Sunday, July 30, 2006

Deleting Online Predators (Unless They're Non-Profits)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 5319, the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006 (DOPA), this past Wednesday. I first became aware of this thru Brad Hachez, and found other good reading on the matter at Library Technology in Texas, Women's Policy and a great list of links at Librarian in the Middle.

Rather than repeat much of the pro and con arguments on the matter that others have so well put forward in the above citations, I'll just point out a couple of things.

First, the act makes a curious distinction in calling for "amend[ing] the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms." (Emphasis added.) Why are "commercial social networking websites and chat rooms" any more likely to harbor online predators than noncommercial ones? I mean, if NAMBLA (set to nofollow, natch!) set up a noncommercial chat room somewhere, does it make sense for it to be exempt from the act?

Another interesting point: The definitions of "social networking site" and "chat room" will be determined within 120 days of the passage of the bill. The entire internet is becoming a social networking site. Even my humble blog has become a way for people to socially network. Will all blogs be subject to whatever definition the bozos in Washington come up with? And with the fast and freewheeling nature of the internet these days, and the speed with which folks dream up new ways to use it, how long will it take any definitions to become superseded by the reality of new technology?

The most insightful analysis I've read came from Michelle Collins, the director of the Exploited Child Unit of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) (as quoted at Women's Policy):

[Collins] shared the outcome of a “Dialogue on Social Networking Sites,” which NCMEC hosted in June. The discussions on the popularity and misuse of this technology and ways to help keep children safer demonstrated that “operators of social networking sites don’t want their customers to be endangered by their sites, but at the same time want to remain competitive in this booming market.” She further stated that “more restrictions will cause teens to go somewhere else that has fewer restrictions, with the unintended consequence of increasing their chances of being victimized.” Ms. Collins emphasized the importance of education and teen engagement in ensuring children’s online safety.

What, the unintended consequence of a law that aims to protect children from predators might be that more children actually become easier prey?! But the government has the right intent, so that must count for something, right? We all know the intent of the minimum wage is to help poor people out, so we all ignore the fact that it hurts many poor people whose skill sets are not worth the minimum wage! We all know that the War on Drugs aims to save people's lives from misery, so we all ignore the fact that more innocent people have died from stray gunfire as a direct result of drugs' illegality than ever would have died from the drugs themselves. I guess the logic is parallel here.



Linking to: Conservative Culture, Amboy Times

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Case Study in Headline Editorializing

Yesterday's Bangor Daily News contains an article about changes in regulations governing bidding for federal government contracts. In essence, more areas of Maine will be classified as "Historically Underutilized Business Zones," which will give the businesses within them an advantage in the bidding process.

As required by the federal Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997, HUBZones get 3 percent of the 23 percent of contracts the federal government awards small businesses annually for a huge array of products, McLean said.

McLean is none other than Millinocket Town Councilor Bruce McLean, whom Lance Dutson has interviewed about his involvement with the Millinocket Area Growth and Investment Council. The BDN quotes Senator Olympia Snowe as lauding McLean's involvement in getting the regulations changed:

"He really made a difference," Snowe said. "Now we want to make sure that all of the eligible businesses that can use the program do so."

So far, so good. McLean says this, the newspaper reports it. Snowe says that, the newspaper reports it.

The article writer, Nick Sambides, actually does an even-handed job in reporting what is occurring here, without editorializing. The headline writer (and headline writers are usually not the folks who write the articles), however, seemingly cannot resist editorializing on the story:

Vote aids business in rural Maine

Sambides carefully chose his language to merely state that small rural businesses would now be able to become members of an advantaged, or preferred, class when they bid on government contracts. He refrained from stating his own thoughts about whether it would actually be helpful for businesses in rural Maine to become yet more feeders at the government trough. He does offer, without comment, this quote from Jack Cashman:

Exactly how many Maine businesses would benefit from the change is impossible to tell, state Economic Development Commissioner Jack Cashman said. Nor is there any guarantee that Maine businesses will get government contracts, but the state windfall could be considerable.

"Government contracts are a way of life for some companies," Cashman said late Wednesday.

Yet the headline writer has obviously read too much into the story, and let his or her bias for government interference in the economy to become manifest. No mention of the costs that we all pay in the government's social engineering experiment, in which it takes a large chunk of the wealth of its citizens and then redistributes some of it to politically connected entities.

This is the danger of large government that most people still fail to recognize. It enables economic planners such as Cashman and McLean use the confiscatory power of government taxation to siphon money from the economy, and then "invest" it into projects that they, the Philosopher-Kings of Maine, deem worthy. They may be well-meaning authoritarian ideologues, and fancy themselves as beneficent hoi aristoi, but they are doing the rest of us hoi polloi great harm.

Maine needs to entirely dismantle its Department of Economic and Community Development, and put nothing in its place. Ditto for MAGIC, and all regional economic planning bodies. If we just let private citizens and businesses keep more of the wealth they are creating, all of us will be better off. Government has an abysmally poor record of choosing which businesses to subsidize. Let's take that choice out of its hands.



Linking to: Samantha Burns, Point Five, Seven Deadly Sins, Assorted Babble, Church and State, Case Notes from the Artsy Asylum, Party Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, 123beta

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Two New Maine Bloggers

Two new Maine blogs have been added to the blogroll.

First, Inside Zebster is written by a "liberal independent" who also seems to be carefully considering the candidacy of Barbara Merrill. In a post from about a month ago, Zeb sums up the conundrum of political independents nicely:

[Independents] want an organization, a means, through which real reform can happen, even a viable third option on occasion; but without any allegiances. Is that possible, is that viable, is it even logical for them, us, to want?

Secondly, Michelle Anderson has an extremely new blog to supplement the Magic City Morning Star. It's hard to imagine that she has any time to devote to it, but here's hoping that she does.

Good luck, and welcome to the wild world of Maine blogs!



Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Civil Disobedience Against Inferior Credit and Debit Card Receipts (an Open Trackback Post)

The other night, when I went into a convenience store to pay for my full tank of gas, the store clerk swiped my debit card and quickly offered a two-part carbonless receipt for me to sign. After hastily applying a barely legible Tor Hancock, I handed back the bottom copy and pocketed the top copy.

The clerk quickly protested, "I'm sorry, we get the other copy!"

I replied, "I prefer to keep the legible copy, so I can record the accurate amount in my checkbook tonight."

No further protestation ensued from the clerk.

So there you have it. It's that easy. Next time some convenience store decides to give you a two-part credit or debit card receipt to sign, please join my campaign of civil disobedience and retain the top copy. We are the consumers. We shouldn't be expected to have to call our banks to find out whether those blotchy digits are eights or sixes. If we force the stores, thru our nonviolent civil disobedience, to call their banks to inquire about the correct amounts, we will force the abandonment of two-part receipts in a jiffy. The more progressive stores are already printing out receipts that are just as legible as the ones we're signing; if we all stick together, we can rid the world of the anti-consumer practice of providing inferior receipts to customers.

Then, we can get rid of signatures altogether in favor of the pin pad.

Keep the faith, and keep the top copy!



This is this week's post. Click on the chicklet for an FAQ on open trackbacks. In a nutshell, anyone may send a trackback ping to this post today, provided there is a link to this post in your post. I'll manually put up the links here later today or tomorrow.

Angel of Woman Honor Thyself opined on the U.N., Israel and Hezbollah. Bernie of Planck's Constant rants along a similar vein.

And the Madman Returns, while also getting into the same general topic, rips Eugene Robinson a new one.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Minimum Wage in Maine

Here's my one bit of advice for those who are making minimum wage in Maine: don't have two children. You can't afford them. As a matter of fact, even if you're making considerably more than the minimum wage, you still can't afford them. If you've already got them, and suddenly find yourself making minimum wage for the foreseeable future, please consider giving them up for adoption to someone who can afford them.

I won't be holding my breath for an article from the Bangor Daily News that shows people who live from paycheck to paycheck at wages substantially higher than the minimum wage, and who realize they shouldn't have children because they can't afford them. And yet, the rest of society expects them to pay for the education and health care of everyone else's children. Even for children whose parents are quite better off financially.

The bloke profiled in the BDN article particularly should serve as a warning to everyone. If you've been in the same full-time job for ten years or more, and are only pulling in $900 per month from it, maybe you should spend a little less time bellyaching about the minimum wage and a little more time finding another job. It's well past time to move on and find some new employers who value your skills. Even unskilled employees should be able to quickly move up from minimum wage, assuming they show up on time and don't goof off too much.



Linking to the following blogs' open trackback posts: Samantha Burns, Point Five, Seven Deadly Sins, Assorted Babble, Church and State, Case Notes from the Artsy Asylum, Party Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, Leaning Straight Up, Stuck on Stupid, Bullwinkle Blog

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Life Is Fresh

Welcome to this week's tenant in the upper right hand column, Life Is Fresh. Jack is a software engineer for IBM who is currently enlightening us on the best plants for monsoon season. It's seemed like monsoon season in Maine this summer, so that's why Jack gets the spot this week. Please visit his blog and tell him Tor sent you.

I'd also like to thank two others who applied for the space this week. Winsome Gunning Art Walk has appeared here before, and is still worthy of a visit. Scooter McGavin's 9th Green is a multi-topic blog, despite its sports-related title. Go argue with him about one of his top ten lists.



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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Quick and Dirty Open Trackback Post

Today has suddenly and unexpectedly become very busy for me, but I wanted to make sure there was a post for folks who want to avail themselves of open trackbacks today.



This is this week's post. Click on the chicklet for an FAQ on open trackbacks. I'll manually post the links sometime Wednesday.

Update 7/20: Due to severe thunderstorms that came through our area on Tuesday afternoon, the offices of Tor's Rants and World Domination Ltd. were without power for about 36 hours, so I'm just now able to put up the links of those who trackbacked.

Angel proffers her take on civilian casualties in war, and terrorism's civilian casualties at Woman, Honor Thyself.

Bernie of Planck's Constant muses on the Old Gray Lady's imminent slimming down.

Head over to 123beta to read Butch's message about the current state of Freedom Watch.

And Ferdy, the Conservative Cat, wails about the media portrayal of sectarian violence in Iraq:

The cause of violence is not Shi'ites living side-by-side with Sunnis, it's regular people living side-by-side with evil, murderous scumbags. The Iraqi government needs to find evil, murderous scumbags and put them down. Are any Sunnis living in America or Great Britain killing Shi'ites?

Avi Green of Tel-Chai Nation submits for your consideration a piece that ponders Putinism. Wottheheck, I guess Avi's figured that today's the second Tuesday of the week, so I'll go along with that.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Freedom of Access and Executive Sessions in Millinocket, Maine

The internet is becoming an ever more powerful tool in the hands of Maine citizens who want all governmental bodies in the state to conduct their business ethically and openly. Our good friend Lance Dutson at Maine Web Report has been a virtual David against the Goliath of the Maine Office of Tourism.

I've been following the exploits of the Millinocket Magic City Morning Star, which describes itself as "a collective of volunteer news reporters, editors, columnists, and other independent media, who have come together to bring the news and other information in a timely fashion to an online readership." Lately, they've been championing the right of Maine citizens to know what's going on in their governmental bodies.

For many months now, they've been attempting to shine some light into the arcane workings of the Millinocket Town Council. The whole thing has come to a head with the council's recent decision to go into executive session in order to discuss Maine's Freedom of Access Law with its counsel.

The Freedom of Access Law is pretty specific as to which topics are allowed in executive session. The Millinocket Town Council's purpose in calling for an executive session does not seem to fall within those topics. The attorney for the council seemed to express that the matters could be discussed in public, but it was his preference not to do so:

[Attorney Dean Beaupain] continued, "Certainly as an attorney, I would much prefer to meet with my clients in executive session because we are going to be talking about opinions, we're going to be talking about options and we're going to be talking about the state law that may or may not be the state law. And I always do what my clients tell me to do. If you want to meet in public, we can do that. But I would prefer -- and I think this is certainly subject to executive session...but if you want to discuss it publicly, we can discuss it publicly."

The intent of Freedom of Access is to make everything that any governmental body does a matter of public record, except in a few, narrowly defined exceptions. It is not meant to be a shield for government to hide behind when there are things they "would much prefer" to discuss in private.

I say, more power to the Millinocket Magic City Morning Star. One of their reporters also has many excerpts of town council meetings posted at YouTube. Three real gems: the discussion about the executive session, and Michelle Anderson telling the council off for characterizing her online newspaper as "a threat to the community."



Update: Michelle Anderson gives us some more bizarre updates at the As Maine Goes forums. As one commenter puts it, "The only reason to hold this in executive session is to coach these nitwits on how to hide illegal meetings, and dispose of public records."

Update 7/20: In the category of "It's a small world," it seems that my mention of Lance Dutson above was more than as an example. It seems that one of the main characters in the Millinocket FOAA scandal, Matthew Polstein, is on the periphery of Lance's MOT dealings, since he's a member of the Maine Tourism Commission. And Lance has picked up the story, and gotten more exposure for Michelle and Ken Anderson. And wackiness ensues.

Linked to the following open trackback posts: Bloggin' Outloud, Don Surber, Dumb Ox, Right Wing Nation

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Progressive Evangelical Christians

Harvard Divinity Professor Harvey Cox has written a stimulating piece about how many evangelical Christians in the U.S. are returning to their socially progressive roots.

This interest in what are often considered "liberal" issues marks the rise of a younger and more moderate leadership among evangelicals. Paradoxically, these new leaders are more "religious" than the old guard of the religious right. The difference, one could argue, is that they are more concerned about actually following Jesus, who had much to say about violence and the poor, but said nothing about gays or a strong military, and who was put to death by torture. The appearance of these new social concerns means that something important is afoot in the vast evangelical community of America. It is simply no longer accurate to identify "evangelical" with "religious right."

Just a little more evidence that that Crunchy Con fella knew what he was talking about.



Friday, July 14, 2006

Swimming in a Burqa

Here's another bit of evidence one could use to argue that the United States is ripe for takeover by Islamic fundamentalists. Seems a small company in Oregon is selling women's swimwear that hearkens back to the styles of the early twentieth century.

The makers of WholesomeWear swimsuits would like women to cover up their tummies. And their backs. And their arms. And half their legs. The Oregon company, based outside Portland, sells a collection of swimwear online that consists of a wet suit topped by a dress. The spandex underpinning is not sufficient on its own because bystanders would still be able to make out the curves of the woman's body. The nylon overdress takes care of any audacious display of an hourglass shape.

Of course, the fact that consumers have more choices in the free market is always a good thing. But what a loss to men everywhere this summer!

I can see the point of having little girls wear things that are less sexualized, if only because of the extremely creepy men who seem to be lurking everywhere these days. But once you're a grown woman, enough of that! I'd rather live in MacBros' Place, than in a world where you go to the beach and see this:


a.k.a. DOT (Dirty Ol' Tor)

I'm shamelessly taking advantage of the open (dare I say revealing?) trackback posts at the following blogs: Pirate's Cove, Dan Mancini, People Are Idiots, Woman Honor Thyself, Madman Returns
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Frank Gorshin's Pet Lobster Has Been Found

When Frank Gorshin died last year, little did anyone know he had a pet lobster.

Well, it's been caught.

Seems it was the only crustacean suitable for the man who played the protagonist/antagonist (depending on how you look at it) in a memorably none-too-subtle episode of Star Trek.

The rare 1-pound crustacean, caught earlier this week in Steuben, is a genetic mutation with a two-toned shell.

One side is the usual mottled dark green. The other side is the orange-red shade of a lobster that's already spent some time in the hot pot.



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Open Window Yoga

If you have an extra moment, please head over to Open Window Yoga, this week's renter atop the right-hand column. Richard Russeth, a.k.a. asana bear, lives in Evergreen, Colorado, and muses on many topics from closed captioning on yoga dvds to the ramifications of non-violence.

If you have another extra moment, go check out these cute pics of a fox on asana bear's other blog, Wind Horse (Lung Ta). Reminds me of a fox who used to visit me every afternoon when I was stacking wood for a former employer.



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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Colonial Theatre in the Republican Journal

Daniel Dunkle has written up a nice piece about one of my workplaces in the Republican Journal. Alas, Edward Young, the projectionist featured in the article, had his last shift on Thursday of last week. As Mike Hurley noted at his send-off, we all hope he gets fired from his new job, so he has to come back and work with us again.

And while I'm on the subject of the Colonial Theatre, I have to point out that Down East Magazine has named our humble movie house Number 36 on its list of "50 Things You Must Do This Summer."

Maine weather is unpredictable ("If you don't like it, wait a minute"), so it's a good idea to have a backup plan in case that August sunshine gives way to rain. The Colonial Theatre in Belfast is a true movie experience. Costumed ushers, themed movie premiere parties, a lobby full of interesting movie information, perhaps the nicest staff in any cinema, and ticket giveaway games make going to the pictures here a real pleasure. And somehow this small independent theater manages to get some of the big blockbusters before they open elsewhere in Maine. From the elephant on the roof to the wacky art-deco decor, the place is hard to miss (or beat). Call 207-338-1930 or visit for more information.

Nicest staff in any cinema, eh? Even the kids we throw out think so, according to Dunkle's quote of Mike Hurley:

Hurley doesn't seem to be bothered by people's behavior in the theater. He said it's part of the job to make sure people aren't making too much noise.

He adds that it's the wrong business for someone who does not enjoy working around kids.

Movie theaters are really the first place kids can go that aren't controlled by authority figures in the way that schools and churches are, Hurley notes.

"Kids we were throwing out of the theater are now coming back as adults and saying 'Can't you quiet those kids down,'" he said with a smile.



Gratefully availing myself of the open trackback posts at the following blogs: Third World County, Diane's Stuff, Cigar Intelligence Agency, Conservative Cat, Don Surber, Dumb Ox

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

One Red Paperclip's Kyle MacDonald Pulls It Off

If you haven't heard, Kyle MacDonald of One Red Paperclip fame has just made the final trade: a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan. Can't believe I didn't think of it first.

Congratulations, Kyle.



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Shopping in Belfast, Maine (Open Trackback Post)

I'll be waiting for the raw data from this study to see how pertinent it actually is to the questions at hand about shopping in Belfast, Maine and how big-box stores would impact availability of goods.

At the direction of the Belfast Retail Review Commission, which was formed by the City Council to study the shopping issue, a committee of 14 volunteers from Senior College formed to examine whether essential items could be bought in Belfast at affordable prices.

With the help of representatives from agencies that serve the elderly and families with young children, the committee developed a list of 140 "necessary" items, and shopped for them in Belfast.

According to a statement released Monday, the volunteer shoppers found 136 of the 140 items in Belfast stores.

Here's a list of the stores they went to:

The volunteer shoppers each had a list of 10 to 12 items, and visited 26 stores: Renys, Ocean State Job Lot, Rite Aid, Family Dollar, Perry's Furniture, MacLeod's, EBS, Aubuchon Hardware, Home Supply, True Value, Shamrock, Thistle & Rose, Olympia Sports, Belfast Army/Navy, Colburn's, Nancy's Sewing Center, Heavenly Yarn, Green Store, Aunt Judy's, Waltz Pharmacy, Sears, The Good Table, Garden Cottage, Mr. Paperback, Fertile Mind Book Store and Linda Wry.

Right off the bat, I can tell you something's very, very wrong. If you're willing to spend five times as much for a pair of shoes as you would have to at Wal-Mart, and you don't mind if those shoes chafe the backs of your heels into a bloody mess, then by all means shop at Colburn's shoe store. And the Good Table, while it does sell many wonderful kitchen gadgets, does so at a great premium to Wal-Mart prices. Whenever I've checked, the prices have been at least double what Wal-Mart charges.

I love Belfast Army-Navy, but you really have to be willing to dig around to find what you need. Things are a bit jumbled together, but the prices are great.

Mr. Paperback could use some competition. They play their music way too loud in there, and the stench of coffee pervades the shop. If I don't find what I'm looking for within a minute or two, I give up. Wal-Mart doesn't really compete against bookstores to any great extent, other than for an extremely short list of current best-sellers.

It's fortunate for the committee that they waited to attempt this survey till after the advent of Ocean State Job Lots. There's no doubt that that one store has filled much of the vacuum left by the closure of Ames a few years ago.

One of the premises of this survey, and the conceit of all economic planners such as the Retail Review Commission, is that government is better able to discern the shopping needs of consumers than they themselves are. The commission's study seems to be chastising Belfast area shoppers who aren't willing to go to ten stores to pick up eight items. Just this morning, I had to go to three stores to find a simple air filter for my lawnmower. I would have spent less time, wasted less gas, and paid less for the part if I had simply headed for the Wal-Mart in Augusta. If I'd been forced to do this during a lunch break on a day when I'm working in Belfast (as many shoppers must, because most of the stores close so incredibly early), I'd have starved for the rest of the afternoon.

I'm not an apologist for Wal-Mart in general. It is a great abuser of eminent domain. They also tend to keep the volume too high on those TVs that hang from the ceiling. But I am a fan of their pricing, and of their self-check-out stations.

In general, the commissars of Belfast should step aside and let the free market decide "whether essential items could be bought in Belfast at affordable prices."



This is this week's post. Click on the chicklet for an FAQ on how to participate. In a nutshell, you may trackback to this post on any subject matter (at my sole discretion), so long as you've linked to this post. I'll manually put the links up here later today or tomorrow afternoon.

Angel, writing at Woman Honor Thyself, would like you to read her two cents about PFCs Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Lowell Tucker.

Mark Sprengel would like you to "mark his words," as he updates you about the crescent at the Flight 93 memorial.

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Sunday, July 9, 2006

Ron Paul, aka Dr. No

Today's Washington Post has a profile of Ron Paul, a Republican member of the U.S. House of representatives from Texas. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President in 1988. That being the first year I could vote in a presidential campaign, I, of course, wasted my vote on Dukakis. I wish I had voted for Paul (and I have voted Libertarian ever since), despite his being more of a paleolibertarian than a left-libertarian.

Probably the best thing about him is his inability to be bought off, and his seeming immunity to the culture in D.C. that has the ability to turn sane souls into power-hungry Machiavellis.

"He's just consistent, consistent, consistent," says Debra Medina, the Wharton County Republican chairwoman. "He always talks about the Constitution and what the federal government ought to be doing, and he consistently articulates this basic mistrust of big government, which I think most people have."



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Thursday, July 6, 2006

The Rant Shanty

Welcome to this week's blog tenant in the upper right-hand column, Rant Shanty. RantingDiva will be participating in a charity blogathon on July 29, with pledges going to the American Diabetes Association. Way to go!

Other than that, the rants seem primarily anti-Bush. Do go see what's going on at the Rant Shanty, and tell 'em Tor sent you!



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Saturday, July 1, 2006

Maine, Federal Education Funding, the SAT and No Child Left Behind

There's an educational funding war brewing between the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Education. The feds say they'll withhold at least a hundred grand or so (actually, they'll bypass the state and give it directly to school districts) because the state adopted the SAT to measure the educational progress of juniors in high school. They'll potentially divert half a million dollars. From the Portland Press Herald:

"This is basic stuff," said Michael Sentance, the regional representative for the U.S. education secretary.

....Maine's use of the SAT and its failure to show how the test measures students' achievement is a particular concern, Sentance said.

Maine started administering the SAT, a standardized college entrance examination, to high school juniors this year instead of the Maine Educational Assessment test. The MEA is now given to students in third through eighth grades.

I'm already on record in a post from nine months ago that the SAT is a sham of a test, and should never have been adopted in Maine. The important thing to reinforce here is that Maine Commissioner of Education Susan Gendron seems to be living in a dream world about this entire process. From the Bangor Daily News:

Gendron has been roundly criticized for replacing the Maine Educational Assessment test with the SAT, or so-called college boards, for 11th-grade students this year. The department has argued that the SATs would inspire more high school students to attend college after graduation. However, the federal government had warned the state in advance that the decision to change to the SAT would be problematic for the state.

"Some will say "I told you so, commissioner," but I absolutely believe this is the right decision for Maine children," Gendron said. "I am still confident we are making the right decision for our young people."

The right decision, in my left-libertarian fantasy, would be to close down all the government schools and allow a free and voluntary educational tableau to develop.

Returning to reality, and assuming the likely continuation of our socialized educational system, a good step for its improvement would be to remove Gendron from her post. She believes that it is a good thing for high school students who can barely count change or read the newspaper to have collegiate aspirations. That's just insane. It's even more insane to think that a test will inspire more students to seek out a college education when even intelligent students who have been attentive to their coursework earn poor scores.

When you throw in the well-documented gender, racial and ethnic biases of the scoring of the SAT, which exaggerate differences among demographic groups in regards to their actual collegiate achievements, or -- even worse -- contradict them, it seems only a very demented soul could support the use of this test. That's not the sort of soul that should be running a state educational department.

The state's education department no longer exists to educate children, if it ever did. It's now just like any other government bureaucracy, focused on its own growth and welfare.



I am grateful that this post is being featured at the following open trackback posts: The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Point Five, Assorted Babble, The Dumb Ox, Right Wing Nation, Blue Star Chronicles, The Right Nation, The Uncooperative Blogger, Stuck on Stupid, The Bullwinkle Blog, 123beta, TMH's Bacon Bits, third world county, Big Dog's Weblog, Jo's Cafe

Update 7/6/06: This wasn't meant to be my Open Trackback post for the week, but since I've taken the last few days off from blogging, and Planck's Constant trackbacked to me anyway, I guess it was. I promise there'll be a genuine OTA post next week.

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