Monday, February 28, 2022

What's Good For The Goose

You've gotta love it when lefties squeal when their own tactics are used against them:

LEFTISTS ALWAYS REGARD LEFTIST TACTICS AS INDECENT WHEN USED AGAINST LEFTISTS: Michelle Wu seeks to ban protesters from demonstrating at her home in the early morning.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, whose home has been the scene of anti-vaccine mandate protests, is trying to ban protesters from demonstrating at her house in the early morning. . . .

“Boston has a strong legacy of activism, and it’s important to uphold and protect the ability to speak out and advocate fiercely to keep our democracy strong,” Wu said in a statement. “But in a moment of divided national politics, we can’t normalize the harassment and hate spilling over into our communities. Boston must model not only bold, urgent policies, but also inclusive, empowering politics.”

It’s always “harassment and hate” when it targets leftists, and “justified anger” and “mostly peaceful” when done by leftists. When the Obama crowd sent busloads of protesters to CEO homes during the financial crisis, Democrats lost the moral standing to complain about this stuff. Not that that will stop them.

Scratch a leftie, and a totalitarian bleeds.  And a hypocrite.

A Tale of Two Vladimirs

What do I think of Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine?  What do you expect?  Totalitarians are gonna totalitate.  The bigger issue for Americans, specifically conservative Americans, is this:


What do I think of Vladimir Poutine's attack on his own citizens, who were peacefully protesting?  Same question in reply:  What do you expect?  Totalitarians are gonna totalitate.  What disappoints me is that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Mounties, completely shot their hard-earned and well-deserved good reputation by serving as Poutine's hired thugs:


Both Vladimirs have some 'splaining to do, and I hope it doesn't go well for either of them.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Mexico City Monuments

Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec ruler after the Spanish killed Montezuma:


The Monument to the Six Boy Heroes, six cadets who died in the defense of Chapultepec Castle during the Mexican-American War:

Diana the Huntress:


"The Angel" atop the Monument to Independence: 

The Monument to the Revolution (1910-1920):

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Teotihuacan By Balloon

One of the highlights of my trip was seeing the pyramids of Teotihuacan from the air.  Here are a couple of videos to give a flavor of the flight:


So cool!

Update:  here's a model of Teotihuacan at the National Museum of Anthropology:

Sally Kellerman

During my trip to Mexico City (more pics and video coming) I saw that Sally Kellerman had died.  She played Major Houlihan in the original M*A*S*H movie and also was in the Star Trek pilot Where No Man Has Gone Before.

Kellerman was a guest at Vul-con 2016, the convention in Vulcan, Alberta, marking the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.  Here she was at a Q and A:

It seemed obvious to me at that time that she wasn't all there mentally anymore, and it was wrong of whoever put her up on stage in public like that.  

May she rest in peace.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Up Up and Away

Today I took a dawn hot air balloon flight over the pre-Aztec ruins at Teotihuacan before exploring them on foot:

Looks like my video file sizes are too big, I'll have to see what I can do.
Update:  I posted video here, and here's my certificate of flight: 

Two's Day!

We made it!  Today is Tuesday, 2/22/22.  Two's Day.

I'm sure the date is significant somehow :-)

Monday, February 21, 2022

You'd Think He Wouldn't Have to Worry About This, Being As It's So Cold In Finland and All

I have nothing to add to this:
Remi Lindholm, 24, of Finland, spent over an hour traversing the shortened men's 50km mass start free race in brutal temperatures and howling winds, causing his penis to become frozen, Reuters reported.

An (Arctic) Blast From The Past

From 18 years ago:

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world...

We'd better get on the ball, we only have 2 years left to sink those cities. 

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 ‘catastrophic’ shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Erlich was wrong with The Population Bomb, and now Randall and Schwartz are, too.  They never give up, though, they never quit trying even in the face of 100% incorrect decisions over the last 50+ years.  Instead, they double down.  Every. Single. Time.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Today's Happenings

I went to Chapultepec Park today, what a fun place for an outdoor gathering!  And let me tell you, thousands of people were gathering!

I took the subway there with the twin goals of seeing the National Museum of Anthropology as well as Chapultepec Castle, the home of Mexican presidents until the early 20th century and a key target of the Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War.  Sadly, even though my guide book and the web site both said Chapultepec Castle would be open today, by early afternoon it was most surely closed.

Fortunately I had already been to the National Museum of Anthropology and got to see one of the greatest of Aztec artifacts, the Stone of the Sun:

I got snapped at by a guard for taking this selfie--not because selfies are forbidden, but because I removed my mask to take it:
So for my next selfie with my Olmec buddy, I kept my mask on:

The closest I got to Chapultepec Castle was this picture:

I had a interesting experience later in the evening.  I found a hole-in-the-wall in which to have some dinner, and given the prices I assumed the portion size couldn't be huge.  So I ordered two "tortas", which turned out to be sandwiches akin to paninis, and a glass of "platano con leche"--a full liter+ of milk with a banana whipped into it.  Well, I was quite impressed when the tortas were delivered, there was no way I needed to eat both!  So I ate one and packed up the other to take with me.

If you've ever been to Mexico, you know about the begging.  There's a lot of it, and the people doing it often look like they genuinely need to.  On those rare occasions when I give to individual beggars, I try to do so subtly, but given the sheer number of them here, I usually just ignore or go around them.

I was carrying this torta back to my hotel room, and a small, old, thin man approached me with his hands out.  I said "no" and started to go around him when he pointed to the bag and asked, "comida (food)?"  Again I started to go around him, but I didn't need this torta and he clearly did.

I hope he enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the first one.  I still feel sort of guilty for not giving it to him immediately.
Update:  I went back to Chapultepec earlier in the day on Wednesday the 23rd and toured the castle.  It was muy coolissimo.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

I Made It!

This morning as I was in a miles-long customs line in Guadalajara, I'd have sworn I wasn't going to make my connecting flight.  A lady pointed me to a line (with no signage!) for those of us with connecting flights, and it was shorter and went much quicker.  Even so, I'd have sworn my suitcase wouldn't make it to my flight, which was scheduled to leave in under 20 min.

When I landed in Mexico City, my bag was one of the first ones on the carousel!  A not-so-long taxi ride ($15!!!) got me to my hotel 6 hrs before check-in time.  Ugh.  They guarded my bags while I went out and did some walking.  Later the hotel got me into a room 2 hrs before check-in, and I rested for 3 hrs as I didn't sleep on the overnight flights.  Then I went out again, consuming street food like it was going out of style.  GAWD the Mexicans know food!

So, here's me at the Plaza of the Constitution in front of the National Palace and Metropolitan Cathedral:

Proof I'm really here!

The Left's Religion

I live in a blue city in a blue state, meaning I can’t so much as walk to the CVS without seeing a certain sign in half a dozen front yards. You know the one: “IN THIS HOUSE, WE BELIEVE: BLACK LIVES MATTER, SCIENCE IS REAL, WAR IS PEACE, MY LIFE FOR AIUR” and whatever the hell else they’re on about these days.

The sign has become so commonplace, so utterly oblivious to its own irony, that it feels less like a show of defiance than a profession of faith. Think of it as the left’s very own Nicene Creed, the statement of belief that Catholics recite every time they go to mass. One imagines a congregation of the pink-haired standing in pews: “I believe in Science, and in xis only son Dr. Fauci, creator of BIPOCs and TERFs"...

The idea that progressivism has become a religion is by now so familiar as to be unremarkable. The so-called New Atheists who had hoped the decline of Christianity would usher in an age of perfect rationality have been disappointed. Instead one faith appears to have replaced another. The apocryphal old Chesterton quote hangs in the air: “When a man stops believing in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything.” Emphasis on anything: racist highways, de-gendered Spanish words, you name it...

So while progressivism might be religion, it’s stupid, hypocritical bad religion. We Catholics sometimes get tongue-tied mumbling words like “consubstantial,” but I’ll take that over a wan sloganeered imitation any day of the week.  link

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Goldilocks Doesn't Live Here Anymore

I don't have a lot of suitcases.  In fact, I have two, plus an overnight/carry-on bag.

Tried to fit my trip's clothes in the smaller bag.  Just a bit too small, and even if I could fit everything in it, which I cannot, I wouldn't be able to bring anything back with me (and I love t-shirts).  So we go to Option B.

I break out the big suitcase, the one that can easily hold 2 weeks' worth of clothes, including coats.  Keep in mind that I won't be gone for 2 weeks, as I only have 1 week off work, but this is the only suitcase I have that will work.  Way too big, plenty of leftover room in there; I can bring back shirts, towels, and a few sombreros.  If you yell into that suitcase you'll hear an echo, but at least it carries everything I need it to.

The carry-on is packed to the gills.  I like to keep all my electronics with me, not in checked baggage, so my laptop, video camera, and all chargers go there.  So does a change of underwear and a clean shirt, a neck pillow for the flight, a mini-toiletries bag, my guide book, and a small documents portfolio.  This bag could stand to be a little larger, but then it could fall afoul of carry-on size limits should an airline decide to enforce those, so I guess this is as big as it can get.

These are definitely First World problems.  I'm thankful to head off on this adventure tomorrow night.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022


 The title can't get any clearer:

When "Freedom" Is Problematic, Discussion Ends

The problems of inequality were generally the result not of freedom, but of denying people freedom. Slavery, segregation, and various other institutionalized forms of racism from days gone by were, at their very core, anti-freedom efforts.

You don’t erase the sins of anti-freedom through anti-freedom policies.

That’s like trying to cure cancer by causing cancer. It’s insane.

They go on to lament the idea of pursuing individual freedom over social good, but as I just pointed out, most social ills are the result of too little freedom at some point or another, not too much.

Plus, the individual is the smallest minority possible. If you protect individual freedom, you protect freedom for each and every collective group you care to name.

That is unless your goal isn’t to protect their freedom but to set them on a whole new pedestal.

Which, when we get down to it, is what we’re currently looking at.

When I was young I never envisioned problems like this, that's for sure.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Mask Mandates and Lockdowns

First, Johns Hopkins put out a meta-study of the effectiveness of lockdowns:


This systematic review and meta-analysis are designed to determine whether there is empirical evidence to support the belief that “lockdowns” reduce COVID-19 mortality. Lockdowns are defined as the imposition of at least one compulsory, non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI). NPIs are any government mandate that directly restrict peoples’ possibilities, such as policies that limit internal movement, close schools and businesses, and ban international travel. This study employed a systematic search and screening procedure in which 18,590 studies are identified that could potentially address the belief posed. After three levels of screening, 34 studies ultimately qualified. Of those 34 eligible studies, 24 qualified for inclusion in the meta-analysis. They were separated into three groups: lockdown stringency index studies, shelter-in-place- order (SIPO) studies, and specific NPI studies. An analysis of each of these three groups support the conclusion that lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality. More specifically, stringency index studies find that lockdowns in Europe and the United States only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average. SIPOs were also ineffective, only reducing COVID-19 mortality by 2.9% on average. Specific NPI studies also find no broad-based evidence of noticeable effects on COVID-19 mortality. 

While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.

Prior to the 'rona, lockdowns were not considered useful responses to pandemics.  What changed, do you think?

Now let's move on to mask mandates:

Mask mandates are predicated on the effectiveness of “universal masking” in which everyone wears a mask to keep case numbers lower. One of the leaders in proposing universal masking, Monica Gandhi of UCSF, has unfairly been accused of being an anti-masker for talking about the limitations of her own strategy and the much greater importance of vaccination campaigns.

But there’s no avoiding it: The benefits of universal masking have been difficult to quantify. One controlled study in Bangladesh showed a small but statistically significant benefit — among people who consistently used masks, 7.6% got symptomatic infections compared to 8.6% in the control group. Other studies have been inconclusive.

It is intuitive that a barrier ought to prevent germs from being emitted into the air. But if that’s true, why isn’t there more evidence for the benefits of masking two years into the pandemic? Experts associated with The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota have laid out a more complex analysis: Given the current understanding that the virus is transmitted in fine aerosol particles, it’s likely an infectious dose could easily get through and around loose-fitting cloth or surgical masks...

All those factors may explain why the states with mask mandates haven’t fared significantly better than the 35 states that didn’t impose them during the omicron wave. Rhode Island, where I live, has had a mask mandate since mid-December; nonetheless, we saw our January surge rise far higher than any other state. There’s little evidence that mask mandates are the primary reason the pandemic waves eventually fall — though much of the outrage over lifting mandates is based on that assumption. Many experts acknowledge that the rise and fall of waves is a bit of a mystery, as epidemiologist Sam Scarpino explained to me on my podcast.

What is clear is that states with high vaccination rates have fewer hospitalizations and deaths, and that booster shots are essential for anyone over the age of 65 or at high risk of severe disease.

So why are 'rona restrictions being eased throughout the United States and Canada?  I'm inclined to believe it's not the science that's changed, but the polling.

Layers and Layers of Fact-checkers

If CNN gets something like this wrong, what else are they getting wrong?  

Travelers going to Hawaii won't need boosters to be considered fully vaccinated, and the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Bermuda are making entry easier.

Bermuda is not in the Caribbean, as shown by this Google Earth screenshot:

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Not Just Another Pretty Face

I refer to American figure skater Nathan Chen:

The 22-year-old has been on leave since the fall of 2020 from Yale University, where he is majoring in statistics and data science. He opted to pause his education and focus on skating after the pandemic began.

Statistics and data science. Nice.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Booking Was Harder Than I Thought!

Today was the day--gotta book that flight to Mexico City!

Doing so was not easy.

I've been tracking hotels and flights on Expedia for more than a week.  I've known what I want--which flights, and where I want to stay.  Today I hopped on Expedia to book it.

I got my hotel, I got the type of room I've wanted, I got the flights.  When I click on the button to pay I got a message that "the flight you selected is no longer available".  Which flight, outbound or inbound?  There was no indication.

So I went back to the reservation and changed the outbound flight, and still got the error message.  I went back to the reservation and changed the inbound flight, and still got the message.  What sort of fresh hell is this?  I tried it several times and got the same problem each time.  Are none of these flights valid?  And if not, why do they show up?

I went to a discount web site I periodically use, but no good came of it.  Decided to try to book directly through the Aeromexico web site.

The hotel I'd chosen on Expedia was available, but one I hadn't previously seen was on the Aeromexico site.  I was able to get a larger room with a king size bed for only $50 more, and this option wasn't available at the other hotel I considered.  This one also did not offer a free walking tour of the historic downtown area, but my guide book and the internet can handle that.

So I booked it.  There were a few glitches, like my credit card not going through--but after several minutes I figured out that my credit card company was texting me during each attempt to see if the charge was legitimate.  Good call!

Then I had to pay for baggage, and for an emergency exit seat on the one flight leg during which I'll be awake and able to appreciate the extra room!  I have aisle seats on each flight, which is nice for someone of my age.

The 6 day trip will cost me about $2000, which is a lot for a week, but my plan is to get the most out of that week--including a balloon ride over the pyramids at Teotihuacan!  I'll be sure to have the video camera batteries charged for that!  And a friend of mine from Guadalajara may be able to zip over for a day or two, or perhaps we will be able to meet for lunch at the airport during my 4-hour Guadalajara layover on my way home.

I just checked the safe and I have 590 pesos (about $28 US) from my last trip to Mexico.  That should tide me over until I get to an ATM machine in the city.

Now I just have to get through the next week of school, and avoid injury and illness!

The Science Hasn't Changed, The Politics Has

From left-leaning Politico:

Democrats are making a U-turn on mask mandates, just in time for the midterms.

It’s happening among the party’s governors, several of whom are easing up their masking rules as Covid’s Omicron wave fades. And it’s happening on the Hill, where Democrats are suddenly lining up to call for rollbacks of the nation’s most noticeable pandemic-era rule.

Their pandemic pivot comes as they brace for a brutal November election in which the virus — and the culture war that’s accompanied it — is shaping up to be Democrats’ biggest blind spot...

 “It’s not based on science; it’s based on politics. I think people are fed up, and the Dems are seeing the polling,” said Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.).

Even my own Congressman, a doctor, understands: 

The centrist New Democrats Coalition hosted former Biden adviser Zeke Emanuel — brother of another former House Democratic campaign chief, Rahm Emanuel — at a meeting on the topic last week.

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), a member of that group and a physician, has penned a soon-to-be-published op-ed for his local paper, arguing that it’s time to declare the end of the “pandemic” phase of the virus. In an interview, Bera said there’s been “fair criticism” aimed at both the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for their “overly cautious” approach.

Still, Bera insisted that the party’s shift on masks wasn’t rooted in politics. He argued that vaccines, not masks, are the most effective tool available against the virus.

“I think of it [as] less of a political issue, but I think it’s where the public is,” Bera said. “A lot of purple districts are suburban districts. And in suburban districts, there is a prominent feeling of wanting to get our lives back.”

Of course it's not rooted in politics, and of course he has to say that.  It was never about science, it was about science!  If it was about science, though, what those people in the suburban districts want wouldn't be the issue--even though it should be, because that's politics.

Update, 2/15/22:  I'd almost feel sorry for these people if they weren't trying to screw with my life:

WHY PROGRESSIVES CAN’T QUIT THEIR MASKS: “For a certain kind of progressive, giving up masking feels like giving in. It doesn’t feel to them like the epidemic has been beaten — it feels to them like they have been beaten, and their cultural enemies (Joe Rogan, and that estranged uncle who is angry on Facebook) have won.”

Remember.  The science hasn't changed, the political science has changed.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

What Happens If...

We have a week off the week after next.  Officially it's "Presidents' Week", but to me it'll always be Ski Week.

Anyway, I've been planning a trip to Mexico City.  Why there?  Because it's relatively close, and I've never been there, and since I was a child I've wanted to see Teotihuacan.  Expedia and Travelocity have shown me that I could fly round-trip, spend 6 nights in a hotel, and have a few fun excursions for about $2000.  That's a lot of money for 6 days, but it's a one-time cost and I can afford it one time.

The CDC has Mexico on a Level 4, "Do not travel" advisory due to the 'rona.  What happens if I get the 'rona while I'm there and thus can't fly home?  More specifically, what happens to my classes if I get stuck in CDMX?

We are not able to access any district web sites from a foreign country.  I probably couldn't even access Zoom or Google Classroom, as the only way I know how to get to them is through our district portal which takes care of all the logins for me.  And what good would either of those do me in Mexico, without any materials?  Nada.

So here's what I've decided.  Just in case.

Before I leave work next Friday I'll have Monday's materials laid out and ready to go.  I'll also leave my planning calendars out for each class.  It's a good thing I have Chromebooks in my room, too, as they'll come in handy.  I already have that week's assignments in Google Classroom, and students can watch the appropriate instructional videos I recorded during the last 2 school years via my YouTube channel.

It's not much, but it's much better than nothing.  And I hope it's all unnecessary planning anyway.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

I've Noticed This For A Long Time...

...and it's good to have my observations confirmed by someone who should know:

The former head of the American Civil Liberties Union has ripped the group for no longer defending all free speech — claiming it now cherry-picks cases that fit a new “progressive” agenda.

Ira Glasser, the ACLU’s executive director from 1978 to 2001, bemoaned the group for recently changing its guidelines to limit the rights it fights to uphold.

“There is a requirement now for ACLU lawyers that before they take a case defending someone’s free speech, they have to make sure that the speech doesn’t offend or threaten other civil liberties values,” he told Bill Maher on Friday.

After pausing to make a confused expression, he continued, “In other words, before they’re gonna defend your free speech, they want to see what you say.”

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Been Awhile Since I'd Gotten One Of These

In my district we send out electronic "interim progress reports".  I don't know why we do it, unless the purpose is to ensure that teachers periodically enter grades; parents can check our online grading program whenever they want and see current grades, so unless the purpose of the progress report is as I stated, I cannot see the purpose of having them at all.

California Education Code requires that teachers notify parents at any time they think that a student could conceivably fail the course; accordingly, I sent emails to the parents of those students that currently have a D or F in any of my classes.  It was a generic email, a "form letter" if you will, encouraging parents to check their child's grade online as well as informing them of the myriad opportunities our students have for additional instruction/tutoring.

Of the two replies I received, one really ticked me off.  It started with "with all due respect"--you know where that's going to go--and then the parent launched right into what a poor teacher I am because that parent's child had never earned less than a B in math class and so the problem must be with me.  Except for the "with all due respect", there was not so much as an attempt at respect or even civility.

You can imagine the response I wanted to send.  Rather, I wrote a reply, deleted it, wrote a gentler one, deleted it, wrote a gentler one, and did this a few times until finally having written one I knew I could send.  My finished product read, "That certainly is an interesting, but not very helpful, way to view things. Insulting me is not productive. A productive action would be to ensure your [student] takes advantage of the opportunities I mentioned in my previous email."

What I didn't tell the parent is that the student in question is the only student in the class with a grade of D or F. 

That email really ticked me off.

Monday, February 07, 2022


Heard from a friend who "knows somebody" at the state capitol.  The rumor is that next week Newsollini will announce the end of 'rona-restrictions and masking--except at schools.

Update, 2/8/22:  Several hours after I heard the rumor, but before I created this post, it had already been announced:

Vaccinated Californians can ditch their masks indoors soon, the state’s Department of Public Health announced Monday as it lifts restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the omicron variant. 

The state’s mask requirement for vaccinated people in most indoor settings will lift on Feb. 16. The requirement, which began in December as COVID-19 cases climbed, won’t be extended again because infection rates are dropping. 

Unvaccinated people will still be required to wear masks in public indoor settings, as will people living in counties that still have more stringent requirements... 

School mask rules won’t change yet, but the administrative of Gov. Gavin Newsom administration is working on an update to those that the governor will announce soon, chief strategist Anthony York said.

 “We’re looking at our school masking policy and continuing to work with education stakeholders to update our masking requirement and adapt to changing conditions,” York told The Sacramento Bee. “The governor is going to lay out a plan next week.”

The Difference Between A Liberal And A Conservative

Regarding government programs, conservatives look at results whereas liberals consider only intentions--and in this case, people die:

San Francisco launched a “bizarre medical experiment” in which the city helps the homeless use illegal drugs. Environmental and urbanization writer Michael Shellenberger notes that since the pandemic began, the city has lost twice as many residents to drug overdoses than to COVID.

“The city is carrying out a bizarre medical experiment whereby addicts are given everything they need to maintain their addiction — cash, hot meals, shelter — in exchange for . . . almost nothing,” Shellenberger reports in a Substack column...

Despite promises in January from “progressive” Mayor London Breed to “put an end to all the bullshit destroying our city,” her own government is running “a supervised drug consumption site in United Nations Plaza"...

Someone with “firsthand knowledge” of what’s going on at Linkage texted Shellenberger to describe the scene: “What’s happening is that everyone that comes in gets a meal, can use the bathroom, gets drug supplies (needles, foil, pipes), and signs up for a ‘housing assessment.’ But there’s no housing. So nothing happens. They just get added to a list.”

The city is handing out everything but the drugs themselves.

Support people's drug habits and you'll get plenty of people to do drugs.  How anyone could think otherwise amazes me, but I don't think like a leftie.

You owe it to yourself to read the whole thing--because crazy ideas don't stay confined to the Democratic People's Republik of Kalifornia.

The Face of Hypocrisy

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Masks At School

A week ago I wrote that compelling masks at schools was mere kabuki theater.  Perhaps I was wrong, and instead it's really a cult:

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the last place that will be freed from COVID restrictions will be the public schools.

And this mania for pushing both mask wearing in perpetuity, and a full embrace of vaccinations, has become more than just a public health issue. For those in charge of the public schools, it has turned into a religious cult. And you can tell it’s become a cult because they aren’t stopping to consider the harm that they will do to children. They have the power in the public schools, and they will cram down compliance for their mask mandates and pressure kids into getting vaccinated – OR ELSE.

Remember that when Barack Obama talked about people clinging to guns and religion, he was still challenging Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania and was referring to Democrats.  The lefties are still bitter clingers, only now they're clinging to face masks and compulsion.  Gawd, do lefties love compulsion.

Here's a wonderful example from the article linked above:

Which leads to Oakdale High School in California, where school administrators apparently lost their minds when the students staged a protest against wearing masks in school, citing Governor Gavin Newsom’s example while at the 49ers-Rams game last weekend. The kids made it clear to local media that the governor motivated their protest.

The school, for its part, said the kids weren’t facing disciplinary action. But perhaps the staff should.

So, staff turned off the heat on the kids and tried to “barricade” them in the gym. Leaving aside that the “barricade” is completely useless and stupid if they really thought it was going to keep able-bodied teenagers inside the gym, THAT’S A FIRE HAZARD VIOLATION. And the kids called the police, who then turned the heat BACK on! What on earth were these adults, who were supposedly “in charge,” THINKING??? An update from the district now lamely claims that the tables in front of the doors was “unintentional and temporary” and that police, a building inspector, and a fire inspector all showed up to check on the doors. Hmmm, how many angry parents do you think made phone calls? Incidentally, the update from the school does not mention the turning off of the heat by staff. Are they tacitly admitting that this happened, and can offer no excuse for such shitty retaliation toward the kids?

These public schools have a problem, and the problem is that they are now drunk on fear and power. 

St. Fauci won't bless them if they use common sense, not that they seem to have any to use.

Saturday, February 05, 2022

So-Called Restorative Practices

This isn't a surprise to anyone but the most racially motivated leftists:

This alternative method of discipline, called “restorative practices,” is spreading across the country – and being put to the test. Many schools are enduring sharp increases in violence following the return of students from COVID lockdowns, making this softer approach a higher-stakes experiment in student safety...

Long pushed by racial justice groups, the method aims to curb suspensions and arrests that disproportionately affect students of color. It replaces punishment with discussions about the causes and harmful impact of misbehavior, from sassing teachers and smoking pot to fighting (serious offenses like gun possession are still referred to the police). The hope is that students, through apologizing and making amends, will learn from their misdeeds and form healthier relationships with peers and teachers, making school violence less likely as they continue their education...

Denver, which pioneered restorative practices more than a decade ago and inspired districts to follow its lead, seems a good place to ask: Is the kinder approach working? Yes and no, and often the answer depends on the eye of the beholder. Suspensions have fallen significantly, in keeping with the intent of the changed discipline policy. But fighting and other serious incidents have not meaningfully declined, the district says. Other cities have reported similar outcomes, according to evaluations and school leaders.

Critics point to the massacre in Parkland, Fla., as a chilling example of what can go wrong. Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 fellow students and staff members in 2018, was able to stay in school – and pass a background check to purchase the weapon he used – because the district tried to address his violent behavior before the shooting through counseling instead of referring him to authorities.

The article closes on a hopeful note:

Sam Song, a professor of psychology who evaluates restorative programs in Nevada, says they can’t be expected to solve the complicated problem of violence in schools.

“It’s so hard to make changes in schools, but we have lots of examples where restorative practices made a positive difference in a student’s life,” he says. “So if it helps only 50% of the kids, I think that’s worth it.”

Does it help 50% of the students?  Count me as skeptical.

Friday, February 04, 2022

Hell Has Indeed Frozen Over

I agree with Nancy Pelosi:

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday the United States has a moral duty to condemn China's rights abuses but she urged U.S. athletes not to risk angering the "ruthless" Chinese government, a day before the opening of the Beijing Olympics...

Lawmakers on Monday urged U.S. Olympic officials to prepare to defend American athletes from possible Chinese government retaliation should they choose to speak out about China's rights abuses during the Beijing Winter Olympics...

But she (Pelosi) said athletes should focus on competing in Beijing and resist the temptation to speak out. "Do not risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government because they are ruthless."

Pelosi has taken a lot of flak from all sides for her comments--but not from me.

When you're in another country, that country's laws apply, not American laws.  The First Amendment stops at the US border, and being an American citizen does not give you an invincibility shield to violate other country's laws.  Additionally, Olympic athletes are guests of the host country, and should conduct themselves accordingly.  All athletes had an opportunity to protest China's awfulness by boycotting the Olympics.  You show up, you play by the rules--even if those rules require you to keep your mouth shut.  Bad-mouth the Chicoms before you go or when you get back, but don't expect to go to their country and bad-mouth them with impunity.  You take a big chance for little payoff while also making an ass of yourself.

Thursday, February 03, 2022

We Can't Have Masculinity Here, This Is A Military Academy!

What on God's green earth is happening at West Point?

West Point cadets attended mandatory events — framed by the military academy as educational curriculum — on “inclusion,” “diversity,” and “gender norms,” Breitbart News has learned. The programming included discussion groups led by upper-class cadets, labeled “facilitators,” making references to “toxic masculinity,” leading one cadet to comment, “I’m being taught how not to be a man.”

In my day, "warrior" was the most overused word at West Point.  It's probably too martial a term for today.  I'm sure being a warrior demonstrates "toxic masculinity".

Breitbart News received comments from several West Point cadets on condition of anonymity. Cadets are prohibited from speaking with the press without the school’s authorization under threat of disciplinary action.

“I’m being taught how not to be a man,” said one cadet.

“I’m going to quit West Point. It’s no longer teaching me to be a leader of men. It’s teaching me how to be a victim,” said another cadet.

“The real bias we need to talk about [is] why it’s scandalous to be conservative in a professional environment by (sic) ‘brave’ to follow the crowd and be liberal,” a third cadet wrote.

A fourth cadet said, “The guest speaker had us all make a black power sign a yell, ‘Fight the power!'”.

Breitbart News asked West Point for comment about its “stand down” departure standard curriculum. No immediate comment was provided by the time of this article’s publication. Asked about cadets being encouraged to render a “black power” salute, West Point said it was unaware of anyone being encouraged or asked to do so.

The superintendent, General Williams, has been a tremendous disappointment. 

P.S. Was there any discussion about so-called toxic femininity?  Here's a snip from that post:

Hopefully, neither physical nor emotional abuse is a defining factor of masculinity or femininity.  Perhaps, instead of focusing on the sex of the perpetrator, we should focus on the behavior and the individual who commits that behavior.

That is, if we truly want to live in a world of equals instead of victimhood.

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

When The Workers of the World Unite, But Not In The "Right" Way


You wouldn't know it from the news, but apparently there are still a few Canadians who aren't little dormice--their Prime Minister is a little beta dormouse, though.  Has he come out of hiding yet? 

Update, 2/3/22:  A Mid-week Powerline mashup!

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Remember the "Nazi" Post From A Few Weeks Ago?

Students in a small town not too far away were punished by their school for (entirely inappropriate) pictures they posted on social media off campus and not during school hours.  Here's my post from a few weeks ago on the subject.

Today's major Sacramento newspaper carried a stream-of-consciousness piece on the topic, and included comments by a local law professor.  Let's see what was said:

Had the students posed with Nazi symbols on campus, their subsequent punishment probably would have been justified under Supreme Court precedents. But because the photo was taken and posted off campus, the school’s power to discipline the students is debatable.

“Assuming there’s not an argument the school can make that this off-campus activity somehow had a disruptive effect on school operations, I think ordinary First Amendment rules would apply,” said David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition. “Nazi iconography — as abhorrent as it is — is generally protected under the First Amendment.” UC Davis Law Professor Aaron Tang disagreed, however, saying Wheatland Union acted correctly. “The school has an obligation to protect every student’s ability to safely come to school and learn, and it can punish students who support legacies of white supremacy and the slaughtering of millions of people,” Tang said…

But the court also ruled that schools can discipline off-campus student speech if it involves threats, bullying or harassment. From Tang’s perspective, this is the caveat that gives Wheatland Union the right to discipline its students. “Schools can punish off-campus speech when that speech makes (other) students feel uncomfortable coming to school,” Tang said. “Nazi symbols aren’t targeted at individual students, but they do target students.

Tang's so-called argument comes off as weak sauce to me.  It boils down to "speech I don't like is bad", and that's no way to run a First Amendment.  We all encounter symbols, speech, and actions that we don't like, and we encounter them every single day.  "I don't feel safe!" (said in whiny voice) has already worn out its welcome.  Put on your big boy or big girl undies and act like a human with some agency, not like some mousy little wuss.  

And can schools really "punish students who support legacies of white supremacy and the slaughtering of millions of people"?  We can really punish people merely for having abhorrent thoughts and beliefs?  If that's true, let's start punishing the communists, the socialists, and the various other lefties.  But I'm sure that's not what Comrade Tang meant, is it?

Judging only by what was quoted in this article, Tang is clearly an idiot.

I have yet to hear what the punishment for the students was.  Was it light enough that the school could say they did "something", but not so much that parents decided it wasn't worth challenging in court?  Or is something else going on?  I'd really like to know.

When A Reporter Asks "What Do You Mean By Freedom?", You Know There's Trouble Afoot

Isn't it funny how people who have actually lived under communism don't mince words about it, or about what's happening in the once-free West these days?  You've gotta love this lady Gina, who isn't having any of the reporter's crap:

Let's not forget that the Prime Minister has made up wild claims about the truckers and their motives:

In a transparent attempt to delegitimize the popular protest, Trudeau seized on media reports of two problematic flags that were seen over the weekend near the Freedom Convoy—a Nazi flag, and a Confederate Flag—and the alleged vandalism of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The flags were carried by suspected infiltrators who were not welcome at the event.

In his comments, Trudeau used the isolated incidents to smear the thousands of decent, law-abiding Canadians at the protest.

“I know you’re wondering about what we saw in our Capital city this weekend,” Trudeau intoned. “As my friend Irwin Cotler said on Saturday, freedom of expression, assembly, and association are cornerstones of of democracy; but Nazi symbolism, racist imagery, and desecration of war memorials are not. It is an insult to memory and truth,'” he continued.

“Over the past few days Canadians were shocked and frankly disgusted by the behavior displayed by some people protesting in our nation’s capital,” Trudeau added. “I want to be clear, we are not intimidated by those who hurl insult and abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless. We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. We won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism or dishonor the memory of our veterans.”

While slamming the Freedom Convoy as something he would never go near, Trudeau pointed out that he is not against all demonstrations. He said he has attended  Black Lives Matter protests in the past because he agreed with “their concerns and their issues.”

Then Brave Sir Justin bravely ran away:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family have left their home in Ottawa for a secret location, the CBC reports, amid security concerns as thousands pour into the Canadian capital on Saturday in trucker convoys to protest vaccine mandates.

The man is a gutless turd, who would otherwise be a nobody were it not for daddy.  Gina has more bravery, more decency, and more sense than does the national so-called leader.