Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I thought we were the Popular Front

My alma mater may change its name today.

Says kindergarten teacher Pam Loebner:

"For the past 3 years we have had parents go to the wrong schools (both ways) substitutes go to the wrong schools (both ways) and there is concern that in an emergency situation that someone might be confused and go to the wrong school."

Unlikely. We all know nothing bad ever happens in Los Altos. But just in case, I suggest "The Real Bullis" or asking the splitters to change their name to "Bullis Charter School for White Kids." More specificity never hurt.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Say It Ain't So!

This is just the latest accusation in the ongoing downfall of NOE's idol.

Please forgive me for overstepping the bounds of my assignments, but I don't think NOE had the courage to post this himself. Or maybe he's considering how to post about this...?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hi guys

I don't know if you remember me, but I used to write for this blog.

With finals approaching, I've been spending a lot of time studying recently (and, it turns out, inspiring the creation of other blogs). A few things I've learned:

Everybody in Los Altos Hills is rich, which, as a matter of federal law, means its okay to keep poor people out. Ybarra vs. Los Altos Hills, 503 F.2d 250. (9th Cir. 1974).

I live next to the stupidest bike lane in America. The only one that might be dumber is one I lived near last summer.

Minimum sentencing laws still suck. We can blame them both for the large-scale disasters like the unconstitutionally shameful condition of the health care system in our state prisons as well as for the more personal tragedies like the harsh prison term facing troubled Iraq veteran Sarge Binkley. Binkley may yet catch a break from the District Attorney, but other defendants from different backgrounds are unlikely to get the same treatment.

I've got to get back to studying administrative law, so I can explain why the County Board of Education inexplicably prevailed against the Los Altos School District's case alleging that Bullis Charter School's charter was too racist for the County Board to approve. I know that part of the answer has to do with the chemicals used by downtown Los Altos dry cleaners. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ahora Mas Malos Aires

Three hundred grass fires are burning just outside the city limits of Buenos Aires. Over the past ten days a huge cloud of smoke has hung over the city further polluting the city's already dirty air.
These types of fires, lit to clear fields for grazing, are not unusual this time of year. However, timing and number of fires so close to the city cannot be coincidence. Farmers, who make up some of the richest Argentines, are locked in an ongoing dispute with the government over export tariffs. With the steep rise in commodity prices, the central government has been recently trying to raise revenues by increasing taxes on agricultural exports. The farmers haven't been having any of it and in March and early April, blocked roads and food deliveries to the capital.

The Foreign Correspondent had the luck of breathing fresh Andean air in Peru until last night. Right now, the skies look like a typical LA day, but the smoke is due to return tonight as firefighters continue to battle the blazes.

For some photos of the smoke, check out the "fotogaleria" link below the photo in this article.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are you aware this person taught poor children?

Ahh, Los Altos Parents... tirelessly striving to make sure that the term "Los Altos Parent" still conjures up exactly what you'd imagine.

"They [the parents] still do not understand why Justus chose a principal from a school [Oak Grove High School in south San Jose] with different demographics and lower test scores than Almond."

It's nice to see that the running gag, so often exploited on this blog, about folks from The 'Tos not liking folks that aren't from The 'Tos is alive and well -- and thus the main staple of NOE is safe and sound.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Services help inexpert writers

In a rather slow news week on campus, you'd think somebody would have caught the irony in this headline.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

If we can't annoy people into thinking they're unhappy enough to give us money, the terrorists have already won

Leave it to these guys to make these guys and these guys seem reasonable in their use of the word "terrorist."

Let's hope the rest of society can still recognize the difference between holding a sign that expresses your opinion and hijacking planes in order to fly them into buildings.

Chorizo's probably not a great name for a boy anyway

I just got back from a Bruce Springsteen concert, which is why I don't have a better joke to make about the following Palo Alto Daily police blotter item (via photobasement). I'm not sure of the date or the details, but it seems to be making its way around the internet, and far be it from me to stand in the way. Feel free to submit your own.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Stupid idea finished, woe is us.

It's time for another NOE Reader Quiz.

A headline in last week's Voice declared "Tunnel's done, time to celebrate." Before I give you the link, guess whether that headline appeared in the news section or the editorial pages.


You were right.

I'm as big a fan of the Stevens Creek Trail as anybody, and I understand the importance of maintaining good relationships with people at City Hall. But, just off the top of my head, I can think of enough potential criticisms of this project that it may not be the best candidate to induce the paper to drop all pretense of objectivity. (The article, of course, mentions none of them).
  • $3.5 million is a large amount of taxpayer money to spend to extend the trail a very short distance.
  • The city used eminent domain to complete this section of the trail, which should always give us pause even when it's justified.
  • And, as the residents who posted comments on the Voice website pointed out, the city has yet to address concerns about inadequate lighting, lack of emergency phone access and displacement of homeless people.
Does anybody have an image of the page from Our Dumb Century in which the Onion ran a photo of the Hindenburg going down in flames underneath the headline: "AWESOME! Nation wowed by tremendous Hindenburg Explosion." I feel like that would be appropriate here.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Even gang members recognize bad journalism when they see it

Usually, when local papers write about gangs, they generally focus on what gang activity means for white people. They include the perspective of police, teachers, non-profits and government officials, but almost never gang members themselves.

This is not surprising, as most reporters generally don't have a lot of contacts who belong to the economic class that makes up gang membership. And with local newspaper profits largely dependent on real estate advertisements, publishers have little incentive to include the perspective of people who can't afford to buy houses.

So when two recent shootings renewed my alma mater's interest in gang activity in Mountain View, the only person who seemed to be concerned enough to do something about the unbalanced coverage was a Norteno.

The Voice received an unexpected visit last week from a Mountain View Norteno who says he is trying to clean up his life for the sake of his child.


The gang member, whose name is being withheld for his safety and his family's safety, wanted to shed light on the gang culture ...

The article goes on to cite a single anonymous source, even when he makes factual claims that could be easily verified or disproved. You almost have to admire a story that is this open about how little work actually went into it.

I would call for a boycott if I thought we'd have any material left

The governments of 113 countries, including our own, agree that the observed rise in global temperatures is "unequivocal."

The Los Altos Town Crier, though, not so much:

There may not be consensus that Earth’s atmosphere is warming, but that’s not keeping governments, groups and individuals from taking decisive action to assess their energy consumption and adopt sustainable strategies in conservation for the future of the planet.

As Earth Day, April 22, approaches, event coordinators are encouraging citizens to deluge Congress with phone calls on that day, insisting that lawmakers enact legislation promoting renewable energy and carbon-neutral buildings and calling for a moratorium on new coal-burning plants.

I don't believe Hell exists, but if it does, I can only imagine there's a special circle reserved for these people.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What would John Rocker do?

Former Atlanta-Braves-closer-turned-essayist John Rocker is making a stand against not speaking English in the U.S. with a 1300 word post on the home page of his official Website.

Rocker may have decided against "Teach English," in favor of "Speak English," because one's investment in improving the English language skills of recent immigrants need not go beyond telling them that they need more practice.

The site offers a glimpse into the impressive consistency that is the legendary Rocker.

Rocker is most famous for 1) taunting New York baseball fans (condoned by NOE) and 2) a notorious expose by Jeff Pearlman where he landed a xenophobic tour-de-force, berating gays, people who drive slowly and/or dye their hair, unwed mothers, minorities, women drivers, convicts, and, of course, foreigners (not condoned by NOE, despite one correspondent's rich use of "Macaca").

But you may not know that he also loves fireworks, hates high gas prices and purveys a remarkable selection of products.