Historical airbrushing comes to my backyard: the Alexandria School Board voted last week to approve “Alexandria City High School” as the new name for T.C. Williams High School, which is a stone’s throw from my house—in fact, I throw stones at it all the time. You have to admit, the new name is catchy, kind of like “Washington Football Team.” At this point, T.C. Williams was just a name: the man Alexandria’s largest school was named for died in 1963, and I doubt one citizen here in a thousand, and no students in the last 20 years, had a clue who he was or why the school was named for him. In fact, Thomas Chambliss Williams was Alexandria’s Superintendent of Schools from the 1930s to 1963, and presumably the school had been named in his honor to recognize his long and presumably successful service. But, we are told, he “promoted the school division’s resistance to desegregation efforts.” Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t; it’s probably a good bet, given the time period, but these accusations are put out to the public as fact (as in the recent San Francisco fiasco) and nobody bothers to check or challenge them.
Current Superintendent Gregory Hutchings Jr. said in part, “We are excited about the Board’s decision to adopt the [name] of Alexandria City High School…[to] honor the diverse, inclusive and anti-racist community that ACPS is striving to become.” Yeah, if anything says “anti-racist” it’s “Alexandria City High School”! That name brings a tear to my eye, I can tell you. Once upon a time, successors to long-time public servants operated with some fealty to the Golden Rule. Would they like to be smeared forever as terrible people 50 years after their deaths based on a cultural shift, or a faddish, empty catch-phrase like “anti-racist”?
1. Good. Making reasonable accommodations so the handicapped can participate in society is one thing; burdening citizens and organizations with crippling expense so they endure no disadvantages at all is unethical. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act, a troubling number of activists have demonstrated an inability to tell the difference. Thus Ethics Alarms welcomes the 11th Circuit’s ruling last week that websites are not public accommodations that must be accessible to blind users unless they create a barrier that excludes disabled people from accessing goods and services in a physical space, like a store.
The decision supported Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., a grocery chain, in the lawsuit by plaintiff Juan Carlos Gil, who is legally blind. He sued because he was unable to use the Winn-Dixie website with his screen-reader software. Gil wanted to use the website to fill prescriptions because in-person requests could be overheard by other people standing nearby. He felt having to wait 20 to 30 minutes for the prescription after making an in-person request was too much to bear, so he forced the company to engage in long and expensive litigation.
Title III of the ADA limits places of public accommodation to physical locations, the 11th Circuit said in its April 7 opinion. It bans discrimination on the basis of disability “in the full and equal enjoyment of public accommodations,” with “discrimination” occurring when an operator of a place of public accommodation fails to take steps to ensure that no person with a disability “is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services.” The law as it stands is bats, embodying the Carter-era delusion, now rampant, that society has an obligation to eliminate all individual disadvantages. The law’s examples of public accommodations included hotels, restaurants, theaters, auditoriums, schools and grocery stores, however, so the 11th Circuit seized on that to limit the law in a way its creators would not have done, if they had any clue what a “website” would be. “No intangible places or spaces, such as websites, are listed. Thus, we conclude that, pursuant to the plain language of Title III of the ADA, public accommodations are limited to actual, physical places.”
Now watch Democrats try to expand the ADA to include websites, raising prices, costing jobs, and creating havoc.
2. More partisan censorship from YouTube<yawn!> Once, this would be shocking news, but now we know, don’t we?
The social media platforms are ideologically-slanted propaganda organs, and they deal in deliberate and sinister censorship. This week, YouTube deleted the video of a Wuhan virus roundtable discussion including contrarian Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and well-credentialed medical experts from Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard who disagreed with Centers for Disease Control directives that children should wear masks in school. Cody McCloud, DeSantis’s press secretary, condemned the move as “another blatant example of Big Tech attempting to silence those who disagree with their woke corporate agenda,” NBC News reported. That seems fair. The panel included Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University; Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School; Sunetra Gupta, an infectious disease epidemiologist and epidemiology professor at Oxford University; and former Trump White House pandemic advisor Dr. Scott Atlas.
“YouTube has clear policies around Covid-19 medical misinformation to support the health and safety of our users,” YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez said in defense of the censorship. “We removed AIER’s video because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
By all means, the public shouldn’t be able to hear opinions that contradict a consensus! Of course, the fact that credentialed experts have different opinions means there is no consensus, but this fascist excuse for censorship has worked well for climate change activists, so why not with the pandemic? If it contradicts those in power, it’s “misinformation.” Got it.
3. This goes straight to the Res Ipsa Loquitur files: The most recent pandemic relief bill cost just under $2 trillion. Despite not housing and teaching students on campus full-time for most of the last year, 5,300 colleges and received just under $40 billion in funding from the federal government, which is, you know, deeply in debt. Some of the schools need it, but need was apparently not a key consideration. Many obscenely wealthy institutions are receiving far more in government bailout funds than universities and colleges with small endowments. Only one Ivy League school, Dartmouth, is receiving less than eight digits’ worth of taxpayer-supplied funds. Princeton, with a $26.6 billion endowment, is receiving $12 million, Yale got $17.3 million (to add to its $31.2 billion endowment, and Penn received $26.3 million despite its nearly $15 billion reserves. Columbia and Cornell each received about $33 million, and Fair Harvard netted $25 million. Yet my alma mater, which sends me desperate pleas for cash regularly while it embarrasses me with its unethical conduct, has a $41.9 billion endowment.
During the first round of pandemic pork, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Penn, and Stanford withdrew their applications for emergency funding following mockery by former President Trump, then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and others. Once Trump had been defeated, however, the institutions quietly changed their stance, our crack news media didn’t say a word, and they got our money.
Would someone like to defend this?
4. On Prince Phillip’s death. Apparently spineless wimp Prince Harry will attend the funeral of his grandfather next weekend, “setting in motion fevered speculation about whether the reunion would mend fences in the royal family or sow deeper discord” says the Times. Right. Attending the funeral will completely make up for Harry sitting like a loyal spaniel as his wannabe Kardashian wife accused Prince Phillip and the Queen of being racists. There’s nothing that shows love and respectquite like accusing an old man fighting for his life in a hospital of being a racist.
Meg is lucky she’s pregnant so she has an excuse not to fly: she would not be welcome at the funeral, and for good reason. Apparently the BBC received complaints from viewers claiming excessive TV coverage of the 99 year-old’s death, presumably from the same subjects who relished the endless media coverage of Princess Diana’s demise. Phillip’s contributions to the public interest dwarfed hers in both length and gravitas.