Linky Friday: There Will Be Concussions

Education:

[Ed1] Lain is too young for The Homework Wars to be a concern, but I do lean mildly in favor of limiting it. I am probably too far off in the Leisure Time direction, though.

[Ed2] It’s not just Missouri. The good news back home Southern Tech’s applications are up 80% since 2009.

[Ed3] Frances Coleman says save our summers! I think we should do away with summer vacation, but there is a definite tension there.

[Ed4] This says more about the state of our education system than it does about HBO’s plans.

[Ed5] Relatedly, college graduates aren’t learning how to write.

[Ed6] Jesse Singal writes about Mindset Theory, and how it may be falling apart. Well, maybe overhyped, anyway.

Football:

Temple Owls photo

Image by dbking

[Fb1] The jersey number aspect of Temple’s plan is less interesting than basically requiring the players be their friend.

[Fb2] I go back and forth on whether Charlotte or Georgia State is embarking on the most quixotic quest for a relevant football program. Georgia State has a new (well, repurposing an existing) stadium and is the #3 school in its state, but Charlotte has the better conference affiliation.

[Fb3] Why are there so few black head coaches in college football? Well, it’s a story that starts early

[Fb4] Aaaaaand now Millennials are killing the Big 12.

[Fb5] Ooooh, the Weekly Standard has picked up Gregg Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback. Previously featured on Slate and ESPN website, it’s the only NFL feature I’ve read regularly.

Violence:

[V1] In addition to the actions of the white supremacists and some of their opponents, it seems to be violence could have been prevented by the authorities. But they dropped the ball and their excuses aren’t holding up.

[V2] The Jewish history of the Nazi’s favorite shirt, the polo shirt.

[V3] Meanwhile, in San Fransisco Nancy Pelosi is leading the charge to pull the permit for the Patriot Prayer group, whose leader actually had some pretty harsh words for the folks in Charlottesville.

[V4] I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my wife’s personal safety has been threatened a handful of times, and all but one of them involved prescriptions she didn’t write.

[V5] {Ominous music}… the perfect murder? (Despite being convicted?)

[V6] How to make excuses for prisoner torture, in Russia.

[V7] How our military is exporting coups.

Law:

[L1] While we’re talking about sexism and google, they may have a much bigger discrimination liability.

[L2] This seems both natural and disturbing.

[L3] In the age of three felonies a day and the potential to upcharge, defendants may never stand a chance.

[L4] It’s… interesting… that among groups that take care of strays, PETA is unusually aggressive about putting them down.

[L5] For-profit Charlotte Law School may be shutting down.

[L6] At a certain level of scrutiny, there may be enough for a lot of us to be institutionalized. My wife has worked in systems too far in each direction and one too far in both. It’s a tough issue.

Health:

vaping photo

Image by HRYMX

[H1] It’s me and The Nation vs the world on the left’s newfound fixation on Single Payer. They go pretty far out of their way to avoid basically saying that everybody is using the wrong term.

[H2] A hard won victory has been won in allowing bone marrow donors to be compensated. Well, in this case, it was more of an avoided loss, but still.

[H3] Jacob Sullum takes a stand against the planned low-nicotine initiative by the FDA. It’s worthy of investigation (which is all that’s been committed to), but there are definitely some concerns. {More}

[H4] Louisiana is betting economically on (questionable) healthcare innovation.

[H5] We need more people to get cancer. Wait, that came out wrong…

[H6] As the US pivots towards ecigarettes, the UK is going all in. Meanwhile, the EU has decided to re-evaluate its draconian (though less draconian than Obama’s) ecigarette policy only after its most pro-vaping member leaves. Relatedly, this seems like a good place to mention back on August 21st I passed four years of smoking cessation.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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55 thoughts on “Linky Friday: There Will Be Concussions

  1. Ed1: My mom was against homework for elementary school students. Can’t remember why though.

    Ed3: We had a mini-debate about this on LGM a few months ago. The pro-Summer Vacation side argued that kids need to be given time to be kids and people spend too much time devoting life to work anyway. The pro-Year Long School side believed that only year long schooling can help kids from disadvantaged backgrounds compete or as one honestly put it, using coercive government action to make up for subpar parenting.

    Summer vacation is a weird thing. Even in affluent families, its something of a hassle because both parents are going to be working full time and globalization made summer slack time at work an anachronism. When I was kid, the New York and I think New Jersey courts didn’t do any civil cases from Memorial Day to after Labor Day. Even though my dad, a lawyer, still went to work it was much more relaxed. The courts hears cases year round. Summer vacation is even more of hassle for single parent households or families that can’t afford summer programs easily. Yet, the idea of summer has a fun time and family get together time remains.

    V2: We are unescapable.

    V5: I guess by some definitions, committing murder with malice aforethought but getting the prosecutors to give you ten years for manslaughter rather than life or the death penalty is the perfect murder. His punishment could be a lot worse. I’m wondering if he called 911 whether he would have gotten away with it.

    L2: Pharmaceutical companies are the real drug pushers that the government should go after.

    L3: We really need to reform the entire criminal justice system. This means decriminalizing or even legalizing a lot of illegal activity, reducing the power of the prosecutors to play hardball, and increasing defendant rights.

    L4: This seems like douche move even for PETA.

    L5: Yes.

    HI: Scott Lemieux of LGM would agree with you and the Nation on this.

    H6: People who smoke e-cigerettes always look like they are sucking their thumb to me.

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    • L3 : concur, what is the point of innocent until proven guilty & reasonable doubt if the DA can just pile on so much and has so much power that no one wants to risk court?

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      • Good for him. I meant the entire complex though. I’m not a big fan of the drug pushers you see on television to or the companies advertising their opiate replacements to judges. The entire business is sick.

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        • Well, along with L3, as long as the addicts aren’t hurting anyone else, why should it be illegal? If you want to de-escalate the criminal system, this might just be a good place to start. And yes, I have lost friends to heroin addiction.

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            • I had occasion some years ago to review the marketing documentation for a opioid product I shan’t name but you have heard of. It was absolutely appalling.

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              • Philip K. Dick’s Through a Scanner Darkly was correct in what large corporations would do with really addictive drugs if they could market them legally. Its one big reason why many people go for decriminalization rather than outright legalization. Many companies aren’t going to do anything good with this revenue stream and if your comfortable with at least some state paternalism than decriminalization will be a more attractive option.

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                • Decriminalization can be really tricky though – what does it mean for the supply side? Is the supply still totally impossible to regulate because they have no permits that can be yanked?

                  Because that’s what’s getting us all these “80 mg oxycontin” tablets that are actually fentanyl, of predictably lethally unpredictable strength, because the cement mixers in which they’re compounded have very different design parameters from pharmaceutical powder mixers.

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          • I’m perfectly happy to limit the question to, “Will you be able to keep a job so you can feed your addiction without resorting to crime?” but I genuinely don’t know what the stats are on opioid addiction there. I’ve had limited contact with addicts who work in a professional capacity. They remained gainfully employed, but the fact that I knew about the addiction says at least something about how hard it is to firewall it off and be a normal person.

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        • I don’t have a problem with drug companies advertising their products, as such. I do have a serious problem with judges deciding they have the necessary training to make decisions regarding the applicability of a specific drug with regard to criminal defendants.

          Lawyers should not pretend they know a doctors business, I don’t care how many malpractice suits they’ve worked.

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  2. [Ed4] Indeed. But then again, my US history was so full of tropes and propaganda that I’m not sure it had much value…

    We had to drop the bomb on Japan because they wouldn’t surrender.
    The civil war was about ending slavery
    Columbus “discovered” america.

    [Ed5] I read a lot…a LOT when I was a kid and I think it helped me write better. I write “ok”. The ex, a lit major, always said my transitions sucked, but otherwise ok. Never very flowery, just the facts. Have you seen for what passes for dating profile writing nowadays? Dear lord.

    [V1] Yeah, fully auto m-16s, a urban assault pacification vehicle capable of withstanding .30 cal AP rounds, and a mount ” suitable for the M60, 240B and Mark 19 weapons system.” and they were “outgunned”? Hell, a .223 round won’t even penetrate the bearcat’s armour. Methinks the gov is “a lying bastard”…or ignorant as hell.

    [V3] Nancy Pelosi? There’s a paragon of free speech support there.

    [V7] Duh. They teach that shit at Fort Huchucha in Az, among others.

    [L3] Further reason to end the “war on drugs”.

    [L4] I can only say that if someone stole my cat and put her down I’d be out for vengeance “law abiding citizen” style.

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  3. Ed1: As I understand it, the Homework Wars are more about national anxieties than anything else and we are finally seeing a bit of a pushback against it but the pro-Homework side is very much in favor of ramping up. As I understand it, Kindergarten is a lot more academic than when we were kids.

    Ed3: Lee has the argument right. The anti-Summer vacation side point to lots of studies that show year round schooling helps disadvantaged kids catch up academically and can also help with things like food insecurity because of free meals at school. The pro-Summer vacation crowd tends to be middle class or above people whose kids are going to turn out okay and have romantic memories of summer. Lee also brings up a good point of how summer isn’t a slack period anymore.

    V2: Jews also invented Jeans and Superman and Captain America but plenty of White Nationalists still wear jeans, Captain America, and Superman t-shirts. They probably don’t know. I wonder how they would react if they found out.

    L5: I think they closed down. This is the 5th law school to do so. But of the schools that did, I only see Whittier and the Hamline “merger” as being the real ones. Lots of law schools still seem able to find students who have no hope of passing the bar and taking them as students.

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  4. H5: Remember the one about how we don’t need a pharmaceutical industry because all they do is advertise and develop pills for erectile dysfunction, which, by the way, is not a real health problem?

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  5. Summer vacation: I had one year, in sixth grade, with year-round school. It was nine weeks on and three weeks off. The point was not educational theory, but school overcrowding. Four tracks could be fit into three tracks’ worth of classroom. This probably sucked for the track that had to constantly move around classrooms, but I was in one of the other tracks.

    I loved it. The sad truth is that traditional summer vacation is too damned long. By the last few weeks boredom has set in and the beginning of school is sweet relief, until it too becomes a drag. The 9/3 week schedule was great. Three weeks off is long enough to feel like a real vacation without getting bored. Nine weeks on is long enough to build continuity without becoming a drag. The those three weeks off aren’t so long that you have forgotten what an adjective is and how to do long division.

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    • The article is not terribly persuasive in that I think the author is really complaining mostly about calendar creep with days-off during the school year, rather than the actual summer holiday itself. I’m not sure what I think about this, it certainly varies from school to school.

      Our kids get about 2 & 1/2 months of summer break. There are elementary schools in the district that switched to a 9/3 schedule, because they thought it would improve academic performance, but from what I’ve heard, they aren’t seeing any results. The complaint that I’ve heard from on parent is that its difficult for a lot of planning reasons when everybody else is on a traditional calendar. Still the problem of parents not having 12 weeks of vacation with fewer kids around and no college kids.

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      • Let’s see using a September start date

        On: September, October, November

        Off: December

        On: January, February, March

        Off: April

        On: May, June, July

        Off: August

        Works well enough I suppose.

        Another weird thing that U.S. Schools do is have their school calendars still be on agricultural time.

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            • True and I didn’t mean to suggest that seasonal business should dictate educational policy. I do think parental convenience is relevant, and since I don’t see any push to year-round schools in my state given the teacher pension overhang, its a matter of having one long summer break or four smaller ones.

              There are economies of scale and other benefits from a long summer break, such as job opportunities and youth programs. Its not as if the parents get more time-off work if its taken four times a year.

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      • Looking back at the local school’s “balanced calendar,” I don’t think its actually balanced and its not strictly a 9/3, the summer break is four weeks. The breaks are: 9/23 to 10/15; 12/16 to 1/7; 3/24 to 4/15; and 6/9 to 7/16.

        I think the only schools on this system are elementary, so I don’t think having equal instructional quarters is that paramount. It appears Spring break is moved back a week to better coincide with the Easter break of the traditional schools in the district.

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  6. Ed5: When exactly was is that older people praised how well schools taught kids to write? I’m not saying that they are doing a good job, but when did they? I have read a a lot of 19th century writing, both published literature, newspaper reports, and private correspondence. Much of the writing was terrible. The handwriting, too, but that is a different discussion.

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  7. [Ed6] Well, the Singhal piece actually has a general thesis of “my previous attack on mindset theory was overhyped, and I ignored a bunch of evidence in its favor”. But sure, pretty much anything that’s in social psychology these days is being scrutinized, and many replication attempts are failing. That’s a good thing, overall.

    And, it’s clear from meta studies that there’s something to it. This matches my intuition, which says, “If you don’t think you can change or learn, you won’t try to” And you don’t learn things unless you are trying to learn. Repetition, in and of itself, does not promote much learning at all. It just makes whatever your status quo is more entrenched and harder to change.

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    • Next question, will Trump continue with the trip to Phoenix that was announced shortly after my post that included lack of western state visits went up. (Technically this is not an official Presidential visit, but rather a 2020 campaign rally.) The mayor of Phoenix has asked that the trip be delayed. Rumors that he will pardon former-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, recently convicted of criminal contempt of court.

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      • I think there is another rumor that Bannon offered a resignation but it got delayed by Charlottesville. So potentially this interview was part of the script.

        The other issue is how much of Trump’s back and forth response to Charlottesville was planned by Bannon/Miller and how much was not. It would be darkly ironic and said if Trump got more white supremacist afterwards.

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        • If that interview was part of some plan then it suggests he is wildly out of control and pretty clueless. Those aren’t adjectives i’ve heard used with him so i’m assuming it was planned. Maybe to get fired or maybe set up excuses for his firing he can play on. It will be very interesting to see how things change. One easy guess is that media coverage from Breitbart and that ilk will change drastically.

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          • My only guess is that he thinks it’s no longer profitable to be attached to the Trump administration. Rather than go down with them, he sets himself up as the “whistleblower” who stood up to the idiots who didn’t listen to him, gets fired, takes the alt-right base with him, and then goes back to making bank by being the outsider who fights against the hated government. Now with Extra Credibility from being an insider who was disgusted by their incompetence.

            If that’s not it, I have zero idea what he thinks he’s doing. If there’s one thing he’s not clueless about, it’s the intersection between politics, media, the Internet, and angry mobs. There’s no way he’s surprised that his words got out. So there’s a plan. Maybe not a good one, but there’s definitely a plan.

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            • If forced to bet, I’d bet on Kelly. I envision a lecture early this week along the lines of: “Don, here’s the memo you signed when I agreed to let you pull me out of DHS and make me chief of staff. I get to get rid of the loose cannons and hire a real staff. And even you realize how stupid you will look if you fire me at this point.”

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              • That makes sense for who pulled the trigger, but it still doesn’t explain Bannon’s bizarre brain dump to the American Prospect. It was basically a suicide by a guy who is clearly very good at manipulating the right people to preserve his neck. So what’s up with that?

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                • I think Bannon is triangulating against Trump from the left. I am all about opposing wage stagnation, immigration and globalism, you can have the neo-Nazis and neo-KKKs.

                  Frankly, I hope it works. I’m more in being able to separate the two than I am in Trump, by a lot.

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          • There was a tweet on LGM on how Breitbart now considers the Trump WH to be a “Democrat White House” and war is on more or less. Tweet was from a Reporter and not a Brietbarter.

            The other theory is that Bannon believes in Trumpism and Trump does not. Trump doesn’t mind outsourcing all the work as long as he gets praise and gets to comment.

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            • He may, rightly, think he can have more influence working the base from the outside. I also doubt he is a guy who plays well with others especially those who don’t tolerate fools or loose cannons. He seemed to think he could dominate all personalities in the WH like Kelly and McMaster. That was always going to be a everest style uphill at best.

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    • Trolling isn’t necessarily an ancient art form. Slate recently had a long form article on why liberals really shouldn’t be so disconcerted about the Alt-Right having their own cruel but funny sense of humor because the idea of comedy as political or leftist is comparatively recent. There is a long history of extremists from across the political spectrum having their own vicious form of comedy that they use against others and themselves.

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      • Aristophanes, if I recall correctly, was on the conservative side of Athenian politics, and made it pretty clear in his comedy. Vulgar innovators, as opposed to the established powers, have long been the target of choice for satirists. Remember the cop-out, suck-up ending to Tartuffe?

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  8. It’ll be good to have TMQ back.

    Except for Football Outsiders, who have something of the same vibe as early Baseball Prospectus, the rest of the gridiron blogosphere is basically a choice between intelligent analysis written in coachspeak vs. well written, funny writing at the intellectual level of Deadspin (a lot of it actually ON Deadspin).

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  9. Wo7 – people have been complaining about School of the Americas forever (I believe President Bartlett in real life got arrested at a protest outside a base)

    A recent Open Society report shows that, whereas in 2011 the Defense Department directed only 17 percent of all security assistance (compared to the State Department’s 80 percent), by 2015 the Defense Department’s share had increased to 57 percent and the State Department’s had dropped to 42

    The War on the Rocks people read the chart wrong – the baseline date is 2001 not 2011. The budget under management by DoD, DoS, a a third entity *all* increased, but the reason the DoD now has the lion’s share is because Afghanistan and Iraq went from zero in 2001 to several gazillion in recent years.

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  10. Ed4 [new “confederate” series]:

    I’d really want to know what the show would be like before passing judgment on whether it should be done or not. Maybe it’s obvious from who the producers/directors would be (I don’t know anything about the people the article mentions, and I tend not to know such things anyway), but I’d need it spelled out.

    My big problem with alternate histories is that they usually assume something that in my opinion is incredible and hard for me to suspend my disbelief over. Phillip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle (I haven’t seen the TV series), for example, is hard for me to swallow because I don’t think Japan or Germany would have taken over the US. Or the mockumentary the Ed4 article refers to (if it’s the same one I saw a while back) claims that the CSA took over the entire United States, which also was never going to happen. In either case, I see the creator’s point: PKD was (I think) trying to imagine what life would be like under a fascist regime, and the mockumentary was making the argument that “the South lost the war but won the peace.” It’s just hard for me to swallow the premise the creators make to get us there.

    That said….I could imagine a alternate history could be done well. I don’t think it’s ultimately a problem of an “uneducated populace.” A good enough (for me) version that demonstrates how horrible slavery was and how bad a CSA victory would have been for blacks (and for the country) would overcome the supposed lack of education. Whether that’s what these particular producers have in mind, I don’t know.

    ETA: I realize much of the above is a matter of taste. If others like alternate histories based on what in my opinion are implausible premises, that’s not necessarily much different from the fact that I like certain movies or books over others.

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    • It is a heck of thing that we’ve gone from judging works by reading and watching them, to judging works by previews and reviews, to judging works based on who is going to be involved in them.

      That said, some of the choices the GoT people have made are questionable after they have been unmoored from Martin’s completed work. They seems to beed context and texture in the background to make sure plots and themes stay coherent and fully realized.

      So I have been skeptical of them trying to handle something that requires subtlety and nuance (the failure of the scene with Jamie and Cersei and Joeffry in the Sept looms large – and thats *from* source material)

      However, I think there is another team (who I know nothing about) joining them on this potential project, so it may be fine if B&W just stick to what they’re good at.

      (I also have a feeling this series is going to be in development limbo forever, and then die, but may be resurrected later when the same people bring the idea with a different spin to a different production team)

      *To be clear my opinion is that they’ve done a great job of cutting through the chaff to get to the wheat of the story that *has* been written, but have been uneven in trying to tell the story that has not.

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