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Linky Friday #130: Martyrs & Migrants

Education:

Marshall University photo

Image by starmanseries

[E1] School districts have been scrambling to hire teachers.

[E2] Start. School. Later.

[E3] Anne Continetti of the Weekly Standard and Anya Kamenetz of NPR look at a new book suggesting that the US is failing its brightest kids.

[E4] For all of the criticism that it got, No Child Left Behind lead to federal intervention of comparatively few schools.

[E5] Hanley’s post about Labor Day and seeing his daughter off to college is worth reading.

Politics:

If Jeb did this, I would want to vote for him. (Via Twitter)

If Jeb did this, I would want to vote for him. (Via Twitter)

[P1] Michael Brendan Dougherty argues that immigration may be the definining issue of the 21st century. I think that’s probably more likely to be true than his belief that Romney and Mormons can save the GOP.

[P2] I somehow missed this when it first came out in January, but a lot of what we think about Republican primary strategy – especially in 2012 – is wrong. To wit, there is little upside to Republican candidates shifting to the right in the primaries, and his decision to do so did not actually seem to change perceptions of where Romney stood on the left-right axis (which was considered closer to most voters than Obama!)

[P3] I bet this would be worth five points in the GOP primary in August a year before an election.

[P4] In an article about problems in the conservative coalition within the GOP, Daniel McCarthy and Nate Cohn make a point frequently made by Michael Cain, which is that establishment candidates win the GOP nomination on the shoulders of blue states.

[P5] Is The New Republic makes returning to its old ways? It’s making surprisingly sensible or at least interesting arguments against letting Syrians in, in favor of Chris Christie against Bruce Springsteen, and against Kim Davis going to jail.

[P6] Jim Gilmore’s stealthy stealth campaign is something I still can’t quite grok.

Refugees:

[R1] This piece on why Gulf States aren’t accepting Syrian refugees made me more rather than less sympathetic about inviting some here. And Syrians might prefer Europe to both the US and the Gulf States anyway.

[R2] If we’re looking for a relative success story for refugees of war, Bosnians in St Louis may be an example that could give Detroit hope.

[R3] Germany is getting a lot of good press for taking in so many refugees, but some of it may be that they so desperately need young people. And UK, for all of its faults, may be putting itself at a disadvantage by going about it in the more morally admirable way.

[R4] In what has to be the most obvious headline of 2015, the New York Times fears that the influx of refugees might help the far-right politically. Ya think?

United States:

[U1] Who isn’t sold on Kim Davis’s plight?: Rod FrigginDreher isn’t.

[U2] As we celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s term as the longest-reigning monarch, Seth Mandel explains why Americans are so fond of the Queen.

[U3] Robert Greene II writes of the southern identity that Jimmy Carter and Julian Bond tried to forge.

[U4] Jonathan Coppage writes how Brad Pitt hindered New Orleans’ recovery.

[U5] Employers have to be careful not hire unauthorized immigrants, but not too careful, or it may cost them.

[U6] Fifty intelligence analysts are alleging that senior officials are sugar-coating their intelligence reports to fit a public narrative.

World:

argentina immigration photo

Image by blmurch

[W1] Here’s a really cool map of population growth/loss trends in Europe. It’s interesting how uniform growth is in France and the UK (and Ireland!).

[W2] The ISIS Sex Slave Market, from the point of view of the slave.

[W3] The Washington Post’s Rick Noack’s piece on Germany’s fascination with the United States helps explain why Germany is one of the non-adversarial developed countries with rather high levels of disapproval for the US.

[W4] Is it outlandish to believe that Chinese drivers are intentionally killing pedestrians due to incentives? It may have been a thing in Texas (sort of).

[W5] OpenBorders writes about Argentina, which has made migration a fundamental human right (almost).

[W6] Atlantis didn’t exist (unless we count this!), but here’s where it was mapped.

[W7] The Clintons and Haiti.

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253 thoughts on “Linky Friday #130: Martyrs & Migrants

          • Yeah, especially elementary school kids who are most dependent on their parents, and which most aren’t suggesting start all that much later.

            High school kids, though: starting late and getting home later shouldn’t pose much of a problem for most parents, and the later afternoons may even make it more convenient.

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            • In the (mostly rural) district I grew up in, start times were related to busing, safety, education(!) and jobs: older kids started & ended earlier so that the little kids didn’t wait in the dark and the older kids had more time for after school jobs and homework, which (back then) the younger kids didn’t have.

              Of course, I’m so old that we waited for the bus or walked to school *by ourselves*. And plenty of us were so-called “latch-key” kids who spent some time without adult supervision before and/or after school. Despite being assured so by after school specials, no one I knew was ever abducted or tried PCP.

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          • Also transportation logistics. School districts use the bare minimum number of buses (they’re expensive to buy, maintain,fuel, and operate). They don’t have a separate pool for each school. So the bus that takes your kid to elementary school at 7:00 AM is taking kids to junior high at 7:30 and kids to high school at 8:15 or whatever.

            Our local high school started ‘late’ hours years ago (class starts at 9:00) but they have a ‘Period Zero’ at 8:10 where students can fit in an extra class if they wish — or do the equivalent of independent study or simply uses it like college office hours (depends on whether the given teacher is mentoring students through a curriculum, teaching an actual class, or merely there in case of questions).

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  1. P4: I read this one earlier in the week, I can’t quite yet put by finger on exactly why I think the analysis is flawed but I have two ideas

    a)

    (George W. Bush tried to square the circle and failed: his compassionate conservatism was never accepted by the right’s old guard, who sensed that the adjective implied an unflattering judgment about their free-market philosophy.)

    More than anything else, the authors have retconned Dubya as ‘not conservative’. Which is patently ridiculous. He assembled the same coalition that Reagan did (i.e. uniting the three legs of the stool), and ostensibly governed largely the way Reagan did. It’s only the big failures of the Bush Administration (which in turn is the big failure in Iraq*) that have made Bush persona non grata among their canonical list of conservative nominees as Goldwater/Reagan. (and it short shrifts Dole as a well).

    b) The Republican party hit a big reset button in the 70s as the Democratic machines of the Solid South went by the wayside. (which Reagan fully took advantage of) So trying to establish a consistent historical thread on which to pull from 1964 to present, with a pivot point of 1988, is going to unravel. The Republican parties of 1964 and 2004 might as well be different parties, like the Federalists vs the Whigs. Similar place on the political spectrum with some of the same players, but significantly different focal points.

    *the economy tanking at the end of his watch would probably have had a different political fallout and perhaps even timing were it not for the prolonged Iraq involvement.

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    • I don’t especially see “not conservative” as all that much of a retcon at all. There was a lot of trepidation on the right about him. The Compassionate Conservatism, his interest in education, his criticism of congressional Republicans, he spoke Spanish, etc. He wanted to be a different kind of Republican. He ended up winning them over – partly because his principal primary opponent turned out to be John McCain – but it was something he really had to do. It wasn’t his starting point. His starting point was in direct contrast to Newt Gingrich.

      I think (b) is on the money, though. We’re talking about a very short history. In some ways “the establishment wins” kind of started as mostly a rejoinder to people who said “The GOP is gonna pick a total nutbar this time because they’re nutbar” and became taken as more true than it actually is. (Not unlike how a lot of people overcompensate on swing voters, from their previously exaggerated importance to arguing that they don’t really exist.)

      The truth is that I the right-right had a very clear path to the nomination this time around, had they not blown it. They also could have taken down Romney with the right candidate (though that gets a bit into what the piece is about).

      I mostly linked to it because it echoed a point that Cain has been making for a while now. Even if the moderate/establishment candidate doesn’t always win, there is a reason that they do when they do. Likewise, the south and red states more generally are getting a lot of attention as bring what’s gonna save Hillary, though with slightly different implications.

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      • Absent a debate performance in the 2008 cycle by Rick Perry that made Dubya look like Daniel Webster, Ricky P gives Mitt a run for his money in those blue state primaries.

        I still think ascribing any sort of reservation with Dubya from the right wing is re-writing history. look at who threw their hat into the ring. A ‘conservative revolt’ against Dubya would have been led by Dan Quayle, the former darling the the conservative movement, and the only one in the field of the died in the wool conservatives (except for Orin Hatch, who might have also led the charge, had he any personality) with real electoral experience.

        By died in the wool conservatives I’m talking Keyes, Bauer, and Forbes. Buchanan is largely sui generis in and of himself, and has always represented a reactionary pre-WW2 conservative strain, made explicit in 1992. Liddy Dole was always less conservative than her husband, and Lamar! (I think the first candidate with a exclamation point) represented the soon to be extinct flannel cons.

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        • I agree about Perry. Perry vs Romney would have been the ultimate test.

          That there weren’t any better candidates to W’s right was one of the reasons he had such a comparatively easy path to the nomination. McCain ran from his left, and since W had so much room to his right it gave him a wide range to work with. If I were really ambitious, I’d dig through the Jewish World Review and other Townhall-like publications from the day, but I’m not quite that ambitious.

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      • What the articles missed is that it’s not just blue states, but blue-ish areas even in red states. Across the South from Arkansas/Louisiana to the Carolinas, in states where the primaries were early enough that Romney didn’t have things locked up, he won in the blue-ish areas: Mississippi along the river, Atlanta, etc. I haven’t been through the exercise, but I would not be surprised if Romney got as many delegates out of those states in total as any of the more-conservative candidates.

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      • The retcon is that Reagan was the platonic ideal of a conservative, when W was much further right than he is. In fact, they’re both well to the right of Barry Goldwater. It’s true, as Kohole points out below, that Keyes, Bauer, and Forbes are further right still, but then again they’re lunatics.

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  2. U4 & W7 intersection : this VICE story from this past spring.\

    On the darkly comic side are the model homes built for the Zoranje housing festival, supported by the Clinton Foundation among others, a $2.4 million “showroom” for international firms to build prototype houses in the expectation of winning contracts for mass production. The homes ranged from the impractical (for example, wood homes in a nation that has been largely deforested) to the nutty (you have to watch the show to see just how insane some of the models were), and not one house model was used to make homes for Haitians anywhere, other than the ones who moved into the demonstration models after the “expo”—Gandhi calls it “squatting in a permanent reminder of what our aid intended to give them.”

    Edit: in the sense that Chelsea’s intelligence report was either unread or disregarded, a little bit of U6, too.

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  3. [U5] Eh. It isn’t clear from the article that the problem was that the company asked for documentation of immigrants’ ability to work. It may just be that they selectively asked for documentation from some people but not from others.

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    • That’s basically the gist of it. They are supposed to start and stop with the documentation on work eligibility, but for immigrants they asked for a demonstration that they are here legally (to decrease the likelihood of accidentally hiring someone with forged work papers, they say).

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  4. [W3]
    FTA:

    In a certain sense some Germans will never ‘forgive’ the Americans that they defeated the Nazis and brought about a stable world order because it reminds us that we couldn’t get rid of the Nazis ourselves and were the main culprit for the division of Europe.

    I appreciate the attempt at honesty, but even this seems to come up a bit short. The German people’s problem wasn’t that they couldn’t get rid of the Nazis; it’s that they themselves were Nazis.

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  5. [P5] The article doesn’t actually argue against letting Syrian refugees settle here. In fact, it seems to mention the increase in the number of Syrian refugees who will be allowed to resettle here this year (10,000, up from 350!) as a positive thing. The article is instead arguing that we don’t need to help European countries deal with the refugees, because they can handle themselves, and the countries where most of the refugees end up (Jordan, Lebanon) are more in need of our help. That does seem reasonable, though it is definitely not true that some of the European countries (e.g., Hungary, maybe Greece) can handle themselves in this case, as they’re clearly overwhelmed both in manpower and in money.

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  6. E1: Yet they don’t raise pay or can’t raise pay to attract teachers. There seems to be something psychological in preventing raised pay from the POV of employeers even facing employee shortages. They will resist pay raises tooth, claw, and nail.

    E2: Probably a good idea but it would require work to start later especially for the parents of elementary school aged children. Work start times seem to vary wildly around the country because of tradition and time zones. I remember Nate Silver writing a piece on how New Yorkers (or East Coasters) have relatively late start times but people in the Midwest have really early start times (like 7 AM meetings are not uncommon). Newer industries tend to do flex times better. Law is not good at flex times but my tech employeed girlfriend can seemingly be very casual with when she goes to the office as long as things get done.

    E3: This is a never ending debate in education. I don’t see why education should be geared towards a small sliver of precious geniuses.

    P1: Well centuries are long but I think it is the defining political issue of the current moment and will be for some time. There is lots of talks about how the refugee crisis is linked to climate change, inequality, war, instability, etc. Will Saletan thinks the refugee crisis is linked to globalization.

    U1: Dreher, for all his sneering, is not an idiot and knows that the GOP is in danger of sailing to irrelevancy as our Tod says.

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    • E1 – I don’t get this either. My best guess is it is related to the whole idea of constantly trying to control costs while keeping prices down so financial reports are always rosy.

      E3 – Education as a whole shouldn’t, but gifted children should get something more, just as kids with disabilities should. If the district can’t provide for it directly, then they should help those parents gain access to and afford private institutions that can.

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      • I wonder how much unions factor into E1. Let’s say we want to teach science and to teach English. But we need to pay them $80K off the bat to get them in the door. Will the 10-year veteran making $75K accept that? Probably not.

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        • That’s a pretty good point. A school district might be able to shell out more to attract new teachers to fill the class rooms, but the likelihood that it could afford to bump up the pay of senior & other current staff an equivalent amount is pretty slim.

          If that is the case, then I would say that the union would need to step up & offer to help find ways to attract new teachers.

          On a related note, Seattle teachers are on strike right as school starts, which is probably not the best way to earn public goodwill, even from people who support the union. So I have a question: given that a school districts finances & budgets are pretty open to the public, are teacher unions looking at those budgets before making demands for pay? This is an honest question.

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          • Yeah, they are. It usually boils down to a differences of opinion on priorities. There are also sometimes competing unions (facility staff and support staff are often times represented by separate unions).

            In the district I grew up in, there was a huge dispute over teachers failing to get a raise for the 3rd 3-yr contract in a row (meaning they’d already gone 6 years with no raise, and were being asked to go 3 more). There was money available, but the superintendent wanted to maintain a “rainy day” fund. The union response was, “for us, it’s already pouring cats and dogs”.

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          • I think most people realize the downsides of strikes and only use them as a tool of last resort.

            That being said, some strikes probably have much harder PR problems than others. Teachers and Transit workers being among the groups that have the highest PR hurdles.

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        • Don’t you think that if you offer $80k for a first year teacher, instead of Oscar or Saul, you’ll get a 10yr veteran teacher from one district over? And your 10yr vet making $75k will take that person’s position, still leaving you with a position to fill? Is all the chaos from the shuffling around worth the benefit? In industry, do companies get the best results out of their experienced workers by paying them less than the people they just hired?

          Of the districts mentioned in the article, 3 of them (OKC, Charlotte, Nashville) are in right-to-work states, which usually, though not always, correlates to weak unions. It may be a contributing factor in some cases, but I doubt it you could say strong unions = can’t pay market rate for teachers.

          Anecdata: My extended family is based in MI, which still has pretty strong teachers’ unions (relatively speaking and all that). The pay and the non-tangibles are such that most districts have little difficulty filling positions, and inexperienced teachers have a hard time breaking in. My sister and several of her cohort moved to AZ out of school because that was where the positions were abundant, the union was toothless and the pay was shit. Two data points only, but it doesn’t seem that strong unions necessarily lead to unfilled positions.

          I strongly suspect this is occurs because of the usual reasons: (1) teacher pay comes out of public funds, so either increased taxes or reductions elsewhere, (2) teaching is not perceived as a difficult job (and teachers get the summers off!) A few years of *really* terrible teachers and/or 40-kid classrooms might motivate the populace to do something about it, if it doesn’t just confirm their suspicions.

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          • For some perspective on this scramble, I offer an anecdote to the crowd. My mother just took a job teaching at a high school in NC. She just got an MFA in interior architecture, does not have a teaching certificate, and her only teaching experience is one semester as an adjunct at a non-flagship state university. She is being paid $35,000 per year and interviewed for the position about a week before classes started.

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      • I’d be interested in seeing how that national shortage breaks down among states.

        I know Kansas, for instance, is utterly dying for teachers. The reason for that is fairly simple, and pretty unique to Kansas. But how’s Texas doing? Or New York?

        Teacher pay is generally crap, teacher benefits are generally crap, and everyone claims all the schools are failing and teachers are overpaid prima-donnas that can’t teach basic arithmetic and that’s why Johhny can’t learn. Honestly, given how often the profession is crapped on publicly it’s amazing people even try.

        (Just to make a point: As a Texas teacher with a Master’s degree, my wife makes — adjusted for days worked — less than half what I do, with a similar education. And I am on the low end of my field, given my specific focus. Her benefits are incredibly lousy. Our school district is quite good, actually. And she’s quite easy to fire. And Johnny, by and large, learns just fine. But not a week goes by without some politician or pundit claiming she’s lazy, overpaid, bad at her job, and basically destroying all our children’s futures so the school district should be turned over to a charter school that’ll pay half as much and won’t have to adhere to even half the state laws she has to. And who won’t be subject to oversight, testing, or accountability. It’s amazing she gets up for work everyday with that crap).

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        • California has a teacher shortage that is bad enough that some districts are being a lot more liberal on certification requirements. Another issue is housing because teachers can’t afford to live in or near certain school districts because of housing prices.

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          • Alt certification would be better than easing certs — we had a real rash of ‘content master’ hires (folks with degrees or advanced degrees in math, science, etc — often early retirees looking to pay back a bit) who ran quickly into the simple problem that just because you know a subject doesn’t mean you can teach a subject. In college, it’s not as much of a problem — a good book and more mature minds can get around a lot of failings in pedagogy.

            Alt certification process is generally really big on slamming home the basics of classroom management and teaching, the real ‘how tos’ of working a classroom and not only getting information into kids but quickly assessing who understands and who doesn’t — and shifting approaches when need be.

            I feel for the Teach for America folks. They take a lot of idealistic young people and toss them into some of the most difficult classrooms to manage with virtually no relevant training. Talk about souring people on the experience…

            It’s one of those things about teaching that most people simply don’t get. Anyone with kids generally (after thousands or tens of thousands of hours of personal and daily experience with said kids) learns how to teach THEIR kid. Raise a kid from infant to 5 or 6 and you generally learn how the kid thinks — and you’re also training the kid to work with you.

            But teachers? Teacher’s get a hundred strange kids every year. And they need the skills, experience, and educational foundations to teach, assess, and handle those hundred strangers each and every year. When every kid is different ,every kid is unique, every kid has his or her own strength’s and weaknesses…

            But people don’t think that. They just think “It’s easy to kids basic math! I taught my Johnny! It wasn’t hard at all!” without realizing that, as Johnny’s Dad or Mom — you are the absolute world freakin’ expert on Johnny, how Johnny thinks, and how Johnny learns. It’s a lot like saying all riddles are easy, because look how fast you solved the riddle you invented!

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            • One of the things I never understood, is why are school districts sending inexperienced teachers into the hardest districts? I know part of it is union seniority, but I always figured that upping the pay for the most troubled areas, in order to attract the teachers who are the most able, would be something that schools dist. would shoot for, reward people for having greater skills and all that.

              Am I just missing something?

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              • The hardest to teach districts are usually the most strapped for cash- they’re in poor areas and schools by and large are funded by the communities they’re in. Best case scenarios are when states try to equalize the inequal local funding, but usually these districts are full of students (not to mention facilities, often) that are in need of much greater help than the average student. Yet their best case scenario, funding-wise, is state average per-student funding, and their worst case scenario is even less.

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              • Saul’s got it partly right. First, idealists who have watched too many movies about inspiring teachers and have little to no classroom experience don’t know what they’re getting into, so they’re willing to go there.

                They’re also willing to go there for very low pay (the worst districts are generally the poorest, because they serve the poorest people).

                But the other part is those school districts are, by and large, so desperate for staff because turnover (burnout and people leaving to do the same job, for more money and with far fewer headaches) is really high. So the requirements to teach there are lower.

                Teach for America students education is…lacking. Their training isn’t remotely long enough to handle even basic classroom management and pedagogy, and most have no background in education. Which makes them more like ‘interns’ in the sense that any school district that hires them needs to assign a mentor to help them out — and they will need a LOT of help because they’re lacking a lot of important training.

                Teach for America basically takes idealistic kids, doesn’t give them the tools they need to succeed, then toss them into the deep end — and they burn out fast. Because schools that aren’t struggling don’t need Teach for American kids (because they have sufficient applicants who are certified and trained). Worse yet, the schools those kids get sent to often don’t support the Teach for American students — because their experience is help or don’t help, these kids will burn out and leave after a year or two anyways.

                Because teaching is a job, and often a thankless one. It’s difficult, the pay sucks, parents are as often an enemy as an ally, and there’s little romance in it. It’s disillusioning as hell to 22 year olds.

                Seriously, the teacher burnout rate is rather high compared to most professions. Low pay, little respect, and it’s a constant fight against parents, admin, and the public. And if you complain about any of it — especially the pay — you’re shamed and told “I thought you were in it for the kids!”.

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                • OK, that all makes sense. In the back of my head, for some reason I imagine that a school districts are like the one I grew up in (small coastal college town, with one high school that is assumed everyone is going to college, and a few small surrounding towns that are much less fun) or like Sacramento, where my son grew up and went to school (some great schools, some shite schools in the same district.) In other words the districts had both high performing and low performing schools. The way I was kinda seeing it was start the teachers in schools and classes that were more forgiving of new teachers and then move them up (to more chanllenging environments) with financial rewards.

                  I have a few friends who are teachers in those areas and as they are starting to hit the 20 years mark, I am hearing all about the burnout. Makes me very glad that I didn’t go into that profession, even though I do like teaching people.

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                  • Most contracts include right of assignment, meaning the administration can place a teacher in any position for which he’s qualified. Therefore there is no need to incentivize teachers to move to “tough” schools within the district. The risk is of de-incentivizing them if they’re too unhappy with their positions.

                    Additionally, the unfortunate reality is that in a lot of cases, the “tough” schools have uninvolved parents (by attitude or circumstance) and “easy” schools have involved and vocal parents. Guess which set will give the principal, superintendent, and school board the most grief about the quality of teachers? So now what is the administration’s incentive?

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                  • Even where you grew up, the school districts are pretty distinct from each other, and have very different teacher retention issues.

                    Your high school for example, is one of two traditional high schools in its district. It has zero problems attracting quality teachers b/c the student population is academically advanced and easy to work with, and teachers want to live in your hometown. The second high school in your district is out west–I’m not sure what it’s like, but I know they’re pretty desperate for subs–probably because most of their substitute teaching base is recent college grads with potentially limited transportation and less willingness to leave the college town.

                    Going north, each little town has its own small district, and I don’t think they have much trouble attracting teachers–at the school I’m most familiar with, there were a couple of recent hires in the math department, all of whom had gotten their credentials from the local university.

                    In the south part of the county, all of the schools are grouped together into one large district. The population is growing, and there’s need for teachers. There’s a brand new charter (or at least charter-ish) school that probably has few problems finding teachers because it’s cool new tech. As for the other schools, they’re filling their teaching spots with credentialed teachers, but could probably get a better pool if they paid more. I’ve talked on other teaching-related posts about the teacher I observed who deserves to get fired, but has a job nobody wants–this is the district she teaches in.

                    Across the county line, there are several more school districts–that are by and large dealing with a population that it is much tougher to teach, given its demographics. They pretty sharp about requiring the proper credentials, because they don’t want to jeopardize certain supplemental funding streams. But those funding streams do let them pay some of the best salaries around, which lets them recruit teachers that might otherwise be scared away by the student populations.

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                    • I love the fact you know my hometown and high school so well.
                      If for no other reason than trying to explain the place to people is fairly hard. I didn’t know that north county had so many districts, but other than that, pretty much as I remembered it.

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              • I’d be very interested in seeing that study for higher grade levels, however — most especially high school. Elementary kids can be little…snots to a degree that would shock many people, but junior high kids make them look like pikers and high school kids can be….well, suffice it to say teenage rebellion and low-income is a stressful combination to deal with.

                I would not say teaching 17 year olds is qualitatively harder than teaching 3rd graders (17 year olds can give complex feedback, if they feel like it, whereas 8 year olds are more limited as one example), but the skillsets are a bit different.

                Not to mention the other potential stresses (like dealing with kids bigger than you, outright teenage rebellion, and the range of vices and problems seen in 17 year olds are opposed to 8 year olds on average).

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                • Different studies have had different results, but as far as I know, none of them have demonstrated a difference between primary and secondary school student results (and I know that some have looked at both). Here’s an example of one that focuses on high schoolers and math. But from what I’ve seen, it’s maybe “a little better here” (usually math, sometimes science) and maybe “a little worse there” without any obvious deficit by TFA teachers.

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                  • Having gone through most of a traditional-ish teacher preparation program for the state of California, I’m not really surprised by these results.

                    The teacher prep program I went through was about evenly split into four categories: Classroom management, Respecting student diversity, Paperwork, and theoretical pedagogy.

                    Classroom management is really important, and as I understand it, TFA is all Classroom management all the time. While I think it’s goddamn important to respect student diversity, it’s not exactly groundbreaking insight, and I feel like most of the classes I took were spending weeks to convince me of things I already believed. Your hip, liberal, high-prestige college grads that qualify for TFA can probably get what they need out of this chunk in a one-afternoon lecture.

                    Knowing the paperwork is going to help you keep your job year after year, and theoretical pedagogy is going to help you really be great at it in years to come, but if the plan is to go to law school the year after, they don’t make much of a difference in student outcomes.

                    So yeah, for a one-year gig, the TFA guys probably get in five weeks the equivalent in useful training that I got over the course of a year. But first year teachers are not very good teachers in general. The problem with TFA is that it does nothing to help struggling schools get the experienced teachers that are so critical to student success–and that its existence is sometimes used as a wedge that can actually preventschools from getting those teachers.

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                    • First year teachers, IIRC, are generally mentored anyways — no matter their certification pathway. Traditional certs merit a little less oversight (you’re assumed to have a great deal more theoretical knowledge) but obviously other than some heavily supervised intern-like teaching, you’re new to a classroom.

                      Someone’s gonna be looking over your shoulder.

                      Three or four years in, your theoretical knowledge should suddenly become very useful now that it’s supplemented by some experience — and by that point, it’s expected you’ll start developing your own methods and modifying/adding/working with the curriculum. You’re not just making lesson plans to district guidelines, you’re taking what needs to be taught and adapting it to your particular skills as a teacher.

                      Like you said, if you’re doing two years teaching and gone — you’ll use someone else’s lesson plans, by and large, and all that theory is pretty useless. Classroom management is what you need, and they can cram that in pretty fast.

                      My wife’s 10+ years in — she has a heavy voice in the entire school’s curriculum in her subject, and has been drafted more than once to help with district-wide stuff. She’s a trainer in a few rather popular methods (which required further schooling) and gets tapped to deal with problem cases (kids not passing standardized tests in her field, etc) because she’s got the theory and the experience to come up with solutions.

                      After the first few years, you’re expected to develop new stuff and basically thoroughly understand what you’re doing. If they wanted people to just shove mostly pre-written lessons at kids and monitor them they’d….well, use cheaper second year teachers. :)

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                  • Alan, I would expect there to be a difference on account of experience alone. If TFA and non-TFA teachers with 1-2 year experience did about the same… not surprising. When TFA performs about as well as non-TFA with almost a decade and a half of experience… that’s surprising.

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            • “They just think “It’s easy to kids basic math! I taught my Johnny! It wasn’t hard at all!” without realizing that, as Johnny’s Dad or Mom — you are the absolute world freakin’ expert on Johnny, how Johnny thinks, and how Johnny learns. ”

              If only there were some way kids could go to school at home.

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      • Education as a whole shouldn’t, but gifted children should get something more, just as kids with disabilities should.

        This. This is nothing new. I was, back in the 1970s, solidly in the “above average” category, and not merely in the Lake Wobegon sense. Being a Navy brat, I also saw a wide variety of school districts. A few of them were open to the idea of helping the upper end, but many had absolutely no concept of this.

        The extreme case was 8th grade, where I retook algebra, not because I wasn’t proficient in it, but because it was the highest math class the school offered. In retrospect, a better district would have made some provision to, for example, ship me over to the high school for a half day or some such. My older brother took some classes at the junior college, but there was nothing like this for my age group. I wasn’t a natural troublemaker, but neither did I try to hide that I already knew this stuff. The teacher had no adequate strategy for someone who wasn’t paying attention in class, but did all the assignments and aced the tests. Literally the only useful class I took that year was typing: a skill I use to this day, including right now.

        The other approach I ran into was the bright kid as auxiliary teacher. I understand the motivation, but even at the time I sensed that if they wanted me to be a teacher they should put me on payroll and not pretend that any of this was for my benefit.

        I did OK because my family background encourage independent learning. I read a lot on my own, had realistic expectations about my formal schooling, and mostly kept my nose clean. But I totally understand the bright kids who ended up hanging out behind the school smoking weed. I was friends with a lot of those guys, politely declining any offered tokes.

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      • E1: Public schools do not have financial reports. What they do have is tax payers though. In order to raise teacher pay in public schools, besides the seniority issues because of unions, you need to get more money from tax payers. That is hard.

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  7. P1: Slavery was the defining issue of US 19th century politics. But if you put that aside, immigration was the 2nd defining issue of US 19th century politics, from the Know-Nothings, through the Chinese Exclusion Acts, to the rise of the temperance movement. So while European political structures may find the migration from the Global South to the Global North a new challenge, it’s old hat for US political structures. (which is not to say US political structures handled it well, just that there is precedent, both both good and ill)

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  8. P4: I think this is generally correct with @michael-cain’s addition.

    The GOP elite, so called old-school Country Club Republicans are fairly to pretty socially liberal (or at least apathetic to social issues). This is mainly because they live in the same college-educated, professional, and largely secular (or at least not actively evangelical world) as their middle-class Democratic counterparts. They won’t get far socially and business wise by doing the social conservative thing and they don’t really fit that way either. The old-school Country Club Republican might be more religious than their Democratic counterpart but it is done more in the religion as a private manner sort of thing. They also tend to be Catholic or Mainline Protestant instead of non-denominational Evangelical Protestant.

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    • If County Club Republicans were socially liberal, then Rodney Dangerfield’s joke of “Hey, Mr Wang, I heard this place is restricted – Don’t tell them you’re Jewish” wouldn’t work.

      The Country Club Republican, to the extent that the species is not completely a myth, was always more pro-social order, pro-business, pro-America F*** Yeah! than the median voter.

      It goes back to retconing, and not considering the full import of how the party systems have changed since WW2. Ike got the Republican party back at parity nationally, through personal likeablity, Truman’s unlikability, the Korean War, and reaching out to women. But 1952 would be the only year Republicans controlled either house until 1980. Republicans slowly restored their brand through the suburbanization that started in the 50s, then took off in the 70s and 80s. These voters were generally ‘moderate’ in that their big issues were maintaining the education system of suburban districts (so public schools were good, busing wasn’t) and fighting crime (so gun control was Ok, but so was the drug war). In any case, the worst thing were inner city Democratic politics, so suburban voters in the 80s and early 90s voted for Not Those Guys.

      What’s happened since the 80s is that the generation of Solid South Democratic machine cogs has finally died off and been wholly replaced with an equal sized Sold South Republican machine cogs, while the crime wave has gone away and public schools are even more segregated by income than ever before. So there’s roughly the same equilibrium, but the ideological underpinning of the two party system has grown a lot more stark.

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    • Just speculating, but I think the country-club Republican meme misses the mark these days — there simply aren’t enough of them to put up the kinds of numbers that do go up in the urban and inner-ring suburban areas. I think there’s a broad swath that economically run from the working poor up through the bottom half of the middle class that have very traditional expectations from government — good affordable schools, good roads, care for their aging relatives, reasonable regulation, no drugs on the streets. They don’t want to go back to the kind of air that the LA Times highlighted in a flashback this week, but they don’t care about the Preble’s jumping mouse. Lots of them think their kids ought to go to State U to study business or engineering. They look at their pay stubs, or the company books for those who are small* business people, and think “lower taxes” is a good idea**. They live in the small detached single-family homes that make up much of the housing in most cities that was the source of much debate in the comments over at Lawyers, Guns and Money this week. They don’t want to hear a “if only we all went back to living in imaginary small towns” message, because many of them (or their parents) fled the real small towns.

      * Small small businesses — the one-plumber plumbing company who uses a one-accountant accounting firm, etc.

      ** I’ll admit that when I’ve done the one-person consulting bit, that 15% FICA tax starting on dollar one certainly tempts one to take a “taxes are too damned high” attitude.

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      • So, basically, the kind of people who don’t give much of a shit one way or another about most political issues unless someone rubs their nose in them. Which is, really, what the people of Black Lives Matter and Occupy were trying to do (although I doubt they understood this).

        Of course, the problem with rubbing people’s noses in something is that they aren’t always going to jump they way you want.

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    • I read that when it was first published. I found it hard to read because my eyes were rolling so much. If these people want to cosplay all the time, that is their business. But don’t confuse this Vaseline-on-the-lens vision with the Victorian era.

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        • I haven’t written about it here, but I spent a big chunk of my adult life deeply involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism. I have no problem with playing dress up. I did it for decades. I have little problem with playing dress up of a romanticized past. But talk about this romanticized version as if it were the real thing and I will point and laugh. You want the real thing? We’ll start by digging a ditch through the middle of the camp for the latrine. Or perhaps we’ll skip the ditch. The SCA for all its flaws, which are staggeringly numerous and varied, at least acknowledges this with its catch phrase about the Middle Ages “as they should have been.” This is treacly, but shows some awareness.

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      • Yeah, it’s like how ren-faires are always full of royalty. Evidently the medieval period had 45 kajillion nobles ruling 6 peasants.

        At least those people don’t tell everyone they’re “recreating” an era. They freely admit they just want to eat fried turkey drumsticks in costume while watching people fight with dulled swords.

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            • I don’t know- as the lat Sir Pratchett observed Hedgehogs have their advantages:
              1.
              You can bugger the bear, if you do it with care,
              in the winter, when he is asleep in his lair,
              Though I would not advise it in spring or in fall–
              but the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              2.
              If you’re feeling quite coarse, you can bugger the horse,
              or the palfrey, the jennet, the stallion (with force),
              You can bugger the donkey, the mare, or the mule,
              Though to bugger the pony is needlessly cruel.
              3.
              You can bugger the ox (if you stand on a box)
              And vulpologists say you can bugger the fox,
              You can bugger the shrew, though it’s awfully small–
              but the hedgehog cvan never be buggered at all.
              4.
              Herptologists gasp you can bugger the asp,
              Entymologists claim you can bugger the wasp.
              If an insects your thing, man, then just have a ball–
              But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              5.
              And the elephant too, that you meet in the zoo,
              Can be buggered if you are sure just what to do,
              You will need a large mattress upon which to fall–
              but the hedgehog cvan never be buggered at all.
              6.
              You can bugger the bees if your down on your knees,
              You can bugger the termites with terminal ease
              you can bugger the beetle, the ladybug (bird!) too,
              there’s no end to the buggering that you can do.
              7.
              You can bugger the cat if it isn’t to fat
              You can bugger the rabbit you draw from your hat
              You can bugger the shark that you’ve chased in your yawl–
              but the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              8.
              You can bugger the ermine, and all other vermine,
              like rats, mice, and roaches, if your not discernin’.
              You can bugger the dog, it will come when you call–
              but the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              9.
              Although Mr. Tiggy is not very big, he
              Avoids with great ease those who fancy his arse.
              He just curls in a ball, shows his prickles and all–
              And the would-be seducer leaves himin the grass
              10.
              If you’re that kind of fool, and you have a long tool,
              Do it with a giraffe, if you stand on a stool,
              Catch a yeti, who lives in the snows of Nepal–
              but the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              11.
              For the hedgehog escapes the posterior rapes
              Performed upon others of different shapes
              Those who run, swim, or slither, they get it withal–
              But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              12.
              It is said, if you try, you can bugger the fly,
              Or the swallow as it skims so skilfully by,
              Use a noose or a net, or lime (if you’ve the gall)–
              but the hedgehog can never be buggered at all
              13.
              You can bugger the cow (I will not tell you how),
              Or the boar, or the piglet, the shoat or the sow,
              You can bugger the ass as it stands in the stall–
              But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              14.
              You can order or shoo ‘im, or run a knife through ‘im
              The one thing you cannot do is stick it to ‘im.
              If you try to seduce ‘im, you’ll end in a fix,
              His prickles defend him against rampant pricks.
              15.
              You can bugger the ram, you can bugger the lamb,
              You can bugger the ewe, though the wether’s a sham,
              You can bugger the tiger (it may caterwaul)
              But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              16.
              You can bugger the seal, you can bugger the eel,
              You can bugger the crab, though they say it can’t feel,
              You can bugger the bat as the night casts its pall,
              But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              17.
              You can bugger the snake (hold it down with a rake),
              Though to bugger the quetzal may be a mistake.
              You can bugger the billy, the nanny the kid,
              But to bugger the hedeghog just cannot be did.
              18.
              You can bugger the slug, though it messes the rug,
              You can bugger the different species of bug,
              Or do it with a snail, if you slow to a crawl,
              But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.
              19.
              At the end of the day, when you’ve had your rough way
              With all of those creatures, you’ll just have to say
              “That damned Erinaceous has been my downfall–”
              For the hedgehog can never be buggered at all

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        • Not all Ren Faires are the same, but in many cases the whole point is to draw in paying customers. Which is fine. But I have known Ren Faire types who are prone to lecturing about authenticity. That is definitely worthy of pointing at and laughing.

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      • Same here. I got a few paragraphs in and said ‘Wait, how did she write this article?’.

        Cosplayers usually have a bit more awareness, and don’t run around claiming they ‘study’ Federation culture because they built their house to look like the Enterprise and walk around in Starfleet uniform all the time.

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        • In my senior year of college, all history majors were required to write a bachelor’s thesis. One young woman wrote her thesis on how the medical establishment in the DC area, I went to American University, used science as an argument to get rid of midwives or something like this in a rather heavy-handed and sexist manner. Most people took the standard, “this was so horribly sexist” line, but another young woman it the class argued “but giving birth to a child in a sterile hospital by well-trained professionals is safer than doing so at home” line.

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        • I remember an old reality TV show where a modern British family played Edwardian dress up. The dad had a dental issue (possibly just a cavity) and the show explained how the Edwardians did dentistry. This was modernish but the Dad still elected for modern dentistry.

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          • It was 1900 House. I think it was the mom and not the dad that needed to go to the dentist. She was given an option of late Victorian or modern dentistry because the care she needed was simple enough that government health regulators thought they could use late Victorian techniques safely. She wisely elected to go with modern dentistry.

            PBS tried to an American equivalent of 1900 House and Edwardian Manor House with recreating the Pilgrim experience and the Frontier. Americans were much less willing to go with the spirit of the show than the British. I remember in the Pilgrim version, there was one modern liberal secular woman who simply could not stand having to pretend to be a Christian and preferred to take the punishment for not going to church on Sunday. Her husband was on the show and also an atheist but more into the spirit of it all.

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      • Lois McMaster Bujold had a great riff on this, I think it is from _Komarr_:

        “I know girls who pine for it. They like to play dress-up and pretend being Vor ladies of old, rescued from menace by romantic Vor youths. For some reason they never play ‘dying in childbirth’, or ‘vomiting your guts out from the red dysentery’, or ‘weaving till you go blind and crippled from arthritis and dye poisoning’, or ‘infanticide’. Well, they do die romantically of disease sometimes, but somehow it’s always an illness that makes you interestingly pale and everyone sorry and doesn’t involve losing bowel control.”

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    • Argh! The article itself is quaint, but having to worry about what other people think about the article counts as the sort of bullshit which I have vowed to avoid until November 8!

      In any event, I see nothing particularly objectionable with partially creating a Bowdlerized Victorian lifestyle in the modern world. The Victorian era, after all, is what gave us Bowdlerization! This may be somewhat silly, but if they enjoy it, then so be it! I’ll bet all those rigid social conventions and rigid undergarments lead to some firey-hot sex, too. As long as you can ignore the absence of antiperspirant grooming products.

      They aren’t exactly the first ones to think of this, either.

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      • Its not the cosplay lifestyle. It is the lack of acknowledgement that they are actually picking and choosing. A point I neglected to make in my previous comments is that one defense is that yes, they are overlooking cholera and Dickensian hellhole working conditions, but the Victorians would have as well, had they the choice. But I don’t buy it. The Victorian (or any other) era included features they considered features rather than bugs, about which we disagree. We could go the casual racism route here, but we need not. My go-to example is Sabbatarianism. I am very conscious of this from my early baseball work. A hallmark of respectable society was what activities were and were not permitted on Sundays. Recreational activities in general were forbidden. Not merely frowned upon, but forbidden by law. I wonder how this couple spends their Sundays. Do they go to church, followed by a big dinner, and perhaps a stroll but nothing more strenuous?

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        • You know, someone had to cook that big dinner. On the Sabbath, while the men of the house were not legally permitted to so much as play a game of rounders. I realize that “the help” has always labored under different and less favorable rules, but attempting to realize a modern-day quasi-re-creation of this with middle-class incomes would seem to require Bowdlerizing out the no-work-on-the-Sabbath rule, too. Which is just one facet of why it seems more like cosplay than anything else to me.

          If you’re ever in southern Wisconsin, take a trip to a little town a bit north of the Illinois border about halfway between Milwaukee and Madison. Little town called Eagle. In Eagle is a living history museum called “Old World Wisconsin.” There are surviving structures and re-creations of nineteenth-century farms and villages, and docents in period-correct costumes demonstrating period-correct activities like spinning cloth, blacksmithing, and tending to livestock. A deeply enjoyable day. And a little bit jarring when you see one of the docents cheating on the rules and breaking out their iPhones to text their off-duty S.O.’s. when they think there aren’t any guests around to watch them do it.

          That’s what I think of when I read this article.

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        • How did Billy Sunday feel about baseball on Sunday?

          Sabbartarianism is anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic and the wrong sort of Protestant of course.

          I think the pick and choose was obvious to everyone but the writer. A friend of mine pointed out that this can be a neat experiment but the author adopted a very smug tone like when she talked about being more in tune with Seasons because of no modern tech.

          Not to mention that tech saves lives. AC saves lives.

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          • I don’t have any particular knowledge of Billy Sunday and Sunday baseball, but it is a reasonable guess that he was agin’ it. Christy Mathewson didn’t play on Sundays. This reputably was a concession he made to his mother to obtain her blessing on his choice of profession.

            Hank Greenberg famously refused to play on Yom Kippur, even with the Tigers in a pennant race. He wasn’t notably observant, but the High Holy Days are a different matter. I used to work with a guy who this was the only time he went to temple, and he spent the rest of the year complaining about the cost.

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          • To be fair, Orthodox Judaism has just a restricted view on what you can and can not do on Shabbat as strict Protestants. Its just that Orthodox Jews see the day of rest as a joyful occasion rather than a severe one.

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          • AC saves lives.

            Interestingly, they completely fail to mention if their house has AC and central heating, which probably means it does.

            But they read with oil lamps, which they claim are antique. I wonder if anyone has bothered to inform them that modern lamp oil is a *hell* of a lot cleaner burning than what Victorians used.

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    • Cleek’s Law is tautological. The left and the right agree about many, many things. Many more than they disagree on. But those issues are regarded as non-political, even when they’re about policy (e.g., murder should be illegal). If an issue is regarded as political only when there’s disagreement, then there will be disagreement between the left and the right on all political issues.

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      • It’s the “updated daily” part that makes Cleek’s Law what it is.

        , under your theory, when Liberals agree with a Conservative position, whatever they agree on would become “non-political”. Contrawise, Cleek’s Law predicts that Conservatives would change their existing position so that they oppose the now Liberal position they once held.

        Deciding which model best fits existing evidence is an exercise left to the reader.

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        • I vaguely recall, somewhere in Obama’s first term, pundits castigating Obama for supporting a GOP position because it ‘politicized it’ and thus the GOP had to abandon it.

          I found that an accurate summary of both our chattering classes and the 2010 crop of Congressmen.

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      • No, the two sides having opposing stated policy positions is a tautology, because, as you said, anything they actually agree on is not so much a ‘policy position’ as just the sort of thing we take for granted. But that’s not Cleek’s law.

        Cleek’s law is demonstrated by the left taking a policy that was formerly of the right, and the right *immediately disavowing it*. Aka, carbon tax, and health care mandates, and all sorts of other things. It’s when the right changes their policy positions solely based on what the left is saying.

        Now, the word ‘solely’ is important there. There are obviously positioning strategies going on all the time, where the parties attempt to triangulate off each other’s position. The left might want 6, the right might want 4, so the left stakes a position on 8 and the right on 2, and compromise to exactly where everyone knew they’d end up, at 5. Or, in another example, maybe both sides actually are okay with the same thing, but the right wants it more, so the left pretends not to want it to use it as a negotiation tool to force concessions in something else. That sort of thing happens all the time.

        Cleek’s law is what you get when the right *doesn’t actually want anything*, and their base has been trained to hate on the left, so the right ends up taking positions designed *solely* by opposition to the left, even if it was something that the right formerly wanted, or if it is something logically implied by conservative principles.

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    • My ears were burning…
      Yes, I could see the travesty happening a mile away, not because of any special insight I have, but because it is so sadly predictable and repetitive.
      [winding up into a rant]
      Its as if the contemporary architectural world is determined not to just repeat the worst aspects of Midcentury Modernism, but its worst socio-political errors as well with ones from previous eras thrown in for good ghastly measure.

      Like previous eras, form of buildings is seen as a universal Truth delivered by the architect, even as they prattle on about the death of the author and postmodernism.

      The architectural avante garde has defined itself as in opposition to mainstream culture- Occasionally there will be patronizing flirtations with “lowbrow” or “folk” or “outsider” references, but these are Marie Antoinette dressing up as a shepherd costume- a pretense.

      The idea is that mainstream culture is to be ignored or dismissed, never engaged much less embraced.

      Its not that the culture of Gehry, Mayne or Ban is bad or wrong- its just totally disengaged and alienated from the people who use it. Any delight or beauty or meaning the users experience is wholly coincidental.

      But this alienation is caustic in the long run- buildings are manifestations of political and economic power, and when people are alienated from their physical environment, when they feel no emotional or psychic connection to them, it reflects their alienation from the powers that create them.

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    • The irony of that versus their stated goals is pretty thick. Unless maybe they’re sworn to the Confederate Constitution?

      For all the screaming about jack-booted thugs, can you imagine any other countries on earth where heavily armed folks can wander about pretty much unfettered, talking about using violence to stop the government from doing things they don’t like?

      How these guys aren’t classified as a potential terrorist organization is beyond me…it’s not like they’re exactly shy about wanting to shoot people for doing their jobs.

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      • Yeah, their existence proves in one way how incredibly free they are and how much they can get away with in the good ol us of a. It also shows they are pretty close to the jack booted thugs they claim to be protecting people from. Well at least the handful of victims they see who somehow almost all seem to be people clearly actually breaking laws.

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      • “For all the screaming about jack-booted thugs, can you imagine any other countries on earth where heavily armed folks can wander about pretty much unfettered, talking about using violence to stop the government from doing things they don’t like? ”

        Yeah, the federal judges in those countries are pushing up daisies. I suppose what you fellas are looking for is OK to give three hail marys to the federal order of the robes then disperse?

        Jailing for contempt of court was political federal theater teaching “folks” a lesson in federal power. No one is spouting armed leftwing nutball terrorists over that.

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          • The last paragraph is largely correct, though I don’t agree with its implied criticism: jailing people for contempt is in fact a public exercise of judicial power, part of whose point is to tell other potential offenders “this could be you too”.

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            • Actually, in THIS case it was to compel compliance with the law. There weren’t a lot of other offenders to dissuade, but refusing to obey a court order will land you in jail until you do — in any court, state or federal — in the land.

              The only thing unusual at all about her treatment was that she was not fined first, and the judge noted it was because outside circumstances made fines unlikely to work. Otherwise, what happened was a bog standard court operation done many, many, many times a day by courts large and small in America.

              The Oath Keepers, of course, know this. Which is what makes them showing up hilarious, because it plainly reveals their core — that is, they are a minority group of armed citizens who think their possession of firearms means they can dictate to the country the meaning of it’s own laws.

              They’re about two steps ‘sanity wards’ from the sovereign citizens, at best. And all that’s keeping them able to wander the country and spout stupidity while shaking their precious guns is the total absence of the thing they claim to be fighting.

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  9. U6 – Not the first time I’ve seen hard nail analysis sugar coated for upper echelon consumption. I know why it happens, and it doesn’t surprise me, but when it is found out, either the staffers making the changes need to go, or more likely the upper echelon needs to be cleaned out (since it is likely they are the ones who want the reports like that).

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    • Of course it is the upper echelons that want the info cooked so they don’t have to do anything. If the truth was known, the Obama admin might actually have come up with a strategy to deal with ISIS. This way they can stay fat, dumb and happy.

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      • Do you mean a strategy to deal with ISIS that doesn’t involve putting tens of thousands of soldiers on the ground or going full in to support Assad. Because there are obvious ways to deal with ISIS, always have been. They just aren’t worth the cost.

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        • Once the admin has an understanding of reality they can develop a strategy. Are you claiming that the Obama admin has a strategy? Right now his strategy seems to be the Alfred E. Neumann, what …me worry? strategy while ISIS grows. He has many different strategies to choose from but some are more effective than others. Take bombing for instance. It really looks like you are doing something but is more smoke and noise for the media so it looks like you are doing something. Folks suggested that he train and arm the rebels but he couldn’t seem to do that either.

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  10. How’s about that ancient Koran?

    The first time I heard about this story, it was sold to me as being a story about how they have found a Koran older than Mohamed. Peace be upon him. Reading the story, however, it was a much more boring story about a Koran that dated back to a period of time that overlapped with Mohamed’s life. Peace be upon it.

    So it became less of a post and then not even a sidebar and then only a comment on the weekend linky post.

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    • That there is some remarkably bad journalism. It seems to have been written by someone who is dimly aware that something interesting is going on, but hasn’t any idea what this might be. Some historians believe the manuscript pre-dates Mohamed. Which historians? What are their affiliations? And most of all, on what basis? I clicked through the links in a fit of optimism, but only found more bad journalism. The manuscript “is believed to contain parts of Suras…18 to 20.” What the fuck does that mean? The picture doesn’t show a scrap of text. It is two nearly complete pages of text. So is it from Suras 18 to 20, or isn’t it? How does the text compare with the standard form? If there are discrepancies, that is interesting, and some description and analysis of these discrepancies would be informative.

      You know were I found a more coherent and informative discussion of this manuscript? Wikipedia. That is just sad.

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      • I believe the person(s) took the 95% confidence interval that is usually reported when things are dated, saw that the lower part predated Mohamed by 2 years, and decided that meant “some historians” think the pages predated him, rather than that it just means that they can’t pin down the exact year so they give a range. Given that we have a pretty good historical record, it’s unlikely that any historian believes those pages were written before his death, even.

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        • Interesting interpretation. You may be right, since the Wikipedia page didn’t pick upon this this “controversy” and it is usually pretty good about that sort of thing. This requires the journalist to both be ignorant and borderline mendacious, but that isn’t any great stretch.

          The Wikipedia page, by the way, includes a discussion of the possibility of the manuscript being a palimpsest, and all the excitement to be misplaced. While I am unencumbered by any actual knowledge of the subject, this would explain a great deal about the manuscript.

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  11. Since there has been on and off discussion of what people mean by BSDI as a critique, I thought I’d link to this.

    It discusses a recent David Brooks article about anti-party candidates in this presidential cycle:

    “These sudden stars are not really about governing. They are tools for their supporters’ self-expression. They allow supporters to make a statement, demand respect or express anger or resentment. Sarah Palin was a pioneer in seeing politics not as a path to governance but as an expression of her followers’ id.”

    But Brooks couldn’t possibly write a post about a trend in Republican politics. Instead, Both Sides Must Do It. So he tries to lump in Bernie Sanders, who may have a populist old-time Democratic message but is 100% “really about governing.” Here’s the man’s CV:

    Sanders: four terms (eight years) as mayor of Burlington, VT. Member of the United States House of Representatives for sixteen years. Currently a second term United States Senator with almost nine years on the job. Among other roles, he serves now as the ranking member of the Budget Committee — one of the big three committees that have jurisdiction over taxes, appropriations and budget policy.** The ranking member, of course, is the senior member of the minority party on a given panel, which is to say that Bernie Sanders is currently serving as the Democratic party’s lead force on the committee that articulates the large scale policy structure of federal spending.

    So this is a prime example of what I, at least, mean when I criticize the media for BSDI-ism.

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    • Agreed. Most of the BSDI criticisms comes from people who are sure they are above the partisan fray looking down on those poor deluded soles who can’t see beyond their petty squabbles.Of course those people have their own blinders, which Brooks fully displays, that they are clueless about. They want to see the parties as the same, so they do so ignoring any evidence to the contrary. The BSDI folks are often just as partisan with their own goals that the BSDI narrative supports but try to get them to admit they aren’t above it all.

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      • From what I’ve read about Alaska, governing there is generally like playing a game using cheat codes.

        Although I hear the last few years have been tough and the government is actually having to consider either actual taxation OR reducing their annual payout to citizens.

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        • “From what I’ve read about Alaska, governing there is generally like playing a game using cheat codes. ”

          Just stop for a second and imagine if a Republican had said something like “oh, she won an award for science? Must have been a pretty easy award to get!”

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          • Budgets in Ak are primarily funded by taxes on oil companies. That has made it easier for many years. We have often also benefited from influential members of congress. Ak has been able to coast on oil and fed money which did make budgeting easier. It is tight now and people actually have to consider state taxes or what to cut and who gets sporked.

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          • About 80% of the headaches of Governors of the rest of the US don’t apply to Alaska. Of course that was obvious, you’re just trying to score points on a thread after 95% of the people have stopped watching.

            I’m sure you felt it was a zinger, though! 5 points for trying!

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            • “you’re just trying to score points on a thread after 95% of the people have stopped watching.”

              :rolleyes: it’s cute how you’re trying to play the “are you still talking about that bro i mean lol” bit, but not everyone sits at their browser jabbing F5 waiting for new posts to comment on. Sometimes people have things to do on the weekend.

              PS if this post is so outdated then what the hell are you still doing here

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      • She was a half-term governor coming from being a tiny-town mayor. Which is, let’s say, different from Sanders.

        All of which obscures the observation that non-politician conservative Ids (Trump / Carson) are doing surprisingly well in a way that has nothing to do with the Democratic Party’s nomination process.

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    • That’s rather a deceptive rendering of Brooks’ column? Have you read it, , or are you just going on the blogger’s quotes?

      The main theme of the column isn’t “governance,” but “party,” and Sanders fits into that theme initially because he isn’t or hasn’t been even a Democrat, thus producing the one sentence in the entire column that mentions Sanders or the contemporary Democratic Party specifically: “Bernie Sanders is a socialist independent, who in the Senate caucuses with the Democrats.”

      The sentence about the “profession of governing” appears in the following paragraph:

      These four anti-party men [Trump, Carson, Sanders, and Jeremy Corbyn] have little experience in the profession of governing. They have no plausible path toward winning 50.1 percent of the vote in any national election. They have no prospect of forming a majority coalition that can enact their policies.

      You can see that the blogger has removed the two sentences that weaken his indictment of Brooks. The blogger keeps the one in which Sanders, according to an argument that equates holding positions in government with Brooks’ oddly termed “profession of governance,” fits least well. The other two sentences strike me as realistic assessments, including for Sanders.

      Both sides, especially on the level of blogger-ideologues, DO do it. They both tip the scales in order to make their cheap blogger’s arguments, and then have the gall to question someone else’s “honor.”

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      • But the argument that Sanders is equivalent to Trump and Carson regarding not having experience in governing is wrongtastic. Obviously wrong. The other sentences you pull out are fine and also aren’t objected to since they make sense.

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      • First, the piece is titled “The Anti-Party Men: Trump, Carson, Sanders and Corbyn” so I’m not sure how we get away from Sanders’ involvement. Especially since, as you concede later in your comment, he stops saying the word “Sanders” because he begins using the BSDI phrase “Anti-Party Men.” Since the whole article is about four people including Sanders, it’s not clear what objection your “the one sentence in the entire column that mentions Sanders” is making or why that isn’t simply a false assertion.

        Second, I’m not sure what your context adds. Sanders is not urging radical policies the way Trump (for example) is. Indeed, at minimum his candidacy IS having that exact effect on Clinton’s. Also, I agree that he has no path to the White House, but only because Clinton will be the democratic nominee. Not because he wouldn’t have (at least) a plausible chance were he instead the democratic nominee. That’s a dramatic difference from Trump, who’d get killed in the general if nominated.

        Literally the only thing “anti-Party” about Sanders is that he’s technically an independent who caucuses with Democrats instead of a Democrat. But he votes exactly like a liberal democrat and is treated like one.

        If you’re going to criticize my ability to read the source material, perhaps you can explain what narrative Brooks is suggesting that actually applies to Sanders beyond a silly need to apply all commentary to both sides of the aisle.

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        • @nevermoor

          Brooks’ point on the “profession of governance” is a bit strained, but he’s referring to the four men as a group, under a theory that “governance” on the national level means among other things, as he says repeatedly, the ability to form coalitions to pass policies. His overarching theme can’t be “Both Sides Do It” because his overarching argument is about the dissolution of meaningful “sides” and their replacement, or the replacement of binary opposition of parties, by individual candidates of self-expression amidst the decline of parties as “civic institutions,” leading to a predicament in which “three American politicians have risen to the fore, and they all sit outside or at the margin of the party they are trying to lead.” He then adds Corbyn as an “extreme” example of a similar phenomenon, as it happens from the relatively far left in Britain.

          None of this is meant to suggest that Brooks’ article was a good article, only that it’s not very serviceable as a “prime example BSDI-ism,” in my opinion. It would seem so, and seem so as an excuse to besmirch Brooks’ “honor,” only from a highly partisan Only Their Side Does It (OTSDI ™) perspective. He is not in fact, it seems to me, greatly interested in Sanders or in this article in the Democrats. After the long discussion of Corbyn and a brief observation regarding the Democrats former illogical coalition of Southern conservatives and Northern progressives, instead of returning to Sanders at all, he drops him:

          The young British left forms a temporary cult of personality around Jeremy Corbyn. The alienated right forms serial cults around Glenn Beck, Herman Cain, Palin, Trump and Carson.

          He then proceeds to his own favorite theme, which echoes the very old American rejection of the spirit of party in favor of the spirit of republican virtue and “the notion that we are still one people, compelled by love of country to live with one another, and charged with the responsibility to make the compromises, build the coalitions, practice messy politics and sustain the institutions that throughout history have made national greatness possible.” If you wish to extend your critique of BSDI to this topic as well, it puts you in a self-contradictory position: “It’s our side that’s against sides, not their side!”

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          • Donald Trump supports policies that have been anathema to the GOP for a LONG time (for example, no cuts to benefits programs)

            Ben Carson is a leading candidate primarily because he insulted Obama once to Obama’s face. He hasn’t taken a lot of firm stands (and seems more mainstream GOP than Trump) but certainly calling income taxes a tithe is outside the mainstream.

            Sanders is a career politician who votes like a standard liberal democrat.

            I wouldn’t necessarily be offended to have my party feature runs by non-party folks, but it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison made purely so that Brooks isn’t focused solely on GOP domestic candidates. It also weakens his argument, because it IS interesting that the non-party GOP candidates are collectively beating the total support for party GOP candidates.

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  12. W1: I just now realized that Berlin was actually deep in East German territory, rather than on the border. And now I’m confused about so, so many things.

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