Results unfavorable? Dismiss the facts.

“Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing—the rest is mere sheep-herding.”
—Ezra Pound

It is with particular irony that I respond to this particular reader.

The short version is that after Right Hook won a Nevada Press Association Award—Best Non-Staff Column, Class V—I got flamed from some less-than-happy consumers of This Place.

Fair enough. Call it an occupational hazard that comes with dealing with the conservatively challenged crowd. (Or perhaps just the plain obnoxious?) I shouldn’t have to point out, though, that those who don’t care for the opinions expressed herein can always avoid this Place rather than disparage the columnist’s honor, intelligence or parental lineage.

Those who tread on should consider this: Disappointment at not receiving a personal response from yours truly suggests counseling from Dr. Phil is in order. And, those seeking personal response—assuming their remarks get through my spam filter, of course—might muster up enough intestinal fortitude to be civil. While it may be true that my father was never married to my mother, is that terribly relevant?

This particular reader chose to protest. To be precise, he complained about my particular award to the powers that be who awarded it. I suppose the First Amendment to the United States Constitution gives him that right. Still, it appears some people have a lot to complain about, protesting animal degradation, homelessness, the war in Iraq, immigration, global warming, gum on their shoes—and yours truly. (That First Amendment is a real bear when it’s me, huh?) Although perhaps this individual missed a rather salient point—apparently my award was an aberration, but the 27 others awarded to this publication were not?

I wonder if comparisons between my column and other less conservative columns might also help explain why conservative talk radio has been so successful and Air America Radio went bankrupt. Twice.

It’s also an axiom that conservative talk radio—unlike its hapless protégé—has a willing and able audience—people commuting to and from a place of work. I’ve often thought that certain others have invested their time and abilities in “protest” as opposed to improving their job skills.

And this perhaps brings me to the news du jour. It seems the Associated Press has announced that nine Washoe County Schools were labeled “dropout factories.”

As I understand it, the dropout factories are schools where less than 60 percent of 9th graders made it to the 12th grade.

Predictably, the powers-that-be who run said schools, labeled the report “suspect” because it didn’t consider the Nevada’s high transient rate. They also called it an apples-and-oranges comparison.

The report is misleading by not using accurate information to track dropout rates, or so sayeth Gloria Dopf, deputy superintendent for the Nevada Department of Education.

OK. I get the part about questioning the study that gets one’s underwear in a bunch. Where’s the part in which one cites facts to support one’s own conclusions?

This one, for example: “The Nevada Education Department Annual Reports of Accountability statewide graduation rate for the year is 67.5 percent,” according to the Reno Gazette-Journal report.

Perhaps its cause is the lack of a “living wage” for educators that I hear so much about? The point, lest it be lost, is that perhaps a couple of parents involved in a child’s life is more important than, say, a government-sponsored program?

It’s just a thought but, maybe, just maybe, the reason that the better schools are in affluent areas is because those with an education understand the value of one.

This, perhaps, brings us back to Ezra Pound’s assertion.