A few items to clear up (like spring cleaning) before we hit Memorial Day weekend and disappear into the heat:
• Reason No. 8,376 for Not Wanting to Live in Los Angeles—The Los Angeles Unified School District board voted 5-2 to ban "willful defiance" as a reason for suspension from school. The district gives as examples of "willful defiance" cussing at the teacher, refusing to hang up one's cellphone while class is in session, and threatening other students. These kids can no longer be suspended, but I'm sure kids won't use that policy shift for their own petty and selfish purposes.
The morons who promote this new policy claim that it leads to lost classroom time for the offender. What about all of the other kids who want to learn? What about their classroom time?
Here's the best part: Proponents say that teachers and administrators should use "positive incentives" to deal with the knuckleheads. As in, "I'll give you a dollar if you stop cussing at me" or "Keep talking on the phone and I'll give you a demonstration of 'in suppository form.'"
This is insane.
• We've all said something incredibly stupid and then, when we hear it again, we wince and wish we hadn't said it. Such is not the case with Arkansas state legislator Nate Bell, who, after the Boston Marathon bombing, said that he wondered if all the liberals in Boston were wishing they had assault weapons with high-capacity magazines. His insensitivity is surpassed only by his stupidity. (Of course, this is the same guy who tried to use a freedom-of-religion argument to get Arkansas to lift its ban on weapons in churches.)
I'm not really sure what Bell was thinking when he said that. I can't imagine that he thought that armed Bostonians could have shot all the shrapnel out of the air after the bomb blasts, although, as gun-nut fantasies go, that's not the most outrageous one I've ever heard.
It's like the one where the guy says his ownership of guns helps keep his wife and daughter from being raped. I love that one. I'm still waiting for someone to offer even one example of when that actually happened. And I don't mean back in the 1830s when Comanches were stealing white women from settlements in pre-statehood Texas. I mean, this year or last year or the year before that. Heck, give me an example of when that happened during Wayne LaPierre's lifetime.
It's such a romantic notion for a gun guy, I suppose, being the big armed protector, keeping the womenfolk safe. But the truth is that the wife and daughter are far more likely to be shot by that gun than to be saved from a rape by it.
More likely, Bell was talking about the brief time the Tsarnaev brothers were on the run. It seems to me the FBI and police did a pretty good job of handling that. I'm not sure how a bunch of northeastern liberals armed with military weapons would have made a difference.
• I don't read Maxim magazine, but they sent me this big press release about their Hot 100 list for 2013. I figured their No. 1 would be one of the usual suspects—Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Mila Kunis. But, no! It's Miley Cyrus, who looks like a 15-year-old boy, and not a particularly good-looking one. Second is Selena Gomez. If you were making out with her, you'd have to grapple with the realization that Justin Bieber had been there before you.
No. 10 is Elisha Cuthbert, who played Jack Bauer's daughter on 24 and was one of the most annoying TV characters of all time. In season 2, she got caught in a cougar trap and then almost got eaten by a cougar that was smart enough to have avoided the trap.
The people in charge of the list had to be lonely guys in their early 20s because two other people in the top 10 were Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens. Obviously, these guys had their first boy-girl thing while watching High School Musical and singing along with "Keep Your Head In The Game."
But then, I looked and it said, "You (the readers) voted for them!" I figured that, if Miley Cyrus actually won a vote count, it was an incredibly successful case of CatfishSpoofSpamming or whatever this week's Internet mass goof is called. Or, maybe the definition of "hot" has changed. Maybe the new hot is a tatted-up pothead burned-out former child star with a prison haircut. Although, for the sake of young men everywhere, I really hope not.
• Kudos to Arizona Daily Star columnist Tim Steller for pulling the curtain back a bit on the AP test factory that is BASIS. (He later backed off a bit after the state-funded school unleashed its state-funded Letters of Outrage campaign, but that's OK.)
The folks at BASIS do a good job at ... what they do, which, fortunately, is not something that most parents would want for their kids. Plus, they get to do it with taxpayer money. And, thanks to the rabid public-school haters in the state Legislature, they get to do it without telling us taxpayers where the money goes. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. I'm not quite sure why they complain.