Thursday, March 22, 2018

Perhaps A Post-Janus World Won't Be As Apocalyptic As Union Stalwarts Fear

Joanne has two great posts up today:
What teachers make — with cost of living
Which states pay teachers the most and least when cost of living is factored in? asks NPR’s Cory Turner.

Study: Bargaining doesn’t raise teacher pay
Collective bargaining doesn’t improve teacher pay, according to a new study, reports Madeline Will on Ed Week.
Thirty-three states passed mandatory collective bargaining laws since the 1960s. Those states do typically have higher teacher salaries and higher per-pupil education spending, but they already did so “well before the emergence of collective bargaining rights or modern teacher unions,” the study found...
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule against mandatory “agency fees” for public-sector workers who choose not to join unions in the Janus case. If so, unions will lose members, money and clout. However, the West Virginia teachers’ wildcat strike has shown that teachers can get what they want without going through a union.
So how much will really change, besides more freedom for the worker?


And It Happened In A State With Strong Union Protections!

I'll admit, I'm surprised the school district did this. It's hard to believe that he could be fired for just one rant. Perhaps his union-negotiated contract doesn't have strong teacher protections, eh, u-bots?
The Southern California teacher who called U.S. service members "the lowest of our low" in a video that triggered widespread condemnation - including blunt criticism from the White House - has been fired.

The El Rancho Unified School District held a Tuesday night vote to determine the fate of Gregory Salcido, a history teacher at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, southeast of Los Angeles.

The board’s decision, nearly two months after his comments went viral, was a unanimous: Salcido is out, said Board of Education President Aurora Villon.

Salcido has been on unpaid leave since January, and Villon said he would remain so pending an appeal...

Salcido’s profane and disparaging comments sparked harsh condemnation: The school district was deluged by thousands of emails, many from veterans, active-duty troops and military family members, the Times reported...

Salcido’s attempted clarification did not pass muster with at least one fellow council member.

"He’s disgraced us, disgraced this city, disgraced this nation," said Councilman Bob Archuleta, a veteran whose two sons are on active duty, the Times said.

Pico Rivera, a predominantly Latino city of 63,000, was founded by veterans after World War II and maintains a strong connection to the military, its mayor, Gustavo Camacho, told The Washington Post.
I don't feel sorry for the dirtbag at all.  Here's the school district's web site.  Here's a link to the district's employment contract with teachers; teacher discipline is discussed on pp 44-47.  Unless the dirtbag has done something else that hasn't been reported, I don't see how he could be fired in accordance with his contract.  Where is his union?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

You Might Be A Liberal If...

Are you at all concerned about the Trump campaign's use of some company neither you nor I had heard of before last week, Cambridge Analytica, to harvest data on internet users?

I'm not.

Were you concerned when the Obama campaign's Carol Davidsen says, before an adoring audience, that her campaign was able to "ingest" the entire social network (Facebook)?
(start at about 19:48)

Did you think Maxine Waters was crazy (which she is), lying, or telling the truth when she talked about the Obama campaign's database on Americans?

Did it matter to you then?

Does it matter to you that CBS News, no Republican shill, says that the Trump campaign "hardly used" the data they're said to have gotten, that they "phased out" the use of that data well before the election:
Cambridge Analytica, a data vendor for the Trump campaign, was phased out during the general election, CBS News reports. The firm is now at the center of reports that it exploited Facebook data and harvested millions of U.S. voter profiles  without user authorization during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Trump campaign never used the psychographic data at the heart of a whistleblower who once worked to help acquire the data's reporting -- principally because it was relatively new and of suspect quality and value. The profiling approach utilized by Cambridge Analytica allowed it to predict the voting likelihoods of individual people based on personality, the firm claimed.
If you are all concerned about Cambridge Analytica but not concerned about the Obama campaign's even worse doings, you might be a liberal.

Now here's the thing about Facebook: Facebook doesn't charge the average user for its service.  If you're getting something for free, it's not because a company is generous and kind--it's because you are what's being sold.  Your data.  Which you freely and willfully give them.

And how much does Facebook care about you and your privacy?  This much:
Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, told the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that its lax approach to data protection risked a major breach...

Parakilas said he “always assumed there was something of a black market” for Facebook data that had been passed to external developers. However, he said that when he told other executives the company should proactively “audit developers directly and see what’s going on with the data” he was discouraged from the approach.

He said one Facebook executive advised him against looking too deeply at how the data was being used, warning him: “Do you really want to see what you’ll find?” Parakilas said he interpreted the comment to mean that “Facebook was in a stronger legal position if it didn’t know about the abuse that was happening”.

He added: “They felt that it was better not to know. I found that utterly shocking and horrifying.”
And Mark Zuckerberg isn't a known conservative, knowwhatimean?

I don't know if he's serious or not, but Instapundit sometimes makes the argument that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Amazon should be regulated as "common carriers".  Since liberals love regulation so much, they should be all for that.

Remember, Haidt Is A Self-Identified Liberal

Haidt tests viewpoint diversity of university student audience

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Batteries Running Low

I feel so exhausted, so out of energy.  Sometimes my muscles even ache.

I doubt I have the flu, and it doesn't feel like a cold.  My stomach isn't upset or anything.  But I'm not sleeping well at night, and I feel weak and exhausted throughout the day.  Today, when my student teacher was teaching, I went to the staff room and took a nap.  Me, someone who essentially never sleeps unless he's in a bed at nighttime--I took a nap.  At work.  That tells me something.

I'm home now.  Tea and bed, that's all I'm doing until it's time to go to sleep.  I just have to get through Friday, as next week is Spring Break.

For the next few hours there will be no news, no blogging, just rest.  To steal from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, I'll let the world turn without me tonight.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Which Side Is Acting Badly?

Either the school and district administrators are complete and total idiots, or something else is amiss and the suspended students are lying about why they were suspended.  Either could be the case here:
A New Jersey high school came under fire Friday after it allegedly suspended two students over a gun photo taken during a family visit to a shooting range.

News of the unnamed students' suspension circulated through a Lacey Township Facebook group, according to

The school, however, denied the students were suspended over the picture.

"Information posted on social media is incorrect,” Lacey schools Superintendent Craig Wigley told the publication last week. The officials declined to provide any additional details or point out what exactly was false...

Overtly broad policies of the school district have been criticized in the past. Ed Cardinal, whose son attends a school in the same district, said the officials once demanded his son to remove a window sticker of a gun from his pickup truck that he drives to school.
Schools should focus on what happens in school, and leave what happens outside of school to parents.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Who Know That Linear Algebra Could Be So Fun!

Do you like matrix operations?  Did you enjoy the Matrix movies?  They intersect in Matrix Jokes.

"Mansplaining" and "Whitesplaining"

I wrote recently on the racism and sexism inherent in those words here.  Then I come upon this:
To help combat “subtle forms” of stereotyping and discrimination in tech fields, one of the things Bourg advises is for men and white people to cease “mansplaining” and “whitesplaining,” respectively.

“Just stop,” she argued. “Stop doing it in person, and stop doing it online.”
What I mean is simply this — if you have some power and privilege in a situation (and if you are white and/or a dude, chances are you do have some privilege; if you are a white dude, you definitely have power and privilege), then for the love of baby unicorns please refrain from giving your unsolicited advice and opinions to others.
What kind of person can talk about others that way and not fear any repercussions? Would it be a person with so-called power and privilege, or would it be a marginalized person?  To ask the question is to answer it, and it would be best for everyone if Madame Bourg would follow her own advice.

So Much Idiocy In One Article

One possible take-away from this article is that women are too fragile to work outside the home.  I mean, if a Star Trek poster is enough to cause them to clutch their pearls in fear:
The top librarian at MIT recently argued that to make tech workplaces more inclusive and welcoming to women, ditch “Star Trek” posters and other geeky stuff cluttering office walls.

“There is research that shows that workplaces that are plastered with stereotypically ‘tech or nerd guy’ cultural images – think Star Trek – have negative impact on women’s likelihood of pursuing tech work and of staying in tech work in general or in that particular work environment,” said Chris Bourg, director of libraries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Replace the Star Trek posters with travel posters, don’t name your projects or your printers or your domains after only male figures from Greek mythology, and just generally avoid geek references and inside nerd jokes,” Bourg added. “Those kinds of things reinforce the stereotypes about who does tech; and that stereotype is the male nerd stereotype.”
Periodically at work I see posters of clenched fists promoting socialist causes. Somehow I find a way to survive, even though I do find their message offensive.

I'm not even sure how to interpret this statement, though:
Bourg, a self-described “butch and queer” cis woman and “feral librarian” who’s been “misidentified too many times to ignore,” noted she wants to bring to librarianship “a sociological lens and a feminist perspective.”
Isn't it sexist to bring a "feminist perspective" to "librarianship"?

How We Got President Trump

At this rate the president is cruising for reelection :-)
You see, after the 2012 presidential election conservatives and Republicans really threw up their hands in disgust because, in a nutshell, if progressives can turn Mitt Romney into the devil incarnate, then it really doesn’t matter anymore. 

As a result, four years later these voters chose someone who was going to throw liberals’ nasty nonsense right back at them. 

Regarding the “fake news” imbroglio, it’s actually very simple: Until the mainstream media covers progressive/Democrat politicians like they do conservatives/Republicans, be prepared to hear that phrase. If the whole Trump-Russia collusion nonsense hasn’t been enough, get ready for the laser-like focus on Stormy Daniels...

Trump’s use of “fake news” allegedly is endangering reporters worldwide and makes him akin to a Third World dictator, yet Obama’s IRS abusing its power (which the second article of the never-used impeachment against Richard Nixon was about) and actual spying on journalists garners mere … shrugs of the shoulders. 
When Candidate Trump said that we were going to get tired of all the winning, I thought it a silly comment.  But since the lefties haven't learned their lessons yet, he's still winning--but I doubt I'll get tired of it any time soon.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Of Course It's A Double Standard

Just a short distance from me lies the hamlet of Rocklin, where a teacher conducted a thought experiment with her class after Wednesday's nationwide school walkout.  Can you believe--oh, who am I kidding.  It's California, of course you can believe what happened next:
Rocklin High School in Rocklin, California, placed a teacher on paid administrative leave after she let students discuss the politics of the National School Walkout, which took place around the country yesterday morning.

Julianne Benzel told CBS13 that she suspects she got in trouble for suggesting that schools administrators who condoned the student walkout might be practicing a double standard.

"And so I just kind of used the example which I know it's really controversial, but I know it was the best example I thought of at the time," said Benzel. "[If] a group of students nationwide, or even locally, decided 'I want to walk out of school for 17 minutes' and go in the quad area and protest abortion, would that be allowed by our administration?"
If she said or did something inappropriate, that would be a different story. But until I hear what else she might have said or done, it's not hard to believe the story as told at the link.

Joanne has a great post on this same topic here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Our Best And Brightest

This will (snort) make you feel good about your tax dollars supporting Sacramento State:
Tensions were high earlier this week at the Sacramento State library as an argument evolved into a fight that reportedly required multiple campus police officers, and later paramedics, to respond.

What sparked the argument? A sneeze, according to one witness.
Read more here.

Good For Him

I'm not a fan of his language, but I certainly understand his sentiment.  When Republicans won't stand up for the 1st Amendment, they don't deserve to be called Republicans.
Eike left the meeting before it ended, and later other members of the St. Cloud State College Republicans apologized for not vetting the wall more carefully, and subsequently took it down.

Eike posted his resignation letter on Facebook shortly thereafter, saying: “Congratulations everyone, you finally got your way because you were loud, obnoxious, whiney c*nts. I’m resigning as president of the College Republicans because I want nothing to do with an organization that doesn’t protect free speech and expression on campus,” according to the University Chronicle, St. Cloud State’s student-run newspaper.
This Norwegian is a better American than the Americans he shamed.  At least, I hope they're smart enough to feel shame.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Modern Battle of Little Rock

Before you read on, read this post from 10 years ago.

I don't like the idea of sending in the army to enforce federal law.  As I said in that post, though, the mayor of Little Rock as well as President Eisenhower were both thoughtful, decent men, and the outcome was actually the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

Today's role of Arkansas Governor Faubus is played by California's very own Jerry Brown.  And US Attorney General Sessions has filed a lawsuit (better than sending in the army, at least for now) against California:
The attorney general has filed a lawsuit challenging three California laws: one prohibiting certain information-sharing between state and federal authorities, one that requires the California state attorney general to “inspect” any facilities holding illegal immigrants, and one that bars private employers from cooperating with federal authorities. According to the Justice Department, “The Supremacy Clause does not allow California to obstruct the United States’ ability to enforce laws that Congress has enacted or to take actions entrusted to it by the Constitution.”
Admittedly, the first two challenges are on shaky legal ground.  The third one, though, is built on the Rock of Gibraltar:
To the extent that California is actively interfering with federal immigration enforcement, as opposed to merely passively refusing to cooperate, the federal government may well have a case here. But I wonder if Sessions’ rather strong rhetoric points to a potential federal response that goes beyond litigation. It wouldn’t be the first time a president has sent troops to enforce federal law when local officials stood in the way.
Operation Arkansas and the Battle of Little Rock.  If an Operation California is in the offing, history will repeat itself with a Republican president siding against unlawful and unjust acts of a Democratic state government.

I think another time in US history when a Republican president had to use the army against Democratically-controlled states kinda goes without saying.

As I said above, we got the best possible outcome in 1957.  In today's situation would we be looking at 1957 results, or 1865 results?  That such a question can even be suggested shows how bad one-party rule under liberals in California truly is.

An Obvious Mistake

At least one of the guilty finally admits it:
Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama in 2009 failed to achieve what the committee hoped it would, its ex-secretary has said.

Geir Lundestad told the AP news agency that the committee hoped the award would strengthen Mr Obama.

Instead, the decision was met with criticism in the US. Many argued he had not had any impact worthy of the award.

Mr Lundestad, writing in his memoir, Secretary of Peace, said even Mr Obama himself had been surprised.

"No Nobel Peace Prize ever elicited more attention than the 2009 prize to Barack Obama," Mr Lundestad writes.

"Even many of Obama's supporters believed that the prize was a mistake," he says. "In that sense the committee didn't achieve what it had hoped for".
Their political statement tarnished the grandeur of the prize. Of course, so did awarding it to Yassir Arafat.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Racist/Sexist Comments

On white privilege:
White privilege is a contemptible construction. It explicitly invokes skin colour as the only vector of judgment. It insists on “whiteness” as a flaw, a failing, and, as it almost always is, when yoked with “male” is the verbal equivalent of a spit. It is pure stereotype, ugly and angry. It is seen as a necessary term in identity politics, the politics of faction — ethnic, racial and religious.

White privilege is a racist concept on its face, with skin colour as the main determinant of value and truth.
Toss in "male privilege", too, with sex as the main determinant of value and truth.

In other times and places, such concepts would be greeted with the contempt they deserve.  But as Instapundit often points out, we're living in Heinlein's "crazy years".

God Bless The Innocence Project

I'd rather a hundred guilty people go free than to lock up one innocent person:
The rate of wrongful convictions in the United States is estimated to be somewhere between 2% to 10%. That may sound low, but when applied to a prison population of 2.3 million, the numbers become staggering. Can there really be 46,000 to 230,000 innocent people locked away? Those of us who are involved in exoneration work firmly believe so.

Millions of defendants are processed through our courts each year. It’s nearly impossible to determine how many of them are actually innocent once they’ve been convicted. There are few resources for examining the cases and backgrounds of those claiming to be wrongfully convicted.

Once an innocent person is convicted, it is next to impossible to get them out of prison. Over the past 25 years, the Innocence Project, where I serve on the board of directors, has secured through DNA testing the release of 349 innocent men and women, 20 of whom had been sent to death row. All told, there have been more than 2,000 exonerations, including 200 from death row, in the U.S. during that same period. But we’ve only scratched the surface.

This Is Why I Support Mark Janus...

...and why I'm a plaintiff in the Yohn case.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Potential For Shenanigans?

Dirty voter rolls in California?  I'm shocked, shocked I tell you:
Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County and the State of California over their failure to clean their voter rolls and to produce election-related records as required by the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) (Judicial Watch, al. v. Dean C. Logan, et al. (No. 2:17-cv-08948)).  The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California’s Western Division on behalf of Judicial Watch, Election Integrity Project California, Inc., and Wolfgang Kupka, Rhue Guyant, Jerry Griffin, and Delores M. Mars, who are lawfully registered voters in Los Angeles County.

Judicial Watch argues that the State of California and a number of its counties, including the county of Los Angeles, have registration rates exceeding 100%:

Eleven of California’s 58 counties have registration rates exceeding 100% of the age-eligible citizenry.

Los Angeles County has more voter registrations on its voter rolls than it has citizens who are old enough to register. Specifically, according to data provided to and published by the EAC, Los Angeles County has a registration rate of 112% of its adult citizen population.

The entire State of California has a registration rate of about 101% of its age-eligible citizenry.
Whether this is evidence of wrongdoing or of incompetence, it cannot inspire confidence in our elections.

"Toxic Masculinity"

This Twitter comment is pretty good:
If masculinity were truly toxic, then kids growing up without dads would presumably be better off than those who have them.  But, they're not: they tend to be more depressed, aggressive & criminal.  Truth is: we need more masculinity in society, not less.
Yeah, what she said.

"Personal Exaltation" Über Alles

This Instapundit post, quoting Thomas Sowell, is so good that I'll just post it here in its entirety:
If you happen to believe in free markets, judicial restraint, traditional values, [etc.]… then you are just someone who believes in free markets, judicial restraint and traditional values. There is no personal exaltation resulting from those beliefs. But to be for “social justice” and “saving the environment” or to be “anti-war” is more than just a set of beliefs about empirical facts. This vision puts you on a higher moral plane as someone concerned and compassionate, someone who is for peace in the world, a defender of the downtrodden… In short, one vision makes you somebody special and the other vision does not. These visions are not symmetrical.[…] Because the vision of the anointed is a vision of themselves as well as a vision of the world, when they are defending that vision they are not simply defending a set of hypotheses about external events, they are in a sense defending their very souls – and the zeal and even ruthlessness with which they defend their vision are not surprising under these circumstances.
—Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, found via David Thompson, who has lots of higher education-related links at his blog today.

Why Are Schools Busing Kids To Protests?

That's a very good question:
Today the Star Tribune reported that hundreds of students “walked out” of their schools to protest against guns and school shootings at the Capitol in St. Paul...

The article itself repeats the “walk out” characterization, and otherwise implies that the students were at the Capitol on their own initiative...

But here’s the thing: these students didn’t walk, they were bused. I happened to be at the Capitol yesterday while the demonstration was going on, and counted at least 12 buses from various St. Paul area high schools. Somehow, the buses don’t figure in the Strib’s story, and the Strib managed to post 17 photos and two videos without showing the buses even once...

If the schools didn’t endorse the protest, why did they provide buses to deliver students to the Capitol? To say that “nobody is getting punished” for participating is misleading at best.
Somehow I doubt MSP schools would be busing kids to a MAGA rally :-)