Friday, December 31, 2021

Supply Chain

Early yesterday afternoon I was in my local Sam's Club.  I walked into the dairy section--there was not a gallon of milk to be had.  There were several quarts of cream or half-and-half, and a few dozens of eggs, but not a single gallon of milk.  I slowly turned 180 degrees to my left, marveling at something I imagined only in state-controlled economies, and then left the room-sized dairy frig.

A moment later I saw a lady walk in.  She did exactly as I did--looked to her right, saw only empty floor space where hundreds of gallons of milk should be, slowly did a 180 to her left to see if maybe there was milk in the rest of the area, and then walked out.

I saw an employee who seemed to be working in that general area, so I asked him if more pallets of milk would be coming in a minute or if the store was truly out.  He told me that their supplier now brings only the absolute minimum they can get away with, and it's usually gone in the morning.

I recall the story that Boris Yeltsin knew communism's gig was up when he saw grocery stories full of goods in the US.  Now, in California, is there a shortage of milk?

I'm quite at a loss.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Church of Global Warming

The climate alarmists' exaggerated claims in the past haven't helped their credibility at all.

They always scream "weather isn't climate!" unless the weather supports their side, in which case it's a snapshot of climate.  In the spirit of fairness, I offer this snapshot of climate:

With four days left to go in the month, Tahoe has already broken the record for December snowfall set 50 years ago.

On Monday, December snow totals at the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab reached 193.7 inches, blowing a 1970 record of 179 inches out of the water.

The lab, located at Donner Pass, has received roughly 39 inches of snow in the past 24 hours and could break the 200-inch mark today.

Update, 1/1/22:  Broke over 200" this past week!

Monday, December 27, 2021


As we approach the end of our second year of coronavirus tyranny, including but certainly not limited to having completely healthy people wear masks, I want to remind you of some salient points:

Why is no one addressing the stupidity of believing that single-layer cloth or paper masks do anything to stop or even minutely slow the spread of an airborne virus? Has everyone on the planet suddenly become innumerate?

The size range of human respirable aerosols is typically 2 to 5 microns. We’re not talking about spit from coughing or snot from sneezing, we’re talking about the stuff we exhale with every breath. If you’re coughing or sneezing, you probably ought to just stay home until you’re better. Okay, for those who don’t know, a micron is about 1/25,000th of an inch (1/25,400th, but close enough). The biggest human respirable aerosol is thus 5/25,000ths of an inch, or 1/5,000th of an inch.

A typical single-layer cloth or paper mask has a mesh opening size on the close order of 1/500th of an inch. Any tighter and you wouldn’t be able to breathe through it.

Does no one see a problem with this? The challenge material (human aerosols) are on the order of ONE TENTH the size of the filter openings. The aerosols simply flow right through the masks.

This is not trying to stop mosquitoes from coming into your house by putting chain-link fence across the open windows, this is trying to stop gnats with burglar bars.

The fact that NONE of these paper and cloth masks have air-tight seals across the face, and that the vast, nay, overwhelming majority of the air flow during exhalation simply bypasses the filter media (mask material) is left as an exercise for the student.

The ONLY masks that actually help slow/stop the spread are highly tested, custom-fitted N95 masks. There’s an elaborate procedure for fitting and wearing them, and facial hair (beards and mustaches) cannot be worn. You can tell somebody who is actually working in a high-risk environment because they have a bruise around the perimeter of their face and across the bridge of their nose since it’s the only way to get a good air-tight seal.

So the mandated wearing of these single-layer masks is just another example of theater from the statist, authoritarian collectivists running our governments, and ordered for the SOLE PURPOSE of exercising their power and control.

The voluntary wearing of single-layer masks is either massive ignorance, stupidity, or virtue signaling on the part of those wearing one…or maybe some combination of all three.

Math is haaaaaard.  So is history: 


Update:  A great quote from Thomas Sowell:

People will forgive you for being wrong, but they will never forgive you for being right—especially if events prove you right while proving them wrong.

Perhaps this is why the lefties keep doubling down (quite literally!) on masks, as well as on failed policies.

Update #2, 12/29/21:  Another Sowell quote:

It is so easy to be wrong--and to persist in being wrong--when the costs of being wrong are paid by others.

Update #3, 12/29/21:  Masks are good for only two things:  demonstrating you have power over others, by forcing others to wear them, or virtue signalling, if you choose to wear them.  They're not going to protect you from the Moronic variant:

“Cloth masks are not appropriate for this pandemic,” CNN’s Dr. Leana Wen said on Monday night.

“It’s not appropriate for omicron,” she continued. “It was not appropriate for delta, alpha, or any of the previous variants, either, because we’re dealing with something that’s airborne.”

Update #4, 12/30/21They're no doubt looking ahead to next November's elections:

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Christmas Presents

There wasn't a gift I received that I liked less than 100%.  I must've been on Santa's good list.

There were two gifts, however, that were very unique, creative, or unusual.  One was a note saying the givers would pay for me to get my carpets cleaned.  After 16 1/2 years in the house, with nothing more than infrequent vacuuming and a rented steam cleaner a couple times, I thought that was a useful, imaginative gift that I'd never have thought of for myself.

The other gift was homemade cocoa bombs.  Until a couple weeks ago I'd never heard of cocoa bombs, and now I have over a dozen that are homemade.  4 each of 4 different flavors; the chocolate orange is heavenly!  They require the milk to be almost to the boiling point in order to melt the chocolate, and even though I was standing right there, the milk burst up like a volcano with no warning and made a mess all over my stove!  The next time I'll use a deep saucepan and just scoop the milk out rather than heating it in a normal-sized saucepan.

What thoughtful and/or creative gifts did you receive?

Saturday, December 25, 2021

American Christmas

If they're unknown, how was this article written?

Five Unknown Facts About Washington’s Crossing The Delaware On Christmas Day

Here are my favorite facts about Washington's Crossing the Delaware:

 Merry Christmas from America!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Part of Why Democrats Want To Continue With the 'Rona Panic Porn

A comment on this article says it all:

Voting has never been easier (or more available to fraud) than it is today. You can vote by mail (almost everywhere) , you can vote in person, you can vote early, or you can vote on election day. There simply is no voter supression happening. Saying there is, and calling for even less trackable voting practices, is simply a tactic being used by the left to open up more avenues of localized fraud.

If you say that fraud wasn't a goal in last year's mail-in voting system, you're being dishonest.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Army Wins Its 4th Armed Forces Bowl

Despite Army's 8-4 record vs Missouri's 6-6 record, the two teams that competed in last night's Armed Forces Bowl were pretty evenly matched.  The final line was Army by 7, but I have a hard time believing that anyone really thought Army would beat that spread.

At the beginning of the game,'s "Win Probability" had the teams pretty evenly matched:

click to enlarge

You'll notice that the percentage got higher and higher for Missouri for awhile, and that's because Army didn't show up for much of the first half, as noted by the scoring summary:

Going down 10-nothing, and ending the half down 16-7, isn't an auspicious start for Army.  In fact, if I remember correctly, Missouri scored on each of its 1st half possessions.  And let's be honest, Army isn't known for making tremendous adjustments at the half.

But they did something right.  Army kept possession for most of the 3rd quarter, eventually scoring when locomotive running back Jakobi Buchanan rumbled in for a 10-yard score, bowling over a defender and knocking him on his back.  Army's defense held on a 4th down and later caused a fumble.  You'll notice that during the late 3rd and for most of the 4th quarter, the "Win Probability" went Army's way.  

Then Army's defense seemed to pack up and go home.  Missouri's freshman quarterback shredded the secondary, moving his team 10 yards at a time down the field to score a go-ahead touchdown with 1:11 remaining in the game.  The 2-pt conversion (to go up by 3) was over the intended receiver's head.

Army's 1st string quarterback Anderson went out in the 3rd quarter with an injury, and the 2nd string Tyler did an admirable job replacing him--even throwing a touchdown pass on 4th down, when passing is very much not his strong suit.  With 1:11 remaining, Army needed to move the length of the field and score.  In came 3rd string quarterback Laws.  Laws has a good arm.

Run, pass, pass attempt, pass attempt, run, pass attempt, pass, run, down the field Army went.  What Army team is this???  It wasn't always smooth, and clock management was sometimes questionable, but closer and closer they got to Missouri's end zone.  With seconds left, Army was a 41-yard FG away, and our kicker was 0-3 this season (again, if memory serves) on kicks over 40 yards.

With 3 seconds remaining in the game, the "predictor" had Army at 64.4%.  Then the kick went up and between the uprights as time ran out.  There was a flag on the field but it was against the defense, the kick was good, and Army won.

Not the worst way to end the season.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021


When I was in the army from 1983-1990, there was an official Armed Forces Hymnal in all our chapels.  It was perhaps 6"x8" and reddish in color, if memory serves.

I didn't attend chapel services much while I was a lieutenant, but I did several times as a cadet, and my two favorite hymns were #2 and #114.  

Hymn #2 was called Holy Holy Holy, and from the forced meter and rhyme it was clear that the lyrics were Victorian.  Still, it was an upbeat hymn that brought me joy:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy; all the saints adore Thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea.
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy; though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see.
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity!

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Hymn #14, written by Martin Luther, was Ein Feste Burg, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.  You could almost yell it at the top of your lungs, it was so powerful.  I have a cd on which Placido Domingo and the Vienna Boys Choir sing 3 of the 4 verses, and yes, Placido belts it!  Anyway, at West Point we sang this song only on one Sunday in November, no doubt to commemorate Luther's nailing his 95 theses to the church door. 

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amidst the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing;
were not the right Man on our side,
a Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure,
one little word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill,
God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever! 


As far as Christmas songs go, my favorite is O Come All Ye Faithful.

What are your favorite hymns and Christmas carols?

Is So-called Anti-Racism Helping Black Americans?

Don't listen to me, listen to John McWhorter:

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

It's Sick That They're So Wedded To Killing Babies

Parents--who didn't kill their kids--won't even have a say.  They won't even know.  How much do you have to want to kill babies in order to keep a child's parents out of the decision, and to trust government instead?

Last Friday, Governor Pritzker signed into law a measure that allows minor girls to get abortions without their parents being notified or requiring their consent.

Still in tact are Illinois laws requiring minors to obtain parental permission for body piercings, tattoos and sunbed tannings. 

However, the Governor's office released the following statement boasting the "safeguarding reproductive rights" and repealing the "harmful" Parental Notification Act.

Monday, December 20, 2021

This Might Be The Most Disgusting Thing Ever Posted on the White House Web Site

This goes beyond "fear porn". I don't have a noun for it, but adjectives include "gross", "foul", and "disgusting".  At whom, exactly, is this statement targeted?  Since it's not worded to change any minds, I fear it's aimed at Biden's supporters solely so they can somehow feel superior to someone:

click to enlarge

The entire briefing is here.

This administration has doubled down on failure so many times, look what they're reduced to!  It would be sad if it weren't so dangerous.

Even by his own standards, Biden has been a failure.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Wages of Socialism Is Economic Death

Click here and watch the graphic.

If the commie wins in Chile's election, well, make your own predictions.

Update, 12/21/21:  The commie won.  It obviously won't happen overnight, but watch what happens to Chile over the next 10 years.  Will it join Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba?  I predict it will head in that direction.

Friday, December 17, 2021


Three days of final exams finished at 12:40 pm today; by 2:10 I had graded the last of my finals, entered the scores, and submitted semester grades.

I don't work the next 16 calendar days, although I do have jury duty this upcoming week.  I'm looking forward to some relaxation.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Are You Sure You Want To Do This?

(start at 1:15)

I’m wary of this policy. I’m not wary of searching backpacks and lockers, but given the personal nature of what we keep on our phones, this seems excessive.  I see the opportunity for so many unintended consequences that will work against the school:

A North Carolina school board has adopted a policy which will allow principals to search a student’s cellphone. 

The policy adopted this week by the Wilson County Board of Education allows phone searches "whenever a school official has reason to believe the search will provide evidence that a student has violated or is violating the law, board policy, the code of student conduct or a school rule," The Wilson Times reported. 

With great power comes great responsibility, and I don't really trust most school officials with that kind of responsibility.  If I were a student I'd refuse to unlock my phone; they can search it all they want without my assistance.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

So-called Woke Math

Only in the US is "2+2=4" considered racist.  Only in the US is expecting students to behave, or to raise their hands and be called on before speaking out in class, considered racist.  The Kenyans and the Jamaicans and the South Africans, all beneficiaries of the British school system, must laugh their heads off at those.  Then, when they find out that in the US, certain people think blacks can't do math and thus the math is at fault, they must feel insulted:

Erec Smith, professor at York College (Pa.) and co-founder of "Free Black Thought," harshly criticized the latest "woke" movement in liberal education that aims to eliminate advanced math classes in schools. Smith agreed Thursday with more than 1,000 professors who took a stand against the movement.

In an open letter, the educators argue that the "woke" movement would actually worsen the problem of inequality because it would reduce access to foundational education.

"This is dumbing down," Smith said of the movement. "If you’re creating a form of education specifically for one group of kids because they can’t learn like everybody else, that’s just another iteration of the soft bigotry of low expectations."

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

If Generators Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Generators

It's happened here in the Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia:

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a regulation aimed at “Small Off-Road Engines” on Thursday that will ban the sale of portable generators in the state — which includes generators mounted in recreational vehicles.

The ruling bans the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and lawnmowers in the state beginning in 2024. Portable generators will be required to meet more stringent standards in 2024 and meet zero-emission standards starting in 2028...

The new regulation does not apply to diesel or propane generators, but it will apply to gasoline generators mounted in an RV.  

Remember, this is a state in which a major electricity utility routinely shuts off power whenever the wind blows too much or whenever it's too hot.

As Predictable As A Sunrise

Prior to September's recall election I often commented that if Newsollini won, Californians would have to be punished for their insolence.  And right on cue:

The State of California is reimposing an indoor mask mandate that will apply to everyone, whether vaccinated or not.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced the updated policy Monday, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state since the Thanksgiving holiday...

The new mask mandate is set to take effect on Wednesday and will expire on Jan. 15. It will apply to everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

The news comes as the omicron variant has officially spread to the state, with California reporting 18 cases of the variant as of Friday.

To date, there has not been a single death anywhere on the planet that has been ascribed to the dreaded omicron variant.

For lefties this is all about control, and probably a justification to have more fraudulent mail-in voting in next November's elections.  Some people say that "the fear won't monger itself", but is it really fearmongering at this point, or just naked assertion of power?

UpdateJibes with what I encountered last summer:

Matthew Walther, editor of The Lamp, a Catholic literary journal and a contributing editor at The American Conservative, penned an article for the liberal Atlantic magazine stating what should be a truism but is actually a shock to the liberal intelligentsia and opinion molders and makers on the coasts.

Nobody really gives a rat’s patootie about COVID...

In my drive through 8 states last summer on my 30-day road trip, I wore a mask only once--on "public transit", a gondola to a mountaintop.  Somehow I survived, and encountered no bodies out in the streets.  "Bring out your dead!"--Monty Python could update the skit.

Update #2Even in The Atlantic of all places:

I don’t know how to put this in a way that will not make me sound flippant: No one cares. Literally speaking, I know that isn’t true, because if it were, the articles wouldn’t be commissioned. But outside the world inhabited by the professional and managerial classes in a handful of major metropolitan areas, many, if not most, Americans are leading their lives as if COVID is over, and they have been for a long while.

What ticks off the lefties more than anything is not taking them (or their psychoses) seriously.  I enjoy doing that.

Monday, December 13, 2021

If The Pollution Happens Elsewhere, We Can Consider It Green

Fossil fuels are the best technology we (currently) have for transportation, and nuclear is the best we have for electricity production--and not-so-surprisingly, the greenies are against both.  It's hard not to believe that they're watermelons, green on the outside and red on the inside.  Even people who just feeeeeel that wind and solar are the way to go aren't really thinking about the reality:

Climate policies promoted and imposed by Team Biden and Democrats are based on junk science, headline-grabbing scare stories, and computer models that create far-fetched “scenarios” asserting that fossil fuel use and emissions will cause Earth to warm by 4 degrees C (7 F)over the next 80 years, and cause Arctic warming that will bring colder winters.

Those dire predictions are used to justify more taxpayer-funded “research,” like a recent Columbia University “mortality cost of carbon” study that claims 83 million people (the population of Germany) “could be killed” this century by those rising planetary temperatures. Therefore we must take “immediate action” to “transform” our energy and economic systems, and replace oil, gas and coal with (millions of) wind turbines and (billions of) solar panels and backup batteries.

These policies are lethal for people and planet They would require mining on scales unprecedented in human history, much of it by slave and child laborers, and nearly all using fossil fuels – bringing massive habitat and wildlife losses, air and water pollution, and horrific human health and safety problems.

But since most of the mining, ore processing and manufacturing will occur in other countries, far from the USA, politicians and climateers can say this “alternative energy” is “clean and green.”

Worse, climate policies cause widespread “energy poverty” – energy prices rising above families’ ability to stay adequately warm (or cool) at reasonable cost, given their incomes. That means people die.  

Let's not forget that cold kills a lot more people each year than heat does.

And let's just state the obvious:

Job destruction, energy poverty, illness and deaths would increase dramatically under anti-fossil-fuel policies mandated and imposed by the Biden Administration and fellow Democrats – in the name of fairness, equity and “climate justice.”

If you're not in favor of nuclear energy, you're not serious about reducing so-called greenhouse gases.

Early Dismissals and Final Exams

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week are final exams days.  Students have two 2+-hour final exam periods each day, and are dismissed at 12:50 or so.

Most teachers are using Monday and Tuesday of this week for final exam review.  I'm sure many of us used last week for our last chapter tests and perhaps some final exam review towards the end of the week.

If academics is a priority--and that's a BIG "if" nowadays--there should not be sporting competitions in the several days leading up to final exams.  In a school system where education was the priority, with everything else coming after that, such would be the case.  There would be no competitions at all during finals week.

One of our sports teams missed two days last week because of some tournament.  We have students leaving school early tomorrow, the day before finals start, for a game.  At the very least, that does not send a good message about the importance of academics in general and of final exams in particular.

I'll admit that I'm one of those people who thinks academics should take precedence over athletics.  I think too many students miss too much class due to sports.  I say that so you know my biases.  But even if you're one of those people who thinks sports is an important/integral part of high school, can we at least agree that competitions should not be scheduled during finals week?

Do Vaccines Work? Or Not?

This has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with control:

Vermont’s Middlebury College returned to virtual instruction for the rest of the fall semester due to over 30 new reported cases of COVID-19 on campus.

This means all final exams will be administered remotely.

The school sent out a campus-wide announcement the evening of December 9 noting the new cases bring Middlebury’s COVID total to 50. It said contact tracing has been initiated and that all further in-person events have been postponed.

The last update to the school’s COVID reporting dashboard showed 22 “active” cases, the most since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Middlebury Campus.

Note that the announcement indicates 99 percent of the campus has been fully vaccinated with “many already receiving booster doses” … and as such, “the risk of adverse health outcomes from the Delta variant is low.”

The school has about 2500 students.  Less than 1% of the students (even less if you include the faculty and staff), and no one has died.  This is insanity.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

If True, The Kid's Got Guts!

Play this song in the background while you read this article:

After demands from Arizona State University students that Kyle Rittenhouse – the now-18-year-old who was acquitted of all charges brought against him when he defended himself against rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin – be banned from going to ASU, Rittenhouse himself issued a simple response: “I’m going.” 

In an interview with conservative commentator Steven Crowder, Rittenhouse touched on the “very, very small” ASU student protest against him, calling him a “white supremacist killer,” declaring that, despite the students opposition to him, he still plans to complete his undergraduate degree there.

“I’m going to ASU in the spring in person”, Rittenhouse said.

The Classiest Go Army-Beat Navy Spirit Video Ever Made

This video will make your blood run red, white, and blue.

I'm told this video is "public domain so share away", but I'd be happy to give credit to the creators if they are identified.  Also, the video is too large to post here on Blogger, so I have to hope that the link lasts forever!


Update:  it takes more than classy spirit videos to win.  Your team has to play both halves of football, and mine didn't show up in the 2nd half.  Navy won 17-13.

Beat Navy!


Thursday, December 09, 2021

Our Good Friends at the NEA

It's been a long time since I've written about the predominant teachers union, and all of a sudden two stories pop up!

I've believed for a long time that if you scratch a leftie, a totalitarian bleeds--and totalitarians love nothing more than killing people, because getting rid of people who don't think like they do is how totalitarians stay in power.  So it is with NEA u-bots:

A member of the board of directors of the National Education Association (NEA) posted a message to Facebook that denounced unvaccinated individuals who claim religious exemptions and asserted they deserved to die, according to the Libs of Tik Tok social media account, which shared a screenshot of the post on Tuesday. 

Mollie Paige Mumau, a Pennsylvania teacher and member of the board of directors of the NEA, appears to identify herself as an “educator, wife, union advocate, semi-pro wine drinker, LGBTQ ally, and ‘Team Pfizer.’”

You can see the screenshot at the link. 

Next, the NEA is going to bring Texas to its knees by moving (canceling?) its annual convention Nuremberg Rally:

Thousands of delegates to the National Education Association Representative Assembly will not be meeting in Dallas in July as scheduled, and the reason has nothing to do with COVID-19.

The union took the unprecedented step of canceling its Texas plans due to its displeasure with a series of bills that came out of a special session of the state legislature having to do with voting, abortion and critical race theory, internal NEA sources say. Several state affiliates had threatened not to send their delegates to the convention if it were held in Texas...

Considering the estimated 6,000 delegates involved and hotel rooms needed, it will be difficult to find another venue on such short notice. One source reports that NEA is looking at Chicago and Orlando as possible destinations. If an alternative cannot be found, the 2022 assembly will be held online...

A complicating factor is whether NEA is willing to continue down this boycott path. Will it schedule future meetings only in blue states? That could get tricky and expensive.

Gotta love all that tolerance.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Political Prisoners

What does the Constitution say about a speedy and public trial?

Who, exactly, has been keeping congresspeople away from these prisoners?

What is the definition of “custody”?

KEVIN DOWNEY JR: Reps. Greene and Gohmert Finally Met the J6 Political Prisoners: What They Saw Isn’t Pretty. “Several inmates need medical attention. One has a broken finger. A seventy-one-year-old inmate, Lonnie Leroy Coffman, who hasn’t seen a doctor, watched as his lower forearm has turned purple and his thumb turned black. The other inmates suggested that if anyone can be released, it should be Lonnie.”  link

I never dreamed I’d see the day when we had political prisoners in the US, but here we are.  If you support this, you do not support the rule of law.  In a just world, those people would already have been tried, and some of them convicted, of nothing more than criminal trespass.


We’re going to upend the English language to accommodate a very few narcissists who crave attention and can’t get it any other way:

If you think this isn't coming your way, think again.  If you think it won't be forced on you, think again.  Nip it in the bud now.

Democrats Don't Celebrate Diversity

Is anything they say true?


Nearly a quarter of college students wouldn’t be friends with someone who voted for the other presidential candidate — with Democrats far more likely to dismiss people than Republicans — according to new Generation Lab/Axios polling.

Why it matters: Partisan divides — as each side inhabits parallel political, cultural and media universes —make a future of discord and distrust in the U.S. all the more likely.

By the numbers: 5% of Republicans said they wouldn’t be friends with someone from the opposite party, compared to 37% of Democrats.

  • 71% of Democrats wouldn’t go on a date with someone with opposing views, versus 31% of Republicans.
  • 30% of Democrats — and 7% of Republicans — wouldn’t work for someone who voted differently from them.

Bad things happen when you make politics your substitute religion.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Keep Your Politics and Racist Theories Out of Math, For Everyone's Good

If your kid can't do math, the problem isn't that "math is racist" or some other such ridiculum:

Hundreds of mathematicians and scientists have signed a statement calling on educators to abandon “well-intentioned” efforts to close achievement gaps in math education, saying it could have “unintended consequences.”

The “ Open Letter on K-12 Mathematics ” is significant pushback against efforts to reform math education due to achievement gaps that often fall upon racial lines. Liberal activists and educators say the reforms are necessary to achieve racial equity due to those racially disparate achievement levels.

To date, the letter has been signed by 597 math professionals from all over the country, including numerous college professors, high school teachers, and researchers, ranging from engineers to physics and computer science professors.

The letter says “well-intentioned” efforts to reform math education, including a much-maligned effort in California dubbed the California Mathematics Framework, may superficially achieve goals of reducing student achievement gaps but are ultimately just “kicking the can to college," which they say would lead to lower math achievement in schools, thus hurting the ability of students to enter STEM fields. 

These authors give a huge benefit of the doubt in assuming such efforts are well-intentioned.

The problem goes far beyond just your own kid:

A top Democratic economist says the rise of "antiracist" math curricula is a national security threat.

Larry Summers, a Harvard economist who led the National Economic Council under former president Barack Obama, shared a letter on Monday signed by almost 600 academics that condemns the rise of woke math initiatives in K-12 schools. The letter says the initiatives have devalued foundational math courses such as algebra and limited advanced math courses "to reduce achievement gaps." Summers called rigorous math instruction "an economic and a national security imperative," noting that "in China, math standards are not subject to continued erosion by social justice warriors who can't themselves define exponential growth or solve quadratic equations."

Radical education activists want to purge math curricula of allegedly racist practices, which include showing your work and arriving at the right answer. Democratic donors have played a role in propagating this now-popular trend in math education, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation bankrolled A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction, the nonprofit behind a curriculum that asks teachers to observe how math "is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views."

Proponents of "antiracist" curricula often push to eliminate advanced math classes in order to reduce achievement gaps for underprivileged students. The coalition behind the open letter, k12mathmatters, says this misguided approach diminishes "access to skills needed for social mobility."

Just like a nation cannot tax itself into prosperity, neither can it improve education by lowering standards--unless you're going to be very Orwellian, of course.

All Your Children Are Belong To Us

I'd like to say I'm surprised by this, but I'm not:

A California mother has claimed that her 13-year-old son was told not to say anything after being given the COVID-19 vaccine in exchange for pizza at his school without her consent, according to a local report.

Maribel Duarte told NBC Los Angeles on Monday that her son recently came home from Barack Obama Global Prep Academy in South Los Angeles with a vaccine card, telling her that he accepted the shot after he was offered pizza. 

"It hurt to know he got a shot without my permission, without knowing and without signing any papers for him to get the shot," Duarte said, adding that she is vaccinated and isn’t anti-vaccine.

The mother told the station that the woman who gave her son the shot and signed the paper told him, "Please don’t say anything. I don’t want to get in trouble"...

An LAUSD spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Monday morning that it was "currently unable to confirm that this incident occurred at Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy."

Monday, December 06, 2021

What Is The Proper Role of Government?

As a conservative I'm a believer in the words of the American Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

Government exists to secure your natural rights, not to harass or subjugate you

Italy is making life more uncomfortable for unvaccinated people this holiday season, excluding them from indoor restaurants, theaters and museums starting Monday to reduce the spread of coronavirus and encourage vaccine skeptics to get their shots. 

Italian police can check whether diners in restaurants or bars have a "super" green health pass certifying that they are either vaccinated or have recently recovered from the virus. Smartphone applications that check people's health pass status will be updated and those who have merely tested negative in recent days for COVID-19 will no longer be allowed into concerts, movies or performances. The measures run through Jan. 15. 

Authorities also imposed a requirement for a "basic" health pass, which can be obtained with a negative test, on local transport and to check into hotels...

Italy’s vaccination rate is higher than many of its neighbors, at 85% of the eligible population age 12 and older and 77% of the total population. But people in their 30s, 40s and 50s have proved the most reluctant to get vaccinated, with nearly 3.5 million still not having received their first doses. 

I know the Italians don't have a long tradition of personal freedom, but dayum, that's extreme.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

In A Sane World, Such A Place Would Be Shunned Out Of Business

San Francisco, however, is the very opposite of a "sane world":

The co-owner of a San Francisco restaurant defended refusing service to three uniformed police officers following backlash over the move, calling the establishment a "safe space." 

"It's not about the fact that we are anti-police," chef and co-owner of Hilda and Jesse, Rachel Sillcocks, told ABC7 News. "It is about the fact that we do not allow weapons in our restaurant. We were uncomfortable, and we asked them to leave. It has nothing to do that they were officers. It has everything to do that they were carrying guns."

So much naivete--or is it stupidity--in 4 short sentences. 

Update, 12/6/21:  They've apologized--because of the bad press they're getting--but they'd do it again

The owners of a San Francisco restaurant are now apologizing after denying service to three uniformed police officers who were on-duty.

Hilda and Jesse initially denied service to the three San Francisco Police Department officers on Friday after they were seated at the restaurant. 

According to ABC7 News, one of the owners said that the on-duty police officers' "presence" made staff at the restaurant feel "uncomfortable."

"It's not about the fact that we are anti-police," co-owner of Hilda and Jesse, Rachel Sillcocks said. "It is about the fact that we do not allow weapons in our restaurant. We were uncomfortable, and we asked them to leave. It has nothing to do that they were officers. It has everything to do that they were carrying guns."

According to Sillcocks, the officers are welcome to come back and dine in the restaurant but without their weapons...

The co-owners continued, stating that they hope the incident will be a "teachable moment" but stopped short of saying whether on-duty officers are welcome in the establishment.

How Does This Happen To An Intelligent Person?

Actually, to put the responsibility where it belongs, the title question should be, How does an intelligent person make such financial mistakes?  Who digs themselves into $400,000+ of student debt?

Maria had a goal to teach at a university full-time. Today, she "absolutely" regrets pursuing that goal.

While Maria's undergraduate education, which she completed in 2001, was funded through scholarships and Pell grants, she knew more advanced degrees would give her a leg up in university teaching — especially as a woman in the industry. So she pursued a master's degree and a PhD, the latter of which took seven years to complete.

It was not a decision she took lightly, and at the time she believed the commitment would be worth it. Maria, who requested her last name be withheld for privacy reasons, extensively researched the program, and its statistics for employment post-graduation looked promising. However, she was unable to land a full-time university job after graduation in 2014 and found herself unable to afford her student-loan payments.

Now, at 48 years old, Maria's student-loan balance is $430,000 — all from her advanced degrees, per documents reviewed by Insider...

If Maria could have a do-over, she would never have gotten her PhD. Although she said she prepared herself as best as she could for the financial toll it would take, there was no way she could have anticipated a layoff or the medical bills for her daughter. 

Of her total student-debt load, more than $70,000 is interest that accumulated while her student-loan payments were on hold, during which she cashed out her 401k and lived on unemployment benefits.

I'm not unsympathetic to her plight--especially her daughter's cancer--but is even a university professor going to get out of that hole?  It doesn't seem like she thought the financial considerations through all the way--and she wants you and me to pay off her debt for her.

Good News For Army Football

From an email I received today:

The matchup is set!

The Army has accepted a bid to the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl and will take on Missouri!

The game will take place at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas and is set for a 7:00pm (CT) kickoff on Wednesday, Dec. 22. This will be the 19th rendition of the Armed Forces Bowl, which started in 2003.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Striking A Small Blow For Math Standards

I don't know if he's a "good guy" or not, but in this instance he's right:

Truckee Meadows Community College has ended an effort to fire Professor Lars Jensen, who had been subjected to termination proceedings after pushing the school to maintain its rigorous math standards.

In November, a hearing officer at the Nevada school found that Jensen had violated several of the college’s codes when he protested a new curriculum structure that essentially allows remedial math classes to count for college credit.

In response to the hearing officer’s report, a five-member faculty termination board recommended on November 23 that Jensen be allowed to remain in his job.

The next day, college President Karin Hilgersom accepted the recommendation of the faculty committee and announced Jensen would not be fired...

“As a consequence, the disciplinary hearings raise grave concerns that Professor Jensen is being retaliated against for his constitutionally protected criticism of the college’s administration and efforts to communicate his concerns about the academic functioning of the college to his colleague and to other interested parties.”

Jensen told The Fix that he has been working at his job all along during the dispute. He noted he is working with his attorney on his next steps, including filing EEOC and Title IX complaints against the school. He said he expects “to pursue them in full.”

Where We Are Today In History

Friday, December 03, 2021

A Better Method Than the Quadratic Formula?

Uh, no.

Two days ago I wrote about an article describing a faster way to multiply than the standard multiplication algorithm.  I closed that post with "The article originally appeared in Popular Mechanics.  They should probably stick to what they know best, because they're way out of their league here."  I could close this post in exactly the same way, as PM has stepped in it again.

First, the article.  Go ahead and read it, it's brief.  Supposedly, a Dr. Loh at Carnegie Mellon has developed a way to solve quadratics equations that is easier than the quadratic formula or completing the square.  In the video posted on his own web site, Dr. Loh states that while pieces of this new method have been known for hundreds of years or more, "How can it be that I've never seen this before, and never seen this in any textbook?"  Well, I'll tell you, Dr. Loh.  But first, let me bring up two points:

1)  He didn't "develop" this, it's well-known to those of us adept at algebra, and

2)  How practical is this method when the answers don't come up integers?

Here's the video mentioned above, in which Dr. Loh explains his new and exotic procedure. Take 3 minutes and 48 seconds to watch it.

After you've watched it, ask yourself this:  How did he get the sum and the product needed to solve the problem?  

It took me a moment to figure it out, but then it came to me.  Follow my reasoning here.

Take any quadratic equation.  Manipulate it so that there is 0 on the right side of the equal sign.  Complete the square.  In a couple more steps you've derived the Quadratic Formula, which will allow you to solve any quadratic equation.  Bottom line:  you know the quadratic formula works because you can follow each step of the "completing the square" process (assuming you know that, which is something any Algebra 1 student should understand).  

Given a quadratic equation of the form

you can use the Quadratic Formula to solve for the two solutions, which will always be

Add those two solutions together and you get -b/a, multiply them and you get c/a.  That's the information that Dr. Loh used in his method, which you would not understand unless you knew these answers from the Quadratic Formula.  In the video, -b/a=8 and c/a=12.

Also, we know that a quadratic of the form above has a vertical axis of symmetry which, being vertical, always crosses the x-axis and goes through the vertex of the graphed parabola.  Thus, if there are any real solutions to this problem, the x-intercepts, they must be equidistant from this line.  This distance is what Dr. Loh calls "u".  So, if you need a sum to be 8, (4+u) and (4-u) work as the two roots because they sum to 8 and are equidistant from the line of symmetry, and then you multiply them together and set the product equal to 12.

So far, so good.  Well, not good, but not horrible--Dr. Loh's method is great for those of us who already understand algebra, but it's what we call "mathemagic" for people who are learning algebra.  One of the Algebra 1 standards in California's 1997 Math Standards was that students would be familiar with the derivation of the Quadratic Formula by completing the square.  They would know where the formula came from, and that it wasn't conjured from thin air by some mystic.  No such luck doing that with Dr. Loh's method, where you have to just accept his this-will-work pronouncements.  His method is like that of the ancient Babylonian "algebraists"--just follow these step-by-step instructions, don't worry about where they came from, and your answer will be correct.  It's very utilitarian, it leads to being able to get an answer but it doesn't lead to any understanding.  In this way, Dr. Loh's method is the very antithesis of what is supposed to be one of the big selling points of Common Core:  understanding.

In the Popular Mechanics article and in Dr. Loh's own video, the quadratic equation to be solved had a=1 (students love those because they're much easier) and the answers came out to be integers.  What happens if those two conditions aren't the case?  Dr. Loh never explicitly mentioned "-b/a" or "c/a", I had to infer the former from his work and the determine the latter from of my own knowledge.  Here's how to solve such a problem using the Quadratic Formula as well as Dr. Loh's method:

click to enlarge

Is it obvious to you that Dr. Loh's method is better than the Quadratic formula?  It's certainly not to me, especially in this problem where the solutions aren't integers.  Dr. Loh's method is one of those cool applications that those of us already adept at algebra delight in, but as a tool for teaching the foundations of quadratic equations, I find it lacking in many ways.

The bottom line is that we should not be getting math information from Popular Mechanics--not if we want anything meaningful, that is.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

When They've Lost The LA Times...

Even the LA Times Editorial Board thinks that the UC system's dropping admissions tests was a bad idea:

The SAT and ACT college admission exams are riddled with problems in their current form. Though they can be helpful predictors of whether students will succeed in college, they shut out too many bright and otherwise qualified candidates because those who can spend the money for private tutoring will almost always have the edge in getting higher scores. More affluent students also can pay to take the tests over and over to get their best possible scores.

So, it’s understandable, if not ideal, that the University of California dropped them for acceptance decisions.

But now UC has decided it will not use any entrance exam. Not the state’s standardized test for 11th graders. Not an exam that UC designs itself. University officials concluded any test would be prone to bias and the state’s Smarter Balanced exam would provide only modest additional useful information.

This nonetheless is a problematic decision, especially after a committee of faculty leaders concluded in 2020, after expansive study, that the SAT and ACT were worth keeping and could help diversify the student population. UC should reconsider this policy and use at least one test as part of its admission process, though it should be free to students with a few no-cost retries.

Grade inflation is widespread at affluent high schools, creating an inequitable situation. The holistic review UC uses for admission that can count any number of factors that the admissions officers happen to find appealing is even more subjective than course grades.

A test score can be an important check against straight-A report cards or a more lackluster transcript — which is what the faculty committee concluded three years ago. If a student has glowing grades but flubs a test badly time after time, that raises legitimate questions about how earned those grades were. And a student who performs well on the test but has weak grades might have had teachers who were tougher graders. Likewise, the student might be the sort of independent soul who would make a brilliant university student but doesn’t do well with the regimented rules and limited course offerings of high school.

One wonders why the UC system doesn't just admit students on a lottery system, as random admissions make at least as much sense as what they're doing now.  To repeat:

The holistic review UC uses for admission that can count any number of factors that the admissions officers happen to find appealing is even more subjective than course grades.

Why, do you think it is, that they do that?  We all know the answer.

Am I as a taxpayer getting my money's worth from funding the UC system in its current form?  We probably know the answer to that, too.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

A Faster Way To Multiply

Any math teacher's curiosity would be piqued when seeing the title This Guy Found A Faster Way To Multiply.

It has a subtitle: Because the method you learned in middle school is ridiculously slow.

That was the first red flag:  if you didn't learn to multiply until middle school, oh my.  But I read on.

The article never discusses this new method, so I question if it's more efficient than the standard algorithm for multiplications of the size most humans have to do--say, from 1-digit times 1 digit numbers to 3-digit times 3-digit numbers.  Here's as close as we get to when this new algorithm is not as "ridiculously slow" as the standard algorithm:

The Schönhage-Strassen method is very fast, Harvey says. If a computer were to use the squared method taught in school on a problem where two numbers had a billion digits each, it would take months. A computer using the Schönhage-Strassen method could do so in 30 seconds.

But if the numbers keep rising into the trillions and beyond, the algorithm developed by Harvey and collaborator Joris van der Hoeven at École Polytechnique in France could find solutions faster than the 1971 Schönhage-Strassen algorithm.

Essentially, the "standard algorithm" works just fine for the size numbers that the vast majority of the people on the planet might need to multiply by hand; most of us aren't multiplying two billion-digit numbers.

Lastly, I watched the video at the link--does it show a faster way to multiply up to 3-digit numbers?  Or is this method better only for huge numbers most of us will never work with?  Turns out it's the latter, and even worse, we don't even know when it's more efficient:

The question is, how big does n (the number of digits in the numbers being multiplied) have to be for this algorithm to actually be faster than the previous algorithms?  The answer is, we don't know.  It could be billions of digits, it could be trillions, it could be much bigger than that.  We really have no idea at this point.

Bottom line?  The article was clickbait, the title and subtitle were misleading/wrong, and besides letting us know that a new algorithm is possible, the article never explicitly states that that such an algorithm has been created--only that it's possible.

The article originally appeared in Popular Mechanics.  They should probably stick to what they know best, because they're way out of their league here.