Sunday, January 15, 2023

Last Call For Welcome To Gunmerica, Con't

Seems the gun crazies in Texas sure don't like it when a small business owner exercises their rights and excludes hateful bigots who got away with a double murder.
A Conroe brewery says it’s been inundated with harassment and some threats after announcing Friday that it would no longer allow a “rally against censorship” featuring Kyle Rittenhouse to be held there later this month.

“It’s been kind of a shitstorm,” Southern Star Brewery CEO Dave Fougeron said in a Saturday morning interview. “But now I’m more certain than ever that I made the right decision.”

Fougeron also said that he was not aware until a few days ago that the event’s “special guest” was Rittenhouse. And he disputed claims – including those from Rittenhouse and others – that the cancellation came after pressure from a “woke mob” or distributors such as H-E-B.

Rather, he said, it was primarily concerns from local patrons that led to the decision. Fougeron described himself as apolitical, and said his brewery, which produces well-known local craft beers such as Bombshell Blonde, strives to be a place that’s welcoming to all.

“Our place is super inclusive,” he said. “We are super pro-veteran, super pro-law enforcement. We’re trying to be good people in the community. We’re friends with our firefighters, with our police department…. We have a lot of gay patrons who come in because it’s a place of inclusivity. It’s crazy that we’re getting threats from people.”

On Friday evening, Rittenhouse – who was famously acquitted of fatally shooting two people in Kenosha, Wis. at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020 – accused the brewery of censoring him.

“It’s really disappointing to see that places continue to censor me and not allow my voice and many other voices to be heard because they bend to the woke crowd,” Rittenhouse posted to his nearly one million followers on Twitter. Other high-profile right-wing accounts similarly accused the brewery of censorship after it announced that it was canceling the event because it “doesn’t reflect our own values.”
It's not enough for the inchoate CHUDs to let their voices be heard, you have to be willing to celebrate the butchery of liberals or else you face harassment, death threats, and more.
You're either with them or you their next target, but please tell me again how this is a "free speech issue".

School Daze, Con't

Stephanie Saul at the NY Times argues that colleges and universities admissions departments need to prepare now for the end of affirmative action by the Roberts Court later this summer.

In cases against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, the Supreme Court is widely expected to overturn or roll back affirmative action in college admissions. Many education experts say that such a decision could not only lead to changes in who is admitted, but also jeopardize long-established strategies that colleges have used to build diverse classes, including programs that are intended to reach specific racial and ethnic groups for scholarships, honors programs and recruitment.

Those rollbacks could then help spur colleges to end other admissions practices that critics say have historically benefited the well-heeled. Some schools have already ended their standardized test requirements and preferences for children of alumni. There is also pressure to end early decision, which admits applicants before the general deadline.

College officials warn that there is no way of knowing how sweeping the court decision will be. But the ruling, expected by June, is likely to have a broad impact on a range of schools, according to Vern Granger, the director of admissions at the University of Connecticut.

“Most people are thinking about the admissions process at selective institutions,” he said, “but I would say that this decision is going to be far-ranging and it’s going to be expansive.”

The cases against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, first filed in 2014 by Students for Fair Admissions, an anti-affirmative action group, argued that the universities discriminated against white and Asian applicants by giving preferences to Black, Hispanic and Native American students. The universities said they use race-conscious admissions because diversity is critical for learning, a claim that drew skepticism from the court’s conservative supermajority during the October hearing.

Recent polls suggest that most people believe colleges should not consider race or ethnicity in admissions decisions.

If the court rules as expected, the class admitted for the fall of 2024 will look quite different, education officials said.

“We will see a decline in students of color attending college before we see an increase again,” said Angel B. Pérez, the chief executive of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. “We will be missing an entire generation.”

Mr. Granger, who also serves as president of the association for college admission counseling, expects changes even at the community college level. Citing drops in applications following statewide bans on affirmative action in Michigan and California, he said that some students from underrepresented groups may simply not apply.

The institutions most likely to be dramatically affected are the 200 colleges and universities regarded as “selective” — meaning they admit 50 percent or fewer of their applicants. And for smaller, highly selective liberal arts colleges, like Wesleyan, the impact on college culture could be particularly noticeable, as professors on these tightly knit campuses say their small classes thrive on interactions by a diverse group of students.

A group of 33 of these schools submitted a brief in August to the Supreme Court. Some of them had graduated Black students even before the Civil War.

“The probability of Black applicants receiving offers of admission would drop to half that of white students, and the percentage of Black students matriculating would drop from roughly 7.1 percent of the student body to 2.1 percent,” the brief said, predicting a return to “1960s levels.”


Which is the point. Black and Hispanic Gen Z kids, already having their educations the most affected by Covid measures, will have a far tougher time in college in the future. It's going to unwind sixty years of progress for us, because white conservatives don't want educated Black and Hispanic kids, they want subservient ones. 

If you think the wealth gap between Black and white families in America is bad now, give it ten years, when the admissions rates for Black students are down to the low single digits in most colleges, and HBCUs will rapidly be forced out of business by GOP education cuts. Give in ten years to see that college admissions for Black students will be in the low single digits again, and graduation rates will be statistical blips.

"Capitalism needs that underclass" is America's legacy for the last four centuries.

Sunday Long Read: Running, Out Of Time

Our Sunday Long Read this week is a story of redemption, in a fashion. Nearly 25 years after the scandal, Insider's Ryan Lenora Brown takes a look at South Africa's Motsoeneng brothers, Sergio and Arnold, and how their plans to cheat at the country's premier ultra-marathon rocked the nation on the same day Mandela stepped down as the country's leader.
Some of you will know this story already. Some of you will think you do. In South Africa, it's lodged in the collective memory, sticky and stubborn. The race. The twins. The watches. The subterfuge. In the world of global running, meanwhile, it still makes lists of the greatest marathon cheats. Even now. Even 23 years later.

But before the scandal and the shame, the comeback and the infamy, was the event itself. And to understand how things ended up where they did, there's nowhere else to start but right there.

It's Wednesday, the 16th of June, 1999. South Africa, five years clean of apartheid rule, is the world's darling. And today happens to be the day that Nelson Mandela will step down as the nation's first Black president. In a few hours, he'll hand over the reins to his deputy, Thabo Mbeki.

At 5:59 a.m., when this story starts, it's still pitch black outside. We're in Pietermaritzburg, a tidy colonial city an hour's drive inland from Durban. In front of the red brick city hall stand 12,794 runners. It's the starting line of the Comrades, a 89.9-kilometer (56-mile) race that cuts through the rolling hills that tumble out from here to the Indian Ocean. In addition to the runners gathered on the start line, and the tens of thousands who will flank the route from here to Durban, many South Africans are watching live on television.

South Africans became obsessed with this homegrown event, the largest and oldest ultramarathon in the world, when a global boycott targeting its racist apartheid government barred the country from big international sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup. In the lonely depths of South Africa's isolation, winners of this insanely long race were catapulted to fame and landed lucrative sponsorship deals. Even after apartheid was toppled and South Africa was invited back into the global fold, the Comrades retained its caché, and now it also had big-ticket prize money.

One of the runners at the start line this morning, not yet attracting any attention, wears the race number 13018 – Sergio Motsoeneng. At 21, he's one of the youngest runners here, competing in a field crowded with world champions, in a sport where people often peak in their 30s or 40s. He's come here from Phuthaditjhaba, an impoverished area near the Lesotho border. He's never run this far in his life.

First prize in the Comrades is 100,000 South African Rand ($16,400 at the time). This year, the big corporate running clubs are offering additional money to runners who could break the course records. Sergio's club is offering a R1 million ($164,000) bonus, the equivalent of 70 years of his father's salary. Sergio has nine siblings to help support, and no job. This race is going to be his ticket out.

From the loudspeakers, the theme song from the running cult film Chariots of Fire blasts into the crowd. Runners peel off the trash bags and ratty sweatshirts they've brought to keep warm while they wait. On a raised platform above the start line, Pietermaritzburg's mayor lifts a handgun. He fires. The race is on.

For years, the idea of winning the Comrades has vibrated through Sergio and his younger brother, Arnold, at a constant frequency. Beginning as teenagers, they won race after race, dominating the sport in Phuthaditjhaba, a small city in the bowl of the Maluti Mountains, a poor and rural corner of the country near South Africa's border with Lesotho. They were rewarded mostly in dinky plastic trophies and bragging rights, plus the occasional cash prize.

But the boys had bigger ambitions. When Sergio was about 15, and Arnold about 13, they started training informally with a white coach named Eugene Botha. Then in his late 20s, Eugene was short and jovial, with the twitchy excitability of a boxer. He'd been a pro runner in Johannesburg. Now, he ran a fire extinguisher business in the town of Bethlehem, 165 miles to the southeast. The tidy town center – once named the cleanest town in South Africa – was nearly all white. The township of matchbox houses and shacks crowded together on its perimeter was all Black.

Eugene ran his business from his living room and coached high school running on the side. Sergio and Arnold noticed that his runners were good. They wanted to know how he did it.

Eugene was charmed by the brothers' drive to show what they could do on a bigger stage. "A runner can always recognize another runner," Eugene tells me. "They were the best in Phuthaditjhaba. At all the races they entered, they won them by far." Sergio, he says, "had the style, the strength, the everything."

Eugene's business often brought him to Phuthaditjhaba, an hour drive from Bethlehem, and he began taking Sergio and Arnold on long runs through the mountains, or to a track for speedwork drills. It wasn't yet clear to him if Sergio and Arnold were just Phuthaditjhaba good or once-in-a-generation good. But they had pluck.

From the start, the boys were impatient. They wanted to run longer distances, the ones with the big prize money. Hold back, Eugene told them. It didn't make sense to punish their bodies like that, not when they had so much potential, not when they were just getting started.

Against their mentor's advice Sergio and Arnold decided the Comrades was the race to win. And not in ten years. Now.
 They didn't win, but they did get caught, and the story is worth reading for what happened then, and where they are now.
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