Category Archive 'Official Idiocy and Incompetence'
12 Feb 2021
John Hinderaker has a really spectacular horror story of official stupidity, petty tyranny, and self-importance.
This is the most infuriating news story I have read in a while, and it comes, surprisingly, from the New York Times. The protagonist is Dr. Hasan Gokal, a Houston physician. He had a limited quantity of the Moderna covid vaccine to distribute, and rather than throw some of it away, he found qualified patients to receive it. For that, he was fired from his job and criminally prosecuted.
The Texas doctor had six hours. Now that a vial of Covid-19 vaccine had been opened on this late December night, he had to find 10 eligible people for its remaining doses before the precious medicine expired. In six hours.
Scrambling, the doctor made house calls and directed people to his home outside Houston. Some were acquaintances; others, strangers. A bed-bound nonagenarian. A woman in her 80s with dementia. A mother with a child who uses a ventilator.
After midnight, and with just minutes before the vaccine became unusable, the doctor, Hasan Gokal, gave the last dose to his wife, who has a pulmonary disease that leaves her short of breath.
For his actions, Dr. Gokal was fired from his government job and then charged with stealing 10 vaccine doses worth a total of $135 — a shun-worthy misdemeanor that sent his name and mug shot rocketing around the globe.
Dr. Gokal was charged by a Democratic Party prosecutor in Houston. The charge was so absurd that it was dismissed by a disbelieving judge, but the prosecutor “vowed to present the matter to a grand jury.”
You should read the whole story, if you can get past the Times paywall. (Protip: clear your cache of Times cookies.) This is another sign of the times:
The officials maintained that he had violated protocol and should have returned the remaining doses to the office or thrown them away, the doctor recalled. He also said that one of the officials startled him by questioning the lack of “equity” among those he had vaccinated.
“Equity” doesn’t mean what you probably think it does. “Evil” is a pretty good shorthand translation.
“Are you suggesting that there were too many Indian names in that group?” Dr. Gokal said he asked.
Exactly, he said he was told.
In today’s fallen world, being fired and charged with a crime is by no means the end of the ordeal:
On Jan. 21, about two weeks after the doctor’s termination, a friend called to say that a local reporter had just tweeted about him. At that very moment, one of his three children answered the door to bright lights and a thrust microphone. Shaken, the 16-year-old boy closed the door and said, “Dad, there are people out there with cameras.”
This was how Dr. Gokal learned that he had been charged with stealing vaccine doses.
Harris County’s district attorney, Kim Ogg, had just issued a news release that afternoon with the headline: “Fired Harris County Health Doctor Charged With Stealing Vial Of Covid-19 Vaccine.”
The next person who needs to be fired is Harris County’s District Attorney.
01 Feb 2021
My father used to say: “The continent slopes, and all the fruits and nuts roll out to California.” And there, they wind up in public offices, like the school board of San Francisco which recently decided it needs to rename 44 schools on the basis of bizarre leftist grievances and animosities. Dianne Feinstein is not left-wing enough? What did Robert Louis Stevenson ever do? Was he guilty of stereotyping pirates?
SF Chronicle (behind paywall, therefore outline):
The names of presidents, conquistadors, authors and even a current U.S. senator will be removed from 44 San Francisco school sites after the city’s school board Tuesday deemed the iconic figures unworthy of the honor.
The 6-1 vote followed months of controversy, with officials, parents, students and alumni at odds over whether Abraham Lincoln and George Washington high schools, Dianne Feinstein Elementary and dozens of others needed new names with no connection to slavery, oppression, racism or similar criteria.
Critics called the process slapdash, with little to no input from historians and a lack of information on the basis for each recommendation. In one instance, the committee didn’t know whether Roosevelt Middle School was named after Theodore or Franklin Delano.
“I must admit there are reasons to support this resolution, but I can’t,” said community member Jean Barish, who said the process has been flawed and based on emotion rather than expertise. “These are not decisions that should be made in haste.”
School board members, however, have insisted that the renaming is timely and important, given the country’s reckoning with a racist past. They have argued the district is capable of pursuing multiple priorities at the same time, responding to critics who say more pressing issues deserve attention.
The San Francisco school board voted to change the following school names:
Balboa High School, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa
Abraham Lincoln High School, U.S. president
Mission High School, Mission Dolores
George Washington High School, first U.S. president
Lowell High School, poet/critic James R. Lowell
James Denman Middle School, founder of first S.F. school
Everett Middle School, Edward Everett, American statesman
Herbert Hoover Middle School, U.S. president
James Lick Middle School, land baron
Presidio Middle School, S.F. military post
Roosevelt Middle School, Theodore or F.D., both U.S. presidents
Lawton K-8, U.S. Army officer Henry Ware Lawton
Claire Lilienthal (two sites), S.F. school board member
Paul Revere K-8, American Revolution patriot
Alamo Elementary, a poplar tree or the site of Texas Revolution battle
Alvarado Elementary, Pedro de Alvarado, conquistador
Bryant Elementary, author Edwin Bryant
Clarendon Elementary Second Community and Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program, Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, English politician
El Dorado Elementary, mythical City of Gold
Dianne Feinstein Elementary, U.S. senator and former S.F. mayor
Garfield Elementary, James Garfield, U.S. president
Grattan Elementary, William Henry Grattan, Irish author
Jefferson Elementary, Thomas Jefferson, U.S. president
Francis Scott Key Elementary, composer of “Star Spangled Banner”
Frank McCoppin Elementary, S.F. mayor
McKinley Elementary, William McKinley, U.S. president
Marshall Elementary, James Wilson Marshall, sawmill worker at Sutter’s Mill
Monroe Elementary, James Monroe, U.S. president
John Muir Elementary, naturalist
Jose Ortega Elementary, Spanish colonizer
Sanchez Elementary, Jose Bernardo Sanchez, Spanish missionary
Junipero Serra Elementary, Spanish priest
Sheridan Elementary, Gen. Philip Sheridan
Sherman Elementary, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
Commodore Sloat Elementary, John Sloat, Navy officer
Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary, author
Sutro Elementary, Adolph Sutro, S.F. mayor
Ulloa Elementary, Don Antonio de Ulloa, Spanish general
Daniel Webster Elementary, U.S. statesman
Noriega Early Education School, unclear
Presidio EES, S.F. military post
Stockton EES, Robert F. Stockton, Navy commodore
This Breitbart story demonstrates that the SF school board looney tunes were frequently confused or misinformed, but were sufficiently self-infatuated and intoxicated with power that they didn’t care.
04 Jan 2021
The Sun reports that you can be an ordained Methodist minister and be elected to Congress and not understand the meaning of the word “Amen” concluding Christian prayers.
A democratic congressman has sparked fury after ending a prayer with “amen and awomen”.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, an ordained United Methodist minister from Missouri, also mentioned the Hindu god Brahma while praying at the opening of Congress.
He said: “We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and ‘god’ known by many names by many different faiths.”
“Amen and awomen,” he said as he closed the prayer.
Amen comes from Old English, via ecclesiastical Latin, via Greek amēn, from Hebrew ‘āmēn ‘truth, certainty’, and is used adverbially as an expression of agreement. It adopted in the Septuagint as a solemn expression of belief or affirmation.
07 Sep 2020
We are living no longer in the Home of the Brave and the Free, but rather in the Home of the Wussies, Bedwetters, and Nincompoops.
Read the latest from KDVR News Denver:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) â€“ A 12-year-old boy has been suspended for having a toy gun he never brought to school.
Isaiah Elliott attends Grand Mountain, a K-8 grade school in the Widefield District #3, just south of Colorado Springs.
On Thursday, Aug. 27, the seventh grader was attending on online art class when a teacher saw Isaiah flash a toy gun across his computer screen. The toy in question is a neon green and black handgun with an orange tip with the words â€œZombie Hunterâ€ printed on the side.
The teacher notified the school principal who suspended Isaiah for five days and called the El Paso County Sheriffâ€™s Office to conduct a welfare check on the boy without calling his parents first.
â€œIt was really frightening and upsetting for me as a parent, especially as the parent of an African-American young man, especially given whatâ€™s going on in our country right now,â€ said Isaiahâ€™s father, Curtis Elliott, in an exclusive interview with FOX31.
Curtisâ€™ wife Dani Elliott was equally furious with the schoolâ€™s decision to notify her, only after deputies were on their way to the familyâ€™s home.
â€œFor them to go as extreme as suspending him for five days, sending the police out, having the police threaten to press charges against him because they want to compare the virtual environment to the actual in-school environment is insane,â€ said Dani Elliott.
The Problem Solvers obtained the sheriffâ€™s report and it confirms the teacher â€œsaid she assumed it was a toy gun but was not certain.â€
03 Sep 2020
1010 Wins Radio:
A bar on Long Island is in hot water after it reportedly took bets on shooting deaths in New York City and Chicago.
The Cliffton on East Main Street in Patchogue created a gambling pool on which city would see the most shooting deaths over the Labor Day holiday weekend, with the winner offered a cash prize. …
â€œLet the shooting sprees begin!â€ the bar reportedly posted to Instagram last week along with a photo of a Super Bowl-style betting box.
Officials have since expressed outrage over the gambling pool.
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said, â€œThese reports are repugnant and those responsible for this gambling pool should be ashamed.â€
The betting box was also condemned by a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called it “unfathomable,” as well as Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri.
The State Liquor Authority said it was â€œnot only sickening, but also appears illegal under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law,â€ under which gambling at businesses with liquor licenses is prohibited.
Suffolk Police are investigating, according to a spokesperson.
29 Apr 2020
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 â€” but allegedly “controversial” â€” 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.
13 Apr 2020
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 â€œExpertsâ€œ: Since the way to big money in the sciences is through government grants, the way you â€œhit it bigâ€ in science isnâ€™t by finding empirical truth, itâ€™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 â€œreelect me at all costâ€ 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. Foresterâ€™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.
23 Aug 2019
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
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
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 wouldnâ€™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, â€œI donâ€™t talk to teachers,â€ 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 â€œin-house suspensionâ€ was the only punitive measure. It would be â€œdiscriminatoryâ€ 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 â€œcooperated with the systemâ€ was bullied. No homework was done. Students said they couldnâ€™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 â€œdiscriminatory.â€ 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 Iâ€™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.
11 Feb 2019
“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 Â£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 â€œâ€˜appropriate clothingâ€™ of skins and fursâ€. But that had to be abandoned for safety reasons, according to Mike Pittsâ€™ book Hengeworld â€“ 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: â€œStone-age man never had the health-and-safety people looking over his shoulder.â€
11 Sep 2017
WRAL reports on just how all-encompassing the wrath of the righteous has become.
Fayetteville, N.C. â€” Cumberland Countyâ€™s interim schools superintendent this week canceled a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a school environmental initiative because the programâ€™s mascot, Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette, owned slaves.
â€œI think in lieu of whatâ€™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,â€ 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.
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