Why did NPR hire a white person as its new CEO?

Katherine Maher, the former head of Wikipedia and recently hired CEO of state-sponsored NPR, has been in the news lately. Christopher Rufo has been highlighting her years of progressive-themed tweets. This one is my favorite:

(It’s actually a prompt of exclusion since the password does not include “Ze”)

What I can’t figure out is why NPR hired this white native-born 40-year-old. Here’s the NPR diversity policy:

If diversity is their core value, as they say, why couldn’t they find a CEO who fits into more corners of the “big tent” that they’ve identified? A Black gay transgender poor religious old disabled conservative undocumented immigrant, for example. And why did she take the job? She says that she wants to help sex workers, Black and brown people, Muslims, “LGBTQ+ folks”, et al. Shouldn’t she have rejected the offer and told NPR to hire someone who fit into one of those categories?

Some more tweets from the head of the taxpayer-funded radio network:

(It’s a “man’s world”, but someone with only a bachelor’s degree was able to get the top jobs at Wikipedia and NPR without identifying as a “man”?)

Don’t have kids, but invite 100 million migrants and their kids into a high-carbon society from their low-carbon societies? Hearing about the possibility that immigrants destroyed the natives (Anglo-Saxons moving into present-day Britain) makes her more confident that open borders are the correct choice for current Americans:

In case the original of my favorite tweet goes into a memory hole:

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WSJ article on the working/chump class

“The Calls for Help Coming From Above the Poverty Line” (WSJ, April 6):

United Way, the nonprofit that operates about half of the country’s 200-plus 211 centers, and other poverty researchers blame that disconnect partly on the federal poverty line, which they say hasn’t kept up with the real cost of living.

The share of households below the census-designated federal poverty line has barely budged since 2010. Meanwhile, poverty researchers say a large and fast-growing group of people are earning too much to qualify for social services and not enough to afford the basics where they live.

In other words, the working class has been trampled by open borders, just as the Harvard economics eggheads said: “Yes, Immigration Hurts American Workers”.

The trend, which was hugely accelerated starting in 2021, probably isn’t going to be reversed. The question then becomes how should a person of modest means, yet not entitled to “not-welfare”, adapt to a society that has been degraded for the working class?

Humans are social animals and a lot of the misery inflicted on the working class has to do with their standard of living being lower than that of nearby non-working people on what used to be called “welfare” and is now “means-tested”. The working class person will experience pain at the grocery store when seeing a relaxed-from-not-working customer pay for a huge cart of groceries via EBT card, for example.

How about a move to a state where people who work have a higher spending power than people who don’t work? “The Work versus Welfare Trade‐​Off: 2013” (CATO) is filled with pre-Biden dollar figures that are absurdly out of date, but the percentages and rankings are still relevant. Here are the states where a working class American is going to feel the dumbest for not having gone on the welfare career track starting at age 16:

Here are the states where a median worker might enjoy twice the spending power of someone who chooses the relaxed non-working lifestyle:

We then probably want to look at these states to figure out which ones have the best opportunities for free recreation, the best schools for kids so that they can move up, and the best weather. In the report covered by “Surprise: Florida and Texas Excel in Math and Reading Scores” (NYT 2015), Texas, Florida, and Colorado had the best schools among the above states. Florida and Colorado have great weather and free recreation. Florida is ranked #8 for happiness by WalletHub and Colorado is down at #31. So maybe the answer for a working class person feeling like a chump is to move to Florida! (Maybe not to Palm Beach County, though, if envy is an issue!)

The same advice applies to people who are rich, incidentally, if the rich person wants to be in an environment where anyone with a job can thrive and not suffer despair. Inequality isn’t a terrible thing, from a rich person’s point of view, but for those who adhere to the now-obsolete Protestant work ethic, there is value to being in a place where the working people one interacts with are cheerful.


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Sam Bankman-Fried signature license plates?

A sad day for Joe Biden’s second-largest donor (NYT):

Could the federal government reduce the budget deficit by selling license plates and other collectibles made by Sam Bankman-Fried? If he’s going to be in prison for at least a few years why not start up a line of Effective Altruism plates at $5,000, each one signed by Mr. Bankman-Fried? (partnership with the states, of course, and some of the profits shared with each state that participates)

Separately, when and by which president might Sam Bankman-Fried be pardoned?

Also, with Bitcoin now at $70,000, is it possible that Bankman-Fried, if left alone, could have paid everyone back? FTX melted down in November 2022 when Bitcoin was worth about $20,000. What if Bitcoin had gradually moved from its $65,000 November 2021 price to today’s $70,000? Would FTX have been okay despite the diversions of funds and the girlfriend’s investment decisions?

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Gerald Ford and the Swine flu panic of 1976

An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford reminds us of the 1976 panic regarding a respiratory virus: a strain of influenza called “swine flu”. This was the genesis of the modern muscular CDC. Congress appropriated $500 million in pre-Carter/pre-Biden dollars. The CDC said that every American should get vaccinated (Republican Ford publicly accepted the sacrament; Democrat Jimmy Carter refused it). The vaccine was rushed to the market, greatly enriching four pharma companies who also were indemnified from any liability. This indemnification turned out to be useful. The vaccine was at least 10X more likely to cause Guillain-Barré Syndrome (paralysis) than it was to protect the injected person from death due to influenza (contemporary CDC page on the subject).

Abram Saperstein, who changed his name to Albert Sabin, was recruited to sell the idea of universal vaccination. Sabin was famous at the time for having created the oral polio vaccine. After a few months, however, Sabin concluded that the rushed-to-market swine flu vaccine was more likely to harm than help and that a 1918-style epidemic was unlikely.

Speaking of Jimmy Carter, the book notes that his campaign promises were similar to Javier “Chainsaw” Milei’s in Argentina. Candidate Carter promised to reduce the number of federal agencies from 1,900 to 200, for example. What did President Carter deliver? A brand new Cabinet-level Department of Education that kicked off decades of tuition inflation at American colleges and universities via subsidized student loans and grants.

Personal health anecdote: Following the example of Jimmy Carter, the greatest president in our nation’s history, I ignored CVS’s constant reminders of flu vaccine availability. In early January, embedded in Boston with the nation’s smartest and most assiduous mask and vaccine Karens, I got a truly horrible cough/flu. I cursed myself for ignoring CDC advice. After limping home on JetBlue (I actually wore a mask in hopes of protecting fellow passengers!) I went to a German-trained physician here in Palm Beach County and tested negative for both COVID and influenza.


  • “The Effect of Influenza Vaccination for the Elderly on Hospitalization and Mortality” (Anderson, et al. 2020; Annals of Internal Medicine): “Turning 65 [the age at which people in the UK become eligible for flu vaccines from the NHS] was associated with a statistically and clinically significant increase in rate of seasonal influenza vaccination. However, no evidence indicated that vaccination reduced hospitalizations or mortality among elderly persons” (in other words, the flu shot might help some people avoid a brief illness, but it doesn’t reduce the chance of being killed by the flu)
  • “Carter’s Flu‐Shot Plan For the Ill and Elderly Termed Short of Goal” (NYT, 1979): [the CDC director] also defended the program against criticism by Dr. Albert B. Sabin, who developed the oral vaccine for polio. Dr. Sabin, who is associated with the Medical University of South Carolina, said that he did not believe that the influenza vaccine would help many people because new virus strains kept cropping up. and required changes in immunization formulas. He said that vaccines containing major new strains became available only after the new strains already had their major impact.
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Why wouldn’t someone who lives off the government believe in the government? (California Democrat edition)

A tweet from Barbara Lee, California Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate:

52 years ago, Shirley Chisholm announced her campaign for president—becoming the first person of color & Democratic woman to run for the office.

At the time, as a Black single mom on welfare, I didn’t believe in America’s political & governmental systems.

Then I met Shirley…

She was able to marry the taxpayer and have all of her needs met (housing, health care, food; maybe not Smartphone and home broadband like today). Why wouldn’t she “believe in” a system that transferred all of that money from working Americans into her pocket?

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Intersection of low-skill migration and school closure

Loyal readers are aware of my interests in the effect of low-skill immigration on American society and the passion of government bureaucrats for closing public schools in favor of an online school fraud. These intersected today in the Sanctuary City of New York. “NYC students forced to go remote as city houses nearly 2K migrants displaced by storm at their school” (New York Post):

Students at a Brooklyn high school were kicked out of the classroom to make room for nearly 2,000 migrants who were evacuated from a controversial tent shelter due to a monster storm closed in on the Big Apple.

The city made the move amid concerns that a massive migrant tent at Floyd Bennett Field would collapse from torrential rains and gusting winds — packing them instead into the second-floor gym at James Madison High School five miles away.

“There’s 1,900 people getting thrown into my neighborhood, half a block from where I live and we don’t know who they are,” he said. “They’re not vetted. A lot of them have criminal records and backgrounds and we don’t even know.”

How would Americans “vet” migrants? What do we know about who did what in various foreign countries?

“They told us we had to get everything out by 5 [p.m.],” gym teacher Robyn Levy said outside the school. “They sent us the email at 6 in the morning. I don’t know when we’ll be able to back.

“What I want to know is why here?” Levy said. “Why not send them somewhere where students wouldn’t be disrupted, where students learning wouldn’t be disrupted?”

Why indeed? If there are only 1,900 migrants and the majority of New Yorkers wanted the city to be a sanctuary for the undocumented, why can’t 1,900 spare bedrooms be found among the righteous?

Here’s what used to be a convenient runway…

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Did the Western countries now fighting with Yemen provide the funding for Yemen’s military efforts?

A society’s resources are finite. What is spent on military activities cannot be spent on food, health care, education, etc. Arabs declared war on Israel 75 years ago, rejecting the UN Partition Plan and vowing to kill or expel all of the Jews. Palestinians are able to keep this old war going because US and EU taxpayers, through UNRWA, fund all of the basic needs that motivate most people worldwide to work rather than wage war.

I’m wondering if the same dynamic is at work in Yemen. Let’s compare France, for example, one of the donor countries, to Yemen in terms of population growth:

Yemenis are far more successful demographically, it seems, than the French. Nonetheless, absent transfers of funds from French workers to various UN and NGO programs operating in Yemen, the Yemenis would have to devote a lot of time, money, and effort into feeding themselves and all of their kids. If the UN steps in to feed Yemenis, however, Yemenis can look around and find other stuff to do with what are now surplus resources.

People in Yemen, freed from the need to work for food, can demonstrate all day every day:

The Yemenis have been attacking ships in the Red Sea, which has prompted the U.S. to park a naval force in the area. They’re mobilizing ground troops as well:

If we assume that money is fungible, the countries now in a fight with Yemen are paying for both sides of the fight. Every person in Yemen who skips work to demonstrate was bankrolled by the US/EU. Every weapon in every image was purchased with US/EU money.

Could the foreign aid truly be large enough to fund a country’s entire military? See, for example, “Additional Humanitarian Assistance for the People of Yemen” (US Department of State, February 2023):

Today, I am announcing our contribution of more than $444 million, exemplifying the continued generosity of the people of the United States for the people of Yemen. As one of the largest donors, this brings our total to the humanitarian response in Yemen to over $5.4 billion since the conflict began.

Yemen supposedly was spending about $1.7 billion per year on its military in pre-Biden money back before the war over the best way to practice the Religion of Peace. Thus, $5.4 billion over time should fund quite a significant military effort. Every dollar that the U.S. sent to Yemen for food was a dollar freed up for the Yemenis to buy guns, ammo, missiles, drones, etc. and those weapons shouldn’t have cost more than $5.4 billion.

Separately, with today’s population being more than 6X what it was in 1950, with no additional agricultural land or resources added, the Giant Brains (TM) of the United Nations say that the struggle to make ends meet is due to climate:

It’s not that 33 million humans are now trying to live in a land that can produce enough food for 5 million (see “Imported food constitutes 83% of the daily calories’ intake of Yemenis.” (reliefweb.int)). it is not that those tens of millions of people have been fighting each other over the issue of what form of Islam is best (the civil war). It is atmospheric CO2 that is making life tough for Yemenis.

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Hierarchy of victimhood from the CDC

Our celebration of Kwanzaa and the work of Professor Dr. Dr. Maulana Karenga, Ph.D., Ph.D., with and without toasters, begins today…

A Libs of Tiktok Tweet includes the following photo of a poster in a public school in Nashville, Tennessee:

Note the hierarchy of victimhood: The undocumented (listed first) are more important than Black students. Muslims are more important than those who identify as LGBTQ. Almost everyone is more important than the disabled.

Also, why does the school commit to celebrating Latinx culture, but not Muslim culture? What is stopping the school from celebrating what happens in Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Yemen?

Where does the money to research, develop, print, and post this hierarchy come from? Your federal tax dollars via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Here’s the glsen.org web site:

It looks like it is mostly a 2SLGBTQQIA+ organization, yet somehow they’re experts on other victimhood categories such as “undocumented” and “Black”. Their Form 990 for 2021 shows that they’re getting about $8.5 million per year in grants, perhaps part of “CDC allocated $85 million for grants requiring schools to start student-led clubs supporting LGBT youth” (The Center Square, 2022).

What if one wanted a victimhood poster without the hierarchy? How about a motorized wheel of victimhood in which the groups are arranged around the circumference? If the wheel rotates once every 7 hours, for example, that will make sure that students don’t see the same victimhood group on top every morning. I tried having my favorite artist put this together:

I’m not sure where ChatGPT got these bizarre spellings. I think that I spelled everything correctly in my prompt:

[after asking for a circular poster] Please change the poster so that the labels are only the following: Black, LGBTQ, Undocumented Immigrant, Muslim, Latinx, female, disabled

Are we seeing the HAL 9000 glitching following some circuitry removal?

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Gavin Newsom is the best-qualified governor to serve as U.S. President…

…. because he has experience with running a government at a structural deficit, something that states are theoretically not allowed to do.

California has been in the news lately for its forecast $68 billion budget deficit, about 30 percent of total spending by the state government and about $7,000 per significant taxpayer (in just one year) if we assume that only about 10 million Californians are earning enough to live an unsubsidized life. The report that is the basis for these media stories has a more interesting figure, though:

Like the federal government, the California state government is set up to spend more than it collects in tax revenue. California can’t print money the way that the Feds do. I’m wondering what their theory is for how they can run deficits indefinitely. Do they believe that the U.S. is in a huge slump right now and better economic times are around the corner once another 10 or 20 million undocumented cross the border? And that migrant-fueled economic boom will increase tax revenue to move the state back into surplus? In the previous version of this report, the analysts said that the budget had to be balanced every year (but reserves can still be spent to allow a deficit?):

What’s the near-term solution that the legislature’s analysts propose? Cutting spending on education! I can’t see a proposed long-term solution in these documents, though.

Oh yes, let’s also look at how good the best and brightest humans are at economic prophecy. The previous year’s report forecast a deficit for 2024-5… of about $17 billion.


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Immigrants can get U.S. passports in one day

For native-born U.S. citizens, it takes about three months, including mailing time, to get a passport if you pay extra for “expedited” service. From the State Department web page (retrieved end of October 2023):

As of October, they were saying that it would take 2 weeks to mail, then 5-7 weeks to “process”, then 2 more weeks to mail.

Friends who are immigrants have been reporting U.S. passport renewals in just a day or two. How do they do it? The U.S. government offers an emergency service. The immigrant uses Adobe Acrobat to create the required PDFs regarding the “life-threatening illness or injury” from which an immediate family member back in the old country is suffering. The American bureaucrats have no means of verifying these documents so entirely fictitious physician names and addresses work fine. The immigrant buys a fully refundable plane ticket back to the old country, makes an appointment, walks into a U.S. government passport agency.

Why can’t State Department clear the backlog, especially for simple renewals? What stops them from paying overtime to the existing staff to work nights and weekends until the processing time is back to something more reasonable? (or hiring Venezuelan asylees to assist? We are informed that 500,000+ Venezuelans who’ve joined us are eager to work and highly qualified) What’s “reasonable”? In 1971, when the U.S. population was 200 million, it typically took between 5 and 21 days to get a passport (New York Times) and when the backlog increased the government would add night shifts to clear it. In 1961 (US population 180 million), it took 3 days:

A native-born American might be able to work a similar process via the “urgent travel” channel. Buy a refundable ticket for travel within 14 days and then begin to work the phones and try to get an appointment and travel to a major city (a customer in Tallahassee, Florida would have to drive perhaps 6 hours to Miami or Atlanta or New Orleans).

Finally, why do we need to show passports when returning to the U.S.? The passport was already checked twice by airline personnel on the departure side. If the southern border is open to millions of new Americans who choose to walk in, why must we stand in line for a third check after an exhausting international flight?


  • “Airport travel delays after U.S. Customs computer outage” (NBC, 2019): International travelers were waiting in long entry lines at some of the nation’s busiest airports Friday … The outage affected New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, among others. Images on social media showed travelers jammed into terminals at JFK and O’Hare as they awaited admittance to the United States.
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