Saturday, May 4, 2024

Saturday Miscellany

First, David Goldman correctly calls this a scary thought.

Here's a scary thought: US manufacturers can't find skilled workers (you need "proficient" high school math to operate a digital machine tool). 24% of US high schoolers are "proficient" in math, or fewer than 1 million graduates/year. China's number of math-proficient HS grades is more like 10m/year.

Second, remember sustainable investing. It was of a piece with the Green New Deal. It allowed money managers to invest in environmentally sensitive and woke companies. It also rewarded companies that cared more about diversity quotas than about profits. 

Well, the fad has outlived its usefulness. Stephen Green has the story:

ESG was supposed to be the future of smart investing, but the future looks increasingly politically incorrect, according to a new Axios report on the "exodus" of money from "sustainable investment funds."

To put it bluntly, ESG was meant to be a money bludgeon for beating corporations into toeing the Progressive line. Maybe best exemplified by the BlackRock investment firm, the smart money would flow to firms with the best "green energy" records, the most left-wing public relations (and donations, natch), and the most buttinsky DEI (DIE?) departments.

The free market has pronounced its verdict on ESG investing. Investors are voting with their money and are pulling it out of these funds:

And the money did rush in. Until now. Because there's an inevitable response when the returns fail to materialize: investors bail. Last quarter, sustainable investment funds (including EFTs) "saw $8.8 billion in net outflows, per new data from Morningstar." The outflow was the biggest ever and is just the latest in a negative trendline that began a year ago. 

The Green New Deal Lite's efforts to spark our "transition to a clean energy economy" haven't accomplished much except for higher energy prices. Even the market for heavily subsidized electric vehicles appears to be plateauing much sooner and lower than expected.

Third, you might have noticed that President Biden finally roused himself sufficiently to utter a few words about the anti-Semitism engulfing American campuses.

Caroline Glick offered this commentary on Twitter;

It took Biden over 2 minutes into a 3 minute speech on anti-Semitism to use the term anti-Semitism. He then  immediately condemned "Islamophobia" and discrimination against Arab and Palestinian Americans.

Who is discriminating against them? Who is denying them the right to walk across campus?

No one. They're the ones attacking Jewish Americans and trampling Jewish American civil rights.

But as with Israel and Palestinians, Biden is accusing American Jews of doing to American Arabs what the Arabs are doing to them.

If this is what support looks like now, in the midst of the greatest onslaught against American Jews since the 1930s, just think what a second Biden term will look like.


Fourth, do you want to follow the money? It’s an old but useful notion. Follow the money and see where it leads you.

So, when you ask who American universities have become infested with Jew hatred and Islamism, the answer come to you when you follow the money.

Ace of Spades writes:

How have America's universities become hotbeds of rabid Islamist rhetoric, foaming-at-the-mouth Jew-hate, and flat-out anti-American insanity?

It's simple. It was purchased with Arab money. Oh, Academia was primed for that sort of crap, since those beliefs are its default, but for a long time was some rough balance. Academia actually had a vibrant, if small conservative/libertarian presence. They also had brains, so their influence was out of proportion to their numbers.

But oceans of oil money began to flood the hallowed halls of our elite (and not so elite) institutions. It paid for endowed chairs for anti-American and anti-Israel professors. It paid for embedded Islamic Studies departments. It paid for university-affiliated NGOs carefully putting forth the pro-Islam/anti-West cant. And it paid for full-fare students from those oil-rich countries, plumping the coffers of these schools with cash that had a catch.

That catch was simple. Make Islam and the savage authoritarians in the Arab world objects of admiration rather than disgust. The Emir of Qatar isn't funding classes examining the vile treatment of women in the Muslim world, or the regular, state-sponsored murder of homosexuals, or the destruction of Jewish minorities within many of those countries. And of course some of that funding went to call into question the legitimacy of the state of Israel by framing the "Palestinian Question" as the pinnacle of post-modern victim-hood.

So a generation of mush-brained undergraduates were taught to see the savage terrorists of Gaza and the West Bank as Jeffersonian freedom-lovers whose highest aspirations were to live in peace and harmony on the land that was stolen from them by those pesky Jews.

Fifth, Lionel Shriver keeps us up to date on the latest from PEN America, a writers’ guild of sorts. PEN just canceled its literary festival because too many writers refused to participate because PEN had not denounced Israel. No word on whether they wanted PEN to denounce Hamas also.

Shriver wrote, on Unherd:

Another day, another opportunity for huffy, hypocritical “progressive” posturing. PEN America has now been forced to cancel its World Voices literary festival in New York and LA, on the heels of also cancelling its 2024 awards ceremony. Too many authors had withdrawn from both events to make going ahead with staging either practicable. The reason for so many writers flouncing from these programmes? PEN’s failure to publicly denounce Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza. But you had probably guessed the point of indignation already, because as of October 2023, the Anglosphere’s far-Left has neatly pivoted from the infantilisation of black people to the Palestinian cause with the coordinated grace of a synchronised swimmer.

Nicely put, dare we say. 

Sixth, I know you have been wondering about this, but the Daily Mail has its nominee for the most dysfunctional state in America. The answer is: Illinois. So much for the political future of Governor J. B. Pritzker:

The state is grappling with a string of crises which have seen residents leave en masse - and earned it the unwanted title of one of the 'most dysfunctional' in America. The state has struggled to add jobs and its public pension debt has ballooned to nearly $150 billion. Meanwhile, its population has declined by hundreds of thousands, hurting tax income.

Seventh, if students are unhappy about having their education hijacked by fanatics, imagine how their parents feel. The Wall Street Journal reports on the parental backlash to the current degradation of the educational experience:

Parents paying as much as $90,000 for their sons and daughters to attend elite universities are angry and frustrated with colleges’ responses to the Gaza protests—on both sides of the political divide. Whether their kids are protesting, counterprotesting or trying to stay out of it, parents are demanding that schools do more to keep them safe and learning.

And also:

Parents are preparing to push back financially. They are requesting tuition refunds where classes have been canceled and contacting college counselors to ask how to get their money back. Parents are also threatening not to donate in the future. 

Eighth, on the transmania front, recent research has shown that people who undergo gender reassignment surgery are far more prone to commit suicide. 

Considering that unscrupulous counselors have been telling parents that if they refuse to allow their children to transition, said children will kill themselves, the new information will hopefully contribute to a new wave of honesty.

Yes, I know, but we can always hope.

The following tweet is from Ian Miles Cheong:

STUDY: Gender-affirming surgery found to be highly associated with significantly elevated depression rates, leading to an increase in su*cidal ideation and attempts, showing a 12.12-fold higher rate than those who did not proceed with the surgery.

Ninth, the latest in political prognostication comes to us from Andrew Sullivan. The British conservative now believes that the election is Trump’s to lose. Biden, he suggests, is toast.

The Daily Mail reports:

Andrew Sullivan says Biden's lackluster approach to campus chaos is enough to see him booted from the White House.

This combined with 'chaotic' border policies and Biden's stance on transgender rights will be enough to snuff out any chances of re-election, according to Sullivan, a gay conservative journalist.

'Biden is losing this election, deservedly,' he wrote on his Substack. 'And if he cannot pull off an almighty pivot — and I suspect at this point, he really can't — this election really is Trump's to lose.' 

Outlining his reasoning, he pointed to the student protests over the Vietnam war in 1968 which are largely blamed for costing the Democrats in the election of Richard Nixon.

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1 comment:

Mind your own business said...

I recollect back in 1974-1975, Iran was sending dozens of students to MIT to study nuclear engineering. It was the Shaw's doing back then. It was an influx of Iranian money to the department and the school. Apparently nothing changed.