Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Leftism Is Inherently Violent

Remember when Congresswoman Giffords was shot, and everyone was supposed to be civil and not use martial language and imagery?  Was all that forgotten, was it just another fake for the rubes, or are these people merely engaging in the violence inherent in leftism?
VIOLENT, HATEFUL RHETORIC: 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 piƱata 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 Milkshaked 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.”
Related: Bernie Bro James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History. And additional examples of leftist violence and eliminationist rhetoric at the link.
Remember, it's Republicans who are destroying our nation's democratic norms, and President Trump who's a Neanderthal.

The snip above was copied in its entirety from Instapundit at the link given.

Remember The $100 Laptop Project?

While looking up information for another blog post I came across this post from my first year of blogging (2005). 

Seven years later I wrote this post, stating:
Also known as the "$100 laptop" program, I wrote about it several times (here are a couple) in the past.  And then it disappeared, as I knew it would.  It was one of those nice, touchy-feely ideas that was doomed to failure in part because it wasn't completely thought out, but it made people feel good for awhile to believe in it.
I was right on this one.

Math Curriculum Company Sues Parent For Defamation

This should be a fun one to watch at trial:
The company behind a controversial math curriculum being used in Wake County public schools has filed a lawsuit against a Cary parent, accusing him of "libel and slander" and "tortious interference with business relations" after he criticized the program.

An attorney for the Utah-based Mathematics Vision Project, or MVP, said the company decided to sue parent Blain Dillard after he made "false statements" about the company. Dillard says he is "innocent of all allegations and can defend each and every point made in the summons"...

The lawsuit claims Dillard "commenced a crusade against MVP" and “acted with reckless disregard” as he knowingly made false and defamatory statements with the intent to harm MVP's reputation. The company wants a jury trial and is seeking damages for Dillard’s "defamatory statements" and "intentional interference" with the company’s business.
I admit to knowing no specifics at all, but on its face this seems like Goliath trying to stomp David.
In an email Tuesday, Dillard said MVP's lawsuit "is an attempt at intimidation and bullying to silence my and other parents' free speech advocating for our children's education." Dillard's supporters have created a GoFundMe page to raise money for his defense against MVP.
I've long believed that we should have sort of a "loser pays" system in our courts.  If you sue someone and lose, and the judge/jury finds your case so weak that the most logical conclusion is that you attempted to use your lawsuit and the court's time as merely a means to harass the respondent, then the judge/jury would have the option of requiring you to pay the respondent's legal fees.  I have to believe that such a Sword of Damocles would stop many unnecessary lawsuits.  I don't know if this is one of those lawsuits or not--I hope to learn the outcome of this case.

UMich Opens a "Social Justice-Themed" High School

In a stunning rebuke to Stanford University, the Ravenswood City School District Board of Trustees Thursday voted to shut down a Stanford-run charter elementary school at the end of the school year, citing poor academic performance...

(Superintendent) De La Vega cited poor results on state tests, and said visitors to the school site had observed serious problems with classroom behavior management. She said the school's current program was inadequate and that Stanford was unlikely to be able to improve it sufficiently.
How is the education establishment going to react to this?  Charter schools, which they hate, run by state universities, which they love, being recommended to be shut down, which they love, by an organization, which they hate, that supports charter schools, which they hate:

The California Charter Schools Association called Thursday for the closure of a West Sacramento charter school that is run by UC Davis, Sacramento City College and the Washington Unified School District...
No matter how you look at it, though, the performance of the students at this school is among the worst in the state.  It ranks in the bottom 15 schools in a 4-county region.  They may be doing wonderful things at that school, but there's no empirical evidence for such a belief.
Running a charter school is harder than the United Federation of Teachers thought. The New York City union will close its failing charter school’s elementary and middle school, but ask for authority to continue its high school.

“When the school opened in 2005, then-UFT President Randi Weingarten said its success would demonstrate that unions could play a starring role in efforts to improve the school system,” write Geoff Decker and Sarah Darville on Chalkbeat NY. Weingarten also hoped to show that a union contract was not an “impediment to success.”

The UFT Charter School has been one of the lowest-performing charters in the city.
The University of Michigan is opening a “social justice-themed” high school in partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) in the fall.

The School at Marygrove will focus on social justice and engineering, according to The Michigan Daily.

DPSCD spokeswoman Chrystal Wilson said that the "social justice-themed" School at Marygrove “has been designed to develop critical thinkers and community-minded citizens who have the skills and knowledge to be makers and leaders creating a more just and equitable future,” reported the Michigan Daily.

The university has assisted the school district in picking teachers and creating curriculum.
Michigan stands a chance of doing better than the other three schools I mentioned because, based on the following quote, I don't get the sense that Michigan's school is designed to help disadvantaged students:
According to Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, 97 percent of accepted students are Detroit residents, half of whom are returning to DPSCD after leaving for suburban districts or charter schools. He also noted 75 percent of the accepted students live within two miles of the Marygrove campus.
Marygrove is a college campus on which the new high school will be housed. 

BTW, justice doesn't need a modifier.  If you're preaching social justice, we all know you're focusing on the social and not the justice.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Leaders Are Supposed To Set The Example

Since they're not setting the example, they're not good leaders.  Then what are they?
The world’s rich and famous have flocked to a posh Italian resort to talk about saving Mother Earth — but they sure are punishing her in the process.

The billionaire creators of Google have invited a who’s who of A-list names— including former President Barack Obama, Prince Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry — to the Sicilian seaside for a mega-party they’ve dubbed Google Camp.

The three-day event will focus on fighting climate change — though it’s unknown how much time the attendees will spend discussing their own effect on the environment, such as the scores of private jets they arrived in and the mega yachts many have been staying on...

Many of the guests, including Obama and DiCaprio — who has his own climate change foundation — have described global warming as the biggest threat to future generations.

But according to Italian press reports, the attendees were expected to show up in 114 private jets, and 40 had arrived by Sunday.

The Post crunched the numbers and found that 114 flights from Los Angeles to Palermo, Italy, where Camp guests landed, would spew an estimated 100,000 kilograms of CO2 into the air.
As the Instapundit says so often, I'll believe it's a crisis when the people who tell me it's a crisis act like it's a crisis.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Graduation Requirements Arms Race

Here are California's high school graduation requirements:
It's odd that that page was "last reviewed: Monday, April 15, 2019" when, below what I snipped above, there's reference to the long-defunct High School Exit Exam, but I'll just look the other way on that.

These are the state's graduation requirements.  Yet, every district in the state, and some individual schools, tack on additional requirements.  My district recently increased its graduation requirements because other local districts had "higher standards"--and we can't let others have higher standards than we have, it just looks bad!

In order to meet these higher standards, as well as to acknowledge that some students fail a class or two in their 4 years, my school is looking at switching to a block schedule of 4 courses each semester rather than 6 courses all year.  Those 2 extra courses a year give students an opportunity to take more classes and/or repeat failed classes and still graduate on time.  We're going to change the entire way our academic program runs because our school board wanted to keep up with the Joneses.

In fact, our new graduation requirements look strikingly similar to the "UC Requirements for Freshman Admission" in the graphic above.  Seriously, does anyone truly believe that the graduation requirements for high school should be flagship university entrance requirements?  It's ridiculous on its face.

When this change takes place, students will take 8 courses a year instead of 6, cutting instructional time per course down 25%.  Time is a zero-sum game, so courses will of necessity need to be watered down.  Oh, we don't say that, we say that we'll "focus on key standards" and ensure students master those--then we can get to the remaining content standards, which of course we'll never do.  So our district leadership can hold their chins up and out and claimed that they've "increased standards" while at the same time the rigor of our courses will drop precipitously.  They will be able to bear being seen in the company of leadership from other local districts.

Do you wonder why high school is getting more academic and less practical, while at the same time students are less prepared for university coursework?  Hmmm.

Update:  Keep in mind that teachers and district administrators, and maybe even school board members, have college degrees, and the following makes sense and explains why my district is seeking to make students' high school experience more and more academic:
The presumptions that underpin our present scramble for diplomas are as follows: that it would be a good thing if more people went to college; that going to college is the best — or perhaps the only — way to get ahead in life, leading, as it supposedly does, to automatic improvement of one’s lot; that, irrespective of what it does to the job market and to productivity, our society is materially improved by having more people with paper degrees in their possession; and that, in consequence of all of these things, it represents a major scandal that people who wish to educate themselves further are obliged to pay to do so. Alongside these presumptions are a set of implications that, while rarely acknowledged openly, are present nevertheless: that those who do not go to college have in some way failed — or that they have been failed; that every time a person declines to attend college, he is making America a little stupider on aggregate; and, by extension, that people who lack college degrees but nevertheless are successful are not demonstrating an alternative way of living their lives so much as muddling through as best they can absent vital instruction from their superiors.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

UC's New McCarthyism

This type of corruption is expected when you recall that President Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is president of the University of California:
California had its own version of McCarthyism, as it came to be known. The Legislature created a Committee on Un-American Activities and in 1950 enacted the Levering Act, requiring all state employees to sign “loyalty oaths.”

It was specifically aimed at the University of California’s faculty, and 31 tenured professors were fired for refusing to sign it.

The state was unconstitutionally imposing “a political test for employment,” as the California State Federation of Teachers said at the time. And after much legal wrangling, the state Supreme Court voted 6-1 in 1967 to declare the Levering Act unconstitutional.

Although UC’s Board of Regents officially declares that “No political test shall ever be considered in the appointment and promotion of any faculty member or employee,” a new UC policy seems to be doing exactly that.

As part of its “commitment to diversity and excellence,” UC’s administrators are telling recruiters for faculty positions, as one directive puts it, to take “pro-active steps to seek out candidates committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

To enforce that dictum, UC also requires applicants for new faculty employment and promotions to submit “diversity statements” that will be scored “with rubrics provided by Academic Affairs and require applicants to achieve a scoring cutoff to be considered.”

The academic affairs department at UC-Davis says that diversity statements from tenure-track faculty applicants should have “an accomplished track record…of teaching, research or service activities addressing the needs of African-American, Latino, Chicano, Hispanic and Native American students or communities.” Their statements must “indicate awareness” of those communities and “the negative consequences of underutilization” and “provide a clearly articulated vision” of how their work at UC-Davis would advance diversity policies...

While Flier (former head of the Harvard Medical School) sees the new policy as “far from the loyalty oaths deployed at the University of California during the McCarthy era,” he adds: “It’s not unreasonable to be concerned that politically influenced attestations might begin to re-emerge in the current hyperpartisan political environment, either in response to politically driven demands for faculty to support populist or nationalist ideas, or from within the increasingly polarized academy itself. Since progressive/left identifications are dominant in the academy, especially in the humanities and social sciences (as well as in administration), politically influenced litmus tests could easily arise in that sphere.” 
I have no doubt that lefties will leftsplain :-) why the former oaths were bad but the new oaths are good.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Gender Gap Explained?

This is very interesting:
The study authors, economists Thomas Breda of the Paris School of Economics and Clotilde Napp of the French National Center for Scientific Research, came to this conclusion by analyzing survey data from 300,000 high school students in 64 countries around the world.

“We tried to understand the reasons why we observe so much segregation between girls and boys in terms of fields of study,” Breda said.

They found that among the students who were better at math than at reading, 68% were boys and 32% were girls. On the flip side, among the students who were better at reading than at math, 68% were girls and 32% were boys.

This gender gap could explain why boys are more likely than girls to take the kinds of classes that lead to careers in the so-called STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math, the researchers reported...

The researchers found that on the whole, boys had a stronger attraction to math classes than girls did. For instance, the proportion of boys who said they wanted to take more math classes instead of more reading classes was nearly 8 percentage points higher than it was for girls. In addition, the proportion of boys who said they intended to “study harder” in math than in reading was almost 6 percentage points higher than it was for girls...

Then the researchers decided to compare each student’s math skills with his or her reading skills. Here, the gender difference was more stark. In looking across the 64 countries, they saw that 59% of boys were better at math than at reading, and that 74% of girls were better at reading than at math, Breda said.

This difference could explain 78% of the gender gap in students’ intent to take more math classes in the future, the economist found.
So the theory is that girls go for "words" classes more because they're better at "words" than they are at "numbers", even if they're very good at "numbers".  Interesting.

I Am Not Yet Tired Of All The Winning

Travel ban:  Trump
Collusion narrative:  Trump
Supreme Court Justices:  Trump
Border Wall:  Trump
The Supreme Court Friday night on a 5 to 4 vote revived the Trump administration’s plan to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to build part of the wall project along the southern border.

The court’s conservatives set aside a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruling for the Sierra Club and a coalition of border communities that said a reallocation of the Defense Department money would violate federal law.

The unsigned ruling by the Supreme Court said the government “made a sufficient showing at this stage” the groups did not have proper standing to challenge transfer of money.
I just smile at the libs, whose heads at this point must be exploding :-)

Crying Wolf

When you keep saying something is going to happen, shouldn't you be right at least once in awhile if you want people to believe you?  Yet, libs (profess to) believe in the Church of Global Warming:
MIGHT AS WELL START SMOKING AGAIN AND HAVE LOTS OF UNPROTECTED SEX: We don’t have 12 years to save the climate. We have 14 months.
Where’s the press after a century of bad climate predictions?
Al Gore’s 10 Global Warming Predictions, 13 Years Later — None Happened!
Climate Alarmists Have Been Wrong About Virtually Everything.
Yeah, but this time…

Heed The Words of a Wise Vegetarian

Bjorn Lomborg, whom I've written about so many times, is my favorite gay leftist Danish vegetarian:
Around the world, we’re being told to stop eating meat. Headlines, think tanks and activists all ask us to change our diet to combat climate change. 

The Washington D.C.-based World Resource Institute suggests that resource management will require Americans to cut their average consumption of beef by about 40%, and scientists from Manchester University just claimed that “a typical summer barbecue for four people releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than an 80 mile car journey." One of the professors points out that “the production of a 100g medium-sized beef burger releases enough greenhouses gases to fill more than 60 balloons.”

The scientists propose a solution: we all need to replace our burgers with “veggie sausages,” swap the cheese for half an onion and replace the butter with “vegetable spread”. Voila: half the emissions. 

I’m a vegetarian myself for ethical reasons, but the climate scientists’ barbecue prescription leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth — and it is not just the vegetable spread...

In a first world setting, the reality is that going entirely vegetarian for the rest of your life means you reduce your emissions by about 2%, according to a study of the environmental impact of Swedish vegetarians...

Going vegetarian can help a little bit, but it's both an unrealistic and inefficient policy to push on people across the world. We should focus on research to develop cleaner, maybe artificial, meat and cheaper clean energy. And while we do so, we can have our summer barbecues without being told they destroy the planet.  link
Nothing is worth giving up that barbecue bacon burger I had a couple nights ago!

When Did Donald Trump Become A Racist?

Must've been some time after 1986, when he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor:

Must've been some time after 1996, when he appeared in this cameo:

There sure have been a lot of actors, actresses, directors, and networks who were more than happy to be seen with him on screen.  Were they OK with being seen with a racist, or did they not consider him a racist?  What about all that time on The Apprentice?

My guess is that he became a racist around, when, 2015/2016?  Perhaps you libs can enlighten me.

Update, 7/28/19:

Update, 8/17/19:  Spike Lee hangs out with a known racist?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

What Is The Fix For CalSTRS?

In order to get the same retirement I've always been promised, the state, the school district, and I are all kicking in more money to the State Teachers Retirement System, CalSTRS. It's not enough:
CalSTRS just missed its target rate for annual investment returns, recording 6.8 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, according to a Tuesday news release.

The rate fell short of the $237 billion fund’s annual target of 7 percent, according to the release.

“It was a roller coaster year and a very challenging environment in which to generate returns,” said California State Teachers’ Retirement System Chief Investment Officer Christopher J. Ailman. “Thanks to the in-house expertise of our investment team, we were able to come very close to our assumed rate of return despite the instability of the market.”
What "instability of the market"?
Returns for both funds suffered amid a stock market slump in late 2018 and then climbed steadily through the first half of this year. 
Most of us call that "normal".  If the market went up all the time, there wouldn't be much risk, would there?  We wouldn't need all that "in-house expertise of our investment team", would we?
The fund is about 64 percent funded, according to the release, meaning it has 64 percent of what it would need to pay all current and future obligations to retirees.

The fund has a plan to increase the funded status to 100 percent by 2046. Teachers’ contributions increased from 2014 through 2018, and they now contribute just over 10 percent of their pay toward their pensions. School districts contribute about 18 percent. Districts’ rate will increase to about 19 percent next year and then drop back down to 18.2 percent, according to CalSTRS projections.
Anyone betting on 2046? I'll have been retired for 18 years by then.

Rhetorical Techniques

I enjoyed these videos.

Ronald Reagan:

Ben Shapiro:

Jordan Peterson:

Who's Shooting Who?

(With apologies to Aretha Franklin.  Don't get the pun?  Click here.)

This doesn't surprise me, but it'll be denied or forgotten anyway:
White police officers are not more likely to shoot minorities than their non-white counterparts, according to a new study.

“If anything, black officers are more likely to shoot black citizens,” Dr. Joseph Cesario, co-author and professor of psychology at Michigan State University, wrote in the report. “But this is because black officers are drawn from the same population that they police. So, the more black citizens there are in a community, the more black police officers there are.”

The “systematic nationwide study” from MSU and University of Maryland — described as the first of its kind — debunks the commonly-held belief that white police officers unfairly target black and brown citizens in use of lethal force. A flurry of media reports over the span of a few years and the efforts of two major media outlets, the UK’s Guardian and the Washington Post, roiled both the nation and the political theater. (RELATED: NYPD Cops Doused With Water, Struck In String Of Assaults — Officer Unions Are Infuriated)

“There are so many examples of people saying that when black citizens are shot by police, it’s white officers shooting them. In fact, our findings show no support for the idea that white officers are biased in shooting black citizens,” Dr. Cesario wrote.

The findings of the study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), incorporating data about every officer-involved shooting since 2015. Researchers collected the age, sex, race and experience level of each officer who was found to have shot a suspect.

Straight Pride Parade

On what grounds could the city refuse a permit for this?
The city of Modesto is considering awarding a permit for a straight pride march in a local park and residents have mixed reviews on the idea.

A flyer circulating on social media posted by the National Straight Pride Coalition says Stanislaus County will host the event August 24th in Modesto’s Graceada Park. The city is reviewing the application and said phones are ringing off the hook.

“We’ve been getting letters, emails, comments, and phone calls all day about it,” said Kristi Ah You, council member for District 3.

Ah You said if it was up to her, this permit wouldn’t be considered because the message behind the event constitutes hate speech and sets us back 25 years.
That last comment would be Exhibit A in any court case if the permit is denied.
Councilmember Ah You is all for free speech and first amendment rights but says the permit being considered by the city crosses the line and hopes the flyer doesn’t generate attention.
"All for free speech".  Orwell is spinning in his grave.

If they'd just granted the permit and not made a to-do about this, maybe a dozen people would show up.  The free publicity being given is going to encourage even more people to show, which is the opposite of what "free speech advocate" Ah You wants.

Jury Duty

Instructions on the summons:  Check the web site after 5pm Sunday to see if my group is needed for Monday.

Sunday:  don't come in Monday.  Check back after 5 pm Monday for further instructions.
Monday:  don't come in Tuesday.  Check back after 5 pm Tuesday for further instructions.
Tuesday:  don't come in Wednesday morning.  Check back between 11:15 and 12:00 on Wednesday to see if you'll be needed Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday, 11:15:  "Your group is not needed. Your service is complete. You do not need to check back. Thank you for making yourself available to serve as a juror."

I guess I'm good for another 18 months.

Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Bunch of Scum

If you haven't been following the story:  Oberlin is a private liberal arts college in Ohio.  Gibson's Bakery is a small family-run business (that's more than just a bakery) in town.  In late 2016 an Oberlin student tried to shoplift alcohol from the store and was stopped by the owner's granddaughter, who worked there.  The students involved, as well as Oberlin itself, claimed racial bias--there were protests, and Oberlin even stopped doing business with the bakery.  It didn't matter that the student actually was trying to steal alcohol, which the students claimed was just part of the "Oberlin culture".  No, the students and the school were going to punish that (white-owned) business--because they thought they could get away with it.

Gibson's sued the school, and won.  Wrongly counting on its "woke privilege", Oberlin now faces tens of millions of dollars in libel award and penalties.  And even though the judgement has already been reduced by about $10 million, they're still on the hook for tens of millions.  Oops.  They're going to try to weasel out of it, but there just isn't room:
The $25 million damages judgment plus the over $6.5 million attorney’s fees and expenses award, puts Oberlin College almost $32 million in debt to Gibson’s Bakery and its owners.

Post-judgment interest in Ohio is 5%, which if my math is correct, on $32 million equals $1.6 million a year just in interest, or $4,384 per day. So that $32 million is going to keep growing as the inevitable appeal winds its way through the courts.

Interest aside, Oberlin College doesn’t want Gibson’s Bakery to start collecting the judgment by seizing bank accounts, college equipment, and anything else they can get their hands on.
After the judgement was handed down, Oberlin doubled down.  Outside of insane SJW circles there is no sympathy for the school whatsoever.

I hope the school goes under.  I'm sure there are some stately campus buildings that would make a wonderful store/bakery and living area for the entire family.  Maybe turn some of it into a nice B&B.

Update:  The judge isn't going to let Oberlin squirm out of it:
Judge granted Oberlin College’s motion to stay execution of the judgment, but required the posting of a bond in the amount of the judgment plus three years interest as security.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Comments From A Retired Teacher

She didn't want to retire, but neither did she want to put up with the continued downward spiral that is public education:
I am retiring from teaching.
I am 63.
I should be working a few more years, but honestly I just can't.
I am tired of change for the sake of change.
I'm tired of administrators dismissing the work I do and have done for nearly 20 years, and celebrating the work of others.
I'm tired of being invisible.
I'm just tired.
Read the whole thing to find out why she's so tired.

School Discipline

Commissioner's statement regarding school discipline:

On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report entitled Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities. This Statement is part of that report.

In the report, the Commission finds “Students of color as a whole, as well as by individual racial group, do not commit more disciplinable offenses than their white peers ….” That would be a good thing if it were true, but there is no evidence to support it and abundant evidence to the contrary. "This Statement discusses that evidence. Denying facts is not helpful to students, no matter what their race or ethnicity."

The report also asserts that students with disabilities are disciplined more often than students without disabilities. But it leaves the impression that this means students with physical disabilities are being disproportionately disciplined. That isn’t true. It is students with behavioral disorder who misbehave more often (and hence are disciplined more often). But behavioral disorders are defined by a pattern of misbehavior. All the Commission has found is that student who misbehave a lot get disciplined more often than students who don’t. No surprise there.

Keywords: school discipline, race, disabilities, rates of misbehavior, civil rights, Commission on Civil Rights

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation:
Heriot, Gail L., Statement of Commissioner Gail Heriot in the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report: Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities. (2019). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 19-399, 2019. Available at SSRN:
Update, 7/24/19More explanation:
Here is my dissent. Please take a look if you have the time and the inclination. The report is not just on race. It is also on disability (or rather the intersection between race and disability) . One of the weirdest parts of the Commission report is its finding that disabled students are disciplined more often than non-disabled students. Well duh. These are students whose disability is defined in terms of misbehavior. We’re not talking about students in wheelchairs (who are disciplined less often than usual). The Commission’s finding is the equivalent of a finding that says “Students who misbehave a lot misbehave a lot.” Students who have meltdowns in class prevent other students form learning. From time to time, they must be removed.  Yet the Commission fails entirely to point this out. Readers are left to imagine that teachers have it out for the deaf and the blind.

Monday, July 22, 2019

America's Latest Eagle Scout

I love it when young people strive and accomplish:
Achieving the highest honor of Boy Scouting is no easy feat: One must spend years earning 21 merit badges involving topics such as first aid, communication and environmental science.

Earning most of these requires a scout to communicate verbally, like giving a speech or collaborating with a team.
Timmy Hargate, 21, who has nonverbal autism, joined Boy Scout Troop 461 in Highland Heights, Ohio, when he was 11. He was determined to become an Eagle Scout, and after about nine years of hard work, he finally achieved that goal in December.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Bring Your Own Food, While You're At It?

I only half-joked years ago that restaurants will start charging "resort fee"-type or "baggage fee"-type charges for cleaning dishes, bringing our food to us, preparing the table, etc., or perhaps they'll require us to bring our own dishes.

The snowball begins its roll:
In a bid to better reduce single-use packaging and plastics, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill giving the green light for restaurant patrons in the Golden State to use their own reusable containers and cups.
Does anyone honestly believe that this will do a thing to preserve the environment?  Of course not, this is just another leftie virtue signalling.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Trip Videos

I posted a few trip videos today, just to put them out in the ether.

Bryce Canyon, UT

Inner Harbour, Victoria, British Columbia

Harbour Air floatplane landing in Vancouver, BC


racist:  any person who doesn't toe the liberal/progressive/Democratic Party line.
There was never a suggestion that this man was racist until he ran for president.  Never.  In fact, there was and still is plenty of evidence that he's quite the opposite.

Liberalism, and the Democratic Party that promotes it, is a mental disease.

50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

Yesterday I saw the impressive new Apollo 11 movie, and last night I again watched the 1994 documentary Apollo 13: To The Edge and Back.  A few weeks back I posted about some new coin purchases, including the Apollo 11 commemorative half dollar and dollar coins.

So yes, the old government-run space program has been on my mind lately.

Yes, the ships and their fragility, and the genius of the engineers, and the bravery of the astronauts, and the beauty of the flights, have all weighed greatly in my thoughts lately.  A nagging piece of trivia, though, invades that reverie, and that's the fact that no one born after 1935 has walked on the moon.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Implicit Bias Test

Call it "unconscious bias" or "implicit bias", the test to find this seed of racism still has defenders even though no one is sure what it actually tells us:
Over two decades after it was released to the public, a test that purports to measure the biased and prejudiced feelings of those who take it remains a significant part of popular psychology. Yet while its reliability has come under significant doubt in recent years, the creators and managers of the test still defend it as a useful tool.

The Implicit Association Test, released in 1998 by a group of Harvard researchers, may simply be little more than an entertaining quiz rather than a true measure of one’s hidden biases. Several journalists have suggested that the test is not at all a reliable indicator of internal prejudice, even though the tool has been popularized as just that.

A few years ago at Vox, German Lopez wrote on his experiences taking the test. Lopez took the test three separate times over the course several days and received different results each time. The test indicated he had, alternately, no racial preferences, biases against whites, and biases against blacks...

Smith cited numerous studies that have demonstrated varying levels of reliability, with one paper indicating “a test-retest reliability as low as .01 and as high as .36,” another with a reliability of .72, and another demonstrating .54 reliability.

Test reliability is measured on a scale of 0.0 – 1.0, meaning various studies have found the test’s reliability to range from fairly high to dismally low. Smith admitted that this phenomenon is something that researchers are still trying to solve.

“What explains that variability is something that we don’t understand very well yet,” he said.
I've written on this subject many times, and many of those posts are linked in this post.


Too much of anything, even charity, can be a bad thing:
You know the old saw, give a man a fish and he’ll have a meal, teach a man to fish and he’ll have food for the rest of his life.

It ignores the fact that if you give a man a fish everyday, not only will he never learn to fish, he’ll come to resent you for giving him a fish. He might even come to believe he’s incapable of learning to fish, and that you can only fish because of some invisible “privilege” that allows you to learn that stuff. At the same time you will believe that he’s inferior to you, unable to make his own decisions, and that you must decide and set everything for him or he’ll die. You might not admit it, ever, but you’ll come to believe that he’s a burden. Subconsciously you’ll hate being beholden to him. You’ll come up with all sorts of schemes, from aborting his children to enabling his drug addiction to facilitating his euthanasia just to be rid of the intolerable burden. And it’s no surprise because your “charity” is increasingly met with resentment, envy and outright anger.

Why? Well, because that’s the way humans work. The human being was born to strive. Being handed things just makes them both dependent and resentful of that dependence. This paradise that the very well fed and clothed imagine, where the government just magically dispenses everything everyone might want is no such thing. If it were possible to implement it without stealing this stuff from others (it’s not. The government produces nothing.) it would make humanity extinct in two generations. It would also create the crime wave to end all crime waves.

We clever monkeys don’t like stuff handed to us. We like to improve it, to work at it, to make it better. When it becomes impossible, we’re reduced to the level of pets, and humans don’t do well with being pets. No, it’s not even like the perfect childhood, in which you’re handed all you need. First of all no one had that perfect a childhood, and even the best parents don’t always know what you need (let alone want.) Second, childhood is a time of growing and learning, sometimes quite painful learning, as growing up is a painful process of leaving behind habits and cherished modes of life. Third, even children in happy families chomp at the bit to leave and be adults. It’s just the way we’re built.

Removing someone’s reason to strive is not a charity.
Charity is one thing, dependence is another.  Understanding that difference is what differentiates conservatism from socialism.

The Religion of Plastic Recycling

We pay extra to separate our garbage into blue and brown and green bins and feel good about "doing something for the environment".  Turns out that for plastic, at least, we're probably not doing much of anything:
Millions of Americans dutifully fill their recycling bins each week, motivated by the knowledge that they're doing something good for the environment. But little do they know, there's a recycling crisis unfolding.

Starting as early as 2017, municipalities across the country, from Douglas County, Oregon to Nogales, Arizona to Broadway, Virginia, to Franklin, New Hampshire, began landfilling many recyclables or simply canceling their recycling programs altogether. The impetus for this disconcerting change? China.

For decades, the country was content to accept, process, and transform recycled materials from across the globe, but no longer. In July 2017, the government announced new policies that would effectively ban imports of most recyclables, particularly plastics. They went into effect last March. Considering that China has imported a cumulative 45% of plastic waste since 1992, this is a huge deal.

Where once China offered a market for the world's plastic bottles, tubs, and other packaging to be turned into – for example – polyester clothing, now, that market is gone. This means that recycling costs have skyrocketed. A few years ago, Franklin, New Hampsire could sell recyclables for $6 per ton. Now, it costs the town $125 per ton to recycle that same stuff!

Municipalities across the country are facing this startling arithmetic, so hundreds are choosing the drastically cheaper option: throw most traditionally recycled materials in the trash, instead.

While that might sound horrifying, Thomas Kinnaman, an environmental economist from Bucknell University, says it's actually a blessing in disguise.

"China's ban may actually reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans," he told NPR's Planet Money podcast. "China was not very careful about what got into their oceans for a long period of time, and if some of the plastic piles were just too corrupted they could do whatever they wanted with it."

Moreover, landfilling waste is not the evil many assume it to be. Modern landfills in the developed world are highly regulated, with sophisticated systems to protect groundwater, methods of compacting trash as tightly as possible, and even ways of siphoning off methane gas and burning it to produce electricity. Despite the myth that we're running out of landfill space, current estimates indicate that the U.S. has about 58 years until we need to build additional facilities.

As Kinnaman discovered in a 2014 study – a complete life cycle analysis of the recycling process – it currently doesn't make much economic or environmental sense to recycle plastic and glass in much of the developed world. Both of these materials are fairly easy on the environment to produce, but oftentimes very tricky and intense to recycle. When you factor in all of the water used to decontaminate plastic and glass, the immense distances traversed transporting them (usually by truck, train or ship), and the mechanical and chemical processes utilized to transform them into new goods, it becomes clear that they are better off in a landfill.
That's a large snip, so read the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Vancouver Pictures

I didn't get around to posting any pictures from the Vancouver area while I was there, a discrepancy I'll correct now.

click to enlarge pictures
View from The Lookout at Harbour Centre, towards Stanley Park and the Lion's Gate Bridge

At the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park

The BC Place arena, where I saw the BC Lions play one of the worst games of football I've ever seen.  We lost 33-6.

Cable car approaching the top of Grouse Mountain, with Stanley Park visible across the narrows

Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Cliff Walk

Science World at night

Life imitating art

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Heading Home

I've been to Vancouver a few times but still found new things to see and do on this trip--especially Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

My friend flew home this morning and my plan was to spend a couple more days in the Vancouver metro area, but I decided I'd seen and done plenty and now I could start a slow drive home. 

It took about 80 min to cross the US border today, and driving on I-5 through Seattle is never a pleasant experience.  In fact, I dislike it so much that on the trip I'm currently piecing together for next summer, I'll head east and maybe go see eastern Washington and cross the border up there.

Met up with my nephew and his brother in downtown Portland for dinner, and only made it to Salem before calling it a night and getting a hotel room.  No-frills Super 8 has a parking space for veterans out front--never seen that before!

I'm 9-10 hrs of driving from home, but maybe I'll take it slow and stop and see some sights instead of just breezing through.  Jury duty doesn't start till next Monday so I have plenty of time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Those Dogs Be Barkin'

Even with using the public transit system, I put a lot of steps on my poor feet today.  Essentially I'm just exhausted so I'll post pictures another time--but Vancouver is as beautiful as I remember.

We All Know How Much I Like Modest Proposals

Here's one we should all be able to get behind, if for different reasons:
College campuses have lots of empty housing during the summer. Proudly progressive institutions such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford should welcome illegal immigrants.
We know why they won't, too.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Last Day In Victoria

Had a late breakfast, then drove up the peninsula to the former limestone quarry now known as the Butchart Gardens:

Then trekked the rest of the way up the peninsula to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, where we boarded the Spirit of Vancouver Island for a 100 min ride to the mainland:

Rush hour traffic in Metro Vancouver so didn't even try to get downtown this evening.  Have a whole day for that tomorrow.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Victoria Is A Beautiful City

Arrived in Victoria Sunday morning and have been going nonstop ever since.  Leaving for Vancouver tomorrow afternoon.

Here are the two iconic buildings along the Victoria waterfront.  If you've seen these, you've seen touristy Victoria.

The (Fairmont) Empress Hotel:

The provincial Legislative Assembly Building:

And then there's your blog host having some fun:

Obviously having a great time.  I've been here before, but today was the first time I'd visited Craigdarroch Castle:

Butchart Gardens tomorrow, followed by a ferry ride to Vancouver.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Tomorrow's "Cruise"

Reservation on the first sailing out of Port Angeles, WA, tomorrow on the Coho:

Friday, July 05, 2019

I Apologize, But...

There has been *so* much spam lately (which I have to delete individually) and since I don't want to spend so much time moderating comments on this blog, I have at least temporarily turned on the "I am not a robot" word verification.  Hopefully that will keep the problem manageable.  I apologize for any inconvenience.

Been Home Too Long

Got home from my last trip about 2 weeks ago and it's time to go on another.  Here are a couple pictures from previous trips to give you a hint as to where:

If those don't give it away, how about this:  Let's go Li-ons! (More on that in a week!)

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Happy 4th of July

Since the so-called Betsy Ross flag is now a sign of...something bad, I'll embrace it here just to trigger a couple lefties.

Here's Obama's inaugural:
Here's a shirt I got a couple years ago:

And here's a picture from Trafalgar Square in London.  Trafalgar freakin' Square:
"Present to the people of Great Britain and Ireland by the Commonwealth of Virginia 1921".

Have a happy 4th of July.

Monday, July 01, 2019

At Least We Have The Best Roads In the Nation!

Oh, wait, no we don't.  So where does all that money go?

California will charge the highest taxes on gasoline in the United States come Monday but some complain that even more money will be needed to maintain the Golden State's roads and freeways.

The new 5.6 cents extra tax per gallon tax will boost the total paid per gallon from 41.7 cents to 47.3 cents. It is expected to raise billions for road and bridge repairs around the state along with mass transit projects. That is on top of the 12 cents per gallon increase in 2017. 
On my road trip a couple weeks ago, I paid less per gallon in out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Nevada and Utah than I do in suburban Sacramento.

And now prices have gone up again.  So now we have the highest gas taxes in the country?  Yay, at least we're #1 in something.

When Environmentalism Is Too Darned Inconvenient

If a picture is worth a thousand words, there are many thousands of words here--and they all tell you the same thing about leftie so-called environmentalists:
“Lead by example” doesn’t seem to be a high priority among many climate change activists.