Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Naked Truth

Things have been a little hectic, so please bear with me while I post with minimal comment this article on Google's latest embarrassment.

Google left blushing after issuing U-turn on Blogger nudity ban
After just three days, Google has rescinded its decision to block almost all public nudity on its Blogger platform after they were inundated with complaints from its users.

On Tuesday Google took to notifying its users and the general public that as of 23 March 2015, no images which contained graphic nudity or sexually explicit material could be published on its Blogger platform, unless it was marked as private or as part of an artistic work.

And now, in a massive turnaround, Google took to its forums to say that alas, public nudity will remain on Blogger, but called on people to mark pages with nudity as private.
That seems reasonable. Let people publish what they want, along with a notice so that no one unexpectedly stumbles across something that mighht upset or offend them.
This comedown will be considered a victory for those who called on the move as a limiting of freedom of expression, with one vocal critic of the move being sex blogger and author Zoe Margolis who said that making blogs private effectively “kills them off”.

...“Forcing millions of blogs to become private is not just a free-speech issue, or one about making adult content harder to find (Google’s own search tool makes that argument redundant), but boils down to Google sabotaging the integrity of the web – and how it functions – and it is for this reason that we need to oppose this narrow-minded and short-sighted policy.”

Now if only the FCC would take the same approach to the Internet.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2015.02.27

The other day a friend of mine said he was working his fingers to the bones. That brought to mind this song, from one of my all-time favorite performers.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throw Back Thursday - Texas Style

I don't know who started the Throw Back Thursday trend, but it doesn't do much for me. I've spent large chunks of my life, along with large chunks of money, trying to forget certain aspects of my past. But be that as it may, I've decided to go along with the whole TBT movement, albeit with a slight twist. My (irregular) TBT posts will focus on history in general, not my own personal history.

To start things off, here's an essay on the Long Rifles of yesteryear. As an added bonus, the story also emphasizes the role that armed citizens played in winning independence for Texas.
The ragtag group that marched from Gonzales to San Antonio de Béxar in October 1835 was a bring-your-own-gun army. This volunteer force, led by Stephen F. Austin, called itself the Army of the People, and the people supplied their own weapons and equipment. When the call to arms came, the soldiers picked up whatever was handy and brought it with them.

Robert Hancock Hunter, who was living in what is now Fort Bend County when he joined the company, succinctly described the army’s weaponry in his memoirs, which he wrote in 1860 and in which he employed his own spelling style: “We had about 150 men, & our guns were no a count, little dobble barrels shot guns. Some men had rifels. I had a Harperferry yauger. The lock was tide on with a buck skin string & the stock & barrel was tide to geather with buckskin strings.” Some men may have had rifles, but others had no firearms at all. While the army was still assembling at Gonzales, Austin wrote, “Arms and ammunition are needed; we have more men than guns.”

Hunter’s “yauger” was a Jaeger (a German word for “hunter”) rifle, a gun with a 36-inch barrel manufactured at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. The “rifels” the rebels used were Pennsylvania long rifles, described by colonist and frontier blacksmith Noah Smithwick as “long, single-barreled, muzzle-loading flintlock rifles, the same that our fathers won their independence with and that the famous Kentucky brigade used with such telling effect at the battle of New Orleans.” Pennsylvania gunsmiths, mostly Germans, made these rifles from about 1725 to the early 1800’s. Their octagonal barrels were 40 to 48 inches long, and they fired .35- to .60-caliber balls. Their stocks were walnut or maple and were often heavily ornamented in brass, with boxes set into them that contained the patches used for loading. In the hands of a skilled marksman, they were accurate at more than two hundred yards.

The 300-man Army of the People left Gonzales on October 12 and reached the outskirts of San Antonio eight days later. For years San Antonio had been the capital of Spanish and Mexican Texas, and the rebels thought that if they could capture it, the revolution would be over. The town was defended by a garrison of 650 Mexican troops under the command of General Martín Perfecto de Cos. The Texas soldiers surrounded the town, blocking the roads leading into it to cut off the arrival of Mexican reinforcements.

Most of the Mexicans were armed with English-made Brown Bess muskets, smoothbore guns with a range of about seventy yards. In one of the opening skirmishes of the siege, at Mission Concepción, the Texans’ Pennsylvania rifles picked off the Mexican artillerymen, who were powerless to retaliate. One Texas veteran wrote, “We wondered to see that their balls often fell short of us.” Several Texans, he went on, were “struck by balls which were far too spent to break the skin, and only caused an unpleasant bruise.”

The siege of San Antonio dragged on until December 5, when Ben Milam and Frank Johnson led two columns into town. Four days of bloody house-to-house fighting followed. Creed Taylor, one of the participants, later remembered that the Pennsylvania rifles were particularly effective in that kind of fighting. “No sooner did a head appear above a wall,” he wrote, “than it was the target for a dozen hunting rifles, and there was always another dead Mexican.” On December 9 Cos surrendered and marched his army south, leaving the Texans in control of San Antonio. 
For those of you unfamiliar with Texas history, these events took place before the Battle of the Alamo. After the Texians captured San Antonio, the Army of the People disbanded and most of the volunteers returned home. A few stayed to garrison the town, setting up camp in an abandoned mission known then as Mission San Antonio de Valero. Today we know it as the Alamo.

So in December 1835 Texian forces occupied San Antonio. Sam Houston, commander of the Texas Army, ordered James Bowie to destroy the fort and withdraw. Bowie, however, decided to fortify the Alamo, in part because he didn't have enough oxen to haul away the fort's cannons. Just two months later, on February 23, 1836, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna arrived with a large army and laid siege to the Alamo. We all know what followed. Two weeks later the Alamo was in ruins and its defenders lay dead.
Though the Texans carried hundreds of weapons into the Alamo, few of those survived. A Mexican citizen of San Antonio, pressed into service by the Santa Anna soldiers to carry the bodies of the dead defenders to their funeral pyre, found a Pennsylvania long rifle in the ruins. He later gave it to Frank Johnson, who had not stayed behind to defend the Alamo. Johnson considered the gun a suitable gift for William Carr Lane, the mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, when he made a trip there in 1839. It changed hands several more times before coming into the possession of a retired Army colonel living in San Antonio named Walter Siegmund, who donated it to the Alamo in 1947, where it has been displayed ever since.

The gun is a fine example of the most effective weapon of the Texas revolution. It was made by Jacob Dickert, a master gunsmith of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The stock is curly maple, with an elaborately ornamented brass patch box set into it and eight oval German silver inlays under the octagonal barrel. The barrel itself is 45 inches long, with Dickert’s name stamped on the top. No one knows who carried this beautiful weapon into the Alamo, but it is on display in the shrine not far from where the defender must have fallen. 
Long Rifle from the Alamo
A beautiful relic with a valiant past. You shooters out there, take a look at the trigger. My, things certainly have changed over the last 200 years.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

If You Like Your Internet, You Can Keep Your Internet

If you've been paying attention - and I sincerely hope you have - you know that tomorrow the FCC will vote on a 332 page plan to regulate the Internet.

The plan to regulate the Internet was proposed by barack obama. Support for it is split along partisan lines. An earlier version was rejected by a federal court. The current version was written behind closed doors; no details have been released to the public.

Sound familiar?
Critics of President Obama’s “net neutrality” plan call it ObamaCare for the Internet.

That’s unfair to ObamaCare.

Both ObamaCare and “Obamanet” submit huge industries to complex regulations. Their supporters say the new rules had to be passed before anyone could read them. But at least ObamaCare claimed it would solve long-standing problems. Obamanet promises to fix an Internet that isn’t broken.
That right there is the crux of the matter. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

As the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Election Commission toy with regulating aspects of the Internet, critics on those agencies are warning that speed and freedom of speech are in jeopardy.

In a joint column, Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai and Federal Election Commission member Lee Goodman, leveled the boom on the Obama-favored regulations, essentially charging that it will muck up the freedom the nation has come to expect from the Internet.

“These Internet regulations will deter broadband deployment, depress network investment and slow broadband speeds. How do we know? Compare Europe, which has long had utility-style regulations, with the United States, which has embraced a light-touch regulatory model. Broadband speeds in the United States, both wired and wireless, are significantly faster than those in Europe. Broadband investment in the United States is several multiples that of Europe. And broadband’s reach is much wider in the United States, despite its much lower population density,” the two wrote.
Europe has socialized medicine. obama and the progressives want us to be like Europe.

Europe has slow Internet speeds, limited broadband reach, and restrictions on free speech. obama and the progressives want us to be like Europe.

More evidence that it ain't broke:
According to a report last year by New York Law School, the number of high-speed broadband lines more than doubled between June 2009 and December 2012, while the percentage of Census districts with one or fewer fixed broadband providers fell to 1.2% from 3.5%. Broadband cable prices plunged to $1.10 per megabit per second in 2013 from $19 in 1998.
More evidence that the feds are making a power play to grab control of the Internet:
(Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler) asserts that public broadband is necessary and in the public interest because “commercial broadband providers can pick and choose who to serve based on whether there is an economic case for it.”
Sounds like the free market to me - as opposed to government sponsored initiatives.
Rather than driving competition, municipal broadband can undercut the private market. Because they benefit from public financing and right-of-way, munis can price services below private carriers ... (financing) broadband via tax-exempt municipal bonds, loans from the public electric utility and federal grants.

This puts taxpayers and in some cases electric-utility ratepayers on the hook if the ventures go belly up. Taxpayers in Monticello, Minnesota, had to bail out their government-run FiberNet after it defaulted on municipal bonds. The publicly financed network in Groton, Connecticut, was sold to private investors at a $30 million loss. Google paid $1 for the failed municipal broadband enterprise in Provo, which cost taxpayers $60 million. Largely because of these risks, 21 states impose restrictions on municipal broadband, which range from requiring public hearings to outright bans. 
And yet the dems/libs/progs want to hand over the Internet to the feds. What is wrong with those people?

And in true liberal fashion, they are keeping us in the dark about their plans.
A key Republican lawmaker in Congress called for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to make proposed net neutrality regulations public before a planned Thursday vote on the measure.

"Although arguably one of the most sweeping new rules in the commission's history, the process was conducted without using many of the tools at the chairman's disposal to ensure transparency and public review," (Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee) said.

Chaffetz urged Wheeler to publicly release the 332-page draft order that was given to the other four commissioners nearly three weeks ago

A senator who supported the FCC's postponement back then, Chaffetz notes, was then-senator Barack Obama. "He specifically noted while a certain proposal 'may pass the muster of a federal court, Congress and the public have the right to review any specific proposal and decide whether or not it constitutes sound policy. And the commission has the responsibility to defend any new proposal in public discourse and debate,'" Chaffetz said citing the original letter sent by Sen. Obama (to the FCC).
Typical obama/liberal hypocritical crap.

Of course, there's also the tax angle. If the Internet is classified as a public utility, as net neutrality proponents want, then it can (and undoubtedly will) be taxed as a public utility.

The bottom line:
“Internet freedom works. It is difficult to imagine where we would be today had the government micromanaged the Internet for the past two decades as it does Amtrak and the U.S. Postal Service. Neither of us wants to find out where the Internet will be two decades from now if the federal government tightens its regulatory grip. We don’t need to shift control of the Internet to bureaucracies in Washington. Let’s leave the power where it belongs — with the American people. When it comes to Americans’ ability to access online content or offer political speech online, there isn’t anything broken for the government to “fix.” To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, Internet regulation isn’t the solution to a problem. Internet regulation is the problem.”
Please contact your congressperson today and tell them: "Hands off our Internet!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Not Acceptable

OldNFO has a post regarding the unacceptably high rate of suicide among our veterans.
We are losing too many to suicide, it’s now estimated that 22 per day are killing themselves. ONE is too many. If you know a vet having problems, please take the time to help him or her, and get them help from the services available…
Go there for more. Go here to find help.

I lost a friend to suicide after he returned from 'Nam. Please do whatever you can to prevent others from taking that road.

For some additional perspective on our veterans, here's an account written by a French soldier who served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
...they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump. Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley.
I'm not quite sure what that last sentence means, but you get the idea. Go here for the full story. It's well worth your time.

Change For The Worse

If you've been following the news, you know that Bruce Jenner, former Olympian (gold medal winner in the 1976 decathlon) and Kim Kardashian's stepfather, is 'transitioning' from being male to being female.
Sources close to Bruce Jenner’s family confirm to People magazine that the former Olympian is preparing to live life as a woman.

“Bruce is transitioning to a woman,” the source tells People.
From this...

... to this.

Far be it from me to make fun of someone who is searching for his true identity. But I would be remiss if I didn't note that he has recently been involved in a fatal traffic accident. There is some speculation that the crash was caused by Jenner's attempt to escape from paparazzi.
One person was killed today, and at least seven other people were injured, in a chain reaction, head-on crash in Malibu that may have been triggered by paparazzi chasing a celebrity.

Reality-TV star Bruce Jenner was quoted by tabloid news services as saying the deadly wreck followed a chase of his Cadillac Escalade by five paparazzi...
Truly a tragedy for all involved, and I don't mean to make light of it. However, given the gender-change aspect of the story, I have to admit I laughed out loud when I saw the following headline.

Bruce Jenner rear-ended cars in fatal wreck

Okay, perhaps that was insensitive of me. But my insensitivity pales in comparison to whoever came up with this.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bonus FOD - Assorted obama Bashing

Remember the uproar over obama's swap of suspected U.S. Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl? One of the unintended (perhaps) but undoubtedly not unexpected consequences of that decision has now come to light.
The brother of an American woman who was killed after spending months as a hostage of Islamic State militants says Kayla Mueller's situation worsened after the government traded five Taliban commanders for a captive U.S. soldier.

The militants increased their demands after the May swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Eric Mueller told NBC's "Today" in an interview that aired Monday.

"That made the whole situation worse because that's when the demands got greater," he said. "They got larger. They realized that they had something."

Some U.S. lawmakers were outraged by the exchange of five Taliban commanders held at the Guantanamo Bay prison for Bergdahl, an Idaho native who left his post in Afghanistan and was captured and held by the Taliban for five years.

President Barack Obama's administration has defended the swap...
Of course it has. In their eyes he can do no wrong.

The media also believes barry is above reproach. Other politicians, not so much. Especially when they might be a credible republican candidate for the White House in 2016.
In the last two weeks the media has reported more about Scott Walker’s college years and personal beliefs than we still know about Barack Obama’s.
What a racist observation.

And of course, we have obama's non-strategy for defeating ISIS. You know, give them jobs and they'll stop beheading people.

Maybe we just need a kinder, gentler approach to radical islamists people of another faith who only wish to live in love and harmony with the rest of the world - like we used in dealing with another group of people bent on world domination back in WWII.

I know - we can extend the blessings of obamacare to the radical islamists people of another faith etc.

I could go on and on about Ukraine, Iran, the Keystone pipeline, illegal immigration, and other obama fiascos, but I've gotten myself so depressed that right now I need a Shiner break...

FOD 2015.02.23

Rudy Giuliani evidently touched a raw nerve when he questioned obama's love for this country.
As the debate continues over President Obama’s refusal to identify radical extremism as radical Islamic terrorism, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani stepped into the fray on Wednesday evening, declaring: “I do not believe the president loves America.”
The best response came from a twelve-year-old black student (and I really hate that I must include the descriptive term "black," but since barry's defenders cry "racist" every time someone criticizes him, I do so as a pre-emptive form of self defense).
12-year-old student C.J. Pearson recorded a Youtube video and released it in answer to the controversial question: ‘President Obama: Do You Really Love America?”

“Here’s the truth of the matter: I don’t want to be politically correct. I don’t care about being politically correct at this point,” Pearson begins and lives up to that billing. He continues:
“President Obama, You don’t love America. If you really did love America, you would call ISIS what it really is: an assault on Christianity, an assault on America and downright hate for the American values that our country holds. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and every single thing that our country stands for.”

“I hope that one day people will get enough guts to speak out against your downright hatred for this nation.”
I wish young Mr. Pearson would hurry up and turn thirty-five, so I could vote for him for President.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Funnies - Bonus Oscar Edition

I just found out that tonight is the Academy Awards, where a bunch of Hollywood hypocrites get together and give each other prizes.


Sunday Funnies 2015.02.22

My wife is on my case about how I don't eat healthy. Here's my response.

 * * * * * * * * * * 

Health Food: any food whose flavor is indistinguishable from that of the package in which it is sold.

 * * * * * * * * * * 

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

 * * * * * * * * * * 

A guy walks into a restaurant and the day's special was beef tongue. He says to the waitress, "I don't want anything that came out of an animal's mouth. I'll have two eggs instead."

 * * * * * * * * * * 

Here's an interview from a Japanese doctor who is an expert on healthy eating.

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it... Don't waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster. Want to live longer? Take nap.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: Oh no. Wine made from fruit. Fruit very good. Brandy distilled wine, that mean they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain. Grain good too. Bottom up!

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of one, sorry. My philosophy: No pain...good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU NOT LISTENING! Food fried in vegetable oil. How getting more vegetable be bad?

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: You crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable! It best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming good for figure, explain whale to me.

Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! 'Round' is shape!
  * * * * * * * * * * 

In other news, a recent survey revealed:
1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
  * * * * * * * * * * 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Point - Counterpoint


How to stop ISIS
What the West really needs to take on the Islamic State is ... a jobs program.

That's what a top State Department spokeswoman suggested when asked in a TV interview Monday night about what the U.S.-led coalition is doing to stop the slaughter of civilians by Islamic State militants across the region.


In a self-described act of jihad, Major Nidal Malik Hasan fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others at Fort Hood, Texas, on 5 Nov. 2009.

obama and his lackeys really need to get their heads out of their assess.

Friday, February 20, 2015


For all my peeps in the Northeast...

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2015.02.20

My dear old Dad always said "Use the right tool for the job." But did I listen?


Hypocrites And Firearms

It's one thing to have an honest disagreement on gun rights (or, as the antis put it, gun control) issues. It's another thing altogether to flat out misrepresent and distort - or, as my dear old Dad would say, lie - about the facts.

Kelly Burke is president of the Texas chapter of the anti-guns group Moms Demand. During recent testimony before the Texas Senate she falsely claimed that Texas concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics are kept hidden from the public.

She went on to misspeak lie about statements by CHL supporters that license holders are responsible and law abiding, calling them “anecdotal and conjecture”.

The facts are that (1) statistics about CHL holders can be easily accessed at the Texas DPS website; and (2) those statistics show that Texas CHL holders are approximately 1/12th as likely to be convicted of a crime as an average Texan.

In fact, an analysis of concealed carry permit holders shows that the conviction rate for criminal offenses of LEOs in Texas is approximately 6 times higher than the rate for CHL licensees. That same analysis shows a similar pattern in other states.

In related news highlighting the hypocrisy of anti-gunners, a prominent anti-gun lawyer was arrested in Cleveland for trying to board an airplane with a handgun and ammunition in his carry-on bag.
David Malik was arrested about 4:15 p.m. after airport security found an unloaded .22 caliber handgun and a box of ammunition in his carry-on bag...
Malik is just following in the footsteps of other anti-gun activists, such as SAFE Act proponent Dwayne Ferguson (arrested for illegally having a gun on his person at a Buffalo elementary school) and California State Senator Leland Yee (arrested on political corruption, racketeering and gun trafficking charges).

Also, in response to liberal assertions that females on college campuses are subject to a high level of sexual assaults, a number of states are considering legislation that would allow licensed carry of guns on campus.
As gun rights advocates push to legalize firearms on college campuses, an argument is taking shape: Arming female students will help reduce sexual assaults…
... lawmakers in 10 states who are pushing bills that would permit the carrying of firearms on campus are hoping that the national spotlight on sexual assault will help them win passage of their measures. “If you’ve got a person that’s raped because you wouldn’t let them carry a firearm to defend themselves, I think you’re responsible,” State Representative Dennis K. Baxley of Florida said during debate in a House subcommittee last month. The bill passed.
Liberal heads, predictably, are exploding. They evidently can't handle being hoisted by their own petard.
... objectors to the bills say that advocates of the campus carry laws, predominantly Republicans with well-established pro-gun stances, are merely exploiting a hot-button issue. “The gun lobby has seized on this tactic, this subject of sexual assault,” said Andy Pelosi, the executive director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.
Yet wasn't it those same liberals who have grossly exaggerated claims of campus sexual assaults for political purposes?
Using Bureau of Justice survey data that includes: a) reported and unreported cases of sexual assault and rape, and b) threatened, attempted and completed cases, the rate of campus sexual assault, we can say that:

1. Women ages 18 to 24 attending college have about a 25% lower chance of being the victim of rape or sexual assault compared to their nonstudent counterparts.

2. College campuses have become safer for women in the last few decades, based on the decline in the rape/assault rate by 50% since 1997.

3. Over the last four years, about 1 in 52 college women were raped or sexually assaulted, which is different by a factor of more than ten times compared to the “1 in 5″ claim made by the White House based on the findings of one survey from students at two universities. Of course, 1 in 52 college women being the victim of a rape or sexual assault is still too high, but the controversy about campus sexual assault (and the victims) is best served by truthful and accurate data, and this new report from the Justice Department will hopefully contribute to the accuracy of the data on a very important issue.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Liberal.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

obama's Plan To Defeat ISIS

Re: the latest nonsense from the obama administration suggesting that the way to defeat ISIS is to give them jobs, instead of killing them:

The obama State Department followed up the ISIS jobs report with this gem attacking ISIS for, of all things, raising taxes. Too bad they don't have the same approach to raising taxes here at home.

Things I Don't Miss

I've been retired from my most recent career as a college professor for almost two years now. Every so often someone asks me if I miss working. My response is usually along the lines of "I miss the interesting stuff - the research, and working with good students. But I don't miss the other 80% of it."

One aspect of 'the other 80%' is dealing with students who are dissatisfied with their grade. That's why I read with interest the following article.

Dear Student: No, I Won’t Change the Grade You Deserve
Children today grow up believing it’s their effort that matters. Everyone gets a trophy, and everyone deserves to be praised just for showing up...  plenty of professors have told me that when many of their students get to college, they lug into the classroom a sense of academic entitlement—a belief that their papers and exams should be graded on how hard they’ve worked, not how well they’ve mastered the material. When they don’t receive the grades they think they deserve, many take the matter up with the graders.

When that happens, one thing becomes clear: Their feelings about the quality of their work often don’t match the reality of their performance... Pleas to re-evaluate work can draw professors into annoying confrontations—or force them to explain the mechanics of grading to students, and sometimes angry parents, department chairs, or deans.
Yes, I have had irate parents call me regarding Little Johnny's grades. When they didn't like my response, they called the department chair, and in some cases even the dean. I was fortunate enough to have administrators who, for the most part, backed me up - with one notable exception. I won't name names, other to say that if you know a young person who is incapable of or unwilling to do college-level work, send him or her to the University of Texas at San Antonio. That place is nothing but a degree mill that puts for-profit online schools to shame.

But I digress. Back to the story. Here's how a few other professors respond to requests for re-grades.

Response #1
Thank you for your email requesting that I review your paper to determine whether you should have received a better grade. My policy for re-examining your work is as follows:

Please write a short letter outlining why you believe you have been graded harshly. Make your case for the higher grade. It is perhaps possible that I failed to consider the evidence supporting your thesis properly, or that I misunderstood the nature of your claim. Your case will be strengthened by rebutting the comments I made, incorporating them into your response. If your appeal for reconsideration merits a further examination, I will be happy to do so. Please be advised: I am often too generous rather than too stingy. Thus is possible that when I re-examine your paper your grade might be lowered.
My stock reply was something along those lines. It's amazing how few students follwed through.

Response #2
It always amazes me when students feel like their grades should be based on effort... Get out of here with that, my friend. Your working hard should be a given. You’re in college, not kindergarten. Every single person on this campus’s default is to work hard.

You, my friend, have the audacity to send me a sad, tired little email asking me to reward you for breathing in and out and taking up space in my classroom? A place where geniuses are birthing themselves into existence every single day, and not a single one of them is asking for the “I worked hard” epidural to make this journey easy. I have officially laid my head on the desk, which is the universal signal for “I’m done.”
I wish I had the cojones to say that to my students.

Response #3

I can't change your grade because you have provided no verifiable evidence that you have put more than minimal effort into this paper. At the very least, you should have accompanied this email with (a) a videotape of your doing research for, and writing, this paper, in real time or (b) a sworn, notarized statement from one of your roommates indicating exactly how much time you spent on the paper.

In the absence of such evidence, please do the following so I can reassure myself that you have actually worked hard and I will consider raising your grade: Resubmit your paper with every incomplete sentence rewritten; with at least five new secondary sources and two primary sources; and with an annotated bibliography critically evaluating all your sources.
Again, this puts the burden back on the student. Those who are sincere will spend the time and effort to justify their regrade. And I am sure that the professor will be equally sincere in regrading their work.

Response #4
Are you, by any chance, related to the student who failed my class and asked that I give them an A because they “liked the class so much?” I’m just asking because this question you’ve posed is just as silly as that one.

Pursuant to the detailed rubric provided for the assignment that we reviewed in class, the work you did on this paper was questionable. What you turned in was riddled with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and formatting inconsistencies. Your paper didn’t respond to the prompts for the assignment at all and didn’t even reference the provided course content, let alone go beyond it in any meaningful way. The grade you received is reflective of the fact that what I got was a mash-up of poorly constructed sentences and last minute fooleywang.

And for real, I need you to focus less on the grade and more on the learning. Here’s the thing: had you focused on learning and on effectively completing the assignment, you would have gotten an A. Instead, you’re out here so focused on the grade that your submitted work was well below my expectations and your abilities.

Get your shit together. Please and thank you.
Another ballsy response. But I do like the emphasis on learning vs. grades. It's quite easy for both students and faculty to lose sight of the fact that universities are places to learn, not just to get a piece of paper. Well done.

Response #5
While I completely understand your frustration at working hard on something and having it not result in the grade that you desired, you should know that grades in college are based on performance, not effort. I know elementary school teachers, coaches, and your parents told you that all that matters is that you do your best. Unfortunately, they all lied to you. In the real world, of which my college classroom is a part, trying hard does not count for squat. Demonstrated mastery of the material, no matter how much or little effort it takes to achieve it, is what is important.
Ah yes, the 'real world' card. Well played!

Response #6
We work hard on many things in life; however, sometimes our efforts do not merit the product that we envision. That is, hard work does not necessarily equate to excellence. Sometimes working hard really does result in an average product. Nonetheless, per your request, I have reread your paper.

I want you to know that I worked really hard to assess your paper taking into consideration your hard work, too. I imagined you working on the paper while you equally worked hard at monitoring Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram updates. I imagined you checking your instant messages and email on your smartphone every few seconds while you were working hard on your essay. I imagined you drafting the paper in the midst of many distractions and then deciding that you had a final paper. I worked really hard at seeing you submitting a paper that had been outlined, drafted, proofread, and edited. I worked really hard at this.

Therefore, I want you to know that I worked as hard at assessing your performance as you did at writing your paper. I apologize for my error. I see that your paper does not meet the minimum requirements for this assignment. I am going to have to change your grade to a D.
Ouch. I bet that left a mark.

I could wrap this post up with a pithy commentary on the student-as-a-consumer model of today's so-called institutes of higher education, or a scholarly analysis of grade inflation, but instead I think I'll defend the students. It's not entirely their fault. They've been taught all their lives that effort deserves reward, regardless of outcome. Couple that with a public school system that actively discourages failing students, or even giving them poor grades, for a variety of reasons. That is even carried over to colleges, where budgets are determined at least in part by graduation rates (in other words, reward the diploma mills and punish colleges with high standards).

Our entire education system, from kindergarten through college, is in drastic need of an overhaul. All I can say is Thank God I'm out of it, and that my kids and grandkids are just about done as well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

End Of An Error

Not only am I sick and tired of barry, I'm fed up with his whole damn family. They exhibit the same sense of entitlement that so many welfare leeches have, with absolutely no compassion or understanding for anyone else. They have no sense of duty, responsibility, or obligation that comes with being the First Family.

The latest example:
... just four weeks after returning from 17 days in Oahu the president headed to California for a weekend of golf and his wife and two daughters, for the fourth year in a row, headed to Aspen for a ski weekend.
That ski trip was kept pretty hush-hush, wasn't it? Didn't read anything about it or see it on the network news. I guess the obamas are getting a little sensitive to criticism of their extravagant vacations from us common folk.
... shortly after Americans witnessed a Jordanian pilot burned alive by ISIS, Obama flew to Rancho Mirage...  

Now, three days after the fact, we find out that after sending Dad packing for the weekend, Michelle and the girls quietly boarded an expensive Air Force jet and headed to the Tiehack home of the owners of the Aspen Skiing Co., Jim and Paula Crown.

As 21 Coptic Christians were being beheaded and 17 Kurds were being paraded around in cages with threats of being burned alive, and while radical Islamic terrorists shot up cafes and supermarkets, crucified children, and vowed to conquer Rome, an undeterred Mrs. Obama focused like a laser beam on Buttermilk Mountain.
Despite the Herculean efforts of their allies in the mainstream media, the story of mooch's ski vacation leaked out after the fact, thanks to a traffic accident. But even that gave us another example of the special treatment accorded michelle and her brood.
A police report from Sunday revealed that a motorcade carrying Michelle Obama and her girls was forced to stop when it came across a two car collision...

The road was closed for around 40 minutes - but not for the Obamas.

The presidential motorcade arrived at the scene and authorities let them 'sneak through while they waited on tow trucks,' said Police Chief Brian Olson.
I cannot wait until that asshole and his good for nothing relatives vacate the White House.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Growing Old Gracefully

Last night my wife and a bunch of her female buddies threw a surprise birthday party for a friend of hers/theirs/ours.

Our house was invaded by a gaggle of giggling gals. They trampled each other - and ME! - in their haste to get to the wine. It was all I could do to grab a bottle or two and flee for my life.

Since I didn't have access to my computer for much of the evening (and when I did, I was dizzy from the purely self-defensive wine guzzling), today's post is a simple collection of images that deal with the perils of getting older.

Now please excuse me. I'm off to get a cup or two of coffee ... with maybe a dollop or two of adult additives...

Monday, February 16, 2015

FOD 2015.02.16

barack obama first gained national attention for his 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention (Warning: gag-inducing suckupedness at the link). The speech (allegedly) showcased his eloquence and charisma.

I never bought into the eloquence and charisma narrative, but obviously enough people did to elect that worthless SCOAMF president - twice. Rather, when I hear someone mention his (alleged) eloquence, three phrases come to mind.

"Leading From Behind" - Contrary to the White House narrative, which aims to define Obama as a visionary leader, Leading from Behind reveals a president who is indecisive, moody, and often paralyzed by competing political considerations.
To be precise, leading from behind is a style, not a doctrine. Doctrines involve ideas, but since there are no discernible ones that make sense of Obama foreign policy... (it is) as ad hoc, erratic and confused as it appears...

And it surely is an accurate description, from President Obama’s shocking passivity during Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution to his dithering on Libya, acting at the very last moment, then handing off to a bickering coalition, yielding the current bloody stalemate. It’s been a foreign policy of hesitation, delay and indecision, marked by plaintive appeals to the (fictional) “international community” to do what only America can.
"Leading from behind" set the stage for the next obama administration Big Idea:

"Courageous Restraint" - a proposed medal to be awarded to U.S. and NATO troops for not opening fire.

Like most stupid ideas introduced by politicians and the brass, "troops respond(ed) to the concept of “courageous restraint” with a mixture of frustration and indifference." Fortunately, this one died an early death before being implemented. But it planted the seeds for:

"Strategic Patience" - As an actual definition, “strategic patience” is simple: it means inaction.
President Obama unveiled a national security strategy on Friday that called for "strategic patience" and warned against American "overreach" -- an approach that drew criticism as some lawmakers say the rising threat from the Islamic State demands a more urgent response.

The 29-page document is meant to serve as a blueprint for Obama's final two years in office ... Yet the long-awaited security agenda included no major course changes in the military campaign against Islamic State militants or in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
All this new 'strategy' does is put a new face on a tired old foreign policy - like an aging hooker putting on fresh makeup.
The strategy offered by the White House is mostly pablum. While sweeping generalities are not uncommon in such public documents, this one really just restates most of the Obama’s current policies and recasts them in the form of what they are calling a strategy.
It is simply a defense of obama's tepid response to world events, as opposed to a blueprint for the legitimate application of America's power - military, economic, and diplomatic - to address international threats ranging from Chinese aggression in the Pacific, foreign-sponsored cyberattacks, ongoing turmoil in the Mideast, expanding Islamic terrorism, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, genocidal regimes in Africa and elsewhere, and much more.
His secretary of defense says “the world is exploding all over.” His attorney general says that the threat of terror “keeps me up at night.” The world bears them out. On Tuesday, American hostage Kayla Mueller is confirmed dead. On Wednesday, the U.S. evacuates its embassy in Yemen, cited by President Obama last September as an American success in fighting terrorism.

Yet Obama’s reaction to, shall we say, turmoil abroad has been one of alarming lassitude and passivity.
In other words, "strategic patience."

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Funnies 2015.02.15

Tomorrow is Presidents Day. I remember when we celebrated Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays. Now they're all lumped together.


It’s Presidents Day. Zut alors!
Does anyone know what it’s for?
I’m not sure, but I’d guess
It’s meant to address
The need for more sales at each store.

When Will Rogers was being taken to the White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge, Vice President Dawes cautioned him not to try to be funny because the President had no sense of humour whatsoever.

Undaunted, Rogers bet Dawes that he could have Coolidge laughing within 20 seconds.

When the formal introduction was made, Dawes began by saying, 'Mr. President, may I introduce my friend, Mr Will Rogers.'

Rogers held out his hand with a questioning look and said, 'Pardon me, I didn't quite get the name.'

Coolidge roared with laughter, and Rogers won the wager.