Thought of the day

I think what I find most disturbing about libertarianism is just how often its adherents lack a social conscience. We should always make our moral and societal decisions on a rational basis, but I think there’s something wrong with a person who can’t be persuaded to even think about certain issues on an emotional basis.

Student embarrasses school, school stomps feet

I’ve written in the past about how I know I’ve beaten people rhetorically. When someone starts using my exact rhetoric right back to me in a way that isn’t meant merely to mock or quote, I know I’ve gotten to that person. Something I said got to them and they want to force that same feeling onto me. The only problem is that they’ve gone about it in an obvious way that is more immature than anything. It’s like when a little kid gets embarrassed in front of his friends by, say, tripping and falling. The kid who laughs at him the most may get pushed for no reason other than to make the first kid feel better.

So that brings me to Mustang Mid-High School in Mustang, Oklahoma. A 9th grade student caught a teacher sleeping on the job and snapped a picture with his cell phone. The first reaction of any adult would be to reprimand the teacher. It may be a slap on the wrist, it might be an official write-up, or it might be outright termination. It depends on the exact context as well as the teacher’s history, but I don’t think any mature person doubts some sort of punishment is in line. Unfortunately, the people running Mustang aren’t that cognitively developed:

A ninth grader who snapped a picture of a snoozing substitute teacher with his cell phone camera and posted it on a social network is in hot water with his school district.

The unnamed student, who attends Mustang Mid-High School in Mustang, Okla., was suspended, according to ABC affiliate KOCO.

This is a tad ridiculous. Sure, the student was breaking the rules by having his cell phone on during school hours. I don’t think there’s enough evidence (unless the student said otherwise to administrators) that he had his phone on for anything more than to take the picture, but if they want to follow the letter of the law, this isn’t the worst case of people doing that. Except they aren’t following their rules for the sake of being consistent. If they were, they would have only given the student a detention or some other reprimand which, according to various reports, appears to be the usual course of action. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here: the unnamed student embarrassed the school and they wanted to get back at him. I would say the school didn’t merely rhetorically lose on this one. Now they look completely stupid.

To be fair, the school is claiming they are taking action against the teacher. They aren’t saying what it is their specific course of action will be, but I have to wonder what Oklahoma’s freedom of information act looks like. In Maine and other states, as I found out when I embarrassed the Augusta Police Department, most personnel information is privileged, but that is not the case for disciplinary records for public employees. It may be possible for local media outlets to find out the specifics of the reprimand. (In fact, I will be emailing them to encourage they do so.)

Thank you, Mountain House

In my recent post about my upcoming trip to Haiti I mentioned that I planned on purchasing Mountain House meals. I used these for a trip I did nearly 3 years ago over part of the Appalachian Trail known as the 100 Mile Wilderness. It was a grueling hike that took over 8 days and required everyone involved to lug in a lot of weight; we probably started with 45 pounds each, trekking over some of the most difficult terrain the AT has to offer. The Mountain House meals made things much easier than they otherwise would have been. We saved space and weight, plus they were extremely easy to prepare (boil water, dump boiling water in pouch, wait, eat). I have to imagine they will be a big help for us in Haiti, especially considering the fact that we specifically have space and weight concerns.

With my past trip in mind, I sent off an email to Mountain House. I gave them the details on what I will be doing and asked if they would be willing to make a donation. As I said in my email, I plan on buying the meals whether or not the company can help us out, but I let them know anything they could do would be hugely appreciated. To my delight (and, in March, to the delight of a number of Haitians), they offered to match whatever I purchased up to 20 items. That constitutes a donation of approximately 40 meals (each pouch is two servings). This is going to make a positive impact all around. Not only will we have more food to share with our hosts, but we will have more space for carrying in other supplies such as crayons, pencils, clothes, and more.

In addition to thanking Mountain House here on FTSOS, I have also thanked them on the Facebook page for the trip. Only a few students have “liked” the page so far (I recently created it), but it would be good for anyone to like it. I plan on utilizing it to get information out there on how to donate, including updates on bidding in an online auction of various items. (The auction is meant to bring in money we will be directly giving to Casale.)

So again, thank you to Mountain House and don’t forget to like our Facebook page.