Combing the Net – 5/3/2012

Warrior in Chief — This editorial from The New York Times makes the case that Barack Obama is not the peacenik he’s often portrayed to be, but rather one of the most militarily aggressive presidents in American history. Ironically, I suspect that many on the far-right would applaud this quote had it come from any mouth but Obama’s:

“I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man, and the limits of reason.”

Libertarian Leanings of Young Voters Dampen Obama’s Appeal — If Obama’s re-election hinges on young voters, he may be in trouble thanks to the rise of Libertarianism.

Men In Black: The Secret Service Photographed — A photo essay from TIME magazine.

What All Teachers Should Learn From Jazz-Band Teachers — This neuroscientist believes that schools could benefit from teaching all subjects much in the same way that good jazz educators teach. He makes a lot of great points, but here are two favorite quotes:

How well a student has learned jazz is public knowledge. They can’t hide. What you know and can do is on public display, all the time in practice sessions with fellow band members and, of course, in public performances. In marked contrast, it is against the law for teachers in other subject areas to reveal grades on individual performance, even within the more private area of the classroom. The belief system in education these days is that you should not allow an unprepared and under-performing student to be embarrassed. What dingbat policy maker came up with that? I know; it comes from the perverse politically correct movement that ignores the reality that self-esteem needs to be earned…

Unlike traditional education, where the goal is to meet minimum standards on state-mandated tests, jazz band directors make very clear their high expectations that everybody in each band class should become as proficient as they can. The whole point of their teaching is mastery and excellence. They expect excellence and they get it, as witnessed by festival performances such as I saw. Thanks to the unenlightened thinking of No Child Left Behind law, our public education has degenerated into “No Child Pushed Forward.”

Doan-Fisher Friendship Bigger Than Hockey — A few days ago I posted a video from TSN about the faith of Nashville Predators’ forward Mike Fisher. Now, ESPN has also published a faith-related article, looking at the friendship between Fisher and Phoenix Coyotes’ captain Shane Doan.

I would have loved to be at the Nashville Predators game last night, not just to see them pull off a great win, but also to see Charlie Daniels tearing up the band stage during the intermissions! (HT: OTF)

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