Selected parts of my contributions to a comment thread from May 2020."My problem is that we don't have informed science making decisions. We have politicos, none of whom I would trust to give me a straight answer that didn't give them votes. I want to see informed science, but I want to see scientists and statisticians making their best cases. I don't want to see justifications for decisions that have already been made so we can all mutter approvingly about how government has saved us from our own folly."
“Nestride Yumga experienced real corruption and civil rights abuses in Africa. Then she came to America, the land of opportunity, education, and freedom. So when Black Lives Matter protests declared America guilty of systemic racism and injustice, she knew she had to defend her adoptive country.”
“It sounds like Disney and the other theme parks in California have had enough. It sounds like they are starting to put some pressure on the state to get some REAL guidelines for reopening parks. CAPA, an organization representing California theme parks, has sent a formal request for these guidelines so that Disneyland and other parks can prepare for reopening...like nearly everything else in the country.”
“A huge amount of progress has taken place that a lot of people just don't take into account, especially smart people who are attending to the real problems of the world," says Ronald Bailey, Reason's science correspondent and the coauthor, with Marian Tupy of HumanProgress.org, of Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know: And Many Others You Will Find Interesting.For instance: In 1990, the World Bank estimated that about 1.9 billion people lived in "absolute poverty," defined as surviving on the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $1.90 a day. By 2018, the number had dropped to 650 million, even as global population increased. If current trends continue, less than 5 percent of the planet's population will be in absolute poverty by 2030.Despite ongoing problems in the Amazon and elsewhere, forests are expanding on net across the planet. "If you look broadly across the entire globe," says Bailey, "what you find is forests have expanded since the 1980s to an area that's about the size of Alaska and Montana combined, basically 800,000 square miles of land." And the world is getting safer, too, especially for poor people. "The chance of a person dying from a natural catastrophe—earthquake, flood, drought, storm, wildfire, landslide, or epidemic—has declined by nearly 99 percent since the 1920s and 1930s," write Bailey and Tupy.Other positive trends include continuing economic growth and rising living standards around the globe, far fewer food shortages and famines, a decline in the number of autocratic regimes, and a reduction in major armed conflicts.Bailey tells Reason that this massive ongoing progress is largely ignored because politicians and the media have an interest in foregrounding bad news—and because human beings, at least in the past 200 years, tend to take progress for granted. He says that's a mistake. Progress is the result of implementing better ideas for organizing society. "Basically," he says, "the Enlightenment happened." With that came the rise of representative government, property rights and markets, and especially the free speech and open inquiry that are essential for technological and social innovation.
“Bridget Phetasy on why Trump and Biden fail to inspire and how new media are reshaping politics.Until the Republicans and Democrats start appealing to voters like her, they will have to eke out tighter and tighter victories by scaring partisans with insane claims. Despite that, Phetasy is optimistic because she thinks new media are staging a conversation that speaks to politically homeless independents.”
“It's a scary time in America. In the last few weeks, we've seen police violence, protests, riots, snitch lines... all framed by the backdrop of a viral pandemic. It's not hard to see that a lot of people are hurting and angry. It's also not hard to understand why.
Banned from the Bank
“Get your affairs in order while you still can, because it’s going to get ugly. ”
Biden’s Buffoonish War On Extremism
“'Extremism' is a meaningless word weaponized by politicians against their enemies.”
The Taiwan Temptation
“Why Beijing Might Resort to Force”
Media Panics Over Mounting Opposition to Critical Race Theory
“The best evidence that the resistance to CRT is gaining and posing a threat to Democrats is that the mainstream media is trying to marginalize and demonize the movement the way it attacked the Tea Party”
North Korean defector slams ‘woke’ US schools
“Yeonmi Park attended Columbia University and was immediately struck by what she viewed anti-Western sentiment in the classroom and a focus on political correctness that had her thinking “even North Korea isn’t this nuts.””
Who Let Capitol Protesters Into the Building on January 6?
“By contradicting the groupthink on January 6, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) is taking fire from the usual suspects while most of his Senate colleagues remain silent.”
Viacom Struggles with Paramount+ and Nickelodeon While Disney Pulls Away
“Since July of 2017, Nickelodeon’s viewership has dropped from 1.3 million average viewers per week to a June of 2021 average of only 372,000. In only four years, Nickelodeon has dropped more than two thirds of its audience. That is catastrophically bad for the cable channel, but with cable on the way out, maybe it’s not so bad? The catch here is that it is, in fact, that bad and perhaps worse, simply because Nickelodeon seems to be the primary driving force behind new subscribers to Paramount+.”