Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Cruising the Web

Ah, this is how far we've gone down the rabbit hole when it comes to trying to encourage "diversity." People are upset that Interior secretary
Ryan Zinke says that he wants to hire the "best people" for his department instead of focusing on "diversity." Oh, the horror!
Zinke’s lack of concern over “diversity” at the Interior Department angered some staffers, who rushed to tell CNN. The news network on Monday ran with the chyron: “Zinke angers many by saying it’s more important to find best people; Dept denies.”

Each time Zinke was asked about diversity, he would respond, “what’s important is having the right person for the right job,” or “I care about excellence, and I’m going to get the best people, and you’ll find we have the most diverse group anyone’s ever had,” sources told CNN.
Apparently, CNN has decided that there are statistics bearing out their accusations that wanting to hire the best qualified people is just code language for racism.
CNN pointed to a recent reorganization of 33 Interior Department employees, 15 of which were minorities, according to Katie Atkinson, an attorney for former department official Joel Clement.

Clement resigned after being reassigned and is suing President Donald Trump’s administration, alleging they moved him for political reasons. Ever since, his lawyer has been providing information to media outlets to use against the Interior Department.

CNN also dug up Interior Department employee statistics the White House Office of Personnel Management made available. The news network reported, “[o]nly 28% of the 235 senior leaders at Interior self-report as minorities, but more than 40% of the 33 people who were moved in June without warning were non-white, based on the numbers provided by Atkinson.”

Furthermore, “[s]even of the 12 divisions have no minority leaders at the senior executive staff level, according to the latest OPM data, made available in September,” CNN reported.
But guess what?
CNN’s statistics on minority leaders at the Interior is roughly in line with the make-up of the U.S. population, Census Bureau data shows.

Seventy-three percent of thoroughly 46 million Americans aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degrees are white. Blacks, Asians and Hispanics made up nine percent, respectively, of bachelor’s degrees.

A few years ago the University of California had issued guidance about microaggressions that employees should be careful not to use. One example of a microaggression was saying "I believe the most qualified person should get the job." or "Men and women have equal opportunities for achievement. or "Gender plays no part in who we hire." Eugene Volokh a professor of law at UCLA and expert on the First Amendment was not impressed with his employer's guidance.
But the document that I quote isn’t about keeping classes on-topic or preventing presonal insults — it’s about suppressing particular viewpoints. And what’s tenure for, if not to resist these attempts to stop the expression of unpopular views?

But I’m afraid that many faculty members who aren’t yet tenured, many adjuncts and lecturers who aren’t on the tenure ladder, many staff members, and likely even many students — and perhaps even quite a few tenured faculty members as well — will get the message that certain viewpoints are best not expressed when you’re working for UC, whether in the classroom, in casual discussions, in scholarship, in op-eds, on blogs, or elsewhere. (Remember that when talk turns to speech that supposedly creates a “hostile learning environment,” speech off campus or among supposed friends can easily be condemned as creating such an environment, once others on campus learn about it.) A serious blow to academic freedom and to freedom of discourse more generally, courtesy of the University of California administration.
The university responded to criticism by saying that they weren't banning those statements - just trying to offer guidance about what should be avoided. Volokh is still appalled that there would be any effort to indicate to employees that certain statements shouldn't be used in classes.
So let’s see if I understand it. “Microaggressions” are defined as “send[ing] denigrating messages” based (in relevant part) on race. Unsurprisingly, they are labeled as potentially leading to “hostile learning environments,” which the university and the federal government views as legally actionable. The university as an employer is telling its employees, including many employees who don’t have tenure, that expressing certain views is a “microaggression.”

But then the university insists that it’s “preserving academic freedom and the free flow of ideas.” Because, you know, lecturers, adjuncts, not-yet-tenured faculty members, and so on, will read this and say, “sure, I can express my ideas condemning affirmative action, and be labeled by UC as engaging in ‘microaggressions’ — of course UC isn’t going to retaliate against me for that.” Doesn’t seem to reflect how actual employees behave in the face of such statements from the employer’s Office of the President, Academic and Personnel Programs department.

And now it's a few years later and we're all supposed to be horrified that a member of the President's Cabinet wants to hire "the best people" and cares "about excellence." In this topsy-turvy world, not explicitly saying that you want to hire people based on "diversity" is considered to be a sign of racism.

The WSJ has some good advice
for the Senate Republicans trying to clear up the backlog of Trump nominees who have been stalled by the Democrats demanding a cloture vote on nominees which triggers a Senate rule mandating 30 hours of debate on each nominee coming out of a cloture vote. It's become a serious problem and the Democrats are winning in their strategy to block Trump appointees and slow down Senate action on a host of issues.
Such objections trigger a cloture vote, which then sets off 30 hours of floor debate. Cloture votes used to be almost unheard of for nominations other than judges. At this point in the past four presidencies combined, only 15 executive-branch nominees were confirmed after cloture. Yet in the current Congress, Democrats have already invoked cloture on more than 50 Trump nominees. Their goal is simply to slow the formation of a GOP government and soak up valuable Senate floor time.

In early December the Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously to approve the nomination of Kevin McAleenan as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Control. He didn’t get a full Senate floor vote until last week, and only after cloture. The Senate has failed to confirm ambassadors to 25 nations. It is also sitting on Yleem Poblete, who was nominated in October to be Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Verification and Compliance and is supposed to represent the U.S. in international talks about Syrian chemical weapons.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week said 43% of Mr. Trump’s nominees await confirmation, and there have been 102 fewer confirmations so far than in even the slowest recent Administration.
Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma is working hard to change the rules to end this silliness.
Enter Mr. Lankford, who is working to reduce the 30 hours of debate on executive-branch nominees (excluding cabinet secretaries) to eight. This was the standard in 2013-2014 after Republicans then in the minority agreed to a request from Majority Leader Harry Reid, but that deal lapsed with the last Congress.

Mr. Lankford needs 60 votes to change the rule for the remainder of this Congress; he’d need 67 for a permanent rule change. Mr. Schumer and his progressive wing will balk, but Mr. Lankford is talking to Democrats who profess to care about national security, as well as those up for re-election in Trump states.

It’s worth adding that Senate Republicans have been far too accepting of this Democratic stall. They’ve been griping about it for a year to little effect. If Democrats want to insist on 30 hours of debate, then make them stay in Washington on Mondays, Fridays and even weekends to clear the nomination list. And make them work over recess too.

Older GOP war horses won’t like it, but Democrats running for re-election will suffer more from staying in Washington. Our guess is that Mr. Schumer will soon come around to agreeing to the eight-hour compromise.
I've always been in favor of taking up the challenge of those in the Senate demanding extended hours of debate by making them actually live up to those demands. Sure, it would punish the majority party along with the recalcitrant minority, but ending the stalling is worth it.

Brendan O'Neill discusses Jeremy Corbin's membership in anti-Semitic secret Facebook groups several years ago and wonders why the left which is eager to write out of polite society any conservatives who say anything problematic are now so silent about Corbin's past involvement in groups that shared offensive posts that were definitely anti-Semitic. There are those on the left who will defend Corbyn no matter what he did.
The easy answer is that he’s their leader, their Dear Leader in fact, and they brook no criticism of him. And there’s much truth in that. Alarmingly, Corbynistas yesterday got the hashtag #PredictTheNextCorbynSmear trending on Twitter. To these people, every criticism of Corbyn is a smear. Every media attack is part of a sinister capitalist plot to undermine him: see their bizarre, conspiratorial Truthism over Newsnight and Corbyn’s hat. Even raising the issue of his dalliances with anti-Semites is just a slur, apparently. Their evangelism is such that they think criticism of Corbyn is tantamount to thoughtcrime.

But there’s another, bigger, more worrying reason why these virtue-signallers who normally love nothing more than ridding public life of ‘racists’ have stood down in relation to Corbyn. It’s because they don’t take anti-Semitism as seriously as they do other forms of prejudice. They think hatred of Jews is less bad than hatred of other groups.
One of the stories involves a comment that Corbyn made in the group criticizing the removal of a mural with anti-Semitic images. Corbyn and his defenders are saying that he just didn't notice the anti-Semitic imagery.
Corbyn is in essence saying: ‘Ah, I didn’t notice the anti-Semitism.’ And that is precisely the problem. This section of the left never notices anti-Semitism. It always seems to pass them by. Or worse, they acquiesce to it in the belief that objecting to it might lose them support among some of their key bases, in particular the old left and young Muslims. I didn’t see it, they say, not realising that their failure to see anti-Semitism is the crux of the problem. It is a wilful blindness to hatred that they would treat as unforgivable in relation to any other racial or religious group.

We live in an era of extreme sensitivity to racial slight. Our society has become over-sensitive to it, in my view, so that now everything from criticism of the Koran to wondering about the wisdom of mass immigration can be casually denounced as racism. And yet even in this hyper racially aware climate, this climate in which the accusation of ‘Racist!’ is too keenly wielded, people fail to see anti-Semitism. They fail to ‘look more closely’. And those of us who have been raising concerns about anti-Semitism on the left for years now have been ridiculed....

The truth is that anti-Semitism doesn’t concern some leftists as much as other forms of racial hatred do. If it did, they would notice it when it was right in front of their faces, whether on a mural featuring big-nosed greedy Jews or on a massive anti-Israel march a few years ago that featured a protester wearing a ‘Jew mask’ and pretending to eat dead babies: it was alarming to me that the only people who seemed to challenge this racist were me and a Jewish friend (we were observing the march, not attending it). Maybe everyone else on the march just didn’t ‘look closely enough’. They zone out anti-Semitism, again and again, because they accept the idea that it is really anti-Zionism and therefore political, or they are worried about alienating young radical Muslims who have anti-Semitic views, or they buy into an increasingly conspiratorial view of capitalism as a cabal of bankers, the super-rich, and You Know Who. They have made a decision: they have decided that hatred of the Jews is sometimes a small price to pay for continuing to win support from certain constituencies. Horrific.

And now we know the truth of what many have always suspected - being rude is considered part of the French character.
A French waiter fired for being “aggressive, rude and disrespectful” says his behaviour wasn’t out of line – he’s just French.

Guillaume Rey, who worked at a Vancouver restaurant on Canada’s Pacific coast, filed a complaint with British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal against his former employer, claiming “discrimination against my culture”.

The restaurant, operated by Cara Operations, accused Rey of violating its code of conduct and said he persisted in his behavior despite verbal and written performance reviews.

In alleging discrimination Rey said French culture just “tends to be more direct and expressive”.

He owes his sacking to his “direct, honest and professional personality”, which he acquired while training in France’s hospitality industry.
I did indeed find French waiters to be quite rude. If only I'd realized that was just a part of their culture.

This is how NIMBY manifests itself in California.
A plan to house hundreds of homeless people in a tent city near a popular Southern California park was met with fierce public resistance, forcing an upcoming vote to rescind the scheme.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors is set to meet Tuesday to figure out where to relocate people, after a federal judge forced the county to come up with a plan to house the homeless population located along the Santa Ana River.

One proposal would place about 400 people near the county-owned Orange County Great Park in Irvine, located 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The park, which is home to a farmers market and a hot air balloon ride, is popular with families on weekends.

“I hate to say this but the homeless that are planning to come here really represent the worst of them because they’re the ones that aren’t following the rules, that don’t want to give up the drugs, that don’t want to accept services or housing,” Irvine Commissioner Anthony Kuo told CBS LA. “And to put those across the street from sports fields and a senior community in my mind is just an incompatible use.”

Hundreds of residents held a rally Sunday at the park to voice their opposition to the proposal and implore the county to consider a more permanent solution to the problem.

"I'm OK with helping homeless, but we need to solve the problem, not move the problem from one city to another," one resident told FOX11.
Translation: don't move them near where we live.

Stephen Moore has a good answer
for Hillary CLinton's rant about how the places she won in the election are more "optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward." He presents the data about how it is actually the red states that are more dynamic. Just look at the trends of where people are choosing to move to.
For at least the last two decades, most of the dynamism and growth -- as measured by population movements, income growth and job creation -- has been fleeing from the once economically dominant blue states that Clinton won and relocating to the red states that Trump won.

Here's the evidence. Of the 12 blue states that Hillary Clinton won by the largest margins -- Hawaii, California, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Washington, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware -- all but three of them lost residents through domestic migration (excluding immigration) over the last 10 years. In fact, combined, all 12 lost an average of 6 percent of their populations to net out-migration over the past decade. California and New York alone have lost 3 million people in the past 10 years.

Now let's contrast the Clinton states with the 12 states that went to Trump with the largest margins. Ten out of them -- North Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, South Dakota, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Nebraska and Kansas -- were net population gainers.
I know that a whole lot of them are moving to North Carolina just as our family did 35 years ago.
Pretty much the same pattern holds true for jobs. The job gains in the red states that Trump carried by the widest margins had about twice the job creation rate as the blue states Clinton carried most comfortably.

Clinton mentioned gross domestic product numbers. While it is true that the blue states of the two coasts and several of the Midwestern states are richer than the redder states of the South and mountain regions, she failed to mention the giant transfer of wealth from Clinton to Trump states. IRS tax return data confirm that from 2006 to 2016, Clinton's states lost $113.6 billion in combined wealth, whereas Trump's states gained $116 billion.

The Clinton states are in a slow bleed. That is in no small part because their governments have adopted the entire "progressive" playbook: high tax rates; high welfare benefits; heavy hand of regulation; excessive minimum wages; and war on fossil fuels. These states dutifully check all the progressive boxes.

Even more unbelievable to us was Clinton citing Illinois as a dynamic place. There probably isn't another state in America that can match it for financial despair and incompetence. After decades of left-wing rule, things are so bad in Illinois that residents are fleeing on net to West Virginia and Kentucky to find a better future.

Even when it comes to income equality, the left's favorite measure of progressive success, blue states carried by Clinton fare worse than red states. According to a 2016 report by the Economic Policy Institute, three of the states with the largest gaps between rich and poor are New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Sure, Boston, Manhattan and Silicon Valley are booming as the rich prosper. But outside these areas are deep pockets of poverty and wage stagnation.

Ben Shapiro is both amused or horrified at a NYT story about how preschools in Sweden are working are trying to "counteract traditional gender roles and gender patterns" by not referring to students' genders and training girls not to draw girls with makeup and long eyelashes. This is how they coach them to shed any normative gender behavior.
Two schools rolled out what was called a compensatory gender strategy. Boys and girls at the preschools were separated for part of the day and coached in traits associated with the other gender. Boys massaged each other’s feet. Girls were led in barefoot walks in the snow, and told to throw open the window and scream.
Shapiro comments,
Ironically, all of this idiocy is pursued in order to supposedly end gender stereotyping on behalf of advocates who say that gender is a social construct. But those same advocates will then proclaim that transgender children know that they are members of the opposite gender from childhood. So, which is it? Is gender biological, or socially created?

Such questions require no answers in the land of social leftism. All that matters is tearing away the old in search of the new, evidence be damned. None of this will end up erasing gender differences. It will merely end up suppressing them until they burst forth in unexpected ways. The Times casually acknowledges as much: “Exactly how this teaching method affects children is still unclear.” But again, who cares? Socially engineering children is far less of a problem for the social Left than allowing boys to be boys.