Why Gay Marriage Is Right

29 08 2009

It really is as simple as that.


APs yet again!

27 08 2009

School’s starting around the country once again, and that means that all the AP pushing College Board minio…er, educators with an eye on college prep are back to pushing students into AP classes. The goal is, of course, to force students to Rise To Meet The Challenge and Unlock Their Hidden Potential. Excuse me for a moment while I go burn Micky Mouse in effigy.

All right, Micky Mouse is dead. Now, on to the question, why do so many educators suffer from Acute Disney Syndrome? Do teachers spend their summers strapped to a chair somewhere in a dark room watching Miracle?

The problem would be easily explained if we were talking only about elementary school teachers (the sort of teachers who want to teach elementary school kids are the same people as the ones who love the happy feel good underdog stories), but the one’s to whom I’m referring are neither in elementary schools nor teachers. They are a diverse group, ranging from education columnists to principals and department supervisors. They are in districts as different as the DC schools and upper middle class suburban districts.

Self interest (“My school is higher in Newsweek than theirs!”) really doesn’t adequately explain it, either. It appears to be a strange mix of self interest, delusion (they actually believe that the average kid just needs a challenge to turn into a wonderful scholar), and the truly bizarre educational culture in the United States (“I believe that evwywon is gifted!”) coming together in a sort of perfect storm of bad educational theory.


Here to illustrate the complexities of the situation, I give you the Perpetual Dissent Abridged Sock Puppet Company in their second performance.

Perpetual Dissent puppet: So what makes you think that pushing underachieving students into college level classes will make them perform better?

Administrator puppet #1: You’ve said it yourself! Putting gifted students in college classes helps them learn better!

PD: But most students aren’t gifted stude…

Puppet #1: EVERYONE is gifted! Everyone is unique and special and wonderful and amazing and important and significant!

PD: …do you even know what “gifted” means?

Puppet #1: It means that they deserve decent treatment!

PD: Yeah, um, no. Are you sure you got a degree in education?

Puppet #1: Yep,  that’s where I learned all this!

PD: Oh god why?

Administrator puppet #2: He’s dumb. But I’m smart, so here’s why everyone should do APs! See, if everyone does APs, then we get higher in Newsweek. And if we’re higher in Newsweek, then more people move here and pay taxes, and I get a pay raise. And if I get a pay raise, then I can go out to Vegas and…wait, what were we talking about?

PD: *blinks*

Administrator puppet #3: Admit it, Disney is true! Everyone just needs a push to unlock their hidden potential! Everyone’s just waiting to rise to meet The Challenge!

PD: Was the lobotomy painful?

*At this point the Puppet Theater was interrupted as Disney Commandos (Donald Duck knows how to use an M16, who would have guessed?) swung in through the windows and dragged puppet #3 from the room for violating their trademarks on “unlocking hidden potential” and “rise to meet the challenge.” We will mourn his loss. He was a good puppet.*

What the First Amendment Isn’t

24 08 2009


So very many things wrong here.

First of all, except when outing you and silencing you are one and the same (angry mobs will descend and murder you if you’re outed), the 1st amendment doesn’t guarantee jack shit in the way of anonymity.

The first amendment provides rights to freedom of speech, the press, assembly, exercise of religion, and protection from the government establishing an official religion. Unless outing someone anonymous is effectively the same as silencing them, the first amendment provides absolutely no protection whatsoever. There’s nothing in the language that even by the loosest construction would indicate that it doesn.

Second, the first amendment is part of a document regulating our government. Google, surprisingly, is not the government.

When a company is served with a legitimate subpoena, they are legally obligated to comply. Certainly they can give the target of the subpoena the opportunity to challenge it in court or, in extreme cases, challenge it themselves. In this case, in fact, they did do the first of those. But the court upheld the subpoena, so it was Google’s obligation to comply. If it had been unconstitutional, that would have been an issue with the court, not Google.

Third, the subpoena absolutely was legitimate.

This is a pretty clear case of defamation of character. In a case such as this, a subpoena is absolutely legal and absolutely should be served.

In summary, the 1st amendment does not protect anonymity, Google has to comply with court orders, and you ma’am are an idiot.

Officer’s Experience in the Military

20 08 2009

Ed posted an account of an officer’s experiences with religious discrimination in the US military. This, I think, should be mandatory reading for anyone who believes in the Establishment Clause.

And finally, the Democrats get it

19 08 2009

Well, I went after the Democrats for caving to the Republicans over and over again, but I’m very, very happy to say that they might just prove me wrong. Let’s just hope that they really are willing to go on without the Republicans, and that the conservative Democrats will stay on board.

An apology for Turing

17 08 2009

It’s half a century late, but it least they’d finally be doing something.


Politics is no place for a vertebrate!

17 08 2009

That appears to be the core Democratic Modus Operandi. For example, investigating the various war crimes committed by the previous administration:

Campaign promise – We will bring to justice those responsible for these atrocious acts.

Reality – “Oh but the Republicans is scary and mean and nasty and they’ll make everyone think we’re scaredycats and it’d be looking backwards and and and ahhhhhh!”

Or try health care:

Campaign – We believe that adequate health care is something to which all should have access, and we will ensure that real change happens.

Reality – “Butbutbut the Republicans’ll call us socialists if we have a public option and then no one will like us anymore 😥 And end of life care, if we keep that then the whole country will think we want to ax murder grandma so so so we can’t do that either right?”

Stimulus, Campaign – The country needs a real stimulus bill, and we will drive it through to help revitalize the economy.

Stimulus, Reality – “Well but see the Republicans said that we need tax cuts and if we don’t give them tax cuts they’ll call us nasty names and make us cry so let’s make half the bill tax cuts so they’ll be nice ok? Yay!”

Seriously, you control the House by what, 79 seats? You have 60 seats in the Senate. You control the Presidency. WHY THE HELL ARE YOU COMPROMISING? The other side is just wrong here. Compromise is good sometimes, sure, but only when neither side is self evidently full of it and propped up only by the lying spin machine of people like Limbaugh.

You were elected to fix things, not to kiss the feet of your Reptilican overlords. You’re six months late. Get the hell to work.