Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Nice Little Break

I took a couple days off and went to Reno.  Lost a little money, ate some good food, enjoyed not having a care in the world.


Back to work on Monday!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Grade Inflation

I'm against grade inflation.  I'm against a full grade point bump for taking Advanced Placement or Honors-designated classes in high school.  Who do you think you're fooling, anyway?  You think that 4+ GPA is going to fool any university?  Dang near every one of them runs your transcript through their GPA-calculating process, and that's how they compare you to other candidates.  Transcripts in my district have so many GPA's on them:  unweighted, weighted, UC-weighted, et al.

Do you work at a high school?  Have you ever heard kids say that they take a particular course just for the "grade bump"?  I have.  It's sad.

It drives me nuts.  You're only fooling yourself.  Here's a prominent example:
TMZ reports:

David has been rejected by the 4 University of California campuses where he submitted applications -- UCLA, UCSD, UCSB and UC Irvine. He says the rejection letters came 2 weeks ago. He has a 4.2 GPA and an SAT score of 1270.
1270 is slightly above the average SAT score for UC Irvine. 
4.2 GPA and a 1270 SAT is a serious mismatch. And we're talking about David Hogg here, he of the Foul Mouth Brigade from the Florida shooting.  Does he come across to you as intelligent in the least?  (Well, perhaps in the least!)  Since we've all been bombarded with this kid, answer honestly:  which number do you believe is more representative of his smarts, the 4.2 or the 1270?  I know which one I'd put my money on.

Some see this kid as the face of the anti-gun left.  I see him as the face of grade inflation.  Neither one looks good.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Nice Try, But No

Here we go again, yet another article bemoaning how "boring" math is.
What do these four questions have in common?
1. Can all the children of Lake Wobegon be above average?
2. On average, do your friends on Facebook have more friends than you do?
3. Do credit cards make you gain weight?
4. How do I estimate distances to nearby stars?
They are all math questions for high school students. They differ from typical school math problems in that they are phenomenon-based and stated as real-world problems, not as math exercises. More and more educators these days are pushing for such phenomenon-based problems to engage the students, to get them excited about STEM, to advance their critical thinking skills, and to make math and science more fun.
You know what makes math more fun?  Being able to do it. After you've mastered decimals, fractions, percentages, multiplication tables, and positive and negative numbers, math becomes much more interesting.  A little number sense goes a long way.

I'll grant that the questions above can be interesting to pursue.  They're also time-consuming--and the people who pay the bills, the taxpayers, tell us through their elected representatives that we need to teach a rather wide body of information (just check out the high school common core standards).

Let's quickly go through the questions above.
#1:  It depends on what your population is.  Easily discussed and resolved in a couple minutes.  Next!
#2:  Isn't that rather easy to determine?  And we're talking about averages, certainly not anything high-level.
#3:  Silly.  More a sociology question than a math question.
#4:  K-12 students don't really have the background knowledge necessary even to start that one.

There, that didn't take long.

Certainly math can be put to uses more interesting to students, but a math class isn't the place to do that.  If you want to put math to social science uses, do that in social science class.  If you want to graph the lengths of words in Shakespeare's plays and relate that to either the vernacular of his day or that of ours, do that in English class.  Those might be fun explorations in math class, but they certainly can't drive the curriculum.  Neither can they be the primary form of pedagogy.  In a math class we need to teach math.  That doesn't mean that math must be the memorization of formulas and algorithms; on the contrary, that does as much a disservice to math education as does building a math class around the silly questions asked above.

Do you want to show math's utility?  Then do it outside of a math class!  Sure, good math teachers often show the applicability of what they teach, but the purpose of doing so is to show why we teach what we do.  It does inspire some interest in the topic.  But utility isn't why we teach what we do in high school.  For the vast majority of Americans, utility comes in elementary school math--in decimals, fractions, percentages, multiplication tables, and positive and negative numbers, and in number sense.  High school should be about going beyond that, about a little abstraction, about learning what the future can hold.  Heck, freshman algebra doesn't teach too much that's new; rather, it takes all those elementary school math concepts and combines them all into one problem!  Introductory Algebra is most students' first capstone course.

But I'll be honest, I'm tired of being told how to teach math by people who weren't (or aren't) good at math.  The author of the above post is on the other extreme of the spectrum--he's already mastered math, and he thinks people learn math the same way he understands its applications.  It's people like him who gave us the "new math" of the 60's and 70's, the creators of which seemed to believe that "if students could just learn about calculating in different bases and understand sets, everyone would see and understand the beauty of math and students would flourish".  Why was I calculating in base-7 in 5th grade???  Anyway, today, instead of set theory and different bases, the silver bullet to math education seems to be matrices--boy, if students could just understand those, they'd see and understand the beauty of math and....  Throw in a dash of so-called discovery learning, as the author at the above link did later in his article, and you've reached math education Shangri-La for many people.

The problem isn't that math is boring.  It can be taught in a boring way--so can any other subject.  What makes math problematic is that it's difficult and requires constant effort.  It's easier to look for excuses than to insist on effort.

No one suggests teaching music like this.  No one says that learning scales is too boring, that young musicians should dig into concertos.  No one suggests coaching football like this.  No one says that drills are too boring, that players should go straight to touchdown-making plays.  No one suggests that a student's first time behind the wheel should be during rush hour traffic.  In fact, I'm hard-pressed to come up with examples of areas outside of math where such recommendations are expected to be taken seriously.  Why do you think that is?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fighting At School

Injustice is something I just can't abide.

Too many times I've seen students unjustly suspended for fighting at school.  If an adult is attacked in the street, the law recognizes that right to self defense--do we expect less of children?  California education code doesn't, but I've had more than a few school administrators over the years tell me they can always find some reason to justify suspending both students in a fight.  I doubt that many people are attacked at school without some cause, but to me the issue is whether the attacked student did anything at school to merit being physically attacked.  As I said, California Education Code (Section 48900) agrees with me that students have the right to defend themselves:
ARTICLE 1. Suspension or Expulsion [48900 - 48927] ( Article 1 repealed and added by Stats. 1983, Ch. 498, Sec. 91. )

48900.

A pupil shall not be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion, unless the superintendent of the school district or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has committed an act as defined pursuant to any of subdivisions (a) to (r), inclusive:

(a) (1) Caused, attempted to cause, or threatened to cause physical injury to another person.

(2) Willfully used force or violence upon the person of another, except in self-defense...
It bothers me when administrators find some flimsy reason to suspend both students--in the name of fairness?--rather than doing what's right.

As shown above, California's law has been on the books for decades, but in my experience isn't enforced at all.  Georgia has a new Supreme Court ruling, perhaps victims there will be better off than those in California:
Georgia’s highest court took up an issue that has drastically altered the life trajectories of countless students, sending a message that they cannot be expelled for fighting if they can prove they acted in self-defense.

Under state law, it is not illegal to fight, as long as the blows are landed in self-defense. The Supreme Court observed that state law applies even in schools.

“Georgia’s self-defense law does not require a person to retreat when the person reasonably believes she is at risk of harm from another’s imminent use of unlawful force,” says the decision released Monday in a case initiated by an unnamed student who was expelled by Henry County Schools. The court did not radically alter the law, but set a precedent by ruling for the first time on a school disciplinary case, effectively putting school districts on notice...

“The impact for the state is that self-defense is an available defense for students in disciplinary matters,” he said. “That’s always been the law in Georgia. However, many school districts before this came out, like Henry County, ignored the law.” He said school boards across the state have “completely ruined” students’ future prospects by “willfully refusing to comply with the law.”
More very interesting details are at the link.

Monday, March 26, 2018

This Is The 21st Century I've Been Hoping For!

I hope it's everything they say, and then some:
Science has finally led us to one of the greatest innovations of humankind: ice cream that doesn’t melt quickly on a hot day. The secret, according to a new study? Banana plant waste.

Not only are researchers saying their new concoction will last longer, but it’s creamier and potentially even healthier than your typical frozen treat.

She Colorizes Historical Photographs

A friend sent me this link, and the artist is amazing:
One day I decided to combine my fascination with history and skill using Photoshop.  I started to restore and put color into photos that were originally black and white, allowing people to see history from a new and colorful perspective. Each photo is made to be realistic by recognizing the value behind each one of them, respecting and preserving their stories, paying attention to the finer details and maintaining their original essence. Every completed work has gone through long and in depth research, and is supported by the opinions of experts in each particular area if necessary, to faithfully reproduce the original colors and atmosphere. My work ranges from simple portraits to complex and detailed images, taken from various historical periods covering a wide range of topics.
From her About page.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

How Much Does Facebook Know About You?

This much:
Facebook stores almost every single interaction you've had with the social network since you joined, including every time you've logged in, ads you've clicked, events you've been invited to, a list of the people you follow, your friends, your hometown, every time you've sent or received a message, every single status update and more.

It's basically the history of everything you've done on Facebook. It's also the data that Facebook can use to learn more about you. When others get unauthorized access to this data, they can learn a lot about you as well, as we learned from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that's currently unfolding.

Here's how to see everything Facebook knows about you and how to download your own archive of that information. It might be useful, especially if you're planning to quit and take some of those memories with you.

You can download your own archive of this data from Facebook. Here's how:

Go to Facebook.com/settings
Tap "Download a copy of your Facebook data."
Tap "Download Archive."
It might take a few minutes, but Facebook will alert you when your archive is ready.
When it is, click "Download Archive" again, and a zip file will download to your computer.
Browse through that archive by opening each file inside the folder.

Again, what you'll find is that this is an entire history of your life on Facebook.

Arming Teachers

Here's the latest Gallup Poll on the subject:



  • 73% of teachers oppose teachers and staff carrying guns in schools




  • 58% say carrying guns in schools would make schools less safe




  • 18% would be willing to carry a gun in school buildings



  • Rather that considering just the feeeeeelz, what do the facts tell us? Teachers carrying firearms already exist in certain jurisdictions, what are the experiences in schools in those jurisdictions?  Utah is one such place.

    I don't want more uniformed cops in schools.  That's security theater, like the TSA.  A smart shooter would take out the armed cop first.

    Nevada had an idea, about 10 years ago, but funding dried up when the big recession hit.  Volunteer teachers could undergo law enforcement training, both in legalities as well as firearms handling.  Upon certification they would be reserve sheriff deputies, to be called into active service if the situation called for it.  They would be the first line of defense in the extremely unlikely event of a school shooting, and would stand down when full-time law enforcement arrived.  Paying such teachers a thousand or two dollars a year extra would certainly be much cheaper than paying for a full-time police officer, and would have the added benefit that their identities as reserve law enforcement officers would be unknown both to students, shooters, and other teachers.

    You're a fool if you think a hundred million Americans would surrender their legal firearms.  You're a bigger fool if you think that criminals would surrender theirs.  So if you're overly concerned about the extremely unlikely event of a school shooter at a particular school, how would you recommend that state and local governments respond?  If you have a better idea than proposed above, I'd like to hear it.

    As an aside, do you support the FFDO program which, post-9/11, armed volunteer airline pilots?

    Update, 3/26/18:  It seems Texas already has such a program:
    Before we reflexively expend our political will for action on more futile gun laws, people should consider a Texas program that has already proven effective.

    Texas allows school districts to approve “marshals” or “guardians” as the last line of defense against a shooter. Under this program, faculty members volunteer to keep a firearm within reach in case the unthinkable happens. They undergo mental health screenings and rigorous firearm safety training — in some cases they are held to a higher standard than police officers.

    In an active shooter situation, law enforcement takes roughly three minutes to respond on a good day (through no fault of their own). It’s disturbing to consider the damage that can be inflicted in that amount of time. Only school marshals — who, contrary to the media portrayal, represent a select few trained and capable staff members — can deliver response times measured in seconds rather than minutes.

    Saturday, March 24, 2018

    This Would Be A Good Start

    Are our criminal laws biased against men, because the vast majority of people behind bars in this country are men?  A rational person would say no.  Then why are school suspensions racist, just because minority students are suspended more than white students?

    You don't get angels by turning a blind eye to misconduct.  The old policy hasn't done anything good, and President Trump is considering sending it to the trash heap where it belongs:
    The Trump administration plans this summer to scrap a controversial Obama-era discipline rule forced on schools to close racial gaps in suspensions and arrests but that critics say pressures educators to turn a blind eye to escalating bad behavior.

    The federal directive, issued jointly in 2014 by the US departments of Education and Justice, warned public school districts receiving federal funding — including New York City — that they could face investigation and funding cuts if they fail to reduce statistical “disparities” in discipline by race. On average, the administration noted, black students are suspended at three times the rate of their white peers.

    The directive also discourages student arrests and holds districts liable for the actions of “school resource officers … or other law enforcement personnel"...

    “The scope of it is breathtaking,” said Max Eden, an education policy expert and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

    He says surveys show schools serving predominantly minority students have been hit hardest by the resulting breakdown in discipline, with violence and chaos mushrooming out of control in urban districts.

    After Mayor de Blasio adopted the more lenient school-discipline standards in early 2015, including the recommended “restorative justice” counseling, “more schools saw fighting, disrespect, drugs, gang activity,” Eden said...

    While NYC school suspensions are down, crime has spiked in the city’s public schools, including major crimes such as robbery and arson, new NYPD data show. The current academic year has seen the first school murder in more than 20 years — a stabbing at a Bronx high school — and the first time a gun was fired inside a school in more than 15 years.


    The linked article discusses schools in New York City, Baltimore, Syracuse, Philadelphia, and Buffalo.  Minnesota is another sad example.

    Are minorities suspended at higher rates than whites because of racism?  Do minorities commit proportionally more offenses?  I don't know.  But what I do know is that failing to punish offenders doesn't do anyone any favors.  It certainly doesn't promote an environment conducive to good education.

    Socialism and Zeroes

    As I said in these two posts about hyperinflation, you have real economic problems if you have a lot of zeroes on your currency.  Venezuela is in deep economic peril, and their solution is not very creative:
    Venezuela's hyperinflation is driving the government loony-tunes. That's the only explanation I can think of for why the government of Nicolás Maduro has decided to lop off three zeroes from its currency, the bolivar, to fight, he says, "economic persecution" from Columbia.
    Standing in line to buy nonexistent products with worthless currency.  Ain't socialism grand?

    Thursday, March 22, 2018

    Perhaps A Post-Janus World Won't Be As Apocalyptic As Union Stalwarts Fear

    Joanne has two great posts up today:
    What teachers make — with cost of living
    Which states pay teachers the most and least when cost of living is factored in? asks NPR’s Cory Turner.

    Study: Bargaining doesn’t raise teacher pay
    Collective bargaining doesn’t improve teacher pay, according to a new study, reports Madeline Will on Ed Week.
    Thirty-three states passed mandatory collective bargaining laws since the 1960s. Those states do typically have higher teacher salaries and higher per-pupil education spending, but they already did so “well before the emergence of collective bargaining rights or modern teacher unions,” the study found...
    The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule against mandatory “agency fees” for public-sector workers who choose not to join unions in the Janus case. If so, unions will lose members, money and clout. However, the West Virginia teachers’ wildcat strike has shown that teachers can get what they want without going through a union.
    So how much will really change, besides more freedom for the worker?

    BANNED IN CHINA!


    And It Happened In A State With Strong Union Protections!

    I'll admit, I'm surprised the school district did this. It's hard to believe that he could be fired for just one rant. Perhaps his union-negotiated contract doesn't have strong teacher protections, eh, u-bots?
    The Southern California teacher who called U.S. service members "the lowest of our low" in a video that triggered widespread condemnation - including blunt criticism from the White House - has been fired.

    The El Rancho Unified School District held a Tuesday night vote to determine the fate of Gregory Salcido, a history teacher at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, southeast of Los Angeles.

    The board’s decision, nearly two months after his comments went viral, was a unanimous: Salcido is out, said Board of Education President Aurora Villon.

    Salcido has been on unpaid leave since January, and Villon said he would remain so pending an appeal...

    Salcido’s profane and disparaging comments sparked harsh condemnation: The school district was deluged by thousands of emails, many from veterans, active-duty troops and military family members, the Times reported...

    Salcido’s attempted clarification did not pass muster with at least one fellow council member.

    "He’s disgraced us, disgraced this city, disgraced this nation," said Councilman Bob Archuleta, a veteran whose two sons are on active duty, the Times said.

    Pico Rivera, a predominantly Latino city of 63,000, was founded by veterans after World War II and maintains a strong connection to the military, its mayor, Gustavo Camacho, told The Washington Post.
    I don't feel sorry for the dirtbag at all.  Here's the school district's web site.  Here's a link to the district's employment contract with teachers; teacher discipline is discussed on pp 44-47.  Unless the dirtbag has done something else that hasn't been reported, I don't see how he could be fired in accordance with his contract.  Where is his union?

    Wednesday, March 21, 2018

    You Might Be A Liberal If...

    Are you at all concerned about the Trump campaign's use of some company neither you nor I had heard of before last week, Cambridge Analytica, to harvest data on internet users?

    I'm not.



    Were you concerned when the Obama campaign's Carol Davidsen says, before an adoring audience, that her campaign was able to "ingest" the entire social network (Facebook)?
    (start at about 19:48)

    Did you think Maxine Waters was crazy (which she is), lying, or telling the truth when she talked about the Obama campaign's database on Americans?

    Did it matter to you then?

    Does it matter to you that CBS News, no Republican shill, says that the Trump campaign "hardly used" the data they're said to have gotten, that they "phased out" the use of that data well before the election:
    Cambridge Analytica, a data vendor for the Trump campaign, was phased out during the general election, CBS News reports. The firm is now at the center of reports that it exploited Facebook data and harvested millions of U.S. voter profiles  without user authorization during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    The Trump campaign never used the psychographic data at the heart of a whistleblower who once worked to help acquire the data's reporting -- principally because it was relatively new and of suspect quality and value. The profiling approach utilized by Cambridge Analytica allowed it to predict the voting likelihoods of individual people based on personality, the firm claimed.
    If you are all concerned about Cambridge Analytica but not concerned about the Obama campaign's even worse doings, you might be a liberal.

    Now here's the thing about Facebook: Facebook doesn't charge the average user for its service.  If you're getting something for free, it's not because a company is generous and kind--it's because you are what's being sold.  Your data.  Which you freely and willfully give them.

    And how much does Facebook care about you and your privacy?  This much:
    Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, told the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that its lax approach to data protection risked a major breach...

    Parakilas said he “always assumed there was something of a black market” for Facebook data that had been passed to external developers. However, he said that when he told other executives the company should proactively “audit developers directly and see what’s going on with the data” he was discouraged from the approach.

    He said one Facebook executive advised him against looking too deeply at how the data was being used, warning him: “Do you really want to see what you’ll find?” Parakilas said he interpreted the comment to mean that “Facebook was in a stronger legal position if it didn’t know about the abuse that was happening”.

    He added: “They felt that it was better not to know. I found that utterly shocking and horrifying.”
    And Mark Zuckerberg isn't a known conservative, knowwhatimean?

    I don't know if he's serious or not, but Instapundit sometimes makes the argument that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Amazon should be regulated as "common carriers".  Since liberals love regulation so much, they should be all for that.

    Update, 3/25/18:  The NYTimes is on the case:
    Hope lies, instead, with our power as citizens. We must demand that legislators and regulators get tougher. They should go after Facebook on antitrust grounds. Facebook is by far the dominant social platform in the United States, with 68 percent of American adults using it, according to the Pew Research Center. That means Facebook can gobble up potential competitors, as it already has with Instagram, and crowd out upstarts in fields such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

    The Department of Justice should consider severing WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger from Facebook, much as it broke up AT&T in 1982. That breakup unleashed creativity, improved phone service and lowered prices. It also limited the political power of AT&T.

    Remember, Haidt Is A Self-Identified Liberal

    Haidt tests viewpoint diversity of university student audience

    Tuesday, March 20, 2018

    Batteries Running Low

    I feel so exhausted, so out of energy.  Sometimes my muscles even ache.

    I doubt I have the flu, and it doesn't feel like a cold.  My stomach isn't upset or anything.  But I'm not sleeping well at night, and I feel weak and exhausted throughout the day.  Today, when my student teacher was teaching, I went to the staff room and took a nap.  Me, someone who essentially never sleeps unless he's in a bed at nighttime--I took a nap.  At work.  That tells me something.

    I'm home now.  Tea and bed, that's all I'm doing until it's time to go to sleep.  I just have to get through Friday, as next week is Spring Break.

    For the next few hours there will be no news, no blogging, just rest.  To steal from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, I'll let the world turn without me tonight.

    Monday, March 19, 2018

    Which Side Is Acting Badly?

    Either the school and district administrators are complete and total idiots, or something else is amiss and the suspended students are lying about why they were suspended.  Either could be the case here:
    A New Jersey high school came under fire Friday after it allegedly suspended two students over a gun photo taken during a family visit to a shooting range.

    News of the unnamed students' suspension circulated through a Lacey Township Facebook group, according to NJ.com...

    The school, however, denied the students were suspended over the picture.

    "Information posted on social media is incorrect,” Lacey schools Superintendent Craig Wigley told the publication last week. The officials declined to provide any additional details or point out what exactly was false...

    Overtly broad policies of the school district have been criticized in the past. Ed Cardinal, whose son attends a school in the same district, said the officials once demanded his son to remove a window sticker of a gun from his pickup truck that he drives to school.
    Schools should focus on what happens in school, and leave what happens outside of school to parents.

    Sunday, March 18, 2018

    Who Know That Linear Algebra Could Be So Fun!

    Do you like matrix operations?  Did you enjoy the Matrix movies?  They intersect in Matrix Jokes.

    "Mansplaining" and "Whitesplaining"

    I wrote recently on the racism and sexism inherent in those words here.  Then I come upon this:
    To help combat “subtle forms” of stereotyping and discrimination in tech fields, one of the things Bourg advises is for men and white people to cease “mansplaining” and “whitesplaining,” respectively.

    “Just stop,” she argued. “Stop doing it in person, and stop doing it online.”
    What I mean is simply this — if you have some power and privilege in a situation (and if you are white and/or a dude, chances are you do have some privilege; if you are a white dude, you definitely have power and privilege), then for the love of baby unicorns please refrain from giving your unsolicited advice and opinions to others.
    What kind of person can talk about others that way and not fear any repercussions? Would it be a person with so-called power and privilege, or would it be a marginalized person?  To ask the question is to answer it, and it would be best for everyone if Madame Bourg would follow her own advice.

    So Much Idiocy In One Article

    One possible take-away from this article is that women are too fragile to work outside the home.  I mean, if a Star Trek poster is enough to cause them to clutch their pearls in fear:
    The top librarian at MIT recently argued that to make tech workplaces more inclusive and welcoming to women, ditch “Star Trek” posters and other geeky stuff cluttering office walls.

    “There is research that shows that workplaces that are plastered with stereotypically ‘tech or nerd guy’ cultural images – think Star Trek – have negative impact on women’s likelihood of pursuing tech work and of staying in tech work in general or in that particular work environment,” said Chris Bourg, director of libraries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    “Replace the Star Trek posters with travel posters, don’t name your projects or your printers or your domains after only male figures from Greek mythology, and just generally avoid geek references and inside nerd jokes,” Bourg added. “Those kinds of things reinforce the stereotypes about who does tech; and that stereotype is the male nerd stereotype.”
    Periodically at work I see posters of clenched fists promoting socialist causes. Somehow I find a way to survive, even though I do find their message offensive.

    I'm not even sure how to interpret this statement, though:
    Bourg, a self-described “butch and queer” cis woman and “feral librarian” who’s been “misidentified too many times to ignore,” noted she wants to bring to librarianship “a sociological lens and a feminist perspective.”
    Isn't it sexist to bring a "feminist perspective" to "librarianship"?

    How We Got President Trump

    At this rate the president is cruising for reelection :-)
    You see, after the 2012 presidential election conservatives and Republicans really threw up their hands in disgust because, in a nutshell, if progressives can turn Mitt Romney into the devil incarnate, then it really doesn’t matter anymore. 

    As a result, four years later these voters chose someone who was going to throw liberals’ nasty nonsense right back at them. 

    Regarding the “fake news” imbroglio, it’s actually very simple: Until the mainstream media covers progressive/Democrat politicians like they do conservatives/Republicans, be prepared to hear that phrase. If the whole Trump-Russia collusion nonsense hasn’t been enough, get ready for the laser-like focus on Stormy Daniels...

    Trump’s use of “fake news” allegedly is endangering reporters worldwide and makes him akin to a Third World dictator, yet Obama’s IRS abusing its power (which the second article of the never-used impeachment against Richard Nixon was about) and actual spying on journalists garners mere … shrugs of the shoulders. 
    When Candidate Trump said that we were going to get tired of all the winning, I thought it a silly comment.  But since the lefties haven't learned their lessons yet, he's still winning--but I doubt I'll get tired of it any time soon.

    Thursday, March 15, 2018

    Of Course It's A Double Standard

    Just a short distance from me lies the hamlet of Rocklin, where a teacher conducted a thought experiment with her class after Wednesday's nationwide school walkout.  Can you believe--oh, who am I kidding.  It's California, of course you can believe what happened next:
    Rocklin High School in Rocklin, California, placed a teacher on paid administrative leave after she let students discuss the politics of the National School Walkout, which took place around the country yesterday morning.

    Julianne Benzel told CBS13 that she suspects she got in trouble for suggesting that schools administrators who condoned the student walkout might be practicing a double standard.

    "And so I just kind of used the example which I know it's really controversial, but I know it was the best example I thought of at the time," said Benzel. "[If] a group of students nationwide, or even locally, decided 'I want to walk out of school for 17 minutes' and go in the quad area and protest abortion, would that be allowed by our administration?"
    If she said or did something inappropriate, that would be a different story. But until I hear what else she might have said or done, it's not hard to believe the story as told at the link.

    Joanne has a great post on this same topic here.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2018

    Our Best And Brightest

    This will (snort) make you feel good about your tax dollars supporting Sacramento State:
    Tensions were high earlier this week at the Sacramento State library as an argument evolved into a fight that reportedly required multiple campus police officers, and later paramedics, to respond.

    What sparked the argument? A sneeze, according to one witness.
    Read more here.

    Good For Him

    I'm not a fan of his language, but I certainly understand his sentiment.  When Republicans won't stand up for the 1st Amendment, they don't deserve to be called Republicans.
    Eike left the meeting before it ended, and later other members of the St. Cloud State College Republicans apologized for not vetting the wall more carefully, and subsequently took it down.

    Eike posted his resignation letter on Facebook shortly thereafter, saying: “Congratulations everyone, you finally got your way because you were loud, obnoxious, whiney c*nts. I’m resigning as president of the College Republicans because I want nothing to do with an organization that doesn’t protect free speech and expression on campus,” according to the University Chronicle, St. Cloud State’s student-run newspaper.
    This Norwegian is a better American than the Americans he shamed.  At least, I hope they're smart enough to feel shame.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2018

    A Modern Battle of Little Rock

    Before you read on, read this post from 10 years ago.

    I don't like the idea of sending in the army to enforce federal law.  As I said in that post, though, the mayor of Little Rock as well as President Eisenhower were both thoughtful, decent men, and the outcome was actually the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

    Today's role of Arkansas Governor Faubus is played by California's very own Jerry Brown.  And US Attorney General Sessions has filed a lawsuit (better than sending in the army, at least for now) against California:
    The attorney general has filed a lawsuit challenging three California laws: one prohibiting certain information-sharing between state and federal authorities, one that requires the California state attorney general to “inspect” any facilities holding illegal immigrants, and one that bars private employers from cooperating with federal authorities. According to the Justice Department, “The Supremacy Clause does not allow California to obstruct the United States’ ability to enforce laws that Congress has enacted or to take actions entrusted to it by the Constitution.”
    Admittedly, the first two challenges are on shaky legal ground.  The third one, though, is built on the Rock of Gibraltar:
    To the extent that California is actively interfering with federal immigration enforcement, as opposed to merely passively refusing to cooperate, the federal government may well have a case here. But I wonder if Sessions’ rather strong rhetoric points to a potential federal response that goes beyond litigation. It wouldn’t be the first time a president has sent troops to enforce federal law when local officials stood in the way.
    Operation Arkansas and the Battle of Little Rock.  If an Operation California is in the offing, history will repeat itself with a Republican president siding against unlawful and unjust acts of a Democratic state government.

    I think another time in US history when a Republican president had to use the army against Democratically-controlled states kinda goes without saying.

    As I said above, we got the best possible outcome in 1957.  In today's situation would we be looking at 1957 results, or 1865 results?  That such a question can even be suggested shows how bad one-party rule under liberals in California truly is.

    An Obvious Mistake

    At least one of the guilty finally admits it:
    Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama in 2009 failed to achieve what the committee hoped it would, its ex-secretary has said.

    Geir Lundestad told the AP news agency that the committee hoped the award would strengthen Mr Obama.

    Instead, the decision was met with criticism in the US. Many argued he had not had any impact worthy of the award.

    Mr Lundestad, writing in his memoir, Secretary of Peace, said even Mr Obama himself had been surprised.

    "No Nobel Peace Prize ever elicited more attention than the 2009 prize to Barack Obama," Mr Lundestad writes.

    "Even many of Obama's supporters believed that the prize was a mistake," he says. "In that sense the committee didn't achieve what it had hoped for".
    Their political statement tarnished the grandeur of the prize. Of course, so did awarding it to Yassir Arafat.

    Monday, March 12, 2018

    Racist/Sexist Comments

    On white privilege:
    White privilege is a contemptible construction. It explicitly invokes skin colour as the only vector of judgment. It insists on “whiteness” as a flaw, a failing, and, as it almost always is, when yoked with “male” is the verbal equivalent of a spit. It is pure stereotype, ugly and angry. It is seen as a necessary term in identity politics, the politics of faction — ethnic, racial and religious.

    White privilege is a racist concept on its face, with skin colour as the main determinant of value and truth.
    Toss in "male privilege", too, with sex as the main determinant of value and truth.

    In other times and places, such concepts would be greeted with the contempt they deserve.  But as Instapundit often points out, we're living in Heinlein's "crazy years".

    God Bless The Innocence Project

    I'd rather a hundred guilty people go free than to lock up one innocent person:
    The rate of wrongful convictions in the United States is estimated to be somewhere between 2% to 10%. That may sound low, but when applied to a prison population of 2.3 million, the numbers become staggering. Can there really be 46,000 to 230,000 innocent people locked away? Those of us who are involved in exoneration work firmly believe so.

    Millions of defendants are processed through our courts each year. It’s nearly impossible to determine how many of them are actually innocent once they’ve been convicted. There are few resources for examining the cases and backgrounds of those claiming to be wrongfully convicted.

    Once an innocent person is convicted, it is next to impossible to get them out of prison. Over the past 25 years, the Innocence Project, where I serve on the board of directors, has secured through DNA testing the release of 349 innocent men and women, 20 of whom had been sent to death row. All told, there have been more than 2,000 exonerations, including 200 from death row, in the U.S. during that same period. But we’ve only scratched the surface.

    This Is Why I Support Mark Janus...

    ...and why I'm a plaintiff in the Yohn case.

    Sunday, March 11, 2018

    Potential For Shenanigans?

    Dirty voter rolls in California?  I'm shocked, shocked I tell you:
    Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County and the State of California over their failure to clean their voter rolls and to produce election-related records as required by the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) (Judicial Watch, Inc.et al. v. Dean C. Logan, et al. (No. 2:17-cv-08948)).  The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California’s Western Division on behalf of Judicial Watch, Election Integrity Project California, Inc., and Wolfgang Kupka, Rhue Guyant, Jerry Griffin, and Delores M. Mars, who are lawfully registered voters in Los Angeles County.

    Judicial Watch argues that the State of California and a number of its counties, including the county of Los Angeles, have registration rates exceeding 100%:

    Eleven of California’s 58 counties have registration rates exceeding 100% of the age-eligible citizenry.

    Los Angeles County has more voter registrations on its voter rolls than it has citizens who are old enough to register. Specifically, according to data provided to and published by the EAC, Los Angeles County has a registration rate of 112% of its adult citizen population.

    The entire State of California has a registration rate of about 101% of its age-eligible citizenry.
    Whether this is evidence of wrongdoing or of incompetence, it cannot inspire confidence in our elections.

    "Toxic Masculinity"

    This Twitter comment is pretty good:
    If masculinity were truly toxic, then kids growing up without dads would presumably be better off than those who have them.  But, they're not: they tend to be more depressed, aggressive & criminal.  Truth is: we need more masculinity in society, not less.
    Yeah, what she said.

    "Personal Exaltation" Über Alles

    This Instapundit post, quoting Thomas Sowell, is so good that I'll just post it here in its entirety:
    QUOTE OF THE DAY:
    If you happen to believe in free markets, judicial restraint, traditional values, [etc.]… then you are just someone who believes in free markets, judicial restraint and traditional values. There is no personal exaltation resulting from those beliefs. But to be for “social justice” and “saving the environment” or to be “anti-war” is more than just a set of beliefs about empirical facts. This vision puts you on a higher moral plane as someone concerned and compassionate, someone who is for peace in the world, a defender of the downtrodden… In short, one vision makes you somebody special and the other vision does not. These visions are not symmetrical.[…] Because the vision of the anointed is a vision of themselves as well as a vision of the world, when they are defending that vision they are not simply defending a set of hypotheses about external events, they are in a sense defending their very souls – and the zeal and even ruthlessness with which they defend their vision are not surprising under these circumstances.
    —Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, found via David Thompson, who has lots of higher education-related links at his blog today.

    Why Are Schools Busing Kids To Protests?

    That's a very good question:
    Today the Star Tribune reported that hundreds of students “walked out” of their schools to protest against guns and school shootings at the Capitol in St. Paul...

    The article itself repeats the “walk out” characterization, and otherwise implies that the students were at the Capitol on their own initiative...

    But here’s the thing: these students didn’t walk, they were bused. I happened to be at the Capitol yesterday while the demonstration was going on, and counted at least 12 buses from various St. Paul area high schools. Somehow, the buses don’t figure in the Strib’s story, and the Strib managed to post 17 photos and two videos without showing the buses even once...

    If the schools didn’t endorse the protest, why did they provide buses to deliver students to the Capitol? To say that “nobody is getting punished” for participating is misleading at best.
    Somehow I doubt MSP schools would be busing kids to a MAGA rally :-)

    Wednesday, March 07, 2018

    Listening to Teenagers

    A few years ago at my school, many hundred students staged a walk-out in solidarity with a fellow student who absolutely didn't deserve their support.  Our principal didn't handle it the way I would have, but he handled it and in his own way defused the situation.

    Now the kids at that school in Florida are using social media to schedule a nationwide walkout in schools to "show support" for the kids who were killed.  I heard several students laugh at that, saying that just like the situation a few years ago, most kids would use it merely as an excuse to get out of class and not as some attempt to "do something about guns".

    Look, it's pretty obvious that I like teenagers.  I couldn't do the job I do if I didn't like them.  But let's not pretend that they're deep thinkers, that they're constitutional scholars, that they have much to teach me.  Sure, a couple of them helped with settings on my computer a few days ago, things that were beyond my technical capabilities, and made my computer setup more functional than the guy from Tech Services left it!  That, however, doesn't mean that they have an understanding of history, philosophy, the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, or any of the other issues involved in the so-called debate about firearms.  They just haven't put enough time, energy, and thought into the subject to make their opinions on the topic worth my while.  And being terrorized by a peer for awhile doesn't make them experts, any more than having my toilet overflow makes me an expert on plumbing.

    All of which leads me to some interesting thoughts regarding the planned walkout:
    Walking out elevates a feeling of moral urgency above respect for education and the rights of fellow students. Walking out during regular school hours is meant to dramatize how deeply students are touched by the latest school massacre and how strongly they support legislative remedies. The walkouts, of course, won’t change the surrounding debate over Second Amendment rights. The students may hope to persuade elected officials to “do something” to stop the scourge of mass killings in schools. But what they are really doing is mistaking moral vanity for genuine “participation in democracy.”

    Walking out of class to drive a political point emphatically subordinates education to the quest for power. To many students, the protests are righteous and perhaps cathartic. But underlying their experience of “making a difference” is the message that the pursuit of political ends justifies the sacrifice of educational priorities.

    Walkouts are not costless. They elevate groupthink. Children are extraordinarily vulnerable to peer opinion, and if the prevailing view favors protest, millions will conform not because they care much about the cause but because not conforming will expose them to ridicule. The students who hold contrary views—and surely there are some—will be bullied and, in any case, denied their right to a day of regular public education.
    Joanne had the following on her blog recently:
    Robert Pondiscio and Andrew Tripodo, who’ve both taught government, wrote about the dangers of uninformed student activism in November.

    Traditional civics teaching bores students, they write. Busing kids to state capitals and organizing voter drives may engage students without educating them.
    As teacher Jaime Escalante said of his students in the movie Stand and Deliver:  "It's not that they're stupid, they just don't know anything."

    Update, 3/18/18: A similar view:
    Young people have many virtues that accord with their youth, including idealism, innocence, enthusiasm, and energy. They do not, however, have educations or experience. They lack independence. And, in the latest far-from-spontaneous protest in favor of gun control, they are not only wrong, but also the victims of shameless manipulation by adults for narrow, partisan ends. While such manipulation was entertaining to watch in the case of the Muppets, when constitutional rights are at stake and the puppets are our children it is simply offensive.

    Tuesday, March 06, 2018

    Women in STEM Fields

    Why aren't women 50% of STEM workers?  For the same reason that men aren't 50% of social workers and elementary school teachers--because men and women are different and, in general, look for different qualities in employment.  That should be a big fat "duh", but in today's world, where we pretend that reality isn't reality, that's considered an outlandish comment.

    Two articles recently hit home on this topic.  The first:
    Two engineering professors have published the results of a new study that sheds light on why so few women graduate college with a STEM degree.

    Led by Colorado School of Mines professor Greg Rulifson, the study tracked 34 freshmen engineering majors over the course of four years to explore what makes students, especially women, abandon engineering in lieu of other fields.

    Of the 21 female students interviewed, fully one-third left engineering by their junior year. Rulifson and his co-author Angela Bielefeldt identified one factor common to all female students who left: the desire to “help society/other people,” or “social responsibility.”

    The “social responsibility” definition includes “care for the marginalized and disadvantaged,” “environmental conservation,” and “empathy,” the professors noted.

    Of the 21 female students, 14 expressed a strong dedication to social responsibility. Half of those students eventually switched majors upon realizing they wanted to pursue fields they felt had more to do with helping people...

    If one accepts that the lack of women in STEM is indeed a problem -- which it may well be -- this latest information shows that the problem was misdiagnosed as being primarily a bias issue, and thus led to failed solutions.
    Very small sample size, to be sure, but it leads into the next article:
    Though their numbers are growing, only 27 percent of all students taking the AP Computer Science exam in the United States are female. The gender gap only grows worse from there: Just 18 percent of American computer-science college degrees go to women. This is in the United States, where many college men proudly describe themselves as “male feminists” and girls are taught they can be anything they want to be.

    Meanwhile, in Algeria, 41 percent of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math—or “STEM,” as it’s known—are female. There, employment discrimination against women is rife and women are often pressured to make amends with their abusive husbands...

    So what explains the tendency for nations that have traditionally less gender equality to have more women in science and technology than their gender-progressive counterparts do?

    According to a new paper published in Psychological Science by the psychologists Gijsbert Stoet, at Leeds Beckett University, and David Geary, at the University of Missouri, it could have to do with the fact that women in countries with higher gender inequality are simply seeking the clearest possible path to financial freedom. And often, that path leads through STEM professions...

    What’s more, the countries that minted the most female college graduates in fields like science, engineering, or math were also some of the least gender-equal countries. They posit that this is because the countries that empower women also empower them, indirectly, to pick whatever career they’d enjoy most and be best at.
    And here's the money shot:
    The upshot of this research is neither especially feminist nor especially sad: It’s not that gender equality discourages girls from pursuing science. It’s that it allows them not to if they’re not interested.
    We shouldn't push uninterested people into STEM fields any more than we should push them into any other field.  My Job, My Choice.

    Who's Going To Teach Them?

    Most elementary school teachers are women, and I don't hear a cry to bring more men into that end of the profession.  That's not SJW enough.

    But we have plenty of so-called minority students in California colleges, and too many white people teaching them.  That's obviously a problem, right?
    While the student bodies at California’s public colleges and universities are rapidly diversifying, the academic leadership has not kept up with the state’s changing demographics.

    A new report from The Campaign for College Opportunity found that more than two-thirds of faculty, senior administrators and board members in the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges systems are white.

    By contrast, more than two-thirds of the 2.8 million students at those schools are minorities. At UC, nearly 40 percent of undergraduates are Asian American, while Latinos make up more than 40 percent of enrollment at CSU and community colleges.
    I guess when lefties need to make a point, Asians in our universities are counted as minorities :-)
    “How could this be when we’re one of the most diverse states in the nation?” she said. “If we do not have enough qualified candidates, then what are you looking for?”
    I guess if you don't want white people teaching you, you could choose schools where white people won't teach you.  On the other hand, if I didn't want minorities teaching me, wouldn't I be considered a racist?

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article203641349.html#storylink=cpy

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article203641349.html#storylink=cpy

    Monday, March 05, 2018

    Gun Control Isn't About the Gun, It's About the Control

    Gun control hasn't worked in Massachusetts--and the gun controllers keep coming up with excuses.  And this is from the Boston Globe, not the NRA:
    IN 1998, Massachusetts passed what was hailed as the toughest gun-control legislation in the country. Among other stringencies, it banned semiautomatic “assault” weapons, imposed strict new licensing rules, prohibited anyone convicted of a violent crime or drug trafficking from ever carrying or owning a gun, and enacted severe penalties for storing guns unlocked.

    “Today, Massachusetts leads the way in cracking down on gun violence,” said Republican Governor Paul Cellucci as he signed the bill into law. “It will save lives and help fight crime in our communities.” Scott Harshbarger, the state’s Democratic attorney general, agreed: “This vote is a victory for common sense and for the protection of our children and our neighborhoods.” One of the state’s leading anti-gun activists, John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence, joined the applause. “The new gun law,” he predicted, “will certainly prevent future gun violence and countless grief"...

    Since 1998, gun crime in Massachusetts has gotten worse, not better. In 2011, Massachusetts recorded 122 murders committed with firearms, the Globe reported this month — “a striking increase from the 65 in 1998.” Other crimes rose too. Between 1998 and 2011, robbery with firearms climbed 20.7 percent. Aggravated assaults jumped 26.7 percent.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for gun-control activists to admit they were wrong. The treatment they prescribed may have yielded the opposite of the results they promised, but they’re quite sure the prescription wasn’t to blame. Crime didn’t rise in Massachusetts because the state made it harder for honest citizens to lawfully carry a gun; it rose because other states didn’t do the same thing.

    “Massachusetts probably has the toughest laws on the books, but what happens is people go across borders and buy guns and bring them into our state,” rationalizes Boston Mayor Tom Menino. “Guns have no borders.”

    This has become a popular argument in gun-control circles. It may even be convincing to someone emotionally committed to the belief that ever-stricter gun control is a plausible path to safety. But it doesn’t hold water.

    For starters, why didn’t the gun-control lobby warn legislators in 1998 that adopting the toughest gun law in America would do Massachusetts no good unless every surrounding state did the same thing? Far from explaining why the new law would do nothing to curb violent crime, they were positive it would make Massachusetts even safer. It was gun-rights advocates, such as state Senator Richard Moore, who correctly predicted the future...

    The national murder rate, on the other hand, kept falling; it reached a new low of 4.7 in 2011. Guns-across-borders might have explained homicide levels in Massachusetts continuing unchanged. But how can other states’ policies be responsible for an increase in Massachusetts homicides?

    Relative to the rest of the country, or to just the states on its borders, Massachusetts since 1998 has become a more dangerous state.
    Lefties don't care. Facts and figures don't mean anything to them, only their feeeeeeeelings do.

    Sunday, March 04, 2018

    From The Mouths of Babes...Comes Babble

    So the teenage attention-seekers from Florida are now comparing themselves to this nation's Founders, based on nothing more than being similar in age???  Ugh.  I have a few thoughts on this, but as a teacher, I'll defer to Marta at the Victory Girls blog:
    There’s this meme going around the Internet that discourages criticism of the student activists involved in the latest opportunistic push for gun control. Generation Snowflake is comparing itself to the Founding Fathers, because of the similarities in age, trying to answer valid criticisms of their ignorance about domestic policy, constitutional law, and the philosophy of natural rights. They are also incapable of rational thought, and often hump logical fallacies and contradictions like rabid badgers during mating season, but we can’t criticize them because they’re the same age as some of the Founders.

    But we’re supposed to listen to Generation Snowflake, because they somehow have the moral authority to speak on domestic policies about which they know exactly jack and shit?

    We’re supposed to refrain from criticism about their obviously uninformed opinions, because they’ve been through what had to be a traumatic experience?

    We’re supposed to ignore their errors in reasoning, false equivalencies, and flawed analysis fed to them by groups with obvious political agendas, because our Founding Fathers were around the same age when they took up arms and started a revolution?

    Hate to tell you this, Snowflakes, but people like Henry Lee, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and Lafayette took up actual ARMS – things you want to see banned – and went to war against a tyrannical government. They bled. They fought. Hamilton was an aide-de-camp to General George Washington at the ripe old age of about 21...

    Meanwhile, you easily manipulated, hysterical children eat Tide pods, forcing idiot, reactionary legislators to consider new regulations to protect idiots like you; think social media = education and refuse to delve deeper and learn, because it’s just toooooo haaaaaard; can’t do basic research to determine how your local sheriff’s department chain of command works; expect participation trophies for merely breathing; and get so triggered at the mere mention of a gun in the classroom – even if it’s a teacher reassuring his students that he would risk his life protecting them and rationally discussing arming teachers and increasing school security – that you have to be accompanied out of class lest you clutch your pearls too hard and strangle yourselves in the process!
    Go read the whole thing. The key point seems to be that you should accomplish something substantial before you dare compare yourselves to the Founders.  The kids we've been seeing on TV might start by accomplishing something.

    Saturday, March 03, 2018

    The New Laptop, Part 2

    In this post I talked about some of the issues with getting and setting up my new district-provided laptop, the result of one of the stupidest decisions our district made.  Seriously, teacher laptops with no number pads?  Like we don't ever enter scores into our mandated grading program?  No cd/dvd drives, as if many of our textbook adoptions don't have valuable and useful components given to us on CD?  Ugh, I'll endeavor not to get myself started on that....

    Anyway, I came back to work this week and checked with one of my vice principals about an adapter.  You see, neither the laptop nor the docking station the school bought for me (how about that money savings, district?) has an HDMI plug, but the docking station has a different "DisplayPort" plug which, with the appropriate adapter, can be used to connect my laptop to my TV.  I got it all connected, but it didn't work.  Settings needed to be mucked with.

    A couple students offered to stay after school Wednesday to help me out.  By the time they were done, I had 3 fully functional monitors--the tiny laptop monitor, the larger monitor I've brought from home, and the TV.  Additionally, I could open programs/files on one screen and just drag them to another--so now I can project video or animations up on the TV screen without using wifi (it's all wired now).

    Yesterday, though, I noticed that I didn't have audio.  That was such a quick fix that one of those two students fixed the configuration in the couple minutes before class started!

    There are still a couple bugs to work out and a couple hurdles to overcome (like temporarily hooking up an external CD drive so I can load my statistical analysis software, as just one example), but I'm now probably back to 80-90% of my pre-laptop functionality.  Not horrible, and having the 3 different monitors is pretty handy during instruction.

    Condoleezza Rice on Gun Control

    Among many facts our friends on the Left like to keep secret (or just plain lie about), gun control in this country was initially promoted to keep black Americans unarmed, easy targets in the pre-Civil Rights Era.  Now the goal is to make all Americans unarmed, easy targets, but that's not really the point of this post.  The point of this post is to show the folly of so-called gun control:
    Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered an amazing story from her childhood to explain to the more liberal hosts of “The View” why she supports Second Amendment rights.

    Here’s what she said

    “Let me tell you why I’m a defender of the Second Amendment,” she began.

    “I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late fifties, early sixties,” she explained. “There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham Police were going to protect you.”

    “And so when White Knight Riders would come through our neighborhood,” she said, “my father and his friends would take their guns and they’d go to the head of the neighborhood, it’s a little cul-de-sac and they would fire in the air, if anybody came through.”

    “I don’t think they actually ever hit anybody,” she continued. “But they protected the neighborhood. And I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were he would have rounded them up.”

    “And so, I don’t favor some things like gun registration,” she said to a suddenly silent crowd.

    “That said, it’s time to have a national conversation about how we can deal with the problems we have. It’s not going to be any single fix to the terrible events at Parkland,” she concluded.
    There's video at the link.

    You don't "protect" people by disarming them, then or now.  Always remember that the point of gun control isn't the gun, it's the control.  Liberals always want to control you.

    A Tale of Two Teachers

    Our first story took place in New Jersey, which is known for its strong unionist tendencies.  Clearly, unions aren't the end-all-be-all for teacher protections:
    A New Jersey high school teacher has been suspended from his job for expressing support for arming teachers after the Parkland school shooting.

    Cherry Hill High School history teacher Timothy Locke, 59, said he was placed on administrative leave last week because he spoke out in one of his classes about arming teachers and ramping up school security to try and prevent a school shooting...

    Most of the students reportedly didn’t have a problem with Locke’s comments, but one was so distraught by the comments she was escorted to the administration by another teacher. Locke’s bag was searched and he was required to undergo a physical and psychological exam.
    A "psychological exam", how very Soviet Union of them.

    In that story, our teacher was the good guy.  In this next story, the teacher doesn't come out looking so good:
    A Massachusetts high school teacher who claimed to be a decorated war hero with two Purple Hearts has been fired after school officials discovered he was lying, officials said.

    Andrew Gaboury, 36, was hired to teach at Coyle Cassidy High School in Taunton four years ago. During the interview process and in the following years, he claimed that he was a war veteran with many accolades to his name.

    The school newspaper even wrote a profile on him touting how he transitioned “from military to history classroom"...

    Boston 25 reported that it contacted the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in St. Louis after the school newspaper ran the story. They were told there was no record of Gaboury receiving two Purple Hearts, much less actually serving in the U.S. military.

    During the investigation, Gaboury reportedly came clean in an email to the news station.

    “I made up time in the Army. Over the intervening years I added details as people asked. I am deeply sorrowful for this and did not see a way out,” he wrote.
     I know which of those two teachers I'd rather work with.

    Thursday, March 01, 2018

    Can This Be True?

    This doesn't sound like something a stable, prosperous nation would do:
    South Africa's parliament has voted in favour of a motion that will begin the process of amending the country's Constitution to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation.

    The motion was brought by Julius Malema, leader of the radical Marxist opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters, and passed overwhelmingly by 241 votes to 83 against. The only parties who did not support the motion were the Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the African Christian Democratic Party.

    It was amended but supported by the ruling African National Congress and new president Cyril Ramaphosa, who made land expropriation a key pillar of his policy platform after taking over from ousted PM Jacob Zuma earlier this month.

    "The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice," Malema was quoted by News24 as telling parliament. "We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land."

    According to Bloomberg, a 2017 government audit found white people owned 72 per cent of farmland in South Africa...

    ANC rural affairs minister Gugile Nkwinti added: "The ANC unequivocally supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation. There is no doubt about it, land shall be expropriated without compensation."
    The new Zimbabwe?  The last Zimbabwe hasn't turned out so well.

    Dulles

    On Tuesday morning a few of us were interviewed by some education reporters, and then it was time to come home.  I had time to burn at Dulles before my flight, and fortunately a friend reminded me of the Air and Space Museum Annex at Dulles.  I've been to A&S on The Mall in DC but haven't been to this annex.  I'm so glad that's now been rectified.  They have such cool air and spacecraft there.

    SR-71



    "Negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full."  (Straight Outta Top Gun.)

    Shuttle Discovery



    The B-29 Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

    MiG-21

    Concorde

    Hawker Hurricane


    These are just a few of the aircraft that impressed me there--and it's important to keep in mind that these are in addition to the aircraft/spacecraft in the main Air & Space Museum in downtown Washington!