You are browsing the archive for 2014 December 19.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Life and Death—The Boredom, Dispatch 5

December 19, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster

Thank you for reading about my continuing exploits on my quest. I’m trying to fill my holiday season with actions that are productive and/or meaningful to me before I go back to working at the job I love.
Catch up with
Day 18, Monday, was mostly spent working on manuscripts and doing research, both for building my business and for a future writing project. The academic research has been for the purpose of writing a multi-volume history of the Vietnam War, entirely from a libertarian perspective. So far I have seventy pages of notes typed out on the computer, single-spaced and 12-inch font.
In the evening I attended my Civil Air Patrol (U.S. Air Force Auxiliary) squadron meeting. Our guest that evening was an Air Force colonel who happened to be the staff director for the Fourth Air Force at March Air Reserve Base. He spoke with us in the headquarters board room—really a section of the squadron’s double-wide, walled off by chalk boards on one side and bookshelves on the other—and I managed to get an interview before the end of the meeting.
I take pride in having volunteered in the Air Force Auxiliary. I originally joined to have a joint activity with my nephew, whose old man was long gone and badly needed a structured program at the time, but I stayed because I truly enjoy the program. Three years later, I’m a First Lieutenant and one of the most active public affairs officers in California Wing. I take pride in my own accomplishments and in serving with this incredible, humanitarian manifestation of the “organized militia.” Plus, it’s pretty badass that CAP sank two German submarines prowling our coast during World War II, with dozens more air-struck and damaged into retreat.
Avatar of admin

by admin

Common Core Supporters Can’t Demonstrate Its Effectiveness. Are They Counting on a Christmas Miracle?

December 19, 2014 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

As any Christmas show will tell you, whether it’s the rejuvenation of Charlie Brown’s tree or the saving of George Bailey, ‘tis the season for miracles! Perhaps in that spirit, several high-profile advocates for the Common Core national curriculum standards are promising, essentially, an educational miracle. But while we can always count on a miracle on 34thStreet, the children who go to school there — or anywhere else — deserve real evidence the Core will work.

One prominent voice in this vain has been that of former Democratic Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford. In a June op-ed, Ford claimed that “Common Core adoption means better schools, smarter students and a stronger America.” He cited no research on the quality of the Core, or the effect of academic standards generally. He just proclaimed it.

Ford doubled down on that tack in an op-ed just a few weeks ago, and added that the recent elections proved that “parents want to continue with implementation of high standards and the results they promise.” But elections turn on much more than education, and one of the few Core supporters Ford referred to — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — ran an ad highlighting a minimum five-year delay on putting Core scores on students’ permanent records. This despite being a virtual shoo-in for reelection.

Don’t let Core supporters’ rhetoric fool you.”

And public support is clearly lacking. A Gallup poll released in September indicated that 60 percent of the public opposed the Core, part of a clear trend of plummeting support.

Common Core has plenty of other notable advocates who’ve recently weighed in with words, if not evidence. University of Miami president and former Clinton administration official Donna Shalala penned an op-ed stating that the country needs Common Core to address “gender-based inequities” hurting female students. Not only did Shalala offer no evidence supporting the notion that the Core would fix inequities, when it comes to college- and career-readiness — what the Core is supposed to put on turbo boost — women are outperforming men, 57 percent of college students are female and only 43 percent male, and women far surpass men in taking rigorous Advanced Placement courses in high school.

Finally, there’s former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett, who twice since September has written pieces defending the Core. In the first, Bennett stated that “we can all agree” the country needs a …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Stop Attacking Uber for Lax Safety Standards

December 19, 2014 in Economics

By Matthew Feeney

Matthew Feeney

It’s been a bad few weeks for Uber, the San Francisco-based transportation technology company.

After a spate of bad coverage, the ride-sharing business is facing bans in Spainthe Netherlands, and Nevada, as well as a lawsuit in Californiascrutinizing its driver background checks. The service was banned in New Delhi, after an Uber driver was accused of rape by a passenger earlier this month.

Last month, senior vice president Emil Michaels was roundly criticized for suggesting that the company should dig up dirt on journalists critical of Uber. The company also recently disciplined a New York executive after he tracked a reporter’s location in an Uber car. Earlier this month, an Uber driver in New Delhi reportedly confessed to raping a passenger.

These reports are troubling, to be sure. But that doesn’t mean we should start regulating Uber more stringently, or ban it outright. The company boasts comparatively rigorous safety requirements, and provides a very real value to consumers.

Despite the spate of bad press, Uber is as safe as riding a taxi.”

For example, most American jurisdictions require a five-year gap between any felony convictions and a taxi driver’s application process. Uber mandates that its drivers not have DUIs, violent crimes, or sexual offenses on their record within seven years of their application. In addition, Uber requires seven years to pass before it considers applicants with gun-related violations or driving offenses such as hit and runs and reckless driving on their record.

Uber also lets passengers and drivers rate each other, adding another layer of accountability. At the end of a bad ride, an Uber passenger can provide details of a driver’s behavior on the Uber app. Unlike taxi drivers, Uber drivers know inappropriate behavior will be reported quickly. This is an excellent safety feature, and the fact that drivers also rate passengers provides both passengers and drivers with an incentive to behave well.

Critics, however, say it’s not enough.

Unlike many taxi driver applicants, Uber does not fingerprint its drivers. Hirease, the company used by Uber to carry out background checks, uses publicly available data to screen applicants. The data comes from sources such as federal and county courts, national sex offender registries, and a Multi State Criminal Databasel search, which includes information from state authorities . The courthouse records are checked in the jurisdictions where the applicant has lived in the last seven years.

True, fingerprinting can pull up information that isn’t caught by a traditional background …read more

Source: OP-EDS