Archive for February, 2014

Too Young For Rights?

Posted in Politics, Society on February 28th, 2014

The 9th Curcuit of the US Court of Appeals has reaffirmed that Constitutional and Civil Rights are not fully applicable or to be enjoyed by juveniles in the setting of a state-run school with their decision upon Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School District.

They have ruled that it is no violation of students’ rights to force them to either leave school or change clothes for wearing shirts with the US Flag upon them on Cinco de Mayo. Such juveniles don’t have the same level rights as adults enjoy under the law.

Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School District

Civil Rights

The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in a civil rights suit brought by high school students who were asked to remove clothing bearing images of the American flag after school officials learned of threats of race-related violence during a school-sanctioned celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

The panel held that school officials did not violate the students’ rights to freedom of expression, due process, or equal protection. The panel held given the history of prior events at the school, including an altercation on campus, it was reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real. The panel held that school officials anticipated violence or substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities, and their response was tailored to the circumstances.


McKeown, Circuit Judge:

First Amendment rights and the operational and safety needs of schools. As we noted in Wynar v. Douglas County School District, 728 F.3d 1062, 1064 (9th Cir. 2013), “school administrators face the daunting task of evaluating potential threats of violence and keeping their students safe without impinging on their constitutional rights.” In this case, after school officials learned of threats of race-related violence during a school-sanctioned celebration of Cinco de Mayo, the school asked a group of students to remove clothing bearing images of the American flag.

The students brought a civil rights suit against the school district and two school officials, alleging violations of their federal and state constitutional rights to freedom of expression, equal protection, and due process. We affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment as to the only defendant party to this appeal, Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez, and its denial of the students’ motion for summary judgment, on all claims. School officials anticipated violence or substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities, and their response was tailored to the circumstances. As a consequence, we conclude that school officials did not violate the students’ rights to freedom of expression, due process, or equal protection.

Given the text of the opinion in the 1969 case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District this was a solid legal decision on the part of the Court. Tinker did, after all, hold that school administrators could violate the constitutional and civil rights of students for the purpose of maintaining order and preventing disruption of the normal operations of the school.  As disruption in the form of violence was likely, Mckeown’s ruling, displeasing as it is, was right based upon earlier Court precedents.

It’d be better if the 9th Circuit had undertaken to decide that, even in the case of minors in school, “Hecklers’ Vetoes” are unconstitutional. Sadly, the 9th Circuit and Judge McKeown is particular has a trend in holding strictly to Tinker. Expecting a significant policy change isn’t really realistic.

A Small Thought Experiment

What actually happened was that during the school’s 2010 Cinco de Mayo celebration, a Hispanic Assistant Principal, Miguel Rodriguez demanded that some White students remove their shirts which had the US Flag on them because Hispanic students were likely to become violent towards them based upon both current and previous behavior by those Hispanic students.

That was not a violation of any the White students’ rights.

What could have happened in an alternate reality is that during that 2010 Cinco de Mayo celebration a Caucasian Assistant Principal, John Smith demanded that some Hispanic students remove their shirts which had the Mexican Flag on them because White students were likely to become violent towards them based upon both current and previous behavior by those White students.

Care to wager whether or not that would have been a violation those Hispanic students’ rights?

A Final Consideration

It might actually be that Tinker sets forth the correct constitutional rule in this case. Schools do have special responsibilities to educate their students and to protect them both against violence and against disruption of their educations. Thus a school might thus have and require the discretion to decide that prevention of disruption, even at the cost of suppressing speech, is acceptable.

That, however, does not address the fact that in parts of California it is utterly unsafe for White ,American students to wear or display our nation’s flag while at school due to the reasonable fear that Hispanic students will physically attack them for doing so. Worse, the only way that the schools can- or is willing protect them is by restricting their freedoms rather than punishing and/or reeducating the violent Hispanics.

10 Commandments Of Bass

Posted in Humor, Music on February 28th, 2014

Yes, while it might come as a little bit of a surprise to some folks, I do more than just work and blog. One of those other things is music or, at least it is now. As the damage to my hands precludes me from continuing to play the harp as I have for several decades, one of my wives got me a bass guitar.

Hofner Ignition / Icon - Beatles Bass
My Hofner Ignition “Beatles” Bass

More specifically, she got me a left-handed Hofner Ignition / Icon series violin body bass aka a Beatles Bass, which I immediately restrung with LaBella 760FHBB Labella Flatwounds, an Ampeg BA108 Bass Combo Amp, and various other bits of kit.

Hence, much of my time has been spent learning this new instrument, both how to play it and how to follow its creed.

Like all instruments, the bass has its required strictures and rede. These are summed up in the following commandments to all who would play the bass. Cleave unto them lest you place your soul – and funk – in dire peril.

The 10 Commandments Of Bass

  1. Thou shalt not fuck up the groove. Fuck up the notes if thou must, but not the groove.
  2. Thou shalt not lust after thy guitar player’s part. He keepeth the fun, thou keepeth the groove.
  3. Be thou not swayed by a drummer with crappy time, for thou art the keeper of the beat.
  4. Be thou not led into temptation before the gig. After is cool.
  5. Thou pusheth thy luck with five strings, six is a mortal sin, for thou hast no business in the upper register.
  6. Thou shalt not thump with thy thumb, nor honk with a pick when thy fingers are the way of truth.
  7. Thou shalt not fear whole notes, for they can be the way and the light.
  8. Thou shalt leave the fancy shit to thy bandmates, so they might wrestle with their own bad taste.
  9. Thou shalt change thy strings at least once per decade, whether they need it or not.
  10. Thou shalt tune thy bass before each and every gig, even though it was in tune when last thou put it away.

So, my fine fellows, if you would be as I, follow well the Commandments of Bass. Elsewise and with no rancor, find the instrument which suits you best and learn its law.

Coordination Is Key

Posted in Humor, Society on February 28th, 2014

Gentlemen, we’ve got to be honest and admit that women don’t have it easy when it comes to fashion and style. And, no matter how many hang-ups our society gets over, we just keep inventing new ones to inflict upon the distaff.

She's coordinated her lingerie and tattoos
Coordination Is Key To Style

C’mon! Who knew that we’d reach the point where a beautiful, curvy, delightfully busty babe like the one pictured above would need to coordinate her lingerie with her tattoos?

An Inconvenient Bias

Posted in Politics on February 27th, 2014

Eye of the ObserverBias is natural and inherent in just about anything and everything. It’s natural; as natural of a law as the General Law of Relativity and quite related to it in point of odd fact. In anything approaching science, however, it is inconvenient at best…if one actually wants accurate results. This is because observer bias can color and cloud the results.

It needs to be noted and remembered, however, that those who conduct such research or contract others to conduct it on their behalf are only inconvenienced by such bias if and when they desire truthful, accurate, and objective results. This is far from the norm, especially when the government with its many and diverse perceived vested interests is performing or paying for the research in question.

A Case In Point

The FCC’s recently suspended – not cancelled – hunt for “station bias” and for television news teams not meeting the “Critical Information Needs” of specially protected demographics was based upon methodology and metrics developed for them under contract by Social Solutions International, which is a “minority owned” firm enjoying the pecuniary advantages of their 8(a) status.

In and of itself, SSi’s 8(a) status is just barely the appearance of bias. What is telling is their self-identification and mission statement.

About Us

Social Solutions is a research and evaluation firm dedicated to the creation of positive change for underserved populations. Our work touches those in our community and in countries worldwide. We are a mission-driven organization that believes that superior science can improve the world.

Company Overview

Social Solutions International, Inc. (Social Solutions) is a Hispanic and woman owned 8(a) and Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB). Social Solutions emphasis is on quality research and evaluation, development of evidence-based education materials, and cultural adaptation and translation.

Mission Statement

Social Solutions International, Inc. is a research and evaluation firm dedicated to the creation of social and health solutions to improve the welfare of underserved populations worldwide.

It is ludicrous at best to even entertain the thought that a company describing itself as a “Small Disadvantaged Business” which is “mission-driven” to “improve the welfare of underserved populations” is capable of- much less willing to deliver objective testing methodologies in any context involving what they consider underserved populations.

The only plausible reason why the FCC would have awarded them the contract was that the FCC didn’t want to be inconvenienced by objectivity. No, instead they were seeking agenda-driven junk science because there was a specific result that they wanted from the study.

And that, my fellow Americans, could be a very inconvenient bias for we, the People.

Liberal Education

Posted in Society on February 27th, 2014

Sandra Korn - A traitor to all that is right and goodSome people question the value of modern, Liberal education. We call those people intelligent, patriotic Americans. This is because, academics aside, there is nothing of value in Liberal education and much that actively seeks to devalue America.

Worse, the higher one goes in education the lower one seems to sink into treason and evil.

Harvard is a perfect example of this. Academically, it’s a very fine university. What it teaches its students beyond academics is another and more horrific story altogether. Take what the once august institution taught one of its students, Sandra Korn, to believe and then allowed it to be published in the The Harvard Crimson as evidence of this.

In its oft-cited Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the American Association of University Professors declares that “Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results.” In principle, this policy seems sound: It would not do for academics to have their research restricted by the political whims of the moment.

 Yet the liberal obsession with “academic freedom” seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has “full freedom” in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?

Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of “academic justice.” When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.

Yes, that’s right. The Harvard bint was academic and scientific freedom curtailed in favor pandering to the desires and agendas of certain special interest groups and those among the student body who enable them. It’s what she’s been taught is justice, which must, in what passes for her mind, trump freedom every single time.