A Point About Race-Conscious Admissions in Higher Education

From the What-A Day newsletter

There’s an elephant in the room that none of the conservative Justices nor anyone railing against affirmative action seems to want to discuss: legacy students. A 2019 report from the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that 43 percent of White students admitted to Harvard from 2009-2014 were either recruited athletes, legacies, applicants on the “dean’s interest list” (aka the children of wealthy donors) and children of faculty and staff. More pointedly, a whopping 75 percent of the White students admitted under those privileged categories, particularly legacies, would have been rejected had they not been given those bonus points. The acceptance rate for legacy students at Harvard is about 33 percent, compared with the school’s overall acceptance rate of under six percent. But the Edward Blums of the world deem this kind of affirmative action acceptable.

What a Day Monday, 2022/10/31

Courage in Smithfield

I was surprised at how aggressive my candidate was toward her opponent in Monday’s debate in Smithfield.  Elane Luria won the debate easily for any honest person who saw the debate as a contest of intelligence, courage, and a record of accomplishments.  But I don’t think she would have won had it been a personality contest. In fact, it put me off at first.

Perhaps it’s difficult to keep cool when sharing the dais with someone who refuses to tell the truth for fear of losing the votes of anti-democratic enemies of our nation. Perhaps it’s infuriating to watch a fellow Navy officer betray her nation.

Jen Kiggans’s refusal to say that Joe Biden won the election that Donald Trump’s own people certified – in some cases risking their lives to do so – and called the most secure election in U.S. history is a betrayal of our nation. It’s a rallying cry for our enemies. Those enemies were in the room at Smithfield Station Monday night, cheering Kiggans’s refusal to answer a direct question. Imagine going to a forum to hear your candidate’s views, and cheering your candidate’s refusal to answer a question.

We all knew what it meant when Donald Trump refused to disavow the endorsement of KKK Grand Wizard David Duke until after days of pressure, when he finally said, “I disavow, OK?”, and we know what Trump meant when asked to condemn his racist and anti-democratic supporters but instead said, “Stand Back and Stand By”. Jen Kiggans means the same thing when she repeats slogans instead of answering, “did Joe Biden win the election?”

Elaine Luria is showing courage by digging for the truth while representing a district highly made up of people who don’t want to know the truth, and some of whom have demonstrated a willingness to use violence. Is Jen Kiggans a coward? I don’t think so. Cowards don’t generally fly military helicopters. I have to think that Kiggans is driven by ambition. That may not be cowardice, but it’s not courage either. Kiggans needs the insurrectionist, traitor vote to win. She’d rather win than stand up for the truth.

Republicans need the insurrectionist vote to win, but America won’t win that way. Politeness won’t save us. Courage will. Vote Elaine Luria

Auditorium with Kiggans and Luria seated at a table in front of the room on a raised platform.  Taken from the back of the room behind a seated audience
Luria / Kiggans forum in Smithfield

Republican Traitors have been Attacking Democracy for Decades

Heather Cox Richardson tells us (or reminds us, for the old folks) that Republican lies about voter fraud are just the latest attacks on Democracy which have been “part and parcel of Republican governance” for decades

I remember voter purges across several states well before Donald Trump’s candidacy, which knocked hundreds of thousands of people off the roles. In describing one effort to purge legitimate voters in Louisiana in 1986, Richardson quotes a National Republican Committee member boasting, “This could keep the Black vote down considerably”

Republican anti-democratic tactics include purges, closing polls in poor neighborhoods, biased ID requirements (like accepting handgun licenses but not student IDs), making it legally dangerous to register voters (see Democracy in One Book or Less by David Litt, chapter 3), and making it difficult for people who lost their right to vote to regain it.

Any law that makes it difficult to vote disproportionately affects those who face difficulties to begin with – like those who have transportation or child care challenges, who work long or unusual hours, or who have recently moved. People in those groups are more likely to be Democrats.

But when Republican efforts to prevent likely Democratic voters from casting a vote aren’t enough to keep Republicans in power, they turn to overturning election results.

Today’s election deniers are just the latest strain of vote-denying Republicans, and if they gain more power this year, elections will be less fair in years to come than they have been since before the sixties.

The first step to restoring progress in Democracy is to vote.

All That Democratic Spending

Blaming Democratic spending for global inflation is like blaming Ukrainian resistance for Russia’s invasion. Both are a factor in the ongoing crisis but neither are the cause, and both are helping their citizens get through it.

Thanks to all that Democratic spending, the United States is handling inflation pretty well compared to other nations.  For an example of how Republicans might handle inflation, we can look to Great Britain, which fell into economic turmoil after a package of tax cuts for the rich, or Turkey, experiencing 83% inflation after cutting interest rates instead of raising them.

Even if spending were the problem, electing Republicans would hardly be the solution. Before the pandemic, Donald Trump raised the national debt to a “crisis”. That’s the word the Trump administration used to describe the national debt two years after Donald Trump took office. Every Republican since Ronald Reagan increased the national debt. Reagan tripled it. It took a Democrat, Bill Clinton, to bring it down to zero, only to have it shoot up again during the great recession of the younger Bush administration.

If it’s specifically pandemic relief spending that you don’t like, remember that Donald Trump not only signed the CARES act, which was the largest fiscal stimulus in history, he insisted his own name be on the checks.  We paid to make that happen.  CARES had bi-partisan support.

There are some differences between Democratic spending and Republican spending.  Democrats tend to spend on infrastructure, making the planet more livable, and helping Americans afford food, shelter, education, and health care. Republicans generally prefer to spend on the military, corporate welfare, and prison contracts.

We should encourage our politicians to spend less, but they’re still going to spend.  Do you want to keep Democrats in office so they can spend it on relief packages and clean water or replace them with Republicans who will subsidize oil companies and build more prisons?  Help decide this November.  Vote.

Common Sense Gun Laws Won’t Disarm Us

This is mostly a response to a discussion in the comments section of a post on Libertas and Latte.  It’s a bit long for a comment so I’m posting it here.  I’m also posting it here because I’m a narcissist and want to post something on my own blog rather than someone else’s, but the first point is still valid.

The original post is about the Indiana mall hero.

I already posted the following comment:

I think I’m with the majority of people who support some gun control measures but not any that would have disarmed Mr. Dicken.

It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see enough people pointing that out. I see people on the right distorting reality as expected by holding up this story as the only piece of data we need to prove that gun laws don’t work, and guys on the left shooting themselves in the foot by only grudgingly acknowledging Mr. Dicken’s heroism rather than holding him up an example of the kind of legally armed citizen who would not be disarmed by common sense gun control measures

So what “common sense gun control measures” do I support and how far am I from fellow gun control advocates?

Starting with what I don’t support: I don’t support severe limits on magazines and I don’t support outlawing many features that some say differentiate an assault weapon from a hunting rifle.   And I cringed with Beto O’Rourke said, “Hell Yes”

On that last point, “Hell Yes” undermined years of Democratic talking points, and I’m surprised at how many people supported him in saying so.  My friends still post memes ridiculing right wing paranoia about gun-grabbers, even after Beto endorsed their paranoia.  I still don’t think it will happen. I don’t want to grab your guns and I don’t think it would be realistic to try.

Note: Gun-grabbing now also refers to red-flag laws, many of which I do support.  Here, I’m using “gun-grabbing” to mean outlawing the ownership, not just the sale, of weapons which are currently legal.

I support background checks, concealed carry licenses, red-flag laws, and maybe some high limits on how many rounds a single weapon can hold. But those limits would have to be high.  I wouldn’t want my 22 Marlin outlawed because I can drop more than 10 bullets into the loading tube.

The gun legislation that I support, and hope others get onboard with, might not disarm most of the nutjob shooters, but they’ll stop some. And as I said, none of these would have disarmed Mr. Dicken.

Virginia HD64: Your candidate or Dominion Energy’s candidate?

Dominion Energy is the top donor to Michael Drewry’s opponent.   Michael is not accepting donations from big donors like Dominion Energy, because Michael Drewry wants to work for you.  As our delegate in the 64th District, Michael Drewry will represent and fight for the people, as he did on the Surry County Board of Supervisors

As it says on his website,

By the end of the year, all of Surry County will have broadband internet access. And, while his opponent now voted against a Virginia House resolution recognizing water as a human right, Michael brought brand-new water infrastructure to Dendron.

Drewry for Delegate

If you donate to or volunteer for Michael Drewry’s campaign, you will be among real people working for a better future. If you live in the 64th House of Delegates district in Virginia, a vote for Michael Drewry is a vote to put power back in the hands of the people who make up the district.

Despite what you heard, we didn’t defund the police, we increased their funding

At a recent meeting of the Suffolk Democratic Committee, Delegate Clinton Jenkins announced some accomplishments made by the General Assembly. One of those accomplishments was an increase in funding for law enforcement. As I remember, he said, “Despite what you heard, we didn’t defund the police, we increased their funding,” and in response to that, the Suffolk Democrats applauded.

Terry McAuliffe is now fighting accusations of defunding the police when during his time, he, too worked to increase funding for law enforcement.

The phrase “Defund the Police” means different things to different people, except maybe for Republicans who seem unified in thinking the phrase means abolishing rule of law and creating a consequence-free environment for criminals. That’s not what it means to any Democrat.

Whatever the phrase might mean to various proponents and opponents across the nation, it’s a moot point in Virginia where the Democratic chair of the Judiciary Committee said, “No, we don’t need to take money from law enforcement […] We need the police.”

Don’t let Republicans gaslight you into thinking that a vote for Democrats is a vote for crime. The opposite is true, especially in Virginia.

Under Democratic leadership, including during the McAuliffe years of 2014 to 2018, Virginia has had the lowest crime rate in the region (see CDC data and Virginia Ranks Among States with Lowest Crime Rates). That, along with Virginia’s excellent economy, mean things are, and have been, pretty good in Virginia.

But Republicans think it’s time for a change.

A Guy Who Hates Me Gave Me a Jump in Virginia Beach

My wife’s car has a loose battery connector but that’s not why the battery drained today. It drained because I forgot the lights don’t turn out if you don’t open the driver’s door even if you take the key out of the ignition. Stupid feature. When I couldn’t start the car, I called the roadside service that I have through my insurance company.

The guy that arrived saw our bumper stickers and said he was willing to help me even though I was a Biden loving bastard.

Before I came up with a good response, he showed me the loose battery terminal. I said, “I know, but that’s not the problem today.” He fussed with it a bit and said, “Just for giggles, let’s try it now”, then added, “Just for kicks”

The car didn’t start because the battery was drained because of the lights. Like I said, the connector wasn’t the problem today. So he jumped it and got me going.

I didn’t get angry, but I didn’t shy away from talking to him. I don’t remember everything we said but I found out he hates Republicans, too. But he really hated Biden. At one point he spoke about all the illegals coming in. I said, “What about all those Haitians that we’re deporting?”. He said we’re not deporting any Haitians. He said they’re letting them in and telling us they’re being deported. He said they’re lying to me and I believe them.

He was already in his truck by then, and he backed away without saying anything else.

I did right by not insulting the guy – not saying he’s delusional or whatever, because I keep reading insults don’t work. Listen patiently and defend the truth. But I could have done better on the second part. The truth is I wasn’t ready for a debate and delusional people can say whatever they want, but defending the truth means keeping your facts straight.

I would have liked to have asked him, “If everyone is lying, how do you know what to believe?”

That I’m writing this post suggests he’s in my head more than I’m in his. Maybe being hateful and delusional is better for your mood than being contemplative and worried. While I was waiting for the jump I read an opinion piece saying, “The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves.” This guy showing up didn’t give me much reason to doubt that.

This paragraph is two days older than the rest of the post. I didn’t think it was relevant at the time, but the insurance company gave this guy the wrong phone number and the wrong color of my car. He found me because my hood was up. He also noticed that my battery bracket was broken. He shook the battery and said, “Here’s why your connector keeps coming loose, buddy”. That sounds reasonable. He alternated between calling me “buddy” and “bastard”. The point is while none of this makes him a genius, I don’t think the guy was stupid. Just delusional. Brainwashed. When talking with these people, we shouldn’t assume their all stupid.

He did what he did but…

Federal judge tosses most claims against Trump, Barr and U.S. officials in clearing of Lafayette Square


Even though

Officials used batons, clubs and spray and fired projectiles as more than 1,000 largely peaceful demonstrators gathered

and the judge

acknowledged claims that Trump tweeted threats and encouragement of violence against protesters, and ordered Barr take charge of the situation before Barr mobilized law enforcement and appeared at the square just before it was cleared.

because apparently,

these events weren’t enough to allow conspiracy claims to go forward

So once again, Trump wiggles out of responsibility for a crime we know he committed because we can’t prove he conspired to commit it.

A NextDoor Conversation in Suffolk, Virginia

This is where I live. I retyped for you a conversation from NextDoor, which is a neighborhood-based social media service that’s supposed to be non-political. This is from the Liberty Spring neighborhood in Suffolk Virginia. Emphasis mine.

Your political arguments: I said this earlier on a political post where my friends and neighbors were arguing, but it was deleted.

Don’t believe the media. Everything we see and hear is being controlled. This is what they want. United we stand but divided we fall. We are all family. Love your neighbor and forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Do not pass judgement. You can’t control what people are brainwashed by(sic). Just trust God, he has a plan and I believe he will bring us all back together.

Amen Sister!

I agree! Always remember, God is in Control. It is his will. I just pray, people will know him and turn to him. These are trying times! The media is corrupt. I agree, don’t be brainwashed.


What’s ironic?

@person3 talking about being brainwashed by the media while in the same breath throwing the “word of god” around.

If you still believe media as truthful well then I’m lost for words.Well said.

We are to forgive and GOD is in control, however, GOD also gives us the discernment between right and wrong. There are good consequences and bad consequences depending your decision(s).