Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Ten Concrete Examples Of White Privilege"


Oh "Thought" never disappoint... It's almost like the National Lampoon has risen from the grave.

As you see that white "privilege" is mostly hair-related...

Some day soon we should give up this gibbering about "privilege" and go back to employing serious concepts like discrimination.

Ira Glass: Shakespeare Sucks


On the very bright side, Glass admits he probably can't defend that. 

Being able to admit error has become even more important with the twitterfication of middlebrow discourse. Being able to admit error has always been important, thought he ability has always been rare. Now that it's easier for people to say things quickly and publicly, they will undoubtedly say stupider things. Add a 140-character limit to that, and you'll get a whole lotta bullshit. Up the percentage of error, and you up the importance of admitting error.

So...anybody think that people--especially the kind of people likely to become twits--are going to get better at admitting their mistakes?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Anyway: Glass is way, way wrong, and props to him for (basically) admitting it.

Turkish PM: Women Should Not Laugh In Public

Turkish women: LOL FU

Paul Ryan Admits There Is No Case for Impeachment


Though the best part is that he's trying to push the "hey what's all this talk about impeachment? Some Obama ploy amirite?"

That is, we know that:

A. Obama is a commie fascist mom-pants-wearing Kenyan Muslim dictator Antichrist who deserves impeachment more than anyone else has ever deserved anything in the history of American politics
B. Obama made up this whole impeachment thing to whip up his base and the GOP is shocked--shocked--that this is even being discussed

We don't know which one yet...but we do know that it's either A or B.

This, of course, is a corollary of:

Axiom 1: Everything is Obama's fault

Sometimes we don't know why something is Obama's fault...but that's always just a matter of working out the details.

Oh so crazy...

Dawkins Responds To The Twitterstorm


Dawkins isn't great on this stuff, but he's competent--and that puts him head and shoulders above most of his antagonists.

Here's his response to the twitterstorm.

As far as I can tell, he's right.

Jim B thinks I misread the Jezebel piece I'm going to check that out again. But, bracketing that for the time being, I don't see anything wrong with what Dawkins writes in the new piece.

The two serious points at issue seem to be:

1. Some violent crimes are worse than others
2. One can recognize that violent crime x is worse than violent crime y without thereby endorsing y.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Plague Of Bullshit: Model View Culture / "In Defense Of Twitter Feminism"

I'm not going to address this crap in detail.

But it's basically a paradigm of loony lefty web gibberish.

(And, I noted with exactly no surprise after having read it, it was typed by Suey Park (and some dude)...)

Standard disclaimer: yes, I do realize that the American right is (currently) more dangerous than the loony left. The GOP is actually out there denying climate change, working to disenfranchise voters, working against alternative energy, and logjamming the government for political ends. Oh yeah. I know they're worse. The loons on the right are actually in power. The loons on the left are very far out of power.

(And somebody does need to articulate this case clearly and in depth at some point...)
The deep crazy of the far left is still very dangerous in its own way. It is allied with the academic left, and that is a crucial, strategically crucial salient. From that position, the left exercises non-trivial control over young, impressionable minds. Though I think the right exaggerates the power of the left in academia, there's still a problem (or so I believe) even when the case is unexaggerated. We've seen the pernicious influence of the illiberal far left flare up in the PC movement of the '90's. Even a little bit of this deep crazy affecting university students can have a significant effect on the future of the country. Furthermore, American liberals ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, ideologically speaking. European liberals are used to opposing extremists on both ends of the spectrum. There's no reason that we can't oppose the excesses of the left as well as the excesses of the right.

One of the biggest problems with the web left, IMO, is the irrationalism that pervades it. The linked article above--which is by no means specially selected--it's just something I happened to run across a few minutes ago--is a decent example. The kind of dogmatic, rabidly ideological free-association on display there is characteristic of an important segment of the far left. It's largely word salad. It's an almost random collection of buzzwords, jumbled together to build a kind of logically hollow rhetorical case for a political conclusion that is, of course, never in doubt. In this case: white people bad. That's a constant over there, of course...

It might be useful to go through the thing paragraph-by-paragraph...but, frankly, if we spent even an hour trying to disentangle that tangle of verbiage, we'd be spending twice as long as the thing probably took to write. And I'm not at all sure it would be worth it.

On the bright side, the far web left is already at odds with itself, as demonstrated by the linked post. The loony left tends to slice itself thinner and thinner, always aiming at total ideological purity, until there is, in any given case, nothing left. (Cue The People's Front of Judea vs. The Judean People's Front...)

So that's comforting...

So, at any rate, I continue to think that the far leftish brand of crazy is worth being aware of and worth understanding, even if the rightish brand of crazy is currently much more dangerous.

The Keystone Congressmen Discuss Impeachment

Not only does President Obama deserve to be impeached, but...:
“This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president’s own staff and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why? Because they are trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year’s election,” Boehner told reporters on Tuesday morning. “We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans.” 
He added, “It’s all a scam started by the Democrats at the White House.”
I mean...he deserves it of course...but it's also just an Obama political ploy. Which...all those Republicans who started talking about it before he was even inaugurated...uh...fell for? Or something?

You know what this story needs?

More Yakkity Sax

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Compared to Jezebel, Richard Dawkins Is A Genius


Because sexism is cool...if it's against men

So, first you have to be stupid enough to care about Twitter.
Then you have to be stupid enough to think that anti-male sexism is cool

Because misandry: it's all the rage!

Bonus points for unfollowing a white dude, natch'

[Warning: Buzzfeed link! Do not click! Very, very, very stupid!]

Russian Documentary On Fighter Jets

"Fighters: Struggle For Superiority"

Damned interesting.

They seem oblivious to the obvious superiority of the F-15 and F-16...


Dissecting a Dogfight: Sukhoi vs. USAF At Red Flag 2008

Damn Su-30s are worrisome...

Should Doctors Ask About Your Guns?


Only Conservatives And Republicans Favor Lawsuit and Impeachment

More evidence--as if we needed it--of the crazification of the American right.

Increasingly, a large percentage of American conservatives seems to be living in its own little fantasy world.

It's astonishing to see how far this can go without politically disastrous repercussions...but there must be some limit to how far they can push it....right?

Monday, July 28, 2014

VA Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional (?)

So far!

I reckon the Supremes will ultimately have to decide...but so far, so good...

Fox "News": How Do I Dislike Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

Nothing really new here, but still worth a read

Friday, July 25, 2014

Can The F-35 Win A Dogfight?

Impeachment Fever--Catch It!: 57% Of Republicans Have Gone Insane Edition

So...has half of half of the two parties in our two-party system has gone crazy?

I mean...I guess 'Obama deserves impeachment' is no crazier than 'evolution is false' or 'anthropogenic climate change is impossible' or 'Obama was born in Kenya'...  So I guess there's really nothing too new here...

...but damn...

As I often do--and no, I don't know why--when I travel, I watched a bit of Fox News last week.

It's so crazy over there that it's actually a little scary. It's like a window into an alternate dimension or something. When I flipped it on last weekend, there was one of the Fox lunatics spewing incoherent vitriol against Obama, basically asserting (and I'm not making this up) that the world has never been this chaotic, and it's all BHO's fault...with a picture of a Buk missile launcher in the background. He didn't say that Obama was responsible for MH 17 being shot down...but that seemed to be one clear implication of the rant.

I seriously wonder whether or democracy can survive the combination of (a) gullible, semi-informed, semi-extremist rage and (b) a massive corporation dedicated to fueling the flames of anger and insanity.

The Existential Battle For The Soul Of The GOP

Impeachment Fever: Catch It!: 33% Of Americans Are Idiots Edition

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Greek Myth Comix: Deaths In the Iliad: A Classics Infographic


(via Reddit)

NRO: It's Time For Conservatives To Stop Defending Police


Wow. If the cops are losing the NRO, things really might be getting serious...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wikipedia: Feminist Geography

Posted without comment.

Oh...ok...just one comment:
An early reproach of geography of women approach was that gender roles were mainly explained as gender inequality, such as housewives and mothers, in combination with the some concept of spatial constraint.
Er um grammar a thing...anywhere?

Darth Vader Polls Higher Than All Currently Plausible 2016 Presidential Candidates

Seven Hours of Sleep Ideal?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Drum: If The Left Wants Scapegoats, Just Look In The Mirror

I basically agree with everything in this post.

Except for bits about moving the country to the left...  I'm not sure I have any desire to do that anymore.

Oh, sure...we need campaign finance reform. And sane banking restrictions. Legalized weed would be a step in the direction of sanity, but it's hardly a major cause... Reign in domestic surveillance...if, indeed, we have the straight dope on it at this point...

But, really, I just don't long for a more liberal country anymore. Not right now anyway. Now that we've got the ACA--that was a truly desperate need--I'm happy to stop and maintain and assess. Job 1 is keeping the GOP crazies out of power until something resembling sanity returns to the party.

But that's all basically about an almost-afterthought in the Drum piece.

I think he's exactly right about the main points.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Centennial Peirce Congress

I'm off at the Centennial Peirce Congress.

Activity here will be light until Monday

Highlights thus far:

1. Stomped on Susan Haack's foot as I tried to beat a hasty/stealthy retreat out of a session before the next paper started. (Prompting my friend Jeff to say "oh, nice job" as I passed where he was sitting. Friends don't let something like that pass unremarked-on...) I mean I really stomped on that sucker. It wasn't a little tweak of the toes...

2. Shared an elevator with Murray Murphy, prompting the following exchange.

Me: "Murray Murphy! No kidding!"
Murray Murphy: (elevator doors open) "I'm afraid so" (shuffles off)

3. Sun-Joo Shin asked me to watch her purse while she went off to get coffee.

So, as you can see, it's been a very successful conference for me thus far.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Worst President Of My Lifetime Calls Obama Worst President Of His Lifetime


Oh man...

I mean...

wipes tears from eyes


You really just cannot make this shit up...

Obama isn't even the worst president of the last two presidents.

In fact, if you count Cheney, Obama is far and away the third-worst president of the last two presidents.

The real question is, though: to what extent is Cheney delusional enough to believe this, and to what extent is he just such a piece of shit that he can't help saying it though he knows it isn't true?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Camille Paglia: My Kind Of Feminist

This is worth reading.

I dismissed Paglia years ago on the basis of some silly things she wrote quite awhile ago. I thought she was just another lightweight literary bullshitter.

But this interview is great.

She comes across as sober, thoughtful, reasonable, and staunchly opposed to the illiberal excesses of current web and academic feminism.

If that were feminism, I'd still be one. I agree with just about everything she says. She still considers herself a feminist, albeit a dissident one. I tend to not consider myself one anymore, since I think that 'feminism' now mostly means the nutty academic neo-po-mo radicalism of the feminist vanguard. Old-style egalitarian feminism has, I'd say, just been absorbed into liberalism, and feminists per se have moved on to more radical pastures in an effort to have something distinctive to say. But this is largely a merely semantic dispute.

Anyway, some highlights:
I remain an equal opportunity feminist. That is, I call for the removal of all barriers to women’s advance in the professional and political realms. However, I oppose special protections for women (such as differential treatment of the names of accuser and accused in rape cases), and I condemn speech codes of any kind, above all on university campuses. ... We need a more flexible psychology, as well as an end to the bitter feminist war on men. ...
As for playing “devil’s advocate”, I can’t imagine a committed feminist engaging in that kind of silly game. The real problem is the cliquish, tunnel-vision intolerance that afflicts too many feminists, who seem unprepared to recognise and analyse ideas. In both the U.S. and Britain, there has been far too much addiction to “theory” in post-structuralist and post-modernist gender studies. With its opaque jargon and elitist poses, theory is no way to build a real-world movement. My system of pro-sex feminism has been constructed by a combination of scholarly research and every-day social observation
It is difficult to understand how a generation raised on the slapdash jumpiness of Twitter and texting will ever develop a logical, coherent, distinctive voice in writing and argumentation. And without strong books and essays as a permanent repository for new ideas, modern movements eventually sputter out for lack of continuity and rationale. Hasty, blathering blogging (without taking time for reflection and revision) is also degrading the general quality of prose writing. 
As for feminists being hounded off Twitter by other feminists, how trivial and adolescent that sounds! Both sides should get offline and read more—history, sociology, psychology, and the big neglected subject, biology. How can the greater world, much less men, ever take feminism seriously if its most ardent proponents behave like catty sorority girls throwing hissy fits at the high-school cafeteria?
Transgenderism has taken off like a freight train and has become nearly impossible to discuss with the analytic neutrality that honest and ethical scholarship requires. First of all, let me say that I consider myself a transgender being, neither man nor woman, and I would welcome the introduction of “OTHER” as a gender category in passports and other government documents. ... 
As a libertarian, I believe that every individual has the right to modify his or her body at will. But I am concerned about the current climate, inflamed by half-baked post-modernist gender theory, which convinces young people who may have other unresolved personal or family issues that sex-reassignment surgery is a golden road to happiness and true identity. 
How has it happened that so many of today’s most daring and radical young people now define themselves by sexual identity alone? There has been a collapse of perspective here that will surely have mixed consequences for our art and culture and that may perhaps undermine the ability of Western societies to understand or react to the vehemently contrary beliefs of others who do not wish us well...
I say the whole thing is worth a read.

(h/t J. Carthensis)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Zizek Plagiarism Incident


Actually, dude should probably plagiarize more.

Can't be any worse than what he writes himself.

Roy vs. McCants: Who You Gonna Trust?

Seems like an open-and-shut case...

The ABCers are pushing this hard, but we'll all be surprised if the new investigation finds anything different than the previous investigations. On the one side, you've got Roy and basically everyone else ever associated with Carolina basketball. On the other side you've got Willingham, Jay Smith and Rashad incompetent, a nutty publicity-seeker who hates Carolina athletics and is trying to sell a book, and a guy who everyone knows is neither stable nor credible.

I'm happy for the investigation...except that I expect it won't change much, really. The accusations have been big news; the inevitable retractions after they've been discredited have been buried. So it's a lose-lose proposition for Carolina...

Still, regardless of what happens in the media shit show, the truth matters to Carolina fans, and we want it to out.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Insanity Metastasizes On The Internet Left

Some of you guys have asked me why I'm so interested (ok...I think the word used may have been "obsessed"...) with the rise of crazy on the internet left.

I mean...the crazies are running the GOP, actively fighting efforts to solve the health care crisis, pushing Lysenkoist positions on evolution and climate change, rabidly attacking Obama at every turn...given the craziness driving the conservative half of our two-party system right now, craziness that runs the House, and may soon run the Senate...why worry about the relatively trivial moonbattery of the internet left?

It's a reasonable question.

My answer:

(1) I don't have to have a good reason for the things I'm interested in
(2) Crazy on the left wing of American liberalism tends to work its way into mainstream liberalism, since liberalism has all its guns pointed rightward. It's not quite defenseless against the its eventual uprising against the PC movement of the '90's showed...but it's very, very weak on that flank.
(3) The crazy on the left is very, very, very crazy indeed. We're talking this crazy goes to 11. We're talking full-on barking moonbats from stupideth dimension. We're talking slap-fighting, circle-jerking absolutely totally wacko, unhinged, non compos mentis, bugshit crazy craziness.

This is a great piece by Scott Alexander at Slate Star Codex. He asks people not to link to it, but his reason for that request is bad, and what he writes is very good, and almost nobody reads this backwater blog anyway...there it is.

It tells the story of one Charles Clymer, who used to be a hero of the barking moonbats of the leftosphere, largely for two reasons: (a) he's a jerk, and they really like that, and (b) he was the origin of some massively incorrect information about false rape accusations that made its rounds in the leftosphere--e.g. he claimed that a man is more likely to be hit by a meteor than to be falsely accused of rape. Clymer's nonsense was off by about four orders of magnitude, as Alexander also showed.

[Sorry: that is actually just a big part of the post; there's also a bit about an insane twitter witch-burning campaign that you really have to read. The infographic is here.]

Anyway, Alexander documents how the lunatics on the web left (including Arthur Chu, recent Jeopardy champ) turned on Clymer for basically no reason. He went from he's-our-hero to we-hate-him to (the ultimate endpoint of most such public hatings on the web left) he's-a-rapist on the basis of no evidence. It's not the the guy doesn't deserve it, because he himself is a nut and a jerk.

But that's not the point of the story.

The point of the story is that the web left is very, very, very, very crazy.

And, since they are completely and totally irrational, and not completely without influence, I think people should be noticing.

You don't have to wallow in their nonsense like I tend to do...but you should at least know about them.

My Heroes: Stanislaw Jerzy Lec Edition

I didn't know about him before today, but he is immediately catapulted into the pantheon:
After Nazi Germany's attack on the Soviet Union he was imprisoned in a German work camp in Ternopol, from which he made several attempts to escape. He received a death sentence for his second attempt to escape, but managed to escape again after killing his guard with a shovel when taken to dig his own grave. This became the subject of his most famous poem.
Then he went on to fight the Nazis as a partisan.

Would that I were 1/100th as awesome as that guy...

Saturday, July 12, 2014


RIP Tommy Ramone

Florida Gerrymandering: "Cunning, Unprincipled, and Ambitious Men Who Subvert The Power Of The People"

If we were choosing a slogan from contemporary American party politics, I might well choose:

Both parties do it; the Republicans are worse

Redistricting is like campaign finance; if we don't fix it, little else we do matters much. (Well...perhaps that's an exaggeration...but it really, really matters.)

Even as much as I fear the contemporary GOP, I'd be more than willing to throw redistricting up to some reasonable algorithm for producing sane districts, and live with the results.

Friday, July 11, 2014

"It's Time For People To Stop Using The Social Construct of 'Biological Sex' To Defend Their Transmisogyny"


Basically, everything in there is wrong.

Just about the only thing that's right is: sex is more complicated than non-biologists typically think it is.

But, of course: the concept social construct is hopelessly confused


Society does not make up sex; biology is independent of our representations of it


This question needs to be dealt with independently of concerns about bias and discrimination.

These confusions are rampant on the left now. That is: they tend to confuse x is fuzzy and complicated with x is made up ("socially constructed"), and confuse questions about biology with questions about discrimination. The most insidious is the latter, really. The argument basically goes like this:

If you think that biology is real, then you think that discrimination is permissible
You should believe that biology is not real

What a godawful mess.


Just look at the attempt to stack the deck in the title. That title's got it all--something between an assertion and a presupposition that biology is made up by society, and the clear suggestion that if you think sex is real, you think that in order to "defend your transmisogyny"...  Wow. That's some high-quality sophistry right there...

This is why I become more and more worried about liberalism falling down the rabbit-hole. American liberalism seems to me to be rather defenseless against the lefty-left. Liberals are so terrified of being (called) prejudiced in any way that they seem to me to be inclined to accept almost any proposition or argument, no matter how obviously insane, in order to avoid it. I can easily see liberals stampeding to accept utterly daft arguments and positions like this if they become sufficiently fashionable. And that means not only accepting the specific claims in play, but accepting a bunch of bad philosophy, bad distinctions, bad principles, and bad types of reasoning (e.g.: if the distinction between x and y is complicated and fuzzy, then the distinction between x and y is "socially constructed"). Accepting bad principles of reasoning is one of the worst things you can do, as that has repercussions throughout your theory of the world.

Of course you shouldn't be mean to people because they are atypical--not only should that go without saying, but it should go without saying that that point is irrelevant to the factual debate about the reality of sex. But I probably need to say it anyway in order to make it perfectly clear that I'm not some kind of bigot...and, honestly, that's another thing that worries me about contemporary liberalism... You shouldn't have to show your liberal credentials in order to participate in such discussions...

The Party Of The Perpetual Tantrum

Obama did something! Or didn't do something! Or stayed in DC! Or left DC! Or something!

Listen you assholes...  "We hate Obama" is not a goddamn platform.

Stupid, crazy, irrational, puerile, and focused like a laser beam on their grade-school resentment of the guy who beat them, the GOP has become the party of the perpetual tantrum.

The Democrats are now officially our only hope.

God help us all.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Moon Hooch


(via Metafilter)

Slavoj Zizek, Plagiarist?

Looks that way...

It's more significant that he's an inveterate bullshitter, though...

Glasses Don't Make You Smart, Or:The Real Point Of This Crisis Is Obama Sucks

Rick Perry has three things he wants you to know:

Obama sucks

Illegal migration is bad

And the uh...what's the third one there? Let's see uh...the third one I can't...I can't.....


Making Shit Up: Dr. Nerdlove On 'Crazy' Edition


Everybody knows you don't go full SJW...

It's very easy to gerrymander and cherry-pick until you can wring a wee drop of plausibility out of almost any thesis.

It's not that everything Nerdlove says is completely's rather that he is radically exaggerating the strength of his evidence (such as it is), blatantly ignoring counterexamples and other contrary evidence, and drawing a ridiculously overblown conclusion.

This nutty SJW stuff I've been whining about is worth ridiculing, IMO, in part because it is beginning to find expression outside of e.g. Tumblr.

Just to cut to one part of the chase and stop wasting time on this, Nerdlove writes that, when men say that a woman was acting crazy:
...what we’re really saying is: “She was upset, and I didn’t want her to be.”
But that simply isn't true.

I have no doubt that sometimes that's what men are really doing. Nor that sometimes that's what women are doing when the tables are turned. There even may be some weak tendency for men to do it more--we don't know, because we don't have numbers on this. All we have are the Rorschach-blotty impressions of people like Nerdlove, who are already strongly predisposed to believe this sort of thing. (And: notoriously predisposed to exaggerate this kind of thing...)


No, this is not what "we" are "really doing"

It's what some me are (we guess) really doing sometimes.

And, hey, news flash: if you do that, you are an asshole.

No, wait...'asshole' is a word more often used to describe it's a "gendered slur"


LGF: Greenwald's Grand Finale That Wasn't


Remember: I'm not objective about Greenwald.

Putin Playing Chess Watch: Checkmate Edition

Remember when Putin was playing chess and Obama was playing checkers?

So is this is some kind of super-wily great game grandmaster checkmate?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Drum: Yet Another Day In Republican Scumbaggery


They won't even fund the things they are rabidly in favor of. As drum notes, better to fan the flames of chaos, because harming Obama is more important than getting things done--even when Republicans passionately wants them done.

Behold, the derangement of the GOP.

Washington and Lee to Remove Confederate Flags From Lee Chapel


Don't know what to think about this. I guess I'd have thought that this was a case in which the presence of Confederate flags was pretty reasonable...  But also I don't think I have much of a sense of what it is like to see it there as a black student.

I do worry that this might be a bad time to make the decision--we're in the midst of a paroxysm of over-sensitivity and crackpot lefty activism, and it's the kind of decision that would probably never be reversed even if we did realize later that it was a bad one.

I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for the whole Confederate flag thing...but this does seem to be an extremely atypical case. It seems more like having one in a museum than like having one on a flagpole at your house (we've got plenty of those, incidentally...)

Though I haven't been down there in several years...perhaps having the experience of walking into the chapel again would be informative...though, again...white

tl;dr: I don't know.

No Respect For The Office: Rick Perry Edition



Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Fallout From The UC-Boulder Case: Is The Feminist Left Politicizing Philosophy?

The Gender Academy

What a damn mess.

Look, sexual harassment is a problem in philosophy. A very serious problem, because it is a very serious offense. I have no earthly idea whether it's worse in philosophy than it is elsewhere, nor how common it actually is, not any such thing. But I know it exists, and I know people get away with it. They deserve massive ass-kickings, which I would be only too happy to administer except for, y'know, law. In the case I know about, the guy is well-known and well-connected, at a top-ten department, protected by the Chair, and nobody--feminist colleagues included--want to open up an unpleasant can of worms. It's bullshit of the highest goddamned order...

However, that's exactly one guy I know of, despite his multiple violations. One is too many. But one is also one.

On the other side of the spectrum, I've experienced extremist feminist insanity and inanity through a fair bit of my career in academia. False accusations of sexism and sexual harassment, attempts to spin philosophical differences into "hostile environment" sexual harassment, sly insinuations of sexism, attempts to paint males who refuse to toe the line as "dangerous to women" (actual quote), and outright nutty interpretations of innocent actions.

Extremist feminist insanity is not the solution to the problem of sexual harassment.

In the middle, of course, are the sane folk, male and female, who are in no way sympathetic to sexual harassers, but who want real solutions rather than stalking-horses for political projects. In grad school one female grad student one said to me that she thought that I (as a guy hated by the extremists feminists) had it easier than she did--I was just evil, but she was a traitor to her sex, an apostate, and so even more hated...

This is all made more complicated by the fact that everybody recognizes that one side here is bad, but liberals are loath to admit--and often will not even let themselves recognize--that the other side is bad. That is a blueprint for disaster, and leads to the kind of nonsense we saw at Boulder.

OTOH, the Boulder business seems to be daft enough that even many academic liberals are calling bullshit on it...

One last point is that the social engineering of the kind discussed in the NR piece is generally subterranean--I've been on hiring committees, for example, where it was made clear that we would be disregarding all male applicants. I objected, and said that, were that to be done, it must be said in the ad. The response was: we can't say it in the ad, because that's not legal. My response, of course, was that if it's illegal to say your going to do it, then it's illegal to do it...

But, look: I'm not even sure I'm opposed to all such efforts. I think I am, but I'm not sure...  What I am sure of is: if you're going to do it, you've got to admit that you're doing it...

As for patrolling classroom discussions to make sure that evilwhitemales don't interrupt women and minorities...  Well, I've never noticed an interruption differential between whites and non-whites... But I have noticed (or seemed to notice) a difference between males and females. It's pretty obviously not malicious, but, IMO, guys just tend to say whatever flits through their pretty little heads in class, whereas girls tend to keep their powder dry, think about it more, and say only the best of what they've got. Each policy has something to be said for it. I honestly don't know which is better. But it does seem to lead to guys interrupting everybody more--male and female. My policy? I tell the girls "don't let the guys talk over you." This strategy has worked well. It also has the virtue of recognizing that the girls don't need my protection. They can play philosophy just as well as the boys can. They might need a little prompting to get into the rough-and-tumble...but they don't need teacher to take care of them. (I draw the line at actual aggressiveness or nastiness--and that goes for everybody. There's a difference between energetic discussion and nasty debate.)


blah blah blah

People Asking For Ass-Kickings: "Rolling Coal" Edition

The stupid is strong in this one

Monday, July 07, 2014

The Daily Banter: "Glenn Greenwald: Asshole"

This seems about right to me.

Economic Impact of Illegal Immigrants In The United States

Interesting Wikipedia entry.

Unemployment Falls To 6.1% Everywhere But On Fox News

North Carolina's Voter Suppression Law Heads To Court

The ACLU takes VIVA before a federal judge today.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

We Gonna Rock Down To... know where...

Wikipedia 'Overpopulation' Insanity

Overpopulation denialists are currently pretty influential. As I often note, expressing concerns about overpopulation is unpopular on both the right and the left in the U.S. Many on the right argue for continued population growth in order to drive continued economic growth. Some hold that the West/the U.S. is being "outbred" by potential military and cultural competitors. Many on the left argue that the real problem is overconsumption, and that if we address that, we don't need to address population growth. Many also hold that concerns about population growth are racist, since (i) most population growth occurs outside of Europe and the U.S. and (ii) concerns about overpopulation might constitute reasons to lower immigration and illegal immigration rates in the U.S. (weak arguments, but I'm just reporting them...)  The situation has been made worse by the fact that actual racists in the U.S. have, relatively recently, begun using claims about overpopulation as a stalking horse in anti-immigration efforts. (As usual, the left has a tendency to argue ad hominem from some racists believe x to x is inherently racist...)

Of course certain religions that use high reproduction rates as an expansion strategy (e.g. Catholicism, Mormonism) also work hard to dismiss concerns about overpopulation.

But, man, the Wikipedia article on overpopulation has reached dizzying new heights of crazy:
Attempts to mitigate adverse effects associated with overpopulation have historically included eugenic efforts in the early 19th century. This focused on forcefully sterilizing people thought to have undesirable traits. Almost all developed countries developed laws and regulations around this theme of reducing the reproduction of undesirables. Besides sterilization, the methods included forced abortions, birth control, marriage restrictions according to race, limited genetic testing, racial segregation and segregation of the mentally disabled. The eugenics concept was expanded in Nazi Germany during World War II to forcibly exterminating anyone thought to be undesirable, most notably the Jews. Genocide is the process of reducing the population of a race or ethnic group by murder.[14] Most countries have no direct policy of limiting their birth rates, but the rates have still fallen due to educating people about family planning, increasing access to birth control and contraception. Only China has imposed legal restrictions on having more than one child. Extraterrestrial settlement and other technical solutions have been proposed as ways to mitigate overpopulation in the future.
Note the initial sentence:

"Attempts to mitigate adverse effects associated with overpopulation have historically included eugenic efforts in the early 19th century."

One could write at length about the convoluted sophistry contained in that first sentence alone, but let's just cut to the chase:

Eugenic efforts of the type listed were never actually aimed at controlling the overall population. There wasn't even a population problem to control in the early 19th century. This is an utterly daft attempt at generating guilt by association. The very fact that this irrelevant paragraph constitutes about 1/3 of the first section of the Wikipedia entry on overpopulation shows that craziness is afoot. There is absolutely no way to argue that e.g. anti-miscegenation laws were driven by population concerns.

Furthermore, note the dishonest efforts to construe eugenics efforts as attempts to control population. This is like saying: efforts to control population have historically included murdering my neighbor--by doing so, I have reduced the population of Smiths next door...

This paragraph is just a laundry list of pro-population growth craziness, with nuts on top...specifically:
Extraterrestrial settlement and other technical solutions have been proposed as ways to mitigate overpopulation in the future.
So, in short, 1/3 of the introductory section on human overpopulation says: attempts to control overpopulation typically include racism and genocide, and there's no problem anyway because we can always colonize space.

This should obviously just be deleted, but I'm going to hit the talk page first and try to address the general problem. 

NSA Intercepts: Big Payoffs, Big Costs

Washington Post: "In NSA-Intercepted Data, Those Not Targeted Far Outnumber The Foreigners Who Are"

The surveillance files highlight a policy dilemma that has been aired only abstractly in public. There are discoveries of considerable intelligence value in the intercepted messages — and collateral harm to privacy on a scale that the Obama administration has not been willing to address.
Among the most valuable contents — which The Post will not describe in detail, to avoid interfering with ongoing operations — are fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

40,000 Real Ph.D.s, 50,000 Fake Ph.D.s Awarded In U.S. Annually

Every year in the U.S. 40,000 people earn Ph.D.s...but another 50,000 buy fake Ph.D.s online.

Why Are People Saying Such Dopey Things About Orphan Black?

As I've said, JQ and I didn't think much of it, but probably didn't give it enough of a chance. It's the kind of thing we're likely to give another chance...but for the love of God, why do people keep writing such dopey things about it? e.g.:
But she’s also weirdly unsexualized. Unlike The Exorcist, which has Regan masturbating with a crucifix, or American Horror Story: Coven, where Zoe liquefies men's brains through sex and Madison wreaks revenge on her rapists by using her powers to overturn the bus, neither Helena's obsession nor her revenge is sex-based. She spends a lot of time covered in blood, her own and others’, but it's never (for example) menstrual blood — kind of amazing for a show built around the trilogy of technology, religion, and female reproduction. There are no vagina dentata here, no fetishized virginity.
She spends a log of time covered in blood, but--surprise!--it''s not menstrual blood!


In what possible world is this a surprise?

But my favorite part is really:  it's not for example menstrual blood...

For example? Really?

What, exactly, is the type of which this is an example?

Maybe I'm just cranky/overcritical... Pop culture is dumb, and pop culture writing is dumb, and none of it is really expected to make much sense...  And I usually only read about this kind of stuff in the morning when I'm trying to wake up. So I'm not exactly at my most charitable...

But come on...

Friday, July 04, 2014

Richard Mellon Scaife Dead at 82


Immediately after someone's death, I find myself inclined to act in accordance with the maxim "If you can't say something nice about someone, then don't say anything at all."

So here goes:

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Putin Is A Dickhead

A newly-named star

(via Reddit)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Humans (Or: Race Is Not A "Social Construct," Exhibit 85)

Very interesting.

Also: even if "social construct" made any sense, race wouldn't be one.

I mean, some alleged racial distinctions are fictional, of course--maybe even many or most of them. But not all, and not by a long shot.

Changing My Mind On Illegal Immigration In Response To Changes In The Problem

So, until semi-recently, I've thought of myself as disagreeing with what I've thought of as the unofficial liberal orthodoxy--which I take to be something roughly like: Aw, be nice; just let everybody in...

Jim B showed that I was wrong bout it really being an open borders position...  But it's at least something like: hey, it's mean to be too diligent about kicking out illegals...

At any rate, my view is: there is nothing wrong with requiring that people go through the system. As Drum has put it (maybe in private correspondence?  I can't remember where...): there is no real alternative to the humane enforcement of just immigration laws.... (note: possibly not an exact quote).

My concerns are, largely:

* Overpopulation. Nobody is concerned about the most important environmental problem we face anymore. And liberals stopped being concerned about it precisely because of their over-permissive views about illegal immigration. Concern about overpopulation is inconsistent with an extremely permissive view about immigration of any least in the absence of any effort whatsoever to get those of us already here to have fewer children...

* Stress on the welfare state. It's a complicated question, but currently illegals apparently don't quite pay their fair share of taxes--though they apparently pay quite a bit. They also stress certain resources like emergency rooms.

* Fairness. People wait years to get into the U.S. legally. In fact, among my own friends, the people who are most disapproving of illegal immigration are the legal immigrants. (Warning: anecdotal evidence)

Furthermore, and very importantly: immigration across our southern border has mostly been for economic reasons.

My view has bee: if we're going to allow more immigration, we should up the number of legal immigrants, and give preference to those fleeing violence. Women from the Congo, for example, are more deserving of our concern than those driven by economic reasons--which is, of course, not to say that economic reasons aren't good reasons...

However, I've recently been thinking about the violence in Mexico...and now this, farther south:
Children are uniquely vulnerable to gang violence. The street gangs known as “maras” — target kids for forced recruitment, usually in their early teenage years, but sometimes as young as kindergarten. They also forcibly recruit girls as “girlfriends,” a euphemistic term for a non-consensual relationship that involves rape by one or more gang members.  
If children defy the gang’s authority by refusing its demands, the punishment is harsh: rape, kidnapping, and murder are common forms of retaliation.  Even attending school can be tremendously dangerous, because gangs often target schools as recruitment sites and children may have to pass through different gangs’ territories, or ride on gang-controlled buses, during their daily commutes.
I don't have much patience for a liberalism that simply refuses to make hard choices out of a desire to be nice.  And if we suddenly stopped fighting illegal immigration, it would be disaster. And it baffles me that so many liberals of my acquaintance refuse to acknowledge this...


This is a whole knew kettle of fish...

Simply letting in every young person from Central and South America who manages to get in illegally is not a long-term solution...  But refusing to deport them seems like the only humane short-term solution. Obviously we can't send kids back to that.

In general, I tend to advocate more foreign aid, in particular to try to combat such problems--partially for humanitarian reasons, but also partially to help solve our own immigration problems...

Anyway, though I still think the aw-just-be-nice approach is nutty, that's not what drives my own view that we can't send these kids back. And, in fact, I don't see how we can send adults back to that either...

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Obama Worst President Since WWII!!!!!!!!!!


Presumably, nobody is dumb enough to take this seriously.

Basically, Republicans think that whichever Democrat is in office is the worst president of all time, and Dems aren't much better.

And note that St. Ronnie of Hollywood is the best...

Has Obama Finally Realized That This GOP Cannot Be Reasoned With?

Looks like he may be finished trying to compromise with the uncompromising

Steven Pinker: The Game Of The Name and the Euphemism Treadmill


Can't believe I've never seen this before.

It's not some great achievement or anything, but I realized Pinker's point about euphemisms on my own (so far as I know...): give a bad or unpopular thing a new, euphemistic name, and that name will itself, in the fullness of time, take on the bad or unpopular connotations.

There is, for example, probably no term you can assign to physical and mental disability that will not eventually be used as a schoolyard taunt. There is, for example, nothing inherently wrong with the word 'retarded.' It's pretty damn clinical-sounding when you think about it. But, well, here we are.

Of note:
The euphemism treadmill shows that concepts, not words, are in charge. Give a concept a new name, and the name becomes colored by the concept; the concept does not become freshened by the name. 
People learn a word by witnessing other people using it, so when they use a word, they provide a history of their reading and listening. Using the latest term for a minority often shows not sensitivity but subscribing to the right magazines or going to the right cocktail parties.
Shifts in terms have an unfortunate side effect. Many people who don't have a drop of malice or prejudice but happen to be older or distant from university, media and government spheres find themselves tainted as bigots for innocently using passe terms such as "Oriental" or "crippled."
Arbiters of the changing linguistic fashions must ask themselves whether this stigmatization is really what they set out to accomplish.
Well...the thing is, it is what many of them set out to accomplish. The relevant people have attitudes and goals distributed along a spectrum, from genuine, reasonable concern on the one end to holier-than-thou language totalitarianism on the other. This has all gotten worse since Pinker wrote the piece 20 years ago. But the basic sentiments are the same. The language police of the lefty-left really, really, really like telling people how to talk. And they've managed to encourage norms that make using even last week's terminology a cardinal sin. Their obsession with linguistic fads--established largely by their own fiat--is a downright sickness, a fetishization of the shibboleths of the moment.

Obviously some such linguistic suggestions are fine. But many such changes are foolish and/or inaccurate and/or little more than an attempt to bully people to conform. Nobody has an obligation to take those terminological prescriptions seriously.

And, incidentally: stop trying to make 'people of color' happen.

It's not going to happen...

Largely because it's a silly, stilted construction, but largely because it's basically equivalent to 'colored people.'

When this stuff comes full circle, I consider myself justified in getting off.

But, anyway, finally and most importantly:

words are not thoughts. Despite the appeal of the theory that language determines thought, no cognitive scientist believes it.
 People coin new words, grapple for le mot juste, translate from other languages and ridicule or defend PC terms.None of this would be possible if the ideas expressed by words were identical to the words themselves. 
This should alleviate anxiety on both sides, reminding us that we are talking about style manuals, not brain programming.
tl;dr: Sapir-Whorf: still wrong.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

There Are A Lot Of Backdoor Searches Of NSA Data:

Well, this is bad.

The Frankfurt School Conspiracy Theory

I did not know about this:
The '''Frankfurt School conspiracy theory''' postulates that the Frankfurt School of deliberately subverted traditional Western values through interventions, leading to what is called political correctness. This represents an alternative to the scholarly understanding of the Frankfurt School, which argues that while members of the Frankfurt School did individually engage in social critique, they never developed any unified theory or collective political agenda in the United States. The theory has received institutional support from the Free Congress Foundation. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in 2002 that the theory had been taken up by a number of what it defined as "[h]ate groups".

(I'm no fan of the Frankfurt School/critical theory...and certainly no fan of political correctness...but c'mon..intentionally subverted Western values? I mean...accidentally maybe...but not intentionally...)

Glenn Greenwald Smears Charles Johnson

Just as a casual, distant observer, I'm inclined to think that there's something wrong with that Greenwald dude...

Here LGF discusses Greenwald's link to completely bugshit crazy anti-LGF site and a fake chart alleging (falsely) that Anders Breivik (the Norwegian mass murderer) cited LGF frequently in his "manifesto."

I don't deny that Greenwald sometimes does good reporting.