Thursday, 5 June 2014

08:07 – Public schools have been in the news here lately. With the Republicans firmly in control of state government, big changes to public education are in prospect.

Legislators are doing their best to do away with tenure for public school teachers. That suffered a setback recently when a liberal judge ruled that the state couldn’t take back something that had already been granted. I expect the state supreme court will reverse that decision. And North Carolina is withdrawing from Common Core, which the state just began implementing recently. A review panel has been set up, tasked with adopting new state curriculum standards, with the provision that Common Core is not acceptable even if the panel determines that it is the best available alternative. And legislators have carefully crafted a new law to get around US Supreme Court decisions on restricting religion in public schools.

The real problem is that the politicians have set their sights far too low. The fundamental problem is public schools, period. The North Carolina constitution requires the state to provide an elementary through high school education to all children. But the constitution doesn’t specify how that is to be done.

The solution is to establish an educational voucher system. A real one, one that is available to all students’ families rather than just a tiny percentage. And one that is funded directly by the pool of money allocated to public education. Those vouchers should be for the amount the state currently spends per student, and the amount of any voucher redeemed at a private school should immediately be deducted from the budget allocated to the public schools in that student’s district.

It’s also important that the state implement absolutely no requirements or standards for private schools, including any restrictions or requirements concerningn secular versus religious, teacher certifications, and so on. It should be entirely up to the private schools themselves to set their own policies and to the parents and students to decide what constitutes an appropriate education.

The immediate result of such a true school choice program would be that public schools would have to compete efficiently and effectively in an educational free market if they want to survive at all. Most would not, and that’s all to the good. Would some students receive very poor educations? Of course they would, but almost certainly fewer than currently receive very poor educations in our existing public schools.


15:05 – I’ve been making up solutions and filling bottles all day, hundreds of bottles. And I just got to the next item on my to-do list, which is methyl red solution. Methyl red, AKA 2-(N,N-Dimethyl-4-aminophenyl)azobenzenecarboxylic acid, is extraordinarily insoluble in water. So much so that the solution we use, 0.02% w/v, exceeds the solubility of methyl red. That’s 0.2 g/L. If I simply add 0.2 g of methyl red to a liter of water, about 90% of it (at a guess) remains undissolved.

Fortunately, there’s a way around this. The sodium salt of methyl red is considerably more soluble than the free acid. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thinking about that when I ordered what amounts to a lifetime supply of the free acid. So I need to convert the free acid to the sodium salt. That’s easy enough to do: simply dissolve the methyl red free acid in a (very) dilute solution of sodium hydroxide to form a solution of sodium methylredate. (I lay claim to creating that anion name; Google finds zero instances of it.)

Just how dilute? Well, the stoichiometry says that one mole of sodium hydroxide reacts with one mole of methyl red. The molecular mass of the free acid is 269.30 g/mol, while that of sodium hydroxide is 39.9971 g/mol. But making up a liter of 0.02% methyl red requires only 0.2 g, or 0.00074+ mole. Accordingly, for a 1:1 correspondence, I need about 29.7 milligrams of sodium hydroxide. The standard 6 M sodium hydroxide solution that we supply with many of our kits contains 240 mg/mL, so I’d need to add about an eighth of a milliliter of that solution per liter. The plastic pipettes we buy 10,000 at a time deliver about 33 drops/mL, so call it four drops.

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45 Responses to Thursday, 5 June 2014

  1. Dave B. says:

    As I have said before, No Child Left Behind also means No Child Gets Ahead. Why shouldn’t students watch a lecture video on their own time, and then go to class where they discuss it or do their homework?

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, obviously this is all about teachers’ unions and full employment at unjustifiably high salaries for teachers. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the current SCOTUS case about right-to-work. If the past is any indication, if SCOTUS rules that employees nationwide cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues, employees will leave unions in droves. That guts organized labor, which richly deserves to be gutted. And it particularly guts public-employee unions, which again is all to the good.

  3. CowboySlim says:

    What needs to be understood here is that the educationists cannot admit to not being able to educate those characterized as impoverished, disadvantaged, minorities and English learners.

    They have implemented the following which were all failures:
    Head Start,
    No Child Left Behind,
    Race to the Top,
    ……

    Why would they be expected to admit that they have no silver bullet and quit now?

  4. brad says:

    The State cannot take away what it has granted? I suppose the court means that you cannot unilaterally change a contract, in this case, an employment contract. That’s true enough, however: any employment contract can surely be terminated. One may have to work hard to find the right legal grounds for doing so, but just fire all of the teachers and offer them new contracts with new terms.

    However, I agree with the voucher idea. Let the public schools die a natural death, when they fail to compete. The one place I differ with our host is the idea of placing requirements on the schools. Any school that is allowed to accept State vouchers should provide its students with a minimal set of skills. Otherwise, you’ll have vouchers handed out (for example) to Islamist schools that think their students need know nothing beyond the Koran. Or fundie Christian schools that think the same of the Bible.

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yes, and the “credentialing” is a major part of it.

    I remember a decade or more ago sitting around at an astronomy meet waiting for it to get dark. Barbara and I were with Paul, Mary, and Steve, all of whom are Ph.D. chemists, and two of whom teach chemistry at the undergrad and grad level. I commented that it was truly bizarre that not a single one of us was legally qualified to teach even an elementary school science class in North Carolina, or indeed in most states.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Otherwise, you’ll have vouchers handed out (for example) to Islamist schools that think their students need know nothing beyond the Koran. Or fundie Christian schools that think the same of the Bible.

    Of course that’s true. So what? The alternative, putting government in charge of deciding what’s acceptable, is much, much worse. That’s what got us where we are now.

  7. CowboySlim says:

    Due to the unbelievable incompetence of public school administrators and managers, I am not as completely anti-union as I am regarding the private sector.

    As an example, we had one first year teacher in a nearby district that won accolades that year. In his second year he fought to hold one child back from advancement. Need I finish by stating that without tenure he was fired as incompetent. Had he done something less worthwhile and had tenure, the union might have been able to save the job of this fine teacher.

    Here is my conjectural speculation of the day:
    If all teachers in the so called “failing schools” denied advancement to the next grade of those who could not demonstrate readiness for such, the average age of 5th grade attendees would be 15.

  8. CowboySlim says:

    Well, they put vouchers on the state ballot here a numbers of years ago. However, the politically correct liars got it defeated. The stated sum was $8,000 per year per child which the public schools would remand to the private school of choice, while the public school costs were at least $1,000 higher.

    In the end result, the lie that saving over $1,000 per child would bankrupt the public schools was accepted by the voters. Well, the lie did not actually define the savings as such.

  9. bgrigg says:

    We’re currently suffering through a teacher strike/lock-out in BC. As a home schooling parent, I’m against the teacher’s union and the government, and completely on the side of the students. Teachers in BC are paid extremely well for their jobs (average is $41 per hour worked), and IMHO don’t deserve any more money or benefits. And the government is typically inept and wastes tax dollars on questionable curriculum changes and administration costs. The teachers want smaller class sizes, more pay and a short contract time. The government wants to extend the contract to 10 years with smaller pay increases.

    I think there should be a division in funding. The school taxes collected should go to fund the infrastructure of building new schools and maintaining existing ones, as well as funding the benefits the teachers receive. The actual teacher’s salary should be paid directly by parents to the local school boards and paid out to the teachers on a per student basis. Smaller class sizes equal less pay, larger class sizes equal more pay. I’m willing to bet that this would take class size off the bargaining table! School boards would also be responsible for the curriculum. Parents, teachers and school board officials from around the province would meet and agree on a unified curriculum for the entire province.

    The contracts should be just like private sector contracts. At the end of the contract all teachers are let go and have to reapply for the next contract. The school boards would have full control over hiring, and could simply not rehire any teachers that fail to meet appropriate standards. Standards that are set by a parents advisory group.

    I am of the strong opinion that if your job is so necessary that the government must fund it, then you are an essential service and do not have the right to strike. Nor should unions be allowed to participate in elections, like the Ontario Provincial Police Association is currently doing by funding anti-Tory ads during the provincial election in their province.

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    And speaking of right-to-work, I just saw this:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/04/uaw-hikes-dues-as-membership-losses-drain-treasury/

    Since 1979, the UAW has lost about 75% of its membership. Just since 2005, membership is down by 40%. So, to raise more money, these morons are increasing the monthly union dues. My guess is that any increase in revenue will quickly be offset by the loss of still more current members. Geez. Talk about shooting itself in the foot. On the current trajectory, and assuming a SCOTUS decision in favor of right-to-work, the UAW may no longer exist five years from now.

  11. OFD says:

    “And one that is funded directly by the pool of money allocated to public education.”

    Once the overlords approve your measures, that “pool of money” will disappear. And those with “vouchers” will have to sink or swim and they’ll take steps to make sure they sink.

    “It’s also important that the state implement absolutely no requirements or standards for private schools, including any restrictions or requirements concerningn secular versus religious, teacher certifications, and so on.”

    If the private schools are using the money from that “pool” you can be pretty sure that they will have state-imposed strings attached, as has been the case already for many decades. Those who pay the fiddler get to call the tune, and it won’t be one that folks like very much, as has also been true for a very long time, case in point being the constant drive to lowest-common-denominator educational practices, the move to politicize the entire establishment in the direction of hard Left, and the subsequent dumbing down of the vast majority of kids, several generations lost to this monster now.

    Of course a dumbed-down generation is a more pliable group and more easily manipulated, again the deliberate intent all along. Where the herd is (stand by for poor analogy) tuned in to Fox all the time and the herders are on the PBS page.

    “The fundamental problem is public schools, period.”

    There it is. Right there. Shut them all down immediately and abolish the Department of Education and close 90% of the colleges and universities likewise. I’d treat this as a nationwide Chernobyl, an unmitigated disaster of several generations’ standing.

    But it won’t happen until the State itself has disintegrated, many years off. They have zero intention of ever giving this up and take their mission very seriously; the Left made its intentions clear a long time ago; they were going after the children and they’ve largely succeeded.

    “No Child Left Behind.” No kidding. They all gotta be on board those boxcars.

  12. Ray Thompson says:

    to raise more money, these morons are increasing the monthly union dues

    These are the same morons that think it is OK to go on strike for six months to get a $0.25 an hour raise. Then claim victory. The income lost is never regained.

    These are the same morons that are told if the union prevails the plant will not be profitable and will be closed. Yet the unions go to court, get a ruling in their favor and six months later the plant closes Then the union acts surprised.

    The definition of union today is that you get ahead not by how well you do your job, but by how long you have tried to do your job.

  13. CowboySlim says:

    Regarding Common Core as raising standardized test results, I see the possibility of the opposite here. Currently, the math tests are multiple choice, such as:
    43 + 25 = ?
    (a) 86
    (b) 68
    (c) 66
    (d) 95

    To score them, we go to an optical scanner and do the class in a few minutes. However, I also have scored them manually at times and it sure looks to me if some have the answers scratched in randomly.

    Now, Common Core will eliminate multiple choice tests. If so, the 25% probability of a random answer being scored as correct will not be possible. Of course, I doubt that any of those with Ph Ds in education that work for Arne Duncan have ever been in a classroom scoring tests.

    (Yesterday, I scored spelling tests where only one answer is guessed at.)

    CowboySlim
    Who had his boots on the ground.

  14. MrAtoz says:

    Will these young illegals also get vouchers? Or will Obummer just take all our tax dollars and start a *federal* K-12. No Illegal Left Behind. NILB

  15. dkreck says:

    Illeagals! Please, the correct term is now dreamer. Or I prefer undocumented democrat.

  16. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Illeagals! Please, the correct term is now dreamer. Or I prefer undocumented democrat.

    Is “wetback” no longer in the style manuals?

    It seems to me that we need a one-word way to differentiate Mexicans we don’t want here from those we do. I’m perfectly happy to have Mexican citizens move here permanently if they speak fluent English, are well-educated/hard-working (scientists/engineers/entrepreneurs, etc.), and will not be a burden on our social welfare systems.

    Now, by all accounts I’ve seen, Mexican laborers are very hard-working. Ordinarily, that’d be enough for me, but our too-generous social “safety net” means that these unskilled laborers are actually a net burden on taxpayers. That is, they pay taxes, but the amount they pay is less than what they consume in government services. That has to stop.

  17. dkreck says:

    In California undocumented democrats may now become lawyers,

  18. OFD says:

    And if they become lawyers, they can become judges, too. Speaking of which, the lovely and brilliant lawyer Bernadine Dorhn, wife of the brilliant and handsome Bill Ayers, was up for a judgeship recently. Don’t know offhand if she got it but I would not be in the least surprised.

    My capacity for surprise in this country has become quite diminished over the decades; its earliest shock was back in the 1980s, when despite scores of 110 and veteran status and former MP status, I could not get into MA civil service police departments like Boston’s, but then I discover that the Houston, TX PD hired two Vietnamese guys to be cops there who turned out to be former NVA cadres.

    Of course in the former case, the Dorhn appointment would be done with full knowledge beforehand of her youthful fling with the Weathermen and her chortling over how great it was that those pigs (Sharon Tate, et. al.) out in LA were killed by Manson Family members. And her and Bill’s advocacy of murdering cops.

    Meanwhile I see the Obummer regime is calling in drones from the basements to call the other members of Bergdahl’s platoon “psychopaths.” I smell desperation.

  19. CowboySlim says:

    I prefer the contraction of criminal (one who has committed an illegal act) and immigrant: crimmigrant.

    Regarding those crimmigrants that do work hard, they are typically married with plenty of children ensuring my tax dollars are at work.

  20. Lynn McGuire says:

    It seems to me that we need a one-word way to differentiate Mexicans we don’t want here from those we do.

    It seems to me that we need a one-word way to differentiate South Americans we don’t want here from those we do.

    Fixed that for ya!

    Mexicans are just half of the flood. Guatemalans and others are also crossing the southern border, sometimes just to throw their kids across the river before apparently expiring XXXXXXX deported by the Mexican police. Houston has become quite the metropolitan city with about a million languages spoken here now. OK, a million languages may be a little exaggeration but not much.

  21. Lynn McGuire says:

    It is important to remember that all of these illegals XXXXXX undocumented future citizens who are working are using somebody’s social security number. To me, that makes them a criminal.

    I know of a person who tried to efile his taxes this year that was denied his refund until the IRS sorts out the 100 people using his social. He was a little perturbed and very worried. I have yet to hear what the resolution is.

  22. Lynn McGuire says:

    I love living in Houston! “Gun Store Sign: ‘Will Trade Obama To Mexico For Sgt. Tahmooressi’”
    http://houston.cbslocal.com/2014/06/05/gun-store-sign-will-trade-obama-to-mexico-for-sgt-tahmooressi-god-help-us-all/

  23. MrAtoz says:

    I’d trade Obummer for a bean ‘n cheese taco.

  24. MrAtoz says:

    Mr. OFD I also read about Obummer’s hacks attacking Bergdahl’s platoon. I guess the doosh writing on Twitter is a hired hack. I don’t see how an elected position could get away with that. Oh, wait, Obummer never fires anyone. Again, what a weak leader and a fool.

  25. OFD says:

    I’d trade Obummer for just a stale bean taco, no cheese.

    No, I’d trade Obummer if I could just look at a picture of a stale bean taco, no cheese. And I’d throw in the whole WH, State Department, and top brass at DOD.

    Anyone have any idea just how many illegals are in the country now? There’s the official gummint figures, which I surmise can be safely doubled. Then there’s all the supposedly legal immigrants since the Glorious Sixties, thanks mainly to the late E.F. Kennedy. Anyone have a clue as to how many hadjis have slipped in among them? Or how many hadji sleeper cells there may be in the country? I bet no one does. Least of all the intel people and cops.

    MrAtoz I also heard that the WH hacks were calling Bergdahl’s fellow platoon members “swiftboaters.” Ain’t dat nice? Swiftboater psychopaths. And Rice told the world that the dude is a national POW hero; I wonder what Senator McCain has to say about that…Senator? Senator?? Anything?

    Man, we had a fleeting possible shot long ago at putting that maniacal little midget Ross Perot in there and the VP woulda been Rear Admiral Stockdale, a real national POW hero. Does anyone here think that would not have been LEAGUES better than anything we’ve had instead and since?

    Who am I? Why am I here? And they shat all over that man for that, simple prelude to a talk on who he was and what he stood for. Cocksuckers.

    “Stockdale was held as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo prison for the next seven and a half years. As the senior Naval officer, he was one of the primary organizers of prisoner resistance. Tortured routinely and denied medical attention for the severely damaged leg he suffered during capture, Stockdale created and enforced a code of conduct for all prisoners which governed torture, secret communications, and behavior. In the summer of 1969, he was locked in leg irons in a bath stall and routinely tortured and beaten. When told by his captors that he was to be paraded in public, Stockdale slit his scalp with a razor to purposely disfigure himself so that his captors could not use him as propaganda. When they covered his head with a hat, he beat himself with a stool until his face was swollen beyond recognition. When Stockdale was discovered with information that could implicate his friends’ “black activities”, he slit his wrists so they could not torture him into confession.”

    “Early in Stockdale’s captivity, his wife, Sybil Stockdale, organized The League of American Families of POWs and MIAs, with other wives of servicemen who were in similar circumstances. By 1968, she and her organization, which called for the President and the U.S. Congress to publicly acknowledge the mistreatment of the POWs (something that had never been done despite evidence of gross mistreatment), gained the attention of the American press. Sybil Stockdale personally made these demands known at the Paris Peace Talks.”

    “President Gerald Ford presents the Medal of Honor to Stockdale at the White House on March 4, 1976.
    Stockdale was one of about eleven prisoners known as the “Alcatraz Gang”: George Thomas Coker, George McKnight, Jeremiah Denton, Harry Jenkins, Sam Johnson, James Mulligan, Howard Rutledge, Robert Shumaker, Ronald Storz and Nels Tanner. These individuals had been leaders of resistance activities while in captivity and thus were separated from other captives and placed in solitary confinement. “Alcatraz” was a special facility in a courtyard behind the North Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense, located about one mile away from Hoa Lo Prison. In Alcatraz, each of the prisoners was kept in an individual cell measuring 3 feet by 9 feet with a light bulb kept on around the clock, and they were locked in leg irons each night.[6][7][8][9][10]”

    Mrs. Stockdale, another national hero.

  26. SteveF says:

    As I commented elsewhere:

    swiftboating v. The act of telling an unpalatable or unwanted truth, esp. regarding the military service of a public figure, by former comrades in arms.

  27. OFD says:

    Ginned up, of course, by the media hoopla with Secretary Heinz’s, whoops, I mean Kerry’s, wartime service with the so-called brown-water Navy. My late uncle Ricky was in the blue-water Navy off ‘Nam and what he got a Bronze Star for would have gotten Kerry or other officers a Silver or higher. Based on standards *then,* not now. Now they’d probably give him the Navy Cross. He was only seven years older than me and dead at 63; too many years of not eating right, drinking too much, smoking, etc., and two marriages with kids.

  28. brad says:

    Here’s an interesting factoid I just tripped across. The military has already determined whether or not Bergdahl deserted. Funny how the results of the investigation are classified. It wouldn’t be the case that the results were declared classified, say, within the last week or so?

    I have always wondered what kind of mind-control drugs the Pentagon brass is put on. Now we get

    “At the appropriate time, we will conduct a thorough, transparent and complete review of the circumstances surrounding his capture,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno said Wednesday.

    Some Pentagon general failed to say “no” when the Whitehouse demanded that the first investigation be deep-sixed. The new review will undoubtedly produce the results required.

  29. Chad says:

    I wonder if they were trying to avoid a sort of Nicholas Brody (for you Homeland watchers) situation. That is, an American soldier who was against the war and deserted gets taken captive by Islamists and endures years of brainwashing and Islamic indoctrination and is sent out to perform a terrorist act. No one wants to glance at the front page of their newspaper and see that an American citizen, let alone a solider, committed a terrorist act on Americans or our allies. So, the administration is basically like, “Oh shit, get this guy home. We’ll score points for bringing a soldier home AND we’ll undermine their plans for him.”

    I did see some interesting commentary where the administration was fully prepared for people to be upset about giving 5 upper level terrorists back. They were going to argue that, as POWs, international law demanded they be returned when the war was over anyway. However, they were completely surprised at the outrage over whether Sgt Bergdahl, an alleged deserter and traitor, was worth getting back (let alone worth such an unbalanced prisoner exchange) and are completely unprepared to respond. Obama is genuinely baffled that this whole thing has backfired on him.

  30. brad says:

    Obama is genuinely baffled

    The mindset is so complete different from the mindset of the kind of people who would actually join and serve in the military. My wife is sometimes a useful sounding board, because she is also very much on the other side of things (strange that she ever looked twice at me, seeing as I was in uniform when we first met).

    Anyhow, we were discussing Bergdahl, and I mentioned that deserting was just about the worst action someone could take in the military, and that deserters were generally shot in times of war. She just looked baffled, I mean, why would you shoot someone who doesn’t want to be there and is taking themselves off your hands?

    Of course, this isn’t really a war, it’s more of a gigantic, collective brain fart. The US has now successfully destabilized the entire region, and raised up an entire new generation of future terrorists.

  31. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, in my opinion, your wife certainly has a point. Anyone should be free to resign any job, any time, and for any reason or no reason at all. IMHO, desertion should be treated as an informal resignation. If one can’t resign at will, military service constitutes involuntary servitude, AKA slavery.

    That’s the main reason I oppose the military draft, even in wartime. The only justifiable reason for a country going to war is in response to an attack. In that situation, recruiting offices should be flooded with volunteers. If they’re not, I have to wonder what’s wrong with that country that its young men aren’t lining up to defend it and to kill the bastards that attacked them.

  32. OFD says:

    Agreed across the board; it’s a totally different mindset between people who are military-oriented and those who are not; sometimes the latter realize they occasionally need the former. It’s always been very tricky, going back to the Greeks.

    And yep, it’s involuntary servitude; even when you enlist, you’ve now made yourself a slave/mercenary, and subject to a whole different legal and justice system. As such they can’t afford to just have people resign whenever they feel like it (except for officers, of course) and especially those who’ve had extensive training, thus the specific re-enlistment bonuses.

    The regime ran into two apparently unforeseen problems with the Bergdahl caper; they didn’t manage to completely shut up the other platoon members and the other military sources who’ve contacted the media; and yep, they failed to recognize the mass outrage at the brazen stupidity and imbalance of the swap. Bob hit on that right away with his suggestion for an exchange of heads; that would have been eminently fair.

    How this shakes out now will be kinda interesting.

    Then we have the potentially distracting story of the shooter up in Noveau Brunswick; some of us on FaceCrack were aware of his rants but did not figure him for going so badly off the deep end like this.

  33. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Okay, you’ve convinced me. If I ever hire any employees, I’ll make it clear to them when they enlist that they are now under UCBJ (Uniform Code of Bob Justice) and that if they ever try to resign I’ll shoot them.

    One of the core principles of libertarians is that it is never permissible for a government to do something that is not permissible for individual citizens. Never.

  34. OFD says:

    Go for it!

    Yes, there are many libertarian principles that sound terrific but in real life we rarely if ever see them in practice. Ditto for anarchy. There will always be governments of one sort or another; they’re as inevitable as human error, sin, incompetence, greed, stupidity, arrogance and envy, etc.

    I happen to believe that the largest workable political unit is probably a small city-state or town, composed of neighborhoods, with the town meeting/assembly as the gold standard. Libertarian principles might stand a chance of working some of the time in such an environment but not with what we have now. Even then it’s subject to human frailties; look at the history of the city-states in Italy and Germany during the Renaissance.

  35. MrAtoz says:

    All Bergdahl had to do was sit down and refuse to do anything because he’s sick or something. He’d probably be “chaptered” out, maybe a less than honorable discharge. Now, he’s set himself up for prison time or death. OdoucheBag will let him off, though.

  36. Lynn McGuire says:

    We, the USA, will not execute a soldier for desertion off the battle field in this date and time. If he had deserted in the heat of battle, who knows? His commanding officer would make that decision depending on the conditions of the battle. Bergdahl probably will have a duty assignment for Fort Leavenworth though. And then dishonorably discharged.

    Unless the Commander-in-Chief gives an order just to discharge him today. To say that would be bad for morale would be an understatement. Of course, there are so many other things that the Commander-in-Chief is doing that this would just join the list.

  37. Lynn McGuire says:

    One of the core principles of libertarians is that it is never permissible for a government to do something that is not permissible for individual citizens. Never.

    I wish that I could agree. Unfortunately, at some point for some unknown quantity of soldiers, they can and will be ordered, “run up that hill and take it away from those other soldiers”. Any soldier who disobeys that command is liable to be summarily shot dead by their commanding officer. That is why officers carry pistols.

  38. OFD says:

    In the Great War, the British Army had what were called “battle police,” used to make certain guys at the front stayed at the front, and if they ran backwards, the battle police would try to arrest them, or if need be, blow them away. And of course Koba the Dread’s Red Army had similar units, usually made up of NKVD people.

    MrAtoz is correct about what Bergdahl could have done; simply stop functioning and claim some kind of medical/psych problem and run it into the ground and get a med discharge. At this point of the situation, who knows how it will all turn out now; the regime did not expect all the hoopla.

  39. Lynn McGuire says:

    If you ever get the chance, go to the graveyards in Normandy, France. They stretch on into the distance as far as you can see. Then go to the beaches and think about those soldiers in the landing crafts. That took courage knowing what was waiting for you!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normandy_American_Cemetery_and_Memorial

    After seeing those cemeteries and beaches, I cannot watch the “Saving Private Ryan” and “Band of Brothers” shows. Just too realistic.

    BTW, I was watching “Coal Miner’s Daughter” the other night and Doolittle Lynn said (in the movie) that he went up Omaha beach on day 4. I found that interesting.

  40. OFD says:

    I am very familiar with the landings in Normandy, short of having actually been there myself yet. Of course it took tremendous guts to bail from those craft and swim/wade into concentrated machine-gun and artillery fire, that, once again, our other armed forces were unable to suppress adequately, just as they had not in the previous world war against the Germans.

    “Coal Miner’s Daughter” is an excellent flick; we saw it many years ago; outstanding job by Sissy Spacek.

  41. ech says:

    My uncle was a medic on wave 5 at Omaha. He normally worked crash crew at a B-17 base, but they pulled medical staff from the air corp to support the landings.

    As an example, we had one first year teacher in a nearby district that won accolades that year. In his second year he fought to hold one child back from advancement. Need I finish by stating that without tenure he was fired as incompetent.

    He was fired for rocking the boat. Holding a kid back makes everyone else at the school look bad and can affect bonuses. If he had tenure, he would have been chastised by the other teachers and shunned.

  42. OFD says:

    “He was fired for rocking the boat. Holding a kid back makes everyone else at the school look bad and can affect bonuses. If he had tenure, he would have been chastised by the other teachers and shunned.”

    Great system we have. It needs to be wipe out entirely.

  43. SteveF says:

    The thing (well, one of the things) that pisses me off about the current system is that whenever a proposal for change is brought up, the teachers’ unions and their fellow travellers immediately jump all over it, pointing out that it’s not perfect and some kids will fall through the cracks and we have to stick with what we have but give the current system more money.

    How about, just a crazy idea here, compare, say, vouchers to what we currently have, rather than to perfection. Alternatively, compare the current system to perfection. Either way, I’m pretty sure the current system will fall short.

  44. MrAtoz says:

    How about, just a crazy idea here, compare, say, vouchers to what we currently have, rather than to perfection.

    That’s the problem with the libturd Utopia, you can never reach it. But I think you already knew that.

  45. OFD says:

    No one cares anyway. The publik skool system is simply a means of warehousing and providing daycare for our children while both spouses are forced to work multiple jobs to just barely keep the family afloat. They’re exhausted when they get home and then have to deal with tons of make-work bullshit homework and sign off on communist paperwork all the time and then the teachers bitch that the parents don’t participate in their childrens’ education. Meanwhile the kids can barely read and write and do arithmetic, if at all, and they’re dumbed down to LCD level and inundated with neo-Marxist PC rubbish constantly.

    The teachers’ unions and the administrations throughout the country’s education systems, local and state, are locked in solid and none of this will ever change until they’re all tossed out on their asses and the systems closed down.

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