Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Belle Waring Is Full of Shit: Another Anti-Chait Screed...This Time, Sadly, At Crooked Timber


HE'S A WHITE GUY!!!!!111

Really, honestly...the responses to Chait's widely-read piece are almost uniformly horrendous. It's like each one is a joke column setting out to prove Chait right...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Behold!: The "Demands" Of the "University of Color"/"Decolonized University"

So very much facepalm, all in one place...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Carolina 72 - Wisconsin 79

Awww....I has teh sad...
Great game! Extremely fun to watch. Heels were out of their mind from 3, especially Marcus Paige, of course...  One a very brief second-half collapse of about a minute and a half...but that was too much against the Badgers. That's a really good team right there. Still, if we could have hit a couple of crucial free throws, things might have turned out differently. A blast to watch, though...
We should get everybody back for next year...and then it's Katie bar the m*********in' DOOR!
Congrats to the Heels and the Badgers on a great game.

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 opinion....it'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 here...so...much...
   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 mean...like...Dark-Ages-level 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 mean...it'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 it...so 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 violate...it'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.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Carolina 82 - Notre Dame 90

   Bleh. That 26-3 run was awful.
   ND's a good team and they played a good game and congratulations to 'em. They shoot a lot of 3s, but they're not boring--they can run and drive and pass well and are just generally a fun team to watch.
   Too bad. Looked like we were firmly in control, but then everything kind of fell apart for about 5 minutes, too close to the end of the game to come back. Obviously this has been a recurring problem this year...
   Ah, well--on to that other tournament...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Carolina 71 - Virginia 67 !!!!!!!!!

   What a game!
   That's the best I think I've seen Carolina play all year. Finally all the parts seemed to come together.
   Granted, Anderson isn't healthy, and it's a different game if he is. He was so banged up that I was actually surprised to see him playing. If he's healthy...well...lucky for us that he wasn't...
   (Incidentally, one of my favorite bits of the game came around the 4:30 mark when Brice flew out of bounds and crashed into the seats Anderson immediately followed him right on out of bounds to help him up. Good kid. I like to see that kind of sportsmanship.)
   Incidentally: cat-dang d00k... When you want 'em to lose, they win, and when you finally want 'em to win they lose... Wanted another shot at 'em...but no such luck... Instead it'll be the Irish...
   Playing against Notre Dame in the the ACC tournament...strange days indeed...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Occasional Book Reviews: M. R. Carey, The Girl With All The Gifts

   I read this on the recommendation of S. rex.
   It didn't sound good to me, so I put it off until I was desperate... But when I finally did read it, I liked it very much. In particular, I liked the clever business associated with the title. This is a zombie novel, but it's also a novel novel--an actual novel--one of the only actual bits of zombie literature. (I'd include in that category only Zone One, by Colson Whitehead, which I really enjoyed, and Handling the Dead, by J. A. Lindqvist, which I didn't).
   Anyway, philosoraptor say: check it out.

Tar Heels - Wahoos!!!

The best game of the year!

UVa is scary, but we had 'em licked previously, and couldn't close. So who knows? Also, I can't believe Anderson is at 100%...

Carolina 70 - Louisville 60

Good game. Heels were able to close, which they haven't been able to do a lot this season.
Nice work Heels!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

GOP Senators Surprised By Receiving Criticism For Having Done Something Idiotic

(via /r/politics)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Go Tar Heels -- Beat BC

It's still possible that the Heels might get it together...
I'm still high on this team. I think they're a bunch of good kids, and I'm sorry to see them have such a hard time. It's also too bad in that you really get to know a team a lot better in victory than in defeat. In post-game interviews after losses, it's almost always the same sad, subdued grim determination or resignation...
Go Tar Heels--I believe in you!

The "Open Letter" To The Iranian Government: Idiotic Even By Contemporary GOP Standards

   There is so much facepalm in that thing that I don't even know where to begin...
   But Fred Kaplan does.
   This massively moronic missive should really be titled An Open Letter To Barack Obama In The Guise Of An Open Letter To Iran. As usual, and as Kaplan notes, the primary goal here is to count coup against Obama. Once again let me note: the contemporary GOP is deranged. They have lost their shit. They are nuts.
   As Kaplan points out, the letter is a fairly clear indication that the GOP is "utterly unsuited for national leadership." As if we needed more evidence of this...
   It's as if a bunch of College Republicans took hold of the helm of the GOP...which is, come to think of it, probably exactly what happened...
   And the cherry on top of the whole thing is that it appears to be illegal (18 U.S. Code section 953)...

Homeopathy Not Effective For Treating Any Condition


Of course this presupposes the evil Western "scientific" prejudice that effectiveness is the goal of medical treatment...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Angry Thought Germs

I think this is pretty interesting. In general, I find this kind of strategy interesting, though often dangerous. The general strategy is: abstract away from the most important aspects of something in order to think about some structure that's normally ignored. Abstracting away from the content of thoughts and arguments is a mistake if you do it too much, but, IMO, enlightening in this case, handled well. I'm not sure the assertions made in the video are true...but some of them strike me as such at first glance. Seems like it's worth a look, I say.
(The strategy in question goes wrong, for example, in the "strong program" (aka "strong programme"...the British spelling seems to have been adopted as orthodox, even in the States sometimes) in the sociology of belief (aka the "sociology of knowledge" or "sociology of scientific knowledge"). Those folks abstract away from the content of beliefs for reasons similar to those in the video...but then refuse to come back out of the rabbit hole, thus crashing into incoherence. So don't do that sort of thing...)

Justise Winslow's Flagrant Fouls

   Well, I kinda liked Winslow early on. And several times I've said that, especially with the departure of flop-prone Rasheed Sulaimon, this is the least-unlikable Duke team I can recall...
   But I've got to say, Winslow is out of control.
   Of course there was the obvious, outcome-altering foul against Tokoto, opening up a huge lane for Jones to go to the hoop, with 27 seconds left in regulation regulation during the game at Cameron...and don't miss the play with 3.5 seconds left in OT--could very easily have been called a foul on Winslow against Paige...but wasn't. But there didn't seem to be any intent to injure there.
   Thus those fouls contrast starkly with Winslow's kick in the gut to Brice Johnson, and his leg sweep against Justin Jackson: link. That first, flying kick is total bullshit. A kick like that--even though a kind of push kick--low to the abdomen can easily put someone down hard. I'm amazed that that was no a flagrant 2...but it was obviously at least a flagrant 1. Winslow should have been out for the game. Instead, he merely got a PF.
   Then, of course, there's this, which absolutely astonished me when I saw it during the UVa game: what very much looks like an MMA heel lock against Anderson. Anderson's reaction(s) are great...but Winslow compounds his BS foul with a BS reaction pretending that he has no idea what the matter could possibly be...
   Then there was the flagrant foul against Miami that could have seriously injured McClellan on the break...but, once again, it was called a normal PF...
   Look, this stuff happens in hoops...but this Winslow business is bullshit and needs to stop. It's appalling enough that Winslow is pulling it, but doubly appalling that the refs are letting him get away with it.
   Another layer on all of this, of course, is that--at least according to one common view--it's not entirely uncharacteristic of Duke. Consider, notoriously, the Bloody Hansbrough game: link.  (I went back and forth on this for years, and spent a lot of time arguing that it was plausibly inadvertent. For the past year or two, however, I've become convinced that it simply wasn't. I am fairly strongly inclined to believe that it was an intentional shot. Henderson simply does not appear to be going for the ball. His arm is crooked, and he leads with his forearm. Of course we can't be certain...but my current view is that it is likely--fairly likely, in fact--to have been intentional.) [Go to 1:47--the point at which the loathsome Billy Packer says "you can see right there he was going for the ball"--in fact, what you can see right there is that he is not going for the ball at all...]
   Then, of course, there's the famed Laettner stomp...(ugh...Buzzfeed link...but whatever...)...
   I'm not objective about Duke, because I kind of don't like them...but part of the reason I kind of don't like them is this crap. K's attitude, so far as I can tell, is very close to win at any cost. The constant snarling at the refs is for the very purpose of minimizing foul calls (both in terms of quantity and severity) against them. And if you can, in effect, get a discount on fouls, it makes sense to make more of them...  Every coach works the refs...but not like K...  A low-level ACC ref I once had a discussion with on the web claimed: if you're not established, and you cross K, your gigs to ref ACC games are likely to be minimized...
   TBF, Tyus Jones said that the team had a talk with Winslow after the Carolina game. So that's good. But the players shouldn't have to do this. Roy, for example, wouldn't stand for this mess. K though....well, who knows? I'd imagine that this is getting enough press that, even from a purely prudential perspective, he'd need to put a stop to it...

Florida Administration De Facto Bans The Terms 'Climate Change', 'Global Warming'

   GOP Newspeak...
   Soon even thinking about climate change will be impossible...
   Even if you are a CC-denialist, you can't be in favor of this lunacy. You should want free and open dialog. After all, you think the facts are on your side...

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Carolina 77 - Duke 84

   Daggum it--played pretty well, but Duke played better. One again we couldn't keep our turnovers under control. We looked confused against an unremarkable press, but mostly they were unforced.
   Still just can't quite get it all together...Berry and Pinson not quite integrated back in seamlessly, unsurprisingly. It is, of course, possible for this team to start firing on all cylinders in the tournament(s)...but needless to say, that might not be a particularly smart bet...
   I'm concerned that the UK/Duke one-and-done model might be even tougher than I thought... I don't mind a OAD or perhaps even two at the outside...but I hope we don't have to choose between going down that road and taking a back seat to UK and Duke...

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Go Tar Heels, Beat The d00kies

   Good game last time. Too bad it ended with 15 uncalled Winslow Fouls that cost us the game... (e.g.)
   Carolina is honoring Coach K tonight on account of his 1k wins. I'm glad to see that.
   I say Heels 75-70 tonight....though, given that the rule seem to be no fouls called on d00k late in the game...it does make things difficult... Better be up by 10 and continue to play well in the final minutes...

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Kaplan: Netanyahu's Deadly Gambit


I basically think that Kaplan is right here, and really has Netanyahu's number on this one...  But, then, I'm not completely neutral...  I basically think that BN is a pretty good guide to the truth with respect to the Middle East... If he believes that p, accept not-p and you've got a pretty fair chance of being right.
FWIW, I'm rooting for this deal.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Summers: The Robots Are Coming To Take Our Jobs

Drum's summary