Wednesday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Kylopod says:

    Does anyone else keep getting videos in their Youtube feed for Dr. John Campbell?

    Campbell is a retired British nurse (the “Dr.” title evidently refers to a PhD in nursing education; he isn’t a physician) who has a channel that’s at least 14 years old, but he’s gotten a lot of attention recently due to his videos on the pandemic, where he’s been cited for misinformation in various articles for his takes on ivermectin, Covid death rates, “natural immunity,” and more, while being a favorite go-to link among the Covid-skeptic crowd. Youtube hasn’t taken his channel down yet, I suppose because he isn’t an overt anti-vaxxer.

    It was a Campbell video that was linked to a few weeks ago by JKB here, though I’d been getting him in my feed before that time. Maybe because I was stupid enough to click on one of them, they still keep appearing in my feed, seemingly every day.

    Here is his Wikipedia article.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US sea level to rise as much in next 30 years as in past century – study

    America’s vast coastline is being assailed by rapidly encroaching oceans, with up to 1ft of sea level rise expected in the next 30 years – an increase that equals the total rise seen over the past century, a major US federal government report has found.

    The seas are rising significantly faster around the US than the global average, a situation that will cause a “dramatic increase” in the number of Americans, already numbering tens of millions, vulnerable to disastrous flooding, the analysis warns.

    The trend, driven by the human-caused climate change, is stark – instances of “moderate” flooding at high tide, capable of damaging homes and businesses, have already increased by 50% across the US since the 1990s. This flooding is expected to become 10 times more common by 2050, on average, while major, potentially catastrophic floods are set to happen five times more often by this time.

    This “profound shift” in coastal inundation means that the sort of flooding an area could expect once every two to five years is set to hit multiple times in a single year in some places, even in the absence of storms or heavy rainfall, according to the study, which was jointly authored by Nasa, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) and six other US government agencies.

    “Sea levels are continuing to rise at an alarming rate, endangering communities around the world,” said Bill Nelson, administrator of Nasa. “Science is indisputable and urgent action is required to mitigate a climate crisis that is well under way.” Rick Spinrad, administrator of Noaa, said the report should act as a “wake-up call” to the perils of the climate crisis.

    And yet Republican led state legislatures are pushing ALEC written laws that are “anti-fossil fuel divestment legislation.”

    They don’t believe in the “free market” either, not that they ever did.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:


    I’m putting the personal spin on this, that it is a win for me, as it increases the possibility that I’ll have waterfront property before they scatter my ashes. About 100 yards to the south of me, the land falls off steeply into an area that is shown on colonial era maps as being a tidal basin. Today there are about 75 houses down there.

  4. CSK says:

    Rudy Giuliani says he has had evidence for years in his bedroom (or den) that Hillary Clinton spied on Donald Trump during Trump’s time in the White House.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: My 12.5 acre Hilltop Haven will become more valuable just because there will be less land to build on.

  6. CSK says:

    Hillbilly Haven?

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I have real doubts about the value of any testimony he might give to the 1/6 committee. Trying to find the few nuggets of truth in the fountain of bullshit spewing out of a pathological liar’s mouth is pretty much a waste of time. It took me 5 years to figure that out.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yep.

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Admittedly I’m not up on the specifics, but it looks like the voters in San Francisco just opted to recall three progressive members of the school board.

    What level of screwup is necessary to get SF voters to recall progressives??

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In other climate news that also will no doubt also influence real estate markets, US west ‘megadrought’ is worst in at least 1,200 years, new study says

    The American west has spent the last two decades in what scientists are now saying is the most extreme megadrought in at least 1,200 years. In a new study, published on Monday, researchers also noted that human-caused climate change is a significant driver of the destructive conditions and offered a grim prognosis: even drier decades lie ahead.

    “Anyone who has been paying attention knows that the west has been dry for most of the last couple decades,” says Park Williams, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles and the study’s lead author. “We now know from these studies that is dry not only from the context of recent memory but in the context of the last millennium.”

    Turning up the temperature – the result of human caused warming – has played a big part. Other studies show how the climate crisis “will increasingly enhance the odds of long, widespread and severe megadroughts”, the researchers write. Noting that as the west is now in the midst of the driest 22-year period in knowable history, “this worst-case scenario already appears to be coming to pass”.

    The research builds on conclusions from a previous study, also led by Williams, that ranked the period between 2000 and 2018 as the second driest in 12 centuries. The last two incredibly dry years – which were marked by record-setting heatwaves, receding reservoirs, and a rise in dangerously erratic blazes that burned both uncontrollably and unseasonably – were enough to push this period into first.

    Next up on the ALEC legislative agenda, laws banning climate research.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I don’t know but the timing makes me think it is trying to keep the children safe from COVID.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    San Francisco throws uber-woke school board off the Bay Bridge.

    Voters in San Francisco opted overwhelmingly to recall three school board members from their positions Tuesday, fueled by dissatisfaction over what San Franciscans saw as the board’s focus on issues of social justice at the expense of reopening schools.

    The recall election is the latest signal that mainstream voters, even in a liberal city like San Francisco, have grown frustrated with public schools during the pandemic. Education, particularly its struggles with coronavirus measures and racial justice, is expected to play a prominent role in elections across the country later this year. The results in San Francisco offer another warning sign for Democrats.

    Preliminary results showed the vote to oust each of the school board members topping 70 percent. Those who lost their seats are school board president Gabriela López and members Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga.

    When you’re too big of an ignorant, virtue-signaling incompetent for San Francisco. . .

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    You beat me to it by thaaaat much.

    I believe this signals the high water mark of progressive idiocy. Maybe now we can get them focused on real world problems and real world solutions.

  14. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Could be. I tried to ferret out the basis of it from the article, but it was fairly vague & alluded to what seems like a great deal of local drama (renaming schools en masse?) without really explaining the drama.

  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Remington, yesterday, was hit with $73M in damages related to the Sandy Hook massacre.
    The case focused on Remingtons marketing which targeted younger, at-risk, males in advertising and product placement in violent video games. In one of Remington’s ads, it features the rifle against a plain backdrop and the phrase: “Consider Your Man Card Reissued.”
    So now — zoom out nationwide and imagine how many at-risk youths, like Madison Cawthorn and Kyle Rittenhouse and members of the Oath Keepers and 3%’ers, have been brainwashed by these marketing campaigns?

  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Yours is a great deal more explanatory, for which you deserve a thank you. I read it a few times and just kept thinking “whatever these folks did, it must have been pretty heretical.

    All politics really are local

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    They were busy taking Abraham Lincoln’s name off school and had no time left for, you know, kids in schools. But the tipping point was Lowell High, which is a gifted school. The board was changing the admission rules to the disadvantage of Asian kids. I don’t want to engage in cliché but Asian parents tend to be really into education. The progs poked the dragon. Asians are about a third of SF voters and it looks like they voted en bloc.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    No. Remington agreed to a settlement (which it will almost certainly recoup in tax benefits) to make the lawsuit go away. It wasn’t hit with anything.

  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:


    As you said, hopefully this will be the high-water mark for this performance drama & virtue signaling that’s been playing out. I saw the piece and just thought to myself “Damn… In SF??”

  20. Sleeping Dog says:


    The SF school board exhibited the worst tendency that exists among progressives to assume that the agenda overrides everything and of course the agenda is what they decide it is. So at the height of Covid, instead of figuring out how and when to open schools in a manner that could return the kids to getting educated while protecting the health of students, along with staff, they pursued their progressive agenda. That included art criticism and renaming schools that had been named after such awful Americans as Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, along with changing the application to the honors schools from achievement to a lottery. After all if you have constructed a school system that can’t educate a sufficient number of students from every category to be competitive, then you should change the rules and cry parity. Chinese-American SF residents objected.

    Imagine a fiddle and a 21st century Nero, they deserved the recall.

  21. Kathy says:


    If Rudy claims to have evidence for anything, not only am I sure he doesn’t, but that the thing he claims to have evidence for never happened.

  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Retails sales up 3.8% in January.
    Boomflation is real.

  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Yes – you are correct.
    Doesn’t negate my point.

  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Agreed. It sounds completely ridiculous After learning all of that, I’m surprised they were just recalled instead of being run out of town on a rail or flambeed in effigy.

  25. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Kathy:
    Giuliani once said, or perhaps joked, that he had “very good insurance” against Trump throwing him under the bus. I don’t know what he meant by that.

  26. Gavin says:

    Perhaps a better historical analog of covid is the Russian Flu of 1889.
    A writeup of that pandemic in the US.

  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I didn’t get into the rest because there was no point. The frame of reference is so far removed from the likely reality (there are two cultures in the US and theirs bears little to no resemblance to yours) that it seemed pointless. You’re presuming that they were infected by some advertising virus, when in reality they just have a very different culture (one that doesn’t vilify firearms) than you do. No good or bad, just totally different.

  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    @James had a provocative post yesterday on Times v. Palin, saw this and it’s not hard to see the oligarchy closing in.

    Sitting in the observer section at the trial—along with Sarah Palin’s boyfriend, James Bennet’s wife, a bunch of journalists, and a few curious members of the public—there was one especially intriguing figure. Charles Harder was the lead attorney when Hulk Hogan sued Gawker out of existence. And Harder watched every minute of the testimony in this trial, taking copious notes on a legal pad. He wasn’t working with Palin’s legal team (though he’d worked with them before, in that Gawker case). He was just watching.

    During breaks in the proceedings, I peppered Harder with questions. How much did he think this trial was costing Palin? Answer: More than $1 million. How much would it cost to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court? Answer: $5 million, give or take. Was it possible Palin’s attorneys were working on a contingency basis, or maybe doing this just for the publicity? Answer: Basically, no.

    Hulk Hogan didn’t pay his own legal costs (meaning, in part, Harder’s invoices) when he took Gawker to court. Silicon Valley grotesquerie Peter Thiel famously footed Hogan’s bill—secretly at first, until he was outed as Hogan’s backer. When it comes to this trial, I just can’t bring myself to believe that Palin paid for it out of pocket. If indeed she didn’t, and someone else was funding this, I wondered where that money was coming from. I asked Harder if he knew. He said he didn’t.

    Then I asked Harder one last thing: Why exactly was he here? He was taking all those notes—was it for an article he’s writing, or a book? No, he said, “I’m just here to observe and learn.”

    That was the most chilling thing I heard in that courtroom. What exacty did he learn from Sarah Palin’s (so far) failed effort to sink the Times? How exactly is he planning to apply those lessons? My fear is that, before long, we’ll all find out.

  29. Kathy says:

    I just went though a short book on numismatics, and I think it explained, quite indirectly, why my interest in coins and currency has remained low.

    I had wanted to move on back to space travel history, but instead I decided to take a break and delve into another book based on the Star Trek Picard series. It’s great they are included in my Scribd subscription, because I wouldn’t pay for any of those books individually.

  30. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The board was changing the admission rules to the disadvantage of Asian kids.

    This is a ridiculously unfair description. There is a problem that the demographics of the gifted schools varies significantly from the demographics of the communities they serve, and it’s perfectly reasonable to ask if that means the uptake process is missing gifted kids from the underrepresented groups.

    But a decision to focus more on identifying overlooked gifted black children, for example, is not a deliberate attempt to “disadvantage Asian kids”, and that sort of zero-sum thinking just serves to assist the people want to use gifted programs as a sort of backdoor segregation.

    Just because that line of persuasion was effective in this case doesn’t make it a good argument.

  31. Kylopod says:


    Perhaps a better historical analog of covid is the Russian Flu of 1889.

    I’ll have to read more up on that, but I noticed that the article you linked to was from March 2020, when it still wasn’t known how devastating the Covid pandemic would become. I still have found an incredible amount of parallels with the 1918 Spanish flu, including a fight over mask mandates. (Also, President Woodrow Wilson contracted the virus but kept it hidden from the public.) One difference is that there was no vaccine developed for the flu until decades later. Of course, opposition to vaccines in general is as old as vaccines themselves, and a fight over mandates led to the 1905 Supreme Court case on the matter.

  32. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I don’t vilify guns. I rather enjoy them.
    I do vilify unfettered access to them by people who are not emotionally or mentally capable of safely possessing them. And many of those same people are easy prey for targeted marketing.
    The fact that Remington directed ads to them is not a coincidence.
    And certainly the tobacco industry knew that marketing cigarettes to young people was profitable.

  33. EddieInCA says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Wrong. Sorry. Just wrong.

    They broke the #1 rule: All politics is local. While the progressives were working on renaming schools and pushing an agenda out of touch with the local population, they ignored their own constituents. This wasn’t Alabama or Mississippi. This was San Francisco. The progressives were too over the top for SAN FRANCISCO.

    They should learn from this, but they won’t. They’ll just double down. Fortunately, they’re off the school board.

  34. Kathy says:


    I found a piece on the subject on Pocket yesterday. Some symptoms, like loss of smell and taste, and sequelae seem similar to COVID, so there’s speculation it might have been caused by a coronavirus as well.

    There are plenty of viral respiratory diseases, only a few of which are caused by coronaviruses. I think aside from COVID, SARS, and MERS, there are five coronaviruses that cause common cold. To me, this suggests coronavirus diseases are all relatively new in humans, maybe less than a millennium old.

    What I can say for certain is that people don’t take well to the necessary precautions and mitigation measures needed to contain a respiratory epidemic. Ideally, we should know what to do next time. In practice, we know what will happen, up to the deployment of vaccines. We will go into collective insanity by the common definition, and we’ll do the same things all over again expecting different results.

  35. Stormy Dragon says:


    Okay, so what’s the “local” explanation for why a school with a catchment area that is 5.5% black has a student body that’s only 1.9% black?

  36. CSK says:

    Well, well. Apparently people who sign up for Trump’s new social media site, Truth Social, receive a text asking for a donation in order to proceed.

  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I’m sure your assessment of the issues with Lowell is far superior to that of actual parents with actual kids in the actual school. That’s the great thing about being woke, isn’t it? Your virtue shines so brightly that only those with evil minds could ever doubt your omniscience.

    Too woke for San Francisco, dude. San Francisco. Where shall you build the great progressive mecca if not San Fran?

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Failure to meet the entry qualifications? Just spitballing here. Maybe you should be asking why, in a progressive mecca like SF, such a state of affairs would even exist?

  39. Kathy says:


    You say this as though you don’t understand munificence . See, instead of using your money to benefit yourself or your family, as in buying food, clothes, toys, books, etc., or investing it, you can make it part of a grifter’s much larger fortune. And doesn’t that benefit your money?

  40. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    When Lowell High was desegregated by the courts in 1983, was that wrong because the courts presumed to make their judgement superior to the actual parents with actual kids in the school at the time?

    Just because something is popular doesn’t make it right, and it’s weird to argue everyone has to defer their own moral judgement to “The People”.

  41. steve says:

    The San Francisco thing is a good example of why I have not really been that worried about the severe woke** thing. We have very little of it where I am and if you go even further away from the city even less. I think this i mostly limited to fancy, expensive liberal arts schools and the progressive enclaves in a few places on the coasts. The weirder they get they lose support. Would have been nice if happened sooner.


    ** If you want to define woke as just being aware that we still have some racism issues and there is still some systemic racism then I dont see an issue and that will persist, albeit exaggerated by the right.


  42. Kathy says:

    All I have to say about last Sunday’s Super Bowl (was it really that long ago?), is that when you give any team, much less the Rams, like 57 downs within your 10 yard line, they will inevitably score 6 points.

    Ok. I need to add I was puzzled that then the Rams didn’t go for a 2-point conversion. That would put them more than one field goal ahead, forcing the Bengals to score a TD or go home. the flipside, which I do see, is that failing at two points gives Cincinnati the ability to win the game with a mere field goal. There are valid arguments for both choices, but the one taken indicates a low tolerance for risk, or doubts in the head coach’s mind about their defense.

  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Segregation is wrong. Rewarding study and nurturing talent is not.

  44. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    So doesn’t black talent deserve to be nurtured too?

    Because unless you’re going to take a rather extreme racial essentialist position, the school district is clearly failing to do so, and that failure shouldn’t be ignored just because the group being failed has less political power and can’t punish the politicians for it.

  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    I agree as to the end stage: the kings and queens of woke mountain make themselves ridiculous and thus lose power. The problem is the electoral damage they do in the meantime. Liberals are stuck dragging these people around like the Ancient Mariner with his dead albatross.

  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    You take a test to gain admission. You either do well, or not so well. That’s all this is. No one is excluded by anything but the test.

  47. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    No one is excluded by anything but the test.

    We heard the same thing when Thomas Jefferson High in Fairfax dropped its admissions test. Fact is, that test kept deserving students out simply because their parents couldn’t afford to drop a couple grand on test prep. Now there’s a screening process that actually focuses on the prospective students as people rather than numbers on a standardized test.

    I guess we’ll see how it shakes out since the first group of incoming freshmen selected under the new system just started this school year. So far one big change is the percentage of students from economically-disadvantaged homes (which we still have in Fairfax despite our relative wealth) has jumped from under 1% to 25%.

  48. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Are black kids being prevented from applying to Lowell? From attending there if selected for admission? Surely in a progressive mecca like SF, if a black kid wanted to attend Lowell and met the grade, he/she would be permitted to do so.

    You’re focused on equity of outcome (by any means necessary, including gutting admissions standards), which is a fools errand. Equity of opportunity should be the guideline. Is there any credible evidence (the numbers don’t match the population is NOT evidence) that the district doesn’t offer equitable opportunity to all of its students?

  49. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    You need to go back and ask the question as to why the SF school district hasn’t prepared enough black students who can compete in admissions schools. The real tragedy is that problem exists.

  50. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Now there’s a screening process that actually focuses on the prospective students as people rather than numbers on a standardized test.

    How precisely do you change a process to achieve that outcome without making it somehow subjective (which is pretty much the definition of unfair) ?

  51. CSK says:

    I would think the people who still want to give Trump their money would already have impoverished themselves by so doing.

  52. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Michael Reynolds: In fairness, I don’t think it was JUST being too “woke” (although from what little I’ve read they did seem to be more concerned about performative morality rather than dealing with problems in the school district). One of them (Alison Collins) was bounced for suing the board for $80M because they removed her “vice president” title because of some old tweets that were allegedly anti-asian (“alleged” because I haven’t read them, just NPR’s description of them).

  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    From what I can tell, not any longer. Now they plan to have a lottery and whoever happens to be randomly selected gets in.

    Of course, the effect of potentially dropping kids into an environment they may not be academically prepared for (ie setting them up to fail, which is grievously unfair to them) doesn’t get mentioned. The numbers look good, some folks get to feel righteous, and in the end that’s all that really matters. It’s lunacy.

  54. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Well, you can institute a lottery, but Fairfax chose not to do that. The new system here includes a GPA requirement (applicant’s GPA must be in the top 1.5% of their school) and demonstration of problem-solving skills in math and science. There’s also an application essay.

    What there isn’t anymore is the standardized test that wealthier families could “game” with pricey “teach to the test” prep services. How “objective” is that, really? It had become another way for the privileged to exclude those less so.

  55. Kathy says:


    One wonders how much COVID relief and welfare money has made its way to the tiny, grabby, greedy hands.

  56. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I believe this signals the high water mark of progressive idiocy. Maybe now we can get them focused on real world problems and real world solutions.

    From the WaPo article:

    Anger was further fueled by anti-Asian tweets from Collins that were posted in 2016, before she was on the board, but discovered last year. They accused Asian Americans of benefiting from the “‘model minority’ BS” and using “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’ ” She also suggested that they were not standing up to President Donald Trump, using a racial slur to describe them.

    Looks like at least one of them got cancelled. If white progressives can’t use racial slurs against Asians, what kind of a world are we living in? They’re progressive slurs!

  57. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mike in Arlington:
    I have a rule of thumb in writing and in politics: there’s no such thing as a singular motivation, motive is always plural. Whatever the combination of motives the end result is progressives on the school board being ejected, in one case by 78% of the vote, because they were not doing what voters elected them to do. These were board members who made performative virtue a central part of their appeal and San Francisco voters – by really astonishing margins – said, nope, we prefer competence to a woke agenda.

  58. CSK says:

    Oh, plenty, I’m sure. These people remind me of medieval serfs bringing tribute to the lord of the manor, the only difference being that the serfs were forced to do so.

  59. HarvardLaw92 says:


    As long as the criteria employed are objective (i.e. no weighting applied, every kid gets the exact same chance), I like that approach.

  60. Michael Reynolds says:


    What there isn’t anymore is the standardized test that wealthier families could “game” with pricey “teach to the test” prep services. How “objective” is that, really? It had become another way for the privileged to exclude those less so.

    The privileged people in SF have their kids in private schools, not in the public system. This is not rich vs. poor, it’s middle class versus meddling elitist twits pushing an agenda that had nothing to do with actual education.

    As for test prep, I have my doubts. I hit the 99th percentile on every test I ever took and not only did I not do prep, I stuck my books in my locker on Day 1 and didn’t touch them again til I turned them back in. I’m skeptical about tests generally because in the end all standardized tests are effectively IQ tests posing as tests of knowledge. The one test where I did not hit 99th was the math SAT, where I was merely 85th percentile, and you know how much math I know? Long division.

    But regardless of whether testing is bullshit, the test was the threshold and anyone was free to try and clear it. The test may be bullshit but it’s not racist bullshit, just standard-issue bullshit.

  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Something else to consider:

    Whites represent 46.41% of the SF population, but 18.3% of the Lowell population. Likewise Hispanics – 15.1% SF vs 11.5% Lowell. Blacks 6.1% SF vs 1.7% Lowell. So, as you can see, basically every racial demo (not just the one you instinctively scope locked on…) is underrepresented at Lowell – other than Asians, who are 34. 4% SF but 56.8% Lowell.

    How can this be? Are we to assume that the SF school system is racist with respect to everybody but Asians, or is it perhaps a case of (because of their famously education obsessed parents maybe) the Asian kids just work / are forced to work harder and perhaps the SF school system isn’t racist after all?

  62. Michael Reynolds says:

    Here’s how standardized, multiple choice tests work. You get four answers, A, B, C, D. One will be obviously wrong, eliminate that and you go from 1 in 4 to 1 in 3. Two of the answers will be very similar, but with one changed variable – so the attempt to be tricky reveals the high likelihood that one of those two is the correct answer. So now it’s 50/50. And that’s if you don’t know anything about the subject, which would describe me being confronted by numbers. Of course the test result is ranked not by how many you got right, but by how well you did vis a vis other people. If you’re reasonably bright (and others are not) you can float to the top on basic test-taking skills. When nothing else works, look at how many answer B’s you have in a row. Not likely to be three B’s in a row, so chances are you’ve missed something, so you go back and rank your B’s by confidence level.

    If it’s not a math test it may be a reading comprehension test. IOW: IQ. And the essay questions are graded by people who generally know fuck-all about the topic, so if you’re glib you can b.s. your way past them. Toss in a word the grader is unlikely to know, or write a coherent sentence with several clauses, it won’t matter if it’s right or wrong.

    Or it may be a biology test where, if you know nothing at all about biology can still be turned into a 50/50 and if you have even a little grasp of Latin and Greek root words you can beat that 50/50. When we were doing SAT’s you were required to take one extra subject test. I chose biology. How many biology classes had I taken? Maybe one? I got 750 out of 800 and the sum total of what I actually knew about biology was something about chlorophyl. I think it’s green.

    The other big factor is speed and confidence, which are much the same thing. If you DGAF about the test you aren’t crippled by pressure, so you can zip along cherry-picking the easy ones very quickly, then go back and put more work into the tougher ones, while other kids are still trying to work out question #3.

    So, yes, standardized tests are bullshit, but it’s the same sort of bullshit you’ll face in college and in various later tests. Sadly, test-taking skills are paramount. My brother in law knows real estate inside and out, but he couldn’t beat the test, so he never got a license. I probably could have beaten the test and the result would be a real estate agent who knew nothing and cared less.

  63. EddieInCA says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Stormy Dragon says:
    Wednesday, 16 February 2022 at 11:34


    Okay, so what’s the “local” explanation for why a school with a catchment area that is 5.5% black has a student body that’s only 1.9% black?


    They should learn from this, but they won’t. They’ll just double down. Fortunately, they’re off the school board.

    Thanks for making my point for me, so well. Care to triple down?

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: And yet trump threw him under the bus anyway.

  65. Kylopod says:


    They broke the #1 rule: All politics is local.

    That’s the second time in this thread someone has uttered this cliche. It’s not true. It hasn’t been true for decades–at least.

    I’m not even convinced this particular example illustrates politics being local. When I think of politics being local, the image that pops into my head is when a race gets decided over decaying roads or something. (According to Wikipedia, when Tip O’Neill famously made this remark in the ’80s, he had in mind when he campaigned against a challenger for his Massachusetts seat by bringing up the candidate’s fundraising for oil interests in Oklahoma and Texas.)

    But let’s just concede, for argument’s sake, that local issues affected this local race. How does that justify the statement that all politics is local? Does it mean races for state or federal offices are also decided by local issues?

    It feels like people are always reciting this adage like a mantra, and it’s always based on the flimsiest of evidence–they find some single example they think illustrates the impact of local issues on a race, any race, and then they make the sweeping statement that it’s universally true, ignoring how incredibly nationalized US politics in general has become over the past few decades. Why do people do this? I think because it’s a comforting myth that fits a romanticized notion about how individual citizens can affect things.

  66. CSK says:

    Well, perhaps Trump will haul him out from beneath the wheels now that Rudy claims he has evidence in his bedroom that Hillary Clinton was spying on the Trump White House.

  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Of course it occurs to me that knowing the subject might help a lot of kids. But that’s so tedious and why bother if you think you can beat the test.

    French schools taught me that. Did not matter what you did or didn’t do for a given month, because at the end of the month came the test which ranked you within the class. Fuck off for 29 days, take test, get status and praise.

  68. Kingdaddy says:

    If anyone thinks that the recalled SF school board members got a raw deal, I suggest reading this interview with the head of the board:

  69. Mister Bluster says:

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….*

    Flat Earth Luddite says:
    Wednesday, 16 February 2022 at 00:56
    @mister bluster:
    and Dyslexic Agnostics Against Dog Untie (aka, fat numb fingers can’t type, chemo brain can’t spell).

    Google-Fu working tonight (kinda) but finger/brain interface, not so much (sheepish shrug emoji)

    I keep coming back to this today. It was at least the third reading before I finally read “Untie” instead of “Unite”.
    My “..capitol hails Truman today…” note was typed like that since I was using my phone instead of my laptop. No copy and paste function. Had I been using my laptop I would have reproduced your line. Didn’t even notice two different spellings of capital/Capitol.

    My New Oxford American Dictionary on my MacBook Air
    Capitol: the seat of the US Congress in Washington, DC.
    • (capitol) US. A building housing a legislative assembly: 50,000 people marched on New Jersey’s state capitol.
    capital: the most important city or town of a country or region, usually its seat of government and administrative center. (The first of several definitions.)
    Apparently capitalization makes a difference.

    *i.e. Early this morning on yesterday’s Palin thread.

  70. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Apparently capitalization makes a difference.

    There’s at least one English word that is pronounced differently if it’s capitalized.

    The answer is:

    You pronounce polish differently from Polish.

  71. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: In the novel Wicked by Gregory Maguire, it distinguishes between sentient anthropomorphic animals and their more reality-based counterparts by whether the first letter is capitalized (so the Cowardly Lion is a Lion as opposed to a lion), and it implies that the difference is audible in speech.

  72. Kylopod says:

    I’ve never seen the Broadway show, so I don’t know if this detail is incorporated into it.

  73. Mu Yixiao says:

    The admin for our legal department sits next to me. She just informed me that our Legal Document software does not list Alabama as a state. Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands are in there… but not Alabama.

    I suggested that might be for good reason. 🙂

  74. EddieInCA says:


    I think you’re missing the point of the comment. “All Politics is Local” doesn’t refer to geography. It refers to the personal. Issues that affect YOU personally is what drives your vote. In this case, it was both local (geography) and local (personal). You want to change it “All Politics is personal” be my guess. Same point. And the SF school board vote was about just that – local policies.

    And when it comes to state and federal elections, the same caveat applies. Candidates try to appeal to the broadest base possible, and they tailor ads to different constituencies for that very reason – to reach the “local” granular level on policy. A statewide candidate in California will run very different ads in Bakersfield than he will in San Francisco. A statewide candidate in Florida will run very different ads in Pensacola than he would in Miami/Dade.

    It’s all local, as in “what affects you”.

  75. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I won’t get into all the details, but where I work Staten Island isn’t counted as part of New York City.

  76. Mister Bluster says:

    Trigger Warning!
    Sik Fuk ALERT!

    …To polish off a Polish sausage is not the same as to polish your sausage…

  77. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Or hide the salami.

  78. EddieinCA says:


    That’s a painful read.

    I see what you’re saying. So, for me, I guess it’s just the criteria was created to show if there were ties to these specific themes, right? White supremacy, racism, colonization, ties to slavery, the killing of indigenous people, or any symbols that embodied that. And the committee shared that these are the names that have these ties. And so, for me, at this moment, I have the understanding we have to do the teaching, but also I do agree that we shouldn’t have these ties, and this is a way of showing it.

    Based on this criteria, we can not honor anyone who did anything before 1964.

  79. Kylopod says:

    @EddieInCA: I think that sounds like an overly complicated rationalization for an outdated trope. The example I cited with Tip O’Neill is more along the lines of what I think most people have in mind when they utter this phrase.

    I’m not suggesting that local politics never matters, that everything everywhere comes down to Biden vs. Trump or something. What I’m saying is that the local element of politics is vastly less prevalent than it once was. For instance: At the beginning of the 21st century, all four Senators from the Dakotas were Democrats, even though those states were already solidly red in most ways. Go back even further, and you find races for the House and Senate were often seen as completely separable from what was happening nationally. Part of Gingrich’s strategy in the 1994 midterms was that he was one of the first to impose a national message on all those local and state races, and it was devastating to Dems, who had previously been able to dominate those offices by convincing voters they were different from the national party. And this effect has only increased with time. The 2020 election saw a record low in Congressional districts that voted for a different party for House and president. That is not what would be expected to happen in a political system dominated by local effects.

  80. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: This reminds me of the 80s in Colorado when the Boulder City Council worked to declare Boulder a nuclear-free zone. The Rocky Mountain Times rather acidly suggested they work to make the sewers flow in the right direction.

  81. EddieInCA says:


    As Dr. Taylor would tell you so much better than I can, we’re no longer in 1980 or 1994. Several decades of self-sorting and gerrymandering have made the purple areas much less so. We’re living in a new reality that is very different from that of even a decade ago.

    But you’re ignoring local actions/issues. Youngkin in VA didn’t win on a national message. He won on local, school district, issues. The SF board wasn’t wiped out due to a national message. It was wiped out by local issues. AOC didn’t take out a 30 year Democratic Vet with a national message. She knocked on doors locally, got out the vote, locally, and won. Eric Cantor wasn’t defeated on a national message. He was the House Majority leader and he got taken out on local issues. Heck, Cantor was defeated because his constituents thought he was doing TOO MUCH NATIONAL WORK and ignoring his own district.

    You’re choosing to ignore all the recent real-world examples showing that local issues matter.

  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @OzarkHillbilly: And, ironically enough, you’ve hit on one of the reasons the problem of climate change remains so intractable. Multiply “it’s either not going to affect me and/or my area and I will mostly benefit from it” by several hundred million wealthy-enough-to-be-inconvenienced-by-the-mitigations citizens of the world’s most developed nations and you have a strong force against fighting the problem.

    ETA: And I know you guys are joking, but many people aren’t.

  83. de stijl says:


    There is also syllable stress.

    “I want to ADdress the issue of …”


    “What’s your adDRESS?”

    You see that syllabic stress differentiation a lot in British vs. American English.


    I was watching a UK based streamer who said she needed to check her “inVENtory” and my mind was totally blown. No idea some folks said it that way.

  84. charon says:


    It could mean something depending on what you take it to mean.

    I would think that, whatever jurisdiction you are running in, you are best off campaigning on the issues the local voters care about – and taking the same positions the preponderance of local voters take.

  85. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Try to get a Brit to say aluminum someday.

    For that matter, you’d think the word “defense” should be spelled “d-fence” as relates to NFL teams.

  86. Kathy says:


    I didn’t know it was a novel before it was a show.

    I’ve neither seen nor read either.

  87. Kylopod says:


    As Dr. Taylor would tell you so much better than I can, we’re no longer in 1980 or 1994.

    I think Dr. Taylor would agree with my position. (He is free to clarify.) James Joyner wrote a piece recently arguing this point, and Dr. Taylor seemed to agree with him.

    You’re choosing to ignore all the recent real-world examples showing that local issues matter.

    I never said local issues don’t matter, I was disputing the idea that all (or even most) politics is local. And even your examples don’t quite fit this model. Take the Youngkin race. Over the past 40 years, the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections, which take place a year after the presidential election, have almost always gone against the party in the White House. But there’s evidence this pattern may have started to break down. In 2013, when Obama was still president, a Democrat won the Virginia governorship, and one explanation I’ve seen which I think is quite plausible is that it represented a national backlash against Republicans due to the unpopular government shutdown. Either way, other than that race, Youngkin’s win was pretty much just following the normal pattern.

    As for NJ, Phil Murphy was the first candidate from the president’s party to win that race since 1985. It was considered a surprise that he came as close as he did to being unseated, but again, it would have been simply following the normal pattern if he had lost. The surprise in both races came from the fact that a lot of people assumed these states were becoming increasingly blue in races below presidential, and were thus starting to become immune to the the effect of voting against the president’s party that once dominated these races.

    Youngkin may have campaigned on local (or statewide) issues, but that doesn’t mean that was the reason for his victory. It can be explained by the more large-scale effects in which a president’s party typically suffers in sub-presidential elections during his or her presidency.

  88. charon says:


    Why would the Democrats tolerate Joe Manchin if politics were not local?

  89. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Yeah. The article was high on tone and narrative and pretty skimpy on details of how the narrative evolved.

  90. Kylopod says:

    @charon: Joe Manchin is actually a perfect example of what I’m talking about. In 2012, he won reelection in a landslide, at the same time as Mitt Romney carried the state by a roughly equal margin in the presidential race. In 2018, during a very good cycle for Dems, Manchin just barely made it. Manchin is an artifact of the old politics in which a politician can win a state or district dominated by the other party, by convincing the local voters he or she is different from the national party. Manchin is one of the last remaining examples of a candidate who has achieved this effect, and it’s very unclear he can continue to do so going forward. How good do you really think his chances in 2024 look? I would not be at all surprised if he announces retirement for that reason.

    In the past, there were a lot more Joe Manchin types in the Dem Party, and they did a lot better in their local/state races than he has as of late.

  91. Jay L Gischer says:

    I have a very weird take on this “magnet school admissions” thing. I’m deeply suspicious of the value of these schools.

    Why? Well, I climbed to the very top of the Computer Science academic ladder. I was recruited by top grad schools. I did this while attending Blaine High School – which is unfairly mocked in Whatcom County as being the home of drug dealers and pornsters. There were 63 in my graduating class. We did not have AP classes. I was “behind” when I got to the U of W. Lots of other people had AP Calculus in high school, and I was a math guy who didn’t have that.

    Thing is, a year or so in, I wasn’t behind any more. I went to a top grad school, too, without getting in to Harvard.

    Yeah, I know that a Harvard education is a serious leg up in multiple professions. And I know/have met a bunch of Ivy Leaguers and I like them. No trash talk there, and yet, I kept up with them just fine.

    SOOOO, I’m kinda skeptical about the value of all this, including dropping several thousand on test prep. I will entertain the hypothesis that times have changed and I am a dinosaur. I will also admit that it may be that I was just a special case, and my history doesn’t apply.

    However, I have yet to see any evidence that supports either of those theses.

  92. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “…changing the application to the honors schools from achievement to a lottery.” While I can envision situations where such an idea would either be good or the only workable answer (yes, I have both a vivid imagination and have seen some pretty vulgarly biased “honor schools”), a special program for honors students (by which I will assume the district and community mean students of demonstrated high achievement and attainment) probably cannot be populated by students selected in a lottery and maintain its purpose. We keep working on developing one-size-fits-all education programs and keep failing to do so because students come in vastly divergent sizes.

    At this moment in time, American schools seem to be in a mode where the goal is to provide effective service to the largest possible number of students. It’s a laudable goal to which I have no objections. The cost of engaging in this sort of program is that it necessitates recalibrating standards and expectations that will result in more capable students finding the curriculum too easy/not challenging enough/lacking in depth/interest/whatever. That deficiency needs to be addressed as much as any other. “Honor” schools/programs, “college in high school,” international baccalaureate, advanced placement, and other programs seek to address the needs of students who can and will take on greater challenges. Filling these types of classes with randomly selected students appears not to work over the long term.

  93. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Thanks, and a bigly hat tip! I was working on a project and needed the distraction. Fingers failing to cooperate and completely missed the misused word, so I was grinning sheepishly throughout. But happy to help your day!

    Back at the dawning of the new millennium I got in big trouble at what passed for Big Law here in Puddletown. I changed my corporate-approved screensaver to “dyslexic agnostics untie.” A senior attorney noticed this one day and was mightily offended. Being a good Luddite, I promptly added “against dog.” He eventually figured out I wasn’t a good fit for Big Law.

  94. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:


    Take a look at this on the Cape

    On Chappaquiddick some rich guy moved a 12 sqft house, basement and all, 250′ to get it away from the eroding shore. The big question, is that far enough?

    Just south of me on Plum Island a house all but toppled into the sea a year ago.

    There are couple of neighborhoods nearby that already flood at the King tide and during major storms. And coincidentally the King tide often happens in conjunction with a nor’easter. The property owners are screaming for the town and state to do something. They’d like a levee built, but these neighborhoods back onto the salt marsh, so any levee would require taking dozens of homes. You can’t build on the marsh.

    Plus who’s going to pay for it? I’m wouldn’t support spending town money. We bought our place specifically because it was near the beach and 50+ feet above sea level. The answer is to retreat, but I don’t know who takes the haircut.

    In someways the problem will resolve itself. Flood insurance in those areas has skyrocketed, banks either won’t issue a mortgage or want 50% down. But you know, old cottages are still being torn down and McMansions are going up. They’re built on stilts with the ground level is garage and storage. No one is willing to tell them that they can’t.

    A couple of years ago we were looking at maybe downsizing, there was a townhouse on the harbor for sale. We went to look at it. It would have been perfect, wonderful westerly view over the harbor and marshes (along with the nuke plant), a place for my toys and cheap, only slightly more than a similar layout in a project on US Rt. 1. Of course you were only 100′ from the water and any time that high tide would be more than +10′ water would come spilling over the quay. We passed, but that view…

  95. JohnSF says:

    Pshaw. It’s aluminium, as everyone knoweth 🙂

  96. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Are we supposed to be surprised? Still, there are lots of internet situations where the offer seems free and turns out not to be. It’s not new to his site.

  97. JohnSF says:

    IIRC the aluminium/aluminum thing started early because Davy couldn’t decide which to use, American went for one, on the similarity to platinum, British for other on similarity to potassium etc.
    Apparently Davy himself used alumium originally, LOL.

  98. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    In Suffolk there are remnants of the town of Dunwich, once a community of thousands, and one of the largest ports in Medieval East Anglia, that was engulfed by the North Sea.

    And of course, much of the Netherlands is only dry land because the Dutch are determined that it should be so.

  99. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m not sure that testing is the way to enroll that type of program. I’ve seen too many tests that were designed to achieve targeted outcomes for exclusionistic purposes (and in fact, have designed some myself). The early days of IQ testing is replete with testing that demonstrated that people from Mediterranean climes, for example, were simply not as intelligent as more northern peoples, and the trend to be able to generate that sort of bias continues to this day. Still, I have no better suggestion for how to sort. We’ll just have to count on the good will of our citizens, decision makers, and leaders. That always works well.

  100. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Indeed! That DOES make a more interesting question.

  101. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I don’t think any of us here are surprised. The MAGAs who rushed to sign up certainly appear to be chagrined.

  102. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    You need to go back and ask the question as to why the SF school district hasn’t prepared enough black students who can compete in admissions schools. The real tragedy is that problem exists.

    One thing that should be noted is that the test didn’t have some pre-specified cutoff and everyone who meets the criteria gets in. Rather it’s used to rank applicants and they count down from the top until they run out of spots.

    1. That puts the lie to the “they people who didn’t get in weren’t prepared for that level of work” take. There’s some set that were perfectly capable and there just wasn’t room
    2. The real solution is that we need a bigger table, but certain people don’t want to pay for that, so it’s easier to get various groups fighting each other over a seat at the one inadequate table.

  103. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey: “What there isn’t anymore is the standardized test that wealthier families could “game” with pricey “teach to the test” prep services. How “objective” is that, really? It had become another way for the privileged to exclude those less so.”

    The last year I was teaching in Korea, I read an interview with the university student who won a scholarship for graduate school for having the highest TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score among some group of test takers (I don’t remember/didn’t see details on that issue). I’m not sure that ETS was happy with her interview in that when asked what was the most important thing for future test takers to know about taking the test, she replied that the test is just like computer games–the more you play, the better you become.

    So yes, cram school does work. And when the ETS says it doesn’t, they’re lying.–

  104. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Mikey’s quote should have been marked [emphasis added] because I marked the section in italics to become italicized.

  105. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m not sure that they suffer from a desire for “performative virtue” as much as the more human reaction of “we’re in charge now; that means we finally get to do what we want. Ernesto Galeano (I think) suggested that such an attitude among sequential bands of kleptocrats has hindered the development of workable democracies in Latin America. (Okay! It’s our turn to oppress the people now!)

  106. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Another thing that will be interesting to see: it was noted that, due to an inability to do the testing during the pandemic, last year’s selection were made by lottery instead of the test.

    It will be interesting to see, three years from now, how the lottery selected cohort’s success statistically compares to those of the test selected cohorts.

  107. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    And the essay questions are graded by people who generally know fuck-all about the topic,

    The essay questions are being graded by people who’ve been hired because they can process between 60 and 100 test answers per hour. They use a process called “Trait Analysis” to identify up to 5 specific characteristics that can be instantly identified without needing context clues. I’ve taught workshops on how to do it and how to teach students to scaffold their essay for maximum scoring potential.

  108. Kathy says:

    I just found a big plus for wearing a mask. One of the junior managers in our department came to tell me he’s leaving to work for another company. I won’t go into company gossip, because why would you care about it, but suffice it to say he’s neither popular nor respected.

    The mask didn’t let him see how widely I was smiling.

  109. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: I did a unit on easily confused words for a college class I used to teach. The way I expressed it that my students seemed to like was that “capitol” is the building and “capital” is the city that it’s in. (I didn’t bring money into it at all. That would have confused my students more. And nobody ever misspells that version.)

  110. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Or, you may be an outlier. (But I’m skeptical about the value of magnet school programs, too. They seem mostly to serve the purpose of showing the public that the school board is trying to address issues of school success. There are more outliers than we realize. And more types of outlying, too.)

  111. Stormy Dragon says:


    One concern I have for when the masking ends is that over the last two years, I’ve likely completely lost my ability to hold a poker face when listening to a manager describe their vision for how we’re going to shoot ourselves in the foot next.

  112. Kurtz says:


    How precisely do you change a process to achieve that outcome without making it somehow subjective (which is pretty much the definition of unfair) ?

    Testing is also subjective, it’s just at a different point in the evaluation process. Rather than subjectivity entering at the endstage–totality of the person–it is enclosed in the black box of test design and chosen cutoffs.

    I’m not sure there is a clear solution, but disagree with the notion of exam objectivity.

    Also, @EddieInCA and @Michael Reynolds

    All 3 of you, I am explicitly not taking a position on the recall itself. I do not have enough information beyond reading a ballot explanation, a couple articles, the comments here, and this time line.

    But I do have questions.

    First, the vote in January 2021 to proceed with renaming the schools passed by a vote of 6-1. The subsequent vote to postpone was unanimous.

    The obvious question: if this is about general incompetence demonstrated by a focus on renaming schools, why were those three the only ones facing recall?

    Second, the three recalled were up for election in November 2022. Those seats are the only ones on the ballot. Are we sure there isn’t a lot more to this?

    Three, suggestive of other forces at work, the money raised supporting the recall dwarfed the amount against it. Much of it from billionaires outside the district. One of the two parents who got the effort going lives outside the district, in Palo Alto. Admittedly, she said she votes for Democrats. But so does Joe Manchin. (She is registered as an independent.) But money matters, especially in polls outside normal election dates.

    For a local election, there is an inordinate amount of not only outside interest, but dollars from non-locals. Why?

    I cannot stress enough that I am not taking a position either way here. I just find the amount of commentary this is generating suggestive that it is being contested as a proxy for other issues more than anything specific to local politics. Both in San Francisco and on this board.

  113. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Well, you can learn to mutter so low no one hears you. I admit the mask also makes it invisible, which makes it even better.

  114. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Surely in a progressive mecca like SF,

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… gasp… wheeze… What? You actually think liberals are immune to racism?


  115. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I wonder how it is they think they will be immune to the affects of climate change. What? no food shortages where you live? Lots of gas and electric? No climate refugees in your neighborhood? Water when ever you turn on your tap?

    Yeah, I’m quite happy I will be dead before things get really bad. Too bad about my granddaughters. The GOP and their fossil fuel benefactors couldn’t give a shit about them.

  116. EddieInCA says:


    Kingdaddy posted this earlier. If you have time, read it. It highlights the clueless ideas of the 30 year old head of the school board. That interview should be a “The Onion” parody. But, sadly it’s not.

    I’ll respond to your question in another post.

  117. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If you DGAF about the test you aren’t crippled by pressure, so you can zip along cherry-picking the easy ones very quickly, then go back and put more work into the tougher ones

    At least somewhat off-topic… When I took the GREs most recently* they were computerized and you got one chance at each question. No way to review your answers if you finished early. The math part was a piece of cake for me, and I spent as much effort looking at how the questions were written as getting the answer. Overall, it was clear that they had worked hard at eliminating the value of “test taking skills.”

    * The university where I was applying in a completely different field from my previous time in graduate school and career wouldn’t accept my 25 year old test scores :^)

  118. Kurtz says:

    @Kingdaddy: @EddieInCA:


  119. EddieInCA says:


    Some simple facts:

    The median home price in San Francisco is $1.2M.
    January 2022 avearge San Francisco sales price for a single family home was $1.32M

    You have to have alot of money to even live there.

    You’re a smart person. It’s can’t be a surprise to you that rich people have rich friends.
    It’s not a surprise to you that well-connected people have well-connected friends who share their visions on education or government.

    The bottom line is that the school board was worried about renaming schools during a pandemic while not having a plan to get kids back in school quickly. Just like Virginia, this wasn’t hard. If you piss off your constituents, or worse, ignore them, don’t be surprised if they get motivated to remove you, and call their rich friends to help.

    This was nothing more than pissed off parents doing what pissed off parents do.

  120. EddieInCA says:


    I ask seriously…. How many times could you listen to variations of that interview before you, personally, would want to remove that person?

    It took me less than 1/2 that interview to want that woman fired.

  121. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    One thing that should be noted is that the test didn’t have some pre-specified cutoff and everyone who meets the criteria gets in. Rather it’s used to rank applicants and they count down from the top until they run out of spots.

    Yeah. They have X number of places available. As a school whose mission is to serve the top N students (a defined number, not a percentage or variable) it’s entirely expected that they start at the top and count down until all available slots are filled.

    That’s also the way that every sports team from high school to pro operates. That’s also the way that every company fills vacancies.

    What’s the issue?

    1. That puts the lie to the “they [sic] people who didn’t get in weren’t prepared for that level of work” take. There’s some set that were perfectly capable and there just wasn’t room

    The ones that didn’t make it were, by definition, to some degree, “less prepared” than those who did.


    2. The real solution is that we need a bigger table, but certain people don’t want to pay for that, so it’s easier to get various groups fighting each other over a seat at the one inadequate table.

    Sorry. That’s not the way the world works. If I have 1 position open at my company and 6 people who are good applicants, I don’t just magically create 5 new positions so they all feel accepted.

    Right now, I have 1 room for rent. I have 6 applicants. Am I supposed to build 5 more rooms so everyone gets one?

    If there are 100 openings and 105 students qualify, 5% just won’t make it.

    If there are 100 openings and 300 students qualify, there’s a clear need to open more schools.

    Is there evidence of the latter?

    And race/ethnicity/skin color should have exactly zero impact on entry. That mindset does nothing but perpetuate the racist myth that “race” has anything to do with educational advancement.

    Change the criteria so that economic status is no longer a factor? I’m all for it. But I also have zero sympathy for sub-cultures which promote anti-education agendas or insist that they’re “oppressed” when they are in the same schools, attending the same classes, taught by the same teachers, with the same materials and opportunities as everyone else.

    There’s even a thing called the “immigrant paradox”, where immigrant (regardless of race or national origin*) children do better in school than native-born children. Which contradicts the idea that there’s some racial bias in education.

    * Asian students (predominantly Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) always perform better in immigrant and 1st/2nd generation families. This is entirely cultural.

  122. Michael Cain says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Yeah. They have X number of places available. As a school whose mission is to serve the top N students (a defined number, not a percentage or variable) it’s entirely expected that they start at the top and count down until all available slots are filled…. That’s also the way that every sports team from high school to pro operates. That’s also the way that every company fills vacancies.

    The one place where that’s not tolerated (or at least not well tolerated) is K-12 education. From my high school experience, repeated with my children — and I have no reason to believe that my granddaughters’ experience will be different — in a typical American high school you can excel at almost anything except academics and your classmates will applaud. Athletics? Fine. Music? Fine. Arts? Fine. But if you’re a high performer in academics, keep your head down.

  123. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    That’s certainly true of public high schools. When I was in public high school–thank God I later went to a private one–the captain of the football team could have raped someone in a stairwell and the male teachers would have excused him and blamed the victim for being a slut. And my public high school was considered a very good one. It still is.

  124. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Because no one has a right to a job at a company or a spot on a sports team. Children do, however, have a right to an education, and more specifically gifted children (being considered special education students under federal law) have a right to the educational resources to support their particular needs.

    Or are we just dropping any pretense this is actually a High School for gifted children now?

  125. Kurtz says:


    You’re a smart person.

    Assumes facts not in evidence, my friend. Just because it’s you and apropos here.

    How many times could you listen to variations of that interview before you, personally, would want to remove that person?

    No doubt. She’s comes across as a dolt and is one more example of my general impression that the worst politicians are often local ones. After all if Gohmert and Taylor-Greene can get elected at the Federal level, what should our expectations for most local pols.

    I wish I had more time right now to find some things that crossed my mind in the brief time I read about it today.

    Separate from that, how can we exchange contact info without broadcasting it to the whole internet?

  126. Beth says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That mindset does nothing but perpetuate the racist myth that “race” has anything to do with educational advancement.

    Except for all the times where it does. The only reason I graduated high school was because I was white and perceived to be male. I’m not joking. The door hit me on the ass on the way out. I was give the benefit of the doubt and a boost because of my race and perceived gender. I was also an absolute nightmare for the administration and I’m sure most people thought I was going to shoot the place up.

    This is America, race infects and effects everything we do. It’s our class system and our caste system. Pretending like it’s nothing won’t get us past it.

  127. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: WA! That’s interesting. it seems to me that our rules are way different in the PNW. Typically, the line from where you can build starts where grass starts to grow. Building on the actual beach is pretty thoroughly prohibited here. I can’t recall anyplace where I’ve seen development on the actual beach other than docks.

  128. Just nutha ignint cracker-- says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m simply recalling and referring to the elements of the discussion of climate I read in a recent Atlantic article. (I posted a link to it when I commented originally, so theoretically anyway, one can find the link.) But as for at least one of your observations, climate refugees can be shot at borders when thing really get bad, and only the citizens in the bottom half of the wage range (i.e. people like me–maybe you, too, but I don’t want to stigmatize you unfairly) will be economically impacted in most developed nations. At least that’s the current speculation. Access to money covers a multitude of problems–see the guy in Sleeping Dog’s article moving his house, or the guy who paid something on the order of a quarter mil to have new pilings driven for his Portland house when the hill slid away a few years ago.

  129. mister bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..development…
    Galveston Island appeared to me to be a lot of beachfront with all kinds of dwellings on stilts when I visited there 10(?) years ago.

  130. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: I haven’t even read the article yet and just looking at Kingdaddy’s, Kurtz’s, and your replies, I’m okay with firing/recalling her already.

  131. mister bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..development…
    Galveston Island appeared to me to be a lot of beach with all kinds of dwellings on stilts when I visited there 10(?) years ago.

  132. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: “Separate from that, how can we exchange contact info without broadcasting it to the whole internet?”

    I’ve heard rumours that our hosts facilitate such contacts if both parties approve, but they’re only rumours.

  133. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @mister bluster: 1. I can’t speak for building codes in Texas because I don’t live there. 2. Additionally, I may well be mistaken about codes here as I’m just going on the aggregate of what I’ve observed.

  134. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Lets not forget there not a lot of black parents and children chomping at the bit for the privilege of being in a place where they will almost alway be the only black person around…

    Its hard enough for black adults to manage this let alone children… no thanks.

  135. mister bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..Texas…
    From what I know (damn little) something like building codes are thought of as repressive over regulation in the Lone Star State.
    (don’t know how I double dipped the earlier comment)

  136. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yeah, that was going to be my approach, @EddieInCA and I briefly discussed it in a thread a bit ago.

  137. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    If that’s the case, then where do we draw the line? I hereby dub all thee children gifted? Magnet schools for everyone?

    I’m getting the impression that your beef might be that all children aren’t being treated the same while ignoring that all children aren’t the same. Hard to accept polls, maybe, but truth nonetheless. Unfortunately, some are unavoidably going to be more inherently talented than others, or, as seems to be the case here – by virtue of cultural factors or whatever else, some kids are just going to work harder than others. As Mu Yixiao noted, that is how the world works. You’re jousting about in angst for an “all kids are equally special” world that doesn’t (and shouldn’t, it’s how you get participation trophies and entitled snowflakes who can’t hack it in the real world) exist. Meanwhile, the parents out in SF appear to be laser focused on well preparing their kids for the world that does exist. Kudos to them.

  138. EddieInCA says:


    I have a special email for that. ed**************@ya***.com

    Feel free to reach out, but let me know if you do. I never check that email unless I have a reason.

  139. HarvardLaw92 says:


    The other four members of the board had been elected too recently to be subjected to recall. Otherwise, I strongly suspect that they would have been tossed as well.

  140. Kurtz says:


    Ah, thank you. That’s a solid suspicion.

  141. Kurtz says: