Thursday, June 30, 2016

So Much For The Better Off Unarmed Argument: CCW-Holder Takes Down Mass Shooter

Just one case, so I'm kind of cheating.

Brexit, Elitist Rage, and Democracy

   Again, I neither deserve nor have a position on all this.
   But, watching from afar and only semi-paying attention...this doesn't seem obviously wrong to me.
   Leave may have been the wrong decision. It may have clearly been the wrong decision. It may have been obviously and disastrously wrong for all I know... But viewing it all rather casually, it didn't look that way. I'd have thought it would be easier to make the case if it were so undeniably catastrophic.
   To repeat: maybe I just needed to actually pay attention.
   But the post-referendum explosion of anger against Leave voters...there's some weird stuff in there.
   DJ assures me that it really is a disaster... I suppose I really ought to try to understand it all better.

Clinton 44-Trump 38?

I gotta theory about this stuff. I hypothesize that there are semi-decided voters who think things like "I'm more for Hillary than I am for Trump...but not like twice as much for Hillary as I am for Trump." If the polls started to show Hillary doubling-up Trump, such a person might swing to Trump. This would tend to keep a race closer than it might otherwise be. Roughly, such a person would be thinking about voting in terms of the percentages. You might get a situation in which a person who's more for candidate A than for candidate B might vote like so:  A and B are close, vote for A. A gets too far ahead of B, vote for B. A leaves B in the dust: don't waste vote on B (vote some unspecified other way).

"Microaggression" Nonsense At Carolina

Coupla things:
   First, Carolina says this isn't policy, it's some kid of "research." My concern is that this sort of thing pervades universities, infecting them via several vectors. One way it gets entrenched is via low-level administrators. It shows up all over the place, in brochures, on posters, on websites, people start talking this way, it worms its way into their minds...and then it's a hop, skip and a jump to policy. It doesn't even really have to be if it's got a grip on hearts and minds.
   Second, it's most common to make fun of the 'micro-' part of "microaggression"...but the real problem is the '-aggression' part. The stuff listed is almost never a matter of any type of aggression. It's more like annoyance. At worst it's about someone being an asshole. But the actual examples aren't instances of aggressiveness.
   This is typical of the PCs / social justice activists: tactical exaggeration. It's not that some of the things they gesture at could be annoying or irksome. Others are harmless...but of course it's always possible to spin out some story about about theoretical bad intentions and possible hurt feelings.  The problem isn't that there's nothing there at all. The problem is that possible problems are misrepresented as probable problems, and annoyance is misrepresented as aggression.
   If PCs / SJWs didn't sit around obsessing about the motes in their neighbors' eyes, we wouldn't be plagued by this nonsense.

Yet Another "Hate-Crime" Hoax: Calum McSwiggan Edition

   I never read about these on the right. They are extremely common on the left. This seems to require an explanation.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


These damn things are called gabions (GAY-bee-uns), just so you know.
(If you go to Home Depot and ask for "some of those chicken-wire cubes full of rocks" they will only kind of know what you are talking about.)

RIP Reality-Based Community: Liberal Attacks On (Social) Science

Quinnipiac: Clinton 42-Trump 40


Impromptu Star-Spangled Banner At The Lincoln Memorial

Academic BS Watch: "Comradeship of C*ck"

So here's something from PHILOS-L:
Comradeship of Cock? Gay Porn and the Entrepreneurial Voyeurwith Stephen Maddison July 14, 2016. 6.30-8.30pm
Open School EastThe Rose Lipman Building43 De Beauvoir RoadLondon N1 5SQ
Thirty years of academic and critical scholarship on the subject of gay porn have produced one striking consensus, which is that gay cultures are especially ‘pornified': porn has arguably offered gay men not only homoerotic visibility, but a heritage culture and a radical aesthetic. At the level of politics and cultural dissent, what’s ‘gay’ about gay porn now? This paper will explore whether processes of legal and social liberalization, and the emergence of networked and digital cultures, have foreclosed or expanded the apparently liberationary opportunities of gay porn.
This is the final seminar in the Radical Cultural Studies series supported by Rowman & Littlefield International. The seminar is free. The Rose Lipman building is fully wheelchair accessible
Dr Debra Benita Shaw
Reader in Cultural Theory
Co-director, Centre for Cultural Studies Research
Editor, Radical Cultural Studies
School of Arts & Digital Industries,
University of East London
Docklands Campus
1-4 University Way
Not making that up.
Got nothing against gay and nothing against pr0n... Contemporary academia, OTOH...

What Are Trump Voters Thinking?

   Largely this, so far as I can tell.
   Many liberals agree with the PC left that all conservatives are RACISTRACISTRACIST, and the only reason anyone could vote for Trump is RACISMRACISMRACISM. I've begun to worry that there's no way to wake the left from its delusions about this sort of thing. The PC / "social justice" left is utterly irrational, and I'm not really sure how much better actual liberals are, if any. An unshakable faith in your own virtue is a dangerous thing. Conservatives are like a different tribe to many liberals--they've heard of them, and seen them on t.v...but that's about it. Their thoughts and motives are largely imaginary.

CDS: Benghazi

   Wow, that's weird--the GOP's latest Biggest Clinton Scandal Ever is still nothing. It started out bogus, it was bogus for two years, and it ends bogus. And it only cost the country $7 million! If, that is, you don't add in the cost of all the time wasted by legislators. On the bright side, I guess, it does provide fairly conclusive proof that the GOP is still batshit crazy and eaten up with CDS. And, of course, ODS. And, undoubtedly, XDS for any value of 'X' that secures the Democratic nomination any time in the foreseeable future.
   I really can't emphasize enough how easy it would be to lure me away from the Democrats... All it would take would be a minimally rational, semi-centrist conservative party. I'd be all ears.
   But the GOP is still crazy after all these years, and there's just no sign of that changing any time soon. In fact, we now have the old crazy--the kind that gave us BenghaziBenghaziBENGHAZI!!!!111--and the new crazy, the Trump crazy. The GOP has become an even bigger train wreck than it was...which a priori I would have thought impossible. They might still redeem themselves somewhat by dumping Trump and accepting the consequences...but I'm not optimistic.
   So we're stuck putting up with the Democratic crazy for the foreseeable future because it's our only option, notably less crazy--way, way less--than the other crazy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Drum: Hilary Clinton Continues To Not Be A Shady Character

Scotts Against Second Independence Referendum

Obama Cautions Against Hysteria Over Brexit Vote

University of Michigan: Voluntary? Mandatory? Civility Pledge, "Bias Incident" Reporting System, "Inclusive Language" Campaign

Michigan went crazy during the paleo-PC outbreat of the '80s and '90s...looks like history is repeating itself.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Rachel Lu: What Brexit Says About The New Tribalism

   I think this is pretty good.
   I have no sympathy for tribalism whatsoever...I've just become very concerned about the ways in which liberal (or "progressive") cosmopolitanism is manifesting itself.
   Of course in the states we're seeing some extreme insanity from the left...and that's probably tinting my view of everything right now.

George F. Will Leaves GOP Over Trump

I've always...well...usually...had a soft spot for Will.
Good on him.

Brexit Butthurt

   Wow, I did not have any idea that the Leave option was so idiotically disastrous and inevitably destructive of Western civilization itself... And racist--totally, completely, and inherently racist in every way. And old! That's worse, of course. Old, old, old. Why to old people even get to vote, I wonder?
   Anyway, if I'd have realized that there were exactly zero sound reasons for leaving and a nondenumerable infinity of deductively valid arguments from indubitable premises for staying, I'd certainly never have admitted that I had any fond feelings for Leave. I mean seriously.
   I'm just astonished to discover that there are so many naive, stupid, ignorant racists in the UK. And old! Don't forget old... Fucking olds.
   Frankly, reading the coverage, I can't believe that the world has survived this catastrophe. It's clearly an extinction-level event economically and culturally speaking.
   I really can't believe that the UK ends like this. It stood alone against Hitler, but then destroyed itself via referendum. In the end, I suppose the UK really was the only political entity that could take down the UK...
   Though it may still be saved by the petitions to vote again! This would be an interesting revolution in democracy: vote...and then, if you lose, vote to vote again! Presumably until you old stupid racist racists can manage to get it right. Seriously. I can't believe nobody thought of that before. We're even getting stuff promoting the petition on PHILOS-L, which used to be the list announcing conferences, calls for papers, etc., but is now the list that announces conferences, calls for papers, and things of interest to leftists. Come to think it, there's actually quite a bit of overlap there...

   I'm probably getting too weird and cranky to pay attention to political shit anymore, TBH. I really don't have a real opinion on this--and don't deserve one. But damn, the coverage has been bizarre.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Clinton 51-Trump 39

The gap ought to be a lot bigger...but I'll take it.

Sacramento: Crazy Lefties Make Nazis Look...Well...Slightly Less Terrible...By Comparison

   So apparently a gang of about 120 people possibly called By Any Means Necessary attacked a group of about 30 neo-Nazis in Sacramento. The Nazis--a group called The Traditionalist Worker Party--had a permit for their demonstration. The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the TWP as a hate exactly hard to figure that out... Also, the SPLC has gone crazy lefty and can't really be trusted anymore.
   A representative (the leader?) of By Any Means Necessary explicitly says that the group will try to shut down such events even if they're legal. Don't miss her citing one of the group's chants in support of their position. (Note: the chant does not begin 'hey hey, ho ho...' so I'm not sure it's a legal chant for a leftist organization...)
   So that's what yer contemporary lefties think of the First Amendment, boys and if that weren't fairly clear already...
   Several people injured, some having been stabbed.
   Kind of interesting sidebar: I think that the leader of the TLP is the same kid who tried to get a white student center started at one of the Maryland schools a couple of years back. Also, when he gave the TLP's blurb on the news, I couldn't tell whether he was with the crazy righties or the crazy lefties. Of course, the crazy extremes are often pretty damn hard to tell apart...
   Though if a group of 120 Nazis attacked a group of 30 lefties, I don't think the media reaction would be as subdued as this one has been...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

New Barnard Curriculum's Lefty Spin

   Spewing out trendy-sounding general education curricula is a cottage industry at universities. How else are all those unnecessary administrators going to fill their time?

   Watch!  The video I guess. If you want to. I dunno.
   Hear! The provost say "Students needn't learn how to know, they need to learn how to think."
   Explain! To me what the hell that means.

   Hints that the curriculum is mixed up with the postpostmodern tangle that has its claws in academia abound. One thing such folk love is so-called "local knowledge." See...local is good! And other cultures are good. What's bad is the West. Especially the U.S. You want to minimize that stuff. 
   And, of course, there's really nothing about locality that's relevant to thinking per se. "Thinking locally" doesn't make any sense except in conjunction with bad, idiosyncratic epistemology that tries to localize reason itself. Of course you might be interested in facts about your locality...or you might be interested in thinking about your locality...but your locality has nothing to do with thinking itself. Principles of reason are universal if they are real. But universality, you see, is oppressive and hegemonic. That's the point of all this really. Deeply (well, not very deeply...) buried in all this is the postmodern/postpostmodern distaste for universality, objectivity, reality. 
   Then, of course, there's "thinking about social difference," another left-spun aspect of the thing. It's not that there's nothing important about "difference" (though it's hard not to be cynical about this damn mantra of the political and intellectual left, originating I guess in Derrida)... It's rather something like this:  Here's a chunk of the curriculum that ought to be about society. Now, among the things that are interesting about societies are their similarities and differences. "Difference," however, has become a kind of quasi-religious obsession of the postpostmodern left. And here's a school that not only follows along with this crackpot trend by overemphasizing "difference" makes it the main theme of the whole damn unit on society. The right-wing analog would be a university calling its social science distribution requirement something like Thinking About Autonomous Individual Children of God And The Free Markets And Other Institutions In Which They Participate.
   Then, of course, there's the fact that these highly-politicized bits of the curriculum are characterized as units about thinking. But I'm done ranting dammit.
   Oh...and then there's the over-engineered bullshitty nature of the whole thing...something only administrators could love...let alone believe in...  And here Anonymous's point about the alliance of the campus left and administrators is relevant... 

Trump Can't Recall Saying That He Has One Of The World's Best Memories

Not making this up

[h/t S. rex]

The Mystic On Hillary's E-mail

This was very helpful to me.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Posse Ad Esse With Trumpo The Clown

Hu-hu-hu-hey, kids!
Did you know that possibly p therefore p?

Trump:  Clinton was asleep during the Benghazi attack
Holt:  How do you know that?
Trump: She might have been. It went on for a long time.

Trump: Clinton's private server was hacked.
Holt: How do you know that?
Trump: It might have been. How do you know it wasn't?

Brexit Wins

Holy crap!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Don't Laugh: I Have A Serious Reason For Raising My Cats Gender-Neutral"; Or: A Silly And Ineffective Way To Neuter Your Cats

   As it turns out, she does not have a serious reason.
   Not, at least, if 'serious' here means worthy of being taken seriously.
   There's so much to ridicule here that I'm not even going to get started.'s one thing: lefties insist on the sex/gender distinction when it suits them, and throw it out the window when it suits them. Oh and, their most effective tactic: simply use 'gender' to mean whatever the hell they want it to mean in order to persuade people of their favored conclusions.
   All these really dumb mistakes are easy to avoid with just a little bit of thought...but most people (enthusiastic PC shriekers included) don't put even a little bit of thought into it. Add to that unshakable devotion to certain conclusions...and what you get is a complete and total mess. A tangle of downright dumb conclusions.
   And stuff like this is really stupid even if you think that it's kinda dumb to project stuff about masculinity and femininity on your f*cking pets...  Not that there aren't behavioral differences between male and female animals--including humans. Because there are. And all the women's studies courses in the world won't change that.* But it's still kinda silly--though hardly a cardinal sin--to exaggerate such things.
   Also: I'm going to resist the urge to ridicule the cat thing for "virtue signaling." I think it's a handy concept, but I also think we ought to psychologize less about our interlocutors.
   Sheesh. I think a lot of stuff...

* Though, of course, feminism (in the guise of "women's studies" and elsewhere) also tends to switch back and forth between the there are no sex differences position and there are lots of sex differences position, again, depending on which they prefer at the moment.**

** For the record--though I don't think we should typically offer such assurances--I'm an advocate of a kind of hard-headed egalitarian feminism. It's too bad that position isn't very prominent in public discussions anymore...

Ilya Somin: Political Ignorance Haunts The 2016 Election

Just a small selection of the relevant ignorances

Donald Trump, Bully

   Well, when you're wrong, you're wrong.
   I was thinking about this the other day, and I came to think that my objections to calling Trump a bully were basically two:
   First, we haven't really seen him seek to bully anyone--that is, dominate and humiliate someone weaker than him (a) recreationally and (b) over an extended period of time. What I've seen him be is an asshole. That's different...but I suppose it's the same impulse, minus the opportunity afforded by school/childhood...  (Kinda weird that what's assault and stalking and psychopathy in adults is mere bullying in kids...)
   Second--and this doesn't go to the truth of the charge, but, rather, its prudence...which is a completely different thing: I think it's unutterably whiny for an adult to accuse another adult of bullying. Trump's a stupid asshole...he's repulsive...his entire persona is like one one big, insistent request--nay, demand!-- for a punch in the face...I couldn't agree more with all that... And it does all reveal a personality that might very well manifest itself bully-wise in different circumstances (and, in fact, it obviously did)...
   ...But one of the characteristic Democratic/liberal vices is wimpiness... And when Dems call Trump a bully, to my ear it makes them sound like they're still scared of that mean kid that tormented them in third grade... Call him an asshole, call him a crook, call him a fraud and a joke and a representation of everything that's wrong with growing up rich...
   ...But calling him a, as an adult...not someone with the spirit of a bully or the grown-up version of a bully or whatever...I dunno, clangs off my ear.
   Which is not to say that I wasn't wrong, because I'm agreeing that I was. But that's that reformed and tidied-up version of my thinking on that point, FWIW.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Please Tell Me That The House Dems Are Not Actually Staging A "Sit-In"

   I'm going to bed now.
   In the morning, this will all turn out to have been a bad, stupid dream.
   Of course the House Republicans have been insufferable pricks for the last 20-odd years...
...but that doesn't mean that the rules don't apply.
   Is this campus lefty crazy trickling up to the very House?
   But I don't really understand what's going on. Maybe there's some hidden way in which the Dems are right...  There'd better be... Otherwise the DCCC isn't getting it's  damn usual damn contribution from the damn Smith household.

Science Has Next To Nothing To Say About Moral Intuitions

This is ok. Not great, but possibly worth reading.

Drum Loses It Over Brexit Vote

   Uh...those supporting the Brexit are "resentful," "racist," "bitter," "misanthropes"... the Brexit somehow generates "the worst imaginable world"...?
   This has to be a joke...but I'm not getting it.

"In College Turmoil, Signs Of A Changed Relationship With Students"

Dunno whether the two problems are linked, but both are problems.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Better Never To Have Been: An Interview With Anti-Natalist David Benatar; With Cranky Comments About A Really Stupid Argument

   You'd think things couldn't get more eye-rolley than a discussion between a vegan and an anti-natalist...  But, just really as a side note here...they can...
   I'm thinking of a comment I saw somewhere on Daily Nous (but am too lazy to look up) (also: I'd have to read the Daily Nous...) in which...well, let's start with the fact that Benatar had been accused of being a racist on very flimsy grounds. Then in the discussion...because it was the Daily Nous...he ended up being accused of being a misogynist as well. Someone objected to this, whereupon someone else made perhaps the very worst argument I've ever seen offered in philosophy. Went like this: Benatar thinks we shouldn't have kids. But in many places women's status is linked to their ability to reproduction. So if Benatar's arguments were accepted, the perceived value of women might decrease (in those areas). Therefore Benatar is a misogynist.
   Yeah I'm not making that up.
   I'm not entirely sure who made that I won't name names. I'm fairly sure...and the person had a reputation among saner folk for not being the sharpest tool in the ol' shed... Something I probably don't have to point out, come to think of it. Appallingly, the comment was, as I recall, allowed to pass without objection. So...yeah. There are some reasons to worry about the PC-ification of professional philosophy.

Brave Man Endures AR-15 Recoil To The Face

This is me still complaining about that BS "What's It Like To Fire An AR-15?" article.
As I noted...a "bruised shoulder" is unlikely.

Muzzled Professors At the University Of Northern Colorado

No Brexit Because HITLER!!!

Well there's this from Max Boot.
No Brexit because HITLER!!!!!
The EU was disunited just before HITLER!!!!!
Who'll protect the Baltic states from HITLER PUTIN???
But what about natural gas, huh?
Am I wrong or is Boot's argument pretty crap?

   I'm not passionately in favor of the Brexit. I don't deserve an opinion on the matter because I don't understand the issues. In my gut, I'd kind of like to see  that it's possible to reverse the trend toward more centralized control. Like many Americans, I've got a strong sentimental attachment to to England... It doesn't bother me that Spain and Finland are partially controlled from Brussels...but the UK is different.
   This is just a report on my psychology. I have no good reasons. Overall, Brexit might be a bad thing. But part of me will breathe a sigh of relief at tangible evidence that we're not all on track to be sucked up into some kind of Political Borg.
   Very irrational.
   No need to rub it in.
   I'm well aware.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Brice Johnson

A Brutal Month For Captain Combover

It's gonna be a massacre.

What's It Like To Fire An AR-15?

Really nothing at all like this world-class pansy describes it:
   [The gun shop owner] loves the AR-15 for cops, soldiers, hunters and target shooters. “It’s fun to shoot something like that,” he said.
   Not in my hands. I’ve shot pistols before, but never something like an AR-15. Squeeze lightly on the trigger and the resulting explosion of firepower is humbling and deafening (even with ear protection).
   The recoil bruised my shoulder. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary case of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.
   Even in semi-automatic mode, it is very simple to squeeze off two dozen rounds before you even know what has happened. In fully automatic mode, it doesn’t take any imagination to see dozens of bodies falling in front of your barrel.
   Yeah no.
   Some have light trigger pulls and some don't.
   They're not "deafening" with even decent ear protection--as you have to wear shooting anything, even a small handgun, especially indoors. And I'm sure the gun shop didn't just stick cotton in his ears.
   The recoil did not "bruise [his] shoulder." The .223 just doesn't have much recoil at all. If you held it an inch from your shoulder in order to maximize the impact, I guess it *might* give you a boo-boo...if you have unusually soft and delicate skin. 
   There was no "smell of sulfur and destruction." There's no sulfur in modern propellant. 
   And I doubt he hit anything, so there was probably very little destruction either. 
   He didn't get PTSD, even briefly, unless he's the fraidiest cat who ever walked the globe.
   And it is NOT "simple to squeeze off two dozen rounds before you even know what has happened."  You have to pull the trigger two dozen times to fire two dozen rounds. That's not something you really do involuntarily. Remember, this guy is not fighting for his life in Fallujah. He's plinking at the range.
   And he has no idea what it's like on full auto because he didn't shoot it in full auto, as his cagey construction makes clear. He writes "In full auto mode it doesn't take any imagination to see dozens of bodies falling..." when what he had to mean is "It doesn't take any imagination to see dozens of bodies falling in full auto mode..." Not that fully automatic weapons are part of this discussion.
   This kind of crap makes it hard to conduct a serious discussion about the issue. This is the dialectical equivalent of just bursting into tears at the mere mention of the AR-15. It doesn't contribute to the discussion rationally speaking...but, of course, that's not the point. The point is to rally the troops, tug at the heartstrings, preach to the choir... 
   I know there's crazy stuff on the other side too, but I happened to see this thanks to J. Carthensis. I know this is a fluff piece, but it annoyed me, so there it is.

Orlando Shooter Used A Sig MCX, Not An AR-15

   It really doesn't matter all that much...though it's odd that this at the Post squeezes that claim in the title of a story that in no way proves that it really doesn't matter all that much... Funny, huh? Guess they don't want all the anti-AR-15 gnashing of teeth to go to waste...
   (Per the rules of this crazy debate, I must add: the above snark does not mean that I have a settled position on whether we need additional gun control measures.)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"The People's Summit"

So I'm betting there were/was giant puppets, face paint, meditation and vegan options aplenty.

Do Citizens With Guns Ever Stop Mass Shootings?

   It's really the wrong question--it's asked in an overly-restrictive way. But still the answer ends up being in the affirmative.
   Many on the anti-firearm left like to assert that, in such cases, the citizen responding with lethal force is (a) guaranteed to not be able to stop the shooter, and (b) guaranteed to massacre the other innocent potential victims...and, quite possibly, every other human person on the face of the planet...    Because that's how firearms work...they can only harm innocents...
   But, in case any reasonable person out there is for some reason tempted by that fantasy Volokh, it's false.
   I shouldn't be so snarky about this. IMO derision is very effective at entrenching disconfirmed belief. We all tend to find it irksome to be proven wrong...and it's even worse if our interlocutor dances about on the grave of our cherished belief...  I certainly don't think that the anti-firearm left is wrong about everything. I think they're righter than the gun-lovin' right about many things. But the Better Off Unarmed argument is just. so. damned. stupid... It's really difficult to avoid derision in the face of such godawful thinking.
   [Insert standard complaining about counterproductivity arguments here]
   The anti-firearm left would do better to drop this absurd argument. All they're doing is making themselves look dumb. They've got much stronger points they could make. IMO they should emphasize the small number of CCW-holders, the fact that many of them are poorly-trained, etc. But pretending that it's actually worse if one of the potential victims is armed is just delusional. (Of course there's a more sensible version of the argument according to which the presence of an armed citizen merely fails to improve the situation... But that argument is also crap.)

Even A Stopped Clock: Glenn Greenwald: The FBI Was Right Not To Arrest Mateen

   Greenwald is an idiot, he hates the U.S., and he's willing to use dishonest arguments to support his positions.
   But...he's more-or-less in the vicinity of being right about this.
   I think it's an obvious point, and I was muttering to myself about it the other evening...but it's worth saying, I suppose.
   To be more precise than Greenwald: we don't know whether or not the FBI acted correctly in closing the book on Mateen. But the mere fact that he went on to commit mass murder does not show that they acted incorrectly. That is: it doesn't show that their decision was unjustified (though, of course, it shows that their prediction turned out to be false). There's nothing illegal about having stupid, anti-American political views. (This may be what piqued Greenwald's interest in this case...) If that's all the FBI found out about him when they investigated--if there wasn't decent evidence that he was likely to commit crimes--then not only is it permissible for the FBI to close the book on him and move on, it's obligatory for them to do so.
   We don't make decisions on the basis of actual future outcomes, but only on the basis of available evidence. Obviously. We don't know exactly what information the FBI had. It's possible that they should have been more suspicious of Mateen. But we can't conclude that they acted irrationally simply because they failed to predict what actually happened. Of course we might, retrospectively, conclude that we need to apply different standards of reasoning to such cases in the future...that we should be more risk-averse. But there's a trade-off between freedom and security, and there just aren't going to be any standards that catch every terrorist ahead of time yet leave the Constitution intact.
   Of course Greenwald only wants to make this point with respect to privacy, due process, etc.  I'd add: the point applies to the Second Amendment, as well.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Trumpo Needs $100k Pronto

   Buuut...that's chump change to him, right? He can find that much just by feeling around between the cushions of his couch.
   So what's the deal?

Harvey Silverglate on: The Over-regulation of Everyday Life, The Metastatic Character of Bureaucracy, and PC on Campus

Anonymous Hacks ISIS's Twitter Account; Makes It Fabulous

Now that's funny

(h/t The Mystic)

Mateen's Motives: Politicizing The Orlando Shooting

   So it sure seems like everyone is rushing to spin the shooting in whichever way (a) accords with their preconceptions and (b) is most useful to them politically.
   I kind of avoid NPR and the public radio talk shows (other than Science Friday). Maybe my mind is all out of whack, but public radio seems to me to frequently be rather slanted, and I find that annoying. But anyway, I'm not religious about it, and my 2000 Accord doesn't exactly have what you'd call a cutting-edge sound I heard part of On Point the other day. The point was clear: the shooting was all about hatred of gays and other people with non-standard sexual preferences. And definitely not about Islam so don't even suggest that bub. In the parts I heard, there was no discussion of the fact that Mateen scoped out two other possible targets. I turned it off after one of the interviewees claimed that this was (near quote) a clear message of hate against Latinos (on the grounds that many who were killed were Latino). He then seemed to suggest a Trump angle/connection. But I couldn't exactly figure out what he was saying.
   Conservatives are pushing hard on the Islam angle, which is reasonable. However there is some evidence that Mateen didn't really know much about the organizations he references (ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah). So even that isn't as clear as it might be.
   The left wants this to be about sexuality and guns...and Latinos somehow...  (Of course there are lefties out there trying to blame this on--you guessed it!--straight white men...) The right wants this to be about Islam. Everybody's jumping to spin it accordingly. In fact this seems to me like a kind of unclear case, and I'd rather reserve judgment. I'm not sure what's gained by leaping to a conclusion before we know all the relevant facts and have had some time to think about it.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Why Do People Put '-ology' Where It Doesn't Belong?

And I don't just mean on the end of 'sociology'...

  Ha ha! No, just kidding! Some of my best friends are sociologists!
  Plus I'm in philosophy,'s still "punching up" (Though I've come to be annoyed by that phrase to... Man...I'm turning in to Old Man Smith, the crotchety blogger...)
   Anyway, the one that currently bugs me most is the extremely widespread use of 'methodology' to mean 'methods.' Very few scientific studies contain anything about methodology...but it's always important to know about their methods. Methodology is the theory of methods. Almost nobody ever talks about that. But everybody likes to say 'methodology'.
   This seems to be basically the same error as using 'ideology' for 'ideas'...though it seems to me that 'ideology' has come to suggest something somewhat different than 'ideas'--'ideology' sounds political to my ear. And maybe: big and political. Maybe not. Maybe just political. I suppose the popularity of the term can be trace back to Marx?
   I suggest the Sounds Smart hypothesis to explain this.
   I think the SSH also explains why people like to say 'calculus' when they mean calculation. I first noticed this one about ten years ago. I think somebody heard the phrase 'propositional calculus', realized that 'calculus' has a more general use than they thought, and went crazy from there.
   And, of course, 'calculus' sounds way smarter than 'calculation'.
   Now this is a quality screed--not the careful observation of the use/mention distinction even during the yelling part...
   I'm changing the name of this blog to Inconsequential Shit That Pisses Me Off. Or ISTMEORAPTOR maybe.
   So I'm avoiding writing a paper in case you can't tell...

Leftward Bias In The Academy: PIRG Edition

link  (via HeterodoxAcademy)
   Many universities apparently funnel money to liberal PIRGs, often using mandatory student fees to collect the cash.

Hippos Are Predatory

Gnus to me (nsfw that one)

SACS Lifts Carolina's Probation

Jesus I'm glad to see this disaster winding down.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Conservative Delusion About Guns: Magazine Size, Reloading, And Fighting Back Against Shooters

   So here's something the pro-gun side was getting all delusional about for awhile--I'm not sure whether they're still pushing this argument or not, but I was hearing it a lot after one of the fairly recent mass shooting incidents:
It's possible to swap magazines quickly. In fact, it's possible to swap magazines so quickly that it basically doesn't open up a significant window for potential victims to fight back. So mass shootings don't give us a reason to limit magazine size.
   Call this the Mag Size Doesn't Matter argument.
  Yeeeah that's crap. Someone who's well-trained and well-prepared can swap magazines fast...if he's got good pockets...until the first few mags are used up, after which he'll have to reach farther and grope around more for them. However:
[1]  Most of these shooters are not well-trained.
[2]  You can close 40' or so in three seconds. And that's huge.
[3]  A few seconds is better than no seconds at all.
[4]  Not every attempt to swap out a magazine goes smoothly
   When I was a kid I realized that it often helps you see the principle in play if you think about the extremes. So think about it this way:
You have the option of facing one of two determined murderers:
(a) One with a Gun Of Infinite Shooting that never has to be reloaded
(b) One who is armed only with single-shot magazines--each one has to be swapped out after one shot.
   So. Which guy would you rather tangle with?
   The difference will be smaller when comparing 10-round mags to 30-round mags...but the principle still obtains.
   As I noted in that other post, the pro-gun side tends to be saner than the anti-gun side in some important ways. E.g. the anti-gun folks who accept the Better Off Unarmed argument are just flat-out delusional. However, the pro-gun side is also nutty in its own ways, and the Mag Size Doesn't Matter argument is one of them. Mag size absolutely matters.
   In fact, if mag size didn't matter, then there would be no sense in defending the legality of large magazines. If three 10-round mags were every bit as effective as one 30-round magazine, then it wouldn't matter if we outlawed the larger ones--not from an effectiveness standpoint, anyway. Why get all worked up if the smaller magazines are just as good?
   I forget that not everybody is a nerdy philosopher, and so perhaps I should make it perfectly clear that I'm not advocating any policy here. I'm not advocating a limit on magazine size, nor on "assault weapons. (Or "weapons of war," which seems to be the Dems' focus-group-tested phrase rolled out for this next phase of the debate.) I wasn't advocating any policy with the post on the Better Off Unarmed argument. And I don't think that anything I'm discussing here makes it clear what should be done. I just think that it's helpful to clear the ground clutter. I just want to shove aside the really stupid arguments so that we can think a bit more clearly about the better, more difficult ones. The Mag Size Doesn't Mater argument isn't as awful as the Better Off Unarmed argument...but it's pretty bad.

Gun Store Alerted FBI To Mateen Weeks Before Shooting

They didn't get his name, though, and had only crappy video. Not sure this really counts against the FBI. At least this indicates that he didn't fly completely under everyone's radar.

Liberal and Conservative Gun Delusions And The Better Off Unarmed Argument

   Predictably, we're seeing the Better Off Unarmed argument rear its silly head again.
   Liberals and conservatives each have their own foolish beliefs when it comes to armed response to mass shooters. Conservatives think that increasing the frequency of concealed carry is a reasonable solution to mass shootings. Liberals think that armed citizens defending themselves against mass shootings actually makes things worse.
   As for the conservative idea: it just isn't going to happen. We're simply never going to have enough people with CCWs to make it appreciably likely that there will be an armed citizen present most places a mass shooter might strike. A large percentage of the population bursts into tears at the very thought of being near a firearm. So they're out. Some of us could carry...but honestly, it's just too big a pain in the ass when the odds of needing a weapon are so very small. Hell, I'm perfectly comfortable around guns, I'm a good shot, I'm reasonable...I'm exactly the kind of person that would make everyone safer if I carried a gun. But it simply isn't worth it. I live in a low-crime area, I'll never be near a mass shooting, and I'm not going to lug around a firearm that has such a low probability of ever doing anyone any good. (Add to this that many people who own and enjoy firearms have no business having them... Think about the person recently who pulled out her gun to shoot at a shoplifter fleeing a Wal-Mart...)
   (Though, when you think of this, some of it is good: mass shootings are so rare that it really just doesn't make sense to plan for them...)
   The liberal delusion here is much, much more delusional than the conservative delusion, however. Liberals often argue that armed response by an ordinary citizen will probably make a mass shooting incident worse. This is completely wrong. It's so wrong it's almost hard to believe that anyone could actually think it. Add one citizen with a concealed handgun at the club in the Orlando shooting, and the expected number of casualties drops significantly. Add two, and it drops even further. Add one person with decent training, and the expected number of casualties goes way down. Yes, it's fairly likely that someone with a concealed weapon will accidentally hit another innocent person. What is not likely--and, in fact, not even really possible--is that he will kill 50 people and injure 50 more. That will not happen. Set up a simulation and run it a million times--you're not going to get a worse outcome than 100 casualties. Fill the club knee-deep in loaded Uzis, you're still not going to get 100 friendly-fire incidents.
   Think of it this way:  you and ten family-members are in your house. Escape is extremely difficult or impossible. A murderer is going to enter the house with an AR-15 and try to kill everyone there. You have two options:
(a)  Leave things as they are
(b) Add a person who has had a little training (the equivalent of an average CCW course) and who has handgun and wants to defend you.
   Only someone blinded by emotion and politics could even consider choosing (a). Your odds of surviving in (b) are immensely higher than your odds of surviving in (a).
   Liberals think that conservatives are irrational about firearms--and many of them are. But imagine what liberals sound like to conservatives when they repeatedly rely on the Better Off Unarmed argument. You've got to question your interlocutor's sanity if they make an argument like that. This fringe of the anti-firearm movement basically wants to argue that guns are always bad, that it is absolutely impossible for them to ever make a situation better. And that, of course, is simply false, and obviously so.

Trump Keeps Digging

   Uh...he...seems to be admitting that he thinks that Obama is helping ISIS...and insisting that he's right about it.
   Wow. This guy is flat-out delusional, even by GOP standards.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

PEC Electoral Vote Snapshot: Clinton 336, Trump 202

Or at least, non-alarming.

Science: A Masculine Disorder?

so, so much facepalm

[via NewRealPeerReview]

Friedersdorf: When "Diversity" and "Inclusion" Are Tenure Requirements

   I usually agree with CF about this sort of thing. But I very much disagree here. This stuff is, in fact, insane IMO, and I expect the reasons are obvious, so I'm not going to rant about them. Friedersdorf focuses on the fact that three students have different ideas about what would count as acting in accordance with this insane policy...but I think that's to miss the point. There are good policies people might disagree about when they try to specify what counts as acting in accordance with them (e.g.: no reckless driving). And the policy in question would be bad no matter how much agreement there might be about it. Best to go after the real flaw, says me.
   It's reasonable to have policies against professors acting in blatantly bigoted ways in class. That is, as we already agree, there's a baseline of civility and reasonability that professors must meet. But the policy Friedersdorf discusses is just nuts. It constitutes academia taking yet another step toward soft totalitarianism.
   Seriously. Everyone really ought to be alarmed as hell about this craziness.

Trumpo's "Unfavorables" Spike

Gosh, that's odd

Retraction Watch

Even though it's on Twitter, this looks interesting.
I find this via NewRealPeerReview...which...and I can't really tell what's going on because fuck Twitter it's stupid...seems to have replaced RealPeerReview...which seems to have been shut down...I'll give you three guesses why...  But I can't really tell.

Jonathan Cole: The Chilling Effect Of Fear At America's Colleges

   Worth a read, though I'm not particularly interested in psychological and sociological speculation about why illiberalism is flourishing in universities. Don't miss this part:
Today, nearly half of a random sample of roughly 3,000 college students surveyed by Gallup earlier this year are supportive of restrictions on certain forms of free speech on campus, and 69 percent support disciplinary action against either students or faculty members who use intentionally offensive language or commit “microagressions”—speech they deem racist, sexist, or homophobic. According to a free-speech survey conducted by Yale last year, of those who knew what trigger warnings are, 63 percent would favor their professors using them—by attaching advisories to the books on their reading lists that might offend or disrespect some students, for example—while only 23 percent would oppose. Counterintuitively, liberal students are more likely than conservative students to say the First Amendment is outdated.
   There's a really interesting link in there to this: Robert K. Merton, "Insiders and Outsiders: A Chapter In The Sociology Of Knowledge." Now...when I think about the sociology of (widespread) belief (incorrectly called "the sociology of knowledge" by its practitioners) I usually think about the train wreck that is the "strong programme," as represented e.g. by Barnes and Bloor. But I'm fairly far into the Merton piece thus far, and it's pretty interesting. He's basically discussing what's come to be known among feminists as "standpoint epistemology." That's a train wreck of its own...but anyway, Merton's discussion is interesting as far as I've gotten.

Wayne State Drops Math Requirement, Considers Adding 3-Credit "Diversity" Requirement

The right is trying to turn universities into job-training centers.
The left is trying to turn them into indoctrination camps.
At stake is the fate of the only institution in the Western world that is allegedly devoted to intellectual ends for their own sake.

William James On Train-Robbing (And Terrorist Attacks)

A social organism of any sort whatever, large or small, is what it is because each member proceeds to his own duty with a trust that the other members will simultaneously do theirs. Wherever a desired result is achieved by the co-operation of many independent persons, its existence as a fact is a pure consequence of the precursive faith in one another of those immediately concerned. A government, an army, a commercial system, a ship, a college, an athletic team, all exist on this condition, without which not only is nothing achieved, but nothing is even attempted. A whole train of passengers (individually brave enough) will be looted by a few highwaymen, simply because the latter can count on one another, while each passenger fears that if he makes a movement of resistance, he will be shot before any one else backs him up. If we believed that the
whole car-full would rise at once with us, we should each severally rise, and train-robbing would never even be attempted. There are, then, cases where a fact cannot come at all unless a preliminary faith exists in its coming. And where faith in a fact can help create the fact, that would be an insane logic which should say that faith running ahead of scientific evidence is the 'lowest kind of immorality' into which a thinking being can fall. Yet such is the logic by which our scientific absolutists pretend to regulate our lives!
                                                James, The Will To Believe

Trump Flips His Shit, Part Deux: The Reckoning

   I reckon he may be functionally equivalent to a crazy person is the thing. And the GOP is finally starting to realize that he may be even less reality-based than they are...
   I'm starting to feel rather more confident that Trumpo has irrevocably shot himself in his big red shoe. The contrast between Obama's calm, rational, eminently adult approach to the problem and Trump's barely rational series of puerile outbursts is almost surreal. If you juxtaposed two fictional political leaders like this in a movie, it would seem tedious and pedantic. It's very difficult to believe that any rational person can compare these men and side with Trump. But...a large minority do still seem to be doing so. And so about that rational bit...
   I've been very clear that I think Trump has been treated unfairly by the media. He's a stupid jackass of gingrichian proportions, of course...but even such a person can be treated unfairly. And I understand the urge to treat him thusly. It's an embarrassment to the nation that he'd even be considered as a distant possibility as a presidential candidate. But anyway: he's been treated unfairly in many ways. But suggesting that Obama is sympathetic to terrorists...that really ought to be the last of a long series of last straws. Aside from being insane, it's just a kind of intolerable affront to reason. Trump's simply not qualified to seriously comment on Obama's policies. Obama's playing chess on a global level and Trump's stomping his feet and insisting that it doesn't make sense how the horsey moves and only a terrorist would move it like that and if it were him he'd just make it swoop straight across the board and kill the radical Islamic king... Trump has long been an embarrassment to himself to the extent that anyone actually noticed him. Now he's an embarrassment to us all.
   I do think that that it's worth discussing the terminological issue that Trumpo and Fox "News" and those folks are all on about. What the hell is the magic phrase they want him to use? 'Radical Islam'? 'Islamic Extremism'? I can't remember and refuse to look it up. I mean...Obama already slapped them down hard in several different ways, e.g. by pointing out that we all know who we're fighting... But still, the truth is important, and there's something good in itself about calling a spade a spade. Obama and Clinton have been cheating a bit by pretending that the say-the-magic-words crowd are arguing that saying the magic words is sufficient for winning the conflict, when they're actually saying something closer to: it's necessary. (Which of course it isn't...but whatever.)
   I do think that a reasoable person might think that we ought to speak the clear truth about what's going on: it is, after all, Islamic terrorists that we're talking about here. You know it. I know it. Obama knows it. The Islamic terrorists know it. Everybody knows it. (With the possible exception of the PCs and the leftier fringes of liberalism...  It's never really clear exactly which fantasy world those people have convinced themselves they're inhabiting at the moment...but never mind that now.) Thing is, as should go without saying: the crazy right has been driven mad by ODS. The very fact that we all know who we're fighting means that there's not a pressing need to say it. And POTUS needs to not say it. We're in a hearts-and-minds battle. Much of what we say and do is aimed at convincing reasonable Muslims and those on the fence to side with us rather than ISIL. And, ultimately, at convincing global Islam to move in the direction of the liberal West. The goal is practical, not theoretical. No sensible person thinks that Obama is unclear about what's going on. He's eschewing a few phrases, while clearly expressing the relevant thoughts in slightly more circumspect ways. And he's doing it because the practical payoff could be great. The very fact that Trump seems to be utterly clueless about all this--that alone is decent evidence that they guy has no business thinking about the affairs of adults.
   Yes, it's weird that people keep insisting that Islam is tolerant, and only "a tiny fraction" of Muslim's aren't. And it's silly to claim that ISIL "isn't really Islamic"...unless you also want to try to argue that the Inquisition wasn't really Christian... Global polling data shows that a lot of bad attitudes are pretty common among Muslims.  And, yeah, when we non-POTUS folk are sitting around discussing the issue, it's important to be clear-eyed about that. But being the President means making occasional concessions to the practical. And that's basically the end of that story.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Obama, Yet Again, Shows That He May Just Be The Most Reasonable Person In Washington

   Jeez that guy is just. so. reasonable.
   JQ won't stop watching cable news all the time these days, and so I happened to see Sean Hannity's embarrassing, delusional froth-spewing meltdown about Obama's recent remarks just before she made me watch the video of Obama. It doesn't really make any sense to compare Obama to somebody like Hannity, of course... But I'd also seen Hew Hewitt and Charles Krauthammer talk their crazy talk earlier in the God, cable news is a cesspit... The sanctimonious liberals, the delusional conservatives....the misty-eyed, vapid CNN nonsense... But anyway...I know that Hewitt, Krauthammer and Hannity are entertainers...and morons to boot...but it was hard not to compare them to Obama's calm, intelligent reasonableness.
   Obama knows who we're fighting, and he's made that very clear.
   But...who is it, exactly, that Hannity, Krauthammer, Hewitt et al. are fighting?

So Much For That Space Elevator

Attack the Shooter

   I've said this many times. People get mad when I say it right after an incident like this, because they think it's a criticism of people who have recently died. But that isn't what I have in mind. I don't intend to criticize any actual person.
   But look: there is very little chance that one man with a semi-automatic AR-15 and a pistol could kill 50 people and wound 50 more if they were to immediately attack him. I'm not saying it's easy. I'm not saying I'm any braver than anyone in that Orlando club. I'm merely pointing out that, speaking collectively, there's a winning strategy and a losing strategy. A man with a single-shot pistol can kill a million people if they wait patiently for their demise. Problem is, of course, fighting back is not necessarily a winning strategy for an individual who has only his own survival as a goal. It's weird that so few people discuss, in these contexts, the fact that, for the good guys to win, selflessness is required.

London Bans "Unrealistic Body Images" From Transport System

   Interesting ambiguity in that title...
   Whelp, I'm not going to write a screed about why this is insane... Nope. Not gonna do it...

   Note that acknowledging that this is nuts does not entail that I think that there's no problem with barraging people (especially women, especially girls) with representations of extremely beautiful women all the time. I do think that's something worth reflecting on a bit. Feminists tend to blow the problem out of proportion and say crazy things about it...but that's par for that course. Nevertheless, it's a feature of the contemporary world that, IMO, does bear reflecting on.  (Is that sentence grammatical?)
   Nevertheless, people should be rioting in the streets over such a ban. I have nothing but contempt for advertisements and ad men. But this seems to be an obviously indefensible ban on expression.
   Also--as is often the case--they seem to be mixing in puritanical reasons (people didn't want to see pictures of women in revealing clothes) with "body image" stuff. Both are reasons that feminism deploys, but I don't think that really unifies the points enough. Sounds to me like the decision was arrived at first, and then whatever reasons happen to have been handy were flung about.
   Khan himself is Muslim; I haven't seen anything making it clear whether that played a role in the decision. The far/religious right and the far left tend to agree on a lot, and they tend to agree about provocative pictures. So that might be in play.
   At any rate, I think it's clear that this ban is nuts. Which is not to say that I'm not willing to listen to arguments. But the ones I've heard thus far aren't powerful enough to support such constraints on expression.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The Rise of Islamic Extremism Has Worsened Institutionalized Anti-Homosexual Attitudes Among Muslims

A Lot Of People Are Saying That Trump Says "A Lot Of People Are Saying X" When He Wants To Get A Lot Of People To Say X

   This really isn't a Trumpian innovation.
   I usually notice this in the following slightly variant form:  "I think the American people realize x." Which really means: "I want the American people to believe x."
   The Trumpian form seems very slightly less objectionable to me because it's slightly more transparently bullshitty. Somehow that other form almost never gets ridiculed.
   Are we really this stupid? How can this dime-store P. T. Barnum count as a serious candidate? For freaking PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES???

Tangentially-related sidebar rant:
   I continue to think that there's good news in that some of his appeal is reasonable.* People are fed up with the kabuki of American politics. They crave straight-talk. There are many little versions of the emperor in our public discussions, and it is reasonable to rebel against a public "narrative" (terminological shudder) that insists that the potentates are decked out in finery when anyone can see with their own eyes that they're not wearing a stitch. People are fed up with being told that black is white and night is day...and being ridiculed as backward bigots for believing the evidence before them rather than the obviously false story being shrieked at them by the cultural powers that be. And that's all good... (Of course they/we are wrong about some of it all...but they/we are right about some of it too...)
   Of course then there's the bad news, which I suppose there's no need to talk about. It's too bad that the only person who seems willing to point out the emperors' nakedness is a loony jackass of a con man who, on top of everything else, isn't really the brightest bulb on the marquee... Best case scenario: he goes down in flames, and the true things he's saying get lumped together with the false things, thus making it all worse. (That's why supporting Trump to combat PC is a losing strategy.) Worst case scenario, this bullshit artist somehow manages to win. That, of course, is the nightmare scenario... (That's the very best thing that could possibly happen to PC, incidentally...)
   I'm going to go hide under my bed now.

* Anybody who thinks that there is nothing good about Trump, that he's wrong about everything, and that he is popular solely because so many people are stupid and evil is delusional. If you find yourself believing something like that, you need to step way back and reassess long and hard. IMO we're in this mess in part because liberals have that attitude.

Monday, June 13, 2016

What Would It Look Like If The Media Told The Truth About AR-15s?

It would look like this

Is Trump Losing His Shit?

I don't even know where to start with this mess

Brendan O'Neill: The Real Threat To Free Speech Is Now Conformism And Cowardice

Also, this is worth thinking about: " 'Hate speech' is the secular equivalent of blasphemy."

Alice Dreger Censored For Running Afoul of "Trans" Orthodoxy

   Not that this is shocking coming from a place like Everyday Feminism...but it's still worth nothing. This is similar to the Germaine Greer "de-platforming" case at Warwick: Dreger's essay was deleted not because of anything she said in it...but because things she'd written elsewhere were inconsistent with the PC orthodoxy about transgenderism.
   Dreger herself is, inter alia, an activist promoting transgender causes...but that's not enough. You've got to toe the line perfectly, and accept every jot and tittle of the orthodoxy, contrary though it is to sound philosophical analysis and much empirical evidence.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Orlando Shooting Predictions

   I just glanced at the news before getting to work this morning, at which time there were rumors of 20 dead. I just got back from a trail run to see reports of 50 dead and 50 wounded. But I haven't had the heart to dive into the reports and analysis yet.
   Predictions here are easy:
   The right will generally say: this tells us that Islam/Muslims are bad, but it tells us nothing about firearms.
   The left will generally say: this tells us that firearms are bad, but it tells us nothing about Islam/Muslims.
   (Special case: feminists will generally say: this tells us that men and firearms are bad, but it tells us nothing about Islam/Muslims.)
   I don't know what it tells us...but I do know enough to ignore people who interpret evidence selectively so that it always and only shows what they want it to show.

Broutta Here?

55-45 in favor of the Brexit?
I neither have nor deserve a position on this issue, since I've only been following it in a casual way. But I have to admit, I've got largely sentimental pro-Brexit inclinations.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Trump: Elizabeth Warren Is Racist

   Trump (a) claims that Warren is racist for pretending to be an American Indian, and (b) continues to call her "Pocahontas."
   As for (a): I don't see it. It's dishonest and shitty. But it isn't racist.
   As for (b): that racist? Lots of people on the left are saying it is...but...lots of people on the left say that everything is
   If you called somebody who was an American Indian 'Pocahontas', that's racist. But saying that to taunt someone who pretends to be...especially when they do so in order to gain an e.g. affirmative action advantage...I don't see how that's racist...
   Anyway, even it if is obscurely racist somehow, what Warren did is worse.
   Man, imagine the left if it were revealed that Trump had done what Warren did...  ZOMG...  MSNBC and co. would literally burst into flames. There'd be a mushroom cloud over
   Next week on THAT'S RACIST!: Are you racist? Trick question! Even asking it is, of course, racist!

Reuters-Ipsos Poll: HRC 46-Trumpo 35

Good news, FWIW

Does Trump Pay His Bills?

Bills? Let me tell you about bills...Trump pays the best--and I mean the best anywhere--ask anybody. Trump pays tremendous bills. People--and these are the best people. The smartest--some of the smartest people anywhere--the classiest people--all over the world you can't find people smarter or classier than these people who support him--and don't just support him but sometimes even say to him that they are going to vote for him--and these are the best votes, fantastic votes, fantastic votes from the best and smartest and most successful, high-energy people--they'll tell you that he pays his bills.

Lefty Brainwashing At College Orientation: Wisconsin Edition

   This sort of thing is of major concern.
   Often the faculty have no idea what goes on at orientation. The first contemporary case of brainwashing at orientation hit the news back in '08 when FIRE forced the University of Delaware to cut it the hell out. Of course many faculty would be in favor of such brainwashing...but most, I believe, would not.
   Now it should go without saying that I'm not necessarily objecting to such things being discussed. I have some doubts that it's necessary, and I do have some concerns that merely choosing which topics to discuss can put a slant on things. And I do have some concerns about low-level, non-faculty administrators setting the agenda for students' first encounter with the institution. It's my impression that those positions often fill up with people who uncritically absorb whatever leftists fashions are in the air (or were in the air when they were undergrads). BUT: open discussion of such any issues is a-ok.
   The concern isn't discussion, it's indoctrination.
   Even introducing concepts like "privilege," "microaggression," and "rape culture" as if they're serious concepts for serious people and serious thought already puts a lefty slant on things. Now...if they wanted to say something like:
Here's this idea, currently trendy on the far left, 'microaggression.' Here's what it's supposed to be... Here's why people think we need it... Here are the objections to it (e.g. none of the things categorized thusly can plausibly be characterized as acts of aggression, ergo it's part of the whiny lefty project of pretending that things you don't like are acts of violence against you)...
Well that's one thing. Even though such discussions might not be conducted objectively...well, that's always a danger. That's an acceptable risk, I'd say. But flat-out indoctrination is a different thing entirely...
   Also: should we go to red alert about the Wisconsin thing? Sounds more like a yellow-alert situation to me. Let's go to DefCon Huh? That's somewhere between DefCon Meh and DefCon Shit!

Twitter Is Stupid; What's Up With Twitter?: Conservatives Censored, But Nazis ok?

   There's fair reason to conclude that Twitter, like some other "social media" platforms has a liberal bias. At least conservatives seem to get banned and hassled by the powers that be... There's also Twitter's Orwellian-sounding "Trust And Safety Council," which includes such facepalmerific luminaries as Anita Sarkeesian. I'm not even making that up.
   But...super far-right wackos seem to roam free and largely escape similar treatment.
   So that's pretty hard to understand.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Latest "Stop Trump" Plans Falter

Seems like almost every day the unthinkable becomes more and more ununthinkable.

A Personal Account Of The Anti-Trump Violence in San Jose

   This would never be tolerated were the tables turned.
   The violence seems to have been facilitated by San Jose's mayor. Too few police were present and they were reportedly told not to intervene.

The Left's Penchant For "Hate-Crime" Hoaxes Should Tell Us Something Important

   I mean...I'm sure that the right has perpetrated its share of hoaxes...but currently, when I hear about an alleged "hate crime," especially on campus, my default conclusion is: hoax.
   Here's a list.
   Here's another.
   Here's the latest one, the one that's got me thinking about this again. This one's notable in that the initial incident wasn't exactly a hoax, though it also wasn't a "hate crime." It wasn't a hoax because it wasn't perpetrated in order to trick people into thinking that it was a "hate crime." But a non-hate-crime incident was intentionally misrepresented by Clemson faculty as a hate crime.
   (Alright, I'm not fond of "scare quotes." Damn. There they are again... "Hate crime" is a crappy concept, so I want to distance myself from the term...but my aversion to scare quotes makes me not want to keep using them... So I guess I won't.)
   Some questions:
   1. Does the left really engage in hate-crime hoaxery more than the right? There seems to be no contest... But we'd really need a systematic study. But we'd have to be wary of conclusions coming out of sociology or social psych, given the obvious left-leaning bias prevailing in both disciplines...
   2. Supposing that things are as they seem...what is it about the left that makes it so committed to fabricating such incidents? If they're really as common as the (e.g. campus) left wants us to believe, then we should be awash in examples. There wouldn't be enough hours in the day to even list them... But that turns out not to be the case, apparently... Perhaps they just don't show up on campuses. Well...obviously they don't actually happen on campuses... Not with the frequency the left needs them to happen, anyway.
   And note that the rational reaction to the lack of actual examples would be happiness--or at least relief. You though things were terrible...but they're not! Cause for celebration. But dogmatic extremists don't see it that way. A lack of evidence doesn't mean that the theory is inaccurate and things are better than was thought...a lack of evidence means that evidence must be fabricated...
   Consider the feminist response to the very strong evidence that the wage gap is much, much smaller than we thought, or that the actual rate of sexual assault on campus is not 1 in 4. Their reaction was not relief, it was anger and denial. This reaction tells us a lot. The feminist vanguard is committed to these problems being as bad as they can possibly be made out to be. It's both a quasi-religious article of faith and crucial to their livelihood.
   So what explains this?
   I'd say, first and foremost:
   It's dogmatism (or "epistemic closure" as that term has come to be misused) that allows people to drift to extremes in the first place. Actual engagement with actual evidence and arguments keeps people from moving to far toward the crazy extremes. But dogmatism is, I'd guess, also what drives people to fabricate evidence. Can't find evidence for my view? Well, my theory is still true, evidence be damned. In fact, I'm so sure of that, and possessed of such evangelical zeal, that I'm justified in making some up... I don't know...something like that?
   But dogmatism affects both extremes. The hate crime hoaxes are largely a phenomenon of the left.
   What explains that?
   I'd guess: the left's commitment to oppression chess. And the ultimate trump card in oppression chess (to mix metaphors) is...well...oppression. The PC left gets what it wants by convincing people that it is disadvantaged/ discriminated against/ oppressed. This is used to trigger sympathy at least. And it can also be used to get funding and policies that help advance left-wing causes. The campus left (as one of our Anonymi pointed out) is in a kind of de facto alliance with administration, in that they constantly push for more administrators, and more power for the administration. More offices and deans and dealings and deanlets of diversity, multiculturalism, thought control, etc. etc. The left is committed to tactical weakness: exaggerate your burden in order to persuade the institution to give you what you want and increase your power. Every successful hate crime hoax makes the left stronger. And, somehow, the hoaxes that are recognized as such don't seem to hurt them much. So it seems like a pretty effective and safe tactic.
   This is, IMO, a particularly loathsome tactic because it exploits the empathy of the empathetic.
   No big summary/conclusion. But that's what I've been thinking about this.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Karen Kachra: Feminism Wrecked My Yoga Class

   I think this is worth a read.
   The point Kachra doesn't quite make...but she sidles up that feminism just isn't criticized in the academy. You can criticize some version of feminism...but basically only by arguing that it isn't feminist enough. But to argue that feminism is just wrong about something...well...that's usually not very welcome. And to deem any theory beyond question in academia is to err.
   You can sometimes get away with criticizing feminism by arguing that its immunity from criticism is bad for feminism itself. Again, your overall goal must be feminist. That's non-negotiable. It's probably true, after all, that feminism has evolved into such ridiculous, outlandish forms because of this immunity. In an intellectual environment free of predators, all sorts of bizarre idea-forms can evolve... But you can't just conclude and that's why so much contemporary academic feminism is such a train wreck. You must, rather, say: and since we're all feminists, that's why we might want to reconsider the unofficial ban on criticism.
   In fact, one of the reasons I don't classify myself as a feminist anymore is that old-school egalitarianism about sex is such a small part of contemporary (especially academic) feminism. So much of feminism is now bad, outlandish, and outlandishly bad philosophy that I want nothing to do with it. But there's also its protected status in the academy. That, alone, is enough to make me criticize it. It's like waving a red flag in front of a bull. I mean...a cartoon bull. Real bulls don't seem to care about such things. At least I've never seen one care about something like that. I think they're color-blind anyway. A cartoon flag, too, I guess. Who'd wave a real flag in front of a cartoon bull?  How would you even do that? That doesn't make any sense at all. A bull gored the shit out of my grandfather once, before I was born. It was a well-known family story. Left him "crippled up" for the rest of his life. But that bull was just mean, by everyone's accounting. And there was no flag-waving involved. So far as I know, anyway.
   Er...what was I holding forth about?

Federal Court: NC State Cannot Require "Speech Permits" In Order To Speak On Campus

The very fact that a lot of administrators at a major university (a) thought this was a good idea and (b) thought it even might be legal shows that there's a problem.

Volokh: What Sentence Should the Stanford Swimmer Have Gotten?

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Pixies: Here Comes Your Man

"Stanford Saga Shows Why Justice System Should Handle Campus Sexual Assault Cases"

I think I disagree with Stuart Taylor about a lot...but he's done very good work, e.g. on the Duke lacrosse rape hoax.
I do not understand this piece.
I might understand were it titled "Justice System Should Handle Campus Sexual Assault Despite Astonishing Stanford Rape Saga"...
But I do not see any possible way that this injustice can possibly show why the justice system etc.
That's some bullshit right here.

What's Good About Trump?

   There must be something about him that is actually good/appealing.
   JQ says that it's his unwillingness to engage in the kabuki of American politics. Full of shit though he is in many respects, he's also unwilling to play a game that many people recognize as repulsive.
   My own view is that it's largely his calling bullshit on PC / liberalism. (SURPRISE MOTHER****ERS!!!111) The bizarre, groupthinky, brainless, dogmatic commitment to insisting that everyone right of the left is racist, sexist, "homophobic" (a terminological abomination)...and now "transphobic" (another one)...  The minute, obsessive...and yet moronic, biased, politically-motivated...analysis of everything that's said...the constant search for anything that can be spun into some semblance of bigotry...  Where this free-associative "analysis" is guided by no genuine intellectual standards, but only by political ones that have presupposed from the get-go that there will be racism...  This nauseates normal people, many of whom are conservative, and most of whom are not racist. Hell, the very obsession with language is enough to put off people who do more than just talk for a living.
   (Funny that the people who are so obsessed with nuance and barely-detectable distinctions when it comes to a few categories (race, sex, "gender"...not even class anymore!), and who think of themselves as intellectuals, are so incapable of thinking and speaking with actual precision, and in actual pursuit of the truth... They're pretty good at oppression fundamentalists are adept at beating each other at Jesus chess...but, then, oppression chess has no actual rules... At least Jesus chess is largely beholden to the Bible...)
   Too bad Trump is such an asshat...  Because it's genuinely good to reject those things. Part of what's off-putting about HRC is that she so often seems to live and breathe the kabuki.

Hold On...What Are Public Restroom / Locker Room Laws Typically Like? Transgenderism and Restrooms Reconsidered

   Does anybody know what public restroom / locker room laws were like before the recent dust-up?
   I tried to find that out, and it turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be.
   Seems like there mostly have not been actual laws enforcing sex-segregation of restrooms and locker rooms. If true, I think that's important. That seems to shift the burden of proof (not legally...but...otherwise...) over onto North Carolina et al.
   The established practice ought to get a kind of presumption. If, basically, a system had evolved according to which men typically use the men's room and women typically use the women's room...but it was a matter of convention and not law...well...normally I'd say that the state and the law should butt out. In the absence of some crisis that forces intervention.
   (Of course their response here, legally speaking, would probably be: they do have the right / authority to intervene / pass the law...)
   I'd been thinking that there were already laws in place dictating public restroom use, and that the new laws were basically just saying Hey, you know the laws? Well you have to act in accordance with them.
   If, however, there were no (or few) laws actually governing this stuff, then I'd say that might change things.
   The relevant current version of transgenderism theory is still wrong--and that's what I'm most interested in. Men who think of themselves as women and/or look like women are not thereby women. And the DoE, DoJ and everyone else who are trying to argue otherwise are simply wrong, and their arguments are patently unsound. And those arguments need to be rejected. They are confused, and the arguments strongly suggest an official state acceptance of a crackpot "social constructionist" metaphysics, at least with respect to some properties. At the very least the issue needs to be actually discussed, not simply imposed by fiat, with discussion suppressed via accusations of bigotry.
   BUT (and this is a position I think I've been pretty consistent about) it may still be the case that the best policy solution here is to just let people use the restroom they want to use, so long as they aren't doing anything illegal, and so long as it's not too disruptive.

It's HRC v. Trumpo (And Anti-PC Yet Again)

Hillary is going to run to the center...correct? 
It's smarter to run to the fat part of the curve...i.e. right...right?
Any hope that she starts taking on the illiberal/regressive left? I know that will lose her much of the idiot child/neo-totalitarian vote...but I expect it would also take votes away from Trump. Chatter seems to indicate that at least some of his support is coming from people voting against the loony left. 
   Incidentally, isn't voting for Trump a bad way to strike a blow against the illiberal left? Voting for a not-terribly-bright, patently unqualified asshole/blowhard/con-man with the temperament of a spoiled four-year-old who is against PC is just going to make the anti-PC cause look insane. It's smarter to trust HRC to do the right thing. Uh...right? 
   OTOH, Obama has done the right thing rhetorically...but he seems not to have reigned in DoE OCR or DoJ...yet, anyway... So I don't know.
   My guess is that Hillary will now start condemning the anti-Trump rioters clearly and unequivocally. They're really kinda associated with Bernie, and he didn't seem to be interested in criticizing them much. Both of them could kind of look the other way and pretend neither of them had any special responsibility to call bullshit on them... Now Hillary clearly has the special responsibility. 
   But where's my man Obama in all this?? (Whoops! I just used a possessive pronoun when speaking of a black person! And you know what that is...) Why hasn't he come out and said something about this madness? Or did I miss it? Maybe he's waiting for Hillary to do it?

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Open Endorsement of Anti-Trump Violence By Openly Illiberal Leftist (TW: HuffPo)

Hey, at least these people are getting more honest about it all.

Graham: Time To Rethink Those Trump Endorsements

   So...that's what it takes, is it?
   Like...before these guys were thinking: Hey, this Trump guy may not be perfect...but I guess he's ok...
   His comments about Curiel are indefensible...but I don't really see how they're worse than a whole lot of other stuff he's said... And all he said about the hypothetical Muslim judge was that it's possible that he'd be unfair... How exactly is that what tips the scales here? I mean, Trump has said crazy things about Muslims...and I'd understand if they were what had done it... But, hey, given that he did say them, it's obviously possible that a Muslim judge could be biased against him... How is it ok to say the crazy things about travel bans and internment camps, but not ok to say that a Muslim judge could possibly be biased against him for saying them? That I don't get.
   Even a light straw can be the one to break the camel's back... So maybe that's what it is.
   And, to deploy another ungulate-y metaphor: I guess we shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Stanford Swimmer Gets Six Months For Rape

Caught in the act--there's no doubt that he's guilty.
IMO six years isn't sufficient.
Six months is an outrage.

First Woman President NBD?

Nobody seems to think this is notable. I mean, it's not why I'm mostly pro-Hillary...I think that she's the most well-qualified of the available options. But I do think it's kind of a big deal that we're looking at the first female presidential candidate of a major party.

Even Nader Is Sick Of The PCs

I'm not a Nader fan, to say the very least.
But, hey, my enemy's enemy blah blah blah

Monday, June 06, 2016

Is Trump A Bully?: A Reply to Darius Jedburgh

Yeah alright maybe.
Get off my back fer the lova.

Real Peer Review: A deleuzian postcolonial analysis of the conjunction 'and' [sic]

Seattle Dean Placed On Leave For Recommending Book By Civil Rights Activist

Special fucking snowflake.
I wish Dick Gregory would come out more strongly in defense of the dean. He ought to fly out there and back her up. If she did something wrong, then everyone who edits, prints, sells and purchases the book is doing something wrong. I'm doing something wrong right now by thinking of the title of the book.
My God, when did college students become so damned stupid? I was stupid as an undergrad...but I wasn't that stupid.

Bill Kristol Really Is Wrong About Everything: No President French Edition

David French won't be a conservative third-party candidate for President.
So nobody is going to step up and just take a few percentage points away from Trump?
You guys are seriously pathetic.

And how is it that I forgot that everything Bill Kristol says is false?

Drum: Trump Moves On To Metalying

Yeah, but metalying is fairly common in politics. Some people will sometimes lie but not metalie...that's why sometimes we ask people things like "are you telling me the truth?" But such folk are usually not fit for politics. They can't really hang you any higher for metalying. In for a penny, in for a...metapenny...or something...

"Transgender" Theory Confusions And Consequences That Matter: Women's Track Edition

   So the left's incoherent theory of transgenderism is, obviously, being pushed hard. Not just by activists, slacktivists, and scholar-activists (e.g. in women's and gender studies departments), but now by university administrators, much of the major mass media, and, sadly, powerful bureaucrats (e.g. in the DoE's OCR, and even in the DoJ). I'd be happy for us to have a public discussion of all this, even though I don't have much hope that it'd be very rational... But instead, of course, we're basically just getting an outlandish and obviously false theory shoved down our throats. And since, currently, every theory and policy emanating from the left comes wrapped in the "you're a bigot if you disagree" defense, few people have the temerity to point out that the emperor has no clothes.
   As I noted long ago, this theory, if actually applied in public policy, has all sorts of crazy consequences. Here's one. Look, "Ice" (a cool-ass nickname, as I don't have to point out) has a right to look and dress however he wants, and good on him for bucking conventions I say. But he's not female. Period. That's it. End of story. Sports, like restrooms and locker rooms, are segregated by sex, not by "gender" nor any gerrymandered distant cousin of gender, and certainly not by imaginary properties like "gender identity."
   Crazy theories often have crazy consequences. The consequences of this crazy theory include: males can compete in women-only sports events, apply for and receive e.g. scholarships exclusively for women, and use women's restrooms and locker rooms. Note that in each case, one might question the legitimacy of the policy of segregating by sex--perhaps it isn't fair to even have scholarships exclusively for women. I'm happy to think about such arguments. But that's not what's currently being done. What's currently being done is: the policies are accepted as is, and then violated ad hoc on the basis of an indefensible theory to the effect that males can become females by regarding themselves as such. (Also vice-versa.)
   The very fact that the article uses phrases like "biological male" and "biological sex" demonstrates how the PC left (and this includes feminism) has muddied the terminological waters and clouded the debate. Sex is a biological property. "Biological sex" is redundant, and using the phrase suggests that there is some kind of non-biological sex. Maleness and femaleness are biological properties. Writing "biological male" suggests that there are non-biological males. 
   Finally, note that even Reason has been bullied into using the female pronoun to refer to males who regard themselves as female. The left loves controlling how people speak (partially because they've never accepted the falsehood of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis) and they've invested a lot in this battle over pronouns. Though language does not determine thought, it's tied up tightly with it, and can affect it. To refer to someone as 'he' is to presuppose or express that the person is male, because that's how the language works. By insisting that e.g. Wangyot be referred to with feminine pronouns, the left is, in effect, insisting that we presuppose the truth of their theory--that Wangyot is a woman, i.e. female--if we are to speak of him at all. It's come to seem retrograde speak accurately. And that's good for the side that wants to cloud the issue.
   Anyway. Probably no reason to get all worked up about this. The majority that tends to determine the cultural trajectory, i.e. liberals, has made it clear which way they're going on all this. They don't have the moral and intellectual wherewithal to think for themselves, nor to stand up to the hectoring of feminists and the PC / "social justice" left... So I suppose we'll eventually all knuckle under and routinely say things we know to be false about people like Wangyot. Eventually if things get bad enough for the female scions of the upper-middle class, there might be some push-back... Thing is, nobody cares about this stuff when it seems like mere words to them. They go along with saying all sorts of crazy things because they think it doesn't matter...and then when it starts mattering, the inaccurate ways of speaking have already gained currency. 
   Oh well.