Hunting Hunter. About six weeks ago I told you about Hunter Rogers, a North Carolina high school student who videotaped his teacher threatening him for allegedly being disrespectful toward Barack Obama. The teacher, Tanya Dixon-Neely, was suspended with pay. She has since been told that she can keep her job. No surprise there. The sad part of this episode is this: Rogers has become the subject of threats and harassment from students and the school. And to add injury to insult, though the school reinstated the teacher, it suspended Rogers for videotaping in the classroom. Gary Bauer said this about the incident: "It's OK to videotape cops roughing up someone without knowing anything else about what happened before that incident. Those folks are hailed as heroes. The Occupy Wall Street movement constantly videotaped the police, hoping to intimidate them. But a kid who videotapes his teacher trying to indoctrinate a class with false information about Barack Obama gets punished."
The few, the proud. This old U.S. Marines Corps recruiting slogan got a new meaning on June 25 when the military held its first "gay pride" event at the Pentagon. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the increasing acceptance of homosexuals in the military is having a corrosive effect on our armed forces. "There have been signs of discontent with the situation," she said, citing a U.S. Army study on stress and sex-crime trends. "What makes our military strong are the intangibles-dedication to the mission, selfless service, putting the mission ahead of individual interests. If you have a faction that says, 'It's about me, me, us, us,' that's inherently divisive."
A-cross the world. Forty-four years ago, Arthur Blessitt decided to pick up his cross and follow Jesus-literally. He started carrying a 12-foot cross on a round-the-world walk, sharing the gospel with people as he went. He's long since completed his circumnavigation, but at age 71 he keeps on walking. On June 25, Blessitt reached 40,000 miles, which he claims (and I believe) is the longest walk in history. He reached the milestone in the town of Whitehorse in Canada's Yukon Territory. On the occasion, Blessitt said, "I am so excited, Jesus did it. Through 44 years, 54 wars, jungles, deserts, arrested 24 times, and about 80 million steps, I feel great! Not an ache or a pain." During the walk he has carried the cross in 320 nations, many of which don't exist anymore. MSN.com has called his walk "one of the top 10 incredible travel feats" of all time. He recently launched a portion of his cross into space, which is now orbiting the earth every 90 minutes.
No. 2 pencils observe moment of silence. You've probably never heard the name Michael Sokolski, but if you've ever taken a standardized test with a No. 2 pencil, you know his work. Sokolski is the man who invented the Scantron test format. He died on June 13 of congestive heart failure at age 85. His memorial was held yesterday in Southern California. According to his obituary in the Orange County Register, Sokolski was born in Poland in 1926, but left at age 16 after his house was bombed and his mother killed during World War II. He served as a tank driver in the Polish Forces. Following his time in the military, he moved to the United States and became a U.S. citizen in 1963, eventually settling in Southern California. Sokolski founded Scantron in 1972. The Scantron forms revolutionized test taking. Sokolski held a number of patents relating to his creation. In his free time, he sailed, like to fish, and flew as a private pilot.
Government expansion. All the talk yesterday of federal government expansion under Obamacare reminded me that this week we celebrate the anniversary of another massive government program, the Interstate Highway System. On this day 56 years ago, Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, also known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, into law. The original authorization was for $25 billion for the construction of 41,000 miles of interstate highways, supposedly over a 10-year period. The project ended up costing $500 billion (in 2008 dollars). It took more than 25 years to complete, and is now under constant renovation. It is, by some estimates, the largest public works project in the history of the world. There's no doubt that it made transportation easier and is a boost to commerce, but the building, maintenance, and administration of the roads expanded the role of government and destroyed thousands of neighborhoods, especially urban cores, many of which have never recovered. It seems to me that both big-government liberals and limited-government conservatives could learn a lot by studying the history of the Interstate Highway System.