Ohio River Life
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Why don’t characters on television and in movies say “goodbye” when ending phone conversations? More often than not, they just stop talking and hang up.
Why do hurricanes look and move like spiral galaxies?
If God (Yahweh, Allah, etc.) is real, why doesn’t he just show himself?
Given the number of birds we see in the sky every day, and assuming that every bird eventually dies, why don’t we see more dead birds on the ground?
Given that Republicans tend not to believe that government should be involved in the free market, why do they blame Democratic presidents for not doing enough to improve the economy?
If human beings do not evolve, why are there so many different races?
Why do men have nipples?
Given that all living organisms poop, why is it that only humans need to wipe their butts?
Why do people claim to see ghosts only at night? Do ghosts sleep during the day?
Given that Earth’s moon (Luna) and its star (Sol) are wildly different in size, what are the chances that they would appear exactly the same size in our sky?
Why is it illegal to get high but legal to get drunk? And given the amount of crime associated with illegal drugs and the amount of money spent fighting illegal drug activity, not to mention that the illegality of drugs stops no one from using them, why aren’t all drugs made legal?
Why is it that so many religious people advocate capital punishment but abhor abortion? And why is it that religious parents are more likely to advocate corporal punishment of children than secular parents?
Why are Chinese communists so good at capitalism?
Why do we spend so much time and money trying to extend human life only to lock up our elderly population in nursing homes?
Why is it legal to drive a motorcycle that makes so much noise it shakes your house and wakes up the entire neighborhood, but it’s illegal to drive a car with a defective muffler?
Why isn’t there a pill that keeps our hair from turning gray?
Why do tornados appear only in the continental United States?
Why does “burn up” and “burn down” mean the same thing?
If Adam and Eve were the first humans and they had only male children, where did everyone else come from?
Why does virtually every living organism on Earth (plants and spiders excluded) have two eyes? Given the obvious survival advantage, why don’t we have eyes in the back of our head?
Given that glass is made of sand, and there is virtually an endless supply of sand on the planet, why do we put everything in plastic bottles made of expensive petroleum?
Monday, August 22, 2011
Be back soon
I've been taking a break from writing on ORL (obviously), but I'll be getting back to it soon.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Anyone seen this helicopter?
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Monday, August 01, 2011
Morning Journal editorial is required reading
by M. Stewart
East Liverpool residents should read the Morning Journal editorial titled “Other board members were wrong to censure Wolf.” Not only do I agree with what it says about the East Liverpool Board of Education and the Open Meetings Act, I think it points out a problem that all too many area school boards and public bodies exhibit—namely, that dissention is a bad thing that should be squashed for its own sake.
Dick Wolf is a person who isn’t afraid to fight for what he believes, and I am convinced that his willingness to inspire public debate on important issues has nothing to do with his ego. Most of the time he is right, and too often the resistance comes from others who display little knowledge of the issues and are more than willing to hide their ignorance by rubber stamping anything that comes their way.
Superintendents work for the school board and, by extension, the citizenry—not the other way around. That doesn’t mean the board should be directly involved in running the day-to-day operations of the district. What it does mean is that it’s the superintendent’s job to convince an informed board that his policy initiatives are valid and progressive. The board represents the public interest, not that of the administration. Too many public board members imagine themselves to be part of administration. [For the worst local example of this, see the Buckeye Water District Board of Trustees.]
To vote wisely on policy, board members must be intellectually alive and fully engaged. They have to study issues and be willing to learn how public education works. Most certainly they shouldn’t rubber stamp resolutions and punish dissent merely to avoid the appearance of controversy. Show me a public body that operates without controversy, and I’ll show you a politically dead community. In public life, passivity is dysfunction.
I know Dick Wolf as an intelligent, articulate man who isn’t afraid to resist the status quo. At the same time, members of political bodies must convince their colleagues that their positions are viable. To get things done, one has to build coalitions and convince a majority, and that isn’t always going to happen. You win a few and lose a few, and along the way you learn the art of compromise. Deals get made. That’s what politics is, and make no mistake about it, school board members are politicians—that is, they are elected public officials who represent constituents.
If a given board is made up of active, inquisitive, serious people, there are going to be disagreements and debates; however, to censure a single member for refusing to go along with the prevailing groupthink is foolish and detrimental to system. If that single member is insane, overly dogmatic, or excessively egotistical, that’s another story. But Dick Wolf is none of these—far from it.
Having said that, Mr. Wolf must find a better way to build coalitions on the board. At the same time, the board should start paying more attention to its most learned and distinguished member. Wolf is right about the Open Meetings Act. At the same time, it’s downright unethical for any board member to make public any private statement made by a colleague about anyone. It’s the rest of the board that comes out of this recent controversy looking like dishonest, untrustworthy schemers, not Mr. Wolf.
I am glad Dick Wolf is on our board of education. I feel comfortable knowing that we have someone willing to paddle upstream and combat dysfunctional groupthink. Is he always right? Of course not; nobody is. Is he someone whose ideas should always be taken seriously? Absolutely.