Sunday, December 31, 2017

Haidt Stepping Down As Director Of Heterodox Academy

I'm sorry to hear this. I think he's just the right guy for the job. But he's going to stay as the Chair of the Board of Directors, so that's good.
   Here's his end-of-the-year letter.
   And if you are eligible, but haven't joined, you should.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Heather MacDonald on Implicit Bias Pseudoscience...and Actual Data About Race, Academic Performance, and Crime

Well, this isn't a fun read.
But, if you've been following these issues, nothing in there will come as a surprise to you.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Reason: "Trump Is Offering The Country A Sophie's Choice On Dreamers"

Reason calls this "an all-out assault on immigration":
In exchange for legalizing Dreamers, it involves implementing aggressive border security measures like building the Great Wall of Trump, mandating E-verify, defunding "sanctuary" cities. Even more alarmingly, it would classify visa overstays as a criminal – as opposed to a civil – offense. This would close off practically all their options for regaining legal status, even if their visas expired not due to any fault of their own but the legendary incompetence of the immigration bureaucracy. It would also criminally prosecute those claiming asylum on allegedly "false" grounds, something that would run afoul of international law that will end up "illegalize" more immigrants than it'll legalize. And he would cut family-based legal immigration without any increases in high-skilled, employment-based immigration.
Fair assessment? Or no?
   A border-spanning wall is Game-of-Thrones-level absurd, obviously. Though I'm led to believe that more fencing may be cost-effective in some spots. And I think that the symbolism arguments against walls/fences are mostly terrible. As is the ridiculous Berlin Wall analogy that was all over for awhile. (Not to mention the Argument From Breathiness (Walls divide [breathy voice]...they divide...)
   But, hey, I thought we were all for E-verify? Are we not for E-verify anymore? When did that happen? 
   Can anybody just tell me what to think about "sanctuary" cities (and counties)? I tend to be against them--but does defunding them transgress principles of federalism? Or what? I'm skeptical of the arguments about policing efficiency...but not extremely skeptical. 
   Eh, turns out I just don't understand enough of this stuff to deserve an opinion. I'm generally skeptical of progressives, libertarians, and neo-liberals who seem to tacitly accept / covertly argue for open borders. But I can't even really figure out what the conservative consensus is.
   I don't exactly see how anyone can be opposed to some form of DACA. I'd think we'd all agree that these kids are Americans. If their record is clean, they stay here. Period. Again, I'm skeptical of attempts by progressives to bootstrap everybody into the country e.g. by passing a version of DACA and arguing that we have to keep families together. Not that it's a crazy argument. But I'm skeptical of positions that basically argue for the most permissive position at every point in the discussion. Vocal sectors of the left are more-or-less pushing for open borders while simultaneously arguing against the very idea of assimilation. This is a deviation from a time-tested template. And it could be a blueprint for disaster--we just don't know. And not knowing is dangerous. (I'm torn on "multiculturalism"--which, as do so many ideas, has benign as well as malevolent interpretations. And: difficult-to-predict consequences.)
   On the bright side: is it just me, or is it becoming somewhat less-common for the media to routinely call anti-illegal-immigration positions "anti-immigration"? Maybe they're just talking about it less.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Trans" Kids Sites Sell Fake Penises For Little Girls To Wear

Goddammit, that's just gross.
Jebus, I'm way against forcing sex roles on people. But you've gotta draw the line way before that sort of bullshit.

Gillespie: "Sensitivity Readers" Are The New Thought Police

I don't think the title is all that much of an exaggeration.
When science fiction hires its own censors, something's gone very wrong.

Andres Miguel Rondon: "To Beat President Trump, You Have To Learn To Think Like His Supporters"

I dunno.
   That (unsurprisingly) turns out to mean: "you" (i.e. right-thinking, Post-reading progressives) have to think like the "Deplorables."
   Another possibility: You have to learn to think like people on the centrist right who voted for Trump as the lesser evil (or who chose a third, seemingly second-most-evil evil rather than vote Democratic).
   Trump wouldn't have won if a large number of reasonable people hadn't voted for him. And it's hard to believe that it was his admirable personal characteristics that attracted them. A whole lot of voting is voting-against.
   It's very hard for me to see all this clearly, but I remain fairly convinced that the key to defeating Trump and other such repellent characters is for "progressives" (nee liberals) to repudiate the unhinged PC / "social justice" left. It is the repulsive characteristics and positions of contemporary "progressivism" that drove more centrist and reasonable conservatives to vote Trump.*
   Here's a more fundamental factor / piece of advice: the left has to get over its Kerenskian mentality; that is, it has to learn that there are, in fact, enemies on the left. So long as the vanguard of the American left is willing to defend--and even embrace--its extremely crazy (e.g. campus / activist) fringe, it will not only drive away winnable votes...but, more importantly: it will deserve to lose those votes.
   I'm just a broken record at this point, so no reason going on with any of this, really.
Read more »

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Is Marvel Backing Off Its PC Push?

Marvel has gone full-bore PC over the course of the past couple of years--and lost a lot of readers because of it--but their new editor-in-chief hire may signal a return to sanity.
Predictably, SJWs are outraged.

Reason: We're Spending Too Much On Killy Things

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Erdogan Thugs Plead Guilty In DC Attack On Protesters

Saturday, December 23, 2017

SciAm: "The Truth About Those 'Alien Alloys' In The NYT's UFO Story"

Honestly, I don't see how anything here should do anything to squelch whatever degree of freaked-outedness you might be experiencing about the story.
   Letzter's arguments basically only support the conclusion: Unidentifiable alloys would be extremely anomalous.
   Without other premises, this doesn't do anything to weaken whatever reasons we might have for thinking that somebody has some (currently) unidentifiable alloys. One man's Modus Ponens... and all that. I mean, if you already think that the Aliens hypothesis is very unlikely, then Letzter's arguments will give you reason to be more confident that there aren't any unidentifiable alloy samples in the alleged warehouses. Mostly the arguments just show: If there are unidentifiable samples, that significantly strengthens the Aliens hypothesis. (So either there are no such samples, or we have better reason to believe in aliens, or...) That is, Letzter's argument basically indicates that the explanation for the existence of unidentifiable alloy samples will likely be pretty weird. Which is not what he's really aiming for.
   That's sloppy...really ought to slow down and get all Bayesian up in here.

   Somebody here knows how to think about this better than I do, without a doubt.

Bullshit Watch: "The Embrained Body Of A Child: On Neurodidactics And Edusemiotic 21st Century Becoming Machines"

   For the record and again: I think that it's good to try to think about crazy things in crazy new ways. Or, rather: it can be. It can also be bad. E.g. if you mistake a crazy-ass, probably-incoherent shot in the dark for a serious hypothesis. Or something worse than that. 
   The problem with the bullshittified sectors of academia isn't that they're willing to try out crazy ideas. The problem is that [there's just way too much] crazy ideas over there. [And, it seems, way too little non-crazy.] In fact, bullshit like that linked is almost unmitigated gibberish. And with no effort ever to honestly evaluate it. And as for trying to clarify it enough to be able to test it empirically...well, that's just the kind of suggestion we'd expect from a straightwhitemale and his superprivilege and Western logic and isn't it?
   It should go without saying that I would fight any effort to restrict academic freedom. However, the other side of the coin here is that this stuff is utter bullshit. And not hard-work, good-try, struck-out-swinging bullshit. But rather: execrable, irresponsible, worse-than-nothing-at-all, actually-makes-people-dumber bullshit. Suppose 10-80% of everybody in several disciplines scattered across different colleges of universities were suddenly to be converted to Scientology. And so they begin allowing pro-Scientology  arguments and biases to enter into their courses--after all, it's what they actually think is true. And a very large percentage of academic scholarship/research takes on a decidedly Scientology-y bent. We wouldn't take an ax to academic freedom--but we wouldn't do nothing, either. It really is important to oppose this sort of thing with our own teaching and research. I try to. And that doesn't mean: I counter-brainwash my students. Rather: I try to fill them in to the fact that there are some extremely weird views that infect the academic mind--and, undoubtedly, some of their courses. I'm absolutely sure I don't always get the balance right. Especially when I find myself in a rush, I know I lose my facade of neutrality. But I try hard to alert them to the situation. 
   We could really use another Sokal hoax...though we needn't always swing for the fences. It's often the case that people just need to hear someone say something and lights start to go on for them. Many times in my life I've just heard someone say some words, and I've thought: Jesus Christ that is so obviously true...and it was right there in front of me all the could I not have seen it???
   Anyway. I'm probably getting more than a little crazy about this sort of thing. [And by 'probably' I mean: obviously.]

(h/t J. Carthensis)

Molly Roberts: "The Crusaders Against Political Correctness Need To Calm Down"

Wow, this is awful.
   Main arguments, taking some license:
   (1) You guys are in your fifties!
   (2) Most of the students pushing PC will grow out of it.
   And of course:
   (3) The other side is worse.
   Hey, at least we may have started to move beyond the PC denialism phase; progressives admitting that PC even exists is a step in the right direction...
   I shouldn't dignify 1-3 with responses, but I can't resist:
   As for (2): It's neither clearly true nor clearly relevant. First, no one would accept the following argument: "Hey, the Klan really isn't a big problem, because those guys'll mostly die off in twenty years." What we're concerned about is the damage they do between now and then. And the campus PCs have already done plenty of damage. Second, a big part of the problem isn't 18-year-old students, it's the faculty and administrators who act as transmitters, instigators, and force-multipliers. (Many of them are in their fifties, too--ergo subject to criticism (1)...) Students are just a very visible part of the PC machine. Finally, and just as obviously: even if every one of them grew out of it, there's no reason to think that each one wouldn't be replaced by another (or two other...or three other...) useful idiot(s). And so the cycle of suck would perpetuate itself.
   As for (3): I've come to think that this is one of the most dangerous arguments in politics. First, the other side always seems worse. Because, second, we are terrible at making such comparisons. And, third: if side A is sufficiently awful, it doesn't matter much that side B is worse. Also, some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can worry about two...three...ten problems at the same time. You need to be able to, too.
Read more »

Friday, December 22, 2017

Theodore Dalrymple: I've Seen London's Future And It Is Caracas

Perhaps nothing captures the levels of personal incompetence and lack of self-respect in Britain than the fact that young men of the lowest social class are about half as likely to die in prison as they are if left at liberty. In prison, though adult, they are looked after, at least in a basic way, and told what to do. They are no longer free to pursue their dangerous and crudely self-indulgent lifestyle, in which distraction is the main occupation. In prison they receive the health care that, though it is free to them under the National Health Service, they are not responsible enough to seek when at liberty. In short, they do not know, because they have never been taught, how to live in a minimally constructive fashion, though they were certainly not born ineducable.

"Identity" Used To Mean: Who You Actually Are; Now It Means: What You Say You Are

That's all.
No need to link on this one.

It's Not OK To Be White: Episode The Zillionth

Volokh Conspiracy: Why The Tax Bill Stinks

   But whatever damage the bill may or may not inflict on the US economy over the coming years, it has already inflicted damage, which might be considerable, via the manner in which it was foisted on the American people. Not a single public hearing on a bill that has the potential to be the most significant economic legislation in decades. No real public debate, because nobody - except the lobbyists, of course - knew what was in the (400-page) bill until it was basically time to vote. No "experts" - God forbid! - giving us their analyses of the bill's provisions; the only interest anyone seemed to have in the CBO analyses was in the estimate of the cumulative 10-year effect on the deficit, and that was only because a too-large number would have taken the bill outside the "reconciliation" process in the Senate and required 60 votes (i.e., same small measure of Democratic support) (a problem the GOP solved by early termination of the individual, but not the corporate, tax breaks - Nice!). No attempt whatsoever to try to find any sort of bipartisan common ground.
   I know there are some people who respond to this charge with some variant of "Well, the Democrats did that too, when they controlled Congress and the White House, in 2008-09, with Obamacare . . ." The response is the same as to the "But he started it!" defense familiar to anyone with a 9-year old around the house: other peoples' misbehavior does not justify your own. There's a right, and there's a wrong, way to conduct yourself, and it does not depend on the extent to which others do or do not conform. The Republicans had a chance to do this the right way, a chance I thought they might seize after the initial failure of the Obamacare repeal. But they didn't seize it. Quite the contrary; they've made it, I fear, the new normal. And we will pay the price for that down the road, for sure.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Elizabeth Nolan Brown: The Year In Teen Sexting Panic

Scott Alexander: The GOP Tax Bill Compared To Other Very Expensive Things


A Bet Is A Tax On Bullshit

Not a new thought, but well said.
Kant says it, more or less. But I originally learned it from Statisticasaurus rex.

Does High IQ Predict "Free Speech Absolutism"?


Popehat: Kennedy's Questioning Shows Petersen Unqualified

So here's a seemingly well-regarded argument to the effect that Kennedy's questions did, in fact, show Petersen to be unqualified.
   Though, it turns out that Petersen has already withdrawn his nomination.
   As has Brett Talley...who I defended from the silly ghostbuster arguments...but it turns out he also defended the Klan. So that tells you something about my judgment, probably.

Conquest's Three Laws Of Politics

While we're on the subject:
1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
3. The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.
I think that (1) may be true of me. I have come to suspect that (2) has a good shot at being true. I don't have an opinion about (3), though I suspect that it's largely tongue-in-cheek.

Does The Left Exploit Academic Freedom?

I've mentioned this before. I don't have much to say about it other than what I already have: I've come to think that the left exploits academic freedom. It basically realizes that academic freedom permits what I guess we might call borderline-indoctrination. So it avails itself of he opportunity. To people on my side of the issue, this is no better than shilling for your personal business or proselytizing your religion in class.
   Also, of course, popular philosophical and quasi-philosophical views on the left argue that indoctrination is permissible/optimal/obligatory. One common argument, of course, has it that every assertion is politics-laden...[insert mumbo-jumbo here], basically, there's no pedagogical obligation to be objective. So these views either motivate or provide cover for (or, probably, some combination of the two) the injection of leftist indoctrination into teaching.
   I reckon that the role of leftist politics in the average university is probably rather like the role of Christianity at a place like Liberty U. This is something that could be studied empirically, I'd think...if social scientists wanted to know the answer.

Famous Actor Denounced for Saying That There Is A Difference Between Rape And Butt-Patting

It's weird to watch as this public...whatever it is...microcosm or representation (or parody) of our society descends into madness.
  This story is about this strange public / celebrity slice of culture that mostly exists on a kind of stage. It's about the vocal vanguard of feminism Twitter-mobbing the few celebrities who are incautious enough to occasionally let a truth slip out of their mouths or keyboards.
   Here's what Damon said:
You know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” he told Peter Travers of ABC. “Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”
Read more »

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Carolina 75 - Wofford 79

Wow that was uuuugly. Wofford just simply couldn't miss and we...just did not look good. This is the third team this year that's come out with the just foul the shit out of them defensive plan. MSU destroyed us, we barely eked out a win against Tennessee, and now we've lost to a team we were supposed to beat by 25 points. We don't seem to be able to hold our own in the paint against that strategy at this point, so that reduces us to outside shooting. And if those are falling, we're screwed. Add fifteen turnovers to that and...oof.
   It's been really fun to watch our freshman centers come along...but, man...we may need them to pick up their already-impressive pace of improvement.

[Which is not to say that Wofford didn't play great and absolutely deserve that win, because they did. The thing that really killed us, I think, was how well Wofford got back on D, thus neutralizing our break and preventing us from running them into the ground. (Their coach was also thinking another move ahead by, so the announcers reported, drilling them hard on Carolina's secondary break.) If you don't hit your shots, that doesn't work so well, because you cede the rebound. But Wofford hit its shots, oh yes it did.]

"The New Civics": Progressive Activism Promoted By Universities For Credit

This is really, really not good.
   My university recently announced that it's new shtick was going to be "engagement." I argued that this sort of nonsense would crowd-out anti-scholarly activity...but also that it was likely to promote left-wing activism and ends.
   Goddamn I hate being right all the time.
   Here's CU-Boulder's "INVST" program (I can't find anything that explains what that's supposed to stand for.)
Here's a blurb from the site:
Commitment to Anti-oppressive Education: INVST Community Studies is committed to anti-oppressive education. We acknowledge the importance of examining not only how groups are oppressed but also how groups are privileged and how these two processes maintain social structures. We are dedicated to challenging dominant ideologies and systems, centering traditionally underrepresented voices, questioning the assumption that information is unbiased, and critiquing what is thought of as normal.
That's my emphasis of the very looniest, leftiest nonsense...which...though it presupposes a thesis that is worth discussing in a philosophy class...simply cannot be built into the presuppositions of a f*cking major. Of course it's only slightly nuttier than the rest of it. So it's maybe not even worth singling out, really.
   The progressive line about "institutional bias" (note: they actually mean prejudice...) Is usually just nonsense. But here's a genuine case of institutional bias: left-wing politics built right into a university major.

"CDC Director: There Are No Banned Words At The CDC"

As I guessed, another bogus Worst Thing About Trump Ever story.
Or that's how it seems at this point, anyway.
   It's getting more and more difficult for me to see things at all clearly in the midst of this anti-Trump bullshitstorm. One of my worst epistemic vices is being so repulsed by whoever's being stupidest at any given time that I have a hard time bringing the failures of whoever's being second-stupidest into focus. I get tunnel vision. Or tunnel revulsion. The anti-Trump hysteria is making anti-anti-Trumpism seem like a reasonable option. Though anti-anti-Trumpism isn't inconsistent with anti-Trumpism.
   tl;dr: I hate everything.
Read more »

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Some UNESCO Gibberish About "Cultural Tourism"

This is like a parody of trendy, buzzword-laden BS.

Documentary On The Swedish Immigration Crisis

I've been kinda sort trying to figure out what's up with immigration in Sweden for quite awhile now, with little success. The right says that the whole country is basically one big no-go zone at this point; the left says that their new extra-diverse diversity has made it even more of a diverse paradise of diversity than it used to be.
   Basically all I've been able to determine is: there's definitely a non-trivial problem.
   This documentary strikes me as pretty damned credible. It's mostly about constraints on freedom of thought and expression--especially in Swedish universities--with respect to immigration and so-called multiculturalism. As I've read and heard elsewhere: apparently criticism of progressive positions is not welcome.
   I say it's worth the time to watch.

The Great Thomas Sowell Contra Liberalism

I have no idea whether what he says is true, but you've gotta like the guy.

CDC "Banned Words" Story Bogus?

Townhall...but maybe.

Stupid Sexy PAK-FA

The Second Amendment Actually Means That We DON'T Have A Right To Keep And Bear Arms

Uh...get it?

Undercover Antifa Video

I've seen a little bit of this guy's stuff, and always thought he was just an asshole...but IMO this video is really pretty good. The thing I like the most about it is that it makes clear that a big part of the problem is the media's representations of Antifa--sometimes they come right out and praise/defend it...other times they just kind of diffuse/dismiss criticisms of it. It's a combination of this stuff that strikes me as really dangerous. Basically, the cultural superstructure just tends to spin everything about the violent left--so that where criticism is obviously deserved, they might substitute neutrality; where skepticism is deserved, instead they broadcast praise.

You Should Read This: Jonathan Haidt: The Age of Outrage

I read this in kind of a fog last night, but I think it's really, really good.
Among other interesting links, there's a link to this insightful essay I've linked to before: "Everything Is Problematic: My Journey Into The Center Of A Dark Political World And How I Escaped."

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Solutrean Hypothesis???

   I have never heard of this before. At first I thought it had to be total tinfoilery (maybe some kind of Klan thing). 
  But it's a for-real hypothesis.
  Earth is weird.

The Decline Of The Campus And Who's To Blame

Repeating myself yet again, but I'm pretty sure of this:
The humanities can't and shouldn't be defended until they're worthy of defense. The idea that the humanities are inherently full of shit is false. But they're currently full of shit. Well, largely, full of it (if  'largely full' makes any sense). Until they stop it, defenses against charges of (current, localized) bullshittery are sophistical. The humanities are packed bullshit methods of reasoning and deranged politics--the former typically in service of the latter. They probably make a lot of students dumber than when they went in. 
And a lot of this goes for the social sciences as well.
And it goes double for the scholarly wasteland of the inherently political x studies departments that have one foot in each domain.

Free Speech On Campus: UT Free Speech Rock

What does one do about things like swastikas, racial slurs, and 'white pride'? I mean, of course: without infringing on anyone's freedom of speech. 'White pride' seems to me to be different than 'It's okay to be white.' The latter is perfectly innocuous; it had to be to achieve its purpose, i.e. exposing the anti-white racism of the PC left. OTOH, 'white pride' is a known white supremacist (in the actual sense of 'white supremacist') slogan. That doesn't mean that it's not protected speech--just that those two things are different. Can someone paint over the slogan? I guess some of this depends on what conventions govern expression on the rock? Of course there's the noble and time-honored Brandeisian response: more speech. That's obviously wanted. As in "White Power!" / "Bite Me." I don't like to think like this, but, just strategically: you can't let the Klantards goad you into over-reacting. Of course the crazy right and the crazy left gain power from overreacting to each other. The non-crazies have to try to interfere with that feedback loop, I'd say...but I do think it's a complicated issue. I certainly don't have the answers, especially not the tactical ones.

Claire Berlinski: The Warlock Hunt

Honestly, are we capable of not going to too far with something?

Syntactic Ambiguity Watch

Heels 78 - Vols 73

Carolina led for 91 seconds.
Tennessee is tough.
Cam Johnson went through the full warm-up routine, and our triune freshman center is looking good--though the rotation is mostly down to Brooks / Manley.
Go Tar Heels.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Saturn's Rings May Be Younger Than Dinosaurs


What everybody's talking about.
Apparently UCSB needs both an "LGBTQ Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity" and a "Women, Gender and Sexual Equity Center." Apparently because--as you might expect--the "Women, Gender and Sexual Equity Department" is a hotbed of "white supremacy" and "violence against queer, transgender people and marginalized communities." (Some of this information apparently comes from an interview with UCSB's "trans task force advocacy coordinator," incidentally...)
   In a subsequent meeting with campus officials on November 17, activists issued numerous demands to the university administration, according to The Nexus. Those demands included the center’s “removal from the Women, Gender, & Sexual Equity Department … a new building for the center, a doubling of [the center’s] program budget and emergency funding for the queer and trans health advocate position.”
   The resource center plans to staff the new building with numerous positions, including “a director, associate director, programming coordinator, office manager, graphic designer, education and outreach coordinator, funding coordinator, associated students liaisons, student staff and volunteer staff.” These staff members would provide services such as “counseling, programming, mentoring, referrals and a 24-hour help line.”
   “Plans also included a front office, private offices for permanent personnel, gender-inclusive restrooms, a study space, organization meeting rooms, a lounge, a kitchen, a library, a clothing closet and an art gallery. A proposed list of furniture and equipment was included in the plans,” according to The Nexus. The group also has plans to include a “community garden and emergency housing rooms complete with a bed, closet and drawers.”
The cost! The mind reels at the very thought. There's absolutely no way to defend this madness. Universities seem to be becoming these little leftist utopias, where every whim of the PC left is implemented and funded. There is no better reason for a university to have something like this than there is for NASA or a construction company to have it. It's utterly absurd. 

"Bias" Reporting Systems / "Bias" Response Teams Shut Down At Longwood And Other Schools

At first I thought that the campus left must have not read 1984.
Now I think they thought it was a how-to manual.

Cronyism and Political Correctness at UT-Austin

Insane "rape" policies + political cronyism = bad.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

David French: Constant Hysterics Damage Our Democracy

I can't believe that I semi-regularly check the National Review now.
And semi-regularly semi-agree with what I read there.
Strange days indeed.

Delusional, Dishonest Statement From Wilfrid Laurier U. Re: The Lindsay Shepherd Affair

This is, as the post at /r/kotakuinaction put it, surreal.
   Note the de rigueur reference to completely fabricated acts of "violence" and threats to safety. Note also that the statement tries to make the faculty who gave Shepherd that Orwellian, Kafkaesque third degree out to be the victims.
   Honestly, it is just creepy as hell that people aren't up in arms about the insane leftist takeover of academia.

"5 Things Women Do That Secretly Annoy Men"

I dunno, man...I think we've known very different women.
I'm happy to admit differences where they exist...but I think a lot of the alleged differences are made up / exaggerated.
But I don't have a random sample, really.

Trump Judicial Nominee Doesn't Know Basic (?) Rules of Evidence

I trust Drum...but honestly, I have no idea whether these questions were things he should have known or not. They could be obscure for all I know...or the kinds of things that people commonly have to look up.
   Anybody know?
   Also, for the love of God, a simple I don't know is sufficient--and admirable. All this stumble-bumbling around is painful to listen to. Though I guess that's not the way it's played when Bullshit! is the game.

Anti-White Racism And Its Link To PC Race Mythology

First, let me say that I do think that there are interesting things about race that scholars might want to discuss. (Note that I don't have to say that, and I probably shouldn't--it sounds like an apology for the rest of what I'm about to say. But there it is, anyway.) 
   But look: there's about 1/10,000th as much of importance to say about race as has been said in the humanities and social sciences in the last 30 years. It's kind of important topic. However, it's probably not in the top 50 most important things about life, the universe and everything. The humanities and social sciences have made race and "gender" their central concepts for political reasons, not for intellectual ones. They're like Christian cultists who simply can't shut up about Jesus--it's nothing but sin, sin, sin all day every day. The contemporary academic view of race (and "gender," etc.) is deranged. But it's not just that a crazy theory is loose in academia. That'd pretty much be par for the course. It's not isolated to publications, it's the central view in (apparently) many classes. And now its the subject of official university-wide re-education events. Students are being indoctrinated with irrationalist, racist political views. 
   Here's a link. Here's a link.
Read more »

Friday, December 15, 2017

Cook County Commissioner Advocates UN Peacekeeping Troops In Chicago

Jesus Christ.What a moran.
   Trump was ridiculed for suggesting sending in the National Guard...
   Another option, of course, would be to let the police do their job.
   I mean, I'm not saying that it's the Ferguson effect...but it's the Ferguson effect.

"Toward A Feminist Postcolonial Milk Studies"

Just, y'know...toward it...:
For Gaard, the complex relationship that humans have to milk, including their own, has a lot to do with political economy, and she states emphatically that "women's breast milk and women's labor are part of the gift economy that is simultaneously invisible, unmonetized, and appropriated in national and international economic systems." She cites research that estimates the value of human breast milk at approximately $5 billion in the U.S. alone, but also notes that the paradox that, "when women's breast milk is introduced as a market commodity, it fares poorly. In 2010 New York chef Daniel Angerer produced his wife's breast milk cheese at Klee Brasserie and was promptly shut down by the New York Health Department." It is precisely this paradox, and the fact that many humans are ready and willing to consume cow's milk, that Gaard explores as an area of inquiry. "If eating women's breast milk 'feels like cannibalism,' what does it feel like to eat other females' milk," she asks, "and what does it feel like to be a farm animal?" [my emphasis]
I got nothin'

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Transmania!: Entire Family "Transitions" Together

   Thirty years ago, they'd all have been victims of "satanic ritual abuse." Ten years before that, they'd all have had "multiple personalities."
   When this nonsense is finally recognized as a farce, will progressives rethink the wisdom of forcing the culture to bend the knee to fads that escape from the gender studies department?

The Cult Would Like To Program...Er...DEprogram...You Now

Er...I guess that should actually be 'program'...
   Anyway...brought to you by the same general people who ruined Thanksgiving:
   One exercise is the Crucial Conversation Starter, which helps people think through whom they want to have conversations with and how to navigate what comes up. There will also be a texting tree, so people can reach out for support or ideas during the holidays.
   According to Zearfoss, one of the ultimate goals of the party is creating changes in behavior.
   “It aims to empower folks who are returning home for the holidays to call-in family members who display explicit or implicit racism,” says Zearfoss. He says Make Yourself Useful strategically uses “call-in” instead of “call-out.”
   “It’s about a slower, less public method of accountability, versus a call-out, which is more geared toward shame and chastising,” Zearfoss says. “No human being is disposable. But, there is also a lot of socially ingrained racism. We’re asking how you can sit with those two things at the same time.”
   Jenn Jackson, a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago studying black politics and social movements, says parties like this make good short-term strategies for confronting racist behavior during the holidays.
   “It's the first of the first steps,” Jackson says. She says she believes racism persists because a lot of white people aren’t concerned with race in their daily lives. They affirm and coddle one another’s experiences, which creates an echo chamber and reinforces racial hierarchies, she says. In this respect, she says it’s critical for white people to do away with notions of “colorblindness” and challenge one another to recognize how race affects social structures.
   “It's very admirable that more white people are interrogating their positions in systems of power,” Jackson says. “It's important, disruptive work. In the long term, however, these disruptive strategies have to become dismantling strategies.”
   The party is in line with the group’s other programming. Make Yourself Useful meets monthly to support letter-writing campaigns and discuss readings by people of color. It also operates the Joyful Giving Database, a lengthy skill-sharing list where individuals can offer particular services or talents to organizations. While the collective is open to anyone, Domienik and Zearfoss say it is geared toward white people and is dedicated to fortifying organizations of color — it aims to act as an accomplice, not just an ally.
   “We work to deprogram the mind,” Domienik says. She believes white communities need to critically approach the ideas about race they have ingested.
   “I think there is a difference between people who act out racism and people who are actively trying to fight the messages they’ve heard throughout their lives,” she continues. “It’s important to critique who taught you certain ideas and for what purpose. We need to have conversations that confront what our families believe.”
   Gosh, I just don't understand why nobody likes progressives... Who doesn't like it when their crazy religious zealot relatives try to convert them during the holidays by telling them how sinful they are?

Vice: 27% Of CA Teens Are "Gender Non-Conforming"


But it's like totally biological and they were born this way and stuff and if you say it's some kind of fad that is hate speech shitlord.

The Economist: Anxious Sensitivity

A pretty good little post, says me.

Formulating Stronger Arguments For PC / SJ Conclusions

I've been thinking about how to do this off-and-on for quite awhile...though never with sufficient diligence.
   The relevant sector of the left tends to employ shoddy concepts and terminology (e.g. 'privilege,' 'rape culture'), and rely on crappy forms of reasoning (wild leaps of interpretation, covert redefinition of terms, outright textbook fallacies (e.g. ad hominems are really popular over there)). Also their background philosophical views are a disaster. But sometimes, I think, there are stronger arguments that can be made for some of their conclusions.
   For example, the main actual PC arguments about transgenderism are a mess, typically relying on some unsupportable premises about "social construction" and whatnot... But a (long) while back it occurred to me that you might make a stronger (and more liberal) case based on privacy rights: what business is it of yours, after all, what's between my legs? If I want to keep that under wraps, that should be up to me. And being forced to choose a restroom forces me to reveal information that I don't want to reveal. We already acknowledge that private parts are private in many what about an argument that says that I ought to be free to conceal information about the general nature of my junk? This argument employs a well-established and sane liberal (in the broad sense) principle, and doesn't require wild metaphysical flights of fancy. It probably won't get you the conclusion that others can be coerced into complying with non-standard pronoun demands. But it at least brings some of the relevant arguments into the realm of reason.
   There's more...but grading's afoot.

Did Climate Change Make Harvey Worse?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Matt Welch: Who's Ready For Some Trillion-Dollar Republican Deficits?

Oh I remember why I can't stand these guys...

The Volokh Conspiracy Moves To Reason

Whelp, the Post just lost one of its best features.

Judith Butler Argues For Additional Limits On Freedom Of Speech

This is terrible.
I tried...I really read that thing dispassionately. But it's just plain crap.
Butler just isn't very good. Her fame is out of all proportion to her actual ability and the quality of her work.
I'm in grading hell, so I'm going to resist the urge to go through that thing in detail.

Doug Jones Wins Alabama Senate Seat; Roy Moore Does Not Concede

We dodged a bullet...but it shouldn't have been this hard.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cameron Harwick: Worry About Piety Contests, Not "Virtue Signaling"

Interesting. "Piety contests" is a pretty great term for what we see on the PC left right now, I'd say.

Is Climate Change Causing CA Wildfires?

Seems like the most likely answer is probably not...and that's what this post argues.

Rigor and Evidence = "White Male Heterosexual Privilege"

In engineering, no less.
   I think it's ok for scholarly types to explore stupid ideas. But there can be too much of a good thing. Also, it's bad to confuse a stupid idea you're exploring for purely intellectual reasons with...something else. If you're seriously panicked that you might be a brain in a vat, you're doing it wrong. Ditto if you're seriously suggesting abandoning intellectual rigor for gender correctness. Sadly, such activist pseudo-scholars seem to be perfectly sincere about what they're saying.
   Then, of course, there's this problem: the tidal wave of craziness is always always always pushing exactly the same ideas in exactly the same direction. It's like they've found an exploit in the university: academic freedom allows me to push my crackpot politics and call it scholarship.
   Well, it does. But you shouldn't. It's like using your academic position to pimp your personal business, or your favored religion. In fact, it's worse.
   But all that aside: it's just goddamn dumb.
   And: ask yourself: do you want to drive over a bridge built by an "engineer" educated in a program that abandoned the ideas of rigor and evidence in favor of political correctness?  Not that you didn't ask yourself that already.

Monday, December 11, 2017

How Nature Says "Do Not Touch"

Here's an unmistakable warning sign: using the "word" 'transmisogynoir' unironically.

Also, y'know...

Trump Accusers Renew Sexual Assault Allegations

In my very fallible opinion, a fair number of such allegations are probably false--in general. Not half. Maybe not a quarter. I don't know. But probably a significant percentage.
   These women I am inclined to believe. They just strike me as very credible, FWIW.
   And, oh, yeah...Trump admitted it on tape.
   So there's that.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fordham Campus "Safe Space" Coffee Shop Ejects Republicans

Behold, an "inclusive" environment.

Good Summary of Peirce's "Detached Thoughts On Vitally Important Topics"

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Jerry Brown: Trump Lacks "Fear Of The Lord"

Whelp, I'm not even going to say anything about this:
   California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) says President Trump's stance on climate change demonstrates that he does not appear to fear the "wrath of God" or have any regard for the "existential consequences" of his environmental policies.
   “I don’t think President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility ... this is such a reckless disregard for the truth and for the existential consequences that can be unleashed,” Brown said in an interview on CBS's "60 Minutes," which is set to air on Sunday.

Occasional Peirce Quote

"...the purpose of signs--which is the purpose of thought--is to bring truth to expression." (2.444)

Uri Harris: "White Woman Tears: Critical Theory On Lindsay Shepherd"

This guy Uri Harris is pretty good. I've said a lot of this stuff here before...but he's saying it where it counts. Or counts more anyway. Sadly, I'm sure that Salon and Teen Vogue and such places have hundreds or thousands of times the readership of Quillette...  Harris gets some stuff wrong...but everybody gets some stuff wrong. Overall, he's right on the damn money.
   To make a point I've made many times: political correctness / "social justice" has an activist/political wing and an intellectual wing. The intellectual wing is a kind of mishmash of bad Continental philosophy and literary theory, mostly: postmodernism, poststructuralism, and critical theory. It's always been that way. Well, for thirty years or so at least. In the paleo-PC era, postmodernism was kind of the most prominent of the three Continental views. Today, in the neo-PC era, critical theory is the frontman.
   Anyway, the combination of shitty philosophy and shitty, aspiring totalitarian politics is dangerous in the extreme, as I've said about a million times now. Also anyway, here's a shitty quote from a shitty person who accepts the shitty philosophy and shitty politics of neo-PC, quoted by Harris:
  Shepherd seems almost willfully blind to the ways by which speech acts, including the loaded history of white women tears, can indeed, incite physical and verbal violence. […] Others, myself included, who reached out to her to highlight the way in which historically rooted theatrics of white tears were mobilized to ultimately dismiss an untenured professor of colour, she dismissed and lampooned these allegations, questioning the basis of claims that she might be transphobic or racist. […] It’s true that Laurier did a rather poor job of handling all of this, but I do think they threw an untenured professor of colour under the bus to avoid media scrutiny. His only mistake was comparing Jordan Peterson to someone who committed genocide, when in reality, he is better compared to someone who denies genocide ever happened.
   Yeah...she's saying that Shepherd bullied her professors...mostly because she cried during the which she herself was being grilled by, essentially, crazy totalitarians...I've linked to the recording before.
   These people are insane.

On 'Political Correctness' and 'Social Justice': You Can't Make Something Bad Good By Calling It 'Good'

That's basically the whole thought. The term 'political correctness' is said to have started out as an in-joke among Marxists about Marxist True Believers who were willing to say or even bring themselves to believe even the most obviously false bits of Marxist dogma. But the paleo-PCs adopted the term as their own--I mean...correctness is good, after all...
   But of course political correctness was insane, and it went back to its original meaning (roughly: fucking crazy) among everyone but crazy leftists (and the liberals who, temporarily, supported them) almost immediately. And now the neo-PCs...who are just turbo-charged PCs...won't touch it. In fact, it's dogma even on the comparatively-more-centrist progressive left that there's no such thing as PC. It's a total myth, you see! Totally made up by conservatives! I've held forth about such PC denialism in past posts, but am too lazy to look 'em up... But anyway: political correctness was and is wrong and bad...and calling it 'correctness' can't change that.
   To use one of their more specific neologisms as an example: it's like trying to replace 'crippled' with 'handicapped' with 'differently-abled' (an actual term of the old PC of their favorites). But being handicapped is bad. Ask anyone who's handicapped... No sane person thinks that the choice between having normal use of all your limbs and being a quadriplegic is a coin-toss decision. No matter what word you use for being handicapped, that word is eventually going to take on a negative valence. Words for bad things take on bad valences. There's no way for them to refer to something bad without doing so.
   Anyway, the new term for PC is, of course, "social justice." But political correctness is bad, and calling it "social justice" won't make it any better. Eventually that term, too, will come to mean, more or less: fucking crazy.
   The terminological valence point is a fairly obvious one, I think. I've read Steven Pinker making it, too, somewhere. But I saw it on my own--as have lots of people. In one form or another, it was part of public discussions during the paleo-PC era.
   Anyway, there's that for what it's worth.

PC Left Bullies A Woman To Death For Refusing To Have Sex With Someone

August Ames was actress who made pornographic videos. (Though, for the record, I myself am unfamiliar with her oeuvre.) She was apparently working for a company who tried to to trick her into making a video with a male who also makes gay porn. Her objection was a purely prudential one: for health-related reasons, she (apparently like many other women in her industry) didn't work with guys who make gay porn. (Though it doesn't matter why she didn't want to do it; all that matters is that she didn't. Funny how consent goes out the window when there's some way to spin an action as un-PC...) The Twitter mob decided she was "homophobic" (a stupid word, but I guess it's the one we're stuck with; a mongrel of Greek and Latin roots, for one thing...for another, it's typically used to indicate an aversion, not a fear.) She herself was bisexual, as she made clear...but this didn't matter. The harassment continued. She hanged herself because she was so distraught by the accusation, and the badgering. 
    This is political correctness, distilled into one of its clearer forms.

Glenn Greenwald: The U.S. Media Suffered Its Most Humiliating Debacle In Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Hppened

The title's hyperbolic. And I don't like Greenwald, nor trust him. But he's right about the media's complete lack of objectivity about Trump and Russia:
   ...this type of recklessness and falsity is now a clear and highly disturbing trend – one could say a constant – when it comes to reporting on Trump, Russia and WikiLeaks. I have spent a good part of the last year documenting the extraordinarily numerous, consequential and reckless stories that have been published – and then corrected, rescinded and retracted – by major media outlets when it comes to this story.
   All media outlets, of course, will make mistakes. The Intercept certainly has made our share, as have all outlets. And it’s particularly natural, inevitable, for mistakes to be made on a highly complicated, opaque story like the question of the relationship between Trump and the Russians, and questions relating to how WikiLeaks obtained DNC and Podesta emails. That is all to be expected.
   But what one should expect with journalistic “mistakes” is that they sometimes go in one direction, and other times go in the other direction. That’s exactly what has not happened here. Virtually every false story published goes only in one direction: to be as inflammatory and damaging as possible on the Trump/Russia story and about Russia particularly. At some point, once “mistakes” all start going in the same direction, toward advancing the same agenda, they cease looking like mistakes.
   No matter your views on those political controversies, no matter how much you hate Trump or regard Russia as a grave villain and threat to our cherished democracy and freedoms, it has to be acknowledged that when the U.S. media is spewing constant false news about all of this, that, too, is a grave threat to our democracy and cherished freedom.

Yet Another Over-hyped Journalistic Trump-Russia Dud

Looks like yet another absolutely conclusive proof that Trump is literally Stalin turned out to be a dudski. It' if there's some kind of...pattern here...or something...

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Junior Claims Attorney-Client Privilege Because There Was A Russian Attorney In The Room

IANAL...but that sounds like a stupid--hence probably desperate--argument.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Marcuse, "Repressive Tolerance"

   "Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: ... it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word. The traditional criterion of clear and present danger seems no longer adequate to a stage where the whole society is in the situation of the theater audience when somebody cries: 'fire'. It is a situation in which the total catastrophe could be triggered off any moment, not only by a technical error, but also by a rational miscalculation of risks, or by a rash speech of one of the leaders. In past and different circumstances, the speeches of the Fascist and Nazi leaders were the immediate prologue to the massacre. The distance between the propaganda and the action, between the organization and its release on the people had become too short. But the spreading of the word could have been stopped before it was too late: if democratic tolerance had been withdrawn when the future leaders started their campaign, mankind would have had a chance of avoiding Auschwitz and a World War.
   The whole post-fascist period is one of clear and present danger. Consequently, true pacification requires the withdrawal of tolerance before the deed, at the stage of communication in word, print, and picture. Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger. I maintain that our society is in such an emergency situation, and that it has become the normal state of affairs. Different opinions and 'philosophies' can no longer compete peacefully for adherence and persuasion on rational grounds: the 'marketplace of ideas' is organized and delimited by those who determine the national and the individual interest. In this society, for which the ideologists have proclaimed the 'end of ideology', the false consciousness has become the general consciousness--from the government down to its last objects. The small and powerless minorities which struggle against the false consciousness and its beneficiaries must be helped: their continued existence is more important than the preservation of abused rights and liberties which grant constitutional powers to those who oppress these minorities. It should be evident by now that the exercise of civil rights by those who don't have them presupposes the withdrawal of civil rights from those who prevent their exercise, and that liberation of the Damned of the Earth presupposes suppression not only of their old but also of their new masters."

TDS Watch: Trump's McDonald's Order Shows That He Can't Be Trusted With Global Crises

Decisions to live this way would seem to offer insight into Trump’s ability to assess risk. In light of a nuclear standoff with North Korea, rapidly warming oceans, and a looming tax bill that would leave millions more Americans without health insurance, his approach to self-maintenance is not reassuring.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Open Discussion At Universities Is "A Win For White Nationalists"

Robin Baranyai on the Lindsay Shepherd affair.
Spoiler alert: it's moronic.

Carolina 97 - Tulane 73

AI We Made Now Makes AI That's Better Than Any AI We Made

"C'Ville Police Chief: 'Let Them Fight'"

A train wreck of stupidity...and, yeah: on all sides.
Haven't read the whole thing yet, however.

"Crash Override": Zoe Quinn And Myths Of Misogyny

The Post story on Zoe Quinn et al. and their new book.
   No need to read any of the below to find out most of what you need to know about Zoe Quinn, PC bullshitter. Just watch this.
   I don't particularly believe in misogyny--or, to be more precise, I don't believe that hatred of women is a major force in human life. I do think that disrespect (or at least a lack of respect...which may be different) for them is a major force--but (though the term makes room for that particular meaning) that's not what the term is used to mean.
Read more »

Democratic Member Of Voter Fraud Commission Claims He Has To Sue It To Find Out What It's Doing

Big if true.
  Unlike most (semi-)Democrats, I'm not even particularly against this commission. I'm actually kinda in favor of it--or would be, if it were being run honestly. There's the cost, of course, but, against the backdrop of massive government waste, it just doesn't matter that much. Government gonna waste. Might as well settle this question. I haven't even gotten that worked up by irregularities, since, even if the commission produces a flawed report, I don't see how it would hold up. Still it ought to be done right the first time. And, if the process is so opaque that even members of the commission don't know what's going on, that's a big problem.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Gropacalypse Now: Vice Edition

Vice, as is not secret, is a septic tank of political correctness and dumbassery. But I repeat myself. I really couldn't be one iota less shocked to find out that the brainless, virtue-signalling komsomolets there are also gropy sleazeballs.

Jonny Anomaly: The Politics of Science: Why Scientists Might Not Say What The Evidence Supports

Neo-Puritanism On The Dance Floor

Make sure you check in every ten seconds, shitlord, or its rape culture or whatever.
And keep those ankles covered up, you saucy little trollop.
'Cause remember: the personal is political, and the political is too important to be left up to the discretion of individuals.

Did Trump Just Admit He Obstructed Justice?

Eh...I think he probably obstructed justice. But I also think he just says shit that's convenient. So I don't take this seeming admission too seriously.
   Jesus Christ. This is what I've been reduced to: defending Donald Trump from some shit I think he's guilty of. And my defense is: he just says shit. You can't believe he means it just because he says it.

"Lock Him Up!"

An NYT Portrait Of III%ers

Can never be sure how accurate one side's portrait of the other is...but to whatever degree this is accurate, it's a matter of concern, IMO.

Oopsie: ABC Issues Bogus Flynn Story, Kicks Your IRA In The Nads

I didn't get up in arms about ABC's initial Flynn report because I just didn't believe it. Turns out, of course, that it was importantly wrong.
   The more hysterical the news media get, the more I'm inclined to think that there's just no there there. They lean significantly left and they hate Trump. And they are dead set on bringing him down. So just about everything they say about him has to be taken with a grain of salt at the very least. I just don't think that the collusion charge is very plausible anymore. I suppose it never was very plausible.
   I continue to think that obstruction is a different matter.
   Though, honestly, at this point I'm not sure I can even root for getting Trump out. I continue to think that he's a dangerous, idiotic embarrassment to the office... But the actions of Le's become too much like an attempted coup at this point.
   ( God...can't someone take his Twitter account away? The very fact that no one can get him to stop worries me. It's like he carries a gun specifically for the purpose of shooting himself in the ass two or three times per week.)

Antifa Attacking Journalists

In case you didn't realize: Antifa has a general policy of attacking journalists and basically anyone with a camera.

The NYT Edges Toward Self-Parody: "What To Wear To Smash The State"

Not exactly pro-Antifa...not exactly not pro-Antifa.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Flynn Pleads Guilty


GOP Tax Cuts Would Add $1 Trillion To Debt

Wait...Ronald Reagan proved that deficits don't matter....but then...Tea Party...but, we're back to the first one, then?