Saturday, November 28, 2015


Left Washington last night, just got home several minutes ago.  Long drive.  It was good seeing my son, though.

Every time I drive through Oregon on I-5 I laugh.  I always forget, and then relearn the lesson.  In so many of the small towns along the freeway, right next to the freeway, is a shop with a huge sign:  Adult Store.  Makes me laugh every time.  Are Oregonians just that horny? 

You might think those are for the truckers but I don't recall seeing such stores anywhere in California on I-5.  Washington, either.  Just Oregon.

It's a different place :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

West Point Idiocy

It's bad enough that my alma mater's football team couldn't win a game against Santa's elves, but to have this kind of press is unimaginable:
Cadet pillow fights like the bloody one that left 30 injured this summer will be banned, and actions are being pursued against many of those involved, U.S. Military Academy officials said Wednesday.

First-year students, known as "plebes," organize the annual pillow fight as a way to build camaraderie after a grueling summer of training. But the pillow fight Aug. 20 escalated into a free-for-all with plebes being hit from behind and knocked to the ground. Injuries included a broken nose, a fractured cheek and 24 diagnosed concussions. One cadet was found unconscious, according to a report on the pillow fight released Wednesday.

"While never officially sanctioned, it is now officially banned, and we will take appropriate action to ensure that all faculty, staff, leaders, the Corps of Cadets and everyone at West Point knows that it will not be tolerated," West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen said in a statement.
Putting locks, etc, in the pillows? What are those people thinking?

Says the 3-star general in charge of West Point:
"I am taking appropriate action based on these findings — to include administrative actions against senior military members and cadets alike — to send a clear message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated at our nation's premiere military academy."

Good News Is Bad News For Certain Liberals

Can't make this stuff up:
When you're committed to perpetuating the myth of a rampant "rape culture" on college campuses, evidence to the contrary becomes baffling.

And so it goes for the American Association of University Women, which analyzed 2014 reporting data from colleges and universities across the country and found that 91 percent of schools had no reported incidents of rape. Most people would see that number and cheer. Hooray! College women aren't being raped in the U.S. at rates on par with the Congo!

But not the AAUW. Accompanying that percentage on a chart on its website are the words: "What's wrong with this picture?"
When the facts contradict your expectations, believe the facts. When the facts contradict your hopes, get confused.

What kind of people want there to be more rapes, anyway?  Sickos.

The Transitive Property

Can't blame conservatives, TNR is a liberal mag.

Hat tip to Instapundit for the pic.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Taking Scissors To A Gun Fight

A growing number of Texas public school districts are embracing more aggressive tactics that allow campus staff members to defend themselves against armed intruders.

The tactics — everything from hurling scissors and textbooks to stealing the bad guy’s gun — are a departure from the drop-and-hide strategy educators have used for years.
It's what I tell my students to do, rather than sitting passively and hoping not to get shot. While better than nothing, I guess, it's still weak tea.

Hat tip to reader MikeAT for the link.

Thanksgiving Break/Hiatus

Posting will be very light to perhaps nonexistent this week as I take to the road to go see my son, a soldier stationed in Washington State.  The house and watchbeast are in good hands, and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving :)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Maybe This Explains Why Lefties Are Always Fighting "Racism" And "Sexism"

Perhaps it's because it's so rampant in those areas in which they hold overwhelming sway:
Liberal Hollywood men effectively form a secret society that blackballs anyone with more natural estrogen than Caitlyn Jenner from becoming director of a major motion picture.

We learn this from Liberal female columnist Maureen Dowd, writing in the liberal New York Times Magazine. She's alarmed that less than 2 percent of the top 100 movies boast a female director.
Anyone want to argue that the entertainment industry is overwhelmingly conservative, at least politically?

Higher education, overwhelmingly liberal.  Recent events indicate that perhaps higher education is awash with racism, sexism, and rape.

K-12 education.  Haven't you heard that it's institutionalized racism that's keeping black and brown students down (but allows Asians to do better than whites)?

As they ask on Instapundit so often, why are leftist enclaves such bastions of racism and sexism?

Is There A Disconnect Here?

Posted without commentary:
The report released on Tuesday, which looked at the financial statements of every person who serves in Congress, discovered that the median net worth of Democrats has jumped from $946,511 in 2013 to $1.1 million in 2014—an increase of $153,489 on average per member. Republicans, on the other hand, saw a decrease during the same time period, going from an average net worth of $1,107,017 in 2013 to $1,093,279 in 2014.

The most recent Personal Gain Index from Ballotpedia—which tracks changes in net worth of U.S. senators and representatives during their time in office using data from 2004 through 2012—shows that Democrats make up seven of the top ten greatest gains in personal wealth.

This Flower Belongs In A Greenhouse, Not At A University

If you want to talk about "privilege", keep in mind the privilege of someone who goes to Columbia, and then marvel at this complaint:
A student at Columbia University is urging the school to inject more diversity into its required courses, claiming she suffered severe emotional trauma from reading too many books by and about white people...

One of the panelists at the event was black Columbia student Nissy Aya. Aya was supposed to graduate in 2014, but instead is only on track to receive her degree in 2016. That, Aya says, demonstrates “how hard it has been for me to get through this institution,” though it’s worth noting she is an exceptional case, as Columbia has one of the highest four-year graduation rates in the country.
I wonder if the little peony will ever even consider that perhaps, just perhaps, the problem lies with her and not with Columbia's curriculum.

Anyone who takes her argument seriously is an idiot.  There, I've said it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Digital Time Capsules

Within the last week I've received two emails from myself.  One was from fall 2005, the other from fall 2013.  The first I sent via a link on Forbes, the latter through

There was nothing earth-shattering on either one, really, although I'd forgotten how rough my life was in 2005.  The emails mainly had snippets of what life was like--what was going on with me and my family, how much I was making, what my waist size was (hint: smaller than it is now), what was up with my son, what my aspirations were.  It's so funny reading them because it's so obvious they were written by me, to me.  So very matter-of-fact, even in very personal details.  I can be very blunt with myself.  Financially I'm better off than I was in either of those two years; that's not hard to do when you work for a government entity.  Can't complain about that.

Some time soon, maybe next week on break, I'll compose another letter or two to "future me".  I hope I'll enjoy reading those as much as I enjoyed reading the ones I just received.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

When The Liberals Have Lost Mother Jones...

I wonder.  The liberals who are so anxious to bring Syrian "refugees" to the United States--do they really believe that claptrap they're spouting, or do they just spout it to show off their liberal bona fides?

I mean, when Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones actually make sense, maybe the rest of the liberals ought to listen:
Here's the thing: to the average person, it seems perfectly reasonable to be suspicious of admitting Syrian refugees to the country. We know that ISIS would like to attack the US. We know that ISIS probably has the wherewithal to infiltrate a few of its people into the flood of refugees. And most voters have no idea how easy it is to get past US screening. They probably figure it's pretty easy.

So to them it doesn't seem xenophobic or crazy to call for an end to accepting Syrian refugees. It seems like simple common sense. After all, things changed after Paris.

Mocking Republicans over this—as liberals spent much of yesterday doing on my Twitter stream—seems absurdly out of touch to a lot of people. Not just wingnut tea partiers, either, but plenty of ordinary centrists too. It makes them wonder if Democrats seriously see no problem here. Do they care at all about national security? Are they really that detached from reality?
Mocking it is the worst thing we could do. It validates all the worst stereotypes about liberals that we put political correctness ahead of national security. It doesn't matter if that's right or wrong. Ordinary people see the refugees as a common sense thing to be concerned about. We shouldn't respond by essentially calling them idiots. That way lies electoral disaster.
Not just electoral disaster, either, but the real kind.

Here's some information on Schumer,  here's some on Dianne Feinstein.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The President and Free Speech on University Campuses

From the Washington Examiner:
"I don't want you to think that a display of your strength is simply shutting other people up, and that part of your ability to bring about change is going to be by engagement and understanding the viewpoints and the arguments of the other side," Obama said.

This is the second time Obama has publicly defended free speech on college campuses. At a town hall event on Sept. 14, the president told an audience that speakers should be allowed to give speeches on college campuses, even if students don't like what they'll say.

"I've heard of some college campuses where they don't want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don't want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal toward women," Obama said. "I've got to tell you, I don't agree with that, either. I don't agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view."
Sounds good, right?  But how does it jibe with this, from the New York Post?
Barack Obama’s presidency has been pockmarked by rioting, looting and protests. That’s no coincidence. It’s what the former community organizer sought from Day One. And it’s just going to get worse before he leaves office.

The senseless protests we’re seeing break out on the campuses of the University of Missouri, Yale and other colleges, as well as on bridges and highway overpasses and outside police stations, are precisely the kind of thing Obama was trained to organize while attending leftist agitation schools founded by Chicago communist Saul Alinsky. He learned to a fare-thee-well how to “rub raw the sores of discontent.”

Now Obama is returning the favor of his Alinsky masters, training and cloning an army of social justice bullies to carry on his revolution to “fundamentally transform America.” He’s doing it mainly through a little-known but well-funded group called Organizing for Action, or OFA, which will outlast his administration.

OFA, formerly Obama for America, has trained more than 10,000 leftist organizers, who, in turn, are training more than 2 million youths in Alinsky street tactics.

The leftist group, which recently registered as a 501c4 nonprofit eligible for unlimited contributions, holds regular “organizing summits” on college campuses.

Through social media, they mobilize flash mobs against “biased cops,” “climate-change deniers,” “Wall Street predators” and “gun extremists.” They hold rallies against conservative foes of gay marriage, LGBT rights, abortion and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Modal Trigger

In addition, Obama has trained hundreds of thousands of junior agitators through AmeriCorps, a Clinton youth program he’s dramatically expanded, and through My Brother’s Keeper, the “racial justice” initiative he launched in the wake of the 2012 death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. My Brother’s Keeper agitates for “school discipline reform” — that is, touchy-feely alternatives to suspensions and expulsions — and other measures to “improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.”
Gawd, he's a disgusting human.

Showing Your Work

Joanne has a slew of good posts today, including this one on the difference between "showing your work" and "explaining your answer" in math.  A commenter puts it most clearly for me:
Requiring written “explanations” is also (here I’m generalizing) counterproductive for learning and understanding mathematics by those who do not have such handicaps.

There is a right way to “show understanding” in mathematics. It has been understood for many generations and taught in the best classrooms. Yes, it has also been done poorly, but this is no reason to supplant it with inferior methods.

The whole point of mathematics is to learn efficient and effective ways of doing problems that can be formulated in abstract ways. Natural language is highly inefficient and often ineffective and misleading in doing such tasks. So the objective of math education should be to teach these methods and assist students in honing their skills in the use of these efficient tools.
There are plenty who insist that Common Core mandates the inefficient, and I'm not convinced they're wrong.

So-called Diversity Training

From Joanne's blog:
In Psychology Today, Peter Bregman, who provides training for corporations, concludes: “Diversity training doesn’t extinguish prejudice. It promotes it.”
That was certainly my experience when we had such training a year or so ago.

I'm sure that such training can be done well.  Unfortunately, the people who want to conduct such training are probably not the ones who would do it well.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Spaghetti Sauce

I work with a man of Italian ancestry.  When we have potlucks at school he usually brings in ziti baked in a delicious pasta sauce.  His secret recipe, that ingredient that gives a slight sweetness to his sauce?  Grape jelly!

I'm not as poor as I may seem, having just written about my extravagant shopping excursion to Big Lots, but last week I was at Grocery Outlet.  I love it there, you never know what you're going to find!  When I was there last week I found ground lamb.  What could I use that for?  I didn't quite have an answer at the time, but I bought it anyway because I love the taste of lamb so much.

When I make spaghetti sauce, I fry up some meat (or heat up meatballs), put the meat in a bowl, and pour pasta sauce from a can or jar over it.  2 minutes in the microwave and I have a delicious spaghetti sauce.  No, it doesn't have that slight sweetness that grape jelly would add, but the meat and the sauce go so well together.  I did that tonight but with the ground lamb instead of ground beef.  It was exquisite!  You could taste just enough of the lamb, even in the sauce, to celebrate the flavor without its being either excessive or overwhelmed.

In other words: perfetto.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pictures of the West Point Campus

No one can argue that the real estate isn't beautiful, that's for sure.

Big Lots

The students in the AVID program at my school collect and deliver toys to elementary students who are at the other end of the economic spectrum from the students at our school.  Third period classes at our school can "adopt" a class at that elementary school and buy presents for the children in that class.  My 3rd period class chose to adopt a class, and we got a pre-K class.

I usually have to "prime the pump" on these types of activities, so off I went to Big Lots.  You can get nice presents in the $10-15 range, and that's what I did.  I'll put them in the box at the front of the room tomorrow, thereby reminding students that we made a commitment and must live up to it.  They will live up to it, but it would be better if they didn't wait till the last possible moment to do so, as the AVID students need some time to wrap all the presents!

But I didn't stop with a couple of children's toys.  No, I most certainly did not.

Usually on the last day of school before Christmas break, I wander around campus and give small gifts to some of the people I work with.  Usually it's candles, but Big Lots had such great deals on liquid hand soaps, hand lotions, and Christmas tree ornaments filled with bubble bath, that I had to buy a ton of them.  Neat fragrances, just like the candles I usually give.  I guess I'm a scent-ual person.  Or is it scent-uous?  Whatever, I'm magnifi-scent!

Gifts don't have to be expensive.  They don't even have to be personally meaningful.  What they need to be is given in a spirit of friendship, kindness, and appreciation--and these gifts definitely will be.