Saturday, April 29, 2006

DI's Number Not In Service

Free hotline opens to offer dream analysis - News

Here's some hard-hitting news for you. It amazes me that a paper that accuses Urbana citizens of wasting paper and money on a vote to end the war or impeach the president will dedicate print space to the ridiculous notion that the School of Metaphysics can interpret our dreams on the Quad, or, even better, via a free hotline! Wow...Where's my phone?

Wait just a second. Hmm. I've got my phone here, and an overwhelming desire to call about this dream I had where I had to poop in my dream and then woke up and took a really big dump. I have to know what that means. Damn. The angst I feel is killing me. Alas, the Daily Illini ran a story about this hotline and DIDN'T PRINT THE NUMBER!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Letter: University cannot deny party school status - Opinions

Letter: University cannot deny party school status - Opinions

Mr. Ryan T. Murray is right. UIUC is a party school, and the 19 entry age is a main contributor. Why do students come from other campuses to enter KAM'S, C.O.'s, and other Campustown bars? Their schools' communities are smart enough to keep teenagers out of the bars.

It is time for Champaign to raise the bar entry age to 21.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Like an angry teacher before an out-of-control classroom, the editorial board of the Daily Illini defensively reponds to criticism regarding the political leanings of its Opinions page. To clarify the issue, the editors define their agenda:

But in terms of an agenda, The Daily Illini has only one: to produce the best newspaper we can on a daily basis...

Sadly, I think they mean it. I think these folks are actually proud of their editorial work. Yet, the rubbish they generally produce has no place in a newspaper. Take Bam Bam's inability to get the name of the Unit 4 superintendent right. Where were the editors?

In fact, in this very same editorial, the person who penned the work writes "There are ways to go about expressing an opinion that does not waste the collective time of an entire city." Can you say subject-verb agreement? (One way does, several do. Duh.)

As if that weren't enough, in the next column we've got Renee Thessing making references to the officials of Unofficial. What is that? There are none! The only person claiming ownership of the event is Scott Cochrane. If you mean Scott Cochrane, say Scott Cochrane. What are you afraid of? And where did the UC Senate say it doesn't want students to enjoy a beer? Or two? It's the reckless bingefest they're attacking. (By the way, Renee, as much as you'd like to think that keeping Unofficial as it is will improve the academic standards at UIUC, you are sadly mistaken. No one wants a drunk professor, and your sarcastic remarks here undercut your argument. Your poor writing skills demonstrate that maybe the U of I shouldn't kick the academic expectations up any. You might be kicked out.)

The DI Board can define all of the agendas it wants. They'd be better off, however, spending more time crafting the opinions they express than trying to explain to their audience the purpose of an Opinions page.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Response to Bam Bam's Rebuttal

John Boy's Comments:

1) The Supreme Court rules vouchers are constitutional. Sorry.

You got me there. I should have done some fact-checking! Can you help me with that? Or, was I being purposefully deceptive to mimic you? Hmmm.

2) Sure, the armed cops have to go through special training. So their armed guards with special training. I'm not sure what's deceptive about stating the obvious. They will be having guns and patrolling the school.

Cherry-picking the truth is deception.

Mom: Where were you last night?

Son: With my friends.

Mom: What did you do?

Son: We hung out at John's house. [Not mentioning the fact that they smoked some serious dope.]

Mom: Okay. You're a good boy.

Son did not lie, but was he deceptive? Hmmmmm

3) Learn what sarcasm is.

How convenient. When you say something that people find fault with, call it sarcasm.
Yeah....I didn't mean that...I was being sarcastic. Yeah...that's the ticket.

4) I have 650 words. Your complaints that I don't write a 12 page paper in defense of a position are a little silly.

Perhaps you should stick to sharing opinions that can be fully treated in 650 words. Limited space is no excuse for limiting the truth. Here's a topic suggestion: Impeach Bush. That point can be made rather quickly.

5) You got my on Culver, my editor and I missed that. But fine, I screwed up the guys name, you didn't even bother to verify that vouchers ARE constitutional before running off your mouth. My screwing up his first name undermines nothing. You screwing up assertions you make certainly do undermine your argument and your credibility.

Thank you for playing.

You lose.

Do try again.

You clearly didn't proofread these comments either. Sheesh. You're horrible at this writing business. Ever consider another hobby?

You might try the local dairy farm. You seem to have some experience with bullshit. I being sarcastic?

Game. Set. Match.

Fear Mongering At Its Worst

John "Bam Bam" Bambenek is up to his old tricks again. And, though I risk being accused of hating America or, worse, of being an illiterate who didn't read his latest column, it seems important to point out why this guy is nothing more than a hack with little awareness of the facts.

Before I get to the two relevant items at hand (SRO's and vouchers), let's look at Bam Bam's idiocy. Can we say fact-checking? I don't know who Shane Culver is. Apparently Unit 4 hired a new superintendent last week. Last I checked, Arthur Culver was the superintendent. This was not hard to verify. This factual error damages the credibility of everything Bam Bam says. Of course, I'm not sure there's much credibility left given his latest rant on Intelligent Design, but still, if you're going to suggest someone lose his job, shouldn't you at least get his NAME right?

As for the SRO's, Bam Bam would have us believe that this is a program designed to put armed guards in the hallways. John doesn't mention anything else. He connects guns and schools, and then leaves the details out. This is deception at its worst. What John should have done is given his readers the facts. Of course, Bam Bam is rarely interested in those. For anyone interested in knowing what the SRO program is about and why the Board moved to have it implemented now to allow for proper training, I recommend the National Association of School Resource Officers site. It outlines the training program the Champaign SRO's will undergo before being placed in our schools. The emphasis here is clearly not having armed guards. It is prevention, relationship-building, and teaching. This is a bit different than what Bam Bam misdirects his audience toward believing.

Of course, Bam Bam has a strong motivation behind his questionable facts and misdirection. He wants us to implement a school voucher program. Of course, many attempts at this farce have been ruled unconstitutional. There are other strong arguments against a voucher program as well. Does Bam Bam give an overview of these issues in order to lead his readers through a logical argument in favor of his position? No.

Instead, John stirs up fear, mixes in race, and uses it to make his biased position look like the best path. John accuses people of being anti-American and illiterate, but he is obviously anti-constitution and hopeful that his audience isn't smart enough to figure it out.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Did Anything Happen to SEDS?

The Illinois Space Society is listed as a Registered Student Organization at the University of Illinois.

In November of 2003, this RSO began planning an April 2004 event called Yuri's Night.

During the event's planning, students discussed combining an official RSO activity with alcohol. Some of the conversation is below:

At any rate, we ought to start planning for Yuri's Night in April! It is on Tuesday, April 12th. We need ideas in order to make this a huge celebration; a party that no one will be able to miss. I have a few ties to the Booze News, where I used to work, and would be able to publicize the event to that crowd, but I still need your help!
Therefore, I am soliciting ideas from everyone. What would you like to see? Obviously we will have T-shirts, but what should our actual activity be?

Now, I don't want to copy the Irish Illini's bar scramble event, but I think it is an excellent model of what can happen with this event. I talked to Kevin Doyle a few weeks ago, the founder of Irish Illini, and he told us his story. Apparently Irish Illini was a very small club a few years ago, and no one knew about it. Then he got the idea to have the biannual bar scramble, and it seriously put them on the map. Now they have to cut the teams off at 70 teams of 8 or more, and the club is one of the biggest on campus, except for possibly I Pride or the Chief Illiniwek club. It goes to show that if we plan this event well, really really well, and have some fun and exciting activities, we will make people say "what is this awesome club, and why am i not a member?"

I don't know what option you'll have then, if you're not 19, besides just getting an ID-- unless we have it at Joe's or something and you get in while they're still pretending to be a restaurant and just wait for the party to start. I definitely want to be boozing if this is a party, I'm sure many other people want to celebrate it Russian-style, and bars are less formidable and easier to organize than house or apartment parties.
Kirk's idea of incorporating the Russian club into this is excellent! I really like that idea.

To see more, follow the link above to the SEDS discussion Forum.

I'm not sure if any of this violates University policy, and it's important to keep in mind that this is all two years old. However, it calls into question the idea of selective enforcement some have raised regarding the Irish Illini. I'd love for someone to catch another RSO in a situation replicating what the Irish Illini did, present the info to the proper authorities, and see what happens. Any takers?

Regarding the Irish Illini, see this LiveJournal post. Scroll down to the April 24 8:37 am post for info about how the RSO might be using its remaining funds.

Whining About "Student Rights"

From today's Daily Illini:

Josh Rohrscheib, co-president of Illinois Student Senate and graduate student, said he also believes that the University is abusing students' rights in an effort to end the student celebration.

"The Dean of Students, in punishing Irish Illini for having bar crawls - which is something that almost every organization does - is just targeting one group that they think has a part in (Unofficial)," Rohrscheib said.

WAAAA! Give me a break! Student rights? To do what? Get drunk and disrupt class? Binge drink and piss on Daniel Street? Puke all over the residence hall dining areas? These are the student rights worth fighting for? Rohrsheib is leaving quite the legacy for himself.

Students have rights. Those rights have nothing to do with public drunkenness. Students may have a right to a safe and productive learning environment. Students may have a right to equal access to University resources. But should we really be talking about Student Rights when it comes to the Irish Illini getting busted for following a very clear policy not to use University resources to promote and/or advertise alcohol use? Quit whining already. They screwed up. They got caught. Now, they can take their punishment.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ultra-Conservative, Ultra-Dangerous

Need evidence that some people on the far right of the political spectrum are little more than whack job zealots with no sense of morality? Look here and here.

This guy is nuts! He makes Bambenek seem reasonable.

Al Qaeda Targets Campus Bars

I'm back from the fishing trip, and many thanks to Cousin Walter for keeping an eye on things.

It's good to see that Cochrane and His Boys are doing all they can to protect the community. The Champaign Al Qaeda cell will soon awake from its deep sleep , and we can be sure the local bar scene is an obvious target. Though no official comments have been issued, we can only assume that keeping foreign students out of these bars is intended to keep well-intended American drunks safe. Kudos to the bar staffs for looking after all of us!

I wonder if Josh Reed will bring this issue up at LAC.
Josh? Comment?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Guest Blog: Walter Timley...Again

This is fun. Don made the mistake of giving me his login, and now I can't help myself. As always told Cousin Don he was nuts for starting this blog thing. Never much for useless babble. But it's addictive. He tells me people read what he writes, but I can't see why. He's some kind of loony leftist liberal. That's what the Orange and Blue Observer called him when he went to that school up in Chambana anyway. The only good Democracts are in prison, I always say.

Enough about him, though. I cam across something you might be interested in.

I’ve always loved a good study. I get excited when experts take a hard look at society, crunch some numbers, and tell us how and who we are.

So when my Aunt Erma told me about the Child Well-Being Index, my ears perked up.

I didn’t know there was such a thing as a Child Well-Being Index. Aunt Erma assured me there was. It comes from Duke University, but Erma promised me the Lacrosse Team had nothing to do with the study.

Aunt Erma asked me to read the report. I learned early on in life not to say no to Aunt Erma, so I read.

As you might expect, the folks behind this study---the people at the Foundation for Child Development---were mostly interested in what our kids are up to.

My parents were the same way. Always nosing into my business. But these Foundation people are professionals, so I took no offense.

According to their work, today’s teens commit fewer crimes than their parents did. They have lower pregnancy and binge-drinking rates as well.

I put the article down and told Aunt Erma about this. She’d read the article, and she looked like she wanted to slap me for telling her what she already knew.

She asked me what I thought was behind this good news.

“Better kids these days,” I said.

I mentioned that today’s kids were smarter than their parents, what with the Internet and all. I told her Don might say that the government programs of the 90’s, more police and teachers and such probably had something to do with it, too.


I thought Aunt Erma’s dentures were going to pop out of her mouth.

“I know the truth behind this good news.”

I didn’t need to ask her to explain. I knew she would answer my question whether I asked it or not.

“It’s simple. Today’s kids are fatter than ever. It’s right there in the report. Obesity rates have increased dramatically.”

I checked the article. She was right.

“Fat kids don’t commit much crime. They don’t want to put the effort into running from the cops.”

Aunt Erma always did make sense.

“Today’s kids might not binge drink like their moms and dads did, but only because their hands are too full of potato chips and chocolate bars to open the can of Old Milwaukee.”

“As for the pregnancy rate, well, the fat kid in my school was always the last to get asked to the prom, if you know what I mean.”

I knew what she meant.

Aunt Erma got me to thinking. This Child-Well Being Index may be on to something. If having obese kids can solve all of these problems, maybe instead of teaching sex ed and passing out condoms in schools, we should just give the kids free donuts every morning. I'll have to ask Don when he gets back, though I bet he'll suggest raising taxes to start some kind of Child Fitness Program. Such a Loony Leftist!

Guest Blog: Walter Timley

Allow me to introduce myself. My name’s Walter Timley I’m a guest blogger for Don, and I’ll be writing to you while he’s away, sharing my insights and perspectives on the news.

I won’t be working alone. I’ve brought a cast of characters with me.

I’ve got my cousin Timmy along for the ride. He’s considered an expert on foreign affairs and national news, but he can be a bit naïve at times.

My Aunt Erma helps me a bit, too. She’s a plainspoken woman who enjoys pointing out the obvious when the rest of us would like to ignore what’s staring us in the face.

I’ve got some other folks with me as well. You’ll get to know them. You might even like one of ‘em.

As for me, I have traveled quite a bit. Along the way, I’ve met quite a large group of people and seen some strange things.

Some of the people I’ve encountered have enjoyed my view of the world, and so I thought maybe I’d look into sharing it with a wider audience.

Of course, when it comes to the business of sharing opinions, we’re all likely to bruise a few egos, and Heaven knows I’ve raised some eyebrows over the years. Even been called a few names!

One nice gentleman once told me the only opinion I respected was my own. Another fellow called me a wise guy. One woman I had a particularly hard time with stooped so low as to call me a Democrat.

I’ve seen fit to forgive each of these individuals, and I hope they’ve done the same for me.

At any rate, I best be looking into the news. Don will be back soon and I need to get busy on my first blog. I hope you enjoy my work, but if you don’t…please….no name-calling. And please…remember that I love America.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Gone Fishing

I'm off to the wilderness to catch fish. While away, I will seek out information to verify Bambenek's theories on Intelligent Design. I would have asked him to write a guest blog while I am away, but that'd be obnoxious. I mean, who is so self-important as to ask someone else to think for them?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bam Bam's War Against Illiteracy?

In his latest post, Bam Bam attacks a DI letter writer, accusing him of illiteracy. He says, "The second letter criticized an earlier editorial for the various anti-war groups hording annual township meetings to get impeachment and anti-war referenda on the ballot. The idea that the DI (who ran out Acton for publishing politically incorrect cartoons) is the ideological soulmate of the OBO is amusing."

Who's the illiterate one, Bam? Wasn't it the Illini Media Board of Directors who fired Acton? But the letter said the editorial board. I'm no media expert, but something tells me there is a difference here.

Bambenek is, if nothing else, consistent. Disagree with him and you must be illiterate!

Discriminatory Illini!

John Bambenek is at it again, trying to impose his conservative religious views on the community. Please, John, save society from our liberal ways! Save us from embracing each other with equality! Save us from treating all people equally! And please, John, PLEASE! save the institution of marriage.

After all, John is right when he says: If marriage doesn't require sex, why should one discriminate against relationships that are merely platonic? What about relationships with three, four, or ten persons? Relationships between mother and child? Even the supporters of gay marriage who are not driven by thought-blocking pettiness acknowledge that legalizing gay marriage will open the door to polygamy.

In fact, John didn't go far enough! If we allow gay marriage as a society, the whole thing will crumble like a house of cards. Dogs and cats will wed one another. My crazy Aunt Erma will be allowed to marry her pet rooster, and nothing will stop her! And! If we allow gays to marry, what's to stop us from allowing children to do the same? Instead of attending my son's 1st grade musical this May, I'll be attending his wedding and, weeks later, signing off on the divorce.

Thank you, Bam Bam, for standing up for all that is right and Right. Without you, my liberal self would eat away at the moral fiber of this great and bigoted country, destroying us all!

Protecting marriage: A Column Worth Reading

Column: Protecting marriage - Opinions

Kudos to Brian Pierce and his excellent column regarding gay marriage. This is a fine and courageous piece of writing. Brian smartly uses the high value placed on marriage to show why all people should be allowed to participate in this institution, demonstrating the unacceptable discrimination legally condoned by our society and supported by the very religious institutions that teach the principles of love.

I have heard the arguments on both sides of this issue. How is it, I have wondered, that two men or two women uniting in marriage threatens the bond I share with my wife? I have asked myself how a society so willing to accept divorce and multiple marriages per person can pretend to be so adamant about protecting marriage as an institution.

The arguments against gay marriage within a specific church are strong. Catholic Churches should not be forced into the fray. However, those churches willing to support and bless these bonds should be allowed to do so, and no person should be denied a marriage license based on the person whom they wish to wed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More Daily Idiocy

The DI is at it again. The latest dose of Daily Idiocy? Attacking Champaign and Urbana’s citizens for using the democratic tools available to them to state their opinions about our current war and its presiding commander-in-chief.

The editors at the DI seem to think that free speech is within the jurisdiction of a select few. They fail to recognize that by putting advisory referenda on a ballot, the townships allow all citizens a voice. Whether or not the people with real decision-making power listen, at least the citizens can say they spoke. Isn’t this better than disagreeing and doing nothing?

The DI would like our citizens to express their views in only one way, a phone call to Congressman Johnson. These news hacks were up in arms when their free press rights were called into question over the offensive cartoons published earlier this semester, but they have no problem advocating for limiting the way others use their free speech. Shame on the DI for establishing such a double standard!

The DI correctly states that the referenda will not stop the war or impeach the president. So? When I go to the ballot box, I don’t expect that my one vote will sway the election.(Though it may.) Does that mean I shouldn’t use it? Or, do I have a responsibility as a citizen to use every opportunity given to me to be a part of the larger picture?

I may not agree with the intent of those people who put the referenda together and placed them on our November ballots, but I applaud them for actively seeking a voice.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Challenging Bambenek Part Two

Mr. Bambenek is concerned that no one critiqued his ravings point by point. He assumed that because no one did, no one could. Bad assumption.

I am no atheistic evolutionist. I don’t reject God. I was raised Catholic and much of my current Faith is based on those teachings. However, I know that science and theology are two separate fields of study. I know, too, that Fundamentalist Christians will take any step they can to put prayer and religion in our public schools. That may not be the point of Bambenek’s column, but supporting ID ultimately has that effect to some degree.

As for the DI column, it is rife with flaws. It makes false assumptions and states unsubstantiated allegations. It is also poorly written, using a weak analogy and an out-of-place flippant remark.

Ward Churchill said in a recent appearance on Fox News that professors should be in the business of "challenging assumptions" and presenting "opposing points of view." He summed up what a university should be.

A University can spin its wheels spoon-feeding its students opposing points of view, or students can be taught to seek their own answers. For my money, I’d like a professor to teach the most established ideas, state that they are most established, and then challenge me to seek alternatives through inquiry. The University should then make resources available for that process, such as Internet access, libraries, and human resources.

In the intelligent design debate, we can clearly see that the University fails to live up to the ideal. Intelligent design is disregarded as "religious nonsense" and banned from the classroom with all the zealotry one would expect to find at a book burning. The charge? Challenging established orthodoxies.

Where is this policy? Where does it say a professor cannot present this idea? Such connotation with the idea of “book burning” exists that I would hope the author would cite specific policies.

By denying intelligent design any space in the academy (at times with less than ethical means), they have declared that there are forbidden questions that may not be asked.

Again, where is the proof? Who at the UI has made less than ethical decisions? Am I simply to believe this is true because my local DI columnist and ID zealot said so?

The placement of restrictions on the question of how life began is the same behavior that fundamentalists visited upon science leading up to the Scopes Monkey Trial.
Fundamentalists allowed no question of six-day Creationism. Decades later, the scientific community has returned the favor. They have come full circle and become what they hate.
Not content with simply ridiculing it out of the realm of inquiry, some have brought the force of law to bear with the ACLU. It is interesting to see the so-called defenders of liberty suggest that in order to protect freedom, free inquiry cannot be allowed. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. You know the drill.

Yes. Someone disagrees with your point of view, and so we pull out the Orwellian analogy. How sophomoric. The scientific community should not concern itself with religion. It should pose theories and test them. Here, the author addresses the scientific community, but he set out to attack the University in general. Which is it? Can we have some focus?

The foes of intelligent design like to throw out the charge that it is not scientific. If by scientific you mean "capable of being confirmed or disproved by observation or experiment" then you would be correct. But you would also be stating that evolution as a theory of creation is not scientific.
Evolution as a biological force is easily observed. Evolution as a theory of creation, however, is completely flaccid. The primordial soup theory is novel and interesting but, at best, it is a theory that fits the facts. It has never been observed or tested and cannot be. We have never seen life come from non-life. There is a strong metaphysical case to be made for that being the way it played out, but it's firmly in the realm of metaphysics, not science.

Okay, which UI class teaches this theory as scientific fact? Does one exist?

They argue that evolution is scientifically complete and therefore, by exclusion, eliminates intelligent design.

Where is someone at UI making this argument?

The irony is that while they use this argument, science itself doesn't believe that it has all the facts on evolution. With the discovery of tiktaalik roseae - essentially a fish with feet - last week, scientists lavished accolades on finding one of the "missing links."
Why celebrate an established fact? When I search for a burrito, I don't shout "Eureka!" when I cross the threshold of Dos Reales. The answer is simple - there are gaps and limitations in what we know about where we came from. That is why we're still searching.

Nice….some local color. A brilliant use of the burrito. But where did someone say evolution was anything but a theory? Where did the scientific community say it is Law? Until then, I think the scientific community is correct in celebrating steps toward greater understanding.

The underlying conflict is just another battle of the same war fought in many different fields in the modern experience. The two camps can be summarized as "man is made in the image and likeness of God" and "God is made in the image and likeness of man."

Very nice! If I disagree with ID, I am against God. Can’t I say that I have Faith in God and at the same time believe that evolutionary principles are at work?

Instead of trying to search out the truth free of presuppositions, science chooses arguments and theories that make the assumption that God must not exist. Anything challenging that assumption is labeled heresy and discarded, quite unscientifically. That's why theories that aliens brought life to Earth are O.K. while intelligent design is not.

I never had a science instructor tell me God didn’t exist. Science and theology are separate fields of study. I don’t want a science teacher telling me about Jesus, and I don’t want my theologian preaching about the Periodic Table of Elements.

At the end of the day, maybe Darwin wins out on explaining life. I make no claim to omniscience other than being a DI columnist who is, by definition, all-knowing. However, the search for truth is not served by strapping on the blinders of a comfortable and undisturbed orthodoxy.

Your flippant remark undercuts the serious discussion you attempt to begin. As for the search for truth, you are right about strapping on blinders. Who could be more without vision than someone who fails to see ID for what it is, a veiled attempt to throw Creationism into the science curriculum?

Is there a class on intelligent design at the University? (I couldn't find one). If not, why not? The intellectual mind is not served by denying any challenge to assumptions and rejecting opposing points of view without consideration.

So, unless we teach a class on the topic, we are rejecting it? Why do you blindly assume the topic hasn’t been considered? Because no one told you about it?

For those interested in learning more on intelligent design, please attend the talk on it at 7 p.m. on April 18 in the Lewis Lounge at Newman Hall.


DI: Daily Idiocy?

Column: A remedy for self-segregation

The latest idiocy from a DI columnist: If we are forced to live on the same floor, the racial segregation at UI will diminish. (Read: Housing causes the segregation here at UI.)

Billy Joe Mills may be a conservative who concerns about diversity issues, but he is also a fool if he really thinks Housing can solve the deeply-rooted racial disharmony that students bring to this campus.

Having said that, I would even argue that few institutions do MORE to promote diversity than housing. As a former RA, I know the training Housing provides to its staff and its hall leaders. Further, I am familiar with the opportunities Housing provides for all residents to break down the barriers of misunderstanding. Where else on campus do these things happen? Not the Greek system. Not the classroom. Not by programs run by the ISS.

Billy Joe is right to recognize that UI has racial problems that need to be addressed. He is even correct to assert that Housing can play a crucial role in the process. Reasonable people can have opposing opinions regarding what role Housing takes and how impactful it can be.

However, to blindly assume that Housing programs can serve as a panacea shows his naive thinking. Further, to accuse Housing of perpetuating the problems is irresponsible and dead wrong.

What trash with the DI print next?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Teacher Hall of Shame

My teacher stories are moving here...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Letter: Intelligent design just isn't - Opinions

Letter: Intelligent design just isn't - Opinions

Looks like I am not alone in thinking Bam Bam's complaints amount to no more than a pile of rubble.

More Teacher Stories...

More "accused teacher" stories below. What's interesting is not all of them are men taking advantage of girls. That's the stereotype we always here about. Where I teach, that's the big fear: some girl will accuse you of doing something. Parents hear rumors, too, and share them with the administration, and it's always some young amle teacher is sleeping with girls. (Never true by the least for us...yet.)

Sparks Fly In Teacher Sex Case

ALBANY, N.Y., Nov. 22, 2005

Former Catholic high school teacher Sandra "Beth" Geisel, charged in the statutory rape of a 16-year-old male in May, was sentenced Monday to six months in jail, including time already served. Geisel will then be placed in a residential treatment program for alcoholism, put under supervised probation for 10 years, and placed on the sex offender registry.

Delran, NJ Teacher Accused of Sex With Male Student

A former female substitute teacher in New Jersey was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old boy she met in school.

Teacher Charged with Internet Luring

North Andover police arrested a teacher named Mr. Baharian, 29, for using the Internet to set up a sexual rendezvous with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl. Baharian's would-be target, police said, was in reality an undercover officer working on a case involving another suspected online predator.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an awesome series on teacher sex abuse. Check it out here.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Lobitz Isn't Alone!

Most teachers are great people who work too hard for too little money, but there are some bad folks out there who take advantage of kids and give their colleagues a bad name. Lobitz is one, but there are more. See below:

Denville teacher's arrest becomes campaign issue

Candidate: Parents should've been told of alleged sex assault

Patrick DeFranco was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 13 year-old boy. Parents are upset with the way the school handled the situation.


Parents react to teacher's arrest

Armando Berrera is under investigation for a possible sexual relationship with a 16 year-old girl.

Substitute Teacher Arrested In Internet Sting

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Cyber Crimes Unit Wednesday arrested a Pflugerville man who used the Internet to solicit sex from someone he thought was a child.


Bail Set For Teacher Arrested for Inappropriate Conduct With Children

A local teacher accused of exposing himself to teenage girls will soon get out of jail. A judge set a $60,000 bond for Christopher Schofield on Thursday.


Morgan Hill teacher arrested for alleged sex with student

A Morgan Hill math teacher and former football coach was arrested Monday on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with one of his Sobrato High School students, Morgan Hill police said.


Henrico Police have charged a former seventh-grade social studies teacher at Short Pump Middle School with one count of aggravated sexual battery in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred at the school on or about Dec. 18.

Jordan community stunned by teacher's arrest

A popular physical education teacher at Jordan Middle School has been arrested for allegedly having sex with an underage student 14 years ago, stunning parents who learned the news on the first day of school Monday.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Fate of Jim Lobitz

James Lobitz, 36, a 12-year English teOne of his student's MySpace acher and the girls track coach at Warren Township High School in Gurnee, has been charged with more than one act of sexual contact with a 17-year-old girl. This was a man trusted by his district to teach, coach, and protect kids, and---if he's guilty---he failed them. More importantly, he failed the young woman involved. One can only imagine what her post-arrest experience has been.

We can hope Lobitz will never teach again. We can hope that his wife will punish him indefinitely. As for the criminal justice system, let's hope it takes a harsh approach come sentencing. If found guilty, Lobitz shouldn't see the light of day for years.

Lobitz Links

One of His Student's MySpace Page

Chicago Tribune Story
Sun-Times Story
Materials from Lobitz's 9th Grade English Class
More former student MySpace reaction

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Challenging Bambenek

Column: Unchallenged assumptions - Opinions

Need more evidence that the Daily Illini isn't worth the trees used to print it? Read John Bambenek's latest column, an argument in favor of "Intelligent Design."

Someone might do Bambenek the favor of explaining the difference between science and religion. Bambenek seems to think that arguing in favor of evolution excludes God from the equation. This is not so. People can find room for both science and religion in their own understanding of the world.

As for the University's role, one fact seems clear. The Theory of Intelligent Design is based on religion, and therefore it has no place in the science labs and lecture halls of this campus. Those wishing to pursue their understanding of this theory should have the opportunity to do so. Guest lectures, library resources, and religious studies courses are all appropriate places for this content. However, if Intelligent Design comes to Loomis Lab, this university's reputation will suffer.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Unofficial Update

Chancellor Herman made it very clear where the University stands on Unofficial and the bar owner behind the promotion in today’s News-Gazette. His letter is worth reading!

The LAC minutes for 2006 have finally been added. If you want to get a real flavor for what happens at these meetings, they are a must read. Two observations:

1. Scott Cochrane won’t be missed. In fact, he never reliably attended meetings. When he did, it was a consistent theme from him: Quit picking on me!

2. If Josh Reed does step down (see here for more on that), it’s likely no one will notice. Josh doesn’t seem to be doing much more than keeping his seat warm at these meetings.

Daily Illini Hack!

Who is advising the “writers” at the Daily Illini? Quite frankly, the DI should look toward hiring a more adept staff. Today’s column by John Ostrowski is another example of an amateur at work. And this kid is majoring in Communications? I might suggest a quick trip to your advisor, John!

Let’s take a critical look at John’s prose:

Look, I know that Dan Brown isn't an idiot. Idiots don't sell millions of copies of their book.

Ask Oprah about that one, John. I’m sure she’d disagree, breaking your opener into a million little pieces.

Of course, much of the mainstream media has gobbled this book up, but keep in mind that no one ever accused the media of being too intelligent for their own good.

Umm…aren’t you a member of the media? Good idea! Rip on the people in this industry while preparing to enter it. This is sure to endear you to prospective employers!

Oh! And as if it all weren’t bad enough, slam your audience. Make them feel dumb, and place your own arrogant self above them. This is sure to sell copy!

It is my hope, at least, that this is what will happen. Unfortunately, I know that people aren't that smart. "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" will be consumed as uncritically by readers as was "The DaVinci Code."

Did you seriously slam this novel by saying Brown's syntax is atrocious? If you’re going to attack someone else’s syntax, you might strive for clarity. It lends credibility to your point. Instead, you end with this:

Anyone who has long lamented the dumbing down of America should see that by not rejecting this historical and literary disaster, they only make things worse in our society.

The use of “not rejecting” here muddies your own syntax. Perhaps the word embracing might have done?

John Ostrowski is a hack, and the Daily Illini can and should do better.

Monday, April 10, 2006

University of Illinois' Strategic Plan

The University of Illinois has been challenged by both the Daily Herald of Chicagoland and the News-Gazette regarding the strategic plan that aims to increase diversity and reduce the size of the freshman class. Both publications are right to question the University, but they are both wrong when it comes to criticizing the University's plan to increase the standards for admission. The University of Illinois shouldn't just strive to be the best public university in the state; it should work to be the best in the nation. Reducing class size will allow the University to increase the quality of education. The Residence Hall system will have more space for incoming students, classrooms will be less crowded, and class schedules will become easier to configure. Upping the standards for admission will make for a more focused, less apathetic student body driven more by academic success. Increased diversity will prepare those who are admitted for competition in a global economy.

In short, the University is headed in the right direction.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Rohrscheib's Empty Words

Have you read this?: Saving Illinois

Reading this column, I am struck by the irony in Josh Rohrscheib's empty words. He sets out to speak to the importance of building community, and he systematically attacks many of the community's members. He attacks the administration. He attacks unnamed academic units. He attacks housing. One cannot build a community by destroying its members.

U of I students would be wise to take a new direction with its student leaders. Finding people who are willing to work with the police, housing, and the administration instead of taking them on would do much to build the community of which Josh speaks.

Protecting Our Kids

Several stories have appeared in the news over the past week or so involving both male and female teachers engaging in sexual relationships with their students. As a teacher, it seems to be common sense that such behavior is completely unacceptable. However, I have seen many people---teachers and not---violate common sense often enough to know that our schools need to be taking a proactive approach, communicating expectations to teachers, training young professionals to look for warning signs of a relationship going to far, and keeping parents and community members aware of the steps being taken to protect our kids.

Another teacher accused

Posted Thursday, April 06, 2006

For the second time in as many days, a Lake County high school teacher has been accused of molesting a student.

James Lobitz, 36, a 12-year English teacher and the girls track coach at Warren Township High School in Gurnee, engaged in repeated sexual conduct with a 17-year-old student and member of the track team, officials said Wednesday.

Lobitz, of 2752 Hancock Court, Lindenhurst, who also served as a junior varsity girls swim coach for four years, was ordered held on $100,000 bond after being charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

On Tuesday, prosecutors charged former Grayslake Community High School teacher and drama coach Jason Glick with aggravated criminal sexual abuse for contact with a 17-year-old girl at that school.

Warren Township High School District 121 released a statement Wednesday saying it is cooperating with authorities.

According to the district, Lobitz on Feb. 14 tendered a letter of resignation to the school board, effective Feb. 28. The board accepted it.

“The board, administration, and the union continue to keep the interests of students, staff and community at the forefront of concern,” the statement read.

District 121 board member Charles Crowley Jr. said he and other officials were limited about what they could say in the wake of the accusations against Lobitz.

“We have a lot of good people at Warren,” Crowley said.

Assistant State’s Attorney Patricia Fix said Lobitz apparently has known the girl in the case, currently a student at Warren’s Almond Road upperclassmen campus, since the beginning of her freshman year.

Fix said the girl told Gurnee police that between Nov. 24 and Jan. 5, she and Lobitz engaged in sex acts at the school, at his house and at her home in Grayslake.

A custodian walked into a darkened, locked classroom at the school Dec. 28, when school was closed for Christmas break, and reportedly found the two inside, Fix said.

The custodian told school officials the girl was pulling up her pants when he came into the room, but Fix said school officials who interviewed Lobitz and the girl reported both claimed nothing had happened between the two.

Gurnee police were called and they re-interviewed the girl later the same day, Fix said, and she told police she and Lobitz had kissed a few times but no other activity had taken place.

Police received permission to search the girl’s computer, and state’s attorney’s investigator Brian Bone uncovered a document in which a long string of electronic messages between Lobitz and the girl had been stored.

Fix said the document had been deleted from the girl’s computer within a few hours after she was first questioned about Lobitz by school officials.

Police also uncovered wireless text messages the two exchanged during school hours and phone records of calls between the two made before and after school.

The girl was interviewed a second time by police, Fix said, and this time gave a detailed account of the relationship, including an incident Jan. 5 when she was inside Lobitz’s home when his wife arrived and the student was forced to flee.

Fix said police served a search warrant on Lobitz’s house Tuesday night and seized his computer and carpeting from the basement.

Defense attorney Douglas Roberts of Waukegan told Associate Judge Valerie Ceckowski the evidence in the case was weak and Lobitz deserved to be released on a signature bond.

“There have been multiple statements that are mutually contradictory in this case,” Roberts said. “This is a very trialable case in which the defendant has cooperated completely.”

Fix asked for a $200,000 bond because some of the charges against Lobitz mandate a prison sentence of at least four years upon conviction.

Ceckowski set a bond that required Lobitz to post $10,000 cash to be released, then ordered him to have no contact with children other than his own and not to use the Internet while his case is pending.

James Lobitz’s wife, Kimberly, is a social studies teacher at Warren High, school officials confirmed. At one time he worked alongside his wife on the girls swim team’s coaching staff.

In 1991, James Lobitz played on the Fiesta Bowl-champion University of Louisville football team and developed an interest in his wife’s passion for swimming.

James Lobitz, who prosecutors said has no prior criminal convictions, is slated to appear in court again May 12.

Friday, April 07, 2006

One Vote

Some folks will tell you a single vote doesn't count. They will discount the impact of an individual, claiming that power comes only in numbers. Such people might do well to read the News-Gazette from time to time. The following editorial appeared yesterday, and it highlights the importance of the individual ballot caster.

The importance of one vote

Thursday April 6, 2006

At least one person who voted absentee in last month's County Board District 9 Democratic Party primary didn't return the ballot in the required certified envelope so her vote wasn't counted. At least one person who wanted to vote in the primary was prohibited from doing so because she had already signed a petition for a Republican Party candidate. At least 114 Democrats showed up at the polls on March 21 but either voted for none of the four county board candidates, or just one of them when they could have voted for two. And thousands of other voters in Urbana and rural areas outside of Urbana didn't bother to vote in the race.

So when all of the official vote-counting was finished Tuesday, two weeks after Election Day, the results in the four-way race for two seats showed Steve Beckett with 806 votes, Bob Kirchner with 762 votes and Lisa Bell and Barbara Wysocki with 792 votes each. For many weeks before the election there were predictions that the race would be close, but no one had predicted it would end in a tie.

The flip of a 25-cent piece determined that Wysocki would join Beckett on the November ballot as the Democratic nominees in District 9. After all the strategy sessions, the door-to-door campaigning and the effort to get out the vote on Election Day, a coin, not a live voter, decided who was a winner and who was a loser.

When the next Election Day comes on Nov. 7 and you think you're too busy to vote, or someone tells you that your vote won't matter, think of Lisa Bell and Barbara Wysocki and how they offered themselves as candidates for public office, but that the flip of a coin separated the winner from the loser.

"Surely constituents have significant voice collectively...Fact is, a person can't change the outcome of an election. Only people can do that."
-Josh Reed, Student Represntative, Champaign Liquor Commission

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What Exactly Are They Celebrating?

After reading the latest column in today's DI, a question occurred to me. What exactly is it that proponents of Unofficial are fighting for?

From all I have witnessed, discussed, and read, the event is centered around binging on alcohol. Is this how U of I students want to define themselves? Is this the event worth protesting by ending a Senate meeting? Is this what the student newspaper wishes to defend?

I can understand why a bar-owning businessman would fight for this event. Cochrane and his cohorts are in business to make money. Unofficial certainly accomplishes that. How, though, is this event beneficial to the students at U of I? It appears as though bar owners convinced students that they have a right to this event. The DI should be ashamed to support a ritual that places student safety at risk for the sake of Cochrane's bank balance.

After speaking so much about Freedom of the Press and showing the "courage" to run the cartoons that offended so many, one might think the DI would have the courage to take a stand against Unofficial.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

End Unofficial and Make It 21

The Champaign City Council should end Unofficial and consider raising the bar entry age to 21.

As a group, people under 21 are proven less able to handle alcohol than those 21 and over. Does this mean 21 is a magic age? No. Do some folks of legal age abuse alcohol and act like idiots? Yes.

However, the state's line has been drawn at 21. Some arbitrary line must exist unless we go to an extreme of allowing everyone or no one. Neither approach seems logical.

Unofficial should end because it promotes binge drinking.

From News-Gazette:

Champaign police spokeswoman Joan Walls said a preliminary analysis showed officers Friday issued 103 notices to appear in court. Most of those were for minors ages 18, 19 or 20 years old in possession of alcohol or for having open alcohol, she said.

Persons cited were from 25 different colleges and universities, but the majority were from the UI, Walls said.

UI police Assistant Chief Jeff Christensen said campus police had about 50 contacts with people Friday and early Saturday, mostly for behaviors associated with alcohol. Officers arrested more than a dozen people for various offenses, ranging from drunken driving and trespassing to battery, he said.

"One guy was just walking down the street throwing haymakers at women," Christensen said. "He was transported to a hospital for severe intoxication."

The bar entry age should change because it promotes a culture that defies state law. It does so against the better interests of the students violating that law.


"Considering the current statistics regarding teen alcohol abuse, I cannot emphasize enough the need to prevent teen drinking. Even one drinking episode could be fatal. Automobile crashes related to underage drinking are the leading cause of death for teens. Approximately 36% of traffic deaths of 15- to 20-year-olds are alcohol-related. Although the death toll seems to be on a decline, alarming statistics like these confirm that underage drinking isn't a problem of the past," points out former Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc president Lynne Frank.

From: US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

According to the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, almost seven million people ages 12 to 20 binge drink at least once a month. Another survey found that about one third of high school seniors reported at least one occasion of binge drinking in the past two weeks.

Consuming drink after drink or shot after shot is often considered normal, rather than harmful, behavior among teens. Binge drinking is not harmless fun, however. Teens who frequently binge are much more likely than non-bingers to do something they later regret, get behind in schoolwork, become injured, damage property, and get in trouble with the police. They also put themselves at a higher risk for alcohol poisoning because, by consuming many drinks in a row, they do not feel the negative effects of the alcohol until it is too late.