ZipDialog Roundup for Monday, August 14

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ Quick Update on Charlottesville, which remains the top story.

  1. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists are now facing a federal investigation for violating civil rights.
  2. The driver of the deadly car, to be arraigned today, will be looked at closely to see if he was part of a conspiracy
  3. Pres. Trump still being excoriated (across the political spectrum) for his failure to single out the neo-Nazis and supremacists in his statement condemning the violence
  4. National Security Adviser McMaster calls the act “terrorism,” and Ivanka Trump condemns the supremacists in clear language, at the outset
  5. More attention is now focusing on the failure of the police to intervene and stand between the opposing groups. They appear to have “stood down,” much like the police in Baltimore.
    • We need to know why
    • We need to have a clear set of “best practices” for police in these dangerous confrontations

Comment: It is shameful that the President did not speak out as clearly as his daughter. Yes, the left-wing and anarchist Antifada was there and did fight, but the main responsibility for violence belongs to the extreme right in this case. In other cases, when the responsibility belongs elsewhere, the President should condemn that, too, and do so in clear language.

Today in Islamic terror: 18 killed in attack in West African state of Burkino-Faso, at restaurant frequented by foreigners (CNN)

 As part of UN sanctions, China bans North Korea iron, lead, coal imports (Washington Post)

But China also warned the US:

In an editorial, the state-owned China Daily newspaper said Trump was asking too much of China over North Korea….

Trump’s “transactional approach to foreign affairs” was unhelpful, it said, while “politicizing trade will only exacerbate the country’s economic woes, and poison the overall China-U.S. relationship.” –Washington Post

Comment: China is doing the minimum to avoid becoming the focus of international pressure, but not enough to really change North Korean policy.

 Ooooops! Next shoe drops in Google’s controversy over women in tech, and that shoe is polished with irony:

Google’s international competition for computer coders–“Google Code Jam”–has all-male finalists for 14th year in row (Daily Caller)

Google uses the event to identify candidates for potential employment, recruiting tech wizards from all over the world—from the Philippines and Japan, all the way over to Russia, Sweden, and across the ocean to Latin America and the United States….

Every year, tens of thousands of would-be programming masters sign up for the competition—solving programming puzzles in record time. Only the best of the best make it to the final stage…..

Based on merit alone, the Code Jam does not make any considerations to contestants’ race, gender, political affiliation, or social status. It’s a test of pure skill. –Daily Caller

Comment: One of the great achievements of the Enlightenment was the shift in how people are selected for top jobs and prizes–away from status and caste (are you an aristocrat? a member of the dominant race or religion?) and toward merit-based selection.

That achievement is now being challenged without intellectual clarity. That is, some favor affirmative action because it will “level the playing field” and so allow true merit to shine. Others think of it as a benefit that is owed to groups formerly discriminated again; that approach is inherently opposed to merit-based selection. So is retaining preferences well into a person’s career, by which time merit should have already been apparent.

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