“Please remember the words, very simple. Forest management. Please remember that,” said President Trump, in Sacramento on Monday for a meeting with Gov. Gavin Newsom. The president contended that brush and dead trees in California’s forests are “like a matchstick.” Gov. Newsom countered that “The hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting drier... something happened to the plumbing of the world. Climate change is real and exacerbating this.”
Chester Nez grew up on the “Checkerboard,” an area of land broken up into privately owned plots adjacent to the Navajo reservation in northern New Mexico. There, his family tended its herds of sheep and goats, eking out a living through subsistence farming, much as their Navajo ancestors had done in the difficult environment. By modern standards, they would be considered to be living in near extreme poverty.
It was the era of the Dust Bowl. High temperatures and severe drought combined with traditional and early mechanized farming methods to dry out and loosen the topsoil in the nation’s southwestern plains. Topsoil that blew away with the winds in massive dust clouds during the 1930s. It was both an economic and environmental disaster.
Actress Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30) recently asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, “When are we going to be able to sit in a theater and watch our favorite performers up on stage again?” Dr. Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, replied, “I think it’s going to be a combination of a vaccine that has been around for almost a year and good public-health measures,” adding that a vaccine was unlikely by November. This was hardly the doctor’s only venture into prophecy.
As I walk around Berlin, I remember a song about the Wall by the famous Spanish singer Joaquín Sabina that loosely translated begins like this: “That guy who goes to the golf club / if you saw him yesterday / yelling “Yankee go home” / chanting Fidel’s slogans / Today he has a cobblestone, in his office, of the Berlin Wall.”
Critics say it is a song against capitalism. No: it is against the cynicism of those idealists who wanted to bring the communist paradise to Earth and, when everything collapsed, gave up their ideals for naked opportunism. In the three decades since the fall of the Wall—and the release of Sabina’s song—Berlin has experienced two contradictory things: a cultural revival and a rise in political cynicism representative of the mood that seems to dominate much of eastern Germany.
The Trump administration is calling a halt to “critical race theory” training now pervasive in federal government agencies, including the FBI. The terminology here could stand some clarification.
“Critical” is a meaningless modifier meant to impart legitimacy to a system of racist indoctrination. Critical race theory divides humankind into an oppressor class and a victim class. People from one racial group, those who look like John F. Kennedy, Rosalynn Carter and Madonna, are default members of the oppressor “white” group, regardless of anything they might have done or said.
We are all different and all unique, and I try to treat everybody as an individual rather than stereotyping them as belonging to some group. I do my best to treat everyone with the same respect I’d like them to extend to me. But I confess to being un-woke and not understanding the logic behind some aspects of woke culture and identity issues.
I’m focusing on two of those issues here, prompted by this article in The New Yorker.
Proposition 14, according to California’s legislative analyst, “Authorizes Bonds to Continue Funding Stem Cell and Other Medical Research.” A “yes” vote means “the state could sell $5.5 billion in general obligation bonds primarily for stem cell research.” As David Jensen notes at Capitol Weekly, there’s a bit more to it.
The $5.5 billion would extend the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), created by the $3 billion Proposition 71 in 2004. This measure, authored by real estate developer Robert Klein, promised life-saving cures for Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s and other diseases. A ballpark figure for the number of certified life-saving cures and therapies CIRM produced in 16 years is zero. Proposition 71 also promised more than $1 billion for state coffers, but as Jensen notes, royalties to date have totaled only $462,433. CIRM failed to accomplish its stated goal, and now it wants to conduct research on “therapy delivery” and “aging as a pathology” along with “vital research opportunities,” not related to stem cells.
The Congressional Budget Office has just released a dismal update of the 10-year budget projections it released just six months ago. The update reveals how much the U.S. government’s fiscal outlook has changed for the worse because of COVID-19.
That impact starts with a picture of just how big a hole COVID-19 has blown in the U.S. government’s budget. The chart below indicates the CBO believes the federal budget deficit will reach 16% of GDP in 2020.
The media in its “reporting” of NFL fans’ reaction to wokeness on the football field lets us know what “good people” should think. Just take a look at a few headlines:
- From NBC News: K.C. Chiefs fans’ booing moment of unity for ‘ongoing fight for equality’ mars NFL home opener
- The Kansas City Star: After shameful boos during Chiefs opener, we all should do some soul searching
- Sports Illustrated: Kansas City Chiefs Fans Make NFL Opener About Everything But Football: Unchecked
- The Guardian: Fans boo moment of silence to acknowledge inequality in NFL opener
At $541 billion, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is the largest component of the federal government’s emergency COVID-19 relief program.
That’s an absolutely massive amount of money for politicians and bureaucrats to spend under normal circumstances, much less today’s. If the PPP were a regular discretionary line item expenditure in the federal budget, it would rank only behind national defense in 2020.