California Education Remains Awful (2015 Results)

The good news is that the National Report Card of the US Department of Education has rearranged the presentation on their website to make it simple to compare states.
The bad news is that California is no better than it has been for the last decade and more — so bad that it is easier to list the state’s that are worse than the state’s that test higher.

The good news of the new presentation absolves me of downloading information into Excel, then sorting — the website has done that and so those unfamiliar with the vagaries of spreadsheets can read the results directly.

It’s the continuing bad news that makes me grimace! For example:

California Fourth Grade Readers were beaten out for the bottom spot only by New Mexico! (yes, that means we were behind Mississippi, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Alabama, etc.)

(Just for comparison sake, since we are often compared to Texas — they ranked 37)

California Eighth Grade Readers were beaten out for last spot by New Mexico, Mississippi and the District of Columbia.

(Texas stood 38th — again much higher, although not particularly good.)

So, let’s move to the other subject matter graded by the US Department of Education testing: Math

California Fourth Grade Math students beat out Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, the District of Columbia, New Mexico and Alabama for dead last.

(For comparison, Texas stood 11th.)

California Eighth Grade Students managed to defeat the following for last place — West Virginia, New Mexico, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and the District of Columbia.

(Texas stood 23rd.)

I suppose that my previous Thank God for Mississippi must now be replaced with Thank God for New Mexico, the only state we beat regularly.

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/

It should be noted that the highest we stand (2015 testing) in any grade and subject is 44th, there is one thing we stand very high in, and that is “Teacher Pay.”

We stand fourth highest in Teacher Pay.

http://www.teacherportal.com/teacher-salaries-by-state/

Conclusion: We are not getting what we are paying for!

Psssst! Gun Violence is Way Down! (Seriously)

Some of my well-intentioned friends believe that gun violence is rising — but Pew Research Center recently (September 15, 2015) reported that, in fact, gun violence has gone down!
“The nation’s overall gun death rate has declined 30% since 1993. This total includes homicides and suicides, in addition to a smaller number of fatal police shootings, accidental shooting deaths and those of undetermined intent. ”

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/10/21/gun-homicides-steady-after-decline-in-90s-suicide-rate-edges-up/

The same research shows that the public PERCEPTION is that gun violence has increased.

“Despite these trends, most U.S. adults think gun crimes have increased. In our 2013 survey, more than half (56%) of Americans said the number of gun crimes had gone up compared with 20 years ago. Another 26% said the number of gun crimes had remained the same, and just 12% said gun crimes had declined.”

To some people, their perception is their reality, and that seems to be driving the public discussion.

Facts do not appear to properly impact the discussion.

Freedom of the Seas

Wonderful — China illegally builds “islands” by destroying ocean reefs (in violation of the United Nation Law of the Sea), and then illegally draws illegal lines claiming Sovereignty of 12 miles which cuts off huge chunks of the South China Sea to trade and free navigation passage for merchant shipping.
Then they strongly reject an American Destroyer which challenges it by sailing on the open ocean.

Freedom of the sea is what the US NAVY, protects, and has for a century. 

It did so yesterday.
China has a decent Navy, new weapons and it is capable of sinking a single Destroyer with ease — what it cannot do is deter the US Navy in a sea battle, and China knows that.

What we may have to do is escort commercial ships through the waters for months or years, otherwise the Chinese will claim territorial waters that sits out our allies like the Phillipines.

It’s good that we are pushing back, because it is all about oil, there is probably a lot of it in the claimed territorial waters and our allies want a place at the oil table without being completely boxed out.

Top Secret: “EXCEPTIONALLY GRAVE DAMAGE!”

This nation should not have to rely upon the FBI, Judicial Watch, the Benghazi Committee or the Justice Department to tell us that Hillary is unfit for president. 

If Joe Blow and Sally Smith had any concept of the need to keep classified material safe, Hillary would not even show in the presidential polls, but we are in a nation where a tiny percentage serve in the military, and fewer still in the Secret Service and the FBI, so putting highly classified material at risk is simply not in their knowledge base. 

I refuse to believe they don’t care, although that is another possibility. I have to believe that those without military experience simply do not know of the hundreds, probably thousands, of people alive today whose careers were ended or cut short for far less than what the two Inspector Generals have already found to be the case with Hillary. The case of General Patraeus was just one of the more obvious data points.

There are several groups of citizens whose ire cannot be controlled — the FBI team that makes its report and the many, many members of the military, active and retired, whose lives and careers have depended on their knowledge of the importance of holding secrets close. 

The Inspector Generals’ reports alone warrant an Independent Prosecutor.  

But the cavalier attitude of Hillary supporters is troubling. 

(Hillary KNOWS she messed up totally. If she initiates a message with classified information, it is up to HER to state the classification. She failed to mark her own e-mails, then claimed they were not marked – as if it were the responsibility of someone else to mark them! Her problem is that Top Secret is Top Secret even if no one marks it!)

So she rolled the dice. It’s a great bluff. Her supporters have no clue. 

I watched most of the Benghazi Committee testimony of the former Secretary of State, and it had its moments but it was mostly fodder for those inside the beltway. 

The real meat is what the FBI finds in her e-mails. The average citizen’s lack of knowledge regarding classified material security is a political problem. All they really need to know is that Top Secret means information that could reasonably be expected to cause “exceptionally grave damage to national security.”

Get that? EXCEPTIONALLY GRAVE DAMAGE!

From the New York Times: “I. Charles McCullough III, the Inspector General for the intelligence community, found the two emails containing what he determined was “Top Secret” information in the course of reviewing a sampling of 40 of Mrs. Clinton’s work-related emails for potential security breaches.”

(New York Times, September 7, 2015, “Second Review Says Classified Information Was in Hillary Clinton’s Email”)

That the State Department and Hillary Clinton disagree is of little consequence – one would expect them to disagree – but the CIA knows what information is, or should be, Top Secret, and they clearly exposed the truth. 

The FBI is likely to find many more instances, but one such instance, already found, will ruin a military career and likely result in a Court Martial. 

It should also easily end a political career

It’s Two Top Secret e-Mails!

I watched most of the Benghazi Committee testimony of former Secretary of State, and it had its moments, but it was mostly fodder for those inside the Beltway. 
The real meat is what the FBI finds in her e-mails. I have opined regarding the awful knowledge base of the average citizen regarding classified material security. All they really need to know is that Top Secret means information that could reasonably be expected to cause “exceptionally grave damage to national security.”

Get that? EXCEPTIONALLY GRAVE DAMAGE!

Now this from the New York Times:

“I. Charles McCullough III, the inspector general for the intelligence community, found the two emails containing what he determined was “Top Secret” information in the course of reviewing a sampling of 40 of Mrs. Clinton’s work-related emails for potential security breaches.”

(New York Times, September 7, 2015, Second Review Says Classified Information Was in Hillary Clinton’s Email)

That the State Department, and Hillary Clinton disagree is of little consequence — one would expect them to disagree, but the CIA knows what information is, or should be Top Secret, and they clearly exposed the truth.

The FBI is unlikely to disagree with the assessment of the inspector General, and indeed is likely to find many more instances, but one such instance will ruin a military career at the least, and would be the subject of a Court Martial. More than a single Top Secret transgression would risk federal prison, because it would cause EXCEPTIONALLY GRAVE DAMAGE to the nation.

The Inspector General has already found such a grave transgression.

It is time for a federal Grand Jury to listen to the testimony of the Inspector General, and the FBI when their investigation is complete, and if there is sufficient evidence, she should be indicted.

Civilians Have No Clue About Classified Material

This nation should not have to rely upon the FBI to tell us that Hillary is unfit for president.
This nation should not have to rely upon Judicial Watch to tell us that Hillary is unfit for president.

This nation should not have to rely upon the Justice Department to tell us that Hillary is unfit for president.

If Joe Blow and Sally Smith had any concept of the need to keep classified material safe, Hillary would not even show in the presidential polls, but we are in a nation where a tiny percentage serve in the military, and fewer still in the Secret Service and the FBI, so putting highly classified material at risk is simply not in their knowledge base.

I refuse to believe they don’t care, but that is another possibility. I have to believe that those without military experience simply do not know of the hundreds, probably thousands alive today whose careers were ended, or cut short for less than what the Two Inspector Generals have already found to be the case with Hillary. The case of General Patraeus was just one of the more obvious news items. 

There is are several groups of citizens whose ire cannot be controlled — the FBI team that makes its report and the many, many members of the military, active and retired whose lives and careers have depended upon their knowledge of the importance of holding secrets close.

The Inspector Generals reports alone warrant an Independent Prosecutor. Even before the FBI Report becomes public, the White House will get a “heads up” and that may be what is keeping Biden dancing in the wings like a man desperately needing the Men’s Room!

But the cavalier attitude of Hillary supporters is troubling. Admittedly, Bernie Sanders is another troubling question for Democrats, and O’Malley is “neither fish nor foul nor lean red meat” and Jim Webb is a remnant of the day when Democrats had two wings to the party. 

(Actually, it appears they do have two wings — a Left wing and a Socialist Wing. That may be a distinction without a difference,)

Hillary KNOWS she messed up totally, but she discovered when she as on the investigating committee for Richard Nixon that unless your staff rats on you, a “limited hangout” can work. Bill Clinton tried it and came close himself — and would have made it but for a blue dress. It is a good strategy if your political life depends on it — and Hillary’s political life does.

(If she initiates a message with classified information it is up to HER to state the classification.

She did not mark her own e-mails, then she claims they were not marked!

Obvious!)

So she rolled the dice. It’s a great bluff. Her supporters have no clue.

The Sky “Could”Fall…

Just wonderful! There must have been a nationwide sale of tin foil at WalMarts!
Recently, UN Ambassador Susan Rice said the Syrian conflict is the result of “Climate Change” — and the US Academy of Science says that the sea rise could swallow Miami, Boston, and a kettle of other cities by 2100.

First, I seldom read any story with “Could” or “May” in the headline, since that is not reporting as I know it — it is guessing. Tarot Cards, Psychics, etc.
Now admittedly, “Scientists” are better educated, but as a retired Computer Scientist I have zero confidence in predictive computerists.

 GI=GO.

And that is why the predictive programs didn’t account for the NASA disclosure that there has been no warming for 19 years — the “Pause” as the scientists call it.

I will say that the scientists and computerists are getting smarter: Their predictions are now for generations hence. Those predictions once were for a decade or so, and when the predictions did not come to pass, laughter ensued. It is a safe bet that none of today’ members of the Academy of Science will still be alive in 2100. 

Of course all of the unfulfilled predictions will be proper fodder for books, and there will be lots of them. Y2K was a big event, but fortunately most of us didn’t believe the hype. 

Most Americans don’t believe the hype on Anthropological Global Warming, either. Perhaps if we see some predictions actually come true, and fewer of the “could” and “may” headlines….

If You Live Here Adhere To OUR culture

In the United States, we have a fully defined cultural system, and although there are things we can change, or at least discuss changing, our system works just fine.
And there are some cultural things that we should absolutely say are not just off limit for changing, but we must insist that our “Immigrants” or “Refugees” must change to live IN OUR CULTURE. 

They came here for a reason, and although it is reasonable that they keep some cultural traits, in our society we must insist.

There will be no Honor Killings.

Eating dog is beyond the pale.

Female mutilation cannot be tolerated — Even Nigeria outlawed Female Mutilization last week

Multiple marriages are not acceptable or legal. At least today. (That may change)

We need to inform all Immigrates that they MUST adhere to our culture, our laws, our standards…or they must leave.

I know this is called “Racist” in some circles– but it isn’t, it is not against their culture in THEIR culture, it is FOR our culture in our country! All of these foreign cultures — from the “Macho” Latin cultures to the enslaving Middle East cultures need to know that we try to treat women equally.

(Here, I think it is appropriate to quote my favorite Author on the subject; “Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up with the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic is to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear. They should never settle merely for equality. For women, “equality” is a disaster.” — Robert A. Heinlein)

While we may decry some of their cultural proclivities, we don’t withhold foreign aide just because they rape boys, or stone underage female victims of rape, so they can continue their uncivilized behavior unimpeded.

There are some foreign places we insist on our cultural standards, like on our military bases — the American Major cashiered for dropping an Afghanistan officer who was raping a young boy ON AN AMERICAN BASE! That American Major should be returned to Active Duty.

I do not know what instruction the State Department gives to those who immigrate to our country, and perhaps the acts that I read about in the press are not the norm of immigrants, but I fear that many are comfortable bringing the most extreme parts of their culture with them.

We need to make them more uncomfortable!

Grading On The Curve

Here are my grades:
Hillary A+: (She successfully executed a Prevent Defense tonight. She worked “not to lose” and

 succeeded.)

Jim Webb A: the only one who was not “me too” on the panel. He had to fight for a mike, but he succeeded and was the “only adult in the room” he has been there, done that! Annapolis grad, Vietnam Hero (Navy Cross, Silver Star), Senator, Secretary of the Navy, Pulitzer Prize Journalist, author….

Bernie Sanders: B he refused to challenge Hillary on e-mails. I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s opinion: ” Liberalism has its own history and its own tradition. Socialism has its own formulas and its own aims. Socialism seeks to pull down wealth; Liberalism seeks to raise up poverty. [Loud cheers.] Socialism would destroy private interests; Liberalism would preserve private interests in the only way in which they can be safely and justly preserved, namely, by reconciling them with public right. [Cheers.] Socialism would kill enterprise; Liberalism would rescue enterprise from the trammels of privilege and preference. [Cheers.] Socialism assails the pre-eminence of the individual; Liberalism seeks, and shall seek more in the future, to build up a minimum standard for the mass. [Cheers.] Socialism exalts the rule; Liberalism exalts the man. Socialism attacks capital; Liberalism attacks monopoly. [Cheers.] These are the great distinctions which I draw, and which, I think, you will think I am right in drawing at this election between our philosophies and our ideals. Don’t think that Liberalism is a faith that is played out; that it is a philosophy to which there is no expanding future. As long as the world rolls round Liberalism will have its part to play – a grand, beneficent, and ameliorating part to play – in relation to men and States. [Cheers.]”

O’Malley: D — A cypher, but he makes up for it by being really, really dull. Former Mayor of Baltimore…’nuff said.

Lincoln Chafee: C – Lincoln came across as your crazy uncle. Lincoln is a nice guy, but he was just out of his league. One of the “always running for something because I have nothing to do” crowd.

Chaos Is More Than A Theory!

The chaos in the Republican Party House leadership is very obvious, but I think the press is vastly overacting about it. Wait until the dust settles.
It is clear that the Conservative group decided to flex its muscle, earned through two consecutive elections that gave them some steroid — but which the the establishment had previously ignored. 

So they blew up the House Leadership! Constructive destruction?

That scenario is being played out in other venues. The San Diego Chargers have threatened to move to LA, but the NFL may not let them, so the Chargers, spurned by their hot new love may have to return home and hope for forgiveness. The Red Bull Racing Team in Formula One racing won everything for years with a Renault engine that is suddenly underpowered, and the team first sought Mercedes engines, then Ferrari, and spurned by both may have to return to Renault and beg forgiveness.

The Freedom Caucus does not have sufficient vThis is funny, but it is 100% TRUE!otes to elect a member of their caucus — but they want to be heard. They are being heard now, because they can hold the conference in neutral — and while that leaves Boehner in control, Boehner is stripped of his power because he is a Lame Duck. His promises have no future value.

It is a thankless job, and pretty much ends presidential ambition. The last Speaker who became president was one of my family members, James K. Polk in 1840. It is a position where you only make enemies! Boehner just could no longer stand the heat. 

A moderate will eventually take the helm, but that moderate will have to acknowledge that the Freedom Caucus is a legitimate force, with members who have conservative concerns. It is possible that the Freedom Caucus could draw new members now that they have demonstrated strength. 

It is as if the “Establishment” forces in the House did not see the past two elections, so the Freedom Caucus shouted “Can you hear me NOW?”

Yes, they can! But they may have to return to the man the spurned 

Sometimes you don’t know how well you have it until you lose it.

It’s cold out there!