Friday, September 20, 2019

Candace Owens at Hearing on Confronting White Supremacy

This is why conservatives love Candace Owens.  She doesn't cower before liberals, she calls them out on their BS.

Watch the whole thing, it's only 5 minutes long.

In Honor of Today's Climate So-called Strike

From Sarah Hoyt over at Instapundit:
Her link to Victory Girls Blog is hilarious.

This author would like to give some homework to the kids who ditched today:
While it is tempting to think of today’s climate ‘strike’ by schoolchildren around the world as a case of truants finding an ethical excuse to skip lessons, I think many are acting for genuine reasons: they are traumatized. They are the reflection of the hyperbolic coverage of climate change by Al Gore, Hollywood and even, latterly, David Attenborough – films where footage of fires, hurricanes and calving glaciers is stitched together to give the impression of impending doom. How many of these kids know that hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are a natural part of the tropical climate and were going on many millennia before significant man-made carbon emissions? I rather wonder...

Any principal who values his or her students’ education will not turn a blind eye to today’s absences, still less join the kids for a march, as some are reported to be doing.

They will keep them behind after school and set them two papers to research and write. The first should answer the question: ‘Does scientific evidence support the notion that “the Earth is dying”?’...

Paper number two should be on the question: ‘What would it mean for the global economy if governments really did eliminate all carbon emissions by 2025?’ Given that this is the central demand of many of the climate strikers, this is a rather pertinent question.
If you want a preview, his answers are "no" and "disaster".

And then we learn that those bird-killing wind turbines aren't so eco-friendly after all:
While most of a turbine can be recycled or find a second life on another wind farm, researchers estimate the U.S. will have more than 720,000 tons of blade material to dispose of over the next 20 years, a figure that doesn’t include newer, taller, higher-capacity versions...

Van Vleet said 90 percent of a turbine’s parts can be recycled or sold. But the blades, made of a tough but pliable mix of resin and fiberglass—similar to what spaceship parts are made from—are a different story.

“The blades are kind of a dud because they have no value,” he said.

Decommissioned blades are also notoriously difficult and expensive to transport. They can be anywhere from 100 to 300 feet long, and need to be cut up onsite before getting trucked away on specialized equipment—which costs money—to the landfill.

Once there, Van Vleet said, the size of the blades can put landfills in a tough spot.

 “If you’re small utility or municipality and all of a sudden hundreds of blades start coming to your landfill, you don’t want to use up your capacity for your local municipal trash for wind turbine blades,” he said, adding that permits for more landfill space adds another layer of expenses.
Here's the kicker:   “We lose money on every blade we haul.”

It's no wonder so many kids these days have so much anxiety and are suicidal.  They've been fed this diet of hysteria and fear their entire lives--by people who should know better.

The adults who actually believe this stuff, or pretend to believe it despite their actions?  They're Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Climate "Strike"

So some schools and districts are loudly announcing that they will allow students to miss classes tomorrow because an odd teenager from Sweden says we have some climate-related emergency.  Where are the adults?

(By the way, would those same schools trumpet such excused absences for students to attend the March For Life?)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

50 Years of Failed Ecological Predictions

Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today.

None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true.

What follows is a collection of notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science.

More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science.

While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.
Click here to read about the hyperbolic predictions that haven't come to pass.   My favorites are the ones from the 80s and 90s, predicting catastrophes that are already supposed to have happened by now but of course haven't.  1988 and 89 were good years for ecological hysteria.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

So Much For Local Control of Schools

From the major Sacramento newspaper:
Don’t hit the snooze button yet, kids.

A proposal to roll back school start times still needs Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature to become law.

The California Legislature approved – while working into the early hours of Saturday morning – a measure that would prohibit high schools and middle schools from starting before 8:30 and 8:00 a.m., respectively.
Is this really something that should be dictated across the entire state

Every time this issue of start time comes up, I always ask the same questions.  Do they have these problems in Korea, in China, in Finland, in India, in Russia, in Mexico--that kids aren't awake for school?  How is it that farm kids and some athletes (swimming comes to mind as an "early" sport) are able to get up?  If this is so, why do my students, year after year after year, say they would rather come to school earlier and get out earlier if they just can't get up?  How do soldiers, who in many cases are just shortly out of high school, able to get up so early?

And what about after-school athletics?  They're not going to start later, so now athletes will miss more instruction.

Honestly, this start time business seems made up to me.  It's a discipline issue.  Put your damn phones away and get to bed at a reasonable hour.  There, that solves 99% of the problem.  The other 1%, those that really do have some sort of sleeping issue?  We shouldn't compel everyone else in the state to accommodate that 1%.

Update:  For the record, I wouldn't mind working 8:30-3:30 at all.  I just don't think this is a state-level issue, or an issue that needs any correction other than parents' enforcement of just the slightest discipline.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Do They Read Their Own Paperwork?

You've got to love silliness like this:
An upcoming science and technology symposium slated to take place at Williams College promises a unique feature: it will showcase “new” voices in the field, and those voices will only come from scholars of color.

“New Voices in Science and Technology Studies: A C3 Symposium,” set for early November at the private Massachusetts-based liberal arts university, invited scholars to submit papers if they represent a “historically underrepresented group.”

The call for papers specifies that means either “African Americans, Alaska Natives, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.”

Part of the application process asked applicants to write a couple sentences proving themselves as a member of a “historically underrepresented group.”
Sounds typically leftie, correct?
Yet the application also provides an equal employment opportunity statement that people from all backgrounds are welcome.
"Equal opportunity"?  Clearly that phrase does not mean what it obviously means.

Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.  At least on this one topic, lefties are consistent.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Strange Realization

It hit me today.  Some disparate facts in my head came together to create one data point (more than just an anecdote) supporting the "kids aren't doing as well academically today as they did in the past" argument.

Each year our school's counseling office puts out a sign congratulating the students who have been named as National Merit Semifinalists and those who are Commended.  This year our school, which has had a reputation for academic excellence going back decades, has one National Merit Semifinalist.

I went to high school at an average school about 10 miles from where I work.  I've long stated that we weren't really expected to go to college; if we went to college, it would be at the nearby community college.  Those who were great would go to Sac State, and those up in the stratosphere might go to UC Davis.  It wasn't in a rich area at all--still isn't--and while we didn't think of such things at the time, it was certainly "racially diverse".  That it was the highest scoring school in the district on standardized tests wasn't saying much, considering the academic caliber of the other schools in that district.  (Note:  it's no longer the highest scoring school in its district.)  It was a good school, we loved going there.

In my class we had 3 (I'm not exactly sure if there was a 4th or not) National Merit Semifinalists.  And recall, this was from the early 80s tests, before the "recentering" of the tests in 1995 that effectively raised SAT scores because students weren't doing as well as they used to.

So, an at-best-midling school from the early 80s turned out 3 National Merit Semifinalists, and a nationally-ranked upper middle class school from the late 20-teens, with more than 100 more seniors and an easier test, only puts out one?

Yes, I wonder about this.  And I've been doing this long enough now that I, too, see changes leading down very bad paths in education.  And it starts with parents and, in some cases, with their attorneys.  You know there's something wrong when teachers send their kids to private schools in higher percentages than in the public at large.  Our public schools have severe problems, and no one with any muscle is addressing them.  In Sacramento, our state government actually makes things worse.  I hope I can make it another 9 years.

Social Anxiety

I sometimes feel uncomfortable in public.  I'm lousy at small talk, and even with people I know I don't always know how to continue a conversation.  I really dislike crowds.  Oddly, being a teacher in front of a class of teenagers doesn't daunt me at all.

I just read an article by a man who, at 35, was diagnosed with social anxiety and ADHD and was also determined to be on the autism spectrum.  I have no reason to think I have ADHD or measurable autism, but still.... Some of the questions the diagnosing physician asked sort of struck home with me, so I found a couple of online organizations and took their social anxiety quizzes.

One gave me a numerical score:  19/90.  The other just said I have low levels of social anxiety.

So, no social anxiety disorder.  I'm just awkward, I guess.

Why School Buses Are Yellow

Smithsonian Magazine tells us that it's not mandatory, but is by design:
In a 1939 issue of American Childhood, the lyrics to the song, “The Wheels on the Bus,” made their first public appearance. Songwriter Verna Hills composed verses that celebrated the routine of traveling on a bus, closing each with the phrase, “over the city streets.” Likely unbeknownst to her, at that same time 80 years ago, school transportation officials from each and every state gathered in New York to decide what that bus, with its wheels going “’round and ’round” and its horn going “beep beep beep,” would look like.

The brainchild of education expert Frank Cyr, the meeting at Columbia University carried the goal of establishing national construction standards for the American school bus. Two years earlier, Cyr had conducted a ten-state study where he found that children were riding to school in trucks and buses of all different colors, and even horse-drawn wagons, in the case of one Kansas school district he visited. Standardization would solve two problems and simultaneously revolutionize school buses themselves: one, being uniformly one color would make bus travel safer; two, costs to districts would be lower as construction specifications would make it possible for manufacturers to mass-produce buses...

During those seven days of deliberation in the Grace Dodge Room at Columbia Teachers College, Cyr said he hung strips of different paint colors from the wall, in “50 shades ranging from lemon yellow to deep orange-red.” The conference attendees, which included representatives of the bus manufacturing industry, selected a small group to make the final color selection, and the orangish-yellow color they chose has been the industry standard ever since. Initially christened National School Bus Chrome (a reference to the lead-chromate yellow in the original paint), the United States General Services Administration (GSA) now calls the color National School Bus Glossy Yellow, or Color 13432 in the Federal Standard 595a color collection that GSA uses for government procurement. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency that regulates bus safety, states on its website that federal law does not require school buses to be yellow, as “State and local governments establish policy for student transportation, including how buses should be identified.” Instead, NHTSA encourages states to adopt its voluntary guidelines on operational safety, like Guideline 17, which “recommends that school buses be painted ‘National School Bus Glossy Yellow.’”
Who knew?!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

This Shows You What They Really Are

The (certainly unconstitutional) so-called Red Flag Laws that are popping up around the country--why would the gun-grabbers not want to take firearms away from criminal gangs rather than from otherwise law abiding citizens?
House Democrats this week advanced a new measure to encourage states to pass “red flag” laws, known as extreme risk protection orders, that authorize removing guns and ammunition from dangerous individuals.
California will soon allow teachers, neighbors, and co-workers to identify "dangerous individuals", who will then have their 2nd Amendment right removed without due process.  But let's continue.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee amended the measure during a Wednesday mark-up to authorize the federal government to issue extreme risk protection orders in some instances, but they rejected an amendment that would have red-flagged anyone who law enforcement lists as a gang member.

“The majority of violent crime, including gun violence, in the United States is linked to gangs,” Rep. Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican who sponsored the amendment, said Wednesday. “My amendment is quite simple. It would allow the issuance of a red flag order against anyone whose name appears in a gang database if there was probable cause to include that individual in the database.”

Democrats objected with reasons that sounded very familiar to Republicans...

Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California offered to support the amendment if Buck agreed to include those listed “individuals affiliated with white nationalism.”

Buck agreed, but he said the language should include “any type of supremacy.”

“Let’s add Cosa Nostra to this,” Buck added.

The amendment ultimately failed 11-21, but not before the top Republican on the panel, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, called out Democrats for their hypocrisy.  link
Democrats?  Hypocrites?  Say it isn't so.

Thursday, September 12, 2019


California is very close to eliminating the "gig economy":
AB5 puts into law a California Supreme Court decision making it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors. The bill would make those companies classify their workers as employees instead.

Last month, Uber and other app-based businesses that rely on gig workers said they would spend $90 million on a ballot initiative that would exempt them from AB5, if it becomes law.

While the bill's impact on gig economy companies has drawn most of the attention, it would affect a wide array of industries.
Here are some of the issues with this bill:
But on Tuesday, California's State Senate passed a bill that threatens to destroy all that. Assembly Bill 5 (A.B.5) would require companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and more to treat contractors like employees. This would involve offering benefits like sick and vacation days, health insurance, and other "protections" under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Civil Rights Act. Minimum wage, overtime pay, and unemployment insurance would also be involved.

All this can add 30 percent to labor costs, hitting gig employers hard. Yet all this also undermines the basic idea of the gig economy, by trying to pigeonhole flexible gig workers into the traditional employee mold — with set hours, company equipment, and a company workspace...

In the health care sector, doctors, dentists, psychologists, and podiatrists are exempt from A.B. 5, but many other medical professionals — like behavioral therapists and optometrists — are not. Hospitals rely on independent contractors to fill gaps when employees are on leave. These contractors, like gig economy workers, value their independence and autonomy.

Newspapers and other media outlets also use independent contractors to deliver papers to homes and businesses. New language was added to the bill exempting freelance writers and photojournalists from the rules, but only if they send in 35 or fewer submissions to a single publication in a single year. Requiring papers to hire delivery workers as employees could add 30 percent to labor costs, further weakening the viability of local newspapers.

Many of California's 70,000 truck drivers own their own rigs in order to work independently...

Ironically, the bill may also hit franchisers who operate as small business owners. California has 76,000 franchise businesses, and an expert warned that A.B. 5 "would essentially convert these business owners into employees overnight." Anyone who owns a McDonald's or other franchise would become an employee of McDonald's, and so would all their workers. This would require enormous restructuring across various sectors of the economy.

Language translators, youth sports coaches, and some nonprofits have sought exemptions or registered objections to A.B. 5. Said's article also noted that independent musicians, who hire engineers, dancers, background vocalists, and other contract workers, may have to formally employ them under the bill when it becomes law.

Liberals have hailed the bill as an opportunity to give many workers "basic labor rights for the first time," but people do not join Uber or Lyft as contract drivers in pursuit of a 9-5 day job. Organized labor and government-mandated benefits are Kryptonite to the gig economy — and many more contractors.
Another view:
Janitors cleaning downtown office buildings, truckers loading goods at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, construction workers building new homes, manicurists, medical technicians, nightclub strippers and even software coders would be among scores of occupations offered protection against long-documented workplace abuses...

Some 400,000 Californians are estimated to work either part-time or full-time for fast-growing platform-based technology companies, offering an array of services such as rides, food deliveries, household repairs and dog-walking.

App-based companies argue they offer a different employment model — innovative and flexible — and should thus be exempted from AB 5. They say that as contractors, their workers can set their own schedules and work for multiple companies. AB 5 could cost the firms millions of dollars, hindering future profitability...

State officials estimate California loses some $7 billion a year in payroll taxes due to misclassification. Nor do companies pay Social Security or Medicare taxes for contractors.
It's not "misclassification" just because you disagree with it, LA Times.

What does economics tell us is going to happen, both to gig economy jobs and to prices?  Does anyone else think this is driven in large part as a payoff by Democrats to unions?

Update, 9/16/19:  I'm not the only one who thinks it's for unions:
California’s new law aims to force the likes of Uber, Lyft and Postmates to classify workers as employees, not independent contractors. But the main force pushing for the law is organized labor, because these arrangements make unionizing difficult.

Sure, advocates claim the idea is to make companies offer benefits like health insurance and end exemptions from minimum-wage and overtime laws. Yet everyone working as an independent contractor knows the deal before they sign up. They take it because they see other benefits, from the ability to work for many different “bosses” to the power to control their own work schedules.

And the California law already has lots of happy workers worried....

Going the Other Direction

Last night I posted about running into a high school classmate of mine whose son I now teach.  That prompted me to call someone I haven't talked to in several months, my old high school counselor.

He and my former high school principal were both former math teachers, and started teaching in 1957.  My class graduated in 1983--and he can still tell stories about my things that happened with my class.  His memory is exceptional for someone who describes his age as "a few years older than three to the fourth power".

Tonight I learned that he was born in Canada to American parents--and that his first language was German!  As he was going to school during WW2, he learned English pretty quickly.

He's such a good and humble person.  He's mobbed like a rock star when he shows up at our class reunions--and let there be no doubt that he's been invited to every one of them.

If I have only a fraction of the impact on my students that he had on his in 60+ years of working with teenagers, I'll be able to consider myself a success.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Next Generation

We got off work early today.  I came home and got a 2 hour nap before going back to school for--you guessed it--Back To School Night.  I spent the evening reassuring parents that their kids are in good hands.

I didn't pay close attention to one of the parents of a 6th period student, as I had already started chatting with a couple others.  When there was a pause he said, "Darren."  I looked, knew I knew that face, and after about a second it hit me--we went to high school together.  And we have a mutual friend.

We went to high school about 10 miles from where I teach, and there are more than a few high schools between the two schools, so I'm just going to say "It's a small world." 

We took a selfie and sent it to our mutual friend, who lives in Denver.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Today Is World Suicide Prevention Day

When I learned that September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day my first thoughts went to a handwritten sign I once saw in London, secured to a light post on the Westminster Bridge:
It read, "If you are looking for a sign, this is it.  You matter.  You are enough."  We would all do well to remember the wisdom expressed there.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Ship Stuck In (Melting?) Ice

This has happened enough times that either a) God has a sense of humor, or b), He's trying to tell you lefties to get a freakin' clue:
Arctic tours ship MS MALMO with 16 passengers on board got stuck in ice on Sep 3 off Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago, halfway between Norway and North Pole. The ship is on Arctic tour with Climate Change documentary film team, and tourists, concerned with Climate Change and melting Arctic ice. All 16 Climate Change warriors were evacuated by helicopter in challenging conditions, all are safe. 7 crew remains on board, waiting for Coast Guard ship assistance.
a)  God has a sense of humor
b)  He's trying to tell you lefties to get a freakin' clue
c)  all of the above
You know which answer I'm going with!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Growth, or Proficiency?

Why not "and" instead of "or"?  Let all those standardized test statistics be put to some good use and determine if individual students are achieving growth while at the same time showing not sugar-coating the fact that some children are not where they should be academically?  Chavous creates a false dichotomy:
Every student is different and supporting their individual growth is the gateway to achieving proficiency. For example, if a 6th grader is reading on a 3rd or 4th grade level, he or she won’t do well on a 6th grade reading test and we shouldn’t have that expectation of them. It’s nearly impossible to make up that kind of growth in one year. Failing to evaluate students according to where they are, and instead measuring proficiency based on chronological age is unfair to them. Further it pushes teachers to rush students who are behind and disincentives them from helping students achieve mastery of important concepts.
In a classroom, I'm not even sure how practical this suggestion is--which is another reason I support standardized testing, with all its psychometricians and data crunchers.

Who is the author?
Kevin P. Chavous, a former District of Columbia City Council member, is an attorney, author, education reform activist and President of Academics, Policy and Schools for K12 Inc.
Shocking, I know.  Say it with me, "the soft bigotry of low expectations."

Classy Move by Tennessee

The university helped a young child make lemonade out of life's lemons:
The young University of Tennessee fan that was bullied last week for a homemade shirt he wore to his school’s collegiate day was shown an outpouring of support that has since inspired the university to make his design into an official piece of apparel...

“Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was DEVASTATED," she wrote. "I know kids can be cruel, I am aware that it’s not the fanciest sign, BUT this kid used the resources he had available to him to participate in a spirit day.”

The teacher, obviously touched by the student’s attempt, said she was going to get him his own shirt but posted the story to social media to try and get in contact with someone from the university.

Her expectations were surpassed.

Not only did the University of Tennessee send a box full of “swag” - so that the student would never run out of options to show his Vols pride - but they also announced that they would be designing an official school shirt after his own creation.
There is plenty of decency in the world if you look for it.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Pulled In Opposing Directions

When so-called social justice conflicts with the academic mission of our universities:
She repeated the class her sophomore year, and then moved on junior and senior years to Geometry and Algebra II, determined to meet the requirements for admission to the Cal State University system. She was accepted to Cal State Los Angeles, and, last month, Velasquez, 19, became the first in her family to attend college.

“It was difficult,” Velasquez said. “If I had to do four years of math, it would have been more difficult.”

Velasquez is among the students, parents, educators and Los Angeles school board members who are opposed to a proposal by Cal State University to require a fourth year of math, science or other quantitative high school coursework for admission, laying bare a tension between two imperatives in California education.

On the one hand, Cal State is seeking to raise standards and academic preparation for all high school students, especially in math. Yet this objective has become mired in a debate about disparities in educational access and quality that disproportionately harm high school students of color and those from low-income families in the state. Some fear that these students’ access to Cal State will diminish if the proposal is adopted.
Aren't they really just advocating for lower university standards?  Be honest, that's the end result of this.  And then, when more unprepared students are admitted to universities, the same people will wonder why those students have such a difficult time achieving success in the universities.

Unprepared students should be in community colleges beefing up their academic resumés.  And if too many of those unprepared students are of specific racial or ethnic groups, then target those groups for improvement.  When doing so, be sure not to fall into the all-to-simple victimhood trap.

Why are CSUs considering increasing the admissions requirements in math?  Could it possibly have something to do with the number of students who are unprepared to do the math required to earn their degrees?  It's just more evidence that a high school diploma is not much more than a certificate of seat time.

I don't blame the CSUs for wanting better prepared students.  Speaking as a former manufacturing manager I can state categorically that it's difficult to put out a quality product when your raw materials are of inferior quality.

The Reason Is Simple--Feelings

Too many teachers feel instead of think.  That explains why so many fall for bogus theories:
Almost all teachers believe persistent myths about learning, a new survey finds.

More than three-fourths of teachers think that people are either right-brained (creative) or left-brained (analytical), and that those designations affect how they learn. And nearly all teachers endorsed the idea of "learning styles"—meaning that students learn more when their teachers tailor instruction to their individual styles, such as auditory, visual, or kinesthetic.

But research doesn't back up these ideas, said Ulrich Boser, a researcher who leads the firm The Learning Agency and conducted the survey.
So-called learning styles theory has done more damage to more kids than just about anything short of so-called Whole Language (and its cousin, Balanced Literacy) or Fuzzy Math.

The closing was clear:
"Many schools of education don't embrace the cognitive sciences," Boser said.

Yet they have a responsibility to prepare teachers to stay abreast of the current research in the cognitive sciences: "It would be weird if large swathes of American doctors believed in bloodletting," he said.

Joanne Is On A Roll

In two consecutive (but unrelated) posts, Joanne Jacobs addresses some of the difficult issues surrounding problems in education, and addresses them head on.

From yesterday, discussing the importance of parents:
Everyone agrees with that, even the most ardent believers in the transformative power of public schools, writes Stewart. Yet we limit the options of all parents because we’re suspicious that some will make the wrong choices.
But, if our goal is to find solutions to the educational failure that compounds year by year, all logical roads lead back to parents or guardians and their ability to access educational opportunities.

That means school choice (and even the right to choose no school at all), and that scares people to death.

What if they make bad choices and their children suffer for it?
Stewart believes in “parental sovereignty” rooted in “roles, responsibilities and rights.” Talking about parent “engagement, involvement, participation and partnership” implies that “some divine entity (is) graciously loaning decision-making power to parents to raise and educate their children,” he writes. But, “parents don’t need to be empowered. They need to be in power.”
And today, discussing victimhood:
Rejecting personal responsibility, because it’s “blaming the victim,” is not the road to educational equity, writes Rick Hess on Project Forever Free. It’s a dead end that sets students up for failure.
I’m admittedly a simple guy, but the suggestion that it’s unfair to expect certain students and families to manage their part of the social compact seems to me the rankest kind of prejudice. Presuming that some students or parents are such passive victims of circumstance that it’s unfair to expect them to be responsible for their actions is to deny these individuals their agency, and to strip them of their dignity.
...If you’re an eternal victim, with no power to shape your future, why do the homework or show up to class? Why try to make good choices?

It’s not that those who don’t take responsibility aren’t real Americans. They’re not adults.
I'm constantly reminded of President Bush's comment about the "soft bigotry of low expectations."

Army at Michigan

Army has the 2nd longest current winning streak (10 games) in the NCAA.

Michigan is ranked #7.

The line is Michigan by 22 (earlier this week it was 23).

I'd love to see Army play a great game--so great, in fact, that I get to shout the English language's two prettiest words when together, and shout them many times:  Touchdown, Army!

I'm hoping for the biggest upset of the year, but I'm not going to pretend this isn't going to be an uphill battle. 

Update:  Army never trailed until the last seconds, losing 24-21 in 2OT.  The Michigan fans hated the entire game, while we Army fans were excited as heck.  Sure, I'd rather we had won, but I can't feel too upset by this outcome. Go Army!

Thursday, September 05, 2019

A True Hero

I hadn't heard this story before, but was so moved by it that I'm just going to repost the entire Instapundit story here:
Flight #73 originated in Mumbai and was ultimately bound for New York. It was initially carrying 394 passengers, 9 infants, 19 Indian flight attendants and an American pilot and co-pilot.

During a stopover in Karachi, four heavily-armed hijackers—part of the Abu Nidal Organization–stormed the plane. Alerted to the hijacking, the pilot and co-pilot escaped from the cockpit via the Inertial Reel Escape Device, thus leaving the aircraft immobilized on the ground.

Realizing that the plane was pilotless, the hijackers sought out an American passenger, eventually singling out a 29-year-old Californian named Rajesh Kumar. Kumar was ordered to kneel facing the front of the aircraft with his hands behind his head. They threatened to kill him if Pan Am’s negotiators did not send them a flight crew immediately.

Bloodthirsty and dissatisfied with the speed of the negotiators’ response, the chief hijacker shot Kumar in the head and dumped him onto the tarmac. He died before he reached the hospital. Thereafter, they told the negotiators, a passenger would be executed every 15 minutes until a pilot was produced.

The hijackers then turned to purser Neerja Bhanot, who remained calm and collected even when a gun was put to her head. They demanded that she and the flight attendants under her control collect the passports from all passengers. Believing that the hijackers intended to kill the more than 40 Americans on board, she had the flight attendants hide some of the American passports in the seats and dumped the rest of them down the rubbish chute.

For a time, the hijackers considered executing a British national instead, but ultimately did not.
Meanwhile, Bhanot surreptitiously handed a passenger the instructions, hidden in a magazine, for how to open the door and deploy the slide in case the opportunity arose.

The hijackers were stymied. By late evening, the auxiliary power unit shut down, causing all but the emergency lights to come down. At that point, the hijackers tried to set off the explosive belt one of them was wearing. If they’d been successful, they could have blown up everyone on board. Instead, the explosion was rather puny. Immediately, they began shooting their guns and throwing grenades. With bullets ricocheting off the walls, passengers were dying everywhere.

In the bloody melee, Bhanot was able to open one of the aircraft doors. She could have escaped herself, but instead one-by-one she assisted passengers out the door. She died as a result of wounds suffered shielding three children from the hail of bullets.

(The passenger who had been slipped the instructions by Bhanot got his door open too and was able to deploy the slide. So Bhanot gets credit for causing two doors to open.)

Sources differ slightly on the number of dead and injured. I am going with 22 dead, including Bhanot, and 140 injured. Without her, the carnage likely would have been a lot worse.

All four hijackers were arrested, convicted and imprisoned in Pakistan. In late September 2001, Pakistani authorities released the chief hijacker, but he was picked up by American law enforcement authorities shortly thereafter, apparently with the blessing of the Pakistani government. He is currently serving 160 years in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. His fellow terrorists were released in 2008 over the objections of the United States. One was reported dead in a 2010 drone strike, but his death is unconfirmed.

A movie called Neerja was made about Bhanot’s heroism in 2016.  (Unlike most real-life figures portrayed by gorgeous actors or actresses, Neerja Bhanot was drop-dead gorgeous herself. But beautiful or not, she had the right stuff.)

Rest in peace, Neerja.  Americans in particular have reason to thank you.
Heroes come in all flavors.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

If Green Projects Won't Work In California...

If Cali-unicornia isn't Green Project Utopia, no place can be:
California’s mixed record of using public investments and environmental mandates to create “green jobs” raises serious questions about the promises of some Democratic presidential candidates to use economy-transforming investments in environmentally friendly technologies to put millions of people to work.

Many of the initiatives touted by the candidates in their environmental plans are already in place in California, and some of them having been promoted as important engines of job creation. But California stopped counting green jobs in 2013, struggling to separate truly new jobs from existing employment growth...

As California's experience shows, reality doesn't always live up to projections. And while some of the most conservative estimates, like Warren's and Steyer's, appear reasonable based on California’s record, the state’s experience also reveals just how modest — and unimpressive — those goals would be for a 10-year period...

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics stopped tabulating green jobs in 2013, as did California’s Employment Development Department after it found "no discernible evidence that green firms were more likely to create jobs than non-green firms." A 2008 California law required the creation of a "green-collar jobs council" and annual reports to the legislature, but they dropped off in 2010.

"'Green jobs' is a strange and somewhat elusive category," said University of California, Davis economist Dave Rapson...

Overall, though, economists don't subscribe to theories of massive job creation. "The sort of standard economist take on all of this is pretty skeptical," said James Bushnell, another UC Davis economist. "Unless you're in a recession, creating jobs in one sector usually comes at the expense of reduced jobs in another sector." Indeed, California's oil and gas sector shrank by about 6,000 jobs from 2013-18, going from 21,000 to 15,000 jobs, according to state data.

At the least, California's forays into clean energy haven't dampened its juggernaut economy, which rebounded from the recession significantly faster than the national average. "What we know is California's economy has done very well, and we've invested a lot in clean energy," Bushnell said. "I don't know if we're at the point where we can point to causality there. I conclude from that that our investment in clean energy has not hurt the economy. I don't necessarily take it in the direction that it's stimulated growth."
It's an interesting article, I recommend reading the whole thing--while keeping in mind that the source is not considered a conservative mouthpiece.

School Picture for This Year

What a handsome devil!

Tuesday, September 03, 2019


This year I gave up being department chair--and the stipend that went with it.

Last week we got our "statement of earnings" to check for accuracy.  These tell us what credentials we have, where we are on the pay scale, whether or not we get "longevity pay", etc.  We got a small pay raise this year, and I noted that, when all is said and done, I'll be making $150 less this year than I did last year.  Not $150 per month, $150 total.  For the whole year.

I've given up a school and a district meeting each month, plus all the internal hassles that go with being department chair, for about $15 less per month in pay.  So worth it!

I attended a special meeting last week and will be paid about $60 for doing so.  Only $90 left to make up!

Monday, September 02, 2019

Who's Missing?

Curmudgucation pretty much summarizes all professional development in schools.  Here are the presenters:
The Defense Specialist
The Social Issues Specialist
The Data Dumper
The Education Entrepreneur
The Ballsy Tourist
The Sacrificial Lamb
The Lawyer
The Edu-Celebrity
The Flavor of the Month
The Angel of Slow Death
The Bringer of Bad News
The Unfortunate Administrator
The Camp Counselor
Descriptions are at the link.  And yes, I've heard from all these people.

Hat tip to Joanne.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

What Happens When The School Is The Bully?

I'll bet this school and district have anti-bullying measures in place:
A Colorado teen has been told he cannot return to school until authorities hold a “threat assessment hearing” after he went target shooting with his mother.  Nate Evans, a junior at Loveland High School in Loveland, Colorado actually got a visit from police after he posted video of his plinking with his mom Justine according to the Colorado 2nd Amendment group Rally For Our Rights...

Unfortunately, even after police determined that there was nothing nefarious about a mom taking her son out for some firearms training, the school district wasn’t convinced.
Because of a pearl-clutching law, the school can legally do what it's doing--even though the child is no threat to the school and never has been.  Legally, the school could just as easily have taken the complaint, determined the boy presented no threat, and that would have been the end of it.  But no, they had to act like moonbats.  Colorado is rapidly approaching California in lunacy.

A few years ago I had a foreign exchange student from Germany.  Shortly before he returned home, he and I went to a range.  He fired a .22 rifle and a .357 Magnum, and I took video so he could show his friends in Germany.  Then we went to Marie Callender's and had some apple pie.  Had the restaurant not been so full we'd have sung God Bless America (yes, I'm serious).  One wonders how I didn't get fired.

Not Quite The "Screw You" That The Headline Implies

You don't like abortion, don't have one.  I don't like Chick-fil-A, you can't eat there.  Isn't that how it works, lefties?
Following years of demands that the taxpayer-funded institution discriminate against a vendor because of its founders’ religious beliefs, the KU administration actually gave its Chick-fil-A restaurant a better place on campus, The Kansas City Star reports.
Sounds good so far, and then we learn that it wasn't a poke in the eye:
KU’s 10-year contract with Chick-fil-A requires upgrades to its location in the basement of Wescoe Hall, where it’s been for 15 years, that would cost about $2.6 million more than simply moving it to the student union building, a higher-traffic area, a spokesperson told the newspaper.
But there is a fun little twist to the story:
The Sexuality and Gender Diversity Faculty and Staff Council, whose office is near the new location for Chick-fil-A, objected to Chick-fil-A developments in a letter this week to Chancellor Doug Girod, the provost’s office and the athletic department.
Walk by that restaurant every day, see the long lines of students, smell that chicken cooking, and then remember that your politics and pride won't let you have any, you whiny little fascists.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Impact of Ethnic Television on Political Participation

This not what I would expect:

Despite the importance of ethnic television within immigrant communities, its effects on political participation are unclear. On the one hand, ethnic media can mobilize and inform voters. On the other hand, it can serve as a source of diversion and reduce the desire to participate. To evaluate these competing possibilities, we implement a geographic regression discontinuity (GRD) approach involving Federal Communication Commission reception boundaries for Spanish‐language television stations in two states. Additionally, we replicate and unpack our GRD analyses using three nationally representative samples of Latinos. Across multiple studies, we find that access to Spanish‐language television is associated with decreases in turnout, ethnic civic participation, and political knowledge. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings on the ethnic politics, political communication, and social capital literatures.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Democrats Are Not In A Good Place

It's hard to argue with fact:
To counter every signature Trump issue, there is almost no rational alternative advanced. That void helps explain the bizarre, three-year litany of dreaming of impeachment, the emoluments clause, the Logan Act, the 25th Amendment, the Mueller special-counsel investigation, Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti, Trump’s tax returns, White Supremacy!, Recession! — and Lord knows what next.

The subtext of all these Wile E. Coyote all-too-clever efforts at trapping road-runner Trump is not just the wish to abort an elected presidency; they’re offering the heat of hatred rather than the light of a viable political alternative.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Thoughts On Race

Classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society. They are contrary to our constitution and laws.
--Thurgood Marshall on behalf of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1954

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
--Dr. M. L. King, Jr., at the Lincoln Memorial, 1963

Free your mind, and the rest will follow.
Be colorblind, don't be so shallow.
--En Vogue, Free Your Mind, 1992

Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, “I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.” Hear what I’m saying?
--Morgan Freeman, interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, 2005

The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
--Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the Court in Parents Involved, 2007

I don't pretend I don't see a person's skin color any more than their height, their build, or their attractiveness.  What I do believe is that justice should be colorblind, that the law should be colorblind, and that we should treat people in accordance with the Golden Rule--as individuals.  Such a belief is anathema to today's left.

New Scale

Now that I'm interested in losing weight, I've been stepping on my scale again.  It's an old digital scale, and it gives me a different number each time I step on it.  If I step on it 3 times in succession, the difference between the largest and smallest readings could be as much as 10 pounds!  How did I know which number is correct?  I just picked the number in the middle, and moved on.  And when I put that number into my weight loss app, I was told I was in the "moderate" category but very close to the next higher category.

Not trusting the digital scale anymore, I bought an old school spring-and-dial scale.  This new scale consistently weighs me in at about 10 pounds higher than the highest value from the old scale.  I put these numbers into the weight loss app--mildly obese.  My heart sinks.

Update, 8/28/19: I wish I could believe this, but I don't:
For the first time this fall, Princeton University will offer a course examining “the fat body” and how it is viewed by society.

Course texts include literature asserting that it is not actually unhealthy to be overweight, and that medical professionals “mislabel” people as overweight.

Monday, August 26, 2019

England Is Different

I used to say that my heart is American but my soul is British.  Both sides of my family come from all over that blessed isle, and even though it's Europe, I feel at home in England (the only part of Britain I've ever visited).  (Let's not forget that the US Constitution represents the pinnacle of English Enlightenment thought!)

While viewing a video on YouTube yesterday, I noticed a video in the righthand column that looked interesting.  And then another, and another.  Well, there went an hour or more!  Here are some of the ones that entertained me most:

Gramsci Would Be So Proud

Millennials don’t value patriotism, family and religion as passionately as previous generations, according to a new survey.

“The values that Americans say define the national character are changing, as younger generations rate patriotism, religion and having children as less important to them than did young people two decades ago,” Wall Street Journal reporter Chad Day wrote about the results.       link
Of course that's the case.  It's what they're taught in public schools.  And don't think that's not by design, either.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

How Much Has Earth's Temperature Warmed Since 2005?

According to NOAA, not much:
When American climate alarmists claim to have witnessed the effects of global warming, they must be referring to a time beyond 14 years ago. That is because there has been no warming in the United States since at least 2005, according to updated data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)...

The USCRN (U.S. Climate Reference Network) has eliminated the need to rely on, and adjust the data from, outdated temperature stations. Strikingly, as shown in the graph below, USCRN temperature stations show no warming since 2005 when the network went online. If anything, U.S. temperatures are now slightly cooler than they were 14 years ago...

There is also good reason to believe U.S. temperatures have not warmed at all since the 1930s. Raw temperature readings at the preexisting stations indicate temperatures are the same now as 80 years ago. All of the asserted U.S. warming since 1930 is the product of the controversial adjustments made to the raw data. Skeptics point out that as the American population has grown, so has the artificial warming signal generated by growing cities, more asphalt, more automobiles, and more machinery. 
If Barack Obama really thought the oceans were going to rise dramatically, would he have bought a house on Martha's Vineyard?  (Hint:  Martha's Vineyard is a low-lying island.)

Law For Me But Not For Thee?

I wonder if I could legally break the windows of the police car to rescue this dog:
Police in Long Beach, California, are mourning a K9 officer that died apparently of heat-related causes in a department vehicle.

The dog, Ozzy, was found by its handler when both were off-duty about 3:40 p.m. on August 14, the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement.

"This unfortunate incident was not intentional," the statement reads. "Preliminarily, we believe this was an accident and we are taking all the necessary steps to avoid this happening in the future."
It's never intentional, and I wonder if any ordinary citizen would be given such a pass.

Did you know it's legal in California to break a car window to rescue a dog or child?
“California’s new law (AB 797) sets out a measured and reasonable way for citizens to respond to animals trapped in hot cars. In requiring citizens to use ‘no more force to enter the vehicle and remove the animal than … necessary,’ the law encourages a calm and effective response to these emergencies, protecting the animals involved,” he said. “Using as much force as necessary to get the animal out of the hot car — and no more — means that the animal is removed from a deadly environment, while being exposed to as little associated trauma as possible.”

The Three R's

Lots of Americans will vote for these people next year, too:
Long ago when I was young, the fundamental building blocks of education were “the three Rs”: reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Today, for the less-than-edifying Left, the basic brickbats of their 2020 campaign against President Trump also comprise three “Rs”: Russia, racism, and recession.

Tragically, among those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, the most important “R” is missing. That would be reality. Consequently, the cudgels of their “three Rs” campaign likely won’t prevent another four years of the presidency that has been the bane of their existence. If anything, that campaign is likely to boost his reelection chances next year.
From my computer screen to God's ears.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Next Supreme Court Case To Watch

I'm working on finding the name of this case:
American religious schools have gotten a bad deal for centuries, but they’ll finally get their day in court next year. The Supreme Court recently decided to hear a case challenging Montana’s anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment in its next term. The high court could unravel the antireligious bias written into the constitutions of Montana and dozens of other states—and improve the lives of millions of children trapped in underperforming public schools.
I didn't get beyond the Wall Street Journal's paywall, perhaps the name is on the other side.

Update, 8/25/19:  Commenters have identified the case as Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.   

If the Court overturns Blaine Amendments, will states be required to fund religious schools?  I'm sure they could require such schools to participate in state-administered standardized testing, for example, as a condition of getting such funds, so what would be the ultimate impact of such a ruling?  This will be an interesting one to watch--and it'll probably be more interesting in the long-term than just the outcome of this particular case.

Should I Die For Your Beliefs?

 The cost of rabid environmentalism:
"Do Americans Need Air-Conditioning?" a New York Times piece asked in July. Air conditioning, it argued, is bad for the environment and makes us less human. It ran quotes suggesting that, "first world discomfort is a learned behavior", and urging "a certain degree of self-imposed suffering".

If environmentalists ruled the world, air conditioning wouldn’t exist. And there’s a place like that.

90% of American households have air conditioning. As do 86% of South Koreans, 82% of Australians, 60% of Chinese, 16% of Brazilians and Mexicans, 9% of Indonesians and less than 5% of Europeans.

A higher percentage of Indian households have air conditioning than their former British colonial rulers.

Temperatures in Paris hit 108.6 degrees. Desperate Frenchmen dived into the fountains of the City of Lights with their clothes on. Parisian authorities announced that they were deploying heat wave management plan orange, level three, which meant setting up foggers in public parks and distributing heat wave kits. The kits consist of leaflets telling people to go to libraries which have air conditioning.

France24, the country’s state-owned television network, advised people suffering from temperatures rising as high as 110 degrees to take cold showers and stick their feet in saucepans of cold water.

A 2003 heat wave killed 15,000 people in France. And, in response, the authorities have deployed Chalex, a database of vulnerable people who will get a call offering them cooling advice.

The advice consists of taking cold showers and sticking their feet in saucepans of cold water.

Desperate Frenchmen trying to get into any body of water they can have led to a 30% rise in drownings. The dozens of people dead are casualties of the environmentalist hatred of air conditioners.

Only 5% of French households have air conditioning. Even in response to the crisis, the authorities are only deploying temporary air conditioning to kindergartens.

The 2003 heat wave killed 7,000 people in Germany. And, today, only 3% of German households have air conditioning. Germany’s Ministry of the Environment refused to back air conditioning as a response to global warming.

Temperatures in Dusseldorf hit 105 degrees. Officials in Dusseldorf had recently rejected proposals to install air conditioning systems because they’re bad for the environment.

The climate action head at Germany’s Institute for Applied Ecology explained that air conditioning wouldn't work because there's not much wind during heat waves, and the country can't end reliance on coal and run air conditioners at the same time. You can have air conditioners or save the planet.

But not both.

The issue isn’t poverty. in Greece, one of the poorest countries in Europe, 99% of households have air conditioning. What it comes down to is a willingness to choose comfort over environmental dogma.

In Europe, people are dying because they’ve been told that their sacrifices will save the planet.

The 2003 heat wave killed 70,000 people in Europe. That’s more than Islamic terrorists have.

When environmentalists claim that global warming is a greater threat than Islamic terrorism, they’re half-right. Global warming isn’t real, but the measures taken to fight it are killing thousands of people. 
I spent about $9000 replacing my furnace and air conditioner about a year ago and not once have I regretted writing that check.   It gets pretty hot here in the Sacramento Valley--hotter than Paris and Dusseldorf--and I enjoy being moderately comfortable in my own little house.

Regarding the last sentence in this post from last year:  I'd have given anything for some a/c in that hotel!

To Intervene, Or Not To Intervene, That Is The Question

We can't send troops to Hong Kong.  That isn't going to happen.

So how do we help people seeking freedom and self-determination?

What do they think we should do?


Recycling Straws


Just A Reminder About Leftie Violence

Lifted in its entirety from Instapundit because the author nails it:
NEW CIVILITY WATCH: Nancy Pelosi tells 2020 Dems, “You have to be ready to take a punch. And therefore you have to be ready to throw a punch—for the children.”
If Sarah Palin or Donald Trump had said this, it would lead the 6:30 PM news broadcasts. Just think of the media as Democratic Party operatives with bylines to understand how Pelosi can say this with impunity.
Sen. Rand Paul had part of his lung removed this weekend because of damage from 2017 attack.
Actor Jeff Daniels to CBS’s Stephen Colbert: ‘We Need Someone That Can Punch Trump in the Face.’
Ilhan Omar Retweet Suggests Rand Paul Deserved to Be Assaulted.
Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) to 2020 Dems: Don’t Run Away from Trump — ‘Punch Him in the Face.’
Parents cheer as kids bash an ICE agent piñata and throw balls at the painted image of President Trump.
Joe Biden: I Want to ‘Beat the Hell Out of’ President Trump.
Patti LuPone defends violent attack on Rand Paul.
CNN Host Palled Around with, Promoted ICE Firebomber’s Antifa Group.
Leftist Thug Caught on Video Assaulting Conservative Berkeley Student While Fellow Students Laugh.
Journalist Andy Ngo Beaten Up at Portland Antifa Rally.
● John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation and the “political director” for CBS, wrote an article for Slate in 2013 charmingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.”
Bernie Bro James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History.
Posted at 1:44 pm by Ed Driscoll

A Tale of Two Teachers

First, Florida Teacher:
A Florida high school teacher was placed on administrative leave after he told students he'd "be the best school shooter" with a "1,000 person body count."

The incident took place at Lakeland Senior High School, about 45 minutes from Tampa, on August 16 during a lockdown drill, according to a Polk County risk protection order. 
Police interviewed 16 students about the incident. The teacher told students if he were a school shooter he'd plant improvised explosive devices (IEDs), then "fire a couple rounds and wait for everyone to hide, then press a button and boom -- everyone would die," according to student testimony. 
The teacher also said "he would put a bomb in the corner and put nails in it for shrapnel," another student told police...
When interviewed by an officer, the teacher told police he was a former US Marine and that his statements were a joke.
What's the old quote about yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater...? 

Petryshyn moved to Clifton, New Jersey, from Ukraine in 1997 after his family unexpectedly won a green card lottery. Then a sophomore in high school, he learned English within a year of his arrival and graduated in 2000. 
"We didn't have much money," he said. His parents both cleaned for a living, so it felt natural for him to take a custodial job at his American alma mater, Clifton High School, in 2001. 
The work paid for his bachelor's degree, he said: He'd work the night shift from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. and attend classes in the morning. 
"It sounds like a big thing, but once you're in the routine, it just becomes part of your life," he said. "It was worth it." 
He graduated with an elementary school teaching certification. In 2008, he joined another Clifton public school--this time, as a fifth-grade teacher.
Though he loved teaching, Petryshyn noticed the difference he could make for his students and fellow teachers in a leadership position, he said. So he earned his master's degree in educational leadership in 2014, and after interning last year at School 14, he'll begin his administrative role in September. 
What a great story.  Gawd I love this country!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

I Am Not That Teacher

Said in a calm, soft, emotionless tone:
I know you have teachers who will let you goof around in class and not follow directions.  I assure you, I am not that teacher.

I know you have teachers who don't mark you tardy when you come in late to class.  I assure you, I am not that teacher.

I know you have teachers who will let you listen to music on your phones as a way to keep you from disrupting class.  I assure you, I am not that teacher.

I know you have teachers who do not follow through with the penalties they prescribe for misbehavior.  I assure you, I am not that teacher.

Most of you need this class to graduate next June.  I know you have teachers that would give you a courtesy D-, even if you didn't earn it, just so you can graduate.  I assure you, I am not that teacher.
Even if nothing else did, I could tell that last point struck home.

And to underscore the overall theme, I assigned my first Saturday School today--to a student who thought he/she'd get away with using his/her phone in class, an act which I've stated many times has a penalty of Saturday School.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Plastic Recycling

About a month ago I posted about the religious manner in which we separate plastics for recycling--except they're not necessarily being recycled.  If you didn't like the source of that of the information in that post, maybe you'll believe NPR:
When the council took up the proposed recycling ordinance, the vote was close, but Sanderson won. It was 1980, and Woodbury became a pioneer in recycling. The city claims to be the first in the United States to adopt a mandatory curbside recycling program.

Woodbury even started making money by selling its trash to companies that would recycle it.

That was nearly 40 years ago. More and more, that scenario has flipped: Communities are now having to pay to get rid of their rubbish. It's happening in Woodbury and in places all over the country...

Now plastic has become the biggest thorn in the side of the recycling industry and one for which taxpayers are more often footing the bill...

Materials recovery facilities in the U.S. used to sell a lot of plastic waste to China, which was willing to sort through it. But the nonrecyclables ended up making a huge mess both on land and in the ocean. So last year, China stopped buying most of it, and now materials recovery facilities in the U.S. are left holding the bag, literally...

According to the recycling industry, only about 9% of plastic waste in the U.S. gets recycled every year (and probably less now, since China is no longer importing as much of it).

Meanwhile, it's nearly as cheap for towns like Woodbury just to dump plastic waste into landfills as it is to send plastic waste off for recycling.
But we'll keep paying extra for a second garbage truck to come pick up the so-called recycling bin--because we have to, because someone else has a religious belief that in doing so we're "saving the environment".

Something New Under The Sun

Last week I started my 23rd year of teaching.  Today was the first day in those 22+ years that I can recall a fight occurring in my class.

It's such low-class behavior.

Fortunately the new, mellower me didn't overreact, and after the students were removed from class I was able to return the class to normal rather quickly.  Yes, they really wanted to go nuts and talk about it and do anything but classwork, but I'm not there to run a gossip factory.  Moments later everyone was back at work.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Global Temperature

Just today I taught my statistics students that certain values, if they exist, are fluid--what is the average height of the adult American woman, for example?  Every day women die, others turn 18, others become Americans, etc., so every day that number fluctuates (no doubt somewhere several decimal places beyond the decimal).  It's not a static number.

It never occurred to me to think about a "global temperature", but the authors of this editorial did:
The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is quite certain Earth will be in trouble if the global temperature exceeds pre-industrial levels by 1.5 degrees Celsius or more. But how can anyone know? According to university research, “global temperature” is a meaningless concept.

“Discussions on global warming often refer to ‘global temperature.’ Yet the concept is thermodynamically as well as mathematically an impossibility,” says Science Daily, paraphrasing Bjarne Andresen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, one of three authors of a paper questioning the “validity of a ‘global temperature'"...

But a “temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system,” says Andresen. The climate is not regulated by a single temperature. Instead, “differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate”.

While it’s “possible to treat temperature statistically locally,” says Science Daily, “it is meaningless to talk about a global temperature for Earth. The globe consists of a huge number of components which one cannot just add up and average. That would correspond to calculating the average phone number in the phone book. That is meaningless.”
It's not a long editorial, I'd encourage you to read the whole thing.

Horny Bugs

We have these red and black flying bugs all over our campus.  I understand they're native to the area, but I grew up less than 10 miles from the school at which I now teach and don't recall ever seeing such bugs in my youth.  Maybe it has to do with the school's proximity to the river, I don't know.  They're not a plague of locusts, but they're pretty gross.  They're like skinny red and black flying beetles--and when they land on you, it takes more than a wave of the hand to get them off you.  Someone darn near has to flick them off.

If I haven't been clear, they're pretty gross.

And they're horny as heck.  When you see them on the ground, as often as not there are two of them end to end, fornicating like there's no tomorrow.

There were several wandering about my classroom today, all in one area, so I asked my custodian if he had something we could spray.  He informed me that we're legally not allowed to use any such sprays, as poisons and toxins and children don't mix.  He has a eucalyptus-smelling spray that is supposed to deter bugs, but that's the extent of what we can do.  He did offer, though, to sweep them out of the room for me.

He also told me he won't be around much longer.  He doesn't like doing what he's doing, so he's going to move on to greener pastures.  It's not the darkest of secrets, but he's not going around telling everyone he's leaving.  He also shared that he appreciated the work I do to keep my room clean--no eating in class, no drinks but water--because he's tired of cleaning up soft drink spills and food.  Actually, that's something every custodian who's ever cleaned my classrooms, going back to Miss Ginny in 1997, has told me--they all appreciated cleaning my room because I make it easy for them to do so.

So soon I'll have a new custodian.  And the only reason I know about it is because of those darned horny bugs.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Chicken Little

Liberals are liars.  They just are.

If they weren't, no one would ever listen to one because their ideas are so stupid.

Update, 8/19/19:

Friday, August 16, 2019

2 Days Down

I've made it through the first two days of school.  I've taken on a course (2 periods of it) in which, currently, mostly low-performing students are enrolled, and people keep asking me how those two classes are.  It's still the honeymoon period--ask me next Friday!

For the first time in a very long time I'll have a special education aide working with me in one of those two classes.  We've both eaten lunch in the same staff lounge for years now so we know each other quite well, and based on the conversations we've had the last couple of days I'm quite looking forward to working with her.  I'm sure she'll be a big help to both me and the students!

I'm teaching a new curriculum in those two classes and it's very "presentation-centric".  My computer, 2nd monitor, and tv all talk to each other now that I've replaced an adapter, so I'm hopeful that the technology infrastructure will allow me to teach with few hiccups.  Not having taught this curriculum before, I'm going to go into work for a couple hours on Sunday so that Monday goes smoothly.  I don't want to screw up my first day of actual instruction!

For now, though, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my evening.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Double Standard

Is it wrong to criticize people for their weight?  I remember the left's howls of indignation when certain people (certainly not presidential candidates) suggested Hillary Clinton had fat ankles and thighs.  Here?  Crickets.

The Quality of Schools Has Gone Down Over The Years

This post about one school in particular doesn't surprise me at all, and I won't deny seeing some of what the author describes:

As a semi-retired business writer who taught in Detroit 35 years ago, I returned to the classroom because a local high school was unable to replace a Latin teacher who had resigned. I hold an advanced degree in medieval studies and renewed my certification to teach Latin, history, and social studies. Once in class, I witnessed firsthand the politicized atmosphere of today’s factory-style government-monopoly schools.

My first exposure to school politics came when I renewed my certification. The 1982 certificate only listed the courses I could teach. In contrast, the 2018 version had a 300-word “Code of Ethics” that amounted to a profession of faith in collectivism, egalitarianism, state schools, and diversity (typically limited to superficial things like skin color and gender, not ideas). Nonetheless, I proceeded, thinking that I couldn’t possibly make matters worse. That much was correct.

Grosse Pointe South High School is architecturally interesting, sits in a higher-income community, and is considered a good school by locals.

After an interview and teaching a few “test” classes to first- and second-year students, I was hired. Within a few days, however, it was clear that many students did not understand English grammar, much less Latin fundamentals. In response, I taught remedial grammar and outlined how students could pass my course with a “C” or “D.” There were some excellent students, but test scores were not distributed in a bell-shaped curve. It was an “inverted” bell, or bimodal distribution – with scores clumped at the two extremes.

Poor preparation, however, was only the tip of the iceberg. Students did not bring books to class, relentlessly complained about homework, and expected high grades regardless of proficiency. And when I asked questions, I uncovered some alarming facts:

  • Latin was a dumping ground for students who already had failed another language; “picking up a few phrases” was the goal.
  • Many teachers expected little but awarded high grades.
  • Students were subjected to parental pressure to obtain good grades regardless of performance.
  • A department head had been demoted for teaching at a pre-college level and refusing to lower his standards.
  • Senior teachers were dropping out in disgust; younger teachers had no choice but to accept the situation.
  • Under parental pressure, the principal was establishing a process to prevent students from having to take more than one test on the same day. College prep?

In short, the school embraced grade inflation, propelled by the following dynamic:

  • Parents of high-performing students are “satisfied customers.” Their kids study and bring home good grades, so they think they are getting their money’s worth from high taxes. But they don’t know that there is no correlation between per-pupil spending and student performance. And they never complain.
  • Parents of low-performing students also want good “results.” They hear their children’s tales of woe and complain constantly.
Read the whole thing.

Road of the Future?

Five years ago I included in a post a video about solar roadways.  I thought it looked cool and took a wait-and-see attitude as to practicality.  We now have a data point:
Solar roads were promised to be one of the biggest unprecedented revolutions of our time, not just in the field of renewable energy but in the energy sector generally. 

Covering 2,800 square meters, Normandy's solar road was the first in the world, inaugurated in 2016, in Tourouvre-au-Perche, France. 

Despite the hype surrounding solar roads, two years after this one was introduced as a trial, the project has turned out to be a colossal failure — it's neither efficient nor profitable, according to a report by Le Monde
Are there any such roads living up to the hype?