Tilting at Windmills

Today’s 2016 Election news — and remember, despite the clown car of candidates, the actual election is still over a year away — is perhaps the only time that Jim Webb will be the top story. He’s dropping out of the race. The next part is just bizarre. Reuters put this best:

Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb said on Tuesday he will drop his long-shot bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and explore an independent run for the White House.

Yeah. Low in the polls, but he claims that’s because Anderson Cooper is a big meanie who let Hillary talk twice as long as him. So even though by his own admission independents don’t win, he thinks he’s got a shot.

Maybe he should invest in lottery tickets instead. They’re a better bet.

In Closing: Love this guy’s art; it’s in the stars; Bronies are now apparently a subject of scholarly research; at the very least, taxpayers should not be funding unsafe activities for children; I still think PreCheck is a bad idea if the TSA is really trying to stop terrorists (and a brilliant one if they are really trying to control the masses); on the economy; oops! and pizza alternatives — most can be made vegetarian, a few can probably be done vegan, some can be done gluten free.

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

This week’s Time Magazine arrived in the mail a little while ago. Here’s what the cover looks like. Accompanied by a big picture of a deflated football, the cover stories are “The Most Dangerous Game. How to Fix Football” and “The Crisis in High Schools.”

My immediate thought was that somehow football is more important that education? Will football impact America’s ability to compete in the world economy more than what high school kids are learning?

I have a soft spot in my heart for educational issues, so I opened it up and tried to find the article on what crisis is befalling our high schools. I could find no such article title in the table of contents, so I began to flip through. Oh, look 10 questions from readers posed to Ozzy Osbourne, that’s nice. Good picture of him too. Bomb crater in Baghdad, shame the picture isn’t in the online edition. Flip, flip, flip…. Joe Klein on “Failing our Schools“. Huh, not about high school, but about how the evil teachers unions are preventing meaningful reform of our schools. Not even the same author mentioned on the cover. Moving on. Disaster porn, pictures of the devastation in Haiti. Can Bank Bashing Help Obama (yes, only if it comes with rules and regulations that protect us from predatory banking). What Obama should learn from Reagan (stand up for something, blame the guy you replaced for everything that’s wrong). Oh, we’re up to the cover article on football now.

And the article on what’s wrong with our high schools! Finally fount it! Is it standards that are too low? Curricula that don’t get kids to the standards? Is it teachers? Is it helicopter parents? Is it student apathy? High stakes testing? Too little focus on preparing kids for college and the workforce? Underfunded technology initiatives??

No, the article that the cover bragged was on a crisis in our high schools is in fact called “A Lifetime Penalty: In Texas, catastrophic spinal injuries aren’t enough to change high school football.” The article isn’t about instructional issues at all, but the tragedy of a handful of kids who suffer serious, crippling injuries on the football field. What schools are “failing” to do is keep young players of a dangerous, full-contact sport safe. The writer’s answer to this problem? Not better coaching to avoid injuries. Not getting rid of a dangerous extracurricular activity with debatable educational value. Not educating the teen-aged players about the risks of concussions and more serious injuries. Not changing the “win at any cost” mentality that makes this an acceptable risk for communities, coaches, and the players that understand the risks. No, he thinks there should be an ambulance at every high school football game.

Yeah, that will really keep kids from ending up in wheelchairs.

Not to make light of these kids, but is that really the biggest problem our high schools face?

This is what passes for a news magazine in our country. And that is part of the educational crisis in our country.

Silent Night, Deadly Shorties

Merry Christmas! Here’s a little Christmas history for you.

Ok, let’s start off with obligatory items on health insurance reform. The Senate has officially voted on the accursed thing. Here’s the rational case for kill the bill, and push back in conference. The real problem is that this, like many bills, is so long that nobody knows what’s in it, even the Senators.

I have a soft spot for education. Here’s an item on schools that work.

Surely the economic worst is behind us. So saith the President. Unfortunately, he thinks small business is going to lead us out of this mess. That can’t happen as long as banks won’t lend to small businesses (or will only make home equity loans to them), and certainly won’t happen if that small business can’t get affordable health insurance for its owners and employees — who will all be required to have “mandated” insurance under the new bill. Maybe what we really need is some manufacturing, instead of pretending we can build an economy on selling lattes to one another.

Go ahead and tackle that kid, but don’t do any science! You might get hurt! Yeah, maybe we have gone a little wacky on the safety thing (oops, unintentional football joke!). But the point is well taken that the Dangerous Book for Boys isn’t, and most kids aren’t doing any real science in school for fear of lawsuits.

What a great idea! Boy sees problem. Boy asks why problem exists. Boy comes up with solution. Food banks for pet supplies!

SHHHHHHH! Most censored news stories of the year.

Must be nice. Fannie and Freddie’s CEOs are taking home 7 figure paychecks this year. Where do I send my resume?

Schneier on the Predator Drone hack. Short version, it’s not that big a deal. Find out why!

And last…

I think he’s on to something: The grand unifying theory of progressive frustration.

Sorry for anybody who was disappointed that I didn’t cover the Emperor’s birthday. I had net outages yesterday.