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Just my own thoughts Opinion Politics

Just my two cents. McCarthy VS Jefferies. McCarthy Elected and Jefferies selected.

Views: 17

McCarthy VS Jefferies. McCarthy Elected and Jefferies selected. We are seeing two different styles. McCarthy who had to negotiate vs Jefferies, the affirmative action pick who does what he’s ordered.

McCarthy has been moving legislation that’s been getting positive reviews and even has had bi partisan support. VS Jefferies who’s doing the bidding of the MSM, Race Baiters, and White Plantationists. Being a good boy.

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Back Door Power Grab Corruption Links from other news sources. Reprints from others. The Law

Finally the truth about January 6th. Let my people go.

Views: 36

Watch:

Finally the truth about January 6th. Let my people go. Let me be clear. Those who committed acts of violence and vandalism should have been charged. None should still be in jail held without bond.

Yesterday Carlson started releasing what really happened and why the left hid this from the American People. I actually now understand why Pelosi, Schumer, and the Committee to do about nothing hid this. They bared some of the responsibility. Please watch the video’s above and read the tweets below. Some of what the Democrats released was actually doctored. The only deaths that occurred were the protestors.

Democrats have been running around like decapitated chickens ever since news broke that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Tucker Carlson unfettered access to surveillance footage from inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot by supporters of President Donald Trump.

The Fox News host will air five stories culled from the footage Monday and Tuesday nights, countering the overblown “insurrection” narrative the Democrats and their media toadies have been pushing since Day One.

 

Ray Epps was never arrested or locked up for this “crime” or any crime on January 6th.

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Links from other news sources. Medicine Reprints from others.

What are you afraid of?

Views: 10

What are you afraid of? Stat: Men will literally go to therapy instead of getting their annual checkups. A Cleveland Clinic survey of men last year found that 55% do not get regular health screenings, which is a far lower share than women. So, why do men avoid the turn-and-cough? Several potential reasons: their belief they might not need to, the concern of receiving bad news, and the taboo nature of talking about health issues with other dudes, the NYT suggests.

In an online survey among approximately 1,174 U.S. males 18 years or older, Cleveland Clinic found that 72 percent of men would rather do household chores, like cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn, than go to the doctor. Even for the men who take their health more seriously, some are holding back: 20 percent of men admit they have not been completely honest with their doctor before.

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Education Links from other news sources. Reprints from others.

Winning. A bunch of good Florida Bills.

Views: 5

This article can be found at the WP. WHAT A BUNCH OF CRY BABIES

Florida legislators have proposed a spate of new laws that would reshape K-12 and higher education in the state, from requiring teachers to use pronouns matching children’s sex as assigned at birth to establishing a universal school choice voucher program.

The half-dozen bills, filed by a cast of GOP state representatives and senators, come shortly before the launch of Florida’s legislative session Tuesday. Other proposals in the mix include eliminating college majors in gender studies, nixing diversity efforts at universities and job protections for tenured faculty, strengthening parents’ ability to veto K-12 class materials and extending a ban on teaching about gender and sexuality — from third grade up to eighth grade.

The legislation has already drawn protest from Democratic politicianseducation associations, free speech groups and LGBTQ advocates, who say the bills will restrict educators’ ability to instruct children honestly, harm transgender and nonbinary students and strip funding from public schools.

It shall be the policy of every public K-12 educational institution … that a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait.

— Florida House Bill 1223

“It really is further and further isolating LGBTQ students,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director for LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. “It’s making it hard for them to receive the full support that schools should be giving every child.”

Irene Mulvey, president of the American Association of University Professors, warned that the legislation — especially the bill that would prevent students from majoring in certain topics — threatens to undermine academic freedom.

“The state telling you what you can and cannot learn, that is inconsistent with democracy,” Mulvey said. “It silences debate, stifles ideas and limits the autonomy of educational institutions which … made American higher education the envy of the world.”

Sen. Clay Yarborough (R), who introduced one of the 2023 education bills — Senate Bill 1320, which forbids requiring school staff and students to use “pronouns that do not correspond with [a] person’s sex” and delays education on sexual orientation and gender identity until after eighth grade — said in a statement that his law would enshrine the “God-given” responsibility of parents to raise the children.

“The decision about when and if certain topics should be introduced to young children belongs to parents,” Yarborough said in the statement. “The bill also protects students and teachers from being forced to use language that would violate their personal convictions.”

The proposed laws have a high likelihood of passing in the State House, where GOP legislators make up a supermajority. Even before the landslide victory by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in November, very few Republicans pushed back against his policy proposals, instead crafting and passing bills that align with the governor’s mission to remake education in Florida from kindergarten through college.

Florida teen worries for LGBTQ students after ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill becomes law
4:45
Teen LGBTQ rights activist Will Larkins spoke to The Post about fighting this controversial bill less than a month after it was signed into law. (Video: Drea Cornejo/The Washington Post)

This year’s crop of proposed education bills accelerates those efforts, expanding on controversial ideas from the past two years and adding a few more. Tina Descovich, co-founder of the conservative group Moms for Liberty and a Florida resident, said her group backs the DeSantis education agenda “100 percent” — and that she thinks his policies are catching on outside the state.

“You see governors picking up education as a top issue, and you even see presidential candidates now putting education as a top issue,” she said. “I think Gov. DeSantis has set the path for that.”

 

Students at New College of Florida stage a walkout to protest far-reaching legislation that would ban gender studies majors and diversity programs at Florida universities. (Octavio Jones/Reuters)

Rick Hess, director of education policy studies for the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, predicted the education laws will play well with voters both in Florida and nationwide, boosting DeSantis’s chances at the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“The direction of this policy is sensible policy,” Hess said, referring especially to laws limiting young children’s learning on sex and gender. “It is both attractive to the DeSantis base but also has been shown to poll quite well with the center right, the center and even with parts of the center left.”

May 2022 Fox News poll found that 55 percent of parents favor state laws that bar teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with students before fourth grade. An October 2022 University of Southern California survey, meanwhile, found a partisan split: More than 80 percent of Democrats said high school students should learn about sexual orientation and gender identity, compared to roughly a third of Republicans. Just 7 percent of adults in both political camps supported assigning reading that depicts sex between people of the same sex to elementary-schoolers, per the survey.

The bills in Florida come as at least 25 states have passed 64 laws in the last three academic years reshaping what children can learn and do at school, according to a Washington Post tally. Many of these laws circumscribe education on race, gender and sexual identity, boost parental oversight of school libraries and curriculums or restrict the rights of transgender children in classrooms and on the playing field.

Florida already passed several such laws, including the “Stop W.O.K.E. Act,” which prohibits certain ways of teaching about race. (A judge blocked some aspects of the law in November.) Another is the “Parental Rights in Education” law, dubbed “don’t say gay” by critics, which forbids teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation during grades K-3 and requires that education on those subjects be age-appropriate in older grades.

One of the bills put forward in the 2023 legislative session builds directly on the parental rights law: House Bill 1223 would expand the ban on gender and sexuality education to extend through eighth grade. That bill also says school staffers, contractors and students cannot be required to use pronouns that do not match the sex a person was assigned at birth.

 

“It shall be the policy of every public K-12 educational institution,” the bill states, “that a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex.”

Jon Harris Maurer, public policy director for LGBTQ rights group Equality Florida, said the bill will compound damage already wrought by the “Parental Rights in Education” act.

“That resulted in book banning, eroding supportive guidelines and led teachers to leave the profession,” Maurer said. “This doubles down.”

House Rep. Adam Anderson (R-District 57), who sponsored the bill, did not respond to a request for comment.

Florida legislators have introduced two other pieces of similar legislation: the near-identical Senate bill filed by Yarborough and House Bill 1069, brought by Rep. Stan McClain (R-District 27). The latter bill requires that students in grades 6-12 be taught that “sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth.” It also grants parents greater power to read over and object to school instructional materials, as well as limit their child’s ability to explore the school library.

McClain did respond to a request for comment.

Another bill on the table is House Bill 999, targeted to higher education and introduced by Rep. Alex Andrade (R-District 2), who did not respond to a request for comment. The bill outlaws spending on diversity, equity and inclusion programs, says a professor’s tenure can come under review at any time and gives boards of trustees — typically appointed by the governor or Board of Governors — control of faculty hiring and curriculum review.

It also eliminates college majors and minors in “Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, or Intersectionality.” It says colleges should offer general education courses that “promote the philosophical underpinnings of Western civilization and include studies of this nation’s historical documents” including the Constitution and the Federalist Papers.

The bill has a companion in the Senate, proposed by Sen. Erin Grall (R), who did not respond to a request for comment. Andrade previously told the Tampa Bay Times that his bill would ensure that institutions of higher education remain focused on legitimate fields of inquiry rather than disciplines “not based in fact.”

“It’s a complete takeover of higher education,” said Kenneth Nunn, who stepped down earlier this year from his role as professor of law at the University of Florida — in part because of the politics in the state. The “attacks” on higher education “reduce the reputation and perhaps the accreditation of the state institutions,” Nunn said.

Organizations focused on civil liberties are also objecting. PEN America, which advocates for free speech, said the bill would impose “perhaps the most draconian and censorious restrictions on public colleges and universities in the country.” The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression said the bill is “laden with unconstitutional provisions hostile to freedom of expression and academic freedom.”

Adam Kissel, a visiting fellow for higher education reform at the Heritage Foundation, said there are a few easily fixed constitutional problems with the wording but praised the bill for holding “universities accountable in a few ways to the will of the people.” He added that post-tenure review is important because someone who earns that laurel at 28 may “become a dead weight” 30 years later. He said an ideological review would be inappropriate, but that if a professor has turned from intellectual pursuits to activism and is no longer producing scholarship, then that faculty member — regardless of viewpoint — merits scrutiny.

Andrade’s bill mirrors steps already taken by the DeSantis administration. In early January, the governor’s budget office mandated that all universities report the amount of money they are expending on diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Later that month, DeSantis announced a slate of reforms to higher education, including prohibitions on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

A sixth education-related bill, House Bill 1, introduced by Reps. Kaylee Tuck (R-District 83) and Susan Plasencia (R-District 37), renders all parents eligible to receive state funds to send their children to private school, stripping away a previous low-income requirement, although low-income families would still be prioritized. It comes as the school choice movement is surging nationally, with Republican-led states passing laws that grant state funds to parents who can spend the money on religious and private schools. Tuck and Plasencia did not respond to requests for comment.

Pat Barber, president of the Manatee Education Association, said this bill is the one that hurts most.

“We’re not very well funded in public education in Florida to start with,” she said. “And their answer to that is to funnel money away from public education?”

The laws are moving through committee as DeSantis continues an ongoing feud with the College Board over a new AP African American studies course, which Florida has rejected as being too “woke.” DeSantis recently said the legislature “is going to look to reevaluate” whether the state should offer any AP courses at all, or the SAT exam.

Battles over state education have also spilled into other arenas. A dispute over the Parental Rights bill lasts year ended with DeSantis pushing for a state takeover of a half-century-old special taxing district for Walt Disney World. DeSantis began excoriating Disney after the company’s former CEO criticized the “Parental Rights in Education” law.

An earlier version of this article mistakenly identified Rep. Rene “Coach P” Plasencia (R-District 50) as a co-sponsor of House Bill 1. Rep. Susan Plasencia (R-District 37) is the co-sponsor of the bill. This article has been corrected.

Hannah Natanson is a Washington Post reporter covering national K-12 education.

Lori Rozsa is a reporter based in Florida who covers the state for The Washington Post. She is a former correspondent for People magazine and a former reporter and bureau chief for the Miami Herald.

Susan Svrluga is a reporter covering higher education for The Washington Post. Before that, she covered education and local news at The Post.

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COVID Links from other news sources. Reprints from others.

Dishonesty from the nation’s leading public health agency

Views: 20

Thanks to Ian Miller at Unmasked.
Dishonesty from the nation’s leading public health agency.

It’s no secret by now that the CDC is not a particularly trustworthy or competent organization.

Their documented failures on virtually every aspect of pandemic policy have been consistent and discrediting.

Recently the current director, Rochelle Walensky, once again misled the public on the efficacy of masking, completely disregarding a gold standard evidence review that concluded that they don’t work.

Unmasked
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky Misleads on Masks Yet Again
The position of CDC director continues to be one of the most dangerously misleading in the field of public health. Robert Redfield became notorious for his nonsensical over-reliance on masking early on in the pandemic. He first claimed that the pandemic could essentially be ended in just a matter of weeks if everyone wore masks…

The CDC has continually published low quality studies throughout the pandemic, providing cover for media outlets and politicians to continue mandating or promoting masks.

Unmasked
The CDC’s Latest Study on Masks is Purposeful Misinformation
“Misinformation” is one of the most overused terms in our modern world. Instead of referring to information that is purposefully misleading, it’s now become an easy shorthand term for major media outlets when referring to information they don’t like…
Read more

It is simply inexcusable that they would deliberately mislead the public on safety signals, yet according to newly released emails, that seems to be exactly what they did.

Post-vaccination myocarditis has become a well-known concern for adolescents, especially young men. But in the early days of mass vaccination, as the CDC increasingly recommended younger and younger age groups get vaccinated, they were pushing forward without fully acknowledging the risks.

Even though they were told about them.

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Links from other news sources. Reprints from others. Sports

Give credit where credit is due. ESPN analyst hints at notion Nikola Jokic has won MVPs, is favorite to win again because he’s white

Views: 32

Give credit where credit is due. ESPN analyst hints at notion Nikola Jokic has won MVPs, is favorite to win again because he’s white. Jokic is averaging a triple-double (24.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 10.0 assists) for the first-place Denver Nuggets.

Nikola Jokic is the odds-on favorite to win his third-straight NBA MVP Award. The Serbia native is well on his way to becoming the fourth player in NBA history to win three straight MVPs, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Larry Bird.Jokic is averaging a triple-double (24.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 10.0 assists) for the first-place Denver Nuggets.

But former NBA champion Kendrick Perkins, now an ESPN analyst, says there’s racial hypocrisy in the award’s voting.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic gestures after being called for a foul in the second half of a game against the Charlotte Hornets Dec. 18, 2022, in Denver.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic gestures after being called for a foul in the second half of a game against the Charlotte Hornets Dec. 18, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

On Wednesday’s edition of “First Take,” Perkins acknowledged only three players since 1990 have won an MVP despite being outside the top 10 in points per game: Jokic in his first MVP campaign in 2020-21, Dirk Nowitzki (2006-07) and Steve Nash (2004-05, 2005-06).

“What do those guys have in common? I’ll let it sit there and marinate. You think about it,” he said, testing co-host Stephen A. Smith.

 

 

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Back Door Power Grab Links from other news sources. Reprints from others. Social Venues-Twitter

Twitter Files: GEC, New Knowledge, and State-Sponsored Blacklists.

Views: 14

Thanks to Matt and Racket News for this.

 

Americans have been paying taxes to disenfranchise themselves, as government agencies and subcontractors undertake a massive digital blacklisting project

 

A new #TwitterFiles thread will be dropping in a few hours, at noon EST. It follows up the Hamilton 68 story of a month ago with examples of state-funded digital blacklisting campaigns run amok. It’s self-explanatory, but some advance context might help:

In 2015-2016, during the brief, forgotten period when Islamic terrorism was fading as a national obsession and Trumpian “domestic extremism” had not yet become one, Barack Obama made a series of decisions that may yet prove devastating to his legacy.

The short version is he signed Executive Order 13271, establishing a “Global Engagement Center” (“GEC”) to “counter the messaging and diminish the influence of international terrorist organizations.” This act got almost no press and even within government, almost no one noticed.

In the bigger picture, however, a lame duck president kick-started the process of shifting the national security establishment’s focus from counterterrorism to “disinformation.” Whether by malfunction or design, this abrupt course change of Washington’s contracting supertanker would have dramatic consequences. In fact, the tale of how America’s information warfare mechanism turned inward, against “threats” in our own population, might someday be remembered as the story of our time, with collective panic over “disinfo” defining this generation in much the same way the Red Scare defined the culture of the fifties.

This is a complicated story and it would be a mistake to jump to simplistic conclusions, like that the Global Engagement Center (humorously nicknamed “GECK” or “YUCK” by detractors in other agencies) is an evil Orwellian mind-control scheme. It isn’t. But for a few crucial bad decisions, it could have fulfilled a useful or at least logical mission, much as the United States Information Agency (USIA) once did. However, instead of stressing research and public reports, as the USIA did when responding to Soviet accusations that Americans had caused the AIDS crisis, GEC funded a secret list of contractors and employed a more surreptitious approach to “counter-disinformation,” sending companies like Twitter voluminous reports on foreign “ecosystems” — in practice, blacklists.

GEC was not conceived as a partisan mechanism to defang conservative media, despite the recent true and damning series of reports by the Washington Examiner, outlining how a GEC-funded NGO in England used algorithmic scoring to de-rank outlets like The Daily Wire and help papers like the New York Times earn more ad revenue. The blacklisting tales you’ll be reading about later today on Twitter also primarily target American conservatives, though GEC and GEC-funded contractors also target left-friendly movements like the gilets jaunes (yellow vests)socialist media outlets like Canada’s Global Research, even the Free Palestine movement.

The scary angle on GEC is not so much the agency as the sprawling infrastructure of “disinformation labs” that have grown around it.

Underneath America’s love affair with “anti-disinformation” in the Trump years — which expressed itself in the seemingly instant construction of a sprawling complex of disinformation studies “labs” at institutions like Harvard, Stanford, Clemson, UT, Pitt, William and Mary, the University of Washington, and other locations — lay a devastating secret. Most of these “experts” know nothing. Many have skill, if you can call mesmerizing dumb reporters a skill, but in the area of identifying true bad actors, few know more than the average person on the street.

This is described repeatedly in the #TwitterFiles. In one sequence Twitter was contacted by Sheera Frenkel of the New York Times, who was writing a hagiographic profiles of “disinformation” warrior Renee DiResta, who’d achieved some renown as a campaigner against vaccine misinformation. Frenkel wrote Twitter to ask why they hadn’t hired “independent researchers” like DiResta, Jonathan Albright, and Jonathon Morgan — coincidentally, all hired witnesses of the Senate Intelligence Committee — to help Twitter “better understand” its own business.

At the sight of Frenkel’s provocative note, some Twitter execs lost it.

“The word ‘researcher’ has taken on a very broad meaning,” snapped Nick Pickles. “Renee is literally doing this as a hobby… Of those three only [Albright] is the most credible, but… the bulk of his work is Medium blogs.”

“Like CVE before it, misinformation is becoming a cottage industry,” agreed comms official Ian Plunkett, referencing “countering violent extremism,” a.k.a. counterterrorism.

Today’s thread among other things will detail crude digital blacklisting schemes dreamed up by this new cottage industry. Each features the same design “flaw,” in which giant lists of supposed foreign disinformationists somehow also come to include ordinary Americans, often with the same political leanings.

In one ridiculous case, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), a GEC-funded entity, sent Twitter a huge list of people they suspected of “engaging in inauthentic behavior… and Hindu nationalism more broadly.” You’ll see the list to judge. As was the case with the “Hamilton 68” story, in which a spook-laden think tank purported to track accounts linked to “Russian influence activities” while really following the likes of @TrumpDyke and @TimeForTrumppp, this DFRLab list of “Hindu nationalists” is weirdly packed with real septuagenarian Trump supporters.

One, a woman named Marysel Urbanik who immigrated from Castro’s Cuba in her youth, struggled to understand why a Washington think tank had sent Twitter a letter ID’ing her as either “inauthentic” or a Hindu nationalist.

“They say I’m what?”

“A Hindu nationalist,” I said. “Well, suspected.”

“But I’m Cuban, not Indian,” she pleaded, confused. “Hindu? I wouldn’t even know what words to say.”

Such listmakers are either employing extremely expansive definitions of hate speech, extremely inexact methods of identifying spam, or they’re doing both in addition to a third thing: keeping up a busywork campaign for underemployed ex-anti-terror warriors, who don’t mind racking up lists of “foreign” disinformationists that just happen to also rope in domestic undesirables.

In his book Information Wars, the original nominal head of GEC and former Time editor Rick Stengel explained an epiphany he had that allowed him to tie the fight against “foreign” disinformation to matters domestic. It happened when Stengel watched a YouTube video of Russian nationalist Alexander Dugin:

He castigated Hillary Clinton’s campaign as a bunch of ‘“storm troopers.” He lambasted what he called the American “obsession with the fake Russian threat.” He said it was an excuse for losers… The production values were poor, the audience was small, but the video revealed an extraordinary mirroring of language and ideas between Dugin and other Russian voices and candidate Trump… The notion that there was some kind of shared rhetorical playbook just seemed too fanciful to believe. While the messages did not exactly repeat each other, they certainly rhymed.

At the same time as Dugin was uploading his video, according to public U.S. intelligence, the GRU—the Russian military intelligence service—began going through the email accounts of DNC officials…

Stengel didn’t need to prove an actual link between Dugin, Russia, and Trump. It was enough to imply it, by placing stories about the GRU near Trump’s name, while asserting Trump and Dugin’s ideas “rhymed.”

This is probably what’s going on in the DFRLab list: one assumes many BJP supporters have views that “rhyme” with what one might call the American version of nationalism, #MAGA. Similarly, a GEC report sent to Twitter about “Russian Pillars of Disinformation” stressed that even actors who “generate their own momentum” online should be considered part of a propaganda “ecosystem.” Independence, the GEC report stressed, should not “confuse those trying to discern the truth.”

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Education Links from other news sources. Reprints from others.

Dishonor Code: What Happens When Cheating Becomes the Norm?

Views: 41

Dishonor Code: What Happens When Cheating Becomes the Norm?

Thanks to the Free Press for this article.

Students say they are getting ‘screwed over’ for sticking to the rules. Professors say students are acting like ‘tyrants.’ Then came ChatGPT . .

When it was time for Sam Beyda, then a freshman at Columbia University, to take his Calculus I midterm, the professor told students they had 90 minutes.

But the exam would be administered online. And even though every student was expected to take it alone, in their dorms or apartments or at the library, it wouldn’t be proctored. And they had 24 hours to turn it in.

“Anyone who hears that knows it’s a free-for-all,” Beyda told me.

Beyda, an economics major, said students texted each other answers; looked up solutions on Chegg, a crowdsourced website with answers to exam questions; and used calculators, which were technically verboten.

He finished the exam in under an hour, he said. Other students spent two or three hours on it. Some classmates paid older students who had already taken the course to do it for them.

“Professors just don’t care,” he told me.

For decades, campus standards have been plummeting. The hallowed, ivy-draped buildings, the stately quads, the timeless Latin mottos—all that tradition and honor have been slipping away. That’s an old story. Then Covid struck and all bets were off. With college kids doing college from their bedrooms and smartphones, and with the explosion of new technology, cheating became not just easy but practically unavoidable. “Cheating is rampant,” a Princeton senior told me. “Since Covid there’s been an increasing trend toward grade inflation, cheating, and ultimately, academic mediocrity.”

Now that students are back on campus, colleges are having a hard time putting the genie back in the bottle. Remote testing combined with an array of tech tools—exam helpers like Chegg, Course Hero, Quizlet, and Coursera; messaging apps like GroupMe and WhatsApp; Dropbox folders containing course material from years past; and most recently, ChatGPT, the AI that can write essays—have permanently transformed the student experience.

“It’s the Wild West when it comes to using emerging technologies and new forms of access to knowledge,” Gregory Keating, who has a joint appointment at USC’s Department of Philosophy and Gould School of Law, told me. “Faculties and administrations are scrambling to keep up.”

Amy Kind, a philosophy professor at Claremont McKenna, said that, at the prestigious liberal arts college just east of Los Angeles, “Cheating is a big concern among the faculty.”

Nor do students have much incentive to turn back the clock: they’re getting better grades for less work than ever.

Exhibit A: Greye Dunn, a recent Boston University graduate who majored in international relations and minored in Spanish. Dunn said he never cheated per se, but he benefited handsomely from the new, lower standards. His pre-Covid GPA was just north of 3.0; during Covid, he averaged a 3.5. And he knows plenty of students who flouted the rules.

“Many students want the credential, and they just want the easiest way to get that,” Gabriel Rossman, a sociology professor at UCLA, told me.

A sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious business school, who declined to give me her name, said: “They’re here for the Wharton brand, a 4.0 GPA, and to party.”

“The students see school as a stepping stone,” Beyda told me. He meant they went on to graduate school or to jobs at consulting firms like McKinsey or Bain or in finance at Goldman Sachs, and then a spouse, a house, children, private school, vacations in Provence—all the nice things in life.

“Anything that you miss, you can just learn on YouTube,” he said.

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Leftist Virtue(!) Links from other news sources. Opinion Politics Reprints from others.

Trump’s rollback of regulations can’t be blamed for Ohio train wreck. So says the WP.

Views: 42

“I had nothing to do with it.”

— Former president Donald Trump, asked about criticism of his pulling back rail regulations, in East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 22

Trump’s comment during his tour of East Palestine was widely interpreted to mean that he had nothing to do with regulatory rollbacks during his presidency — an odd remark since he frequently celebrated how many regs he had eliminated. (He often exaggerated the impact of his record, but that’s another story.)

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign, said Trump was speaking more generally about regulatory changes being falsely blamed for the derailment of 38 train cars, including 11 carrying hazardous materials, in East Palestine on Feb. 3. Biden administration officials have strongly suggested that the Trump administration buckled under pressure from rail industry lobbyists, laying the groundwork for an accident.

We decided to examine every possible regulatory change made under Trump that could be related to the accident and assess whether it could have made an impact.preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the incident, said the Norfolk Southern crew received an alert about an overheated wheel bearing and was trying to slow the train before it came off the tracks.

From our analysis, none of the regulatory changes made during the Trump administration at this point can be cited as contributing to the accident.

Electronically controlled pneumatic brakes

On long trains, these “ECP” brakes, which use electronic signals along the length of a train, are considered superior to an older braking system that uses compressed air to individually stop each car. The Trump administration in 2017 repealed an Obama-era rule that would have required ECP brakes on “high hazard” trains that carry flammable hazardous materials. A Government Accountability Office report had cast doubt on the Transportation Department’s estimates of the benefits from the requirement.

The GAO study was a requirement included, at the behest of industry, in a 2015 law signed by Obama, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, after dozens of trains hauling oil and ethanol crashed. The accidents included one in 2013 in Quebec that killed 47 people and destroyed the town of Lac-Mégantic. The Trump DOT determined that revised estimates found the costs outweighed the benefits. The Associated Press later discovered that the DOT estimate had miscalculated the potential benefits — what officials claimed at the time was an “unintentional error.” Even with a correction, the department still said the costs outweighed the benefits.

The Biden administration has not acted to reinstate the rule, which would have gone into effect starting in 2021 if Trump had not shelved it.

Relevance to derailment: Minimal. The train was not equipped with ECP brakes; instead its locomotive used dynamic braking — electric traction motors acting as generators, which slow the train and dissipate mechanical energy as heat. When the crew received the alert about the overheated wheel bearing and engaged the dynamic brake, an automatic emergency brake application kicked in to stop the train, the NTSB said. That’s a full application of a train’s main air brakes that takes place when the train senses that air-brake hoses between rail cars have been disconnected — indicating the train had already derailed.

NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said on Twitter that the repealed rule was not relevant to the accident. “The ECP braking rule would’ve applied ONLY to HIGH HAZARD FLAMMABLE TRAINS. The train that derailed in East Palestine was a MIXED FREIGHT TRAIN containing only 3 placarded Class 3 flammable liquids cars,” she wrote. “This means even if the rule had gone into effect, this train wouldn’t have had ECP brakes.”

But Cynthia Quarterman, who helped write the rule as administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration during the Obama administration, told The Fact Checker that if the rule had not been delayed and then shelved, she believes ECP brakes might have been widely adopted by industry and could have ended up on this train.

Brake safety inspections

The Trump administration in 2020 issued a rule that extended how much time a freight rail train could be parked with its air brake system depressurized before requiring a new brake inspection. The rule permitted U.S. trains to be off air for as long as 24 hours, similar to the rule in place in Canada since 2008; before the rule change, the limit was four hours. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) estimated the change would result in 110,000 fewer brake inspections, saving the industry $500 million over 10 years.

Relevance to derailment: Unclear. There is no determination yet that the braking system played a role in the accident.

Two-person crew requirement

After the Lac-Mégantic crash, which had only one crew member on the train, the Obama administration in 2016 proposed a rule to require two-person crews on all trains. The Trump administration withdrew the proposal in 2019, saying “no direct conclusions could be drawn about train crew staffing’s safety impact” on Lac-Mégantic or other accidents. The Biden administration has said it will seek to revive the rule.

Relevance to derailment: None. The 149-car train that derailed had two crew members plus a trainee on board.

Minimum rail safety requirements

The Trump administration in 2020 revised minimum safety requirements for railroad track, which among other measures allowed for quicker inspections.

Relevance to derailment: None. The NTSB inspected the tracks, and the preliminary report makes no mention of any problem.

Recurring safety audits

The FRA regulates the safety of railroad tracks, and railroad companies are responsible for maintaining and inspecting tracks. Under the Obama administration, the FRA in 2015 began audits known as the Crude Oil Route Track Examination (CORTEx) program, which sent dozens of additional inspectors to specific regions to conduct track inspections along crude oil routes. The last audit was in 2018, and the program was not renewed for the rest of the Trump administration.

In 2021, the Biden administration launched a different audit program that focused on railroad companies, beginning with Union Pacific Railroad.

Relevance to derailment: None. In 2022, FRA conducted an audit of Norfolk Southern, the company involved in the Ohio incident, and made a number of recommendations for improvement. “FRA observed inconsistencies in NS’s operational testing and inspection program, ranging from access to and accuracy of records, to the methods and processes used to prioritize the testing of rules that prevent accidents,” the audit said. “The failure to properly administer and implement the program of operational testing can diminish the capacity to correct accident/incident and injury trends.”

Deregulation of ethylene oxide

The Trump administration, bowing to industry pressure, ignored federal scientists and adopted weaker standards for regulating emissions of ethylene oxide, a hazardous air pollutant that could pose a risk of lymphoid and breast cancer. The Biden administration has said it would reconsider the rule.

Ethylene oxide is used to manufacture ethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in hydraulic brake fluids, antifreeze, inks and paints. Ethylene glycol, generally a clear, syrupy liquid, was found near the derailment site.

Relevance to derailment: None. The rule concerned emissions by chemical plants, not the synthetic chemical released in the accident.

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But, but we were told it was led by Donald Trump. Government watchdog report finds FBI, Capitol Police identified but didn’t share “credible threats” before Jan. 6

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This is a CBS News report. But why did this come out now? The Report says the Capitol Police knew, so Schumer, the DC Mayor, and Pelosi Knew ahead of time. I’m guessing that if the FBI knew and did tell Trump, that’s why he wanted to send in the National Guard.

Government watchdog report finds FBI, Capitol Police identified but didn’t share “credible threats” before Jan. 6.

Federal agencies responsible for protecting the U.S. Capitol did not “fully process” or share critical information — including about militia groups arming themselves ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection — a failure that stymied the response that day, according to a new 122-page report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. 

The FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police had seen “threats that were true or credible” days ahead of the assault on the Capitol building, the report said. But much as with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a failure by multiple agencies to share information and connect dots left those securing the Capitol unprepared for the onslaught.

“Some agencies did not fully process information or share it, preventing critical information from reaching key federal entities responsible for securing the National Capital Region against threats,” the report said.

The GAO report also revealed specific tips that were obtained by some federal agencies ahead of the attack. For example, the Capitol Police obtained information “regarding a tip that a member of the Proud Boys had recently obtained ballistic helmets, armored gloves, vests, and purchased weapons, including a sniper rifle and suppressors for the weapons.” 

The tip, which the Secret Service also obtained from its Denver Field Office, revealed the individual flew with others to Washington D.C. “on January 5, 2021” to incite violence. According to the report, the Secret Service interviewed the individual and his son when they arrived in Washington, D.C., and investigated whether they were traveling with “loaded weapons.” Capitol Police also attempted to locate the individual using “cell phone pings.” 

According to the report, investigators from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reviewed a tip a day before the Jan. 6 attacks about an individual who had “staked out parking lots of federal buildings to determine how to bring firearms into D.C. at January 6th events.”

The report also indicates there was a threat against the D.C. water system between Dec. 16, 2020 – Jan. 4, 2021. Information about the threat was obtained by the Architect of the Capitol and was shared with the Capitol Police. 

In addition to the Capitol Police and the FBI, five other federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, United States Secret Service, Park Police, Senate Sergeant at Arms and Postal Inspection Service “developed a total of 27 threat products specific to the planned events of January 6 prior to the attack on the Capitol,” according to the obtained report. The GAO found that “14 products included an assessment of the likelihood that violence could occur.”

A tip shared by intelligence officials from New York State with their counterparts in Washington D.C., included a social media post where the user “described intent to conduct an attack in Washington D.C. on January 6 — targeting Democratic members of Congress.”

The report singled out the FBI, concluding the agency “did not consistently follow policies for processing tips.” 

“FBI officials we spoke with said that from December 29, 2020 through January 6, 2021, they tracked domestic terrorism subjects that were traveling to Washington, D.C. and developed reports related to January 6 events,” said the report. “As of January 6, 2021, FBI officials noted that the Washington Field Office was tracking 18 domestic terrorism subjects as potential travelers to the D.C. area.”

In response to the GAO’s findings, the Justice Department said that the FBI would be working “diligently to address the recommendations in the GAO’s report,” and at the same time, the department would “incorporate GAO’s conclusion that, despite collecting and sharing significant pieces of threat reporting, the FBI did not process all relevant information related to potential violence on January 6.”

“The FBI continues to be introspective regarding its roles in sharing intelligence regarding the event of January 6,” Justice Department official Larissa Knapp said in a letter to the GAO.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told the GAO his department is “currently drafting policy that will provide guidance for sharing threat-related information agency-wide” and said this policy is “currently under executive review.” 

The U.S. Park Police concurred with GAO’s findings, and an Interior Department official stated that the agency is working to update policy by March 2023, regarding the “collection, analysis, and distribution of intelligence information.” 

 

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