Catching My Breath

I've finally caught up to the point where I can spare a few minutes to update my weblog! It's been a very busy week here at work. I'm hoping tomorrow is much less hectic. I've gotten my Windows 2000 Server up and running. The first non-techie users will be added into the domain tomorrow. It was a bit of a hassle getting our domain created as a "child" domain of the central IT people here on campus, and the DNS service integrated with ActiveDirectory can cause headaches at first.

We received 20 new Apple G4 computers for our lab today. Here's a valuable tip, don't move those boxes if you're wearing a white Nike polo shirt. I now have nice black blotches on my shirt in the chest and shoulder region, I think they'll wash out.

I started the first class of my second degree today. I'm taking a class entitled "Introduction to American Politics", for which you'll find the catalog description below:

940:014. Introduction to American Politics -- 3 hrs. Processes and functions of American government in relation to concepts of American democracy and to practices of other governments.

The class is taught by Tom Rice, who is the head of the Political Science department. He seems to be an excellent instructor, my only frustrations lie with having to take such an introductory level class. I also dislike the pace we have to move at because it is a summer session class. I've got to concentrate on keeping my mouth shut, because I could debate many of the issues for hours, but we simply don't have time for it.

The class dynamics are interesting, there are about ten of us in the class, half are non-majors, the other half of us are majoring in Political Science. Obviously those of us with an interest in this subject have more to say, as well as a greater understanding of the subject matter.

This was demonstrated today by a classmate who stated (quite strongly) something to the effect of -

"I can't stand how these liberals are tearing the country apart. I think it's wrong of the Supreme Court to say that we can't pray in schools. This is America! This nation was founded believing in God! If people don't like that, it's too bad! This is America!"

He actually bolded the words as he spoke them. That's not the type of argument you should use to make your case. Something more along the lines of "Student lead prayer doesn't constitute state-sponsored religion" would have been much more effective, and have a much better chance of winning a court case.

I bit my tongue here. I don't really consider myself a "liberal" but I generally vote for the Democratic party. I'm one of the mythical moderate majority, the people who could have crossed party lines to vote for John McCain, but won't touch George W. Bush with a 10 foot pole. I probably most identify with the ideals of the Reform Party, but it'll be a cold day in Hell before I vote for Pat Buchanan. I'm fiscally conservative, but socially liberal, believe strongly in civil liberties, am pro-choice, but am still up in the air on gun control. I think the most important outcome of this election will be who is nominated to the Supreme Court in the next four years. I fear that those Bush would nominate might seriously erode the separation of church and state, to infringe upon the rights of flag burners, and seek to overturn Roe v. Wade.

However, I completely agreed with the Supreme Court's decision, on the school prayer issue. Organized prayer of any kind has no place in our public schools. Conservatives are so big on "family values", why does a strong family need the school to impart and foster religious belief in their children? Isn't that something the parents can do on their own, and in a manner much more suited with their beliefs? There are 168 hours in a week, about 35 of those are spent in school for the average child. Isn't 133 hours enough other time for religious instruction and worship?

I don't really have a problem with vouchers however, I think that our educational system would be improved in many ways if it had to "compete" with private schools on a more direct level.

Alas, there was about 2 minutes left of class time.

I saw this at the gas station the other day. You don't normally see a vintage International Harvester M Tractor in the middle of Cedar Falls.