Friday, January 31, 2020
Across a frightened nation divided by politics and culture, a fragile harmony is ascendant, as Americans in small towns and large cities alike cry out in trembling unison: Hey, where did all these Californians come from?
Talk of a “California Exodus” is sweeping the country—and so are anxieties about its effects on the rest of the West. In October, the Boise mayoral candidate Wayne Richey proposed at an election forum to build a $26 billion wall to keep out people moving from the Golden State. (His backup plan to stop the invasion of Boise? "Trash the place.”) A viral Wall Street Journal article recounted the plight of a small Idaho town buckling under the stress of thousands of inbound Californians. And this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a warning on Twitter to Californians moving to his state: “Remember those high taxes, burdensome regulations, & socialistic agenda advanced in CA? We don't believe in that.” The sentiment was echoed in various warnings in Dallas newspapers about the awful “California-ing” of North Texas.
In 2016, President Donald Trump swept the Republican primary with a simple message: Build a wall to keep out the immigrants. Today, a new anti-migration theme is sweeping the country: Build a wall to keep out the Californians.
It's not my fault that I'm from California! I wasn't born here, was I! It's not fair!
DES MOINES, Iowa — Of course Donald Trump packed the Knapp Center arena on the campus of Drake University, filling all 7,152 seats in the stands, with more on the floor. Of course another 1,000 people or so, kept out by the fire marshal, hung around in sub-freezing temperatures outside to watch the president's speech on a big screen. Of course the Trump event dwarfed those of any of his Democratic rivals days before the Iowa caucuses.
Here in the first-voting state, President Trump is just bigger than his opponents. And if that message isn't made clear by just looking around, he spent a good deal of his speech reminding the audience of it. He is big, and they are small. He's on top of his game, and they can't get it together. He matters and they don't.
I don't think it's a good sign that when I imagine this, my mental picture is always in black and white. Bernie v. Trump. It's so 1930s. I don't think PDT is a fascist or anything like one. But Bernie is a commie and Trump is almost too big for the job. Gives me the willies.
Life science jobs at Berkeley give precedence to candidates’ diversity and inclusion statements « Why Evolution Is True
We’ve recently been discussing the use of mandatory “diversity statements” for academic job candidates, and the University of California’s commitment to not just using them in all searches, but giving these statements precedence in the hiring process, so that if your statement doesn’t exceed a minimum numerical cutoff for promoting diversity, increasing it in your past, and promulgating it in the future should you be hired, your candidacy is terminated (see here and here). This practice of making candidates not only swear fealty to diversity, but also show a history of concerted efforts to increase it, has been controversial, deemed as a form of ideological/political conformity that doesn’t belong in a hiring process.
A document from the University of California tells us how the system worked in six searches in the life sciences, and I find it a bit disturbing—disturbing because the ideology and social engineering is clear, because candidates, however good in scholarship, were eliminated if their diversity statements fell below a specified cutoff, and disturbing because the only kind of diversity involved was racial and gender diversity. But we know that that is what people mean when they talk about “diversity”. Ideological, class, and background diversity are irrelevant.
My family and my sister's family have recently become Cal parents, meaning we each sent kids to Berkeley. We in the Jamul branch of the hopefully soon to be expanding Smith empire did so mainly for financial reasons. UC Berkeley is still a lot cheaper than say Brown or Haverford or wherever. But good Lord do they ever try to stuff your kids full of communism. Ok, that's putting a bit strong, but you know what I mean. My kids came out Democrats, but it wasn't for want of trying to turn them little goose-stepping commies. I was a Democrat too at their age. One can only hope. Did I mention that son no. 3 is I forget his exact title but it's impressive -- in the Andrew Yang campaign? I did? Well, he is and bully for him.
Republicans in Congress recently demanded that the Justice Department step up enforcement against online pornography, and their counterparts at conservative magazines and think tanks have been proclaiming porn's evils with renewed vigor, with right-wing intellectuals like Sohrab Ahmari and Terry Schilling writing anti-porn screeds.
Porn sucks. (I just crack myself up.) Look at any memoir written by a porn star, except for the rare people at the pinnacle of success (and even most of them). It ain't pretty.
Professor Parker’s response focuses the mind on the fact that this isn’t a game. There are significant costs to real people associated with eliminating fossil fuels. Natural gas, for instance, isn’t something we can simply cease using overnight or even in ten years. If we’re not careful about how we proceed, a lot of people could get hurt. So a fair response to people demanding an end to the use of fossil fuels is the one the professor put to these protesters: You first.
If Republicans in the Senate were not only to acquit Trump but also to endorse the constitutional argument that Trump’s lawyers made on his behalf, they would be taking a large step toward undoing the lessons of Watergate. They would be inviting future presidents to think that there is only one possible check on the abuse of power, and that is the ballot box. They would be crippling the ability of future Congresses to hold presidents accountable for abuse of power and to deter presidents from running the risk of facing an impeachment inquiry for their misconduct while in office.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been transferred out of solitary confinement in a British prison, where he has been waiting for his extradition trial for over nine months. That’s according to canberratimes.com.au.
Assange’s contact and access to visitors was severely limited in what many saw as a punitive action, according to the story. If he is extradited to the United States, he will face charges of spying and conspiracy. Some consider it a landmark test of the protection of journalists’ sources. Assange critics claim he is not a journalist.
Assange’s legal team and other inmates reportedly led the effort to get him transferred out of solitary confinement, claiming that his treatment was unfair and unjust.
In this, voting is not fundamentally different from many other actions. Failure to participate in a collective endeavour is fundamentally irrational whenever it risks contributing to outcomes contrary to our own basic interests. We rely on cooperation to solve a range of pressing challenges, from global warming and extreme poverty to preventable disease. Few question the rationality of minimising our individual carbon footprints, for example, or individually deciding to boycott companies that rely on child labour. No one person who engages in such behaviour will individually solve the climate crisis or eliminate the exploitation of children. But it is still rational to undertake individual actions that contribute to a collective effort likely to have desirable effects for humanity as a whole.
Hmmnnn. I don't think so. There are regimes, I suppose, in which it would make sense to vote, maybe. But in our system of government, I really don't see it. But go ahead, have fun. What's the worse that can happen? Seems to work better than some other systems.
Thursday, January 30, 2020
The first known coronavirus infection in the city of Wuhan presented symptoms beginning on Dec. 1, and by late December there was alarm in Wuhan’s medical circles. That would have been the moment for the authorities to act decisively.
And act decisively they did — not against the virus, but against whistle-blowers who were trying to call attention to the public health threat. A doctor who told a WeChat group about the virus was disciplined by the Communist Party and forced to admit wrongdoing. The police reported giving “education” and “criticism” to eight front-line doctors for “rumormongering” about the epidemic; instead of punishing these doctors, Xi should have listened to them.
NYT jumps on the bandwagon. But they're obviously correct here.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she would have a transgender child interview the next secretary of education.
The Massachusetts senator spoke Sunday at a town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where a voter told her that children are not learning enough about LGBTQ history or sexual education in public schools. Warren told the voter that she would require a transgender child to interview a future secretary of education nominee.
Don't you believe in trans?