URLs du Jour

2021-10-13

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So good for William Shatner, one of the latest crop of official astronauts.

I bounced between CNN and Fox News. Both seemed congenitally unable to mention his name without adding "Captain Kirk himself".

I am sad for the disrespect shown to his excellent work on T. J. Hooker.

  • Challenge accepted. So there was a guy at Vox who wondered:

    Cathy Young took on that daunting task, and it looks pretty good to me: Defining "Wokeness". It's long, but shows a careful attention to detail. Here's one of the "core tenets" according to Cathy:

    Language plays a key role in perpetuating oppression, and must be reformed and controlled to achieve equality. Speech as well as writing, art, entertainment, and other forms of expression constantly “reinscribe” values, attitudes, and beliefs that validate or support oppressive systems and marginalize oppressed groups; thus, they must be constantly “interrogated,” and even the most innocent verbal transgression can cause serious harm.

    What I find irritating is the woke resort to its in-group language. Examples above: "reinscribe", "interrogated".

    "What's that mean, exactly?"

    "It's not my job to educate you."


  • For a more concrete example… George Will looks at a case study. The woke mob runs into a college teacher who’s fighting back.

    Enforced conformity in the name of “diversity.” Exclusion of intellectual heterodoxy to make campuses “inclusive.” Orwellian language is spoken in academia. At the UCLA Anderson School of Management, a debacle began with a Kafkaesque touch, an antecedentless pronoun: “we.”

    The first words of a June 2, 2020, email, signed by one student, were: “We are writing to express our tremendous concern. . . .” The writer, who is not Black, was tremendously concerned that the upcoming final exam in lecturer Gordon Klein’s class would injure “the mental and physical health of our Black classmates.” The writer said that “traumatic circumstances” — e.g., the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis — placed Black students at an “academic disadvantage.” So, for Black students, Klein’s final exam should count only if it elevated a student’s grade.

    Klein, who has taught at Anderson for 40 years, consistently receiving fine reviews by students, as well as earning merit-based raises, considered the proposal patronizing toward Blacks, and illegal. (He is a lawyer.) Klein responded, however, by mildly posing Socratic questions for the writer of the email: How do I identify Black students taking my entirely online class? What about students with racially mixed parentage? How can there be a “no harm” final exam when this exam completely determines a student’s grade?

    `

    It will not surprise those who have been paying attention that Klein's dean kowtowed to the mob, and maligned Klein by name in a public announcement. Klein is fighting back with a lawsuit; if there's any justice, he'll win.


  • The scandal is not what's illegal; the scandal is what is legal. William Doyle writes at the Federalist: The 2020 Election Wasn't Stolen, It Was Bought By Mark Zuckerberg.

    During the 2020 election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent hundreds of millions of dollars to turn out likely Democratic voters. But this wasn’t traditional political spending. He funded a targeted, private takeover of government election operations by nominally non-partisan — but demonstrably ideological — non-profit organizations.

    Analysis conducted by our team demonstrates this money significantly increased Joe Biden’s vote margin in key swing states. This unprecedented merger of public election offices with private resources and personnel is an acute threat to our republic, and should be the focus of electoral reform efforts moving forward.

    It's a story of two inoffensively-named organizations, The Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) and The Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), onto which Zuck dropped nearly half a billion dollars. During the 2020 election they were deployed (ahem) asymmetrically to boost votes in Democrat-friendly areas.

    I don't know if Doyle is telling a straight story or not, but if he is, it's pretty disturbing. My guess is this effort caught the GOP with its pants down.


  • It's Wednesday, So it must be a good day to read Kevin D. Williamson's Tuesday column. After a lengthy quote from Orwell's classic essay "Politics and the English Language":

    As I have argued elsewhere (and at book length), a great deal of our political discourse — most of it, in fact — is not an effort to talk about things but a programmatic way of not talking about things. You see this in the tepid language that so irritated Orwell, as horrifying euphemisms such as “ethnic cleansing” become part of the ordinary vocabulary. And this tendency is not limited to language: It is present in data and data-collection as well. I have written from time to time about the persistent tendency of police departments to produce not only occasional criminals but full-blown organized-crime rings, and one of the things that is most striking about the scholarship in this field is that there is . . . not very much of it. There is no reliable data-collection on the subject of how often the ladies and gentlemen we entrust with badges and guns abuse those instruments in deliberate and sustained criminal enterprises; such information as we have is mostly journalistic, along with a few desultory scholarly efforts to aggregate news reports. You can learn a great deal about a society by understanding what is not talked about and what cannot be talked about.

    One of the things that is studiously not talked about is the fact that our criminal-justice system works on a worst-of-both-worlds model: It is simultaneously cruel and ineffective. Some of us might be inclined to tolerate a liberal but underperforming system, and a great many Americans would defend a vicious and cruel system if it were effective. Each of those models has its problems. But who could defend the system we have? Our criminal-justice regime ranges from the petty (reincarcerating paroled offenders over minor noncompliance) to the monstrous (effectively turning many prisons over to gangs, weaponizing rape) while failing to protect our cities and other communities from criminal violence of a sort experienced in few if any other advanced countries. (This includes advanced countries with relatively widespread gun ownership, such as Canada, Finland, Austria, and Switzerland.) Conservatives sometimes whisper among ourselves that this is not talked about because of the relative prominence of African Americans among criminal offenders. But it is, I think, much more the case that we do not talk much about the facts of the case because those facts inconvenience some very powerful actors: police departments and penal systems, the vast bureaucracies of parole and probation, the vast workforce employed in our 2,000 state and federal prisons, our 1,700 juvenile jails, our 3,000 local lockups, and our hundreds of other incarceration facilities, along with countless parole offices, drug-testing centers, grant-dependent “social services” agencies that function as ATMs for the politically connected and the corrupt, etc.

    Careful, Kevin. That kind of talk can get you investigated by the FBI.


  • LFOD doesn't yet extend to housing. The Josiah Bartlett Center has released a report formalizing what everyone knew already (but it's nice to have evidence): Local building regulations drive N.H. housing shortage, Bartlett study shows.

    Why have house prices and rents increased so much in New Hampshire? A new Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy study finds that residential building regulations, mostly at the local level, are a major cause.

    Examples of local regulations that prevent people from building homes include: minimum lot sizes, frontages and setbacks, single-family-only requirements, bureaucratic requirements for accessory dwelling units, maximum heights and densities, minimum parking requirements, historic and village district requirements, municipal land ownership, subdivision regulations, impact fees, and simply the unwillingness of zoning boards to issue variances.

    Widely available measures show that New Hampshire is one of the most restrictive states in the country for residential development. By suppressing building, land-use regulations drive up the price of housing as demand rises. Removing or relaxing these regulations would allow prices to rise more gradually.

    Worst town in this regard: New Castle. (I believe they have signs at the city limits: "You must be this rich to live here."


Last Modified 2021-10-14 7:48 AM EDT