Thursday, January 31, 2019

Jussie Smolette's Manager Corroborates Hate-Crime Account; Smollett Refuses To Turn Phone Over To Police

Well, both Smollett and his manager claim they were talking on the phone when the attack began, and his manager claims to have heard it, including the "MAGA country" comments. So that's evidence against my--super-duper confident--claims of hoaxery.
   OTOH, Smollett has refused to let the police check out his phone. That suggests evasiveness. That's evidence for my conclusion.
   The manager's story seems to indicate that Smollett kept the phone in hand and the call continued throughout the attack, even while he was having cord wrapped around his neck...which...well...you be the judge...
   Obviously Smollett's story could be true--nobody denies that. My claim, however is that it is so absurdly improbable that no one should think it's true without evidence beyond his say-so. His manager's agreement is some evidence...but it's insufficient to make such an improbable tale probable. There is no justification for progressives reacting as they've reacted. Even if his story turns out to be true, no one should have believed it without more evidence. According to me, skepticism is the only rational response.
   But, of course, that sort of thing is easy to say. The real proof of the pudding is in the testing/outcome.
Previously
Previouslyer

Daily Beast: "What 'Empire' Star Jussie Smollette's Attack Reveals About Hate Crime In America" (That It's Largely Hoaxes?)

Ok look.
First, this is obviously yet another hate-crime hoax. I bent over backwards to give the story the benefit of the doubt when it first came out. I mean, if something like that were real, it'd obviously be terrible. Also, stranger things have happened. Also, though the left can mint a million of these things and cry "wolf" a million times, one misstep in the other direction and your a racist, Jack.
   But, of course, the usual suspects have gone into virtue-signal hyperdrive, and are, also, spewing the usual sorts of claims that this is because of Trump, that "It's just another day in America," and all that sort of rot.
   The Daily Beast is on about how this tells us important things about hate-crime in America...which...it actually kinda does...because it's fake... I've long said that I think the left's penchant for minting these things and then whipping itself into a frenzy over them is instructive. Also, the DB is on about how some evil "far-right" types are evilly trying make this out to be a hoax!!! Can you believe that?!
   Crazy thing one apparently has to say now: many hate-crimes are real. The majority of reported ones, I'd think. Which isn't terribly relevant...but we live in weird times...
   Obviously it's possible that this is for real. But it isn't. There were not two dudes in MAGA hats walking around at 2am, in -20-degree weather, with clothesline and bleach who recognized this actor from a show they don't watch and decided not only to attack him but to wrap clothesline around his neck and then announce that they were Trump-supporters. That didn't happen. And anyone should be able to see that it didn't happen. At least you need to have a good enough bullshit-detector to recognize that it is probably not true.
   Furthermore, apparently Mr. Smollett still had the clothesline wrapped around his neck when the police arrived 45 minutes later. Also, he neglected to tell the cops about the "This is MAGA-country!" line. The cops are said to have learned about this allegation on social media, and to have had to contact Smollett again to confirm that he was making that claim. Also: you know how hard it would be to wrap clothesline around someone's neck in a fight? Even two-on-one, that is probably not going to happen.
   If I could bet, say, $1,000 at even odds that this is false, I'd jump at the chance. And I'm not a bettin' man. In fact, I'd likely bet more than that.
   So this'll be yet another glaring incident in, what, the past two weeks? That there's something badly amiss on the left. First they leaped for the almost-entirely-unsubstantiated Cohen story. Then they viciously attacked the Covington kids on the basis of doctored evidence...then refused to recognize/admit error when the complete video showed that they were completely and totally wrong. And now this.
   Did I leave anything out?
   It also should go without saying that the right has its own problems. Lord, it does. Like electing Donald Trump president. And letting him run amok. And abusing power by misusing institutional power and playing hardball in such a way that, were the Dems to do it too, the system might very well collapse. Don't get me started. But this shouldn't have to be said. There's something wrong with the public, collective mind of contemporary progressivism. And the remaining sensible liberals need to take that seriously.

Did Northam Endorse Fourth-Trimester Abortions?

Mary Poppins Movie With Chimney Sweep Scene is "Blackface"

Progressivism is now beyond any possibility of parody.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Midwest Freezes While Australia Burns: Weather Is Not Climate...Except When We Want It To Be

"Midwest Freezes While Australia Burns: Welcome To The Age Of Climate Extremes"
Front-page bullet-points:
    • "Heat and drought extremes are consistent with scientific consensus..."
    • "The extremely low temperatures this week in parts of the U.S. may also be a result of warming. Here’s the climate change connection."
Trump pointed to cold weather in the Midwest as evidence against global warming, and was ridiculed (surprise!)--his comments were called "disgusting." When the right does it, weather is not climate, science-denier! But the same arguments with the opposite conclusion have now basically become routine on the left. Which includes, of course, the media (as with the recent California wildfires). Above, the NYT tells us that heat and drought are "consistent" with scientific consensus...but, then, everything is. And the cold "may be" a result of GW.
   I'm not commenting on the actual science--which I'm not qualified to comment on. I'm commenting on the news media and its notable lack of objectivity. As I've said fairly consistently, there's not much we can do as laypeople other than more-or-less accept the scientific consensus. (Though also, I'd argue: accept some kind of left-bias discount...) But I'd believe it more if the media and the rest of the progressive left could try to be just a tiiiny bit more objective in the public discussion. I suppose it's largely just a psychological point, but it's tough for me to be rational about this when the cheating and bias in the public debate are so damn obvious. 
   And I think the left needs to take a cold, hard look at the "progressive" bias in science and the social- and quasi-sciences. If you're frustrated that people like me are skeptical, one way you could address that it is by working to eliminate the obvious leftward bias throughout the sciences. If science and social science weren't packed with it, a lot of skepticism in the center and on the right would evaporate.
   So, look, I'm trying to keep myself in line with the current climate consensus...but, honestly, this sort of stuff isn't making it easy. That's partially my fault...a result of my cantankerous and contrarian nature...but...it's not all my fault...

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Chicago Actor Attacked By "MAGA!"-Yelling Racists?

Seriously messed-up if true...
However….
These stories about racist attacks by people who go out of their way to identify themselves as Trump-supporters...they just never seem to turn out to be true. If this one is, the dudes should get the book thrown at them. But, to be honest, I'm skeptical. It doesn't strike anyone else as a bit implausible that a couple of guys are walking around with a rope, and they know who this actor is? I could probably get sent to the gulag for saying this, but, to be honest about it, I wouldn't bet any money on this being true.
   It still strikes me as extremely odd that we now have to bend over backwards to make it absolutely perfectly clear that racism is bad, and being against homosexuals is bad, and attacking innocent people is bad, and attacking them for their race and sexual preferences is bad. To be clear: all bad. Very, very bad. If this is, in fact, true, the perpetrators suck and ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. (Question: is any amount of saying such things sufficient to make it permissible to express skepticism about such a report? If not, why not?)

UPDATE: Yeah, itsa hoax. They're just afraid to say so yet.

UPDATER: Totally a hoax. Hoxier than the Covington kids.

Byron York: "In Border Talks, A New Fight For Barrier Deniers"

My general impression is that more fencing would be good, but mostly (a) I just want us to use the most effective means to fight the problem, and (b) I want people to stop using arguments that entail or presuppose that border barriers are immoral. That's absurd. If borders and immigration laws are permissible, then it's permissible, other things being equal, to use barriers to help enforce them.
   Anyway, at first I wasn't too impressed with Drum's arguments here...but then I started having second thoughts about that... But this by Byron York is a pretty solid response even if it wasn't written as one.
   I don't share Trump's wall fetish--I just want the problem mitigated.

Friedersdorf: Lindsay Graham, "The Senator Who Betrayed The Senate"

Going along with Trump's misuse of emergency powers really does seem inexcusable to me.

Real-Time U.S. Debt Clock

Bipartisanship: A New Hope?

In this respect, I think the Dems are far superior to the Pubs. The latter haven't seemed interested in any form of bipartisanship since Gingrich took power--IMO, anyway.

2020: Trump In Trouble, Biden Democratic Front-Runner

Too early to get excited, but this is some hint of good news.
I can live with Biden, and as long as the Dems run to the center and they can keep their left wing somewhat under control, I'd think they'd be on track to win. They'll usher in a whole set of other problems, but we can deal with those when the time comes.
739 days down, 721 to go.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Cathy Young on Rage Feminism

link
Rage-driven activism can be particularly destructive when it targets and politicizes interpersonal relationships, an area in which the sexes are probably equal but different in bad behavior. Victoria Bissell Brown's verbal abuse of her husband is hardly a typical example, but even Traister sees nothing wrong with the fact that, at the height of #MeToo, her husband once marveled, "How can you even want to have sex with me at this point?"
   Anger can be productive, usually as an impetus for short-term action. But rage feminism is a path of fear and hate. It traps women in victimhood and bitterness. It demonizes men, even turning empathy for a male into a fault, and dismisses dissenting women as man-pleasing collaborators. It short-circuits important conversation on gender issues.
   Urging women to disregard warnings about the perils of rage, Traister writes, "Consider that the white men in the Rust Belt are rarely told that their anger is bad for them." But aren't they? The anger of "white men in the Rust Belt" is commonly portrayed as an unfocused, dangerous emotion that scapegoats innocents and empowers unprincipled demagogues like Trump. The anger of privileged women is not much of an improvement

The Challenger Disaster, 33 Years Ago Today


Trump Willing To Shut Down Government Again

sigh
This does not strike me as a civilized method for resolving such differences.
What am I missing?

RIP Claremont Review?

Timothy Williamson Contra Bruno Latour

pretty good.
Latour is basically a charlatan. He's just one of innumerable people who are controversial and of interest almost exclusively as a result of formulating their theses in misleading ways. They say things like "species are socially constructed," and then motte-and-bailey the hell out of them. They choose that formulation precisely because it seems to mean something very exciting--mind-boggling, in fact--that we create animals by how we think and talk. Since that's absurd, they typically retreat as soon as challenged to a number of other not-entirely-absurd interpretations, like "We have some kind of role in drawing lines, for practical purposes, between species." Or even: "We made up words like 'dog' and 'elephant.'" It's weird how tedious and difficult it is to bring people to see why this isn't permissible. I've taken shots at it here, but I won't do it again now. It ought to be obvious, and I hope it is.
   Anyway, good on Williamson. It's depressing that Latour et al. still attract attention.

Did Trump Make 8,158 False Claims (5.9/Day) In His First Two Years?

Maybe...
Though: even some of the examples the Post uses to illustrate its case are spun anti-Trumpward.
But: Suppose it were half that.
(Note: it's not half that; it's likely significantly more than half that.)
It's still bad.
Trump just doesn't have the proper regard for truth. He shouldn't be anywhere near the Oval Office. Contemporary journalism also doesn't have the proper regard for truth. But that's another problem; it doesn't offset the Trump problem.
What a mess we're in.
I'm as depressed as I've ever been about American politics--broadly construed so as to include the "culture war." I know that there was even more viciousness in the early national period, e.g. between Jefferson and Adams. But that doesn't provide much comfort.

Douthat: The Covington Scissor

Well, the thing is, Douthat's conscience is right: the Covington case wasn't difficult. It really was about as clear as any such issue ever is. That's not to say that there was absolutely nothing to any of the points made by progressives. But, if not a 100-0 case, it was, at most a 95-5 case. Progressive (social and real) media took an extremely (but not perfectly) clear case of people higher in the progressive stack acting terribly toward someone on the bottom of the stack: white Christian male conservatives. Hating on such people isn't just tolerated by the contemporary left--it's one of their ideals. The usual suspects applied their copious piles of prejudice and irrational anger and came up, almost instantly, with a story that was just about as exactly wrong as it could be. Then, when called on it and presented with clear evidence to the contrary, they were either incapable of or unwilling to admit error. Pretending that it was a Rorschach test when it wasn't is as much of an error as the opposite kind.
   Everybody makes mistakes. But this is the kind of thing that constitutes the derangement of contemporary progressivism. Everybody makes mistakes, but not everybody makes such obvious ones, and not everybody refuses to admit them. The real problem is that this isn't an isolated case; it's what people like me have come to expect from this aspect/sector of the left...because that's who they are. It's just about par for the course...it's just a particularly clear case.
   The right isn't immune from this. It has its own problems, Trump and his disregard for truth being just one notable one. But a big cluster of very bad ideas that's long infected the left have become particularly influential; the very worst of the extremist left is extremely powerful right now. This is not a "scissors" case; it's not he-said/she-said. Ignore the comparative question for a bit. Stop caring about who's worse. Focus clearly on the train wreck that is the leftier wing of contemporary progressivism. When you come back, as you inevitably will (and, perhaps, should) to the comparative question, perhaps you'll decide that the right is so bad that you're willing to tolerate what's happened to the left. I think you shouldn't; but at least try not to have too many illusions about the devil you're dealing with.

The Travel Ban: Does It "Make A Mockery Of The Supreme Court"?

Samantha Power and Betsy Fisher say yes.
   I don't understand the issues, but I'm skeptical of the ban on general principle. I argued that a temporary ban was not the moral abomination it was being made out to be so long as it was approved by SCOTUS--and, of course, it was. But it's been two years. This may be my fault, not the administrations, but I'm starting to get itchy to see a clearer and weightier defense of it than I've seen yet if this is going to be our on-going policy. There's substantial reason for the relevant countries to be on the list, but one can't help but suspect that discriminatory intent was also, to some extent, in play. This is the sort of thing about which I think Americans should be naturally skeptical; the burden of proof ought to be heavy. SCOTUS's approval is important, but not everything that's legal is something we ought to do. I agree that such a ban could be permissible even if it is skewed toward Muslim countries--and for obvious reasons. But a temporary bad is one thing; a two-years-and-counting ban is something else, I'd think.
   This stuff is maddening--among other reasons--because one just doesn't have time to really understand the issues. It tends to turn into a cartoon dispute between Trump bellowing about Muslims and the left pretending that it has no Earthly idea how anyone could possibly think that there's any notable link between Islamic countries and terrorism. Then I find myself just making a kind of judgment of taste about which cartoon is more absurd.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Syria

I don't understand Syria, so I've got no right to talk about it. But here's my hunch: there's no good option. Staying is bad. Leaving is bad. It wouldn't surprise me a lot if there's no fact of the matter about which is worse, or just no way to tell. I doubt we should have gotten into it, but I doubt that getting in was a lot worse than not getting in. I'll bet that getting out is about as bad as staying. Whatever Trump does, the left will shriek. And that was true of Obama and the right, too. Or, anyway, that's the way it seemed. Whichever side doesn't hold the White House will list and exaggerate all the bad things about whichever approximately-equally-bad course of action whoever is the president happens to choose.
   Needless to say, I could be wrong.

David Burge, HuffPo Blues


Megan Kelly Hall, "Anti-Bullying Activist," Doxes Covington Boy, Argues For Harrassing And Bullying Him...And Gets The Wrong Kid To Boot

The crazy is loose in the land.

Drum: The Southern Border Is A Huge Money Pit

Not terribly persuasive, but worth a read.
Illegal immigration, including that across the southern border, is down, but it used to be insane and now it's just terrible. Net illegal immigration is zero...but see above. Each border patrol agent now only apprehends about 1/3 as many illegals as each used to, but see above. There is no crisis on the southern border, but there is a problem. Hiring more immigration judges is a good idea. But so is more fencing. A sea-to-sea concrete wall isn't a good idea...but it never was. One advantage of more fencing is that it's harder to tear it down than it is to weaken border security in other ways...and that's important because it's pretty clear which way progressives are going on all this.
   It's not that more fencing is necessarily the most cost-effective way to protect the border. It's that it's often a good way, and it's crazy to deploy arguments that presuppose that there's something immoral about it. Just do the most efficient damn thing already.

Kevin D. Williamson: "Involuntary Identity Politics"

This is really worth the read:
   The story that was presented about the Covington students turned out to be a fabrication, but even in the face of what the New York Times antiseptically described as the “fuller picture” that “emerged” (how many sins may be hidden in an intransitive verb!), progressives insisted that the children must be punished for the sins of white men going back to the first uptight specimen of H. pallidus to emerge from the Caucasus in a Brooks Brothers loincloth.
   As my colleague Ramesh Ponnuru has noted, much of this consisted of an unseemly focus on the character of the children’s faces: Ruth Graham in Slate pouring bile on one boy’s “face of self-satisfaction and certitude, of edginess expressed as cruelty,” Reza Aslan writing about a child’s “punchable face,” etc. Ponnuru writes: “For Anne Helen Peterson, a writer for Buzzfeed, both Sandmann and Kavanaugh have ‘the look of white patriarchy’ — hard to avoid, given that they are white and male — and reminded her of disrespectful kids she used to teach, kids who asked for extensions and plagiarized and snickered in class. She knew hardly anything about Sandmann. She didn’t need to know anything: She had seen his type before.”
   If you ever have spent any time around racial bigots of the old-fashioned peckerwood-trash variety, you have seen this dynamic in action: A black man who commits a crime is not a black man who commits a crime, but a type and a representation of his race as a whole; a man of Mexican background who gets into an automobile accident and has no insurance is typical of Hispanic people as a class; a Jewish man who works in a bank is a “Jew banker” and part of a line that goes back through Mayer Rothschild to Judas Iscariot and the moneychangers in the temple. To mentally normal and morally literate adults, this kind of obvious prejudice and hate-mongering is repugnant — until it isn’t. Even when Kavanaugh accusers such as Judy Munro-Leighton confessed fabricating their stories — Munro-Leighton claimed to be one of the “Jane Doe” accusers, which she later admitted was “a ploy” and “a way to grab attention” — the Kavanaugh inquisitors remained unshaken in their faith: Maybe this or that claim of fact turned out to be a lie, but Kavanaugh must be guilty in general if not in particular, because he is one of them.

Swalwell: Trump Is A Russian Agent

The Loneliness Of The Moderate Democrat

At least they still exist.

Trump Says He'll Declare An Emergency If There's No Border Deal

Well, he says a lot of things.
We'll see what actually happens.

Most Americans Say They Have Lost Trust In The Media

At CJR.
No surprise.

Primary Challenge For Trump?

That would be good.

Andrew Sullivan: "The Abyss Of Hate Versus Hate"

Great, as usual...though he tries to blame the left's current insanity on Trump, which I think is mostly false.

"16-year-old who sparked climate change protests across Europe delivers striking message to global elites"

The Hill could use some headline-writers, too...
The girl's a bit nutty, but I think she's right in a sense: if you believe the progressive story about anthropogenic global warming, you should be panicked. What's to disagree with there? If it has been conclusively proven that humanity is about to be destroyed unless we cut carbon emissions in half (or whatever it is)...then what are we waiting for?
   Progressives, for their part, should be trading all their other political goals for reduced carbon emissions. They should be telling conservatives that they'll give them anything they want in exchange for cutting carbon. Instead, they haven't dropped a single other political goal. They stick universal health care and "free" college into the "green new deal." They still oppose nuclear. Why aren't they, say, diverting money from the National Endowment for the Arts to ARPA-E?
   Imagine how a group of people would act if they genuinely believed that, say, a planet-killing asteroid had been conclusively proven to be on a trajectory for Earth, and that only an all-out effort to stop it had any chance of succeeding. That is not how progressives are behaving with respect to AGW.
   What am I missing?

"Trump Advisers Lied Over And Over, Mueller Says. The Question Is, Why?"

But, anyway:
Yes, that certainly is a big question.
Some proposed answers:
   “In Trump world, everybody lies. Everybody doesn’t tell the truth. At the end of the day, they are all lying. I don’t know how Mueller can believe anybody,” said Louise Sunshine, a longtime executive with the Trump Organization.
   Trump allies say the president knows that many of the people around him are not trustworthy — and believes he can use that to his advantage if any of his onetime aides attempt to pin their wrongdoing on him.
   He has instructed Giuliani and his other lawyers to question the credibility of anyone who attacks him, according to White House aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. After Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney, pleaded guilty, the president on Twitter called him a “rat” who “makes up stories.”
   Sam Nunberg, a former Trump aide, said he believed that people around Trump lied to investigators because they were trying to make sure their version of events lined up with lies the president was telling to the American people.
   “They all conspired,” he said, “against themselves.”
Here's me, still patiently waiting on Mueller's conclusions...still skeptical about "collusion." If I were forced to lay money on it, I'd probably bet that Trump more-or-less emerges as the winner because progressives and the media have lost their shit and built up such fantastical tales of Manchurian candidacy and whatnot that most of what Mueller is likely to find will seem like small potatoes. 
   But I'm keeping an open mind.
   Sure doesn't look too good that everybody around him lies all the time. That's a reason not to elect the guy president. I expect this other stuff to turn out to be a wild gusynya chase...but obviously I could be wrong.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Distributed Lethality: A New Naval Doctrine

Slim Freedom(Ashley Stevenson)'s Preternatural Cover Of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide"


You're welcome.

Defense Against Body Slam

My preferred method:

We Love Legal Immigrants

Everybody knows this. It doesn't even need to be said...but it is said...over and over in innumerable ways. We are a nation of immigrants...give us your tired, your poor...etc... Trump's said it, too, in case you have any weird doubts about that...
   I've got weird views on this subject. In general, I resist begging progressive forgiveness: I'm not a racist...I think men and women are equal...I'm in favor of legal immigration...I have nothing against illegal immigrants personally...
   The left has to learn to take criticism like adults. You don't get to just write off the other side, and you don't get to presuppose that everyone who disagrees with your political views is evil. I don't owe you a profession of faith. Get bent and grow up. Discuss things like rational people for God's sake. Progressives have managed to set the conditions of all debates such that anyone who opposes them is presumed prejudiced, and has to beg to be seen as a decent person. And, of course, it doesn't work because the progressive left can never be mollified. Saying you're not a racist means that you're a racist. Of course, saying that you are a racist means you're a racist...because that's what it does mean... And saying nothing means you're a racist. Basically, if you're not a progressive, you're a racist. So why debase yourself by begging them to treat you like a human being? They're not going to do it, dude. That's not who they are.
   So, as a matter of principle, I don't do that stuff. Or do it only as I please.
   And it's obvious that a lot of other people are on the same page with me about that.
   And the more unfairly you're treated in this respect, the better reason you have to not play the game. And Trump's been treated very unfairly in this respect...
   Buuuut….well...he's the president, and maybe he ought to bend the principles more. He's made it very clear that he has nothing against legal immigrants, and that he has fairly ordinary, American pro-legal-immigrant views. Still, I'm always glad to hear him say it. And, given his own flaws, and the craziness of the contemporary left, IMO he ought to broadcast his views on that more. Of course  they'll never believe him; and even if he does say it more he'll be accused of protesting too much. But there's no satisfying those people. And better to err on the side of caution in this case, I think.
   Man. I really miss liberals.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Brian May Guilty Of Believing That People Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Teh MAGA Hat = Teh KLANZ H00DZ!!!!!1111

facepalm
The Washington Post used to be a respectable newspaper...honest!
It wasn't always a big, stinking pile of left-wing triceratops shit...

Trump Blinks?

link
It's painful to listen to him speak...so painful. Painful, painful listening. The painfulest.

NBC Interview Of Nick Sandman: The Media Just Can't Help Itself

Fox's breakdown of the NBC interview is amazing. Maybe it's partially selective editing...but it doesn't look that way. (The smartass Fox tone is a bit hard to stomach...but it's pretty much warranted in this case, I think.) The best part is the pre-3:30 part. After that it's just mostly crappy crosstalk, with Juan Williams making some lame arguments on behalf of the mainstream media. 
   Anyway: the leftward bias of the NBC interviewer is clear. The media are still trying to spin the facts, and seem incapable of admitting error--as is the progressive echo-chamber in e.g. the comments section of the Washington Post.
   If the media can't be trusted in this very simple case, where the facts are carefully recorded on video, and nothing substantial hangs on the outcome, then it seems to me that we shouldn't trust them in any more complicated cases--cases where issues are more complex, some of the facts are obscured, and the outcomes are politically consequential.
   Similarly: if progressives can't admit error in a completely clear and trivial case like this (and like the McEnroe-Williams case), they're never going to admit error in any more complicated or consequential case. 
   Obviously the same sorts of things can be said of conservatives--politics make dogmatists of us all. But this epistemic sickness is epidemic on the contemporary left. It seems to me that it's become far more acute than usual. And: this is the essence of political correctness: the subordination of truth to politics. This isn't coming out of the blue. This is part of a trend that many of us have been yelling about for years now. It's a predictable consequence of certain political and philosophical views embraced by the vocal vanguard of progressivism. In part, it's a feature, not a but: it's a principle, not a violation of principle. This is an Orwellian ideal of the far left: facts ought to be subordinated to political doctrine. And the more moderate left--or what used to be the more moderate left--is just going along with it, because they can't bring themselves to criticize anyone to their left, nor to agree with the right. The right is used to criticizing the far right; in this respect, the two sides are, IMO, asymmetrical. This asymmetry makes the left more irrational, therefore more dangerous.
   I'm a broken record. But IMO we really have swerved into dangerous territory. The godawfulness of Trump is part of what obscures all this for some people, I think. But, honestly, liberals knuckled under to this same totalitarian PC madness in the 80s-90s, and they had no such excuse then. I don't think Trump can excuse it all.

Roger Stone Indicted, Arrested

Wow.
Things are not looking great for the unindicted-co-conspirator-in-chief...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

McEnroe / Williams

In case you don't remember, here's an idiotic Vox article on the idiotic McEnroe/Williams dust-up. Vox, as usual, is completely full of shit....but that's beside the point. The real point is that McEnroe said something true and, in fact, was extremely flattering with respect to Williams--he enthusiastically acknowledged that she was the best ever--the best female tennis player of all time. But the NPR interviewer had to push the question: why not say she's the greatest period?  McEnroe said the only thing he could say: because she isn't. And anybody who knows anything about tennis knows that. But the left could have that. Behold Vox's attempts to find something to bitch about. They have to manufacture some nefarious thoughtcrime by McEnroe...who merely spoke the truth that was relevant to the conversation, and refused to be badgered into concealing it with progressive platitudes.
   Vox whines about McEnroe's guess that Williams would rank about 700th among men--which people in the know say is about right...or a bit too charitable. In fact, if you want to push it and really insist on evaluating the claim about the best players of all time...she clearly wouldn't crack the top 1000...so...you might want to reconsider pushing that point.

Progressives' Newst Fallback Position On The Covington Kids: Argumentum Ad Rashomanum

Y'see...it's...it's...like that Kurosawa movie, see...
Uh...no...it's actually extremely simple: you were wrong.
Oh and: you can't admit it.
Next stop: argumentum Pilatum: What is truth?

This is reminding me more and more of the recent thing about McEnroe and Serena Williams. The truth is entirely clear...but progressives simply cannot acknowledge that. The facts in question are simply not compatible with the set of tales they cherish and repeat to themselves around the campfire. When you are sunk this deep in the commitment to night being day, it may just be too late for you.

Another Method For Avoiding Error: Japanese Trains / Pointing At Shit

Very interesting...to me, anyway.

Kevin D. Williamson: "Crisis Of Citizenship"

This is pretty damn good.
   Everybody who has pretended like that smirk tells us something serious about the state of the world is a liar and a fraud. I don’t mean the people who were legitimately taken in by the deceit — especially those who have had the honor and self-respect to admit their errors and correct them — but those who willfully persist in the lie. I’m talking about you, Ruth Graham of Slate, still trying to justify by whatever pathetic means are available what everybody with any sense knows to have been an exercise in pure horses***. I’m talking about you, editors of the New York Times. You sorry specimens are poor excuses for journalists, which, of course, we already knew. What’s more relevant here is that you are bad citizens. Trafficking in lies and distortions because you think the guy in the White House is kind of gross is unworthy of adults with responsible positions in a free society that depends on honest and functional institutions.
   As some of you may recall, I wrote a little book called The Case against Trump. I didn’t think much of him in 2016. I don’t think much of him now. But we aren’t three tweets away from the Holocaust. Nobody seriously believes that we are, unless they are insane. Sane people who insist that the United States in 2019 is something like Germany in the 1930s are liars. They don’t really believe it. They have an investment in hysteria.
   If they believed it, they'd get out. Or assassinate Trump. (Actually, few on the progressive left strike me as the kind to have the balls to assassinate a Hitler...but I could be wrong.) But they don't. They stay, and the tweet, and they bitch. Because there's no similarity whatsoever between now and then.
   We must not be enemies, it's true. But something's gone very, very wrong with the progressive left. It's flipped its shit. And it needs to unflip it--soon and bigly.

Kyle Smith: Hatecrime and Facecrime

Some of the looniest and most prominent nonsense about the Covington kids, including this from Ruth Graham:
But I think the real reason the clip has spread is simpler: It’s the kid’s face. The face of self-satisfaction and certitude, of edginess expressed as cruelty. The face remains almost completely still as his peers hoot in awed delight at his bravado. The face is both punchable and untouchable. The face is in this photo of a clutch of white young men crowding around a single black man at a lunch counter sit-in in Virginia in the 1960s, and in many other images of jeering white men from that era. . . .Anyone who knew the popular white boys in high school recognized it: the confident gaze, the eyes twinkling with menace, the smirk. The face of a boy who is not as smart as he thinks he is, but is exactly as powerful. The face that sneers, “What? I’m just standing here,” if you flinch or cry or lash out. The face knows that no matter how you react, it wins. [Emphasis Smith's.]
The interesting thing, really, is that none of this is actually in the kid's expression. This is 100% Ruth Graham's problem. 100% subjective. 100% projection. The kid's expression ended up being a blank slate on which the contemporary progressive left painted its own self-portrait. This is, basically, how they see you if you're a white male. That's what they're projecting onto all of us. LOL "eyes twinkling with menace..." 
   It's funny, but these are extremely dangerous ideas.



Caitlyn Flanagan: The Media Botched The Covington Catholic Story (And The Damage To Their Credibility Will Be Lasting)

Contains a completely description of the events, in order.
   It's disappointing that Flanagan inserts a paragraph toward the end that includes some negative--and false--things about these and unrelated Covington kids. She claims that there's a clip of some of them "harassing" a woman, but if that's the one I've seen, the video shows no harassment, just the last ten seconds of some kind of argument. The claim about "black face" is false--it's a decade-old picture of a blackout basketball game. There is the matter of the "tomahawk chop" in response to harassment by Phillips and company--so they get a few demerits for that.
   One thing Flanagan doesn't discuss is that, after the Covington kids turn away from their own primary harassers (the "Black Hebrew Israelites"), they start doing school cheers, and one of them included the beginning of "Seven Nation Army." That could have easily been what provoked Phillips and company...and it could even have been intentional. That's actually something worth asking. It won't change the fact that the media showed its extreme leftward bias yet again...nor would it change the fact that the left yet again demonstrated its ostentatious whackery. But it could end up being an interesting and important plot twist.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

We're F*cked: The Oceans Are Way Too Hot / Not So Much

Cheng et al.: we're f*cked
Judith Curry: eh, not so much.
Me: What did I just read?

Trump Says He Will Deliver SoTU From The House Chamber (Even Without Pelosi's Permission?)

As my father might put it: yer ass.
I've defended Trump from plenty of (according to me) unfair criticisms...but this is non-negotiable. Not. On. The.Table. You do not go into the House chamber without being invited by the Speaker (actually, apparently, without a resolution passed by the House and the Senate...who knew?). 
Don't even think about it, jackass Mr. President.
I mean: President jackass Mr. President.
This is something that would get me out in the streets. If he somehow tries to...what? Force his way into the House chamber? I guess I'll be down at the courthouse with a sign. This isn't even a serious possibility. 
The Unindicted Co-Conspirator-In-Chief is really starting to [deleted]. Pardon my French.
[I'm not sure what respect for the office requires, but I'm trying not to step over the line. But I'm on my last nerve with this guy, and this thing about suggesting that he can just march into the House chamber really did it for me.]

Defamers Of Covington Catholic Boys Given 48 Hours To Apologize Or Face Legal Action

First reaction: sweet!
Second reaction: is this all kosher, like, legally and whatnot? There's not some kind of obvious violation of freedom of speech I'm missing here, is there?

Nathan Phillips Not, In Fact, A Vietnam Vet

Looks like even the WaPo had to admit error about this bit.

Phillips seems to clearly claim he's a Vietnam vet in this.

Poll Says Pelosi Has An Edge Over Trump Re: The Wall Shutdown

No surprise.
But here's how it kinda seems to me:
In a showdown between rational people with these two positions, Dems win. 
But Pelosi is basically playing chicken with a moron. You just may not be able to win. He has no sensible conception of what's to be lost. He can just sit there or play golf or whatever...the Dem leadership understands the cost of continued shutdown. Trump, I'd guess, doesn't.

Washington Post Slightly Re-Weaves Its Web Of Lies About The Phillips - Covington Catholic Incident

The Post still won't admit error, and still won't even describe the relevant parts of the incident accurately. Honestly, this is kinda scary to me. It seems like a particularly clear and egregious case of politically correct dishonesty by the Post.

Da Mooch: Swamp May Have No Drain

Dat may not be how one drains a swamp...but don't bother me with details...it's a Mooch sighting, yay!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

"Trump Pursued A Deal In Russia And Hid It From Voters"

Sure seems that way alright...

The Latest In Transgender "Science": Gender Non-Conformity, Reincarnation, And "Past-Life Memories"

Whelp, I called it again: political correctness and the postpostmodern mish-mash seem to come around at about the same time as a renewed interest in "New Age" pseudoscience/bullshit...

(Actually, there doesn't seem to be all that much renewed interest in woo-woo stuff...but I really want to be right about this one...)

More Nutty Anti-Covington-Catholic Stuff

Holy Christ this stuff is loony.

Kerry To Trump: Resign

SCOTUS Allows Trump's Trangender Military Ban To Take Effect

I don't have any particular view of this. If someone can do the job and doesn't foul up the works, then I'm for letting them do it. I really think this decision should be up to the military. Of course, if you're male you're male, and no current technology can change that--and if you're female you're female. It's hard to believe that a guy who systematically represents himself as a woman wouldn't cause problems. But possibly not. I'm also against public money going for elective medical treatment...so we shouldn't have to pay for so-called "transition" treatments. But that shouldn't deter someone who really wants to go into the military.
   Anyway, my view's the same on this as it's always been: maximize personal freedom, but don't grant special rights, and absolutely don't go along with crackpot theories about secret, unobservable, interior mental sexes (or "genders"). But if you can do the job and the military wants you, then it's win-win.

Has Greenland Ice Melt Reached A Tipping Point?

Mayb…

...well, let's be serious: probably not. But...it's not impossible...

Judith Butler: "The Backlash Against 'Gender Ideology' Must Stop"

Presumably not her title.
  What Butler gets right isn't hers, and what's hers isn't right. The same old errors are on display in that piece. For one thing, sex isn't "assigned," it's discovered / discerned. There are a very few intersexed cases in which it may be a coin-toss, and a decision has to be made if the infant is going to be medically shoved in one direction or the other--but, in general, determining the sex of an infant is just a straightforward matter of simple observation at its birth. It's no more a decision than determining its weight and length. Such cases no more make sex a matter of arbitrary choice than the existence of gray makes the difference between white and black an arbitrary choice. Second: 'man' and 'woman' are sex/age/specie terms, not "gender" terms. You're a man if and only if you're an adult male human. It's astounding how much mischief has been caused by failing to recognize this simple point.
   As for the indoctrination part: it's true that gender theory isn't inherently tied to indoctrination. But it's contingently associated with the dogmatic PC left. So, as we actually have to deal with it, it is largely a matter of indoctrination--see: what's going on in schools. One decent response is: gender (i.e.: the stuff having to do with masculinity and femininity) is already bound up with indoctrination (on a large social scale). That is: we already indoctrinate kids with gender stuff (though much of it's natural). So a case can be made for counter-indoctrination. That seems wrong to me. We should counter indoctrination with reason--which is what my regular old working-class parents did. Like most parents all over the country at the time, they taught their boys not to be assholes, and made it clear to them that they weren't expected to, e.g., play football. So I don't buy the counter-indoctrination case. Also, the left just loves indoctrination, so we ought to fight that at every step.
   Anyway. Judith Butler is as overrated as all this gender crap is overblown.

Progressives Who Can't Admit They're Wrong: The Covington Catholic Kids: Ruth Graham Edition

Wow.
   I'd say that anybody should have been able to smell a rat in that original edited-so-as-to-be-virtually-faked video. The right has James O'Keefe...the left has...well...a much more extensive and well-funded network of fakers and semi-fakers. (Consider, e.g., CNN's demented reaction to the Trump pro-wrestling gif.) Anyway: I was willing to conclude that it might be the fault of the Covington kids, but I said that I was skeptical. That seems to me to have been the right reaction. I think you should have smelled a rat...but if you didn't, and didn't fly off the handle, I think you were somewhere within the boundaries of the reasonable.
   But Graham's follow-up non-admission-of-error, non-apology...there's no excuse for that. Now we know what happened. Now it's time for progressives who fell for it to admit some error. And it's time for those who did fly off the handle--calling for the heads of kids...and on the basis of virtually no evidence--to fess up, and engage in a bit of reflection about the state they've worked themselves into. Yeah, yeah, the right has it's own problems. Why does that have to be repeated over and over? Who doesn't know that? The problem at hand is the left's absolute conviction in such matters. Its seeming inability to recognize the obvious fact that it's gone way, way, way over the damn cliff--especially when it comes to race and sex and similar matters (some of which are just made up...)
   It's time for the sensible left--whatever actual liberals might remain--to recognize that a great big chunk of the influential lefter-than-liberal left has lost its goddamn mind. Again. It's not like this didn't happen just a decade or two ago. How can you keep not seeing this? It's an even crazier replay of something that happened not all that long ago. Sheesh.

Cliff Sims: Trump And His White House "Absolutely Out Of Control"

Whelp, that's about what I thought.
These are legitimate grounds on which to criticize Trump, and argue that he has no business in the office. Of course the Post is only interested in printing the bad parts...but I don't see how any good parts could make up for this stuff. This is an office that needs occupants like No Drama Obama...not this jackass who (or so it seems) can't run even a day-to-day operation in anything other than crisis mode. God help us if we have another 9/11, or a real confrontation with Putin or China. Dude can't get through MLK day without a minor crisis. Who knows? Arbor day could crash the whole ship of state...
   Special Super Bonus, though!: A whole chapter on The Mooch! You know I'm readin' this one!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Nation Shocked To Learn Story On Buzzfeed May Not Have Been 100% Factual

Susan Schorn Is A Self-Parody On The Covington Catholic Questions

Wow.
Can someone really be that dumb?
And, for my money, stupidity's way worse when wrapped up in pseudoscience and pseudoscholarly bullshit.
But, as David Bernstein notes, the loony left has become such a self-parody at this point that if you had written something like it, you'd be told it was too unrealistically over-the-top.

Betfair Odds That Trump Will Leave Office Early

31.75% as of now.
Massive, no?
   Wish I'd have guessed before I looked, because now I don't know what I would have thought. That was dumb. Of course if you look places like the WaPo comments section--and you shouldn't--it's common to find people asserting with absolute confidence that he's as good as in jail already...but talk is notoriously cheap. If all those folks are so sure, they ought to place some actual bets. Funny that they don't, huh?   All you can do if you already know this sort of thing is try to be as honest about your estimate as you can... I guess I'd say...there's maybe more like a 10-25% chance? My point isn't that I know better, but that my estimate is likely off/low. Would they even be likely to spin up the impeachment machine and crank out a guilty verdict at this point before January 2021?
   Also, I kinda expect them to waste time on this collusion snipe hunt instead of going for obstruction. Though...given the brainpower undoubtedly at work on this, they may have already concluded that obstruction isn't promising, and that their best chance is to turn up something new and catastrophic on the collusion front. But, of course, this is me simply making stuff up.
   I have no idea what's going on.

Carolina 103 - Hokies 82

Giuliani Walks Back Statements About Moscow Project

Does anybody know what's going on--or what went on?
If these guys ought to be charged with first degree incompetence.

Orwell on Facecrime

I'm really embarrassed that I don't remember this at all from 1984:
It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself -- anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called. 
And with this, the Orwellification of the progressive left is complete.
[I don't know who first remembered this from Orwell, and don't have a link.]

Hate-sneering

Looks like the newest sin invented by the PC left is hate-sneering.
When all the other Rube-Goldbererg-esque attempts to make the Catholic kids the bad guys and drummer dude the good guy run too obviously up against observable facts, only the new prohibition against hate-sneering remains...
   How much farther along this cracked trajectory can the progressive left move without losing the support of too many non-insane liberals? Surely this last weekend the one-two punch of Buzzfeedgate and Drummergate must have truthpilled a fair number of people on the left...right?

Kamala Harris Throws Her Hat In The Ring

How's Voter Turnout Measured / What Is Voter Turnout?

If someone says "Democratic voter turnout was down," does this mean: fewer people voted Democrat than normal? Or does it mean: fewer people who would normally vote Democrat turned out? Seems like it can't just mean "fewer people voted Democrat," because then we'd just talk about the number of votes and not "turnout."
Anybody know?

Max Hyams: "Truth And Disfavored Identities"

Right on the money.
Footage has since emerged that provides a fuller picture of the incident, and it now appears that this narrative is almost entirely untrue. It seems that it was Phillips who approached the boys, beating his drum while they were minding their own business, chanting their high school cheer, and awaiting instructions from their chaperone. In every video of the incident that I have watched, the boys’ behaviour is arguably rowdy and insensitive, but I have yet to see any evidence that supports the far more egregious charge of racism. That is, unless we are prepared to accept that any confrontation between a Native American and a white youth is ipso facto racist, no matter who instigated it or why. Even then, the specific accusations made about the boys’ behavior seem to be false.

The Progressive Version Of Events Between The Covington Catholic Kids And The Drummer Is Completely False

   The kids didn't surround him nor taunt him. That's clear: the initial version of the story carried by the Washington Post et al. is entirely false, as is evident in the uncut video. That is: the video before the Post edited it.
   Now people are falling back to various, well, fallback positions:
   Drum dude was trying to intervene to protect the kids from a group called the "Black Israelites". False. The "Black Israelites" were, indeed, harassing the kids, but drum dude was in no way intervening to help. His actions are completely inconsistent with that hypothesis. 
   Drum dude was just trying to walk to the Lincoln Memorial. False. He and his group had a clear path to the memorial, and the kids were to the side. He walked right up to them, past the clear path, and got in their faces.
   The mere fact that so many people can look at this video and see what's obviously not there should put the fear of God into you if you're sympathetic to the contemporary left. This is political correctness in its purest form: allowing political allegiance to overwhelm even clear visual evidence against your theory.
   Seriously, you maybe should look at the Post's comment section just to see how utterly insane and how clearly fact-denying the progressive responses are. 

MLK FTW

Happy MLK day, everybody!
Here's something timely:
He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. "Ye shall know the truth," says Jesus, "and the truth shall set you free."
MLK's bit is worth adding to Jesus's bit because it's an important point: freedom is the bonus, not the primary reason to believe the truth. Spiritual slavery is the wages of epistemic sin, willingly believing falsehoods.

Yarmuth Was Kidding About MAGA Hat Ban

Oh come on. He was obviously kidding. It was a joke half-about the government shutdown. Hence his use of the word 'shutdown.'
   First, truth matters.
   But, second, and merely tactically: progressives are in the midst of confirming nearly every major criticism made of them over the last five years, and you're harping on this one tweet? Seriously, not even merely instrumentally smart.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Daniel McCarthy: "The Progressive Media Doesn't Care What Really Happened When It Has White Boys In MAGA Hats To Hate"

link
The teen is not smirking in this clip, and Phillips has an entourage with cameras. One of the Native activists argues with a Covington teen, who argues back. This and other clips have shown the Indian activists racially taunting the teens, saying things like ‘go back to Europe.’ Phillips has claimed that the teens were chanting ‘build the wall!,’ but that isn’t in any of the videos that circulated Saturday. Based on what can actually be seen and heard, it’s looks as if Phillips and his crew sought out Catholic teenagers and tried to make them uncomfortable.
Don't miss the bit where Reza Aslan, CNN "blatherskite," muses about the punchability of the Catholic teenagers...

Climate Hysteria: "Raising My Child In A Doomed World"

facepalm
Right.
So...I'm totally convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that we are all doomed...but I had a kid anyway.
Riiiight…
Then you probably don't actually believe what you say you believe.
Also this psychopathy:
Take the widely cited 2017 research letter by the geographer Seth Wynes and the environmental scientist Kimberly Nicholas, which argues that the most effective steps any of us can take to decrease carbon emissions are to eat a plant-based diet, avoid flying, live car free and have one fewer child — the last having the most significant impact by far. Wynes and Nicholas argue for teaching these values in high school, thus transforming society through education.
Hey, kids! It's indoctrination time!
Honestly...the left has lost its mind. I'm going to go book a flight first-class so I can eat a steak Maybe I'll buy a bigger car and think about having a kid, too.
Seriously, I'm basically done with the left. I skipped right over conservative and just became anti-progressive.

Soave: The Media Wildy Mischaracterized That Video Of Covington Catholic Students Confronting A Native American Veteran

Eh...well...first, they didn't confront him, he confronted them...
But also: what's a shorter, more direct, Anglo-Saxon word for 'mischaracterized'?...
But mainly, Soave is right.

You should go look at the WaPo comment thread just to see how frighteningly delusional people on the leftish side of things have become.

Carolina 85 - Miami 76

Good game, 'Canes.
And a good game for Kenny Williams.

More On The Catholic MAGA Kids And American Indian Drum Dude: "Nathan Phillips Lied. The Media Bought It"

link
Well...the media bought it because the media wanted to buy it. Leftist American Indian: top o' the progressive stack. Evil MAGA-wearing, Catholic, pro-life whiteboy: bottom of the stack. And facts barely matter anymore...so you just identify their comparative positions in the stack and write a story around them.
   Anybody want to make any bets about whether or not the media will admit error? Hard to believe that the WaPo is so far gone not to...  /r/Politics is currently deleting any comments linking to the whole video or criticizing the preferred leftist story, as are several other subreddits.

Trump Half-Time

730 days down; 730 to go.

Seemed longer.

Students in MAGA Hats Mock Native American Veteran At Anti-Abortion Rally (?)

[Update: Turns out that this is, apparently, a pack of bullshit. Drum dude approached the kids, they didn't surround him, and, in fact, the kids had already been harassed by lefty counter-protesters. Links soon...but currently this looks like another case of the lefty media basically reporting the opposite of what actually happened in order to support their side.]

[Updater:
The media's fake news is fake.
Here's the whole video...nearly two hours worth. To repeat: the fake new is fake. The kids didn't harass Drum Dude. Drum Dude approached the kids and drummed in the one kid's face. Kid just stood there impassively. Some other American Indian dudes with Drum Dude yelled "go back to Europe" at the kids...which...if things had gone the other way would have been a paradigm of racism...so... Anyway. One day after the Buzzfeed debacle...another undeniable incident clearly revealing the strong leftward bias that pervades the MSM and social media.]


This sounds really bad, obviously...and lots of people are freaking out about it...
I don't have any inclination to excuse the kind of actions that seem to be indicated by the reports that are all over the place (e.g. Reddit)...
But I do have to say that I wouldn't be surprised if the description were slanted. That would be in keeping with the media's approach to such thing.
The standard description seems to be that these kids "surrounded" the guy drumming. (And: it doesn't matter to me what his race is, nor really so much that he's a veteran. This is just some people having a kind of disagreement or confrontation.) If true, then that's one kind of case. But it really matters who approached whom--you can't really tell from most of the videos who is getting in whose face. All we really see is two guys who are already in each others' faces. In fact, the kid is just standing there. If he initiated this, then he's the asshole...though that's all it seems to be to me. I'm not at all sure why this thing is blowing up like it is. There's no violence, it's just two Americans having a kind of not-entirely-friendly confrontation over politics. There are also reports of the kids chanting "build the wall"...but...the dude is American Indian...so...I'm not sure what the point of that would be. Could just be Yay for our side...
   Then there are some not-exactly-insightful comments by the drummer about how "we're not supposed to have walls here," and "we never did before." This sort of all-walls-are-bad nonsense is just ridiculous and ad hoc. Nobody objects to the walls that herd people through passport control at airports. Not to mention that no one complains about the fact that almost all buildings have walls. That's just ridiculous. But anyway.
   Anyway, not trying to excuse bad actions, but I've become skeptical of basically all this stuff by this point.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Why The Antarctic Sea Ice Is So Low--It's Not All Climate Change

Why People Don't Take The Left Seriously On Climate Change: The Green New Deal And The Progressive Wish List

Same point I've made before:
If the left really thought we were facing an extinction-level event, then they'd focus exclusively on climate change mitigation instead of also throwing in nonsense like universal health care, "free" college, and:
  • provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one; 
  • diversify local and regional economies, with a particular focus on communities where the fossil fuel industry holds significant control over the labor market, to ensure workers have the necessary tools, opportunities, and economic assistance to succeed during the energy transition; 
  • require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, and wage standards that recognize the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment, and creation of meaningful, quality, career employment;
  • ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm including by ensuring that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level and by prioritizing solutions that end the harms faced by front-line communities from climate change and environmental pollution; 
  • protect and enforce sovereign rights and land rights of tribal nations;
  • mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level); 
  • include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism; and
  • deeply involve national and local labor unions to take a leadership role in the process of job training and worker deployment. 
  You see, climate change is such an emergency that any insufficiently progressive concerns about it must be ignored...but...every progressive cause under the sun can be pursued under cover of it.
   I'm not saying that AGW isn't real...though I'd bet money that it's overblown. I'm saying that progressives don't act as if they believe their own rhetoric.



The "Planetary Health Diet:" The Medicalization Of Everything / Doctors Should Stick To Medicine

Again, this is basically why people don't trust such experts or "experts," especially when they speak on matters that impinge on culture and politics. Tell us what's healthy, if you want...though that has to be taken with a grain of salt, as it were, given previous food jihads. But don't disguise your politics as health advice.
Also: Walter Willett. Enough said.

The "Women's March" Collapses After Antisemitism Scandal

Union Membership Falls To Historic Low

Will: The Shabbiest U.S. President Ever Is An Inexpressibly Sad Specimine

This I can agree with.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Mueller Team Denies Buzzfeed / Cohen Story

Wow, that was fast.
If this trend keeps up, pretty soon the refutations of the hysterical anti-Trump stories will come out before the accusations.

BBee: Least Masculine Society In Human History Decides Masculinity Is A Growing Threat

Joe Setyon: "Two Big Reasons We Don't Need A Border Wall"

Neither of these seems very strong to me, but they do require more thought. Just because x is a bigger part of a problem than y doesn't mean that y shouldn't be solved if possible. And, though I agree that we may need more legal immigrants in the short run to fund boomer retirement, I don't think that should affect the debate about illegals.
   But once you get past the very dumbest and most hysterical anti-fence arguments on the left, the disagreement quickly does--or should--become more of a question of costs and benefits. So actual expertise is required. I just want to slap down the dumbest arguments and get us to move to the phase where we discuss the matter like adults.

Charles Homer Haskins, The Rise Of Universities

Absolutely worth a read:


"Democrats Demand Investigation After Buzzfeed Report That...

...yeah, you can really stop reading after 'Buzzfeed,' obviously.
   This is today's Absolutely positively the total end of Drumpff and you can absolutely bet the ranch on it!!!!111
   Buuuut... And I don't want to be one a' those people...I don't see anything at all implausible about the accusation in this case. Even amid the blizzard of insane accusations Trumpward from the left, this one, it seems to me, really could be true. The collusion fairy tale was never plausible, and just gets less and less so as more and more is made of less and less. If he gets got, I still think it's gonna be a cover-up that does it.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Climate Change Is Not Making Hurricanes Worse

Not as measured by damage done in the U.S., anyway.

VDH: Trump's Reelection Chances May Be Better Than You Think

The subtitle alone is worth the price of admission: "Whether or not they like Trump, millions of voters still think the president is all that stands between them and socialism, radical cultural transformation, and social chaos."
   That's the important point. I hear about a Trump-worshiping right out there...but the people I actually meet--the ones who dare to furtively say what they actually think--basically think that Trump's policies aren't as bad as Trump's persona...and that he's plausibly less terrible than the contemporary left. None of which means that he doesn't suck, of course.

Bertrand Russell On Meeting Lenin

Some things never change.

Dorco > Gillette

Incidentally, I started using Dorco razors instead of Gillette about two years ago. Waaaaay more bang for your buck. Also: no embarrassingly stupid, semi-anti-male commercials pretending to be feeelms.

The PAK-FA Is Still One Sexy-Ass Aircraft


More Than Half Of Dems Voted For The Secure Fence Act of 2006

But that was before the Great Lurch Leftward

University of Illinois Institute of Government And Public Affairs: Trends In Racial Attitudes

ESPN Suggests Trump Is Racist For Serving Hamburgers To Football Players

Protip: crying wolf all the time isn't helping.

   Ya know...as contemptuous as I am about all this bullshit, my inclination is to think that racism is still rather a problem. It's about 1/100th as bad as the crack-brain left makes it out to be...but it's still a problem that, IMO, deserves to be taken seriously. One thing that makes is harder to take it seriously is bogus, irresponsible accusations of it. Progressives want us to take it seriously...but they don't take it seriously. If you take something seriously, you don't fling accusations of it around indiscriminately. Once again, Trump looks good in comparison to both (a) his critics and (b) the caricature of him painted by his critics. Serving burgers to a visiting group of kids you're honoring? Well, either brilliant and cool or insulting or who knows? Suggesting that it's racist? Nuts.

Gillette Men Suck Ad

facepalm
Wow that's stupid.
NSFW response.

Open Borders Move Inside The Overton Window

Just a reminder that I pointed out, several years back, that the things progressives were saying about illegal immigration didn't make sense unless they were moving toward (or already assuming) an open borders position. Mostly I was told that I was being alarmist. But here we are...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sherrod Brown 2020?

Worth taking seriously...though he's actually pretty lefty by my standards. He signed some ridiculous thing about "gender identity" in schools. Aaaand hes got this anti-flag-desecration thing he's got going on... Maybe he's an interesting centrist...but he could be the worst of both worlds. He's only been on the periphery of my radar. But, prima facie, he seems like an option. The "dignity of work" stuff also sounds initially pretty interesting...but some of what I've read makes it seem more lefty than you might think.

Carl Bernstein Has Lost It Over Trump and Putin

Incoherent speculation.
TDS is sweeping the nation, kids!
Did the left used to be sane? Or am I misremembering?
Probably some of both, I reckon.
(Actually, the left I sympathized with wasn't very left, so.)
In addition to everything else, this non-stop shrieking about the DEADLY WORLD-ENDING SUPER-RACIST THERMONUCLEAR PUTIN-CONTROLLED MECHA-TRUMP is making actual Trump seem...well...y'know...pretty ok by comparison. 
Nice work, you guys. I didn't think it was possible. But you've done it.

Next time: BUT HE SERVED THEM HAMBURGERS!!!!111

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Brooks: "The Cruelty Of Call-Out Culture"

"The Insanity of..." would have been a more apt title.

Q: "Why Is Congress So Dumb?"

Monday, January 14, 2019

Study Finds People Enjoy Sex More When Baked Than When Drunk

Newsweek: Bernstein: Putin Runs Teh Trump!!!!!111

Right...so...write this down as a firm prediction of the left.
Because you have to be really, really stupid and nuts to think it's true.
Now hear this: Trump is a moron...not a Russian catspaw.
Seriously...I'd rather have Trumpo the clown in office than these other loony shitheads.

Beauty and Evolution

Interesting.
Seems to me that people tend to ignore the possibility that evolution acts in rather general ways, and that it might equip creatures to have an appreciation for beauty that's rather more general...rather than just an arbitrary preference for some specific visual stimulus. This is the kind of thing that seems to happen with intelligence. Evolution equips us with intelligence, and then we go nuts with it. It doesn't equip us to find the Lowenheim-Skolem theorem fascinating...it equips us with intelligence generally, and then lots of stuff follows from that for our behavior.

The Loss Of Confidence Project

This looks really, really interesting and important.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

James Watson Stripped Of Honors And Fired By Cold Spring Harbor

What Watson said was injudicious and rather callous...rude, I suppose...but it's more than merely consistent with what we seem to know about IQ.
   Here's a question. If you're a scholar, in some sense it's the only question: is what Watson said based on respectable evidence? Or is it not.
   The fact of the matter is that it is. You don't want it to be true. I don't want it to be true. No sensible person wants it to be true. But the universe does not care about our feelings. How is it that this even needs to be said?
   I am not insensitive to the painfulness of the relevant evidence. But I am far more concerned about the mass subordination of evidence to politics that has migrated from the humanities to the social sciences and now to the actual sciences. The subordination of evidence to politics is the essence of political correctness. It is an intellectual cancer. And it's a betrayal of our only sacred obligation as inquirers. 
   Cowardice...intellectual dishonesty...the desire for the approval of others...these are deadly to inquiry. 
   A secular religion now controls what we--and what scientists--can say and think. Some truths are now unsayable. And this new secular religion is much more restrictive than the old, religious religion. Meet the new boss...considerably goddamn worse than the old boss.
   And this is James F*cking Watson. 
   Imagine what will happen to li'l ol' me if/when I'm eventually doxed... I'll be retroactively fired to before my hiring and forced to pay back my salary for like the decade before I started my current job...

Obama's Border Patrol Chief: Build The Wall

link
(via Instapundit)

David Leonhardt: Get Rid Of Trump; He's Demonstrably Unfit For Office

link
It would be a lot easier for me to agree with this case if the other side were acting even vaguely sane.
   IMO the Bush administration was much, much worse. They tried to steal the election of 2000, and basically only failed because they--unbeknownst to anyone--had already won. Bush v. Gore was a train wreck. Then they not only lied us into Iraq, but used the tragedy of 9/11 as the fulcrum for their lies. And let OBL get away because they wanted the personnel and materiel to attack Iraq. I'll never stop being angry about those things. Neither should you.
   But, more to the point: it's hard for me to understand the freak-out about Trump given our largely passive acceptance of what '43 did. Unless Trump completely freaks out, he's on track to be a much, much, much, much better president than '43. Which means he could still be terrible.
   It's also clear that much of the hatred of Trump is based in his rejection of the craziest crazy of the PC left--his appointment of DeVos and reform of Ed, his rejection of transgender ideology, his rejection of tacit open borders and identity politics...the freak out isn't entirely principled. It's largely--though not entirely--political.
   But, all that having been said, I still think the guy is terrible and semi-terrifying. I don't know exactly how bad he is, nor how bad he might become, but I think he's just too erratic to hold the highest office. (The presidency maybe shouldn't have been allowed to become this powerful...but one problem at a time...) Which doesn't mean that I think he should be removed. Impeach him, if there are grounds. Let the system work the problem.
   737 days remaining as of now. Maybe the left should stop thinking about a moonshot and start thinking about how to beat him at the polls. The Dems can do that by stiff-arming the crazy left and running to the center. Or, rather: the Dems and the crazy left could do it in concert if the former runs a centrist and the latter sticks with the former. But will they? If the Dems ran a Blue Dog, would progressives vote for him or her? If not, that's evidence that leftist anti-Trumpery isn't all that principled, but, rather largely political.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working For Russia

This is the latest totally the end of Drumpf. As if opening the investigation were the same thing as finding that the concern was true..
   Needless to say, it's beyond bad that a president would even be suspected of such a thing. But the hysterical left keeps managing to make Trump look less badthan he actually is by repeatedly crying 'wolf,' and blowing such things wildly out of proportion. By being merely awful, Trump so exceeds the expectations set by the lunatic left that he kinda comes out looking almost good.
   And, incidentally: no, Trump is not secretly working for Russia. who the hell would even take such a thing seriously? I mean...I'm glad that the FBI investigated it. But if you think there's any appreciable chance of it being true, your TDS is probably acting up again.

Carolina 62 - Louisville 83

Wow.
That was a thrashin'.

Ron Martinelli: "The Tuth About Crime, Illegal Immigrants, And Sanctuary Cities"

Wow...can this be true? The claim that illegals commit fewer crimes per capita is repeated over and over like a mantra. I was under the impression that it was proven. In fact, I've thought and said that Trump's emphasis on crime by illegals was not particularly relevant, and not great tactically.
   Anyway...big if true. Huge if true, in fact. If this were true, it would mean that we've been bamboozled by the progressive media / controllers-of-culture again...in an almost unbelievably major way.
   But I doubt that it's true. It seems pretty unlikely that they'd have been able to suppress something this big for this long. Not that they wouldn't...but I doubt that they can.

"For Gay Conservatives, The Trump Era Is The Best And Worst Of Times"

Pretty interesting...but waaay too long. So not, in my case, interesting enough to finish. But YMMV.
Of course I disagree with lumping the "transgendered" in with homosexuals and bisexuals. In my view it's a completely different matter. But that's just one aspect of the thing. There's a pretty funny and interesting bit about Colton Buckley, a Republican from Oklahoma. I'd completely vote for the dude. There's also a lot of gossipy stuff that basically just waters down what's interesting about the piece. But anyway, of possible interest.

Yet Another Prophecy Of Trump?

Is this for real?
   Pretty funny if so.
   Snopes says it's real...but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's fake...
   I don't think I remember this series, but I might. It's the sort of thing that might well have been on reruns when I was a kid.
   While we're on approximately the subject, don't forget the works of fiction that foretold the rise of the progressive left...

Marco Rubio Is Absolutely Right About The Wall/Shutdown [*]

This guy could have been our president.
That's on you, Pubs.
Well...I guess the blue team shares the blame. But...less.
   The Dems' resistance to improving border security is irrational. But a shutdown seems like the wrong response. And: if we let Trump get away with this bogus declaration of emergency...and we shouldn't...we're basically laying the groundwork for President Harris (saints preserve us) to declare a climate-change emergency in order to, say, force through the "green new deal." (Or...red new deal...amirite?) So, anyway, I think you should be against the Trump thing. But if you aren't, maybe you'll be against the Harris thing.
   It's not that this is all easy...but: it's easy to at least try to say sensible things about the basics.
   Though I realize more and more than I don't really understand anything about government and politics.

* Eh, what do I know? It's all one big swirly clown show to me now.

Grassley: Don't Declare An Emergency To Build The Wall

Friday, January 11, 2019

Behold The PC Left


Anything Good To Read On Forcing Government Shut-Downs?

This seems like shenanigans to me, but honestly I don't know anything about it. If anybody knows something to read, please to pass it on.

Giulliani: Trump Team Should Get To 'Correct' The Final Mueller Report?

Eh, this is probably being twisted/blown out of proportion...he may very well have meant something like: correct obvious factual errors...
I mean...how else could it make any sense?
But anyway: yeah, no. You don't get to correct the report.

If You're An Academician, Write Portland State About Their Politically-Motivated Retribution Against Peter Boghossian

Honestly, does any doubt remain that the PC / "social justice" left basically controls academia?

The First 700 Miles Of Border Fencing Was Fine...

...the 701st mile is, however, immoral...

"Mexico Will Pay For The Wall"

Wow, progressives just won't shut up about this one.
Maybe I should care more about it...but I just don't.
I never thought that was a serious claim. I mean, Trump just says shit. Honestly, who believed that? I mean, Trump shouldn't just say shit. (We've fallen on hard times when we have to say this about the POTUS...) And he ought to be hammered for just saying shit. So, I mean, go to it. But it isn't much of a criticism of the wall thing. Perhaps they're leaning on this because so many of their other arguments are so dumb. I dunno.
   Also: fer chrissake, maybe we could set the barrier question aside for now and all agree to mandate the use of E-Verify? Well...of course we can't...
   721ish days down, 739 remaining...nearing the halfway point for Trumpo the Clown.
   As for the loony leftists who control our cultural superstructure: no end--and no halfway point--in sight.

The Wall Is Immoral...

...but the border isn't?
That position requires some gymnastics to defend...
Ooorrr...it fits together seamlessly/naturally/effortlessly with an open borders position...
Huh. Wonder which it is?
Seriously. I do wonder.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Border Fence Follies: They'll Climb Over! They'll Tunnell Under!

Yeah, no.
Fences, you see, are not perfect barriers. The point is, basically, to make it significantly harder to move along a given trajectory...not to make it absolutely impossible. This sort of perfection fallacy tends to crop up when people have already made their mind up about something and, hence, have stopped actually thinking about it.
Compare:
  • Seatbelts don't work because it's possible for them to come unfastened
  • Antibiotics don't work because it's possible for the infection to survive
  • Coats don't work because you might still be cold
  • Cell phones don't work because you might lose service
Blah, blah, blah.
Here's the only kind of argument that is going to work here: there are alternative methods of border enforcement that are more cost-effective than additional fencing. Give us an argument like that or shut the hell up. Er...no disrespect to Speaker Pelosi. She ok. I'm not a big fan, but I do respect her. But c'mon: get serious.

Trump Won / Trump Lost

Thiessen: Trump Won
Frum: Trump Defeated Himself
So he either won or he not only lost but kicked his own ass.
I don't see him winning this. Although I think he's probably less wrong than the Dems, and expended fencing would be good, Congress controls the purse-strings. And part of me kinda likes to see them slap down the president--especially this guy.
I don't see Trump winning this one.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Trump vs. Pelosi/Shumer On Prime Time

I thought both were somewhat reasonable and both somewhat full of it, and didn't go over the transcripts to figure out which was more what. 
   Trump's basically right about expanding barriers, though Congress controls the purse strings and it seems to me that the president forcing a shutdown is an attempt to usurp that authority.
   But I'm not sure I understand anything about government and politics anymore.
   Bad sign that the Dems are fighting more fencing. But, then, I can't even seem to find any information about what the most cost-effective measures are. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Tara John: "This Is Why Border Fences Don't Work"

Should have been titled: "This is how to write an op-ed using only fallacious reasoning."

The Only Question About The Border Fence Should Be: Is It Cost-Effective?

That's all I got.

Carolina 90 - State 82

Whew.

Trump To Address Nation Re: Border "Wall"

This should be good...
I expect it to be about 66% unhinged. And to fan the flames of crackpottery across the aisle. And to just generally make things worse. I shudder to think what President Warren's illegal immigration policies might look like.
OTOH, it may be better than gubmint by Tweets.