“Roughly one-third of students are also in favor of banning controversial books from their university library.”

Matthias Revers & Richard Traunmüller:

Although universities play a key role in questions of free speech and political viewpoint diversity, they are often associated with the opposite of a free exchange of ideas: a proliferation of restrictive campus speech codes, violent protests against controversial speakers and even the firing of inconvenient professors. For some observers these trends on university campuses are a clear indicator of the dire future for freedom of speech. Others view these incidents as scandalized singular events and regard campus intolerance as a mere myth. We take an empirical look at some of the claims in the debate and present original survey evidence from a most likely case: the leftist social science studentship at Goethe University Frankfurt. Our results show that taking offense is a common experience and that a sizable number of students are in favor of restricting speech on campus. We also find evidence for conformity pressures on campus and that both the desire to restrict speech and the reluctance to speak openly differ significantly across political ideology. Left- leaning students are less likely to tolerate controversial viewpoints and right-leaning students are more likely to self-censor on politically sensitive issues such as gender, immigration, or sexual and ethnic minorities. Although preliminary, these findings may have implications for the social sciences and academia more broadly.
Keywords Freedom of expression.

Nonreplicable publications are cited more than replicable ones

Marta Serra-Garcia and URI Gneezy:

We use publicly available data to show that published papers in top psychology, economics, and general interest journals that fail to replicate are cited more than those that replicate. This difference in citation does not change after the publication of the failure to replicate. Only 12% of postreplication citations of nonreplicable findings acknowledge the replication failure. Existing evidence also shows that experts predict well which papers will be replicated. Given this prediction, why are nonreplicable papers accepted for publication in the first place? A possible answer is that the review team faces a trade-off. When the results are more “interesting,” they apply lower standards regarding their reproducibility.

“News coverage of China in these magazines has begun to look a little less objective than it once did”

Matt Ridley:

Springer-Nature, the Anglo-German publisher of the world’s leading scientific journal Nature, announced in 2017 that in some of its publications it was censoring articles that used words like “Taiwan”, “Tibet” and “cultural revolution”, when printing in China. In April 2020 Nature ran an editorial apologising for its “error” in “associating the virus with Wuhan” in its news coverage.

Around the same time Nature also attached an editorial note to a number of its old articles reading:

“We are aware that this story is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.”

The headline on one such article, from 2015, read: ‘Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research’, and it concerned an experiment done by a team partly from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Sceptics have noticed that any paper arguing against a lab leak is rushed into print in days, while ones that argue for a lab leak are rejected or delayed for months. Elsewhere a paper about pangolins and the coronavirus has been exposed as rehashing data from an older paper, but has not been retracted.

Now, in an episode that would be farcical if it was not about such a serious topic, one of Nature’s journalists has got in a muddle contradicting herself in a bid to distance herself from one of the scientists most vocally defensive of China.

She denied having ever met him, then claimed that a picture of them together was “doctored” by rightwing meda, then deleted a bunch of her tweets confirming that she had indeed met him – but missed one – then retweeted a page from another organisation that appears to have been doctored to omit his name from a record of their meeting. Finally, confronted with the missed tweet, she admits she met him but claims she forgot.

The journalist in question, Amy Maxmen, has been covering the issue of the origin of the virus for Nature and on May 27 she published an article headlined: ‘Divisive COVID ‘lab leak’ debate prompts dire warnings from researchers’, in which she reported that scientists found the speculation about the possibility of a lab leak “unsettling” and that they were warning “that the growing demands are exacerbating tensions between the United States and China”, while the debate “has grown so toxic that it’s fuelling online bullying of scientists and anti-Asian harassment in the United States, as well as offending researchers and authorities in China whose cooperation is needed.” (When I was a journalist, offending authorities was a badge of honour.)

Civics: China Arrests Hong Kong Journalists for Violating Law That Was Praised in New York Times Op-Ed

Chuck Ross:

Authorities in Hong Kong this week used a Chinese national security law defended in the New York Times to arrest five editors at a newspaper critical of Beijing.

Police raided the offices of Apple Daily and arrested the editors for violating a national security law imposed last year that makes it illegal to call for sanctions against China. In October 2020, Regina Ip, a Hong Kong official known to have close ties to Beijing, defended the law in New York Times op-ed. Ip credited the measure for ending protests in Hong Kong, which she claimed had devolved into violence.

“The scale and frequency of antigovernment protests has now subsided — thanks to a national security law for Hong Kong promulgated in Beijing on June 30,” she wrote in the Times.

The arrests come as the Chinese government cracks down on media outlets and activists who support the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Police arrested Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai last year on charges under the national security law. Lai was convicted this year on fraud charges that Western observers have claimed were fabricated against him because of his staunch opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

At the worst moment, Internet censorship has driven scientific debate itself underground

Matt Taibbi:

“We have a solution to this crisis,” he said unequivocally. “There is a drug that is proving to have a miraculous impact.”

Kory was referring to an FDA-approved medicine called ivermectin. A genuine wonder drug in other realms, ivermectin has all but eliminated parasitic diseases like river blindness and elephantiasis, helping discoverer Satoshi Ōmura win the Nobel Prize in 2015. As far as its uses in the pandemic went, however, research was still scant. Could it really be a magic Covid-19 bullet?

Kory had been trying to make such a case, but complained to the Senate that public efforts had been stifled, because “every time we mention ivermectin, we get put in Facebook jail.” A Catch-22 seemed to be ensnaring science. With the world desperate for news about an unprecedented disaster, Silicon Valley had essentially decided to disallow discussion of a potential solution — disallow calls for more research and more study — because not enough research and study had been done. Once, people weren’t allowed to take drugs before they got FDA approval. Now, they can’t talk about them.

“I want to try to be respectful because I think the intention is correct,” Kory told the committee. “They want to cut down on misinformation, and many doctors are claiming X, Y, and Z work in this disease. The challenge is, you’re also silencing those of us who are expert, reasoned, researched, and extremely knowledgeable.”

Eight million people watched Kory say that on the C-SPAN video of the hearing posted to YouTube, but YouTube, in what appears to be a first, removed video of the hearing, as even Senate testimony was now deemed too dangerous for public consumption. YouTube later suspended the Wisconsin Senator who’d invited Kory to the hearing, and when Kory went on podcasts to tell his story, YouTube took down those videos, too. Kory was like a ghost who floated through the Internet, leaving suspensions and blackened warning screens everywhere he went.

Commentary on Wisconsin K-12 Tax & Spending Growth + 2.3B in additional Federal taxpayer funds

Mitchell Schmidt:

At the same time, Stein noted that the infusion of $2.3 billion could ease some of that pressure on school districts to pursue tax increases.

Madison recently received $70M ! in additional redistributed taxpayer funds.. along with substantial recent tax and spending increase referendums.

Madison has long spent far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts. This, despite tolerating long term, disastrous reading results.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

The trouble with history

The Economist:

Academic historians tend to be sniffy about all this. But though their own work may be unsullied by ingratiating ornament, it is also, often, untouched by readers. In one exemplary if extreme comparison, Diarmaid MacCulloch’s exhaustive biography of Thomas Cromwell sold a respectable 32,000 copies in Britain. Ms Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” trilogy, which also recounts Cromwell’s life, has sold 1.9m and counting. As Dan Jones, a popular writer of medieval history, says diplomatically,academic histories tend “not to have crisp readability at the top of their list of priorities”. More bluntly, he reckons that “most academic history is unreadable”.

The Absurdity of University Rankings

Jelena Brankovic:

Earlier this month, QS published its annual World University Rankings by Subject, spurring excitement across academic social media. “Thrilled to be part of the world’s No. 1,” said a faculty member. “Proud alumna and staff member,” wrote another. “So proud to be part of the team. Well done everyone”… And so on. You get the picture.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with people liking their job and enjoying working in a stimulating environment. There is, however, something unsettling about scholars taking things like a ranking produced by QS, Shanghai, or whichever organization, as confirmation, or evidence, of how good—or bad for that matter—they are having it as compared to everyone else.

One may wonder, do scholars respond to rankings in this way because they are just carried away in the moment? Or because they take rankings seriously? Or is it, perhaps, something else?

To be clear from the start, my intention here is not to criticise rankings. At least not in the way this is usually done. In this sense, this is not a story about rankings’ flawed methodologies or their adverse effects, about how some rankings are produced for making profit, or about how opaque or poorly governed they are. None of that matters here.

One may wonder, do scholars respond to rankings in this way because they are just carried away in the moment?

Wisconsin Governor Evers Vetoes an update to the Parent Choice Program

Statement:

TO THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE ASSEMBLY:

I am vetoing Assembly Bill 59 in its entirety.

This bill increases the income eligibility threshold for the Wisconsin Parental Choice

Program (WPCP) for the 2021-22 school year to 300 percent of the federal poverty level; allows pupils to submit full-time open enrollment applications to more than three nonresident school districts in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years; and prohibits a resident school board from denying an alternative open enrollment application in the 202021 and 2021-22 school years if the application is made on the basis of best interest of the pupil. I am vetoing this bill because I object to its proposed changes to the WPCP and open enrollment processes for multiple reasons.

First, I object to diverting resources from school districts to private schools. While the bill authors present this bill as a temporary increase in the income threshold, students who participate in any choice program are not required to meet the income requirement in subsequent years of participation. Therefore, a one-time change in the WPCP income threshold has the potential for long-term financial impacts. Additionally, participation in the WPCP increased by over 30 percent in the 2019-20 school year and 25 percent in the 2020-21 school with the 220 percent income threshold in place, indicating that the current income threshold does not prevent program growth.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

American College Student Freedom, Progress and Flourishing Survey

North Dakota State:

The American College Student Freedom, Progress and Flourishing Survey is an annual survey conducted by the Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth. The survey assesses student perceptions about viewpoint diversity and campus freedom; human progress and beliefs about the future; and student attitudes toward entrepreneurship, capitalism and socialism, and how college is influencing their views.

American colleges and universities play a vital role in shaping future political, cultural, and business leaders. However, there are growing concerns among the American public regarding the current state and direction of higher education and its influence on society. Recent surveys have begun to identify important challenges on college campuses related to free speech and tolerance of diverse viewpoints. To build on this understanding, we endeavored to explore how students’ experiences in higher education influence their thoughts about the current and future state of the world and their place in it.

Survey results are divided into three sections. The first section examines student perceptions of viewpoint diversity in the classroom, as well as student attitudes toward regulating speech in the classroom and on campus. The second section examines student perceptions of how their college education is shaping their views on the world, the United States, their futures, and their ability to contribute to society. The third section examines students’ entrepreneurial beliefs and goals, as well as their views on capitalism and socialism and the ways that these views have been shaped by the college experience.

From classical to progressive liberalism: Ideological development and the origins of the administrative state

David Foster and Joseph Warren:

Early support for expert policymaking through administrative agencies was rooted in concerns over political power. In a context of formal universal male suffrage, late 19th-century liberals (typically well-educated, urban professionals) opposed policies to regulate business out of fear of working-class radicalism. Yet by the 1910s, liberals supported redistributive policies—through administrative agencies. We use a formal model to show how potential policy feedback effects made an anti-business coalition between liberals and populists unachievable, and how, by diminishing feedback effects, agencies facilitated a successful progressive-liberal coalition. Because administrative agencies guaranteed a central policymaking role for credentialed urban professionals, liberals could support farmers and industrial workers against big business while no longer fearing the rising power of their coalition partners. In this way, the strategic dilemma created by a changing distribution of power among social groups explains the development of broad political support for bureaucratic agencies.

Keywords: bureaucracy, formal model, American political development, policy feedback, shifting power, ideology

15 Universities Have Formed A Company That Looks A Lot Like A Patent Troll

Joe Mullin:

Imagine this: a limited liability company (LLC) is formed, for the sole purpose of acquiring patents, including what are likely to be low-quality patents of suspect validity. Patents in hand, the LLC starts approaching high-tech companies and demanding licensing fees. If they don’t get paid, the company will use contingency-fee lawyers and a litigation finance firm to make sure the licensing campaign doesn’t have much in the way of up-front costs. This helps give them leverage to extract settlements from companies that don’t want to pay to defend the matter in court, even if a court might ultimately invalidate the patent if it reached the issue.

That sounds an awful lot like a patent troll. That’s the kind of entity that EFF criticizes because they use flimsy patents to squeeze money from operating companies, rather than making their own products. Unfortunately, this description also applies to a company that has just been formed by a consortium of 15 large research universities. 

This patent commercialization company has been secretly under discussion since 2018. In September 2020, it quietly went public, when the University of California Regents authorized making UC Berkeley and UCLA two of its founding members. In January, the DOJ said it wouldn’t challenge the program on antitrust grounds. 

It’s good news when universities share technology with the private sector, and when startup companies get formed based on university research. That’s part of why so much university research is publicly funded. But there’s not much evidence that university patenting helps technology reach the public, and there’s a growing body of evidence that patents hinder it. Patents in this context are legal tools that allow someone to monopolize publicly-funded research and capture its promise for a private end.

While larger tech companies can absorb the cost of either litigating or paying off the patent assertion entity, smaller innovators will face a much larger burden, proportionately. That means that that the existence of this licensing entity could harm innovation and competition. When taxpayers fund research, the fruits of the research should be available for all. 

With 15 universities now forming a consortium to license electronics and software patents, it’s going to be a mess for innovators and lead to worse, more expensive products.

Civics: Trial reveals federal agents falsely accused a UT professor born in China of spying

Jamie Satterfield:

Armed with a Chinese press release translated on the fly via Google, federal agents falsely accused an internationally-renown welding technology expert at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville of being a spy and brought him to professional ruin.

FBI Agent Kujtim Sadiku admitted last week in an ongoing trial in Knoxville that federal agents:

Falsely accused former UTK associate professor Dr. Anming Hu of being a Chinese spy.
Falsely implicated him as an operative for the Chinese military in meetings with Hu’s bosses
Used false information to put Hu on the federal no-fly list.
Spurred U.S. customs agents to seize Hu’s computer and phone and spread word throughout the international research community that Hu was poison.
Used false information to justify putting a team of agents to spy on Hu and his son, a freshman at UTK, for nearly two years.
Used false information to press Hu to become a spy for the U.S. government.
Why?

“You wanted to find a Chinese spy in Knoxville,” defense attorney Phil Lomonaco offered as he cross-examined Sadiku on his tactics to secure a fraud indictment against Hu after the agency’s economic espionage probe fell apart.

Sadiku responded, “My job is to find spies, yes.”

Law firm calls on Sun Prairie to reject race-based ‘community conversation’ groups

Chris Rickert:

Conservative law firm calls on Sun Prairie to reject race-based ‘community conversation’ groups

A conservative, Milwaukee-based law firm on Wednesday called on the city of Sun Prairie and its school district to cancel plans to host race-based “affinity” groups as part of their effort to address issues of race, diversity and inclusion.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty says holding meetings specifically for Asian, white, Black and other racial groups runs counter to federal civil rights laws and American values.

“Some may claim that imposing racial distinctions, like affinity groups, is somehow necessary to address ‘systemic racism,'” the group says in a letter to the city and school district. “Discrimination to cure discrimination is antithetical to the principle of equality under the law.”

As part of the Sun Prairie effort, facilitators with the Las Vegas-based Courageous Conversation Global Foundation are to host six meetings over Zoom between Monday and June 30, with five meetings reserved for a specific racial category — East Indian, Asian, white, Black and Latino — and one intended to be multiracial.

An announcement of the meetings on the city’s website says they “are open to the public,” but “it is respectfully requested that individuals only sign up for the intraracial conversations for the race that they identify with.”

WILL deputy counsel Dan Lennington said the firm isn’t commenting on whether it intends to sue if the city and Sun Prairie School District don’t end plans for the race-based groups but would make a decision on what to do next by Monday.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas Kuhn:

Kuhn begins by formulating some assumptions that lay the foundation for subsequent discussion and by briefly outlining the key contentions of the book.

  1. A scientific community cannot practice its trade without some set of received beliefs (p. 4).
    1. These beliefs form the foundation of the “educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice” (5).
    2. The nature of the “rigorous and rigid” preparation helps ensure that the received beliefs exert a “deep hold” on the student’s mind.
  2. Normal science “is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like” (5)—scientists take great pains to defend that assumption.
  3. To this end, “normal science often suppresses fundamental novelties because they are necessarily subversive of its basic commitments” (5).
  4. Research is “a strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education” (5).
  5. A shift in professional commitments to shared assumptions takes place when an anomaly “subverts the existing tradition of scientific practice” (6). These shifts are what Kuhn describes as scientific revolutions—”the tradition-shattering complements to the tradition-bound activity of normal science” (6).
    1. New assumptions (paradigms/theories) require the reconstruction of prior assumptions and the reevaluation of prior facts. This is difficult and time consuming. It is also strongly resisted by the established community.
    2. When a shift takes place, “a scientist’s world is qualitatively transformed [and] quantitatively enriched by fundamental novelties of either fact or theory” (7).

Millions of children worldwide have been forced into poverty, with devastating effects

Collateral Global:

The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictive mitigation policies have forced millions of children worldwide into poverty, with devastating effects on their access to education, nutrition, shelter, sanitation, and overall likelihood of survival.

Before the pandemic, children were already disproportionately affected by poverty. Despite comprising only 1/3 of the world’s population, over half of those living in extreme poverty were children, subsisting on less than $1.90USD per day. Over the course of the pandemic, families teetering on the financial edge have been plunged into poverty by lack of access to healthcare, travel restrictions, and loss of employment. As a result, the number of children living in multidimensional poverty – meaning they lack basic necessities – has soared by 15% to 1.2 billion, according to a UNICEF and Save The Children analysis.

Civics: How China is responding to the tribunal on the oppression of Uyghurs

Edward Lucas:

But this week’s winner is the Chinese embassy in Budapest for its press secretary’s all-too-understandable Facebook rant about protests against the proposed Fudan University campus (see below).

Sample: “in broad daylight, it is unseemly to criticize the internal affairs of another country,” he wrote, while lambasting things he didn’t like in, er, Hungary’s internal affairs.

Democracy-minded Hungarians have had fun in the comments below the post.

We wonder what the embassy will say now that the Hungarian authorities are backtracking on the $1.8 billion project. A senior aide to Victor Orbán, Gergely Gulyás, said that the project “was not even at the planning phase,” and would be subject to approval by referendum. Words in praise of China (like the prime minister’s latest polemic) are cheap. The wily Magyars take a different approach when it comes to deeds.

Obligatory Publicity Increases Charitable Acts

Adelle X Yang, Christopher K Hsee:

To entice new donors and spread awareness of the charitable cause, many charity campaigns encourage donors to broadcast their charitable acts with self-promotion devices such as donor pins, logoed apparel, and social media hashtags. However, this voluntary-publicity strategy may not be particularly attractive because potential donors may worry that observers will attribute their publicized charitable behavior to “impure” image motives rather than “pure” altruistic motives. We propose and test a counterintuitive campaign strategy—obligatory publicity, which requires prospective donors to use a self-promotion device as a prerequisite for contributing to the campaign. Five studies (N = 10,866) test the application and effectiveness of the proposed strategy. The first three studies, including two field experiments, find that obligatory-publicity campaigns recruit more contributions and campaign promoters than voluntary-publicity campaigns. The last two studies demonstrate that the obligatory-publicity strategy produces a greater effect among people with stronger image motives and that the effect is mitigated when the publicized charitable act signals a low level of altruism. Finally, we discuss limitations and implications of this research.

Civics: The Origin of Religious Tolerance: Voltaire

Wendy McElroy:

In the next paragraph of Letter Five, Voltaire pursued a theme that contributed heavily to the danger of publishing his work in France. He examined the intellectual and institutional foundation of England’s religious tolerance. He rejected a political explanation. Referring to the established Church of England, he acknowledged that politics strongly favored prejudice rather than tolerance. He wrote, “No one can hold office in England or in Ireland unless he is a faithful Anglican.” Such political exclusion hardly promoted religious good will. Nor did the religious preaching of the dominant church lead the nation toward toleration. According to Voltaire, the Anglican clergy worked “up in their flocks as much holy zeal against nonconformists as possible.” Yet, in recent decades, the “fury of the sects” “went no further than sometimes breaking the windows of heretical chapels.”

What, then, accounted for the extreme religious toleration in the streets of London as compared to those of Paris?

In Letter Six, On The Presbyterians Voltaire ascribed the “peace” in which “they lived happily together” to a mechanism that was a pure expression of the free market—the London stock exchange. In the most famous passage from Philosophical Letters, Voltaire observed, “Go into the Exchange in London, that place more venerable than many a court, and you will see representatives of all the nations assembled there for the profit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian deal with one another as if they were of the same religion, and reserve the name of infidel for those who go bankrupt.”

Legally and historically, England was not a bastion of religious toleration: laws against nonconformists and atheists were still in force. Yet in England, and not in France, there was an air of toleration on the street level which existed quite apart from what the law said. Moreover, even though both countries had aristocracies, England was not burdened with the unyielding class structure that crippled social and economic mobility in France. As Voltaire wrote in Letter Nine, On the Government, “You hear no talk in this country [England] of high, middle, and low justice, nor of the right of hunting over the property of a citizen who himself has not the liberty of firing a shot in his own field.”

Critical Race Theory Has No Place in American Schools

Rick Esenberg & Daniel Lennington:

In a proposed rule April 19, the Biden administration’s Education Department laid out plans to strongly encourage, if not require, federally funded “American History and Civics Education” programs to focus on “the consequences of slavery” and “the ongoing national reckoning with systemic racism.” The program would “incorporate anti-racist practices into teaching and learning.”

There could be legal problems, however. The use of highly charged and stylized code words like “equity,” “systemic racism,” and “anti-racism” make clear that this is far more than a plan to teach American history, flaws and all. On the contrary, the administration seeks to entrench a comprehensive – almost ontological – historical view, often referred to as critical race theory.

According to the department’s rulemaking notice, grant-funded teachers must emphasize racial “identities” and create an “identity-safe learning environment.” Teachers also must teach the tenets of critical race theory: “systemic racism, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history.” One critical race theory proponent even called Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a colorblind society “racist.”

Teachers will also be required to emphasize “equity” as the solution.

Here is where the legal problems begin. By incorporating these ideas into a federally funded grant program, the administration sends a clear message: America is not a country that has struggled to overcome racism but one that itself remains deeply racist – and this premise should form the foundation of “American History and Civics.”

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Fed balance sheet tops $8 trillion for first time -data

Kate Duguid:

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet topped $8 trillion for the first time, weekly data published on Thursday by the U.S. central bank on its holdings showed.

At $8 trillion, the Fed’s stash of assets has roughly doubled since it kicked off large-scale purchases in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted and brought the economy to a near standstill.

The report also showed the Fed appears to have sold around $160 million of its corporate debt holdings since Monday, following the announcement it would unwind its nearly $14 billion corporate credit portfolio. As a first step, the central bank began selling its stakes in 16 bond exchange-traded funds on Monday.

“free college’ proposals hurt financially responsible families”

Ben Zeisloft:

Meanwhile, free college programs discourage American parents from making smart financial decisions. They force fiscally conscientious, tax-paying families to bear the brunt of the programs’ expenses.

Take, for example, President Biden’s recent American Families Plan, which proposes $311 billion on higher education spending. As Campus Reform higher education fellow Angela Morabito points out, free tuition would spur increases in education costs across the board as students use federal dollars to complete their payments, preventing market forces from producing high-quality education at low costs.

[RELATED: OPINION: Biden’s American Families Plan would make college a worse deal for American families]

In stating that the cost of post-secondary education has increased 439% since 1982, Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder argues in a Heritage Foundation report that federal financial aid programs “have contributed mightily to the explosion in tuition and fees in modern times.” 

“When someone else is paying the bills, people want to buy more of the good or service in question at prevailing prices than when the customer pays the bills,” continues Vedder. “This means a higher demand for higher education, and other things being equal, higher tuition costs.”

Anatomy of the Woke Madness
How did such collective madness infect a once pragmatic and commonsensical America?

Victor Davis Hanson:

First, remember that wokeism is a top-down phenomenon. It started in academia with “critical race theory” and “critical legal theory.” These are bastard offshoots of harebrained “critical theory,” which arose from a demoralized and adrift Europe after the cataclysms of two devastating European-spawned world wars.

These ‘theories” are merely adolescent delusions that norms, customs, traditions, laws, and rules are just arbitrary “constructs.” Thus they should have no authority over those whom they “oppress.” These relativist props are the tools of the white male hierarchy to gain and consolidate their “power.” So they can only be resisted by rejecting all these insidious “norms,” whether the canons of physics and math, jurisprudence, standardized test scores, or the idea that police keep the “peace.”

Outside of the campus, the media, the entertainment industry, the corporate boardroom, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley, thousands of rank-and-file social justice warrior demonstrators are not demanding, for example, to enroll women in Special Forces combat units. Grassroots America does not insist on subsidized transgendered surgeries.

Instead, leftist Washington politicos and bureaucrats pressure the Pentagon brass, in quid pro quo fashion. The subtext is that those who promote woke policies are assured of promotion and future exemption from audit of lucrative retirement consulting for defense-related corporations.

The people⁠—that is, 51 percent of America—is not organizing for more cancel-culture censorship on Facebook, or even greater percentages of college admissions determined largely by race. Inner-city residents are not clamoring for less police patrolling. Defunding law enforcement is an elite obsession of those who do not live in insecure places.

‘I reject our school’s culture of conformity and fear’

Joanne Jacobs:

“I reject the hostile culture of conformity and fear that has taken hold of our school,” says English teacher Dana Stangel-Plowe in resigning from Dwight-Englewood School, a New Jersey private school.


“Over the past few years, the school has embraced an ideology that is damaging to our students’ intellectual and emotional growth and destroying any chance at creating a true community among our diverse population,” says the teacher, who sent her own children to Dwight-Englewood.

North Korean defector says ‘even North Korea was not this nuts’ after attending Ivy League school

Teny Sahakian

As American educational institutions continue to be called into question, a North Korean defector fears the United States’ future “is as bleak as North Korea” after she attended one of the country’s most prestigious universities.

Yeonmi Park has experienced plenty of struggle and hardship, but she does not call herself a victim.

One of several hundred North Korean defectors settled in the United States, Park, 27, transferred to Columbia University from a South Korean university in 2016 and was deeply disturbed by what she found.

“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” Park said in an interview with Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

Those similarities include anti-Western sentiment, collective guilt and suffocating political correctness.

Yeonmi saw red flags immediately upon arriving at the school.

Opting Out: Enrollment Trends in Response to Continued Public School Shutdowns

Will Flanders:

Research has found that fall 2020 school district reopening decisions appear to be driven more by politics and teachers unions than by the local presence of COVID-19. But what are the implications of those decisions for enrollment trends? Using recently released enrollment data from the state of Wisconsin, this study goes further to show whether school district decisions to go virtual, as opposed to in-person, led families to make other educational choices including enrollment in virtual schools, or delaying enrollment in school. We find that school districts that chose virtual learning to start the 2020 school year saw the largest enrollment declines, while families gravitated toward private schools and school districts with existing virtual schools.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Civics: The secret gag orders must stop

Brad Smith:

Not long ago, if the government wanted to serve a search warrant as part of a criminal investigation, it had to do so in person, with notice. An agent or officer needed to bring a signed warrant to a house or building and hand it to the target of the probe at the front door; only then could the government search the premises for documents, records and computer files. This was true for individuals, businesses and governments alike. If secrecy required getting a “sneak and peek” warrant because evidence would be destroyed in advance or a witness’s safety would be jeopardized, this required a heightened showing, beyond mere probable cause.

Those principles still hold true today. Yet with the expansion of cloud computing in every industry, the federal and state governments know they quickly can obtain data electronically from sources other than the target. So that’s what they do. In secret. By serving search warrants on companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft to obtain emails and messages that belong to our customers. Government prosecutors also ask courts to impose gag orders on companies such as ours that prevent us from letting people know that copies of their emails are now in the government’s hands.

Civics & the First Amendment: Amplification and Its Discontents, Why regulating the reach of online content is hard

Daphne Keller:

There is a popular line of reasoning in platform regulation discussions today that says, basically, “Platforms aren’t responsible for what their users say, but they are responsible for what the platforms themselves choose to amplify.” This provides a seemingly simple hook for regulating algorithmic amplification—the results for searches on a search engine like Google or within a platform like Wikipedia; the sequence of posts in the newsfeed on a platform like Twitter or Facebook; or the recommended items on a platform like YouTube or Eventbrite. There’s some utility to that framing. In particular it is useful for people who work for platforms building product features or refining algorithms.

For lawyers or policymakers trying to set rules for disinformation, hate speech, and other harmful or illegal content online, though, focusing on amplification won’t make life any easier. It may increase, rather than decrease, the number of problems to be solved before arriving at well-crafted regulation. Models for regulating amplification have a great deal in common with the more familiar models from intermediary liability law, which defines platforms’ responsibility for content posted by users. As with ordinary intermediary liability laws, the biggest questions may be practical: Who defines the rules for online speech, who enforces them, what incentives do they have, and what outcomes should we expect as a result? And as with those laws, some of the most important considerations—and, ultimately, limits on Congress’s power—come from the First Amendment. Some versions of amplification law would be flatly unconstitutional in the U.S., and face serious hurdles based on human or fundamental rights law in other countries. Others might have a narrow path to constitutionality, but would require a lot more work than anyone has put into them so far. Perhaps after doing that work, we will arrive at wise and nuanced laws regulating amplification. For now, I am largely a skeptic.

It’s Time to Break Up the Ivy League Cartel
Democracy requires something more than a handful of super-rich universities.

Chronicle:

Power in the U.S. flows through the gates of the Ivy League and a very small tier of other top universities. These institutions set and sanction the boundaries of knowledge, including what kinds of political and social views are welcomed in prestige cultural spaces. This has long been the case. In 1805, for example, Unitarianism won a real degree of respectability when Harvard, then a Calvinist institution, appointed the Unitarian Henry Ware to the Hollis chair, long the most prestigious endowed chair in the country. Last year, in a 21st-century version of the Ware affair, conservatives won when Harvard’s president and provost overruled the faculty and turned away the economist Gabriel Zucman, whose renown rests in large part on his empirical work substantiating the democratic benefits of a wealth tax. Lawrence H. Summers, who once said that “inequality has … gone up in our society” because “people are being treated closer to the way they’re supposed to be treated,” supported the hire but nevertheless explained, shortly thereafter, that raising taxes on the rich is a bad idea.

One of the great puzzles of American society is the position of the Ivy League. It is a bastion of privilege and power, and yet full of left-leaning professors who one might imagine would favor the redistribution of wealth. According to the Harvard Crimson, 77.6 percent of Harvard professors define themselves as left-leaning, and just 2.9 percent as conservative. What explains this dynamic? Harry R. Lewis, a former dean of Harvard College, said that such anti-conservatism gets to the basic point of the school, which is to advance radical ideas: “It’s almost by definition anti-preservationist because we place such a high value on the creation of new knowledge.”

American schools teach reading all wrong

The Economist:

Mississippi, often a laggard in social policy, has set an example here. In a state once notorious for its low reading scores, the Mississippi state legislature passed new literacy standards in 2013. Since then Mississippi has seen remarkable gains. Its fourth graders have moved from 49th (out of 50 states) to 29th on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a nationwide exam. In 2019 it was the only state to improve its scores. For the first time since measurement began, Mississippi’s pupils are now average readers, a remarkable achievement in such a poor state.

Ms Burk attributes Mississippi’s success to implementing reading methods supported by a body of research known as the science of reading. In 1997 Congress requested the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Department of Education to convene a National Reading Panel to end the “reading wars” and synthesise the evidence. The panel found that phonics, along with explicit instruction in phonemic awareness, fluency and comprehension, worked best.

Yet over two decades on, “balanced literacy” is still being taught in classrooms. This method, based on Kenneth Goodman’s “whole language” theory developed in the 1960s, views reading as a natural process that is best learned through immersion, similar to learning to speak. Goodman argued that reading is a “psycholinguistic guessing game”. He claimed that proficient readers do not identify every element in a text, so whole-language instructors encourage pupils to guess unknown words. Imagine a child is reading the sentence, “The rider leapt onto the back of his h___”, but is stuck on the last word. According to this philosophy, a child would be encouraged to look at pictures in the text and think about what would make logical sense as the next word, based on the meaning of the sentence, grammar rules and the spelling of the word.

For most of the 20th century, reading methods were based on theory and observation. But advances in statistics and brain imaging have debunked the whole-language method. So why is it still being taught? One reason may be its appeal to personal experience. To the teacher who is a proficient reader, literacy seems like a natural process that requires educated guessing, rather than the deliberate process emphasised by phonics, explains Mary Clayman of the DC Reading Clinic, which trains teachers in Washington, DC. Teachers can imagine that they learned to read through osmosis when they were children, she explains. Without proper training, they bring this to classrooms.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Push and Pull: eliminating advanced courses

Alex Nester:

The Fairfax County School Board made headlines in October when they eliminated the STEM-focused high school’s merit-based entrance exam. The board set a cap on the number of students that could attend Thomas Jefferson from each of the district’s middle schools, in an attempt to boost black and Hispanic enrollment.

Coalition for TJ sued the district over the change, which the group claimed would reduce the number of Asian-American students in the incoming freshman class by 42 percent. The three Fairfax middle schools known to feed students to Thomas Jefferson have predominantly Asian-American populations.

Prestigious high schools from New York City to San Francisco have eliminated their entrance exams over the past six months, citing concerns with “equity.” New York mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) in March scrapped admissions tests for many of New York City’s selective middle and high schools. The city’s education department has argued that such exams are used to exclude black and Latino students.

Lowell High School, a STEM magnet school in San Francisco, nixed their test in February. The school board’s resolution declared that the admissions exam “perpetuates the culture of white supremacy and racial abuse toward black and Latinx students.”

Related: Madison’s failed English 10 experiment.

“We find that high status individuals in their early twenties who had university education were more likely to join” extremist organizations.”

Roberto Cerina, Christopher Barrie, Neil Ketchley, Aaron Zelin:

Who joins extremist movements? Answering this question poses considerable methodological challenges. Survey techniques are practically infeasible and selective samples provide no counterfactual. Assigning recruits to contextual units provides one solution, but is vulnerable to problems of ecological inference. In this article, we take inspiration from epidemiology and the protest literature and elaborate a technique to combine survey and ecological approaches. The rare events, multilevel Bayesian contaminated case-control design we propose accounts for individual-level and contextual factors, as well as spatial autocorrelation in the incidence of recruitment. We validate our approach by matching a sample of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters from nine Muslim-majority countries with representative population surveys enumerated shortly before recruits joined the movement. We find that high status individuals in their early twenties who had university education were more likely to join ISIS. We find more mixed evidence for relative deprivation.

Death spiral of American academia

Charles Rotter:

Earlier this year, Eric Kaufmann of the University of London published a remarkably detailed and comprehensive study of bias in academia, “Academic Freedom in Crisis: Punishment, Political Discrimination, and Self-Censorship.” Kaufmann’s writing is a product of California’s Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, a small think-tank set up to do research that is forbidden in today’s academy. His finding of rampant left-sided political bias in publication, employment, and promotion in the Academy — and discrimination against anyone right-of-center — qualifies as forbidden scholarship.

What follows below is (I think) a generalization of the process that Judith described with regard to the Wuhan Coronavirus.  I hope readers will come away with the notion that the process of institutionalizing, and then defending, bad, politicized science is fractal—the internal geometry is very similar for most all such instances.  The reason is because mainstream practitioners of science have a demonstrable political bias and discredit or reject the work of anyone whose beliefs are inconsistent with that bias.  Been there.

In the academy the free interchange of competing ideas creates knowledge through cooperation, disagreement, debate, and dissent. Kaufmann’s landmark study proves that the last three in that list are severely suppressed and punished. The pervasiveness of such repression may be a death sentence for science, free inquiry, and the advancement of knowledge in our universities.

‘How Much Damage Have My Colleagues and I Done?’

Lee Burdette Williams:

Eileen answered quickly. “We don’t know, and neither does our son, because he wasn’t allowed access to the second set of case files.”

“That’s not right,” I said.

“We didn’t think so, so we’ve hired a lawyer, but he’s already missed too much school to graduate. And he’s not sure he wants to go back. We found FACE when we started looking online for help.”

Teresa seemed to shift her thoughts abruptly. “What about you? Is this your first FACE event too? What brings you here?”

“Yes. I’m actually one of tomorrow’s presenters.”

“Oh. Which one?” Eileen opened the folder she had laid on the high-top table nearby. She quickly glanced again at my name tag which, like hers, had only my first name, then at the schedule in her open folder. I was listed as “former student-affairs dean.” The friendly tone our conversation had taken, which I felt I had earned with some seriously hard work, disappeared. “Nice talking with you,” Eileen said, and then looked at Teresa. “We should mingle.” And without another word, they walked away, leaving me alone with my now-empty plastic cup.

I could have, maybe should have, continued to interact with others around the pool deck, but I was shaken, both by their story and by their reactions to me. I looked at my phone and saw a text from my friend Linda. “How’s it going there so far?” Linda was provost during my time as dean of students and understood the challenges this weekend presented. From a corner of the hotel lobby just off the pool deck, I hit the “call” icon and was relieved when she answered.

“It’s not that I’m not familiar with being hated by people because of my job title,” I told Linda. “It’s more that I felt so immediately … indicted? And also inadequate.” She made some sympathetic comments, offered another round of encouragement, and we said goodbye.

Maybe I was naïve. Yes. I was naïve. I really believed that my remarks the next day would shed some light on the hardworking, caring people in my profession, and offer a new perspective on fairness and justice. I was so, so wrong.

If you love research, academia may not be for you

David Matthew’s:

Over the past few years, I’ve had a couple of conversations with friends that left me wondering exactly what universities have become.

These friends are either in the middle of a PhD or contemplating doing one, and inevitably we turned to discuss whether a career in academia would be worthwhile. They wanted, simply put, a life that gave them time to think deeply about their chosen subject.

This is still, on the whole, what we think should be the essence of academia. Universities are supposed to provide space for serious thought. But I came away from our chats wondering whether my friends might have better luck pursing this goal outside the academy (more on this later).

These conversations came to mind last week when I discovered a rare treasure trove of data about how researchers in the Netherlands spend their time.

What emerges is a disheartening picture of professors who have little time for research (despite promises to the contrary from management) and work scarily long hours.

Those lucky enough to have become full professors – supposedly the light at the end of the tunnel for struggling junior scholars – spend just 17 per cent of their time on their own research. Teaching, research supervision and “management and organisational tasks” were all bigger commitments. Associate and assistant professors fare little better carving out research time for themselves.

The Oregon Department of Education Paid $50K For Two Nikole Hannah-Jones Webinars

Oregonians for Liberty:

The Oregon Department of Education paid $50,000 for the two webinars it hosted this past week featuring Nikole Hannah-Jones. 


On Friday May 7, Hannah-Jones spoke to Oregon’s teachers on “1619: Centering Black History and Black Futures in Oregon.” On Thursday May 13, she spoke first to students on “the importance of black history, as well as how this history has helped to build our society today” and then to teachers on “how the historical events detailed in the 1619 Project can and should inform how we create the conditions of belonging for Black students, families, and educators in Oregon.”


Oregonians for Liberty in Education filed a public records request to learn that ODE paid “a total of $50,000…using resources from Every Day Matters,” a program focused on chronic absenteeism, for the two events held this past week. ODE further explained that “the event was seven months in the making.”


Some obvious questions: Seven months? $50,000? “Every Day Matters” funds? Importing divisive “1619 Project”-based political activism from the New York Timesto “create the conditions of belonging?”


Spending seven months and $50,000 on these two webinars seems like a clear-cut case of counterproductive priorities.

Rise in catalytic converter thefts leaves few vehicles safe in Madison

Addison Lathers:

Catalytic converters thefts are on the rise again, and few neighborhoods have been left unscathed.

Madison has long been a hotspot for converter thefts, in part due to an abundance of street parking available throughout the city. In 2020, the city experienced 142 cases involving catalytic converter thefts. Some cases involved more than one converter being stolen. 

The Goodman Community Center lost the use of two of its vans for nearly a week after the catalytic converters were stolen off of them shortly before the Memorial Day weekend. The community center isn’t sure when the theft occurred, but assumed that the converters were stolen while the vans were left parked in the St. Bernard Catholic Church parking lot.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

US Attitudes Toward Socialism, Communism and Collectivism

Victims of Communism Foundation:

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) today released its fifth Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism, Communism, and Collectivism. The report, polled by internationally recognized research and data firm YouGov, synthesizes data from 2,100 representative U.S. respondents ages 16 and older, and the margin of error is plus or minus 2.32%.

This year’s study showed increased favorability of the term ‘socialism’ (49%) among Gen Z compared to 2019 (40%). Opinions of capitalism declined slightly from 2019 to 2020 among all Americans (58% to 55%), with Gen Z (ages 16-23) slightly up (49% to 52%) and Millennials (ages 24-39) down (50% to 43%). 35% of Millennials and 31% of Gen Z support the gradual elimination of the capitalist system in favor of a more socialist system.

It also showed growing concern for Donald Trump as president, especially among younger generations of Americans, with 34% of Gen Z and 35% of Millennials seeing him as the greatest threat to world peace, up 8% and 7% from 2019, respectively. This sentiment held true regarding his handling of the pandemic as well, with 39% of Gen Z and 32% of Millennials believing Trump is more responsible for COVID-19 becoming a pandemic than Xi Jinping of China. Opinions of America’s inequality grew markedly from 2019 with 68% of Americans thinking that America’s highest earners don’t pay their fair share. Among these Americans, 57% of Gen Z and 60% of Millennials favor a complete change of our economic system away from capitalism — a 14% and 8% increase from 2019, respectively.

Teacher Union & School “Reopenings”

Mike Antonucci:

What comes next? Federal and state governments are funneling unprecedented amounts of new money into public education, and the teachers unions have plenty of ideas on how to spend it.
Watch a TV news segment or read an article about school reopenings and you’re bound to hear American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten speak to what she thinks schools need. But she won’t be making those decisions, not even for her members. AFT’s local unions will tailor their stances to their conditions and political realities.
Local unions in the nation’s four largest school districts — New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami-Dade County — each handled school closings in a different way, and they each will handle post-pandemic relations with school districts in different ways.
Unions in New York and Miami reached agreement on reopening last fall, while Chicago’s union didn’t come to terms until March. The Los Angeles union didn’t come to terms until April, and most LA schools won’t reopen until this fall. Some asked for additional staff to address mental health issues and learning loss, while others went further afield, wanting an end to standardized tests.
Some demands, however, are universal. Each union wants smaller class sizes, which means more teachers, and more support employees to occupy various new programs.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

She Won Her School Board Race by Opposing Critical Race Theory

Virginia Allen:

As a lawyer defending religious liberty, a wife, and a mother of four school-age children, Smith says, she was enjoying life and had plenty to keep her busy. But she felt compelled to run for school board to try to stop the agenda of critical race theory, which she says would “radically change our school district.”

Now a school board member in Southlake, Texas, just outside Dallas, Smith says she is committed to keeping far-left ideology out of classrooms.

Smith joins the show to discuss how critical race theory is making its way into more schools across the country and what her priorities are as a new school board member.

Commentary:

Why can’t that be done clearly and straightforwardly? People are right to feel anxious and suspicious about something so big and powerful that can’t be talked about. To say “In fact, I don’t even believe that most people have any real concept of what critical race theory is” is to blame the people for failing to understand what isn’t being discussed clearly. That’s perverse and elitist.

Political Posturing, interests and “adult employment” on taxpayer supported Dane County Madison public health ordering schools closed

Wisconsin Supreme Court:

For the respondent, there was a brief filed by Remzy D. Bitar, Sadie R. Zurfluh, and Municipal and Litigation Group ̧ Waukesha. There was an oral argument by Remzy D. Bitar.

For the petitioners Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, et al., there was a reply brief filed by Richard M. Esenberg, Anthony LoCoco, Luke N. Berg, Elisabeth Sobic, and Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, Milwaukee.
For the petitioners St. Ambrose Academy, Inc. et al., there was a reply brief filed by Misha Tseytlin, Kevin M. LeRoy, and Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP, Chicago, Illinois; with whom on the brief was Andrew M. Bath and Thomas More Society, Chicago, Illinois; with whom on the brief was Erick Kaardal and Mohrman, Kaaradal & Erickson, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Attorney General Josh Kaul by Colin A. Hector, assistant attorney general, and Colin T. Roth, assistant attorney general; with whom on the brief was Joshua L. Kaul, attorney general.
An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Institute for Justice by Lee U. McGrath, Minneapolis, Minnesota; with whom on the brief was Milad Emam, Arlington, Virginia.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Freedom from Religion Foundation by Brendan Johnson, Patrick C. Elliott, and Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., Madison.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction by Heather Curnutt, Madison.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of City of Milwaukee by Tearman Spencer, city attorney, and Gregory P. Kruse, city attorney.


An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Madison Metropolitan School District and Monona Grove School District by Sheila M. Sullivan, Melita M. Mullen, and Bell, Moore & Richter, S.C., Madison.
An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Madison Teachers Inc., Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards, Wisconsin Education Association Council, Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, Racine Educators United, Kenosha Education Association, and Green Bay Education Association by Diane M. Welsh, Aaron G. Dumas, and Pines Bach LLP, Madison.
An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Governor Tony Evers and Secretary–Designee of Department of Health Services Andrea Palm by Sopen B. Shah and Perkins Coie LLP, Madison.
An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice by Barry J. Blonien, Tanner Jean-Louis, and Boardman & Clark LLP, Madison.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Liberty Justice Center, Alaska Policy Forum, Pelican Institute For Public Policy, Roughrider Policy Center, Nevada Policy Research Institute, and Rio Grande Foundation by Daneil R. Suhr, Reilly Stephens, and Liberty Justice Center, Chicago, Illinois.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of League of Wisconsin Municipalities by Claire Silverman and Maria Davis, Madison

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and commentary from Scott Girard:

“While Heinrich allowed schools to use their premises for child care and youth recreational activities, the government barred students from attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion at weekly Masses with their classmates and teachers, receiving the sacrament of Confession at school, participating in communal prayer with their peers, and going on retreats and service missions throughout the area.”

Additional commentary:

“Reasonable” should mean that the public health authorities followed their own internal guidelines for evaluating regulations. These include posting the scientific evidence leading to the regulation, receiving community input, and studying the effectiveness and sustainability of the regulation. In the case of Covid and the schools all this was ignored in Dane County. There was no evidence of transmission in children of school age at the start, the community’s wish to have the schools open was ignored and, over time, it was seen that surrounding counties kept their schools open without increasing Covid transmission – and this last point was completely ignored by Dane County. But the Supreme Court didn’t address the issue of irresponsible public health officials. Perhaps it cannot as Owen pointed out. Perhaps dereliction of duty must be addressed by criminal courts. Instead the Supreme Court answered a different question which might be put as follows: suppose a majority of children in a given community refused the regular vaccines – or refuse the covid vaccine – can the public health authorities close the school? The answer was no. This is significant because racism has been defined as a public health issue. Suppose a majority of parents refused to allow their children to attend a CRT seminar defined as immunization against racism and required for admittance to school. Could the public health authorities close that school. No. In the past certain religious tests have been required before attendance at universities was allowed and non-conforming universites have been closed. If racism is a public health issue the Test Acts may return as public health tests and if that happened we may be sure Dane County would adopt Test Regulations closing non-conforming public schools if it could. Then this Court decision, barring such Test Regulations, would seem far-sighted.

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Survivor Of Mao’s China Stuns School Board With Chilling Warning About Critical Race Theory

Hank Berrien

A Chinese woman who suffered under the brutal Communist Chinese regime of Mao Tse-Tung vehemently denounced Loudoun County’s School board in Virginia for its championing of Critical Race Theory, charging, “All of this seems very familiar … the only difference is they used class instead of race. … This is, indeed, the American version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.”

Given one minute to speak, the Chinese woman wasted no time getting to the point, asserting, “I’ve been very alarmed by what’s going on in our schools. You are now training our children to be social justice warriors and to loathe our country and our history. Growing up in Mao’s China, all of this seems very familiar. The Communist regime used the same critical theory to divide people; the only difference is they used class instead of race.”

“During the Cultural Revolution, I witnessed students and teachers turn against each other,” she recalled. “We changed school names to be politically correct. We were taught to denounce our heritage. The Red Guards destroyed anything that is not Communist: old statues, books, and anything else.”

She pointed out that in China during the Cultural Revolution, students were also encouraged to report on each other: “We were also encouraged to report on each other, just like the Student Equity Ambassador program and the Bias Reporting System.”

She concluded, “This is, indeed, the American version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The Critical Race Theory has its roots in cultural Marxism. It should have no place in our schools.”

In New Bar Exam Data, Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist

Cheryl Miller:

Black and Hispanic law school graduates saw marked year-over-year improvements in pass rates on California’s February 2021 bar exam, according to statistics released Wednesday by the state bar.

Thirty-five percent of African American test-takers who sat for the exam for the first time in February passed, up from 17.6% the previous year. The percentage of Hispanic test-takers who passed rose from 25.2% to 45.4%. The overall pass rate for first time test-takers was 53.1%

Despite the improved pass rates, a significant disparity still persists between white test-takers and applicants of color. Almost 69% of white test-takers who sat for the exam for the first time taking the test for the first time passed. [Pass rates for first-time test-takers from California ABA-accredited Law Schools were: White: 72.4%, Asian: 66.0%, Hispanic: 60.9%, and Black: 30.8%.]

Parents and the Media: Taylor Lorenz Edition

Teacher Dana Stangel-Plowe Speaks Out About Dwight-Englewood School

FAIR:

In my professional opinion, the school is failing to encourage healthy habits of mind, essential for growth, such as intellectual curiosity, humility, honesty, reason, and the capacity to question ideas and consider multiple perspectives. In our school, the opportunity to hear competing ideas is practically non-existent. How can students, who accept a single ideology as fact, learn to practice intellectual curiosity or humility or consider a competing idea they’ve never encountered? How can students develop higher order thinking if they are limited to seeing the world only through the lens of group identity and power?

Sadly, the school is leading many to become true believers and outspoken purveyors of a regressive and illiberal orthodoxy. Understandably, these students have found comfort in their moral certainty, and so they have become rigid and closed-minded, unable or unwilling to consider alternative perspectives. These young students have no idea that the school has placed ideological blinders on them.

Of course, not all students are true believers. Many pretend to agree because of pressure to conform. I’ve heard from students who want to ask a question but stop for fear of offending someone. I have heard from students who don’t participate in discussions for fear of being ostracized. One student did not want to develop her personal essay — about an experience she had in another country — for fear that it might mean that she was, without even realizing it, racist. In her fear, she actually stopped herself from thinking. This is the very definition of self-censorship.

How the Public-Relations Apparatus Works

Dan McLaughlin:

There is, naturally, a synergy with the plaintiffs’ bar:

To help people navigate the legal risks, Ms. Steinhorn created a partnership with Vincent White, a lawyer focused on workplace harassment. Mr. White said Lioness has brought him enough agreements “to keep eight lawyers busy.” He does an initial review free; roughly 10 percent of those who interview end up pursuing a case with Mr. White’s firm.

The Times story is silent on whether that “partnership” profits the proprietors of Lioness. But this much is clear: The publicity is good for them.

School Board Parent Legal Posturing

William Jacobson:

Last Friday, June 4, 2021, I filed a public records request with the South Kingstown school district seeking, among other things, records of communications with the Superintendents Association and public sector unions regarding Nicole and/or PDE, and records as to how Cummiskey’s statements were approved.

My suspicions were confirmed, in part, last night during a School Committee public meeting when Cummiskey gave a statement announcing she was stepping down as Chair, though not from the School Committee entirely. Cummiskey stated that she did not write the statement attacking Nicole and accusing PDE of being racist. She said the statement in its various forms for media, social media, and public hearing, was prepared by a Public Relations firm hired by the School Committee at the recommendation of the Committtee’s legal counsel.

[Note, in the statement Cummiskey gave, there’s a reference to a mailer. That’s a separate issue of a controversy over the leak of student names and addresses to a local AFL-CIO affiliate for use in a campaign to approve a school bond, that ultimately was rejected.]

Here is the key excerpt from the statement (full video below):

Almost Overnight, Standards of Color-Blind Merit Tumble Across American Society

Richard Bernstein:

According to the National Science Foundation, black men and women, who are 12% of the general population, make up just 5% of working engineers — this despite affirmative action programs and numerous other efforts over the years to recruit minorities into engineering programs in colleges and universities. How dramatic increases in a very short period can happen now remains unexplained.

As for American medicine, it’s been a very long time since it was a white male preserve, as just about any visit to a large urban hospital, with their many Filipino and Indian physicians both male and female, will show. For several years now, more women have been accepted to medical schools than men, but while the numbers of blacks going to medical school has also increased, only 5% of physicians in the country are black or African American.  

Science journals have encouraged and enforced a false Covid narrative

Ian Birrell:

Many scientists have been dismayed by their actions. “It is very important to talk about the scientific journals — I think they are partially responsible for the cover-up,” said Virginie Courtier-Orgogozo, a leading French evolutionary biologist and key member of the Paris Group of scientists challenging the established view on these issues. The rejection of the lab leak hypothesis, she argues, in many places was not due to Trump’s intervention but the result of “respectable scientific journals not accepting to discuss the matter”.

The Paris Group, for instance, submitted a letter to The Lancet in early January signed by 14 experts from around the world calling for an open debate, arguing that “the natural origin is not supported by conclusive arguments and that a lab origin cannot be formally discarded”. This does not seem contentious. But it was rejected on the basis it was “not a priority for us”. When the authors queried this decision, it was reassessed and returned without peer review by editor-in-chief Richard Horton with a terse dismissal saying “we have agreed to uphold our original decision to let this go”. The authors ended up publishing their statement on a pre-print site.

Yet this is the same prestigious journal that published a now infamous statement early last year attacking “conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin“. Clearly, this was designed to stifle debate. It was signed by 27 experts but later turned out to have been covertly drafted by Peter Daszak, the British scientist with extensive ties to Wuhan Institute of Virology. To make matters worse, The Lancet then set up a commission on the origins — and incredibly, picked Daszak to chair its 12-person task force, joined by five others who signed that statement dismissing ideas the virus was not a natural occurrence.

Does ‘diversity’ really improve learning?

Joanne Jacobs:

The “largely untested proposition that diversity enhances education” will be the key to deciding whether Harvard’s race-conscious affirmative action program is constitutional, writes Adam Liptak in the New York Times.

The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to consider a challenge by Students for Fair Admissions.

The court’s balance has shifted since it narrowly upheld the University of Texas’ affirmative action program in 2015, Liptak notes. In that case, some justices wondered about the evidence that diversity improves learning. “What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?” asked Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked during oral arguments.

A new study finds law review articles at elite law schools were more likely to be cited in the five years after editors were chosen by race-conscious policies.

How Academic Freedom Ends

Timothy McLaughlin

Last month, a group of University of Hong Kong academics gathered on the third floor of the campus’s Jockey Club Tower for a highly anticipated town hall. Nearly a year had passed since Beijing imposed a new security law on Hong Kong, arresting dozens of peoplereengineering the territory’s voting system, and seizing the assets of a publicly listed company linked to activists. Staff members at the prestigious university, the city’s oldest, were seeking reassurance about how this new reality would change the school, its research, and their jobs.

The takeaway, one of those in attendance told me, was that “help is not on the way.”

By the time of the meeting, the university had severed ties with its students’ union, issuing a scathing statement against the group that read like party-speak from Beijingtorn down colorful walls of protest art along a main thoroughfare; and instituted a heavy security presence on campus.

The May town hall offered its audience little to feel confident about, according to multiple people who attended the closed-door session. The two administrators who addressed the group admitted that they had been caught off guard by the speed and breadth of the crackdown across the city. The assembled faculty pressed them on whether HKU would provide legal assistance if they were arrested for allegedly violating the law while working, what to do if students reported professors on a government tip line, and what educators may be forced to teach. (The new rules require universities to “promote” national security.)

They Rage-Quit the School System—and They’re Not Going Back

Pia Ceres:

It’s easy to homeschool in Texas. A cursory search leads to a step-by-step guide for withdrawing your kid from the school system. Plug a few bits of information into a templated letter, send to a district administrator, and voila! You’re running a school, and everything your kid learns is entirely up to you.

“It was so nerve-racking,” says Sarahi Espitia, a mom of four in McKinney, Texas, a suburb north of Dallas. After a grueling spring of remote learning, Espitia began homeschooling her kids at the start of the 2020 school year. As a graduate of public schools, she felt like she had just plunged her family into the unknown. “We’re so used to going to school.”

Except that the definition of “going to school” had been radically upended by the Covid-19 pandemic. Campuses closed abruptly, while children and teachers struggled mightily with online learning. Espitia, who also helps run the family’s restaurant, was left to navigate confusing new platforms, screen-time fatigue, and endless technical malfunctions for four children. Her kids were 10, 8, 6, and 3; her youngest, a preschooler, didn’t even know how to use a mouse yet. By the end of the year, Espitia says, her “kids were crying.” Wearied by online learning, yet wary of letting her children return to in-person learning, she turned to homeschooling—just for the year, just until things got back to normal.

Teacher Union sues the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Lester Pines (Pines Bach law firm) has long represented local and state Teacher unions.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Civics: Only 40% of Voters Think Dr. Fauci Told the Truth About Virus Research

Rasmussen:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters believe Fauci has told the truth about U.S. government funding for so-called “gain-of-function” virus research. Forty-six percent (46%) of voters believe Fauci has not told the truth about U.S. funding of such research, and 15% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul last week said newly released emails show Fauci was aware that American taxpayer dollars were funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, suspected as the source of the COVID-19 virus. Fauci has defined gain-of-function research as “taking a virus that could infect humans and making it either more transmissible and/or pathogenic for humans.”

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Commentary on Teacher Union interactions with the taxpayer supported Madison K-12 School District

Elisabeth Beyer:

The Madison School District has reissued next year’s teacher contracts along with a letter outlining expected pay increases for education and experience, but the union says its related dispute remains unresolved because the raises are still missing from the document members must sign by June 15.

Scott Girard:

At issue is a change the district says better aligns with state law, but that skeptical teachers fear would allow administration to pull a bait and switch later on.

Last month, the contracts were issued with teachers’ current-year salaries and a statement they would “make no less than” that amount. That surprised and upset many, as historically the contracts issued in the spring for the following year reflected increases outlined in the Employee Handbook for longevity and extra credentials, known as “steps and lanes.”

Because the School Board approves the handbook, the union maintains that the steps and lanes are already agreed upon, regardless of the budget.

The contracts reissued Monday now show the current year salary “+ steps/lanes + base wage increase,” which MTI communications specialist Michelle Michalak wrote in an email “does not resolve the issue but further confuses it.”

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates

RR Reno:

I’m not inclined to hire a graduate from one of America’s elite universities. That marks a change. A decade ago I relished the opportunity to employ talented graduates of Princeton, Yale, Harvard and the rest. Today? Not so much.

As a graduate of Haverford College, a fancy school outside Philadelphia, I took interest in the campus uproar there last fall. It concerned “antiblackness” and the “erasure of marginalized voices.” A student strike culminated in an all-college Zoom meeting for undergraduates. The college president and other administrators promised to “listen.” During the meeting, many students displayed a stunning combination of thin-skinned narcissism and naked aggression. The college administrators responded with self-abasing apologies.

Haverford is a progressive hothouse. If students can be traumatized by “insensitivity” on that leafy campus, then they’re unlikely to function as effective team members in an organization that has to deal with everyday realities. And in any event, I don’t want to hire someone who makes inflammatory accusations at the drop of a hat.

Student activists don’t represent the majority of students. But I find myself wondering about the silent acquiescence of most students. They allow themselves to be cowed by charges of racism and other sins. I sympathize. The atmosphere of intimidation in elite higher education is intense. But I don’t want to hire a person well-practiced in remaining silent when it costs something to speak up.

What happens when journalists don’t have any friends in finance to challenge their thinking?

Jermey Arnold:

But it took about a minute of reading to realize that not only was his claim, ah overstated, but that this was the worst thing I’ve ever read by ProPublica, and a real contender for the worst thing I’ve read so far in 2021 from a credible outlet. And reading the rest along with its supplements did not disabuse me of those feelings.

My concerns:

  • I don’t think anyone involved at ProPublica knows what tax avoidance means
  • I don’t think anyone involved at ProPublica grasps why virtually all developed countries don’t tax unrealized capital gains
  • I don’t think anyone involved at ProPublica tried very hard (at all?) to learn about what they didn’t know before publishing this piece
  • I don’t think anyone involved at ProPublica gave nearly enough thought to the implications of violating privacy laws (or at least norms) to publish a non-story

As ever though, to show is better than to tell. So what follows will dive in.

On ‘Biweekly’ and ‘Bimonthly’: Sorry, not sorry

Merriam Webster:

What to Know

Biweekly and bimonthly can mean the same thing because of the prefix bi-, which here can mean “occurring every two” or “occurring twice in.” Therefore, biweekly can be “twice in a week” or “every other week.” Bimonthly can also mean “every other week” if it’s twice in a month, or it can mean “every other month.”

Look up the adjective biweekly in this dictionary and you will see it defined as “occurring every two weeks” AND as “occurring twice a week.” Similarly, the adjective bimonthly is defined as “occurring every two months” AND as “occurring twice a month.” 

For this, we are sorry. But we don’t mean “sorry” in the sense that we feel penitence; we are not to blame. We mean “sorry” in the sense that we feel a kind of sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond our control or power to repair.

Brain-Computer Interface Smashes Previous Record for Typing Speed

Emily Waltz:

The ancient art of handwriting has just pushed the field of brain-computer interface (BCI) to the next level. Researchers have devised a system that allows a person to communicate directly with a computer from his brain by imagining creating handwritten messages. The approach enables communication at a rate more than twice as fast as previous typing-by-brain experiments. 

Researchers at Stanford University performed the study on a 65-year-old man with a spinal cord injury who had had an electrode array implanted in his brain. The scientists described the experiment recently in the journal Nature

“The big news from this paper is the very high speed,” says Cynthia Chestek, a biomedical engineer at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the study. “It’s at least half way to able-bodied typing speed, and that’s why this paper is in Nature.”

For years, researchers have been experimenting with ways to enable people to directly communicate with computers using only their thoughts, without verbal commands, hand movement, or eye movement. This kind of technology offers a life-giving communication method for people who are “locked in” from brainstem stroke or disease, and unable to speak.

Commentary on Governance Legitimacy

William Lind:

more interesting, and ominous, measure of the whole system’s legitimacy is the rising number of shootings. Such an important barometer is moved by more than one thing; the war on cops is a factor, the cultural collapse of the black urban community is another, the 15 minutes of fame the media gives a shooter motivates some. But I think a broad and spreading sense that the establishment has transformed what used to be America into an insane asylum may be a major and unacknowledged cause. Down is now up, white is black, day has become night and night is filled with nightmares. This is Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of all values,” and it is a core component of the Frankfurt School’s cultural Marxism, aka “wokeness”, “Political Correctness”, etc. In an insane asylum, people do insane things, including shooting their families, friends, co-workers, and anyone else they can.

Defending Speech We Hate

ACLU:

Has the ACLU lost its way? This appears to be a perennial question. In 1994, then-ACLU President Nadine Strossen wrote a 17-page article with 54 footnotes, responding to the charge that the organization “is abandoning its traditional commitment to free speech and other classic civil liberties and is becoming a ‘trendy’ liberal organization primarily concerned with equality and civil rights.” Sixteen years before that, in 1978, J. Anthony Lukas wrote a feature for The New York Times Magazine titled “The ACLU Against Itself,” recounting the controversy over whether the group should have represented a group of Nazis who sought to march in Skokie, Illinois. The question is not new.

But the answer remains the same. The ACLU is committed to the principle of free speech today, just as it was in the 1990s, 1970s, and long before that. And we are specifically committed to the proposition that the First Amendment’s guarantees (like those of the rest of the Constitution) apply to all, not just to those with whom we agree. At the same time, the ACLU also remains devoted to defending other fundamental civil rights and civil liberties, including equal protection of the law — as we always have been. Addressing the tensions that sometimes arise between these commitments is not easy. But we seek to do so, today as always, not by abandoning any of our core commitments, but by acknowledging and confronting the conflicts in as forthright, inclusive, and principled a way as we can.

Some have charged that in doing so we have abandoned our fidelity to the First Amendment in the years since our representation of a white supremacist protester in Charlottesville. In that case, we challenged the revocation of his permit to protest the removal of a monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The protest turned violent, the police failed to intervene, and ultimately one of the alt-right adherents, Alex Field, rammed his car into a group of counter-demonstrators, killing one person and injuring 19 others. The Charlottesville tragedy and the ACLU’s role in defending the protesters’ permit led to considerable controversy, inside and outside the ACLU.

Loudon County, VA school board recall plans

Matt Leach:

The press conference was organized by Fight For Schools, a political action committee led by former Trump Justice Department official Ian Prior. Its goal is to remove school board members it perceives as pushing CRT in Loudoun County schools.

“They’re the ones voting on all these policies, they’re the ones supervising what is happening in the administration,” says Prior. “Ultimately, if we want to make change, if we want to get to an education that values students as individuals and not as some identity group, then we have to replace the school board.”

The next LCPS school board elections are not until 2023, but Prior does not plan to wait that long. His group is gathering signatures to recall six members of the board. According to Ballotpedia, they would need about 17,300 votes to recall all six members. If enough signatures are collected, a trial would be held at the circuit court level.

The Benefits of Rental Assistance for Children’s Health and School Attendance in the United States

Andrew Fenelon:

Programs that provide affordable and stable housing may contribute to better child health and thus to fewer missed days of school. Drawing on a unique linkage of survey and administrative data, we use a quasi-experimental approach to examine the impact of rental assistance programs on missed days of school due to illness. We compare missed school days due to illness among children receiving rental assistance with those who will enter assistance within two years of their interview, the average length of waitlists for federal rental assistance. Overall, we find that children who receive rental assistance miss fewer days of school due to illness relative to those in the pseudo-waitlist group. We demonstrate that rental assistance leads to a reduction in the number of health problems among children and thus to fewer days of school missed due to illness. We find that the effect of rental assistance on missed school days is stronger for adolescents than for younger children. Additionally, race-stratified analyses reveal that rental assistance leads to fewer missed days due to illness among non-Hispanic White and Hispanic/Latino children; this effect, however, is not evident for non-Hispanic Black children, the largest racial/ethnic group receiving assistance. These findings suggest that underinvestment in affordable housing may impede socioeconomic mobility among disadvantaged non-Hispanic White and Hispanic/Latino children. In contrast, increases in rental assistance may widen racial/ethnic disparities in health among disadvantaged children, and future research should examine why this benefit is not evident for Black children.

Is Poe the most influential American writer? A new book offers evidence.

Michael Dirda:

Is Poe really the most influential American writer? Note that I didn’t say “greatest,” for which there must be at least a dozen viable candidates. But consider his radiant originality. Before his death in 1849 at age 40, Poe largely created the modern short story, while also inventing or perfecting half the genres represented on the bestseller list, including the mystery (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Gold-Bug”), science fiction (“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” “The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion”), psychological suspense (“The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado”) and, of course, gothic horror (“The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” the incomparable “Ligeia”).

That’s just the fiction. W.B. Yeats once named Poe “the greatest of American poets,” which does sound absurd. Still, few poems are more famous than “The Raven” with its dolorous tocsin, “Nevermore.” Among my own earliest memories is hearing my steelworker father, not a bookish man, regularly murmur the first stanza of “Annabel Lee”: “It was many and many a year ago/ In a kingdom by the sea . . .”

Finally, Poe — like several of his characters — haunts us from beyond the grave. When we peer at the mournful figure in those familiar daguerreotypes, we seem to glimpse the emblematic image of the modern artist as misunderstood genius, prey to melancholy, drawn to self-destruction.

Civics: FBI sought info on who read USA Today news article for case

BBC:

Gannett is asking a court to cancel the subpoena, saying it breaches the first amendment of the US constitution, which protects the free press from government interference.

“Being forced to tell the government who reads what on our websites is a clear violation of the first amendment,” said Maribel Perez Wadsworth, USA Today’s publisher.

“The FBI’s subpoena asks for private information about readers of our journalism.”

Ms Wadsworth said the the FBI’s order broke the justice department’s guidelines on the “narrow circumstances” in which the government can subpoena reporters.

Although Gannett’s lawyers had tried to contact the FBI, the agency had not provided it with an explanation for the subpoena, she added.

Gannett’s lawyers say the order is “unconstitutional”, and invades the rights of both the news organisation and its readers, citing a Supreme Court judgement that said: “A requirement that a publisher disclose the identity of those who buy his books, pamphlets or papers is indeed the beginning of surveillance of the press”.

Matt Zapotosky:

Justice Department says it will no longer seek access to journalists’ records amid outcry over Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s bid to seize New York Times’ reporters’ email records

James Gordon:

Justice Department officials say they will no longer seek access to journalists’ phone and email records amid an outcry over the Trump and Biden administrations’ attempts to seize four New York Times journalists’ email records.

The White House has claimed that nobody was aware of a gag order which barred the Times from reporting the attempts to obtain its staffers’ communications until Friday night, with both the Biden administration and Justice Department since backtracking.

Donald Trump’s officials made the initial request for the records on January 5 this year to try and work out the source of White House leaks about former FBI Director James Comey, with that legal process continuing after Joe Biden took office.

Bing Censors Image Search for ‘Tank Man’ Even in US

Joseph Cox:

Multiple Twitter users also sent Motherboard images of the lack of image results on Bing while connecting from France, Switzerland, and other countries.

Shane Huntley from Google’s Threat Analysis Group first tweeted a screenshot of the Bing search result. Security researcher Kevin Beaumont also tweeted the same results from what he said was a search from a UK IP address. Motherboard also replicated the search on a U.S. IP address.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Motherboard in an email that “This is due to an accidental human error and we are actively working to resolve this.”

Covixs/ “Big Tech acts as the government’s censorship bureau – by doing through the back door what big government cannot do under the Constitution”

The Absurdity of Peer Review
What the pandemic revealed about scientific publishing

Mark Humphries:

I was reading my umpteenth news story about Covid-19 science, a story about the latest research into how to make indoor spaces safe from infection, about whether cleaning surfaces or changing the air was more important. And it was bothering me. Not because it was dull (which, of course, it was: there are precious few ways to make air filtration and air pumps edge-of-the-seat stuff). But because of the way it treated the science.

You see, much of the research it reported was in the form of pre-prints, papers shared by researchers on the internet before they are submitted to a scientific journal. And every mention of one of these pre-prints was immediately followed by the disclaimer that it had not yet been peer reviewed. As though to convey to the reader that the research therein, the research plastered all over the story, was somehow of less worth, less value, less meaning than the research in a published paper, a paper that had passed peer review.

Imagine reading about the discovery of the structure of DNA with that same reticence we use today: “In a recent Letter to the journal Nature, Cambridge University scientists James Watson and Francis Crick proposed a new structure for DNA (not yet peer reviewed). They claim their “double helix” model, a spiral of two strands of bases, both explains decades of experimental work, and provides a clear mechanism for copying genes. Their proposal drew heavily on data contained in Letters in the same issue of Nature from the teams of Rosalind Franklin (not yet peer reviewed) and Maurice Wilkins (not yet peer reviewed).”

Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the A.C.L.U. Faces an Identity Crisis

Michael Powell:

Mr. Goldberger, a Jew who defended the free speech of those whose views he found repugnant, felt profoundly discouraged.

“I got the sense it was more important for A.C.L.U. staff to identify with clients and progressive causes than to stand on principle,” he said in a recent interview. “Liberals are leaving the First Amendment behind.”

The A.C.L.U., America’s high temple of free speech and civil liberties, has emerged as a muscular and richly funded progressive powerhouse in recent years, taking on the Trump administration in more than 400 lawsuits. But the organization finds itself riven with internal tensions over whether it has stepped away from a founding principle — unwavering devotion to the First Amendment.

Media trust hits new low

Mike Allen:

By the numbers: For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media, according to data from Edelman’s annual trust barometer shared exclusively with Axios. Trust in social media has hit an all-time low of 27%.

56% of Americans agree with the statement that “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”
58% think that “most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.”
When Edelman re-polled Americans after the election, the figures had deteriorated even further, with 57% of Democrats trusting the media and only 18% of Republicans.

Reports of a decline in male fertility rely on flawed assumptions, a new study contends.

Rachel Gross:

For starters, no one knows what an “optimal” sperm count is. The World Health Organization sets a range of “normal” sperm count as from 15 to 250 million sperm per milliliter. (Men produce about 2 to 5 milliliters of semen per ejaculation.) But it isn’t clear that more is better. Above a certain threshold — 40 million per milliliter, according to the W.H.O. — a higher sperm count does not mean a man is more fertile.

“Doubling your sperm count from 25 to 50 million doesn’t double your chances,” said Allan Pacey, an andrologist at the University of Sheffield and the editor of Human Fertility. “Doubling it from 100 to 200 million doesn’t double your chances — in fact it flattens off, if anything. So this relationship between sperm count and fertility is weak.”

Faith in science is an oxymoron.

Leighton Akira Woodhouse:

Some time during the George W. Bush presidency, Democrats began proudly calling themselves “the party of science.” The moniker was a reaction to the Bush administration’s open embrace of Creationism, and its climate change denialism. The Republican Party was being led around by the nose, liberals charged, by kooky Evangelical philistines and corrupt corporate lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry. It had lost its grip on reality, a development that was comically encapsulated by a Bush official’s pejorative use of the phrase “reality-based community,” in sneering reference to critics who still took things like facts seriously. Liberal bloggers appropriated the phrase to describe themselves ironically.

This new science-based identity was congruous with the ascendance of a key demographic within the Democratic coalition, one that would be instrumental in electing and re-electing President Barack Obama. Prosperous, educated professionals, once a reliable, if liberal, Republican voting bloc, had for some time been shifting their partisan allegiance. As the GOP was increasingly drawing in rural and blue collar voters and, accordingly, elevating cultural issues like guns and religion that were imperative to them, the Democrats were burnishing their appeal to urban and suburban college graduates by embracing free trade, emphasizing identity-based issues like abortion and gay rights, and proudly espousing their commitment to expert-driven, technocratic governance. This rebranding from a workers’ party to the party of sober, rational, informed wonkiness flattered these new Democratic voters’ self-conception.

Read and think for yourself. Don’t let others think for you.

Leonardo:

If you are capable of anything else than being at the orders of someone, you’re on the side of the people who believe that the world is not divided between masters and slaves.


As a person with intelligence who thinks by himself, without taking ideas from others and submits to some as a servant; you now have the opportunity to show that you can be your own owner, that what you say “matters” and people are listening to what you have to say.


The country you live in, is not “THEIRS” it’s “YOUR” country, your community, the location upon which you live your life. Why shouldn’t life be just joy? Democracy in its essence is based on the rule of the people (Demos = “people” / Kratos = “rule) “the RULE of the PEOPLE”. Our current Democracy uses the Inversion Mental Model (IMM) where instead of being the rule of the people, it’s the rule of the elite. Exactly how the Department of Defense (DOD) using IMM becomes the Department of Attack, a description which makes more sense as if you haven’t yet noticed the DOD is actually always Attacking.

The power of the people is formed by you, me, and everybody else with whom we live together, although we let ourselves be ruled and abused by opportunists: people interested only towards their own interests, not in any case of you nor your life or mine. You can observe these facts by yourself, I’m just the one confirming what you’ve already realized and known since you have started thinking by yourself.

43,0% of young people aged between 15 – 34 years old are not only unemployed according to Statistics South Africa

Tefo Mohapi:

Despite these very unsettling statistics, you will hear the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, talk about how the government is creating jobs and improving the country. In fact, just this week, the President could be heard across different media platforms talking about how the government has been steering the country through a difficult period and making good progress with economic recovery and job creation.

Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie.

South Africa has a serious youth unemployment problem. Beyond being a problem, it is a ticking time bomb as young able people grow more frustrated with each passing day as they are unable to make ends meet. The data is also quite clear, a lot of the youth do not even complete high school, making them not only unemployed but unemployable.

Commentary on federal education practices

Hams Bader:

The Biden administration is expected to reinstate the Obama administration’s 2014 school-discipline guidelines, which prodded schools to suspend all racial groups at the same rate, even if there was more misbehavior among students of one race than another. In response to those guidelines, and worried about being investigated by the Education Department, some school officials adopted unconstitutional racial quotas for school suspensions, or mandated special review of any suspensions of black or Hispanic students, effectively creating special privileges based on race.

The Biden administration renewed this pressure for quotas on June 4, by issuing a notice that called for new federal policies about school discipline, in light of the fact that “students of color are disproportionately subjected to disciplinary actions in contrast to their White peers.” It further implied that there are no racial differences in misbehavior rates, even though studies and surveys show that black students do have higher rates of misbehavior in school. It cited a controversial report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that claimed that “Students of color as a whole, as well as by individual racial group, do not commit more disciplinable offenses than their white peers.”

But as the Washington Post noted in 2019, the Commission never showed that claim was true. The Commission’s chairwoman, who is now Biden’s nominee to head the Office for Civil Rights, “pointed to a few spots” in the Commission’s report to “claim that there are no underlying differences in student behavior. But those citations did not offer such evidence. One set of data referenced in the report showed the opposite,” noted The Post.

“Facts” were facts, until the facts suddenly changed.

Maximilian Forte:

The documentary itself establishes its lead questions at the outset. Nico Sloot, described as an international entrepreneur, acts as the main voice in the film and our lead detective. What struck me from the start was how he framed the central problem that provoked his investigative journey: when would herd immunity be achieved? On the question of risk: who is going to get sick and who is going to die?

Sloot formed an independent research team that grew to include up to 20 scientists in four countries, across a range of specialties. This was something of an ad hoc think tank. The team encompassed doctors, economists, accountants, data specialists, among other specialties, and each member of the team had his/her own specific research task. It is quite impressive to see such an independent citizens’ initiative form, and it is a welcome antidote to the authoritarian, top-down, ask no questions, just follow orders approach involved with state proclamations and directives by top public health officers. Such independent initiatives should serve as a refreshing reminder—because apparently one is needed—that it is not wrong to ask questions and challenge assertions.

What or who provoked Nico Sloot? In part, he admits, it was a speech given early in the crisis by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. This compelled Sloot to conduct what he estimates is about 1,000 hours of research, added to others who joined him, totalling at least 5,000 hours. I suspect he is providing a low estimate. On his motivation, Sloot explains: “In business you always work with risk…so the first thing I looked at was: What are the facts here? How many will die and how many will fall victim to COVID-19?”

We hear and view the same speech by Prime Minister Rutte to which Sloot refers at the opening, and it is the standard kind of dramatic announcement that we all heard in our respective locales (it is included in the trailer I created, in the absence of an English-language trailer).

Yet Sloot himself apparently disagrees: the “collateral damage” of the measures taken were worse than the virus. He mentions that, for The Netherlands alone, around 300,000 hospital procedures had to be postponed. In Canada it was reported that many crucial cancer treatments, colonoscopies, and important surgeries that had been scheduled, were all pushed back thus creating a massive backlog. Even more: Canadian media reported the common occurrence of people suffering from heart problems, or even actual heart attacks, and not going to the hospital (either out of fear of getting infected by the virus, or because they knew hospitals were already dedicated almost exclusively to COVID-19 patients).

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Why I spoke out against lockdowns

Martin Kulldorff:

I had no choice but to speak out against lockdowns. As a public-health scientist with decades of experience working on infectious-disease outbreaks, I couldn’t stay silent. Not when basic principles of public health are thrown out of the window. Not when the working class is thrown under the bus. Not when lockdown opponents were thrown to the wolves. There was never a scientific consensus for lockdowns. That balloon had to be popped.

Two key Covid facts were quickly obvious to me. First, with the early outbreaks in Italy and Iran, this was a severe pandemic that would eventually spread to the rest of the world, resulting in many deaths. That made me nervous. Second, based on the data from Wuhan, in China, there was a dramatic difference in mortality by age, with over a thousand-fold difference between the young and the old. That was a huge relief. I am a single father with a teenager and five-year-old twins. Like most parents, I care more about my children than myself. Unlike the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, children had much less to fear from Covid than from annual influenza or traffic accidents. They could get on with life unharmed — or so I thought.

For society at large, the conclusion was obvious. We had to protect older, high-risk people while younger low-risk adults kept society moving.

But that didn’t happen. Instead, schools closed while nursing homes went unprotected. Why? It made no sense. So, I picked up a pen. To my surprise, I could not interest any US media in my thoughts, despite my knowledge and experience with infectious-disease outbreaks. I had more success in my native Sweden, with op-eds in the major daily newspapers, and, eventually, a piece in spiked. Other like-minded scientists faced similar hurdles.

Instead of understanding the pandemic, we were encouraged to fear it. Instead of life, we got lockdowns and death. We got delayed cancer diagnoses, worse cardiovascular-disease outcomes, deteriorating mental health, and a lot more collateral public-health damage from lockdown. Children, the elderly and the working class were the hardest hit by what can only be described as the biggest public-health fiasco in history.

Throughout the 2020 spring wave, Sweden kept daycare and schools open for every one of its 1.8million children aged between one and 15. And it did so without subjecting them to testing, masks, physical barriers or social distancing. This policy led to precisely zero Covid deaths in that age group, while teachers had a Covid risk similar to the average of other professions. The Swedish Public Health Agency reported these facts in mid-June, but in the US lockdown proponents still pushed for school closures.

In July, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article on ‘reopening primary schools during the pandemic’. Shockingly, it did not even mention the evidence from the only major Western country that kept schools open throughout the pandemic. That is like evaluating a new drug while ignoring data from the placebo control group.

Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard University.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

The Rise of Remote Work May Reshape College Towns. Here’s How These Campuses Are Wooing Transplants.

Lindsey Ellis:

Universities are luring remote staff at corporations to move from urban hubs to college towns, as companies look to continue flexible work arrangements for their employees.

At least two colleges — Purdue University and West Virginia University — are supporting programs for these remote workers, betting that this mode of work will have staying power after the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to scattered workplaces.

Universities have long hosted corporate incubators, but the new programs represent another way the pandemic has shifted the way colleges think about who works on campus, and why. Many universities are considering how employees’ desires for remote work will affect their own human-resources policies. These colleges, however, are making a play for other people’s employees, showing that campuses will both influence and be affected by this major shift in where Americans live and work.

Purdue is set to hold a visitors’ weekend for a small group of applicants for a so-called “remote-working community” in the campus’s business-and-research park, which is operated by the university’s research foundation and a development company. These people will uproot their lives — some with a deal-sweetening $5,000 — to move to West Lafayette, Ind. They can live at discounted rates in housing built in the Purdue park and access campus facilities, including the library and a co-working space.

Civics: Comrades in Tweets? The Contours and Limits of China-Russia Cooperation on Digital Propaganda

ALEXANDER GABUEV, LEONID KOVACHICH:

Amid the deluge of online disinformation during the coronavirus pandemic, geopolitical tensions pitting China and Russia against the West have continued to ratchet up, especially in the digital domain. Russian information operations have drawn greater attention in the West since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and many analysts have seen echoes of such online trolling and disinformation in the more assertive, confrontational posture of Chinese diplomats on social media during the coronavirus pandemic. Russian and Chinese propagandists also seem to be mirroring each other’s tactics and cross-promoting each other’s content, leading some Western analysts and governments to warn of deepening digital cooperation between Moscow and Beijing.

China and Russia do indeed share a lot of strategic objectives, and their partnership has been deepening across the board since the 2014 outbreak of war in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Moscow. After all, both countries’ leaders decry U.S. hegemony and see the United States and its alliances as challenges to their national security and national interests. And both Chinese and Russian policymakers are striving to exploit existing fissures in Western societies while weakening ties between the United States and its allies through information operations and other means. Furthermore, both the Kremlin and Zhongnanhai are intent on defusing Western criticisms of (and perceived designs to topple) their political regimes, while advancing their own self-serving, government-friendly narratives. Beyond these commonly held strategic objectives, both countries have drawn tactically on their own histories while also learning from one another and others.

San Francisco schools see enrollment drop as families flee the district (Madison?)

Jill Tucker:

Yet it’s clear many families vowed to leave after losing faith in the district because of the slow reopening of classrooms and ongoing drama among district leadership. That includes an $87 million lawsuit filed by board member Alison Collins against five colleagues after they removed her from the vice presidency and committee positions following the discovery of racist tweets against Asian Americans, which have remained online since 2016.

Claire Raj’s family is among those who have opted out. The mother of three, with a former first-grader and third-grader at McCoppin Elementary, said she felt the district let students and schools down this year.

Despite being a parent leader at the school, she pulled her kids out in January, enrolling them at St. Anne School, which had resumed in-person learning in October. Her youngest son’s teacher at St. Anne informed her that her son didn’t have enough muscle control in his hand to write after months on a computer tablet and that he was well behind peers in reading and writing.

The district just didn’t do enough to help families, she said.

“It’s something we had never considered, going to private school. We aren’t Catholic,” Raj said. “Once we started considering it, it seemed we just didn’t have any choice.”

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Why the bullshit-jobs thesis may be, well, bullshit

The Economist:

MOST PEOPLE feel, from time to time, that their work is meaningless. David Graeber, the late anthropologist, built an elaborate thesis out of this insight. He argued in a book in 2018 that society has been deliberately creating more and more “bullshit jobs” in professions such as financial services to fill the time of educated workers who need the money to pay off student debts but who suffer from depression because of their work. His thesis has been cited more than 800 times by academics, according to Google Scholar, and often repeated in the media.

When the book came out, this columnist was unimpressed, arguing that the thesis was a partial reworking of the insights of C. Northcote Parkinson, who argued that bureaucracy has an innate tendency to expand and make work for itself. Three academics—Magdalena Soffia, Alex Wood and Brendan Burchell—have undertaken a systematic analysis* of the claims behind Mr Graeber’s work and found that the data often show the exact opposite of what he predicted. The bullshit-jobs thesis, in other words, is largely bullshit.

Civics: The Media’s Lab Leak Debacle Shows Why Banning ‘Misinformation’ Is a Terrible Idea

Robby Soave:

Facebook made a quiet but dramatic reversal last week: It no longer forbids users from touting the theory that COVID-19 came from a laboratory.

“In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured from our apps,” the social media platform declared in a statement.

This change in policy comes in the midst of heated debate about how to respond to the perception that social media is amplifying the spread of false information. For the last several years, journalists and politicians have pushed to police so-called misinformation through various means. Major news organizations have hired mis- or disinformation reporters. Lawmakers such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) have urged social media sites to prohibit speech deemed wrong or dangerous—and have sometimes suggested that this should be required by law. More recently, various groups have asked President Joe Biden to establish a federal initiative to combat online misinformation.

But Facebook’s concession that the lab leak story it once viewed as demonstrably false is actually possibly true should put to rest the idea that banning or regulating misinformation should be a chief public policy goal.

Our biggest institutions are blocking us from pursuing a good American life.

JD Vance:

I thought I’d start today by sketching out a vision for what we should be about in the conservative movement in the twenty-first century, because I think it’s useful to anchor ourselves, not just in first principles but in the lives of the people affected by those principles, and then I’ll talk about why I think “woke capital” is such a problem.

I think that we should fight for the right of every American to live a good life in the country they call their own, to raise a family in dignity on a single middle-class job. It’s a simple vision: If you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to live a good life in this country that is your own, that was built by your parents and grandparents, that will be inherited by your children.

Now that’s of course more complicated than it sounds. I think it requires that we respect our history so people are anchored in the traditions of this country, so they can teach their children those traditions, and so they can pass on a feeling of rootedness in their own community. That’s why we worry about the assault on our history and our schools. I think it requires that we give our children and ourselves the right to speak openly and participate meaningfully in this democratic society of ours.

Commentary on the Taxpayer Supported Madison School District’s Curriculum Experiences

Machine generated transcript:

My mother was the first African-American graduate of Edgewood college. She was a first grade teacher in the Madison schools. I was a product of the Madison schools and my kids are currently in the Madison’s school district. What I am seeing now in the school is something I’ve never seen before. It’s like the teachers are promoting the vision.

We’re always taught unity. And how to get along with one another silver rights helped us advance. And now my children are being made to think of themselves as perpetual victims and to think of the white race as perpetual oppressors. This isn’t right. As a veteran of the United States army, I served to uphold and defend the principles that this bill promotes.

My achievements honor, graduate in basic training. My efforts in the Gulf war and my honorable discharge are a reflection of my individual efforts and sacrifice not given to me due to my race.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Students’ Civic Online Reasoning: A National Portrait

Joel Breakstone:

Are today’s students able to discern quality information from sham online? In the largest investigation of its kind, we administered an assessment to 3,446 high school students. Equipped with a live internet connection, the students responded to six constructed-response tasks. The students struggled on all of them. Asked to investigate a site claiming to “disseminate factual reports” on climate science, 96% never learned about the organization’s ties to the fossil fuel industry. Two thirds were unable to distinguish news stories from ads on a popular website’s home page. More than half believed that an anonymously posted Facebook video, shot in Russia, provided “strong evidence” of U.S. voter fraud. Instead of investigating the organization or group behind a site, students were often duped by weak signs of credibility: a website’s “look,” its top-level domain, the content on its About page, and the sheer quantity of information it provided. The study’s sample reflected the demographic profile of high school students in the United States, and a multilevel regression model explored whether scores varied by student characteristics. Findings revealed differences in student abilities by grade level, self-reported grades, locality, socioeconomic status, race, maternal education, and free/reduced-price lunch status. Taken together, these findings reveal an urgent need to prepare students to thrive in a world in which information flows ceaselessly across their screens.

Duck Hunt? University of Oregon Announces Policy On Monitoring Student Social Media and Off-Campus Statements

Jonathan Turley:

However, the new change allows for sweeping and ill-defined authority. It is a convoluted structure but under the new rule you can be punished for off-campus conduct if it is a substantial disruption to any member of the university that involves “academic work or any University records, documents, or identifications”

That would seem to encompass references to school “identifications” in the form of other students or associations. That ambiguity can be a chilling element in such a speech limitation. Indeed, if a student identifies herself as an Oregon student, is that sufficient “identification”? What does “involved” with an identification mean?

Scientists Suing Scientists, and Behaving Badly

Nathan Schachtman:

In his 1994 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the Hungarian born chemist George Andrew Olah acknowledged an aspect of science that rarely is noted in popular discussions:

“[One] way of dealing with errors is to have friends who are willing to spend the time necessary to carry out a critical examination of the experimental design beforehand and the results after the experiments have been completed. An even better way is to have an enemy. An enemy is willing to devote a vast amount of time and brain power to ferreting out errors both large and small, and this without any compensation. The trouble is that really capable enemies are scarce; most of them are only ordinary. Another trouble with enemies is that they sometimes develop into friends and lose a good deal of their zeal. It was in this way the writer lost his three best enemies. Everyone, not just scientists, need a few good enemies!”[1]

If you take science seriously, you must take error as something for which we should always be vigilant, and something we are committed to eliminate. As Olah and Von Békésy have acknowledged, sometimes an enemy is required. It would thus seem to be quite unscientific to complain that an enemy was harassing you, when she was criticizing your data, study design, methods, or motives.

Civic Education, Rightly Understood

Wilfred McClay:

We live in anxious times. But many times in our past were far more anxious, and the reasons for anxiety then were more compelling. Consider, for example, the situation facing the world in the early months of 1941, when Hitler’s triumphant armies controlled continental Europe, when only the British Isles managed to hold out, and when the future of liberty looked very dim—indeed, when civilization itself seemed imperiled. Yet at that moment, the novelist John Dos Passos chose to pen these words: “In times of change and danger when there is a quicksand of fear under men’s reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present.”

He must have been tempted to declare, as journalists like to do, that the present situation was utterly without precedent and that the past had nothing to teach the present. After all, had the world ever before seen a more fearsome and pitiless fighting machine than the one that Adolf Hitler had assembled? But Dos Passos chose to convey an exactly opposite message. He urged that we look backward to a past that could be a source of sanity and direction, a lifeline of sustenance and instruction.

Mask mandate and use efficacy in state-level COVID-19 containment

Damian D. Guerra and Daniel J. Guerra:

Background: Containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires evidence-based strategies to reduce transmission. 11 Because COVID-19 can spread via respired droplets, many states have mandated mask use in public settings. 12 Randomized control trials have not clearly demonstrated mask efficacy against respiratory viruses, and 13 observational studies conflict on whether mask use predicts lower infection rates. We hypothesized that statewide 14 mask mandates and mask use are associated with lower COVID-19 case growth rates in the United States. 15 Methods: We calculated total COVID-19 case growth and mask use for the continental United States with data from 16 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. We estimated post-17 mask mandate case growth in non-mandate states using median issuance dates of neighboring states with mandates. 18 Results: Case growth was not significantly different between mandate and non-mandate states at low or high 19 transmission rates, and surges were equivocal. Mask use predicted lower case growth at low, but not high 20 transmission rates. Growth rates were comparable between states in the first and last mask use quintiles adjusted for 21 normalized total cases early in the pandemic and unadjusted after peak Fall-Winter infections. Mask use did not 22 predict Summer 2020 case growth for non-Northeast states or Fall-Winter 2020 growth for all continental states. 23 Conclusions: Mask mandates and use are not associated with slower state-level COVID-19 spread during COVID-24 19 growth surges. Containment requires future research and implementation of existing efficacious strategies.

They Rage-Quit the School System—and They’re Not Going Back

Pia Ceres:

Espitia is a part of a wave of parents and caregivers who withdrew their children from US public schools and elected to homeschool because of the pandemic—and she’s part of a group that isn’t going back. The crisis gave rise to a diverse swath of families that are using tech to totally customize their kids’ learning, and they might even change what “going to school” means in the post-pandemic world.

A More Diverse Class of Homeschoolers

While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, it has never been considered the American norm. In 2019, homeschooled students represented just 3.2 percent of US students in grades K through 12, or around 1.7 million students. By comparison, 90 percent of US students attend public school. But a March 2021 report from the US Census Bureau indicates an uptick in homeschooling during the pandemic: In spring 2020, 5.4 percent of surveyed households reported homeschooling their children (homeschooling being distinct from remote learning at home through a public or private school). By fall 2020, the figure had doubled to 11.1 percent.

“I like the idea of presenting material to my kids that’s not necessarily the colonized experience.”

Academic intelligence is absurdly overvalued

James Marriott:

In my early twenties I was fixated on the idea of taking a masters degree. I made myself fairly miserable in pursuit of this goal: I saved almost all the money I earned, moved into my grandmother’s spare bedroom and took out an enormous loan from the government. The obsession was not rational. I am not sure I could ever have coherently explained why I thought I needed a second degree in English literature.

I was, I think, a victim of what the American writer Fredrik deBoer calls “the cult of smart”: the pervasive modern idea that intelligence is the defining human quality and that academic performance is a “shorthand for total human value”.

I believe deBoer is correct: academic intelligence is absurdly overvalued. For

Ann Althouse Commentary:

If you, like me, wondered what’s in 17th-century sermons, here’s a big page of links to English sermons from the 17th century. Lots of John Donne sermons here. Sample:

South Kingstown (RI) School Committee Votes NOT To Sue Mom Nicole Solas Who Sought CRT Records

William Jacobsen:

The story has been covered not only by FoxNews.com, but also by GoLocalProv, which quoted the local ACLU Director:

Rhode Island ACLU Executive Director Steve Brown told GoLocal on Tuesday he believes the South Kingstown School Committee’s response is “inappropriate.”

“I can certainly understand the difficulties facing a municipal body when confronted with such a huge number of APRA requests in a short period of time,” said Brown “However, I am also hopeful that, upon consideration, the school committee will recognize that suing a resident for this activity is not an appropriate response.”

Additional outlets included The Daily WireThe Washington ExaminerReal Clear PoliticsYahoo NewsMSNThe UK Independent, and The Providence Journal, which detailed some vicious personal attacks from the school committee chairperson and local unions:

The committee’s chairwoman said Wednesday the requests were part of a national strategy of a “racist group.” ….

South Kingstown School Committee Chairwoman Emily Cummiskey described the possible suit Wednesday as a “potential injunction” to blunt “a nationally-organized, racist group [attempting] to create chaos and intimidate our district. …This is their MO nation-wide and I anticipate other districts in our state will soon experience the same unfortunate influx we have.”

ntelligence can be detected but is not found attractive in videos and live interactions

Julie C. Driebea and Ruben C. Arslang

Self-reported mate preferences suggest intelligence is valued across cultures, consistent with the idea that human intelligence evolved as a sexually selected trait. The validity of self-reports has been questioned though, so it remains unclear whether objectively assessed intelligence is indeed attractive. In Study 1, 88 target men had their intelligence measured and based on short video clips were rated on intelligence, funniness, physical attractiveness and mate appeal by 179 women. In Study 2 (N = 763), participants took part in 2 to 5 speed-dating sessions in which their intelligence was measured and they rated each other’s intelligence, funniness, and mate appeal. Measured intelligence did not predict increased mate appeal in either study, whereas perceived intelligence and funniness did. More intelligent people were perceived as more intelligent, but not as funnier. Results suggest that intelligence is not important for initial attraction, which raises doubts concerning the sexual selection theory of intelligence.

WELCOME TO FAIRFAX COUNTY PARENTS ASSOCIATION

Fairfaxparents.org:

Fairfax County Parents Association is a nonpartisan volunteer grassroots organization of parents that seeks to ensure students are the first priority in Fairfax County Public Schools. This is accomplished by educating parents about the governance and administration of the school system and empowering parents to advocate on behalf of their children. We seek to ensure the school board is governed in accordance with the law, specifically that the roles are non-partisan. The FCPA will work to support teachers and staff of the school system to aid their efforts to educate our children.