Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chalk Dust – March 22 2012

Chalk Dust – March 22 2012
©2012 Ross Williams

Headline: NCY Schools to Ditch ‘Pink Slime’ Burgers

Article Synopsis:
The USDA insists ‘pink slime’ is perfectly safe, but consumers insist the substance is not and have begun to demand that the “ammonia-treated” substance be prohibited.

The Ugly Side of Yummy: There are two issues at work here, both involving public ignorance at full volume. First is what ‘pink slime’ consists of in the first place, and second is the purpose behind leftover ammonia.

The ammonium hydroxide is a [more or less natural] disinfectant and it, or other less natural disinfectants, is required by USDA in slaughterhouses and meat packaging plants to keep bacteria under control. Not all ammonia can be eliminated from the processing tables before the next carcass comes down the line. Ammonia is safe, if unappetizing. USDA allows ammonium hydroxide in meat packaging to keep the meat from spoiling. Ammonium hydroxide is even – get this! – added to the meat just before wrapping it in plastic!

But the headliner on this most recent faux-panic is, of course, the ‘pink slime’. The substance is the gelatinous residue of desiccated muscle and connective tissues which are in every animal that has been dead for longer than a minute. It’s the congealed juice which has oozed out prior to cooking, and which turns into the ring of emulsified goo clinging to the sides of the pan-roasted brisket or oven-broiled steak. The USDA terms it Lean Finely-Textured Beef when it is scraped off the processing tables and tossed back into the packages of ground beef.

Conclusion: Unappetizing? maybe. Sinister? hardly. You wanted the government to make food "safe" to eat; this is how they do it. The purpose of schools is to educate our children. Feeding them luddite alarmism is far more dangerous to their health and well-being than pink slime.

Headline: Porn Star Prom Date Scuttled

Article Synopsis:
The latest in a series of twitter-fed pseudo-celebrity cases has an 18 year old Minnesota student broadcasting an invitation to porn stars to be his date; two have agreed, one if he would pay her plane fare. He then started a fund-raising effort to do so. His high school has forbidden him to bring a porn star; it is “not in the best interests” of the district.

Oooh Baby Baby: Apart from the student in question being a chubby spaz with more ambition than common sense, and the 19 year-old pornlette who wouldn’t have dated him on a bet a year earlier seeking notoriety for her own avaricious needs, there is little about this gimmick that can truly be considered antithetical to the school. I can guarantee that a third of the students are going to be getting a piece of tail on prom night, and this guy with his centerfold date will not be among them.

If you want to get downright technical about it, proms have become, all on their own, a fairly good-sized black eye in our public education system already, mostly because students have come to see it as their unofficial entry into the debauch of adulthood we’ve taught them to expect. And when schools spend all their time dictating what students are allowed to text each other from their facebook accounts outside of class and issuing detentions and suspensions because of it, but then declare a hand washing of After-Prom that would make Pontius Pilate blush, something is drastically amiss.

Conclusion: Grab yourself a sizable laxative, there, school administration; you are your own worst enemy.

Headline: Virginia Teacher Required ‘Opposition Research’ Project

Article Synopsis:
A Virginia Junior High teacher required his honors Civics students to break up into four groups and research the four remaining Republican presidential candidates to find the flaws in their policy positions, write a paper describing those flaws, and submit those papers to the Obama re-election campaign. One parent called it “creepy beyond belief”; the principal suggested that a better assignment would have been to allow students to choose a candidate of any party to research.

He Who Rocks the Cradle: The assignment was not to research Republican presidential candidate for their policy proposals to consider whether they were good OR bad. Such an assignment would actually teach critical thinking skills and the civics which have both been generally lacking from our public policy makers – and analysts.

The assignment was, instead, to assume those policy proposals were bad and to explain why, and how to rejoin them ... and then provide the rejoinders to the National Savior’s re-election campaign. The assignment was to join the footsoldiery of the liberal and [ironic term] “progressive” movement as a conscript, by holding the student’s GPA as hostage. This is another example of being told what the correct answer is, and being left to find your own excuses for arriving at it rather than to question assumptions and the authority which imposes those assumptions.

Similar tactics were used during World War II to keep soldiers in the subsumed armies of Nazi-occupied Europe loyal to their new master: stick the soldier’s parents, wives and children into a prison camp.

Conclusion: If there were a Public Education War Against the Republican Party this is exactly how it would manifest itself. Good thing that’s not happening, eh?


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