Undervalued

UMM is also bringing in good speakers with intelligent perspectives. Next week, we’re going to be graced with a visit from Adrienne Keene. If you can only make it to Morris one time, skip the jerk coming next month, and instead make the trip on Monday, 2 April to join us at 7:30pm in Imholte 109. It’s part of the Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions program grant for the Morris Native American Student Success (NASS) Project.

It’s also free, but worth far, far more.

That’s hunting?

I am not a hunter. I’ve never gone hunting. I don’t read hunting magazines. I’ve always taken the word of hunters that it’s a healthy, practical sport. Unfortunately, when I was at the gym this morning, someone had turned the television on the wall to one of those hunting shows, and I’d never seen one of those, either. It kind of ruined my morning.

It was a couple of people hiding in a blind near a bean field, when a large herd of deer gathered, browsing on the leftovers. They pulled out a big rifle, and boom, shot a big buck.

I was horrified to see it — the animal went frantic, galloping about the field in a clear state of terror before its legs buckled and it collapsed. As a biologist, I’ve had to kill animals before, but it’s always a process hedged about with ethical rules, and we’re careful to anesthetize the animal — it’s more that they quietly go to sleep and never wake up, and we do everything we can to minimize stress. This does not mean there are no ethical concerns — I wouldn’t find it acceptable to be killed myself, as long as it was done with no pain — but the murder methods in hunting were so brutal and even more terrible from the victim’s viewpoint.

There’s also the pragmatic dilemma. Deer must be culled. Their population is thriving under the human regime, and they’re becoming pests. Ideally, we’d have a balanced environment with predators that would keep the population in check…but a wolf kill is even more brutal and cruel than shooting.

What bugged me most, though, was the reaction of the hunters: fist-pumping, grinning, cheering, pridefully standing over the corpse. As I said, I’ve killed uncounted mice, lots of rabbits and cats and a few dogs and a few larger animals for research, but I never got used to it, I never celebrated their death, I regretted it. Hundreds (or more) dead animals, and I never became so inured that I could do it casually, and I certainly never smiled and laughed as I infused some helpless animal with a barbiturate overdose. Of course, I still recognize the problem with even my attitude.

Need a philosopher and ethicist, stat. I am very uncomfortable now.

It takes a village…to make a toxic atmosphere

Oh, Michigan State. You just knew the nightmare wouldn’t be over when Larry Nassar was sentenced. He wasn’t molesting young women in his basement torture room — he was doing it in the public facilities of a public institution while getting paid for his services. There had to be enablers and people who turned a blind eye to it all, and maybe even some people who were doing similar things.

Now that shoe has dropped. William Strampel has been arrested.

The former dean of Michigan State University’s school of osteopathic medicine sexually assaulted and harassed four female students, and also mishandled a 2014 complaint that Larry Nassar sexually assaulted a patient, allowing further abuses by the disgraced former Olympic gymnastics physician to occur, according to criminal charges unsealed in Michigan Tuesday morning.

It sounds like he let Nassar skate by with neglect and also indulged in a bit of slimy fondling on his own.

In March 2017, Strampel told a Michigan State police officer and an FBI agent that he never followed up to ensure Nassar was adhering to the 2014 protocols, nor did he tell anyone else in the office about them, because these were “common sense” guidelines and the Title IX investigation had ultimately cleared Nassar.

The two misdemeanors are punishable by up to two years in prison and $500 in fines, according to court documents.

Strampel’s other charges — felony misconduct of a public official, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines, and misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct, punishable by up to 2 years in prison and $500 in fines — stem from a pattern of discriminatory behavior described by four former female students.

So he’s looking at, potentially, a couple of years in prison, which given his age (70) is serious stuff. And what a capstone to a long career as a distinguished medical school administrator!

At least it sounds like Michigan State is serious about cleaning house.


By the way, Strampel seems to have been quite the dirty old man. Here’s the criminal complaint, and one example.

In 2013, her third year of medical school, V-2 again met with Strampel, this time to address complaints she had about her surgical residency at a local hospital. Once again, as soon as she entered his office, he directed her to slowly turn around twice so he could look at her body. Strampel advised her that she needed to learn her place in life and asked her, “what do I have to do to teach you to be submissive and subordinate to men?”

Ugh.

Local shenanigans

We can’t have those darned kids voting! The Morris city council met to discuss shutting down half of our polling locations, and of course the one that they singled out for closure was the one on the university campus.

City Manager Hill stated when he came to Morris he was surprised to see there were six voting precincts. Hill indicated is it hard to staff a voting place and believes the future of voting is that less and less people will come to the polls. Hill suggested getting rid of the University as a polling place because a polling place should be readily accessible and comfortable to get in and out of and they have no parking. Hill stated the Armory would be a good option. Hill noted after the 2020 census takes place the city can look at some redistricting. Hill pointed out that there needs to be a better job of getting people to register before Election Day.

You see, the university doesn’t count. There are 1700 students here, out of a total population of 5000, so it would be more convenient to make the students walk into town to vote, rather than having an accessible location on campus. Also, this university has a heck of a lot of parking.

If they are concerned about staffing, we have a lot of motivated young people here, and I’m sure some of them would be willing to volunteer at any of the six polling places. I’ve worked at them before. Rather than resigning themselves to fewer people coming to the polls, maybe our city officials ought to be working harder to tap into the pool of democratic activists that can be found at any university.

Local people have put together a response. The letter can be signed online by other locals who are concerned (I’ll refrain from posting a link to that here, but if you’re a Morris resident and don’t know where to find it, email me and I’ll send you a link.)

Just when you think the youth are getting their act together

Some of them have to disappoint you. Three young women visiting Italy decided to try their hand at cooking, apparently for the first time ever.

According to Italian newspaper La Nazione, three 20-year-olds bought some pasta and took it back to their apartment in Florence, with high hopes for an authentic Italian dinner. But instead of boiling several quarts of water before adding the pasta—you know, step one on every set of back-of-the-box instructions ever—they emptied the dry noodles directly into the pot. (Sigh…)

Because spaghetti isn’t meant to be seared, it caught on fire immediately. And because people who don’t understand how to fix pasta also don’t know what to do with stovetop flames, the students had to call the fire department.

I…I mean…they can’t…OK, words fail me. How can you reach the age of 20 and not understand that pasta needs water? These are college students, they must have at least been exposed to ramen, right?

But for every act of ignorance, there must be a graceful response. The Italian reaction makes me happy.

“As a generation and as a Florentine, I feel guilty, I feel there was a strong communication deficit on the part of this city”. The patron of Cibréo and C.BIO Fabio Picchi said so. “What have we transmitted to these girls who came here to study and in a moment of rest they tried to become the most typical dish of our gastronomic culture?”. The girls justified themselves: “we put the pasta on the fire without the water, we thought it was cooked like that”. Does it make you smile? “In fact – says Picchi – there is little to laugh about. It ‘s too easy to make the joke. Instead we must reflect: why did something like this happen with the Italian dish par excellence? “Did we show the world too many fireworks?” It may be – concludes Fabio Picchi. And it is for this reason that I decided to give 4 hours of Italian cooking lessons for free to the three American girls protagonists of the fact. Together with two of my extraordinary cooks will have lunch in our restaurant. Meanwhile they will teach them the simple basics that if well done are very good. I think this can be useful to them, but also to us. Understanding is always – with simplicity and cognition – what is beautiful and necessary “.

Magnifico!

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.

Kevin Williamson is an unpleasant kind of person — the ugly conservative who really ought to be mumbling in a gutter somewhere, despised and pitied, but instead got himself a paying job at the National Review…which, come to think of it, is a kind of gutter. He’s the kind of guy who repeatedly insists that women ought to be executed for having abortions, which tells me that he’s absent any theory of mind or empathy, and ought to be labeled as a sociopath.

This weekend, Kevin Williamson, whose Twitter bio describes him as a “roving reporter for the National Review,” declared on Twitter that all abortions should be treated as premeditated homicide, and that women who have had abortions should face capital punishment, namely hanging. No exceptions.

@Green_Footballs Yes, I believe that the law should treat abortion like any other homicide.
— Kevin D. Williamson (@KevinNR) September 28, 2014

I have hanging more in mind. @LeveyIsLaw @charlescwcooke
— Kevin D. Williamson (@KevinNR) September 28, 2014

Well, he doesn’t work for the National Review anymore.

Instead, he’s been hired by The Atlantic.

On Thursday, the magazine — which is now led by Iraq War cheerleader Jeffrey Goldberg — announced a new opinion and commentary section, “Ideas.” The staff of this new section includes two current Atlantic writers, economics writer Annie Lowrey and former MSNBC host and contributor Alex Wagner, and two new hires: the writer and academic Ibram X. Kendi and National Review columnist Kevin D. Williamson.

Williamson holds a long list of odious views, and I don’t just mean repellant to liberals, but so vile and stupid that they should not be held by thinking human beings.

It’s a strange time. In an era when the worst president and the worst congress in the history of the country are in charge, our national media, led by cowards, are hedging their bets by hiring conservative scum. Instead of challenging great wrongs, they seem instead to be concerned with pandering to the wrong-doers.

Need popcorn, this is going to be better than the original creationist movie

A while back, I attended Eric Hovind’s extravaganza, Genesis: Paradise Lost. I panned it. Now Paulogia has begun a whole video series to take apart the bad science in the movie. This should be good! Here’s the first episode.

He spends some of the time dismantling Charles Jackson, which I also mentioned. Jackson is the guy who proudly announces that he has four degrees, unlike those evolutionists, who typically only have three (I only have two. I am so ashamed.) It was a ridiculous argument, but I guess it passed against the background of so many ridiculous arguments in the movie.

The social media dilemma

Facebook is objectively evil. But at the same time, it’s so delicious. It’s like an evil donut that you can’t resist nibbling on, but it’s going to kill you in the end. I have friends on Facebook! It’s where I go to get my grandbaby photo fix! I have connections there!

But now I’m thinking I really ought to #DeleteFacebook. The arguments are annoyingly strong.

Some say, “I don’t want to stop using Facebook, I want them to change.” And that is wrong. Keeping up with your friends is good. But Facebook’s business and data model is fundamentally flawed. For you, your data is who you are. For Facebook, your data is their money. Taking it from you is their entire business, everything else is fancy decoration.

Others will say, “I need Facebook because that’s where my audience is, and my livelihood depends on that.” And it is true. But depending on Facebook is not safe in the long-term, as others have learned the hard way. Ever changing, opaque algorithms make it harder and harder to reach “your” audience. So even in this case it’s wise to look for other options and have contingency plans.

It would make it easier for me to leave if all of you would go, too, because it’s not Facebook I like (it’s evil, remember), it’s the people. We need an alternative, but the Zuck seems to have devoured them all. Is there something similar emerging from the non-corporate world, like Mastodon, the better Twitter alternative?