Monday, September 30, 2002

Conclusive Proof

Charter schools have come under fire for taking funds away from regular public schools. Signature School is no exception; earlier this year the EVSC superintendent blamed the EVSC's budget problems partially on Sig School. I previously posted several thorough refutations of McCandless's accusation, but today the Evansville Courier and Press presented some conclusive proof that Signature School has not caused the EVSC budget crisis.

Evansville-Vanderburgh schools have 23,127 students this year, 27 more than last year.

That's only about a one-tenth of 1 percent change, too small to have any significance.

If the EVSC student population has not gone down, they are receiving the same amount of funds they received before. Except now they don't have to pay for Signature School operating costs. The EVSC has MORE money to spend this year that last!

This ends my intermittent rants on the EVSC's ignorance of the real cause of their budget crisis (their poor planning), and may this issue rest in peace.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

L33t Poisonwood Bible

The AP English Language and Composition Language has finished its first unit, dominated by reading and analyzing The Poisonwood Bible.

*if clicked, the image links to Poisonwood Sparknotes, which are excellent.

I personally played a violin medley that represented each narrator in Poisonwood, but some people made online projects. George made Rachel's Long Lost Journal.

Pat made this AWESOME Flash movie, which reminds me of the L33t Romeo and Juliet (only much quicker to load, hehe). Go here to look at it. It will crack you up. I have to say, I enjoyed this year's projects more than last years, when we just made posters on random books. And the bus ran over my posters and I received a low grade because of that. Rahr.

UPDATE [9:55 PM]: Shanky's Flash movie is now up too, check it out here!
Public School Reform

I found the following Opinion/Editorial in USA Today: Remodel public schools into knowledge factories.

Public schools would do well to emulate today's most modern factories: efficient, clean, productive and accountable.

Like factories, schools should be held responsible for outcomes, which requires clear goals and standards. If a chip-production plant fails to achieve its goals, the management doesn't blame the chips or make the employees work longer hours, the way some push for more schooling. Instead, the managers examine the factory's procedures and make necessary corrections.

Our economy can no longer afford schools that pick winners and losers. What we need is to produce highly educated, well-rounded students based on the standards and approaches used by our most modern and effective factories.

While reforming public education is a great idea, from experience I can say that the majority of students at public schools don't strive to learn and excel--the struggling students are elated with barely passing grades, and the gifted students are satisfied with whatever grade will maintain their 4.0. The idea of non-compulsory attendence to some schools is a great idea, forming the basis of Signature School's belief in student choice. In order for Sig School to excel, it depends on the enthusiasm of the students...public schools must develop this mentality too.

Sig School is a pioneer in charter schools. Hopefully, eventually the public school system will be reformed to sort the people who want to achieve and those who don't--then educated all those willing to their highest potential.
More Iraq

Yahoo reports Rice: Iraq Shelters, Arms al Qaida:

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush's national security adviser on Wednesday accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime of sheltering members of the al-Qaida terrorist network in Baghdad and helping Osama bin Laden's operatives in developing chemical weapons.

Condoleezza Rice's comments — by far the strongest statements yet from the U.S. government alleging al-Qaida contacts with the Iraqi government — were aired Wednesday on PBS' "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

I really don't think this accusation will be supported...if such a link between Iraq and al-Qaida were strong, then Bush would have unveiled it, and probably in a timing that would absolutely crush Iraq's credibility. Instead Condoleezza Rice reveals this "smoking gun"? I don't think so. Mark my words: Rice's accusation will be dropped by the administration and media in half a week or less.

Or I'll eat my words.
High Tech

Thanks to Pat for the following story:

France to unveil air- powered car

Engineers in France believe they have come up with the answer that environmentalists and economists have spent years searching for: a commercially viable, 100% non-polluting car, which costs next to nothing to run. The latest vehicle is said to have come on leaps and bounds from the early model we drove. It is said to be much quieter, a top speed of 110 km/h (65 mph), and a range of around 200 km before you need to fill the tanks up with air.

The car comes fitted with its own compressor so you can fill up at home. But that would take four hours.

The company has developed the technology to refill the vehicle in three minutes, although there are no service station forecourts with the compressed air machines to do that yet.

And the cost? Cyril Negre, the head of Research and Development at MDI cars, reckons a full tank of air would be about 1.50 euros. And for that you can drive knowing that you are pumping nothing harmful into the atmosphere.

Nice. More.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Google Time

SM is the 1st search result for signature monitor, but a disappointing 29th for signature school. It is 3rd for sibo lin.

BREAKING NEWS: SM is the 1st search result for Bulgaria's stance on the U.S. attacking Iraq(even though I only mention "attacking Iraq" and "Bulgarian ballistic missiles" in two separate posts, ah well)!!!! Breaking out the champagne.

UPDATE (9.24.02)- SM is 4th on Google for "Iraq Attaq" how cool.
The Cakewalk of Iraq

Earlier this year Ken Adelman of the Washington Post wrote a widely circulated article on a Cakewalk in Iraq. Adelman basically asserts that overthrowing Sadddam will be an easy task.

I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps.

As I listened to extempers cite this article over and over, I was thoroughly convinced that Iraq would be a pushover to conquer. But, the article provided no reason for why to attack Iraq at all...still, I believed we should attack Iraq because my mentor Mike Knight was a hawk and influenced my political views so much.

Going to the (what I would consider to be) liberal Signature School this year has helped put Iraq in perspective (not implying that Mike was a bad influence)--Iraq may be a danger to stability in the Middle East, but so is our blind support of stance on Iraq has subsequently changed from a hardline confrontationist to a more skeptical supporter of Bush's war on terror. The breaking point had to be when Bush refused Iraq's proposal to accept weapons inspections. So--Bush is not settling for ANY solution except war. How civilized.

Brian Balta of the Hoosier Review wrote an article on the evolution of his stance toward Iraq, No. He presents a concise essay on reasons to not attack Iraq, which very similarly paralells my own views; reading No is highly recommended.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

The Week in Review

Sorry for not updating in a while, but school is starting to get tough (chem and calc at least). Coincidentally, this week at Sig has been pretty eventful.

Wednesday, Ms. Snyder came over the intercom a few minutes before school started to call a last-minute faculty meeting...for what, we had no idea. But in first period, Ms. Snyder called the students to the Victory for an assembly, and we quickly learned what was discussed at the faculty meeting: cracking down on the rebels at Sig. Snyder laid it out plain and simple to the Signature students who did not follow the "Signature Way"--"if you don't like it here, then leave." With Signature's faltering PR, and the tenous charter rules that force Signature to accept any and all applicants, Snyder took a risky, but calculated step toward recovering normality at Signature.

I think this is a great move...I've heard stories of students backtalking highly-respected (by most students anyhow) teachers, students annoying other students, and even students drilling holes into their textbooks...some of those people obviously don't belong to Signature. Charter law forces Signature to accept all applicants, but it doesn't prevent Signature from expelling students...

Friday was senior and junior picture day--unfortunately it was raining and the pictures were taken in the Loft across the street...our hair and clothes were wet, but things went alright. Afterschool, the weekly tennis meet at Wesselman's continued despite the wet courts; my shoes got soaked, but it was awesome. I just regret Ms. Hawley not showing up again--she didn't expect us to be hardcore enough to play in the rain I guess.

Today, lots of us (~25%) went to the Susan B. Komen Race for the cure, and it was amazing. The only other time I've seen that many Evansvillese in one gathering was the Fall Festival. Though some students ran the full 5k, most mosied for the cure. Like many other students, I got an hour of community service in.

One of the main reasons why so many of us raced for the cure (besides helping cancer research and getting community service hours) was the good chance to win the WSTO high school contest: the local high school with the highest percent of student participation would win a dance put on by WSTO. Signature had a great chance to win, because as a small school, getting a large percentage of the students to race was much easier than, say, at Reitz (where 25% of the student population would be around 250 students).

In the end, Signature was defeated by the very small school-large percentage advantage that we relied upon. Day School won the WSTO contest with a whopping 65% of their students racing for the cure. Since they only have 60 or so students, that 65% was probably a breeze for them. But still, 65%, that's a good job.

Once again, I'll try to refrain from weeklong breaks in updating in the future.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Breaking News: Ok, Maybe Not

First, Iraq Agrees to Weapons Inspectors (Mon Sep 16, 9:26 PM ET).

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Iraq agreed Monday to allow the unconditional return of U.N. weapons inspectors, a reversal coming days after President Bush ( news - web sites) warned Baghdad to comply with U.N. resolutions or face military action.

But then in a counter-intuitive move, White House Dismisses Iraqi Offer (Mon Sep 16, 9:35 PM ET).

The White House released a written statement that called the offer "a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong U.N. Security Council action."

"As such, it is a tactic that will fail," spokesman Scott McClellan said in the statement.

You may wonder at first, "What is Bush doing??!! He is being offered what he wanted so badly and threatened to go to war for!" Actually, weapons inspections was only one prong of Bush's demands on Iraq. Other key issues are disarmament and a regime change, which will not be achieved with simple weapons inspectors. After the Persian Gulf War, inspectors could not find any stockpiles of biological or chemical weapons--it was not until the defection of high ranking Iraqi officials that we discovered Iraq's deadly arsenals of WMDs. Bush obviously doesn't expect anything different this time, hence the rejection of 'mere' weapons inspections.

Your view of this action will mostly likely be determined by your stance on attacking Iraq.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Sig Spirit!

As Signature sits in awkward tension, internally debating whether to have a mascot, and what that mascot should be, the Evansville Courier Press is holding a poll(that link may be outdated soon) for "Which tri-state school has the best mascot and the most spirit?" DUDE, guys, we HAVE to get a mascot so we can win this thing! Let's approve the Bhutanese Thunderdragons as our mascot (thanks to Melody Berry for the idea), there's no way we could lose a contest with the school spirit of a Thunderdragon!!!

Yay rah Sig School (hey, at least the Thunderdragons is better than just the Dragons).
A Half-Baked Idea?

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Nevada is looking to legalize marijuana. I'm generally conservative, but the legalization of marijuana does have a strong case...

The arguments for legalization are essentially the same in both settings – that it's a relatively mild drug and that laws penalizing possession clog courts and prisons.

And even though the right-wing CSM slants the 'moral irresponsibility' of the legalization of marijuana, it admits that:

[The legalization of marijuana] would reap considerable revenue through licensing and sales taxes.


Saturday, September 14, 2002

HR Link

Brian Balta of the Hoosier Review has an interesting post, Who's the good guy? It's about how the rest of the world views the definitely contrasts the blind American patriotism that has been espoused in the days around the anniversary of 9/11, the date of "evil, unprovoked attacks."
The Sum of All Minor Fears

In the movie "Sum of All Fears" a lost Israeli nuclear bomb is found by an impoverished Arab, who sells it to a renegade Russian. This loose nuke brings the US and Russia to the brink of nuclear holocaust.

Although on a much smaller scale, loose convential weapons in the former Soviet Union are pretty dangerous...Yahoo reports Scrap Worker Accidentally Fires Howitzer.

KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian scrap metal worker destroyed two roofs and singed his face when he cut into a 1940s howitzer and accidentally fired off a shell no one had noticed was lodged inside, local media reported Thursday.

Ukraine, situated between Russia and an expanding European Union has a huge arsenal of rusting weapons, which often end up in the country's dozens of scrap yards.

Also, Missile-Shaped Soft Drink Blasts Off.

SOFIA (Reuters) - Sales of a new Bulgarian soft drink have rocketed since its launch two weeks ago, with consumers snapping up the bottles shaped like the ex-Soviet missiles which the country is now seeking to destroy.

The destruction of NATO hopeful Bulgaria's ballistic missile arsenal has been a hot topic of conversation in the small Balkan country amid fears that dismantling the rockets could trigger radiation leaks or even earthquakes.

One company seeking to capitalize on the issue has produced a new line of fruit-flavored soft-drink and packaged them in rocket-shaped silver bottles.

"And I'm Proud to be an American...."

Friday, September 13, 2002

Eerie, New York

Yahoo reports, Eerie 9-1-1 Lottery Draws Interest

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Officials say it was just a coincidence, but many people found it chilling nonetheless: On the anniversary of Sept. 11, the winning numbers in the New York lottery were 9-1-1.
Lottery officials said Thursday that 5,631 people had selected the tragic numbers. They won $500 each. A similar coincidence occurred Nov. 12 when the numbers 5-8-7 came up in the New Jersey lottery the day American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in New York City.


Thursday, September 12, 2002

Jig Jiggiler or what not

For anyone wondering why Downtown Evansville was jam-packed this morning--and couldn't find a parking spot ANYWHERE in the ENTIRE Civic Center parking lot, and had to PAY $4.25 for a parking garage pass...--the reason why downtown was so crowded today was a motivational speech given by Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker.

What a name. Zig Ziglar. His parents had a sense of humor I suppose. What's even more funny is that he wrote Success For Dummies harhar.

To Zig Ziglar: I appreciate your visit to Evansville (not ignoring us, like most celebrities do-- except when one of us tries to assassinate the President) but please please please please leave so I can have my parking spot back. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Hoosier Reivew: Sept 11 Edition

Hoosier Review has a new, commemorative Sept 11 template along with several Sept. 11 articles. Some good articles:

Where were you? by Zach Wendling
Why your children won't remember by Paul Musgrave
Sept. 11 2001: Looking Back

One year ago, I was taking ISTEP in my homeroom at Reitz. Mr. Clark was taken out into the hallway by some other faculty member. They talked, and he returned with a solemn face and tone. "Four planes have been hijacked by terrorists. Two crashed into the World Trade Center towers and another cra..."

Wow. Was this a joke? Could this be true? The tales of turmoil in foreign places far away had spilled over into my world? Ah well, it couldn't be that serious. As we were dismissed from ISTEP, the atmosphere was full of excitement from most of the students. "Wow, this is weird." "Huh. Cool." "We're going to war!" "DAMN COMMIES!" were just some of the comments floated around. Everyone feared the worst but held out silent hope for the situation.

Until lunch. The cafeteria was still bussling with movement and chatter--but many students stared at the TVs. CNN. Twin Towers. Flames and collapse. Maybe the TV made it look worse than it really was.

Getting home, I watched NBC's coverage of hijackings. Then it all began to sink really was amazing, what the terrorists had done. Even fighting for a twisted cause, their plan was ingenious. For the cost of a few lives, they managed to take thousands of ours. Amazing. Incomprehensible.

Now, a year later, I find my view of the world's relation to the US permanently shaken. No longer is the US the great, perfect, well supported leader of the world. No longer does the US have an aura of invincibility. No longer are we all safe. On the other hand, some of my confidence in America has returned, as major terrorist acts have been prevented in the past year. Things are looking up.

So, where were you when you heard about the World Trade Center and Pentagon? On the anniversary of the hijackings, try confronting your initial reactions a year ago.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

A Day that Will Live in Infamy

No, I'm not referring to the upcoming anniversary of Sept. 11. No, the AP Chem class didn't burn down Historic Downtown Evansville with a thermite reaction gone awry. Today was the first day that Ms. Snyder exercised her principal powers to restrict Signature students' a result of continuing student irresponsibility and disrespect toward teachers, effective tomorrow the Commons area will be closed (no more Code Red for George!), and the threat of the termination of open-campus lunch looms. No doubt some students, unfamiliar with Ms. Snyder's general leniency, will think that she has overreacted. I think her actions were perfectly justified.

The REAL infamy came from the students' unresponsiveness to Ms. Snyder's previous requests. There were numerous warnings that the Commons was going to be closed if students didn't clean up after themselves. Responsiblity on the Walkway and in restaurants was something Ms. Snyder stressed the very first day of school. Today, students eating at Emge's didn't listen to their teacher escort telling them it was time to head back to school. That is INSANE...what would make a SIGNATURE student disobey a teacher?? We have enough freedom as it is; why risk it for more (chaotic) freedom? I am surprised that action alone hasn't already driven Ms. Snyder to terminate open-campus lunch. If I were principal, I probably would have done just that.

As a note that really highlights how serious the problem was, the closing down of the Commons was an action endorsed by the Student Advisory Council. The responsible upperclassmen--who compose the vast majority of the SAC--were willing to sacrifice their own priviledges for the well-being of the school. The Commons problem has become that large. Although Ms. Snyder does a great reenactment of Pearl Harbor, today it was the new students who bombed us by disrepecting the principal and teachers.

This is the most important day/issue in Signature School's first year as a charter school. All other issues pale in juxtaposition--go ahead and adopt the Signature Dragons, I don't care anymore. Even if Sig School has superb SAT and AP scores, or Amy and Nirav win Nationals in policy debate, no day will overshadow this day that will live in infamy.

Monday, September 09, 2002


Yahoo reports Iraqis to Vote on Keeping Saddam.

The last referendum was in 1995, and Saddam received 99.96 percent of the vote to continue as president.

Saddam was first appointed president in 1979 after replacing Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, the Iraqi general who led the Baath party to power in a 1968 coup. Saddam has since held the post of the party leader, army commander and chairman of the council. Occasionally he has served as prime minister.

No doubt he also gets a say in the vote tallying...
This Means WAR!

Ok, maybe not. It's still very interesting that the Times of India reports that Saddam met Osama in Iraq.

WASHINGTON: A woman claiming to have been Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's mistress for more than 30 years told ABC News that she witnessed at least one meeting between Saddam and top terror suspect Osama Bin Laden.

It's definitely a lead that more attention should be paid to, by both Bush and the media.

Sunday, September 08, 2002


Pat: Did you hear what the pirate movie was rated?

Me: Huh? No, what?

Pat: Arrrr!
The Case Against a Signature Mascot: Extensions

In case you haven't heard, Signature School is voting on a mascot. The promised case against a Signature mascot is here.

Pro-mascots think that my sole reason for opposing a Signature mascot is just to be non-conformist. "Just because it's mainstream doesn't mean it's bad," noted Daniel Wallace, who supports the Signature Dragons. In reality, I have no intention of dressing Sig in all black or spiking its proverbial hair just to stand out of the crowd. The only reason why I oppose a Signature mascot is because I want Sig to remain focused on learning.

The mission of the Sig School Charter is "to meet the needs of self-motivated learners in a progressive environment driven by global concerns. We emphasize rigor and excellence in academics, the arts, and integrated technologies."

Where does a mascot fit in the "progressive learning environment"?? Our class rings may be dazzling with an inscribed dragon (I think a mascotless ring would actually look better), but a mascot won't help us learn any. We might as well be the Signature Hot Babes if we wanted an impressive class ring.

Arguably, school spirit is an integral part of the PLE. I totally agree. But currently there are few complaints about Sig School. It would not be an overestimation that more than 95% of the students at Sig enjoy attending Sig. What better way to support our school than to continue to refer to ourselves as simply, yet eloquently, "sig schoolers"? Why should we refer to ourselves by some random creature, mythical or not? A mascot would not increase our school spirit; if anything, it'd distract us from our pride in the actual school.

If we had to have a mascot, it should convey a message beyond just "We're strong and swift" (we don't have major sports teams; and all mascots are strong and swift anyways). At least the Signature Phoenixes has a deeper, although cheesier, meaning than "the dragons" (we are big, scaly, and breathe fire!). If we were really brave, the Signature Barbarians or the Signature Noble Platypi (plural of platypus) would provide a strong satirical message to other schools about how trivial their mascots are. I'm serious.

I'm interested in hearing a counterpoint...leave a comment please.
Iraq Talq

In a momentus step toward war with Iraq, Bush: We Must Deal With Saddam.

CAMP DAVID, Md. (AP) - President Bush ( news - web sites) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair ( news - web sites) said Saturday the world must act against Saddam Hussein ( news - web sites), arguing that the Iraqi leader has defied the United Nations ( news - web sites) and reneged on promises to destroy weapons of mass destruction.

Bush said U.N. weapons inspectors, before they were denied access to Iraq in 1998, concluded that Saddam was "six months away from developing a weapon." He also cited satellite photos released by a U.N. agency Friday that show unexplained construction at Iraq sites that weapons inspectors once visited to search for evidence Saddam was trying to develop nuclear arms.

"I don't know what more evidence we need," Bush said.

For the first time since 9/11, Bush is acknowledging the need to convince allies, using solid evidence, to join the war on terror. Instead of just using strong rhetoric ("Axis of Evil", "Evil dictator", "evil spawn of Satan", etc.).

Or is he? CNN reports Confusion over Iraqi nuke report.

"There's no report," [International Atomic Energy Agency] spokesman Mark Gwozdecky, said.

"[Bush and Blair] are going off of a New York Times article that really didn't get it right yesterday. In fact, we issued a press release last night saying there's no new information about any Iraqi nuclear activity, and until we get inspectors on the ground we can't draw any conclusion about whether they're in compliance with the Security Council resolutions with regard to nuclear activities."

Ouch. No wonder France, Russia, Germany, and China weren't too thrilled with Bush's and Blair's "case" for attacking Iraq. Bush isn't even presenting the right fabricated information. Most everyone accepts Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction. But proving Iraq's link to terrorism and its subsequent threat to the world is key.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

The Case Against a Signature Mascot

Today in seminar, many students--me included--were stunned to find that the school was voting for a mascot. Even more alarming was that a lot of students already had a mascot candidate in mind. The Signature Commodores. The Signature John Hancocks. The Sigature Dragons. Penguins. Grumpy Bears. Therapists of Signature. Unfortunately, the first mascot could be slightly altered to produce a synonym for 'toilets' by other schools. The second mascot would invariably be shortened into simply the last syllable by anti-Sig groups..."teens will be teens." Dragons, Penguins, and Grumpy Bears all seem humorous, but not real mascot material. And Therapists of Signature makes no sense to most people...

So what's the solution? Not some ineffective compromise that would leave a legacy as indelible as the Great Missouri Compromise did...nor a simple "majority rule" decision (which would probably make us the Signature Dragons). Instead, the best solution is simply to not have a mascot. At least that's what I think. Opinions? I'm writing a paper over this controversy soon.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Iraq Attaq?

Cheesy title. Good link: Iraq in the Balance.
Yay Kelly!

I called it ever since she belted out an awe-inspiring "Respect" a la Aretha. Kelly Clarkson is now our American Idol.

I'm not sure how Fox pulled it off, having a hit show like this. Most people I know who watched American Idol over the summer don't even like pop music (I prefer rock myself). But last night I sat in front of the TV, enthralled in this beautiful voice singing an elegant, albeit cheesy, single: A Moment like This.

Fox 7's poll tonight said only 53% of tri-staters thought Kelly would continue to be a star, while 47% said she would be a flash in the pan. That's absurd, considering how often A Moment like This is played over and over and over on 96.1 and 106.1, the two major pop stations in Evansille. And Yahoo estimates that 22.5 million viewers listened to the American Idol finale. Kelly will succeed, I'm calling it again. Even if she doesn't sing rock.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

A Modest Foreign Policy Proposal

Today, Yahoo reports that--*gasp*--Europeans Say U.S. Partly to Blame for 9/ 11.

LONDON (Reuters) - Most Europeans believe America itself is partly to blame for the devastating attacks on New York and Washington last September 11. According to a new poll, which questioned more than 9,000 Europeans and Americans about how they look at the world one year after the attacks, 55 percent of Europeans think U.S. foreign policy contributed to the tragic events.

Personally I think Europeans are ignorant of American views--but regardless of who's right and who's wrong, the fact stands: America is not popular, and only America can fix that. If America continues to be a hegemonic monster (at least from the European point of view) , it will find itself not only lacking support for its war on terror, but the Bush Administration will be paralyzed internationally, fearful of confronting its criticizers. For instance, at the just-concluded Johanessburg World Summit, Bush was not inclined to attend because, to quote Lynch, "It's like being invited to a party by people who don't like you. Of course Bush doesn't want to go to the meeting. What Bush has to do is figure out why they don't like him."

So, what has America/Bush done to anger the world? Arabs cite the stationing of American troops by Saudi mosques, the partisan support of Israel, and overall nosiness as reasons to hate America. Chinese cite America's attempt to exploit the cheap Chinese labor market and unwanted scrutiny in Tibet, Taiwan, and Chinese politics in general. The South Koreans hate our soldiers who rape their women with impunity.

Overall, the world is roaring, "Yankee go home!"

Maybe, to solve all our foreign policy problems, America should follow that advice. Let's pull out of South Korea. Let's let China take care of its domestic issues. Let's stop sticking our nose into the Middle East conflict. Let's pull out troops from Saudi Arabia. Let's lift sanctions and no-fly zones from Iraq. Let's get rid of sanctions everywhere entirely. Heck, in order to ensure the rest of the world's freedom from US hegemony, let's pull all of our money out of foreign markets so other countries can enjoy their full sovereignity. If we do all this, I GUARANTEE, the world will like us better. After all, we 'went home' and returned gave them back their autonomy.

However, as a forewarning, this foreign relations move won't be without its costs. Kim Jong-Il might be emboldened to swarm his southern, democratic neighbor. China might massacre (to a greater extent) any dissidents or minorities. Israel might be overrun by a rolling sea of Palestinians led by Yasser Arafat; or worse, Israel would have to resort to nuclear defense. Saudi Arabia might be conquered by Iraq. Or an unfriendly government could rise up in Saudi Arabia, threatening our oil supply. And Saddam could developed nuclear weapons and kill off the Kurds and establish a Greater Muslim Empire. There's a possibility that the withdrawl of American capital from foreign markets could provide the final nudge that causes the collapse of the Japanese economy. Or maybe we simply leave Europe's economy in smouldering ruins. There's a very very small chance that France would resort to nationalistic warfare to boost its citizens' morale and economy, a la Napolean.

All this could ultimately decimate the world. But that's only a chance, not a concrete consequence.

And far outweighting that tiny risk, withdrawing from the world community would definitely make other countries like the US better.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Snyder sets Things Straight

And Lisa White helps out too! From 14 WFIE, Signature School Principal Responds to Negative Charter School Report (see post below for more on "Negative Charter School Report."

The Evansville Courier & Press reprinted an article today from an Associated Press (not to be confused for Advanced Placement) writer, reporting that "Study: Charter students trail peers."

Charter school students were anywhere from a half year to a full year behind their public school peers, researchers at the Brookings Institution concluded after reviewing 1999-2000 reading and math achievement test scores of 376 charter schools in 10 states.

Of course the ECP wouldn't have printed that story to discredit Sig School right? Right...the ECP just happened to print this story on their cover page. Maybe they were informing us about the remedial charter schools in central Indiana? (Ok--probably not) Regardless of the ECP's intentions, a point of clarification: Signature School does not fit the model of the AP report. The report concedes (albeit on the "...Continued from A1" page):

Researchers found that scores of urban charter school students were no worse than others but suburban and rural charter schools had much lower scores. what's the importance of the AP report at all?? It's a national trend that suburban and rural schools in general have lower test scores! Maybe I should write an AP report: "Study finds more farmers in Indiana than other states."

So in spite of the AP report, I hearby propose a study to be conducted after the PSAT is administered this fall. And I promise: Sig School will have a higher average PSAT score. BREAKING NEWS: SIG SCHOOL SLAPS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Got Conservatism?

According to, on the graph of economic and governmental ideology, I am Economic Left/Right: -3.50
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -3.49. That puts me right next to Ghadi.

Hmm....I always thought I was a conservative liberatarian..."down with Social Security and free trade!" I'm interested to hear what anyone else gets on the Political Compass Quiz.
CCP: Crazy Columnist Party

Yahoo reports that China has blocked access to

An article posted on Web portal said Google was being blocked because searches could bring up links to pornography, content associated with the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong.

How insane is the Chinese Communist Party? Any properly motivated "subversive" could still access Google search results by using Yahoo--whose search engine is powered by Google--and is not blocked. But what makes the CCP's move have even less sanity is that this move further discourages Internet businesses from starting up in China. The Chinese market is huge, but the risk of being blocked by the CCP in a whimiscal decision is too great.

Let's all hope the CCP will be less restrictive under who? Under Hu. (inside joke to Lynch and Lynch's comparative gov classes, harhar)

Monday, September 02, 2002

The True Story of Signature School

We’re not gifted, we’re not geniuses, and school doesn’t necessarily come easy to us. However, many people would probably argue this point, when it is made about Signature School. It hasn’t even been its own school for a month, and yet rumors and misconceptions surround the school as they have for years. In many cases, people simply have no idea what the school is or how it works, with even more confusion due to Sig’s recently acquired “charter school” status, so allow me to briefly clarify that point.

Signature, now located next to the Victory, opened in 1992 as a half-day alternative school. Up until this year, students were ferried from their home schools—the five public high schools and two private schools—in either the morning or afternoon, to spend three to four periods at Signature (for electives or for the required classes, such as English, history, math, and/or language). The student would eat lunch, have homeroom, and take part in extracurricular activities at the home school. When the School Board voted Signature as a charter school, making it its own institution, little of the actual mode of operation changed.

Now, students have all seven periods at Sig, eat lunch on the Walkway, and all after-school activities go through Signature. All official ties with the home schools are nothing but a memory, though old friends and relationships are still maintained in many cases. The pleasant, independent atmosphere that brought so many students, newcomers and veterans, remains the same for the new charter school, the first such high school in Indiana.

Overall, there is really only one very common mistaken belief about Signature School: “Oh, yeah, isn’t Signature that school for smart kids?” I am aware of how little access most people have to accurate, unbiased information about our school. And that is why I am about to correct this frequent misunderstanding. I am a junior, and have been attending Signature for three years, since ninth grade. And so, for the first time ever, the general public gets to hear about Signature School from someone who actually goes to Signature School.

We are not the smart kids. Some of us are intelligent, but that is not why we are at Signature. Many people at the home schools are bright, and some people at Sig say they are dumb. We don’t go to Signature because we’re smart; we go to Signature because we’re motivated. We are willing to take the harder courses and are willing to do the difficult work, pull all-nighters, do what needs to be done to do the assignment right. And because of that, we learn so much more than we would if we had taken the easy way out, because of the effort we put into learning. For example: history, freshman year. We had to hand-draw and color a scale map of the Earth, complete with about 100 different countries, cities, and geographical features. There was a class map, which we all did together, and we are also each required to do an individual one. We griped, we hated it; we still gripe and hate that project. But it also gave us a better basic understanding of the geography of our world. Another example: First year Spanish. The first day, all of us walked into the classroom, and the teacher was speaking Spanish to us. We kept expecting her to switch into English; we didn’t have a clue what she was saying. But she never did. In the hallway, at Target, on my answering machine, for two years I only hear this woman speak English a handful of times, and usually only if she’s speaking to someone not in her class. And now, with a meager two years of Spanish under my belt, some Spanish teachers have to ask me to slow down when I speak it.

We’re not smart; we’re motivated. And that’s the true story of Signature School.