Thursday, April 1, 2021

A Victory for Reality | Carl R. Trueman | First Things

The court’s ruling is worth reading in full. The evident incompetence and malice of the administration is impressive, as it initially flip-flops on whether an acceptable compromise is possible and then descends into open hostility toward Meriwether, including (but, as lawyers say, not limited to) open mockery, derision of his faith, and an investigation for which he was not asked to provide any witnesses. The court also identifies the university’s flip-flopping and hostility to Meriwether’s religious views as evidence that the matter was not about applying an established policy in a neutral way but rather about targeting the professor for his Christian beliefs. Policies are supposed to provide a clear framework for assessing behavior. Not, apparently, at Shawnee State. It will be truly shameful if nobody at the university loses his job as a result of this malicious farce.

But the less-than-divine comedy that Professor Meriwether has had to endure has led to one good outcome: the verdict of the Sixth Circuit and its accompanying rationale. While university administrators around the country seem to be reconfiguring their job descriptions in order to be caregivers for the tender consciences of an era when politics is therapy, the judges of the Sixth Circuit retain an understanding of what education and its various institutions are actually meant to do.


April 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Theory That COVID Came From A Chinese Lab Takes On New Life In Wake Of WHO Report : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

"I think there were a lot of people who did put together the fact that you had an outbreak in Wuhan and you have these laboratories in Wuhan fairly immediately," said David Feith, who was an Asia adviser in the Trump administration's State Department when the coronavirus emerged.

"The question was: What does the evidence tell us?" said Feith, who is currently at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

At the time, not much.

Former President Donald Trump and some in his administration latched onto the theory. But scientists focused on stopping the pandemic, and China dragged its feet on an international investigation.

Now, though, the lab leak hypothesis seems to have found new life.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization released a joint report with Beijing on the origins of the pandemic following a four-week investigation in China. It concluded, among other things, that the lab leak hypothesis was "extremely unlikely."

But WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he does not believe the team's assessment of the lab leak possibility was extensive enough.

"Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy," he told WHO members, according to a written statement.


National Public Radio.

April 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Byron York's Daily Memo: From Delta, a lesson for woke corporations

Atlanta-based Delta Airlines is taking it from all sides for its latest jump into politics, specifically the company's stand against the new Georgia voting law. Its experience could be a lesson for CEOs who pander to political activists.

The issue blew up Wednesday when Delta chief Ed Bastian issued a statement declaring that Georgia's new law is "unacceptable." "I want the entire Delta family to know that we stand together in our commitment to protect and facilitate your precious right to vote," Bastian wrote. "I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta's values."

A lot of the reaction could be characterized as: Who asked him? Why is an airline executive -- speaking for his entire company -- jumping into electoral politics in Georgia or any other state? Shouldn't Delta focus on, say, flying?


April 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Lure of the White Sands | by Rich Cohen | The New York Review of Books

New Age mystics believe the earth is scored by invisible lines (energy or ley lines), that otherworldly power accumulates where these lines intersect, and that such intersections are the holy places of the planet—its chakras. Saul Bellow called them axial lines. The instructor at my yoga studio calls them energy vortexes. They say it’s no coincidence that shrines and places of pilgrimage congregate in the vicinity of such intersections. The pyramids of Giza. Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. Uluru and Kata Tjuta, domed rock formations in central Australia. Ibiza in Spain. Mount Shasta in California. And—my personal obsession—Otero County, New Mexico and the surrounding terrain: the railroad town Alamogordo, the missile range and observatory, the black military sites and secret installations, the hunting ground of the southern Apache now reduced to the 463,000-acre Mescalero reservation, and the surreal gypsum desert known as White Sands.

The area around Alamogordo was the first part of the American Southwest to be added to maps of the “new world.” It’s where Geronimo made his last stand, where black members of the Union army came to be called “Buffalo Soldiers,” where the first modern American missiles flew, and where flying saucers are cited and sometimes crash. It’s where the first atomic bomb was dropped. This spooky, irradiated place is the closest thing America has to a spiritual capital.


I also am very fond of the deserts and culture of the Southwest, as is LWJ, though we have spent far less time there than we would have liked. My spirituality, such as it is, tends more towards the beautiful, tiny Catholic shrines in the little villages of northern New Mexico. For example, El Santuarino de Chimayo. (

April 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Nic Carter: Bitcoin Core Values, Layered Scaling, and Blocksize Debates | Lex Fridman Podcast #173


What a treat!

March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

China Says Covid-19 Origin Probe Should Shift Focus to Other Countries - WSJ

BEIJING—China on Wednesday called for the World Health Organization to probe whether Covid-19 first emerged in other countries—possibly including from a U.S. military laboratory—in its first public response to a call from the head of the agency for a more robust investigation into whether the virus escaped from a Chinese lab.

A WHO-led team that visited China earlier this year to explore the pandemic’s origins concluded in a report published Tuesday that the coronavirus was “extremely unlikely” to have leaked from a Chinese laboratory and recommended no further study of that possibility.

However, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said shortly before the report’s release that the team’s assessment of a potential lab leak hadn’t been extensive enough and that further investigation was needed, adding he was ready to deploy more specialists to study that possibility.

Asked about Dr. Tedros’s comments at a daily news briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying repeatedly referred to the team’s “important conclusion” that a lab leak in Wuhan was extremely unlikely.

“They have basically excluded the possibility of a lab incident” in Wuhan, she said.

She urged the WHO to investigate evidence of early outbreaks in other countries, and suggested that any future laboratory probes should include a U.S. military laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“As you know relevant study is already done in Wuhan labs, but when will Fort Detrick be open to those experts?” she asked. “If necessary, we hope the U.S. can be as open and candid as China.”

Chinese officials have repeatedly suggested that the pandemic didn’t start in China and that the virus could have originated at Fort Detrick, but haven't presented any evidence. Most scientists say they have seen nothing to corroborate that idea.


So the Director-General of the WHO is calling for more investigation of the lab leak hypothesis. Very interesting. Given China's obvious opposition to this move, one wonders what the Director-General is thinking. What political pressures is he under? What exactly is going on here? I don't think we can expect the PRC to just blurt out the answer to these and related questions. That's typically not how they roll. But if the PRC continues to resist an investigation by the WHO, I'm going to adjust my estimations of the probabilities accordingly. That certainly makes it seem more likely that they are attempting to hide something. If Tedros is responding to scientific opinion broadly conceived, to the much deferred to consensus, perhaps the consensus is changing or has changed. Or perhaps something else is going on. Stay tuned.

March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chauvin Lawyer Gets Clobbered by Witness’s Gripping Testimony | National Review

Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the video that went around the world — depicting the fatal last minutes of George Floyd’s restraint by Minneapolis police — gave a very moving testimony at former officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial this morning. I couldn’t understand why defense lawyer Eric Nelson questioned her at all, other than perhaps to thank her for coming to court. It’s the video that hurts Chauvin, not the kid who recorded it. And there’s rarely an upside in asking pointed questions to a young, nervous, highly sympathetic witness.


March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

San Diego Teachers & Migrants: Educators Will Provide In-Person Instruction to Immigrant Children before Public School Students | National Review

San Diego Unified School District teachers have been asked to teach migrant children in-person during their spring break, though students in the district are still learning in an online-only format, according to a new report.

While SDUSD students are scheduled to begin a hybrid model of learning on April 12, with a combination of in-person and online formats, an SDUSD spokeswoman told Fox News that teachers had been offered an opportunity to teach, in-person, migrant children who are staying at the San Diego Convention Center. The spokeswoman did not know if the teachers would be paid for the teaching.


This is very puzzling.

March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Ryan Schiller: Librex and the Free Exchange of Ideas on College Campuses | Lex Fridman Podcast #172


This is a great idea. It's called freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, practiced. If setting up an app is necessary to embody it, then set up the app. I don't know if Ryan's idea will work but I hope it does for all of our sakes. Evidently it's starting at the Ivies plus Stanford and MIT. Maybe it will spread like Facebook but with a different effect.

March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The selfishness at the heart of socialism

Does our impulse to help others start with a socialist impulse or any ideology? Or is the truth entirely different? Is socialism, which I think of as a set of arrangements by which central government delivers goods and services (of varying quality) to the public, actually an outgrowth or distortion of the deeper instinct of compassion? I don’t suggest that socialists are more compassionate than others, much though they often think of themselves that way. They obviously aren’t. But there’s a link between the political ideology and the human instinct, no matter how misshapen the connection has become.

In 1985, singer Bob Geldof was interviewed backstage at London’s Wembley Stadium about the massive Live Aid rock concert he’d organized with fellow musician Midge Ure both there and simultaneously at John. F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. They were raising money for famine relief in Ethiopia and did so on a stunningly huge scale. Copycat concerts took place all over the world, linked by satellite, and the combined events were watched in 150 countries by nearly 2 billion people.

At this moment, the greatest triumph in his already successful career, Geldof remarked with a note of bitter irony that Live Aid involved “the privatization of compassion.” He didn’t mean it as a compliment. “Privatization” had become a dirty word in the left-wing lexicon, as industries previously taken over by socialist governments were released from central control and sold to the public as businesses quoted on stock exchanges.

Geldof’s comment struck me forcefully at the time, for it was the precise opposite of what I took then and still take to be the gem-like truth stated by columnist T.E. Utley that one of the cruelest aspects of socialism is that it delegates compassion to the state. Socialism encourages individuals to think caring for their neighbor is not their responsibility but is, instead, a function of government.


March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)