Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:10 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

An unlikely candidate will likely win:

The man who is poised to topple one of New Jersey’s most feared political kingpins has never held public office, he has been a commercial truck driver for 25 years and he claims to have spent a whopping *$153 during the primary portion of his campaign.

His name is Edward Durr, and he may be on the verge of one of the most unthinkable upsets in New Jersey political history.

With 98% of the vote counted, Durr, the Republican Senate candidate in the South Jersey-based 3rd legislative district, leads New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney by roughly 2,000 votes — 32,134 to 30,125.

In answer to his question: clearly he had a pretty darn good chance:

“I joked with people and I said, ‘I’m going to shock the world, I’m going to beat this man,’” NJ quotes Durr as saying on Wednesday afternoon. “I was saying it, but really kind of joking. Because what chance did a person like me really stand against this man?”

Durr reportedly spent less than $10,000 on his campaign.

And, in what has now become inevitable for public figures, especially newbies:

Edward Durr, the newly elected Republican state senator who shocked New Jersey by knocking off incumbent Senate President Steve Sweeney, has apologized and deleted his social media accounts after past xenophobic and anti-Muslim messages surfaced.

“I’m a passionate guy and I sometimes say things in the heat of the moment,” Durr said in a statement released Friday morning and reported by the New Jersey Globe. “If I said things in the past that hurt anybody’s feelings, I sincerely apologize.”

Here is his $153 $2300 iphone campaign ad:

Second news item

More advancements made:

Pfizer Inc. said Friday that its experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90% in high-risk adults, as the drugmaker joined the race for an easy-to-use medication to treat the coronavirus…Pfizer said it will ask the FDA and international regulators to authorize its pill as soon as possible, after independent experts recommended halting the company’s study based on the strength of its results. Once Pfizer applies, the FDA could make a decision within weeks or months.

Third news item


Gov. Greg Abbott has a comfortable lead over potential Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, according to a new poll from the University of Texas at Austin and The Texas Tribune.

The survey of registered voters found Abbott with a 9-percentage-point advantage over O’Rourke, 46% to 37%. Seven percent of respondents picked someone else in the hypothetical matchup, and 10% said they have not thought about it enough to have an opinion…

Abbott’s approval rating has slightly improved since the last poll in August, but it remains underwater, with 43% of voters approving of the job he is doing and 48% disapproving.

O’Rourke, meanwhile, has a well-defined — and negative — image with voters. Only 35% of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of him, while 50% registered an unfavorable opinion. Only 7% of voters said they did not know him or had no opinion of him.

Fourth news item

Maybe STFU until you’ve walked in their shoes…and all of their kids’ shoes:

A large family featured on CNN discussing the rising costs of basic groceries like milk was mocked by some progressive media figures on Thursday.

To demonstrate the “squeeze” of inflation and supply chain issues on everyday Americans, CNN’s “New Day” featured the Stotlers, a Texas couple looking after nine children – two of whom are their biological kids, while they’ve adopted six more and have one foster child.

Krista Stotler said she started seeing prices rising this summer and it was costing them an extra $100 a week on groceries.

“A gallon of milk was $1.99. Now it’s $2.79. When you buy 12 gallons a week times four weeks, that’s a lot of money,” she said, as her husband Larry added he felt guilty that they were being forced to buy less healthy food to save money.

Responses from those who clearly have trouble watching a video from beginning to end, yet believe themselves better than you:

Fifth news item

Wholly unsurprising:

Because the defund movement took off in mid-2020, it was largely too late for the issue to be truly reflected on that year’s ballot. But versions of it were very much before voters in Tuesday’s election and in the 2021 primaries. The lesson: Voters are open to police overhauls and new oversight, but they strongly rejected some of the more drastic ideas — including in some very blue areas. And amid rising crime nationwide, pro-policing messages won the day.

The big results came in Minneapolis, Buffalo and Seattle.

In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed by a police officer, voters rejected by double digits a proposal to turn the Minneapolis Police Department into a somewhat-nebulous Department of Public Safety that would have been overseen by the city council. Two city council members who had supported the proposal also lost their seats by wide margins.

In Buffalo, democratic socialist India Walton had defeated incumbent Mayor Byron Brown in a primary earlier in the year but lost to Brown’s write-in campaign Tuesday. Walton had said at one point that she would “absolutely” run on a defund platform, though she later sought to moderate that stance.

Results on Long Island in New York also appeared to demonstrate uneasiness with going too far on criminal justice change. Republicans flipped district attorneys’ races in Nassau and Suffolk counties while focusing their campaigns on the state legislature’s move to limit judges’ ability to set cash bail for more-minor charges — an effort that had pitted moderate Democrats against liberals.

Sixth news item

Fear motivates people to arm themselves:

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a national trade association in the firearms industry, says that when comparing 2019 to 2020, there was a 58.2% increase in gun purchases among Black people, a 43% increase with Asians and 49% among Latinos. The NSSF estimates that 40% of gun sales overall were for first-time gun buyers.

There are many factors motivating new gun purchases among people of color: some buyers who spoke with ABC News cited concerns about safety in the U.S., while others claim that pro-gun outreach by various gun advocacy groups is behind the rush to arm oneself.

Anti-Black hate crimes rose nearly 40% from 2019 to 2020, according to the statistics. There were 2,755 reported incidents targeting Black or African American people in the U.S. in 2020, making this demographic the most targeted racial group by a large margin.

Hate crimes targeting the Asian community in the U.S. rose by about 73% in 2020 when compared with 2019’s numbers, from 158 to 274, according to FBI hate crime statistics.

And hate crimes against Latinos dropped just slightly, but still surpassed 500 incidences in both years.

Seventh news item

What an infantile culture:

But as is so often the case when liberals use a double standard, conservatives suddenly discover it, too. Partisans on the right were often outraged by crude attacks on Republican presidents. They condemned such epithets as offensive and disrespectful. Now they think they’re great. If the left should lighten up, the right should grow up.

Part of the problem driving this coarseness is the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier between social media and real life. Often, what’s funny or arguably defensible on Twitter, TikTok or Facebook is simply inappropriate in real life.

The way social media encourage people to behave like jackasses is itself part of a deeper and more pernicious trend in society. In his book “A Time to Build,” Yuval Levin catalogs how leaders — in politics, business, sports, media — increasingly use their institutions as “platforms” to perform on, rather than the organizations molding their members to specific missions. De Niro used award shows to lecture and scold. Colin Kaepernick used the NFL as a platform for his causes. Trump saw the presidency as a stage on which he could celebrate himself.

Eighth news item

How about just making sure they can add and subtract, know their multiplication tables, and be able to solve for X. No more pi-in-the-sky distractions:

But ever since a draft was opened for public comment in February, the recommendations have set off a fierce debate over not only how to teach math, but also how to solve a problem more intractable than Fermat’s last theorem: closing the racial and socioeconomic disparities in achievement that persist at every level of math education.

The California guidelines, which are not binding, could overhaul the way many school districts approach math instruction. The draft rejected the idea of naturally gifted children, recommended against shifting certain students into accelerated courses in middle school and tried to promote high-level math courses that could serve as alternatives to calculus, like data science or statistics.

The draft also suggested that math should not be colorblind and that teachers could use lessons to explore social justice — for example, by looking out for gender stereotypes in word problems, or applying math concepts to topics like immigration or inequality.

Even in heavily Democratic California — a state with six million public school students and an outsize influence on textbook publishing nationwide — the draft guidelines encountered scathing criticism, with charges that the framework would inject “woke” politics into a subject that is supposed to be practical and precise.

The question is why?, also, the potential for damage to students is real:

States are lagging behind those in other industrialized nations. And within the country, there is a persistent racial gap in achievement. According to data from the civil rights office of the Education Department, Black students represented about 16 percent of high school students but 8 percent of those enrolled in calculus during the 2015-16 school year. White and Asian students were overrepresented in high-level courses.

“We have a state and nation that hates math and is not doing well with it,” Dr. Boaler said.

Critics of the draft said the authors would punish high achievers by limiting options for gifted programs. An open letter signed by hundreds of Californians working in science and technology described the draft as “an endless river of new pedagogical fads that effectively distort and displace actual math.”

Ninth news item

The House divided:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to pass a $1.9 trillion economic package and a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill…was at risk of collapsing as leaders struggled to unify progressives and moderates, though signs of progress emerged Friday night as Democrats resumed debate on the House floor.

After previously expressing confidence that both bills will pass on Friday, Pelosi indicated in the afternoon that they would just move the infrastructure bill amid push back from moderates that the $1.9 trillion bill needs an official cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, a process that could take about two weeks.

After hours of negotiating, the House finally moved forward to a series of procedural votes Friday night…despite opposition from progressives who have warned that they will sink the infrastructure bill if it moves ahead without the separate economic package, known as the Build Back Better Act.

Throughout Friday, progressives made clear that both bills must move in tandem, and they have pushed that if the $1.9 trillion dollar bill is delayed then the infrastructure bill should be voted on at the same time.


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Have a great weekend!


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