to participate. Misconduct by participants in the athletic program at any time, on or off campus, school related and/or non-school activities during the season of participation and between consecutive seasons of participation constitutes cause for discipline including denial of participation in and/or removal from the athletic program. Seasons begin with the first turnout and conclude with the season ending recognition/awards program in the individual sport.

II. Consequences for Athletic Code violations;

A. Student Athletic Code violations are accumulative during grades seven and eight and then again in grades nine through twelve. Any ninth grade student shall be considered a high school student.

B. Consequences for specific violations:
Probation is a period of time in which an athlete may be given time to correct deficiencies that could result in denial of participation for a given period of time or removal from athletic team participation. Denial of participation means that the athlete is allowed to practice but not compete in games. The loss of athletic eligibility, which may carry over to subsequent sports seasons, means the athlete will not participate in interscholastic competition or be in uniform. During the period when a student is assigned a suspension from school, the student is not eligible for any form of participation or attendance at school activities including athletic program participation.

So, although it doesn’t expressly ban what the girls did, I think what they did falls s under “any act that substantially interferes with or is detrimental to the orderly operation of the Districtʼs athletic programs.”

So, where do I stand?  I stand on the side of the girls; however, I disagree with what they want done.  I agree that BHS officials were way too easy on pretty much everybody other than the 2 girls.  I think that the girls should be suspended (or have other disciplinary action taken against them) for failing to follow the athletics agreement.  In addition, ANYBODY who possessed the pictures (other than the administrators, who I’ll discuss in a minute) should have been charged with possession of child pornography, and should have had disciplinary action taken against them if they were in a sport (but it had to be a sport that was in season at that time).  Obviously, it would have to be proved that the person kept the pictures.  I wouldn’t charge anybody just because they received the pictures.  The administrators, if they really did report it to the police, did nothing wrong.  HOWEVER, if additional copies were passed around for no reason, those responsible should be charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.  I do think that BHS officials are wrong in not punishing the football team and other students; however, the way to solve this is NOT to expunge the records of the girls, but to punish ALL who were responsible.

EDIT: I’ve been talking with some people about this, and the argument has come up that perhaps the girls were of age so that it wasn’t child pornography.  In addition to the fact that the names are not being released because the girls are minors, I found this photograph from July 4th, 2005, courtesy of the Woodinville Rotary Club.  Now, of course this isn’t official, but to me, none of those girls looks 18 (except maybe the one on the left in the front row).  Additionally, the one picture was taken in 2005, so we’re guaranteed that that girl wasn’t 18 when the picture was taken:

bothell_parade_07_04_05_019_-_bhs_cheerleaders

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of the Final Presidential Debate

October 15, 2008

Alright, we’re moments away from the beginning of the debate.  As always, I’ll be watching CNN, who will have a focus group (undecided voters in Ohio) with a tracking rating of how people like what they’re hearing (broken up by men and women).  WordPress just added an option to add polls, so I’ll see if I can get that working after the debate is over and post a poll about who won.

Tonight’s debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer (CBS’s Face the Nation).

We’re about 2 minutes away.

Schieffer: Why is your plan better than your opponents?

McCain: Thanks to everybody, my prayers go out to Nancy Reagan.  “Americans are hurting and angry.”  They’re innocent victims of greed.  “They have every reason to be angry.”  We have to have a short term fix and long term fixes.  Short term fix: Fannie and Freddie cause the sub-prime lending situation, that caused the housing market to collapse.  We need to reverse the decline in home ownership.  People need to know that they can stay in there homes.  Let’s take $300 billion of the $750 billion and buy mortgages so that people can stay in their homes.  What about people who could already afford to stay in their homes?  It’ll drive home value down if there are abandoned houses.  I didn’t like the answer (because I’m staunchly against any of the bailout), but it’ll go over well with voters, and the focus group liked it.

Obama: I think this’ll take some time to work itself out.  We need an economic package for the middle class.  The fundamentals of the economy were weak before this crisis (it depends what you’re defining fundamentals of the economy as).  Tax cut for people making less than $200,000.  Buying mortgages could be a bailout to banks, so I disagree with McCain there, but we do need to help homeowners.  Need to fix energy and health care.

McCain: Obama had an encounter with a plumber, Joe (somebody) Wurzelbacher.  Joe wants to buy the business that he’s worked in, and  he looked at Obama’s plan, and he saw that he’d be put in a higher tax bracket, and that’d cause him to not be able to employ people.  Joe, I’ll not only help you buy that business and keep your taxes low, and provide a way for you to provide health care to your employees.  You want to increase people’s taxes, like Joe the plumber’s.  And he’s right there – he’ll kill small businesses if he raises taxes.  The  focus group liked that.

Obama: McCain wants to give tax breaks to some of the wealthiest companies, including oil companies.  I want to give tax cuts to 95% of Americans.  Income tax, capital gains tax.  THAT’S A LIE ABOUT CAPITAL GAINS!!!  He wants to take capital gains taxes back to levels before Clinton lowered them!  I want to give small businesses tax breaks.  He lies here – 11.5% of Americans don’t even PAY income taxes, because they don’t make enough money!

McCain: Obama says, “We need to spread the wealth around.”  “I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around.”  Why would you want to raise taxes?

Obama: I want to cut taxes for 95% of Americans.  Not true!  I want to cut taxes for Joe the plumber before he was able to make $250,000.  I want to give families with kids going to college a break.  I’d prefer that nobody pay taxes, but we have to pay for the core of the economy to remain strong.

McCain: Companies will go overseas if we raise our business tax rates.  “Of all times in America, we need to cut taxes and encourage business, not spread the wealth around.”  Great answer – McCain actually did better with the focus group there than McCain, and that surprised me.

Schieffer: Talking about reducing the budget deficit.  Won’t some of the programs you’re proposing have to be trimmed or eliminated?

Obama: If the $750 billion works as it’s supposed to, taxpayers will get their money back.  I have been a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go.  Some of the cuts we’ll need are subsidies to insurance companies.  “It’s just a giveaway.”  I’ll go through the federal budget line-by-line, and eliminate what’s unnecessary.  We need to invest in the American people.  We need to prevent diseases when they’re young, so they won’t spend as much Medicare money.  The same with college – they’ll drive up the economy.  He’s getting very high ratings right now – he’s appealing to the average American people.

McCain: Back to home-ownership.  During the depression, we bought homes and home values went back up.  This was a plan that Senator Clinton proposed.  We need to become energy independent.  I need an across-the-board spending freeze.  I oppose subsidies for ethanol.  Sorry – got interrupted there.  I will veto earmarks.  Senator Obama put in an earmark for a projector in a planetarium in his hometown.

Obama: An across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet, and we need a scalpel.  Senator McCain talks about earmarks, but they account for 0.5% of the federal budget.  Eliminating them will help, but it won’t solve the problem.  When President Bush came into office, we had a budget surplus, and now we have a deficit.  Pursuing Bush-esque budgets will worsen the situation, and McCain voted for Bush’s budgets, 4 out of 5 times.

McCain: I will give a new direction to this economy.  I’m not President Bush.  If he wanted to oppose him, he should’ve run 4 years ago.  Mayor Bloomberg just put in a spending freeze in New York, so it can be done.  I’ll eliminate spending.  Obama voted for the last 2 budgets that Bush proposed (the only 2 that came up since he’s been in office!).  I have fought against spending and special interest.  When have you stood up to your party?  He’s getting good ratings, and I really think that he’s appealing to American people.

Obama: The first major bill I voted on was against tort reform.  I support charter schools.  I support clean coal technology.  I have a history of reaching across the aisle.  If I mistaken your policies for President Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues, taxes, spending, etc…, you’ve been a supporter of President Bush.  You’re been against him on stuff like torture, and I commend that, but for the majority, you want 8 more years of the same thing.

McCain: It’s been clear that I’ve disagreed with Bush and my party: climate change, opposition to earmarks, torture, conduct of the War in Iraq, Medicare prescription drugs, HMO patients’ bill of rights.  I have stood up to my party’s leadership.

Schieffer: Both of you promised to take the high road, but both campaigns have turned nasty.

McCain: This has been a very tough campaign.  If Obama had responded to my request to do town hall meetings, like he originally said, the tone of this campaign could’ve been better.  The tone of this campaign has taken a nasty turn.  I apologize for some of the negativity that has come out of my campaign.  I hope OBama will repudiate the remarks made by Congressman John Lewis.  Obama didn’t keep his word about taking public financing.  He’s getting high ratings from men here, but average ratings from women.

Obama: 2/3 of the American people think McCain’s running a negative campaign, versus 1/3 of the American people thinking that of mine.  100% of your ads have been negative (BULL CRAP!).  There’s nothing wrong with having a vigorous debate like we’re having now, but not having town hall meetings doesn’t justify the ads that have come out from your campaign and 527s.  I don’t mind being attacked for 3 weeks, but we can’t afford 4 more years of failed economic policies.  He’s actually getting negative ratings from women, and average from men here.  He’s really attacking McCain during a question about negativity in campaigns, and I think he’s really making himself look bad here.

McCain: If you turn on the television, every other ad was an attack ad on my health care policy, saying that I oppose federal funding for stem cells.  I don’t.  Obama is spending unprecedented amounts of money in negative attack ads on me.  Of course we’re talking about Joe the plumber and restoring jobs to America.  That’s what my campaign is all about.  Again, I didn’t hear a repudiation of Congressman Lewis.

Obama: Lewis, made a statement with what he was troubled with hearing some of the rallies that your running mate was holding.  People were yelling “terrorist” and “kill him,” and your running mate didn’t stop them.  I do think that he gave a good comparison between what’s happening now and the civil right’s movement.  What the Americans want is for us to focus on the challenges that we have now.  We have serious differences on health care.  When people bring up me being with terrorists, that’s not the issues.

McCain: Whenever you have big rallies, you’ll have fringe people, and that’s not appropriate.  But for the majority of people, they’re not saying anything negative.  These people are the most patriotic people in this nation (veterans and wives of veterans).  There’ve been thingsat your rallies that I’m not happy with either.  I have always repudiated out of line statements, and I will continue to do that, but we cannot stand for the things that have been going on.  I haven’t.

Schieffer: Do you take issue with that?

Obama: What I think is most important is that we recognize that in order to solve 2 wars, a financial crisis, creating jobs, then we all need to be able to work together.  “We need to disagree without being disagreeable.  What we can’t do is try to characterize each other as bad people.”

McCain: We need to know the full extent of Obama’s relationships with Ayers and ACORN.  If there’s nothing there, I don’t care about it, but we need to know what all went on there.

Obama: Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of McCain’s campaign.  Bill Ayers is a professor in Chicago.  40 years ago, he engaged in despicable acts.  “I have … condemned those acts.”  I served on a school board with him 10 years ago.  “Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign … and he will not advise me in the White House.”  ACORN: Apparently, they were paying people to get people registered to vote.  The only thing I did with them was represent them with some thing in Illinois – I didn’t catch it all.  I associate with Warren Buffet on economics.  On foreign policy, it’s Joe Biden or Dick Lugar, or General Jim Jones.  “Those are the people who have shaped my ideas and will be surrounding me in the White House.”

McCain: While you and Ayers were on that board, you gave money to ACORN, and you launched your campaign from Ayers living room.  In 2001, he said he’d wished he’d have bombed more.  We need to know all the details here.  And my (not McCain) view is that with Ayers – it’s no big deal if Obama’s honest.  With ACORN, there are some serious problems there – ACORN has supported Obama, and Obama has supported ACORN, and ACORN has shown to have some serious legal problems.

Schieffer: Why is your running mate better than his?

Obama: He’s been there a while – he knows what he’s doing, especially when it comes to foreign policy.  Biden has never forgotten where he came from.  He fights for the little guy.  He has always been fighting for working families.  “After 8 years of failed policies [we] will have to reprioritize … give tax cuts to small businesses … and individuals who are struggling.”  We need to become energy independent, and make sure that our kids afford can go to college.  Biden has always been on the right side of the issues.

McCain: Palin is a reformer.  She took on the old governor, who was part of her party.  She’s given money back to taxpayers and cut the size of the government.  “She is a reformer through and through, and it’s time that we have that breath of fresh air and sweep out” the old politics of Washington.  “She understand special needs families, and understands that autism is on the rise.”  She has united people all over America, and I’m proud of her.

Schieffer: Is she qualified to be President?

Obama: That’ll be up to the American people to decide.  Her work on special needs kids has been commendable.  He didn’t answer the question!  If we have an across-the-board spending freeze, special needs kids will suffer.

McCain (on Biden): Biden is experienced, but he’s had some bad foreign policy ideas, such as dividing Iraq into different countries, and we’ve seen Iraq become united as one country.  Every time Obama says we need to spend more.  Why can’t we have transparency of these government organizations.

Schieffer: Energy and climate control.  Presidents have said that we need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.  Give us a number of how much you believe we can reduce foreign oil during your first term.

McCain: We can eliminate our dependence on Middle East countries and Venezuela.  Canadian oil is fine.  We need nuclear power plants, and that’ll be how we eliminate those 2 sources of foreign oil.  We need wind, tide, solar, gas, clean coal.  He’s getting huge ratings, and for good reason – it’s a good energy plan.  Especially the nuclear part!!!!

Obama: In 10 years, we can reduce our dependence so we don’t have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela.  “Nothing is more important than us borrowing … money from China and sending it to Venezuela.”  We need to expand domestic production, by telling oil companies, “Use them or lose them” in terms of oil fields being leased here in the U.S.  We need to drill offshore, but that won’t solve the problem.  We need wind, solar, biofuel.  We need efficient cars built here in America, not in Japan.  And he’s got good ideas too, but I WISH he would’ve said he wants nuclear power - nuclear power is safe (we use it on subs) and VERY efficient.  NAFTA didn’t have enforceable environmental agreements, and we should’ve included those.  When it comes to South Korea, we have an agreement with them, and they’re sending more cars here than we are to them.  That’s not free trade.

McCain: “Obama said, ‘We will look at offshore drilling.’  Did you catch that?  ‘Look at.’”  We need to do more than look at it, we need to do it.  AGREED!  Our businesses are paying money into Columbia, but because of previous agreements, they’re getting their goods into here for free.  We need a free trade agreement with Columbia, which Obama has opposed.  Obama hasn’t even travelled down there, and he doesn’t understand Columbia.

Obama: I understand it.  Labor leaders have been persecuted, and we need to stand for human rights.  Workers who are trying to organize for rights shouldn’t be persecuted, and that’s why I supported a free trade agreement with Peru.  When I talked about automakers, they’re getting hammered right now, not only because of gas prices, but with the financial crisis.  People can’t get car loans, so we need to get loan guarantees.  We need more efficient cars and cars of the future.  That’ll help create new jobs.  He’s getting VERY high ratings – he’s maxed out with women, and men are rating him high too.

McCain: Obama doesn’t want a free trade agreement with our best ally in the region, but wants to sit down with Hugo Chavez without preconditions.  Jobs and businesses will be created if we open up those markets.  Obama wants to restrict trade and raise taxes, and the last President who did that was Hoover.  We went from a deep recession to a depression.  I won’t let that happen.

Schieffer: Would you first lower health care costs, instead of providing more health care?

Obama: We need to do both.  My plan will allow you to keep your plan if you have health insurance.  We will lower costs so that cost savings are brought back to you.  If you don’t have insurance, you can buy into the same kind of federal pool that federal employees enjoy.  Insurance companies won’t be able to discriminate against people with preconditions.  Drugs will be lower, and we need to look at preventative care.  This will require more money up front, but will lower costs in the long run.  VERY high ratings at the end there.

McCain: Premiums and copays are going up, and health care costs are going up and inflicting pain on Americans.  We need walk in clinics and community health care centers.  We need nutrition and physical fitness programs in schools to keep kids healthy.  I want to give all American families a $5,000 tax credit.  Under Obama’s plan, if you have employees and they have kids, if you don’t have a health care plan, Obama will fine you.  I still haven’t heard what that fine will be.

Obama: Your fine will be $0.  I exempt small businesses for the requirement that large businesses have to provide health care.  Well, Senator Obama, what do you consider a small business???  The average family is paying higher premiums because of the uninsured.  I’ll give small businesses a 50% credit so they can afford it.  If not, you can buy into the plan I have.  McCain will give you the tax credit, but what will happen to older folks who can’t afford the health care plan?  McCain will tax the health care benefits you have from your employer, the first time in history this has ever happened.  Insurers right now are restricted statewide.  Those rules would be stripped away, and you’d see companies excluding people.

McCain: People like Joe are rich, because Obama said about him that we need to “spread the wealth,” so he’s rich enough that he would be fined.  Under my plan, people will be able to go across the country, giving them the chance to choose their futures.  “Senator Government–Senator Obama wants government to do the job.”  Senator Obama and the Democrats have been in charge the last 2 years, and things have gotten worse.

Obama: Under McCain’s plan, there’s a strong risk that you will lose your health care from your employer.  All I want to do is lower costs.

Schieffer: Could either of you nominate a Supreme Court Justice who disagrees with your view on Roe v. Wade.

McCain: I have never had a litmus test.  I think the Court decided incorrectly there, but I’m a Federalist – it should be left up to the states.  We need to nominate people based on qualifications, not if I agree with their ideology.  There should be no litmus test.  These nominees should be picked based on qualifications, who adhere to the Constitution, not people who legislate from the bench.  (But people who stick to the Constitution would oppose Roe v. Wade).  I’ll have no litmus test.

Obama: I’d agree that we shouldn’t have a litmus test.  Fairness and justice should be given to the American people.  It’s very likely that one of us will be making 1 or more appointments, and Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance.  I support the decision in Roe v. Wade.  I believe that women are in the best position to make this decision.  The Constitution has privacy built into it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum or popular vote.  “I will look for those judges who have an outstanding record … intellect.”  McCain and I disagreed when the S.C. made it harder for some woman to bring suit for equal pay for women.  The Court said that she waited too long.  If a woman is being treated unfairly, the Court needs to stand up if nobody will.

McCain: You can’t waive the statute of limitation 20 to 30 years.  Senator Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide medical attention to babies who were not successfully aborted (essentially passive infanticide).  Then he voted present on the floor.  He did the same with partial birth abortion.  Men are liking this, but women not so much.

Obama: That’s not true.  There was a bill put forward that said that you need life saving treatment that would undermine Roe v. Wade, but there was a law alreay on the books.  On partial birth abortion: I’m supportive of a ban on late term abortions as long as there’s an exception for the safety of the woman’s life.    Both men and women are rating him a bit above average now.  Surely there is some common ground, when both sides can come together and prevent unintended pregnancies.  Communicate that sex shouldn’t be engaged in carelessly.  Adoption choices should be out there.  Those things are now in the Democratic platform, for the first time ever.

McCain: “Health of the mother” has been stretched to mean almost anything (such as mental health in some cases).  Cindy and I are adoptive parents.  We need to promote adoption and protect the rights of the unborn.

Schieffer: A question about education and national security - I missed what all it was.

Obama: No nation has had a bad economy and a good military.  Education is a huge part of this.  We need better pay for teachers.  We need college to be more affordable.  We’ll offer an exchange of community/military service with money for college.  We can’t do this just in schools.  Parents need to show responsibility too – encourage thirst for knowledge.  And he’s absolutely right here.  It starts at home.  People rated him as high as they could.

McCain: Choice and competition among schools are some of the key elements – New York and New Orleans – where we find bad teachers another line of work.  We need to give parents a choice in sending kids to good schools.  Charter schools are one option.

Schieffer: Should the federal government play a larger role?

Obama: The states need to be in control, but the federal government needs to step in and help struggling local school districts.  Bush did this with No Child Left Behind, “but unfortunately, he left the money behind.”  That was a good line.  McCain and I agree on charter schools.  I think we need to encourage competition between schools.  Bad teachers need to be replaced.  “Our kids need to have the best future.”  We disagree on vouchers, and we disagree on college accessibility.  McCain doesn’t have programs that help college groups.  (That’s because he’ll simplify the tax code to make finding tax credits for college easier to find).

McCain: Vouchers need to be provided, because parents WANT vouchers.  They wanted to chose the schools where their children go (this was in Washington, D.C.).  As far as NCLB, it had its flaws and problems, but it’s the first time we looked at this from the national perspective.  Head Start is a great program.  It’s not doing what it should do, so we need to reform it and fund it.  We can’t just give more money, we need to reform it too.  We need transparency, rewards, and funding.  We’ll find and spend money to find the cause of autism, but to have a situation that the most expensive education is in America means that we also need reform.  We can’t throw money at a problem without reform.  Vouchers work.

Obama: On vouchers in D.C.  The D.C. school system is in terrible shape.  The superintendent there is doing a great job (McCain interjected that she supports vouchers).  There’s not proof that vouchers solve the problem.  We need a President who will tackle this head on.

McCain: Obama said that because there’s not enough vouchers, we shouldn’t have any.  That’s wrong.

Schieffer: Closing statements.

McCain: Thank you.  We need a new direction.  “We cannot be satisfied with what we’ve been doing for the last 8 years.”  I’ve been a reformer.  I’ve opposed my party.  I’ve been a good steward of your tax dollars.  We need to make health care and education affordable to all.  We need to stop this wild spending.  All of these promises made tonight will be made based on whether you trust us or not.  I ask you to examine both my record as well as my proposals for this country.  I’ve put my country first.  “It’s been a great honor of my life, and I’ve been proud to serve, and I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to serve again.  I’ll be honored, and humbled.”

Obama: Washington has been unwilling to address the problems.  We cannot adopt the policies of the last 8 years.  We need change.  You’ve invited me into your homes.  “Our brighter days are still ahead, but we have to invest in the American people.”  College needs to be more affordable.  Wages need to be higher, and we need to grow the middle class.  “It’s not gonna be easy.  It’s not gonna be quick.”  Republicans and Democrats will have to come together.  “If you give me the … honor of being President, I will work tireously and  honorably to ensure the future of our children.”

Bob Schieffer: As my mother would say: “Go vote now.  It’ll make you feel big and strong.”

McCain/Obama: Thank you (to each other).

Alright, overall, I think this was BY FAR the best debate we had.  I commend Bob Schieffer.  He was by far the best moderator we had.

Overall, I think McCain won this won.  This is the first time I’ve called a debate (other than the VP debate, where I called Biden the winner), and I think McCain won.  He was VERY strong toward the beginning.  I think Obama was weak at the beginning, but picked it up toward the end, but overall, I think that McCain was the winner.

Again, I think McCain was definitely stronger here.  I think Obama was too weak.  This was definitely the debate McCain needed, but I’m not sure that it’ll be enough for him to recover.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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A Plea to All Michigan Voters (And Any Other Voters, Really)

October 7, 2008

Folks, I’m going to be straight with you here.  I think we all know that it’s going to take a miracle for McCain to win Michigan (I won’t say it’s impossible – I’ve learned my lesson once before).

And I’m still hearing McCain and Republican Party people saying, “We can win Michigan!”  Well, true, we can, but I don’t think we will (I will say that things could change after tonight’s debate – tonight’s debate will be McCain’s best debate).

First, my appeal to Obama supporters (especially those of you who have registered at your college – I know up here at Central Michigan University, around 5,000 students have registered to vote putting their permanent address as Mount Pleasant): Don’t just vote straight party ticket.  I don’t do this, and I’m a hard core Republican.  Either 1) Don’t vote for the races that you don’t know anything about (county races) or 2) Do some research and vote for the best candidate.

I’m not trying to keep you from voting for Obama – I realize that you’ll vote for him.  I don’t like it, but I’ve accepted it.  But people like the Register of Deeds, Sharon Brown, and the County Clerk, Joyce Swan, who have been in office for years, and have perfected the jobs that they do.  Having a bunch of college students (most of whom will leave the county in 4-6 years) elect 2 people who have no clue what they’re doing over 2 competent public servants is WRONG!  But do you know why it might happen?  Because Students for Obama and the College Democrats here at CMU are telling people to vote straight party ticket Democrat.  Now, I’ve gone up and asked the Students for Obama President, Matt Sous, if he’s doing this and he’s told me no.  But I’ve heard him encourage students to vote straight party ticket while he’s getting people registered to vote.  So again, I implore students (all over the state): look into these local races.  Don’t vote straight party ticket (don’t even do it if you’re going to vote for all Democrats – just vote for them individually).

Now, to my Republican friends: I’ve heard people now saying, “Now that McCain’s out, I don’t need to vote.”  HOLD IT!  There’s still races for the House of Representatives, as well as State Senate and House.  There’s races in the counties and in the cities (but like I said before, don’t vote stupid – don’t just vote party – vote candidate).

People like Representative Joe Knollenberg (9th District) still need your votes.  These are still close races.  Go out there and vote for McCain/Palin, even IF we’re going to lose (and again, we may not).  Go out there and VOTE on these other issues.  We also have 2 very important ballot issues.  Don’t give up your right to vote, the right that our troops have died for just because you think that the Presidential candidate that you support might lose!

This election is far from over.  Tonight’s debate (which I will live blog) will probably go well for McCain (he does well in town hall settings), and he could rebound.  Who knows.  I don’t think he’ll win Michigan, but stranger things have happened.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Central Michigan University’s 9/11 Memorial: Patriots, Professors, Protestors, and All

September 11, 2008

Alright, so today the College Republicans at Central Michigan University held our annual September 11th memorial, where we put out 2,998 flags on the lawn next to our library.  I’ll go ahead and put those pictures below, and talk about what all happened today after the pictures:

 

So, anyway, I had stayed up all through the night (English paper), headed over to set up at 5:45 A.M. EDT.  We started setting up at 6:00, and finished by 7:15, then had some Timbits and coffee.  I went back to my dorm, grabbed my backpack and headed to Calculus II.  My professor kinda made me angry in not observing the campus-wide moment of silence at 8:46 A.M.

After Calc II, I headed back over to watch the flags (it’s sad, but we actually need people to watch them to make sure they don’t get kicked over – it happened last year).  It was pretty uneventful until about noon, then 2 preachers who’ve been on campus all week showed up, and they were preaching stuff like, “Catholics are going to hell.  Homosexuals are going to hell.  Smokers are going to hell.  Obama is a Muslim.  Masturbators are going to hell.  I sinned in college, but I changed my ways.  Change your ways or you’re going to hell.”  We knew they were gonna be there, so me and one of the other College Republicans (CRs) went over and asked him if he could move, since we were trying to have a 9/11 memorial.

Just like I figured, he said, “9/11 was a sign and a punishment from God.”  So we just left and headed back to the flags (the preacher is that big clump of people in picture 4).

We then had a few people come by and pray by the memorial.  The first guy I saw was a Catholic priest who I could tell had a few tears fall from his eyes, and that was pretty powerful.  We had some professors come and tell us thank you for doing what we were doing.  We had a decent amount of people taking pictures.

It wasn’t too bad, but then some real Christians came along to try to drown him out, and that attracted a crowd.  I went on the Internet and tried to find any law he was breaking, but he was doing everything legally.  So, we just dealt with it.  So around 1:00 P.M., the crowd around the preacher(s) is so huge that it’s overflowing onto the grass where our flags are.  People are going around the group, since the sidewalk is blocked, and are stepping through the flags, trampling some of them.  So we move a corner of the flags to give people more space, and we had some CRs stand as a buffer between the flags and the crowd.  We asked whoever came through the flags not to step through the flags, and everybody said, “Oh, I’m sorry,” and didn’t do it again.

Then comes this guy – he walks through a LARGE part of the flags, way more than anybody else had, so one of the CRs says, “Can you please not walk through the flags.”  He replied, “I don’t support the troops.”  Well, I nearly lost it there.  First of all, how can you not realize what memorial this is?  This has nothing to do with the troops, this has to do with INNOCENT PEOPLE JUST LIKE HIM!  And even if you oppose the war, you don’t oppose the troops.  I wanted to just go after him and yell at him, but restrained myself and my mouth (had I have written this post right after that, it would’ve been in all caps and I’d be struggling not to drop swear words every 2 words).  That really angered me – how can somebody be so heartless as to step on American flags and then shrug it off because they don’t support the troops or remember the tragedy that happened today.

So, at about 1:50 P.M., I headed off to English.  I went back to my dorm to drop off my stuff and came back around 3:45 P.M.  At this point, I still haven’t eaten, so I’m beginning to ge a little bit hungry, but I just stayed and watched the flags.  At 4:50 I went to a meeting and got back around 6:30.  We started taking down the flags and rolled them all back up (we didn’t have too many broken ones this time - last year it was really cold and the ground was hard, so a lot of them snapped).  We handed a few flags out to people passing by, and had one guy stop and just start helping us, so that was pretty cool.

Then, we packed everything up, and I headed back to my dorm to write this.

Overall, it was a good day.  I couldn’t help but get teary eyed looking at all those flags, knowing that each one represented a life, a family who was now missing a loved one.  And I can’t help it now.

September 11, 2001 was a terrible day, but we need memorials like the one we did today to remind people of that date.  It was sad to see people not realize why there were flags there (yes, we had people actually ask what it was for), or see the hate of that one man who stepped on the flags.

America needs to remember today – we can never afford to forget.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech at the DNC

August 28, 2008

Alright, I’ll now be doing my last live blog of the DNC, Barack Obama’s acceptance speech:

Video’s starting.  Talking about his grandparents (the white ones), and him being born.  Talking about him going to school, college, then moving to Chicago.

Talking about him meeting Michelle.  Talking about him becoming an Illinois state Senator.

Talking about him move  up to the U.S. Senate.  Talking about his ethics reform bill.

Talking about his mother passing away.

Now talking about the start of Obama’s campaign.

And Barack has entered the stage.  The crowd loves him.  And some girl’s crying – that’s a little over the top.

“With profound gratitude … I accept your nomination for President of the United States.”  There you go, he’s officially the Democratic nominee.

And I just got interrupted – something about thanking Hillary.

Thanking Bill for his speech last night.  And he just thanked Joe Biden for being his running mate.

And thank you to his family and Michelle.

Talking about being at war, “the economy’s in turmoil,” and other struggles.  Talking about not being able to afford credit card bills – WELL THEN DON’T BUY WHAT YOU CAN’T AFFORD!  Blaming it all on “the failed policies of George W. Bush.”  Because it’s all Bush’s fault.

“America, we are better than these 8 last years.  We are a better country than this.”

“The same party that brought you 2 terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney, will ask you for a 3rd” – McCain really isn’t like Bush, but it’s good for them to compare McCain to Bush.

Talking about McCain’s service and that “we owe him our gratitude and respect.”  Talking about McCain voting with Bush for 90% of the time.  Didn’t they say 95% last night?  That’s not too consistent.

Talking about health care, education, and the economy, “Senator McCain has been anything but independent.”  Again, it’s good for them to compare him to Bush.  Talking about his economic plan writer and that we are “suffering from a mental recession … and a nation of whiners.”

Talking about soldiers complaining about the Bush administration.  That’s only a minority of them though.

Now he’s talking about tax breaks, and that McCain’s tax cuts for big business and rich people will hurt the economy.  Well, he’ll cut taxes for the middle class, and cut SPENDING!

“Out of work, tough luck, you’re on your own” – Obama said is McCain’s plan.  “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  If you don’t have boots, you’re on your own.”  OK, that was a clever line.  He’s doing a good job talking about the economy.

He’s running to help fix the economy.  Talking about veterans coming back from Iraq.  Talking about a student who works a night shift, so he can pay for college.  Talking about a worker whose factory was shut down.  Talking about difficulties in starting their own business.

“We have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect. … The economy should reward drive and growth.”  THEN LET THE ECONOMY RUN ITS COURSE!

“Let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President: Change means that (couldn’t hear it) doesn’t reward the business who wrote it, but the workers who deserve it.”  Appealing to workers – good.

“I will cut taxes for 95% of all working families” – so is he going to give a tax break to everybody except the top 5% of the country?  I can guarantee you that that is NOT his plan.

“Now is the time to end this addiction [to foreign oil].”

“As President … I will invest in clean coal technologies, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power.”  I like the nuclear part!  We need to have a LOT more nuclear power plants.

Talking about cleaner cars and making them more affordable.  “An investment that will lead to new industries and pay well.”

“America, now is not the time for small plans.  Now is the time to meet our moral obligation, to provide every child with a world class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy.”  OK,  sure everybody needs a good economy, but that’s something the states need to fix, not the federal government.

“If you commit to serving your community for your country, we will ensure you can afford college.”  What’s that supposed to mean?  That’s a pretty BROAD statement.

Talking about health care, and giving people the same plan as the one that Congress has.

“Stop those companies from discriminating those who are sick … those who need it most. … Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and paid leave.”

“Now is the time to change bankruptcy laws to protect those with pensions.”  OK, that I’ll agree with.

Talking about equal pay for men and women.

Talking about parents “to provide guidance and love for their children.  Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility.  That is the essence of America’s promise.”  OK, that’s good – individuals need to be responsible, but that applies to EVERYTHING, including health care and economic issues.

Talking about McCain having a debate about judgment.

“I stood up and opposed this war [Iraq], knowing it would distract us from the real threats.”

“You know, John McCain says he will follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t even follow him to the caves where he lives.”  Bull crap.  McCain has made it clear that his number ONE goal is to capture Osama.

“John McCain stands alone in” defending this war – how the heck does he stand alone?  Our troops support the war, as does about half of the Senate and House!

The Democrats will restore the legacy that America once had – you mean, the legacy that we help countries who need it?

“I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against Al Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.”

“I will build new partnerships to defeat” the threats we face.  He says this, but he’s changed his policy on Iraq how many times now?

“These are the policies I will pursue, and we can afford debating them with John McCain.”  Then agree to a debate!

“These times are too serious.”

“I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.”  That I can agree with.

The troops “have not served a red America, or a blue America.  They have served the United States of America.”  That was a GREAT line, and the crowd exploded.  That was a really great (and true) line.

“So I’ve got news for you John McCain: We all put our country first.”  Well, I’ve talked with people, and I know that’s not true.

“We don’t agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing” abortions.  Bull crap.  End abortion, don’t just try to lower it.

Talking about guns, but I missed what he said.

Talking about gays being able to visit loved ones in hospitalized.  I agree with that, but that’s about the only right I think they should have that they don’t already.  (Marriage benefits are a PRIVILEGE, not a right – such as tax breaks, etc….).

“If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone you should run from.”  Since you’ve voted present so many times and missed so many votes, are you talking about yourself?

“I realize that I’m not the likeliest candidate for this office.  I don’t fit the typical pedigree.”  So he’s just brought race into it?

“It’s not about me.  It’s about you.  It’s about you.  For 18 long months, you have stood up 1 by 1 and said enough to the politics of the past. … You have shown … that the chang we need doesn’t come FROM Washington, the change we need comes TO Washington.”  Well, then it must not be you, because you’re FROM Washington!

“I believe that as hard as it will be, the change is coming.”

Talking about giving better care to veterans – good, and keeping nukes out of our enemies hands – sure you will.

Talking about “Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but they did.”  TRAITORS!

“You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any other nation…  We have the most powerful military on earth, but that’s not what makes us strong.”

“That promise is our greatest inheritance – the promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in to bed. … The promise that led workers to picket lines … and women to vote.”  I missed what he said, but he tied it all in to Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech.

“America, we cannot turn back. … Not with so many children to educate. … Not with an economy to fix. … America we cannot turn back.  We cannot walk alone.”  Something about the promise – I couldn’t keep up with him.

“Thank you, God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

And there you have it.  Honestly, I didn’t think it was THAT great.  It was good, but compared to Clinton’s and Biden’s, it wasn’t that good.  I’d give it a 7.5-8 out of 10.

He talked a LOT more about issues, which was his job, instead of getting people fired up, but it didn’t seem as charismatic as he could’ve been.  Perhaps it was that he was tired, but it wasn’t his best.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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Teachers Sue Detroit Public Schools for Firing Them Illegally and Disobeying a Court Order

July 17, 2008

Here’s a story that I wanted to break last night, but because I only heard 2/3 of the story when the 2 teachers went on the radio, I decided to hold off until a newspaper article was printed, so I could catch the whole story.

The husband and wife teachers, Steve Conn and Heather Miller are suing the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) “to finally put an end to the Detroit Board of Education’s witch hunt against them.”  They claim that they “have had to endure” a “yearlong attack … at the hands of the board and DPS administration and [violations of] their First Amendment rights of free speech.”

The pair was accused of allowing students to be put in danger during a protest against school closings that the pair participated in at Northern High School in May of 2007, according to (at the time) school board president Carla Scott.  DPS spokesman Steve Wasko said, “These are two individuals who knowingly and against parental permission took children out of school and put their safety at risk.”

Doyle O’Connor, an administrative law judge for the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, ordered DPS “to cease interfering with employees’ rights to pursue grievances, hold union office or participate in lawful public protests.” (Source: Detroit News)

DPS ignored that ruling and fired the teachers, who had previously been placed on administrative leave.

One quote that I did get while listening to the radio (WJR 760) was from Steve Conn: “DPS is not above the law.  They must follow the judge’s order and put us back into the classroom.  This is going to end up costing the district millions of dollars it simply cannot afford, all because a few board members want to silence us and stop us from exposing the conditions in the schools.”

And I ABSOLUTELY agree.  This is the reason that DPS is broke.  It’s people like Connie Calloway who refuse to admit when they’ve made a mistake (or when they’re wrong), and they’re driving the system into the ground.  They waste money on stupid court cases like this.  So they go more into debt, meaning that they cut more schools and teachers, meaning that more kids leave, so they get less money, so they go more into debt…

It’s a cycle that’s never going to end until Detroit as a whole gets its act together and shapes up.  Either that or annex it to Oakland County, give L. Brooks Patterson sole control over it (so no Detroit government whatsoever), but Detroiters would never go for that “because people like Kwame are our friends.”  Bull crap.  Half the Detroiters (the half that reelected Kwame after all the scandals he had in his first term), DESERVE what’s happening now.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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52 Are Arrested After Riot Near Michigan State University

April 7, 2008

So, I was just watching CBS national news and found out that there was a riot about an hour south of me, near Michigan State University on Saturday night / Sunday morning.  Apparently, somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 students gathered for the Cedar Fest party at Cedar Village, a student housing complex just northeast of the actual campus.  Cedar Fest was a tradition that was stopped back in the 1980s because of the crowd problems that accompanied it.

And, it probably shouldn’t have been allowed to start back up.  What started out as a peaceful night of drunken college stupor and fun (I’ll give credit to some – not everybody drank), turned into a dangerous situation by 10:45 P.M., when police put their helmets on in response to bottles being thrown at them.

Between 1:00 and 1:30 A.M., the police began to order the crowd to disburse.  80 officers from different jurisdictions, including 36 from East Lansing were on duty that night working the crowds.

“Flash-bang” munitions were originally used to attempt to disburse the remaining crowd (only half the crowd disbursed when told), and when that didn’t work, a total of 13 rounds of tear gas was fired.

When it was over, East Lansing fire officials had made 14 rescue runs, 52 people had been arrested, 48 had been given tickets, and nearly every police officer had reported being hit with a flying projectile.  There were a few injuries reported, but mostly only cuts and bruises.  Windows in 2 police cruisers had been smashed. 4 small fires had also been started.

During a press conference Sunday afternoon, East Lansing Police Chief Tom Wibert told reporters, “I don’t see how we could have dispersed the crowd without tear gas,” but officers showed “a lot of restraint. … I think that there were some [students] who were there because they wanted to be tear-gassed as a rite of passage, so to speak.  After the initial munitions — the flash bangs and the smoke bombs — they were actually chanting for tear gas.”

MSU student Vanessa Schultz from Clinton Township (Macomb County) said that she could smell the tear gas through her apartment window.  She told reporters, “I think everyone’s mentality was like, ‘We want to get tear-gassed.  This is fun.’  During the day it was all relaxed and fun.  It was kind of a shock when it turned weird.  But we all kind of knew what was going to happen once it started.”  Schultz did not participate in any of the event.

Of the 52 people arrested, 28 have been identified as MSU students.  All of those arrested could (and should) face charges from disorderly conduct to inciting a riot.  Police will continue to review video tapes in order to identify those involved and what roles they played.  Meanwhile, students convicted of charges dealing with riotous behavior could face suspensions under state law.

Some (mostly students) have said that police should have handled the situation better and that they may have been responsible for starting the violence.  Based on videos I’ve seen from students at the party/riot, I disagree.  I think people got drunk and out of control, and they need to accept the consequences.

As of a recent internet poll (which is still on-going, so it could change) on the Central Michigan Life newspaper’s website, 58% place the blame of the riot on the students while 42% place it on the police.  This kinda shocked me, since it seems pretty clear that the students were at fault.

Police had been monitering the situation since January, after rumors on the internet social networking website Facebook began, claiming that Cedar Fest would be restarted.  The university and police urged students not to participate, and most of MSU’s 45,000 students listened.

Here are some videos I found on YouTube (warning: the following videos contain strong language and may not be suitable for children):

So there you have it – that’s what happens when college kids can’t behave.  Seriously people – grow up and obey the law – I’m doing it, you can too!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Detroit Schools Graduate only 66% of SENIORS

April 5, 2008

So I was watching FOX news just now and they gave the statistic that “Detroit graduates only 66% of seniors,” emphasizing that only 66% of the kids who make it all the way to their senior year actually graduate.  So that means that the graduation rate of kids who enter Detroit public schools at kindergarten is probably below 50%!  If you carry out the 66% rate down to just 10th grade (assuming that 33% drop out each year, like they do in their senior year), you’d have a rate of 28.75% of sophomores will graduate.  Now, I can’t believe that this pattern continues, otherwise the graduation rate when kids enter school at kindergarten would be below 0.4509%, but the fact that 33% of Detroit seniors won’t graduate is just sad!  What’s wrong with education in Detroit?

I say a lot of it has to do with the teachers, like those who go on strike RIGHT BEFORE the school year is supposed to start – that doesn’t show a commitment to the kids – that shows greed.  Michigan has some of the best paid teachers in the nation – Detroit schools need to get their act together – in fact, the whole city needs to improve.  I still say Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson should just take it over and clean it up – he’s done a great job in Oakland County, I’m sure he could clean up Detroit.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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