Book banning in Alaska

The book burners are back, but this time with a twist:

Alaska Borough School Board Yanks ‘Great Gatsby,’ Other Classics From Curriculum

The books banned from the classroom in an Alaska school distrct include, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

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WTF??? Continue reading “Book banning in Alaska”

Protests in Michigan

In Lansing, Michigan: 

Hundreds of protesters, some carrying guns in the state Capitol, demonstrate against Michigan’s emergency measures

For the record: Taking guns out in public is never a good idea. The only kind of civil disobedience this blog supports is the peaceful, business-opening kind. Continue reading “Protests in Michigan”

In Ohio, DeWine dithers: time for civil disobedience?

Sic semper tyrannis…

Governor Mike DeWine continues to blithely put entire sectors of the Ohio economy out of business:

Ohio restaurant owners deflated they can’t reopen under DeWine’s plan

Some business owners, however, aren’t waiting for the governor’s approval. They’re taking matters into their own hands.

They’re planning to practice something that we haven’t seen much of since the 1960s: civil disobedience: Continue reading “In Ohio, DeWine dithers: time for civil disobedience?”

‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ (what I’m reading)

Every market seems to be overcrowded nowadays. It doesn’t matter if you’re a science fiction author or a plumber.

But what if you could find ways to create and tap new markets, and thereby make the competition irrelevant?

This is the premise behind the book, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant. The authors, Renée Mauborgne and W.Chan Kim, developed the ideas in this book while researching and writing a handful of articles over the years. If you compete in a crowded marketplace (and who doesn’t?), Blue Ocean Strategy is very much worth reading. Continue reading “‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ (what I’m reading)”

Republicans, Democrats, and decades-old sexual allegations

Being an Evil Republican™, I know that I am supposed to be giddy about the Tara Reide allegations. In 1993, when Biden was in his forties and Reide was in her twenties, the senator allegedly shoved his hand up Reade’s skirt, and committed other acts that fall short of rape, but certainly not short of sexual assault.

Here we have the smoking gun, right? The nail in the political coffin of Creepy Joe!

Or do we? Continue reading “Republicans, Democrats, and decades-old sexual allegations”

Nitwittery at Rutgers

A professor at a once-great university says something irresponsible, or downright foolish, on social media more or less everyday. The spectacle has become so commonplace nowadays that it is barely worth commenting on. Kind of like snow in Minnesota during the month of January.

But every now and then, one of these pampered nabobs of higher education finds a unique angle of foolishness, or achieves a new level of stupidity. Continue reading “Nitwittery at Rutgers”

The solution to government meddling is…more government meddling?

Chuck Collins, director of the pompously named “Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies” has a solution to the government meddling that has shut down our economy, exploded the debt, and thrown millions of Americans out of work in recent weeks.

Can you guess what it is?

More government meddling, of course. The title of his CNN op-ed says it all:

Billionaires are getting even richer from the pandemic. Enough is enough

Continue reading “The solution to government meddling is…more government meddling?”

Boris Johnson’s love child

Please avert your eyes, everyone. Your host is about to wax 20th-century and most unapologetically unhip here for a moment.

Boris Johnson has just become a father, for at least the fifth time. His oldest acknowledged child was born in 1993. (In total, Johnson had four children with his second wife, Marina Wheeler.) Continue reading “Boris Johnson’s love child”

Governor DeWine’s face mask flip-flop

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine flipped around Tuesday like a hooked and landed bluegill  on a hot summer day. This time, the topic was the wearing of masks in places of business:

Coronavirus in Ohio: DeWine does about-face on face masks — then, later, says workers must wear them

First….

Gov. Mike DeWine did an about-face Tuesday on wearing face masks to lessen the spread of coronavirus, announcing that face coverings are recommended — rather than mandatory — as Ohio gradually reopens.

and then:

Then, early Tuesday evening — a bit over two hours after DeWine’s news briefing ended — the governor’s office said masks generally would be required in the workplace and for store employees.

Which is it? Don’t ask the governor. He doesn’t know.  As I’ve been saying, as others have been saying, they’re winging it.  Continue reading “Governor DeWine’s face mask flip-flop”

Every news outlet has an agenda (yes, even the conservative ones)

This little tongue-in-cheek infographic from the Babylon Bee actually contains a lot of wisdom:

Historically, news outlets were unabashed about their biases. During America’s colonial period, there were patriot papers and Tory papers. In the early days of the American Republic, we had Federalist and anti-Federalist newspapers. A similar pattern continued through the 1800s. Continue reading “Every news outlet has an agenda (yes, even the conservative ones)”

Coronavirus: real disease, political hoax

From the Washington Post:

The new coronavirus is real.

The response to the coronavirus is hyped. And in time, this hype will be revealed as politically hoaxed.

In fact, COVID-19 will go down as one of the political world’s biggest, most shamefully overblown, overhyped, overly and irrationally inflated and outright deceptively flawed responses to a health matter in American history, one that was carried largely on the lips of medical professionals who have no business running a national economy or government.

It certainly looks that way from the bleachers in the Buckeye State, where Governor Mike DeWine has effectively made Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, in charge the Ohio economy.

Thus far, Dr. Acton wants most businesses indefinitely closed.

Right now, most businesses throughout the country are shut down based on models, which have a very checkered record of performance in the real world.

This, per none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci:

Continue reading “Coronavirus: real disease, political hoax”

Fighting the shutdown in court

That’s the American way—when the government capriciously violates your rights.

Pennsylvania and Ohio are bordering states; and they both have governor problems. Both Mike DeWine of Ohio and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania are destroying the livelihoods of millions of their constituents.

Both governors continue to keep entire sectors of their states’ economies locked down. Restaurants, hair salons, and fitness centers in Ohio and Pennsylvania remain closed—not by the coronavirus, but by the executive decrees of their governors. Neither governor has even given a timetable specifying when these businesses can open—or might be able to open.

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And it’s all quite unnecessary.

In Georgia (to cite one example) similar businesses are opening with reasonable social distancing and disinfectant policies. In recent days, you’ve likely seen the images of Georgia hair salon customers getting their hair cut, with both patrons and stylists wearing masks.

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I can’t even be partisan about this, because Mike DeWine is a Republican, and Tom Wolf is a Democrat.

This isn’t about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about out-of-touch politicians versus the people. Continue reading “Fighting the shutdown in court”

Mike DeWine dithers while Ohio goes broke

I just finished watching Governor DeWine’s plan for reopening Ohio.

Egads, what a disaster.

While his plan allows some businesses to reopen in May, he has left workers in many sectors—fitness, dining, cosmetology, etc.—indefinitely without incomes. Restaurants, gyms, and salons remain closed in the Buckeyes State, and the governor won’t even hint about when he might allow them to reopen. Continue reading “Mike DeWine dithers while Ohio goes broke”

Hooray for John Van Stry, slayer of pirates

John Van Stry, an independent science fiction and fantasy author, won his lawsuit against a notorious ebook pirate site that was stealing his work. He details much of what happened in a post on his blog

You should read his entire post, if you’re interested in issues of piracy and copyright. But here are a few relevant passages that I’d like to bring to your attention: Continue reading “Hooray for John Van Stry, slayer of pirates”

Kissing, boxing, and the post-coronavirus world

Writing in Cleveland.com, one staff journalist predicts the end of various institutions and practices in the wake of coronavirus:

16 things likely to become obsolete in a post-coronavirus world

Among these are: handshakes, salad bars, wrestling, boxing, church holy water, and…kissing.

As regular readers will know, I generally take a dim view of the journalistic class. But journalists aren’t the only ones who believe that coronavirus will “forever change” the world as we know it. Continue reading “Kissing, boxing, and the post-coronavirus world”

Bill Gates: why he doesn’t care about the COVID-19 China questions

Bill Gates doesn’t want to talk about the Chinese Communist Party’s role in the coronavirus pandemic. That’s pretty clear. 

Never mind the evidence that COVID-19 came from a Chinese lab. Never mind the Chinese Communist Party’s stonewalling—which almost certainly cost thousands of lives in China and elsewhere.

Bill Gates doesn’t want to talk about all that. 

Bill Gates calls question about whether China covered up the coronavirus a ‘distraction’

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said it is not the right time to question China’s response to the onset of the coronavirus.

China has been accused of trying to cover up and spread misinformation about its COVID-19 virus outbreak in a way that escalated the global pandemic. When asked to “respond to the charge” that China covered up the virus during a Sunday interview on CNN, Gates argued that it is not time to be questioning the country.

No, Bill Gates is not a communist—at least not with his own stuff, he isn’t. In 1976, he publicly denounced all those Homebrew Computer Club hippies as “thieves” and “parasites”, when they pirated an early version of Microsoft’s flagship software, Altair BASIC. Continue reading “Bill Gates: why he doesn’t care about the COVID-19 China questions”

‘The Atlantic’ beats the drum for Chinese-style censorship

Yes, really:

Internet Speech Will Never Go Back to Normal

In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.

I’m not saying that every journalist is a shill for the Chinese Communist Party, specifically. Or a closet fascist. Not quite. But their motives and their instincts corrupt them.

Continue reading “‘The Atlantic’ beats the drum for Chinese-style censorship”

WBUR spins the COVID-19 news in Georgia

From WBUR, an NPR news station in Boston, we have this article from Tonya Mosely.

‘We Don’t Have Room To Keep Bodies’: Georgia Coroner On Coronavirus Impact

(Based on her bio, Mosely is a California-based journalist, working for a Boston-based station, attempting to parse the situation on the ground in Georgia. Make of that what you will.)

The gist of the article isn’t hard to gather from the headline: Republicans, working-class numbskulls, and small businesspersons insisted on reopening the Georgia economy. They just won’t listen to their betters (like journalists). And just look what happened!

This is obviously a story with an agenda. But let’s look at the math. Continue reading “WBUR spins the COVID-19 news in Georgia”

The economic toll of the shutdown

Even CNN has to notice the obvious: The shutdown as thrown millions of Americans out of work:

These workers lost their jobs to the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s how they are hustling to survive

One correction, though: Very few workers actually lost their jobs to the pandemic itself.

Most Americans who are currently unemployed lost their jobs to various state-level shutdowns, which state governors implemented by fiat, and have maintained for more than 5 weeks without oversight or due process.

Distinctions like this matter. The pandemic is awful, of course. But so is government mismanagement and government overreach.

The Best Short Stories 2019

I like short stories, and so I am a habitual reader of the annual Best Short Stories collections, which are edited by Heidi Pitlor and a guest editor.

This series often leads me to the discovery of new writers whose work I enjoy. It was the 2007 edition (guest-edited by Stephen King) that introduced me to the work of the late William Gay (1941~2012). I went on to read all of of Gay’s published books after that. The 2007 collection  collection also features John Barth’s memorable tale on age and mortality, “Toga Party”. 

But we’re talking about the 2019 collection, guest-edited by Anthony Doerr. I listened to the audio version of the book. (I went through several stories while I was mowing my lawn and my dad’s lawn, in fact.)

This collection is very much a mixed bag. Some of these stories are (in my estimation, at least), pointlessly depressing, navel-gazing stories, while some are actually quite good. 

There are two well-known names in the collection: Jeffry Eugenides and Ursula K. LeGuin. I did not like either of their offerings. No big surprise in either case: I enjoyed Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot; but Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides both left me cold. And Ursula K. LeGuin’s work has never been to my taste.

That said, there are a handful of genuinely good stories in this collection—or stories that held my attention, anyway. These included Weike Wang’s “Omakase,”, Alexis Schaitkin’s “Natural Disasters”, Mona Simpson’s “Wrong Object”, and Saïd Sayrafiezadeh’s “Audition”. 

Don’t let my very mixed assessment of this very mixed collection dissuade you from giving it a try, if short stories are your thing. Any anthology containing work from different authors is going to be, by definition, uneven and punctuated with many ups and downs. While I did not like all the stories in this book, the good ones more than offset the ones that weren’t to my taste.

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View The Best American Short Stories 2019 on Amazon

The state-level bankruptcy debate

It’s hard to believe that we’re even having this discussion. The economy was humming along so well before various governments (usually the root of all evil) shut down 1/3 of the US economy by executive fiat, without any due process whatsoever. 

And that’s where they’ve left us for more than 5 weeks

Kevin D. Williamson of the National Review is against the idea of bankruptcy protection for the states: Continue reading “The state-level bankruptcy debate”

COVID-19 election results in Wisconsin

Wisconsin saw no coronavirus infection-rate spike after April 7 election, study says

As I recall, there was considerable doom-and-gloom prognosticating in the media about this.

There was hand-wringing from CNN (with lots of “Trump bad! Trump evil!”grumbling). Blah, blah, blah. Yada, yada, yada. Trump isn’t the governor of Wisconsin, of course. But why not blame Trump, anyway?

Continue reading “COVID-19 election results in Wisconsin”

The GOP: the new party of the working class

Pinkerton: ‘Essential Workers’ Point the Way to a Republican Workers Party

Once upon a time, America lauded GI Joe and Rosie the Riveter; in 1942, the vice president of the United States declared that the 20th century should be remembered as the “the century of the common man.”

Yet weirdly, in the last few decades, an inordinate amount of praise has gone to billionaire tech tycoons and even to Wall Street plutocrats—once seen as the arch-enemy of the working class—especially if they’re progressive and woke

There’s no doubt that both the GOP and the Democratic Party have changed in the last quarter-century. 

In 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected for the first time, the Democratic Party was still predominantly the party of the mainstream working class. My maternal grandparents, like many other Americans of their generation, were both socially conservative FDR Democrats. Continue reading “The GOP: the new party of the working class”