Weekend Open Thread – Junior Varsity Writing Edition
[guest post by JVW]
You understand that this is going to be nowhere near as interesting or comprehensive as what the vacationing Dana produces each weekend right? With that noted, here we go:
ITEM UNO: Student Stands Up to Hectoring Professor
The internet was abuzz last night with the circulation of a video showing a Cypress Community College student named Braden Ellis defending the police and pushing back on the ahistorical idea that policing in general is an outgrowth of the Fugitive Slave Laws:
WATCH: A student at Cypress College in California was berated by his professor for arguing that police are heroes and belong on children's shows. pic.twitter.com/FSu4J2YxwK
— Chrissy Clark (@chrissyclark_) April 29, 2021
Note the absolute unwillingness of the professor to allow the student to make his point without interruption, her obnoxious attempt to distort his argument, and finally her abrupt ending of the session rather than engaging in honest debate with Mr. Ellis. It’s a sad state of affairs when the student argues with more logic and composure than the professor can muster. Another second-rate mind and third-rate temperament sadly misplaced in education. No doubt she will soon claim that she is receiving death threats in order to reposition herself as the victim in this argument.
ITEM DEUX: Did the CDC’s Decision to Halt the J&J Vaccine Spur Vax-Skepticism?
Just when it seemed that our nation’s efforts to vaccinate everyone in time for the summer was humming along, reports come now that the the numbers of people seeking their first shot is slowing considerably. Whether this is the case of all of the willing participants having had the opportunity already receive their first dose, leaving only the vax-skeptics left, or whether the reluctance of some to get the shot is the result of the CDC’s overwrought decision to halt distribution of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine based upon reports of adverse reactions that turned out to largely be temporary and non-threatening and a death rate of less than one in one million, it seems there is a good chance that media sensationalism combined with our society’s penchant for hysteria is in some way contributing to the slow down.
ITEM TRE: The New York Post Beclowns Itself with Fake News
Last week the New York Post breathlessly reported that immigrant children being processed and sheltered at the Long Beach Convention Center were being given a copy (with the assumption that it was taxpayer-purchased) of the insipid children’s book that Vice President Kamala Harris “wrote” two years ago when she was merely an obnoxious and insufferable Senator. It turns out that this was pretty much incorrect: only one child was known to have been given a copy of the book and that copy had been donated by a private citizen. The reporter for the original story subsequently resigned and alleged that she had been pushed by her editors into sensationalizing the rather mundane events. The Post then updated their original story with an editor’s note acknowledging the corrections, which seems to pretty much be standard for media malpractice these days. If we are going to rightly criticize those outlets who write gross anti-conservative screeds which are later debunked, we need to take a metaphorical thwack at our fellow travelers to distort the truth to make progressives look bad.
ITEM VIER: Three Prominent Politicians Declare America Is Not a Racist Country; Guess Which One Is Criticized
As a follow-up to Patterico’s earlier post about GOP Senator Tim Scott’s declaration that “America is not a racist country” in his rebuttal to President Biden’s State of the Union Address, it’s worth noting that two other political leaders have agreed with him:
Kamala Harris, responding on ABC this AM to Tim Scott’s comments about America not being a racist country, says: “I don’t think America is a racist country but we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 29, 2021
You know who else sort of agrees with Sen. Scott and V.P. Harris? The President:
In an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, a clip of which aired Thursday evening on NBC Nightly News, Biden was asked to respond to Scott’s remarks and say whether he felt was America was racist.
“No, I don’t think the American people are racist, but I think after 400 years, African-Americans have been left in a position where they are so far behind the eight-ball in terms of education, health, in terms of opportunity,” Biden said.
So President Biden very shrewdly (and this is probably the last time I will ever use that two adverbs in relation to that man) turned the question from “Is America a racist country?” to “Are the American people inherently racist?” in order to be able to grant absolution to the sort of people whose support for (or at least quiet acquiescence to) a massive and incomprehensible agenda his Administration and party will need. But the absolution provided by our top two executives is not really all that important in the long run: the rabid social justice crybully left managed to get in their full 24-hours of spittle-flecked rage at the black man who dared to contradict the established narrative, and that’s what truly matters.
ITEM ÖT: Former Obama Advisor Warns Dems That the Real Job Doesn’t Begin Until After the Legislation Passes
Former Obama Administration economic advisor Steven Rattner warned Democrats that passing legislation doesn’t particularly guarantee that people’s lives will be better, which is an amazing thing to have to tell anyone, but here we find ourselves. National Review Online has the details:
“Sure, I worry about inflation,” Rattner said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “Sure, I worry about the deficit and the debt. But I also worry about the execution job here. This is a massive execution job. The last plan, the jobs plan alone, had 76 separate initiatives in it. All have to be created and executed. . . . The potential for mistakes, failure of execution here is high.
“And if it fails . . . I think it will set back the cause of progressivism for several more decades,” he added. “Getting it executed, I think, in some ways, is going to be the president’s biggest challenge. He’s got to deliver, not just passage, but actual real results for Americans, and programs that people perceive are working or else we go back to government being the enemy again.”
Mr. Rattner obviously remembers the general failure of the Obama stimulus plan, in which advocates resorted to creating the phony-baloney metric of “jobs saved” in order to manufacture some good news, and stooped to delivering banal unsourced anecdotes to lamely protest they had accomplished something other than protecting public sector jobs, before being forced to ultimately admit that “shovel-ready” projects don’t really exist.
So here goes the Biden Administration setting themselves up to make the same mistakes. Democrats never seem to learn from their experience with large government boondoggles from Obamacare to California’s High-Speed Rail Authority (have I written about that in the past?) that merely passing the legislation doesn’t solve the problem at all, it’s only the first step in a long a complicated process requiring hard work which is often in short supply as bureaucracies become more powerful and complex. But just as with the American Recovery Act or the Affordable Care Act, expect to see the Democrats get some measure of what they are demanding legislatively, immediately pop the champagne corks, and set out on a public relations campaign (aided and abetted by their media fans, naturally) insisting that the problems are now being solved. Seriously, who among us trusts Joe Biden or Kamala Harris to have the concentration and enthusiasm for seeing their proposed projects to an efficient and responsible completion?
ITEM ZES: Basecamp Asks Its Workers to Separate Their Personal Lives from Work; Feelings Are Hurt
The web software and project management company Basecamp earlier this week decided that people’s personal lives and work lives were far too intertwined, and in a rather remarkable blog post the company’s leadership announced some remarkable changes. Basecamp now prohibits political discussions over company work communication channels; has rolled back “paternalistic” employee benefits such as memberships to health clubs and organic farmers’ markets, instead opting to give their employees their share of what the company had previously paid to offer those amenities; and is abandoning the trendy work policy of “360 reviews” in which one’s peers and even subordinates participate in an employee’s work evaluation, returning to the traditional method of reviews being solely conducted by the employee’s managers.
The unmistakable message is that Basecamp is undoing the two-plus decade-long corporate trend of mixing of one’s work life with their personal life, and returning to the old-fashioned model where there is a clear delineation between the corporate worker and the private person. The steps Basecamp is taking are similar to the ones that crypto currency firm Coinbase announced for their own workforce this past fall. While the social justice left is unsurprisingly flipping out over these steps — one-third of the Basecamp workforce is allegedly going to take a buyout and leave — this move appears to have struck a chord with business observers who appear to be at least initially supportive of Basecamp’s new directive.
I’m sorry that I am not ending this round-up with a humorous or even moving news item like Dana usually does, but I’m not finding much in my Twitter feed or on the regular news sites that goes beyond the typical outrage game. Have good weekend everybody.