Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Can’t Possibly Be True: Mount Diablo High School in Concord, Calif., apparently thinking outside the box to get its state test scores up, held four pep rallies: one each for whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. ("What up, white people!" kicked off one session.) The principal said she’d rather appeal to racial pride (to raise your "team"'s score) this way than expose pride defensively in the face of intergroup taunts over scores. Mount Diablo apparently did this last yr and got improvements ranging from whites’ 46 points to Hispanics’ 80.

The F State
Steve Stanton, the long-time, highly-regarded city manager in Largo (pop., 70,000, located between St. Petersburg and Clearwater), announced last week that he intended to become Susan Stanton (in dress and hormones, with body restructuring down the road). Yesterday, the wise and courageous city commissioners voted 5-2 to fire the degenerate little creep. Said Stanton, "It’s just real painful to know that seven days ago I was a good guy, and now I have no integrity, I have no trust, and most painful, I have no followers." Said pastor Ron Sanders, "If Jesus was here tonight, I can guarantee you he’d want him terminated. Make no mistake about it."

Here’s a better photo than I had before of the home of Estrella Benavides [NOTW 994, this week], the woman getting signals from the Lord that she just has to paint on the roof of her house.

Editor’s Obsessions
Results of an academic team’s survey cannonballed into the news pool yesterday, concluding that today’s college students are particularly narcissistic, a new "Me Generation." Now, nobody relishes taking on egocentrics more than Yr Editor, but clearly the most significant thing about this "survey" is that it’s lighter than air, that the data don’t nearly justify the conclusions of the media reporting them. Yr Editor sez it’s one more instance of reporters’ and editors’ either not caring whether they report carefully or not being smart enough to figure out that they’re overreporting. Dig: (1) The result after interviewing 16,000 college students is that in this year (2005), versus 1982, 15 people out of every 100 gave more confident answers to stupid hypothetical questions. That’s it. Boom! A narcissistic bombshell! (2) There are several reasons why people might more confidently respond to crap like "I think I’m a special person"; or "I like to be the center of attention"; or "If I ruled the world, it would be a better place." Why assume a grand societal shift in what is being described as a personality near-disorder? (3) The media, in their never-ending quest to tell their consumers what something "really" means, then launch into example after example of the reporter’s pet sociocultural observations that confirm the academic thesis: too much "self-esteem" teaching in school; the celebrity culture; reality TV shows; concern about financial security. (4) Then the reporter interviews a few students who agree with the thesis, with each quotee pointing out that he or she personally knows some raving egomaniac. Voila! Validation! (Yr Editor’s broader point: Nearly every study or survey you read about in the newspapers, no matter how prestigious the academic imprimatur, is either much less important and clarifying than the media’s characterization or stands solidly for some less-prominent point yet weakly for the more-headline-worthy point.)

Below The Fold
Long ago, Rosie Costello was a woman with a plan, and that plan was coaching her kids from a young age how to act retarded down at the Social Security office so that she could collect more than $200k in SSI checks over the yrs (but she’ll be sentenced in May) . . . . . A fatal one-car crash near Yuba City, Calif., was helped along by (the Highway Patrol believes) the driver’s working on his laptop . . . . . "A woman whose 15-yr-old son was killed in an alcohol-related wreck 18 months ago has been charged with providing beer to minors" during a party at her house, wrote the AP . . . . . Buried Lede: The Detroit Free Press opens with the sheriff in Lapeer wanting, for budget reasons, to auction off the department’s fully-automatic M-16 (i.e., machine gun); scarier lede: There are already 6,500 legally registered machine guns in Michigan . . . . . The Tennessean got hold of Al Gore’s electric bills for his 10,000-sq. ft. home, and it turns out, as expected, he’s buying lots of the utility’s green services but that powering a home that large shows at least that he might not feel quite as imminently doomed by carbon as he sometimes says . . . . . Robert Basterfield is such a raving sex maniac that the police chief of Tayside province, Scotland, went to court to get a stayaway order prohibiting Basterfield from approaching any lone woman—for, er, the next 30 yrs . . . . . Tacky: Usually an incoming governor will take down his predecessor’s highway signs that have his name on them, but Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said he’ll keep state pamphlets that have ex-Gov. Ehrlich’s name on them—as long as workers with scissors remove Ehrlich’s name (reports a Washington Post blog) . . . . . And back to the F State: On the east coast, in New Smyrna Beach, a tractor-trailer hauling a mobile home just happened to stall, where, at a railroad crossing, of course, with the cargo right smack on the tracks, and the situation ended badly (with photo!).
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.