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September 2014

"Top Ten Things Parents Hate About Common Core"

I don't agree with everything--on #5, I think kids need a lot more "workforce-prep mentality" from the schools and on #8, lots of things make little kids cry, including the current curriculum--but for both supporters and opponents of Common Core there's food for thought here

And see also former engineer, now math teacher, Cynthia Walker's piece, "Un-Common, Not Core".

I predict that if we continue implementing Common Core, average students will drop out of math as early as they are allowed.  Even math-bright students will hate math.  Tutoring companies will proliferate to serve wealthy families.  The educational gap between rich and poor will widen.  If we want to destroy math and science education in this country, keep Common Core.


"Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel to Me and Others: Don’t Live Past 75!"

In case you missed it, Ezekiel Emanuel, supposedly one of the country's leading bioethicists and an important advisor for Obamacare, recently wrote in The Atlantic that he hopes to die at age 75. 75 years is enough, he writes. 

I was going to post that if this is "bioethics," I absolutely don't want any. But as with many other things, the Net has already done a far better job. Ron Radosh offers a biting response. Excerpt:

This, of course, is the quintessential mind of modern liberalism: those not fit to rule and to contribute in the manner deemed essential by the liberal elites, of which Dr. Emanuel is a part, should pack it in. This is the slippery slope to the eugenics of Nazi ideology, whose practitioners readily killed the infirm, the handicapped, and those considered ill-suited to be part of the human race, like Jews, Gypsies, gay people and others. I know Dr. Emanuel makes it quite clear that he is a strong opponent of both assisted suicide and euthanasia. He does not seem to realize, however, that his own arguments give much meat to those who in fact do favor such a course.

Victor Davis Hanson, as usual, launches heavy artillery:

Age is no absolute barometer. We all know those who at 75 are far more vigorous than others who are couch potatoes at 40. If Emanuel’s point is that living beyond 75 is unwise given the odds that society will reap less achievement per resources invested, then that frightening anti-humanist argument can be extended to almost any category.

Should we do away with health care for those with chronic debilitating diseases on the theory that society inordinately gives them too much time and capital and gets very little in return? Events of the 20th century should warn us about where such government decision-making on health has led.

Why incarcerate prisoners for life sentences? They will likely produce little behind bars. Take values, morality and collective debt for past services out of the equation, and we could just as easily choose not to treat severely wounded veterans, given that they are unlikely to return to the battlefield.

Damon Linker, a contributing editor at The New Republic, writes in "Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not":

. . . what's most noteworthy about the essay is its stunning combination of wisdom and insight with moral idiocy. . . . 

This is eugenics induced by narcissism.

Glenn Reynolds responds precisely to Emanuel's advice: "But how long will it stay 'advice?'"

Eugene Volokh writes there is "much I strongly disagree with there" but is reminded of a Kipling poem. Glenn Reynolds cites a better Kipling poem.

Finally, hints of what might be coming if we can keep people like Dr. Emanuel from interfering: "Scientists have discovered an on/off switch for ageing cells" and "Ageing Isn’t Inevitable, Which Means We Can Manipulate It To Make Us Live Longer".


"U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks Gets Free Speech Very Wrong"

As complete and razor-sharp a takedown of a prominent person as I've seen in a while.

Pardon my incivility, Chancellor Dirks, but I don't give a shit whether you wish to honor an ideal; I care whether you will comply with the law. If you don't, you should be compelled to do so at the point of a lawsuit. You will find litigation rather uncivil.

Link via Mike Munger.


"Thinking About Unions Post Market Basket: Public Versus Private"

Noted attorney Harvey Silverglate:

. . . . just about everywhere we turn, when we see the results of organized labor in the public sphere, we see disaster—not for the workers, but for those who are supposed to be served by vital public institutions and services.

With a very interesting personal anecdote about a teachers' union.


"The 'Coincidence' of CVS and Tobacco"

Surprise, surprise, there was plenty of politics involved.

With the federal government taking over a large share of the health care business through the new Affordable Care Act exchanges, providers such as CVS need to be in regulators' good books. CVS's drug business is at the mercy of regulators from the Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and numerous other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services and elsewhere.

The company is taking no chances that it could fall out of government's favor. CVS spent $13 million on lobbying in 2013, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, over 17 times as much as the firm spent in 2007.