Friday, January 23, 2015

CC's To Provide BA's? That's BS.

In all honesty I have yet to take a position on this new situation:
Bachelor’s degrees in mortuary work, ranch management and consumer technology design will soon be coming to California community colleges.

Under legislation signed last fall by Gov. Jerry Brown, the system’s governing board on Tuesday tentatively approved four-year degree programs at 15 community college campuses that will be introduced over the next three academic years.

“This is an historic day in our system,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris said.

Changing technology and educational expectations have driven employers in fields such as dental hygiene, respiratory therapy and automotive technology – which once required only two-year associate degrees – to seek workers with a baccalaureate.
In general, whenever there's a big change I take the statistics approach to hypothesis testing:  assume the status quo and look for strong evidence that it is not "correct"; in other words, I want to be convinced beforehand that a major change is going to be beneficial.  For whatever reason, though, this isn't ticking me off, so I guess I'll take a "wait and see" approach to determine if this change is or isn't worthwhile.

My initial impression is that this is silly and not the way to go, but I don't know if that's me being right or me just being curmudgeonly :-)

Important Anniversaries

Tomorrow if the 50th anniversary of the death of one of the greatest men of the 20th century, Winston Churchill.

Today is the 10th anniversary of my first blog post, almost 10,000 posts ago.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Team Victory

During our scheduled and mandated "collaboration time" today our social sciences department organized a trivia challenge.  I missed last year's but was looking forward to this year's.

I got to the library early and one of our bright English teachers was there.  I offered to join up with her but was given the cold shoulder--we have our own pretty tight-knit group already, she said, since they'd won together last year.  And with that it was on.  I started assembling a team, calling ourselves Team Victory.

Thirty questions on a variety of topics, no multiple choice.  When the scores were tallied we didn't feel like we'd wrapped ourselves in glory, scoring only 19 questions right out of 30, but it was enough to take 1st Place.

I love the smell of ink on paper in the afternoon.  It smells like...victory  :-)

"Free" Community College

Joanne's post hits the nail on the head:
College is too late, writes New York Times columnist Frank Bruni in response to President Obama’s call for free community college in the State of the Union speech. Subsidizing tuition won’t help if students aren’t ready to do college-level work.
And Common Core isn't going to get students ready to do college-level math anyway:

"The speaker is Jason Zimba, one of the three drafters of the Common Core math standards. The questioner is Dr. Sandra Stotsky. This exchange took place at a meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on March 23, 2010. As you will hear, Dr. Zimba admits not only that the CC math standards aren't designed to prepare students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) studies, but also that they're not designed to get a student into any selective college, even in a non-STEM discipline."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why I Didn't Listen To The State of the Union Address

I've heard the guy speak enough times, I know what he's going to say before he even says it.  And I know how he's going to say it, too.  This blogger calls it pretty much as I predicted:
No, I did not watch Obama’s State Of The Union speech. I haven’t bothered with most of his SOTU campaign speeches, nor do I bother watching any of his speeches. They are a raft of campaign speeches, replete with lies, half truths, and insults aimed at those who disagree with him. He typically calls for bipartisanship, for working together, then goes on to taunt and denigrate Republicans. He did that again last night. The Weekly Standard refers to the speech as “defiant“. And four Associated Press writers had to sit through his speech and fact check it...
When a news service I've periodically referred to as al-AP points out that the president isn't entirely honest/accurate, well, that means he's a freakin' liar, and I'm not one to suffer liars.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Idiots Should Have Known Better--And Freedom Is Lucky Only To Have A Near Miss

Six weeks ago I wrote about how the Alabama legislature, run by Republicans, was planning on credentialing only the "institutional press" to cover their proceedings.  Defining who is and isn't a journalist is not a conservative concept and, well, they tried to do it anyway, and did a darn poor job of it:
Here's Alabama's proposed official press credential policy...

Notice how much emphasis is placed on being paid and working for incumbent media outlets. This wording gives incumbent media preference over upstarts and quite possibly means those whose platforms aren't instantly recognizable by legislators will be deemed "non-press" and denied access.

Also notice how much information journalists will need to provide in exchange for a press pass. If you want to cover the Alabama legislature, you'll need to prove that you're a salaried employee of one of the entities on the "approved" list. Maybe something on official letterhead will be good enough for the legislature. Or maybe it's suggesting you bring a pay stub or two with you and a portfolio of your work (... and financial statements verifying your employer has subscribers, still in business, etc...). And God forbid you hold a part-time job with any "person, firm, corporation or association" that "attempts to influence legislative issues," but still attempt to "certify" that you have no connection to myriad entities listed in the "forbidden connections" section. You can kiss your credentials goodbye. And this part of the list about forbidden connections -- "or political party" -- suggests journalists are better off not registering to vote.

Beyond that, there's the weird stipulation that those receiving press credentials will need to be "engaged primarily in reporting the sessions of the legislature. (And be able to prove it.)
Anyone see any potential problems, any possible ways to abuse such a system? Fortunately, the disinfecting powers of sunlight brought enough of those legislators from both parties to their senses, according to this leftie web site:
Update 1/14/2015: The Alabama Legislature "declined" to change the rules for journalists yesterday, with senators from both parties objecting & warning of possible unintended consequences. Amazing how the bright light of media attention helps to bring sanity to the chamber!
Freedom of the press dodged a bullet last week.  And I'll celebrate this win along with that crazy leftie blogger!

This blog?  This blog is the press spoken of in the Constitution, along with the institutional press.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Statuary Hall, Liberal First Amendment Concern, and Today's Holiday--And How They All Relate

Several years ago I got a tour of the US Capitol, and one of the highlights was Statuary Hall.  In the Hall each state contributes two statues of prominent people from that state; California's are Father Junipero Serra, who founded the California missions, and the Reverend Starr-King, a minister whom President Lincoln credited with helping keep California in the Union during the Civil War.

I was the first person my tour guide had ever encountered who know who Starr-King was, which explains why every once in awhile there's talk of replacing his statue with Ronald Reagan.  As long as California remains a dystopian "paradise", though, that will never happen.  But it's still interesting to see two men noted for their religions memorialized by California.

I read at Joanne's blog that Serra is soon to be canonized by the Pope:
Serra was no saint, writes my friend Elias Castillo in A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions, will be published in a few weeks. “The missions were death camps where more than 60,000 Indian workers died, many as a result of whippings, disease, and malnutrition.”

“I”m astounded,” he told the San Jose Mercury News. “For the Vatican, which has apologized for how the Indians were treated, to now canonize one of their great monsters?”

It does seem rather odd, doesn't it?  Actually, it seems rather odd for both California (Statuary Hall) and for the Catholic Church.

7-1/2 years ago I was in an almost-ghost-town in California's Gold Country and came upon this:
(click to enlarge)

A year later I made my visit to Statuary Hall.  I didn't take pictures of California's statues, as no one on the planet would recognize Serra or Starr-King anyway.  And while I enjoyed Hawaii's King Kamehameha, I took a picture of only one statue in there:

Joanne has an author friend who wrote this book:

So that's how this post all comes together.

Have a great day.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Are You Kidding Me?

I just watched the 2nd lecture for my current (6th of 10) master's class, History of Math, and the instructor said that the textbook readings in the syllabus are not required.  They're great background information but...

Are you kidding me?  I paid over $100 on Amazon for a used copy of that book!  What the heck?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

What's Good For The Goose

I wonder if those liberals who today clamor for "self-censorship" in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, who say that we in the West mustn't mock, criticize, or antagonize religions or their beliefs or adherents--and who seem to imply that the French paper "had it coming"--I wonder if those same people are criticizing these two for doing this:
Now Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, has taken another leap of confidence - and likely controversy - by proposing to his longtime love from what is renowned as one of the holiest Catholic sites.

Sam confirmed his engagement to college sweetheart Vito Cammisano on Twitter on Friday and posted a photo of himself getting on bended knee at St. Peters Basilica - one of the largest church's in the world - in Vatican City.
From the article:

Looks like the Vatican has raised the bars (literally!) since I went in 2012:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Smashing A Liberal Talking Point

Wait...Libs let illegal immigrants get a license, but say it's too hard to get one & oppressive for citizens to have one when they vote? OK

Good Idea, Or Not?

Arizona requires that graduating high school students pass a civics test of 100 questions with a passing score of 60.

I see a lot of good that could come out of this, but I also see a down side.  What do you think, good or bad?  And while we're on the subject, are high school exit exams good or bad?

Is this requirement a way to "compel" kids to learn something, or is it an admission of failure?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Trigger Warnings, Microaggression, and the Permanently Aggrieved

Joanne has it all in this post.  I'm reposting the entire text, click on the link to see the video she included.
Universities should issue a one-time “trigger warning,” says Jonathan Rauch, author of Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought. At any moment, you may be exposed to ideas you find shocking, offensive, obnoxious, absurd, racist, sexist, homophobic or generally obnoxious. It’s called “education,” he says.

Not “microaggression.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gender Charts

Check out Professor Mark Perry's charts:
#1 US Rape Rate--It's been going down for 15 years.
#2 Rape/Sexual Assault of Young Females--First, 1 in 5 college women are not being raped or sexually assaulted.  Second, since the rate for students is less than the rate for non-students, why is the left talking making such an issue out of assaults on campus?
#3 1 in 52 College Women Have Been Victims of Sexual Assault or Rape--yes, that's more than it should be, but why inflate the number by a factor of 10?
#4 The 1-in-5 claim can't possibly be true, because...
#5 For the 1-in-5 claim to be true...
#6 Gender Pay Gap At The White House--maybe that is where Obama gets his facts and figures.
#7 Occupational Fatalities By Gender--talk about female privilege.
#8 2014 SAT Math Scores By Gender--maybe, just maybe, that 30 point difference is telling us something.
#9 2014 SAT Math, Male/Female Ratios By Test Score
#10 College Classes of 2014--many more women are getting degrees than men.