Rainbows and unicorn farts – by William Lehman

Rainbows and unicorn farts – by William Lehman

I get the free download of the New York Times. Why? Well, because I am not about to give those idiots any of my money, but it is worthwhile to keep up on what my political opponents say/believe.  Every once in a while it leaves me with dents in my walls, and corresponding bumps in my head, because face palms just aren’t enough for the stupid. One catastrophically stupid article I expect, (and am almost never disappointed) but two or more, well…  Today was one of those days.

Let’s start with an article on Graduation rates being up, but the product being unsatisfactory… http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/27/us/as-graduation-rates-rise-experts-fear-standards-have-fallen.html?emc=edit_th_20151227&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=28200476  Look these folks obviously thought Garrison Keiller’s radio program was a f*cking documentary. You remember Lake Wobegone, “where all of the children are above average?”  We have been pushing for a one hundred percent graduation rate for over two decades.  We’ve got it up to 85% or so, and guess what?  Surprise surprise! The quality of the education went down! WOW.

People haven’t changed, we’re not suddenly producing wunder kindin from the Third Reich. The level of intelligence on average is probably unchangeable. Now that completely ruins the narrative that the left shills, but it’s sadly so. The article would lead you to believe that “we don’t understand why the quality has gone down, it’s complex, and there’s a lot of variables”. Hell, anyone with a basic understanding of economics and statistics understands why the damn quality has gone down! (yes, I realize that leaves out most of the left) The only way to make more of the kids graduate is to lower the standards or raise the average IQ, and we covered that second option already. Eventually buried way deep in the article they do admit that the requirements to graduate have been lowered, and the quality of work required has dropped. Well, this is bad enough as it is, but now that they have spent the last two or three decades (and in fairness it’s been going on for more like five) trying to give everyone a high school education, the stupid bastards want to give everyone a college education.  Guess what Bozo? (yeah I’m looking at you Bernie) if everyone has a Bachelors’, they’re going to be worth exactly what a High School Diploma is worth now!  (IE you practically have to have one just to be employable at the minimum wage level) and for good reason.

This isn’t a eugenics thing; brilliant minds have come out of families in the ghettos, from parents who are frankly below the average line.  This isn’t even a suggestion that we go the route of Europe (oh yes, that wonderful place we keep getting told about by the left? That place that gets held up every time a debate is brought up on taxes, or socialism, or guns, or… Yeah that place, where in third or fourth grade you’re given a test that will determine if you are allowed to become educated, or if you’re destined for a factory job somewhere. [Sarah’s note- while I went through this system, fourth grade to determine if you go on, then 9th to determine if you get to go on and attempt to enter college or will just be taught a skilled trade, I don’t think this is true in at least half of Europe now.  MIGHT still go on in easier form in Germany and England – the 9th, not the 4th grade cut off – but Europe has caught the everyone has to finish high school, too.  Partly because people no longer leave 4th grade literate and numerate])  There have been late bloomers, there have been kids that just didn’t get it, until suddenly in fifth, or seventh, or… the light bulb comes on.  Those kids get failed by the European system, and that is a problem.  This is merely an observation that 1) if you give everyone something, it means nothing, 2) if you never expect someone to grow up, you’ll probably get your wish (if everyone is required or expected to go to college, you just extended adolescence for another four years) 3) maybe, just maybe, even a high school diploma may be too high an expectation for the entire population.  Hell, in the years prior to and post Second world war, a sixth grade education was very employable.  Of course a sixth grade education in 1945 was probably the equivalent of a ATA today.

Now, on to the second stupid: They tell us “a Fearful Congress Sits Out the War Against ISIS”   http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/27/opinion/sunday/a-fearful-congress-sits-out-the-war-against-isis.html?emc=edit_th_20151227&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=28200476 This is an oped piece by the editorial board of the NYT, that basically says “it’s congresses fault that the President is overstepping his bounds, and assuming powers in excess of what is permitted by the constitution.  If they would just do what he wants, he wouldn’t be tempted to do it without permission.”

EXCUSE ME? Now I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the sort of mind that can wrap their heads around the first issue I brought up, can come to this conclusion, but still… The very concept that the overreach by the President is caused by congress not acting to give him the resolution he wants, is a microcosm of what ails the political left.  It’s never the fault of the person who did something wrong, because actions and responsibility are completely divorced.

Here’s a thought NYT, how about you make the case for war (you’ve done it before Gods know, cough Spanish American War, Cough) and make the case for congress approving an actual declaration of war!  Not yet another ‘use of force authorization’ with no defined goals, no exit plan, and by exit plan, I mean we have to either plan on a war and occupation for as long as it’s determined to be needed… Like oh say Germany and Japan where we still have troops, or a “punitive expedition” like Teddy R was such a fan of, were we go in, kill everyone that is causing trouble, or looks like they are thinking of causing trouble, then leave with a “if you start causing me trouble again, I’ll be back to kill a lot more of you”.  And separately, you hold the asshole in office responsible for acting without congressional authorization in violation of the constitution, like you have many other presidents over the years. Oh wait, I forgot, you have a different standard for politicians on the left, than you do for politicians on the right.  So shit that caused you apoplexy when Ronald Reagan did it, is congresses fault today…

The thing that really depresses me on this, when I think about it and look at it, is this sort of thinking seems to be in the majority today, even on the right.  Folks, get your heads out of your fourth point of contact. If it’s wrong when your opponent does it, it’s wrong when your friend does it.  If it seems to violate basic math, it probably does, and unless you are working in the sort of field where discovery of loopholes in the math and physics (cold fusion?) are at least possible, you should figure that the Gods of the copy book headings are going to get pissed and seek revenge if you ignore them.

152 responses to “Rainbows and unicorn farts – by William Lehman

  1. While it is very difficult to raise average intelligence (the best one can reasonably hope to do is elevate the operational level of such intelligence as people do possess, e.g., educate against fallacious thinking, encourage careful application of the intelligence held) it is very easy to lower the levels of intelligence exercised, such as by lowering the standards required to pass high school courses.

    • Exactly. By lowering the minimum requirements so any idiot can get through them, I think many of those who COULD do better and learn more have asked themselves, “Why should I?” When you can get straight-As merely by not drooling on the test, the only reason to put in any more than minimum effort is for the sheer love of learning, and most teenagers put that considerably below playing the newest PS4 game.

      • Pa, on being told, “You’re doing A work, but I think you can do better, so I’m giving you a B.” responded with, “Giving A effort only nets me a B, thus is wasted. If I’m only going to get a B anyway, why not just do B work and be done?” Not sure if that changed anything or just cemented his reputation as a stubborn cuss about stupid games played at and on him.

        • “Beatings will continue until morale improves!”

        • I had a college AP English teacher give me back a B paper after several As. When I asked why, she said she was now grading me against my own work and that paper was a bit better than my average but not outstanding. I got an A for the class and was motivated to excel. She was a sharp cookie.

      • Sigh. If only, eh? What tends to happen is the smart kids turn off their brains out of boredom or, worse, refocus their brains on [not generally approved] methods of alleviating their boredom.

        • The solution now is to place them in “accelerated” classes. An interesting tidbit: Exceptional students are seen as a special education class because they tend to think and learn differently than average students.

          • When the system is more concerned about raise up the students at risk, indicating this by where they are willing to put money, and dismisses the needs of the gifted, taking the attitude that the smart kids ‘will get it anyway’, they are proving that they know nothing about children.

            Be warned, many so called accelerated classes often simply pile on more of the same. Those that try to do more often run into road blocks.

            When The Daughter was young the county we lived had a model program for the profoundly gifted. It still had to deal with the limits on approved textbooks for the schools and scope and sequence. For example, elementary schools could only use text books that had been approved by the state for use in elementary schools. The teachers often got very creative to work around this, but there were limits.

            • Hence homeschooling my girls…. My 11 year old has her first college textbook – we are working through it – not easily – but she is learning what it means to have to WORK to learn something – a thing I wish I had learned before I ran headfirst into college and bounced off the first time.

              -John

        • The gifted kids have it rough, no question, but it seems like the standards are slipping to the point where the merely above average feel like they can just turn off their brains and still do just fine.

      • That was pretty much my problem in public schools back in the 80s and 90s. I’ve got the brains to have done far, far better in terms of grades than I did, but between being taught that doing your work quickly and well resulted in…busywork, and that being too visibly smart resulted in poor treatment from both peers and teachers, and that generally it wasn’t going to get any less boring no matter what, I ended up usually just scraping by with an extremely average GPA. It wasn’t until I bombed my first year of college (at a good university that wasn’t going to hold my hand) that I realized I might have a problem, and had to re-learn how to actually learn…

        • College is possibly the worst time to have to learn this. I skated past on a good memory until my third year.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            I may have had a significant writing impairment, and got through school relying on memory instead of notes.

          • It…wasn’t fun. I mean, stellar scores in language/writing related things helped a lot (that stuff is easy for me), but…yeah.

            • Sara, I resemble your story. Great grades through high school without really trying, 1410 on the SATs, got into Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) and realized I didn’t know how to learn something my brain didn’t just absorb naturally. Ouch. Two years in I told me dean I had to leave cause I didn’t know what I was doing – her response was good, I was about to kick you out. Good thing I spoke first.

              Even there, while some professors did give their lectures any kind of interaction was always with grad students. They even overbooked classrooms – classroom with 250 seats, enroll 300 in the class, but then only 100 would show up for the lectures. Exams were split if I remember correctly.

              -John

              Hence, homeschooling to force the girls to learn hard things now – so they know how to later. I learned by myself – and have the scars to prove it.

          • That’s pretty much the problem I had – I was able to drift through high school with good grades without too much effort. The classes I did best in were generally the “tough” courses, because they interested me. Even there, I could generally get by with much less study then my classmates. And I thought that it’d always be that way.

            It wasn’t until my Junior year in college that I had serious problems – I didn’t really know how to study in an organized manner, instead of just “read the textbook from end to end in a couple of days, then skim as needed.” This really doesn’t work when you’re dealing with upper division STEM courses. (This may have been my excuse – I also really, really, wanted a computer & couldn’t afford one without a full-time job).

            After I’d worked a couple of years and realized that yes, I really did want to be an engineer, not just a technician, I enrolled in a program that let me use extension courses and standardized exams. Objectively, this was probably harder – but I could focus on one class at a time and learn at my own pace instead of being held back to match the class.

            It made a huge difference – I could focus to the point of obsession and speed up or slow down as needed, got excellent grades, and learned better study skills. Though even now I have lousy study habits for things that don’t interest me.

        • I learned HORRIBLE study habits in public schools and have never really unlearned them.

          • I took it on myself to read every booklet on study habits I could find. What worked was something not found in any of them: Re-write my notes. That helped it to “stick” at least through the test.

            • Heh, guess the Navy was more like college than I thought… this was one of the very first things that they told us to do.

              Of course, the teachers in the military courses also cared if we failed or not (at the very least, excessive failures resulted in either the test or the teacher being replaced), the teacher that was paid to do the teaching was actually there, each section was taught by an expert in the subject, etc….

              • Okay, I have to ask: I’ve never been in a course where the instructor paid to do it wasn’t there, unless due to an emergency, death, or illness. Is that actually going on in some places?

                • Yes. You’ll sign up for a class taught by Professor M, and discover that he only comes in once a month or so, and a TA does the real work. Or the prof has so many outside commitments that she turfs lectures to her grad students (BTDT and I was the one the students snarled at. I don’t blame them, but I wasn’t really happy either.)

                • T.A. teaching and the proffessor only showing up a few classes? Per the classmates doing the 12 years of school thing, yes.

                • It’s totally dependent upon institution and department, as far as I can tell, with a wide degree of variability.

                  • That was one of the things that appealed about my college. It wasn’t a research college, so the professors were actually expected to teach, and the largest classes I encountered were math & physics, which ran about 50 students per. (The business classes were often on the order of 100 or so, and Mass Media was also pretty large, but most of the classes I took had 20 or fewer students. Awesome for actually learning the material.)

          • You learned study habits in public schools? I learned quite the opposite, which is why when I hit college I simply bounced (the first time.)

            Imagine if they employed the same methodology in developing athletes. (Looking at a group of 5th graders), “Okay, all you guys are pretty decent shots and can handle the ball adequately, so we want you to practice free throws while the short, slow, clumsy fat kids over there play.”

            • “Okay, all you guys are pretty decent shots and can handle the ball adequately, so we want you to practice free throws while the short, slow, clumsy fat kids over there play.”

              You’ve never encountered public school P.E., I’m assuming. A lot of them ended up like that unless they had a strict rotation through positions.

              • Are you kidding? I’m so old I remember when Public School PE included Dodgeball.

                We were also permitted free play (unsupervised) during recess and lunch period.

                Neolithic playgrounds.

    • People live down to expectations just as easily as they live up to expectations. Make your expectations high and be pleasantly surprised when your students meet them.

  2. Congress to presidential requests is kinda’ like god is to our prayers. He answers all our prayers. Sometimes he says NO.

  3. Back in the early ’80s my wife taught a remedial high school math course in a small midwestern HS. Her goal was that by the end of the course every student could make change, read a pay stub, and have a basic understanding of how compound interest worked in a loan or credit card.
    She was so successful that the school determined the remedial course was no longer needed and she got RIF’d.

    • She sounds like the kind of teacher I would have benefited from. Anything beyond basic math, and very basic algebra, is incomprehensible to me. Kinda made it hard for me to study science. _sigh_

      My senior year my HS did have a practical math class that did teach me how to do things like keep a check register, do my taxes, and other day to day stuff. I got more from that class than I did from the three previous years.

      • Jesse Stuart’s The Thread That Runs So True is a memoir of his experiences teaching in various school systems along the Ohio …

        First published in 1949, Jesse Stuart’s now classic personal account of his twenty years of teaching in the mountain region of Kentucky has enchanted and inspired generations of students and teachers.

        With eloquence and wit, Stuart traces his twenty-year career in education, which began, when he was only seventeen years old, with teaching grades one through eight in a one-room schoolhouse. Before long Stuart was on a path that made him principal and finally superintendent of city and county schools. The road was not smooth, however, and Stuart faced many challenges, from students who were considerably older—and bigger—than he to well-meaning but distrustful parents, uncooperative administrators and, most daunting, his own fear of failure. Through it all, Stuart never lost his abiding faith in the power of education. A graceful ode to what he considered the greatest profession there is, Jesse Stuart’s The Thread That Runs So True is timeless proof that “good teaching is forever and the teacher is immortal.”
        https://www.amazon.com/Thread-That-Runs-So-True/dp/0684719045

        One of his early breakthroughs occurred when he demonstrated to the class that simple geometry could be used to determine the load in a coal wagon one local used to sell his quarrying to the mining company — which proved to be about twice the quantity he’d estimated and sold his loads as being.

        Teaching remedial English in one High School, Stuart recognized his students (pretty much all High School students) lacked the capacity to understand Shakespeare’s plays, so he selected more appropriate works and soon had them up to reading and performing the Bard’s work.

        • _soft chuckle_

          “simple geometry” is, I’m afraid, an oxy-moron in my case. There is nothing “simple” about to me. I can work out area most of the time and, with effort, I might be able to get an approximate volume – but even that has to be very simple formula (l x w x h), no odd shapes.

          I never got past algebra I. Not for lack of trying – Dad has a BS in engineering for UT and could not get me past single variable. I passed with a D and decided to stop while I was behind, before I got too lost. [in my school, geo was between Alg I & II]

          • In this case the geometry was very simple indeed: a rectangular truck bed. Height X Width X Length equals X,?I> cubic feet of coal. When the coal company is paying you by (or charging you for) the cubic foot, it is well worth while to be able to perform the calculation rather than a) guessing or b) accepting their “estimate” — especially when their estimate can be observed to vary according to whether they are buying or selling that wagon load.

            • ?!? Bloody H!

              Revise prior comment as follows:

              Height X Width X Length equals x cubic feet of coal. When the coal company is paying you by (or charging you for) the cubic foot, it is well worth while to be able to perform the calculation rather than a) guessing or b) accepting their “estimate” — especially when their estimate can be observed to vary according to whether they are buying or selling that wagon load.

        • RES, one of my high school teachers had the ability to make Shakespeare relevant to the time (mid-1960s). GREAT teacher. She also brought Chaucer, Dickens, and Arthur Conan Doyle into the then-modern classroom.

          I think one of the worst things about most modern teaching is that it is all abstract. Even when I was in HS, I couldn’t see the use of geometry until I learned Trig, which also required algebra. If we’d had a few practical problems that illustrated WHY these math skills were necessary and how they were used, I think we all would have had a greater appreciation of them. It also helped that I used these skills in my work, although not that frequently. I’ve now lost them since I’ve retired. It probably wouldn’t take long to remember them with a little practice, if I had to.

          • Some plays are more accessible to kids than others.

            Which is why High School students are more likely to read Romeo & Juliet than King Lear.

          • I had a calc teacher in college who did that. (Not professor, PhD student. I really, really, really hope he got a job teaching somewhere.) When teaching us each knew calc concept he’d do 3 problems. the ‘Easy demonstration of thing’, the ‘Modestly complicated that will likely be on the test only with different numbers’, and the ‘Here is the really hard one but it’s real world that will tell you why you use this’. And he’d call out various groups. “Statistics guys, this is your bell curve.” “Engineers, you’ll see this again when you hit Thermo.” He rarely worked the whole thing for those (time constraints) but it was enough to see where we were going with the math and make it more than just an abstraction.

        • Our’s classes never had a problem with the plays. They did readings of them, each person assigned a part. This is going to sound strange, but possibly another reason was that this is an area where the King James Version of the bible predominates, so maybe the Shakespeare plays didn’t seem so alien.

          • For some reason, I never had a problem with the language. I partially credit taking Spanish early on with that, since a lot of it is inverted order from English, so I didn’t have that stumbling block. I remember showing a friend of mine Much Ado About Nothing, and she was having trouble following along, so I was summarizing on the fly. She went on to be an English teacher*, so it was just the learning curve, not any inherent issue.

            *She gets remedial middle school students, and she hates the current testing regime, because she simply doesn’t have time to do a novel with the kids until spring. In English. Drives her nuts. She usually manages a novella like “Flowers For Algernon” because she can get it past the administration.

      • Ironically, when I was in grade school, I was considered “advance”. (to this day, I do not know why*) And, what little algebra I did manage to learn, I used to construct a time sheet in excel. ((For some reason, my younger co-workers can’t quiet figure out how I did it. Which I find amusing and disturbing at the same time.))

        (* my understanding of any given topic is ‘average’ at best. There is no topic where I have an ‘above average’ understanding. The only thing I can figure out is that my ‘average’ is spread across a wider base than some other people I’ve known.)

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Chuckle Chuckle

          There are/were things that I thought that I was “good at” (IE not great) but I would encounter people (not stupid) who were amazed at my knowledge in those things. 😉

          Now from these encounters, I decided that I won’t make a good teacher as I lacked the patience to deal with people who “didn’t get” things that I found to be obvious. 😉

  4. I recall my grandfather (maternal) never made it further than 8th grade (US) and did well. One of the positions he held (President of School Board) now requires a Doctorate (yes, the law is rather silly). Having seen one such doctor who was a moron with a degree, I do not see this as improving education.

    I also recall in school that any public reading a loud (e.g. some book was read and each student would read paragraph or page to the rest of the class and then the next student would read the subsequent page or paragraph) it was often painful to listen to some slowly form stammering words that should have flowed. This is not an issue of preferring faster pacing, but that even a slow pace was marred by the constant thought, “Can’t this person read/speak?” Considering the folks on the broadcast network news manage it, how hard it is really? Perhaps my perspective is askew.

    • Some 30 years ago, I saw a cartoon that had a man with a vacant, silly grin seated behind a desk, with a TV camera pointed at him. Another employee was bending over to pick up the electrical plug trailing from him. According to my roommate who was studying broadcast journalism at the time, this was the very truth.

      • Whereas Pa had a story of once working as a TV cameraman and one of the local newscasters would chat during commercial breaks and stop mid-sentence as the commercial was over… and pick up mid-sentence at the next commercial, having preserved state during the broadcast segment. It was certainly interesting to see some things up close, and even not so close. Ch. 12 WAEO in Rhinelander, WI is a real broadcasting backwater – it’s a common “first job on TV” it seems, so there is turnover. And later one is apt to see the same people in some other, larger market, having added that one line of experience to their resume.

    • > Considering the folks on the broadcast
      > network news manage it,

      For the male presenters, usually. For the female presenters… I don’t know if it’s how they’re taught in J school, or if there’s an epidemic of some kind of Tourette’s Syndrome. Bark words. Widen eyes. TWITCH. Thrust face at camera like they’re going to bite it. TWITCH. Roll eyes. TWITCH.

      I don’t know what they think they’re coming over as, but what I’m receiving is “rabies.”

      • Watch US newsreaders with the audio muted for a bit and all their facial and body-language emoting makes them look not fully sane.

        Interestingly, this effect is not visible watching BBC or NHK anchors.

        • I worked at a news radio station that was in the same building as the television news. (Same building as in you could see me walk through the newsroom in the background of the evening news, out of focus.) Female newsreaders were under insane amounts of pressure as to their appearance. One of the reporters, who I considered far better than most of them, was told by the director that she needed to go to the gym because she looked “frumpy.” Not her clothes, her. I was livid, and I was just a recent college graduate. Pull that crap on me now and somebody would be cornered and cowed. I’m not surprised that they look twitchy. News is one of the jobs where you can get fired for simply not looking perfect, and only find out when you come in the next day.

  5. And the title, while a common concurrence in saying(s) of the past few years, does make one ponder the refractive index of unicorn flatulence. I do NOT propose to engage in direct measurement myself.

    • The power of the Narrative compels unicorn farts to maintain exquisitely intercalated layers of lies and deception; this structure is indeed dispersive, but produces only oily colors characterized by the complete absence of any Truth.

    • Such testing is impossible, as all available unicorn flatulence is immediatley captured for use in Federal budget documents and Holywood studio financial reports.

  6. We have been pushing for a one hundred percent graduation rate for over two decades. We’ve got it up to 85% or so, and guess what? Surprise surprise! The quality of the education went down!

    The whole high school graduation rates issue is even more complicated. We dropped tracking by skills and aptitudes. We are now pushing everyone into college prep academic courses. We used to have a place for students who were not planning to go to college. This included courses such business math and programs with an emphasis on shop and mechanics.

    I snicker. When the programs offered were more diverse we had a greater chance at seeing students graduating with diplomas that meant something.

    • The public school teachers (and those suffering from students recently launched from public schools without having the basic skills needed for $Grade$) tend to blame No Child Left Behind. I’m more inclined to blame credentialism and bureaucracy.

      • The Spouse and I have little love for the introduction of modern progressive teacher’s colleges which placed an emphasis on pedagogy over knowledge base and practice. I have a terrible suspicion that we are now producing a lower percentage of competent readers than before the pedagogic reforms that began to be introduced during my youth.

      • One thing about which we can be confident: parents of children performing badly will blame the schools, and teachers (and their unions) will blame somebody, anybody else.

        As one legendary minor league baseball manager said in explanation of his team’s poor record: “I managed good, but boy did they play bad.” That seems to describe the educational philosophy of all too many participants.

      • It was going on long, long before No Child Left Behind, believe me. The last vo-tech school in my public school district closed when I was in early high school, in the mid-90s–and this was in Oklahoma, where a vo-tech school was INCREDIBLY USEFUL.

      • I had someone try to blame “No Child Left Behind” for some of the stories I brought up from when I was in school.

        They were really not pleased when I pointed out it hadn’t even gone up for a final vote until more than half a year after I graduated.

      • No Child Left Behind *is* credentialism and bureaucracy. That may not have been its intent, but that’s what it ended up being.

    • That’s a pet peeve. Even when I went to high school, the push was to place students on a college track and to treat the trades as “second best.”

      • And also discourage college-track kids from taking *any* vo-tech courses, even if they were really interested. I finally managed to take a shop class one summer – by taking it via our local community college extension. Same shop, same teacher, same curriculum – but it was a “college class” so that was OK.

    • Yep – my own high school had a meaningful tech ed track, which IIRC, also involved experience in the chosen field at local businesses. My younger sister did the secretarial/admin track and has never been unemployed. I think they had an automobile maintenance track, and one for medical techs and nursing, and a couple of others. Honestly, recalling the other kids in my high school, only a small number of us were seriously interested in college, and had the aptitude for it — and we were all clustered in the Academically Enriched and Honors classes.

      • One of the most useful high school classes I took was the secretarial track typing class – I was only able to get in because I was on track to graduate early and had an open class period during the final semester. As I recall, I was the only male. And most of my classmates couldn’t understand why I wanted to take typing, since I was going to college and wouldn’t be a secretary.

        • *grin* It bugs the fire out of students when I turn to look at them as I’m touch typing at speed. Learned on manual typewriters, so I tend to be a “bit” hard on some keyboards.

        • I took a touch-typing class in junior high (during the summer.) It was a pretty appalling final speed for me—I think something like 22 wpm, and I had to watch my fingers. But nothing a couple of decades of practice couldn’t fix. I think most kids take a touch-typing class at some point these days. I guess if they’re skipping cursive, they’d darned well better teach typing.

  7. There have been late bloomers, there have been kids that just didn’t get it, until suddenly in fifth, or seventh, or… the light bulb comes on.

    We knew one kid, home-schooled, who was highly worrying to his Mum because his reading was badly retarded* — remaining at about a Third Grade level well past Ninth Grade. Then it “clicked” into place and in one year, more or less, he not only caught up but well surpassed the “appropriate” level.

    Mind you, all along he exacerbated his Mum’s confusion by performing Math at levels well above his supposed grade level, so she knew he wasn’t dim.

    Nobody who has attempted to buy pantyhose would ever believe that “one size fits all” and there is no reason to imagine that kids’ mental growth occurs in a more uniform process than does their physical growth.

    *In the classic meaning, e.g., delayed, “less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual for one’s age.”

    • The kids used to like to watch Arthur on PBS. One episode featured a bunny that had a reading issue. They tried easier and easier texts and he just got more and more bored. Then he picked up The Three Musketeers, and his reading took off. Until that point, he’d never found anything he wanted to read.

      • Professor Badness

        That’s why my Mother gave me an Alan Dean Foster novel in second grade and had me read it out loud to her.
        By the time I finished, i actually wanted to read.

        • I discovered the local library in second grade (1953-54 school year), and never needed any other encouragement to read. I still read 250-300 books a year. My biggest complaint is that all my favorite authors (about 40 of them) don’t write fast enough!

      • *gets the giggles* Someone had been talking to the special ed teachers….

        (it is apparently a fairly common event since the “see spot run” stuff got going)

  8. Your use of the NYT sounds like the reason I used to listen to Radio Moscow: It was free, and pretty much clued you in on the upcoming talking points of the left.

    I will have to point out that on the subject of graduation rates, we shouldn’t assume all drop-outs do so because they are unable to follow the work. Yes, some are unable to do the work, but that’s not universally the case. Traditionally, drop out did so because they needed to work, or saw no reason to continue when they could go to work right then. This is reflected in those who go back to earn a GED doing the same level of work. There’s a reason why increased graduation rate programs center on the message “stay in school.”

    In this regard, the NYT is a blind hog that found an acorn. Yes, it is complex, a lot more complex than watering down curriculum to encourage graduation. Yes, the curriculum has been watered down; that’s one reason I despise Common Core, which has lower standards, not higher ones. Why it’s watered down likely had more to do with outcome based methods of evaluating teachers, which seem like a good idea until you give it a few seconds of thought.

    Not to be overlooked is pressure from parents, who will complain to the teacher when Johnny makes “Fs” or has to spend a lot of time with school work. I saw some of this with parents put out by the work required in AP classes; I told the superintendent that it was cold water in the face and better to encounter it now than in the first year of college. What’s notable is there is nothing different from the AP classes than the standard high school class when my wife an I attended. This gets back to outcome based teacher evaluation, and teachers doing things like giving students study guides. Remember when our study guide was the text and the notes we took since the last test?

    Now consider that we have teachers who grew up with this sort of education and think this how it’s done. It’s self-perpetuating.

    The rot has set in enough that some states offer “Work Ready” certification so that employers know that a job applicant can at least perform basic skills. For whatever reason, we had to take it when it came up years ago. The interesting thing is that anyone who completed the 5th Grade should be able to ace it. You know, the age when, at one time in the US, some students left to join the work force.

    Does this mean I support universal college attendance? Gracious, no, There’s already too many people with degrees. The world would be much better off if most of them had jobs where they’d say “Do you want fries with that?” This gets into how not everyone is cut out for college, and not ever job requires college education, and has very little to do with IQ. And if we ever do have free college and outcome-based teacher evaluation, then you can look for more watered down curriculum.

    • The day before I turned 18 I put all my schoolbooks in the office and walked out. The school called the house for a week after that, asking for my parents and making various threats, but I just ignored them and went to work.

      After suffering twelve years of their crap, there was no way I was going to voluntarily suffer through any more.

      A decade later my employer volunteered to pay for an engineering degree if I’d take the classes. Hey, free, why not. That lasted one semester before spectacularly failing, but it’s too long of an anecdote for a blog comment.

    • I knew a guy who dropped out because he was moved from up here, down to New Orleans, and he got bored with the same school work he had done in grade school, being foisted on him again.

    • The reasoning for “everyone needs to go to college” is the observation of “hey, we want everyone to be well-to-do and/or rich, and it looks like a lot of those people have college degrees!”

      Such an observation ignores the fact that a lot of those degrees enable those to have them to be called things like “doctor” or “engineer” or “accountant” or “lawyer”, and by straddling students with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and a degree in “gender studies” or “medieval art” or “sociology” (assuming graduation, of course, because if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and no degree, your three years of college are completely useless in the eyes of human resources demanding certification), you won’t be doing such students any favors.

      • I was extremely worried when Daughter #2 majored in sociology. For her, it made sense (one of the accepted undergrad degrees for her Speech Language Pathology graduate program). She’s on track for the job she has focused on since she entered high school, and has an offer already on the table for when she graduates this summer.

        But a bachelor’s degree in sociology by itself is a pretty weak qualification. If it’s not a “don’t hire me – I don’t know anything, but think I’m an expert” warning label for potential employers. Not as bad as a bachelor’s in “political science” or “history of art”, I suppose.

        • My husband has a degree in history with a minor in English. (After bouncing around half a dozen different majors, mind you.) His current corporate job that actually makes good use of his talents* started with a store hire because he had warehouse shipping and receiving experience. The degree is basically a thing that shows he could complete a task, while his particular skill set was learned elsewhere.

          *About half of his job is routine stuff that anyone could do. And then there’s the stuff for which there’s not actually a job title, because it’s bizarre troubleshooting and procedural design. He actually has minor fame across the company in the weirdest places (like the time he found out that somebody had his official work photo as their computer wallpaper, as a reminder to Not Screw This Up.)

          • The problem is, there was a time in living memory that graduation from high school was a more reliable signal for “can complete an assigned task” than a soft-subjects bachelor’s today. And it didn’t require 4 additional years of extended childhood and massive student loans.

    • there’s also the bright kid who’s BORED and making trouble and just wants out.

    • I will have to point out that on the subject of graduation rates, we shouldn’t assume all drop-outs do so because they are unable to follow the work.

      Worse, not all drop-outs are drop-outs– the numbers used for “drop out rate” are those who were enrolled in a school and not recorded as graduated. Unless you move but stay in the same school district, or are in a state that has a system for reporting back that someone graduated, then anybody who moves is a “dropout.”

      My mom found this out working in the office of a school in Oregon that had a “horrible drop-out rate.” It’s where the migrants’ kids went to school. I vaguely remember she would tell the parents about it and some would send letters back, which improved their stats.

  9. scott2harrison

    A number of the commentators have touched on this, but not head on. You are assuming that the students that do not graduate are intrinsically incapable of learning the material. This is not so. The problem is bad teaching. This can be proved by looking at the literacy rate over time. Today many people are leaving high school illiterate. I have known some of them. In the 50’s the literacy rate was well over 95%. Kids have not become more stupid over time, so the difference is in the schools.

    • One student’s “teaching” is another student’s miserable repetitive make-work, until they reflexively reject the whole thing.

      I left twelfth grade with a third grade education. Because they stopped teaching anything new in the third grade, and every grade after that devoted most of the school year to going over the same material again, because all the school’s efforts were concentrated on the handful of dummies who were *never* going to learn. Not because they were retards, but because they’d learned they didn’t *have* to, and the school would kiss their asses for it.

      “I’ll taaaake you home agaaain Kaaathleeeennn…”

      ONE. MORE. TIME!

      • The structure is that by the end of Third Grade they will have taught “you” to read so that all subsequent learning is premised on your ability to read assigned material. When they manifestly fail at teaching this “reading” then all subsequent learning ain’t happening either.

        A major part of their fallacy is establishment of exit standards rather than entrance standards. This creates incentives for “social” promotion, aka “passing along the problem.”

        By setting and maintaining entrance standards the schools could eliminate social promotion and the retardation of classes thus engendered by requiring the lessons be aimed at the “slowest” students. Failure to advance after a reasonable time should suffice to redirect students into alternate tracks, different teaching approaches, or other optional programs developed to treat special circumstances. (A semester spent shoveling horse manure in a stable may well serve to produce incentives toward greater application to one’s schoolwork.)

        • One of my grandfathers had to drop out after the 3rd Grade to help support his family. But he had, by then, learned to read and write and to do basic math. Functionally Illiterate was a hot-button topic with him. In his opinion, someone who went all the way through high school without knowing how to read had to bear some of the blame. “They knew they couldn’t read, so why didn’t they do something about it?”

          I think part of it was he took it upon himself to continue his education on his own as much as possible, and expected others to do likewise.

        • RES, there’s another component to that: what are you going to do with the ones you DON’T socially promote? My mother ran into this all the time teaching in Alabama. The principal of the school told all the teachers point blank they couldn’t fail any kid more than once. Why? Because there were some who couldn’t learn (mainstreaming) and there were more who WOULDN’T learn, but who were required by law to be there. If the teachers failed them strictly by the grades they earn, pretty soon there’d be a couple hundred first graders who were all older and bigger (as in 3+ years older) than the new kids coming in, and there’d also be no physical room for them.

          This pattern was repeated up through the grades. I’ve mentioned before how the 4th grade (which is what she taught) was sending at least one kid a year out for a pregnancy test. That’s shocking….. until you realize that about a third of the class should have been in 7th-8th grade and were more than physically capable of having sex and getting pregnant. There was also a persistent bullying problem caused by the age gap. And your idea of “redirecting” them isn’t going to work because they KNOW that a) there’s nothing you can do to discipline them and b) there’s a social safety hammock waiting for them

          So you couldn’t keep them “in school”. Now what? Throw them out? Well, there’s bad consequences there too: parents who are both working frankly can’t stay home to supervise them, and a lot of them certainly won’t supervise themselves, so you have hordes of kids roaming around with nothing to occupy them. You can’t put them to work; there aren’t enough jobs for their skill and strength level (child labor laws were one reaction to the “mythical” labor surplus created by technology; so, for that matter, was compulsory schooling: the concept of busywork is a pillar of the system).

          I’ll stop here because I don’t have time to finish.

          • A lot of the bullying issue could probably be solved by putting the thumb on the scale of the class sizes–that is to say, move everyone who failed that grade this year into one class.
            If they feel singled out, tough. Chances are they impaired the learning of their previous classmates, and they’re not going to get the chance to do that again.

          • This is a problem that has been recognized and addressed in many systems, generally by establishing an alternate program track for those students who’ve demonstrated the inability to become educated under the dominant pedagogical method.

            The precise nature of these alternate tracks tends to vary according to the individual systems.

            Or we could, you know, just take them out behind the gym and shoot* them.

            *N.B., facetious response. No actual shooting is anticipated. Environmental concerns constitute major deterrence.

            • RES, those “alternate tracks” have one fatal flaw: they can’t force the kid either to learn or not disrupt the class. A major advantage to private schools is that they can kick the kid out so everyone else can learn.

              • In some systems (I cannot speak for all) there is a separate facility for those “not making it” in the standard classroom, either a supervised program within the “assigned” school but using different classrooms or in a central school with armed teachers.

          • Alternative school.
            Which is something between a juvie day-prison and a higher focus tutor– they are watched closely enough that they can’t assault other students, and they are also given work that’s at the level they’re operating on.

            Does frequently end up to be warehousing the trouble kids– which means it’s identical to what’s done when you keep them in the normal school, but they don’t get to destroy everyone else’s chance to learn.

    • Is it just a problem with bad teaching? I would propose it could be all sorts of other problems, too. Changes in discipline, bloated administration, teaching pedagogies forced on unwilling teachers and students, lack of parental interest, and so forth, would all contribute to the problem.

      I remember my grandma mentioning that when she started teaching, she had a classroom of 50 students, and no problems with learning; when she retired, she had a class of 20 students, and that smaller class was the most difficult year she taught.

      I would propose that the problem, ultimately, is a socialist education model staffed with experts who don’t know what they are doing (or, for the more conspiracy-minded, they *do* know what they are doing, and are doing it because they think it will increase their power)….

      • scott2harrison

        I was lumping everything that the schools are responsible for as “teaching”. Probably wrong of me, but I was being lazy.

      • Teaching has long been subject to what is known as the Peter Principle: A person rises to their level of incompetence and remains there. The teachers in the family have always had a strong opinion of some of the directives handed down from on high.

        One science night I got a taste of it. It was a basic circuit experiment. One problem: The kit put together by the state bigwig down for the event was missing a wire. When I went to remedy the problem with my Leatherman, I was told I couldn’t because the kits had to be turned back in. Didn’t give me a great deal of confidence that the state science bigwig who put them together didn’t understand a basic electric circuit.

        Anyway, as soon as the teacher was occupied, I showed them how to take wires from the spare kits and complete the experiment, and to put them back when complete. If the teacher noticed, she didn’t say anything.

    • Scott, I would argue that there are some students who cannot, for reasons of innate talent, or odd wiring, or memory difficulties, learn advanced concepts in certain topics or to do more than certain basic-level skills in fields. I’ve been trained in machining and 3-D drawing and design, and instrument flying. In all three I reached a hard wall based on how my mental wiring works. I also have limited on-demand memory, so I cannot speak and write at the same time. I know bright people who don’t “do” some academic stuff because they’ve taken classes and had training and their wiring just doesn’t work that way. On the other hand I’d go running to them in a heartbeat if I needed something in their field of specialty. Or the guys who can’t do algebra, but who are fantastic skilled-trades workers. Some people, I would say, can’t learn some things no matter how good the teaching is. But that’s perhaps 20% of the population, and those folks are very skilled elsewhere, if they’re given the chance.

    • no, I’m not assuming it, the NYT is. I merely observe that by demanding all students get a diploma they make it meaningless.

    • 90% of the time when my kids “just couldn’t learn” something they were being taught in a way that played keep-away with the subject. Take French. The teacher surrounded them in songs and French magazines and hoped they’d get it by osmosis. One summer I lost it, and started Robert on grammar and verb memorization, and endless vocabulary lists. When he was vaguely functional, I had him read the Three Musketeers in French.
      He went from “can’t say two words together” to “Can speak French fluently” in three months, after three years of not going anywhere (and passing.) We still sometimes slip into French when we’re out at the zoo or something.

      • Immersion. The big fad at the time. Still is, to some extent. Our college professor, a naturalized American who was the most patriotic individual I’ve ever met in person, spoke fluent French and I don’t know how many other languages – her native language was neither English or French. Anyway, we had these French magazines and the like in the class – which the professor mostly ignored. She took the traditional approach.

        What I hate is I’ve practically forgotten all of it. At one time, some decades ago, I could hear French, and understand it perfectly as long as I wasn’t consciously aware that it was French. Now even that is gone. Sigh.

  10. David Lloyd Sutton, AKA The Grumpy Libertarian: Time for a revisit of some basic economics and basic Libertarian ideas.
    Often, in this column, I rail against one irrationality or another, or against a trend, like the self-righteous, economically and scientifically ignorant Democrat domination of our state government. Sometimes I use colorful language and make my sobriquet as the Grumpy Libertarian an understatement.
    Today, however, I want to do some simple statements for all; not an emotional presentation, but one of obvious and observable facts.
    First, people will act as they perceive it in their self-interest to act. And in crafting a society, what is imminently necessary is to set up guidelines so that human actions follow positive and non-oppressive channels. So we have laws against rape, and murder, and robbery, To ensure acting in perceived self-interest doesn’t include predation upon others. But we have other rules, in contradiction of liberty, sneaked in among the useful ones; laws against non-coerced prostitution, even against friendly fornication, effective self-defense. And we have taxes.
    Yes, taxes are sanctioned robbery. They are a taking, of personal and corporate monies, with the implied and ofttimes explicit threat of force. They nudge nose under tent as funding for things obviously of common concern, even of life preservation. Defense against invasion by conquerors, emperors, theocracies, and simple bandits. Policing against crime, from checking locks in the dead of night to standing up for the abused and bullied, to apprehending those who take lives or property. And, a sneaker, “public” education, initially to prevent widespread illiteracy.
    However, taxes not only quickly enter the tent, dominating the space, they quickly mutate into masters of the inhabitants. Taxation for social manipulation is the most common mutation, after funding the oligarchy of the moment. If politicians can demonize something, they can attach monetary penalties to it. So liquor, tobacco, firearms, ammunition, prepared foods, foods deemed luxury items, the ownership of property, fuel for travel, commuting, and recreation, all have become excuses for extortion. And education by fiat has not only established public “educators” as unfireable but put the educational establishment at the top end of the public trough. Now, with common core, that early shot at kids’ minds is warping toward political and social indoctrination . . . funded by moneys extracted by the threat of force. While we’re on that subject, I submit to you that the literacy rate in this country is lower now, with “free” education, than it was in the late seventeen hundreds, when education was totally private.
    This article is long enough, but I urge all of you to consider how much of what you do is channeled by the forces of taxation. Think of what transportation, what entertainment, what articles of consumption you would choose absent the constant pressure of government extractions. Regard the limited nature of your “liberty”.
    It makes me Grumpy.

  11. “Oh wait, I forgot, you have a different standard for politicians on the left, than you do for politicians on the right.”

    Actually, there’s only one standard: that which advances power for Progressives is good; that which curtails Progressive power is bad.

    To the degree that politicians on the “right” advance Progressivism, their only complaint is that the wrong people are advancing the cause….

    • It’s going to be really interesting seeing how they ultimately deal with Trump…

      • This is very true. I’m still wary of his left-leaning tendencies, and he’s even caused me to wince every so often these past few weeks, but I’m also astounded by how conservative-leaning he’s been these past few weeks.

        I’ve often wondered at Trump’s motivations…at times I have even wondered if he’s doing all this out of spite for the Democrat party and the Democrat media….

        • Alpheus, remember that Trump is primarily a businessman. He’s probably seen so many curtailments on his personal business that he’s become very tired of the whole thing. The only place he can see to make the necessary changes to allow him to succeed in the future is to become president and MAKE those changes — somewhat like a hostile takeover of another business to clear out what the new owners think is holding the company back from being profitable. I don’t expect great things from Trump, but I do expect a less hostile business environment in the near future.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          My thoughts are that Trump has been part of the “center-left” world for so long that he can’t help but have some leftish “thoughts”.

          But he is also a businessman who has to deal with the real world and has been known to “step out of the boardroom” to see what’s going on with the “people in the trenches” of the companies he owns.

          Of course, as a businessman he also has to socialize with the Democratic Party “Upper-Crust” because they are the people in government that could impact his businesses.

          So he knows them and could very well hate their views on the “Proper Policies”.

          Now I suspect that in some way, he may have been “part way there as far as Conservative ideas” but may not have realized it.

          As for why he ran for President?

          He might not know for sure himself. 😉

          • Yep, Trump’s a lefty. But, hee does know about anti-biz leftoid politics and isn’t overly fond of them . . .unless he is the beneficiary.
            That said, I hope he doesn’t get too stupid with the tariff tossing populist carp. anyhow.
            Why he ran?
            I though it started as a “Shake things up, and get Hill the bastest opponent, until he got traction galore and became the nom. then all bets were off because he was gonna try something.
            then he almost acted like he could care less, but only a bit. (kinda schitzo campaign at times)
            Then Someone pointed out his helping Hillary during ’08 and his ‘birtherism’ then the night 0bama invited him the the Press Dinner and flayed him (as only the thin-skinned can do) and Hill/Bill did nothing to smooth things over, and they said he may have decided that night to run once his term was up to undo his and Hills legacy.
            Hmmm

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Here’s a “interesting” thought.

              Hillary “pushed” him to running to “give her an easy to beat opponent” but Trump “went along with it” because he disliked both her and Obama. 😈 😈 😈 😈

              • Yeah, part of that Press Dinner theory was sorta that possibility. He was holding a grudge but was still buying/peddling influence via her and BJ’s foundation so was acting ‘nice’ until she put forward the “You Run, and using populism, skewer the ones likely to beat me.” and he said “Yeah, Sure!” [insert evil laugh here]. Or he approached her with basically the same strategy so he could possibly sink her.
                By the By, you see where donations to the C Foundation have dropped precipitously?

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              Speaking of Birthers, it’s funny to see people who once mocked Birtherism spouting off like Birchers.

              • and of course “There is no voter fraud, and the loser better take it like a man and admit defeat!” now means “FRAUD!!!!!1!!1!!1!@#$%^!”
                and the everloving “Russian hackers let people know how fraudulant we were and they cost us the race!”[translation]
                Apparently the ruskies also hacked the GOP. Wanna bet there was nothing there other than what the Base already knows about “The Stupid Party” and releasing it would have done nada to opinion.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  I understand they failed to hack the GOP, but did get into accounts of some of the for hire types working for the GOP.

                • And they say “the Russians hacked the election” when they mean “the Russians released more (truthful) information about the Democrats than they liked.”

                • and the everloving “Russian hackers let people know how fraudulant we were and they cost us the race!”

                  I am still getting the biggest kick out of this– the Russians have been doing this stuff for years, and NOW it’s suddenly a big deal, and bad, because they may have been the ones that exposed the Dems.

                • Y’all have heard where DHS tried to hack the Georgia Secretary of State computers, right? DHS offered their assistance in securing state systems against hackers prior to the election, and even though the Georgia Secretary of State was on a DHS panel (or because of it), he did a “Thanks, but we’ve got this.” Then on November 15, someone traced to a DHS IP tried to break into the state system and failed. Then the Georgia Secretary of State sent a “Do you want to tell us something?” letter to DHS.

                  The DHS has said it must has been a falsified IP address or a “rogue employee.” And it has not seemed to have got much traction in the national news.

                  Just one of those things that makes you go “Hmmm.”

                  • Doesn’t make me go Hmmmm, this is just another example of attempted Democrat vote fraud. We saw video of them bragging about how they did other kinds before and they were going to do it again. And nothing happened.

                    Now we’re seeing all the NeverTrumpers agreeing with the Democrats that there’s a problem. Where were they earlier? Nowhere.

                    • Now we’re seeing all the NeverTrumpers agreeing with the Democrats that there’s a problem. Where were they earlier? Nowhere.

                      Bullshit.

                      I saw quite a few people who flatly stated Trump is as bad as Hillary, and would also tell you that there’s massive fraud going on.

                      Heck, I know of a Trump supporter that will “agree with the Democrats” that there’s a problem– Bryan Suits, of KFI, disabled Army vet and military talk show host, who thinks that the Russians getting into our business IS a problem.

                    • The Russians getting into our business IS a problem. But the extent of their “help” to Trump seems to have been revealing what our press was hiding. And honestly, I think they were sure Hillary would win, and were just trying to weaken her.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nod, if they were involved (and the facts aren’t clear), their involvement was to hack into Hillary & the DNC databases and leak the info found.

                      There’s no evidence that anybody managed to give votes to Trump but that’s the “message” that certain people want to give.

                    • Yup. I’m eternally grateful for whoever hacked and posted on Wikileaks, for providing evidence of how the Dem insiders colluded with certain mainstream media figures to push favorable coverage of Hillary. Nice to have the proof of what has been long-suspected.

                    • I figure it’s like when two different gangs do an armed robbery with hostage taking a store at the same time, and one of them shoots the gunman who did the “I’m killing a guy to show I’m serious” thing.

                      I’m not that upset about there being one less trial, but I’m not going to let the shooter off of murder during commission of a felony.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      In fairness to Mr. Nelson, Democrats were quite supportive of wikileaks when it was only harming America’s national interests.

                      Otherwise I protest his characterization of #NeverTrump, as it differs from my own impressions. I suspect there may never be consensus between us regarding the issue.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      The Russians getting into our business so obviously is a problem, and it is very significantly the fault of the Democrats. It is the fault of Obama, for damaging counterintelligence (assuming @20committee is correct), and for not being frightening to the Russians. It is the fault of Clinton, for being so inherently weak that the Russians did not fear to harm her. It is the fault of the Democrats who selected her. It is the fault of the Democrats in news for hiding her weakness, the way they hid Obama’s weakness. It is Trump’s fault for being so much of a Democrat that the Russians decided that they could safely ignore the possibility that he would effectively retaliate.

                      If the GOP had selected a Republican that the Russians truly feared, the potential for retaliation might have deterred them from meddling so obviously. Which potentially could have put Clinton in the Whitehouse again.

                    • I would find it very funny if after a four year investigation they found out that Russian hacking was why Hillary won the popular vote.

                    • A solid chunk of why I’m so delighted to see the Dems howling about vote fraud is because I knew that they’d find evidence of fraud, all right– and Dem fingers would be all over it.

                      Got a couple of much to the left of me friends wound up about the systematic fraud in… I think it was Detroit, where they were careful to make sure all those bags had just barely the wrong number of ballots, so they couldn’t be recounted?

                  • If it was an official operation, they’d make sure it wasn’t quite that stupid.

                    Doesn’t rule out someone going “I am so totally gonna show them….”

        • I surely do hope that’s part of it!

  12. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    The New York Times is a funny paper. The further you get from the political, the more honest and better it gets. So they will run a nice article on the jobs situation, say and it will be correct and accurate as long as there is no apparent to connection to policy. And then run stories that are inaccurate about the policies that create the problem and a Krugman editorial that lapses into pure fantasy. This split personality problem has been the norm at the NY Times for as long as I can remember.

  13. One thought on credentialism that I don’t think anyone mentioned: I have read that aptitude/qualification tests for certain (at least government) jobs were ruled unconstitutional by the (Supreme, I think) court and were replaced with the requirement for a post-high school degree – AA, BA, etc. Which is partial explanation for the proliferation of ‘liberal arts’ degrees in jobs for which they have no relevance.

    My reading took off in a grade school (probably 2nd or 3rd) class in which the teacher had years worth of old Readers’ Digests which I started reading (probably just for the jokes) but continued to the articles. Not everything worked that well – my father and sixth grade teacher jointly noticed that I didn’t know how to do long division – problems had finally gotten to the point that I couldn’t do them in my head. I didn’t actually start learning to study until freshman year of medical school.

    • Any aptitude test with “disparate impact” is grounds to be sued.

      A lot of bilge from bureaucrats and the like about how you can still do it if it’s a bona fide requirement and all that — mostly from people who obviously never bothered to take Statistics 101.

  14. the only paper I consider more useful for lighting charcoal for my grill is the LA Times.