Saturday Night Ethics Fever, 6/12/21: Cruel World Edition [Corrected]

John-Travolta-Saturday-Night-Fever

1. Cruel reality. You know, I’m starting to feel less and less sorry for Merrick Garland. The man who should have been confirmed as a member of the Supreme Court has revealed himself as an ultra-political and partisan Attorney General. His latest is to darkly hint of scrutinizing “post-election audits to ensure they abide by federal statutory requirements to protect election records and avoid the intimidation of voters.” He wrote in part,

“As part of its mission to protect the right to vote, the Justice Department will, of course, do everything in its power to prevent election fraud and, if found, to vigorously prosecute it. But many of the justifications proffered in support of these post-election audits and restrictions on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both this Administration and the previous one, as well as by every court — federal and state — that has considered them.”

That’s simply a lie. The claims have not been “refuted,” nor has the Federal government shown sufficient curiosity about “election fraud” to investige any of the many suspicious events related to mail-in ballots counted in Democratic strongholds in closely contested states.

Republicans take this as a veiled threat to interfere with the limited audits taking place in Arizona and Georgia. Arizona state Senator Wendy Rogers (R) minced no words in her response to the almost-SCOTUS justice, saying in part,

“You will not touch Arizona ballots or machines unless you want to spend time in an Arizona prison….The free state of Arizona will not tolerate this federal meddling. If Attorney General Merrick Garland thinks he has a right to our ballots and machines he should go to court. If he uses force when multiple courts have already authorized this audit he will be in violation of the law.”

Translation: “Bite me.”

I approve.

2. Cruel history! One of Clarence Darrow’s best quotes was “History repeats itself, and that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history.” How right he was! Commenter Curmie, who scored an excellent Comment the Day today, also alerted me to a story from 2011. Like the race-charged valedictorian mess I just covered here and here, it involved multiple botches and school administrative incompetence. Luckily for all concerned, it also occurred in 2011 and not ten years later. Read all about it at Curmie’s blog.

3. Dear Asheville: Teasing is cruel. In North Carolina last June, the Asheville City Council unanimously approved a resolution to address slavery and racial discrimination by distributing reparations to black residents. Or let’s say “reparations.” The plan did not “mandate direct payments,” but instead directed the city to invest money in areas of the city where black residents “face disparities,” whatever that means. Now, a year later, the city finally approved a grand total of $2.1 million for “reparations,” allowing news media to report “a multi-million dollar reparations” plan. $2.1 million is just barely over the “multi-million” line. There also isn’t really a plan. “There was a question about, well, how will this be spent? What are the projects?” City Manager Debra Campbell said. “We don’t know yet. What we do know is that we have asked the commission once it is formed, to provide us with short, medium and long-term initiatives.”

Oh. Here’s a surprise: advocates of reparations for slavery don’t think $2.1 million is enough. But $2.1 million is definitely too much for empty virtue signaling, which is what this is, and all it is.

4. How stupid is the cruel world? An article from last September posits that the average IQ worldwide is only 82. Not surprising, there is a correlation between how smart a nation’s population is and how likely the people there are to cheat. Here’s a chart:

honest-people chart

The highest national IQ score, according to these studies, belongs to Japan at 107 (100 is supposedly “normal”), followed by five more Asian nations (if you count Hong Kong as a nation.) The US is tied with Belgium, Norway, Sweden and France at 97. Here’s that whole chart:

IQ nation list

15 thoughts on “Saturday Night Ethics Fever, 6/12/21: Cruel World Edition [Corrected]

  1. I believe that Karen Lynn Gorney is pictured with Travolta. She was the character Travolta wanted, Pescow the one he didn’t want.

    I don’t know what either actress did wrong, but neither started with anything like Travolta’s looks.

  2. FWIW, the Powers That Be direct interested parties through a Trigger Warning to access Curmie’s blog; it reads:

    Sensitive Content Warning
    This blog may contain sensitive content. In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog. For more information about our content policies, please visit the Blogger Community Guildelines.

    • Actually, the Powers That Be have nothing to do with that warning. I chose that voluntarily because I sometimes use, shall we say, “adult language.” I see it as the equivalent of a PG-13 rating, nothing more.
      The Powers That Be are responsible, however, for the fact that I can’t post links to my blog on Facebook. It “goes against [their] Community Standards on spam.” It doesn’t, of course, but there’s no process to talk to a human or otherwise try to figure out what the hell they’re talking about.

  3. RE: 1.
    I made this comment in April:

    Chris Marschner
    APRIL 28, 2021 AT 7:50 AM
    Based on what I have read Merrick Garland say as head of the Justice Department I am glad his nomination never saw the light of day. https://nypost.com/2021/04/20/ag-merrick-garland-says-racism-is-an-american-problem/

    Attorney General Merrick Garland said racism is an “American problem” in an interview Monday, adding that he does not believe America has equal justice under the law.

    “Look, racism is an American problem,” Garland told ABC News.

    “It’s plain to me that there has been and remains discrimination against African Americans and other communities of color, and other ethnic minorities. I think it’s reflected in discrimination in housing and employment and the justice system,” he said. “We do not yet have equal justice under law.”

    To that I say prove that the outcomes were due to discrimination and not personal choices or government incentives that inhibit initiative.

    “I now have the opportunity to do some very important things. I have the opportunity now to lead a Justice Department in pursuit of civil rights. I have a chance to lead a Justice Department in pursuit of the rule of law and ensuring the independence of the department, and its independence — particularly — from any kind of partisan influence in the way we bring investigations or prosecutions,” he said.

    “And I have a chance to lead a department — sitting here in Oklahoma City — that needs to fight against domestic violent extremists, so that the kind of tragedy that we had in Oklahoma City doesn’t occur,” Garland said.

    More people are killed in inner city violence than by domestic violent extremists Merrick; or don’t you care? Why did you focus on Oklahoma City tragedy rather than 9/11? The answer lies in the fact that he wants to paint whites who challenge the progressive orthodoxy as violent extremists. That is just plain bigoted and partisan.”

    The remainder of the comment I retracted after other commenters corrected me or persuaded me that I might be wrong. Nonetheless, I stood by the part above when it was apparent that he was going to take the Justice Department to create the White supremacist bogeyman narrative.

    Merrick Garland exposed himself as a partisan before the comments about voting. Without reviewing his judicial opinions I cannot make any direct claims as to his judicial temperament on the bench but if he feels that some groups are discriminated against then it is likely that he interpreted the law favorably for defendants of color when they appeared before him and, if not, he cannot make such claims of others, or, he too has discriminated based on race and is projecting his biases on other judges.

    The last thing we need on the Supreme Court is a partisan hack and to say that he would act differently as a judge rather than the head of the Justice Department because he is playing a different role is simply not a credible argument.

  4. I have come to believe, after observing his actions and commentary while in his current position, that the United States dodged a bullet when Garland was denied a hearing for elevation to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice.

    We will see just how authoritarian Garland is by his actions. Mouth-noises from a political appointee are just that, and I am comfortable at this point giving him some benefit of doubt. His actions will determine my ultimate opinion.

    But his willingness to issue veiled authoritarian threats are not encouraging at all.

  5. 3. “There was a question about, well, how will this be spent? What are the projects?”

    I’ve come to believe that the notion of reparations would die immediately upon a requirement that any money allocated be divided equally among the members of the victimized group.

    • Of course. It’s an imaginary concept to be used to drive black resentment, and completely impractical. [I once briefly endorsed the idea here in a moment of frustration and stupidity. Please don’t remind me. ]

  6. 1. Good for Senator Rogers. I told my wife on numerous occasions that when Ginsburg’s SCOTUS seat became available, President Trump should have nominated Garland because he was more centrist – and just to explode the heads of the Left. It might have exploded heads, to be true, but it appears I may have been WAY wrong on the ideology.

    The one – I think ethical – thing the federal government could do to help elections is to declare every Presidential Election Day a complete national holiday. Citizens then have an entire paid day – it could be paid by the government as far as I’m concerned – to find their polling place and vote. All mail-in ballots should be eliminated (with the exception of the military ballots).

    Maybe the Attorney General should chew on that idea for a bit…though I doubt he will. The Left no longer really wants easy access to polling places.

  7. Garland wasted little time in discarding his “moderate” disguise and reveiling his true colors as a partisan totalitarian. After being slapped down late last year by a number of members of Congress, his ATF minions are once again in “solution in search of a problem” mode. In their peculiar obsession with the AR type of firearms platform, they’re attempting to cobble together a means of effectively banning most AR pistol braces, referring to their new proposal as “objective” and a “public safety issue”, when it is, in fact, neither. A link to their proposal is included in this short article: https://www.firearmspolicy.org/save-the-braces . Public comment is open for 90 days

  8. That IQ Spreadsheet is…. Interesting.

    Let me start out by saying that I think IQ tests are a racket. I get what they’re trying to do, and they’re relatively effective at doing it, but there are some serious issues with an IQ test. As an example; They assume literacy. That might seem valid, but if you put a German test in front of me, I’d probably circle answers at random, I’m not unintelligent, I just don’t know German. That said, I’d probably still score higher than you might assume, because part of the test involves a time element, and if I answered 20 or 25% of the questions (depending on the number of answers on the bubble page) quickly, I’d score higher than if I’d answered 20-25% of the answers slowly.

    Regardless… The chart is interesting because it gave the 8 nations who scored lower than an average IQ of 60 a 60 because “IQs < 60 are below the valide score range of common IQ tests." Not only did they misspell "valid", but that doesn't have the benefit of being true, at least not unless you count fake Facebook IQ tests. The problem, I think, is that taking the accepted IQ ramifications of an average national IQ of 43, Nepal would have a population that was, on average, suffering from moderate to severe cognitive disability, and the people putting this together knew that their measurements were bunk and the average citizen of Nepal is not, in fact, functionally retarded.

    The IQ test doesn’t function well in places where the population isn’t educated. but being uneducated is a different problem from having a mental handicap.

  9. About twenty years ago I started reading a couple of books about IQ tests and got to be quite good at answering the questions. Then on TV they had an IQ test where the top scorer amongst the personalities was a comedian who scored 130. I did the test at home and also scored 130. It didn’t mean I had a high IQ, it just meant I had had some practice and the type of questions they ask in an IQ test just happened to suit me. At school I was good at maths and I like the geography and history questions on my twice weekly nights but I am useless at writing essays which an IQ test doesn’t test for.
    As a track and field official where I am a B grade official I have just started studying for my A exams in both throws and jumps. After doing very little study in the last forty years, I am finding learning how to study very difficult, as the types of question I am likely to get will be far more complicated than the simple questions I did initially to become a C grade official, and if the B grade exams are anything to go by will involve a lot more writing whereas the C grade questions were more short answers like one gets in an IQ test.

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