I don’t want to over-use the “This Date In Ethics” concept, but attention must be paid: this was the day, in 1961,that Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. boarded the Freedom 7 space capsule to becoming the first American astronaut to travel into space.
In these times where so many aspects of our culture are working to imbue Americans with fear of living, when people wear masks in their cars and teachers are willing to cripple both the economy and children’s education to minimize their risk of catching a virus, it should be remembered that a young, healthy man risked his life and the chance of a fiery death to advance America’s science and the spirit of exploration.
1. For some reason (Cognitive dissonance?) I haven’t been checking Althouse as often since she decided that her readers were hogging too much attention on her blog by insisting on posting comments. She still has an admirable talent for cutting through the BS. Reacting to today’s announcement that Facebook’s “quasi-indepedent” board upheld FaceBook’s partisan and anti-democratic ban on Donald Trump’s posts. Ann writes, “I’m not surprised. If the decision had gone the other way, Facebook could have found some new offense and banned him again.”
Not could have, though; would have.
2. How is this fair or equitable? Once again, Toyota is giving a special discount to “recent college graduates.” This is, of course, ham-handed pro-college virtue-signaling, but wouldn’t you guess that non-college grads of the same age need such discounts more? In the TV ad, we see a nice, upper-middle class white girl from childhood to college—it sure looks like her parents can afford a car…or she can afford a full-price cheaper car. Interestingly, this is one of the relatively few TV ads running now that dares to feature a white character who doesn’t at least mitigate her ingrained evil by being part of a mixed-race family.
Special deals on products and services for special categories of Americans—yes, even veterans—are divisive and incoherent.
3. A basic comprehension of capitalism should be a prerequisite for the Presidency. The Biden administration today announced its support for a proposal to waive intellectual property protections for pandemic vaccines. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the United States will now move forward with international discussions to waive the protections for the duration of the pandemic. Immediately, pharmaceutical stocks dived on Wall Street.
The incompetence, betrayal and irresponsibility this represents is hard to overstate. The US drug industry produced a vaccine—if fact, several—far faster than most pandemic doomsayers predicted or thought possible. President Trump, in contrast, did predict the rapid development schedule, and was mocked for it. Say what you will about Trump, he does understand capitalism. Corporations are motivated by the prospect of profits, and this opportunity was huge. A large component of the motivation was, of course, foreign profits. Biden’s betrayal of our life- and economy-saving drug companies is to accept their achievement, and then take away their reward for it. If the patent waiver happens, the next pandemic may not see quite the urgency from Big Pharma.
I may be missing some arcane law in this area, but if not, I don’t see how our government can “waive” a private property right, which is what a patent is. I would expect such a waiver to be challenged in the courts, and I would expect, and hope, that the challenge would be successful.
My guess is that Biden and the gang is just posturing, as usual, while counting on biased news media cheer-leading and a majority of an under-educated public that hates drug companies and wouldn’t know a patent from a parrot. This way, he plays to the “US should feed the world” progressive sector, plus he shows that, unlike Trump, he’s the opposite of “America First,” he sticks it to those baaaad drug companies (who just happened to come through when we most needed them), and if SCOTUS blocks him, he can use that to demonize the conservative justices.
4. A high schooler fixed her homecoming queen election, but why would anyone think a Presidential election would be fixed? In Cantonment, Florida, prosecutors have accused Emily Grover and her mother, an assistant principal in the same school district, with casting hundreds of illicit votes to gain Emily the homecoming queen crown. Grover was expelled from her high school, her mother, Laura Carroll, is suspended from her job (presumably as a prelude to being fired), and both mother and daughter are charged with offenses against computer users, criminal use of personally identifiable information, unlawful use of a two-way communications device and conspiracy to commit those offenses.
What kind of values and priorities would lead two women to think a lousy homecoming queen title was worth cheating for, never mind risking the consequences of being caught? Who are these people? How did they get this way?