Friday, July 13, 2018

The idiot abroad: insane, insulting, incendiary

"He's not my hero! I'm a communist, you idiot!'

The Real F.B.I. Election Culprit 
     In his testimony before two House committees on Thursday, the F.B.I. agent Peter Strzok testified that he could have altered the 2016 election — but didn’t. The information about Russian election interference, he said, “had the potential to derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.”
     In hours of always hostile and sometimes even rude questioning, the Republican members of the committees never proved otherwise. The hearing was the latest effort by House Republicans to find any hint that there’s a “deep state” conspiracy against President Trump….
. . .
     The F.B.I. agent corps today overwhelmingly fits the demographic profile of a Trump voter. During the 2016 campaign, in The Guardian, one agent said, “The F.B.I. is Trumpland.” In his testimony, Mr. Strzok all but laughed out loud when committee members pressed him Thursday on whether the whole F.B.I. was made up of Democrats.
     The New York field office, one of only three headed not by a special-agent-in-charge but by a full assistant director, has always been a particular challenge for bureau leaders — it’s fiercely independent, combative and notoriously leaky. The office, which works closely with the local United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, a job held by both Mr. Comey and Mr. Giuliani, is sometimes referred to inside the Justice Department as the “Sovereign District of New York” for charting its own course.
. . .
     We need to understand the truth of the 2016 election — not just for the record, but to take steps to prevent any interference in future elections. Mr. Strzok survived the worst the House Republicans could throw at him, including a threat to charge him with contempt for refusing to answer questions on the advice of the F.B.I.’s counsel about an ongoing investigation — a hallmark of the rule of law in ordinary times. Until congressional overseers make a serious attempt to get to the bottom of the New York field office’s role in the election, we’ll know they’re not serious about learning the truth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Summer sounds

Well, I feel like an old hobo, I'm sad, lonesome and blue
I was fair as a summer's day, now the summer days are through

Even I've taken my chances
Even I've taken my chances
On you and I know

When we laugh into the microphone and sing
With our sunglasses on to our favorite songs

You surely must be trying to break this heart of mine
I thought you knew I loved you and we'd share a love so fine

I was drowned, I was washed up and left for dead
I fell down to my feet and I saw they bled , yeah yeah
I frowned at the crumbs of a crust of bread

     "I consider myself a conservative to a certain extent—you know, I moonlight as an LGBT advocate, I run an LGBT advocacy organization that works with Republicans…and we make the case that freedom is freedom for everyone, and where that really lends itself at this moment in time is to securing full civil rights protections to LGBT Americans because there are still 28 states where you can be fired for being gay—all these things that many Republicans don’t know—and those states are mostly red states, so you need Republicans to engage Republicans on that front. There are many people who are socially conservative who would not say that I’m conservative because of those views."

     [For a helpful account of Buckley's efforts to pull together a conservative movement, consider E.J. Dionne's Why Americans Hate Politics]

Caltech Drops SAT/ACT Writing Test (Inside Higher Ed)
     The California Institute of Technology has announced that it is dropping a requirement that applicants submit the SAT or ACT writing test. Caltech's move follows those of Stanford and Princeton Universities last week. Only 22 colleges appear to still require the writing test, although millions of students take the exams every year. A statement from Caltech said, "Writing and communications skills are valued highly by Caltech and will continue to be evaluated through the information collected in the SAT/ACT verbal sections as well as through required application essays. With this policy, Caltech aims to streamline the application process and eliminate additional testing fees incurred by applicants."....

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Under Canvas

Canvas Catches, and Maybe Passes, Blackboard (Inside Higher Ed)
     Blackboard dominated the U.S. learning management system market for 20 years, but new data show its cloud-based competitor edging past it.

By Lindsay McKenzie
July 10, 2018

   Canvas has unseated Blackboard Learn as the leading LMS [Learning Management System] at U.S. colleges and universities, according to new data from MindWires Consulting.
     In a blog post on Monday, Michael Feldstein, partner at MindWires Consulting and co-publisher of the e-Literate blog, wrote that Canvas now has 1,218 installations at U.S. institutions, compared with Blackboard’s 1,216. Although the two-figure difference may seem insignificant -- and Blackboard and some of its allies say the data don't accurately reflect the two companies' relative reach -- most analysts agree that Canvas's ascent, largely at Blackboard's expense, is noteworthy.
     “This is a stunning development for a company that seemed to have established an unbreakable market dominance a decade ago,” wrote Feldstein.
     At its peak in 2006, Blackboard controlled approximately 70 percent of the U.S. and Canadian market, with its nearest competitors “far, far behind,” said Feldstein. But slowly Canvas, and others such as Moodle and D2L’s Brightspace, have closed the gap.
Blackboard and Canvas now each control 28 percent of the U.S. higher ed LMS market, followed by 23 percent for Moodle and 12 percent for Brightspace, according to MindWires Consulting's data partner, LISTedTECH.
     The rise of Canvas to near market dominance is one that “nobody would have predicted,” said Feldstein.
     The Canvas LMS is offered by Instructure, a company that was established in 2008 -- several years later than Moodle (2002), D2L (1999) and Blackboard (1997).
     Yet Canvas’s “cloud-based offering, updated user interface, reputation for outstanding customer service and brash, in-your-face branding” have helped it to surpass these more established systems, said Feldstein…. (continue)

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary