Monday, July 25, 2016

DNC Night 1: Pretty Good, No?

   Not too bad, I say. Cory Booker, Michelle Obama, and Bernie were all pretty great I thought. Bernie did a great job of matter-of-factly taking care of business (like defusing some of the DNC e-mail kerfuffle). (And: ugh. So. Many. Crying. Girls.) Heck, Elizabeth Warren was mostly even o.k.  I thought Michelle Langford was really good and provided us with a case that could really make the most out of the Trump "University" story...but the damned Dems wouldn't shut up and listen to her. In their defense, they seemed pretty stoked by Booker's speech.
   I'm a little worried about this "free" tuition (i.e. somebody else pays for it--probably me) scheme Bernie announced...but it's not really going to happen, so I'm not that worried.
   All-in-all, a non-disastrous night one of the DNC.
   Congratulations Democrats!
   You have successfully impersonated an organized political party.

Cory Booker Hits a Homer

I didn't agree with absolutely everything he said, but I really like that guy, and thought he did a great job. I think he'd have been just as good or better than Kaine as a VP candidate...but I guess it's pretty obvious that you gotta have a white dude on the ticket if you're trying to elect the first female POTUS.

How Social Justice Works


(via r/socialjusticeinaction...sadly becoming a shittier and Trumpier subreddit by the day...)

A Trump-Putin Alliance?

The Mystic was just expressing similar concerns to me this morning.
He was worried that they edge over into conspiracy theory territory...which is...the thought to have if you are not crazy...  But not every conspiracy theory is false...

Dems Selling Government Positions?

It em...kinda looks that way.
I knew big doners got stuff. Not sure how much worse this is than what we basically already knew about such things. And I presume the GOP conducts business similarly... (tu quoque alert... But I think such arguments can be sound when making a comparative choice, as between Dems and the GOP.)
Still...having it thrown right out on the seems pretty damn bad, doesn't it?

CNN: Trump 44 - Clinton 39

Convention bounce.
We'll be told not to panic...but given the disastrous outcome in play, it's hard advice to follow. It's kinda like being told that there's now a better-than-even chance that that giant asteroid is going to hit the Earth.

DNC E-Mails

Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Out

Bad choice from the beginning IMO

Sunday, July 24, 2016

NYT: Anti-Border-Fence Propaganda

Jeez this sort of thing is just amazing to me.
tl;dr: we found four people in Arizona who said that they didn't think that border fences would work. (Implicit conclusion of story: border fences won't work.)

   Seriously, this isn't just BS, it's BS that's part of a campaign of BS. (This is the sort of thing I expect that conservatives are complaining about when they complain about the liberal media.)
   Since we all have to ante up with our liberal cred to be taken seriously: I am not exactly for border fences. But I'm also not against them. What I'm against is the rabid liberal opposition to such a fence. My view is: we should build fences along the border were and only where they're going to be efficient / cost-effective. In the places where fences will help, build them. Where they won't, don't. I'm led to believe that they'd be cost-effective in some places, but not in others.
   Liberal opposition to border fences began with outrage and talk of symbolism (IT'S JUST LIKE THE BERLIN WALL!!!!111), and evolved from there. But the symbolism argument is crap. Two seconds of thought reveals why. And I refuse to explain it. Do the two seconds yourself if it's not immediately obvious to you.
   If it is permissible to have laws limiting immigration, then it is permissible to enforce those laws (humanely, of course). If it's permissible to enforce laws to keep people out, then it's permissible to use fences.
   And, in fact, I think that this is part of what's at the root of liberal opposition to border fences:  I've long believed (but sometimes questioned) that many liberals implicitly (or explicitly) accept an open borders position. Many liberals have a general orientation that is against border-enforcement of any kind: anti-fence, pro-sanctuary city, etc. etc. If a person leans consistently against enforcement of a law, eventually one must hypothesize that they're against the law itself.
   And another thing: I usually try to rise above rhetorical shenanigans, but I do think that people who are against fences tend to (a) say 'wall' instead of 'fence,' because it helps them invoke the Berlin Wall analogy, and (b) speak of a wall instead of walls (or a fence instead of fences) for roughly the same kind of reason.
   And furthermore: people in the story speak of drones and increased border patrols as if these measures and fences were mutually exclusive. Of course they aren't.
   Seems to me that, as with most problems, we have a relatively sane center with respect to this one, and two nutty extremes. The sane center recognizes that we need humane enforcement of just immigration laws. The nutty right wants to round up eleven million people and boot them out, and it has undeniable elements of racism. The nutty left opposes enforcement of immigration laws at almost every point, accuses everyone who disagrees with them of racism, and seems to strongly incline toward open borders.
   I say: stop making the fence question a political one. Leave it up to people who understand law enforcement on the border. It's a damn policy question. Treat it that way.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Post Editorial: Donald Trump Is A Unique Threat To American Democracy

This about sums it up IMO.
Though I suppose I might add: dangerously stupid con man with no understanding of what real life is like in the USA.

Free Inquiry vs. Social Justice at Brown

Friday, July 22, 2016

Progressives Pissed About Kaine

   I'm pretty meh on Kaine, but this makes me a bit more enthusiastic about him.
   He's a bit too religious for me to be very enthusiastic about him...though I do try not to hold people's religion against them if they make a real effort to keep it out of policy decisions. I'd like someone even centrist-er...but he'll do. And if he's pissing off the "progressives," then that's kind of a good sign by my lights.

Jerry Coyne On Milo's Twitter Ban

As I've said, Milo can go a bit too far sometimes.

Milo Permanently Banned From Twitter

(1) Twitter is idiotic
(2) Milo sometimes goes too far
(3) Some of Milo's fans are total shits
(4) Twitter is biased against conservatives; lefties can get away with much worse.

I don't have time to figure out what exactly happened.

Interpreting "Make America Great Again" As Racist: How The Left Descended Into An Intellectual Cesspool Of Bad Literary Criticism

"Make America Great Again"
So this presupposes:
(1) America was great at some point in the past
(2) America is not great now
It's also an exhortation, specifically:
(A) Make America great!
And there is a suggestion that:
(3) The way in which we are being exhorted to make America great is the way in which America used to be great. That is, though MAGA doesn't explicitly say that we should go back to being great in the way that we used to be great, that seems to be the suggestion.

It's a kind of article of faith in many parts of the left that this is racist.
Well, here's where the left's descent into crapitude comes in. The lefter you go, the more popular methods of reasoning adopted from shitty literary criticism become. One of the most popular methods is:
(M) Pick the most bigoted explanation/interpretation you can think of for anything anyone right of the left says; assert the explanation/interpretation as if it were incontrovertible fact.
So here's what they do: they think about all the features America used to have, they note the obvious fact that  one feature America used to have is that it was more racist than it now is, and they leap to the hypothesis that whoever says MAGA is saying it because they long for a more racist America. Do they really believe it's the right explanation? Or are they just making a rhetorical move in a tactical, political game? To make that distinction is to misunderstand the contemporary left. To think there's a distinction between seeking truth and seeking rhetorical victory is to be a retrograde, Western, phallogocentric Neanderthal.
Easy peasy.
There's the little problem that many people who pull this move also claim that American is not less racist than it used to be... But consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds...*
Why not explain MAGA at least partially in terms of a generalized nostalgia of a kind shared by all sorts of people in all sorts of political parties all around the world? Or as a dopey, hollow, thinly-veiled way of saying "Obama sucks"? Well...again, to ask such questions is to fundamentally misunderstand the postpostmodern left.
Oh also: because all conservatives are racist, dummy.
Why do I have to keep explaining this stuff to you?

I'm sort of shooting from the hip here, as usual of late. Don't take that for more than what it is.

In case there should be any doubt about it: I hate Trump. Dude would be beneath my contempt if my contempt did not go so very, very far down into the vasty deep.

*Of course that's not the actual Emerson quote.

Christina Hoff Sommers: Does Philosophy Have A Woman Problem?

   She's great, and she's right.
   The preponderance of the available evidence currently available to us weighs heavily against the hypothesis that the sex differential in philosophy is mostly a result of sexism, a "hostile environment," etc. Thing is that PC/social justice types have taken over the APA and many of the loudest megaphones on the web. They take the sexism hypothesis as, basically, a given. And they are not interested in honestly evaluating that hypothesis. In typical PC fashion, to question the hypothesis is to be a bigot. It is verboten.
   I'm not sure how much of the blame goes to the PCs / SJWs in philosophy, and how much goes to right-thinking philosophers who refuse to stand up to them. Philosophy requires a certain degree of bravery of a non-physical kind. But I find that not all that many philosophers have much of it--at least when it comes to standing up to the left. They seem to be ok at standing up to the right...but, then the right has little power in universities. What they're bad at, anyway, is standing up to the anger and disapproval of the left. If arguments as weak as those coming from feminists and the PC left were coming from the right, philosophers would be piling on them absolutely mercilessly.
   I shouldn't have to add: of course philosophy isn't perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. But when we ignore the impressionistic interpretations of political partisans and look at actual numbers, the case for the centrality of the sexism hypothesis virtually evaporates.

Volokh Fact-Checks Politifact's Fact-Checking of Trump on Violent Crime Stats

   Well this is disturbing.
   I mean, it's disturbing that violent crime is on the rise...but I'm not talking about that right now. I've been puzzled by Trump's claims, so I finally went and checked them out, and came across the Volokh piece.
   Et tu, Politifact?
   I've run across some things in Politifact before that caused me to raise an eyebrow and wonder whether leftish bias was in play there, as in so many other places... I think Volokh is right, and that the PolitiFact post on this issue is wrong, and avoidably so.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

RNC Night 3 [4, Whatever]: The Crackening

It's downright creepy.
Had to stop watching Trumpo.
Will watch the rest tomorrow. 
I hate everything right now.

Trump: NATO Schmato

Intersexed Person Can't Get Passport

   Dana Zzyym is intersex(ed), genuinely neither male nor female and, as a result, cannot get a passport. Needless to say, that's unjust. It's not some evil thing the government has done--it's just that people haven't previously been sufficiently aware of this condition. But everybody is now. So the policy has to change.
   Note also that the problem here, contra the Post's headline, is not that Zzyym doesn't "identify" as male or female. The "identification" nonsense is...well...nonsense... The challenge Zzyym faces is that they're really, truly, as a matter of objective fact neither male nor female--i.e. of indeterminate sex. This isn't your standard-issue women's-and-gender-studies nonsense about "gender identity"... This is an object physical condition that affects some small percentage of the population. And, incidentally, the incoherent nonsense flying around about transgenderism isn't going to make things any easier on people like Zzyym.

FL Police Shoot (Black) Man Laying On The Ground With His Hands Up As He Tries To Help His Autistic Patient

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RNC 2016: Day 3: The Unhingening

I Don't Care About Melania Trump's Plagiarism

Should I?
   It's all bullshit anyway, the whole campaign is nonsense, bullshit and bluster from top to bottom... Somebody else obviously writes this shit, then another person trains them to read the teleprompter long as they can read a few words flashing in front of their eyes, they're good to go... So they lied and said she wrote it when it seemed to go over well, and then they said she didn't write it when that suited them. Mrs. Obama didn't seem to notice...she probably didn't write her speech either.
  I mean, tactically: sure, do whatever it takes to stop Trumpo's freak show. It's dumb that we're talking about this given all the insanity that the GOP speakers have been spewing... Lucifer? Really? And do these people actually believe that the Democrats are out to intentionally destroy the country? God, I hope it's just a rhetorical pose. But I have my doubts. They've come completely unhinged.
  Anyway, I guess you play the hand you're dealt. If the Dems can score points with this, then they should score 'em.
   I dunno. That's the way it seems to me.
   Good thing that there seem to be zero countries in the world that can rise above minimal rationality. If there were any, they'd probably eat our damn lunch.

Drum: Obama Is The Guy Who Made America Work Again

   Despite the GOP carpet-bombing the economy in an effort to fulfill their prophecy of a disastrous Obama presidency.

[fixed--thanks A.]

Clinton's Veep List: Kaine and Vilsack Replace Warren and Castro?

A relief, if true.
Kaine's a bit religious for my taste, but we could do a lot worse. Castro's an empty suit, and Warren is...well, Warren...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

RNC 2016: Day 2: The Crazening

Words, they fail me

Slate/Chase Strangio: No Such Thing As Male and Female Bodies: Possibly The Stupidest Article Ever To Appear On The Intertubes

This is complete idiocy.
   Basically everything in there is wrong, and demonstrably so. Well...actually I just skimmed most of it because it was completely idiotic and I have better things to do that read such crap... So maybe "Strangio" sneaks something non-false in there somewhere...but if so, I missed it.
   The core argument turns on the fallacy of the continuum, as do most such arguments--and as do most arguments for the conclusion that races are not real. I've discussed this many times, and I'm not going to do so again here. The main point though: real natural kinds have fuzzy boundaries. Pointing to fuzzy boundaries between the sexes in no way supports the claim that the sexes are not natural kinds. What it shows--all it shows--is that the person making the argument doesn't understand the bare minimum required to discuss the issue intelligently.
   One sign of hope: as usual, the comments absolutely savage this nonsense. It's an odd situation--perfectly cogent criticisms typically dominate the comments of such things (except in the very leftiest publications)...but nothing against the PC orthodoxy is ever published in those venues...
   It's appalling rto me that we see article after article in places like Slate (not exactly the Washington Post...but not exactly Salon or Jezebel either...) presenting patently invalid arguments for the patently false PC orthodoxy about transgenderism, while we see almost exactly zero articles presenting the very clear, obvious and decisive arguments against that orthodoxy. This smacks of brainwashing IMO. Of course it might not just be an editorial decision by Slate et al.--I'm sure that part of what's going on is that people are afraid to speak out against the left's orthodoxy about transgenderism. Anyone who does will, of course, be on the receiving end of the shrill, shrieky wrath of the academic and internet left...

You Won't Believe These Five Loony Moments From the RNC!!!

These people are bat-shit crazy.

More Polls To Make You Panic: NBC News: Clinton 46-Trumpo 45

I hate everything so much

RNC: Who Will Be Crazier, the Insiders or the Outsiders?

   Thus far what's gone on inside the RNC has been batshit crazy, whereas what's gone on outside seems to have been pretty tame by comparison, and has barely gotten any coverage at all. So the expected violence--expected by me, anyway--hasn't manifested itself. Some of the usual crazies are there (e.g. Code Pink), and there's some of the currently-fashionable nonsense ("white privilege" blah blah blah)...  And of course there are some giant paper mache (sp?) heads...I don't see any giant puppets yet though...

Don't Forget

The GOP is deranged