Saturday, June 30, 2018

Busy Day #2

People want to buy fiberglass trailers.  My phone was beeping all day.  So many people texting questions, wanting pictures.

I had to make room for my new trailer, which means the old one had to go.  This morning I connected it up to my truck and took it to an RV repair business (I've got an "in" with the owner!), and then went to pick up my new trailer.  Got it home and had "fun" backing it into my driveway from my tiny street.

While doing lunch with my dad, I got a text that a man wanted to see it as soon as possible.  An hour later I was back at the shop, showing off my "rig".  He liked it, we negotiated for about 30 seconds, and shook hands.

But he didn't have the right hitch or ball to tow this trailer, given the height of his truck.  So we drove about 20 min to my house, and completed the transaction paperwork in the air conditioned comfort of my home.  We took my old hitch and ball and went back to the shop--and everything fit perfectly.

I admit, I got a little sentimental as I watched the Egg-terprise drive away.  Here's a picture from good times past, at the Star Trek convention in Canada two summers ago:
I'm sure you can see from the dimensions why a guy of advancing years might want a little more room!  It was bought by a father with an 11-yr-old son, and they're going to take it to Yellowstone.  Perfect, just perfect.

Sold on Craigslist for 82.5% of my asking price in under 24 hours.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Busy Day

Plane got in late last night, but I had to be up relatively early this morning. While in Mexico I got word of a trailer for sale, and made an appointment to see it the morning I got back.

Now, you might remember how much fun I've had in my current trailer (for example, 2nd picture here)--but I'm getting old and need a little more room and comfort.  So we met, I inspected, we shook hands, and we're meeting tomorrow for the paperwork.

I came home, emptied out my fiberglass trailer, and started scrubbing.  It's got a few splotches of mold on the walls from the moist air of the winter, nothing some bleach spray didn't clear up mucho pronto.  Except for needing a new exterior paint job, it looks really nice right now!

Then I put an ad on Craigslist.  These fiberglass trailers have always been in demand, in part because they're so light to tow and also because there's no wood frame to dry rot.  According the the information on my ad, I posted it about 5 hours ago--and I've already had one lady come take a look and another guy texting me times we might meet.

I'm looking forward to having a new toy to play with!  And if I get anywhere near my asking price for my fiberglass trailer (I priced it to sell), that'll put a large dent in the purchase price of the bigger trailer.

Upgrading, baby!  From 13' to 20'.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Janus Fight Isn't Over Yet

While yesterday was a great day for worker freedom, the battle isn't won.  This author demonstrates that the unions will try, by hook and by crook, to circumvent the Janus ruling:
As many chapters of American history reveal, rights aren’t self-executing; they must be defended. Michigan went right-to-work in 2012, and the abusive union tactics that ensued gave us a close-up view of how unions might behave in a post-Janus world. That experience has prompted us and others to anticipate what champions of individual rights must do now.
The best defense is a good offense. Keep them on their heels:
Public-sector workers across the country are seeking to recover back wages they paid to labor organizations in the event the Supreme Court declares mandatory union fees unconstitutional. 
Class action suits have been filed against eight unions in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Maryland, California, and the state of Washington, accusing individual unions of violating workers' rights by collecting mandatory dues payments. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on a groundbreaking case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which challenges the constitutionality of forcing public-sector workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. The suits argue that any public-sector employee who participated in forced dues systems should receive financial "redress" from labor organizations.
We'll see how far such suits can go.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tulum and Coba

The two other times I've visited Cancun, the most recent being 8 years ago or so, I've visited the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.  Sadly, visitors there are not allowed to ascend the Pyramid of Kukulcan.  I thought I'd try some different ruins this time, and imagine my elation when I found out that visitors are still allowed to climb the big pyramid at Coba!

But first, Tulum, the famous Mayan-city-by-the-ocean, which I haven't visited since a cruise ship stop in Cozumel in 1989:

And of course, it wouldn't be the Yucatan without what I call the unofficial mascot of the land:

After Tulum it was on to Coba.  Coba is a huge city and so little of it has been excavated.  Still, it has the highest temple in the Yucatan (or so we were told) and we were able to climb it:

Just to give the faintest idea of how much more there is to uncover, zoom in on the 2nd picture immediately above and see the building sticking up out of the jungle.... Yes,  the site is so big that the best way to get around in Coba is on a rented bike.

We also stopped for lunch, stopped at a cenote (I didn't swim this time), and for a little shopping in Playa del Carmen.  The bus picked me up at 7am and dropped me off back at my hotel a few minutes before 9pm.  Very long day, and tomorrow I have to fly home.

Great trip :)

What A Great Day To Be An American--In The Land Of The Maya

I wouldn't say that today started like any other day.

Most days here I haven't gotten up until 10 or 11.  This morning, though, room service was knocking on my door just before 6 with breakfast--I had to catch a tour bus at 7.  I'd swear I didn't get a moment of sleep last night, but I was still able to get out of bed, eat, shower, and be downstairs in time.

Our first stop was Tulum.  I've only been there once before, in 1989, and hence my memory of the site has become somewhat hazy in time.  I had a camera with me, but I thought I should take a couple pictures with my phone so I could easily put them on Instagram later, so I powered up my phone.

I thought I had int'l roaming off, perhaps I missed a setting, but the notifications started coming in fast and furious.
Notification notification notification.

Over a dozen messages and emails.  Clearly, something important had happened.

My heart started racing.  I had heard that perhaps the Janus ruling might come down today, and I hoped, hoped, for a positive ruling.  I wasn't sure I wanted to read them, but I just had to.  As in the Obamacare case, it would only take one out-of-place justice to make this ruling go the wrong way.  When Friedrichs was decided 4-4 2 years ago, I thought for sure that our best chance in a generation to eliminate forced unionism had died with Justice Scalia.  That was a very sad day.

I snuck a peek at a message from a politically-minded friend, and saw "5-4 along party lines".  That gave me the boost I needed to start reading the others, and what I saw overwhelmed me.  The Supreme Court ruled in Mark Janus' favor!  And I am to be free of being compelled to pay a union that doesn't represent me!

Here's what I was looking at when I started receiving the notifications:

For over 40 years since the 1977 Abood decision, freedom-loving teachers have wandered in the wilderness, looking for the Promised Land of Freedom.  I myself have wandered that wilderness for over half of those years.  But today, we were delivered.

The left in general, and unionistas in particular, are not taking today's news well.  Scratch a leftist, and a totalitarian bleeds--and many of them are showing their violent sides today.  One take-away is that elections have consequences.  All you Never Trumpers out there--had things gone your way, Felonia von Pantsuit would be on her 2nd Supreme Court pick right now.  Would it really be worth it?

In one day, Korematsu was repudiated, Abood was overturned, and the number of right-to-work states jumped from 28 to 50.  Is this a great day, or what?!

Update:  while the ruling came down today, don't forget that I was there the day history was made:

Update #2:  The Court, rather than a narrow ruling, went even further than some of us had dared hope (although the topic was mentioned in amicus briefs):  not only do we not have to pay a union, we don't have to opt-out.  Payment of union dues is now opt-in--and it's the law of the land!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Supreme Court Rulings

While the Supreme Court hears many important cases each year, I expend my hopes and energy on the outcome of only a couple.  After all, I'm not a liberal, I don't have limitless outrage!

As of today, I'm 1-0-1.  The win was today's ruling regarding the president's "travel ban" on nationals from 7 countries.  For those (idiots) who want to call it a "Muslim ban",
The court sided with the government, which argued in April that the restriction "would be the most ineffective Muslim ban that one could possibly imagine."

Roberts agreed with that argument. Though the ban applies to five countries with Muslim majority populations, "that fact alone does not support an inference of religious hostility," Roberts wrote, noting that those five countries amount to only 8 percent of the world's Muslim population...

While the court upheld Trump's travel restriction, Roberts noted that the ruling did not reflect the court's judgment on the "soundness" of the policy.
Good. That's not the role of the Supreme Court. Their role is to determine the legality of the presidential action, and they ruled correctly.

Liberals don't have to like this ruling, but it's the law whether they like it or not.

The tie was the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.  I'd have preferred that the Court go further than they did.  Must a lawyer accept every case?  Must an artist accept every commission?  Clearly not, but why not, when a store must sell to everyone?  There's clearly a difference (I'd argue there's an issue of "compelled speech"), and the Court should have addressed this issue once and for all rather than merely sending the case back to lower courts because of the obvious anti-religious animus shown by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission:
The court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward the baker based on his religious beliefs. The ruling is a win for baker Jack Phillips, who cited his beliefs as a Christian, but leaves unsettled broader constitutional questions on religious liberty. 
"Today's decision is remarkably narrow, and leaves for another day virtually all of the major constitutional questions that this case presented," said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. "It's hard to see the decision setting a precedent."
My last big case for this term is, obviously, Janus. The Court has only a couple more days in which to issue a ruling.  For all of us agency fee payers, I hope they rule in Mark's favor.  And when they (hopefully) do, the next fun battle to watch will be this one:
Public-sector workers across the country are seeking to recover back wages they paid to labor organizations in the event the Supreme Court declares mandatory union fees unconstitutional. 
Class action suits have been filed against eight unions in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Maryland, California, and the state of Washington, accusing individual unions of violating workers' rights by collecting mandatory dues payments.

Update, 6/27/18: 2-0-1! The Court's ruling in the Janus case came down today!

Monday, June 25, 2018

What A Beautiful Place

This is my 3rd time in Cancun, and never before have I felt anything like the relatively cool breeze coming in off the water.  It feels almost Hawaiian outside!

For those of you who've been to Cancun, you'll notice the Telmex tower in the 3rd picture.  That view from my balcony shows I'm on the southern edge of Punta Cancun.

I'm a little burned from yesterday, so I'm heading out to the pool for a little "hair of the dog that bit me".  Just more sunscreen today.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How To Secure The Southern US Border

Put Mexican hotel security in charge.  That will keep the vast majority of unauthorized people out.

I've written before about "security" at Mexico resorts before, here.  I explained in this post why I think this "security" exists.  And here I am in Mexico again, 6 years and hundreds of miles away from Puerto Penasco, and I'm up against "security" again.  Have you seen Spinal Tap?  "Security" at resorts here in Cancun goes up to 11.

My resort includes an all-inclusive option, and from what I understand, that is the issue.  What if someone were to sneak in and get a free drink, you might ask, to which I'd reply, they can't get a free drink if they don't have the resort's wristband on.  Same for food.  What about the pools?  Everyone working around the pools is looking for those wristbands!   This morning, I got thumbs-up from one employee as I was setting up my beach chair; he confirmed I was authorized to be there.

We have a security guard at the entrance to the resort whose job is to raise and lower the barrier so that cars can enter.  All the employees at the entrance to the building are checking for that wristband.  Why, I wonder?  What would be the harm if someone wanted to see the inside of the hotel?  Are they concerned that "the locals" would use the hotel as a thoroughfare to the beach?

Hyatt has a very nice resort next to the one at which I'm staying, and I thought I'd go see what it looks like.  I approached the front and was met by a pleasant but forceful man--I wasn't authorized.  I told him I wanted to see the resort so I could determine if I wanted to stay there some time, so he sent me to the concierge desk--and he watched me the entire time I walked there to make sure I didn't deviate from the prescribed route.  After a brief explanation to the concierge, I got a personal tour of the lobby and pool areas of the resort!

Why couldn't I just have walked around?  It's not like I could have gotten any free stuff, as I didn't have that resort's wristband.  The only thing I can come up with is that the resorts don't want their lobbies to be used as routes to the beaches, which are all public.  They want people to use the few public entrances to the beaches.

OK, I get that, but not every place will give a tour to a visitor.  I can't be the only person who visits other resorts to see what they look like so I know if I want to stay there! Is this not done in Mexico?

Bottom line:  no one breaches the frontier!  Yes, I'm sure there are ways people can sneak in--not every possible entrance, especially from the beach side, is manned at all times, but in general, no one except a guest steps inside.  And they're serious about that, too.  And employees will call people out, even guests, if they're not authorized somewhere; for example, there's an infinity pool here, but I can't use it.  It's right out the back door of my hotel, but it's only for guests of the Altitude Tower.  I have yet to see more than a few people in it at any one time, but I've heard (and read reviews) of employees calling out to unauthorized users (e.g., people whose rooms are in the original tower) and requiring them to leave that pool immediately, embarrassing them in front of other guests.

Security.  "Security".  They're not there to protect me from harm, they're not that kind of security.  They're there to keep unauthorized people out of the resort.  And from what I've seen, they don't do a horrible job at it.

So how does this post relate to the title?  How might we secure the American southern border?  Take a page from the resort security playbook!

"Whale Sighted Off Port Bow"

Just got back from spending about 3 hours down at the pool.  Banana daquiris--mas ron!--and chips y salsa con pollo (sin crema), and lots of sunspray.  Nice way to spend an early afternoon--so soon after waking up!  (Keep in mind the blog keeps Pacific Time, not Darren Travel Time).

I'm not so arrogant to think that anyone not speaking English is talking about me, but if they were, they'd be talking about el gordo viejo.  I've never weighed more, and I wonder if I was hogging the sunshine from all the other tanners.  I should really lose some weight.

No plans today, not a care in the world.  I so need this sometimes!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Lots Of Things Wrong In This Story

Kids today think they can (and should) record everything with their phones.  That's how you get famous!  They don't seem to understand appropriate boundaries.

Students should follow school rules.

Illinois law in this case is ridiculous.

Just as we don't expect law enforcement officers to be recorded at all times, neither should we expect school employees to be recorded at all times.  However, as a society we seem to be leaning towards body cameras on law enforcement officers when they interact with the public--for the sake of the officer and the public.  Should we expect something similar from school officials, that is, the recording of interactions when discipline is being conducted?
Paul Boron is 13 years old.

And he’s facing a felony eavesdropping charge that could change the course of the rest of his life.

His story stands as another chapter of controversy surrounding an eavesdropping law some experts have criticized as ripe for abuse and misapplication.

On Feb. 16, 2018, Boron was called to the principal’s office at Manteno Middle School after failing to attend a number of detentions. Before meeting Principal David Conrad and Assistant Principal Nathan Short, he began recording audio on his cellphone.

Boron said he argued with Conrad and Short for approximately 10 minutes in the reception area of the school secretary’s office, with the door open to the hallway. When Boron told Conrad and Short he was recording, Conrad allegedly told Boron he was committing a felony and promptly ended the conversation.

Two months later, in April, Boron was charged with one count of eavesdropping – a class 4 felony in Illinois...

In March 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down Illinois’ eavesdropping law, holding that it “criminalize[d] a wide range of innocent conduct” and violated residents’ First Amendment rights.

But during lame-duck legislative session in December 2014, the Illinois General Assembly passed and Gov. Pat Quinn signed a new eavesdropping law. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, lawmakers included changes aimed at allowing residents to record interactions with police, for example, but kept intact the “all-party consent” provisions and introduced a difficult-to-gauge standard for when a person must get consent for recording.
As is so often the case in these types of stories, none of the characters is covering himself in glory.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Are Women "Underrepresented" In STEM Degrees?

It depends on whether you look at overall numbers or in specific fields:
The supposed underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and math is a myth, at least if you’re looking at the most recently available Department of Education figures.

Economist Mark Perry of the University of Michigan-Flint crunched the numbers and found that women actually earned a majority of bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields that were not engineering or computer science – “biology, mathematics, and physical sciences (e.g., chemistry, physics, etc.)”

They are an even bigger majority if you include “health professions” as a STEM field with all other traditional STEM fields represented, including engineering and computer science.

Stick A Fork In It, The ACLU Is Done

From Reason:
The American Civil Liberties Union will weigh its interest in protecting the First Amendment against its other commitments to social justice, racial equality, and women's rights, given the possibility that offensive speech might undermine ACLU goals.

"Our defense of speech may have a greater or lesser harmful impact on the equality and justice work to which we are also committed," wrote ACLU staffers in a confidential memo obtained by former board member Wendy Kaminer.

It's hard to see this as anything other than a cowardly retreat from a full-throated defense of the First Amendment.

Explaining Your Answers In Math

In all my discussions and readings and trainings pertaining to having students "explain" their work in math class, this one is the closest I've found to encapsulating my own thoughts:
When did we decide that maths needs to be explained in words? I am quite insistent on my students providing explanations; a call them ‘workings’ and they are the series of mathematical steps that they have followed to arrive at their answer. This is how things are explained in mathematics.

However, for some reason this does not show understanding. In order to understand mathematics, we need to be able to waffle on about it in English. And yet mathematics was invented in order to make it easier to express notions that are cumbersome to express with words. That’s part of the beauty of it.

It is as if we were to insist that the only way to understand German is to translate it into English; that reasoning in German alone does not show an understanding of German. Clearly, translation is a useful device for novice learners and a key component of teaching, but being able to work entirely within the target language is a sign of sophistication rather than of a lack of understanding.

Every year, I teach my senior physicists about wave particle duality. Light, I suggest, can be thought of as a wave or as a particle, depending on the situation. “But what,” they ask, “actually is it?”

“Ah,” I say, “If you really want to understand what light is, you need to understand it through the maths. It doesn’t translate well into English.”
And the more math you learn, the less easily it translates well into English.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

From Instapundit:
I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN BILLIONAIRES SPENDING TO INFLUENCE ELECTIONS WERE A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY: Michael Bloomberg Will Spend $80 Million on the Midterms. His Goal: Flip the House for the Democrats.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Makes sense to me:
Exactly how beneficial to a society is multiculturalism, this word that is so celebrated in the West?

...Put differently, all values prized by the modern West -- religious freedom, tolerance, humanism, gender equality, monogamy -- did not develop in a vacuum but rather are inextricably rooted to Judeo-Christian principles which, over the course of some 2,000 years, have had a profound influence on Western epistemology, society and, of course, culture.

While they are now taken for granted and seen as “universal” virtues, it’s not for nothing that these values were born and nourished in Western -- not Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, or pagan -- nations...

Returning to the initial confusion, that cultures are often conflated with race, it bears stressing that being wary or critical of multiculturalism is in no way the same thing as being wary or critical of other races or ethnicities (that is, “racism”) but rather being wary of disunity...

In short, there’s nothing wrong and much to be celebrated if a nation’s citizenry is composed of every race and ethnicity -- but only if they share the same worldview, the same priorities, the same ethics, the same rights and wrongs -- in a word, the same culture. Then it will be a strong and healthy nation, perfectly capturing the meaning of E pluribus unum.
The author is Raymond Ibrahim:
Ibrahim’s dual-background -- born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East -- has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Difference Between A Teacher And A Student

I periodically need to be reminded of this, which I'll screenshot for ease:
It's the same whether the student is a 10th grader or a PhD candidate.

Political Math Raises Its Ugly Head Again

Over at Campus Reform:
A professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago contributed a chapter to a new textbook arguing that math teachers "have a responsibility" to adopt "social justice pedagogies."

Eric Gutstein advocates "explicitly political" approaches to math education as a way of countering "climate catastrophe" and the "racist and sexist billionaire in the White House."
I'm not going to rebut this idiot now.  I already did--13 years ago.

Update, 6/21/18:  The left is really trying to impose itself in the real sciences now, as opposed to the social sciences:
According to a new textbook written by a professor at the University of Exeter, learning mathematics can cause “collateral damage” to society because it “provides a training in ethics-free thought.”

“Reasoning without meanings provides a training in ethics-free thought,” Paul Ernest writes in “The Ethics of Mathematics: Is Mathematics Harmful?” — a chapter of his book The Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today.

In an abstract for the book, Ernest claims that although he does “acknowledge that mathematics is a widespread force for good,” “there is significant collateral damage caused by learning mathematics"...
The article's author goes too easy on Ernest:
Some things in life are objective and rational, and that’s perfectly okay. The idea that learning about something that doesn’t involve emotions would somehow make people emotionless overall makes absolutely no sense. After all, there are plenty of things we learn as humans that are strictly practical. For example: I learned how to brush my teeth without any sort of discussion about ethics or feelings whatsoever, and I continue to brush my teeth without having any feelings about it to this day. Has that affected my ability to have feelings in other areas of my life? Absolutely not, and neither did learning about math. Students have all sorts of opportunities to study subjects that lend themselves to conversations about ethics and emotions, such as literature and social studies, and they learn even more about this part of life outside of the classroom. To actually suggest that learning a subject with “unfeelingness” is going to create “collateral damage” of any kind is certainly an absurd one — and I certainly don’t think that math is our enemy in any way.

Raising Up, Instead Of Trampling Down

Lefties like to trample on others, though.  It's who they are, it's what they do.  Haidt is an optimist:
Heterodox Academy has created an educational app called OpenMind to help students learn virtues like intellectual humility and empathy so that they can speak to one another across the divide. So far it has been used in over 100 classrooms.

As encouraging as these initiatives are, there’s a more fundamental shift that needs to take place—a rethinking of identity politics. Rather than promoting a “common-enemy identity politics” that admonishes white people and others with “privilege,” Mr. Haidt said Friday, professors and administrators should embrace a “common-humanity identity politics.” Isn’t that what liberal education is all about?
You don't build unity by telling everyone how they're different, and you certainly don't build unity by pitting one group against another. You build it by playing up commonalities.

Despite what they'll tell you, the left isn't trying to build unity. It's fairly obvious.  It's easier, and perhaps more fun, to rip people apart than to build unity.  That's why Haidt's hope above is pie-in-the-sky.

Two Movies

A friend and I often talk about how the left and right in America are each watching a different movie.  It's no wonder we can't talk about or agree on anything, we don't even share a common reference!

As an example, here's a screenshot of taken a moment ago:
You have immigration and then some minor stories.

Over in the next theater we have this movie playing:
Several stories, none with crying children at the border, and the primary story about the DOJ Inspector General's appearance before Congress.

They aren't talking about the same things.  At all.

The left pretends they care about children at the border.  We know they don't, they're just trying to use crying children as a blood-soaked shirt.  This allows them to completely ignore the IG's testimony about bias at the FBI--bias that almost allowed an obvious criminal to become president (and be honest: given how she's acted since losing, aren't you lefties glad she didn't win?  honestly?).  Couldn't this all be avoided if the parents didn't bring their children along while committing a crime?

Conservatives, on the other hand, care about the rule of law.  That's why the IG testimony is so important.  What does the law say about separating children from parents at the border?  Is there a legitimate reason for it?  How long are they separated?  Is this talking point valid:  when people break the law and are put in jail, they're separated from their children; why isn't the left crying for them, but is crying for foreigners who break our laws and are temporarily separated from their kids?  Are the comparisons to German concentration camps and WWII American internment camps valid?

This "two movies" scenario isn't new.  The first time I noticed it was years ago, when the left-leaning networks didn't report on John Edwards' peccadilloes for weeks.  For years the right has been talking about former-President Obama's illegalities while the left, in true Goebbels fashion, continues to insist that his administration was "scandal free".  It's only scandal free if you willingly ignore the scandals!

I don't know how to move forward here.  I wish that politicians would try to do what the vast majority of Americans see as right (and that consensus exists on many topics, including illegal immigration) instead of just trying to score some political jabs and getting reelected.

Is there a Mr. Smith left to send to Washington?

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Modern Day Stand And Deliver

Every math teacher's favorite movie is Stand and Deliver, the story of East L.A.'s Garfield High School teacher Jaime Escalante and his inspiring effort to get barrio students to take and pass the Advanced Placement test in calculus 30+ years ago.  When the US Postal Service honored Escalante on a stamp, I bought a plate of them--and I don't even collect stamps.

A week or so ago, a friend and long-time RotLC reader told me about the 2015 movie Spare Parts.  Also based on a true story, it's about some poor Hispanic students in Phoenix who enter an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) competition.  While some schools (both high schools and colleges) entered ROVs costing tens of thousands of dollars, these students solicited local donations and built their ROV for about $800.  How did they do against powerhouses like Cornell and MIT?  Did the underdogs pull out a victory in the end, or did their personal demons overwhelm them?

Go find out.  It's a fun movie.

No Hay To Make, Doesn't Propel The Narrative, So You Don't Need To Hear About It

Did you hear about the mass shooting in New Jersey this past weekend?
In the pre-dawn hours yesterday, the nation experienced yet another mass shooting. One dead, 22 injured, including a 13-year-old boy. It took place at the crowded Art All Night Trenton festival in New Jersey. To their limited credit, a couple of cable news outlets mentioned the shooting in their coverage yesterday and this morning. The New York Times wrote a rather lengthy article about it, though it showed up on page A-17. It received similarly “not prominent” coverage in other major papers. The Associated Press took a fairly deep dive on it, but you need to search around a bit on their website to find it...

One dead, 22 injured. That makes it one of the three or four largest mass shootings of 2018.

What you’re not seeing is a line of politicians waiting to be interviewed on cable news about this. You’re not seeing the Parkland kids calling for a march on the streets of Trenton. In fact, outside of the people who are directly impacted in the immediate area, we’re getting what’s mostly a collective shrug from the national press. Why?

One dead, 22 injured.

The Art All Night Trenton shooting isn’t of much interest to the majority of the press because it includes all the wrong sort of people for a hot story with a political hook. First of all, pretty much everyone involved with the shooting was black. There were rival gangs mixing it up at the festival. The cops even knew about it in advance because people were tipping them off about the gang presence. They had come and told the festival organizers they should shut down early because trouble was brewing. The organizers were in the process of doing that when the fireworks started.

The one shooter who is currently at room temperature, 33-year-old Tahaij Wells, had been out of prison on parole for all of four months for a previous murder. There were “multiple” gangs involved. The weapons of choice were almost entirely handguns so there was no chance to rail against “assault rifles.” (One suspect did have an extended magazine capable of holding more rounds than state law allows.) We’re not seeing any demands for information on the weapons used. Why? I’d like to know how many of those gang members were in possession of handguns they legally purchased after passing a background check. But nobody in the national press seems to be interested in telling that story either.

One dead, 22 injured.
Is the problem that the press and the rest of the left only care when white people are being shot?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day





I Hope The Court Gets It Right

Estimated countdown to the Janus decision

Must Be All Those Racist Unionized Teachers

What else could possibly explain this?
The study, “The Majority Report: Supporting the Success of Latino Students in California,” found that in every California county, a majority of Latino students were not proficient in math or English language arts, based on Smarter Balanced test scores. By comparison, a majority of white students scored proficient in English language arts in more than 40 counties, and in math in more than 20 counties.
Maybe it's incompetent, not racist, unionized teachers. Pick your poison, CTA.

Studying The Natives In Their Natural Habitat

Some Harvard students--most of whom grew up in cities, never shot a firearm, and were from liberal states--spent several days traveling in small-town America as part of a school program:
Even though these kids had almost all been raised in the United States, our journey sometimes felt like an anthropology course, as though they were seeing the rest of the country for the first time. And this was their opening lesson.
Good experience, great story, and wonderful ending:
The students’ course was coming to an end, and while no-one got college credit or earned a grade, they had all passed my most important test. They had taken a walk down Main Street and made a lot more friends than judgments. They had learned that, in order to understand a country’s politics, you first have to understand its people. That means getting out of your bubble and spending time away from people like you. If you don’t, Kuang said, “you lose the ability to spark the evolution needed to bridge the country’s divide"...

In our final week, the class attended Mass at St. Stanislaus, a Polish church in the Strip District of downtown Pittsburgh. Before then, only two of my students had stepped foot in a Catholic church.

At the end of Mass an older gentleman came up to me and said how nice it was to see young people dressed up and going to church. When I told him they were students from Harvard, he beamed.

“I have been reading for years that college kids these days are thin-skinned, what’s that word . . .? Snowbirds, snowflakes, anyways . . . that they have no easiness with meeting someone new or trying something different or won’t be open to opposing opinions,” he said.

He smiled as he gave my kids an approving thumbs-up.

“Don’t you just love when a stereotype is blown up right in front of you?”
Stereotypes were blown up on both sides.

The Continuing Fallout In Missouri

It was 2015 when the University of Missouri went nuts and caved to a vocal minority of ultra-liberal students.  The university administration should have taken Ronald Reagan's counsel from 1969:

"All of it began the first time some of you who know better, and are old enough to know better, let young people think that they had the right to choose the laws they will obey as long as they were doing it in the name of social protest."

Instead, Missouri gave in to the mob--which any thinking person knows never leads anywhere good.  So here we are, three years later, and what's happening?
Indulging protesters can be expensive, as the University of Missouri is discovering three years after students successfully demanded the resignation of the president and chancellor. Last week the school said it will have to eliminate 185 positions on top of 308 cut last year.

Apparently fewer parents want to send their kids to a school where activism eclipses academics. Between the fall 2015 and 2017 semesters, freshman enrollment dropped by 35%. Lost tuition accounts for $29 million of the university’s current $49 million budget shortfall.

In response, Mizzou has had to lay off employees, decline to renew expiring faculty contracts, and leave positions unfilled after retirements...

Missouri is learning the hard way that most students and parents believe a university should be a place for open inquiry run by administrators who will insist on it.
Instapundit opines:
Wreck your university to please a few dozen angry students and staff who by their very nature are never happy for long. Good plan.

Friday, June 15, 2018

If It Were Happening To Any Other Minority The Left Would Be Up In Arms

Why is it OK for universities to be biased against Asians?
Brian Taylor is director of Ivy Coach, a Manhattan company that advises families on how to get their students into elite colleges. A number of his clients are Asian American, and Taylor is frank about his strategy for them.

“While it is controversial, this is what we do,’’ he says. “We will make them appear less Asian when they apply"...

Chen founded Asian Advantage College Consulting 20 years ago in response to what he considers bias against top Asian students in elite college admissions. His firm, which is based in Alameda, Calif., also has clients on the East Coast, he says, including Boston.

“The admissions officers are seeing a bunch of people who all look alike: high test scores, high grades, many play musical instruments and tend not to engage in more physical sports like football,” Chen says.

If students come to him early in high school, Chen will direct them to “switch to another musical instrument” or “play a sport a little bit out of their element.”

And for the college essay, don’t write about your immigrant family, he tells them: “Don’t talk about your family coming from Vietnam with $2 in a rickety boat and swimming away from sharks.”
Do I understand correctly that Asians should go into the racial closet when applying to universities?

Perhaps so:
Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than others on traits like “positive personality,” likability, courage, kindness and being “widely respected,” according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed Friday by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university.

Asian-Americans scored higher than applicants of any other racial or ethnic group on admissions measures like test scores, grades and extracurricular activities, according to the analysis commissioned by a group that opposes all race-based admissions criteria. But the students’ personal ratings significantly dragged down their chances of being admitted, the analysis found.
Perhaps university admissions officers are trying to channel Einstein:
Travel diaries he wrote during a months-long voyage in the 1920s reveal that in his private moments, the Nobel-winning physicist portrayed people of other races, such as Chinese and Indians, in a stereotypical, dehumanizing way. Einstein’s unfiltered musings about the people he saw and interacted with during his journey show that even the civil rights icon and “paragon” of humanitarianism harbored racist thoughts about those who did not look like him, said Ze’ev Rosenkranz, senior editor and assistant director of the Einstein Papers Project at the California Institute of Technology...

About a decade after his travels, in December 1932, Einstein and his wife left Germany for a three-month trip to the United States. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party took over the German government the following month. Einstein didn’t return home and stayed in the United States, where he became more aware of the plight of African Americans. He entrenched himself in the civil rights movement, signed anti-lynching petitions and volunteered to testify as a character witness in the trial of writer and philosopher W.E.B. Du Bois.

“It would be easy to say, yes, he became more enlightened,” Rosenkranz said. But whether Einstein’s racist views, particularly about the Chinese, had changed, Rosenkranz is not sure.

Reverse Racism Is Still Racism

At least this author gets it:
In the fall of 2016, I was hired to play in Rihanna’s back-up band at the MTV Video Music Awards. To my pleasant surprise, several of my friends had also gotten the call. We felt that this would be the gig of a lifetime: beautiful music, primetime TV, plus, if we were lucky, a chance to schmooze with celebrities backstage.

But as the date approached, I learned that one of my friends had been fired and replaced. The reason? He was a white Hispanic, and Rihanna’s artistic team had decided to go for an all-black aesthetic—aside from Rihanna’s steady guitarist, there would be no non-blacks on stage. Though I was disappointed on my friend’s behalf, I didn’t consider his firing as unjust at the time—and maybe it wasn’t. Is it unethical for an artist to curate the racial composition of a racially-themed performance? Perhaps; perhaps not. My personal bias leads me to favor artistic freedom, but as a society, we have yet to answer this question definitively.

One thing, however, is clear. If the races were reversed—if a black musician had been fired in order to achieve an all-white aesthetic—it would have made front page headlines. It would have been seen as an unambiguous moral infraction. The usual suspects would be outraged, calling for this event to be viewed in the context of the long history of slavery and Jim Crow in this country, and their reaction would widely be seen as justified. Public-shaming would be in order and heartfelt apologies would be made. MTV might even enact anti-bias trainings as a corrective.

Though the question seems naïve to some, it is in fact perfectly valid to ask why black people can get away with behavior that white people can’t...

 Yet there we were—young black men born decades after anything that could rightly be called ‘oppression’ had ended—benefitting from a social license bequeathed to us by a history that we have only experienced through textbooks and folklore. And my white Hispanic friend (who could have had a tougher life than all of us, for all I know) paid the price. The underlying logic of using the past to justify racial double-standards in the present is rarely interrogated. What do slavery and Jim Crow have to do with modern-day blacks, who experienced neither? Do all black people have P.T.S.D from racism, as the Grammy and Emmy award-winning artist Donald Glover recently claimed? Is ancestral suffering actually transmitted to descendants? If so, how? What exactly are historical ‘ties’ made of?
It's a long, intellectual, well-thought-out piece and I highly recommend you read the whole thing.  why is it so long, intellectual, and well-thought-out?  Because the author is both educated and open-minded:
Coleman Hughes is an undergraduate philosophy major at Columbia University. His writing has been featured on Heterodox Academy’s blog as well as in the Columbia Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter @coldxman

How Much Will Californians Let Their Government Get Away With?

Liberals believe in "never let(ting) a crisis go to waste", or even creating a crisis--and in this case they're creating one.  Residential water use in California is well under 10% of all water use in the state, but the state government is going to limit how much water Californians can use at home:
As reported in the Sacramento Bee and elsewhere, on May 31st Gov. Jerry Brown “signed a pair of bills Thursday to set permanent overall targets for indoor and outdoor water consumption.”

After pressure from the Association of California Water Agencies and others, the final form of these bills, Assembly Bill 1668 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, and Senate Bill 606 from state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, offers water districts more flexibility in enforcing the new restrictions. But the focus of AB 1668, limiting indoor water use to 50 gallons per resident per day, is a step too far. Way too far.

There’s nothing wrong with conserving water. But urban water consumption in California is already low, and squeezing even more out of Californians will be costly and bothersome without making much difference in the big picture. Here is a table showing California’s overall water consumption by user...

So why the new law? We must immediately rule out the desire to save significant amounts of water. On average, Californians are already in compliance with the new restrictions on indoor water consumption, meaning only a minority of households, those over the new cap, will be forced to reduce consumption. And while AB 1668 also mandates individual “water budgets” for outdoor water consumption, even if they cut all outdoor water use by another 20%, that would only save 400,000 acre feet. But at what cost?
The lawn at my house has been here since before Jerry Brown was governor the first time.   In fact, my lawn was planted during Jerry Brown's father's first term.  John Kennedy was president.  Why should it have do die (we have consecutive days over 100 degrees here in the Sacramento area) for infinitesimal water savings?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Maybe It's The Expectations of All Those Women Elementary School Teachers?

I don't know what the reason is, and neither does anyone else, but...
In much of the country, the stereotype that boys do better than girls at math isn’t true – on average, they perform about the same, at least through eighth grade. But there’s a notable exception.

In school districts that are mostly rich, white and suburban, boys are much more likely to outperform girls in math, according to a new study from Stanford researchers, one of the most comprehensive looks at the gender gap in test scores at the school district level.

The research, based on 260 million standardized test scores for third through eighth graders in nearly every district in the country, suggests that local norms influence how children perform in school from early ages – and that boys are much more influenced than girls.

“It could be about some set of expectations, it could be messages kids get early on or it could be how they’re treated in school,” said Sean Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford, who conducted the study with Erin Fahle, a doctoral candidate in education policy there, and colleagues. “Something operates to help boys more than girls in some places and help girls more than boys in other places.”

The study included test scores from the 2008 to 2014 school years for 10,000 of the roughly 12,000 school districts in the United States. In no district do boys, on average, do as well or better than girls in English and language arts. In the average district, girls perform about three-quarters of a grade level ahead of boys.

But in math, there is nearly no gender gap, on average. Girls perform slightly better than boys in about a quarter of districts – particularly those that are predominantly African-American and low-income. Boys do slightly better in the rest – and much better in high-income and mostly white or Asian-American districts.

Shocker! California Is In The Bottom Half of States

California is in deep crap regarding its pension programs:
Recently released data from The Pew Charitable Trusts shows the strain on state retirement systems across the nation as state pension funds strive to keep pace with pensions owed to public employees.

As of fiscal year (FY) 2016 (the most recent data available), states reported a combined $1.4 trillion in state pension plan funding deficits. Below-expected returns on investment and insufficient state allocations contributed to widening shortfalls in numerous states since we reported on the FY 2014 data last year.
The color-coded map is pretty clear.

Required To Teach About Abortion In The Classroom

This teacher found an interesting if not controversial way to teach about abortion, something she's required to do.  Her presentation wasn't fawning, and you can imagine the Kalifornia result:
A Sutter Middle School science teacher was abiding by a relatively new state law when she raised the issue of abortion in her sex education class this month.

It was the format of her presentation that may have run afoul of guidelines - upsetting some parents and prompting the Sacramento City Unified School District to launch an investigation.

The law, enacted in 2016, requires school districts to ensure that all students in grades seven through twelve receive "comprehensive sexual health education," including information about abortion. Information presented in class must be "medically accurate and objective," according to the law. Parents must be notified of the curriculum in advance, and have the option of excusing their children from all or part of the classes.

The teacher under fire aired graphic videos this month that depicted how abortions are performed during various stages of pregnancy. The videos are narrated by physician and anti-abortion activist Anthony Levatino, who describes in detail how the procedures destroy fetuses and urges viewers to "protect the unborn."
If we don't "protect the unborn", we won't need so many teachers and administrators in the future. You'd think the teachers union would be all about protecting this woman!

Anyway, this story is a reminder that the right to life movement isn't about controlling women's bodies, especially given that half of the right to life movement is women.

Fighting the Real Patriarchy

It's fashionable for modern feminists (as opposed to Camille Paglia feminists, like me) to whine about the so-called patriarchy, as if everything in this country is stacked against women.  I guess it's easy to rail against an imaginary enemy.

If they were true feminists, though, they'd fight against a real patriarchy:
Christian women fighters on the ground versus ISIS in Syria appealed to Western feminists to come fight with them.

The Bethnahrin Protection Forces are a unit of Christian Assyrian women within the Syrian Democratic Forces, the coalition of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and other minority ethnic groups that have been fighting ISIS in Syria and liberated Raqqa. Women's equality is a cornerstone of the SDF, with SDF General Commander Rojda Felat, a Kurdish leader of the YPJ Women's Protections Units, leading the successful Raqqa offensive; Felat vowed that "wherever a woman is being suppressed, wherever a man is threatening a woman, our forces will struggle against this."

Bethnahrin spokeswoman Nisha Gewriye told the European Post that other women who say they fight for equality should come fight alongside them.

"We want to invite all the feminists from Europe and Western countries to join us in the fight against Daesh and to help us defeat Daesh permanently," she said.
I don't see that happening, though.  It's much easier to pretend the United States is a patriarchy than it is to fight a real one.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

You Can Pretend The Laws Of Economics Don't Exist, But Not For Long

In a rare spectacle indeed, the Seattle city council surrenders to reality:
The Seattle City Council on Tuesday voted 7-2 to repeal a “head tax” on the city’s largest employers, granting a surprise victory to corporate giants such as Amazon and Starbucks just weeks after the council unanimously approved the measure...

Originally passed on May 14, the measure required companies with annual revenue of $20 million or more to contribute $275 per employee annually toward efforts to combat widespread homelessness in Seattle. At the time, the city council said the “head tax” would raise about $50 million per year toward the development of affordable housing, homeless shelters and other outreach efforts...

The head tax drew widespread opposition from local business advocates and several major corporations, including Amazon, Seattle’s largest employer. Critics argued the tax would discourage investment in the city and place an undue burden on companies that were already paying a fair share of taxes. The measure's supporters said large employers should pay the head tax because their presence in the city contributed to the rising cost of living...

The measure would have cost Amazon an estimated $12.4 million each year. The e-commerce giant employs roughly 45,000 workers in Seattle.

The Press May Be Independent, But It Isn't Necessarily Fair

The following was written by a former CBS correspondent and anchor:

50 Media Mistakes in the Trump Era: The Definitive List

Looking back at 50 mistakes--not one of which made President Trump look good--over the past two years, she ends with:
Politicians are often fact-challenged. But for us in the media— our whole business is in facts. And we’ve played too fast and loose with our own.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Making The Rest Of Us Look Bad

Attending West Point does not make us firearms savants:
A couple of years ago there was this “violence planner” named Bob Bateman, whose hoplophobic keyboard emissions became infamous on the Internet as arrogant, disingenuous, and tyrannical, drawing the ire of such defenders of the Constitution as Tom Kratman, Michael Z. Williamson, and Jonn Lilyea. Bateman was a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, who claimed the moral authority and expertise to relieve you of your rights, because he was a planner of violence. “I orchestrate violence,” he claimed, and then proceeded to cry about how gun rights advocates “threatened” him and made him cry. As you can imagine, the ridicule was epic.

More recently, another Army occifer dope named Dan Helmer, who is running for Congress in Virginia’s 10th District, tried to use a similar appeal to authority (and a whole lot of obfuscation and lies) to derp about “assault” weapons, of which he showed precious little knowledge.

And now there’s Becky. Becky, you see, is a veteran, which she repeatedly points out, whose “vast” knowledge of firearms includes hunting trips with Daddy when she was 12 and “honing” her skillz with an M-16 at West Point...

Let’s focus on the fact that the rifles used in school shootings from Columbine to Santa Fe had nothing to do with rifles we used in the military. Semi-automatic rifles, handguns, improvised explosives, but no select-fire or automatic firearms. The fact that Becky tries to conflate military weapons with the firearms used in school shootings shows her to be either ignorant or disingenuous. Neither one is good.
It goes downhill from there, with the authors at Victory Girls Blog providing a strong tailwind, including this hurricane-force violence:
Note the following:

Becky tries to create the impression that she was some kind of kickass female who was in charge of commandos. She wasn’t.

Becky was in when women weren’t allowed in combat, and certainly not in Special Forces. From everything I’m reading, she may have been Civil Affairs. Nothing wrong with that, but the fact that she obfuscates her actual experience by claiming to have commanded SpecOps companies and doesn’t give details about her job, tells me she is intentionally masking her real background to bolster her “street cred” as a firearms expert, vice just another troop who qualified once per year like the rest of us.
There's more, and it's even better. Becky ends up a tattered white flag blowing in the wind by the end of the piece.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Sometimes, The Law Is An Ass.

And when the law is an ass, it (and the people who enacted it) should be opposed:
Kids getting busted and fined by cops for running neighborhood lemonade stands without permits could come to an end this summer—thanks to food giant Kraft Heinz.

The brand’s Country Time Lemonade unit announced Thursday that it will personally defend and pay for any fines that children get for trying to sell the summertime drink.

“We recently came across a story of a kid getting her lemonade stand shut down for legal reasons, which had to be an urban myth. After looking into it and seeing even more instances, we realized these weren’t myths, they were real stories,” Adam Butler, general manager for beverage and nuts for Kraft Heinz, told Fox Business. 

Just last week, three brothers, ages 2 to 6, from Stapleton, Colorado, got their lemonade stand shut down by Denver cops after several vendors at a nearby arts festival called the police to complain the kids were undercutting their prices. 
A completely legal and good-spirited way to oppose an unjust law.  Great job!

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

I'm Not Tired of All the Winning Yet

This is pretty impressive, and I honestly believe it's partly due to the business atmosphere that President Trump inspires:
While the DC press corps worries whether Trump was booed at a White House event and curates elaborate conspiracy theories about Melania, a slightly more important story isn’t getting enough pixels. The economy is doing so well that, for the first time ever, there are now more job openings in the US than unemployed Americans...
It's in impressive statistic.  Is this also happening in (socialist) Western Europe?  How about in Venezuela?

Can You Believe That This Person May Still Teach Again?

This took place in Canada, which clearly has some different standards for teachers than we do in the US, but holy crap.  I'm not one of those who screams for someone's head at the occurrence of any infraction, but honestly, should this woman be teaching?  I'll provide the headline and the link, you make your own call:
Teacher Who Said ‘Lick Me Where I Fart’ Pleads Guilty to Misconduct Again, Can Still Get Job Back
She has a history of saying wildly inappropriate things.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The Left and Their Nazis

From Sarah Hoyt at PJMedia:
I was told by numerous, not visibly insane friends and acquaintances on the election night that Trump would start rounding up minorities within the month.

When it didn’t happen, did it calm down?

Oh, heck no. They ramped it up. Antifa — supposed to be anti-fascists, while acting like brown-shirts — rampaged in the streets. Students are encouraged to prevent “fascist” speakers (like, you know, Jordan Peterson who encourages you to clean your room) from speaking, and there are sites like NaziUSA.

All while Trump reduces regulations and not a single person is imprisoned to cover the regime’s ass, like, say, a filmmaker that the regime decided to blame for attacks on our embassies abroad… under Obama.

So, what is going on?

What is going on is that, taught in schools or not, the knowledge that communism/socialism is a disaster has permeated our collective subconscious. And the idiots still pushing it are bitter, horrible people who want camps and executions… for their opponents. The fact that they’re convinced there’d be paradise once we’re gone does not excuse them. A hundred million broken eggs and not a single omelet.

So they must resurrect the ghost of the Nazis because it’s the only regime ugly enough to justify their othering of us, and their wanting to kill us.

They look through the hatred in their eyes and see the ghosts of Nazis on our side. But it is their side that keeps those ghosts alive, as justification for what they want to do to us.

Nazis don’t exist, except in the hearts of socialists, who need them desperately to excuse the mass murders they intend to commit.

It's time for the left to face the fact they're using Nazis as a shield. And that when the only people you can point to that are worse than you are the Nazis, it's time to abandon your dead-end philosophy.
That's a long snip--go read the whole thing.  And when you do, remember that there are more bronies than Nazis in this country (and probably the world), but the left thinks they're everywhere.  The word "delusional" comes to mind.

Last Day With Students

Today was the last day of school for our students, teachers have a work day tomorrow.

Out of 5 classes of students I had only one who failed a course.  I've been accused of many things in my time, but never of having standards that are too low, so I'm going to call this a victory.  Only 1 student who failed a course isn't bad!

The other side of not "having standards that are too low" is the parent conference I have tomorrow, wherein a student who earned a C+, along with his father, are going to attempt to convince me that I should give the student a B-.

Just that, and putting away all the stuff in my classroom, and I'll call it not just a day or a week, but also a school year!

Monday, June 04, 2018

They Don't Like Losing Their "Unearned Privilege"

Labor unions in California are not backing down without a fight:
California's public employee unions are backing a pack of bills that might help them hold on to members if the Supreme Court this summer issues a ruling that’s expected to deliver a serious blow to the finances for labor organizations.

Two of the bills lay out standard guidelines governing how public agencies collect dues from union members. Both give unions time to call workers and try to change the minds of those who want to stop paying dues.

One of the bills would require local governments to grant time off to union shop stewards. It requires the unions to reimburse government agencies, but local government lobbyists still have concerns about it.

Another, Assembly Bill 2970, would prohibit government agencies from publicly disclosing information about new employee orientations.

The bill’s author, Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, says he wants to shield public employees from workplace violence, but it’s raising concerns that the proposal is really intended to prevent anti-union activists from distributing information outside gatherings for public employees.
It’s not the anti-union activists who are violent. Threats, intimidation, and violence are staples of union SOP.  Cooper's comment is worthy of Goebbels.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

A Turtle's Gotta Eat

Would this teacher be in trouble for feeding a white mouse to a snake?
An American schoolteacher has been charged after allegedly feeding a sick puppy to a snapping turtle in front of his students.

Robert Crosland, who teaches in Preston, Idaho, was charged with misdemeanour animal cruelty.

After the incident in March the turtle was "humanely euthanized" as it is considered an invasive species.

Mr Crosland could be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $5,000 (£3,700) if convicted...

Some of his supporters say the puppy was dying and it was the right thing to do.

The incident reportedly happened after school in front of a small number of students, with authorities saying it was not part of school activities.

The turtle was seized by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture when it learned there was no permit for it.
I don't believe the teacher's in trouble for having an unlicensed turtle.  I think he's in trouble because in our culture, puppies are special.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Kinda Sorta Summer Already

Yes, graduation was yesterday.

Yes, I still have 3 more days of work.

Yes, summer doesn't officially start for a few more weeks.

But the summer season has begun here at the RotLC household.  The fleece sheets are off the bed, the summer sheets are on, and the bed temperature (it's a waterbed!) has been turned down a few degrees.

Life is good :-)

My Picture Next To That Of The NEA President!

The horror.  The horror!  :-)

Long-time readers might remember that I modified my travel plans this past February and, instead of coming directly home from Iceland, diverted to DC in order to be at the Supreme Court on the day Mark Janus' case was heard.  The next morning a few of us had some interviews planned, then I stopped by the Air and Space Museum annex at Dulles before boarding my flight home.

There were several outlets represented at the interview, including Reason and The 74 Million.  The article at the first link above stems from that interview.  Yet again, it shows that I'm not anti-union, but I am anti-forced-union and anti-bad-union:
Leaving state and national affiliates could mean lower dues and better contract outcomes, said Darren Miller, a high school math teacher in suburban Sacramento, also a plaintiff in the Yohn lawsuit.

“We could hire the best labor law attorney firm … as opposed to having marginally trained teachers up against district accountants and attorneys. I think disaffiliation would be a net benefit for teachers,” he said.
I discussed this idea over a decade ago with a far-left-leaning teacher at my school, and we agreed on it!

But back to the picture.  A friend has been razzing me this afternoon by sending out the link, with the photo in question prominently displayed at the top of the story, with the email subject line "Rare photo of a CTENer and a union president side by side!"

Quelle horreur, indeed.