The Locker Room

June 23, 2010

Summer Reading's Glorious Past

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 1:55 PM

Last week, I wrote an article entitled "The Sad History of Freshman Reading," which detailed recent summer readings at NC schools.

It turns out that summer reading hasn't always had a sad history though. In response to my column, John Hubisz, a physics professor at NCSU, sent me his summer reading list from the day he was accepted to high school.

He explained:

With my acceptance letter to high school, I got a list of 100 books.  The implication (to me) was that they should be read that summer in preparation for high school.  This was in 1950...In truth, they were not really all books, but to an 8th grader they seemed to be.

I'd be surprised if most of today's students have read even a quarter of this list by the end of college:

1. The Bible

2. U.S. Constitution, The

3. Federalist Papers

4. George Washington’s “Rules of Civility”

5. The Belief of Catholics by Ronald A. Knox

6. The Histories by Herodotus

7. The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

8. “Of the Nature of Things” by Lucretius

9. The City of God by St. Augustine

10. The Divine Comedy by Dante

11. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer

12. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis

13. Don Quixote by Cervantes

14. Apologia Pro Vita Sua by John Henry Newman

15. “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson

16. The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

17. A Bad Child’s Book of Beasts by Hilaire Belloc

18. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

19. The Christ of Faith by Karl Adam

20. The Way of the Cross by Romano Guardini

21. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

22. Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

23. The Man without a Country by Edward Everett Hale

24. ANYTHING by Fulton J. Sheen

25. Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed

26. Kim by Rudyard Kipling

27. “If” by Rudyard Kipling

28. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

29. “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

30. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

31. “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth

32. "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

33. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

34. Collected Poems by William Butler Yeats

35. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (Class poet 7th grade)

36. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

37. The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams

38. “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

39. “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

40. “The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

41. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

42. “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

43. “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe

44. “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe

45. The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson

46. The Complete Poetical Works of … by Oliver Wendell Holmes

47. One, Two, Three,…Infinity by George Gamow

48. Poems by John Greenleaf Whittier

49. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

50. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

51. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

52. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

53. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

54. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

55. “The Red Pony” by John Steinbeck

56. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

57. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

58. “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer

59. “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

60. Native Son by Richard Wright

61. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

62. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

63. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

64. The Autobiography of … by Benjamin Franklin

65. Candide by Voltaire

66. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

67. Animal Farm by George Orwell

68. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

69. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

70. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

71. St. Benedict’s Rule

72. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

73. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

74. Republic by Plato

75. The Prince by Machiavelli

76. "Othello" by Shakespeare

77. "The Merchant of Venice" by Shakespeare

78. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

79. Silas Marner by George Eliot

80. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

81. “A Modest Proposal …” by Jonathan Swift

82. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

83. Beowulf

84. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

85. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë

86. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

87. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

88. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

89. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

90. “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray

91. Short Stories by O. Henry

92. "Endymion” by John Keats

93. "When I was One and Twenty" by A.E. Housman

94. “Paradise Lost” by John Milton

95. Our Town by Thornton Wilder

96. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

97. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

98. Science and the Modern World by Alfred North Whitehead

99. Microbe Hunters by Paul De Kruif

100. The Late George Apley by John P. Marquand

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Sweden-- not as socialistic as we think

Posted by George Leef at 1:22 PM

Here is an excellent Reason TV video with JLF friend Ted Balaker. The subject is Sweden and it turns out that the country is less socialistic than we generally think, and has been moving away from the heavy politicization that characterized it a few decades ago.

Hat tip to Dan Klein for sending it and also his wife and daughter for their appearances.

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Woodhouse letter to the News & Observer

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 11:58 AM

Dallas Woodhouse, State director of Americans for Prosperity-North Carolina, responds to busing zealots in Wake County.

The Rev. William Barber has once again spit in the face of Wake County voters. As the leader of the N.C. chapter of the NAACP he decided that if he does not like the actions of the elected school board he will interrupt and halt the meeting of our elected officials.

Barber has every right to advocate the positions of his organization. But he does not have a right to shut down a meeting of elected officials. This man who talks so much about people's rights denied my right to be represented in the recent school board meeting.

It is insulting to elected officials and voters that he would occupy the seats of the officials and not let them tend to the people's business. Should he want to occupy that seat, he should move to Wake County and run for office. Otherwise, he should refrain from hurting all children by interrupting a public meeting.

I wonder whether Barber is planning to halt the meetings of the more than 100 other N.C. school boards that also no longer bus children out of their neighborhoods because of the color of their skin or the income of their parents.
In a column published yesterday, John Hood made a similar point. He noted that members of the state NAACP are not protesting neighborhood-based assignment policies in other large, urban districts. For Barber and his colleagues, it is about politics, not education.

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New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:46 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sara Burrows' report about centrist N.C. congressional Democrats' silence on the topic of supporting or opposing President Obama's proposed "emergency" bailout of state and local governments.

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As if you needed another reason to ignore CNN...

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 11:38 AM

CNN ditches Campbell Brown for a "newsy conversation show" featuring Elliott Spitzer and Kathleen Parker.

Parker is not fond of Sarah Palin and has a Pulitzer Prize. Spitzer is the former governor of New York who enjoyed an occasional romp with a high-priced prostitute.

Sounds like a formula for success.

Lame title idea #1: The John and Kate At Eight

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Another bizarre 'Bama political ad

Posted by David N. Bass at 10:50 AM

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'King Charles' feuds with Rolesville's mayor

Posted by Melissa Mitchell at 10:12 AM

Readers of Raleigh's News and Observer’s North Raleigh section are going to be confused or maybe amused by Keung Hui’s article “School spat: Meeker and Eagles trade barbs.” Raleigh Mayor Meeker and Rolesville's Mayor Eagles are in a political battle over the location of the new Wake County High School.

What is confusing and amusing about Meeker's support is that he worries that most of the students who will attend this school live closer to Raleigh than Rolesville. He also worries about high school students being in a remote location. Mayor Meeker's wife and minority school board member, Anne McLaurin, like her husband, is a proponent of busing students, especially elementary age students all over the county for diversity, so these sudden concerns are confusing.

Dinnertime conversations must be interesting at the Meeker household. Honey, can you can you take time from your busy schedule of spending taxpayers’ money in downtown Raleigh to oppose the new location of the North Raleigh high school? You know I'm in the minority and need all the help I can get stirring up controversy.

However, the article points out that the school staff is now backing away from an original estimate of $15.4 million in additional costs by abandoning the original Forest Ridge site. In fact, another site has become available that is a real deal.

Mayor Eagles has the best barb. "Charles Meeker is upset because he can't control everything, Eagles said. "King Charles is not getting his way."

Neither is the minority school board, but they keep trying.

This is going to be a fun spat to watch.

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Education studies of note

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 10:11 AM

Study 1. Researchers at the University of Arkansas found that vouchers increase high school graduation rates.

University of Arkansas researcher Patrick Wolf led a team of evaluators who found that the offer to participate in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program raised a student’s probability of completing high school by 12 percentage points, from 70 percent to 82 percent, based on parent reports. Some students declined to use their scholarships. Adjusting the data to account for scholarship decliners reveals that actually using a scholarship to attend a private school increased graduation rates by 21 percentage points.
Study 2. Mathematica Policy Research study concluded that KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) charter school students outperform their counterparts in district schools.
By seventh grade, half of the KIPP schools studied showed growth in math scores equal to an additional 1.2 years of school. Reading gains for KIPP were not as dramatic but still significant, the researchers reported, reflecting an additional three-quarters of a year of growth.

Mathematica said it found no evidence that KIPP schools were systematically drawing students with more economic advantages from surrounding school systems. But attrition rates at the KIPP schools, measuring the portion of students who failed to complete four years at the schools, varied widely.
North Carolina has two KIPP charter schools.

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Small companies in a bind because of health care reform

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:00 AM

As President Obama touted a patients bill of regulations rights will lead to the premium increases he says he doesn't want insurance companies to impose. But health costs and premiums will climb 10-15% in 2011, which is putting small companies in a major bind. If they change insurance policies or even change their existing policy by raising the deductible more than a trigger amount, they won't be protected from all of the cost-boosting regulations set to take effect in 2014. If they don't change policies or change their existing policy, their costs increase. Either way, they're the bad guys.

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Gingrich takes on stimulus silliness

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:21 AM

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich's latest Human Events column, after plugging his new book and an upcoming speech, reminds us of the false promise of government stimulus packages:

To be clear, many of the jobs funded by stimulus money are the type that any community would love to have.  After all, who could object to the hiring of a music director?

But ask yourself, are these really the type of investments that will jump start the economy and set the stage for long-term economic growth?  What happens when all the gates are painted and the engines are replaced?  Will these jobs spur the creation of others?  

Unlikely.

The story shows the fatal conceit underlying the Keynesian economics that are the basis for these kinds of stimulus bills: It assumes that government can spend your money more effectively than you can.

If there is any doubt of this arrogance, consider that another grant highlighted in the story provided $3.3 million to train people for 700 green jobs that are expected to emerge in the area over the next two years.

As you may recall, the Obama administration warned that without their stimulus bill, unemployment would rise above 8%.  Now, with the stimulus money half spent, unemployment is at 10%.  Considering this failure, it seems hard to believe the government is smart enough to know when and where 700 new jobs will emerge.

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Paul Johnson on Christ and his times

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:05 AM

If Amanda Vuke's Shaftesbury Society presentation earlier this week spurred your interest in religious topics, you might enjoy Paul Johnson's latest book, Jesus: A Biography from a Believer.

As the subtitle suggests, Johnson treats the gospels as true, and he attempts to combine common elements and themes from biblical texts to share both a narrative of Jesus' life and a brief synopsis of his message. Among Johnson's key points involves the notion of Jesus' "new" Ten Commandments, including the development of a true personality and the cultivation of an open mind.

You'll also encounter the application of Johnson's trademark wit to the world within which Jesus worked:

Government, both spiritual and temporal, was supposedly a blessing, being based, on the one hand, on the Law of Moses and, on the other, on Roman law. There were codes, precedents, courts, parchments — and plenty of lawyers. In practice it was corrupt, mendacious, grossly inefficient, and spasmodically cruel. It did not dispense justice so much as whim. It was run by men who were plainly inadequate and sometimes monsters. ... Caiaphas, the high priest, was an evil man like Herod, with an added dimension of hypocrisy, spiritual pride, and a peculiar malice toward good men. Pontius Pilate was an archetype of the weaknesses with which we are daily familiar in our own political world: a pretense to uphold truth and justice and to heed public opinion, combined with indecision, cowardice, and a final tendency to bow to pressure groups, even when knowing them to be wrong. Every aspect of bad government we experience today finds its counterpart in first-century Palestine, not least the listless mediocrity which was its usual characteristic.  

Amen.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:55 AM


  • Greg Dority, who lives on the other side of the state from the 12th Congressional District, wins a GOP runoff to face Mel Watt there in November.

  • Tim D’Annunzio says he can’t endorse winner Harold Johnson given the tactics used in the race.

  • Elaine Marshall bucks Democratic Party regulars to win her party’s nomination to the U.S. Senate.

  • Bill Randall wins a decisive victory in the 13th Congressional District, but after a bitter campaign, will opponent Bernie Reeves endorse him?

  • Eric Mansfield wins all but five precincts in the Democrats’ runoff for the state Senate District 21 nomination.

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Bev follows in Mary's footsteps

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:43 AM

Gov. Bev Perdue spent part of yesterday collecting honey from beehives on the governor's mansion grounds. I'm not prepared to compare it to President Barack Obama's golf preoccupation during the Gulf Oil spill. Yet.

The larger question is the origin of these hives.

Yes, it's been fun indeed.

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Fineman laments another sign of the traditional media's decline

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:42 AM

Howard Fineman's latest Newsweek piece highlights a trend that disturbs him: candidates who are unwilling to play ball with traditional media outlets.

Fineman specifically targets Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul's refusal on one occasion to chat with a Louisville Courier-Journal reporter and a reporter from an "innovative news channel on the state's largest cable system."

Time was, no candidate in Kentucky, not even a libertarian Republican, would stiff the man from The C-J. But these are different times, especially for unorthodox candidates like Paul.

...

What’s going on? The Republicans have some especially weird, prickly, and novice candidates this year. Their Washington handlers—their proxies to the press—admit that they have to silence the candidates, then train them before turning them loose. But there are deeper, more disturbing explanations. Changes to the media landscape—ideological fragmentation, the decline of newspapers, the rise of a feisty-but-still-atomized Web-based, digital press—have long since allowed candidates to pick whom they respond to, if anyone. And more and more, candidates construct their own faux-media entities, complete with video-streamed “reports” and Facebook outreach. (Ironically, they’re just adapting techniques that the president mastered during his 2008 campaign; no one has replicated them to greater effect, perhaps, than Sarah Palin. Witness her recent missives about her new neighbor, investigative reporter Joe McGinniss.)

Fineman suggests this type of strategy could come back to hurt Paul and others.

All candidates have views they’re obscuring, or personal stories they’re not disclosing, that will seep out one way or another, and they’ll need a neutral forum to explain themselves.

And this is where Fineman's argument breaks down. He seems to suggest that the Courier-Journal and other traditional media outlets offer a "neutral forum."

Regular readers of the Media Mangle will recognize how far short of the mark that suggestion falls. 

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Two pages letter ... something truly bizarre

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:27 AM

While George Will was busy dissecting the logical and factual flaws in President Obama's most significant recent public address, fellow Newsweek columnist Julia Baird decided to trash both Sarah Palin and Margaret Thatcher by concocting a letter from the former prime minister to the former governor.

Adopting this ploy might have been humorous or even informative had Baird tried to highlights some parallels between the two leading female politicians. Instead the piece comes across as silly and ignorant of Thatcher's important role in saving Britain from the road to serfdom.

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Will dissects the president's oil spill speech

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:13 AM

To say that President Obama's Oval Office address on the oil spill left George Will unpersuaded would be kind.

Will offers Newsweek readers the following observations:

The news about his speech is that it is no longer news that he often gives bad speeches. This one, however, was almost magnificently awful.

The banality of his first sentence—“our nation faces a multitude of challenges”—was followed by trite war metaphors about “the battle” against oil “assaulting” our shores, for which “siege” he has a “battle plan.” (Our government declares war promiscuously—on drugs, poverty, cancer, environmental problems, etc.—but never when actually going to war.) After Obama did what is de rigueur—he announced a new commission—he, as usual, attacked George W. Bush. (Chicagoan Obama resembles the fictional baseball player invented by Chicago’s Ring Lardner—Alibi Ike.) Next, he resorted, yet again, to a clumsy and painfully familiar trope that would get him bounced from a junior-high-school debate tournament. He attacked a straw man: “Over the last decade, [the Minerals Management Service] has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility—a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves.” Another banality—“oil is a finite resource”—introduced a weird lament about a problem he has aggravated: “We’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.” He and his party oppose drilling in the tundra of ANWR and in shallower coastal waters.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:45 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report on Tuesday's primary runoff election results.

Anthony Greco's latest CarolinaJournal.tv report focuses on North Carolina legislators' response to the BP oil spill.

John Hood's Daily Journal explores an "unethical" ethics bill unveiled Tuesday in a state Senate committee.

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