The Vulgar Trader

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California Police Walk Past “Beware of Dog Sign,” Fatally Shoot Family Dog, Change Account After Release of Video; Later Found To Have “Acted Properly”

From Law Prof. Jonathan Turley:

We have been following the seemingly endless cases of shootings of dogs around the country. The latest is in El Monte, California where the police entered a family’s front yard some nine months ago (passed “Beware of Dog” signs) and fatally shot the family’s 2-year-old German shepherd. There was no imminent crime or exigent circumstance. Police were coming to collect a photograph of the teenage son of Cathy Luu and Chi Nguyen, whom they had previously reported had run away from home (he returned shortly afterward). A video tape shows the officers, Detective Arlen Castillo and then Officer Ken Fraser, open the gate without calling into the house. Fraser actually pets the family’s pit bull on the way in. Then the German shepherd comes out barking at Castillo and Castillo shoots the dog.

El Monte Police Chief Steven Schuster (left) has now announced that “The full incident was investigated, including both officers’ actions, with no sustained policy violations found.” He simply said that “the officers felt that their safety was compromised due to the dog.” That is all it takes apparently.

The video however shows the officers ignoring the “Beware of Dog” signs. That does not seem like a smart idea and created the likelihood of a confrontation with the dog. Notably, the officers account changed after it was disclosed that there was a video tape. Police said the officers shook the gate and proceeded cautiously only to be set upon by the dog. The video shows a very different scene…

Read on.

In America you can say whatever you want—as long as it doesn’t have any effect.

—Paul Goodman

A Middle School Cheating Scandal

From the New Yorker:

They all decided to tell the truth. Righton Johnson, a lawyer with Balch & Bingham who sat in on interviews, told me that it became clear that most teachers thought they were committing a victimless crime. “They didn’t see the value in the test, so they didn’t see that they were devaluing the kids by cheating,” she said. Unlike recent cheating scandals at Harvard and at Stuyvesant High School, where privileged students were concerned with their own advancement, those who cheated at Parks were never convinced of the importance of the tests; they viewed the cheating as a door they had to pass through in order to focus on issues that seemed more relevant to their students’ lives.

After more than two thousand interviews, the investigators concluded that forty-four schools had cheated and that a “culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation has infested the district, allowing cheating—at all levels—to go unchecked for years.” They wrote that data had been “used as an abusive and cruel weapon to embarrass and punish.” Several teachers had been told that they had a choice: either make targets or be placed on a Performance Development Plan, which was often a precursor to termination. At one elementary school, during a faculty meeting, a principal forced a teacher whose students had tested poorly to crawl under the table.

John Ewing, who served as the executive director of the American Mathematical Society for fifteen years, told me that he is perplexed by educators’ ”infatuation with data,” their faith that it is more authoritative than using their own judgment. He explains the problem in terms of Campbell’s law, a principle that describes the risks of using a single indicator to measure complex social phenomena: the greater the value placed on a quantitative measure, like test scores, the more likely it is that the people using it and the process it measures will be corrupted. “The end goal of education isn’t to get students to answer the right number of questions,” he said. “The goal is to have curious and creative students who can function in life.” In a 2011 paper in Notices of the American Mathematical Society, he warned that policymakers were using mathematics “to intimidate—to preempt debate about the goals of education and measures of success.”

Read the rest.

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

—H.L. Mencken

Only in America…

Only in America…