Sunday, November 30, 2014


I've felt fine all break, and today I wake up feeling yucky.  Ugh, I've got to go to work tomorrow. 

I'm thinking tea and DayQuil for the next several hours....

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Guess The Old Accusation Wasn't Selling Well

The value in calling someone a racist has, crying-wolf-style, been devalued so much that it's lost its currency.  So the race-baiters have a new banner to raise:  racism without racists.  And the following quote from the linked article is painful to read:
"Colorblind racism is the new racial music most people dance to," he says. "The 'new racism' is subtle, institutionalized and seemingly nonracial."
That whirring sound you hear is Dr. King spinning in his grave, and logicians are going insane trying to understand "colorblind racism".

Climate Change

Friday, November 28, 2014

I Doubt She's A Budding Conservative, Though Her Second Sentence Sounds Like One Here

From an article on the temper tantrums thrown recently at UC Davis over increased tuition and fees, brought to you by the big government of the Democrat-run state of California:
“We’re sick and tired of balancing work and homework. We’re sick and tired of giving money we don’t have to UC regents,” Mina Arasteh, a second-year environmental policy student from Moraga, shouted from a bullhorn.
You know what, Mina?  I could say the exact same thing.  I, too, am tired of balancing work and homework, but I do it because I chose this path for myself.  I'm also tired of paying for your education when I don't see how it benefits me or the people of California when your behavior is so puerile.  It's true that my education was paid for by taxpayers, but there was a contract involved in how I'd pay that debt to the taxpayers, and the requirements were specific.  The taxpayer and I both fulfilled our ends of the bargain.  What is it that you're doing for the taxpayer who funds your education?  What, specifically, does the taxpayer get out of funding higher education? 

I'll tell you this:  watching you protest is not making this particular taxpayer excited about paying more for your education.  Staging a walkout?  How can I take you seriously when you walk out on the very education whose cost you're complaining about?  Why not protest the dining commons when you're hungry, it's the same thing.  It's a temper tantrum.  Are you going to hold your breath until someone gives in?

As Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of Education, used to say, "Put your big-girl panties on."  Start acting like you're not the center of the universe and that everyone owes you everything.

And then consider if people with your major might be part of the problem with both government and the economy in this state.

You Voted For These People, California

Where'd that $6 billion for stem cell research go?  Does it feel good to blow that much money and get nothing out of it other than the satisfaction of having angered "religious conservatives"?

Do you really want to spend $100 billion dollars on a train that goes from one Central Valley farm town to another?  Is that really how we're going to defeat the dreaded Global Warming?

Get ready for more:
Motorists are about to get drafted into California’s war on climate change.

Starting Jan. 1, gas and diesel fuel will be subject to California’s cap-and-trade market, a 2-year-old regulatory mechanism that puts a price on carbon spewed into the atmosphere.

The result will be higher gasoline and diesel prices, and probably more controversy for a state program that’s already been attacked in the courts by the business community.

With fuel the cheapest it’s been in years, state officials say the price increase won’t clobber consumers. The increase is likely to be less than 10 cents a gallon, said Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, which runs the carbon program. Given the typical volatility of gas prices, Nichols said most consumers will probably barely notice the difference.
You catch that? You probably won't notice the difference, it'll be so small.  Gas prices are relatively low right now so you should be able to afford a few extra cents a gallon for Mother Gaia.  Lucky you.

How will this money be spent?  How will the earth heal with this money?  The article doesn't say.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Way Too Stuffed...

Way too stuffed and way too buzzed to grade papers and do my discrete optimization classwork, so perhaps that'll have to wait until tomorrow.  Now I think I'll waddle over to bed!

What The PIlgrims Can Teach Us Today

Ilya Somin at the Washington Post has such a good piece that I'll repost it here in its entirety:
There is much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. One lesson of the holiday that we should try not to forget is how the Pilgrims were saved from starvation and misery by private property rights. Economist Benjamin Powell summarizes the story here:
Many people believe that after suffering through a severe winter, the Pilgrims’ food shortages were resolved the following spring when the Native Americans taught them to plant corn and a Thanksgiving celebration resulted. In fact, the pilgrims continued to face chronic food shortages for three years until the harvest of 1623. Bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages. Bad economic incentives did.
In 1620 Plymouth Plantation was founded with a system of communal property rights. Food and supplies were held in common and then distributed based on equality and need as determined by Plantation officials. People received the same rations whether or not they contributed to producing the food, and residents were forbidden from producing their own food. Governor William Bradford, in his 1647 history, Of Plymouth Plantation, wrote that this system was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. The problem was that “young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.” Because of the poor incentives, little food was produced.
Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves….
This change, Bradford wrote, had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. Giving people economic incentives changed their behavior….
Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years. It was only after allowing greater property rights that they could feast without worrying that famine was just around the corner.
For a more detailed account of the Pilgrims’ transition to private property, see here. In my 2010 post on this subject, I explained why the lessons of the Pilgrims’ experience with property rights are in no way vitiated by the fact that the Plymouth Plantation was a corporation.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!
The Pilgrims would teach us that socialism doesn't work, if only we're smart enough to listen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Obama: "Teachers Suck"

On what planet is this any of the federal government's business or responsibility?
The Obama administration unveiled a proposal Thursday to regulate how the country prepares teachers, saying that too many new K-12 educators are not ready for the classroom and that training programs must improve.

Under the plan, the federal government would require states to issue report cards for teacher preparation programs within their borders, including those at public universities and private colleges, as well as alternative programs such as those run by school districts and nonprofits such as Teach for America.
The federal government is a disaster.  Can you identify anything it does well right now?  Its leaders can't even use the military properly.  The government might be good at building things--say, a freeway--but it's lousy at running programs.  Can you identify any that are running well?  How about EBT, WIC, CTC/ebola, VA, Social Security, FEMA/Sandy, you name it, it's a disaster.  And now Obama and his feds want to stick their noses into something that's so obviously a state issue that you have to wonder how a "constitutional law professor" could think this is a federal issue at all?  Sheesh.

And for all you liberal teachers union members out there, listen to what he's saying--he's saying you're lousy at what you do.  You're so bad that your state government can't even be expected to fix the problem, only the leviathan of Washington can fix the problem, that's how bad you are.  And you and your unions supported this man through 2 elections?  Maybe he's right, maybe you do suck.

Concert Pics

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back To Work!

Even though I'm off work all week, that doesn't mean there isn't work to be done.  I brought home all the write-ups/reports on our statistics survey, and they're not going to grade themselves!  Also, it may be break but I've still got to do my master's class work.

Good times.

Monday, November 24, 2014


I've told the story before--I had tickets to see Fleetwood Mac in 1982 but the date was cancelled.  I've since since seen all three lead vocalists on solo tours, and a year and a half ago I saw Fleetwood Mac in Las Vegas (minus Christine McVie).

Tonight, 32 years after my first try, I finally get to see Fleetwood Mac.  All five of them.  In concert.

Yes, I'm a little excited!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I've Believed This For Awhile...

I just didn't have any evidence until now:
Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly that renewables will never permit the human race to cut CO2 emissions to the levels demanded by climate activists. Whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible.

Both men are Stanford PhDs, Ross Koningstein having trained in aerospace engineering and David Fork in applied physics. These aren't guys who fiddle about with websites or data analytics or "technology" of that sort: they are real engineers who understand difficult maths and physics, and top-bracket even among that distinguished company. The duo were employed at Google on the (Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal) project, which sought to enhance renewable technology to the point where it could produce energy more cheaply than coal.
For solar, there just aren't enough watts per square meter falling in the earth to make it viable.  I've never believed wind or other such technologies would be able to power our society.  Cheap, reliable, relatively-non-polluting nuclear energy, on the other hand....

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Over The Hill

In WWII, pilots who flew over the Himalayas referred to the route as "over the hump".

In the United States, it's not uncommon to refer to England in particular, and to Europe in general, as "across the pond".

In the old army, if you went AWOL you were referred to as going "over the wall".

In Northern California, crossing the Sierra to get into Nevada is going "over the hill".  And that's what I did today.

My mother's birthday was this past week and she wanted to spend the weekend in Reno, so a bunch of friends and family made the trek today.

At 2:55 I crossed Donner Summit; the thermometer on my dash read 35 degrees.  A few minutes later I was in Truckee with a sky full of rain clouds but with glimpses of clear blue sky.  There was light rain most of the trip through the mountains but no problems at all.

It's been mostly cold and dry here in Reno.  Now I get to enjoy the weekend....

Friday, November 21, 2014

Does Italy Not Want Tourists Anymore?

Combine this with Rome's ban on having a seat and eating and you have to wonder if they really do or not:
For years Venice has battled the effects of rising waters on its historic architecture, but now it's facing a new threat -- wheeled suitcases.

City officials have become so tired with the cacophony of rumbling luggage they're introducing fines of up to 500 euros ($620) for anyone caught using one.

The move, due to come into effect in May 2015, is likely to create a headache for many of 22 million who annually visit the city and need to cart bags to hotels in car-free streets.
I know what let's do, let's kill us that goose that lays the golden eggs!

Update, 11/25/14:  Maybe they're taking a step back towards sanity:
It seems that tourists visiting Venice can still bring their wheelie suitcases, at least for the time being...

But after opposition to the proposed law—which would reportedly see charges as much as 500 euros ($620) on travelers, the city is backtracking on the proposal.
The only place in Venice with cars is the port:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Took Test #4 Today

The current class I'm taking is Discrete Optimization, and I'm probably enjoying this particular course more than I've ever joined any other math class.  I love the topic--but there's so much to learn!

I turned the test in today highly confident of a great grade.  It just occurred to me a few minutes ago, though, that one answer will probably get dinged because I wasn't detailed enough.  The lack of detail was "duh!", but it's still important to justify the rest of what I wrote.  If I were grading it I'd take points off; under pressure of a test, though, it just didn't occur to me to include that simple but important information.

Each test I've taken in this course my grade has gone down; I was on track to get 90% on this one.  Right now I'm thinking that I'll be satisfied if I merely beat that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Shirtstorm

I've stayed mostly out of the Shirtstorm discussion until I could find something to quote with which I could agree, and this is it:
The European Space Agency made history when their Philae lander touched down onto a comet. This was a major accomplishment, not just for science, but for humanity. The comet, 67P, is only 2.5 miles wide and can travel tens of thousands of miles per hour.

But unfortunately — albeit also unsurprisingly — feminazis cared not a whit about what an incredible achievement this was, and zeroed in on one thing: the shirt that Dr. Matt Taylor was wearing in an interview:
matt taylor
The shirt is clearly famous women in science fiction, such as the 50 Foot Tall Woman and Wonder Woman — and was made for Taylor by a female friend of his. But because the shirt had women sort of scantily clad, it was apparently unacceptable — and the Atlantic writer Rose Eveleth kicked off the feminazi mob...

The femisogynists talk constantly about how women are so interested in science, technology, and engineering, but when there is a major, groundbreaking story involving those exact subjects, the only thing they can do is whine about how a shirt hurt their feelings...

A woman that actually was strong and empowered wouldn’t act like a Victorian-era woman fainting because they saw too much skin somewhere. And they’re hypocrites about it too, considering that they organize Slutwalks and encourage women to dress as skankily as possible — but heaven forbid a man wear a shirt that they don’t approve of...

It almost makes me embarrassed to be a woman — but then I remember that only about a third of all American women identify with these raving lunatics, and I feel so much better. No wonder they have to invent reasons to be offended. It must be hard to realize that you’re utterly irrelevant. 
I admit it, I disagree with the last sentence.  One-third of American women agree with these harpies?  That's not an insignificant fraction at all, so they're not irrelevant.  The fact that they could ruin the celebration of a recent major scientific success shows they're not irrelevant.  Disgusting and clueless, yes, but not yet irrelevant.

UC To Increase Tuition and Fees (Again)

It's hard for me to feel sorry for these particular students:
With the University of California regents scheduled to start debate Wednesday on proposed tuition hikes that could total 25 percent over five years, hundreds of UC Davis students protested Tuesday in what has become a familiar ritual on public campuses around the state in recent years.

The demonstration marked the third anniversary of the notorious UC Davis pepper spraying incident, which occurred on Nov. 18, 2011, during a protest on the campus quad by students upset about the increasing expense of a UC education.

“Three years later, it’s kind of demoralizing. Here we are again,” said Armando Figueroa, president of Associated Students, University of California, Davis. 
My first reason for a lack of sympathy is simple--I'd bet most of them are fans of big government and think Obamacare is going to "control" health care costs and improve the lives of all Americans.  I could be wrong, but if you've ever been to Davis, aka Berkeley-lite, you know I'm probably not.  And their education is provided courtesy of big government.

My second reason was discussed on this blog earlier this year.  (By the way, here's the outcome of that event.)

A Physicist Talks About Global Warming

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Hope They Win This Suit

I believe in merit:
Affirmative action policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been challenged in court.

A lawsuit against Harvard alleges the university limits the number of Asian-Americans it admits each year, arguing that white, black, and Hispanic applicants are given racial preferences over better qualified Asian-American applicants.
If our universities get more Asian and less white/black/brown, what do I care? I believe that the primary purpose of universities is to educate, and the people who show the most potential for education should be the ones let in.  I'm not one to concern myself with skin color in this or just about any other situation.

Merit.  It's the scores, baby.

Why I'm Not Convinced Anthropogenic Global Warming Is Real

I've written about Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, several times, and I agree with him here as well:
I changed my mind…this past February, Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist, and the co-founder of Greenpeace, the militant environmental group told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee “
There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.”
There are more like Moore.
There are plenty of other reasons at the link above to be skeptical about the Church of Global Warming.

Monday, November 17, 2014

How Great Is Obamacare?

It's so great that they had to lie to get it passed, they screwed up the rollout, and it's wildly unpopular:
Support for Obamacare continues to decline, with the law hitting a new low in approval, and a new high in disapproval, as the second enrollment period has opened for Americans, according to Gallup.

Just 37 percent approve of the Affordable Care Act, 1 percentage point less than the previous low recorded in January, Gallup found in a new survey released Monday.

The pollster notes the approval results are a “new numerical low” for Obamacare...

The Gallup poll was conducted Nov.6-9 and surveyed 828 adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Good job, Democrats.

From the embedded link to Gallup:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Six and Counting

By now you've heard of Jon Gruber, the MIT economist who has bragged about getting Obamacare passed by tricking and lying to the public.  He says he "misspoke", but he didn't "misspeak" once, or twice, or even three times, but six times that we know of with evidence:
Jake Tapper of CNN uncovered another video where Gruber celebrates his subterfuge — this time, in hiding whom the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on employee based insurance plans would hit...

The level of cynicism and arrogance it takes to pull this off is astonishing. You want to reach into the video and wipe that supercilious smirk off his face as he gleefully recounts how he bamboozled Americans.

Republicans should call this jerk to testify and then make him squirm by playing back each and every video.
Video links are embedded in the story above.

Hold on there, you say.  Who is this guy?  What relationship with the White House does/did he have?  If he's not affiliated with the White House or the Democratic Party, what he says is irrelevant.  And I'd agree with that.  That's why I offer this link from, and the following screen shot:

President Obama is trying, and failing, to distance himself from Gruber:
"The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run," Obama told reporters at a news conference following the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

Obama was responding to a recently discovered videotape featuring Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor and outside adviser of health care. Gruber said the Obama administration obscured the financing of the law in order to get it passed...

From Politico:
"While Gruber was not a staffer, he was a paid consultant whose models were used to help assess the impact of various policy changes being considered as part of health care legislation. Official logs show he visited the White House about a dozen times between 2009 and this year.  (boldface mine--Darren)

"Despite Obama's dismissive tone toward Gruber, the president has acknowledged that some of his own statements about the law were ill-advised, in particular his repeated promises that if Americans liked their health care plans they could keep them. In fact, many plans were deemed inadequate under the law, leading people to get notices that their plans were being canceled."
The contempt in which they hold the public is obvious, it's strong, and it's disgusting.  This story is further evidence that going back to the very beginning of the Obama Administration there has been nothing but lies, lack of transparency, and naked partisanship in the pursuit of ideological goals.

This is what you get when you elect someone based not on accomplishments but merely on skin color.  You get someone not up to the job.  It's even worse when you elect a Marxist with no moral compass.  Top it off by electing a narcissist.

Update, 11/25/14:  Listen to Gruber in his own words:

The Best and Brightest

I used to have a friend who was very bright, one of the top two or three people I've known.  Because of that, though, he had a certain snobbery about the general public, and believed that "smart" people should run government, and if "smart" people ran government we'd have good government and a good society.  Essentially, he was of the paternalistic "we (smart people) know better what's good for you" mold.  Didn't Kennedy and Johnson and McNamara have something to say about "the best and brightest", and if so, what do they have to show for it?

It was the historical "best and brightest" I was thinking about when I read this opinion piece from the Boston Herald (all boldface mine):
So here’s this geeky nerd, overeducated, greedy, pompous, thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room while simultaneously engineering a public-policy disaster of the first magnitude — and not only is he from Massachusetts, he’s from Cambridge.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Why is it that Massachusetts produces so many of these “pointedy-headed intellectuals who can’t park a bicycle straight,” as the late Democrat George C. Wallace used to say?

Do you realize that every last one of the many disasters that has befallen this nation in the last half-century can be traced right back here to the banks of the Charles River?

C’mon down, Jonathan Gruber, economics professor at MIT. He’s the moonbat who, after engineering the ongoing fiasco that is Obamacare, then took a nationwide victory lap in which he repeatedly described the American people as “too stupid” to realize the Democrats were destroying their health care.

Maybe he’s right about our stupidity. After all, he cashed in $392,000 worth of federal no-bid contracts to wreck the best health care system in the world, plus another $1.6 million or so in various state wrecking-ball contracts.

This goober, I mean Gruber, now says that when he sneered about how stupid Americans are, he made a mistake. Oddly, he made the same “mistake” five times (and counting). When you say something publicly five times, it’s part of your stump speech.

The Unaffordable Care Act — from the same Beautiful People who gave you Vietnam, the War on Poverty, the Immigration Reform Act of 1965, global warming, SSI, busing, gay marriage and gender reassignment.
This is why I'm a conservative who believes in "governing best by governing least".

Oh, The Irony.

Isn't it time to have a wall of separation between universities and athletics?  Do athletic programs provide some benefit that I as a taxpayer should support?  Let the pro-sports leagues have their own farm league teams so there's no more reason to have academic scandals like those at UNC and now Dartmouth:
Forty three students at Dartmouth College have been "implicated in an academic dishonesty case" in an ethics course, student newspaper The Dartmouth reports.

According to The Dartmouth, the 43 students allegedly skipped class, but got other students to sign in for them and answer questions using an electronic clicker. "Each clicker is registered with one student, who gains points for submitting answers to certain in-class questions," The Dartmouth reports.

The course — "Sports, Ethics and Religion" — is taught by Dartmouth religion professor Randall Balmer and is the largest course at the college this term, with 272 students. "Attendance and participation account for about 15% of a student's grade in the class," The Dartmouth reports.

Balmer told The Dartmouth that the course is specifically designed for student athletes. According to the newspaper, about 68% of the students enrolled in "Sports, Ethics and Religion" are Dartmouth varsity athletes.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Oh Those Wacky Canadians

This morning I walked a little over two miles from my home to a nearby high school.  Our Saturday morning training, for which I'll be paid a pittance (I've heard rumors of its being paid at my "daily rate" but I'll believe that when I see it), was conducted by a very well-spoken Canadian named Myron Dueck.  Nice guy, good stories, thought-provoking ideas.

He seems to conduct a lot of record-keeping and various other administrative tasks regarding grading.  That's my first turn-off, right there--I'm not interested in doing more record-keeping.  But whatever, he has some interesting ideas that maybe I can do something with.

But the cynic in me paid attention, and one of his first stories was odd.  He talked about how his wife "doesn't trust" microwave ovens, and got rid of theirs.  And she didn't like teflon either--"it's a kind of plastic, so we end up eating plastic"--so she got rid of their teflon pans.  They got stainless steel pans, but the eggs and pancakes stuck to them.  He got on the YouTube and found this workaround:  heat up coconut oil in the pan until it steams, then scrub the oil pan with salt.  He said the pan got clean and the eggs no longer stick.  Here's what I got out of that story:  his wife kept making "improvements" and he kept having to find work-arounds.  Isn't that an analogy for what goes on in education?

Anyway, I'm not here to bag on the man.  As I said, I enjoy listening to him speak.  And he doesn't just spout platitudes, he has some interesting ideas (especially if you love additional record-keeping!).  But what I really paid attention to was his speech itself.  Isn't it a kick how Canadians pronounce certain words?!

Here's one that's funny to me.  He'll pronounce "product" as "prah-duct", the same way as I do.  But he pronounces "process" as "proh-cess", and "progress" as "proh-gress".  Why the short "o" in the first word but a long "o" in the latter two?  Where did that difference come from?

Everyone knows about "oot" and "aboot" for "out" and "about".  Those are easy.  But I've heard too many Canadians say "figger" for "figure" that I think it's a thing, not just a slang.  Also, Canadians aren't "saw-ry" when they do something wrong, they're "sore-ry".  And they haven't "bin" up north, they've "been" (bean) up north.  And while I would refer to some of his blank documents as "tem-plets", he very clearly calls them "tem-plates".

I enjoy some of the different words they use, as well.  What I would call a "parking garage" or a "parking structure", Canadians call a "parkade"--a very efficient, utilitarian word.  He also referred to "9th graders" as "Grade 9's".  I wonder how many other such terms I didn't even catch.

So all in all I wasn't bored at all.  I paid attention, got an idea or two to try, and got plenty of material for a blog post.  All in all, not bad.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Long Couple of Days

It started yesterday.  We had our usual Thursday after-school collaboration as well as a staff meeting.  After that I met with a student for over an hour to prep for his congressman's interview panel tomorrow for service academy nominations.

Today we met at lunch again to see how much he'd polished up his presentation since the previous afternoon.  And after school today I met with one of my own students who will go before the same panel tomorrow, and she and I worked on her interviewing skills.  Then I met with a former student who studies math at a nearby college, he wanted to go over something he couldn't exactly remember from the pre-calculus course I taught him however many years ago.

And then I had a class' worth of tests to grade, important not just for promptness' sake but also because progress reports are due to be completed by Tuesday.  All the tests are done and entered into the computer, I just have to put in a few assignments and then do the progress reports--an easy job for Monday.

Tomorrow I have 4 1/2 hours of training at a nearby high school.  To be honest I'm not really interested in the training, but if the school district has the money they're going to spend it somehow and it may as well go to me.  It'll be wonderful if I get something useful out of it.

And I feel like I'm behind where I should be with my master's course, which means I'll probably be spending some time tomorrow studying.

It's a long couple of days.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why Is This "Disruptive"?

Things are "disruptive" if we let them be, if we give succor to other people's insecurities and stupidities.  If I've said it once I've said it a zillion times:  if it's not illegal, what school officials do on their own time is no one's business but their own.  Yes, I can understand certain specific activities might be genuinely "disruptive"--how do you handle a class of kids who have seen your nude spread on the internet--but in general what we have is a bunch of people trying to impose some wacky sort of Victorian morality on teachers:
A Connecticut middle school principal has resigned amid questions about his role in making violent movies featuring scantily clad women.

Officials announced Mark Foley's resignation as Granby Memorial Middle School principal Wednesday.

Superintendent Alan Addley says Foley did nothing illegal. But he says Foley acknowledged that his movies became a "distraction" and he didn't want continuing media coverage to distract students, parents or staff from academic work.
He makes erotic slasher films.  And that's enough to have him removed from being principal?  Geez, I hope he didn't also own stock in a firearms company or Philip Morris, those would be even more unforgiveable!  Ohmigawd, what if someone saw him at a restaurant drinking a beer?!

And before anyone jumps in with how unions are necessary to protect people from such silliness, I point out that this occurred in Connecticut, a very "blue" state.  I also remind you of the butt-print artist, a story from Virginia.

Update:  more on the topic here.

I Hope This Kind Of Idiocy Stays Confined To Europe

The next time you’re in the City of Lights and are about to snap nighttime pictures of the Eiffel Tower don’t: you could be fined.

An obscure clause in EU law states that the tower's evening light display is an “art work” -- and therefore is copyrighted. link
If it's out in public, it's fair game for photography. Yes, I can understand a few narrowly-tailored exceptions, but landmarks are not within those exceptions.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Agency Fee Rebate

Take a look at that for a moment.  An arbiter paid by the union decided that over 66% of the NEA's activities were not "chargeable", that they were not related to organizing or representation.  What were they related to?  Probably trying (and, for the most part, failing) to influence elections.

So almost 2/3 of the NEA's expenditures, and over 1/3 of the state and local expenditures, are for activities not directly related to improving my pay, benefits, and working conditions.  Why are we required to pay these people at all?

If Wisconsin, of all places, can do it, California can.  It'll happen some day.

Obamacare Solves All Those Problems We Had Pre-Obamacare, Right?

A fully-insured Wisconsin woman may soon have to file for bankruptcy after she suffered cardiac arrest and was taken, while unconscious, to an emergency room that wasn't in her healthcare network...

But this is not to say that Blue Cross-Blue Shield paid nothing toward Rothbauer's care.

The company says it paid its maximum for in-network care--$156,000 of the original $254,000 charged by St. Mary's.

It's called balance billing and its 100 percent legal, even specifically allowed under the Obamacare. 

That left $98,000, which Rothbauer successfully negotiated down to $9,800. However, as WISCTV points out, that doesn't cover bills from specific doctors, for the ambulance, the therapist, etc.

Now the fully-insured professional is stuck with a $50,000 bill because of some bad timing and a few blocks.

The Shortest Time In Coventry

I'm off the hook.

Today the fire alarm went off again.  Turns out a staff member was vacuuming, which stirred up dust, which set off the smoke alarm.  I'm no longer the most recent person to set off the alarm!

"I Have A Dream."

Aw screw it, no one has that dream anymore, especially not with this president and attorney general:
The good: Minneapolis Public Schools want to decrease total suspensions for non-violent infractions of school rules.

The bad: The district has pledged to do this by implementing a special review system for cases where a black or Latino student is disciplined. Only minority students will enjoy this special privilege...
I wonder what happens to Asians. In educational issues that particular minority group is often lumped in with whites because they "succeed".  The message, then, is that only "minorities" don't succeed.  Good message! 

Why don't certain groups of kids succeed?  I've said it about a zillion times on this blog--culture.  And culture is not merely a racial construct.

Predictable Obamacare Result

You can't blame this on those greedy corporations, a school district is doing this:

Roanoke City Public Schools will become the first area division to outsource its substitutes to a New Jersey-based company.

Beginning Jan. 5, Source4Teachers will staff the city’s substitute teachers, substitute aides and substitute clerical workers.
The move to privatize subs will cost about $1.6 million, and it is unclear whether it will save money. Officials have said it will help tame costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, as well as the law’s tracking and reporting requirements.
It would almost be criminal if they didn't do this to save the taxpayers' money.

But let's be up front about what's going on here--an employer is responding to (dis)incentives built into a law by acting in its own interest.  What field teaches us that this would be so?   What else can that field teach us about Obamacare and its implementation?

It's Not Willful Suicide

A particular political party and ideology is intentionally killing California, and this is just the latest sign.  Twenty years ago would anyone have thought that this would become so mainstream that it could happen?  Of course not, it was a desire of the lunatic fringe whom no right-thinking person would give any consideration--and now it's happening:
On the verge of granting hundreds of thousands of drivers licenses to immigrants in the country unlawfully, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will extend its hours and offer more appointments next year.

In January California will join the ranks of states that offer driving permits to undocumented immigrants. The rollout hit a snag when federal officials rejected a proposed license design as too subtle but eased back on track after California redesigned the IDs to make them conspicuously different from conventional licenses.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Obamacare Debacle

It passed without a single Republican vote in either chamber of congress.  Listen to the Democrats howl if Republicans ever tried to pass any legislation, much less a major piece of legislation, like that.

And they did it by lying.  They knowing lied.  They weren't mistaken about some point of fact, they lied:
MIT Economist Dr. Jonathan Gruber, widely cited as “the architect of ObamaCare,” recently committed a Kinsley gaffe, “when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say..."
This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that.  In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass. It’s a second-best argument. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.
...Apparently Dr. Gruber thinks it’s OK to lie to American voters when his allies are in power to enact policies that he wants but the voters wouldn’t. He then says American voters are “stupid” both for not agreeing with his value choices and for not figuring out the deception.
They lied, and it's not even working as planned. Forget the horrible roll-out, they aren't getting the sign-ups:
Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday projected that up to 9.9 million people would be enrolled in ObamaCare in 2015, millions fewer than Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates.

Federal health officials are projecting that ObamaCare enrollment will include at least 3.1 million fewer people next year than congressional budget analysts thought.

HHS, which previously declined to project 2015 sign-ups, said that between 9 million and 9.9 million people are expected to participate in the exchanges in 2015.

The figure was less than the CBO’s projection of 13 million for 2015 enrollment, raising questions about the exchanges' performance, compared with expectations.
How many of these are people who lost their insurance because of Obamacare?  How many are paying more now than they would for the health insurance they lost?

Socialism.  It would be a hilarious joke if it weren't so real.

Monday, November 10, 2014

At Least *Some* Students Were Disappointed At The Immaturity

And this is at Dartmouth, they of the Ivy League.  Here were some of the questions asked of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who spoke there recently:
A student at Dartmouth College asked Texas Governor Rick Perry Sunday if he would accept anal sex in exchange for $102 million in campaign contributions...

“Do you (Rick Perry) dislike bootysex because the peeny goes in where the poopy comes out?”...

“I know you have been very strong on all foreign policy issues, including Somali pirates, but what is your stance on butt pirates?”
I thought liberals were against anti-gay slurs. My bad.

The immaturity wasn't lauded by everyone:
“They were phrased in incredibly insulting ways, and I’m horrified,” Michelle Knesbach, president of the College Republicans told The Dartmouth. “We allow people to ask policy-driven questions, but when they’re phrased in an insulting manner, we try to avoid that, because it just detracts from the overall political discourse we can have on campus.”

Spencer Blair, the president of the College Democrats and a writer for The Dartmouth, also thought the questions were disrespectful to the governor.

“I think it’s really disappointing that anyone would undermine a serious political event with sexually explicit questions, and neither I nor anyone from College Democrats would ever condone such behavior,” said Blair. “We appreciate Governor Perry visiting campus, as we encourage any sort of political engagement and discourse here at Dartmouth.”

However, Packer thought the questions brought up legitimate concerns.

“People that are opposed to this act are opposed to it because they think that it hurts their political discussion,” said Packer (a sophomore who wrote the questions and distributed them beforehand). “I think the desired effect was to point out that their political discussion is not meaningful.”

Packer said the questions did not achieve their “desired effect.”

“Since the event organizers knew what we were doing before it happened, they sort of controlled the lens through which the questions were viewed,” said Packer. “The questions – they’re funny, right? I think they’re funny. I think a lot of people think that they’re funny, but since the event had control over the framing of the questions, nobody in the audience laughed. They booed.”
Someone named Packer shouldn't be making gay jokes, knowwhatImean?

How To Be Smart

1)  Be descended from Neanderthals:
"The genes for red hair and pale skin didn't match well enough to show a correlation, but I found a correlation for genes linked to other traits. There's a gene cluster linked to advanced mathematics skills, information processing, logic, analytical intelligence, concentration skills, obsession–compulsion and Asperger's syndrome. That cluster correlates very strongly. I can trace some genes back to the interglacial around 450,000 years ago, and others back to another burst of evolutionary innovation during the Eemian interglacial about 130,000 years ago." She rambled on with endless details.

Something wasn't right. She was linking genes for advanced mental skills to Neanderthals. "I'm confused," I said when she paused for a breath. "You're correlating genes linked to modern human intelligence with Neanderthal populations. What am I missing?"

"You didn't want to hear me, I knew that."

"No, I want to hear you. I just asked a question."

"You don't, because I already told you."

I looked at Beth blankly, realizing I was missing a key part of the puzzle. "You said these were Neanderthal genes?"

"Yes, they were," she said. "They weren't in the modern human genome until Neanderthals interbred with Cro-Magnons between 25,000 and 30,000 years ago."

"Advanced mathematical processing? Shouldn't that have been missing from the Neanderthal genome?"

"No, I found that Neanderthals lacked genes linked to successful socialization and management skills. They could count perfectly well, but they couldn't deal with groups. Socialization genes came from Sapiens"

"You're trying to tell me ..." I said, but my mental censor blocked the idea.

"That human mathematical intelligence came from Neanderthals? That's what the data say. The Cro-Magnons had the social skills. But that isn't all."

I stared at her. I couldn't tell that to the research council.

As usual, she couldn't read the warning look on my face. "The hybridization was successful in the Stone Age, but the environment has changed. I found that modern culture selects for socialization but against the Neanderthal traits for mathematics and intelligence," she said, and looked down. "I don't know how you'll survive when our genes are gone."
2)  Take drugs
Professor Carla Shatz of Stanford University and her colleagues have discovered a way to revert an adult brain to the “plastic”, child-like state that is more able to form new connections quickly.  The technical term “plastic” implies the ability to adapt or shape itself to new conditions.  The striking results were revealed through experiments on a protein expressed in brain cells known as PirB (this is the name of the protein in the animal model, in humans it is called “LilrB2″), which seems to stabilize neural connections.

Stability protects against loss of learned skills or information, but at the same time hampers the acquisition of new ones.  The scientists found that interfering with the normal function of the neuron-stability molecule PirB had the remarkable effect of reverting at least one part of the brain to a more malleable state that could easily recover from damage, rewire itself and learn new skills.  The study is exciting for not only its therapeutic implications, but also for the emerging field of brain and cognition-enhancing drugs.
3)  Don't catch the liberal virus:
A virus that infects human brains and makes us more stupid has been discovered, according to scientists in the US.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Do You Remember That Night?

I do.

It was unbelievable--literally.  Who could believe it happened, and so quickly?  The world changed that night.

In honor of that seminal event, as well as the upcoming Veteran's Day holiday, I link to what I still consider to by my best post ever (and I have over 9400 posts), Freedom Is A Little Piece of Broken Concrete.  Parts VI-IX describe that time.

Couldn't Have Happened To A Nicer Bunch of Socialists

Teachers unions spent big on the midterm elections and lost big -- dropping as much as $80 million on mostly Democratic candidates.

The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers spent their members' dues to support labor-friendly candidates in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina, only to see Republicans win handily. Some critics say not only did they get little bang for their bucks, they may have further alienated members who don't share the organizations' politics.  link
Do the lefties still want to get big money out of politics?   Does Tom Steyer?
In the last days before the midterm elections, Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist who spent at least $57 million of his own money to influence Tuesday’s outcome — more than any other single donor — set off on a frenetic get-out-the-vote tour to Colorado, Iowa and finally New Hampshire. There, he told business owners in Portsmouth that climate change is an economic issue, thanked college students in Durham for knocking on doors, and gave a pep talk to canvassers in Dover before they fanned out to collect voter data on their smartphones. After all that, Mr. Steyer appears to have largely wasted his time and money.  (boldface mine--Darren)

Saturday, November 08, 2014

This Fake Campus Rape Crisis Is One Of The Most Foul Political Undertakings I Can Imagine

It's really sick, when you think about it.  We're supposed to pretend there's some horrific rape crime spree going on just so Democrats can get elected?  Does that sound normal or reasonable to you?  Or does it sound at least cynical, and just freaking gross?

And if a university doesn't play along, the Office for Civil Rights (where are you, Orwell?) shows up:

Rape and sexual assault are crimes, unless they occur on college campuses.

Then, the federal government believes untrained college administrators only need to be 50.01 percent sure that an accuser is more believable than the accused to brand a student as a rapist for life.

In a federal probe of Princeton University, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights faulted the Ivy League university for violating the federally recommended standard of proof for cases of rape and sexual assault. Read that again: the “recommended” standard of proof, not an actual law.

Princeton was using the “clear and convincing evidence” standard for its proceedings, which is a higher burden of proof than the federally recommended “preponderance of evidence” but not as high as the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.

That’s not the only way Princeton supposedly violated the rights of the accuser (forget the rights of the accused).

“OCR determined that the higher burden of proof was one of a number of examples in which Princeton tilted the scales in favor of the accused,” Tyler Kingkade wrote in the Huffington Post. “For example, accused students at Princeton could appeal a decision made by the university committee investigating sexual assault cases, but students who reported an incident could not.” In the U.S. court system, retrials for exonerated defendants are forbidden as "double jeopardy."

Also, Princeton let accused students know what the charges were against them – an apparent “no-no” to OCR. Accused students were also told the names of the committee members who would decide their fate, were allowed to call witnesses and have an adviser at the hearing.

Accusers had these same rights, but OCR claimed they were not as obvious as the rights of the accused. A Frequently Asked Questions document laid out the rights of accusers and accused, and was referenced in the school’s sexual misconduct policy, but that was apparently not enough for OCR.
OCR also faulted Princeton for not finding men guilty in three cases.

Because remember, these sexual assault hearings aren’t about the truth, they’re about branding people as rapists.

This is not a snip but the entire Washington Examiner piece on the subject.

This Is What Happens When You Elect An Idiot For President

You know, the Lightbringer president who's going to end the war in Iraq?  The one who's been in office for 6 years now, and who is proud of his achievements in Iraq? 

Well, that's not how it's turned out, is it?  I remember just a few weeks ago he sent 300 more soldiers to Iraq, promising "no boots on the ground" and no combat role.  Now this:
President Barack Obama is sending up to 1,500 more soldiers to Iraq to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces to fight ISIS, in a deployment that would almost double the total number of American troops there to 2,900.

The White House said in a statement that it will also ask Congress for another $5.6 billion to fund the fight against ISIS. The troops will not have a combat role, and will operate from bases outside Baghdad and Erbil.
The president didn't want our troops to stay in Iraq.  He didn't negotiate with Maliki at all on the SOFA and used that as an excuse to withdraw, and now we have to risk more Americans just to recover ground that was gained when President Bush first sent our military there.

This man is an idiot.  He's a dangerous, arrogant idiot.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

I Actually Support Harvard Here

This isn't some nefarious surveillance, this is doing a study on attendance:
Harvard University is under fire from faculty and students for secretly photographing about 2,000 undergraduates in 10 lecture halls last spring as part of a study on classroom attendance.

The experiment was disclosed at a faculty meeting Tuesday and first reported in The Harvard Crimson student newspaper.

Harvard computer science professor Harry Lewis asked administrators about the study during the meeting, saying he learned about it from two colleagues...

Students and teachers were not notified because researchers did not want to introduce potential bias into the study, Harvard administrators said. The cameras took pictures every minute and a computer program used them to count empty and occupied seats.

The study was done by Harvard's Initiative for Learning and Teaching, overseen by Vice Provost Peter Bol, and authorized by the school's Institutional Review Board.

Professors whose lectures were monitored were told in August and all gave permission for the data to be used in the study, he said. Students were not told and the images themselves were destroyed, he said.
To me this is much ado about nothing.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

California Should Be Two States

The natural split is not Northern/Southern California, but Coastal/Inland California.  Here's the map, by county, for the governor's race:
Just about every map for every statewide race and ballot measure looks the same.

War On Women

Here's what a real (political, as opposed to ISIS-style) "war on women" looks like:
Libs are trashing Saira Blair, an 18-year-old Republican who just won a seat in the West Virginia legislature
Liberals are only for liberal women.

Obama Should Double Down!

Usually when one side wins big they offer “helpful” advice to the other side, and that advice usually is of the form “If you want to win you should be more like us.” Of course offering such advice is more than a little self-serving, and no one’s really going to take such advice when it’s offered. For obvious reasons!

Here’s someone on the losing side, though, offering advice to President Obama. Please! Take this advice! I hope he does! I’m not going to suggest that he does—because of course he wouldn’t take my advice, he being the smartest man in the world and all—but I hope he takes this advice. I really do. For very self-serving reasons—he’d be guaranteeing Republicans the White House two years from now:
The Democrats Lost Big Tonight. Why Obama Should Double Down

That's A Lot Of Red

Keep the faith, fellow conservatives.  This map of congressional districts should give us heart:
There are still a few districts left to be called--my own included--but that's a lot of red.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I Can Sleep Well Tonight

There was talk that the Republicans might not retake the Senate until December, after a couple run-off elections.  That the Senate has already been called tonight before I go to bed is good news indeed.

Is it wavy enough for you yet?  :-)

Of the 4 elections I really wanted to go Republicans' way, 3 of them already have:  Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Governor Walker in Wisconsin, and (Colonel) Joni Ernst in Iowa.  Mia Love is still behind in Utah.  The race for my own congressman is split 50-50 as I type this.

I hear the Carter family guy in Georgia lost, as did Clay Aiken.  Al Franken somehow won reelection; perhaps that's karma for Roberts' winning in Kansas.  Governors Haley, Sandoval, and Martinez all won handily, although prognosticators I saw today had Republicans with a net loss of a couple governorships.  Scott in Florida looks to hold on. 

The only race in California worth watching, that for Superintendent of Public Instruction, looks to stay with the unions' bought-and-paid-for man even though just about every major paper in the state recommended the challenger.  Well, that happens when you live in a one-party state.  I can't cry over California, we're a lost cause.  In education parlance, I'm willing to leave this child behind to save the rest of the class.

And the class appears to be doing fine.

Update, 11/5/14:  Mia Love wins! (I was rooting for her two years ago, too.)  The race for my own congressman is still too close to call.

Free Speech and the Heckler's Veto

Regarding Bill Maher's speaking at Berkeley:
“Free speech” is the wrong category in which to think about attempted commencement shutdowns. Nobody has a right to be a commencement speaker. Nobody has a right to the rostrum of a university. Nobody has a right to the attention of thousands of students and parents. Indeed, nobody has a right to any particular audience at all: The right to speak freely is always balanced by the right not to pay attention.

More awkwardly still, those agitating to disinvite a commencement speaker will claim they are merely exercising free-speech rights of their own. Petitions, demonstrations, protest—why aren’t those equally to be defended?

Here’s why. When protesters mobilize against an invited university guest, they are not merely expressing disapprobation of a selection. They are threatening the university with embarrassment or worse unless the university yields to their wishes. It’s the university, not the speaker, who is their target. What they want from the university is not the right to be heard, but the right to veto. More exactly: These battles over campus speakers are not battles over rights at all. They are battles over power.

The anti-Maher protesters explicitly demanded this power for themselves: "Do not force us to tolerate the speaker that you selected, without our input, for our event. We demand the power for students to choose the commencement speakers and to reject the university administration’s suggestions.” But as a matter of fact, Berkeley students do choose their own commencements speakers. Invitations are issued by the elected leadership of a student society whose membership is open to all Berkeley students in good academic standing. The Maher protesters wished to over-ride this process—and to claim for their own pressure group the unique right to speak for all Berkeley students.
As much as I can't stand Maher himself, the protesters are worse.  Much worse.

Sad and Sick

I'll never understand how people can treat others this way:
Friday was a bad night for the Davis Senior High School football team. After losing 66-6 on the field, players returned to the visitors’ locker room at Grant Union High School to discover it had been ransacked and their personal belongings stolen.

Thousands of dollars in smartphones, iPads, headphones and a laptop were missing, as were wallets and money. Clothing was strewn across the floor, drenched with Gatorade and other liquids, according to Davis parent Michael Fields, who attended the game.

The Blue Devils spent the rest of the night lined up in uniform, waiting to talk to police officers about their stolen items, said Shelley Morse, another Davis parent.
I have such contempt for people who would act this way.

Grant has had so many problems--the campus is not in the best of neighborhoods--that it's a wonder any team would consent to play there.  Perhaps the league should "suggest" to them that they can't play until their school is no longer a threat of being a crime scene.

Read more here:

Monday, November 03, 2014

An Honest Democrat

It's not uncommon for me to vote for Democrats--in California, they're sometimes the only ones running for certain statewide offices!  Barring World War III, though, I can't imagine voting for one as an executive or a legislator, and even if WWIII were to happen, I still can't imagine what would cause me to vote for a Democrat for governor, president, congressman, senator, or assemblyman.

John Chiang has been our state controller for a few years now and is running for treasurer.  I've long respected his integrity, which is why I voted for him (by mail ballot) in this election.  This blurb from today, not being talked about at all in the big media, shows that my faith is not misplaced:
State Controller John Chiang dropped a political bomb the other day, although he was so quiet about it, one could say it was a stealth bomb.

Chiang added public pension systems to his already large fiscal database. One chart reveals that their “unfunded liabilities” – the gap between assets and liabilities for current and future pensions – exploded from $6.3 billion in 2003 to $198.2 billion in 2013.

Los Angeles’ city pension system dropped its assumed earnings, called the “discount rate,” last week. The board of California’s second largest pension system, covering teachers, was told last month by a panel of experts that its 7.5 percent assumption is likely to be under 7 percent for the next decade.

If a 7.5 percent discount rate, which is also used by the giant California Public Employees’ Retirement System and many local systems, is too high, the current $198.2 billion debt in Chiang’s report is, in reality, much higher.
That $198.2 billion is more than the annual state budget. California is doomed, as is my retirement.

How Pathetic Has Hazing Become?

The hazing in this story is puerile and stupid and pathetic, not "repulsive" or "hell":
Two Medgar Evers College freshmen have blown the whistle on a CUNY ­sorority’s secret hazing.

Wooed by Gamma Beta Delta, Shawntee Caton, 17, and Gabby Jones, 18, had planned to join the impressive-seeming sisterhood when things turned ugly. They were blindfolded, interrogated about sex acts, humiliated and asked if they could be tied to a tree naked, the girls told The Post.
The blindfolding might be slightly scary.  "Interrogation" about sex acts seems like standard teen/college fare.  Unless there was more than the story mentioned, the closest I could see to "humiliated" was "chided" or harassed.

And if you're asked if you can be tied to a tree, is that really hazing at all?  It's sounds to me more like "thank you, sir, may I give you another?"

The two freshmen should refuse to be in this sorority not because the so-called hazing was so hellish, which it wasn't, but because the women in that sorority were so pathetic at it, and because they couldn't even see how pathetic they were.

Curse of Confidence

Last week I took Exam #3 in my Discrete Optimization course.  I had no idea how to do the bonus problem but was fairly confident that I'd aced the rest of the test.

I scored 46/50, which is a point less than I did on the previous test.  My scores are going down each time, but past performance is no guarantee of future returns!

Once, when as a junior I took Mathematical Modeling, I had an A going into the final exam.  I walked out of that final thinking that that was the first final I'd ever aced!  When grades came out I had an A- in the course!  Hmm, must be a mistake, I'll go talk to the instructor after the semester break.  As I was walking down the hall a few weeks later I saw my instructor and started to approach him to and see if, perhaps, obviously, there had been a recording mistake with my grade.  He saw me and, with typical military bluntness, said, "Miller!  What the f*** happened to you on that final?!"

Confidence is a curse for me.

They're Not Smart Enough To Figure This Out On Their Own?

I would think that Ivy Leaguers should be able to figure out Tab A and Slot B pretty easily:
Harvard University’s annual Sex Week observance, which launched Sunday, includes a workshop called “What What in the Butt: Anal Sex 101″ that aims to teach the Ivy League students how to have anal sex.
Whatever a year's tuition at Harvard is, it's clearly too high.

Voter Fraud

I only ever read about one side doing this.  Where are all the videos of Republicans and their ballot stuffing and cheating?
North Carolina election officials repeatedly offered ballots last week to an impostor who arrived at polling places with the names and addresses of 'inactive' voters who hadn't participated in elections for many years.

No fraudulent votes were actually cast: It was the latest undercover video sting from conservative activist James O'Keefe, whose filmmaking résumé reads like a target list of liberal causes.

He famously shuttered ACORN, the community organizing outfit once linked to Barack Obama. He dressed in an Osama bin Laden costume and waded across the Rio Grande from Mexico to America as a show of disdain for U.S. border policy. He videotaped people admitting they sold taxpayer-provided cellphones for drugs, shoes, handbags and spending cash.

Now O'Keefe has strolled into more than 20 voting precincts in Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro, N.C., proffering the names of people who seldom vote in order to test the integrity of the election process. It seems to have failed on a massive scale.

'I just sign this and then I can vote?' he asked one poll worker. 'Yep,' came the reply.

Last week O'Keefe's Project Veritas Action organization took its first deep-dive into North Carolina election politics, filming Democratic campaign workers saying they would help illegal immigrants vote for incumbent Senator Kay Hagan.
There's video at the link.

What does that say about a people who are so unsure of the strength of their message that they have to cheat?  Or is it that they don't care about its strength at all, they only want to win, by any means necessary?

Very Cool!

I love looking at old pictures:
They’re coming out of the vault and into the digital age. In slow but meticulous work at the California State Library in downtown Sacramento, more than 10,000 old sepia-toned 3-D photos – most from the 1800s – are being dusted off and converted to computer-ready images.

Officially known as stereoscopic photos, they were a popular turn-of-the-century parlor activity, shared like postcards and viewed through hand-held viewers that turned the side-by-side double photos into a single 3-D image.

For decades, thousands of the cardboard photos have been sitting in the state library’s archives, viewable only by appointment. Now, they’re being uploaded to a photo sharing site that’s making them available to anyone anywhere...

“Back then, people would have hundreds of these cards at home. It would be their television of the day,” said Vincent Beiderbecke, a state library digital specialist, who’s been working on the project for two years.

He and another digital specialist, Matt Bartok, scan the double images and upload them to a 3-D sharing website, As of now, they have 93 black-and-white photos on the site but hope to have 200 uploaded by year’s end. Each can be viewed in several formats, including an anaglyph version that requires the red-and-blue cardboard glasses for the full 3-D effect and a “wiggle” format where the people and places appear to move.

Those already posted range from images of horse-drawn wagons trudging up Donner Pass, turn-of-the-century tourists posing before Yosemite Falls, and a locomotive stopped at the foot of dirt-lined J Street in Old Sacramento, circa 1865. Not all of them are dated or captioned.
As I said, very cool.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Your Vote Counts!

When I ask for your input, I take it!  It may take me awhile but eventually I'll get there.

Last spring I asked for input regarding which of my pictures I should have printed to hang in what was soon to be my son's former room (now a guest room).  I tallied the votes from both here and Facebook and announced the winners in May.

A cruise ship purchase in August, though, necessitated a shift in where everything would be hung.  As of a few minutes ago, everything is now up in its new place.

Instead of canvas, Bodie and Dubrovnik are printed on aluminum (and look much better in person than they do below) and are now hanging in my dining room along with a picture of the Rialto Bridge in Venice:

The 3-panel beach scene mentioned at the second link above is, in fact, hanging above my couch in the living room. And my cruise ship purchase replaced the Rialto above the fireplace.  In the guest room I now have framed prints of Paris, New York (pre-9/11), and Florence, all of which used to be in the front of the house.

I like the new look and thank everyone for your votes!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

ThIs Is Why Bill Maher Is Bats**t Insane

He actually believes this:
“And, in a country where the Democratic party has sold out to the center, and even the right, this is what is needed – this is why I wanted to accept this invitation. And invited ME because it was 50th anniversary of something that is legendary on that campus: the Berkley free speech movement. I guess they don’t teach irony in college any more,” he added.
The Democratic party has sold its soul to the far left, idiot.

The center wants our border with Mexico secured.
The center and right don't want Obamacare, which was passed without a single Republican vote in either house of Congress.
It's not right-wing jingoism (a favorite bugaboo of lefties) that's causing Americans to view our (lack of) foreign policy as a disaster.
The center and right don't support Common Core, which was foisted upon the states by Obama's Education Department via Race To The Top.
The center and right aren't the ones screeching for stricter gun laws, supported by less than half the country.
The center and right want the Keystone Pipeline built.

Where, one might ask, is the Democratic party in sync with even the center?  I might agree with Maher regarding crony capitalism--Obama's not called President Goldman Sachs for nothing--but other than that, where is the Democratic party selling out to the center and right?  Heck, Harry Reid implemented what used to be derided as the "nuclear option" and now runs the Senate essentially by fiat.

But let's keep going.

It's not the center and right who circled the wagons around the DOJ's Fast and Furious scandal; the VA treatment scandal; the IRS politicization scandal, the handling (or lack thereof) of the ebola issue; the existence of Eric Holder in a department called "justice"; the cynical, blood-libeling, and made up War on Women--which other ones am I missing?

And note that I'm sticking with real scandals, scandals that affect the validity of the Republic, not silly things like the Secret Service hooker scandal.

I repeat--where is the Democratic party in sync with even the center?  On what issues have they "sold out" to the center and right?

Maher's an idiot.  That he has any following at all is scary to thinking people.

Update, 11/2/14:  How are we doing on reducing the federal deficit?  It's pretty hard to do when you never have to sign a federal budget!  Was the center and right screaming for the 2009 porkulus package with all it's not-quite-shovel-ready jobs?

Yet Another Example of Liberals And Their Violence

"Nice place you have here, it would be a shame if something were to happen to it."

That's such a cliche line that it only is spoken in B-movies about the mafia, but here we have it as an example of how the Democratic Party operates:
The New York State Democratic Committee is bullying people into voting next week with intimidating letters warning that it can easily find out which slackers fail to cast a ballot next Tuesday.

“Who you vote for is your secret. But whether or not you vote is public record,” the letter says.

“We will be reviewing voting records . . . to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014.”

It ends with a line better suited to a mob movie than a major political party: “If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not.”
Liberals like threats, liberals like compulsion, liberals like intimidation.  It's what they are, it's what they know.

A Correct Ruling on Rape

Watch the video at this link and read the opening lines:

Typically, the burden of proof lies with the accuser. Otherwise, anyone could accuse anyone else of anything and then say “prove me wrong.”

And that’s not how the legal system — or logic — works.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that those accused of rape are not responsible for proving they obtained consent. In a 6-3 ruling, the court said that requiring the accused to provide such proof to the preponderance of evidence standard violated constitutional rights.

"Requiring a defendant to do more than raise a reasonable doubt is inconsistent with due process principles," wrote Justice Debra Stephens. She added that doing so raised "a very real possibility of wrongful convictions."

Justices writing for the dissent claimed the decision would lead to sex offenders going free.

Of course sometimes the guilty will go free; that's the price we pay for living under our system of jurisprudence, where law and evidence and reason are supposed to win out over emotion.  Why is "sex offenders going free" worse than locking up an innocent person? 

Rape victims have undergone a horrific crime, but two wrongs don't make a right.  Locking up innocent people isn't going to stop rape.

I agree completely with the closing paragraph of the linked piece:

Reliving any crime is difficult, and helping accusers through that difficulty should be a goal of addressing the problem of sexual assault, so that sexual predators can be brought to justice. But that difficulty isn't a justification for adopting a standard — as many college campuses already have — that denies due process to the accused.


I don't usually dress up for Halloween, but...

Black dress shoes, black running pants, and this shirt:
I had the sound track for this video running in the background during classes yesterday.

Geek? Maybe a little bit :-)