Interesting Items 01/31

Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information.  Enjoy –

In this issue –

1.  Affirmative Action
2.  Pipeline
3.  Education
4.  Therapeutics
5.  Fines
6.  Walrus
7.  Kill Switch

1.  Affirmative Action.  SCOTUS Associate Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement last week, effective upon confirmation of his replacement.  The left, still smarting from Justice Ginsberg’s replacement by Justice Barrett in 2020 has been trying to encourage Breyer to step down so as not to end up with the same mess they created for themselves in 2020.  While Breyer’s retirement will not tilt the ideological mix of the court, it will certainly freshen the liberal wing.  Where this all gets a bit interesting is Biden’s promise to replace Breyer with a black female, essentially turning the replacement into an affirmative action hire, selected based on skin color and sex, things that any court in the land would hammer any employer for doing.  While this appears to be a political payoff to SC congress critter James Clyburn, who backed Biden in the SC primary saving his nomination, Biden has done this before, which is how he ended up with the walking train wreck that is VP Kamala Harris.  I can think of no better way to bring down respect for SCOTUS opinions than to insert an affirmative action hire into the position.  Expect Biden to find the very youngest and most whacko ideologue for his nominee.  One funny part of the event is Biden’s participation in a two year long filibuster of California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the DC Federal Circuit starting in 2003.  Brown was a black libertarian conservative who was eventually confirmed to the federal bench in 2005.  More recently, 13 senate democrats including Chuck Schumer, Tammy Baldwin, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown, Maria Cantwell, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mazie Hirono, Ed Markey, Patty Murray, and Ron Wyden voted against Ada E Brown, a black female Trump nominee to the federal bench in Texas.  The 2019 confirmation vote was 80 – 13, with all voting against being democrats.  Several of these are on the Senate Judiciary Committee and will pontificate loudly and long about the historic nature of the nomination.  Unless something awful and unexpected happens, expect the next couple Justices to age out to be staunch conservatives Thomas and Alito.  There is also an outside chance that Sotomayor’s diabetes will catch up with her sooner rather than later. 

2.  Pipeline.  Not content with shutting down the Keystone XL Pipeline here in the US on his first day in office, green lighting Putin’s Nord Stream 2 into northern Europe, making Europe more dependent on Russian natural gas, and giving Putin all the energy leverage over Europe he needs, the Harris – Xiden administration notified Israel they are withdrawing support for the EastMed natural gas pipeline.  The excuse for this was environmental and economic viability grounds.  The pipeline would allow Israel to sell natural gas from its Leviathan natural gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli coast.  While the excuse is environmental (which seems to be the go-to excuse to not do anything under this administration, just ask SpaceX), the real opposition came from the Islamist regime in Turkey, which has financial interest as a conduit for Russian gas and oil into Europe.  Appears Erdogan is trying to leverage his opposition to the EastMed as a vehicle to force the new pipeline to run thru Turkey where they can fasten onto it like a tick and suck transit fees.  The pipeline was supposed to go between the field to Cyprus to Greece and into Europe.  Completion was in 2025 though no funding has yet been found.  The WH claims to support electrical interconnects into Europe for renewable energy into the EU.  Oh joy.  No word yet about Israel’s ability to go it alone without US support.  My guess is they can.  Whether they will or not is another thing entirely.  Israel’s growing working relationship with Russian may come into play on this one.  Should be interesting to watch.

3.  Education.  Three topics this week.  One good, one bad, and one that is great. 

  • K-12 transparency is an increasingly popular tool by irate parents interested in monitoring the public schools.  There are a variety of proposals in numerous states ranging from posting curriculum online to actual live stream cameras in classrooms.  Teachers unions and their media allies are in a near panic over this.  Today, this movement is starting in the red states.  Expect it to spread like wildfire.  The legislation is typically framed as transparency.  Its opposition paints it as unfunded mandates stoking flames pitting parents against teachers.  These would be the very same teachers who proudly signed proclamations last summer that they would continue teaching CRT in their classrooms regardless of any local or state laws prohibiting those topics.  Think of the legislation as the functional equivalent of lifting up a rock and seeing what scurries away afterwards.
  • Universities are dying.  That is the first line out of a FEE article last week describing the collapse of the final leg that universities are standing on – the mythology of social status, or the importance of the degree.  This is easily the best news of the week.  The woke crowd in control of college education has managed to jack up attendance costs to stratospheric levels while simultaneously dumbing down the curriculum and replacing it with little more than indoctrination, all in return for the piece of paper upon graduation.  And the value of that piece of paper is rapidly going to zero.  Great article.  Well worth your time.
  • In the worst news of the week and to restate the obvious, Aaron Hertzberg writing in the Brownstone Institute posted what he calls a partial list of the myriad abuses that facemasks inflict on kids.  Another relevant observation over the weekend is that the leftists are embracing child sacrifice for forcing this sort of stuff on our kiddos.  The piece ends with the following:

Never in human history has a society organized on the basis of the rights and welfare of its citizens inflicted such devastation upon its own people. The stain of the forced masking of children will forever live on as an unparalleled and unequivocal moral abomination. A society that mainstreams institutionalized child abuse is a society that does not deserve to exist.

4.  Therapeutics.  The war on therapeutics continued last week as the FDA withdrew emergency use authorization for monoclonal antibodies.  The excuse for withdrawal of the emergency use authorization was that monoclonal antibodies are not all that effective against omicron.  This followed the Harris – Xiden administration taking control of its distribution a month or two ago, prompting outrage from many red states who have been using the treatment effectively against COVID alpha and delta.  Initially, the federalization was viewed as an attempt to make sure enough of the stuff was available to treat COVID patients in blue states that the delta wave had not yet hit.  The action is rightly viewed as a political hit against successful use of the drugs by multiple red states.  Note that delta is still out there making the rounds.  The good news on this is that the omicron surge has given T-cell immunity to a large percentage of the population.  In related COVID news, a short comment in today’s Instapundit noted that the public health apparat lost its credibility four months into the pandemic, May 2020, when it backed off from its (at the time) lockstep support for social distancing and lockdowns.  It determined that the BLM / AntiFa protests and riots were simply too important to keep Americans from participating in.  Once you jettison that public credibility, you never get it back.  And they haven’t.

5.  Fines.  Shades of Ferguson, MO.  A small Alabama town figured out how to grow income into the municipal government and in turn its police force by aggressively writing tickets and levying fines on literally everything that moves.  As a review, the Aug 2014 Ferguson riots ostensibly started with the police shooting of Michael Brown after the kid went after the cop’s firearm.  But the seeds for this were sown over the course of an entire decade as the municipal government figured they could jack up revenues by an aggressive, punitive, predatory system of fines, court costs, and penalties.  All attempts by the residents (mostly black) were ignored by city officials (mostly white).  Lazy reporting painted the mess as a racial issue, though both sides of the arguments were ALL democrats doing this to one another.  Essentially, they were funding their phony baloney jobs on the backs of the citizenry, and it ended up poorly.  This is a stark warning to democrats who are busily attempting to demonize election concerns by Republicans and the fecklessness currently demonstrated by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Canadian media in the face of the trucker’s protest.  You simply can’t ignore public complaints and hope it will go away.  That pressure will only build until something blows.  Back to Brookside, Alabama, a small town of less than 1,500 people.  For most of the last decade, it saw little crime, only 55 major crime sin 8 years, no homicide or rape.  In the last two years, revenues from fines and property forfeiture is up by a factor of over 6x.  That revenue now makes up half the revenue of the town.  And the behavior of police perpetrating this fraud upon the general public are just as ugly as you would expect.  This isn’t going to end well.  And it should stop.  Now. Before somebody gets permanently hurt. 

6.  Walrus.  Susan Crockford writing in Watts Up With That nature videographer David Attenborough lied about hundreds of dead walrus during a three year long campaign.  Attenborough agreed with the World Economic Forum (WEF) notion that immediate and drastic changes must be made to address the impending climate emergency and other social ills.  Attenborough filmed massive walrus haul outs in Siberia, claiming that hundreds of the animals were dying after jumping (falling) off cliffs due to stress of climate change.  Oh, the humanity.  His obvious fabrications cost him much of the respect and good will he created over decades of visually attractive nature videos documenting the animal world.  This is an example of the sort of disaster we get when the purported scientists and in turn the science they are doing become politicized.

7.  Kill Switch.  Rather high on the list of things to repeal by the next congress is a provision in the infrastructure bill that requires all auto (and I would guess vehicle) manufacturers to install a kill switch that would allow any government at any time to simply disable a vehicleThe switch is required in the 2026 model year.  It’s not like embedding a government back door into your vehicle is a bad idea or anything (/sarc).  Think of it as an opening bid for full time monitoring of your vehicle.  So much for the late, great, right to privacy, upon which Roe v Wade is based.  The switch will have to be open to wireless connection, which means it will be hacked.  Think about what we’ve just gone through with lockdowns and hunker down orders if any government at any level had the ability to simply brick your vehicle.  Think of the change in the ability of a carjacker or thief to simply brick and then unbrick your vehicle once he (and there are generally guys in this business) the ability to remotely use the switch.  Think of what an enemy can do with this sort of ill-conceived technology.  Interestingly, cell carriers in 2013 managed to swat aside a similar proposal out of the California Assembly aimed at bricking cell phones.  Apparently, my cell, my body works and my car (or truck), my body, doesn’t.  Imagine government abuse of such a switch in any sort of rolling protest.  The new Republican congress has some work to do. 

More later –

  • AG

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