Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dumbing down American public education

If you have been following the topic, you probably know by know that public education K-grad school is a disaster area.  Dumbing down is not only politically correct for the left, but, although there are exceptions, has become a nationwide curse.  For example, a high school teacher interviewed by the New York Times related:
 "This is a real conversation I had with a failing student who was being quite sincere in her comments: ‘I know you’re a really good teacher, but you don’t seem to realize I have two hours a night of Facebook and over 4,000 text messages a month to deal with. How do you expect me to do all this work?’ When I collect homework at the beginning of class, it is standard out of a class of 35, to receive only 8 to 10 assignments. If I didn’t give half-credit for late work, I think most would fail.”
(See the link for an excellent article on this topic) The push for more economic equality will only exacerbate the problem as it stresses that everyone needs a college degree to succeed.  This, of course includes those who cannot do college level work. 
Want some proof, see this article on grade inflation in American colleges and universities.  For an excellent explanation of at least part of the dynamics see this insightful article on the "low-low" contract between faculty and students.  I highly recommend this piece.
  Don't give a bachelor's degree for community-college level work. It's time we stop cheating the students, their parents the taxpayers and the nation.  If you offer a degree make sure it is at an approrpriate level of difficulty. 

Town hasn't bought law books for cops since 2006

When cities overspend and then have to cut back, law enforcement takes its hits too.  Unfortunately, this is usually bad news for justice and the people's rights.  According to the Denver Post, this small, financially strapped town that is also in the middle of a police scandal  "hasn't even bought new law books for its officers since 2006."  Let's hope the officers bought their own, but it shouldn't be their responsibility to do so.  Where do these town find these "leaders?"

Constitutional Amendment needed to protect privacy

As you  probably know by now, Obama basically passed the buck to Congress to try to take the NSA monster. It's too bad he values our privacy so little. It seems like just about every week we find out about some new super-duper spying technique they have developed.  This  excellent  article about James Madison, libertarianism, the Fourth Amendment, etc. argues that we need a constitutional amendment to limit government spying.  The Fourth Amendment and existing protections don't go far enough.  I second that motion.

Unusual criminal prosecution off farmers

It is very rare to see farmers criminally charged for selling bad produce that results in deaths. This is one such case. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ideological indoctrination and successful public education don't mix

The way to fix badly failing high schools in high-poverty urban areas is NOT to introduce an ideological theme, whether it is left- or right-wing.  Students at this beleaguered high school were subject to a "social justice" approach which included out-of-state field trips to explore civil rights issues.  As this was going on, achievement test scores fell.  Needless to say, that principal is no longer there.  Where do they find these people? 

Sunday Football and Domestic Violence

According to the Denver Post, 1/18 p. 1A)
"David Card and Gordon Dahl, researchers who studied football and police reports from 1995 to 2006, looked specifically at the games' impacts on domestic violence.
"The main thing we found was Sundays with football games are typically pretty bad for domestic violence," said Card, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "Part of the reason is that people are home, drinking."
They considered Las Vegas odds, which predict which team will win and by how much. Upset losses, the most painful kind, led to an 8 percent increase in police reports of domestic violence against women in the home, the study found."

Read more: Denver police on alert for violence after Broncos-Patriots game - The Denver Post

Administrative lapses and Arapahoe High Murder

Recent revelations by an Arapahoe High School security guard suggest administrative apathy and a lack of proactivity at Arapahoe High School where a student openly carrying a shotgun entered the school and murdered another student.  Among the allegations are that administrators discouraged staff from reporting on troubled students, ignoring warning signs and attempting to stifle criticism.   See also this article. 

Mexican troops attempt to disarm sef-defense groups

Honest Mexicans are often caught in a terrible dilemma.  The government cannot or will not defend them against the cartels and their hangers-on.  The villagers arm and organize and then the army tries to disarm them.  They describe themselves as self-defense groups.  Media and other sometimes use the term "vigilante" which can have a negative connotation.  As reported by the New York Times (A6 1/15/14):

"Self-defense groups said four civilians were killed in the village of Ant├║nez when soldiers were confronted by a large crowd.   The government confirmed one death."

"The government’s policy was intended to curb all armed groups in the state, but the soldiers’ actions seemed directed at the self-defense forces alone, except in Apatzing├ín, the stronghold of the Knights Templar (drug cartel), where soldiers and the police surrounded City Hall."

The Mexican government has tough choices to make and has to tread a fine line.  However, when government fails its basic obligation to protect its citizens, the citizens have a right to defend themselves.  My sympathies lie with the citizens.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Political corrupton in Chicago

There is good evidence of ties between Chicago politicians and Chicago street gangs.  And they tell us we need more gun control?  Thanks to GEJ for the link.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Chicago's gun sale and transfer law violated Second Amendment

Chicago's ban on firearms sales and even some interpersonal and family transactions was struck down by a federal judge.  It was obvious from the beginning that this law was invalid and was just another example of the lawlessness of Chicago's leaders who have consistently thumbed their nose at the Supreme Court and the law of the land.  However, this is just the beginning of what could be a long drawn out battle. Justice has been delayed, but  hopefully will not be denied. Stay tuned.