29.3.21

STILL THINKING ABOUT RESUMING DAILY LIFE.

Here I was a year ago.  "Wait another month, wait for that first really nice day, wait for the little kids to spontaneously go to the neighborhood tot-lot: will the Powers that Be still be respected if there isn't some firm sense that there is an exit strategy?"  The Powers that Be still haven't offered that exit strategy.  The verdict is being rendered by the people.  I'm seeing more road traffic, more kids at the tot-lots, even some bars and restaurants looking positively busy.

COULD ROSA LUXEMBURG KEEP UP THE STEAM PRESSURE?

As women's history has gone mainstream, so have the activities called attention to.
Andrea Biesecker worked as engineer and Shelley Hall as fireman for all five round-trips on the 189-year-old Strasburg Rail Road, the 4.5-mile-long tourist and freight carrier in southeastern Pennsylvania. The runs took place on a cold and blustery Saturday, March 6, with No. 475, the same Baldwin-built 1906 former Norfolk & Western Railway 4-8-0-type that Biesecker qualified on in 2014.
The Strasburg Rail Road is the oldest continuously operating under the same name railroad company in North America.  The special crew, that's something new.
Hall suggested an all-women engine crew. “I just wanted to show girls that just because it’s mostly guys that do this job, women can do it too. For as long as the Strasburg has been running trains, there hasn’t been an all-female engine crew, so I figured it was about time.”

Both women are given high marks for their skills and work ethic by Dave Domitrovitch, formerly boiler shop supervisor at the Strasburg and now Chief Mechanical Officer at the newly revived narrow-gauge East Broad Top Railroad in south-central Pennsylvania.
The Rail Road has long been a good neighbor for the community. Recently trains ran as a fund raiser for the town Fire Company, which is a worthy cause.  The Fire Company make the firehouse available for quarterly O Scale shows, and the upcoming summer show might merit a road trip, and a look at the East Broad Top along the way.

BEAVER. BUCKY BEAVER.

Last week, we were hailing a successful title defense by Wisconsin's women's hockey team.

Then it was the men's turn to add a seventh title to their ledger.  It didn't turn out well.
The Badgers were outcompeted for pucks, made unforgivable mistakes and had to play from behind.

“I think there was a lot of issues,” Badgers captain and defenseman Ty Emberson said. “They outworked us. They outbattled us. There were a couple tough bounces in the first period. It just sucks to see it come to an end.”
How bad was it? "Starting goaltender Robbie Beydoun laid prone on the ice with his blocker and his catching glove on his helmet after his misplay led to a short-handed goal by Owen Sillinger that put the Beavers up 4-1 late in the second period."  That's right, the Bemidji skaters (at one time, they had two brothers in the penalty box at the same time, is anybody having Slap Shot recollections?) were so aggressive on the penalty kill that a player would follow the clearing dump just in case the goalie misplayed the puck to initiate the power play.

Unfortunately, Bemidji were unable to continue the play in the second round, being excused by Massachusetts.  The other three participants in the frozen four are Minnesota teams:  Duluth, St. Cloud, and Minnesota State.  Still possible for the regional comprehensives to be competitive.

Duluth's trip to the finals took a little longer.  "As the game stretched into early Sunday morning, freshman Luke Mylymok scored the golden goal to send Minnesota Duluth into the Frozen Four semifinals against Massachusetts. Saturday's game — lasting 142 minutes, 13 seconds of ice time and six hours, 12 minutes of real time — broke the NCAA Tournament record for longest game set by the Wisconsin and Harvard women in 2007."  That Wisconsin team still had enough energy to defend their title.  Duluth are currently two-time defending champions.

GOVERNOR PRITZKER TRAILS BY 10,125.

The geographic area and population of Illinois are both similar to those in Sweden, and there are similarities of the Chicago and Stockholm metropolitan areas.  But  Springfield politicians are hazardous to your health.  Governor J. B. Pritzker (D-Lake Geneva) continues to micromanage and destroy local businesses.

A service called Worldometers has been keeping track of coronavirus infections and deaths, disaggregated in a number of ways.

The latest report from Sweden counts 744,286 infections and 13,402 deaths.
The latest report from Illinois counts 1,239,589 infections and 23,527 deaths.

Conditions in Illinois are such that a transition to a full reopening is in order.  If I have to keep extending this post until Anthony Fauci comes to his senses, or resigns, or until the governor is primaried, or until the ukases are vacated, or until the cows come home, I will.

The Centers for Disease Control are currently reporting over five-and-a-half million Trump shots (in many cases, these are both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines) administered statewide.  The statewide recovery rate is still around 98 percent.  The legislature, however, is still doing nothing to rein in the governor's ukases.

That's despite Sweden doing at least as well as most of more lockdown-obsessed western Europe, despite ignoring scary advice that their relatively moderate mitigations would be deadly.  And now, Sweden reports fewer excess deaths (a calculation based on actuarial tables) year-on-year for 2020 than for previous years.  "Who could possibly argue with more freedom and fewer deaths?"  I'm waiting for J. B. Pritzker to defend himself.

Although public health officials aren't necessarily economists, they ought be sensitive to the notion of tradeoffs.
Public-health officials are supposed to consider the overall impact of their policies, not just the immediate effect on one disease. They’re supposed to weigh costs and benefits, promoting policies that save the most total years of life, which means taking special care to protect younger people and not divert vast resources to treatments for those near the end of life. They are not supposed to test unproven and dangerous treatments by conducting experiments on entire populations.

Sweden and Florida followed these principles when they rejected lockdowns and trusted their citizens to take sensible precautions. That trust has been vindicated.
The governor, however, gets away with an interview in which the Illinois death toll doesn't even come up.  "I think I’m genuinely considered to be the most progressive governor in the Midwest, if not in the country right now."  Let that be an indictment of so-called progressives.

Last week, the governor trailed by 10,095.  Note the time series: a margin of terror that used to be growing by hundreds in a week is growing by around a hundred, or less.  It's still growing, though, that despite Sweden having some of the same difficulties the rest of the European Union countries have been having with procuring and administering vaccinations.




26.3.21

A YEAR AGO IN COLD SPRING SHOPS.

Wait the gerontocracy out.  "I suppose that's the one blessing that so many senior members of the current political class are as old as they are, they won't be in charge for as long."  That's right, dear reader, I was losing patience with two weeks to slow the spread as it became a third week ...

FRIDAY SHORT TAKES.

1.  Paul Mirengoff recognizes that "Footie is popular with eight-year-old girls in the United States, and adolescent males all over the Third World."  Some of those eight-year-old girls, not so much.  "American men must compete with the best of these boys when they become men. Nothing comparable exists for women."  Unfortunately, neither Megan Rapinoe nor Joe Biden seem to understand that everybody who is likely to be guilt-tripped into watching women's sports is already watching, and a different value proposition might better attract a broader audience.

2.  Matt "Dean Dad" Reed has half of the U.S. News problem in higher education identified.  "The solution to the college scramble is on the supply side. If we had consistently excellent, affordable, well-funded public institutions large enough and numerous enough to handle demand, much of the scramble would go away. The U.S. did that, decades ago -- the mad scramble didn’t start in earnest until the 1980s -- and I’m told Canada still does."  His focus might be -- his salary depends on it -- on the missing public funding that might have made the public universities more affordable.  Without the shift of focus from excellence to diversity and inclusion, the scramble might have been less necessary, and people who could pay full freight at the public universities might have done so, rather than load up on Harvard Prep Day Care and all the rest.

3.  Speaking of the deleterious effects of diversity and inclusion, the most deleterious might be in the exemption that mind-set enloys from ordinary academic skepticism.  "I have learned that anything protected from critique cannot itself stand up to scrutiny. And since scrutiny of the assumptions and assertions of [the woke ethos] and anti-racism are not allowed and do not occur, a one-party orthodoxy is the result—an equity totalitarianism."  Like any other Established Church, it will face dissidents, whether the archdeacons like it or not.

4Better late than never.  "Experts could demand to know why politicians are closing playgrounds or banning outdoor dining, particularly when these interventions were reinstituted months after we knew better."

5.  Sometimes the only intellectual argument is "sod off."  "It is past time to 'disregard' COVID rules that prevent students from enjoying their college experience."

6.  The regressive tax called coronavirus mitigation.  "A year or so into the pandemic, the world is a poorer place filled with poorer people than was the case before COVID-19 appeared. Part of this was the inevitable result of people voluntarily pulling in their horns to avoid infection, but much of it resulted from government-imposed lockdown orders as public health experts engaged in a panic-stricken effort to stop the virus's spread through the force of law."  Unfortunately, ruling classes, including technocrats in lab coats, are unlikely to give up their powers voluntarily.  "Capitalism can only make us prosperous in a world that allows the freedom to enjoy its benefits."

ANOTHER HYPOTHESIS TO TEST.

We're still on a data watch for Easter Monday.  The panic-mongers are raising yet another future hue and cry.  "Disregard for public health measures from spring breakers and pandemic-weary tourists in South Florida will likely result in a spike of COVID-19 cases, health experts say."  Those experts are basing their warnings on contagion modelsEnough said.  If we hear the dogs barking next weekend, perhaps we'll credit them for anticipating yet another surge.  "The palace-guard media will do whatever they can to call attention to any spike in infections, whether it's valid or not. If you hear crickets, draw your own conclusion."

24.3.21

ELECTRICITY KEEPING ITS OWN BOOKS.

A promotional effort for Texas Central's bullet trains includes a green claim.  "Texas high-speed trains utilize regenerative braking technology to recapture spent energy."  That's an old concept.  The technical challenge more recently is in running power through inverters and choppers and then back again so as to be able to return the power to the catenary in a way that permitted setting back the electric meter.

WELCOME TO THE AGE OF FEAR.

Jonathan Cook discovers why "it's for your own good" is scary.
Once fear takes hold, populations risk agreeing to hand back rights, won over decades or centuries, that were the sole, meagre limit on the power of elites to ransack the common wealth. In calculations based on fear, freedoms must make way for other priorities: being responsible, keeping safe, averting danger.

Worse, rights are surrendered with our consent because we are persuaded that the rights themselves are a threat to social solidarity, to security, to our health.
He's a Briton, with a different notion of enumerated, limited, and separated government powers, and yet he gets that surrendering liberty for security ultimately yields neither.
The UK bill is far from unusual. Similar legislation—against noisy, inconvenient and disruptive protest—is being passed in states across the United States. Just as free speech is being shut down on the grounds that we must not offend, so protest is being shut down on the grounds that we must not disturb.
That might be a warning shot toward advocates of progressive intolerance.
Large sections of the population are happy to see speech rights stripped from those they don't like or fear. They are equally fine, it seems, with locking up people who cause a "nuisance" or are "too noisy" in advancing a cause with which they have no sympathy—especially so long as fear of the pandemic takes precedence.
For that matter, shaming people daring to have fun outside because they're not wearing their Fauci filters has become a thing, particularly if the fun doesn't go along with Approved Opinion.  I wonder if Mr Cook remembers the Brezhnev era of politicized schizophrenia.
Politicians have much to gain from basking in the reflected authority of science. And when politics and science are merged, as is happening now, dissent can be easily reformulated as either derangement or criminal intent. On this view, to be against lockdown or to be opposed to taking a vaccine is not just wrong but as insane as denying the laws of gravity. It is proof of one's irrationality, of the menace one poses to the collective.
He doesn't ever write "corona tyranny,' and yet, that's what it is.
Politicians and the police must not be the ones to define what protests are justified, what protests are safe, what protests are responsible.

Because otherwise, those in power who took advantage of the pandemic to raid the public coffers and waste billions of pounds on schemes whose main purpose was to enrich their friends have every reason to dismiss anyone who protests against their cupidity and incompetence as endangering public health.

Because otherwise, leaders who want to crush protests against their their current, and future, criminal negligence with extraordinary new police powers have every incentive to characterise their critics as anti-lockdown, or anti-vaccine, or anti-public order, or anti-science—or whatever other pretext they think will play best with the "responsible" public as they seek to cling to power.

And because otherwise, the government may decide it is in its interests to stretch out the pandemic—and the emergency regulations supposedly needed to deal with it—for as long as possible.
Better late than never to recognize that dictatorial officials have been stretching out the regulations for at least a year now.

GENTRIFIERS ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY RESPECTFUL OF DIVERSITY.

In an Austin, Texas, neighborhood, the incoming upscale tenants confront a local tradition.
After a few loops around the park, some drivers—most of them Black and Latino men in their twenties and thirties driving customized lowriders, bright, candy-colored slabs, and jacked-up trucks with flashy chrome rims—packed into a nearby middle school parking lot. Some unloaded barbecue grills, toddlers, and pit bulls, then cracked open beers, and blasted Texas hip-hop and Tejano music. Others joined a slow-moving carousel that flowed from the parking lot into the street and back again, swerving from side to side and occasionally screeching their tires, unleashing plumes of white smoke that covered the block in a light haze.
The impromptu car shows have been a thing for years. The Texas Monthly-reading yuppies are new to the neighborhood. Coasian bargaining is not invariant to initial endowments.
Some variation of this assembly has taken place nearly every Sunday afternoon since the early nineties. But now many residents of The Weaver, a newly built luxury apartment building across the street—whose website promises renters access to a “community that is rich in history and tradition”—have decided it’s time for the weekly event to come to an unceremonious end. Some of the building’s residents defend the car club gatherings and note they predate The Weaver residents’ arrival in the neighborhood, but many others have grown tired of the loud music, annoyed by the traffic, and turned off by the smell of skidding tires. One particularly vocal tenant, a non-Hispanic white woman with short blond hair who appeared to be in her fifties, claimed that smoke from the tires was killing nearby trees and that traffic from the gathering would make it impossible for an ambulance to reach her in the event of a medical emergency (though two other roads to the apartment building remain accessible at all times). Another Weaver resident voiced more generalized criticism, calling the event a “display of toxic masculinity.”
Time to convene a struggle session: what is the correct intersectional response to young men of varying colors having fun with souped-up cars?
“[W]e should shut this thing down,” a third resident, who blamed the lack of police response on the “idiotic” city council’s decision to slash the Austin Police Department’s budget, wrote in March on a building forum. Indeed, at a recent gathering, a non-Hispanic white tenant had flagged two police vehicles and pleaded with officers to disband the celebration, calling it “scary.” The officers eventually drove off without taking any action. Even though the event sometimes violates noise and traffic ordinances, it doesn’t pose major threats to anyone in The Weaver, nor does it break other city rules.
That's priceless, although it's precisely the sort of social friction that accompanies rising real estate values we've been noting for years.
The conflict between residents of The Weaver and the car club is a microcosm of a larger struggle between professionals newly arriving in Texas, many of them tech workers, and the Black and Latino neighborhoods across East Austin that the newcomers are transforming through gentrification. With large tech companies including Apple, Oracle, and Samsung expanding operations in Austin, and many more making plans to relocate there, such conflicts have accelerated during the pandemic. Surrounded by new neighbors, many native Austinites say they’re often made to feel unwelcome in their own communities. For the car clubs, which gather in public parks on the front lines of gentrification, the feeling has been especially amplified.
There's a lot more at the article, and much of it suggests that woke wine women aren't as enthusiastic about diversity when it rolls up to the local park as they might be at work.

CONFLATING STOCKS AND FLOWS.

Tax-'n-spend Democrats have control of the presidency* and both houses of Congress, and they're all about wanting to make the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.  Perhaps  I'm too much the purist, expecting an incidence analysis to stratify tax receipts by income quintiles (deciles would be better, but that's how the empirical research goes) and then, with something resembling a good estimate of the share of taxes paid by the higher income earners, we could have a good common-room lunch session about what share was fair, or not.

That's not how things work in practice.  Rather, you get populist froth.  "The share of the nation’s wealth pie owned by the richest 0.01 percent has quadrupled over the last 70 years. Their percent of the total tax obligation has stayed the same. What’s wrong with this picture?"  Oh, there is a picture.


Retrieved from Common Dreams.

That's not exactly an incidence analysis, although the authors attempt something.
To find the percentage of the total national taxes paid by the top .01 percent in a given year, we first multiplied the overall tax rate of the top .01 percent by the overall income share of the top .01 percent. This gave us the percentage of total national income paid by the top .01 percent in tax. We then divided that by the percentage of total national income paid by the entire population (top .01 percent included) in tax to get our final “tax share” of the top .01 percent.

Then, we compared that “tax share” of the top .01 percent, year-by-year, to the share of the nation’s wealth held by the top .01 percent, again piggybacking on the work of Professors Saez and Zucman.
Fortunately, researchers at the Internal Revenue Service, who know something about where the money comes from, are more careful.



Pick your calculation: the top one-hundredth-of-one-percent of income earners pay about four percent of all taxes, or the top one-tenth-of-one-percent of income earners pay close to one-fifth of Federal taxes.  Is that a fair share on a flow basis?

In the populist world, evidently a different notion of fair share is in play.
Consider what’s transpired over the past 70 years. The tax share of the top .01 percent changed over time, but it’s not far today from where it was in 1953 – about 5 percent. The wealth ownership share of the top .01 percent during that period about quadrupled, from 2.5 percent to very close to 10 percent.

For the rest of us, the bottom 99.99 percent, our share of the overall tax has been about equal to our share of the nation’s wealth, slightly less than our share of the nation’s wealth 70 years ago and slightly more than our share of the nation’s wealth today.

The situation 70 years ago made sense. It adhered to the principle that tax payments should be based on the ability to pay, with those at the top bearing the heaviest burden relative to their wealth. Thus, the very wealthiest segment of a society should pay a share of the total tax burden greater than its share of the society’s wealth. The situation today turns that basic moral principle on its head. When the share of tax payments made the wealthy are one-half their share of the nation’s total wealth, such that they’re bearing the lightest tax burden relative to their wealth.

That’s not paying their fair share. Or anything remotely close.
Gosh, there's such a thing as accumulating wealth? Perhaps that's another common-room conversation for another day.  Even before the ukases most of the developed world submitted to a year ago transferred a lot of wealth to people owning information technology companies, there were ominous signs.
Ultimately the shift of millennials to the Left could lead to a conflict between the oligarchs and the clerisy over the appropriation of wealth. The way things look now, the battle will be over who pays for an ever-expanding welfare state—not how to expand the middle class. This is likely to shift our politics increasingly in an authoritarian direction. As the great historian Barrington Moore noted, “No bourgeois, no democracy.” In a country where the middle ranks are shrinking, the elites more powerful, and ideological polarization is on the rise, the prospects for democracy, even in its greatest homeland, could be grim indeed.

In the world envisioned by the oligarchs and the clerisy, the poor and much of the middle class are destined to become more dependent on the state. This dependency could be accelerated as their labor is devalued both by policy hostile to the industrial economy, and by the greater implementation of automation and artificial intelligence.

Opposing these forces will be very difficult, particularly given the orientation of our media, academia, and the nonprofit world, as well as the massive wealth accumulated by the oligarchs. A system that grants favors and entertainment to its citizens but denies them property expects little in return. This kind of state, Tocqueville suggested, can be used to keep its members in “perpetual childhood”; it “would degrade men rather than tormenting them.”
"Perpetual childhood," indeed. There is more to come on that theme, as well as the degradation and the torment, to come.

THE INFORMATION CONTENT OF PRICES.

Don "Cafe Hayek" Boudreaux wonders if economics, as a discipline, is burdening the discourse with too many technical terms.  I fear that he starts with a forced distinction.
Everyone agrees that if Sarah negligently drives her car physically into Silas’s car and thereby inflicts on it $1,000 worth of damage, Sarah violates Silas’s property right in his car and should compensate him for the damage. But suppose, instead, that Sarah, by agreeing to put her car up for sale, causes the price for which Silas can sell his car to fall by $1,000. Although the negative effect in the second example of Sarah’s action on Silas’s welfare is identical to the negative effect of Sarah’s action in the first example, only in the first example does Sarah incur an obligation to take account of the consequences on Silas of her action.
In the first case, the crash has affected the resale value of Silas's car, yes, although assigning liability for damaging a car is not the same as putting portfolio insurance on the car price. Gosh, there could be quite the common-room lunch question here, if anybody still meets for lunch in the common-room. In the second case, what does that price drop say about the supply and demand elasticities for used cars? But I'm getting pretty far from my story. Maybe it would be fun to crash a common-room lunch at George Mason to push what comes next a little.
Impressed by this difference separating example one from example two, economists call the consequence of the first of Sarah’s actions – her negligently causing physical damage to Silas’s property – a “technological externality,” while calling the consequence of the second of her actions a “pecuniary externality.”
I must confess to getting all the way through graduate training in public economics and a career with occasional incursions into environmental and public policy stuff without ever once encountering a "technological" externality, although I did encounter liability rules, and there's got to be a way to disrupt that lunch gathering with some comment about information technologies providing network externalities, but again, I'm getting away from my story.
Economists then proceed to wonder why the law requires compensation only for technological externalities but not for pecuniary externalities. After all, in both cases Sarah’s action harms Silas without his permission.

The answer economists give is this: The benefits to society from actions that cause technological externalities are generally lower than are the costs to persons who suffer technological externalities, while the benefits to society from actions that cause pecuniary externalities are generally higher than are the costs to persons who suffer pecuniary externalities. And so to ensure maximum possible economic growth – or, to increase the social welfare – the law punishes technological externalities but tolerates pecuniary ones.
That's one approach to take, I suppose. Might it be simpler to say something about liability being present in the case of the crash in a different way than it is in the car market, that is, when Sarah causes a car crash, she is in a different position with respect to Silas than she is when she puts a car on the market? Silas, after all, can cause the same $1000 capital loss to Sarah by putting his car up for sale. I think that's where the professor is going.
Yes, Sarah’s decision to sell her car decreased the market value of Silas’s car. But Silas has no property claim to his car’s previous market value. Silas, being a reasonable person (as we must assume him to be), knows that the market value of his car can change in response to the economic decisions made by strangers. Stated differently, Silas expects, with some probability greater than zero, that the market value of his car will fall. Therefore, Sarah’s decision to sell her car was already “internalized” on Silas. He took account of this possibility in his earlier decisions regarding what kind of car to buy and how long to maintain his ownership of that vehicle.
It might be simpler to recognize that pecuniary externalities are precisely what markets are about, because the prices that come out of market exchange are information available to active or inactive sellers alike.  Whether you call that information "pecuniary externality" or "banana" might not be relevant.
But to show why “pecuniary externalities” is a mistaken concept, we need to do more than note that Silas’s expectations include the possibility that the market value of his car will fall because others might sell cars in competition with him. Another factor in play is that Silas would not want to be relieved of this expectation if such relief meant that everyone enjoyed relief of this expectation. To relieve everyone of the expectation of the possibility that the market value of their cars will fall would require that Silas himself no longer be free to offer his car for sale whenever doing so might cause a fall in the price of Sarah’s or Steve’s car.

Because Silas (it is reasonable to assume) wants the right to sell his car whenever he chooses and at whatever price he can fetch, he cannot legitimately assert ethical or legal standing to prevent Sarah from exercising the same right over her car. By giving this right to all persons, the law effectively recognizes that everyone under its jurisdiction agrees that all people have a right to sell their cars even if some car-selling actions harm some people at particular points in time by causing the market values of their cars to fall.

The law, therefore, doesn’t merely tolerate “pecuniary externalities” on the grounds that such toleration promotes economic growth. Rather, the law treats each person as ‘purchasing’ the right to sell his or her car by giving to all other persons the right to sell their cars. The law, in short – and unlike most economists – understands that “pecuniary externalities” are not externalities at all. They are mirages in economists’ minds.
Alternatively, perhaps the Welfare Economics Paradigm approach to teaching economics has some value.  If, as the general equilibrium theorists tell us, an externality-free competitive equilibrium is Pareto efficient, and it is helpful to divide problems of costly information, with some information costs producing price discovery and pecuniary externalities amenable to supply and demand analysis, whilst other information costs generating liabilities amenable to Coasian bargaining and assignment of property rights, and the set of information problems warranting direct government intervention accordingly becomes more narrowly defined.

Now that we've settled all that, shall we take up the monopoly that produces a negative nonpecuniary externality?

YOU HAVE TO DISRUPT THE SLIPSTREAM.

The two-seam fastball does so more effectively than the four-seam pitch.  "Because of this, the maximum amount of drag can be achieved, and after a certain number of rotations, enough negative Magnus effect force will have been built up to cause a sudden downward pull."  Not that my eyes, let alone my reflexes, are good enough to pick up the visual signature of the pitch.  "The four-seamer on the other hand is a repeated interval of seam and no-seam ball surface, which isn’t enough to generate a negative Magnus force."

In baseball, as in economics, it is often what goes on at the margins that is most important.

22.3.21

A TITLE DEFENDED.

Good evening, hockey fans, may I present this season's women's collegiate champions.


Here are the highlights.  David Hookstead correctly characterizes the winning goal as an "insane final shot."  Off the defender, from behind the net.  "I have no idea how the hell she did that, but that’s one of the craziest goals that I’ve ever seen in my life." Play Jump Around!

Patrick Kane himself could probably pick up a trick or two from that sort of playing keep-away with the puck.


Because of last year's total shutdown of the collegiate tournaments, the 2021 winners are repeat champions.

ONE. TWO. THREE. FOUR. FIVE. SIX. 
WE. WANT. MORE.

Well done, kids.

IT'S WORLD WATER DAY.

There's some United Nations effort under that rubric.  It's about what you'd expect.  "Today, 785 million people are living without access to safe water, while 2 billion people are living without access to a toilet."

In the same way that the waters prevailed, the words will prevail.  Jump in, the water is fine.

WE'RE DONE WITH THIS.

Kurt Schlichter sees the corona tyrants for the losers they are.
Why would anyone enjoy this idiocy? Limits on your freedom, hectoring pests, nitwits riding around in their Priuses with face diapers wrapped around their talk-holes… it’s an abomination. Yet there’s this slice of the populace that gets into it. They resist a return to normalcy because their normal lives were not that great to begin with and this is the most exciting thing that will ever happen to them.
Also, "[T]he better adjusted among us put that nonsense aside pretty quickly."  Exactly.

THE WORST POSSIBLE REASON FOR BUILDING A HIGH SPEED TRAIN LINE.

A Canadian functionary called Rashid Timbilla is troubled that the Ottawa to Toronto corridor is less adequately served by rail than the Washington to New York corridor, or something.
High-speed rail could change the way we live by making us wealthier, more prosperous and more reflective of the advanced world today.

It is for these reasons that our governments should remember the times when we mobilized to build bigger, greater and awe-inspiring projects not only to fix a problem, but to show that we could.
That's standard issue Exhortation in support of some Grand Public Purpose.  It might be a train line: let the record show that Canadian Pacific was a private project.  It might be a vaccine.  Maybe it's a moon shot.  Maybe it's a plutonium bomb.  But public mobilization simply "to show that we could?"  Where are the Canadian libertarians to pounce on this?

As far as the rail corridor he considers, let's see what diesel trains good for 125 mph on existing tracks, with five frequencies a day, can do, first.  I post the five frequencies, as on the eve of Amtrak, Canadian National were making do with three on that line, a through car or two being added to or dropped from a Montreal service at Brockville.  In those days, there were four frequencies between Toronto and Windsor, and the CNR station at Windsor did not have a direct connection to the Grand Trunk Western on the Detroit side. 

THERE ARE SOLDIERS IN D.C. AND NO FUNCTIONING COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

"The real violation of political norms is going to be spectacular." Read and understand; via Glenn "Insta Pundit" Reynolds, as part of a longer set of links.

TODAY IN STUFF WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE WORRIED ABOUT.

Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt frets about the angry countenance of pickup trucks.
Why have pickup trucks morphed into such huge, angry, and dangerous presences? Traffic safety experts, commentators on U.S. automotive culture, and social scientists have suggested a range of forces behind truck bloat.
Some of it is the aesthetic preferences of urban weenies, which is probably provoking militancy from Normals.  Some of it, though, dear reader, is the unintended consequence of feel-good regulations.
The U.S.’s perverse regulatory and tax environment contributes to this arms race. Ford’s heavy-duty F-250, for example, benefits from its regulatory status as a commercial vehicle, unlike the slightly smaller F-150. The same goes for other heavy-duty models like the Ram 2500 and Silverado 2500HD, which aren’t classified as passenger vehicles, but as work machines, and are thus exempt from EPA fuel economy reporting regulations.
Did anybody seriously think that effectively banning station wagons, which is what the fuel economy standards did, would not induce substitutions that might have surprised the na​├»ve? And that such substitutions might be more common when motor fuel is cheaper?  That, though, is the mundane logic of the price theory seminar, and it doesn't lend itself to deplorable-shaming.
To [car historian Dan] Albert, the booming appeal of bigger and more brutish trucks reflects “a crisis of masculinity,” he says. “Nothing could be more emasculating than driving a minivan. So you want the vehicle that’s going to maintain your performative masculinity.”

The fact that supersized pickup trucks were often deployed as political props (and weapons) during the Trump era did not escape the notice of scholars like Cara Daggett, a professor of political science at Virginia Tech. In a widely shared 2018 journal article, Daggett coined the term “petro-masculinity” to describe flamboyant expressions of fossil fuel use by men (and some women as well, but mostly men) as a reaction against social progress. To these drivers, “the affront of global warming or environmental regulations appear as insurgents on par with the dangers posed by feminists and queer movements seeking to leach energy and power from the state/traditional family,” she wrote.

Petro-masculinity helps explain not only these vehicles’ confrontational styling, but the often equally belligerent way in which they are operated.
Put another way, some expressions of authenticity are more desirable than others? Sad.

GOVERNOR PRITZKER TRAILS BY 10,095.

The geographic area and population of Illinois are both similar to those in Sweden, and there are similarities of the Chicago and Stockholm metropolitan areas.  But  Springfield politicians are hazardous to your health.  Governor J. B. Pritzker (D-Lake Geneva) continues to micromanage and destroy local businesses.

A service called Worldometers has been keeping track of coronavirus infections and deaths, disaggregated in a number of ways.

The latest report from Sweden counts 744,272 infections and 13,262 deaths.
The latest report from Illinois counts 1,221,863 infections and 23,357 deaths.

Conditions in Illinois are such that a transition to a full reopening is in order.  If I have to keep extending this post until Anthony Fauci comes to his senses, or resigns, or until the governor is primaried, or until the ukases are vacated, or until the cows come home, I will.

The Centers for Disease Control are currently reporting nearly five four million Trump shots (in many cases, these are both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines) administered statewide.  The statewide recovery rate is still around 98 percent.  The legislature, however, is still doing nothing to rein in the governor's ukases.

That's despite Sweden doing at least as well as most of more lockdown-obsessed western Europe, despite ignoring scary advice that their relatively moderate mitigations would be deadly.

Although public health officials aren't necessarily economists, they ought be sensitive to the notion of tradeoffs.
Public-health officials are supposed to consider the overall impact of their policies, not just the immediate effect on one disease. They’re supposed to weigh costs and benefits, promoting policies that save the most total years of life, which means taking special care to protect younger people and not divert vast resources to treatments for those near the end of life. They are not supposed to test unproven and dangerous treatments by conducting experiments on entire populations.

Sweden and Florida followed these principles when they rejected lockdowns and trusted their citizens to take sensible precautions. That trust has been vindicated.
The governor, however, gets away with an interview in which the Illinois death toll doesn't even come up.  "I think I’m genuinely considered to be the most progressive governor in the Midwest, if not in the country right now."  Let that be an indictment of so-called progressives.

Last week, the governor trailed by 10,070.  Note the time series: a margin of terror that used to be growing by hundreds in a week is growing by around a hundred, or less.




20.3.21

ON MY WORKBENCH.

Today, a technical post on strengthening the drive line on a 50 year old Atlas diesel locomotive.  The basic bones of the model are good, but the gear tower has weaknesses in it, and the factory mounting of the trucks makes for a lot of weight transfer on start-up.  If you want to see this phenomenon in real life, find a trolley museum that has one of the Great War era Chicago L cars, and watch one get under way.


It's the one on the right I'm working on.  I put the one at the left through its paces a few weeks ago, after it had been extensively reworked.  Each of these will be good for about nine cars, thus there's the potential for a pretty good freight train once the work is done.  I've already fixed up the drive train, now it's time to put a Pittman motor, which means splines of different lengths, into the chassis.  The Atlas splines are pieces of engineering plastic.  Give me some solid brass.


The science-project Unimat is not the most precise machine tool in the world, with too much play in the slides to use it for your basic firearm components or a fuel pump on a rocket.  On the other hand, it can only take a little bit of metal off on a pass, which means that if you stop and check after each pass of the cutting tool, you'll have a serviceable spline.


Once those are done, the splines get drilled out in order that the entire drive line is bolted together.  There's enough free play in that universal joint at right and in the Atlas gear tower itself that a little flexing, particularly on my generous radius curves, is not harmful.


Next up, the onboard power control module for this unit.  You did see two batteries in that B unit battery car last December, didn't you?

THE PLANS OF LEFTIST POLITICIANS DEPEND ON MOST OF THE PEOPLE BELIEVING CHILDISH NOTIONS.

Of course they do.  You have to be pretty old to have an adult memory of stagflation and malaise.
If you listen to the Beltway crowd, the country is about to enjoy rising prosperity, thanks to all the federal “stimulus” spending. Biden is about to shower the nation in $1.9 trillion in new federal outlays and there will probably be more to come. Aggregate demand, to employ the Keynesian lingo, will rise, and that means that production and employment will rise. Happy days are here again!
You also have to be pretty old to have an adult memory of how many ways things got better once the painful transition out of it ended.

A SLIDING SCALE OF UKASES.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker (D-Lake Geneva)'s corona tyranny has not protected Illinoisans, but the way he responds to that reality is to pretend that freedom is on the way.
Pritzker said the state would expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility starting April 12 to all Illinois residents 16 and older, outside of Chicago.

The governor also announced a “bridge phase” between the state’s current Phase 4 and a full reopening of the state in Phase 5. The bridge phase will open up capacity limits at businesses, sporting events, theaters and more.

The state will advance to the bridge plan once 70% of Illinois residents aged 65 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the state doesn’t see a reversal in the current trends for COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. As of Thursday morning, Pritzker said the state stood at 58% of those 65-and-older having received at least one shot.

In the bridge phase, restaurants can increase indoor capacity to 30% and outdoor dining capacity to 50%; health and fitness centers, offices, personal care businesses, museums, spectator events, theaters and performing arts, and zoos can increase to 60% capacity.

The bridge phase will last 28 days, Pritzker said, which is two coronavirus incubation cycles, for monitoring.
Other Illinois officials are also envisioning a day when the tyranny ends. But they don't envision an end to the political conditions that made tyranny possible.  It takes an opposition party to do that. Twelve months, 76 executive orders, and zero input by legislators.
Since the plan was created and publicized, rules, metrics and guidance have changed quickly and regularly, and the goal posts for returning to normalcy keep moving. But one thing has remained constant over the last year: Governor Pritzker still insists on unilaterally controlling every aspect of the COVID-19 response, and he refuses to allow for input from the legislative branch. The governor has issued 76 executive orders over the last year, and during that same time period, legislators have been offered exactly zero opportunities to weigh in on COVID-19 policy decisions.

The authors of the Illinois Constitution were clear in their intent when they created three co-equal branches of government. The legislative branch is responsible for writing and approving the laws, the executive branch is responsible for enacting the laws, and the judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the laws. Each branch is considered equal in its power- or at least it is supposed to. Our laws allow the governor to issue executive orders during emergencies. Those orders have a 30-day shelf life. The authors of the Constitution never intended for one individual to assume almost full control over the running of the state for months and months, and they never intended for the executive branch to become the policy-making branch.

So far, the state’s COVID-19 response efforts under JB Pritzker and his administration have been marked with controversy. We’ve seen inconsistent standards for different regions, an unemployment benefit system that remains broken, and a very rocky start to the vaccination program. Our continued calls for increased transparency and legislative involvement fall on deaf ears, and now we are told that the metrics required for full opening will change yet again, with the unveiling of a new phase, a “4.5” phase, before our state can enter Phase 5.

As local legislators, we are elected to serve as the voice of roughly 216,000 Illinoisans. Our constituents’ opinions are valid and important, yet their voices are being silenced because we are being silenced. We know our districts, and have a deep understanding of our communities’ unique characteristics. Yet our role has been marginalized as we are kept on the sideline for critical decisions that have decimated our business community and sent over one million Illinoisans to the unemployment line.
That editorial is from members of the legislative Republican caucus, and it's going to be on them to propose a more polished libertarian-populist message.  Now is the time to tie Democrats to softness on crime (that's a claim of long standing), softness on communism (ditto), and to the corona tyranny which failed to slow the spread but spread mortality from other causes, and economic distress.  First, get that majority.  then take the necessary steps to further limit the emergency authority of governors. "In the last year we’ve been locked in our homes, had our economy shut down, been forced to wear masks and watched as COVID-positive patients were brought into nursing homes. All because one man decreed it from St. Paul.” Or Springfield.

Alternatively, legislative Republicans in Illinois could encourage their colleagues in county government to show some independence.  Washington County, Wisconsin, executive Josh Schoemann shows the way.
"While the needs of public health, at the onset of a novel virus, took on additional weight and attention; so now, as the vaccine and mitigation strategies force the virus to recede, we must recalibrate to fully restore balance with economic, mental, spiritual, and social health needs that have been exacerbated by COVID-19," he said in the release.

He said the health department would continue to support the community by providing testing and access to the vaccine.
The county fair, church festivals, and beer gardens are on for the summer.

SOMEBODY TELL THESE INDULGED CHILDREN TO CHECK THEIR PRIVILEGE.

It's basketball tournament time, and still women's history month, and the heirs to Rosa Luxemburg have to have an inequality to carp about.
The teams had barely landed in Texas when complaints of inequity between the women’s and men’s tournaments roared over social media posts noting the women’s weight training facilities in San Antonio were severely lacking compared to what the men have in Indianapolis.
It wasn't limited to the symbolism of sanitized yoga mats, either.
“We are all grateful to be here and it took a lot of effort for them to put this all together,” UConn freshman All-American Paige Bueckers said on an AP Twitter chat Thursday night. “It’s more of a principle thing. It’s not just a weight room that’s a problem. It’s the inequality of the weight rooms that’s the problem. There’s another tweet going around with the swag bag. It’s not just the weight room. It’s the inequalities and the better stuff the men get.”
That's rich: here are people who have had the opportunity to practice and play, while rehearsals for musical ensembles are on hold, and laboratories probably limited to Zoom sessions; here are people who have nutrition coaches while their classmates often make use of food pantries; here, although the women's programs are less notorious for this than the men, are eligibility studies areas of concentration.  And they gripe about the CONTENTS OF THE SWAG BAG!  No doubt, dear reader, when I tune in one of the women's bracket games, I'll see players wearing warmup jackets with EQUALITY embroidered on them.  That, too, is rich, here we have participants in a CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT that teams have to QUALIFY FOR endorsing something that is completely at odds with what CHAMPIONSHIP or WINNING are about.

Maybe, just maybe, the people managing women's basketball, whether at the team, conference, association, or professional level, ought come up with a better value proposition than "look how unfair this all is."  That pitch has probably won over all the professional feminists and alphabet people that are there to be won over.  It's unlikely to entice any new eyeballs onto the screen or into the stands.

The tagline at Northern Illinois University this year was #bethechange.  I'm tempted, if there's still that sort of woke virtue signalling when the new season starts, to respond with #keepthechange.

A CORONA CURTAIN COMES DOWN.

In the aftermath of the World Trade Center being destroyed by jihadis, the United States, and much of the developed world, experienced a lot of security theater.  We didn't yet know that there were security Karens, but for some time thereafter, it was risky to be observed taking pictures of trains.  The ferroequinologist community circulated legal advice for photographers to read, understand, and have along to show to overweening public officials or civilians attempting to posture.

It got so bad for a while that Railway collected reader stories under the heading "Iron Curtain Britain."

These days, it isn't taking pictures of trains that scares people.
Back in July or August, I was walking along Alvarado Street minding my own business. Suddenly, someone with a Monterey city government worker logo on his shirt came up to me and told me I had to wear a mask. I asked him to show me in the regulations where it said that. The sign above admits of no exceptions but the regulatory document is pages long. A local lawyer friend only a few days earlier had explained to me that one wasn’t legally required to wear a mask if one were exercising. I was on my daily quick walk.

So he pulled out the regulations to show me that there wasn’t such an exception. I walked over to look over his shoulder so I could show him the exception. He told me he was uncomfortable with my being so close without a mask. That’s fair, I thought, so I donned my mask. Neither Bill (his name) nor I could find the exception that my lawyer friend had told me about. For that reason, I wore my mask for the rest of my walk.

But when I got back to my office and got on line, I did find a 6-foot exception but not the exercise exception. I printed out the regs and started carrying them with me on my daily walk.
Sooner or later, the official restrictions will expire. But the temptation for assorted busybodies to continue to enforce the corona curtain will continue.

By all means, respect the wishes of any business owner on the matter of mask wearing, but where the opportunity presents itself to take your business elsewhere, take it.

GOOD RIDDANCE.

Critical race theory is intellectually empty, but it still behooves people who know that to say that.
Rational, average people fear for their livelihoods and even their physical safety. Check out what transpired in Loudoun County, Virginia where teachers looked to “cancel” parents who disagreed with their schools’ critical race theory-based policies.

Nevertheless, as the absurdity level of critical race theory keeps going up and up, the regular folk are becoming braver, especially as sane progressives join them. If you encounter a situation like that in Loudoun County, fight it. Stand up and speak out. Don’t back down. Find allies. You’re on the right side. The more the critical race theorists are exposed, the quicker they’ll fade away.
If you're in a feisty mood, accuse the wokesters of pushing a libel on the human race.  "By repudiating reasoned argumentation, the storytellers reinforce stereotypes about the intellectual capacities of nonwhites."  I didn't make up that "deny coherent beliefs" formulation out of whole cloth, you know.

Then ask the critical studies types why they went from denouncing arguments against group differences in intellectual capabilities to reifying them.  "It used to be demeaning and even racist to suggest, for example, that black and other minority children cannot behave in class, nor do as well as white (and Asian, but that’s for another time) students academically."

17.3.21

THE LEGACY OF PENN CENTRAL.

The federal government created Amtrak and Conrail to hold the northeastern railroads together in the aftermath of Penn Central going bankrupt and taking almost all the carriers of the Official Region down with them.

It therefore makes sense that among the 50th anniversary commemorative paint jobs being applied to Amtrak diesels will be a nod to the improvised Amtrak blue and pointless arrow applied to an otherwise basic black Penn Central diesel.


There's a pleasantly large level of ferroequinologist tidbits in that video, which is unusual for a government agency that really ought to be bringing proper food service back to the overnight trains.

RESTORE OUR FREEDOM.

National Review's Chip Roy gets to the heart of the matter.  "By now, it should be obvious that [the continuing corona tyranny] isn’t about science and safety, but compliance and control, and it won’t stop unless we the people make it stop."  The time to make it stop is now.
Americans have had enough. No more extensions of the “two weeks to slow the spread.” It is time for the American people to demand the return of their lives, their livelihoods, and their liberties, and start saying no to those who wish to maintain control. And that begins by turning away from fear, planting our feet, and giving a firm and unflinching “no.”
I'm giving my Trump shot the two weeks the boffins suggest to let it take full effect. Then it's time for some road trips, advice about not travelling or not.

A LONG OVERDUE COLLAPSE OF THE TECHNOCRATIC VISION?

Seventeen years ago, I was pessimistic about emergence getting a foothold in politics.
The technocratic vision ... is it indeed passing from the scene, or will there be new generations of politicians and academicians to restore it? And yes, there is a generational dimension to it. Grover Norquist may have made Andrew Sullivan angry by calling the current crop of elders "anti-American" and made too obvious a reference to the maxim, "where there is death, there is hope." Mr. Norquist erred, however, in pinning the blame on the G.I. era cohort. The real Destructive Generation comprises those individuals who remembered World War II and Korea, but who were too young to be called up for those wars, and too old for Vietnam, and who decided on the basis of the New Deal and the World War that Something Had To Be Done. And yes, that Destructive Generation has for too long called the shots in the universities, the international institutions, and the mainstream press.
And, apparently, that Destructive Generation lasted long enough to still be in Positions of Authority when the Wuhan coronavirus got loose.  Michael Lind sees in their continued hold over the levers of power a clash of two models of governance.
The same four-part early progressive template tends to be applied by today’s progressives to a host of unrelated issues: delegation of power to technocrats insulated from the public; top-down, comprehensive plans; invention or exaggeration of emergencies to justify radical reforms; and justification of censorship in terms of a state of emergency.
You have seen those four elements, dear reader, in "trust the science;" in Official Washington grousing about the lack of "a plan" (meaning one hashed out on the Sunday shows and implemented by Executive Order); in the continued fear-mongering about people going to the beach or throwing a Frisbee around; and in the scolding of "mask deniers" or "corona deniers."  By all means read the entire article for elaboration.  I highlight one passage. "[The comprehensive lockdowns] merely reflected the nonrational preference of technocratic progressive political culture for more stringent and comprehensive government policies, rather than more limited and selective ones that still would have protected those members of society who were in fact at the greatest risk—namely, people over 65, and those with preexisting conditions that depressed their immune systems."

The task, dear reader, is for the people who have been hard done by under the past year of technocratic excess, to say NO.
[S]ooner or later there will be another crisis, and the dominant culture of technocratic progressivism and its adherents will insist it can only be addressed by expert-led, top-down, centralized government allocation of resources or jobs. Once again, whatever the new problem happens to be, we will be told that it is an emergency, that democratically elected officials must defer to the policy views of unelected academics or career civil servants, and that disagreement and debate threaten the survival of America and the personal safety of us all.
It is time to call attention to all the current policy failures, whether those are the antipoverty initiatives or inclusive education that teaches nothing or the corona shutdown theater.

Five years ago, I was pessimistic about a popular push-back against technocratic excess organizing within the Republican coalition.
That sounds like a formula for a Republican Party reduced to irrelevance, particularly at the national level, changing demographics or not.  There's much to appeal to the remaining yeomanry, whether as farmers, small business owners, practitioners of the skilled trades, but not much toward fostering the preservation, let alone the continued evolution, of the yeomanry.  Perhaps it's wishful thinking by Democrats.  But the future for Democrats also looks a lot like business as usual.
On the other hand, primarily Democrat lockdowns have slammed the yeomanry, and primarily Democratic pandering to the woke sentiments of the gentry in their high-rise condos or college towns is rendering the cities where the primarily Democrat dependent base lives uninhabitable.

It's going to take somebody to offer a different vision, though, and that's where I'm skeptical about Republicans or Libertarians getting a message together.
Complex adaptive systems tend to do what they d**n well please.  Institutional evolution is about mutation, selection, and adaptation.  The best thing for some of the institutions might be that they go away.  I'll give Mr Lind the final word.  "And though it’s impossible to know exactly how it will end, one thing is clear: In 2016, the old political system is crumbling, and a new American political order is being born."
What that is going to look like by 2022 or 2024 still isn't clear.

THE ILLINOIS PRIMARY WAS A YEAR AGO.

A new set of ukases took effect once the polls closed, but by month's end, their ineffectiveness at protecting people was becoming clearNational Review's Jim Geraghty takes stock of that year of failure.  "The hard lessons of this pandemic were discernible very early on." It is now time for a reckoning.  "It’s starting to become safe to come out. Which means we’re due — overdue, really — for those extremely consequential decisions."  Let us call the roll: the public health establishment, dictatorial governors, the lying mandarins of Pekin.

15.3.21

A FRACTURE IN TECHNOCRACY.

Streetsblog's Kea Wilson reports an intriguing development in Texas.
Often referred to by advocates as simply “the I-45 project” for the mega-highway upon which much of the construction would be focused, the massive effort would expand and re-route roughly 25 miles of the Space City’s aging downtown and northside freeways, displacing 1,000 disproportionately Black, Brown, and low-income households, along with a swath of businesses that employ almost 25,000 Houstonians.

[The Texas department of transportation] argues that the expansion is necessary to reduce congestion in the fast-growing region, despite decades of evidence that adding lane miles has the opposite effect.  Some advocates for the proposal have also claimed that the new highway design would be greener than what the city has now because it would bury some sections of the most high-polluting roads — but opponents have pointed that the state DOT wouldn’t be responsible for paying to actually put anything on those highway caps, and the COVID-battered city government probably won’t be able to afford it, either.
That's a lot going on, but if one part of government recognizes that funding from Washington is simply a fiction by which Houstonians get to sit in traffic at the expense of somebody else, and another part of government recognizes the dirty little secret of urban renewal, that might be a good thing.  "Mobility justice and environmental advocates, meanwhile, have almost uniformly decried the I-45 project as a boondoggle that recalls some of the most racist transportation projects of the urban renewal era, not to mention a massive step backwards for climate change."  You know a project is unpopular, if a critic characterizes it as one that would "make Robert Moses blush."

IT IS NEITHER CRITICAL NOR THEORY.

It is a faith tradition, and Samantha Harris shows the way to undermine it.
The bottom line is that our future as a free society depends on fighting back against the pall of orthodoxy that has descended over our educational institutions. But we must resist the temptation to fight back with the traditional tools of our ideological opponents — censorship and repression — and instead stay true to the freedoms we are fighting for.
That institutions of higher education can be accused of harboring orthodoxies illustrates just what sort of craven, cringing careerists are in charge these days.
The battle against these identity-based ideologies needs to be waged in the marketplace of ideas, not through censorship. Proponents of [Critical Race Theory], critical feminist theory, postcolonial theory, etc. have every right to argue for the validity of their positions, just as we have the right to argue for the validity of ours. We must recognize their rights even as we try to convince the world of the dangers of their arguments.

That does not mean, however, that they have the right to indoctrinate our children, or to create a hostile environment in which students or teachers are continually treated as “less than” on the basis of skin color. When these things happen — and they are happening — then we must fight back hard not only in the court of public opinion, but in courts of law as well.

Most people know that the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. But it also protects freedom of conscience — that is, the right to hold our personal thoughts and beliefs free from government intrusion
These are two separate arguments, aren't they?  I doubt, to engage the last paragraph, that anyone is arguing in defense of holding a white-supremacist view on the basis of freedom of conscience.  I suspect, though, that the proponents of empirically empty critical theories would rather hide behind the Critique of Pure Tolerance or any other useful appeal to their sole authority to speak, than to defend the evidence they offer in support of their assertions of systemic racism, let alone be required to contemplate what sort of evidence might move them to revise their priors.  Anyone who refuses to engage that sort of a question ought be viewed, presumptively, as engaging in indoctrination, and ignored, mocked, or disrespected accordingly.

GOVERNOR PRITZKER TRAILS BY 10,070.

The geographic area and population of Illinois are both similar to those in Sweden, and there are similarities of the Chicago and Stockholm metropolitan areas.  But  Springfield politicians are hazardous to your health.  Governor J. B. Pritzker (D-Lake Geneva) continues to micromanage and destroy local businesses.

A service called Worldometers has been keeping track of coronavirus infections and deaths, disaggregated in a number of ways.

The latest report from Sweden counts 712,527 infections and 13,146 deaths.
The latest report from Illinois counts 1,210,113 infections and 23,216 deaths.

Conditions in Illinois are such that a transition to a full reopening is in order.  If I have to keep extending this post until Anthony Fauci comes to his senses, or resigns, or until the governor is primaried, or until the ukases are vacated, or until the cows come home, I will.

The Centers for Disease Control are currently reporting over four million Trump shots (in many cases, these are both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines) administered statewide.  The statewide recovery rate is still around 98 percent.  The legislature, however, is still doing nothing to rein in the governor's ukases.