Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trump Calls For Ban On Transgender People In The Military: I May Be OK With That

   My initial inclination was to be against this decision, but about one minute after reading the story, I started thinking it might be more complicated than I initially thought.
   I tend to think that everybody pretty much ought to be able to look however they want. I don't see how we can legitimately demand that men can't wear dresses. Apparently there was a time at which, at least among the upper classes, women weren't to wear pants...and that was eventually recognized to be dumb.
   My only beefs with the PC theory of transgenderism are that (a) it's false, (b) it's deeply philosophically confused, (c) it's scientifically unproven (I's false, for one thing...), and (d) it's being forced onto society by extremist/activist hectoring and deception. The theory is bad, and must be rejected. That doesn't mean that men should be punished for adopting a feminine appearance, nor that women should be punished for adopting a masculine one.
   People must be left free to live their lives as they see fit--consistent with similar freedoms for others, of course. I'm even willing to consider desegregation of public restrooms, locker rooms, and sports...though I'm skeptical.
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Liberals vs. Conservatives on Russiagate

My summary would be: liberals are outraged and think that there's obviously a large amount of dirty-dealing afoot--a cover-up is likely and collusion with the Russians is not unlikely. Conservatives are outraged because they think there is collusion between the Dems and the MSM to blow this all out of proportion and illegitimately bring down Trump.
   If we were to make these positions more fine-grained, we ought to be able to make some predictions from them. Then, when the facts are in in a year or ten, draw a conclusion about which side was less crazy and which side more so.

New Study On Sexual Harassment Of Graduate Students

Via Leiter, this is interesting.
   As I've said before, I know for a fact that some jaw-droppingly blatant and egregious instances of sexual harassment happen to graduate students in philosophy. (Though, come to think of it, I also know of some cases of female students being pretty aggressive in their pursuit of male professors and grad students...) I also know for a fact that there are repeat offenders, and other faculty are in a position to know who they are, but fail to do anything about it. It really is just about the god-damndest thing you every saw in your life, and I can barely write about it without getting extremely angry.
   However, I also know for a fact that there are patently false--and often politically-motivated--accusations of sexual harassment in philosophy, in particular of the "hostile environment" kind. I've seen hostile environment claims used against people simply for criticizing philosophical feminism in the ordinary, philosophical ways (and I've seen such claims taken to university offices, and promulgated nationally). I've also seen utterly frivolous hostile environment claims made about individuals (not me, incidentally). It's just about the second god-damndest thing you ever saw.
   Here's the situation, in philosophy, anyway: sexual harassment is real, and real problem. However, PC/feminist ideology is also rampant, and it has the effect of promoting exaggeration of the problem and false accusations.
   In the middle are a lot of people of good will who aim to do the right thing. Good luck with that, everybody!
   Finally: I'm on a hair-trigger with respect to such things, but the IHE story seems a little slanted to me--not that I'm so objective about such things these days. The comment about Kipnis seems like a dig--my guess would be that she likely said something more like: I can't comment on a 90-page report that just came out; I haven't had time to read and digest it yet. Also, finding that 53% of the claims involve serial harassers doesn't show that there's little truth to the idea that single, false, career-ending accusations aren't a significant threat. A left lean with respect to this issue is common in academia, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's one here. But I also wouldn't be surprised if I were imagining things.

Cathy Young Is Right: Betsy DeVos Is Right: Sexual Assault Policy Is Broken

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Trump / Youngstown

Somehow, impossibly, even cringier than the bizarre speech in front of the Boy Scouts.
What the hell is wrong with that guy?
He's off his rocker.

Trump / Boy Scouts

Gamergate: The Creation Of An Alternate Reality Proceeth Apace

So, as you may recall, Sargon of Akad attended a panel discussion at VidCon; Anita Sarkeesian was a member of the panel. He said nothing. She freaked the f*ck out. He is one of her critics--in best PC fashion, she characterizes criticism as harassment. (Afterward, apparently she pulled Boogie2988 into a room and freaked out at him--why, I do not know.) Since then, Sarkeesian and the PC/SJs have been saying that Sargon harassed her (Sarkeesian). Here's just one more brick in that wall, at the rather creepily-named "UN Women: The UN Entity For Gender Equality."
   Every single thing that Wilson says in that clip is 100% false--and the entire event was captured on video. It is demonstrably false. And yet the PCs know that if they just keep saying it over and over, they can do what they did with Gamergate: create a myth that is taken up and repeated by their comrades, and by the MSM, until it becomes the orthodox story, tantamount, in its effects, to a Trumpian alternative fact. Even the fact that the entire event is on video does not seem to deter them. I really think that's worth thinking about: the proof they are lying is about three clicks away from everyone with an internet connection...and yet they are not afraid to repeatedly spout bald-faced lies. IMO this should tell you something about their M.O. and their confidence in its power.
   One can't help but wonder whether their fondness for this tactic might not be the source of their fondness for the idea of "the social construction of reality"...

More Consequences Of The Tuvel/Hypatia Dust-Up

Still Not Getting All My Comment Notifications

Sorry.  Just published some of the backlog. Will do better.

Coddling Your Interlocutor

I don't have many opportunities to have discussions with conservatives anymore--I think I only know approximately two IRL. And, obviously, I'm particularly down on the left now that political correctness is back, crazier than ever...and, as in the '80s and '90s, more mainstream liberals seem to be backing the PCs up / refusing to criticize them. (And what are "progressives," anyway? I tend to think of them as roughly an intermediate case between liberals and PCs/SJs...but God knows.) Anyway, I'm sure that what I'm about to say goes for conservatives as well, I just tend not to encounter them anymore.
   It seems to me that it's very difficult to make any headway with liberals unless you start off with some epistemic coddling. And what I mean by this is saying things roughly like: I'm on your side...I share your basic ideas...I'm mostly a liberal myself...and so on.
   Obviously, if you want to persuade people, that's a good tactic. I don't think it's much of a mystery why that is. 
   Jesus, I hope nobody is actually reading this dreck.
   Look, I'm not unsympathetic. But I have two reasons for--often, at least--crankily refusing to preface my ranting and raving with epistemic coddling:
   First: I'm not concerned to persuade. I'm just yelling at the television and articulating arguments. I tend to think that it's none of my business what other people do with them. If I state arguments for a position, and do it straight, then I'm inclined to think they're roughly sound. But I think of it more like telling you there's beer in the fridge than like trying to entice you into taking one. I make them available--you do as you will. I don't have all that much interest in persuasion...usually, anyway. Trying to persuade seduces us into bullshitting. State the arguments and leave it to your interlocutor what to do with them, I say.
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We Already Have An Arsenal Plane

It's da BUFF

Monday, July 24, 2017

When Liberals Use Military Force For Humanitarian Reasons, They're Utopian World Police; When Republicans Do It, They're Defending Civilization And Humanity

This particular aspect of the conservative double-standard sends me through the damn roof.

Trump Re-Ups "Worst Deal Ever" With Iran

One of the many things that drives me crazy about politics is when candidates ridicule policy without regard for what the real, actual options are, as if they could simply snap their fingers and implement a policy with all the advantages they can imagine and no down-sides. Funny how the worst of all possible deals suddenly looks pretty damn good when you've got to deal with the real world of actual facts.

Senator (Kid) Rock?

Promise you'll shoot me if this happens.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

Two raptor claws down.
   And my standards for giant-apes-fighting-giant-skull-monsters-from-the-center-of-the-Earth movies are pret-ty low, lemme tell ya.

Wikipedia Is Astonishingly Biased With Respect To Race

Holy God. I was looking at that stuff again today, and, if anything, it's gotten worse. I don't have time to write anything fascinating about it now, but I'm just blown away by how distorted / biased basically all the major entries on race are. They basically all absolutely bend over backwards to shamelessly promote PC social constructionist theories of race. Really, they barely rise above the level of propaganda. There is just no way that it's merely a massive complex of honest mistakes. There is clearly a political / cultural / philosophical agenda in play.
   Do people understand that Wikipedia absolutely cannot be trusted on any matter than intersects with American politics, the culture war, and so on?

Should Community Colleges Abolish Algebra Requirements?

I'm not going dignify that question with a response.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Berkeley Radio Station Cancels Dawkins Interview Because Of "Hurtful" Tweets About Islam

Sooo...unsurprisingly, you can ridicule the shit out of Christianity, and the left is totally fine with that. In fact, psyched about it. But say something unflattering about Islam...not ok, shitlord...not ok...

Did Sessions Discuss Trump-Campaign-Related Matters With Russian Ambassador And Then Make False Statements About It?

But, of course, Kislyak could be lying.

Friday, July 21, 2017

A 747 Full Of Cruise Missiles


Say what you will about the email-stealin', election-tamperin', Trump-electin' Rooskies...they make some sexy-ass airplanes.

If You Want To Understand Gamergate, Look No Further Than The McEnroe-Serena Williams Dust-Up

Gamergate is basically the McEnroe-Williams dust-up. Behold the lefties and lefty journalists madly spinning McEnroe's comments into sexism (or "misogyny"...'sexism' is passe because there's anti-male sexism too.) McEnroe was 100% right. His critics are 100% wrong. And yet they are undaunted. They are convinced that his entirely true comments--comments he made only because prompted to by Lulu Garcia-Navarro's ridiculous prompting--have to be sexist. And they're willing to just flat-out make shit up in order to prove it.
   Now... Imagine that the issues were more complex, and not easily mastered in 30 seconds. And imagine that a chorus of drooling jackass McEnroe supporters decided to start harassing Williams because of the incident. (Actually to make the cases really parallel, you'd have to also assume that Williams was a terrible person and kiiiinda deserved it...). And imagine that Williams herself were unscrupulous, and exaggerated the harassment as a means to career advancement. And imagine that a few other vaguely Williams-like female tennis pros were similarly unscrupulous, and they got into the act as well...
   And what you'd have then is basically Gamergate. It was not a "campaign of harassment" against women in gaming--though there was, undoubtedly, harassment involved. It was, first and foremost, a backlash by gamers against shitty, incestuous, politically correct games journalism. But, as we know, one shouldn't quarrel with those who buy ink by the barrel... Shitty games journalism struck back by painting Gamergate as inherently and primarily misogynistic. Since nobody outside that world knows nor cares what's going on, and the kinds of guys who categorize themselves as gamers don't matter, socially speaking...well, the lie stuck.
   For the record, I wouldn't characterize myself as a gamer. I play video games sometimes--but it's not a community I identify with. So I have no independent reason for defending them on this.
   Gamergate is one of the reasons I've come to fear bias in journalism.  Another reason is the bullshit promulgated about the UNC academic AFAM scandal...which, as it turns out, sells way, way, way more papers if you tell people that it was about cheating and athletics... But I'm not going to get into that one right now.

[God, Vox is dreck.]

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New White House Press Secretary [No: Communications Director]

I can't listen to that guy for more than about five seconds at a time.

Is It Time To Start A New American Philosophical Association That Is Not The American Philosophical Association?

Reading the APA's "Good Practices Guide" makes me wonder whether it is--time for a new organization, I mean. The APA now seems to be primarily interested in promoting "progressive" political and social ideas rather than promoting...y'know...philosophy. The thing really is a mess, but I'm not going to get into it in detail now. Given its strong commitment to ideas that are clustered on the left end of the intellectual / political / social spectrum, the committee had to realize that a large percentage of the membership of the APA would disagree with a whole lot of it. I'm not sure why anyone would produce something so committed to such a particular, partisan set of ideas, knowing their unpopularity, if they didn't intend to try to ram the thing through and impose those ideas on those who disagree. Such an effort would likely be successful since a pall has fallen over discussions of such things, and many people are hesitant to disagree with ideas on the left for fear of being viewed as or called some version/complex of *-ist or *-phobic.
   The thing--which someone on the Metaforum has called The Miss Manners Guide To The Profession--actually contains the following paragraphs, which I just grabbed as the first laughable passage(s) I could find quickly:
Departments should discuss the value of promoting drinking in moderation at departmental social events. Steps that could be taken include limiting the number of drinks per person through the distribution of drink tickets; limiting the length of the event; and limiting the amount of alcohol served. 
Some institutions have taken the step of requiring that, at events where alcohol is served, a member of the department with training in good practices with regard to alcohol must be present. Such individuals can also be designated as persons to whom any concerns about alcohol-related behavior at the event could be communicated.
Obviously it's not that I have anything...much...against drinking in moderation. What seems laughable to me is the idea that the damned APA has any business taking a position on such things or telling people what it would allegedly be good for them to do in this respect. And "trained in good practices with regard to alcohol"????? Jesus Christ. It's really a bit difficult to believe that this isn't a joke. Then there are the bits about safe spaces at conferences... (Not making that up.) Not to mention that an entire section/chapter of the thing (of eight) is devoted to the quasipseudoscience of implicit bias. No objective person could seriously suggest that given the state of the discussion. If there were any doubt that it's a partisan document, the inclusion of that chapter alone would answer them. 
   The thing is seventy-seven pages long--seventy-seven pages of micromanagement of everything from what one should discuss in class to how much one should drink at departmental events. It includes quite a bit of material that seems to be intended to turn philosophy instructors into psychological counselors for their students. It deems innumerable things to be "good practice" that are very not good--e.g. choosing material for class on the basis of the biological characteristics of the authors. The thing would better be called something like An Attempt to Impose Early Twenty-First Century Obsessions Of The Left On The Formerly Noble (Or At Least Not-Completely-Shitty) Profession of Philosophy. 
   At any rate, the whole thing has made me wonder whether it might not be best for philosophy to go its own way, leaving politicized quasi-philosophy / social criticism / political activism to do as it will with the A"P"A. But I've got actual work to do now, so more on that later.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Christina Hoff Sommers On McEnroe On Williams

Right, as usual.
   I hadn't seen some of the nutty responses Sommers discusses. She's absolutely right that if people (including the media) can't handle this dead-simple, entirely clear-cut issue, then there's really not much hope for more complex ones. It's a kind of obvious point, but a really important one. Here's a completely straightforward, clear-cut issue that anyone can understand--and yet many people can't even deal with this honestly. Now imagine these same people discussing transgenderism or whatever. This is why it's so tactically important for the side with the crappier arguments to spew clouds of verbiage--people on your side want to believe. All you've got to do is muddy the waters just a little so that their contradictions are not so painfully obvious that even true believers can't swallow them... And that's almost always possible.
   And forget about handling more complex issues. Look at this one. Those criticisms of McEngroe simply make no sense at all. They're about a half-step above gibberish. Suppose that the truth about the matter suddenly became important to these people. Suppose the people trying to make this out to be some gratuitous insult by McEnroe stood to gain a million dollars if they produced a sensible analysis of what happened. Suppose their lives depended on it. Is there any chance whatsoever that they would say things like that? Nobody's that stupid. The problem is that they're so biased and intellectually dishonest--at least about this issue--that they're just making up nonsense that points in the general direction they prefer. Why? Is it because people like to have things to say back, even if they make no sense? That's a phenomenon that really ought to be studied. Is it simply an impulse to, in effect, make noises in response, no matter how idiotic? I mean...I understand people blurting out stupid things in the heat of the moment...but these people wrote that nonsense down and published it. They had time to think about what they were saying. They had opportunities to delete it. And still they said it. 
   It's downright chilling to me--despite the frivolity of the topic--that these people seem to have so little regard for the truth. It just doesn't seem to affect them in any way that McEnroe was obviously right--and not even being an asshole! Mostly, they're not even denying that--they're making up convoluted, senseless stories about how he's done something wrong by stating the fact. Though they'd be far less reprehensible if they'd at least come out and say that idiotic thing straight out: it's true, but he shouldn't have said it. That's not true either...but at least it's clear.
   That's it. I'm not going to waste any more time on these morons.

Dumb Joke, Dumb Inference: Drum on Campus Craziness

First, that's a funny-ass joke.
Second, you have to be an idiot to think that you should tell that joke in class. I know plenty of funny-ass jokes that I'd never even consider telling in class. And you have to be a doubleplus idiot to think that you can get away with it.
Third, Drum's inference is awful. WTF, Kevin?? That's not you, man....  The existence of one invalid criticism in no way shows that there are no valid criticisms. If it did, then all the crack-brained criticisms of Trump would show that there are no good ones. I know it was semi-tongue-in-cheek...but it needed to be totally-tongue-in-cheek...
   Drum, IMO, like many other sane, liberal bloggers, often feels as if he needs to throw some meat to his leftier followers every now and again. He's too smart and reasonable to really believe what he said, and too smart and reasonable to say what he thinks all the time without losing readers. I'm sure that reasonable people on the right do the mirror-image thing.

Implicit Bias, The Implicit Association Test, And Very Bad Science

Jesse Singal: "Psychology's Favorite Tool For Measuring Racism Isn't Up To The Job."
   Long, but more than worth a read. My own view is that, currently, much of the pro-IAT stuff is damn near pseudoscience. And, lurking behind the discussion, is the fact that the partisans of the IAT are rather clearly motivated, in part, by political commitments. Perhaps some day we'll find that the IAT actually tells us something about "implicit bias." (Though "implicit bias" itself is a tangle that desperately needs untangling.) But today is not that day. All we can currently really say, overall, about the IAT is that it's an interesting idea that doesn't seem to work and that has been radically overblown, largely for political reasons.
   As a sidebar: it's long been of interest to me that the intellectual and political left is known for its commitment to the view that political bias in inquiry is pervasive. However, when we look at actual cases and actual evidence of actual political bias in inquiry--instead of sweeping speculations and presuppositions--what we tend to find, IMO, is that such bias is extremely common and identifiable on the left itself. Perhaps the non-left is just as bad or worse...I'm skeptical, but I'm not the best person to judge. It wouldn't be surprising if the left were worse given, for example, that many on the left hold that objectivity is impossible, therefore non-obligatory--and even that certain biases are virtuous. But it'd be difficult to do a meaningful and accurate comparison.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mark Penn And Andrew Stein: Back To The Center, Democrats

I agree with everything in this.

Kyle Smith: "The Left's Hamburger Problem Is Not Going Away"

I--God help me--agree with the NRO again:
   It wasn’t that long ago — say, the early 1990s —when Republicans were perceived as intruding into people’s private lives by talking about family values, saying no to drugs, and framing issues in moral terms. Today there can be little doubt that the broad American wish to be left alone is more strongly identified with the GOP, and that the Democratic party is providing a lavishly welcoming political home for the busybodies.
   Professional progressives will not eliminate their hamburger problem. They can’t. Their nonstop need to hector others is fundamental to who they are. They genuinely think they’re creating a better world, one tweet or argument or angry unsolicited suggestion to a total stranger at a time.
   Jonah Goldberg has been saying for years that progressives are the aggressors in the culture war. The war will never end, because whenever the Left wins a new victory, it pushes forward to the next fight, often over a policy position that would have seemed ludicrously extreme even to Democrats just a few years earlier. Because of what Jonah astutely dubbed “Selma envy,” the virtue-signaling, the marches for this or that, and the insistence on bending the arc of history toward social justice are baked into the cake that the Left demands you provide for it, on pain of destroying your business.
   Each political party is these days centrally identified by its hatred of the other. Yet the Right concedes points made by the Left all the time; paleoconservatives, for instance, tend to agree with the Left’s framing of the Iraq War as an unnecessary and misguided adventure. Several National Review contributors have called for criminal-justice reform, with a particular focus on unduly harsh sentences for nonviolent offenders and the nightmare of civil-asset forfeiture without due process. This publication declared “The War on Drugs Is Lost” back in 1996.
   By contrast, when you sign on to the progressive cause, you know that ostracization and obloquy from your own side will attach to you like a traveling chorus of hecklers should you ever concede conservatives are sometimes correct. Unless you set out with the full expectation of being damned as a contrarian and a party-pooper for adhering to principle, you will find it exhausting always to be pushing back, to be damned to eternity on the intellectual Nautilus. Much easier, and more natural, is to just relax and accept the constant pull to the left. To put it another way, once you board the progressive choo-choo, it won’t stop until it reaches Crazy Town.
   To be on the left today is to look around and see nutty ideas accepted as perfectly reasonable, everywhere and at all times. Speech is violence, but violent acts are just a really neat form of expression. Gender is a social construct, so you can be a boy on Monday and a girl on Tuesday. If Paul Ryan calls for a spending increase that’s less than what Democrats want, in the progressive imagination this amounts to pushing Granny off a cliff. If the federal government considers ending its subsidy for the leading abortion provider in the country, or if a House dress code that didn’t bother Nancy Pelosi is discovered to have lingered on into Ryan’s term, we’re living in The Handmaid’s Tale.
More than worth reading the whole thing, IMO. Sadly, there's just a whole lot of damn truth in it. 

"Set Aside Putin And Follow The Money: A Russian Expert's Theory Of The Trump Scandal"

At Vox...but actually pretty interesting/plausible.

That's Not A Security Robot

That's not a security robot.
That's a security robot.

APA "Good Practices Guide"

At a glance, bad in the predictable ways. Just to mention one: it maintains the APA's more-or-less official commitment a politically correct, but apparently scientifically indefensible, view of "implicit bias."

PC Thought Police Get Classes Canceled; Long-Time Adjunct Resigns from SAIC

Via Leiter.
If this is accurate, it's...well...not unbelievable anymore, Obviously. Just another brick in the wall I suppose.

PC Madness Distilled Into One Page: "On The Hegemony Of Naturalized Violence: An Apology"

   Well, there you have it. My favorite part, as usual, is the mindless/spineless prostration in the face of mindless/groundless accusations of bigotry. It's almost like soldiers automatically hitting the dirt at the sound of artillery fire.
   The most surprising part to me is actually the laughably implausible gesture at self-defense--'derpy' has never meant "believing something despite the fact that it's been disproven." It's always meant something like dopey. I'm surprised that even such token efforts at explanation are tolerated--I thought the PC line was that any such attempt doubleplusproves that you're a double-dog racist(tm).
   And, God, that last paragraph is f*cking priceless. Seriously, I know we're all used to this nonsense--it's been "normalized." But just look at that. This is a degree of bullshittery about an order of magnitude more bullshittified than questions about pins and angels. It's unmitigated nonsense. And it practically pervades academia. It's no better than if Scientology had invaded the humanities and social sciences. It's as if whole journals and disciplines routinely referenced Xenu and engrams and thetans and whatnot. I think it's very important not to get used to the fact that the trendiest, most influential cluster of fads in academia are utter bullshit. And they've been around for thirty or forty years, and they're being taught to students as fact, and they're not going anywhere any time soon.

GOP's 7-Year Obamacare Obsession Comes To An End

Sometimes you get the whale...
...sometimes the whale eats your leg and sinks your ship.

Big Sibling Is Watching You: UCF Student Punished For Tweeting Graded Apology From Ex-GF

Goodbye, First Amendment. 
   The all-pervasive nanny state that makes up new thoughtcrime on a whim is being beta tested at a university near you.
   Oh and: if the roles had been reversed, I think it's a pretty safe bet that the gf would right now be receiving tens of thousands of sisterhood-is-powerful virtual fist-bumps from the Salon-Vox-Jezebel sector. 
   I sincerely hope Mr. Lutz sues UCF into oblivion.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jezebel Writer Laments The Fact That We Have A First Amendment

Elliot Kaufman: Soon Will Arise The Anti-Academic Prophet

Can't say I'd bet a whole lot against this prediction.

Fightin' Putin: How Good Is Putin's Judo?

Benjamin Wittes at LawFare says that it's crap. And he's challenged Putin to fight him...IRL!!!111
   I'd like to have a shot at Putin, too, honestly...what red-blooded American boy wouldn't? But let's be serious. Putin's not going to fight some plebe. Also, he's 64. There's no glory in fighting a dude in his 60s. Also, apparently Wittes is 47. That's an almost incalculable advantage. Work hard, and you can be merely pathetic at 47, fight-wise... But just get to laugh at such challenges at 64.
   OTOH, Putin has apparently trained hard, at least earlier in life, at Judo and Sambo, and has some record of proficiency. Wittes has trained in Aikido and Tae Kwon Do. TKD is pretty meh unless its mixed with something else like Muay Thai. Aikido is closer to useless against a trained opponent. Judo is good. Sambo...well, I've never done any, but it's got a pretty good record in MMA. Other things being equal: Judo and Sambo beat Aikido and TKD. (Fortunately...or, rather, unfortunately...MMA has largely put an end to those old my style of Kung Fu is stronger than yours debates...)
   As Wittes notes, Putin's Judo videos just show him warming up and then practicing throws. That's what most of Judo class is. They don't show him rolling for real with anyone...but, then, if I were a world leader I wouldn't want to roll in front of God and everybody either.
   Anyway, I'd like to see someone kick Putin's ass, and no doubt. (I'd like it most if that person were me...) And Wittes could likely take him because of age alone. And Wittes might be right that he's a fraud. But none of the evidence presented thus far shows the latter to be true.

Jussim: Gender Bias In Science, Or Biased Claims Of Gender Bias?

Lee Jussim is one of my freakin' heroes.
I'm surprised he hasn't been burned at the stake by now for speaking the truth.

[Via the Forum That Shall Not Be Named]

Saudi Woman Arrested For Wearing Skirt

These people are crazy.

J. Nelson Aviance: "I Am Not Cisgendered"

Caveat lector!
Not because you'd be tempted to believe any of this hallucinatory nonsense...but because you might cringe yourself to death if you read it. It's absolutely chock-full of nuclear -holocaust -level PC cringe.
   But it's enjoyable in the sense that it's turning all the PC/SJ BS back on itself with respect to this issue. I mean it's all the veriest bullshit...but it's like watching two Scientologists or something try to outmaneuver each other on fine points of their unhinged doctrine. But boy, Aviance really is pretty steamed that people apply this entirely useless made-up word to him... And, I mean, from what I could force myself to read, he does have a pretty good point: basically PC doctrine says that you get to "identify" as whatever you want, independently of what the facts about you are like. So even if a term does describe you, according to the doctrine you can just say that that's not "how you identify," and your feelz constitute a trump card. So seriously, he's just applying the nutty doctrine consistently...or...y' consistently as an inconsistent doctrine can be applied.

[Also! It is serious wordcrime to say 'transgendered' or 'transgenderism'! One is, apparently, always to say 'transgender', English formation rules be damned...because reasons. So I wonder whether the (non-)words 'cisgender', 'cisgendered,' and 'cisgenderism' (?) are supposed to play by the same (non-)rules?]

Dr. Who??????

Well, I was never really able to get into Dr. Who, though I could see that it was pretty cool. Since I'm not a fan, commenting is really kibitzing...but...given the nature of the story, casting a woman as the Doctor seems like a natural to me, and always has. I kinda wish it had happened much earlier, and not now, as this will, undoubtedly, be seen as a victory for the forces of PC/SJ darkness...and that's bad, obviously. They don't need any more cultural momentum than they already have. But waddaya gonna do? Somebody dopey will probably always consider any good decision a you largely have to divide through by what the crazies think. I'm sure there are also some fans who always want the Doctor to be a dude...but...unless there's some element of the story I don't know about, that seems like a hard position to defend. I agree that this is about the worst time to do this...but I think the coolness and consistency considerations outweigh the other ones. I fear we'll see a bunch of this sort of thing to pander to the PCs...but waddayagonnado?
   A little additional minor bitching about terminology in the story. I've harped on this sort of thing ten thousand times, but: it's kinda bad to say that this is about the doctor's "gender." It's true that normal people tend to use 'gender' as a polite term for 'sex,' so they use them as synonyms in that context...but the old-school feminists were right: there's an important sex/gender distinction. The sexes are biological categories (male and female), the genders are behavioral ones (masculine and feminine). Trying to stick to this distinction allows you speak much more precisely, and say important things like men need not be masculine and women need not be feminine. Also, the PC left now intentionally blurs the distinction in order to advance the currently-fashionable PC theory of transgenderism. If you push people to mind the distinction, a lot of the fallacious reasoning undergirding that theory is more transparently sophistical. So I think there are good reasons to mind it.

[Just wanted to add once again that I find this kind of thing generally cool, and tend to like female protagonists.. So, though I'll wince if this becomes a PC-motivated trend, I like the idea in and of itself, even when there's no obvious narrative opening for it as in Dr. Who. Sarah Michelle Gellar used to say that she wanted to play James Bond, and I actually thought that was a kind of cool alternate-universe-y idea. Bond has to be British, obviously...but you could make up some little story about 'James Bond' being a code name... I dunno. I would understand pushback against that...but I still think it's a cool idea.]

Monday, July 17, 2017

Poll: 70% Say Trump Acts In An Unpresidential Manner

Eh....about that...other 30%....?
What are they waiting for? Red wine with fish?*

*Sadly, not my line. Heard it in some other, long-forgotten context.

GW Law Prof Suggests Universities Outsource Sexual Assault Investigations, Target Alcohol Use

Well now this is interesting.

Snopes: The Lies Of Donald Trump's Critics, And How They Shape His Many Personas

Haven't finished reading it, but here it is anyway.

Lawfare: Seven Theories Of The Case: What Do We Really Know About L'Affaire Russe?

Soft-Pedaling Political Correctness In Research: Gawker / Feminist Glaciology Edition

   This is all about the right! The right is bad! See how they get bent out of shape about this sort of thing? If the right is mad about it, it must be ok! Is the paper bad? How should I know? Maybe it's awesome! Besides, they didn't spend the whole $412k on this one paper! So we, at Gawker, don't really see what the problem is...
   Yes, Gawker is (was?) a joke. (Does it exist anymore? I don't even know.) But this is basically the little Gawker-image of how the media tends to treat this sort of thing. Something analogous on the right would be The Biggest Outrage Ev-ar. you see...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hundreds of Immigrant Teens In Sweden Fall "Unconscious" When Families Face Deportation; Can Allegedly Only Be Cured By Being Granted Permanent Residency

Columbia Reaches Settlement With Paul Nungesser, Victim Of "Mattress Girl"s False Rape Allegations

Some details are confidential, but Columbia did promise to reform its policies somewhat in order to treat those accused of sexual misconduct with more "respect." Though I don't see anything about treating them more fairly...

...And The Emmy For Most Politically Correct Cable Episode Goes To....Bill Nye The Pseudoscience Guy...

Apparently Bill Nye's godawful facepalmerific PC sex-and-gender-fest is being nominated for an Emmy. (TW: Daily Caller. So...could be false...) The thing is so awful that there's just no way there could be any other reason than the fact that it's politically correct.

Jonathan Rauch, Kindly Inquisitors

This book:

has some really great points in it. Rauch saw stuff about paleo-PC back in '92 that I hadn't quite homed in on even today--before reading KI, that is. I'll post something more specific on it soon.

RIP George Romero

The Dust-Up Surrounding McEnroe's Comments About Serena Williams Is A Case Study In Political Correctness

This is right.
   Anyone with half a brain should be able to see what's going on here.
   (Note, incidentally, that the video says that JM "took a jab" at Williams, which is false.)
   I really do think that this would make a nice little case study--it's a whole lot of PC crackpottery in microcosm. One of the aspects of it that I think is most interesting is that JM didn't start the dust-up. He said something entirely true that is neither biased nor insulting, and that shouldn't even be controversial. The interviewer then chastises him in a way that's predicated on an obvious falsehood. JM responds perfectly reasonably...but politically incorrectly. Then he is made out to be the villain. Really, this is just a freaking paradigm. It perfectly illustrates one template for PC looniness. What actually--and clearly and unequivocally--illustrates PC derangement becomes, in the deranged view of the PC left, evidence of JM's retrograde, bigotry. repeat myself yet again...this isn't exactly the PC left. This is mainstream liberals and mainstream liberal media adopting the modes of reasoning of the PC left. The madness that is so intense on the far left has infiltrated the more center-left in a somewhat weakened form. Sadly, though, not much weakened. Fairly mainstream parts of the left now routinely deploy the terminology and arguments of the PC left.
   This little episode is funny...but what it represents is not.

   Here's another paradigm of PC argumentation to keep before your mind, even though this incident doesn't seem to illustrate all of the elements:
PC Person: x is F!!!!!
Normal Person: it isn't.
PCP:  IT IS!!!
Norm:  But we have clear evidence that x is not F; here it is.
PCP:  YOU ARE A RACIST (or sexist, or whatever -ist or -phobe) for saying that x is not F!
Norm: No I'm not, you're just denying established facts.

The denial of plain facts, the disregarding of evidence, the focus on fabricated attitudes of reasoners instead of reasoning, the routine accusations of bigotry...and when the argument is lost, the seamless shift to accusations of rudeness without acknowledging error... Man, you just see this over and over and over again.

[Incidentally: the measure of real belief is willingness to act, e.g. willingness to bet. Suppose we could set up matches between Williams and the top 700 male tennis players, with, say, one match against each. I'd be willing to bet just about everything I own that Williams would lose most of those matches. would anyone who understands this even a little bit be willing to take that bet?]

PC From The Top Down?

This at NRO (egad...I'm starting to agree with the NRO...) is about one instance of what has, for awhile now, seemed like a general phenomenon to me: in mainstream (i.e. liberal-leaning) publications, what's published is notably more PC than the comments on it. That is, in places like the the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Slate and the NYT, basically everything that's published is very PC, but there's more pushback in the comments than I'd expect. It could, of course, be that most posts tend to bring out commenters who disagree...or it could be my imagination. But anyway, it's the same kind of phenomenon Hillard is talking about.
   This seems to me to be evidence of another pet hypothesis of mine: that PC is being imposed on the society from the "top" "down." That is, it's institutions like academia, the media, and even government that are basically insisting that certain theories and social changes should be accepted. Perhaps this is common. Perhaps it's sometimes good--e.g. maybe this also happened with the civil rights movement and egalitarian feminism. I'm not too clear on the history. But it won't always be good--the "elites" can, obviously, be mistaken--as I'd say they are, generally, in this case.
   Anyway, just an observation.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lysenkoism Today: Lisa Feldman Barrett, "When Is Speech Violence?"

Nothing like a bit of pseudoscience in defense of totalitarianism.
   Her answer is that certain kinds of stress can allegedly cause real physical harm and:
   That’s why it’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school. He is part of something noxious, a campaign of abuse. There is nothing to be gained from debating him, for debate is not what he is offering.
   On the other hand, when the political scientist Charles Murray argues that genetic factors help account for racial disparities in I.Q. scores, you might find his view to be repugnant and misguided, but it’s only offensive. It is offered as a scholarly hypothesis to be debated, not thrown like a grenade. There is a difference between permitting a culture of casual brutality and entertaining an opinion you strongly oppose. The former is a danger to a civil society (and to our health); the latter is the lifeblood of democracy.
By all means, we should have open conversations and vigorous debate
   What she's really (in some sense of 'really') saying here, however, is that it's an empirical question. If speech is harmful, it should not be permitted on campuses. So the question of what it's permissible to say on campuses is now put in the hands of--God help us--the psychology department and medical researchers. The principle here is that what we should be permitted to say should be determined by empirical findings--however they should turn out. Should we have freedom or totalitarianism? Empirical question, my friends. Empirical question.
   But this piece is just so terrible on so many levels that one hardly knows where to start. And I've got stuff to do today.
   First, the "scientific" conclusions add nothing to this argument. It's just window-dressing. This is the same argument liberals have been having with anti-liberals since the Enlightenment or so. This is a well-known form of sophistry. Take an old argument and tart it up with some barely-relevant alleged science. The important argument is that people like Milo are offering nothing but abuse and no real ideas, unlike people like Murray. And, indeed, if Milo were only standing in the Pit screaming racial epithets, that would be a different matter. Of course that isn't what he's doing. At all.
   Second, this doesn't give her the conclusion she wants in any way, shape, or form. There's undoubtedly a continuum of alleged-but-almost-certainly-non-actual harm between Milo and Murray. There's no sharp cutoff, but just alleged differences of degree. So were we to implement this daft suggestion, we'd then allot time to Milo and Murray on the basis of their degree of harm, which I suppose we'd have to measure with some precision. For all we know, Murray will cause more stressons to embed themselves in your third chakra than Milo will.
   Third, of course, nothing in here shows that speech is violence. All it alleges is that some speech can have harmful effects. Without, of course, noting the beneficial effects of free speech.
   Fourth, and more importantly: this is one of the main disagreements between liberalism and the anti-liberal left: liberalism (broadly construed, so as to include conservatives, obviously) holds that truth and autonomy matter. The PC left tries to reduce everything to a question of harm, and then gerrymander results so that it appears that speech of which they don't approve comes out on the wrong end of their utilitarian calculations. Without, of course, doing any of the actual science or actual calculations...not that that actually matters much. The error is going down this disastrous road at all.
   Fifth, this would give the PC left even more incentive to train themselves up into ever-more-delicate states of snowflakery. All that matters is harm. This idea is already what motivates their histrionics: they're trying to convince us that they're so delicate that they are harmed by ideas with which they disagree. It doesn't matter that they don't even have to listen to them--just knowing that someone else is speaking the words somewhere is enough. And I have no doubt that one can work oneself up into a state of genuine anguish.
   Sixth, there's nothing here that limits this insanity to campuses. Campuses are a beachhead. These ideas, if right, should be implemented nationwide. It shouldn't even require repeal of the First Amendment, since violence per se is not protected speech.
   Behold, the sate of contemporary academia: terrible reasoning combined with totalitarian leftist politics and pseudoscience. That is: neo-Lysenkoism.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Seattle-Area Councilman: Hosing-Off Poop-Covered Sidewalks Might Be Racially Insensitive

In the future, our time will be a laughing-stock.

"Lie After Lie After Lie"; Shep Smith Has Had Enough

If Trump is losing Fox, he's in big trouble.

Cheryl Benard: "I've Worked With Refugees For Decades. Europe's Afghan Crime Wave Is Mind-Boggling

This is very interesting. Also alarming.
In 2014, when waves of refugees began flooding into western Europe, citizens and officials alike responded with generosity and openness. Exhausted refugees spilled out of trains and buses to be met by crowds bearing gifts of clothing and food, and holding up placards that read “Welcome Refugees.”
But there was one development that had not been expected, and was not tolerable: the large and growing incidence of sexual assaults committed by refugees against local women. These were not of the cultural-misunderstanding-date-rape sort, but were vicious, no-preamble attacks on random girls and women, often committed by gangs or packs of young men. At first, the incidents were downplayed or hushed up—no one wanted to provide the right wing with fodder for nationalist agitation, and the hope was that these were isolated instances caused by a small problem group of outliers. As the incidents increased, and because many of them took place in public or because the public became involved either in stopping the attack or in aiding the victim afterwards, and because the courts began issuing sentences as the cases came to trial, the matter could no longer be swept under the carpet of political correctness. And with the official acknowledgment and public reporting, a weird and puzzling footnote emerged. Most of the assaults were being committed by refugees of one particular nationality: by Afghans.

Christine Emba: The Overpopulation Doomsayers Are At It Again: And They're Still Wrong

Wow, this is truly terrible.
At a glance, I'm not sure that there's a single sound argument in it.
How is that mentioning that having "seven or eight" kids is not a great idea is "overpopulation doomsaying"?
And it just goes downhill from there. Really, this thing is fallacies on parade.
On the bright side, this'll be something good to give the kiddies in critical thinking in the Fall...

Feminist Geographers Encourage Colleagues Not To Cite The Research Of White Men

See, it actually doesn't bother me so much that this is racist and sexist.
   What bothers me is that it's insane.

Political Correctness And Sexual Attacks At Swedish Music Festivals

   Perhaps the current PC madness will spread/stick--in which case, we're screwed. But if it doesn't, people will look back on this decade in bafflement. It's pretty clear what happened at the Swedish music festivals--but there has bee a mad scramble to deny the apparent facts.  As I've said before, I think that the core characteristic of PC is the ability of its adherents to--almost effortlessly, it seems--pretend (or convince themselves to actually believe) that facts--even obvious facts--are not facts; and to accept instead politically-approved leftist dogma. (The right can do that too, of course, especially the religious right...but the phenomenon seems so much more pronounced in the relevant sectors of the left).
   So first we have the frantic contortions and official censorship involved in pretending that the attacks are not associated with "migrants" and identifiable ethnic groups. (See also: the Cologne and Hamburg attacks.) But...if everyone was going to participate in a collective lie about something like that, you'd think they'd try to move on as quickly as possible. The more you dwell on in, the more difficult it will be for people to maintain the quasi-belief in the fable. So that's why it seems like an extra level of craziness that we see essays like this going on and on about how this is about men in general, and all men have to blah blah blah, and what's needed are festivals with no men. You'd think that pushing it would make it more difficult to maintain the official myth. Wouldn't you? Though perhaps what you really want is a big, extensive lie... Empirical question, I guess. As we know, certain experts have argued that big lies are better.
   So: no one is to admit what really happened, because it is racist to admit that there's any link to ethnicity. (Which is, of course, different than it being false.) But it's perfectly acceptable and not at all sexist to pretend that this is a problem with all men--at least all Swedish men. As a further layer of nuttiness, the writer suggests that if you have the temerity to believe your lyin' eyes rather than the PC myth, then you're a double-dog racist something something white supremacists something something rape culture.
   Then there's the bit about how, though it's perfectly permissible to have an event that excludes all men, it's not permissible to exclude men who are pretending to be women... I've gotta draw the line somewhere, right?
   And, of course, questioning any of this insanity in any way is racist and "transphobic" and certainly many other terrible varieties of -ism and -phobia.
   I suppose it's too much to ask that all men will refuse to participate in the event, including bands and roadies. I mean, if you're going to have a "man-free" (but, note: not all-woman!) event, then have a truly man-free event. No dudes. No male acts, no male techies, no male cops. At least have the courage of your crazy convictions.

Trump Lawyer Threatens Critic

We don't know what happened here. Said critic may be an extreme asshat, and Pro Publica may be full of sh*t. But almost no matter what really happened, it isn't excusable for the president's lawyer o threaten someone in response to criticism, however laughable those threats might be. I do realize that people associated with the Tump administration are subjected to non-stop hysteria and harassment by the self-righteous paladins of the #RESISTANCE!!!$$$%%%7&(tm)... But that does come with the job now, apparently. As the Mystic was saying to me, you didn't see Obama or his staff cracking, and they were subjected to criticism that was even crazier, for much less reason. Imagine if Trump had to deal with birthers. He'd burst into flames or something.
   Anyway, Kasowitz has to go now, obviously.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

TDS: Misogynistic Bows Edition

Holy crap this is just plain batshit crazy.
The really deranged bit comes at 1:15:
“Right. With big bows on her sleeve. I mean, I don’t mean to sound sexist — it can be dangerous to comment on what women wear — but the fact that she sat in for her father in a dress that was so incredibly ornamental was such a contradiction in terms”, Walsh said. “And I think that what we see is that in patriarchal, authoritarian societies, daughters have great value — they are property. And the message that she is sending about her own value, about her place in the White House, and about the place of women in this administration, I think, are really frightening.”
Just so Jedburgh doesn't jump my case again, let me make it clear: I don't mean that this is worse than Trump or any such's just so goddamn delusional though! Like...every damn thing about it!
   Not to mention (which, of course, means that I'm about to mention the thing in question) if anybody on the right criticized a women on the left in such a way, there would result a dogpile so massive that the lowest part would be compressed beyond critical mass and some kind of fission of crazeons would be achieved.
   Ms. Trump is made proxy for the President of the United States by the President of the United a meeting at the G20 summit no less. But because she wears a pink--or, not that this bit should actually matter, but--actually, a slightly pinkish...dress with two bows on it...and societies completely different than ours, women are property...this...somehow...devalues or disrespects her? Showing that she devalues/disrespects herself??? And shows that she is not respected by her own father and his entire administration???? And that no women are respected/valued in this administration? And, it's not merely eyebrow-raising nor suboptimal nor even just's frightening?
   Seriously, to emphasize the consistency point: the left would never tolerate anything even 1/10th this bad if someone on the right said it about a woman on the left. If a man in the mainstream media had said this sort of thing about any woman but one of the Trump women, he'd be tearfully apologizing within a few hours, and fired within a day.
   You just can't really get much more delusional than that. You couldn't make it up. If you did make it up, and you put it in a novel, people would ridicule it as too unrealistic (and programmatically anti-left) even for fiction.
   On top of everything else, this is also, I suggest, the kind of free-form interpretive bullshit that runs rampant in so many of the humanities and social sciences. So it's also more evidence that academia is leaking.
   And, look, I know this is a kind of worst-case anecdote...but...does this kind of abject insanity in the penumbra of commentary that surrounds actual news really tell us nothing about the objectivity of journalists at, say, MSNBC in general? I'm a bit skeptical about that.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trying To Defend The Humanities, Ken Burns Hints At What's Wrong With The Humanities

Well, there's some ok stuff toward the end, but the first half of the story shows Burns himself exhibiting the vices of the contemporary humanities: an over-emphasis on race, some babble about "privilege"...and then this:
Unlike our current culture wars, which have manufactured a false dialectic just to accentuate otherness, the humanities stand in complicated contrast, permitting a nuanced and sophisticated view of our history, as well as our present moment, replacing misplaced fear with admirable tolerance, providing important perspective and exalting in our often contradictory and confounding manifestations,"
Yeesh, that first part...
   The humanities are full of bullshit right now, and the softer social sciences are not much better, at best. No one should be defending the humanities right now without admitting that much of what passes for the humanities these days is indefensible. They'd be easier to defend if they were more worthy of defense.

McArdle: Academics Are So Lefty They Don't Even See It


Trump & Russia vs. Clinton & Ukraine

I've seen some people write that it's an outrage that the Trump campaign met with foreign nationals to look for "dirt" on Clinton--but that isn't obvious to me. And by now everybody knows that the Clinton campaign did something analogous in meeting with Ukrainians looking for dirt on Manafort. After that, though, the similarities pretty much end, as this Politifact piece details.
   If there weren't so much seemingly tactical forgetfulness on the part of the Trumpistas, I probably wouldn't think too much of any of this. But, as it is, it's looking an awful lot like evidence of consciousness of guilt.

Acting Head of OCR: Parties Usually "Both Drunk" In Campus Sexual Assault Cases

[Update: the linked story has now been edited to include/emphasize that Jackson has apologized for the flippancy of her comments.]

It's so long since I heard anyone from Ed talk sense about this sort of thing that I hardly know what to do... This part strikes me, however, as extremely hyperbolic:
90 percent of cases "fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk, we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.'"
I doubt very seriously that 90% of cases fall into that extreme category...though many prominent cases have been worse than that, with some women claiming that a sexual encounter early in a relationship constituted rape...despite the fact that the sexual relationship continued for quite some time after that. It's not that that's impossible, of course. It's that it's too unlikely to take seriously. If it's Smith's word against Jones's, and Jones somehow didn't realize that a "rape" occurred until months after the fact, and she consented to sex with Smith many times after that, there's virtually no chance that the accusation is true.
   So, though, in different circumstances, I might be more concerned about the hyperbole, with academia in the grip of rape crisis hysteria, I'm mostly glad to see some semblance of sanity back at OCR.
   Never thought I'd hear myself say anything of the kind, but: Trump's Ed might just end up being better / saner than Obama's.

McArdle: Conservatives Are Souring On Colleges. Blame Colleges.

Nothing really new here, but McArdle is right.
   Academic freedom is extremely important. Many faculty abuse it by using it as a platform for political proselytizing--almost always from the left. Ad hoc abuse is one thing...but, worse, the academic left has spun out a whole pseudophilosophy to defend their abuse of the principle. You know the patchwork story: everything is political, objectivity is impossible, everyone is really proselytizing anyway, rationality and objectivity are cover stories made up by straightwhitemales in the West in order to cover up their own proselytizing, science is just another ideology...blah blah blah. Worse than cheating is making up a whole world-view about how cheating is inevitable and good and not cheating is just another kind of cheating and...and....and...
   I don't see any way to root out political cheating by faculty without giving up academic freedom--and that's not worth it, obviously. But given that academia is a largely left-wing institution pushing for left-wing causes, I don't see how anyone could expect conservatives not to be somewhat hostile to it on those grounds.
   My view is that using your classes to push political views is no better than using them to promote a business. And using academic freedom as a justification is no better in the former case than in the latter. And the worst thing of all is spinning out a theory to "justify" your wrongdoing...
   But I've got no ideas about what to do--other than, perhaps, suggesting to more intellectually honest professors that they discuss this in their classes, and make sure that students understand that politicizing classes is wrong. That might help.
   None of that addresses other ways in which academia is slanted left, though--like the tendency of institutions to immediately take up left-wing fads pretty much as soon as they appear on the scene--official "microaggression" policies, "diversity" indoctrination, "trans" bathroom policies, presupposing "privilege theory" in official policies and on and on. It's not just the faculty--it's the orientation of the entire institution.
   The best way to stop all this would be for faculty and administrators to become intellectually honest. So that means we'd better start thinking in terms of plan B.

Larsen C Iceberg Breaks Off

Trump Jr. "Probably Met With Other Russians"

   The media feeding frenzy is disgusting, but there's no doubt about it--this is huge. It's huge even thought Trump Jr.'s story doesn't seem that unlikely to me. It might have been a dumb mistake made out of political inexperience. But, of course, it might not have been. And: it might constitute a major transgression even if it was a mistake. And then there's the little matter of not revealing it. Which could also be explained: the Trump campaign faced an extremely hostile media that was gunning for them at every turn. It's easy to imagine erring on the side of secrecy under those conditions...even if you're not trying to collude. 
   I can be sanguine about all this because we've got a gaggle of investigations addressing it, and I have faith that the truth will out. But also, honestly, as much as I dislike Trump, I'm (a) starting to feel a little sorry for those guys, and (b) I am, more and more, coming to think that the news media is a very dangerous thing. That in no way is meant to indicate any doubt about the necessity of a free press, as goes without saying. But damn...when they hate you and there's blood in the water, you are screwed. You just better hope you never get tangled up in something that turns the weapons of mass media destruction in your direction...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"The Year Is 2017 And Witches Are Leading The Trump Resistance"'re half-right...
But as men like Trump use the term “witch hunt” to signify their victimhood, the real witches of America are emphasizing their feminine power—the better to put to use in the anti-Trump resistance.
   The night of the 2016 US election, at quarter past midnight, I sat in a living room with my friends—also known as my coven—as the reality of a Trump presidency began to sink in. Our overwhelming sense of dread and sadness was likely shared by groups of liberal friends in living rooms across the country. But we handled our grief a little differently.
   Before we finally fell asleep in a heap on the couch, exhausted by the evening’s events, we cast a circle and lit some candles. We gave thanks to the Goddess and asked for protection in the uncertain future that lay ahead. An electric sort of energy flowed through us as we held hands around the coffee table that doubled as an altar.
   Modern-day witches don’t necessarily sport pentagram necklaces or long, gauzy dresses. Very few wear pointy hats and dance in fields at midnight. Instead, modern witchcraft is all about claiming your personal power. And in this sense, witches are a natural answer to Trump’s brand of macho misogyny.
   “Many men don’t understand how seemingly inferior creatures can possibly out-think or out-strategize or outperform them,” Schiff says. “Some occult power must be to blame; ergo, the woman in question must be practicing sorcery. If you take sorcery out of the mix, you might have to concede that women were every bit equal to (if not superior to) men. I am not sure there is a powerful woman in history who has not at some point or other been accused of practicing dark arts.”
   Indeed, as my friend Anna Toonk, a “teacher of magical practices,” notes, witchcraft is inherently empowering for women because of its focus on the divine feminine—the idea that feminine energy is at the core of our universe and provides power to all beings, not just those who identify as women. Whether through tarot cards, reading star charts, or meditation, the daily practice of magic seeks to help people connect to the larger universe.
   “The best definition I’ve heard of a magic is ‘the ability to change your consciousness,’” Toonk says. “ I think a lot of what is appealing of identifying as a witch is it’s this way of claiming your own feminine magic.”
   And in Trump’s America, a whole lot of people are finding the resistance to be a good outlet for their magic. In the weeks and months following the election and, subsequently, the inauguration, groups of witches across America began joining forces to cast spells against the President. Under the “official” #BindTrump Facebook group, nearly 2,500 witches commune to cast spells to inhibit Trump’s policies from taking hold, most recently on the summer solstice.
Totally not making this up.

Stereotype Accuracy

   I know I've gone on about this before. I think I've even posted this little piece about it before. But IMO this is extremely significant. And it has implications beyond those that are (to me, anyway) obvious.

Rampell: Americans Are Burning Down The House

   Are we losing our commitment to American political values? This data makes conservatives look particularly bad...though it could be that polling effect such that these answers really mean something more like I'm pissed at the press and I think there is voter fraud. But maybe not. As Rampell notes, stacked up on the other side is all the PC campus insanity...but that's more on the anecdotal side. 
   Anyway, not happy numbers.

Actually Stunning Trump Jr. Emails

   This actually is stunning:
 “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump,” wrote Goldstone.
   It should go without saying that this doesn't show that the Russian government did support Trump (though we've got independent evidence for that)...but it shows that Trump Jr. was willing to meet with someone who alleged ties with the Russian government in order to get dirt on HRC. 
   Is there such a thing as attempted collusion?

With Respect To Your Area of Expertise, Are You More Radical Or More Conservative?

Serious question, inchoate though it is.

The Social Justice Mist

Watched an episode or two...bleeeeh.
   If you're looking for something cool and're out of luck. But if you need a right good social justicing...and I mean a totally artless, hit-you-over-the-head-with-it, guaranteed-to-make-even-Anita-Sarkeesian-roll-her-eyes social all means, this is the show for you!
   Just not good. Not so far, anyway.

Are We As Doomed As That New York Magazine Article Says?

[This post is a mess but I got all sucked into it with too little caffeine in my system...but there it is anyway...]
Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic says no.  (Thanks to Anon, in comments, for the pointer.)
   This Meyer thing is itself a bit all over the place. Mixed in with straightforward debunking of the David Wallace-Wells piece (about which I expressed some skepticism) is a bunch of distracting points of a kind that tend to annoy me--e.g. that it's rhetorically/politically bad to say that things are really bad because then people will give up instead of trying to fix them:
Over the past decade, most researchers have trended away from climate doomsdayism. They cite research suggesting that people respond better to hopeful messages, not fatalistic ones; and they meticulously fact-check public descriptions of global warming, as watchful for unsupported exaggeration as they are for climate-change denial.   
They do this not because they think that climate change will be peachy. They do it because they want to be exceptionally careful with facts for such a vital issue. And many of them, too, think that a climate-changed world will look less like a starved wasteland and more like our current home—just more unequal and more impoverished.
Anyway, that starts off bad, but segues into a point about the basic reasonableness of climatologists.
   Anyway, here's the real point: Wallace-Wells's account is:
    ...a scary vision—which is okay, because climate change is scary. It is also an unusually specific and severe depiction of what global warming will do to the planet. And though Wallace-Wells makes it clear that he’s not predicting the future, only trying to spin out the consequences of the best available science today, it’s fair to ask: Is it realistic? Will this heat-wracked doomsday come to pass?
   Many climate scientists and professional science communicators say no. Wallace-Wells’s article, they say, often flies beyond the realm of what researchers think is likely. I have to agree with them.
   O.k., groovy. (a) that's what we really need to know: DWW's account isn't in accordance with the consensus of experts, and (b) things are unlikely to be that bad.'s more than a little weird to say that it's ok for his story to be scary "because climate change is scary." I can't write a story radically exaggerating the threat posed by Zika and defend it by saying that it's ok that my story is scary, because Zika is scary...
   There's also this weird paragraph:
This isn’t to say that his piece is worth discarding in its entirety. Wallace-Wells paints a vivid and frightening version of a doomed world. Many scientists just don’t think we live in that world—and they don’t think it’s helpful to tell people that we do. this point we should be less interested in what's allegedly helpful, and more interested in asking what's true... But, more to the point: if Wallace-Wells is wrong (i.e. "we don't live in that world"), then why is the thing not "worth discarding in its entirety"? It's damn near cheating to respond: something something worst case scenario...
   My guess is that one must not be too enthusiastic in one's debunking of climate change extremism...but it's just a guess...
Read more »

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Uninhabitable Earth not want to be "on the wrong side of history" and all that...and...I have no expertise in anything anywhere near any part of any of this...but...I have to say that...just at a gut level...I'm a bit skeptical.

Michael Aaron: A Tale Of Two Europes

A bit of a jumble, far from perfect, kooky final paragraph...but pretty good in several ways...and I'm actually just relieved to see more people actually discussing this stuff. The most alarming thing about it all is the official distortion of the news in the name of "social justice" nonsense.
   God bless Quillette...though it's shocking that you basically have to start a venue that specifically aims at avoiding lefty thought policing if you want to avoid lefty thought-policing.

Dems To Run Left?

Most of this makes me less likely to vote Dem...though I do wish we'd return tax rates to something more reasonable. Seems to me that's less like redistribution and more like...just having a sane tax code... But that's more than a little weasely. Of course the real deal-breaker for me is the PC nonsense. If the Dems give in to the PC left, that's it for me. I might not vote Republican, but I certainly won't vote for the Dems if that happens. Of course, it's already kind of happening... 
   Contra Schumer, people do know what the Dems stand for...and that's part of the problem. Some of what they stand for is good, and some is bad. If they could up the former and dampen down the latter, well, electoral success should follow...

After Protests, Students Shun Mizzou

Apparently as a result of both (a) fears of racism and (b) fears of lefty insanity/chaos.
Freshman enrollment down 35%. That's a disaster.

So Long, Mr. Jefferson (And Mr. Madison...): Charlottesville Contra The First Amendment

   Because freedom of speech and assembly are only for people we agree with...
   My favorite points by the activists:
   * We didn't want the Klan in the park, so we decided to block them from entering...
   * ...which is ok because that's us exercising our freedom of speech.
   * It would have all been much more peaceful if the police hadn't been there preventing us from getting at them.
   *  It was the police's bad "energy" that screwed everything up...
   *  ...not to mention all that expensive equipment...
   *  ...which wasn't even used to help us do what we wanted, but used to stop our illegal actions!
   There is no doubt whatsoever who is in the right here and who in the wrong. You want to speak against the Klan, speak against the Klan. That's a fine idea. So far, we're on the same side. Use violence and numbers to try to deny the Klan their Constitutional you and I have a problem, and we're gonna go 'round and 'round...
   Do people not have junior high civics anymore?
   Has it not been pointed out to them that popular speech does not require First Amendment protection? There is an important sense in which the First Amendment isn't actually relevant until we're talking about unpopular opinions.
   IMO one of the most important things about this isn't new at all: contemporary PC activists share many ideas--and one of their central ideas is that free speech is not inherently valuable. Politically incorrect speech should not be protected--in fact, it should be stopped. They're all about the heckler's veto. This isn't about Charlottesville, and it isn't about the Klan. This is about a radical, anti-liberal left that seeks to undermine liberalism, broadly construed. They are not liberals. They are not "allied" with liberals. They are diametrically opposed to liberalism. They are more anti-liberal than almost any contemporary, relatively mainstream conservative. Liberals have to get over their false belief that these people are somehow on our side against conservatives. Conservatives share with us many fundamental principles that the PC left repudiates. The PCs are totalitarians. They are only superficially similar to us--similar in virtue of accidentally agreeing about certain conclusions (e.g.: racism is bad...or, rather: racism against non-whites is bad...) But in terms of their fundamental world-view and central principles, they are opposed to what's central to liberalism--broadly as well as narrowly construed.
   Here's a wee rule of thumb: you start making the goddamn Klan look sympathetic, you're doin' it wrong.

Trump Jr.'s "Stunning," "Breathtaking" Admission

Is this really stunning/breathtaking?
I honestly can't tell. 'Kremlin-connected" is extremely unspecific. And it sounds like Trump Jr. was played--the stuff about Clinton info seems to have been BS to get a meeting in order to talk about a different topic. Obviously he went into the meeting intending to meet with someone who said she had damaging info on that what's allegedly stunning? Is that illegal?
   I'm not trying to be an apologist here...I just can't tell. And the final sentence of the story seems a bit anticlimactic: the info is likely to "likely to alarm" investigators? Alarm them...or...constitute evidence of wrong-doing?
   Honestly, between the rolling Trumpwreck on the one hand and the anti-Trump hyperbole/hysteria on the other...I've lost any sense of proportion I ever had.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

C'Ville Klan Rally Update

So the damn Klan demonstrated peacefully.
   The anti-Klan protesters "derided the "Klan and the police in equal measure," used pepper spray (against the police?), and assembled unlawfully / refused to disperse. The police had to escort the lawful demonstrators--who were not all klansmen, in case that matters to us...and it shouldn't--back to their vehicles.
   Liberalism--actual liberalism--is in a very, very precarious position.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

BloKKK Party, C'ville!

Well this sounds like fun.
   It's a "BlocKKK party!"--"a festive protest"! With klansmen and guns and "leftist counter-protesters"...throw in a bouncy castle and I'm totally there! Last time they had torches! It's fun for the whole long as the family is...well...[glances over shoulder] you know...
   Well, it's a free country--for now, anyway. And that includes: free to be an asshole. 
   It all happens at Lee-or-Jackson park--recently renamed Justice-or-Emancipation park--but I can't remember which is which now, and can't keep them straight. As I see it, the practical question is: counter-protest or ignore? When the Klan marched down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, I was on the ignore side--but there just seems to be no optimal course of action. My fantasy was: get everybody to just keep on keepin' on as if nothing were happening: don't merely stay away, but go on about your business without so much as a glance at the rolling racist shitshow goose-stepping down the road. But you'd never get everybody to do it, and that would blow the effect. Anyway, these ones aren't marching down University Avenue or anything. And yelling at 'em isn't going to do anything. I say: stay away. Let 'em rage at nothing and nobody.
   As for the big question, the Confederate statue question...I don't know what to do. You don't want to glorify the Confederacy, but you also don't want to (as the PCs would put it) "erase" it. And you don't want to forget our beloved-yet-tragically-confused countrymen who fought and died for some good well know...that other one... What's wanted is remembrance without glorification. Solemnity. A respect for complication and tragedy. Hard to pull off with statues, which seem inherently heroifying. Maybe impossible for them to be anything else. Anyway, I got nuthin' on this one. This question sucks.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Mencken: "On Some Great And Glorious Day...

...the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

In A Time Of Universal Deceit, Telling The Truth Becomes A Revolutionary Act

   Does it matter that neither Orwell nor anyone else famous / admirable said this (so far as we know)?
   A little bit, but not much.

538: Trump Administration's Own Data Says Obamacare Is Not Imploding

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Stephen Hawking: Donald Trump Might Destroy The World!!!

Trump is so horrible that no claim about his horribleness is too hyperbolic!!!!!111
He is literally the devil!!!!
OTOH, still not as crazy as the Obama Antichrist thing...according to which Obama really was the devil... Or...a very evil being anyway... Jeez...Satan and the Antichrist are...ah...two different guys, right? Or no? My uh...apocalyptic monster theology is a little weak once we leave the Cthulhu mythos behind... 
OTOOH, nobody sane believed the Antichrist thing...whereas it's Stephen freaking Hawking saying the destroy-the-world stuff...
OTOOOH...there is probably some chance that the Trump-climate-change-tipping-point thing could be true...

More On The Sanctimonious Left: Argumentum ad Brooksum

Serious counterpoint to the one I make here: whereas faux Satanism is really not bad, faux fascism is never permissible / funny.

Serious countercounterpoint:

What The Sanctimonious Left Doesn't Understand (About (Much Of) The Anti-Left)

...Where I guess...but don't know for sure...that this includes at least a good bit of the alt-right:
   The sanctimonious / PC / SJ left is now the rough analog of fundamentalist Christians / the "Moral Majority" of days past. They're the unctuous, pharisiacal, holier-than-thou nuts who are intent on micromanaging the lives of others and forcing their crackpot theory on everyone else. They're the ones more-or-less at the helm of the culture...
   ...And there will always (thank God) be a segment of the population that is revolted by brainless pieties and sanctimonious bullshit. It's like waving a red flag in front of them. As Moral Majority used to be, the PCs are now the most salient group of cultural crackpots/bullies, and this makes certain people pull out the hammers and start sounding out idols. I don't think there's any doubt that some of the racism/"racism" etc. mixed in with it all is real. But what the sanctimonious left doesn't understand is that a lot of it is bullshit--it's chain-yanking. It's their chain. It's the rough equivalent of the posturing pseudo-Satanism that so exorcised the fundamentalists back in the day. And I'd bet money that at least some of the Nazi salutes and so forth are the equivalent of the pentagrams and inverted crosses of that tongue-in-cheek "Satanism." Pepe the frog certainly is.  As the PoMos used to like to say, it's "transgressive." It's people--especially young people--especially young males--doing what they're told not to do...and doing it because they're told not to do it...and because they can see that something (something even basically reasonable) has been blown out of proportion so badly that it has become a grotesque parody of its original. It's become laughable. It's become repulsive. It's become a superstition. It has itself become something irrational and dangerous that must be opposed. It's overreached so far that it's become almost irresistible to Judo its ass to the ground. It's so overextended that it takes so little trolling to troll it into hysterical overreaction...thus exposing its irrationality ...that... well... seriously... who can resist? It's not the people who can't resist I worry's the people who can...they're the ones with something wrong with them. Resisting the urge to trip up fanatics is wrong. We ought to be tripping them up. We are obligated to trip them up. Tripping them up is part of what I try to do around this ridiculous joint. I just do it in a more buttoned-up, less humorous, less evocative way ... a less effective, less courageous way.
   I mean, look: as I've said in the past, my father was a racist. I grew up around that shit. I have never had a bit of tolerance for it. Or...rather...I didn't used to... Honestly, what neo-PC madness has made me realize is: you can go too far. You can even go to far with anti-racism. Racism is bad. But one can take even that thought too far. In fact, that's exactly what we've done--courtesy of political correctness. If you think (as the PCs do) that it's obligatory--or even permissible--to attempt to ruin someone's life because they said something poorly-thought-out, which has, among other, more reasonable interpretations, a strained interpretation that at-most-suggests something vaguely possibly racist...then you're an insane person. Racism is bad...but if you think that even the tiniest bit of even merely possible racism makes a person irredeemably're nuts.
   Many people poking at the sanctimonious left are poking at something that desperately needs to be poked. Which is, you'll note, no kind of blanket endorsement of everything in that vicinity--and the very fact that I need to say that shows how crazy everyone has gone.
But here's something you can take to the goddamn bank: this is what's driving a lot of pro-Trumpery. But that's a different crackpot story for a different day.

I could be wrong but I'm not.

Lots of Unpublished Comments

I just found a giant stash of unpublished comments.
Sorry--my bad....or Blogger's really.
Blogger really sucks, incidentally, and I keep meaning to migrate somewhere else...but that'd take work...
Anyway, I've been relying on email notifications to publish comments. Turns out that there are a lot of comments that I'm not getting notifications on. So I should have been using the comment-publication area in Blogger. So anyway, sorry.
   Also, finally, deleting comments is easy, so I'll probably switch over to auto-publication and delete the spam myself, instead of doing what I've always done before, which, as you know, has been to require my approval for publication. I just really hate those damn spam comments, and it used to be impossible to delete them once they were published--then it was just a pain. But now it's easy.

Nikil Saval: "Hated By The Right. Mocked By The Left. Who Wants To Be A 'Liberal' Anymore?"

Another largely superficial, terminological tangle trips up political thinking.
   However, there are substantial problems at the bottom of this. Not going to discuss them in depth now, but one of the main confusions some anti-liberal leftists have involves trying to represent liberalism as the position that's pushing the PC culture war bullshit. But the PC left is illiberal--as are the leftists who want to push toward some version of socialism. Neither the hard economic left nor the hard cultural left are liberal. As the article notes, conservatives now claim to be the main defenders of free speech. As it can't bring itself to say: they may be right. Since I'd say that liberalism goes where a concern for free speech goes, it may be that real liberals are now or will soon be conservatives. But obviously that's speculative and hand-wavy and faces some obvious problems.
   You'd think this wouldn't need to be stated...but I guess it does:
America’s version of liberalism has always been a curious one. In Europe, the word has traditionally meant a preference for things like limited government, separate private and public spheres, freedom of the press and association, free trade and open markets — what’s often described as ‘‘classical liberalism.’’ But the United States had many of those inclinations from the beginning. By the 20th century, American liberalism had come to mean something distinct. The focus on individual liberties was still there, but the vision of government had become stronger, more interventionist — ready to regulate markets, bust monopolies and spend its way out of economic downturns. After the end of World War II, this version of liberalism seemed so triumphant in the United States that the critic Lionel Trilling called it the country’s ‘‘sole intellectual tradition.’’ Its legislation legalized unions and, with Social Security, created a pension system; a health plan for older Americans, Medicare, was on the way.
   The liberalism I grew up with was basically civil libertarianism + a more positive/active/aggressive approach to civil rights + a recognition of the desirability of a substantial, but not unlimited, welfare state. Much of the contemporary left--especially the PC left--has fallen off the left edge of sanity. They hold, as a central, though often unacknowledged, principle that there should be no separation between public and private spheres. They are contemptuous of free speech. They think that government power need not be limited, so long as it is used to advance interests of "traditionally disadvantaged" groups. They have no respect for freedom of the press ("Can I get some muscle over here?"). In short, they are much, much, much more anti-liberal than conservatives. By comparison, our disagreements with conservatives are rather trivial. The fact that so many liberals are defending the most anti-liberal view to have come across the American political stage in decades is chilling. But this is exactly what happened during the paleo-PC days of the '80s and '90s. So it's not unexpected. However, the anti-liberal left of the neo-PC movement is much, much more radical than that of the paleo-PCs. And this time around, it's much more alarming and much more dangerous.
   Real liberalism might be helped if it just had a good bit of terminology to rally around--something unequivocally meaning, roughly, standard-issue American-style liberal in contrast to both socialist and PC crackpot. I hate such rhetorical nonsense, but it ought to be catchy or it won't work. Not my forte, that sort of thing. Somebody should get on it.