What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Friday, October 2, 2015

Linkee-poo will tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife

For Karl, subscription snack services, including Japanese snacks sent to the US. You're welcome.

The Interfaith Calendar for all your holiday shopping needs. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Identifying and encouraging gifted students. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings on this. While I totally applaud actually recognizing gifted students and giving them the stimulation they need, there's side-effects and process issues that cause me great concern. There's a lot of high-school students taking college courses and the vast majority of them are not ready for it (no, really, go ask anyone who has to teach these courses, especially those teaching the "core curriculum" courses, not the major specific course). I've also seen how skewed the Honors Society can be (i.e. rich, white-kid clubs, at least it was at my high school). But as a student who was gifted (yea, yea, but I have the test scores to prove it) I became extremely bored in middle-school (and with the contact with teachers like Mr. Mustard, yes, that was his name) and that affected how I did in college until I became excited again about education (which was almost too late). I was a slacker. Frankly, I didn't have to think to do well. Smart people, IMHO, are the first to, as Stephen King puts it, "ship their oars and drift." That doesn't help build the habits that keep them successful later in life when they finally find something that does challenge them. But then there is how you identify those students. It's been my experience that administrators and educators are the absolute worst at that task. And then there's this, "In a school where most children are in remediation, he argues, a child who is simply performing on grade level may need special attention." What is really needed is to lower class size, increase expectations, eliminate as much as possible the economic disparity between students (that right there would do the most, and it would cost society the most), do "honest" grading, stop stigmatizing students (those who need help to keep up or make even the basic level of achievement, and those who zoom past everyone else), etc. But then we would have to change some basic things in our society, none of which will happen. So until then, it'll only be the kids whose parents can afford it that will excel (with the rare exception, of which I am a part of). The haves will continue to get, and the have-nots will continue to lack basic needs.

Want proof of what I say about how honors programs are mostly a rich whites only club? Okay here's some data. While Asians are a close second (note the stereotype perception of Asians within the white culture), the rest of the "minority" groups are very under represented.

For your edification, a map of the mass shootings since Sandy Hook. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

If true, this is hilarious. Person uses raccoon to defeat a breathalyzer interlock system, tosses raccoon on floor forgetting that a car is not a raccoon's natural habitat and that they might get pissed off. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

"In what can only be another harbinger of bad news for Sen. Rand Paul’s troubled presidential campaign, one of three pro-Paul super PACs has stopped raising money for the Kentucky Republican, with its leader calling it 'a futile crusade.'" Ouch. You know when a SuperPAC say, "Nah, we don't need your money, we're closing up" something is very, very wrong.

Rand Paul tries to have it both ways. He wants to dis Cruz, but also appeal to his voters.

"The New America Foundation found that twice as many people have died in attacks by right-wing groups in America than by Muslim extremists since 9/11." If only government would have studied this so we could have been safe… oh, wait. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Say, remember when these GOP lead state legislatures were all hot to pass voter ID laws? And they kept saying it wasn't racially motivated? So, why is Alabama now closing all those places where people can get government issued IDs in majority black counties? Yea, it wasn't racism my Aunt Fanny. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"As Planned Parenthood called on their supporters to rally on Tuesday, a state report found no evidence that a Planned Parenthood clinic in Missouri illegally handled fetal tissue… In addition to Missouri, officials in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, South Dakota and Massachusetts have found, after investigations, that Planned Parenthood was in compliance with state laws." It's almost like those videos were a heavily edited hit-job that didn't actually show the truth. And I'll add here, they looked very hard to find something. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Truth will out. "'Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?" (House Majority Leader and Speaker Hopeful Kevin) McCarthy said. 'But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable [sic]. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.'" And now you know why it's been Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi all summer long. It's also why we keep hearing about her email server. It has nothing to do with anything except winning the 2016 Presidential Election. Your tax dollars at work in a GOP lead Congress. It's so rare that a politician will admit to such, but then this new crop of GOP leaders really don't have any skills at all, except their hatred. Which makes them strong.

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