Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/30/2020: The “Let’s Have A Morning Warm-Up That’s Actually In The Morning” Edition

Good morning!

1. I have a theory on mainstream media bias deniers..Maybe it’s more sympathetic than they deserve, but I think people don’t notice how sloppy, incompetent and stupid reporters and pundits are because they don’t read newspapers carefully or consistently, and because other news sources are so packed with distractions and emotional manipulation (not that newspapers are not) that it’s hard to concentrate on the details. This is why I read the Times. I figure that it’s supposed to be the best, and if the best is stupid and biased (stupid makes you biased, and vice-versa), then we can be pretty sure that the rest are worse.

It is amazing how much disinformation the Times allows, or in many cases, promotes. Here’s a trivial but telling example: Sarah Lyall is a Times reporter who also writes a column reviewing thrillers in the New York Times Review of Books, wrote recently that she always wanted to be “the Henry Fonda” of a jury, “single-handedly” “exonerating” a “wrongly accused” defendant, like “Twelve Angry Men.” This is a factually and legally false description of Reginald Rose’s script. Juror 8 (Fonda) doesn’t “single-handedly” do anything except keep deliberations going. The defendant isn’t “exonerated”—all the jury does is collectively figure out that he wasn’t proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt–you know, like OJ. And he probably wasn’t wrongly accused. In fact., he’s probably guilty. The whole point of Rose’s screenplay is that “probably” isn’t enough.

Newspapers are supposed to enlighten readers, not make them dumber. I know most people think that “Twelve Angry Men” is like mystery where someone is accused of murder and is proven innocent by a relentless sleuth, but it’s not. Did Lyall not really watch the film, meaning she was lying, or did she not understand it, indicating that she should be judged too stupid to be a reporter? The same can be said of her editor. The Times can’t get the easy things right; why would anyone trust it to analyze more complex matters more reliably?

2. It’s not integrity, exactly, more like “We’ll only lie for you so much.” But the Times apparently has limits! As Ethics Alarms discussed at the time, the paper’s editor, Dean Baquet admitted that it removed references to Joe Biden’s history as a serial sniffer, hugger, kisser and groper from its unconscionably late investigative report on Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations. Now a talking memo has gone out to the Democrats from the Biden camp, saying in part, “Biden believes that all women have the right to be heard and to have their claims thoroughly reviewed. In this case, a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen.”

That’s a lie. Nonetheless, Biden supporters have stuck to the script, including Stacey Abrams, the completely inexperienced fad flavor of the moment who is actively lobbying to be Joe’s VP. (To be fair, it has been made painfully clear that only three qualifications matter for the honor: being female, being black, and seeming more mentally acute than Joe.) This week Abrams was grilled by CNN’s Don Lemon, apparently in the throes of a rare impulse to be a journalist, regarding her feelings about Reade’s accusation. She dutifully repeated the talking point that the Times had found that the alleged incident “did not happen.”

The Times issued a statement contradicting Abrams and the Biden supporters’ talking point.BuzzFeed reported on the existence of talking points being circulated by the Biden campaign that inaccurately suggest a New York Times investigation found that Tara Reade’s allegation ‘did not happen,’” a spokeswoman for the paper said. “Our investigation made no conclusion either way.”

3. When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring. There has been an anti-Jewish crime wave in New York City City: in 2019, anti-Semitic hate crimes rose 29 percent. Yet here is NYC mayor de Blasio’s recent tweet regarding social distancing: “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”

Imagine the reaction if a mayor (or a President) singled out any other a racial or ethnic group for special criticism. President Trump was accused of instigating hate crimes against Asian-American because he singled out a country for criticism it richly deserved. Of course, singling out Jews is especially stupid, but then Mayor de Blasio has already proven that he is that (and had before he was re-elected.) Writes my old friend John Podhoretz:

You know, I used to think you were an idiot, the kind of idiot useful to totalitarians, the kind who subscribed to the official party newspaper of the Stalinist regime in Nicaragua back in the 1980s. I also used to think you were a feckless and thoughtless mayor who airily allowed the cleaned-up streets of the city to regress into an open-air dormitory for opioid addicts, in thrall to some demented principle of fairness and justice, not to mention a man intent on destroying the school system out of some equally demented ideas about how excellence is racist. What I didn’t think, after six years of your ghastly mayoralty, was that you had the capacity to surprise me. But you have… Your tweet, you declared, “was said with love, but it was tough love.” Let me follow your example, and say something with love, but tough love: You’re a bad person.

4. Just to make it clear that New York isn’t the only city dominated by people with dead ethics alarms, Legal Insurrection informs us that the Matanuska-Susitna school district in Alaska has banned these classic from being taught in the schools:

  • “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
  • “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison

The rationale, summarized by one school board member, was “It would be unfair to ask teachers to have to navigate their pupils through the complicated subject matter.”

This is an example of adults who were never properly instructed in critical thinking seeking to ensure that future generations are similarly handicapped….and, presumably, future voters for politicians like Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams, and Bill de Blasio.

38 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/30/2020: The “Let’s Have A Morning Warm-Up That’s Actually In The Morning” Edition

  1. #4 “It would be unfair to ask teachers to have to navigate their pupils through the complicated subject matter.”

    That’s a fabulous piece of evidence showing how our schools are dumbing-down students.

    It’s another example of the same bull shit that’s nailing the edges of the coffin and sealing logic and critical thinking away to permanently bury it in the quaint anecdotes of history.

    A dumbed-down society is far easier for totalitarians to control. Think about that for a while and then take an objective look at what’s happening in our society right now.

    • A dumbed-down society is far easier for totalitarians to control. Think about that for a while and then take an objective look at what’s happening in our society right now.

      All this may be true, but I would suggest that no one has an real certainty as to *what is happening in our society* right now.

      Remember: there are superficial readings and then there are depth readings.

      On all the pages of this blog, from one end to the other, there are dozens & dozens of *superficial readings* that show no or little capacity to examine *causal chains*.

      But this is an excusable problem in a deliberately dumbed down society: that historical perspective shrinks along with vision. One sees as though *through a chink in a wall*.

      The other dimension is even larger and more inscrutable:

      Like Macbeth, Western man made an evil decision, which has become the efficient and final cause of other evil decisions. Have we forgotten our encounter with the witches on the heath? It occurred in the late fourteenth century, and what the witches said to the protagonist of this drama was that man could realize himself more fully if he would only abandon his belief in the existence of transcendentals. The powers of darkness were working subtly, as always, and they couched this proposition in the seemingly innocent form of an attack upon universals. The defeat of logical realism in the great medieval debate was the crucial event in the history of Western culture; from this flowed those acts which issue now in modern decadence.

      The conversation on the topic of *What happened?* and *Why?* has yet to be had. All efforts to define this — here — are routinely shot down.

      Anything good on TeeVee?

      • Alizia Tyler wrote, “I would suggest that no one has an real certainty as to *what is happening in our society* right now.”

        That’s one of the most ridiculous things you’ve ever written and that’s really saying something.

        What’s happening in our society is something that is viewed from a personal perspective and your statement is essentially telling every human being on the planet that their personal perspective of what’s happening in their society from their personal perspective is irrelevant. Your blanket claim bull shit.

        Alizia Tyler wrote, “Remember: there are superficial readings and then there are depth readings.”

        You seem to disregard anything that you deem as “superficial readings” in favor of what you call “in-depth readings” that are taken to absurdity and your method of “in-depth readings” is to question everything to the point of absurdity which comes across as sealioning.

        In our society right this very minute there are literally totalitarian rules put in place to literally control the population and literally limit what the population can do and purchase, violate the totalitarian rules and you will be punished. I stated that “A dumbed-down society is far easier for totalitarians to control. Think about that for a while and then take an objective look at what’s happening in our society right now.”; the first statement I believe to be a self-evident fact, the second statement is related to that self-evident fact and how it relates to what is happening this very minute in our current society. These statements are not placed there for you to muddy them up by piling on tangents and cosmic puzzles for your enjoyment they were placed there for others to take an objective look at our current society.

        I consider your entire comment an intentional trolling deflection.

        An Aside: As absurd as your reality appears to be sometimes, are you absolutely certain that you’re not just a virus in the matrix?

        Fin.

        • What’s happening in our society is something that is viewed from a personal perspective and your statement is essentially telling every human being on the planet that their personal perspective of what’s happening in their society from their personal perspective is irrelevant. Your blanket claim bull shit.

          Allow me to suggest, in those polite terms for which I am famous, that this is an example, in its way, of a ‘dumbed-down’ statement. Don’t look *over there* to find the dumbed-down, look inside. We need to become far more circumspect. This is the key to everything I write. It means: we have to start looking at the external problems differently. I suggest my focus is a necessary branch of the ‘ethical project’.

          When you consider *mutability* — that things are forever in flux and unstable — you quickly recognize that those multitudes you speak of live with contingency and mutability. True, the experience things, but they rarely *understand* them. How could they? Understanding requires space, time and distance (to see from above) in order to grasp in a larger frame *what is going on*.

          You seem to disregard anything that you deem as “superficial readings” in favor of what you call “in-depth readings” that are taken to absurdity and your method of “in-depth readings” is to question everything to the point of absurdity which comes across as sealioning.

          Well, I admit that the things I point to are uncommon. For example, to refer to Richard Weaver and his ‘witches on the heath’ is not a common topic of conversation. But is the loss of capacity to recognize transcendentals? I suggest that that loss is one of the primary and more significant effects of processes of getting or being ‘dumbed-down’. If it is fair to use the term ‘dumbed-down’ (and it is a good term) then what dumbing down means has to be explored with rigor and perseverance.

          What is *absurd* for you seems to be what you cannot understand. I am evermore dedicated to what I have identified as the *real problem*: getting clear about causation.

          Since 9/11, and continuing now in this strangest of all strange present moments, very odd things have gone on. I have mentioned, time and again, the anomalies that can easily be found when examining 9/11. But I notice that these are pushed aside. They will not be considered. There is a will not to consider them. But now, when your-plural liberties are more directly curtailed, suddenly you are raging around and screaming Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh! But what is happening TODAY has a causal relationship with what happened just a few years back. So, ‘seeing & interpreting’ come to the fore as important endeavors.

          One who is stuck within mutable experience — the immediate events of the day — is inhibited from seeing things from a more removed perspective.

          In our society right this very minute there are literally totalitarian rules put in place to literally control the population and literally limit what the population can do and purchase, violate the totalitarian rules and you will be punished.

          These things are part-and-parcel of trends that began — just to pick an approximate date — during and after WW2. If you understood the dynamics of the power-machinations of the so-called military-industrial complex, and also the meaning of the term ‘swamp’, and the assault on Constitutional principles, you could *see* the present in a wider light. Yet you (specifically you, and others to) deliberately will not to see certain inconvenient facts.

          For this reason, or at one level, you deliberately remain in a sort of willed state on un-seeing. All the hyper-patriots here — who can only see America in one way — deliberately mis-see. They cannot be relied on for accurate or productive assessment. Just patriotic speeches. And then a return to superficial readings.

          I am making the effort — my effort — to *do my work* here. To take the meaning of *ethics* seriously. It has to be taken to a depth level. This is what *you-plural* have taught me inadvertently.

          As absurd as your reality appears to be sometimes, are you absolutely certain that you’re not just a virus in the matrix?

          What if I am an antibody? What if what I do is (some part of) what is needed?

    • The ‘dumbing down’ of the students is only the effect. The cause is the ‘dumbing down’ and overpay of the teachers by the ‘Education Establishment’. Let’s just start off with an impolite truth, this country’s teachers were never an especially bright bunch of people. They were typically middling college students and a teaching career was an attainable goal for them. The pay wasn’t good, so the people that chose that profession generally WANTED to educate students, not get rich. Educating students was their motivation. Then, we got the Department of Education and the ‘educators’ got to determine what the teaching preparation should be. Before this, college professors in their respective fields decided what teachers needed to know and be able to do. Before the Department of Ed, teachers typically got a degree in the area they wanted to teach and added a ‘Teaching Certificate’ as a minor. This ‘Teaching Certificate’ was 18-credit-hours or so of education techniques and student teaching. Math teachers had to get math degrees (maybe watered down, but math degrees), history teachers earned history degrees, etc. Now, we have ‘Education Departments’ and the degrees are determined by the Department of Ed. Now, only 29% of high-school math teachers have math degrees. In Illinois, which pays far better than average, it is 5%. But how can this be? Doesn’t Illinois say that 90% of their math teachers are ‘qualified and 60% have Master’s Degrees’? Yes, but qualified by whom, and how does a Master’s degree is Education Administration help them teach math? Most math and science teachers just pass a ‘competency exam’ that doesn’t require a single college-level class in the subject to pass. Many can’t even do that and are teaching under ’emergency certification’. Emergency certification was supposed to allow technically qualified people to teach their subject of expertise, but has mainly been used to allow PE teachers to teach chemistry (OK, a little exaggeration there). Teaching is a cult and you don’t let ‘outsiders’ into a cult.

      OK, there is the dumbing down part. What about the overpay part? Teaching degrees are possibly the easiest degrees on campus. They also lead to a career that pays far above what similar college degrees pay. The average teacher salary in the US is $60,000.The average for people with humanities degrees is $50,000. Also, teachers have a 9-month contract (not 12) and great benefits. In Michigan, a Ford VP joked that he married his wife (a public schoolteacher) for her insurance benefit ($100 deductible for the year, 0 copay on prescriptions). When you overpay for a skill, you attract people who are just in it for the money (medicine is another great example of this). It is an easy major and it pays better than most, low hanging fruit. As a result, we have school districts that stopped teaching cursive because ‘it’s too hard’, stopped teaching logarithms, etc. After 40+ years of educational research by the Department of Ed and all those pedagogy courses the education students take, you think they would be BETTER at teaching than the teachers before them. NOPE. Why is that? Teachers don’t care about being good teachers.

      Here’s a few anecdotes to illustrate my point:
      I had a student once who wanted to be a science teacher. He was an OK science student but thought he was very smart. It came as a shock to him when he got a ‘B’ in one of his science classes and a ‘C’ in math. He went and discussed it with the education faculty. They were very concerned with a ‘B’ and a ‘C’, so they told him to drop out of science classes. They told him he didn’t need to take science classes to be a science teacher, he just had to pass the certification exams and he already had enough science to do that as a freshman. The science faculty tried to argue with him, but he changed his major to history education and got straight A’s from then on. When he graduated, he passed the teacher certification exams in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, history, and English. With 2 semesters as a science major, he passed 3 science areas and mathematics and he hadn’t even taken a physics course! Job offers flooded in and he was made part of a city’s Education Department, determining what should be taught across the district. He is today’s ideal teacher. He was ‘fully qualified’ in most of the curriculum, but knew very little. Wonder why we need to get rid of the school system?

      I had another student who wanted to be a chemistry teacher (not biology, not ‘science’). He was a below-average science major, but he had a desire to teach and he was good at it as a TA. However, he was getting C’s in his science classes, so they threw him out of the teacher ed program. That’s right, it is fine if you skip the hard classes and take blow-off classes, but if you take calculus-based physics and get a C, they don’t want you. That is the mentality of the education establishment. Every decent student I had who went into teaching was fired from the public schools system within 3 years for…teaching. Those teachers required work from the students and it made the senior teachers look bad and drew in complaints from ‘key parents’ whose children were no longer getting all A’s. It’s OK, they all found more satisfying positions teaching at private schools.

      Almost every science-education student I have met in 20 years wanted to only teach biology. They balked at the idea of learning chemistry or physics because ‘I am never going to have to teach that’ and ‘that is too hard’. Only a precious few wanted to teach biology because they loved biology. The ones who actually wanted to teach chemistry or physics were gems because they loved the field and were motivated to teach it. Think about those 2 groups. Which one do you want teaching your children? The first group is in the public school system. You have to go to a private school to get the second group.

      • Michael R.
        A statement from a school board member that “it would be unfair to ask teachers to have to navigate their pupils through the complicated subject matter” is literally a signature significant statement of a school system that is literally dumbing-down its’ student body.

        Everything you wrote may in fact be true but this is a clear case of cause and effect. We could talk until we’re all blue in the face about the “whys”, but this is clear evidence of an actual underlying motive to dumb-down the student body. It maybe as simple as the school system trying to elevate the average test scores by not presenting challenging material to participation trophy wielding lazy and/or unintelligent youth.

  2. Re:#4 – Before anyone else starting spinning conspiracy theories that this is another example of the left trying to cultivate dumb, obedient voters that they can easily manipulate with their wily totalitarian ways, it should be noted that it was the conservative-leaning school board that removed the books, not the Matanuska-Susitna Education Association (which looks like it’s the local teacher’s union, and is in strong opposition to the ban).

    • Straw man. I didn’t say anything about the ideological rationale, because stupid is stupid. It wasn’t the usual group of books the Left likes banning, such as “To Kill A Mockingbird” or “Hucklebery Finn,” so I assumed it was right wing idiots rather than left wing idiots. I see where you got the idea, though, since almost all calls for censorship is coming from progressives these days, but Alaska is unusual.

      • My response was pointing out both the inaccuracy of your post (specifically who called for the removal) and the inevitable reaction that somehow teachers and public education in general are to blame (specifically posts like Steve and Michael’s)

        • joeystigz,
          Stop putting words in my mouth.

          Yes, the schools in general are the primary source of the problem with students graduating that are functionally illiterate and can’t balance a checkbook, they’re graduating idiots; but I said nothing whatsoever about teachers. In fact I’ve stated many times that it’s usually school administrations that are tying the hands of teachers. School boards and administrators set policies about what teachers can and cannot teach etc, teachers are the teaching tools that are being limited by administrators.

          • You’re telling me that you read Jack’s post, which incorrectly cited a teacher’s union as being the ones that removed the books, and that in response you just made a comment implying that *generally* schools are dumbing down students and that the dumbing down fits nicely into the left’s strategy of wanting masses of dumb dumbs they can exert control over? And not that you were implying that there is some sort of deliberate strategy on the part of schools to indoctrinate an army of obedient non-thinkers? If I were a less generous man I would call that flat out bull shit, to use your term, because I’ve read plenty other of your conspiracy-minded posts. But please, extrapolate on the connection between this school board’s decision and our country’s descent into unbridled totalitarianism* so I’m not putting words in your mouth.

            Or maybe just admit that you made an incorrect assumption based on incorrect information and used that to support your incorrect theory.

            *NEW totalitarianism, now administered haphazardly at the local level!

              • I read what you actually wrote, and am asking you to clarify because it once again sounded poorly thought out. I’m asking you to clarify your thoughts on how the decisions this school board made somehow ties to the left’s drive for ‘totalitarianism” in your mind. And asking you not to lie when you say that your response was not partisan minded. You’ve convinced me to challenge you to my hearts content. I’m not content yet, so stand up for what you believe.

                • Oh, and while you’re at it, please answer this question:

                  Do you think that progressives are on a mission to destroy the country so they can usher in an era of socialist totalitarianism, and part of their strategy is to deliberately dumb down the national IQ, in part through a failed system of public education, so that more of the electorate will be submissive or otherwise oblivious to their tactics and the flaws in their proposed solutions? I’d love to get you on the record on this.

                  • In a word, “Yes.” I’d say the left’s response to certain segments of the population’s inability to flourish has been to lower all sorts of standards rather than urge people to take the steps necessary to be able to flourish. Too many black guys in jail? Get black guys to stop committing crimes? Nah! Let them out of jail! And stop sending them TO jail! Presto Chango! Problem solved! Black kids can’t get into Ivy League schools (neither could I)? Lower admission requirements for black kids and create goofy, easy majors that are useless since they won’t be able to keep up with the really smart kids. Problem solved! It’s much like when I drink too much and feel crappy the next day. When asked, I use my son’s line and explain away the problem by simply saying, “I was over-served!”

                • joeystigz wrote, “You’re telling me that you read Jack’s post, which incorrectly cited a teacher’s union as being the ones that removed the books, and that in response you just made a comment implying that *generally* schools are dumbing down students and that the dumbing down fits nicely into the left’s strategy of wanting masses of dumb dumbs they can exert control over?”

                  Yes that’s sort of close but not quite accurate. Yes I made a generalized statement that schools are being dumbed down; that’s my opinion and I just don’t give a damn if you agree or disagree with that opinion. I didn’t mentioned teachers or teachers union until you brought teachers into the conversation and I’ve been very clear about my opinion regarding the separation between teachers and administration; again that’s my opinion and I just don’t give a damn if you agree or disagree with that opinion. The simple fact is that I didn’t know and I didn’t care one bit about exactly who got rid of the books or their politics and I was quite clear about that you’re trying to twist this into some kind of smear and you’re just not very good at it.

                  Also; consider the following.

                  1. Jack’s post did not incorrectly cite that a teachers union as being the ones that removed the books, he correctly reported that another site had stated that; try to understand that difference.

                  2. In my opinion; Jack shared the information specifically to criticize the removal and criticize this rationale for the removal of the books “it would be unfair to ask teachers to have to navigate their pupils through the complicated subject matter” and criticizing the rationale is exactly what I did. If you think that rationale is justified then just say so, try to support the rationale and stop your nonsense attacks and deflections.

                  joeystigz wrote, “I’m asking you to clarify your thoughts on how the decisions this school board made somehow ties to the left’s drive for ‘totalitarianism” in your mind.”

                  Your memory is rather short; I wrote above “That’s a fabulous piece of evidence showing how our schools are dumbing-down students.”, “A dumbed-down society is far easier for totalitarians to control.” and I later wrote in response to your conspiracy theory statement that, “I think it’s become a self-evident “truth” that the left and their propaganda outlets in the media are doing exactly that.”

                  You seem to be able to concoct things by extrapolating what you read between the lines but yet you cannot connect the dots from actual statements? Schools are dumbing down students, totalitarians like stupid people because their easier to control, and the left (at least the outspoken left) has show us that them and their propaganda outlets lean heavily towards totalitarianism. I think I’ve been pretty clear; and again, that’s my opinion and I just don’t give a damn if you agree or disagree with that opinion.

                  These things have all been right here for you to read, they’re written in plain English so I’d really appreciate it if you would stop reading in dumbass.

                  joeystigz wrote, “And asking you not to lie when you say that your response was not partisan minded.”

                  I did not lie, I spoke the truth and your implication that I’m a liar is outrageous.

                  Just because you don’t like or can’t accept what I wrote doesn’t mean it’s a lie. Accuse or imply that I’m a liar and we’re done; so we’re done here. I will consider reengaging you after you post an honest apology that falls in #1 of the Apology Scale, nothing less is acceptable.

                  • OK, yes, you got me Steve. Technically Jack just repeated another outlet’s incorrect assertion that the teacher’s union asked for the ban. The information in the post was, and continues to be, incorrect. It’s a small, easily overlooked error so I don’t fault Jack for not catching it initially – because also don’t think he intended it to have a particularly partisan spin. But I anticipated how guys like you would respond without the clarification, and you delivered.

                    You’re again repeating back earlier quotes you made that don’t answer the question at hand – what’s the connection between this event and your assertion that the left wants dumb people that they can control. You made the connection between the two in your original post, you’re not backing down from that, but you’re also trying to pretend that you never intended your critique of the book banning to be partisan. Let me break down how the thought process for normal people works. With this type of statement, a connection can be reasonably assumed:

                    “I don’t like that X happened! It’s evidence of Y!

                    Hyperbolic political statement!”

                    What if I said: “Unbridled growth of CEO compensation for mega-coporations is helping driving wealth inequality. A country in which most of the wealth flows to a small percentage of people makes it far easier for the plutocrats to control everything.”

                    And then told you the first sentence in that statement was not intended to be partisan – “I don’t care about the politics of corporate leaders. I was simply commenting on CEO pay is too high!” I mean….c’mon. (and to note – I was just building a similar example there, that’s not an actual point I’m arguing).

                    Usually, when one complains of something, the follows that up immediately with a statement regarding some malicious intent from one side of the political aisle, one implies a connection between the two statements. You’re telling me that’s not what you were doing. And that simply doesn’t pass the smell test. I’d give you the benefit of the doubt if I hadn’t already seen similarly bonkers claims about widespread nefarious collusion to take over the country like this from you in the past.

                    And as for wanting an apology, you’re not going to get one. If you want to make sweeping statements about totalitarianism and then get offended when you get called out, then once again, I would suggest not engaging me in the future. I will continue to point out bad takes when I see them.

                    • joeystigz wrote, “what’s the connection between this event and your assertion that the left wants dumb people that they can control. You made the connection between the two in your original post”

                      There we have it fellow EA commenters, a confirmed liar or idiot internet troll; this troll joeystigz accuses/implies that I’m a liar because he doesn’t believe that something I wrote that was non-partisan when the statement in question was clearly stated as non-partisan and then this same troll joeystigz tries to make a claim that I made a connection in my original comment that I did not make – the original post said absolutely nothing about the political left – nothing.

                      So no one has to scroll to the top of this thread to confirm here is the comment in its entirety…

                      #4“It would be unfair to ask teachers to have to navigate their pupils through the complicated subject matter.”

                      That’s a fabulous piece of evidence showing how our schools are dumbing-down students.

                      It’s another example of the same bull shit that’s nailing the edges of the coffin and sealing logic and critical thinking away to permanently bury it in the quaint anecdotes of history.

                      A dumbed-down society is far easier for totalitarians to control. Think about that for a while and then take an objective look at what’s happening in our society right now.

                      Zero references to the political left in that comment – ZERO!

                      joeystigz is either a liar, an idiot or both.

                    • So you’re resorting to name calling again instead of answering the question?

                      Why connect this incident with leftist totalitarianism if your implication was not partisan in nature? My question was not about the one sentence you highlighted, but about that sentence *and* the ones that immediately followed it, and how they are connected. Keep up Steve.

                      You have a history of making similar partisan statements, and now you’re clutching your pearls when I ask how this was not intended as partisan? If I’m wrong then pony up, because as these conversations always go with you, you still refuse to explain your comment and instead are getting all huffy. Or just call me more names and swear some more, if that makes you feel better.

                    • Point of order! Here is the entire text of what I wrote on this topic:

                      Just to make it clear that New York isn’t the only city dominated by people with dead ethics alarms, Legal Insurrection informs us that the Matanuska-Susitna Education Association in Alaska has banned these classic from being taught in the schools:

                      “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
                      “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison

                      The rationale, summarized by one board member, was “It would be unfair to ask teachers to have to navigate their pupils through the complicated subject matter.”

                      This is an example of adults who were never properly instructed in critical thinking seeking to ensure that future generations are similarly handicapped….and, presumably, future voters for politicians like Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams, and Bill de Blasio.

                      You wrote, “Technically Jack just repeated another outlet’s incorrect assertion that the teacher’s union asked for the ban.” In linking to a source, I don’t endorse or ratify everything that source includes in its post. How did I repeat a false assertion by the linked blog? I expressed exactly the information I intended to pass on, which was true (I checked a local source) and if I wanted to mention other detail, I would have. From an ethics point of view, I don’t care about the union.

                      I’m sorry I mentioned three Democrats at the end–I was seeking neat synchronicity, since I those were the pols I had previously mentioned in the post.

                    • This sentence is incorrect: “the Matanuska-Susitna Education Association in Alaska has banned these classic from being taught in the schools” The association did not ban the books, they were opposed to the ban. That’s what I was saying was wrong in both the blog you linked to & the paraphrasing you included. On Legal Insurrection the author actually mentions both the school board & the association, so it seems like she was just confused as to what the association is and how it was involved in the story.

                    • Hey everyone,
                      This joeystigz is trying to build a false narrative (a lie) to attack Jack with. He, like many political hacks out there, is doing this by cherry picking “the Matanuska-Susitna Education Association in Alaska has banned these classic from being taught in the schools” out of this “Legal Insurrection informs us that the Matanuska-Susitna Education Association in Alaska has banned these classic from being taught in the schools”. There is a HUGE difference between these statements and joeystigz is smart enough to know that he MUST cherry pick to support his narrative that the sentence is wrong – he’s lying to you. This folks is what trolls do to create a false narrative (a lie) to attack by completely ignoring the whole context of what was actually written.

                      The sentence that Jack actually wrote – the entire sentence – is factually correct regardless if what Legal Insurrection wrote is false or not. Comprehension and context counts.

                    • Steve, take a deep breath. If you want to interpret what I said as an “attack”, go right ahead. It wasn’t meant that way, nor would I expect Jack to read it that way based on my many interactions with him. And I’m quite sure that if he thinks I am “attacking” him, he would respond appropriately.

                      And you’ve made a general appeal to others on the blog multiple times now, what are you hoping everyone will gang up on me? It’s starting to feel a little Mean Girls-esque. Not very fetch.

                    • Fine, then the remedy is to let me know that I need to make a correction, that’s all. Which I will. I also didn’t know that the Association was a union. I was head of an education association for almost ten years. It wasn’t a union. Few associations are unions. I am rather knowledgeable about associations, having worked for several.

                      Not that I care much. The post was about banning the books, not about who banned them. And not to get Clintonian on you, but my statement was that Legal Insurrection reported X, and I accurately stated what it reported.

                      Now I’ll fix the mistake.

    • joeystigz wrote, “Before anyone else starting spinning conspiracy theories that this is another example of the left trying to cultivate dumb, obedient voters that they can easily manipulate with their wily totalitarian ways…”

      But Joey, that’s really not a conspiracy theory anymore I think it’s become a self-evident “truth” that the left and their propaganda outlets in the media are doing exactly that.

      Regardless of the political leanings of the people that did this, the statement made by the school board member “it would be unfair to ask teachers to have to navigate their pupils through the complicated subject matter” is signature significance that they are literally dumbing-down the students.

      • I guess the political leanings of people doing stupid stuff is only relevant to you when it happens on the left? I’d challenge your latest sweeping, nonsensical declaration about totalitarianism – but it would just devolve into you not wanting to answer the uncomfortable questions it implies and accusing me of deflecting or being a troll or “sea lioning” or calling something bullshit – so why bother if that’s all you can offer up?

        If you’re really worried about totalitarianism, I suggest you call your senators and demand that they push back against these guidelines: https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/

        • joeystigz wrote, “I guess the political leanings of people doing stupid stuff is only relevant to you when it happens on the left?”

          You don’t read well. I clearly wrote…

          Regardless of the political leanings of the people that did this, the statement made by the school board member “it would be unfair to ask teachers to have to navigate their pupils through the complicated subject matter” is signature significance that they are literally dumbing-down the students.

          That sir (I assume you’re a sir) is 100% non-partisan. Fact is I don’t give a damn what party affiliation someone is when they sat stupid shit like that school board member said.

          You can shove your partisan innuendo BS straight up where the sun doesn’t shine.

          joeystigz wrote, “I’d challenge your latest sweeping, nonsensical declaration about totalitarianism – but it would just devolve into you not wanting to answer the uncomfortable questions it implies and accusing me of deflecting or being a troll or “sea lioning” or calling something bullshit – so why bother if that’s all you can offer up?”

          That sounds like a great big rationalizing excuse to me. Stop making excuses joey and stand up for what you believe and I will do the same. Challenge to your hearts content.

          joeystigz wrote, “If you’re really worried about totalitarianism, I suggest you call your senators and demand that they push back against these guidelines:”

          Do you understand the difference between guidelines and laws that have actual consequences if you don’t follow them?

  3. Lyall has confused 12Angry Men with an episode of Happy Days where hold out juror the Fonz does exonerate a motorcyclist of purse snatching. A common mistake I’m sure.

  4. Here is an interesting article about the shutdown.

    http://groups.google.com/d/msg/UK.Legal/b4OdlCWF1hE/merG6k21AAAJ

    Almost half of the entire global work force could lose their livelihoods
    because of the coronavirus pandemic, a UN agency has revealed.

    The International Labour Organisation reported on Wednesday that some 1.6
    billion workers in the informal economy are in ‘immediate danger’ of losing
    their livelihoods.

    The informal economy refers to any labour that isn’t monitored by the
    government and where the workers don’t pay tax, such as restaurant staff,
    cleaners and street vendors.

    There are around 2 billion informal workers in the world, out of a total
    workforce 3.3 billion.

    The ILO’s latest report sharply raised its forecast for the devastating
    impact on jobs and incomes of the COVID-19 disease, which has infected more
    than 3.1 million people globally, killed nearly 220,000 and shut down
    economies.

    ‘It shows I think in the starkest possible terms that the jobs employment
    crisis and all of its consequences is deepening by comparison with our
    estimates of 3 weeks ago,’ ILO Director-General Guy Ryder told a briefing,
    foreseeing a ‘massive’ poverty impact.

    Already, wages of the world’s 2 billion informal workers plunged by an
    estimated global average of 60% in the first month that the crisis unfolded
    in each region, the ILO said.

    How can the shutdown be justified?

  5. “BuzzFeed reported on the existence of talking points being circulated by the Biden campaign that inaccurately suggest a New York Times investigation found that Tara Reade’s allegation ‘did not happen,’” a spokeswoman for the paper said. “Our investigation made no conclusion either way.”

    Interesting. But you know, I wonder if people will even care. Democrats mostly won’t, as winning the election is clearly more important to them than #MeToo, which I have concluded has always been about developing a extrajudicial tactic requiring due process be ignored in order to damage or destroy targets they don’t like, or political opponents. Their calls for due process for Biden are clearly insincere and proforma — they really don’t care if he’s guilty or not, at least not enough to give the claim proper attention.

    The trouble is, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have both proven that such allegations, even when damning, are not enough to move voters by themselves, or at least, not many.

    Also, Trump’s aversion to telling the truth when a lie will do has made lying appear a minor sin at best, and to Democrats, lying in the service of Orange Man Bad is not just a forgivable sin, but a totally allowable means to an end.

  6. “It would be unfair to ask teachers to have to navigate their pupils through the complicated subject matter.”

    Translation:

    It would be unfair to ask teachers to navigate students through the complicated subject matter when we, the administration, are not willing to defend those teachers from complaints by students (and their parents) who get offended by the material or the topics raised in contemplation of them.

    -Jut

  7. 4. Personally, I’m in favor of “Gatsby” being burned. A personal hobby horse. It’s a really crappy book. Preposterous in any number of ways. Why it’s taught to high school kids is beyond me. If you’re surprised by anyone saying this, reread the book as an adult and see how flimsy it is. One of the all-time great over-rated pieces of fiction.

  8. 4: School boards seem to be a fruitful area to introduce stupid, to contaminate and corrupt. I may not think much of all the books on that banned list, but understanding and being able to explain why you don’t agree with the dominating opinion is a valuable lesson, along with the fortitude to defend it with reason. The majority can be horribly wrong, just like it can be wiser.

  9. What’s also telling about de Blasio, is that he stated that over 400 locations would be available for Muslims to pick up nighttime meals in observance of Ramadan. Not quite encouraging them to gather in large groups, but definitely encouraging them to go out, as opposed to telling the Jewish community to stay at home.

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