49 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum!

  1. Hi all,

    Since Penzey’s Spices came up on a recent post, I thought I’d pull the founders stupid anti-Republican screed and deconstruct it. What an idiot and what a jerk.

    About Republicans
    As we’ve now said on our first-ever about us page on our website, there’s something unique about humankind’s relationship with spices that time and again have caused spices to be a driving force for change. We live in a time calling out for change and for solutions to the very real problems our country and our planet face. There’s two very different futures ahead for us totally dependent on whether we solve these problems or not. With so much at stake we feel obligated to use the unique position spices hold in our lives to try to help promote the solutions to these problems as best we can.

    – That’s a stretch at best. Spices are like any valuable commodity, be it precious metals, fuels, preservatives, curatives, gemstones, or any number of other things. There is some unique history associated with the pursuit of this valuable commodity, but the same is true of the others. A driving force for change? How are spices any more of a driving force than oil or medicine? The rest of this is just rhetoric.

    Watching the slow decline of the Republican Party over the last half century, and the steep decline/bottom falling out over the last decade, it can be easy to see the nonsense that has overtaken the party as pretty much random. Once you start seriously looking at the problems America and the world face and who and what are standing in the way of solving those problems, it quickly becomes clear there is nothing random to what the Republicans are promoting.
    – That would put the beginning of this “slow decline” in 1972. That time also includes Reagan, objectively one of the best presidents this nation ever had, as well as the incompetent Jimmy Carter, the adulterer and perjurer Bill Clinton, the feckless Obama, and Joe Biden, elected to the White House years past his pull date, who can’t even keep his agenda items straight. Tell me again which party is in a slow decline? What specific problems are you talking about and how is the GOP standing in the way of fixing them? If the GOP was the party standing in the way, how come they weren’t all fixed in 2009-2010? Why haven’t the big liberal cities, where a Republican hasn’t been elected dog catcher in decades, solved all their problems long ago?

    The Republican departure from conservative values and embrace of what, from a distance, looks a whole lot like insanity didn’t happen by chance. All of it has been intelligently crafted with the goal of preserving the position of those who profit from the inhumanity that is at the very roots of pretty much every problem we are facing. From the environment, to racism/discrimination, to health, to saving our democracy at home and growing it abroad, half the time Republicans are intentionally blocking the solution to the problems we face. The other half of the time they are the problem we face.

    – I highly doubt you would know conservative values, even if they bit you on the hand, but let that pass. Again, if the Republican party is either blocking the solutions to problems or is the problem itself, then why are the big blue cities and the blue states like NY and CA still facing problems?
    – The truth of our time is we’ve arrived at the point where there’s no way to respect the nonsense the Republican Party is promoting and have any hope of overcoming the problems we as a nation and we as a planet face. Given the choice between saving America and planet Earth or saving the feelings of Republican voters, we are choosing to side with saving our country and our world. I’m sorry it’s come to this.

    – Rhetoric, just rhetoric, and a false dichotomy and a phony apology to boot.

    And no, there is no HATE!!! in any of this. There is a whole lot of propaganda at the heart of much of how Republican voters have been steered away from conservative values to what they now seem all too happy to vote for. The thing to remember about propaganda is that it doesn’t just misinform, it also works to make people immune from the truth by convincing them any facts that counter their propaganda are nothing more than HATE!!! But we really have no hate for Republican voters. None at all.

    – Funny, you just now called them liars and you also called them racists, environmental destroyers, and deniers of key services to everyone else without giving any kind of basis for these accusations. Sounds like hate to me.

    I actually like and respect most of you guys. Sure, there are a growing number that are there for the racism, but I still believe the majority of you have good hearts that want to help and do the right thing. I know you to be trustworthy, and honest, and funny, and caring, and good souls. The problem isn’t what you are, the problem is what you are now voting to support. You guys have been turned around.

    – Spare me the patronizing and condescending. It isn’t scoring you any points. This is the kind of rhetoric parents use before smacking wayward kids around and abusive spouses use. It’s also a lie. You just called the GOP racists, liars, and worse. You don’t think they are good people, so stop talking to them like they are not only bad people, but also idiots.

    Remember when your distrust of big city types, and your deep rooted beliefs in paying your debts, respecting your marriage, raising kids willing to serve, honoring your word, and going to church every week had you voting for Donald Trump over Joe Biden all because Biden’s son had a computer? Or how you couldn’t vote for Hillary because she was over-prepared and used emails? I know that to you your actions seem rational and in keeping with your values, but when it comes to voting you are now consistently voting in people who are the exact opposite of you and the values you hold dear.

    – This paragraph is so badly constructed that it’s hard to wade through, but I’m going to try. Yes, some of us dislike the way America’s large cities are governed. You only need to look at the messes LA, Detroit, Seattle, and Portland have become to see why. Yes, some of us believe in the concepts of marital fidelity, service, basic honesty, and faith. In fact a lot of us do. You use those things as a punchline, like the big city/big entertainment world of snark, bullying, self-worship, and the treatment of romantic partners as cheap vessels you use and throw away is where all the cool folks hang out. I don’t know how you get from this to GOP voters voting for Trump “because Biden’s son had a computer.” This may come as a shock to you, but most of them voted for Trump because they liked the job he’d been doing, until the twin crises of the pandemic and the George Floyd freakout, which guys like you weaponized against him. You know, getting in the way of solutions to problems, like you talked about in your third paragraph? This is just more treating those you insult like idiots. The fact that Biden’s drugged-up, ne’er-do-well, pervert son Hunter had some evidence of dirty dealings on a laptop he didn’t bother to secure is just one factor among many, for those who got to see it before your friends in Big Tech buried it. It may also come as a shock to you, but most of us didn’t vote for Hillary not because she was “over-prepared and used emails,” but because we’d seen her as First Lady, as Senator, and as Secretary of State, and decided, based on what we’d seen, that she wasn’t what we wanted in a president. And come on, “used emails?’ It’s not about using emails, which everyone does, again, don’t talk to us like we’re idiots. It was about the fact that she used emails to mishandle classified information, which would be a firing and loss of clearance offense for most public employees, but she wasn’t most public employees, so she got a pass. Someone like that isn’t trustworthy. Trump might not have been perfect, but at least we knew whose side he was on, and it wasn’t the side those other two folks are.

    What does any of this mean? Going forward we would still be glad to have you as customers, but we’re done pretending the Republican Party’s embrace of cruelty, racism, Covid lies, climate change denial, and threats to democracy are anything other than the risks they legitimately are. If you need us to pretend you are not creating the hurt you are creating in order for you to continue to be our customer, I’m sad to say you might be happier elsewhere.

    – Maybe we might be. It’s generally not much fun to be with those who Insult you and call you a cruel racist liar, no matter how sure they may be that they are right and how much they snark and call it wit.
    If on the other hand you still want the best spices and don’t need us to respect what you now vote for to be our customer, Hooray! We are happy to have you here, but know that we will, on a regular basis, try to wake you up from this dream that has you believing there is anything conservative left at all to what the Republican Party has become. We can and will work without Republicans to solve the problems we face, but it sure would be nice to get back to a time where Republicans were equal defenders of equality, the environment, and democracy. We look forward to that day.

    – Well, to be honest, and this might come as a surprise to you, but spices are spices, and there are a whole lot of places to get them, starting with the local supermarket, that don’t involve being berated and insulted or getting a political lecture regularly as part of the package. One of them is run by your own sis, who apparently figured out that insulting people isn’t a winning business model. Then there’s another company, although I won’t put a plug here, that’s run by veterans, who might be a little bit more our speed.

    Since you feel the need to lecture everyone who buys something from you or even comes on your site, I trust you won’t mind if I tell you the score/set you straight on a few things/give you the skinny or any of those other euphemisms for lecturing someone on things they frankly don’t want to hear. You are a spice dealer. There’s nothing in your job description that says you have any background in politics, government policy, law, or even history. You could also use a course in clear and concise writing. I don’t tend to take my advice on how to vote from someone who has no more knowledge on the issues involved than the first 20 people I could pick at random from the phone book, and I’m not taking it from you. I also don’t typically engage with someone who looks down his nose at me and calls me all kinds of names, when he doesn’t even know me. What you aren’t is also often as important as what you are, so let me also tell you this: you are not Starbucks, you are not Google, you are not Disney, you are not any of those huge companies that I can’t walk down the street or turn on my computer without being reminded of. Even they aren’t invulnerable, and Disney is about to find out the hard way what happens when you act like you are. They are in for a world of pain and trouble for pissing off a powerful and popular governor, and, more importantly, pissing off the majority of their customer base. They’ll probably weather the storm, since they might be deemed too big to fail, but a lot of jobs are going to be lost and a lot of lives are going to be disrupted before they do. You, though? You’re a spice company with about 600,000 customers in a nation of 350 million. You could disappear tomorrow, and few would notice, fewer still would care. There would still be plenty of places to get mixed spices to rub on their spareribs, sprinkle on their seafood, or add some kick to their soup. You’re not in a position to slag off customers, as you just found out when your last insulting lecture led to a net loss of 10,000 and you had to beg your base to try to recruit more to make up the difference.

    Thanks for reading. Thanks for being here,


    And thank you, Bill. Thank you for giving us not just a window into your mind, so we can know exactly what you think of us, but written proof of it, so we can pass it along to our relatives, our friends, and our neighbors who might have been thinking of buying from you. This way we can let them know exactly what they will be supporting if they do, and provide some links for the alternatives. Maybe some of them will hold their noses and go through with the purchase, which is fine, their money, their choice, but I’m betting a lot of them won’t. If I tell five people and they don’t buy, and each of them tells five people who don’t buy, and each of them… well you get the point. Word of mouth and social media can work for you, but they can also work against you.

  2. Mrs. OB posited a theory the other day. She’s of the opinion all the controversy going on is essentially the old against the young. Sort of, “You can’t trust anyone under forty-five, or so” from our seventy-year-old point of view. Anyone? Anyone? Beuhler? I’m guessing HT and Steve-O in New Jersey and A.M. are youngish and outliers in their forties or so. Is there any currency to Mrs. OB’s theory? I think there may be something to it. I think people under fifty have been marinated by the Michel Foucault following academics who educated them, and they are essentially looking to remake the world into a very different, and in my opinion dysfunctional, place. I suspect my even throwing this out would elicit a dismissive, condescending “Okay, Boomer.”

    • I’m 41 and HT is younger than me. There are plenty of young conservatives with good common sense. (Not to say HT is conservative, but definitely a critical thinker.)

      Hell, I’ve found a ton of new ones to follow on TikTok of all places after I finally caved. That app actually is pretty awesome. You don’t feel compelled to put anything out there and there’s a lot of comedy and thought provoking content. It’s what twitter used to be when it was fun.

      I think her theory is correct to an extent, I just think she’s got her Age delineation incorrect. I’d put it closer to 35 and outliers on both sides from there.


      I think of the political landscape as a battle between people who want a “liberal AMOUNT of change” and those who want a “conservative AMOUNT of change”. The benefits of conservative changes is that they’re fine tuned adjustments to make societal progress without rocking the boat. The benefits of liberal changes is that you are turning the boat upside down and setting it on fire because the boat is racist and we need to build a bigger boat.

      Could we have gotten the 1960s civil rights movement to a good place without the Civil Rights Act? Probably, but it would have taken a lot longer. That was an inflection point where a liberal amount of change was necessary. Big changes have a chance to result in big second order and third order problems – but it might be easier to deal with those offshoots than it is to wait around and build consensus. If you can wait around and build consensus, then you have less friction among the factions and a stronger society in the end.

      Maybe the analogy is the speed with which a tree grows. An elm can mature in 20 years with ok stability but an oak can mature in 50 years and be rock solid. (I don’t actually know anything about trees, but I think it’s possible to make the analogy work.)

      Anywho….happy friday!

      • Thanks, Tim. I think my picking an older age is the result of our children being forty-eight and forty-six, respectively. They are vicious, uncritical lefties. I don’t know what the correct age point would be. And her theory is certainly reductionist, but I think sometimes simple ideas are valuable and provide helpful clarity.

          • “The benefits of liberal changes is that you are turning the boat upside down and setting it on fire because the boat is racist, and we need to build a bigger boat.” Absolutely. And my question is in part, “Where did that come from and why is it so ubiquitous and enthusiastically and unthinkingly embraced? It’s the “everything is terrible,” “throw the baby out with the bathwater” thing. Dangerously destructive but really, really popular. Suicidal, I’d say. I.e., mightn’t we drown if we turn the boat over and start it on fire?

            • I’m trying real hard to keep the analogy going and I’m not able to write what I’d really like to say.

              Well, you can ride on the floating bodies while everyone works on building a boat that consensus says is “is not racist”. If there is a detractor, then you just have another body to add to your makeshift raft. The only problem with this line of thinking is: you best be sure you’re the shipbuilder and not the makeshift raft.

              As a conservative, let me give two examples of things I’m ready to burn to the ground – principles be damned.

              1) US Medical Insurance systems. We need to envision a future where there are certain levels of care that are based on the cash free market. Primary care, clinic care, and routine testing. We’ll leave prescriptions as a separate problem, but let’s get insurance focused on major medical: surgery and disease treatment.

              2) Corporate Ownership of Single Family Homes. I’d like to see a corporate ownership limit of 50 homes in each state, all corporations registering the homes they own in that state with a state division of housing, whether they’re Short Term Rentals by the day, Long Term Rentals, by half year terms, or fix n’ flips. Notice that I did not say “multi-family housing” or “farmland” or “rural land” and I would have builders exempted in two ways: builders to convey homes they build or let’s say Apple wants to build homes and have them available for its employees. If they commission new construction, then they can exceed the limit and have them as rentals but once they’re conveyed (sold) then they can’t add any replacements except through new commissioned construction. I would have each state’s division of housing maintain their registry with rental rates. Once the law goes into effect in a state, existing corporates who own more than 50 would have up to 10 years to reduce their ownership to come into compliance; requiring them to determine the number of units to be sold off to become compliant and selling 10% each year. Failure to register all properties under the corporate umbrella (based on global ultimate parent) can result in hefty fines or even a public taking for public auction.

              Beneficial ownership (10%+) must be disclosed for companies registering single family homes with the division of housing. No beneficial owner (10% or more) can have beneficial ownership in another company registered in the same state if any of the involved companies have 35 or more registered properties. All companies registering must have a registered contact person and must swear under penalty of perjury annually to the veracity of the beneficial ownership.

              Yeah…I get all hot and bothered on this topic. To me – there’s “free market” and then there’s “market dominated by behemoths”. Cap the size of these things and give the up and comers a chance to build their own legacy.

              • It’s not a free market when monopolies are allowed to drive all the smaller players out of the market. Anti-trust laws need to be enforced.

    • I think there is more to it than just age. I’m younger than most commenters here, and I have observed several things. Millennials are usually categorized as people born between 1981 to 1996, and Gen Z as people born between 1997 and 2012. Age wise, this means millennials are between the ages of 26-41, and GenZers are between 10-25.

      To begin with, I frequently see people referring to current college-age students as millennials, when they are not. 18-25 year olds are GenZers. The current crop of activism focused college kids do not fall in my generation, the millennials. Millennials often get called out for being the activist generation, and I don’t find that to be true. It is GenZ who is activism focused.

      Millennials, for the most part, are better characterized as being whiny, helpless and apathetic. There are several reasons for this, most of which are economically driven. The economy during our lifetimes has been steadily hollowed out of middle class jobs. Manufacturing jobs have been replaced by service sector jobs. This was done TO millennials, not done by them. On top of that, the regulatory state has been expanded explosively, wages have been stagnant, and the boomer generation has taken power of all the higher level beurucratic/governmental/managerial positions and refused to retire into old age. Upward mobility has therefore been blocked in many avenues. Service level jobs have zero upward mobility. Small businesses are being squeezed out of existence. Many companies no longer attempt to cultivate employees by training them and providing avenues for promotion, instead hiring people from outside the company to fill higher level positions. Jobs are no longer career paths, they are temporary, throwaway paycheck sites. Millennials have to relocate frequently in order to climb the career ladder, disrupting their ties to community.

      Some aspects of millennial apathy are also culturally driven. Millennials spent their childhoods being lectured about not getting married or having kids until they were financially ready. They appear to have been brainwashed into believing that until they make enough to own a home and support a family they should not get married or have kids. A large percentage of them have struggled with achieving middle class financial stability, so they are in their late 30s or early 40s only just beginning to do those things. I would note that it is not just men trying to achieve this, but also women. Women were taught that they couldn’t be real people unless they achieved career success, so they dutifully set out to achieve that goal instead of getting married and having children. You now have to have two people with successful careers to make a responsible adult couple and have children. Women who work full time don’t want to also be full time housekeepers, mothers and wives. The end result has been a lot of people not having kids. The birth rate has plummeted.

      Millennials also grew up during the technology revolution. The older millennials were born before widespread use of the internet, cellphones, and the invention of social media. They watched all of those things being born, and have never lived in a time when massive changes were not being made to the world. Stability is a foreign concept.

      Millennials are not a particularly happy generation. In a lot of ways they are being prevented from “growing up”, and then they are criticized for not doing so. Everyone has to take responsibility for their own lives and happiness, but ignoring the economic, cultural and technological forces that drive behavior isn’t particularly helpful.

      GenZ is a different can of worms. They grew up basically plugged into a computer and left to the mercy of algorithms. They are affected by the same economic issues as millennials, but the cultural and technological forces have been very different. In some ways, their personalities seem to represent social media algorithms. They never had to look in a book to research a school project or watch the television to find out the news, and many of them have never done either. Their worldview is entirely shaped by Google, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat. They believe whatever the algorithms tell them to believe, and have little awareness of the time before cellphones. I can’t analyze GenZ all that well because, frankly, their thinking is bizarre from my perspective.

      In a lot of ways Millennials and GenZers are generations that have been experimented on. They were brainwashed by the preceding generations in schools, certainly. A lot of the experiments were done online, as well. I don’t know that they are looking to remake the world, though. It’s more like they have been programmed to do what they are doing. In the case of GenZ, I mean they were quite literally programmed to do what they are doing. Millennials were more primed to accept what GenZ will do by being programmed to be acceptant of chaos, economic hardship and lack of family or community.

      • Whew. Thanks, N.P. That’s a lot to digest. You almost seem to be suggesting Millennials and Gen Z are simply pawns or cannon fodder in the culture wars. Are the wars actually being prosecuted by Boomers? I’ll read your comment more closely. Thanks again for your assessment from the trenches.

        • Both our kids are happily married and they and their spouses all work at (to varying degrees) well-paying jobs. They both have children, now fifteen to twelve. They’ve owned homes for about twenty years, which we helped (very generously) them buy. We paid for their education in private schools through high school and then private undergrad for one and public undergrad for the other. Our daughter obtained a masters from a private university on scholarship. Mrs. OB worked into senior management at American Express and then IBM starting out as an assembler programmer without a college degree in the ’70s. I worked as a lawyer for twenty years. Mrs. OB essentially put me through law school. Our kids are both well off, but boy are they pissed, at least at Republicans. I just don’t get it.

          • And by the way, we’re beginning to think our daughter-in-law will make more money over her career, even adjusted for inflation, than Mrs. OB did, and perhaps even what we’ve accumulated together. The idea that younger generations will not make what older ones have is just not the case. It seems as if all our friends’ kids are investment bankers and consultants and physicians. And even they are angry lefties. And by the way, Mrs. OB was forced out of IBM (she was ready to go anyway) by a program called “Young IBM” intended to clear out the oldsters at the company. I pretty stupid thing to announce. I’m pretty sure they’ve been sued over it and I think the plaintiff employees have a very good age discrimination case. Certainly all the oldsters in newspapers have been replaced by less expensive pups. So I’m not sure I buy the idea that Baby Boomers are still hogging all the upper spots.

            • Offshoring and contracting play enormous roles in the tech sector. Many of the entry level jobs are shipped off to India, making it hard for college graduates to get their first job at all. I went to college with some really smart, hard working people who spent up to 5 years trying to get their first programming job. Entry level positions are a scarce commodity. Forget being a programmer with only a high school degree at this point. Unless you know someone and can get into the business by nepotism, or feel ready to start your own start-up with no prior experience, you are looking at years of writing open-source code and working for free to land that first job. That first job will probably be with a contracting company who will expect you to relocate across the country from one big unaffordable, crime ridden, high tax city to another, with about 3 days notice. Old people are not the problem in tech, foreigners hogging all the entry level positions are. Companies eliminating all the full time positions are another.

              Look, I’m not saying there are no good paying jobs. There are. Really smart, hard working people will mostly make it into the middle class. What about stupid, hard working people though? Or those of merely average intelligence and average work ethic? What is the replacement for manufacturing jobs? Service positions pay minimum wage. They are not a substitute. Not everyone is smart enough to be a doctor, lawyer, investment banker or a programmer. If we are saying only smart people deserve good paying jobs, an awful lot of people are getting left behind.

              What about jobs for people who don’t want to move every other year or live in big cities? Remote working has presented a solution for some of those people, but the companies are currently in the process of trying to force everyone back into the big city relocation cycle. A job paying $120k in one of these big cities is not actually a middle class job. Between taxes and cost of living, you end up living paycheck to paycheck. Rent has skyrocketed in the cities. Poor people actually make out better because the government pays their rent, gives them subsidies and doesn’t charge them taxes. The middle class is being destroyed. That causes any number of societal problems. Boomers who keep their jobs for 50 years are only a sliver of the problem. Those 50 year employees have done some really fun stuff to the job market.

              • I’d love to see onshoring of all sorts of things. Certainly manufacturing. Make tech companies not go to India for all their call centers and programmers, great.

        • Well, I don’t think all of what is going on is intentional. Cause and effect is there, but I don’t think there is some big plan being carried out.

          Centralization of power plays a role. If you look at what has happened, big companies have consolidated themselves into giant monopolies. No matter what industry you look at, there is usually a couple big companies that control the lions share of the industry, with a tiny percentage left over for small businesses to fight over. Federal government power has expanded and state and regional government power has shrunk. The school systems have become increasingly uniform in ideology, and media usually puts out the same message as the schools because the left dominates both.

          Big Tech was mostly founded by GenX and older millennials, so the creators of the algorithms are mostly not boomers.

          People chase money and power, and do what they think they need to to gain both. That has always been true. People have always tried to consolidate power. What is new is the technological ability of a small number of people to control the cultural levers of power and basically influence the thinking of an entire generation simultaneously with very little effort. Regional cultural influence is shrinking and monolithic culture is being imposed on entire national demographics, simultaneously. The more monolithic the culture gets, the easier it is to convince a large number of people of the same thing at the same time. Then wisdom of crowds kicks in and people do and think what everyone else is doing and thinking.

          At this point, diversity of thought is frowned upon by the people with power over the cultural levers. From an evolutionary standpoint, that isn’t healthy. Everyone doing the same things doesn’t work out well if what they are doing has negative consequences.

          • My bias points me toward the demolition of the American academy by nasty lefties who have taken over faculties and, by blackmail, administrations, with a ferocity that makes the takeover seem concerted. Your analysis is likely more on point given my comparative remove from things digital.

    • The vast majority of my friends are moderates who are mostly disgusted with politics today. I know maybe three hardcore progressives. They are basically a loud minority.

      It is the “old people”, I will point out (Biden/Pelosi, etc), who are pandering to this loud minority, doing no one any favors.

      • Pelosi and Biden weren’t until quite recently. 2021? Analogous to John Dillinger’s business plan regarding banks: “That’s where the votes are?” But yes, the Democrat Ancien Regime is the worst. They’ve all become Bernie Sanders. Truly remarkable.

  3. Would the ATF really be worried about the application of anti-discrimination laws?


    Here’s the thing though…

    You deny a sale because you think a guy is a gangster.

    He comes back later and sues you because “you denied him because he was black”.

    That’s what the ATF is worried about.

  4. Here is an article I sent Jack. He did not use it, so here it is:


    A school is letting students with passing grades stay home on Wednesdays so the school can focus efforts on students who are failing. How should we look at this?

    Fall-out from the pandemic?

    Incentivizing and rewarding success?

    Focusing attention on those in need?

    Failure of the educators to do their job?


    • If:

      1) The kids who get to stay home are legitimately getting passing grades;

      2) The passing grades are for reasonably high educational expectations;

      3) The kids don’t have opportunities to engage in advanced coursework,

      then, I may not see a problem with this.


      1) Are the gets legitimately getting passing grades? Grade inflation is a perennial problem in education. Alot of the kids with A’s, B’s and C’s – if seriously pressed on their mastery of the knowledge turn out to be C students or worse.

      2) Are the kids getting As on knowledge that in past years we should have expected from children even younger than they? There’s an epidemic of kids hitting college with a below 8th grade reading level. How does that happen? A little of the 1st point above and also a little bit that we’ve potentially lowered the standards during primary school.

      • Is reducing classroom time by twenty percent a good idea? I don’t think so. Any rational school would group kids by ability to allow instruction tailored to their varying needs. I bet this concept has been abandoned, along with standardized testing. You simply can’t effectively teach kids of varying levels in a single classroom. I suspect this old tactic has been thrown out because it’s “bad for self-esteem” and all that other crap.

        • I’m not fully sold on the scheme. As in all things socialized – everything is set at the lowest common denominator. Whenever schools have attempted tiered solutions based on skill levels – eventually someone screams “UNFAIR!!!!” and its almost always guilt laden liberals and parents of the failing kids – who upon pressing them turns out they don’t nearly emphasize academics with their kids the way the parents of the non-failing kids do.

          Now, I know that harsh assessment will bring out the soft hearts to point out that some parents work so much they don’t have time to emphasize academics. But everyone here knows the reality is that that effect is minimal and where it isn’t minimal it’s rare.

      • That’s fine. I just have to try to remember to save some things for the Friday Forum. Sending you something that does not get used is an easy way to look for ideas.


    • Wait – I thought the problem with private schools was that it took good students away from the public school would make good peer influence? Like – if you put all the smart kids together, they’d make each other better, but all the struggling kids would have to rely on the teacher. In a mixed scenario, you learn a little from your teacher and a little from smarter kids.

      I wouldn’t give them Wednesday off. I might consider letting them go do 1:1 tutoring with peers and underclassmen.

        • I think in an ideal situation, they reinforce each other. That was certainly the case at my (Catholic boys tuitional) high school. Just the fact our parents shelled out dough (or some of us were on charity/ scholarship) for us to go there, must have given us some extra motivation.

          I found out a few years ago that the local public high school here in southern AZ allows any and all students to take Advanced Placement courses. That’s nuts.

          • And let’s face it, the slower kids are more prone to being troublemakers who can hold up an entire class. There are exceptions, but they prove the rule. I taught seventh grade for a year and high school for two years. At the high school I attended, we had a dean of discipline. Brother Daniel, aka “The Bear.” He was stronger and, when required, meaner than even the baddest football players in the student body.

          • I think peer influence is stronger in the direction of distraction and demotivation – and where peers aren’t actively doing that to each other things are ok. I don’t know how much influence peers have in the positive manner of encouraging academic prowess.

            So yes, there’s a factor there – that a good peer group certainly won’t hinder education – but even then, ultimately that is parent driven – and part of our reason to pull out of schools where parents didn’t care nearly as much as they ought to have (the other part alluded to elsewhere that the school’s didn’t seem rigorous). And it ultimately affected our decision making – the habits I desperately try to inculcate in my kids is going to have a harder time rubbing off on their peers than the less preferred habits their peers have developed rubbing off on them.

  5. “Can a Padlock be Unethical”

    I’m kind of split on this. Just because a trinket can influence a physician, doesn’t mean the influence should be by default considered harmful and outlawed. I think consumer directed advertising “ask your doctor about …” probably results in far more scripts written out by landing a drug buyer already convinced of what they need in the office.

    • My comment is: Why are so many people “traumatized” by people with different points of view?

      Hell, there are a lot of people and policies that I don’t like but I’m not “traumatized” by them. Do these people pass out, need medication, need cognitive behavioral therapy, need a good kick in the ass, or something else for their percieved trauma.

      How are these people going to survive in real life situations down the road after college? It seems like more and more people are becoming basket cases.

      • They aren’t traumatized. They say they are traumatized because victimhood is the highest virtue you can have these days.

      • It was fairly recently, like within the past ten years, that this trend of saying that ideas make people feel “unsafe” started to get traction.

        It is like how religious authorities of old said that heresy threatened our very souls.

        Jack Marshall once argued that the “Great Stupid” started in Mizzou in 2015.

        If racism in America today can be compared to a bunch of drunk, immature boys catcalling a woman on the other side of the street, racism in America in the 1960’s can be compared to what happened to Elizabeth Smart.

  6. Biden’s (or maybe the Easter Bunny’s) annual economic report used the word “gender” 40 times more than “inflation”, “inequality” 60 times more, and even “emissions” more often. It was prefaced with a letter praising his economic recovery record…as we teeter on the edge of recession.

    How much more gaslighting and misdirection can the citizenry stand from this senile angry old incompetent? By good margins, people don’t seem to be buying it anymore (sucks to be you, Chris Wallace), rightly assigning much of our economic problems to his policies. Will Congressional reversal be timely enough to save us?

    • My two favorite lies: The “infrastructure bill” is already reducing supply chain problems. Hah. Give me a break. More “shovel ready jobs,” right? Hah. Second favorite, government spending will reduce inflation. Who are these people kidding? Maybe the answer is … their base!

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