August 29, 2008
These and other fine designs and engineering can be found at DB FLETCHER.
August 29, 2008
A church’s day-care center that is under investigation started counseling Tuesday for parents of preschoolers who claim their former teachers made them fight during class.
Brian Swain, administrator at Central United Methodist Church, said counseling will also be offered to the 3- and 4-year-olds in the class where the fighting happened earlier this summer.
The two teachers — whose names haven’t been released — are under investigation by the Fayetteville Police Department and the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
The investigation continued Tuesday. No charges have been filed.
Swain said the two female teachers — one who was employed for six years and the other for 18 months — told church leaders they tried to stop the fighting in their classroom. The church launched an investigation and contacted authorities after the claims last week, Swain said.
“The teachers’ version of the story was that the children were the ones who introduced [the fighting ] into the classroom as a game,” Swain said. “They said they tried to stop it and that they in no way condone it, but the children’s version is a completely different story. There’s certainly compelling evidence from where the children are coming from.” The teachers were fired Friday after being confronted with the claims of making children fight while the rest of the class watched, according to the Human Services Department.
Police said the teachers told the children to keep the fighting secret from their parents. Some children had bruises, police said.
The fighting happened in one of the seven daily preschool classes at Central’s Center for Children.
The claims did not involve a Tuesday and Thursday program for preschoolers or the summer and after-school programs for elementary students.
Parents who brought their children to the day care Tuesday said they have faith in the church and the investigation by state and local authorities.
Some said they knew little or nothing about the matter. Some cited an Aug. 22 letter the church gave to parents that said a teacher was accused of inappropriate behavior.
The letter said the behavior was not sexual and that an investigation was under way.
“The letter we got was pretty vague, and it left me wanting to know more,” parent Nathan Wells said Tuesday. “My plan was to let the dust settle and then have a meeting with administrators to find out what really happened.” Another parent, Brooks Lee, said he trusts church officials and feels secure having his child in the preschool.
“My wife read the letter, but we’re not worried about it,” Lee said. “We’ve been pleased with the day-care program here for over two years.” A father who wouldn’t give his name said parents whose kids were made to fight are banding together.
“My kid was impacted significantly,” he said. “I’d venture to say he’s having trouble recognizing authority figures right now.” The church day care has been in operation for about 30 years, and there are no other complaints on record with the Department of Human Services, which licenses the day care.
The church Tuesday issued a second letter to parents that said it is working to regain their trust and is taking corrective steps. The church is implementing extra training for teachers and may install video cameras in classrooms.
The letter said a third teacher who was involved no longer works at the day care. Swain later said the teacher resigned in July to move out of the area.
He said that besides counseling, the church will offer to teach children a technique called “The Peace Table” that deals with conflict resolution.
August 29, 2008
“If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from,” Barack Obama declared last night.
Talk about projection.
Accepting the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination before a crowd of roughly 80,000, Obama made a forceful case for change by arguing that the United States is far worse off at home and abroad than it was eight years ago and therefore, the nation must adopt new policies — his polices.
Over the course of the speech, Obama attacked Johm McCain for being too much like President Bush.
“The record is clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time,” Obama said.
He portrayed McCain as being out of touch with the plight of average Americans.
“It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care,” Obama said. “It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.”
He criticized McCain for not doing more to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.
“Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for 26 of themâ€¦” Obama told the crowd. “And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.”
Even though Obama suggested that McCain has been in Washington too long, he chose Joe Biden as his running mate, who has been there far longer.
Obama also blasted McCain for being all bluster.
“If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that’s his choice — but it is not the change we need,” Obama said.
While Obama launched an all-out assault on McCain and called for change, his nearly 4,700-word speech included just 79 words that could even vaguely be construed as him pointing to a record of actually bringing about change.
“I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming,” Obama forecasted, dipping into his vast reservoir of inexperience. “Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it. I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I’ve seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.”
Not only did Obama find little to say about his actual record, but in order to inoculate himself from accusations of embellishment, he had to qualify his statement by speaking of himself as a passive observer (“I’ve seen it”) and collectivizing the achievements (“we worked”).
With this speech, it has now become abundantly clear that Obama won’t make a serious attempt to argue that he has any real accomplishments. Instead, his campaign is banking on the fact that the desire for change is so deep, and the contempt for President Bush so fierce, that merely linking McCain to the administration and representing something different will be enough to put him over the top.
He could be right. As weak as a candidate as John Kerry was in 2004, he came just 18 electoral votes shy of becoming president at a time when the Republican brand name was in much better shape than it is now.
Obama was able to ride the change theme to victory in the Democratic primaries, even though he started out as the heavy underdog, so he has no reason to believe that it won’t work for him in the general election.
But next week, Republicans will have an opportunity to fight back, and they will have plenty of material. Unlike Obama, McCain does have a record to run on.
August 29, 2008
When Delores Napper first read Irving Wallace’s novel The Man as a young black woman in 1965, the story envisioning the trials and tribulations of the America’s first black president fascinated her in the way “What if?” books in which the Axis wins World War II or Napoleon emerges triumphant from Waterloo fascinate some history buffs — an intriguing imaginative exercise, but far removed from reality. In fact, even Wallace had not been so bold in fiction as to depict a black man winning election to the office. His character, Douglass Dilman, is installed in the Oval Office by an “unexpected accident and the law of succession.”
The idea stuck with Napper, nibbled at the edges of her mind, always. When she came across a painting by Georgia artist Joel Gresham of a black man sitting on a bench reading a newspaper headlined America Elects Its First Black President a quarter-century later in 1990, she snapped it up and hung it in her foyer. The piece was a conversation starter, but by the beginning of 2008, not coincidentally coinciding with the rise of Barack Obama, the conversation was freighted with a whole lot more meaning.
This week Napper and her husband were on the mall in downtown Denver selling prints, postcards, magnets, and T-shirts emblazoned with the image of Gresham’s painting to the DNC attendees steadily transmogrifying into ravenous consumers of anything Obama-mania related. Business was brisk, egged on, perhaps, by Napper loudly trumpeting the fact that 25 percent of the proceeds would be donated to the campaign of the freshman senator from Illinois, whom, she’ll proudly tell you, she traveled to Mississippi, North Carolina, and Alabama to campaign for.
“I thought this would always be a dream,” Napper said. “I thought this painting would be passed down for generations before it could be something real. But those people who stood up in front of their neighbors in Iowa and spoke up for a black man, well…” she trails off for a few moments. “Maybe I didn’t know how much things had changed. But those folks healed me. After Iowa, it felt like a healing bomb had gone off over all those old racial wounds.” Napper shakes her head as if she still cannot believe what has come to pass. (With Hillary and Bill, that makes at least three.) Unsurprisingly, Iowa delegates received free posters.
IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO remember during an election in which there is an overt political effort to cast any effective criticism of Barack Obama as racially motivated and, thus, out of bounds, that there is likewise a powerful, authentically emotional reaction to Obama’s nomination in the black community existing both outside of and beyond politics. It is important to acknowledge the monumental nature of what has occurred and how it has touched millions of Americans.
Juan Williams didn’t choke up after Michelle Obama’s speech on behalf of the Democratic Party, just as Delores Napper wasn’t on the streets of Denver selling prints out of an outsized devotion to a politics. In Denver the atmosphere among black delegates was eons removed from that of the DNC convention in 2004, the difference between being a (albeit powerful) special interest group and having achieved some true ownership over the proceedings. Recall, it was only four years ago lava lamp Al Sharpton charged during a primary debate that while blacks “helped take [the Democratic Party] to the dance” that same party would “leave with right-wingers, you leave with people that you say are swing voters, you leave with people that are antithetical to our history and antithetical to our interests.”
In 2008 black voters still went home with somebody else, but this time it was another black man with less baggage, more substance and fewer tracksuits. This has been a time of rapid change.
YES, THIS IS A MOMENT worth celebrating, even if it cannot be in the way those who seek to exploit it for political gain/cover would prefer — i.e. Republicans not contesting the election, no matter how unsavory Barack Obama’s policies are to them, in order to absolve themselves of the taint of racism. “To the rest of the world, a rejection of the promise [Obama] represents wouldn’t just be an odd choice by the United States,” Jacob Weisberg, for example, writes in Slate, conveniently raising his own electoral preference to morally inviolable status. “It would be taken for what it would be: sign and symptom of a nation’s historical decline.”
To not vote for Obama, then, is to vote for the destruction of the republic. And these are the people who think the Swift Boaters were too harsh? “If he loses by two or three percent then I would certainly say that the racial issue was a major factor,” Jimmy Carter recently told USA Today, effectively turning any Obama loss into an indictment of the United States as racist.
One presumes Carter would not be saying the same thing if Condi Rice were the Republican nominee right now. Nor if Joe Lieberman were the Republicans’ vice-presidential nominee would he likely appreciate all criticism being deflected with cries of “anti-Semitism!”
The beat goes on: Leonard Greene, in the New York Post, fumes — before the debates, before the conventions, before most Americans truly weigh their choices — that Obama “should be picking out a desk for the Oval Office,” but can’t because, “Many white Americans — Democrats included — are no happier about a black president than they are about a black supervisor on their jobs, or a black family moving in next door.” (You could say such rhetoric is presumptuous, but that is one of an apparently endless number of racial code words.) David Gergen, adding fuel to the fire, rails improbably, “As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, ‘The One,’ that’s code for, ‘He’s uppity, he ought to stay in his place.’ Everybody gets that who is from a southern background.”
EVERYBODY? MAYBE EVERYBODY who wants to get that — especially if, say, it lets you feel like a grandstanding crusader for justice during yet another of your interminable television appearances — gets that, but the truth is for all the talk of Republicans trying to turn Obama into ‘the other,’ it is this type of bluster from the left that truly threatens Obama with that status. Why shouldn’t he be required to walk through the same flames as every other presidential candidate? deliberating citizens will ask themselves. Why am I a racist if I have some questions about this freshman senator?
To be unable to criticize or question Obama’s candidacy or policies out of fear of rhetorical retribution is something that will almost certainly brand him as The Other. And it is not racism to note there are wide swaths of this nation comfortable enough in their own skin to not simply be bullied into voting for a candidate because a gaggle of reporters and liberal bloggers are saying “…or else.” I know this, in no small part, because I am from New Hampshire, a start obscenely smeared as racist for not going along with the commentariat last January.
Letting Barack Obama make his case and rise or fall on the merits is more in line with the spirit of equality than demeaning the entire nation as hateful, backwards and cruel for not choosing as you’ve chosen. Obama supporters expect Hillary Clinton to be satisfied with her accomplishments without branding Democrats as sexists, so Democrats can do the rest of us the favor of not branding us racists if their candidate loses. To behave so would be unfair. Outside rabidly partisan left-wing circles this is understood.
“I won’t lose my happiness, though I want so very badly for him to win,” Delores Napper answered when I asked her how she would feel if Obama were to lose the general election after coming this far. “It’s been done, done, done. The healing is so deep, so wonderful, it can’t be taken back.”