Columbus Day Weekend Ethics Warm-Up, 10/10/2020: Dumb Tweets, Rigged Reviews, Insane Academics, And Police Conduct Worth Protesting

Is it that time again already? Great, now we have to listen to more Statue Toppling rants from anti-Columbus zealots who don’t think changing the world unquestionably for the better and setting in motion the chain of events that allowed the United States to exist is worthy of a day of recognition.

1. I confess. Although I bailed out of following baseball this “season” when MLB’s groveling to Black Lives Matter became too much to bear, I do check the scores now and then, and thus am taking some pleasure in the fact that the New York Yankees were eliminated in the best of five Divisional Play-offs by the Tampa Bay Rays, making it eleven straight years since the Bronx Bombers got to the World Series.

2. Idiotic tweets that did not come from the White House. Whether one believes the Doomsday Polls or not, it is beyond question that President Trump’s prospects this November would be far brighter were he able to resist sending out dumb tweets, many of which I have highlighted here. (There is a Trump Tweets tag, if you want to reminisce. Like so many of his regrettable proclivities, this one is apparently contagious. Powerline recently flagged three head-exploders:

  • From Washington governor Jay Inslee:

Inslee tweet

  • From former CIA director and Deep State Trump saboteur John Brennan:

Brennan Tweet

Those who visit here often know that by Ethics Alarms standard, quoting “Imagine” as if this infantile doggerel by John Lennon is profound automatically wins any “Dumbest” competition.

  • Finally, there is “resistance” American historian Michael Beschloss, who embarrassed himself, not for the first time since 2016, with this:

Beschloss tweet

Yes, bias makes you stupid…and careless. Twitter wags quickly posted these:

Obama balcony1

Obama Balcony 2

3. I don’t understand this story at all. If my eyes do not deceive me, Authorities 27-year-old Sidney Deal allowed his 1-year-old daughter to die in his locked car in Las Vegas because he didn’t want to damage the vehicle by breaking a window, and the police acceded to his priorities.   

Deal called the police after he locked his keys inside his vehicle at his Vegas-area home, with his infant daughter inside.  The police officers offered to break the window or to call a locksmith or tow truck. Deal said that he was going to call his brother instead. Deal’s brother said that his brother told him that the car’s air conditioning was running. When he reached his brother’s home, the brother offered to break the window. According to authorities, Daddy Deal stopped his brother because, he said,  he didn’t have enough money to fix a broken car window. Deal told his brother to phone their mother to have her insurance company send a locksmith to his home. While all of this was going on, Sayah, who had been in the car for more than an hour by this point, had become unconscious. THEN the police officers finally broke a window, but it was too late.

Why doesn’t someone protest about that?   Police arrested Deal and booked him on one count of child abuse or neglect causing substantial bodily harm. But he’s suffered enough, don’t you think? After all, he has to fix that broken window…

4. Ah, there’s nothing like a fair, open-minded, objective book reviewer! The new book is “White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity” by Robert P. Jones, and it sets out to prove that “American Christianity’s theological core has been thoroughly structured by an interest in protecting white supremacy.” And who did the New York Times Book Review select to examine that thesis? Why, history Ph.D. candidate Jemar Tisby author of “The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.”

5. How did we allow academia to get this way? Donna Riley, head of the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, has authored an article for “Engineering Studies” called “Rigor/Us: Building Boundaries and Disciplining Diversity with Standards of Merit,” in which she argues that academic “rigor” is enables “white male heterosexual privilege.”

The term “rigor,” she writes, “has a historical lineage of being about hardness, stiffness, and erectness; its sexual connotations—and links to masculinity in particular—are undeniable.”

Yes, she really wrote that, and students or their parents pay tens of thousands of dollars to allow people who emit such crap to mess with their children’s minds.

“Rigor,” she continues, “may be a defining tool, revealing how structural forces of power and privilege operate to exclude men of color and women, students with disabilities, lgbtq+ people, first-generation and low-income students, and non-traditionally aged students.” Later in the same “scholarly” article, she condemns “scientific knowledge itself,” which, according to her, “is gendered, raced, and colonizing.” [Pointer: The New criterion]

48 thoughts on “Columbus Day Weekend Ethics Warm-Up, 10/10/2020: Dumb Tweets, Rigged Reviews, Insane Academics, And Police Conduct Worth Protesting

  1. 5. Riley is using the same flawed logic that claims that, if there are different outcomes among groups, such as races or genders, then the process from which those outcomes came must be flawed. In this specific case, her claim, from the abstract of her article, is that “rigor produces inequality” and “we cannot reinvent it but must relinquish it.” She argues for diverse ways of knowing and for vigor in place of rigor.
    Her etymological description of rigor is correct in stating that it refers to stiffness, since it’s derived from a Latin term meaning stiffness. Her claim that it also means erectness is a bit of a stretch.
    But, words must be taken in context, and academic rigor is not at all the same thing as physical rigor, and that’s where her argument fails. She might make sense (in a foolish kind of way) if she stuck with the physical aspects of rigor, and said that, since those who have been dead for a while embody rigor, they have no place in engineering, and those embodying vigor must replace them.
    The main problem with her line of reasoning is that it denies agency to those groups it presumes to support, and in fact is a slur on them. If there are fewer women or ethnic minorities in STEM fields (or STEAM which is something else entirely), it is not because of the academic rigor in those fields. To claim that it is, and to lobby for vigor instead, is to say that women and ethnic minorities are not capable of academic rigor.
    Myself, I prefer to drive over bridges that have been erected following rigorous engineering standards, not bridges that merely were built with great enthusiasm and different ways of knowing and doing.

  2. 1) I recent read an article about sports viewership being way down across all sports. Being the woke media, they tried to stretch every justification to say that protesting athletes had nothing to do with it. They really believed that its helping, not hurting sports leagues.

    3) In Texas, police generally have a “break the window first, ask questions later” policy; I would expect an extremely hot desert town to be the same. However, my first thought was what race was Deal and did protests against police change how they responded? Sure enough, Deal is a black man – we’re police worried about making a scene or having to fight him to break the window?

    5) Academia has long been in love with worthless navel gazing employing piles of authentic frontier gibberish. It’s also a massive echo chamber so Prof Riley probably received accolades from colleagues for such an “enlightened” paper. It’s been this way for decades but it’s only more recently being brought out in the open..

  3. 2. I have something to look forward to then. I was just given Beschloss’ “Presidents of War” as a gift.

    3. Which will cause the riots? The little girl dying because the police didn’t break the window sooner or the police arresting the father for the negligent death of his child?

    4. If the narrative is that all of American history is a racist trope, then all of America’s predominant belief systems are flawed. Pacifism, abolitionism, charity mean nothing if they can shut down one of the most prominent organizational voices in the abortion debate by labeling it racist.

    5. If I drive across a bridge and it doesn’t break, I’m thrilled with the rigorous intellect that went into making it sound. They just want to dumb down everyone, don’t they?

    • 5. This sort of nonsense is the perfect example of critical race theory’s inanity: “If you can’t succeed at something, redefine success so you ‘can.'” We’ve already been told that mathematics is racist, now it’s engineering. Are there any Isaac Newton statues on the Purdue campus?

      • Ironically, toppling such a statue would be a very good demonstration of much of Newton’s most important contributions to human knowledge…

    • A la Nancy Pelosi’s “we have to pass the law to see what’s in it,” Biden is saying, “You have to elect me President to see what I’ll do.” He thinks voters are that stupid.

      He might be right, of course, because, after all, like Obama told the Russian, it is more appropriate to kick the court-packing can down the road until Biden has more flexibility.

  4. I am guessing that Riley’s unintentional motivation for writing this silly piece proposing rigor be replaced with vigor in engineering terminology is deep seated phallophobia probably rooted in some early childhood trauma. She should seek professional help at all speed!

    • Are you kidding, Wayne? She’ll be hailed as a groundbreaking intellectual and be made the tenured head of the endowed Tanishi Coates African American Studies Engineering Department at MIT.

  5. Doomsday polls, Jack? How about instead the measure of reality that you don’t want to believe? Kevin Williamson of National Review, a conservative, wrote a very sobering article about the difference between the polls today and the polls in 2016. I can’t quote every statistic number for number, you can go to the article if you want that, however, it paints a very bleak picture for the president.

    the fact is that the gaps between the president and his challenger this time out are significantly larger and in some cases twice the size of the gaps between Trump and Hillary in 2016. the fact is also that Trump was moving upward as the election approached, and there were even a few polls showing him in the lead. There are none this time out.

    as someone who had his share of academic struggles at various stages throughout his education, the president is at the point where you were if you ever went through a course and muffed the first test, then the second one, and finally muffed the term paper. You have still some hope going into the final exam, but, in a moment of sobriety, you sit down and you add up the percentages vis-a-vis your grades so far, and you realize the best you’re going to do is a B minus, and that’s if you ace the final. Since you have been struggling all along, there is no real reason to believe you will ace the final. Then it hits you that you had better abandon your dreams of making the dean’s list, and instead think about how you are going to explain this to your parents and justify the hard-earned money they spent on your tuition.

    Last year at this time, if you told me this was what was going to happen, I would say you were crazy. Last year at this time, the president was cruising to re-election. The economy was doing quite well and so were most people, and there is no reason to believe they would not have given him a second term of the same. I do not know if anyone, whether Hillary or Obama or any of the Republican candidates from 2016, would have or could have handled this unique situation better. However, the fact remains that the president has pretty much screwed up every stage of handling this pandemic. in the middle of March most of us believed that we were just going to have to take a two-week hiatus and everything would be on its way back to normal by Easter. Well, here we are in the middle of October and a lot of places are talking about a second wave of this virus. We are not talking about a vaccine, we are not talking about a therapy, we are talking about a second wave. The once great economy has tanked, and is not likely to get better this year or maybe even next year.

    On top of this, you had the George Floyd situation. I do not know if the president could have done anything any better. I do know that the previous president would have been in a better place to handle this from, for obvious reasons. As it is, the current president looks like an authoritarian who is out of touch with most of the country, and who can’t use anything except the most heavy-handed of tactics to deal with a long festering problem that exploded on his watch.

    Admittedly, the president has had absolutely no help, and a lot of opposition from the other side on both of these situations. Unfortunately, that was also to be expected. The other party declared political war on him a long time ago and the rest is history leading up to the failed impeachment bid right before the pandemic hit. To the Democratic party, these two crises were not problems to be dealt with for the sake of America, but a one two punch to defeat the president. Even the perfect president would have had a difficult time dealing with these twin crises. Trump is not the perfect president by any stretch of the imagination. A lot of people are calling him the worst president of all and believing it.

    The president has also had absolutely no help and a lot of hindrance from the media. As far as the media are concerned, this president has never done anything right, can’t do anything right, and never will do anything right. If things did go well it was in spite of things he did, if things went poorly, it was all him.

    Even the best of the presidents would have had a really hard time winning reelection under these circumstances. Trump has neither Reagan’s charisma, nor Clinton’s glibness, nor LBJ’s political skill. He doesn’t even have the wisdom to avoid getting the virus himself, or not turn a debate into a shitshow, then refuse a change made BECAUSE HE HAS A DEADLY VIRUS.

    Frankly, it’s a wonder he’s kept his core of true believers. They can attend all the rallies and hang out all the flags they want, but they can’t put him over the mark.

    You mark my words, Jack, this is going to be a loss of 1984 proportions,and anyone who believes otherwise is in denial. Of course then the same media who attached him every day will become Biden’s enablers.

    Sorry, Jack, it’s time to start thinking of Trump in terms of was, not is, and hope that four years of Democratic united rule doesn’t ruin this country.

    • As you should know, I think of Future News as a variety of fake news. I have no idea who will win in November, but I do know that the polls are untrustworthy because the people running then are untrustworthy. In 2016, those people weren’t deliberately trying to tilt the vote with fake polls, because nobody thought Trump had a reasonable chance to win. Now, we have seen four years of distortion, dishonesty by omission, and deliberate sabotage of this President’s administration. In 2015 and 2016, the media reported on Hillary’s email destruction. Now, I don’t think they would.

      In my Northern Virginia neighborhood, I have seen 20-30 Biden signs, and no Trump signs at all. I also talk to neighbors. Biden will win this area, but not unanimously, and not 20-1. The Trump supporters are sick of being denigrated, insulted, bullied and harassed. They have seen people assaulted in restaurants, and those wearing MAGA caps vilified in the media. Fascism of the Left is afoot. It’s just naive to assume the polls are getting an accurate snap shot of the state of the race.

      I’m about to write a post about yesterday’s Gallup poll results, and will address some of your points there.

      • Unacademic and anecdotal observation on lawn signs. I’ve been road tripping the past week through Western Maryland, South Central Pennsylvania and Western and Southern parts of Virginia (also E Tenn. & W/Cent NC, but that’s beside the point), and the rural areas seem to be very pro-Trump. The Biden signs appear in about a 1:10 ratio vis a vis Trump signs. People also have Trump flags on their pick up trucks. So interesting to see that people are unafraid to express political opinion in that part of the country. Also, saw a few Confederate flags in people’s yards and bumpers. First time traveling around that part of the country. The South, they have their own thing going! Though in Boston (my headquarters) you sometimes see Trump stickers on Mass plate cars! Usually that’s expected on a NH plate car.

        • I recently drove through an area of north Georgia, towards NC, where the candidate for whatever congressional district that is had a black silhouette of an AR style rifle as the emblem on his campaign signs. Didn’t see any Biden signs there.

      • The Trump supporters are sick of being denigrated, insulted, bullied and harassed. They have seen people assaulted in restaurants, and those wearing MAGA caps vilified in the media. Fascism of the Left is afoot. It’s just naive to assume the polls are getting an accurate snap shot of the state of the race.

        The fascism from the Left is doing its best to incite Republican turnout, as well as turnout from Republican-leaning constituencies.

        It also gives pause to racially moderate and racially conservative Democratic voters.

      • “Trump mishandled the pandemic” is nothing more than a Democrat Party talking point, as is “Trump ruined the economy.” Is there a way to stop a virus? Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would have handled both better? Give me a break. I think epidemiologists are the biggest bunch of incompetent boobs around. I was going to say “incompetent quacks,” but they’re very good at being quacks.

          • That’s true, Steve, very true. But they certainly shouldn’t have caught on with anyone of your intelligence and astuteness.

              • However, those people never vote for a Republican dog catcher, never mind president. And I firmly believe there are a lot of voters out there who are on to Democrat Party talking points and can see them coming from a mile away. And they find those talking points annoying and emblematic of the Democrat Party’s eagerness to use all sorts of Commie-like tactics such as propaganda and disinformation in order to establish a more totalitarian union.

    • On top of this, you had the George Floyd situation. I do not know if the president could have done anything any better. I do know that the previous president would have been in a better place to handle this from, for obvious reasons. As it is, the current president looks like an authoritarian who is out of touch with most of the country, and who can’t use anything except the most heavy-handed of tactics to deal with a long festering problem that exploded on his watch.

      Ah, yes.

      the George Floyd situation.

      Suddenly, claims of racism were being exaggerated again. This was what incited a sufficient number of racially moderate and racially conservative Democrats to defect to Trump.

      The George Floyd freakout would almost certainly incite turnout from Republicans.

      And it did not incite more black voters to ally with the Democratic party. Perhaps the optics of mayors, who are Democrats, surrendering their cities to mostly-white rioters and arsonists had something to do with it.

  6. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen where both Rasmussen and Zogby have said that the polls putting Biden up by a lot are completely skewed and inaccurate. They are intentionally oversampling Democrats to make the polls skew in Biden’s favor. Zogby said yesterday that media outlets were doing it on purpose in an attempt to suppress the Trump vote.

  7. “Hello, 911, my daughter is locked in the car, I need an expert locksmith.”

    “Sir, break the window.”

    “Nah, I think she’ll be fine. Come to think of it, my brother is good at breaking into cars without hurting their resale value. I’ll just call him.”

    “It sounds like you and your brother are People of Color. Rather than impose our White cultural values, which involve rigorous and rigid standards of behavior in these situations, we will yield to your more intuitive and diverse ways of knowing and doing.”

  8. I live in a wonderfully diverse (racially and ethnically) suburban neighborhood. I have not seen ONE yard sign for either Biden or Trump.

    But I did wear my MAGA hat indoors last night. Does that count as much as staying at a Holiday Inn Express?

  9. #2: As you say, this is not “historian” Beschloss’ first rodeo with imbecilic comments.
    Form an interview with Don Imus after Obama’s 2008 election:

    Beschloss: “This is a guy [Obama] whose IQ is off the charts.”

    Imus: “Well, what is his IQ?”

    Beschloss: “Pardon?”

    Imus: “What is his IQ?”

    Beschloss: “Uh, I would say it’s probably — he’s probably the smartest guy ever to become president.”

    NY Post commentary on that interview:
    “On what actual evidence did ‘historian’ Beschloss base his assertion? The SAT scores Obama refused to release? The college transcripts he also kept private? Any existing IQ scores he withheld?

    Despite a lack of evidence, a ‘historian’ declared Obama smarter than George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton.”

    • Yes, I’ve read and heard many similarly foolish and partisan comments from this historian, who has simply carved out a niche as a go-to mouthpiece of the political Left among historians. He’s a disgrace, but there are so many others like him, or trying to be, in his profession that he isn’t even suffering for it.

  10. I was 7 years old when my Uncle Ted in the USA sent us over a copy of Freburg’s work. 1965.

    I learned all my US history and much of US culture at that age from it. Such things were not taught well in UK primary schools at the time.

    Uncle Ted – Alfred E Brain – was just starting work on a new project after having worked on perceptrons for analysing photo recon product from overflights of the Soviet Union.

    “Shakey was developed from approximately 1966 through 1972 with Charles Rosen as project manager. Other major contributors included Nils Nilsson, Alfred Brain, Sven Wahlstrom, Bertram Raphael,[1] Richard Duda, Peter Hart, Richard Fikes, Richard Waldinger, Thomas Garvey, Jay Tenenbaum, Helen Chan Wolf and Michael Wilber. The project ways funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). ”

    We now return you to our usual programming.

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