Thursday, March 26, 2015


I'm always super-psyched to play those guys. I like Big TenElevenTwelveWhatever hoops, I really like Bo Ryan, and I'm basically a UW groupie. The Onion...Build Me Up Buttercup...Madison...the whole nine yards. I'm in general a groupie of the Public Ivies, but I'm especially a UW groupie. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to this game.
The odds are against us, of course...but should be fun.
Go Badgers...but Go Tar Heels...just a little bit more...

Ben Carson: Obama Is A Psychopath

Ben Carson, ladies and gentlemen...
Really, what does one say?
The unhinged right is unhinged...the fever swamps are feverish...sane people look crazy to crazy people...
Hell, I just don't know anymore.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Quassim Cassam: Bad Thinkers: Conspiracy Theories and Intellectual Vice

Not really much new here, but that's not the point: it's clear and (to my mind) largely true. In fact, it's the kind of stuff that prompted me to start up with this blogging crap. The comments, at a glance, are largely a trainwreck...but somebody gets big points for the handle "HP McLovincraft," that's for sure...

Justin McBrayer: Why Our Children Don't Think There Are Moral Facts

   Forgot to post this back when everybody was talking about it.
   I don't necessarily agree with absolutely every detail in there, but most of it is right, and it's stuff we here at the institute gripe about every other week or so...including the conflation of truth with proof, and the weird fact/opinion distinction that someone is pumping into students everywhere. It's not that there's no difference between a fact and an's rather that the distinction is presented as if it were exhaustive, thus covertly convincing students that there are not true/factual opinions/beliefs. Then, of course, this confusion is followed up by training students to always put moral and other normative beliefs on the "opinion" side...entailing that nothing moral can be true (or, somewhat less accurately, factual).
   What a mess. A lot of this at my own institution seems to originate in the speech communications department...but I'm not sure whether that can be generalized.

Ted Cruz To Run For Prez

Words...they fail me....

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Judith Shulevitz at NYT: In College And Hiding From Scary Ideas

This is great.
   If you think I'm exaggerating the threat posted by SJWs/neo-PCs/the contemporary illiberal left, then this is a column you need to read.
   No time to say anything about it now other than: there's an interesting observation in it about the roots of the current madness on campuses being planted by some legal thought from roughly the era of the first PC wars (the '80's and '90's).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Conservative Assault On UNC

   The NC General Assembly has long disliked UNC. And since the GOP took over, things have really gone to hell.
   Here's a piece at The New Yorker about conservatives in the state legislature directly trying to push Carolina to the right.
   Of course I actually agree with the conservatives about a lot of things at issue. I think that academia has a liberal-to-left-wing political bias, I think that's bad, and I think it should end. I also think that relativism, "social constructionism" and related incoherent quasi-philosophical positions have broadly infected academia to its detriment. And I have an extremely low opinion of the boutique niche programs that are largely driven by left-wing political activism (e.g. "gender studies")...
   However, the idea of intervention by politicians to force the university to conform to their ideological preferences is chilling. And outrageous.
   Damn it. This is not good.

Go Heels / Beat Arkansas!


Robin Morgan: I Hate Myself Because I'm White

Friday, March 20, 2015

Carolina 67 - Harvard 65

Survive: check
Advance: check

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Go Tar Heels--Beat Hahvahd

And so begins our run to the Final Four...
Should be fun to play against Amaker again!

Recent GOP Thoughts About Women ("A Lesser Cut Of Meat," "The Child's Host," etc.)

   So ****ing much facepalm
   Bonus "real men" stuff to boot!
   Though, to be fair, our research staff here at the institute has informed me that Corbin did not actually say that women are a "lesser cut of meat."
   Whew! Because---haha--I mean..that would be totally crazy! Like...throwing-feces-at-the-nice orderlies crazy...
   He actually said that women are made from a lesser cut of meat (i.e. Adam's rib (It's an ancient fable, in case you're unfamiliar...)). So--again: ha ha!--as you can see, this has been blown completely out of proportion!
  The asshat at issue has also opined that women have no place in the SC legislature, belonging, instead, "at home making cookies" or...are you ready for an oldie but a goodie? Here it is...a blast from the past...and I past...: "barefoot and pregnant."
   I am not going to say anything else about this because I cannot think of anything to say that does not contain a large number of curse words.
   There's other stuff from other Cretaceous cretins in there too if you're not too worried about your blood pressure...

Forbes: Duke's Strategy Of Constantly Fouling Is Ruining College Hoops

   I think this has a pretty good chance of being right...though I have to say, we've played MSU a lot, and I've never noticed them using this strategy:
Michigan State and Duke headline the NCAA’s version of Wrestlemania. They are by no means alone but stand as highly visible examples of the problem of college basketball turned wrestling match. Putting the metaphor into tangible terms, the graphic below shows scoring of the median ACC and Big 10 teams from one year before the introduction of the 3-point shot (1985-86 season) to the present. Scoring jumped up with the introduction of the 3-point shot, as intended, there has been a steady decline over the past 20 years as more teams jumped on the hold-grab-bump-chuck defensive bandwagon that reaches an art form at places like Duke and Michigan State. 
How did college basketball get this way? Coaches figured out a simple but powerful idea. If a team fouls 20 times, they may have 20 fouls called on them. If they foul 200 times, they may have about 20 fouls called on them. Of course, teams didn’t jump straight to 200 fouls per game. In the early 1980s, teams like Louisville and Georgetown stepped up their full court pressure with more aggressive traps. Duke followed suit by the late 80s and early 90s with half court defense showcasing a lot of hands and bumps. From these beginnings, teams like Kentucky and Arkansas took fouling to the next level, essentially making it a continuous process, especially with the use of deep benches and interchangeable players. In recent years, Michigan State has refined the bear-hugging, wrestling approach to defense.
   I tend to blame Krzyzewski & co. for this...but I'm tempted to blame the NCAA and the refs more. I's dishonorable...but if the officials are letting you get away with it...I do understand the view that, so long as you're not hurting anyone, you do what you do to win and leave up to the refs to call it. I certainly don't want the Heels playing like that...but I do understand... And, if this sketch of a timeline is right, then it may just be that K thought: well, others are getting away with we might as well do it, too...
   My own view is that there's another component to K's strategy, and that's the constant snarling at the refs. Every coach works the refs...but K is particularly...passionate...about it. It's hard to ignore that kind of pressure, especially when you're making fast judgment calls like those involved in officiating. If K can reduce the number of fouls called on his team by even 1 more per game than the other coach can, then it's probably a winning strategy (though, again, a dishonorable one...). This might work particularly well in conjunction with the effect described by Goff: it may very well be that what the snarling does is work to make the refs think twice about letting Duke's foul total creep above that of the other team. So the strategy, overall, is to foul a lot more, thus getting those benefits, and raise the psychological cost to the officials of calling fouls on Duke, thus lowering the odds that the refs will have the temerity to violate the call-about-the-same-number-of-fouls-on-each-team principle. (Which, of course, they do's a tendency, not an inviolable rule...) If such a strategy garners even a few extra points per game, then, given that there seems to be little real cost to it, it would be worthwhile. Though, again, dishonorable...
   I, of course, am not objective about this, however...  Ought to be possible to cast some light on it statistically...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Evangelical Plans To Mobilize 1,000 Pastors To Run For GOP in '16

Now this is scary

"Listen and Believe"

Now that's a creepy rallying cry...

Care About College Basketball? Root For Iowa State, Villanova, Notre Dame and North Carolina

The NCAA tournament this season will determine a champion (like always), leave you fuming over a pile of torn-up bracket confetti (like always) and reduce your Thursday work production to Tommy Callahan levels (like always). What is different is that this year’s tournament, after a season of noise about how to make college basketball more aesthetically appealing, will provide a referendum on style.
Once they put aside educational allegiances and office-pool interests, college basketball fans should root for the handful of dangerous teams who play with a combination of pace and skill that doesn’t require toothpicks to keep eyelids open. Winners spawn imitators. If those teams do well, it may convince coaches to reverse trends that have undermined the sport.
“College basketball is slower, more grinding, more physical and more, well, offensive than it has been in a long, long time,” Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis wrote early this month. Scoring dropped to its lowest point since 1952. Television ratings plunged. The end of the game, more often than not, turned into a hideous menagerie of senseless timeouts and desperate fouls.
North Carolina’s blue-blood status may make the Tar Heels difficult to root for, but Coach Roy Williams always has been a proponent for exciting basketball. His athletic Tar Heels lack shooting this season, but they always push the tempo. You’re never forced to watch North Carolina hammer the ball at the top of the key while the shot clock ticks down.