Friday, February 3, 2023

George Costanza’s Guide to Better Living - WSJ

In the classic “Seinfeld” episode, “The Opposite,” George Costanza laments during lunch his terrible instincts and their resulting life choices. Hearing this, Jerry Seinfeld observes, “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” Inspired, George approaches an attractive woman dining alone and against all instinct tries honesty: “My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.” She agrees to a date.

Such wit and wisdom! So what if it’s merely sitcom dialogue? The cannonade behind George Costanza’s newfound approach to living has lit the Western sky for centuries. Support is found in the intellectual artillery of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Ignatius of Loyola and C.S. Lewis.

In the 13th century, Aquinas wrote that original sin disrupted man’s natural predisposition to virtue. If fallen man no longer invariably knows and wants what’s good for him, recognition of this fact is an important step toward right action. In acknowledging how often he was his own worst enemy, George Costanza filled the Angelic Doctor’s prescription.

Centuries later, British writer C.S. Lewis advanced this thought in “Mere Christianity.” Self-awareness wasn’t enough. Rather, “if you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road.” Lewis knew good and bad habits led men in opposite directions. The rational reaction to realizing a compass is broken is twofold. First, stop in your tracks. Second, find true north. George Costanza took both steps.


It's a thought.

February 3, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, February 2, 2023

OpenAI & ChatGPT: Big Risk or Revolutionary Tech?!


This seems a pretty good summary of the ownership structure (as much as we know -- it's a private company) behind OpenAI. The bad news is that Bill Gates/Microsoft now has a 49% stake and at least 2 of the founders seem on board with closed source, centralized development going forward. Elon, who was one the original founders, seems more on the margins. This Coin Bureau channel I have found is pretty good for fact based summaries of complicated topics with its biases clear up front. Its pro-decentralized power and anti-WEF dystopian nightmares. It seems we might be in a dash to see who gets to AGI or something roughly like it first.

February 2, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

DeSantis Takes Wrecking Ball To “Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion” Bureaucracy In Florida Public Universities

But in the meantime, as we previously reported, DeSantis has required Florida public higher education institutions to provide data on the funds and programming supporting DEI.

So, the ACLU filed a motion claiming the state request for data violated the court’s prior injunction….

The Court in a short form order quickly found there was no violation of the injunction…

The request for information did not require the institutions to do anything more than report information, though it seems obvious that DeSantis is likely to gut the DEI bureaucracies, which would seem a way to achieve part of what The Stop Woke Act was intended to do. Terminating administrative positions, or cutting funding, would not implicate — or at least not directly — the First Amendment concerns that applied to what faculty could teach.


These developments in Florida are obviously significant and bear following closely. It seems likely there will be a split in how education evolves in at least two different sections of the country.

February 1, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Why DeSantis Is on Track to Beat Trump

After the trauma of 2016, it is easy to see why Republicans fear a repeat performance. And it is certainly possible Trump’s rivals will either chicken out or once again devote all their energy to attacking one another until it’s too late to stop him. But the picture of the race I have in my head is very different. I see Ron DeSantis taking all the necessary steps to win the nomination. I think his chances of winning the nomination, while hardly certain, exceed Trump’s.

The Florida governor has spent the past year locking down the national Republican donor base and amassing a gigantic pool of money. Trump, by contrast, is reportedly strapped for funding.

In the past, Trump has managed to overcome a resource deficit by exploiting his command of the national media. But the conservative media is now overwhelmingly favorable to DeSantis. Trump retains some corners of support on the right, and very few conservatives will criticize him in any way that validates a critique from the center or the left.


February 1, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (2)

DeSantis, Scourge Of Wokeness - The American Conservative

It's happening. It's actually happening. The Bad Guys are going to scream bloody murder, but finally -- finally -- we have a political leader who is taking a hard stand against these woke commissars. DEI bureaucracies at American universities have exploded in recent years, in part because the woke cartel has intimidated state legislators and others by calling them bigots who don't care about "marginalized" students if they resist. Are these bureaucracies actually making campuses better, or are they making schools more conformist by instituting programs and policies that reinforce a sense of grievance, and intimidate dissenters into silence? Would the ton of money spent on these apparatchiks' salaries be better spent hiring more teachers, or raising the salaries of professors? Finally, DeSantis's move is going to force these militants to justify their existence.


DeSantis is the real deal.

February 1, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tyre Nichols and the new black-cop white supremacy - The Spectator World

Initial news stories modified the usual mainstream media procedure for reporting on police use of force against black suspects. Yes, the stories immediately announced Nichols’s race. But they deferred mention of the officers’ race until five or six paragraphs into the article (or, in the case of television, several minutes into the transmission).

Had the officers been white, their race would have led every report on the incident. But since all were black, such reticence bought time until a new racism reporting protocol could be developed.

CNN commentator and Obama White House veteran Van Jones initiated that new protocol. Connoisseurs of academic identity politics are familiar with the nostrum that only whites can be racist, since, according to black studies ideology, racism equals power plus privilege (and blacks allegedly lack both).

But that “blacks can’t be racist” line has changed. Now we learn from Van Jones that blacks can be racist, too — at least as regards other blacks.

“It’s time to move to a more nuanced discussion of the way police violence endangers black lives,” Jones wrote on the CNN website last Friday. “It is the race of the victim who is brutalized, not the race of the violent cop — that is most relevant in determining whether racial bias is a factor in police violence.”

In other words: anything bad that happens to blacks is a function of racism, determined solely by the race of the victim, not by the intentions or identity of the perpetrator.

Only cops are subject to this new “the victim alone determines the reality of racism” rule, however. Those black teenagers who shoot at their gang rivals on a near daily basis and who regularly take out young black children as collateral damage are not deemed “anti-black” by the mainstream media and its academic sources.


February 1, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

NIH FAILED To Vet EcoHealth Alliance Grants, HIGH-RISK Virus Research in Wuhan: Robby Soave


January 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Connecticut Parents Arrested for Letting Kids Walk to Dunkin' Donuts

It was Super Bowl Sunday in February 2019. Cynthia Rivers and her husband decided that their kids, ages seven and nine, deserved a long-promised treat for cleaning their rooms: the right to walk to Dunkin' Donuts by themselves. (Reason has changed her name to protect the family's anonymity.)

This was in Killingly, Connecticut, a suburban town in the northeast part of the state. The Rivers' lived near an elementary school, library, state police barracks, sidewalks, crosswalks, many Victorian-style homes, and the aforementioned donut shop. The kids gathered $7, and off they went.

A few minutes later, the River parents heard a knock at the door. It was the police.

The first cop to show up "said he didn't think it was safe for the kids to walk by themselves," Rivers tells Reason. "We told him that while we did feel it was safe, we agreed to not allow them to walk around town unsupervised."


I wonder what the odds are of the kids actually being abducted by a sex offender. If they are great, then the parents were remiss. Otherwise, not.

January 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Jury Acquits Pro-Life Activist Mark Houck of Federal Assault Charges at Abortion Clinic

Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation, said via email: “We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome. Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them. We took on Goliath – the full might of the United States government – and won. The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from day one. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place.”


Three cheers for the jury system, outside of DC.

January 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

DeSantis kicks DEI out of Florida Higher Ed – HotAir

The proposal has four pillars: requiring that general education courses avoid ideological indoctrination; requiring that degree programs prepare students for the workforce; prohibiting hiring decisions be based upon DEI statements of commitment; and prohibiting these institutions from promoting DEI or CRT ideology.

To put it more succinctly, Florida colleges and universities will promote the values of liberty and the Western tradition.

Sounds good to me.

Good, but is it possible to achieve these goals given how far down the path of cultural Marxism higher educational institutions have already marched?

I guess we will find out.

Even if it is impossible to root out the worst of DEI from educational institutions, given the generations it took for the Left to co-opt and eventually take them over, the efforts should bear fruit over time. Especially if DeSantis’ project of turning Florida into a deep Red state becomes even more successful over time.

Cultural Marxism has been a cancer, eating away at the guts of all educational institutions from the lowest levels to the highest. And as with cancer, the treatment will be long, arduous, painful, and uncertain. But it is also necessary.

Yet if anybody expects this project to succeed in the near term they will be sorely disappointed.

As critical as I am of the current state of higher ed, I also am confident that there remains a core of smart, competent, and curious intellectuals who can staff these universities.

DeSantis’ anti-woke policies may inspire some of Florida’s professors to seek greener pastures, allowing for the recruitment of more suitable candidates. Most, though, will stay put because mobility among academic jobs is extremely limited. There are more job seekers than jobs in academia, and any academic job is better than no job at all. It’s not like a trans-queer-Marxist-critical theorist has many marketable skills outside of academia. So it will take a long time to change personnel.


Florida leading the way again.

January 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nope, coffee won't give you extra energy. It'll just borrow a bit that you'll pay for later

But there is a catch. While it feels energising, this little caffeine intervention is more a loan of the awake feeling, rather than a creation of any new energy.

This is because the caffeine won’t bind forever, and the adenosine that it blocks doesn’t go away. So eventually the caffeine breaks down, lets go of the receptors and all that adenosine that has been waiting and building up latches on and the drowsy feeling comes back – sometimes all at once.

So, the debt you owe the caffeine always eventually needs to be repaid, and the only real way to repay it is to sleep.


I have long suspected this and now I know it's Scientific Truth.

January 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Will an AI be the first to discover alien life?

Going through millions of observations manually isn’t practical. A common alternative approach is to use algorithms that look for signals matching what astronomers think alien beacons could look like. But those algorithms can overlook potentially interesting signals that are slightly different from what astronomers are expecting.

Enter machine learning. Machine-learning algorithms are trained on large amounts of data and can learn to recognize features that are characteristic of Earthly interference, making them very good at filtering out the noise.


And will it tell us if it does?

January 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Social media is a defective product, lawsuit contends - POLITICO

A California court could soon decide whether social media firms need to pay — and change their ways — for the damage they’ve allegedly done to Americans’ mental health.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers plan to file a consolidated complaint in the Northern District of California next month, accusing the tech giants of making products that can cause eating disorders, anxiety and depression.

If the case is allowed to proceed, it will test a novel legal theory, that social media algorithms are defective products that encourage addictive behavior and are governed by existing product liability law. That could have far-reaching consequences for how software is developed and regulated, and how the next generation of users experiences social media.

It also could upstage members of Congress from both parties and President Joe Biden, who have called for regulation since former Facebook Product Manager Frances Haugen released documents revealing that Meta — Facebook and Instagram’s parent company — knew users of Instagram were suffering ill health effects, but have failed to act in the 15 months since.


The only question is whether a N.D. California federal court is the worst or only next worst way to make policy.

January 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Power-Mad Utopians - Tablet Magazine

Three social engineering projects define progressivism in the 2020s: the Green Project, the Quota Project, and the Androgyny Project.

The Green Project is not limited to mitigating global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by industry and energy production. By itself, decarbonization is a technical project that can be carried out by methods like building nuclear power plants and replacing coal with natural gas in electrical generation.

The Green Project or Green New Deal is not satisfied with decarbonizing energy sources. It invokes climate change as an excuse to radically restructure the society of the U.S. and other advanced industrial democracies, from the way that food is grown to where people live to how people behave. Under the banner of the Green New Deal or the Green Transition, various lesser ideological projects on the left—veganism, replacing cars and trucks with mass transit, urban densification, anti-natalism—have rallied, even though none of these is necessary for decarbonizing the energy supply.

The Quota Project, embodied in the rote bureaucratic phrase “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI), is another utopian project. Its goal is the radical restructuring of the U.S. and other Western societies on the basis of racial quotas, so that all racial and ethnic groups are represented in equal proportions in all occupations, classes, academic curriculums, and even literary and artistic canons. DEI is affirmative action on LSD.

For the Quota Project, anti-racism is the public justification. But quota-based tokenism is not a solution for specific cases of discrimination against individuals—which can and should be dealt with by race-neutral, anti-discrimination laws. Nor does the Quota Project have any real solutions to offer in the case of class or cultural differences which—even in the absence of racism, conscious or “structural”—would result in some groups doing better than others in various occupations. Like the Green Transition, the Quota Project is a radical utopian program of social reconstruction in search of an excuse that might justify it.

The third of the three utopian projects that define contemporary trans-Atlantic progressivism is the Androgyny Project. This goes far beyond civil rights and humane treatment for victims of gender dysphoria and has nothing to do with the hard-won rights of gay men and lesbians. The Androgyny Project holds that gender identity is independent of biological sex and purely subjective. If a middle-aged man claims that he is a woman, then progressives favor requiring local government to retroactively falsify his birth certificate to show that he was “really” born female and “misassigned at birth.”


I disagree with Michael Lind's characterization of Bush 2's years, though they're partly right. But he seems right on with his view of our current conundrums.

January 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Next Step in the War on Kids - by Holly Math Nerd

The idea they’re trying to introduce is that of the “AAM,” the “adult-attracted minor.” This is, they believe, a class of people who are under the legal age to engage in sexual relationships but who feel sexually attracted to adults—people older than them, who are of legal age and capable of consent. It’s been around since it first appeared on a pro-pedophilia blog in 2006, but it’s been getting social media play lately.

The intention, naturally, is to use this ridiculous notion to try to further normalize pedophilia by foisting responsibility for adult-child sexual interactions (which are rape 100% of the time, as children are incapable of consent) onto children.

One of the many insane takes on this is that the taboo around pedophilia oppresses children who want to have sex with adults. One idea they want to normalize is that the “AAM” represents an oppressed group whose human rights are violated by having to constantly hear “no” from the adults they approach for sexual interaction.

Some pedophile and pro-pedophile accounts on social media are also using this to try to astroturf the idea that pedophiles are victimized by sexually aggressive children who regularly hit on them.


Part of the strategy of whatever you want to call the people who support this war against children is to cast people who oppose them as being somehow obsessed with child sexuality, and thus turn the very taboos against discussing it against those who oppose them. It's as if the Nazis turned our horror at concentration camps against those who wanted to talk about them to alert everyone of the horrors the Nazis wanted to carry out. "What's wrong with you? Why do you want to talk about concentration camps so much?" It's a clever strategy. But it's got to be opposed.

Good grief. You come to the party wanting to talk about fiscal responsibility and why low taxes are better, and you end up having to defend not having sex with kids, and all the other literally unmentionable things these people want to do. There's a theory that use of artillery in WW1 dredged up the virus that caused the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. In our time, it's as if social media has dredged up whatever obscure human perversions are behind this war on children and childhood.

January 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, January 30, 2023

The U.S. Consumer Is Starting to Freak Out - WSJ

The engine of the U.S. economy—consumer spending—is starting to sputter.

Retail purchases have fallen in three of the past four months. Spending on services, including rent, haircuts and the bulk of bills, was flat in December, after adjusting for inflation, the worst monthly reading in nearly a year. Sales of existing homes in the U.S. fell last year to their lowest level since 2014 as mortgage rates rose. The auto industry posted its worst sales year in more than a decade.

It’s a stark turnaround from the second half of 2020, when Americans lifted the economy out of a pandemic downturn, helping the U.S. avoid what many economists worried would be a prolonged slump. Consumers snapped up exercise bikes, televisions and laptop computers for schoolchildren during lockdowns. When restrictions were lifted, they rushed back to their favorite restaurants and travel destinations.

And they kept spending, helped by government stimulus, flush savings accounts and cheap credit, even as inflation picked up. Faced with four-decade-high inflation last year, Americans outspent it. Through most of 2022, consumer spending growth exceeded price increases by about 2 percentage points.


January 30, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Get a Breakthrough in Ukraine | Foreign Affairs

Ukraine is doing so well in part thanks to the unified Western response. Unlike reactions to Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 or Ukraine in 2014, the Western pushback against Putin’s latest war has been strong along multiple fronts. NATO enhanced its eastern defenses and invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. Europe has provided shelter to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. Led by the Biden administration, the West has provided massive amounts of military and economic support at amazing speed, levied punishing sanctions, and begun a difficult shift away from Russian energy. Even Chinese leader Xi Jinping has offered Putin only faint rhetorical support for his war. He has not provided Russia with weapons and has cautiously avoided violating the global sanctions regime.

These are the reasons for optimism. The bad news, however, is that the war continues, and Putin has shown no signs of wanting to end it. Instead, he is planning a major counteroffensive this year. “The Russians are preparing some 200,000 fresh troops,” General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, warned in December. “I have no doubt they will have another go at Kyiv.” Even though Putin must understand by now that Ukrainians are willing to fight for as long as it takes to liberate their country, he still believes that time is on his side. That is because Putin expects Western governments and societies to lose their will and interest to keep helping Ukraine. If Putin or his aides watch the television personality Tucker Carlson on Fox News or saw the protests last fall in Prague, their hunch about waning Western support would be confirmed.


Michael McFaul. Prof. McFaul is a Davos man but he's still right about Ukraine. Concerning our interventions abroad, sometimes even the blind bird gets the worm. There are many things that have to be just right for the US to be justified in intervening, and Ukraine is that rare case.

January 30, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Seattle Law School Fails To Condemn Fabricated Accusations Against Prof. Bernie Burk

At Legal Insurrection we have covered dozens of instances of false or misleading claims of racism and other “-isms” against professors and others by student and campus activists. Our ability to shine a light has won widespread praise. Some professors have been fired, others ‘merely’ harassed and tormented. Frequently, weak administrations kowtow to student and activist fabrications and prevarications, rather than standing up for truth.

I’m not sure I’ve seen a case like that of law professor Bernard (“Bernie”) Burk at Seattle University School of Law. It’s one of those rare cases where there are recordings of the alleged offensive statements, and those recordings show Prof. Burk never made the key statements in question.

I first read about Prof. Burk at the invaluable TaxProf Blog run by Pepperdine Law Dean Paul Caron. I don’t know Prof. Burk, but he followed a path similar to mine, practicing law for over 20 years before moving to teaching:


This is the reason I believe that so many of my colleagues are happy to have their classes recorded. Myself, I'm against it, but students can easily enough record one's classes anyway.

January 30, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Left-wing Activists Pressure American Bar Association Not To Adopt Widely-Accepted IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Legal Insurrection Foundation doesn’t often compliment the American Bar Association these days. But, we’re tentatively applauding the decision of a group of its sections to propose a resolution condemning antisemitism. Resolution 514, as it’s known, is slated to be presented to the ABA’s House of Delegates for approval, at the HOD’s upcoming February meeting.

The resolution urges federal, state, and local governments to condemn antisemitism. It isn’t worded as clearly as it could be, but it encourages governments to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA’s) working definition of antisemitism. The resolution begins:

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments in the United States to condemn antisemitism, as referred to in The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, encouraged for use by other governments and international organizations by the U.S. Department of State: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”


January 30, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (2)

The U.S. Government Is Funding Chinese Spy Technology in America’s Backyard - Tablet Magazine

Federal funds are being used to buy drones and drone detection equipment from DJI, a Chinese drone company that maintains control over data created and compiled by their products. Some of the details of these drone acquisitions were buried on government websites, while other aspects of these programs only came to light after I submitted a series of Freedom of Information Act requests to emergency management departments across the country. These programs indicate an ongoing tolerance among state and federal officials for having Chinese-made technology all but spying on American citizens and public safety officials.


On the upside, they'll probably be pretty good drones until the end comes.

January 30, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Utah Bans Transition Care for Transgender Youth - The New York Times

Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah signed a bill on Saturday that blocks minors from receiving gender-transition health care, the first such measure in the country this year in what is expected to be a wave of legislation by state lawmakers to restrict transgender rights.

The law prohibits transgender youth in the state from receiving gender-affirming surgery and places an indefinite ban on hormone therapy, with limited exceptions.

Mr. Cox, a Republican, said in a statement that banning these treatments was necessary until more research could be done on their long-term effects.

“While we understand our words will be of little comfort to those who disagree with us, we sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures,” the governor said.

Leading medical groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have rejected claims that gender-affirming care is harmful to transgender children or adults.


January 30, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Utah Bans Transition Care for Transgender Youth - The New York Times

Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah signed a bill on Saturday that blocks minors from receiving gender-transition health care, the first such measure in the country this year in what is expected to be a wave of legislation by state lawmakers to restrict transgender rights.

The law prohibits transgender youth in the state from receiving gender-affirming surgery and places an indefinite ban on hormone therapy, with limited exceptions.

Mr. Cox, a Republican, said in a statement that banning these treatments was necessary until more research could be done on their long-term effects.

“While we understand our words will be of little comfort to those who disagree with us, we sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures,” the governor said.

Leading medical groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have rejected claims that gender-affirming care is harmful to transgender children or adults.


January 30, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Man crushed to death under outdoor urinal in London | AP News

LONDON (AP) — A pop-up urinal crushed a man to death in London’s theater district Friday, police said.

Firefighters used a winch to free the man after he became trapped under a hydraulic urinal at Cambridge Circus, a busy intersection in the city’s West End.

The Metropolitan Police force said the man “is thought to have sustained crush injuries while working on a telescopic urinal.” The force said that “despite the efforts of emergency services,” he was pronounced dead at the scene.

His identity was not released.

The retractable urinals are dotted throughout London’s entertainment districts, stored below ground during the day and raised at night.


January 29, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Japan firm opens whale meat vending machines to push sales | AP News

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — A Japanese whaling operator, after struggling for years to promote its products amid protests from conservationists, has found a new way to cultivate clientele and bolster sales: whale meat vending machines.

The Kujira (Whale) Store, an unmanned outlet that recently opened in the port town of Yokohama near Tokyo, houses three machines for whale sashimi, whale bacon, whale skin and whale steak, as well as canned whale meat. Prices range from 1,000 yen ($7.70) to 3,000 yen ($23).


Yummmm. Sounds deeelicious!

January 29, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pope clarifies homosexuality and sin comments in note | AP News

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has clarified his recent comments about homosexuality and sin, saying he was merely referring to official Catholic moral teaching that teaches that any sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.

And in a note Friday, Francis recalled that even that black-and-white teaching is subject to circumstances that might eliminate the sin altogether.

Francis first made the comments in an interview Jan. 24 with The Associated Press, in which he declared that laws criminalizing homosexuality were “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”

As he often does, Francis then imagined a conversation with someone who raised the matter of the church’s official teaching, which states that homosexual acts are sinful, or “intrinsically disordered.”

“Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” Francis said in the pretend conversation. “It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another.”


His comments calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality were hailed by LGBTQ advocates as a milestone that would help end harassment and violence against LGBTQ persons. But his reference to “sin” raised questions about whether he believed that merely being gay was itself a sin.


I hope this is clear now to everyone.

January 29, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

As Refugees Flood Into U.S., Chinese Christians Told To Wait | RealClearPolitics

But it doesn’t have to be this way, according to human rights and religious freedom advocates. The United States could grant the church members immediate emergency asylum, as it has done for tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing their war-ravaged country and the first group of Afghans airlifted into the United States amid the chaotic U.S. evacuation in August 2021.

Just this month, President Biden announced plans to allow Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and Cubans fleeing persecution priority asylum status as long as they arrived by plane and had private sponsors ready to help them resettle.

When it comes to Chinese Christians trapped in limbo, the Biden administration is balking, while offering no explanation for the dramatically different treatment of these groups of foreign nationals seeking asylum. Human rights advocates believe they already have the answer: The Biden administration is wary of further rocking the boat with China amid efforts to repair basic lines of communication.

That calculation, even if it proves temporary, is a break from America’s long tradition of standing for religious freedom at home and abroad. Advocates also warn that U.S. indifference to the plight of the exiled Chinese Christians puts them in imminent danger of arrest and deportation back to China.


January 29, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Struggle for Israel’s Democracy - Tablet Magazine

The Israeli election in November was, in large part, a referendum on the Netanyahu trial. The jury came back with a clear verdict: not guilty. Israelis, or at least enough of them, became convinced that the trial was a political affair, not a legal one: Israel’s left-leaning elites had given up on beating Netanyahu at the ballot box, and so turned to other means to expel him from politics.

But the majority of Israel’s voters did more than acquit Netanyahu in the court of public opinion. A majority of Israeli voters made clear that they will no longer put up with the hollowing out of Israel’s democracy by the administrative state—judges, law enforcement officers, legal advisers and the bureaucracy in general will have to stop substituting their own preferences and dictates for those of the Israeli electorate.

The Netanyahu trial and bottom-up demands for judicial reform have thus melded together into a hugely consequential showdown between patricians and plebs, between the old elites and the public at large, between the court and the elected branches of government—and at root, between the power of the administrative state and democratic politics. It is, as the press is now screaming in Israel and outside it, a struggle over soul of Israel’s democracy. Only the press has got it backwards. Yariv Levin, Netanyahu’s new justice minister, is not out to destroy democracy. He is out to restore it.


If you don't like the American left, you're really going to not like the Israeli left.

January 29, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

WEF Davos 2023: Everything The Elites Are Planning!!


Good detailed summary of what's going on with the WEF and it's pretty bad. Fortunately, it seems their nefarious plans are falling apart.

January 29, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 27, 2023

Congressman ADMITS UFO Debris Found As New Video Released | Breaking Points


Nahhh. Well maybe. But nahhh. But. Maybe?

January 27, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Pelosi started a war Jeffries has to finish  - Roll Call

Democrats argue that Schiff and Swalwell have over “two decades of distinguished leadership providing oversight of our nation’s Intelligence Community,” calling them “eminently qualified.” 

But both sides are now arguing the wrong point. 

The fact is when Pelosi, much like the monarch Washington feared becoming, made her unilateral decision to reject the appointments of Jim Jordan and Jim Banks to the Jan. 6 committee, she broke, perhaps irretrievably, the long-standing tradition that the minority party chooses its own members for standing and select committees. 

In January 2022, McCarthy characterized her move this way: “The Democrats have created a new thing where they’re picking and choosing who could be on committee. Never in the history [of Congress] have you had the majority tell the minority who could be on committee.” Until Pelosi. 

No one is arguing that Speaker Pelosi didn’t have the power to do what she did. But was it the right thing to do? Her legacy now includes becoming the first speaker to strong-arm a select committee into existence and dictate its composition without the participation of the legitimate minority party leadership. 


January 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

UNC Takes on the University Echo Chamber - WSJ

Progressive politics has dominated elite universities since before the term woke was coined. But one university is trying to revive the academic ideal of a campus as a haven for free inquiry and debate. On Thursday the University of North Carolina board of trustees voted 12-0 to create a new school committed to free expression in higher education.

UNC will establish the School of Civic Life and Leadership and plans to hire professors from across the ideological spectrum to teach in such academic departments as history, literature, philosophy, political science and religion. These disciplines have become enforcers of ideological uniformity at most schools. Board Chair David Boliek and Vice Chair John Preyer tell us that the idea is to end “political constraints on what can be taught in university classes.”


Good idea.

January 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Ninth Circuit Upholds a Wealth Tax - WSJ

The 16th Amendment authorizes the federal government only to tax income, but some members of Congress would love to tax wealth as well. That is widely understood to be unconstitutional, but a recent ruling from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a form of wealth tax could upend that conventional wisdom if it is allowed to stand.

The case, Moore v. U.S., involves a unique provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which imposed a one-time retroactive tax applicable to individual U.S. shareholders of foreign corporations. Under previous law, U.S. taxpayers had to pay taxes on overseas corporate income when that income was repatriated to the U.S. in the form of dividends. The 2017 act abolished the tax on overseas income, bringing the U.S. tax system into line with those of most other developed countries. But it also created a “mandatory repatriation tax” on the corporation’s undistributed income since 1986, payable not by the corporation but its shareholders.


So shareholders can end up owing taxes even though they have received no money from a corporation -- no dividends, no buyback, nothing. Just a big, fat tax bill.

January 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Judge Grants Injunction to NCLA Clients, Halts Implementation of Law Censoring Doctors - New Civil Liberties Alliance

Washington, DC (January 25, 2023) – Senior Judge William B. Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California today granted NCLA’s motion for preliminary injunction in Høeg, et al. v. Newsom, et al. He held that plaintiffs have standing to bring a legal challenge, and enjoined implementation of Assembly Bill (AB) 2098 in California. The controversial state law empowered the Medical Board of California to discipline physicians who “disseminate” information regarding Covid-19 that departs from the “contemporary scientific consensus.” Judge Shubb stated that “the ‘contemporary scientific consensus’ lacks an established meaning within the medical community,” and thus, because the “scientific consensus” is so ill-defined and vague, the physician plaintiffs in the lawsuit are “unable to determine if their intended conduct contradicts the scientific consensus, and accordingly ‘what is prohibited by the law.’”

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, represents five physicians licensed by the Medical Board of California. Drs. Høeg, Duriseti, Kheriaty, Mazolewski, and Khatibi alleged violations of their First Amendment rights to free speech and expression and their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law. At oral argument on Monday, January 23, NCLA argued the term “contemporary scientific consensus” is undefined in the law and undefinable as a matter of logic. No one can know, at any given time, the “consensus” of doctors and scientists on various matters related to the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. Judge Shubb agreed with this analysis, stating, “COVID-19 is such a new and evolving area of scientific study, it may be hard to determine which scientific conclusions are ‘false’ at a given point in time.” Because he ruled in favor of Plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment arguments, he did not reach the First Amendment arguments.

Plaintiffs attested that they could not communicate freely with patients, nor treat them properly, according to their best judgment, when they feared being reported and potentially subject to discipline for giving a patient advice that departs from a supposed “scientific consensus.” The very concept of “scientific consensus” is problematic and represents a misunderstanding of the scientific process. As Judge Shubb recognized, “COVID-19 [is] a disease that scientists have only been studying for a few years, and about which scientific conclusions have been hotly contested. COVID-19 is a quickly evolving area of science that in many aspects eludes consensus.


Hooray! One hopes this means this ridiculous piece of legislation is on its way to the dustbin of history.

January 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Constitution? What's that? – HotAir

Unfortunately for all involved, Judge Bjelkengren doesn’t know much about the Constitution of the United States, embarrassing herself and her supporters before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It was a pathetic performance, although to be fair the judge had probably been told that the hearing was going to be pro forma, not a grilling. The Democrats are in charge of the Senate, after all, and Murray didn’t nominate Bjelkengren because she is a remarkable legal scholar. She did it because she is Black and liberal.


Maybe someone should get her one of those little pocket versions.

January 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pfizer Executive: ‘Mutate’ COVID via ‘Directed Evolution’ for Company to Continue Profiting Off of Vaccines … ‘COVID is Going to be a Cash Cow for Us’ … ‘That is Not What We Say to the Public’ … ‘People Won’t Like That’ … ‘

The Pfizer executive told a Veritas journalist about his company’s plan for COVID vaccines, while acknowledging that people would not like this information if it went public.

“One of the things we [Pfizer] are exploring is like, why don't we just mutate it [COVID] ourselves so we could create -- preemptively develop new vaccines, right? So, we have to do that. If we're gonna do that though, there's a risk of like, as you could imagine -- no one wants to be having a pharma company mutating f**king viruses,” Walker said.

“From what I’ve heard is they [Pfizer scientists] are optimizing it [COVID mutation process], but they’re going slow because everyone is very cautious -- obviously they don’t want to accelerate it too much. I think they are also just trying to do it as an exploratory thing because you obviously don’t want to advertise that you are figuring out future mutations,” he said.

“Don’t tell anyone. Promise you won’t tell anyone. The way it [the experiment] would work is that we put the virus in monkeys, and we successively cause them to keep infecting each other, and we collect serial samples from them.”

Walker drew parallels between this current Pfizer project and what may have happened at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

“You have to be very controlled to make sure that this virus [COVID] that you mutate doesn’t create something that just goes everywhere. Which, I suspect, is the way that the virus started in Wuhan, to be honest. It makes no sense that this virus popped out of nowhere. It’s bullsh*t,” he said.


Note the last paragraph above. Just about everyone, it seems, concedes Covid came from the Wuhan lab, although they won't say that in public. And the Pfizer exec is correct: I don't like the sound of this at all.

January 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

WATCH: Hero who disarmed California gunman describes nightmare incident | Washington Examiner

The 26-year-old said he did not recognize the man and had never seen him before.

"He didn't seem like he was here for any money. He wasn't here to rob us," according to Tsay. "When he was looking around the room, it seemed like he was looking for targets, people to harm."

When Tsay saw the suspect, identified by police as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, readying his weapon, he said, "something came over me."

"I realized I needed to get the weapon away from him," he said. "I needed to take this weapon, disarm him, or else everybody would have died."

"When I got the courage, I lunged at him with both my hands, grabbed the weapon, and we had a struggle," he continued. "We struggled into the lobby, trying to get this gun away from each other. He was hitting me across the face, bashing the back of my head. I was trying to use my elbows to separate the gun away from him."

Eventually, Tsay said he was able to get the weapon away from the suspect and "shove him" aside.

I pointed the gun "at him, intimidate him, shout at him and say, 'Get the Hell out of here! I'll shoot! Get away! Go!'"

The suspect just stood there in front of him, Tsay said.

"I really thought I would have to shoot him if he came at me," Tsay said. "This is when he turned around, walked out the door, and jogged back to his van."

Following the incident, Tsay contacted the police.


Brave man. By all rights, he should be dead.

January 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. to send Ukraine more advanced Abrams tanks — but no secret armor - POLITICO

The U.S. is planning to send Kyiv the Abrams main battle tank in its more advanced M1A2 configuration, rather than the older A1 version that the military has in storage, according to three people with knowledge of the deliberations.

But the 31 tanks slated for Ukraine will not include the secret armor mix that makes the Army’s newest version so lethal, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations.

The A2 version has more sophisticated optics and controls than the older A1 version, which the Army intends to retire in the next few years. Outwardly similar to the A1, the A2 has a redesigned commander’s weapon station with improved optics for targeting, and an independent thermal viewer that allows the commander to independently scan for targets in all weather and battlefield conditions.

The most radical changes are on the inside, which has been redesigned to take advantage of new technology. The control mechanisms are digitized, most notably a new inter-vehicle information system that allows vehicles to exchange information continuously and automatically. Using the new technology, commanders can rapidly track the location of friendly vehicles, identify enemy positions and process artillery requests.

But federal policy forbids the export of Abrams with classified armor packages used by the U.S. military, which includes depleted uranium, according to a fourth person with knowledge of the policy. The U.S. strips the vehicles of this secret armor “recipe” before selling them to other countries. There are other armor packages the U.S. can provide for foreign military sales customers.


Now if we can just get them over there in less that a year or two.

January 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Harvard class trains doctors to support patients in adultery and BDSM | The College Fix

A Harvard Medical School course teaches enrollees how to provide “affirming care” for patients involved in adulterous and sadomasochist sexual lifestyles.

The continuing education course, “Advancing Excellence in Transgender Health: A Course for the Whole Healthcare Team,” is not yet scheduled for 2023, but the university wants to open the class up as a national learning opportunity for healthcare professionals. The class is offered by the Fenway Institute, an LGBT advocacy organization.

One section of the 2022 course agenda contained the presentation “Alternative Sexualities in Healthcare: Providing Affirming Care for Patients Who Engage in Kink, BDSM, Fetish, Swinging, Ethical Non-Monogamy, Polyamory, and Open Arrangements.”


LWJ once had a patient who had, back in the day, one of largest spanking emporiums on the entire inter webs. While I never visited the site, apparently one could get anything from a feather duster thingy to horrific cat o' nine tails. All this was long ago. Now you can probably just go to Amazon.

January 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

How Biden Reluctantly Agreed to Send Tanks to Ukraine - The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Biden’s announcement Wednesday that he would send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine came after weeks of tense back-channel negotiations with the chancellor of Germany and other European leaders, who insisted that the only way to unlock a flow of heavy European arms was for the United States to send tanks of its own.

His decision, however reluctant, now paves the way for German-made Leopard 2 tanks to be delivered to Ukraine in two or three months, provided by several European nations. While it is unclear whether it will make a decisive difference in the spring offensive that President Volodymyr Zelensky is now planning to take back territory seized by Russia, it is the latest in a series of gradual escalations that has inched the United States and its NATO allies closer to direct conflict with Russia.

In interviews, European and American officials acknowledged that three months ago, it would have been inconceivable that Mr. Biden, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany and leaders of other European nations would have contributed such heavy arms. But over time, they argued, the battlefield has changed and they believed the threat that President Vladimir V. Putin would reach for a tactical nuclear weapon to eviscerate Ukrainian forces has diminished.

Moreover, they said, they wanted to demonstrate to Mr. Putin that his bet that European unity would fracture over the winter had failed, and that NATO remained committed to the war even in the face of gas and oil cutoffs and fears that Russian cyberattacks would cripple European infrastructure.


January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

NIH Failed to Monitor EcoHealth Funding, Didn’t Understand the Research Being Done: HHS-OIG Report

National Institutes for Health (NIH) officials failed to monitor EcoHealth funding awards properly and thus couldn’t fully understand the research being conducted by the nonprofit at U.S. taxpayers’ expense, according to investigators with the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG).

“Despite identifying potential risks associated with research being performed under the EcoHealth awards, we found that NIH did not effectively monitor or take timely action to address EcoHealth’s compliance with some requirements,” the HHS-OIG report said.

The report was made public on Jan. 25.

“Although NIH and EcoHealth had established monitoring procedures, we found deficiencies in complying with those procedures limited NIH and EcoHealth’s ability to effectively monitor federal grant awards and sub-awards [or] to understand the nature of the research conducted, identify potential problem areas, and take corrective action,” according to the report.


Well, no harm done.

January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Epidemic of #DiedSuddenly

Across social media, prominent pundits and activists—most on the right but some on the left—tied Hamlin’s injury to the Covid vaccine. “Prior to 2021, athletes collapsing on the field was NOT a normal event. This is becoming an undeniable (and extremely concerning) pattern,” tweeted Lauren Witzke, who was the Republican nominee in the 2020 Delaware Senate race. Social media was abuzz with similar speculation.

A troubled, uncertain public is increasingly turning to a single, ominous explanation for such events: Covid vaccinations, especially those from Pfizer and Moderna that use the new mRNA technology. 

On Twitter, an active subculture using variations of the hashtag #DiedSuddenly tracks such unexpected deaths—a teenage basketball player dropping dead; a track star collapsing on the field; a young teacher dying of a heart attack in front of her class—and implies that vaccines are the cause. A discredited anti-vaccine documentary, Died Suddenly, has reportedly been seen by millions. And the night of Hamlin’s collapse, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, referencing a supposed study of sudden deaths among Europeans athletes, made the debunked claim that “Since the vax campaign began, there have been more than 1,500 total cardiac arrests… and two-thirds of those were fatal.”

Is there truth to any of these claims? Is the public right to be concerned? Are there actually more healthy people dropping dead than usual—or is this simply confirmation bias at work? Can we dismiss anything that travels under the banner of “died suddenly” as conspiracy theorizing? And how should we understand why so many Americans are drawn to this explanation?

At least part of the answer to that last question is the serious information void on this subject—which is what we want to remedy in this essay. One of us is a practicing cardiologist (John Mandrola). The other is a practicing hematologist and professor of epidemiology (Vinay Prasad). 

Cards on the table: We think the vaccines are an important tool for preventing severe illness and death among vulnerable people—particularly the elderly and those with certain underlying medical conditions. But we have been concerned that our federal officials recklessly continue to push for multiple Covid shots for everyone five years old and up, despite the growing evidence that these vaccines may not be appropriate for all. We are also concerned about the way side effects of the vaccine, particularly among young men, have been downplayed. 

For these reasons and more, we believe in being transparent and honest with a public that has lost trust in our essential public health institutions.


January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

“We are the Faculty”: Hamline Professors Demand President’s Resignation After Abandoning Due Process and Academic Freedom – JONATHAN TURLEY

We previously discussed the action of Hamline University not to renew the contract of an art professor, Erika Prater, who showed an image of Muhammad as part of an arts class. The action was an affront to both free speech and academic freedom.  Prater has sued. In the meantime, the faculty has voted 72-12 to condemn the action and demand that Hamline President Fayneese Miller resign. With the exception of the 12 faculty dissenters, it is a relatively rare demonstration of academic courage in standing up to an anti-free speech mob. They are correct. Miller should resign immediately based on what we already know about this scandal.

Christiane Gruber, a professor of Islamic art at the University of Michigan, wrote about the incident in a December 22 essay for New Lines MagazineMuslims object to showing the image of Muhammad as deeply offensive to their religion. One of the paintings is a depiction of Muhammad with a veil and halo from a 15th century manuscript and is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.The other is a depiction of Muhammad receiving a divine revelation from the angel Gabriel. That work appeared in an early 14th century manuscript by the statesman and scholar Rashid-al-Din. Gruber wrote that the second image “is considered by scholars, curators and art collectors a masterpiece of Persian manuscript painting … often taught in Islamic art history classes at universities across the world, including in the U.S., Europe, the Arab world, Turkey and Iran.”According to the student newspaper, The Oracle, the incident occurred on October 6 and drew an objection from a Muslim student. Dr. Everett sent an email to all university employees that the use of the works in class were “undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic.”Professor Gruber raises a deeply disturbing lack of due process by the university. Neither Miller nor Everett evidence the slightest concern for due process or academic freedom as they denounced this professor:


Maybe it will be a turning point.

January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Frustrated by Police Inaction, the Pro-Life Movement Takes Up the Work of Law Enforcement | RealClearInvestigations

Eight months later, CompassCare officials say nothing has happened. Until last night – when two people were indicted in Florida for acts of vandalism – no arrests have been made in any of the scores of similar attacks that have damaged other crisis pregnancy counseling offices and churches coast to coast since word first leaked in late May that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, returning abortion laws to state legislatures.    

CompassCare CEO Jim Harden says this inaction has forced the pro-life movement to do the work of law enforcement on its own. His organization has teamed with the Thomas More Society, a nonprofit libertarian law firm in Chicago, to hire their own private investigators. The home of the firm’s president, Thomas Brejcha, was damaged by abortion supporters last July. 

Neither the Thomas More Society nor CompassCare elaborated on the private investigators hired to look at the attacks by abortion supporters -- who they are, how many or where deployed. But Brejcha said no price limit has been put on their services.


January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Goldman Sachs predicts 2008-sized crash in San Diego |

SAN DIEGO — Goldman Sachs is forecasting record drops in San Diego's home prices and says home values will fall at levels similar to the 2008 crash.

The scorching hot housing market is finally cooling down and is expected to continue through 2023.

"Nothing goes up forever and prices have gone up so much and went up so much during COVID so it has to come down," said realtor Matt Battiata.

In a note to clients earlier this month, Goldman Sachs predicted San Diego, San Jose, Austin, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona will see declines of more than 25%.

Battiata says the four cities all saw demand skyrocket during COVID. Goldman Sachs says the declines would be comparable to what was seen during the Great Recession when home prices fell around 27%. However the president of the San Diego Association of Realtors thinks differently.


Well that's not good.

January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Predator’s Paradise | City Journal

On a Saturday night in South Los Angeles, cars pull up and idle along the side streets of Figueroa, high beams ablaze, so that the drivers can get a good look at “the girls.” The women stand three astride in the middle of the street, in pasties and G-string bikinis under fishnet dresses. Draped over their shoulders are unzipped coats; even in temperate L.A., the night’s January chill is biting. In seven-inch Lucite heels, they teeter toward the driver of each car the way you might walk barefoot across gravel. Less than a block away, their pimps keep company on a sidewalk corner, in hoodies and loose jeans, watching their quarry, awaiting the payout. Absent is the one thing that might typically break up the party: a police car.

In early January, I joined Erin Wilson and Stephany Powell on a tour of “the track” on Figueroa, one of California’s busiest prostitution areas. For decades, Wilson, who volunteers for the anti-trafficking organization Journey Out, and her mother, Powell, have worked to combat human trafficking in Los Angeles and to help women and child victims escape this brutal world.

In our postfeminist era, prostitution is so often idealized—“sex work is work”—that it’s easy to overlook the gruesome reality of what it means to have a pimp, an arrangement closer to slavery than to any legitimate job. “The horror stories I could tell you about [prostitutes] being beaten and being choked and being burned and being gang raped,” said Vanessa Russell of Love Never Fails, an anti-trafficking nonprofit based near Oakland. “And the PTSD and all the mental health, the trauma bonding, the psychotic breaks. Maybe you’re somebody who likes to have sex more than once a day. But nine to 21 times with different guys, some that are like 90 years old that smell?”

“Nine to 21 times over what period?” I ask.

“One day,” she said.


January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Winter in Kyiv - Persuasion

Six months ago, I said it was difficult. I can tell you that, compared to now, it wasn’t difficult.

In October, Russian missile strikes began targeting our infrastructure, and we had power cuts, but it was not yet cold and we had learned how to fight against fear. To say that it’s difficult is to say nothing. It’s horrible. Now, our only wish is to wake up and know that we’re alive, and then get to work and try to work a bit, because it’s not easy to work under such stress. At first there was no internet, no WiFi; we couldn’t reach anyone by phone. There was chaos and panic.

We often look back at our lives a year ago. We could not imagine that we would be hiding in the subway, or that we would be in dark cities, delighted when there is electricity. In the last week of December, the electricity was out for four days, with no water and no heat in cold apartments. We warmed ourselves in cars. I don’t even know exactly how cold it was, because the thermostats didn’t work. It’s impossible to convey the horror of the situation. This is the reality we live in.


January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden WILL Send Abrams TANKS To Ukraine: Report. Ukrainian Officials RESIGN Over Corruption



January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Progressives Still Have Nothing Against Originalism - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics

The full title of Erwin Chemerinsky’s book says it all: Worse Than Nothing — The Dangerous Fallacy of Originalism. Chemerinsky, the dean of Berkeley Law School, tells readers that the doctrine of constitutional interpretation now favored by a majority of the Supreme Court is a phony legal theory concocted to allow radical judges to impose their right-wing values. The title also hints at an admission: Chemerinsky has nothing better to offer as an alternative.

Reviewing early excerpts published in the Atlantic, Adam Carrington of Hillsdale College exposed surprising weaknesses in Chemerinsky’s analysis. It is now clear that Carrington’s conclusion extends to the work as a whole: Chemerinsky’s book “does little to undermine originalism’s strength as the best approach to upholding the Constitution and preserving the rule of law.”

In addition to the points noted by Carrington, Chemerinsky’s book contains other significant flaws, the most striking of which is his analysis of Brown v. Board of Education. According to Chemerinsky, that 1954 Supreme Court decision, which held that public school segregation violated the Equal Protection Clause, offers one of the “most powerful and irrefutable” arguments against originalism because originalism “tells us Brown v. Board of Education was wrongly decided.” This conclusion, however, is not supported by any originalist statements; it is based solely on what Chemerinsky believes an originalist court “would have said” if the justices “had adhered to originalism.” But one need not speculate — originalists consistently support the result in Brown; in Rutan v. Republican Party (1990), for example, Justice Antonin Scalia defended Brown and asserted that the 13th and 14th Amendments, when read in combination, leave “no room for doubt that laws treating people differently because of their race are invalid.”


January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

DeSantis is right to reject the woke AP African-American studies curriculum

No reasonable person opposes teaching American history fully and truthfully. (In Florida, the controversial Stop WOKE Act itself stipulates that instructors should teach the history of African peoples, the Middle Passage, the experience of slavery, abolition and the effects of segregation and other forms of discrimination.)

The problem is when the curriculum is used as an ideological weapon to inculcate a distorted, one-sided worldview, and here, Florida has the College Board dead to rights. 

The College Board hasn’t released the pilot curriculum publicly, but, as conservative writer Stanley Kurtz and a publication called The Florida Standard have documented, it really goes off the rails when it addresses contemporary issues. The curriculum presents Black Lives Matter and the reparations movement favorably and recommends the writings of a clutch of writers on the left, from Robin D. G. Kelley to Michelle Alexander, without rejoinder.

Bias aside, with the state of American historical and civic knowledge in near-collapse, who thinks high-school students need to be brushing up on “Black Queer Studies”? The curriculum explains that this topic “explores the concept of queer color critique, grounded in Black feminism and intersectionality, as a Black studies lens that shifts sexuality studies towards racial analysis.”


January 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

NIH gain-of-function regulations are vague and secretive, advisers say - U.S. Right to Know

The National Institutes of Health should improve how it regulates lab generated viruses that could pose a national security risk, according to its biosecurity advisers.

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity highlighted wide gaps in the oversight of controversial projects that create “enhanced pandemic potential pathogens” in preliminary recommendations to the NIH. The report comes ahead of a public meeting to finalize recommendations this week.

Privately funded research that risks causing a pandemic occurs largely in the shadows, the group found. Meanwhile, NIH-funded research with pandemic risks is falling through the cracks of the agency’s vague internal processes.

On paper, NIH-funded projects that could pose a pandemic risk are subject to an extra layer of regulatory review by the enhanced pandemic potential pathogens committee, or “P3CO.”

In practice, the NIH refers few research projects for closer scrutiny, the NSABB says, echoing the concerns of nonpartisan experts.

In rare instances where projects are referred for review by the P3CO, the deliberation occurs in secret. The composition of the P3CO is unknown to anyone outside of the process except for the NSABB and a few members of Congress.


January 24, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)