Thursday, April 17, 2014

How Ineffective Is This President?

His frequent "pivots" to jobs and/or the economy is proof that his "pivots" haven't worked:

He's as effective as Ross is here:

"I don't think it's gonna pivot anymore."  "You think?"

The Fundamental Division In US Politics

In a 2006 interview, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said the Constitution is “basically about” one word — “democracy” — that appears in neither that document nor the Declaration of Independence. Democracy is America’s way of allocating political power. The Constitution, however, was adopted to confine that power in order to “secure the blessings of” that which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government — natural liberty.

The fundamental division in U.S. politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom, and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected. 
George Will is a pretty bright guy.
The argument is between conservatives who say U.S. politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy. Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights. 

Creativity

It's not that I think creativity is overrated--it's vitally important.  However, except in some forms of art, creativity without any knowledge is kind of a waste, don't you think?

I don't know if the author of the tweet below intended to be ironic or not, but I found the comment not only funny but deep.  The idea on the thread was to come up with the plotline for education-related movies, here's one that made me laugh:
"The world's scientists are debilitated by disease; laypeople race against time to cure them using only creativity."
When it's important we care about genuine content knowledge, don't we?

Blame The School?

I have this conversation with students sometimes:  is it the school that compels you to take 4 AP classes at the same time?  Is it the school that schedules so many non-academic activities?  Is it the school that has you compete in multiple sports?

I have no doubt it's the school, backed up by the parents, that tells you that you must go to college.  But the school only provides opportunities for pressure, for the most part it's others who apply that pressure.

That's why I get fired up when people talk about the school when kids kill themselves:
His death is one of six apparent suicides at Fairfax’s W.T. Woodson High School during the past three years, including another student found dead the next day. The toll has left the school community reeling and prompted an urgent question: Why would so many teens from a single suburban school take their lives?
I don't think it's the school.  I think it's the community.
“There is too much stress in my life from school and the environment it creates, expectations for sports, expectations from my friends and expectations from my family,” Jack wrote. He ended with a simple: “Goodbye.”
School is the focus of a teenager's life.  Perhaps we need to clarify what is meant by "the school".  When I use that term, in general I'm referring to the adults who run it as opposed to the students who inhabit it.  Jack's list above indicates to me that school was a nexus for expectations from everybody in his life, not just the adults at his school.
Many wonder if there is a common thread. A number of parents and students said they worry about the fierce competition for limited spots in the state’s prestigious public university system.
This college arms race has got to stop.  We, the adults at school as well as the adults in the community, have got to stop insinuating, or even saying outright, that if you don't get into such-and-such a university, or any university at all, you won't be successful in life.  We've got to stop this masquerade of "college and career prep" wherein everyone has to go to some type of college, and some have to go to a Tier 1 school or be left behind.  That last one falls firmly on "the school's" shoulders

Kids get involved in that arms race because of adults.  Adults can look around all day and try to figure out why kids are killing themselves, but in this community it seems clear to me that the answer lies in the mirror.

Hat tip to Joanne Jacobs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Welcome, Visitors!

It's interesting to check the Statcounter sometimes and see where visitors are coming from.  Consider these two:
click to enlarge

At first I thought, could these two places be any more different?  Then I realized they both involve "goofy".

Thank you ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all week!  Be sure to tip your waiters and  waitresses.

The SAT and Intelligence

Having a high enough SAT score from "back in the day" can get you into Mensa, so the smart people have some faith in the SAT as an intelligence test.  There's plenty of evidence that such faith is merited:
The College Board—the standardized testing behemoth that develops and administers the SAT and other tests—has redesigned its flagship product again. Beginning in spring 2016, the writing section will be optional, the reading section will no longer test “obscure” vocabulary words, and the math section will put more emphasis on solving problems with real-world relevance. Overall, as the College Board explains on its website, “The redesigned SAT will more closely reflect the real work of college and career, where a flexible command of evidence—whether found in text or graphic [sic]—is more important than ever.”

A number of pressures may be behind this redesign. Perhaps it’s competition from the ACT, or fear that unless the SAT is made to seem more relevant, more colleges will go the way of Wake Forest, Brandeis, and Sarah Lawrence and join the “test optional admissions movement,” which already boasts several hundred members. Or maybe it’s the wave of bad press that standardized testing, in general, has received over the past few years.

Critics of standardized testing are grabbing this opportunity to take their best shot at the SAT. They make two main arguments. The first is simply that a person’s SAT score is essentially meaningless—that it says nothing about whether that person will go on to succeed in college. Leon Botstein, president of Bard College and longtime standardized testing critic, wrote in Time that the SAT “needs to be abandoned and replaced"...

Along the same lines, Elizabeth Kolbert wrote in The New Yorker that “the SAT measures those skills—and really only those skills—necessary for the SATs.”

But this argument is wrong. The SAT does predict success in college—not perfectly, but relatively well, especially given that it takes just a few hours to administer. And, unlike a “complex portrait” of a student’s life, it can be scored in an objective way. (In a recent New York Times op-ed, the University of New Hampshire psychologist John D. Mayer aptly described the SAT’s validity as an “astonishing achievement.”) In a study published in Psychological Science, University of Minnesota researchers Paul Sackett, Nathan Kuncel, and their colleagues investigated the relationship between SAT scores and college grades in a very large sample: nearly 150,000 students from 110 colleges and universities. SAT scores predicted first-year college GPA about as well as high school grades did, and the best prediction was achieved by considering both factors. Botstein, Boylan, and Kolbert are either unaware of this directly relevant, easily accessible, and widely disseminated empirical evidence, or they have decided to ignore it and base their claims on intuition and anecdote—or perhaps on their beliefs about the way the world should be rather than the way it is.

Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just first-year college GPA that SAT scores predict. In a four-year study that started with nearly 3,000 college students, a team of Michigan State University researchers led by Neal Schmitt found that test score (SAT or ACT—whichever the student took) correlated strongly with cumulative GPA at the end of the fourth year. If the students were ranked on both their test scores and cumulative GPAs, those who had test scores in the top half (above the 50th percentile, or median) would have had a roughly two-thirds chance of having a cumulative GPA in the top half. By contrast, students with bottom-half SAT scores would be only one-third likely to make it to the top half in GPA.

Test scores also predicted whether the students graduated: A student who scored in the 95th percentile on the SAT or ACT was about 60 percent more likely to graduate than a student who scored in the 50th percentile. Similarly impressive evidence supports the validity of the SAT’s graduate school counterparts: the Graduate Record Examinations, the Law School Admissions Test, and the Graduate Management Admission Test. A 2007 Science article summed up the evidence succinctly: “Standardized admissions tests have positive and useful relationships with subsequent student accomplishments.”

SAT scores even predict success beyond the college years...

The second popular anti-SAT argument is that, if the test measures anything at all, it’s not cognitive skill but socioeconomic status...It’s true that economic background correlates with SAT scores. Kids from well-off families tend to do better on the SAT. However, the correlation is far from perfect. In the University of Minnesota study of nearly 150,000 students, the correlation between socioeconomic status, or SES, and SAT was not trivial but not huge. (A perfect correlation has a value of 1; this one was .25.) What this means is that there are plenty of low-income students who get good scores on the SAT; there are even likely to be low-income students among those who achieve a perfect score on the SAT.
A correlation of .25 is very small.
What this all means is that the SAT measures something—some stable characteristic of high school students other than their parents’ income—that translates into success in college. And what could that characteristic be? General intelligence.
As the SAT is changed from an intelligence test to more of an achievement test, its primary usefulness is diluted.

There's plenty more in the article, including much about IQ and intelligence, and I encourage you to go read the whole thing.  Very interesting.

'Murica

I have a foreign exchange student who is just great to have in class.  He's very bright, very interesting, and fun to be around.

Several months ago I suggested that if he truly wanted to experience America, he should shoot some firearms.  Today we went to the range :-)  He was a pretty good shot on the .22 rifle we took--but what was cool was that the guy on the range next to us let him fire off a few shots on a 9mm pistol and a .357 Magnum!

Afterwards we went to Marie Calendar's and had some apple pie.  We did not, however, contrary to my previous plans, sing God Bless America.  I still think he had an American experience today.

If his host doesn't take him, perhaps some weekend I'll take him to the Gold Discovery Site at Coloma.  It's California in a way that San Francisco and Hollywood and surfing are not.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's One Thing To Think About It, It's Another To Do It

We've probably all had that thought; sometimes, some people just need a butt-kicking.  And while that atavistic thought is no doubt normal, most of us are smart enough not to act on it:
Florida’s St. Lucie County School Board officially fired veteran teacher Dru Dehart after their investigation found that she encouraged six 8th grade students to beat up 7th grader Radravious Williams, WPTV NewsChannel 5 reports...

Darrisaw (the boy's mother) added, "[Dehart’s] remarks was, 'I got my eighth grade boys on you. You're not so tough now"...

WPEC CBS 12 spoke to Radravious’ parents about the board’s decision. “Through the entire situation and even when I got the news, I wasn’t, it’s no congratulations on ether side, because she's suffering and my son is still suffering," said Latasha Darrisaw. “As a person, as any parent, you want some kind of apology. But I guess we’ll get that whenever she’s ready.”

You Think Martin Bashir or Keith Olbermann Are Nice People?

I guess it's possible, but I don't see any stories like these about them.  Then again, they don't allow conservatives on MSNBC:
In the fall of 2013, I gave a TED talk on what I learned as a progressive, on-air talking head at Fox News, where I worked for two years before leaving and joining my current home, CNN. After all, one of the most frequent questions I was asked during my time at Fox was how I did it, how I was a fox in the henhouse – or a hen in the Fox house, if you will.

The questions came mostly from fellow liberals who had not watched much Fox News but had seen the most outlandish clips of Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity that had made it to "The Daily Show" or YouTube. They perhaps imagined that walking down the hallway outside makeup, Mr. O'Reilly might yell then, too, instead of just saying hello. That's a funny notion, but it couldn't be further from the truth.
 
My time at Fox News was marked by meeting and working with some of the kindest, smartest, and most talented people I've had the pleasure of meeting in life. As I said in my TED talk, Sean Hannity is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet – and even now that I've parted ways with Fox, he remains a good friend and mentor.

For a radical progressive who once harbored negative stereotypes about folks on the right, it was a turning point for me to meet people such as Mr. Hannity, Karl Rove, Monica Crowley, Sarah Palin, and so many others, and see that – though we certainly disagree profoundly on political issues – they're personable and kind and human. Just like me.

I'm In A Profession of Idiots

Anyone want to defend the role of the school, the cops, or the courts in this one?  Misplaced faith in these fields does untold damage to our nation:
Here comes another story highlighting the danger of schools "outsourcing" their disciplinary problems to law enforcement. As we've stated before, this does nothing more than turn routine misconduct into criminal behavior, which is a great way to derail a student's future.

A Pennsylvania teen, who claimed to have been bullied constantly (and ignored by school administration), made an audio recording of his tormentors using a school-supplied iPad. He brought this to the school's attention, which duly responded by calling the cops… to have him arrested for violating Pennsylvania's wiretapping law...

The judge said that bullying victims should first bring the problem to their parents -- which this student did. Next, she says the parents should let the school administrators know -- which she did. Finally, she says, let the school handle it -- which it did. And now, the student faces her -- having followed all the proper steps -- charged with disorderly conduct. And yet, despite this, she asserts that the system works and, indeed, has always worked in regards to this particular school. Logical fallacy piled on top of logical fallacy until a bullied kid is charged with a crime while his recorded tormentors remain unpunished.

The judge refused to believe that any one these esteemed administrators could have screwed up, failing to believe that they, too, are human and as prone to failure as anyone else. If they've never screwed up in the fast, all future misdeeds are forgiven (and forgotten) in advance. This is the sort of rationale that should never be deployed by a supposedly impartial overseer like a judge, because it's just as wrong as assuming every authority figure involved here is an irredeemable monster.

Maybe the future holds better outcomes, but for right now, everyone involved had a chance to stop this from reaching this illogical conclusion, but no one -- from the administrators to their legal team to local law enforcement to the presiding judge -- was interested in reining this in. In the end, it looks as though an innate desire to punish someone was satisfied every step of the way.
Is it really illegal in Pennsylvania to record people in public? Do people have an "expectation of privacy" in the open areas of school?  Are you "wiretapping" in Pennsylvania if you set up a camera on a street corner?

Why I'm Not An Isolationist

There's a streak in the Republican Party, one that rears its ugly head every few years, and that streak is isolationism.  Closing your eyes and pulling the blankets over your head might be effective for a four-year-old who wants to hide from monsters, but it's not very effective in a world where headlines like this are run:

Washington drives the world to war

Washington has lost Crimea. Instead of admitting that its plan for grabbing Ukraine has gone amiss, Washington is unable to admit a mistake and, therefore, is pushing the crisis to more dangerous levels. Russia, China, and Iran are in the way of Washington's hegemony and are targeted for attack. The attack on Russia is mounting.
The 80's called and they want their foreign policy back?  What an idiot.

There are bad guys in the world.  Pretending they don't exist, and pretending you can reason with them, is not a valid foreign policy.

If this is what a "reset" looks like, I'd hate to see continued failure!  Perhaps now would be a good time for some of that "flexibility" that President Obama talked about with Medvedev.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Why I'm Not A Socialist

Socialism helps only those in power, who walk on whomever they can and must in order to stay in power:
A fascinating article by Francis Wilkinson appeared in Bloomberg View last week (h/t Instapundit). Wilkinson detailed the fact that income inequality between whites and blacks is worse in leftist cities...

Now to someone like me — a former liberal who became a conservative, in part, because I saw the devastation wrought on poor black neighborhoods by leftist policies — this is no surprise, not even all that interesting. What I did find riveting though were the desperate attempts by presumably left-leaning social scientists to explain the discrepancy away.

See, leftists think when government gives money to people, it’s a form of charity. It’s not. Charity ennobles the willing giver and creates responsibility in the receiver. When government confiscates one man’s wealth to give it to another, that’s a subsidy. Subsidy increases the thing subsidized. Always. Every time. Everywhere. Subsidize poverty, you get more poverty. Subsidize illegitimacy, you get more illegitimacy. Subsidize black victimhood, guess what? More black victimhood.

Blacks are poorer in leftist cities because of leftism. End of story.

Calling It What It Is--The Silliness of "Micro-Aggressions"

If there's anything left of the puerile concept of "micro-aggressions" after this author has had his say, I'd be extremely surprised:
Most of the students represent the .01% of American society. They can enjoy their four- to five-year hiatus from the American rat race, either due to wealthy parents or to charity in the forms of grants that allow them to pay the $60,000 per year plus in room, board, and tuition. Again, most Americans either do not have such money or access to such money to afford the quarter-million-dollar “under attack” Dartmouth experience.

President Hanlon apparently felt the students’ pain of what they had called “micro-aggressions,” or the day-to-day psychodramatic angst that these young elites feel that are their own versions of the world of the Wal-Mart checker, the roofer in Delano who nails in 105 degree August heat, or the tractor driver who has disked half-mile long rows day in and day out on the farm. If you have never done such things, and you have $60,000 a year to spend on Dartmouth, then I suppose you could conceivably dream up a micro-aggression of being tortured to read woman for womyn, or having to use either the boys’ or girls’ bathroom...

But why do very liberal universities do very illiberal things like raise their costs consistently above the rate of inflation, for which, in similar circumstances, food markets or gas stations would be chastised? And why do very liberal professors over the last three decades insist on teaching fewer classes for more money, in a world where nurses do not serve fewer patients for greater salaries? And why do universities in general depend on graduate teachers, part-time lecturers and adjunct faculty to teach many courses that are identical to those taught by full, tenured faculty at rates of compensation three times higher — in an exploitative way that Target or Costco would be fined for? And why, if students are suffering from such micro-aggressions, do they have dorms and student unions and recreation centers that have metamorphosized from the motel like conditions of the past into Club Med resorts, with indoor pools, rock-climbing walls, and Starbucks latte bars?

The point is that the Dartmouth students themselves are creations of the very exploitation they project onto others. They and their faculties enjoy privileges undreamed up by 99.9% of the population. DeVry and Phoenix trade schools cannot afford to offer Dartmouth-like race, class, and gender courses to contextualize their accounting, computer programming and nursing programs because none of their students have the cash for such psychodramatic indulgences. Our aggrieved .01% can play act that they are embattled, precisely because free market capitalism gave them those dramatic opportunities in a way unknown in Mexico or the Congo. (all boldface mine--Darren)
Remember, these are the very people who wail about so-called social justice.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I Tell My Students This All The Time

Unless they go to Stanford, it doesn't matter as much where they go to college as how well they do in college and what they can do with what they've learned.  Some, though, just can't "risk" falling behind in the university arms race:
This month, high school seniors across America are receiving college decision letters of acceptance and rejection. Many of these students, and their parents, will think that where they go to college will significantly affect their employment future.

They think wrong. Today, whether you go to college retains some importance in your employment options. But where you go to college is of almost no importance. Whether your degree, for example, is from UCLA or from less prestigious Sonoma State matters far less than your academic performance and the skills you can show employers.

Research on the impact of college selection has focused on comparing the earnings of graduates of different colleges. In 1999, economists Alan Krueger and Stacy Berg Dale published a widely-read study that compared the earnings of graduates of elite colleges with those of “moderately selective” schools. The latter group was composed of persons who had been admitted to an elite college but chose to attend another school.

The economists found that the earnings of the two groups 20 years after graduation differed little or not at all. In a larger follow up study, released in 2011 and covering 19,000 college graduates, the economists reached a similar conclusion: Whether you went to University of Penn or Penn State, Williams College or Miami University of Ohio, job outcomes were unaffected in terms of earnings.

Eagle Ceremony

Last Friday my son's JROTC unit had their annual military ball.  My son is the 2nd from the right (their left, our right) in this video of the Eagle Ceremony, and also carried the US colors during the retirement of the colors.

Yes, I'm a proud father.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

First Day of Spring Break...

...and I wake up with a headache.  Just can't get going today.  What a waste!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Want To See A Heartwarming Story?

Watch the video here.

The Real-World Benefit of Geekitude

Do you need to change your passwords?  Choose some that no one would guess!
Among the peskier things about personal computing is the never-ending call to create passwords. One for email, one for Facebook, one to download Dayton Ward's newest e-book from Amazon. To that end, we'd like to recommend 10 Star Trek-based passwords, some of which you'd need the M5 Computer itself to break.
I have "themes" I use for different types of sites.  For example, email sites might be movie names, and commerce sites might be lakes.  I also know a few states and their years of admission to the Union, so that makes for another good theme.  Easy to remember and long and varied enough to be secure!

I Hope She's Right

Megan McArdle says single-payer healthcare isn't on the horizon here in the US:
Of the plans that states have hatched for the Affordable Care Act, none has been bolder than that of Vermont, which wants to implement a single-payer health-care system, along the lines of what you might find in Britain or Canada. One government-operated system will cover all 620,000 of Vermont’s citizens. The hope is that such a system will allow Vermont to get costs down closer to Canada’s, as well as improve health by coordinating care and ensuring universal coverage.

Just two small issues need to be resolved before the state gets to all systems go: First, it needs the federal government to grant waivers allowing Vermont to divert Medicaid and other health-care funding into the single-payer system. And second, Vermont needs to find some way to pay for it.

Although Act 48 required Vermont to create a single-payer system by 2017, the state hasn’t drafted a bill spelling out how to raise the additional $1.6 billion a year (based on the state's estimate) the system needs. The state collected only $2.7 billion in tax revenue in fiscal year 2012, so that's a vexingly large sum to scrape together...

So this is going to be expensive. So expensive that I doubt Vermont is actually going to go forward with it.

This should be instructive for those who hope -- or fear -- that Obamacare has all been an elaborate preliminary to a nationwide single-payer system. It isn’t. The politics are impossible, and even if they weren’t, the financing would be unthinkable.
It's not like we haven't before spent money we don't have, though.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Open House

Normally I can't stand Open House.  I understand Back To School Night in September, but not Open House in April--at least, not for high school, I don't.  I get the elementary school purpose of it, but it's not any fun for so many of us in high school.  But it's in our contract, we've gotta do it, ugh.

This year our math department tried something a little different.  Instead of each of us being in our classrooms, we set up a couple tables outside our department chair's room.  Each of us brought something as an example of the work our students do--I brought a bowl of M&M's and a description of my statistics class' Chi-Square Goodness of Fit Project.  I hooked up my 70" flatscreen tv  (yeah I do!!!) out there next to our tables and our department chair, for example, had a looping slideshow of his students working on their "indirect measurement lab" outside (using indirect measurement to determine the height of the flagpole, for instance).

All the math teachers were in one place.  We could see what each other was doing, it freed us up individually to go see what other departments were doing (I was amazed at some of the ceramics work a couple of my students had done)--and if a parent had a question about which class their student should take next year, well, here are the teachers right here who can tell you about your options because they teach those classes!

I haven't found a teacher yet who didn't prefer it to being caged in our classrooms.  It actually made the evening tolerable.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Isn't Brandeis a "Jewish" University?

Like Notre Dame is a "Catholic" university?  Anyway, I just can't fathom why Jews are such good liberals:
Brandeis University originally invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its spring commencement, and created a storm of controversy on its campus. It has now withdrawn that offer, and may have created a storm of controversy outside of its campus as well. The former Dutch parliamentarian has long spoken out against the excesses of Islam, from her own painful personal experience to the radicalism that fuels terrorism and war. Apparently, Brandeis just figured this out...

So, first question: What did Brandeis intend when it offered Ali the degree in the first place? After all, her mission has been pretty clear over the last decade or so. There does not appear to be an alternate line of activism or scholarship taken up by Ali in the intervening time, so presumably Brandeis intended to honor her work in this field. Second question: What changed?

That brings us to the third question. Did no one at Brandeis bother to Google Ali before offering her the degree? Her speeches don’t pull punches about her perspectives on Islam and its practices. It’s a little late in 2014 for President Lawrence to be shocked, shocked at “certain of her past statements” in relation to the work that they apparently wanted to honor.

To answer the second question — because so far, questions one and three don’t lend themselves to answers other than incompetence – what changed is that the faculty erupted in outrage when it saw Ali on the list. Out of 350 faculty, “more than 85″ signed a petition demanding her removal from the honors list. The petition was started by the Muslim Students Association, which should have been easily foreseen by Brandeis in the first place. If popular opposition was enough to cancel the offer, then Brandeis shouldn’t have made it in the first place. Now, they look both incompetent and pusillanimous.
Yeah, I'm definitely going with "both".   Maybe throw in some raaaaaaaacism and some sexxxxxxism, too, just for good liberal measure.

Brandeis has a Muslim Students Association?  Brandeis?  They're so open-minded their brains have fallen out.

Teachers Union Backs Down

From the major Sacramento newspaper:
The threat of a ballot initiative did the trick, persuading the California Teachers Association to negotiate a new process for teacher dismissal...

Voters surely would have approved this initiative, after the Legislature in 2012 and 2013 had shown itself unable to buck CTA opposition to pass a bill streamlining the current labyrinthine teacher dismissal process...

But now the old one-size-fits-all process that treated dismissal for lewd acts or drug dealing the same as chronic tardiness is gone in a new bill, Assembly Bill 215 by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo.

The bill creates a separate, fast-track hearing process after a school board has voted to fire a teacher for misconduct involving sex, drugs or violent offenses against children.

EdVoice promises to withdraw the initiative if the bill becomes law by mid-June. Gov. Jerry Brown has said he would sign it.

Under the bill’s fast-track process, a hearing would begin 60 days after a suspended or dismissed teacher makes a request. The hearing would have to be completed within seven months. In the past, a hearing might not get underway for months and could drag on for years.

The hearing would be conducted by an administrative law judge, not the current three-person panel that includes two teachers, one chosen by the suspended or dismissed teacher and one by the school district...

The bill also seeks to clarify that school districts can suspend teachers without pay. If districts do suspend teachers with pay, the bill would allow districts to recover salary and benefits if they win.

To protect the innocent, those making false allegations would face serious penalties.

Teachers facing dismissal because of poor performance still would have their cases heard by a three-person panel, including one teacher chosen by the district and one by the accused teacher.
This sounds exceedingly common sensical to me.  One wonders why a union of professionals would oppose it--unless they just protect teachers, as opposed to protecting good teachers who have been wronged.

A Tale of Two...Well, It Ain't Cities

Both of these stories deal with words that rhyme with "cities".

The first:
Some middle school students in Indiana are being punished for getting a peek at their teacher’s bare chest on a school-issued iPad.

A group of students at Highland Middle School were playing with the iPad during a lesson when the topless picture popped up on the screen, according to affiliate WRTV.

It’s believed that the teacher accidentally synched her personal iPhone with the iPad, transferring the scandalous photo.
The second:
A 79-year-old substitute teacher in New Hampshire is leaving her longtime job after a dispute with school administrators over Facebook.

According to CNN affiliate WMUR, Carol Thebarge has been working as a substitute teacher in Claremont, New Hampshire, for the past 35 years, but when school administrators at Stevens High School told her she had to choose between her job and being "friends" with her students on Facebook, she chose her students.
To be fair, the rhyming word for the second one is plural.  There's only one old lady in the story.  The pun fails.  The fun pales.  Something.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Total Hypocrisy, Coming From A Democrat

Remember the story about the Asians who got up in arms over a new proposed affirmative action law in California?
Weeks after some Asian American lawmakers killed a measure to restore affirmative action in California’s public colleges by withdrawing their support, backlash from Democrats who supported the effort is surfacing in the Capitol and on the campaign trail...

On Monday, several members of the Legislature’s black and Latino caucuses withheld their votes on a non-controversial bill, killing a measure by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi. Last week, six black and Latino Democrats sent Sen. Ted Lieu a letter withdrawing their endorsement in his race for Congress. Muratsuchi and Lieu are both Asian Americans and Democrats from Torrance. 
I guess they have to hang together or else hang separately.

Here's a quote just dripping with hyprocrisy:
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said he plans to convene a public forum in the coming weeks where supporters of affirmative action – including several Asian American groups – will talk about how to bring race-conscious decision-making back to California colleges.

The discussion, so far, he said, has been too harsh.

“The way that this debate and discussion has been had so far shows the danger in deliberately trying to divide people along racial and ethnic lines,” Steinberg said. “That’s not the way we should be having a very important discussion.” (emphasis mine--Darren)
I have nothing but 4-letter words to say in response to that.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/08/6304269/backlash-over-affirmative-action.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/08/6304269/backlash-over-affirmative-action.html#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/08/6304269/backlash-over-affirmative-action.html#storylink=cp

Obamacare In The News

Who could have foreseen this?
Americans have recently been hit with some of the largest premium increases in years, according to a Morgan Stanley survey of insurance brokers.

The investment bank’s April survey of 148 brokers found that this quarter, the average premium increase for customers renewing an insurance plan is 12 percent in the small group market and 11 percent in the individual market, according to Forbes’ Scott Gottlieb.

The hikes — the largest in the past three years, according to Morgan Stanley’s quarterly reports — are “largely due to changes under the [Affordable Care Act],” analysts concluded. Rates have been growing increasingly fast throughout all of 2013, after a period of drops in 2012.
I'm shocked.  Shocked, I tell you.


The administration is exaggerating the hosannas of Obamacare?  Again, I'm shocked!
A major new Gallup survey suggests the ObamaCare sign-up numbers are not as soaring as the White House claims. 
Even Gallup's numbers are suspicious, though:
Gallup has a fairly honest headline: “In U.S., Uninsured Rate Lowest Since 2008″. But, hm, what happened in 2008...

Since Obama was inaugurated in 20082009, the net change is from 15.4 percent uninsured to 15.6 percent. So the net effect has been that by the Gallup Survey the number of uninsured has improved in the last year, but gotten worse since Obama was inaugurated, and is 1.2 percent worse than under Bush.  
If it's so great, why did they have to lie to the public to get what support they got, pass it without a single Republican vote, and continue to lie and dissemble now that it's law?

Answer:  because socialism doesn't work--except for the people in charge.