Saturday, January 16, 2021

Mt. Laguna

I have at least two long blog posts all written in my head, but I just don't feel like typing them out today, so instead, I'll share a photo from yesterday's hike with the Catican Guards near Mt. Laguna.

I don't know why, but I really liked that view. It's very representative of the area. There are rolling hills, odd swaths of grass and lots of desert scrub. In places, there were patches of snow.

It's been a crazy dry year for us after a reasonably wet one last year. San Diego typically gets about 10" of rain all year and this year, we're down by 3" so far, running 25% of normal. We still have the wettest time of the year ahead of us, so there's a chance to catch up. If we don't, look out for a terrible year for fires.

Blue California still hasn't figured out the whole environmental husbandry thing, so if it's going to be a bad year for fires, we'll lose plenty of homes, have lots of deliberate blackouts and end up with a massive amount of scorched terrain.

Oh well. That's what comes from loving wild spaces so much - fire-blasted wilderness.

You only hurt the ones you love?

Friday, January 15, 2021

Wealth And Income Are Markers Of Behavior

... as are grades and test scores.

The Story

Suzy and Taniqua are in the 4th grade together at Lumumba-ANTIFA-Zapata-Intifada* Elementary School (LAZIES) in San Diego.

Suzy's mommy makes her read for 20 minutes every day, above and beyond her normal schoolwork. Suzy's mommy or daddy go to every back-to-school night, orientation night and never miss a parent-teacher conference. Her parents check her homework most nights and demand to see every test she gets back from the teacher. If she does poorly, there are consequences. Suzy's no braniac, but she does pretty well. Her average grade is a B+.

Taniqua's parents, true to the pattern observed by Dr. Ogbu in the Shaker Heights school system, do not make her read. They rarely go to meetings at school, and they don't check her homework or her tests. Taniqua's no dummy, but she does poorly. Her average grade is a C-.

The school board that oversees LAZIES observes these same results almost everywhere across the district. Their conclusion? Racism. Lots and lots of racism. Systemic racism which comes from a culture of white supremacy and patriarchalism**.

Wasting no time, the school board and administration teams from across the district swing into action! From now on, Taniqua won't have to turn in her homework or behave in class.

Academic grades will now focus on mastery of the material, not a yearly average, which board members say penalizes students who get a slow start, or who struggle at points throughout the year.

Another big change, teachers can no longer consider non-material factors when grading. Things like turning work in on time and classroom behavior will now instead count towards a student's citizenship grade, not their academic grade.

The students will also be given anti-racism training***. Suzy will be told that the reason Taniqua isn't doing well is that Suzy is full of hate. 

And Then What?

Kids are highly sensitive to unfairness directed at them. Yesterday, Suzy may have cheated her little brother, Billy, out of the last homosexual Oreo in the bag, but if she gets jobbed by mommy today when splitting the McDonald's fries with that little rat, Billy, she's going to let everyone know.

Just how long is Suzy going to take the blame for Taniqua's poor performance before she's seething with resentment?

Our daughter went to Catholic school until 8th grade and then transferred to a public high school. There, she met her first illiterate children and first encountered wildly inappropriate behavior in the classroom. It blew her little mind. She had the causes dialed in within a month, if not earlier.

Going back to our hypothetical Suzy, what will she think of the education industry after they scream at her for a year or two? 

To all the conservatives filled with rage over our public schools going full Julius Streicher, I say chill out. These things will take care of themselves.

Spend some time with the fishes over at ManateeCam. It's, like, totally Zen, man.

* - At my alma mater, UCSD, Third College was originally supposed to be called Lumumba-Zapata College. Yes, my college experience was like that.

** - Good Lord, "patriarchalism" is a word. I typed it in as a comical, pretend word and the darned thing is in the browser's dictionary! What a country!

*** - San Diego is insane, but Seattle is completely, frothing-at-the-mouth, howling-at-the-moon mad. Dig this list of racial resources on the Seattle Public Schools website. It is a stone-cold lock that their physics and biology resources lists are shorter.

Learn: Antiracism Resources

Seattle Public Schools' teacher librarians share titles for students in support of Black Lives Matter

  • Look, Listen and Learn TV: An early learning educational public access program showcasing Black and Indigenous people and people of color learning, teaching, and exploring.
  • Anti-Racist Resources from the Greater Good 
  • Dismantling Anti-Black Bias in Democratic Workplaces: A Toolkit 
  • Teaching Tolerance: Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence 
  • Anti-Racism Resources for White People 
  • Black Lives Matter at School Resources 
  • Teaching Tolerance: Let’s Talk Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics with Students 
  • Seattle Public Libraries Race and Social Justice books for kids K-5 
  • New York Times An Antiracist Reading List 
  • Pretty Good: Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup 
  • Anti-Defamation League: lessons, table talks, and books:
  • Anti-Defamation League: Table Talk George Floyd, Racism, and Law Enforcement 
  • Anti-Defamation League: Middle School Level lessons 
  • Race Conscious: 100 Race Conscious Things You Can Say to Your Child – Conversation Starters 
  • NPR: How White Parents Can Talk About Race 
  • Seattle Times: How to Teach Your Children About Racism in America: A resource for understanding the George Floyd protests 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Superpowers Without Armies

Twitter and Facebook are global giants. They have proven that they can shut off huge, written communication channels as they please. If they don't like what you're saying, you don't get to say it on their massive platforms.

Good for them.

What happens to a nation that doesn't like that sort of thing and outlaws them?

Well, nothing, really. Facebook and Twitter don't contribute one red pfennig to anyone's economy. I think there's a good argument to be made that they actually reduce economic output by wasting their users' time. Since the tech giants don't have a military arm, a country can destroy them without fear of retaliation. There would be a political price to be paid, but if you created substitute platforms like Gab or Parler and let people know they needed to move, I don't think there'd be a lot of fussing. Personally, I have no loyalty to Twitter or Facebook although I use them both.

I think I'll stop here. I still need to back up this blog and look into another method of hosting it. I'm not sure I'll be shut down, but it's certainly a possibility. If this is where we are in January of 2021, I'm not optimistic about the state of the First Amendment come July.

In other news, ANTIFA has come to San Diego. Freedom leaves when they arrive. With UCSD and SDSU as feeders, I can't imagine their influence will decrease over time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Many Data Sources

I work with a lot of people who are young enough to be my kids. Some are blue collar, some are white collar. It's a very racially mixed group as well. The topic of the election came up today and what was more interesting than their takes was how they arrived at them.

Each one pulls information from a wide array of sources. None of them go to CNN or Fox or anywhere else exclusively. They're all on top of the latest tidbits of information and they share what they've found freely. That means their opinions are widely sourced, more widely than any one individual might achieve unless they were on the Internet all day.

When journalists launch some biased essay, these guys know it right away. For example, it's no secret that the news media who fawned over the BLM riots was now gasping in mock horror at the DC riots. If the newsies think they're fooling anyone, it's only themselves.

It was fascinating to watch the conversation evolve and realize what a generational difference there was.

So what did they think of the election? They all thought it was untrustworthy. They had the flaws of the vote-by-mail idiocy pegged immediately. None of them believe their votes were counted honestly. They also thought Trump was a loon. Some liked him as president, but they all thought he was nuts.

Kids these days! Sheesh!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Monday, January 11, 2021

Censorship And Home Inventory

Just a couple of odds and ends today. I had planned on doing some bird photography this morning, but the birds didn't cooperate.

Censorship - What's The Big?

Seriously, who cares whether corporate giants crush free speech? I mean, that's only bad if you ever plan to say anything that causes problems for the corporate giants. 

It's been bothering me for some time that the AP, for instance, hasn't show any interest in Big Tech's suppression of news and views. Being a bit slow, it's taken me a while to figure out that it doesn't bother them because they can't envision a day when they will say anything sufficiently bad about MegaCorp or Chinese slavery.

This guy is long gone. He's been replaced by Pajama Boy.

Houses For Sale

We've decided we're going to sell our rental house here in San Diego soon. We also drove around a different part of San Diego, looking at places with a single story house and a large lot. We're getting older and I still want to do some experimental farming. Wife kitteh is a real estate professional, so she was on the horn with one of the realtors representing a house we thought about buying. That didn't work out, but they started talking about the number of people leaving California.

The realtor said that inventory is really tight right now, but talk about escaping Goober Newsom's Worker's Paradise is growing every day. She expected to see significantly increased inventory of homes for sale throughout the year.

ANTIFA Comes For Thee, Err, Me

While the press reported that Trump supporters were involved in a riot-like altercation in Pacific Beach over the weekend, the videos show something a bit different. ANTIFA goons marched down the boardwalk and ended up attacking the Trumpers.

No worries. I'm sure this won't grow into anything else. As I understand it, ANTIFA is an idea that is mostly peaceful. Also, it's getting easier and easier to translate journalist-speak into what really happened. As soon as I heard the news, I figured the videos would look like they did. Enjoy?

That's all I got for today. Tomorrow, I hope to have some birds.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Communications Won't Stop

Alternate Title: You're not paranoid if they really are out to get you.

Well, that went downhill pretty fast. It took Big Tech all of 9 days into 2021 to get going on crushing online dissent. Yesterday, Amazon moved to dehost Parler while Apple and Google took it out of their app stores. Parler is a free speech alternative to Twitter that has grown like topsy. 

I've got a Parler account, but I barely use it. Parler is mostly political ranting, but no more dangerous that what you see from progressive accounts on Twitter. The real problem for Big Tech was not the platform or the tone, but the opinions. They're trying to silence their enemies. It's naïve madness.

I saw these two tweets today and I got cold chills. These two are normally moderate in their opinions and approaches.

I did screen captures because you don't know if their accounts will be terminated. This is indeed madness.

If you've got a real beef with how things are going, if you've got something to say, Twitter, Parler and Facebook are only mediums for comms, they aren't the comms themselves. There are lots of other ways to make a point.

If you feel like the election was stolen, online silencing isn't going to change your mind. If you're terrified of what the progressives mean when they say they will "fundamentally transform America," shutting down Parler isn't going to make you feel any less threatened, it will make you feel more threatened.

To go back to my theme of the last year, the left, including Big Tech, has no idea how anything works. They can't predict the next moves by their opponents. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that they don't see other people as people, they see them as static objects. There won't be any next moves by their opponents because their opponents do not possess free will or rational thought. It's the straw man principle taken to a whole new level.

For example, they howled "RACISM!" at the cops and expected the cops to behave like robots and go right back to work. They didn't and now we've got about 1,000 more murdered blacks because the cops bailed. And still the left is honking BLM. It's been objectively proven a total failure and we're still supporting BLM at the corporate level, in sports, on the news, everywhere.

They don't understand how things work even when they see it working. This is religious madness.

Meanwhile, those people who want to communicate dissent will find other, perhaps kinetic ways. All you're doing when you crush online dissent is pushing the dissent somewhere else.

This is bad medicine.