Sunday, November 18, 2018


I've long considered myself a Camille Paglia feminist, and here's yet another reason why:
The headlong rush to judgment by so many well-educated, middle-class women in the #MeToo movement has been startling and dismaying. Their elevation of emotion and group solidarity over fact and logic has resurrected damaging stereotypes of women’s irrationality that were once used to deny us the vote.

The Slide Has Been Long But Noticeable

I've written about the ACLU enough times that I have a label/tag for them.  Here is the oldest ACLU post I can find on this blog.

I've written several times about how the ACLU is tilting too far from its founding principles, too far left.  Some believe that tilting has caused them to tip over:
In the late 1960s, the ACLU was a small but powerful liberal organization devoted to a civil libertarian agenda composed primarily of devotion to freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and the rights of accused criminals. In the early 1970s, the ACLU's membership rose from around 70,000 to almost 300,000. Many new members were attracted by the organization's opposition to the Vietnam War and its high-profile battles with President Nixon, but such members were not committed to the ACLU's broader civil libertarian agenda...

To maintain its large membership base, the ACLU recruited new members by directing mass mailings to mailing lists rented from a broad range of liberal groups. The result of the shift of the ACLU to a mass membership organization was that it gradually transformed itself from a civil libertarian organization into a liberal organization with an interest in civil liberties...

Since the George W. Bush administration, the ACLU's dedication to its traditional civil libertarian mission has waned ever further. With the election of Donald Trump, its membership rolls have grown to almost two million, almost all of them liberal politically, few of whom are devoted to civil liberties as such. Meanwhile, the left in general has become less interested in, and in some cases opposed to, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rights of the accused.

Future historians will have to reconstruct exactly how and why the tipping point has been reached, but the ACLU's actions over the last couple of months show that the ACLU is no longer a civil libertarian organization in any meaningful sense, but just another left-wing pressure group, albeit one with a civil libertarian history...

The ACLU had a clear choice between the identitarian politics of the feminist hard left, and retaining some semblance of its traditional commitment to fair process. It chose the former. And that along with the Kavanaugh ad signals the final end of the ACLU as we knew it. RIP.
Just another leftie interest group.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Poor Vocabulary

New Zealand high school students have demanded examiners ignore that they don’t know what the word “trivial” means, after it appeared in a final-year exam and left many confused.

Some students who took the year 13 history exam claimed the “unfamiliar word” was too hard, and the exam should now be marked according to each student’s different understanding and interpretation of “trivial”.

The exam asked for students to write an essay on whether they agreed with a quote from Julius Caesar which reads: “Events of importance are the result of trivial causes”.

An online petition claims the word trivial “caused much confusion” in the Wednesday exam and many students “were not particularly familiar with” the word.

More than 2,500 people have signed the petition, calling on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority [NZQA] to “recognise the true potential of the students and mark the essay based on the student’s own content and understanding of the event, many of which were different to what the word actually means.”
These students are roughly the equivalent of American high school seniors.

I find the quality of their vocabulary to be "trivial".  I find their complaint "trivial".  I hope the chances that anyone will act on their complaint to be "trivial".

Thursday, November 15, 2018

First To Fire!

Army Air Defense never had a more motivated officer than young Lieutenant Miller.  If it flies, it dies!  Air Defennnnnnnse!

I was a short range air defense officer.  Back in the 80s our weaponry consisted of Vietnam-era Vulcan cannon mounted on M113 armored personnel carriers, as well as shoulder-fired Stinger missiles.  Divisions had Vulcans and Stingers, corps had the Chaparral for short range air defense.  Gawd did I love the lawnmower-like burrrrrp of a 100-round burst from a Vulcan!  The Navy also used the Vulcan for close-in defense of ships, a weapon system they called the Phalanx.

Vulcan had a firing rate of of 3000 rounds per minute, although we could only carry 1100 rounds at a time.  Usually we used 100 round bursts--11 bursts, then you had to stop and reload.  Here's video of the 20mm Vulcan and the 30mm GAU-8 (the A-10's fearsome gun):

Here's Vulcan on a Prius:

What the blank?  On a Prius?  Well, I hope they sell some coffee!

Where There's Smoke, There's Fire

I live and work about a 2 hr drive from the "Camp" Fire, the huge Northern California fire that has featured so prominently in the news recently.  Even at that distance, the air quality in the Sacramento region was far worse than places like Beijing, Mumbai, or Dehli today.  Private schools and universities have been closed, but public schools have stayed open.  Our superintendent sent out a message this afternoon, though, telling us that our schools will be closed tomorrow.

There is so much particulate matter in the air that it looks, at a distance, like fog--but it's in the high 60s here, and there's not a cloud in the sky.  The air is so gross that you can look directly at the sun.

I took this first picture looking towards the sun and the parking lot at school today, shortly after 3 pm:
(click to enlarge to see how hazy it really is)
Again, there's not a cloud in the sky, nor any sort of water vapor.  That's not the setting moon, that's the afternoon sun.  That sky should be bright blue.

Here's the view looking down my street shortly before 4pm:

And here's the back of my car:
Yes, I had it washed fairly recently.  What you're seeing is the smoke that has settled on my car, and then "run" when the morning dew disturbs the even distribution of yuck.

It's probably best to stay indoors, as at least I won't be breathing in all that crap. I won't complain about having another day off--unless the state requires us to make it up in June, as is a possibility (our district has requested an exemption). I guess we'll see.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Schools Are Becoming Asylums

It's not always the kids, oftentimes it's the adults:
A Florida school district allowed a self-described transgender female student regular access to the boys’ locker room, with no advance warning to the boys or their parents. The first time she walked in, she caught “boys (literally) with their pants down, causing them embarrassment and concern by the fact that they had been observed changing by an obvious girl,” says a complaint letter to Pasco County School District from Liberty Counsel, a pro-bono constitutional law firm.

With a “gag order,” school administrators forbade teachers from talking about the change, and ordered a male P.E. teacher to supervise the potentially undressed girl in the Chasco Middle School locker room, the letter says. When he refused to “knowingly place himself in a position to observe a minor female in the nude or otherwise in a state of undress,” administrators told him “he will be transferred to another school as discipline for ‘not doing your job in the locker room.'”

In an email, an administrator initially threatened to put the male coach on administrative leave, telling him that refusing to supervise a potentially naked female student would “not be tolerated,”said Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast. The school’s other P.E. teacher, who is female, also objected and was ignored.
In what kind of Bizarro-world is this male teacher the problem in this story?

The Fates Are Real B*****s Sometimes

Seen on Instapundit:
WELL: Michael Avenatti is arrested for domestic violence after ‘swollen and bruised’ estranged wife filed felony report.

Tiana Lowe tweets, “There’s already more evidence against Michael Avenatti than there is against Brett Kavanaugh.”

The Left projects, always.
Will this affect his chances in 2020?

Are The Oceans Warming?

Maybe, maybe not:
Researchers with UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Princeton University recently walked back scientific findings published last month that showed oceans have been heating up dramatically faster than previously thought as a result of climate change.

In a paper published Oct. 31 in the journal Nature, researchers found that ocean temperatures had warmed 60 percent more than outlined by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

However, the conclusion came under scrutiny after mathematician Nic Lewis, a critic of the scientific consensus around human-induced warming, posted a critique of the paper on the blog of Judith Curry, another well-known critic.

“The findings of the ... paper were peer reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media,” Lewis wrote. “Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results.”

Co-author Ralph Keeling, climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, took full blame and thanked Lewis for alerting him to the mistake.
At least they didn't double down after being caught, a la East Anglia.

What Are We Supposed To Invest In, Unicorn Farts?

Not in Israel.  Not in firearms.  Not in tobacco.  Not in coal.

And now, not in locking up people who are in the country illegally:
California’s teacher pension fund is pulling its investments out of two private prison companies that have contracts to house immigrants detained at the Mexican border.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement Board last week voted to withdraw about $12 million it had invested in CoreCivic of Nashville, Tennessee and Geo Group of Boca Raton, Florida.

The retirement board’s 6-5 vote Wednesday to divest from the companies followed intense activism from teachers and left-leaning organizations that wanted the $229 billion pension fund to dissociate itself from private prisons.

Their calls for divestment led the pension fund to conduct its own investigation, which it published in a 28-page report that did not include a formal recommendation. CalSTRS staff reported that they visited immigrant detention centers and consulted with the companies before providing their report to the teachers’ retirement board.
Can't invest in anything that makes money. How am I supposed to have a guaranteed retirement benefit if my money can't make money?

Monday, November 12, 2018

How I Spent The Day, and What's Coming Up

I didn't leave the house!

A friend crashed here last night, and when we were both finally up I made bacon and eggs.  Late breakfast.

The utility company sent a tree trimming company to trim the trees along my back fence, above which the power lines run.  They asked if they could remove my privet trees, as they grow so quickly (and which, not knowing what they were, I always called "blueberry trees"), and I agreed; it didn't take them long to make my back fence look pretty bare!

My student teacher from last year, now a colleague at work, has moved into a place quite near me, and she came by to pick up an old toaster/oven I had in the garage.  She had a shot of my limoncello, which was (yet again) pronounced to be spectacular.

I watched yet another episode of 3%, my latest binge, on Netflix.  I only watched one episode because...

I finished grading the 90+ stats labs I brought home.  Four pages each, and after grading a bit each day of the 4-day (for me) weekend I got the entire set done.  Sitting on my desk at work is a set of pre-calculus tests, which I have to grade and get entered this week, because...

Our progress report period ends this Friday, with grades required to be submitted by the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  My son is having surgery over Thanksgiving week, and I'm going to miss work on the Monday and Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  I have to get it all done this week.

My friend and I took advantage of the Veteran's Day offer at Red Robin yesterday.  There's one at Claim Jumper today, and we might go there.

Update, 11/13/18:  Didn't go to Claim Jumper last night, I just wasn't feeling dinner.  And I was able to knock out most of those pre-calc tests today.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Today's Doings

Hard to believe that war ended 100 years ago today.

As we've done for years, my mother and I are meeting at Applebee's for a Veteran's Day lunch.  Applebee's provides free entrees from a reduced menu to current and former military members, and we like that.  By the time you throw in dessert and drinks, and perhaps meals for non-veterans, I wonder if Applebee's loses any money on the deal.  The wait staff, though, makes out like bandits!  A Naval Academy grad friend is coming in tonight and staying for a couple days, if she gets here early enough perhaps she and I will go find dinner somewhere :)

The smoke from wildfires blanketed the area yesterday, to the point that you could look directly at the sun and not hurt your eyes.  It doesn't look like today's going to be much better.  The fires are a couple hours' drive from where I live, which tells you how much smoke there is.

The switch back to Pacific Standard Time was last weekend, but it was this morning that I made my own official recognition of cold weather.  That's right, the cotton sheets on the bed went up into the closet and the fleece sheets made their first appearance of the season.  Fleece sheets on a heated waterbed--no stacks of blankets, no feather ticks, just toasty goodness in a cold house at night.  And the programmable thermostat heats the place up just before I have to get out of bed in the morning--who wants to wake up to a cold house?!

Those soldiers who lived in lice-infested muddy trenches 100 years ago would not believe such comforts could ever exist, much less that a mere schoolteacher could have them.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Where Is Your University Degree Worth The Most?

From FoxBusiness:
While the worth of a bachelor’s degree may have plateaued since 2010 having one is still more valuable in certain U.S. cities compared to others...

San Jose, Calif., topped the list, offering the biggest earnings-and-opportunities boost for people who graduated from a four-year college...

That city was closely followed by Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Raleigh, N.C. and Austin, Texas...

A college degree matters the least in Riverside, Calif., Las Vegas, Buffalo, N.Y., Pittsburgh and Louisville, Ky., according to the study.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Why I'm Not Working Today

Today is a "professional development" day.  The training is optional, but so is the pay.  Since our district is going all in for so-called equity, the training sessions are essentially excuses for why certain students don't learn.  And because I'm tired of being told that my lack of teaching ability is the reason kids of certain racial/ethnic groups don't do as well in school in others, I decided the money just isn't worth it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

How Do I Feel About Yesterday's Election Results?

Bottom line up front:  pretty good.

Yes, my side lost the House.  But we were expected to lose the House.  In the year of the so-called Red Wave, the lefties have a bare majority in the House (with a few more seats still up for grabs) and my side gained seats in the Senate.  Football analogy:  we were expected to lose by 2 touchdowns but lost by a field goal.  Hard to feel bad about that.

Here in the People's Republik of Kalifornia, not much has changed.  My representative is still a Democrat, and all party-affiliated statewide officeholders are still Democrats.  Some of the statewide initiatives had some, uh, interesting results, but whatever.  What I'm most excited about is that there was actually one statewide office candidate that I voted for who won.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I got a victory!  And it's a savory one, too.

As long as I've paid attention, the CTA-backed candidate has won the job for Superintendent of Public Instruction.  This year, though--entirely coincidentally, in the first post-Janus election--the CTA-backed candidate lost!  That's right, school choice-supporting Marshall Tuck is our new SPI!  Not that anything will change, of course, I just love the union's pet candidate going down.   Should any of the local unionistas try to talk smack to me, I'll enjoy rubbing this one in.

Take a look at the map on the CA Secretary of State's web site.  The CTA-backed candidate won only LA County, the SF Bay Area, and a couple of rural counties--and almost won.  I find it very interesting that the two rural, mountainous counties on the Nevada border that went for the CTA's guy were decided by a total of 62 votes!  And Sacramento County, which has gotten significantly more liberal over the course of my lifetime, went against the CTA's guy.

Actually, I feel pretty good :-)