Saturday Links

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Many thanks to all the folks who guest blogged these last six weeks or so: Eapen Thampy, Lenore Skenazy, Jason Kuznicki, William Anderson, and the folks at LEAP.

Digg it |  reddit | |  Fark

120 Responses to “Saturday Links”

  1. #1 |  Radley Balko | 

    Libertarians, in particular, have a real problem with giving any respectful attention to ideas they don’t agree with.

    Leon wasn’t being respectful. And he wasn’t expressing ideas. He was trolling.

    I try to foster an intelligent conversation on this site. That means weeding out people who drag down the discussion.

    It has nothing to do with Leon not being a libertarian. I have also banned people who generally agree with me.

    It’s about acting like a grown-up.

  2. #2 |  el coronado | 

    Did you even bother to *read* any of poor banned Leon’s trollspeak before you so sanctimoniously weighed in, James? If so, how can you possibly defend him? Are you suggesting Libertarians have some sort of obligation to listen to an idiot who’s sole “argument” was variations on ‘I know you are, but what am I?’ or ‘You’re stupid! And evil! And mean!’

  3. #3 |  phlinn | 

    “Merit pay WILL produce unhealthy competition…” This is true of any competition. However, it’s also true that Merit pay WILL produce healthy competition among teachers. For any form of competition, they are bad ways to try to compete. Those bad behaviors should be directly punished. Their existence is not an argument against having competition at all, because there are also beneficial ways to compete, and the net effect of competitition is always to the benefit of the people purchasing from competing vendors. In this case, the government will benefit from teachers competing. Some teachers will cheat and teach just to the test, or actually encourage students to cheat on the test, which will be bad for students. Most won’t.

  4. #4 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    Phlinn – can you elaborate on how you define ‘bad behaviors’ and specifically what constitutes bad and good competition?

    I’m having a hard time envisioning competition in this situation which isn’t either competing on price or using trade secrets. If trade secrets are considered ‘bad’ behavior (and in this case I think they should be) then it seems the only form of competition would be who can deliver for the lowest pay, which seems like a race to the bottom to me.

  5. #5 |  John C. Randolph | 

    I’m a former senior director for a high tech fortune 500 firm who has turned his expertise to schools.

    Ok, that explains everything. You’re a washed-up middle manager who couldn’t cut it in the business world, and you’ve found yourself a spot as non-producing government school remora.

    If you were a competent manager, you would know that the relevant comparison to discern appropriate ratios of administrators to staff in schools, would be to compare the figures for private and parochial schools (the successful service providers) to government schools (the failing service providers), rather than comparing schools to unrelated businesses.

    A teacher is supposed to be a competent professional who doesn’t need much in the way of daily supervision.

    It is a tragedy that the taxpayers are wasting money on you. You have nothing at all to offer when it comes to improving government schools, because you are emotionally incapable of even admitting the problem.


  6. #6 |  Not Sure | 

    “Your average private sector first line manager has a 8-12 direct reports and reporting responsibilities to a small group.

    Your average school principal has 20 teachers, 20 additional staff as direct reports, 300 students and 600 parents, a pto organization, booster clubs & etc.”

    If you’re going to count the hundreds of students and parents a principal has “reporting responsibilities” to, it would only be reasonable to also count the hundreds of customers a manager’s sales team deals with, would it not?

    Seems to me it would.

  7. #7 |  James Hare | 

    “It’s about acting like a grown-up.”

    That leaves a great deal of power to the person making decisions about what is “grown-up.” I find it hard to accept that folks who are so quick to criticize the competence and decision-making ability of others don’t seem to exercise much caution when faced with similar decisions. You didn’t need to jump in and gloat that you were banning someone.

    I don’t think you’ve got much of a mature discussion going on here. You have a choir you preach to who pat themselves on the back for having the “right” opinions.

    If your posters can’t have an intelligent conversation around a troll, that’s their problem. Trolls are part of any internet forum and folks in most places know not to feed them. I’m not sure our friend Leon was a troll – most of those folks know their audience better and how to incite them.

    If you’re truly comfortable and confident of your opinions you don’t need to silence your critics. If your community can’t keep a civil tongue in their heads and avoid feeding a troll silencing one troll won’t change anything. There’s plenty of folks just waiting to be trolls all across the Internet. To me the worst civil liberties abuse of the post 9/11 era has been abridging freedom of speech. It does no one any favors for so-called defenders of liberty to be defending abridging free speech in any context.

  8. #8 |  John C. Randolph | 

    You didn’t need to jump in and gloat that you were banning someone.

    I don’t believe that you know what “gloat” means.

  9. #9 |  el coronado | 

    “if your posters can’t have an intelligent conversation around a troll, that’s their problem.”

    Ah! Another “should” statement, this time form the troll’s self-appointed lawyer. OK, James, since you’re clearly all about ‘mature discussions’, perhaps you can enlighten us grunting doofuses.Reading your pedantic, pompous, bizarre screed there *does* bring a couple of questions to my dull, slow mind – maybe you can help a brother out.
    1) “I’m not sure Leon was a troll”. Really? And what leads you to that notion? Can you point out any intelligent, non-confrontational, non-ad-hominem post he made? Hint: “#36, you suck and are a brainwashed nazi guzzling haterade” isn’t really a good choice.
    2) “Silencing one troll won’t change anything.” How exactly do ya figure that? It sure removes a childish idiot yelling, “Hey! Everybody look at me!” from the grownups talk, didn’t it. I’d call that a change, & a good one at that – & it would seem I’m not alone in that assessment.
    3) If the immature and unLibertarian behavior exhibited here – mocking and then banning poor dumb Leon! – offends you so much, why are you here? Really, wouldn’t it be fair to say you’re just too beautiful for this world?
    4) Do you **really** think chastising the group for pointing out & objecting to Leon’s myriad faults and boorish behaviors is going to undo the reality that Leon was a boorish troll?
    5) You’re secretly Leon again, aren’t you, old sport. Just under a slightly less abrasive albeit equally asinine persona, right?

  10. #10 |  StrangeOne | 

    I wondered how long it would take Leon to overplay his hand at the troll game. No one can really pretend he wasn’t a troll. No matter what reasonable argument he was presented with he would turn it around into “you hate this, you hate that, you corporatist whore”. Occasionally he would surround these accusations with some semblance of an argument, causing most to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    People forget that not every troll is being deliberate about trolling. That’s just how some people argue on the internet. I can’t tell whether Leon was being deliberate or not, but his accusations and personal attacks won’t be missed by me.

  11. #11 |  James Hare | 

    el coronado:
    Perhaps you could hold yourself to your own high standards? There’s a real conflict between your statements in 3 and Balko’s claim he’s trying to allow for mature conversation. You can’t have it both ways — either you accept immaturity from libertarians and have no standards OR your standards are applied only against contrary opinions.

    Banning a troll does nothing to discourage trolling — it only encourages those who find the reaction amusing. Anybody with experience administering an internet forum realizes that determine trolls will find a way around your ban. If your definition of troll is “folks who argue in ways I don’t like” you’re not actually banning trolling — you’re banning arguments you don’t like. You’re perfectly willing to make nasty statements about people whose opinions you don’t share, so acting like Leon’s “boorish trolling” is really the reason for banning him is really just excusing your inability to accept the right of people to disagree with you.

    As to 5 — if that were the case, you’d only be proving my point – a determined troll can easily get around any ban and banning a troll only encourages them. I’m not Leon, but I can certainly understand why someone would choose to “troll” libertarian blogs that way — folks claiming to be libertarians do it all over the web. It’s basically a toss up between Men’s Rights Advocates and Libertarians as to who can be most obnoxious in a hostile forum.

    I’m not the one who claims to be purely ideological like many libertarians. I’m more than willing to compromise some principles for the greater good. I think what y’all are trying to do is use “trolling” as an excuse to compromise the principle of free speech. You can’t really claim this is a private space — you don’t do anything to secure it. You’re just trying to enact an arbitrary speech code and feel good about it by claiming it’s about “trolling.” Instead it’s a way to police speech you don’t like.

    I don’t have a problem with that! I just want y’all to be honest to yourselves about what you’re doing.

  12. #12 |  StrangeOne | 

    I started typing out a post about why you are wrong James. All about the differences between free speech and speech on a private venue. The difference between censoring or policing speech and moderating a private venue. But then I realized your full of shit. You’re trolling. From the first comment in this thread you made, you were trolling.

    I don’t know or care if you are Leon or the other troll that was banned months ago. The guy who outright stated he has been trolling Radley’s blog under various IP’s and names for a while. All I know is that a quick google of your name within this site, has shown every comment by you to be an attempt at inciting an argument. Whether deliberately trolling or mealy being contrarian it’s safe to say that you’re only here to provoke a response, and this will be the last you get from me.

  13. #13 |  James Hare | 


    “You’re full of shit”

    I attempted to deal with the private vs. public distinction. Without effective controls over who posts, I think it’s very hard to argue this is a “private” forum.

    So the answer to my criticism is to engage in same kind of name-calling and blame-shifting you accuse Leon of. You can’t answer the criticism so you call me a troll and full of shit.

    You’re proving my point by failing to make a real argument here — that banning people from commenting on this site is about enforcing arbitrary speech codes rather than being about ensuring a “mature discussion.”

    What point is there to posting if your post is NOT intended to provoke a discussion? Is the only acceptable post singing with the choir?

    I’m glad you at least felt the need to check on my previous posts before making unsubstantiated accusations about me being a sockpuppet for Leon. I hope you’ve realized that I am a real person.

    I hope you’ll also realize that “troll” does not mean “person who does not agree with me.” A “troll” is a pretty specific kind of internet critter. It’s someone who is uninterested in provoking any kind of thoughtful discussion but instead intends to provoke aggression by assuming contrary viewpoints. I’m not interested in emotional responses to my posts. If you’re calling me names you’re only discrediting yourself.

    I find it hard to believe you “started typing out a post” and decided to attack me personally. I think you wanted to pretend you were making a reasoned argument rather than a personal attack. That’s your prerogative but lying to yourself rarely makes you wiser.

  14. #14 |  phlinn | 

    Bad competition: engaging in coercive or fraudulent methods against one’s competitors.

    Good competition: producing a superior product, reducing price.

    In this specific case, teaching just the test instead of the materials you are supposed to be covering is a good example. It’s fraudulent, as the teacher is passing off a poor student as a good one, much like only giving good examples to a QA team instead of a random sample is fradulent. A good understanding of the material will let a student pass, but requires more work than just teaching directly. Standardized tests are an inadequate method of measuring teacher output, but are superior to the methods currently in place. The only justification for paying teachers more for longevity and education is that hypothetically they are better teachers. But those indirect measures are certainly worse than a test which at least touches on the actual product.

    There is a subset of the populace for which the phrase “unhealthy competition” seems redundant. I was merely pointing out that competition is not inherently bad, and in all our past experiences is on net good for the consumer, even if some competitors do bad things in it’s name. Crazyb0b attempted to say that merit pay would be bad because it would lead to unhealthy competition, and may be one of the people who don’t recognize the existence of healthy competition.

  15. #15 |  el coronado | 

    It must really suck that everyone’s figured out you’re Leon, James old chap. Must eat away at you like starving rats gnawing away at your gut. Burn like fire. Like acid. “How?? HOW can they know so quickly?”, you must be asking yourself right about now, as you rage impotently in mum’s basement.

    There must be SOMEthing you’re doing that gives you away! But what could it be?? Think…think, old boy! What could it *possibly* be???

  16. #16 |  Linda | 

    Illinois cop defending his actions of shooting the chained dog. Claims he did not see the chain. Also claims attack, although the only injury mentioned in the police report is a scraped knee. When I think of “attack” by a full grown German Shepherd, I would think there would be something other than a scraped knee to write about…..

  17. #17 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    What do you mean by teaching just the test? If the collection of X facts/items/concepts/whatever is being tested then what exists outside of X which the teacher must be teaching? And how do you measure if they’re doing that? It’s obvious that the teacher will concentrate on that which has a measurable outcome on the test – why would a rational person spend efforts impoverishing themselves?

    Assuming a teacher comes up with a method which improves their students’ results and doesn’t violate your two prong test, that is to say they’re not killing better teachers, or having kids fall into doorknobs so they’ll learn, or giving them cheat sheets (not that that’s really possible with a well designed test) – what incentive would teachers have to share these methods with other teachers, thereby reducing their own competitive advantage? If the desired outcome is better educated students I think we’d want to incentivize sharing rather than secrecy.

    I think that technology is the answer to at least better serve children – where they’re connected with a teacher that uses a method that works for the student in that subject rather than by locality. That’s definitely a tractable problem.

    The other issue, though, is in creating a culture, both personal and mass, which values learning and education and I don’t really know how that happens.

  18. #18 |  James Hare | 

    Shorter el coronado:
    “I got nothing so I’ll continue with the personal attacks.”

    I have no idea why you immediately assume that. I guess conspiracy theories come easy to you. If I thought there was a reason to challenge your “point” I would do so; however, there’s no there there.

    Ask Balko — he can look at his logs and it will become fairly clear who is posting from where. I do nothing to hide my IP. I’ve posted under this name on this blog and many other blogs. I’ve been posting under my name on a variety of blogs since 2002 and I’m pretty sure anyone with half a brain can recognize my writing style. You’re just bringing down the quality of discussion with your unfounded insinuations that I’m a sockpuppet.

    But personal insults and immaturity are OK when you’re singing with the choir on this site. It’s only when you make contrary statements that a smirking Radley Balko comes out with the banhammer.

  19. #19 |  el coronado | 

    Right on cue and predictable as sunrise, old bean! Well done! OK, that’s *one* thing……

  20. #20 |  Kudos to Radley Balko for: “Stop quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes.” » King High | 

    […] pretty much fell in love with Huffpo’s Balko for this. Stop quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in defense of your censorious bullshit. In fact, stop […]