Also: "         is here."

(Any words in the blank work.)

[Woof]

Briefly noted:

  • A few days back, I mentioned that I was going to write my state senator, David Watters, and urge him to check out the Intellectual Freedom Protection Act Draft from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), meant to bar public universities from demanding "diversity statements", in essence loyalty oaths to woke ideology, for purposes of hiring and promoting faculty.

    I got a perfunctory response:

    Thanks. It’s worth noting that NH and particularly USNH rank very high on intellectual freedom rankings.

    Um, OK. My response:

    Thanks for your response. The aforementioned Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) does give UNH pretty high marks for its current good speech code (after years of having a bad one). Unfortunately, they rank it as mediocre or worse on a number of other criteria; see https://rankings.thefire.org/rank/school/university-of-new-hampshire-main-campus.

    If you're interested in further investigating the argument against "diversity statement" requirements, the Academic Freedom Alliance has come out against their use. Their statement: https://academicfreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/AFA-DEI-Statement-081822.pdf.

    No response to that yet.

    I should note that, in addition to being a powerful NH Democrat politician, Senator Watters is a UNH Professor Emeritus. Which means he's been around for a number of controversies in this area. (Like me.) Sometimes you get lucky, however, with actual liberals who are dismayed by campus wokism.

  • More on that general topic from John Sailer, who describes, for the WSJ, How the NIH Pushes DEI on Scientists.

    The day after the Journal published my article “How ‘Diversity’ Policing Fails Science,” which exposed how Texas Tech University used job applicants’ diversity statements as ideological litmus tests, the university announced it would end its use of such statements for faculty hiring. Other universities would be well advised to follow Texas Tech’s lead. But it is unlikely they will. The federal government is spending nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to promote the practice Texas Tech jettisoned.

    In 2020 the National Institutes of Health created the Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation program “to enhance and maintain cultures of inclusive excellence in the biomedical research community.” The program will give 12 institutions a total of $241 million over nine years for diversity-focused faculty hiring. Under the terms of the grants, only candidates who demonstrate “a strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusive excellence” can be hired through the program. To apply, candidates must submit a diversity statement.

    Seems as if the NIH decided that whole "curing illness" thing was too hard, and decided to promote failed ideology instead.

  • Slashdot provides the latest news from the public health nannies: More Than Half of Humans On Track To Be Overweight or Obese By 2035, Report Finds. Oh no! It's from the Guardian:

    More than half of the world's population will be overweight or obese by 2035 unless governments take decisive action to curb the growing epidemic of excess weight, a report has warned. About 2.6 billion people globally -- 38% of the world population -- are already overweight or obese. But on current trends that is expected to rise to more than 4 billion people (51%) in 12 years' time, according to research by the World Obesity Federation.

    Without widespread use of tactics such as taxes and limits on the promotion of unhealthy food, the number of people who are clinically obese will increase […]

    … and that's pretty much where I stopped reading. Treating people as if they were adults, and responsible for their own dietary choices is not a considered option to these people. (I almost wrote "fatheads" there. Shame on me.)

    Of course, part of this is the inevitable result of socialized medicine. When your personal choices have a perceived impact on your consumption of taxpayer-paid health services, those choices quickly become everyone else's business, subject to a whole lot of "Thou shalts" and "Thou shalt nots."

    People have to die of something however. Could be that folks dying of weight-related maladies actually save their "health care systems" money on net.

  • And finally: J.D. Tuccille's Son Did His Taxes for the First Time. Rage Ensued.

    Nothing focuses the mind quite so intently on the sheer stupidity of government as doing your taxes. What is taken from us is excessive, the intrusiveness is maddening, and the rules are byzantine, which is the distilled essence of most of our interactions with the state. So, it was with a certain degree of anticipation that I told my son that, after working hard at the supermarket in addition to his homeschooling and martial arts, he would have to file his first tax return. Much fun ensued.

    Given the complexity of our returns, involving a trust, commercial real estate, and business entities, my wife and I pay an accountant to wrangle our taxes. But before Anthony heads down that path, we thought he should understand what it means to fill out his own return and hope for the best.

    "What happens if you guess wrong?" he asked.

    "Well, there's no actual right answer in terms of how much you're supposed to pay. If you can even reach them, IRS employees contradict each other all the time because nobody really understands the rules. But if you come up with something they don't like, they just might destroy your life."

    "Oh, shit," he said.

    It's pretty funny, if you find a young person's gradual realization that they are under the control of an absurd and irrational system that must be appeased amusing.

    I have a relatively simple tax situation, and can only chuckle at the games involved of getting money from the Feds (Social Security), sending some of it back (Estimated Taxes), finding out how much of what's left is subject to further taxation (a hefty amount calculated via an opaque formula), hoping Turbo Tax didn't forget to ask me something, then either sending in more money, or waiting for some of that (poorly) estimated tax to come back to our bank account.

    Amusing because I'm used to it. I understand how people get outraged instead.


Last Modified 2024-01-30 6:19 AM EST