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FEBRUARY 17-18,  2023

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE:

MAYBE THERE'S HOPE:   From College Fix:   The University of Chicago reportedly plans to create a Center for Freedom of Expression that will include research and training on free speech.  “The new center will engage scholars, community leaders, public officials, and policy makers to better understand and advocate for the principles of free expression,” according to a job opening on the university’s website.  The director “will develop robust programs to encourage students to develop the skills and habits of mind that are essential to scholarly discourse” and the new hire “will promote a commitment to free expression and open discourse both within and beyond the University of Chicago.” That's my alma mater, and it has championed the notion of free speech.  I'd be cautious about this, though.  In recent years the university has moved to the left, with some bizarre behavior by some students.  A center for freedom of expression sounds good, but I want to see the reality. It all depends on how they define freedom of expression.  The Soviet constitution also guaranteed free expression.

FREE IRANIAN JOURNALISTS FLEE UK FOR US:  From Reuters:  A London-based television station critical of the Iranian government said on Saturday it was moving its live broadcasting studios to the United States following threats it faced in Britain.  Iran has accused regional rival Saudi Arabia of funding the Persian-language Iran International channel, which has covered anti-government protests in the Islamic Republic extensively. Saudi Arabia has not commented on Tehran’s allegations.“After a significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran and advice from the Metropolitan Police, Iran International TV says it has reluctantly closed its London studios and moved broadcasting to Washington DC,” the channel said in a statement.
The decision came days after London police said an Austrian national had been charged with a terrorism offense after being detained in Chiswick Business Park, where Iran International’s headquarters is located.  “We still have serious concerns for the safety of people working at this company. This has led to us giving further advice and the company is now relocating,” police counter-terrorism head Matt Jukes said in a statement. There is also news that Iran will soon receive a number of advanced Russian fighters, making the country even deadlier than it is today.  Our enemies, including Iran, Russia, and China, are becoming more aggressive.  I don't see any great concern in the White House. 

February 18, 2023       Permalink

 

THE PRESIDENT NEEDS PRACTICE:  Especially if Ron DeSantis is his opponent next year.  From Fox:   

Commentators across Twitter mocked President Biden for his attempted political hit against Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., actually making the case for school choice.

After the College Board accused DeSantis of spreading "misinformation" and "slander" against their AP African American Studies course, the governor expressed interest in looking at alternatives to their AP program to use in Florida instead.

Biden tried at attack DeSantis for this, tweeting a Washington Post article, titled "‘Unfathomable’: Florida parents, students blast DeSantis idea to nix APs," and writing, "I think every kid, in every zip code, in every state should have access to every education opportunity possible. I guess, for some, that isn’t the consensus view."

Twitter users, however, used it as an opportunity to poke fun at Biden as his endorsement of "every kid" having "access to every education opportunity possible" no matter where they live is the basic argument of supporters of school choice. 

Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tweeted, "Welcome to the #EducationFreedom movement, Mr. President @POTUS @JoeBiden."

"Um, so school choice? Maybe tell your union boss buddies how they aren't supporting the consensus view," Claremont Institute Lincoln Fellow Jarrett Stepman tweeted.

GOP rapid response director Tommy Pigott blasted the tweet, "If Biden really thought ‘every kid, in every zip code, in every state should have access to every education opportunity possible,’ he’d support empowering parents with school choice, not the union bosses who pushed lockdowns."

American Federation for Children senior fellow Corey A. DeAngelis wrote, "thank you for the accidental endorsement of school choice."

"Biden doesn't know it, but he just endorsed school choice!," Conservative political organization FreedomWorks tweeted.

COMMENT:  School choice may well turn out to be one of the most important issues in the 2024 presidential campaign.  Polls show that the public overwhelmingly supports it.  That places the Biden camp in a terrible situation – oppose school choice and they're running against parents,  endorse school choice and they're running against the teachers unions.  I don't think the Dems can come out of this well.

February 18, 2023      Permalink 

 

MORE ON PETE, THE CABINET MEMBER WHO WON'T SAY GOODBYE:  FROM PJ MEDIA: 

Could his appalling mishandling of the East Palestine train derailment be curtains for Trans Pete, that is, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg? His mismanagement has become the occasion for a rare demonstration of dissension within the Biden administration, which usually marches, nay, goose-steps, in proudly authoritarian lockstep. But could this be Pete’s last dance?

After the woefully inadequate Transportation secretary found a way to blame Trump for the catastrophic train derailment, he got pushback from an unexpected quarter: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy, who branded Buttigieg’s politically opportunistic claims “misinformation.” Misinformation! That’s something that only “MAGA Republicans” are supposed to be spreading, not good team players such as our Pete!

Homendy’s word choice made her rebuke all the more blistering. The Biden regime has repeatedly sought to deplatform and silence those who questioned their propaganda line, on the spurious grounds that the dissidents were spreading “misinformation.” Will Biden’s handlers now silence Buttigieg? Don’t bet on it, but the onetime front-runner for becoming America’s first (openly!) gay president has seen his star dim considerably during his stormy demonstration of his own incompetence as Transportation secretary.

Buttigieg’s troubles began on Valentine’s Day, when he took a break from his Mr. Mom duties to post a long thread on Twitter, making excuses for the East Palestine catastrophe. The culmination of this cynical exercise in self-justification was Pete’s blaming the derailment on a Florida man, one Donald J. Trump. After explaining all his tireless efforts to keep train travel safe, Buttigieg tweeted: “We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015), but we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe.”

See? The dastardly Trump withdrew a rule requiring quality brakes on trains, and look what happens! A train derails in Ohio and spews hazardous waste all over the area! Is there no end to Orange Man’s enormities? The evil he did lives on well after his presidency ended. The only problem with this neat little scenario was that none of it was true, and Homendy wasn’t having it. Without naming Pete, she expertly dissected him, and left the pieces in a neat little pile on the Twitter floor.

COMMENT:  This is the kind of dispute you expect in a third-world country, not in a technologically advanced democracy.  Secretary Pete has got to go.  Send him back to Indiana in one of his passenger trains.  Advise him to bring his own mechanic.

February 18, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 15-16,  2023

JUST WHAT WE NEED IN A TIME OF CRISIS:  From College Fix: 

A survey conducted by the Mary Christie Institute discovered that recent college graduates are not emotionally prepared for the workforce.

Specifically the survey found that more than half of these young professionals self-reported “emotional or mental health challenges.”

“Our findings show that once in the workplace, young people continue to struggle mentally and emotionally,” the think tank wrote.

The survey found that 43 percent of those individuals with mental health issues said they had anxiety while 31 percent reported having depression.

“Women reported worse mental health than men, with 68% of males self-reporting good or excellent mental health, compared to 45% of females,” the survey reported.

The College Fix reached out to the think tank for its reaction to the findings of the survey, what the causes and solutions of this issue are and if there is anything that colleges can do to better prepare students for the workforce.

The group has not responded to a request for comment sent in the past week. The Fix also reached out to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a co-sponsor of the survey, to ask similar questions.

Survey respondents also reported burnout to be an issue as they enter into the workforce.

Over half of surveyed individuals reported that they feel burnout at least once a week in their careers. The survey defined “burnout” as “a state of prolonged physical and psychological exhaustion, which is perceived as related to the person’s work.”

Furthermore, almost 40 percent of respondents claimed that college is “not strongly perceived as preparing students emotionally for the workforce.”

These respondents believe that their time spent in college did not adequately prepare them to make the “transition” into the workforce.

The unique circumstances that many of these respondents faced – having to deal with the disruptions of COVID-19 on their education and a shift towards virtual learning – may have had a major impact on the concerning results of this survey, the think tank suggested.

A career coach and workforce expert told The Fix that the findings predict negative results for companies and the economy.

COMMENT:  We are becoming a directionless country.  Free of a moral core.  Free of a work ethic.  Free of a goal.  And don't even mention dedication. 

New leadership needed.  And schools that raise morale, not lower it, and convince students to dream, not trash their country.

February 16, 2023       Permalink 

 

POSSIBLY THE WORST CABINET MINISTER IN ALL HUMAN HISTORY, AND EVEN NON-HUMAN HISTORY:  And his name is Pete.  Ain't that cute?  From Fox: 

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg emphasized to Yahoo! Finance Live the large number of train derailments in this country while the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, has gotten the most "attention."

Buttigieg continues to face backlash after he was slow to discuss the train derailment causing toxic chemicals to pollute the East Palestine and the surrounding region. He finally addressed the disaster on Monday night, 10 days after the train crashed.

Buttigieg was asked by Yahoo! Finance about what the Transportation Department is doing.
"Look, rail safety is something that has evolved a lot over the years, but there's clearly more that needs to be done because while this horrible situation has gotten a particularly high amount of attention, there are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing," he said.

How encouraging, Pete.  Aren't you in charge of that department?

He added further, "Obviously, they have levels of severity, but where all of that points us to is a need to continue to raise the bar on rail safety. And that's especially true when it comes to rail that involves hazardous materials."

He commented that this more salient example of a derailment happened despite major regulations already on the books.

"Now this train was subject to certain enhanced requirements because of hazardous materials on board. But obviously, none of that prevented what happened in East Palestine," he said. "It's one of the reasons we're going to be paying very close attention to the findings that NTSB comes back with."

At least read the cover.  I mean, can you believe how out of touch this child is?

He went on to describe a major question he faces in his role as Transportation Secretary.
"Basically, the question that needs to be asked here is, with all of the regulation, with all of the supplemental regulations that apply to a hazardous cargo like vinyl chloride, how is it that this happened anyway? And what can be done to make sure it doesn't happen?" he asked.

This came less than 24 hours after Buttigieg blamed the Trump administration for his agency being "constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation."

Buttigieg has faced intense scrutiny for his performance in this role from both sides of politics.

Earlier this week, public figures on Twitter condemned him for his silence on the derailment as he called for more diversity in construction. 

COMMENT:  Yeah, that's his big issue – diversity.  He's from the WOKE society.  Of course, I'm sure that if we had more left-handed, non-binary persons of color on that train, the accident would never have happened.

There is talk about Pete being president some day.  There is also talk that he may start to do his job.

February 16, 2023       Permalink

 

CALIFORNIA, THERE I WENT.  The state is dying right before our eyes, rivaling my own once-loved state of New York for the title of "state that loses the most people."  I love handing out honors.  From the L.A. Times: 

The California exodus has shown no sign of slowing down as the state's population dropped by more than 500,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022, with the number of residents leaving surpassing those moving in by nearly 700,000.

The population decrease was second only to New York, which lost about 15,000 more people than California, census data show.

California has been seeing a decline in population for years, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing even more people to move to other parts of the country, experts say. The primary reason for the exodus is the state's high housing costs, but other reasons include the long commutes and the crowds, crime and pollution in the larger urban centers. The increased ability to work remotely — and not having to live near a big city — has also been a factor.
The census data show that the trend has continued and point to those states that have seen population gains even as California's has shrunk.

Net migration out of California surpassed that of the next highest state, New York, by about 143,000 people. Nearby states such as Utah have warned Californians who might consider moving to stay out. A similar story is playing out in Nevada, where California migrants are seeking to re-create their lifestyle.

California gained about 157,000 more people from natural change — the difference in number between births and deaths — than New York did, making New York's total population loss greater.

During the final year of the two-year span, from July 2021 to July 2022, California lost about 211,000 people, according to data from the state Department of Finance. Nearly half — 113,048 — were from Los Angeles County, the most populous of California's 58 counties.

The county had lost around 160,000 people in the previous 12 months, with nearly all of the population loss driven by domestic migration.

COMMENT:  Read the whole thing.  The real market is actually working.  People want safe, pleasant living at reasonable prices.  New York, especially New York City, doesn't make it.  Neither does a good part of California.  There was a time when, if a New Yorker said he was moving to Tennessee, people would snicker.  They are snickering no more.  The snobby New Yorkers and Californians are learning that other states actually have people who can read and write.  This is often a jolting discovery requiring immediate psychiatric intervention.

We will watch the population shifts play out in the 2024 elections.

February 15,  2023     Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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