The evicted mother’s story reveals much more that our society needs work on.

One difficulty with assessing sympathetic stories associated with public policy debates (and the reason advocates actively seek and promote them) is that they short circuit rational discussion about tradeoffs.  The position of seeming to lack sympathy is so uncomfortable that the public debate leaves important details unraised and, typically, the villain is assigned to be…

Apartment buildings
Let’s have P-Tech-type innovation instead of critical race theory.

Providence schools don’t necessarily have to sign up with Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), but doesn’t this seem like the level of innovation and drive that we ought to have seen after the dreadful John Hopkins report more than two years ago? Founded in 2011 by IBM and the Bloomberg administration in…

A hoodie on a beaten school bus
Shouldn’t “epidemiologist” Bostom be better with numbers?

As a Rhode Island conservative, nothing would please me more than letting Andrew Bostom go off and do his thing.  Unfortunately, people with whom I generally agree and think of as allies keep citing him as a credentialed epidemiologist (which he’s not) and even utilizing him as an expert witness in court. Look, I agree…

A blurry streetscape
What do you call it when the administration secretly transforms the country?

Nick Miroff (of the Washington Post, of all publications) reports that arrests along our southern border are occurring at record rates. Meanwhile, the New York Post has photos of illegal immigrants being flown into New York in the middle of the night, for distribution in nearby communities.  This recalls news items coming in from around the country,…

Image of illegal immigrants about to board buses in RI
UPDATED: Tiverton is last for vaccination but near-best for COVID hospitalizations?

Living in the town, of course it caught my eye that Dan McGowan of the Boston Globe outed Tiverton as the only town in Rhode Island with a vaccination rate below 50%: Tiverton is now the only city or town in Rhode Island with a COVID-19 vaccination rate below 50 percent, according to data from the…

Image of COVID as planet Earth
You can’t think too hard with the progressive sales pitch.

It’s hard to know how much to debate an essay like Greg Brailsford’s on his site Uprise RI. The entire thing is stale propaganda.  It’s a sales pitch.  He’s selling you something.  You can see it in every sentence.  It jumps out even in a side note about how he caught COVID despite being fully vaccinated,…

An empty restaurant
The news media continues to embarrass itself and sell us out for Raimondo.

What an embarrassing puff piece from the Associated Press and run by WPRI.  You know that old line about discomfiting the comfortable?  How about skepticism about the powerful?  Yeah, not so much.  Instead, one can only wonder whether Raimondo’s people slipped the writer, Josh Boak, cash or promises or he’s just a cheap date who…

Raimondo with Jack Reed and Jim Langevin
URI is helping a powerful celebrity destroy the life of one of its students.

It’s never an easy call to side with people on principled grounds when you vehemently disagree with something mind-blowingly stupid and offensive they’ve done or said, especially in an environment prone to witch hunts and cancellations.  But that’s the sort of thing principled people have to do in a free society. So, I have no…

The Carmagnole (Dance Around the Guillotine) by Kathe Kollwitz
A pornographic young-adult graphic novel in North Kingstown High School is another slip down the spiral.

Nicole Solas of South Kingstown has widened her efforts to return sanity to Rhode Island schools to North Kingstown, where she has filed a police report highlighting a very graphic graphic novel that North Kingstown High School provides to its students, most of them minors.  Following her reports can be challenging, if you have children…

Scene from Field of Dreams
The McKee-Matos 2030 plan is doomed for disaster (if it isn’t just political fluff).

Given it all to do again, I’d probably have studied systems engineering in college.  I love plans and planning.  But I loathe self-described “plans” like Rhode Island 2030, still in draft form from the so-called McKee-Matos Administration. The duo claims that they “launched RI 2030 to craft a vision both for the state’s economic recover as…

Machine Elements by Fernand Leger
Maybe rediscovering distrust of tech and government was a good thing.

In the amazing advance of our technology comes the possibility of smart watches’ diagnosing health issues before symptoms begin, Steven Reinberg reports for HealthDay News.  Keeping track of your vital stats on an ongoing basis as you go about your day (and sleep at night), you can get an early start on treatment, which can…

Silhouette over digital background
At least the Wall Street Journal is supporting Bessinger against the “education horror show.”

Yesterday, I wondered why the plight and complaints of Providence middle school teacher Ramona Bessinger weren’t of more concern to teachers, parents, the community, the union, and Rhode Islanders generally.  Today, the Wall Street Journal editorial board has proven that somebody actually cares, giving their editorial the sharp headline, “Education Horror Show, Continued.”  (Search the headline…

A dark classroom
Biden’s military politicization is genuinely the sort of thing authoritarians do.

If you blinked (or don’t get your information from non-mainstream-progressive news sources), you might have missed the Biden administration’s explicit attempts to politicize the United States military along partisan lines.  John Lucas explains for The Federalist: President Joe Biden and his administration are continuing to purge and politicize the American military. Consistent with the totalitarian left’s…

A soldier signals to hold
We must address the roots of our society’s depression and anxiety.

Russ Roberts’ conversation with writer Johann Hari on a recent episode of EconTalk was interesting for a variety of reasons, not the least because it seems Hari’s work on anxiety and depression changed his own mind a bit.  One might say he’s moved toward the conservative view of the world, at least on this question, and…

A fading man on train tracks
Ripples
Private sector jobs were down in RI in September, partly owing to health care workers.

The RI Department of Labor and Training has changed the way it reports monthly labor information. But one notable observation is that the number of payroll jobs based in Rhode Island actually fell from August to September.  Total jobs went up, however, owing to big increases in state and local government jobs.

The industries that saw decreases are worth noting:

  • Construction down by 100
  • Financial activities down by 300
  • Health care and social assistance down by 400
  • Leisure and hospitality down by 700
  • Other services down by 100

The relatively big decrease in healthcare and social assistance during a time of shortage makes one wonder if that’s a result of Governor McKee’s vaccine mandate.

Funny how political defenestrations only ever go one way.

Expressing a view on a political or social issue can be harmful to your career, if it isn’t of the progressive-approved variety:

The CEO of an American video game developer stepped down after he issued a statement supportive of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a law in Texas that bans abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat.

The company, Tripwire Interactive LLC, announced in a statement on Monday that John Gibson “has stepped down as CEO” of the company, effective immediately.

In general, people with more-conservative views tend to be more tolerant of other positions.  Unfortunately, that reinforces progressives’ sense that nobody decent disagrees with them, making disagreement seem like evidence of deplorableness.  So bravo for John Gibson.  More people need to speak up.  Of course, the consequences can be so severe for merely not agreeing with the left-wing fascists that it’s understandable that more people don’t.

We need to restore the sense of going out for adventure.

While he goes a bit far in framing ’80s dance parties as a path to God, Mark Judge makes a great point, here:

Going out was a long ride uninterrupted by texts, which didn’t exist, or phone calls, because phone booths were hard to find. The experience formed a kind of meditation. The professional world was not just lost for an hour of yoga or pilates, but completely abandoned for a lengthy, restorative journey. It often changed you. As Mohaghegh observes in Night, “Night brings revolution against the archetypal. It overthrows the dominant hierarchies and universal myths in favor of the beautiful diary of the masquerade or the bonfire. It is where one fathoms otherwise, the time-space of the visionary, the imaginary, the unreal, the unknown, the elsewhere, the outside, and the emergent. It is where one builds machinations of radical thought…those droplets of mad and dangerous consciousness.”

The movies back in our youth drove the point home.  Whether Dazed and Confused, Weird Science, or dozens and dozens of other hits of the time, we cultivated a sense of adventure, as if anything could happen.  You disconnected from ordinary life, and sometimes the sun came up on a world transformed.

Of course the movies exaggerated, and we should have no illusion that attempting to prove them right caused some in our generation a fair bit of pain and harm, but too much of that sense of possibility seems to have been lost.

Take note of what the government thinks “working” means when it comes to mandates.

The title of this Barbara Morse piece on WJAR carries an important point of political philosophy:

Health leaders say Rhode Island health care COVID-19 vaccine mandate is working

By “working,” they mean that the percentage of healthcare workers who have been vaccinated has gone up to 95%, which is probably an increase of around 10 percentage points.  If the goal isn’t vaccination, but the balance of public health with individual rights, I’d say it isn’t working.  If the goal is to affect the spread of the virus, the best we can say is that we don’t know if it’s working.

And don’t forget an important point, if we care about people:  The percentage of vaccinated people has gone up in part because they forced unvaccinated people out of the job.  Based on the article, that’s probably about 4 percentage points of the 10, the rest being people who couldn’t afford to lose their jobs.

Remember when it was the height of bigotry to worry about biological men in women’s private spaces?

The most infamous and egregious case, of course, is the reported rape by a boy in a skirt of a 15-year-old girl in the girls’ bathroom in a Loudon County, Virginia, school.  The school department lied about the case and tried to bury it, and the case wouldn’t be nearly as infamous if the news media hadn’t tried to make the girl’s father a poster-child for parent-terrorists when he was arrested at a school committee meeting.

Closer to home, a Woonsocket man has been arrested for dressing in a wig and dress in order to enter the bathroom at the Wrentham mall and videotape women and girls as young as 8.

Police Chief Bill McGrath blames the technology and says people have to keep their “eyes wide open” in public areas where they disrobe.  The problem with that is we’re simultaneously being berated if we notice something off about the guy in the dress going into the women’s room.

“Earthshine” fears show they’ll spin anything to support climate alarmism.

Here’s a headline on a Steve Matregrano article for WPRI that might very well make you say, “Oh, come on”:

‘Earthshine’ levels indicate the planet is dimming due to climate change, researchers say

The key question the headline skips over is:  dimming from the perspective of whom?  No, the Earth isn’t getting darker.  It’s just not reflecting as much light out into space.

Gasp!  Oh, no!  Umm… wait… doesn’t that mean we’re keeping more energy in our system on net?  Should that be a good thing, if we can figure out how to harness it?

Is Biden’s spending plan about the money or the power?

Why not both?  I’m not sure Stephen Green has it quite right when he casts his chips with the “power” side.  After all, many provisions in the plan go directly to maintaining Democrat power, like this one:

Illegal aliens will be having a field day. Not only will they continue to be allowed to flood into the country largely unimpeded thanks to the Biden border crisis, but they will be immediately eligible for free college enrollment, student loans, and the child tax credit, effectively giving them a permanent guaranteed basic income.

But then, a big motivation for the spending (which I’ve been tracing since I noticed the Obama administration requiring states to hire specific contractors to spend federal money) is to give Democrat and progressive activists rivers of money.

But then again, that money is to fund the radical transformation of our country, which goes back to power.

If only we could have really public discussions about January 1…

This article from Michael Balsamo and Colleen Long would be a great study in propaganda and how the news media constructs a narrative that’s true-ish for political ends.  It wraps facts in the perspective of the writers.

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges after prosecutors say he helped to hide evidence of a rioter’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

In this case “helped to hide evidence” means acknowledging to somebody that leaving pictures online of being in the Capitol could get one arrested.  We don’t know the extent of the person’s involvement, what the relationship with the officer was… or much of anything.  Yet, mentioning the widely reported investigation of social media is somehow transformed into the same offense as hiding a bloody murder weapon.

This affects the description of January 1, too:

… many of his colleagues were brutally beaten in the insurrection. The riot left dozens of police officers bloodied and bruised as the crowd of pro-Trump rioters, some armed with pipes, bats and bear spray, charged into the Capitol, quickly overrunning the overwhelmed police force.

One officer was beaten and shocked with a stun gun repeatedly until he had a heart attack; another was foaming at the mouth and screaming for help as rioters crushed him between two doors and bashed him in the head with his own weapon.

Research each fact claimed in those paragraphs, and you’ll find they’re all at least arguably true, in themselves.  Yes, somebody had bear spray but never used it, for example.  An officer was shocked and at some point had a mild heart attack, but I can’t find an article substantiating the “repeatedly” or the direct link of the shock with the heart attack.

The point is, you really can’t know where the truth ends and the propaganda begins.

Modern medicine will keep doing what it does if we let it.

Such stories as this one are among the first things to come to mind every time our political system lurches left:

Over a decade ago, UCLA physician-scientists began using a pioneering gene therapy they developed to treat children born with a rare and deadly immune system disorder. They now report that the effects of the therapy appear to be long-lasting, with 90% of patients who received the treatment eight to 11 years ago still disease-free. …

In the gene therapy approach detailed in the new paper, Dr. Donald Kohn of UCLA and his colleagues removed blood-forming stem cells from each child’s bone marrow, then used a specially modified virus, originally isolated from mice, to guide healthy copies of the ADA gene into the stem cells’ DNA. Finally, they transplanted the cells back into the children’s bone marrow. The therapy, when successful, prompts the body to produce a continuous supply of healthy immune cells capable of fighting infections. Because the transplanted stem cells are the baby’s own, there is no risk of rejection.

This sort of thing requires large, risk-taking investments (including the learning investment of the researchers themselves).  It requires functioning supply chains.  It requires all of the things that innovative businesses require, which can fall apart faster than we like to think.

We’re in a dangerous spot when seeing your children is conditional on your being vaccinated.

In New York City, a judge has suspended a father’s visitation rights to his daughter “unless he submits COVID-19 tests on a weekly basis or gets vaccinated.”  He’s had the virus before, as well.

The key, though, is the judge’s reasoning, which is (let’s say) pretty far from the actual science:

“Here, in-person parental access by defendant is not in the child’s best interests, and there are exceptional circumstances that support its suspension,” wrote Justice Matthew Cooper, according to the New York Post, in a case involving the father’s divorce and custody dispute over his 3-year-old daughter.

Cooper also wrote that that the “dangers of voluntarily remaining unvaccinated during access with a child while the COVID-19 virus remains a threat to children’s health and safety cannot be understated.”

How does Terry McAuliffe think lying to parents should be accomplished?

The Democrat candidate for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, agrees with Democrats in Rhode Island that schools should engage in a conspiracy to lie to parents whose children may be exploring a change of their gender.  I’ve long wondered what the mechanics of this deep deception would look like, and it’s frightening to know it’s a nationwide question.

It’s also discouraging to think how much this attitude seems to be part of the public school culture, as indicated by the “red flag” of a district refusing to provide access to library catalogue lists.

The North Kingstown School Committee laughably managed a mask mandate to avoid public scrutiny.

I find self repeatedly coming back to a photo that John DePetro posted of the controversial meeting of the North Kingstown School Committee last week. As reported, Chairman Gregory Glasbalg ended the meeting on the pretense that two people in the room were not wearing masks.  Given that excuse, what do you notice about the police who were called to disperse them in this image:

Police and protesters at NK school committee meeting

Governor McKee apparently has something of a permanent protest escort.

And we’d hardly know it if John DePetro weren’t paying attention.

Apparently core administration secretaries are sort of like ambassadors, now.

Appointing political allies to cushy ambassadorships has long been something of a political joke in the United States, but Mike LaChance observes that the U.S. transportation secretary is apparently also a similarly non-essential worker:

While U.S. ports faced anchor-to-anchor traffic and Congress nearly melted down over the president’s infrastructure bill in recent weeks, the usually omnipresent Transportation secretary was lying low. …

They didn’t previously announce it, but Buttigieg’s office told West Wing Playbook that the secretary has actually been on paid leave since mid-August to spend time with his husband, Chasten, and their two newborn babies.

Another political joke in the U.S, has also been that people who are forced out of their offices always say they wanted to “spend more time with family.”  Apparently, folks in the Biden administration are so competent that they can manage to spend all their time with family even while remaining on the (no-show) job.

The self-delusion of the Left is a thing to behold.

For more evidence that we really live in different universes, give a read to Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s musings about the parent vax wars for CNN.  It’s almost difficult to believe it isn’t a parody that flips the script, attributing to the Right what is actually the standpoint of the Left.  It starts here and gets worse:

The scenes of harassment and vitriol in front of schools and in school board meetings in all parts of the country are the latest indicator of the deepening fractures in American society. While talk of a possible “civil war” may seem hyperbolic, four years of Donald Trump’s divisive and polarizing presidency, and the post-Trump extension of the GOP’s retreat from bipartisan governance, have eroded support for the democratic ideals of consensus, compromise and mutual tolerance.

In what follows, there is not a whiff of self-awareness that the divisiveness and polarization of the Trump Era was (at the very, very least) nursed and amplified by the Left.  Reading Ben-Ghiat, one would have no idea that the Democrats are much more vitriolic toward their own internal dissenters and much more likely to act in lockstep.  You catch no hint of irony that her fellow progressives are the one actually forcing uniformity of ideas and actions lie mask wearing and vaccination, while invalidating the right of those who disagree to be acknowledged, much less represented.

Add child abuse to the toll of lockdowns.

Reading these results from a Pennsylvania report, it would be fair to say that government overreach during COVID has been child abuse:

A recently released annual child abuse report from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services showed that in 2020, the state registered a 43 percent increase in child abuse deaths compared to 2019.

That is, 73 children died from child abuse in 2020 compared to 51 deaths in 2019. The increase is new and significant; reports going back to 2010 average 37 deaths a year. And it is notably higher than the 17 COVID-19 deaths in children aged 0-19 recorded in Pennsylvania not only in 2020, but also counting all COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania children up to Oct. 7 this year, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

For some sense of what to expect in RI, look at Figure 1 of this report, which shows that the number of reports of child abuse were down every month, by as much as 40%.  That doesn’t mean abuse wasn’t happening, but rather that it wasn’t being spotted.  Since typically around 35% of reports indicate abuse, that’s over 1,100 missed abuses of Rhode Island children over seven months.

Will anybody in politics or government ever face consequences for these decisions?  Probably not.

Record-level drug overdoses during the pandemic lock-down were predictable.

And they’ve happened:

Deaths from drug overdose in the United States jumped nearly 30 percent in a 12-month period ending in March 2021, according to provisional data released on Wednesday.

The United States saw a record high of 96,779 reported drug overdose deaths, an increase of 29.6 percent in the period of a year from March 2020—coinciding with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic— according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.

The corresponding CDC data shows Rhode Island on the bad side of the spectrum, with a 22% increase.  That compares with a 9% increase in Connecticut, a 6% increase in Massachusetts, and a 3% decrease in New Hampshire, although Vermont led the nation at 85%.

Now they’ve invented “global stilling”!

That’s apparently the latest excuse for wind energy not living up to promises:

Is there nothing that “climate change” doesn’t affect?

Industry experts are warning that climate change may have caused wind speeds in Europe to plummet this year in news that threatens to drive energy prices even higher.

Long labelled as a saviour of the energy industry, wind farms have cropped up across the continent in recent years and have been billed a low-cost, renewable and dependable source of power…

Maybe there’s some life in the judiciary, after all.

It’s not in New England, but pretty close: a judge actually sided with healthcare workers against the mandate regime:

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that New York must continue to allow healthcare workers to seek exemptions from a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeds.

Judge David Hurd in Utica had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses, and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit their rights would be violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions.

The article notes that Hurd differed from other judges in thinking that “the public interest lies with enforcing the guarantees enshrined in the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination law.”  It’s depressing that more judges don’t think that’s where the public interest lies.

Whether federal overrides of states is good apparently depends where the Democrats are in power.

Nick Ciolino of The Epoch Times reports:

Psaki also says the health administration rule will override Abbott’s executive order.

“We know that federal law overrides state law,” she said. “I would note that earlier when we put out our guidance on the president’s announcement about mandates several weeks ago, it made clear that … requirements are promulgated pursuant to federal law and supersede any contrary state, or local law or ordinance.”

Remember when a statement from the White House that its orders overrode those of the states was considered a sign of the end of our democracy?  The only significant difference is that the Democrats occupy the White House, and they’re fighting Republican governors.

Next time the roles reverse and the usual suspects (mainly the media) act as if dictatorship is dawning, we’ll know it’s just B.S. and should respond appropriately.  (That doesn’t mean agreeing with whatever the policy might be, but we should ignore objections that aren’t made in good faith.

How to respond when the police knock on your door asking about your Facebook post about a protest.

Cardinal Pritchard is right that this video from Australia shows the appropriate response when the police show up at your house to ask if a picture on your Facebook page is evidence that you illegally were present at a protest.

Summary: No comment, and who do you think you are?

John Carlevale and Beth Leconte on State of the State

State of the State: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at URI

Beth Leconte, Director of R.I.’s chapter of OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) talks with host John Carlevale. 


Woman running in the dessert at dusk

The Border Crisis and the Boston Marathon

Todd Bensman talks about immigration and Victoria Salibi discusses running the Boston Marathon.

John Carlevale and Mitchell Kaplan on State of the State

State of the State: Mitchell Kaplan

Mitchell Kaplan joins John Carlevale to discuss his musical, artistic, and educational activities.

Piero Della Francesca, Battle Between Heraclius and Chosroes

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Battles Brewing in RI

John and Justin discuss brewing turmoil among and between factions in the Ocean State.

A container ship

Modern Oncology, Supply Chain Challenges, and Parents’ Lawsuit Against the Governor

John Loughlin interviews Dr. Tim Shafman, Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow Brent Sadler, and Rich Southwell of the Parents’ Union.

Two different scales

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Narrative as Double-Standard

John DePetro and Justin Katz talk about the Rhode Island political topics of the week.

A floor chart spanning the floor and walls

Economic Storm Clouds Around the Planet

Tony Lemonde of Senior’s Choice Rhode Island talks open enrollment, Joel Griffith from Heritage talks inflation, Dean Cheng of the Davis Institute talks Chinese economics, and Sal Mercogliano of Campbell University talks supply chain problems.

Theodor Aman's The Battle With Torches

Hate on Patrick Conley Exposes Progressives’ Need to Dominate

Phil Eil’s attack on RI Historian Laureate Patrick Conley is not the perspective of a tolerant person; it is the voice of an ideological movement that seizes power through division and dishonest appeals to fairness and then crushes all dissent the moment it thinks it has succeeded.

Dan McKee cuts a ribbon

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Flustering McKee

John and Justin discuss ways in which the controversies of the day illustrate a surprising (and disappointing) tendency of the McKee administration.

Woman running in the dessert at dusk

The Border Crisis and the Boston Marathon

Todd Bensman talks about immigration and Victoria Salibi discusses running the Boston Marathon.

John Carlevale and Mitchell Kaplan on State of the State

State of the State: Mitchell Kaplan

Mitchell Kaplan joins John Carlevale to discuss his musical, artistic, and educational activities.

Ripples
Private sector jobs were down in RI in September, partly owing to health care workers.

The RI Department of Labor and Training has changed the way it reports monthly labor information. But one notable observation is that the number of payroll jobs based in Rhode Island actually fell from August to September.  Total jobs went up, however, owing to big increases in state and local government jobs.

The industries that saw decreases are worth noting:

  • Construction down by 100
  • Financial activities down by 300
  • Health care and social assistance down by 400
  • Leisure and hospitality down by 700
  • Other services down by 100

The relatively big decrease in healthcare and social assistance during a time of shortage makes one wonder if that’s a result of Governor McKee’s vaccine mandate.

Funny how political defenestrations only ever go one way.

Expressing a view on a political or social issue can be harmful to your career, if it isn’t of the progressive-approved variety:

The CEO of an American video game developer stepped down after he issued a statement supportive of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a law in Texas that bans abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat.

The company, Tripwire Interactive LLC, announced in a statement on Monday that John Gibson “has stepped down as CEO” of the company, effective immediately.

In general, people with more-conservative views tend to be more tolerant of other positions.  Unfortunately, that reinforces progressives’ sense that nobody decent disagrees with them, making disagreement seem like evidence of deplorableness.  So bravo for John Gibson.  More people need to speak up.  Of course, the consequences can be so severe for merely not agreeing with the left-wing fascists that it’s understandable that more people don’t.

We need to restore the sense of going out for adventure.

While he goes a bit far in framing ’80s dance parties as a path to God, Mark Judge makes a great point, here:

Going out was a long ride uninterrupted by texts, which didn’t exist, or phone calls, because phone booths were hard to find. The experience formed a kind of meditation. The professional world was not just lost for an hour of yoga or pilates, but completely abandoned for a lengthy, restorative journey. It often changed you. As Mohaghegh observes in Night, “Night brings revolution against the archetypal. It overthrows the dominant hierarchies and universal myths in favor of the beautiful diary of the masquerade or the bonfire. It is where one fathoms otherwise, the time-space of the visionary, the imaginary, the unreal, the unknown, the elsewhere, the outside, and the emergent. It is where one builds machinations of radical thought…those droplets of mad and dangerous consciousness.”

The movies back in our youth drove the point home.  Whether Dazed and Confused, Weird Science, or dozens and dozens of other hits of the time, we cultivated a sense of adventure, as if anything could happen.  You disconnected from ordinary life, and sometimes the sun came up on a world transformed.

Of course the movies exaggerated, and we should have no illusion that attempting to prove them right caused some in our generation a fair bit of pain and harm, but too much of that sense of possibility seems to have been lost.

Take note of what the government thinks “working” means when it comes to mandates.

The title of this Barbara Morse piece on WJAR carries an important point of political philosophy:

Health leaders say Rhode Island health care COVID-19 vaccine mandate is working

By “working,” they mean that the percentage of healthcare workers who have been vaccinated has gone up to 95%, which is probably an increase of around 10 percentage points.  If the goal isn’t vaccination, but the balance of public health with individual rights, I’d say it isn’t working.  If the goal is to affect the spread of the virus, the best we can say is that we don’t know if it’s working.

And don’t forget an important point, if we care about people:  The percentage of vaccinated people has gone up in part because they forced unvaccinated people out of the job.  Based on the article, that’s probably about 4 percentage points of the 10, the rest being people who couldn’t afford to lose their jobs.

Remember when it was the height of bigotry to worry about biological men in women’s private spaces?

The most infamous and egregious case, of course, is the reported rape by a boy in a skirt of a 15-year-old girl in the girls’ bathroom in a Loudon County, Virginia, school.  The school department lied about the case and tried to bury it, and the case wouldn’t be nearly as infamous if the news media hadn’t tried to make the girl’s father a poster-child for parent-terrorists when he was arrested at a school committee meeting.

Closer to home, a Woonsocket man has been arrested for dressing in a wig and dress in order to enter the bathroom at the Wrentham mall and videotape women and girls as young as 8.

Police Chief Bill McGrath blames the technology and says people have to keep their “eyes wide open” in public areas where they disrobe.  The problem with that is we’re simultaneously being berated if we notice something off about the guy in the dress going into the women’s room.

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