Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama would get his butt kicked

From the Boston Herald: I bowl just for fun. The last time I bowled, I think I scored a 245. I actually could kick the president’s butt at bowling. But I wouldn’t make fun of him if I did. -- Colin Davidson, Special Olympics Athlete

My friend M., of Kenny Chesney concert-going adventures, is quite an accomplished bowler.
She's also a special olympian. Would she take Obama down? Probably. Most definitely on the wii but she could put up a good fight at the bowling alley. She has use of one hand and arm, has heavy leg braces, and sees out of 1/2 of one eye. And she had a hemisphere of her brain removed at 3 months old.

And she would bowl a good game with him. We used to bowl a game or two on Sundays, then I'd sit down and she'd bowl one or two more by herself. I miss her terribly now that I've moved.

Today, I am here at my house because I didn't get to go with my Special Olympics basketball team to state competition. My girls didn't get to go to state because they lost two hard-fought games at districts. I won't play with my girls. They kick my butt. I'm scared of their speed and power and determination.

The point isn't that Special Olympics athletes are lousy bowlers and that Obama meant to be self-depreciating. The point is that some Special Olympics athletes are lousy bowlers. Some are awesome. And -- it doesn't matter as much as people think it might. Even Obama's apology indicated that he was making fun of himself by saying he couldn't bowl, like a Special Olympics athlete he presumes can't bowl either.

To be fair, with his 129, he could comfortably kick the butt of a great many athletes I know. But there would be many that would present a pretty good challenge (see the story from Slate below). And like Mr. Davidson above, most, I hope, would have the good grace to not make fun of someone less fortunate, like Mr. Obama. We know that worth is not measured in bowling scores or any other perceived ability, but in the content of our character, to quote MLK, or to paraphrase the Special Olympics oath, the bravery in attempting the win.

Is Barack Obama Good Enough To Bowl at the Special Olympics?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another case of state school abuse

This time from Texas:

From the Houston Chronicle:
"Football star Michael Vick got 23 months for arranging dogfights.

What should the punishment be for staffers at the Corpus Christi State School if they are found guilty of entertaining themselves by arranging unwilling fights between severely mentally disabled residents?" (read more)
One of the most telling quotes:

"The U.S. Department of Justice recently declared the treatment of residents in Texas state schools to be so bad as to be unconstitutional. Last year the system itself confirmed 570 cases of abuse and neglect among the 13 schools, amounting to well more than one incident for every 10 residents.

This and the latest scandal are symptoms of a sick system. And, as usual, one of the problems is money.

We’re told that none of the apparent perpetrators of the Corpus Christi gladiator shows was a supervisor. That probably means all were “mental retardation assistants,” staffers who deal directly with residents around the clock.

Beginners in that position are paid $1,711 a month. If you work hard and stay at it, you can work yourself all the way up to $1,970.

In other words, many are eligible for food stamps."

Words fail.