Tuesday, November 29, 2005

#214 - One More Reason to Avoid Flying

If you're a man, that is.

Mark Worsley boarded a plane, took his seat, and then was asked to move. The airline needed to seat an unaccompanied eight year old boy, and airline policy dictates that they cannot be seated next to men. So Worsley, who after all is sensitive to post 9-11 delicacies, promptly moved. He spent the remainder of his flight stewing about it. It was embarrassing, he reasoned, to be singled out as a potential pedophile just because he would be seated next to a young boy. He confronted the flight attendants after the flight and was told that this was, indeed, company policy.

There are two problems with this scenario:

1. It would have to be a pretty desperate individual to attempt to engage in any sort of "inappropriate" behavior on an airplane. For one thing, an airplane cabin is hardly the kind of place you can invoke the sort of privacy I'm imagining it would require. Especially after 9-11. Flight attendants are trained to watch passengers like a hawk, and unaccompanied youth most of all. The airline assumes special liability by allowing such children to fly alone, and the potential for lawsuits means those kids are under continual scrutiny. In the United States, I'm guessing that an Air Marshall would make pretty short work of any perv who tried to get cozy with a kid like that.

2. The airlines (Qantas and Air New Zealand) who implemented this policy obviously haven't been watching the news lately. 'Nuff said.

Giving the airlines the benefit of the doubt, I will agree that on its face this seems like a genuine attempt to protect the rights and safety of a child. I have no problem with that. However, if an airline knows that an unaccompanied child is going to be on a given flight, special care should be taken to avoid the embarrassment of singling someone out. Call that seat number before boarding and talk to that individual privately. Or, if the seats aren't pre-assigned, put a sign on that seat stating that the seat cannot be taken without consent of a flight attendant. There must be better ways of handling it than to essentially shame a passenger by labelling him a potential molester.

Remember, "politically correct" is no replacement for courtesy and respect.

Monday, November 28, 2005

#213 - The Lone What State?

So my new step-Dad and I were enjoying a nice chat at the dinner table yesterday afternoon, when the topic of ID's came up. Grandma Woody and her new hubby have only recently (just a few months ago) relocated to Texas and have been going through the process of getting their new Texas photo ID's. Two interesting stories came out of this discussion.

First, the process for getting a driver's license in Texas is nothing short of hilarious. I mean ironic, of course, but it's the sort of thing that makes people involuntarily snort their milk if they're unprepared. Turns out (I'm cutting to the bottom line here) that one must "surrender" their current driver's license before getting a new one. Bob, having been a fairly regular reader of the Woundup since hooking up with my mother, was gauging my reaction. I don't think I disappointed:

"Let me get this straight. A state that cannot control their own border with Mexico doesn't trust people who come from other states?"

"Exactly!" he replied with glee. Guess I nailed that one.

He then related a story about someone (I was tanked up on pumpkin pie and my memory is getting fuzzier) who needed to see the expiration date on his new license to enter as part of a transaction. The clerk looked at his license and was completely stymied. Bob then showed me what his license says next to "Expiration."


To a programmer, that also is nothing short of hilarious. Keep in mind that I was part of the dreaded and probably over-rated "Y2K" problem, and was one of those lucky guys who had to scrub countless lines of code to make sure that my apps could handle the new millenium. As I have worked with various systems as part of my work in aerospace, one thing that continually amazes me is programmers who leave date fields as open text. In other words, you could probably type in something like "INDEF" in that field and it would be accepted. Unfortunately, the other end of a database is the reporting that managers and customers require, and they always want things sorted by date. How on earth do you sort by "INDEF?" So your more anal programmers - like me - tend to force date fields to only accept actual dates.

This clerk had no idea how to handle putting a non-date entry into a field that would only accept a true date. Finally a supervisor was consulted, and he said, "Oh, just put this day next year in there." End of problem.

So, in Texas, it's possible to have a license that never expires, assuming you can get them to admit that you really are a U.S. citizen who won't give your old license to one of the thousands of illegal immigrants who flow through our open borders every single day.

Texas - the Lone Brain Cell State.

P.S. Note to my friends in Texas, assuming I have any left: I realize that California is no better. We have Hollyweird, for cripes' sake, and Nancy Pelosi. We are properly ashamed.

On the other hand, you have Cindy Sheehan. You may keep her.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

#212 - The Idiot's Guide to Intelligent Design

There are always extremists in any given argument. When one side believes itself to be correct, no amount of discussion or presentation of evidence will do much to convince that side to change its thinking. We see much of that same dynamic in the on-going fight over "intelligent design."

On the one hand, you have the scientific community, currently represented by the humanists who believe that everything that has ever happened has been the result of some gigantic cosmic accident. They try to peel back the layers of our terrestrial onion to uncover the secrets of where we came from and why we exist. God becomes an excuse created by man to make up for his lack of knowledge.

On the other hand are the theologians. These are represented by those who believe that none of what we experience could possibly be anything but the design of an all-powerful deity who has carefully controlled every facet of our physical life. To understand everything about creation requires faith as much as (or perhaps more than) knowledge, because so much of what we lack remains hidden to our natural eyes.

This debate intrigues me because, while I come down pretty firmly on the side of the theologians, I feel that there is value in something that the great philosopher, James Tiberius Kirk, once said: "You and I are both extremists," he once told Spock. "The truth is probably somewhere in the middle."

To understand my own position, of course, it's important to tell you what I believe. And why I don't necessarily buy completely into the "intelligent design" meme, even if I believe most of it.

In LDS scripture, we have the statement of Alma on which I base all of my scientific (such as it is) research. While debating an anti-Christ about the existence of God, Alma said, "The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." (Alma 30:44)

In other words, Alma points out to Korihor that creation itself is evidence of the existence of God. The entire spectrum of physical life, our very solar system, and the entire known (and speculated) universe are all evidences that God not only exists, but that he has power to set and keep all these things in motion. The scientific world - bless their little knowledge-thirsting hearts! - have done little to "prove" that God does not exist. All they can do is gain an increasingly better understanding of how or why things work the way they do, but how many of them have been able to do more than postulate on what made the Big Bang go "bang?"

Still, I also don't buy into the argument that God is so controlling that we aren't given considerable leeway to live according to our own consciences. And I don't necessarily believe that Darwinism is the great evil protrayed by many religious apologists.

There's simply too much empirical evidence to dismiss Darwin's theories out of hand. Certainly it has been proven, time and again, that many species have adapted and evolved over time. I have yet, of course, to see where it has been proven that man derived from any anthropoid thus far discovered. As far as I'm concerned, Adam appeared in the garden, and it's all been down-hill from there. But I also know that the biblical account of the creation is far more allegory than scientific fact, so I have no problem accepting that the earth could very well be four-plus billion years old. That would be plenty of time to form life gradually, enact a few extinctions, and shake up the landscape enough to prepare the earth for its most significant inhabitant.



All lack of modesty aside, there is still more than enough hidden knowledge awaiting discovery. God himself is subject to the laws on which our creation is based, and science has yet to fully comprehend the true glue that keeps the universe growing within its sphere.

In the meantime, the debate rages on. Until both communities get comfortable with the idea that there is room at the table for both perspectives, the debate will remain contentious. Someday, I hope, there will be a meeting of mind and spirit. Until then...

... semper fi.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

#211 - The Arrogance of Harvard

(H/T: Mrs. Woody, as usual!)

Oh, to have the clarity of vision and nobility of purpose of an old Ivy League school. Harvard University (pronounced "hahvahd" by the cogniscenti) is not only accepting homeschooled students, but is willing to help assimilate them into "normal" society during their first year at the school.

On behalf of homeschooling families across the country, let me just thank Harvard for having the guts to admit that higher education is more about having sex than taking classes. Also, in a marvel of investigative reporting that only Mary Mapes could fully appreciate, your Woundup Weporter has uncovered evidence that Harvard University now considers homeschooling to be another form of compulsive substance abuse, similar to alcoholism. More on that later.

First, one must be grateful that truly visionary university administrators like Kathy Kushner dedicate their professional lives to making sure our backward children are properly introduced to the party-hearty life of a college student in the United States. At approximately $27,000 a year, parents want to know that their youngsters are well versed in the art of wasting time and money. It's a full package, really, that includes learning how not to appear smarter than your fellow classmates (or, no doubt, your professors), how not to appear awkward at your average pharm party, and how to increase your personal focus on sex. Perhaps Ms. Kushner hopes that the students will try to get it out of their systems earlier so they can buckle down to work by the time they reach their senior year.

It's unfortunate, if not unexpected, that so many homeschooled youths rebel at the thought of having such a prestigious institution treat them like inmates at a local juvenile detention center. Along with the socialization experiments, they are made to live in the same dorms as other homeschoolers. While not yet in evidence, it would not be unreasonable to believe that in the near future, homeschool freshmen will be required to wear striped uniforms and have stylized "H" emblems tattooed across their foreheads. The emblems would always be visible because the students' heads would be shaved prior to beginning their studies. Some university staffers are rumored to have been given "SS" pins to wear on their lapels.

Such segregation is unsurprising given Harvard dean James Muesten's opinion of homeschool families:
"Homeschooled children tend to come from white, evangelical families, and frankly, those people — I don't want to call them rubes — have a lot to learn about broader culture." He later retracted the comments, saying they were made "in the spirit of the interview" which was free-wheeling and "not entirely serious." He said he thought the Vermont newspaper was satirical and he had tried to "make a joke that turned out not to be funny." He apologized, but affirmed that the homeschool dorm was a good idea that would prove itself over the years.

"Fitting In is a great program," he said. "If you're homeschooled and you're coming to Harvard, this is the way it is."

At the same time freshmen are subjected to the school's "Fitting In" program, they also have an opportunity to recant their mistaken beliefs in such an obviously right-wing extremist form of education. Listed among the university's many associations and organizations is one entitled "Homeschoolers Anonymous." The official website for this group is disappointing, to say the least. I had expected to find at least a link to the 12 step program they must have designed to purge their initiates of all traces of homeschooled superiority. Instead, they offer the following mission statement:
Homeschoolers Anonymous is an organization dedicated to ensuring an active community that promotes the facilitation of a healthy transition from homeschooling to Harvard student life. We believe that by creating a network of support through this community of individuals who understand the issues surrounding this transition, we can foster the development of a positive foundation upon which a rich educational and social experience within the ivy walls of this hallowed institution that is Harvard University can be made. In addition, we also believe that it is our solemn duty to heighten awareness of homeschooling and the surrounding issues on our campus.

I work for a huge multinational aerospace corporation, and even we couldn't come up with such a convoluted and self-important collection of double talk. And we get paid to write this tripe!

So there you have it, homeschoolers of America. The halls of upper education are well represented by the arrogance of the king of Ivy League campuses. If Harvard is so accepting of homeschooled students, you can only imagine how the others will react. Perhaps they'd like to call a summit meeting to discuss the issue.

I plan to bring my pitchfork.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

#210 - Don't Let the Door Hit You...

Nearly everyone's common blogological ancestor, Glenn Reynolds, serves up this WaPo article regarding Nissan's relocation of its headquarters and over 1,300 jobs from Gardena, California, to a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. There is talk about this being another "blow" to Governor Ahnold, but that just doesn't wash. As one of Glenn's readers pointed out, it's not like the Republicans haven't been trying for decades to make California more business friendly. The simple truth is, it's just awfully expensive to do business here in California, particularly in the larger metropolitan areas where housing generally exceeds $360,000 (for a shack with plumbing), and a tax structure that should have bankrupted nearly everyone.

Even Hollywood, for whom I hold no love, feels this pinch. They keep imploring the state to cut them some slack so they can keep more production in the local area, but to no avail. This is surprising insofar as Hollywood is a hotbed of liberalism, and they just can't seem to get any relief from their liberal buddies in the legislature. I mean, they donate millions to Democratic coffers as a community, and this is the thanks they get. Hmph. Maybe if Warren runs... nah! He'd only confuse things.

Anyway, Nissan's move is just the latest salvo in this ongoing battle. Other companies have pulled similar maneuvers without raising so much as an embarrassing question or two from the MSM operatives. Faced with burgeoning costs on the Space Station project, Boeing moved 1,100 engineers and other technical professionals to Houston and other locations. Their reasons generally revolved around making the engineers more "accessible" to their government customers, but you just know a healthy part of that decision had to involve Boeing's negotiated administrative rates with NASA. Those rates take into account the taxes and fees the company must pay to do business in California, and it's just getting too expensive to justify any longer. When you tell this to state pols, they will pull the standard "I Feel Your Pain" frowny face, but they don't really understand the problem. They get their pension whether your company stays in California or not.

Woody, of course, has his opinions on this topic. Personally, I'd like to see about two or three thousand more companies of varying sizes leave California for good. Let's lose, say, about 20 to 50 thousand more jobs. Most of them would have to come from Los Angeles and the Silicon Valley, of course, but they need to go. What we need here is a solid glut of cheap housing. Primarily, we need about a 30% foreclosure rate in every state politician's neighborhood, so they get the idea that their current policies are choking the local economy.

I recognize that this is likely never to occur, but I can dream. In the meantime, California will continue to be more about speculation than about real productivity, and companies like Nissan will continue to recognize that there are greener (and more economically friendly) pastures elsewhere in the country.

I'll be shopping for a house.

#209 - Ahnold's Boat Forgot to Float

Poor Ahnold. What's a seemingly disgraced soon-to-be-ex-Governor to do? Every single one of his reasons for having an expensive special election have been shot down before his eyes and, worse yet, no one seems to care very much.

I mean no one.

Interestingly enough, even the political pundits of the MSM seem to have dropped California's election results like a bad breakfast burrito. There's been maybe two days of political commentary and, suddenly, it's all disappeared. There has been an almost eerie silence from Sacramento since the election. Seems the entire executive and legislative branches have chosen to leave town rather than discuss what's just happened.

This could be because what's really just happened is: nothing.

As far as the Democrats are concerned, the election was a walk. Oh, sure, they outspent the Governor by nearly a two to one margin, but then they always outspend their opponents. That's what soft money is for. You have to make people think it's scary to vote against them. But the Democrats probably knew something that Ahnold didn't: the Republicans just weren't engaged in this campaign.

Take a look at the list of initiatives. Begin with the "Big Four;" those initiatives personally sponsored and backed by the Governor himself. The issues of teacher tenure, labor union money, forcing a balanced budget, and even redistricting are four of the most complicated (and, therefore, most boring) issues currently infesting state government. Each one is so deeply entrenched in the law books that no single initiative - even a well designed one - will solve the problem. As for the others, well, how many times have we tried to reform prescription drug policies, utility price controls, and even (shudder) teenage abortion laws?

Apparently, one too many times to suit most Republicans. Take the issue of teenagers requiring parental consent before getting an abortion. While it may sound noble to require parents to be informed that their children are asking for an abortion, what's the reality here? What savvy parent who truly cares about their daughter would be completely unaware that their child was having sex, got pregnant, and is now seeking an "easy" way out? The ones who actually communicate with their children and stay actively involved in their lives probably (I'm sure there are exceptions) don't have to deal with that. So it's the kids who feel a need to "play" the system and stay just under the parental radar that this law would have captured, and they are the most likely ones to get the abortions, legal or otherwise. Another near-useless law.

Teacher tenure? Pshaw. Nothing we've tried in the last thirty years has ever had any effect - positive or negative - on producing quality teachers who in turn produce quality students. The pressures our kids face are societal, not legal. It's in the family that a kid either excels or disintegrates. School is merely the most visible component of a child's life, because that's where we "test" the kids. If the test scores are bad (and they almost always are), then the kids must be failing. And if the kids are failing, the schools certainly are. Unless you talk to the teachers, who for years have claimed that moneyovercrowded classrooms, moneylack of materials, and moneycorrupt administrators are to blame, along with every Republican who ever registered to vote. Either way, Proposition 74 would have had little effect. I voted yes, but (as I said before) unenthusiastically.

Any initiative to reign in the organized labor unions must be met with utter contempt by the voting public. As I mentioned in my previous post, the unions have become the very things they fought against over a hundred years ago. They have become the corrupt bureaucracies that use heavy-handed scare tactics to control their memberships, and are not above the use of occasional violence or threats to enforce their image of victimization. They are the very definition of the Entitlement Mentality. Efforts to correct their corruption through legal means are always doomed to fail. Why should Republicans get passionate about something they know won't go away without a highly organized national effort?

I'm not as old as some people think, so when I say I cannot remember the last time Sacramento passed a budget on time, you'll have to take my word for it. Maybe they have, and I was busy that year. Still, the more deeply divided the legislature becomes over basic issues, the longer this process is going to take. At some point, some genius will figure out that we have to start passing budgets five years in advance in order to have them approved on time. Until that happens, you can legislate the process all you want. They'll still never get it done when they're supposed to. The Governor will always have to resort to unusual means to get money to the places he needs it, and the opposing party will always be hacked off about it. Another no-win situation.

And on, and on, and on.

So, here's the lessons Ahnold should have learned this year:

1. If you want to have a special election, make sure you've earned it first.

2. Ballot initiatives need to capture the attention and interest of the minor players. "Voters," I think you call them. Without their interest, you have no chance.

3. If you absolutely must raise an issue that's never been successfully challenged before, make sure your vision is worthy of deep analysis and discussion by all sides. Don't assume your constituents "get it" just because they elected you in the first place. And, finally,

4. Never let the President come to your state during the election to raise money for himself. Looking like a beggar at the table is bad politics.

Monday, November 07, 2005

#208 - Woody's Voter's Guide for Curmudgeons®

It's time to take a curmudgeonly look at the various ballot initiatives on which we will be voting tomorrow and provide my reasons (such as they are) for the positions I've taken. If you're looking for in-depth analysis of any of these measures, look elsewhere. I may joke about some of what is discussed here, but my votes will be serious. If I say yea or nay, I mean it. You may have to read between the lines to find out exactly why.

[A tip of the ol' hat to Boi from Troy who neatly summarized his own views on these propositions and included invaluable links to background data on all the props!]

Proposition 73
The so-called "parental notification" amendment will require notifying a parent before performing an abortion for any underaged girl.

As a parent, the idea that either of my little girls could one day find themselves pregnant before they come of age is extremely worrisome. Rest assured that Mrs. Woody and I are doing everything we can to preach, exhort, encourage, and otherwise enforce abstinence for the Woodyettes. I've got the cardboard boxes with breathing holes ready to go the minute I detect any incipient male gender interest, and duct tape to seal the holes when they turn 16. (You always thought that was just a joke, didn't you?) I also have my brother-in-law-the-deputy-sheriff on speed dial.

Beyond those reasonable measures, I have to learn to trust my little girls. I dearly hope that, when they reach those critical years of adolescence, they will be able to confide everything in their Mom and Dad, even if some things might cause pain and heartache initially. I believe Mrs. Woody and I are mature and stable enough to be able to deal with such things in a reasonable and loving manner.

Then and only then will I put the boy that did it in the hospital. Count me as a YES on 73.

Proposition 74
This one increases a new teacher's probation period from two to five years, and modifies a school board's ability to dismiss a less-than-qualified teacher.

Ho hum. Another attempt to "fix" public education in the great (whoopee) state of California. I have no real feelings for this one in either direction, primarily because we homeschool, and "teacher quality" is not an issue in our academy. My kids have the best, and they're thriving.

In this case, one more attempt to reign in the madness can't really hurt, and certainly won't further flush a system that's already in the u-bend. Woody votes YES, if somewhat unenthusiastically.

Proposition 75
In simple terms (and we have to keep it simple for union leadership, right?), this proposition prohibits the use of union dues for political purposes without prior consent of the members.

The advertising for this one kills me. While the leftist unions try to show it as an attempt to "silence" their voice, one wonders just how much membership money was spent to create and air the campaign in the first place. Mrs. Woody, who was an active educator for several years, assures me that, contrary to the adverts, union members do not already have "protections" in place to prevent their dues and fees being used politically. Not unless you're on the board of that union, at any rate.

Put another way: the unions have become exactly what they fought against over a hundred years ago - corrupt bureaucracies with little regard for those they're supposed to protect.

Woody's take: Shut up and show us your cooked books, guys. We're voting YES on 75.

Proposition 76
Ah, yes. Schwarzenegger's "grab the money and run" initiative. This one imposes limits on state spending (current year plus some reasonable adjustments based on three year averages), and revamps provisions of Proposition 98. Also allows the governor to reduce budget appropriations under certain circumstances.

This one is being lambasted as nothing short of a political "power grab," which is - let's be honest - redundant. There's no such thing in politics as a "powerless" grab, no matter what you choose to call it. When I was a pup in high school, my American Gov teacher delineated the difference between Democrat and Republican. "They both want to spend money. The difference is how they want to spend it." I have found that to be more and more true in the ensuing years.

It's real title should be the "What to Do When the Legislature Refuses to Pass a Budget" act. That's really the only way the governor can "grab" the money, and there are no guarantees on either side that the governor would do anything more stupid than Sacramento does today. At least with this initiative the governor can look like he's doing something constructive. All he can do today is hurl sexist insults at them. Color me YES on 76.

Proposition 77
The notorious "Redistricting" initiative. This one scares the heck out of the libs, and with good reason.

Imagine that your two terms as Assemblyman are up and it's time to either run for State Senate or cut bait. What's a poor legislator to do? Redraw the lines! Sure! That'll work! I'll just create a new district and guarantee myself a shot at two more terms!

In the "Desperate Enough to Hire Living Fossils as Spokespersons" category, the No on 77 forces have made retired Judge Wapner their figurehead for this campaign. Give me a break. I was never a big Wapner fan when he was newly retired from the bench and farced his way through People's Court. Now I have to watch him try to stand upright and read his copy from cue cards that are the size of Buicks behind the camera. (On the other hand, the commercial showing three "judges" redistricting California into the shape of Texas makes me laugh every time. It's probably the only clever commercial of the entire election!)

Sorry, assemblypersons and senators. You can't do the job you were elected to do in the amount of time we've given you to do it. Go find another ball park to play in. Woody votes YES on 77.

Propositions 78 and 79
Drugs: Who Pays and Who Plays?

Proposals like these spring up about every other election cycle here in California. Democrats always try to make this an issue at a national level during general elections, but tend to fail miserably because free markets abhor working under price controls. Also, any attempt to control pricing of pharmceuticals tends to dilute the ability of drug manufacturers to continue research and development of newer, more potent medications.

Whatever the case, both initiatives are being fought over primarily by the drug companies and the insurance industry. They're both badly written and contain enough loopholes to keep lawyers happy for decades to come.

Want real reform? Update MediCal to include medications that seniors and disadvantaged people really need. Now. And apply pressure to Washington to do the same with Medicare. Then you'll get my attention.

Woody sez NO thanks to 78 and 79. In no particular order.

Proposition 80
"The Affordable Electricity and Preventing Blackouts Act" (according to its proponents).

Pardon me while I snort derisively. Price controls sound nice, but what happens when the providers no longer want to play ball? We will be stuck with a pricing structure that was enacted by ballot, and would then be locked until it could be voted on again, or somehow overridden by the California Supreme Court. In either case, if we somehow create another Enron-like debacle, we'd have Hades' own time undoing it.

Things may not be pretty now, but they'd be worse if 80 passes.

This one gets a NO from Woody.

One Last Thing
Just vote tomorrow. Everyone has an opinion. As long as you've studied it and are clear in your thinking, vote. I'd hate to wake up on Wednesday and discover that the main reason my life got worse overnight is because people decided it wasn't worth fighting over. If I'm gonna lose, I'd rather there had been a fight. Forfeiture just doesn't work in a democracy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

#207 - Short-Circuited Court of Appeals

(Noted in many places, but especial thanks to Mrs. Woody!)

So it happens that the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, located in (where else?) San Francisco, has rejected a lawsuit brought by families in Palmdale, California who claim that the local school district violated their rights as parents by surveying their children about sex.

Circuit Judge (and Rocket Scientist) Stephen Reinhardt wrote:

"...no such specific right can be found in the deep roots of the nation's history and tradition or implied in the concept of ordered liberty."

That's probably true, but you will also "not find" reference to any constitutional right or authority - deeply rooted heaven only knows where - of the public schools to assume that responsibility, either. Period.

However, this is San Francisco we're talking about, as well as a Circuit Court that has been overrun by the same liberal think-tank mentality that brought us both Dr. Spock and Berkeley. The ghost of Timothy Leary lives on in the 9th Circuit Court.

Unfortunately, modern society has created a safe-haven for such thinking, and believes more and more that all parents are morons. Our children can only learn these things at the hands of embittered unionized teachers who are becoming increasingly distracted by over-crowded classrooms, spending their union dues on political propaganda, and complaining about Schwarzenegger's failure to pay back the $2 billion he "owes" them. I mean, owes the kids. Furthermore, our rights as parents to determine when and how our children will be taught about these things appears not to exist in the minds of the Court. Or liberal politicians. Or the California Department of Education. Or, no doubt, the ACLU.

Not that we're bitter.

All this by way of expressing gratitude for two things:

1. We homeschool. End of problem.

2. We no longer live anywhere near Palmdale. That's cause for gratitude, just because.

UPDATE: More on this over at Memento Moron.