Category Archives: education

Interviewing Thomas Sowell On Intellectuals and Society

Reading this interview was a fantastic way to spend 15 minutes of my life.

Thomas Sowell has come out with a revised edition of Intellectuals and Society and I was pleased to have an opportunity to interview him about the book. Here’s a slightly edited transcript of our conversation on Tuesday.

All right, first question the first sentence in your book was “Intellect is not wisdom.”That’s absolutely brilliant. I was hoping you could expound on it a bit because I think it’s an extremely important point that often goes right over a lot of people’s heads.

Well yes, intellect would be your sort of raw brain power; your ability to understand and manipulate and analyze complex concepts. That’s intellect, but certainly wisdom would involve having judgment and experience in addition to that. Interviewing Thomas Sowell On Intellectuals and Society | Right Wing News

Humorist Extraordinaire Iowahawk Disassembles Krugman’s Bullshit About Teachers…

Iowahawk usually disassembles foolishness with mockery and wit but sometimes the stupidity reaches heights so high that mockery will not suffice. Well Mr. Krugman of the New York Times rings that bell with Iowahawk. And being motivated by Krugman’s epic stupidity a semi serious Iowahawk takes the supposed PHD to school on statistics.

Longhorns 17, Badgers 1

Please pardon this brief departure from my normal folderol, but every so often a member of the chattering class issues a nugget of stupidity so egregious that no amount of mockery will suffice. Particularly when the issuer of said stupidity holds a Nobel Prize.

Case in point: Paul Krugman. The Times’ staff economics blowhard recently typed, re the state of education in Texas:

And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.

Similarly, The Economist passes on what appears to be the cut-‘n’-paste lefty factoid du jour:

Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores are as follows:

South Carolina – 50th
North Carolina – 49th
Georgia – 48th
Texas – 47th
Virginia – 44th

If you are wondering, Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is ranked 2nd in the country.

The point being, I suppose, is that unionized teachers stand as a thin chalk-stained line keeping Wisconsin from descending into the dystopian non-union educational hellscape of Texas. Interesting, if it wasn’t complete bullshit.

As a son of Iowa, I’m no stranger to bragging about my home state’s ranking on various standardized test. Like Wisconsin we Iowans usually rank near the top of the heap on average ACT/SAT scores. We are usually joined there by Minnesota, Nebraska, and the various Dakotas; Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire…

… beginning to see a pattern? Perhaps because a state’s "average ACT/SAT" is, for all intents and purposes, a proxy for the percent of white people who live there. In fact, the lion’s share of state-to-state variance in test scores is accounted for by differences in ethnic composition. Minority students – regardless of state residence – tend to score lower than white students on standardized test, and the higher the proportion of minority students in a state the lower its overall test scores tend to be.

Please note: this has nothing to do with innate ability or aptitude. Quite to the contrary, I believe the test gap between minority students and white students can be attributed to differences in socioeconomic status. And poverty. And yes, racism. And yes, family structure. Whatever combination of reasons, the gap exists, and it’s mathematical sophistry to compare the combined average test scores in a state like Wisconsin (4% black, 4% Hispanic) with a state like Texas (12% black, 30% Hispanic).

So how to compare educational achievement between two states with such dissimilar populations? In data analysis this is usually done by treating ethnicity as a "covariate." A very simple way to do this is by comparing educational achievement between states within the same ethnic group. In other words, do black students perform better in Wisconsin than Texas? Do Hispanic students perform better in Wisconsin or Texas? White students? If Wisconsin’s kids consistently beat their Texas counterparts, after controlling for ethnicity, then there’s a strong case that maybe Texas schools ought to become a union shop.

Luckily, there is data to answer this question via the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP is an annual standardized test given to 4th and 8th graders around the country to measure proficiency in math, science, and reading. Participation is fairly universal; if you’ve had a 4th or 8th grader in the last few years, you’re probably familiar with it. Results are compiled on the NAEP website, broken down by grade, state, subject and ethnicity.

So how does brokeass, dumbass, redneck Texas stack up against progressive unionized Wisconsin?

2009 4th Grade Math

White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227) iowahawk: Longhorns 17, Badgers 1

Iowahawk is only warming up by this point and you really need to click this link and find out just how stupid Krugman thinks we are…or perhaps he really doesn’t get it.

I Told You So Will Seem So Trite When We Are Left Foraging For Food…So Let Me Say It Now America, “I Told You So”

This just about covers it.

Barack Obama inauguration: this Emperor has no clothes, it will all end in tears

Barack Obama, Freedom of Choice Act, Neil Kinnock, stimulus package, Tony Blair

This will end in tears. The Obama hysteria is not merely embarrassing to witness, it is itself contributory to the scale of the disaster that is coming. What we are experiencing, in the deepening days of a global depression, is the desperate suspension of disbelief by people of intelligence – la trahison des clercs – in a pathetic effort to hypnotise themselves into the delusion that it will be all right on the night. It will not be all right.

We have been here before. In the spring of 1997, to be precise, when a charismatic, young prime minister entered Downing Street, cheered by children bussed in for the occasion waving plastic Union Jacks. A very few of us at that time incurred searing reproaches for denouncing the Great Charlatan (as I have always denominated Tony Blair) and dissenting from the public hysteria. Three times a deluded Britain elected that transparent fraud. Yesterday, when national bankruptcy became a formal reality, we reaped the bitter harvest of the Blair/Brown imposture.

The burnt child, contrary to conventional wisdom, does not fear the fire. After the Blair experience there is no excuse for anybody in Britain falling for Obama. Yet today, in this country, even some of those who remained sane during the emotional spasm of the Diana aberration are pumping the air for Princess Barack. At a time of gross economic and geopolitical instability throughout the Western world, this is beyond irresponsibility.

To anyone who kept his head, the string of Christmas cracker mottoes booming through the public address system on Washington’s National Mall can only excite scepticism. It is crucial to recall the reality that lies behind the rhetoric. Denouncing "those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents" comes ill from a man whose flagship legislation, the Freedom of Choice Act, will impose abortion, including partial-birth abortion, on every state in the Union. It seems the era of Hope is to be inaugurated with a slaughter of the innocents.

Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is like one of those toxic packages traded by bankers: it camouflages many unaffordable gifts to his client state. With a federal deficit already at $1.2 trillion, Obama wants to squander $825 billion (which will undoubtedly mushroom to more than $1 trillion) on creating 600,000 more government jobs and a further 459,000 in "green energy" (useless wind turbines and other Heath-Robinson contraptions favoured by Beltway environmentalists).

It is frightening to think there is a real possibility that the entire world economy could go into complete meltdown and famine kill millions. Yet Western – and British – commentators are cocooned in a warm comfort zone of infatuation with America’s answer to Neil Kinnock. We should be long past applauding politicians of any hue: they got us into this mess. The best deserve a probationary opportunity to prove themselves, the worst should be in jail.

It is questionable whether the present political system can survive the coming crisis. Whatever the solution, teenage swooning sentimentality over a celebrity cult has no part in it. The most powerful nation on earth is confronting its worst economic crisis under the leadership of its most extremely liberal politician, who has virtually no experience of federal politics. That is not an opportunity but a catastrophe.

These are frank, even ungracious, words: they have the one merit that, unlike almost everything else written today about Obama, they will not require to be eaten in the future. Barack Obama inauguration: this Emperor has no clothes, it will all end in tears :: Gerald Warner

While the Base is Fighting an Existential Battle to Protect Civilization from Murderous Islamic Maniacs and the Moonbat Left, the Republican Party is handing out stuffed animals to Raise Money…okey dokey.

At the bottom of this post is a copy of a dumb ass email sent to me by the Republican Party. They miss me. I have given them hundreds of dollars…err perhaps a lot more in the last 31 years. I have worked the phones, knocked on doors, and written extensively on why they are better. I do none of that anymore…now those puddin heads want to send me stuffed animals named Sam to entice me to restart my giving…astounding. Why not send me some hope that they are different than the Democrats?

What happened? When did we lose focus?  When did we go from being the Party of Ideas and philosophy to the party of appeasement and stuffed animals? You laugh and think he is nuts for saying the Republicans are the party of Appeasement? Tell me exactly what the hell is McCain calling for when he makes the claim that he will cross the aisle and work with the other side? The other side is Obama and tell me exactly when he has bragged about crossing the aisle to work with us? Why do we apologize for our ideas? Why don’t the Democrats apologize for theirs? Their ideas lead to corruption and disaster and yet we act as if they have ideas worth meeting halfway. Why? When do they meet us halfway and furthermore exactly why is it valuable to meet certain ideas halfway. Should we meet those who would nationalize our oil industries half way? What is the compromise point in that discussion? Should we give away half of our guns? Give away half of our children’s education to their corruptions? Goddamn I hate McCain…but I hate Obama worse.

Which ideas lead to corruption and disaster? Let me count the ways.

  1. Democrat Ted Kennedy authored the 1965 Immigration that has led to whole sale changes of our society. He explicitly promised that his changes would not bring exactly what they have brought.
    • 1965: “The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.” (uh dial one for english…2 for whatever)
  2. In the fall of 1974, Nixon resigned under the pressure of the Watergate scandal and was succeeded by Gerald Ford. Congress cut funding to South Vietnam for the upcoming fiscal year from a proposed 1.26 billion to 700 million dollars (which led directly to the Boat People and Cambodia, congrats to the Democrats)
  3.  The War on Poverty…which has given us, drumroll please, more poverty.

I have to stop this is pissing me off…exactly HOW CAN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY BE SO CORRUPT AND LACKING OF IDEAS THAT WE ALLOW FOLKS WHO CAME UP WITH THIS CRAP TO WIN?

Thank you Democrats…and Thank you Republicans for being so unable to answer the idiocy of the Democrats that you are reduced to giving away GODDAMN STUFFED ANIMALS. If there is a God in heaven please let him send us someone who will rid us of the idiots currently in charge of the Republican party machine.

Dear Pierre,

Just in time to celebrate our Nation’s independence, meet Sam, the new member of the Republican National Committee.

Embroidered with the official logo of the RNC, Sam is decked out in red, white and blue and is sure to be the hit of your July Fourth party.

Sam is available for a limited-time only to our most loyal supporters like you, Pierre. We’ll send you Sam today with your special contribution of at least $35.

Or you can get all four Republican collectibles — Sam, Max, Maxine, and Patrick — with your special contribution of $110 by clicking here. The RNC elephants are wonderful plush toys and make a perfect gift for your favorite Republicans.

Your donation will be put to work immediately.  The RNC is leading the way to ensure John McCain and all our Republican candidates have the resources needed to run strong campaigns and defeat the liberal Democrats this November.

Help elect Republicans from the courthouse to the White House and celebrate Independence Day in style with Sam. Click here to order now. Hurry and get Sam today while supplies last.

On behalf of Republican candidates at all levels, thank you for your continuing support of our Party this critical presidential election year.

Sincerely,

NRO Corner in the Tank for Obama…well how else do you explain the fawning nonsense going on over Obama? A Black Marxist who attended a racist church led by racist preachers?

The NRO Corner lost it’s way a long time ago. When the Corner united against Coulter’s remarks after 9/11 one had to worry that in the Corner we didn’t have actual conservatives but folks who make money playing one.

But I don’t understand the pile on at The Corner.

McCain gave a serious talk that centered on the war, and especially on the point that if Obama had been in charge, we’d have lost by now and incredible chaos and perhaps genocide would be unfolding in that country. McCain also noted what he should refer to in every speech from now until November: Obama wants to sit down with dictators who would eat his lunch.Townhall.com::Blog

If you are a liar you tend to view others as liars…same same with thief. If you are a thief you tend to view others as thieves!

Tigerhawk explains the correct way to look at energy and our use of it. I only want to add that if you are a liar you tend to view everyone else as liars. If you are a thief you tend to view others as thieves. Since the left makes it’s living as thieves of the labor of others it colors their entire world view. We will never convince them that there might be other explanations for wealth. They simply cannot conceive that wealth is created by working for it, it is so much easier to steal it. You can spot them in schools because they are the ones cheating.

But most peoples of the world (including American leftists) do not understand this — which is why they do not invent anything important — and instead view American wealth as if it were looted, rather than created. Hey, if I thought America was rich from theft rather than creativity, I’d feel guilty too.  TigerHawk

If you look hard enough you will find that theory of life embedded in the sub-prime mortgage crisis…Get your money for nothin’ get your chicks for free!

The Republican Party’s Real Problem In A Nutshell…ding ding ding…give Hawkins a read, he gets it!

Great article on why I have not sent any money to the Republicans this cycle. I don’t trust them. Course John Hawkins article over at Townhall is a bit broader in focus than little ole me but hey, enough about me, what do you thing about me!

However, there is one overriding problem that dwarfs all the others, a problem that few people in the leadership of the Republican Party seem to have come to grips with. That problem is that conservatives, who are the heart and soul of the Republican Party, no longer believe that the GOP has their best interests at heart. Townhall.com::The Republican Party’s Real Problem In A Nutshell::By John Hawkins

Go now and read this article McCain. I know you are reading my site.

Terrific Article on Computers at PJ Media…One comment got me to thinking.

This is strikingly true. I know in my house most of our photos are kept on disk. Perhaps it is time to start printing them out. Then there is my 600 vinyl albums…that I have been promising myself to digitize. At least they will still exist in 400 years even if the means to play them will be gone.

Morton Doodslag:

If the geometric proliferation of media formats remains a constant, the in a mere 10-20 years most of the storage formats we now use will be so obscure that much data will be lost. I’ve been thinking for years that we may be entering a peculiar kind of fugitive age, not really a dark age, where information will continue to be available, but very erratically.

For example, nearly all personal documents such as photos and personal/business correspondence will be lost in a very short time frame. They will be stowed in attics and garages in much the same manner as any kind of former documents, but we’ll have few means to easily access them. Eventually most will be discarded.

More generalized data will probably persist however. In a strange way, although the reasons for each are different, this loss of private assets mirrors the loss of privacy itself. Future generations will not really know what it’s like to happen across a box or drawer full of long hidden family documents or photographs. Lacking the means to translate ancient private media, the past will seem far more ephemeral than ever before. This will probably have huge consequences for society. Pajamas Media » What Will Your Next Computer Be Able to Do?

Why I Home School Reason #3,456,000 Zero-tolerance stupidity: 6-year-old labeled a “sexual harasser”

A 6 year old slaps a girl’s behind, naturally the rational action for the school to take is to call the police. Okey Dokey.  I support this nonsense with tax dollars. Our children are falling farther behind other children around the world in mathmatics, while we spend more per child than nearly everyone in the world. Fine, thank you sir, may I have another!

Calling the police for a disciplinary issue amounts to a complete capitulation of the administration’s authority over the children and a highly distorted sense of priorities. Nor is Potomac View alone in this issue. In Maryland alone, 166 elementary-school students got suspended for sexual harassment last year. Those figures include 22 first-graders, 16 kindergartners, and three pre-schoolers. In Virginia, ABC News reports, 255 elementary-school children got suspended last year for the same reasons. Hot Air » Blog Archive » Zero-tolerance stupidity: 6-year-old labeled a “sexual harasser” Update: Sexual Harassment Panda

Lest you think I jest about the falling farther behind claim. Click to see full size version. Get some hanky’s to wipe your tears away. We are below every single developed nation except Italy and Portugal. Weeeee….but we are arresting 6-year olds for supposed sexual harassment.

EducationMath

If you want to see the entire picture go here.