Wake Up Call!

Toyota is moving its Torrance plant to Plano, Texas

 

The question is, will this awaken the somnambulist legislature.

The short answer is No!

It is not somnambulism, it is ideology.

It must have been about 1981, when as a corporate CEO, I was invited to meet with the CEO of Sony, (Akio Morita), who was in Rancho Bernardo to celebrate the millionth TV set manufactured at their huge factory there.

It just happened that at that time the California legislature was considering a bill that would tax international corporations with a presence in California on their INTERNATIONAL SALES AND INCOME.

Akio Morita told me that if that passes he would move all Sony facilities out of the state — the measure failed in Sacramento, but Morita couldn’t take any chances of revival, so his next expansion was to Georgia with, as I recall, a 600,000 square foot plant.

No one stand still while being kicked in the shins!

If they can move to stop the pain, they will!

Toyota did!

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Score Minus One For The Teacher Unions!

The State of Washington has become the first state to lose its temporary exemption to the No Child Left Behind.
 
The loss of the exemption, and Washington had been on probation because Washington was dragging its feet on using test scores as one criteria for evaluating teachers. The loss of the exemption means the loss of millions of dollars and thousands of teachers.
 
This loss of exemption was the result of union pressure on the state legislature, a fact that was memorialized by the Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn:
 
“…Student progress should be one of multiple elements in a teacher s evaluation. Unfortunately, the teachers union felt it was more important to protect their members than agree to that change and pressured the Legislature not to act.
 
 
(Of course, the Washington Post reported the loss of the exemption, but ignored the condemnation by the Superintendent of the teacher union as the reason for the loss of the exemption.)

No Good Deed Shall Go Unpunished!

The Voice of San Diego had an article on the Principal of Lincoln High, who has apparently been removed because in raising the schools performance significantly, she used a bit of tough love and ruffled a few feathers.

There were some interesting perspectives from teachers who are in the trenches, and to whom I would remind that the single most powerful political entity in this state is the teacher unions — who lobby at a monetary rate several times the next most powerful lobby groups.

If teachers want more academic rigor, they could demand it — and get it.

If teachers wanted greater classroom discipline, they could demand it — and get it.

If teachers wanted an end to social promotion, they could demand it — and get it.

If teachers ever walked picket lines for anything other than higher pay and more time off, I am unfamiliar with that picket line even after more than 30 years of writing about California schooling — it has regressed to the point where it can no longer be called “education.”

California teachers get whatever California teachers want, and that has caused a Top Five salary and a Bottom Five student academic rating.

It must be what teachers want because Sacramento bows and scrapes to the tunes of teacher unions.

The Truth — Or At Least Part of the Truth

The State of Washington has become the first state to lose its temporary exemption to the No Child Left Behind.

The loss of the exemption, and Washington had been on probation because Washington was dragging its feet on using test scores as one criteria for evaluating teachers. The loss of the exemption means the loss of millions of dollars and thousands of teachers.

This loss of exemption was the result of union pressure on the state legislature, a fact that was memorialized by the Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn:

“…Student progress should be one of multiple elements in a teachers evaluation. Unfortunately, the teachers union felt it was more important to protect their members than agree to that change and pressured the Legislature not to act.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/washington-state-nclb-waiver-arne-duncan-105997.html#ixzz2zrn5oeOt

(Of course, the Washington Post reported the loss of the exemption, but ignored the condemnation by the Superintendent of the teacher union as the reason for the loss of the exemption.)

Automation Being Driven In The Military

Readers know my appreciation for the vision and applications developed by DARPA is unbounded, and they have struck again, this time with Aircrew Labor In-cockpit Automation System (Alias).

Think of it as replacing four of the five crewmen on our international bomber fleet, leaving the Pilot to be the Mission Coordinator.

Once again, the dr/dt of automation and artificial intelligence combine to replace humans.

The system is projected to be scalable up and down to be used in multiple platforms, to handle all components of a mission from takeoff to wheels down, and goes out to bid on May 15.

Business Disruption is Good

The Voice of San Diego has an interesting map from Uber showing the usual routes taken by Uber, the “ride sharing” company. The author of the piece tries to make the point that Uber is only used by the young and affluent, as if it is some class distinction.

http://voiceofsandiego.org/2014/04/23/where-uber-dominates-in-san-diego/

Any “disruptive” service is more likely adapted by young and or affluent, but it is interesting to me that there is now Uber in Temecula. (I research alternatives for my community “Aging in Place” organization.)

Today Uber (based in San Francisco) announced it is in 100 cities in 35 countries. LyFt — another San Fran competitor, also in San Diego — is in more than 30 cities, and still another, SideCar is in third and moving up.

Options are always good. Competition benefits the user, but not the cab companies. Uber differentiates itself by being app oriented — you call through your cellphone, you see by map how far the driver is from your site, you get a photo of the driver — and when the ride is over you pay and tip through the app, and rate the driver and car. (He also rates YOU!)

Uber releases anyone who cannot maintain 4.5 on a 5.0 scale.

I love business disruption. Cab companies have had the monopoly far too long, and I was in San Diego back when the Mayor lost his job by what was called the Yellow Cab Scandal. Cities limit the number of medallions they are willing to approve, and cities are badly served by the cab company influence. In San Francisco there is one cab for every 550 residents, but in Milwaukee it is one per 1,800.

Uber has four levels of service: UberX is the economy ride; UberBlack is a four-door sedan; UberSUVis self descriptive, as is UberLuxury. Uber is now establishing a package delivery service.

Courts, in places like St.Louis and Houston are looking into the disruption, as cities and cab companies lose taxi revenue and customers, but in the end technology will win. It always does, but it is called disruption for a reason — and in Paris, France the cab drivers physically attacked Uber cars leaving the airport.

We Need a Truce!

The Fox News Channel is losing me — I hate being proselytized by Christians, and I am starting to dread Fox the way I fear the Bible-Thumpers who ring my doorbell.

Clue, Fox: Not all Conservative/Libertarians are devout Christians who want a new incarnation of Jimmy Swaggart!

Stick with the news. There are plenty of religious channels!

On that subject I have un friended my second Facebook friend — one I have known for 35 years — over her constant religious postings of devotional posters. When it was one or two a day, that was acceptable, but when it constantly was upward of 10 — I gave up.

There is a constant cry from some Christians that they are being persecuted by Atheists who demand an unreasonable separation of Church and state, and in this the Christians are absolutely correct. While this is not a Christian nation, it was certainly founded by devout Christians, and if not Christianity per se that our laws are based upon, certainly it was religious morals.

To understand at least Thomas Jefferson’s beliefs, one need only order the “Jefferson Bible” from amazon.com (as I have). Jefferson personally cut and pasted the moral lessons of Jesus — but without the miracles and other superstitions. He pasted the parables, side by side in English, Greek, and Latin.

Those “Christian” morals were universal before Christ. They were part and parcel of the ancient Jews, and are the moral basis of all religions — they are universal rules to live side-by-side.

All Moral people abide by those Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule — people with no religion at all use those same concepts — because they work, and not because some Middle Eastern Sky God commands it!

But, there is now as much pushing Christianity among Conservative groups as there is bashing Christianity among so-called “Secular Humanist liberals.”

I wish everyone would simply stand back and take a deep breath. I don’t want crosses removed fro their historic sites, and I do not want Christianity pushed by Fox News in general and Bill O’Reilly in particular.

We need a truce.