We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, August 24. 2011
Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers - When Everyone Makes the Grade (h/t reader via Insty via Inside Higher Ed).
One quote from the conclusion:
It's difficult for me to form a strong opinion on the grading topic because I have no idea what Education Majors learn or study. Maybe it's so easy and simple that anybody can master it readily, and all deserve As. Maybe they have full-semester courses in making Lesson Plans, and full-semester courses in Social Justice. Beats me.
However, it does not escape me that no profs in higher ed have ever taken a teaching course (outside of those profs in the Education Dept.). Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, not one of my kids was ever taught by anybody with an education degree.
(A reader asked the question. Yes, very expensive private schools. Private education is the only way to not be taught by people with ed degrees, if such things matter to you. Most of my kids' teachers had done a lot in life before they decided to follow their hearts and teach. Their Latin teacher was a professional actor on the side, their math teacher a retired Wall Streeter, their English teacher a retired Sports Illustrated writer, etc.)
I think it would be constructive to abolish the entire notion of the Education Major. Let people who feel called to K-12 teaching study something like everybody else does and, if they want to take some courses on the side on primary school education or Special Ed or whatever, OK. It seems to me that most teachers ultimately learn their trade by being assistant teachers - by apprenticeship and supervision, not in education departments.
Teaching is not hard work, if you know your topic. I've done it. It's fun (but some kids can't learn and some don't want to. Many are not interested in anything academic.). In fact, every parent becomes an amateur teacher. Much more primary education is ultimately home schooling than schools might want to admit. (In my state of CT, the "quality" of the schools across towns correlates exactly with the levels of average education and income of the adults in the town - regardless of teacher pay etc - suggesting to me that it is, in part, education-minded parents who make their schools look good.)
The thief believes that everybody steals.
- Danish aphorism. I cannot spell it in the Danish.
Continue reading "Statistics du Jour"
Image via Market Ticker
Irene might be headed to New England. No problem - we can deal with it. It's always a smaller deal than they make it sound. I call it "Weather Porn." And if Yankees can't deal with bad weather, who can? Heck, we enjoy bad weather.
Honey Money - The Power of Erotic Capital
Yes, attractiveness matters. Duh. But, cliche that it is, an appealing, sweet, sexy, witty personality trumps superficial beauty.
Speaking of which, looking for a new husband when over 50
A book about life in the Third Reich: IN THE GARDEN OF THE BEASTS: RITA KRAMER
Muslim immigrants to America seem to get with the program - that's why they came. I wonder why they form dangerous and socially-hostile ghettoes in Europe. Might it be because they are given too much? The workers in my Dunkin Donuts used to be all Hispanic women - now it's half Hispanic women and half Muslim men.
Where a Minimum-Wage Increase Would Bite
Look! No teleprompter! Rubio's grandfather was a reader in a Cuban cigar factory!
Not Free to Choose: The Reality behind Clean Energy Standards
Researcher says tea party voters fear change
Byron York: Spending, not entitlements, created huge deficit
Watch Out for China's Air Force - The PLAAF is developing a fifth-generation fighter and becoming a high-tech, high-tempo aerospace force.
McArdle: Did Welfare Reform Work?
Tuesday, August 23. 2011
Leon Botstein with an appreciation of Sibelius.
Movement 3 of his Violin Concerto in D minor:
I have grown fond of Psychiatrist-blogger 1 Boring Old Man. I generally agree with him on things, and I respect his efforts to be more up to date on the latest things than I am. From one of his Awakening Thoughts:
My profession is currently schizophrenic (in the non-clinical sense).
I think one of the things that defines our website, Maggie's Farm, is curiosity. Curiosity about almost everything. We are only adequate writers; we lack creative flair and a zippy way with language; we rarely present entirely new ideas about things (but sometimes we do); we are dilettantes in most areas we discuss.
Curiosity is us. We like to wonder what is inside things.
As I sit by the pool this lovely Connecticut afternoon sipping a Scotch and enjoying a decent ceegar after having done a mile in the pool nude nekked with only God and the wife's horses watching me, I have been reading this in American Scientist: That’s Interesting - Curiosity drives discovery. But what, exactly, makes us curious? One quote:
Three things drive learning: curiosity, ambition for mastery, and necessity. Curiosity is an underrated and relatively rare gift. We try to nurture it in ourselves.
From last year. A charming satirist, she like totally cracks me up with her dumb chick shtick:
My stage-and-screen pupette drove out to Cleveland last week to work in her second major motion pic this year, part of which is being filmed there. She has to be ready, on the set at 5:42 each morning. Why not 5:45? Don't ask me. She says she's staying in a really nice place near the Cleveland Clinic.
I emailed her this old vid which I still find amusing, and she emailed back that "It's actually quite nice here."
Gun Owners: Are You Compensating for Something? Best comment there:
Politicizing medicine: Chronic Fatique
State of the States: Importance of Religion
Gelinas: The Mortgage Hangover - A Bronx boom-and-bust story shows why the nation hasn’t yet recovered from the financial crisis.
The upcoming Rick Perry media narrative: “He’s not compassionate”
Perry Has New York Times Running Scared
Asked Whether He Might Think of Himself as American or as Partly American, George Soros Answers Proudly and Defiantly: "I Am European!"
Obama's Free Lunch
Driscoll: Nobody Mention the Culture War
Wiz: Tolerance is so gay
China's Underground Great Wall
Kurtz: Assessing Libya
Millionaires and Billionaires: Pay Up!
Monday, August 22. 2011
I stole this image from Dr. X (but he stole it from somebody else...)
As a very casual fisherman now - but an ex-avid fisherman (I no longer really care whether I catch anything or not as long as I can be out on the water), I kinda wonder.
Capt. Tom wants one of these for Christmas. Lowrance® HDS-10:
Maybe most of the world is on vacation now, or taking breaks from their information-gathering and opinion-surfing. Still, I expected more interest in my racism post yesterday. Perhaps it is all old hat to our readers. I thought I did an OK job of pointing out that multiculturalism, when extended to acceptance and "tolerance" of self-destructive cultures or subcultures, is not a particularly noble or constructive mission (despite its obvious political motives).
Star Parker has a piece on the topic today:
Anyway, I am back to my education beat today.
One of my repeated claims here has been that those who deserve advanced education are those who pursue it on their own. After high school, nobody should want or need to be force-fed most (I'll make an exception for Physical Chemistry and Calculus) of what they need or desire to know, so the only test of their desire is whether they pursue it on their own (rather than the simple credential-buying).
All learning is self-education, and "going to college" does not make anybody "educated." Furthermore, true students study throughout their entire lives. There is no finish line, and you do not have to be in academia to do that.
Dinocrat reminded me of iTunes U.
News you can use: Good wine bars in Florence
The Truth About Being a Hero - Karl Marlantes on what makes men heroes—in their own hearts and in the eyes of others
Richard Rubinstein: Berlin, August 13, 1961
Global Warming, if Real, Would Be Good For Us
Surber: Cut minimum wage
James Buckley: Restoring Federalism
Volokh: The Education Bubble
Eric Cantor: Removing the obstacles to economic growth
Sunday, August 21. 2011
At Q&O re Herman Cain as Uncle Tom, Who is the “racist” here?:
I have always contended that Repubs (and their allied Conservatives and Libertarians) are the non-racist party. It's the party of Lincoln, the part of Ike who desegrated the army, and the party whose support was essential in passing the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s against a large segment of Dems.
I have always contended that the Left is the racist party in viewing American blacks as a helpless, feckless, childish category of people, a permanent victim underclass destined to eternal dependence on government actions and benefits and the beneficence of white Libs who want to take care of them, like pets. That's the "plantation" people talk about. In my view, this is a deeply condescending and insulting way of viewing any group of people.
People like Tom Sowell, Herman Cain, Mayor Nutter, Bill Cosby, Juan Williams, Shelby Steele, and many others agree with this.
Fact is, before WW2 there was a vast (although often segregated) black middle class in America, church-going, hard-working, self-respecting, etc. The disruption of the black family during the war (large numbers of black men moving north for high-paying industrial jobs), combined with the Great Society's enabling and supporting of family dissolution, have been the real problems. Young single motherhood under unstable and poor (due to the singleness) conditions are the obvious problem, and everybody knows it. No amount of money can fix a subculture like that.
Of course, there are still large numbers of middle-class blacks in America. However white Liberals, in their hypersensitive yet condescending way, are phobic about speaking about the self-destructive black subculture (even though there are poor white subcultures which are no different, and can be found anywhere), in the US as in the UK (vid h/t SDA):
(This woman has chosen government as her husband. She does not seem too bright, but is clearly gaming the system. What that piece ignores is how many entry-level jobs in the UK are eagerly taken by ambitious and entrepreneurial immigrants. "There are no jobs" because somebody else got to them first, or convinced somebody to create them. Same thing in the US: the Hispanic immigrants around here work their butts off, and are not too proud to get their hands dirty. Nobody has a job handed to them on a silver platter.)
So even though the US is probably the least racist nation on earth, it seems necessary to the Left to keep the racism meme alive - even with a black president. Otherwise, they'd have to talk about the truth of the (possibly insoluble) problem of underclass dysfunction and exploitation of assistance - regardless of skin tone. Free money.
To keep the meme alive, sometimes people have to look pretty hard to identify a sort of victimhood which requires or justifies government dependency and unequal treatment. Here's a beaut: Secret Racism Running Wild in Our Government.
As a "person of color" Michele Malkin says:
And back to England again, a Brit condemning gangsta culture denounced as racist: UK riots: It’s not about criminality and cuts, it’s about culture... and this is only the beginning. In other words, gangsta culture, criminality, drugs, and rampant materialism is just natural for blacks, right? He is being condemned because he doesn't buy that narrative?
The "racist" thing is insane. Neo-McCarthyism.
A commenter here mentioned C.S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man recently. It got me thinking about what the most influential books have been for my adult thinking about socio-religio-political topics.
My list would have to include:
Hayek's Road to Serfdom
I'm sure I omitted quite a few, but these came to mind. (I guess, as an ole Yankee, I am rather freedom-oriented and leave-me-alone-oriented rather than gimme-oriented. I was raised to fend for myself and to shoot my own moose, but that might be old-fashioned nowadays. The "modern" women, apparently, want government to be their help and support in life instead of husbands. That's pathetic - on both sides.)
When I think about writings that influence me, I wonder whether they indeed influence, or whether they articulate half-thought and semi-formed thoughts that were already brewing in the back of my brain from my life experience.
This is a quote from Charles Warman's review of The Abolition of Man at Amazon:
Feel welcome to add your personal list to the comments.
As fall planting season approaches here in the Northern Hemisphere, here are two simple tips to save you money and hassle:
1. When you plant a tree or shrub, space it to what its size will be in 10 or 20 years, if not more. Time flies, and the next thing you know you'll be cutting some of them down so they don't jam eachother into poor health. This error is commonly made when planting things too near the foundation of a house. Landscapers love to jam things in everywhere because they can sell you more stuff, and it looks better right away. I have made this foolish error enough times to have truly learned it: I am having to cut down a $175 fir today which I had planted, five years ago, too close to a group - because it looked good at first.
2. When you read that a plant needs "full sun," that means direct sun from morning until dusk. It does not mean full sun for part of the day. Furthermore, half-sun means half-day sun - preferably morning light. More sun is not better for a half-sun plant: just ask any Rhododendron or most Hydrangeas.
Oh, almost forgot a third: Never plant Wisteria anywhere, unless you have full-time gardeners to keep your place looking neat and under control. Take it from me. Just don't do it, no matter how delightful it is in May. Pick some other vine for shade unless continual warfare is your plan.
Photo from Two Americas.
How do they get 40 black government SUVs to the Vineyard? Do they charter a ferry? Or two? And where does this entourage sleep at night? In tents? Space on MV ain't cheap at all.
Related: Steyn: The Imperial Presidency - European royals make do with a less lavish lifestyle than the supposed citizen-executive of a so-called republic.
Shooting the Kel-Tec KSG
AVI on Alms:
Big Academia: Get Out While You Can
More AVI, on coveting: The Final Commandment
Republican Delusion is Obama's All-Too-Secret Weapon:
He might be right. I don't know. I do know that Palin can't win a national election
Re the UK rioting, Norm says:
Yeah - they could start a business and hire some people. That would make a real difference in some lives. And pay themselves the same as they pay their employees...
Dept. of Irony: JUSTIFIABLY ANGRY BOYS
Obama's Amnesty-Light Is A Bad Dream
Racism run wild at the NIH
Nina Totenberg: Obama Can Save Economy With 'A Lot of Very Populist Rhetoric'
Reversing the Decay of London Undone - Britain's chief rabbi on the moral disintegration since the 1960s and how to rebuild:
Surprise! HHS still granting ObamaCare waivers
White House Faces Political Dilemma on Health Law Challenge
12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Saturday, August 20. 2011
From the little guy in the corner...
...to Rambobama (due out in October 2012, conveniently).
(H/T: Doug Ross)
Why aren't guys growing up these days? Or did guys ever really want go grow up? I don't know. A sociologist named Michael Kimmel has a book out reporting on his new study. For example, meet Jason:
That's from the review of the book at MSNBC.
Here's an interview with Kimmel at Inside Higher Ed
Here's an interview with Kimmel on hooking-up.
What's your view on all this?
From our archives -
To create blissful Socialist utopias, we need smart, strong, deeply caring men in charge. Lefty men, like Robespierre, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, etc. Geniuses to rescue us from our pitiful fates as little people.
A quote from Fred Siegel's review of Flynn's A Conservative History of the American Left in City Journal, re 1820s socialist Robert Owen:
My, my. How little has changed in the Left in 200 years. Utopians always condescend to us ignorant, feckless, unwashed, irrational "masses," don't they?
My personal utopia is all about freedom from utopians and power-seekers. I wish to control no-one - unless they are trying to harm me.