I’ll have a much longer piece on one of the greatest football games I’ve ever seen but if you really want to know what happened yesterday and why let me explain Why the Patriots won and Seattle Lost in two sentences.

After 59 minutes, both before and after the Malcolm Butler interception, the Seattle Seahawks played as if the outcome of the game was already decided.

After 59 minutes both before and after the Malcolm Butler interception the New England Patriots played as if the outcome of the game was in doubt.

That’s pretty much it.

 

 

Relations between the public and police forces are at an all-time low. They could hardly get worse. Some of the officers seem to believe they are playing soldier. The governing bodies encourage this attitude by providing high-tech playthings of limited value to sworn civilian peace officers. What a sorry state of affairs!
Police prefer the low-hanging fruit.  Examples:  You and me.  It’s only rational for cops to arrest old ladies who won’t give them any lip for speeding on an otherwise empty highway; it’s a whole lot safer for them.  Trying to intervene in a crime being committed by a young strong black man is likely to get someone hurt.
I will concede that the murder of two innocent patrolmen was a heinous crime.  I will further admit that the grand juries in both Ferguson and New York did their duty as specified by law, and that Al Sharpton et al are a disgrace to the good name of rabble-rousers who have brought a lot of grief to the body politic.
So the police in New York City are withholding their services.  They are not “on strike” because striking is illegal.  They are showing up for work but not doing anything.  They will be out there, neglecting their duties.  So, you will no longer have your car towed if you stay overtime in a parking spot–bliss!

There is a downside to this, though.  New York will become like San Francisco, a place where the homeless use public fountains as toilets, panhandle aggressively, and menace harmless pedestrians with their threatening demeanor.  The squeegee men will be back, offering their unwanted attentions to motorists.  This will return the quality of life to the pre-Giulani area, while the New York Times laments the ungovernablity of the city and demands smaller classroom and higher pay for teachers in order to attack the “root causes” of crime. Tourists will flee and businesses will struggle.
I think we need to rethink what we want from policing. Are the police a source of revenue, like bingo games in church meeting rooms?  Or are they employed to protect the public?
The public has mixed feelings about all this. Most citizens don’t want to see excessive violence in our streets; they would prefer justice be tempered by prudence. But when push comes to shove, law-abiding citizens will come down squarely on the side of local police forces. They can’t afford to do otherwise; these forces stand between us and anarchy.

SHREVEPORT – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal issued an executive order this week in which he urges the head governing board over education to allow parents to opt-out of PARCC state testing for their children this spring.  And that’s as far as it went.

Via NOLA:

Gov. Bobby Jindal on Friday urged Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to allow alternatives to the Common Core-aligned test that public schools are planning to use this spring. Jindal, who opposes the national Common Core academic standards, has no legal authority of the school board, so he used an executive order to issue a strong suggestion for testing alternatives, rather than a requirement for other assessment options.

“His executive order is worth only the paper it is written on,” said Chas Roemer, president of the school board and a Common Core supporter.

You will recall, Governor Jindal was once a full supporter of Common Core, helped push the standards through, and in touting the standards, he said “Adopting the Common Core State Standards, which will raise expectations for every child.”   (In that same speech he also praised the new Value Added Teacher Assessment Program which has been one cluster after another, bringing teacher morale to new lows statewide.)

I’m not faulting Jindal for his reversal on Common Core.  We all make mistakes and correcting those mistakes is a fully rational thing to try to do.  But this one has been costly for Louisiana, both financially and by all measurements of stress and morale on our children and teachers.

This spring, children in Louisiana, as in other states, will undergo days and days of testing; in preparation for that, they will also spend weeks with practice tests, test prep, and intensive boot camp remediation for some.  Testing dates in Louisiana look something like this:

PARCC Phase 1: (Grades 3-8) March 16-20  (English and Math)

iLeap/Leap: (Grades 3-8) April 14-15 (Science and Social Studies)

PARCC Phase 2: (Grades 3-8) May 4-8 (English and Math)

EOC for ELA and Math (Grades 6-12) begins in April and covers English, Science, Math, Social Studies.  Most of these are two day tests.  In some cases, three days.

Then, if you’re going to take the ACT, there are dates for that too, depending on which series you take:  EXPLORE for Grades 8 and 9, PLAN for Grade 10, and ACT for grade 11.  In most school districts, these tests are mandatory.

It varies by grade, and which test which grade must take, but let’s just agree that it is a lot of testing.  The calendar for Louisiana testing can be found here.

Who in the world could fault a parent for opting out of some of this?

I talked to a friend the other day who teaches at a middle school in Shreveport; she was reprimanded by her principal for teaching the prescribed curriculum and not focusing enough on test prep and practice test questions in her classroom.  His concern was that low student scores on the standardized tests will reflect poorly on the school and also on him.

What in the world has education come to?

Are we teaching kids to take tests or to think critically?  Can it be one in the same?  Are we killing the love of learning for our kids?  Putting too much stress and pressure on them?

Check the test schedules in your own state, and check the opt out policies.  It might be worthwhile.

 

 

Side note:  I blogged in this space some time ago about a local animal cruelty case in Shreveport where a dog, Braveheart, was found starved nearly to death in a storage locker at the peak of summer heat in Louisiana.  That case went to trial last week.  If you’re interested, here’s a wrap-up of that trial and verdict.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Donkey: Hi, princess.
Princess Fiona: It talks.
Shrek: Yeah, but it’s getting him to shut up that’s the trick.

Shrek 2001

I must admit Andrew Sullivan’s announcement gives me mixed feeling in several ways.

Sullivan was one of the first bloggers I read, and even when he eventually whet and started turning crazy over Sarah Palin he generally provoked thought & post after post.

He along with Stacy McCain gave a model of the blogging business, and I confess I’m a tad jealous.

You were there when it was just me and a tip jar for six years, and at Time, and at The Atlantic, and the Daily Beast, and then as an independent company. When we asked you two years ago to catch us as we jumped into independence, you came through and then some. In just two years, you built a million dollar revenue company, with 30,000 subscribers, a million monthly readers, and revenue growth of 17 percent over the first year. You made us unique in this media world – and we were able to avoid the sirens of clickbait and sponsored content. We will never forget it.

That is a notable accomplishment and regardless of what you think of his opinions the free market is a fair judge of success.  Perhaps I should  made a closer study and emulate his methods if not his opinions.

He talks about always being on deadline. Anyone who has seen me since 2008 knows my laptop is my constant companion from game night to dinners. It annoys people. Elizabeth Scalia absolutely nailed it:

I hear him. Having blogged almost non-stop for ten years, the last four-and-a-half of them while also writing two books and building this channel (and since May battling my own health issues which have been exacerbated by the stress) I fully hear what he is saying, and partly identify with it.

In truth it’s a mixed blessing, yes you are always on but you attend interesting events and meet interesting people (the readers are the best).  If you reporting as well you get an insight to things that you can’t get from behind the  media filter and can actually make a difference.  Finally a guy like Sully should thank his lucky stars because his stress doesn’t compare to a person doing hard labor. Vs past generations trying to make a living, the stresses of blogging are nothing.

On the other hand the relationship stress is real.

I notice a significant difference in how my wife and others perceive me since 40-50 hours weekly are now spent doing contract work instead of blogging 24-7.  To the family’s mind it is “real work”. While those who have seen me at CPAC over the last half decade or Blog Bash know that even at events that are fun I”m usually in a corner on the floor, writing, uploading and editing. To the wife & kids back home they only see the trip to Washington or Denver or the road trip with Stacy and the blogging as “playing on a computer.”

The question becomes as Sully leaves the nest, what about this place?

I’ve been flat out since 2008 (Since 2005 if you count the years blogging for Lightfrog / HiWired as a high level tech discussing everything from wireless systems to the net as a resource , the public net and buying a PC  That’s where the name “DaTechGuy ” comes from in case you’ve wondered.  Thanks to the Magnificent Seven writers: Baldilocks, Fausta, Pat Austin, Steve Eggleston, Lady Liberty, Pastor George Kelly and John Rubery (with a few more on the way)  burnout is less of an issue.

We’ve  had strong years when the blog was paying the bills and slow years when I couldn’t buy an instalanche (it’s been 10 months since the last time Glenn Linked.) and the contract payables/receivables work is needed to pay the bills, but when it comes down to it all of us here at DaTechGuy Blog as it says in the old Monkees song, have something to say and as long as we do,  like Glenn Reynolds we’re not going anywhere.

 

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