Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ann From Auburn Hills Sends in a Cheating VidShizzle.

Here is a 60 Minutes interview with the kid who cheated on a series of SAT & ACT tests. I am particularly outraged by this as, in addition to being an adjunct at one college, I also administer certification tests in my day job,so I am very aware of security measures for testing. (Also contributing to my outrage is my belief in honesty, integrity, and ethics---quaint, old-fashioned ideas not possessed by anyone under age 30.) In addition to the video itself, your readers may be interested in the comments on the video.


  1. "Also contributing to my outrage is my belief in honesty, integrity, and ethics---quaint, old-fashioned ideas not possessed by anyone under age 30."

    Frankly, I think it's adorable that you think people over 30 are more prone to telling the truth.

  2. This is not really anything new. A paid test taker was what Teddy Kennedy was burned for at Harvard.

    Bravo for the DA for prosecuting this smarmy, rationalizing pimple, and his clients, too ashamed even to show their faces. I chuckle at seeing them in handcuffs: it's too bad they weren't thrown in a real prison, where the other inmates would make their eyes pop out.

    I wonder if I can have students who plagiarized prosecuted for criminal fraud. I work at a state university, and they are defrauding the state, are they not?

    What's most disturbing about all of this is the naive mendacity of the president of the ETS. The correct response would have been, "This is deeply disturbing, and I will do my best to make sure this doesn't happen in the future."

  3. OMFG!
    The "SAT phantom" Eshaghoff believes helping undeserving students secure plum college admissions is not a problem. No, he is "saving their lives." They are not displacing truly qualified students.

    The proctors are just "cafeteria workers" and how hard is it to fool a cafeteria worker? Insufferable prick!

    He doesn't really know why he did it: "I guess I needed money."

    The ETS doof Landgraf says with a straight face that learning a student was able to take the SAT 16 times does not reveal a security flaw. This "isolated incident" doesn't cast any sort of shadow on the process. What is he smoking?

    Even Nassau County DA Rice who seemed to be the only one taking this seriously, lets serial con man Eshaghoff plead away felony fraud with community service TUTORING SAT PREP??

    Oh, but the coup de grâce Eshaghoff and his clients all get to continue on their collegiate ways because ETS will not reveal the names of those who cheated.

    Yeah, putting aside all the snark over "shock, shock, I say" at the fact there is cheating, is the realty that it was discovered, investigated AND PROSECUTED and STILL nothing of substance came of it.

    And we wonder why we can't get our colleges to take blatant plagiarism seriously.

  4. Please do a little reading about standardized tests in general, and, in particular, Educational Testing Services, the folks who have given us the SAT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, TOFEL, and all the other flavors of that brand of high-sodium, non-nutritional alphabet soup.

    The SAT has some reliability in predicting how a student will do in her freshman year, but it's no more reliable than a coin flip in predicting whether someone will graduate.

    About the only thing the SAT really measures is someone's socioeconomic status, and the only thing it's good for is to make the jobs of lazy deans of admission a whole lot easier: Got a stack of 10,000 freshman applications? Make it as small as you'd like by picking an appropriate SAT cutoff score.

    I'm certainly not outraged by students who manipulate this particular system. Scamming the scammers is fine with me. I did it myself. Took the GRE for someone else. Of course, that was a long time ago--before I turned 30 and automatically became honest and ethical.

  5. Even if 3000 students fake the SAT, that's not a terrible record if 3 million students take the exam (1 in 100,000 cheat). Tougher security will prevent or make it more difficult for some students to take the exam. c.f. the debate about voter ID laws. Better security would also be more expensive, making the SAT a greater hardship for some students.

    As for the merits of the SAT that Philip cites, I'd say predicting freshman year success is pretty helpful. There are far too many variables to predict graduation. In fact, the SAT shouldn't predict graduation - if it did, then college would not have much of an impact on high school students.

    Standardized tests that give simple numeric scores in English and math are certainly better than any alternatives that I can think of.

  6. @Philip: You still haven't figured out that two wrongs don't make a right, have you? Sir, your dishonesty should be punished with all your academic degrees being revoked, and you being prosecuted for criminal fraud, which is what you've just confessed to.

  7. @Ben: That's 1 in 1000. To make the SAT as reliable as riding in a car, it should be 1 in 10,000.

  8. I worked for ETS for a few years, grading AP exams in Hamster Fur Humanities Studies. Talk about scams. Students aren't actually graded, they are ranked against each other. Then the number crunchers work some magic to create a correlation between the multiple-choice and the essay portions of the test, then they run it all though a meat grinder so they end up with a bell curve at the 3 (out of 5) range. One year we were told, about midway through the grading process (which included a fairly specific rubric, that the scores on our question were "too high" and that we were to "try to bring the scores down into a lower range from now on." I always felt bad for the poor kids who happened to have their tests graded later that week.

    And the AP curriculum itself is an arbitrary, content-heavy farce.

    That ETS is a non-profit organization is beyond belief.

  9. Oh my. Thanks Frod. Maybe I should pay you to write my comment next time.

    Even 1 in 1000 isn't great but I'd be thrilled if I had that odds for students cheating on my exams.

    I graded AP chemistry exam questions once. Actually, I graded one question. I graded every single stinking kid's answer to that one question. Thousands. And thousands. For an entire week. Eight hours a day. Non-effing stop. Funny, I don't remember what the question was about.

  10. @Beaker Ben: What Surly Temple said. You really should do a little reading about the standardized testing business and ETS. The "simple numeric scores in English and math" really don't mean squat.

    Here's an example (an honest-to-gosh actual one although it's decades old):

    Blue: ______ :: Princeton : Harvard.

    a.) puce b.) ecru c.) crimson d.) chrysanthemum e.) magenta

    Obviously, this question is asking testees to identify the school colors of Harvard. Just as obviously, it's an example of one of the many biases--a geographical one in this case--of the SAT test. Would it be meaningful to ask East Coaster high school kids about the school colors of UC Berkeley or Stanford?

    ETS is based in Princeton, New Jersey. The further you get from Princeton, the lower the average verbal SAT test score. And that's a fact.

    @Frankenstien: You wrote "Your dishonesty should be punished with all your academic degrees being revoked, and you [sic] being prosecuted for criminal fraud, which is what you just confessed to."

    Maybe, but the statute of limitations is up. I'll also confess to fudging on my income tax, exceeding the speed limit, and grading papers while impaired. Should I shoot myself?

  11. Philip, I assume that question is no longer used. The fact that there are poorly chosen questions does not mean that, overall, the SAT isn't a better judge of student's potential for college success than other practical methods.

    As for the Princeton-centeredness of the exam, I'm guessing there aren't too many questions about the local environment. Princeton probably has pretty good schools and such that create that effect.

    What would you sugget replace it?

  12. Thanks Philip ... what this conversation needed was a sloppy plop of self-aggrandizing relativistic morality.

    Why don't you and Eshaghoff go into business together?

    If you believe the SAT, et al. are all invalid (a potentially valid point, BTW), fine.

    But to suggest that because the exam is dubious everyone should just cheat?

    Well, you did offer to remove yourself from the gene pool ...

  13. @Ben, I had a similar experience! Spent a WEEK grading one question. Eight months later at a job interview, it turned out the interviewer had also been at that grading session. She asked me which question I'd graded, and I drew a complete, utter blank. World Champion Snowflake blank. I *still* can't remember the question. And I didn't get the job.

    My days working for ETS are long over, but I still have a faint slimy feeling from the experience.

  14. Why is everyone coming down so hard on Philip? His comment about snapping into honesty as soon as he turned 30 made me laugh out of my chair.

    (and it's a comfy chair at that)

    ETS is indeed an evil, evil institution. Cheating or not aside, it's terrible. And sometimes we make mistakes growing up. I myself cheated on a handful of tests in college. The first was when a professor allowed me to take a test in his office and then left me alone for an hour, with all of his books. The second time I cheated was to get an A out of a class taught by a highly racist piece of shit who had blatantly racist options on his final exam. Without looking at the Key (which he left on his desk facing us!!), I would have never gotten the right answers for why African descendants do not thrive in the US the way Asian descendants do, or why the Native Americans killed themselves into extinction.


    Then there was the time I was paid to take Underwater Basketweaving for the ETS themselves, so they could measure students against the "professionals."

    I failed it. On purpose. Took the $225 for my 2 hours of time and ran.

  15. I'm surprised no one has yet expanded upon, which was only superficially mentioned in the piece, was that the lax security is because the ID authentication process needs to be balanced against "accessibility" - the ETS guy said the magic word, but the piece didn't go into more detail. You want a testing system not stacked against the poor? If you require a more credible piece of ID like a driver's license, sure it seems like a no-brainer to middle-class Joe and Jane, but hell's bells, then you exclude some of the poorest strata in society. If election laws already have some exceptions in place to not exclude the poor, who are more likely not to have what others consider "standard" pieces of ID, what's so special about the SAT that it should be more stringent than voting for the next government?

  16. AM--

    People are coming down hard on Philip because he lied, cheated, and feels no remorse. What he did was academically dishonest, and he doesn't seem to think it was any big deal.

    Our students tell themselves that they are "scamming the scammers" as well, that they are "manipulating the system" that makes them take classes they don't "need" or "can't" do well in, etc.

    Philip taking the GRE for someone is no less reprehensible than one of my internet students sending in an imposter to take their in-class final.

    It's disgusting, but like our students he has no shame. Just some misdirected pride at having gamed the system. Why should we be any less hard on one of our peers than we are on our students?

    Someone that has no qualms about "scamming" the ETS with absolutely no remorse will lie and cheat and rationalize when they can get away with it in other areas of their career as well.

    Would you hire someone that had no compunction about cheating on the GRE? How can we expect students to live up to standards when their professors cannot?


    Philip shouldn't shoot himself. But he should have the decency to feel ashamed. He doesn't. That's the real problem.

  17. @AdMonk

    I'm castigating Philip because he (and now you, apparently,) are suggesting that because you disagree with one of the admission standards (the SAT) applicants not only should be able to ignore it, but deliberately and feloniously perpetrate a fraud on the colleges.

    Look, I am no fan of ETS -- or standardized testing in most of its forms.

    But Eshaghoff was allowed to resume his college studies. Do you think he really was "scared straight" or did he likely start a new business, say, selling term papers?

    J.H. Christ, we rant and screed about the lazoid flakes who thumb their noses at our course requirements and standards. But because you believe ETS is an evil empire, that justifies Eshaghoff's behavior?

    Would you be championing his brand of "civil disobedience" if several of your students used his term paper services? Or what it turned out that one of your über flakes turned out to be someone who gained admission with faked credentials?

  18. Wow. I guess we all fundamentally disagree.

    Cheating is not "disgusting." It's stupid, ill-advised, akin to shooting oneself in the foot. You work hard and erase all the hard work by cheating. But it's stupid.

    What's terrible -- disgusting even -- is the way some students get to coast into college because of their position of birth while we all look at each other and wink as though this is a meritocracy.

  19. Monkey:

    I see. So, because some kids cheat by being rich, it's ok for you to cheat by being dishonest?

    I'm with Ben and Frod on this. The SAT math score is highly predictive of how well a student will survive first year sciences: it tests how well a student can perform a wide range of math exercises under pressure, without a narrow study guide that can be crammed.

    And I'm also aghast at Philip: taking the GRE for another person? What was your payoff? Money? Friendship? The ability to just be a jerk and get away with it? The desire to see someone burn out of grad school because they weren't equipped? (I'm only slightly less aghast at Monkey for cheating in at least one case.)

    Mostly, I'm amazed that anyone would BRAG about it. Some of us try to behave ethically, even when it isn't in our self-interest. I take great personal offense at people who behave otherwise.

  20. Standardized tests are morally bankrupt and wildly discriminatory against everyone who isn't white and upper-middle-class; oh and it helps to be male (you have to kind of imagine yourself as male to answer a lot of the questions, but women are used to having to do that).

    People shouldn't cheat. But people shouldn't use standardized tests to decide anything that matters. I'm inclined to think the colleges that actually use these tests are more in the wrong.

  21. I don't think colleges are "more in the wrong" than cheaters. If you aren't a good standardized test-taker, then apply to colleges that don't use the test. Or, if you are ever on an admissions process, argue strenuously against taking test scores seriously, as opposed to taking the test for someone else.

    It's amazing how people rationalize dishonesty. The thing about lying to other people is that you start to believe your own lies. And that is a scary place to live.

  22. OK, I'll ask again. What's your substitute for the SAT?

  23. OK, here's the whole story: A friend of a friend was trying to get into a certain grad school. He was a straight "A" student with stellar references from his teachers--a couple of whom he'd co-authored papers with as an undergraduate.

    But he was terrible at taking tests like the GRE. Don't know why, but he was.

    He talked to folks at the school he wanted to get into, and they told him that they had a strict GRE cutoff score. No one with who scored below x would be considered. No exceptions. He was advised to take the test again and again. That didn't work.

    So he asked me to take it for him. I did. We agreed on a sliding scale for payment: The higher my score, the more he'd pay me. Because I'm good at taking tests like this one (just like I'm good at Jeopardy on TV, and so what?), I maxed out. He paid me $300 for three hours of test-taking, which was the most (hourly) money I'd ever made.

    When he got back my/his results, ETS told him that they wouldn't report them to the school he was applying to because they were inconsistent with his previous scores. When I learned about this, I gave him back his money.

    ETS also told him that he had the right to appeal their decision, but he chose not to.

    So hang my upside down and fuck me in the ear.

    I have absolutely no remorse--no, I'm proud for at least trying, however piss-poor my effort-- to subvert this fake meritocracy.

    Finally, whether you think my actions were ethical or not, you really need to understand what's wrong with the whole standardized testing business. Can anyone out there spell No Child Left Behind?

  24. " If you aren't a good standardized test-taker, then apply to colleges that don't use the test."

    Gee, that's a fair way to deal with students like Philip's friend, who are brilliant by every standard of the things they actually know and can produce - are exactly the kind of students we want to teach and see go out in the world applying what they've learned in all sorts of creative, innovative ways - but because they can't manage a fucking standardized test, they will not get the chance to do that; because they can't go to all the fucking A-list schools that insist on using standardized fucking tests.

    What do we suggest using instead of SATs? Here in the frozen North, we don't use them; and our students are every bit as bright and motivated and teachable as the ones in the American schools that use an artificial standard measure. I suggest you just get rid of them. You don't need anything in place of them. Use high school grades, references, and letters of application like the rest of the world.

    Incidentally I ace standardize tests myself; this isn't sour grapes. I aced the GREs. This said nothing about my motivation, my work habits, my ability to think about anything for more than 5 seconds at a time. As the American grad school that accepted me on the basis of my GREs discovered to its sorrow when it took me 8 years to finish. But if they were going to do something as stupid as thinking the GREs told them anything about what it really takes to succeed in graduate school they fucking deserved me.

    I just had a look at some sample SAT questions on the web, a sample of 10 questions. Even in those 10, one of them had no right answer among the choices given, because the correct answer was in the subjunctive, which the test-writer apparently had never heard of. And you're relying on this test for what again?

    Absolutely (about No Child Left Behind), incidentally. The solution to the woes of the American educational system is not, more standardized testing; and good God, what could possibly make you think it might be? Here's an article on what Finland, which is top of the charts in educational outcomes, is doing right; and one of the things they're doing right is having no standardized tests at all.

  25. Pweeeet! Time out! Everyone back to their corners!

    I've got a real problem with this argument. One side is arguing as if admitting that cheating is wrong implies that standardized tests are peachy. The other side is arguing as if criticizing standardized tests implies that cheating is peachy. Neither of these arguments holds water.

    Cheating is wrong AND standardized testing has major problems (we can calibrate the degree of problems in a separate punchup). There is nothing inconsistent about holding both of these views simultaneously.


  26. Sorry R and/or G, you are presenting a false equivalence.

    I have not read that those critical of cheating were blind to the limitations of standardized exams. However the "cheat to push back at the system" advocates do not appear to have any awareness as to the pervasive creep inspired by such behavior.

    We're not talking letting a neighbor sneak a peak at an answer sheet or even bringing a cheat sheet which would provide, at most, a couple of answers. Philip (small scale) and Sam Eshaghoff (large scale) perpetrated full out frauds and both demonstrate no remorse. In fact, both claim to be on the side of the angels.

    It seems unlikely that people with such a F the system attitudes stopped with test fraud. (And just as much shame on ETS for protecting its "reputation" by hiding the identities of those verified as having cheated.)

    I return to my follow up question: Would the indignation be on the other foot if Philip and Eshaghoff admitted to cheating while enrolled in college?

    I seem to recall near unanimous condemnation of a student who submitted a bogus essay authored by a professor, some even advocating revocation of his degree.

    But ... if you cheat your way into college, that is a blow against the standardized testing "man"?

    Perhaps, instead, we have discovered a flake delivery system.

  27. Philip's story just makes me sick to my stomach. I'm betting he sells textbooks to the scumsucking textbook buyers, too, and has rationale for it as well.

  28. Two world views:
    a) The world is essentially a place of random unfairness. If you have the chance to cheat, go for it. You are going to be treated unjustly in other cases anyway.
    b) It is possible to build the world as a place of absolute fairness. Any breach of the rules undermines this future and should be dealt with extreme prejudice.

    I am so happy that I went to grad school to one of the three programs in A-schools that didn't asked for the GRE!

  29. Merely, how are high school grades, letters of recommendation and other application materials not subject to the same socioeconomic distortions as SAT scores? Kids who get the high SAT scores probably have good letters of recommendation, personal essays and grades too. Middle class applicants will have application packages that appeal to the middle class admission reviewers who read them. A standardized test augments this with a more objective (not truly objective) measure of skills.

    How does a university tell which potential engineering student is better in math than other applicants? Ask them some math questions - the same questions under the same conditions. Granted, I cannot control for which ones had a good breakfast or which ones suffer from self esteem problems. All I can do is ask well written questions and grade them fairly. High school grades are not helpful in this case because there are too many unknowns about each student's classes.

  30. My kid's in a K-12 school that doesn't use test scores, period. They do exist. And one of my best Ph.D. students had crappy GRE scores but wrote a letter of explanation describing her difficulties with standardized tests -- I had to fight for her, but she got in. If you are so principled about test scores being bogus, which I actually am, there are other ways to demonstrate that than cheating. As R & G says, you can be against both standardized testing and cheating.

    And Reg, though I detect a drip or ten of sarcasm in your post, I don't sell to textbook buyers either.

    Jeezus, these seem like no-brainers to me.

  31. @merely Academic and Philip: I teach at an open enrollment State university in the Midwest. We use the ACT, SAT and other instruments for placement, not admission. That being said, there is a correlation of almost 100% between the Math ACT scores and graduation rate.

  32. Canadian universities manage to admit students without standardized test.

  33. Yes, on the Philip story, I don't have a problem with his claim that the ETS is a kind of conspiratorial juggernaut of some kind.

    But that doesn't excuse his attempt to cheat the system. (God, I love the detail of how WELL he did on someone else's GRE. That's where good storytelling really lies, with self-aggrandizement.)

  34. There is a Darwinian factor here that no one acknowledges. This isn't some random cluster of high schools that could be anywhere in the US. It's the Gold Coast. You don't wind up there on scruples. I know that's reverse classist and everything, but I've taught these kids and they're psychotic. And I've dealt with their parents and felt like I was talking to sociopaths. You can't draw the line at age 30. Where do you think the kids were getting the money? Were some of them doing it on the DL? Of course. I promise you as many parents gave the kids the money FOR THIS PURPOSE as didn't. You couple the way these kids are raised with NCLB and it's a good thing they cheated instead of ran through school with a gun shooting all the smart kids.

    Cheating is wrong. Standardized testing has become a cancer.

  35. "You don't wind up there on scruples."

    Whoa, there. I grew up in a North Shore hamlet and attended one of the schools implicated in the cheating scandal. Many, many of my former classmates are now raising their families in our town. I get what you are saying, Wombat, about the hyper-competitive nature of the school cultures in some of those suburbs. But to say that anyone who can afford to live in a place like that has been unethical, well, you know better than to paint with such a broad brush.

    My classmates made choices that I did not. They were smart, aggressive, and ambitious, and they went into the financial sector in part because that's what their parents did, and what everyone around them was doing. They wanted wealth, security, and expensive suburban lives. That doesn't make them unscrupulous, even though you and I may not share their values.

    Some of them are nuts. Some of them are unethical freaks who pass their distorted moral compasses on to their kids. But the majority are decent people who want the best for their families.

  36. I know that, but you can't deny the element is there.

    I taught at a school nearby with kids who transfered from several of the schools involved. There were 3 ares from which our students came: 5 Towns, Great Neck and Merrick Bellmore. If you were from 5 Towns or Great Neck, you could be caught with a dead hooker on your desk at the start of 5th period, and by 6th period the unmedicated bipolar assistant principal would be telling the teacher who wrote you up to "lighten up". If you were from Merrick/Bellmore (not exactly pauper towns, but not 5 Towns/Great Neck) and an 8th of marijuana was found in the broom closet while you were skyping live from an El Al flight in the middle of the Atlantic, the assistant principal would be writing you up herself and getting the lawyer to send letters to your parents lawyers.

    Now without the hyperbole, I had a couple of Merrick kids cheat on quizzes, just like the rest. And the Merrick kids routinely got detention for things they did. They didn't get punished too much - it was always fair. But the Great Neck kids rarely got treated fairly. It was always indulgently lax. If anyone recalls this old RYS story - it was Great Neck kid who hit me with a shoe when I was pregnant and then didn't even get a single day of detention because our assistant principal was an endowment whore.

    It's anecdotal stuff and not grounds for a sincere belief that the WHOLE peninsula is founded on a lack of morals. But that is NOT my sincere belief, and I think you realize that. But there is an element in greater abundance in Great Neck than some other places.

  37. @Wombat: did you teach at a private school? I'm just curious. I worked at a school that prostituted itself to wealthy parents to such an extent that I was almost-but-not-quite accused of child abuse for refusing to make all of my tests open-book. Working there was the worst 9 months of my life.

  38. All of this really doesn't matter because no one person in college -- at any level of college -- is doing their own work.

    Standards are in flux everywhere. If you get into an Ivy, chances are the hyper-competitive nature of those circles means you have at some point cheated. If you get into State, chances are your classmates (if not you) have cheated. If you are in a bull shit CC or online college, chances are you've copied and pasted the crap out of Wikipedia. And the under-paid instructors didn't catch you.

    The problems here are multipled by the problems of academia. A single test like the SAT or GRE is bull shit for determining how well someone will do in school. Some one like me, who has brain problems (about which I've spoken here before from a head trauma injury) will do very poorly on mathematical multiple choice exams but extremely well in essay form. It's just one example of millions of why the SAT and other exams are poor excuses for cutting people off -- especially people who do not come from a target background, ie upper middle class WASP experiences.

    What I'm finding incredibly interesting here is how a group of cynics can be so shocked at things like cheating, inconsistent exams, and biased programs. This is after all what our blog essentially discusses on a daily basis.

  39. @Surly - lol - I bet it was the same one. In a 2 year period they lost me, 5 physics teachers (they only had 2 working for them at any given time, and for a while just 1, so we're talking multiple complete staff changes in a single subject) and 4 chemistry teachers, plus a bunch of social studies teachers and some others. I made it the longest. Everyone says it was the worst 9 months of their life. I'm a slow learner, so it was the worst 20 months of my life. And yes - I was bullied (I was able to recognize that it was bullying thank to the professional development tele-lecture she made us call one day when the kids were on a field trip) by the AP into mostly open book stuff. When I suggested pop quizzes as a solution to accountability issues, it was as though I suggested hiring a fleet of octogenarian nuns and arming them with whips.

  40. Just a quick reply to Surly and Sultans: no, Canadian schools don't use national standardized tests. But they DO use standardized provincial tests, at least in my home province. More importantly, there is less spread in the Canadian school system than the US, thanks to the way schools are funded.

    So, your objections are a little misleading.

  41. @Philip: You don't need to shoot yourself, since fraud isn't a capital offense. You should stick your head in a toilet and flush it every 30 seconds until you understand that two wrongs don't make a right. Seriously, now: you should resign your job, because you are clearly morally unfit to be teaching.

  42. Philip, even grading while impaired is unethical, dude. So is fudging your income tax. Speeding, well, if the rest of traffic is speeding, you're safest going the speed they're going, but speeding for its own sake endangers others, which is, yes, unethical. Your moral compass is really out of whack for someone in charge of anyone else's education.

  43. Wow. When did you guys become so out of touch with reality?

    Fact: Every single person on this blog has broken the law at some point in their lives. Each person here is unethical. We are posting slightly altered information about our students and colleagues. That alone is pretty unethical. So where do you all get off castigating folks for speeding? Has anyone with a license gone through life without speeding? Of course not, for that itself is against the law ("flow of traffic")

    What the hell is up everyone's ass here? It's like a Twilight Zone of the Misery.

  44. When y'all get done checking my moral compass, maybe you should recalibrate your sarcasm detectors.

    Has ANYONE out there ever called in sick when you needed a mental health day? That's wrong, too. It's a lie. But maybe you were snowed under, appalled, gobstruck, by someone else's wrongness (which is one of themes of CM, no?).

    So yeah, Frankenstien, sometimes two wrongs do make a right.

  45. Because molesting a child = cheating on a crazy biased exam.

    Watch out, folks, a Hitler reference is just HIDING around the corner. OMGZ cheating = genocide!!!

  46. @Philip: I have never cheated on my income tax, at least never intentionally. Perhaps I let the IRS take too much, but then I've never been audited. No doubt I've gotten it all back, through my NASA grants.

    I have also -never- called in sick when I wasn't. Nor have I -ever- graded papers while impaired. Believe it or not.

    I do my best not to speed. That's easy, though, because only now am I becoming able to afford to own a car. Nando has my sympathy on those student loans.

    (I also try not to be sanctimonious, but it was you who brought up all these false equivalencies.)

    Nevertheless, I don't claim to be perfect. The real difference between you and me is that when I do wrong, I feel guilty about it, I try to make amends, and I do my best not do wrong again.

    I am also not FOOLISH enough to brag about my moral lapses in a public forum. You should be ashamed of it. So, I think you should shave your loins with a butterknife, twice.

  47. @Monkey: I admit, that was a slippery slope argument. I have since changed it, and I am sorry I made it in the first place, particularly because I know I can do better.

    See what taking reponsibility for doing wrong looks like? Cheating is a very touchy subject---tolerating it negates -everything- we're supposed to be doing---so much so that one can take quite a lot of oppobrium for even appearing to condone it, as you may know.

  48. Finally watched the piece....

    I always thought that the SATs were a scam. I could make one of my blood-drenched plans of absolute destruction for the kid, the test company, the school the kid goes to, yadda, yadda, yakety-schmackety, blah, blah, blah. I just don't gives a shit no mo'.


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