Politics

Licenses and Dead Bodies

Do you have a license for…finding dead bodies? Over on the left coast, things are proceeding about the way you’d expect. A nonprofit named We Heart Seattle, which helps with homeless encampment cleanup and ministry, unfortunately found a dead, decomposing body during one of its visits. The group reported the human remains to the relevant city authorities, which proceeded to clean up. But the local media jumped all over this, hectoring nonprofit head Andrea Suarez over whether she has a license to operate the grassroots organization.

“Over a million pounds of trash has been removed in green spaces and encampments in three years with over 11,000 hours of volunteer, boots-on-the-ground labor,” said Suarez, who started the organization during the pandemic. You would think local media would have better things to worry about, like why nonprofit organizations are more effectively doing what local governments set out to do or what conditions led to this homeless person dying. Instead, the thrust of the news write-up was all about whether Suarez’s organization is licensed. Just the muckraking media, at it again!

Evil tech bros try to “accelerate human achievement”: Earlier this week, a slide deck from a new company went viral among the San Francisco set, both tech bros and scolds alike. The fracas wasn’t really about the new company, Mentava, but rather served as a boiling-over of tensions about academic achievement for kids and whether math expectations should be raised, to pursue excellence, or lowered, to pursue equity.

Mentava, a buzzy education startup, says it aims to have kids finishing algebra II in fourth grade. But of course it does: Its slide deck promotes a disruptive education startup, so its goal is to sell a bold and ambitious version of the product that may or may not comport with reality.

Still, the idea that gifted kids ought to be spurred along the path to high achievement was very triggering to some San Franciscans, who’ve been spending their time scrapping high-level math offerings in the name of equity. (If you’re a California public school student, you probably won’t be allowed to take algebra I until ninth grade, which means taking calculus in high school will be much harder to do.)

“Why do these folks want kids learning math so fast? They want their labor and productivity to ‘accelerate human achievement,'” said one San Francisco scold. (The horror!)

What seems like a minor social media skirmish is actually representative of what each group thinks the future ought to look like. Note that one side is trying to force schools to conform to their preferred set of values, while the other is merely providing an option.

Biden worried about Nebraska Republicans: “President Joe Biden’s campaign officials have been in private talks with Nebraska Democrats after Republicans in the state began pushing for changes that could close off one of the president’s clearest paths to reelection,” reported Politico.

Nebraska would be transformed into “a winner-take-all state in presidential elections, as opposed to one that allocates a portion of its Electoral College votes based on results in individual congressional districts” if L.B. 764 passes. Both former President Donald Trump and the state’s Republican governor are looking to pressure lawmakers to repeal a 1991 law “that divides electors based both on who wins the state and how each candidate performs in its three congressional districts.”

It’s worth noting, per Politico, that “Republican activists have targeted the law precisely because in recent cycles, including 2020, the Democratic presidential candidate won the Omaha-based 2nd District, giving them an additional Electoral College vote.”

Scenes from New York: “The subway’s history, after all, was and is an immigration story. Whether they were from Palermo or Minsk or rural Alabama, the newest New Yorkers built it, and the newest New Yorkers still ride it. The former faced a lot of risk from which we all benefit.” Curbed compiled a beautiful piece filled with old subway construction photos from 120 years ago.

QUICK HITS

Is Utah getting it right on DEI? More DEI updates: The University of Texas at Austin is slashing positions in its DEI office to comply with the new state law, S.B. 17, which went into effect in January. Looks like there was some Chinese interference in Canadian elections, according to our northern neighbor’s intelligence officials. Tyler Cowen vs. Jonathan Haidt. Very much worth your time. Donald Trump reportedly loves Sinéad O’Connor. The most insane reporting from Aaron Sibarium, of a mandatory structural racism class that took place at UCLA’s medical school, in which a pro-Hamas presenter led students in prayer to “mama Earth,” who “was never meant to be bought, sold, pimped, or played.” The presenter also instructed students to pray for “black” and “brown” and “houseless people” who die due to the “crapatalist lie” of “private property.” In the lecture, modern medicine was called “white science.” It is quite unclear who was helped by this. Certainly not future patients. “Just as America’s churches were depopulated, Americans developed a new relationship with a technology that, in many ways, is the diabolical opposite of a religious ritual: the smartphone,” wrote The Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson. And where “digital life is disembodiedasynchronousshallow, and solitary,” religious rituals “put us in our bod[ies]” and “forc[e] us to set aside an hour or day for prayer, reflection, or separation from daily habit.” This sort of ritual “often requires that we make contact with the sacred in the presence of other people, whether in a church, mosque, synagogue, or over a dinner-table prayer.” Pronouns and discrimination:

Actually, it’s not clear at all.

1) Nonbinary pronouns were not statistically significantly different from binary pronouns

2) Employers appear to discriminate against pronoun disclosure at all even gender-conforming pronouns

It’s most obviously political discrimination. https://t.co/lvwkTUAUDm

— Lyman Stone 石來民 ???????????? (@lymanstoneky) April 3, 2024

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