Ordinary World: Missing President’s Day Edition
[OW1] Wait…It’s a holiday today? Oh, that was last week…
President’s Day is technically not even named President’s Day, but it makes a three day weekend (for some) so who cares…
Presidents Day got its beginnings with the celebration of Washington’s birthday every year on February 22.
Congress officially made the day a federal holiday in 1968, when it also moved it to the third Monday of February to make a three-day weekend.
At that time, some argued the holiday should include a celebration of Lincoln’s birthday, which falls on February 12, and be renamed from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents Day.
Lawmakers rejected that idea, and the holiday is still officially named Washington’s Birthday. However, the day is now commonly known as Presidents Day and is seen by most as a celebration of all U.S. presidents.
[OW2] Speaking of folks who think they will some day be recognized on President’s Day, but should probably learn to live with disappointment…
All due respect to the Vice President, but remember that the cited example of then-Senator Kamala Harris committee questions “raising her to prominence” didn’t even carry her to actual voting in Iowa. Nothing is more overblown in importance than Senator’s “having the stage” of a committee hearing that only the most inside of inside baseball fans are watching.
As for Merrick Garland, he’s about as good as Republicans could have hoped for in a Biden AG, and could be argued to be the most moderate of all of President Biden’s cabinet nominees, so the outcome isn’t in doubt here and any demonizing and grandstanding should be noted for being just that.
Merrick Garland appears on track for an easy confirmation hearing this week. But the attorney general nominee’s moment in the spotlight will once again be affected by presidential politics — as four 2024 GOP contenders get a stage to catapult their national brands.
Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) all sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which on Monday starts its two-day hearing on Garland’s nomination to lead President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice. The committee has evolved in recent years into a powerful platform for members with broader political ambitions, and all four GOP senators are viewed as potential White House hopefuls for a party currently riven by internal strife.
Bruising confirmation fights can often lead to breakout moments for senators. Now-Vice President Kamala Harris rose to national prominence thanks in part to her incisive questioning of former President Donald Trump’s nominees. But the four younger Republicans on Judiciary this year are being advised to take a more delicate approach to Garland. The former federal judge is expected to receive widespread GOP support for his nomination, as the party seeks to show that its blockade of his 2016 Supreme Court nomination was not personal.
[OW3] The scientific paper needs a new scientific method…
Interesting. The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete, Here’s what’s next by James Somers in The Atlantic:
The scientific paper—the actual form of it—was one of the enabling inventions of modernity. Before it was developed in the 1600s, results were communicated privately in letters, ephemerally in lectures, or all at once in books. There was no public forum for incremental advances. By making room for reports of single experiments or minor technical advances, journals made the chaos of science accretive. Scientists from that point forward became like the social insects: They made their progress steadily, as a buzzing mass.
The earliest papers were in some ways more readable than papers are today. They were less specialized, more direct, shorter, and far less formal. Calculus had only just been invented. Entire data sets could fit in a table on a single page. What little “computation” contributed to the results was done by hand and could be verified in the same way.
The more sophisticated science becomes, the harder it is to communicate results. Papers today are longer than ever and full of jargon and symbols. They depend on chains of computer programs that generate data, and clean up data, and plot data, and run statistical models on data. These programs tend to be both so sloppily written and so central to the results that it’s contributed to a replication crisis, or put another way, a failure of the paper to perform its most basic task: to report what you’ve actually discovered, clearly enough that someone else can discover it for themselves.
Perhaps the paper itself is to blame. Scientific methods evolve now at the speed of software; the skill most in demand among physicists, biologists, chemists, geologists, even anthropologists and research psychologists, is facility with programming languages and “data science” packages. And yet the basic means of communicating scientific results hasn’t changed for 400 years. Papers may be posted online, but they’re still text and pictures on a page.
What would you get if you designed the scientific paper from scratch today?
[OW4] “Cancel Culture” might be “bad decision making” by another name…
Gina Carano, Conservatism, and the Problem with Cancel Culture Critics by Nicholas Grossman in Arc Digital:
Disney and its subsidiary Lucasfilm announced that actress Gina Carano won’t be on The Mandalorian anymore and people got mad. Not just Star Wars fans who like her performance as bounty hunter Cara Dune, but also critics of cancel culture, for whom this was yet another sign of a vengeful, speech-restricting ideology run amok.
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait said Carano was fired for “being conservative” and compared the “current treatment of right-wingers” to the infamous 1940s-50s Hollywood blacklist of suspected communists. Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro announced that he’ll fund a movie project with Carano, writing that “Hollywood cancelled Gina Carano for being conservative. That’s bullshit. So we’re fighting back.” In an article comparing Carano’s treatment to McCarthyism, Bari Weiss wrote: “So what did Carano do? Her sin is her politics. She’s a conservative.”
Is it, though?
The issue wasn’t that she advocated low taxes, reduced regulation, or small government. It wasn’t that she spoke out against abortion or stood up for gun rights. It wasn’t that she venerated the military, the police, small towns, or Ronald Reagan. It wasn’t that she said Donald Trump’s great or Joe Biden sucks, praised Tucker Carlson or denounced Rachel Maddow.
[OW5] How did this piece of video land for you?
Many folks see something terrifying, but maybe what they should notice is that some really incredible engineering and manufacturing held up pretty good under extreme circumstances:
I can’t imagine seeing this out an airplane window. United #328 safely returned to Denver after engine failed. Passengers cheered upon landing.
— Ken Rice (@kenricekdka) February 20, 2021
[OW6] Today’s adventures in being bad at humans being…
Two women who dressed up to make themselves appear as older adults to get coronavirus vaccinations were turned away and issued trespass warnings in Orlando, officials said.
Dr. Raul Pino, state health officer in Orange County — where Orlando is located — said the women disguised themselves on Wednesday with bonnets, gloves and glasses.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Guido told the Orlando Sentinel that the women altered their birth years on their vaccination registrations to bypass the state system, which prioritizes people age 65 and older. It appeared that the women had gotten the first shot, but it was unclear where.
“Their names matched their registration but not their dates of birth,” she told the newspaper.
The women were 35 and 45 years old, officials said in a news release.
Health Department officials asked deputies to issue trespass warnings.
In a video provided by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy could be heard saying, “You’ve stolen a vaccine from somebody that needs it more than you.”
Guido said the warning means they can’t return to the convention center for any reason — including a vaccine, COVID-19 test, convention or show. If they do return, they could face arrest.
[OW7] If you want to become the worst state GOP, you have to knock out the champ…
Arizona’s GOP under the thumb of Crazy Kelli Ward has been making a hard run at the title, but the Republican Party of Virginia is not going to give up it’s crown as dysfunctional state-level GOP anytime soon, no matter how much self harm they have to do to themselves. Joe Szymanski writing at Elections Daily:
The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) continues to be in the news for all the wrong reasons. As we have covered previously, the state party’s choice of nomination style has been heavily criticized by all sides of the aisle. Some have defended their choice, saying this method lessens the chance of Amanda Chase becoming the nominee. Elections Daily has heard from one of our Virginia sources, though, that there are some underlying reasons too.
This summer, while electing a new chair, the RPV had four amendments on the docket. Three were considered uncontroversial, but there was one amendment that caused significant infighting. This amendment would have almost entirely deplatformed the College Republicans, Young Republicans and Republican Women branches of the state party from the State Central Committee. Amendment One would have reduced the size of the Committee down to 54 members. Most of these members would be from District committees. The other three branches would then be shrunk from having three members to only two on the committee.
These three branches have been the most active at promoting the primary nomination system. They are also among the more moderate members of the committee. The amendment failed to garner the necessary support this year, but now its supporters are trying to bring it back for this year. While our source stated they doubt it would reach the necessary threshold to pass, it shows issue with some in the state party itself. They have already limited college students and Young Republicans by choosing a convention in the first place. But this seems to be another move to limit them in the activity of the state party all together.
[OW8] Good Question…
Affluent professionals and unions: Can this marriage last? by Megan McArdle in The Washington Post:
Rereading Teixeira and Abramowitz today, one is struck by their eerie prescience, but also by the fundamental difficulty of holding together a Democratic Party where highly educated and affluent adults are the ascending faction but are not numerous enough to carry an election by themselves. This past year, that difficulty has come into sharp focus as the pandemic has set the educated class that leads the party on a collision course with its traditional union base.
That crash might have come sooner if private-sector unions hadn’t been largely a spent force. If White manufacturing workers and manual laborers had remained the party’s “prototypical” voters, as Teixeira and Abramowitz say they were in the mid-20th century, one can imagine that shift of the highly cosmopolitan “mass upper middle” toward Democrats might have stalled over issues such as immigration and trade.
These days, however, “labor” is more likely to mean government unions, which account for a slight majority of all unionized workers. Public-sector unions aren’t worried that the local school system is going to outsource its teaching to China or that courthouse jobs will be taken over by immigrants from Guatemala. So the party could keep singing the same hymns to organized labor even as the congregation turned over and its theology changed.
In Case You Missed It At Ordinary Times:
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If American cities could buy high speed rail systems at European costs, they very well might. But they can’t, so they don’t.