Saturday, December 31, 2022

Welcome to the Party

I figured this out years ago and have always adjusted my side-view mirrors thusly:

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) published a paper in 1995 suggesting how outside mirrors could be adjusted to eliminate blind spots. The paper advocates adjusting the mirrors so far outward that the viewing angle of the side mirrors just overlaps that of the cabin’s rearview mirror. This can be disorienting for drivers used to seeing the flanks of their own car in the side mirrors. But when correctly positioned, the mirrors negate a car’s blind spots. This obviates the need to glance over your shoulder to safely change lanes as well as the need for an expensive blind-spot warning system.

Everything they say and show in that very short article, published 15 years after the 1995 SAE paper, is 100% true.  Now it's almost 15 years after that article was written, do people still adjust their side mirrors in the (wrong) goofy way???

A Letter From My Congressman

About 3 weeks ago I called out my congressman for failing to respond to my letter about the rape of women Merchant Marine cadets while on ships at sea for training.  I closed that post by saying, "Ami Bera, on the other hand, from whom I've received more franked letters than all the other congressmen I've had in my lifetime combined, can't share a letter or a phone call regarding the rape of Merchant Marine cadets.  What are your priorities, congressman?"

Well, I received another of those franked letters today:

Fancy words, Ami Bera.  You're full of crap.  You care about yourself, certainly not about everyday Americans, certainly not about those in uniform, certainly not those women cadets.  And I'm not even going to address the obvious economic silliness in the content of the letter above, which is far worse than your usual letters.

I used to give the man the benefit of the doubt.  No longer.

Bison vs Buffalo

Recently, as in the last month or so, I had a conversation about bison.  Because of my advanced age I cannot even remember who I had the darned conversation with, but I remember pulling out my phone and showing the picture I took at Yellowstone of a nearby bison.  Anyway, part of the discussion was about how in America we don't have buffalo, we have bison--not that I know the difference, of course, but that was kinda the joke.

Well, we now have 13 fewer bison:

Multiple bison died near the western entrance of Yellowstone National Park in Montana on Wednesday after being struck by a semi-truck, according to police.

“Thirteen bison were killed in this traffic accident, with some of the bison needing to be euthanized due to severe injuries,” said the West Yellowstone Police Department in a news release posted to Facebook on Friday.

I just wonder how fast you have to be driving such that you kill or morally injure 13 bison at once. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

It's Obvious Where Their Priorities Are

I'm just going to post the entire Instapundit post here:

NOTE THAT NPR IS SYMPATHETIC TO THE “CLIMATE ACTIVISTS,” NOT TO THE PEOPLE IN DANGER OF FREEZING IN THE DARK: Climate activists are fuming as Germany turns to coal to replace Russian gas.

Humans want to stay warm.  Anyone remember the stories of winter in Sarajevo during the siege?

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

This Seems Unjust

It's hard to believe that something like this is allowed to happen in American courts:

A jury convicted Dayonta McClinton of robbing a CVS pharmacy but acquitted him of murder. A judge gave McClinton an extra 13 years in prison for the killing anyway.

In courtrooms across America, defendants get additional prison time for crimes that juries found they didn’t commit.

The Supreme Court is being asked, again, to put an end to the practice. It’s possible that the newest member of the court and a former federal public defender, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, could hold a pivotal vote.

McClinton’s case and three others just like it are scheduled to be discussed when the justices next meet in private on Jan. 6.

Sentencing a defendant for what’s called “acquitted conduct” has gone on for years, based on a Supreme Court decision from the late 1990s. And the justices have turned down numerous appeals asking them to declare that the Constitution forbids it.

The closest the court came to taking up the issue was in 2014, when Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg provided three of the four votes necessary to hear an appeal.

“This has gone on long enough,” Scalia wrote in dissent from the court’s decision to reject an appeal from defendants who received longer prison terms for conspiring to distribute cocaine after jurors acquitted them of conspiracy charges.

Yes, that's bad.  This is, too--have you ever heard of civil asset forfeiture

Civil forfeiture in the United States, also called civil asset forfeiture or civil judicial forfeiture,[1] is a process in which law enforcement officers take assets from people who are suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing. While civil procedure, as opposed to criminal procedure, generally involves a dispute between two private citizens, civil forfeiture involves a dispute between law enforcement and property such as a pile of cash or a house or a boat, such that the thing is suspected of being involved in a crime. To get back the seized property, owners must prove it was not involved in criminal activity. Sometimes it can mean a threat to seize property as well as the act of seizure itself.[2] Civil forfeiture is not considered to be an example of a criminal justice financial obligation.

Proponents see civil forfeiture as a powerful tool to thwart criminal organizations involved in the illegal drug trade, with $12 billion annual profits,[3] since it allows authorities to seize cash and other assets from suspected narcotics traffickers. They also argue that it is an efficient method since it allows law enforcement agencies to use these seized proceeds to further battle illegal activity, that is, directly converting value obtained for law enforcement purposes by harming suspected criminals economically while helping law enforcement financially.

Critics argue that innocent owners can become entangled in the process to the extent that their 4th Amendment and 5th Amendment rights are violated, in situations where they are presumed guilty instead of being presumed innocent. It has been ruled unconstitutional by a judge in South Carolina.[4][5] Further, critics argue that the incentives lead to corruption and law enforcement misbehavior. There is consensus that abuses have happened but disagreement about their extent as well as whether the overall benefits to society are worth the cost of the instances of abuse.

More evidence that just because something is legal doesn't make it right.  Neither of these judicial happenings sounds very American to me.  They sound like tyranny.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

How To Destroy A School

You cannot take these actions and simultaneously claim to be doing right by students, the events are mutually exclusive:

For years, two administrators at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) have been withholding notifications of National Merit awards from the school’s families, most of them Asian, thus denying students the right to use those awards to boost their college-admission prospects and earn scholarships. This episode has emerged amid the school district’s new strategy of “equal outcomes for every student, without exception.” School administrators, for instance, have implemented an “equitable grading” policy that eliminates zeros, gives students a grade of 50 percent just for showing up, and assigns a cryptic code of “NTI” for assignments not turned in. It’s a race to the bottom...

It gets worse.

Last fall, along with about 1.5 million U.S. high school juniors, the Yashar teen took the PSAT, which determines whether a student qualifies as a prestigious National Merit scholar. When it came time to submit his college applications this fall, he didn’t have a National Merit honor to report—but it wasn’t because he hadn’t earned the award...

School officials had decided to withhold announcement of the award. Indeed, it turns out that the principal, Ann Bonitatibus, and the director of student services, Brandon Kosatka, have been withholding this information from families and the public for years, affecting the lives of at least 1,200 students over the principal’s tenure of five years...

In a call with Yashar, Kosatka admitted that the decision to withhold the information from parents and inform the students in a low-key way was intentional. “We want to recognize students for who they are as individuals, not focus on their achievements,” he told her, claiming that he and the principal didn’t want to “hurt” the feelings of students who didn’t get the award.

Anti-Asian racism?

I see ideas like these coming to many more schools, perhaps including in my district, before saner minds take over.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Is She A Cat?

Raising The Minimum Wage

FightFor15, baby. We told you this is where it would lead:

McDonald’s opened its first automated restaurant, with machines handling everything from taking orders to delivering the food – and dividing opinions everywhere. 

"When you step inside the test restaurant concept, you'll notice it's considerably smaller than a traditional McDonald's restaurant in the U.S.," McDonald’s said in a statement. "Why? The features—inside and outside—are geared toward customers who are planning to dine at home or on the go."

The Fort Worth, Texas, location uses technology to minimize human interaction when ordering and picking up food. The restaurant features an "Order Ahead Lane" where customers can receive orders by conveyor belt, Newsweek reported. 

The initiative is part of McDonald’s "Accelerating the Arches" plan, which works to grow and innovate the customer experience...

People who knew better still pushed for it. Why? To force people out of jobs and into more reliance on government? 

This was not an unpredictable result.  When people push ideas with predictable effects, they can be held accountable for those effects.  So good job, lefties.  Perhaps I should go buy some McDonald's stock now, as their amortized costs will be going down.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

My Favorite Part of Christmas

I get to hold the newest additions to the family:

May your Christmas be as joyful as mine.

The Local Wildlife

My neighborhood of 1200-square-foot houses is over 60 years old. We humans have been here quite some time. I'm the third generation to live in this house! Not too far away is a creek, though, and with it what counts for "nature" in these parts. 

Periodically I'll look out front and see the wild turkeys out on my lawn or down the street. Even given their size they're somewhat skittish. (Side note: gawd, turkeys are dumb. Dumb animals. What was Franklin thinking?) 

Anyway, lately I've learned that I have a new animal neighbor. Usually s/he comes between midnight and 1 am, but this morning was out there after 7:30:

Such videos are as close as I want to come to this "neighbor". 

(This has been posted for awhile and still the video hasn't rendered.  It's very short and in a format Blogger accepts.  Hmm.  In case it never renders, it shows security camera footage of a skunk running up my walk and across the front of my house.)

Update, 12/29/22:  Tried it again after converting the file from mp4 to avi.  Now you can see my furry neighbor.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Might There Be A Less Complicated Way To Do This?

I'm not against getting money, and I think our taxes are too high for what we (working Americans) get for them, but anyone who knows even Introductory Economics 101 knows that sending out money the way it's been done recently ("stimulus checks") is a tremendously bad idea, especially from an inflationary standpoint.  If government has taxed us too heavily, and has too much of a surplus, it can refund some of that money or lower tax rates, but the feds at least do not have an excess of money.  In fact, we're $31 trillion dollars in the hole, and counting.

Even though projections are for deficits for the next couple fiscal years, California has a surplus this year.  Pretending they care about average Californians, Governor Newsollini and the state legislature are refunding some of that money to many Californians.  We are to get anywhere from a couple hundred to over a thousand dollars each to "help combat the effects of inflation", or some such silliness.  Will these bribes refunds actually contribute to inflation while attempting to ameliorate its effects?  Ask an economist.

It may surprise some of my long-time readers to learn that I don't pay a lot of attention to the news, so while I'd heard about these California "Middle Class Tax Refunds", I didn't really know much about them.  I just assumed if a couple hundred extra dollars showed up in my checking account, that's where it would have come from.

Several days ago I received an envelope with the return address of  "California Middle Class Tax Refund Card" in Omaha, Nebraska.  Instantly my el-toro-poopoo detector was activated.  I opened the envelope and in it was a Visa debit card.  The way it was presented just didn't seem right.  Here's the letter:

No indication that the California government sent this at all.  A Visa debit card from "Money Network", whatever that is, just doesn't sound legit.  Not being sure, I just set it aside to deal with when I had more time.

It's my first day of Christmas break, so now I have more time!  I thought I'd see what the search engines could offer, so I typed in California Middle Class Tax Refund and the first hit was the web site of the Franchise Tax Board, California's version of the IRS.  This was actually helpful as it explained what was going on, and even showed a picture of the letter and the expected card--maybe this card isn't a scam but is, in fact, from the state.  I read on.

MCTR (Middle Class Tax Refund) direct deposit payments for Californians who received GSS (Golden State Stimulus) I or II are expected to be issued to bank accounts between October 7, 2022 and October 25, 2022. The remaining direct deposits will occur between October 28, 2022 and November 14, 2022.

MCTR direct deposit recipients who have changed their banking information since filing their 2020 tax return will receive a debit card. Debit cards for this group will be mailed between December 17, 2022 and January 14, 2023.

MCTR debit card payments for Californians who received GSS I and II are expected to be mailed between October 24, 2022 and December 10, 2022.

I don't even remember if I received those stimulus payments, I probably did, but I've never received a check or a card--any money I get from the state, including my state tax refunds, for example, has always been direct-deposited into the same checking account I've had for a few decades.  

So I should have received this money by direct deposit but instead got it via a debit card.  That's odd, but not a sure sign of a scam.  Everything from the FTB web site matches up with what I received, and this news report from San Francisco makes what I received seem entirely on the up-and-up.

Yet it's still goofy.  The 4th largest bank in the country, Wells Fargo, is headquartered here in California, yet the state went through the 47th largest bank in the country, headquartered in New York and one I've never heard of, to issue these cards (I'm still wondering why I received a card instead of a direct deposit).  The headline of the news report linked above says, "The state of California turned over data for millions of Californians so companies in New York and Wisconsin could issue the cards and mail them out."  Why?  Why not just mail checks from the FTB for those who don't have direct deposit? 

So I turn the paper over to read the fine print, and whoa, what fine print there is!

Look at all those fees!  Why would someone have to pay so much money to a bank in order to access what's supposed to be their own money?  I thought that perhaps I wouldn't have to pay, because on the back of the card are the logos for the the Star, Interlink, and Plus networks, and one of those is on the back of my bank ATM card, but that's not good enough, because my bank can charge me a fee for trying to get this money (whether they will or not, I don't know, but it seems ridiculous even to have to find out).  I went to to find an in-network ATM I could use without a fee and typed in my zip code--I guess I can go to the nearby Rite Aid or Costco, as those are shown on the map, but no banks are shown.  Doesn't that seem odd?  I know it can be expensive to be poor in this country, and especially in California, but you shouldn't have to pay a bank or two (the bank that issued this card, as well as your own bank) in order to get your money from the state--that's just not right.  Again, why did they not just send checks rather than going through this bank to send out cards?

Shortly after Christmas I'll go through the hassle of activating the card, setting up a PIN, checking the balance, and then withdrawing all that money in cash at a nearby ATM.

So I ask you, Governor Newsollini, the California legislature, and the FTB:  might there be a less complicated way to do this?

Tell Me You're A Geek Without Telling Me You're A Geek

This is what I have playing while I putter around this morning:

Break, Day 1, Morning

Slept in, had a light breakfast, having tea while writing thank-you notes to students who brought me gifts.  It's a good way to spend time on an overcast morning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

It's Hard To Believe, But...

The days are going to start getting longer now.  Doesn't feel like it, but they are.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Sic Semper Thieves

I still believe in West Point's honor code regarding lying, cheating, and stealing.  All three are equally bad, but I think stealing is more equal than the others.  The guy who made this video doesn't like stealing much:

He might be my new hero.

Can You Imagine The Hue and Cry If White People Intentionally Excluded Hispanics?

Racismracismracism, that's all you'd hear.  When other Hispanics intentionally exclude Hispanics, well, that's somehow good:

A few months after she was elected in 2020, Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, the first Republican Latina senator in state history, considered joining the California Latino Legislative Caucus. 

It seemed only natural, she said. 

Ochoa Bogh had spent half her youth in Mexico. Her first language was Spanish. And she was raised by parents who immigrated to the United States to achieve the “American Dream.” 

But Ochoa Bogh soon learned that Republican legislators, regardless of Latino ethnicity, are barred from joining the caucus. 

“It came with an irony because traditionally Democrats speak of equality and opportunity and they’re not allowing all Latinos,” she said.

Democratic lawmakers created the caucus 50 years ago and excluded Republicans from the beginning. It is one of two ethnic caucuses in the California Legislature that prevent GOP members from joining, and the policy has been a point of contention from time to time when multiple Hispanic Republicans win state office.

The one-party dynamic works, Democratic members say.

I'm sure it does.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Raising The Standard By Lowering It

Rather than educating students, we retreat and call it a victory:

Kansas universities may scrap their algebra graduation requirement because too many students fail the course, NPR Kansas reported.

“About one in three Kansas students fails college algebra the first time around. Some take it several times before they pass. Others get so frustrated that they drop out altogether. And that cuts into university graduation rates,” the news outlet reported Dec. 12.

With that, the Kansas Board of Regents is considering alternative requirements such as statistics and quantitative reasoning under what’s called a Math Pathways program, it added.

“We’re sending the majority of students down the college algebra road, which is really not necessary,” said Daniel Archer, vice president of academic affairs for the Kansas Board of Regents. “It’s not practical. It’s not really needed. And it’s not relevant for their fields.”

I remember when a university degree used to be a sign of academic achievement. 


Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Sense of Entitlement Is Amazing

Have these college students ever been told no?  I marvel at the sense of entitlement.

First, the crazy artsy students at New School:

As part of their list of demands, students at the private New York City arts school The New School (TNS) are occupying a campus building until instructors agree to give As for the semester.

According to the Instagram account New School Occupied, the students occupied the TNS University Center on Dec. 8 in support of faculty on strike for higher wages and better healthcare. While the strike ended on December 10, the occupants published a new set of demands that day that included A’s for all students, the resignation of school leadership, and the dissolution of the Board of Trustees.

Second, students at Cornell who are supposed to be smart enough to know better:

Students at Cornell University are split over calls for “universal pass equitable grading,” which would ensure all students would pass their courses and receive credit regardless of one’s final grade.

As I quoted in a recent post:

There was a time when college administrators paid little attention to student dissatisfaction. Their opinions were largely written off as a sign of their immaturity. But things have changed because of the high stakes involved. Students believe that they are entitled to all A’s while putting in little effort because they are paying soaring tuition.

If this is how they're going to act, our society would be significantly better off if we returned to the idea of administrators' paying "little attention to student dissatisfaction."  College students may have lots of potential but they don't really know anything yet.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Why Is DIE Becoming A Thing In Math?

What's the difference between these two beliefs:

1)  Racist, 1950:  Dark-skinned people aren't like white people, their brains and bodies are different.  They should be treated differently.


2)  So-called anti-racist, 2022:  Dark-skinned (and other so-called marginalized people) aren't like white people, their brains and bodies are different.  They should be treated differently.

There's no difference.

So what explains this?

At a recent mathematics education conference in Nashville, Tennessee, scholars pushed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion agenda. Campus Reform obtained exclusive audio and images from the meeting.

Occam's Razor tells me the reason for this is because teaching and learning math both require more effort than teaching and learning race-based hatred about math.  These people are taking the path of least resistance.

As I've said so many times before:  If they can't give you good government, they'll give you "woke" government.  If they can't give you good education, they'll give you "woke" education.

Who are these so-called marginalized people?  Where are they from, Africa?  Mexico?  East Asia?  Here's a thought experiment for you.   Go to Algebra 1 classes in Kenya, in South Africa, in Egypt, in Mexico, in China, and observe what is being taught and how it is being taught.  Then tell these so-called marginalized people they're doing it wrong.

This DIE crap will only keep students from learning.  It will keep people uneducated and dependent.  It serves no one but the powerful lefties who use it for their own power.  And that's why I change the letters around a bit from how it's usually written.

Saving The Environment, Or Not

For those of us in the Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia, where state government mandates that grocery stores not use so-called single use grocery bags, this should be obvious--but it doesn't matter.  Our leftie overlords feel good about dictating that we should not use plastic grocery bags, facts be damned:

Restrictions on their use are in place in almost a dozen US states and in many other countries around the world. And in many cases, these efforts have been successful at eliminating new sales of thin, wispy plastic bags that float up into trees, clog waterways, leech microplastics into soil and water and harm marine life. (Of course, these restrictions don’t address the plastic bags already out there that will take centuries to decompose.)

But this environmental success story of sorts masks another problem.

Many of us are drowning in reusable bags — cloth totes or thicker, more durable plastic bags — that retailers sell cheaply or give away to customers as an ostensibly greener alternative to single-use plastic. (I have 15 cotton totes and 12 heavy-duty plastic bags stashed in a kitchen drawer, only a few of which see the light of day.) 

The author knows there's a problem but can't seem to admit it. 

According to one eye-popping estimate, a cotton bag should be used at least 7,100 times to make it a truly environmentally friendly alternative to a conventional plastic bag.

The answer to what’s the greenest replacement for a single-use plastic bag isn’t straightforward, but the advice boils down to this: Reuse whatever bags you have at home, as many times as you can. 

Read the "unintended consequences" section of the article.  They may have been unintended but they were entirely predictable. 

Interesting information about pollution and recycling in this article.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Anyone Wanna Go Halfsies With Me?

You think I'm kidding, but I'm not:

Ever dreamed of owning your own secret citadel in a beautiful region of Italy, wandering along its fortified walls like a monarch surveying their kingdom?

For less than the price of a townhouse in central London or an attic apartment in Rome’s historic center – that dream can now come true.

The medieval castle and hamlet of Serravalle, half-way between the cities of Modena and Bologna in Italy’s northern Emilia Romagna region, is up for sale for 1.9 million euros, or about $2 million.

Already livable and fitted with heating, it requires just minimal fixes – and the price is negotiable. 

Set in green rolling hills, the castle comes with a portion of the village, which bears the same name and was once part of its fiefdom, lying at its feet.

Update, 12/18/22:  I think I've found the location on Google Earth:

Its WSW of Bologna, where the red pin is on the map.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

I'll Bet It Works For Young Gay Guys, Too

From the "duh" category:

In a surprise to absolutely no one, scientists have discovered that literally smearing testosterone onto the skin of young straight dudes makes them unbelievably horny.

If that's what passes for scientific research these days....

Not Sure How This Would Turn Out

Yes, there are many dogs on this planet that are clearly smarter than many lefties, but I still have a little hesitation about going forward with this:

Artificial selection is a well-known phenomenon of selecting for certain physiological characteristics of various species of plants and animals, and it is something that human beings have been doing for thousands of years. A perfect example of this is the union and development of dogs under human stewardship since the beginning of the agricultural era of society. In that time, approximately 6,000 years [1], dogs have been artificially selected in such a way as to produce thousands of different breeds. From the stout Dachshund, a dog breed produced for the purpose of hunting den-dwelling animals, to the highly intelligent Border Collies who were bred to help sheep herders herd their flocks; the many different canine breeds have served humanity in a multitude of capacities for many generations. In this paper, using the concept of artificial selection,[1] it is determined with mathematical and statistical evidence how humans could artificially select for canine intelligence to such a degree as to produce canines with human levels of intelligence within a relatively short amount of time—600 years.

Unintended consequences, and all that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

He Worked For President Trump So He Must Be Cancelled

Talking about Dr. Ben Carson here:

Dr. Carson grew up in a Detroit housing project before going on to become a ground-breaking neurosurgeon. He became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the nation at the age of 33. In 1987 he led the surgical team that performed the first successful separation of conjoined twins. Carson is famed in his field for developing new surgery techniques and successfully managing some of the most difficult pediatric neurosurgery cases in the nation.

Dr. Carson was also the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Trump administration.

It is astounding that a Black man who is the epitome of the American dream – grew up in the projects and went on to become one of the most famed surgeons in the world and then work in one of the highest positions in American government – and have all his accomplishments nullified because he holds the same political beliefs as half of the country.

They didn’t like his boss so they cancel him.   Is it that, or is it because he left the Democratic plantation?  Whichever is the reason--and it's one of those two--Detroit is renaming a school they'd named for him. 

Not sure if it’s sad or sickening, but it’s one of those two.

'Rona--Is There Anything It Can't Do?

A Canadian study showed that those unvaccinated against the 'rona were more likely to be involved in car accidents.

To answer my question:  yes.  It can't make lefties make sense.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Banana Republic

Reposting from Instapundit in its entirety:

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: DOJ Official Admits Targeting Pro-Lifers Is Response to Overturn of Roe. “At least 98 Catholic churches and 77 pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life organizations have been attacked since May, but the DOJ has apparently not charged a single person in connection with these attacks. Meanwhile, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division has charged 26 pro-life individuals with FACE Act violations this year.” 

 The law — and the DOJ — only protects people the Administration likes. That’s been made quite clear.

Merrick Garland obviously does not have the judgement, temperament, or concept of fairness to sit on the Supreme Court. We dodged a bullet when McConnell refused to bring his name before the Senate.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

The Left Are Masters of Manipulating Language

The left likes to use euphemisms (e.g., pro-choice for killing a baby, or unhoused for bums), hyperbole (e.g., the moral equivalent of war!), and outright lies (racist!  white supremacist!  homophobe!  Nazi!) to distract from what they're really saying.  We on the right need to do a better job of standing up to such manipulation, as the author of this article did:

This week a leading eco-politician in the UK, Caroline Lucas of the Green Party, referred to the building of a new coalmine as a ‘crime against humanity’. Take that in. Once upon a time it was mass murder, extermination, enslavement and the forced deportation of a people that were considered crimes against humanity. Now the building of a mine in Cumbria in north-west England that will create 500 new jobs and produce 2.8million tonnes of coal a year is referred to in such terms. Perhaps the coalmine bosses should be packed off to The Hague. Maybe the men who’ll dig the coal should be forced alongside the likes of ISIS to account for their genocidal behaviour.

We cannot let Ms Lucas’s crazed comments just slide by. We need to reflect on how we arrived at a situation where a mainstream politician, one feted by the media establishment, can liken digging for coal to crimes of extermination. It was in the Guardian – where else? – that Ms Lucas made her feverish claims. On Wednesday, when the government gave the go-ahead to the Cumbria mine, the first new coalmine in Britain for 30 years, Lucas wrote that the whole thing is ‘truly terrible’. This ‘climate-busting, backward-looking coalmine’ is nothing short of a ‘climate crime against humanity’, she said.

It isn’t though, is it? Sorry to be pedantic but it is not a crime to extract coal from the earth. If it were, the leaders of China – where they produce 13million tonnes of coal a day , rather putting into perspective the Cumbria mine’s 2.8million tonnes a year – would be languishing in the clink. I look forward to Ms Lucas performing a citizen’s arrest on Xi Jinping. It certainly is not a crime against humanity. That term entered popular usage during the Nuremberg trials of the Nazis. It refers to an act of evil of such enormity that it can be seen as an assault on all of humankind. Earth to Ms Lucas: extracting coal to make steel – what the Cumbria coal will mostly be used for – is not an affront to humankind. I’ll tell you what is an affront, though: speaking about the burning of coal in the same language that is used to refer to the burning of human beings. That, Caroline, is despicable.

It's one thing not to want a new coal mine, it's quite another to conjure up visions of swastikas in response.  Don't let them get away with it.


In both June and October of this year I wrote posts about the rape of US Merchant Marine cadets while aboard merchant ships for "practical exercise" training.  On October 9th I wrote my congressman about this issue, saying in part:

As a West Point graduate I’m sensitive to any mistreatment of our cadets, midshipmen, and military members.  As a man I’m sensitive to the mistreatment of women.  As a human I’m sickened by the mistreatment of some of our Merchant Marine cadets while they’re at sea and, for the most part, unable to protect themselves.  My hope is that you will be as angry and disgusted as I am when you read about what some of them have allegedly suffered.

It seems clear that the Merchant Marine Academy needs to do a better job of vetting the placement of cadets, especially women cadets, on sea voyages.  It seems equally clear that the US Coast Guard needs to be more aggressive when investigating such allegations.  And the only way these two events will happen is if Congress exercises a bit more painful oversight.

Thus, I’m asking you to consider if and how Congress might influence the Merchant Marine Academy to do a better job of preventing the types of attacks I’ve described, and how Congress might influence the Coast Guard to be more pugnacious when investigating these types of attacks.  Lastly, I’m asking you to lead this fight.  

Our Merchant Marine cadets deserve better than the treatment they’re currently receiving.

It's now been two months since I sent this letter to Washington, with no response.  So, Congressman Ami Bera, I'm calling you out publicly.  You send franked letters to your constituents a few times a year asking what you can do for them; I bring you a serious problem and don't even get a response.  To say I'm disappointed in you would be an understatement.  To be honest, I expected better from you.

When my grandfather died 25 years ago, the Veterans Administration was in turmoil and told my grandmother it would be 6 months until grandpa would get a headstone for his grave.  I wrote my congressman at the time, Vic Fazio, and asked for his assistance.  His local office responded to me, agreeing that 6 months was a ridiculous time to wait for a headstone.  They got some information from me and a few weeks later called me to let me know a headstone would be in place in a couple weeks.  After I wrote a thank-you note to the congressman and his staff, I got another call from the local office--no one ever thanks the congressman (or his staff) for their work, they said; rather, people get what they want then go about their lives, and mine was the first thank-you note they could remember receiving.  Vic Fazio is not someone my grandfather or I would ever have voted for, but the congressman and I didn't see a need to treat each other as enemies--we just had different political views, is all.   We treated each other with respect and decency, my situation was resolved, and both of us came out better for it.  Whenever I see signs for the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, I can spare a kind thought for the congressman and what he did for my family.

Ami Bera, on the other hand, from whom I've received more franked letters than all the other congressmen I've had in my lifetime combined, can't share a letter or a phone call regarding the rape of Merchant Marine cadets.  What are your priorities, congressman?

Saturday, December 10, 2022

It Can't Start Any More Even Than This


Beat Navy!

Update:  I don't know that I've ever seen a worse half of Army football, at least as far as offense goes.  Only 33 total yards, one first down, and less than 8 minutes of possession.  Remarkably, defense has held Navy to 3 points, and a blocked punt by special teams resulted in an Army touchdown.  So, defense and special teams showed up for this game, where is the offense?  At halftime it's Army 7, Navy 3.

Update #2:  It was a squeaker.  Army tied it 10-10 in regulation inside of 2 minutes, taking the game to overtime.  Army's first play from scrimmage was a touchdown, and Navy answered with their first completed pass of the game for a touchdown.  Navy got the ball first in 2OT and the Army defense caused a fumble at the goal line.  Army played it safe for their possession and won with a field goal.

Army didn't score an offensive touchdown in regulation but still won the game 20-17 in 2OT.  I'd rather win ugly than lose pretty, and that was as ugly as I can recall seeing Army's offense play.

Here's what ESPN shows, and take my word for it, as bad as it looks, it looked a lot worse for Army at the end of the first half.

Beat Navy!

Friday, December 09, 2022

Not A Fan of Digital Currency

I like cold, hard cash.  I don't want government to be able to "shut off my money", which they'll be able to do in an entirely cashless society.  I don't want government to limit how much money I can get from the bank, either:

Nigeria will soon begin restricting ATM withdrawals to just $45 per day as part of a push to move the country toward a cashless economy

The policy – which will also apply to banks and cashback from purchases – follows the launch of the West African nation's newly designed currency notes to control the money supply.

Don't forget what Castreau did up north last winter.

Thursday, December 08, 2022

This Is What You Get When Everybody Gets A Participation Trophy

We've discussed credit scores in my Financial Math class, and today my students got a little chuckle as I made fun of this man's stupidity and whininess:

The first Gen-Z member of Congress is heading to DC — if he can find somewhere to live.

Maxwell Alejandro Frost had his apartment rental application denied by a Washington, DC, landlord, the representative-elect said in a tweet. Frost, who is set to make $174,000 a year as a freshman Congress member, said he applied to an apartment after he gave a prospective landlord notice that his credit score was “really bad.” 

Frost said the landlord told him that the application should get approved despite his poor credit score. However, Frost’s application was still denied and he subsequently lost the apartment and the application fee.

I'm going to guess Maxwell's political party based on his whining:

 "In an interview, Frost said that even with a letter from the House showing his congressional salary it did not matter because “in this country we allow numbers like credit scores to completely define a human.” “It just shows how much of a problem we have,” he said. His initial plan was to couch surf while he was getting his bearings in DC, but the apartment he had applied for was within his budget. “We’ll see what ends up happening,” Frost said."

Oh boo hoo.  No one has said that your credit scores defines the totality of your being human, it merely says that you have a history of not paying your bills.  Quit being so dramatic.  You might think you have a good reason for not paying your bills, but the fact remains that you have a (recent) history of not paying your bills.  Buck up, deal with it, fix your credit score like us mere mortals have to, and then you can rent the apartment.  Until then, stay at a hotel--where you'll even have a mommy figure make your bed for you each day.

I was right.  The source of all knowledge and wisdom says he's a Democrat.  Shocking, I know.

No Sympathy

A full-time college student will take a minimum of 12 units a semester.  Back in the olden days, when college students were expected to work to earn a grade, it was considered reasonable to expect 2 hours of work outside of class for every hour in class.  Accordingly, a student taking 12 hours of classes a week should expect to work 24 hours for a total of 36 hours—less than a full-time job, and they still have weekends off.

I’m tired of my tax money supporting these whiners:

While 87 percent of students said that college is “too difficult,” the same percentage are studying less than 10 hours per week, a new survey found., which regularly surveys college students, gathered data from 1,000 respondents, all of whom attend four-year colleges.

“The vast majority of students (87%) say they have felt at least one of their college classes was too challenging and should have been made easier by the professor,” the survey found.

Buck up, get to work, and learn something.  College isn’t supposed to be the equivalent of 4 years at a resort.

Update, 12/10/22:  But what, there's more

As long as college students are considered entitled customers, their complaints about their professors will be taken seriously by administrators...

There was a time when college administrators paid little attention to student dissatisfaction. Their opinions were largely written off as a sign of their immaturity. But things have changed because of the high stakes involved. Students believe that they are entitled to all A’s while putting in little effort because they are paying soaring tuition. Not surprisingly, professors who have not yet achieved tenure are reluctant to disappoint students out of fear that poor ratings will be used against them. In contrast, tenured professors simply dig in their heels, citing lowering standards...

The long-term effects of corporatization are disheartening. Colleges and universities are supposed to be centers of research and learning. The farther they move away from their primary mission by trying to please students, the more they undermine it. The transformation is part of a larger cultural shift that views higher education as a private good benefiting individual students rather than a public good helping the nation prosper by turning out educated citizens.

First, students are not customers, they're product.  A school, like a corporation, that puts out poor product will eventually find itself in a bad place.  And second, a "public good" should benefit everyone; if public education is seen as a private good, which it is becoming more and more, then the public should not support it financially.

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

What Is News?

This morning when I woke up I checked the news on my phone.  Two of the sites I went to were CNN and Fox.  Given CNN's political slant, it's not surprising that the top 3 stories (and several related "sub-stories") on their (mobile) web site all related to politics--the Georgia Senate run-off, President Trump, and a Supreme Court case.  This is to be expected.

What I could not find anywhere on the front page of their site was this story:

How is this not news?  I guess they don't consider it so if it doesn't support their viewpoint. 
Those of us on the left and right live in two different worlds, watch two different movies.
Update, 12/10/22:  link didn't work before, fixed now! 
Update, 12/13/22:  Merrick Garland, who clearly doesn't have the temperament to sit on the Supreme Court, referred to these parents as domestic terrorists. 

Thesis Defense

We didn't have graduate students at my undergraduate school.  And when I got my own master's degree, I opted for a cumulative test rather than a thesis.  As such, I've never seen an actual thesis defense.  Until today.

A former student, with whom I've stayed in contact, invited me to attend his thesis defense on Zoom, and as my schedule allowed it, I did so.  It wasn't adversarial at all, which is different from what I had always imagined about these activities.  And it was quite interesting.

I admit that I had a little bit of an insider track on this one.  A week or so ago, this student shared some of his work with me and we discussed the statistics in it.  It's been a long time since I've taken even an advanced class in stats, but his work was good and I was able to make one suggestion about a test he could perform.

Mission Creep

Before I was born, California's Master Plan for Higher Education delineated three levels of post-secondary schools:  junior/community colleges, the California State University system, and the University of California system:

According to the Plan, the top one-eighth (12.5%) of graduating high school seniors would be guaranteed a place at a campus of the University of California tuition-free. The top one-third (33.3%) would be able to enter the California State University system. Junior colleges (later renamed "community colleges" in 1967) would accept any students "capable of benefiting from instruction."[8] These percentages are now enforced by sliding scales equating grade point average and scores on the SAT or ACT, which are recalculated every year. No actual ranking of students in high schools is used as many schools do not rank students.

Graduates of the junior colleges would be guaranteed the right to transfer to the UC or CSU systems in order to complete bachelor's degrees. This practice was carried over from previous years before the Plan was enacted; graduates from the junior colleges had traditionally been accepted as upper-division transfer students at the state colleges or UC campuses by virtue of their prior coursework. Finally, the Plan established that the University of California would be the sole portion of the system charged with performing research, and would award master's and doctoral degrees in support of that mission. The Cal State system, in addition to awarding master's degrees, would be able to award joint doctorates with the UC.[8]

The "California Idea"—California's tripartite system of public research universities, comprehensive 4-year undergraduate campuses, and open-access community colleges—has been highly influential, and many other states and even nations have imitated this structure.[11] However, California higher education has had a poor record of college completion and four-year baccalaureate degree attainment. Subgroups such as Latinos and African Americans (whose demographics are large and growing) show even worsening statistics of degree attainment.

One can argue that the Master Plan hasn't lived up to the promises of its most ardent proponents, but what government plan has?  Even if it hasn't been implemented very well, the idea behind it is still strong. 

You think the system is screwed up?  I know what let's do, let's screw it up some more:

Three California community colleges are fighting to start new baccalaureate programs, which their leaders insist would fill critical local workforce needs and help students who couldn’t otherwise afford to pursue a four-year degree. But their plans have faced repeated roadblocks from the California State University system. Cal State faculty members argue these programs, and future programs like them, shouldn’t proceed without their go-ahead...

Half of states now allow community college baccalaureate degrees. California launched its first community college baccalaureate programs on a pilot basis seven years ago.

Community colleges should focus on their own mission.  Additionally, unprepared students shouldn't be admitted to universities.  Implementing those two common sense points would allow plenty of room in the universities for students to take the classes they need, and also give the community colleges all the work they can handle getting the unprepared students ready for university-level work.  You know what the problem is with my idea?  Not enough opportunities for graft and fiefdom-enlargement.

To use the parlance of today, the community colleges should "stay in their own lane".

When Will They Realize They're The Bad Guys?

If you think you know better what's good for kids than their parents, strictly because their parents disagree with you on a controversial topic, you're the bad guy.  If you have to have policies in place to keep information from parents, you're the bad guy:

An email unearthed by parents at an Indiana high school has revealed a districtwide support plan for students undergoing gender transition and a policy to withhold and hide information from students’ parents.

An Aug. 16 email sent by a counselor at Pendleton Heights High School in Pendleton, Indiana, informed teachers that a student had changed genders, provided new pronouns, and said teachers should not inform the student’s parents because they were “not supportive of the decision"...

Jason Payne, a parent with a child in that school district, South Madison Community School Corporation, told The Daily Signal in a text: “If staff at South Madison are willing to lie to parents about this—what else are they willing to lie about? How can I be assured my kid is safe while he’s at Pendleton if they can’t be trusted to be honest with me?”

In my district, too, we're under gag orders in some cases.  I remember a case several years ago in which two students were suspended for some serious making out at school.  In the conference with the parents, participants were not allowed even to indicate the sex of the other person (including using sex-based pronouns) because doing so would have "outed" the students involved.

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Criminalizing Dissent

We're fast becoming a banana republic, if we aren't there already:

In a National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin issued on Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced portentously that “the United States remains in a heightened threat environment.” It seems that “lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland.” Yet while the DHS claims to be tracking terror threats from people with a “range of ideological beliefs,” it is especially concerned “threat actors could exploit several upcoming events to justify or commit acts of violence, including certifications related to the midterm elections” and “the marking of two years since the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.” The message is clear: DHS is going to devote its resources to the alleged terror threat coming from those who dissent from the Leftist establishment line. Meanwhile, the agency plans to release Afghan Muslim criminals into the United States. The priorities of Biden’s handlers’ “counterterror” apparatus are all too clear...

Clearly, DHS is playing political games with the safety and security of the American people. Instead of focusing on actual threats, such as the continuing one of jihad terrorism and the completely ignored 800-pound gorilla in the room, violence from Antifa and Black Lives Matter, DHS is devoting the lion’s share of its time and attention to fabricating a right-wing terror threat and using it to silence opponents of the regime. The ultimate goal is to criminalize political dissent. That’s the real message of the latest National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin. What we need now is a counterterror apparatus to protect us from the counterterror “experts.”

We're Losing Our Enlightenment Values

What's worse, I never thought we'd lose them so quickly:

[W]hich came first, the corruption of science or the censoring of speech? 

It appears they’ve walked hand-in-hand for quite some time, becoming all the more apparent with the consolidation of social media power and the collective efforts of federal bureaucrats who wish to control not only what you think but especially what you say. During no time in human history was this more obvious than during the COVID-19 crisis where social engineering tactics were used against the American public, not to limit your exposure to a virus, but to limit your exposure to information that did not fit within a government sanctioned narrative. 

Throughout the pandemic, doctors, scientists, patients, and families were censored, shadow-banned, blocked, and punished for having views, opinions, and research findings disfavored by the government and their chosen gatekeepers. Hard fast truths that have become indisputable over time, ranging from the effectiveness of Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine to the potential dangers of Remdesivir and the failures of the vaccine were labeled as "disinformation" and "misinformation."

I remember when believing that the coronavirus had nothing to do with a wet market, that it was a human-manufactured virus that escaped from the lab in Wuhan, got you laughed at and called a conspiracy theorist.  Today that same belief gets you a "well, duh, of course".

Just Give Up Already

How many times already has the requirement to show a "RealID" for domestic air travel been postponed?  Why do they keep postponing it, it's literally been known for years.  Of course they blame the 'rona for the backlog, but the 'rona hasn't been causing backlogs for two years, and this latest delay is two more years:

Air travelers will now have two more years to upgrade their licenses and other forms of identification to be Real ID-compliant .

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Monday the new deadline will be May 7, 2025, allowing Americans more time following delays caused by the COVID pandemic. The old cutoff was slated for May 3, 2023.

Americans wishing to trade their license or ID in for a compliant Real ID, which has a star symbol at the top of the card, must undergo a more stringent ID check during application. According to DHS, security features on Real IDs are designed to prevent counterfeiting and fraud, using documentary evidence and record checks to confirm travelers are who they claim to be. The Real ID will be required by travelers 18 or older to board a plane, enter a federal building or a military base. Passports, military IDs or Global Entry cards also will qualify to pass through airport security. 

Stringent, you say?  I know of a former student who has openly bragged for over a year about having a RealID showing he/she is old enough to drink.  He/she is not.  Good job, California! 

Anyway, this RealID requirement sounds like an ineffective parent:  "Stop now or you're going to be in trouble...One more time and you're in a timeout...Don't make me say it again...One, two, three, if I get to four...."  Just give up already.  You're incompetent.  I'm talking to you, California DMV and US Dept of Homeland Security.

Monday, December 05, 2022

You Can Expect This When Government Is In The Suicide Business

Combine government-run health care with "medical assistance in dying", as they do up north in Canada, and this is what you get:

Canada's Veterans Affairs office offered to assist a Paralympian and veteran to commit suicide when she sought to have a wheelchair lift installed in her home, the woman told lawmakers last week.

Christine Gauthier, a 52-year-old retired corporal who competed in the 2016 Paralympics at Rio De Janeiro, testified to lawmakers that a VA official had offered — in writing — to provide her with a medically-assisted suicide kit. The case officer remains unnamed but reportedly made similar offers to at least three other veterans, according to the Independent.

"I have a letter saying that if you’re so desperate, madam, we can offer you MAID, medical assistance in dying," Gauthier said in a hearing before the House of Commons veterans affairs committee.

The rot up there has grown so much, so fast.  What happened to those people?

When I Retire

The current timeline is 4 1/2 years, and then I'll pack up and move somewhere cheaper and less crazy.  I haven't yet found that Goldilocks location that is perfect in every way, but I think I can rule out these 10 cities worldwide:  Copenhagen, Paris, San Francisco, Geneva, Zurich, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, New York, and Singapore.

These are the world's most expensive cities to live in 2022

Sunday, December 04, 2022

It's Legal To Break The Law?

As I've said before, I don't care if marijuana is legalized or not, I just want state laws to jibe with federal law.  So what happens when federal law doesn't jibe with federal law?

Rather than granting illegal marijuana "dispensaries" access to the US banking system, why not just make pot legal?  Then the banking part is moot:

A bipartisan group of senators is working to attach marijuana legislation to "must-pass" bills at the end of the year, according to a new report.

Led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the group, according to Axios, has received the Department of Justice's blessing to implement legislation that would allow cannabis companies access to banking institutions and create grants for state expungement of past marijuana convictions.

The outlet reported that the "targeted legislation" stems from the pairing of two bills — the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act and the Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act.

The SAFE Banking Act, which has passed through the House six times, allows federally-insured banks to work with cannabis shops and related companies in states that have legalized marijuana.

I guess doing it my way would make too much sense.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Why Do My Taxes Support This Anymore?

College is kinda becoming a joke:

Declining knowledge and academic rigor has not only been observed by Campus Reform, however. This trend has been observed by academics and policy analysts alike.

Most recently, Senior Fellow and Director of Education Policy Studies Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute asked, “Are College Classes too Hard for Today’s Students?”

According to Hess, an “Alarming [Number] Say ‘Yes.’” Pointing to a survey by, Hess argues that college students want classes to be easier. 

Of 1,000 college students surveyed, the majority expressed that at least one class in their schedule was too difficult and that the university should force professors to make classes easier...

Professors Philip Babcock of the University of California Santa Barbara, and Mindy Marks of the University of California Riverside, found in their November 2022 study that today’s students “hit the books for just 14 hours” a week compared to 24 hours in 1961, as reported by 

Yet, while students read significantly less and admit to coming to class unprepared, many of them still receive “A’s.”

Hess referred to college as a vacation, writing that “[w]hether or not students have other interests or responsibilities, treating college as an expensive multiyear holiday isn’t good for students, colleges or the taxpayers who subsidize much of this activity. And it’s insulting to all those young people who routinely put in 10-hour days waitressing, driving trucks, working construction and otherwise keeping us fed, clothed and housed.” 

It’s a multi-year holiday that they want the rest of us to pay for.  No, thank you.

9 Months Is An Eternity In Hypocrisy-land

At least, Justin Castreau up north must think so:

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Being Offended

I'm not saying that people should go around intentionally offending others--we have words for such people.  But neither should we walk on eggshells in fear of offending someone.  Somewhere between those two extremes is a reasonable middle:

“Words are violence.” 

That’s a common refrain among far-left campus protestors, like the ones who show up at Matt Walsh’s events or those who recently shut down Ann Coulter’s speech at Cornell University, as reported by Campus Reform.   

Of course, words are not literal violence. At best, what the protestors mean is that words they dislike or disagree with are analogous to violence. Such words are “hurtful,” which is to say their hurt some people’s feelings.   

Simply put, the protesting students are offended. And they seem to believe they not only have a right not to be offended but that right somehow supersedes the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  

This is abject nonsense. There is no such right, and the sooner young people recognize and accept that fact, the sooner they will grow up and develop the ability to cope and ultimately thrive in this often-unfriendly world...

First, keep in mind that being offended is a choice. Others can say what they want; you have no control over that. What you can control, however, is how you respond.  

As in other parts of life:  the problem isn't usually the problem, the problem is how you react to the problem.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Another Sad Day For Me

When I was young and a celebrity died, I often wondered why people got so upset.  After all, they didn't really know this person, why get bent out of shape over their passing?

When Tom Petty died five years ago I understood, writing this in my memorial blog post, "Petty's music brought me a lot of joy in life, and did so over several decades.  I'm sorry to see him go." 

I followed two groups religiously when I was in high school, Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac, and today I got word that Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac has died.  I "believe in the five", but the five are no more.

You Make Lovin' Fun was my favorite song of hers.  I got to see her at the end of my freshman year at West Point, when she performed at Eisenhower Hall on a tour promoting her solo album, and again when I saw Fleetwood Mac in 2014.  Her music brought me a lot of joy in life, and did so over several decades.  I'm sorry to see her go.

All Roads Lead To Calculus

I'm not a believer that AP Calculus is the end-all, be-all of high school math.  Neither do I believe the recent fad of badmouthing calculus and redirecting students into statistics classes (full disclosure:  I teach statistics).  I think we should offer a variety of courses and let students choose what they want.

I'm not a fan of AP classes and their tests.  In theory they sound good--I'm all about external evaluations to maintain standards--but I don't like how much taxpayer money goes into the pockets of the College Board.  Just to give you an idea, we at the schools get kids to register for the tests, we used to collect the money but now I think the students pay online, we order the tests, we set up and administer the tests (several different tests over the course of a couple weeks), we box up the materials and return them to the College Board--and they score them.  A lot of school employee time is spent so that the College Board can keep all that money.  Public education shouldn't be that way.

This is my 20th year at my current school, and most (all?) of those years I taught pre-calculus.  We're supposed to be getting new textbooks/curriculum for the course next year, and then we'll no doubt need even newer books and curriculum for, wait for it, AP Precalculus!  A new course for the 2023-24 school year:

In AP Precalculus, students explore everyday situations and phenomena using mathematical tools and lenses. The framework focuses on four key units of study that colleges expect students to demonstrate to qualify for credit or placement. 

Great, just great. 

And AP Calculus isn't necessarily all that and a bag of chips, either, because of its reliance on graphing calculators.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Cheech and Chong Were Not Self-Medicating

Not being someone who partakes of the devil's lettuce, I have no dog in the "should marijuana be legalized" fight.  I don't care if it's legalized at the federal level or not, what I do care about is that several states (California included) openly flout federal law.  Marijuana is not "legal" in these states; rather, use or possession is not a state crime, while it still absolutely is a federal crime.

You'd think California would have gone all in on legalizing marijuana, but you'd be wrong.  Its state-level decriminalization was sold to the public as "medical marijuana", so people with cancer and glaucoma can have their suffering eased.  You want to ease suffering, right?

I never bought into the "medical marijuana" argument.  If you "believe the science", you wouldn't buy into it, either:

Cannabis is one of the most widely used drugs in the world. While there are only a few countries where cannabis is legal for recreational use, many more countries have legalized the use of cannabis for medical reasons.

Reducing pain is one of the most common reasons people report using medical cannabis. According to a US national survey, 17 percent of respondents who had reported using cannabis in the past year had been prescribed medical cannabis.

When it comes to self-medication, the numbers are even higher – with estimates that between 17-30 percent of adults in North America, Europe and Australia reporting they use it to manage pain.

Although cannabis (and cannabis-derived products, such as CBD) may be widely used for reducing pain, how effective it really is in doing this is still unclear. This is what our recent systematic review and meta-analysis sought to uncover.

Our study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests cannabis is no better at relieving pain than a placebo.

Shocking, I know.