Interesting Items 05/23

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

In this issue –

1.  FDA
2.  Pronouns
3.  Elon
4.  CRT
5.  Sarin

1.  FDA.  No longer having children (or grandchildren) of the age where formula is necessary, I have watched the unfolding baby formula shortage from a (mostly) disinterested perspective.  Initially, it smelled a lot like a panic buy episode, not unlike what we’ve seen with bullets, toilet paper, and nitrile exam gloves over the last three years.  But this one is deeper, with all the Usual Suspects (media, Big Tech and government) doing their level best to create and exacerbate the problem they created. 

  • Will deal with media first, as its participation is most predictable.  It has been doing its level best to spin up the panic.  Simultaneously, it is also doing its level best to shield Harris – Xiden from criticism for their incompetence. 
  • Big Tech is also up to their old tricks.  Did you know that there are old recipes for making formula at home?  Most of them date from the 1940’s – 1950’s before commercial manufacture of formula spun up.  Most of them are based on evaporated / condensed milk.  A caller to Hannity Friday claimed attempts to post a couple of these recipes in FakeBook were immediately censored.  Nothing like allowing your customers to figure out online how to deal with a government-created problem.  Sounds like the same censorship regime aimed at stifling any / all discussion of COVID therapeutics is still in place and working well. 
  • This takes me immediately to the cause of the problem, which appears to be an FDA shutdown of Abbot Nutrition’s formula production, forcing a recall in February.  PowerLine also had a pretty good writeup.  At the time, Abbot Nutrition produced perhaps 40% of all formula sold in the US.  Abbott Nutrition appeared on the FDA’s radar shortly after a Sept 2021 inspection.  The report from that inspection detailed the standard litany of sanitary violations but did not mention Chronobacter sakazakiior salmonella (bacteria) presence in any of the product contact areas of the factory, which was the basis for increased interest, inspections, and the standard proctology exam by the FDA.  There were four reports of Chronobacter infections of infants Sept 2021 – Feb 2022.  Two infants died.  Formula consumed by the infants was tracked back to the Abbott Sturgis plant.  None of the bacteria from the infections were of the same strain found at the factory, but formula was blamed anyway.  This triggered an FDA-mandated recall of formula.  And you can’t manufacture or ship new product if you are in the midst of a forced recall.  Note that the bacteria was not found in any unopened formula.  Add to the festivities a whistleblower, alleging lax cleaning practices and falsified records by Abbott.  There are FDA rules in place that severely limit the ability of manufactures to respond to shortages.  None have been relaxed to deal with a known growing shortage.  And there has been no action by the FDA for months to deal with or alleviate the shortage and panic buying they caused.  They simply allowed the problem to fester for three solid months.  Their action today?  Invoking the Defense Production Act to crank up manufacture and fly in formula in military jets over the weekend to distribute to hospitals.  Based on the PowerLine and City Journal articles linked above, this really smells a lot like an overreaction by the FDA followed by a “What, me worry?” reaction to the guaranteed shortage and panic buying of formula afterwards.  They created the problem and didn’t lift a finger to mitigate it. 
  • Final point concerns with the rampant incompetence of the Harris – Xiden regime.  Senator Josh Hawley called Clay and Buck Friday.  He acknowledged that the regime is essentially the third O’Bama term in office.  The problem is that it is taking place 13 years after they took office in 2009.  He is of the opinion that all the A and B level appointees and hires have gone on to bigger and better things.  What we have today are the C and D (or worse) hires / appointees, and they are not smart enough to do anything other than sit around and talk.  This explanation bothers me a bit, as it smacks of the perennial democrat / media claim that all Republican presidents are idiots.  But it does ring true from the following perspective.  All presidential terms in office wind down, with trouble brewing generally sometime in the second term, after the initial round of hires and appointees move on to bigger and better things.  This all by itself should be a reason not to elect Donald Trump in 2024, and a reason he shouldn’t run.

2.  Pronouns.  If the FDA-caused infant formula shortage wasn’t enough to irritate, have I got a story for you.  Legal Insurrection ran a piece last week about three 8th Grade (13-year-olds) boys being investigated for sexual harassment for failing to use the proper pronouns for a classmate.  The school district launched a Title IX complaint against the students with a formal investigation underway.  The pronoun student was reportedly quite ugly with her demands, using profanity and berating the kids in class.  Sounds like mostly the kids refused to play rather than stir things up, taking the “you can’t make me” approach.  The school and the aggressor have other plans.  In this, the school district appears to be making new federal law, with the mistaken belief that any mispronouncing or refusal to use requested pronouns is punishable under federal law.  We will hope it is very, very expensive for the district.  It is this sort of lunacy that makes fond thoughts about HL Mencken’s quote used in Ace of Spades header:

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

An alternate would be Clint Eastwood leaving town at the end of Unforgiven.  I’m not calling for either, but at some point, this sort of institutionally sponsored, tolerated, and celebrated bullying is going to trigger an ugly and desperately well-deserved response. 

3.  Elon.  While Elon Musk continues to publicly negotiate with the Twitter Board over details of the purchase, the left appears to have decided he is the Next Big Target.  It took less than a day after he announced he would be voting for Republicans for the first time in his life for the first sexual harassment complaint to hit the media.  The story is that he exposed himself on a company jet in 2016, offering to buy her a horse in return for fulfilling a request.  SpaceX paid a quarter million-dollar settlement.  Musk vigorously denied the story on Twitter by noting that the scandal should be referred to as Elongate.  The settlement should not be a surprise at this level, as legal fees add up quickly at $1,500/hour.  Sexual harassment claims are very difficult to disprove, so it is generally easier to simply pay a settlement.  The continued negotiation with Twitter is over the percentage of Twitter users that are bots.  The Twitter Board claims that number is less than 5%.  There are credible observers who believe that number may be 50% or larger.  Musk is demanding proof of the customer base, as he has plans to get them to pay fees for using Twitter as a vehicle to turn it into a money-making operation.  This morning, he suggested that the purchase price should be reduced based on the number of non-human accounts.  While Musk has demanded that Twitter prove their numbers, so far, they have refused.  Note that shareholders should be concerned about the number of fake accounts, as advertisers are paying based on Twitter’s claims of the number of human accounts, exposing the current ownership and Musk should the sale complete to no small liability.  And he is doing this all in public with tweets. 

4.  CRT.  C Bradley Thompson in the Redneck Intellectual wrote a piece a couple weeks ago entitled The CRT-industrial Complex.  The piece starts with a review of what CRT actually is and goes to explain how it was introduced into the schools.  Essentially, what he calls America’s Education Deep State (federal and state departments of education, teachers’ unions, the Ed schools in universities and colleges, school boards, accrediting agencies, licensure boards, various education associations, curriculum designers, textbook publishing, Diversity-Equity-Inclusion consultants, etc) is participating and pushing this racial poison.  He calls this the CRT-Industrial-Complex.  Harris – Xiden is requiring anyone who receives federal education funds to “incorporate anti-racist policies into teaching and learning.”  They are also required to teach that equity (equal outcomes) is the solution to all of America’s race problems.  CRT has been dominating the Ed Schools for almost 30 years.  Things are so bad that 48% of teacher training faculty at the 20 top-rated teacher colleges have a primary interest in race.  This stuff is the primary area of study for 24%.  No wonder nobody is learning anything other than how to hate each other.  Much of the stuff taught in the Ed Schools is driven by accrediting agencies.  The use and abuse of CRT by the Ed Schools is omnipresent.  If all future teachers are taught to teach CRT, that is what WILL be taught regardless of what parents or politicians want.  Aside:  Wanna bet?  Alternately:  Hold my beer.  The teachers’ unions are completely on board with all of this, pushing it nationally and locally.  The piece concludes with the following:

America’s government school system cannot be reformed or saved.  It has been captured lock, stock, and barrel by the militant, neo-Marxist Left.  The government school system must therefore be abolished.  Do your part and #JustWalkAway. 

5.  Sarin.  Looks like we’ve finally got a handle on what caused Gulf War Syndrome suffered by troops after the First Gulf War in 1991.  The cause appears to be exposure to Sarin, a lethal nerve agent, following destruction of Saddam’s manufacturing and storage facilities by air attacks early in the campaign.  The storage areas around Muthanna and Falluja released Sarin into the atmosphere.  Exposure took place downwind, generally to the west and south of the facilities. Released quantities were enough to make people sick, though not sufficiently concentrated to kill them outright.  Nearly 300,000 complained of unexplained and chronic symptoms including fevers, night sweats, memory, and concentration problems.  There are at least 100,000 Gulf War vets not getting help for the illness.  There is a genetic component to this, as there is a gene that helps the body break down chemicals in the body.  Soldiers who heard chemical alarms and had a particular genetic marker were 4 – 9x more likely to get the syndrome.  Sarin was detected in Iraq for six months following the start of the air campaign.  Science Daily has a similar story with links to original research. 

More later –

– AG

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