Every so often, one of the umpteen food blogs on the internet will run a “definitive” list of the best beers in America. Without fail, Surly Darkness makes that list.
Australian pacing mare Firebby A has quickly made a name for herself in North America and her connections have opted to take a shot at the best by supplementing to the upcoming Roses Are Red Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A 6-year-old, Firebby A arrived in North America a few months ago and has since proceeded to win four consecutive starts.
The DC reader who sends this says the Schadenfreude is delicious. He is correct. Washington City Paper reports on the hilariously failed effort of Busboys and Poets, a local restaurant, to be racially woke. Excerpts:
Sometimes you can have the best of intentions and still miss the mark completely. Such is the case with Busboys and Poets‘ “Race Card” initiative, which aims to foster discussions about race and privilege among its diners by handing out literal “Race Cards”—cards featuring larger questions about the state of race relations in America—to patrons as they enter.
A recent Facebook post featuring one of the “Race Cards”—which reads “Did you perceive me as racist because I’m a white male?”—has garnered more than 150 shares and even more comments, with people criticizing Busboys and Poets for taking a somewhat tone-deaf approach in trying to foster a conversation about race. Other “Race Cards” that Busboys and Poets employees are handing out read: “What is your experience with race in America?,” “Have you ever been in a place where you were the racial minority?,” and “How often do you discuss race with your friends or family?”
Akosua Johnson, who posted the picture that went viral, says that a bartender at Busboys and Poets handed them the card when they sat down at the bar. Johnson, who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, wrote on Facebook that the bartender, who was white, “had no idea how to actually engage with this poorly constructed, forced ‘conversation’ and so just walked away immediately after dropping the cards in the middle of my meal.”
Oh boy. This is getting good. I had to re-read the next part of the story to realize that the antecedent to the pronoun “them” is actually one person. A very woke person: Akosua Johnson, who was REALLY OFFENDED that Andy Shallal, owner of the restaurant had no reached out to the Professionally Woke Grifter-American Community for advice before playing the race card. He probably figured that by being intentionally progressive — left-wingery is written into the mission statement of the local restaurant chain — he was covered. Wrong!
You can imagine what happened next — but it’s fun to read the indignant statement from DC’s Black Lives Matter, in which its spokeswoman excommunicates Shallal and his restaurant, because he tried to do the racially correct (by BLM standards) thing in the wrong way. Akosua Johnson concludes, sadly: “The creators of this Busboys program erred in not choosing to engage more directly with racial justice activists and educators.”
Whole thing here. It usually makes sense to just shut up and cook. Who the heck wants to go eat or drink at a restaurant that serves discomfort food? Busboys and Poets, which describes itself as “a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted,” deserves this pain.
Meanwhile, Akosua Johnson would like you to compensate Akosua Johnson for Akosua Johnson’s
semi-hemi-demi-shakedown social justice accomplishment (or at least hire zir to enlighten the unenlightened):
Coleman Hughes, a black student at Columbia, goes there. His essay begins like this:
In the fall of 2016, I was hired to play in Rihanna’s back-up band at the MTV Video Music Awards. To my pleasant surprise, several of my friends had also gotten the call. We felt that this would be the gig of a lifetime: beautiful music, primetime TV, plus, if we were lucky, a chance to schmooze with celebrities backstage.
But as the date approached, I learned that one of my friends had been fired and replaced. The reason? He was a white Hispanic, and Rihanna’s artistic team had decided to go for an all-black aesthetic—aside from Rihanna’s steady guitarist, there would be no non-blacks on stage. Though I was disappointed on my friend’s behalf, I didn’t consider his firing as unjust at the time—and maybe it wasn’t. Is it unethical for an artist to curate the racial composition of a racially-themed performance? Perhaps; perhaps not. My personal bias leads me to favor artistic freedom, but as a society, we have yet to answer this question definitively.
One thing, however, is clear. If the races were reversed—if a black musician had been fired in order to achieve an all-white aesthetic—it would have made front page headlines. It would have been seen as an unambiguous moral infraction. The usual suspects would be outraged, calling for this event to be viewed in the context of the long history of slavery and Jim Crow in this country, and their reaction would widely be seen as justified. Public-shaming would be in order and heartfelt apologies would be made. MTV might even enact anti-bias trainings as a corrective.
Though the question seems naïve to some, it is in fact perfectly valid to ask why black people can get away with behavior that white people can’t. The progressive response to this question invariably contains some reference to history: blacks were taken from their homeland in chains, forced to work as chattel for 250 years, and then subjected to redlining, segregation, and lynchings for another century. In the face of such a brutal past, many would argue, it is simply ignorant to complain about what modern-day blacks can get away with.
Yet there we were—young black men born decades after anything that could rightly be called ‘oppression’ had ended—benefitting from a social license bequeathed to us by a history that we have only experienced through textbooks and folklore. And my white Hispanic friend (who could have had a tougher life than all of us, for all I know) paid the price. The underlying logic of using the past to justify racial double-standards in the present is rarely interrogated. What do slavery and Jim Crow have to do with modern-day blacks, who experienced neither? Do all black people have P.T.S.D from racism, as the Grammy and Emmy award-winning artist Donald Glover recently claimed? Is ancestral suffering actually transmitted to descendants? If so, how? What exactly are historical ‘ties’ made of?
Hughes goes on to lament the double standard the public applies to famous black writers. For example:
The celebrated journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates provides another example of the lower ethical standard to which black writers are held. In his #1 New York Times bestseller, Between the World and Me, Coates explained that the policemen and firemen who died on 9/11 “were not human to me,” but “menaces of nature.”1 This, it turned out, was because a friend of Coates had been killed by a black cop a few months earlier. In his recent essay collection, he doubled down on this pitiless sentiment: “When 9/11 happened, I wanted nothing to do with any kind of patriotism, with the broad national ceremony of mourning. I had no sympathy for the firefighters, and something bordering on hatred for the police officers who had died.”2 Meanwhile, New York Times columnist Bari Weiss—a young Jewish woman—was recently raked over the coals for tweeting, “Immigrants: They get the job done,” in praise of the Olympic ice-skater Mirai Nagasu, a second-generation Japanese-American. Accused of ‘othering’ an American citizen, Weiss came under so much fire that The Atlantic ran twoseparate pieces defending her. That The Atlantic saw it necessary to vigorously defend Weiss, but hasn’t had to lift a finger to defend Coates, whom they employ, evidences the racial double-standard at play. From a white writer, an innocuous tweet provokes histrionic invective. From a black writer, repeated expressions of unapologetic contempt for public servants who died trying to save the lives of others on September 11 are met with fawningpraise from leftwing periodicals, plus a National Book Award and a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant.
Hughes says this double standard is common in society:
But we make an exception for blacks. Indeed, what George Orwell wrote in 1945seems more apt today: “Almost any English intellectual would be scandalised by the claim that the white races are superior to the coloured, whereas the opposite claim would seem to him unexceptionable even if he disagreed with it.” Only a black intellectual, for instance, could write an op-ed arguing that black children should not befriend white children because “[h]istory has provided little reason for people of color to trust white people,” and get it published in the New York Times in 2017. An identical piece with the races reversed would rightly be relegated to fringe white supremacist forums. In defense of such racist drivel, it won’t suffice to repeat the platitude that ‘black people can’t be racist,’ as if redefining a word changes the ethical status of the thing that the word signifies. Progressives ought not dodge the question: Why are blacks the only ethnic group routinely and openly encouraged to nurse stale grievances back to life?
Read the whole thing. It’s very, very brave. Hughes is a black undergraduate at an Ivy League university, yet he has no been afraid to say what has been unsayable. That man has guts.
By the way, his essay is not merely an exercise in whataboutism. He addresses real philosophical and moral concerns in it. He focuses on blacks, but as a general matter, if you read the mainstream press, you’ll find there’s a tendency to treat gays and other minority groups favored by liberals with kid gloves — as if they were symbols, not real people, with the same virtues and vices that everybody else has. For example, in a previous job, I observed that some liberals in the newsroom viewed local Muslims through the lens of the culture war between liberals and conservatives, and did not want to hold them to the same standard with regard to extremist rhetoric, apparently because doing so might encourage conservatives in their own biases.
Another personal example: last year, I wrote several posts about Tommy Curry, a radical black nationalist who teaches philosophy at Texas A&M (see here and here). In his written work and spoken advocacy, Curry advocates what can only be described as anti-white hatred. Don’t take my word for it; go read the blogs I wrote, which quote generously from, and link to, Curry’s own work. A white man who spoke the same way about any racial minority would never have been hired by a university — A&M hired him knowing exactly what they were getting, because he had published — and would never be retained by one after his racism became known. I linked in one of the blogs to a podcast (subtitled, “White People Are The Problem”) on which Curry was a regular guest; on that particular episode, this philosophy professor argued that white people cannot be reasonable, because they are white.
Imagine being a white student in that man’s class.
But there is a different standard for bigots from the left. The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote a long piece about the fallout from my blogs, and positioned it as Curry having suffered because he wanted to “force a conversation about race and violence” — a conversation that people didn’t want to hear. The writer — no doubt reflecting the biases of his own professional class — could not seem to grasp why people would be really offended by the unapologetic racism of Tommy Curry’s writing and speaking. This is precisely the double standard that Coleman Hughes decries. It is lucrative for radicals like Curry, Coates, and others, but a just society should hold us all to the same standard of discourse and morality. This is one aspect of the Enlightenment that I am eager to defend. It’s not only morally right, but practically, observing it it is the only way we will be able to keep the peace in a pluralistic country.
I found Hughes’s essay via Prufrock, a free daily digest that comes to you in e-mail, to which you can and should subscribe by clicking here.
America is a generous country. Taxpayers can take pride in the fact that, under the terms of the 2014 Farm Bill, they will send more than $2 billion worth of food to needy countries this year. Thanks to these aid programs, more than 50 million people in 51 countries will be fed by U.S. foreign aid. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that these programs are rife with cronyism that make them more expensive and less effective than they should be.
Just how much cronyism is there? Enough that another 8 to 10 million people could be fed at no added cost just by removing two unnecessary regulations.
What do these regulations do? The first requires that nearly all U.S. food aid be sourced from American farmers. The logic is that American food aid can combine generosity with national self-interest, stabilizing U.S. agricultural markets while providing aid.
But that self-interest has a cost, and a significant one. Namely, there is often more than enough food nearby that could be purchased and transported at a far lower cost and with far less waste than by shipping American food across the ocean. Even Africa, the continent most commonly associated with hunger crises, produces more than enough food to feed itself — as does the world as a whole, for that matter. In light of this fact, requiring that food aid be sourced in the United States no longer makes sense.
It’s a bizarre case where the costs of cronyism so outweigh the benefits that even one of the primary beneficiaries, the American Farm Bureau Federation, supports reform. The problem is that this regulation is a relic of a different era, one in which food aid was a meaningful portion of American agricultural exports and in which local food production in hunger-stricken areas was rarely sufficient to meet local demand. That is no longer the case — food aid today accounts for less than 1 percent of agricultural exports and less than 0.1 percent of food production in the country. The times have changed, but our rules have not.
The other regulation mandates that at least half of all U.S. food aid be carried on U.S.-flag vessels, known as the Cargo Preference for Food Aid (CPFA). The Government Accountability Office (GAO) studied the effects of the CPFA, and found that the costs were significant. Overall, the GAO estimated that the CFPA increased costs of shipping by 23 percent between 2011 and 2014, making up over $107 million of the total $456 million cost.
This time, the original intent behind the rule was based on national security concerns rather than economic ones. Lawmakers intended to use the food aid program to subsidize a merchant marine that could be called upon in times of war. Yet again, the organization that the regulation is intended to benefit, the Department of Defense, supports reform. The vast majority of U.S. vessels carrying food aid do not meet minimum standards for reform, and the DoD has stated that elimination of the regulation would not impact America’s maritime readiness in the case of war.
It is an unfortunate fact that as much as 60 percent of the food aid budget is spent on items that have nothing to do with food — such as transportation costs for the American food that we’re sending halfway around the world on more expensive American ships. And it’s why simple reform, such as the bipartisan Food for Peace Reform Act of 2018, would free up nearly $300 million simply by reducing the requirement for U.S.-sourced food to 25 percent.
It’s rare that cronyism is so egregious and outdated that its beneficiaries support reform. When they do, lawmakers should take the hint, and support reform as well.
“Those who will benefit most from a Forever State of War are currently pounding the Senate’s marble halls, perhaps even stalking members of the Committee as lobbyists from the MIC, AIPAC and other enthusiasts for war, will do whatever it takes to bring adoption of the AUMF to a favorable committee vote.” As the Forever AUMF 2018 continues to await action by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one can only imagine the extent of the behind-the-scene efforts underway to sway those few wavering Senators who may be reluctant to go down in American history as voting to eliminate Congress’ sole, inviolate Constitutional authority ‘to declare war’.
“I don’t think that another American general could have succeeded,” says Jason Wiese. General Andrew Jackson forces martial law on the terrified citizens of New Orleans. “The advance of the British through the bayous. It’s an incredible feat of …
The threat faced by North America from an electromagnetic pulse attack isn’t going away anytime soon, according to unclassified reports from the United States only just cleared for public release. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) creates a waveform that …
James Buchanan, the only American president to hail from Pennsylvania, died on June 1, 1868. This Friday will mark the 150th anniversary of his death. “Buchanan essentially died of old age at the age of 77,” said Stephanie Townrow, museum educator with …
Police officers are charged with keeping Americans safe and sound. Our communities safety is their number one priority, no matter what else is going on. But too often police officers end up in situations far out of their control and they lose the fundamental sense of duty that is so important. Mesa, Arizona officer Kent Green hasn’t forgotten that sense of duty, not one bit.
He recently spotted a tired, thinning man searching through the trash – presumably looking for something to eat. Kent knew he needed to help this man at a time when so many others would have kept walking.
“We had some deaths from people either falling asleep or camping out in a dumpster, or behind, and then a garbage vehicle comes out and it can end really badly,” he told Runner’s World.
Green, is a runner himself and he noticed the man’s raggedy and hole-filled sneakers. They weren’t in good shape at all and Green had a few pairs lying around his car that he knew he didn’t need.
He grabbed a few pairs, got out of his car and headed over to hand the man some sneakers to warm up his feet. He was doing a kind deed for a resident of the neighborhood without expecting anything in return.
But he didn’t know that Jenny Crider, a local resident was filming his entire good deed on camera! Police officers and cameras have had a bad relationship at times, but this time he couldn’t have been happier.
Good deeds often inspire others to do the same, and Crider managed to share Officer Green’s amazing generosity first-hand. She then shared it online where it went viral and caught the attention of many media outlets.
“This man comes by our complex a few times a week collecting cans to earn money from recycling them. When I went to grab our mail, a police officer drove up and got out to talk to him. I honestly thought he was going to ask him to leave and stop going through the trash,” she wrote in a post.
“When I came back home from getting the mail, the officer had brought out a nice, new pair of shoes to give to the man. It’s the simple, Christlike acts like this that give me hope in this world. Thank you Mesa Police for having such wonderful officers patrol the area!”
Green had no idea anyone saw him until the next day. His friends and family started calling him off the hook and he was totally blown away by all of the attention.
“I had no idea about that until I started getting text messages and messages from dispatch in the days after,” he said in an interview with AZ Family. “We don’t do this, for gratification. We’re not looking for the recognition… We’re looking to do the right thing – the human thing.”
Green also said that he isn’t the only generous officer in the Mesa department. Other officers also donate items like clothing, hygienic products and food for those who need help. Do you feel that the police officers in your community would have your back in a time of need?