Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saying It Doesn't Make It So

A ton has already been written on the truthiness of Ryan's speech last night, but I like this one, although FactCheck is also good. The sad part: Truth doesn't really matter in this brave new world.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Unluckiest Fellow

Could Mitt Romney be the unluckiest guy on the planet? It hardly matters that Tropical Storm Isaac won't splatter Tampa--The GOP has already postponed Day 1. What matters far more is that Isaac seems determined to ram New Orleans, which is guaranteed to raise the specter of Republican Presidents Who Failed Us. The only possible cure is for Iran to capture a bunch of embassy workers during the Dems' Charlotte convention. Not that I'm recommending that (for one thing, we no longer have an embassy there). Gee, Mitt, what did you do to deserve this?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Science R Us

Since discovering that "colonial-era biology" Congressman Akin was on the Science, Space, & Technology Committee, I thought I'd better take a look at other members of that esteemed body. First among equals is Chairman Ralph Hall of Texas, whose votes show him to be extremely dubious about climate change though supportive of computer science training. His main purpose on the committee seems to be to ensure that states and localities do not incur additional costs due to federal lawmaking and regulations, and he strongly believes in "minimizing duplicative research," which might come as a surprise to several Nobelists, whose awards often derive from competitive, even duplicative, global research.

Then there's Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who promises to believe in climate change when China and India do their fair share. He's a big talker about Solyndra and the need for accountability in alternative energy. (He also sponsored a bill that would prohibit funding to organizations that "support or participate in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." I'm not sure what those organizations might be.)

Next on the list (I'm just going in order) is Lamar Smith of Texas. (Texans make up 12.5% of the committee.) He absolutely believes that climate change is affecting the earth, pointing out that "the Earth has undergone tremendous change in the past and is experiencing similar change now."

The fourth member of this critical committee is Dana Rohrabacher of California. Global warming? Well, if it were man-made, wouldn't we have signed the Kyoto Treaty? But we didn't, did we? So emotional junk science loses again! Clearly Mr. Rohrabacher's clever use of petitio principii makes him just the representative we want on our science committee!

Next is Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, who failed to vote for an energy act, despite his concern about our dependence on foreign oil, because it did not focus on the things that most interest him—nuclear power, hydrogen fuel, and clean coal. And Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, who is pissed that Obama wants EPA to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants, when, after all, coal is important to Oklahoma. Needless to say, he also issued a strong condemnation of Obama's failure to support the Keystone pipeline.

Time for one more. Judy Biggert of Illinois has a whole issue page on Asian carp! (She rejects them.) And she wrote a nice statement on the discovery of evidence for the Higgs boson! Plus, she went to New Trier, one of America's top high schools, and thence to Stanford. She's still for off-shore drilling, as befits her party membership, and she seems to have nothing whatsoever to say on the topic of climate change.

It's hard to draw conclusions from this small sample, but I'd say that Akin is not really an outlier. More to come when I have time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The Dryden Democrats will hold a caucus next Tuesday to select a candidate for Town Justice. For more information, see the Dryden Dem website.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paul's Wildflower Garden

After the geothermal guys tore up the yard, Paul planted the back meadow with a selection of wildflowers, most of which are currently blooming. Photos don't do it justice.

Monday, August 20, 2012

War on Women? You Make the Call

Romney and Ryan are backpedaling fiercely from Akin's stupid comments on "legitimate rape," but they can't step back from the fact that Ryan and Akin co-sponsored a bill that redefined "real" rape, the kind that requires abortion, as "forcible rape," a definition killed in the House. When he first ran for Congress, Ryan wanted to outlaw abortion in the case of rape or incest, allowing it only in cases where it was necessary to save a woman's life (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/26/98). So they can't step too far back without really stepping in it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Consolidating, One Bit at a Time

When Paul was in Colorado, he discovered that many tiny schools there field small football teams and play a modified version of the game. In NYC, the kind of consolidation mentioned here is happening more and more. Dryden and Groton did it for a while with wrestling. Now Newfield and Trumansburg are merging football so that Newfield players have a chance to play.

Losing teams is often the main reason districts have for failing to approve a merger. This kind of sharing can be a reasonable first step toward opening those discussions. (Not that Tburg and Newfield can merge—I don't think they are contiguous at any point, which is a state requirement.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hooray Romney Ryan

Not because I like the ticket, but because this ticket, out of all the possibilities, offers the best chance of a real, substantive debate on the kind of America we want to have.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

WHCU reports that Superintendent Grimm is leaving Lansing for Penfield, a suburban Rochester district with nearly quadruple the number of students and even lower free-and-reduced stats than Lansing's. In doing so, he returns to his roots.

Grimm lasted four years in Lansing, which is about three years longer than his each of his most recent predecessors. Not that anyone will ask me, but I could recommend someone for their next superintendent.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Another Year, Another Search

With the departure of District Superintendent Ellen O'Donnell, I find myself involved in yet another executive search. We are lucky to be assisted by our interim superintendent, the DS at Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, who has managed to reduce the paperwork for us to what's critical. Tonight will be a long night of interviews and discussion. With luck, this will separate the sheep from the goats, and we can proceed. I can't help feeling that the right person in this position could make a world of difference for the local districts. We are handicapped by the salary cap, which places DSs below many NYS superintendents in income, although not in workload, since half of their time is spent commuting to Albany, sifting through State Ed arcana, and bringing The Word back home again.

One starts to wonder: Who would want this job?