Are you ready for disappointment and betrayal?

Even if the Democrats win the election, don’t expect much of a change.

Joe Biden’s transition team is vetting a handful of Republicans for potential Cabinet positions — despite doubts it will win him new support from the right and the risk it will enrage the left.

Reaching across the aisle to pick senior members of his administration could shore up Biden’s credentials as a unity candidate, a message he’s made a cornerstone of his campaign. Past presidents including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have all done the same. But that tradition died with President Donald Trump, and liberal Democrats are already warning that a Republican pick, even a moderate one, could sow distrust within the party before Biden even takes office.

It’s bad enough that we’re settling for a tepid centrist Democrat, but if he caves to that degree, I hope he’s ready to be primaried so hard and to be a one-term president.

Stupidity is never a handicap in politics

It’s clear that massive gatherings of unmasked, heedless people spread the pandemic. The Sturgis motorcycle rally, for instance, seems to have sown surges of infection all across the midwest, in the Dakotas and Minnesota and elsewhere, but that doesn’t seem to stop Republicans from saying stupid stuff.

Here’s a Fargo city commissioner dismissing the importance of masks in slowing the rate of infection.

The thing is, no one claims that the virus itself is blocked by a mask — what the mask stops are fluid droplets that are spewed out of our mouths and nose when we talk or sneeze or just plain breathe. There is also empirical evidence that states that mandate the use of masks have lower infection rates than our more laissez-faire neighbors. But that twit, Deputy Mayor Dave Piepkorn, thinks the science supports his claim that masks are useless. Great. Fargo, the city only 2 hours north of me, is going to be doing its part to kill me.

I shouldn’t just pick on North Dakota, though. The idiocy has spilled over into Western Minnesota, where we’re afflicted with all kinds of conservative nonsense. Like, for instance, Bill Ingebrigtsen. He’s not my rep, his district is north of mine, but I have heard him speak at political meetings, and he’s a colossal dumbass. Here he is claiming that racism is not a problem in America, because Obama and pro athletes.

“There is going to be some shootings,” he concluded. “That’s really unfortunate. But to sit here and tell and lie to people and say that that we are in a horrible racist situation in this country. I’d have to ask, how did Obama get to where he is? How did these professional sports ever get to where they are. There’s nobody standing in the way of anything in this country.”

His parting shot was the classic, “Well, racism has never affected me,” which is always so convincing coming out of the mouth of a white Republican representing a district that is 0.29% African American.

In his rebuttal, Ingebrigtsen said that he hasn’t seen any instances of racism, and that state offices already have anti-discrimination departments set up to address such issues.

We really have to get these bozos out of office.

Scientists crying about cancellation, again

This “cancel culture” nonsense has gone on far too long — it’s nothing but an imaginary assault on the power and privilege of conservatives. It’s a label, nothing more, that idiots hang on any attempt to criticize them. You’re canceling me! How dare you! <swoon>. It’s all really tiresome.

Unsurprisingly, Jerry Coyne falls for the BS. He races to defend the notion of racist Noah Carl in the racist online rag the Genetic Literacy Project that Darwin might be next to be canceled.

Given the scientific and political luminaries who have fallen under the axe, it’s not beyond possibility that Charles Darwin himself may undergo a “reevaluation,” with people discovering what we already knew: Darwin, like many people of the mid-19th century, had some bigoted views of whites (i.e., Brits) as a superior race. Yet Darwin never did anything but write a bit about it in The Voyage of the Beagle and The Descent of Man, and was, to boot, an ardent abolitionist along with his wife’s family, the Wedgewoods. Josiah Wedgewood, Darwin’s grandfather (and also his wife Emma’s), designed this ceramic medallion that was popular among abolitionists as early as 1787. That may be enough to save Charles but, as we know, one misstep can cancel you for keeps. And Darwin made more than one—according to today’s lights.

I already posted about this nonsense from Carl, and like all his reactionary predecessors before him, Coyne fails to explain what it would mean to “cancel” Darwin. He’d lose his Twitter account? People would block him on Facebook? PragerU would make a video approving of him? Somebody would tear down a monument to Darwin? Big whoop. Don’t care. Charles Darwin, in particular, doesn’t give a damn — he’s dead.

Coyne continues:

It’s thus possible that Darwin could meet the fate of other scientists who unfortunately didn’t foresee the change in morality in the last century and a half, and his statues and other honorifics could come down.

That’s it? That’s all? A dead man might lose a few statues and honorifics? If you think Darwin’s legacy is in marble busts and buildings named after him, rather than his work and ideas, you are a very confused biologist. Evolution is secure. Darwin could be revealed to have been Jack the Ripper (couldn’t happen, since Darwin died before the ripper murders), and it wouldn’t affect the science.

As for this common, stupid argument that these poor canceled heroes “didn’t foresee the change in morality” — nonsense. Darwin wrote enough on the right side of morality that we should know that he had an intellectual understanding of the common humanity of all races and sexes, yet somehow at the same time he also wrote passages that are distinctly racist and misogynist. Recognizing that Darwin had flawed attitudes and cultural biases is, I guess, canceling him. Likewise, these unnamed scientists who met an unspecified doleful fate lived in an era when we could be conscious of the equality of races and and sexes, yet they chose to accept an immoral status quo. Darwin and Frederick Douglass were contemporaries, there is no excuse for thinking black people were inferiors in the 19th century. Darwin loved and respected his wife Emma, yet somehow he could hold with a Victorian view of women as lesser.

Acknowledging the flaws in famous people, though, is now “canceling” them. I call that “historical accuracy”, instead.

Coyne just has to chew on his foot some more:

In a piece before the one I’m mentioning today, sociologist Noah Carl (who’s had a bit of tumultuous history, having been canceled himself)…

“tumultuous history”? Are you fucking kidding me? He was sacked by Cambridge for unethical work and affiliation with outrageously flaming racists! “Tumultuous”. Yeah. And the KKK is sometimes a bit “rowdy”, and the Proud Boys are a bit “mischievous”. Here’s what the Cambridge review panel said about Carl.

The panel found that Dr Carl had put a body of work into the public domain that did not comply with established criteria for research ethics and integrity. In any event, it considered that the poor scholarship of this problematic body of Dr Carl’s work, among other things, meant that it fell outside any protection that might otherwise be claimed for academic freedom of speech.

Furthermore, the panel found that, in the course of pursuing this problematic work, Dr Carl had collaborated with a number of individuals who were known to hold extremist views. There was a serious risk that Dr Carl’s appointment could lead, directly or indirectly, to the College being used as a platform to promote views that could incite racial or religious hatred, and bring the College into disrepute. In addition, the panel also noted that the way in which Dr Carl has conducted himself with regard to his publications and the ideas he has expressed have had a detrimental effect on the atmosphere within the College with feelings of hurt, betrayal, anger and disbelief that the College could be associated with such views.

If you knew how cautious and mannered academic review comittees were, you’d know that was a university’s version of backing away in horror and vomiting in outrage.

Coyne, unfortunately, is capable of both downplaying the racism of Noah Carl while simultaneously exaggerating the significance of “cancellation”, whatever that is.

Carl concludes that if there’s a valid case for dethroning people like Hume, Galton, Fisher, and Linnaeus for their “retrograde” views on race and white superiority, then you can make an equally compelling case against Darwin.

Just yesterday, I lectured my cell biology class on the structure of DNA, and I also told them that Jim Watson was an asshole with a history of embarrassing racist and sexist statements. Yet I still talked about his work. That’s not going to change. We’ll be discussing Crick & Watson’s discovery for the next century or more. I’ve known that Galton and Fisher were racist jerks and supporters of eugenics for as long as I’ve been teaching, but their names are still in my genetics textbooks and I still bring up their work in my genetics classes…but I also don’t shy away from discussing their bad ideas.

Is that what canceling is? Then we should fully support more canceling. Even if regressive senior scientists are aghast that we dare to deplore racism and sexism in old dead white guys.

*You can anticipate the usual whines that SJWs call anyone racist at the drop of a hat. Alas for them, Noah Carl was fired for his racist views and the shoddy pseudoscience he used to defend them. The Genetic Literacy Project is a website set up by journalist Jon Entine with money from Monsanto to defend GMOs, a cause I’m sympathetic to, but you might want to read the Wikipedia article on Entine.

Entine has written three books on genetics and two on chemicals. Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution examines the controversy over genetic modification in agriculture.[23]

Entine’s first book, Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It was inspired by the documentary on black athletes written with Brokaw in 1989. It received reviews ranging from mostly positive to highly negative in The New York Times. Physical anthropologist Jonathan Marks characterized the book as “make-believe genetics applied to naively conceptualized groups of people.”

In 2007, Entine published Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People which examined the shared ancestry of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and addressed the question “Who is a Jew?” as seen through the prism of DNA. In a review of this book, geneticist Harry Ostrer wrote that Entine’s “understanding of the genetics is limited and uncritical, but his broad, well-documented sweep of Jewish history will inform even the most knowledgeable of readers.”

Toss in the GLP’s tagline of “Science not Ideology” and I’m going to have to fire up a big signal flare on that outfit. The claim that they are ideology-free is one of the most common lies of the Right.

Wisconsin got screwed

We knew it was coming. Remember, several years ago, when Trump, and Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan were all blathering about the great economic progress the Republican party was producing by bringing in Foxconn to the state? They were going to create all these new jobs and trigger an economic renaissance in the entire midwest. I recall watching Wisconsin going down the tubes, instead, compared to Minnesota, which did not fall for the Republican hokum…but it did help turn their state red. It still is. It’ll be interesting to see how the state goes next month.

Because Foxconn was nothing but a lie, yet another Republican grift. They got billions of dollars in subsidies, and there’s nothing to show for it.

That vision got Gou regular access to the White House during a trade war and gave Trump a groundbreaking and almost a ribbon-cutting, too. But maintaining the mirage required a culture of secrecy. Employees were warned not to talk to the press (including, specifically, me). Many were afraid to speak — afraid of getting fired, or of retribution even after they’d left. Publicly, the company issued announcement after announcement — innovation centers, career fairs, smart cities, AI 8K+5G, the AI Institute — each one erasing the memory of the last missed deadline. (One employee quipped that one of the few things Foxconn succeeded in making in Wisconsin was press releases.) The illusion was defended by GOP officials at all levels of government, from Mount Pleasant to the State Assembly to the White House, who accused anyone pointing out that the project was off track of trying to scuttle it for partisan ends, as if the existence of the factory were open to debate and positive thinking might make it real.

But in actual reality, the project has succeeded in manufacturing mostly this: an endless supply of wonderful things for the President to promise his supporters. This past weekend, in an interview with a local Wisconsin TV station, Trump insisted Foxconn had built “one of the most incredible plants I’ve ever seen” in Mount Pleasant and would keep its promises and more if he was reelected. “They will do what I tell them to do,” he said. “If we win the election, Foxconn is going to come into our country with money like no other company has come into our country.”

No one wanted to believe promises like this more than the people who went to work for Foxconn in Wisconsin. They each came to regret different things: the wasted time, the jobs they’d left, the integrity lost making deals and offering jobs only to have the company change course. But one common theme was frustration that it hadn’t turned out to be real and that long after they’d learned the truth, they saw the facade still standing. “There are a lot of good people who fell for this,” said one employee, shortly before departing a job at Foxconn. “Who wanted to see it succeed.”

At least awareness is slowly emerging. Ryan and Walker are out, let’s hope Trump gets 86’ed next.