You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Work at a University.

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BU faculty member David Decosimo has tenure, but he's still pretty brave to take to the pages of the WSJ, describing How Ibram X. Kendi Broke Boston University. After recounting the current mess:

Such an outcome was entirely predictable. In June 2020, the university hired Mr. Kendi, created and endowed his center, and canceled all “classes, meetings, and events” for a quasi-religious “Day of Collective Engagement” on “Racism and Antiracism, Our Realities and Our Roles,” during which Mr. Kendi and his colleagues were treated as sages.

They denounced voter-identification laws as “an expressly antiblack form of state violence,” claimed Ronald Reagan flooded “black communities with crack cocaine,” and declared that every black person was “literally George Floyd.” One speaker said that decades ago “literal uprising and rebellion in the streets” forced the creation of black-studies programs in universities nationwide, and now was the time to revolutionize the “whole institution” and make antiracism central to every discipline and a requirement for all faculty hiring.

That summer many BU departments published Kendi-ist “antiracist” statements limiting academic freedom and subordinating inquiry to his ideology. With their dean’s oversight and approval, the School of Theatre passed a plan to audit all syllabi, courses and policies to ensure conformity with “an anti-oppression and anti-racist lens” and discussed placing monitors in each class to report violations of antiracist ideology. The sociology department publicly announced that “white supremacy and racism” were “pervasive and woven into . . . our own . . . department.” In the English department’s playwriting program, all syllabi would have to “assign 50% diverse-identifying and marginalized writers,” and any “material or scholarship . . . from a White or Eurocentric lineage” could be taught only “through an actively anti-racist lens.” They even published hiring quotas based on race: “We commit to . . . hiring at least 50% BIPOC”—an acronym for black, indigenous or people of color—“artists by 2023.”

It appears that Kendi is being (as they say) thrown under the bus. By making it all about his manifest incompetence, his co-ideologues can continue to promote their "anti-racist" grift, in all its bullying, censorious, illiberal glory.

Also of note:

  • Calling Leonard Pinth-Garnell. Brian Riedl points out The Impending Government Shutdown is Nothing But Theater.

    As a federal budget economist, I typically analyze budget fights in the context of competing economic and fiscal approaches, and then define what I consider to be the optimal policy. However, the current government shutdown debate lacks any coherent policy explanation. Nor is it truly about fiscal or economic policy at all. It is purely political theater driven by a small handful of Republican House lawmakers who are being called out by their own colleagues for self-promotion and populist positioning.

    Congressional Republicans claim that this fight is about reining in budget deficits that approach $2 trillion this year and are barreling toward $3 trillion a decade from now. Yet they propose no changes to the Social Security and Medicare shortfalls that are overwhelmingly driving projected deficits. Nor are they proposing significant reforms to other mandatory programs, defense, or veterans’ benefits. Instead, they are focusing entirely on a 10 percent sliver of spending known as non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending. Yes, every spending cut counts, but even achieving the House objective of cutting this spending by 25 percent would merely reduce the deficit a decade from now from $3 trillion to $2.8 trillion. Lawmakers who are serious about deficits would also address the 90 percent of spending that is actually driving the red ink.

    Meanwhile, House Democrats are passing the popcorn.

    In case you don't recognize the reference above: Wikipedia is your friend.

  • Visiting the CIA to CYA, Tony? Matt Taibbi, Alex Gutentag, and Michael Shellenberger seem to have the receipts: Fauci Diverted US Government Away From Lab Leak Theory Of COVID’s Origin, Sources Say.

    The former director of the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr. Anthony Fauci, who led the US government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, visited CIA headquarters to “influence” its review of COVID-19 origins, the House Oversight Committee reported yesterday.

    Last month, Committee Chair Brad Wenstrup made headlines when he revealed that seven CIA analysts “with significant scientific expertise” on the agency’s COVID-19 Discovery Team (CDT) received performance bonuses after changing a report to downplay concerns about a possible lab origin of the virus.

    It's pretty clear that Fauci was far more concerned with covering his own ass than saving American lives.

  • Abolish the FCC. It's a leftover from the fascism-flirting 1930s. And it's up to its old mischief, saving us from… something, as Berin Szóka reports: FCC Revives Common Carriage for the Internet.

    Until Monday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had been deadlocked for 2.5 years. It took President Joe Biden six months to nominate a third Democratic commissioner—and after moderate Democrats balked, it took another 17 for him to nominate someone else. The swearing-in of Anna Gomez gave Democrats a majority—two-thirds of the way into President Joe Biden's presidential term. With so much to cram into so little time, the next year will be the most frenzied in the FCC's nearly 100-year history.

    The key issue is broadband regulation. It's been five years since the Republican FCC supposedly "killed net neutrality"—yet even after the pandemic's shift towards remote work, remote school, and remote everything broadband service is better than ever thanks to $2 trillion in private investment since 1996. That's by far the largest source of capital expenditures in the U.S., dwarfing public subsidies, even the generous grants included in pandemic stimulus bills.

    Get ready for years of expensive litigation, as companies spend money on lawyers that they could have spent on infrastructure.

  • Why is New Hampshire doing this? A couple days ago, I wondered why New Hampshire was one of the (only) 17 states to go after Amazon on antitrust grounds. Michael Graham has journalistic resources, and provides an article about that: Not Ready for 'Prime' Time? Sununu Admin Joins Amazon Antitrust Lawsuit. He asks the right question:

    New Hampshire and Oklahoma are the only two states with Republican attorneys general participating in the lawsuit. Even liberal Republican Gov. Phil Scott, next door in Vermont, is not on board.

    So why is the pro-business Sununu administration throwing punches at Amazon Prime?

    And after many, many people are quoted:

    Sununu did not respond to a request for comment.

    Yes, even if you're a journalist, you can't force a politician to answer relevant questions about spending state resources to persecute a company he once dreamed would establish a major headquarters here.

    Reader, if you see Chris Sununu out on the street, could you maybe ask him for an answer?

Recently on the movie blog:

Last Modified 2024-01-11 4:50 AM EDT

The Big Bus

[2.5 stars] [IMDB Link]

[Amazon Link]
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My movie mood was leaning toward "dumb and funny", so I picked this blast from the past. And shelled out $3.99 to Amazon for the privilege. I saw it when it came out in 1976, and not since. Although it's still funny in spots, my memory was overly rosy.

An opening prologue references the movies parodied here: "There have been Movies about Big Earthquakes . . . There have been Movies about Big Boats sinking . . . Movies about Big Buildings burning . . . Movies about Big German Balloons busting . . . And now a Movie about . . .". And (amazingly) this movie was made before Airplane!. They don't make 'em like this any more, do they?

Joseph Bologna plays Dan, a bus driver down on his luck, reviled by his peers for a past catastrophe in which bus passengers were eaten by crash survivors. But Dan himself was cleared, since he was unaware of the ingredients of the stew his co-driver prepared. ("You eat one lousy foot and they call you a cannibal!")

He gets a chance at redemption when his ex-fiancee, Kitty (Stockard Channing) importunes him to take "Cyclops", the titular nuclear-powered one-headlight vehicle, on its maiden nonstop voyage from New York to Denver. Complication: an oil magnate will stop at nothing to sabotage the bus. A careless hillbilly causes a collision. The bus (literally) teeters on the edge of disaster. And (of course) both crew and passengers are a colorful lot.

But I fell asleep on the sofa with about 20 minutes left in the movie. Fortunately, Amazon lets you back up.

Last Modified 2024-01-11 4:50 AM EDT