Bill Maher Has Quite the Message for Social Justice Warriors

HBO’s Bill Maher has become the voice of reason amongst those on the left. He frequently says what most Americans are thinking: that the Democratic Party and progressives have taken things too far.

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The moderate Democrat warned Americans of one overarching reality: everyone is online and everyone faces the threat of being canceled for something they said in the past.

“If you think it’s just for celebrities, no. In an era where everyone is online, everyone is a public figure,” Maher explained.

He used the example of a Hispanic electric worker in San Diego. The man was fired because someone reported him for holding up a “white supremacy” symbol outside of his truck. According to Maher, he was doing something as simple as “flicking a booger.”

“Is this really who we want to become, a society of phony, clenched a**hole avatars, walking on eggshells, always looking over your shoulder without getting ratted out for something that has nothing to do with your character or morals?” Maher asked rhetorically. “Think of everything you’ve ever texted, emailed, searched for, tweeted, blogged, or said in passing.”

Source: Bill Maher has Quite the Message for Social Justice Warriors

CPAC Is Considering Legal Options After Hyatt Breathes New Life Into Nazi Conspiracy Theory

The American Conservative Union (ACU), the organization behind the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), is “seriously considering all options,” ACU President Matt Schlapp told PJ Media on Monday after ACU’s general counsel sent a letter to Hyatt protesting the company’s decision to breathe new life into a conspiracy theory regarding the CPAC stage.

Leftist detractors strained to find a Nazi symbol related to CPAC, and they seized on the shape of the main stage. Leftists claimed that the stage was an inverted Odal rune, a symbol some Neo-Nazi groups use.

The suggestion was absurd, of course. American Conservative Union (ACU) Chair Matt Slapp denounced the “stage design conspiracies” as “outrageous and slanderous.” CPAC supports the Jewish State of Israel, hosted multiple Jewish prayer services and a Shabbat dinner, and denounces the anti-Semitism of Democrats who spread a modern blood libel against Israel. Even the left-leaning Snopes fact-checked the insinuation that CPAC designed the stage to look like a Nazi symbol and found it “unproven.”

Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) had the perfect response. “The left is desperate to draw attention from their elevation of antisemites in Congress… so they claim a stage design is antisemitic,” he said on Twitter. “The Left traffics in ‘dog whistles’ so incredibly sensitive that only leftists can hear them, as compared to the supposed targets, who only see a stage.”

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According to ACU, Hyatt worked with the conservative group to organize the event, and Hyatt had “approved and worked collaboratively to build this stage.” ACU’s general counsel, David Safavian, sent a scathing letter to Hyatt Executive Chairman Thomas Pritzker on Monday. While the letter did not make any explicit legal threats, ACU’s claims suggest the organization might sue Hyatt for defamation.

“Hyatt made a decision to issue additional statements late last night after the conference ended that disparaged and defamed us. These statements appear to validate demonstrably false and malicious claims,” Safavian wrote. “When we learned of the orchestrated assault on us, we immediately contacted your senior management to set the record straight. Together, we quickly responded to these slanderous accusations.”

“Your hotel’s senior management was on notice and acknowledged that these claims were false and agreed to share any statement before its release,” the ACU lawyer added. He said the organization was “shocked” that Hyatt issued additional statements after the conference, statements he said were “irresponsible, untrue, and contribute to a climate of division and hatred.”

“For months we have collaborated with your team on logistics, including sharing, reviewing, and approving the stage design that was created by one of our subcontractors. The fact that no one on the Hyatt staff ever raised concerns during the process shows the ridiculous nature of your statements,” Safavian added.

“Moreover, your statements falsely conceal your oversight role. In fact, the Hyatt Hotel, with our organization and subcontractors, approved and worked collaboratively to build this stage. Only after a coordinated far-left assault to destroy our conference arose did you succumb to lies and compound them with your own,” the ACU lawyer argued.

 

Source: CPAC Is Considering Legal Options After Hyatt Breathes New Life Into Nazi Conspiracy Theory

A Serious Argument Contains Serious Argumentation

(Don Boudreaux) Here’s a letter to a college student who tells me that she was “shocked,” when while doing research for a debate on welfare policy, she encountered my blog posts on minimum wages.

Ms. L___:

Thanks for your e-mail.

You allege that my and other “neoliberals’” opposition to minimum wages “shows” our racism. You reach this conclusion by asserting that, because blacks generally are paid less than whites, “raising the minimum wage to $15 will raise more black than white incomes.” Therefore, you reason, opposition to raising the minimum wage must be rooted in racism.

Are you aware that most research on the effects of minimum-wage hikes shows that, while some workers do get higher hourly pay, some other workers lose employment? Pushing up employers’ costs of labor makes labor less desirable to employ. And so especially if you’re correct that “America as a nation is inherently racist,” then do you not worry that blacks will bear a disproportionately large share of these job losses? Might it then be said that support for minimum-wage hikes is evidence of racism?

I happen now to be re-reading a book that I recommend to you; it’s my late colleague Walter Williams’s 2011 volume, Race & Economics. In this book Walter presents ample documentation of the racist consequences of minimum wages, as well as of other smiley-face-wearing government interventions, such as statutes mandating equal-pay-for-equal-work. Walter shows also that blacks would now bear a disproportionate share of the unemployment caused by minimum wages even in the absence today of racism.

Ms. L___, you might in good faith disagree with the arguments, and question the data, that are presented in Walter’s book, in the paper linked above (and in those linked below), and in the mountains of other research that reveal minimum wages to be an enemy of blacks and other minorities. I would welcome your reaction to this research after you study some of it.

But even if you have no wish to communicate further with me about minimum wages, it’s in your own interest to carefully study this research. If you’re genuinely convinced that minimum wages are “one of society’s best antipoverty and pro-equity tools,” then you owe it to the groups whose welfare you champion to make yourself as informed as possible in order to be as effective as possible an advocate for minimum wages. You’ll want to know your opponents’ strongest arguments so that you’ll be prepared to counter these with your strongest arguments.

To learn your opponents’ strongest arguments against minimum wages, consult the works of scholars such as – to name only a few – Walter WilliamsThomas SowellDavid Neumark and William WascherJeffrey ClemensJonathan Meer, and Richard Burkhauser.

You’ll greatly improve your prospects of swaying people to support minimum wages if, rather than accusing opponents of minimum wages of racism, you instead address the best arguments offered by these people and then do your best to explain why they are mistaken. If you’re correct about minimum wages, you should have no trouble doing so.

Source: A Serious Argument Contains Serious Argumentation

Getting Woke before Woke Was a Thing

Beginning in the 1960s, most Southerners walked away from racism and embraced true equality.

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A lot of things changed for us in the coming years. All over the South, people were making the choices that my father and community had made. It was one person at a time, family by family and town by town. We realized that much of what we believed was simply wrong. It was not what God wanted and it was not reasonable.

The political realignment was only a small part of this. The South has not become solidly Republican because of race. The move to Republicanism in the South is more about liberty. The Southern people tend to be fiercely freedom-loving people who want all people to share in the dream of the Declaration of Independence: Life, liberty, and freedom from government oversight as we pursue happiness. The free market is an integral part of this liberty.

My memory throws up one final, defining moment in my becoming “woke” before there was such a thing. One day there was an African-American lady visiting my mother in our home. (I am not using her real name.) A news program on TV was discussing the preferred words for the people we now call “African American” or, if we’re really progressive, “BIPOC.”

Back then, the discussion was whether we should change from the technically correct “Negro” to the coming-into-vogue “Black.” I embarrassed my mother by asking our guest what she wanted to be called. With great wisdom and seriousness, she said, “You can call me Mary, but your parents would probably prefer that you call me Mrs. Smith.”

I understood perfectly.

Source: Getting Woke before Woke Was a Thing

A City Prepares for a Trial

(John Hinderaker) Derek Chauvin goes on trial for murder in the death of George Floyd on March 8. His trial has been separated from that of the other three officers who have been charged; theirs will begin in August. Chauvin is the principal defendant.

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I believe it was the day after Floyd’s death when Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey publicly questioned the fact that the four police officers were still free men. Why weren’t they already in jail? And Governor Walz has publicly pronounced the officers guilty of “murder.” Meanwhile, though, it has come out that Floyd’s blood contained two or three times a lethal dose of fentanyl. He also showed the classic symptoms of a fentanyl overdose, complaining repeatedly of an inability to breathe and foaming at the mouth. His autopsy revealed that his lungs were heavier than normal, reflecting the accumulation of fluid that occurs with a fentanyl overdose. So it is far from clear that Derek Chauvin murdered anyone, or indeed that the four police officers had anything to do with Floyd’s death, which apparently, based on the evidence now available, was caused by a drug overdose.

But it is much too late for the authorities to acknowledge that their case against Chauvin et al. is far from airtight. They are committed. What we don’t know is whether an impartial jury can be empaneled, and whether any jury will have the courage to return a verdict of not guilty. Everyone in Minneapolis knows that the authorities were not able to defend even the Third Precinct Station House, which was taken over and burned by rioters. Nor were they able to defend a two-mile stretch of Lake Street, or other areas in Minneapolis and St. Paul that were destroyed by mobs. What juror will be willing to count on the authorities to protect his own house from being burned down, if he fails to return the verdict that is demanded by the mob?

Source: A City Prepares for a Trial

Number One Pick going for W, M

Scott Alexander writes about Freddy DeBoer’s The Cult of Smart.

If the season had started, and if DeBoer were on someone’s team, Alexander would get a Win. In response to DeBoer’s case for the Null Hypothesis that successful school reform is not scalable, Alexander writes

These are good points, and I would accept them from anyone other than DeBoer, who will go on to say in a few chapters that the solution to our education issues is a Marxist revolution that overthrows capitalism and dispenses with the very concept of economic value. If he’s willing to accept a massive overhaul of everything, that’s failed every time it’s tried, why not accept a much smaller overhaul-of-everything, that’s succeeded at least once?

Later in the essay, Alexander creates a candidate to score a Meme.

School is child prison. It’s forcing kids to spend their childhood – a happy time! a time of natural curiosity and exploration and wonder – sitting in un-air-conditioned blocky buildings, cramped into identical desks, listening to someone drone on about the difference between alliteration and assonance, desperate to even be able to fidget but knowing that if they do their teacher will yell at them, and maybe they’ll get a detention that extends their sentence even longer without parole. The anti-psychiatric-abuse community has invented the “Burrito Test” – if a place won’t let you microwave a burrito without asking permission, it’s an institution. Doesn’t matter if the name is “Center For Flourishing” or whatever and the aides are social workers in street clothes instead of nurses in scrubs – if it doesn’t pass the Burrito Test, it’s an institution. There is no way school will let you microwave a burrito without permission. THEY WILL NOT EVEN LET YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM WITHOUT PERMISSION. YOU HAVE TO RAISE YOUR HAND AND ASK YOUR TEACHER FOR SOMETHING CALLED “THE BATHROOM PASS” IN FRONT OF YOUR ENTIRE CLASS, AND IF SHE DOESN’T LIKE YOU, SHE CAN JUST SAY NO.

He also has a lot to say about charter schools.

Source: Number One Pick going for W, M

Are lockdowns one of the most catastrophic policy errors of the century?

Dennis Prager has arguedyes“.

When respected scientific experts sitting on prestigious governmental advisory committees warned citizens early last year that the only way to protect themselves against Covid-19 was to shut down their businesses and stay at home until public health officials deemed it safe to come out again, most complied, even at great personal and economic cost.

The result has been one of the most far-reaching and unprecedented social experiments of modern times: the systematic and mandatory paralysis of a large swathe of normal social activity, including schooling, work, leisure, and mobility. If this giant experiment had been run on a one-off basis for a few weeks, the impact might have been moderate; but as it morphed into “rolling” lockdowns, the cure became far worse than the disease.

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The question is, what have been the fruits of this giant public policy experiment? Have lockdowns actually been vindicated by their net benefits?

In order to adequately address this question, we must be clear on one thing: the appropriate benchmark for assessing the merits of lockdown policies is not just their capacity to reduce Covid infections or deaths, but their capacity to advance the overall health and well-being of affected populations.

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The predictable harms of lockdowns, which will have to be carefully documented and tallied over the coming months and years, are extensive.

They include the worst global recession, according to World Bank analysts, since World War II, and dramatic increases in poverty and unemployment (currently at 25% in Ireland, including recipients of Covid payments according to the Central Office of Statistics), which are known to bring in their train declines in mental and physical health. This is also resulting in reduced public funding for healthcare due to a depressed economy; and an increase in social inequality, as day labourers and contract workers are uniquely vulnerable to the economic shock of lockdowns.

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A badger among kittens by Denton Salle

Certain stories make the rounds about wild animals that get mistaken for pets. It can be someone from another country trying to pick up a skunk because it looks like a cat, a coyote or bear cub thought to be a stray dog, or a feral dog left alone with a house cat.

The sheer size of the supply hole makes it hard to blame either wind or deregulation for the failure. While pictures of frozen wind turbines may be evocative, ERCOT’s forecasts do not rely on a large amount of wind to sustain the system—and wind ended up meeting those expectations. Some have argued that the low cost of wind power over the last decade has forced the retirement of more reliable power plants that could have helped make up the gap had they been there. I’ve addressed those arguments at length elsewhere; here I’ll add that many of the recently retired Texas plants were rendered unprofitable not by wind but by the fracking-induced fall in natural gas prices. And given how many thermal plants failed, it doesn’t seem plausible that having a few more of them would have made the difference.

Similarly, there is little reason to think that Texas’ competitive electric system is to blame. ERCOT’s most recent winter forecast included a worst-case scenario for the grid that roughly predicted the needed demand but underestimated the amount of generation that would be unusable by almost half. A more centralized or state-run electric system almost certainly would have relied on the same forecast and ended up in the same situation. In retrospect, it’s easy to blame generators for not doing more to protect their plants from cold. But if a plant had known that unprecedented cold was coming and had weatherized, it would now be reaping millions in benefits. The problem was not a lack of incentives but a lack of imagination.

Source: A badger among kittens by Denton Salle

I’D LIKE TO MEET THIS MAN. HE FIGHTS

I’D LIKE TO MEET THIS MAN. HE FIGHTS: Can Monica Nieporte and William (Bill) Lawhorn’s Careers and Reputations Survive Jason Sanford?

In my last article I exposed amateur journalist and z-list science fiction author Jason Sanford’s misleading recent article about Baen Publishing’s webforum, “Baen’s Bar”.  In this second (of at least three) articles, I deal with the aftermath. A third article will deal with some of Sanford’s writing that is, in my opinion, sexually problematic, racially insensitive and offensive to people with some disabilities. There may be a fourth article but I am still investigating. Anyone who has felt that Jason Sanford has dealt with them inappropriately in any way (but especially at conventions), is invited to get in touch in confidence via the email on the, ‘About’ page.

Since Jason Sanford’s article misinformed but zealous readers of his have inundated the organisers of WorldCon 2021, a science fiction convention, with complaints to the extent that Baen Publisher Toni Weisskopf has been uninvited from being a guest of honour. The problem is that the allegations are, largely, just not true. At the same time, darker and darker information is emerging about Sanford. I have received a statement from lawyers for Sanford’s employers, the Ohio News Media Association (ONMA) trying to distance themselves from the scandal. However, given they are a media organisation, given Sanford uses his employment with them to advertise himself and given his followers standard of tenuous-guilt-by-association, that position seems untenable. These events can only reflect badly on ONMA, Sanford’s boss Monica Nieporte (ONMA President) and Discon III Chair Bill Lawhorn.

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So, to analyse ONMA’s claims. Was Sanford’s article written as part of his paid employment for them? No. Are they legally responsible? No. Does it raise questions about their reputation and integrity? Yes.

Jason Sanford is a self-defined journalist. He works for a media organisation in a creative role. So, the conduct in which he has behaved unjustly is directly related to his work and his suitability for same. Furthermore, Jason’s online profiles such as his LinkedIn profile (currently down) advertise his personal brand with his work for ONMA in tandem with his science fiction work. Finally, Jason himself and his friends take the view that associating in any way with someone who has behaved (in their view) unethically is complicity. So, WorldCon 2021 had to be inundated with complaints until Toni Weisskopf was removed. Now, Monica Nieporte finds herself in a symmetric position.

By Jason Sanford’s dystopian ideology, Monica Nieporte is morally responsible for all of his acts and omissions that are thought to be unethical until she fires him. Her difficulty is that now I am looking deeply into Sanford. There are other problems. The details of his problematic writing are something that I will include in my third article. I will need to put the allegations to Interzone, the magazine that has (up until now) been enabling him.

Source: Matthew Hopkins News

Hat tip: I’D LIKE TO MEET THIS MAN. HE FIGHTS: Can Monica Nieporte and William (Bill) Lawhorn’s Careers a…