The madman in Moscow is merely an example

See update for March 2, 2022, at end of post.

Tom Nichols advocates that the U.S. should do nothing[1] in response to Vladimir Putin putting his nuclear forces on high alert.[2] Nichols is right, and not just for the reasons he states. Read more

  1. [1]Tom Nichols, “How Should the U.S. Respond to Putin’s Nuclear Provocation?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022,
  2. [2]Yuras Karmanau, “Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert, escalating tensions,” Associated Press, February 27, 2022,

The vulnerability of Uber and Lyft driving

I recently wrote that

There are a number of reasons I find driving for Uber and Lyft intolerable. First, these are companies that show no sign of ever being profitable which means that they will surely someday, probably sooner rather than later, fold, leaving me entirely unemployed. Second, the low pay[1] means I have no life beyond driving for Uber and Lyft; I am compelled to work every day. Third, the job takes a toll—something approaching 70,000 miles per year—on my vehicle, even without the risk of collisions, even without the potholes, and I do worry that I will end up with a vehicle that becomes unusable while I’m still making payments on it. This is not, in any sane reckoning, a sustainable situation. But fourth, having earned that Ph.D., I am clearly capable of something better. That I’m stuck driving for Uber and Lyft crushes my soul.[2]

I didn’t mention crime. Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “This is not a business plan,” Not Housebroken, January 8, 2022,
  2. [2]David Benfell, “I don’t need excuses. I don’t need platitudes. I need a real job,” Not Housebroken, January 30, 2022,

Child rearing, under the pandemic’s glare

Dave Id has been ranting on Twitter since San Francisco voters recalled three school board members:[1] Read more

  1. [1]Joshua Bote, “Mayor London Breed comes out in support of San Francisco school board recall,” SFGate, November 10, 2021,; San Francisco Chronicle, “Endorsement: Competence matters, even for progressives. Vote yes to recall López, Collins and Moliga,” January 24, 2022,; Jill Tucker and Annie Vainshtein, “S.F. school board recall: Alison Collins, Gabriela López and Faauuga Moliga ousted,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2022,

Racing to one million dead from COVID-19 in the U.S.

See updates through February 19, 2022, at end of post.

We seem collectively have decided that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is no big deal. But people keep dying. The toll in the U.S. now exceeds 900,000.[1]

We got the medical science right. We failed on the social science. We failed on how to help people get vaccinated, to combat disinformation, to not politicize this.[2]

Read more

  1. [1]Associated Press, “‘It is an astronomically high number’: US Covid death toll surpasses 900,000,” Guardian, February 4, 2022,
  2. [2]Ashish K. Jha, quoted in Associated Press, “‘It is an astronomically high number’: US Covid death toll surpasses 900,000,” Guardian, February 4, 2022,

Shooting rich people into space is more interesting

This post reminds me of an Uber passenger who, on reading the sign I have hanging for my passengers, wanted to assert the value of “innovation.” The final bullet point on my sign says, Read more

  1. [1]Edward Ongweso, Jr., “It’s always the same song from Silicon Valley, . . . Twitter, February 4, 2022,

The uproar over Whoopi Goldberg’s remarks on race misses crucial nuance

I “see” Whoopi Goldberg’s point, but while I can’t say she’s right, I also can’t say she’s wrong:

I feel, being Black, when we talk about race, it’s a very different thing to me. As a Black person I think of something that I can see.[1]

There are a couple of issues with Goldberg’s claim. The first and most obvious is that race has not always been reducible to skin color. Irish migrants were regarded as an “inferior” race, subject to relentless stereotyping and disdain, when they arrived in the U.S. in the early 19th century. Read more

  1. [1]Whoopi Goldberg, quoted in Shira Hanau, “Whoopi Goldberg apologizes for Holocaust race comment — but doubles down in saying Jews are not a race,&rdquo Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 1, 2022,

Ilya Shapiro is wrong and yes, Joe Biden should nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court

See update for December 29, 2022, at end of post.

The lede in the Reuters story is this:

Georgetown University Law Center has placed incoming faculty member Ilya Shapiro on administrative leave while it investigates Twitter messages he posted last week suggesting President Biden’s pledge to choose a Black woman for the U.S. Supreme Court would ensure a “lesser” nominee.[1]

Ilya Shapiro has apparently deleted the offending—he says “inartful”—tweets but denies violating university policy.[2] I will leave the semantics of whether or not those tweets indeed violated policy to others. Shapiro is profoundly wrong for other reasons. Read more

  1. [1]Karen Sloan, “Georgetown Law puts new hire on leave after ‘lesser’ Black woman comment,” Reuters, January 31, 2022,
  2. [2]Karen Sloan, “Georgetown Law puts new hire on leave after ‘lesser’ Black woman comment,” Reuters, January 31, 2022,