Friday, February 20, 2015

The Lattanzi Ten - 2/20/15

The Friday headlines and a week in review...

Remember how Global Warming Climate Change Global Climate Disruption bad weather was going to destroy us all with rising seas and sun-baked parched earth? I guess that cooling trend is well underway, because it was just about the coldest I can ever remember for a late February day. I remember last winter in December and January getting into the single digits (the famous "Polar Vortex" that was really just a cold snap, but why bother with semantics?). We have had multiple two-hour delays because PG County is a bunch of sissies cares about the children! One of my favorite tweets just reading random replies to the announcement tweet of the delay this morning:

There has been a lot of hyperventilating over the news from Oklahoma about the potential banning of AP US History from the state's curriculum. A few things to remember:

a) It has only passed a legislative committee. A committee! It hasn't been voted on yet by the full legislative body of Oklahoma.

b) AP US History is not a required course; it's an offering that may or may not be made available in the curriculum. If the Oklahoma House Education Committee (again, a farking COMMITTEE!) voted to ban US history from the curriculum, then I'd see why there might be a problem.

c) Any school can offer an advanced US history course; it doesn't have to be Advanced Placement. The issue with any AP course is that it is inherently teaching to the test. I took the course 17 years ago and my instructor flat out told us that much of the preparation we did was in anticipation of the AP Exam.

d) The real issue at hand is who gets to control the curriculum? The state (i.e. the local jurisdiction) or some corporate entity. Wait, I thought the liberals were against corporations interfering with societal function? Oh, this time is different? My bad. In all seriousness, though, this is a proxy for the larger looming war over Common Core, at least regarding the principles of it. Stay tuned...

On Wednesday, I made fun of Marie Harf, the deputy spokesmouthperson at the State Department for putting out there that...if we just give terrorists jobs...maybe they'll stop cutting people's heads off. Well, apparently her boss (Jen Psaki) is moving to the White House, and poor Marie will NOT be promoted to #1:
Marie Harf, the embattled State Department deputy spokeswoman who insisted this week that helping ISIS jihadis find gainful employment was a better strategy than killing them, is not in line for a promotion when her boss moves to the White House on April 1, a State Department official said Thursday.
Those mockworthy moments, a State Department official said Thursday, 'are going to keep her from the top job.'
What a pity. It was just getting good too!

That is a serious question. For all the hub-bub of the Affordable Care Act, it has been an unmitigated disaster from the start, whether in getting it passed, or the discovery of the misleading and lying, or in the fudging of the numbers, or the scandal of ever-expanding Medicaid rolls. Now, we have the IRS (as the chief enforcement agency - what could possibly go wrong here?) screwing up the tax forms for people who enrolled via And it isn't a negligible amount, like 120, but rather 800...


Yes, 800,000 screwed up forms and people who are going to have to wait to get their "refund" (another issue for another day). But remember, if you liked your plan...

5. Language Is All We Have...

Byron York writes that the Obama Administration has boxed itself in regarding the language of Islamic terrorism:
Obama's semantic preferences have left his spokesmen struggling to find words to describe one of the United States' top national security concerns. It's a particular troubling problem now, with the rise of the Islamic State, but it has deep roots; the president has long appeared conflicted on how to refer to Islamic terrorism.
This is a problem because rule number one in engaging in any kind of battle: identify your opponent. You fail to do so, you lose by default. Unless of course, he wants to lose, which is something I can't really ascertain as I don't know the man's soul. Nevertheless, it is troubling to see the refusal to do something as simple as calling something for what it is.

The former mayor of New York and former presidential candidate has caused a stir by saying that President Obama doesn't love America. The problem is that no one is actually addressing the substance of Giuliani's remarks and instead have descended into ad hominem attacks and erecting strawmen. Ok, if he's wrong, why is he wrong? Is it actually racist to criticize the President? Have we already forgotten this gem of American wisdom?

I suppose we have, or will it be instantly remembered as soon as we have President Bush, Cruz, Paul, Rubio, or Walker?

7. What's the First Thing An Italian Soldier Learns In Basic Training?

I really, really hope that old joke about waving a white flag/raising arms isn't going to be proven true in the near future. ISIS makes everything known about what they want to do, so I take it seriously that they would like to invade Italy and fly their flag over St. Peter's Basilica. 

8. Mike Rowe and the Presidential Qualification Issue

This is a great story told by Rowe about how he got his start on TV. The fundamental premise of credentialism is nonsensical; having a four-year college degree doesn't make you more valuable as an employee or as a human being. The fact is that since everyone is being encouraged to line administrative pockets go to college, it actually cheapens the degree. 

It's essentially a supply and demand issue. Thirty years ago, every got MBAs; ten years ago, it was a law degree; now it's STEM-related degrees. The elitism is a bit grating, and quite frankly, advanced degrees over the past 20+ years have done more to screw up this country than anything else. Perhaps it may not be a bad idea to have a doer rather than a thinker.

9. Fun in the L.A. Sun!

Rams, Raiders, and Chargers to L.A.? Say it ain't so, Comrade Goodell! It would be fun to see the Chargers and Raiders share a stadium. And they think Eagles fans are bad.

10. What, You Mean College Is For...Education?

Since the University of Maryland joined the Big Ten, it is interesting to watch, listen, and read everything from a more Midwestern point of view. The latest goodie to come is the hope of "starting a national conversation" on reinstating freshman ineligibility in football and men's basketball. 

On paper, I have no problem with this. Is it impractical? Probably. The money is too great, the tentacles of outside forces are in too deeply, and no one is going to really put in the effort to remove said tentacles. The professional leagues (NBA/NFL) enable the abuse of the system because they don't have any kind of farm system (NBDL doesn't count!). The free market should reign - eliminate any age requirement and let kids go pro at 18 if they think they can hack it.

The only way this ever gets traction is if every single Division I conference adopts the standard. If there are self-imposed standards unevenly applied, recruiting will be in an awkward spot. I just can't see the SEC going along with this, since they are the kings of the one-and-done basketball players and the factory-made football players. The NCAA is a joke, and they roll in the money, so you can expect to do...nothing. I see this as only taking time and a grass-roots movement. Any top-down imposition will inevitably backfire.
As it should.

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