Friday, February 28, 2014

Protecting One Of Their Own

It was Republicans who forced Trent Lott to give up his Senate Majority Leader position after making comments at a birthday party for Strom Thurmond; it was Republicans who cut Todd Akin from the campaign financing vine after he made stupid comments about abortion; it was Republicans who convinced Larry "Wide Stance" Craig to resign.

Democrats, however, do things differently:
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That adage has more application than usual in California, where Democrats hold all of the statewide offices and supermajorities in the legislature. They can enact any policies they want, with only the judicial branch offering belated checks on their power. And when I say belated, that’s literally the case with state Senator Rod Wright, whom a jury found guilty in January of committing eight felonies regarding his residency and eligibility for the office he held.

Normally, politicians who get that kind of a verdict have the decency to resign. If not, the body in which they serve would almost assuredly eject them — but not California Democrats...

In the past, a jury verdict of corruption has been enough to press for resignations from the California legislature. Democrats insisted yesterday that a resignation wasn’t necessary because Wright has been stripped of his committee assignments, and — I’m not making this up — he’s on paid leave, and apparently only since Tuesday. Democrats want taxpayers to pay his salary after a jury convicted him of corruption in the office he now refuses to leave.
I remember their protecting Bill Clinton, too, saying that he shouldn't face any hearings until after he left office. They protected Anthony Weiner, too, until doing so was too much of a political liability.

Affirmative Action President

In this video you see and hear a black CNN reporter give us a glimpse of what we've always known was behind the curtain in Oz:
CNN's Don Lemon: "You Weigh How Much You Should Criticize The President Because He's Black"

Lemon spends over minute explaining why he should cut Obama slack, seems to realize the potential snare and throws in one line about "but you have to criticize him because you're a journalist", but as a viewer I'm still left with the stench of knowing that any criticism has been muted because of the president's skin color.  That is exactly why affirmative action is such a horrible idea and is in fact denigrating to those who are supposed to be its beneficiaries.

I'm reminded of a line from the movie Stand and Deliver, a line which I'll paraphrase here:
"There are two types of racism Mr. Escalante--singling out a group of people because they are members of a minority, and not singling out a group of people because they are members of a minority."
Mr. Lemon advocates practicing the latter.

Smart Diplomacy

Given recent events in Ukraine and Russia, I thought it might be a good idea to remind our friends on the left that a sarcastic turn of phrase doesn't always indicate intelligence or correctness:

I'm serious here.  The president is an idiot, he's way out of his league, and he's the poster child for exactly why affirmative action is a bad idea.  He also demonstrates why voting for someone based on how "cool" he seems is not always a great idea.  You can mock Romney's geek factor all day, but he was right and Obama was wrong.

Here's someone else who's looking prescient today.

Update, 3/2/14:  Here are some liberal tweets from the last election that reinforce my comments both above and below the video.

Update, 3/3/14:  Here's more commentary, including (correctly) pointing out the lapdog press.

West Point Honors Ms. Rice

Condoleeza, not Susan:
The West Point Association of Graduates and the United States Military Academy have announced that Condoleezza Rice will receive the SYLVANUS THAYER AWARD on Monday, October 6, 2014.

Since 1958, the West Point Association of Graduates has presented the Sylvanus Thayer Award to an outstanding citizen of the United States, other than a West Point graduate, whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, “DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.”
Past recipients have included Neil Armstrong, Billy Graham, Clare Booth Luce, Edward Teller, Ronald Reagan, Barbara Jordan, Walter Cronkite, Colin Powell, Sandra Day O'Connor, Tom Brokaw, and Madeleine Albright.

Very Cool

A surprising find under what used to be America's most notorious prison: Texas A&M researchers using ground-penetrating radar have discovered the remains of an old military fortress long believed to have been completely destroyed, reports the BBC.
Alcatraz:  just a neat place.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Apres Cruise--The Everglades

We docked early Saturday morning but our flight didn't leave till 5pm.  You can only check in at the airport 3 hours before the flight.  How shall we burn up the time, especially while lugging around suitcases?  Go on an Everglades excursion, that's how!  And after the excursion the bus took us to the airport :-)

All the alligators you see are real!  So are the snowy egrets.

Disastrous 9th Circuit Ruling

This is hard to believe:
K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Not safe to display American flag in American high school. “Today’s Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist. (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2014) upholds a California high school’s decision to forbid students from wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. (See here and here for more on this case.) The court points out that the rights of students in public high schools are limited — under the Supreme Court’s decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Comm. School Dist. (1969), student speech could be restricted if “school authorities [can reasonably] forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities” stemming from the speech. And on the facts of this case, the court concludes, there was reason to think that the wearing of the T-shirts would lead to disruption. There had been threats of racial violence aimed at students who wore such shirts the year before. . . . This is a classic ‘heckler’s veto’ — thugs threatening to attack the speaker, and government officials suppressing the speech to prevent such violence.” Leaving aside the First Amendment aspects, this says terrible things about immigration and the state of our public schools.
Would the school cancel Cinco de Mayo  if white kids threatened violence?  I don't think so, either.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Oppressed At An Ivy League School!

Can you believe this? It's so cute!

An unknown number of anonymous Dartmouth students are threatening the Big Green with “physical action” if the administration does not respond to list of over 100 demands issued in an eight-page letter, the College Fix reports.

The students — who label themselves as “Concerned Asian, Black, Latin@[sic], Native, Undocumented, Queer, and Differently-Abled students” — claim that the Ivy League school deploys “systems of oppression,” including “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism.”
Who knew that Dartmouth was such a hotbed of 'isms!
“If the Dartmouth administration does not respond by the indicated time,” the anonymous students write, “those who believe in freedom will be forced to physical action.
Uh huh.  I'd love to see that from the entitled little muffins :-)

Go read the whole thing and then lament that these are supposed to be our best and brightest.

I've Admired This Guy For A Long Time

Type his name into the search engine at the top and bottom of the page and you'll see that I've written about Moore a number of times.  His is a voice of reason, not alarm:
There is no scientific evidence that human activity is causing the planet to warm, according to Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, who testified in front of a Senate committee on Tuesday.

Moore argued that the current argument that the burning of fossil fuels is driving global warming over the past century lacks scientific evidence. He added that the Earth is in an unusually cold period and some warming would be a good thing.

“There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years,” according to Moore’s prepared testimony. “Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species.”

“It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a [two degrees Celsius] rise in global average temperature, that humans are a tropical species,” Moore said. “We evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing..."

Moore, a Canadian, helped found the environmental activist group Greenpeace in the 1970s. He left the group after they began to take on more radical positions. He has since been a critic of radical environmentalism and heads up the group Ecosense Environmental in Vancouver, Canada.

Moore’s comments come after President Obama declared global warming a “fact” in the State of the Union. His administration has attempted to argue that the recent U.S. cold snap was influenced by a warmer planet.
Moore is also (now) a supporter of relatively clean, safe, plentiful, inexpensive nuclear power.

The Stops--Nassau

Our last stop was Nassau, capital of the Bahamas.  The area in the immediate vicinity of the dock was certainly nice, and they enforced the rules a bit too rigidly at Atlantis (if you're not staying there or gambling there, it's not worth your time to go see the place; we couldn't get near the water park).

click to enlarge

Norwegian Getaway and Disney Dream.

How cool is that uniform?

The pirate museum.

Holy hedonism, Batman!

I love the pastel colors.

If anyone knows where I can store and link to (at no cost!) a 1.7GB video of our leaving the dock, please let me know.  It's relaxing to watch :-)

Update, 2/28/14Let's try Google Drive for that video :-)

Why? Why Do I Work In A Field With So Many Idiots?

I have no problem at all with following rules, but mindlessly following stupid rules--rules that were created solely to cover someone's butt--is a painful thing to watch.  Here's another student who's being crushed by the idiocy:
A high school senior in Clarksville, Tennessee, has been suspended for ten days and ordered to go to an alternative school for ninety days after because school officials found a fishing knife in his car.

The knife belongs to his father, who is a commercial fisherman and also owns the vehicle; the student didn’t realize his dad had accidentally left the knife in the car.

His family is calling the punishment a major overreaction to an honest mistake, but school officials have maintained that it is appropriate and in line with the school’s “zero tolerance” policy. As a result, the boy, an honor student with no previous offenses, may miss his prom, graduation and even college and scholarship deadlines. He is also facing weapons charges with the county sheriff’s department.
I didn't watch the video.  I wonder if it explains how school officials found this knife in the first place.  Is there more to the story than what I've quoted above, or are they the idiots they're made out to be?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Stops--Half Moon Cay

The Bahamas is a collection of more than a hundred islands, only a couple dozen of which are inhabited.  Some of the very small ones are privately owned; Half Moon Cay was owned by Holland America Lines and has been owned by Carnival since Carnival acquired Holland America.  The ships are too big to dock there, you have to take a tender in to a small dock.

There's a nice dock, several nice buildings (all with the goal of separating you from your money!), and plenty of deck chairs on the beach.  Carnival does a good job of making sure the passengers who visit the "private island" have an enjoyable time.  The barbecue lunch--how did they feed so many, so quickly, with so few?!

View of Half Moon Cay from atop Carnival Victory, 2/20/2014 from Darren Miller on Vimeo.

UC Davis Students Vote To Pay Higher Fees For School Newspaper

I don't want to hear even the slightest whimper from them about the cost of public education in California when I, the taxpayer, am subsidizing that cost while they vote themselves even higher fees:
UC Davis students gave their campus newspaper new life Friday, voting to tax themselves nearly $300,000 a year to support the operations of the California Aggie indefinitely...

At $1,703.66 a year, UC Davis has the highest campus fees of all 10 UC schools. The fees generally pay for student government, facilities and the bus system. By comparison, campus fees at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego total $1,015.50 and $1,078.59, respectively.
Those who want the paper should pay for it by purchase or subscription, they shouldn’t (and should be able to) require others to pay for it. Hey, you’re required to pay for this product you don’t want! They’re good little Obama-bots over there in Berkeley-lite.

How To Handle Speech You Don't Like

We on the right believe that the antidote to (free) speech you don't like is more (free) speech of your own; if your ideas are good enough they'll win the day in the court of public opinion.

Church of Global Warming adherents don't agree with us:
I understand that many people are passionate about global warming and consider skeptics to be flat-earthers. Those who don’t like the arguments by Krauthammer, a Fox News contributor, should by all means criticize, dispute, denounce and otherwise go at him. That’s how debate takes place in a country with a vibrant media culture.

Instead, these folks believe that censorship is preferable. Why engage Krauthammer when they might just be able to employ pressure tactics to silence him? And what’s the difference between this and shouting down a speaker at a town hall?

Krauthammer told me the petition-signers “showed up just in time to make precisely the point I made in the column.”

When it comes to free speech, he says, “they don’t even hide it anymore. Now they proudly want certain arguments banished from discourse. The next step is book burning. So the question of the day is: Can you light a Kindle?

“Is there anything more anti-scientific than scientific truths being determined by petition and demonstration?”
That last question is a great one-liner.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Using Software Games in Education

The authors of this article seem pleased with themselves, not realizing of course that I wrote a better, more detailed exposition on the subject 9 years ago!  They write:
Lots of games, from dedicated educational titles to adult brain-teasers, make claims about how they can improve someone's mental performance in various ways. But there's often little evidence available to back up these claims and, in many cases, the evidence itself is ambiguous. Can playing games actually help in the classroom?

The answer appears to be yes, based on a talk by Stanford's Dan Schwartz at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting. But effectively leveraging gaming probably requires taking a lot of factors into consideration. At early stages, the games themselves have to be designed to focus on developing skills, rather than encouraging memorization, while more advanced students can benefit from games that build an intuitive sense of a specific subject matter. In all cases, the games had to be coupled with a good classroom explanation that put things into a broader context.
Here's the link to my post from 2005, along with the denouement:
The game sparked the interest, and then the real learning did begin.

The Stops--Grand Turk

After leaving Miami on Monday, and enjoying Tuesday in the open water, we arrived early on Wednesday at the cruise terminal outside of Cockburn Town, capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands.  What a desolate, quiet, quaint, pleasant little town it is!  With only about 5500 inhabitants and not a single stoplight it's the quintessential out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere hamlet.  The cruise terminal is the nicest-looking set of buildings I saw, everything else brings "dilapidated" to mind.

Peaceful.  God it was peaceful.

click pictures to enlarge
A US missile tracking station, a remnant of the Cold War.

A replica of Friendship 7; John Glenn splashed down nearby.

Donkeys and horses wander the streets freely.  We saw some in several locations, just as the guide book said we would.   And I saw much more scrub brush than I saw trees.

This and the utility company building were the only ones outside of the cruise terminal that looked nice, everything else seemed in various states of disrepair.

Are these puppies cute, or what?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the main street though the capital! (You can see the ship docked in the distance if you zoom in.)

And this is the post office, probably the only one on the entire island.

The local currency is the US dollar, so these gas prices are exactly as high as you think they are.

Perhaps you think that I haven't been fair to Cockburn Town, that it's not as "provincial" as I've made it seem.  Here's some raw video I took which also shows the main street:

IMAG0002-Grand Turk from Darren Miller on Vimeo.
Keep in mind that I mean no disrespect to the residents of Cockburn Town or the T&C Islands.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself there for the few hours I was privileged to visit and found the town to be quite nice--but I don't want to put on rose-colored glasses here, I want to be honest.  It was cute, quiet, pleasant, seemingly poor, and somewhat rundown.  All five of those can, and in my opinion do, exist simultaneously.

One Man's Garbage Is Another Man's Treasure

Why is it that some forms of "superstition" or pseudoscience are scorned, ridiculed, and attacked, while other forms are perfectly acceptable in polite company?  I guess the answer depends on who's doing the scorning, ridiculing, attacking, and accepting:
Still: a significant portion of what Whole Foods sells is based on simple pseudoscience. And sometimes that can spill over into outright anti-science (think What Doctors Don’t Tell You, or Whole Foods’ overblown GMO campaign, which could merit its own article). If scientific accuracy in the public sphere is your jam, is there really that much of a difference between Creation Museum founder Ken Ham, who seems to have made a career marketing pseudoscience about the origins of the world, and John Mackey, a founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, who seems to have made a career, in part, out of marketing pseudoscience about health?

Well, no—there isn’t really much difference, if the promulgation of pseudoscience in the public sphere is, strictly speaking, the only issue at play. By the total lack of outrage over Whole Foods’ existence, and by the total saturation of outrage over the Creation Museum, it’s clear that strict scientific accuracy in the public sphere isn’t quite as important to many of us as we might believe. Just ask all those scientists in the aisles of my local Whole Foods.

So, why do many of us perceive Whole Foods and the Creation Museum so differently? The most common liberal answer to that question isn’t quite correct: namely, that creationists harm society in a way that homeopaths don’t. I’m not saying that homeopathy is especially harmful; I’m saying that creationism may be relatively harmless. In isolation, unless you’re a biologist, your thoughts on creation don’t matter terribly much to your fellow citizens; and unless you’re a physician, your reliance on Sacred Healing Food to cure all ills is your own business.

The danger is when these ideas get tied up with other, more politically muscular ideologies. Creationism often does, of course—that’s when we should worry. But as vaccine skeptics start to prompt public health crises, and GMO opponents block projects that could save lives in the developing world, it’s fair to ask how much we can disentangle Whole Foods’ pseudoscientific wares from very real, very worrying antiscientific outbursts.  link
I don't post this to disparage Whole Foods--heck, I may go there once a year or so.  And I've written favorably about John Mackey on this blog before.  Mainly I post it as a dig on people who frequent Whole Foods--and you know exactly what kind of people I'm talking about :-)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Ship

This is why I didn't blog last week. Pretty good excuse, don't you agree?

(click to enlarge)

 (It's there, just enlarge!)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

“The two main instruments by which truth reaches politics are votes and markets, which is why political Utopians instinctively dislike both.”
-- Charles Moore, from a 4/6/2005 article in the UK’s Weekly Telegraph

Friday, February 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Quote of the Day

“Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”
--Daniel Webster

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Quote of the Day

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-front for the urge to rule it.”

--H. L. Mencken

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

“There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as “caring” and “sensitive” because he wants to expand the government’s charitable programs is merely saying that he’s willing to try to do good with other people’s money. Well, who isn’t? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he’ll do good with his own money — if a gun is held to his head.”
-- P.J. O’Rourke

Monday, February 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

“This is known as 'bad luck.'”
--Robert Heinlein

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Quote of the Day

“Geniuses are justifiably contemptuous of the opinions of their inferiors.”
--Jubal Harshaw, in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land

Saturday, February 15, 2014


The house and dog are in good hands, and this allows my son and me to take a little trip this next week since it's Ski Week, officially Presidents Week, in our school district.  We'll be back in about 7 days; in the meantime, I hope the daily quotes I've scheduled here at RotLC will be to your liking.  They're from my "favorite quotes" list.

Yes, I'll post pictures upon our return!

Impressive Math Teacher

CBS reports on the story of Jim O’Connor, a Vietnam Vet turned Calculus teacher whose students thought they had him all figured out. They recently found out that this no-nonsense teacher has a big heart and as one student puts it, is “the epitome of a man of service.”
Link is here.


Where I work I'm surrounded by out-and-proud union employees.  Some are so out and proud that they say, openly, that they think that union membership should be required for all workers.  I didn't say all teachers or all government workers, I said all workers.  Lefties do love compulsion.

Anyway, many of these people are convinced we teachers would have nothing were it not for the strength and beneficence of our teachers union, about which they complain incessantly because we haven't had so much as a raise for about 8 years.  But imagine how bad off we'd be if we didn't have a union, right?!

I wonder how they'd process this information if I were to use their favored tactic and force them to:
Union organizers in the South suffered a setback Friday when workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted against being represented by the United Auto Workers.

The vote was 712 against the union and 626 in favor. There are about 1,550 hourly workers at the plant who were eligible to vote.

The vote was seen as the UAW's best chance to organize a nonunion auto plant, because Volkswagen management did not oppose the effort.
What would cause more than half of those VW workers to reject union membership?  I think union people should think long and hard about how and why that could happen.

To be clear, I'm not against unions a priori, I'm against forced unionism.  As a lover of freedom I'm glad that 712 of my fellow Americans weren't compelled to give their money to an organization they didn't want to.  Those 626 who want to join a union can still do so as individuals, and that's perfectly acceptable.

But out here in true blue California, why anyone would not want to join a union makes many shake their heads in utter confusion.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Scared Straight--Liberal Arts Edition

I was in junior high when Scared Straight came out.  Anyone else old enough to remember that?  Anyway, here's the new version:

There’s nothing wrong with being a liberal arts major—if you get a good, genuine liberal arts education and not the Gerber Food-style of pablum and political claptrap that today passes for a liberal education.  Big "if", nowadays.

Perhaps Because It's A Non-Story?

From the leftie fever swamp of The Nation:
Jonathan Cohn asked an interesting question at The New Republic this week. Where is the mainstream, right-wing reaction to NFL prospect and SEC defensive player of the year Michael Sam’s announcement that he is gay? This is, after all, a historic story that far transcends the world of football. The news has been at the heart of sports radio and social media commentary for the last week, dwarfing even the Sochi Olympics, for obvious reasons. We have never had an openly gay player in one of the major men’s leagues in the United States, and now, with the bravery of one young man, it looks like an imminent reality...

Yes, the crazies in Westboro Baptist Church and some of the more reptilian swamps of the right-wing blogosphere have let loose with the homophobia, but the mainstream has been silent. It is not just Fox. Doesn’t National Review or The Weekly Standard have anything interesting, or even uninteresting, to say about any of this? Nothing? Really?
Nope.   Sorry, but this story that is apparently, to read into the above, such a major story to lefties just isn't that important.  So the NFL may soon have an openly gay player.  Big deal.  Really, it's not that important.

The left's insistence that people's sexuality be known, flaunted, and "celebrated" is tiresome.  Unless I'm getting naked with you myself I truly have no desire to know your sexuality or your sexual practices, and I'd appreciate if you'd practice that discretion with me, thankyouverymuch.

I'm sure the NFL owners are far more interested in whether this guy can play football well than in his sexual preferences.  As for the rest of the right-wing blogosphere, well, perhaps The Nation doesn't understand that everyone who identifies as conservative isn't a social conservative and that the libertarian leaners among us don't choose to make a production out of sexual orientation, skin color, religion (especially of the non-Christian variety), etc.  Live and let live is a policy practiced only by conservatives; sure, it's not practiced by all conservatives, but it's not practiced by any libs.

Until lefties get past that, they're going to continue to feel compelled to celebrate every time the first black lesbian left-handed Zoroastrian does something mundane.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

You Want To See WWII Pictures?

I got your WWII pictures right here.

Please, Democrats, Take Nancy Pelosi's Advice!

It's at the end of this video:

On The Drive Home Tonight

Hugh Hewitt's show wasn't interesting me so I went over to FM to hear some music.  On one station I heard the following three songs in a row:

Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger
Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles
Magic Man by Heart

It was a good drive home!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Peek Behind The Curtain

Pay attention, and people will tell you exactly what they're thinking:
With the best of intentions, colorblindness inadvertently renders students of color invisible.

Colorblindness can imply that there is something wrong with not being White, or that there is something embarrassing or insulting about acknowledging one’s race or ethnicity. Colorblind perspectives also may reproduce racial and cultural hegemony in school practices, such as curriculum choices, teacher expectations, testing procedures, instructional practices, and even more pedestrian tasks such as seating arrangements. Because of the growing racial diversity in the United States, it is vital for teachers to understand and have the capacity to acknowledge racial diversity, and create safe, affirming, and supportive learning environments for their students to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to dialogue about race-related issues.

Emphasize that teaching is not a neutral act. It is highly political, and issues such as race and class are always tied to teaching.
As I read that, the author is equating "colorblind" to "white".  How did he make that leap?   How does judging people not by the color of their skin but on the content of their character (or their schoolwork) equate to "white"?

The author has some deep-seeded racial issues and is probably a racist.

BTW, this "helpful" racial advice was published by the NEA.

The Compulsion Continues Unabated

"You are required to swear that you are not practicing the easily predictable consequences of this law."  That's essentially what the feds are now saying to businesses regarding Obamacare:
Consider what administration officials announcing the new exemption for medium-sized employers had to say about firms that might fire workers to get under the threshold and avoid hugely expensive new requirements of the law. Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees. How will the feds know what employers were thinking when hiring and firing? Simple. Firms will be required to certify to the IRS – under penalty of perjury – that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions. To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs. You can duck the law, but only if you promise not to say so.
When you have to compel lying in order to get your way, there's really something wrong.  When you have to keep postponing and changing requirements because your signature piece of legislation is as screwed up as anyone can imagine, you should really wonder if it's such a good thing.

I have to believe that the only people left supporting Obamacare are idiots and bitter-clingers, but then I might be repeating myself.

For further background information I refer you to two of my prior posts from the last few days.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Income Inequality

It's enough to make you wonder if the left's current bugaboo, "income inequality", is as made up as their phony "war on women":
The Left is at war with economic reality. The intellectual poverty of the Left — which is also a moral poverty — is evident in the fact that its leaders are much more intensely interested in incomes at the top than those at the bottom. Examples are not difficult to come by: Senator Elizabeth Warren is visibly agitated by Jamie Dimon’s recent raise, the AFL-CIO maintains a website dedicated to executive compensation, Barack Obama avows that “at a certain point, you’ve made enough money,” et cetera ad nauseam. The entire rhetoric of inequality is simply an excuse to rage about incomes at the top, a generation’s worth of progressive shenanigans having failed to do much about those at the bottom.

It is the case that incomes at the top have gone up while those in the middle and at the bottom have stagnated or declined in real terms. It is not the case that incomes at the top have gone up because those in the middle and at the bottom have stagnated or declined, nor is it the case that incomes in the middle and at the bottom have stagnated or declined because incomes at the top have gone up. There is a relationship between the two phenomena, but it is not the relationship that progressives imagine it to be...

The American rich are not getting richer because of the American tax code. Income inequality in the United States is increasing. It is also increasing in Sweden. And Norway. And Finland. And the Netherlands. And Canada. And Germany. Pick your European welfare state and throw in Japan, too, and you’ll find much the same story.

Incomes are up at the top, stagnating or down elsewhere — but there is no “because” between those two facts.  link
The left's only reply to this is, "But, but, the Koch Brothers!  And George Bush!  And racism!"


Obamacare is such a disaster that, if it weren't so serious, I'd have to laugh at the stupidity of anyone who ever had a positive thing to say about it.  It has so many problems--all Democrat-made, I point out, since not a single Republican in either house of Congress voted for it--that solving them is like playing Wack-a-mole.  You try to fix (wack) one, another one pops right up somewhere else.

It's enough to drive even a good liberal crazy:
It's getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.

For the second time in a year, certain businesses were given more time before being forced to offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. Employers with 50 to 99 workers were given until 2016 to comply, two years longer than required by law. During a yearlong grace period, larger companies will be required to insure fewer employees than spelled out in the law.

Not coincidentally, the delays punt implementation beyond congressional elections in November, which raises the first problem with defending Obamacare: The White House has politicized its signature policy.

The win-at-all-cost mentality helped create a culture in which a partisan-line vote was deemed sufficient for passing transcendent legislation. It spurred advisers to develop a dishonest talking point—"If you like your health plan, you'll be able to keep your health plan." And political expediency led Obama to repeat the line, over and over and over again, when he knew, or should have known, it was false.

Defending the ACA became painfully harder when online insurance markets were launched from a multi-million-dollar website that didn't work, when autopsies on the administration's actions revealed an epidemic of incompetence that began in the Oval Office and ended with no accountability.
Then officials started fudging numbers and massaging facts to promote implementation, nothing illegal or even extraordinary for this era of spin. But they did more damage to the credibility of ACA advocates.

Finally, there are the ACA rule changes—at least a dozen major adjustments, without congressional approval.
Instapundit posted this picture today:
Sums it up pretty well so far.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Melange Post

Conservatives are good people.

Under Obamacare, less work is actually good!  If having fewer people working is so great, why does the president periodically "pivot" to jobs and the economy?  Newspeak is alive and well amongst our (stingy) friends on the left.

Suspensions at schools in Sacramento County:
Schools in the Sacramento region suspended about 17,000 middle and high school students last year - about one of every 10 pupils, new state data show.

Read more here:

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Classroom Rules

You know these have to be entertaining if the author felt compelled to add the following caveat at the end of the post:
Addendum, To the Senders of All That Hate Mail About How I’m an Embarrassment to the Profession: If you are so dim and humorless that you are offended by this post, please know that I am a young, vibrant teacher who loves my students. Teaching isn’t just a job for me; it’s my identity, and I will probably teach until I am mentally or physically unable to do so. Teaching has given meaning to my life unlike anything else I’ve ever done, and even on difficult days, I have hope that I have made a positive difference in my students’ lives. When I start to lose hope, I go to a red binder on top of my bookshelf that is filled with notes of thanks. This post could have been written only by someone who knows and loves kids well. If you can’t see that, then congratulations on LACKING A SENSE OF HUMOR and taking yourself RIDICULOUSLY GODDAMN SERIOUSLY. I’m just thankful we don’t know each other in real life.

When The Facts Contradict Your Expectations...

...believe the facts:
Close to a billion dollars have been spent to provide relationship counseling to low-income parents writes Tom Bartlett in The Great Mom & Dad Experiment in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The hope is that ”better partners make better parents"...

However, it doesn’t work, according to a three-year study of eight programs in different states.

Family Expectations, which grew out of welfare reform, enjoys broad bipartisan support, writes Bartlett. “Plus it just feels right. Spend time with these couples—the teenage mother with a newborn on her shoulder, the middle-aged dad dangling his keys just beyond his infant’s reach—and you can’t help but root for them and for relationship education.”

Family instability is terrible for kids. But this doesn’t seem to work.
Kinda like Head Start.

Which Group Is The Larger Sex Offender Against Children, Teachers or Catholic Priests?

According to this story posted at CBS News--hardly an anti-teacher, right-wing site--teachers make the priests look like pikers:
Hofstra University researcher Charol Shakeshaft looked into the problem, and the first thing that came to her mind when Education Week reported on the study were the daily headlines about the Catholic Church.

"[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem?" she said. "The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests"...

As the National Catholic Register's reporter Wayne Laugesen points out, the federal report said 422,000 California public-school students would be victims before graduation — a number that dwarfs the state's entire Catholic-school enrollment of 143,000....
Without data, all you have is an opinion.  If someone can find fault with the data, I'll listen to them, but otherwise this report is damning.  (Priests?  Damning?  Get it?  Sometimes I slay myself!)

Saturday, February 08, 2014

No, I'm Not Letting Boomer Out

This is the view out my front window a few minutes ago....
click to enlarge

Leno Jabs at President Obama

I like the one suggesting that by referring to it as the Affordable Care Act, now even President Obama is trying to distance himself from Obamacare :-)

Friday, February 07, 2014

Slapping Both

Sometimes I enjoy reading The Economist just for the entertaining style of some of the writing.  For example, the following comes from page 31 of the February 8th edition at the end of an article on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate:
Most Americans reject young-earth creationism.  But the share of Republicans who believe that humans evolved fell from 54% in 2009 to 43% last year.  Democrats, do not look so smug; your lot are likelier to believe in UFOs, ghosts and astrology.  Also, that the moon landings were faked, that the CIA introduced crack to inner cities and that America's government conspired in the September 11th attacks.  It's enough to make an ape weep.

Liar, Hypocrite, or Both?

The biggest problems that we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that's what I intend to reverse when I'm president of the United States of America."
Senator Barack Obama, March 31, 2008

Read more here.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Not Just A Democratic "War On Women"

Earlier today, the NAACP asked lawmakers to sit out the vote on the expulsion of Henriquez, a member of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and of the advocacy organization.

“The NAACP, New England Area Conference (NEAC), respectfully requests that the Massachusetts House of Representatives abstain from voting in the matter of the expulsion of Representative Carlos Henriquez, expected to come before the House today,” the organization said in a letter. “In the alternative, Members of the House are asked to vote against the expulsion of their colleague.”

The NAACP notes that Henriquez’s criminal conviction for assaulting a woman is under appeal, and states that the Legislature currently has “no rule for expulsion that applies to misdemeanor convictions.”

“Representative Henriquez was duly elected by the electorate and there is no legal basis upon which the House of Representatives can properly act,” the NAACP said in its statement. “Delaying any decision on the House Ethics Committee’s recommendation at this time would allow for a fair process to take place, as required under the law.”
Why was this man expelled from the Massachusetts legislature?
Henriquez has continued to insist he is innocent of holding down and punching a then-girlfriend after she wouldn’t have sex with him in July of 2012. He was found guilty last month and sentenced to six months in the Middlesex County House of Corrections in Billerica.

Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, speaking in a statement following the expulsion vote, defended the committee's probe into the assault case as an "independent investigation" which included reviewing 11 police reports, 78 exhibits and nearly 1,000 pages of trial testimony...

The House, (Speaker) DeLeo said, "found that a representative could not serve as a member while incarcerated in jail after being convicted of two charges of a serious nature. With that vote completed, the House will now move forward to address the budget, gun safety, domestic violence and other important legislative matters."
What possible reason could the NAACP have for not wanting this legislator expelled?  They must be misogynists!


The following was sent to me in an email today.  I don't know anything about the supposed author, but I agree with the sentiment enough to repost it here:
By Junius P. Long

Food For Thought:

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book, but you don't have to show ID for the right to vote on who runs the government ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If, in the largest city of the country, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because the government says a 24-ounce sugary drink might make you fat ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a hi-jab is only subject to having her neck and head searched because of her religion ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher’s "cute," but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If hard work and success is rewarded with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and free cell phones...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If the government's plan for getting people back to work is to reward them with 99 weeks of unemployment checks with no requirement to prove they applied for it ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more "safe" according to the government ...

Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If you are offended by this article, then I'll bet you voted for the idiots who are running and "ruining" our great country!

These Are The Values I Learned In The Army

And these words come from a squid!
The oath you took is clear; to support and defend the Constitution, not the institution-- not the Army, not the Corps, not the division, not the brigade, not the battalion, not the company, not the platoon, and not the squad—but the nation.

I learned that leadership is hard.  Karl von Clausewitz once said that “everything in war is easy, but the easy things are difficult.”  Leadership sounds easy in the books, but it is quite difficult in real life.  I learned that leadership is difficult because it is a human interaction and nothing, nothing is more daunting, more frustrating more complex than trying to lead men and women in tough times. Those officers that do it well earn your respect, because doing it poorly is common place.  You will be challenged to do it well.  

I learned that taking care of soldiers is not about coddling them.  It is about challenging them .  Establishing a standard of excellence and holding them accountable for reaching it.  I learned that good officers lead from the front.  I can’t count the times that I saw Petraeus, without body armor, walking the streets of Mosul, Baghdad or Ramadi, to share the dangers with his men and to show the enemy he wasn’t afraid.

Or McChrystal, jocking-up to go on a long patrol with his Rangers or SEALs in Afghanistan; Dempsey on a spur ride in Iraq; Austin at the head of his Division during the invasion of Iraq; Odierno, cigar in mouth, rumbling through the streets of Basrah; Rodriguez and Dailey always center stage during the tough fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

I learned that if you are in combat, move to where the action is the hottest .  Spend time with the soldiers being miserable, exhausted and scared.  If you’re a Blackhawk pilot or a tank commander, spend some time on the flight line or in the motor pool with the maintainers and the wrench turners. Whatever position or branch you are in, find the toughest, most dangerous, job in your unit and go do it.

I learned that you won’t get a lot of thanks in return.  I learned that you shouldn’t expect it.  Your soldiers are doing the tough job every day, but I guarantee you, you will learn a lot about your troops and they will learn a lot about you.
I learned that the great leaders know how to fail.  In the course of your Army career you will likely fail and fail often.  Nothing so steels you for battle like failure. No officer I watched got it right, every time.  But the great ones know that when they fail, they must pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and move on.  

Rudyard Kipling, the great British storyteller, poet and soldier once wrote, in part, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowances for their doubting too. If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same. Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it and which is more-- you’ll be a man my son.”

If you can’t stomach failure, then you will never be a great leader. I learned that great Army officers are risk takers, but the greatest risk is not on the battlefield, but in standing up for what’s right.   
I will be honest here.   The day I raised my right hand and swore the oath, I was in for 20--I was going to be a lifer.  Less than a year later I was counting the days until I could legally resign.  The army didn't live up to West Point's standards of integrity.  Since getting out I've learned that much of the world doesn't, either, but the wise and the lucky will find places where integrity is still valued, and will go there.

I never served in combat; I signed out of the army the day before Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.  However, in garrison as in combat, the good leader will go to where the "suck" is in order to earn the respect of his/her troops.  I didn't do it every time, but I did it often.  I wasn't the perfect leader, but I have no reason to feel ashamed of my overall performance; given the opportunity, though, there are a few of specific instances where, if I could do it over, I'd act differently.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

No Jobs, No Fresh Vegetables, Just A Vacant Lot

Trader Joe's was chased out of a Portland neighborhood, why--because it wasn't black enough, or something?
Trader Joe’s wanted to build a new store in Portland, Oregon. Instead of heading to a tony neighborhood downtown or towards the suburbs, the popular West Coast grocer chose a struggling area of Northeast Portland.

The company selected two acres along Martin Luther King Blvd. that had been vacant for decades. It seemed like the perfect place to create jobs, improve customer options and beautify the neighborhood. City officials, the business community, and residents all seemed thrilled with the plan. Then some community organizers caught wind of it.

The fact that most members of the Portland African-American Leadership Forum didn’t live in the neighborhood was beside the point. “This is a people’s movement for African-Americans and other communities, for self-determination,” member Avel Gordly said in a press conference. Even the NAACP piled on, railing against the project as a “case study in gentrification.” (The area is about 25 percent African-American.)

After a few months of racially tinged accusations and angry demands, Trader Joe’s decided it wasn’t worth the hassle...

Hours after Trader Joe’s pulled out, PAALF leaders arrived at a previously scheduled press conference trying to process what just happened. The group re-issued demands that the now-cancelled development include affordable housing, mandated jobs based on race, and a small-business slush fund. Instead, the only demand being met is two fallow acres and a lot of anger from the people who actually live nearby.
I'm reminded of a quote on my Favorite Quotes list, and it applies to PAALF and their ilk:
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-front for the urge to rule it.”
--H. L. Mencken
I'm sure the PAALF folks will tell you they've done a great, selfless service for the community in question.

This Can't Be. Obamacare Runs Perfectly Here In Utopian California.

The Los Angeles Times is hardly a conservative newspaper:
After overcoming website glitches and long waits to get Obamacare, some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor's office.

A month into the most sweeping changes to healthcare in half a century, people are having trouble finding doctors at all, getting faulty information on which ones are covered and receiving little help from insurers swamped by new business.

Experts have warned for months that the logjam was inevitable. But the extent of the problems is taking by surprise many patients — and even doctors — as frustrations mount.

Aliso Viejo resident Danielle Nelson said Anthem Blue Cross promised half a dozen times that her oncologists would be covered under her new policy. She was diagnosed last year with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and discovered a suspicious lump near her jaw in early January.

But when she went to her oncologist's office, she promptly encountered a bright orange sign saying that Covered California plans are not accepted.

"I'm a complete fan of the Affordable Care Act, but now I can't sleep at night," Nelson said. "I can't imagine this is how President Obama wanted it to happen."
Maybe someone should have read the bill before it was passed so we'd have known what was in it.  I can recall Candidate Obama promising that all bills would be posted online before--well, we know what his promises are worth.

On the upside, this vignette turns a popular saying about socialism on its head.  "Socialism means standing in line" isn't true here, because these people can't even find a line to wait in.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

So What If Others Feel Bad?

Where/how did this view ever come into being, that we can't reward the good because it makes the bad feeeeeeeel bad about themselves?  What kind of warped view is that?
Students who earned straight A’s at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring have been invited to a school dance Tuesday, a celebration that starts during the final period of the school day and includes a DJ, free pizza and a game room.

Students with B’s and C’s may join in later, when classes are over and pizza is no longer served. Students with lower grades are not invited at all.

Eastern’s “Academic Achieve­ment Celebration” is not an entirely new idea in education: Schools commonly reward student success. But the idea of a middle-school party that sets students apart by letter grades — leaving out 306 of the school’s 865 students, or 35 percent of the student body — has raised questions at Eastern and beyond.
Try that belief on the athletes some time, see how much sense it makes.  You know why we don't do stupid things like this, or like affirmative action, in athletics?  Because athletics is important, which goes to show you how highly some people place the education of children against the backdrop of their own prejudices and ideologies.

Global Warming Oversold?

Ya think?
Will the overselling of climate change lead to a new scientific dark age? That’s the question being posed in the latest issue of an Australian literary journal, Quadrant, by Garth Paltridge, one of the world’s most respected atmospheric scientists.

Paltridge was a Chief Research Scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).  The latter is Australia’s equivalent of the National Science Foundation, our massive Federal Laboratory network, and all the governmental agency science branches rolled into one.

Paltridge lays out the well-known uncertainties in climate forecasting. These include our inability to properly simulate clouds that are anything like what we see in the real world, the embarrassing lack of average surface warming now in its 17th year, and the fumbling (and contradictory) attempts to explain it away.

While the politically correct name for the last 17 years is “the pause,” it’s much more like the P-wave, which reflects the crustal slippage that occurs before the shaking (and tsunami, if beneath the sea) of a catastrophic earthquake. Humans can’t feel them, but many animals can, which is why birds alight shortly before all hell breaks loose.

Climate scientists have been profoundly defensive about the known problems. Paltridge elegantly explains that this has to be the case, and describes the likely horrific consequences when the day of reckoning finally arrives.

That day is coming closer, because, as Paltridge notes, people are catching on:
“…the average man in the street, a sensible chap who by now can smell the signs of an oversold environmental campaign from miles away, is beginning to suspect that it is politics rather than science which is driving the issue.”
The scientific establishment has painted itself into a corner over global warming. Paltridge’s explanations for this are depressingly familiar to those who read these columns.

Science changed dramatically in the 1970s, when the reward structure in the profession began to revolve around the acquisition of massive amounts of taxpayer funding that was external to the normal budgets of the universities and federal laboratories. In climate science, this meant portraying the issue in dire terms, often in alliance with environmental advocacy organizations. Predictably, scientists (and their institutions) became addicted to the wealth, fame, and travel in the front of the airplane....
I know this bothers some lefties, but scientists are people too--with all the foibles we mere mortals have.  

Some People Just Hate America

Those "international students"--do you think they came here because this country sucks?  I'll bet their countrymen back home laugh at the idea presented by the school administration:
Parents and students expressed outrage on Facebook on Monday after administrators at Fort Collins High School nixed a student idea to host an upcoming spirit day called “’Merica Day.”

The situation caught the attention of Fox News and has some community members saying the school should be “ashamed of their un-American PC censorship” of a day students intended to celebrate a country that’s home to people of diverse backgrounds and origins.

“I can see both sides, but I think it’s kind of absurd that we can’t celebrate the country we’re in — whether you’re from it or just visiting. It’s a country,” said Ellie Goodspeed, a senior and treasurer of the school’s student council.

Goodspeed said the juniors are in charge of planning themes for each day of spirit week, celebrated during the week of Valentine’s Day. They suggested “’Merica Day,” but administrators, she said, thought it could be offensive to the school’s international students.

According to a statement sent Monday night to the Coloradoan by Poudre School District spokeswoman Danielle Clark: “Building administrators met with the students to discuss the inconsistency of this day versus the other planned theme days, including PJ day and Twin day. ”
As I've said so many times, some people's minds are so open that their brain falls out.

Math In The Real World

What would Watson say about this?
A talented “Jeopardy!” contestant has found a new strategy for winning the game, but his unique playing style has die-hard fans of the quiz show up in arms.

Arthur Chu is a three-time "Jeopardy!" champ who has won the competition using game theory. Instead of going for the easy questions first, he plays by jumping around the board in search of the coveted Daily Doubles. He also works to keep points away from his opponents.

“I don’t think I’m particularly smart,” Chu told The New York Post. “It was all about looking for the right strategy for studying and the right strategy for playing the game and drilling myself on it until it became second nature."
Boldface happily added by your RotLC host :)

"If You Think Health Care Is Expensive Now..."

...wait till you see how much it costs when it's "free":
THE HILL: CBO: ObamaCare Slowing Growth, Contributing To Job Losses. “The non-partisan group’s report found that the healthcare law’s negative effects on the economy will be ‘substantially larger’ than what it had previously anticipated. The CBO is now estimating that the law will reduce labor force compensation by 1 percent from 2017 to 2024, twice the reduction it previously had projected.”
UPDATE: This must have been painful for Chuck Todd to write: “CBO essentially reaffirms GOP talking points on health care. Says it will cost jobs, feel as if it raises taxes and contributes to deficit.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Flashback: FactCheck.Org: A ‘Job-Killing’ Law? House Republicans misrepresent the facts. Experts predict the health care law will have little effect on employment. So were these “fact-checkers” right about anything? Or were they just engaged to defend the Obama narrative until after the election?
Lefties must hate it when those heartless conservatives, using all their hard science and difficult math, as opposed to rainbows and unicorn farts, are right.