Education’s Dirty Little Secrets

Here’s a link to a story about a NYC public school teacher and her experiences in the chaos of the high schools.

I previously taught in a large city’s public schools, from 7th through 12th grades. I was, perhaps, more fortunate than the writer. I seldom found myself in consistently bad schools.

But, what makes a school “bad”? Generally, it’s poor administrators, combined with idiotic district-level decisions about discipline and behavior. Together, they can take a school from a place of orderly learning and student achievement, to a chaotic mess with violence, teacher and student assaults (without punishment – unless the TEACHER is disciplined for getting hit), and failure to learn.

It’s NOT that kids in the city schools are stupider than those in the ‘burbs. I’ve always found the range of academic potential to be similar.

What differs is administrative support for actual learning, willingness to  discipline the unruly, ability to stand up to unreasonable or threatening parents and community leaders, and support for the program from district officials. And, some money to:

  • Keep the school clean (along with the ability to get those out who will not do their job
  • Hire EFFECTIVE security (and fire the ineffective and/or dishonest)
  • Replace old books, upgrade equipment, and provide support for teacher training on that equipment

Book Alert!

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng, a long-time blogger, wrote a book several years ago. It is the story of an interracial couple who fall in love, and the consequences this causes for their family and friends.

Juliette is an Air Force veteran who is currently making a living as a writer/blogger. Her own family is mixed – mother a White American, father a Kenyan (same tribe as Obama’s family).

[ERROR ALERT: Apparently, her mom is an American Black person. My apologies for the mistake, which Juliette was kind enough to point out. Honestly my concentration and memory are shot today – I think it will be a day for mindless house cleaning and such.[

The book’s description on Amazon:

At a university in the southwestern United States, Felice
LeCroix, a coed, and Kevin Hart, a football star, fall in love.
But a simple, everyday relationship is complicated by the
fact that he’s white and she’s black.

Their navigation between family, friends and even enemies is
sometimes smooth; but at other times, life is rockier than
either ever imagined life to be.

I honestly didn’t expect much from that description, but I bought it – mostly because I try to support authors I know. I expected a romance-type book – which it is NOT.

It was an amazing surprise – a truly solid, good book – and I’ve since highly recommended it to others.

It’s on sale on Amazon for just $0.99 for a short time – trust me, you’ll love it.

# 1 in My New Series – Leftism for Beginners

After talking to many younger people, and realizing the extent to which they had been duped about the origins of Leftist philosophy, I decided to start writing Leftism for Beginners, which will provide some background on how the Left was able to gain ascendency in politics and culture in America.

Part 1 is on Antonio Gramsci, a man whose ideas are vaguely understood, and often referred to by Leftists in almost religious terms.

 

She Just Doesn’t GET It

There is a woman – Diana Helmuth – who wrote a first-person essay for Curbed, a San Fransisco area website. She was telling the story of a dear friend of hers, who was moving from SF to Pittsburgh, and the trip to the airport that left her in tears at her loss of a close friend.

She had realized that many of her friends had left – 12 in all – and that they were generally not employed in the tech fields, but in relatively low-paid fields. Some were leaving for a job, others for a more affordable life. Some wanted to have a family or home, and realized that it was never going to happen unless they left.

So, 1 by 1, this women’s social circle is developing gaping holes in it. In her naiveté, she implores the residents who see fleeing CA  refugees to realize that they are good people, just hoping for a better life.

And, I’m sure she believes that.

They may have ‘good hearts and big dreams’, but what the resistant old residents of the new locations are wary of is the newcomers’ refusal to recognize several important things:

  • The state of CA has become ruined due to their own actions – voting in high taxes, limiting residential homes/apartments, zoning that keeps out affordable housing, overbearing Big Brother government, a prevailing ethos of “you BETTER watch what you say and do or we will RUIN you”.
  • CA has held its arms open to illegal immigrants, because cynical Dems want the votes, as well as the increased representation in the House of Representatives.
  • Only the poor-to-middle-class suffer from the problems illegal immigrants bring in. It’s their local school systems that have been over-saturated with non-ESL students, overage “minors”, and virtually uneducated students. The rich can afford the exclusive private schools, or to live in a community that insulates itself from those problems.
  • It’s not that they hate YOU, it’s that they hate the cultural assumptions that you bring with you:
    • That they are inbred hicks
    • That they’re dumber than you
    • That the way they live is designed to oppress minorities, reject LGB——?, and force their Christian religion on you
    • That the reason they don’t think like you is because you haven’t explained it well enough, rather than the truth – it doesn’t matter how long you lecture them about the superiority of your values, they think those values are severely lacking
  • You want to change that place – NOW!
  • You expect your natural superiority will entitle you to immediately take leadership roles in any community activity
  • You turn your nose up and roll your eyes at the food, dress, and interests of the locals
  • You cannot keep your damn mouth shut about your dumba$$ opinions

That about covers it.

I’ve lived in cities, small towns, and rural areas. I’ve always been warmly welcomed, but a lot of that is probably because I didn’t come in with wrinkled nose about my new home, and immediately set about changing the neighbors “for their own good”.

Treading lightly in new environments is a real good idea, if you want to be accepted.

This Will NOT End Well

I remember when the Soviet Union fell. One of the most pitiful pictures to come out of that upheaval was the sight of elderly women (and a few elderly men) sitting on the streets, with a hand held out for donations for food. They were sleeping in the streets, for a time.

Much as the collapse of the USSR helped most people, the elderly, who had never been able to acquire resources, were now destitute. Their pensions were gone, the social infrastructure was absent, and they were the unhappy uncared-for leftovers.

That was 30 years ago – those people are likely dead. The younger ones, now older, have been able to save for their old age.

But, it may be a preview of what will face an aging population that is no longer getting full Social Security, able to count on children (as many didn’t have any), nor a retirement they hadn’t saved.

I do get that the history of the economic swings in the post-1960’s have made budgeting for retirement – difficult. It was not the easiest time to be an adult.

Less than a year after I graduated, by 1970, the economy was in the toilet, jobs (plentiful just a year before) were getting scarcer and harder to find, costs were only held in check through price freezes (which also contributed to the loss of jobs), and the price of housing, and the interest rates, had started their long climb to ridiculous.

I didn’t have the money to buy a house till I was nearly 40. A settled lawsuit gave us the down payment. We had massive debt, and little savings well into our 40’s. Only after a long period of carefully living within our budget, were we able to eventually eliminate our credit card debt. Even before that point, we were saving – both in an emergency fund, and for our retirement.

Saving for retirement is more essential than ever. Few people have an employer-provided pension – mostly government workers and teachers. In many states, those pensions rest on VERY shaky foundations. The worst of them are in the heavily unionized states – CA, IL, IN, etc. Don’t believe the people who tell you they are fully financed – those people are flat-out lying.

The other aspect that makes this poorly-funded pension so damaging is that many of those teachers were in systems that opted out of Social Security long ago. Very few of the teachers can qualify for Social Security at all. So, everything is riding on the stability of that pension fund.

One bright spot is that teachers qualify for TSA’s – commonly called Teachers Savings Accounts. They function very much like a 401(k). If you put money in, it will be taxed at a lower rate when you retire (assuming that you earn less in retirement, which is usual).

Both my husband and I contributed to these – him more than I. Many teachers put some money aside that way.

But, most did not. So their entire post-work income is riding on a pension system that is shaky. They are in a comparable state to someone who didn’t save outside of Social Security contributions.

Potentially living on the streets, like those former Soviets.

Many families will take in an aging parent, brother or sister. It will cause some stress if Mom or Dad brings in no cash to help with their support. It’s worse for those who haven’t children to help out.

The next 20 years are gonna be tough. Those without resources will be in desperate straits. Some will die earlier than they might have.

Try to have some compassion. Yes, many of them were grasshoppers, but they still need to eat.

The Extent of News Consolidation

I was aimlessly reading – I mean, purposefully doing the absolutely minimal amount of web interaction that was necessary – when I ran across this article. It details the changes that newspapers have undergone over the last 20 years or so, and draws some interesting conclusions.

Here’s a list of the Gannett properties – it’s staggering to realize just how many people this reaches – papers, TV stations – even the military papers, which reach a lot of younger readers, who are bored enough to read anything.

I do disagree with the Thread by @JeremyLittau as to the value of Civil. I mean, do we REALLY need yet another news aggregator built on the consensus model? Particularly when that model is dominated by the Left. Such decision-making that is permitted tends to be dominated by the Delphi Method (it’s a Leftist technique that you really need to spend some time getting familiar with – here’s a link to the way Delphi REALLY works, as opposed to how it is blandly described).

I’m working on some posts for the OutlawBloggers, that will provide some background on Leftist thought and the techniques they use in Modern America. The first one I’m doing is about Antonio Gramsci, a foundational thinker of the Left. This is a long-term project, that will likely need other people involved. If you’re interested in helping, leave a comment here with some way to contact you, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

 

It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Call Myself a Catholic

When you see the ignorance of standard Catholic doctrine by ordained priests and sisters.

First, it is not true that you HAVE to be opposed to capital punishment. Catholic doctrine is more nuanced than that. From the official Catechism:

Capital Punishment

2266 The State’s effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to

human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. the primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.67

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings

effectively against the aggressor.
“If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
“Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering

inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for

suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]

And, yes, I am going to argue that if an incarcerated individual is likely to offend again – at personal risk to prison staff AND OTHER PRISONERS – the death penalty is justified, if not required to avoid other innocent blood being shed. We haven’t the means to “effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it.” Not even close.

In prisons, there will always be low-level risk prisoners – not naturally violent, may have committed crimes while under the influence of some chemicals, may be somewhat impulsive.

There are medium-risk prisoners – those who have a long career of crime, who may have used violence or the threat of it to get their way. Those prisoners MIGHT reform and lead a crime-free life when released. This also includes that “one-time” offenders, whose decisions led to someone’s death.

The highest-risk prisoners are the ones held in super-max prisons. They have demonstrated their willingness to engage in violence without mercy.  They are frequently gang-related, tatted up and down their epidermis, and – if someone was such a chucklehead as to release them – would quickly return to the usual pursuits

St. John Paul II was a nice man, a brave Cold Warrior, and a living example of personal rectitude. An expert on prisoners and recidivism, he was not. Unfortunately, some of those men do, in fact, represent a threat to society, and even to the people around them while they are waiting to die.

The death penalty is not something that we impose capriciously. Many times, a prisoner could avoid it by accepting a plea deal before trial. I would be OK with forbidding it without DNA evidence, or video evidence, or absent an eyewitness that doesn’t have a motive to lie (a prisoner testifying to get privileges or a reduction in sentence would be an example of one with a motive).

Getting Back on the Saddle

I’ve been down with a nasty respiratory infection for several days. Got sick on Friday, and only began getting out of bed for more than 15 minutes or so late Sunday. It’s Wednesday as I write this, and I’ve been vertical all day so far (although I may take a nap).

I’ve mostly been puttering – cleaning, making beds, laundry – nothing that involves much cerebral function. I’m still needing the nebulizer several times a day, so I’m not completely well yet.

But – recovering. In process. Sort of like how I hope our country is – gettin’ over a massive illness, and, weakly, standing back up.

I’m gonna assume that most Normal People are like me – drained by the constant warfare, which has traveled from Washington, NYC, and Hollywood, all the way to Covington, KY.

The Left really does seem to have a hate on for Catholics, don’t they? They won’t be satisfied until every one of us is converted to the Holy Church of Progressive, or dead.

Preferably dead. Along with all like us.

Fortunately for us, there is one who seems almost energized to take on the fight. I’m referring to The New Duke of Orange, His Highness of the Hidden Ace, The Donald.

Who, amazingly, seems to enjoy a fight. Whether or not he likes it, he is willing to do it, and for that, I am grateful.

[UPDATE] Just saw this – Hoo-Dawgie! The Social Medias may have overstepped themselves – BIG TIME!

For all that the Covington kids are Incredibly Privileged White Kids (term applies to ALL who oppose these Unhinged Leftists – including the Black kids), the Left seems to have forgotten, or not known, that Minors – those under 18, are a Uniquely Privileged group – i.e., you may NOT threaten them with bodily harm – even virtually.

Penalties can be small or large, criminally. That doesn’t matter – we all know that the Left will never face real jail time for their crimes.

But it opens the door to getting BIG BUCKS from the offenders – and those who facilitate it, including the social media companies.

Jack Dorsey, Head of Twitter? Toast.

Jack Morrissey, Disney Producer? Toast.

All the other celebs, reporters, legislators, and individuals? Toast.

Start cringing and open your wallets, Ladies and Gentlemen (and Others).

Journalists are Character Assassins

When the Internet was relatively young, I remember folks telling me that things were going to be different. With the rise of blogging, the rise of conservative talk radio, with the availability of alternative media in the vein of Andrew Breitbart’s vision, things were going to finally be different.

We were going to break the Left’s stranglehold on journalism, academia, entertainment – all of it.

That never happened.

Andrew Breitbart was, in many ways, the strongest of us all when it came to challenging Old Media. He was our Alexander the Great, charging into Persia. And like Alexander, he was taken from us too soon. Some of his proteges remain with us. I am a great fan of Kurt Schlichter, for instance. But with all due respect to them – and my respect is great and genuine – they are not enough.

One of the unforeseen complications was that the Left gained control of social media as well. Facebook and Twitter censors are anything but objective, and their subtle (but pervasive) enforcement of Leftist norms stacks the deck against us. We are gamblers at the casino, and though we may win here and there, the House always wins in the end.

When Rightists create alternative platforms, they are always seen as just that, alternatives. Copies. Not the original. When Rightists create something very original, Leftist mobs show up to tell us how racist it is. Revenue streams are dried up by Leftist activism. Even payment processing can be cancelled underneath them.

Media power has not waned. Though Donald Trump has created a backlash against the media among some Rightists, all too many still believe them. The “smirk” incident blew up on social media, and many Rightists were quick to condemn the smirking kid and support the indian drummer. Eventually, the truth got out – at least to people willing to hear it – yet the damage was already done.

Next time, the media will tar another Rightist with some terrible non-crime, and again, people will leap to condemn the ‘perp’ because the media has declared him guilty by fiat. The Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect (a variant of the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect) is in full effect.

Mainstream Media is still incomparably mighty. If they targeted you, as they did the smirk kid, could you weather the storm without severe consequences?

No. Nobody could. Even Donald Trump, a billionaire and President of the United States, has serious trouble fighting back against them, and if there is any Rightist more powerful than he, at the moment, I am not aware of him.

At any point, you could become the focus of a shitstorm merely by virtue of a journalist taking notice of you. They could travel to your pizza place in the middle of nowhere and make you the focus of a national gay rights scandal. They could threaten to expose you to public ridicule and mobs if you should dare to post a political meme on reddit. Or, you could make a bad joke on Twitter and be subjected to a massive online mob and fired before your plane even lands.

Journalists are Character Assassins. Their job is not to report the news – not anymore (if it was ever this). Rather, since real assassination has become bad form, their new role is to conduct a different variety of assassination on behalf of their Leftist handlers. This craft is not practiced on the margins, or by lone wolves. It is practiced openly, and on a massive scale. Dig deep. You know this is true. We all know journalists exist to destroy people. Now, they may be practiced at cloaking this behavior with honeyed language – you’ll be famous, you’ll get national attention – all that is just an effort to con you into consenting to your own character assassination.

Social media was supposed to be our counter, our grassroots defense against this behavior. For a time it kinda-sorta worked. Dan Rather and his “fake but accurate” hit piece was quickly exposed. The word got out. Rightists were on the offense. The rise of Andrew Breitbart and his cadre of culture warriors was much overdue, but extremely effective. Even today, our victories – rare as they might be – are through this medium.

Nonetheless, the Left has gradually assumed control over social media with such Orwellian ministries as the Twitter Trust and Safety Council. What next? Will Facebook create a Ministry of Truth? With Google semi-openly supporting the Left, our access to this medium is gradually being stripped away.

How does this happen? Every time, the Left gains control over the institutions. Anything not explicitly Right-wing is soon dominated by the Left. Anything explicitly Right-wing is ignored and tarred from the get-go.

This is the one thing the Left has always been excellent at. They are the experts in subversion, in stacking the deck for their side. They are the ultimate cheaters. Put a Leftist in control of, say, an HR department… and soon they only hire Leftists, if they can possibly get away with it. Before long, the organization is entirely Leftist. Jonathan Haidt described this process in certain academic fields.

It is a common Leftist contention that “people of color” are marginalized, pushed to the fringes and “invisibled.” This may have been true pre-1960, but it is true no longer. Today, it is anybody right-of-center who is marginalized. Your skin color does not protect you, as Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell can surely attest. Everything SJWs accuse us of doing, they do… to us.

The unmitigated gall of these people is staggering. They accuse Rightists of “cyber-bullying.” But if anyone is guilty of this, it is the Left (see Justine Sacco’s story). They accuse us of violence, but it is Antifa who roams the streets with the implicit promise of violence should you dare to disagree. Some would think this is projection, but it is something much worse. Projection happens when you don’t want to believe a truth about yourself, so you project it onto another.

Progs know full well what they are doing, and they like it. Kurt Schlichter is fond of saying that these people hate you and want you dead. Generally speaking, he’s not wrong.

There is a relationship here. Political masters command the media, which in turn drives what is permissible on social media, which in turn mobilizes the Leftist masses against targets selected for character assassination.

This could be me, or you, or some random kid at a March for Life rally. It could be a CEO of a software company, or a woman flying to South Africa. It could even be my very own neighbor. The Character Assassins are everywhere, and they mobilize the mobs of SJWs, Antifas, and general idiots.

They are also expert in defanging Rightists and preventing them from coming to the aid of their compatriots, using guilt trips, misinformation, and peer pressure.

They are not reporters of the news. They are Character Assassins. That is their real job. Everything else is a smokescreen.

I don’t know how we fix this at any kind of meta level, but I do know where to start: do not listen to them. They are liars. They are assassins. Trump is right when he calls them the enemy. We’ve long known this about them, but few speak it openly. Thus it may be Trump’s most important observation.

The Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect

Francis posted a series of links yesterday (give it at least a quick glance – the titles alone will give you the gist) and suggested that they were thematically unified. This theme is apparent to anyone with eyes to see, yet when I’ve challenged Leftists on events like these in the past, they always have a rationale for why what we all see is not true.

When Donald Trump exclaimed that his choice of fast food for the Clemson team was good American food, Paul Krugman replied with a snarky tweet saying that Burger King was owned by a Brazilian company. This received thousands of likes and retweets from Leftists who, presumably, felt that Krugman had just demonstrated how stupid Trump was.

Yet, Burger King is American food. There is nothing more American than the hamburger, especially in fast food form. When you track the ownership, Burger King’s parent company RGI is 51% owned by 3G Capital, an international investment company with two headquarters, one in Brazil, and the other in New York. Krugman thinks this somehow alters the character of the food. So, since this investment company operates partly out of Brazil, does Paul Krugman think Burger King counts as Brazilian food, then? Clearly not. It’s a lie designed to score points.

The rationalization of Krugman’s statement is a way to deny the fundamental truth. Leftists are experts at this tactic. They deny the fundamental characteristics of a thing, and embrace the ephemeral in an effort to bend political realities their way.

Trump was right, Krugman was being a pathetic stooge. A 3 year old could detect the difference.

Getting back to the list Francis provided for us, each is part of a greater whole: a sort of declaration “actually, what you see and hear isn’t true, you should believe what we say instead” espoused by the Left.

The home invader is an “unwanted house visitor.” Give me a break. This redefinition has to stop. It continues because we permit it to continue. “We” being people on the Right, often enough. We assume good motives, because we ourselves possess them, often enough. This is a mistake. The other day, I spoke of an example wherein a Leftist tried to equate the probability of political violence to that of a meteor that causes a mass extinction event.

This isn’t just being slippery with your definitions, it is being brazenly dishonest, or more charitably, incredibly idiotic.

Burger King Hamburgers aren’t American, Krugman claims, because Burger King is, through a couple levels of corporate layering, partly owned by a company that’s half-based out of another country? Lolwut?

You can’t make this stuff up.

Francis’s list encompasses some of the more ridiculous examples of this behavior, but understand this: Leftists are constantly doing this. Many times they are being more obtuse and less obvious about it. Still, it’s going on.

Michael Crichton’s Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect operates similarly. Pick a subject you are expert in (it could be anything), that you know from head-to-toe. Read news articles and watch television broadcasts about this subject. Note how utterly wrong and off-base the media is. Yet, knowing this, many still believe the media when they bloviate about something else.

A similar effect exists for this Leftist propensity of redefining things to suit their argument. And yet, the next time you encounter one, you treat him as if he’s sincere? Bad idea, folks.

I’m thinking maybe we could name this the Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect. Same concept. Different group of dishonest Leftists.

If you debate Leftists, carefully examine their premises. Look at their definitions, what they consider to be the essence of a thing. Odds are, you’re going to find some redefinition going on. Once, a Leftist tried to tell me that the Confederacy was just as bad as the Third Reich, because both tried to genocide an entire race. This was news to me. Don’t sign me up for the Confederate race relations fan club, certainly. Yet they did not genocide blacks. Our intrepid Leftist began a long string of legal rambling, starting with some UN boilerplate, to suggest that genocide and slavery are really the same things.

Like Krugman, he was saying that Burger King is really a Brazilian restaurant.

This concept ties into Artificial Intelligence efforts, which have yet to deal with a very specific problem. Software may be written that is very dynamic, that can learn. You can show the software, for instance, 5,000 pictures of deciduous trees, and eventually it learns (to a reasonable level of accuracy) that which is probably a tree. But then you show it a coniferous tree, and it will not recognize it as also being a tree. Now you must show thousands of additional pictures, and tell it these are all trees. Yet, show a toddler who can barely talk a picture of one tree, and he can usually make the intellectual leap. He grasps quickly the essence of what tree is.

The AI lacks the ability to extrapolate the essence of a thing. It’s a serious challenge in software development. Leftists pretend to lack this ability in order to score points. They want you to show them 5,000 Burger King hamburgers before admitting that this is fundamentally an American food. So I am withdrawing even the charity of suggesting they are stupid. They aren’t. Toddlers can do this, and they can’t? Give me a break. They know full well what they are doing. They are pretending to the stupidity if called out on their lies.

Remember the Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect. Really, I should have called it the Paul Krugman Burger Effect, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it? Anyway, she does it too. They all do it.

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