Focusing on race and racism just makes the problem worse. (true or false?)

A friend who works at Mass General Brigham, the largest non-government employer in Maskachusetts, was told that he/she/ze/they (to protect this person’s identify, I won’t specify gender ID) must complete anti-racism training in order to keep his/her/zir/their job:

One or two questions in, he/she/ze/they found the following screen as part of a pre-training screening questionnaire:

Suppose that he/she/ze/they believes it is true that “Focusing on race and racism just makes the problem worse”? It turns out that this is not merely a Deplorable opinion, but is factually incorrect:

What if the Deplorable employee persists in this heretical incorrect belief? The software will not allow him/her/zim/them to proceed to the next question or the rest of the training. In other words, the employee will be fired from his/her/zir/their job if he/she/ze/they refuses to acknowledge that “Focusing on race and racism just makes the problem worse” is false.

Vaguely related… “More Medical Boards Warn Against Spreading COVID Vax Falsehoods” (MedPage Today):

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) and American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) issued a joint statement Thursday supporting the Federation of State Medical Boards, which warned physicians in early August that their licenses could be taken away or otherwise sanctioned by state boards if they disseminated misinformation about the COVID vaccines.

Baron explained that pediatricians publicly saying that vaccines are unsafe for kids is one reason why the boards came together to issue this statement. “That’s a real problem,” he said.

A doctor could be excommunicated if he/she/ze/they doesn’t hide his/her/zir/their copies of English newspapers, e.g., “Teenage boys more at risk from vaccines than Covid” (Telegraph (UK)): “Young males are six times more likely to suffer from heart problems after being jabbed than be hospitalised from coronavirus, study finds”, and “Scientists not backing Covid jabs for 12 to 15-year-olds” (BBC, 9/3/2021).

Not only does a doctor have to follow science in order to keep his/her/zir/their job, but he/she/ze/they must follow American science rather than British science.

Full post, including comments

Vaccine-resisting idiots

Before departing from Maskachusetts last month in the Cirrus SR20 (ferry trip to her new home in the Florida Free State), I mentioned to a woman in the old neighborhood that I’d be visiting a family at their oceanfront house as my first stop. “The dad is my friend and he’s the only one who is vaccinated,” I volunteered. “The kids are slender, healthy and in their late 20s so I can understand their point of course, but the wife is around 60 and could perhaps benefit, though she also is slender and fit.”

Neighbor: “They’re idiots.”

Me: “As it happens, they’re Black.”

Neighbor: “Oh, well, ….” (the “idiot” statement was walked back to a discourse regarding why it wouldn’t make sense for Black people to listen to anything that scientists say)

The neighbor’s car (Chevy Bolt with Bernie bumper sticker):

(Bernie wanted her to live in a town where a vacant buildable lot costs $1 million (minimum 2-acre zoning).)

On arrival, I learned that when you have an oceanfront house it seems that you’re going to be quite popular all summer. The unvaccinated kids (late 20s) had about 6 similar-age friends visiting. All of them, as it turned out, were unvaccinated and resented the government’s attempts to coerce them into getting stuck with a medicine that is extremely unlikely to help them unless the mass vaccination campaign breeds a super deadly version of the coronavirus (see Marek’s Disease). I comforted them at dinner (out on the screen porch and following the CDC guidelines that coronavirus cannot spread when unmasked people sit at restaurant tables): “It probably won’t do you more harm than a week of binge drinking.”

(One of the young people had the idea of running a restaurant where students received music lessons and other kinds of education. “If they’re sitting at a table being served food, they don’t need to wear masks, even if the governor orders students in schools to wear masks.”)

My favorite recent Apple News screen, in which a confused grandfather (of a child who yielded $2.5 million tax-free for the smart plaintiff) has lost patience and scapegoats responsible for all of our woes have been identified:

Separately, it seems that the current crop of vaccines may be worthless from a public health point of view (could still be useful for an at-risk individual who stays in his/her/zir/their bunker 99 percent of the time). “Benefit of COVID-19 vaccination accounting for potential risk compensation” (Nature, August 11, 2021):

With very high vaccine efficacy (E = 0.95), substantial benefit is maintained except in situations where there is a very low probability of infection in the population. If the vaccine efficacy decreases to 0.8, the benefit gets eroded easily with modest risk compensation.

Risk compensation needs to be factored carefully when appraising COVID-19 vaccination strategies. The simplified model used here suggests that even negligible risk compensation can eliminate the benefit of a vaccine of low efficacy, and it also takes only 2.5-fold increase in exposures for the benefit of a vaccine of moderate efficacy (E = 0.6) to disappear unless the probability of infection in the population of interest is very high.

(The most familiar example of risk compensation is a person driving 75 mph in a pavement-melting SUV. He/she/ze/they feels invulnerable due to seatbelts, 17 airbags, and 6,000 lbs. of steel. He/she/ze/they would drive only 50 mph, perhaps, in a lighter car without seatbelts or airbags. Since kinetic energy rises as the square of velocity, the risk of death in an accident might end up being roughly the same as if the driver were in a less thoroughly armored vehicle. See “Condoms and seat belts: the parallels and the lessons” (Lancet) for some references.)

In other words, a less-than-perfect vaccine slows down an epidemic only if people don’t change their behavior as a result of being vaccinated. A person who decides that it is okay to travel on commercial airliners once again, for example, is risk compensating. I’ve observed this behavior in New England. The (mostly) vaccinated population ceased wearing masks on the day that the government stopped ordering them to do so (a couple of months later, of course, it was “Simon Says Masks On” and they all complied with that too!). Fauci-following Democrats who refused to meet me outdoors for coffee pre-vaccination would step in for hugs after they’d received the magic elixir.

Let’s combine the above with July 2021 data (i.e., regarding the delta variant) on breakthrough infections. “Resurgence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in a Highly Vaccinated Health System Workforce” (NEJM), Table 1:

Vaccine effectiveness was only 65 percent in July 2021 and therefore risk compensation by those who’ve been told by Drs. Fauci and Biden that vaccines are valuable will wipe out the benefit of the vaccines.

I was on a Zoom meeting with some folks from grad school. A friend’s wife is a Ph.D. biologist. She has gone back into her bunker, despite being vaccinated. “The reason that people think vaccines are helpful,” she said, “is that they’re combining data from pre-Delta and Delta. With Delta, the infection and fatality rates aren’t that different for the vaccinated and unvaccinated.”

Israel and the Delta variant:

In a country that has vaccinated 80 percent of those eligible, deaths are about 3/4 of where they were in the fall of 2020, when nobody in Israel was vaccinated.

Related:

  • “It may take ‘many, many’ more vaccine mandates to end the Covid-19 pandemic, Fauci says” (CNN, 9/13): “I believe that’s going to turn this around because I don’t think people are going to want to not go to work or not go to college … They’re going to do it,” Fauci told CNN’s Jen Christensen during an interview at the NLGJA, the Association of LGBTQ Journalists, convention Sunday. “You’d like to have them do it on a totally voluntary basis, but if that doesn’t work, you’ve got to go to the alternatives.”
  • “Fauci says he supports a vaccine mandate for air travel.” (NYT, 9/13): Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, said … that he would support a vaccine mandate for air travelers. “I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people, that you should be vaccinated,” Dr. Fauci [said]
Full post, including comments

How relevant is diversity and inclusion to AT&T?

Our Internet provider here in the Florida Free State is AT&T. I was trying to contact them about changing my name on the bill to “Greenspun” from “Greenstun” and somehow landed on about.att.com. Here’s what’s at the top:

If they stand for equality, should we infer that they don’t stand for equity?

As a child of the 1960s, of course I am all in favor of equality, e.g., Equality Feminism. Nonetheless, this is not why I am an AT&T customer. If I scroll down a little, I find out that the company gives equal weight to “Internet & Fiber” and “Diversity & Inclusion”.

I’m assuming that this is a profit-maximizing behavior, but I wonder why. Are American consumers equally interested in diversity and inclusion from an Internet provider as they are in the Internet service itself? Is it that regulators might stumble on this page and a lot of regulators are themselves affirmative action quota-fillers?

Full post, including comments

Not everyone in Florida is a Deplorable Neanderthal (children’s section of a Palm Beach County library)

Folks in Maskachusetts tend to be scornful of Florida, dismissing it as a “Red state” with “stupid” residents. But you won’t see a big difference at our local public library (the Jupiter branch of the Palm Beach County system).

Government workers won’t have their pay cut or jobs eliminated no matter how unpleasant they make the customer experience. Thus, in a generally mask-optional state, the librarians don’t have a problem demanding that customers wear the hijab (so both librarians and patrons can catch coronavirus 15 minutes after leaving when they walk into a mostly-unmasked store or restaurant?):

The librarians also sit behind Plexi screens that the New York Times says #Science now disclaims.

How about the featured books in the children’s section?

What if a child wants to read about a white heterosexual cisgender male? He/she/ze/they will have to dig into the stacks! (Keith Haring, above, may have identified as “white,” but was a member of the LGBTQIA+ community until HIV killed him at age 31.)

Children can learn about the female roots of aeronautical engineering:

(Maybe a book about Kitty Hawk could be featured if titled “The Wright Brothers, Sisters, and Binary-resisters”?)

A featured book in the adult section:

(Another way that Maskachusetts residents insult the idea of Florida is by talking about how old everyone in Florida is. (If the Northern Righteous have such contempt for the elderly, why do they put masks on 7-year-olds in hopes of reducing plague deaths among the 82-year-olds?) In fact, our new neighborhood is about 30 years younger than our old neighborhood. Still, it is tough not to love the fact that the librarians expect their elderly customers to still be running Windows 7 (released in 2009). There were no corresponding books about Windows 10 or 11 available. Speaking of Windows 11, will the main reason to upgrade be the ability to point to our PC and say “this one goes to 11”?)

Related:

Full post, including comments

Define irony: Private school hosts diversity, equity, and inclusion event at a country club

Garland Greene:

Define irony – a bunch of idiots dancing around on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.

I would like to propose an update to this philosopher’s work. #DefineIrony: We were invited to an exclusive (and expensive) private school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion event… at a country club.

Related, from Saturday Night Live, April 9 1977

Julian Bond: Well, this is the major problem with these studies. The measurements of I.Q. which form the basis of comparison come from tests composed by whites for whites. The tests are culturally biased; it’s not surprising that whites would score better than blacks.

Garrett Morris: Could you give us an example of what you’re talking about?

Julian Bond: Certainly. Here are some questions that have appeared on recent I.Q. tests. Number one: “You have been invited over for cocktails by the officer of your trust fund. Cocktails begin at 4:30, but you must make an appearance at a 6:00 formal dinner at the Yacht Club. What do you do about dress?
A. Wear your blue-striped seersucker suit to cocktails and change into your tuxedo in the bathroom, apologizing to your host for the inconvenience.
B. Wear your tuxedo to cocktails, apologizing to your host for wearing a dinner jacket before 6:00 PM.
C. Walk to the subway at Columbus Circle and take the “A” Train uptown.”

Full post, including comments

Is the best way to #StopAsianHate to stop Asians from succeeding?

“Boston Overhauls Admissions to Exclusive Exam Schools” (New York Times, July 15):

After five and a half hours of emotional discussion on Wednesday night, the Boston School Committee voted unanimously to overhaul admissions to the city’s three selective exam schools, opening the way for far greater representation of Black and Latino students.

The new admissions system will still weigh test results and grades, but, following a model pioneered in Chicago, it will also introduce ways to select applicants who come from poor and disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Under the new system, the applicant pool will be divided into eight groups based on the socioeconomic conditions of their neighborhoods. The admissions team will consider applicants within each group, admitting the top students in each tier in roughly equal numbers.

The Groupthink aspect is interesting. The high quality schools had been operating for 100+ years in a particular way. Not a single committee member thought that continuing with the proven system made sense!

What kind of high-scoring young learner is this new policy designed to exclude?

Asian American students were 29.3 percent of Boston Latin School’s enrollment in 2020, despite making up 9 percent of students in the school’s district.

On the one hand, this might seem odd. Leaders who bravely place #StopAsianHate signs on their lawns and/or bravely tweet using the #StopAsianHate tag are trying to exclude Asians from elite schools. But perhaps there is no inconsistency. Suppose that the sign-gooder believes that the reason Asians are hated is because Asians are more successful than comparatively stupid and lazy white people. In that case, it would make sense for him/her/zir/them to place obstacles in Asians’ paths so that they can’t succeed as much. If Asians can’t get into the elite schools they won’t provoke as much envy and therefore the mission of #StopAsianHate will have been accomplished.

Related:

Full post, including comments

Victimhood Certification Industry

Here’s a form recently received as part of getting set up to be paid by a private corporation.

Some highlights…

We embrace the minority, women, small business and LGBT businesses we partner with in the mutual goal of delivering superior quality and service to our customers while assuring future growth for both parties. We are required by a number of our customers to report our Diversity spend dollars.

The next page:

This is the part that caught my eye.

Suppliers must submit current and renewal MBE/WBE/LGBT/DOBE certificates

The victimhood certification enterprises must be engaged regularly (annually?) to renew victimhood certificates. This is an annuity!

Separately, I wonder how the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) determines that a business owner or shareholder is truly LGBTQIA+ and how their process is superior to self-certification as LGBTQIA+. Will there be a Barbra Streisand (2016: “I’ll move to Australia or Canada if Trump is president”) quiz for the would-be LGBTQIA+ person, as in the movie In & Out?

Peter: What was Barbra Streisand’s eighth album?

Howard: Color Me Barbra.

Peter: Stud!

Howard: Everybody knows that!

Peter: Everybody where? The little gay bar on the prairie?

Full post, including comments

The one actual Black guy talks to the white diversity say-gooders

A friend is the One Black Guy at a Maskachusetts tech company. The white say-gooders in management describe their heartfelt yearning for more diversity at the company. Business is great now that so many non-online things have been rendered illegal by state governors. Thus, it is time to hire some entry-level programmers. Management described plans to recruit from elite schools such as Harvard and Yale. One Black Guy: “If we’re serious about making this company more diverse, why not hire someone from Bunker Hill [Community College] who might turn out to be great? It’s only an entry-level job and we can’t know whether someone from Harvard is actually going to do well.” This suggestion turned out not to be helpful…

Full post, including comments

Official business victimhood designations

A form from a university vendor portal, in which one is asked to enter one’s “Diversity Classification”. Here are the federally recognized victimhood categories for a business (including individual proprietors operating on a Schedule C basis):

Wouldn’t almost anyone qualify as “physically challenged”? Compare yourself to these four individuals who were chosen at random:

Wouldn’t you be at least 80 percent disabled compared to any of the above? (in the sense that you wouldn’t be able to do more than 20 percent of what they can do)

Why is checking boxes important?

Full post, including comments

Our Juneteenth ice cream cake

From the weekend, our Juneteenth ice cream cake:

Togetherness and love for the chocolate and vanilla. Rainbow sprinkles to celebrate all of the varieties of love among humans (including poly!) that we valorize during Pride Month.

Provenance: We invited over an immigrant (from Switzerland) to celebrate National Immigrant Heritage Month (for those who seek to minimize the number of immigrants with whom they interact, Joe Biden says “America is, always has been, and always will be a Nation of immigrants.” (perhaps an unwelcome message for Native Americans!)) and she arrived with this cake in a box.

Full post, including comments