Ack Shu Ally

On the one hand, this article, by a Joe Morgan, explains why he is rejecting the “Learn to Code” meme, especially as applied to his kids under the chanting point “coding is the new litracy”:

I’m a Developer. I Won’t Teach My Kids to Code, and Neither Should You.

Now, in my opinion the presented reason is a little specious:

Coding is not the new literacy. While most parents are literate and know to read to their kids, most are not programmers and have no idea what kind of skills a programmer needs. Coding books for kids present coding as a set of problems with “correct” solutions. And if your children can just master the syntax, they’ll be able to make things quickly and easily. But that is not the way programming works. Programming is messy. Programming is a mix of creativity and determination. Being a developer is about more than syntax, and certain skills can only be taught to the very young.

Sure.

And by the exact same logic, one shouldn’t teach your kids to read, write or speak your family’s native language, or any others, since you can say exactly the same thing about verbal and written expression; it’s more than just stringing words together, as anyone who’s had to listen anyone trying to do a foreign language out of a phrase book can tell you.

Of course, Morgan is right about what’s really behind “coding”:

That feeling of quality is the hardest thing for many developers to master. Well-designed code feels good to work with, and ugly code will make developers involuntarily cringe. The best developers learn to fuse abstract logic with the sensitivity of an artist. Learning to trust that aesthetic feeling is as much a part of development as any algorithm or coding pattern.

That’s true – just as it is for written and spoken language. Or anything involving having to think critically, to reason and to work one’s way through a complex system, whether language or software engineering, politics, sales, or human relationships for that matter.

But the reason I, as a non-coder who works in a roomful of software engineers, cringe when I year people whose jobs don’t involve “coding” telling people who’ve just lost jobs to “learn to code?”

Because if you hitch your wagon to “code’, your job is as secure as the next country full of low-priced developers allows it to be. We spent the 2000s shipping software engineering jobs to Russia and India; in the 2010s, Romania and the Philippines and Slovenia and even Bolivia started taking development jobs.

It’s entirely possible coding will be to the 2020s what assembly line work was to the 1970s.

Learn to think.

How Times Change

About this time seven years ago, I was writing the series of blog posts that eventually become my book Trulbert.

The book described a fictional breakdown of society after a financial cataclysm. I did it as satire because, honestly, it seemed like a more effective approach to the subject; Kurt Schlichter is going to put his kids through medical school with the proceeds from his fiction about a second Civil War, and he’s far from alone. And sometime humor is the best journalism.

Which isn’t to say Trulbert was “the best journalism”, but sometimes the indirect approach is the best one.

I’ve pondered doing a follow-up.

And I’m having a really, really hard time getting to “satirical” again. And I think it ties into the G.K. Chesterton quote – “when everything is absurd, satire is impossible”.

The Brandon Administration, and the times it rules over, are impossible to satirize.

I’m trying to figure out the angle for the next book.

A children’s story?

A musical?

I got nothing.

Build Bull Blocker

Scene: it is 2020. The scene fades up in a DNC/Biden campaign office, in the middle of the 2020 presidential race.

A group of democratic party operatives is sitting in a crowded, messy campaign office, with video screens silently relaying the news all around them.

Operative 2: “OK, we are clear on this; rebuilding the economy from this pandemic is going to be a huge issue.“

Operative 1 (the campaign Manager): “That is why the “American Phoenix“ program, the presidents plan for what he will do about the economy after he’s elected, will be so important“.

Operative 3: “So we’ve gone over with the president exactly how he supposed to message this plan?”

Operative 4: “We’ve been rehearsing it every waking hour”

(Operatives 2-4 chuckle)

Intern: (Walks into the room, holding a TV remote, looking nervous) “Sir? Senator Biden is on television right now…)”

Operative 1: “Right? He’s supposed to be, isn’t he“ (Other operatives vigorously nod)

Intern: (points remote at television monitor, clicks a button) “I think you need to see this, sir…”

Candidate Biden (on video) “… my Build Back Better plan will put Americans back to work…“

(All of the operatives blanche)

Operative 4: “what the…“

Operative 1: “How the hell did he get from American Phoenix to… what did he say?“

Operative 2: “build… Better… I have no idea.“

Operative 3: “What?“ Operative 1: “Well, I’ll be; he actually was too senile to remember “American Phoenix“.

Operative 2: “so what do we do?“

Operative 1: “Well, he’s sort of made the decision for us. American phoenix is now… Better… Build now? What was it?

Operative 3: “back build…“

Operative 4: “I have no idea“.

Intern: (Silently rewinds the video)

 

(And SCENE)

Well, That’s A Big Slip-up!

Philippe Cunningham, Minneapolis’s first transgender black city Council woman, says that even though she has spoken, and voted for, defunding the police, she doesn’t actually support defunding the police.

Or… Something like that?

Phillipe Cunningham is the first black, gay, female-to-male transgender person to become a council member in the city. Last year, Cunningham appeared alongside eight other council members at a protest in Powderhorn Park. The centerpiece of this demonstration was a stage that prominently featured the words “DEFUND POLICE” in bold, all capital letters.

Although Cunningham voted late last year to remove $8 million of funding from the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), she said she doesn’t actually want to defund the police and was “deceived” into standing on the defund police stage.

Apparently Cunningham was dealing with a pretty incredible con man (con person?), who deceived her into saying an awful lot of things that she never really believed:

“It is possible for us to keep our own community safe,” Cunningham said. “In north Minneapolis as the buildings were being broken and burned by white supremacists and extremists, MPD was nowhere to be found … so we had to come together ourselves in order to protect our community.”

Cunningham also praised the people “who threw the first bricks at police officers at Stonewall,” calling on the crowd to “honor our elders.”

Apparently the ne’er-do-wells have moved on from the “Nigerian prince“ scam, and done it in a big way.

Be careful out there.

They Told Me…

…that if I voted for Republicans, it’d usher in a hellscape of misery and deprivation.

And they were right.

The wealthiest society in history, at the greatest time in history to be a human, is being told by the Handmaidens of the Elite to get ready for, in effect, rationing.

Remember this.

Let’s go, Brandon.

Vibrant

Perhaps you’ve heard – it’s been in all the headlines; a shooting in a Saint Paul bar left one dead and 14 injured.

It took place in one of the many bars along West Seventh that suffered horribly with the shutdown of all events at the XCel Center, Ordway and the Science Museum, and the concertgoers and hockey fans and general tourists that used to crowd the area on a beautiful evening.

And the crowd that replaced them, when they could open at all, was a little…edgier? More likelly to cause problems? Bars in the area, and up on Cathedral Hill, had a much different atmosphere. Charged. Jumpy. Ready to blow.

And at the Truick Park – across from Cossetta, where the Seven Corners Hardware store used to be – things finally blew up.

Now, most of the politicians in Saint Paul – a city controlled by the DFL for over 60 years, and where county prosecutors have all but given up, well, prosecuting, had the good common sense to shut the hell up.

Not Carlos Marianil, the DFLer who “represents” the neighborhood.

But the three perps that where arrested all had lengthy felony records – so they wouldn’t have taken any background checks, whether “Universal”, or for that matter ‘intelligent and meaningful”, or not.

And who would have entered a “Red Flag” order on them?

Rep. Mariani’s next statement wasn’t especially intelligent – but it was meaningful, albeit in a sinister way:

So here’s the message; if you start a business in Saint Paul, after the state tried to kill you off with the hamfisted lockdown, and the Karens that make up the majority in your neighborhood decide to keep hiding in their basements and not go to bars and hockey games and shows at the Ordway, and you have to take whatever clientele you can to stay afloat, and problems erupt, your government will try to stuff you under the bus.

But! If you see that the clientele might have the potential to cause problems, and they’re not conveniently politically neutral (like people wearing motorcycle “club” paraphernalia)? Well, then the locals in and out of government will stuff you, on the other hand, under the bus: when the late, great “Bar Louie” chain tried to see to its own security, in exactly the way Mariani demands, the Karens from the Non-Profit/Industrial Complex were waiting to stomp on that as well. If it walks like a gang member and talks like a gang member, apparently you’re a racist.

So to take Mariani, and both city councils and both county prosecutors at their words:

  1. if you try to pre-empt trouble, you’re racist.
  2. If you make the the best of things and the crowd causes problems, they’ll throw you under the bus.
  3. The county attorneys won’t touch the petty criminals, and even the not so petty ones can’t seem to get put in jail no matter how they try.
  4. And if you say that that you expect the government to which you pay taxes to see to public safety? That’s your privilege talking.

Starting a business here sounds like. a great bet, doesn’t it?

Fearless Prediction: The media will start running even more “thjink” pieces on how it’s “Racist” to demand law and order.

Counterintuitive

A broken clock is right twice a day.

Which is about 729 times a year more than the New York Times is right.

But here we are.

Excellent piece by David Leonhardt, on how the terrible news coverage of the Covid pandemic is a reflection of human nature (And, I will also infer, some of the worst aspects of modern American media culture). In this case, the fact that people love reductionistic stories with heroes and villains, and that journalists (and the business people they report to) are not only basically human, but know that that bit of human nature brings eyeballs and dollars.

And that’s been on display:

In the case of Covid, the fable we tell ourselves is that our day-to-day behavior dictates the course of the pandemic. When we are good — by staying socially distant and wearing our masks — cases are supposed to fall. When we are bad — by eating in restaurants, hanging out with friends and going to a theater or football game — cases are supposed to rise.

The idea is especially alluring to anybody making an effort to be careful and feeling frustrated that so many other Americans seem blasé. After all, the Covid fable does have an some truth to it. Social distancing and masking do reduce the spread of the virus. They just are not as powerful as people often imagine.

The main determinants of Covid’s spread (other than vaccines, which are extremely effective) remain mysterious. Some activities that seem dangerous, like in-person school or crowded outdoor gatherings, may not always be. As unsatisfying as it is, we do not know why cases have recently plunged. The decline is consistent with the fact that Covid surges often last for about two months before receding, but that’s merely a description of the data, not a causal explanation

People like to see, Or think they see, their actions having an impact on the larger world.

Somebody has found a market feeding that impression, Including The very human tendency for people together in tribes.

The Karen tribe seems to be descended from the crowd of mean girls and bullies in junior high.

A Rohrschach Blob

The recent school shooting in Arlington Texas was all things to all people.

To “progressive“, it was a sign that “gun violence“ was still a huge bogeyman.To some fairly reductionist people on what is sometimes called “the right“, the news that the shooter was a black teenager, especially after a video of a chillingly violent altercation in a classroom that was said to have led up to the episode, confirmed a raft of biases about black teens, public schools and the possibility of rehabilitating violent teenage boys. Which, it was assumed, the shooter was.

To others, it was yet another sign that the law enforcement system had failed to put a repeat offender in jail, allowing him to continue to predate on society. Although to be fair, coming from people in the Twin Cities,

Turns out the story may be a lot more complicated than that, and that nobody had “wealthy black kid from a loving home, who has been bullied and robbed for being fairly well to do, shooting in self-defense“ on their Urban juvenile crime bingo card.

Berg‘s 18th Law is called a Law for a reason.

Shortage?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I’ve been following the debate on whether vaccine mandates will cause staffing shortages. Had a few tests done at the hospital this morning. Quietly asked the RN about the vaccine. She hasn’t gotten it, does not intend to. She’s with an “agency” which means she’s not part of the giant conglomerate health care provider and isn’t bound by their rules. She’s seen stuff, read stuff, she affirmed – strictly off the record and between her and me – that I’m not the only one with serious doubts. We’re not crazy no matter what they tell us.

I received excellent care from a non-corporate nurse, for which I am grateful and also amused. The regulation says any employer with more than 100 nurses must . . . oh, we’ve only got 90. Our sister (but completely independent) companies also have 90, each. And each nurse only works 29 hours for each company. They’re exempt. No vaccine. But excellent patient care. And the giant conglomerate can proudly announce their in-house staff is fully vaccinated with no staffing shortage.

Potemkin compliance all the way down. You watch, they’ll be ‘independent contractors’ next.

Joe Doakes

People underestimate the cost of widespread ignoring of laws because they are widely considered to be wrong, stupid, corrosive of freedom and the like.

It doesn’t end well. And it’s not the peoples fault.

Campaign Advice

To: All Republican Candidates for Everything, Everywhere
From: Mitch Berg, Obstreporous Peasant
Re: Your 2022 Plans

Dear GOPers,

There are a lot of good things to run on against Democrats in this cycle:

  • Crime
  • The collapse of education
  • Crime
  • The economy
  • Crime

But if you’re not running on the, not merely “erosion”, but the affirmative assault on freedom by the government, you don’t deserve to win, and this nation deserves what awaits.

To wit:

Your mission is – or should be – clear.

That is all.

Confirmed

35 years ago, during Minneapolis’s first ground of gang violence, a police sergeant, perhaps in a combination of hyperbole and fatigue, told me that the safest place to be in a gang shootout is the target. Gang-bangers don’t spend a lot of range time; they love that John Woo horizontal grip; they spray and pray – never moreso now that the streets are full of illegal Glock full-auto trigger conversions, which will empty an 18 round magazine in a second and a half with all the accuracy of trying to knit while riding an untamed bronco.

That Sergeant, God bless him, just keeps getting proven right:

Miles of full auto gunfire at car-to-car range – and no casualties. One dead and four injured – from the car crash.

Thanks, Sarge.

Consent!

Chicago / Cook County prosecutors are declining to charge gang members for homicides – partly because witnesses are terrified to speak out…

….and partly because they, to quote a line that hardly ever works for rapists, “consented” (I’ve added emphasis):

While she wouldn’t specify what other evidence prosecutors needed to file charges, the police report acknowledged that victims of the shootout weren’t cooperating with investigators.

But the report also framed the state’s attorney’s office’s decision to decline charges in a different light: “Mutual combatants was cited as the reason for the rejection.” Mutual combat is a legal term used to define a fight or struggle that two parties willingly engage in.

This should revolutionize self-defense cases: “Your honor, the decedent voluntarily entered my client’s house. My client voluntarily shot him”.

Well, that’d be too simple, wouldn’t it?

Offsetting

On the one hand, I see stories like this Dash people protesting at the home have a school board member…

…and point out that what they’re doing isn’t really a whole lot better than what John Thompson did.

On the other hand, I read stories like this, and wonder if a little well focused fear wouldn’t be a very good idea for a lot of public officials?

Already Gone

From a letter to the editor:

And, in cozy bungalows in Highland Park, and Victorian proto-mansions in Crocus Hill, and condominiums down by Raymond, dozens of smug, cosseted nonprofit employees no doubt chortled “Good! More city for us!”, too snugly molded in their ideological bubbles to see what this means.

Not Our Kind, Dear

Victor Davis Hanson, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, explains why he longer works for the magazine of William F. Buckley:

I think there were certain people in the Republican movement, or establishment, who felt it is their duty to internally police their own, and that’s kind of a virtue signal to the left.

We are just part of your class, we share the same values as you do, and we keep our crazies. And they are not empirical.

Empiricism is hardly a growth industry, but clinging to tradition has its charms, especially if doing so allows you to strike down your rivals. There’s a long history of keeping crazies at National Review. During his long reign at NR, Buckley famously put paid to the Birchers and anarcho-capitalists like Murray Rothbard, casting them to the outer darkness. Later on, Buckley cast out writers he had championed, including Joseph Sobran and Pat Buchanan, both for anti-Semitism. My father subscribed to NR and I would read it cover to cover in my youth. Once I set up my own household, I subscribed for over a decade, but after a while the value proposition wasn’t there.  

Buckley has been gone for over a decade now, and while his beloved NR is still in operation, it hasn’t been a serious enterprise for a long time. Back in 2016, NR tried to cast the Bad Orange Man to the outer darkness, marshaling dozens of arguments against the Dread Pirate Drumpf, but all their sound and fury signified, well, nothing. Why was that? No one really took NR seriously any more.

While Victor Davis Hanson doesn’t need a particular platform to be heard, his departure from NR means the cupboard is bare. It’s not surprising, truth be told — Republicanism generally signifies nothing. Hanson knows why:

I think there’s an image that a lot of Republicans have, both in politics and they sort of represent a sober and judicious way of looking at the world, and we are the adults in the room.

And it’s more about a culture than it is an ideology.

I’m not convinced it’s even a culture. From our perch in flyoverland, the conservative movement NR embodies is a pose rather than an attempt at understanding, let alone defending, a culture. Back to Hanson:

The original Republican conservative movement, I thought, was going to go back and look at the Constitution, when Jefferson said it won’t work if you pile up everybody in the cities because they will be subject to mass hysteria. Or de Tocqueville, and you look at certain ideas, I thought that’s what we were.

I thought they would be champions of the middle class, but I don’t think they were. I don’t think they wanted to be.

Hanson is clearly disillusioned, but he had to know the truth — any classicist of his erudition understands that grandeur and the trappings of the elite are powerful intoxicants. And currying favor with our betters is lucrative. 

This Oughtta Be Good

Caught this on social media over the weekend:

Sort of the opposite of the “Free State Project” – the “idea” would be to export Manbuns from slave states to free states to tip the Senate.

And part of me would love to see 85,000 Manbuns trying to move to North Dakota. To survive in North Dakota.

And who on earth came up with these numbers?

In practical terms, it means 85,000 Manbuns – about 12% of the entire state’s current population – jamming into Fargo, since much as I’d love to imagine these effete hamsters moving to Fort Berthold or Scranton or WIllison or Dunseith, they did specify “work from home” Californians. You want broadband, you gotta go to Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismark or Minot. Which would increase the combined population of those four cities by 30%, pronto, making each of them more expensive than San Francisco. And you can wander any of those cities for the rest of your life looking for Avocado Toast, and find nothing.

It’d be even more pronounced in Alaska, and especially Wyoming, where an influx of 75,000 useless club drones would increase the entire state’s population by nearly 20%, and make its breoadband-enabled metro areas, Cheyenne and Casper, look like Del Rio Texas.

And Montana?

In practice, those 60,000 ofay fops would land in Missoula, the closest thing any of those states have to a San Francisco, blowing that city up.

And then? Winter.

Oh, good Lord. I hope you try, Manbun. I pray for your safety and your sanity in the middle of a North Dakota winter in an electric car. But I hope you try.

Damn You, Ron DeSantis!

Is there anything re Covid that Florida’s governor can’t affect?

And I bet the Texas Abortion Law has something to do with it too.

From The “Things Only Idiots Didn’t Know” Files

Even liberal Democrats are figuring out the “Moderate Joe Biden” image was a bill of goods. A canard. A gull for the gullible.

Baked wind.

…when Cillizza, of all people, devotes a column to “the utter radicalness of Joe Biden’s presidency,” maybe it’s time to acknowledge that Biden is trying to implement extremist policies considerably outside the mainstream. Biden’s initiatives, writes Cillizza, amount to a “massive outlay of federal spending” that “will add massive sums to the federal budget deficit.”

Of course, Cilizza was one of the people behind building the myth in the first place – meaning he’s either a PR flack or an idiot.

Urban Progressive Privilege: Boundaries

One of the most futile memes in the conservative alternative media is “If this were happening to (fill in a democrat, or Democrats), this would he treated as a hate crime”.

It’s futile because the people who care have no power, and the people in power don’t care.

Still and all, it applies.

A protester – inoculated from blame in some quarters by being an “immigrant youth” – followed Kristen Sinema into a rest room at Arizona State (where SInema teaches) to…

…well, badger her:

And while the meme is threadbare, the fact remains – if anyone were to do this to Ilhan Omar or Tide Pod Evita, this would be treated by the media as a hate crime, accompanied by “think”Pieces about the vanishing of civility.

What To Do? What…To…Do?

CBS News tales a break from its saturation coverage of the murder of Gabby Petito to bring up the elephant in the media room:

The discrepancy is even greater among missing women and girls. From January 1 to September 27, the number of Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native and Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women missing were a greater proportion of cases than their respective demographics nationwide.

Hm.

If only there were institutions, with satellites and transmitters and printing presses and cable systems and huge websites, staffed by, I dunno, a pseudo-monastic order of self-appointed high priests of information-relaying, to deal with this imbalance…

Peak Minnesota

During the Twin Cities marathon yesterday, former Viking and former Minnesota supreme court justice Allen Page…

Photo courtesy John Welbes (@jwelbes on Twitter)

…cheering on the runners by playing the sousaphone.

Got to say, Page is looking pretty good for a 76-year-old guy, especially for a former NFL lineman from back in the “concussion? We don’t care about no stinking concussion“ stage of the game.