28.7.20

A TRAIN SET FOR CHRISTMAS IN JULY.

Burlington Route's Mark Twain Zephyr set has been handed down from one dinner train or excursion operator to another, mostly to no effect (other than the stripping of the furniture and the scrapping of the prime mover.)  The Budd patent shot-welded stainless steel coaches are the closest thing on rails to indestructible, though, and an excursion railroad called Wisconsin and Great Northern, which run a rolling bed and breakfast train during tourist season, have purchased the train and are moving it north for repairs.  It will take an augmented form in Wisconsin, with shovel nosed power unit 9903 Injun Joe (think of how they say "engine" in the Ozarks), full baggage car Becky Thatcher, dinette coach Huckleberry Finn, and coach-parlor observation Tom Sawyer being joined by 1938 dinette coach Effie Dean (ordered by Burlington to replace a straight coach in the 9900 Pioneer Zephyr set; that coach went from one Zephyr to another but was back in the 9900 set at the time that train went to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, where there was no room in the inn for a four car train.)  I have found no references to that car running on Burlington as Effie Dean.

On Wisconsin and Great Northern, the Mark Twain Zephyr will feature an older General Motors 600 horsepower diesel engine borrowed from an SW600 switch engine in Injun Joe; Becky Thatcher will become a rolling museum gallery to familiarize visitors with the Zephyr fleet; Huckleberry Finn will become a full-length dining car "with the interior modeled after the 1936 Denver Zephyr" (Wisconsin and Great Northern primarily operating dinner trains to go with that rolling bed and breakfast);  Effie Dean will become a tavern lounge (useful if there are multiple seatings in the dining car, what happens if it takes on aspects of a Tip Top Tap or a northwoods supper club?) and first class seating will be on offer in the tail end of Tom Sawyer.

Let's hope this project works.  After all the bad weird things that have taken place so far this year, another Zephyr that could still show today's high speed trains how it's done entertaining passengers would be a good weird thing.

A DEATH OF DESPAIR?

Mike Adams was a criminologist at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (motto: Fort Fisher is Taken) who over the years came to have little patience for trendy victim studies stuff or for students who showed up unprepared.  When you take a stance that includes "[E]njoy the reading. You know, like the kind they used to assign in college when English professors taught English instead of homosexuality and feminism" and "If you act like an adolescent in my class, I will do my part to see that you don’t carry those traits into the real world." Apparently his outspokenness on social media during the spring and summer idiocies that higher education succumbed to did not sit well with potential students or donors, not to mention the woke scolds in charge of the university.  "Earlier this year, Adams faced an onslaught of opposition from UNCW students in response to his social media posts, which criticized North Carolina’s coronavirus lockdown policies and the validity of women’s studies departments. He was also a critic of the Black Lives Matter movement."  The powers that be at the university offered him the kind of buyout offered on other campuses to losing basketball or football coaches to step out of line and disappear.  He accepted it, announced his retirement, then, just before his retirement began, took his own life.  Legal Insurrection contributor Stacey Matthews compiled a sample of the tolerant and compassionate woke mob's reaction.

David French, who was of counsel to Professor Adams during one of his tenure fights, comments.
If Mike wanted to fight, he could stay. That tweet was constitutionally protected speech. The happy warrior could ride again.

But he chose not to fight. He negotiated a buyout. He decided to retire early, at age 55. If I had been more aware—if we hadn’t lost touch a bit as the years went by and our careers diverged—I would have been more alarmed. I would have remembered day two of the trial, when he thought he would lose his career and his good name in one fell swoop. I would have remembered how the light went out of his eyes.

The news reports of his death are heartbreaking. A friend called 911 reporting he’d been “erratic,” “under a lot of stress,” that his car had been in his driveway for days. Friends arrived at his house, pounding on the door and yelling, “Mike! Mike!” The police came. Minutes later, they removed his body from his house. The police dispatch records state that he suffered from a gunshot wound.
Mark Steyn, yes, the radio and television pundit, suggests that the professor was not that happy a warrior.
You will generally see him described in the media as "Controversial Professor Mike Adams", as if it's the subject he teaches: Mike Adams, Head of the Department of Controversy. It wasn't always so. A two-time "Faculty Member of the Year" winner at the turn of the century, Adams grew more "controversial" as the university got more "woke".
Yes, listing a Regnery book under "Other Writings" and mentioning interviews with Rush Limbaugh as "community service" will make deanlets' heads explode. That's the nature of the academic life, and it might well be that the Peanut Hill campuses such as Wilmington have more aggressive wokesters than the Ivies or the establishment press simply because they can.
The American academy is bonkers and has reared monsters - so that we now have a "black liberation movement" staffed almost entirely by college-educated white women (including a remarkable number of angry trans-women) from the over-undergraduated permanent-varsity Class of Whenever. We are assured that out in "the real world" there is a soi-disant "silent majority" whose voices will resound around the world on November 3rd. For what it's worth, I don't believe in the existence of this "silent majority", and a political party that has won the popular vote only once in the last thirty years (2004) ought to be chary about over-investing in it.

But either way, if you're doing the heavy lifting on an otherwise abandoned front of the culture war, what you mostly hear, as Mike Adams did, is the silent majority's silence - month in, month out.

Andrew Sullivan, the man who did more than anyone to overturn the millennia-old definition of marriage, discovered nevertheless that he was insufficiently woke for his colleagues at New York magazine, and so got canceled. Bari Weiss, a bisexual Jewess, found that the former did not compensate for the latter at a New York Times whose young staffers are openly sneering of Jews, and so she self-canceled. Barbara Kay at my old home The National Post has just done something similar, exhausted by the battle to say things that offend against the insipid yet totalitarian pieties. Newspapers have turned into colleges. Boardrooms have turned into colleges. Graceless corporate pseudo-macho American sports have turned into colleges.
When it comes to higher education, it's not about achieving greatness, it ought to be about restoring a state of good repair.  A professor of English (!) called R. O. Lopez suggests some strategies.
We need President Trump to form a commission to study and address the persecution of conservatives in education. As someone who taught college students for twenty years, I say this with heartfelt urgency. I’ve told the horror stories of my own journey through academia. But no individual’s story can match the larger calamity that has occurred. Education is the key to transmitting civilization. How can we leave it imprisoned by one side of the political spectrum?

William F. Buckley wrote God and Man at Yale sixty-nine years ago. The right wing has spent seventy years freaking out about it contents. After seven decades to see if we could fix this, we’ve failed. And the country is in danger because of it.

This may sound like a speech from Alcoholics Anonymous, but it is time to admit that we need help. As a conservative movement, we cannot correct the problem of education. We’ve tried to keep our dignity. We didn’t want to whine or play the victim.
Let it start with the common schools. City officials and teacher unions are doing everything they can to continue to draw paychecks for maintaining safe spaces that are free of any inconvenient students, and parents are contemplating parochial schools or homeschooling collectives.  With higher education also doing everything possible to avoid welcoming students to campus (the absence of television revenues for football notwithstanding) the opportunity might be there.  What does Our President have to lose?

BY THEIR FRUITS SHALL YE KNOW THEM.

John Stossel brings the smack.
I laughed when I saw The Washington Post headline: "Minneapolis had progressive policies, but its economy still left black families behind."

The media are so clueless. Instead of "but," the headline should have said, "therefore," or "so, obviously."

Of course, progressive policies failed! They almost always do.
Unfortunately, True Believers, like any other faith-based community, will resist engaging the counterexamples and counter-arguments. Read the article to get a sense of the epistemic closure in the latest incarnation of Detroit. "'When socialism fails,' says [Minnesota Republican senate hopeful Jason] Lewis, 'the apologists always say, 'We just didn't do it enough, just didn't do it the right way.' (But) it's always failed.'"  All have sinned, and all have fallen short of the glory that is Social Engineering Realized.

BOYCOTT RUTGERS JOB FAIRS.

It's bad enough when universities treat composition as some sort of cost center, and they staff the courses in ways that would make the late Hunter "Precision Scheduled Downsizing" Harrison jealous.  The latest fad, though, is making the work of editing and grading easier by declaring standards to be optional.  "Students of all backgrounds managed to get admitted to Rutgers. But It would be absolutely insane and racist to actually expect them to write a grammatically correct sentence!"  Yes, that's Victory Girl Lisa Carr venting, and yet, she's on to something important.
Woke white, upper-middle-class, tenured professors in our university system honestly do not believe that Blacks, Hispanics and non-white populations entering their classrooms are capable of using proper grammar? That is insulting. That should cost them their jobs. But alas, their jobs will remain intact while they will continue to pump college students with this utter nonsense. This is coming from the same people who say President Trump is illiterate and cannot string a sentence together and because of this, we, as Americans look dumb.

But, what the hell? Why not change the English language so it’s not so raaaaaacist? We’ve already thrown out proper gender pronouns because they were not inclusive enough.
It's the latest manifestation of the soft bigotry of low expectations, notes Richard L. Cravatts, guest posting at Minding the Campus.
When did it become necessary for an English department in a public university to make as a central feature of its teaching social issues? This is not a social justice department, or a black studies department, or an institute or program that focuses on race, social issues, and activism. So the letter’s stated intention that the English Department will “stand with and respond to the Black Lives Matter movement . . . create and promote an anti-racist environment . . . and . . . contribute to the eradication of the violence and systemic inequities facing black, indigenous, and people of color members of our community” seems wildly inconsistent with what is, and should be, the role of an English department.

Not content with making a course in African-American literature a requirement in the English curriculum, every aspect of the pedagogy and instruction must be suffused with layers of obsessive victimology and racism, including sponsorship of workshops that seek to “cultivate critical conversations for Writing Program instructors around the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19; state power; racism; violence; white supremacy; protest and resistance; and justice.”
Particularly because we'd hope the professors and instructors of composition ought be conversant with topics such as close reading or point of view, and that might get in the way of getting the kind of deep understanding of political economy or sociology or even the martial arts.  Students will have even more reason to think of composition as simply another meeting of compulsory chapel to read from the Gospel of Intersectionality, and their understanding of Holy Writ might well be that of Tom Sawyer's knowledge of the apostles.  Take us home, Lisa Carr.
So much for getting your kids to dig in their heels and work hard. Meanwhile, Rutgers will provide more reading to upper-level writing classes on the subjects of racism, sexism, homophobia, and related forms of “systemic discrimination.” Don’t worry. Papers written on the subject matter in these classes will not be graded based on grammar. That would be racist. Subject? Predicate? Syntax? Agreement? They don’t mean a thing. Just axe Rutgers.
Amen.

26.7.20

THE COLLAPSE OF GOVERNMENT LEGITIMACY IS COMPLETE.

By their fruits shall ye know them.  Heather Mac Donald has the details.  "Our present leaders, the products of a politicized and failing education system, seem to know nothing of those truths. Pulling the country back from the abyss will require a recalling of our civilizational inheritance."

Never mind a Long Train of Abufes and Ufurpations, all it took was four months of unprecedented malfeasance.  Go, read, understand, get angry.

NUANCE THIS.

Crime-ridden big cities ruled by Democrats have long been a thing.  Ducking the question is what Foreign Service types do for a living.  Put 'em together and you get Marie Harf, one of the Obama voices on Fox News.  "Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner challenged Marie Harf to name one Republican-led city where widespread violence was as bad as in a number of Democrat-led cities."  It gets better, read on.
Harf responded by saying that it was “unfair” to say that those mayors did not care about their citizens and claiming that President Donald Trump was targeting Democrat-led cities for political reasons rather than because they were the only ones who warranted intervention.

“For many people, that he keeps saying he’s going after Democratic cities and Democrats feels like he is making a law enforcement issue a political one, which we should not be doing in this country,” Harf continued.

Faulkner pushed back then, challenging Harf to name a Republican-led city that was facing similar levels of unrest and violence. “Marie, is there another Republican-led city that is having the kinds of problems that we are seeing in a Democratic-led city? Let me let you answer that. Is there?”

“Well, look, Democrats have been in charge of the big cities in our country for a long time,” Harf replied.

“It’s a yes or no question,” Faulkner pressed again.

“It’s more complicated. It’s not binary, Harris,” Harf attempted to clarify her point. “The issue is the Democrats are in charge of —”

Faulkner laid the challenge out again, asking once more directly, “Is there a Republican-led city that is having the same type of violence and unrest on it streets the way a Democratic-led trail of cities is right now that we continue to talk about?”

Harf argued that there were “many parts of this country led by Republicans that have a very high level of violence.”

“Do they look like the streets of Portland in Chicago right now, with the current unrest?” Faulkner pushed back once more.

Harf responded by attempting to turn the blame to President Trump, arguing that the presence of federal troops in places like Portland had led to the uptick in violence.

“The streets of Portland didn’t look like this. The streets of Portland didn’t look like this until President Trump sent in federal troops who were anonymous. They don’t have their names on, that’s what anonymous means. He has them arresting them with no Due Process in rented vans,” Harf insisted.
The unrest in Portland has been going on, mostly after midnight, for almost two months, with nobody paying much attention (because The Narrative?) until Our President directed Homeland Security to protect Federal courthouses (which is lawful) and that allowed the Democrats and their paid scribes to push a new Narrative, that is, until polling shows that drawing attention to Federal employees arresting protesters draws attention to the kind of people who argue with, but will probably vote for, Democrats.

Erick Erickson, who is no fan of Our President, is also no fan of sending the Federal enforcement into the woke cities, but for a different reason.
If we allow Portland, Chicago, St. Louis, and other cities to fester as they want, they will either figure out they must change or live with the consequences.

When people move out, the tax base collapses and crime goes up, the people will either change their behavior or be democratically marginalized in their voting power. If life goes on as normal, or more people move in to embrace what is happening, then they've chosen it, or the problems have been exaggerated by conservatives, as they claim. Let the market decide by letting the actions of a free people control their fate.

The President should withdraw from Oregon and not send supplemental help to these other cities. Instead, he can campaign on their descent to chaos at the hands of Democratic mayors.
That would be consistent, dear reader, with no disaster relief for cities damaged by rioting and the renewed spreading of Wuhan coronavirus that followed. Or perhaps the coalition of the Normals could take a page from Reconstruction and the Marshall Plan, and condition relief on the election of a coalition government loyal to the United States first.

THAT'S YOUR BED, NOW LIE IN IT.

Tom Knighton effectively tells the woke leftists that if they want to exercise their second amendment rights in service of their revolution, they're on their own.
No, you don’t get to vilify millions of Americans, insulting everything from their intelligence to genital size, and then expect us to save you from the aftermath of your own decisions. That’s not how it works. That’s not our line in the sand.

Sure, some will take issue with what the feds are doing. Others will applaud it. Many others will be somewhere in between. None of that matters, because none of them are going to lift a finger to grab their guns and put their lives at risk over your own stupidity.
On the other hand, bring your woke stupidity into Normal neighborhoods at your own risk.

25.7.20

ON MY WORKBENCH.

As long as there's noplace to go, there's a backlog of small projects to work off, and the hot spells are simply more reason to head down cellar where it's cool.

The latest effort has been making rail worthy a string of vintage metal freight cars that have come from a variety of sources over the years.  In the early days of O Scale there were all sorts of ideas about how best to mount trucks on freight cars.  I'm partial to a captive 4-40 nut, but soldering those into tight spaces is a bit of a challenge.


It might have been doing things the hard way to leave the frame soldered together rather than drill the holes, unsolder the end parts, mount the nuts, and put the whole works back together on the one closest to the camera.  Note the two cars behind, it's somewhat simpler to drill the holes (Number 31 clearance drill) and attach the nuts, then attach the whole works to the channel section that is the frame.


It was relatively easy to put the diagonal bolster braces in place, getting those captive nuts in was a two hour exercise involving some burned fingers and language you don't want me to repeat.


Here's the string, some still awaiting an improvised coupler installation (my standard is Kadees, drill and tap 2-56 or add more captive nuts as required) and a trip to the sink to remove flux and tarnish, and then to the paint booth.  Yes, there are collectors who would prefer to run 'em in their brass state.  Keeping track of what car goes to what industry, though, is not so easy.

CHRISTMAS IN JULY.

I'm not sure how much of a thing that is, although July 25 is the most logical date to assign to the event itself.  If you've been good and kept your health, there are a few summer pleasures that are available, within limitations.

Today, for instance, the Illinois Railway Museum is again open to the public.  Those long interurban trains they are able to roll out are just the thing for social distancing.  Tickets are by reservation only.  Some of the highlight trains will be kept in the barns, as frequent sanitizing of vintage fabrics might be ineffective as well as bad for the upholstery.

On Tuesday, the DeKalb Municipal Band will commence a shortened schedule of concerts.
The concerts will take place at 7:30 pm on July 28th; August 4th, 11th, and 18th. Although the concerts continue to be free to the public, all concert-goers must book their reservation online in advance. Seats will be limited and will be assigned to maintain safe distance between visitors. This will allow concert organizers to keep control of the number of people gathering in one place. The area around the Hopkins Park Band Shell will be fenced off, with three entry points for visitors to check-in.

Face coverings must be worn in the bandshell area until concert-goers are seated and anywhere social distancing cannot be maintained. The band will be set up differently and perform with fewer players to accommodate social distancing and ensure the safety of the performers. Due to the popularity of the concerts, and the safety restrictions in place with Phase 4 guidelines, the public is discouraged from sitting in groups in the grassy areas surrounding the bandshell and to respect the ticketing process.
I wonder if that precludes bringing your own lawn chairs or picnics, as some people have done.

Here's a look at what turned out to be longtime band director Dee Palmer's final concert.


We'll see if weather permits any excursions to one of these shows, or to the museum. The humidity this weekend is making me about as energetic as an entrepreneur during the Obama presidency.

TODAY IN TECHNOCRATIC FOLLIES.

Andrew Cuomo, serial screwup, is the gift that never stops giving.  "He's governing a state of more than 19 million people. He's trying to contain a COVID-19 outbreak. He's classifying which foods are substantial enough for a meal."  A bar that has the nerve to sell hot wings in order to qualify as a restaurant, and thus be allowed to stay open under the latest set of ukases from Prince Andrew, is engaging in a subterfuge to evade Proper Order.  That's clearly Twitchy material.  "Eating a sandwich will keep you from getting the coronavirus, but chicken wings will not."  The ukase is not playing well in Buffalo, or with the chains that offer wings and beer to go with all the televised sports.

That might all be in good fun, but for the fact that the governor made a series of decisions based on bad modelling.
In light of these findings, it’s difficult to determine which is more of an affront to the families of the thousands upon thousands of victims of New York State’s handling of COVID-19. Is it the shameless self-aggrandizing and celebration by Cuomo, whose policies led to the devastation of the elderly in long-term care facilities? Is it Dr. Anthony Fauci’s commendation of those policies? Or is it the legal protection of the entities that abetted such widespread demise?

Ultimately, there is plenty of blame to go around. But one thing is certain: the deep human costs of this virus and its corresponding policies have been exacerbated by blind hubris and unfounded pride––which, to no small extent, saw their expression in the conceit of rule by models. Though it might be too little too late, diligent reflection and readjustment in future pandemic combat efforts will be the only way to honor those who were lost so unnecessarily.
With the ever-more Maoist and ever-more desperate mandarins in Pekin casting about for new plagues to let loose on the world, that reflection and readjustment ought be top of mind.

21.7.20

EUROPE'S LIONEL FREIGHT CARS.

European loading gauges and axle-load limitations sometimes lead to design compromises.


Unattributed photograph retrieved from Railway Gazette.

Doesn't that look like the kind of foreshortening Lionel used to do with freight cars to make them work on O-27 track around the Christmas tree?  Here's its job, in the forests of the Great North.  "Arkhangelsk Pulp & Paper Mill’s transport business Arkhbum has taken delivery of an additional batch of Type 13-6852-02 flat wagons from United Wagon Co for timber traffic, taking its fleet of wagons produced at the Tikhvin factory to 319."  It's prudent to stand well back from trains hauling logs, as, stakes and chains notwithstanding, every so often a log can bounce off.

SHAKING OUT THE EXCESS CAPACITY?

The budgetary nightmares continue at the University of Akron.  The public radio affiliate at Kent State has details.  There's analysis in a predictable vein from World Socialist Web Site, complete with news of carnage nearby.
On the same day as the Board of Trustees vote at Akron, faculty at Youngstown State University (YSU) overwhelming voted in favor of issuing a strike notice. The faculty at YSU, which like the University of Akron is part of the University System of Ohio, have expressed frustration with the sudden shift to remote learning and decision to lay off over 50 classified and professional staff this summer.
It's not a good time to be a penguin or a kangaroo, and the ominous signs might apply to the Mid-American Conference more generally.
Akron is a particular flash point because it is cutting so deep, and because of intense and very public faculty opposition to its plan. That opposition includes the faculty union’s contention that the administration is privileging athletics over academics, to the detriment of students.

“For years, the university has disinvested in academics while simultaneously losing millions on its athletics programs,” Akron’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors wrote in a position paper about proposed cuts earlier this month. “In the spirit of shared sacrifice, we believe that it’s time to move to a responsible and sustainable model of funding for athletics.”

While the vast majority of university revenue comes from academics in the form of student tuition and fees, the union wrote, its athletic programs are another story. According to the AAUP chapter’s accounting, Akron has been losing an average of $21.5 million per year on athletic programs for the last 10 years, topping $215 million in lost revenue during that time. Among other options, the AAUP advocates leaving Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Such losses, paired with the cuts of academics, are “no longer defensible,” the AAUP wrote in its report. This is “not fair to our students, who are subsidizing athletics at a higher rate than students at other Ohio public universities.”
Akron only recently replaced the vintage Rubber Bowl stadium with something newer.

Maybe it's time to consider a few fallen flag railroads, and ask whether restructurings might include some abandonments.  Consider one of the short lines that became part of what is now Norfolk Southern: Akron Canton and Youngstown.  It ran between Akron and Delphos, but those other cities were just outside yard limits.  Likewise, readers with long memories might recall James Michener's references to train traffic disrupting downtown Kent: a real ferroequinologist could tell you that those were Erie-Lackawanna trains getting into or out of the yards in Akron.  (We can relate in DeKalb, when things jam up in Chicago there are freight trains all the way west to Creston.)  In like manner to people in Wisconsin politics wondering about campuses at Eau Claire, Menomonie, Stevens Point, and River Falls, there might be people in Ohio politics wondering about that cluster of campuses at Kent, Akron, and Youngstown.

MAKE THEM PLAY BY THEIR OWN RULES.

Last night, insurgent broadcaster Tucker Carlson signed off by raising the possibility that a human-interest story New York's Times was preparing might have been an attempt to make the location of his house public.
So why is The New York Times doing a story on the location of my family’s house? Well, you know why. To hurt us, to injure my wife and kids so that I will shut up and stop disagree with them. They believe in force. We’ve learn that. Two years ago, a left-wing journalism was publicized our home address in Washington. A group of screaming antifa lunatics showed up while I was at work. They vandalized our home. They threatened my wife. She called 911 while hiding in a closet. A few weeks later they showed up again at our house. For the next year, they sent letters to our home threatening to kill us. We tried to ignore it and felt cowardly to sell our home and leave. We raised our kids there the neighborhood and we loved it. But in the end that’s what we did. We have four children. It just wasn’t worth it.
I don't know whether his signoff included the contemporary equivalents of "wounds my heart with a monotonous languor" or "John has a long moustache."
So, how would Murray Carpenter and his photographer Tristan Spinski feel if we told you where they live, if we put pictures of their homes on the air? What if we publicized the home address of everyone of the soulless robot editors at The New York Times who assigned and manage this incitement to violence against my family? What about the media editor, Jim Windolf? We could do that. We know who they are. Would that qualify as journalism? We doubt they’d consider it journalism. They’d call it criminal behavior if we did it and that tells you everything.
Whether that was a signal to the insurgency, or not, the insurgents are mobilized.  "Within hours, an army of conservative Twitter accounts started publicly posting the address and personal information of the reporter Carlson identified as the story’s writer. Many encouraged people to harass the reporter."  Pitchforks and torches.
Because as we’ve seen from the [Southern Poverty Law Center] inspired shooting at the Family Research Council and the shooting of Steve Scalise and others by a Bernie bro, the political left is mostly composed of emotionally broken and mentally unstable people who will literally try to kill you because of your politics.

That said, if this nonsense is going to end it is only going to end by our side upping the ante. We have to make it painful for The New York Times and douchenozzles like Andrew Kaczynski to operate.
We'll see what's on insurgent television tonight.

CONFESS YOUR SINS.

Mitch "Shot in the Dark" Berg offers a second riposte to the casual gaslighting of the woke scolds.

“If You’re ‘On The Fence’, You’re Complicit.”

Nein, nyet, no, pound sand.  We're not eight year olds at catechism.

SHE'S GOT NATURALLY CURLY HAIR.

That's part of the traditional costume of Irish step dancers these days.  But what happens when that naturally curly hair has African roots?
At some point in May [Morgan Bullock] started posting videos of herself dancing in traditional Irish style to non-Irish music by artists like Beyonce and Michael Jackson. Those videos got a big response from people around the world, some were viewed over a million times. Most of the reactions were positive but because Bullock is black a subset of scolds also began saying what she was doing was cultural appropriation of Irish dancing.
There's a cheerful ending to this story: she got a touring gig with Riverdance, and the Embassy of Ireland noted, "No, this is cultural appreciation. One of the great qualities of our culture is its dynamism. We’re blessed to have artists as brilliantly talented as Morgan engaging with, & enriching, traditional Irish art forms."

Well, good.  Little by little, the woke scolds will be pushed back.  I hereby use whatever authority I have as the Burgomeister of Gloucester to allow anyone who wishes to attempt a Schuhplattler to give it a go.

EXPORTING THE GLADIATORS TO CHINA.

Yesterday, I suggested that classicist V. D. Hanson missed an opportunity to draw parallels between the gladiator academies of Rome and today's professional basketball.  He's still thinking about professional basketball, today about the reluctance of the managers or players to call out the Han supremacist state run by the mandarins in Pekin.
This growing NBA–China nexus couldn’t come at a more embarrassing time for the league.

During the COVID-19 epidemic, the national quarantine, and the demonstrations, violence, and cultural revolution that has followed the death of George Floyd, the NBA has not been shy about political activism. Players, coaches, ex-players, and obsequious sports writers have all virtue-signaled the nation about America’s supposed sins.

Indeed, part of the NBA woke/hip/cool/edgy brand is to trash the “establishment” that has ensured the foundations of its multibillion-dollar-empire. In scary marketing fashion, NBA players, current and retired, and their acolytes in popular culture have veneered their 1950s-style corporate fealty with woke talk about BLM, the “Jews,” eugenics, Farrakhan, and the usual totems of “resistance.”

Their basic message for young consumers is that you can hate the man and still wear $400 sneakers — the same way that you can wear a jersey with an edgy logo during the game and then retire at night into your Malibu compound. In the spirit of medieval indulgences, paid to help the sinner enter heaven, the more that the players become corporate cut-out pitchmen, the more they voice left-wing boilerplate to square the circle of being privileged rich people who nonetheless cling to street cred for the sake of advertising.

No one knows how long this 30-year disingenuousness can continue. It may come to a head this fall, when the league will soon deal with some players’ plans to kneel during the national anthem next season. The NBA has approved of individual players wearing politicized slogans on their jerseys — politicized in the sense of trashing the U.S., but not offering an ill word about Chinese Communist atrocities. The message is, “Ridicule your own democracy all you want, but censor your incorrect thoughts about racist and totalitarian China.”
Read on, though, and the possibility that the penny will drop comes to my mind.
The NBA is one of the most elite, exclusive, and coveted professions in America, where players de facto become multimillionaire celebrities — on the theory that pure merit, not race, determines who wins these most-sought-after billets. Again, that is nearly the opposite mindset from that of an Asian-American straight-A, 800-SAT student assuming that by merit she should get into Yale, and thereby “overrepresent” her race in the Ivy League, at the “expense” of other “excluded” groups.

So add up all these divergent facts, and there emerges an inconvenient NBA modus operandi. The hyper-rich players occasionally moan that a mostly white ownership controls mostly black players, while their supporters often invoke plantation imagery, channeling Bryant Gumbel’s now decade-old jibe that, during a player lockdown, former NBA commissioner David Stern acted as if he was a “modern plantation overseer.” A few years later, former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s overt racism, at least in one case, bore out Gumbel’s rant.

The mostly white owners nod that they must do something someday about this owner imbalance. No one dares to say that the progressive players themselves do not care much for the progressive admonition of “looking like America.” And then everyone lives and lets live, to make lots of money.

Money is certainly at the center of these contradictions. For the NBA brand, it seems to make much better business sense to routinely damn democratic, diverse, and free America, but not the racialist, Communist, and outlaw China. The former’s audience is changing, touchy, and shrinking; the latter’s is uniform, predictable, and growing.

Wokeness has lost some market share inside the U.S., but such perceived anti-Americanism helps to win it back — and more — in China. Beijing, of course, sees anti-American-sounding American athletes as high-profile useful idiots — a fact no doubt known to the receptive players and coaches of the NBA who willingly and sincerely play their parts.
I submit, dear reader, that there's a great deal of social waste in identifying the finest basketball players (who have a relatively short service life and are subject to injury) and that the A student who doesn't make the cut at Yale still has a pretty good chance studying chemistry at Michigan or Wisconsin or the University of Spoiled Children (or even Marquette) and sooner or later the wokeness machine will turn its attention to the industrial reserve army playing some pretty good basketball in prison yards, and parallels to the Spartacus Academy, with or without the understanding of classical history.

WHAT THE COMMISSARS MEASURE, THEY GET MORE OF.

We'll open today with what looks like light reading, courtesy of National Review's John O'Sullivan.
A regional commissar in the Union of Soviet Writers was delivering his annual report on the rising production of literature in his province.

“I am proud to announce,” he said, “that this year’s literary output has been outstanding. We have no fewer than 385 novelists working full-time for the proletariat whereas in backward Czarist times, we had only one.”

"Leo Tolstoy."
But you'd better read the whole thing. It starts with Sidney Hook bringing Bertolt Brecht up short over "The more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot."  There's a corollary proposition, and it summarizes in one sentence the category error of privilege checking.  "The more talented they are, the more they deserve to be silenced."

I'll change my mind when I see Rachel Maddow or Chris Hayes give up their prime-time slots to Rising Stars who have the same world view but less of a following on a regular basis.

20.7.20

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK.

Sparks from steam locomotives can cause forest fires.  (That's the sort of tort that induced the Coase Theorem.)  If a railroad owns a wide right of way, and it trims the brush on that right of way in order that it not catch fire, has it committed an environmental crime?
Of recent issue is the fire mitigation logging that the railroad has undertaken on its right of way, which the Forest Service has told the railroad to stop work. Also, I understand that the Forest Service has stepped in to prevent the railroad from repairing a washed-out bridge. Given that the Forest Service has sued the railroad for the 2018 416 fire, claiming that its locomotives set the fire, I find a bit of missing logic in telling the railroad to stop fire mitigation efforts. Perhaps if their efforts are not being done as your office prefers, instead of stopping them, your agents could take a helpful stance and advise the railroad on how to proceed. As for the washed-out bridge, I see no role for the Forest Service unless the railroad needs to exceed its right of way.
That's what happens when the government offices are a long way from the affected territory. A few years ago an attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency to mitigate toxic waste in an abandoned mine led to all sorts of toxic waste in the Animas River, which is the waterway the Durango and Silverton follows.  Is government the name for all the things the authorities are incapable of doing for us?

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE PRO SPORTS LABOR MARKET.

Rush Limbaugh, who recently missed an opportunity to make a serious point about pro sports, whiffed on another easy one recently.
Look at the NFL. The NFL is literally afraid of a Marxist, communist organization, literally afraid of it, literally doing anything it can not to make that bunch of people mad at them. The NFL has made it clear that they are no longer the institution and value set that we always thought they were.

You got Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints who tweets his support and love for the American flag and the fact that he will never do anything to disrespect it, and he’s practically drummed out of the league, he’s practically destroyed. He had to apologize four times, his wife had to apologize two times, had to give a bunch of people a bunch of money. All he did was stand up for the flag.

The Philadelphia Eagles have an abject idiot wide receiver named DeSean Jackson, who just tweeted a bunch of things he thought Hitler said, and he said the Jews are gonna come for the blacks, the Jews are gonna wipe out the blacks, the Jews are gonna do this, he thought Hitler said it. He tweeted it. Nobody’s upset. Nobody’s insisting DeSean Jackson be sent someplace to get his mind right.
That's a predictable lapse for a talk radio populist with a background in sports marketing, his fear apparently being that when league officials cater to the political currents of the moment in a way that antagonizes fans, it's not going to turn out well.  As a business analysis, he might even be right: file it under "get woke, go broke."

It's less pardonable when classicist V. D. Hanson offers a similar analysis.  He starts from the same neighborhood Mr Limbaugh did, with former 'Niner quarterback Colin Kaepernick's repackaging as a militant.
Kaepernick's rejection of "The Star-Spangled Banner" eventually spread throughout the NFL. Even though he was a backup quarterback, Kaepernick became a resistance idol. Soon he was a corporate ad man pitching Nike sneakers.

Then game attendance fell. So did television viewership. Apparently, lots of fans had no desire to spend their Sundays watching 20-something multimillionaires lecture them that the American flag was not worth honoring.
The demographic that watches football isn't the same demographic that fetishizes Nike shoes (to the point of liberating them during peaceful protests?) That, though, ought be something a classical scholar could come to terms with.
The inspirational song "Lift Every Voice and Sing" -- also known as the Black national anthem -- will be played before every game of the first week of the season. The league is considering letting players wear protest insignia on their helmets or jerseys. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to players for not listening to them about racism.

Yet the NFL capitulation poses fundamental problems for the league. It has now essentially green-lighted the sort of activism that in the last few years has been eating away its profits.
That's the difference between hiring gladiators in a labor market, where there are buyers of labor (ultimately, fans in the stands or on their couches) and sellers of labor (the players); or conscripting gladiators by conquest, where the buyers are patricians and citizens, and the sellers are captives.  Sellers, though, are sellers who consider their options.
Given that about 13 percent of the U.S. population is Black, and given that the Black Lives Matter movement embraces concepts like proportional representation, today's NFL teams hardly qualify as diverse. Social activists might argue that the league should mentor and recruit more Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans to better reflect their percentages of our diverse national population.

Perhaps an NFL compromise could ensure that 30 percent of coaches and owners are nonwhite, thus reflecting current U.S. demography. But then, in reciprocity, the players would match such mandatory demographic diversity -- leading to Native Americans, Latinos, Asians, whites and those of mixed ancestry accounting for 87 percent of the player population. The NBA might also take note.
I suspect he's being facetious to make a point. On the other hand, if there are systematic biases in the labor markets of professional football and basketball, they might be present elsewhere in the economy, for instance in the school to locker room pipeline.  Without irony, I give you a statement from the college basketball coaches' guild, asking to be done with the College Boards.
Men's and women's college basketball coaches are proposing the NCAA eliminate standardized testing requirements from initial-eligibility standards, calling exams such as the SAT and ACT "longstanding forces of institutional racism."

The proposal Thursday came out of the new committee on racial reconciliation formed by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice initiatives. The committee is chaired by South Carolina coach Frank Martin and Harvard coach Tommy Amaker.

Martin and Amaker said in a joint statement that standardized tests "no longer have a place in intercollegiate athletics or education at large," and that eliminating them would be "an important step towards combating educational inequality."
I might be more favorably disposed to the egalitarian sentiments if I hadn't spent the past eighteen years documenting College Sports Incorporated taking liberties with admission standards in order to field teams capable of playing into January (football) or April (basketball).  It has nothing to do with equality.
Typically, the NCAA uses a sliding scale that incorporates standardized tests scores and the grade-point average of a student-athlete on core courses. The idea is to balance some of the socioeconomic factors that affect high school grades along with standardized testing, and ultimately create a level playing field for all potential athletes.
Put another way, if you're good enough to turn pro after serving the minimum time in the Spartacus Academy, they'll figure out a way to keep you eligible while you serve that time.  Never mind how clueless you might be.
The Atlantic's Jemele Hill also described a trepidation in the Black community about speaking up about anti-Semitism for fear it will hurt the Black Lives Matter movement.

"At a time when there is an understandable focus on how Black Americans bear the brunt of systemic oppression and police brutality, some commentators believe that people are afraid to rebuke Jackson, because it may hurt the movement," Hill wrote, adding, "Black people's fight for their humanity is unrelated to Jackson's error, but they must use their own racial experiences to foster empathy for others."

In his recent piece, Jabbar wrote that no form of discrimination should be tolerated.

"If we're going to be outraged by injustice," he said, "let's be outraged by injustice against anyone."
Indeed, whether that injustice is in letting one form of bigotry pass for fear of damaging another, or in letting the soft bigotry of low expectations control recruiting into the developmental leagues that call themselves power conferences.

WHITE GUILT AND BLACK RAGE ARE A TOXIC MIX THAT HELPS NOBODY.

A year ago, we noted criticism of an allegedly inclusive discipline policy in Madison's government schools from a variety of sources that might otherwise be sympathetic to the so-called progressive initiatives.  The policy is still in place, and the predictable consequences follow.

The source of the title quote, though, is yet another so-called progressive experiencing a mugging by reality.  "One of the policy’s sharpest critics is Peter Anderson, a highly regarded Madison liberal who is leading a campaign to toughen classroom discipline."

Apparently, more than a few Madison teachers are taking their pensions or looking for school districts where they can do their jobs.  With the continued spreading of the Wuhan coronavirus now giving school administrators excuses to get paid without even pretending to work, and parents looking for informal ways to set up neighborhood homeschooling centers, perhaps we'll see some of those teachers becoming independent contractors, and that might boost the labor force participation.

CASUAL GASLIGHTING.

Mitch "Shot in the Dark" Berg has the polite response to claims that silence is violence.
No. It’s not.

Silence – if you catch me silent at all – is me keeping my mouth shut while I figure out what I think, to say nothing of what I’m going to say. Your freedom of speech doesn’t give you the right to tell me what I’m going to say.

If your response to that is “there is only one thing to say”, and that’s to agree with your point of view – then most likely you’re trying to logroll and shame people into knocking off all that pesky thinking, and just acquiescing.
Perhaps that's the real reason for ascribing a racial component to logic or the scientific method.  If people are cowed into acquiescing for fear that using logic or evidence is racist per se, it's easier to rule.

That is, in the absence of the less polite responses, including but not limited to profanity, fisticuffs, or buckshot.

THIS IS WHAT I'M GRIPING ABOUT.

At the beginning of the year I posted a generalized gripe about eleemosynary institutions carrying on like spoiled children whose Christmas haul wasn't as big as they would like.  "I'm considering reviewing my donation habits, in particular to reduce funding or end it completely, for any cause, no matter how meritorious, that engages in this form of official-looking begging."

Here's a specific example of the "emulate the utility bill" approach.  "Our records show Habitat for Humanity has not yet received a contribution from you in 2020."  No, and sending a quasi-invoice complete with a menu of "suggested gifts" to choose among, isn't going to expedite anything their way.  Never mind that for $20 or better they have a stuffed toy as a thanks.

What's up, by the way, with the inducements?  I have enough address labels that if I did run a mail order business, I'd never have to have any printed up.  I have enough scratch pads that I'll never have to go to the office supply store to keep the household in grocery lists or project lists for the railroads.  Getting subjunctive, if I had a nickel for every solicitation that includes one, and a time machine, I could do a lot of streetcar riding.

Presumably the people who run the charities are of the view that more people are induced to contribute rather than, as I am, are put off by the evidence of administrative excess all those labels, cards, note pads, nickels, and stickers represent.

17.7.20

DEAD RAIL AT SCALE.

A few weeks ago I showed off the beginnings of a battery-powered remotely controlled diesel set.  Word has reached the Superintendent of something similar that will soon be roaming the rails.  "Wabtec has started conducting factory testing at its Erie plant of a prototype 4 400 hp battery locomotive, ahead of trial operations with BNSF that are planned to take place in the final quarter of this year."  I suppose if I can get used to Macy's operating Gimbel's I can live with the successor to Westinghouse building locomotives at what was General Electric's Erie Works.


Unattributed photo retrieved from Railway Gazette.

That's an interesting compromise to permit rearward visibility whilst providing additional space for the batteries (and ballasting?) rather than build a cowl unit.
Testing is to be undertaken on a 560 km route in California. The battery locomotive will operate in multiple with conventional diesel-electric locomotives between Barstow and Stockton, where a charging station will be installed at BNSF’s Morman Yard.

While the fixed charging station will provide an initial charge, the locomotive has been designed to capture kinetic energy through dynamic braking every time the train slows. The locomotive will use an advanced version of Wabtec’s train energy management software to look at the route ahead and calculate how to best use the available power to reduce the train’s overall fuel consumption. Operation on battery power in yards will also enable the other locomotives to idle or be shut down, reducing local emissions and noise.
In ferroequinology terms, these test runs are going to be over Tehachapi Pass, offering lots of opportunities for electricity to keep its own books; and perhaps on the flatlands between Bakersfield and Stockton the battery motor will suffice to keep the train moving.  In addition, there's no call for overhead catenary or any lugging a diesel engine along the way the hybrid locomotives do.

Now for my Christmas in July wish list: the proof of concept is sufficiently successful that battery electric freight trains become a thing, without any diesels along to help out; and that somebody come up with a regeneration module to extend battery charges in O Scale.

UNDERMINE THEM WITH MOCKERY.

One of the Smithsonian museums posted a silly graphic purporting to identify the elements of "White culture."  They got hammered for it, and they've taken it down.  The image exists in lots of other places, should you want to find it.  As far as I know, nobody broke any windows, tore down any statues, or called for any curators to be fired.  "We have listened to public sentiment and have removed a chart that does not contribute to the productive discussion we had intended."

As far as that "dialogue and discussion" the curators would like to encourage, perhaps they will be receptive to a few reasoned arguments.  Some of the notions the now removed graphic push about identifying features of "whiteness" have long standing among the identity politics vanguardists; there's a passage in Dinesh D'Souza's Illiberal Education where he's asking students to identify elements of "white culture" and when somebody suggests something resembling awareness of consequences he responds "not in my experience."  More to the point though is Mitch "Shot in the Dark" Berg's observation,
These are traits of Western Civilization – which sprouted in the West, which happens to have been almost entirely white until a few hundred years ago, but could hypothetically have happened anywhere the ideals of individual worth and the value of the individual’s work have caught on. For all the left’s yapping about “historical accidents” and “lotteries of history”, this was the ultimate one, in human terms.
It's like every other evolutionary process: there's mutation, selection, and adaptation, and people who figured out how to balance deferring gratification with not starving, and looking for cause and effect, secured evolutionary advantages over those who did not.  (That's not always easy.)  We've seen enough of the wokesters' strong men in the past couple of months that I'd just as soon not be subjected to their rule.

Likewise, Rush Limbaugh demonstrated once again that simply saying what people in his audience intuited to be true was why his show has been on the air for thirty years.
As I say, these are not white values. They are normal human values. They are the values of Western civilization. They are the values of time-honored decades and millennia of human behavior, the result of the attempt to find a way to live harmoniously, productively, successfully, and happily. That’s what these values are. They are not exclusive to any race. They are exclusive to Western civilization and anti-communism. They are exclusive to societies who wish to be free.

And I am so sick of this stuff being demonized. So let me just start with the list. Some aspects and assumptions of white culture in the U.S. that you are to oppose and be wary of: Rugged individualism, self-reliance. In white America, individual is the primary unit. Independence and autonomy are highly valued and rewarded. Individuals are assumed to be in control of their environment, which leads to you get what you deserve.

Those four things under the topic rugged individualism are opposed by Marxists, communists, and Democrats, and they are considered a threat. Another aspect of white culture and behavior is competition. And if there is anything the left despises, it’s competition, ’cause competition leads to losers. Competition leads to sadness. Competition leads to disappointment. Competition leads to winners. Competition leads to differences. Competition leads to all kinds of sadness and disappointment.

In white culture in the United States, you are to be number one. You are to win at all costs. You are to master and control nature. You must always do something about a situation. You can’t just sit there and do nothing. You have to do something. This is a threat. Decision-making. You are told to make decisions. This is threatening. This is something that’s exclusive to white culture, is decision-making?
Yes, there's a lot of Rush being Rush in there, and yet, he gets to the political economy lesson eventually.
This is the result of human beings living in freedom for a long time and deciding what values and behavioral norms lead to the most productive, the most happy, the most content, the most worthwhile life. The best way to raise kids. These are not things that some single person decided and forced on everybody. This is what society and culture discovered itself living in freedom.
Emergence is messier than that, and yet, his argument is not wrong in the large.

It's enough to make Rod Dreher angry.
I can’t get over this. If you assume that everything these curators say below is true, then you can explain a great deal of the chronic problems within black America. What kind of neighborhood would you expect to have if most of the people in it devalued hard work, rejected the idea that they needed to be on time, refused to defer gratification, did not respect authority, sought out conflict, laughed at politeness, rejected the traditional family model, and so forth? You’d have communities that were beset by crime and generational poverty, without the cultural tools to overcome the chaos. There are plenty of white people in this country who live by similar rules — and they’re chronically poor too.
You can claim the institutions are social constructions, but social construction ought be purposeful, and ineffective constructions ought fall down.  Is that too adult a concept for the people at the Smithsonian?

ALL LIBERAL THINGS DISTORTED.

That's long been a snide characterization of the evening drive time show on public radio, and it's apparently as true today as it was back in the day.  Of course a news service that exists to make degreed listeners whose level of understanding of political economy is that of the typical college sophomore is going to push stories about right wing nationalists hijacking riots allegedly induced by police brutality.
The NPR piece did not take into account the threat to life drivers find themselves in when surrounded by rioters (the name Reginald Denny should ring a bell to any driver who finds themselves in these situations). Instead it classifies such incidents as right-wing extremist attacks.

This is not journalism. It certainly should not be funded by the public. It serves no educational purpose. It’s time for courageous politicians to stand up and demand the elimination of NPR’s public funding.
Dear reader, if you're not receptive to the argument that the use of public money for radio programming is censorship per se, at least consider the possibility that public subsidies for information services aimed at an upscale audience constitute a regressive transfer.

What's funny, though, is that there are apparently people who use public radio as their drive time entertainment.
Broadcast ratings for nearly all of NPR's radio shows took a steep dive in major markets this spring, as the coronavirus pandemic kept many Americans from commuting to work and school. The network's shows lost roughly a quarter of their audience between the second quarter of 2019 and the same months in 2020.

People who listened to NPR shows on the radio at home before the pandemic by and large still do. But many of those who listened on their commute have not rejoined from home. And that threatens to alter the terrain for NPR for years to come, said Lori Kaplan, the network's senior director of audience insights.
Those drivers must have a higher tolerance for boredom than I. The typical public radio segment is soporific as well as sophomoric.  I require something livelier, particularly late in the day.

REAL AMERICANS BUY WHAT THEY WANT.

Or do without when it serves. China Covered Up the COVID Pandemic. Here's How Angry Americans Respond.  "U.S.-China relations appear to be reaching a breaking point. America needs to hold Beijing accountable for its coronavirus malfeasance, its foreign aggression, and its oppression of its own citizens. It seems the American people are already voting with their feet on this issue."

Look, my professional training was as an economist, and I'm intellectually as favorably disposed to the free movement of goods and people as anyone else who has ever helped supervise a dissertation performing a computable general equilibrium analysis of China's accession to the World Trade Organization.  On the other hand, the point of that dissertation, and the second-best-optimality cases for trade wars, have as the unstated assumption that Chinese entrepreneurs will behave like entrepreneurs in markets more generally, something that appears not to be the case where the behavior of the mandarins in Pekin, whether dealing with their national minorities or with the rest of the world, is concerned.

MARQUETTE IS A PRETTY GOOD BASKETBALL SCHOOL.

Dear reader, if you're familiar with Paul Fussell's Class (yes, that's about forty years old now) you'll recognize that calling an institution of higher education a "basketball school" is not a compliment.

In Milwaukee, though, the place enjoys a lot of local esteem, enough so, indeed, that the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, which currently serves more Wisconsin residents than any of the other state campuses (including Madison, once again a safe space for agitators from other states) at several times during my nephew's graduation ceremony mentioned that the university was among the 130-odd R-1 research universities, and the only other one in Wisconsin was "their friendly rivals in Madison."  I thought the man protesteth too much, but it's clear that his remarks were aimed at the corner of Sixteenth and Wisconsin.

But if Marquette can't play the research game, they can play the wokeness game, including calling an enthusiastic matriculant before the Holy Inquisition for daring to question Received Orthodoxy in a Tik Tok video.  The good news is, the Grand Inquisitor did not have her excommunicated, although the Pope, er, Marquette president Michael Lovell, gave Power Line's Scott Johnson the image of a "bland institutional weasel."  Power Line colleague John Hinderaker performed a secular exercise in mortification to expand on the story.
Lovell misleadingly portrayed [matriculant Samantha] Pfefferle as “dar[ing] people to report her to the ‘Marquette board of directors’ while wearing a Marquette shirt,” when in fact she was responding to a threat to have her blacklisted from the university by reporting her to the “Marquette board of directors.” He either never saw the video, or deliberately mischaracterized it. Further, his claim that “In response [to that video], some people examined her other social media posts, finding examples of what they have deemed ‘transphobic and racist’ posts” is false. It reverses the order of events, most likely in order to try to obscure the fact that many Marquette students and others associated with the university attacked Pfefferle viciously simply because she posted a pro-Trump video.
Somebody must have been telling lies about Samantha P., because one fine morning she was called in for a little chat.
Note that neither here nor anywhere else does Lovell identify anything done by Pfefferle that was even remotely objectionable. I have watched all of the videos on her TikTok page–a painful exercise for one who is well outside TikTok’s intended demographic–and there is nothing there that any sane person would characterize as “racist” or “transphobic.” These are just the usual liberal smears against a teenager who dares to hold opinions different from theirs, and is not afraid to express them.
At best, though, l'affaire Pefferle gives the Gannett organization an opportunity to engage in another misleading fact checking exercise. "Marquette University threatened to rescind student’s admission over pro-Trump TikTok video."  Here's how the secular Jesuits cover for the real Jesuits.  "The pro-Trump post was not at issue. Marquette and the people complaining to the university were examining comments on topics like sexuality and immigration in other social media posts."  That fact checking got going because Donald Trump the Younger called Marquette out, and an investigation of prodigious silliness ensued.
One Instagram user launched a campaign to get Pfefferle’s Marquette admission revoked by creating a form letter for people to send to the university’s admission office. That campaign stemmed from another social media post Pfefferle made about not believing a biological man can claim to be a woman, Pfefferle said.
Let the black smoke issue from the Sistine Chapel stove.  "Putting that all together, we are left with a statement that contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. That’s our definition of Mostly False." I suppose that's a better outcome than the national U.S.A. Today fact check that established "some people claim an eagle on a Trump campaign T shirt looks like a Nazi eagle."  (You'll have to check that yourself, dear reader.)

But Marquette are still not home free.  Embattled political science John "Marquette Warrior" McAdams (somebody who Michael Lovell tried to excommunicate, but failed) has been following the fallout, which continues to not put Marquette's administration in a favorable light.  Just keep scrolling.  It's likely there are some supernumeraries among the deanlets, deanlings, and scribes there who are praying most fervently for the plague to subside in order that basketball might resume.

15.7.20

ON SOME WORKBENCHES.

Illinois Railway Museum have restored Ingersoll Rand boxcab diesel 91, one of the first commercially successful 300 horsepower switching locomotives, to its original trucks.  There's still more to do for a proper cosmetic restoration, although having it running again isn't outside the realm of the possible.

Some years ago I posted a comparison of museum projects and home modelling projects, most of which are at about the same stage then as they are now.  There's an Ingersoll-Rand boxcab in a similar status.


That's a rudimentary form of the "China drive" with each can motor turning one axle and the second axle chain driven off the first.  I've tested it, it runs, and everything is synchronized.  There is room for a contemporary command control module in there.


Those are the radiator headers and cooling pipes, and, yes, I intend to build them up.  I did get a picture of the roof of 91 to compare notes.

WILDING, WOKENESS, AND WELFARE DEPENDENCE.

You'd think that if the Democrats and the members of the Permanent Bipartisan Establishment (there is a difference, but sometimes that's not obvious) saw the firing of Donald Trump as desirable, they might do something responsible.  Roger "Tenured Radicals" Kimball sees in their actions anything but responsible behavior.
And that is chiefly for two reasons. First, there are those 63 million voters—perhaps it will be 66 or 68 million this time. Voters whose voices you don’t hear in the pages of the New York Times and whose rigged Google searches and Facebook hot spots somehow leave out of account. They’re sitting at home watching their cities burn, watching monuments to Columbus, to Washington and Thomas Jefferson be defaced or toppled. They see that, and they hear a nonstop litany telling them how racist they are and how evil America is.

And just about now, a great chasm is opening up. The choice, they see, is not so much between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. It is between the America they love—that Donald Trump celebrates—and the out-of-control forces of anti-American hatred that, though he does not understand them, Joe Biden manages to blink and nod and gibber around.

Everything that is happening between now and November 3 is about November 3. But the fundamental choice is not really Donald Trump or Joe Biden. It is civilization and America on one side, anarchy and woke tyranny on the other. The Democrats thought they could ride the tiger to victory. Instead, they will be consumed by the monster they created but could not control.
All Democrats had to do is not be crazy, but somehow that Coalition of the Ascendant has become what Rush Limbaugh has long claimed: clients to be kept dependent.  I mean, when the perpetually gloomy J. H. Kunstler writes this:
I didn’t vote for [Our President] last time, but I would vote for him this time to keep the Democratic Party out of power. There’s a lot to not love about Mr. Trump in his persona and manner. There’s a great deal more to fear about the prospect of Democratic Party control of government. Their enmity to free speech cannot be doubted after a decade of promoting cancel culture. Their appetite for coercion is at odds with the Bill of Rights. Their bad faith and dishonesty have been on display through all the concocted melodramas of RussiaGate and its offshoots. Their economic program is a mashup of all the failed central planning regimes from the bygone 20th century and is wholly inconsistent with the new imperatives to downscale and re-localize the real productive activities of daily life in this country.

Beyond Mr. Trump’s deformities of personal presentation, I am more in favor with the blunt outlines of his policies. I’m for strict control of the nation’s borders and frankly for reduced immigration. Globalism is clearly winding down and Mr. Trump’s drive to produce more of what we need here in America is in step with that reality.
I believe he's voting in New York, which is probably not in play, giving him the option of a protest vote and yet relying on local production while limiting immigration isn't exactly what a Libertarian or Green manifesto offers.

YOU'D BETTER GET TO WORK ON THOSE BEAM TRANSPORTERS.

Some years ago, Canadian National purchased the Elgin Joliet and Eastern Railroad as a way of tying together their former Soo Line, er, Wisconsin Central; Illinois Central; and Grand Trunk Western properties, the better to through-route cargo from origin to destination without handing it off to a transfer railroad in Chicago.  The project worked at least as well as expected, enough so that CNR have wanted to add trackage to the formerly single-track line, the better to move trains, as well as to hand off interchange to the likes of Canadian Pacific southeast of Elgin, or Union Pacific at West Chicago.  That's not playing well in the likes of Barrington (where CNR crosses a less heavily used Union Pacific line) or Hoffman Estates.  "The group FARE (Families Against Railway Expansion) contends that the double tracking will result in additional, longer, and faster trains, and will create more opportunities for locomotives to idle near homes. This will mean a significant increase in noise, vibration, air pollution and safety hazards, the group says."  Um, the point of the second track is to have trains spending more time moving and less time waiting at the end of the existing sidings to advance to the next siding.

The proposed second main track runs just to the east of Shales Parkway, which begins on the south side of Hoffman Estates and runs to the Grant Highway expressway on the east edge of Elgin.  But the alternative to the freight train is not welcome there, either.
Property owners want the city of Elgin to turn a portion of Shales Parkway, between East Chicago Street and U.S. 20, into a local-traffic-only roadway to cut down on excessive truck traffic.

“The heavy truck traffic is noisy,” said Robert Sumoski, who’s owned property on East Chicago Street for 27 years. “It’s dirty, from their cargo and emission, it’s dangerous to the local people and it’s detrimental to the roadway.”

People who live and work in the area don’t want to hinder businesses along Shales Parkway, but want restrictions to limit the road to just local traffic and local deliveries, Sumoski said. “We hope that with this restriction, it’s a start.”

“I’ve seen the traffic along Shales Parkway and East Chicago Street transition from a quiet, slow-paced, mostly automobile traffic to something that resembles a busy highway,” he said.
Some of that truck traffic is diverting to get around construction (I'm trying to remember when there last wasn't any construction along the Grant Highway, and there was a nasty project on Illinois 59 paralleling Shales to the east until recently) and some of that has to be supporting the package deliveries the locals want to keep coming.

As that neighborhood is pretty far from any commercial waterways, if the trains can't run and the trucks can't run, it's going to be a lot of work for bicycle messengers or wagon drivers until that beam transporter is working.