Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thunder vs. Lightning: A Performance and Cost Analysis of the A-10 and F-35


The Pentagon’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal made two contradictory recommendations. First, the U.S. Special Operations Command’s manpower should be increased by 3,700 troops and its funding by 10%, recognizing that these forces are likely to be increasingly engaged in lowintensity conflicts against terrorists and insurgents. Second, the A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog,” the United States’ most effective aircraft for providing highly accurate close air support (CAS), should be phased out and replaced by the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. Congress wisely accepted the first recommendation and rejected the second. The survival of the A-10, however, remains tenuous. The misguided justification for the plan to replace it is that doing so would streamline and modernize the Air Force within the constraints imposed by sequestration. We conducted a survey of joint terminal attack controllers. Their responses indicate that the A-10 is vastly more capable than its proposed replacement at providing highly precise CAS. A cost analysis demonstrates that the replacement plan would also waste billions of dollars. The A-10 fleet just received a service life extension through 2035, and is relatively affordable to operate. In stark contrast the F-35s that would replace the A-10s entail staggeringly high procurement and operating costs. The proposal to replace the A-10 fleet with Joint Strike Fighters is operationally and fiscally unsound, and would seriously harm U.S. national interests. In a future where budgets are tight and low-intensity conflicts requiring precision CAS are likely, a cost-effective U.S. air fleet must include the A-10 Warthog.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Carolina's AFAM Scandal: Bradley Bethel vs. The Lynch Mob

   There's simply no way to understand what actually went on in the UNC AFAM scandal without reading Bradley Bethel's posts at Coaching the Mind. As nauseating as the scandal was, a careful examination of the facts seems clearly to indicate that it was an academic scandal involving Nyang'oro and Crowder, not an athletic scandal. Every account I've read of the scandal in the national media has been some combination of ignorance and lies.  Ignorance is, I think, to some extent excusable--it's sports, and the people who write about sports don't typically have a scholarly bent... But it's difficult to excuse ignorance when it's combined with a rabid, bloodthirsty desire for punishment.
   At any rate, the good news from the perspective of Carolina basketball fans is that men's basketball seems clearly to be innocent of any wrong-doing. The bad news is that it isn't clear that anyone cares...  Another ray of hope, though, is mentioned by Bethel at the end of the post I link to above: there's at least some reason to believe that the NCAA's investigation will be more objective than the Wainstein report. Even the latter leaves MBB largely unscathed...though, as Bethel notes, there is a subtle but systematic effort there to shift blame from academics to athletics. But presumably the NCAA will not share the Carolina administration's goal of shifting blame. We might get the most objective investigation yet from the NCAA...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Carolina, Havin' Fun

AAUP Comes Out Against Title IX Abuses

Summary at Reason
link to AAUP report

Ted Cruz Channels Michael Douglas From An American President When Responding to Trump

This is just plain weird

Monday, March 28, 2016

Heels 88-Irish 74; Carolina Heads to The Final Four

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Let's Go Tar Heels

Beat the Irish

Saturday, March 26, 2016

That Cruz Thing

Is that for real?  
I have absolutely no idea. 
American politics: you can be a freakish weirdo with bizarre religious beliefs and a penchant for unctuous, faux-Shakespearean speachifying who takes Phil freaking Gramm as your economic adviser and everything's cool...  But screw around on your wife and you're out, buster...

'Problematic' Problematc

   That's a stupid title because it's not a fair characterization of this, which is on the money as far as it goes.
   The neo-PCs' favorite term of criticism is 'problematic.' I've complained about this at some point in the past but I'm too lazy to look it up. I complain about it in real life anyway, even if I'm wrong about having complained about it here...but I'm not. Wrong. Anyway.
   The most obviously moronic thing about the PC / SJW use of 'problematic' is that it's so vague. As Swenson notes, it's really used to indicate that something has done moral harm. And since the PCs really only recognize racism, sexism, homophobia, and their other preferred crimes as moral harms, that's what's really being suggested. So it ought to be said clearly, at the very least.
   Now that I write that, I realize that I'm way to tired to be writing (or 'righting', as I originally wrote (or 'rote'...)) this and I think I'm forgetting the details of Swenson's argument...but, hell, you can read so what are you looking here for? Go read it.
   It's baffling to me that nobody seems to remember paleo-PC. The paleo-PC's all-purpose term of disapproval was 'offensive.' "That's offensive" was their battle cry. 'Problematic' is the neo-PC / SJW's all-purpose term of disapproval, and "that's problematic" is their battle cry. Consequently, both terms have been ruined for me. Are you happy now, you jackasses? I hope you're happy. You jackasses. I don't get offended so easily, so that word's not a huge loss...but damn, 'problematic' was a pretty useful word.
   Why do the PCs invariably have to choose stupid terminology? What is it? What is it about their terminological preferences that are so unwaveringly annoying? I've speculated before that it's something like: they pick terms that sound technical in a bad-Continental-philosophy kind of way...but which are typically off-target in some way or another. The paleo-PCs insisted on 'partner' (as opposed to e.g. 'girlfriend' or 'boyfriend'...which, admittedly, sound a bit juvenile...but whatever...)  But 'partner' is absurdly non-specific. Business partner? Partner in crime? Study partner? What? I referred to my MMA training partner as my "partner" once and got some funny looks for it... Annoyed by the term, I used to refer to my gf who lived with my as my "roommate," which I thought much a much more defensible term. I once got semi-seriously criticized for it by some of the feminists in my cohort. "What?" I said, as I often do, all innocent-like. "How are people supposed to know whether you are involved with someone or not?" they complained.  "Who cares?" I asked. And "why is it anyone else's business." Ha ha! I was such a scamp... See how I out-themed them? Ha!
   But where was I?
   Oh, yeah. The PCs like to pretend that they have a kind of superior technical vocabulary for this stuff, but their terms are almost invariably less precise than those they are supposed to replace. And their terminological nonsense usually seems intended to skew discussions in their favor.  Just as one example, consider "microaggression," which is invariably used to describe annoyances and peccadilloes that cannot by any reasonable person be described as aggressions. The point is to kick up a cloud of absurdity and sneak in the substantial point that small deviations from PC best-practices = violence.

[link  via the philosophymetametametablog, that collection of rapscallions...]

BISCUITS!!!! Carolina 101-Indiana 86

Love them daggum Tar Heels!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ted Cruz Named Phil Gramm As His Economic Adviser

Whelp... if you're still wondering who's worse, Trumpo the Clown or Damien, Omen '16, there's your answer.

Go Tar Heels

Beat them Hoosiers

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Obama At The Baseball Game After the Belgium Attacks

   Well, of course the rule on the right is: condemn everything Obama does, no matter what. And of course they're not happy about the Cuba business in particular. But it makes no damn sense at all to insist that he interrupt the first Presidential trip to Cuba since 1928--and since the Cuban revolution--because there was a terrorist attack in Belgium.
   Worse, however, are the calls for more damn "boots on the ground"...not because of a massive wave of terrorist attacks...and not because of attacks here...but because of one (admittedly awful) attack in Belgium. Of course there's a confluence of GOP inclinations here: always push for the opposite of what Obama does and always push for more war (except when a genuinely humanitarian mission is at issue). I'm all for kicking ass when it's clearly the right thing to do.  But--at least from where I'm standing in non-expert-land--there's no very good reason at all to think that going back in is going to be any better at all than staying the hell out. And if it's not clear we should go in, we should stay out.
   Jesus, to hear the GOP tell it, Obama at the ball game is worse than Dubya and 9/11...which is no surprise, of course, since they basically think that somehow doesn't count in any way...or, rather, it mysteriously counts as "keeping us safe"...

"Terror" and Terrorism: A Linguistic Gripe

I just want to complain briefly about--as it seems to me anyway--the media's melodramatic use of the term "terror" when speaking of terrorism. As in: "Belgium reacts to terror..." or "Terror threat in U.S..."  or "Europe Faces 'Longer Period of Terrror'"...or whatever.  (Yeah, yeah...RT news barely counts...but...I'm using it anyway.)
This usage seems contrived and, well, again, I want to say melodramatic...and in a kind of calculated way. Or something. I just can't help but thing that the media (the real media...not just RT News...) is opting for melodrama, even if that might have the effect of sounding even more panicky than they normally sound.
I don't know.
It just bugs the hell out of me is what it comes down to.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Emory Students Weep, Claim They are Unsafe, Demand President Respond To "Trump 2016" Chalked On Sidewalks

This is hilarious.
I's also sad and pathetic and embarrassing and just plain dumb as a goddamn sack of particularly dumb hammers...
But it's also hilarious.
The expressions on the students' God... Behold, the safest and richest and most over-privileged quasi-children who have ever existed. If they had to deal with the normal adversity of normal lives, I'm afraid it might kill them.
What an embarrassment to everyone involved that we've produced such people.
Note that they asked the president of Emory to send out an e-mail denouncing Trump and his supporters on campus, and he refused. Sadly, according to the article, he then seemed to back off of that decision.
Incidentally, apparently one of the messages said: "Trump: Accept the Inevitable" or something like that. My guess is that there's about a 50/50 chance that this is a "false flag" incident, and the lefties did that themselves to give them and excuse for these political histrionics.

[And don't miss:  "Faculty are supporting this speech by not ending it."  There's PC logic for ya...]

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Media Systematically Conflates Immigration And Illegal Immigration

   It happens everywhere. These are just small examples in stories I read in the Post this morning. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is here described as an "immigration hard-liner." Discussions of loosening/liberalizing enforcement of immigration laws is, as always, describe as "immigration reform." [my emphasis] Clinton's pledge to stop deporting illegal immigrants is described here as "a major break from Obama on immigration." (That last one is at least defensible to some extent.)
   Again, these are tiny examples of an extremely widespread phenomenon. It's SOP on CNN, for example. It's not a small point. I know many people--some of them immigrants themselves--who are like every reasonable person--against people coming across the border illegally en masse. Not a single one of them is anti-immigrant. I'm not really sure what's going on here. The distinction between legal and illegal immigrants is absolutely crucial. To be against illegal immigration is the sensible position. To be anti-immigrant or anti-immigration is to be a lunatic. By leaving out a short, obviously important qualifier, reasonable people and positions are represented as unreasonable. This is more akin to a lie than to rhetorical spin. And it's become the rule, not the exception.
   More substantially, I can't help but worry about Democratic pandering on this issue. It sounds an awful lot like the Democratic candidates are falling all over each other to promise the relevant demographic that they are going make it easier to stay in the country illegally. That is, it sounds a lot like buying votes with promises to refuse to enforce reasonable and important laws.
   If we think we should have more immigration from Mexico, then we should increase the amount of legal immigration allowed from there. If we think we need guest workers, then we should have a guest-worker program. Or...if we think it's really not that important for the government to know who's here, what they're up to, and so on, then we should loosen up such policies across the board--we should back off of requirements that people have Social Security numbers, drivers' licenses, etc. in general. I'm fine with minimizing the role of government and reducing its role in our lives...but if we do that, we have to do it for everyone.
   I don't even think that a certain amount of illegal immigration is such a big deal. But I'm appalled by the way the issue is being treated and discussed by the non-right. (I'm also appalled by many of the ways it's being discussed on the right...but that gets so much play that it's not worth talking about.) Many on the loony left advocate open borders. And identity politics encourages people to see these kinds of issues as matters of pure power politics, in which it is in the interest of certain groups to continue to push for fewer and fewer restrictions.
   Oh and: add to all this the general tendency of the left to represent anyone who disagrees with them on such an issue as racist...
   Anyway. I'm not too happy about the way this discussion is going.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Vox Packs Most Of the Fallacious Arguments Against The Reality of Race Into 3 Minutes

This is just craptastic.
   But it does provide a kind of a convenient little window into the downright delusional thinking about race that currently dominates on the far-ish left and in the parts of academia in which the left is influential. Though these arguments seem to have taken hold even in biology. Think about that. Even at least one actual, natural science seems to have become infected by this stuff.  In America, anyway, though not so much elsewhere I'm told.
   Philosophy is often thought to be useless, but it isn't; any halfway decent philosopher with even a little understanding of the philosophy of biology should be able to explain what's wrong with the arguments for race antirealism / race nominalism.  Philosophy is often thought to be useless but it isn't...but, well, actually it is, because philosophers seem to be cowed like everybody else, and none seem to be stepping forward to do their damn job. A fair number of philosophers have even fallen for these arguments, apparently...  Except they probably haven't really.  Not in the sense that the arguments actually convinced them. The arguments are so patently fallacious that I doubt they could convince anyone with even a little bit of the right kind of training. These arguments are so bad that the acceptance of their conclusion almost has to be driven by politics. There is simply no doubt about the link between race nominalism and PC / SJW politics. There is a kind of unspoken imperative on the left: though shalt not believe that race is a natural kind. (This makes it particularly humorous that we get a version of the left's standard-issue potted pseudo-history of the idea of race to start things off in the video. Giving a little history of the alleged evolution of an idea is, of course, often intended to discredit the idea.) When you've got terrible arguments combined with political zeal/pressure/unspoken threats, the best hypothesis is often that it is one of the latter, rather than the former, that explains the fact that so many passably intelligent people are accepting the relevant conclusion.
   Anyway, I'm trying to spend less time explaining why people on the internet are wrong...but I might not be able to resist the urge in this case. Not that I think it's really necessary. I mean just listen to those arguments.
   Seriously. These arguments--these patently fallacious, bad-undergraduate-paper-level arguments, are actually being held up as serious reasons for accepting a conclusion that, when you come right down to it, demands that people deny the clear evidence of their own eyes. And the postpostmodern left is so influential that it's actually working.

   If this does not creep the hell out of you, then...well...uh...look, it just sure as hell had better be creeping the hell out of you. It's like invasion of the body snatchers...except...with...uh...minds or whatever...

Reseeding the Sweet 16

Sunday, March 20, 2016

"The Endless Conservative Con"

I wish conservatives would read this and take it seriously...but I suppose the same characteristics--whatever they might be--that have made so many American conservatives susceptible to the con also keep them from reading and/or taking seriously information that might clue them in to it...

Carolina 85-Providence 66; Carolina In The Sweet 16

Ball don't lie, as is well known.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Pro-Abortion Rights Protesters Try To Shut Down Debate At University of Victoria By Chanting "No Debate"

In case you still need convincing that the PC left is resolutely against the free exchange of ideas

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Lithwick: Supreme Court Nihilism

I say this is worth a read.
   Some important 'graphs:
That doesn’t mean that it’s perfectly clear what ideologies and political preferences he might bring to the court. Over the course of his tenure on the second most influential court in the land, Garland was against Guantánamo detainees until he was for them. Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSblog reports that when Garland was asked to rule in civil rights cases, he generally sided with plaintiffs alleging rights violations. Goldstein also notes that Garland is a worry for progressives because he has overwhelmingly sided against criminal defendants. Based on his myriad opinions, it’s fair to say that he has ruled in favor of environmental regulations and that he is incremental, cautious, and wary of outspoken dissents. As the Wall Street Journal suggests, he brings folks to a middle place, which is weird and disorienting in a world without middle places.

Nobody who has followed Garland’s career will be surprised that his almost two-decade record reveals someone who is disinclined to get out in front of the law but tries hard to narrowly construe it. This is not a fount of quotable sound bites; it’s a guy who gets up every morning and does a little law.

Crucially, nobody who has been listening to Obama talk about his ideal jurist for the past eight years will be surprised to learn that caution, judicial restraint, and the ability to compromise are among Garland’s most prominent personal qualities. Those of us who are for less caution and more sharp elbows may have chosen, time and time again, to believe that Obama has been lying all these years about his distaste for liberal Scalias. But he wasn’t! And as someone who recently begged for a Justice Elizabeth Warren, I concede that Garland is precisely the kind of judge Obama most values—a “reasonable” one. That an organization like Fox News would criticize the president’s “reasonable” choice as a pretextual effort to look “reasonable” fo rpolitical gain is about the best distillation of everything that is deranged about our current politics. Obama breaks liberal hearts by being moderate, then is accused of faux-moderation by the right.
(Minor point: why is it that people insist on putting terms like 'reasonable' in scare quotes?)
   Anyway: look, dammit, Republicans: This appointment sounds like the best we can hope for from either side. Don't block it. Stop being idiots. Unless the U.S. goes crazy, Hillary is going to be the next president. You think you're going to get a better option then, do you?
   The GOP's ODS is just off the scale. Obama has tried to seek middle ground for the vast majority of his term in office (same-sex marriage perhaps notwithstanding), and the deranged GOP simply refuses to take compromise for an answer. I fear a "progressive" party unbridled by a conservative party...but when your conservative party goes insane, unbridled "progressivism" may be the only sane option.
(h/t S. rex)

Anti-Trump Protesters Block Highway Leading To Trump Rally

More contempt for the First Amendment by anti-Trump protesters.

Contemporary Campus/Internet Leftism In 20 Seconds

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Carolina 83-Florida Gulf Coast 67

Respect to the mighty Eagles of FGCU. They were scary in the first half.
Good work Heels!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Harrison Barnes: The Size Of The Moment

A really nice piece of writing by The Black Falcon.
Man, I miss that guy.
One of my favorite Heels ever.

Recounts Possible In Both MO Primaries

MO Republicans are obviously torn between Trumpo the Clown and Damien, Omen '16

Jerry Coyne on Feminist Glaciology

God bless Jerry Coyne.
   He's one of the few prominent biologists who's got the guts to stand up to the PC / SJ crowd. He's also stood up to their nonsense race nominalism / race antirealism...which has gotten him vilified by some of the usual suspects.
   This feminist glaciology nonsense--unlike the race nominalism nonsense--probably doesn't have legs. But it's good to see a competent take-down of it anyway.
   The thing about this stuff is, the PC-pomo combination is basically always absurd. It's never right, because it substitutes politicized, buzzword-laden free-association for actual thought. It can't really survive in the natural sciences...but it has absolutely taken over in many of the humanities and social sciences, where so many people have a fairly anemic grasp of reality, left-wing politics is strong, and the intellectual standards are...somewhat loose... It's even become a force in philosophy...which is worrisome as hell...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cruz: Obama "Lawless and Faithless"

"Deconstructing the Evidence-Based Discourse in Health Sciences: Truth, Power and Fascism"

I am not making this up:
Background Drawing on the work of the late French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari, the objective of this paper is to demonstrate that the evidence-based movement in the health sciences is outrageously exclusionary and dangerously normative with regards to scientific knowledge. As such, we assert that the evidence-based movement in health sciences constitutes a good example of microfascism at play in the contemporary scientific arena.
Objective The philosophical work of Deleuze and Guattari proves to be useful in showing how health sciences are colonised (territorialised) by an all-encompassing scientific research paradigm – that of post-positivism – but also and foremost in showing the process by which a dominant ideology comes to exclude alternative forms of knowledge, therefore acting as a fascist structure.
Conclusion The Cochrane Group, among others, has created a hierarchy that has been endorsed by many academic institutions, and that serves to (re)produce the exclusion of certain forms of research. Because ‘regimes of truth’ such as the evidence-based movement currently enjoy a privileged status, scholars have not only a scientific duty, but also an ethical obligation to deconstruct these regimes of power.
Key words: critique, deconstruction, evidence-based, fascism, health sciences, power.
   This is the kind of nonsense, loosely derived from the worst of recent Continental philosophy and literary theory, that has taken over so much of the humanities and social sciences. This is also the same kind of gibberish that shows up in PC / SJW mumbo-jumbo. A lot of it doesn't particularly mean anything at all. And the parts that do actually mean something are worse...
   I tried reading this, but it really, actually is total horseshit. It's appalling to me that nonsense like this can survive even in the weaker regions of the humanities...but that it should get a toehold in medicine....shudder...
   Oh and: it's worth reading the first paragraph just to see people--apparently in all seriousness--use the term 'microfascism'...

UC-Davis Students: Sumo Suits = Racism, Cultural Appropriation

Richard Cohen: Protesters Should Let Trump Air His Hate

basically right IMO.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Left-Wing Protesters Driving Voters to Trump?

   Well, here's one poll that says yes.
   I already think the protesters are likely to drive people to Trump...but I'd never accept that conclusion on the basis of this single, convenient poll result...
(But...I will accept my own crackpot hunches???  WTH kind of sense does that make? Jeez what's up with me?)
   Since orthodox moonbattery doesn't believe we have a right to free speech, they probably can't be swayed by appeals thereto...  But we don't know how many of the protesters were relatively orthodox moonbats...  Actual liberals are still committed to the the right to freedom of expression... Though I sometimes wonder whether we're a vanishing breed...
   But even moonbats probably care about consequences. So even they should care that they are more likely to help Trump than hurt him...right?  RIGHT?
   I see that lots of folks on cable news are trying to blame Trump for the actions of the protesters. Unless I'm missing something, that's the patentest bullshit. Trumps a stupid bullshit artist...but he's got a right to speak, his campaign paid for the venue, and he didn't make the protesters do what they did. Valuing free speech is easy when you agree with what's being said. Didn't any of these people have, like, 7th grade civics class?
   I've got to say, the crackpot anti-Trump rhetoric and the systematic disruption of his rallies is...well, it's on the verge of making even me marginally less anti-Trump. There's a whole lot of ways to rationally criticize that asshat. And if you want to work against him, or try to reason his supporters away from him, then do those things. But unfair criticisms and disruption of his campaign events is just bullshit, as it would be against anyone else.

"Turning Anthropology From Science To Political Activism"

"The Main Casualty Of The Cancelled Trump Rally Is The Idea Of Free Speech"

   I think this is basically right.
   Trump's buffoonery does not excuse the liberal/leftist protesters for shutting down a political rally. Has trump incited violence? Then he should be charged with inciting violence. If not, then he gets to speak.
   In general, I think that a lot of unfair charges are being directed at Trump. This is possible because the left and the right admit that he needs to go: the left hates him with a seething passion, and the GOP establishment doesn't want to lose control of the party. IMO he doesn't really mean anything he says. He's a bullshitter; he just says things. There's no real there there. Trying to make him out to be Hitleresque is unfair, false and stupid.
   The protesters interfered with Trump and his supporters' rights to speak freely and assemble. That's bad enough as it is, but it's particularly worrisome against the background of these things:
(a) The PC left tends to reject the very ideas that freedom of speech is a right and a good.
(b) Liberals tend to protect and enable the PC left and its actions
(c) Trump is the very kind of guy--and disrupting his rally is the very kind of thing--that tends to drag more  liberals in the direction of the PC left.
   Make no mistake about it, what we've got here are two threats to liberalism, not one threat and one defense.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

RIP Hilary Putnam (7/31/26-3/13/16)

   Perhaps the recent philosopher I respect most. I'm particularly a fan of Reason, Truth and History, "Why Reason Can't Be Naturalized," and "Models and Reality." 
   I had a long conversation with him once after he gave a talk at UVa. I was pushing some BS line I had recently picked up somewhere, and he was very gracious--but unrelenting--in explaining to me that I was full of shit.
   I'm very sorry to hear of his death.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

North Carolina Tar Heels 2016 ACC Regular-Season and Tournament Champs

Props to the Wahoos for a great game. 

Drum: Who Will The Public Blame For The Violence At Trump Rallies?

Drum doesn't say what he thinks about where the actual fault lies.
   Actually, a lot depends on the morality and legality of disrupting political rallies. I've been semi-supposing that rallies are cases where ordinary time, place and manner restrictions prohibit interference...but as I've tried to make clear, I don't actually know. It's begun to seem to me that our informal policy is something like: you've got a right to have rallies, and I've got a right to show up and object to them a bit, so long as that doesn't get out of hand. I come in, shout my peace, security leads me out, you proceed with your rally. Not a clean system but a pretty good one.
   Guess I'll have to actually look this up...

Protesters Stop Trump Rally; Washington Post Blames Trump

Well, this isn't good.
   Neither is the Post's headline, IMO:  "After Months Of Playing Protesters To His Advantage, Donald Trump Is Overwhelmed In Chicago." This seems unduly slanted in favor of protesters / against Trump. I exaggerate in the title...but...isn't that the suggestion? Or am I wrong on that?
   What really matters here, IMO, is that protesters prevented Trump from speaking because they disagreed with what he was going to say. And that should have been the headline.
   Trump is a buffoon, as should go without saying. But buffoons have Constitutional rights, too. A few protesters at a rally might be excused, I suppose. Shutting the whole thing down, however, can't be.
   This, I think, is a fairly good case study in our current political predicament. On the right, we have our all-too-familiar deranged conservative faction. They seem to have come largely unmoored from reality. This is a large, powerful group that has been whipped into a fury of irrationality by conservative media and the GOP. And now they're on a trajectory to nominate a buffoonish, entirely unqualified bullshit artist for President. On the left, we have a re-emergence of the lunatic left: political correctness, "social justice" nonsense, identity politics, and the rest of the incoherent, illiberal swamp. At the core of that disaster are views that simply deny that freedom of speech is important. These groups don't have the raw power of the deranged right, but, at a theoretical level, they are much worse. Conservatives, say about them what you will, at least believe in freedom of speech. On that score--and make no mistake about this--conservatives are far, far closer to liberals than is the illiberal left. Furthermore, conservatives are largely shut out of cultural salients like universities, whereas the lunatic left is extremely powerful there. And, though the mainstream media may not be the tool of the liberal elite that conservatives like to pretend it is, it's certainly more sympathetic to the further reaches of the American left than it is to the further reaches of the right.
   My guess is that a lot of liberal-ish folk will see this rally as a victory. I see it as basically the worst kind of defeat: the re-emergent crazy left has become powerful enough to give force to its theoretical contempt for free speech. Trump being a seriously Presidential candidate is a national embarrassment. But this won't change that. All it does is show that now we have two problems not one: now we have to deal with a crazy right and a crazy left.
   And, though I normally don't let myself reference such arguments because they are so often misused: the practical consequences are going to be worse. Does anyone think this will diminish Trump's power? Can anyone seriously deny that that the main effect of this will be to strengthen his allure? It's largely the lunatic left, with its de facto support for open borders, its habit of branding all who disagree with it racist, its open contempt for lower-middle America and Western culture, etc. etc. that has done so much to make Trump powerful. And now the loony left has just energized Trump's supporters and taken us one step closer to a Trump presidency.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Heels 78 - Irish 47

First, I really like this Notre Dame team, ah tell you whut. It was great to see the teams out on the court before the game having getting along and having fun. That's the way sports ought to be.'s great to see Marcus Paige hitting like that again. What a great kid.
Third...when Carolina is good, they are very, very good. If Roy's managed to bring everything together like that as their new way of being...which would be damn hard of course...then I really like our chances.

Go Tar Heels.

Senator Says Department of Education Overstepped Authority Re: Title IX and Sexual Assault at Universities

   I don't understand the legal issues, but the "Dear Colleague" letters have at least some very bad consequences. Universities are interpreting them to mean that they must employ a preponderance of evidence standard (as opposed, most prominently, to a beyond a reasonable doubt standard). This means that male students are being, in effect, convicted of rape on the grounds that there is some non-zero degree to which the evidence seems to support the charges more than it fails to support the charges.
   And that is not obviously reasonable, to say the least.

Trump Campaign Manager Assaults Female Reporter [?]

This is nuts.
[Turns out it also may be false]

GOP Candidates Want Another Iraq

   I only watched a fragment of the debate, but I did hear that crap, and just couldn't believe it.
Even aside from the insanity on this particular issue, this crap is one of general types of things that makes me crazy about the GOP in general. Here's a situation in which there are no good options. You basically have to pick your poison and go with it. Obama has chosen what is plausibly the least-bad of the available poisons. I'm pretty inclined to think that is the least-bad, actually...but let's be charitable to the 'Pubs and say it isn't clear. In response, the GOP pretends--or actually talks itself into believing--that it is the worst possible option, and the opposite has to be right, and obviously so.
   And so let's have another Iraq, ok? Because one of our two major parties is run by insane children who are driven more by their puerile petulance and ODS than by anything approximating actual reflection on the facts.
   Here's what I demand from our elected officials: don't be obviously goddamn stupid. Pretending that it's obvious that we need another invasion of Iraq is absolutely obviously off-the-scale goddamn stupid. Obama never does things like that, and that's why I'm a fan. I don't always agree with his decisions. I'm sure that the outcomes of his policies will sometimes turn out to be sub-optimal. But it's hard for me to think of a single major decision he's made that was clearly stupid. Sadly, the GOP is incapable of meeting even this fairly permissive standard.

Carson Endorses Trump

For everyone else's sake, I hope I've merely woken up in the Twilight Zone.
At this point, were just like two doors down from the possible world in which Jeff Spicoli is endorsing the Shamwow guy, who is the front-runner.

Activists at Western Washington University Go Full SJW, "Demand" Creation of A "College Of Power And Liberation"

Behold, a left-wing pipe-dream:
   Student activists at Western Washington University (WWU) have started a petition demanding the creation of a new college dedicated to social justice, resources to learn alternate histories, compensation for harassed students, a student committee to police offensive speech, and culturally segregated living arrangements.
   The petition, drafted by the Student Assembly for Power and Liberation (SAPL), has been signed by 494 students as of press time.
   “[W]e cannot count on the University to follow through for hxstorically [sic] oppressed students. These demands come out of a long hxstory of oppression played out at all levels of schooling,” the demand states.
   SAPL says that the reason for these demands is to combat the oppression that is, “upheld through this institution, as it was created to uphold white supremacy at its core.”
Their first demand is for the creation of the College of Power and Liberation that will require hiring ten tenure track professors which students will have active participation in the interview process.
   “[S]tudents must have power in deciding what subject areas and [what] professors can teach at the college,” the petition says.
   The second demand calls for students and faculty who are committed to confronting racism, misogyny, trans- and homophobia on the campus, to be compensated for doing decolonizing work.
   Such work includes, but is not limited to, “Providing space and resources to learn alternate histories, supporting student's non academic work, emotional and intellectual labor that is not about publishing or service to the institution, providing often unrecognized trainings, workshops, and/or interventions on behalf of students.”
   All the other absurdity here to the side...don't miss that very last bit, which, if I'm understanding, means that they want students to get paid for imposing their far-left political views on other students...
   I have to say, though, that if someone could magically come up with all that guess is that there are a fair number of universities in the country that would be happy to oblige. It'll be kind of interesting to see how close universities will actually allow themselves to come to being left-wing indoctrination camps before this all subsides...if, in fact, it does subside.

Trump Supporter Sucker Punches Protester At Rally in NC

As even the Post points out: bitch move.
Watch some of the other video. The images of Trumpettes rabidly shrieking at protesters while Trump drones on in the background about how America will be greater than ever are downright surreal. And, of course, alarming.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Drum: HRC's "Trust Gap" With Millennials Results Partially From Congenital Honesty On Policy Issues

I think he's got a point.
(Though I'm not sure about the "congenitally honest" bit.)
Her answer on fracking seemed more reasonable to me, in particular. I derided her for dancing around the "no more deportations" nonsense, but it was probably better than Bernie's straightforward acceptance of the proposal. I wanted her to say:  don't be ridiculous. I'm not going to let you pressure me into committing to a disastrous policy just because it's a debate and I want your votes... But anyway.

Trump Ice Natural Spring Water

It's water!
By Trump!
Trump Ice!
FABULOUSLY cold-filtered!
With almost twice the alcohol content of regular hoi polloi-type ground water from the, like, dirt or whatever!
Class, bitches.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Bernie, Hillary and Ted: The Horror, The Horror

   Tried to watch the Bernie and Hillary show, but the panderfest was just too painful. I agree that kids who come here fleeing violence should be given special consideration. In fact, that's one reason I'm appalled at people who won't support reducing ordinary illegal immigration. We can only let in so many people, and priority should be given to those seeking asylum. Economic hardship is very, very bad. But I think we should give priority to those fleeing actual danger, e.g. women from the Congo. But if I heard Bernie and HRC right, they just both promised not to deport any law-abiding illegal aliens. Which means: if you can sneak across the border, then you get to stay as long as you don't break any laws (other than immigration laws, presumably...).  That's edging in the direction of a de facto open borders policy. Hillary at least had a level enough head to dissemble and obfuscate. Bernie (straight shooter that he is, God bless 'im) just came right out and said he wouldn't deport anybody who was following the law. It's the Univision debate, of course, so they are frantically trying to out-pander each other on the immigration issue.
   Cursing bitterly, I turned the channel...only to see...:
   Faux News...and Megan Kelly interviewing Ted Cruz...who, if he is not actually a serial killer, probably ought to be.  Has anyone else noticed that there is something very seriously not right about that guy? I'm not even kidding. Something about him is  Also, he seemed to have a trained pseudo-posse in the audience behind him, grinning from ear to almost the whole time and shaking their heads enthusiastically [nodding! Nodding their heads enthusiastically! I seem to have some kind of minor mental glitch with respect to the shaking / nodding distinction...] as if on cue. Creepy. As. Shit.
   Alright suck six ways from Sunday...but, lucky for you, the GOP is still crazier. Probably still a good 12-18 years before the blue line crosses the red line on the crazy graph.

Twitter Suppresses The Triggering

I didn't expect anything substantial to come out of this little bit of juvenile piss-taking... But there you go. Twitter is moronic, of course...but it's not even-handedly moronic. Certain fashionable pieties must be protected, you see...

3/9/16: The Triggering

Conor Friedersdorf: (Pretty Much) Right On Target Re: Trump and PC

   This is one of the best pieces I've read on the subject of Trump...and also one of the best pieces I've read on political correctness. The whole thing is worth reading--really worth reading, I think. (It's interesting that some of the best points are quotes referenced in an internet discussion thread.) Anyway, here's the end of the thing:
   Some “politically correct” codes of conduct, like “Muslim Americans should be treated as equal citizens whose rights are not at all abrogated because some of their co-religionists are terrorists,” help to prevent the U.S. from perpetrating horrific injustices against innocents and serve to uphold the guarantees of our founding documents. Other “politically correct” codes are little more than arbitrary etiquette that people educated at selective colleges use to feel superior to others, to engage in “tone policing” that they don’t recognize as such, and to attack ideological adversaries. (A third “politically correct” code insists that one shouldn’t criticize a police officer, a soldier, a veteran, religion, U.S. foreign policy, or Israel.)
   In between the core norms that are vital to democracy and the most frivolous demand for political correctness there is a lot of contested territory. Trump’s rise represents large swathes of that territory being seized by people who reject elite pieties.
   To counter Trump and the forces he represents, his rivals need to develop smart, targeted attacks on dumb norms that are as effective as Trump’s carpet-bombing approach. And citizens who oppose Trumpism are going to have to take a careful look at everything that falls under the rubric of political correctness; study the real harm done by its excesses; identify the many parts that are worth defending; and persuade more Americans to adopt those norms voluntarily, for substantive reasons, not under duress of social shaming or other coercion. Trumpism cannot prevail in a contest of logic and rationally differentiated controversies; but in a contest of emotion, tribal loyalty, and stigmatizing out-groups, I’m no longer sure that it can be beat.
   Now, I disagree with Friedersdorf that claims like Muslim Americans should be treated as equal citizens...has any right to be classified as a bit of political correctness. That's a view held by almost everyone, it's independent of PC, and denied only by the Neanderthal right. I also deny that there is any "political correctness" per se on the right...but that's really just a semantic point that can be thrown away. 'Political correctness' is a term tied to the loony left...but the right does push similar things sometimes. I understand the urge to say "well, there are good things and bad things in x...  And x is something that afflicts both ends of the spectrum..."....  But it just really isn't true. It's very difficult to point to anything that PC has introduced that was right. The bits they're right about were already advocated, at least by more mainstream liberalism, and the new ideas they've introduced have been almost uniformly cracked. But we can put that stuff aside.
   But here's the really good bit from good I have to repeat it:
...citizens who oppose Trumpism are going to have to take a careful look at everything that falls under the rubric of political correctness; study the real harm done by its excesses; identify the many parts that are worth defending; and persuade more Americans to adopt those norms voluntarily, for substantive reasons, not under duress of social shaming or other coercion. Trumpism cannot prevail in a contest of logic and rationally differentiated controversies; but in a contest of emotion, tribal loyalty, and stigmatizing out-groups, I’m no longer sure that it can be beat.
   Again...there just aren't "many parts that are worth defending..."...but forget about that:
Trump is on fire, in part, because he's right about some important things, and one of those things is PC. It's a crackpot, destructive, illiberal, totalitarian movement that gets almost everything wrong, has nothing but contempt for most of the rest of America--especially ordinary, blue-collar Americans, whites, straights and males--it's doing real harm to the lives of real people, especially at universities. Its proponents simply do not have good arguments for their positions, and that's why they employ "shaming", dogpiling, insisting, false accusations of violence, racism, misogyny, etc.  It's the only weapon they have in their arsenal. (Though, note: the effectiveness of the weapon gives the lie to their claims. The very fact that we so abhor racism is what makes people shut up and toe the line rather than risk being called a racist...) Most importantly, Freidersdorf is right that, if we are to adopt new norms, they must be adopted freely and for good reasons. That is exactly what PC denies. It holds that norms are to be imposed non-rationally, by the coercive methods described above. That is: PC denies that people are endowed with and have a right to a freedom of conscience that allows them to deny that 2+2=5. No amount of insisting that Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, for example--some go so far as to say obviously so, and/or always so--will make it true. And coercing people to say what they can clearly see to be false (or, for that matter, even what they cannot clearly see to be true) is wrong under most ordinary circumstances.* Even if you really, truly, somehow believe that Jenner is a woman, surely you must admit that honest, well-meaning people with good reasons for denying that should not be coerced into asserting what they reasonably believe to be false. And, in fact, categorizing Jenner as a woman really is nothing more than a bit of etiquette adopted by the PCs and their sympathizers... I think it might be a nice piece of etiquette to follow if one were around someone like Jenner a lot...but that doesn't make it true, and it doesn't justify the religious fervor with which the point has been pressed...
   PC is a powerful weapon for Trump because PC is insane and awful, and because many liberals refuse to acknowledge this, and so Trump can paint all of liberalism--with some plausibility--with the PC brush. The way to take this away from Trump, in short is to repudiate PC. There are a lot of liberals out there who refuse to do the right thing merely because it's right. Maybe they can be convinced to do the right thing because it's expedient.

Here's this excellent quote again (which I think my bud J. Carthensis turned me onto some time ago, but I'd forgotten about it:
Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

-Theodore Dalrymple/Anthony Daniels, Jewish psychiatrist and immigration advocate

Anita Sarkeesian, Back Again

   She claims she'll now do a series on neglected women in history.
   I usually refuse to add this sort of preface, but here it is:  it should go without saying that anyone who is harassing and/or threatening Sarkeesian or anyone else for such reasons is an asshole. (However, that sector of the political spectrum has a long, clear history of fabricating and exaggerating such things... Just for the record...)
   But...the fact that she's been harassed doesn't mean that her arguments are good. They aren't. Sarkeesian's method isn't worse than what passes for method in the more literary humanities these's basically the same: start with politically correct suppositions, fix politically correct conclusions in your sights, and then free-associate until people who really want to agree with you can convince themselves that you've moved rationally from the former to the latter. She cherry-picks evidence, distorts evidence, outright lies about the content of games, and presses criticisms against video games in particular which, if sound at all, are criticisms of the culture generally.
   And I say all this even as someone who thinks that there's a grain or two of plausibility in Sarkeesian's overall view. Those grains aren't new in any way, nor are they clearly right, but they're eminently worth thinking about. For example, women are represented in a sexual manner more than men--or so it seems by the eye test. Now, it's not clear that that's as bad a thing as many feminists make it out to be--feminism has always had a puritanical anti-sex streak. But it's certainly worth thinking about. And when reasonable women (that is: not Sarkeesian et al.) express unhappiness with it, it's something the rest of us ought to think about. However and on the other hand, men just seem to be more interested in looking at attractive women than women are in looking at attractive men. There seems to be a clear difference in preference here--and the puritanical preference isn't the default preference. It's actually a somewhat (but not extremely) complicated set of questions...and a set of questions that's typically dealt with badly because (a) it's typically people like Sarkeesian who think about them and (b) people like Sarkeesian are not good at thinking about complicated questions. It's not that Sarkeesian is's not that everybody in the PC sector of the spectrum is dumb...  It's that they have adopted bad, quasi-literary, free-associative methods of thinking, and (b) they have adopted their conclusions ahead of time and they stick to them dogmatically. These are bad individually. But put them together, and you inevitably get scribbles of bullshit that converge on whatever PC nonsense happens to be fashionable with them on Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Bernie's Right, Hillary's Wrong About The Protection Of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act

And furthermore, Hillary is lying when she says that it grants gun manufacturers and dealers "absolute immunity" from prosecution.

Political Correctness Does Not Exist! But It is Good! Because It Has An Irrelevant Good Consequence! Because One Study!

The method of inverse criticism, exhibit A...
Honestly, would anyone ever so enthusiastically accept a proposition on such godawful evidence if they weren't desperate to defend a conclusion to which they're already committed?

Monday, March 07, 2016

Crooked Timber And The Most Embarrassing Pro-PC Circlejerk Known To Man

   So, so, sooooo embarrassing.
   Holbo makes a good-faith effort to define 'political correctness,' though I don't think he comes very close to getting it right. The comments, however...
   Listen, you should read these just to remind yourself how gut-punchingly unlovely is groupthink. And groupthink among what seems like a group of reasonably well-educated's really kinda...alarming. By which I mean nauseating.  Do they really not have any inkling that they're merely circling the wagons and willfully averting their mental gaze from the ugly heart of the matter? 
   I mean...well...yeah...  Of course they are. They couldn't not be.
   Could they?
   Anybody with even a passing familiarity with the PC nonsense has to have encountered information about its excesses...  I's almost nothing but excesses...  If you're paying attention enough to have any kind of opinion on it at all you'd have to now about "microaggressions," "safe spaces," "de-platforming" and the rest...  The shrieking Yalies, the Kafka/Kipnis-esque Title IX suits, the mattress-toting, the crybullying, the po-po-mo mumbo-jumbo...  Yet in the circlejerk in question, you'll actually find almost no acknowledgement of any of this...
   In fact, you'll actually find the politeness ploy, i.e. the claim that "PC is just politeness!" (As if the wisdom of sending people to left-wing re-education camp for failing to use the most fashionable terminology were the very commonest sense...) You also get claims to the effect that oppositions to PC are just "white males protecting their privilege," and so on. For a bit I wondered whether it might be a complicated and particularly deadpan bit of satire...  But I'm pretty sure it isn't.
   It's particularly unnerving to me that so many of the comments seem unusually articulate. But 'articulate' doesn't mean smart...and it sure as hell doesn't mean intellectually honest...  So maybe there's nothing particularly weird about that bit after all...
   Anyway, as I've said before: liberals and leftists need to stop pretending that PC is completely innocuous and that only bigots can oppose it. That's simply false. In fact it's nowhere in the vicinity of the truth.
   Though there were a few rays of light, including a comment [posted by commenter fn] containing this quote:
Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.
-Theodore Dalrymple/Anthony Daniels, Jewish psychiatrist and immigration advocate
   This was a diamond in the rough...or a pearl of wisdom in a pile of bullshit...or...or... Well, you get the idea...

[There are some more people trying to rock the hugbox later in the comment thread, including this by Bloix:
   as David says, there were many communist factions buzzing around and trying to take over different progressive organizations and movements in the 70’s (anti-war, anti-nuke, feminist, civil rights, even consumer) and they used the jargon of political correctness.
But I disagree that the language was used as a compensation device for those without power. To the contrary, it was used in the US by marginal groups who were aping Soviet and Chinese patterns of thought adopted by regimes that had unlimited power.
   In a place like China, if you harbored incorrect thought you were committing error and the place for you was a reeducation camp. Being accused of incorrect thought must have been a terrifying event, a precursor to abject confession of mistakes in an effort to avoid having your life destroyed.
   This is the kind of thing people had to live with:
   ‘Mao Tse-tung thought is the only correct thought… if a person at any time whatever, in any place whatever, regarding any question whatever, manifests wavering in his attitude towards Mao Tse-tung thought, then, no matter if this wavering is only momentary and slight, it means in reality that the waverer departs from Marxist-Leninist truth, and will lose his bearings and commit political errors….Forward, following a hundred per cent and without the slightest reservation the way of Mao Tse-tung.’
or this, from Mao himself:
   “At present the contradiction between correct and incorrect thinking in our Party does not manifest itself in an antagonistic form, and if comrades who have committed mistakes can correct them, it will not develop into antagonism. Therefore, the Party must wage a serious struggle against erroneous thinking, and give the comrades who have committed errors ample opportunity to wake up… But if the people who have committed errors persist in them … this contradiction will develop into antagonism.”
   Bad enough to be someone who found himself being given “ample opportunity to wake up.” You certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be one of the people whose persistence in error developed into “antagonism.”  ]

Students Face Impeachment (Student Government) and Year-Long "Social Probation" For Wearing Tiny Sombreros at "Tequila-Themed Party"

Feminist Climate Science: "...The Relationship Between Women and Ice"

   Your palm and your face will be on mutually intercepting courses if you read even a few paragraphs of this.
   To riff on a point by John McWhorter, this crap has become like a religion. You know how certain Christians won't shut up about Jesus? That's what these people are like with race and sex-or-"gender"...  It's got to be in's got to be everywhere...we're talking about the central concepts of their world-view...  I mean, race and sex are fairly important things. You'd have to really, really, really, really obsessed with them to exaggerate their importance...and yet, the post-post-modern PCs manage to do so...and not by a little...
   There's some chatter about this being a Sokal-type hoax...but who can tell anymore? The po-po-mos have gone way beyond the point at which it's even possible to satirize them anymore.
[Link to allegedly actual abstract]

Sexual Harassment In Botany

This is a sobering story.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Carolina 76-Duke 72

The powers that be in hoops tried hard to make us lose this one again late, but the boys would have none of it.
Only 0.5 intentional trips by Grayson Allen, who ends the season, I'm told, with 666 total points.
Marcus had another tough night shooting, but sunk crucial FTs down the stretch.
ACC regular season champs, hence the 1 seed in the ACC tournament, and currently projected as a 1 seed in the dance, playing the first round in Raleigh.
Fingers: crossed.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

The Recent GOP Debate

   Haven't watched it yet. JQ is watching it in the other room and I can hear most of it...what's not muffled by her cursing, that is...
   My God it's utter lunacy... And I don't even mean the petty fighting...I mean the stuff that's actually about their views and policies. Cruz really is scary lunatic. And Rubio is now going on about how Americans need to believe in God or something like that.
   Jeez these people are flat-out nuts.

Friedersdorf: The Glaring Evidence That Free Speech Is Threatened On Campus

   Speech codes are direct threats to free speech per se...but there are other, related problems that might be even bigger. Even if we ignore unconstitutional restrictions on speech, the left is--obviously--working very hard to create social norms that impede the free exchange of ideas by "shaming" anyone who disagrees with their theories. Since (as John McWhorter notes) accusing someone of racism is now rather like accusing them of pedophilia, and since the PCs are willing to cry 'racism' at the mere mention of any politically incorrect position, this strategy is extremely effective.
   However, let me note again: the solution to this is to simply stand up to these psychopaths. Refuse to be  cowed, fight back hard, and be absolutely relentless in aggressively responding to false/irresponsible accusations of racism.  (Not to mention their other favorite all-purpose accusations: misogyny, "transphobia," etc.) One might be excused for being cowed by the Brown Shirts or the Klan I suppose...but here there almost never any actual threat of serious physical harm from pasty PC vegan gender studies majors. The PCs are powerful because others abet them through moral cowardice. Liberals in particular must stop defending the forces of illiberalism.

Friday, March 04, 2016

NY AG: Trump "University" Fraud "Fairly Straightforward"

Trumpo's Clown College "A bait-and-switch scheme"

Two Words:

Two more:  hammer time
I guess shit really gets real when the hand tools come out.

[Also: he was charged with possession of a firearm during a crime???  It's not like he just happened to have a gun in his car or something...dude was pointing that shit at people. That's using a firearm in a]

"The Social Construction of Sex": Some Central Confusions About "Social Construction" On Parade

Here's a handy rule of thumb:
   If someone uses the terms 'social construction,' 'socially constructed,' 'social construct,' etc. unironically, you should dramatically lower your expectations with respect to finding something interesting in what they say. If there's a bigger tangle of confusions in academia, I don't know of it. Well, 'relativism,' 'relative,' etc. are probably just as bad.
   Anyway, here's the offending piece. It really is a decent little introduction to why these discussions are such a disaster. Nominalism, misunderstandings about the nature of natural kinds, appealing to the terminological/conceptual trainwreck that is the contemporary quasi-academic discussion of "gender"...those are just for starters... Jeez, what a mess...  You'll note similar confusions in the attempts to browbeat everyone into accepting social constructionist theories about race, as I'm sure is obvious.
   Anyway, I'm trying to spend less time explaining why people on the internet are wrong...but I might not be able to resist this one at some point...

The Best of Campus "Hate Crime" Hoaxes

A rather small sample, actually.

Mittens Contra Trumpery: A Swing And a Miss

   Too little too late too lame.
   Honestly, given the chance to push a button and take Mittens for our next President, I might just do it. FSM help me. I think we've got to admit that there's a greater-than-1% probability that Trumpo the clown could be President. And an even better/worse chance that Cruz could be. The latter is my current nightmare scenario... Wait... They're both nightmare scenarios... But anyway... I think it's fairly clear that the GOP is going to stop Trump. As much as they hate Cruz, I'm starting to worry that they might actually take him instead. bad could Mittens be? I mean...he accepts an unusually wacky and cultish branch of the locally-preferred myth...  That's pretty worrisome... But...he's rich!  I mean, really rich! And, like, you know...classy rich. Like, faux old-money rich. So he probably really hates Trump's rich schtick. And more importantly, he probably doesn't want to shake things up too much... Seriously, how much better could things get for rich people around here? Why risk it?
   Also, Mittens probably isn't Damien, Omen 2016...which...not to put too fine a point on it...Cruz is. What I'm saying is that he may actually, literally, be the AntiChrist. Or Tiamat. Or Nyarlathotep maybe. That is to say that Cruz might actually be looking forward to destroying the world. Killing everybody is what I'm saying. But Mittens?  Nahhh...  Right? I'm right about that, right?
   Also, my theory is that a Republican President tends to slap sense into liberals, getting them to turn their backs on political correctness / social justice crackpottery. So that's a plus...
   Anyway, Mittens blew it. Like Rubio, he's just not very good at crass, idiotic bullshit. Trump is a shallow, idiotic blowhard at his core. There's nothing more to him. He doesn't demean himself by slinging moronic insults because that's really who he is. He's a guy with a big mouth who inherited a lot of money. He can and will say anything with a semi-straight face...the straightest face he ever gets, since he's a fundamentally unserious person...  Mittens and Rubio, whatever else you might think of them, at least aren't any of those things. So they can't really pull off the insult comic act. Not without diminishing themselves, Anyway. And really, can either of them afford that?
   Add to this that there are what seem to be at least semi-credible reports that Mittens is thinking about the candidacy himself... That alone blew it! Why is the GOP so bad at this? Isn't this the party of Lee Atwater, Karl Rove and Jim Baker? How is it that they're so good at sinister, sneaky, nefarious rhetorical and electoral shenanigans against the Dems, but so bloody bad at it against Trump? Who's brilliant idea was it to take a guy who (a) they're thinking of putting forward to depose Trump and using him to (b) take their biggest swing at Trump? If I know Trump voters--and of course I don't, because, like everybody else like me, I never meet them...but I've made up many things about them in my head, so I think I can speak with some authority here--they're driven largely by poorly-formulated conspiratorial myth-making. And this Romney thing is exactly the kind of idiocy that's going to fire them up even more. In fact, it may even show that they're right about some shit. Think about that, huh?
   Anyway, a swing and a miss by Romney. Worse. A swing and a wiff that probably non-trivially strengthened Trumpo's already-not-inconsiderable tailwind. Nice work, GOP. You guys are good for just about exactly nothing.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Donald Trump, Bullshitter

Harry Frankfurt, of course:
It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

Kaminer and McWhorter Defeat Jason Stanley And Shaun Harper In Debate at Yale Over Leftist Suppression of Speech

A victory, a most palpable victory over the Dark Side.
I don't know anything about Harper, but Stanley is badly outgunned intellectually speaking by McWhorter. And Kaminer is good too.
In general I disapprove of debates about serious issues because they encourage bullshitting. But I'm going with all's well that ends well on this one...

Bowdoin Student Government Calls For "Safe Spaces" For Students Terrified By Tequila-Themed Party, Re-education Classes For Perpetrators

Drum: Will Conservatives Do The Right Thing In November?

I mean...obviously the question Drum's really asking is: will enough conservatives do the right thing?
Here's a related question:
Will liberals do the right thing?  Hillary in particular?
By which I mean: in order to avoid a Trump presidency, and help bring out the better selves of our friends across the aisle...will Hillary run hard to the center? And will the leftier fringes of liberalism resist the urge to form a leftier third party in response? Are American liberals (or "progressives") willing to forgo their hope of rapid (and, it's start to seem, endless...) progress/"progress"? If not, then we/they aren't really in much of a position from which to criticize conservatives...
Easy for me to say...I want a largely centrist Democratic party. But even though this all aligns with my preferences, I still think it's right.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Sitting Out Super Tuesday

I decided not to vote in the primary this year. I don't vote if I'm not fairly sure about my decision, and I'm not fairly sure this time around. I have to admit that my sentiments are somewhat pro-Bernie...  Though I also tend to think that a tie should got to the female candidate, since we're like 250 years overdue in that respect. But I don't think I'd call it a tie.
Anyway, I think that voting irresponsibly or arbitrarily is worse than not voting.
So I'm sittin' this one out, looks like.

Trump: There's Nobody Who's Done So Much For Hyperbole As I Have

Does that guy ever speak of himself in anything other than superlatives?
I'm kinda sorry he didn't go the other way on this one, just because it'd be amusing to see him all like "I am the klanniest Klansman of all time...I am the most racist m***er f***er there has ever been..."

More Evidence That Bernie Fares Better Than HRC Against Likely GOP Candidates

Does Coffee Increase Lifespan?

Well, there's this...
Here's my bet:  no.
(a) My general thesis that foodish things upper-middle-class-ish folks become enamored of (red wine, olive oil, coffee) soon get declared good for you, while things they consider gauche (sugar, potatoes, soda...and diet soda fer chrissake) get declared deadly.
and also:
(b) Walter Willett

I enjoy my coffee...but I'm not buying this.
Show me the meta-studies when...if...they come out.
Yes, this is all cranky shooting from the hip about something I don't understand.
Duly noted.
So sue me.