Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Stray Voltage

When you combine identity politics with favoritism, you’re bound to see this:

A group called the Asian American Coalition for Education plans to file an official complaint tomorrow with the federal Department of Education and Department of Justice noting that Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth have “unlawfully discriminated” against Asian-Americans in their admissions policies.

The Coalition, “which is composed of more than 100 local, state and national organizations,” claims the colleges “have the lowest acceptance rate for Asian Americans,” and maintain quotas for the (racial) group.

It also points out that Asian-American enrollment at Yale has declined “despite the number of college-aged Asian-Americans more than doubling since 2011.”

This is the first such complaint against the elite Connecticut university.

Just part of the toll of “affirmative action.”  When you’re not the favored minority, you have to compete, even if the playing field isn’t level.  What hypocrisy from both government and academia.

Another dishonest “journalist” has been unmasked.  In this case, we’re talking about Katie Couric and her deceptively edited hit-piece on guns (you can see the scene in question and hear the raw audio at the link).

At the 21:48 mark of Under the Gun a scene of Katie Couric interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights organization, is shown.

Couric can be heard in the interview asking activists from the group, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

The documentary then shows the activists sitting silently for nine awkward seconds, unable to provide an answer. It then cuts to the next scene.

The implication, obviously, is the activists for gun rights had no answer to Couric’s question.  The problem is, however, they did … lots of them:

However, raw audio of the interview between Katie Couric and the activists provided to the Washington Free Beacon shows the scene was deceptively edited. Instead of silence, Couric’s question is met immediately with answers from the activists. A back and forth between a number of the league’s members and Couric over the issue of background checks proceeds for more than four minutes after the original question is asked.

Of course, anyone with the IQ of a lemon realizes that felons are not likely to shop where background checks are performed.  But hey, why deal in facts when you can deal in fantasy that furthers  your obvious agenda.  There’s been some who’ve remarked that other journalists have been silent about this.  Of course they have.  The left has made it clear many times that it believes that lying and deception are perfectly fine if it is done for a good cause – a good cause as they define it.  The biggest sin is being caught in your lie or deception.  Heck of a job, Katie!

Some people are beginning to question why Hillary Clinton hasn’t been indicted over her handling of classified material on her private server, especially since it seems that doing what she did is not really that much different than a sailor did recently:

A Navy sailor entered a guilty plea Friday in a classified information mishandling case that critics charge illustrates a double standard between the treatment of low-ranking government employees and top officials like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus.

Prosecutors allege that Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier used a cellphone camera to take photos in the classified engine room of the nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic, the USS Alexandria, then destroyed a laptop, camera and memory card after learning he was under investigation.

Apparently none of the classified material was compromised but the sailor is going away for 3 years on Federal charges.  But hey, those sorts of laws are only for “the little people.”

Another “cherry picked” story about SJWs, this time from The Atlantic.

Last fall, student protesters at Yale University demanded that Professor Nicholas Christakis, an academic star who has successfully mentored Ivy League undergraduates for years, step down from his position as faculty-in-residence at Silliman College, along with his wife, Erika Christakis, who shared in the job’s duties.

This is a very interesting and telling story.  Erika Christakis wrote an email to the students of Silliman College after the Yale administration had put one out about offensive Halloween costumes.  Essentially all Christakis was trying to do was empower the Silliman College students to make their own decisions concerning costumes and/or how they react to those that might offend.   In reality, what she was doing was making the case that they were wise enough and mature enough to handle that without a directive from above.

Boy was she wrong.  The article also points to the disconnect between what the students believe is the role of the college and what the faculty believe it to be.  To put it succinctly, the difference between a parent and a mentor.  Interesting read.

Meanwhile at Harvard:

Earlier this month, Harvard President Drew Faust announced that students who joined single-sex organizations would be subject to punitive measures. They would be ineligible for certain scholarships and could not accept formal leadership roles in official campus groups. The policy is intended to quash the existence of politically disfavored extracurricular groups, like fraternities. It will also hurt female-only clubs.

Of course Harvard is a private institution and can do whatever it wants, but in this case it generated a backlash that reached into the faculty ranks.  It seems the faculty is a bit miffed about the unilateral nature of this directive and it appears they plan to kill it

A group of the faculty put together a resolution:

“Harvard College shall not discriminate against students on the basis of organizations they join,” the proposal reads.

The resolution is a shot across the bow for the administration, which would need faculty approval to implement the sanctions policy if it requires a change to the student handbook.

Faculty leaders interviewed by the Crimson said they weren’t consulted before the school announced the new policy

Now, if these colleges and universities would only stand up against the ridiculous SJW student demands and outrageous conduct, we might begin to believe the adults were in charge again.

Finally, the chief apologist for America is on the road again. Barack Obama visited Hiroshima and was photographed embracing a survivor of the nuclear blast there. On a human level, I get it. But this isn’t just some every day American choosing to do that. In fact, nothing the President of the United States does is done without some purpose in mind and frankly, the purpose that seems obvious, at least to me, is to physically express sorrow for the US doing what was necessary to win and end WW II.

Of course it is fashionable today to attempt to do things like that. Contextless gestures that ignore the reality of the history of the time. The fact that even after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the War Council split which meant the war continued. And Nagasaki brought the same result. It took the unprecedented intervention of the Emperor to finally see surrender happen. The Japanese had a 14,000,000 man home militia as well as over 2,000,000 troops. They’d saved many thousands of kamikaze craft (submarines, aircraft and boats) for use if invaded. Casualties were estimated to run about a million on the US side and untold millions on the Japanese side.

The one who should be hugging people is the Emperor of Japan, saying Japan is sorry to the dwindling survivors of Pearl Harbor.

Harry Truman got it right:

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Have a safe Memorial Day weekend and don’t forget that Memorial Day is for honoring those who’ve fallen in service and defense of our country – like the sailors at Pearl Harbor.

~McQ

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Another chapter in “WTF”?!

Seems college isn’t about college anymore – at least at Oberlin.  The shot:

recent piece in The New Yorker examines the effects of a new wave of student activism at Oberlin College, a small, private liberal arts institution in Ohio, and it’s pretty eye-opening.

According to writer Nathan Heller, Oberlin is “at the center of the current storm” of activism on college campuses, with students heavily involved in issues including classroom diversity, safe spaces, racial inequality and social injustice.

Due to the intense focus on those issues, many progressive students are dropping out.

They claim that their activism is getting in the way of their studies, and other students, the faculty and the administration have made it impossible to live on campus.

The chaser:

Heller spoke to self-identified “Afro-Latinx” student Megan Bautista, who said that she was upset that the school refused her demand to erase any grades below Cs.

“A lot of us worked alongside community members in Cleveland who were protesting (the death of Tamir Rice in the fall of 2014 – ed.). But we needed to organize on campus as well—it wasn’t sustainable to keep driving forty minutes away. A lot of us started suffering academically.” In 1970, Oberlin had modified its grading standards to accommodate activism around the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings, and Bautista had hoped for something similar. More than thirteen hundred students signed a petition calling for the college to eliminate any grade lower than a C for the semester, but to no avail. “Students felt really unsupported in their endeavors to engage with the world outside Oberlin,” she told me.

But that’s not the real world even if it is the world the students feel they need to embrace.

It’s funny to me.  You go to college and you essentially make a commitment to that college to take classes you choose and to perform well enough to get a good grade.  Then … squirrel!  Suddenly that commitment is put on the back burner as you discover a new and more important one.  Well, more important to you.  The old, “I want my cake and I want to eat it too” selfishness of a child who has always gotten their spoiled way.

And who is supposed to suddenly change the rules because you’ve decided on this new commitment and thrown over the old one?  Oh, yeah, the institution you made the previous commitment too.

Students should feel “really unsupported” by the school because they’ve reneged on their commitment to the school. Why should the school feel obligated to support them if they don’t feel obligated to their commitment to the school?

Mature folk actually know the right answer to that question.   The immature?  See above.

Maybe they should offer a Maturity 101 course for these children.

~McQ

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Former McDonald’s CEO goes one for two

Ed Rensi is the former CEO of McDonalds and he commented on the reality of a $15 minimum wage and how most businesses will handle it:

I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry — it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries — it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe.”

He continues, “It’s not just going to be in the fast food business. Franchising is the best business model in the United States. It’s dependent on people that have low job skills that have to grow. Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster.”

That’s the one he got right.  Here’s the one he got wrong:

I think we ought to have a multi-faceted wage program in this country. If you’re a high school kid, you ought to have a student wage. If you’re an entry level worker you ought to have a separate wage. The states ought to manage this because they know more [about] what’s going on the ground than anybody in Washington D.C.

Good grief, Mr. Rensi, why not let the market handle it?  You know, supply and demand?  What the heck is wrong with you?  You wouldn’t even be discussing this if government hadn’t intruded and decided unilaterally that you should pay your employees a certain amount of money for their labor.  It is because of government you’re even discussing automation above.  And now you think government – even state government (you know like California or New York?) – would be the solution?

Really?

And you were a CEO of a major corporation?

Wow.

~McQ

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Where does this administration find these idiots?!

I’m sorry, I’m a little angry today.  That’s because of this statement:

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?” McDonald said Monday during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters. “And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

That’s a statement by VA Secretary Robert McDonald addressing a question about excessive wait times at VA facilities.  All I can figure is he must have been a rather mediocre product of public education because this screams “STUPID!”.

When waiting in line for “Space Mountain”, Mr. Secretary, do people die?  No?  Then, you idiot, it’s not a valid comparison.

And secondly, what sort of “satisfaction with the experience” can someone who died waiting have, dumbbell?  I’ll tell you now, since it is obvious you can’t figure it out – a very UNSATISFACTORY experience.

But of course, the dead can’t speak, can they you moron?!

Tell you what, why don’t you quit trying to find ways to explain the excessive wait times that are killing veterans and fix the effing problem?  Ever think of that?

Disney!

What a freaking imbecile.

~McQ

 

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Stray Voltage

Is science in a death spiral?

Over-reliance on models, misapplication of statistical methods, and lack of repeatability are the hallmarks of the new pseudoscience that is replacing the traditional practice of science, real science. Has science entered a death spiral, as indifferent, inept scientists raise up new generations of even poorer researchers? The facts look grim.

Now perhaps the contention that science might have entered a “death spiral” is a bit of an overstatement, but there is no question that it has, in a way I’ve not noticed before, begun serving politics in many areas.  Agenda driven science – the money dictates the outcome – is clearly upon us.  And in that regard, it is apparent a significant portion of “science” is “for sale”.

Economic ignorance has struck again as the Obama Administration has unilaterally decided that the overtime rules need to be revamped and expanded to include overtime pay for higher wage workers.  As usual, they seem completely unfamiliar with the concept that labor is a cost to business.  And therefore, increasing costs usually means less profit.  So since businesses are all about profit (not paying higher and higher wages or providing jobs), business will do what is necessary to allay these costs.  The White House is sure it has hit on a means of making the middle class “stronger”.

Increasing overtime protections is another step in the President’s effort to grow and strengthen the middle class by raising Americans’ wages.  This extra income will not only mean a better life for American families impacted by overtime protections, but will boost our economy across the board as these families spend their hard-earned wages.

Yup, they’ll spend their hard earned increased wages on products with now higher prices, because, you know, labor is a cost to business and there are only so many ways you can lay off that increased cost.  One of them, of course, is automation.  What the administration is doing, by this economically ignorant move, is making automation more attractive.

Oh, and as Reason points out, how smart is it to make labor cost more in a struggling economy (2% growth).  Not very.

Yes … the outcome of this sort of nonsense is completely predictable, as usual.  Damn those laws of economics!

If you’re interested in the latest in uncritical thinking from the SJWs of the left, try this:

“How am I a white supremacist?” self-described “white ally” Emily Pothast asks in a piece for The Establishment titled “True Confessions Of A White Supremacist.”

“Well, I was born and raised in the United States of America, a country built by slave labor on stolen land, and every privilege I’ve ever enjoyed has come at the expense of someone else’s oppression,” she answers.

[…]

“The very foundations of my way of life are in white supremacy, and the list of microaggressions I have committed, and will no doubt continue to commit in spite of my ‘good intentions’ for as long as I’m alive, is virtually endless,” she writes.

Everything she is, has or ever will be has “come at the expense of someone else’s oppression”.  What a absurd take this misguided youth has on her life.  This is purely the result of combining uncritical thinking with a single point of view from which one isn’t allowed to deviate.  I say uncritical thinking because it wouldn’t take much in terms of basic reasoning to know how badly flawed this premise is.  She undoubtedly thinks she has penned something brilliant because her echo chamber (and mentors in this silliness) have made approving noises about her groveling bit of self-criticism and apparent “enlightenment”.

I call them The New Red Guard for a reason.

You remember the Rolling Stone story about “Jackie” at the University of Virginia who claimed to have been raped at a fraternity party by five guys?  Well, that story fell apart quickly when people, other than the Rolling Stone author, actually started to look into the details.  Of course plenty of damage had been done by then, but it pretty much discredited “Jackie” and Rolling Stone (not a first for them).

Well, there are civil suits going on now and apparently, the plaintiff’s lawyers in the case may have found a “smoking gun” in reference to “Jackie” and her false charges:

New evidence shows that a University of Virginia student who alleged that she was gang raped at a campus fraternity created the fake persona of the alleged ringleader of the attack, according to lawyers representing a U-Va. official who is suing Rolling Stone magazine for defamation. …

The data from Yahoo that Eramo’s lawyers acquired via subpoena shows that the e-mail account “Haven.monahan@yahoo.com” was created on Oct. 2, 2012 while connected to U-Va.’s computer network. The next day, Duffin received an e-mail from “Haven” passing on a letter Jackie had written to “Haven” about Duffin. In the letter, Jackie confesses her love for Duffin.

If you’ve followed the case you know the “fake persona” was key to Jackie’s claims.  Now, it appears, it was Jackie who created Mr. Monahan.

Rape and rape allegations should be taken seriously, got that … we all have got that.  But there isn’t anything lower than someone who sets out to fabricate a felony offense against others for whatever stupid reason.  And they should have their lives ruined … just like they attempted to ruin the life or lives of others.  Rape charges should be taken seriously.  But not anymore seriously, in my opinion, that false rape charges.  As someone said once after being falsely charged, “where do I go to get my reputation back?”  And, in the age of the internet, we all know the answer.

For the latest chapter in the ongoing academic Theater of the Absurd, starring the special snowflakes of the millennial generation, we have to travel to California State University – Los Angeles, where a special batch of SJWs are having one heck of a time getting over their trauma of two months ago:

“On February 25th, our campus experienced immense hurt and trauma,” states the description for the event, which will take place on Tuesday night.

“Almost two months later, students are still feeling the emotional, mental, and physical effects that this event posed, and nothing has been done to facilitate our healing,” it continues. “How can we help each other heal and move forward? How were you affected emotionally, physically, psychologically?”

Thankfully there’s been a “healing space” set up for these poor traumatized and abused children.

Of course the fact that most of them didn’t even attend the speech in question isn’t important here … it’s how they “feel” in relation to it.

Ack, I can’t take anymore of this.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 19 May 16

The Philadelphia Fed survey went into slightly more negative territory in May, down -0.2 to -1.8.

Conversely, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index turned positive, rising 0.55 points to 0.10 for May.

The Conference Board’s  index of leading economic indicators shot up 0.6% in April. 

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 16,000 to 278,000. The 4-week average rose 7,500 to 275,750. Continuing claims fell 13,000 to 2.152 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.9 points to 42.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-4.7 billion last week, with total assets of $4.474 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $8.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-9.7 billion in the latest week.


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