Friday, October 24, 2014

Crescendo et Coda

If you've been reading my blog for the past week you know it's been a wild week.  A student protest, news vans, a threat of a school shooting--and the fire alarm going off during lunch on the day of the supposed shooting threat.  Nerves are a little frazzled.

Have you been watching the news out of Sacramento today?  Cops shot, etc.?  Well, it happened right down the road from my school, close enough that we were in a lightened version of a lockdown for awhile, one that continued about 20 minutes into lunch.  Nerves are a little frazzled.

And have I told you that I teach in an upscale area?  Waiting at a stoplight near school the other morning I counted 4 Mercedes sedans and 1 Mercedes SUV pass me going the other direction.

Yes, I had a double during 7th period (Happy Hour) today.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Voter Fraud Is Not A Myth

James O'Keefe shows how easy it is to commit voter fraud in Colorado, with the active help of liberal activists:
Many liberals are adamant there is no threat of voter fraud that justifies efforts to improve the integrity of elections. “There is no real concrete evidence of voter fraud,” tweeted Donna Brazile, former acting chair of the Democratic National Committee, this week. “It’s a big ass lie.”

James O’Keefe, the guerilla filmmaker who brought down the ACORN voter-registration fraudsters in 2010 and forced the resignation of NPR executives, politely disagrees. Today, he is releasing some new undercover footage that raises disturbing questions about ballot integrity in Colorado, the site of fiercely contested races for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and the governorship. When he raised the issue of filling out some of the unused ballots that are mailed to every household in the state this month, he was told by Meredith Hicks, the director of Work for Progress, a liberal group funded by Democratic Super PACS.: “That is not even like lying or something, if someone throws out a ballot, like if you want to fill it out you should do it.” She then brazenly offered O’Keefe, disguised as a middle-aged college instructor, a job with her group.

The video of O’Keefe’s encounters with other operatives is equally disturbing.  He has a conversation with Greenpeace employee Christina Topping, and suggests he might have access to unused ballots from people who have recently moved out of college fraternity houses. “I mean it is putting the votes to good use,” she responds. “So really, truly, like yeah, that is awesome.”
Did you catch that? You don't have to believe me, but you can't deny the video.

What does it say about your beliefs, and your contempt for your fellow citizens, if you don't think you and your ideas can win legitimately so you actually cheat (*cough*, IRS, *cough*) in order to win elections?

Liberals are often despicable.  They can be nice enough individuals, but when it comes to their actions related to their politics, they're often despicable.

Update:  Probability says that this wouldn't happen absent outside forces:
For whatever reason, when statewide races are decided by less than 1 point, Democrats win almost three-quarters of the time. When the margin opens to 1-2 points, that advantage dissipates, and the Democrats win only half the races.
Works that way with recounts, too. They always seem to find a box of ballots in the trunk of a car somewhere....

Think Plastic Grocery Bags Are Bad For The Environment? Look At The Alternative

California's law was passed on emotion and wanting to "do something", another common impulse of lefties:
Make no mistake: This measure wasn’t about preserving our environment—the alternatives to plastic bags have heavier environmental footprints than the now-illegal variety deemed outmoded—or protecting cute marine life. This was an exercise in punishing an industry, and the thousands of hard-working Californians it employs, that Big Green finds politically distasteful.

In both environmental and fiscal measures, bag bans are unqualified failures. This ban will engender no positive outcomes for our environment and in turn only toughen the job climate. And yet it gets even worse when one examines the process through which this particular deal was brokered.

Here, greedy special interests and desperate legislators struck an agreement to allow grocers to retain all the paper bag fees in return for their support of the legislation. Projected to earn as much as $1 billion in new revenue, the grocers gladly obliged. With the help of the grocers’ lobbyists, legislators in Sacramento had the necessary air cover to ignore the environmental science and potential for dramatic job loss. So do what they refused and consult the data.

Plastic bags generate fully 80 percent less solid waste than paper bags. They require 70 percent less energy to manufacture and 91 percent less energy to recycle. They occupy 85 percent less landfill space than bulky paper alternatives.

Now size up in-vogue reusable bags.

According to a lifecycle analysis by the United Kingdom’s environmental authority, shoppers would need to reuse their reusable totes 131 times before it became more environmentally advantageous than a plastic bag that was used just once. The Brits determined that it would take 7.5 years, assuming one trip to the market a week, for a reusable bag to have a lesser carbon footprint than a plastic bag used only three times.

But the problems with reusable bags aren’t simply limited to its gross environmental failings. They also pose a growing public health risk....
Crony capitalism plus false claims of environmental superiority.  That's California!

At CNN, Violence Against Women Is OK If It's Directed At The "Right" Women

These people are not only hypocrites, they're just foul human beings:

How do you get liberals to approve of violence against women? Just tell them the women are Republicans named "Palin."

Wednesday afternoon, CNN anchor Carol Costello hyped newly released audio of Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol tearfully recounting her being physically assaulted during a fight the family was involved in last month by saying it was “quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we’ve ever come across.” She grinned during the entire setup.

The anchor went on to say “sit back and enjoy,” before playing the audio, in which Bristol says she confronted a man who had allegedly pushed her little sister, only to have him shove her to the ground, then drag her by her feet while calling her an obscene name I cannot republish here that refers to the female anatomy.
Costello commented, still grinning, after the audio that “the long bleep” was her favorite part. She ended the segment by saying “you can thank me later.”

Costello is the same anchor who was enraged by the NFL’s apparent lack of concern for the wife of former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice, who was punched by the football player in an Atlantic City elevator in February.

Other liberals piled on, seemingly delighted that the daughter of someone they disagree with politically was physically attacked.
Liberals like violence.  They like to threaten it, they like to see it used--it's why they believe in coercion so much, why they support totalitarianism.  Ever see a mob of conservatives riot in the streets?  Me, either.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I tried to do something nice for people.

Some teachers are really having a difficult time dealing with the pressure of what we've been going through at school the last few days.  I thought I'd do something nice for the folks I eat lunch with, so I brought in some kettlecorn and popped it in the microwave at lunch.

Can you see where this is going?

I tried to get the smoking bag out of the room before the smoke alarm went off, but alas, I failed.  Some interpreted the fire alarm as a lockdown, given all the events of the last few days, and the office even made an announcement that we were not in lockdown but were to follow the fire evacuation procedures.  Kids are everywhere, lunches are everywhere, the fire department showed up even though all of us, including the office, knew the issue was only a smoking bag of popcorn.

Last time I try to do something nice for people!

This Is What We're Dealing With Today

I'm sure this is a weekly occurrence at some schools but it is damned annoying.  I can't stand having the newsvulture vans parked in front of school each day, fanning the flames and needlessly putting some people on edge:
Local law enforcement, Homeland Security, and the FBI are all on alert this week after Rio Americano High School employees discovered threats of a school shooting. The threats warned the violence could happen as early as Tuesday...

Rio Americano Principal Brian Ginter sent parents messages reassuring them about the investigation, stating in one web post: "Safe Schools has done a threat assessment on this situation and feels there is no evidence that it is a credible threat. With that being said, we are still taking it seriously."

It's still unclear who made the threat and why, but the warnings were discovered the same day students mounted a peaceful protest over an incident involving student Dejza Boyd-Tanner. She said a vice principal grabbed her, slammed her against a desk, and took her to the ground. The sheriff's department said the student started the confrontation, and the administrator was just trying to restrain her. Students at the protest objected to Boyd-Tanner's suspension, but investigators can't say if the threats of a shooting were related.
Teachers are reporting large numbers of absences in their first classes of the day so the bad guys have succeeded in disrupting school for days.  I told kids that instruction, quizzes, and tests will go on as planned in my classes and their absence from instruction will not get them out of any assessment.

A former student of mine is subbing today.  A few months ago he was in West Africa in the Peace Corps but had to come home because of the ebola breakout.  Of course all the local news outlets wanted to interview him, and this morning (as I was commenting on the newsvulture trucks out front) he told me how he got so frustrated with how they reported his story--they would cut/paste from the interview to give the spin that they wanted, whether or not it was what he was saying--that he eventually told them he'd do no more such interviews; the only format to which he'd agree was to sit down in a studio live and tell and tell his story.  Of course none of them took him up on his offer.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Have Nothing Interesting To Post Today

Based on last Friday's post you might imagine that things have been "interesting" at school the last couple days, and they're expected to be just as "interesting" tomorrow.  It's dying down, but not soon enough for my taste--and the newsvultures with their vans parked out in front of school aren't helping any.  I didn't take their pictures today, as the vans weren't rather plain-looking (white, rather than colorful, even though the same station was represented in today's parade-of-fools of news vans).

I did a little interior redecorating here at Casa del Darren after I got home, and now it's time to try to understand my homework again. 

I think I'll sleep deeply tonight!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste

They're shameless, they really are:
In Connecticut, Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has returned a curious and controversial draft recommendation: the state should increase its oversight of homeschooled children with emotional or behavioral challenges. The proposal has outraged the state’s homeschoolers, who, like homeschoolers everywhere, are keenly aware of their sometimes conditional freedoms. In Connecticut, as elsewhere, the law allows parents to homeschool if they choose. But the practice has always been viewed as threatening by left-wing academics, social architects, and teachers’ unions—all well represented on Malloy’s 16-member panel. Sadly, this is only the most recent assault on the rights of Connecticut homeschoolers.
Lanza didn't shoot people because he was homeschooled, he shot them because he was crazy.  To single out homeschoolers like this, and to use that shooting as the reason for doing so, is only slightly less crazy than Lanza was.  It's also blatant manipulation of a tragedy for political gain, something that decent people everywhere should decry.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Impossible! Obamacare Is Working Perfectly

Anyone who thought this wouldn't happen was a fool:
Over 22,000 Coloradoans have had their health insurance canceled by Obamacare in the past month — and 200,000 are slated to be shut down in 2015, the state insurance department announced Friday.

The Colorado Division of Insurance wrote to state Senate Republicans Friday, notifying them that five more insurance carriers have ended plans for 18,783 more Coloradoans in just the last month. By far, the most canceled plans will come from Humana Insurance Company and Humana Health Plan.

That brings the state’s Obamacare total to almost 340,000 canceled plans, according to Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who’s in a tight race for Senate with incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Udall.
Remember, Colorado is currently run by Democrats so you conspiracy theorists can't complain that this is some sort of Republican plot to make Dear Leader look bad.

Additionally, after taxpayers start bailing out insurance companies which will lose money because not enough of the "right" people signed up for Obamacare, I don't ever again want to hear a leftie complain about "corporate tax breaks" or "crony capitalism" or any other argument.  You are the worst purveyors of that disgusting brand of rent-seeking.

No Halloween At School

It's not a new argument; even when I was a kid there were parents who complained about the "pagan" or "satanic" nature of Halloween.  Then, as now, such people need to take a chill pill.  And while I'm at it, those who hyperventilate and convulse at the thought of a Christmas tree or a snowman at school need to do the same thing.

In the former case we have primarily protestant Christians and in the latter case primarily atheists (joined by Jews in some places), but in both cases the casus belli is the same:  I don't believe what you do, so I don't want you to enjoy what you do--and I certainly don't want to see you enjoy it.  Throw in a religious component and every killjoy in the country thinks they can cloak themselves in the mantle of the First Amendment.

This is why they're wrong:  while Christmas, and Easter, and Halloween, and Thanksgiving, all have a religious component, they also have a secular component.  Secular society has co-opted those holidays and created new components of them completely divorced from the religious side.  There's nothing at all religious about a fat man living at the North Pole or snowflakes or bunnies' delivering chocolate eggs or wearing costumes whilst begging for candy or watching football after eating Turkey.  There just isn't, and to complain about these things year after year is a silly waste of time that shows just how soft--and how soft-headed--our society has become.  There's no legitimate argument against having a Christmas tree in a classroom, or for that matter any other decoration that excludes overtly religious symbolism.

What started me down this particular road on this beautiful Sunday morning?  This post about Halloween from Joanne's site.  I like her conclusion, though:
Parents who think Halloween is the work of the devil must be frustrated by how much fun the holiday is for its celebrants. It’s tough to compete.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

How Would This Have Been Handled By The University's Sexual Kangaroo Court?

I would never say that law enforcement gets it right all the time, but they have a much greater opportunity to arrive at a just conclusion than a university does:
On Friday, a rape charge against UC Berkeley student Eugene Quillin was dismissed after prosecutors concluded that Quillin was innocent of committing the crime.

Quillin, 20, was charged with rape by use of drugs last week after an alleged sexual assault Sept. 27 was reported. The woman whom Quillin was charged with assaulting, identified in court documents only as “Jane Doe,” was “prevented from resisting by an intoxicating, anesthetic, and controlled substance,” according to the court documents.

But after reviewing the evidence provided by Berkeley Police Department and interviewing Jane Doe, district attorney spokesperson Teresa Drenick said, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office determined that Quillin didn’t commit any sexual assault Sept. 27 and motioned to dismiss the charges.  (boldface mine--Darren)
Let's not forget that while the accuser's name has been kept private, Mr. Quillin was already tried and convicted in the court of public opinion at Berkeley.  The comments on the linked article are evidence enough that these types of proceedings rightly fall under law enforcement and not in universities.

Lack of Leadership

I've pointed out before that President Obama is not a leader.  He fails every test of leadership, every time.  The ebola issue is just the latest in a long string:
Here we go again, as the NY Times puts out their obligatory "Obama is as shocked and dismayed by this latest Big Government fail as the rest of you poor suckers" story...

I have lost track of the number of times we have read that Obama is shocked to learn that big bureaucracies can be clumsy and plagued by poor communication, but I welcome some reminders in the comments; offhand, the Secret Service, the HealthCare.fail rollout and the VA spring to mind, but I also recall he learned about the IRS and Fast and Furious by careful reading of his daily newspapers. (Don't forget the existence of ISIS!--Darren)

My advice to Team Obama - encourage the Big Guy to take a look around. If he sees a playing field and thousands of screaming fans then he is probably in a luxury skybox somewhere and yes, he is free to cheer and boo like any other spectator. But if he sees a famous desk and slightly curved walls, then he is probably in the Oval Office and might want to remember that he is Chief Executive of the United States and is notionally responsible for the many bureaucracies he purportedly leads.
If this is how someone who loves government and thinks government is the solution to all problems--if this is how such a person runs a government, why on earth would you want to give government more power and authority? 

I do not understand the statist mindset.  I just don't.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Women Make 77 Cents For Every Dollar A Man Makes?

That's Myth #5 on Christina Hoff Sommers' 5 feminist myths that will not die.

Anyone conversant in economics could tell you that if it were true, no men would get jobs because employers would be crazy to hire them at 1/3 more than the cost of a woman.

I'm Getting Old

This was a view on my campus early on today:
As I said, I'm getting old.  I have next to no patience for teenage drama and angst, so you can imagine how, uh, resigned I feel on days like today.

Obviously it wouldn't be wise for me to share the information to which I am privy, but should you be interested in what's out in the public sphere, our local news organizations love to fan the flames of these kinds of stories with stories of their own that are not what I would call 100% accurate:
http://www.news10.net/story/news/local/sacramento-central/2014/10/17/rio-americano-students-protest-to-support-classmate-involved-in-altercation-with-vice-principal/17466005/
http://fox40.com/2014/10/17/students-protest-deputies-investigate-high-school-administrators-actions/


Thursday, October 16, 2014

She Has Big Boots To Fill

Lynda Carter is among the most attractive women who has ever lived.  That's partly why she was cast as Wonder Woman in the 1970s tv show.  Anyone who portrays Wonder Woman has to live up to Carter's portrayal of the Amazon princess as a tough, intelligent, and caring person without a hint of any character flaws.

In today's movie environment there's a trend of "going dark"--the good guys (and gals!) have an evil edge, or a dark secret, or they give in to human foibles or other weaknesses.  I'm not a fan of that trend, I want to see my good guys (and gals!) be good guys (and gals!).  I want them to be better than the rest of us, not just stronger--and that's how Carter played Wonder Woman.

In 2017 Warner Bros. is going to release a Wonder Woman movie.  Just a look at the released picture leads me to fear that Wonder Woman is going to be less Wonder and more Woman:
Dark.  That's not what Wonder Woman is supposed to be.  This is:
If they take away the feminine side of Wonder Woman and just make her a warrior who happens to be a woman, Warner Bros. will be taking away one of the important attributes of Wonder Woman. 

Anyone with special abilities can kick butt and take names.  There's more to Wonder Woman than just that.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Only Good Communist Is A Dead Communist

Growing up during the Cold War I believed that, and I see no reason to change my belief today.  Some people just need killin', and communists are among them.  If any need to be kept alive it's only as showpieces, as examples to future generations of why we should not revere communists.  There is nothing in communist ideology that is of value except perhaps as an identifier of sociopathy or totalitarian intent, neither of which should be tolerated in polite society.

Think my words are harsh?  Perhaps you want to sugarcoat your history but I prefer to see it as it was and to learn from it.  You may be mamby-pampy and "tolerant" and think it's not nice to make others uncomfortable, I say you're what the communists themselves called "useful idiots".

No, on this topic I don't mince words.  I grew up with visions of global nuclear war with those people, and such a war would have been preferable to living with their boot on my neck.  "Live free or die."  "I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery." To me those are not just words.

So imagine my shock when I read who's being celebrated at UCLA:
Look whose photo graces the campus of UCLA, meant to be an inspiration to incoming students. The woman in the photo is standing above the slogan: “We Question.” On the right-hand side, in small letters, students are informed that they are “the optimists.”

This banner adds to the shadow that today is cast over so many of our major universities.

For those who can’t identify her, the photo depicts Angela Davis, the notorious former Communist Party USA leader who, beginning in the ’60s, molded together black nationalism with Marxism-Leninism. She created a heady brew for recruiting new cadre into the CP and the original Black Panther Party of Huey Newton.

Some optimist! Davis believed in the triumph of Communism.

For her loyalty to the Soviet Union and its foreign policies, in 1972 she was awarded a Lenin Centenary Medal in the Soviet Union, after which she spoke to thousands at an outdoor rally in Moscow. Next, speaking at a factory in Kirov, Davis praised the workers for not using “products of labor [to fuel] the irrational drive for capitalist profits as it is used in our country.”

As she left Moscow and went up the stairs to enter her plane, she yelled out with a clenched fist: “Long live the science of Marxism-Leninism.” There is not an iota of evidence that she questioned anything about the dreary reality in the Soviet Union and their Eastern European client states...

One might ask: Why is Davis so important? The answer is that today’s cultural elites, like whoever at UCLA decided to adorn the campus with her photo, treat any rebel — even a dogmatic ideologue like Angela Davis — as a leader from which students can learn valuable lessons. It is these academics who treat her as both a saint and a leader, and who constantly invite her to give major speeches on our campuses which they urge their students to attend.

To herald Angela Davis as a person who questions anything reveals the mindset of our university administrators, and is itself more evidence of the decline of standards at our major colleges and universities. Expect Ms. Davis to be a graduation speaker sometime in UCLA’s future. That is the logical next step in helping Angela Davis lead her march to a communist future via “the long march through the existing institutions.”
Some people hate Illinois Nazis.  As the Instapundit says, communists are just Nazis with better PR.  That UCLA is holding such a person up as an exemplar is sickening.  It's unjustifiable.  It's foul.  It's gross.

If you went to UCLA, you should contact your alumni association.  The rest of us can start here.

Even Harvard Law Professors Think The New Sexual Kangaroo Courts Are Out of Control

From Harvard and the Boston Globe, neither of which is known for its he-man-woman-haters-club credentials:
As members of the faculty of Harvard Law School, we write to voice our strong objections to the Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures imposed by the central university administration and the Corporation on all parts of the university, including the law school.

We strongly endorse the importance of protecting our students from sexual misconduct and providing an educational environment free from the sexual and other harassment that can diminish educational opportunity. But we believe that this particular sexual harassment policy adopted by Harvard will do more harm than good.

As teachers responsible for educating our students about due process of law, the substantive law governing discrimination and violence, appropriate administrative decision-making, and the rule of law generally, we find the new sexual harassment policy inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach. We also find the process by which this policy was decided and imposed on all parts of the university inconsistent with the finest traditions of Harvard University, of faculty governance, and of academic freedom.

Among our many concerns are the following...
You'll want to read the whole thing.  Due process is built into our national Constitution for a very good reason, and cynical political manipulations are not a good reason to ignore it.

Like so many other stupid things, this, too, shall pass when a couple of women get caught up in the dragnet.

Suspending An Honor Student

Yes, honor students sometimes do stupid things, too, but it's not the student who's acting stupidly in this story:
The 17-year-old Michigan honor student who was initially expelled after a 3 ¼-inch pocketknife was found in her purse during a football game in September will be suspended for the year instead and be able to take online classes and graduate with her class next year, MyFoxDetroit.com reported.

Though the Dearborn Heights District 7 Board of Education softened the punishment, Atiya Haynes said the board, which met on Monday, made up its mind before it handed down the ruling.

Haynes, who reportedly has a 3.0 GPA and hopes to attend Howard University, does not deny having the pocketknife...(but) said she forgot about it.

The school board said its hands were tied in the case because it is required to uphold state laws. The state has a zero-tolerance rule.
When you don't have to think, you won't. They're not thinking.

Stupid laws, like laws that aren't enforced, breed contempt for all laws--and for the people who create and enforce them.  Good job, idiots.