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Preview: Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher

Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher

Education, politics, and anything else that catches my attention.

Updated: 2017-08-23T22:56:00.916-07:00


This Is The Kind Of People The Left Have Become


Harper's Bazaar magazine came out with a highly offensive article called "If You Are Married To A Trump Supporter Divorce Them" and it wasn't click bait. That was their actual advice.
More here.

Six Months Ago, Six Months From Now


It's hard to believe that it's only been 6 months since I was in Iceland, in a failed attempt to see the Northern Lights.The friend I went with--we've known each other since 1st grade--we've been planning a return in 6 months to give the lights another try.  But even after clearing out the cookies on my computer, each time I look at the cost of a flight and hotel and a couple of goodies, the cost keeps going up.  In May, the total cost was just under $2800, but by this past weekend the cost had gone up to over $3000.That's a lot of shekels, even for a rich math-teacher-with-master's-degree like me.So I got to thinking, what if I'm heading in the wrong direction, literally?  My friend ixnayed Cancun immediately--too touristy.  I like it there, but not enough to lobby for it.  We thought Aruba--it sounds so exotic--but discovered that on many message boards, Aruba is identified as being pretty much Americanized, so eh.So I checked on my old fallback, cruises.  And what did I find?DayPorts of Call Arrival Departure 1 San Juan, Puerto Rico --- 8:30 p.m. 2 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. 3 Basseterre, St. Kitts 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. 4 At Sea --- --- 5 Willemstad, Curacao 8:00 a.m. 8:00 p.m. 6 Oranjestad, Aruba 8:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m. 7 At Sea --- --- 8 San Juan, Puerto Rico 6:00 a.m. --- So there's still an opportunity to see Aruba, as well as some other very interesting islands.  I've been to the first 3 ports of call, but there's always more to see!  And there's so much to do on a cruise ship.So we'll either bundle ourselves up and approach the Arctic Circle, or we'll don shorts and t-shirts and approach the equator.  Either w[...]

Awesome Coincidence


My statistics students were working on a lab/project today, so while they worked I played music on Pandora.  One song was Hold The Line, by Toto.  The very next song--I don't remember which one it was, to be honest--was by Pat Benatar.

This Friday night, two friends and I are heading to the local Indian casino to see Pat Benatar and Toto in concert :-)

There's Nothing Educational About "Credit Recovery"


I what's considered "old fashioned". 

I don't think everyone deserves a high school diploma.  A diploma should signify some minimal level of education and competency.  If you don't earn a diploma, the problem is yours; the taxpayers shelled out a lot of money for you, and you either wasted it or weren't capable of meeting those minimum standards.  That's not a judgement, that's a recognition of fact.  The sky is blue.  The sun rises in the east.  Objects fall down.  You didn't earn a diploma.

Some people, however--and they work in education--think everyone is entitled to a diploma, whether they know anything or not.  It's bad enough when parents think that way, but we're doomed when teachers and district administrators think that way.

Which means we're doomed.

Credit recovery is a lie.  It's a sham.  It's a way to skirt requirements and give a diploma to people who haven't really earned a diploma.  And it's making a mockery of those who actually try to teach and learn:
Online credit recovery programs are used by 88 percent of U.S. school districts. They give high school credit for just a few weeks (sometimes a few days) of work, with little or no evidence that much is learned. School districts know they have a problem but often look the other way.

I can see why. Allowing students to cheat on the exams has helped raise high school graduation rates to a record 83 percent. In a recent column I suggested we overlook the problem, since restless students who hate high school are just going to drop out if we don’t give them some escape, like credit recovery.

Having thought more about the stories Jonnard, Davis and other teachers are telling me, I see I was wrong. Letting such dishonesty thrive poisons any respect teachers, students and parents have for our schools.
Integrity is important.  Accountability for taxpayer dollars is important.  Learning is important.

A graduation rate, when you think about it in detail, is a very difficult thing to measure.  Who counts?  What about people who move away?  How do you measure a school's "drop out rate" or "graduation rate"?  So we cobble together some convoluted formula, call it a "graduation rate"--and you know what?  It's just a marker.  It doesn't signify that anyone's learned anything, we just know, or think we know, that a higher number is better than a lower number.  In that way it's a lot like the "body count" statistic during the Vietnam War.  It didn't mean we were "winning" the war, whatever that would have looked like, we just knew that a higher number was better than a lower number.

And how did that turn out for us when all was said and done?

There is no value in credit recovery except for the school and district administrators who get to pretend that they're educating more children than they really are.



This morning's weight was 196.6 lbs, but who knows how accurate that is.  I can step on the scale 3 times and get three different values, sometimes with a range a 3 lbs!

Danged digital scale.  A spring scale might not be entirely accurate, but at least it would be consistent.

Good Guys


Remember, the press is trying to sell you on the story that these are good guys.

Just because you don't like fascists (even when you use their tactics) doesn't make you a good guy.

Have We Jumped The Shark With Bullying Yet?


The idea of "bullying" has gotten out of hand.

Before you bleeding hearts start squealing in mock outrage--no, I don't in general think people should exert physical or emotional control over others.  The issue is what constitutes bullying. 

I'm allowed not to like you.  I can even let you know I don't like you.  At what point does it become harassment or bullying?

How about this situation?
A former Los Altos High School student and baseball player is suing the school district and his former coach for hundreds of thousands of dollars because the coach repeatedly benched him.

According to the suit, the school’s head varsity baseball coach, Gabriel Lopez, repeatedly refused to let 17-year-old Robbie Lopez, no relation, play throughout his senior year. The suit claims this constituted a pattern of “harassment and bullying.”

The teenager and his parents are seeking $150,000 or more, according to the suit...

“It’s more of a targeted situation” than a standard case of a coach using his own judgement, Ponce said. “These are repeated actions by the coach, which we feel, my client and I, as well as his father, feel are intentional. They’re targeted against (my client) specifically.”

Ponce referred to a recent case in South Carolina in which a cheerleader claimed she was bullied by her coach, who made “derogatory comments about (the student’s) private body parts, causing other students to laugh at” her. The student and her father won a $100,000 judgment.

Ponce claimed what happened to his client was “more egregious” than the South Carolina example. But in a phone interview, Ponce did not give any examples of derogatory comments the coach made to the teenager. And no examples of insulting comments by the coach were presented in the lawsuit.
It's up for grabs whether the coach acted appropriately or not, but bullying?  Really?

What a wuss.

Why It's Becoming Increasingly Impossible To Negotiate With The Left


The American left is moving so far, so fast, to the left, that you can't even take them seriously anymore.  It was only 21 years ago, in 1996, that President Clinton, running for reelection, touted his welfare reform, celebrated putting "100,000 police officers on the streets", and correctly identified illegal immigration as a problem that had to be corrected for the country.  Less than half my life ago, those are things Democrats celebrated.  Today no Democrat would be caught dead cheering such words.

With leftists, though, it always comes down to violence.  Scratch a leftist, and a thug bleeds.  They've moved so far to the left, though, that some don't even think it necessary to hide their bloodthirsty tendencies anymore:
For anyone paying attention over the last 100 or so years, it was only a matter of time before America's establishment Left, meaning elected Democrats and the mainstream media, found themselves so frustrated they would finally come right out and validate violence, or what can only be described as political terrorism, against their ideological enemies.

Going back to the Bolsehviks straight through to Barry Obama's terrorist-pal Bill Ayers, violence is always the end result of an ideology that demands purity and conformity, even at the point of a gun. And now, probably because they have been unable to bully President Trump to its will, The Washington Post has finally revealed itself as an un-American and un-democratic monster.

In an editorial published Tuesday, N.D.B. Collins, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, was handed the imprimatur of The Washington Post to call for "direct action," direct action in the form of actual political violence.
The editorial itself can be found here.

For too long conservatives have turned the other cheek, not fought back, let leftists define the terms of debate and set the agenda.  They're not going to like it when conservatives have had enough.  You want to riot, Mr. Collins?  Remember which side in this country's schism has more firearms and ammo, Mr. Collins.

Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Collins.

I'm As Surprised As I Am Hopeful


I hope her idea bears delicious fruit, I really do:
Carol T. Christ, UC Berkeley’s 11th chancellor and the first woman to lead the nation’s top public research university, unveiled plans Tuesday for a “Free Speech Year” as right-wing speakers prepare to come to campus.

Christ said the campus would hold “point-counterpoint” panels to demonstrate how to exchange opposing views in a respectful manner. Other events will explore constitutional questions, the history of Berkeley’s free speech movement and how that movement inspired acclaimed chef Alice Waters to create her Chez Panisse restaurant.

“Now what public speech is about is shouting, screaming your point of view in a public space rather than really thoughtfully engaging someone with a different point of view,” Christ said in an interview. “We have to build a deeper and richer shared public understanding.”
Not the kind of language I'd expect to come out of Berkeley.  I hope she's sincere and wish her luck.

Another Climatologist Explains the Global Warming Scam


Dr. Judith Curry conducted an interview with YouTube which was published on August 9, 2017 where she clearly lays out the many flaws and failures of “consensus” climate science and how this highly politicalized scheme tremendously misleads policy makers regarding the need for government directed climate actions.

Regarding the role that human greenhouse gas emissions play in driving the earth’s climate Dr. Curry concludes that:

“On balance, I don’t see any particular dangers from greenhouse warming. {Humans do} influence climate to some extent, what we do with land-use changes and what we put into the atmosphere. But I don’t think it’s a large enough impact to dominate over natural climate variability.”
The entire article, which includes the video below, is here.
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Here's some info about Dr. Curry from the YouTube page:
Judith A. Curry is an American climatologist and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research interests include hurricanes, remote sensing, atmospheric modeling, polar climates, air-sea interactions, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for atmospheric research. She is a member of the National Research Council's Climate Research Committee. As of 2017, she has retired from academia.Curry is the co-author of Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans (1999), and co-editor of Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences (2002), as well as over 140 scientific papers. Among her awards is the Henry G. Houghton Research Award from the American Meteorological Society in 1992.
Regarding climate change, she thinks that the IPCC reports typically neglect what she calls the "Uncertainty Monster" in projecting future climate trends, which she calls a "wicked problem." Curry also hosts a popular science blog in which she writes on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface.

Judith Curry has argued that climatologists should be more accommodating of those skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change. Curry has stated she is troubled by what she calls the "tribal nature" of parts of the climate-science community, and what she sees as stonewalling over the release of data and its analysis for independent review.

My Fiefdom Is Gone


(read this song with The Pretenders' "My City Was Gone" playing in the back of your mind)

I started teaching statistics in 2010, I think.  Prior to that time we'd always had 2 sections of stats; starting with the year I taught it, we've always had 3 sections.  And sections are always filled to the brim.  The course has always been open only to seniors, but because of some initiatives being pursued by our district, we decided we might open it up to certain juniors this year.

But still so many seniors signed up that we couldn't fit in any juniors.

Just yesterday our vice principal decided to open a 4th section of stats (there's all sorts of this that goes on the 1st month of school each year--don't get me started why!).  Teaching 4 of the same course would be sort of boring for me, and to minimize the movement of kids to new teachers he gave that section to a teacher who has previously taught statistics but is new to our school this year.  This class starts tomorrow--we don't have a teacher's edition of the text book for him, or even any books for his students!

Fortunately the first few days of stats is all about definitions of terms, and he'll only be 3 days of instruction behind me, and with a few waves of the magic want he'll be caught up to me by a week from this Friday--our Chapter 1 test.

For 7 years I've been the stats guy, but not anymore.  Now I have to share that title.

My fiefdom is gone.



Forgot to post it yesterday, but the scale hit 198.2 lbs.

It Arrived Today


It was only a week ago that I went to the DMV and, for the first time in many years, past the eye exam without corrective lenses.  Well, that's not entirely accurate--I still wear a corrective lens, but I wear it at night.  It changes the shape of my eye while I sleep, and the next day I have 20/20 vision.  In the corrected eye I have better than that, because in the uncorrected eye I have 20/70 vision, but I have 20/20 when using both eyes together.  Monovision is working great for me.

So for the first time in a long time, after "RSTR" (restrictions) on my license the word "NONE" is listed.  And in what used to be the empty space below that, my license now says "VETERAN".

I was at DMV a week ago, and my new license arrived today.

Speech vs Action


I am of the opinion that the Supreme Court screwed up when it invented "symbolic speech".  Words, whether spoken or written or otherwise published, are very different from action.  We have free speech, we have free press (to publish our words), and we have the right to peaceably assemble.

That's how it was the first 230+ years of our Republic.  That this needs to be said shows have far we've fallen in the past decade or so:
You have the right to be angry. You do not have the right to attack people, no matter how angry you are.

Trump made a vague statement about this madness. It’s not enough. He needs to call out both the alt-right morons and the Antifa dummies by name. And if he refuses to, he deserves the criticism he’s getting for it.

Political violence is wrong. It doesn’t matter how you justify it to yourself. It doesn’t matter how many memes you post of cartoon characters punching Hitler. If you take the law into your own hands to silence people, no matter how repulsive you find the things they’re saying, then you’re no better than they are.
Not quite sure what I'm talking about? We can start with the woman in this video I posted yesterday.  We can continue through Antifa (anti-first amendment) and BLM and anarchists and assorted other leftists.  We can continue with the 20-yr-old who drove a car into protesters a couple days ago (BTW, Virginia has the death penalty--do you lefties like it now?  I do.).

We need to get back to the values we held that allowed this country to become a beacon of freedom in the world.  If we lose those values, if we commit violence against each other just because we disagree, we'll be no better than many of the crapholes from which immigrants saw our beacon.  And our beacon will burn out.

Update:  what I wrote above is exactly why this is entirely the wrong way to go:
Professors attending a recent academic conference were advised to treat racial microaggressions in the classroom like actual assaults, according to attendees’ tweets...

“Treating racism in our classrooms as we would an assault removes the burden from the victim and begins to create safe space,” one scholar in attendance, Professor Shawna Mefferd Kelty of SUNY Plattsburgh, tweeted out.

Another attendee, Penn State Professor Jeanmarie Higgins, also tweeted: “Faculty: Treat racist microaggressions in classroom as you wd assault. Overtalking puts burden on students of color. -K Papailler.”

Berkeley Teacher "Demands" Charges Against Her Be Dropped


How do you even discuss things with someone whose reality is as warped as this woman's is?  I mean, she makes every logical fallacy in the book.  Talk about cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs....
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A Sad Situation All Around


Sue and Wil are my classmates from West Point.  West Point cadets at that time were divided into 36 companies of 100+ cadets who lived and ate together and roomed in the same barracks, and Sue and I were in the same company from the beginning of our sophomore year till her departure at the end of our junior year.  I knew of Wil, knew who he was, but didn't really know him at all.  Wil was not in our company.

I read Sue's 2013 blog posts accusing Wil of rape and was saddened by what I read.

Based on the details I read in those blog posts, I know whose story I found more credible.  I don't know if a rape occurred or not.  Almost thirty years after the fact I don't know how a determination could be made one way or the other.  This wasn't a rape case, though, it was a defamation case, and the jury decided fairly quickly whom they believed.

This is just a sad situation all around.  The last four years have been a black mark on our class.

And for a variety of reasons, I'm not going to say publicly which one of them I believed more.

Loch Ness Monster Sighted!


This story cannot be true, as I'm told that voter fraud is a myth:
A Virginia college student was sentenced this week to 100 days incarceration for submitting fraudulent voter registration forms listing the names of dead people and other faulty information for a political organization connected to the Democratic Party.

An Inauspicious Start


I went back to work on Tuesday.  Most of Tuesday was spent in meetings, but yesterday I had my computer on and connected all day. 

This morning, students showed up.  Yes, today was the first day of school!  So I turned on my computer, and what did I see?

Updating Windows.  Do not turn off your computer.  1/135 updates.

Are you freakin' kidding me???

It took well into 1st period before everything was done and I could take roll.

Damned If You Do


In a recent post Joanne, freshly back from England, writes about freshman (freshperson?) orientation at Rutgers--and the crazy SJW stream that runs through it.  I'd recommend reading her entire (relatively short) post, but if you just want the denouement, here you go:
Imagine being an 18-year-old away from home for the first time. You’re told that a casual remark could harm another student and be reported as an act of bias. Would you talk to a student who’s not in your racial/ethnic group? The safest way to avoid giving offense — just about the only way — is to socialize only with your own kind.

But microaggressions also can be nonverbal, the Rutgers training states. They include “avoiding people.” So, you’re screwed.
Yep, pretty much.

I'm So Old (How Old Am I)?


I thought I recognized her name.

One of our new teachers at school, her name sounded familiar.  I didn't recognize her face, though.  At all.

Today I was refreshing some returning teachers, and teaching new teachers, how to set up the online attendance and grading system our district uses.  This lady was among the teachers new to our district.  I don't remember what prompted her comment, but she mentioned that she had been one of my students in perhaps her sophomore year.  I think she graduated 9 years ago.

I've had a former student say that he became a math teacher because of me.  I don't know if the reason is true or not, but it was a kind thing to say.  We've had one or two teachers at our school that were students during my time there, but not my students.  This is the first time a former student has become my colleague.

Trivia question: from what 70s game show does the "spirit" of the title of this post come from?  And who was the host of that show?



I was in Reno until yesterday afternoon.  This morning's weight was 199.6.

I Can See Clearly Now


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Back in May I posted about the contact lens I wear at night that corrects my eye like a retainer does teeth. I just got home from the DMV.  Now, for the first time in I don't know how long, my drivers license will no longer have a "must wear corrective lenses" restriction on it. 

Monovision--correcting only one eye so that I have one eye to see up close and one eye to see distance, giving me fairly good vision overall--is really working out well for me.  No distance glasses, no reading glasses, nothing.

And while I was at DMV, I paid an additional $5 to have a "veteran" designation put on my license.  One never knows when that might come in handy!

How Much Is The Rich's "Fair Share" of Taxes


Liberals want to "tax the rich", but at some point you're just killing the goose that lays the golden egg.  Even the New York Times sees this, although they sugarcoat it a bit in this story:Our top-heavy economy has come to this: One man can move out of New Jersey and put the entire state budget at risk. Other states are facing similar situations as a greater share of income — and tax revenue — becomes concentrated in the hands of a few.Last month, during a routine review of New Jersey’s finances, one could sense the alarm. The state’s wealthiest resident had reportedly “shifted his personal and business domicile to another state,” Frank W. Haines III, New Jersey’s legislative budget and finance officer, told a State Senate committee. If the news were true, New Jersey would lose so much in tax revenue that “we may be facing an unusual degree of income tax forecast risk,” Mr. Haines said.It isn't just New Jersey: In New York, California, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey, the top 1 percent pay a third or more of total income taxes. Now a handful of billionaires or even a single individual like Mr. Tepper can have a noticeable impact on state revenues and budgets.California had to account for a “Facebook effect” in 2012 and 2013 after that company’s 2012 initial public offering of stock. The offering generated more than $1 billion in revenue — much of that from the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and a small group of company shareholders. Washington, D.C., had an unexpected $50 million gain in its 2012 fiscal year — which helped create a budget surplus — after the death of a local billionaire increased its estate tax receipts.Some academic research shows that high taxes are chasing the rich to lower-tax states, and anecdotes of tax-fleeing billionaires abound. But other studies say there is little evidence showing that the rich move solely for tax purposes. Millionaires and billionaires who move from the high-tax states in the Northeast to Florida, for instance, may be drawn by the sunshine, lifestyle and retirement culture, in addition to lower taxes.The NYT is a liberal paper, so you knew "income inequality" had to come up somehow:“In a time of rising inequality, I’m not sure the right answer is lowering taxes or making them less progressive,” said Kim S. Rueben, senior fellow of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute. “It’s more about keeping an eye on people, seeing where they are and enforcing the tax rules.”Don't let those rich people move!  And if they do, tax them to death! Seems to me that the states listed above can't afford to kill their golden goose.  I'd suggest that if their budgets are overly dependent on just a few people, they probably shouldn't chase those people away with confiscatory tax rates. In California, 5,745 taxpayers earning $5 million or more generated more than $10 billion of income taxes in 2013, or about 19 percent of the state’s total, according to state officials.“Any state that depends on income taxes is going to get sick whenever one of these guys gets a cold,” Mr. Sullivan said.Liberals decry the rich--even though so many of them are rich themselves!--but can't fund a government without them.  Hey libs, you want to be the party of science?  Study some economics.[...]

Guest Blogging


My guest blogging posts at Joanne's blog for yesterday and today are:
Justice Department To Address Affirmative Action at Universities, and
What Is The Proper Response To This?

Finally, An Official Press Release


I'd seen the pdf file of the orders identifying the senior cadet leadership positions at West Point, and I saw a blog post (from a blog I'd never before heard of) identifying that the brigade commander, known colloquially as the First Captain, will be a black woman for the first time.  Here's an army public affairs story containing the press release:
Cadet Simone Askew of Fairfax, Virginia, has been selected First Captain of the U.S. Military Academy's Corps of Cadets for the 2017-2018 academic year, achieving the highest position in the cadet chain of command. She will assume her duties on Aug. 14.

Askew, an International History major, currently leads 1,502 cadets as the Regimental Commander of Cadet Basic Training II.

As First Captain she is responsible for the overall performance of the approximately 4,400-member Corps of Cadets. Her duties also include implementing a class agenda and acting as a liaison between the Corps and the administration.

Askew is the first African-American woman to hold this esteemed position. 
The press release itself is here.

It's hard to tell from the unisex names on the press release of leadership positions but I read that three of the four regimental commanders are also women.

I wish good luck to all of them as they undertake their last year at West Point.