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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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DECEMBER 19-20,  2022

CONTROVERSIAL, BUT APPROPRIATE:  TikTok won't be ticking on one American campus:  From Fox:   

The University of Oklahoma will be banning the use of the social media app TikTok for students and staff, according to an email sent out to students on Tuesday.

In an email, the school said it would be barring internet access for the app in lieu of Governor Kevin Stitt’s executive order banning TikTok on state devices.

"In compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order 2022-33, effective immediately, no University employee or student shall access the TikTok application or website on University-owned or operated devices, including OU wired and wireless networks," David Horton, the Chief Information Officer and Senior Associate Vice President, wrote in the letter sent to students on Dec. 20.

"As a result of the Executive Order, access to the TikTok platform will be blocked and cannot be accessed from the campus network," the letter continued. "University-administered TikTok accounts must be deleted and alternate social media platforms utilized in their place."

The letter goes on to state TikTok, which operates under the control of the Chinese government, was banned by the governor due to "ongoing national and cybersecurity concerns with the TikTok application."

"Thank you for your cooperation," Horton concluded.

Gov. Stitt, a Republican, wrote an executive order on Dec. 8 that banned TikTok for all "state government agencies, employees and contractors on government networks or government-issued devices."

The devices include "state-issued cellphones, computers, or any other device capable of internet connectivity," he ordered.

"We will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information," Stitt said at the time.

"Maintaining the cybersecurity of state government is necessary to continue to serve and protect Oklahoma citizens and we will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information," the governor added.

COMMENT:  The usual suspects will be out in force whining that this is a violation of First Amendment rights, but it isn't.  TikTok has nothing to do with freedom of speech or press.  It is, first and foremost, an arm of Chinese intelligence.  Shutting it off has nothing to do with violating anyone's rights.

December 20, 2022        Permalink

 

PLEASE STUDY THIS AND LEARN IT, SO YOU'RE NOT EMBARRASSED IF YOU'RE INVITED TO A WOKE HOLIDAY PARTY:  One of our great universities once again provides a needed breakthrough.  From Fox:

Stanford University published an index of "harmful language" it plans to eliminate from the school’s websites and computer code, offering terms to be used as replacements.

The Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative, which was revealed in May, is a "multi-phase, multi-year project to address harmful language in IT at Stanford," according to the guide.

The guide says its goal is to eliminate "many forms of harmful language," including "racist, violent, and biased (e.g., disability bias, ethnic bias, ethnic slurs, gender bias, implicit bias, sexual bias) language" in Stanford websites and code. It added that it strives to educate people on the impact of words.

There are 10 "harmful language" sections outlined in the index: ableist, ageism, colonialism, culturally appropriative, gender-based, imprecise language, institutionalized racism, person-first, violent and additional considerations.

Among the words the university urges people to avoid in the imprecise language section is the term, "American." People are instead asked to use "U.S. Citizen" because "American" typically refers to "people from the United States only, thereby insinuating that the US is the most important country in the Americas." The Americas, the index notes, comprises 42 countries.

Other terms deemed harmful in this section include "abort," which offers the replacement of "cancel" or "end," because of moral concerns about abortion; "child prostitute" is replaced with a "child who has been trafficked," so the person is not defined by just one characteristic; and "Karen" is replaced with "demanding or entitled White woman."

Under the ableist section, the index urges people to use "accessible parking" instead of "handicap parking," "died by suicide" instead of "committed suicide" and "anonymous review" instead of "blind review." It also says people should use "unenlightened" as a replacement for "tone deaf," and a "person with a substance abuse disorder" as a replacement for "addict."

The index does not offer an alternative for "brave" under the culturally appropriate category, but rather cautions against using the word at all. This section also asks that people use a person's name instead of "chief" or "Pocahontas."

COMMENT:  Now you know.  Be careful.  I don't want to hear any complaints about our readers.  We are, after all, an elite, all-American site.  Oh, I think I just did it.

December 19, 2022       Permalink

 

 

 

DECEMBER 17-18,  2022

REMARKABLE SOCIAL CHANGE:  Quitting time.  From Fox: 

Hiring freezes and layoffs are on the rise as the uncertain economy drives major players in the tech, automobile, media and food industries to make unprecedented cutbacks in their operations. But now, new data shows nearly half of all workers are looking to quit anyway.

Even with growing concerns of a potential recession, 46% of professionals are already looking to plan to find a new job in the first half of the new year, according to a recent survey from business consulting firm Robert Half. That's up from 41% six months ago, according to the company's biannual Job Optimism Survey.

Amazon, Apple, Meta Platforms, Lyft and Twitter were among technology companies announcing hiring freezes or layoffs in recent months. In fact, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told employees in a memo made public that layoffs will continue in 2023. 

The media industry was also recently hit hard as hundreds of industry staffers were laid off in recent weeks including those who worked for BuzzFeed, CNN and Gannett, the company that owns dozens of local media outlets and USA Today. Digital media company BuzzFeed, one of the latest media companies to reduce its workforce, said it's trying to "weather the economic downturn" which it projects will extend into 2023. 

DoorDash and PepsiCo have also eliminated jobs in addition to multinational automaker Stellantis, which announced it was indefinitely closing an assembly plant in Illinois. 
Still, 60% of 18-25-year-olds in the workforce who were surveyed said they are likely to jump ship. 

A number of human resources professionals and employees who have been with their company between two and four years are in a similar boat with 58% and 55% of workers, respectively, looking to move on. 

Just over half of working parents are also likely to make a change in the first half of the new year, the survey showed. 

"Noise around hiring freezes and layoffs at some companies hasn't seemed to faze workers – many are just as confident in their job prospects as they were six months ago," Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at Robert Half, said in a statement. 

Given the tight labor market, workers "are curious about exploring new and more fulfilling career paths," McDonald added. 

More than 60% of people say they are seeking a higher salary while 37% said better benefits and perks are the driving factors. Additionally, 36% say they want greater flexibility to choose when and where they work. 

The data also showed that four in 10 employees said they would consider returning to their previous employers if their salary was matched or greater than their current pay. 

About three in 10 employees are even considering full-time contracting, the survey showed. 

A separate report from Intuit QuickBooks also revealed how the current tumultuous economic environment – with high inflation and high interest rates – is motivating Americans to pursue their own business venture.

In fact, business formation hovered "at a historically high level in 2022," according to the Intuit QuickBooks report.

COMMENT:  Our changing economic values.  Lots of employed but discontented people. 

December 18, 2022     Permalink

 

JUST WHAT WE NEED, A REPUBLICAN MESS:  We count the days until the new, Republican House, is sworn in.  But...who will be speaker?  Is it possible we don't have one?  A small group of conservative GOP representatives is blocking confirmation of Kevin McCarthy.  I hate to see this happen in front of the children.  From the New York Post: 

Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become Speaker of the House of Representatives is increasingly imperiled by a small but growing clutch of hard-line Republicans.

GOP Insiders and operatives say the California lawmaker’s longtime deputy, incoming House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), could serve as an emergency compromise candidate if the caucus’s paper-thin majority fails to rally around McCarthy during their Jan 3. leadership vote.

“Our relationship is on the ascent,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a member of the ultraconservative House GOP Freedom Caucus, told The Post of Scalise.

Gaetz is an ardent McCarthy foe and insiders say he and other “hard nos” on McCarthy would happily back Scalise in the event of a floor fight.

“No one ran against [Scalise] for Majority Leader. He was elected unanimously for that position,” Gaetz noted, speaking to Scalise’s broad acceptance within the party.

The Louisiana congressman is considerably more conservative than McCarthy, and once allegedly described himself as “David Duke without the baggage.” He was shot by a crazed Bernie Sanders volunteer at a GOP baseball practice in 2017.

“Scalise is a party hero. He got shot. He’s a southerner. He’s more conservative than Kevin,” said one Freedom Caucus insider.

According to insiders, Rep. Steve Scalise could become the compromise Speaker candidate if McCarthy fails to gain enough support.

Scalise is viewed as a “party hero” and a more conservative option to McCarthy, according to a House GOP Freedom Caucus source.

The eight-term Congressman isn’t running for Speaker and is officially backing McCarthy, but in statements this week, Scalise has refused to rule out the role of savior.

“I’m not going to get into speculation. Obviously our focus is on getting it resolved by January 3rd. And there’s a lot of conversations that everybody has been having,” he told CNN last week.

McCarthy can only afford four defections from his own party. As is custom, all of the chamber’s Democrats are expected to oppose him. McCarthy received a boost this week after he received the blessing of former President Trump, who said the longtime GOP leader “deserves the shot.”

At least five members have already spoken publicly to declare themselves either hard no, or likely no. At least a dozen other members are said to be on the fence and several responded to inquiries to The Post saying they were undecided.

“I can’t be for continuing with the status quo,” said Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa,) chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. “One way or the other things are going to change. Either we change the way we do business here, or we’re going to change management. Both could happen.”

Perry said he has spoken with multiple people privately interested in the job should McCarthy fall short. He declined to name names.

COMMENT:  With only a small majority in the House, the Republicans have got to get this thing settled and move forward in unity.  They have it within their power to block Biden's leftist program, which is the key objective.   The Republican House is our front-line regiment in preparing for the 2024 presidential election.  If they let us down, we might as well form a new party.

Hmm.

December 17, 2022       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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