Monday, May 23, 2022

Countdown

5 working days this week.

4 working days next week.

3 working days the last "week" of school.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Content of Their Character, Not The Color of Their Skin

UC Davis Students Finally Do Something I Can Support!

Being one of the nation's premier agricultural schools, UC Davis (aka Berkeley-lite) students are known as Aggies--but their mascot is a race horse.  Perhaps that will change:

Davis students have always loved our cows — perhaps, dare I say, much more than our confusingly blue mustang, Gunrock, based on a racehorse of the same name that lived on campus in the 1920s. Why do we have a mustang mascot when the real Gunrock was a thoroughbred and our Cal Poly rivals have a much more legitimate claim to the horse...

The irony of our love for cows but rejection of the bovine as mascot has rightly upset UC Davis students for decades. In 1993, Davis students voted for a cow to become the school’s official mascot. The vote was successful — until then-UC Davis chancellor Theodore L. Hullar and his administration rejected it. 

Now, a group of about 30 UC Davis students are again attempting a mascot coup. Their efforts have thus far paid off: On Monday, the “Cow 4 Mascot” campaign was victorious in an undergraduate vote. With student support, Team Cow will now meet with the Cal Aggie Alumni Association and school administrators to talk next steps. 

The Cow 4 Mascot group has settled on a name for our new mascot hopeful: Aggie the Cow. It’s a nod to the school’s rich agricultural history, merging the mascots of yesterday with those of today. It’s perfect.

They can still screw this up.  In true UC Davis fashion they could make Aggie the Cow a differently-abled left-hooved lesbian of color cow, but let's hope they just heed the paraphrased words of Freud:  sometimes a cow is just a cow.

BTW, I didn't know the horse mascot had a name.  Gunrock is kinda cool.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Mosquitos Love Me

I'm like a charcuterie board for those damn insects:

You come in from a hike covered with itchy red mosquito bites, only to have your friends innocently proclaim that they don’t have any. Or you wake up from a night of camping to find your ankles and wrists aflame with bites, while your tentmates are unscathed.

You’re not alone. An estimated 20 percent of people, it turns out, are especially delicious for mosquitoes, and get bit more often on a consistent basis. And while scientists don’t yet have a cure for the ailment, other than preventing bites with insect repellent (which, we’ve recently discovered, some mosquitoes can become immune to over time), they do have a number of ideas regarding why some of us are more prone to bites than others. Here are some of the factors that could play a role...

Oddly enough, most of those factors don't seem to explain my deliciousness to the bloodsuckers.

Gotta Get Your Math Straight

In school, you get the wrong answer on a test.  In the real world there can be geopolitical ramifications:

The Biden administration privately acknowledged in late April that a mathematical error is delaying the federal offshore oil and gas program, in a letter to industry leaders.

Richard Spinrad, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said a subagency “discovered a miscalculation” that has caused a massive backlog in permitting, in the April 29 letter obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. Spinrad acknowledged the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) — the subagency tasked with analyzing the impact of offshore drilling projects on wildlife — has used faulty modeling on such impacts and, as a result, overestimated wildlife effects, delaying permitting on existing leases.

Why Is Canada Euthanizing The Poor?

What is going on up there?

As with most slippery slopes, it all began with a strongly worded denial that it exists. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed 22 years of its own jurisprudence by striking down the country’s ban on assisted suicide as unconstitutional, blithely dismissing fears that the ruling would ‘initiate a descent down a slippery slope into homicide’ against the vulnerable as founded on ‘anecdotal examples’. The next year, Parliament duly enacted legislation allowing euthanasia, but only for those who suffer from a terminal illness whose natural death was ‘reasonably foreseeable’.

It only took five years for the proverbial slope to come into view, when the Canadian parliament enacted Bill C-7, a sweeping euthanasia law which repealed the ‘reasonably foreseeable’ requirement – and the requirement that the condition should be ‘terminal’. Now, as long as someone is suffering from an illness or disability which ‘cannot be relieved under conditions that you consider acceptable’, they can take advantage of what is now known euphemistically as ‘medical assistance in dying’ (MAID for short) for free.

Soon enough, Canadians from across the country discovered that although they would otherwise prefer to live, they were too poor to improve their conditions to a degree which was acceptable.

Not coincidentally, Canada has some of the lowest social care spending of any industrialised country, palliative care is only accessible to a minority, and waiting times in the public healthcare sector can be unbearable, to the point where the same Supreme Court which legalised euthanasia declared those waiting times to be a violation of the right to life back in 2005.

Many in the healthcare sector came to the same conclusion. Even before Bill C-7 was enacted, reports of abuse were rife. A man with a neurodegenerative disease testified to Parliament that nurses and a medical ethicist at a hospital tried to coerce him into killing himself by threatening to bankrupt him with extra costs or by kicking him out of the hospital, and by withholding water from him for 20 days. Virtually every disability rights group in the country opposed the new law. To no effect: for once, the government found it convenient to ignore these otherwise impeccably progressive groups.

The article is disturbing.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

If It Can't Work At UW-Madison...

...it can't work anywhere:

There has been no improvement in the UW-Madison campus climate over the last six years despite the public university pouring millions of dollars into programs and staff positions to support diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Students of color, students with disabilities, nonbinary students, transgender students, and other LGBTQ+ students responded less positively than their counterparts” when rating whether they feel welcome, safe and respected, according to the results of a recently released campus climate survey.

“The gap in reported perceptions between these students and other students did not change between 2016 and 2021,” the survey found.

Play up differences, and you won't have a team.  Leadership 101.  Then again, we know that "inclusion" and harmony are not the true goals of diversity, inclusion, and equity supporters.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Who, Exactly, Supports So-called "Replacement Theory"?

Hint:  it's not those of us on the right:

https://twitter.com/tomselliott/status/1526872005953429504

Is US Math Education Going To Improve?

Maybe, maybe not.  Here are the findings from a National Council on Teacher Quality report on teacher education programs:

Findings

• Undergraduate programs are dedicating significantly more time to elementary school mathematics 

• Many undergraduate programs are not making optimal use of instructional time 

• The average graduate program spends less than a single credit hour on math content

Read the whole report here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Government in California

A California law requiring publicly-held corporations to include women on their boards has been declared unconstitutional by a Los Angeles judge.

Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis said the law, which requires corporations with principal executive offices in California to include women on their boards, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the state’s Constitution.  link

Of course it's unconstitutional. But that didn't stop California's government from passing it, and our idiot governor from signing it, just so all the lefties could bask in their own virtue signaling for a few months.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Those Founders Were Pretty Smart

They certainly understood human nature and designed a system of government to curtail its worst excesses:

“The Federalist Papers” can be dry reading. Calm, scholarly, sometimes needlessly erudite, this classic examination of the U.S. Constitution by three of its foremost advocates—Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay—generally strikes a detached pose, focusing more on how bills become laws than on any specific political agenda.

But there’s an exception. In the middle of the book’s most famous essay—Federalist No. 10—Madison briefly drops his tone of political neutrality in order to call three kinds of laws downright “wicked.” These three are laws creating paper money, laws that redistribute private property and laws “for an abolition of debts.” This trio, he explains, are the types of laws the proposed Constitution is designed to prevent.

Today, as a loud minority of voters is calling for President Biden to “cancel” or “forgive” billions of dollars in federal student loan debts—shifting the costs of higher education onto the backs of working taxpayers—it’s worth pausing to consider why the Father of the Constitution reserved such harsh language for laws abolishing debts.

Remember, there's no such thing as "abolishing" or "forgiving" student debt.  The burden of paying it merely gets transferred to the rest of us.

Good.

We can't undo the wrong that was done, but at least he can sue for damages:

He Was Sentenced to Death After Law Enforcement Fabricated Evidence. A Federal Court Says He Can Sue.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

A Great Movie Nobody's Heard Of

I loved this movie back in the 80s. Didn't know it was "made for TV"! 

Action, adventure, anti-communism, love story!  Those are incorporated into the "can we get the treasure!" story line.  I've seen other movies with the same premise as this one:  Triple Frontier, Black Sea, and one other that escapes me right now....

Friday, May 13, 2022

Need More Pollution?

Note that this story comes not from a right-wing news site, but from al-AP:

Cleaner air in United States and Europe is brewing more Atlantic hurricanes, a new U.S. government study found.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study links changes in regionalized air pollution across the globe to storm activity going both up and down. A 50% decrease in pollution particles and droplets in Europe and the U.S. is linked to a 33% increase in Atlantic storm formation in the past couple decades, while the opposite is happening in the Pacific with more pollution and fewer typhoons, according to the study published in Wednesday’s Science Advances.

When You're Intentionally Keeping Information From Parents, You Might Be One Of The Bad Guys

We're going to keep hearing stories like this:

Geary County teacher Pamela Ricard has won an initial victory in her lawsuit against her school district’s pronoun policy.

On Tuesday, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the Geary County Unified School District blocking them from disciplining Ricard if she were to intentionally disclose a student’s “preferred name or pronoun” to a parent.

Update, 5/15/22:  Middle schoolers?  Really?

Three Wisconsin boys are facing sexual harassment charges from their middle school over accusations that they used incorrect gender pronouns on a fellow student...

"It’s not sexual harassment under Title IX, under their own policy, under federal law, and it’s probably a First Amendment violation. Almost certainly, if that’s their theory, that solely using the wrong pronoun, that that would be a First Amendment violation," said Luke Berg, the attorney representing the boys.

Read what was actually said before you make a judgement.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wearing Yellow Stars of David

Today at our staff meeting some students discussed a new project that is being shepherded by our school's so-called Equity Team.  Teachers can choose to be "allies", to "demonstrate ally-ship", and will make themselves available to talk to students when students need someone to talk to but can't talk to their parents. 

But wait, it gets better.  Teachers who decide to do this will be sent to re-education training to learn how to talk to students without judgement and how to "be vulnerable" with students.  

And the best part is...those teachers who do this will get a sticker to put on their classroom doors to notify anyone and everyone that they are an ally.

I am not going to participate in this, in part because it comes from our "equity" team.  "Equity" is a word that has been co-opted by those of a certain political slant--and it's not my political slant!--and I don't support their interpretation of the word.  I want nothing to do with anything associated with so-called equity.  For those who don't understand why I would feel that way, imagine supporting something from the Liberty Team, the Patriotism Team or (gasp!) the MAGA Team.  I don't care if the "Equity" Team is cleaning up the campus or raising money to send arms to Ukraine, I wouldn't help.  Words matter, and if you're going to use politically-charged words in your organization's name to identify yourselves, and if I'm not "of" that political slant, then you've lost me.

To use the language of the Left, they're not being inclusive.  This use of stickers creates an us vs. them environment with leads to othering those without the sticker.

When they first mentioned the stickers, my first thought was, "Why don't they just have those of us without the stickers wear yellow Stars of David?"

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Good Thing I Have A Generator

California, 2022:

Soaring gasoline and electricity prices may turn out to be only part of Americans’ energy woes this summer. In recent months, a host of power suppliers have issued warnings that millions of residents could endure rolling blackouts because of the growing inability of America’s evolving energy infrastructure to meet power needs. From western states like Utah, Colorado, and California to midwestern states like Illinois, energy providers have cautioned that rising prices, shortages due to the closure of some coal and nuclear plants, and the unreliability of renewables like wind and solar have reduced energy surpluses. That’s left some places with little margin for error during peak usage times in mid-summer—potentially prompting the kind of blackouts California saw last year. The warnings have spurred calls to slow down climate-change-driven efforts to retire nuclear and fossil-fuel generating plants. They have also emerged as an issue in local elections this November.

When generators are outlawed, as they're soon to be in California, only (we/us) outlaws will have generators.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

"Equity" Has Nothing To Do With Excellence

Never has, never will:

Barrington, Rhode Island, public schools are among the best in the state. Many parents move to the district, and tolerate the higher taxes, because of the academic rigor that sets their children up for attending Ivy League schools or receiving academic merit scholarships. However, all of that academic appeal is being chipped away after the district brought in a so-called "equity and inclusion" agenda. 

De-leveling, or a system of universal learning, was first implemented in Barrington on the most vulnerable students—the students with learning disabilities and Individualized Education Programs (IEP). In February 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school removed some conceptual classes. On the whole, parents of children in those classes were reluctant to speak out because they ran the risk of "outing" their child as having a disability or needing special accommodation...

Rage broke loose among parents of all political stripes after the honors students were targeted, parents said. The school announced that the days of honors English and social studies were gone. Parents protested, arguing that the move deprived their children of a competitive edge – and in effect – future opportunities such as merit scholarships...

Bill Jacobson, a long-time Barrington resident and founder of Legal Insurrection, said, "De-leveling is part of an agenda of equalizing outcomes. This equal-results approach stems from critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion, which posit that unequal outcomes are the result of systemic bias and discrimination. ‘Equity’ in particular is the codeword for bringing high achievers down to equalize outcomes," Jacobson said. "'Equity' has become an unhealthy obsession, and parents are seeing the impact."

They've given up trying to raise certain students to high standards, so instead they want to lower the rest of the students to lower standards.  "Equity" is the rhetoric of jealousy and failure.

Monday, May 09, 2022

It's Not "Learning Loss", It's Learning That Didn't Happen

In another installment of Red US vs Blue US, it looks like Red US had better educational outcomes (or, more accurately, not as bad educational outcomes) during the time of the 'rona:

A study shows remote learning led to large losses in achievement for students during the pandemic, with blue states and students from low-income areas hit the hardest by the losses.

"Interestingly, gaps in math achievement by race and school poverty did not widen in school districts in states such as Texas and Florida and elsewhere that remained largely in-person," Thomas Kane, a professor of education at Harvard and one of the authors of the study, said of the study's results in an interview with the Harvard Gazette last week. "Where schools shifted to remote learning, gaps widened sharply. Shifting to remote instruction was like turning a switch on a critical piece of our social infrastructure that we had taken for granted."

The study was conducted by Harvard University, the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research at the American Institutes for Research, and NWEA. The group analyzed data from 2.1 million students in 10,000 schools in 49 states, finding remote learning to be the primary cause for large losses of student achievement during the pandemic.

The researchers found that high-poverty schools were the most likely to spend more time in remote instruction, with high-poverty schools in some states outpacing others...

Kane warned that the achievement losses threaten the gains the U.S. has made in closing the gap between minority and white students, which had been narrowing for three decades.

(in deadpan voice) Shocking, I know.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Is It Still Mother's Day, Lefties?

https://twitter.com/benshapiro/status/1523290484684206080

Masks Were Nothing More Than Submission Muzzles

Widespread mask mandates on mostly-healthy populations did nothing but destroy human rights and dignity:

However, an intriguing new study has been published showing that the data from 35 countries and 602 million people using face masks “failed to show a benefit” and “may have harmful unintended consequences"...

Correlation is not causation.  Unhealthy people and the more vulnerable may have opted to mask at higher rates than the healthy and the young.  However, face masks do not offer miracle protection from the virus...

When the final studies on covid are published, there will likely be one tragic conclusion: Never in history have so many been harmed by so few.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

This Is California

From today's Instapundit:

NEED MORE WINDMILLS: California energy officials warn of possible blackouts this summer for up to 4 million people. “Gov. Newsom clearly got a preview of this presentation because last week he announced the state was reconsidering its decision to shutter the last nuclear power plant in the next few years.”

Now build more.

Recall that a few weeks ago I posted (see the comments) about not being able to have a generator shipped to California--because it's gas-powered.

Friday, May 06, 2022

Today's End To Teacher Appreciation Week

As a teacher I can find plenty to complain about.  This is not one of those posts.

Yesterday I wrote about how well our PTSA took care of us this week.  In fact, it was less Teacher Appreciation Week and more like Teacher Fattening-Up Week at our school!  I heard so many praiseworthy comments from my peers all week long about how generous the parents were.

Today, as we do just about every Friday, 10 or so of us met at a local restaurant after work for "7th Period".  Today's choice was a local Mexican restaurant that's quite popular in the community.  After we'd been there awhile, a student at our school stopped by our table with her parents.  They told us that as part of Teacher Appreciation Week, they'd covered our entire tab including tip.

What a nice way to end the work week.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Teacher Appreciation Week

One of the sites I follow on Instagram is Teacher Misery, which shows and discusses some of the outlandish or horrible things teachers have to suffer through.  My own district is run by idiots, but at least they don't (yet) seem malicious.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and there are some posts on Teacher Misery that just strike me as complaining to complain.  Who among us hasn't gotten some cheesy piece of candy with a pun?  It's the thought that counts, right?  Such tokens may be silly, but at least they usually come from a good place.  I asked there, what would be a good gift?  What do you want?  I got replies like "cancel a meeting" or "cover my class so I'd get an extra prep period".

I thought about that last one.  My school has 4 administrators and 80+ teachers, 4 1/2 counselors, and dozens of aides and secretaries and other staff.  If those 4 administrators covered a class just for teachers, they'd have to cover 20+ classes each.  Doesn't that sound a bit unreasonable?  After all, they have their own work to do.  It would be a nice fantasy, but it's not realistic.

I don't know how much or how little my school's administration has worked with our PTSA this week, but those parents have been feeding us every day.  Today they held a barbecue after school for us!  I mean, come on, that's pretty generous!

This has been a relatively smooth week for me, and all the extra food has certainly helped.  Now I need to go get some steps in to work off some of those two burgers I had today.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Today's American Left

If I've said it once I've said it a hundred times:  consistency is not a strong suit of the Left.

SCOTUS leaks no big deal but election integrity efforts assault democracy.

Pandemic: the state controls your body

Abortion: full bodily autonomy (for one body)

Censor conservatives online but anything goes in the classroom

Fiery protests ok, but only for the Left.

From today's Instapundit:

BILL AYERS SMILES: ‘MAGA is the most extreme political organization in American history:’ Biden warns of Republicans’ ‘ultra MAGA agenda’ and suggests they’ll ban LGBT children from classrooms if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Flashbacks:

● Nancy Pelosi tells 2020 Dems, “You have to be ready to take a punch. And therefore you have to be ready to throw a punch—for the children.”

● Sen. Rand Paul had part of his lung removed this weekend because of damage from 2017 attack.

● Actor Jeff Daniels to CBS’s Stephen Colbert: ‘We Need Someone That Can Punch Trump in the Face.’

● Ilhan Omar Retweet Suggests Rand Paul Deserved to Be Assaulted.

● Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) to 2020 Dems: Don’t Run Away from Trump — ‘Punch Him in the Face.’

● Parents cheer as kids bash an ICE agent piñata and throw balls at the painted image of President Trump.

● Joe Biden: I Want to ‘Beat the Hell Out of’ President Trump.

● Patti LuPone defends violent attack on Rand Paul.

● CNN Host Palled Around with, Promoted ICE Firebomber’s Antifa Group.

● Leftist Thug Caught on Video Assaulting Conservative Berkeley Student While Fellow Students Laugh.

● Journalist Andy Ngo Beaten Up at Portland Antifa Rally.

● John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation and the “political director” for CBS, wrote an article for Slate in 2013 charmingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.”

● Bernie Bro James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History.

Hope You Had A Great Holiday Today

 May the Fourth be with you!

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

True Review in Statistics

I'm not teaching any new material in statistics this semester.  The entire month of May I devote to various forms of review.

The first project is the "Which test do we use?" project.  For example, Chapter 8 may deal with one-sample hypothesis tests for means, which means the Chapter 8 test will deal with one-sample hypothesis tests for means--the students know exactly which test to use!  In this first project, I give 17 scenarios (most are hypothesis tests, some are various probability calculations) and students have to determine which is the correct test (or calculation) to use, then review how to do that test (or calculation) on our advanced stats calculators.  You'd be amazed how much they've forgotten about something we learned perhaps 6 weeks ago!  They get mighty frustrated when my response to their questions is, "go back to the book and review".

After this first project we'll have a Hypothesis Testing Packet.  In this assignment students well determine which type of hypothesis test is called for in a situation, and then what its null and alternative hypothesis will be.  They don't have to do the test, just correctly identify the test and the hypotheses.

We'll also have a quiz on use of the stats functions on the calculator.

By the time the final exam rolls around, they should be recently refreshed and fluent on the material.  Let's see how that works out!

Monday, May 02, 2022

Today's Big Rumor

If it's truly a leak, it's one of the most malicious ever to happen to the Supreme Court.  Politico is reporting that the Court is preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade:

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO.

The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives"...

The immediate impact of the ruling as drafted in February would be to end a half-century guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion. It’s unclear if there have been subsequent changes to the draft.

Bet you weren't expecting news like that when you woke up this morning, were you? 

Anyway, I would agree with this ruling.  Roe is bad law, was a product of its time, and needs to be overturned.  I see no protection for abortion in the Constitution, and the states are the appropriate place for this debate to be held.  To me that's a conservative view.

Update:  A friend texted, "You're about to see how truly evil the modern Left is at every level."  Yep.

Update #2:  From Instapundit:  

A friend comments: “Whatever position you may have on the issue, leaking a draft SCOTUS opinion to try to change the outcome of a case is a new level of brinksmanship that speaks to the hyperpoliticization of law schools and an accompanying valorization of ‘activism’ in higher ed.”

Assuming this was leaked by a clerk, the leaker should never work in law again. It’s a betrayal of the highest order. But, of course, professionalism has proven to be weak sauce indeed when it comes to restraining activism.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

In Case You've Forgotten...

 ...today is Victims of Communism Remembrance Day.

25 Yards

When I went to Yellowstone a couple years ago, a couple rules were made abundantly clear:  stay at least 25 yards away from bison and elk, and at least 100 years away from bears and wolves.  These are wild animals.

Some humans, though, are stupid.  Dude got off with easy, with the bison equivalent of a warning.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

America At Its Best

That we still produce such young men is a tribute to our heritage.  I'll bet he bleeds red, white, and blue, too, although it is my fervent wish that we never have to find out in battle:

High school senior Noble Rasmussen intends to serve his country well — and all five U.S. military academies seem to agree.

The Nebraska teen joined "Fox & Friends" on Friday to celebrate his acceptance to all five academies.

He then announced on the program that he’ll be attending the United States Air Force Academy in June.

OK, so he picked the wrong school, but still.  And you've gotta love his first name.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

My New Book

I first learned about science historian James Burke when I saw his series The Day The Universe Changed on PBS back in the early 90s.  I liked the series so much that I bought the companion book, and later bought his Connections book.  Burke weaves the history of science like a tapestry, he's a wonderful storyteller.  Later, in a documentary I have about Apollo 13, I noticed him in some of the contemporary newscasts shown about that incident.

At school, our librarian is cleaning house.  Books that haven't been checked out in forever, she codes them out and puts them on a shelf for anyone to take.  Today I saw a book by James Burke on that shelf, Circles: 50 Round Trips Through History, Technology, Science, Culture.  I don't know when we got it in our library but it is copyrighted 2000, has never been checked out, and looks like it just came off the press.

I snapped that book up with a quickness, can't wait to read it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

One of Many Problems With Such Reparations

When have you paid enough in reparations?  When do the payments end and everyone agrees that the debt has been paid?  If the answer is "never", then why pay the reparations in the first place?

California residents who are members of federally recognized Native tribes will have their tuition and fees at University of California schools waived, according to a letter sent Friday.

In the letter, sent by system President Michael V. Drake to UC chancellors and also shared with CNN, Drake announced the waived tuition and fees specifically for "California residents who are members of federally recognized Native American, American Indian, and Alaska Native tribes." The move is a key part of the UC Native American Opportunity Plan, he said, aiming to make the university system more affordable and accessible for Native American students. The waived fees will apply to both undergraduate and graduate students.
 
"The University of California is committed to recognizing and acknowledging historical wrongs endured by Native Americans," Drake wrote. "I am hopeful that this new program will benefit our students and continue to position the University of California as the institution of choice for Native American students."
Let's not forget that unlike Germany's after World War I, these reparations will be paid by people who never committed the wrong that's supposedly being addressed.

Shocking, I Know

I don't want to hear any of you liberal California tree huggers complaining about this:

California lawmakers appear unlikely to pause the annual summer increase in the state's gasoline tax ahead of a May 1 deadline, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said on Monday...

California already has the nation's highest gas tax at 51 cents per gallon. The levy will rise to 53.9 cents per gallon at the beginning of July.

Nobody Acted Well In This Story

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

No, I don't think this teacher did anything wrong.  Rather than saying that, though, he said something completely stupid, which I'll paraphrase here:  this is how we black people play basketball.  Gawd, are you kidding me?

A middle school teacher who cultivated programs for Black students in Twin Rivers Unified School District is fighting his dismissal, contending he’s being unfairly punished over a one-off after school incident with a student he tried to help make the basketball team.

Jordan McGowan, a history teacher and basketball coach at Rio Tierra junior high school, further says his dismissal fits a pattern he experienced at the school in which he felt administrators showed signs of cultural insensitivity in discussions on civil rights and police shootings.

Does that mean if you don't agree with the black man, you're "culturally insensitive"?    Must be convenient to be able to have the "privilege" of tossing around such incendiary accusations, but let's continue: 

As far as he knows, his dismissal stems from an after-school practice with a Black student in which he practiced a common street basketball move that involves bouncing a ball off another player’s head. “I am being fired for playing basketball in the ways in which Black people play basketball within our own community. I am being fired for playing basketball in a culturally appropriate way, when those in power have little-to-no cultural connection to our community,” said McGowan. “This is just a microcosm of what I and other Black People have experienced at Rio (Tierra) and the district at large"...

McGowan’s public characterization of questions he faced during an investigation suggests officials pressed him on whether he has used a racial slur when communicating with Black students.

It's not a slur I'd get away with using, I'll tell you that.  Go read if you can't imagine what it is.

Apparently, though, playing the race card worked

Twin Rivers Board members unanimously rejected a proposal to dismiss a middle school teacher and basketball coach who had been on paid administrative leave since December...

He is still awaiting to hear from the district to decide the next steps moving forward.

Bottom line:  the kid isn't a joy to be around, the teacher likes to use his black skin as a shield, and the district took 4 months to decide unanimously not to fire him.  Does anyone in this story come out smelling like a rose?  If so, I missed that person.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Extra Days

I must've cut out a couple days' worth of assignments here and there this semester, because when I planned out the rest of the semester for my pre-calculus classes today, I had 4 "extra" days of instruction that I haven't had in years.  And I know just how to spend those 4 days--logarithm boot camp!

I'll be lucky if I can recreate this LBC experience.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Can't Let My Efforts Go To Waste

Some time recently I stepped on the scale and and discovered that some of my efforts are paying off, that I'd lost 14 pounds since New Year's.  

Saturday I went to an afternoon party.  Boy, did I eat.

Sunday I ate a lot of cake, but at least I got my 10,000 steps in.

Today I ate of lot of cake at school, and then had a huge dinner.  I'm so full right now that I'm not even going to do my evening stretching routine, I'm going straight to bed.  5,000 steps today.

I think I need to get realistic with the eating and exercising again.  Three consecutive cheat days aren't the way to do it.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Standardized Testing

If you want to know if students are truly learning, you have to have an objective test, given and graded by objective people.  That just seems obvious to me:

Now, consider what has transpired over the past twenty years in the USA. We were headed in the direction of other countries’ testing system structures at the turn of the millennium, with state-led consequential achievement tests for students administered only every few grade levels.[1] Plus, we benefitted from two competing college admission tests, whose scores could be submitted for consideration simultaneously to thousands of universities worldwide. [2]

Then came three disruptions, each of which, I would argue, served to undermine the utility of US educational testing.

First came passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act (2001–2002), which imposed a federal mandate on all public schools (including charters). The NCLB insistence on annual administrations of tests across seven grade levels virtually guaranteed lax security: teachers administer tests in their own classrooms to their own students and principals manage the distribution and collection of test materials in their own schools. Then, we judge schools and teachers based on those NCLB test scores they themselves proctor.

Now, consider what has transpired over the past twenty years in the USA. We were headed in the direction of other countries’ testing system structures at the turn of the millennium, with state-led consequential achievement tests for students administered only every few grade levels.[1] Plus, we benefitted from two competing college admission tests, whose scores could be submitted for consideration simultaneously to thousands of universities worldwide. [2]

Then came three disruptions, each of which, I would argue, served to undermine the utility of US educational testing.

First came passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act (2001–2002), which imposed a federal mandate on all public schools (including charters). The NCLB insistence on annual administrations of tests across seven grade levels virtually guaranteed lax security: teachers administer tests in their own classrooms to their own students and principals manage the distribution and collection of test materials in their own schools. Then, we judge schools and teachers based on those NCLB test scores they themselves proctor.

Read the whole thing.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

The First Thing He's Done That I Can Agree With?

Long-time readers of this blog know I'm all in for nuclear power:

The Biden administration is launching a $6 billion effort to rescue nuclear power plants at risk of closing, citing the need to continue nuclear energy as a carbon-free source of power that helps to combat climate change.

A certification and bidding process opened Tuesday for a civil nuclear credit program that is intended to bail out financially distressed owners or operators of nuclear power reactors, the U.S. Department of Energy told The Associated Press exclusively, shortly before the official announcement. It's the largest federal investment in saving financially distressed nuclear reactors.

Owners or operators of nuclear power reactors that are expected to shut down for economic reasons can apply for funding to avoid closing prematurely. The first round of awards will prioritize reactors that have already announced plans to close.

Now let's build some new ones.  Remember, even Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, supports nuclear energy.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Legitimate Reason For Firing A Teacher?

If being present was the only reason, I say no:

A former teacher is suing the Sacramento City Unified School District alleging the district fired him because he attended the rally that preceded the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

You've gotta love the unbiased, sober, professional use of the word "storming".  Sheesh. Here's some storming for you, including the dude with Viking horns that we've all seen.  Now back to the story:

Dustin Watson, a physical education teacher at New Technology High School, acknowledges in the lawsuit that he attended the rally for supporters of former President Donald Trump.

He posted messages on Facebook that “described the events taking place as they were unfolding but he did not anticipate the events to take a violent turn,” read the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of California on Monday.

The lawsuit states that Watson left the area when the disruption began and did not enter the Capitol. Watson did not face charges in the incident and was not arrested.

Later, Watson was investigated by the FBI and was “relieved of any suspicion of domestic terrorism,” the lawsuit reads.

Watson is seeking relief and damages for loss of pay and denial of employment benefits. He was in the process of completing his teaching credential, and was unable to receive it since he was terminated.

With the barest of exceptions, we don't fire people just because their politics differ from ours.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations Meets The Real Bigotry of No Expectations

A new buzzword coming soon to a school near you--contract-grading:

Sadly, though, the idea of “contract-grading” is now gaining prevalence in disciplines of critical academic importance–not only in high schools, but in many prominent colleges and universities. This development is only the latest front in a larger war on intellectual excellence, where the focus has now moved from lowering standards to eliminating them...

In the face of these difficulties, many faculty are implementing some form of “contract-grading” (sometimes called “labor-based grading”). In the context of a writing course, it looks something like this: in the first week, each student elects a) how much writing they will do for the course, b) how much drafting and revision will be done for that writing, c) when the writing will be submitted, and d) how much “peer-review” of classmates’ writing he will do. Various choices on these bases correlate with different grades in the course. Assuming the student does the laps he promised, he will receive his preferred grade…regardless of the quality or competence of the writing.

Of course, there are glaring problems with such a method of assessment and evaluation. Is it true, for example, that producing a certain amount of writing entails the same degree of labor for all students? Surely, it is possible that some students could produce five typed pages in two hours, while another student might take seven hours to do the same task. In fact, this disparity is likely–especially at institutions that now admit students with widely-divergent levels of preparedness. Given these disparities, how can an instructor enact a system of “labor-based grading” when there is no reliable metric to indicate how much labor any particular student put into an assignment. Here, what matters is the trying. And trying is good. But when there is no possibility of trying and nevertheless failing, students have an incentive to try less hard. Needless to say, rewarding minimal effort is not a great way to cultivate any skill.

An advocate of contract-grading might say that their assessment doesn’t hinge on the amount of time the student spends. Rather, they may claim that the assignments are designed such that (if completed) the student’s writing will necessarily improve to some degree. The assumption here is that it’s not merely the trying that earns a reward–it is the improvement. Thus, as long as there is some improvement (never mind that there is a concerted effort to avoid both articulating a method for quantifying “improvement” and a minimum standard for such), the student will be deemed ready for more advanced courses and awarded a grade that reflects this (arbitrary) assessment. Further, improvement largely depends on the effort one puts forth–and as illustrated above, “contract-grading” disincentivizes effort.

None of this is to say anything regarding the effects of contract-grading on students with real aptitude. When the members of the varsity swim team receive their “A” in full knowledge that slower swimmers with poor form were awarded the same grade simply for getting across the pool, it is obvious that this might inhibit the further development of skills in those who might (with some encouragement and rewarding of their talent) refine them to a much greater degree. In short, contract-grading not only discourages striving for excellence; it refuses to even acknowledge any pre-existing aptitude.

*sigh*

Update, 4/28/22Called it:

Letter grades may be on the way out for some University of California departments and colleges, reports Michael Burke on EdSource.

UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry and UC Davis’s Department of Mathematics are considering replacing A, B, C and D grades with pass/no-pass grades, he writes. Another option is to let students “choose which assignments get the most weight in determining their grade"...

At UC Davis, math professors are considering “contract grading,” reports Burke. For example, a student could choose to have the final calculus grade determined primarily by exams or by problem sets and class participation.


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Getting Foreign Currency For A Trip

I’ve probably mentioned this once or twice (or a dozen times) before that I’m road-tripping to Cabo this summer.  I’m going to hitch up the trailer and drive!

Understand that I’m not a novice traveler.  My goal is to leave the country at least once a year, and while I don’t always meet that goal, I’ve left the country many times in my life.  I’m seasoned enough that I don’t fear going to new places, don’t fear not speaking the language (Google Translate is my friend), don’t fear trying new foods, don’t fear using different money--in fact, as a coin collector, using local money is one of the big joys of travel.  And I’m quite familiar with different ways of getting local currency.

Still, I like to stay current and I read plenty on the topic.  Many of the travel sites I’ve read recently said that one of the best and most inexpensive ways to get foreign currency is to get it from your bank before you travel.  Are they kidding???

It’s not that I haven’t used my bank for this before, but to say it’s a good/efficient/inexpensive way to get foreign currency, well, that’s not quite true.  Of course, it’s possible that my bank just tries to rip us customers off, but I’d find it hard to believe it’s the only one.  Since I’m heading to Mexico this summer, let’s look at the peso--today’s exchange rate is MXN$20 for USD$1.  Thus, 20,000 pesos should be 1,000 dollars, plus a fee.  What’s a reasonable fee, a few bucks?  Ten?  Twenty?  A couple percent?  Using the foreign exchange converter on my bank’s web site, 20,000 pesos would cost me $1061.70!!!  That’s a lousy exchange rate and a hefty fee, all rolled into one!

I went to another national bank's web site and tried to look up their rate, but you have to have an account and log in before they’ll tell you how much they’ll milk you for.  I cannot find the information quickly at my credit union’s site.  I can see the not-insignificant fees on the web site for another national bank, but not the crappy exchange rate they’d give me.

In other words, getting money from your bank is *not* necessarily the way to go!  The way to go, at least in Mexico, Europe, or the Caribbean (IOW, where I have traveled)  is to get money out of an ATM on your network and *not* to accept dynamic currency conversion rates.  The same people who write about getting money from your bank also mention the ATMs, so this isn’t an unknown method.  So why do those other authors say that getting money from your bank is inexpensive—do they write that crap because it makes them *sound* knowledgeable?  Have they ever compared their bank’s rates and fees to the official exchange rate?  Are they just copying the same bad information they read somewhere else without really knowing?

You can’t believe everything you read on the internet—except for this blog, of course.

Who's Surprised? Not Me.

I can tell you that my 'rona-shutdown math students didn't get anywhere near the education that my current students are getting, especially given the rampant cheating that took place:

Post-lockdowns, new college students struggle to pass basic college courses

Lefties Truly Don't Understand

You can call yourself whatever gender you want, you can use whatever pronouns you want, you can wear a mask if you want, you don’t have to eat meat—just quit trying to force the rest of us to do it, too.  That’s all the rest of us want, is to be left alone and not required to share in your insanity.

NYT columnist Paul Krugman predicts 'violence' towards mask wearers after mandate lift

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Very Definition of Injustice

I'm a big fan of the Innocence Project, which as of last year has helped overturn over 300 wrongful convictions via DNA evidence.  Wrongfully sending a person to prison is one of the worst human rights abuses that can occur.

Imagine, though, being wrongfully convicted, serving 21 years in prison, being exonerated, and still getting the shaft:

A Durham, North Carolina man who won a $6 million lawsuit after being wrongfully convicted on two murder charges will likely never see the money after the Durham City Council decided against paying him.

Darryl Anthony Howard, who was exonerated in 2016 and pardoned in 2021 by Gov. Roy Cooper after serving 21 years of an 80-year jail sentence, was awarded $6 million by a federal grand jury in December, according to The News & Observer...

The jury also found that Howard's wrongful convictions were a result of retired detective Darrell Dowdy fabricating evidence and performing an inadequate investigation, according to The News & Observer.

In a series closed-door session meetings between December and February, however, the Durham City Council voted against paying the judgment on Dowdy's behalf. The city also expects Howard to pay the legal fees of the two city employees who were dismissed from the case, according to legal documents.

Howard and his attorney found the city's decision concerning, especially after it paid more than $4 million defending Dowdy.

Former prosecutor Mike Nifong, who originally handled Howard's case, was disbarred for lying and misconduct in the case of rape accusations against Duke University lacrosse players who were later found innocent.

It's gut-wrenching even to read about it.

Update, 4/21/22:  Some clarification:

In a series of closed session meetings between December and February, however, the Durham City Council voted against indemnifying Dowdy and paying the judgment to Howard on behalf of the former city employee.

Rehberg pointed to a North Carolina statute that she said prohibits the city from paying judgments on behalf of individual employees if the city council finds that the employee or former employee "acted or failed to act because of actual fraud, corruption or actual malice on his part."

Monday, April 18, 2022

Movement Towards Reason

Where do you want to travel?  Go there!

After months of warning all travelers to avoid a long list of countries due to "very high" COVID-19 levels, the CDC has removed all countries from its "Do Not Travel" list.

The federal agency on Monday removed 89 countries from its "Do Not Travel" list. The highest Level 4 designation will now be reserved for "special circumstances" reflecting a dangerous spike in COVID cases, a new variant or health care infrastructure collapse.

While the Level 4 list had at one point included well over 100 destinations, there are currently no Level 4 countries.

Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 classifications continue to be based on a 28-day incidence or case counts.

Countries with a "high level of COVID-19" are considered Level 3. Travelers who are not fully vaccinated are still advised to "avoid travel" to these destinations, but the warning does not apply to fully vaccinated visitors. Travelers with weakened immune systems are urged to check with doctors before visiting.

Mexico was in Level 4 when I went there in February.  Then again, so was most of the United States at that time. 

This land you want to visit?  Fly there!

The federal government said Monday passengers traveling on airplanes and other forms of public transportation won't be required to wear a face mask for now after a federal judge in Florida voided the mandate.

The decision Monday by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa says the federal mask mandate exceeded the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which failed to justify the order and didn't follow proper rulemaking procedures...

A Biden administration official said the ruling means that, for now, the mask mandate is not in effect. Federal agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps, the official said, but the Transportation Security Administration will not enforce the mandate at this time...

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines announced that masks would be optional on domestic flights and in airports, "effective immediately."

Meanwhile, a statement from Amtrak said its trains would continue to enforce the mask mandate.

"As we have seen with the vaccine mandates, these court decisions are subject to review on appeal. Pending further information from TSA and (the Federal Railroad Administration) about their mask mandate guidance, Amtrak’s mask mandate remains in place," the statement reads. 

And for those Chicken Littles who still insist the 'rona-sky is falling, well, they won't believe data anyway:

Over and over,  journalists and public officials have made fools of them proclaiming the success of mask mandates in some state or nation — whereupon Covid would promptly surge to unprecedented levels among the masked population. Some of these maskaholics will never learn, but they should at least be required to look at a graph prepared for City Journal by Ian Miller. It compares the  trajectory of  Covid throughout the pandemic in states with mask mandates versus the states without mandates — and shows that the masks made no difference. He also compares Germany, where almost everyone wore high-quality masks, with Sweden, where few citizens bothered to wear anything on their faces. Again, no difference in the Covid toll.

I've been showing such graphs for two years.

Update, 4/19/22:  Amtrak has backtracked, breathe free on the train.  No matter where you are, take in a deep breath so you have lots of air with which to laugh at these cuckoobirds:

The 5 Most Unhinged Responses to the End of the Travel Mask Mandate
Update #2, 4/20/22:   And then there are these cuckoobirds:
Biden administration will appeal ruling that lifted Covid mask mandate on travel
 

Whose Children?

Who is more likely to have a child's best interest at heart, a parent or a school employee?  Who is more likely to know and understand a child, a parent or a school employee?

Don't push your personal demons onto other people's children:

The fight against gender cult grooming is raging across the country and in Massachusetts, two sets of parents have filed a lawsuit alleging violations of religious freedom, privacy, and parental rights against public school officials who attempted to drive a wedge between them and their children using extreme gender ideology...

The same family discovered that the school officials were not only counseling their daughter in gender theology against their wishes but their son as well, giving him female pronouns and a female name without consulting the parents.

Vernadette Broyles, CEO and General Counsel of CPRC stated that “we are seeing this type of concerted effort by school officials across the country. School officials are making decisions about the lives of children that they are not qualified or authorized to make and doing it without telling, and often deceiving, parents. This is a clear violation of the parents’ rights to control the education, health, and upbringing of their children.” 

In a sane world, this wouldn't even need to be litigated.  The school employees would have been run out of town on a rail.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Screw Up, Move Up

Good work if you can get it:

A Queens principal accused of using fraudulent schemes to boost his school’s graduation rate can never again work with city students — but will get a $1.8 million desk job, The Post has learned.

Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, who was removed as principal of Maspeth High School last July, won’t return to any city school as a principal, according to a settlement of misconduct charges. But he can stay on the Department of Education payroll for another seven years.

Under Abdul-Mutakabbir, Maspeth HS created fake classes, awarded credits to failing students, and fixed grades to push kids out the door, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools found, confirming exposès by The Post.

Instead of trying to terminate Abdul-Mutakabbir, as city investigators recommended, the DOE settled the charges on Jan. 25 by fining him $12,000  – and barring him from working as a principal.

But under the sweetheart deal – which DOE officials kept hidden for months – the disgraced educator, now age 47, will sit in an office until he “irrevocably” retires on Nov. 30, 2029.

He will pocket his current $187,043 annual salary, and get all union-negotiated pay raises for principals. He will also enjoy paid vacations and holidays, plus full health and retirement benefits, which will cost at least $78,558 a year in addition. The total cost will come to more than $1.8 million.

Cushy desk job, none of the stress of running a school, and more than 2.5x my pay.  Must be nice.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

One Flew Off Of The Bucket List

When I was young I had a long list of things I was going to accomplish in life.  Some I've accomplished and some I've decided I no longer need or want to accomplish, and I've even done a few things that are important to me now but weren't on my radar when I was young.  Life changes you.

One item, though, is still on the list.  I've wanted to officiate at a wedding.  Well, it's on the list until later this evening, when I can cross it off.

Update, 4/17/22:  Went off without a hitch.  I wonder who was more nervous, the bride and groom or me!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Press and Tech People Are Flipping Out

Lefties.  I hope Elon Musk buys Twitter just so their heads will explode:

“Democracy Dies in Darkness” is the motto of the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post. It may sound like a warning, but more and more it seems like a summary of the left’s aspirations to control debate and shut down any opposition.

A recent example of those aspirations appeared in a column by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s big buy of Twitter stock. The original headline — changed after widespread mockery — was this: “Elon Musk’s vision for the Internet is dangerous nonsense: Musk has long advocated a libertarian vision of an ‘uncontrolled’ internet. That’s also the dream of every dictator, strongman and demagogue.”

Yeah.  Stalin, Mao, Xi, Castro, Kim--they all have supported the free exchange of ideas, right.  Reich is an idiot. 

In George Orwell’s “1984,” war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. To these Orwellian inversions, Reich would add another: Censorship is free speech. But it’s not, and claiming otherwise won’t make it so.

Sadly, though, Reich isn’t just one lone wacko writing in The Guardian. He is instead, as usual, parroting the establishment’s line.

The establishment doesn’t want free speech because if Americans can talk honestly about what elites are doing, people will understand just how rotten the establishment has become and will want to do something about it.

What he said.

Update, 4/16/22:

Thursday, April 14, 2022

This State Will Still Vote Overwhelmingly Democrat, Part 2

Why can't we teach kids to read?  Actually, the question is why don't we teach kids to read?  Why is there so much resistance to explicit phonics instruction?

According to a recent report, California now leads the country in illiteracy. In fact, 23.1 percent of Californians over age 15 cannot read this sentence.

While the problem has many causes, much of the blame falls on the state’s failing public schools. The 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress found that just 30 percent of California eighth-graders are proficient in reading. And those numbers reflect results gathered before the Covid-19 lockdowns.  link

California is a disaster.  A one-party-rule, utopian disaster.

This State Will Still Vote Overwhelmingly Democrat, Though

From RealClearInvestigations:

Laura Tyson, the longtime Democratic economist now at the University of California at Berkeley, praises the state for creating “the way forward” to a more enlightened “market capitalism.” Like-minded analysts tout Silicon Valley’s massive wealth generation as evidence of progressivism’s promise. The Los Angeles Times suggested approvingly that the Biden administration’s goal is to “make America California again.” And, despite dark prospects in November’s midterm elections, the President and his party still seem intent on proving it.

But most Californians, according to recent surveys, see things differently. They point to rising poverty and inequality, believe the state is in recession and that it is headed in the wrong direction. Parting with the state’s cheerleaders, the New York Times’ Ezra Klein, a reliable progressive and native Californian, says the Golden State’s failures are “making liberals squirm"...

California may conjure images of Rodeo Drive and Malibu mansions in the public imagination, but today the state suffers the highest cost-adjusted poverty rate in the U.S. The poor and near-poor constitute over one third – well over 10 million – of the state’s residents according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Los Angeles, by far the state’s largest metropolitan area, and once a magnet for middle class aspirations, has one of the highest poverty rates among major U.S. cities. A United Way of California analysis shows that over 30 percent of residents lack sufficient income to cover basic living costs even after accounting for public-assistance programs; this includes half of Latino and 40 percent of black residents. Some two-thirds of noncitizen Latinos live at or below the poverty line...

The state’s poverty and associated dysfunction are on full display in leading cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, where a large underclass now inhabits the streets – the once-iconic locales having become poster children for urban dysfunction. Beyond massive homeless camps, crime has become so bad that the LAPD has warned tourists it can no longer protect them. San Francisco, meanwhile, suffers the highest property crime rate in the country. Businesses like Walgreens have shut down numerous Bay Area locations due to “rampant burglaries.” Homelessness and crime increasingly dominate the state’s political discourse, particularly in these two deep blue bastions.

California also faces growing inequality. By the Gini index, a measure of the distribution of income across a population, California has the third-highest inequality behind New York and Louisiana, and has experienced the fifth largest expansion of inequality since 2010, according to American Community Survey data. California also suffers the widest gap between middle- and upper-middle-income earners of any state.

Enough of that, you get the idea. 

Here's the bottom line:  if you can't make the utopians' dream work here in California, where can it work?  (Hint:  the answer is in the etymology of "utopia".)

Update, 4/18/22:  They'll complain and then continue to vote Democrat:

California residents, who haven’t elected even a faux-Republican like Arnold Schwarzenegger to statewide office since 2006, say they’re sick of the high taxes they keep voting for…

According to the study, nearly two-thirds of Californians thought their taxes, state and federal, were too high…

Californians can fix the mess they made but only if they’re willing to do the unthinkable: Stop electing Democrats all the time.

Monday, April 11, 2022

A Pothole on the Road to Cabo

Last summer I made a 4,000 mile loop through the Western US, sleeping in my travel trailer most of the 30 nights I was gone.  The plan this summer is to drive down Mex 1 to Cabo San Lucas, and then return to the US via Mex 1 and Mex 5 through San Felipe, and then home via US 395 to I-80.

It was pretty hot last summer, but I always camped in campgrounds with electricity--and, thus, I always had air conditioning.  I've read enough about camping in Baja to know that the electricity isn't always reliable or "clean" (high and low voltages are common) and some of the best places to camp are right on a beach with no utilities at all.  Having been to Baja in the summer, I also know that it can be mercilessly hot there, and unless I want to sleep in my own sweat, air conditioning will be needed.

It's been 35+ years since I took any electrical engineering courses, but I remember two of the most basic formulas:  V=IR and P=IV=I-squaredR.  I comfirmed those in one of the few engineering books I didn't sell back:  Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, 1979.  Armed with these formulas, I made some simple calculations.  

Voltage (V) is simple:  110 volts.  The owner's manual for my trailer air conditioner said it requires 12.5 Amps, so I=12.5.  Watts (P), then, equals 12.5(110)=1375 Watts.  And wouldn't you know it, the label on my generator says it puts out only 1200W.

Time for Plan B.

(Note:  the above is an excellent example of why a broad liberal arts education is so valuable!)

This Doesn't Surprise Me

I don't know the politics of the organization that did this study (they seem right-leaning), but if people are going to clutch their pearls over it, I'd insist they challenge the study's methodology and data rather than the political leanings of the authors:

New York, New Jersey and California failed in their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic because of stringent lockdowns and policies, while Florida was among the best-performing states in the country, a new study has found.

The study, published by the Committee To Unleash Prosperity, graded states by comparing COVID-19 outcomes based on the number of deaths, the economy and impact on education.

Overall, the bottom 10 on the study’s “report card” were dominated by states that had the most severe pandemic lockdowns and were among the last to finally reopen schools...

The study found that the states that locked down businesses, churches, schools and restaurants for lengthy periods did not have lower death rates than those that largely remained open...

 

The study was authored by University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan, Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation and Phil Kerpen from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.