Woke Restaurant Serves Discomfort Food

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.

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):

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What is incel? Examining the ‘rebellion’ praised by Toronto van attack suspect

In a Facebook post that has been taken down, Toronto van attack suspect Alek Minassian made reference to and praised the “incel rebellion.” The post read: “The incel rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” Incel is a combination of the words “involuntary” and “celibate,” a bitter nod to the fact that men who join this movement feel they are socially, but especially sexually, rejected by women.

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UK contractor to pay $20 million to settle lawsuit claiming it overcharged US Navy

U.K. contractor Inchcape Shipping Services Holdings Limited has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the company intentionally over-billed the U.S. Navy under contracts for ship husbanding services.

The marine services contractor violated the False Claims Act, the U.S. Department of Justice announced this week.

Inchcape provided ships with food and other survival items, waste removal, telephone services, ship-to-shore transportation, force protection services and local transportation to U.S. Navy ships.

The Navy ships were located at ports in southwest Asia, Africa, Panama, North America, South America and Mexico.

The lawsuit alleged that from 2005 to 2014, Inchcape submitted intentionally inflated invoices for goods and services, and in some instances even double billed.

“Federal contractors may only charge the government for costs allowed by their federal contracts. The Department of Justice will take action against contractors that knowingly submit inflated claims to the armed forces — or any other agency of the United States — as those inflated claims wrongfully divert taxpayer dollars,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler said.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie Liu said: “We trust contractors supporting our warfighters to act with the utmost integrity and expect them to comply with their obligations to bill the government as called for by their contracts. This settlement reflects our Office’s strong commitment to holding accountable those who violate these fundamental principles, no matter where they may be located.”

“This settlement demonstrates that the Department of the Navy will continue to hold contractors accountable for the agreements they make to supply our fleet. The Department expects strict adherence to higher standards within the Department and expects the same from its contractors,” Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said.

Jeremy Gauthier, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s (NCIS) D.C. field office, said: “Fraud is an abuse of the system that siphons resources away from the American warfighter. NCIS will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold responsible those who would put personal gain above corporate integrity.”

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Amnesty Accuses Nigerian Army of Raping Women and Girls Rescued from Boko Haram

Thousands of brave women and girls who survived Boko Haram’s brutal rule while kept captive by the militant Islamist group have been raped by Nigerian soldiers who claim to be rescuing them, Amnesty International has revealed.

The human rights organisation has today urged Nigeria to act on claims that soldiers and members of the civilian militia have raped women and girls in remote camps for people displaced by Boko Haram.

Amnesty said it had gathered multiple testimonies about alleged abuse by the security forces, including claims that soldiers coerced vulnerable survivors into having sex in exchange for food.

Its report, ‘They betrayed us’, is the result of a two-year investigation, based on interviews with more than 250 people affected by the situation in north-east Nigeria.

The findings explain what happened to the hundreds of thousands of people, particularly women, who fled or were forced from areas controlled by Boko Haram. The Nigerian military ordered those it was ‘freeing’ to satellite camps, where various abuses, and even deaths, are alleged to have occurred.

The Nigerian military and Civilian Joint Task Force, a militia working alongside it, have carried out systematic patterns of violence and abuse, according to the report.

Women told Amnesty how they have been raped in exchange for food, and thousands of people, including children, have starved to death in the camps since 2015, it adds.

Security officials are alleged to have beaten women, and labelled them ‘Boko Haram wives’ when they complained about their treatment.

Women and girls, many of whom have been separated from their families, are vulnerable to sexual abuse and say rape is widespread both in and outside the camps, according to aid agencies.

Some non-profit organisations run family planning clinics, providing contraception, and say there are high numbers of sexually transmitted infections, abortions and unwanted pregnancies.

‘Scores’ of women told Amnesty that soldiers and civilian militia members coerced them into becoming ‘girlfriends’, which meant them being available for sex.

Sexual exploitation was at an ‘alarming level, as women remain desperate to access sufficient food and livelihood opportunities’, the human rights watchdog added.

Amnesty’s Nigeria director, Osai Ojigho, said: ‘Sex in these highly coercive circumstances is always rape, even when physical force is not used, and Nigerian soldiers and (militia) members have been getting away with it.’

He said it was time for President Muhammadu Buhari ‘to demonstrate his frequently-expressed commitment to protect the human rights of displaced people in northeast Nigeria.

‘The only way to end these horrific violations is by ending the climate of impunity in the region and ensuring that no-one can get away with rape or murder,’ he added.

But the government said the organisation was repeating false accusations.

‘This … is just a wild goose chase report, in essence … the report seemed like the one in 2015, and the one in 2016, and the one after that year, the same things being recycled again and again,’ presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said.

In November 2016, police vowed to look into allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in the camps but several months later, the military rejected the allegations.

However, ‘it is not always clear if these investigations were carried out and no reports have been made public,’ the London-based human rights group said in a statement.

Nearly 1.8 million people have been displaced within Nigeria by the Boko Haram insurgency, which has killed at least 20,000 since 2009, according to the latest available figures to April 30.

When including statistics from neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, the number of people forced to flee their homes by the violence reaches nearly 2.25 million, says the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Military gains have wrested back control of areas previously held by the Islamist militants, laying bare the extent of the damage to farming and fishing on which most locals depend.

By the end of March, 3.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, the UN said. Malnutrition cases with medical complications are expected to rise in the upcoming rainy season.

The post Amnesty Accuses Nigerian Army of Raping Women and Girls Rescued from Boko Haram appeared first on American Renaissance.

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Recipe: King Satay with Spicy Peanut-Ginger Sauce

Living in Austin, it’s sometimes easy to forget there’s a whole other world of food besides barbecue and smoked meats. But, the capital city is also home to some delicious vegan fare , y’all! One Austin local, Chad Sarno , is hoping to make it easier for vegans to enjoy delectable foods and carnivores to easily step their toes into the amazing world of animal-free grub with The Wicked Healthy Cookbook: Free.

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Educational ‘innovation’ is only as good as the execution – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

A few weeks back, I offered a modest suggestion for board members and civic leaders undergoing the process of selecting a new schools chief: Instead of seeking an “innovator” or a “change agent,” focus on how candidates plan to pursue their big ideas. Well, Chad Vignola, executive director of the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC), recently reached out with what I thought was an informative take on the relationship between innovation and execution, drawing on his experience in New York City and leading LDC. I found Chad’s take usefully concrete, and thought it worth sharing:


I thought your recent article on the problem with seeking an “innovative” schools chief was good advice for selecting school district leaders. More important, it spotlighted the pernicious problem of districts obsessing over educational ideas with insufficient focus on successful execution.

That’s my experience in a nutshell. I worked closely for three successive capable New York City chancellors (Crew, Levy, and Klein), each with their own uniquely inspiring leadership skills and transformative ideas. None of these superintendents lacked for innovative initiatives, and I worked hard to execute them. But in an educational culture where the results of an initiative often appear far beyond the horizon, too little attention was paid to execution—particularly when bureaucracies could just “wait out” initiatives or happily move on to the next bright and shiny catchphrase.

Successive chancellors sought to implement new teacher-effectiveness mechanisms to address challenges with teacher talent. Such an initiative should have featured regular formative feedback to teachers and day-to-day development of skills, just like with employees in any industry. Instead, the focus became solely on summative end-of-year evaluation and tenure decisions, because “firing incompetent teachers”—though just a tiny fraction of teachers—is politically way sexier than the hard work of day-to-day developing effective teacher skill.

Likewise, the district implemented a new accountability system with summative school grades, but without a sufficient evidentiary basis for many of the metrics. Instead of testing a system that could have used formative early warning data to inspire educators to increase levels of performance, it focused on after-the-fact punitive grades that were too complex to change an educator’s practice.

In contrast, New York City implemented a small schools reform with remarkable success, enlisting all relevant stakeholders (unions, community groups, and parents). The reform led to statistically significant increases in outcomes for tens of thousands of students in hundreds of schools—unlike every other district in the country that implemented small schools. It was daily attention to implementation and testing, regular collection of formative evidence of success, and repeated model iteration—not rigid fidelity—that set New York apart on the small schools. No one would argue that teacher feedback or formative assessment regimens don’t have manifest promise and research validity. Rather, what we had was a failure to implement, and I would argue that education is 90 percent about the implementation, with attention to results: of both success and failure.

In that regard, you identify one powerful mechanism to vastly better this implementation component: Tony Bryk’s improvement research. Dr. Bryk seeks to help us be better at the doing of education—rather than merely being another among the legions of education idea pontificators. This is great conceptual and practical work, but I’d offer one caution from someone in the trenches: Tony’s powerful ideas can suffer the same challenges you identify in educational initiatives: poor execution.

Just like bright and shiny education reform ideas, there can be a bright and shiny process ideas. Improvement processes are challenging, detailed work which depend on effective execution, not talismanic invocation of jargon.

For example, LDC was spun off from the Gates Foundation’s primary Common Core strategy to implement college-ready standards across the country. We received a U.S. Department of Education i3 Validation grant due to the rigorous research underpinning our educator learning model. We knew early on that to address quality and scale challenges, we would have to implement a standardized, flipped, hybrid teacher-learning model—a Khan Academy for adults to learn how to implement rigorous standards-driven instruction in every classroom for students of all needs. We thus launched our online learning platform developed through two-week, user-centered design and agile-development cycles that should have made Dr. Bryk proud.

But we quickly learned in our first year of implementation is that, because we had used “rockstar” teachers to help us design our platform, it worked great for them—but was often too challenging for many other teachers. Worse, most professional development coaches that would use our platform and resources were comfortable with their usual one-off workshop trainings—not a year-long, job-embedded experience, which often showed that the coaches themselves were not skilled enough to be asked to train our teachers.

In short, merely invoking the idea of “user-centered design” to launch “flipped PD for teachers” was not enough if it failed in execution to meet its goal: building the skill of all teachers to support all students. Dr. Bryk’s ideas will only be transformational if they are realized in the nitty gritty hard work of implementation, evidence collection, and learning from both failure and success.

You know, what I love about this take is that it makes clear that execution is the key to meaningful implementation. An undue focus on how things will actually work is often treated with eye rolls by those who see themselves as visionaries. But what Chad accurately notes is that this focus on the boring stuff is what determines whether “innovative,” “ambitious” ideas deliver. That’s as true in new ventures as it is in bureaucratic districts. And “improvement science” can help with all this, but it’s not shortcut. As with everything else, what matters is how it’s used. That’s a bit of wisdom we’d all do well to remember.

This post originally appeared on Rick Hess Straight Up.

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