How should we compare Scott Avedisian’s severance package and Caitlin Clark’s basketball salary?

The short answer is that we shouldn’t, but Bill Bartholomew’s attempt is worth a double-take and some thought about what he’s missing: at nearly 68k, Scott Avedisian’s termination payment is almost as much as the contract that the most exciting player in college basketball, Caitlin Clark, signed after being selected first overall in the WNBA draft…

A man in a suit shoots a basketball at a city bus
Increased productivity is a communal good.

Somehow, despite ample reason for civic disappointment, I find I’m becoming less cynical as I get older, not more.  Even now, when I come across reasoning like that expressed by young progressive Democrat Representative David Morales, I can’t help but feel hope that we can salvage reason from the flames of ideology: Here’s the reality:…

Artwork of a worker transforming into a boss
Days of Reckoning for the Salt of RI’s Earth

The point can’t be stressed enough that Rhode Islanders should understand the Washington Bridge debacle as a representative lesson on our state government.  For that reason, not the least, Mark Patinkin’s conversations with local affected business owners is an article to print and review periodically in the future.  Restauranteurs and venue owners bought and built…

A prison warden hides his keys behind his back during a fire
The Maher life can’t be representative of human needs.

Arguably, Eric Abbenante— overstates the degree of “debate” in this clip featuring Dr. Phil and Bill Maher, but the difference in point of view he highlights is the crucial one.  Here’s Abbenante: Bill Maher and Dr Phil debate the importance of family and religion: “You think family and faith are a big fix to the…

A yacht sails toward an almost entirely submerged city.
Freeing teachers means freeing them from an inapt industrial employment model.

Brandon Busteed’s argument in Forbes well taken: U.S. teachers are dead last among all occupational groups and professions in feeling their opinions count at work, that their supervisor creates an open and trusting environment and that they are treated with respect each day. Teachers are also the highest of all professions in experiencing burn-out and…

A teacher at the blackboard in a cage
Student loans are another crisis for the benefit of government.

Whatever one’s political leanings, the incentives of government must be understood as simply reality.  Government agencies don’t have to create a product or service that people will voluntarily purchase.  Rather, they must find activities for which they can justify forcing people who are not the direct beneficiaries to pay.  This model is justified, in some…

A farmer in a suit admires his corn with graduation caps
The details are the important part in the “housing crisis.”

By its nature, advocacy journalism glosses over the details that many would consider crucial.  Headlines from a pair of such articles by Katie Mulvaney in the Providence Journal illustrate the point: Six months pregnant with nowhere to go – an unhoused woman’s plight on RI’s streets After months of sleeping on the street, pregnant woman finally…

A homeless mother pushes a baby carriage in Providence, RI
Journalists should be conspicuously fair, even with groups nobody likes.

In the last couple decades, Americans (at least those who occupy seats in academia and mainstream media) appear to have lost their ability to distinguish between upholding a principle and supporting any given people who might benefit from that principle from time to time.  Nobody likes to defend groups that are broadly deplored, like Nazis…

Street artist draws passing white people as MAGA
What is it about social media lately? (A hope for controlling the crisis.)

Almost in passing during a recent podcast featuring Greg McKeown, Tim Ferriss stepped into an idea I’ve been contemplating lately: [A]s my job, I interview some of the top performers in the world, hundreds of them, and the change that I have seen for those people in that subset who are already, I think most…

People stare at their cell phones while disasters happen around them
We react to increases in housing prices in exactly the wrong way.

Lance Lambert, who appears to be a reporter on the housing beat, shared a table of increases in housing prices in the 50 largest metro areas.  As the following snip from the table shows, Providence experienced the third-largest increase over the past year: Various contextual points are important to remember.  Metros can vary in size,…

Suburban house with a slot machine on the side
We’re crossing the line from inadequate education to malevolent indoctrination.

For those willing to step outside the boundaries of “just the way we do things,” the justification for mandatory schooling backstopped by taxpayer-funded government schools is an interesting question.  I’d pick up the rope and pull for the “yes, justified” side.  A country founded on freedom and individual achievement and held together by abstract agreement…

A teacher Xes out George Washington on the blackboard
Even By Her Own Metric, Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner Has to Step Down

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity has called for the removal of Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. They make their case here. I echo their call. During her tenure, Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green has failed to implement successful education reforms. She has instead prioritized questionable, experimental, non-education initiatives in Rhode Island’s K-12…

Elaborate government investment fraud creates incentive for election fraud.

The latest shiny news object in Rhode Island media is the revelation that the Tidewater soccer stadium will cost Rhode Island taxpayers $132 million in order to finance $27 million of the construction costs, or $4.4 million per year for 30 years.  Grumbling is being heard from people with familiar names — “obviously these are…

A man in a suit holds a soccer ball decorated with dollar signs
People who want to think for themselves are not the target of national Democrats’ talking points.

Among my frustrations with social media in recent years has been the way my streams become filled with content in which I have minimal interest — like Democrat propaganda — because people share it in disbelief.  The frustration is primarily with the realization that people apparently believe in completely incompatible realities, which is what motivates…

Men discuss box of garbage in a dark shop
Does Stephen King understand how representative democracy works.

On the list of people for whom the exposure of social media has been a source of disappointing exposure, novelist Stephen King has got to be near the top. Like his books or not (and, honestly, given the content, I regret the influence that he had on my younger life), authors are generally placed in the “intellectual” category, and one would expect more insight than tweets like this:

StephenKing: The 1864 Arizona law forbidding most abortions, upheld by the State Supreme Court, also sets the age of consent for females at 10 Years.

I’m on the pro-life side of this issue, but I also wish we could have honest discussions about public policy.  The anachronism of this state law isn’t evidence that the federal government has to set policy for every state in the country, which was essentially the state of affairs while the horrible Roe v. Wade ruling was in effect.  Rather, it should be a reminder that we have an entire system built around the principle that people can change the laws under which they’re governed over time.

It’s telling that advocates for the permissibility of killing of children are so much more focused on deriving political benefit from old laws than changing them where they can be changed.  Apparently, what they really want is a world in which a rich old writer from Maine can tell the people of Arizona what sort of laws they live under.

Corporate tax credits are more progressive than some progressives realize.

The Rhode Island Office of Revenue Analysis releases regular reports summarizing the state’s tax credit programs, and sometimes progressive politicians and journalists get a news story out of them.  What’s disappointing is the paucity of the opposing voices.  According to Katherine Gregg’s Providence Journal article the Rhode Island Business Coalition is fine with ending the program for any new participants.

For their part, the authors of the report acknowledge that the businesses that use the program tend to be among the largest, so without programs designed to make them stay, like tax credit programs, the state’s economy could suffer.

There we see the underlying problem that nobody wants to address.  Rhode Island’s economic policy is terrible.  We’ve taken a beautiful state in a great location and made it so difficult and risky to operate in that we have to lure businesses here.  Progressives with a coherent philosophy should realize this is their ideal policy.  They get to pick and choose who gets relief from what imposition and to maintain a lever for bribery and ideological pressure.

I’m all for ending tax credit programs, but we should lower taxes and regulations generally.  If we make Rhode Island a beacon for economic activity, businesses will pay their full taxes to be here.

If the promise of Woke could be distilled into a facial expression…

I don’t want to read too much into a few seconds of video, but something is chilling about progressive Democrat Representative Brandon Potter’s face as Meara began to speak in favor of Republican Representative Patricia Morgan’s bill to prevent transgender-related mutilation of children:

MillennialOther: Huge shoutout to 
 for sponsoring this very common sense bill.

His facial expression is not just of hatred.  It’s cold, as if promising that one day he hopes not to have to sit there and be polite while people speak blasphemies.

Progressive Democrats want everybody to fit neatly into groups.

That means most of us have to be servants to somebody else.  That’s why a political party that still pretends it’s “for the little guy” is relentlessly targeting “little guys” who work for themselves. This video from John Stossel is worth watching:

JohnStossel: Four years ago California forced business to treat freelancers like staff employees so they would get “wages and benefits that they deserve.” What actually happened?

If you’re independent, you’re difficult to manage. If top-down government can pressure top-down business with the aid of top-down labor unions, things are easier (and more profitable) for the people at the top.

The March employment numbers tell an important story.

For those of us who’ve been mystified by economic news, E.J. Antoni’s summary of results from the March employment report is worth a read.  The key confusion is that “the headline numbers once again look good.”  Yet, all the jobs are part time, with Americans replacing their full-time jobs with multiple part-time ones to make ends meet.  This finding is found in both the divergence of measures that count workers and jobs and in the number of people working multiple jobs.

Meanwhile, hours per week are trending down, and the ratio of jobs that are government is growing.  Too few private-sector jobs are generating economic productivity to support the government jobs.  Moreover, most of the “private sector” jobs are actually in fields that are more like government satellites, like health care.

Now add the fact that labor-force participation is down, and the jobs are entirely going to people who are foreign born.  There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but at a time of massive illegal immigration, it presents a troubling picture.

Things are not going well under Biden, no matter what the propagandists insist.

Are these the consequences of sanctuary state policies?

This seems kind of like an important story, but despite some weeks, I’ve seen nothing on it elsewhere:

GerryCallahan: “Four child rapists and an MS-13 gang member. That’s who you’re going after?”

“That’s every day in Boston.”

Every Democrat voter should be forced to watch this. Sanctuary state policies have consequences.

The problem with our current media situation is that, whether Callahan’s assessment about sanctuary state policies is fair or not, we know for a certainty that we’ll only ever hear that it is not fair from the partisan media, if we hear of the situation at all.  They leave us completely in the dark when it would be politically inconvenient to do otherwise.

Always see yourself as acting, not reacting.

A point I made yesterday in an essay on Dust in the Light was that we communicate with God in where we choose to direct our attention, and one of the ways in which we make that choice is by how we act.  Taking an action is like moving your position on the landscape; your observations will be made in a world in which you took the action.  Call it “action space.”

Revisiting James Lindsay’s analysis of Joe Biden’s trans-Easter affront has a related ring:

This provocation, published yesterday, is overwhelmingly likely aiming to feed into those prevailing active measures (“ops”) meant to drag Christians into a positions of fruitful reaction that the Regime can use to clamp down on them. Again, Christian reaction is their real action, and we know for certain that Christian circles are deeply infiltrated with a chest-beating and growing radicalism that is being baited toward and associated with a growing antisemitism. The responses to this post will almost certainly prove this out, btw. Your evil government wants this to happen. They are baiting you into it.

Because we live in a world of free will and Original Sin, God’s is not the only determinant of how the world responds to our actions.  Other people play a role, and that can be manipulated.  Activists can attempt to provoke actions, as Lindsay suggests, or they can use other techniques, like creating confusion by reacting in contrary ways.

In any event, such manipulation is contrary to fair play, pluralism, and democracy.  It’s truly diabolical.

Nicole Solas (incidentally) nominates a candidate for most-evil organization in Rhode Island.

Keep in mind that Thundermist Health Center is interwoven with Rhode Island’s political elite and is working within our school districts:

Nicoletta0602: Thundermist Health Center, a RI health clinic transing kids, uses a make-believe "genderland map" of "manlandia" & "lady land" to train dr.'s, schools, & social workers.

"girly grasslands" "boy bay" "dandy land" "puerile peninsula" 👀🚩

These are not serious medical providers.

The “health center” is encouraging mental illness, not helping people with it.

Remember those basic rights we once took for granted.

Roger Kimball has in mind, here, the attacks on Donald Trump:

RogerKimball: There is a reason that Article 1 of the Constitution prohibits Bills of Attainder and ex post facto laws. There is also a reason that the 8th Amendment prohibits "excessive fines."

The disappointing thing is how many Americans just don’t care, because the Democrats have whipped them into a frenzy of hatred.  We are fortunate, indeed, to have basic rights protected in our fundamental laws, but no piece of paper can withstand the desire of a mob when it takes power.  If too many people allow their principles to be corrupted, and if too few speak to uphold those principles that once were shared, the mob will have its way.

A good example of journalism.

Yes, we’ve reached the point that the place to get real, non-partisan journalism is on a social media platform from such people as “Mel,” whose X address is Villgecrazylady.  For example:

Villgecrazylady: Prior to finding fame in the J6 fallout, the most remarkable thing about Mr. Kinzinger was just how unremarkable his congressional career had been.

The thread that follows explains how former Congressman Adam Kinzinger — a darling of the J6-investigation crowd — turned campaign donations into usable funds.  Another good example is this pinned post from September 3, which observes the amazing and sudden shift of national politicians to micro-donations.  There sure is a lot of smoke around this area; why aren’t mainstream journalists digging into it?

(Meanwhile, by the way, if you’re a Rhode Islander who wants to have some small effect on the well-being of your town or school district, you better find time to keep your miniscule campaign finances in order!)

How much space is there between the RI Foundation and the Democrat Party?

I’m still puzzled by the presence of the leader of the Rhode Island Foundation in this image:

Politicians and David Cicilline break ground at a construction project

Is the foundation involved with this project, was this just a bunch of buddies hanging out for a photo op, or is there really no space at all between state government, federal government, and the non-profit sector — all united under the Party?

Don’t let mockery distract from the most important revelation in Sen. Kennedy’s questioning.

To be honest, I feel for Gus Schumacher, the young man whom many conservatives mocked when he was the target of pointed questioning from Republican Senator John Kennedy:

SenJohnKennedy: Democrats want to spend $50 TRILLION to become carbon neutral & held a hearing to tell us why.

Dem witness: Carbon dioxide is "a huge part of our atmosphere."

Me: "It’s actually a very small part of our atmosphere." (0.035%)

Dem witness: "Well, okay. But, yeah. I don’t know."

Yes, it’s telling that an ostensible witness for greater government control as a response to “climate change” knows very little about the science, but we’ve raised several generations believing a progressive fallacy.  Our focus should be there, not the least because it has such opportunity for revelations on their part.

An underlying conceit of progressivism is that what needs to be done is obvious.  Schumacher may, indeed, be an expert on that which he’s observed as an Olympic cross-country skier, but he should have some humility when advocating for a particular interpretation of the causes and, especially, humanity’s appropriate response.

The urge to “just do something” is deadly dangerous, and I’m not sure mockery is going to change the hearts of those who’ve been indoctrinated to cultivate it as a first response.

Ken Block is telling Democrats the story they want to hear.

I don’t doubt Ken is being honest about his findings, or lack thereof, from his voter fraud review in 2020, but from the very first, I’ve though he’s was overstating his scope and the extent to which his investigation was conclusive.  Very plainly put, “I did not find evidence” is not the same as “there is no evidence to be found.”

Mark Davis, who also investigated the election, takes Block to task on exactly these grounds in an important article on The Federalist which honest journalists would ask Block about in every interview.  Unfortunately, we’re a long way from a civic society in which such things could be expected.

One suspects that if Block’s book told an opposing story — if it were Proven, rather than Disproven — its national promotion would have been much less enthusiastic.  Odds are good the local media in Rhode Island would have ignored it entirely.

That’s the civil society in which we live.  The guardians of the public square aren’t interested in robust, reasonable debate.  It’s vulgar political warfare to them.  And it’s disappointing to see a good-government advocate cash in on our devolution.  Davis ends by suggesting Block won’t likely be hired to do such work again, given how publicly he’s betrayed the trust of his highest-profile client.  Local reformers in RI should take note, too.

Strange how nobody seems to care about the FAFSA debacle.

Joe Biden abusing the authority of his office to buy votes by transferring student loan debt to other Americans is back in the news, and it reminds me that I haven’t seen any mainstream coverage of a disaster facing just about every college-bound family in the United States this year:

If, like me, you have a college-bound high-school senior in your family, you’ve likely been on the receiving end of yet another colossal screw-up by our federal government: the overhaul of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA. Every year, students (or more commonly their parents) need to fill out the FAFSA with information about their income, assets, and expenses in order to qualify for federal student aid. Many colleges require the FAFSA before awarding other forms of need-based aid, and some require it to be filed even by people without need before they can qualify for scholarship aid. There’s a more detailed and onerous form, the CSS, operated by the College Board and required by some schools. Filling these out is like doing your taxes, only more so. Typically, the forms are available in October, and schools may set filing deadlines in the fall so that they can deliver financial-aid awards at or near the time they send out acceptances.

Not this year. The FAFSA wasn’t even fully available until January 8, after the Department of Education briefly flicked on the lights on the form on December 30 just so it could claim that it launched in 2023.

This is not just conservative media hype.  My family is grappling with this at the moment, and yet the regime media seems not to care.  The media’s inability to hold Democrats accountable is one of the strongest argument for voting for the other party, even though Republicans aren’t as apt to give you cash for your vote.

Rhode Islanders don’t want the public transportation statists want them to want.

For an academic project not long ago I reviewed data on RIPTA bus routes, including surveys of riders of every line in the system, so the unstated assumption of Antonia Noori Farzan’s recent Providence Journal article on the subject jumped out at me.  The headline is, “What’s it like to rely on RIPTA to get around the state? We tried it for a week.”  And the not-quite-articulated assumption is that traveling around using public transit should be attractive even when compared with the ease of cars in a suburban area.

There simply is not the demand to maintain a system that can get any given person to any given location in the state painlessly.  The area didn’t develop for that, and the people don’t really want it.

Frankly, I doubt progressives even want to provide it for them.  It would take larger buses that require fewer drivers in urban areas and smaller buses (or vans) with more amenities for suburban commuters and others, perhaps with less-expensive labor.  Journalists would start writing articles about the contrast in comfort level between the two, while at the same time expressing outrage that urbanites have to pay so much to travel to the suburbs.

Cars are efficient modes of travel, and they are symbols of freedom.  Government should focus on improving our infrastructure and reversing the regulations designed to make them too expensive for working class Rhode Islanders.

Government economic statistics are starting to feel like the work of zombies.

Some months, it surprises me to find economists still putting out regular analyses of government employment statistics.  Perhaps I’m too jaded, but I’ve completely lost confidence in the data.

I used to have my monthly jobs review posts for both the Ocean State Current and the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, but during the two years of overlap between the Obama administration in Washington and the Raimondo administration in Rhode Island, the numbers became difficult to take.  The huge revisions to the data began to seem conspicuously to help Democrats, which Raimondo amplified by using her many PR people to spin, typically by digging out any narrow cut of the data that would look positive.

At this point, our economy has become so distorted, I’m not sure the government statistics would be accurately describing the job market even if they were objectively collected and presented.

If I’m remembering the plot correctly, the 2005 movie, Land of the Dead, imagined a world in which living humans had taken refuge in cities while zombies wandered the suburbs.  One character observes that the zombies seemed to have become more cognizant, with some of them going about the trappings of their previous lives, like pretending to work a gas station.

That’s how analysis of economic data feels to me now.

Opposition to school choice is meant to control teachers, too.

Here’s a good addendum to my post, yesterday, about progressives’ response to discipline policies in charter schools:

LoriGorm: Exactly! The charter schools siphon teachers away. They are often are prevented from contributing to the state's pension system (increasing the underfunding). Instead, those charter school teachers are offered a 401K plan.

Those who oppose school choice are also limiting the options for teachers.  They’re only about control.  They want to make sure teachers can’t get out of the pension system, and they want to make sure children can’t get out of the schools.  They care less about making it work for everybody than about controlling it, and the worse their management of what they control, the more they have to increase control.

Such a system structurally cannot correct itself, which is why we are where we are in so many areas of society.

Why do progressives want people to lack self control?

These sentiments from two prominent Rhode Island progressives are worth noting:

EnriqueForRI: We cannot allow for a complete charter school take over of Providence schools or else we’ll be seeing these harmful practices placed on our students.

“Harmful practices.”  “Punish children.”  They’re talking about demerits for things like being late or unprepared for class.

Notice that they don’t care whether these policies could help some children.  Either in their arrogance they think they know better or in their malice they want to cultivate a generation that has no self-control.  A healthy society would keep people like Sanchez and Bell as far as possible from the ability to set policies related to children.

One reason to fear government control of healthcare is the reluctance to reevaluate.

Rich Weinstein’s quip, here, exposes a deadly serious problem with the progressive style of governance:

phillyrich1: It’s working!  The ACA is working!!  And better than expected.

Rhode Island jumped into ObamaCare with both feet, and not only are our hospitals struggling, but people are having a terrible time finding primary care doctors.  Maybe those two things are cause-and-effect, maybe they’re loosely related, or maybe there’s no connection at all, but contrast the absolute surety that ObamaCare would fix all problems with the complete disinterest in exploring new problems that have arisen since it was passed.

If government control were to be effective, it would have to be characterized by continual measurement and reassessment, but the incentives are exactly the opposite.  We don’t get the power of government bent toward cool, clinical evaluation.  We get that power intent on avoiding questions and passing blame to others.

Notice that McKee’s snafu attempt to meet with businesses in East Providence failed because he didn’t want to cross the bridge.

This incident, highlighted by John DePetro, is a few weeks old, at this point, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.  Democrat Governor Dan McKee and Democrat East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva were supposed to meet with businesses affected by the Washington Bridge closure.  DaSilva has been adamant that people should not avoid his city out of fear of traffic.  Yet, a last-minute rescheduling away from East Providence to Providence wasn’t well communicated, and many people missed the event.

That is, McKee seems not to have wanted to cross the bridge.  It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Every datapoint has become a political Rorschach test.

I agree with Mickey Kaus, here:

kausmickey: This chart makes Trump look pretty good, no?--US out of woods by the time Biden takes office ...

Under President Trump, our dip was shallower than the comparison countries in the chart, and the economy was roaring back by the time Biden took office. If anything’s notable, it’s how hard Biden put the brakes on within months of being in office, with continued slowing in improvement thereafter.  I’d even argue the effect was so profound that it continues to harm the other countries.

Bike riders storm the RI State House

Politics This Week: Political Unspeakables

John DePetro and Justin Katz highlight some unspeakable stories in RI.

The Independent Man drives away from the State House

Politics This Week: Arrested Hope

John DePetro and Justin Katz review some of the distractions and calamities in Rhode Island government.

Leader of an angry mob accuses his reflection.

Reflecting on Rhode Island’s Robbers

Representative Michael Chippendale directs Rhode Islanders’ attention to the party responsible for the Ocean State’s condition.

A healthcare panel gives thumbs down.

Politics This Week: Under Their Thumb

John DePetro and Justin Katz warn of growing government control and corruption.

A killer clown's shadow falls on Main Street

Politics This Week: When the Clowns Control

John DePetro and Justin Katz review the latest way government officials and journalists put our state on the wrong track.

The Independent Man drives away from the State House

Politics This Week: Arrested Hope

John DePetro and Justin Katz review some of the distractions and calamities in Rhode Island government.

Leader of an angry mob accuses his reflection.

Reflecting on Rhode Island’s Robbers

Representative Michael Chippendale directs Rhode Islanders’ attention to the party responsible for the Ocean State’s condition.

A healthcare panel gives thumbs down.

Politics This Week: Under Their Thumb

John DePetro and Justin Katz warn of growing government control and corruption.

A killer clown's shadow falls on Main Street

Politics This Week: When the Clowns Control

John DePetro and Justin Katz review the latest way government officials and journalists put our state on the wrong track.

Fictional movie poster for Day of Reckoning

Politics This Week: Day of Reckoning!

John DePetro and Justin Katz explore who can expect days of reckoning in Rhode Island.

A giant mime shushes an empty legislative chamber

Politics This Week: RI’s Code of Silence

John DePetro and Justin Katz explore various subjects about which journalists aren’t free to be clear.

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?

A random musical tip…

I learned this too late in life.  Whether you’re just getting started with music or have been playing for a long time, get yourself a pan flute (or zamponá).  Something about having to move to a different part of the instrument for each note by feel of the distance rather than by sight (as on the piano) has really helped my sense of the relationship between notes.  I noticed a very quick improvement playing guitar and (separately) picking out melodies.

If you’re interested, I recommend Brad White’s pan flutes.  (Go ahead and buy the corresponding case when you order it.  You’re going to want it.)  I haven’t found a good supplier of zamponás; the one I bought at a local music store was inexpensive, but it’s pretty much a toy, and I had to shove cork in some pipes to make it tolerably in tune.

When Facebook matters… and when it doesn’t.

Writing in The Federalist, William Doyle describes how Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg helped buy Biden the election:

During the 2020 election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent hundreds of millions of dollars to turn out likely Democratic voters. But this wasn’t traditional political spending. He funded a targeted, private takeover of government election operations by nominally non-partisan — but demonstrably ideological — non-profit organizations.

Analysis conducted by our team demonstrates this money significantly increased Joe Biden’s vote margin in key swing states. This unprecedented merger of public election offices with private resources and personnel is an acute threat to our republic, and should be the focus of electoral reform efforts moving forward.

Read the whole thing for details, but even on its surface, the episode makes one marvel that the news media spent years talking about how a very limited amount of Facebook activity ostensibly from Russia helped President Trump cheat, but on this… disinterest!