Patterico's Pontifications


Constitutional Vanguard: A Rant About How “Equity” Costs Lives, Plus . . . A Podcast???

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:36 pm

Yes, a podcast.

I’m looking for ways to sweeten the pot for paid subscribers to my newsletter. The notion of building up a community has me energized a bit, and I’m putting a little more time into some of these posts — plus I am launching a podcast of sorts. (What?!)

But first, the post. It picks up on stories discussed here by Dana (Dr. Gokal and the “stolen” vaccines) and JVW (the CDC’s decision to kick old people to the curb because they are too white) and connects the dots with the silly concept of “income inequality.” Here is a teaser:

So we have now seen two stories — the story of Dr. Gokal and the story of the CDC’s prioritization of vaccines — where officials came to the conclusion that the pursuit of “equality” may be worth sacrificing lives. (Only certain lives can be sacrificed, of course. When you’re seeking equality, some are more equal than others!) Which leads me to my final topic: that of “income inequality.”

Is there any stupider phrase in the English language?

Let me be clear: income inequality is never a real problem. If it were, there would be an easy solution: pick the person with the lowest income, and then make everyone else “equal” to that person. If everyone is equally poor, they are still “equal” — and there is no longer any income inequality.

There will be crushing poverty, but that’s OK, right?

Now for the real fun stuff. I also launched a podcast, of sorts. Yes, it’s amateurish. Yes, it’s just me for now. But I’m hoping to make it a venue where I can talk — literally talk — to some of you. Plus, the intro is all kinds of fun — so much so that I spend the whole five and a half minutes of the first episode talking about it. (Again, it’s an introductory episode.)

Maybe I can get Dana and JVW to join me on future episodes? No pressure, guys!

These are the benefits of being a paid subscriber. Thanks to those who have joined already. Be one of the cool kids and join them by subscribing here.

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board to LAUSD: No More Excuses, No More Delays

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:20 pm

[guest post by Dana]

When even the Los Angeles Times says it’s time to re-open the schools…:

Schools have been reopening across the country for months now, illustrating that students can return to classrooms with little risk if the proper precautions have been taken. This is especially true of elementary schools, as younger children have been far less likely to be sickened with COVID-19 or to infect others. Reopened schools have not caused infections to surge in outlying communities.

Yet Los Angeles Unified schools — along with many other public schools statewide — have remained closed. Supt. Austin Beutner, who has been struggling with a teachers union unwilling to send educators back into classrooms, couldn’t have opened the schools anyway because the county’s infection rate was too high to meet the state’s stringent standards. But this week, that rate fell to the point where it is officially safe for all elementary schools in the county to open.

And yet Beutner, who is still embroiled in talks with the United Teachers Los Angeles, has no immediate plans to reopen.

There are no more excuses. Further delay is unacceptable.

According to the report, Beutner has been working hard to make sure that mitigation efforts are in place. This includes upgraded air filtration systems, testing and tracing protocols for staff and students, as well recommended CDC protocols being followed. Despite CDC Director Rochelle Walensky saying that it is not necessary for all teachers to be vaccinated before returning to the classroom, Beutner is working toward that goal, saying:

“We know a critical part of re-opening school classrooms will be creating the safest possible school environment. And that includes providing vaccinations to all who work in schools.”

The editorial also addresses the all-powerful teachers union in Los Angeles:

It’s not easy to go against UTLA…But at this point, the superintendent needs to put on his big-boy pants, reopen schools and demand that teachers return or risk their jobs. Union leaders in turn need to realize that not only are students done a tremendous disservice by the continued closures, but most parents vehemently want their kids back in the classroom. The union is jeopardizing its own popularity if it continues to put the needs of students and families last.

Yesterday, Politico published a report about California’s Gov. Newsom’s efforts to get the state’s schools re-opened for in-person learning:

Gov. Gavin Newsom conceded Tuesday that he has not yet struck a school reopening deal with legislators and school groups after having said it could arrive last week.

“We are making progress and it is stubborn, the negotiation, and we continue to negotiate,” Newsom said, adding that “on schools, we still have more work to do.”

“We need to get our schools safely reopened for kindergarten through sixth grade. We can do that safely,” he said on Tuesday.

The sticking point:

Vaccinations remain a key stumbling block. Teachers unions have fought for educators to have access to vaccines as a precondition for in-person learning. Newsom has argued that goal is unrealistic given finite supply and has pointed to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance saying it is safe for schools to reopen prior to full staff inoculation.

To be clear, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky:

“I’m a strong advocate of teachers receiving their vaccinations, but we don’t believe it’s a prerequisite for reopening schools,” Walensky said, adding that CDC guidance stipulated that states should allow those at higher risk of serious COVID-19 infections to remain home for virtual learning until they can be vaccinated.

“We have in the guidance clear language that specifies that teachers that are at higher risk…teachers and students that are higher risk, and their families, should have options for virtual activities, virtual learning, virtual teaching,” she said.

And from Kim Anderson, head of the National Education Association:

Educators are no different [from other front-line workers], and educators need to be prioritized, not only so that we can get safely back to in-person learning as quickly as possible, but so we can see students and thus, their families, safe as well.

You can read a round-up of President Biden and his administration’s varying statements on re-opening of schools here.

I’ve come to believe that the ubiquitous catchphrase “follow the science” is little more than a political football that both sides of the aisle regularly deploy when they want to sound authoritative about their current flavor-of-the-week cause and reject when it doesn’t further their purposes. And because there is always a human element and vested interest involved with the “science,” the phrase is diminished to where it has little meaning or impact on the populace.


Rush Limbaugh Dead at 70

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:52 am

[guest post by Dana]

His passing was announced this morning:

Conservative talk show radio host and Republican party icon Rush Limbaugh has died. He was 70 years old.

His wife Kathryn announced his passing on his radio show Wednesday, saying Limbaugh died earlier this morning.

“Rush will forever be the greatest of all time,” she said.

Limbaugh had been battling advanced lung cancer since February.

Back in October, Limbaugh provided this somber update on his show: “You know, I wake up every day and thank God that I did. I go to bed every night praying I’m gonna wake up. I don’t know how many of you do that, those of you who are not sick, those of you who are not facing something like I and countless other millions are.”

Love him or hate him, it cannot be argued that for decades the iconic conservative was one of the most influential and listened-to people on the right. His influence extended from the everyday Americans who faithfully listened to his program, to the Republican party, and to Republican members of Congress. He was not only known for his influence within the GOP but also as a leader in America’s culture wars. There can be no doubt that he was the dominant force in shaping right-wing media. And there can also be no doubt that Limbaugh’s on-air support of Donald Trump helped propel him to the presidency as listeners ended up supporting the candidate in 2016, and again in 2020. That speaks to the incredible influence he had on conservative Americans and their politics.

His obituary can be found at the New York Times..



Happy Blogiversary to Me

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

I started this blog 18 years ago today.

It’s kind of a wonder to me that it still exists. So many of the old-time bloggers either hung it up or became absorbed in the Great Corporate Wonderland that is the world of big-time sites. This one has certainly dwindled in readership over time, largely thanks to a certain disgraced “former social media influencer” I could name but won’t, and his impact on bringing the crazy side of the right into full focus.

Still, I’m pressing on, in large part due to the efforts of co-bloggers Dana and JVW, and because of readers like you. I’ve (re-)started a newsletter that has rejuvenated some of my interest in longer-form writing, with another edition for paid folks coming out today. I am also planning to distribute the first episode (really sort of a test episode) of a podcast — something that I had hoped to start years ago. The thought is to have that be for paid subscribers too. I owe them something extra, and I’m thinking that might be part of it. If you want to hear that first episode, and the pretty cool-sounding intro, make sure you subscribe in time to have it land in your in-box later today. We’ll shoot for having a call-in show at some point if I can figure out how to do that.

The blog is not dead, or even mostly dead. It’s feeling better. Thanks to Dana and JVW, and to you for reading.

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