On this date in 1972, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in Anderson v. Laird that mandatory chapel attendance at US service academies violated both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Despite the secular intent of mandatory chapel, which was part of the development of leaders of character, I agree that the method used was absolutely unconstitutional and that this case was correctly decided.
Education, politics, and anything else that catches my attention.
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Blogging Will Be Light To Non-existent For the Next Few Weeks
Yesterday's post was written in advance and scheduled, as is this one. Several more are scheduled for upcoming days.
Yesterday I hitched up the trailer and started driving south. If all goes to plan, I should be staying near the US-Mexico border at Tecate tonight and will cross it tomorrow morning. The intention is to take the next several days to drive down Baja all the way to Cabo San Lucas, and then to take several days to drive back. This trip may not match the 30 days of last year's trip but it will be somewhat close.
I not taking the laptop. If you'd like you can follow me on my trip via my Instagram page mrmillermathteacher, and I'll see you back here in earnest in about a month.
Monday, June 27, 2022
Happy Mark Janus Day!
In February 2018, I altered my flight plans home from Iceland to detour to Washington, DC. Among so many other exciting activities, I gave a speech on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court and stood behind Mark Janus as he talked to the press after the Court heard his case.
Four months later, as I walked among the Mayan ruins at Tulum, I got the word so many of us had hoped for. It was four years ago today.
Sunday, June 26, 2022
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Per capita, people from which country drink the most Coca-Cola?
Friday, June 24, 2022
Hypocrisy and Double Standards
Where would the left be with those two pillars of faith?
I am old enough to remember all the hue and cry over this picture of Missouri Senator Josh Hawley greeting a crowd of protestors with a raised fist, just hours before the January 6 Capitol breach.
It’s time to revisit Joshua Hawley’s role in January 6th.
A necessary recap.
— Lindsey Simmons (@LynzforCongress) June 24, 2022
There are Twitter accounts, actual PACs, and generally stupid people who think that THIS was a seditious act, because Hawley was signaling to the J6 protestors that it was time to attack and mount their “insurrection.”
Less of a dog whistle, and more of a flea fart.
These same brain trusts were (and still are) calling for Hawley’s resignation or his violent removal from office, whichever comes first. With this bunch, you know they are rooting for the latter.
Now that the Supreme Court of the United States has overturned Roe v. Wade, I want those same geniuses to explain this behavior:
BREAKING: Congresswoman @AOC has arrived in front of the Supreme Court and is chanting that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade is “illegitimate” and calls for people to get “into the streets” | @TPUSA pic.twitter.com/jNkCYDrLtz
— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) June 24, 2022
NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), who lied through her teeth about how she was almost raped and murdered during the January 6 kerfuffle, has decided to take her time away from doing the job she was elected to do, to go up the street to the Supreme Court steps and protest against the Dobbs decision. But AOC did not just join the protestors, she LED THEM in a protest chant of, “Illegitimate” and, “into the streets.”
This is the same AOC who refused to condemn the firebombing of pro-life centers and defacing of churches by pro-abortion activists:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez REFUSES to condemn threats of violence by pro-abortion activists pic.twitter.com/IcgFo83Qlo
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 24, 2022
Which leads us to Calif. Rep. “Mad” Maxine Waters...
More at the link.
And let's not forget this:
Activist groups sent mobs to protest at the homes of justices expected to vote to overturn Roe, even though that sort of pressure on federal judges is a crime. (Unsurprisingly, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice appears to have done nothing)...
Extremist rhetoric — of the sort that’s called “hate” when it comes from the right and “passion for justice” when it comes from the left — raised the temperature to the point where a would-be assassin actually showed up at Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house with a Glock, two magazines and pepper spray. He’s now awaiting trial. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) even threatened Kavanaugh and other conservative justices that they would “pay the price” for overturning Roe.
Has any prominent Dem politician spoken against those illegal acts? Anyone? Bueller?
Update: Remember when Joe Biden voted to let states overturn Roe? Don't believe me, believe The New York Times.
California Needs A Little More Time To Release Its Race-centered Mathematics Framework
From an email from California's Department of Education:
Cognizant of the current amount of feedback received on the latest draft, the framework’s posted “Schedule of Significant Events” will likely need adjusting. Therefore, it is anticipated that the July 2022 agenda item presented to the State Board will consist of a recommendation for a timeline change rather than presentation of the draft framework and a recommendation for adoption. The current project timeline is posted at Mathematics Framework Revision Timeline, and will be updated when the schedule changes.
Are They Serious About "Men Can Menstruate"? Here's One Way To Tell.
There might be 7 people in the entire country who believe men can be pregnant or can have periods. Many more than 7 will say those things to signal their leftie tribal purity. Many of these cuckoobirds can be found at our universities. Here's one way to see what they really believe:
Women’s menstrual products are missing on many shelves in the U.S. this week. But tampons can still be found in men's bathrooms on college campuses.
As more universities focus on LGBTQ+ inclusive initiatives, tampons are more commonly found in men's bathrooms on campuses.
In December 2021, Campus Reform identified multiple universities that began including women’s menstrual products in their men’s restrooms.
The universities were Davenport University, Western Carolina University, School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, Cornell University, Vanderbilt University, Princeton University, and Loyola Marymount University.
Western Carolina University used student fees to pay for tampons in its men's restrooms.
Cornell started putting menstrual products in men's rooms in 2020. The products were put in baskets in the bathrooms with labels that read "mxnstrual" products.
Campus Reform contacted each university and asked whether or not they would continue to supply their men's bathrooms with tampons despite the shortage that directly impacts women.
Not a single school replied.
I Never Thought This Day Would Come In My Lifetime
A screenshot from CNN today:
The horror, the horror.
Update, 6/27/22: It's hard to disagree with this, despite the in-your-face attitude:
You don’t like the decisions yesterday and today (Bruen and Dobbs)?
You’re really not going to like the next part.
I mean, it’s your fault, but you’re not going to like it.See, we were cool with the status quo.
Yeah, we wanted abortion to go back to the states. Yeah, we wanted gun rights expanded. Yeah, we wanted our kids safe from LGBTQ indoctrination.
But it wasn’t enough to fight about.We thought you were like us, that we could argue and make small gains and lose some ground but everything staying fairly level and levelheaded.
But boy, were we wrong.
Because while we were copacetic and just going along to get along, you were pushing.You pushed abortion. From “legal, safe, and rare in these specific instances”, you pushed now to the point of post birth abortion on demand for any reason.You pushed gun control. From “background checks and gun free zones” to now “red flag laws” which deny due process.You pushed “the rights of gay marriage” to now the “right of LGBTQ teachers telling kindergarteners about their sex life.”And during all of this, you pushed disagreeing politically to calling us Nazis and justifying violence against us, justifying harming our families and our jobs.So now, we push back.
Thursday, June 23, 2022
San Francisco Backs Down
Lowell High School used to be the jewel in SF's educational crown. It also previously used merit for admissions. Then came the 'rona, and the school board killed the goose that laid those gold star eggs and changed the admissions policy to a lottery--you know, for diversity and anti-racism. That hasn't worked well, and they've had a change of heart:
The San Francisco school board voted 4-3 Wednesday night to return Lowell High School to a merit-based admissions system, two years after it first switched to a lottery-based system.
Beginning with freshman entering in fall 2023, test scores and grades will be used to admit students to Lowell, barring any other changes by the board, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The board first voted in favor of a switch to the lottery system in October 2020 because they said remote learning created a lack of academic data on which to base admissions decisions.
Four months later, the board made the decision to permanently switch to a lottery system in an effort to address alleged racism and a lack of diversity at the elite academic school. That vote faced a legal challenge, which ended in a judge ruling that the district had violated laws related to the Brown Act that regulate public meetings.
The board reversed the decision to permanently instate lottery-based admissions and then extended the lottery process for another year.
I guess this means the SF school board is for racism and against diversity, right? I mean, what other explanation could there be?
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Green Jim Crow
California should be anathema for liberals. It has some of the worst racial education outcomes. It has some of the worst income inequality. And as this article points out, its climate policies disproportionately hurt black and brown people:
My dad’s job at US Steel allowed us to live in the “middle” class: he had a secure job with medical and pension benefits and paid vacations. My siblings and I attended parochial school (tuition for all three of us was $21.00 per month). I learned to sail in a city recreation class, cutting through the rainbow surface sheen created by wastewater from the industrial plants that lined the Sacramento River...
My dad’s US Steel factory, like so many others in California’s rust belt, fell to global competition. But that isn’t the entire story. During this period, California’s environmental regulators were also piling on demands that made California’s factories even less able to compete. A General Motors plant in Los Angeles, for example, made Firebirds — GM’s signature muscle car. Red paint, as it turned out, required more solvents to achieve the essential shiny finish. In the 1980s, air regulators effectively gave GM the choice of staying in business without red Firebirds or shutting down. GM shut down, and thousands of workers lost good jobs.
That was only the beginning. As California’s industries shuttered, I lawyered the cleanup and redevelopment of these lands — turning factories into upscale mixed residential-retail projects, landfills into parks, tilt-up warehouses into expensive apartments for tech workers, and decayed single-occupancy hotels into gleaming high-rise towers.
I watched my big law firm peers, like the rest of California’s economic and political elites, retreat ever deeper into tiny White enclaves like Marin County, where they charge their electric vehicles with rooftop solar panels, send their kids off to elite schools with overpriced burlap lunch sacks, and clutch their stainless steel, reusable water bottles — all marketed as “green” products but mostly made in China by workers earning poverty wages, in state factories spewing pollution and powered by coal-dependent electric grids, and then shipped across the ocean in tankers powered by bunker fuel.
As the White environmentally minded progressives with whom I lived and worked allied with the state’s growing non-White population, California turned reliably blue, giving the Democratic Party an unbeatable electoral majority that was ostensibly a testament to the power of the state’s new majority of minorities. But the state’s White environmental donor class continued to wield outsized power within the progressive coalition.
In my 23 years as a token minority on the board of the California League of Conservation Voters, with White environmental donors and activists who cycled in and out of agencies like the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Cal/EPA, a smattering of shorter-time tokens and I were lonely voices calling attention to how California’s supposedly world-leading environmental and climate regime was destroying the possibility of homeownership and manufacturing sector jobs for hardworking members of Latino, Black, and other minority communities...
California’s White progressive leadership boasts of creating a “just transition” to an equitable low-carbon future. But what I have witnessed over my now 37 years as an environmental and land-use lawyer has been something much darker: the creation of a new Green Jim Crow era in California.
It's a lengthy article, long on information, but here are some points justifying the thesis. On housing:
For this reason, the civil rights movement has for years prioritized expanding minority homeownership rates to close racial wealth gaps caused by housing discrimination.The state’s climate policies now directly impede this critical homeownership goal by demanding that the vast majority of new housing be built in the state’s most expensive urban infill locations as high-density, multifamily, and almost invariably rental projects.
Housing in these locations and this physical form is the most costly of all to construct— far more costly than wood-framed single-family homes, duplexes, townhomes, and garden apartments. Simple economics explains why most people do not live in high-rise buildings in high-rise neighborhoods in California cities...
Demands from California’s climate and environmental advocates for high-density urban housing are making it less possible for Black, Latino, and other residents of color to even stay in their own neighborhoods, let alone buy a home.
On vehicle ownership:
CARB’s fealty to mass transit compounds the economic unattainability of housing. Researchers have repeatedly documented that the lack of affordable automobile ownership is a key driver of racial inequality, reducing employment, weekly hours worked, and hourly earnings for low-income workers.Public transit, the “solution” wealthy Whites imagine will supplant personal vehicles, does not work for many people in less-affluent communities of color, where housing, employment, and other opportunities are often more dispersed and many more jobs can be accessed in a 30-minute drive than a 30-minute ride on public transit. Unlike affluent residents in the keyboard economy, workers of color more often have multiple jobs, commute during non-peak hours, and simply cannot use transit to “balance work, child care, elder care"...
In 2021, the California legislature and governor again resisted efforts by environmental justice advocates to limit taxpayer subsidies for EV purchasers to middle- and lower-income workers.Instead, such subsidies will continue to be available to all EV purchasers — the vast majority of whom are White or Asian, male, earn over $100,000, live in the state’s wealthier coastal areas, and drive less than those in more distant affordable communities.
On energy costs:
Adding insult to injury, California’s energy policies disproportionately hit low- and median-income communities of color coming and going, raising household energy costs while limiting opportunities for employment in the well-paying, often-unionized, energy-intensive sectors of the state’s economy.
Black and Latino households are already forced to pay from 20 to 43 percent more of their household incomes on energy than White households.A household energy cost of more than 6 percent of total income is considered the measure of energy poverty. In 2020, over 4 million households in California (30 percent of the total) experienced energy poverty.Over 2 million households were forced to pay 10 to 27 percent of their total income for home energy. Between 2011 and 2020, the state’s home energy affordability gap rose by 66 percent, while falling by 10 percent in the rest of the nation.
California has the highest electricity and highest gasoline costs in the nation, with electricity prices 50 percent higher than the national averageand gasoline costs exceeding even import-reliant Hawaii in the center of the Pacific Ocean.“These higher costs,” assembly member Cooper wrote in a 2020 letter to environmental groups, “impact disadvantaged communities, especially those who live in areas like the Central Valley, and force them to pay more for energy costs than coastal community households do"...
One thing, though, seems much more certain. State climate leaders appear determined to continue to impose regressive and racist deindustrialization schemes on aspiring communities of color.
On planning for unicorns:
California also has not yet comprehensively planned for renewable energy waste management, including the need to replace and dispose of a massive amount of worn-out panels, turbines, and batteries each year. Nor has the cost of actually electrifying and retrofitting existing buildings and installing enough chargers and other infrastructure for a statewide fleet of EVs been fully assessed. In the UK, cost estimates for decarbonizing just residential buildings by 2050 are now said to have been underestimated by up to $90 billion.A former principal policy advisor for the California Energy Commission estimates that the bill for state electrification is $2.8 trillion,which would be $71,400 per capita.
Even if solar, wind, and battery prices continue to fall as state bureaucrats hope, wind and solar power require backup supplies to maintain grid frequency and reliability.Climate regulators use terms like “net zero carbon” to mask reliance on natural gas generation, excuse the shutdown of the state’s sole nuclear plant, resist increasing pumped generation even from existing hydroelectric reservoirs, and block biomass generation — notwithstanding the state’s urgent need to reduce catastrophic wildfire risks by removing dead and dying vegetation caused by a century of forest mismanagement and periodic droughts.
On racial and economic equality:
What the soaring environmental rhetoric of the state’s affluent, largely White technocratic leadership disguises is a kludge of climate policies that will only, under the best of circumstances, partially decarbonize the state’s economy while deepening the state’s shameful legacy of racial injustice...
“What’s White, Male, and 5 Feet Wide? Bay Area’s Bike Lanes,” the San Francisco Chronicle memorably quipped.While California’s environmental technocrats propose to herd its poor non-White residents into public transit they can’t use and high-density housing they can’t afford, they shower green subsidies upon the state’s wealthiest residents.
The state pays wealthy Californians to buy EVs and install rooftop solar with publicly funded subsidies and pours billions into transit extensions and bike lanes for well-to-do bedroom communities that hardly use them...
California’s leaders have attempted to divert attention from the growing inequity of the state’s climate agenda with transparently phony gestures toward woke sensibilities. But Black and Brown community leaders increasingly aren’t buying it. Mary Nichols, until recently the state’s celebrated climate czar, saw her hopes of being appointed to head the federal Environmental Protection Agency and take California’s climate agenda nationwide crumble after her tweet claiming that “‘I can’t breathe’ speaks to police violence, but it also applies to the struggle for clean air” sparked intense backlash from environmental justice advocates and Black state lawmakers.That tweet had been preceded by a decades-long pattern of prioritizing CARB-selected green technologies and practices favored by global climate advocates over the reduction of localized air pollution health impacts in communities of color...
We are long overdue to reconsider California’s racist, inequitable, and ineffectual climate agenda. There is no reason the state could not continue to lead the world in reducing GHG emissions with feasible, cost-effective technologies and racially equitable strategies that can and would be widely replicated globally. Justice, equity, and the climate all demand nothing less.
You don't have to agree with every point the author makes, but you should consider reading the whole thing. It's illuminating.
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
When speaking to someone, the pronoun used to refer to that person is the genderless "you". If you're talking about a third person you would use "he" or "she", but since that person isn't in the conversation, they don't get to dictate how you refer to him or her. There is so much wrong with the modern pronoun business, and it all comes back to Orwell's lessons about controlling the language. People who try to dictate how you speak about them when they're not even there are narcissists and worse. If anyone were to ask me what my pronouns are, I'd first looked shocked and disgusted and then probably reply with something like, "the obvious ones, duh."
The author of this column feels a little differently:
While being subjected to constant rituals of pronoun exchanges may seem silly or annoying at best and exhausting at worst, in reality participating in this ostensibly benign practice helps to normalize a regressive ideology that is inflicting enormous harm on society. To understand why, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with its core tenets...
I love this part:
The clear message of gender ideology is that, if you’re a female who doesn’t “identify with” the social roles and stereotypes of femininity, then you’re not a woman; if you’re a male who similarly rejects the social roles and stereotypes of masculinity, then you’re not a man. Instead, you’re considered either transgender or nonbinary, and Planned Parenthood assures you that “there are medical treatments you can use to help your body better reflect who you are.” According to this line of thinking, certain personalities, behaviors and preferences are incompatible with certain types of anatomy.
So when someone asks for your pronouns, and you respond with “she/her,” even though you may be communicating the simple fact that you’re female, a gender ideologue would interpret this as an admission that you embrace femininity and the social roles and expectations associated with being female. While women’s-rights movements fought for decades to decouple womanhood from rigid stereotypes and social roles, modern gender ideology has melded them back together.
The author's prescription:
We simply can’t ignore fundamental realities of our biology and expect positive outcomes for society. Pronoun rituals are extremely effective at normalizing and institutionalizing the abolition of biological sex in favor of gender identity. These rituals take advantage of people’s confusion and compassion to achieve compliance. But the time for politeness has long passed. The only proper response to the question “What are your pronouns?” is to reject the premise and refuse to answer.
Perhaps, instead of what I wrote above, I should answer the odd query with an awkward silence followed by, "Anyway...".
Who would have thought that in 2022 we'd be fighting each other over how to refer to men and women. Sheesh.
What Has Happened to Joanne Jacobs' Blog?
Joanne's site has been inaccessible for a few days, so I emailed her to ask what's up. Her reply:
I haven't been able to reach my blog since early Saturday. Someone hacked the site, created a fake blog (with some of my 2017 posts) and locked me out. It took me a while to notice because I've been at my niece's wedding in Boston. My brother, who is my tech guy, was also here with two children to supervise. At least he's back home now. I'm still in Boston, but returning tomorrow. The hosting service is working on the problem, but no progress yet.It is very, very frustrating.If you wouldn't mind, would you post something explaining why joannejacobs.com has vanished?
Monday, June 20, 2022
Milton Friedman Explains Inflation--It's So Applicable Today
Thursday, June 16, 2022
Sexual Harassment and Assault
Most Americans probably don't even know that we have a federal Merchant Marine Academy. It falls under the Department of Transportation and has the mission "To educate and graduate leaders of exemplary character who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation, and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces."
And this happens to their cadets?
An 18-year-old US Merchant Marine Academy student who was repeatedly harassed and groped by older, male crew members during a training program aboard a commercial ship was so terrified of being sexually assaulted that she slept in a locked bathroom, clutching a knife for protection, a lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges.Using the moniker Midshipman-Y, the young woman's account represents the latest blow to the federal academy, which has struggled to protect students from sexual abuse both on campus and at sea, and hold offenders accountable. Last year, the academy briefly shut down its mandatory "Sea Year" training program following the published report of another student who said she was raped by a senior crew member at sea in the summer of 2019, when she was 19 years old.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
A Nice Couple Days
A friend from work and his wife took their trailer, and I took my trailer, to Point Reyes for a couple days just to decompress now that school is out. Here are some pictures:
click to enlarge
The Marin Headlands, future home of Starfleet Headquarters
San Francisco from the Marin Headlands (the north side of the Golden Gate)
Elk on Point Reyes
A long stretch of beach on Point Reyes
We stayed at Olema Campground, which was very nice (big spaces) and probably the quietest campground at which I've ever stayed.
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Climate Change: Not As Bad As Your Kids Have Been Told
The following is from Vox--Vox!--which is no universe is a right-wing publication:
As I’ve written about before, climate change is going to be bad, and it will hold back humanity from thriving as much as we should this century. It will likely cause mass migration and displacement and extinctions of many species.
What it won’t do, however, is make the Earth unlivable, or even mean that our children live in a world poorer than the one we grew up in. As many climate scientists have been telling us, the world is a better place to live in — especially for people in lower-income countries — than it has ever been, and climate change isn’t going to make it as bad as it was even in 1950...
In some cases, it feels like adults are displacing our own frustration at political inaction on climate onto kids — and doing it by telling them things that aren’t true, and that they don’t have the perspective or context to take with the appropriate grain of salt.
The problem permeates advice about what kids can do about climate change, too.
I imagine the tendency of advice for kids about climate change to urge them to challenge their grownups, recycle, ride bikes, and attend protests is out of a well-intentioned urge to give them advice they can use right now. But I worry it sets them up for frustration, and is fundamentally not very honest about how they can solve climate change.
Kids who throw themselves wholeheartedly at those problems for their entire childhood, but who aren’t themselves Greta Thunberg, aren’t likely to get anywhere, and they won’t be positioned to get anywhere as an adult either.
I've believed for a long time that the global warming messaging was overhyped; when you've lived as long as I have, you've seen these things before. Lefties always go for the children, though, because as that famous leftist said, "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future."
Monday, June 13, 2022
Does This Seem Right To You?
On Saturday I stopped by the 99 Cent Store but all I bought were four 1.25 liter bottles of flavored water. I'll be driving all the way down Baja to Cabo San Lucas in a few weeks, and having some water with me wouldn't be the worst idea I've ever had!
Here in California, there is no sales tax on food. I thought "food" included all ingested products, so my bottled water should, to my way of thinking, be untaxed, but take a look at my receipt:
In addition to the cost of the water, I had to pay 10 cents each for the California Redemption Value that is supposed to encourage recycling. Take a close look at the receipt--not only did I pay a tax on the water, I paid a tax on the CRV! Does that seem right to you?
Saturday, June 11, 2022
I'm a Math Teacher.
Solving problems is what I do.
Lately I've noticed that the pump on my air conditioning system, the pump that evacuates all the condensed water, has been taking an inordinate amount of time to get rid of small amounts of water. Obviously something was amiss, so I disconnected the evacuation tube and blew on it--clogged. That pump is working so hard and so long because it's got to squeeze the water past some obstruction.
This morning I went outside and snaked the drain pipe in case something crawled up it and set up shop, and it seemed perfectly clear. That was actually bad news for me, since the only remaining option was to crawl up into the attic space. Keep in mind it was 100+ degrees yesterday, fairly warm all night, and that attic is filled with shredded insulation. And dust. Lots of dust.
But go up there I did, and it didn't take long to identify the problem--the flexible evacuation tube, which had been draped over a nail, had gotten kinked. In two places, actually. It took me awhile but I got it to where it would stay "unkinked" and now the pump empties its drain pan very quickly.
Being sweaty and gross after being up in the attic space, I thought perhaps a shower would be in order. So I went into the bathroom and turned on the hot water.
Well, there should have been hot water. Only cold came out. I went into the garage to the water heater and the light on the controller was flashing the code for "flammable vapor sensor lockout". Heck, I replaced that entire water heater only 6 years ago this month!
I called the manufacturer's toll-free number, and the computerized voice told me my wait would be less than 10 minutes. After 24 minutes I was finally able to speak to someone who emailed me directions for resetting the controller unit. Fortunately, those directions seem to have worked flawlessly.
So I woke up with problems in two fairly important systems in my house this morning, and both problems were resolved before 11 am and at zero monetary cost. I feel very good about that but am still experiencing some of the anxiety caused by originally not knowing if I could resolve either one. I think I'll calm myself by heading up to the farmer's market (in the parking lot of the almost-dead mall) and see what's there. I doubt I'll buy anything, but it always seems so relaxing there.
President Trump had (has) a demeanor that turns a lot of people off. This is unfortunate, because it causes him to be cursed like Cassandra of Greek mythology:
No one can say we didn’t warn you that gas prices would go up under Joe Biden.
President Trump predicted it on the campaign trail.
“It’s an incredible thing that’s happened over the last few years, a lot of great things, and you’re paying, what, $2 a gallon for your gasoline? That’s okay,” he said. “You know what that’s like? That’s like a tax cut,” he pointed out. “That’s bigger than a tax cut. If Biden got in, you’d be paying $7, $8, $9. Then they’d say, ‘Get rid of your car.'”
And boy, was he right. As gas prices hit historic highs, Democrats have been using that in a push for people to buy electric cars that are typically in the range of $60,000. Just this past week, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) bragged about how gas prices didn’t matter to her when she drove her car from her home state to Washington, D.C., because she has an electric car. “I just have to say just on the issue of that at gas prices, after waiting for a long time to have enough chips in this country to finally get my electric vehicle, I got it and drove it from Michigan to here this last weekend and went by every single gas station. It didn’t matter how high it was.”
But what really gets me about the current situation is that the so-called experts and the mainstream media dismissed concerns that gas prices would go up under Biden...
What do those "experts" care? They can afford expensive gas. I paid just under $6/gallon two days ago at what GasBuddy said was the cheapest gas around.
Update, 6/24/22: Here's another that's recently been making the rounds.
Friday, June 10, 2022
Good Phone Calls vs Bad
As calls to, from, and within Mexico and Canada are included in AT&T's monthly plan, I recently switched from Verizon to AT&T. I was very happy with Verizon, but they charged me $5/day for phone/data use in Canada and Mexico and it didn't make sense for me to pay that if I didn't have to. So far I've been as pleased with AT&T's service as I was with Verizon's, and the price is competitive.
I wanted to see if my first autopay went through so I fired up the myATT app on my (new) phone and started scrolling until I found that yes, the payment had gone through. Then something else on that app caught my eye:
Your security is our top priority
24/7 proactive network security with AT&T Mobile Security and ActiveArmor--Always on!
168 calls analyzed
111 calls blocked
Holy crap! That's a lot of spam/scammer calls!
It's About Time
How many millions of extra dollars did travelers spend on these stupid tests?
A White House official said on Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will end a requirement for air travelers before entering the United States to be tested for the coronavirus.
Mine at the Mexico City airport in February was around $45. Since very few countries require these tests anymore, all the lab technicians at all the airports with direct flights to the United States can now be freed up to do more meaningful work.
Thursday, June 09, 2022
On the last day of class my Italian foreign exchange student gave me a card that said in part, "Thank you for...always being supportive and understandable."
Made my day. We teachers live for such compliments.
Wednesday, June 08, 2022
2 Months From Today, I Go Back To Work
Until then, I will not be checking my work email, will not be doing any planning, will not be working in my classroom.
I don't get paid for these two months, so I don't work. And my mental health thanks me for that!
I'll be "teaching" a new class in August. I'll have a full class of students who will be taking "dual-enrollment" statistics at a local community college. I have no grading or assessment responsibility for this class, as the class is offered online through the local CC. Not many high school students passed the course the last semester the CC offered it, but mine will be the first time an entire class of dual-enrollment students will all be from the same high school. My plan is to use the "flipped classroom" format at high school, expecting students to watch the CC instructional videos Monday-Thursday evenings and to come to our class each day with questions, homework help, etc. Essentially I'll be the equivalent of a university T.A., helping the undergrads understand the professor's instruction. We'll see how it works out.
I'm looking forward to that new challenge, but I'm going to enjoy my 2 months (to the day) off in the meantime.
Free at last!
Tuesday, June 07, 2022
Since When Does Russell Brand Make Sense?
It's often said that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. Was Brand mugged?He's a bit late, but welcome to the party.
25 Down, 5 to Go
Today was our last day with students, tomorrow is a teacher work day. I'll be giving a final exam to a student who is still testing positive for the 'rona but has been out for 11 days so apparently he's not contagious.
I've completed 25 years at this job, 19 of them in the same classroom. In 5 years I'll retire and, if things stay the same, earn 72% of my highest year's salary, which will be plenty to live on if I leave California--which I plan to do.
Leaving Sunday to go camping in the Marin Headlands for a few days, and in 3 weeks I'll already have left for Baja.
Yes, we teachers love this time of year :-)
Monday, June 06, 2022
On This Day In History...
...the Nazis met the American soldier face-to-face. While it didn't go as well as the planners had hoped it would, it still did not go well for the Nazis.
Festung Europa, indeed.
Sunday, June 05, 2022
It's been a rather mild spring, which has really helped students not get so far off track at school. When the sun is shining brightly, thoughts wander from the classroom...
It's raining today. People are always shocked when this happens, but I've lived in the Sacramento Valley most of my life, and I can tell you that it almost always rains the first week of June. Granted, it's barely enough to get the grass wet, but it's enough for me to hear water dripping onto the bottom of my home's downspouts. It's only about 60 degrees outside right now, with a high expected in the 70s today, but in just a few days we're expected to hit 100.
Summer is nigh.
Saturday, June 04, 2022
What A Difference Two Years Makes
Thursday, June 02, 2022
Time Has Flown
May went very quickly, and now it's June and I'll be convoying to Cabo in just a few weeks. Wow!
Wednesday, June 01, 2022
They Care More About The People Who Might Kill Your Kids Than They Do About Your Kids
Not shocking here in California:
The California State Senate voted Thursday to end a requirement that students who threaten violence against school officials be reported.
Before the California law was passed, existing law stated that whenever a school official is “attacked, assaulted, or physically threatened by any pupil,” staff was “required to promptly report the incident to specified law enforcement authorities.” The new bill repealed this requirement.
California passed the law just two days after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing two adults and 19 children.
The law was endorsed by ACLU California Action. The organization called it a win for racial equality.
“Once students make contact with law enforcement, they are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to wind up in jail or prison. These harms fall disproportionately on students from marginalized groups: Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students,” the organization said in a statement.
Let that last paragraph sink in as you think about the next school shooting.
Mask Mandates in Schools
Background: There has been considerable debate around mask requirements in schools in the United States and other countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, there have been no randomized controlled trials of mask requirements in children. All analyses of the effectiveness of school mask mandates have relied on observational studies. The Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. have released multiple observational studies suggesting that school mask mandates significantly reduce case rates. However, there have also been numerous additional US and international observational studies finding no significant effect of school mask mandates on pediatric cases.
Methods: Our study replicates a highly cited CDC study showing a negative association between school mask mandates and pediatric SARS-CoV-2 cases. We then extend the study using a larger sample of districts and a longer time interval, employing almost six times as much data as the original study. We examine the relationship between mask mandates and per-capita pediatric cases, using multiple regression to control for differences across school districts.
Findings: Replicating the CDC study shows similar results; however, incorporating a larger sample and longer period showed no significant relationship between mask mandates and case rates. These results persisted when using regression methods to control for differences across districts. Interpretation: School districts that choose to mandate masks are likely to be systematically different from those that do not in multiple, often unobserved, ways. We failed to establish a relationship between school masking and pediatric cases using the same methods but a larger, more nationally diverse population over a longer interval. Our study demonstrates that observational studies of interventions with small to moderate effect sizes are prone to bias caused by selection and omitted variables. Randomized studies can more reliably inform public health policy.
My only question is, what is the definition of "pediatric"?