April 29, 2023

What better way to celebrate the 60th birthday of the iconic “Cap’n Crunch” than with a big heaping bowl of something that is not Cap’n Crunch?

Birthday Crunch 1

[Readers Note: You'll find me mostly at Not The Bee, but also here on rare occasion and also my Substack.]

When I first came across this in the grocery aisle, I thought, great, an excuse to eat Cap'n Crunch! "Calm down honey," I moronsplained,  "It's for work!" (Let me know if that works any better for you than it did for me.)

When I got closer and noticed all the colored spheres, I was a little disappointed in that I'm not a fan of Crunch Berries and never have been, as I believe them to be interlopers in an otherwise harmonious blend of sugar, corn, and poor nutritional choices. Would you put a hat on the Mona Lisa? Would you put a pair of shorts on David? Would you peel that banana duct taped to a wall?

Okay, strike that last one, but you get the idea.

But it was worse than I thought.

There wasn't any Cap'n Crunch in this birthday box of Cap'n Crunch.

Birthday Crunch 2

Yes, I know there is a so-called version of Cap'n Crunch that consists of all Crunch Berries, but they are called "Oops" for a reason.

Birthday Crunch 3

They are literally branded as a mistake.

This latest iteration of the Cap'n Crunch line was done on purpose, as blatant an insult as would be throwing a dinner commemorating the 75th anniversary of In-N-Out by serving Five Guys, or marking the end of Tom Brady's football career by putting together a Peyton Manning highlight reel.

Which I would not be 100% against.

Look, Cap'n Crunch is about more than just a naval commander of indeterminate national loyalties and sugar crashes by 10 AM. No, the Cap'n is an iconic representation of America. Sweet, yes, but capable of unspeakable acts of violence. Little sugar-coated cheese graters designed to lacerate the roof of your mouth like no hot pepperoni pizza or over-toasted grilled cheese sandwich ever could, and then settle deep into your molars the better to ensure your dentist can afford to send his kids to private school.

Birthday Crunch 4

And worth every painful spoonful.

So what about Birthday Crunch?

They look festive enough on the box, apparently trying to evoke party balloons or something.

Birthday Crunch 5

I'm getting less "party balloons," and more "aquarium gravel."

Birthday Crunch 6

As for nutrition, this is of course, a "sugary" cereal, although with slightly less sugar than the original.

Birthday Crunch 7

Yes, even 14 grams is a lot for a 150-calorie bowl, but to put that in perspective, consider that a 12 oz. can of Coca-Cola has a similar 140 calories but nearly three times the sugar.

That hardly makes Cap'n Crunch a health food, but an occasional bowl now and then is probably the least of your health worries, mine being skin cancer, Alzheimers, and clowns, although that last one is less a health worry and more just basic common sense.

It does have the standard complement of artificial this and thats, but that is also to be expected and nothing out of the ordinary for the genre.

Birthday Crunch 8

How about taste, the only reason anyone would get these?

They market these as "birthday cake flavor."

Birthday Crunch 9

Birthday cake flavor has become very popular, increasingly showing up in recent years in all manner of places where it doesn't belong, from popcorn to vodka, but what, exactly, is birthday cake flavor and how do they instill it in foods that are not birthday cake?

That is a closely guarded secret among "flavorists" (which apparently is a thing) and often regarded as proprietary among manufacturers, however here is a typical example from food scientist Susie Bautista via Salon.

Some creamy notes I use are delta Decalactone (FEMA 2361), delta Dodecalactone (FEMA 2401), Sulfurol (FEMA 3204) and Dimethyl Sulfide (FEMA 2746). Ethyl butyrate (FEMA 2427) will enhance the creamy character of the birthday cake flavor in addition to providing a berry top note.

An extra slice of Ethyl butyrate for me, please!

Incidentally, this is what a flavorist does:

A flavorist, also known as flavor chemist, is someone who uses chemistry to engineer artificial and natural flavors. The tools and materials used by flavorists are almost the same as that used by perfumers...

The bottom line is, birthday cake flavor is a concoction intended to mimic vanilla with some additional subtle notes like butter, and therein lies the problem. As noted in the Salon piece, birthday cake flavor can be off-putting given the chemical acrobatics flavorists have to go through to create it, and vanilla is such a nuanced flavor in and of itself it is easily overwhelmed by everything else around it.

Cap'n Crunch 60th Birthday cereal may just be the worst of the bunch.

Pour a bowl, or just stick your nose in the box, and you get a big whiff of what smells like a birthday party being held in your 9th-grade chemistry class. Pour milk on it, and an odd thing happens.

Birthday Crunch 10

The birthday cake-ish flavor vanishes replaced by what I can only describe as generic cereal aroma.

The taste is the same, like a store-brand knock-off of a big-brand cereal, with sugar being the predominant flavor.

I genuinely dislike these, which I can't say of nearly any of the other ill-advised cereals I've tried. I enjoyed the St. Patrick's Day Lucky Charms precisely because they still tasted like Lucky Charms, an iconic breakfast cereal in its own right, and was even okay with the not-particularly-good Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cereal.

But these…

I mean, they aren't as bad as Kashi Go Keto-Friendly cereal I tried a while back, the boxes of which still remain untouched since my review. (I really need to toss those, although it's not as if they're going to attract rodents. Or cockroaches. Or really any living thing.)

I would be remiss if I did not note that there have been literally dozens of variations of Cap'n Crunch over the years many of which also had no actual Cap'n Crunch in them. This is just the latest one and an ongoing example of how utterly bereft of truly new ideas cereal manufacturers are.

Regardless, the bottom line on these is a pass. If you're going to have a not particularly healthy bowl of sugary cereal, go get a box of the original Cap'n Crunch.

And sit back and enjoy as the little breakfast loofahs gently exfoliate the dead skin off the roof of your mouth.

Also the live skin.

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April 29, 2023 at 09:02 AM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 29, 2021

Review of Breaking The News, Exposing The Establishment Media's Hidden Deals and Secret Corruption, by Alex Marlow

Review of Breaking The News, Exposing The Establishment Media's Hidden Deals and Secret Corruption, by Alex Marlow

In case you're not familiar with Alex Marlow, he is the longtime editor-in-chief of Breitbart news, so if you've come looking for conservative red meat served up with a side salad of conservative red meat, you are in luck.

This is not necessarily a knock on the book, and is very much in keeping with the Breitbart ethos established in 2007 by the departed Andrew Breitbart which was intended as a counterpoint to the overwhelming liberal bent of mainstream news.

This means that Breaking the News is not going to be a balanced look at bias in media, but rather a book focused on bias in liberal, or mainstream, media and the corruption of said media by corporate and partisan interests.

But that was the point of Breitbart News. Andrew Breitbart made no bones about being balanced, he saw the media landscape as a battleground and he was prepared for war.

As such, Breaking The News is a well documented and in many ways devestating indictment of the liberal press. He reveals their claims to neutrality to be the preposterous fiction everyone knows them to be and exposes the extent to which said media uses its influence to snuff out competing voices like Breitbart. 

In fact, this is a very Breitbart-focused book. That should not be too surprising given the author, and given his familiarity with the unfounded and persistent attacks on Breitbart by his corporate competitors. Because of that, it is a worthy insider's look at events. However, one could be excused for thinking that maybe he could have pulled back a bit on the Breitbart angle.

Speaking of which, the first chapter is titled, "The Rise of Breitbart and the Fake News Hall of Shame." It is a jarring rundown of fake news piece after fake news piece including a brief listing of fake hate-crime nooses reported credulously by the mainstream media. To think that could be a category in itself is disheartening in that it not only divides people based on lies, but diminishes the credibility of genuine hate crimes. (For the record, I don't like the term "hate crime." It's either a crime, or it isn't, I don't care about motivations.)

In Chapter 2, "Meet The Press," Marlow's recitation of conflicts of interest is impressive, if that's the right word.

There's Chuck Todd whose wife is a major Democratic consultant and whose firm has received millions of dollars in fees from Bernie Sanders.  Todd and his wife also rented out a house to Senator and previous presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar and her husband for $32oo a month. Apparently Todd did not think that was an important item to disclose, even as Todd moderated presidential debates.

Come on, he's Chuck Todd, he's above reproach, I'm sure he likes to think.

There is also New York Times media reporter, Ben Smith , who retained his stock in Buzzfeed, a media company he covers, despite having promised to sell it after he joined the Times in early 2020. Does he still own it? Would be a sweet for him if he did given the company is about to go public.

There is a lot of that in this book.

Subsequent chapters focus on the corruption, bias, and self-dealing on the part of NBC News, Bloomberg News, and others. (The chapter on Bloomberg is jaw dropping in how compromised they are by their reliance on China.)

Breitbart also details how the mainstream media buries (or ignores) details of a story inconvenient to their ideological view of the world, and elevates those more agreeable. (I would argue Breitbart does the same particularly in their choices of what to cover, however the important difference is that only NBC and the rest pretend they don't.)

It's really not anything that would not be passably familiar to anybody paying attention, but having it all gathered together, detailed and documented, does have an impact.

I believe the book serves two purposes. First, for true believers it provides an ample supply of ammo and a big helping of motivation. The section on the Covington School student who was confronted by a native American in DC is surely familiar to most people, but there were details presented in the book, ones I hadn't known, that are infuriating. 

Second, for fence sitters, this might be a wake-up call. 

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not intended as a critique of all news media, and except for a glancing blow dealt to Fox News, the focus is squarely on the liberal, mainstream media, however those who have a feeling that all is not as it seems could find Marlow's arguments compelling. I don't believe he prints anything that is not supportable by the record or otherwise documented.

As he frequently notes, he's a conservative, he has a conservative bias and his writing reflects a conservative worldview.  The difference between him and, say, the Chuck Todds of the world, is that he's upfront about it and does not attempt to cloak himself in the armor of impartiality.

That, together with the continued dominance of mainstream, liberal-leaning media in our culture as supported (and enforced) by the big tech titans who control social media, make the case for a book focused on such compelling.

A quick note on the Audible version which is how I purchased it. Marlow himself narrates it, which is always a plus so long as the writer is also good at speaking, and Marlow is. There are some occasional and somewhat jarring changes in the recording quality and tone between some chapters, but that is not all that unusual, it's just one of my pet peeves. Feel free to ignore it.

While its run time is 10 hours and 34 minutes, it goes by quickly, and I was able to polish it off over the course of a three-day drive in which I was on the road for about twelve hours.  I usually take more breaks from a book, but it is written (and read) in a lively and entertaining style.

I prefer not to rank books but rather like to take a binary approach: It's either worth your time or it isn't. For me, it was. It is a useful reference, it is a call to arms of sorts (the extent of the corruption and bias is frankly scary), and it is accessible to those with open minds. It definitely has a viewpoint, but one that is clearly disclosed up front.

It is available here or through the link below. Please note that I do receive some small change (seriously, we're talking a quarter, maybe a couple of dimes) for each book sold through the link, so I appreciate your using that IF you are interested in the book.


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July 29, 2021 at 03:58 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 17, 2021

Planet Moron is also on Substack

This blog will live on, of course, and I still write regularly for Not The Bee and maintain a presence on Twitter (recent tweets in the right sidebar).

However, I launched a publication on Substack today, "Life on Planet Moron, travels, travails, and travesties from your resident Moronaut." It will be a slightly more personal take on things. You can access the first article below.

Thanks as always, I very much appreciate the support and readership!



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July 17, 2021 at 06:42 PM in Current Affairs, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 08, 2021

"Shame on you," a finger-pointing Chuck Todd scolds Americans who don't want to take an experimental unapproved vaccine.

Don't make Chuck Todd angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry, mainly because he'll probably need some tissues and hugs as he can barely control his sobs of fury. Think beta-male Hulk.

"That's my secret. I'm always empathetic."

After that it just gets awkward.

Here he is last Thursday no longer even trying to hold back the contempt for which he holds the great unwashed, otherwise known as healthy people who don't want to take an experimental unapproved vaccine.

This is a a slightly longer clip for a little more context. It's from the MSNBC site. They don't consider this an embarrassing flub. They want to promote it.

A choked up Chuck Todd (say that three times fast) points out that,

"The country is moving once again in the wrong direction on this virus."

As he says this, they display this chart.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 2

Pro tip: When you're trying to make a dramatic point, it helps if your graphic does not completely undermine your dramatic point.

"There has been a 10% increase in cases since last week."

Since just last week!


Yes, he said it twice for emphasis.

Let's dig into these extremely terrifying numbers a bit.

In the two weeks preceding his meltdown (data through July 1), The 7-day moving average of Coronavirus cases bounced around between 15,000 and 6,700. That's not a 10% variation. That's a 100% variation just in the last week. In fact, as of June 14 there were around 15,000 cases, meaning using Chuck Todd's 12,471 number, the one he's using to sow alarm, cases are down about 20%.

Here are the 7-day moving averages of cases also through July 1.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 4

I'm having difficulty ginning up panic over this.

Great, now I want gin.

Okay, fine, let's go back a full month, get a real sense of the trend.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 5

Okay, that's not helpful to his case.

Wait, what about deaths?! He's talking about deaths!! How about those numbers? I'll bet they're downright terri...

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 6

Pay no attention to that data behind the curtain.

Todd went on to note that CDC director Rochelle Walensky said that the very scary Delta variant is "hyper transmissible" and "its spread is being fueled by communities with low vaccination rates."

As Todd puts it,

"Literally the only people dying are the unvaccinated."

That's not true.


It's actually much more complicated than that.

(Worth a read.)

Second, the vast majority of deaths are among the clinically obese.

That does not make it okay, but it does strongly suggest that trying to shame young (sub-40), fit, healthy people into taking an experimental pharmaceutical they don't need is where the real shame should lie.

Chuck Todd, who has a natural immunity against self-awareness, doesn't care.

"For those of you spreading misinformation,...

And by misinformation, he means CDC data.

"...shame on you."

Does he say it twice again for emphasis?

Of course he does. Of course he does.

"Shame on you."

It's around this time he gets deeply into the finger pointing, even adding a little eye twitch for effect.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 7

"Think about it."

In the early days of people yelling at each other on the Internet, "think about it" became a punchline of sorts. It was the phrase that simpletons typically used after having said something wholly vacant of meaning. Intelligent people picked up on it, and started using "think about it" as a form of ridicule.

I'm guessing Chuck Todd doesn't know that.

"I don't know how some of you sleep at night."

This is not how you motivate people to take the vaccine. I got the vaccine, but this kind of behavior makes me want to untake it just to annoy Chuck Todd. This is about Chuck Todd wanting to luxuriate in his own sense of superiority.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 1

Never go full smug. It's not a good look.

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July 8, 2021 at 08:46 AM in Covid-19/Coronavirus, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3)

June 18, 2021

Singer Macy Gray writes that we need a new flag, asking, "What if the stripes were OFF-white?," and that might not even be the dumbest part.

American flag Cover

MarketWatch, a well-regarded financial news site is part of the Dow Jones family that includes The Wall Street Journal and Barron's.  No doubt they were thrilled over having successfully landed a famous recording artist to write a guest opinion piece for them. 

What follows is a cautionary tale of why it's really important to read a piece before you agree to publish it.

The piece appears as part of a series called, "Outside the Box," which I presume to mean, "Outside the normal expectations of coherence, sentence structure, vocabulary, and basic logic."

The Confederate battle flag, which was crafted as a symbol of opposition to the abolishment of slavery, is just recently tired. We don’t see it much anymore. 

No, no we don't.

However, on the 6th, when the stormers rained on the nation’s most precious hut, waving Old Glory...

When "the stormers rained on the nation's most precious hut?"

Um,... what? 

At least now we know why she tends to co-write songs, presumably with people who have a talent for things like words.  (Really helpful in the writing game, I'm told.)

She continued with that thought.

...— the memo was received: the American flag is its replacement. 

Macy Gray received a memo no one sent. She's talented like that.

President Biden, Madame Harris and members of Congress: the American flag has been hijacked as code for a specific belief. God bless those believers, they can have it. Like the Confederate, it is tattered, dated, divisive, and incorrect. It no longer represents democracy and freedom. It no longer represents ALL of us. It’s not fair to be forced to honor it. It’s time for a new flag.

All this, because a small band of lunatics with American flags broke into a building.

Oh, and, yeah.

I'm curious, were I to break into Antifa headquarters waving an anarchy flag, would they have to instantly abandon it, because that might be worth it.

You might be curious to know that we haven't gotten to the really good stuff yet.  Oh, no, she's just getting warmed up.

Incorrect? Let’s look to the stars. There are 50, where there should be 52. D.C. and Puerto Rico have been lobbying for statehood for decades.

Got that?  There should be 52 stars so that all the states are recognized including the ones that exist solely in Macy Gray's mind.

Ah, but she can explain!

Both have been denied, since statehood would allow each territory’s elected officials seats in the house. 

Certainly partisan political interests play a role, but in the case of DC, it would simply be unconstitutional given that the Constitution is very specific about the establishment of a federal district. As for Puerto Rico, statehood is not "denied." Puerto Rico is a territory, like many others, and has no right to become a state. The populace itself remains closely divided on the issue.

Assuming D.C. reps would be African-American and Puerto Rican reps would be Hispanic, the ultimate assumption is that these elected officials would be Democratic. That alone is racist. 

It's racist to believe that the District of Columbia, where 76% of registered voters are Democrats, would vote Democratic.

Puerto Rico has less to do about assumptions (the current non-voting delegate from Puerto Rico caucuses with the GOP), and more about general resistance to adding new states, which I guess is also racist.

On to the stripes.

No, please...

The Smithsonian documents that the “white” stripes represent purity and innocence. America is great. It is beautiful. Pure, it ain’t. It is broken and in pieces.

Her solution? 

What if the stripes were OFF-white?

I don't know. What if they were eggshell?  How about "Chantilly Lace" or "White Heron?" 

We could have ourselves a VERY fashionable flag.

What if the stars were the colors of ALL of us — your skin tone and mine — like the melanin scale?

Wait, what?

I'm not sure if she knows this, but the stars do not represent "white" people. No one is the color of those stars.  No one is bright white. Really, and if they are, they either need to go to the emergency room right now, or they're a porcelain doll possessed of supernatural evil and they need to go dramatically terrorize some innocent family.

The blue square represents vigilance and perseverance; and the red stripes stand for valor. America is all of those things.

That's nice.

She's going to go ruin it now, isn't she?


So, what if those elements on the flag remained? What if the flag looked like this?


It would look like a fifth-grade elementary school project gone horribly wrong?


In 1959, 17-year-old Bob Heft designed the current flag for a school project when there were only 48 states. Hawaii and Alaska were up for statehood and Bob had a hunch they’d get the nod. He crafted a NEW flag with 50 stars for the then-future, because things had changed. 

Sixty-two years later, in 2021, we have changed and it’s time for a reset, a transformation. One that represents all states and all of us. 

What's interesting is that the current flag does that, and it does that precisely because it is purely symbolic of enduring values. It does not attempt to capture us as "colors" which is unavoidably divisive. It represents all of us because it doesn't do that.

Besides, can you imagine the endless arguments over hue, numbers, and placement?

Nobody can "hijack" the flag unless we let them.

Do you want to be the one to explain to your kid how you  let a guy in a buffalo hat hijack our national symbol?

Let's hold firm on this, otherwise we'll all be talking about the "good old red, white, blue, offwhite, cream, balboa mist, stone hearth, light khaki, bleeker ridge, Shenandoah taupe, Tudor brown, dark coffee..."


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June 18, 2021 at 02:13 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Study proves that wearing a mask in the classroom ensures a safe and secure environment! Not for your kids, for pneumonia-causing bacteria.

Pathogens on Masks Cover


Masks may be ineffective, but at least they make things worse!

A group of parents in Gainesville, FL, concerned about potential harms from masks, submitted six face masks to a lab for analysis. The resulting report found that five masks were contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and fungi, including three with dangerous pathogenic and pneumonia-causing bacteria.

Do you know what the mortality rate is for the elderly admitted to a hospital with Covid?


Want to know what it is for pneumonia?


Out: Wear a mask or you hate grandma.

In: Wear a mask because you hate grandma.

The study was a very small one, consisting of six masks in total. Four were the surgical type and two were cloth with one being worn by an adult. Brand new unworn masks were tested as a control along with a T-shirt one of the children had worn.

The face masks studied were new or freshly-laundered before wearing and had been worn for 5 to 8 hours, most during in-person schooling by children aged 6 through 11. One was worn by an adult. A t-shirt worn by one of the children to school and unworn masks were tested as controls. No pathogens were found on the controls; samples from the front top and bottom of the t-shirt found proteins that are commonly found in skin and hair, along with some commonly found in soil.

Although small, it appears to have been well done and the tests were performed by a credible lab. (Report here.)

It also confirms pretty much what everyone who still retains critical thinking skills has known from the beginning.

Not only that, but the results weren't even close.

Pathogens on Masks 5

Half of the masks were contaminated with one or more strains of pneumonia-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with one or more strains of meningitis-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. In addition, less dangerous pathogens were identified, including pathogens that can cause fever, ulcers, acne, yeast infections, strep throat, periodontal disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more.


Keep in mind, these kids weren't touring the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or visiting Hunter Biden for the weekend. They were in school.

This is what was found in the masks:

Pathogens on Masks 6

Some commenters have pointed out that this is no big deal as many of these pathogens were likely harbored by the wearers themselves in the first place.

Nothing to see here, we truly are all awash in a sea of bacteria, and fungi. The only difference is that we're collecting all those organism and concentrating them in a warm and moist medium in which they can flourish and reproduce unabated while held in close proximity to our noses and mouths.

Why, is that a problem?

These results were tested on fresh masks worn for just one day. Can you imagine the results if tested on the typical mask as actually used? You know, the cloth mask you forgot to wash the night before, or week before, or perhaps never and you don't recall it being green when you bought it?

Or how about the "disposable" mask that you use day after day until the ear loops disintegrate or you notice the bacteria flourishing in the folds has advanced to the point of having developed a written language and and is engaging in a primitive form of agriculture.

That's why real-world results never live up to the ideal, because the real world is never ideal. In the real world, masks don't slow the spread of COVID.

Speaking of COVID, care to take a guess as to what they didn't find on the masks?

Although the test is capable of detecting viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, only one virus was found on one mask (alcelaphine herpesvirus 1).

So, to recap: In order for children to be in the classroom, we are having them wrap their faces in paper and fabric Petri dishes soaked in pathogens in order to protect them from a virus that isn't in the classroom, or if it is in the classroom, isn't being stopped by the masks anyway.


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June 18, 2021 at 08:44 AM in Covid-19/Coronavirus, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3)

June 15, 2021

Nothing to see here, just the CDC holding an emergency meeting over higher-than-expected reports of heart inflammation in young people receiving the Covid vaccine.

What are you? Some kind of anti-vaxxer?!?!?!?

It should be noted that this "emergency meeting" on a potentially fatal heart condition among the young being caused by a vaccine that is being administered by the thousands every day is set for... Friday.

How serious an issue is this?

You can usually tell by the lengths to which the Vax-Everybody-Right-Now-Reeeeeeeeee! mainstream media is trying to downplay it.

Overall, 226 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis after vaccination in people younger than age 30 have been confirmed... Further investigation is needed, however, to confirm whether the vaccination was the cause of the heart problem.

Fair enough: Correlation doesn't prove causation and 226 cases out of many millions of doses ("under age 30" is a broad range) isn't statistically a lot.

Wait, "younger than age 30?" Isn't this about teenagers and younger?

Yes, yes it is, and they later reveal this.

Teenagers and people in their early 20s accounted for more than half of the myocarditis cases reported to the CDC's safety monitoring systems following Covid-19 vaccination, despite representing a fraction of people who have received the shots.

"We clearly have an imbalance there," Shimabukuro said.

Do we now.

How imbalanced?

Alex Berenson took a look at the VAERS data (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System). Keep in mind that VAERS is purely a reporting system and not the end word on anything; however, it has been used for decades as an early-warning system of sorts. (It has only recently been criticized because it was interfering with the preferred narrative).

While care should be taken in putting too much faith in the raw numbers, you can certainly compare results within the system itself – that is, VAERS reports for one age bracket vs. another. Same system, same vaccine, just different demographics.

The results?

Let's focus on this one:

Heart Inflamation Covid 1

There are several things to note here.

First, in the upper age ranges, the incidents of this heart inflammation, or myocarditis/pericarditis, are within or even below what you'd expect to see in the population, or the number of people who would come down with it anyway. This establishes that VAERS isn't systematically over-counting incidents of heart inflammation.

Second, there is very little data for the lowest age range given the vaccine was only recently approved for that demographic.

So far, so good, the VAERS is not reporting anything out of the ordinary for older age groups, with the numbers well within (and in one instance below) what would be expected in that population absent getting the vaccine, and there is just too little data to draw any conclusion regarding the youngest age group.

That leaves the younger people for whom we have sufficient data, and that's where it gets um, "troubling."

Heart Inflamation Covid 5

Reported incidents of myocarditis/pericarditis among the younger age groups for which there is sufficient data are multiples of what would be expected.

Further, note that the while these younger age groups represent only 8.8% of all those who have been vaccinated, they account for over half of all incidents of myocarditis/pericarditis.

Heart Inflamation Covid 4 (1)

Perhaps even more troubling is just how consistently the elevated incidents of myocarditis/pericarditis grows relative to what would be expected for a given age group as you move down in age. I plugged the numbers into a spreadsheet and did a quick calculation: There is a clear correlation between age and the higher-than-expected incidents of heart inflammation, the younger the age, the worse it gets. There is no variation. The younger you go, the greater the ratio gets.

Heart Inflamation Covid 10

If that holds upon closer examination, what does that portend for the babies they want to vaccinate this September?

I found the PDF Berenson was using and discovered this slide towards the end.

Note the difference in "rate per million" between the first and second doses.

Heart Inflamation Covid 2

You'd think they could have skipped the BBQs and last weekend and looked into this...


Their summary, thus far:

Heart Inflamation Covid 6

Initial safety findings from Pfizer-BioNTechCOVID-19 vaccination of 12-15-year-olds from v-safe and VAERS surveillance are consistent with results from pre-authorization clinical trials.

In other words, they expected some collateral damage, that "collateral" being your kids.

In fairness, they are balancing risks, and argue that the risk of the vaccine is less than the risk of contracting Covid.  The lingering question is, is that true?

Analysis of VAERS preliminary reports of myocarditis/pericarditis is in progress, including follow-up to obtain medical records, complete reviews, apply CDC working case definition, and adjudicate cases.

They're on the case! Well, later this week anyway.

Preliminary findings suggest: Median age of reported patients is younger and median time to symptom onset is shorter among those who developed symptoms after dose 2 vs. dose 1

Yep! Might want to look at that one closely.

Predominance of male patients in younger age groups, especially after dose 2‒Observed reports > expected cases after dose 2 (16–24 years of age)

It's worse for boys and young men. Potentially much worse.

Limited outcome data suggest most patients (at least 81%) had full recovery of symptoms

"Most" patients. So stop getting so excited. Take the jab or your kids don't get an education!

As I write this, the CDC has not changed its recommendation.

CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 12 years of age and older given the greater risk of other serious complications related to COVID-19, such as hospitalization, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), or death.

The fact is, they don't know that, they can't know that. It's too early to know that. This feels like it has less to do with science, and more to do with institutional inertia.

Naturally, Big Tech has their back:

Only the anointed priests of high media may speak the forbidden words.

Interestingly, the "if-it-will-save-just-one-life" media has suddenly decided that a few losses here and there are sort of "meh."

The vast majority of the cases were sent home following a visit to a hospital as of the end of May. It's unclear how many patients were admitted to the hospital, or, for example, were discharged following a visit to the emergency room. Fifteen patients remain hospitalized, with three in intensive care units. Two of the patients in the ICU had other health problems.

This isn't even long-term data, because we have none, this is short-term data. Very short term.

All medications have risks, and the trick is to balance those risks against the benefits.

We have been told about the benefits ad nauseam, but their approach to the risks has been largely along the lines of "shut up, anti-vaxxer."

There is not a single pharmaceutical product advertisement that does not include, by law, a lengthy recitation of possible side effects, often comical. This one is for Cymbalta, a popular anti-depressant.

CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if you experience bizarre behavior; confusion; excessive sweating; dark urine; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever or chills; hallucinations; loss of coordination; new or worsening agitation, anxiety, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, restlessness, or inability to sit still; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin."

Contrast this to the CDC's own marketing efforts among which is a "Community-Based Organizations COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit" that includes material that can be used to promote adoption of the vaccine.

For our purposes let's focus on their "fact sheet" for preteens and teens:

Heart Inflamation Covid 7

The full PDF can be found here.

This is what they have to say about safety:

Heart Inflamation Covid 8

"Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for my child?"

It's the most important question a parent has. Their answer, an unequivocal "Yes!"

The whole document is like this.

Heart Inflamation Covid 9

Okay, then. I guess that settles that. Shut up and take the jab.

There are some very minor side effects, of course, but nothing to worry about really. In fact, side effects are good!

What are the side effects?

Your child may have some side effects, which are normal signs that their body is building protection. These side effects may affect your child's ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects. Side effects from the second shot may be more intense than after the first shot.

See? No big deal.

Heart Inflamation Covid 0

We are being instructed to believe that a brand new vaccine developed in record time using cutting edge mRNA technology and still under Emergency Use Authorization (and therefore literally "unapproved") is PERFECTLY SAFE.

Unlike, say, Advil.

NSAIDs, except aspirin, increase the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. These can be fatal.

The CDC is advertising these vaccines in a manner that would have a private company prosecuted.

Pharmaceutical companies are required to disclose long lists of possible side effects, no matter now rare. And yes, even in the limited trials performed, Covid vaccines have been found to have side effects.

Somehow, that didn't make it into the CDC's "Community-based Toolkit."

This is not about being anti-science or anti-vaxxer (I got the vaccine myself after weighing the pros and cons) or being a conspiracy theorist, or any of the other slurs the powers that be want to throw at you. This is about being an informed citizen entitled to know all the facts.

This is about being treated like an adult and not a child, like a citizen and not a subject.

But they don't seem very interested in that.

I mean, you love your children?

Don't you?

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June 15, 2021 at 10:09 AM in Covid-19/Coronavirus, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

June 07, 2021

Montgomery County public school students taught that the campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," and the statement "We're just one human family," are signs of "covert hateful white supremacy."

MCPS CRT Summer Cover (1)

With just under one million residents, Montgomery County is the most populated county in the state of Maryland and lies just to the north of Washington DC. It is considered part of the DC metropolitan area, and a national leader in unhappy upper middle-class progressives desperate to find meaning in their sad, empty lives.

At least, that's the only explanation I can come up with, short of mass psychosis, to explain things like this:

This information comes from a request by Judicial Watch under Maryland's Public Information Act and was accompanied by a CYA letter.  I mean, "cover" letter. Cover letter is what I meant.

Records regarding Montgomery County Public School's Thomas Pyle Middle School's social justice class include a cover letter, noting that the class in question was a one-week "Summer Boost" class called "Reading and Taking Action for Social Justice" offered from July 13-17, 2020, and that "no grades were given and no actual work due."

Nothing to see here, MCPS wants you to know. Why, they didn't even bother grading it or having the kids turn in "actual work."

It may be self-serving but at least it's also not true.

The program was littered with slides like this.

MCPS CRT Summer 3

Plus, nearly every slide ended with this action item.

Students, write your response!

Maybe the "actual work" wasn't "due," in the sense that the kids could just ignore it, maybe play Minecraft instead, if they chose.

I'm sure the taxpayers are delighted to hear their money is being spent wisely.

On to the pyramid.

MCPS CRT Summer 1

There are lot of entries on this pyramid (so much resentment to sow, so little time), but permit me to pull out a few favorites.

Keep in mind, these are all signs of "covert hateful white supremacy."

There is of course the campaign slogan of an American President who received the second most votes of any candidate in history.

MCPS CRT Summer 9

Totally appropriate for a public institution supported by tax dollars to smear an opposition political candidate and his 75-million supporters under the guise of "education."

And then there's this.

MCPS CRT Summer 8

It is hateful white supremacy to have a curriculum centered on the central source of the culture and history of the country you are in.

Note they say "centric." That does not preclude teaching other history, which they do, and have been doing for as long as I've been alive.

But hey, I'm sure they are not so racist as to teach Chinese-centric history in China or Sudanese-centric history in Sudan.

Let's move on to the "shut up" portion of our discussion session!

MCPS CRT Summer 4

MCPS CRT Summer 6

Denying being a racist is a sign of racism.

So you are either a racist, or you are a racist.


And then we have possibly my favorite: Redefining NOT being a racist to being a racist.

MCPS CRT Summer 5

MCPS CRT Summer 7

"But we're just one human family."

Viewing people as individuals and not as a member of a race is... racist. 

Where do you even start a conversation with someone who believes this? I mean, after you suggest they seek professional counseling.

As nutty as the pyramid is, it's arguably not the worst thing in this lesson plan. While there is much to choose from, I'd pick this one out purely for its unvarnished hatred and resentment.

MCPS CRT Summer 10

Let's take a loot at a few.

I Have The Privilege Of Attending Segregated Schools Of Affluence.

This is odd, almost suggesting that a segregated school is desirable. Is that the point?

As for the affluence, the Washington DC area is an extremely wealthy area, including large numbers of accomplished, well-to-do black people.

I assure you, they are not sending their kids to crappy schools as is suggested here.

I Have The Privilege Of Learning About My Race In School.

That's interesting. I never learned about my race in school either.

Of course, they are conflating race with heritage or culture again. If we're learning European history, we're learning about the white "race?"

It's unhinged, and betrays a deeply racist world view.

I Have The Privilege Of Playing The Colorblind Card, Wiping The Slate Clean Of Centuries Of Racism.

"Wiping the slate clean."

These CRT grifters don't want reconciliation. They don't want to move forward.

They want revenge for things that happened to people who aren't them, and they want the people who had nothing to do with it to pay the price.


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June 7, 2021 at 12:38 PM in Current Affairs, Racism | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 20, 2021

"I have two moms" is not a military strategy: A tale of three military recruitment ads.

Military Recruitment Cover

Bring it on cisgender patriarchies, America is going to woke you into dust!

What we have here is a tale of three military recruitment ads, one from China, one from Russia, and one from America.

Before we get to the video, let's break it down a bit first for proper context.

You'll note that the Chinese and Russian videos are pretty light on exposition. While I don't speak either language, based on the imagery, I'd say the bang-bang to yack-yack ratio is very different compared to the American recruitment ad.

For example, the Chinese soldier gets all of 3 seconds worth of backstory. He shows up for a medical exam, and it's off to basic training.

Military Ad China 7

The Russian soldier gets a full 9 seconds of backstory. (The Russians must be getting soft.) We do learn from the video that he enjoyed soccer, had some buddies, and a girlfriend all of which will be shortly stripped away.

Military Ad Russia 10

That's pretty much the last time you'll see him smile.

In contrast, our American soldier's story "begins in California with a little girl raised by two moms."

Military Ad America 11

Not surprisingly, when your backstory begins when you are a small child, it's probably going to eat up some run time, in this case, nearly a minute and a half of a two-minute video.  Think less "military recruitment ad" and more, "Lifetime movie."

China's military ad displays the steely resolve expected of its soldiers.

Military Ad China 6

The Russian ad leaves no doubt that this man will kill you without hesitation if ordered to.

Military Ad Russia 4

Likewise, the American ad strikes fear in the way only a friendly and approachable animated cartoon character really can.

Military Ad America 7

I should warn you, she occasionally squints her eyes in a clearly menacing manner.

 Military Ad America 8

She looks like someone who wouldn't think twice about disrespecting your pronouns.

But only if it was absolutely necessary.

The Chinese ad depicts total battlefield domination.

Military Ad China 2

The Russian ad has their soldiers descending from the skies at will.

Military Ad Russia 8

The American ad depicts their soldier performing ballet as a child.

Military Ad America 9

Watch that plié, it's deadly.

And, playing the violin.

Military Ad America 10

Hey, she probably knows a dozen ways to kill you with that bow, several of them possibly involving an attempt to play the Prokofiev and Shostakovich Concerti.

I should point out here that that is how most of this video goes. It's basically her life story, including her mother's medical history, sorority life, a wedding... you know, basic military stuff only without all the weapons, and tanks, and violence. (Ick.)

Back to the Chinese.

Military Ad China 3

Phallic much?

Military Ad Russia 3

And seriously, what's with this Russian guy? Does he ever blink?  I swear, he'd kill me just for the practice.

Meanwhile, our intrepid American soldier mans a Patriot missile defense battery which emits puffs of smoke not unlike what happens when the coyote misses catching the roadrunner.

Military Ad America 2

Ha ha, that coyote never catches a break.

Hopefully the Patriot missiles do, because the Chinese have A LOT of those not-at-all defensive pointy missile things at their disposal.

Military Ad China 8

I should point out the Chinese military also displays large amounts of toxic masculinity.

Military Ad China 1

The Russians display ridiculous amounts of toxic masculinity. I started feeling non-binary in comparison.

Military Ad Russia 11

The American ad had no toxic masculinity. In fact, it had no masculinity, period.

Military Ad America 5

"I also marched for equality. I like to think I've been defending freedom from an early age."

I also played Grand Theft Auto and like to think that I've been running a powerful crime syndicate from an early age.

Look, her story is a nice one. I'm delighted that she and I live in a country that afforded her and her moms the freedom to live in peace as they please the way they please.

But there are forces, like the ones depicted in the Chinese and Russian military recruitment ads below that might again come along to try to put an end to those freedoms by force.

And you're going to want soldiers, a lot of them, who are capable of unspeakable acts of violence when needed on your side when that moment arrives.

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May 20, 2021 at 08:50 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 16, 2021

"White women are the most dangerous upholders of white supremacy in Silicon Valley," writes white woman who really hated her boss because she was mean, and told her what to do, and was mean, and did I already say she was mean because she really was...


I don't know about you, but whenever I have had a problem with my boss my first instinct is to sit down and write a 4000-word polemic suggesting everyone who shares her skin color and gender are "dangerous" while simultaneously detailing my own emotional troubles being sure to never once suggest that maybe the problem was with me and not an entire industry.

I think I read that on LinkedIn or something.

Which brings us to former Webflow executive, Britt Caldwell.

Clearly she needs therapy.

I decided to take therapy seriously for the first time since my father passed in 2009.

Okay, more therapy.

Anyone can publish anything on Medium, it's a writer's platform, so there was no one around to tell her, no, we're not going to run this.

I don't necessarily recommend you read the entire 4000-word essay, but it is a tour de force of narcissistic victimhood and so much more revealing than I think she had intended.

And honestly, if that was all this was about I'd ignore it and wish her well in working through her problems.

But people pay attention to this kind of thing. They use it. They cite it. Caldwell just claimed in a very public way that "white women" are "dangerous upholders of white supremacy," because she didn't get along with her boss, and we no longer have the luxury of dismissing these kinds of things as harmless.

She starts:

After two years at Webflow, I am saying goodbye to more than just a job I once loved. I'm risking the most important possession I've acquired. The very thing that I've sacrificed family, friends, and good health to attain. The thing I've held on a pedestal for 15 years — my career — to speak my truth.

Anyone else get the feeling that there's a lot more going on here with Caldwell? This sounds a bit like regret over the choices she herself made.

When any non-cishet/white/man is in power (not the least of which are white women)...

Caldwell earlier wrote that, "white women are considered checkmarks on tech's list of DEI requirements," and here she is considering "non-cishet/white/man" as checkmarks on her own personal list of grievances.

"Cishet," which I had to think about for a moment, "white," "man," none meant to be flattering. Your sexuality, race, and gender, immutable characteristics you were born with and can't control, are intended to be insults.

Kind of like what someone who is prejudiced, sexist, and racist, would do.

...and exudes traits of toxic masculinity, their behavior is more conspicuous, subjecting them to more damaging discourse and tarnishing of their reputation than her superiors would receive. This not only makes white men more covertly dangerous,... Yet white women continue to senselessly defend their toxic behavior.

So, she's saying white women are man-adjacent?

It's all so complicated.

White women often ascend the ranks in supremely toxic work environments, adopting and also benefiting from the same white supremacy that steps on the necks of their sisters and daughters along the way.

Colorful! Deranged, but colorful.

Keep in mind she's a white woman. This is not healthy.

The more they exhibit authoritarianism, the higher they progress.

"Authoritarianism."  She does know these are people in positions of authority, right?  That's kind of part of the boss job description.

And because they climbed the highest mountain and sparkled in a sea of others who might cry at work, they feel uber accomplished and outstanding.

Are you starting to feel some resentment? I'm starting to feel some resentment here.

Many go on to intentionally inflict the same, or worse, traumas they endured because they believe they are stronger because of it.

Because maybe they are? The notion of coming out stronger after enduring hardship is hardly novel.

We've seen it time and time again, in every industry, from the people we admire most. From my former favorite chef, April Bloomfield, to treasured feminist J.K. Rowling, but we'll get to her later.

And she does, later writing that Rowling held "deeply harmful transphobic views" and linked to this tweet from Rowling as proof.

She lumps that, a statement that is at worst benign, and in any case was considered true five minutes ago, with Bloomfield who was accused of sexual harassment.

There is no sense of proportion with people like this, no ability to distinguish real harm from imagined, self-imposed phantom harms.

Much of the piece is made up of a list of grievances Caldwell had against her former boss, starting with the headaches she'd get after one-on-one meetings with her and then progressing.

I started experiencing intense migraines a day or so after my weekly 1–1s with my current boss. Who doesn't get headaches? I stare at a computer screen all day and barely get up to pee, let alone drink water...

Eventually nausea surfaced during our 1–1s and profound fatigue followed into the evenings. Who isn't nauseous and tired? We're in a pandemic. I couldn't connect the dots.

So many dots to connect.

I remembered the most recent director's offsite where she told me, the only woman besides herself invited, that I needed to stop giving feedback. That I need to understand that "because I said so" is enough context for me to get my work done.

I wasn't there, but if your boss is telling you to shut up in front of your colleagues, the problem could very well be you. And yet this never occurs to her. Not for one moment. She has thoughts! She needs to speak her truth!

No one cares!

When I looked at my male peers in disbelief, their heads were down in their laps.

Again, I was not there, but this sounds like they were embarrassed for her, no matter their gender.

She spends a few paragraphs discussing how she felt she was complicit in this, being a white woman and all.

Our abusers don't just look like us — they are us. Recognizing it makes us question our own identity....

A whole bunch of that, and then this.

My white-woman-girl-boss...

Wow. Just, wow.

...and I got scarily similar results to the same bull%$#@ personality test and instead of wanting to vomit,...

I need a new word that means "wow" but more.

...I smirked on the inside momentarily. Does this mean what I think it means? I must be destined for VP-dom too.

No, it doesn't, and I think that's part of the problem.

And then the pieces of the puzzle started fitting together.

First dots connecting, and now puzzle pieces fitting!

This is starting to sound like a children's activity book.

Sadly, at no point were "pictures colored" or "words unjumbled."

When she was applying for the job and I was interviewing her and she dodged every question and turned it around on me.

It's Silicon Valley. The employees get to interview their future bosses. This is exactly what I would expect of a future boss. Exactly.

When she made the entire marketing team take personality tests her first month at the company and wouldn't share the results.

Not that unusual. It's her prerogative. She's the boss, not you.

When she scolded me for allowing my direct reports to have their cameras off in meetings and be idle on Slack, while she operated on stealth mode.

I know you know she's your boss because you explained that in the beginning. She can leave her camera off if she wants to.

And insisting your employees have their cameras turned on during video conferences? Save for brief moments, say they need to move to another room, why wouldn't you insist on this? I would, and have.

Again, she's the boss, not you. I'm definitely starting to think that's the real problem she has.

When she said "I've got news for you, sister. This is how it is at startups" whenever she disagreed with me (as if I was new to this).

Her boss sounds like Pol Pot and Hitler all rolled into one. She's one unkind word away from committing genocide. Emotional genocide. The worst kind when you think about it but not for too long.

When she told me to try having an optimistic attitude in a group meeting after I asked how the sudden change in strategy would affect the roadmap.

Regardless of what kind of boss she was, there is one thing we can be sure of reading this.

She thought Caldwell was a terrible employee.

That doesn't necessarily mean she was, or is in every circumstance, or with everyone, but from the very beginning, from that first interview, these two were toxic for each other, that much is clear.

Making the leap from that to "white women are the most dangerous upholders of white supremacy," is Grand Canyonesque in scope.

It gets better. After she said she was leaving, she believed her treatment got worse.

Imagine that?

There was some back-and-forth regarding the boss wanting her to stay a bit or go, pretty standard by my experience. But there were also these additional complaints.

When she failed to communicate that I had been awarded a performance increase and I found out by checking my bank account.

She's upset she got a performance increase because a pat on the head didn't come with it.

I've had this exact same thing happen to me, exact, and I was extremely okay with it because the far more common complaint in the corporate world is the opposite, the pat on the head, or "employee award" in lieu of cash.

When she asked me to stay on Zoom in front of the group instead of scheduling a 1–1 to rob me of the chance to prepare.

She's referring to staying on the job. Okay, poor manners perhaps, but I'm not seeing the white supremacy here.

When she threatened to fire me if I didn't have her back, work hard, not take time off, and keep a positive attitude for the remainder of my transition period.

And? I'm not saying that's great behavior, I wouldn't do it quite like that, but everyone has their own style and this is not unusual, no matter your race or gender.

When she immediately changed her tone with me, ignoring me, and withholding necessary information for me to smoothly transition my work and my team.

You quit your job and she "changed her tone?!?!"


And "withholding necessary information?"

You're leaving the firm. She's just protecting their IP. Of course she's withholding information.

When she didn't acknowledge my two years' worth of contributions or do her part in "presenting a united front" when I posted my departure plans on Slack.

As her boss might say, "look sister, this ain't a quilting club."

Actually, there are quilting clubs that are rougher than this.

...and finally when she formally initiated stripping me of all possible authority and my firing.

You said you were leaving, and she thought you were an awful employee. So...

There were some accusations that were not totally unhinged. Refusing bonuses to black employees, perhaps not accommodating disabled employees, which is certainly possible, but when you take that into account with everything else she said it does not exactly help her credibility on those charges.  And those felt like afterthoughts. The vast body of complaints were all about Caldwell not getting the proper respect from a boss who clearly didn't respect her.

There is certainly the very real possibility that her boss was a jerk. Okay, so she was a jerk, and you didn't get along with her. Where in the world does this white supremacy nonsense come from?

It's near-impossible to influence changes in behavior from white women in power.

Oh, right. It just is.

Once white women are in positions of power, their networks solidify their tenure. What starts as one human inflicting harm one-to-one soon becomes few-to-many as they grow teams and promote their own kind.

"Their own kind." 

Eventually, and rapidly, an indestructible black widow's web is spun that traps people and cements processes. By the time anyone notices, the damage has extended beyond what the eye can see. While men are inescapably the biggest perpetrators and creators of white supremacy, once a white woman benefits and profits from the system, she becomes its fiercest advocate.

All this, because she had a mean boss.

There's more. She details various emotional struggles, including having had an abortion and being psychologically abused by family members and so on, but I think you get the idea.

This essay should have met one of two possible fates:

  1. As a personal therapeutic exercise, perhaps shared with a trusted friend or a professional, but otherwise kept private.
  2. An anonymous Glass Door review.

But it should never have been published in a public forum.

This has nothing to do with white supremacy, white women in Silicon Valley, and no broad conclusions regarding either should be drawn from it.

The experience she had is the exact same experience pretty much every employee working for every intersectionality throughout all of time has had at one time or another.

There is one thing about this that could have broader implications.

If you follow the Twitter conversations about this piece going on here, you will find a lot of women bashing women bosses. It is the dirty little secret of the corporate (and government) world: Many women don't like working for other women.

I've heard this. You've probably heard this. Talking about it out loud might be potentially productive, because it seems like something that is resolvable.

But when you racialize it, when you try to shoehorn it into a woke narrative, it becomes counterproductive and destructive.

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May 16, 2021 at 09:32 AM in Current Affairs, Racism | Permalink | Comments (0)