Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Want To Do Better In School?

You might consider giving up pot:
Marijuana, it seems, is not a performance-enhancing drug. That is, at least, not among young people, and not when the activity is learning.

A study published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry finds that when adolescents stop using marijuana — even for just one week — their verbal learning and memory improve. The study contributes to growing evidence that marijuana use in adolescents is associated with reduced neurocognitive functioning.

How Many Human Sexes Are There? How Many Human Genders Are There?

Answers:  two, and two:
From a scientific perspective, there was nothing wrong with HHS’s definition. Biological sex refers to whether we are female or male, based on our anatomy and reproductive functions. The concept of sex is, by definition, binary...

Indeed, gender—whether we subjectively feel male or female—is biological, not a social construct. An extremely large and consistent body of scientific research has shown that gender is the result of prenatal hormone exposure, even in the case of intersex individuals, as opposed to adults and society imposing gendered norms on unsuspecting children from the moment they leave the womb...

We can, and should, advocate for the rights of intersex people and those who do not fit typical gender norms, while at the same time acknowledging these scientific truths.
Don't like that science?  Argue with the author:
Debra W. Soh holds a PhD in sexual neuroscience research from York University and writes about the science and politics of sex.

What Explains Most Of The Racial Achievement Gap?

In education today, the student has no responsibility.  Flunk all your classes?  The district will provide you with "credit recovery" hoops to jump through so that you still get a diploma.  Don't want to do your work?  The teacher will give you make-up assignments.  Failing near the end of the semester?  Expect some extra credit "favors" so you can barely pass.

Notice that responsibility for fixing the problem of failing students lies with the adults, specifically school staff, and not with the student.

And if you can't get the adults to take responsibility, cry racism.  And there's an entire industry out there that will help you make such a claim.  Parents in one Missouri school district, though, have had enough:
Recently, however, parents in a Missouri school district — Lee’s Summit — rebelled against paying Singleton and his group to provide cultural and racial equity training. They expressed their displeasure at a school board meeting and on social media. 
What's the bottom line here?
I don’t think critics are denying that racial outcomes are unequal, though. Instead, it appears that they reject, as I do, the idea that responsibility for poor outcomes lies with the school district, rather than the students and/or their parents.
I wish more people say things that clearly.

This Woman Knows What It Means To Be A Conservative

OMG THIS! Conservative woman writes thread shredding each and every Leftist talking point and it’s SPECTACULAR

Know Your Union Participation Rights

If you're a government worker and don't feel like your union deserves the money you've been forced to pay them, the Supreme Court's Janus decision allows you to leave the union and keep your money.  You can Opt Out Today if you want to.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Presidential Authority

Instapundit has a great blog post about President Trump's declaration that he is considering ending "birthright citizenship" by executive order:
REPORT: Trump Targeting Birthright Citizenship With Executive Order. My first thought is that he can’t do this because of the 14th Amendment, but my second thought is that lots of constitutional rights that seem to me to be clearly established in the text have been interpreted away over the years. Hey, it’s a living Constitution, right? It must be informed by experience, and the needs of the day!

UPDATE: Am I kidding? Yes, and no. The Supreme Court precedent here doesn’t involve illegal immigrants and you can make a good argument that in adopting this rule the President is acting in a foreign affairs capacity — since he’s trying to discourage people abroad from coming here — and that gets a lot of judicial deference. Here’s some quick discussion of the law. I can certainly imagine a Supreme Court opinion holding that the core purpose of the birthright citizenry provision was to guarantee the citizenship of freed slaves, something not applicable here, and that the destabilizing effect of mass migration (see Europe), along with the foreign affairs component, demonstrates that the issue is best dealt with by the political branches.
Don't just listen to "your side" of the argument. Read the Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, and even read the actual Wong Kim Ark Supreme Court ruling that both sides mention.  Assess the arguments on both sides and see which one is stronger, not just which one you agree with.

After you've done your reading, then you're educated enough to discuss the topic.  Until then, you're just spouting your side's talking points.

By the way:  Lefties, remember when you decreed that President Obama could run the country by executive order because you didn't like that the Republican-led Congress wouldn't craft the laws he wanted?  You liked executive orders then!  There's a lesson for you to learn here, and that's never ask for a political weapon that you wouldn't feel comfortable yielding to the other side--because eventually, the other side will be in power.

Update, 10/31/2018:  If you're a liberal, did you agree with Harry Reid?

Blind To Their Own Faults, Which They See In Others

Today I received the following email from our district (my slight changes/redactions should be very obvious):
From: (district administrator)
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 1:45 PM
To: (among many others, an email list called local-teacher-union-members)
Subject: Secondary Certificated Professional Development - 11-9-18.pdf

Dear Secondary (local teachers union) members,

Please join us on Friday, November 9th, at (nearby) High School, as we continue our journey in Culturally Responsive Teaching. The hours are 8:00 am – 3:OO pm, with lunch on your own.

This is an optional Professional Development day. Certificated employees have the option of receiving 6 hours of Continuing Education credit or one day’s pay at the per diem rate for attending the full day. Please review the attached flyer and register in ERO by November 5th. Participants who do not pre-register in ERO will need to check in at the registration table for available sessions on the morning of November 9th.
I sent the following email to someone on my own campus whom I knew would be sympathetic to my point:
If we’re being “culturally responsive”, as well as factually correct, should the email below be addressed to (local teachers union) Members or to Secondary Teachers? I mean, I’m sure there are PD’s that will tell me how important it is to address people as they want to be addressed, and being addressed as (a local teachers union) member is “exclusive” language. It “others” me.

How many times should I be subtle about this terminology before making a bigger deal out of it?
It "others" me.  Sometimes I can really revel in using that leftie language!

Once or twice when I've received emails addressed to teachers union members, I emailed back and asked if non-union-members are invited as well, and I'm always told yes.  Clearly, that was too subtle on my part.  I have no desire to make a big deal out of this, but it just shows how the higher-ups in my district don't much practice what they preach.  I'm supposed to call a person with internal plumbing "he" if that's what that individual wants to be called, I'm supposed to call a person with external plumbing "she" if that's what that individual wants to be called, I'm supposed to call some individuals "they" if that's what that individual wants to be called (even though it's grammatically incorrect)--but the district can't even send out an email that's addressed correctly?  I'm factually not a teachers union member.  The district administrators can't be factually correct, yet I'm expected to pretend that some boys are girls, some girls are boys, and I'm supposed to change 53 years of speech patterns and pronoun usage to accommodate the desires of a couple people--even when that usage is factually wrong.

Is that what it means to "progressive" and "culturally responsive"?  Not only being wrong, but forcing others to be wrong?  That's some serious Gramscian damage, that is.

For you Star Trek: The Next Generation fans out there:  *There* *are* *four* *lights*!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Emails From Parents Requesting Conferences

We've had a couple of "interim" grading periods at school, and some of my students aren't doing as well as perhaps their parents would like.  Since that obviously won't do, I'm starting to get emails from parents who want to meet with me to "see what we can do" about a student's grade.

Our district uses an online student information system, and parents can access details of student grades online at any time.  I update those grades a couple times a week, so information there is never more than a couple days old.  Parents can see each grade on each assignment, test, or quiz; additionally, they can see a summary of how their student is doing overall on assignments, on tests, and on quizzes.

When parents tell me they want to meet, I usually start my reply with, "Thank you for contacting me.  I'd be happy to meet with you.  Specifically, what outcomes would you like from such a meeting?"  Then I share with them the very information they could get online about their student's grade--for example, "As you can see (in our online grading program), your student has turned in x% of homework and earns mediocre scores on tests and quizzes"--and then fill them in on all the opportunities for assistance, both inside and outside of class, that are available to their student.

Usually I don't hear back from them after that.  Why is that?  Is it because my email provided them with all the information they wanted from their proposed meeting?  If they wanted information, why not ask for it instead of asking for a meeting?  Or is there some other reason?

Not all the time, but sometimes I honestly think some parents ask for a meeting to try either to intimidate or to sweet-talk a teacher.  I really do, I've seen both too many times.  Clearly, neither of those will work very well on me!  I've been doing this too long, I have my stock answers down pat--say something silly, and chances are I've got a well thought out, professional, logical, pedagogically sound reply (unless I hear a new one, and it's been awhile since I've heard a new one!).  It's been awhile since I've been threatened with a lawsuit, but the last time it happened, I told the parent that I'd save him a little money and let him know just what his attorney would--the wording of California Education Code Section 49066:
49066. (a) When grades are given for any course of instruction taught in a school district, the grade given to each pupil shall be the grade determined by the teacher of the course and the determination of the pupil's grade by the teacher, in the absence of clerical or mechanical mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency, shall be final.
I never heard back from that parent or his attorney.

Whether in person or via email, when they plead for higher grades, I tell parents that I don't artificially inflate grades. (The words "artificially inflate" are very powerful.)  Grades exist to reflect achievement towards the state-defined academic standards, etc. etc. etc.  When they ask why I don't give test retakes, why I won't accept homework that was due a month ago, why I don't give extra credit projects, why I don't allow students to use their phones in class for any reason, I have answers to those questions, too.

I've been at this job too long to be doing things haphazardly.  I dot my i's and cross my t's.  I know what I'm doing.  I am not the one who needs to change so that students get higher grades, students need to change what they're doing, or not doing, in order to earn higher grades.  If I need to change, it's because my self-reflection tells me I'm not presenting the material in an optimal way, not because a particular student doesn't have a particular grade.

Some, and not just parents, might try this line of attack:  I'm too old-fashioned, times and kids are different nowadays, etc.  I need to be more flexible.  Why is it incumbent on me to be more flexible, when by definition, my flexibility artificially inflates a student's grade to where it no longer reflects a student's actual achievement towards the standards?  Why shouldn't the student be more flexible, perhaps by devoting more time and effort to the subject, including coming in for extra help before or after school?  I am not responsible for an individual student's grades.  The grade is the student's, not mine.  And calling me old-fashioned?  That's just name-calling; besides, I've been called a lot worse!  Additionally, I have a large folder of letters and emails from former students thanking me for teaching them in such a way that they were able to succeed in follow-on classes.

So I don't have a lot of parent conferences.  I keep grades updated online, and I respond to all parent emails to keep them informed.  Sometimes I even send "form letter" emails to all parents just to fill them in on something important, like an upcoming test.  Maybe some parents ask for conferences because that's just their default action--it doesn't occur to them to ask via email for the information they want.  Or maybe they don't even know what to ask, which is why they initially ask for a conference, but no longer need one after I've provided them with more information.

Whatever the reason, I'm getting more requests for conferences lately.  So far I've had only one conference (not including IEPs and all-teacher conferences, of course).  I'm sure more are in the works.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Filled Out My Ballot Tonight

As my high school is a Vote Center, meaning that even mail-in ballots can be dropped off there, I'll just hang on to my ballot until election day, and take it to work with me to drop off.  As I didn't vote for a single Democrat this time, it's conceivable not a single person I voted for will be elected.  I voted yes on only two of the initiatives.

As I've done since 1984 (how ironic!), I've fulfilled this particular civic duty.

More and More People Are Seeing Through The Left's Lies

From Instapundit, in a short post about the new right-of-center Brazilian president, but summarizing pretty much all of leftihood:
Richard Fernandez comments: “Events like this pose a real intellectual challenge for the Third Way crowd. It can’t just be Trump that’s causing this, can it? There must be some unacknowledged problem with the old global world that is driving this. Whether you are for or against the obvious revolt, perhaps more urgently if you are against it, there is the necessity to understand the causes of the crisis beyond the explanations offered by late night comedians.”

So far there seems little effort to understand. They seem to think that the magic words “racist!” “fascist!” will return things to the status quo ante. But the spell no longer works as it once did. And while they may dimly sense that Trump is a symptom, not a cause, they can’t bring themselves to admit that he’s a symptom of their own failure.

Stupid Should Hurt

It's hard to feel too much sympathy for people with so little self control:
Two tourists facing 10 years in jail for graffiti-tagging an ancient wall in Thailand say they were “ridiculously drunk” when they pulled off the stunt.

Canadian Brittany Schneider, 22, and British man Lee Furlong, 23, were caught on CCTV on Thursday spray-painting a message on the wall of the 13th century Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai...

Furlong said his passport has been taken off him.

He and Schneider will face a court hearing in about two weeks.
Too bad this didn't happen in Singapore. Cane 'em.

Jo Boaler Should Not Be Taken Seriously

Her ideas do incredible harm to math education and to students, but a lot of the math higher-ups in my district are enamored with this woman and her siren song:
There is a common misunderstanding that the Algebra 1 course taught under No Child Left Behind was the same course that is currently taught in the city schools. The Common Core State Standards raised the level and rigor of eighth-grade mathematics to include Algebra 1 content as well as geometry and statistical topics previously taught in high school. It is fair to say the content of the district’s eighth-grade math course was college-prep, high-school-level math for most of the current students’ parents. The current Algebra 1 course is more conceptually demanding and requires that students have the foundational background of the math taught in eighth grade.
You can choose to believe that if you want to.  This comment from a CSU LA professor is one I agree with:
This article is ridiculous.  Pretending that avoidance of coherent mathematics development is somehow emphasizing “rigor” completely misrepresents mathematics and its essential rigor.  So does equating Finland’s math performance - that lags behind the US by 8th grade on the most recent TIMSS - with Japan’s outstanding performance on both the meaningful TIMSS as well as the borderline meaningless PISA.  Algebra avoidance (under the name of algebra) is a SFUSD disservice to students with math-based career aspirations. Dr. Boaler may not know any better but certainly Dr. Schoenfeld does.   For shame.
I don't find the Common Core math standards to be coherent at all.  I don't see students who are better prepared for math in 9th grade than they were in the past.

Note that Jo Boaler is a professor of math education.  Her Wikipedia page does not state what her bachelor's degree is in, but both her master's degree and her PhD are in math education.  The following is the world's briefest synopsis of some of the controversy surrounding her work:
In 2006, mathematician R. James Milgram (Stanford University) accused Boaler of scientific misconduct, which prompted Stanford University to investigate claims challenging the validity of her research. However, Stanford University declined to move forward with the investigation, stating that the allegations "do not have substance".[26] Milgram, fellow mathematician Wayne Bishop (California State University) and statistician Paul Clopton posted a 44-page online paper outlining their complaints about one particular study.[36] The story was circulated widely on social media and picked up by the national press.[26] Boaler issued a response in 2012, accusing Milgram, Bishop (and others) of harassment, persecution, and suppression.[37] Bishop and Milgram each issued rebuttals to Boaler's claims.[38][39]
There's more here:
Barbara Oakley is the co-author of the most successful Coursera course, ¨Learning How to Learn¨ completed by more than a million students worldwide. Unlike Boaler, Oakely argues that math without in-depth practice combined with over emphasizing conceptual understanding and loosely tossing in ¨fun¨ to avoid the necessary practice is a disservice to our students. It is fine to help children find and understand the different approaches to a problem and tell them fun facts about math and how they interconnect.

We can agree on that, but Barbara Oakley stresses a significant exception: “Discovery math” doesn’t work without practice. There needs to be a solid foundation, without practice children don’t get the numerical and procedural fluency needed to free cognitive resources to be able to lever on the growth mindset, that Carol S. Dweck clearly explains, to progress into more complex and abstract areas in math. Oakley has research on her side, in fact, one of the professors she relies on is Paul Morgan, who wrote an interesting article on math drilling in Psychology Today.
Boaler is not someone who should be taken seriously.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Europe Is Doomed

Have I written before about why Britain is doomed, or have I just thought about doing it?  But Britain is doomed.

The rest of Western Europe is, too:
An Austrian woman accused of defaming the Prophet Muhammad is not protected by the right to freedom of expression, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled today. Her statements represent "an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam which could stir up prejudice and threaten religious peace," the court declared.
What did she say about him?
"A 56-year-old and a 6-year-old? What do you call that? Give me an example? What do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?" she said...

The ECHR disagrees. In its ruling, a seven-judge panel argues that while Muhammad may have married a 6-year-old, there's a difference between child marriage and pedophilia....
Dhimmitude.  It doesn't work.

If you've ever wondered why the First Amendment is the first amendment, this is why.
Reason's Jacob Sullum has explained on multiple occasions why offending Muslims should not be a crime. As he wrote in 2015, "Sacrilege may upset people, but it does not violate their rights. By abandoning that distinction, avowed defenders of Enlightenment values capitulate to the forces of darkness."

Friday, October 26, 2018

TPUSA's Young Black Leadership Summit

We conservatives aren't racists.  We like all political conservatives, it doesn't matter what your sex or color is:
Trump got a rapturous reception from the Turning Point audience, which sometimes bordered on the rowdy, to the president’s evident delight. He began by acknowledging the arrest of the bombing suspect, whom he did not name. Nor did he comment on the partisan dimension of the bomb story. He praised law enforcement for speedily solving the crime and denounced political violence. He said that the Republican Party is the party of unity for all Americans.
And that just pisses the left off :-)

Heckuva Job, Jerry

One of my trolls periodically asks why I don't leave California, given that I don't have anything positive to say about its government.  My reply is simple:  even if I left, California would still be a rotten place to live unless you're rich:
If liberal policies actually made any sort of progress correcting the various inequities that they’re alleged to do, big government utopias like California would be progressive beacons of hope for the American left. California, many believed, was so progressive and forward thinking that it would experiment with various social policies and the rest of the states would follow suit. Hence, the so-called “Golden Rule” of the nation was once “as California goes, so does the country.” So, how is California doing with the problem of wealth inequality?

Not so good.

Despite having the fifth-largest economy in the world, California is one of the worst states in the nation in terms of wealth inequality...

Despite all the wealth in the state and the Democrat control of state government, California actually ranks as the poorest state in the country after costs of living are factored in. A whopping 19 percent of Californians live below the poverty line. While California represents just 12 percent of the nation’s population, Californians represent a third of all Americans on welfare.
As the saying goes, read the whole thing.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Latest Bomb Scare

I concur with this:
First things first: Bombing people is bad. Sending bombs through the mail is bad. Sending ricin through the mail is bad. Mailing inert, harmless objects that are designed to look like bombs or ricin or something else that can kill people, to sow fear and confusion, is bad. I don't care what your motives are. I don't care how you rationalize it. I don't care how much you hate the policies and opinions of the people you're targeting. It's terrorism, and if you do it, you deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. You'll find people who are willing to defend you, while denying they're defending you -- "Hey, I'm not saying it's right, but wouldn't we all be better off with [fill in the blank] six feet under?" -- but I'm not one of them.
What's interesting, though, is that now that something is happening to lefties, the lefties howl.  Why weren't they howling before?  Because they like it when it happens to conservatives.
Just two weeks ago, the feds nabbed a guy who was planning to blow himself up on the National Mall on Election Day. And the story barely made a blip. Somebody sent ricin to John Kelly and Susan Collins, and nobody cares. A GOP candidate in Minnesota was sucker-punched in a restaurant after a political discussion. Nobody cares. Less than a month ago, a howling mob was literally pounding on the doors of the Supreme Court. The media's reaction: "Meh."
After some videos of leftie politicians' openly calling for violence, the article continues:
Does this mean Waters and Pelosi and Holder and the rest deserve to be targeted by terrorists? Absolutely not. It just means they should be careful what they wish for. A lot of Democrats have openly called for civil unrest. They've excused and condoned violence for political purposes. Well, this is what that looks like. If they advocate this sort of chaos and lunacy, they shouldn't act surprised when they become targets of it. Maybe it's too much to hope that they'll think twice before they say such things again.

"But that was different," mewl the libs. "Our team wasn't speaking literally. Haven't you ever heard of a metaphor, you rednecks?" Yeah, a metaphor is when a Democrat says something that you'd call treason if a Republican said it.
You reap what you sow.

Update, 10/26/18Caught him:
“[A] Filipino-American who pretended to be a Seminole, worked as a male stripper for a fake Chippendales company, used steroids, suffered from mental illness, hated his mother and terrorized the country by sending fake bombs through the mail. We’re living in Heinlein’s ‘Crazy Years’ . . .”

The "Data Industrial Complex"

In his farewell address in 1961, President Eisenhower famously warned against "the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."  Not as famously, in that same speech he warned against "the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."  Now we have one of the scions of the "scientific-technological elite" warning against the "data industrial complex":
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking to an international privacy conference Wednesday said he supported the European Union's data privacy law, enacted in May, and called for the U.S. to pass similar protections.

The need for consumer protections is important because technological advances have led to the development of "a data industrial complex," Cook said. "Our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency"...

The U.S. should have a "comprehensive federal privacy law" with four essential rights, Cook said. "First, the right to have personal data minimized. Companies should challenge themselves to de-identify customer data – or not to collect it in the first place. Second, the right to knowledge. Users should always know what data is being collected and what it is being collected for," he said. "Third, the right to access. Companies should recognize that data belongs to users, and we should all make it easy for users to get a copy of…correct…and delete their personal data. And fourth, the right to security. Security is foundational to trust and all other privacy rights."
You don't have to believe me, but you probably shouldn't ignore Tim Cook on this particular topic.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Yet Another Reason I'm Not A Socialist

There are so many reasons not to be a socialist, but the compulsion necessary for socialism to operate is a big enough reason for me:
As Heilbroner reluctantly acknowledged, socialist planning cannot co-exist with individual rights, an achievement of Western culture he wanted to preserve. Instead, under socialism, culture must produce "some form of commitment to the idea of a morally conscious collectivity." This, however, was antagonistic to "bourgeois" culture, which "encourages and breeds the idea of the primary importance of the individual." And bourgeois culture, devoted to the sovereignty of the individual, he wrote, "naturally asserts the rights of individuals to speak their minds freely, to act as they wish within reasonable grounds, to behave as John Stuart Mill preached in his treatise On Liberty." A socialist culture, Heilbroner feared correctly, couldn't abide this "celebration of individualism" because it is "directly opposed to the basic socialist commitment to a deliberately embraced collective moral goal."

Most of today's democratic socialists, however, don't have the same doubts or circumspection of Heilbroner. The resurgent Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) argue that under democratic socialism "individual civil and political rights…which are routinely violated, would be strengthened, and public resources would be devoted to the development of a genuinely free press and a democratically-administered mass media." Lefty Brooklyn College professor Corey Robin—in a howler of a puff piece for The New York Times on "The New Socialists" such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders—argues that "what the socialist seeks is freedom."

This rhetoric, however, is profoundly ignorant of history and the internal logic of socialist ideology, as Heilbroner diagnosed it, or it's artifice. There is only one kind of democracy that socialists can create, and that is an illiberal one, where the "majority"—I suspect some kind of vanguard in reality—engages, yet once again, in massive experiments in social engineering in an attempt purge people of their nasty habits.

Democratic socialists will no doubt sneer at such an argument, but how could it be otherwise when the self-proclaimed goal of democratic socialists, according to DSA member and Jacobin staff writer Meagan Day, is to "end capitalism." To engage in such a project, however, can lead nowhere else but tyranny.
Capitalism isn't perfect--nothing involving humans ever is--but it's improved humanity more than any other economic system that's ever tried.

It's The Republicans Who Have Moved So Far Right? Uh, No.

Since the mid-90s, the plank of the Republican party has moved towards the center--think gay marriage, for instance--and the Democrats have moved wildly left.  Whenever people think the Republicans have moved to the right, I ask them, "on what issue?"  I can show you an issue where the Democrats have certainly moved to the far left in the past 20 years or so; heck, maybe they've moved crazy left in the past dozen years or so:

President Bill Clinton, 1995

Senator Barack Obama, 2005

I've pointed this out earlier this year, here.  That link includes yet another video, of President Obama, talking about illegal immigration.

What was eminently reasonable just a few years ago, and had been reasonable since the founding of the republic, is now considered wrong/racist/evil/stupid/etc.  It's not Republicans who have changed position here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Opportunity Costs of Socialism

Just published by the President's Council of Economic Advisors:
The Opportunity Costs of Socialism

Janus Wasn't The Apocalypse The Unionistas Feared

How are government worker unions doing in California in this post-Janus world?
California public employee unions can celebrate a little good news in the months since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling that stripped them of millions of dollars in revenue and threatened their influence in the state:

So far, workers are not leaving their unions in high numbers. In fact, some labor organizations are gaining members.

Payroll data from the State Controller’s Office show that the unions representing California state employees have collectively gained members since the Supreme Court in June issued a decision that banned public sector unions from collecting fees from workers who don’t choose to join them.

The 5-4 decision in Janus vs. AFSCME ended a 41-year precedent that had permitted labor organizations to charge so-called “fair share” fees to workers who were covered by their contracts but did not sign up for them. Losing those fees dealt an immediate financial hit to unions and raised the possibility that more workers would opt out of labor organizations.

Instead, state worker unions notched a slight uptick in membership since the ruling, gaining about 300 workers among the 185,000 rank-and-file employees in state government. There are 131,410 dues-paying union members in California state government today, up from 131,102 in June. The numbers do not include university, school or local government employees.

“We had a concerted campaign across the labor movement to really show members the value of their union, and I think we’re seeing the value of that campaign now,” said Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation. “Members aren’t dropping in big numbers as predicted. In fact, were’ seeing more enthusiasm than ever.”
Well, let's be honest.  The unions and their allies in the legislature passed laws giving unions unfettered access to new employees, and they don't let employees know the other side.  That's not "show(ing) members the value of their union" as much as it is "not letting new employees know they have a choice", but whatever.  At least all those union members are volunteers, and the money isn't extorted from them under threat of being fired.

That's all we non-union people ever wanted.  If you like your union, you can keep your union.  I just don't want to be a part of it.

Loyalty Oaths--To Diversity

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act.
--West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943
That quote was written by Robert Jackson in the Court's majority opinion. Jackson was a self-identified Democrat. Democrats and liberals used to believe such sentiments, but they don't anymore.  Here's one more exhibit:
Mathematicians who want tenure at UCLA have to do more than show a facility with numbers. They also have to pledge in writing a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

In fact, all professors applying for a tenure-track position at UCLA must write a statement on their commitment to diversity, showing, for example, their “record of success advising women and minority graduate students,” according to the UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
UCLA is a state university and, if you read the entire linked article, you'll find UCLA isn't the only state university requiring such loyalty oaths.  That's representative of your California government in action.

Monday, October 22, 2018

"Real Socialism" Vs The Fantasy of the Left

Take it from someone who lived it, it ain't all rainbows and unicorn farts:
As a straight, white, Christian, right-wing, middle class male of European extraction I get told to shut up a lot. As you can imagine, this does not at all stop me from speaking out. The white privilege clearly makes me both uncontrollable and insufferable.

But if lived experience is indeed the be-all-end-all that the identarian left considers it to be, there is one area where my lived experience without a doubt shit all over the lived experience of the woke folk. Unlike all those among them who have been born and/or raised in the West and have zero or almost zero experience of living under anything other than a liberal democratic government (which is 99 per cent of them at least), I have lived the first 15 years of my life under the Soviet block-style communism, or “real socialism” as the Party used to call it. I’m not going to pretend that the 1970s and the 80s in Poland were as bloody and traumatic as the Stalinist Russia, Mao’s China or Pol Pot’s Cambodia (as P J O’Rourke who visited Warsaw at that time noted, the communism for most part doesn’t kill you any more, it just bores you to death) but I do know a difference or twenty-two between a totalitarian or authoritarian society and a Western democracy.

So to all the women dressing up in costumes from “Handmaid’s Tale” who think they’re on the brink of living in a misogynist theocracy,

To all those calling themselves “The Resistance”, as if they were the French Maquis or the Polish Home Army shooting collaborators and derailing trains after their country has been brutally occupied by a totalitarian foreign power,

To those who think that America is currently in a grip of fascism and are calling on the military to stage a coup to remove the President (that’s you Rosie O’Donnell, Sarah Silverman, Congressman Steve Cohen and others),

To the celebrities and commentators, from Michael Moore to former security officials like John Brennan, who think the United States is on the brink of dictatorship,

To all those who have compared Trump to Hitler,

(And a special mention of those who really should know better – professional historians of the German and the Russian totalitarianism, like Timothy “Bloodlands” Snyder and Charles “Ordinary Men” Browning, who have been only too happy to – without quite comparing Trump to Hitler – talk about illiberal democracy, authoritarian leadership, and draw parallels between the 1930s Europe and the 2010s America),

you really have no idea, and I mean it with the greatest possible respect. Actually, I don’t. Most of you are supposedly mature, rational adults but you seem to have at best the most superficial knowledge of history and a complete lack of self-awareness, any sense of perspective, and an ability to contextualise. Having spent your lives relatively free of hardship, deprivation and persecution on any remotely comparable scale to people in other, less fortunate corners of the world, you probably get some frisson from believing yourself to be big actors at a critical time in history, the last line of separating civilisation from the descent into new dark ages. You’re free to engage in whatever ideological cosplay you want, but don’t expect others to take you seriously.
"Ideological cosplay".  That's good!

It seems that there are no rainbows or unicorn farts.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

If You Don't Want To Be Called A Mob, Don't Act Like A Mob

A collection of stories of leftist attacks on prominent Republicans
Here’s a reminder that we’ve moved beyond spirited debate within our political culture into rudeness and thuggery. Take a look at the selection of stories about that descent towards anarchy...

Each article involves, directly or indirectly, an elected Republican official, a current or former top member of a GOP administration member, or a candidate for public office.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Invasion Force Heading To The United States

Thousands upon thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, etc., have forced their way into Mexico, intent on forcing their way into the United States.  Video at the link.

Yes, we all know this is an election stunt promoted by the American Left, which is paying some of these people.

Here's a radical thought.  Rather than walking through Mexico, risking whatever privations and physical harm would be inherent in such a venture, why not stand up against your own s***hole governments and make things better in your own countries?  It's clear that you love those countries, given that you're carrying the flags of those countries as you trek towards the United States.

A thought so wacky it just might work.

Do These Ideas Have Traction Today?

Yes, yes they do.  And you can thank the Communists.

Yes, the lefties can laugh at how out-of-date that sounds.  Their ideas are still the children of communism, though:
In a previous post on Suicidalism, I identified some of the most important of the Soviet Union’s memetic weapons. Here is that list again:
  • There is no truth, only competing agendas.
  • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
  • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
  • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
  • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
  • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
  • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
  • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.
As I previously observed, if you trace any of these back far enough, you’ll find a Stalinist intellectual at the bottom. (The last two items on the list, for example, came to us courtesy of Frantz Fanon. The fourth item is the Baran-Wallerstein “world system” thesis.) Most were staples of Soviet propaganda at the same time they were being promoted by “progressives” (read: Marxists and the dupes of Marxists) within the Western intelligentsia...

Indeed, the index of Soviet success is that most of us no longer think of these memes as Communist propaganda. It takes a significant amount of digging and rethinking and remembering, even for a lifelong anti-Communist like myself, to realize that there was a time (within the lifetime of my parents) when all of these ideas would have seemed alien, absurd, and repulsive to most people — at best, the beliefs of a nutty left-wing fringe, and at worst instruments of deliberate subversion intended to destroy the American way of life...

In this context, Jeff Goldstein has written eloquently about perhaps the most long-term dangerous of these memes — the idea that rights inhere not in sovereign individuals but identity groups, and that every identity group (except the “ruling class”) has the right to suppress criticism of itself through political means up to and including violence.
And the Soviet Communists didn't even come up with mocking people for not believing in 17 genders, and compelling people to use incorrect pronouns.

Communists were (and are) a-holes, yet the modern American Left laps up their ideas and jacks those ideas up on steroids.

"Learning" To Eat New Foods

Besides the problems of feeding people food they might not want to eat, and of not telling them what they're eating, I have to believe the cost of kangaroo meat is a bit high to justify this:
A Nebraska superintendent is apologizing for "anxiety and any harm" caused after a school chef served — without disclosing — kangaroo meat to students.

A head cook in the state's Potter-Dix Public School district served up the meat on Oct. 10 as part of a chili dish mixed with meat, superintendent Mike Williams wrote in a letter to parents and students.

The chef, Kevin Frei, used the meat because of its "nutritional value," Williams said. He noted that while the meat was legal to sell and eat, and not "unhealthy or dangerous" — it "has to meet USDA standards in order for companies to sell it" — students should know what's in the food they're eating.

Doesn't Fit The Media Narrative

Somehow, I doubt this will get as much media attention as now-Justice Kavanaugh's accuser got:
Shall we go by the old rules or the new rules? Rep. Jim Renacci’s (R-OH) Senate campaign has highlighted a claim by an anonymous woman that incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) might have sexually harassed or assaulted her in the late 1980s. The Renacci campaign has released a statement from the woman’s attorney, who says the victim has indirect support of her claims....
What is this "indirect support"?
The statement does not provide a date, a location, supporting evidence or identify the woman, but describes her as “a very credible source and a professional woman.”
That's at least as much evidence as Kavanaugh's accuser could make up, so by the Democrats' own rules, Sherrod Brown has to go!
Under the old rules, this would require more than a little skepticism. This woman just so happened to reach out to Renacci’s law partner, huh? To describe a physical assault from 30 years ago just a few weeks before an election, when Brown has been running for statewide and federal offices since 1983, when he first won the Secretary of State position? Stories like these that emerge right before a vote would normally be considered a smear without really solid proof, and for good reason...

Of course, those were the old rules. Under the new rules of the Kavanaughcalypse, the accusation is enough. Who needs substantiation and direct corroboration? Believe the women rather than test the evidence? For Sherrod Brown, those new rules looked pretty tasty just a few days ago....
Will the legacy media have 24 hour wall-to-wall coverage of this?  Uh, no.  No, it will not.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Which Senate Races Are Teachers Unions Focused On

If you want to know what teachers unions are up to, Mike Antonucci is your guy:
Thirty-five Senate seats will be contested this fall, including the addition of special elections in Minnesota and Mississippi, but only a handful of these are really up for grabs. The good news for the teacher unions is that the Democrats need a net gain of only two seats to win a majority. The bad news is — absent an overwhelming Democratic wave — they will have to pick up those seats in very unfriendly territory while keeping all of their own vulnerable seats.

As much as we in the field would like to think that education is a critical issue, it barely makes an appearance in the national consciousness. Only two percent of Americans list it as the nation’s most important problem. “Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership” leads the way with 21%, followed by “Immigration/Illegal aliens” with 16% in the latest monthly Gallup poll...

That leaves eight campaigns where NEA will expend much of its resources and deploy political staff. Four are currently held by Democrats and four by Republicans. All eight are listed as toss-ups in the latest Cook Political Report. Democrats will likely need to win six...

The unions have long been a reliable source of campaign contributions to Democratic candidates, but their real value comes from independent expenditures and get-out-the-vote efforts. That spending comes out of dues money and is not limited to voluntary contributions to the union PAC by members. It will likely run into the tens of millions of dollars.
Click on the link to see which races the unions are sinking money and effort into.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Interventions During School Time

Education can be a stupid business sometimes.  Everyone tries the same failed ideas.

My school's accreditation agency, WASC, is pushing us to have "interventions during school hours".  In a reasonable, rational world, school hours would be for school, and time outside of school hours can be used for myriad other tasks, including seeking extra help from a teacher.  The powers that be, though, whose minds are so open that their brains have fallen out, have decided that expecting students to get extra help outside of school hours is asking too much.  Some kids can't come early or stay after school, they say.  It's not fair.  Poor and minority students are hurt by such expectations.

Their solution?  Offer extra help during school hours.  That's right, boys and girls, we'll have less instructional time so that struggling students can get extra help during the school day.

Does anyone think that cutting instructional time will help students?  No, of course not.  But that's irrelevant.  What's relevant is that poor and minority (read: struggling) students will have time available during the school day to get extra help.  I'll have less time in class to give them extra help, but now I'll have this intervention time.  With a full class of students.  Who aren't all at the same academic level, and who don't all need the same type of help.

In other words, it'll be just like regular class.

My solution?  Give struggling a "study hall"-type class wherein they can get some of their homework done.  With a teacher who might be able to answer their questions.  Every kid doesn't need this intervention period or study hall, only students who are failing several of their courses do.  Why change the entire school schedule when the solution could be targeted at the students who, in theory, would be helped by this particular in-school intervention of study hall?

Because that's not progre-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-sive enough.  It doesn't show poor and minority kids how much we care.  It doesn't make high performing (white and Asian) students pay a penalty for their academic success.  It doesn't "level the playing field".

Do I believe what I just wrote?  Yes, yes I do.

Update:  Maybe cutting instructional time for an intervention class will solve this problem:
An increased number of high school students are unprepared for college coursework as math scores drop to a 14-year low, according to an annual ACT study released Wednesday.

The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2018 found 40 percent of the more than 1.9 million 2018 high school graduates who took the test were meeting math benchmarks. This is down from 41 percent in 2017 and 46 percent in 2012, according to the report.

The ACT is a college entrance exam that tests in math, science and English with an optional writing section and is graded on a scale of 1 to 36. The benchmarks are the minimum scores that a student needs to obtain in each section to be considered college-ready.

The benchmark scores for both math and reading was 22, science a 23 and English at 18, Ed Colby, ACT senior director of media and public relations, said in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The average math score fell to 20.5, according to the report. English also saw a drop from 65 percent of students meeting the minimum score in 2017 to 60 percent in 2018.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Asians Are Considered Minorities--Except In Education

As Instapundit often says, "Asians are the new Jews."  He says that in relation to Asians being discriminated against in Harvard (and other Ivy League schools) admissions.  Eighty years ago it was the Jews who, if merit alone were considered, would be "overrepresented" in the Ivies.  I don't know if Jews would still be overrepresented, but we know that Asians would be.  They aren't "interesting" enough to add diversity at today's universities.  Who says so?  University admissions officers.  That's why Asians have to score even higher than white kids to have the same chance of entry into so many of the nation's top universities.

The current lawsuit against Harvard, though, may not yield the hoped-for results, even if successful:
It is uncertain how the current lawsuit regarding Harvard’s alleged discriminate against Asian applicants will eventually turn out, but the smart money predicts little will change. After all, this is just one of many similar previous lawsuits, and racial preferences survived them all. Nor should we ignore administrative ingenuity in circumventing court orders. At most, Harvard and other elite schools will admit a handful more Asian applicants and hold their tongues in describing these youngsters as boring, plain vanilla dullards who add little to the school’s vital diversity.

The Court’s likely reluctance to flat out ban racial discrimination hardly settles the issue.
It's 2018 and we're still judging people by the color of their skin.  Fifty years after his death, Dr. King would be so disappointed.

Blast From The Past

Back in the late 90s/early 2000's, when all the cool kids were using RealPlayer to listen to music on their computers, I was using WinAmp--which went away in 2013.  But now it will be back:
One of the apps that helped define the 90s is getting a reboot. Winamp, perhaps the most popular way to listen to music on the computer before iTunes, is getting relaunched as an app.

“There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience,” says Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO of Radionomy, the company that bought Winamp in 2014, in an interview with TechCrunch. “You can listen to the MP3s you may have at home, but also to the cloud, to podcasts, to streaming radio stations, to a playlist you perhaps have built.”

Started by software house Nullsoft in 1997, Winamp was built by Justin Frankel while he was attending the University of Utah. Everything about Winamp screamed 90s. Nullsoft was a sarcastic and grunge-y play on Microsoft, and "Winamp" and its llama logo came from outsider musician Wesley Willis' nonsensical declaration that "Winamp really whips the llama's ass!" The program made money on voluntary shareware prompts asking for ten bucks upon opening, which Frankel only put in at the insistence of his parents.

Winamp offered more to its listeners than many competitors at the time. There was an equalizer for getting sound just right, easy to use playlists, visualizers which offered psychedelic images loosely in sync with the music, and heavy customization. Winamp skins became a valuable commodity online. Within a year and a half, the program had 15 million downloads...
It was shelved, then sold to a company that hasn't done much with it.  But now:
The company will be releasing a few updates to 5.8, but Saboundjian is also promising a Winamp 6 by 2019.
It all seemed important at the time.  These days, though, I just use whatever the default player in my operating system is….

Monday, October 15, 2018


I mean, sure, this author is entitled to his opinions.  But his opinions are stupid if he lists Journey's Don't Stop Believin' and Toto's Africa as overrated. 

Come on now.  He's as unhinged as a liberal if he believes that.  Maybe for just thinking that.

From the Reality-based Community/Party of Science

Remember when the Republican in Delaware mentioned witchcraft?  She was hounded mercilessly.  But these banshees?
Facebook blocked 800 sites yesterday because they had politically conservative bent, but this site is fine.  For those of you who have nothing to do Saturday night 10/20, Catland Books which claims it (is) Brooklyn’s premiere occult bookshop & spiritual community space is hosting a ritual to hex Brett Kavanaugh (Brooklyn has more than one occult bookshop & spiritual community space? Ah fuggedaboutit)

According to invite on the event’s Facebook page (see below), 1K witches have committed to the Hexing, and another 10K are interested. Which raises the question, if all those witches show up,  will they all wear black capes and pointed hats? If that happens, it will be challenging to figure out which witch is which. Even worse, if a spell is cast during this event, it will be even more challenging to figure out which witch successfully placed the hex, or in other worlds which witch is the bewitching witch.
Perhaps this is what lefties mean when they say "by any means necessary".

Saturday, October 13, 2018

How Does California Rank?

California used to be known as the Golden State.  People dreamed about coming here.

In steps US News and World Report, hardly a conservative magazine:
Policymakers have implemented a number of regulations over the past half-century to ensure a safe relationship between people and their environment. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates air pollution. Similarly, the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act ensure that states properly dispose of pollutants at treatment plants and that public drinking water meets federal standards.

These laws not only help preserve the nation's natural resources, but they protect the public from harmful toxins and resulting health concerns that affect their quality of life.

In addition to a healthy environment, a person's quality of life is largely a result of their interactions with those around them. Studies show that when people feel socially supported, they experience greater happiness, as well as physical and mental health.

North Dakota and Minnesota are the most effective at promoting their citizens' well-being by providing both a healthy environment and a sense of social connectedness. Other top states include Wisconsin, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Mississippi.
How does oh-so-progressive California rank?
#50 California

Update, 10/15/18:  The weather in San Diego is nice, so California has that going for it.  But what merits that poor ranking above?  Maybe it's something related to this:

Today California is creating a feudalized society characterized by the ultra-rich, a diminishing middle class and a large, rising segment of the population that is in or near poverty.Overall our state state now suffers one of the highest GINI rates — the ratio between the wealthiest and the poorest—among the states, and the inequality is growing faster than in almost any state outside the Northeast, notes liberal economist James Galbraith. The state’s level of inequality now is higher than that of Mexico, and closer to that of Central American banana republics like Guatemala and Honduras than it is to developed states like Canada and Norway.

California, adjusted for costs, has the overall highest poverty rate in the country, according to the United States Census Bureau. A recent United Way study showed that close to one in three of the state’s families are barely able to pay their bills. Overall, 8 million Californians live in poverty, including 2 million children, a number that according to a recent report, has risen since the Great Recession, despite the boom.

I Don't Care About Kanye, But Those Who Used To...

I remember when libs cheered the Kanye West who, on national tv, said "George Bush doesn't care about black people."  He later apologized.

I didn't care about Kanye West then, and I don't care about him now that he's friends with President Trump.  But people who did like him sure don't like that he left the plantation. Look what they're calling him:
This, right here, is exactly why being called a racist has pretty much lost its impact--because the people who usually call others racists constantly, repeatedly, and undeniably show themselves to be the racists.

To borrow a term from psychology, being a liberal means you're constantly projecting.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

You'd Think It Would Be Idiot-proof....

Our Integrated Math 1 students have to take a district benchmark test either this week or next, and I scheduled my school's students to take it this week.  It's given online in one of the zillion software packages that our district people think we teachers have time to learn but don't, and I had a district person out last week to show my department's IM1 teachers how to get to and administer the test.

I'd planned for today to be a dry run--the district types said that of course the kids would know their student ID numbers, would know how to log into Chromebooks, would know their district passwords, etc., but I knew better.  I scheduled "instruction" today--how to log in, how to take the test--with tomorrow being the actual test administration.  After they logged in they could take the practice test.

It took awhile, but eventually today I got all my students logged in and working.  Since it was just the practice test, I told them they could work together, show each other what they've figured out, etc.  Things started running smoothly, which gave me time to look at what I'd done setting up the test.

The kids weren't taking the practice test.  I mistakenly had them taking the actual benchmark test instead.

The best laid plans....

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Public Notices Universities Doing Stupid Things

Public faith in higher education is dropping, according to Gallup:
Gallup finds 48% of U.S. adults expressing "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in higher education this year, down from 57% in 2015. The decline is most evident among Republicans, whose confidence level has fallen by 17 percentage points, but Democrats and independents are also less confident now than they were three years ago...

Higher education has clearly become more politicized in Americans' eyes, consistent with trends in their opinions of the president, preferences on key issues, and trust in certain U.S. institutions. In the case of higher education, many Republicans believe colleges and universities are institutions that promote a liberal political agenda.
Examples here, along with a foretelling:
When taxpayers grow tired of subsidizing these schools because they see higher ed as a political-action tool for one party, we’ll be told it’s because of “anti-intellectualism.”

DNC Chairman Agrees With President Trump

The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.

If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run health care is just the beginning. Democrats are also pushing massive government control of education, private-sector businesses and other major sectors of the U.S. economy.
Call it a Freudian slip at best, an unfortunate encounter with the truth at worst, with a top Democrat saying all the moderates have fled the party...

Speaking on MSNBC, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said “There are no moderate Democrats left…”
When people tell you something that makes themselves look bad, believe them.

We Work With Your Kids, But That Doesn't Make Us Saints

I don't find this hard to believe at all:
A large announcement sign at a middle school in North Carolina was photographed last weekend with the message “FUCK KAVANAUGH” on it, a reference to recently seated US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Blogger A.P. Dillon broke the news after a reader contacted her with an image of the South Charlotte Middle School sign. Dillon then contacted the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District … and was informed that the story was “fake news"...

Eventually, district officials admitted their mistake....
Who you gonna believe, district officials or your own lying eyes?

A Fortuitous Error

I caught a break at school today.

Our district pays for all sophomores and juniors to take the PSAT during school.  I was assigned as a proctor for that test, but no somehow no students were assigned to me!  Being a team player, though, I helped out as much as I could, putting out fires as the testing started.  After about a half an hour of running around, things calmed down, and then I had some time to catch up on work.  Nice!

After testing, classes began--which means that classes were only about 25 min long today.  Still, I was able to get some teaching and learning accomplished.

So what could have been a very crappy day ended up not being horrible, at least for me.  Under the circumstances I'll call it a victory!

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Current Liberal Tropes, and Crushing Them Beneath Your Sandled Feet

Liberals.  Sheesh.

They think President Trump is destroying democratic conventions?

What about discussing packing the Supreme Court?  Sure, put 12 justices on the Court next time you're in power.  The next time Republicans are in power, we'll put 15.  Genius solution, that.

What about suggesting that the Supreme Court is now illegitimate, or radical right-wing, because you don't like a new justice?
WE DON’T HAVE A “RADICAL RIGHT-WING SUPREME COURT,” despite lots of mewing on the left to the contrary. Here are some things that would be at the top of the list for a radical right-wing Court: (1) ban abortion nationwide as a violation of the right to life protected by the due process clause; (2) rule that publicly-provided (but not funded) education is unconstitutional because it inherently involves viewpoint discrimination by the government, or at least require vouchers for those who object to the public school curriculum; (3) overrule an 1898 precedent and completely abolish birthright citizenship; (4) Use the First Amendment as a sword to require “fairness” in the left-dominated media. Not only is the Supreme Court not about to do any of things, I don’t think any of these things would even get one vote on the current Court. Moreover, merely bringing the scope of Congress’s constitutional back to where it was, say, in 1935, which was already much broader than the original meaning of the Commerce power, probably wouldn’t get more than one or two votes. What you are looking at right now is a conservative Court that will only affect society on the margins, not a “radical right-wing” Court.

What about wanting to eliminate the Electoral College because it doesn't give you the results you want?
FUNNY ABOUT THAT: “Just 10 years ago Dems had the House, 60 person filibuster proof majority in the Senate, the WH, and for some reason there was no serious talk about changing the electoral college or about how unfair it is that small states get equal representation in the senate to large states.” link

What about all their violence?  At worst, President Trump says things that make lefties feel bad.  Talk to Congressman Scalise and Senator Paul about actual violence.  There is no one on the right promoting violence as are lefties, including leftie Congressmen and Senate staffers.  I don't hear anyone on the right defending Antifa's actions in Portland.

What about what Hillary Clinton actually said? "The first few seconds of this are key. Hillary says there can be no civility until the Democrats are back in power. That is the language of would-be totalitarians." link

Lefties like to project their own faults onto others.  Don't let them get away with it.

Update, 10/20/18:  seen on social media:

Monday, October 08, 2018


As I was reading this morning, a common theme kept recurring, violence.  First, dating violence:
A recent study has found that Canadian teen boys are more likely to be victims of physical dating violence, a disparity that has been documented — but rarely reported on — by researchers in other English-speaking countries...

Lead researcher Elizabeth Saewyc — a professor at the University of British Columbia —  told PJ Media on Sunday by phone that the difference in victimization is “small but statistically significant.”

For example: In 2003, boys were 2.6 percent more likely to report physical dating violence. In 2008, boys were 2.7 percent more likely to report dating violence. And in 2013, boys were 0.6 percent more likely to report physical violence from their partner.

“While it's a small difference because the overall percentages are fairly small, two or three percentage points might not seem significant. But when you look at that difference over thousands and thousands of high-school kids, it’s huge" Saewyc told PJ Media.

Boys are “50 percent more likely to report physical dating violence” said Saewyc, and that’s “a gap that has been more or less consistent for the last two decades.” While it’s a counterintuitive finding, Saewyc urged readers to put themselves in the place of teens.

"Think about how generally unacceptable for boys and young men to actually haul off and slap a girl. But for girls, there isn't the same social sanction for hitting a guy, whether they're dating or not,” said Saewyc.
It's wrong when guys hit girls, and it's just as wrong the other way around.

I thought Canadians were supposed to be nice and polite!  This guy sure isn't:
Jordan Hunt, the 26-year-old man accused of kicking a pro-life woman on Sunday, has been arrested. Toronto police announced Saturday that not only was he charged in that case, but he was also accused in a separate incident.

Hunt approached people protesting abortions, and began scribbling on their signs and clothing, police says. One of the protesters confronted him, and he allegedly kicked her in the shoulder, police said. In this account, it knocked the phone from her hand. He allegedly then ripped off a ribbon from her, and ran away.

Police said he surrendered to cops on Saturday. Officials didn’t name the alleged victim, but Marie-Claire Bissonnette said that was her. She claimed an unknown man crashed a pro-life demonstration, defaced two signs with markets, and scribbled on several participants. As seen on video, a woman confronts him. He brings up a hypothetical situation in which a 16-year-old girl gets pregnant by rape, and they argue over whether it’s justified for her to get an abortion. She says no, at which point, the man winds up, and apparently kicks her.

“I meant to kick her phone,” he says.
Oh, then it's completely ok.  Sheesh.

Then there's the completely made-up violence which now-Justice Kavanaugh was accused.  He wasn't actually guilty of it, but that doesn't matter to some lefties:
The goal posts on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh moved a little more during a massive anti-Kavanaugh protest outside a Federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. Thursday, organized by the Women's March. According to the group's Twitter account, an FBI report allegedly exonerating Kavanaugh of sexual assault charges is immaterial because it's clear Kavanaugh is "capable" of sexual assault.
Here's their own tweet:  "Kavanaugh was angry, vindictive, and hostile during his testimony about Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations of attempted rape. We fully believe a man this belligerent and entitled is capable of sexual assault."

Used to be that sexual assault was a big deal.  It's such a big deal that the left thought they could make up accusations of it and derail now-Justice Kavanaugh.  If sexual assault, and accusations thereof, are such a big deal, you'd expect righteous anger from someone falsely accused.  That the left expected now-Justice Kavanaugh to just sit there and take it, accept false accusations without any hint of emotion, tells me that they must not think sexual assault is a very big deal.  (Aside:  had he shown no emotion at all, they'd have said that was evidence that he was guilty.  No-win scenario.) 

A comment at the last link above pretty much hits the nail on the head:  "Why is women's anger considered righteous and appropriate and men's anger considered potentially criminal?"  I'm sure the left's answer is "Because shut up."

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Democratic Hypocrisy re: The FBI

This Continues To Happen Partly Because Liberals Are Insane, Partly Because No One Has Had To Pay A Penalty Yet

Lock him up:
The former Democratic congressional staffer who posted personal information about Republican senators online faces nearly 50 years in prison.

Jackson Cosko, a 27-year-old Washington, D.C., resident, was arrested Wednesday by U.S. Capitol Police when he was caught sneaking into the offices of Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., after 10 p.m. Tuesday and using an aide’s computer and log-in.

He was charged with five federal offenses: making public restricted personal information, making threats in interstate commerce, unauthorized access of a government computer, identity theft, and witness tampering...

From August until his arrest, Cosko worked as an unpaid fellow (note:  a fellow is very different from an intern) with the office of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, which said it ended his fellowship and is cooperating in the investigation.

Prior to that, he worked for roughly 17 months as an aide to Hassan and before that was employed by former Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. According to an affidavit, five U.S. senators’ restricted personal information was posted on by Cosko.

The investigation began on Sept. 27 when it was found the Wikipedia pages of three U.S. senators had been edited to include restricted personal information without their knowledge or permission — information that included home addresses and personal telephone numbers.

Three edits took place nearly in parallel with the high-stakes Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 
The only reason to post such information is to encourage harassment, intimidation, and violence.  We used to stand against that in this country, but half of the political divide--that wants power by any means necessary, to use their own term--has decided that hatred and political violence are fair game in pursuing their temper tantrum.  Their lies, and they have been manifest, have failed to gain traction and work--Russian collusion, anyone?--and screaming into the sky doesn't give them the validation they need.

What they should remember is that the violence they are trying to provoke could cause our streets to run red with blood--and it's my side of the political spectrum that has most of the firearms, and the training to use them well.  They think their provocations will continue with impunity, they'd better hope they're right.

Mobs aren't good for anyone.  Even liberals used to believe that.

Update:  Have you no decency at all?  I remember, as recently as the last presidential administration, when a politician's children were supposed to be off limits:
The former aide was reportedly confronted by a staffer after being caught using a computer in Hassan’s office that he “was not authorized to use,” according to Fox News.

According to Capitol Police Captain Jason Bell’s sworn statement, as reported by Fox News, Cosko walked out after being confronted by the witness, who then called police. The witness then reportedly received an email from “” several hours later that said, “If you tell anyone I will leak it all. Emails signal conversations gmails. Senators children’s health information and socials.”
Lock him up.

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Frivolous lawsuits are the worst.  I sometimes think we should have a system whereby if you lose a lawsuit, and the judge or jury thinks your lawsuit was frivolous and/or just out of spite, you should be required to pay the winner's legal bills. 
What was supposed to be one man’s special day at Disney World turned out to be less than magical.

Marc Rubin, 57, who was visiting from New York, had plans to propose to his girlfriend in front of Cinderella’s Castle, but things went awry when he got into an altercation with a park employee who asked he move from the parade route.
Rubin blocks the parade route, is asked to move, cops an attitude, and 3 years later decides to sue?  How about this?
Rubin was escorted to the park’s security office and later arrested and charged. He had planned to propose at the conclusion of the night’s festivities.
Maybe, if you're going to propose to someone, you don't act like as ass.  It's just a suggestion.

Democrats FAILED

I don't "believe the woman", I believe the evidence.  Or lack thereof.

Democrats seriously overplayed their hand.  Their politics of personal destruction failed, and another good justice will soon sit on the Supreme Court.  It shouldn't be too long before Ginsburg is gone, and if that happens soon enough, President Trump will get a 3rd justice.

I wonder if many of the protesters believed what they spouted.  It's just as likely to me that they said whatever they needed to in order to win by any means necessary.  Yes, Judge Kavanaugh paid a heavy price, but he still won.  And they still lost.

And I like knowing that.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Ditch Admissions For A Lottery

If we're going to get rid of any objective standard and just let people into our universities willy-nilly, why go through the charade of an admissions process at all? Why not just have a lottery system?
California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White said Wednesday that he has asked academic leaders to study whether the SAT and ACT are valid predictors of student success, raising hopes that the nation’s largest public university system will ultimately drop standardized test scores as admission requirements.

Several studies have found that the tests do not accurately predict whether students can do well in college. Critics also argue that they place low-income students who can’t afford expensive test prep at a competitive disadvantage. Those concerns have prompted a growing list of more than 1,000 colleges and universities — including the University of Chicago — that have made the tests optional.
I'm not convinced that these tests should predict "student success", as there's a lot that happens to a person between taking such tests as a high school senior and graduating from college.  These tests used to be very strong predictors of academic success freshman year, has that changed?

But it's hard to take the given rationale seriously when you read outright lies like this:
 “We do focus on being inclusive rather than exclusive,” White said after an appearance Wednesday at Cal State Northridge. “There is a lot of evidence that [standardized testing] has a bias against students based on their demographics. There’s no doubt about that."
Really?  No doubt about that?   That's not even close to accurate.  The tests aren't biased against (black and Hispanic) students based on their demographics, the student's preparation, background, education, etc, are biased against them.  Because they're not as well prepared as upper-middle-class white and Asian kids.  It sickens me that I'm paying the salary of someone who pretends to think otherwise--or worse, who actually believes it.