Thursday, May 31, 2018

New Hire

The student teacher I've worked with for the past school year has finally been offered a job--at my school.  She's gotten other offers, even in other districts, but she held out because she wanted to continue working with us.  Her patience (our district is exceedingly slow about such things) paid off both for her and for us.  I talked to her today about the classrooms that will be available next year!

By the way, she's the last student in her credential program cohort to accept a job offer.

They Say This Like It's A Bad Thing

Only a leftie would try to explain to you why a law shouldn't mean what it says:
Conservatives are controlling most of the Supreme Court's closely divided cases so far this term by sticking to the words written by Congress.

The justices have settled challenges involving the rights of workers, immigrants, prisoners and patent owners by painstakingly defining the meaning of "for," "shall," "any" and "other," along with "satisfy" and "salesman."
Yes, I understand nuance and interpretation.  I understand that "Congress shall make no law..." is a starting point, not an ending point, for 1st Amendment freedoms.  But contra the liberals' argument, first and foremost a law should mean what it says.  While a meaning can be interpreted, and legality can be declared or denied by courts, the text of the law should be an obvious starting point and should carry significant weight.
This is what Gorsuch, the newest justice now entering his second year on the court, promised during his Senate confirmation in 2017 — to "try to understand what the words on the page mean, not import words that come from us."

"If the words are plain, you stop," he said.
When Lewis Carroll wrote in Through The Looking Glass,
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
his intent was to show the silliness of allowing words to mean whatever we want them to mean at the moment.  The above was not intended to be a how-to for lefties.  Words have meaning.  And so do laws.  If a law is poorly written, it's not the job of the judiciary to fix the law, it's the job of the legislature.  And if a law is written in such a way that it's clear that the intent is different from what's clearly written, the legislature should rectify the law.

Courts should be less activist about making laws mean what people want them to mean.

Note:  since the meanings of words do change over time, as do turns of phrase, I'm less a proponent of "textualism" doctrine than I am of "original meaning" doctrine.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Summer Reading

One more week of work left.

As I walked by the library today, there was a shelf outside.  It was full of books with a note saying "free".  Turns out our librarian is emptying the shelves of book students don't check out so she can have more room for new books.

There were a couple dozen Clive Cussler novels, both paperback and hardcover.  That pained me, as I already have about a shelf and a half here at home full of Clive Cussler novels--the original Dirk Pitt series, and the current Oregon Files series.  I've paid so much money, and gotten so much enjoyment out of those books, and there they are at school, being given away because no one wants to check them out.

I'm going to have some reading time this summer. In a couple weeks I plan on being around a pool in Cancun--and I'll need some reading material.  A month after that I'll be on a cruise in Europe, and for our non-port days I'll need some poolside reading material.  So I picked up 5 paperbacks--two science fiction books, and three Clancy-type military thrillers. 

Being a slow reader, I'll probably not get through all 5 of those during my Cancun and cruise trips, but that's OK.  Better to have too much reading material than not enough.

I'm a big fan of Audible, but if I lie down by a pool and expect to stay awake while someone reads me a story, no matter how interesting that story is, well, I know that just isn't in the cards.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

An Evergreen Headline
It's about Evergreen State College....

One Reader Has Been After Me To Move To Texas For Years

I wouldn't be the only one:
California’s schools are hiring teachers again. But California’s colleges aren’t producing enough new teachers to meet the demand. So where will the state's new teachers come from?

Not from other states, if recent history is a guide.

From 2003 through 2016, about 18,000 more elementary and secondary school teachers left California than came from other states, according to a Bee review of U.S. Census Bureau data. The worst losses were during the height of the housing boom, when home prices were peaking, but they have continued throughout the economic recovery.

California saw the largest net loss of teachers to Texas. About 6,000 more teachers left California for Texas than came here from the Lone Star State from 2003 through 2016.

The average teacher salary in Texas is about $52,000, far below the average teacher salary of $77,000 in California, according to the National Education Association. But when adjusted for cost of living, teachers in Texas make about as much as their peers in California.
If I retire from California, though, my retirement pay will be higher than it would be in Texas. Then I can move!

We Can't Even Get Voting Right In California

Errors in registration in the one-party state that is the People's Democratik Republik of Kalifornia?  Shocked, shocked I say:
California's elections officials have found themselves with an unexpected headache ahead of the June 5 primary: potentially thousands of cases where two voter registration forms were created for one person, errors caused by the state's "motor voter" program that launched last month...

State elections officials said a software error affected some 77,000 voter records generated at the Department of Motor Vehicles over the past month. Some of those records — how many remains unclear — resulted in two registration forms for a single voter, a problem reported in several county elections offices across California. Left unfixed, it could keep a voter from casting party-specific votes or, in the most extreme cases, cause two ballots to be issued to a voter. 
If that isn't bad enough, throw this into the mix:
The head of California's campaign watchdog agency resigned her position on Tuesday…

Remke's resignation comes amid ongoing turmoil among members of the five-member commission. It also falls one week before Election Day, a period which typically draws dozens of campaign ethics complaints to the agency.
So it goes in the People's Republik.

Monday, May 28, 2018

What Makes People Do Such Stupid Things?

Summer's approaching.  This teacher could be looking forward to several weeks off work--but instead...
A Las Vegas teacher was arrested this month on terrorist threat charges after she sent texts saying she was forming a plan to shoot up a concert and wanted to empower women to be serial killers.

Leslie McGourty, 48, was exchanging texts with a friend May 16 when she made a threat to “poke a lot of holes in a lot of people” and kill herself, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, citing her arrest report.

The friend took the texts to cops and McGourty was arrested later that day as she was teaching a physics class at Bonanza High School, the paper reported.

She was accused of targeting a May 19 concert at a downtown bar.

In the texts, McGourty romanticized “being remembered” and said she hoped to start another #MeToo movement “but this time in which women feel empowered enough to become serial killers,” the paper reported.

When Math Applies to Politics

Being a conservative, I want to minimize the power that Washington has over our lives.  In general I want to minimize government at all levels, but especially at the federal level.  The laboratory of democracy has served us well for a couple centuries, and every assumption of power by Washington moves us closer to a national as opposed to a federal government.

One of my favorite classes in my 5-year odyssey to get my master's degree was Discrete Optimization.  One of the concepts I learned in that class involved describing the efficiency of algorithms.  If functions grow like polynomials, algorithms have an easier time of handling them than they do for functions that grow exponentially or even faster.  The notation used for describing that is "Big-O"; functions that grows "polynomially" might be O(n-squared) (read, big-O of n-squared) or O(n-cubed).

How do those previous paragraphs fit together?  This morning I was reading an article called Why Government Doesn't Scale, an article on why central governments can't be very efficient, and what makes an appearance but Big-O:
But local networks were becoming big. We knew our office would need one. But what kind? The big debate then was client-server vs. peer-to-peer. In P2P, every machine on the network carried some responsibility for the management. It was difficult. It was messy. It was OBVIOUS to me that the superior solution was client-server: a really powerful central server made all the decisions and routed all the traffic, and the rest of the machines were mere clients that talked to it. It was simple. It was elegant. If the network got bigger, you just needed a bigger, smarter server. And I confidently told management to go with client-server.

And then slowly, inexorably, the industry went peer-to-peer. (The modern internet has elements of both. That’s a subject for another discussion…) And I could only scratch my head and wonder why.

So I read. I researched. I tried to understand. And eventually I found articles that pointed out O(n^2) (order n squared), a familiar concept from computer science. It describes a system where the work grows as the square of the number of elements.

And I realized: every node in a network has to potentially speak to every other node. A classic bit of communications theory is that such a network has O(n^2) potential relationships between the nodes. 2 nodes have 1 potential relationship. 4 nodes (twice as many) has 6 potential relationships (6 times as many). 8 nodes (twice again) has 28 potential relationships.

100 nodes = 450 relationships [I believe this should be 4950--Darren]
1,000 nodes = 499,500 relationships—nearly half a million.

And in a client-server network, the server has to be ready to manage every single relationship. In peer-to-peer, each node has a hand in managing its own relationships, and maybe a few others along the way. The work is distributed.

And it finally got through my head: NO server, no matter how large and how powerful, could keep up with O(n^2). Even if it were perfectly designed and never broke down, there was some number of nodes that would crash the server. It was mathematically unavoidable. You HAVE TO distribute the management as close as possible to the nodes, or the system fails.

And this is the part that is just crystal clear in my memory over a quarter century later: in an instant, I realized that the same is true of governments.
You just never know when that math education will be useful!

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

The pearl-clutching:

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Seems Like A Pearl-clutching Interpretation To Me

I guess that if you try very hard you can infer some sort of threat here, and then overreact:
A Missouri high school student who, as a senior prank, put his school “up for sale” on Craigslist has been suspended and banned from participating in graduation ceremonies.

Truman High School student Kyle Scheele offered up his school for the fire sale “rate” of $12,725. But school officials weren’t giggling.

“It was Scheele’s choice of words that got the A-student in trouble,” The Kansas City Star reports. “In addition to including several amenities, such as a new football field and what he called a ’20+ room facility, his post also said, ‘The reason for the sale is due to the loss of students coming up.'”

That “loss of students” is what set off alarm bells. Before an investigation showed there was no actual threat, worried parents had pulled their kids out of school. The district never sent out notification of any possible danger.

“Out of an abundance of caution, administrators and police investigated and determined there was not a credible threat,” the district said in a statement. “A student who makes a real or implied threat, whether it is deemed credible or not, will face discipline"...

Scheele said he was OK with the suspension but wished he could have walked at graduation. He carried a final GPA of 3.96 and had never previously been disciplined at school.

It's Enough To Make You Weep For The Future

Over at Joanne's blog I linked to my own post about appropriate attire at graduation.  Some of the comments there (many obviously by teenagers) show such a profound lack of knowledge that one wonders if they've learned anything in high school.

They're certainly learning from lefties.  So far I've been accused of hating black people, as well as of being a Nazi white supremacist who supports slavery.  Why?  Because in the post above I support a school's policy about what graduates can wear during their graduation ceremony.  Lefties do love their name-calling.

Lawrence v. Texas was mentioned more than once.  "Read Lawrence v. Texas. It says that people can do what they want even if you don’t approve."  That's, uh, a unique interpretation of what Lawrence says, but it's certainly not an interpretation to which I'd subscribe.

Tinker was mentioned more than once.  "Free speech means we get to express ourselves in any medium we want, including clothing. It doesn’t just protect the spoken word. Read Tinker!"  Tinker was about the suppression and expression of ideas, not about what clothing you can wear to school.

The First Amendment makes an appearance, too.  "The first amendment means we get to decide how we’ll present ourselves to the world, NOT YOU!!!!"  That's so precious.

Want a two-fer?  Here's the Bill of Rights and Tinker!  "What makes you think the bill of rights doesn’t apply at graduation? Her taxes are paying for the graduation ceremony? Her taxes paid for the school to begin with? That makes it a public school and therefore she’s free to be herself under the first amendment–read Tinker, it ended school-enforced slavery."

It's honestly painful to see such ignorance. 

Schools don't have to have graduation ceremonies.  If the stupidity shown above gets too far out of hand, I'd dump graduation ceremonies altogether.  People can have their own celebrations and wear whatever they want.  Problem solved.

Cow Burps

There's no mention of what the cost difference would be if this new feed were introduced, but here's the science taking place at nearby UC Davis:

Early indications of a UC Davis study show feeding dairy cows seaweed may reduce methane emissions caused by their belching, the university announced Thursday.

UC Davis animal science professor Ermias Kebreab and animal biology PhD candidate Breanna Roque separated 12 Holstein cows into three groups, two of which received different doses of seaweed in their feed and one of which got no seaweed at all.

"The numbers we’re seeing are amazing — well beyond the target that farmers will need to reach," Kebreab said in a media release. "This is a very surprising and promising development."

The two test groups eat seaweed sweetened with molasses for two weeks at a time before returning to a normal diet for a week. Each cow eats a snack from an open-air device that simultaneously measures their breath's methane content. Their milk is also tested for yield, flavor and nutritional content throughout the experiment.
Why worry about this? Burps=methane=global warming.  It's California, you knew global warming had to be in there somewhere.

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

NEA Thinks High Court Will Rule For Mark Janus

Friday, May 25, 2018

Nature and School

The school at which I teach backs up against a levee, followed by a greenbelt, followed by a river. We have plenty of wildlife in the immediate vicinity of our school.

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of a hawk that was watching some nearby ground squirrels. This week our head custodian mailed out a few pictures he'd taken recently, including this one of a hawk "guarding" the back fence. Our custodian said that the raptor allowed him to get within about 5 feet in order to take this picture:
While I don't have the bird's consent to post this picture, I did receive the permission of the photographer!

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

USC Joins Yale

Thursday, May 24, 2018

I Side With the School In This Case--Up To A Point

I'm an army veteran.  My son was in JROTC in high school, and is now in the army.  My mother is a veteran.  3 of my 4 grandparents served in uniform in World War II.

You get the idea.  I'm a supporter of the military.

But just because someone is in, or is about to be in, or has been in, the military, that doesn't mean they get to throw out all other norms and do whatever they want:
A Nebraska high school is speaking out and defending its actions after receiving major backlash on social media for denying a graduating senior’s request to wear her U.S. Army sash during the graduation ceremony

Megan Pohlmeier was planning on participating in her high school’s graduation ceremony in May. To celebrate the occasion, the teen said she wanted to wear her Army sash, which was given to her by her recruiter at the Grand Island office in Nebraska four days before graduation, she told Fox News.

Pohlmeier said she called the school to see if she could wear the black and yellow sash during the ceremony.

"It was something I worked really hard to earn. They told me ‘no’ and did not really give me a reason," she told the Omaha World-Herald.
When she gets in the army, perhaps she'll learn the concept of a "uniform".  There is a "uniform" for graduation, and at this school it doesn't include an army sash.

Anyway, the girl decided to see what she could get away with.  And neither she nor the principal come out looking very good at this point:
Despite being told no, Pohlmeier decided to wear her sash tucked under her graduation gown so she could take pictures with it after the ceremony.

However, Principal Szlanda saw the sash peeking out under the black gown and pulled her out of line, she said.

“He pulled me out of line and said, ‘I talked to you and your father and you are not to be wearing that. If I see you wearing that again, you will not receive your diploma,’” she told the World-Herald.

Since the graduation, which Pohlmeier did participate in sans sash, her story has gone viral on Facebook with many calling the school's actions “unacceptable” and “disrespectful.”

Now, Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Craig Kautz is defending his school’s graduation accessories policy, saying “if we don’t award it, you don’t wear it.”
The superintendent at least comes across as an adult here.

So, what does "peeking out" from under the gown mean?  Was this inadvertent, or was she trying to create an issue?  Was the principal just being a you-know-what?  Hard to know.  Even in the military, at least in my day, if what you're wearing under your uniform cannot be seen when the uniform is properly worn, then it is OK.

As I said, neither the student nor the principal covered him/herself in glory here.

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

Useless Jobs?

Professors Are To Blame For Low On-time College Graduation Rates

Who says so?  Soon(but not soon enough!)-to-be-former governor Jerry Brown, who says that because professors teach their "pet projects", that "there are thousands and thousands of courses, and then the basic courses aren't available...."  That's why students can't graduate in 4 years.

Crazy ole' Uncle Jerry.

Couldn't a much bigger reason be the administrative bloat that's occurred in the past, say, 20 years, which sucks up money for more of those "basic courses"?

Couldn't a much bigger reason be the tremendous number of students who we let into our 4-year universities but who actually need remedial math or English help?

Think about it.  If you got rid of students (mentioned above) who are least likely to graduate, and you freed up some of that administrative and program money to actually do some good around the school, wouldn't there be a greater opportunity for students to graduate in 4 years?

But it's all the professors' fault.  Sheesh.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

This Is Why Actors, Especially Pretty Ones, Should Just Keep Their Mouths Shut About Politics

As math teacher Jaime Escalante said to the school principal in the movie Stand And Deliver in reference to his students, "It's not that they're stupid, they just don't know anything."

In the case of most actors, though, they're just stupid.  Like in the case of Chris Evans:

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

Who Controls The Speech?

Teacher Politics

Interesting numbers:
NPR commissioned Ipsos to conduct a nationally representative survey of more than 500 teachers across the country to determine their views on workplace issues.

There is plenty of good stuff if you want to take a deep dive, but I found the responses to this question about political party identification most interesting:
That’s a pretty big swing, but which is cause and which effect? Are unionized teachers more likely to become Democrats, or are Democratic teachers more likely to join a union? Or both?
Do teachers unions act like their D/R split is 42/34, or more like 99/1?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Here's One Time I Hope the NEA Is Correct

Does the NEA think the Supreme Court will rule for Mark Janus?  Evidence points to a yes, and I hope they're right:
The nation’s largest teachers union plans to reduce its budget by $50 million in anticipation of an unfavorable verdict in Janus v. AFSCME, a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in February that challenges the right of government unions to charge non-members for representing them.

When delegates to the National Education Association meet in Minneapolis in July, union leaders will introduce a two-year budget that cuts expenditures by $50 million, an estimated 13 percent reduction from this year.

NEA’s budget committee forecasts a two-year loss of 307,000 members if, as expected later in the spring, the Supreme Court eliminates agency fees — mandatory costs to workers who don’t become union members but are covered by union agreements. Those near-term losses will almost entirely occur in the 22 states where fees are still charged, erasing post-recession membership gains in places like California, New Jersey, and New York.

The "Education Governor"

Will schools magically turn every student into an Einstein when California's new governor is sworn in next year?  Here's what the major Sacramento newspaper has to say:
The money aligns in the same way for both: labor is spending for Tony Thurmond for schools, and Gavin Newsom for governor. Billionaires bent mainly on support for charter schools are spending heavily on Marshall Tuck and recently came to the rescue of Antonio Villaraigosa, who had been lagging in most of the polls. Those are the only two Democrats to have a significant showing in the polls, and this being California – and the Republican candidates being especially unqualified for the job – probably Newsom or Villaraigosa will take the reins from Jerry Brown.

When (or if) you’re paying attention to campaign ads, it’s worth keeping in mind that the big-money battle over schools has now infiltrated the campaign for governor. You can debate the bullet train, homelessness, zoning laws and redevelopment all you like. But vast amounts of money seeking to direct your vote come from groups that seek ascendancy in just one aspect of state governance. They want to win the great school debate, for four or probably eight years, and do it through the governor, who has far more authority over school policy than the state superintendent, whose job is mainly administrative...
The article ends by supporting the prettyboy.

Read more here:

Today's Posts Over at Joanne's

I'm filling in for Joanne Jacobs for a week and a half or so, so here are today's two posts over at her site:

Chuck and Nancy Have a Plan

Chuck Shumer and Nancy Pelosi offer the Democratic vision of education--to be paid for with unicorn farts, of course.

School Shootings–A Positive Trend?

Are there more school shootings now than in the 80s/90s, or not?  What do the data tell us?

At Least They're Not Lying About It Anymore

Google drops their "don't be evil" motto:
“Don’t be evil.”

The three words that have been part of Google’s motto for the last 17 years also encapsulate how much of Silicon Valley sees itself—doing what is right and just, but a bit edgier than previous stodgy titans of capitalism.

However, the ubiquitous search engine has now removed “Don’t be evil” from its official code of conduct. According to a Gizmodo reporter who used the Wayback machine to check time stamps, at some point between late April and early May, references to the slogan in the document were removed except for one brief mention.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Faux Outrage

I'm guest blogging over at Joanne's for awhile since she's roughing it in Barcelona and just published the following over there:
Is this really insensitive?

Or will some people look for any excuse to act aggrieved?
The principal of Cherry Hill High School East has apologized for “insensitive” language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.

The tickets urged students to “party like it’s 1776” during the event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

But that prompted complaints from students who noted “not all communities can celebrate what life was like in 1776,” Principal Dennis Perry said in a letter to the community Friday.

“I am writing to apologize for the hurt feelings this reference caused for members of our school family,” wrote Perry.

“I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording,” he added.
Remember, the Founders were questioning slavery back in 1776.  One of the complaints against the King in the Declaration of Independence was that he encouraged the slave trade–a comment that was removed as part of a compromise to get all 13 colonies to sign.  (I know we don’t much believe in compromise in today’s political climate, but back then, and until rather recently, it was “a thing”.)

The issue of slavery was also addressed in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution when it was drafted in 1787; again, a compromise said that the federal government wouldn’t do anything about slavery (what else could they do but abolish it?) until 1808.  After 1808, there were many laws limiting slavery–and even a war fought in the 1860s, the primary cause being slavery.

To argue that anyone, everyone, at any time prior to the 1950s/60s was racist and not to be admired?   Such a belief demonstrates a profound lack of historical knowledge, and does a disservice to all Americans who fought slavery, racism, and government-enforced segregation.
Personally, I think the complainers are just anti-American idiots.  But that's just one man's opinion.

An Irresponsible Statement

Last week, Obama Administration Education Secretary Arne Duncan tweeted:
This is brilliant, and tragically necessary. What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe? My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?
Odd that he didn't propose this after Sandy Hook.  I wonder what's changed....

Never let a (so-called) crisis go to waste, eh?

How Unhinged Is The Left Becoming?

So unhinged that they'll support Hamas rather than admit that President Trump did something right (in fact, he carried out the policy of the American government as has been stated since President Clinton's first term.  School personnel are certainly not immune to Trump Derangement Syndrome, and fortunately, some parents are calling them out on it:
This moment of silence caused a lot of noise.

Students at the elite Beacon School were asked to pause from their studies last week to pay tribute to the victims of violence in Gaza, where some 60 Palestinians were killed the day before by Israeli soldiers.

The school-wide announcement Tuesday stunned some students and has outraged parents who question why the school is entering into the divisive Palestinian-Israeli conflict with what they see as an anti-Jewish bent.

“I am extremely upset because I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives,” said one father, who is Jewish.
The meme last week was that the left hates President Trump so much that they supported Hamas and MS-13 over him.  Reason has left them completely at this point.

The End Is Nigh

Today in our mailboxes at school was the harbinger of the end--the "teacher checkout envelope".  On the outside of the envelope is a checklist of things to do and list of things we (might) need to put in the envelope, e.g. final exams for students who don't take them but will do so over the summer.

When we get that, we know the end of the school year is coming.  I think there are 11 working days remaining in the year!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tyranny Is Just One Generation Away When We "Unlearn" Liberty

This is a worrying trend:
When presented with a false choice between free speech and inclusivity, they choose the latter.
Six years ago, my good friend Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, coined the perfect phrase to describe the state of free speech in American education: “unlearning liberty.” Our educational system is at cross-purposes with the Bill of Rights, teaching students to believe that unalienable rights such as free speech and due process are a problem, especially when they conflict with the demands of social justice or political expediency.

It’s not that students are taught to despise free speech — after all, students love their own right to speak. It’s that students believe free speech should be subordinate to other, higher values. With depressing regularity now, surveys of college students reveal a pattern: There’s immense support for free speech in the abstract, but that support erodes significantly when the questions get specific...

It turns out that 58 percent of students said colleges should “forbid” speakers “who have a history of engaging in hate speech,” with hate speech defined as “anything one particular person believes is harmful, racist, or bigoted.” Oh, and almost 40 percent believed it was sometimes acceptable to shout down or disrupt a speaker.
Remember, young college students--never claim a power you wouldn't want your enemy to have.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

40 Years Have Passed...

...since this graduation speaker refused to be cowed at Berkeley-lite:
Saturday will be graduation day at UC Davis Law School (as well as many other law schools). Congratulations to all the graduates!

I don't know who the Davis graduation speaker will be this year, but forty years ago, it was Justice Stanley Mosk of the California Supreme Court. This raised a hullaballoo. Although students had voted Mosk one of their preferred speakers back in the autumn, he was Public Enemy No. 1 to some students. Calling themselves the "Third World Coalition," a group of them demanded him to withdraw.
He was almost as liberal as they came, but he committed an unforgivable crime:
But Mosk had the audacity to take his commitment to equality seriously. He had been fighting for decades for equal treatment, and he was not able to turn around on a dime and approve the preferential treatment based on race practiced by colleges and universities in the name of "affirmative action." When the case of Bakke v. University of California Regents reached the California Supreme Court he wrote an extremely eloquent opinion for the majority condemning the UC-Davis Medical School's race-preferential admissions policy as unconstitutional.
So the lefties had to picket and try for a heckler's veto:
At the Davis Commencement, about 50 to 75 picketers—mostly students, but also some from outside groups--greeted those who entered the building. When Mosk was introduced at the ceremony, about 34 of the 139 graduates, along with about 150 guests, walked out. But Mosk was undaunted. "Judges," he told the crowd, "cannot be intimidated," and "Lawsuits are won and lost in the courtrooms, not in the streets."
Not always true, but you have to admire his principles.

And 40 years later, we're still dealing with race-based admissions to universities:
Weirdly, it is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, a mild-mannered Nixon appointee, who ended up being beloved by the Left. Powell's fence-sitting opinion in Bakke effectively overturned Mosk's opinion and opened the door to ever-greater preferential treatment based on race.

Could Conservatives Get A Fair Shake From This Professor?

Students know which way I lean politically, but I've never had one accuse me of calling them names or of penalizing their grades because of their political bent:
A professor at California State University-East Bay displays signs on her office window declaring that “Republicans are heartless a**holes” and “F**k the A**hole in Chief.”

The signs were spotted at the office of Assistant Professor Monique Manopoulos by members of the CSU East Bay Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter, which posted an image of the signs to Twitter Thursday afternoon.
Classy.  Just like the pseudonymous troll who periodically posts on this blog.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Faster Internet, Day 1

After about 20 years or so with the same company and with the same email address, I finally had to make a change.  My ISP couldn't provide the bandwidth I now desire, but the devil (Comcast) could.

It was installed yesterday, and so far I'm pleased.  I went from about 1 Mbps download speed with DSL (seems like dial-up nowadays) to up to 60 Mbps download.  Internet speed tests put my download speed at about 25 Mbps--nowhere near 60, but still well over 20x my previous speed, and for about the same price as I had been paying for DSL.

Getting a new email address after 20 years--big change!  Good thing I've had my Yahoo address for about as long, and most businesses communicate with me using that address.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What's Good For The Goose, Part 8 Million

Instapundit always says that the left isn't going to like living by the rules they've installed, and here's an entertaining example from Rutgers:
Students at Rutgers Law School are condemning two campus organizations for making an “intimidating” suggestion that President Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

The students voiced their objection to a statement filed by the Rutgers Student Bar Association (SBA) Safety and Wellness Committee and the Federalist Society in early May, supporting “the movement for...Trump to win the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts towards securing peace on the Korean peninsula"...

The provocative joint declaration, however, was not received well by multiple student organizations, which penned a joint response letter blasting the two groups and labeling their statement as “harmful” and “dangerous.”

“On May 2, 2018, the Federalist Society and the SBA Safety and Wellness Committee issued a joint statement supporting Donald Trump’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize,” the students wrote. “Many students on our campus felt that we needed to raise our voices in opposition to such a harmful statement.”

“Although we support freedom of expression, we do not condone unilateral, damaging statements masquerading as representative of our entire student body,” they continued. “Furthermore, this particular statement is made at the expense of students who experience the structural inequality of the Trump administration.”

The students went on to outline several key reasons as to why they oppose giving the prize to Trump, including an assertion that the law school “is made up of a diverse student body, many of whom have been threatened or harmed by Trump’s statements and policies.”
Oh, boo-fricken-hoo. If you're harmed by statements, grow some tougher skin. I'm curious what policies have hurt them.
In a separate statement, SBA President John DeLuca stressed that SBA members do not have the constitutional power to make political statements on behalf of the entire organization without bringing the matter to a vote, something he said he brought up with Social Equity Committee Chair Omar Rana after his committee issued the unapproved statement.

Upon determining that Rana had no intention of revising the document, and concluding that “my internal methods of resolution were exhausted,” DeLuca sought to make his point by demonstrating why it is important to follow the protocols outlined in the SBA Constitution.
The hypocrisy would astound if it weren't so commonplace on the left.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Who Needs Calculus?

It must be that time of year again, the time when we start seeing a new rash of articles on why high school students don't need calculusSigh.
Thousands of American high-school students on Tuesday will take the Advanced Placement calculus exam. Many are probably dreading it, perhaps seeing the test as an attempt to show off skills they will never use. What if they’re right?

I started thinking about this recently when my 14-year-old daughter was doing her pre-calculus homework. I couldn’t help wondering: Is this the best direction for children her age? Students need skills to thrive in the 21st-century workplace, and I’m not convinced calculus is high on that list. Sure, calculus is essential for some careers, particularly in physics and engineering. But few eighth-graders are set on those fields.

It’s clear, on the other hand, that the American economy has entered a new age of data. Workers increasingly must analyze reams of numbers to improve products, increase sales or cut costs. Maybe high schools should spend more time on subjects like statistics and probability.
There's nothing new in these articles.  It's always "most people don't need calculus, statistics would be better."   Sigh.  Can't they even be original?

I love statistics.  I teach statistics.  I'd love to have even more students learning statistics.  But I'm not going to denigrate the study of calculus just to inflate statistics enrollment.  They're both important courses, and they teach different skills and different ways of thinking.  One isn't "better" than the other.  One is more practical, at least for the "common person", but that isn't enough of a reason to diminish the study of calculus.

Socialism For Thee, But Not For Me

To cover its own ineptitude, the Seattle city council passed a sizeable tax on large corporations in order to pay for "homeless services and affordable housing".  Hardest hit?  Amazon and Starbucks, two companies known for liberal politics.

First, from Fox News:
A new tax approved by the Seattle City Council has triggered a fierce war of words between the liberal city and its behemoth corporations usually known for their progressive outlook. 

Starbucks and Amazon are now blasting the decision to slap a new “head tax” on businesses to pay for homeless services and affordable housing -- saying the government's own lack of efficiency is to blame for the city’s woes. 

“The city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem,” Drew Herdener, Amazon vice president, said in a statement. “We are highly uncertain whether the city council’s anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better.” 
And next, CNN:
Starbucks was scathing Tuesday in its criticism of the Seattle City Council, which on Monday unanimously passed a controversial tax on big businesses to help fund affordable housing and fight homelessness.

"This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside. If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction. This City pays more attention to the desires of the owners of illegally parked RVs than families seeking emergency shelter," John Kelly, senior vice president, Global Public Affairs & Social Impact at Starbucks, said in a statement.

The coffee giant is just one of an estimated 585 Seattle-based employers that will be hit by the so-called 'head tax.' Those companies represent about 3% of all Seattle businesses, according to Council estimates, with each bringing in annual revenue of $20 million or more in the city. 
This is an ideal way to run businesses (and jobs) out of your city.  Perhaps the city council has never heard of the story of the goose that laid the golden egg.

On the other hand, it's sort of entertaining to see the companies complain when they have to pay for the socialism and liberal policies they usually support.

Another Unicorn Caught

That anyone ever gets caught is amazing. Voter ID seems critical—unless, of course, you don’t care about the integrity of elections.

Another mythical creature, the "non-citizen voter", has been caught:
A Mexican woman has been charged in Texas with voter fraud after prosecutors said she illegally voted in the 2016 presidential election.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said his office will prosecute Laura Janeth Garza, a 37-year-old Mexican national who lives in Houston, after a grand jury indicted her May 10 on charges of voter impersonation and ineligible voting.

Both charges are second-degree felonies. If convicted, Garza faces two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, according to Fox 4 News in Dallas-Ft. Worth.
Any bets on whether or not she voted for Donald Trump?

Monday, May 14, 2018

At Michigan, It's Not the 21st Century. It's 1984.

Even the most ardent leftist must be able to recognize that this is a bad idea, shouldn't they?
Don’t be surprised if what I am about to describe sounds like a scene out of George Orwell’s 1984, where the Thought Police would arrest any citizen criticizing the regime or otherwise disagreeing with the official view on everything from politics to culture. And they used surveillance that included informers and electronic devices like cameras and microphones.

That is what the University of Michigan has been transformed into -- the equivalent of Oceania in 1984 or the former East Germany. As the lawsuit says, the university has created an “elaborate investigatory and disciplinary apparatus to suppress and punish speech other students deem ‘demeaning,’ ‘bothersome,’ or ‘hurtful’.” Yes, really: The student disciplinary code defines “harassment” as any “unwanted negative attention perceived as intimidating, demeaning, or bothersome to an individual” (emphasis added).

In other words, as the complaint says, “the most sensitive student on campus effectively dictates the terms under which others may speak.” Under this absurd but dangerous policy, a student expressing his positive opinion about Donald Trump could be considered “bothersome” to the many (or any of the) liberal students on campus...

This speech code violates fundamental First Amendment rights to speak freely, and will have a profoundly chilling effect on students and faculty -- assuming there are any faculty members at Michigan who stand out from the liberal academic hierarchy that runs most campuses these days like the Inner Party in Oceania.

The university has its version of the Stasi and Orwell’s Thought Police -- a “Bias Response Team” that investigates supposed “bias” complaints from offended students -- students who can file their complaints anonymously. So if you are accused of wrongdoing, you don’t even have a right to confront your accuser -- just like the former citizens of East Germany where the Stasi had literally hundreds of thousands of informers who could be your next-door neighbor or even a member of your own family. Or in this case, a student down the hall or from one of your classes.

If you think this Star Chamber process is limited to verbal speech, think again. Just like the electronic surveillance in Oceania, the “Bias Incident Report Log” posted by Michigan on its website shows that the Bias Response Team may come after you for what you do and say in “On-line/Social Media” communications including texts, emails, and Twitter.

The log also shows that the campus secret police -- sorry, the Bias Response Team -- also goes after “Off Campus” speech. So students aren’t safe anywhere. Their First Amendment rights are severely restricted, no matter what they are doing or where they are.

So a student may literally receive a knock on his door “from a team of University officials threatening to refer the student to formal disciplinary authorities” for something some unknown, anonymous informant alleges that he said, something the informant doesn’t like, or doesn’t agree with, or is uncomfortable with. Unless, of course, as the complaint says, the student agrees to submit “to ‘restorative justice,’ ‘individual education,’ or ‘unconscious bias training’.”
The movie The Lives of Others dragged a bit much for my taste, but I'm told it's a rather accurate portrayal of the depths the Stasi plumbed in order to spy on their own citizens.  Tell me how it's all that different from what you read above.

Peak Stupid, Part 2

Part 1 came from Australia, Part 2 comes from (where else?)--California:
A California assemblyman vehemently argued against a bill that would adopt International Workers’ Day as a paid holiday.

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D), would designate the third Monday in February "as a single school holiday to be known as 'Presidents’ Day.'"

"Are we in competition to become the laughingstock of the United States?" Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R) asked. "This is ridiculous. This is insane."

The bill would subsequently get rid of either George Washington or Abraham Lincoln's birthday as a holiday and designate May 1 as “International Workers’ Day."

International Socialist Workers' Day, or "May Day" had been observed in countries under Communist rule and was an official holiday of the Soviet Union.

"Seriously, the substitution of adding International Socialist Workers' Day? May Day? The day of parades in the Soviet Union?" Harper said.
I used to be proud to be from California.  Not anymore.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Never Take Power You Wouldn't Want Your Opponents To Have

It's excellent advice, although it's probably never followed:
Having escalated the judicial confirmation wars at virtually every turn since the 1980's, Senate Democrats in the early 2000's pioneered a new form of self-interested obstruction to block a number of President Bush's nominees to the federal bench. When Republicans retaliated in kind during the Obama era, many of those same Senate Democrats -- led by Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer -- voted to eliminate the filibuster rule they'd exploited to thwart Bush. Detonating the 'nuclear option' was the latest ends-justify-the-means maneuver by upper chamber liberals, to whom then-minority leader Mitch McConnell made this final plea prior to the fateful vote:
The American people decided not to give Democrats the House or to restore the filibuster-proof majority they had in the Senate back in 2009, and our Democrat colleagues don’t like that one bit. So they’re trying to change the rules of the game to get their way...In short, unlike the first two years of the Obama Administration, there’s now a legislative check on the President. And the Administration doesn’t much like checks and balances...And get this: [Democrats] think they can change the rules of the Senate in a way that benefits only them. They want to do it in such a way that President Obama’s agenda gets enacted, but that a future Republican president couldn’t get his or her picks for the Supreme Court confirmed by a Republican Senate using the same precedent our Democrat friends want to set. So they want to have it both ways. But this sort of gerrymandered vision of the nuclear option is really just wishful thinking.

As the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee put it yesterday: ‘If [the Majority Leader] changes the rules for some judicial nominees, he is effectively changing them for all judicial nominees, including the Supreme Court.’ Look: I realize this sort of wishful thinking might appeal to the uninitiated newcomers in the Democratic Conference who’ve served exactly zero days in the minority. But others in their conference should know better...if they want to play games and set yet another precedent that they will no doubt come to regret, well, that’s a choice only they can make.
He added, "you’ll regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think.” That warning fell on deaf ears, and Democrats marched forward with their power grab. President Obama, who'd enjoyed a 99 percent confirmation rate on his judicial picks prior to a partisan fight breaking out over his designs to pack the DC Circuit Court, prevailed. A flurry of post-nuclear confirmations allowed Obama to dramatically tilt the federal judiciary to the left, a development that was enthusiastically welcomed by liberals. But as McConnell presciently foresaw, the proverbial shoe is now on the other foot, and the American Left is looking on in horror as President Trump and Mitch McConnell use the Democrat-implemented new rules to confirm an avalanche of young conservative jurists...

It's almost as if McConnell was exactly right in 2013. Pardon me for being unmoved by Democrats' crocodile tears. Given their no-holds-barred partisanship over recent decades on this front, those tears actually taste delicious.

Is This "Peak Stupid", Or Is There More?

If this isn't the stupidest thing I've ever heard, it's up there in the pantheon:
An Aussie sex education expert says parents should ask for permission to change a child’s diaper, reports Kashmira Gander on Newsweek.

“We work with parents from birth” on how to create a “culture of consent,” said Deanne Carson, who works for Body Safe Australia.

She acknowledges that babies can’t talk.
The comments at the above post are all great, but two really stood out to me.

Regarding the "culture of consent":
Carson makes the important point that asking for consent and making eye contact is all that is required, even if your victim is kicking and screaming.
Shall we carry Carson's "culture of consent" a little further?
How about we ask a fetus for its consent before we kill it and rip it out of its mother’s womb?
Shall we do that, Ms. Carson?

Does Your Job Make You Feel Like This?

People think teachers have it easy.  They don't realize the difficulty of being on stage all day long, with only 5-minute breaks between classes and a lunch period.  We're constantly watched, scrutinized, and criticized by students.  There is no "coffee break", we can't just start shopping on eBay for awhile to relax (although I'm sure a couple do).

As I wrote in my previous post, yes, I ate a lot yesterday.  Even still, when I got home around 6 last night, I put my half-sandwich in the frig and laid down on my bed.  Some time in the middle of the night I woke up and got under the covers.  I started waking up for real around 5:30 this morning.

Almost 12 hours.  While that's quite a bit of sleep I needed, and certainly longer than most Fridays, it's still not uncommon for me to crash and burn on Fridays.  I get through the week just fine, but come Friday evening, I sleep.

It's like teachers who gut it out to Thanksgiving, Christmas, or spring break, but as soon as break hits they get sick.  It's like our bodies know that a rest time is coming, and we just have to make it to the rest time....

Limit: Reached

Until yesterday I didn't know what my limit was.

Yes, I've packed on many poundskis in the last few years.  It seems like I can eat non-stop.  I can even eat when I feel full.  It would be impressive were I not so out of shape. (No, round isn't a shape, it just describes a shape!)

Before I left for work yesterday I had breakfast, as I do every morning.  At school, though, our PTSA had laid out quite a spread for us.  If they told us in advance that they'd be doing so, I missed that memo.  How can I turn down all those goodies?  I even made mimosas--ok, it was just Perrier and orange juice, but it was still pretty good!

We absolutely weren't told in advance that they'd also be providing lunch for us.  Sandwiches, chips, cheese and crackers, fruit--yes, they're pretty generous.  I did my part to demonstrate that I appreciated their efforts by eating enough that there shouldn't have been many leftovers!

I have a student teacher in the period right before lunch, so I ate that lunch right before our lunch period.  Why, you ask?  Because during lunch I was to help pass out ice cream to our Undergrad Award winners.  There's always someone absent or who doesn't want his/her ice cream, which means there are always some ice creams left over for the teachers in the staff lounge I frequent (ranch-style campus means 3 staff lounges).  Yes, I had an ice cream.

And it being Friday and all, after school there was 7th Period, our euphemism for Happy Hour.  This week's 7th period was at a hole-in-the-wall that has amazing food but, when it comes to alcohol, serves only beer, and I don't like beer.  When we go there I usually have a root beer float, and yesterday was no exception.  That, and a pulled pork sandwich.  Which came with a big basket of fries.

Those poor fries, they didn't have a chance.  But that sandwich.  After I got through the first half, it dawned on me that I wouldn't even enjoy the second half.  That's how stuffed I was.  I'd finally reached my limit.

Quality Storytelling

Years ago I posted a link to a story about little Bedford, Virginia, which waited for days for news about the "Bedford boys" and the Normandy invasion.  They waited, and waited, and then the telegraph received an ominous message, "We have casualties."  And it didn't stop clacking, as message after message poured in, all with the same beginning, "The Secretary of War regrets to inform you...." 

The author of that piece did an exceptional job.  The story was written in that conversational style that puts you right in the middle of it.  I almost felt like I knew some of the people in Bedford.

This story, about a Pan Am Clipper that had to fly home "the long way" days after the Pearl Harbor attack, is another example of quality storytelling.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Couldn't Have Happened To A Nicer Piece of Human Debris

I'm glad not everyone in California is taken with this wannabe fascist:
A California judge declined to drop felony charges against a middle school teacher-turned-Antifa leader and two other activists despite lawyers claiming the charges were part of a “witch hunt” against the educator.

Yvette Felarca, 47, the leader and spokesperson for the anti-fascist group By Any Means Necessary and a middle school teacher in Berkeley, was accused of inciting and participating in a riot in 2016 between white nationalist groups and counter-protesters. 
And let's not forget this branch of her sordid story: 
A middle school teacher and prominent member of an Antifa group has been ordered to pay legal fees for a failed attempt to get a permanent restraining order against the former president of the Berkeley College Republicans at the University of California, Berkeley, according to reports.

Alameda County Superior Court Commissioner Thomas Rasch ordered Yvette Felarca, the leader of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), an Antifa, or anti-fascist, group, to pay $10,000 in attorney’s fees and $1,100 in court fees, The Berkeleyside reported Friday. Rasch said that Felarca’s legal actions against Troy Worden, the former head of the Berkeley College Republicans, were not brought in good faith...

“Felarca filed a frivolous restraining order that restricted Worden’s First and Second Amendment rights and made it difficult for him to move around the campus to attend classes,” Meuser told Fox News in November.

Worden said he and many other UC Berkeley College Republicans faced months of harassment and violence.
She's a middle school teacher.  People trusted their children to her.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Common Core Disaster

I'm not qualified to comment on the Common Core English standards, but I'm qualified enough to comment on the CC math standards.  I stand by what I've said since those math standards were first published--they're not as rigorous as California's 1997 standards.  Nor are they as clear.

Essentially, they're crap compared to what we had.

But if students are learning more, they're not crap, right?  The proof is in the pudding, right?  Why yes, yes it is, and California's kids aren't doing better in math:
The Common Core curriculum-content standards are a national listing of topics that students are expected to learn in the subjects of English and mathematics. An independent initiative of three Washington, D.C.-based organizations created the national standards, but they were endorsed and promoted by the Obama-era U.S. Department of Education. The standards were released in June 2010. Their summer launch meant that teachers and parents did not have much of an opportunity to discuss their merits and drawbacks. Abiding by the standards was necessary for states to be eligible for massive federal grants. California adopted the national standards and fully implemented them in 2014-2015.

This was a mistake. Looking at how the state’s students performed in math before and after the standards were implemented, it’s clear that the old system served students much better. Before Common Core, California had its own mathematics curriculum-content standards. They had been written largely by the faculty of the Mathematics Department at Stanford University and were adopted by the state in December 1997...

After the 2010 vote, we wrote an opinion piece where we explained why adopting Common Core was the wrong decision for California, and we predicted that only “an elite few students will be able to succeed” in eighth grade algebra under Common Core. Eight years later, that, indeed, seems to be the case...

Because California set up its 1997 standards to prepare all students for Algebra I in eighth grade and because it attempted to place all those who were ready into such classes, the biggest beneficiaries of this effort were ethnic-minority and low-income students. While the whole cohort success increased by a factor of three, the rates of success jumped by factors of five for African Americans and six for Latinos and low-SES students—double the rate of the whole cohort...

From the outset, California’s education officials recognized that improving student achievement so substantially would take time. The state overhauled its entire math curriculum. New instructional plans introduced pre-algebra concepts as early as third grade. School districts augmented on-the-job math training for teachers, approved math textbooks that matched the curriculum, and revised the state accountability system to include teacher supports and rewards for teaching Algebra I by eighth grade.

But with the Common Core standards, this progress began to stall. Common Core expects Algebra I in the ninth grade. That threw a monkey wrench in California’s longstanding effort introducing the math class to students earlier. As seen in the chart below, in the four years under Common Core, the number of eighth graders taking Algebra I in California dropped precipitously to 19 percent in 2017, taking California back to where it was around 1999, when early algebra taking was the privilege of the elite. And while all demographic groups lost ground, the loss for Latino and African American students was much deeper than for white and Asian Americans.

Common Core proponents repeatedly praise it for its “rigor,” how it will prepare children for the twenty-first century, enable more American students to pursue STEM, and increase America’s competitiveness in the world. Yet when it comes to the clearest benchmark of rigor and expectations on par with international high-achievers—Algebra I in eighth grade—the Common Core not only punted, but it retarded and reversed the progress California had made during the pre-Common Core period, and the Common Core regress disproportionally hit disadvantaged minorities. The reduced rigor in K-8 education has resulted in less enrollment in advanced mathematics courses in high school, particularly of low-income and minority students. This reduces their chances of pursuing challenging and rewarding careers...

California’s adoption of Common Core caused an earthquake in mathematics education in the state. In K-12 education, the gains of the previous 10-15 years—as reflected in large increases in students successfully taking Algebra I early, and in students taking more advanced math courses in high school—have been reversed. As worrisome is the fact that disadvantaged minorities (who made faster gains than the rest of the cohort before Common Core) are losing ground after Common Core at faster rates...

Adopting the Common Core math curriculum standards has proven to be a setback for California. When California had its own mathematics standards before Common Core, its students performed significantly better in math than they have after the Common Core was put into effect. The hardest hit by this change were the most vulnerable students. The state of California Education under Common Core is not good.
I posted the first comment at the link above:
8th grade Algebra 1 is one valuable marker, and you rightly point out that California's students have slipped on that metric since California adopted Common Core.  But wouldn't a better standard be "how well are students learning?"  How were California students performing on benchmark tests before CCSS, and how does their performance now compare?

The State Agency That Oversees My Retirement Doesn't Want Me to Have Retirement Pay

That's the most charitable explanation for this stupidity:
California's teacher pension fund is stepping up its efforts to persuade major national retail companies to quit selling assault-type weapons that are illegal in the state.

The $225 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System plans to use its clout to nudge retailers to drop their remaining stock of guns that the California Department of Justice considers to be "assault-type weapons." 

If the retailers stay in the gun business, CalSTRS would attempt to unseat members of their boards of directors, and would consider divesting from the companies under a new policy it approved on Wednesday. CalSTRS plans to hire two new employees to carry out the program.
Unless there's a market I don't know about for unicorn farts,  I want my pension money invested in legal businesses that make lots and lots of money.


Read more here:

The Ghettobird

If you live in a nice enough area, perhaps you don't have ghettobirds where you live.  I live in a very middle class area, not too far from a working class (or lower) area.  I periodically see ghettobirds flying overhead, but seldom are their vocal squawks directed in the direction of my part of town.

I woke up at 3 this morning.  I have double-paned windows, so I didn't immediately recognize the sound of the ghettobird overhead, but it was close enough that I could make out some of its squawks:  "armed robbery" and "dangerous".

Yes, the sheriff's helicopter was blasting a warning over its speaker at 3am, warning people to stay inside, and to lock their doors and windows, because they were hunting for a suspect in the area.  I just conducted a brief search for "armed robbery" on two of our local news sites and nothing obvious came up, so I have no idea if law enforcement caught the bad person.

Monday, May 07, 2018

One Space Or Two After A Period?

One of my favorite trolls once tried to insult me by calling me old because I insist on the convention, even when using a computer, of putting two spaces after a period rather than the more "modern" one space.  Turns out that science! (so lefties can't challenge it) shows that two spaces make reading easier:
Enter three psychology researchers from Skidmore College, who decided it's time for modern science to sort this out once and for all.

“Professionals and amateurs in a variety of fields have passionately argued for either one or two spaces following this punctuation mark,” they wrote in a paper published last week in the journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics...

And the verdict was: two spaces after the period is better. It makes reading slightly easier...

The major reason to use two spaces, the researchers wrote, was to make the reading process smoother, not faster. Everyone tended to spend fewer milliseconds staring at periods when a little extra blank space followed it.

(Putting two spaces after a comma, if you're wondering, slowed down reading speed, so don't do that.)

The study's authors concluded that two-spacers in the digital age actually have science on their side, and more research should be done to “investigate why reading is facilitated when periods are followed by two spaces.”
Notice that this is from the Washington Post--so again, lefties can't challenge it.

And troll?  I was right.  Again.  Back to your drinking.

They're Getting Nervous

The Supreme Court heard the Janus case in late February, and a decision will be handed down before the Court adjourns on June 30th.  The CTA and my local union must both be getting nervous in anticipation of the outcome, as there have been a few interesting steps taken:
1)  anti-Janus "information" from CTA has been posted on the union bulletin board.
2)  my local union asked for, and was given, permission by the district to have 10 minutes of time during staff meetings both last month and this month in order to encourage teachers to stay in the union if the Janus decision goes the way the union expects.  They asked for time during the meetings instead of after, as that way teachers can't just leave if they have something better to do than listen to union propaganda.  Typical of the way unions operate, no?
3)  today our superintendent sent out a joint email with the local union president stating how the district and the union will continue to collude cooperate on a list of topics if the Court rules in favor of Mark Janus.

I hope their concerns are well placed.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

My Latest Expenditure

My neighbor's lawn looks beautiful.  I see the neighborhood kid who does it and he's fast, efficient, and good.  A couple weeks ago my lawnmower crapped out so when he was done with the neighbor's lawn, I paid him to do mine. 

When I saw him yesterday, we negotiated.  He's going to do mine every 2 weeks, and I'll pay him $40/month.  Mow, edge, clean up.  I even set him up with online bill pay so that he gets his money even if I'm not in town.

Am I lazy?  Am I contributing to the "local economy", paying someone to do a job superior to the one I'd do?  Both?

Saturday, May 05, 2018

It's Not Because He Doesn't Like Their Football Team

From this story it seems like he was running and couldn't, uh, hold it, "nearly every day":
The mystery man who had been defecating on a New Jersey high school football field was arrested after being caught in the act on surveillance video.

According to Fox News, Thomas Tramaglini, a New Jersey school superintendent, was charged with lewdness, littering, and defecating in public, police said Thursday...

Fox News reports that Tramaglini was arrested while running on the athletic fields’ track just before 6 a.m. Monday, reported. 

Teacher of the Year Demonstrates Lack of Class

If you don't want to meet the President, then don't meet the President.  But to be invited to meet the President, and to use that opportunity to make your personal political points, is both classless and undignified:
On Wednesday, Mandy Manning, this year's National Teacher of the Year, met President Donald Trump during a White House ceremony to receive her award.

But as Trump entered the room and everyone began clapping out of respect, Manning did the opposite and stood in silence in protest of the president...

Toward the end of the ceremony, President Trump went to shake Manning's hand, but she kept to herself. Manning also handed Trump handwritten letters from immigrants and refugees that she teaches...

Despite their political differences, Trump praised Manning's performance and her “incredible devotion” to her job.
The President was the one acting like an adult here.

The Usual Hypocrisy From the Left

Instapundit reports:
HYPOCRISY ALERT: A new study finds that the more one believes in global warming, the less one is likely to engage in eco-friendly individual behaviors. It’s funny how that works.
I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Crushing Disappointment

Over a week ago I scheduled the big day for tomorrow--my ISP is supposed to come out, work some of their magic, and get me 6x my current bandwidth.

Except they're not now.  Today I got a voice mail saying that my house is too far from "the box" and hence I can't get upgraded.  So I'm stuck with what I have.

I'm checking other internet service providers in the area.

Update, 5/6/18:  In 2 weeks I'll be getting cable internet through Comcast.  From what I've read and heard about Comcast over the years, I'm sure I'll be signing in blood.  Anyway, I'll be getting 50-60x my current bandwidth for about what I'm currently paying.

And yes, they really want me to pay for their cable TV.  Not interested.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Tumbling From The Heights

As you can see from previous posts I've written, I've been down on the ACLU for some time.  Instapundit posts this today:
SIMPLE JUSTICE: The New And “Improved” ACLU: “This is no civil liberties program, prepared to stand up for constitutional rights no matter whose are at risk. This is a progressive political group, riding the legacy coattails of a group that may still be called the ACLU but has made the active decision to change its mission from the defense of civil liberties for all to promoting a distinct political ideology for its adherents. And it’s gotten fat and rich as a result. . . . The old organization had an infrastructure the new one can exploit. The old organization had a brand the new one can enjoy. The old organization had substantial credibility, still riding its glorious defense of neo-Nazis in Skokie in 1978. The old group was beloved by people who believed in constitutional rights and civil liberties. None of its fans want to admit that the old ACLU is dead, having sold its soul and name to People Power.”

One of the major phenomena of the Trump era is the Great Revealing, where once-revered institutions turn out to be cheap, partisan shams.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Soon There Will Be No Such Birds In The Sky

Slowly but surely, the mighty 747 is aging out of the commercial aviation passenger fleet:
Australia's biggest airline is getting ready to bid farewell to its fleet of Boeing 747 passenger jets sooner than previously planned.

Qantas (QABSY) said Wednesday that it's bringing forward the retirement of its six remaining 747 jumbos to 2020. It will replace them with a new order of Boeing (BA) 787 Dreamliners.
I hope to fly on a Dreamliner this summer.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Victims of Communism Day

Lest we forget, I've written and linked to a couple posts on this day of remembrance:

"Victims of Communism" Day

Some May Call It May Day...

And here's a generic post about communism, in case people wonder why I feel the way I do.  Heinlein's quote at the end is one for the ages.