Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The "VOICE" Backlash Beginneth: Apparently Addressing Crimes By Illegals "Is How Genocides Begin"

 Jeez the hysterical left is a bunch of idiots.
   Look, the crime angle isn't the right angle to take on the problem of illegals. They apparently commit somewhat fewer crimes than non-immigrants. (Though...are those DoJ numbers? Or are they from academia? If the latter, I'd not trust them on this subject, probably...  But I think I remember them being DoJ numbers...)
   And Trump is an idiot for naming the thing "something something immigrant something" instead of "something something ILLEGAL immigrant something".
   But I'll be damned if internet lefties don't keep trying their best to make Trump look reasonable by comparison.
   Listen up you hysterical halfwits. If any of you want to make a very large bet as to whether or not there will be a genocide in the United States sometime during the next 4-8 years, I will be happy to take that bet. What would you like to bet? A thousand bucks? Two thousand bucks? More? No one, anywhwere, is idiotic enough to take that bet. And that means nobody really believes this bullshit. Talk is cheap. As Kant points out, real belief is a willingness to bet.
   This is not the beginning of a genocide. And it's not TEH RACIST!!!111 (as some of the other jackasses on the other end of the link insist....though...of course...the loony left shrieks THE RACISM!!!!111 at the drop of a hat.
   But it's probably not a particularly wise use of resources.


Oh, right...and then there was "VOICE"...
So I'm always complaining about the left intentionally conflating immigration with illegal immigration...but I'll be damned if the Trumpistas didn't do the same thing. They basically scored a rhetorical victory for their opponents in order to gerrymander a mediocre acronym.
   And they could have called it "VOIICE" and pronounced it that same damn way.
   Jeez Louise these people.

Trump's Non-SoTU Did Not Suck As Bad As I'd Predicted

So it wasn't a complete farce and embarrassment to the nation...so...if we're grading on the same curve Trump used to grade himself...A+++? Or A++++? Or maybe even a T+? For T-FOR-TREMENDOUS, naturally...
   Actually, I could only bear to watch like 20 minutes of it so for all I know he cussed out James Madison, strangled a puppy and declared war on Narnia after I turned it off. But what I saw was just more-or-less ordinary DC-grade bullshit, read haltingly off the teleprompter.

So I Guess This Means...

...that Trump is really the President, huh?

Goddamn it.

New Real Peer Review: "Sport And the Territorial Anus"

People should be madder that taxes support a very large number of professors who are utterly, 100%, completely full of shit, and apparently not even making any effort whatsoever not to be.
   I'm not saying I have a solution. I'm not saying we interfere with academic freedom. I'm saying that it's a problem. Everybody writes some stupid stuff. But when so many academicians and, in fact, many whole disciplines are so utterly full of such complete shit...when it's so obvious...when the so-called scholarship emerging from these disciplines and produced by these "scholars" is not just wrong (which is excusable and inevitable from time to time) and not just stupid (ditto)...but is--pretty much as a matter of course--laughably pathetic and of no intellectual value whatsoever...  Well...people ought to be mad. It's not right. It's not right to take people's money to produce such shit and make their kids dumber. It's not right to take resources away from disciplines that might actually use them profitably. It's not right to use academic freedom as a cover for political proselytizing. It's not right to just spin out endless reams of fucking nonsense when even a modicum of intelligence and objectivity would reveal that that's what it is. 
   It's irresponsible. 
   Everybody makes mistakes. And when you're trying to figure out hard things, you are going to make a lot of them. But this kind of shit...you either have to be really, really stupid or really, really intellectually dishonest (inclusive 'or') to produce it. 
   We'd be a lot, lot better off if universities took the resources they spend supporting this shit and used it to support, say, alchemy departments. At least they wouldn't do much harm, and students might accidentally learn some chemistry while they were screwing around with it.

VA Anti-Gerrymandering Lawsuit Can Move Forward

Trump Gives His Presidency An 'A', "Messaging" a C / C+

That may be what the grading standards are like at Trump "University," but...
   The C/C+ is almost as funny as the A...first, of course, it's the perennial excuse of both parties: we're doing great! Everybody hates us because we're just bad at communicating how great we've been!
   But also: of course if you want to run this particular line of bullshit, you really kinda want to get that "communication" grade down there pretty low...the worse you can claim to have been at that, the better you can claim to have been on substance. But he can't even just stick with a C...he's gotta slip that "or C+" in there...because...you know...even when making up bullshit about his failure to properly explain to people how great he is...he still needs to be above average...
   Well, that's just me bullshitting, really. But whatever.

Trump: Obama Is Behind Leaks

Everybody knows it's Biden

Etchemendy: Universities and "The Threat From Within"

No surprise, I think this is exactly right (via Heterodox Academy):
But I’m actually more worried about the threat from within. Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves.

Josh Barro: "Democrats Are Lost On Immigration,,,

...And They'd Better Rethink Their Ideas To Beat Trump."

   I think this is a really excellent article. Perhaps the only thing I'd add is: among the moral reasons for immigration are: there ought to be a fair amount of freedom of movement between countries.
   Anyway, some highlights:
   I think the true reason that immigration advocates fail to make strong national-interest arguments for immigration is that the pro-immigration impulse is not really about the nationalinterest.
   Potential immigrants are human beings with moral worth. Especially in the case of refugees, they have been disadvantaged by the place of their birth. The human condition is improved by their admission to the US. This — a global, humanistic concern — is a driving factor behind support for immigration.
   Plus, elites in government, media, and business tend to be in positions where they stand to derive disproportionate benefits from immigration to the US and bear relatively few costs related to it. Thus immigration is a relatively easy area to favor policy altruism.
   Most important, immigration advocates can demonstrate their focus on the national interest by being willing to support enforcement of laws against immigration that is neither legal nor in the national interest — by showing that the willingness to say "yes" to immigration is paired with a willingness to say "no."
   For the last 20 years or more, the federal government has pursued a policy of benign neglect. Trump presents this as a problem of "weak borders," but the main issue is a failure of interior enforcement — particularly a failure to aggressively enforce laws against working in the US without authorization.
   Members of Congress in both parties have bent to the will of employers who do not want to have to prove their employees are authorized to work. President Barack Obama sought to grant millions of work permits to immigrants living in the country illegally through an executive order that was blocked by federal courts.
   Hillary Clinton promised to go further, halting all deportations of immigrants living in the country illegally except for violent criminals and terrorists.
   In recent years, Democrats have come to talk about deportation in the same wrongheaded way Occupy Wall Street activists talked about foreclosure: as a horrible, heartless thing to do, rather than a sometimes regrettably necessary action in nation of laws.
   A lender should not foreclose on every homeowner in default, but you cannot have mortgage lending without the option of foreclosure. Similarly, you do not have an immigration policy if you cannot deport non-citizens for violating immigration law.
   This neglect is a major reason for the failure of comprehensive immigration reform.
Immigration reform is supposed to be a trade: amnesty for unauthorized immigrants and high future levels of legal immigration, in exchange for stringent enforcement of immigration laws in the future.
   But why would anyone believe that Democrats or pre-Trump Republicans would follow through on a promise to enforce immigration law effectively? Even Trump has not (yet) made workplace enforcement a priority.
   Immigration reform is an example of no-choice politics, and Trump's election was part of voters' global revolt against the insistence that they accept policy choices that are foisted upon them through path dependence orchestrated by political elites.
  As I've made clear, I think that the left in the U.S. is on a trajectory toward advocating open borders. "Progressives" tend to object to border barriers (falsely analogizing them to the Berlin Wall), object to deportations, and basically think that anyone concerned about illegal immigration is racist. That means that people are stuck with a choice between Trump's position, which is too extreme, or the Democrats'/liberal's position which is too lax. Given such a choice, and given that the latter has dominated policy for awhile now, good, reasonable people might very well think that Trumpism might be worth a try. It's idiotic for Democrats and liberals to cede the reasonable, moral, prudent, centrist position on this issue. (Or any issue, for that matter...not that it's always a cakewalk to figure out which position that is...) If you're making Trumpism look tempting, you probably need to move back toward the center, I say.

Carolina 43 - Virginia 53

Virginia's a good team and they certainly were energetic on defense.
I thought that the refs gave their defense a bit too much latitude, but, then, I'm hardly objective.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

On the basis of the trailer:
Visuals: A-!!!
Screenplay:  D +/C - - -
That's my BS guess

Michelle Goldberg: The Laura Kipnis Melodrama

I like Laura Kipnis.
I like Michelle Goldberg
So I really Like Michelle Goldberg on Laura Kipnis!

Daniel Larison Explains It All For You: Military Stuff

Thanks whoever it was (P-mac? LC? I don't remember) for reminding me about Daniel Larison, who I'd somehow forgotten about for, like, years.
Readeth thou of these things:
Trump's Nuclear Babble
Throwing More Money At The Military Is A Waste
Why A Larger Military  Budget Makes No Sense
Trump's Weak Justification For More Military Spending
   And, let me say: I'm someone who is sympathetic to the large-scale Shock And Awe strategy: overwhelm potential enemies so that they recognize that competing with us militarily is simply not an option. Don't let e.g. China think that they have any chance of building a military that's competitive with ours.
   Do you want arms races and wars? Because that's how you get arms races and wars.
   But anyway, that doesn't mean you have to go bugshit about it.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Is Trump *Less* Authoritarian Than Obama?

Some of this is B.S.
Some of it isn't.
It's the second bit that's surprising, obviously.

John McWhorter On Accusations That *Hamilton* Is Racist

Well, McWhorter's great.
Ditto "Hamilton"--of course I haven't seen it, because...who can afford that? But I've heard the soundtrack, naturally.
   And I think McWhorter's right about this.
   I had expected this to be some nonsense about it somehow being racist for all the performers to be black...though I wasn't sure that all the performers were black...which, as it turns out, I guess they're not. But anyway, no. It's from the other side--the possibility of which I guess I should have foreseen--and the charge is that it's racist because it doesn't focus on slavery. And McWhorter's response is pretty much right, I'd say on one read. Slavery was an almost incomprehensible crime...but even it can't always be the main focus of our attention, even when we are focused on the time period. Also, I think Hamilton's egalitarian cred is pretty much unassailable... Also, you just can't do everything at once.
   That's all I got.

"The Russian """Philosopher""" Who Links Putin, Bannon, And Turkey: Alexandr Dugin"

I have no earthly clue what to make of this.
   It sounds like Dugin is more of...a sociologist? As for whether that's better or worse than being a philosopher, I'll let you-all make that judgment...
   At any rate:
Dugin, who's been described as everything from an occult fascist to a mystical imperialist, lost his prestigious job running the sociology department at Moscow State University in 2014 after activists accused him of encouraging genocide. Thousands of people signed a petition calling for his removal after a rant in support of separatists in Ukraine in which he said, "kill, kill, kill."
Dugin, who has long predicted the demise of "the West's liberal hegemony," said the election of Trump promises to change the course of world history.
"Incredibly beautiful-one of the best moments of my life," he said after Trump's inauguration.
After decades of railing against Washington for seeking the "Westernization of all of humanity," Trump's elevation has led to a Damascene conversion for Dugin, who declared anti-Americanism "over."
"America not only isn't an opponent, it's a potential ally under Trump," he said.
Now Dugin's focusing on Europe, where he's been cultivating ties with anti-establishment parties that threaten a political and military union seven decades in the making.
With key elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands this year, the Russian polemicist has a new mantra for Europe that's ripped straight out of Trump's campaign playbook:
"Drain the swamp."
Your guess is as good as mine.
Better, I hope...

Narcissism: A Reflection

By the great Laura Kipnis.
I say it's a hoot.

What Does Steve Bannon Want?

Needless to say, I don't want to accidentally defend fascists or racists... And I'm extremely alarmed about Trump...
   ...Is Bannon a racist fascist neo-Nazi genocidal maniac? Well...does it really seem likely that he is? Personally, I think it's a really safe bet that everyone on the right is less-bad than leftier people on the left think (s)he is. (And everyone on the left is less bad than rightier people on the right think that (s)he is.) If there were a market for that sort of thing, I'd be making bets all day long, and I'd soon be rich. And you know I would. I'd be wrong about some cases...but overall, I'd make a killing. What percentage of people the left calls fascists are actually fascists? What percentage of the people the left calls racist are actually racist? They call everyone who disagrees with them those things. Cry "wolf!" at every sound, and you'll get no false negatives...but...  Also: people like me will stop taking you seriously.
   So I can't help but be very, very worried about Steve Bannon. But this is, IMO, worth a read. In particular:
Those focused on Mr. Bannon’s ideology are probably barking up the wrong tree. There are plenty of reasons for concern about Mr. Bannon, but they have less to do with where he stands on the issues than with who he is as a person. He is a newcomer to political power and, in fact, relatively new to an interest in politics. He is willing to break with authority. While he does not embrace any of the discredited ideologies of the last century, he is attached to a theory of history’s cycles that is, to put it politely, untested. Most ominously, he is an intellectual in politics excited by grand theories — a combination that has produced unpredictable results before.
   See, that's plenty scary for me. Bannon, whatever his personal characteristics, sounds like a goddamn philosopher or something. And that ought to scare you. A lot. He's got theories, man. Untested theories. Possibly untestable theories. (But probably not. Sounds like predictions might be possible. Not that anyone will ever really try.) If you had any clear conception of how scary that is, you would, unfortunately, have a lot less time for worrying about whether he's literally Hitler.
   Maybe the left is right in this case. But more and more I see the farther left as basically a religious cult--their analogs of Satan and original sin are everywhere, and explain everything. They mostly don't want to be bothered with the facts. But these facts, they bother me a lot.

Ok. Shutting up now.

Carolina 85 - Pitt 67

Next up: The Hoos in Hooville

Saturday, February 25, 2017

RIP Neil Fingleton, 1980-2017

RIP Fing, beloved Tar Heel.
I did not realize he was in Game of Thrones.
Way, way, too young.

Vandalism at U. City Jewish Cemetery

You can't let the dead rest in peace?
That's enough internet for me today I reckon.

Trump Administration Sought To Enlist Intelligence Officials, Key Lawmakers, To Counter Russia Stories

The Trump White House is starting to sound like Lord of the Flies* inside Thunderdome.
   Does anybody have a good fix on WTH is going on?
   If everything the admin is saying about it is true, then they were just trying to get people to say publicly what they'd said in private--that the stories were overblown. So that's the best case scenario. Right?
   How bad is that? I do not know...but still not great, right?
   Is there any reason to believe that they're telling the truth? 
   Well...not exactly none perhaps...but not exactly any either.
   I don't want to harp on the one case...but the crowd-size case isn't just one case--it's a telling/representative case that basically set the tone for the current insanity...so here's how I'll put it: 
The Trump "administration" has made it clear that it's willing to say that 500,000 = 1.5 million > 1.8 million.
   Basically, and not getting too precise about it: if you're willing to lie about that, you're willing to lie about anything.
   Or so it seems to me.
   I'm trying not to fall prey to the prevailing anti-Trump hysteria on the left. But I have to admit that it's not entirely clear to me how unjustified hysteria actually is at this point.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Kelly Anne Conway Is Right; Mirriam-Webster Is Wrong--And Stepping Way, Way Out of Line

At the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Conway said she did not consider herself a feminist, as the term is usually used.
"It's difficult for me to call myself a feminist in a classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male, and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I'm neither anti-male or pro-abortion," Conway said.
Merriam-Webster allegedly tweeted the following in response:
Lookups for 'feminism' spiked today. It's "the belief that men & women should have equal rights and opportunities."
   First, substantively: Conway is not disagreeing with the textbook definition of feminism, and to pretend that she is is to be intentionally obtuse. She is saying, roughly, that contemporary feminism [is, as a matter of fact, not definition, associated with the positions in question]. If M-W's tweet really is a response [and I guess it really was, hard as that was for me to believe], it's crap. Consider an analogous case on the other side of the spectrum. Bernie says: "I can't be a Republican because I think it's unfair to the poor." Suppose M-W responded: republicanism is a form of government in which citizens elect representatives authorized to govern on their behalf--the suggestion being, of course, that republicanism (in the generic sense) has nothing to do with the rich and the poor. Not that that would ever happen... But it would be analogous--and analogously dishonest/obtuse.
   Now...perhaps Mr. Melvin is just bullshitting, and M-W did not intend to object to Conway's position. [But I guess that isn't so.] Perhaps they just tweet out definitions of whatever words people tend to be looking up. I kind of suspect that's what it is. But if Melvin is right, M-W is out of line. 
   Also, note that their definitions aren't very good...  Consider:
A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality. [my emphasis]
Er...no. A fact is, rather (if we stick with the template, which isn't that great): a piece of information...having objective reality. Representing something false as true doesn't make it a fact. And a fact is a fact whether or not it's ever represented at all. Facts that are never discovered, thought of, nor mentioned are still facts. But, more importantly, of course: 
  You had one job, Merriam-Webster... I'd say: stick to that one and try to do it right.

[Oh and: don't ignore the fact that M-W is basically saying that they have no idea what Conway is talking about when she says that contemporary feminism is pro-abortion. Really? You really have no idea what she's got in mind there? And as for being anti-male: well, that's one of the reasons I stopped considering myself a feminist fifteen or twenty years ago. The anti-male orientation of academic feminism just seems undeniable to me. Egalitarian feminism was very important to me when I was younger. But academic feminism is a different beast. In fact, it's what we might call the anti-rationalism of academic feminism that was the biggest factor in driving me away. I'm just as committed to the thesis of the moral and political equality of the sexes as ever. But it's not clear what the relationship actually is between that thesis and contemporary feminism.]

Gallaudet Bison On A Trajectory To Make The D-III Tournament

Gore 'em...or...whatever it is you do to 'em...Bison!

Greedy Evil Soda Companies Refuse To Violate Principles of Economics

You bastards

White House Blocks Some News Organizations From Press Briefing

This is not good.

Trump: Literally Worse Than Literally Hitler

When you look like a jackass compared to Tucker Carlson...it's time to reassess.

The Secondary Break: Has Carolina's Defense Been Better Or Luckier?

Adrian Atkinson, excellent as always.
I think the eye test also indicates that the Heels have been fairly lucky of late.

Sexism and General Assholery At Uber

This post, by Susan J. Fowler, is really beyond belief. I stopped a few paragraphs from the end because I already wanted to punch somebody, and I don't need to be walking around on a 72 degree, sunny Friday afternoon in February any more pissed of than I already am.
   Holy crap, that thing is just unbelievable. If half of it is true, then Uber can f*ck right off.

Trump Admin To Step Up Crusade Against Demon Weed

Behold, the "deconstruction of the administrative state"

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Pitino, You S-U-C-K": A Special Investig8tion

Will we ever know the truth about S-U-C-Kgate?

Trump Has Spent More Time Golfing Than In Intelligence Briefings / Spent Over Half His Presidency In "Non-Work Time"

Dylan Roof Stopped At A Second Black Church After Shooting; Researched Others

Fortunately, bible study wasn't going on at the second church the time, otherwise there could have been a second mass murder.
Jesus Christ.

"Trump Administration Rolls Back Protections For Transgender Students"

   I continue to be vexed by the theoretical/philosophical incoherence at the center of our public discussions about transgenderism. There's really very little doubt that an incoherent tangle of bad theories is being forced onto the public as fact. The tangle is so incoherent and has such obviously false implications that I'm baffled that it's caught on...well, it's caught on with "progressives," anyway. Ok...actually...sadly...half the time I'm not actually baffled at all. Progressives (let alone the full-blown PC left / "social justice" crowd) have a finely-honed ability to see night as day if that's entailed by their political commitments. The Trump administration has nothing on them when it comes to reality-denial. In fact, progressives and the PC crowd can not only see night as day when politically necessary, they can also convince themselves that anyone who does not see night as day is an ignorant hateful bigot. Honestly, there really is a chilling cultishness on the left anymore.
   As for the more practical questions about restrooms and locker rooms...I'm not sure what to do about all that. My views change now and then, and I can see more room for maneuvering there. I'm generally and currently inclined to think that this is the right decision. At the very least I think we need to have an actual cultural discussion about the real issues here before we change our long-standing, well-functioning and popular system of sex-segregated restrooms and locker rooms. And that discussion won't be very meaningful if it presupposes the incoherent tangle of theories that have dominated the discussion to this point. I tend not to favor laws mandating either segregation or integration at this point. Leaving it up to the states, is, I suppose, a decent compromise...though I think that's basically a blueprint for integration. I don't see that the quasi-religious fervor of the cultural left can be stopped. Once the NCAA is punishing states for being insufficiently progressive, the handwriting is on the wall.
   Here's what the Post reports:
The two-page “Dear colleague” letter from the Trump administration, which is set to go to the nation’s public schools, does not offer any new guidance, instead saying that the earlier directive needed to be withdrawn because it lacked extensive legal analysis, did not go through a public vetting process, sowed confusion and drew legal challenges.
The administration said that it would not rely on the prior interpretation of the law in the future.
The departments wrote that the Trump administration wants to “further and more completely consider the legal issues involved,” and said that there must be “due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy.” Although it offered no clarity or direction to schools that have transgender students, the letter added that “schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”
Honestly, this seems pretty much exactly right to me. The Obama administration's use of Title IX was wrong. Horribly, inexcusably wrong, in fact. And its arguments cannot be sustained. More importantly, we have to stop misusing Title IX in these ways--that is, misusing it to accomplish whatever the progressive cause of the moment happens to be. But equally important is that last part: students have to be protected from discrimination and harassment based on sexual preference etc. [Actually: semi-scratch that. Students need to be protected, to a reasonable degree, from discrimination and harassment. Period. I don't see that the type of discrimination / harassment matters much. And, of course, it is not possible to extirpate every scrap of man's assholery to man. Thinking that it is and that we should is a blueprint for some kind of totalitarianism of niceness or something.]
   Anyway...here's one thing, at least, that the Trump administration seems to have gotten righter than the Obama administration, IMO.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Carolina 74 - Louisville 63

Sloppy game for both teams, but our free throw defense made the difference.

Go Tar Heels, Beat Dem Cards

I miss the old ACC...the real ACC...but Louisville is one of the new teams I enjoy having around, nonetheless.
   (Fun fact: I'm from Missouri, and I did not realize that some people pronounce it Loo-ee-ville.)

Ben Shapiro Explains It All For You

Wow. I really like this guy--I mean...I disagree with the m*therf*cker about basically everything important...but I straight-up admire his honesty and straightforwardness and intelligence. 
   Some highlights:
   On the Alt-Right:
Basically, the alt-right is a group of thinkers who believe that Western civilization is inseparable from European ethnicity—which is racist, obviously. It’s people who believe that if Western civilization were to take in too many people of different colors and different ethnicities and different religions, then that would necessarily involve the interior collapse of Western civilization. As you may notice, this has nothing to do with the Constitution. It has nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence. It has nothing to do actually with Western civilization. The whole principle of Western civilization is that anybody can involve himself or herself in civilized values. That’s not what the alt-right believes—at least its leading thinkers, people like Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor and Vox Day. Those kind of folks will openly acknowledge that this is their thought process.
On Trump (and the Alt-Right):
So it’s a couple-step process, and glomming onto Trump has been part of that because Trump, I don’t think, is alt-right. I don’t think that Trump is particularly racist. I think he’s an ignoramus. I think that more than anything, Trump is willing to pay heed to and wink at anybody who provides him even a shred of good coverage. So if the alt-right, which worships at the altar of Trump—if they provide him good coverage, he’s willing to wink and nod at them and not wreck them.
On Steve Bannon:
I think that Steve will stop if it becomes politically convenient for him to stop. Steve is not a deeply principled guy on politics; it’s not like he’s coming in with this ramrod agenda. He’s coming in and he’s talking about big government spending. He’s talking about trillion-dollar infrastructure packages. If you had to peg Steve down on ideology or philosophy, you’d say he’s sort of like a European far-right leader. He’s more like Marine Le Pen or Nigel Farage than he is like a constitutional conservative. He doesn’t like constitutional conservatism; he thinks that it’s an obstacle in the way of building this new Third Way movement, this independent political movement that is focused on heavy spending—even some redistribution inside the country—but closed borders and tariffs for everybody outside. He calls himself an economic nationalist. They say, “Are you a white nationalist?” and he says, “No, I’m an economic nationalist.” And then when he’s asked about white nationalism and its effect on the far-right in Europe, he says that will sort of fade away as time goes on, and they’ll legitimize. I don’t think so. I’ve never seen a bad movement or a bad person, yet, given power and they become better people.
On the all-conservatives-are-racist left:
I think that the left is making a huge mistake by labeling everybody on the right “alt-right.” Because what they’re doing is they’re pushing people into the arms of the alt-right. You call people racist enough, and they begin to think OK, well, who’s not calling me a racist—I’ll side with that guy. So the worst thing the left can do is continue to suggest that everyone who backed Trump was a racist, sexist, bigot homophobe; everyone’s evil, everyone’s terrible. What they really should be doing is they should be saying, “Look, we understand one of the reasons that we lost is because Hillary Clinton was a uniquely terrible candidate”—she really was—“and because of that, we’re not trying to throw you guys out of the tent. We think it was a bad choice to choose Trump, but we would sort of appeal to the better angels of your nature—that if we think he’s divisive as time goes on, that you recognize that he’s being divisive.” I think it’s a big mistake to have the left pushing the notion that they’re just going to double-down on the Obama coalition and tell everybody else to go screw.
On Milo being a dick:
And then there was a breaking point where he said the Constitution and conservatism were done, and it was going to be replaced by this new rising alt-right movement that didn’t care about the Constitution—you’re cucks, you’re losers, all the rest of this stuff. And then it gradually got worse, to the point where, when my second kid was born in May, Milo—who pretends that he’s not alt-right—sent a tweet at me with a picture of a black kid. Because the way that this works is that if you are not alt-right, if you’re anti-Trump, then according to the alt-right you must be what they call a “cuck”—for those who don’t follow this sort of stuff—because you have two brain cells to rub together. Cuck, according to the alt-right, means that you’re a white person who wants to watch his wife have sex with a black man, right? Because you’re poisoning the racial stock of the United States, so you want your own racial stock “poisoned.” I always found the whole thing bewildering. I’m not interested in my wife having sex with a man of any race; I’m not sure why a black guy would be significantly worse, just overall! It seems pretty terrible all the way through.
   Dude, seriously. I'm not kidding. Read the whole thing. This is a great interview.
   It's all very enlightening...the most disappointing bit is about Milo. I'm so, so sad that he seems to be a dick. And I'm pissed off (read: embarrassed) that I fell for his shtick. I mean...there is actually a decent chance that he was joking...but it's a dick of a joke, so it doesn't help much. Oh, well, there goes my first...so far as you know...gay crush, down the freakin' crapper. I was willing to put up with a lot, Milo...but you dis the Constitution, you're out on your ass, my man.
   Ok so anyway I say go read the whole Shapiro thing.

"The Myth Of The U.S. Immigration Crisis"

This is pretty interesting:
Illegal immigration to the U.S. ended a decade ago and, according to the Pew Research Center, has been zero or negative since its peak in 2007
Or anyway, I thought it was at first... The assertion above would be great....but...30 seconds of Googling showed that it apparently isn't true.  Wikipedia (lol...I know...) says that in 2015 there were about 1,200,000 new illegal immigrants in the country. What the author seems to be saying is that enough are leaving the country to keep the number fairly steady. That--if true--is important. But it's dishonest to put it the way he puts it. 
   It doesn't take much reading around to see that the right is constantly trying to pump up the number of illegals and the left is constantly trying to minimize it. The dishonesty, it is so tedious.
   So, anyway, I got all excited by the Bloomberg View piece, but then just got pissed off.
   And another thing: the (apparently intentional) conflation of immigrant with illegal immigrant pervades that piece. This is far from a mere semantic gripe. By failing to mind this very simple and important distinction, the author finds himself needing to explain things that need no explaining--e.g. how it could be that Trump benefited from "anti-immigration" sentiment though Americans are generally very pro-immigrant. Gosh, what a puzzler...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

McMaster Sounds Pretty Damn Promising

Peter Bergen calls him "the smartest and most capable military officer of his generation."
   Incidentally, he was awarded a Silver Star for his role in 73 Easting.
   The first good news out of this administration?

Edward Price: I Didn't Think I'd Ever Quit The CIA; But Because Of Trump, I Quit

Monday, February 20, 2017

MSU Bans All Whiteboards From Dorm Doors After Some Bad Words Were Written On Some Of Them

Somebody dropped an n-bomb on somebody else's whiteboard...and MSU decided that the rational course of action was to ban all whiteboards from every door in every dorm.
   But, I mean, what other option does a university have when "Once in a while someone will write something that isn't very nice"?
   If anything like this happens again, I suppose they'll have to confiscate all writing instruments of any kind.
   Obviously this decision is too difficult, and the stakes too high, for it to be left up to mere university students.

"Citizenship Privilege"

Carolina Anti-Trump Flier

So... Stupid--but undoubtedly harmlessly stupid--anti-Trump flier shows up on campus. Folt (who I think is pretty good, though no Holden Thorp...and I don't care what anybody says) over-reacts just a bit...students react reasonably.
   If this poster were advocating right-to-left violence rather than left-to-right violence, the fewmets would be hitting the windmill on the web, ah tell you whut... But anyway, the left has set up conditions such that the administration has to say something about this, stupidly harmless though it is. Thus the left reapeth what it hath sown.
   IANAL...but I just can't see this as serious incitement to violence.

"Trump Supporters See A Successful President--And Are Frustrated With Critics Who Don't"

I think this is important.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Chris Wallace: Trump Crossed A Line

Props to Wallace for this.

Trump's a damn disaster who has no right to be anywhere near the White House. And he keeps proving that over and over.  This "enemy of the American people" thing is extremely worrisome.

That having been said, I do think that the press has a duty to be very objective. I am concerned that they might not be living up to that obligation as fully as they ought to be. I do think that a press that fails to live up to this obligation harms the country. A biased press--and, especially, a biased press that pretends to be objective--is a very bad thing. However, they're currently in a difficult spot. Trump has earned a very large percentage of the criticism directed at him. But there's also a fair amount of anti-Trump hysteria afoot. Objectivity isn't easy to achieve in such matters even in the best of times.

A Day Without (Illegal) Immigrants

   So, was "a day without immigrants" (the name) another attempt to blur the legal/illegal immigrant distinction? That's how I took it...but you know me. I thought it was, in substance, supposed to be a way to offer evidence for the common claim that the U.S. can't run without illegal immigrants doing jobs that the rest of us don't want. If so, then it would be accurately called "a day without illegal immigrants," obvs...but I took it that the secondary aim was to further blur the relevant distinction.
   Wikipedia (as of today) says it was:
...to demonstrate the importance of immigration...and to protest President Donald Trump's plans to build a border wall and to potentially deport millions of illegal immigrants. The strike called for immigrants not to go to work, to avoid spending money, and keep children home from school. People took part to show the importance of immigrants to the economy and also to protest possible racial profiling of U.S. citizens by immigration enforcement.
So that seems to indicate that it it was primarily about illegal immigration.
   Needless to say, that could be wrong...but blurring that distinction has been one of the left's general strategies on this issue, no? I mean, they tend to be jargon-mongers, and the point of much of the jargon is tactical (e.g. 'microaggression,' 'transwoman,'). PC terminology does not aim for accuracy. Their insistence that 'illegal alien' had to be replaced by 'illegal immigrant' made it easy to fudge the legal/illegal distinction by simply using 'immigrant.' (I rather expect that the new preference for 'migrant' ultimately aims to blur the distinction between coming and going. Then they could, for example, characterize the U.S. as regulating migration, suggesting that we don't let people leave. Anyway, I predict that'll be part of some future phase of all of this: lumping the U.S. together with e.g. the U.S.S.R. as a nation that "inhibits free movement of people" or some such thing.
   OTOH, many on the left do think that the right is anti-immigrant generally...and Trump has given them some ammunition with the attempted "Muslim ban"...but I doubt that this is what's up. I think it's the other thing.
   For the record again--and I don't think one should really say things like this, because it plays into the hands of the left by, basically, apologizing for a view that requires no apology--I'd love to be able to take in everyone who wants to come here. I long for the days when we could tell the world to give us its tired, its poor, and its huddled masses yearning to breathe free... But that's no longer possible. To think it is is as much a fantasy as thinking that we can remake the world so that everyone is happy where they are. It's just not in our power.

Heels 65 - Hoos 41

Some really great play by Carolina, but also a terrible night for Virginia. They just couldn't hit anything (I think they went 1-for-19 from three). The Heels showed some really good D, but it seemed clear to me that the Hoos' legs were tired. They had played 3 games in 6 days, one went to OT and two were on the road. And, incidentally: they play again tomorrow.
   So good job Heels...but we did catch Virginia on a bad night.

NYT: Are Liberals Helping Trump

Is that a serious question?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Why Harward Rejected The NSA Job

Welcome to the latest episode of So You Think You Can President:
Basically, Harward is a serious guy who wanted the National Security Council to be staffed with national security experts, not Fox News hacks and political operators. That was too much for the Trump team, so Harward pulled out, reportedly calling the offer a "shit sandwich."

That Press Conference Tho

We are so very, very f****d.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Michael McConnell, In Support of Gorsuch

This is extremely persuasive

Florists Who Do Weddings Must Provide Flower Arrangements For Same-Sex Weddings

Volokh discusses.
   Sounds like the right decision to me. I'm not happy about forcing people to go against their religious beliefs, but, obviously, you've got to draw the line somewhere, and, indeed, flower-arranging doesn't seem to be all that expressive.
   I'm not sure how analogous same-sex marriage is to interracial marriage, but the analogy seems reasonably strong to me, so that tends to make it hard for me to sympathize with e.g. the people at Arlene's Flowers.

Atheists No Longer The Most Hated Group With Respect To Religious Beliefs

Suck it, Muslims!
   Also Mormons. You-all can suck it, too, as it turns out.
   Everybody's rating could be boosted if they'd just put Scientology on there, I reckon. I suppose it's not big enough though.
   But look: this survey will undoubtedly elicit shrieks of "Islamophobia!" from the usual sectors of the left...rightly to at least some extent, no doubt. And wrongly to some extent. I'm not really interested in that.
What I'm interested in is that you never hear the following:
   The PC left has a '-phobia' term or a 'mis-' term for everyone who disagrees with them on some point of doctrine...but they not only never accuse people of the things in the list above, they don't even have terms for them.
   So why is that?
   Well, the obvious conclusion--and there's plenty of evidence for this--is that the usual suspects on the left don't think that dislike of any of those religions (and non-religions) is bad. Their general tactic is to pretend that terms for bias and bigotry...magically and contrary to their clear ordinary meaning...do not cover bigotry against whites, males, and so on...that is, the groups they think (often rightly) are more powerful. So their terminological mythology includes claims like: women can't be sexist, and non-whites can't be racist (sometimes with the qualification: not in Europe and North America, anyway.) Anyway, the PC left is very similar to the proverbial anthropologist who respects every culture but his own. The idea is something like: it's ok to hate things that are relatively mainstream in the West (and, in particular, the U.S.). PC-approved things and groups, however, one cannot have any negative thoughts about at all. If there's any way at all to even spin what you say into something negative about them, you are the worst kind of moral criminal. Open hatred of PC-unapproved groups is not only permissible but obligatory. That may be a tiny bit of an exaggeration...but not much of one, I'd say.
   But, anyway. I suppose there's no sense really complaining about a political movement that is proudly misologistic...and that's a respectable term, IMO...
   Just griping again. As usual, I'm undoubtedly wrong about at least some of that.

*Oh and: don't get me started on the PC left's attachment to the '-phobia' suffix...

Kenny Williams Likely Out For The Season

That means we'll have had a total of two games at full strength all year.
Not good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Carolina 97 - State 73

   That makes Carolina's streak 32-3 against State...though, of course, that involves an arbitrary starting point, there's been a fair bit of luck in there, and the streak includes the last couple of years when State has been really down.
   But boy, Roy really does hate that team.
   At least Gott is history, so there's some chance of a return to the rivalry of old before we all die.

How Much Respect Do We Owe The Office?

   Suppose, arguendo, that a person, Smith, is elected President. Suppose, furthermore, that we have good reason to believe that Smith is reprehensible in a number of ways. Say Smith is unqualified for, and an embarrassment to, the office. Say there is even reason to suspect that Smith has committed more than one act of assault or some other reasonably serious crime.
   Question: how much respect are we obligated to show to Smith on the basis of our respect for the Office of the President?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Did Trump Lie About His Knowledge of Flynn's Russia Shenanigans?

Virginia House OKs Bill On Campus Free Speech

In 21st-Century America, it turns out that this is necessary.

Trump Administration Chaos

Amateur hour.
And worse: Flynn and the Russians
What a freaking embarrassment/disaster.
I sort of can't believe this is all really happening.

Monday, February 13, 2017

F-22 vs. F-15

F-16 vs. F-15 Dogfight

An oldie but a goody.
Goddang those are some sexy-ass, awesome fighters.

F-16 vs. F-15 Cockpit View

Beyonce Worship

I still don't get this.
I don't have anything particularly against her...I just don't get the fawning, prostrating, cultish, near-religious adulation, nor the political overtones.
Me not getting it doesn't mean there's nothing there, obviously.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Stephen Miller Is The Creepiest Trumpist Yet; and: "The President's Executive Powers Will Not Be Questioned"

This guy was just sinister.
   And what was with the reading? He obviously had like a teleprompter...is that some loony innovation of the Trump camp? Or have I just never noticed it in the past? Who's feeding him answers? Did they have the questions ahead of time maybe? Because it's creepy enough that he's sitting there reading this statement from the administration and pretending that he's answering questions in a normal way. And it seems even creepier to me if someone is sitting at a laptop deciding which answers pop up on the teleprompter...
   And I find this:
A senior White House adviser on Sunday denounced federal judges who have stood in the way of Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, warning that “the whole world will soon see” that the president’s executive powers “will not be questioned”.
   I see this in several places, and I think the suggestion (e.g. at the Guardian) is that this is some kind of warning or assertion of absolute authority--like: Soon you peons will see that President Trump brooks no opposition... Which...if an administration...whatever he is...apparatchik...said that...it would mean non-stop protests until Trump left office even I would be out in the streets and I generally hate that crap. That would be the end of the thing. But weirdly, though I can find clips of other parts of the interview, I can't find clips of that part. And those words are compatible with a very different interpretation. Something more like: Soon the Court will rule that the President really does have authority over matters of this kind--you'll see...  Another possibility is tactical ambiguity...which...also a get-driven-out-of-office-able offense.
   But, anyway...it sure as hell better not be that first thing or the ambiguous one, or that's the goddamn last straw right here right at the beginning of this so-called administration.

Bruce Cole: What's Wrong With The Humanities

This is pretty much right on target by my lights.
I [was] chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency chartered to bring their benefits to all Americans. This gave me an up-close and personal view of the state of the humanities on the national level. That experience fortified my faith in their importance, but it also left me with serious doubts about how their values and knowledge are being transmitted.
Because I had to personally approve every grant, I attended hundreds and hundreds of peer review panels to be sure that I made informed decisions. I also read thousands of applications. Over the seven years I served as chairman, this gave me a unique overview of all the humanities disciplines, but for the sake of brevity, I will confine my observations to the content of applicants for NEH research fellowships....
My experience with these applications was, to put it mildly, disappointing. The weaknesses and trends I observed in them are worth examining because they illustrate larger problems in today’s academy.
Obscurity is Not an Intellectual Virtue
Huge numbers of applications were written, and written badly, in fashionable and impenetrable jargon. The opacity of academic prose, much of it couched in unfathomable theory-speak (such as the prattled quote above), has long been the subject of discussion, and even mockery, much of it well deserved.
In some parts of the academy, such obscurantist writing is seen as a sign of brilliance, but that’s something I never understood. I suppose I’m very old-fashioned in believing that clear writing is the result of clear thought and that the use of jargon is sometimes the lazy way to avoid hard thinking. Whatever the cause, too many books and articles written by humanities professors are needlessly opaque. Moreover, great numbers of the applications I read dealt with amazingly tiny fragments of the applicants’ fields, a sort of atomization of inquiry.
...The problem was, however, that many of the fellowship proposals asked for support for projects that ... were simply frivolous and added no discernible value to their fields of study. ...
Equally disappointing was the fact that large numbers of applications stuck to the deeply grooved paths first trod by the postmodern humanities of the sixties and seventies. There was a uniformity, and conservatism, among them that indicated a lack of fresh thinking. Instead of advancing new ideas, such proposals left me with a feeling that their shelf lives had expired years before. Whatever their subjects, applicants often viewed their research exclusively through the same predictable lens of race, class, gender, theory, or some trivial aspects of popular culture. New and original approaches to the various areas of the humanities were all too rare.
Many of the applications were also heavily weighted toward the advocacy of one cause or another. The NEH charter forbids the funding of such applications, but it would be a mistake not to see them as a reflection of the weaponization of the academic humanities for the promotion of social or political agendas, something I’m sure we all frown upon.

The Secondary Break: Defending Duke's Threes

She Almost Killed Charles Manson

How Putin Played The Far Left

Holy crap, you gotta read this.
Putin seems to have executed a pincer movement, attacking our crazy right flank and our crazy left flank simultaneously.

[via the ZZL politics board which...just stay away.]

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Carolina - Duke

Just re-watched it.
   Well, of course those guys suck in a very overt way.
   But I am daggum amazed at how well those Tar Heel boys did without Hicks. It was perhaps a foregone conclusion without him...but damn they did give it a go. Just the tiniest bit of luck going the other way, and it's our win. I don't care that much about the one game...but it sure would have been nice to be at anything like full strength.

Trump's Election Causes 5,000,000,000% Increase In Sales Of Margaret Atwood's Dystopian Novel "The Handmaid's Tale"!!!!!!11111

   The book has "become an increasingly relevant read in recent years," because Trump is very likely to turn America into a totalitarian patriarchal theocracy. “At this moment in U.S. history, quite a few people are worried that it's going that way," the author told NPR.
   In completely unrelated news, Hulu is about to release a series based on the book, and advertised it during the Superbowl.

   Hyperbolic anti-Trump hysteria: it's not helping.

Debra W. Soh: Are Gender Feminists And Transgender Activists Undermining Science?

   This is worth thinking about:
Unlike gender feminists, transgender activists firmly believe that gender is a biological, rather than social, reality — but of course they don’t believe that it’s necessarily tied to sex at birth. They also believe that gender identity is quite stable early on, warranting a transition not only for transgender adults, but also young children who say they were born in the wrong body.
   Here's something many people have noted: that side of the discussion actually tries to have it both ways, arguing variously that gender is entirely "socially constructed" and has nothing to do with biology...and also that certain facts about brain structure prove the reality of transgenderism. And, of course, if gender has nothing to do with sex, and transgenderism is really about gender, then hormone treatment and surgery would not be in the picture. They'd be irrelevant.
   Another thing in the mix here is that, whereas old-school feminism used to insist on minding the sex/gender distinction (and I think it was right about that) the current trend seems to be to blur the distinction again, in part as a beachhead toward trying to argue that sex itself is "socially constructed." Actually, they tend to mind the distinction when it's convenient and blur it when it's convenient... (And almost any discussion in which the phrase "socially constructed" appears immediately spirals into confusion.)
   Anyway...I've thought about publishing a popular piece on this stuff, but I've just go too much going on for the foreseeable future to deal with the blowback it would be likely to generate professionally. Any philosopher bucking the PC/feminist/transgender orthodoxy on this has got to be ready for a shitstorm. If the analogous confusions were crucial to a prominent conservative position being publicly debated, scores of philosophers would be all over it, shredding it with extreme prejudice. But since the confusions are on the left side of the disagreement, you'll notice that there's dead silence about them.

Russian Dossier On Trump Gaining Credibility With Law Enforcement?

ICE Conducts Immigration Enforcement Raids; Also More Aimless Babbling About Immigration Stuff

Illegal Immigration is one of the issues that has really puzzled me in a certain way that I've been slow to articulate well.
   I was pretty oblivious to the fact that there were a lot of people in the country illegally until the issue became really big...whenever that was. Bush administration maybe? At any rate, my reaction was, basically: holy crap! This is huge! How did this happen? People coming into the country illegally seemed to me to be a major problem. I just thought that borders and immigration laws were serious things; there was no doubt in my mind that they were important, and something that we took seriously, and that entering a country illegally was a very serious matter.
   Little did I know that my unreflective reaction put me on the right of this issue--even though, back then, I was more of a liberal than I am now. Needless to say, the right can go too far on this...but it was the left's position that I found puzzling and difficult to explain. It took a long time for it to dawn on me that there was a perspective according to which people being in the country illegally is not only not a matter of concern...but concern about the matter is wrong
   That position still seems weird to me, but at least I now recognize it as an alternative way of thinking about all this. As with so many of the positions on the left, it never seems to be articulated clearly--you have to kind of puzzle it out for yourself.
   I didn't even realize until pretty late in the game that being here illegally isn't a criminal offense. That was amazing to me. There's some parallel there to the bathroom laws: I half-thought there were already laws about which public restrooms you could use. At any rate, to find out that there are no laws regulating things that you thought were legally regulated, and to find out that people are regularly violating the non-existent laws that you mistakenly thought were existent, and finding out that liberals were basically arguing that no one should be concerned with any of this...and, of course, you're a bigot if you are...it's all really baffling...especially, again, when the positions and the arguments for them are not articulated explicitly. You mostly have to piece it together (...largely on the basis of hypotheses about why the left is calling you a bigot at some particular time... / snark.)
   Take the linked story. This would have baffled the hell out of me even a year ago, I think. And I'll bet that it still baffles some people. (And I kinda think maybe it should...but that's a slightly different question.) I mean...here's the synopsis of the story as it tends to strike me:
ICE arrested some illegal immigrants, which is, of course, why we have ICE. They apparently went to neighborhoods which are largely populated by illegal immigrants, and everybody knows that...but...it's wrong to do anything about it. They were only targeting illegals with criminal records. So--though they basically ignored all the other illegals--they inevitably ran into some that they basically couldn't ignore, and arrested them, too. Liberals are worried that other people here illegally might also be arrested for being here illegally, and illegals and activists are mobilizing to fight any further attempts to enforce immigration policy.
Now...anybody with my former perspective on these issues is going to be puzzled as hell about this. It all sounds like: the police decided to go arrest a bunch of people who are breaking the law...and this is a terrible injustice. Liberals and the law-breakers, and activists for the law-breakers, are outraged and mobilizing to fight against any further enforcement of the law. So naturally people with that perspective are going to think WTF? You could make sense of all of this if you added: they view these laws as unjust, and have argued for them to be repealed. But...well, there's the open borders stuff. It's not yet that common to openly advocate it...but without it, it's hard to make sense of any of this.
   Of course, instead of explaining their position, the left's response to any expression of disagreement about this is: you are racist
   (And incidentally: I'm sure there is some racism mixed in with all this. But most conservatives and others who are concerned about illegal immigration are more likely to be motivated by views about law and order, and about national sovereignty. These are well-known conservative concerns, and they ought to at least be considered as explanations before you start dropping R-bombs everywhere.)
   And I don't think it is entirely unreasonable for conservatives--or anyone--to conclude: there goes the left again. They've adopted a position that doesn't make any sense--not even arguing that, but simply acting as if--it's obvious that, certain indispensable laws should not be enforced...and they've done so simply because the majority of people breaking those laws are non-white.
   Anyway...I do have to say that I find the illegal-immigration-is-NBD perspective puzzling to say the least. I'm inclined to think that this perspective has the burden of proof...that is, it's not just an equally reasonable way of looking at things, it's a position that has to be arrived at on the basis of certain theories and arguments...theories and arguments that the left typically does not actually articulate and defend. So one has to suspect that the strategy here is a bit like the strategy in the transgender bathroom debate: pretend this is normal, act shocked when people suggest it isn't, and pretend they're bigots if they fail to acquiesce immediately. This is, among other things, an attempt to shift the burden of proof to the other side. It's also an attempt to avoid the argument entirely by just getting people to acquiesce without argument. Or so it seems to me. 
   But that could be wrong. Maybe Illegal Immigration is NBD really is a--or even the--natural view. Seems odd to me, but my experience is limited, so can't be generalized from. 
   I'm still inclined to think that the burden is on IINBD. In part this is because I think it's damned close to an open borders position, and that the U.S. can't survive open borders. And if it isn't an open borders position, is the idea: we can stop you near the border...but if we don't, you're home free? That just doesn't seem even vaguely reasonable to me. 
   But also: I'd be more sympathetic to IINBD if it were part of a more general move toward a more libertarian, less regulation-prone U.S. But, since IINBD tends to be advocated by the side that tends to favor more regulation, I suspect that it's ad hoc. To make IINBD a natural position, it seems like we'd have to have a lot, lot less regulation, perhaps including e.g. abolition of drivers' licences, regulations on firearms, abolition of minimum wage, minimization of labor laws and that sort of thing. But the left isn't going to advocate those things. Which is what makes their opposition to this type of regulation, which seems an essential part of having a country at all...kinda weird. 
   On a more cranky and speculative note, I'm a bit skeptical that the left would hold the position that it does if, say, wealthy Dutchmen or Russians were coming into the U.S. illegally in droves to work in the financial sector (and having large families that tended to grow up to vote Republican..). Perhaps conservatives would also have a different view of such a situation...but I suspect that the left would be more likely to change its position on immigration in that case than the right would. But that's a guess, obviously.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Return of Sully: The Madness of King Donald

I'm not sure exactly how much I agree with this in its details...but I'm just glad Sullivan is back.

"Death To America" And All That

Well, great.
   [Insert standard rant about Iran being basically our fault here. I sometimes wonder whether Operation Ajax was a bigger foreign policy blunder even than Gulf War Episode II. I'm frequently amazed that there are so many Iranians who don't hate us. Hell, I'd probably hate us...]
   It just doesn't take much stupidity and gratuitous assholery to create a backlash and make things worse.
   If the job of the President were to screw things up, Trump would be off to bang-up start.
   I think I have just now decided to take a break from the news.

Trump Surprised To Find That Government Is Hard

Especially when you don't know anything and are temperamentally unsuited to it.
WTF, democracy?

Open Borders Watch: "Protest Erupts In Downtown LA"

Via /r/politics...where the hundreds of comments were uniformly condemnatory of the raids: this.
   So I've been saying for years that the left is committed to an open borders position. People have disagreed with me a lot about that, but I have to say...I kinda sorta don't see how that can be denied at this point. Explicit advocacy of open borders is cropping up now...but, of more interest to me: widespread tacit advocacy seems (to me, anyway), undeniable. Take this article. According to it, there are a million illegal immigrants in L.A.. This raid apparently picked up one hundred of them. On top of that, ICE claims that the raids were targeting criminals. If this isn't legitimate, then it's kinda difficult to see how any enforcement of immigration laws is legitimate. And that's in effect an open borders position.
   Perhaps we should be discussing open borders. I'm inclined to think that that's the end of the United States*--but I'm willing to listen to arguments. Perhaps it isn't. Or perhaps the nation-state is an illegitimate entity. But I think that the policy has to be openly stated, openly advocated, and openly discussed. Currently, what we get from the vocal sectors of the lefty-left is incessant claims that virtually every effort to enforce immigration laws is immoral...but with no acknowledgement that this entails de facto open borders. Of course liberals are not going to push to acknowledge the implications. And when conservatives do, they'll be called racist. As if no one would care if there were eleven million illegal Canadians in the country...
   On this, like so many other issues, I'm starting to wonder whether I'm the crazy one. Needless to say, I may well be. But I'm willing to change if somebody will just send the right arguments my way.
   Anyway: needless to say, Trump's made this all worse. And after him...the deluge from the other side.

* I used to think that my conservative bud J. Carthensis was a nut for saying that the end of the United States is exactly what the left wants...  He...uh...is wrong about that...right? I mean...certainly the average "progressive" on the street doesn't want that...but... I mean...there is significant overt hatred of the West and the U.S. among farther-left intellectuals and activists. There's this growing acceptance on the left of positions that seem to entail the end of the U.S...where that entailment isn't exactly deeply hidden. There's the near-religious advocacy of "multiculturalism," which, in its leftier versions (but not, of course, most of its versions) is difficult to distinguish from an anti-Western-culture position...
   No no no. That's just crazy talk.
   That...is crazy talk...right?
   Its' possible that I'm just exposed to too much stuff from radical intellectuals and internet morons... I sure hope that's what it is.

So-Called Court [Refuses To Lift Suspension Of] Trump Travel Ban

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Carolina 78 - Duke 86

[I'm changing all that to:
We've been snakebit for four years and it sucks.
Wish we'd have had Hicks.
Gotta hit your freebies.
Duke does actually suck, and that makes losing to them especially irksome...but waddaya gonna do?]

Is Your Baby A Racist?

Well, as we know, everybody's a racist...so it's a safe bet that your baby is a racist.
Evergreen College and "Teaching for Change" are here to help.

Are The Wheels Falling Off Of The Trump Administration Already?

Go Tar Heels

Beat the Dookies.

Making It Up As He Goes Along: START Edition

Gorsuch Contra Trump

This...almost seems like...a position based on principle...
Won't this like, rip the fabric of D.C. spacetime or something?

AAUP Statement on "Targeted Online Harassment"

   Not sure what to think about this.
   I'm inclined to think such things are left-slanted...but you know me. The left is currently stifling discussion on campuses more than the right is. Professors have been clamoring to get on the "Professor Watch List"--they consider it a badge of honor. Argumentum ad InternetDeathThreatum doesn't carry much weight in my book, I have to say. And, though such things are seriously messed up, of course, appeals to internet death threats strike me as largely rhetorical. I mean...if there's any genuine fear in play, it isn't strong enough to prevent professors from submitting their own names to the Watchlist...and professors are generally pretty wimpy, so...
   Anyway...it's not clear to me what to make of this AAUP statement. It seems a bit cagey. It can be read as a denunciation of the people who send such threats...but it can also be read as a condemnation of The College Fix and Campus Reform.
   One of the canned PC arguments in response to free speech concerns goes like this: free speech doesn't mean that you are immune from criticism. That's true, of course--though not exactly to the point. What people object to about the PCs is not that they argue for their positions--it's that their arguments are usually terrible, and they tend to screech them, using intimidation rather than the content of their words to effect their goals--which tend to include: silencing the opposition.
  But anyway: death threats aside, doesn't that argument apply here?: you can teach what you want...but you're not immune to criticism for it.
   Final point: we've been inundated over the last couple of years with stories of the left attacking professors for small, speculative, imagined transgressions against obscure, largely made-up, leftist positions. Seems to me that the Watch List was targeting only really overt, egregious cases of bias...but I haven't kept up with it. At any rate, just gesturing at a certain asymmetry...and trying to remember whether the AAUP has made statements about that other stuff...
   Anyway. Not saying the AAUP isn't right here. Just thinking out loud and being contrarian again.

Illegal Aliens? Undocumented Democrats? Or What?

There's nothing inherently wrong with fiddling with terminology in these ways. There are problems, however. I'd say the following...though I can already tell you that I'm not going to spend enough time on this to end up with parallel construction in the items...:
One preliminary point:
It's a little weird that so much attention is given to working out exactly which term most accurately describes people in the country illegally...when the press then goes on to repeatedly say 'immigrant' (unmodified) when discussing illegal immigrants. The very most important distinction in this discussion is repeatedly blurred...in a way that obviously favors the left. I think this is the kind of thing that conservatives have in mind when they say that the "MSM" has a liberal/left-wing bias. Even phantom inaccuracies in terminology that is out of favor on the left can be cited as grounds for insisting that everyone must change how they speak; but even the most glaring inaccuracies can be ignored if ignoring them benefits the left.
Anyway. As for these terminological battles:
[a] The left does entirely too much of this stuff. It produces an ever-shifting panoply of terminology. There's simply too much of this sort of thing. It's become comical. At some point we get to ignore it.
[b] They're dogmatic and otherwise loony about these ever-changing terminological fashions, and tend to insist that any deviation from this week's preferred terminology is bigotry. (This is in keeping with the left's weird obsession with language.)
They pretend that they are aiming for accuracy. However:
[c] I don't think I'm going way out on a limb when I suggest that their primary goal is tactical/political. Terminology chosen by the PC left is intended to spin (or "frame" as they like to say) issues in a way favorable to them.
[d] Accuracy is used as a stalking-horse, but is a criterion only when it serves their political goals. When it doesn't, accuracy is ignored, bad arguments are deployed, etc. etc. (e.g. 'African-American,' was never a synonym of 'black'; the "no person is illegal" argument is just dumb (see e.g.; 'illegal contractor').)
[e] Although the feelings of the relevant group are also given heavy weight--and should be--that only goes so far--especially when they can be manipulated by academic/activist fashion. Groups should probably be given some latitude with respect to the terms that we use to refer to them...but it's not clear that you can make a term rude or bigoted just by declaring it so. There is nothing at all wrong with 'Oriental,' nor with 'American Indian'--but they were turned into Bad Words largely, apparently, by the whims of activists, not by a genuine antecedent aversion among the relevant groups. Especially in the context of constant PC attempts to micro-manage language, the line's got to be drawn somewhere.
   There's nothing terribly wrong with 'illegal alien,' as the Obama administration noted. I actually think that 'alien' is better than 'immigrant', because the latter seems to indicate that such a person is here to stay...which is...exactly what the left wants, no? Anyway, it's an attempt to assimilate illegal "immigrants" to ordinary, legal immigrants. Again, per the Obama administration arguments, I don't think 'illegal' is that bad either, even if it's a bit inaccurate. But I don't care what we use, so long as we settle on something that isn't too inaccurate / politically slanted and isn't too insulting to ordinary members of the group. We can't let activists and activist academics run the terminological debate, because those people are nuts.
   I still think our old friend TVD's "undocumented Democrats" is freaking hilarious, I must admit.
   Anyway. It's really hard to have an honest debate with this kind of crap muddies the waters.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

The Crazy Story Of the F-104 Starfighter

I didn't know half this stuff.
I certainly didn't know about the downward-firing ejection seats.

FIRE: 232 American Colleges Have "Bias Response Teams"

For fighting the wrongthing and badtalk, obvs.

Leaks Suggest Trump's Own Team Is Alarmed By His Conduct

Bah, behold that to which I am reduced:
The Huffington Post.
What next?
HuffPo's credibility multiplier is 0.00 as far as I'm concerned.
And yet...
I post.
How come?
Because it confirms my prejudices, Mr. nosy-pants.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Trump: If "Something Happens" Blame The Rule Of Law and The First Amendment

Or, more specifically: the judiciary and the press.
Or, even more specifically: James L. Robart and the liberal media.
You people elected a crazy person.

"Sexual Assault, Date-Rape Drug Allegations Rattle Northwestern"

Terrible if true, as goes without saying.
   Based on what we know about this sort of thing, the smart prediction, however, is: not true. Stealthy administration of "date-rape drugs" is extraordinarily rare, and accusations of such almost always turn out to be the result of the alleged victim having freely had too much to drink. 
   We'll undoubtedly hear more if this does turn out to be true. I kind of doubt that we'll hear more about it if it turns out to be false. 

Anarchists Responsible For the Berkeley Anti-Milo Riot?

I don't find it implausible that anarchists committed most of the assaults and property destruction. But that's not really the most important part of what went on. Consider:
People have taken advantage of the Berkeley spirit of free speech to use it to advance their own agenda for a national audience.
   But: even ignoring the violence, what the students were trying to do was shut down the talk. That's what's become of "the Berkeley spirit of free speech." To pretend that the demonstration was simply an expression of free speech and not also an effort to deny someone else the opportunity to speak--that's just a lie. Perhaps the anarchists were worse (perhaps not): what the students were doing was bad enough.
   And, of course: this isn't an isolated occurrence. The PC left is powerful on campuses (but not only there), and it is opposed to free inquiry and free expression.

Trump vs. Reality: The Press *Down-Plays* Terrorist Attacks?

If these people really believed the nonsense they say, I'd be a lot more worried. 
It's bad enough that they can kinda talk themselves into sorta believing it, and bad enough that they'd say this even for show, as a move in Trump's on-going junior-high-level slap-fight with the press...
But at least they're not crazy enough to really believe this stuff.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Dave Rubin: Why I Left The Left

Well, this is pretty much right on IMO.
If they keep up this kind of shit, pretty soon I'm going to have to stop making fun of Prager University.
Goddamn it.

Enterprise vs. Ashley Judd

It's not that this is all that funny...though the early bits with the crew just kind of giving looks is pretty good...  But I had not seen this insane rant by Ms. Judd...who...honestly, I've never been quite sure who she is or what she does. But anyway...she's apparently kinda nuts.

Charles J. Sykes: Why Nobody Cares That The President Is Lying; Also, A Characteristic Rant

This is ok.
   Two points I've harped on:
First, this is all Rush Limbaugh's fault. No need to go through that rant again.[1]
Second, I think it's really important--and I don't mean this to be a mere tu quoque--to remember that the left is approximately as bad as the right in this very respect. Hell, it's kinda worse. Look...just to take the most absurd example...the left is insisting that men become women by putting on dresses. In terms of flat-out, 100%-politically-motivated-denial-of-obvious-facts, there is just nothing on the right that can compare to that. Everyone with at least half a brain and at least one eye to see knows that it is false. I know it's false...you know it's false. Everybody who is not blinded by the doctrines of the cult of the left knows it's false. It is clearly, obviously, unequivocally false. Even Trump's crowd-size howler is less obviously false than that. If you haven't seen the pictures, or have doubts about the accuracy of the pictures that showed up in the papers, you might have some defense for believing Trump. The left is asking us to believe something that you have to basically be insane to believe--that a person with Y chromosomes and an unequivocally male physiology who says the words "I am a woman" thereby becomes a woman.
   Bald-faced denial of facts is the cardinal sin. You suck if you do it. Therefore Trump sucks. And Kellyanne Conway sucks. And Sean Spicer sucks. And all kinds of folks on the right suck. But the left sucks too...and, come to think of it, it probably sucks worse in this respect. Trump is merely kind of a nut. He's got some kind of compulsion to say that he's always the best. Everybody knows he's full of shit. Conway knows it, Spicer knows it. They're just saying the words and moving on. They don't expect you to believe it, they're just trying to weasel out of blame for saying it themselves. They're greedy shits who are saying false things that they know are false. For money.
   The left on the other hand...they say they believe their nonsense...and, frighteningly, maybe they even do... And they're not trying to just dodge your objections and move on...they're telling you that you have to believe it too. And if you don't believe this obvious falsehood, they proclaim you a bigot. The left is insisting that you say--and believe--that Bruce Jenner putting on a dress and saying he's a woman makes him a woman. Now...we're not talking about whether or not it would be polite to go along with this if you knew him... We're not talking about whether or not he ought to be able to use the ladies' room. We're not talking about any of that stuff. We're talking about whether or not Jenner is actually, in fact, an actual woman, no bullshit, what's the truth? If the space aliens came down and were going to destroy the world if you didn't answer the question correctly...if no one were around to call you a bigot for giving the politically incorrect answer, and only, y'know, actual correctness mattered...if you...and just go with me here on this one...if you, just for a moment, pretended that the truth actually mattered here....  Is Jenner literally a woman?
   Well, you know the answer as well as I do.
   Sure, it matters that Trump is the damn President. And is crazy. I'm not saying that doesn't matter.
   But if you're going to berate the right for its subjugation of the truth to politics...well...fairness demands that you at least recognize that the other side has the exact same vice. That side may not run the administration...but it runs the culture. And that probably matters more.

[1] Ok, if you insist: I'm damn still damn inclined to think that damn talk radio is largely damn responsible for the damn madness we see on the damn right. I've mostly blamed Limbaugh for starting it all off, but who knows? And the real problem isn't this or that false belief, it's the acceptance of a politically-motivated, free-associative form of "reasoning." Bad habits of reasoning are worse than particular false beliefs. Teach a man a falsehood and he's wrong for a day; teach him to reason badly and he's crap thinking forever. Limbaugh's M.O. is: grab some news item off the wire. It almost doesn't matter what it is. Free-associate for twenty minutes or so--he's got a lot of airtime to fill--and then finally start circling around, tightening up the baroque epicycles, until they "lead" to some variation on his single, constant, pre-ordained conclusion: liberals are bad. (In fact, liberals are evil. They are intentionally trying to destroy the country.)

Interview With Trump Supporter Attacked At Berkeley Anti-Milo Riot

This is insane.
It's annoying because it's a video, but still worth watching I thought.
(Ends, though, with the interviewer claiming that the psycho left would have had free reign had HRC won.)
True or false?: if the right had done this stuff, it would be wall-to-wall in the media for weeks.
At any rate: many ass-kickings are needed by the protesters in question.

K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor: There Is No Campus Rape Epidemic, But There's A Lot Of Media Malpractice

This is worth reading, even if you're already familiar with the issues and cases.
Some more general stuff bout the NYT in the story:
The New York Times’ coverage of alleged sexual assault on college campuses “seems of a piece with the leftist bias I noticed within The Times newsroom regarding climate change, gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, labor, and other hot-button issues,” former Times editor Tom Kuntz told us via email. Kuntz, a self-described libertarian, had worked for the newspaper since 1987 but left in early 2016, in part because he no longer felt comfortable with its generally slanted coverage and lack of balance.
“This [liberal] bias [at the NYT] can no longer be chalked up as simply a function of too many lefty reporters and editors in the newsroom,” Kuntz added. “The Times has geared it survival strategy to preaching to the liberal converted. Although no one in authority at The Times says so explicitly in public, you can read between the lines of such statements as the October 2015 announcement by CEO Mark Thompson. He said that The Times plans to ‘double the number of [its] most loyal readers,’ and ‘double its digital revenue,’ by 2020, by catering to those who most reliably part with money for Times content.”
Another longtime and respected Times journalist with whom we spoke has a very different view of the newspaper’s motivations. This insider says that “the notion that there is a decision to feed red meat to the liberal base is just nonsense. It’s horseshit. We write a lot about climate change, and we do it with a point of view that accepts the scientific consensus and ‘liberal’ worldview. Is that an attempt to attract eyeballs by throwing red meat to liberal readers or is it coverage of something important we and our readers care about? We write a lot about police violence, Black Lives Matter, and the post-Ferguson law enforcement environment. We write a lot about women’s issues such as access to abortion and contraception. You can argue with the coverage if you like, but it’s complete nonsense to think there’s a sudden strategy to drive digital readership on campus sex issues by throwing out liberal swill to drive up pageviews.

“There’s a complicated and fair discussion you could have about bias, conscious and unconscious in what we do,” The Times journalist continued. “On campus rape, I think you can argue both that it’s a hugely important issue we need to address and that our coverage has tended to disproportionately reflect the ‘liberal’ world view of feminist activists, and that it has been slow to adequately address the rights of accused males. That’s a worthy discussion. But seeing some kind of cabal to crank out liberal catnip to get clicks reflects a complete failure to understand how this place works.”

Either would be bad...not sure which would be worse.

Ilya Somin: Why Trump's Refugee Order Is Unconstitutional

(The argument depends in part on a prior conclusion about the plenary power doctrine.)

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Cathy Young: Both The Left And The Right Get The Muslim Ban Wrong

Thanks, LC, for directing us to this in comments.
   Young is always extremely reasonable, and this piece is no exception.
   The title isn't very accurate, and I'll bet she didn't write it. What she actually argues is that elements of the right and the left are both stupid about Islam, and Trump's ban is crap. The right and the left are both commonly wrong about this stuff...and Trump's ban is wrong in the way one might expect the wrong right to be wrong about it. Though we might add, in a Young-ian spirit: a lot of the opposition to the ban on the left is undoubtedly a result of the left's wrongness about Islam, too, since the wrong left knee-jerkedly defends Islam no matter what.
   In actual fact, Islam has big problems, and it's absurd and dangerous to pretend otherwise. However, Trump's ban is a stupid way to respond to those problems.
   Obviously I don't think that everything is easy here. But usually this isn't exactly a tightrope-walk. There's often a big, wide path between brainless right-wing anti-Islamic bigotry and brainless left-wing apologism. 
   Anyway, I've been thinking something similar for awhile now. People often aren't really evaluating the actual policy at issue, they just support it or oppose it on the basis of their general position on Islam (or whatever). Think Islam is dangerous? Support! Think Islam is misunderstood? Oppose! 
   I think a lot fewer conservatives would support this thing if you said to them: you know, you can think we need to be wary of Islam and do something extra to make sure jihadists don't sneak into the country...without thinking that this is a good way to do that. In general, I think a lot of dumb things conservatives believe and do are frustrated over-reactions to leftish stupidity--just as a lot of dumb things lefties believe and do are frustrated over-reactions to rightish stupidity.