Free Markets, Free People

This and that

Apparently the Orange County school district (Florida/Orlando) has plans to  monitor students’ social media messages in an effort to curb cyberbullying, crime on campus and suicide.  Because, you know, that’s what they’re there for:

Orange County Public Schools announced Thursday that it has acquired software to monitor social media “to proactively prevent, intervene and (watch) situations that may impact students and staff.”  The district has obtained an annual license with SnapTrends, software that monitors Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The district said it plans to use the software to conduct routine monitoring for the purposes of prevention or early intervention of potential issues in which students or staff could be at risk to themselves or to others.

OCPS said the company will assist district law enforcement and security personnel in monitoring publicly available social media communications that are relevant to school operations and personnel.

“This is a tool that gives the district intelligence into a situation that could possibly prevent something more serious from happening,” Orange County Public Schools Senior Director of Safety and Security Doug Tripp said.

“Safety in and around school campuses is the top priority for Orange County school leaders,” OCPS said in a news release.  “Recognizing social media is a major communication system, the district has acquired social media monitoring software.”

School officials acknowledge the online snooping might raise privacy questions. But board member Linda Kobert said the district is taking advantage of “new tools to protect our children.”

Might raise some privacy questions?  Well, social media are indeed made up of public postings.  But let me ask you a more important question?  Is this a role for a school district?  Or is this another example of a creeping bureaucratic mission?  And what will the school district do with any information it gleans from its “monitoring?”

Note again, that we have a public official putting “safety” over supposed privacy concerns.  Oh, and btw, do you suppose that potential or real cyber-bullies don’t know how to set up fake accounts?  And is this a good use of school funds with the literacy problems most public school districts face?  The questions are endless.

Some people feel they have to take everything to an extreme.  Why, I’m not sure.  And I’m also pretty sure I think this particular extreme is both unnecessary and provocative.  If there’s trouble, will it rise to the level of “incitement”?

Jon Ritzheimer is a former Marine, and he has no middle ground when it comes to Islam.

A T-shirt he wears pretty much says it all: “F— Islam.”

Ritzheimer is the organizer of Friday’s “Freedom of Speech Rally” outside the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix.

It’s the mosque that Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofiattended for a time. They’re the men who drove from Arizona to a Dallas suburb to shoot up a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest there. Both were killed by police early this month.

Many Muslims consider any depiction of Mohammed to be blasphemous and banned by the Islamic holy book, the Quran.

“This is in response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorist(s), with ties to ISIS, attempted Jihad,” the event’s Facebook page said.

Some 600 people say they’re attending.

It is one thing to hold an event in another part of the state and end up being attacked by people/terrorists who chose to travel there and do so.  It is another thing to go to a group’s home and intentionally antagonize and invite an attack by showing up uninvited and attempting to provoke a response.

Other reports have said the group will be heavily armed, quoting Ritzheimer as saying they are going to exercise their First Amendment rights and back them with their Second Amendment rights.

I support both rights, but I think this is foolish, stupid and deliberately antagonistic as well as being unnecessary.  The point has been made.  It will continue to be made.  But this is not the right way to make it again.

Nice economic growth we had in the first quarter, no?  Apparently adjustments have seen the reported GDP numbers fall from 0.2 growth to a 0.7 contraction.  Economists want to argue that its just the way the government computes this stuff:

Economists, however, caution against reading too much into the slump in output. They argue the GDP figure for the first quarter was held down by a confluence of temporary factors, including a problem with the model the government uses to smooth the data for seasonal fluctuations.

Economists, including those at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, have cast doubts on the accuracy of GDP estimates for the first quarter, which have tended to show weakness over the last several years.

They argued the so-called seasonal adjustment is not fully stripping out seasonal patterns, leaving “residual” seasonality. The government said last week it was aware of the potential problem and was working to minimize it.

I’m sorry, boys and girls, since when is 0.2 growth in any quarter “good news”.  Its sort of like the unemployment figures.  Mostly fudged.  And apparently that’s precisely what the government will now attempt to do to show better numbers.  These bad numbers just don’t help the government tell you how well it’s doing, do they?  What’s this, our 6th or 7th “summer of recovery?”

Excellent Kevin D. Williamson article about the old and discredited ideas of Bernie Sanders, which he ends with a caution that we should all understand by now:

Senator Sanders may insist on living in the dark ages, and his view is not without its partisans. But those views are crude, they are backward, and they are, objectively speaking, incorrect about the way the economic world works. They are barely a step above superstition, and they merit consideration for only one reason: “Voters — all they gotta be is eighteen.”

And if they’re illegal, the Democrats say, “meh”.

Meanwhile in liberal bastions, things are just going swimmingly.  Detroit:

No getting around it: Filling up your gas tank at certain stations in Detroit can be hazardous to your health.

Police Chief James Craig said at a Tuesday media conference that he’d avoid getting gas late at night in the city unless he had to, and he urged residents to be careful at the pump, according to Tom Greenwood of The Detroit News.

“I wouldn’t, but if I had to, I would,” Craig said. “But I’d probably be very aware of my surroundings.”

Craig’s commented after a driver was killed early Monday evening while trying to flee a carjacking attempt at an east-side gas station.

A wasteland run by Democrats for decades.


Baltimore was seeing a slight rise in homicides this year even before Gray’s death April 19. But the 38 homicides so far in May is a major spike, after 22 in April, 15 in March, 13 in February and 23 in January.

With one weekend still to go, May 2015 is already the deadliest month in 15 years, surpassing the November 1999 total of 36.

Ten of May’s homicides happened in the Western District, which has had as many homicides in the first five months of this year as it did all of last year.

Non-fatal shootings are spiking as well – 91 so far in May, 58 of them in the Western District.

The mayor said her office is “examining” the relationship between the homicide spike and the dwindling arrest rate.

I’m sure they are “examining” it – and they’ll likely conclude its a matter of racism at some level.  While she is “examining” the relationship, she should ponder the statistic that says child victims of shootings are up 500% this year.  Well done!


While overall crime is down almost seven percent, shootings are up 7.1 percent so far this year. Murders are up 15.3 percent. Even with the increase, it’s a much lower number than the 1980s and 1990s.

The mayor blames it on gangs.  Why have gangs again become a problem?

Of course each of these cities can look to the midwest and say, “hey, at least we’re not Chicago.”


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16 Responses to This and that

  • Many Muslims consider any depiction of Mohammed to be blasphemous and banned by the Islamic holy book, the Quran.

    I understand that the Quran indicates that it forbids images of all thinking beings, including the Prophet.

    • “… forbids images of all thinking beings,…”

      So that’s why we can get so many photographs of ISIS members.

      • Cutting off people’s heads just before their own are cut off for taking photos.

  • since when is 0.2 growth in any quarter “good news”.

    Zerohedge had indicated back when the 0.2% growth first came out that it would have been negative if not for increased spending required by ObamaCare. I hope they aren’t breaking their arms today, but we all knew it was “unexpectedly”.

  • Other dumb things that schools do …

    For last Friday, the club encouraged students to wear rainbow colored shirts in support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues.

    During the high school’s televised announcements that morning, two students on the broadcast wore Chick-fil-A T-shirts, Snyder said.

    The students didn’t say anything about the Gay-Straight Alliance or the school’s LGBT community, but she believes they knew what they were doing.

    The appearance started a flurry of tweets, with students calling out the two boys who wore the Chick-fil-A shirts.

    This is tolerance taken to a useless extreme.
    Many of the commenters in the newspaper were asking why there was an event for the Gay-Straight Alliance, a group which obviously has taken a position that is more than just tolerance. They were requiring acceptance.

  • GDP figures? The government is aware of the problem and are working to fix it.

    We’ll be back to better numbers in no time!

  • It is entertaining though.
    Think of our new government methods as merely new ways of seeing history.

    Which brings me to discover good things about 9/11 and the Iraq/Afghanistan “actions”.
    Since they both occurred when Bush was President there has been no need to demonstrate that the attack on the WTC was caused in response to insults to Islam in the Disney movie Aladdin
    or to inflate correct the casualty figures from the Civil War, WW I, WWII, Korea and Vietnam to make the casualty figures in the Afghanistan/Iraq wars look better in comparison.

  • Is Orange County school district going to wait until the the little tykes come to school before they arrest and interrogate them, or will it be proactive and send the OCSDSWAT team to their homes at 3:00 AM? I hear Obama is taking back their Big Wheels, so they will have to make do with armed and armored Chevy Suburbans just like the SS. (pun intended)

    “They argued the so-called seasonal adjustment is not fully stripping out seasonal patterns, leaving “residual” seasonality.”

    Reminds me of the Soviet Union, where every harvest was bad because of unexpectedly bad weather.

    “The government said last week it was aware of the potential problem and was working to minimize it.”

    Yes, Top Men are toiling away, even as we write– Top. Men.

    “The mayor said her office is “examining” the relationship between the homicide spike and the dwindling arrest rate.”

    Baltimore, too, has its Top Men (and Top Women, of course) toiling away.

    • Josh Ernest…genius nonpareil…suggests more gun control. In Maryland.

      Shore. That’ll work….

      • Just what we need–more gun control. They obviously can’t even control the ones out there now.

  • The Orange County School District would not like my solution.

    “OK, son? I need you to post this word for word, and make sure you get the names of the administration of the district right. Yes, I know some of those are just two swear words put together… Just do what you father tells you…”

  • Orange county is pretty much where we are headed. Parents are to house and keep healthy children, but the Media-Government complex will raise them. Via social media and the faux mantle of righteous indignation and shaming, almost all kids will be more afraid of the state than their parents growing up past 4 years old.

    Corporal punishment of your children will get you in jail, you can’t kick them out of the house. So what power do you have over them in comparison to the Media-State complex? Various things have happened where its impossible to keep your kid off the internet., so you can’t separate them from that curated version of peer pressure.

  • It is amusing to see the apologists for GDP contraction to blame it on the weather and say the seasonal variation is off. Last time I checked winter was a season. Are they trying to say it would be worse with or without it?

  • @instapundit

    Q: What do you wear to a Bernie Sanders rally?

    A: Depends.

    EXCELLENT mockage…!!!