Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SCOTUSblog: Gorsuch Round-Up

KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor: The Path To "Obama's" "Dear Colleague" Letter

I've never been sure to what extent the "Dear Colleague" debacle can be pinned on Obama...but I'll worry about that part later.

Boy Scouts Admit "Transgender" "Boys"

Ok, ok, I'm not going to rant about this. I don't even necessarily disagree with the principle, rightly construed. I'm not a big fan of homosociality. But look:
   Last year, an eight-year-old transgender Boy Scout in New Jersey was kicked out of his troop.
   “It made me mad,” the boy, Joe Maldonado, who was born a girl, told The Record newspaper in New Jersey. “I had a sad face, but I wasn’t crying. I’m way more angry than sad. My identity is a boy. If I was them, I would let every person in the world go in. It’s right to do.”
   If Joe was born a girl, then Joe is still a girl. We don't yet have the technology to change that, and Joe probably hasn't availed herself of the medical technology we do have anyway...or so we can hope. I'm down with Joe wanting to dress and act however she wants, and I'm down with the Scouts letting her in--though I'm not sure that it would be wrong for them not to.
   And "my identity is a boy" is some nonsense implanted by Joe's parents. Besides, "identity" is the new lefty jargon to blur issues they want blurred. The most important point about this use of "identity" is: "S's identity is F" does not mean S is (actually) F. Here it means, roughly: I basically think of myself as a boy. Which is cool...so long as Joe doesn't literally believe it to be actually true.
   And: "If I was them, I would let every person in the world go in." Well, the kid's eight, despite the adult brainwashing, so we don't want to make too much of this. But, of course, this would mean that the BSA should let in both girls and adults...which means...no BSA at all.
   It's the confused, creationist metaphysics that is so crazy here. We somehow make the facts by our beliefs and descriptions. Of course no one would accept this if it were made clear...but it's not made clear. Instead all of this is mixed in with what is basically a full-court press to convince/ trick/ bully people in/to just using terms like 'man,' 'woman,' 'boy', and 'girl,' differently. Language changes...but these changes are specifically chosen to confuse. If it were only a terminological issue, then we would introduce a new term that covers both boys and girls who think of themselves as boys. But 'boy' and 'girl' are chosen because the goal is to convince people that girls who think they are boys are boys--that is, juvenile males...or half-convince them, anyway:
   This is how creationist views like relativism and social constructionism often operate: almost no one is crazy enough to think that I can literally change the actual facts--like my actual physical nature--merely by using a word differently. That's how magic spells work...but not the actual world. However, everyone will see that it's a frivolous and irrational demand if it is admitted that only a linguistic change is being demanded. I doubt anyone will comply if they say: "boys are still boys and girls are still girls...but we insist that you start misusing 'boy' and 'girl' because some people like it when you misuse the terms when referring to them. We insist that you misuse simple terms...because we want you to." No...neither of those tactics is going to work. But if you slip between the horns of this dilemma, you can keep people's minds from fixing on the fact that there are two very different options in play, and both are crazy. That's how you baffle them with this particular brand of bullshit.
   I don't think this is harmless bullshit. First, because actual social questions like that of the permissibility of organizations that are limited to people of certain ages, sexes, and races should be decided without being obscured by bullshit. Second, accepting this nonsense is a step toward a general acceptance of creationist metaphysics. And that is, IMO, the worse philosophical confusion there is.

Jack Goldsmith: Yates Was Wrong

Goldsmith's arguments are reasonable, though he could, of course, be wrong about facts in some way I don't see.

[Whoa...I just realized that Lawfare Jack Goldsmith is Bush OLC Jack Goldsmith...so...uh...grain of salt?  Look how easily ad hominems come to mind... I have a non-standard view of ad hominems, though, which was first suggested to me by one of my CT students just last semester: in cases like this, the force of ad hominems never goes away (which is, I take it, what the standard view says happens): rather, those considerations are swamped / outweighed by the value / force of the arguments... ]

[But wait, there's more!:  I think ad hominems are permissible here because (as I acknowledge above) I don't know enough about law to know whether or not I'm being bamboozled here--e.g. whether something crucial is being left out. Since I have antecedent good reason to be suspicious of Goldsmith, I have reason to go to yellow alert when thinking about this argument.]

Monday, January 30, 2017

A "Radical Experiment To Fundamentally Transform...Who Is Allowed Into The Country

The L. A. Times says that Bannon and Miller are running:
   ...a radical experiment to fundamentally transform how the U.S. decides who is allowed into the country and to block a generation of people who, in their view, won’t assimilate into American society.
   The chief architects of Trump’s order, Bannon, Miller and National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn, forged strong bonds during the presidential campaign.
   The trio, who make up part of Trump’s inner circle, have a dark view of refugee and immigration flows from majority-Muslim countries, believing that if large numbers of Muslims are allowed to enter the U.S., parts of American cities will begin to replicate disaffected and disenfranchised immigrant neighborhoods in France, Germany and Belgium that have been home to perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Europe in recent years.
   Within decades, Americans would have “the kind of large and permanent domestic terror threat that becomes multidimensional and multigenerational and becomes sort of a permanent feature,” one senior administration official argued.
   “We don’t want a situation where, 20 to 30 years from now, it’s just like a given thing that on a fairly regular basis there is domestic terror strikes, stores are shut up or that airports have explosive devices planted, or people are mowed down in the street by cars and automobiles and things of that nature,” the official said.
   Counter-terrorism experts have long noted that Muslim immigrants in the U.S. are better assimilated and less likely to be radicalized than immigrants in many European cities.
This is is very, very not good. And I'm someone who's skeptical of "multiculturalism"--a can of worms that has never properly been opened and investigated in our public discussions. I have no interest in actually promoting a fragmented culture, as so much of the left does. I'm also not in favor of promoting a unified or homogeneous culture, either. I view both sides of that disagreement with grave suspicion. The point is: if we have/had good evidence that Muslims will/would  not assimilate, I am inclined to accept that as a reason for decreasing Muslim immigration. I am disinclined to think that we betray our values by refusing to cause that kind of problem for ourselves. But we'd need some damn good evidence for the non-assimilation prediction.
   Though, contra the Times's suggestion, it isn't very helpful to note that Europe has a bigger problem. What we need to know is whether we do or will have a problem here. And I don't know the answer to that question.
   However... Here's a thing about the contemporary GOP: they tell you you're buying conservatism, but what you're commonly going to get is radicals.

Jonathan Adler On The "Protecting The Nation" Order

This is interesting:
A few quick observations. First, the statement seems to indicate that the executive order was reviewed by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which apparently concluded that the executive order was lawful. Second, Yates does not claim that she cannot defend the executive order because it is unconstitutional or because the Justice Department would be unable to offer good-faith arguments in defense of its legality. To the contrary, Yates claims she is ordering the Justice Department not to defend the executive order because it is not “wise or just.” This is quite significant. I am not aware of any instance in which the Justice Department has refused to defend a presumptively lawful executive action on this basis.
If Adler is right about that, this seems to indicate that Yates is, at least in a significant sense, in the wrong. He also claims that she should have resigned and then explained her reasons for doing so, as per Richardson and Ruckleshaus and the Saturday Night Massacre.

Trump Fires Acting Attorney General Yates

Ten days in, and it's already chaos.
   Since I don't know the law, I don't know whether this is a case of the acting AG politicizing the situation or Trump being a lunatic...but...I do have a guess...
   And, of course, there's the typical sleazy, petulant, Trump twitter-tantrum about her having "betrayed" the DoJ...that's not making Trump look any saner, I have to say.
   Jesus Christ this is going to be bad.

Jonathan Turley vs. Person Illustrating How Not To Argue Against Trump's Travel Ban

Note to The Raw Story: Turley made it extremely clear that he was not "defending Trump's ban." He just doesn't think it's illegal.

What Explains The List Of Countries In Trump's "Protecting The Nation" Executive Order?

There must be some rationale...

Charles Stross, Proving That, Even Given How Crazy Trump Is, It's Still Possible To Over-React

   Must be spending too much time on Metafilter.
   So I'm going to go way out on a limb here and make a prediction: Trump is not going to go after Jews.
   Jeez get a grip. Dude is bugshit. It's not even possible to properly complain about all the nutty things he's actually done or might actually do. But even in this target-rich environment, lefties can't resist the urge to pretend that he's crazier than he actually is. It's like no actual righty is as crazy as the left wants him to be.
   Trump is plenty crazy for me. I feel no urge to pretend that he's worse than he is. In fact, I'm kinda trying to convince myself that he's not as bad as I think he is, because it's freaking me out.

   (None of which alters the fact that I think The Atrocity Archive kicks all kinds of ass, and I've read it like four times. I read every Laundry novel as soon as it's available. Even the last one, the one that (a) didn't have Bob in it, but (b) did have some gratuitous social justicing.)

   And et, tu, Drum?
   Y'all better pace yourself or it's gonna be a long four years (or nine months*).

(*I'm sticking with my prediction of: ragequit before November, probably in order to avoid impeachment.)

Amateur Hour Of The Damned: Steve Bannon / NSC Edition

I don't know anything about national security, but I did stay at that hotel of yours in D.C. last night

Trump's Travel Ban Hits The Fan

One week in and it's been a week of non-stop crazy.
I don't see how this is sustainable...but I have no idea what to expect really.

   The one thing I'm pretty sure of is something I've been saying all along: Trump will flame out spectacularly, and then there will be a monstrous backlash from the left that will make even the few things Trump manages to be right about worse. For example, buried deep down in this travel ban idiocy is the point that there is a particular problem with Islam, and we ought to be honest about that fact. The left, of course, has a tendency to deny that and argue that anyone who doesn't deny it is a bigot (probably a racist, their go-to type of bigotry). But this ban seems like a catastrophically stupid and misdirected, random, largely symbolic over-reaction to the problem (and no one seems to be able to make a case otherwise). I expect it to make it even more politically incorrect to honestly discuss the Islam problem. Also it's spectacularly un-American, as Old Gringo pointed out.
   Jesus. Trump has no earthly clue what he's doing.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Key Reason American Students Do Poorly

   I don't know enough about it to deserve much of an opinion here, but this is basically what I'm inclined to think. If I had to do or die in improving American primary and secondary education, I'd get rid of ed schools and ed majors. There are some programs that basically everyone on every campus knows are lame, and education is one of them. This is no knock on teachers--I always say that most students are made or broken before we ever get a hold of them. I wouldn't want their jobs, and I know I couldn't hack it. However...I don't see how ed schools do much beyond rent-seeking. Teachers should get actual degrees in what they're going to teach, and ed majors should evaporate. Perhaps there could be a minor or something, but I suspect even that isn't necessary. OTOH, school seems to be largely for baby-sitting...so...that's a wrinkle...
   One of my first majors was education...but my friend Bob beat me to it, so, by the time he'd finished his first semester, he was waving me off with horror stories about how terrible, easy and worthless his ed courses were. Though I declared a major, I don't think I ever took a single class. My adviser told me that I couldn't take history of science, philosophy of science, and Constitutional law because I had to take, like, Introduction to Bulletin Boards or something. I quit that major, walked outside the building, and said out loud: "I don't know what I'm gonna do, but I'm not gonna do that."

Heather MacDonald On Black Lives Matter: Does The Truth Matter?

   Yeah, it's downright bizarre that these numbers and arguments are still basically just not part of our public discussion of these matters. The arguments aren't conclusive of course, but they are pretty damn strong. It's lunacy that they are so rarely mentioned in mainstream discussions of police violence, BLM, etc.

[Also...y'know...I make fun of "Praeger University" and all...but I've actually seen some pretty good stuff from them.]

Heather MacDonald: Why Johnny's Teacher Can't Teach

This is horrifying.
A lot of it rings true, though I'm not going to fly off of the handle until I've read some more stuff on this. Though, honestly, even if it's true it's the kind of thing that doesn't get reported on much.

How The P.C. (Thought) Police Propelled Donald Trump

I say this is right.
   Though I'd probably add: I don't think that it's just opposition to the language-and-thought-policing that's so central to political correctness. Rather, I think it's also opposition to the whole crazy package, of which language and thought policing are only two (prominent) aspects. PC, being bound up with the postpostmodern mishmash, is also bound to crazy modes of reasoning, e.g. the hermeneutics of suspicion, the method of free association and the political criterion of theory choice. Add to this the crazy demeanor of so many PC protesters, and you get a big ol' crazy package of crazy, in which obviously crazy people are shrieking obviously crazy things in order to try to bully / shame the rest of us into believing obviously crazy things. They're basically cultists who are, unlike most cultists, tolerated by society.

Judge Stays Trump Refugee Ban

good, right?
   Perhaps a case for some kind of similar action can be justified if, say, intelligence agencies have information indicating that terrorists are likely to try to get into the U.S. from certain countries, that the current screening process or some achievable upgrade of it is inadequate to be likely to catch them, or whatever.
   But, again, I think Trump's got to bear a heavy burden of proof in this case. And, of course, he hasn't done so.
   This isn't Europe. Europe faces a massive, largely-unregulated wave of immigration. That's a problem. We're talking about a relatively few carefully-screened refugees.
   As for the preference for Christian refugees with respect to Syria: this only seems justified if it follows from general principles applicable to everyone, e.g. if Syrian Christians face unusual levels of oppression and violence, and if that generally triggers some sort of preference with respect to refugee status. As for whether or not this is a "Muslim ban": if, say, the seven countries in question are the ones identified by the intelligence community as most dangerous in the relevant ways, then not necessarily. If the group was gerrymandered and the guiding idea was to ban Muslims without admitting it, then yeah, of course. And that can't be defended. As for whether we can treat a specific religion differently than others, e.g. because its members are more violence-prone: I'm not sure. I'm inclined to say: the screening process is the screening process. If more members of religion A fail than members of religion B, then so be it. But on the face of it I don't see that it would be permissible to have two different screening processes. OTOH, I can see someone arguing: if we know that members of group X are likely to be a problem and members of group Y are not, and if the more effective screening process is very arduous or expensive, then it's foolish to apply it to both groups. So I suppose I don't know.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Carolina 62 - Miami 77

Miami was good, we were bad, and that's that.
Congratulations to Larranaga and his boys on a good game plan, well executed.

Maher Slams Liberals For Being Too PC (Not Funny...But True) (Also: NSFW)

Carolina 91 - VA Tech 72

That was a whuppin'.
And Pinson looked fantastic...until he didn't. There are some pretty dark rumors floating around about his injury.
Here's hoping for the best.

Trump Stops Admission of All Refugees For 120 Days, Stops From Syria Indefinitely, Gives Priority to Christians (??!)

Holy crap, the mind reels:
President Trump on Friday closed the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, ordering that families fleeing the slaughter in Syria be indefinitely blocked from entering the United States, and temporarily suspending immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries. 
In an executive order that he said was part of an extreme vetting plan to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists,” Mr. Trump also established a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations: He ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims.
   Because of my own particular kind of screwiness, I've got to start off by saying: I don't want to be a part of knee-jerk, bleeding-heart liberal wailing about this. Islam has a violence/terrorism problem, Muslim immigrants in Europe have often failed to assimilate (though that has been much less of a problem here--perhaps no problem to speak of, for all I know), and there are reasonable grounds for subjecting Muslim immigrants from certain countries to more severe scrutiny. I don't like it, and I'm not sure it's the right course of action, but it isn't inherently bigoted, obviously evil, nor undeniably irrational. It is, so far as I can tell, warranted (at least in the sense of made permissible by) the available evidence. Or: the evidence available to an average person like me, and after a fair amount of honest thinking about the matter.
   Whether it's legal, I haven't the foggiest idea.
   Needless to say, some of the usual suspects, including the (formerly-extremely-admirable) ACLU, contend that this can only be anti-Muslim bigotry. Because, y'know, Zoroastrians are out there blowing people up at the exact same rate as Muslims. Also Rastafarians.
   Isn't this roughly the situation we face?: Islam apparently has certain problems, and these problems are worse in certain countries. Conservatives tend to look at this situation and urge caution with respect to certain policies. Liberals/progressives tend to argue that the problems are largely illusory, and they only seem salient because of bigotry, so no special caution is required. Conservatives think that liberals are stupid for believing what they believe about this (though I think the better criticism would be: they allow a theory to blind them to evidence), and, of course, liberals think that conservatives are evil for believing what they believe about this. 
   I have some inclination to see both sides, and to think that the facts leave open a fairly wide range of options, including both the preferred liberal and preferred conservative courses of action...
   Buuuut...what the hell is this business about giving priority to Christians???? That seems to give fairly clear confirmation (though, of course, not conclusive proof...which is the wrong standard, though) to the left's bigotry hypothesis. Are there any grounds for this kind of preference? Some general principle about prioritizing in-danger minorities? And do Syrian Christians meet the relevant criteria? I'm way damn skeptical. This seems to me to be the aspect of the thing that makes the left's bigotry hypothesis--and God do those people only know one tune?--plausible in this case. 
   So, though the facts seem to make extra scrutiny of certain groups of Muslims reasonable, therefore not necessarily bigoted...as is so often the case, there is also reason to believe that bigotry may, in fact, be part of the picture. 
   My own inclination is to err on the side of helping refugees. This is part of the reason I'm concerned about massive illegal immigration. We're already overpopulated (despite what some argue), and we are simply not going to address the birth rate. So, in my view, we have to watch how many people we let into the country. The more illegal immigrants we allow to pour in, the more we have to think about throttling back on refugees and other legal immigrants. 
   Anyway. We already apparently have a fairly extensive "vetting" mechanism in place. And I think we have an imperfect duty to accept refugees from violence and oppression. And it's not as if the Syrians have not suffered enough. I'm not especially well-informed about all this, but I'm just not in favor of this executive order. I think an action like Trump's must carry a fairly heavy burden of proof to be justified, and I just don't see it. OTOH, I really don't have much reason to think that our current system is adequate, I guess...
   Also OTOH, a lot of Americans are justifiably concerned about accepting these refugees. 120 days may be a small price to pay in order to give those fears due weight. Not that I think a Trump administration can be trusted to be rational...but if we could come out on the other side of this with good evidence that there's a reliable vetting process in place, and the justified fears of conservatives could be assuaged...that might very well be worth the price. 
   But...this reminds me of me trying to be reasonable during the lead-up to Gulf War Episode II: The Phantom Menace...  Well, maybe this, and if you look at it that way then maybe they're not as unreasonable as they seem, and perhaps.... And we see how all that turned out.
   I'm not necessarily against the U.S. saying: look, we have to treat this special case as a special case. We're going to look at it for four months, but as soon as possible we're going to get back to trying to help out people who deserve our help. But I don't have much confidence that that's what's going to happen. And tacking that damn thing about Christians on to all of this...at the very best, it looks very bad.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Berlin Wall Analogy: Mayor of Berlin Edition

This may very well be the dumbest analogy I've ever encountered.
   It's all over on the left.
   There is no significant analogy between a border fence with Mexico and the goddamn Berlin Wall. The main function of the Berlin Wall was to keep East Berliners in. It's purpose was to imprison Soviet citizens. The purpose of a border fence isn't really even to keep people out--it's to force them to enter the country legally.
   "Progressives" who are pushing this line are either (a) dumb or (b) dishonest. Inclusive 'or.'
   And we already have long sections of border fence. And if it's permissible to have an immigration policy at all, then it's permissible to use reasonable force (including barriers) to enforce them.
   But IMO that's the real problem: many on the progressive favor open borders...

Trump Allegedly Pressures Park Service To Find Support For His Assertions About Inauguration Crowd Size

And there's this explanation of his actions from li'l Huck:
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the call simply demonstrated that Trump’s management style is to be “so accessible, and constantly in touch.”
“He’s not somebody who sits around and waits. He takes action and gets things done,” Sanders said. “That’s one of the reasons that he is president today, and Hillary Clinton isn’t.”
Question: Did Trump try to coerce a government agency into supporting his delusions/lies about God knows what?
Answer: Supreme President Trump is a man of action! He's on call 24/7/365! He's a things-done getter! That's why he's emperor and Obama and the rest of those losers have to do what he says!
   Donald Trump is president of the United States. This is like Jim Cramer getting the Nobel Prize for economics...or finding out that L. Ron Hubbard is the messiah.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump's First 5 Days: 36% Approval

Pretty charitable if you ask me

Bernstein: Some Republicans Questioning Trump's Emotional Maturity and Stability

Uh...this really can't be treated as news...but I suppose it's, in a weird way, comforting to hear it. Every sensible person in the world is questioning Trump's stability.
We don't need to be told that Republicans are doing it. I have no doubt whatsoever that the GOP is crapping its pants. They have to be. Every sane Republican basically has all the same worries we do...plus the worry that Trump is going to sink the GOP for decades.
The only question is: what took the GOP so long?
It's been obvious that the guy is unhinged for quite some time.
They should have freaked out long ago and torpedoed the guy in the primaries.

Trump Does Not "Call Mexico's Bluff"...CNN Gets Very Confused

The headline on CNN's homepage says "Trump Calls Mexico's Bluff." The title on the story page is: "Trump To Mexican President: Better To Cancel Our Meeting." The story contains nothing about anyone calling anyone's bluff...though Trump says it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting if Mexico won't pay for the wall. If there's a bluff here, it's Trump's, not Pena Nieto's...and the the story explicitly quote the latter not calling the possible bluff, but rather trying to talk sense about the matter.
   CNN is pretty much crap, of course, but they do this sort of thing all the time: put up a sensationalist headline on their home page, then put a more sensible one on the story, then change the one on the home page after awhile. Scummy.
   This is all trivia, of course, compared to the fact that the President of the United States is nuts...but, then, you can only say that so many times...
   OTOH, weirdly, it just occurred to me: though the idea that there is any chance that Mexico is going to pay for this thing has always been laughable...it's not really all that crazy to think that they ought to pay for it, is it? Or anyway, pay for some more sensible aspect of our border enforcement... I mean, they're not exactly taking care of business on their end of things... Though...uh...you shouldn't generally stop people who are trying to leave your country...unlike Trump's wall, that is Berlin-Wall/USSR-esque...so...scratch that thought.
   Anyway: who has ever been so clueless as to believe that there's a snowball's chance in hell that Mexico's going to pay? Trump maybe. He seems to be used to people doing whatever he tells them. This is a great opportunity to make the guy flip his shit. I kind of hope Mexico starts farbling the hell out of him over this. OTOH, Trump's Mexico-will-pay delusion might simply morph into a way of deflecting criticism of the cost of building the damn thing--oh, don't worry, Mexico'll eventually pick up the tab... It's absurd...but if your supporters want to believe, all you gotta do is say the words...
   Another minor point: Pena Nieto seems to commit the Berlin Wall fallacy when he says "Mexico does not believe in walls." Bullshit, dude. If Mexico has any policies limiting who can immigrate, then they "believe in walls" in the relevant sense. And if you're ever physically channeled e.g. through Customs at Mexican airports, then Mexico believes in literal walls, too, of the relevant kind.
   Trump's a moron, but I'm really sick of the pretense that there is some significant similarity between U.S. immigration regulations and Soviet totalitarianism.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Republican Lysenkoism: EPA Edition

Metaphorically speaking, this means war.

Trumpsenkoism: EPA Studies Must Undergo Political Review Before Release

Voter Fraud Investigation: We Call Trump's Bluff, He Calls Ours

This is crazy.
   So Trump starts with the voter-fraud-by-illegals-cost-me-the-popular-vote nonsense.
   Our side responds: there's no reason at all to believe that.
   He don't need no stinkin' evidence...
   Our side refuses to continue mincing words and starts calling a falsehood a falsehood...a lie a lie.
   Turns out he don't care 'bout no stinkin' facts neither.
   OK, people start saying: if you believe that, then we need a massive, expensive investigation.
   This is the point at which a sane liar backs down... But not Trump. Oh no. He's willing to ride this horse til the bitter end, apparently. He's apparently willing to expend millions of dollars of the taxpayer's money rather than admitting than he's full of shit.
   He's also willing to derail his...man I can't believe I have to type this of Trump...presidency...on week 1 rather than facing the fact that he's just plain making shit up.
   This next nine months is gonna be really, really ugly.*

*My prediction re: how long he stays in office. My metaphorical money* is on ragequit before impeachment...but the latter is a real option. Then of course there's: impeached but refuses to peacefully relinquish the office...

*Incidentally, people who people actually listen to ought to have to put actual money on their assertions/predictions. There'd be a lot less cocksure BS all over the place... But I don't fall into that group, so Imma just say whatever.

Many Trump Voters Are Willing To Say That Less Is More

  On the bright side, the pix are a teensy tiny bit unclear (the trees could possibly be mistaken for part of the crowd in the 2016 pic) and there's no doubt that way fewer people believe it than said it.
   But there's no way around the fact that this is depressing as hell.
(h/t cb)

Trump, The Border Wall, Sanctuary Cities, Etc.

   I don't see how anyone can deny that illegal immigration is a problem. "Progressivism" (by which I mean: that part of the American left that has moved roughly left of liberalism, but may not quite have gone full-on PC) seems to reject that proposition. I've long maintained that progressives are largely committed to open borders. And also that open borders would be catastrophic. I tend to be in favor of significant foreign aid, and a fairly liberal orientation toward political asylum. But open borders means the end of the U.S. Perhaps we should allow more legal immigration--I'm not immovably against that, though I do think we have a population problem. That's a controversial point, but I've long been sympathetic to more risk-averse views about population and the environment, and favor working toward building down the population. So that's a factor. (I'd rather get our own birth rate down some...) Nevertheless, those are more controversial positions, and I'm not certain enough about them to oppose increased legal immigration on the basis of them. But mass illegal immigration is right out.
   Of course Obama was already taking what seemed to me to be basically the right steps--though I have some inclination to favor more economic aid and more border-patrol agents.
   So what about the Trump plan (if it's a plan)? My inclination is to think:
1. Walls/fences
Whether or not we should build a fence is largely a question of cost-effectiveness. Both Trump and the Dems have turned this into a symbolic issue. As is so often the case, the left is nuttier about this than the right. The right is right: illegal immigration is more of a problem than the left thinks, and there's nothing wrong with border walls/fences if they are cost-effective. The left is nuts when it tries to analogize these to the Berlin Wall, and to suggest that walls per se are evil...or whatever the hell it is that they are trying to suggest. Though the right is also nuts about this: "the wall" has become symbolic for them as well; effectiveness rarely gets discussed over there.
I have to admit, it's just really hard for me to see how you can oppose DACA. The children are blameless. I really just can't see the other side on this one.
3. Sanctuary Cities
Local control has advantages, but I think you have to draw the line at immigration policy. I'm inclined to think that withholding federal aid from "sanctuary cities" is a good idea. The left's advocacy for things like sanctuary cities is one of the things that I think most clearly indicates their (somewhat covert) open-borders-...uh...ism? The idea seems to be: where we have control, we refuse to enforce immigration laws. There's little if any difference between we should not enforce immigration laws and we should have open borders.
4. Mass deportations
Not even worth talking about. Stick with Obama's policies in this respect. (And no, I absolutely don't count that as mass deportation.)
   In general I'm inclined to think: focus on the future. Eleven million illegals is bad, but probably not terrible. Many have been here a long time and are de facto Americans. Put our efforts into mitigating the problem in the future rather than trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
   My $0.02. Just thinking out loud, as usual.

CNN Hammers Trump Inauguration Crowd Lies

   I've been kinda laying kinda low, news-wise, since the election, but JQ and I watched a little CNN with supper tonight...and...wow...I was pretty surprised at how relentlessly they were hammering Trump on the inauguration crowd lies. I mean, it's almost all they talked about. I guess I think they're within the bounds of reason...dude is downright pathological. But I was surprised. Given what we already know about him, it is a very bad sign that he's right out of the gate with this kind of craziness. But...given that guy's psychology...and his alleged news obsession...I wonder how much of this he can take. Is he gonna freak out and, like, take out Liechtenstein or something to blow of stem?
   Also, Fox News continues to be a kind of parallel universe. A very angry parallel universe. With extra makeup.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Protesters Follow Pat McCrory Around Shrieking Game Of Thrones Lines At Him

These people are obviously nuts.
Is this legal? Can you really follow someone all over the place shrieking at him? He should at least be legally permitted to punch them, I say. [I looked right over the bit about the cops shooing them away...so I guess the answer is no...]
Perhaps the bathroom bill was a mistake, perhaps not...I still think it's a rather tough call. But either way, this sort of thing is crazy.

Rape Crisis Hysteria / Title IX Follies: Poorly-Timed Touch Edition

   The Reason story links to the longer version, but I thought the shorter version covered the case pretty well.

Conway, "Alternative Facts," and "The Reality-Based Community"

   I've been meaning to offer a defense of Kellyanne Conway's assertion about "alternative facts," but I'm not all that eager to do it, so I've been putting it off. Then I read someone making an effort to make the point, so I'll do it too: there's a decent chance that Conway meant something like "alternative evidence" not "alternative facts." Or if she did mean "alternative facts," she almost certainly didn't mean that the Trump team lives in one world and everyone else lives in a different one. More charitable is something like: you think that a, b, and c are the facts; we think that x, y and z are the facts
   Now, Conway and the Trump folks are still full of shit. They're lying or they're being wildly epistemically irresponsible, or they're delusional. But it's unlikely that they're offering up an alternative metaphysics in order to defend their claim about the size of the crowd at inauguration. (Though, for the record: one way people end up with dumb philosophical views is that they do grab whichever philosophical view sounds like it might be handy for defending some much more particular view they want to defend. This ad hoc philosophizing commonly leads to disaster at the theoretical level...but most people don't care about that. If, e.g., accepting cultural moral relativism is a handy way to defuse criticism of, say, female genital mutilation...then by God lots of people are all too happy to become cultural moral relativists...)
   This all reminds me of a dust-up of yore, when (allegedly) Rove was quoted like so:
The aide (Rove?) said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
   We all had a good laugh and felt superior, and not without some justification... It's a dumb way to put things and it's confused almost no matter how you read it. But, as I've noted before, there's an obvious and more charitable interpretation of what Rove is saying. He seems to be fumbling to say something like:
You all want to sit around and think about things forever like the eggheads you are. And you think that solutions and change will emerge from that...in the fullness of time. We think that it's a time for action. While you're still arguing about how many angels can dance on the edge of the UN Charter, we're changing the world, for the better.
Anyway, he probably didn't mean to commit himself to screwy metaphysics. Though, given the Bush administration's seeming disdain for facts, I'm inclined to think that they don't deserve the benefit of the doubt, ridicule-wise. They weren't relativists, but they were radically epistemically irresponsible. 
   So it's basically the same deal with Trump, Conway, and company, I think. They're liars and epistemic cheats, and they deserve to be ridiculed for that. She said something that would be relativistic if she meant it exactly...but she didn't mean it exactly. She meant a different dumb thing. So they deserve ridicule...but probably not for holding a crazy metaphysics. 
   In fact, for the record, it's the far left (and, increasingly, sadly, the not-so-far left) that tends to hold that kind of crazy philosophical view. The right is more likely to just refuse to accept the evidence, or to muddy the waters, or to be selectively skeptical. Those are all bad things, but they're different bad things. They're rather more ground-level, rather less philosophically/theoretically bad things. The right is, in this respect, simple. It's more likely to just be straight-up dogmatic. It's the left that tends to slip into relativism when convenient, arguing (ad hoc) that thinking so makes it so, that we live in different worlds, that even the most horrific acts can somehow become right...if enough people do them. And so on. It remains to be seen whether that form of madness will ultimately cause more real harm than the simper kind preferred by the right...but I rather doubt that it will. At the theoretical level, however, relativism is worse. And if people did actually believe it, it would be disastrous, a kind of insanity. But people don't really believe it. They just trot it out as a rhetorical tactic to win debates. And: as a psychological mantra that helps defuse cognitive dissonance. 
   Anyway, I think I've done more than my share of defending Trump from unfair attacks. I've done my duty. And I don't have all that much sympathy for the devil. So don't expect a ton more of it. 
   Anyway, my $0.02, FWIW.

More Grayson Allen Assholery

I'm not posting about every one of Allen's incidents...but here's another one.
   As in the incident in the Louisville game, Allen pretends to "get tangled up" with another player, then uses that as an opportunity to execute one of his covert assaults. Many then pretend, right along with him, that it was just an accident that got out of hand, that he's no more prone to this than any other player, but his actions are all being scrutinized, and all that nonsense.
   No reason to harp on this. Roy would have benched him long ago, of course.

Plutocracy In America: Trump's Cabinet Edition

   Yeah this is gonna go great.
   I expect it would be pretty difficult to pick people who understand America less than the preposterously rich do. I dunno...I guess if you picked someone who'd been raised in a religious cult and home-schooled that would be worse. Yeah. Obviously. That would be worse. Other than that though...  I guess if the cabinet were made up entirely of people from, say, Oceania or something. Or the Mount Holyoke gender studies department. Those might be worse.
   Well, there's really no reason to go on and on about this. Words fail me.

Trump's Fantastical Magical Mystery World Of Alternate Facts: 5 Million Illegal Ballots Edition

H-h-h-hey, kids!
Make-believe is fun!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump Wanted To Go All Old-School Soviet Victory Day Parade With The Inauguration (?)

Well...it's the HuffPo...so...take it with a shit-ton of NaCl...
(And, whatever you do, don't watch the unrelated video at the top of that page... Just trust me on this.)
Allegedly he wanted tanks and missiles rolling down Constitution Avenue...

This is all really surreal and depressing...but, OTOH, it also sounds like an excuse for a NORTH KOREAN PEOPLE'S ARMY FUNKY GET-DOWN JUCHE PARTYwooooooooooooo!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lefty Dude Hits Female Conservative Reporter In The Face For Recording Women's March In Canada; Predict How The Lefty Women Respond

   You gotta kind of just skip through this for the actual footage...and ignore her use of terms like 'beta' and 'cuck'...Jesus...is the right starting to close the idiotic terminology gap with the left? I mean...who talks like that, seriously?
   But that stuff aside...the video is really appalling--as much for the protesters' reaction as for the guy punching the woman in the face. Imagine the pandemonium if a conservative male had hit a lefty female. Imagine the headlines in the major media. In this case, however, the lefties immediately get down to some good old fashioned victim-blaming...and you know this is not going to show up on CNN or in the NYT...
   Seriously--at some point people are going to have to admit that, though there are more allegations of recent political violence going right-to-left, it sure seems like we've got a lot more verified, videotaped violence going left-to-right.

(h/t J. Carthensis)

Schumer Ready To Leave SCOTUS Seat Open

There's nothing sacrosanct about nine justices.
I'd be tempted to to say: no one gets considered until Merrick Garland gets considered. You want to go four years with eight justices, that's fine. We'll let the Democratic President and Democratic Senate that will be swept into office with a massive, angry mandate four years from now decide.
Your choice.
The GOP really did screw us with respect to Garland. By all accounts, he's a genuine centrist.

The Open Borders Left, or: I Hate Being Right All The Time

So here's a thing from the Women's March "Unity Principles":
Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.
Anyway: I've thought for a long time that it is more and more common for the American left to tacitly endorse open borders. And I don't see any way to read that last sentence that doesn't seem to offer confirmation of my view.

Women's March: Mission and Vision / Guiding Principles

If I had to choose between Trump and this stuff...
Well...fortunately they're not the only two options.

Kellyanne Conway: Administration's Falsehoods Are "Alternative Facts"

This probably sounds insane to you-all in the reality-based community...but...uh...

   Incidentally, I do wish that the press would get this annoyed when the disdain for facts comes from the PC left. But I guess that's really not going to happen. 

Friday, January 20, 2017



America: Now We Officially Suck

Nice work, everybody

Phones In Class: Here's a First

So I don't allow students to use phones, laptops, etc. in my classes except in special circumstances by special arrangement. I make this very clear in the syllabus, and on the first day of class. I've already had to tell one student to put her phone away--at least she waited until the second day of class to whip it out...
   Today, I'm doing the Venn diagrams thing. Student asks a question--actually a pretty good question. I start explaining, draw something on the board (which takes about 20-30 seconds), turn around...and I'll be damned if the student--THE VERY STUDENT WHO ASKED THE QUESTION I WAS JUST ANSWERING--is not on his phone.
   I know the Trumpocalypse is nigh, and this is the most frivolous of complaints, but it's keeping my mind off of the impending reductio of my country...so...there's that...

Inauguration Day

America reduced to absurdity

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Firearm "Silencers": Actually Not That Bad?

   I was pretty much against loosening up restrictions on suppressors...but...maybe I was wrong.

Marquette Students Required To Attend "Social Justice" Workshops

Needless to say, objecting to indoctrination is itself thoughtcrime

Trumpacalypse Watch Level: Four Horsemen

Yeah, we're screwed.
(image/idea from here of course)

Story About The Author Of The "Clinton Ballot Box" Fake News Story

"Lies" is a somewhat more accurate term than 'fake news'...but whatever. 
Dude just flat-out made it all up, apparently from some mixture of pro-Trump sentiments and greed.
He seems afflicted by little or no remorse.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Trump's Hero Is...Trump?

Cannot parse.
   Imagine someone who, when it is time for them to do something, runs around half-performing a lot of actions, some of which are tenuously related to what he's supposed to do, some of which are almost entirely unrelated...and only occasionally, finally, sort of doing what's supposed to be done. 
   Yeah, that's how Trump would act if he acted like he talks.
   Though I'll give him the point that hero is a somewhat odd concept. In some moods I'm not sure how to answer that question.

Obama Commutes Sentence of Chelsea Manning

Jeez, can anyone just tell me whether this is the right thing to do or not? 
   It's embarrassing how bad my grasp is of the Manning and Snowden cases. You know how there are just some issues that slip through your fingers and you never quite make a sufficient effort to run them down? (Well...that's me for a lot of issues...but...anyway...) I wish someone would just tell me the answer here. Or at least point me to some of the better things to read. I'm generally sympathetic to whistle-blowers, but have never been inclined to put either Snowden or Manning into that category. My badly-justified conclusion in both cases has tended to be: pretty much guilty. Also, I've forgotten most of what I did once know about these cases.
   (I've also heard it suggested that there is another issue in play: that the government doesn't want to have to deal with the question of a "sex change" for Manning. That doesn't seem like a terribly difficult issue to me, but I'm obviously out of step with the current consensus of the left in this respect. Also, I can't imagine that such a consideration could trump considerations of justice.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Trump vs. John Lewis

   I've got a kind of reverence for old-school civil rights veterans like Lewis, so I probably can't be objective about this. I don't always agree with him, but that's not of any importance to me. Trump, of course, is a contemptible idiot and ignoramus, a quasi-rapist, unfit for the office of the Presidency--in fact, seemingly unqualified for any important position. He has, so far as I can tell, never accomplished anything valuable. Lewis is his better. Trump seems to be utterly ignorant of their relative positions in the Great Chain of Being.
   But even all that aside, only a lackwit of monumental proportions would suggest that Lewis is "all talk, no action." That he is demonstrably not. That he is not is a matter of historical record. It's not that I find it insulting to Lewis; Trump is too far beneath Lewis for his opinion to matter. It's the loathsome ignorance and absurdity of the falsehood that repulses me. It's like watching someone scream vulgar obscenities; it's a revolting sight in and of itself. Trump, like the obscenity-screamer, is demeaning himself. Lewis is immune, above it. What appalls me is that such an ignominious buffoon is about to be President.

George Will Reflects On The Sokal Hoax

Will writes:
Twenty years on, one lesson of Sokal’s hoax is that many educators are uneducable. Another is that although wonderful sendups have been written about academia...it now might be beyond satire.
Not to put too fine a point on it, I'd say: the most important lesson is that a mishmash of stupid theories has taken over many of the humanities and some of the social sciences. As usual, the culture (only) seems to absorb the worst ideas produced by the humanities, and the aforementioned mishmash has, sadly, influenced middlebrow culture. Members of the chattering class tend to have humanities backgrounds, and like to seem familiar with what's fashionable in the academy, and so they tend to speak the mishmash. Worse, the bad theory is bound up inextricably with extremist left-wing identity politics. Worst of all, that theory is bound up with a catastrophically bad theory of reasoning. That theory is the kind of theory you might expect to be favored by interpretive, non-empirical disciplines: it basically holds that you grab whatever conclusion strikes your fancy, and then you free associate, riffing on trendy ideas, until you can pretend that you've offered an argument for the conclusion you wanted all along. And (see above) these conclusions are almost always of a kind favored by far-left identity politics.
   People have long thought that the humanities are full of shit. But, for the last thirty years of so, the humanities have been full of shit--or largely full of it, anyway. And unsurprisingly, it's affected our public discussions and decisions. The thing about all this is that it doesn't just yield one or two bad conclusions. When you have adopted a defective method of reasoning, the error spreads far and wide, permeating almost everything you think. And that's a very bad thing indeed.

Monday, January 16, 2017

White Nationalists Losing Faith In Trump?

Good? I guess? Or...bad? I don't know.
Is this evidence that Trump is less bad than I thought? Or is the alt-right worse than I thought it was? (I'm back to being unsure who-all is calling themselves alt-right, actually... Does Milo categorize himself as alt-right? Or are they all Richard Spencer types?)
Anyway, that was fast. Also, it's difficult to believe that there's a group out there that Trump is not a big enough jackass for.

Carolina 85 - Syracuse 68...and Roy Hits #800!

Congrats to coach Williams. He's one of a kind.

Open Borders And The Decline And Fall Of America

And this is what an advocate of open borders thinks.


Warrants a bit of reflection, I say.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trendy Rye Bread?: A Prediction

This is not of interest to me, except insofar as it is a wee opportunity to put the screws to one of my pet theories. I predict: If this rye thing turns into a full-blown fad, then we'll start seeing studies that conclude that rye is good for you. If this is because of lower gluten, it doesn't count as much, because that's already apparently known, and also stated in the article. Also isn't the gluten fad fading? Hmm...  Well...if there's a rye fad and it revives the gluten fad, then that would be confirmation, no?
   Anyway, this is stupid and boring but whatever.

Apparently Supporting FIRE Is Now Considered "A Troubling Signal" / "Red Flag" By Some On The Left

whelp, here we go.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Carolina 96 - FSU 83

Without Tony Bradley, against that monster front line, to boot!
Luke Maye, who gave up lots of height to the FSU front court: 15 rebounds.
Theo thows it down.
Nice work Heels!
Good game Seminoles!

Why People Hate Lefties Illustrated: Liberal Tears Episode

Friday, January 13, 2017

Did Comey Decide Who The Next President Would Be?

Kinda looks that way...though after the polling debacles, I'm more skeptical about such pronouncements.
   Regardless of the actual effects, I think it's fairly clear that Comey's decision to comment publicly was a terrible one. Risking having that kind of effect is what's wrong--even if you happen to get lucky and not have that effect, it's wrong to risk it. Sadly, in this case, it seems like we're going to suffer the consequences, too.

Judge Jose Cabranes: If Colleges Keep Killing Academic Freedom, Civilization Will Die, Too

   We need to keep trying to get this point across.
   It's liberals who need to hear it--they're the ones who are seduced by the illiberal left, and who constitute its main source of influence. The illiberal/PC left probably isn't powerful enough to do the kind of damage it's doing on its own; if liberals stopped supporting/defending it, its power would be greatly diminished.
   OTOH, PC fades into liberalism...perhaps the middle-ground between the two is what "progressivism" is supposed to be. So the problem is, perhaps, not so much that good reason-and-freedom-loving liberals have just been fooled by the illiberal left... It is (I actually suspect) that a lot of liberals/progressives aren't really liberals--or not the freedom-and-reason-loving kind, if you prefer. They haven't been fooled...they actually agree that, e.g., disagreement with certain theories on the left is violence and is therefore impermissible. They, in general, care less about freedom of thought and expression and more about feelings of "offense."
   Cue articles in Salon and Slate arguing that PC doesn't exist/ is just good manners/ is what conservatives attack when they're mad because they can't drop n-bombs at well/ etc. etc...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Claim that Russia Compromised Donald Trump Corroborated By Eastern European Spy?

Transgender Madness Spreads: Economist Edition

If the Economist is infected by the madness, does any hope remain?
   I used to think that The Economist was at least immune from the most patently fallacious reasoning...but here they demonstrate that that's not the case. In this post, they even exhibit the liberal penchant for believing that only bald-faced bigotry can explain thinking that men should use the men's room and women should use the women's... The tall tale about "gender identity" and all the rest is so patently obvious that the only explanation for doubting it is: evil.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Politifact Shows Its Bias: Sessions On (Illegal) Immigrants In The Military

   The left loves to tactically blur the legal/illegal distinction with respect to immigrants, and that's pretty clearly what Politifact is doing here. Sessions is pretty clearly talking about illegal "immigrants"*, so the proper rating would be mostly false...or can't tell, which is a rating they sorely need.
   I have a generally pretty high opinion of Politifact...but obvious crap like this is cause for concern.

*What a coup, incidentally, to have badgered everyone into calling illegal aliens "immigrants." I mean, I'm not entirely sure how bad illegal immigration is per se and within reason...but the left's relentless pressure on the rhetorical/terminological front really does pay dividends. They're pushing against 'illegal', of course, on the basis of completely nonsensical arguments, and also pushing for 'migrants'...because...y'know...those folks are just moving around...why get hung up on whether they're coming or going...? But this isn't relevant to the Sessions stuff.

Grayson Allen Shoves FSU Assistant Coach

   Everybody's going out of their way to point out that it's possible that Allen was doing something other than just taking another cheap shot...like...uh...trying not to fall on the guy! Who was...way off to the side and not in any danger of being fallen on...so...
   We can acknowledge that that is possible without letting that distract us from the fact that that really isn't what happened. And when we add in Allen's history, the chance that this is an accident falls way below the threshold that would justify us in fretting overmuch about that possibility.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sessions Says He'll Start Up Pr0n Prosecutions Again

Notice how Trump's tiny hands make that pizza look uuuge.

CIA Trump / Russia Document

thx to the Mystic

[Holy shitsnacks...  Can that stuff possibly be true????]

[Also: I had no idea that Trump had so much gold that people could shower in it... ]

[If everything in this report is true, then Trump is, in fact, a Russian spy.]

Lesbian Feminist Journalist Criticized For Not Believing That Men Can Become Women By Saying They Are

Yet another attempt at "deplatforming" by the PC left.
Bindel sounds like a kook--but on this topic, she's just stating plain facts that everyone not blinded by far-left, ideologically-motivated quasi-literary theories knows to be true. She's right, she's obviously right, there's simply no doubt that she's right...and she's very near the top of the left-wing oppression hierarchy--she should be entirely bulletproof... But the left has apparently catapulted the "transgendered" ahead of both feminists and lesbians in the hierarchy. Which, when you think about it, should drive feminists absolutely crazy...but I guess not.

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During the Campaign There "Was A Continuing Exchange Of Information Between Trump Surrogates And Intermediaries For The Russian Government" (?)

Trump Asks Vaccine Skeptic To Lead Commission On Vaccination Safety

The Long, Slow, Predictable Death Of "Implicit Bias"

Schumer 1, McConnell 0

   I actually kinda hate Mitch McConnell. His sleazeballery is basically off the scale. The guy who decided to obstruct Obama at every turn, by hook or by crook, is now insisting that the Dems basically auto-confirm the list of weirdos Trump is pushing.
   Sending his own letter back to him...oh, man...so beautiful. That had to be pretty satisfying.

Volokh: Silencing Professors' Speech To Prevent Students From Being Offended

...is a bad idea...in case you were wondering...

Anyway...when did liberalism become so much about avoiding the sin of hurt feelings?

That Meryl Streep Thing

I dunno man.
Trump is obviously a humiliating catastrophe for American democracy. That doesn't necessarily mean that we've got to be totally down with a bunch of sanctimonious, hyper-emotive anti-Trump warbling about him by actors and whatnot. I don't mean to fall into an ad hominem here. Good criticisms are good criticisms. But, then, bad ones are bad, too. What exactly was Streep's point, anyway? I found her smug unctuousness so off-putting that it was honestly kinda hard to concentrate. Was it that some actors come from other countries? Is that supposed to be relevant because...what? Trump is going to stop all immigration? God knows. There may have been a point there. But I guess I missed it.

"The BLM Kidnapping"?

God Twitter is stupid.
Similarly, people who are trying to link the Chicago Facebook torture case to BLM. 
I mean, I'm not exactly a BLM fan. Its central premise seems predicated on mistakes about some fairly widely-available statistics. And I'm not wild about some of its tactics. And, perhaps worst of all in my book, BLM is deeply entangled with neo-PC and the postpostmodern mishmash. But trying to pin this on BLM is just nuts. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

Marvin Williams And The Ten Year Degree

Though Marvin only stayed for a year, he's still high up on my list of favorite Tar Heels. This just solidifies it.

Lionel Shriver Continues To Be Awesome

She's basically right about everything in that interview IMO.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Grayson Allen Tries to Kick BC Player In the 'Nads

This is really getting ridiculous.

Carolina 107-State 56

Very satisfying


Go you Tar Heels
Beat State College!

Roy sure does dislike those Wuffies I tell you whut.

Jackass v. Jackass: Muslim Trump Supporter Twitter War Edition

The party of the first part (background info: a female Muslim immigrant) writes a predictably facepalmerific pro-Trump thing in the WaPo, filled with typically bad reasons (and also at least one plausible reason) for voting for Trump--as is her right.
The party of the second part (background info: a prof at Georgetown) loses her Twitter shit and FTFO out in response, "tweeting" (facepalm at this stupid word that I will never be able to type with a straight face no matter how many times I make fun of it) all sorts of stupid, fantastically out of line shit to her in response.
Biggest jackass at this point: the party of the second part, and no contest.
But wait! There's more!...
TPOTFP then writes to (in effect) the Chair of TPOTSP's department in what seems like an attempt to convince the university to discipline TPOTSP in some way. Whaaaaa?
Wow! The part of the first part is now the biggest jackass by far! Betcha didn't see that coming!
Georgetown issues a milquetoasty reply that references the First Amendment...but does not slap down the nonsense in the way that it deserves to be slapped down...so we'll see.
These two people are both jackasses. But the offending Twitter exchange was between these people qua private individuals. It's none of Georgetown's business. Am I missing something here?

(h/t the redneck raconteur)

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Putin Ordered Effort To Undermine Faith In U.S. Election and Help Trump

Behold the Trump-Putin-Assange alliance.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Man Who "Identifies" As Woman Wins Women's Cycling Event

   It continues to amaze me that so many people have been convinced / bullied into blithely asserting that night is day. Bearden is a man and that's just a fact. Saying it isn't so doesn't make it false. Consequently, he has the natural athletic advantages that come with being male. Thus far female athletes--like most of the rest of the country, apparently--have been cowed into paying lip service to the patently false theory that such men are women. But I can't believe they're not fuming.
   Sadly, I doubt that the very clear and straightforward arguments against this obviously false theory will turn the public discussion--but men beginning to dominate women's sports in a widespread way might do the trick. 
   And, of course, Bearden having cosmetic "sex-change" or "gender-reassignment" surgery (both flaming misnomers) won't change anything. This is about muscles, not about genitals.
   This issue is similar to the restroom issue in that the more respectable arguments in this vicinity are arguments for eliminating sex segregation from sports entirely. I'm not in favor of eliminating sex segregation (in either case), but if we're going to go down this road, we should be honest about what we're doing.
   You can be tolerant of non-standard ways of being and thinking without accepting the falsehoods that some of those ways are predicated on or entail. We can be tolerant of Bearden without believing the falsehoods he believes about himself, just as we can be tolerant of religions without believing the falsehoods they believe.

Grayson "See You Next Fall" Allen Back In Duke Lineup

   Don't read this, Chip.
   You have better things to do.

   Grayson Allen is a...well...see for yourself.
   I don't see how anyone can argue that he's really much of an anomaly at Duke. There's a fairly extensive history of this sort of thing there. IMO the actual physical assaults are of a piece with the near-constant grabbing, holding, flopping and the kicking-the-defender-on-the-3 that you just have to get the hell used to if you play Duke a lot. The refs just don't call it. I'm biased...but I'm not exactly the only one who's noticed this.
   At any rate...Allen was suspended "indefinitely" for his latest kickery...that turned out to mean: one game. (Notable comment on the situation by Cook Out.) That tells you something. It's data.
   K is out with "back problems" again...which might be actual back problems for all I know. If so: here's hoping him a speedy recovery. Back pain is serious business, and I know that for a fact.
   Anyway, that's all. Draw your own conclusions.

U.S. Intercepts Show Senior Russian Officials Celebrating Trump Win

It is possible to make too much of this...but I'm not sure I'm in the mood to keep counseling caution on that score.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Chicago Police: Facebook Torture Video Probably Not A "Hate Crime" [This Conclusion Now Rejected]

[Ok, they changed their minds on this one to what seems like the saner conclusion.]
No, man...it was, like, a love crime...
   I've got objections to the category hate crimes. I'm not irrevocably convinced that it's a bad category, but I'm inclined to think that it is. And this certainly doesn't do anything to change my mind.
   Another thing to note here is that this is yet another clearly-recorded case of apparent violence against an alleged Trump voter qua Trump voter. This isn't some guys pushed me down but there were no witnesses and no injuries, and all I can tell you about them is that they clearly identified themselves as Trump supporters...
   Of course it's possible that these people are just evil, and they latched onto whatever they could think of, and you're white and you voted for Trump are what came to mind... I'm fairly sure that that sort of thing does happen. But: were the races reversed, would we be taking such distant possibilities seriously?
   Maybe the police have relevant information we don't.
   But it's a little hard to believe.
   Incidentally, it's that kind of semi-official double-standard that drives people crazy about this sort of thing. And I'm inclined to think that they're right to be mad about it. Even if you clearly recognize that group A is discriminated against and has it generally a lot worse than group B, I think you can think that overt double standards are wrong in many cases. That's one of the things that bugs me about the academic left, in fact, Obviously you're a lot better off in the U.S. being white than being black. But the academic left holds, roughly, that if anything you say can in any way be loosely interpreted by anyone as being in any way, to any degree anti-black, then you're a racist, Jack. On the other hand, it's permissible to build your career on arguing in print that whiteness is by definition evil. If you can doublethink double enough to think that double...well, you've slipped the surly bonds of consistency and touched the face of...uh...I dunno...Cthulhu or something... Sure, there are white racists running around out there who have equally double double-standards...and who do more actual harm...but: that's our standard? I'm going to have to demand a little more from the law, and from allegedly respectable academicians.
   Anyway: something analogous seems to threaten if four black people can torture a white guy while screaming that he is white and not fall under an extant "hate crimes" statute.
   Anyway, there's no reason to rush to judgment.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Some Trump Voters Explain Themselves

   Some of these are crazy, some of them are stupid, many of them are woefully ignorant...but some of them are reasonable. As reasonable as most Clinton voters probably were, anyway.
   And I'll admit, agreeing with the guy toward the end: if Trump didn't constitute a humiliating blot on our history that this country will never live down, and if I didn't think he might actually flip his shit and blow up the world...I, too, would be enjoying the spectacle of liberals absolutely losing their shit. As it stands, however, I find myself unable to enjoy the show.

Trump Moving To Cover Putin's Tracks?

We can't really rule it out.
Dude who knows absolutely nothing about absolutely anything, including intelligence, has decided to "slim down" the intelligence agencies soon after they report that Putin tried to help him win the election. 
I'm starting to think that we should start a fund to hire an army of private investigators to go over everything Trump has ever done with a fine-tooth comb with the end of finding something that will drive him from office in one way or another. This sounds like something the psychopathic GOP would do...but the sonofabitch isn't even in office yet and it's starting to look like he ought to be impeached. We cannot rule out the possibility that the (shudder) president-elect of the United States is in cahoots with a Russian dictator. He's certainly acting like he is.

Dylann Roof: On His Way To the Death Penalty

And he deserves it.
I'll say that I have a kind of grudging respect for him for refusing to let lawyers push a mental health defense. The kid seems to be as sane as a mass-murdering racist nut case can be...however sane that is...

Some Anti-Firearm Nonsense By A UW Philosopher

   Endorsed by that frequent endorser of nonsense, Leiter.
   Leiter is mostly on the side of the angels when it comes to political correctness run amok in philosophy, though. Don't get me wrong--I'm grateful for that. He's paid a price and deserves credit on that score.
   I don't really know what to think about campus carry. I suppose I don't see why it should be a special case. If its legal in the state, then I don't see why it shouldn't be legal on campuses.
   Campuses are full of lefties, and lefties hate/fear firearms--so it's easy to explain anti-firearm attitudes there, of course. Justifying them is a different story.
   I don't see that philosophy elicits stronger emotions than any number of other things in life. Am I wrong? Shapiro may have an exaggerated view of how profoundly his courses affect people...
   Also, people with CCWs tend to commit fewer gun crimes than average people.
   I suppose this just seems like political coercion to me--acquiesce to my not-terribly-well-justified political beliefs or I will bore you more than I normally would! If Shapiro really believed this nonsense, I suppose I'd predict that he'd just teach the allegedly more boring course rather than risk the gunplay he allegedly fears.
   And does he actually fear actual violence? Or is this merely posturing? I mean...it's obviously posturing to some degree... But there might possibly be some genuine fear in there as well. It's rather difficult to separate those things. There do tend to be a lot of genuine bed-wetters on the academic left...but they also like to use professions of fear as rhetorical tactics... So who can tell?
   And: how often has philosophy elicited violence in a university classroom in the last, oh, 50 years? When was the last time people, say, came to blows? If we can find the answer to that, and then find out the rough proportion of shooting incidents to fistfights among the relevant demographic (1 in 1000? 1 in 10000?), then we ought to be able to pull off a rough risk analysis here.
   This seems to me like a fairly good example of philosophy gone bad. Bad, motivated reasoning in the service of an unjustified political view...no effort to be objective/dispassionate...moral posturing... All bad.

Trump Appears To Side With Assange Over U.S. Intelligence Agencies

"Did Inadequate Women's Health Care Destroy Star Wars's Old Republic?"


Are people getting dumber?
Honestly, I'm kinda starting to worry.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Gamergate Nut Brianna Wu To Run For Congress

Did you realize that Gamergate is a movement that "says women shouldn't be in gaming?"
Yeah, neither did anybody else.
Wu is a nut and a bullshit artist par excellence. He's cut from the same cloth as Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn. I realize that virtually any jackass with the right connections can win a congressional seat in the right district...but damn. Wu would be embarrassing even by the rather denigrated standards of the House.
And boy, those anti-Gamergaters sure do love their "death threats," don't they? It's pretty embarrassing that anyone counts internet "death threats" as actual death threats. Which doesn't mean that the people sending them aren't also jackasses...because they are. But the PCs reeeealy love playing the victim. The asshats sending those "threats" are doing absolutely, positively nothing other than (a) making themselves jackasses and (b) helping out the PCs/anti-Gamergaters.

Kieth Humphries Faceplants on PC

This is really bad.
I'm sad to see this at the RBC.

Banana Republicans: Powering Down The Office Of Congressional Ethics

Looks like they've backed off.

Jock Moffat Flies West

Banana Republicans: North Carolina

Did Trump Threaten The DPRK Via Twitter?

   ...and isn't this basically the kind of warning that he incoherently complained about with respect to the attack on Mosul?
   It's like we elected a not-terribly-bright 12-year-old and put him in charge of a Doomsday device.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Did Dinosaur Eggs Take A Long Time To Hatch?

George Will Facepalms Over 2016

2016 really was a silly place.

Kelefa Sanneh: Intellectuals For Trump

   Trump is significantly right about illegal immigration. Well...he's righter than leftier "progressives," anyway. And it's interesting that that issue looms large for a couple of the people interviewed in this piece. But it's not as if Clinton was going to give into the Vox wing of the party, any more than Obama did. If it had been Trump vs. an open borders candidate, then it would have been a tough call. But that's not even close to the choice we actually faced. 
   And I do think that the stuff about the technocracy and the "administrative state" is worth thinking about...despite its apparent Straussian provenance.
   But these people sound mostly delusional to me. Projecting your abstruse political/philosophical hopes onto the train wreck that is Donald Trump...it's like something out of a novel about disconnected, delusional academicians. Where were these people when Obama--an intelligent, rational President with a bipartisan streak a mile wide--was trying to find a new way forward in DC? How is that that an unhinged idiot is supposed to fix it all? If he did, it would have to be the randomest chance. Is that the idea? Roll 'em up and hope for a 20?
   I've got the flu and everything is pissing me off, so I'd better just end it right there.

The Open-Borders Liberaltarianism Of The New Urban Elite


Cornell CR President Assaulted For Political Reasons?

Girl-allegedly-pushed-down-by-people/guys-identified-only-as-from-the-other-side has become a type. Usually there are: no witnesses, and no injuries. These reports tend to come from the left rather than the right...so that breaks the mold a bit... But I think we still have to be skeptical.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Carolina 63-Ga Tech 75

No, I can't believe it either.
Nobody can believe it.
But waddaya gonna do?
That's, as they say, why they play the games...
Props to Tech on a truly vicious 1-3-1 zone.
What is it about Tech of relatively late? I just can't figure it out...

The Invisible Workload That Drags Women Down

Kinda interesting, kinda plausible.
Some scattered thoughts:
   The kernel of a good idea in the bad idea of identity politics is that we are typically better at recognizing ways in which we are screwed over than we are at recognizing ways in which others are screwed over. Identity politics blows that point out of proportion, and exaggerates a difficulty into an impossibility...but the point still generally holds, I think.
   The point in the article may very well be right. The piece does make an effort to be fair, noting, e.g., that men still spend more time making money. However, I'll just mention, not by any way of criticism: I'll bet there are other unrecognized/unrewarded duties that guys tend to more-or-less automatically take on. E.g. paying attention to house and car maintenance. Not that I think everything will perfectly even out--things usually don't perfectly even out.
   But we do live at a time at which it sure seems that a lot of energy is spent trying to convince us all that women have it tough(er than men). Which doesn't mean that it isn't true--it just means that I sometimes find myself feeling the urge to point out: if you're that dedicated to finding disadvantage on one side of things, you're probably going to find it. But let's not neglect the requirement of total evidence, eh?
   Or maybe I'm just sore about the fact that JQ can survive on no food, and I cannot. Ergo, so far as making sure that there's food in the house goes, I'm the one around these parts that has to do it!
   Anyway, the article does make a point that I think is worth thinking about, and its main thesis coheres with my own experience to at least some extent.

Trump Expertise Watch: Hacking Edition, Episode The Nth

   Trump "know[s] a lot about hacking." 
   He also "know[s] things other people don't know."
   Of course President-Elect Dunning-Kruger doesn't know anything about hacking... But PEDK thinks he knows a lot about basically everything...and, well, hacking is a thing. Too stupid to realize that he's stupid, and too ignorant to realize that he's ignorant, he just stumbles along, oblivious to his own humiliatingness.
   What a goddamn clown show he is.

Does The "Mainstream Media" Have A Liberal Bias, And, If So, How Much Of One?

I'm asking.
My answers:
1. Yes
2. That's a pretty hard question

[Maybe I should have started with: does the MSM have a liberal inclination... That question is prior to / easier than the question in the title.]


   Took an unannounced hiatus when my Surface Pro crapped out on me just as I was leaving for some holiday travels in CA and CO. But I also used that opportunity to pretty much ignore the news. That is something I highly recommend right there. This is a topic with respect to which ignorance is, if not bliss, at least not futile anger. So a big improvement is what I'm saying.