URLs du Jour

2022-07-26

[Opinions about Python] Eye Candy du Jour is one panel from a recent Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Doesn't mean anything other than I love the concept of lemmings with opinions about Python.

  • In case you were thinking this was legislation to bring back that show with Jon and Ponch… nope, it's not that at all. The NR editorialists say it's even worse than that: CHIPS Legislation Leaves U.S. at Disadvantage vs. China.

    The CHIPS legislation advancing rapidly through the Senate is many things. It is an industrial-policy bill and a handout to the higher-education industry. It’s a bill intended to further entrench progressive pieties on diversity and equity within the federal bureaucracy. And it is expensive. What it is not, however, is a tool for improving Washington’s lot in the competition with the Chinese Communist Party.

    After over a year of back-and-forth, lawmakers seem poised to converge on a final version of the so-called U.S. Innovation and Competition Act this week. At first, it seemed that the final package would contain about $52 billion in subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing and some miscellaneous other provisions. But, as lawmakers realized that a larger version of the package remained politically feasible, the package ballooned. The most recent version, put forward by Chuck Schumer, strongly resembles the original, disappointing version that the Senate passed last year. That’s the main problem. Sixty-four senators, including 16 Republicans, voted to advance the bill last Tuesday.

    As I've asked before: why should semiconductor companies bother to convince private investors to fund their operations when they can convince politicians to force taxpayers into doing so?


  • An inspiring story, and I'm not being sarcastic for once. James Freeman recounts a tale from the Peoples' Republic of Rhode Island: A Teacher Triumphs Over the Woke Educational Establishment.

    At last some good news from U.S. public education, thanks to one tough teacher who refused to accept the poisonous ideology now enforced in so many classrooms. Regular readers of this column will be especially cheered to read the latest dispatch from Ramona Bessinger via the Legal Insurrection website:

    On July 13, 2021, I blew the whistle at Legal Insurrection on how a new Critical Race curriculum in the Providence, Rhode Island, middle school where I taught was creating racial hostility, turning students and staff against me because I was white, and turning students against their country.

    My students, almost all of whom were minority, started calling me “America” because I was white — You are America, they would say, we are not. How could I keep silent seeing what the Critical Race curriculum was doing to the students and our society?

    ... What followed was a year of retaliation, harassment, intimidation, and involuntary transfer to another school where there was no teaching position for me. I was forced to spend a year alone in a windowless empty school basement resource room, as students and staff passed by and gawked at me like I was some strange caged zoo animal, audibly mumbling how I was that ‘racist’ teacher they had been warned about.

    I fought the district legally with the help of James Peterson at Judicial Watch, and I am emerging from the basement victorious, with a full-time regular classroom assignment. I am unbowed, and more committed to fighting the CRT scourge than ever before.

    Not every teacher will have Ms Bessinger's guts, but hopefully her story will inspire a lot more pushback to woke religionists on the hunt for heresy.

    Ironically, Providence RI has its origins (as you may remember from school) as a refuge for those persecuted elsewhere for their faith. These days, not so much.


  • The folks behind Banned Book Week will pay no attention. John Sexton at Hot Air reads the New York Times so you don't have to: The far left bans books by not letting them get published in the first place.

    Yesterday Pamela Paul, the former editor of the NY Times Review of Books, wrote about a new trend in the publishing industry. Her piece is titled “There’s More Than One Way to Ban a Book” and it offers some strong criticism of the leftist takeover of the industry which she says has introduced a new strain of self-censorship.

    The American publishing industry has long prided itself on publishing ideas and narratives that are worthy of our engagement, even if some people might consider them unsavory or dangerous, and for standing its ground on freedom of expression.

    But that ground is getting shaky. Though the publishing industry would never condone book banning, a subtler form of repression is taking place in the literary world, restricting intellectual and artistic expression from behind closed doors, and often defending these restrictions with thoughtful-sounding rationales. As many top editors and publishing executives admit off the record, a real strain of self-censorship has emerged that many otherwise liberal-minded editors, agents and authors feel compelled to take part in.

    A former chief executive at publishing giant MacMillan tells Paul that censorship is happening on both the far left and far right. On the right he means the pressure to remove some books from school curriculums and school libraries. This strikes me as a very unfair comparison. There may be some cause for concern about removing certain books from curriculums; however, deciding what books get read by tens of thousands of students in public school is always going to be a public decision in which parents, through school boards, have some say. More to the point, even if a book is removed from the curriculum under public pressure from parents, it doesn’t cease to exist. You can still order a copy of the book on Amazon or pick one up at a local bookstore. The books in question are still in print. What the left is doing to book publishing is far worse. To the degree the woke get their way, no one will ever see the books they disagree with because they won’t have been published at all.

    There's plenty of controversy about this issue, but the dynamics are plausible, rooted pretty firmly in what we've seen in other areas.


  • The only thing that matters is loyalty. An unintentionally revealing article by Peter Navarro at a site called American Greatness, titled Trump’s ‘Think Tank’ Prepares to Betray Him.

    Don’t go, Boss! That’s my strong advice to President Trump as he prepares to deliver a speech in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday at his alleged “think tank,” the America First Policy Institute (AFPI).

    Yes, it is important for President Trump to have a well-credentialed stable of policy experts capable of both building a 2024 platform and finding solid MAGA talent to populate a new Trump Administration. But the AFPI Trojan Horse—whose leadership is now bragging about how it will staff Trump’s “shadow cabinet”—is decidedly not that.

    Most comically, the AFPI roster features the author of a poison pen White House memoir who sued the president; a Communist China-trained accountant who criticized the president for “ineffective drug price policies”; a former Cabinet secretary who almost got Trump impeached; a former top advisor to Dick “Endless War” Cheney; and John “Book Deal” Bolton’s former chief of staff. What could go wrong there?

    Well, you get the idea. Trump should avoid getting advice from people who've criticized him, or his policies, in the past. Sycophants only! Only listen to me, Boss. I never doubted you, not for a minute!


  • Don't trust Wikipedia on any issue with ideological bearing. Jerry Coyne has a long article (partially) on pervasive ideological censorship of Wikipedia articles. It's about an article I missed at Quillette, by a pseudonymous author Cognitive Distortions

    The study of human intelligence falls within a broader field known as psychometry, which refers to the measurement of psychological traits. Intelligence research is among the most replicable bodies of research in the social sciences: while many areas of psychology have been affected by the replication crisis during the 2010s (including some other branches of psychometry), a 2019 paper states that within intelligence research, “there is no replication crisis about key empirical findings.” Human intelligence is also among the most socially important areas of psychology, as Quillette described in a 2018 article, because of the large impact that a person’s intelligence may have on his or her life.

    Before 2020, Wikipedia’s articles related to psychometry and human intelligence were mostly consistent with this field’s published literature, although many of these articles were somewhat outdated because there have never been many Wikipedia users with the necessary knowledge and interest to keep them updated. Under normal circumstances, Wikipedia articles increase in quality over time as more people contribute to them. However, for reasons that will be explained, the recent trend in articles related to human intelligence has been for Wikipedia’s coverage to become steadily more divorced from its source material. (In this article, when I refer to Wikipedia, I am referring specifically to the English-language version of the site.)

    Over the past two years, there has been a collective decision by several members of Wikipedia that “scientific racism […] has infiltrated psychometry” and that the field must no longer be trusted. This assumption is explained in an FAQ created in May and June 2021:

    Psychometry is a field where people who advocate scientific racism can push racist ideas without being constantly contradicted by the very work they’re doing. And when their data did contradict their racist views, many prominent advocates of scientific racism simply falsified their work or came up with creative ways to explain away the problems. See such figures as Cyril Burt, J. Phillipe [sic] Rushton, Richard Lynn, and Hans Eysenck, who are best known in the scientific community today for the poor methodological quality of their work, their strong advocacy for a genetic link between race and intelligence, and in some cases getting away with blatant fraud for many years.

    Particularly odious was the yearslong, finally successful, crusade to delete an entry about the (high) IQ of Ashkenazi Jews. It was removed with a promise that it be recreated later "in an improved state". And that never happened.


Last Modified 2024-01-30 7:37 AM EST