Monday, December 31, 2018

Smart School Uniforms

Long-time readers will recall that I support reasonable dress codes for students (and yes, even for staff) at school.  I heard the following a long time ago, and it applies as well to schools as it does to the business world:  if, when you get home, you don't change into something more comfortable, then you weren't dressed appropriately.  No, I'm not saying that people should be uncomfortable, rather that they shouldn't dress as if every place were the beach or gym.

Not all school dress codes are reasonable, and I've spilled many electrons on this blog opposing them.  I believe in personal autonomy within reasonable limits; of course, the definition of "reasonable" is the devil in the details.

The campus at which I work has security cameras.  They've come in handy in identifying many miscreants; on the other hand, I despise the CCTV surveillance culture of, in particular, London.  I don't know where the appropriate line is to be drawn, but I believe that my school is on the OK side of the line and London is on the other.

A few schools in China, though, are (surprise! surprise!) taking surveillance a bit too far:
Ten schools in China have new "intelligent uniforms" that will track students' whereabouts with embedded computer chips.

The uniforms, which are equipped with GPS devices developed by a local tech firm, are meant to ensure that students don't skip class. Alarms are set to go off if a student walks out of the school building or falls asleep during a lesson...

The chips can also reportedly be used as a cashless payment system for snacks bought on school grounds, although parents and the school would see everything a student buys.

In addition, if students try to swap uniforms in order to leave the campus, the system is designed to prevent that: Facial recognition scanners at school gates match the chips with the correct student, reports the Telegraph.
I tolerate controls on children that I wouldn't tolerate on adults, as children are still learning, but such uniforms are going way too far.  Rather than training students to dress appropriately, they train students to accept ubiquitous surveillance.  Shocking, I know, in a one-party state.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Welcome Home, Brave Warrior

This has been making the rounds through the internet recently.  If you want to see honor, respect, and dignity on display at the Billings, MT airport, then click on the link.

What pride must be welling up in that soldier.

I Didn't Make The List

Top 50 Conservative Websites for 2018

Christmas Break Is Already Half Over

Where has the time gone?  Usually breaks don't seem to go by this fast for me, but this one's flying.

Friday, December 28, 2018

What Math Should Teachers Know?

This is a post with an evergreen subject.  I know, because I wrote a June 2005 post on the same topic.  Fast-forward 13 1/2 years, and Joanne has a similar post.  The same problem is identified, the same reasons given for why teacher candidates, college graduates all, should not have to demonstrate even the most basic numeracy.

As is so often the case, the comments are as entertaining as the blog post itself is interesting.  My favorite one from Joanne's post:
It wasn’t OK for Teen Talk Barbie to say “Math class is tough!”, so I’m not buying “math is hard” from grown adults.
Update: Just stumbled across this post from earlier this year.  It's related to the above only in that it discusses math, but this sentence is revealing:  "I'm tired of being told how to teach math by people who weren't (or aren't) good at math."  I closed with the following:
No one suggests teaching music like this.  No one says that learning scales is too boring, that young musicians should dig into concertos.  No one suggests coaching football like this.  No one says that drills are too boring, that players should go straight to touchdown-making plays.  No one suggests that a student's first time behind the wheel should be during rush hour traffic.  In fact, I'm hard-pressed to come up with examples of areas outside of math where such recommendations are expected to be taken seriously.  Why do you think that is? 
Maybe Teen Talk Barbie was right after all.

I'm Considering It

I still can't ascertain why, but I haven't been truly happy teaching for a long time.

It's not that I don't like the kids, because I do.  I don't think the Common Core math standards are the reason, but possibly many of the absolutely stupid decisions my district has made over the past several years are contributing factors.  I really think that the latter is a large part of what has stripped so much of the joy out of teaching.

I've been unemployed 3 times in life, the longest stretch for about 6 months, and I don't want to go through that again.  Thus, I'm a little gun shy about jumping ship, to mix some metaphors.  After all, this is what I've done for 21 1/2 years now, making me not the most sought after potential employee.

Others, though, are cutting the cord:
Teachers and other public education employees, such as community-college faculty, school psychologists and janitors, are quitting their jobs at the fastest rate on record, government data shows.

A tight labor market with historically low unemployment has encouraged Americans in a variety of occupations to quit their jobs at elevated rates, with the expectation they can find something better. But quitting among public educators stands out because the field is one where stability is viewed as a key perk and longevity often rewarded...

In the first 10 months of 2018, public educators quit at an average rate of 83 per 10,000 a month, according to the Labor Department. While that is still well below the rate for American workers overall—231 voluntary departures per 10,000 workers in 2018—it is the highest rate for public educators since such records began in 2001...

In the 12 months ended in October, one million workers quit public-education positions, according to the most recent Labor Department data. More than 10 million Americans work in the field.

Moral Psychology

I'm rereading (ok, listening to the audiobook of) self-described leftie author Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion.  Love love love this book.

Haidt--yes, the same Haidt who's been in the press recently talking about the coddling of the American mind on university campuses--studies moral psychology, trying to ascertain where human morality comes from.  He's very fair-minded when describing moralities and cultures that are not his own.  Anyway, in this book, Haidt posits that there are 6 moral foundations, and that conservatives use all 6 of them and liberals primarily use 3 of them.  These foundations have done a lot to help me understand why people think the way they do.

If you'd like to learn about these 6 foundations, visits Haidt's web site at  If you'd like to understand your own moral foundations, visit his site.

I've written about Haidt a lot, just type his name into the search box at the top or bottom of this page to see more.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

They Shall Not Grow Old

Who pays $17 to see a documentary about World War I?  I do.  And it was fantastic.  Highly recommended.  Worth buying on blu-ray.

After the credits was a 30 minute behind-the-scenes video on how the archival footage was made realistic.  Peter Jackson talked about how there were entire components of the war--at sea, in the air, on the home front--that he just didn't have time to address.  I hope someone finds that time.

It's All About the Feelz. And The Compulsion.

California has some fairly stringent firearms laws, with more coming into effect on January 1st. How have our laws been working so far?  Is California a true utopia yet?
A new academic study has found that, once again, gun laws are not having their desired effect.

A joint study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California at Davis Violence Prevention Research Program found that California’s much-touted mandated background checks had no impact on gun deaths, and researchers are puzzled as to why.
A major law was passed in 1991.
More than a quarter of a century later, researchers at Johns Hopkins and UC Davis dug into the results of the sweeping legislation. Researchers compared yearly gun suicide and homicide rates over the 10 years following implementation of California’s law with 32 control states that did not have such laws.

They found “no change in the rates of either cause of death from firearms through 2000.”

The findings, which run counter to experiences in Missouri and Connecticut that did show a link between background checks and gun deaths, appear to have startled the researchers.
When the facts contradict your expectations, believe the facts, right? I mean, science!  Well, statistics, anyway.
“We know at the individual level that comprehensive background check policies work, that they prevent future firearm violence at this level," said Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, a researcher who led the survey...

Apparently, to the Washington Post, California’s failure to effectively enforce background checks that had no discernible impact on gun deaths is evidence that more gun control laws are needed.

Essentially, the study’s authors, the AMA, and the Post appear incapable of seriously entertaining the possibility that sweeping gun control legislation might not have produced the results desired and expected: fewer deaths.
Any article that quotes Milton Friedman gets my attention:
California’s failed gun control law appears to be yet another example of experts, to quote the great Milton Friedman, judging “policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
Liberals refuse to accept human nature, and the liberty foundation of moral psychology, when they bob their heads in unison and squeal for more gun control.  Those of us on the right know that gun control is far less about the gun and far more about the control.

Update:  And on a related note:
“Sugar taxes have not reduced obesity rates anywhere in the world and smoking is much more prevalent among the poor than among the rich, despite decades of high taxes on tobacco. There is precious little evidence that poor people benefit from being taxed. On the contrary, sin taxes drive them further into poverty.”

Education Levels

California doesn't look too good.  Neither does Texas.  Or Arizona or New Mexico.  Are these results because of illegal immigration, or is it raaaaaaacist even to ask the question?
California ranks No. 1 among the 50 states for the percentage of its residents 25 and older who have never completed ninth grade and 50th for the percentage who have graduated from high school, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

Texas ranks No. 2 for the percentage of its residents 25 and older who have never completed ninth grade and 49th for the percentage who have graduated from high school.

9.7 percent of California residents 25 and older, the Census Bureau says, never completed ninth grade. Only 82.5 percent graduated from high school.

8.7 percent of Texas residents 25 and older never completed ninth grade, and only 82.8 percent graduated from high school...

Nationwide, 5.4 percent of residents 25 and older have never finished ninth grade, according to the latest five-year estimates...

In seventeen states, the percentage of residents 25 and older who at least graduated from high school was less than the nationwide percentage of 87.3 percent.

These seventeen states included: California (82.5 percent), Texas (82.8 percent)...

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

School Discipline

While reading yet another article about how schools need to have alternative methods of dealing with students who don't follow reasonable rules, I came across this thought:
School leaders spoke about the need to change the cultural norms in schools from punitive to positive.
Why don't we try changing cultural/community norms from ones that don't value education, don't value following rules, and don't lead to success in our country's larger culture, to norms that do?  An idea so crazy it just might work.

California DMV--A Symptom of a Very Big Problem

Starting October 2020, travel on a domestic flight will require a so-called Real ID, one with all the bells and whistles that the feds require.  California has really kicked the can down the road on issuing Real ID's, and blamed them on last summer's lines that proceeded at a Wagnerian pace.  I didn't even apply for a Real ID then, I can just use my passport if I need to fly somewhere.  But not everyone has a passport, some want a Real ID, and the DMV just can't get it right:
The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued 2.3 million new IDs this year using a process that doesn’t meet the federal government’s standards, the DMV was told last month.

The development means Californians who got those Real IDs will need to provide a second form of documentation to prove their residency when their ID comes up for renewal. DMV spokesman Armando Botello said the federal government told the DMV during phone conversations about the issue that it would still accept IDs that didn’t meet the requirement in the meantime.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent DMV director Jean Shiomoto a letter on Nov. 21 saying California’s process for verifying ID applicants’ residency didn’t meet federal requirements.
How long has California known about the Real ID requirement?
The Real ID law was passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and requires new ID cards to carry special markings.
It would seem a very long time.

Monday, December 24, 2018

A Class Act

I'll admit it, I got a tear in my eye as I read this story:
A high school senior from Hanahan, South Carolina, had a major decision to make on Wednesday, so he had a good friend come along and help. High school football star Cooper Dawson was revealing his college choice on National Signing Day and had his friend with cerebral palsy make the announcement in the heartwarming ceremony, CBS affiliate WCSC reports.

Dawson suffered a knee injury before football season began and had to sit out this season. But local paper The Post and Courier reports he was still recruited by top schools including Clemson, Tulane, Army and UCLA.

While he sat out the season, he became close with his classmate Kingsley Feinman, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Feinman inspired Dawson as his torn ACL healed.

"He's inspired me a lot through the torn ACL process," Dawson said at the signing ceremony, CBS Sports reports. "He taught me that the only disability is a bad attitude. And if he can come around with this big old smile on, I can do it just the same."

That's why Dawson included his friend in the special ceremony. "I told Kingsley I'd announce it to him before I told anyone else," Dawson said. "So I'm going to tell him and I'll let him announce it to y'all."

Dawson whispered his school choice in Feinman's ear. "He's going to Syracuse!" Feinman announced to the waiting crowd.

The crowd cheered and Dawson put a Syracuse hat on Feinman's head before putting one on himself. The announcement is one to top – not every recruited player brings their inspiration with them on National Signing Day. But Feinman made a lasting impact on Dawson and taught him a valuable lesson: keep a smile on your face, no matter what.
Dawson's parents did well. I have no doubt they're very proud of the man he's becoming.  Feinman's parents can justifiably be just as proud of their son.

Merry Christmas From Your Union!

A story from Boston, not what you'd call a conservative stronghold:
Sheila O’Malley of Charlestown couldn’t believe it when she opened her paycheck from her seasonal job at UPS. “I was shocked,” she told the I-Team. She worked 41 hours that week, many of them during the overnight, and ended up with just $14.52.

Sheila assumed it was a mistake and the money would be refunded. In part, because Sheila, like other thousands of other seasonal part time UPS workers, signed an agreement to pay the $500 Teamsters union initiation fee in $32.00 weekly installments. But UPS told her it wasn’t a mistake. A spokesperson for UPS told the I-Team, “Local 25 reversed this long standing practice by rescinding this policy.”

For the new hires, that meant the balance of the union initiation fees and dues would be deducted in one lump sum. For Sheila, that was $490.00- nearly her entire week’s pay.

“I cried and tried to plead my case with them. But there was no wiggle room. He [union representative] said ‘You’re a part of the union now and you won’t have to worry about that coming out of your check,’” she said...

The I-Team has learned the National Labor Relations Board is now investigating charges of unfair labor practices against the Teamsters Local 25.
Ya think?

Back Home

Took off after work on Friday, headed south to meet up with a cousin of mine from Phoenix and some of her family.  On Saturday we spent 8 hours at Magic Mountain in Valencia--hadn't been there since I was a kid.  All of us "got our steps in" on Saturday!

Visited some friends in Stevenson Ranch yesterday, friends that I hadn't seen in years, and then got on I-5 North and headed home.  It was nice to sleep in my own bed.

Update:  We did lunch in a sports bar at Magic Mountain, and during lunch I think I watched Army score 21 points in the Armed Forces Bowl.   After lunch we waited in a long line for a roller coaster, during which I watched Army score a few more times.  I've never seen Army play a game like they did on Saturday!  The final shot from the ESPN app on my phone:
For a ball control, running team like Army, this was phenomenal!  Made the day even better than it was already shaping up to be.

Here's me after our last roller coaster ride:

A Smart Lady

You've gotta admire her honesty, as well as her ability to twist the knife a little:
Over 500 guns were surrendered to Baltimore police within the first hour and a half of a citywide gun buyback program this week. Participants received anywhere from $25 to $500 for their unwanted firearms...

Kathleen Cairns, a WBFF Baltimore journalist, tweeted a picture of a woman who was surrendering a 9mm. She hoped to use the money from the program to buy an even bigger gun.
By the way, how can the city buy "back" a firearm they never owned in the first place?

Thursday, December 20, 2018

200 Years of Silent Night

I have a hanging clock that plays music on the hour.  Its current setting is Christmas music, and a few days ago I noticed that I was singing along to Silent Night in German--part of the residual knowledge I retain from taking Herr Dobbert's German class in high school back in the early 80s.

Did you know that Silent Night was originally written in German?
Every Christmas Eve, hundreds of people from all over the world crowd outside the octagonal-shaped chapel in Oberndorf, Austria, to sing along to one of the world’s most-beloved Christmas carols: Silent Night.

Amid sparkling white lights on a December night, two men, one strumming a guitar, stand in front of the small chapel and sing, in German, Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht, much like the song was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818. And then carollers, bundled against the cold, sing the song in various languages.

It’s a scene especially poignant this holiday season, as 24 December 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the song’s humble origins in Oberndorf.

Silent Night’s bicentennial is being celebrated in Oberndorf and other villages in the province of Salzburg throughout the holiday season. Exhibits in small museums explore the song’s origins and the lives of the two men behind its creation: Joseph Mohr, a priest, and Franz Xaver Gruber, an organist and teacher.
Go read the whole thing--as blogging will be light the next few days!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Before They Became Anti-American, Did The Left Believe In Due Process?

When did the Left jettison due process in pursuit of its goals?
Five fraternities at West Virginia University claim they are being sanctioned for behavior that had already been punished, and a civil-liberties group is warning the school its treatment of the groups is unconstitutional.

At least one of the fraternities claims that several officials have told the group that it has no due process rights. One WVU official was caught on tape explicitly telling multiple Greek-letter organizations that “student organizations do not have due process rights.”

This treatment from the administration led the five fraternities to split off from the university and form an Independent Interfraternity Council, which was followed by a public denouncement from President E. Gordon Gee.

Conor Wischmann, president of the IIFC, told The College Fix that his fraternity Sigma Chi “was never given the opportunity” to meet with the working group that imposed the new sanctions “for events that had already been adjudicated years prior.”

It was “a clear example of WVU’s disregard for a fair and equitable due process,” he wrote in an email.
When they say "by any means necessary", they seem to mean it literally.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Finals start tomorrow, Christmas break starts Friday afternoon.  Life is good!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Netflix Binges

I've watched none of these "10 most binge-watched" shows on Netflix; in fact, I've heard of only a couple of them.  My 10 current and recent-past Netflix binges have been, in no particular order:
Lost In Space
American Vandal
Stranger Things
Kim's Convenience
Black Lightning

Early To Bed, Early To School

I was up at 4:10 this morning, picking my mother up at 5:00 to take her to the airport.  I dropped her off at 5:30, but then what?  If I went home I could relax for up to an hour and then drive 25 min to school.  But what if I went to school?

It was a bit early for that, so I headed towards school but stopped off at the local coffee shop/bakery.  A chocolate-filled croissant and an apricot green tea for breakfast took a little bit of time, and I arrived at school at 6:20.  Sunrise today was at 7:17.

Got some work done and still had plenty of time for socializing before 1st period.  I don't intend to make a habit of getting to school so early (I usually arrive around 7:25 or so), but once a decade or so isn't so bad.

Being A Better Mentor Teacher

For the second year in a row, I'm a mentor teacher for a UC Davis student who is working on a teaching credential in math.  Last year's student teacher is now a math teacher in my department, and the school that hires this year's student teacher will also get an exceptional addition to their math department.

The "supervising teacher" at Davis sent out this article to us about how to be a better mentor teacher.  It was a worthwhile read.

I try to be realistic with my student teachers.  When lessons go well, as they usually do, I say so, and also delineate what I saw that was remarkable.  If a lesson doesn't go well, they know it--and it does nobody any good to pretend otherwise.  I solicit their thoughts on what they wanted, what happened, and where they think the lesson went off the rails.  If there are larger lessons to be learned, we discuss them explicitly; if there's not, that's it.  There's no browbeating, just an honest discussion of what went wrong.  They've watched some of my lessons bomb, too, and we discussed those just as honestly.

I also show them the "lessons learned" from 20+ years of teaching, those "tricks of the trade" that make everyday life in the classroom just a little bit easier.  Being a strong believer in the old adage "a stitch in time saves nine", I share my organization and procedures.  I wouldn't try to force my model on anyone, but they won't learn anything if I don't at least show them.

I'm proud of the way I communicate with parents.  I teach my student teachers that communication with parents should discuss objective observable behaviors, not assumptions or inferences or feelings.  If a parent isn't moved by a rational explanation of what their student did that was wrong or inappropriate, saying how bad it made you feel isn't going to help much.  I also don't hold punches when talking about grades.  Today, for example, I sent out an email with the subject line "legally required notification".  State education code requires me to notify parents whenever I think it possible or likely that their child may fail the course, and while I sent out such notifications just a few weeks ago, with final exams in a few days I thought it necessary to send the notifications yet again.  "Given your child's current grade, which reflects all graded work prior to the upcoming final exam, it's mathematically possible that your student will fail the course and not receive math credit this semester."  Yes, I put a little sugar before and after that, but the main point is the main point for a reason, and I don't see any reason to minimize the consequences of low grades.

When I catch students cheating, I have a way of wording my emails that leaves no doubt what happened and what the consequences will be.  Yes, I do it with the empathy of a fellow parent, but again, the main point is the main point for a reason, and the main point must be addressed directly.  (BTW, there's a difference between being direct and being an a-hole.)

This is how I view my role as a mentor teacher--the "boots on the ground" part of teaching.  At college they get the theory, the different ways to instruct, the ways to organize groups of students, etc.  I ensure my student teachers practice those things, as that's what's expected of them in their own credential coursework.  But they need to learn the whole job, not just the teaching part, and I work on that with them, too.

Gone are the days when the mentor teacher just disappeared and got a free period off!  No, I have a lot of work to do in order to ensure my student teachers are ready to take charge of their own classes next summer.  Their students will deserve a teacher who knows what she is doing (all 4 of my student teachers have been women, interestingly enough in math), and as I play a part in that, I take the responsibility seriously.

As an aside, I went through an alternative credentialing program; I was an "intern teacher", one who taught while simultaneously working on my credential for two years' worth of nights and weekends.  Thus, I never had an official mentor teacher of type described above.  Fortunately I was teamed up with some exceptional teachers at my school, and they took care of me as I learned the job.  Totally different process, but at least I turned out ok!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

I've Seen This Coming From A Mile Away

Liberals like to control language, practice groupthink, and punish doubleplusungood behaviors.  Orwell's 1984 was supposed to be a warning, not a how-to manual, but the lefties have learned well:
A Virginia high school teacher who refused to use a transgender student’s new pronouns has been fired...

It’s not suggested that the 47-year-old West Point High School French teacher deliberately referred to the student using female pronouns in the student’s presence, but in conversations with others.

Witnesses described a “slip-up” when the student was about to run into a wall and Vlaming told others to stop “her.” When discussing the incident with administrators, Vlaming made it clear he would not use male pronouns, a stance that led to his suspension referral for disciplinary action.
That's what's so insidious about this pronoun flap--this man was fired because he used the student's biologically-based pronoun to others.  Not to the student, but to others.  If teachers are going to be fired for how they refer to students when those students aren't even present, then board up the staff rooms and turn out the lights, school's closed.

Update, 12/19/18:  At least a couple students at the school support the teacher, although I disagree that this is a 1st Amendment issue.

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Novel Use Of Mathematics

Can Scrabble be improved?
You can find Lynda Woods Cleary playing Scrabble every Tuesday at a Panera in Princeton, NJ. Cleary, a 68-year-old retired financial consultant, has been playing every week for 20 years since founding the Princeton Scrabble Club in 1998. When I asked her if she’s ever disappointed to draw certain tiles, she looked surprised, even hurt. “Oh no,” she said with an Alabama twang. “I want each and every one.”

It’s a sweet sentiment, but according to a 2014 statistical program written by Joshua Lewis, then a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, San Diego, it isn’t a sensible one. His study showed that there are “lucky” tiles in Scrabble: A “Q” is harder to place on a board than a “Z,” and yet both are worth 10 points. Therefore, it’s luckier to draw a “Z” than a “Q.” Lewis argued that the traditional values associated with each letter diminish the role of skill in the game, and recommended changing them to make Scrabble scores more indicative of skill.
Read the whole thing :-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Taxing Air

When I was a child I heard it said that if the Swiss could find a way to tax you for the air you breathe, they would.  I haven't been to Switzerland since 1975 or 76 but I remember it was quite an expensive place.

California is giving Switzerland a run for its money.  California isn't considering taxing our breaths yet, but something that doesn't even require air to operate:
California state regulators have been working on a plan to charge mobile phone users a text messaging fee intended to fund programs that make phone service accessible to the low-income residents, reports said Tuesday...

Charges may also be applied retroactively to messages sent in the past five years, which has raised questions concerning the proposal’s legality, Rufus Jeffress, vice president of the Bay Area Council, told the San Francisco Bay Area's KNTV-TV. The “alarming precedent” could chalk up to a bill of more than $220 million for consumers, the Mercury News reported.

The wireless industry argues that the fees would put carriers at a disadvantage since competing messaging services like Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp would not be charged the new fees, FOX11 reported.

Those against the proposal said that wireless customers already pay into the state’s Public Purpose Programs, which they call “healthy and well-funded” with nearly $1 billion in its budget, the Mercury News reported. But state regulators disagree, saying the budget has increased more than $300 million over six years, KNTV reported.
Socialism is expensive.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Baby, It's Not Cold Outside. It's Cold In Your Heart.

Today at lunch a fellow teacher was talking about how rape-y Baby It's Cold Outside is.  I suggested he think for himself and quit following the herd of leftidiots who try to take all pleasure out of anything.

Seriously.  Baby It's Cold Outside is about rape?  Really?  Really?  Everyone's grandma loves that song!  "That's because they didn't listen to the lyrics", he said.  Really?  You don't think it's possible they listened to the lyrics and decided that, rather than forcible and unwanted sex, the song is about canoodling and a little (consensual) nookie?  Persuasion is very different from coercion.  Unless you want to claim that the song, when written, implies the drink was spiked, rather than the more obvious "I want an excuse to say yes so I'll suggest this drink is strong", well, if you're the one who's always hearing dog whistles, then you must be the dog.

I wrote the following years ago, and it rings true in this current manufactured brouhaha:
Christmas certainly started out as a religious celebration, but it now has a secular component. Until someone can show me in the Sacred Scrolls passages about a fat man in a red suit living at the North Pole with his flying reindeer and elves, that part is secular.

Yet some will still scream. It's like they think they have power in a politically-correct world, and want to use it. It doesn't really matter what the outcome is, only that they precipitated that outcome.

I think that's the way many who "oppose" the Pledge of Allegiance are--they just want their pathetic existences to have some meaning, even if it brings no good at all.

So when someone (who, interestingly enough, chooses to remain anonymous) tries to get Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer removed from the kindergarten Christmas show solely because the song has the word "Christmas" in it, you have to wonder--evil, stupid, pathetic, or some mixture of all the above?
Lefties should lighten up and try, just try, to enjoy the world a little bit.

Fortunately, some people have realized that the lefties have gone too far with BICO and are returning it to the airwaves.

My favorite conservative response to the imbroglio:  "Liberals will support misogynist, hate-filled, violent rap music, but BICO is unacceptable!"

Christmas Songs

About a year ago I wrote about Christmas songs I don't like.  Know which one I woke up to this morning?  Freakin' Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.


At least I've never heard that NKOTB song on the radio!

Monday, December 10, 2018

What Constitutes Good Civics Education?

One author has an opinion:
One perceived upside of the Trump administration has been an increase in political and civic engagement, especially among liberals. This change has trickled down to schools: As The New York Times reported in June, there has been a revival in civics courses in middle and high school over the past year and a half. For someone passionate about civics education, this should be a source of optimism. But the subject matter of these civics courses is what matters, and a significant share of these new classes have been focused on increasing civic activism. “Getting out the vote” and engaging in activism should only come after students have weighed the arguments on every side of each issue.

In civics courses, once students have a basic understanding of how the U.S. political system works, the next step should be teaching them how to think about political issues, not how to act. Activism is meaningless if it’s not backed by a well-informed understanding of all sides of an issue. An ideal civics program would teach students the principles, facts, and proposed solutions associated with each issue, and then allow them to come to their own conclusions...

In order to train the next generation of citizens and voters, we need a serious approach to civics education that focuses on critical thinking before action.
And that means knowing something. As I've said so often, you can't think critically about something about which you don't know anything.

Virtue Signaling vs Vice Signaling

Gotta love those "hate has no home here" signs that some people put in front of their houses:
What’s up with that, you might wonder. This is a peaceful, upscale, decidedly un-diverse neighborhood. The greatest threat to suburban peace is the lone homeowner whose lawn looks a tad overgrown. There’s nothing to suggest that anyone is a racist or bigot. So again: What’s going on?

Someone came up with the label “virtue signaling” to describe the psychological impulse behind these signs. The idea is that people who put them up want to tell you how noble they are. But that doesn’t sound right. Virtue-signalers aren’t in any way in doubt about their own virtue. What they really want to do is signal how depraved others are.

It’s about vice signaling, not virtue signaling.

A couple of people on the block are Trump supporters. Those signs are likely meant for them. There’s no interaction between the two groups, and the signs are meant to keep it that way.

A couple of years back there used to be Fourth of July street picnics there. But the shindigs haven’t happened the last couple of years, and I don’t think I’ll see them again soon. Vice signaling breaks up communities, and there’s a lot of it today...
After a few examples:
Rather than blame themselves, it was much easier to transfer the guilt to conservatives. That’s how vice signaling became the language of liberal politics.
Then let's move on to universities:
Those toxic-masculinity classes aren’t really about protecting women, however. They never could do so, but that’s not the point. Rather they’re about vice signaling, about telling us that people on the wrong side of the gender gap are by nature evil.

All this reminds us that the demand for sensitivity can be employed for strategic and partisan purposes. And so it is in the transgender wars.
And if you’re a conservative, how should you respond? Not by being defensive. Instead, tell them you have nothing to apologize for. Tell them to look into their own souls.

A Good Night's Sleep

For several nights I didn't feel like I was getting restful sleep.  Late yesterday afternoon I thought that perhaps the waterbed wasn't warm enough, so I upped the temperature about 2 degrees.  Except for waking up at 1am after a particularly bad dream, I slept like a baby and felt great when I got up.

They may be 1970's chic and 1970's technology, but I do love waterbeds!

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Influential Green Leftist Speaks The Truth

I give the moonbat credit for being intellectually honest:
George Monbiot of the left-leaning British newspaper The Guardian has a must-read column in which he admits that because of a whole series of intellectual mistakes, the global green movement’s policy prescriptions are hopelessly flawed.

Read the whole piece for a thoughtful and brutally clear expose of the intellectual bankruptcy of the green movement from one of the smartest people in it. This is what I’ve been getting at for more than a year here: regardless of what is happening to Planet Earth, the green movement does not have coherent and workable solutions.

Greens like to have it both ways. They warn darkly about “peak oil” and global resource shortages that will destroy our industrial economy in its tracks — but also warn that runaway economic growth will destroy the planet through the uncontrolled effects of mass industrial productions. Both doomsday scenarios cannot be true; one cannot simultaneously die of both starvation and gluttony.

Monbiot gets it, and furthermore concedes one of the main arguments of the anti-green case. The ‘problem’ is not a shortage of carbon rich non-renewable futures. The problem is the abundance of these fuels. We are not running out of hydrocarbons; shale natural gas, tar sands and coal offer enormous reserves that can cover our needs for the foreseeable future. We have an abundance of fossil fuel. Moreover, it seems likely that for a very long time to come, fossil fuels will be substantially cheaper and more abundant that expensive renewables. (One should also note that these new fuel sources are found in places like Canada and the United States rather than Saudi Arabia and Iran.)

More, Monbiot also acknowledges the contradictory and inconsistent nature of the green solutions. He acknowledges that there is no prospect for democratic politics to impose the draconian limits on consumption and economic activity that green dogma requires. Every ‘solution’ the greens have come up with has a fatal flaw of some kind; none of it works, none of it makes any sense.
As the smart man says, "read the whole thing."

Saturday, December 08, 2018

In Other News, New Study Again Finds That Water Is Wet

This "learning styles" myth just refuses to die:
For years, psychologists and neuroscientists have questioned the idea of "learning styles"—the theory that students can process information best when teachers tailor instruction to students' strengths. These frameworks often rely on grouping students into categories, like auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners, or concrete versus abstract learners.

Now, a new study in Frontiers in Education offers further evidence that these designations may be unreliable: When it comes to an individual student's preferred learning style, teachers and students don't agree on how students learn best...

At this point, many researchers consider learning styles to be a myth. Prior research has shown little evidence that learning-style theory holds up. A 2009 meta-analysis of thousands of articles published on the subject found that most didn't test the concept in an experimental setting. Of those that did, several offered results that contradicted the theory...

And Papadatou-Pastou said that learning styles aren't only ineffectual—they can also have real consequences for students. Categorizing students by their perceived or self-reported strengths could discourage them from seeking new challenges, she said.
And multiple intelligences?  I'd be happy if more people demonstrated at least one intelligence.  (Wow, I'm getting curmudgeonly in my old age!)

Male Privilege

How about that toxic masculinity?

Liberals who believe in those two faux concepts are idiots.  They just are.

My 2 Favorite Words In The English Language

Touchdown, Army!

Update, 3 1/2 hrs later:  It was closer than I'd have liked, but a W is a W!

A Silly Idea

One of the stupidest ideas in a long time to come along in education is the idea of "interventions", specifically interventions during school time.

Here's how they're supposed to work:  since it's not "equitable" to expect some students to come before or after school for extra assistance, we're supposed to cut instructional time in order to carve out time during the school day for students who need extra assistance ("interventions" or "remediation", in the new educational parlance).

If you're asking how having less time to teach and learn is supposed to help all students, you're not alone.  If you think that cutting teaching and learning time risks creating even more students who don't do well in class, you're not alone.

Not everyone has drunk this particular flavor of Kool-Aid, though.  Just like the "magic of summer school", whereby students can somehow master in 6 weeks all the material they couldn't learn even minimally in 37 weeks, or remedial classes that promise to catch students up (especially) in the math that they're so far behind in, some wonder what magic takes place during remediation/interventions:
Let’s define “remediation” as any process which promises to teach a topic in a short time to an older student to an achievement level comparable to that of a peer student, who started younger and spent a longer time, being taught the same topic via a more traditional process.

If the remediation process or method worked, why would we NOT use it with ALL the other, younger, students for the shorter time? Why would we teach most students years worth of algebra or critical thinking skills or whatever, starting in middle school, when we could (via the magical remedial methods) teach them just as much in a single year? If “remedial” methods work, why do we NOT replace replace “traditional” methods entirely and use ONLY remedial methods with all students?
That snip is a comment on a post about remediation. Read the post itself and let me know what you think.

How Does This Happen In The People's Republik?

If this is the "progress" that so-called progressives want, count me out:
The state Department of Education deemed more than 61 percent of California students socioeconomically disadvantaged in 2018 as schools continued to lag in English and mathematics, according to a Thursday report on the state’s public education system.

The department updated its California School Dashboard to reflect that schools maintained test scores just below the standard in English and worse in mathematics, marking continued substandard testing from last year.
How can Shangri-La have 61% of its students be “socioeconomically disadvantaged”? Are the unicorn farts with which we pay for all our social benefits not fixing all the state’s problems?

What The Heck Was This Teacher Thinking?

Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs:
A high school teacher in central California was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment after forcibly cutting the hair of one of her students while singing the national anthem, authorities said.

Margaret Gieszinger was arrested Wednesday after videos posted to social media showed a student at University Preparatory High School in the city of Visalia sitting in a chair at the front of the classroom as Gieszinger cuts his hair.

In a video obtained by KFSN-TV, the 52-year-old science and chemistry teacher is heard belting the “Star Spangled Banner” while cutting chunks of the boy’s hair and tossing them behind her. The circumstances of what led the teacher to cut the student’s hair were not immediately known.

After cutting the boy’s hair, Gieszinger grabs at a girl’s long hair before the students make a run for it out of the classroom, the video shows.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Political Violence

The vast majority of the political violence in this country is committed by those on the Left.  Here's a shamelessly lifted post from Instapundit just so we don't forget these specific acts:
ANNALS OF DEMOCRAT VIOLENCE: Rand Paul’s attacker: ‘I lost it and became irate.’
Flashback: Bernie Bro James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History.
● Hillary: ‘You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.’
● Former Attorney General Eric Holder: “Michelle [Obama] always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them.”
Politico: After failing to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Democrats wonder if it’s time to be more ruthless.
Democrat Doxxer Threatened To Reveal Senators’ Children’s Health Information.
DC restaurant: We’ve received death threats after Ted Cruz, wife forced out by protesters.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ): We Are Less Than 60 Days From Totally ‘Kicking the S–t Out of the Republicans.’
Networks Silent On Attempted Stabbing of GOP Candidate By Anti-Trump Attacker.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) Jokes About Threatening Trump Supporters ‘All The Time.’
Their calls for "civility" were only expected to go one way.

Keep The Unions On Their Heels

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
--Thomas Jefferson

Yes, thanks to Mark Janus, his legal team, and the State Policy Network, among others, millions of us across the country have been freed from the immoral requirement that we pay an outside agency, a union, or else not hold the jobs we desire.  But don't expect that to be the end.  Already, unions are trying to find ways to sneak around that decision--requirements that people only be allowed to leave a union in a very short time window, for example, or trying to require people to stay in a union until the current contract expires (sometimes years in the future).  In California the unions have gone even further, shepherding through the legislature a law that allows unions (but no other organizations) unfettered access to new government employees--no doubt they'll inform such a captive audience about the right not to join or pay a union.

The Janus decision was not the end of our entanglement with unions.  Whether it was the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning, I cannot say, but it was not the end.  We must be eternally vigilant to ensure that our right not to pay is union is never infringed again.

Some will want to play defense and just swat away future union attempts to extort money from us.  Of course, though, the best defense is a good offense--so how do we play offense?  We cannot rest on Janus' laurels, rather we need to continue to take the fight to the unions!  Already there are lawsuits working their way through the courts asking that unions be required to reimburse those of us for the agency fees we were unjustly required to pay for so many years.  Here's another idea:
By recognizing the inherently political nature of public sector unions—which exist to influence government spending decisions, in addition to lobbying, political advocacy, and electing candidates sympathetic to their interests—the Court in Janus opened the door to First Amendment challenges to other common practices, such as taxpayer subsidies to public employee unions in the form of “release time” provisions...

With Abood overruled as a precedent, what’s next? If the compelled payment of agency fees violates the free speech rights of government employees, taxpayer subsidies of public sector unions should likewise be unconstitutional. In Janus, the Court compared public sector unions to a political party, and indicated that the First Amendment would not permit a state law requiring all residents to sign a document expressing support for a political party’s platform. Compelled financial support is equally problematic, the Court held in Janus...

Assuming that public employee unions are inherently political, that collective bargaining in the public sector entails political speech, and that compelled financial support of political speech implicates the First Amendment, the reasoning of Janus logically extends to direct payments of taxpayer funds to subsidize the operations of public sector unions. One of the biggest subsidies is the widespread but little-known practice of government employers paying the salary and benefits of union officials even though they exclusively perform union duties.  This practice, variously called “release time,” “official time,” or “association business leave,” is common at all levels of government—federal, state, and local—and is often sought by public-sector unions in collective-bargaining agreements.

This practice, sometimes described as “union time, taxpayer dime,” allows government employees who are also full-time union officials to collect their full salary without rendering any services on behalf of the public; to the contrary, union officials actively work against the interests of the taxpayers through labor negotiations, grievance adjustment, lobbying, and political advocacy. But for the hidden “release time” subsidy, unions would have to compensate their officers using union dues. Instead, taxpayers are forced to fund the unions’ inherently-political operations.
If they're ever given over to anything but anger, the unionistas might, just might, wonder why I want to take away so many of the privileges that unions have enjoyed over the years.  They'll accuse us pro-Janus workers of wanting to destroy unions, blah blah blah.  I don't want to destroy unions.  I believe in unions--just like I believe in voluntary associations of people.  What I don't agree with is compulsion, and the unions have been allowed to go so far with compulsion that they deserve to be slapped down, and quite hard, so that they hesitate before going down that road again.

If unions stuck to employee pay, benefits, and working conditions, I probably wouldn't be so strident.  But in the opinion of the Court in the Janus decision was a comparison of unions to political parties--and the comparison is certainly apt.  Unions are pretty much an arm of the Democratic Party.  Taking my money for all those years, and giving it to a political party I stand against?  You bet I want to slap unions down, good and hard.  It won't make them any less political--in fact, with only volunteers in their ranks now, they can justify being even more fervently left-wing--but I admit I want a little payback.  That, and I don't trust them not to try to chip away at the Janus decision (especially since they're already doing so, as I pointed out above), so I want them to pay a price, a continual, high price, for their efforts.

Keep them on their heels so they can't go back on the offensive against us.

Update, 12/8/18:  Here's another example of shenanigans.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

If California Is So Flush With Money, Why Not Lower Taxes?

Because the state is not really flush with money:
It’s become common folklore that California is booming and incoming Governor Newsom and the Democratic supermajority have more taxpayer money than they will know how to spend, save, or invest. Nothing could be farther from the truth; and it’s the California voters and taxpayers who will continue to be pay for this mistake. We literally owe trillions that isn’t being discussed. Just the estimated payments on public employee pensions in California will increase from $31 billion in today’s dollars to $59 billion in 2024; and this number is based on non-recessionary conditions or a major correction in the stock market. And California immediately needs $800 billion to over $1 trillion worth of infrastructure repairs, upgrades and new construction.

A conservative estimate of California’s total debt by the California Policy Center in a 2017 study – before new tax and bond obligations recently voted in were factored – puts California’s total local and state debt at $1.3 trillion. The Stanford University Pension Institute ( in 2017 calculated California’s unfunded liability at $1.4 trillion and CalPERS also with an unfunded liability of $1.4 trillion, with CalSTRS billions underwater as well to give, “real state debt of $2.8 trillion.”

Whichever calculation is used California owes trillions and doesn’t have a plan in place to address this issue. What should be clear is that California does not have a surplus or anything near a surplus factoring in total debt and infrastructure for a basic, functioning society California citizens and non-citizens expect.
The liberals will tell you, though, about the worker's paradise here in the Iron Pyrite State. We have so much money that community college will soon be "free", as will the pony provided to every resident of the state on his/her/zer/xer 10th birthday.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Why "Free" Community College Is A Bad Idea

To be paid for with unicorn farts:
Californians could soon get two years of community college for free, enough to earn an associate’s degree.

In 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the California College Promise, waiving the first year of community college tuition for full-time students. Assembly Bill 2, announced Tuesday, would add a second year to that program.

“When we started this bill, we came up with a very simple concept: One (year) is such a lonely number. So we came up with two,” the bill’s author, Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, said at a Tuesday press conference.

The program applies to first-time students enrolled in 12 or more credits, provided that they have completed a federal student aid application or California Dream Act application. It is not restricted to California residents, Santiago said.

Why is this such a bad idea?
1.  Tragedy of the commons
2.  Three words:  free high school (and how does that work out?)
3.  No skin in the game
4.  Everyone doesn't need to, nor should they, go to college.  I know that's anathema to say, especially for someone who works in education, but it's true.
5.  California already has a spending problem, we don't need yet another nonessential entitlement.
6. Two can be as sad as one, it's the loneliest number since the number one.
Add more reasons in the comments.

UC Berkeley Loses Free Speech Fight

Berkeley, the home of the Free Speech Movement, is currently the home of the censorship movement--at least against conservatives.  Even the 9th Circuit couldn't support Berkeley's current stance:
Young America’s Foundation (YAF), a conservative youth organization founded in 1969, secured a landmark victory against the University of California, Berkeley, after more than a year of gritty litigation in the conservative-hostile Ninth Circuit.

The school agreed to YAF’s settlement terms, according to a release by YAF’s Spencer Brown on Monday.

The notice of conditional settlement was filed with the court on Monday.

“This is a landmark free speech victory for all students at UC Berkeley,” Harmeet K. Dhillon, the attorney for YAF, told LifeZette on Monday...

The terms of the settlement include paying YAF $70,000, rescinding unconstitutional and events-related policies that marginalize conservative students, and abolishing the “heckler’s veto” — a process that allowed protesters to quash conservatives’ freedom of expression.

Electrons vs Dead Trees

Electronic schoolbooks may be the wave of the future, but they don't necessarily bring improved student performance:
Teachers, parents and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We’ve seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks. In 2009, California passed a law requiring that all college textbooks be available in electronic form by 2020; in 2011, Florida lawmakers passed legislation requiring public schools to convert their textbooks to digital versions.

Given this trend, teachers, students, parents and policymakers might assume that students’ familiarity and preference for technology translates into better learning outcomes. But we’ve found that’s not necessarily true.

As researchers in learning and text comprehension, our recent work has focused on the differences between reading print and digital media. While new forms of classroom technology like digital textbooks are more accessible and portable, it would be wrong to assume that students will automatically be better served by digital reading simply because they prefer it.

Our work has revealed a significant discrepancy. Students said they preferred and performed better when reading on screens. But their actual performance tended to suffer.
The authors begin their conclusion thusly:
There may be economic and environmental reasons to go paperless. But there’s clearly something important that would be lost with print’s demise.

Aliens and Welfare

When the facts contradict your expectations (or, at least, the expectations of liberals), believe the facts:
A majority of “non-citizens,” including those with legal green card rights, are tapping into welfare programs set up to help poor and ailing Americans, a Census Bureau finding that bolsters President Trump’s concern about immigrants costing the nation.

In a new analysis of the latest numbers, from 2014, 63 percent of non-citizens are using a welfare program, and it grows to 70 percent for those here 10 years or more, confirming another concern that once immigrants tap into welfare, they don’t get off it.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Another (Major) Fake Hate Crime

Since Instapundit says it best, I'll shamelessly lift his post:
IF IT WEREN’T FOR FAKE HATE CRIMES, HOW MANY HATE CRIMES WOULD THERE BE? Black college lacrosse player, 21, is arrested for spraying N-word and swastika graffiti targeting HIMSELF and other minority students in two incidents that terrorized the campus.
A black college lacrosse player has been arrested in connection with two incidents of racist graffiti found in a dorm on the Goucher College campus in Maryland.

Fynn Ajani Arthur, a 21-year-old from Brunswick, Maine, was charged with two counts of malicious destruction of property on Thursday night in Baltimore County.

His arrest came after graffiti aimed at black and Latino students was found on the second floor of a campus dorm, one floor above where similar graffiti had been found on November 14, Goucher College administrators said in a statement.

Both incidents that shook the Towson campus involved backward swastikas and targeted specific individuals, according to the statement.

Thursday’s graffiti depicted swastikas, the letters ‘KKK’ and appeared to include the last names of four black students, including Arthur. The previous graffiti reportedly said all ‘n*****s’ on campus would be killed.
I now start with the assumption that incidents like this are fake. The demand for Nazi/White Supremacist hatred far exceeds the supply.
98 Posted at 8:00 am by Glenn Reynolds
Update: And another one:
In mid-November, a Drake University student told school officials she had received four racist notes in one of the residence halls, at least one of which was addressed to her.

After a police and school investigation, the student, who has not been charged or named, admitted to writing one of the notes. The Des Moines Register reports that Drake officials “are confident the four notes reported by the female student were hoaxes.”

The student who sent the four hoax notes now faces harassment charges, according to Sgt. Paul Parizek, a Des Moines, IA, police spokesman (whether she will actually be charged remains to be seen and is unlikely). Drake spokesman Jarad Bernstein told the Register that the student also faces a campus discipline procedure which could result in her expulsion. Again, this is unlikely, as most hoaxers claim they were trying to “start a dialogue” and get a pass.
If you have to fake so-called hate crimes in order to "raise awareness", if there aren't enough real so-called hate crimes to raise awareness, then shouldn't we celebrate that lack? Shouldn't that be good?  Lying about something to make matters seem worse than they are, what kind of person does that?  Not a good person.

Crying wolf like this causes reasonable people to doubt the real problems when they arise.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Failing To Discipline Children Does Them No Favors

Some young people don't really face consequences for their actions, so they think they can say or do whatever they want--with impunity.  That isn't always the case:
According to reports, an unnamed 16-year-old student at Wayne County Schools Career Center was cited for wearing orange cargo pants – a violation of the school’s dress code, which requires all students to wear a uniform.

The teenager, who had just returned to school after a suspension, became unruly and started a verbal altercation with the school’s dean of students, school officials said to News 5.

In a video of the incident uploaded to YouTube, the student is seen walking away from school staff and the school’s resource officer, who got involved at request of the school dean.

The student is seen repeatedly walking away from and becoming combative with the high school administration in the video.

Superintendent Kip Crain said to News 5 the student was offered clothing to wear for the day that would comply with the school’s dress code, but he refused. The student was also allegedly allowed to call his parents to drop off his uniform, but he refused that as well.

“School officials and the deputy tried to contain that [situation] away from that area but the young man moved into that area on his own,” Capt. Hunter said to News 5. “The young man was given numerous opportunities not to get into any trouble at all or be involved in any type of physical altercation.”

The student resists as the deputy tries to restrain him. Eventually, the student gets out of the deputy’s grip and moves back toward the lunchroom area, where school staff reportedly told him not to go.

As the video footage continues, the resource officer takes out his Taser weapon and continues to try to verbally and physically direct the student back to the dean’s office.

“Ultimately, it escalated to the point where the deputy pulled out his taser. After the student threatened to punch him, the deputy discharged the taser and essentially ended the incident. Even when it escalated to the point where the deputy was involved, the deputy tried to de-escalate the situation but the student wasn’t having any part of that,” Capt. Hunter said to News 5.

Though the deputy deployed the taser twice, Hunter told News 5, he was only hit with an electrical current once.

News 5 reported that EMS was called to the school to check on the student, who was not injured in the incident, though he was sent home afterward.
As far as I'm concerned, the kid deserved to get tased.

Is It Just Me, Or Is The Author Of The Article Below A Horrible Person?

It can't be just me.  This woman has not a shred of gratitude:
In my thirty years on this earth, I have received some not-so-great gifts. First, there was Barney Tent circa 1992. It would have been great, but it popped open as soon as it came out of the box. Ironically, it was not very safe for kids. Then, there was this gigantic necklace that looked great for a boho-loving 50-something, but not for a polo-wearing 15-year-old. All I wanted that year was a graphic T-shirt from Abercrombie and Fitch. You win some, you lose some. Later on, there was a basket of brownie mix, chocolate frosting, and jams that I would never use in the three years before it all expired. If only these gift shoppers had the resources offered by my friends and I at Reviewed today. Their holiday shopping would have been much more successful.
What could they have gotten you that would have made you a more decent person?
A few years ago, I asked my boyfriend for a handbag for the holidays. No directions were given, as I, like many girlfriends out there, expected him to read my mind and get me the exact bag I wanted. He ended up buying me a bag that year—but it was not at all what I wanted. The color was wrong. The designer, or lack-thereof, was incorrect. The shape was not ideal. Morale of this story: Don’t buy someone a handbag unless they send you links and/or specific names of the bags they want.
One of my pet peeves is when someone (a specific family member comes to mind) asks me what  I want.  I'm comfortably in the middle class, I'll go buy anything I want.  Replacing my money with yours at the store isn't what gift-giving should be about!  If you want to get me a gift, get me something that you think I'll like.  If I don't like it, you'll never know, because I'd be gracious and accept the gift in the kind spirit in which it was given.  But I usually like gifts!  And telling someone (except maybe Santa) what you want is equally tacky.
Basically, it’s rude to get someone something because you think they need it. You should be getting people gifts because you think they’ll want them, for example a TV or a Kindle.
She was getting warmer, getting warmer, and then with that 2nd sentence fell right off the the cliff.
Every year, tons of gift cards collect dust in wallets, bags, and desk drawers. But why? Most gift cards are literally free money to a specific place. Why wouldn’t someone want to spend free money? Well, if they have no interest shopping, eating, or drinking at the place the gift card is for, they won’t want to use the gift card. An example of this would be someone giving me a Dunkin Donuts gift card. I prefer Starbucks. Another example would be someone giving me a gift card to Ulta Beauty. Great store, but I am a Sephora fanatic. Know your audience before you buy the gift card—or just get the Visa!
Or, you could be less of a bitch.  But whatever.
A coworker told me that one gift she thinks people should stop giving is candles. I had to disagree of course, as one of my top gifts to give people is the famous Capri Blue Volcano scented candle. First of all, I am confident that the Volcano scent is loved by most people, but even if I am wrong (and I probably am), it doubles as chic home decor. Shopping for smells people will like is hard. This goes for candles, body lotions, perfumes...
I love getting and giving candles, but that's just me.  I have 3 Christmas-type scented ones burning throughout the house as I type this!
A few years ago, I got a pizza night light. Funny because I like pizza, but it sat in the package in a drawer for three years before I threw it out.
While I kind of agree with her on the "gag gift" idea, her attitude is just foul.  And why would you throw out something brand new just you don't like it?  Talk about wasteful.
If you jewelry shop blind, there’s a 50% chance you will end up failing. After all, the kiss does not begin with ‘Kay.’ The kiss literally begins with ‘k,’ as in the letter. That's it. When my now-husband and I started dating, he got me a silver watch. The problem: I don’t wear silver jewelry. I wear gold jewelry. I never wore it. To be honest, I would have been happier with a $50 gift card to Starbucks. Now he knows that, and I know to always give him the gift that keeps on giving: A LIST OF THINGS I ACTUALLY WANT WITH LINKS TO BUY THEM.
It can't be just me.  She's genuinely a horrible person.  She should be on her knees every day thanking God that she found someone to marry her, but gratitude is not something that woman knows anything about.

Friday, November 30, 2018

A Substitute Who Teaches

Maybe it's different where you are, but where I am, if a math teacher is out for a day, the kids lose a day of instruction.  There isn't this pool of people able to teach math who are dying to work for the $135 a day my district pays substitutes, so if a math teacher isn't there, teaching doesn't take place.

I should go out and buy a lottery ticket.  There's a "kid" (he's so young!) who subs in our district and is currently working on a master's degree in math.  Eventually he wants to get a doctorate.

I've missed 3 school days this week, something I haven't done in (literally) years.  I was able to get this math whiz as a substitute all three days.  I gave him my lecture notes and off he went.  My students told me he can teach, and their quiz results yesterday indicate that they learned something Monday and Tuesday.

I can't ask for much more than that, and neither can my students.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Let's Play "Identify The Racist"

Our universities are full of flaming liberals.  Liberals in administration, liberals as professors, liberals as students.  You can't swing a dead cat at a California university and not hit a liberal.  And liberals are the least racist people around--just ask them, they'll tell you.

This professor, though, thinks our students are racists, and his (lack of) logic probably won't surprise you:
A University of California, Berkeley professor suggested scrapping end-of-semester student evaluations for hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions after claiming that the grades and evaluations are biased against female instructors and people of color.

“Over the next few weeks, students will get the chance to evaluate their professors and TAs. They’re going to get it wrong,” UC Berkeley history professor Brian DeLaytweeted on Sunday. “They’ll be harder on women and people of color than on white men. Tenured white male faculty, in particular, should help their students understand this.”
Of all the reasons to get rid of student evaluations, this is one of the least reasonable.
The study, first published in January of 2016, addressed the effectiveness of student evaluations of teaching (SETs). DeLay asserted in his tweet that the study revealed a bias toward gender and grade expectations, such as how quickly an assignment is graded and returned with feedback, rather than a review of the professor’s educational effectiveness.

“Instructor race is also associated with SET…” DeLay said in a follow-up tweet, referencing the study’s finding that minority professors tend to receive, on average, “significantly lower” scores than their white, male counterparts. He goes on to mention the study’s claim that “age, charisma, and physical attractiveness” also factor into evaluations.
Apparently minority teachers are uglier, "slothier", and slower to return graded work--if you're to take this professor's comments at face value.  He asserts there's "implicit bias" at work.  It's interesting how he extrapolated that from the data.

If one of the most liberal groups in the country, that being California university students (Berkeley, anyone?), can't get the racism thing right, I don't know how anyone can expect a poor old white guy like me to get it right.

Wildfires May Affect School Funding

Smoke was so thick in the air in the Sacramento region on Friday, November 16th--the last day of school before Thanksgiving break--that most (if not all) schools in the greater Sacramento area were closed on that day.  In a previous post I wondered if we'd be required to make that day up in June, and and here's some information on that topic:
School closures in the Sacramento region due to unhealthy air quality from the Camp Fire likely will not add days to this year’s school calendar, or take money out of budgets.

Schools across the Sacramento region closed last week as a thick layer of smoke loomed across the valley, pushing air quality levels into hazardous territory. The city of Sacramento handed out filtration masks, and people were warned to stay indoors. Multiple school districts canceled classes, along with the Los Rios Community College District, Sacramento State and University of California, Davis.

School administrators Monday said that most districts plan to apply for state waivers that will protect their funding despite the closures. California schools are funded under a formula that counts attendance as a factor. When students miss days, funding decreases. Closure of an entire school — or district — could be financially devastating without the waiver, reducing funding by millions for larger districts...

The state will likely grant the waivers.
I hope so.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Talking Down To People Is Not How You Show Respect

This shouldn't surprise anyone who pays attention:
Racial bias can put people of color at a disadvantage when interviewing for a job, buying a house, or interacting with the police. New research suggests that bias may also shape daily interactions between racial minorities and white people, even those whites who tend to be less biased.

According to new research by Cydney Dupree, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale SOM, white liberals tend to downplay their own verbal competence in exchanges with racial minorities, compared to how other white Americans act in such exchanges. The study is scheduled for publication in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

While many previous studies have examined how people who hold racial bias behave in multi-racial settings, few have studied how whites who are more well-intentioned interact with people of other races. “There’s less work that explores how well-intentioned whites try to get along with racial minorities,” Dupree says. “We wanted to know their strategies for increasing connections between members of different social groups—and how effective these strategies are.”
Is there enough bias in those opening paragraphs?  Sheesh. But let's continue:
Warmth, related to intentions towards others, and competence, related to the ability to carry out those intentions, are two fundamental dimensions of how we see others and portray ourselves in social interactions. Stereotypical portrayals of black Americans generally show them as being less competent than their white counterparts, but not necessarily less friendly or warm, Dupree explains.

The team found that Democratic candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences. The difference wasn’t statistically significant in speeches by Republican candidates, though “it was harder to find speeches from Republicans delivered to minority audiences,” Dupree notes. There was no difference in Democrats’ or Republicans’ usage of words related to warmth. “It was really surprising to see that for nearly three decades, Democratic presidential candidates have been engaging in this predicted behavior.”

With this preliminary evidence in hand, the researchers set out to further test their ideas...

The researchers found that liberal individuals were less likely to use words that would make them appear highly competent when the person they were addressing was presumed to be black rather than white. No significant differences were seen in the word selection of conservatives based on the presumed race of their partner. “It was kind of an unpleasant surprise to see this subtle but persistent effect,” Dupree says. “Even if it’s ultimately well-intentioned, it could be seen as patronizing.”
Maybe, just maybe, those Democrats aren't as "well-intentioned" as the study's authors presume.  But yes, it's darned patronizing.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Takeoff From Honolulu Yesterday

By the way, I was in severe danger on that flight.  Many of us went only through a metal detector and not the nudie scanner, and none of us had to remove our shoes.  The horror.

Note:  that was a high def video.  Quality is really degraded on here.

And lastly, Diamond Head.

Monday, November 26, 2018

What Kind Of Vehicles To The Environmentalists Want Us To Drive?

None.  Fortunately, I think they'll have a hard time selling that to the American public, although I admit they're making inroads.

Two consecutive posts on Instapundit today caught my interest, along with their embedded links.  The first, from Bloomberg:
Driving electric cars and scrapping your natural gas-fired boiler won’t make a dent in global carbon emissions, and may even increase pollution levels.

Higher electrification may lead to oil demand peaking by 2030, but any reduction in emissions from the likes of electric vehicles will be offset by the increased use of power plants to charge them, according to the International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook, which plots different scenarios of future energy use.

In order to significantly reduce harmful pollution by 2040, electrification will have to form part of a comprehensive package of policies to reduce power sector carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency, the Paris-based body that advises nations on energy policy said.
Relatively safe, clean, efficient nuclear power. Solved--if you think it's practical for everyone to drive electric cars.

The next was from The New York Times Magazine:
Most of the plantations around us were new, their rise a direct consequence of policy decisions made half a world away. In the mid-2000s, Western nations, led by the United States, began drafting environmental laws that encouraged the use of vegetable oil in fuels — an ambitious move to reduce carbon dioxide and curb global warming. But these laws were drawn up based on an incomplete accounting of the true environmental costs. Despite warnings that the policies could have the opposite of their intended effect, they were implemented anyway, producing what now appears to be a calamity with global consequences.

The tropical rain forests of Indonesia, and in particular the peatland regions of Borneo, have large amounts of carbon trapped within their trees and soil. Slashing and burning the existing forests to make way for oil-palm cultivation had a perverse effect: It released more carbon. A lot more carbon. NASA researchers say the accelerated destruction of Borneo’s forests contributed to the largest single-year global increase in carbon emissions in two millenniums, an explosion that transformed Indonesia into the world’s fourth-largest source of such emissions. Instead of creating a clever technocratic fix to reduce American’s carbon footprint, lawmakers had lit the fuse on a powerful carbon bomb that, as the forests were cleared and burned, produced more carbon than the entire continent of Europe. The unprecedented palm-oil boom, meanwhile, has enriched and emboldened many of the region’s largest corporations, which have begun using their newfound power and wealth to suppress critics, abuse workers and acquire more land to produce oil.
Lawyers become lawmakers to make laws, and often they don't solve as many problems as they create.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Compulsion--It's All Unions Know

Can you think of any other organization that government allows to act this way?
A state fair police officer is suing his union because it won’t let him quit paying dues, challenging a common provision in California public employee contracts that forbids workers from leaving labor organizations while contracts are in effect...

Cooley’s case, similar to the other lawsuits, contends that the California State Law Enforcement Association is violating the principles of the new Supreme Court decision by rejecting his request to quit the union.
Maybe, just maybe, if unions had something valuable to offer, they wouldn't need to force people to be members.

The Results of One-Party Rule in the People's Democratik Republik of Kalifornia

You don't have to like it, but the numbers don't lie:
Whereas many states might have envied California for its tech growth, they may be less impressed by its absurdly high cost of living, high energy prices and nation-leading poverty rate. A state where one in four people is poor, and as many as one in three households, according to United Way, live on poverty’s doorstep...

(Governor-elect Gavin) Newsom, who identifies himself with the tech oligarchs, will see any IPO or resurgence in tech stock prices as a means to boost spending without pain. Yet he also will find himself asked to pay for programs — housing subsidies, renewable energy and expanded free healthcare — that could un-balance even the healthiest budgets. Under the “frugal” Jerry Brown the state budget since 2011 grew 53 percent while the population expanded by a mere 5 percent. One can only imagine what happens now with an even less “stingy” chief executive.

The wish list of new expensive programs — single-payer healthcare alone would up to double the state budget — means Newsom must likely raise taxes ever higher. This likely will not be tough on tech firms themselves, which are adept at tax avoidance, but on upper-middle class taxpayers who have been drifting for decades to the Democrats...

Overall the top 1 percent pay nearly half of all income taxes, which accounts for two-thirds of the state budget. “We are very dependent on millionaires,” Mike Genest, former budget director for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently told the Los Angeles Times. “If the millionaires get a cold, we all die of the flu.”