Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Friday, April 26, 2013

In and Out of Washington

As mentioned on several earlier occasions, I always enjoy my trips to Washington, DC, regardless of how dismal the business is.  This time the trip was too short, and the business not totally dismal.

I arrived at my hotel Tuesday night after dark.  Early Wednesday morning I did my run along the Mall, all the way up to the Lincoln Memorial and back.  It's a good thing that I got that workout in, because the day consisted of an all-day meeting, and there was no time for a lunchtime stroll.

And then, after exiting the building, it was directly to Union Station for the first train back to New York.

After sitting for hours at the meeting, and for a few more hours on the trains, I felt the effect the inactivity had on my body.  Today, I made sure to get my usual workout in.

I don't know how appropriate it would be for me just yet to discuss the particulars of the business meeting.  It can be said, however, that my allies at the meeting were from unlikely segments of the sociopolitical spectrum, and that, at least on this particular set of issues, we may well be working together in the future.   And at least one of them, a very personable young lady, exuded some hint of a suggestion that she was entertaining some second thoughts over having cast her vote for Barack Hussein Obama. 

But it was not an appropriate time for me to get snide with her.  We may have to cooperate productively with one another not too far into the distance.  Besides, at the meeting I did get away with making a few double entendre statements using Obama and his Obamanoids as fodder.

No definite plans yet, but it is entirely plausible that I may get some short notice to revisit our Nation's Capital in the next 3 or 4 months.  If so, I sure hope that I will be able to spend some more time enjoying the sights instead of sitting all day at meetings and then having to leave so soon.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston Kabuki Theatrics

Okay, as anyone who is not apoplectic now knows, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bombing terrorist, has been apprehended.  The lockdown of Boston and vicinity is now lifted, and life can go on substantially as normal (though the victims and their families will surely have quite a challenge in achieving any degree of normalcy).


Hindsight is always 20:20.  I shall not dwell upon whether the lockdown needed to be as extensive as it was.


I will, however, note that the lockdown may well have served as a training exercise for the authorities, federal, state or local, who now have a better idea of the practical aspects of locking down Boston -- or any other city.


And while this particular lockdown was employed in order to achieve a very noble and vital purpose, I cannot help but be concerned that it may well serve as an operations manual for the next citywide lockdown -- which may well be for purposes other than the promotion and extension of the personal freedoms we in America like to believe we cherish.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Cowards Get Their Come-Uppance

Some dhimmi-minded Jewish apologists tried to stop Pamela Geller's speaking engagement by the Men's Club of the Great Neck Synagogue.  Allying with supporters of Muslim terror, they made threats of litigation and worse.  They succeeded, BUT ...

Not that I do not have my issues with Pamela Geller.  And not that I do not have my big time issues with the Chabad organization.  And not that I would feel entirely comfortable having New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind as a squadron mate in a battle situation.

But those three did come through, big time, on this matter, and I give them my sincere gratitude.

Others have noted that Pamela Geller is bringing to light some very disturbing facts which the MSM is trying to cover up.  Others have noted that many of those who tried to silence Pamela Geller in Great Neck are the same ones who so vehemently asserted the free speech rights of the panel at an anti-Israel program at Brooklyn College (but not of the attendees who disagreed).  And others, including Pamela Geller herself, have noted that Habeeb Ahmed, a Commissioner of the Nassau County Commission on Human Rights, used his position to try to abridge Geller's right to speak and the public's right to hear and the Great Neck Synagogue Men's Club's right to sponsor a speaker.

And a friend who attended Geller's Great Neck talk at Chabad of Great Neck this morning informs me that at the event, Dov Hikind took GNS's Rabbi Dale Polakoff to task (Rabbi Polakoff was in attendance) for not taking his testosterone shots and standing up to his Board.

All of the foregoing has been duly discussed by others, and will not be further belabored here.  What I wish to note is that historically speaking, G-d has frequently given that little extra boost to Jews who stand up to our enemies, but has even more frequently had our enemies trample us down when we don't stand up for what is right.

[As this is now being posted, Pamela Geller is speaking at Congregation Beth El in Edison, NJ.  That congregation's spiritual leader, Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, also picked up the baton when the GNS people dropped it.  But that is not particularly newsworthy because Rabbi Rosenberg has withstood much heat in many a kitchen for asserting the rights of the Jewish people; it is only natural that he also would use his good offices to take up the towel which the Great Neck Synagogue threw in.].

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Sunday, April 07, 2013

Opting for Wimphood

I have mixed sentiments regarding the standardized tests administered by the educational system.

On one hand, they are very useful in apprising students and parents as to where the child stands.  On the other hand, the standardized test as a predictor of a child's future, while highly reliable, is not 100% accurate, and educators can misguide at least a small percentage of students if standardized test scores are the sole evaluative criteria used.

I myself have always done well on standardized tests, from the third grade ones to the Multistate Bar Exam.

Quite frankly, I have seen the quality of school administration/administrators decrease since the time I was a student.  I have seen it from the perspective of a taxpayer, a parent, a college faculty member, and a former board member of a non-public school.

So I have nothing against standardized testing per se.  My chariness is based upon the misuses to which the various standardized tests can be put, whether against individual students or in the administration of the tests themselves.

And the misusers are not necessarily the school administrators who administer the standardized tests, or those who use the scores of standardized tests to classify students or prospective students.  A misuser can be a parent who refuses to allow their child to take a standardized test.  In fact, the organized parental standardized test refusers are tied in with the OccuShmucks who made such a mess (figurative and literal) of Wall Street.

There are valid reasons for a parent to refuse to allow his or her child(ren) to sit for a standardized test.  But then again, some parents, such as Jeanette Deutermann of North Bellmore, New York, opt out their children because they cannot bear to see their little darlings having to focus their energies towards meeting the challenges of the standardized testing.

Such parents are shmucks.  Worse yet, many of the children they are raising are being put on the path to developing into irresponsible, fawning wimps who will not be able to think for themselves.  The proliferation of such people in the population, of course, makes it far, far easier for tyrants to take over the nation.

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