30 thoughts on “Wait, How Can It Be Time For A Friday Open Forum Again So Soon?

    • Good to know. I endured one year of ACLU membership, just to get a feel for them first hand. After I had my fill, I let my membership expire without notifying them. To make sure that I was included on all of their mailings, I donated three dollars. On average, I have received three solicitations a month for the last two years.
      I admit that this nickle and dime protest is not much, but is better than doing nothing. I can’t be nominated an ethics hero for knowingly inducing them to waste their money, but I can live with that too.

    • Why this biblical reference is interesting! I’m sure that he would like to like to portray himself as Our Savior. I wonder who’s going to turn out to be Judas or Jezebel?

      • Not really that interesting. I heard he stumbled three times. Reminded me of the Stations of the Cross, thought Good Friday was next week, realized I was off another week (and the Orthodox Church is even another week; no help from them, as usual).

        Then, I check out the video and I don’t know if you even have a full three falls. Two, for sure, but the third is kind of an extension of the second.

        In hindsight, it all kind of falls flat, if you ask me.


  1. My school district, specifically the middle school, has had a bad month. I am hoping that everyone can help me with an ethical analysis of this mess. All of these incidents occurred in the middle school, kids ages 11-14. Note: names have been changed.

    1) A bit over a month ago, Jane was being bullied by four friends. She asked the school for help. The school took each of the friends aside and asked them if they were bullying Jane, or knew if one of the other three were bullying her. They all said no and that they were sure that the other three were also innocent. The school district accused Jane of causing trouble for the girls and moved on. Then Jane’s mother called the school asking for help with the bullying. They again discounted the situation, and again accused Jane of being a bully and troublemaker. Finally, fed up with the school’s inaction a month ago, Jane’s mother posted on the town Facebook page that Jane was being bullied by the four girls, giving full names. She then said that the parents of these girls could call her, and gave a number. If she received a call from a parent, the girl’s name would be deleted from the post. Over the course of two weeks, the names were deleted, and after the last name was removed from the post, the mother posted an update saying that the situation was being resolved. The school administration condemned the mother for her action, and still has trouble believing that any bullying took place other than Jane’s “false accusations” because while it is possible for one girl to lie, according to them, four girls, even four friends, would never lie and cover for each other. Even after the girls issued public apologies, the school did not apologize to Jane.
    a. My take on this is that a teacher who routinely deals with children this age should recognize that children often cover for each other, getting stories straight, when wrongdoings are committed, and even more so inside a group of friends. Also, when evidence is brought forth that you were in the wrong, an apology is necessary to the one you wronged, especially a bullied child. I also believe that the mother should not have named the bullies (minors) on Facebook, however efficacious it was.

    2) John brought a miniature razor blade, just under the size limit for a weapons definition, to school. He cut four girls with the blade. The girls asked the school for help. The school did nothing. A group of boys in John’s class, disgusted with the lack of response, decided to take measures into their own hands. When the teacher left the room to take a phone call, the boys attacked John. The other classmates in the room whipped out their phones and took videos, which they then posted on Snapchat. The school expelled all students in the class, except John, who initiated the trouble by hurting four of his classmates.
    a. My take on this is that the school administration was negligent by not dealing with John when one kid was hurt, and all the more so by the time four were. Of course the vigilantes and videographers should have been disciplined, but John should not escape discipline having started the whole mess with violence.

    3) Jessie’s grandmother put a bunch of mints in Jessie’s lunch, ones she hates, so Jessie asked the teacher if she could throw them away. The school’s current COVID policy requires students to remain in their assigned cafeteria seats until the end of the period. The teacher, citing the school’s COVID policy, refused Jessie’s request to immediately dispose of the mints. So Jessie spent the remainder of lunch playing with the mints, eventually crushing them into powdered sugar with mint flavoring. After lunch, when she was allowed to go to the garbage, she cleaned up the mess and put the white powder in the garbage can. A school official saw the powder, saw traces of the powder at Jessie’s assigned table, and recalled that Jessie’s dad was just released from prison. Jessie, and the other five kids assigned to that table were expelled for drug dealing, and THEN the police were called. The police determined that the powder was particularly dangerous to diabetics, but was not a controlled substance. Jessie and the other five were allowed to come back to school, but no apologies were given to any of the children.
    a. My take on this is that not only is jumping to conclusions and expelling six kids before calling the cops wrong, but after being proven wrong by the cops, the kids and their families should get one heck of an apology.

    4) Just Monday, a girl wrote a hit list on the bathroom wall, including two teachers, two boys, and four other girls. Rumors ran rampant, and there were suspicions that she had a weapon, or that she had hidden bomb making parts in multiple places throughout the school. The police were called and the school insisted that the police search every inch of the school, including all students’ lockers. When some parents stated that this was illegal, the school said that a suspicion that bomb parts were hidden in the school provided reasonable cause and there was no use hiring a lawyer because this was perfectly legal and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t care about the kids’ safety.
    a. My take on this is that while the safety of the kids is an issue, lockers are held to be private property and it seems that a claim of sneaking bomb components (not multiple bombs) into the school and hiding them in multiple places is not really a reasonable cause for violating the kids’ rights. This kind of overreach, especially coupled with the other incidents, makes for a bad public view of the school, as well as, after this last month, making students not trust anyone in authority, whom they need to trust.

    Four incidents on this level in a month suggest to me that the school administration is incompetent and should be running bait shops, not teaching kids. I think that this school has shown itself to be in desperate need for reorganization. Though I have no direct experience with the school board, speaking with other parents and others in the community, it is at least perceived as a good ol’ boys club that has been resistant to any change or dissenting voice. If the board can’t be replaced, I believe the principal and many of the teachers must undergo at minimum some good training on civil liberties, bullying, and the appropriate responses to crises. As it does not seem likely even that would happen, these issues are being entered as exhibits 12123, 12124, 12125, and 12126 for reasons to home school.

    Does anyone have a better analysis? Can you point out where I’m seeing things through a biased viewpoint and the school should be given the benefit of the doubt?

    • I concur on the first 3 issues.

      The fourth one, lockers are not private property, and searching student lockers is not illegal.

      • Rich, what about cars parked outside a high school? My daughters classmate was suspended for not parking on school grounds because on school grounds they could search their vehicle for drugs.

    • Whoa. That is one horribly run school. In the balding incident, they should have expelled the girl for provoking poor ol’ John. That makes as much sense as the others actions the school has taken. Methinks it is time for a new school.


    • Your school district poses a danger to its students. A bunch of parents should pull their kids out of school, pool their money, hire a teacher to educate the kids in someone’s house and never look back.

      • Bobby Hill,

        The students above were a mixture of Hispanic and White, the two main races in our community. We have almost nothing else from the BIPOC list. Given interracial marriages are pretty common around here, telling races apart tends to be difficult. A culturally Hispanic kid (who is half and half) of my acquaintance looks only as Hispanic as my Irish husband does after two months of summer. That being said, Jane, John, and Jessie are probably white. Jane’s tormentors have Hispanic last names. I have no idea about the other kids at Jessie’s table. I do not know about the girl who wrote the hit list. Balance of probability suggests Hispanic, given the makeup of our school community.

  2. I looked into the case, because I, like Jim, was *amazed* that an attempt on the VP’s life hadn’t generated more press. Did we not realize that Harris is a black woman, and this was a white guy with a scary gun?

    Paul Murray, 31, of San Antonio Texas, is a schizophrenic, and off his meds. He was the owner of at least one rifle, an AR-15, and was known as an issue to the local PD. Earlier this week, he told his mother that the government was destroying his life, and that he was “going to take care of the issue” at which point she advised the local PD, who alerted the DC Police, that Murray was going to be in town, and probably an issue.

    Murray took with him to DC an AR-15, five 30 capacity clips, and 113 rounds of ammunition. Murray parked his car several miles away from where he ended up, and was eventually arrested by police while walking outside Kamala Harris’ DC lodgings (which are actually currently under construction and vacant) with the AR-15 slung over his shoulder, unloaded, having left the ammo back in his car.

    So…. Let’s be real, this isn’t good. But following Jim’s Tweets, people were saying things like this, from @ritalaura:

    “It needs to be said that this man intended to take the life of our Vice President. Because she is a woman. Because she is Black. Because she is Asian, because she is Indian. Because he hates her. Because the words of men like Trump & Cruz & Carlson told him his hate is warranted.”

    Some of which is obviously not true, some of which is unknowable, and some of which she just made up. My mentions have been a cesspool ever since I pointed out that:

    “This is not true. “In possession” is kind of misleading here. He was walking outside that house with an unloaded gun. When police arrested him, they searched his car, miles away, and found the ammo/mags. He had no intention of killing anyone with the gun.”

    So, this time, what I’ve noticed;

    1) First and foremost: These people don’t care about the truth. Every time I pointed out that Harris’ life was obviously not in danger, because she wasn’t anywhere near the guy, and HE DIDN’T HAVE A SINGLE BULLET, I had at least one oral-breather asking me why I was defending the guy. Look…. If pointing out that he could not possibly have shot someone with an unloaded gun is “defending him”, then I guess I was…. But that means the other person considered it a defense, and it had the benefit of being true. And so most of what follows has to have that taken into account: These people did not want to be confused by facts.

    2) One thing I’ve noticed is that progressives have lost all sense of proportionality. As an addition to 1, many of the people I interacted with seemed as if they didn’t care if Harris’ life was in danger or if this was actually a murder attempt because it was obvious that the guy was doing something wrong, and he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, which in at least two people’s estimation meant that Murray should be executed. Colorfully and painfully. My newest repeatable talking about is “Just because something is bad, or wrong, doesn’t make it the worst thing that’s ever happened, and we should be able to parse, differentiate and rate between levels of bad.” This goes over poorly.

    3) Obviously, the arrest was righteous. We can disagree with DC’s gun laws, but they exist, and the AR-15 is a banned gun in DC. And even if the gun wasn’t banned, DC is not an open carry state. Jim Sciutto called the ammo “unregistered”, which is dumb… There’s no such thing as an ammo registry and it confused me as I read it. Upon researching what he actually meant, it is actually illegal to have the clips and the Ammo in DC, because people have to be licensed to obtain certain types of ammo and paraphernalia, and Murray did not have his shootin’ license. He’ll be charged with various gun-ownership violations.

    4) Murray very well might have been casing the place, he’s mentally unwell, and might not have realized that the rifle strapped to his back was quite conspicuous, he might very well have come back and rattled some bullets off at the empty house, and it’s only moral luck that the place was empty. All that said… Jim Sciutto is CNN’s chief National Security correspondent. People, like Rita, believe things that are not true because he worded his Tweet to give the impression that Murray showed up to Harris’ door with a loaded AR-15 and the intent to kill. Some of which isn’t true, and the rest of which he doesn’t know. Are we allowed to call that Fake News yet?

    5) On Rita, specifically:

    “Because she is a woman. Because she is Black. Because she is Asian, because she is Indian. Because he hates her. Because the words of men like Trump & Cruz & Carlson told him his hate is warranted.”

    This is so crippling. Look…. People right of center don’t hate Kamala Harris because she’s a black woman, they hate her because she’s a dishonest Democrat who lied and slept her way into power and pushes policy that they loathe. The same people that dislike Kalama Harris didn’t have a problem with Colin Powell or Condi Rice, they don’t have a problem with Clarence Thomas (who is the most popular SCOTUS judge among Republicans), or Candace Owens (Who just joined the “largest, fastest growing conservative program” Daily Wire. Instead of defaulting to melanin or genitalia, almost every issue with a person, particularly in politics, can be reduced to party affiliation. Not saying that your junk or skin tone can’t be part of their bias cocktail, but why the hell would you go there *first*?

  3. I’ve been thinking about Andrew Cuomo and Deshaun Watson’s sexual harassment problems. How come the accused are never guys that look like Justin Trudeau and Tom Brady? Am I being cynical?

  4. CNBC recently ran this piece on a manifesto written by Sam Altman.


    The article posits that “Artificial intelligence will create so much wealth that every adult in the United States could be paid $13,500 per year from its windfall as soon as 10 years from now.”

    The article basically says that artificial intelligence is going to destroy most jobs within 10 years or so. It posits that the US needs to completely overhaul the government and institute universal basic income before then, in order to prepare for a world in which people no longer work for a living. It presents a combination of threats and bribes, attempting to sugarcoat the idea that the world has no choice but to accede to a benevolent dictatorship by tech overlords. I’ve seen this argument pushed several times lately, and it troubles me.

    The article is an ode to Sam Altman’s supposed genius, but if you read the website they are taking their quotes from, the tone gets much more sinister.

    It sets out Altman’s thesis as such:

    “Software that can think and learn will do more and more of the work that people now do.”

    “This technological revolution is unstoppable. And a recursive loop of innovation, as these smart machines themselves help us make smarter machines, will accelerate the revolution’s pace. Three crucial consequences follow:

    1. This revolution will create phenomenal wealth. The price of many kinds of labor (which drives the costs of goods and services) will fall toward zero once sufficiently powerful AI “joins the workforce.”

    2. The world will change so rapidly and drastically that an equally drastic change in policy will be needed to distribute this wealth and enable more people to pursue the life they want.

    3.If we get both of these right, we can improve the standard of living for people more than we ever have before.”

    Altman then goes on to explain how he thinks the government and economy should be changed to support the “new world order”.

    “A stable economic system requires two components: growth and inclusivity. … Economic inclusivity means everyone having a reasonable opportunity to get the resources they need to live the life they want. … Capitalism is a powerful engine of economic growth because it rewards people for investing in assets that generate value over time, which is an effective incentive system for creating and distributing technological gains. But the price of progress in capitalism is inequality. … The traditional way to address inequality has been by progressively taxing income. For a variety of reasons, that hasn’t worked very well. … We should therefore focus on taxing capital rather than labor, and we should use these taxes as an opportunity to directly distribute ownership and wealth to citizens. In other words, the best way to improve capitalism is to enable everyone to benefit from it directly as an equity owner. This is not a new idea, but it will be newly feasible as AI grows more powerful, because there will be dramatically more wealth to go around. The two dominant sources of wealth will be 1) companies, particularly ones that make use of AI, and 2) land, which has a fixed supply.”

    This is just repackaged communist propaganda. Communism has never worked, but AI is somehow going to make it work because it will generate wealth somehow. Exactly how it will generate wealth, other than by confiscating all the land and capital, is never explained.

    The premise that AI is poised to take over human employment is misleading in and of itself, because it operates on the idea that we have already developed AI that “can think and learn.” AI, in its current incarnation, can do no such thing.

    Neural networks, which is usually what people are referring to when they discuss modern AI, are nothing but fancy, expensive, pattern recognition software. The only thing they can learn to do, as of yet, is recognize the things they were trained to recognize. They do not think. They can only learn to the extent that they can be shown something over and over again, and eventually they develop arbitrary rules that they use as an algorithm for recognizing the thing they were taught to recognize.

    Neural nets can pick street numbers off houses from pictures of houses, once a human shows them the street number in enough pictures of houses. Neural nets can identify cancerous cells from non-cancerous ones, once a human shows them enough pictures of cells, and tells the neural net which are cancerous. Neural nets can draw a picture of a cat, once a human shows them enough pictures of cats.

    Neural nets that have been taught something can be pitted against one another to perform pattern recognition battles on each other. After thousands of runs, sometimes they produce better pattern recognition results. Other times, they produce garbage pattern recognition that is useless.

    There is no “thinking” in a neural network unless that “thinking” is programmed and/or trained into the neural by a human.

    Other forms of AI are just algorithms created by a programmer to perform a specific task. They fake intelligence through clever coding, but they learn nothing.

    The CNBC article is unethical because it glosses over the true intent of the real manifesto, and repackages it like it is some sort of happy, money-raining idea that will make everyone rich. The manifesto is unethical because it is misleading about the true nature of AI in its current state, and is trying to frame the issue as the singular path forward if we want to prevent the disaster that might occur if AI becomes a viable technology for general use by corporations. It also presents the economy as something that can exist when no one has any way of accruing wealth via work or employment. It pretends that this future would be some sort of utopia, when it would in actuality be a communist totalitarian dictatorship that allows the government to tell everyone what to eat, where to live, what they are allowed to do, and where they are allowed to go.

    I think it is extremely irresponsible of the news media to cover these ideas without discussing any of the ramifications.

    The only problem CNBC sees with these theories is that “with the current climate of political acrimony, it is certainly debatable whether lawmakers would bring such a plan to fruition, especially within a decade.”

    • Very well written. This is truly disturbing stuff.

      The same technology (AI) that shows me ads for products I bought last week will require restructuring the entire economy…. Why am I skeptical?

      However, there is one feature of universal basic income, though, that I like: that it is unconditional, so there is no earning cap. A friend of mine is on Social Security Disability. SSD requires you to be unable to work. Consequently, if you work more than 10 hours, you lose your SSD, because you are obviously able to “work”. The program handicaps you to the government, with no reasonable path to escape. A twenty hour part time job pays far less than SSD; your disability makes working a full 40 hours impossible. SSD pays for a meager standard of living. The ordinary way to improve your standard of living is work; you are precluded from work, however, because you are disabled, and must stay disabled/non-working to not lose what meager progress you’ve made.

      Basic Universal Income obviously solves this very narrow, difficult problem. You get your $13K annually whether you work 40 hours or 5. This is an attractive feature.

      For purposes of this discussion, I am assuming all citizens get the UBI; every citizen gets a check from the government regardless of all other employment or income source. I also assume the UBI is an untaxed benefit. Maybe there is a total income cap; maybe a minimum age, or different amounts based on age/income, etc. Regardless of the exact structure, by mathematical necessity, at a certain income the UBI becomes moot. It would be a mere matter of policy at what level it breaks even.

      In principle, UBI is a minimum guaranteed income, set to cover food and housing and little else. The philosophical difference between it and communism is that it preserves individual agency to spend that minimal amount as one pleases. It provides freedom from abject poverty and the intrusive welfare bureaucracy. The reductions in administrative costs (by ironically eliminating jobs) and other peripheral societal costs would partially offset the implementation of the UBI.

      This would provide real change in quality of life for my friend, who is constantly fighting to keep all the benefits to which she is entitled active. She is never going to be able to work full-time, but constantly documenting her disability for the authorities, tracking down paperwork when the authorities send it to the wrong place, and getting benefits reinstated when they lapse due to an oversight can be a fulltime job for weeks at a time.

      There are real problems with our system, and UBI provides a superficially plausible solution.

      Now, if we are to maintain the capitalist paradigm, that citizens work to support themselves, ie that citizen’s work to support themselves, pay taxes on their income, and receive services and social stability in return, then mathematically, UBI is fundamentally equivalent to a “refundable” tax credit. Citizens work, file an income tax form to calculate what they owe, and get a return if they paid more taxes than they owed. A refundable credit is given even when the balance overpaid is less than the credit amount. Even a total tax liability of zero might qualify for the credit.

      There are many weeds in how UBI could be implemented. Essentially, though people below a set income would have no tax burden, but would qualify to get the UBI back anyways. Still others might owe some tax on their income, but the UBI they get back would be slightly higher than they put in. Eventually, some income level would get slightly less back than they put in. Those with the highest income would eventually put far for more in than they get back in UBI. Where these levels are set would be again a matter of policy.

      Today, the US collects roughly $11,000 in Federal taxes per person on average. With 330 Million people, total tax revenues collected are about $3.5 Trillion annually. To pay each citizen a $13,000 annually in UBI, total revenues would have to double to about $22,000 per capita (my math assumes a 20% efficiency by eliminating programs made redundant by UBI. The Federal government would collect and $7.0 Trillion annually, and redistribute half as UBI.

      People would make $100,000 or less would see a net increase in their income after taxes with UBI. Everyone who pays taxes would see their tax bill double, but the UBI offsets that increase in the tax bill upto an income of $100K. Eliminating the standard deduction of $12K (and equivalent average amount of itemizable deductions) drops the break even point to $90K.

      People who earn $15K from from work would see their after-tax income more than double to 26K with UBI. People who earn 50K would see a 30% after tax increase to $54K. Those earning $75K would see a 13% net increase in their after tax income to $73K.

      $Conversely, those earning 100K would see no increase or decrease in their after-tax income of roughly $87K. People making $150K see an after tax loss of 2% down to $126K. Those making 200K see 6% less after taxes down to $126K.

      UBI works mathematically if and only if we maintain the capitalist paradigm. People must sink or swim on their own merits. In the real world with UBI, people will still gamble it all away and be homeless. People will spend it on drugs, overdose, and die. People will have medical emergencies and end up in debt. People who don’t work will earn less than those who do. Historically disadvantaged peoples will still have disadvantages.

      Adding ideological goals threatens the stability of the system. Nanny state policies that force people to pay their rent/mortgage to permanently eliminate homeless chip into the efficiencies that UBI is supposed to provide. Adding universal healthcare (or bumping the UBI high enough to afford private health insurance) increases everyone’s taxes further. Believing everyone should have a car, pool, cable, etc turn this from a program eliminating abject poverty to a thinly veiled communist state.

      UBI could, in theory, empower those stuck in the lowest rungs of society to better themselves by eliminating the most dire of circumstances. It could lead to dismantling costly, inefficient welfare programs, and enable people who can work part time, but not full time, to have an honest shake at working to improve their lot in life.

      But in order for UBI to do this, it can’t make life too comfortable. It must be priced to eliminate abject poverty if those receiving it exercise minimal financial prudence. However, we must then take a completely hands off approach afterwards. The UBI must replace all other social safety net programs for it to not drown the country in debt and sloth.
      UBI would be a huge commitment. It would permanently change people’s reliance on the state. Conversely, people will have big goals and hopes for the program, and would see individual’s free to use the UBI as they see fit as a threat to those goals. Individuals will use their UBI irresponsibly, just as people abuse their limited resources now. Restrictions will be proposed to limit abuse.

      With such a huge investment made by everybody in society, the temptation to expand government and restrict freedom will be strong. Experiments with communism teach us how such temptations have been handled in the past.

  5. This future utopia was observed first hand this afternoon at Dubuque Iowa’s small Walmart. I saw each and all of a dozen human check out stations not attended by humans. The customers were defaulted to the self check outs just a short fifty yard walk in either direction to wait in line and do the work ourselves.
    Now that is technological progress, and the savings will perhaps be awarded to the customers as lower prices, and to the workers as higher wages, although I saw very few workers.
    Once we get accustomed to these technological improvements, expensive government oversight may be needed to keep consumer prices high enough for Walmart to continue developing more of this simple artificial intelligence.

    • People will take the opportunity to steal as much as they want, and the shrink will make up for the saved money in costs.

  6. To continue our own little Fahrenheit 451, here are PDF links for the other five disappeared Seuss books. Feel free to share; They’re set as not findable by search on that site, to aid in preserving their existence.

    If I Ran the Zoo was Previously linked in comment on this EA post:

    Click to access YvRPM2OE9_And_to_Think_That_I_Saw_It_on_Mulberry_Street.pdf

    Click to access nBdy9FKkx_On_Beyond_Zebrapdf.pdf

    Click to access kuAxJEpPL_Scrambled_eggs_super.pdf

    Click to access oVNUybnja_The_Cats_Quizzerpdf.pdf

    Click to access k5dHo4qNv_McElligots_Poolpdf.pdf

    If anyone would care to have a copy of the memory-holed manifesto of the loony Leftist Trump-hating Christchurch NZ shooter, I think I have it somewhere, too. (Hmmmm…wonder why THAT one wasn’t kept alive by our unbiased press?).

    • I was talking to someone on Facebook about not being able to access these books to comment on them because they were censored. He provided me similar links, saying they were NOT censored, simply taken out of print.

      I told him it was cute that he wanted me to violate copyright law to bypass this “non-censorship” by the Seuss estate.

  7. Biden tripping and falling 3 times up the stairs of air force one getting an understanding pass from the main stream media


    Week long coverage of Donald Trump taking his time down a slippery ramp leading to concerns about his health.


    And understand fully that the Democrats and the Mainstream Media are the enemy of the United State of America so badly that patriotic Americans are forced to accept a buffoon like Donald Trump as a valid spokesman.

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