URLs du Jour


  • In case you haven't seen it yet, here's Harvard Magazine's (initial) illustration for its article on the risks of homeschooling: [Arithmatic]

    Note the spelling on the spine of that orange book. (It's since been corrected at the article site, which means it probably wasn't some clever dig at home-schooler illiteracy.)

    Anyway, the article highlights the deep totalitarian thoughts of one Elizabeth Bartholet ("Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the Law School’s Child Advocacy Program"). She is not a fan of DIY book-learnin':

    [Bartholet] sees risks for children—and society—in homeschooling, and recommends a presumptive ban on the practice. Homeschooling, she says, not only violates children’s right to a “meaningful education” and their right to be protected from potential child abuse, but may keep them from contributing positively to a democratic society.

    Can't have that!

    You will look through the article in vain for statistics showing worse outcomes for homeschooled kids versus those in government schools. Prof Bartholet seems to rely heavily on anecdote, specifically the one detailed in a recent bestseller (Educated, by Tara Westover).

    I'll leave rebuttal to (homeschooled herself) Alexandra DeSanctis at National Review. Sample:

    Ultimately, Bartholet’s argument is thinly veiled anti-religious bigotry coupled with a healthy dose of privileged elitism. It assumes, first and foremost, that homeschooling is merely a front for religious zealots to indoctrinate their children with backwards, anti-science beliefs based on Christianity’s horrific, outdated teachings. And though she doesn’t acknowledge it, the result of her ban on homeschooling would be that wealthy parents can continue to avoid public schools by sending their children to expensive private institutions while a dearth of school-choice policies and a lack of financial resources leave lower-income parents with no options at all.

    I'm on record as being more radical than most: compulsory schooling laws should be repealed. The arguments for a "wall of separation" between church and state apply equally well to separating education and the state.

  • And while we're picking on Harvard, Maureen Callahan has a nit herself at the NYPost:

    One thing our new normal has made inarguably clear: The gap between the haves and have-nots is becoming more painful and more intractable with each passing day.

    Our latest example comes courtesy of Harvard University, wealthiest in the nation, with an endowment of $40 billion.

    Guess which institute of higher learning is getting a coronavirus bailout?

    Yep. Harvard has been granted, and is accepting, $8.7 million in federal aid — and only half of that must be reserved for emergency financial aid for students. Consider that in fiscal year 2019, Harvard spent $1.9 billion of its endowment covering the gaps for students in need and ended the year with a nearly $300 million surplus.

    Apparently Harvard had enough "essential" employees on hand to demand aid from the Feds.

  • It's Earth Day! … er, well, it's around now. Kevin D. Williamson looks at Defenders of the Faith.

    It is something of a cliché on the right to observe that the character of the environmental movement is generally religious rather than political or ecological — it has a deity, festivals, dietary laws (if you really cared about Gaia, you’d be a vegan!), an apocalypse narrative, etc.

    And it also has its sacraments of reconciliation. It was no surprise, then to read this headline in the New York Times this morning: “This Earth Day, We Should Repent.”

    We heretics aren't being Inquisitioned yet, but as they say: nobody expects that.

  • Michael Graham of NHJournal reports on local protests: In NH, The Coronavirus Class-Warfare Divide Is on Display.

    Saturday’s #ReOpenNH event at the statehouse could have easily been mistaken for a Trump rally– but not because of partisan politics.

    Instead, there’s a pragmatic reason that Trump supporters tend to also be more motivated to push for the Granite State economy to reopen. They are the same working-class Americans who’ve been hit hardest by the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown, at both the national and local levels.

    The new Dartmouth College-UNH Survey Center New Hampshire COVID-19 study, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and Dartmouth College, found that while 42 percent of working Granite Staters with a high school diploma or less have been laid off or lost work hours due to the lockdown, just 28 percent of college grads have suffered the same fate.

    A number of my lefty Facebook friends, who usually pride themselves on compassion and tolerance, are quite put out with these efforts. I believe they're not in the laid-off fraction to which Michael refers.

  • And the NYPost tries to answer the question you didn't know you had: Can the coronavirus be spread through farts?

    The smell may be hell but the mist could leave you pissed.

    Two Australian doctors are weighing in about the spread of the coronavirus “down under” — whether it can be spread through farts, that is.

    During Friday’s episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Coronacast” podcast, producer and host Dr. Norman Swan made a cautionary suggestion when it comes to particles of feces set adrift within a fart and the spread of COVID-19.

    Bottom line is … ha, see what I did there?

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Another comic book-based movie. It absolutely wallows in its absurd premises, but still winds up killing a lot of people along the way. Fine. The MPAA rates it R, for the usual reasons: "sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material". But no female nudity, sadly. It's like that's the new taboo.

It is a sequel. The survivors from the first movie are back (however some of them only briefly). And one of the non-survivors is back too: Colin Firth, who Samuel L. Jackson shot in the head. That sort of thing is recoverable in this universe.

There's a new group of baddies, led by Julianne Moore, who seems to be having fun. She runs a massive drug cartel, and has a scheme to go legit by poisoning all the users of her products, withholding the antidote until and unless the War on Drugs is called off. Unfortunately, the President of the US, Captain Pike, thinks getting rid of all the druggies would be just great! So, no help there.

And the Kingsmen Brits ally with their American counterparts.

Bottom line: to really like this movie, you have to really like tongue-in-cheek carnage, accompanied by bad language. I liked it a little better than the first one, but I might just have been in a more receptive mood.

Last Modified 2022-10-17 5:53 PM EDT