“This is not a black and white issue,” Tom intoned.

The title is word play called a ‘Swifty’: A punning relationship between an adverb/adjective and the statement it refers to. This arises from the style in which the Tom Swift juvenile science fiction/adventure books were written up until the 70’s. I haven’t read any later than that. I fear woke erosion of the franchise.

Back to Swifties. A couple examples might clarify the word play:

I’ve got to fix the car,” said Tom mechanically.
I love hockey,” said Tom puckishly.

Like me, many elderly (or post elderly) writers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and inventors were inspired by the Tom Swift books: Ray Kurzweil, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Paul Allen, and Bill Gates among them. Steve Wozniak had this to say:

“Another hero was Tom Swift, in the books. What he stood for, the freedom, the scientific knowledge and being an engineer gave him the ability to invent solutions to problems. He’s always been a hero to me. I buy old Tom Swift books now and read them to my own children.”

Here are a few example titles that explain why these books excited these creators:
Tom Swift and His Wireless Message -1911
Tom Swift and His Photo Telephone -1914
Tom Swift and His Giant Magnet -1932
Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship -1954

You can probably put an individual’s name on each of those titular dreams – now real world accomplishments. Several of those names are in the list above.

We owe the authors of the TS books a bit of respect for their effect on the imagination of daring individuals who were young 60 or more years ago. We owe those now rich, formerly young, for much of our current comfort and wealth.

What is inspiring the next generation of Wozniaks is unclear. We’re not going to have Tom Swift. If our teachers unions have their way, our kids are going to be reading Heather Has Two Mommies and Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness.

Speaking of things that can’t happen anymore, it wasn’t long ago that NPR was acknowledging Tom Swift:

“Science fiction hero Tom Swift has amazed children with his incredible inventions since combustion and electricity drove the nation into a new era. These stories captured a cultural love of science and inspired such famous figures as Steve Wozniak and Isaac Asimov — all while predicting new technologies decades in advance.”

Now, that cultural love of science is under attack by ideologues who dismiss the scientific method as racist, by entrepreneurs who virtue signal by selective private censorship, and by so-called scientists who bring science into disrepute in exchange for celebrity. Who wants to grow up to be Ibram X. Kendi, Mark Zuckerberg, or Anthony Fauci?

That story wouldn’t be published today on NPR.

Tom Swift‘s history would be seen as “problematic” now. The TS books of the early 20th century had racist characteristics, and all (of the first 73 – through 1971, at least) celebrate objective, rational, linear thinking; delayed gratification, and self reliance – which the Smithsonian tells us are markers of ‘whiteness.’

It is by no means obvious, to anyone aside from Robin D’Angelo, et. al. that the racial anachronisms of the Tom Swift books affected those inspired by them. Nonetheless, TS books will be cancelled in the U.S. as soon as Ibram and Robin get around to it. Cat in the Hat comes first. Tom Swift is a Fahrenheit 451 candidate to be burned in Canada first…

Woke social media could remove all trace of my ever having existed!” said Tom unpersonably.

Which brings me to the actual point of this post. What if I told you a private individual and a few others “designed a [CCP virus] vaccine, and contracted a company to manufacture that vaccine in June 2020 for under $5k.” Now, the individual who arranged this is not a Swiftian teenager, he’s got a PhD. But this guy named Josiah Zayner did just that. This amazing feat won’t be inspiring many young people, though. When Zayner started sharing this info he was banned from YouTube for life.

Which is why – combined with corporate-news silence – you probably haven’t heard about it.

Read this whole thing: The Crime of Curiosity. It carries an inspiring call to individual possibility.

bypassing elite institutions, democratizing science, and biological self-determination, or every individual’s right to his or her own body, which includes their DNA — and the right to change it.

And don’t forget why John Galt, an adult version of Tom Swift, started the strike.

Every decent man

Just in time for H. L. Mencken’s birthday.

Mark Steyn, perhaps Mencken’s closest modern counterpart, brings us these notes:
Bush Re-Enters the Room
The Years We Wasted

As Mencken wrote:

“Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”
————

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
————

“It is the invariable habit of bureaucracies, at all times and everywhere, to assume…that every citizen is a criminal. Their one apparent purpose, pursued with a relentless and furious diligence, is to convert the assumption into a fact. They hunt endlessly for proofs, and, when proofs are lacking, for mere suspicions. The moment they become aware of a definite citizen, John Doe, seeking what is his right under the law, they begin searching feverishly for an excuse for withholding it from him.”

Or punishing him for the quest:

[E]ven former Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who has been consistently pro-vaccine and very friendly to the virus policies of Anthony Fauci and Biden, observed that the president’s mandate speech was “delivered to leave you feeling angry if vaccinated, and ashamed if unvaccinated. It was a war speech, but the enemy wasn’t the virus — it was your neighbor.”

And this just in from ragnardaneskjold – in response to my comment that, “Dubya’s 9/11 speech was just family Trump hatred“:

When petty animus meets modern virtue signaling amid apparent ignorance of the chasm between a few broken windows and premeditated mass murder.

To which we should add arson, including of Federal buildings, and mass looting.

On Jan. 6 there was no arson, the looting was minor… the few objects looted already the people’s property. If you’re pissed about the lectern, just remember it wasn’t Nancy Pelosi’s: It was yours.

Those who think it was Pelosi’s probably agree with Dubya.

Finally, let’s stipulate that while Trump also more than satisfies Mencken’s disdain for windbag authoritarian assholes, his stewardship never approached Biden’s blatant scupidity (my stupidity/cupidity portmanteau). Trump, at the very least, has a respect for the United States of America that Biden can’t even imagine. And Trump has a will of his own.

The yawning gap between the lesser of the Trump/Biden evils is being made terrifyingly apparent every time the animatronic placeholder occupying the assisted living facility now operating at 1600 Pennsylvania opens his mouth, or has a decision made for him about which sycophantic reporter’s softball question he is allowed to answer.

And he’s doing his best to increase to cost of ammo.

This post is not about that

The 20th anniversary of the death of 2,977 Americans, killed in a devastating attack by fundamentalist Islamic conspirators in the name of Allah, is not a time for politicization. This post is not about that.

It is about our ignominious and humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, which our President intended to use as a political prop.

That war is paused. It is not over.

A pall hangs cynically over the day.

Maybe it would have gone better if we’d waited to abandon the Afghanis until October 7th; the 20th anniversary of our first attacks on the Taliban for refusing to extradite the man who financed and planned the 9/11 attack.

We will see if 20 years – there are Afghanis who never before experienced Taliban rule, and have been exposed to American troops – makes an historical difference. I think exposure to American troops is our best bet for a good outcome.

Whether 20 years from now it has made a difference is irrelevant to the reverence we should feel for the people who died in the Pentagon, the Twin Towers, or flight 93. But that’s harder now, with the President’s thumb in our eyes.

Twenty years, or 200, makes no difference to the gratitude we should feel for the Americans who served in Afghanistan. They are all heroes, especially those who gave their lives.

But now the living have to be wondering if it was worth it. To those true to duty, honor, country, I say this: It was. We did not experience another terror attack in those 20 years, and in 2001 we were expecting many. That you served honorably stands apart from the machinations of a senile and petulant old man occupying the White House. Maybe all the Afghan teenagers who experienced a different view of the world will undermine the totalitarians. Especially young women.

We didn’t have to leave this way. Our leaders chose it. Many of those who made and implemented the policies we followed for 2 decades should be held accountable for their lies and corruption. Those responsible for this “ending” should be removed.

First among them is President Joseph Robinette Biden, who betrayed his trust in exchange for a photo op planned for today. That opportunity has vanished in shame and embarrassment. The President cannot not say a single word about sacrifice, unity, or honor that would not be seen as rank hypocrisy. His date certain, unconditional bug out was a cynical political stunt, the cost of which will still be with us 120 years hence. Biden’s quest for political advantage exceeded his fading grasp.

Biden sought to trumpet an end to the 9/11 war so he could make a political ad. Those who didn’t resign in the face of this venal fantasy are also culpable – because how could they not ​know the intent simply from reading the insane orders?

The President’s remarks will be now delivered prerecorded. He can’t speak clearly, and he can only answer scripted questions. I’ll not be listening, but I am grateful he won’t be on public display.

Here is a truncated, partial timeline of Biden’s perfidy:

On July 1st, Bagram Air Base was abandoned. Our forces slipped away in the night without notifying the Afghan Armed Forces. Biden apparently thought the Afghans wouldn’t take this amiss.

But, President Biden knew the Afghan government was shaky. On July 23rd he urged the President of Afghanistan in a phone conversation to cover it up.

“I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” Biden said. “And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”

I think the picture was quite different for the Afghan President. Especially after we snuck away from Bagram, and left a huge cache of materiel to be looted.

I generally find “whataboutism” objectionable, but Trump was impeached for a more innocent phone call.

By August 15th, Afghan troops gave Bagram up and the Taliban took control. One could certainly predict this would erode the Afghan Armed Forces will to fight. It was also August 15th when people were climbing into helicopters from our embassy’s roof. Possession of Bagram would have been helpful in an evacuation, but the President had adamantly refused to authorize the troops needed to secure it. In any case, by August, we’d have had to seize it from the new Taliban owners.

As recently as September 1st the President’s press secretary is still obfuscating this phone call:

“”I’m not going to get into private diplomatic conversations or leaked transcripts of phone calls,” the press secretary told reporters Wednesday.

“The content of the reporting is consistent with what we have said many times publicly,” she added.”

That much, at least is true. That matters if you think anything they say is forthright. Here’s the President on July 8,

“There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a [sic] embassy in the—of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.”

Even the failure of that prediction did not prompt a reconsideration of methods or timing for extracting Americans from Kabul. Bagram, by then, being a moot point.

Maybe the President should at least have waited for the October 7th anniversary. We might have seen a better execution of the withdrawal and he could still have had his photo op.

As the helicopters left from the roof of our embassy the President retired to Camp David for a week; incommunicado with the American people.

The Taliban have now formed a provisional government including Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is currently wanted by the FBI to the tune of a $10 million reward; no women (Our State Department is disappointed: “We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government.”), and

Four ex-Guantanamo Bay inmates Obama freed in exchange for Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl are named as top commanders in Afghanistan’s new Taliban government

I can’t help but think about what former President Obama said about president Biden:

“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.”

…in this case Barry, he had help

Merit and equity: Mutually exclusive

TOC’s need to mention Kurt Vonnegut’s short story Harrison Bergeron is accelerating. It’s time to convert “bergeron” to a verb.

A recent example from Beth Mitchneck (professor emerita at the University of Arizona), and Jessi L. Smith (associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Colorado.)
We Must Name Systemic Changes in Support of DEI

DIE is diversity, equity and inclusion. I don’t think “associate vice chancellor” is a particularly diverse, equitable, or inclusive title, but within the article’s context “professor emerita” is most amusing:

Most of the academy functions by using a narrow definition of merit limited to a neoliberal view of the university: that merit is indicated by obtaining funding dollars or by producing lots of peer-reviewed journals or juried exhibits in prestigious outlets that garner a high number of citations or visits. Some institutions also include attracting many doctoral students or obtaining high numbers of student credit hours in their definitions of success…

Admitting that the normative definitions of success and merit are in and of themselves barriers to achieving the goals of justice, diversity, equity and inclusion is necessary but not sufficient to create change.

Far be it from me to disagree that Universities’ metrics are corrupt, but to suggest the soaring growth in employment of administrative positions in diversity, equity and inclusion is ineffective must be heretical.

Four years ago The University of Michigan already had:

nearly 100 diversity administrators, more than 25 of them earning over $100,000 a year (see chart below). Collectively, they cost the University of Michigan, with fringe benefits, about $11 million annually. Adding in other costs such as travel and office space expenses, the total cost rises to perhaps $14 million, or $300 for every enrolled student at the U of M in the fall semester 2017.

If this level of DIE oversight hasn’t solved the problem, what would?

Professors Mitchneck and Smith make some hand waving attempts to specify the metrics they would find meritorious, but mostly it’s subjective.

Beth suggested in a recent webinar that we move toward impact portfolios, modeled in part on the portfolios that artists routinely produce, that would demonstrate the ways in which our work as defined by institutional missions has indeed contributed to achieving those missions. For example, Utrecht University has just announced a new faculty recognition and rewards system that aligns with institutional values about open science and excludes the use of impact factors.

While these examples stand out for the good, that is, in many ways, the problem. While we can point to the few institutions that are trying to change merit structures, many others seem resistant to change. Why is that? Do people fear that tenure will go away? Maybe. We believe that fear would be unwarranted if we developed more equitable procedures, practices and policies that reflected the true diversity of the research and societal impacts that our institutional missions espouse. It is time to start living those missions.

TOC is always ready to help. The number of papers published, number of citations of those papers, number of doctoral students attracted, and number of grants received don’t tell the whole story of a professor’s value. Especially in the social sciences, huge numbers of junk papers are published and cited. Quality is lacking.

But ‘impact portfolios’ of diversity? Inclusion? Equity? Haven’t we been trying that? The UofM horde of DIE enforcers is typical. If they don’t have as much merit as the professors upon whom they turn their gimlet eyes, maybe we could fire the entire diversity cadre and enhance the salaries and job security of the profs based on existing metrics. Salaries and job security, after all, are what they’re on about.

To reinforce the logic (can I say that?) of this plan, let’s look at how the University of California-Davis advertises for an assistant professor of sustainable aquaculture and coastal systems. It lays out the productivity metrics essential to the educational mission these DIE martinets enforce.

Note that there are 18 words about research and teaching in the job description above and 176 words (in bold) about a candidate’s commitment to DIE (diversity, inclusion, and equity).

(Thanks to Mark Perry for both examples.)

Some dismiss proposals such as Mitchneck’s and Smith’s as mere left-wing academiot nattering. Not that it isn’t left-wing academiot nattering. But it is not “mere.” This is redefining the word “merit” the same way they redefined “equity;” as “Equal Outcome.” However “merit” is interpreted, we’ll know we failed if everyone doesn’t come out equal.

There are many other head shaking instances of this clap-trap most of us ignore, but the evidence that we should pay close attention has become overwhelming. An excellent example is Jordan Peterson’s objection to compelled pronoun usage in 2016. Peterson was vilified as a transphobe, and his suggestion that the full legal weight of the State would be brought to bear was mocked. Now, various institutions are mandating the use of ‘zir,’ or whatever the flavor of the day is.

When statues of Columbus were attacked, those who it said it wouldn’t stop there – that Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington were next – were mocked. Well, in Wisconsin a statue titled “Forward” was torn down because it included an American flag in the same riot where the statue of Col. Hans Christian Heg (a Norwegian immigrant and abolitionist who fought for the North in the Civil War) was toppled. They’ve removed a 70-ton boulder from the Madison campus, which, over 90 years ago, a newspaper referred to, once, using a slur for blacks.

The usual suspects were calling for removal of a Lincoln statue a year ago.

Our National Archive has placed a “harmful language” warning on the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence.
National Archive recommends removing ‘charters of freedom’ description from founding documents | Daily Mail Online

If merit must be redefined, let’s be very, very careful about it. And objective, not fashionable.

Deworming Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone describes ivermectin as a “horse dewormer” despite 35 years of primarily human treatment.
Rolling Stone Issues ‘Update’ After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked

How did curiosity about potential drugs for CCP virus prophylaxis become so politicized that stupendously obvious lies are a journalistic norm? And defending the lies a rite of passage?

Joe Rogan must be suppressed because of ‘Progressives’ need for control and status? Because he is dangerously popular and might encourage narrative questioning? And because this sort of distortion gets clicks for RS from the elect, elite, anointed cadre wannabes who represent its shrinking audience?

Ivermectin, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, is a wonder drug on the order of penicillin and aspirin:

…ideal in combating two of the world’s most devastating and disfiguring diseases which have plagued the world’s poor throughout the tropics for centuries. It is now being used free-of-charge as the sole tool in campaigns to eliminate both diseases globally. It has also been used to successfully overcome several other human diseases and new uses for it are continually being found…

There are few drugs that can seriously lay claim to the title of ‘Wonder drug’, penicillin and aspirin being two that have perhaps had greatest beneficial impact on the health and wellbeing of Mankind. But ivermectin can also be considered alongside those worthy contenders, based on its versatility, safety and the beneficial impact that it has had, and continues to have, worldwide—especially on hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people.

The world’s horse population may be around 60 million: Ivermectin is primarily a human drug, unless those horses are each being dosed… very frequently.

And ivermectin is less dangerous to humans than omeprazole (Prilosec), another human drug used in horses. As are most all drugs given to horses. Should omeprazole be called “horse gastritis preventer?” After all, the NCBI speculates that omeprazole could have a role in CCP virus treatment.

RS doesn’t even have enough respect for their audience to use a stock “people queued up” photo appropriate to the season. Which is probably fair enough for people convinced no one but them can understand the words “proper dosage.”

These are same nanny-statists who think no-fly lists are appropriate for unvaccinated American citizens; and simultaneously excuse spewing illegal aliens country-wide without testing for CCP virus. Where’s Biden’s “infrastructure project” to at least force the illegals to mask up?

Aside from sheer perversity in forcing others to wear masks and the smug satisfaction they find in pretending only they “follow the science,” they also see an opportunity to impoverish humans in the name of Gaia – as noted in this Nature article. It’s the same shit sandwich, on slightly different bread.

Making every day “Earth Day.” AKA, “Energy Poverty Day.” It’s virtue beaconing.

We haven’t built the nukes that would have solved their CO2 problem because they wouldn’t allow it. Having precipitated the problem, their “solution” is for the rest of us to freeze in the dark or bake in the sun; drying clothes and cooking on their schedule. I think we can be sure this only applies to flyover country.

They won’t be applying the carbon allowance to air conditioning in DC any time soon. No, there will be conditions. Those people have to be kept comfortable enough to plot the Afghanistan withdrawal, and the next phase of money printing.

Meanwhile, here in Michigan, Consumers Energy offers incentives to reduce the 50% summer surtax they’ve imposed on electricity between 2PM and 7PM because their windmills and solar panels are inadequate, and because they’ve decommissioned some nuclear plants. Control my thermostat? Two words.