So a trio of ways that the other side tries to use math or science to further their goals.  I would have thought that things like math or science are neutral – these are the facts, and what do we do about them?  Seems that facts get lumped in with that whole “objective truth” thing.  Lots of these people want everybody to have their own version of truth.  Makes agreement difficult.  Sort of messes with reality.

First: There is the town of Kingston, North Carolina, that voted to have direct election of its mayor, without going through the primary process.  A good example of self-determination, and a nice way to save some money by removing an electoral step.  Our federal government put a quick stop to such right-minded thinking, citing the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  You see, this has the ability to disenfranchise the black voters in town.  Stopping injustice like that is part of the purpose of the VRA.  The problem is that the majority of voters in Kingston are black.  There’s no way to disenfranchise a majority – or is there?  Well, yes.  The Department of Justice stepped in and disallowed the election results because they considered black voters “a minority for analytical purposes.”.  Way to alter reality, DOJ!  Sources: World Magazine and CSN News.

Second: Bill and Melinda Gates have set up a foundation to improve education.  Part of what they do is to pay for results.  If a school is accepted into the foundation’s plan, teachers will get a bonus of $100 for each student who passes an Advance Placement exam. Students can also pocket a hundred bucks for passing.  This is a good thing – not bribery to change grades, but incentive to do better.  No extra money out of the school’s pocket, and it seems to be working.  There are ten schools in Massachusetts that are participating, and they saw the pass rate increase 39%.  A nice investment!  And then there’s the kicker: The teachers’ union doesn’t want to pay these top-performing teachers.  The union wants the money split evenly among ALL teachers.  “There’s no one solely responsible for the development of these students. They should all share in the money.”  Huh?  Joe Slob and Jane Slacker get to pocket some loot because Henry Hardworker and Hattie Reviewsession put in extra work?  Not in my world.  Original story from the Boston Herald, quoted in a letter to Jerry Pournelle.  His Iron Law referenced at the end has this 2006 definition:

Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

Third: we have the release last week of a pile of emails, documents, and software from behind the wall of the Global Warming supporters.  Most people are saying a hacker broke in and gathered it, although some suspect an inside job.  Regardless, it shows a drastic indifference to the scientific process.  There are emails discussing removing pesky data that doesn’t support your thesis.  There are emails asking people to please delete prior emails.  There are emails talking about tricks used to hide trends you don’t want.  There are emails discussing how to block people from publishing who don’t support your views.  This is from a group that has used a graph called the “hockey stick” to show how global warming is happening, then refused to publish the algorithm used to create the graph, and – quelle horreur! – accidentally deleted the source data for another graph.  Similar, one might think to when one of the Greenies said “I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”.  Sources: Examiner on initial leak and “rather deleting files”, Examiner with a deeper look, The Air Vent with a real deep dissection, and Climate Audit on deleted files.

Luckily, there is starting to be a push-back against all of this.  Sometimes it’s in the blog entries and news articles I referenced.  Sometimes it’s in humor, as shown in this adaptation of “carbon offsets” to the programming world: Bad Code offsets.  And sometimes it’s just pictures, like showing how this clear evidence of Global Warming

might possibly – just perhaps – be tied to the air conditioner blowing at it, or the asphalt it’s sitting on.

(from the list of odd weather data collection sites at surfacestations.org)

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