Sunday, January 29, 2017

An Issue in Education

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Albuquerque Journal a week ago, on January 22nd. It definitely makes some most valid points.

I am a Canadian teacher and literacy specialist who is following New Mexico's literacy debate with interest. I have met with the same stubborn refusal by government and school districts to even consider that perhaps the reading methods being used are ineffective, and that more money will not solve the problem.

Having taught students and teachers for over 20 years, I know what works; however, an inexpensive, easy-to-use, guaranteed-to-work phonics method is not what the billion-dollar business of education — with its "balanced literacy, guided reading" jargon — wants to hear.

I find it especially ironic that New Mexico seems to have the same attitude, and such dismal literacy stats, since the "cheap and easy" method I have been using for over 20 years to successfully teach reading was created by New Mexico's Dr. Ernest Christman.

New Mexico has a clear, simple, relatively quick solution to its illiteracy woes right in its own backyard. Why is the state not using it?

          KATE KELLY
          Delta, British Columbia, Canada

My mother would have enjoyed reading that letter. She used phonics to teach reading back in the 1960s. Then, as now, it was both out of favor and highly effective. But she only cared about what would work for her students. And as she noted,
Some students will learn no matter how well or by what method they are taught. For others, the teacher must find the method that can enable the student to learn.
Phonics really should be used to teach reading. If the education establishment wants to use the latest fad instead, it should at the very least allow and support the use of phonics to teach students for whom the fad does not work well.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Three Obama Rules to Follow

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on January 24th.

To honor the legacy of ex-president Obama, it would be fitting to continue to observe three rules that were hallmarks of his presidency.

First, for the next eight years, anything bad that happens is the fault of the previous president.

Second, starting January 20, anything good that happens is the result of the wise guidance of the current president.

Third, any attempt by the party in the minority to exert influence over the course of government is to be considered a bigoted and racist attempt to thwart the will of the people.

Given how well these principles served President Obama, I am sure we can all agree that we should continue to follow them as part of Obama's legacy.

It is going to be an interesting ride and, to paraphrase ex-president Obama, "You progressives are welcome to come along for the ride, but you will have to ride in the back (of the pickup)."

After all, elections have consequences.

          Cedar Crest

No further comment is necessary.

A WD-40 Ad from 1964

This is a genuine Ad from 1964 when WD-40 was first released.

Their Ad department sure had a delightful way with words.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A New Vision Will Govern Our Land

Yesterday, the United States of America received a new President. His inaugural address was not partisan. And in it, President Trump showed himself not to be an ordinary politician.

The Albuquerque Journal reported on yesterday's inauguration this way.

And now we begin a new era.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Inauguration Approaches

President Barack Obama offers to give President Elect Donald Trump his best advice as Trump prepares to take office.

Meanwhile, a sizable chunk of the Democratic Party, not believing in the Constitution or the orderly transfer of power, does what they do best.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Will to Win

This was received from an Air Force colleague, who had received it from a Marine friend. It's worth passing on.

Unless you are willing to be as unreasonable and as brutal, as your enemy, do not engage him in a conflict -- because he will win.
An old leatherneck says it better. Here's what the WWII veteran said right after overhearing someone say that "You can't bomb an ideology.":
The hell you can't, because we did it. These Muslims are no different than the [Imperial] Japanese. The Japs had their suicide bombers too. And we stopped them. What it takes is the resolve and will to use a level of brutality and violence that your generations can't stomach. And until you can, this shit won't stop. It took us on the beaches with bullets, clearing out caves with flame throwers, and men like LeMay burning down their cities, killing people by the tens of thousands. And then it took 2 atom bombs on top of it. Plus we had to bomb the shit out of German cities to get them to quit fighting. But, if that was what it took to win, we were willing to do it. Until you are willing to do the same...well I hope you enjoy this shit, because it ain't going to stop!
Back then, we had leadership, resolve, resources and determination. Today we're afraid to hurt people's feelings .... and worry about which bathroom to piss in!!!

On one thing, though, I must disagree. "These Muslims" ARE different from the Japanese of World War II. The Japanese fighters were soldiers — uniformed soldiers, with a code of conduct enforced by their superiors and their military structure. They acted as a military force. Compare that to "these Muslims" who lack honor, think committing rape is normal and acceptable behavior, and prefer to attack civilian non-combatant targets — right down to beheading a woman for the "crime" of going to the market by herself. In other words, this is what "these Muslims" are like.

This is the new reality, as we've all seen. We ignore it at our peril.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Just To Be Clear

It's being reported that 54% of Democrats believe the Russians interfered in the U.S. presidential election by hacking into and changing vote totals last November 8. That means they've fallen for some "fake news" 'bause that's never what the actual news reports said. The actual charge was that the Russians influenced the U.S. election by passing all those e-mails to Wikileaks. (But see this item.)

And what follows from that is this:

I would also say all the continuing crying, screaming, bellyaching, rioting, and abuse of process on the left demonstrates a HUGE amount of hypocrisy on their part. Just compare what they were saying before the election with what they've been saying since.

It won't make sense to the young and historically illiterate, but what all the Leftist bitching and moaning makes me think is this:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The "Russian Hack"

The primary US media outlets have been spending a LOT of ink and air time talking about the Russians and their purported hacking of the US presidential election last month. These stories are disingenuous. In point of fact, the hacking that was done — by whomever — was, according to the detail behind the stories, of the Democratic National Committee (& maybe the Republican National Committee) and the Hillary Clinton campaign organization and the Hillary Clinton State Department. There have been no real reports of the hacking of any state's election voting processes. So the claims are really of using hacked material to influence voters to change who they voted for, no matter how the primary media outlets may wish to spin them.

Let's look at some of the issues surrounding these claims.

First is the difference between what is claimed in the stories and what has actually been reported by the stories' sources. That is pure deception. And the reality takes us from the realm of direct action to the realm of influence. In the latter realm, Russia would have a lot of company.

And what was Russia doing to influence the US presidential election? It was purportedly releasing through Wikileaks e-mails sent among members of the Hillary Clinton campaign showing it and she were disingenuous, deceptive, unethical, criminal, & etc. Meanwhile, as the hacked e-mailes showed, others were working to influence the election.

Second is motivation. As reported

"The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter," the Post reported on Friday.
The problem is that despite Vladimir Putin's reported dislike of Hillary Clinton, Russia could more easily have pushed the US around with her as president (just as with President Obama) than with Donald Trump in the Executive Office. A serious pragmatist like Vladimir Putin would — and has — go with what best serves his purposes regardless of his personal feelings.

Third is the question of why the Russians (or whoever) would have released data hacked from the Democrats but not the Republicans. There are two possible answers to this, both of which may be true.

(1) It may be that the Republicans' e-mails gave the Russians (or whoever) nothing juicy as the Democrats' did — nothing unethical or illegal to attach to the Republicans' candidate or his campaign like what whoever found in the e-mails of Hillary Clinton and her campaign, including her campaign manager.

(2) The hacker may not have gotten into the Republicans' e-mails. Perhaps no one at the Republican National Committee responded to a phishing e-mail and no one in the Donald Trump campaign did that or kept and used a completely unsecured server.

Fourth is was it really the Russians? The leaked e-mails came out through Wikileaks. And the Wikileaks folks insist they didn't come from the Russians — or anyone else foreign — but from a disgruntled Hillary Campaign individual frustrated and disgusted by the behaviors he saw running rampant in the campaign. Of course, the primary media outlets are ignoring what Wikileaks keeps saying — it doesn't fit their narrative.

Fifth is the question of what impact the leaked e-mails had. In a way, it doesn't matter:

  • If they had a major impact, it was because of what they revealed about the candidate and her campaign organization (see "third" (1), above). In such a case, the impact would be the same whether the e-mails came from a whistleblower, a hacker, or Woodward & Bernstein.
  • If they had no major impact, the whole premise of the media story collapses. In that event, it doesn't really matter who got the e-mails out. Aside from a desire for blame, of course.
In any case, it appears the likely answer is that the e-mails didn't have much impact. The reason I say that is that we kept seeing stories about how sparse the crowds were at Hillary Clinton events, while Donald Trump events were . . . well, like this:

The remaining question would be how well such crowds transfer into vote margins. This time, the rally crowds appear to have transferred just enough to make a real difference; last time (2012), not so much.

The bottom line of all this is that No, Democrats, Russia and Vladimir Putin didn't steal the presidential election for Donald Trump.

Since the election, Leftists have used the purported Russian hack (as well as other reasons and no real reason at all) as excuses for demands that the election results be overturned. All of these excuses boil down to "It isn't fair! We didn't win!" A typical immature child's reaction.

But even an immiature child should understand that don't change the rules of the game after the game has started. And you especially don't change the rules of the game to change the winner after the game is over. That would be like changing the definition of Checkmate because you don't like the fact that you lost.

All of this still leaves at least one problem, one that is suggested by the issues above. With all these issues, why did the CIA (reportedly) give this story to press people but (apparently) not not to those in the normal reporting chain? And why, when asked, was the CIA unwilling to provide more information — and maybe even evidence — to appropriately cleared folks like Congressional intelligence committees (and unlike the press folks who lack security clearances)? This key question, put another way, is

[I]f it turns out people in the CIA were pushing a phony story to damage Trump's presidency, and that a credulous anti-Trump press eagerly spread these claims — they should be held accountable as well. Undermining the credibility of our Democratic system is a terrible offense, no matter who is behind it or why.
That same article provides a thought that can perhaps help lead us toward an answer.
Until some actual facts are known, however, everyone would be wise to keep in mind that everyone currently pushing the Russians-stole-our-election story has a reason to hope it was true.
I wonder if that would be "hope" or "wish". And what they would do to make their wish come true.

UPDATE: Even some of Hillary's friends on the Left can't swallow these claims. See this story, citing this one.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Reflections on Pearl Harbor

Today marks 75 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, that brought the United States into World War II. That makes it a good time to reflect on that attack. And the best way to do that may be through some contemporary analysis reported in the 1985 book Reflections on Pearl Harbor by William H. Ewing, now out of print.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was appointed as Commander of the Pacific Fleet in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack. The story I have read is that President Franklin Roosevelt reached him while he was attending a concert on the day of the attack, and appointed him that day to his new post.

Transportation, in particular, was not as rapid then as it is now. It apparently took more than two weeks for Admiral Nimitz to arrive at his new post. What happened very shortly after his arrival is described in an excerpt from Reflections On Pearl Harbor by William H. Ewing, reported online in 2011.

When Nimitz landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941, there was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat--you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.

Afterwards, someone asked him, ‘Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?’ Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone: ‘The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America.

Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one: The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk, we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is on top of the ground in storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make, or God was taking care of America.

I have read elsewhere that the Japanese chose to attack on a Sunday morning to insure the maximum number of capital ships would be in port and at anchor (see Mistake number one above) and that preparedness in their other attack locations would be similarly degraded. This may suggest the "double-edged sword" nature of so many decisions. It may also relate to the Pearl Harbor attack being a late addition (approved by Emperor Hirohita on November 5) as part of the broader attack that opened World War II's Pacific War.

There was also what might be called Mistake number four: Either through a failure of intelligence or the Japanese need to proceed with their overall attack as planned regardless of inopportune circumstances at a single location (especially that of a late addition to the plan), all the US aircraft carriers were at sea at the time of the attack. Thus the carriers, which had to be the number one target of Admiral Yamamoto's attack plan, were preserved and able to successfully prosecute the Pacific War. After all, the Japanese attack demonstrated (if a demonstration was needed) the effectiveness of aircraft carriers.

All this provides a different window on the Pearl Harbor attack, and should be food for thought on today's 75th anniversary of that attack.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Worth Passing On

Donald Trump & Carrier

President-elect Donald Trump called the head of Carrier Air Conditioning's parent company and had a "heart to heart" talk with him. With that and some additional serious negotiations, the Carrier plant in Indiana will remain open instead of moving to Mexico, saving 1,000 jobs.

If President-elect Donald Trump could do that without yet being in office, why couldn't President Barack Obama do anything like it?

Looks like it's because Donald Trump actually gives a damn.
He cares.

Not even in office yet, and he's saving jobs.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Reflections on the Election

Before Election Day, everything seemed so clear. Hillary Clinton would be elected president and Donald Trump would be exiled to the wastelands and never heard from again. But then Election Day came, and everyone's expectations were turned upside down.

That caused Shock. Consternation. Horror. The Hillary partisans in the blue cities reacted badly. And that brought about some immediate aftereffects.

Another quick side effect was in the financial markets, where the market futures took an immediate dive. The market gurus said the financial markets would be devastated and would never recover. But we know how that turned out.

There was one more thing that apparently passed unnoticed on election night. A glass ceiling was shattered — just not the one the Left expected. It was the one shattered by Kellyanne Conway.

Meanwhile, on the other side.

Now the election is over and we're done with all those political comercials filling all the radio and television broadcast time. And now we will see over the coming weeks the unfolding of a new era. We'll just have to see how different it is from the old one.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day 2016

This is from a year ago, but I didn't see it till two months later. I thought this would be an appropriate date to bring it back up.

MAN WALKS INTO CHICK-FIL-A: Is Completely Blown Away When He Saw This for Veterans
By Bill Callen | Top Right News

Chick-fil-A, the same fast-food outlet has once again proved a positive to the world. This time it did so by unveiling an amazing Veterans Day tribute that left Georgia resident Eric Comfort in complete shock.

According to a Facebook post he published on Monday, when he walked into a local Chick-fil-A, Comfort discovered a "Missing Man Table" that contained a single rose, a Bible and a folded American flag, as well as a plaque within which was the following explanation: "This table is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms. The tablecloth is white - symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty. The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing and their loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted - to symbolize their inability to share this evening's toast. The chair is empty - they are missing."

After the story went viral, the store manager, Alex Korchan, explained to WSB that his team members had set up the table because they "wanted to honor veterans." Furthermore, he revealed that he planned to offer free meals to all veterans and their family members this Veterans Day between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Korchan also put up a poster so that customers could write in the names of loved ones who they have lost. "We've had a lot of people who have come in and seen it and been touched by it," Korchan continued. "It's been special to see."

PLEASE SHARE this article if you admire what Chick-Fil-A has done to honor our vets…

Happy Veterans Day

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Comey Sends Another Letter

After recently announcing the reopening of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, FBI Director James Comey has now announced he atill won't recomment pressing criminal charges against Hillary Clinton et al. All this after having outlined Hillary's criminal behavior in his press conference in July.

I have been mystified since July over the discrepancy between the facts summarized and the recommendation made. Maybe this explains it:

These Speak For Themselves

This speaks for itself. And it shows who is guilty of rank hypocrisy.

This one speaks to the kinds of people who are for and against one of the presidential candidates.

It's also notable that the haters leave the area of any rally they have a complete trashy mess, while the supporters leave a clean field.

Do you really want to put the country in the hands of more people who are dishonest, act like kindergarden children, and can't even pick up after themselves? I'd rather vote for some actual legitimate human beings.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Best Reason . . .

Ruben Navarrette summarizes this year's presidential race rather succinctly in his column in today's Albuquerque Journal. He says

The best reason to vote for Clinton is not because you believe that she cares about you or will keep her promises; it's to stop Trump. And the best reason to vote for Trump is not because you believe that he'll change a system that made him rich and famous or will keep his promises; it's to defeat Clinton.

As for me, I remain "Never. Never." I've chosen this path because I see the truth in the meme I read recently that described Trump as representing "everything that is wrong with our culture" and Clinton as embodying "everything that is wrong with our government."

That about covers it.

Cartoonist Michael Ramirez sums up how Navarrette and a large part of the country's population feel.

This additional Ramirez cartoon puts the choice we face a little bit differently.

That-s pretty close to what Thomas Sowell said (quoted here):
Voting for an out of control egomaniac like Donald Trump would be like playing Russian roulette with the future of this country. Voting for someone with a track record like Hillary Clinton's is like putting a shotgun to your head and pulling the trigger. And not voting at all is just giving up.
As Sowell also says, "Nobody said that being a good citizen would be easy."

Consider carefully. After all, one of these two people will end up living in the White House next year. Are you going to vote for a chance at life or for a guaranteed disaster?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Time to Grow Up

As Margaret Thatcher once said "The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money."

Also, related, Winston Churchill said (paraphrased, I suspect)

  • If you are 20 and not a Liberal, you have no heart.
  • If you are 40 and not a Conservative, you have no brain.
It's definitely time for folks to grow up.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Progressives vs. Conservatives

The state of the nation seems very much like this:

The labels on this cartoon say Mondernism and Tradition, but they really are Progressives and Conservatives. The Progressives really don't comprehend the strength and stability Conservatives provide — strength and stability the Progressives really rely on.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

How to Balance the Federal Budget

This might well do it.

Of course, the remaining federal employees will be overworked — at least until other changes are made.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Willful Blindness

Just one of the areas where President Barack Obama and his administration deliberately close their eyes to reality. I wish we had an adult in the Oval Office.