Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Friday, September 21, 2012

Busy Week at Babble!

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Three posts this week covering several topics, one of which features an old picture of me as a young boy celebrating First Communion.

Yes, they had cameras back then.

This week, I covered Obamacare and the lawsuits over its infringement of religious liberty, whether children should be taught about religion, and the idiocy of New York's soda ban, and how it is merely a symptom of a pervasive attempt to coddle us into subservience.

Go check them out here and let me know what you think.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nobody Dies

The picture linked below has resulted in no deaths. Not by stoning, decapitation, hanging, or immolation. In fact, nobody has been injured as a result of this drawing despite its offensive, incendiary nature.

It is obscene, derogatory, extremely profane, potentially racist, and certainly NSFW. It is not funny in the least, and has no socially redeeming value whatsoever.

It exists for one reason, and one reason only.

To demonstrate the profound difference between fundamentalists of different religions.

Remember, I warned you that it was profane, obscene, and offensive, and NSFW. It involves various deities in compromising positions. Despite the fact that I am a fundamentalist follower of one of those deities and find the image offensive, even as I understand the underlying message, I feel no burning desire to behead, stone, assault, or otherwise physically harm the artist.

For obvious reasons, this post will not be on Babble!

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

First Babble Post Is Up!

We wanted to get started by the 1st of September. We missed!. But the first post is now up and you can go see it here. I introduce myself to the other folks at Babble, and compare myself, favorably of course, to both Darth Vader and Scarlett O'Hara!

Fiddle Dee Dee, indeed!

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Defense of Standardized Testing

A few decades ago, the argument was that teachers could not be held accountable for their students performance because there were no objective measurements of that performance. The same argument was made regarding school funding. There was no real way to measure whether policies and programs were beneficial enough to justify their expense because there were no objective measures to use. Grades were inadequate because different school systems had different grading standards and criteria; an 'A' in one system might only rate a 'B+' in another. Passing in one district might be failing in another. Different curricula at different schools could not be compared across the board.

In short, there were no tools for managers to use to evaluate performance in our schools.

So the education profession got together to establish performance based standards and assigned them to certain grade levels. For example, mastering the ability to recite the letters of the alphabet was assigned to kindergarten; the ability to add and subtract two digit numbers to 2nd grade, and so on. This was important for two different reasons. First, the skills identified are all foundational, which is to say they form the basis for more advanced skills, like spelling, or multiplication. Second, mastery of these foundational skills can be easily assessed through objective testing.

And that, in a nutshell, is the origin of the standardized tests. There is nothing discriminatory about an objective test that assesses mastery of an ability. There can't be. Either the student has mastered the skill well enough to meet the standard, or they haven't. No bias, no politics, no subjectivity.

Basically, teachers are protesting to being held to objectively measured tests demonstrating mastery of fundamental skills as an unfair reflection of their teaching ability. They say it is unfair to hold them accountable for the performance of their students

Remember that the next time the teachers' union demands a raise because teachers are the most important element in a child's education.

Can't have it both ways folks.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Exposing Myself on Babble

So, I was invited to participate in a video dialogue with Diana Stone and Kristin Howerton of Babble Voices. We were reacting to Obama's acceptance speech which was kind of interesting because we were talking about it while he was giving it. On the negative side, the real time discussion meant I couldn't really concentrate on the speech. On the positive side, I didn't have to really concentrate on the speech.

I did some prep work before hand, looking up some facts and figures about Obama's spending and the unemployment situation, as well as a few other policy issues so I was fairly comfortable when we started. You can watch it below.

I think it went fairly well; it certainly didn't seem like we were talking for an hour, and it was a lot of fun. Kristin was the self admitted left of liberal representative, while Diana was a moderate leaning left, which left me as the sole voice of reason representative from the right. Catherine Connors was our able moderator, and other than a slight diversion where we discussed which of the candidates we would like to have a beer with (Obama won because Romney doesn't drink), we stayed with the speech fairly well, covering several topics.

Lissa watched it live and told me to stop swiveling in my chair, turn down the ringer on my phone, and "For goodness sake, clean up your office!"

Next up, getting the blog set up so I can start earning my paycheck.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, September 03, 2012

A Tale of Two Candidates

We have two men who are running for the Office of the President of the United States.

One candidate spends a lot of time talking about self reliance, independence, and liberty. He says that Americans can do the most when they have the most freedom, when government gets out of the way. On the other hand, when an employee's child disappeared, the candidate used the full resources of his company to assist police in locating the child and reuniting them with their family. According to the press, this candidate is a mean-spirited, disconnected, remote, greedy man who cares more for corporate profits than his fellow man.

The other candidate spends a lot of time talking about our mutual dependence, how success is earned not through individual efforts, but by the combined efforts of us all. He says that Americans can do the most when they look after each other, as if we were all brothers. On the other hand, when his brother's child fell ill, the candidate sat idly by and did nothing, while a stranger made sure that the child got the medical treatment he needed. According to the press, this candidate is a warm, compassionate, and caring man who is deeply concerned about the welfare of American citizens.

In case you are slow on the uptake, this post is not about the candidates themselves, but about the power of the media to create and sell an image that may have absolutely nothing to do with reality.

Posted by Rich
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Excitement! News! Money!

I have some exciting news. Well, exciting for me anyway.

Last week, Katie Granju asked if I would be interested in taking on a paying job, blogging as a conservative/libertarian dad. As a conservative/libertarian dad, anything that generates income is automatically interesting, even more so when it involves something that I've been doing for free for over 10 years now.

She gave me the details, and set up the connection, and the result is that, starting this week, I will be blogging for actual money at Babble.com! Like Katie, I'll be blogging as part of Babble voices, and while I'm free to write about any topic relating to parenting, kids, etc, my area of concentration will be conservatism/libertarianism and how politics affects my family, with the obvious focus on the upcoming election. As regular readers can imagine, I'll have quite a few things to say on the subject!

I expect that we'll get the details worked out this week, and that the blog will be set up and running by Friday at the latest. Then again, this is a short week, so we'll just have to see. In the meantime, I have to come up with a blog title, a biography, a good picture for the byline, and a couple of topics to get things rolling.

One thing will be new to me. In all the years I've blogged, I've never done a lot of self promotion. I don't do a lot of cross posting; I don't leave links on other blogs, and I very rarely ever send out "for your consideration" emails. That just isn't my style.

But Babble is a professional outfit, which means they expect page views for the money they pay out, so I will have to start working to drive traffic to my posts there. So you can expect to see some Self promotion going on, especially during the first few weeks as I try to build an audience. For those of you who don't like to read posts that link to other posts, I apologize in advance. On the other hand, for those of you who want to see me succeed, please click through and read!

As I was telling Lissa about this last Friday, it struck me that this is my second real freelance writing gig. I had a couple of submissions to the KNS, but those were more or less one shot deals, not a long term thing. I've been covering high school football for The Mountain Press for several years now, and adding Babble into the mix, assuming I last more than a month or two, that is two, long term, paid writing gigs.

I think that means I qualify as a professional writer!

Which means learning to type is probably a requirement now.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Why Dress Up Like a Giant Vagina?

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Posted by Rich
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