Why What Riley Gaines Went Through Mattered – Her Push To Promote Ted Cruz

 

Riley Gaines, a twelve-time All-American and three-time Southeastern Conference champion who came out of the University of Kentucky, gained national attention over the issue of men pretending to be women who then are allowed into women’s sports.

In 2022,  she tied with male swimmer Lia Thomas in the 200 meter freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championships. Despite tying with Thomas, Gaines says she was told the trophy would go to Thomas for “photo purposes.”

Harvard Withdraw Degrees?

 

The Harvard Corporation (the governing body for Harvard College) is withholding degrees from thirteen individuals who committed illegal acts in conjunction with protests concerning Palestine and Israel.

Hundreds of Harvard students made a public spectacle of protesting at what was supposed to be their graduation ceremony, chanting as they protested both the discipling of the thirteen individuals and Harvard’s policies.

Changing the Culture by Example

 

I have some Facebook friends that are lefties. One in particular is an old school acquaintance I haven’t seen since high school, and that was more than 40 years ago.  As with most lefties, he can’t resist occasionally posting something political.  I don’t get into politics on fb, as my observation is that nothing good ever comes from it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respond. My response is simply to post occasional family updates, and allow the contrast to work on anyone who’s paying attention. Take this for example:

We review a strange week at the NY Trump trial and then Dennis talks to old WSJ colleague Larry Ingrassia about solving a cancer mystery that plagued his family.

And in the Parting Shot, has one of America’s best known liberal comedians taken the Red Pill?

As Donald Trump leads on the backstretch of the 2024 presidential race, Biden makes use of his whip, challenging his opponent to an unconventional debate. Henry takes a deep dive into this necessary bold strategy. Then he’s joined by NBC’s national political correspondent Steve Kornacki. The two discuss the president’s failure to gain traction as Trump maintains momentum.

Plus, Henry takes a close look at two ads for Tony Gonzalez — one from his campaign, the other from the RCJ SuperPac — against challenger Brandon Herrera in Texas 23.

A Crisis of Moral Inertia

 

I knew a man (“Bob,” not his real name) who claimed that on June 17, 1972, he was part of a small group on Virginia Ave about to enter the Howard Johnson’s hotel across from the Watergate and said, “Boys, it doesn’t take an army to plant a bug.” He thought the plan badly designed. The closest thing to corroboration I knew of was in 1990 when I witnessed two FBI agents at the bar in the Hawk & Dove on Capitol Hill buy him a drink and toast “the one that got away.”

Bob had a few unusual professional experiences.  He had been an FBI plant in KKK chapters in North Carolina and eastern Maryland.  He remarked that at the end of those assignments, it seemed like the number of plants, informants and actual government agents outnumbered the remaining active klansmen. He grew less cynical in his old age, sought to advance positive causes (though often in questionable ways, naturally), and was increasingly critical of the amorality and incompetence of government.  I never knew his source of income or the funding for his diverse ventures.

Embarrassed by my Quote of the Day

 

A number of years ago — in the last century — I did some substitute teaching. One day I was assigned a high school English class. Fortunately, I had a detailed lesson plan. 

The class was reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. I read ahead on what we were to read aloud in class and was a little distressed to find the dreaded “N-word.” Even worse, when the class filed in, I noticed that there was just one black student in the class. So, I decided I should get ahead of the issue. I spoke about understanding a book in the context of the time it was written. I talked about the importance of creative license and the necessity of writers being true to the world and their vision. And about how rational people could disagree on these things. 

This week on The Learning Curve co-hosts U-Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and Steven Wilson interview Kimberly Steadman, co-director of Edward Brooke Charter Schools. Steadman reflects on her educational background and leadership in urban charter public schools. She discusses the importance of rigorous academic expectations for K-12 students, and how this outlook influences her educational philosophy co-directing the Brooke charter school network. Ms. Steadman shares the challenges faced by Massachusetts charters due to the post-2016 ballot loss, and how she and other charter public school leaders advance supportive policy reforms.

From an Early Draft of Joe Biden’s Speech at Morehouse College

 

This commencement ceremony brings back so many memories for me.

I remember when I was marching next to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. He started limping, and soon he had to lean on my shoulder for support. Finally he said, “Joe, my old friend, I can’t go any farther. I have a really painful bunion.”

The First Modern Financial Crisis – Drysdale Securities

 

A calendar-appropriate repost.

It was nearly 42 years ago, Sunday evening, May 16, 1982 when an officer at Chase Manhattan Bank took a phone call from a small brokerage house, an event that sent shudders through the nation’s financial community and nearly crashed the government securities market.   On the phone was an official of Drysdale Government Securities Inc., with which the bank did business. He told the Chase officer that the company ”may have a problem” meeting a $200 million interest payment owed to Chase and due the next day on some $3.2 billion of government securities.   Could the Chase, then the nation’s third-largest bank,  see its way clear to lending Drysdale $200 million to tide Drysdale over and allow it to not default on the $200 million already due?     It was really just a way to paper over the impending default and kick the can down the road.    If Chase could help Drysdale hang on just a little longer ….

I Love Lucy!

 

Move over, Sarah Connor.  Take a seat, Ellen Ripley.  There’s a new kick*ss female protagonist in town, and that’s Lucy MacLean, a resident of Vault 33.  Welcome to Fallout!

I know what you’re thinking—Stad has really been hitting the bottle too much.  And you’d be right!  But seriously, not since Lucifer have I gone gaga over a TV series as much as I have Fallout.  Sure, it’s only been one season, so there’s still time for the writers to come up with a series finale that stinks up the place (translation—leaves viewers highly unsatisfied).  However, hopes are high, especially among us gamers.  You see, Fallout is based on the videogame series of the same name.  I’ve played Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 3, and Fallout 4 (my favorite).  The TV show is ripe with Easter eggs from the games, gets the lore right, and recreates the same eerie atmosphere of the games.  Perhaps I should explain what the games—and TV series—are about.

Joe Selvaggi talks with SoundThinking’s Senior Vice President Tom Chittum about gunfire location technology promises and pitfalls when deployed by law enforcement in high-crime communities.

 

Jewish Americans on Screen

 

PBS pontificator Roger Rosenblatt once had an interesting pop culture theory: Of all America’s ethnic groups, the three that have most succeeded at putting over their story as America’s own have been the Irish, the Blacks, and the Jews. Some other time I’ll examine the Celtic twilight of The East Side Kids or Darby O’ Gill and the Little People. But in the meantime, take a look at a few movies about Jewish Americans. There aren’t as many onscreen as you probably think.

Biblical epics? Holocaust dramas? Fiddler on the Roof? Critical parts of Jewish history, but they aren’t about the everyday lives of Jews in America. This post is one boomer’s purely subjective look at some films, mostly about the kind of people I might have grown up with. There are a lot of Jewish people in Hollywood history. But for the longest time, they shied away from making films about themselves.

The President Solves the Middle East

 

(AP Newswire) The country and the world are still reeling from last night’s Presidential television address, which is quoted here in its entirety:

“My fellow Americans:

“Good evening. I would like to speak briefly about an issue that has caused great concern for years, and especially since the tragic events of last October 7.

Chancing It and Showing Up

 

Another day, another gaffe. Such is the state of the American presidency. If one is young enough, they would find this entirely ordinary. While there are many faults to find with the kids these days, they oughtn’t be blamed for this aspect of their sorry attitudes. However, Joe Biden’s latest slip, at a campaign event in Detroit with the NAACP on Sunday, is something else.

“When I was vice president, things were kind of bad during the pandemic and what happened was, Barack said to me, ‘Go to Detroit! Help fix it,” Biden said. He was not, in fact, vice president during any portion of the pandemic…

Paul Wolfowitz on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and a Life in Foreign Policy

 

Currently a fellow at the Hoover Institution, Paul Wolfowitz previously served as director of policy planning at the State Department, as US ambassador to Indonesia, as under secretary of defense for policy, as dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, as deputy secretary of defense, and as president of the World Bank. He is perhaps best known as a policymaker during the war in Afghanistan and the first and second wars in Iraq, and that is what we delve into in great detail in this episode. Wolfowitz gives his views on what the United States got right and got wrong in both Iraq and Afghanistan, recounting the data available to decision makers at the time and the decision-making processes. He also gives new details on why the Bush administration believed Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and determined an invasion of Afghanistan was necessary after 9/11, and how the idea for the surge in Iraq was conceived and executed.

Questionable Reasoning in High Court’s CFPB Decision

 

In something of a shocker, a seven-two majority of the US Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, has approved of the novel funding methods that Congress devised, largely under the guidance of Senator Elizabeth Warren, for one of her favorite agencies created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB’s stated mission is “to make consumer financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole” by protecting the public from unfair, deceptive, and abusive business practices. As constituted, the CFPB has little interest in combating or limiting any potential abuses of its own administrative powers.

As the federal government candidly acknowledges in its petition for certiorari, the distinctive mission of the CFPB led Congress to endow the agency with special powers that insulate it from annual oversight by Congress. The first is that it has a sole director, not the usual set of five commissioners, who serves a term of five years, under which he is removable only “for cause,” defined as “for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office,” which is operable in few if any cases. The Supreme Court invalidated the CFPB director’s “for cause” removal protections in 2020. Second, the work of the CFPB was funded solely by a partial transfer of the revenues generated by the Federal Reserve System, in the amount that the CFPB director deems “reasonably necessary to carry out” the agency’s duties, subject only to an inflation-adjusted financial cap, equal to 12 percent of the Federal Reserve’s total operating expenses. Note that, given these two combined layers of insulation, neither the Congress nor the Federal Reserve can block the appropriations, and the moneys so appropriated in one year, if not used, can be carried over to future years in perpetuity.

Does Influence Corrupt Just Like Power?

 

Let’s say you are an acknowledged thought-leader. You might be a religious authority or a scientist or a popular academic. People listen to you, and they tend to repeat what you have said. You have influence. Your ideas can change the world, even if you are otherwise a total nobody.

This is the opposite of power, which is coercive, and scales with money and government. Big Men have power. But men like Moses and Plato and Aristotle have influence. The latter are far more important to our lives today than the most powerful men of their ages – Pharaohs and Alexanders and Caesars.

Ann talks with the “Dilbert” creator about diversity, Covid, global warming, the art of persuasion and bat-guano crazy women.

Show Links:

Are We Complicit in Madness?

 

My weekly routine involves watching Walter Kirn and Matt Taibbi on their Friday podcast, America This Week. Appended to their commentary and observations about the events that make up the most current news cycle are short stories of timeless application to the human condition. This week the story was It’s Christmas Not Just Once a Year by Heinrich Böll:

Among our relatives, symptoms of disintegration are beginning to show up that for a while we tried silently to ignore but the threat of which we are now determined to face squarely. I do not yet dare use the word “collapse,” but the alarming facts are accumulating to the point where they represent a threat and compel me to speak of things that may sound strange to the ears of my contemporaries but whose reality no one can dispute. The mildew of decay has obtained a foothold under the thick, hard veneer of respectability, colonies of deadly parasites heralding the end of the integrity of an entire clan. Today we must regret having ignored the voice of our cousin Franz, who long ago began to draw attention to the terrible consequences of what was on the face of it a harmless event.

FJB Pitches Black Voters

 

FJ spent the weekend making the campaign pitch to Black voters … accompanied by a giant pile of cash for Historically Black  Colleges.   The full frontal assault on what should be his core supporters speaks volumes.    The most recent polling numbers I have seen indicated that Trump’s support among Black voters was about 20% and going up.   It’s no surprise.    The weaponization of the legal system against Trump is the causal factor mentioned by the talking heads.   But there’s more than psychology at play.   There is a stark economic case for Trump.    In contrast to the MSM narrative of Trump-as-racist, the data show something very different …

Let’s look at real (inflation adjusted) wages: