Thursday, June 28, 2007

SCOTUS Ruling Limits Use of Race for Diversity in Schools


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that earlier today (in another 5-4 ruling), the Supreme Court rejected integration plans at public school districts in Louisville, Kentucky and Seattle, Washington. The decision restricted how public school systems may attain racial diversity.

The AJC article contains the following excerpts from select Justices:

The court split, 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts announcing the court's judgment, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Yet Justice Anthony Kennedy left the door ajar for the use of race and would not go as far as the other four conservative justices, saying in a concurring opinion that race may be a component of school plans designed to achieve diversity. He said, "A district may consider it a compelling interest to achieve a diverse student population. Race may be one component of that diversity."

Justice Clarence Thomas, the court's only black member, wrote a separate opinion endorsing the ruling and taking issue with the dissenters' view of the Brown case. Thomas said, "What was wrong in 1954 cannot be right today. The plans before us base school assignment decisions on students' race. Because 'our Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,' such race-based decisionmaking is unconstitutional."

Justice Stephen Breyer, in a dissent joined by the other liberals on the court, said Roberts' opinion undermined the promise of integrated schools that the court laid out 53 years ago in its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education. "To invalidate the plans under review is to threaten the promise of Brown," Breyer said.
Read the entire AJC article here.

plez sez: it's not like i didn't expect such a ruling from this Court, but it still hit me like a blow to the gut! talking about turning back the clock on race relations in this country... well, this does it!

and now it's time to start making some lemonade with all these lemons that the SCOTUS has been tossing from the ivory tower! in one week, the Supreme Court has given big business unfettered access to the election process (campaign ad funding), restricted first amendment rights of students (bong hits 4 jesus), and restricted the use of race for student diversity in public schools.

on its face Brown v. Board of Education was what this country needed to get past its racist past, but what that ruling left out was equal access to quality education for all students. busing brought about racial diversity (in some cases), but never brought the funds necessary to lift those communities which were left behind. i will contend that i did not need to sit beside white students to learn, what i needed was the same educational resources (books, equipment, teachers) that was readily available in the white communities.

after 50-something years, i guess it is time to move on from application of Brown and take responsibility for the spirit of Brown in our children's education and our public schools. instead of busing our children to majority white districts, let's lobby our school boards to incent better and more established teachers to come teach in our communities, let's ensure that our curriculum enhances our children's education, let's get our Black boys out of these special ed classes, and let's make sure that dollar-for-dollar, our kids are getting the quality education that our taxes are paying for.

after today's ruling, the rules have changed and they're not changing back. today's Supreme Court consists of right-wing activists who will consistently push a conservative agenda for the next 20 years! i am sure that Roe v. Wade will fall during the next session which begins in October.

now, i do have some choice words for some of the opinions that were rendered:
  1. Roberts implies that the spirit of Brown v. Board of Education was not for integration of public schools; so if not, what was the spirit of the 1954 ruling?
  2. Thomas is ALL WRONG to imply that Brown v. Board of Education was wrong in 1954; what planet was this dude living on in 1954 when his BLACK ASS couldn't go to a good school where he was raised in segregated Georgia?!? and since when was the Constitution colorblind? since when was this country colorblind?
  3. why did Kennedy vote with the majority when he believes that race can be a component used for racial diversity? doesn't that contradict the ruling?

  4. lastly, i can pray that this ruling is a catalyst for self-reliance and self-motivation to demand quality public school education in the Black community.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

plezWorld and the NBA Draft

New Hawks Logo for 2007-08Every year about this time, Atlanta Hawks fans sit with rapt attention on the NBA Draft Board. We've been burnt and scorned in just about every draft going back 10 years or more. For the past 3 or 4 years, the Hawks have shunned the center position and point guard position by loading up on tall, lanky first round forwards (Josh Smith (high school), Josh Childress (Stanford), Marvin Williams (UNC), Shelden Williams (Duke), etc.). They haven't smelled the playoffs since before this bald spot on the back of my head and I'm waiting with sweaty palms like the rest of the fans hoping that they don't waste another first round pick in this year's draft (scheduled for Thursday, June 28th).

Everyone has an opinion about the upcoming draft and I'm no exception. This year is particularly scary for us Hawks fans, because we essentially have the "pressure" of picking first, since Oden and Durant are givens at the one and two spot... so ALL EYES will be on how the Hawks manage (or mismanage) their two first round picks (at #3 and #11).

Making the assumption that there won't be any trades and every team will make its appointed pick, what follows are the mock drafts (well, the lottery picks) as predicted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ESPN, with commentary from plezWorld:
  1. Portland Trailblazers
    AJC: Greg Oden, C, Ohio State - No one passes on a dominant 7-footer who can anchor a title contending team for the next decade. Not even Portland.
    ESPN: Kevin Durant, SF, Texas - For his killer instinct and excellent workout for the team.

    plez sez: You gotta go with the big man, Greg Oden (C, Ohio State). With one hand, he basically secured his team's spot in the national championship game. And a mobile, athletic 7-footer like Oden comes around once a decade, you can't pass this one up!

  2. Seattle Supersonics
    AJC: Kevin Durant, F, Texas - Ranks right up there with Michael Jordan as one of the best consolation prizes in draft history.
    ESPN: Greg Oden, C, Ohio State - This is a no-brainer! This is the easiest pick in the entire draft.

    plez sez: This is an automatic pick, when David Stern takes the podium for the Number 1 pick, he should just stay up there and announce the second pick.

  3. Atlanta Hawks
    AJC: Yi Jianlian, C, China - The intriguing possibilities involved with this 7-foot physical specimen, both on and off the court, are too great for the Hawks to pass up.
    ESPN: Al Horford, PF, Florida - Considered the third best prospect in the draft after a great season (with a second national championship) and a great workout.

    plez sez: Although, it would be great to have 1 billion additional Hawks fans (in China), the Hawks need a real NBA player, like Al Horford. His father, Tito Horford, also played in the NBA. And remember, Yao Ming (Houston Rockets) still hasn't gotten his team out of the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

  4. Memphis Grizzlies
    AJC: Al Horford, F, Florida - Grizzlies get a draft day surprise in the ready-to-play Horford, the player they had rated No. 3, thanks to the Hawks' gamble.
    ESPN: Mike Conley, Jr., PG, Ohio State - He's a really good point guard with lots of upside (since he left Ohio State after only one season) and he led his team to the national championship game.

    plez sez: If the Hawks do as I say, then Mike Conley will be available for the Grizzlies. If not, I won't be able to see who the Grizzlies are taking because I will have thrown something BIG and HEAVY at my big screen TV!

  5. Boston Celtics
    AJC: Jeff Green, F, Georgetown - Green's versatility and maturity are too much to pass up for a team needing to provide Paul Pierce with immediate assistance.
    ESPN: Corey Brewer, SG, Florida - Another player from Florida's two-time national championship team.

    plez sez: Paul Pierce is going to need some help, I imagine the Celtics will probably be trading this pick away as part of a deal to keep Pierce around. But if they keep it, they'll take either Brewer or Yi Jianlian (the 7-footer from China).

  6. Milwaukee Bucks
    AJC: Brandan Wright, F, North Carolina - He is two or three years away from providing the type of help a pick this high should, but his upside is too much to pass up.
    ESPN: Jeff Green, F, Georgetown - Since Yi Jianlian has said that he won't play in Milwaukee, I guess they have to take the best available talent.

    plez sez: Green was a bigger factor for Georgetown than Wright was for UNC... I'd go with Green!

  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
    AJC: Spencer Hawes, C, Washington - Kevin McHale sees a whole lot of himself in Hawes, the most offensively skilled big man in this draft.
    ESPN: Yi Jianlian, C, China - He has the most value of anyone on the board (so they could always trade his rights), and we all know they're trading KG at some point.

    plez sez: I'd go with Hawes out of Washington, I don't know if the Minneapolis is on the list of cities that Jianlian will play for.

  8. Charlotte Bobcats
    AJC: Corey Brewer, F, Florida - The Bobcats have continue to build with experienced talents from winning programs, players like Brewer.
    ESPN: Brandon Wright, F, UNC - Big upside and North Carolina pedigree.

    plez sez: Six of one, half a dozen of the other... I would pick Joakim Noah.

  9. Chicago Bulls
    AJC: Joakim Noah, C/F, Florida - Pair the fiery Noah with Tyrus Thomas on the frontline and the Bulls are ready for a decade's worth of deep playoff runs in the East.
    ESPN: Joakim Noah, C/F, Florida - Another guy from the two-time national championship team.

    plez sez: If Noah is available, this would be the best pick, but for some reason, I don't see him lasting until the 10th pick.

  10. Sacramento Kings
    AJC: Al Thornton, F, Florida State - If Ron Artest gets moved in a trade, the Kings will already have his replacement.
    ESPN: Julian Wright, SF, Kansas - Lots of potential.

    plez sez: With the Kings in the same division as the Spurs, Mavericks, Suns, Rockets, and the same state as the Lakers and Warriors, they will be bringing up the rear in the West for the next 10 years... so it doesn't matter who they pick. My favorite pick for this spot is Thaddeus Young from Georgia Tech.

  11. Atlanta Hawks
    AJC: Mike Conley Jr., G, Ohio State - The Hawks get smooched by lady luck just like they did on lottery night and get their top rated point guard after the rest fall in love with the big guys.
    ESPN: Acie Law IV, PG, Texas A&M - Considered by many to be the best point guard in the draft.

    plez sez: Being the homer that I am, I would hope that the Hawks use their second first round draft pick on a local product, Javaris Crittendon, who played both high school and college ball (Georgia Tech) in Altanta. And he's mentioned in the same breath as Conley and Law.

  12. Philadelphia 76ers
    AJC: Javaris Crittenton, G, Georgia Tech - Move over Louis Williams, Crittenton fills the 76ers need for a quality understudy to veteran point guard Andre Miller.
    ESPN: Al Thornton, SF, Florida State - One of the few forwards who can come into the NBA and play right away.

    plez sez: If the Hawks do what I say, then Acie Law IV should be available for the 76ers.

  13. New Orleans
    AJC: Nick Young, G, USC - The only thing the Hornets don't have is ultra athletic running mate for Chris Paul. The dynamic Young fits that bill.
    ESPN: Spencer Hawes, C, Washington - If he's still available, you can't pass on an offensive minded center for the Hornets.

    plez sez: If Hawes is still available this late in the draft, you have to go with the big man.

  14. Los Angeles Clippers
    AJC: Acie Law IV, G, Texas A&M - The Clippers need a security blanket in case Shaun Livingston doesn't make a full recovery from knee surgery.
    ESPN: Nick Young, SG, Southern California - Best available.

    plez sez: If Acie Law IV drops this far, I'd be surprised.

plezWorld's last word: Thaddeus Young (F, Georgia Tech) will be a Top 20 selection; I have him as a forward who is in the mix with Jeff Green and Brandon Wright.

And if I'm even half-right with my selections, I may've found my second career! *smile*

Monday, June 25, 2007

SCOTUS Ruling Limits Student Free Speech Rights


In 2002, high school student Joseph Frederick unfurled a 14-foot banner during the Winter Olympics Relay in Juneau, Alaska which read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." The principal of his school (Deborah Morse) took exception to the reference to drugs on banner, ripped it down, and suspended Frederick from school for 10 days. Of course, the student sued the principal... and somehow this crazy case made it all the way to the Supreme Court!

Earlier today in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled (Morse vs. Frederick) that schools could that restrict student speech when the message seems to advocate illegal drug use. The majority decision (written by Chief Justice Roberts) goes to great length to specify that the court's opinion "goes no further" than speech interpreted as dealing with illegal drug use.

The article on Yahoo! news continues:
"The message on Frederick's banner is cryptic," Chief Justice John Roberts said. But the school principal who suspended him "thought the banner would be interpreted by those viewing it as promoting illegal drug use, and that interpretation is plainly a reasonable one," Roberts said in the majority opinion.
Read the entire Yahoo! article here.

plez sez: hmmmmm... so our Supreme Court had NOTHING better to do than to take up their valuable time (they are about to recess until October within the next week) ruling on a crazy case like this!

i agree with the ruling, but isn't this common sense: a school cannot allow its students to display banners advocating drug use. maybe i'm missing something here, but there are limits to free speech: hate speech, yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater, promoting drugs and alcohol to minors, sexually explicit speech and images around minors, kiddie porn, etc.

since i'm not a lawyer, i have a few questions for my more learned readers:
  1. how in the HELL did a frivolous lawsuit like this make it to the Supreme Court?
  2. what in the HELL were the Justices who voted in favor of the high school student thinking?

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's My Birthday Meme

Go to Wikipedia and type in your birthday (month and day, only).

1. List 3 events that occurred on that day
2. List 3 important birthdays
3. List one notable death
4. List a holiday or observance, if any
5. Tag five of your friends.

plez sez: i found this meme when i stumbled upon Morphological Confetti a few months ago; as usual, i couldn't resist! i found some interesting facts about my birthdate: June 22.

This is my Birthday Meme for June 22:
  1. List 3 events that occurred on that day
    1633 - The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his scientific
    view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe.
    1812 - Napoleonic Wars- Napoleon invades Russia.
    1962 - An Air France Boeing 707 jet crashes in bad weather in Guadeloupe, West Indies killing 113

  2. List 3 important birthdays
    1930 - Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., son of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh (d. 1932)
    1941 - Ed Bradley, American journalist (d. 2006)
    1949 - Meryl Streep, American actress
    1962 - Clyde Drexler, former NBA All Star and Olympic Gold Medalist

    as usual, i cheated and listed 4 birthdays, but how many of you share a birthday with the Lindbergh Baby? i had to include Ed Bradley (of 60 Minutes fame) and Academy Award Winner Meryl Streep! and since Clyde Drexler and i were born on the same day, i had to include him.

  3. List one notable death
    1987 - Fred Astaire, American dancer and actor (b. 1899)

  4. List a holiday or observance
    Anti-fascist Struggle Day in Croatia

  5. The Tag
    Tagging a certain number of blogs is like picking a team on the playground when you were a kid: who is the kid that gets picked last? or worse yet, who doesn't get picked at all? So, to relieve you of the angst of not seeing your blog listed here: if you've read this far down into this post, consider yourself tagged and join the fun.
Post a comment when you've completed the assignment. Thanks!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dick Cheney Pulls an OG Move

Vice President Dick Cheney has asserted his office is not a part of the executive branch of the U.S. government, and therefore not bound by a presidential order governing the protection of classified information by government agencies, according to a new letter from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to Cheney.

ABC News reports that Bill Leonard, head of the government's Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), told Waxman's staff that Cheney's office has refused to provide his staff with details regarding classified documents or submit to a routine inspection as required by presidential order, according to Waxman.

plez sez: dick cheney never ceases to amaze me, but this latest move shows a set of cajones that i would never believe! this is an OG~pimp move that most mere mortals would not even dare to attempt! he is the sitting vice president of the united states and he has the audacity to say (i'm sure with a straight face) that his office is not bound by the rules that pertain to the executive branch.

now, i'm just wondering, what branch is he a part of?!? a special dick cheney branch that answers to neither the executive nor the legislative branch? a special dick cheney branch that answers to NO ONE?

i've said it before and i'll say it again... Dick Cheney should be impeached!

Georgia Tech's Ramblin' Wreck Wrecked


It's a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech
...and it will take a hell of an engineer to get it going again.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the vintage car that leads the Georgia Tech football team onto Grant Field before Yellow Jackets games was wrecked for real as it was being towed to Savannah to be used in a wedding. The "Ramblin' Wreck" has been a fixture at Tech football games since it led the football team onto the field on September 31, 1961 prior to Tech's drubbing of Rice by the score of 24-0!

Tech officials said Wednesday that they hope to get repairs done to the 1930 Model A Sports Coupe mascot in time for the home opener against Samford.

Read the entire article here.


plez sez: to me the "Wreck" represents Georgia Tech Football... and it happens to be parked just below my front row seats at Bobby Dodd Stadium during the games (i have season tickets). since my freshman year, i have associated cheering the team's entrance into the stadium with seeing the "Ramblin' Wreck" rip through the banner with our pom-pom waving cheerleaders on its running boards.

i can only imagine that some Tech big-wig (i.e. alumni donor with deep pockets) paid to have the "Wreck" appear in his daughter's or son's wedding in Savannah. but this also begs the question: should a vintage car that is almost 80 years old be getting carted around the state like a show pony?

i propose the following: (1) fix the damn thing before our season opener, and (2) leave the damn thing on Tech's campus where it belongs!

ok, now... let's all sing the Ramblin' Wreck Song together:


"I'm a ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech and a helluva engineer.
A helluva, helluva, helluva, hellava, hellava engineer.
Like all good jolly fellows, I drink my whiskey clear,
I'm a ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech and a helluva engineer!

"Oh, if I had a daughter, sir, I'd dress her in white and gold,
And put her on the campus, to cheer the brave and bold.
But if I had a son, sir, I'll tell you what he'd do,
He would yell, 'TO HELL WITH GEORGIA'
Like his daddy used to do!

"Oh, if I had a barrel of rum and sugar three thousand pounds,
A college bell to put it in, a clapper to stir it 'round.
I'd sing to all good fellows, who come from far and near,
I'm a ramblin' gamblin' helluva engineer!"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Sonora Smart Dodd sat in church on Mother's Day in 1909, and didn't like what she heard.

The Rev. Harry Rasmus was rambling on about the importance of mothers, but had nothing to say about fathers.

Dodd decided then that men like her father, William Smart - a widowed Civil War veteran who raised his six children on a farm - needed a similar holiday, and embarked on a lifelong quest to make it happen.
Read the entire Seattle Post-Intelligencer article here.

plez sez: i still remember my siblings (three older brothers and younger sister) and i getting up early on sunday morning and preparing breakfast in bed for my parents on Father's Day. in addition to breakfast in bed, he would usually be the recipient of a signed card, some cheap aftershave (like Brut or Old Spice), and a colorful necktie (which he would graciously wear to church).

now, i look forward to a home-made card from my daughter and a big kiss from my wife. last year, i received an XBOX 360 for Father's Day, which is a far cry from a bottle of Brut!

i know that we're not worthy of the love you have for your mother, but cherish your father... and make this a HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

An Old School G on "Cheaters"


WARNING: Kids, don't try this at home. Bo is a PAID PROFESSIONAL.

This short vignette is from the wildly popular show known as "Cheaters" (one of the CW Network's finer efforts no doubt).

plez sez: i'm not a player! and i'm certainly not a pimp! but Bo (the antagonist) gives an Oscar-worthy performance while paying keen awareness to the finer nuances of the art of being a player and a pimp.

and if you didn't learn anything from the video, you need to watch it again:
  • although, Babydoll (the protagonist) was verbally abused, Bo never layed a hand on her... back in the day, he would've been called a "Playa from the Himalayas"!
  • when Old Girl #2 (the extra) tried to slither away, Bo ever so gently pulled her back into his warm embrace; she did eventually escape, but only after Bo realized that he didn't want to subject her to undo scrutiny and embarrassment (he's still a gentleman).
  • in the midst of all this madness (getting ambushed by a camera crew, getting his keys snatched, and getting confronted by one of his "made ladies"), he still had the clarity of mind to remember that he needed to pay for his meal ("I'm gonna tell his woman to pack my goddamn food up and pay her... you know how important my food is to me").
  • he stayed in character throughout the entire ordeal ("I'm an Old School G... from South Park, [expletive deleted]!").
  • how about that Super Soaker Pimp Slap! (and he still didn't lay a hand on her).
  • and you'll notice that Babydoll did hang around until he drove off (even though she was soaked by her 40 oz. Slurpee bath)... i'll give you 2-to-1 odds that once the release papers were signed and the cameras were turned off, she was laid up with the Bo later that night.

  • and you gotta love his proclamation at the end: "I been an Old School G all my goddamn life and gonna be one till the day I die!"
it's a given that the entire episode was kinda sad, because you could see that deep down, Bo really loves Babydoll and he was really hurt by her actions... but i have to admit that i got a good laugh out of it.

Disclaimer: I object to the mistreatment of women, except in those rare cases when they really ask for it... and babydoll wallowed all in it!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

WTF - Girl's Momma Defends Genarlow Wilson

OK, we're all in agreement... the 10 year sentence for Genarlow Wilson because of his New Year's Eve indiscretion (receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old) was too harsh. Even Thurbert Baker (the Georgia Attorney General who filed an appeal that is keeping Genarlow Wilson in jail pending the outcome of the appeal) says that the sentence was too harsh!

But now I read in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the mother of the young lady who performed "lip service" on the night in question has gone public saying that the sentence was too harsh. She regrets that she didn't get the prosecutors to drop the charges.

Excerpts of the article:
The tape shows Wilson having intercourse with a 17-year-old. Both appear intoxicated in the video. Wilson was charged with raping the 17-year-old but was acquitted.

In another part of the video, Wilson is lying on his back in one of the motel room beds and receiving oral sex from Cannon's daughter. Wilson does not appear to be forcing the girl in the video. [Ms.] Cannon said her daughter told her the sex was consensual.

Read the entire article here.

plez sez: HUH?!? Come again?!? Veda Cannon, 39, of Douglasville, GA said the sex between her daughter, Wilson and four other teens was consensual and regrets she didn't ask prosecutors not to charge them. What mother, no, what parent in their right mind would condone their daughter having an oral sex train being run on them? What the f**k is going on with these people! Now I'm thinking: the girl's mother is the one who should be in jail.

Her 15-year-old daughter had FIVE funky, drunk boys run their nasty little dicks up in her daughter's mouth and she doesn't think that's criminal? She's quoted as saying, "She did not want any of this to happen. She was friends with all of them."

Word to the mother: friends don't let friends skeet in their friend's mouth!

But I guess that's why she was a 37-year-old grandmother; her daughter (who is now an 18-year-old girl) is the unmarried mother of a 2-year-old son! Count 'em... that's 3 generations of one family that's shot to HELL!

It makes me want to holla: WTF!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Genarlow Wilson Freed - Justice Served?

A judge has ordered that Genarlow Wilson be freed from prison, where he has spent more than two years for receiving consensual oral sex from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson also amended Wilson's felony conviction this morning to a misdemeanor without the requirement that he register as a sex offender.

Read the entire article here.

If you are not up on Georgia state politics, the 17-year-old Genarlow Wilson starred in a profanity-laced and sexually charged video with a number of other boys; the video in question showed him having sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old girl and receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl. Apparently, he was not the only boy present at the New Years Eve Party in an Atlanta area motel who was caught on tape: four other boys at the party pleaded guilty to child molestation of the 15-year-old and sexual battery of the 17-year-old, and a fifth boy pleaded guilty to false imprisonment. Genarlow was the only one of the six who did not take a plea agreement.

He was found "not guilty" of the rape allegation that was brought forward by the 17-year-old girl. And even though it was determined that the oral sex with the 15-year-old girl was consensual, he was found guilty of a felony under the Child Protection Act of 1995 (because of the backwardness of the law, if he had regular sex with the girl, he could've been convicted of a crime that carried a much shorter sentence). He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and would be registered as a sex offender by the state upon his release.

Genarlow was the homecoming king and an honor roll student at his high school in suburban Atlanta; he was entertaining a number of offers to play college football. All of that went down the drain when he donned that prison uniform.

Story Update (June 12, 2007): Georgia State Attorney General Thurbert Baker has appealed the judges decision to release Genarlow Wilson. As a result of the appeal, the young man will remain in jail until the appeal is adjudicated.

Read the entire letter from the Attorney General to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution here.

plez sez: I do take issue with the law; it was a miscarriage of justice to charge this boy with such a heinous crime. The punishment far exceeded the crime and this poor boy has lost over 2 years of his life for nothing. But then again, the State of Georgia does tend to enact laws that are archaic and crazy... your best bet is to steer clear of the judicial system in this state!

Which brings me to my next point: boys will be boys, right?!? Obviously, these boys' judgement was clouded by alcohol, and an easy lay with 2 willing (and albeit drunk) participants... right?!?

Hmmmm... not so fast! I used to be 17 years old. I used to have fun with my friends when I was in high school. I was a red-blooded American boy who would've taken the opportunity to have consensual sex with my girlfriend. But even with hindsight of over 35 years, I think I would've found this "scene" to be repugnant. I just tend to think that I raised to treat women and girls alittle better than that... for Christ sakes, doesn't he have a mother? A sister? Female cousins?

I happen to have a 5 year old daughter, and I shudder to think that in a short 10 years, my daughter would find herself in such a sleazy situation. I hope that my wife and I are providing a model by which she will tend to shun those elements of society who would gravitate to such sleazy and disrespectful behavior. I would hope the her male friends would have a lot more respect for women than to plan, implement, and videotape a gangbang!

I was tempted to blog about this episode a few months ago after reading the article in the New York Times and seeing the CNN Reports story (see the accompanying video) about the Genarlow Wilson case; I was outraged that this young man was behind bars for "consensual sexual relations with a minor." But after the onion was peeled and more of the truth was revealed, I'm afraid that I'm just not as outraged as I once was. And I can't say that I would be very upset if he (and his crew) had to spend alittle more time in jail.

Unfortunately, this is a criminal thing wrapped up in a moral thing: criminally, Genarlow was wrongly imprisoned for the past 2 years; morally, he wasn't in prison long enough!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Training in plezWorld

Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.
~ E. M. Forster

For the past week, plezWorld has been in a train-the-trainer session for new hire training at my job. I have pretty extensive (over 10 years) experience in developing and conducting training programs, so I took the opportunity to learn some additional "tricks of the trade" to deliver top notch training for my company over the next two weeks. I work for a consulting company which places a large emphasis on its people, so they place a sizable investment in bringing new hires up to speed on company culture and the art of consulting.

I'm comfortable in the act of classroom instruction, but my company is global, so there is the additional challenge of running a classroom of international students. My class (I have co-faculty members from Brazil and Poland) has students from: South Africa, Turkey, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Spain, Poland, Canada, Italy, Japan, and the United States). So you can imagine the challenge of 15 international instructors preparing for 150 international students!

In my experience, there are components of training that is crucial to the "knowledge transfer," so the training may be deemed successful: the materials, the preparation, and the training, itself.

The Materials:
You cannot substitute with poor quality materials or materials that are not appropriate for the subject matter. This is true whether you are dealing with kindergarten, high school, university, or corporate training. As students get older (and more sophisticated), the materials they use must increasingly support their learning. Hands-on experience requires something for the student to put their hands on! Real world training must include scenarios and examples of the real world.

The 2 week training that I will conduct includes a complete case study, computer simulation, associated documentation, actual data, and exercises that support the development and implementation of a computer system for a fictional company. Without these materials, the faculty would be hard-pressed to adequately prepare our new hires for what they will encounter as they begin their careers with the company.

The Preparation:
Practice! Practice! Practice!

Practice the materials. Know how the demonstrations work. Know the expected outcomes. Be able to explain why the materials do what they do. Be able to apply the test materials to real life examples.

Practice your delivery. Take the opportunity to practice your delivery, get critiqued, and then work on the areas that need development. We spent the better part of two days during our preparation this week with all of the faculty practicing a module of training before the group. Learning coaches were assigned to critique our delivery and provide feedback on areas for improvement. We were then given another module to present while keeping an eye on improving in one or two areas. This was especially useful for the faculty who do not have English as their primary language.

The Show:
With the proper materials in hand and proper preparation in the bag, the instructor must turn his/her attention to The Show. For me, teaching is a performance, a live instructional video! Each student must be thoroughly engaged while being thoroughly entertained.
Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.
~ Gail Godwin

A few key tips:
  • Maintain Good Eye Contact - Every student wants to feel that they are part of the learning process and to keep their interest, they must feel that they are being addressed. You must talk TO your students and you must talk to each one of them.

  • Repeat and Respond - In an effort to engage the entire class, everyone must be knowledgeable about what is going on in the class. When you field the inevitable question, make sure you repeat the question for everyone to hear, take a few seconds to gather your thoughts (and get everyone's attention), and then respond with an answer. And a simple trick that will allow you to involve more students in the conversation, provide the answer to a student in a different part of the classroom.

  • Work the Room - Move around your "stage" and make sure that every student gets acknowledged by your presence.

  • Provide Real World Examples - Make the learning real by providing real world examples that support the training material. If you do not have expertise in the area that you teaching, then you should elicit feedback from class participants. If the class participants are new to the material (or lack experience), make sure that you find tangible examples during preparation.

  • Be Flexible Yet Firm - Provide the latitude to discuss ancillary subject matter, but be prepared to bring the class back to the task at hand if it wanders off course. You want to engender a love of learning and spur the student's desire to learn outside of the classroom.

  • Set Expectations - Provide an agenda and make sure that you stay on time. Teach the materials.

  • Tell me and I’ll forget;
    Show me and I may remember;
    Involve me and I’ll understand.
    ~ Chinese proverb

    Since I'll be conducting training and networking over the next two weeks, there will be few opportunities for me to blog. I'll check in and update when I can.

    Wednesday, June 06, 2007

    The BlogRoll Game

    I found this little game via Anali's First Amendment blog and thought it would be fun to participate in the game.


    The game is going on until Father's Day. Click on the link to The Hidden Side of a Leaf Site for game instructions.

    Here are the sites that I visited:
    Anali's First Amendment is a delectable blend of current events and the most delicious looking homemade treats.

    Around the World in 100 Books may have lost her copy of Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth under her bed while rearranging her shelves.

    Swimming Naked in Alphabet Soup celebrated Daisy's first birthday in January with a little doggie cake! Daisy is her little doggie.

    Check it out... it was lots of fun!

    Quotes of the Day - June 6, 2007

    "A mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled."
    - Plutarch

    "She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her."
    - Proverbs 3:15, Holy Bible, King James Version

    plez sez: i am training this week in preparation to facilitate my company's new hire training over the following two weeks.

    these quotes encompass the thought process that i use when i'm teaching a class: i'm not there to spoon feed my students with information, but to provide them with a thirst for knowledge.

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    Scooter Libby Gets 30 Months

    I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000 for lying to investigators about his role in leaking the identity of undercover CIA officer, Valerie Plame.

    The Washington Post article continues:
    "The judge sentenced Libby three months after a federal jury found Cheney's one-time top aide guilty of four felonies for failing to tell the truth to a federal grand jury and the FBI about the disclosure of former CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. Libby was convicted of two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements to FBI agents, and one count of obstructing justice. He was acquitted of a fifth count".
    plez sez: Oh, what a joke (ha ha ha... my second joke of the day)!

    How is Libby guilty and neither Cheney nor Rove nor Bush were even indicted on this obvious crime? Scooter Libby is the scapegoat's scapegoat... i almost hope Bush gives him a presidential pardon!

    What Starts with 'F' and Ends with 'K'?




    A friend sent me the following joke. Get your laugh on...


    The Joke: What Starts with 'F' and Ends with 'K'?

    A first-grade teacher, Ms. Brooks, was having trouble with one of her students. The teacher asked, "Harry, what's your problem?"

    Harry answered, "I'm too smart for the 1st grade. My sister is in the 3rd grade and I'm smarter than she is! I think I should be in the 3rd grade too!"

    Ms. Brooks had had enough. She took Harry to the principal's office.

    While Harry waited in the outer office, the teacher explained to the principal what the situation was. The principal told Ms. Brooks he would give the boy a test. If he failed to answer any of his questions he was to go back to the 1st grade and behave. She agreed.

    Harry was brought in and the conditions were explained to him and he agreed to take the test.

    Test 1
    Principal: "What is 3 x 3?"

    Harry: "9."

    Principal: "What is 6 x 6?"

    Harry: "36."

    And so it went with every question the principal thought a 3rd grader should know.

    The principal looks at Ms. Brooks and tells her, "I think Harry can go to the 3rd grade."

    Ms. Brooks says to the principal, "Let me ask him some questions."

    The principal and Harry both agreed.

    Test 2
    Ms. Brooks: "What does a cow have four of that I have only two of?"

    Harry, after a moment: "Legs."

    Ms. Brooks: "What is in your pants that you have but I do not have?"

    The principal wondered why would she ask such a question!

    Harry replied: "Pockets."

    Ms. Brooks: "What does a dog do that a man steps into?"

    Harry: "Pants."

    Ms. Brooks: "What starts with a C, ends with a T, is hairy, oval, delicious and contains thin, whitish liquid?"

    Harry: "Coconut."

    The principal sat forward with his mouth hanging open.

    Ms. Brooks: "What goes in hard and pink then comes out soft and sticky?"

    The principal's eyes opened really wide and before he could stop the answer, Harry replied, "Bubble gum."

    Ms. Brooks: "What does a man do standing up, a woman does sitting down and a dog does on three legs?"

    Harry: "Shake hands."

    The principal was trembling.

    Ms. Brooks: "What word starts with an 'F' and ends in 'K', and means a lot of heat and excitement?"

    Harry: "Fire truck."

    The principal breathed a sigh of relief and told the teacher, "Put Harry in the fifth-grade, I got the last seven questions wrong!"

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    Braves Minor League Manager Loses It!

    Mississippi Braves manager, Phillip Wellman got ejected from the game played on Friday, June 1... and then he loses it (with Al Green providing backup music).



    plez sez: the video says it all!

    but you gotta love the two stolen bases and the hand grenade crawl and toss! LMAO!

    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    Toxic Toothpaste Found in the U.S.

    Before you brush your teeth, you may want to check the origin of the toothpaste that you are putting on your toothbrush.

    The FDA recently advised consumers to discard all toothpaste made in China after federal health officials said they found Chinese-made toothpaste containing a poison in three locations: Miami, the Port of Los Angeles and Puerto Rico.

    A New York Times article says:
    Agency officials said they found toothpaste containing a small amount of diethylene glycol, a sweet, syrupy poison (which is used in automobile antifreeze), at a Dollar Plus retail store in Miami, sold under the brand name ShiR Fresh Mint Fluoride Paste. The F.D.A. also identified nine other brands of Chinese toothpaste that contain diethylene glycol, some with concentrations of 3 percent to 4 percent."

    * emphasis mine


    LogiPundit states that you should also avoid the following brands of toothpaste with may be tainted with the same poison: Cooldent Fluoride, Cooldent Spearmint, Cooldent ICE, Dr. Cool, Superdent, Clean Rite, Oralmax Extreme, Oral Bright, Bright Max, and ShiR Fresh Mint.

    plez sez: in an effort to open up our markets to the world, we are also opening our citizens up to health dangers from afar. increased bouts of gastrointestinal illnesses and norovirus (Norwalk flu virus) (i was floored by one back in February of this year), salmonella outbreaks, e. coli in our food, pet foods tainted with materials used to make plastic, and now you can't even brush your teeth with confidence anymore. this country's problem isn't with the influx of immigrants from Mexico, it's with the barrage of unsafe food and products that we are ingesting on a daily basis which is coming into the US in an almost unregulated fashion (this article on the struggles of the FDA is quite chilling).

    imagine that: a terrorist attack on the US via our food supply!

    cheap labor overseas should begin to mean unsafe and sub-par quality for the people of the United States. until countries like china begin to regulate their exports to meet our specifications, maybe we should reduce (or stop) importing their foodstuffs until they do.

    in the meantime, you may want to check that tube of toothpaste before you brush your teeth!

    Saturday, June 02, 2007

    Barack Obama - Truth On Iraq

    Obama Speaking Truth On Iraq on May 25, 2007:


    plez sez: this is why i support Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States; he is level-headed, disciplined, pragmatic, and a realist. you can't say that you are against the War in Iraq while funding the War in Iraq!

    Friday, June 01, 2007

    Quote of the Day - June 1, 2007

    "It is clearer that the way to teach somebody to read who doesn't have many books in their home is not to teach them to recognize whole words and holistic methods like that, that works for people who are in Montessori schools and whose parents read The New Yorker... you need phonics.”
    - John McWhorter, linguistics scholar and Senior Fellow with the Manhattan Institute, during his appearance this morning on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" when asked about education in the Black community

    plez sez: in my spare moments in the morning, i love to watch C-SPAN and listen to the insightful interviews on current events. i really enjoy the phone calls from around the country from the decidedly left-leaning and right-leaning listeners... there are very few calls to the independent line. this morning, i paused longer than usual while listening to John McWhorter speak about race relations in this country and his take on how things are today versus a generation ago.

    my ears really stood up when i heard him make the quote above while answering a question about how to improve education, particularly for Black folk. i tend to agree that phonics is the best way to learn to read, i believe that learning to read phonetically is the reason why my daughter is such a good reader at age 5 (she has been reading for close to a year and a half). his mention of people "in Montessori schools and whose parents read 'The New Yorker'" really piqued my attention because as luck would have it, my daughter attends a Montessori school (today was the last day of her third year) and i have had a subscription to "The New Yorker" magazine for more than 10 years!

    some would say that it's a coincidence... but now i wonder was McWhorter really speaking to me? or am i just being paranoid?