Friday, April 30, 2021

"The Monster Is in the Classroom"

City Journal: Erika Sanzi
explores an indoctrination problem in our elementary schools.

Paranoia Update

The caliber of decision-making in many organizations is appallingly low. So too, apparently, is the judgment of a large number of former Jeopardy winners.

Sometimes Hazy is Good

FutureLawyer points to an answer for those who are tired of virtual backgrounds in Zoom.



A Reminder: "Meet Molly"

 Nicholas Bate, a.k.a. The Man Who Never Sleeps, has a new novel out.

Great Stuff

Cultural Offering is on a roll.

"Competition is for Losers"


Interesting Websites: A Series

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Thursday, April 29, 2021



State of the Union

Profits, Not Politics

City Journal: Allison Schrager looks at the efforts of Basecamp and Coinbase to de-politicize the workplace.

Smart move.

The Innocence of Youth

[HT: David Burge]



The First Girlfriend Problem

The Spectator: Douglas Murray on some current complications in British politics.

Miscellaneous and Fast

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Dental War Continues

Narrowing down the culprit. 

Answers on Monday. Medicine in the interim.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021



People are Novels

New Statesman: Margaret Drabble on "The misrepresenting of Monica Jones." An excerpt:

Who would have thought that the life of Monica Jones, an unpublished and under-promoted lecturer in the English department at University College, Leicester, would prove to be such a page-turner? We all knew that she was Philip Larkin’s long-term lover, and we thought we knew that she was reactionary, racist, homophobic, awkward, hysterical and dowdy. How wrong we were, how wrong. 

Civilization is Out There

Many good things await at The Sovereign Professional.

Crank It Up


Reducing Divisiveness at Basecamp

Here is a move that may catch on with many organizations.

Basecamp has decided to take political discussions and social impact nudging out of the workplace. 

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

I Prefer Mustang Sally



Glenn Loury and John McWhorter talk about toughness, swagger, and image.

And getting shot.


 Ray Dalio at PrinciplesYou offers a free self-assessment.

Virus at the Border

Political Calculations looks at Covid-19 and the 2021 migration at the Arizona border.

Another Family Film


In the Pipeline

In Our Strange Times

In our strange times, you can easily find individuals who declare that fascists believe in limited government, the strict interpretation of the law, and in freedom of speech and that racists believe in color-blind policies and equal opportunity.

The schools have a lot of explaining to do.

Interesting Websites: A Series

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Lost Memories

From FutureLawyer, the poet

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Problem Oscars

Kyle Smith watched the Oscars so the rest of us could pass on the experience.

Frank Pallotta has the sad numbers.

Good Times Ahead


The Affliction of Neo-Racism

"Grade Inflation is Ruining Education"

 In a decade working in high schools, I’ve seen a consistent push to reduce writing, reading, and note-taking, expand late work windows, lighten workloads, dilute the weight of assessments, and, most fundamentally, to eliminate failures. The same can be seen at the university level. According to an article in the 2020 Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology, the amount of time college students have spent on academic work has gone from 40 hours per week in 1960, to 27 in 2003, to just 15 hours in 2008. During that time, the average grade has risen in both public and private universities, while national SAT scores continue to decline. Today’s graduates are not smarter or more prepared for their future, but at least they think they are.

Read all of Shane Trotter's essay at Quillette.

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Start the Week!


Saturday, April 24, 2021


“You think someone 80 is hopeless because they can’t use an iPhone? Maybe the one who is hopeless is the one who can’t stop using it.”

- Bill Maher

Toxicity and Social Media

The full documentary is here.

The Pigeonhole Principle

Political Calculations on "The Magic of The Pigeonhole Principle."

[Photo by Julius Drost at Unsplash]

Reading and Enjoying

In the Background


The Kids and Social Nuance


Weekend Leadership Reading

Wally Bock has the assignments.

[Photo by Dan Gold at Unsplash]

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Friday, April 23, 2021

Nitwittery Update

In Britain, a jury acquits some Extinction Rebellion defendants despite there being no legal defense for their actions.

Today's Beatles Compilation

[HT: Law Latte]

Soul Search


"The Magic of Good Teaching"

City Journal: Fred Siegel reviews Henry Saltzman's "Oy! Oy! Oy! The Teacher is a Goy."

First Paragraph

Late on the morning of February 21, 1972, I listened at my desk in the American Embassy Saigon to Armed Forces Radio Vietnam's relay of an announcer describing the arrival of President Nixon in Beijing. I had been a Foreign Service "China Watcher" through the horrendous years of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, when Chairman Mao sent thousands of young Red Guards out to burn books and put an end to China's traditional culture. After my diplomatic reporting on the Cultural Revolution I had been assigned to wartime Vietnam under a general instruction to look for indications that China might intervene, as it had when Mao ordered human-wave attacks which seized nearly all the Korean Peninsula from American forces in early 1951. For more than two decades, American strategists considered themselves engaged in a colossal struggle against revolutionary communism, an ideology bent on destroying and replacing the established international state system of world order. Now here were Richard Nixon and his chief adviser, Henry Kissinger, presenting themselves to the "Great Helmsman" of the People's Republic of China.

- From Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order by Charles Hill

Find Your Style

[Photo by Karsten Winegeart at Unsplash]

Beware of Those Who Peddle Low Expectations

Read John McWhorter's related essay here.

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Defending France

Twenty French military leaders call for the defense of patriotism in France.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

I'm Sure They All Lived Happily Ever After


My Most Frequent Remarks While Reading Twitter

  • "Are they out of their minds?"
  • "What vicious little people!"
For years, many of us wondered what it must feel like to work for a tobacco company. 

Well, if you were involved in the formation and/or operation of Twitter, would you feel proud?

But wait, I'm on Twitter. Should I leave or would doing so only weaken the ranks of those remaining on Twitter who strive for free and civil discussion?

Nudity and The European Pool

Commentary magazine: Rob Long examines the movie business in "Will There Ever Be a Nude Scene Again?"

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Mr. Rogers, with Guns


The Elites

The New Criterion (1995): Roger Kimball reviews Christopher Lasch's "The Revolt of the Elites."

"Culturally Responsive Education"

City Journal: Max Eden on what's happening with Critical Race Theory at the U.S. Department of Education.

Bad times ahead.

Not Your Usual Art Film


Goofball Injury

Sparse posting for a while. I seriously messed up my left arm while lifting a device which was supposed to be loose but instead, for an unknown reason, was stuck. Serious pain, followed by a concern that I might faint.

As a result, I am learning how to function with only one arm for a while.

Charming, but at least it is temporary.

I hope.

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Parents Defending Education

 Another group to fight "woke" teaching in the schools.

Monday, April 19, 2021



The Inquisition Never Ended


Jane Austen drank tea!

And she wore cotton clothing!


Espresso. Dentist. Espresso. Taxes. Coaching schedule. New client. Website analysis. Coffee. File management. Phone calls. Domain management. Taxes. Book notes. Writing. Coffee. Coaching prep. Upcoming: shifting a workshop to Zoom. Time for a pain pill.

As We All Know, Real Teachers Drink Coffee


Heading for Ancient Rome?


The Case for Black Patriotism

 Glenn C. Loury spoke on the topic at Arizona State University. An excerpt:

Is this a venal, immoral, and rapacious bandit-society of plundering white supremacists, founded in genocide and slavery and propelled by capitalist greed, or a good country that affords boundless opportunity to all fortunate enough to enjoy the privileges and bear the responsibilities of citizenship? Of course, there is some warrant in the historical record for both sentiments, but the weight of the evidence overwhelmingly favors the latter. The founding of the United States of America was a world-historic event by means of which Enlightenment ideals about the rights of individual persons and the legitimacy of state power were instantiated for the first time in real institutions.

Down on the Border

 An update from the San Pedro Valley News Sun. An excerpt:

In the Tucson Sector — which includes Cochise County — there were “encounters” with 7,079 unaccompanied migrant children in March. That’s up 83 percent from March 2020, when authorities encountered 3,859 unaccompanied youngsters.

Encounters with single, migrant adults trying to enter the country illegally also jumped in the Tucson Sector, with 68,436 last month, compared to 21,189 in March 2020.

First Paragraph

In late 2010, Nish Acharya arrived in Washington, DC, ready to work. President Barack Obama had appointed Acharya to be his director of innovation and entrepreneurship, and a senior adviser to the secretary of commerce. Acharya was asked to coordinate with twenty-six different federal agencies and over five hundred universities to dispense $100 million in funding, meaning that he was about to become the prototypical DC power player: smartphone always in hand, messages flying back and forth at all hours. But then the network broke.

- From A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload by Cal Newport

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Unusual and Fun


I make a daily visit to A Large Regular.

Friday, April 16, 2021

By the Pond


First Paragraph

When I lived in Chicago's 24th Ward, it was the most beautifully, generously corrupt political jurisdiction in America. In every election the dead and departed voted alongside the winos hauled in for the day and the fearful, sometimes hungry, still-striving citizens of the Great Depression. In our precinct, on West Congress Street, some of those who came to vote in the basement of Marty O'Brien's house had been among the poorest of the poor. Our neighbors, who with such diligence marked their ballots for the Democratic ticket, remembered the food riots, for some of them had fought for the scraps that tumbled out of the garbage trucks and into the starving crowds who gathered like beasts in the city dump.

- From New American Blues: A Journey Through Poverty to Democracy by Earl Shorris (1997)

I Prefer Rex Kwon Do


Someone Should Tell This Guy Jack What Twitter is Really Like


The Underground Railroad


Letter to The Brearley School

It cannot be stated strongly enough that Brearley’s obsession with race must stop. It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way. The administration and the Board of Trustees have displayed a cowardly and appalling lack of leadership by appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob, and then allowing the school to be captured by that same mob. What follows are my own personal views on Brearley's antiracism initiatives, but these are just a handful of the criticisms that I know other parents have expressed. 

Read all of the letter at Common Sense with Bari Weiss.

Ready for the Weekend?


Miscellaneous and Fast

Music Break


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Thursday, April 15, 2021


If there's something you want to do later, do it now. There is no "later."

- Naval Ravikant

Quick Look


What's on Your Wrist?

Patrick Rhone (of Rhoneisms) wears a Timex

Rick Georges (of FutureLawyer) wears the Samsung Galaxy SmartWatch.

I wear a Seiko (shown above). 

That's all riveting, of course, but have you noticed the number of young people who, because of smart phones, aren't wearing watches at all?

Relying solely on a phone strikes me as the modern-day equivalent of using a pocket watch, but I may be wrong. 

Ruling out the realm of ridiculously expensive watches, does wearing (or not wearing) a watch make a statement? If so, what does it say?

Reading a Second Time

I recently decided to re-read these excellent novels.

Pure pleasure.



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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

As China Awaits Another Revolution


Very Enjoyable


Econ 101 Flashbacks


Well, It's Not Like We Have a Debt Problem

James B. Meigs in Commentary magazine: "Biden's Infrastructure Plan Is Not About Infrastructure."

An excerpt:

Others noticed that a surprisingly small share of the money called for in Biden’s infrastructure plan is dedicated to, well, infrastructure. Airports, bridges, and waste-treatment plants, for example, get relative pennies compared with the $400 billion allocated to providing health-care aides to the elderly and disabled. Another $300 billion goes to helping promote U.S. manufacturing. Subsidizing manufacturers and providing federally funded aides to the elderly might or might not be defensible as policies. But they aren’t anybody’s definition of infrastructure. Even those portions of the plan that sound like they describe traditional infrastructure aren’t quite what they seem. For example, the largest single portion of the $621 billion targeting transportation is devoted to subsidizing electric cars,  not rebuilding highways, improving rail lines, or updating airports.

This Sounds Familiar

In 1944, all political forces in France at the Liberation, divided on so many things, were united by the conviction that the defeat had revealed the profound mediocrity of France's elites.

- From The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940 by Julian Jackson

On the Subject of God


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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Twitter's Jack

From 2020: A StartupTalky review of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

Two serious questions:

  1. Setting aside the issue of great wealth, would you be proud if you'd helped to start Twitter? 
  2. Do you think Twitter has been a net plus or a net minus for the world?

People Discussing Their Work: Swimsuit Model


"Kate Upton talks about fame and her career in this exclusive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit interview."

Mob Process

New York Post: The Brooklyn Center City Manager was fired because he said an employee deserved due process?

Amazing. I hope he gets a good lawyer.

And can it get worse? Yes. Note this excerpt:

During a virtual workshop after the meeting, Council Member Kris Lawrence-Anderson said she voted to fire Boganey out of fear of potential reprisals from protestors if she did not, according to the newspaper.

“He was doing a great job. I respect him dearly,” Lawrence-Anderson said. “I didn’t want repercussions at a personal level.”

Men in Shorts

 Althouse addresses a national crisis in fashion, judgment, and sophistication.

The Regents' Cup

A celebration of free speech, civil discourse and democratic engagement at Arizona’s public universities, the Regents’ Cup engages students in rigorous debate anchored by respect and civil discourse. The Regents’ Cup provides an opportunity for students to compete through debate and public speaking for scholarships and course credit in an engaging competition showcasing the commitment of the universities to upholding the intrinsic rights of all students to liberty and freedom of speech. The application process for 2021 is now closed. The next Regents' Cup will be held April 24, 2021.

Bravo for the values behind this competition.

Your Next Trip to Vegas


Mistaking Handguns for Tasers

Some tasers have similar design — not exactly similar but roughly similar — to handguns, which obviously helps with some aspects of training in how to operate them. But the different weapons do not feel the same, they do not weigh the same (tasers can be considerably lighter), and they do not operate the same way. To avoid the minute potential of confusion, cops are typically trained to carry the taser on the weak-hand side (the firearm is on the strong side). The aforementioned 2015 report recounts that in some of the documented cases of mistaken discharge, the taser was carried on the same strong-hand side as, and thus close to, the firearm.

Read the rest of Andrew C. McCarthy's National Review column here.

"I Refuse to Stand By While My Students Are Indoctrinated"

At Common Sense with Bari Weiss, Paul Rossi discusses his experience with the repressive anti-racism training at his school.

Shades of China's Cultural Revolution. An excerpt:

A few days later, the head of school ordered all high school advisors to read a public reprimand of my conduct out loud to every student in the school. It was a surreal experience, walking the halls alone and hearing, simultaneously, the words emitting from each classroom: “Events from last week compel us to underscore some aspects of our mission and share some thoughts about our community,” the statement began. “At independent schools, with their history of predominantly white populations, racism colludes with other forms of bias (sexism, classism, ableism and so much more) to undermine our stated ideals, and we must work hard to undo this history.”

People Discussing Their Work: College Professor


Modern Times


Miscellaneous and Fast

First Paragraph

Some books are written for the pleasure or zest of it. Other books are written as a painful duty, because there is something that needs to be said - and because other people have better sense than to say it. It has not been a pleasure to write this book but a necessity. Nothing is more certain than its distortions. Yet the growing polarization of the races, the stagnation and retrogression of the truly disadvantaged, and the embittered atmosphere surrounding the evolution of "civil rights," in the courts especially, leave no real alternative to an open and frank reconsideration of what has been done, and is being done, in the name of those two words.

- From Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? by Thomas Sowell (1984)

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Monday, April 12, 2021



Daunte Wright

 NPR: The shooting of Daunte Wright

In the days ahead, there will be much discussion of the officer's claim that she meant to use a Taser instead of her pistol and whether it was reasonable for the officers to believe that Mr. Wright was reaching for a weapon.

[Basic rules to follow when stopped by the police: always keep your hands in sight, follow their instructions, do not resist, avoid sudden movements. Ask their permission before doing anything that may deviate from those guidelines. Do nothing that may make them believe that they are in danger.]

At this point, we are dealing with first reports about what happened. Let's see what the investigation reveals.

When Corporations and Politicians are Cozy

More than 120 CEOs, top executives and other corporate leaders gathered virtually over the weekend to discuss how they would exert corporate pressure to influence voting legislation, organizers of the meeting revealed in a statement.

[Update: Link fixed.]


"Most people weren’t even aware of how transactional things were. It was like the air that they breathed. That’s the way I would put it. They had grown up in that world, they ... didn’t see it as manipulative, that was just sort of the way it worked to them. And in some ways, I kind of pity them for thinking about it like that."

- J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, on the atmosphere in his years at Yale Law School

A Soft Coup at Georgetown University

Writing in Quillette, Lama Abu Odeh explores the actions of the "progressoriat" at Georgetown.

I recently noticed similar strategies at a cultural organization. If it hasn't already arrived, get ready to see this at organizations close to you. It's pretty much a one-sided battle since the potential opponents to the new craziness have no idea as to what is taking place until they've been removed from the field.

Will there be a push-back? Absolutely.

Universalists and Particularists

The Dutch management scholar Fons Trompenaars wrote several years ago about cultures that are universalist and those that are particularist.

The universalists believe that laws and rules should be applied equally.

The particularists believe it is appropriate to make exceptions for relatives and friends. 

I would add that nowadays we see special exceptions made for those with the same political beliefs.

This gives the particularists a distinct advantage in political debates. Although they can denounce any hypocrisy by the universalists, their own hypocrisy is quickly ignored.


Because they don't pretend to be consistent. They believe - seriously believe - that they are morally superior to the other side. Exceptions are permissible if made in their favor.

After all, if you think the other side is composed of Nazis and racists and crooks, then you may not be too scrupulous when it comes to how you take them down. Read Twitter for a while and you'll see plenty of examples of this way of thinking.

All of us need to get back to universalist thinking. Particularist thinking will destroy civilization.

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