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Saturday, March 17, 2007

More Stupid Exhibits

Ok, more direct, experiential evidence that conservatism makes you a moron. Here is an actual (paraphrased) quote I overheard yesterday from another right wing loser:

"If Valerie Plame WAS a covert agent then Fitzgerald would have brought Federal charges against people for 'outing' her. He investigated the entire affair and concluded that she was not a covert agent and hence no charges."

Which, of course, is a baldfaced lie. The truth, as I explained sweetly to him, is that in 2006 special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done "covert work overseas" on counterproliferation matters in the past five years-and the CIA "was making specific efforts" to conceal her identity-although she was unlikely to be doing so in the future. In fact, she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport, and if caught in that status she could have been executed. The reason that Fitzgerald did not pursue charging Libby and others with violating a 1982 law banning the outing of a covert CIA agent because there was no direct evidence anybody actually KNEW she was covert when they discussed her with reporters, even though she worked in a department where her status could have been safely assumed.

It's really getting too easy.

The other example caused me a little more angst. I teach nursing in a community college, and our department is having difficulty retaining the English as a Second Language (ESL) students, despite the fact that they have completed English Comp and met the minimum English proficiency standard as measured by one of the standard admission tests and our own Nursing Entrance Exam. I was having a conversation about it with a couple of my colleagues. Two of us expressed the opinion that we as an educational entity are not stepping up to the plate in regards to these students-there is little by way of support in the college and definitely not in the department itself when these students begin to falter. The other (my office mate!) came out eith the standard right-wing, anti-immigrant discriminatory garbage: "If you're going to move to this country, you need to assimilate and learn the language."

Can you guess I blew up? What our exams basically measure is the ability to be minimally conversant in English-can you go to the grocery store, or your kids' school? It absolutely doesn't measure the ability to discriminately interpret the nuanced terms that we use in our exams and is the basis for the RN licensing exams. And even for native English speakers, the terminology we ask them to master almost immediately is overwhelming, and much of it is in the form of an acronym-CBC (complete blood count), GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), MI (myocardial infarction) and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), just for starters. The fact that my colleague would make this solely the problem of the student and not the department-or, in a larger sense, the college-infuriated me. We need to do a better job of a) ensuring our students are prepared to succeed in the program before we admit tham and b) ensuring adequate support for them once they are in.

A racist, insensitive remark from a nursing instructor. Oy. What next?

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