Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI Christmas Midnight Mass homily


Saint Peter's Basilica
Sunday, 24 December 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have just heard in the Gospel the message given by the angels to the shepherds during that Holy Night, a message which the Church now proclaims to us: "To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Lk 2:11-12). Nothing miraculous, nothing extraordinary, nothing magnificent is given to the shepherds as a sign. All they will see is a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, one who, like all children, needs a mother’s care; a child born in a stable, who therefore lies not in a cradle but in a manger. God ’s sign is the baby in need of help and in poverty. Only in their hearts will the shepherds be able to see that this baby fulfils the promise of the prophet Isaiah, which we heard in the first reading: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder" (Is 9:5). Exactly the same sign has been given to us. We too are invited by the angel of God, through the message of the Gospel, to set out in our hearts to see the child lying in the manger.

God’s sign is simplicity. God’s sign is the baby. God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns. He does not come with power and outward splendour. He comes as a baby – defenceless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away our fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts and his will – we learn to live with him and to practise with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love. God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him. The Fathers of the Church, in their Greek translation of the Old Testament, found a passage from the prophet Isaiah that Paul also quotes in order to show how God’s new ways had already been foretold in the Old Testament. There we read: "God made his Word short, he abbreviated it" (Is 10:23; Rom 9:28). The Fathers interpreted this in two ways. The Son himself is the Word, the Logos; the eternal Word became small – small enough to fit into a manger. He became a child, so that the Word could be grasped by us. In this way God teaches us to love the little ones. In this way he teaches us to love the weak. In this way he teaches us respect for children. The child of Bethlehem directs our gaze towards all children who suffer and are abused in the world, the born and the unborn. Towards children who are placed as soldiers in a violent world; towards children who have to beg; towards children who suffer deprivation and hunger; towards children who are unloved. In all of these it is the Child of Bethlehem who is crying out to us; it is the God who has become small who appeals to us. Let us pray this night that the brightness of God’s love may enfold all these children. Let us ask God to help us do our part so that the dignity of children may be respected. May they all experience the light of l ove, which mankind needs so much more than the material necessities of life.

for the rest of the homily, here's the link: Official Vatican post

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Azzurri captain Fabio Cannavaro was chosen FIFA World Player of the Year (together with Brazil's Marta). At least it is not Zizou. At least it is not Zizou. At least it is not Zizou. Ok, so he still got his Golden Ball. Brazil and Spain jointly won the Fair Play award (was there any doubt?), and Klose got his Golden Shoe awarded to him also. (pic from FIFA)

Monday, December 18, 2006

I first met Lando in 1989 when I transferred to Cebu because of work. I took a job as a research assistant for the Cebu office of the Center for Research and Communication. Lando was more than 6 months ahead of me in the office. He finished high school that year in Our Lady Academy in Ronda, and CRC took him in as messenger/utility person. Since I was new in Cebu, he taught me the jeepney routes, never mind if I had a street map with the jeepney routes, among other things. Nothing beats experience. Lando loved to sing, and Saturday afternoons, while he cleaned the office, he would sing-along karaoke-style.

The following year, I joined CITE, but I still had some contact with him. After a couple of years, he left for Davao, to work for an NGO there in a PCSO-funded project. The NGO ran the Apo Study Center, an apostolic undertaking of Opus Dei. Lando served as caretaker of the center (up to the day he died!).

When the project ended, he was set to come back to Cebu, but Boyet asked him to stay on and work for him. In that way, he can still serve as caretaker of the center, which we could only manage to use for a few days every fortnight (trips from Cebu had to be made as the work in Davao was not stable enough to spend more days).

In 1998, I started coming over to Davao to help in the activities of the center. Lando was a big help. When Boyet and Elaine gave the center a microwave oven, I started to experiment on cooking. Lando would join me for lunch, whenever he could. Whenever he had the time (as he was still working for Boyet), and not whenever he could stand my cooking. Lando would cook too so we usually had a shared experience -- his fish sinigang was exceptional. He had married by then, blessed with three children.

In 2002, we were celebrating the centenary of the birth of Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva. We put up an exhibit in March at the Gaisano Mall. Lando gave a testimony of how Opus Dei helped him spiritually and personally during the opening of that exhibit (the picture in this blog was taken during his testimony). He told me that was his first speech ever, but it meant a lot to him.

I last saw him in September 2004 in Davao, but communication lines were always open, SMS and phone calls.

Some months back, he was diagnosed with leukemia. His doctor said it was an easy case and he should proceed with chemotherapy. With that and a lot of prayers, Lando came through with the chemo. Except for some infection that was cured with antibiotics, the prognosis was very good. Another bone marrow test showed very few cancer cells left, as expected.

He went through a second batch of chemo sessions in the first week of December. On the afternoon of December 4, he even phoned me and we spoke for almost 6 minutes. He was his usual self, although he had just finished his chemo for that day. I told him I was probably going to Davao in April next year and that I definitely will see him by then (I would have gone in September this year, but plans fell through). I was wrong. I won't see him in April.

At past 8pm on December 15, I received a message from his brother Rey who works with us in CITE, that Lando had passed away. He had some bleeding earlier, nothing extraordinary really as it was expected, but apparently, the hospital made some blunders when he was brought to hospital. If the hospital wronged him, I am sure Lando forgave them. Who would want to be delayed going to Heaven?

A good man Lando was. But very young to be recalled by God. But such is God's ways.

I could hear our Lord telling him that Friday: Lan, clima na*. Claim the seat reserved for you in Heaven.

*As I am not Bisdak, I did not understand Lando at first as he told me during my first day in CRC, when I asked him to buy rice as I usually brought viand from home and took my lunch in the office: Sir Pet, clima na imong rice.

Justine and the UN

Justine Henin-Hardenne was named UNESCO Champion for Sport, for her untiring campaign against drug use in sports, among other things. Here's zeenews.

And. More on Lindsay's choice of motherhood on zeenews.

Stats again

Many MSM outlets, reporting on the number of deaths of American soldiers, would put the figure at close to 3,000. Wow, that's a lot.
But US casualties have actually been dropping (DoD data): 848 (2004), 846 (2005), and 768 (2006). Note of course that there are still about 2 weeks left in 2006, and this would mean 78 deaths more to equal 2005 figures (God forbid that there will be no more deaths).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Life after tennis -- divine

When I was in highschool, and still playing lots of tennis, one of the women (teen) tennis players I followed was Andrea Jaeger, she with the long ponytails and braces on her teeth. She did reach No2 beating at some point the likes of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, yet she never won a Slam. When I thought she'd get to No1, she had to retire at 19, with a shoulder injury (that needed many operations). Gone too soon. She didn't have the "airs" of the teen stars of recent years though, and that made her likeable. Although probably she was just enjoying her youth. She put up a foundation later to help children with cancer. In September 16 of this year, at age 41, she took her vows as a Dominican nun, and she is now called simply Sr. Andrea. Not all tennis. She has an interview with Sports Illustrated, first time a nun gets interviewed by SI. Here's that interview.

Another women's player I've kept tabs is Lindsay Davenport. She wanted to retire last season but found herself winning matches towards the end of the previous season. Now she will probably retire to start something new in her life. Rather, she's about started. Lindsay says that she is pregnant with her and husband Jon Leach's first child, due early next summer. SI says a little about this here.

Way to go ladies, uhmm, lady and sister.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

8th POY

Tiger Woods wins the 2006 PGA Tour Player of the Year Award, also known as, what else, the Jack Nicklaus Trophy. This is the 8th for Tiger, the only player to have won it more than twice.

This year, Tiger also won the Arnold Palmer Award for leading the money list and the Byron Nelson Award for the lowest scoring average.

Oh, Justine Henin-Hardenne was named the 2006 International Tennis Federation world champion together with, d r u m r o l l,
Roger Federer.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Finger Wag

Who has the better wag?

The stats again

The AP and BBC stories on a recent poll in Afghanistan are similar -- negative. Because the negative reads better?

The poll finds that 90% of the Afghans call the invasion to overthrow the Taliban as a good thing for their country, and the same percentage prefer their present government . In my book, when 90% of a nation call anything in their country as something good, that is NEWS. Can the Philippines or the US even attain such percentage for anything?

Another thing, the poll says 75% have a favorable opinion of the US. When 75% of a Muslim nation see the US as favorable, THAT is NEWS. Do you think the Pinoys or the Americans like the US that much?

But AP and BBC think otherwise. It is not negative at all. So find the negative.

In the end, it's the stats again. Spin.

Monday, December 11, 2006


In the Fox News story, Lawyer, Wife Accused of Duping British Prince Out of $23 Million, it said "One of Britain’s highest earning barristers and his wife have been accused of swindling millions of dollars from the Sultan of Brunei’s brother. Thomas Derbyshire and Faith Zaman are said to have plundered Prince Jefri’s fortune to buy themselves two California beach homes, $30,000 worth of jewellery in a day, $33,000 of furniture and $2,800 of electronic appliances. Derbyshire, aged in his 40s, is an expert specialising in the fields of fraud and money laundering."

I highlighted jewellery thinking "Oh what a great mistake!" But before writing to Fox, I consulted Merriam-Webster online and saw this entry:


One entry found for jewellery.

Main Entry: jew·el·lery
chiefly British variant of JEWELRY

Well, what do you know?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Teacher, teacher, beware!

Good thing am not in a country controlled by the Taliban -- although at times, I feel like am in it, getting hit from all sides by those who think everyone agrees with what they think and/or do..

Here's a portion of a CNN report:

Until you get to rules 24 and 25, which make it clear that the Taliban's current campaign of destroying schools around Afghanistan and terrorizing teachers will continue as long as schools dare teach something other than the Taliban version of Islam.

"It is forbidden to work as a teacher under the current puppet regime, because this strengthens the system of the infidels," says rule 24. And if a teacher refuses a warning to give up his job, reads rule 25, "he must be beaten."

"If the teacher still continues to instruct contrary to the principles of Islam, the district commander or a group leader must kill him," it continues.

When schools are burned, the Taliban rules say it is important that religious texts be removed from the buildings first.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jürgen Klinsmann

Former Germany national coach Jürgen Klinsmann is frontrunner for the coaching job at Team USA.

Hmm . . .

As the rumours fly, ever since he stepped down as Germany's coach after World Cup 2006.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Where are they headed?

Found here.

Caught cheatin' ... on ethics test



Columbia University officials are
lowering the boom on some graduate journalism students suspected of
cheating on, of all things, an ethics exam.

The J-schoolers' alleged lapse on the final was reported yesterday by Radar Online.


Are these people going to MSM? Or are they just following the footsteps of some who are in MSM?

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sta Fe, Cebu

I was out on a week-long seminar at Kota Beach in Sta. Fe, Cebu (Bantayan Island). Here are some sun pics. For more pics, click here.

Barca's best

Tim Duncan and Brent Barry. Huh?

Consider yourself warned

Subject: Red pick-up truck
Re: Smoke-belching
Locale: Last seen in Talamban
Marks: Ferrari sticker, tailgate

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why am I not surprised

Here they go again.

But I give the effort 100%. If only they give the same level of effort to help solve the more immediate and greater problems of our beloved country.

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Monday, November 13, 2006


Trying out this new add-on/extension for Firefox 2 called Performancing.


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Henin is No 1.

So okay, this is not new. But Henin is No.1 again. And deservingly, after winning the WTA, 6-4, 6-3 against Amelie.
Someone asked me why I liked Justine to win, to be No.1.
At first I said because I didn't like Masha to be it. I found her to be full of air (which she also uses a lot when she grunts very loudly in her matches). She does win of course (she won a lot this year).
Maybe I am sour-graping (because she earns more than I do, because she's more fit than I am --read: more sexy, hah! C'mon). Etc.
But I cannot say this anymore. Charity.
I like Justine, because I like her better to be No. 1.
And she wears Adidas.

Future mayor!

You must have seen that my blogroll or links has a link to Future President! Apparently he is running for mayor of Manila come 2007. I have always believed that he is better fit for an executive post. While he has not been inactive in the Senate (and I think still the only Senator who does not touch his pork-barrel), he could do more in the executive branch. The Presidency is an executive function.

The mayoralty post is a good springboard for the TOP (The Office of the President!). Let's reverse Erap's route to the top, it could still work!

It could also be good for him this way. Might "stab" him in the back, to get him outtaway.

Free this man!

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury's trial resumes today. He who spoke about having ties with Israel. Now the bad Muslims want him dead. Might as well include his family, huh?. Free him now!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sir Elton

Sir Elton says a mouthful. Yet. Again.
Against the favorite whipping girl: religion. Tsk. Tsk.
Write songs and sing them, instead.
As he says, I think there are those in "religion" who may be too harsh, but I believe they only do that because they do not understand fully their "religion".
But to blame religion for all his "troubles", that is stretching it too much. Then again, what else is new?

2 women miracles

A Sao Paolo lady survives 6 gunshots to the head. Bullets fired from handgun by crazed ex.
Masha doesn't get her number 1. Henin does, after a 6-2, 7-5 (5) win over Masha in the WTA Championships in Madrid.
Yes. Miracles still happen.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Two more Rossoneri in the injured list:
Giuseppe Favalli, with twisted right knee, until 2007, from 4-2 win over Brescia
Gennaro Gattuso, with less serious left knee injury from 0-2 loss to Atalanta

Trackback on injuries


‘Queenie’ intensifies as it moves toward land
Storm signals up over several Luzon provinces.

The Queenies I know aren't as harsh as this.
One is my niece, shown here or here.

Here's one picture (na nga), in pink.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

St John in Lateran

Today, the Church celebrates the anniversary of the Dedication of the Basilica of St John in Lateran, the seat of the Bishop of Rome, and that's the Pope. St. John in Lateran is the Cathedral of Rome, the mother of all churches in Rome and in the world. Founded by Constantine, during the time of Silvester (314-335) it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. The current basilica dates from the 17th century.

That's me, with Ric and Jude, 2002.

Beside St John's is the Scala Santa, where the stairs in Pilate's praetorium that Jesus climbed after his scourging is preserved and venerated. The drops of blood are preserved. Pilgrims would, if they could, climb the stairs on their knees.

Ammendment 2 in Missouri

Ammendment 2 passed in Missouri. Watch it, they'll start producing clones and killing them over there in no time-- worse crime. And, oh yes, they'll be a lot of rich "biotech" companies that part of town too (you got money to spare, buy shares!)

Trackback, why I believe so.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Going to work early today, I saw a "for-sale" sign taped on the back door of a small van. Besides the contact number, the notice also included in parenthesis (woman-driven). I don't drive so I don't really know if that was a plus-factor for the van's sale, considering the many "driving people" I know who frequently blame "woman-drivers" for many near and actual accidents on the road.

Sometime in the future, I also want to do this.
Read for them, silly. I wouldn't mind listening too, of course.

Monday, November 06, 2006


One of the few Brazilians I like, Kaka' is slowly becoming King of Milan. Scoring his first hat-trick in UEFA Champions League against RSC Anderlecht November 1, he now has 5 goals in this edition. Too bad, he couldn't score against Atalanta in Serie A in a 0-2 loss yesterday.

ACMilan is 5th from last in Serie A. Kakha Kaladze suffered a big thigh injury, while Nesta will probably just miss a week with a shoulder injury.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Greens bid Red goodbye

The Boston Celtics announced the passing of it's president Arnold 'Red' Auerbach, who was 89. He won 16 Championships and wore jersey #2. The Celtics will dedicate this season to Red.
Stories and testimonies here.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Abortar es matar

Nicaragua's national assembly voted 52-0 for a bill that increased coverage of the ban on abortions. This will most likely be signed into a law. How brave (and correct) these legislators from Nicaragua!

Unlike, well, never mind.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Media again?

Madonna blames media for the "controversy" surrounding her adoption in Malawi. C'mon now. Angelina has adopted but she never had any controversies. Should it be that she followed proper procedures?
Review previous post.


SC decides on RP cha-cha moves. Close. But nuff.
A sigh of relief, eh, your honors?


Don't get to watch much Grey's Anatomy, but here's Peter Brown. It's only TV?
Grey's Anatomy: Entertaining but Irresponsible

Monday, October 23, 2006


I do not read her often, but every now and then she gets my attention. In this belated blog, I point you to sassy lawyer, belated because this was about the incident in the Makati City Hall some days back.

So long Schumi

Eormula One racing bids Abschied to Schumi. In a perfect world, I'd be an F1 driver, but, alas, this is not a perfect world. Read F1 story on Schumi's last race.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Steve Milloy on the latest Harvard study on fish intake. Calls it fishy dietary advice.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Un posto Italiano



Sent some comments through the Feedback feature. Except for the:

Thank You ! We have received your message. We will do our best to respond promptly.

I do not get any more feedback. Think they're sick of my feedback?

But they say "We welcome your opinion on the news and other issues of importance. Send your comments, suggestions or opinions about an article or just about anything through our feedback form below."

Tiger's done with the Vardon this year

Even as Tiger Woods's little over 68 adjusted scoring average is the lowest this year, he will not win the Vardon Trophy he won 5 consecutive times from 1999 to 2003 and a record sixth time in 2005. Why? Since 1937, the Vardon Trophy, named in honor of famed British golfer Harry Vardon, is awarded annually to the touring professional with the lowest Adjusted Scoring Average. It is based on a minimum of 60 rounds, with no incomplete rounds, in events co-sponsored or designated by the PGA Tour. Since Tiger missed the cut once this year and retired from another, and would have only played 59 rounds by the end of the season, he won't get the Vardon Trophy. This will be Furyk's to claim.

There is no doubt Tiger will get PGA Player of the Year, a more important award, the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Award for lowest scoring average (same as Vardon but only requires 50 rounds), and the money award too (least important, really, but still will add to what he can put into his foundation to help the needy, really).

Read Gary Van Sickle at SI.com, and why he thinks we should not be too hard on Tiger for not having the "drive" to claim another Vardon.

Marriage and Family in the US

Time.com interprets US Census Bureau's 2005 census saying: Has Being Married Gone Out of Style?
Blame how much money we have, not our lack of values, for the decline in married households

misteramericano notes differently.

Join ( R E D )

Might be worth your while. Join ( R E D )

Madonna's Malawi Proselytism?

Apparently, Madonna's Malawi mission is none other than a way to spread Kabbalah. Here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Peggy's October 13th

The Sounds of Silencing

Why do Americans on the left think only they have the right to dissent?

The Pope in Turkey

The Pope will visit Turkey as planned. We just have to pray for the success of that trip, including his safety.

In the UN, Hugo Chavez wants Venezuela in the Security Council. After calling the UN useless, he wants to be a member of the Security Council? Duh? Of course, everyone knows he only wants that to be able to say more stinky things against the US and the UN. And he's paid with petrodollars this obsession. Thing is, Guatemala is giving Venezuela a tough time in the voting: Guatemala won 109 votes in the first round, 114 in the second, 116 in the third, 110 in the fourth, and 103 in the fifth. First one to get 2/3 vote wins the remaong seat up for grabs.

Real men don't wear flip-flops?

Do 'Real Men' Wear Flip-Flops?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dolefil strike update

Sunstar GenSan writes an update of the Dolefil labor crisis. I am happy to note that they have now included a much clearer picture (more accurate) of DPI's finances, to wit: Based on a report issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004, Dole Philippines ranked 52nd among the top corporations in the country. Its gross revenue was P12.9 billion and a net income of P98 million.

No update from Mindanews. But searching through the past issues of Mindanews, I saw a story dated September 23, 2006 with the title Dole workers reject mgt's new offer; strke to begin anytime . What is weird is that on September 25, Mindanews published another one with the title Strike looms at Dole Phils.; dispute now in the hands of labor secretary of which I wrote about and sent them an email, etc. If they had it right on the 23rd, why repeat the error on the 25th? Sleuthing some more, the September 23 report was filed by Allen V. Estabillo. Allen also writes for Sunstar GenSan or at least his name appears in the byline together with Edwin Espejo in this story.

Sus! This gets complicated. But I am happy Sunstar made some clarifications and Mindanews might have actually rectified (but repeated the mistake in a later story, whew! Sayang!).

Almost envious

Justin Junio crossed the Mactan Channel yesterday. And he is only 5. Here's Sunstar's story.

Rhett and the smoke detector

Believe it or not? I believe. As I entered the faculty area of my school, I heard that distinctive sound of the smoke detector. True enough. Nope, there wasn't any smoke. The high-pitched beeps one second apart signaled that the battery of the device was nearing its useful life, and needed to be replaced. I got the ladder and took off the smoke detector mounted on the ceiling and got the battery. Filled out a repair slip, and thought nothing of it.

Until I checked my PDA and realized that today was Rhett's birthday. Was, because now he celebrates his birth to Heaven every March 28. Three and a half years ago, Rhett had an aneurysm, and was in a coma for about a month. There were signs that he would have made it through, but God had other plans.

And the connection between Rhett and the smoke detector?

Rhett was an Opus Dei member and attended formation in an Opus Dei center that I help out in. It happened maybe about a year or two before he passed on. One of the smoke detectors had signaled a weak battery. I heard it and Rhett heard it too. He offered to help replace the battery.
So there I was on the ladder, and Rhett holding the ladder to keep it steady. Here was a MAN, who only a few years earlier walked the halls of Malacanang as Presidential Assistant for Visayas of Pres. FVR, and who was "held in high esteem" by many, if not all, holding steady the ladder so I may be able to change the "low-batted" smoke detector.
Rhett was a trustee of my school. He brought many of his friends to the school, to show them what we do. I was extremely proud of Rhett. And I dare say, he is still helping us from Heaven.

Talking of helping, the Gospel passage of today's Mass (Luke 10: 25-37) speaks in the second part of the Good Samaritan who helps a man who "fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho." It's a good day to fill with many acts of charity. Here's another story of charity. The Pennsylvania Amish community who suffered from the murders of and injury to some of its children attended the funeral for gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sr. Coronel

Queena Lee-Chua wrote about Sr. Iluminada Coronel in Inquirer yesterday. Couldn't add anything more to what she said. Sr. Coronel is an excellent math teacher. I know. She was my teacher in Calculus 1 at AdMU, way back ...

Friday, October 06, 2006


Originally uploaded by asmillan3.
The half-moon over CdO last week.


Originally uploaded by asmillan3.
A little peek-a-boo from the sun. Caught this as I disembarked from the Superferry 12 in Cagayan de Oro last week. This was a quick take. It could have been composed better, but, still, am happy with this.

Lessons learned

We can learn a lot from the example of the Amish community of Pennsylvania, in their grief and forgiveness, amidst the tragedy that struck them some days back. I am sure you can google the story anytime. Here's a link though.

St. Josemaria Escriva

Four years ago today, I was in Rome for the Canonization of the Founder of Opus Dei Josemaria Escriva.
Here's a link to some pictures in my online photoalbum.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


And so it was. Season 69 UAAP Basketball was won by UST. The Eagles flew too low. It's good for their humility. And once again,we hear, as in the past three editions: Win or lose, it's the school we choose!

My record for watching the games and AdMU losing increased last Saturday (the Sunday of the week before, I didn't watch and AdMU won). And yesterday, being a workday, I did not watch, and yet AdMU lost. Should I have gone home earlier instead?

Thing is, I also go for Yellow. And Yellow won. Congratulations Dad and Mom, from USTE!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Re Strike looms at Dole Phils.; dispute now in the hands of labor secretary

Update: Mindanews emailed same day saying:

Thank you for writing, Peter.
We will look into this immediately.

Dear Editor,
Thank you for giving us updates of Mindanao.

Nevertheless, I am surprised that in your story of September 25, 2006 Strike looms at Dole Phils.; dispute now in the hands of labor secretary you said "The trimmed demands for three years would only cost the company around P2 billion, or about one percent of its annual net profit."

This was the exact point I raised in an email I sent you on September 8 (and also to Sunstar), which you did not acknowledge nor gave an update. I understand that this was a quote, but I believe this figure is wrong, and unless corrected, may cause people concerned to make conclusions that are unfortunate.

Probably another information that may be useful for you is that Dole Philippines contributes about 16-20% of ANNUAL REVENUES or at least USD848M (at 54:1, that will be about PhP45B) to Dole Food. At 10% net income from revenues (which is robust in these times), the annual financial considerations in the three year package the union is seeking will be about 16% of net income. I agree that even with this amount, 16% of net income is affordable.

This is not about whether DPI should give in or not. What I am raising to your attention is that perhaps the 1% of annual net income that was quoted is a mistake and that Mindanews should look into that statement from the union.


PeTeR to editor Hide options Sep 8 From: PeTeR < asmillan3@gmail.com> Mailed-By: gmail.com To: editor@mindanews.com Date: Sep 8, 2006 8:48 AM Subject: Dolefil strike I read Sunstar's Gensan story of September 7. I had heard of the strike vote at Dole from my Dad, who retired from Dole in 1993, but still resides in the Dole area. My younger brother works for Dole. So this interests me very much. The writer quoted NAFLU-KMU's Tony Pascual saying that their economic demands will amount to PhP2B, about 1% of Dole's annual net profit. I thought Mr. Pascual was pretty much exaggerating. No one earns that much. I thought the writer (there was no byline, so maybe it was "praise release"?). I believe the writer or the editor should have checked Mr. Pascual's statement before writing or publishing the story. I cannot believe Dole can earn PhP 200B in one year (culled from the 1% of annual profit, as the story says). Can you? No way, just cannot believe. With limited time to ask for figures, I did an internet search. The PhP 200B could probably be close to Dole Food Company, Inc.'s ANNUAL REVENUES. Dole Food Company Inc. is the mother company of Dole Philippines. DFCI has operations in about 20 countries and had revenues of USD5.3B in 2004. Obviously, this USD5.3B is not only from the Philippines. I also learned that Dolefil's NET PROFIT was PhP 239M out of PhP 5.7B revenues in 1998. It is statistically impossible for Dolefil to have revenues, much less, profit, in the amount Mr. Pascual says or the writer quotes. It is not unbelievable that Dolefil has said no to the union's demands. Was Mr. Pascual very believable when he said this? or na-ilad ba si writer? As Bill Maher said (sorry this is not verbatim, but what I can only remember) to Larry King on CNN, media are supposed to be more intelligent. (Bill Maher is a comedian -- should we believe him then?) Sadly this story appears here as well (Mindanews).


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Play It As It Lies

This is not about golf or Jack Nicklaus (ok, neither about Tiger Woods). Ronald Cass's take on Clinton over at Fox Sunday. Michelle knows only too well what it means to "play it as it lies" (I must admit only similar or something like it, and Michelle's was really a rookie mistake). But Bill? DQ! DQ!


I remember something like this at the corner of Salinas Drive and Gorordo Avenue early evening a couple of years ago. Ric and I were admiring the accessory of this SUV as we were behind it just as we were rounding the corner, only to realize as we came up beside it that Mr. Driver was DWP. Oh boy! What people do to entertain themselves in traffic!

sweet merciful crap

AP runs to WP for help. Say all you want, but I agree with Michelle's "sweet merciful crap".

Monday, September 25, 2006

I told you so

Found her comment here.

Helen H. writes:

Why does the news media give credence to every disgruntled person out there? The media stirs up controversy just so they can have something to right about. And this thing with giving these radicals so much publicity in their reaction to the Pope's remarks, the reaction would go away if you guys weren't continually fueling it. I say to you, get a life.

Should I say, another rejoinder to this?

Clinton on Fox News Sunday

Sure didn't turn out well for former Pres. Clinton over at Fox on Sunday. More in the muck?
Here's Paterrico's diss.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A lesson or two

What Peggy says today can pretty well be a lesson or two for RP's opposition. Lay off "her", and come up with a plan, a real plan.

To Beat a Man, You Need a Plan

The election is all about Bush, and that’s not necessarily good for the Dems.

The Wall Street Journal: September 15, 2006

Autumn is the true American New Year. This is when we make our real resolutions.

The perfect fall has two things, present pleasure (new exhibits, shows, parties) and something to look forward to—for the political, the upcoming election.

Which is my subject. My resolution is to try in a renewed way, each day, and within my abilities, to be fair. I find myself thinking so much of William Meredith’s poem about the advice he’d received from older writers: “Look hard at the world, they said—generously, if you can manage that, but hard.”

In light of that, my sense of things: They say the election is all about Iraq. It’s not. It’s about George W. Bush. He dominates the discussion, or rather obsesses the discussers.

He is talking a lot lately, out there in America, and in the Oval Office. People don’t say as often as they used to, “You watch Bush’s speech last night?” Or they don’t ask it with the same anticipation and interest.

I think that Americans have pretty much stopped listening to him. One reason is that you don’t have to listen to get a sense of what’s going on. He does not appear to rethink things based on new data. You don’t have to tune in to see how he’s shifting emphasis to address a trend, or tacking to accommodate new winds. For him there is no new data, only determination.

He repeats old arguments because he believes they are right, because he has no choice—in for a penny, in for a pound—and because his people believe in the dogma of the magic of repetition: Say it, say it, to break through the clutter.

There’s another reason people don’t listen to Mr. Bush as much as they did. It is that in some fundamental way they know they have already fully absorbed him. He’s burned his brand into the American hide.

Pundits and historians call Mr. Bush polarizing—and he is, but in some unusual ways. For one thing, he’s not trying to polarize. He is not saying, “My team is for less government, your team is for more—my team, stand with me!”

Mr. Bush has muddied what his team stands for. He has made it all come down to him—not to philosophy but to him and his certitudes.

What is polarizing about him is the response he elicits from Americans just by being himself. They have deep questions about him, even as he is vivid to them.

Americans don’t really know, deep down in their heads, whether this president, in his post-9/11 decisions, is a great man or a catastrophe, a visionary or wholly out of his depth.

What they increasingly sense is that he’s one thing or the other. And this is not a pleasant thing to sense. The stakes are so high. If you woke most Americans up at 3:00 in the morning and said, “Tell me, looking back, what would you have liked in an American president after 9/11?” most of them would answer, “I was just hoping for a good man who did moderately good things.” Who caught Osama, cleaned out Afghanistan, made it proof of the possibility of change and of the price to be paid by those who choose terror as a tactic. Not this historical drama queen, this good witch or bad.

The one thing I think America agrees on is that George Bush and his presidency have been enormously consequential. He has made decisions that will shape the future we’ll inhabit. It’s never “We must do this” with Mr. Bush. It’s always “the concentrated work of generations.” He doesn’t declare, he commits; and when you back him, you’re never making a discrete and specific decision, you’re always making a long-term investment.

This can be exhausting.

And yet: You know he means it when he says he is trying to protect America. You know his heart is in it. You know he means it when he says there are bad guys and we will stop them. And that has meaning.

With all this polarity, this drama, this added layer Mr. Bush brings to a nation already worn by the daily demands of modern individual life, the political alternative, the Democrats, should roar in six weeks from now, right? And return us to normalcy?

Well, that’s not what I sense.

I like Democrats. I feel sympathy for the hungry and hapless, identify with aspirations, am deeply frustrated with Mr. Bush. More seriously, I believe we are at the start of a struggle for the survival of the West, and I know it is better for our country if both of its two major parties have equal responsibility in that struggle. Beyond that, let’s be frank. Bad days are coming, and we’re all going to have to get through them together, with two parties, arm in arm. It’s a big country.

But I feel the Democrats this year are making a mistake. They think it will be a cakewalk. A war going badly, immigration, high spending, a combination of sentimentality and dimness in foreign affairs—everyone in the world wants to be free, and in exactly the way we define freedom at dinner parties in McLean and Chevy Chase—and conservative thinkers and writers hopping mad and hoping to lose the House.

The Democrats’ mistake—ironically, in a year all about Mr. Bush—is obsessing on Mr. Bush. They’ve been sucker-punched by their own animosity.

“The Democrats now are incapable of answering a question on policy without mentioning Bush six times,” says pollster Kellyanne Conway. “ ‘What is your vision on Iraq?’ ‘Bush lied us into war.’ ‘Health care? ‘Bush hasn’t a clue.’ They’re so obsessed with Bush it impedes them from crafting and communicating a vision all their own.” They heighten Bush by hating him.

One of the oldest clichés in politics is, “You can’t beat something with nothing.” It’s a cliché because it’s true. You have to have belief, and a program. You have to look away from the big foe and focus instead on the world and philosophy and programs you imagine.

Mr. Bush’s White House loves what the Democrats are doing. They want the focus on him. That’s why he’s out there talking, saying Look at me.

Because familiarity doesn’t only breed contempt, it can breed content. Because if you’re going to turn away from him, you’d better be turning toward a plan, and the Democrats don’t appear to have one.

Which leaves them unlikely to win leadership. And unworthy of it, too.

How I wished I could have said this

How I wished I could have said this. I don't have proof yet, but I really, really want to say this. Or highlight below.

PCGG execs: Why not abolish Senate?

By Alcuin Papa, Veronica Uy
Inquirer, INQ7.net
Last updated 10:49pm (Mla time) 09/20/2006

(UPDATE) INSTEAD of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, why not abolish the Senate instead?

This was the reaction of PCGG Commissioners Ricardo Abcede and Nicacio Conti to opposition Senator Aquilino Pimentel’s move to revive a bill proposing the abolition of the commission that was formed to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his family and his cronies.

“It’s really up to Congress. I don’t want to cling to any position. But let us compare our records. Maybe it is the Senate that should be abolished, not the PCGG,” Abcede said.

Conti pointed out that since it was established in 1986, the PCGG has remitted around 60 billion pesos to the National Treasury.

He said that during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the PCGG recovered 35 billion pesos, or more than half of the total amount recovered since 1986, outperforming all previous administrations in ill-gotten wealth recovery.

The PCGG also won a string of vital cases against the Marcoses and their cronies, including those on the Swiss accounts, the coconut levy fund, and the disputed shares of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. which will generate around 25 billion pesos for the government, he said.

Conti said the commission has also handed over several thousands of hectares of agricultural lands to the Department of Agrarian Reform for distribution to landless farmers as beneficiaries.

By comparison, Abcede said that out of 2,200 bills filed by the present Senate, only nine have been passed into law.

“How dismal can you get? There are endless investigations supposedly in aid of legislation instead of meaningful legislation to uplift our country,” he said.

He also cited a statement of Senator Edgardo Angara that the present Senate was “the least productive in the last 20 years.”

The PCGG performs a vital task “going against powerful and even dangerous people. We are small and simple public servants doing what is right,” Abcede said.

He pointed out that it has a long list of accomplishments achieved with a meager budget, “smaller than the pork barrel of any legislator.” With a report from Christine Avendaño

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pres. Ahmadinejad at the UN

Even if he had harsh words against some countries and even the UN security council, these countries will not declare war (not yet). He calls the UN Security Council "unable to act on behalf of the entire international community in a transparent, just and democratic manner" (which may be correct, but not only because of vetoes from the US, but also from any of the permanent members) or that the "Security Council can only be trusted to secure the rights and security of certain big powers"; hits Israel saying that Israel thinks "It does not matter if people are murdered in Palestine . . .That apparently does not violate human rights." as well as "that regime has been a constant source of threat and insecurity in the Middle East region, waging war and spilling blood and impeding the progress of regional countries".

Read also that he said in a NBC interview that Iran does not speak of war, but read this. O heck, see below:

Following are excerpts from an interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which aired on the Iranian News Channel (IRINN) on August 2, 2006.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: I hereby declare that this sinister regime [Israel] is the banner of Satan. It is the banner of the Great Satan. All it does is to implement the orders of the criminal America and England. They think that the peoples are the same as they were 100 years ago. They are not aware that things have changed in the world. Today, all the peoples have awoken. The Iranian people is the standard-bearer of this awakening for all the peoples. As we can see, from the southernmost point in South America to the easternmost point in Asia, all the people are shouting a single cry. With placards in their hands and clenched fists, they shout: Death to Israel.

Crowd: Death to Israel.

Death to Israel.

Standing up for what it right

Sunstar Cebu quotes our Guv, in relation to three PB members' caution on PB support for moves against the creation of three new provinces:

“It’s time that they make up their minds because the Cebuanos have long made up their mind and the Cebuanos do not want this Province to be broken apart. Maybe they should try listening to the Cebuanos if they are still confused. Let’s give them a chance but they should make up their mind and stand up for what is right, whatever the political cost and regardless of personal interest. The Cebuanos know what is right. As Cebuanos themselves, they should know what is the right thing to do."

Isn't it possible that they are not really confused, that they have made up their minds, that they are standing up for what is right? That they have listened to their own constituents, and that their people actually want them to support the additions?

Great Timing

Call this great timing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rejoinder to my previous blog. Is why I quote below. See also this in lgf.

New York Times

The Pope’s Words

Published: September 16, 2006

There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”

In the most provocative part of a speech this week on “faith and reason,” the pontiff recounted a conversation between an “erudite” Byzantine Christian emperor and a “learned” Muslim Persian circa 1391. The pope quoted the emperor saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Muslim leaders the world over have demanded apologies and threatened to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican, warning that the pope’s words dangerously reinforce a false and biased view of Islam. For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence. And they denounce its perversion by extremists, who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.

The Vatican issued a statement saying that Benedict meant no offense and in fact desired dialogue. But this is not the first time the pope has fomented discord between Christians and Muslims.

In 2004 when he was still the Vatican’s top theologian, he spoke out against Turkey’s joining the European Union, because Turkey, as a Muslim country was “in permanent contrast to Europe.”

A doctrinal conservative, his greatest fear appears to be the loss of a uniform Catholic identity, not exactly the best jumping-off point for tolerance or interfaith dialogue.

The world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. He needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal.

Frank Malilong

This time (many times now), I agree with him.

Did the Pope Apologize?

This is Fr. Jonathan on the Pope's apology...

September 18, 2006

Did the Pope Apologize?

Contrary to many media reports, Pope Benedict XVI did not apologize on Sunday for his September 12 discourse at the University of Regensburg. He did not retract his words, and did not say he regretted his speech. Unless, of course, you consider an apology his expression of remorse that some misunderstood him, took offense, and reacted violently and irrationally, thus proving, ironically, the accuracy of his original thesis; that cultural dialogue is a pipedream unless all sides reject religiously-motivated violence.

I can understand the journalistic misread. Many surely think that Benedict, as a German intellectual, must be as hard to understand as Heidegger, Hegel, or Kant. Maybe they skipped the reading and took the easy road of juicy sound bites. But Benedict is no typical German intellectual. He's so smart, and his thought is so refined, that he can be simple, profound, and precise at the same time. What he says, in its full context, is what he means, and much to the consternation of those who would like to offer their altogether unique interpretation, there is no need for fancy hermeneutics.

After a year and a half of a low-key pontificate, Pope Benedict finds himself on center stage. He didn't mean to make a debut. That's not the way he is. Shy by nature and strong by faith, his meek demeanor reflects the kind of rare, humble soul that is most comfortable in absolute obscurity — but stands up nicely and fearlessly in the spotlight when the mission so demands.

Those who begged for a retraction from the pontiff for his supposed explosive words, including Muslim fundamentalists and the New York Times, don't know Pope Benedict. Perhaps they thought his academic discourse on the relationship between faith and reason, in which the example of Islamic fundamentalism was a small part, had been pieced together by an out-of-touch Vatican bureaucracy. Or more likely, perhaps they never read it.

Equally outlandish were the pundits who said Pope Benedict's "gaffe" should be overlooked as a well-intentioned public relations blunder committed by a pope still wet behind the ears. To my amazement, once-harsh critics of John Paul II now gushed with praise over the late pope's "spotless record of inter-religious dialogue" as they invited "Pope Ratzinger" (arguably John Paul II's closest friend and theological bosom buddy) to try to call up distant memories of his predecessor and learn from him a thing or two.

With so many examples of media hubris, some may have missed the irony of this weekend's violent protests. In the name of Islam, angry Muslims in the Middle East torched papal effigies and Christian churches. These were violent protests against anyone who would dare call them or their religion violent. The senselessness reached new heights when gunmen killed a Catholic nun with four bullets in the back of the head. It was a fitting "thank you" to a woman who was dedicating her life to the sick and dying in a hospital in Somalia. Her patients, of course, were mostly Muslim.

But these were street folk, kids. With a little graciousness, we could chalk up their shameless behavior to ignorance. It would be a stretch to think they had read the Arabic translation of Pope Benedict's speech to German professors.

It is harder to find excuses for grown-ups. The Pakistani parliament led the way on Friday by condemning Pope Benedict. However, they avoided any comment on the Pope's central thesis: that violence and religion don't mix — not because Christianity says so, but because it flows from the very nature of God. Heads of state, including the president of Iran and the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Turkey, jumped on the bandwagon with equally hollow condemnations, bereft of any intellectual rigor. Instead, they stuck to ad hominem talking points.

Get ready. Today we will read self-congratulatory reports by journalists everywhere that the Pope finally changed his mind. The pressure, they will say, was just too much for this aging man who found himself with no other alternative than to offer a resounding "mea culpa." But by doing so, they will prove, once again, Benedict's intellectual clarity and spiritual honesty was, for them, too much to digest.

Yes, the Pope is "deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address," as he said on Sunday, but he is equally firm in reiterating his original challenge to all of us, of all faiths, to reject all forms of religiously-motivated violence. Don't believe it because I said it. Pope Benedict speaks just fine for himself, "The true meaning of my address, in its totality, was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect."

And in the meantime, we're still waiting for political and religious leaders in the Middle East to take up the Pope's challenge, and to do so unapologetically.

God bless, Father Jonathan

Monday, September 18, 2006

How angry can they get?

Picked-up from Michelle.

Going around Qaeda-friendly sites

The script in red calls for the Pope's beheading. The rest of the translation:

"Swine and servant of the cross, worships a monkey on a cross, hateful evil man, stoned Satan, may Allah curse him, blood-sucking vampire."

Pope Benedict XVI and some Muslims

The very fruitful homecoming for Pope Benedict XVI to his home province Bavaria was spoiled (a little, I must say) by his QUOTED words in one of his last speeches in Germany. These quotes so angered some Muslims -- at least, the ones who felt threatened precisely by his caution against Islamic extremism or Islamism. When he said that he was very upset at the misunderstanding of the quotes through a spokesman, these same Muslims wanted him to apologize in person. When he did apologize (during his Sunday angelus homily from Castegandolfo, even if I thought he shouldn't have, but hey, he's the Pope), still they don't let it rest. A friend asks, "What do they want him to do? Kneel down and bleed? (Like) Christ did (?)"

Methinks, MSM played this one irresponsibly.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Al-Dura trial

The Al-Dura trial starts September 14.  What Al-Dura trial?  Refresh you rmemory here.  Apparently, France2 is suing for defamation.  This blog will follow the trial.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Peggy Noonan

Read Peggy Noonan on her 9/11 commemoration. It's worthwhile, very worthwhile, read.

And, congratulations MASHA for winning the US Open 6-4, 6-4. Shriek all you can! A win's a win! No longer a one-slam wonder girl.

Why not?

They complain. I don't understand. But this is America.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Semis jinx

Masha's got over the Grand Slam semis jinx. She next faces Justine in the finals of the US Open 06!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bill Maher

BTW, Bill Maher is a comedian. His site is here. He is a comedian. Should we believe what he said to Larry King last week, about the intelligent media?

The source or the writer/editor

I read Sunstar's Gensan story of September 7. I had heard of the strike vote at Dole from my Dad, who retired from Dole in 1993, but still resides in the Dole area. My younger brother works for Dole. So this interests me very much.

The writer quoted NAFLU-KMU's Tony Pascual saying that their economic demands will amount to PhP2B, about 1% of Dole's annual net profit.

I thought Mr. Pascual was pretty much exaggerating. No one earns that much. I thought the writer (there was no byline, so maybe it was "praise release"?). I believe the writer or the editor should have checked Mr. Pacual's statement before writing or publishing the story.

I cannot believe Dole can earn PhP 200B in one year (1% of annual profit, as the story says). Can you? No way, just cannot believe.

With limited time to ask for figures, I did an internet search. The PhP 200B could probably be close to Dole Food Company, Inc.'s ANNUAL REVENUES. Dole Food Company Inc. is the mother company of Dole Philippines. DFCI has operations in about 20 countries and had revenues of USD5.3B in 2004.

I also learned that Dolefil's NET PROFIT was PhP 239M out of PhP5.7B revenues in 1998.

It is statistically impossible for Dolefil to have revenues, much less, profit, in the amount Mr. Pascual says or the writer quotes. It is not unbelievable that Dolefil has said no to the union's demands.

Was Mr. Pascual very believable when he said this? or na-ilad ba si writer? As Bill Maher said (sorry this is not verbatim, but what I can only remember) to Larry King on CNN, media are supposed to be more intelligent. Sadly this story appears here as well.

Ambulance attack evidence stands the test?

When in a hole, don't dig. Sarah Smiles says this. But Andrew Bolt doesn't flinch.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Only in the Philippines

Inquirer says this, in particular below:

Day of the Disappeared

The leftist Bagong Alyansang Makabayan also announced yesterday that it would observe the International Day of the Disappeared with a prayer gathering (highlights mine) at Plaza Miranda in Manila.

Organizers are preparing flowers for each of the 700 victims of political killings and 100 who have disappeared. The Inquirer counts 247 assassinations. With reports from Christian V. Esguerra, Norman Bordadora and Luige A. del Puerto

Yup, we have here leftists who pray (a friend asks, Who do they pray to? They actually pray? Rally ra na, bay.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Look who we have here"

With the fauxtography scandals, I went out to read Greg Mitchell here and here. "Kawawa naman the other photojournalists in the war front," I told myself, "if a few racketeers want their 15 minutes of fame, at the expense of the hardworking ones." Let not a few apples spoil the pie (although seriously I won't even take a bite).

BUT, here's what I found out about Greg, as he so says himself. He says he got away with it. I doubt that. If his being editor of E&P is getting away with it, then maybe he did get away with it -- better to steer clear of E&P then. Okay, maybe it was just once. But I don't think I'll even have the courage to taste his apple pie.

Reuters says it was attacked

Now why am I not so convinced that this truly happened?
The answer is Powerline's. With an update.

Andre' (the Giant)

On what is his last Grand Slam tournament, Andre Agassi took 3½ hoursto beat Andrei Pavel 6-7 (4), 7-6 (8), 7-6 (6), 6-2 to move into the second round of the 2006 US Open.

Look who's broken what

Another one of those who broke a bone like me in a similar accident: Matthew Broderick
Almost like him. Definitely, pretty much, like her.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Boys learn more from men and girls learn more from women.

Study: Teacher's gender affects learning
By BEN FELLER AP Education Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — For all the differences between the sexes, here's one that might stir up debate in the teacher's lounge: Boys learn more from men and girls learn more from women.

That's the upshot of a provocative study by Thomas Dee, an associate professor of economics at Swarthmore College and visiting scholar at Stanford University. His study was to appear Monday in Education Next, a quarterly journal published by the Hoover Institution.

Vetted and approved by peer reviewers, Dee's research faces a fight for acceptance. Some leading education advocates dispute his conclusions and the way in which he reached them.

But Dee says his research supports his point, that gender matters when it comes to learning. Specifically, as he describes it, having a teacher of the opposite sex hurts a student's academic progress.

"We should be thinking more carefully about why," he said.

Dee warns against drawing fast conclusions based on his work. He is not endorsing single-sex education, or any other policy.

Rather, he hopes his work will spur more research into gender's effect and what to do about it.

His study comes as the proportion of male teachers is at its lowest level in 40 years. Roughly 80 percent of teachers in U.S. public schools are women.

Dee's study is based on a nationally representative survey of nearly 25,000 eighth-graders that was conducted by the Education Department in 1988. Though dated, the survey is the most comprehensive look at students in middle school, when gender gaps emerge, Dee said.

He examined test scores as well as self-reported perceptions by teachers and students.

Dee found that having a female teacher instead of a male teacher raised the achievement of girls and lowered that of boys in science, social studies and English.

Looked at the other way, when a man led the class, boys did better and girls did worse.

The study found switching up teachers actually could narrow achievement gaps between boys and girls, but one gender would gain at the expense of the other.

Dee also contends that gender influences attitudes.

For example, with a female teacher, boys were more likely to be seen as disruptive. Girls were less likely to be considered inattentive or disorderly.

In a class taught by a man, girls were more likely to say the subject was not useful for their future. They were less likely to look forward to the class or to ask questions.

Dee said he isolated a teacher's gender as an influence by accounting for several other factors that could affect student performance. But his study is sure to be scrutinized.

"The data, as he presents them, are far from convincing," said Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center, which works to advance the progress of women.

Greenberger said she found Dee's conclusions to be questionable and inconsistent. More broadly, she said, boys and girls benefit by having male and female teachers as role models.

"I don't think there are many parents or students, looking back over their educational careers, who haven't been inspired by a teacher of the opposite sex," she said.

"And many have had very unhappy experiences with teachers of the same gender that they are. We have to be careful of too many generalizations," Greenberger said.

Student success cannot be narrowed to the gender of the teacher, said Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers' union.

Experienced teachers, good textbooks, smaller class sizes and modern equipment all influence how boys and girls do in class, Weaver said.

"Students benefit by having exposure to teachers who look like them, who can identify with their culture ... but this is just one variable among many," Weaver said.

Dee said his research raises valid questions.

Should teachers get more training about the learning styles of boys and girls? Should they be taught to combat biases in what they expect of boys and girls?

In the nature-nurture debate, he said, teacher gender belongs.

"Some people will react strongly to this," he said. "But I've taken pains to explain that we need to be cautious about drawing policy conclusions. As provocative as this all might seem, I really haven't gotten that much negative feedback."


Tiger's fourth win

Tiger wins play-off against Cink at Bridgestone, at the fourth hole. This puts Tiger 5th on the PGA all-tme win list.

Fox News journalists freed

Fox's Centanni and Wiig were freed by their captors.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Group H

ACMilan are the top seed in Group H in the first phase of this year's Champions League, together with Lille, AEK Athens, and Anderlecht. Chelsea and Barca are again (for the third time) in the same group.

"Is the media that gullible -- or does it have a political bias? Either way, its credibility has now been lost."

Is the media that gullible -- or does it have a political bias? Either way, its credibility has now been lost.
Find out why?

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Have heard of her for sometime, but only got the chance to read her recently: Colleen Caroll Campbell.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Missing journalists and funny money

Fox News's Steve Centanni and freelance cameraman Olaf Wiig are still missing for about a week now since their abduction in Gaza.

Many MSM and CNN showed the Hezbollah giving up to USD 12K for families in South Lebanon. Yup, USD. Fact is, the Hezbollah have also been called Cashbollah or Hezdollars for using counterfeit USD's. Were those real USD's handed over? Was it made-for-tv spot again? Were the MSM duped again to broadcast and write about the generosity of the Hezbollah?

Conspiracy. (?)


This time it's the result of the ACM vs Red Star Belgrade in their second match in Champions League play. Pippo Inzaghi headed home on the 28th and Clarence Seedorf added a second at the 79th.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tiger wins again

Tiger wins his 12th major, a win by four strokes at the PGA Championships in Medinah.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Nope, this isn't the score of the Rossoneri against Red Star Belgrade in Champions League play. That will still be next week.

This is the PGMA impeachment drama. The justice committee determining the sufficiency of substance of the second impeachment try against PGMA voted 56-24 to quash the complaint. The plenary will vote whether to accept the decision or or not. I think that if the supporters of the impeachment bid in the gallery were more respectful, the voting would have been closer. They cannot win the hearts of the congressmen this way.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady

Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. Pope Benedict XVI last year said:

Mary is taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, and with God and in God she is Queen of heaven and earth. And is she really so remote from us?

The contrary is true. Precisely because she is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us.

While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually, "within" all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a "mother" to whom we can turn at every moment.

She always listens to us, she is always close to us, and being Mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and in his goodness. We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother, who is not far from any one of us.

I was looking for a picture I had beside the early 17th century marble rendition of the Assumption at Sta. Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome (by Bernini, who happens to be named Pietro -- rough translation: Peter), but could not find it as of this blogging. What's important is this work of art:

It's a holiday in Rome, too. Perhaps the Holy Father will celebrate Mass or give a homily in Castelgandolfo (as he did last year).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Kadayawan sa Davao

Davao celebrates its Kadayawan Festival this week. Something new about this year's Kadayawan is the Hiyas sa Kadayawan. What used to be a beauty and brains pageant for women is now considered a gender-free search for the festival symbol.
Check this website or the news.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

46 errors

Masha at JP Morgan Chase had 46 errors in a 7-5, 6-2 loss to Elena Dementieva in an all-Russian semifinal.
So what?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"Fauxtography" alert: NYTimes and USNews

It seems that there is much "Fauxtography" going on at NYT and USN. Why resort to this? What's the agenda?
This is an example.

Look who exposes this (August 8 posting, and earlier).

Is Cebu's (RP's) MSM into this? Hope not.

Update (10Aug): Apparently NYT had a correction to the caption. But still, many questions need to be answered. See this.