Category Archive 'Official Idiocy and Incompetence'
29 Apr 2020

A Fine Argument For Home Schooling

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How can a remote place like Matanuska-Susitna, Alaska gain the attention of the rest of the world? Why, it need merely elect a school board and turn the bozos loose to make micromanaging curriculum decisions. NBC News.

An Alaska school board removed five famous — but allegedly “controversial” — books from district classrooms, inadvertently spurring renewed local interest in the excluded works.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison were all taken off an approved list of works that teachers in the Mat-Su Borough School District may use for instruction.

The school board voted 5-2 on Wednesday to yank those works out of teachers’ hands starting this fall. The removed books contained content that could potentially harm students, school board vice president Jim Hart told NBC News on Tuesday.

“If I were to read these in a corporate environment, in an office environment, I would be dragged into EO,” an equal opportunity complaint proceeding, Hart said. “The question is why this is acceptable in one environment and not another.”

“Caged Bird” was derided for “‘anti-white’ messaging,” “Gatsby” and “Things” are loaded with “sexual references,” “Invisible” has bad language and “Catch” contains violence, according to the school district.

Dianne K. Shibe, president of the Mat-Su Education Association teachers union, said parents and her members were stunned by the board action.

Even though the school board had listed an agenda item to discuss “controversial book descriptions,” Shibe said no one believed those works were under serious threat.

RTWT

13 Apr 2020

Five Lessons To Be Learned

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M. Brandon Godbey identifies what Americans ought to learn from the COVID-19 national freakout.

1) Incompetent bureaucracy: The CDC and FDA played hot potato with the COVID Crisis for months without any coherent strategy. It seems like the more government agencies become involved in the process the more muddled our future becomes. We have found that the medical bureaucracy, like all bureaucracies, eventually falls victim to entropy. At some unknown point in the last 20 years, it stopped functioning as a legitimate source of medical leadership. Today, it is a mass of purposeless tentacles that primarily exists for the sake of self-perpetuation.

2) The Corruption of “Experts“: Since the way to big money in the sciences is through government grants, the way you “hit it big” in science isn’t by finding empirical truth, it’s by repeating opinions that politicians want to hear. We have thus created a generation of quasi-scientists that feed off the government teat with the tenacity of even the worst parasites. When stressed by the pandemic, this system quickly devolved into competing scientific factions, each one pitching their own version of a doomsday scenario for the sake of money, prestige, and sheer professional vanity.

3) Feckless Politicians: Instead of leading in a time of crisis, governors and mayors are taking the path that absolves them from guilt instead what is best for citizens. Constantly in reelection mode, they make choices based on what they might be blamed for instead of what is right. When decisions are made through the “reelect me at all cost” framework, civil right quickly go out the window. Last night, my own governor reassured the Commonwealth of Kentucky that he was perfectly willing to use Gestapo tactics to record the licence plate numbers of those that attend Easter services and effectively put them under house arrest. Other governors have behaved in a similar manner, each one trying to one-up their neighbor.

4) Our Decadent Society: We have become a tragically unserious people, obsessed with celebrity and sorely lacking in critical thinking skills. Social media algorithms have spoon-fed us our own views over and over again. Mass media feeds our inherent cognitive biases, facilitating a surreal kind of mass paralysis that consists of one part hysteria and one part blind submission. We have become the grotesque inhabitants of the mindless hive from E.M. Forester’s imagination. The lessons of history lost on us, we behave like sheep walking to the slaughter, bleating in unison.

5) We are Coddled and Soft: Our lives are easy, and many of us have become detached from the world of hard-working men and women that make our lives possible. We want the truckers to deliver our food and the servers to bring it to us, but we gleefully clap when the economy that supports them is torn asunder. Our general lack of understanding of the collaborative nature of macroeconomics is appalling. Products arrive at our doorstep; food appears in front of us; entertainment is provided in multiple forms at any time or place. Yet the processes by which these miracles are created are so remote and alien to us that we are perfectly willing to watch them burn to satisfy our busybody natures.

RTWT

23 Aug 2019

Old Ranchers Know Better

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Via Bob Golden:

An old rancher went to a town hall meeting. The local politician was there to talk about the latest Ag legislation he proposed. The politician talked about grazing, property rights, irrigation, and how the government could help the generational ranchers of the area.

After listening to the impassioned promises put forth by the politician, the old rancher raised his hand to ask a question.
Seeing that he had the attention of the weathered old rancher, and thinking he could score some points, the politician took the old man’s question….

Old man: “Senator, did you know that cows, horses and goats eat the same feed?”

Senator: “Yes sir, everybody knows that!”

Old man: “Then senator, can you tell me why cows poop patties, horses poop cubes, and goats poop pellets?”

Senator: “How would I know the reason for such a simple thing like poop?”

Old man: “Then senator, can you tell me how a man who doesn’t know shit, can help me run my ranch?”

20 May 2019

Next Up For Britain: Spoon Control!

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The Regents Park Police recently proudly posted a photograph of the arms cache collected from a local charity shop, and destined for destruction so that they will not fall into the wrong hands.

I see a large number of undoubtedly dull used paring knives, a few old and cheap chef’s knives, a lowest quality used carving knife, several bread knives, two sharpening steels, two carving forks, a letter opener, a cheap tourist-trade replica barong, a cheap and inaccurate tourist version of a tanto, one fencing foil (these are all blunt), a cake frosting spreader, and a spoon (!).

Now, thank goodness, with that deadly spoon safely off the street, citizens of Regents Park can sleep safe in their beds.

19 Feb 2019

Why Big City Public Education Fails

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Students enter past metal detectors at Washington Irving High, where Mary Hudson taught 2001-2004.

At Quillette, Mary Hudson, an experienced high school French teacher, describes how well-meaning liberal ideology makes teaching efforts in ordinary New York public schools completely ineffective and education a joke. Amazingly, I found myself rooting for the Teachers Union, and read about Union reps operating as the good guys.

As the weeks dragged painfully into months, it became apparent that the students wouldn’t learn anything. It was dumbfounding. It was all I could do to keep them quiet; that is, seated and talking among themselves. Sometimes I had to stop girls from grooming themselves or each other. A few brave souls tried to keep up with instruction. A particularly good history teacher once told me that she interrupted a conversation between two girls, asking them to pay attention to the lesson. One of them looked up at her scornfully and sneered, “I don’t talk to teachers,” turning her back to resume their chat. She told me that the best school she ever worked at was in Texas, where her principal managed not only to suspend the most disruptive students for long periods, he also made sure they were not admitted during that time to any other school in the district. It worked; they got good results.

This was unthinkable in New York, where “in-house suspension” was the only punitive measure. It would be “discriminatory” to keep the students at home. The appropriate paperwork being filed, the most outrageously disruptive students went for a day or two to a room with other serious offenders. The anti-discrimination laws under which we worked took all power away from the teachers and put it in the hands of the students.

Throughout Washington Irving there was an ethos of hostile resistance. Those who wanted to learn were prevented from doing so. Anyone who “cooperated with the system” was bullied. No homework was done. Students said they couldn’t do it because if textbooks were found in their backpacks, the offending students would be beaten up. This did not appear to be an idle threat. Too many students told their teachers the same thing. There were certainly precious few books being brought home.

I tried everything imaginable to overcome student resistance. Nothing worked. At one point I rearranged the seating to enable the students who wanted to engage to come to the front of the classroom. The principal was informed and I was reprimanded. This was “discriminatory.” The students went back to their chosen seats near their friends. Aside from imposing order, the only thing I succeeded at was getting the students to stand silently during the Pledge of Allegiance and mumble a few songs in French. But it was a constant struggle as I tried to balance going through the motions of teaching with keeping them quiet.

The abuse from students never let up. We were trained to absorb it. By the time I left, however, I had a large folder full of the complaint forms I’d filled out documenting the most egregious insults and harassment. There was a long process to go through each time. The student had a parent or other representative to state their case at the eventual hearing and I had my union rep. I lost every case.

RTWT

11 Feb 2019

Stonehenge, 5000 Years Later

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“the narrative that Stonehenge has been ruined by mass tourism goes back a long way. Even Samuel Pepys complained of being ripped off by shepherds and innkeepers.”

Viewing Stonehenge is currently disrupted by the roar of traffic and the glare of headlights after dusk, but moving the road north or south has issues and putting it underneath the site in a tunnel has been found to be too expensive.

Even celebratory ceremonies always seem to go wrong.

The Guardian looks at the plethora of controversies currently raging round the landmark.

To celebrate the millennium, an ill-fated project, funded with £100,000 from the national lottery, attempted to re-enact the fetching of a single three-tonne dolerite bluestone from Wales to Wiltshire. The original plan was for volunteers, some 40 a day, to wear “‘appropriate clothing’ of skins and furs”. But that had to be abandoned for safety reasons, according to Mike Pitts’ book Hengeworld – and many of the volunteers drifted away, disenchanted by the awful task. After eventually loading the boulder on to a boat at Milford Haven, from where it was meant to travel up the Bristol channel, a frisky wind saw it tumble into the sea. At this point it was rescued, using the un-neolithic technology of a crane, and transported on a flatbed truck to the botanical gardens in Carmarthenshire, 140 miles from Stonehenge, where it remains. As a spokesman for Pembrokeshire council remarked at the time: “Stone-age man never had the health-and-safety people looking over his shoulder.”

RTWT

11 Sep 2017

Out With Lafayette, Too (Dirty Slave-Owner)

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WRAL reports on just how all-encompassing the wrath of the righteous has become.

Fayetteville, N.C. — Cumberland County’s interim schools superintendent this week canceled a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a school environmental initiative because the program’s mascot, Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette, owned slaves.

“I think in lieu of what’s going on around the nation and the sensitivity to issues concerning the history of slavery in the country, there was concern there that it may be offensive to some members of our community,” Superintendent Tim Kinlaw said, citing recent protests and violence surrounding Confederate Civil War monuments.

Biographers say Lafayette, a Frenchman who was a major general in the Continental Army, was an abolitionist who purchased slaves with the intent of freeing them. In 1783, Fayetteville was the first of several towns in America to be named for him.

RTWT

24 Jul 2017

Satire Versus Reality

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SATIRE: The Onion:

CHICAGO—Promising that every effort would be made to limit the impact on residents’ day-to-day lives, Chicago officials announced Wednesday that a fleet of plows was working around the clock to clear more than 18 inches of fresh bullet casings that had blanketed the metropolitan area overnight.

Sources at the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation confirmed that over 250 ammunition-removal vehicles had been deployed to deal with the knee-deep layer of spent cartridges, which have been steadily accumulating on Chicago’s streets, alleys, and pedestrian walkways since the previous evening.

“Our crews have been out there all night trying to make our roadways passable, but given how quickly the handgun and semi-automatic shells have piled up, it’s going to take some time,” DSS commissioner Charles L. Williams told reporters, thanking the public for its patience while crews made their way across the stricken municipality. “We’re making good headway, but as you can imagine, it’s not an easy job, especially with casings continuing to fall throughout the city.”

“So unless you have an emergency, we’re urging all citizens to stay put for the time being,” he added. “Right now, it’s just not safe to be out in such treacherous conditions.”

Williams stated that as casing levels surpassed 12 inches, scores of extra workers from outside the city were called in to help keep pace with the buildup. In addition, numerous dump truck crews have reportedly been tasked with carting off entire trailers full of cartridges from the hardest-hit areas and depositing them in nearby landfills before circling back to pick up more.

RTWT

—————————

REALITY: Sun-Times 7/24:

Six men were killed and at least 35 other people were wounded in shootings across Chicago between Friday night and Monday morning.

The most recent deaths were the latest of 364 people fatally shot in the city this year, according to data maintained by the Chicago Sun-Times. In all, more than 2,075 people have been shot since the start of the year.

RTWT

05 Jul 2017

Fireworks Are Not Legal in LA

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22 Jun 2017

Tattletales Went Sneaking to Prigs at Harvard

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The Tab has examples of the naughty jokes posted in a private Facebook group that led to ten students admitted to the Harvard Class of 2021 having their admissions rescinded.

We learn, too, that the authorities at Harvard found out about the offending postings in the first place because a number of fellow future Harvard classmates tattled to the Admissions Office.

Wow! Maybe having one’s admission rescinded and not attending college for four years with certain sanctimonious little shits isn’t such a misfortune after all. Me, if I were running that Admissions Office, I’d have rescinded the admissions of all the little sneaks who ratted out their classmates.

Wyatt Hurt, another member of the Class of 2021, said: “I wasn’t surprised by the actions of the administration and I thought that they were the right actions to take. Other students I’ve talked to, from Harvard and otherwise, all generally agree that it was the right action as well.

“Harvard is one of the schools that is shaping the leaders of the future – it’s absolutely a privilege to attend, and when those students posted such hateful material it became clear that they weren’t honoring that privilege.

“As far as how administration found out, I know that a few other admitted students sent screenshots to the admissions office.”

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Apart from our contemporary era’s loss of consciousness of the sense of loyalty and group solidarity that, in the past, would have regarded informing on a fellow classmate as contemptible and dishonorable, reading all this caused me to reflect once again that the Great Big Brains running our most illustrious Establishment institutions are not only fascist prigs, they are just plain stupid.

The people running the Harvard Admissions Office demonstrably not only lack senses of humor, they clearly do not understand how humor works.

To regard posting memes based upon transgressive humor as a punishable offense, you would have to be taking the joke literally, as an authentic statement of a real proposition or opinion, which is, of course, absurd. Humor works in a variety of ways. One pretty well-known kind of humor is the genre of transgressive humor, a category that would include the “dirty joke.” There is no mystery here. Everyone ought to recognize the kind of jokes I am referring to. Minority and Gay and Left-wing comedians all make very much a specialty of using jokes which cross taboo lines, jokes which violate propriety and conventional bourgeois sensibilities.

This is actually perfectly natural in comedy. One basic way that humor works is by the reversal of the audience’s expectation, what Gilbert & Sullivan, who in their comic operettas amused audiences by having respectable principals humorously disclose the basest and most cynical motivations in song, referred to a Topsy-Turvy-dom. There are all sorts of ways of reversing the audience’s expectation to get a laugh. One can have a cartoon cat chase the dog, the rabbit defeat the hunter, the roadrunner best the coyote again and again. And, another standard technique of humor is to deliberately cross the boundaries of proper language, sexual reference, or propriety. In our own age, in which political correctness is a potent force, violating PC by mocking or expressing negative attitudes toward minority sacred cows is obviously a potential gold mine for improper humor.

When a person tells a travelling salesman joke, it actually does not mean that he literally despises farmers and their daughters, or that he really thinks farmer’s daughters are readily seducible. When someone repeats an ethnic or racial joke, it does not mean that the person literally believes its contents to be true, or that he is a bigot or a racist.

Indulging in improper, off-color humor can be a way of letting of steam, or a way of expressing momentary boredom with the obligations of propriety. It can even be a way of reinforcing group solidarity, by causing members of a group (a bunch of the men at a party or some group of soon-to-be-entering Harvard freshmen) to collaborate in mischievously and covertly violating social norms. This, of course, is why, a few years ago, the DKE initiation at Yale had pledges stand outside the Feminist Center and chant: “No means yes!”

When adult authorities at places like Yale and Harvard routinely mistake mildly rambunctious adolescent speech in obviously humorous contexts for authentic forms of thought crime, I would contend, it demonstrates that levels of both mutton-headed stupidity and sanctimonious self-righteousness on the part of the people running things in those places have risen to intolerable levels.

03 May 2017

Government & Academics Can **** Up Anything

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Some people thought the worst day for human learning occurred in 47 B.C. when the Library of Alexandria was burned during fighting between the troops of Julius Caesar and those of Ptolemy XIII. Ha!

Atlantic:

You were going to get one-click access to the full text of nearly every book that’s ever been published. Books still in print you’d have to pay for, but everything else—a collection slated to grow larger than the holdings at the Library of Congress, Harvard, the University of Michigan, at any of the great national libraries of Europe—would have been available for free at terminals that were going to be placed in every local library that wanted one.

At the terminal you were going to be able to search tens of millions of books and read every page of any book you found. You’d be able to highlight passages and make annotations and share them; for the first time, you’d be able to pinpoint an idea somewhere inside the vastness of the printed record, and send somebody straight to it with a link. Books would become as instantly available, searchable, copy-pasteable—as alive in the digital world—as web pages.

It was to be the realization of a long-held dream. “The universal library has been talked about for millennia,” Richard Ovenden, the head of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, has said. “It was possible to think in the Renaissance that you might be able to amass the whole of published knowledge in a single room or a single institution.” In the spring of 2011, it seemed we’d amassed it in a terminal small enough to fit on a desk.

“This is a watershed event and can serve as a catalyst for the reinvention of education, research, and intellectual life,” one eager observer wrote at the time.

On March 22 of that year, however, the legal agreement that would have unlocked a century’s worth of books and peppered the country with access terminals to a universal library was rejected under Rule 23(e)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

When the library at Alexandria burned it was said to be an “international catastrophe.” When the most significant humanities project of our time was dismantled in court, the scholars, archivists, and librarians who’d had a hand in its undoing breathed a sigh of relief, for they believed, at the time, that they had narrowly averted disaster.

RTWT

09 Mar 2017

Hubris in High Places

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Victor Davis Hanson has a fine rant contending that, in today’s America, a hankering to order the stars in their courses and reform everything in the world from the bottom up tends to go hand in had with complete incompetence and a total inability to deal with basic responsibilities.

The recent Academy Awards ceremony turned into a monotony of hate. Many of the stars who mounted the stage ranted on cue about the evils of President Donald Trump.

Such cheap rhetoric is easy. But first, accusers should guarantee that their own ceremony is well run. Instead, utter bedlam ruined the event, as no one on the Oscar stage even knew who had won the Best Picture award.

Stars issued lots of rants about Trump, but were apparently unaware that one of the ceremony’s impromptu invited guests was a recent parolee and registered sex offender.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used to offer all sorts of cosmic advice on the evils of smoking and the dangers of fatty foods and sugary soft drinks. Bloomberg also frequently pontificated on abortion and global warming, earning him a progressive audience that transcended the boroughs of New York.

But in the near-record December 2010 blizzard, Bloomberg proved utterly incompetent in the elemental tasks for which he was elected: ensuring that New Yorkers were not trapped in their homes by snowdrifts in their streets that went unplowed for days.

The Bloomberg syndrome is a characteristic of contemporary government officials. When they are unwilling or unable to address premodern problems in their jurisdictions — crime, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transportation — they compensate by posing as philosopher kings who cheaply lecture on existential challenges over which they have no control.

In this regard, think of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent promises to nullify federal immigration law — even as he did little to mitigate the epidemic of murders in his own city.

Former President Barack Obama nearly doubled the national debt, never achieved 3 percent economic growth in any of his eight years in office, and left the health care system in crisis. But he did manage to lecture Americans about the evils of the Crusades, and promise to lower the seas and cool the planet.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, likewise ran up record debt during his tenure, culminating in a $25 billion deficit his last year in office. Schwarzenegger liked to hector state residents on global warming and green energy, and brag about his commitment to wind and solar power.

Meanwhile, one of the state’s chief roadways, California State Route 99, earned the moniker “Highway of Death” for its potholes, bumper-to-bumper traffic, narrow lanes and archaic on- and off-ramps. During California’s early-February storms, the state’s decrepit road system all but collapsed. A main access to Yosemite National Park was shut down by mudslides. Big Sur was inaccessible. Highway 17, which connects Monterey Bay to Silicon Valley, was a daily disaster.

Schwarzenegger’s successor, Jerry Brown, warned of climate change and permanent drought and did not authorize the construction of a single reservoir. Now, California is experiencing near-record rain and snowfall. Had the state simply completed its half-century-old water master plan, dozens of new reservoirs would now be storing the runoff, ensuring that the state could be drought-proof for years.

Instead, more than 20 million acre-feet of precious water have already been released to the sea. There is nowhere to put it, given that California has not build a major reservoir in nearly 40 years.

The crumbling spillways of the landmark Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the United States, threaten to erode it. Warnings of needed maintenance went unheeded for years, despite the fact that some 20 million more Californians live in the state (often in floodplains) than when the dam was built. Meanwhile, the state legislature has enacted new laws regarding plastic bags and transgender restrooms.

We have become an arrogant generation that virtue-signals that we can change the universe when in reality we cannot even run an awards ceremony, plow snow, fix potholes, build a road or dam, or stop inner-city youths from murdering each other.

Do our smug politicians promise utopia because they cannot cope with reality?

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