Monday: Hili dialogue

July 3, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Monday, July 3, 2023, and tomorrow’s a holiday: Independence Day.  It’s also National Chocolate Wafer Day.  Have one:

It’s also American Redneck Day, National Eat Beans Day, National Fried Clam Day, Plastic Bag Free Day (all plastic bags are free today!), Emancipation Day in the United States Virgin Islands, Independence Day in Belarus, celebrating the liberation of Minsk from Nazi occupation by Soviet troops in 1944,  and the start of the Dog Days according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac but not according to established meaning in most European cultures.

Why are they called the Dog Days? Wikipedia is here to help:

The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius (known colloquially as the “Dog Star”), which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 3 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The NYT highlights another way that schools may be able to promote ethnic diversity without running afoul of the new laws: use “adversity scores.” This is based on a rubric used by the University of California at Davis Medical School.

In his role at the medical school at the University of California, Davis, Dr. Henderson has tried to change that, developing an unorthodox tool to evaluate applicants: the socioeconomic disadvantage scale, or S.E.D.

The scale rates every applicant from zero to 99, taking into account their life circumstances, such as family income and parental education. Admissions decisions are based on that score, combined with the usual portfolio of grades, test scores, recommendations, essays and interviews.

The disadvantage scale has helped turn U.C. Davis into one of the most diverse medical schools in the country — notable in a state that voted in 1996 to ban affirmative action.

. . .Last week, President Biden called adversity scores a “new standard” for achieving diversity.

Word has gotten out about the U.C. Davis scale. Dr. Henderson said that about 20 schools had recently requested more information. And there are other socioeconomic measurements, including Landscape, released in 2019 from the College Board, the nonprofit that administers the SATs. That tool allows undergraduate admissions offices to assess the socioeconomic backgrounds of individual students.

But skeptics question whether such rankings — or any kind of socioeconomic affirmative action — will be enough to replace race-conscious affirmative action. And schools that use adversity scales may also find themselves wandering into legal quagmires, with conservative groups promising to fight programs that are simply stand-ins for race.

I favor this for several reasons, one being that it seems fairer, taking into account life circumstances instead of ethnicity. It also seems to create more diversity than just assuming that each ethnic group has a homogeneous outlook.  But is it fair to penalize those who haven’t experiences as much adversity? And how do you rank adversity versus “merit” as measured by tests? Finally, if this is just a proxy for race, it’s illegal. Still, if you have two equally-meritorious students, you should have a rule that you generally favor the one with the higher “adversity” score. But my thinking about this is all over the place.

*The riots in Paris continue about the police killing of Nahel Merzouk, a 17 year old North African shot during a traffic stop near the capital. And it’s not just a one-off incident: les flics have a history of racism and bad treatment of minorities:

Police treatment of minorities in France has come under scrutiny in recent years. A 2017 study by France’s independent civil-rights watchdog found that men perceived to be of African or Arab origin were about three times more likely than white men to have experienced a police identity check in the previous five years.

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020 fueled new debate in France about police tactics, with tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets. The government of Macron denied there was a problem of racism in the police. Later that year, police were filmed on video beating Michel Zecler, a Black music producer, at his studio in France. Zecler said one of the officers called him a “dirty n—” in French, while striking him.

Despite the criticism, French police kill far fewer people than their counterparts in the U.S. The French national police and the gendarmes, which police France’s rural areas, killed a total of 26 people in 2019, according to BastaMag, a French media organization. U.S. police forces killed 1,098 people that year, according to Mapping Police Violence, a group that tracks police killings. That is more than eight times as many police killings as France on a per-capita basis.

Yes, that’s true, but it’s not just the murders that count; it’s the more brutal treatment of minorities as well as closer police scrutiny. I once saw, in a French subway station, a bunch of cops beating up a black man with nightsticks. I don’t know what had happened, but that frightening image has remained in my mind for over thirty years.

*In an analysis in the Washington Post, Anne Marimow suggests that the latest Supreme Court Justice, Keanji Brown Jackson, while remaining on the liberal side, is actively carving out her own niche on that side.

Jackson on Friday completed her rookie term as the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, making a forceful debut from the bench and in writing while showing signs of an independent streak. As anticipated, she was most often aligned with the court’s two other liberal justices — Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — putting her on the losing side of high-profile, contentious decisions involving affirmative action in college admissions, gay rights and President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.

But Jackson also demonstrated a willingness to part ways with her liberal colleagues, even when they were on the same side of an issue, to express her own vision of the law. She authored more solo dissenting opinions —three — than any of the three most recent justices to join the court did as newbies.

And Jackson surprised some observers by teaming up several times with conservative Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, typically in cases involving a conflict between government power and the rights of individuals.

“She was not going to sit on the sidelines. She dove in and made her presence known,” said New York University law professor Melissa Murray, who also was among the attorneys Biden considered nominating to fulfill his promise to name the first Black female justice to succeed Stephen G. Breyer.

. . .Jackson responded directly to Thomas’s interpretation of a colorblind Constitution and his harsh critique of what he described as Jackson’s view that “almost all of life’s outcomes may be unhesitatingly ascribed to race.”

Jackson answered in a pithy, rhetorical style to what she called Thomas’s “prolonged attack” on a “dissent I did not write.”

“With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat,” Jackson wrote. “But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”

This mixed metaphor doesn’t strike me as particularly percipient, as the issue of whether race is irrelevant in life doesn’t automatically lead one to favor affirmative action. And several of her questions during the affirmative-action hearing struck me as misguided.  There’s more:

Sean Marotta, an appellate attorney and close watcher of the court, said Jackson appears to be positioning herself as a “thought leader” for the left wing of the court in the way that Thomas has for years done on the right. Thomas led the court in dissents this term, writing a total of nine.

What will be will be, but I really should spend more time reading the decisions, and also listening to the questions from the bench. Sadly, life is short, and there are many things competing for our attention.

*Cranky People of the Week Award. Yes, there are some Americans who won’t celebrate the Fourth of July because it’s not “inclusive.” There are other reasons given for not celebrating, too (crowds, fireworks, etc.), but those are more sensible. America’s not perfect, but there are people all over the world fighting to become Americans, so there’s something good about being here, and something, at least to me, worth celebrating about our birth as a nation.

Others disagree:

Growing up in Benton, Ark., Malaya Tapp loved celebrating the Fourth of July with her family. “We would go to parades and see firework shows and hang out with friends,” she said. “It was always such a fun holiday.”

But now that she is an adult — she’s 18 and entering college next year — commemorating the holiday isn’t so simple.

It started in 2020 when the Black Lives Matter movement spotlighted many of the injustices across the country. “I lost a lot of my patriotic feelings,” she said.

. . . [Melissa Vivori] also has political qualms with the holiday. “Last summer Roe v. Wade was overturned, and that really made me less inclined to celebrate,” she said.

Even if she wanted to celebrate, she would worry about the message it sent.

So this year she is leaving U.S. soil altogether and heading to Italy and Britain instead. “I’ll be in London for the actual Fourth,” she said, laughing. “The irony is not lost on me.”

What kind of message does it send to watch fireworks and eat hot dogs on the Fourth? Does that mean you approve of the Dobbs decision? One more:

Conner Miskowiec, 28, a content creator in Phoenix, decided to do a video series in which he asked strangers if they were going to celebrate Independence Day.

“I got everything from, ‘America is the greatest country in the world, and we have to celebrate the American dream,’ to ‘This country has a lot to work on, and America isn’t so free, and I don’t feel like celebrating,’” he said. “I honestly didn’t expect to get the variety of answers I got.”

“I think a lot of people think America isn’t for everyone anymore, and so it’s not an inclusive holiday,” he said.

I’m not a jingoist, nor do I think America is the best country in the world, but it’s been a pretty good experiment, albeit with some bumps, and it’s sure as hell better than it was two hundred years ago. Eat your hot dog and enjoy!

*This is a sad story about one man’s dedication to botany, and how it led to his death.

For four years, Gabriel Trujillo trekked the breadth of the United States and south into Mexico in search of a flowering shrub called the common buttonbush.

The plant is native to the varied climates of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Trujillo, a 31-year-old Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to know why it thrived in such a range of places, and whether the evolution of the species held possibilities for future habitat conservation and restoration efforts.

The research was tragically cut short last week in Mexico, where Trujillo’s father said he was shot seven times. Authorities discovered his body on June 22 in the state of Sonora, in northwest Mexico, days after his fiancée reported him missing.

. . .. His family begged him not to go to such a dangerous place: Sonora recorded 518 homicides through May, according to federal government data. But Trujillo believed the trip was crucial to his research.

And his research had beneficial social consequences for Mexico.

. . . Drawn to Sonora, Trujillo hoped to connect with his Opata Indigenous roots through the group’s ancestral lands in the dry, mountainous region. He ultimately wanted to apply his research to building a garden in Mexico and using the buttonbush for wetland restoration. His planned trip included three potential sites to make a final choice.

I’ve known botanists with that kind of obsessive curiosity, and I admire it. It’s tragic that someone so possessed met such a senseless end. Here’s his photo from the AP:

Credit: Roxanne Cruz-de Hoyos via AP

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is challenging Baby Kulka, whom she hates.  “Are you looking at me?”

Hili: Did you want to say something?
Kulka: Of course not. I’m a cat of peace.
In Polish:
Hili: Chciałaś coś powiedzieć?
Kulka: Ależ skąd. Jestem kotem pokoju.


From Merilee, a Scott Metzger cartoon:

From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0 Facebook page:

From Not Another Science Cat Page:

Masih’s pinned tweet, which is very good (sound up):

From Titania: a speech in favor of a hate speech law.  Restrict freedom of speech for the common good! This is Irish Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly:

Really interesting animals found by reader Malcolm:

From Barry. I don’t understand why they’re hiding the video, but the tweet is here also.

From Merilee. Who’s the staff now?

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a girl gassed upon arrival, not yet two years old.

Tweets from Professor Cobb. First, a wry comment:

Apparently the hen really has brought up these ducklings. Sound up.

Oy! The Otter Poo Dance:

36 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. 1.

    “They [dog days of summer] are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.”

    During the day, yeah.

    Summer nights though — those can be great.

    There’s a Van Halen song, but perhaps not for the audience here :

  2. On this day:
    1767 – Norway’s oldest newspaper still in print, Adresseavisen, is founded and the first edition is published.

    1839 – The first state normal school in the United States, the forerunner to today’s Framingham State University, opens in Lexington, Massachusetts with three students.

    1884 – Dow Jones & Company publishes its first stock average.

    1886 – Karl Benz officially unveils the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, the first purpose-built automobile.

    1938 – World speed record for a steam locomotive is set in England, by the Mallard, which reaches a speed of 125.88 miles per hour (202.58 km/h).

    1973 – David Bowie retires his stage persona Ziggy Stardust with the surprise announcement that it is “the last show that we’ll ever do” on the last day of the Ziggy Stardust Tour.

    1979 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

    1988 – United States Navy warship USS Vincennes shoots down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people aboard.

    1996 – British Prime Minister John Major announced the Stone of Scone would be returned to Scotland.

    2013 – Egyptian coup d’état: President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi is overthrown by the military after four days of protests all over the country calling for Morsi’s resignation, to which he did not respond. President of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt Adly Mansour is declared acting president.

    1854 – Leoš Janáček, Czech composer and theorist (d. 1928).

    1883 – Franz Kafka, Czech-Austrian author (d. 1924).

    1885 – Anna Dickie Olesen, American politician (d. 1971).

    1906 – George Sanders, Russian-born British actor (d. 1972).

    1908 – M. F. K. Fisher, American author (d. 1992). [Fisher believed that eating well was just one of the “arts of life” and explored this in her writing. W. H. Auden once remarked, “I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose”.]

    1918 – S. V. Ranga Rao, Indian actor, director, and producer (d. 1974).

    1926 – Rae Allen, American actress, singer, and director (d. 2022).

    1927 – Ken Russell, English actor, director, and producer (d. 2011). [Bonkers, but occasionally brilliant.]

    1935 – Harrison Schmitt, American geologist, astronaut, and politician. [He teased Gene Cernan that he was the last man on the moon because he stepped out of Apollo 17’s lunar module Challenger after Cernan; Cernan’s own claim to the title was that he was the last to climb inside the module before the return flight. Schmitt is the only person without a background in military aviation, and also the only professional scientist, to have walked on the Moon. Schmitt collected the rock sample designated Troctolite 76535, which has been called “without doubt the most interesting sample returned from the Moon”. Among other distinctions, it is the central piece of evidence suggesting that the Moon once possessed an active magnetic field. He claimed to have taken the “Blue Marble” photograph of the Earth.]

    1937 – Tom Stoppard, Czech-English playwright and screenwriter.

    1952 – Andy Fraser, English singer-songwriter and bass player (d. 2015).

    1957 – Poly Styrene, British musician (d. 2011).

    1962 – Tom Cruise, American actor and producer.

    1964 – Yeardley Smith, American actress, voice actress, comedian and writer. [The voice of Lisa Simpson.]

    1971 – Julian Assange, Australian journalist, publisher, and activist, founded WikiLeaks.

    1987 – Sebastian Vettel, German race car driver.

    Unresting death, a whole day nearer now:
    1672 – Francis Willughby, English ornithologist and ichthyologist (b. 1635).

    1863 – Little Crow, American tribal leader (b. 1810).

    1904 – Theodor Herzl, Austrian journalist, playwright, and father of modern political Zionism (b. 1860).

    1935 – André Citroën, French engineer and businessman, founded the Citroën Company (b. 1878).

    1937 – Jacob Schick, American-Canadian captain and businessman, invented the electric razor (b. 1877).

    1969 – Brian Jones, English guitarist, songwriter, and producer (b. 1942).

    1971 – Jim Morrison, American singer-songwriter (b. 1943).

  3. About the 4th :

    I gotta say, I thought I knew what the U.S. was, but dammit if every day I find new depth and insight that dispels that notion. What notion? Well, to be blunt, Utopia.

    Utopia is an expansive idea going back to the 1500’s. “Dissatisfaction is the beginning if Utopianism” (Sargent, L. T., in Utopianism – A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2010)).

    Maybe that’s what the “4th dissenters”/(IMHO Marxism victims) are trying to express. The notion that the U.S. is Utopia. It never was meant to be, I’m pretty sure, and maybe just by accident.

    To wrap up:

    “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever wrought.”

    -Immanuel Kant
    Translated from Idea for a General History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose, ca. 1784
    Proposition 6.

    1. Wouldn’t someone claiming to be designing an “Utopia” be, at least guilty of Gods-provoking hubris, and due an experience of personal devastation, madness then destruction in consequence.
      Personally, I doubt that they (the “Founding Fathers”, isn’t it, some century or more after the “Pilgrim Fathers”) were trying to create an “Eutopia”, just the much more achievable end of correcting a number of the more evident (to them) wrongs (e.g. taxation laws and lack of Parliamentary representation) while ignoring some of the less evident (to them) wrongs (such as human slavery).
      I’m not a constitutional expert (not my country), so I’d need reminding which of the first few amendments of the US constitution or the original “Bill of Rights” it was that made slavery legal. But it was left in there. And if that was done after debate, then that means that the case against slavery was outweighed by the desire for the profits that arise from it. A capitalist Utopia, indeed!

      1. Well that is a thought provoking comment.

        Yeah, “eutopia” is also another idea running alongside utopia. Yep, taxation w/o representation is precisely the kernel of the U. S. – easy to forget. E.g. nothing about divine right of kings,… I thought…


        Indeed, hubris – funny that you mention it – occurred to me just yesterday. I mean, for Larry Wall and perl that’s fine, but …

      2. Actually the amendments (Bill of Rights) had nothing to do with slavery. Slavery was built into the document without using the word slavery. And to the great advantage of the slave states. Three-fifth of your human property would count as a person when tabulating your state’s population. That gave the south many more representatives to the congress (house of Representatives). I say human property because they were not talking about your horses or hogs. Most of the first many presidents were slave owners and the slave states held the majority in the congress for many years. This guaranteed that slavery could not be removed by the legislature. The same applies today only by different means. It is the same old place.

        1. It’s misleading to describe the three-fifths provision that way, Randall. The slavery states wanted to have their slaves counted fully (five fifths) in apportioning representatives to Congress and not at all (zero fifths) in assessing population-related taxes that each state was due to contribute to the federal treasury. The free states baulked at this arbitrage which would have given the South representation without taxation. So the three-fifths compromise gave the southern states fewer representatives than they wanted and made them pay more tax than they had hoped to get away with.

          That this helped perpetuate slavery more than if the slaves counted not at all* is certainly true but the compromise was seen in 1787 as necessary and worth it to both sides if there was to be a “perfect union” of all 13 Colonies rather than than two blocs. (An independent bloc of slavery states was of course the South’s walk-away position.). Abolition of slavery (legal in the Empire the 13 had broken from) was not a war aim of the revolution that followed the Declaration of Independence. The southern states weren’t about to let themselves be now tricked into joining a union where Yankee abolitionist sentiment could, through majority rule, disrupt their institutions. Being the first country to abolish slavery was just not worth it enough to the new republic, despite a noisy abolitionist movement, to risk the union.
          * And how could a “rights of man” abolitionist argue in good conscience that slaves didn’t count at all as “people” in counting a population?

          1. Misleading to describe the 3/5th provision as I did? Three-fifths was the provision regardless of your additional comments. It was a huge compromise and many historians have disagreed over the terrible bargains the Convention struck over slavery. Some said the northern delegates caved in too easily to implausible threats to abandon the Union. Some southern states were in no condition to stand on their own. It was one of several bad mistakes made at the Convention. Because of the 3/5ths ratio Virginia had six more congressmen than Pennsylvania. The 3/5th ratio gave 14 extra seats in the House in 1793, 27 additional seats in 1812 and 25 additional seats in 1833. The south was given the power with this rule. It lead to the civil war, the worst in this countries history. I will simple refer you to The Summer of 1787 by David O. Stewart for more on this issue.

          2. “Some said the northern delegates caved in too easily to implausible threats to abandon the Union.”

            That check was cashed 20 Dec., 1860 (through April 1961). Pretty plausible. And, based on the actions of the slave states in the 1850s (and earlier) (e.g. Fugitive Slave Act of 1850) it’s quite clear (to me) that they would always have staked their existence on retaining slavery. As they did.

            And it remains the most deadly war in US history.

            You are, of course, quite right that slavery was “baked into” the USA in the Constitution.

      3. People knew the issue at the time: “… how is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” — Samuel Johnson

        The part of the Constutition most relevant here is not in the Bill Of Rights, but in the main text – the “Fugitive Slave Clause”

        “No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.”

  4. I’m dubious about substituting a disadvantage scale for race in college admissions. As a former high school teacher I know that the good kid who works hard, does his best, is already overlooked if he also happens to be a white male student, bypassed in favor of any of our protected classes. And the “disadvantage scale” leads to lying on college essays to exaggerate victimhood status. We’re trying to correct the wrongs of earlier generations by reversing them, and that means someone is still being wronged. Is merit the only answer?

  5. How can any program designed to increase selections of an identifiable race not be a “proxy for race?”

    1. The Supreme Court discussed this issue in their decision, saying that if it is illegal to privilege one race directly, then it is illegal to do it indirectly.

      1. Yes. Thus the potential problem with pretty much all attempts to “work around” the decision.

        1. It is as though they have abandoned the idea of providing Black kids with the scholarship habits and education that would have them admitted by virtue of their, you know, merit.

  6. My eternal catch-up to the email pile yielded this potentially interesting item (for those interested in American politics). From Proc.Nat.Acad.Sci : “Part of the gender gap in voting for Democrats arises because a higher proportion of women than men voters are Black” (open access link). According to fig 1 in that, the discrepancy is such that for black American men, only occasionally is there a majority of Democrat voters, while for black women there hasn’t been a minority since 2004.
    There is supporting information online

  7. “I don’t understand why they’re hiding the video, but the tweet is here also.”

    The site is severely broken. Muskification is nearly complete.

  8. Stay away from disadvantage scores. It’s a run-around. One’s life story is irrelevant compared to talent and skills. I’ve been poor and I’ve known and worked with and for very rich people. There is no inherent value in either station.

    I’m a minority man. Teach my people skills. Preference is nothing more than white guilt and people of color know it, which why it’s so easy to exploit. Preference does not change history. It only robs us of our potential.

  9. “… I think this church just challenged Jesus to a fight.”

    Reckon we’ll find out who’s willing to turn the other cheek.

  10. “I think a lot of people think America isn’t for everyone anymore, and so it’s not an inclusive holiday,” he said.

    Neither is the man’s birthday “inclusive”. Then again, he probably refuses to celebrate that until he works out any personal flaws.

  11. It is clear that schools will find a way to get in those they want. I think the important thing is that the selection method and criteria should be public, and, if there is some sort of ranking, that the way the ranking is factored be open. Additionally, an applicant should be able to know his ranking, and the calculations that went into it. Additionally, colleges and universities should have to publish the anonymized data on their rankings with key information such as sex, race, zip code, etc.

    1. Transparency is good. Will the universities volunteer their trade secrets to the competition?

      What I find maddening about the entire endeavor is that the universities are not increasing the pool of qualified, college-bound applicants. They are simply fighting over a limited number of prospective students. University A normally admits students in the 90th to 95th SAT percentile; but those students are few and competition is fierce, so they admit a black student from the 75th percentile. That student would have been fine going to University B with comparably-talented peers, but now the school he would have attended needs to fill a diversity slot, so they poach from a lower ranking school. And on and on it goes. Ultimately, the nonselective schools admit people who should not be in college at all, take tuition money from them for a couple of years (courtesy of government loans), and then either lower their academic standards further or fret about their low graduation rates.

      Who is helped here? The students who leave school in debt without degrees? The students who can still barely read anything other than a basic text despite having earned degrees? No, it is mostly the universities that enhance their “diversity” reputations, the downstream consequences be damned. It is now mostly about burnishing one’s brand, no matter what noble impulses may have motivated these efforts 50 years ago. I find much of the enterprise disgusting.

    1. I don’t understand the point of slurring him with a comparison to his predecessor who was born almost 250 years ago? I don’t share Roberts’ religious world view, but there seems to be evidence that he is open to compromise and to changing his mind about some issues. I’d be willing to be persuaded that he’s achieved both good and bad outcomes. Do you have something like that to add?

      1. Yes, she seems to have an impressive mind-reading capability.

        I agree with your sentiments on Roberts; not as bad as I thought he’d be; but still too conservative (on the USian political thermometer) for me.

  12. This particular shark is believed to predate the existence of the United States of America.

    Must be really big if it’s out to eat the whole of the US.

  13. Disadvantage scores are “problematic” as they say. The progressive view of oppression is that it leaves a lifetime (or more, for “inter-generational” trauma like fetal-alcohol syndrome and acculturation) accumulated trauma and scarring that can never be recovered from, except with gifts of cash and special indulgence. So do you really want a medical school to be filled with all these stunted, damaged, crippled people who are habituated to need indulgence and support for the rest of their lives? Special treatment at disciplinary hearings for incompetence and misconduct?

    Wouldn’t a medical school want two kinds of applicants:
    1) smart people who grew up in stable loving environments that gave affirmation to hard work, and
    2) smart people who really had overcome racism, poverty, genocide, and shunning for being different, and showed they had overcome these disadvantages by excelling, not by curating a list of grievances that just shows how big the chip is on their shoulders.

    As a clinical teacher I would despair at trying to teach students who got in because their grievance list was longer than someone else’s.

  14. What would happen to a University if they just ignored the SCOTUS ruling and continued using AA in its present form? Who is going to enforce this new law? Will cops come in and arrest the University admissions officers? Do “they” have the authority to shut a University down that doesn’t follow the ruling? I think it would be an interesting defiance.

    1. Sure. And when the next Republican president defies the Supreme Court over something dear to his heart, he can point to to your defiance as precedent.

      But a more direct answer is that a court ruling at any level cannot just be ignored. There are consequences. In this case both a federal statute and a constitutional principle were at issue. The statute is easy: if Harvard continued its AA practice it would be charged by a non-partisan (of course) federal Dept.of Justice with violating Section such-and-such of the statute, whose meaning has now been clarified by the Court.. So yes, the admissions officers and the president of Harvard could be perp-walked in handcuffs and orange jumpsuits. In the limit the President of the United States could invoke the Insurrection Act if, say, Massachusetts state officials obstructed with armed force the efforts of the FBI and to enforce federal law. Just like in Little Rock. “Governor, I order you in the name of the Commander-in-Chief to stand aside from the president’s door so we can enter her office to arrest her.”

      Interesting indeed. AA doesn’t seem worth a constitutional crisis over, but whatever floats your boat.

      1. Trump defied SCOTUS twice (re. DACA and LGBT protections), so there is already precedent and it didn’t cause a constitutional crisis. Andrew Jackson ignored SCOTUS as well with the forced relocation of Native Americans on Cherokee land, aka the “Trail of Tears.” This didn’t cause a constitutional crisis either. I’m sure there are other examples.

        I very much doubt if a University refused to comply that the perps would be handcuffed, etc. or a constitutional crisis would ensue.

        Anyway, it won’t happen, just musing.

  15. Patriotism played a large part in the rise of the United States and when a self-created country like the US loses belief in itself, it starts to falter. So I think it would be rather sad if America turned into a nation of oikophobes. Certainly it has its share of crimes—what great power doesn’t—but that should not blind us to our good fortune.

  16. Disadvantage scores are intended as a proxy for race. However, they are a poor one. Which is why the AA folks oppose them. Any serious disadvantage score is going to rank kids from poor Asian and white families far too high. This may not (should not) be a problem for some schools. However, elite schools really care about race (Asians are seen as white-adjacent) and want kids from well-to-do families. The lackadaisical kid of a black immigrant doctor is perfect. He/she has money and is the ‘right’ race. However, such a hypothetical kid would get a low disadvantage score (and deserve a low disadvantage score). By contrast, the high-achieving kid from a low-income Asian family would get a high disadvantage score (and deserve a high disadvantage score).

    Essays where an applicant can state their race explicitly are much better. However, essays (all essays) are probably doomed by AI.

    My prediction is that zip codes will emerge as the ‘solution’. Zip codes provide a much better way of getting the ‘right’ racial results without explicitly using race.

  17. … the US Navy dropped a commercial airline killing all on board… up til now I thought this was just a Russian tactic of horror.
    The shark tweet? IIRC a series on sharks covered this creature. Really interesting desciption live and up close, I take my hat off to the cameramen I remember thinking.
    a link to a channel not sure if all the series on sharks are available.

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