Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Do "Trigger Warnings" Make Students Less Resilient?

Probably not, but here's Soave reporting on a study. One study is basically worthless...and one study in psychology...doubly so. Not to mention: on the therapy-y side of psychology.

J'accuse!: Manafort Is...Very, Very Rich

So...I know he's not actually on trial for being rich...but, man, to be honest, this seems pretty anticlimactic.
Counterpoint: this is a common kind of way to bust crooks. Uh...right?

The Decline And Fall Of Newsweek

It went full leftard some time ago...I mean...maybe it has crazy drivel on the right, too, but I haven't seen it. But man, this stuff is just as embarrassing. My favorite bit is about the speed of the Virgin Galactic space plane. Man, that sucker can really book!
(via Instapundit...yes...I read Instapundit now. See what the SJWs have done to me??? SEE???????)

Author Of Dog Park Rape Culture Article May Not Have The Proper Credentials To Write Gibberish

Lefty Micromanagement: San Francisco Wants To Ban Employee Cafeterias

These people are crazy.

More On The Decline And Fall Of The ACLU

Monday, July 30, 2018

More On The F-15X

"Starbucks And The Swimming Pool"

By the great John McWhorter.

Larison: "The Terrible Cost Of The Cruel And Unnecessary Travel Ban"

   I was reasonably sanguine about the travel ban when it was going to have a 6-month limit. Obviously things have changed.
   OTOH, it's not a great idea to make too much of an anecdote like Larison's.

Routine Journalistic Dishonesty At The Daily Beast

I've got no interest in defending Corey Stewart, but I'll do it anyway. The story suggests that Stewart said something like: majority black cities are shitholes. In fact, Stewart called Baltimore, Memphis, and New Orleans shitholes--and they are majority-black.
   Also: we're not told whether he's called any majority-white cities shitholes. And what counts in such a case? The color of the majority, or the color of the mayor? Or the city council? All of the above? Baltimore, largely, does seem like a shithole. (Not the Inner Harbor, though...) So...it's racist to say so? Is The Wire racist? It doesn't say that Baltimore is a shithole...not in so many words, anyway...
   Seems to me that the left-leaning press can't help lying about the right...even when there's absolutely no practical/political need to. Almost no matter how bad someone to their right is, they've got to spin them up into being worse.
   Counterpoint: this is just another instance of the the journalists-don't-write-their-own-headlines phenomenon.
   Countercounterpoint: I've had about enough of your PC apologism.
   Both sides do it. Maybe I just encounter it more on the left because there are more left-leaning publications, or because that's what I tend to read.
   Anyway: just let Corey Stewart speak for himself ya mo-rons. No need to embellish.

Althouse: The Era of "That's Not Funny"

Some people are hot to destroy all the comedians who made us laugh by shocking us with their transgressions. I see Sarah Silverman is on the chopping block for tweeting, "Hey, is it considered molestation if the child makes the first move? I'm gonna need a quick answer on this." That was back in '09, when Obama was President, and people got the idea of a comedian posing as evil and not actually being evil. There was a word for it back in the old days. A "joke," we called it.
Humorlessness is a hallmark of the extremist left. Maybe it's all political extremism. But it's the left that's known for it. (Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? The most notorious A: That's not funny.)
   I'm not a big fan of "comedians," because I don't find many of them all that funny. Also: I hate being expected to laugh. Which is also why I hate Cards Against Humanity. Well: one reason I hate Cards Against Humanity... But I often find Sarah Silverman amusing--and that joke right there, that's gold, baby...gold! (Note: here's where I'm expected to say that bad things are wrong....two, three, four...)
   I know worse jokes than that that are funny, incidentally. Lots of wrong jokes are funny.
   What I like in that Althouse line is: "posing as evil." Because that's a good description of what's going on.
   A joke is an epitaph on the death of a feeling. Deal with it. But everything human is alien to them. 
   I think we should take up a collection to fund a large community of SJWs to create / occupy the most socialjusticey of all possible communities, and then peep in on it in ten years. Now that...that would be funny.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Trump: Journalists "Very Unpatriotic"

It's very difficult to be civil about this sort of thing.
He should have stuck with "fake news"--which is pretty accurate and plenty civil.
But, of course, he couldn't. Because he's a goddamned idiot and a loudmouth of world-historical proportions. 
He had to go for 'unpatriotic'...i.e.: unAmerican.
This stupid SOB is playing with fire and needs to calm the hell down right now.
Is everybody in his inner circle so feckless and pusillanimous that they can't band together and force him to give up that goddamned Twitter account?
Though, on the bright side, without it I guess we wouldn't fully realize how narcissistic and puerile he is.


That's always been a hilariously idiotic thing to say.
So I'm not so much ridiculing CNN dude Brian Stelter for contradicting himself as I'm ridiculing him for suggesting that the comparison is in any way plausible. At least by contradicting himself he ends up half right...

Should Certain Types Of Lying About Elections--E.g. Polling Times, Places, and Methods--Be Illegal?

Interesting question.
We're talking about intentional falsehoods that aim at preventing people from casting votes--e.g. telling people that they can vote via text message.
Presumption goes to a negative answer. Those who want to restrict speech have the burden of proof. The way to combat such deceptive tactics is to make accurate information easily accessible, and to reveal false information as false. Voters also have a measure of responsibility. If you can easily be convinced that you can vote via text, you're doing something wrong.
But it's not a stupid proposal.
But I wouldn't support it, off the top of my head.

University Title Generator

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The F-15X Super Eagle

So if this works out, I think we may have to admit that the F-15 is the greatest fighter plane of all time.

Jack Goldsmith: "The Rod Rosenstein Impeachment Is A Sham"

The articles of impeachment are a shameful, cynical attack on the rule of law. They are all the worse since they come in the context of our government’s trying to figure out the undoubted efforts by the Russians to manipulate our democracy in 2016.

Vice: "All Masculinity Is Toxic"

This is typical PC/SJ gibberish...there's no reason to read it. Even if you do, you can skim over it in a few seconds. You know the template: free-associative variations on a general theme of anti-male sexism. The details don't matter even a little bit.
   I post it because it's another sample of the derangement of the progressive mind, not because anything that Stoltenberg has to say is inherently interesting in any way.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Bipartisan Bill Would Prevent Trump From Exiting NATO Without Senate Consent

First: Pass this bill please. (Or am I missing something?)
Second: C'mon with that pic, WaPo. Not funny. Ok...well...funny...but not cool. Willya please stop stooping to his level?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Cool Summer

Man, it's been an unnaturally cool summer here in the Shenandoah Valley.
That's all I got.
As you were.

Pubs File Impeachment Resolution Against Rosenstein

McArdle: "Drop The Euphemisms Around Affirmative Action"

Kipling "Erasure"

Manchester U. students scrub Kipling's "If" off the wall of the student union and replace it with Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise." I'm not the biggest fan of either poem, but it seems to me that the two would coexist more than just peacefully side-by-side. 
   But the social justice Taliban doesn't want equality and equal time/space. What they want is cultural replacement.
   The SJT might respond: all you evil white guys have had your shot; it's time that "black and brown" (as they love to say) people have a chance. So this really is an equal time/space argument. That's not their dumbest argument--not by far. But I'd say that addition is preferable to replacement. So, so long as they push cultural cleansing, people like me will oppose them. (Also: it's not as if Maya Angelou and company aren't represented at contemporary universities.) 
   But I doubt that PC/SJ just seeks equal time/space in even this modified sense. To a great extent, they're against Kipling and company. And, well, Western civilization. Up until the 1960s, at least. Their actual argument is: Kiping was a colonialist. Ergo he's evil. Ergo it's not like it's ever going to be ok to favorably highlight anything he wrote. It's a kind of ideological one drop doctrine. 
   I don't really have much of a position on the Kipling vs. Angelou question. And I think one might have a reasonable discussion about the Kipling stuff. But that's not what happens with the PCs. They're trying to implement their Talibannery, and one can't spend all day in conversation when such stuff's going on. So, though I'm still thinking it over, I oppose them while I'm doing so. Of course poems can be painted and repainted on walls. So there's not much to get too freaked out about there. But this is obviously in the same vicinity as tearing down monuments, so I think it deserves some thought.

"To Stop Climate Change, We Need Open Borders"

Toooold yaaaaa
   It's a terrible idea IMO speaking from the perspective of actual policy options. But I gotta say, I don't think it's a terrible idea in theory. If the first world is driving the problem but not paying the price for it, then one way to pressure it to stop is to make it pay some kind of price. E.g. getting inundated by climate refugees.
   It's probably mostly just a kind of progressive fantasy--leveraging the climate change doomsday scenario to get open borders. But, theoretically speaking, it's not half dumb.

Peter Spiliakos, "Star Wars And The Culture War Vortex"

This is pretty good, IMO...though a bit too fair-minded and even-handed for my taste.
   I like women and non-white characters in sci-fi. OTOH, when we're in the midst of the insanity we're currently in the midst of, I think it's easy to be cynical about e.g. Star Wars jumping on the PC/SJ bandwagon. But, as Spiliakos notes, it's all complicated by the fact that the prequels and sequels just aren't very good. I mean, the first hour or so of The Force Awakens blew me away. And Rogue One is solid, IMO. But really, as much as I love love love Star Wars, the whole thing's been kinda in decline ever since the first Ewok appeared on screen. IMO, anyway. The prequels have some great stuff--most of the best lightsabre duels in the whole series. And, as I noted, I think that the sequels started off great. (Though I may just have had a particularly good movie-going experience that day--which matters.) Rey's a good, solid protagonist. And Finn had a lot of potential...which, as Spiliakos notes, has been completely squandered. That's something I thought was really good about his essay. I could never put my finger on what it was about Finn that hasn't worked out.
   But, anyway. We start with scripts and stories that, in most ways, just aren't that good. (Which is unforgivable, really.) Given the place Star Wars holds in some people's hearts, that generates frustration. Add some genuinely idiotic, sexist, racist, and otherwise defective and repulsive internet trolls and orcs. Then add some mindless PC/SJ bandwagon-jumping and frustration therewith...and you get what we've got now. I could barely stay awake through the end of The Last Jedi. That was just not a good movie IMO. Star Wars deserves better.

Fake Hate Crimes Complilation

There certainly seem to be an awful lot of hate crime hoaxes.
This seems like the sort of thing for which we need an explanation.
(I'm not sure why the Morton Downy one is included, though; that's ancient history, and I guess I thought that was just a publicity stunt.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Toby Young: "The Public Humiliation Diet"

Pretty interesting.
Though: you've got to tell the psycho left to fuck right off.
Seriously, what happened to you, Brits. You used to be cool...

"Just Remember What You're Seeing And What You're Hearing Is Not What's Happening"

Ah, yes...the Richard Pryor defense: Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes?

Sarah Jones: "There Is No Silent Centrist [Democratic] Majority

"The Base Of The Democratic Party Is Further To The Left Than Moderates Realize"
   This is consistent with my alarmism about the Dems:
   At last week’s inaugural Opportunity 2020 conference in Columbus, Ohio, one moderate Democrat after another acknowledged that all the noise in the party comes from the left wing. “There is no question there is a lot of volume and emotion and energy around the more activist wing of our party,” said Jim Himes, a U.S. representative from Connecticut who chairs the New Democrats, a coalition of 68 business-friendly House Democrats. “It’s accurate to say most of the energy on Twitter is on the far left, and a lot of the energy in Washington is on the far left,” Matt Bennett, Third Way’s vice president of public affairs, told BuzzFeed. “The only narrative that has been articulated in the Democratic Party over the past two years is the one from the left,” former Delaware Governor Jack Markell told NBC News.
   But these centrists feel that many Democrats, maybe even most of them, are being drowned out by the left. “If you look throughout the heartland, there’s a silent majority who just wants normalcy, just wants to see that people are going to go out to Washington and fight for them in a civil way and get something done,” said Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “There’s a lot of people that just don’t really like protests and don’t like yelling and screaming.”
   There are certainly some Democrats who feel that way. And it is certainly true that voters in some districts prefer moderate Democrats to their left-wing alternatives, as shown by the recent elections of Representative Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania and Senator Doug Jones in Alabama. But there is increasingly less evidence to support the notion, pushed by many leaders at last week’s conference, that there is a widespread hunger in today’s Democratic Party today for political compromise and moderate policies. Party leaders might be centrist, but the base is not.
   Though, contra me and this piece:  This is mostly about how Dems say on surveys that they want more "free" stuff. Which is not great, but it's not the stuff that really drives me nuts. I'm more concerned about the crazy PC/SJ culture war stuff. On that front, only "abolishing ICE" is even mentioned in the story. Also, what people say they want on surveys isn't necessarily what they're going to push for in a deliberate moment. 
   So, though I am inclined to agree that the Democrats' left is running wild...I didn't find much in the story to support my prejudice... But I'll keep looking.

David French: What Florida's Stand Your Ground Law Isn't

Monday, July 23, 2018

Lisa Marchiano: "Trans Activism's Dangerous Myth Of Parental Rejection"

This stuff is the satanic ritual abuse of the new millennium.

"Periods Are Political" And Taxes on Tampons

These people...how are they so consistently so annoying?
First: exactly everyone who menstruates is a woman (ergo female)
Second: binary and non-binary are not properties of people.
Third: Just shut up about this nonsense, willya?
Fourth: Toilet paper is taxed. Toilets are taxed. Bathrooms are (property) taxed. Soap is taxed. Laundry detergent is taxed. Toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste are taxed. Food is bloody well taxed. Shut up about the tampons already.
   Ten seconds of thought by an average person is enough to reveal that tampons are not special. Are these people incapable of sustaining thought for ten seconds? Are they of far-below-average intelligence? Or are they hellbent on making an issue out of anything they can think of that seems vaguely feminist? I can't believe that they think that the actual, practical payoff for women would be that important. So I suppose it must be some kind of statement. A really, really annoying statement of extraordinary dumbassitude.

Systematic Review: Puberty-Suppressing Drugs Do Not Alleviate Gender Dysphoria

This does not surprise me in the least.


Incredibles 2

Just not good.
I'm probably a bad judge because I really like The Incredibles. I've probably watched it like 20 times.
There were a couple of good scenes in the sequel...I really liked the sequence of Elastigirl tracking the signal from Screenslaver at night, and a couple of other bits. But, overall: so, so disappointing. After the first fight, it's just a slow, endless, preachy soap opera for, like, ever. And tres social-justicy to boot.
I knew there was no way to follow the first act...but, of course, let myself hope nevertheless.

"Hiding The Ball": Liberals Take Over Professions, Then Cite "Expert Knowledge" To Support Their Positions

I've been trying to make this point (at the bottom of the overall-very-interesting quote) for about a year now...not sure "hiding the ball" is the best term for it, but it'll do for now. (Instapundit link b/c WSJ link is paywalled).
   You see this chicanery all over the place. Liberals/progressives/the left/whatever takes over academic disciplines, and then basically cite themselves as the experts. Something similar goes on with the SPLC. This is one of the ways the left keeps control of Wikipedia--citing "expert opinion" in left-converged disciplines like women's studies and sociology. Just one example: arguments over the semantics of 'racism.' The term obviously means something like antipathy based on race. But the left has long hated the fact that non-whites are sometimes racist, and has tried various tactics to try to cover up this inconvenient fact. The current one is to assert that 'racism' actually means "prejudice + power"--so whites can be racist, but blacks can merely (!) be prejudiced against whites. Typical silly PC semantic shenanigans...but weirdly effective. At any rate, when challenged on this nonsense, they often cite sociology, and refer to it as the "scholarly" or "academic" definition. Wikipedia editors liberally deploy the argument that "expert opinion" about such a thing--the usage of "scholars" who often openly acknowledge that they are motivated by political aims--trumps ordinary usage.
   They use similar arguments with respect to the question "is race a natural kind?" The answer is probably yes--the preponderance of better arguments seem to support that answer. But it's common to see people arguing, roughly: most contemporary anthropologists reject the biological reality of race, so... But anthropology isn't a neutral arbiter, having been, basically, "colonized" (as they might say) by the left.
   Everybody does something like this--I mean, conservatives cite AEI and Cato. But it seems different when academia is involved. Academicians are supposed to be (and are often treated as) neutral arbiters.

Sacha Baron Cohen Gets Georgia Republican To "Fight Terrorism" By Yelling N-Bombs, Dropping His Pants, and Charging Butt-First

Henry Olson: "What Liberals (Still) Get Wrong About Trump's Support"

   The sheer ordinariness of Trump’s coalition is impossible to overstate. Data from the Voter Study Group show that more than 80% of his votes came from men and women who voted for Republican nominee Mitt Romney just four years before. This group contains the usual suspects among American Republicans: tax-cut advocates, religious evangelicals and Catholics, gun rights supporters and business types eager for deregulation. Trump has made sure to give each faction what they most desire just like any good politician would. That keeps them in his camp even as the media flays him with each supposed transgression.
   Evangelicals are a case in point. My work on Republican factions, contained in the book I co-authored with Professor Dante Scala, The Four Faces of the Republican Party, found that very conservative voters who highly value social issues comprise about 25% of the party. These voters today are very afraid that liberal and progressive judges will slowly circumscribe their ability to practice their religion in their daily lives. They tended not to support Trump during the primaries, instead backing the Texas senator Ted Cruz. Their support for Trump now is highly transactional: so long as he nominates the judges they think will protect their beliefs and way of life, they will overlook virtually anything else he says or does.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Trump And The DNC Servers

Though Trump's a disaster, he's sometimes right, and often far less wrong (or less obviously so) than his political opponents make him out to be. Prima facie, the following is important if true: the DNC refused to turn the physical server(s) in question over to the FBI. Most of the media, leaning left as usual, is deriding Trump for harping on this, for various reasons, some reasonable-sounding, some not so much.
   Here's the ambiguously-named Politifact insisting that Trump gets "all" the "details" wrong...if we interpret his words in the most unfavorable way--i.e., to mean that the DNC servers disappeared. Note that other parts of the quote aren't consistent with that interpretation--e.g. the bit where he asks "why haven't they [the FBI] taken the server?" [my emphasis], clearly indicating that it's still there and could be taken.
   Here's some dude at the Daily Beast:
Both the DNC and the security firm Crowdstrike, hired to respond to the breach, have said repeatedly over the years that they gave the FBI a copy of all the DNC images back in 2016. The DNC reiterated that Monday in a statement to the Daily Beast.
Read more »

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Low Wages Are Violence; Kiosks At McDonalds Are Genocide; Take This Crackpottery Seriously

And 'low' means: under $15/hour.
   The paleo-PCs used to basically say that whatever they didn't like was either "a kind of rape" or "a kind of" genocide. The neo-PCs have, I guess, mostly settled on the claim that everything they don't like "is violence." At least the paleo-PCs had the good sense to be ashamed enough to include qualifiers like "a kind of"...which indicated that they knew it wasn't really. Though the claim that something that isn't violence is violence seems slightly less overtly insane to me than saying it's rape or genocide.
   As Glenn Reynolds points out (and I think I have, too): the lefty-left basically thinks that everything they don't like is impermissible violence...but lefties actually punching people for saying things they don't like is just fine. So: expressing an opinion or implementing a policy to the right of the very far left: violence. Actually physically attacking people (sometimes en masse) for expressing opinions or implementing policies you don't like: not violence.
Read more »

Friday, July 20, 2018

Obama Criticizes Wealthy For Big Houses Before Returning To His $8M Mansion In One Of The World's Wealthiest Neighborhoods

What I'm most embarrassed about here is catching my brain frantically trying to figure out a response to this criticism. Et tu, brain?
 Not a great look for Obama, much as I revere the guy.

Jonathan S. Tobin: "Here's Why The Right Shouldn't Excuse Trump's Performance At Helsinki"

Will Imboden, "How Much Damage Did Trump Cause In Helsinki?"

FBI Seizes Tape Of Trump and Cohen Discussing Hush Money For Playboy Bunny

   It's...just too absurd, all this.
   Trump's our Berlusconi.

Drezner: "If This Is Not Treason, Then What Is It?"

DJ directs us to this.
   Standard disclaimer: authors apparently don't normally write their own headlines...but at first I thought this was the more relevant question: If This Is Not Treason, Then What Is?
   I still guess that Trump didn't collude with the Russians during the campaign...I'm more concerned that he may be colluding with them now. So this collusion thing may turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
   On the bright side, it'd give us a good example to use in class. That oil-embargo-gas-shortage one is getting pretty stale.
   We're not at war with Russia, so it it sounds to me--knowing nothing more than what we've all been bombarded with over the last couple of days--like the treason accusation is not the most salient one. Sounds to me like the more level-headed concern is violation of the presidential oath of office.
   But I have no real idea what's going on.
   My position is still basically: the biggest practical problem with Trump is that there are too many fuzzy cases, too many don't knows. Colluded with the Russians? Don't know. Colluding now? Don't know. Violating the emoluments clause? Don't know. How erratic is he, anyway? Don't know (he's meta-erratic). Capable of bumbling us into a war? Don't know. Capable of becoming an autocrat? Don't know. (Well...I'm starting to worry that I may have some inkling about that latter question...)
   You know, if the GOP had that dumbass superdelegate system, this would never have happened. Maybe also if the Dems didn't have it.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Daniella Pletka: "The Anti-Trump Hysteria Isn't Helping"

Jonathan Alter: "The Case For Censuring Trump"

"The Vindication Of Cheese, Butter, And Full-Fat Milk"

Yeah, I grew up on a farm, so I've never really given up on full-fat food. I did cut back on it for awhile when the hysteria hit its peak and I had a gf who was into it...but that didn't last long. I pretty quickly went back to full-fat everything. Skimmed milk is blue-white water. Why bother?

The ACLU And The Twilight Of Free Speech Liberalism

Something interesting at the New New Republic...weird...
   So, now that the ACLU has succumbed to Conquest's Second Law, is there an organization out there that is actually committed to defending free speech per se--like the ACLU used to be?

Coleman Hughes: "Black American Culture And The Racial Wealth Gap"

It's going to take awhile to get my head around this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Obama Contra Pomo/PC And The Epistemic Claims Of Identity Politics

He's said stuff like this before; I wish he'd do it more often.

George Will: "This Sad, Embarrassing Wreck Of A Man"

Trump's terrible, as most here agree. But his terribleness has driven many of his critics to apoplexy and hyperbole. Will commonly has a cooler head. It's perhaps not his title, but I'd say "infuriating, embarrassing wreck" is more accurate. "Sad" is an insult, not an accurate description, really. I mean, he's winning and cavorting about and doing whatever he wants and ostentatiously thumbing his nose at his critics...so...I don't see 'sad' so much. I wish he were sad. And maybe he is, sub specie aeternitatis, and/or in the sense of being pathetic...but whatever.
   I also very much doubt that the Russians have anything on him. It's an overly-elaborate explanation where a simple one will do: Trump often does the opposite of what he's told he should, and does such things specifically to poke a finger in the eye of his critics/enemies. He probably didn't collude with the Russians, and he's angry at the suggestion. He sees the accusations and investigations and evidences of Russian meddling as being a part of the collusion case against him, and so he takes the other side. Minimizing evidence of Russian meddling is one way to minimize evidence of collusion. He's not a particularly complicated dude, and his actions in Helsinki don't require a particularly complicated explanation. (But, of course, explanatory arguments by themselves aren't very strong. We're really just offering interpretations when we operate at this level.)
   Obviously none of this excuses anything he said. I'm really just saying, yet again: I don't see any reason to make him seem any worse than he actually is. The reality is plenty bad enough.
   Two years six months three days left, as of now. Gird up your loins and proceed with determination.

Is It Legal To Offer A President Money To Resign? Or: Let's Kickstart A Solution

Is it legal to offer a president money to resign? Is that bribery? Because how about a kickstarter? We might be able to raise enough to pay off Trump's debts--or enough to make him an actual billionaire. Isn't that what one of those Jenners did? 
   Why does he want to be president anyway? I mean...for the money (that the additional fame will bring? I'm honestly not sure how such things work) is one popular answer. This doesn't have to be a contemptuous act--if it is, even Trump might turn it down. It's just a bloodless transaction, a positive-sum game. The money seems more important to him than the presidency; the presidency's more important to us than the money. I say it's worth a try.
   Well...actually I guess it would just prompt a bidding war with his supporters. Still: we might win. But: probably not by enough to make it worthwhile for him to leave. But maybe. And there might be some related idea that would work.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trying Too Hard Not To Be Racist Is Racist

Mother Jones: Air Is Racist

Eating Hot Wings On The Teevee Is, Like, Rape Culture Or Whatever

Not even making it up.

3,251 False Claims In 497 Days?

Not really, of course. Fact Checker is not the greatest fact-checker. It more than occasionally spins and nips and tucks. (Though it misses the mark in both directions at least sometimes...so that's something.) But say the number is half that (note: it's way more than half that). Half that is some shit, lemme tell ya. Half that would be an embarrassment to the republic in and of itself. Half that would be cause for very great concern of the this-is-not-merely-concern-it-is-actually-more-what-you'd-call-alarm variety.
   This, unfortunately, makes me ponder, again, a question I often pondered during the paleo-PC era: which is:
Which is worse?:
[A] Nominally honoring the truth but lying all the time
[B] Just throwing the whole idea of truth right out the damn window?
In all honesty, I do not have a very good answer to that question.
   Throwing out the idea of truth entirely is, as all the kids are saying these days...if these days are ca. 1999...cray-cray. SO cray-cray that nobody actually does it. Which is a mitigating consideration. The PC/SJ left deploys alethic nihilism when they're losing an argument. As in:
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Larison: The Helsinki Debacle And U.S.-Russia Relations

Reasonable, as usual.

Arendt On Totalitarianism and Truth

“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.”
                            Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

I'd quibble about the identification of "fact and fiction" with "the reality of experience," and with "true and false" with "the standards of thought"...but I'm 100% down with the general idea here. Though 'the reality of experience' may be ambiguous. So maybe my quibble is with a misunderstanding. And "the standards of thought" are more on the side of justification than of truth...unless we're talking about some kind of Peircean limit of inquiry...
   Note to self: stop quibbling, stupid. Arendt is on the mark.

"Stop Gendering Your Baby"!

This....this...THIS is, perhaps, the crowning jewel of PC / social justice pseudophilobabble. This thing has it all...from insisting on the sex/gender distinction to thermonuclear botching of the sex/gender distinction to hating on "the olds" to asserting that sex (the biological male/female distinction) isn't real... With some derisive comments about the continuation of the species thrown in for good measure...and with the suggestion that the author had chosen not to become pregnant...which...seems rather implausible...
   Yes, it's Broadly...which might even be a notch down from Jezebel... But these are all arguments common on the PC/SJ left. It's not like this is some big deviation from the orthodoxy. It's just all expressed in a particularly, laughably up-front way. So I'll allow it.
(h/t Critical Spirits...sorry about my failure to h/t last time...!)

NYT Homophobic?

Sarah Hoyt notes that Neo-Neocon notes that this would not fly if it came from the right.

Washington Post: "Trump Just Colluded With Russia. Openly."

Seems like a pretty fair assessment.
   It doesn't surprise me, and I even have a tiny fragment of sympathy for him. I don't think he colluded with the Rooskies. And he's a pretty simple-minded guy. You're with him or your against him. So he sees the accusations as unfair--which, of course, they have been to a large extent. There are good reasons to investigate, but, running parallel to those are the partisan REEEEEEsistance motives--attribute every bad thing to Trump, and get him by any means possible. (Funny how people who have been fretting about our democracy have often also been promoting efforts to get rid of a democratically-elected President via undemocratic means...) So say Trump's innocent of collusion. He's not particularly objective or fair-minded, and he inclines toward adversarial thinking. So all he really sees is unfairness and political chicanery. 
   I think some people...maybe not a lot of people...but, say, an Obama...would be able to step back and recognize that the investigation was necessary and the the Russians were up to no good, even in the midst of fending off unfair accusations/attacks by the other side. But Trump...no way. He is not such a person. 
Read more »

Monday, July 16, 2018

Vox: Trump Only Won The 2016 Election Because Of, Y'Know, The Rules

God Vox is a train wreck.
Ezra: you are better than this.
Trump says Dems have an advantage in the EC...but he won because of the EC...so...so...SO...YOU SEE WHAT I'M SAYING??????
   It seems to not have occurred to the geniuses at Vox that x can give Smith an advantage, and yet Smith can lose because of x... MIND. BUH-LOWWWWN.
   I'm currently generally in favor of the electoral college...though I haven't always been...and despite its having given us both (God help us) Dubya and (God help us) Trump. If this seems impossible to you, you may be a writer for Vox. But who the hell cares what I think about it? Even I don't really. I haven't really thought about it hard enough to deserve an opinion.

Are Democrats Dumping Moderates?

To some extent.
As you may recall, democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time...
Also, kids are stupid.
Somebody needs to try to talk some sense into these goddamn Democrats before they shoot themselves in the ass yet again.

Help us, Obamawan-Kenobi...you're our only hope...

"I Think That This Is The Summit That Putin Was Waiting For His Entire Life"

So saith Alina Polyakova, Brookings Russia expert:
“Just meeting with Putin by the U.S. president is not an issue. All U.S. presidents have met with the Russian president,” Polyakova said. “The problem here is that this administration has done this in reverse: Usually there’s a long period of process, of prep work and negotiations. ... The meeting between the leaders happens last to affirm the negotiating process.”
“So I could see—I’m not saying I’m subscribing to this view—from Trump’s perspective, that this is an important relationship that has gone a little bit off the rails ... and that he needs to fix it,” Polyakova said. “And, of course, every single U.S. president has come into office thinking he could fix it because of his charisma and persona, and it was his the last guy who got it wrong, and in that way Trump is not that different from Obama, or even Bush.”

Winner-Take-All Voting Sucks

An amusing explanation by CGP Grey.

Steve Schmidt: Why I Quit The Vile Republican Party

Schmidt quitting doesn't mean that much to me, since he's a hired gun like Carville or Matalin. It means a lot more that George F. Will quit, IMO.
   But, anyway, since I think Trump isn't as bad as he's represented on the left, it's important to take such equally alarming representations from the right very seriously.
   I actually find the question "how bad is Trump...really?" pretty damn interesting, and not just for practical reasons. Seems to me to be an interesting epistemic question. My own answer is something like: he's f*cking AWFUL...what kind of f*cking question is that? But...he's somewhere between about 30% and 80% as awful as e.g. the mainstream media represents him as being. But make no mistake about it...30% as bad would be very, very bad...

The Left And "Identity"

So 'identity' actually means: who you are.
   But on the left it means some intersection of:
(a) Who you say you are
(b) How you show up in a worldview that basically sees only race, "gender," and sexual orientation (and maybe some other stuff like sex...though that is suspiciously real and biological, so...)
   So it's not just "What race / "gender" / etc. are you?" It's "What race / "gender" / etc. do you choose to call yourself?"
   Bah! Have I mentioned I'm against them???? I'M AGAINST THEM!!!!! OPPOSED! DO NOT LIKE!!!!11111


ARE YOU READY FOR SOME...uhhhh...social justice gym?
   Totalitarians gonna totalize, I reckon...don't want any aspect of life to remain unsaturated by leftist rightthink.

Trump Sides With Putin Against U.S. Intelligence

12 Russian Agents Indicted In Mueller Investigation

I've got nothing to say about this--just felt like posting it.
   I still doubt that Trump colluded...but I guess the main question right now is whether he'll admit what's what and authorize some kind of punitive action. His beliefs, words and actions aren't constrained overmuch by the pressure of facts...so he may very well just continue to assert that this is all nothing and ignore it. Facts are stubborn things...but some people are stubborner.

(Not terribly important comment in the cosmic scheme of things: the NYT is, as you can see in the story, still trying to claim that Trump "publicly encouraged Russia to hack Mrs. Clinton's emails," and that he "invited" and "urged" them to do so. Which is bullshit. It was a jokey comment made in the course of excoriating Clinton for being (allegedly) careless with (allegedly) classified emails. More like "well, if they were hacking her, I hope they found those emails she says she lost..." Though, admittedly, his delivery isn't as obviously jokey as some of the jokey comments that the press pretends are serious.
Again: if Trump's so awful, why make shit up about him?
My view: he is awful; awful enough that I feel no need to make shit up.
Also, though: Presidential candidates should not make jokes like that. C'mon. It was no Reaganesque "we start bombing in five minutes"...but it was ill-advised.)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

George Will: "Trump Says Mueller's Appointment Was Unconstitutional; Was He right?"

Very interesting.
But I'm still trying to resist the urge to actually dive into all this stuff. So this is, undoubtedly, common knowledge to many.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

California Outlaws Gay Conversion Therapy

I don't care much about this one way or another--I think sexual preference is largely fixed fairly early on, but malleable to some extent that varies from person to person. I think we'd all be better off if people generally felt freer to be who they are more-or-less naturally. But I also understand people who prefer to have more average/normal sexual preferences, and I don't think it's my business to tell them they can't try to accomplish that if they want to. Though, again, personally, I'd say: try to be happy with who you are. I'm told that "gay conversion therapy" doesn't work--which wouldn't surprise me.
   But question: are all treatments that don't work outlawed in California? How about woo-woo "New Age" crystal-rubbing? Past-life regression? Homeopathy? Acupuncture? Ordinary old faith healing / prayer? Any of the zillion other magical pseudocures? Are they all at least banned for minors?
   Or is this being treated as a special case because it's something that the left hates?

Carlos Lozada: "Can Truth Survive This President? An Honest Investigation."

I think this is pretty good.
Obviously I've been making a bunch of similar noises for a long time, though, so I'm not exactly neutral.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Daniella Greenbaum: "The Social Justice Mob Is A Danger To Society"

Fight them at every opportunity.

Robert Kagan: Is Trump Trying To Destroy NATO?

Not the Post's title...but that's the upshot. Or, rather: the upshot is: yes.

921 days, and counting.

U.S. Ranked As 10th Most Dangerous Country For Women By "Experts On Women's Issues"

When you unhitch your ideology from the facts, all things are possible.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Good News! We're Still In NATO!

I've lowered my expectations, and am happier for it.

Transgenderism, "Transwomen Are Women," And Meaning-Change Arguments

Had a beer with a colleague yesterday, and was vividly reminded of how dangerous the intellectual / philosophical side of the transgenderism debate is. Dude is very sharp and intellectually honest. He's not a philosopher de jure, but he is one de facto. He's got a skeptical (in the ordinary sense) turn of mind without being Dawkinsian or any such thing. I want to stress that he wasn't cheating--wasn't intentionally trying to obscure the issues, nor to motte-and-bailey, nor any such thing... And still, two or three moves into the argument, honest errors and confusions had become self-reinforcing and overlapping to such an extent that it was really hard even for me--and I'm pretty good at that aspect of things--to sort them out as fast as they were being produced.
   For example, just getting people to keep the following two propositions separate is a job of work:
[A] Some men are female
[B] It would be possible for the meaning of the word 'men' to change so as to make a sentence like 'some men are female' express a truth. 
Those are two very, very different claims, and you've got to keep them separate. [A] is false and [B] is true. And most importantly: the truth of [B] does not make [A] true. (This follows just from: [B] is true and [A] is false; but that's not the only way to see the point.)
   Progressives are arguing that "transwomen are women." Since "transwomen" are men/male, the claim is false. But if the descriptors confuse you, take a paradigm example. Jenner--a "transwoman"--is not a woman. "Transwomen" are not women: 'woman' means adult female person; Jenner is not female; ergo Jenner is not a woman. It's an extremely simple and straightforward point. Of course: if you'd like to pretend that Jenner is a woman, no one's stopping you. It might be polite in Jenner's presence, or it might make you feel good, or you might want to contribute to changing the meaning of 'woman', or whatever...but "transwomen" are not women. And that's, as they say, just a fact.
Read more »

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Drum: Republican Tax Cuts Since 2000 Are Responsible For Nearly The Entire Federal Deficit

Holy crap:
Just to make sure you get that: Republican tax cuts since 2000 are responsible for nearly the entire federal deficit. Repeal them all and the budget would be almost balanced.
I say again: holy crap.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

538 on Kavanaugh: Barely To The Left Of Thomas??

Big if true.

Balkin on Kavanaugh: Not Good

  I didn't mention all weird stuff about the executive before, but that's...a problem, I agree. And I lol'd at this line:
Common sense and the English language make clear that something called an “assault rifle” is not primarily a defensive weapon.
   Obviously Balkin means for this to be more on the quick take side of things than the careful analysis side. But: I really don't think it's much of a problem that strict constructionism and common sense often conflict. There's probably no realm of human endeavor in which there aren't contradictory plausible principles. And to say that, for example, one ought to be, in general, guided by common sense is not to say that common sense is inviolable. And linguistic arguments like the 'assault rifle' argument are pretty unreliable. (Still...makes ya think...)
   So I wasn't too impressed by this take--but it still goes in the information hopper.

(Progressive) Douchery Roundup

At Victory Girls, via Instapundit.
   PC fun police scold us all about Ant Man 2 because...pain should hurt? And so the movie is...uh...racist? IDK honestly. But the phrase "white science" is actually used unironically. Monster hunting is teh RAZIZT!!!111 and so Larry Correia is teh RAZIZT!!!111. Precognitive students hate Trump's SCOTUS nominee before there's a nominee (hint: heez teh RAZIZT!!!111). More progressive love for left-to-right political violence (because "MAGA" is the RAZIZT!!!111. Cap'n Kirk vs. the Beings From Planet POMO (guess what William Shatner is? Starts with an 'R'...ends with an 'IZT'...go ahead...guess!).
   I swear, kids. Liberalism didn't used to be a laughable variety of low-rent, pseudointellectual Stalinism. It really, really didn't.

It's Kavanaugh

The left is freaking out...but it's one long, continuous freak out anymore over there...punctuated by occasional bouts of abject hysteria...so...business as usual. No matter who Trump picked it'd be about the same. So: no real information to be gleaned from their reaction. They'll say any conservative nominee is against Roe, and they're saying that about Kavanaugh, even though he's on record as having said:
"If confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully. That would be binding precedent of the court. It's been decided by the Supreme Court." He added: "It’s been reaffirmed many times."
Yes, that certainly does sound like he's gunning for Roe alright... Jesus.
   Conservative reactions are mixed. Which is, to my way of thinking, good. If nobody's happy, I'm happy. Needless to say, the right is happier than the left. Given the current madness on the left, though, I'm ok with that, too. Since free speech is now...and I still don't really understand how this happened...a conservative cause, I guess I'm a conservative now...? WTH America; sometimes I just can't figure you out.
Read more »

Monday, July 09, 2018

Drum: Could Liberals Raise A Billion Dollars Per Year To Fund Abortions?

Drum says that this is probably a dumb idea, but I've thought about this myself so...uh...hm... Not sure what the end of that thought should be now that I'm here...
   A lot of stuff could be done this way, given sufficient motivation/commitment.

Big Sibling Is Watching You...Screw: Will Australia Require Explicit Verbal Consent For Sex?

This is insane.
   Remember when the left wanted the government out of your bedroom? Because those days are long past. The general thrust (as it were) of contemporary progressivism is toward greater social and political interference in private affairs--minimization of individual freedom and autonomy, and micromanagement by the doctrines and apparatchiks of the left... Ahem... Though one might be able to say all that a bit more dispassionately.
   The only thing standing between the left and the implementation of this sort of sexual totalitarianism is means. If they thought they could get away with it, they'd do it. They already did it in American public universities. I.e.: the one place they had the power to do so.
   And don't give me any of that well-wouldn't-there-be-certain-advantages nonsense. Nothing could be more irrelevant. This is a matter of freedom and privacy. You probably have a pretty good idea where you can stick your good consequences, such as they are. One of my general, animating ideas is: you can be a liberal without being a moron about it. Case in point: you can be against rape without being a totalitarian psycho about it.
Read more »

Sunday, July 08, 2018

The Guardian's Live Feed Of Thai Cave Rescue

Two already rescued.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Salon: "Did The Trump Administration Send A Coded Message To Neo-Nazis? Maybe Not--But Is That Reassuring?"

Is Salon.com a front for anti-American activities directed by an alliance of China, ISIS and Hydra?
Maybe not but...etc. etc...
I mean...Salon...so...
But still. This is Farrakhan levels of numerological crackpottery.
You also may be interested to know that:
When there is no low beneath which a president and his administration will not sink, and no rule or norm which he, his allies and his supporters will not break, almost anything is possible.
How that's relevant to the Trump administration, I'm not sure. Trump sucks, it's true. But to say that "there is no low beneath which..." etc. means that he'd be willing to engage in murder, torture, "ethnic cleansing," genocide...you name it.
   I guess you could say that this is no worse than Birtherism. Though birtherism never really affected much beyond the Left Behind wing of the right, did it? I mean...y'know...except for Trump...
   My favorite bit, of course is that Salon's answer is "maybe not." I mean, honestly. It's not a serious "publication" (does it count as a publication?)...but people on the left do read it and cite it.
   Eh. Point and laugh and move on, I reckon...but man...these people really have lost their shit.

David French: "How Progressive Radicals Move The Country Left, And Right"

Friday, July 06, 2018

Andrew Sullivan Is Right On Target: "Obama's Legacy Has Already Been Destroyed"

I think Sullivan is almost exactly right about this.
   He gets a few things wrong--e.g. that racial essentialism is somehow in play, for example, or that it's a bad thing. That's some kind of popomo left myth. I mean...they don't understand what essentialism is...but they really hate it. (Actually, what they hate is realism, not essentialism...but they're not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed, philosophically speaking...) And he suggests (e.g. by putting "white" in scare quotes) that races are fictions (e.g. "social constructs"). He seemed to pick that stuff up after his dust-up with Ta-Nahisi Coates...who has no earthly idea what he's talking about when it comes to "social construction"... But the left viciously dogpiles anyone with the temerity to disagree with Coates, and even Sullivan didn't have the wherewithal to stand up to that onslaught. Thousands of Coates-worshipping lefties screaming that you're a racist...extremely unpleasant, I'm sure.
   He's also wrong that Trump is entirely responsible for goading the left into craziness--though he may not have intended to suggest that. The crazy left was super-crazy long before Trump came onto the political scene. In fact, it was being the only candidate with the balls to stand up to political correctness that got Trump his initial impetus. And he deserved it. (Though...he does, of course, have a rather overly-expansive conception of PC.)
   But I don't mean to quibble. Sullivan's right on target. The right--Trump--has shredded Obama's legacy on the policy side, and the left has shredded his legacy on the vision side. A pox on both their goddamn houses.
   Damn it...for all his mistakes, we were fortunate to have Obama. It's all just such a tragedy. Though it's possible that his legacy is more resilient than Sullivan recognizes...things certainly don't look good for it. Which means: things don't look particularly good for America.

Jonathan Rauch: "Earmarks: The One Thing Trump Gets Right About Congress"

"How Next Gingrich Crippled Congress"

There could be a lot more stuff in here... 
I really dislike that guy.

Who Killed The Center-Left?

Free Speech Thought-Experiment

Suppose an individual, S:
1.  Publicly, repeatedly denigrates group G.
2.  S knows that what S says about G is false.
3.  We know that what S says about G is false.
4.  We know that S knows that what S says about G is false.
5.  S does not intend to incite violence against G in the immediate future.
6.  What S says has no tendency to incite violence against G in the immediate future.
7.  S intends to incite violence against G in the non-immediate future.
8.  What S says has a tendency to incite violence against G in the non-immediate future.
9.  We know that what S says will incite violence against G in the non-immediate future.

Ignoring First Amendment and other legal considerations (e.g. supposing that we're living in the state of nature, or in a civilized country without a Bill of Rights, or whatever): 
Does S have a right to say the things he's saying about G?
Are we obligated to / should we tolerate S's speech?

Pruitt Steps Down As EPA Administrator

Good damn riddance.
   What a tool. Dude should be sued for misuse of our daggum money. And remember--I defended him for flying bidness class! Largely because I found it plausible that shrieking resistomaniacs were making it intolerable to fly coach. Which was before they admitted that this was now their official policy...so...just pointing out that I was right on that point...
   Though...if you're making that kind of coin, you should probably be using your own $$ for the upgrade. Honestly, I just assumed that someone that high-ranking would be permitted to fly business class. Though actually, I think he was flying first class...on our dime...so...screw that guy anyway.
   I don't think there's any hope of getting a good appointment for this post out of Trump. All we can hope for is someone shy of, say, James-Watt levels of awful. Which is ok. I'm inclined to think we can survive two more years of EPA crapitude. That agency has overreached on a lot of fronts anyway. Good SCOTUS nominations are indispensable. We can live with bad EPA administrators.
   But anyway, Pruitt: don't let the screen door hit ya on the way out.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Yale Grad Students' Hunger Strike For Even Cushier Benefits Involves Eating When Hungry

Yale doctoral students currently earn a stipend $30,000 a year, receive free health care, and have their $40,000 tuition paid in full, according to Yale News. The university administration said in a statement that they understood the students concerns, but "strongly [urge] that students not put their health at risk or encourage others to do so."
I'd urge them not to risk their health, too, if I were paying for their insurance... Jesus...at Carolina we made something like 7k per year (not including summer teaching if we could get it), had dicey tuition remission, and no health insurance. Of course that was back in the paleolithic, but still. You couldn't actually live on it. 
   I remember when a grad student group (we didn't/couldn't have a union) run by PC types started a movement to get us better pay and insurance. A lefty friend of mine was in the group, and started going on to me one day about how we had a right to more money, and it was an outrage and this and that. I didn't come from the same kind of background as most philosophy grad students, and I was pretty much just happy to be there. I'd turned down a lot more money from other programs, and I knew what I was getting into when I accepted the offer from Carolina. I wanted more money and some insurance, but I didn't think we had a right to it. Actually, I considered us very fortunate. We ended up in kind of a semi-angry argument about it, and I pointed out that, in my opinion, we were a lot better off than, say, the housecleaning staff, and if I were going to get all huffy about something, I'd rather see them get more than see us get more. Most of us were doing what we loved, getting training for our careers, and going on to fulfilling and at least minimally well-paying jobs. The housekeepers...weren't. My friend kinda left in a wee huff...but I was amused to see, about two weeks later, that the group had changed its demands to include better pay for the housekeeping staff. In fact, hat amused me a whole lot more than it should have, tbh.
   So anyway, what's my point? Oh, who knows.

Larry Sanger: "The New York Times Comes Out Against Free Speech"

I don't agree with everything in this, but three cheers for its main thrust.

Drum: "Has The Liberal Mainstream Suddenly Shifted Left?"

Drum says: no.
I say: yes.
My explanation for the disagreement: Drum's a wonky economic liberal, interested in wonky economic matters: hence his emphasis on tax rates, "free" college, and breaking up banks. The radical shift on the left has been more on matters of principle, social/cultural issues, and philosophical/theoretical questions: free speech, free assembly, transgender ideology/theory, tolerance for political violence (by the left), immigration enforcement and the very legitimacy of borders, "multiculturalism," and all the other kindsa stuff I carp about around here. The radical shift has been due to the re-emergence / ascendance of political correctness / social "justice"-ism. Aside from a lot of loose talk about socialism, I don't see much happening on the economic left (or the "political left" as Rorty calls it).
   In fact, anti-Bernie-ism seems to be burbling up among progressives, with some complaining about how he's not "really left" because he won't join the call to eliminate ICE.

[For the love of God...don't look at the comments! DON'T LOOK AT THE COMMENTS!!! Believe me, you'll be much, much happier if you don't.]

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Nearly 14K Immigrants To Become Citizens On July 4th

Welcome home, fellow 'Murikans!

Happy Birthday, Fellow 'Murikans

The Cult* of "Diversity": Personal "Diversity Statements" For Academic Job Candidates

Look, even if you've been sitting on the sidelines all this time...this insanity has to be enough to get you to join the fray.
   These statements are analogous to professions of religious belief and good ("good") works. Even if this weren't a way to give preferences to leftist candidates, they would be horrifying. And, of course, it's yet another sneaky (but not very sneaky) way to give advantage to groups at the top of the progressive stack.
   I think you have to be horrified and outraged by this. If you're not...well, you're wrong! Your attitude is bad, and you should feel bad! This is a blow...and I'm not hyperbolizing!...right at the very heart of the university.
   And look goddamn it: I'm not in favor of racial homogeneity nor any such crazy thing. I'm not even against some form of affirmative action. I'm against a crazy political cult taking over the intellectual cornerstone of Western--and human!--civilization. And also against: that cornerstone of civilization welcoming its own destruction with open arms. Also I shouldn't have to ante up with my liberal cred to be taken seriously! As if anyone were taking me seriously! Gah!
   It's like goddamn invasion of the body snatchers all up in here. You go along with a group of people for decades thinking that you're all committed to some noble and rational enterprise...then suddenly it turns out that they've apparently never been committed to that project at all! Instead they're completely different people than you thought they were...they've always been on some kind of trajectory that was, apparently, perfectly consistent with welcoming in a cult that demands the subordination of truth to dogma. SO IT'S NOT REALLY MUCH LIKE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T BEEN REPLACED BY POD PEOPLE...THEY'VE BEEN POD PEOPLE ALL ALONG!!!! BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

*  Incidentally, one of my (not even religious) colleagues in religion pointed out to me how messed-up it is to use the "it's like a religion!" charge as a way of insulting/criticizing/discrediting positions. I've come to think that was a really good point. Even though this stuff is, in fact, like a religion. It's not crazy because it's a religion (or maybe not, anyway). Rather, crazy politics and crazy religions and other similar crazy things are all crazy because they share certain characteristics. But religions aren't necessarily crazy, just like science (in a thin sense of the term) isn't necessarily rational.

The Blue Dog Coalition

Still alive and kickin'.
Keep hope alive and whatnot.

TNR: If You Don't Want To Abolish ICE, Then You're Not On The Left

Remember when TNR was TNR?

LSAT Adopts 12 Different "Gender" "Identity" Options

Aside from the many other ridiculous things about this sort of nonsense:
* 'Gender' is now basically meaningless. (Worse, it sort of flip-flops back-and-forth between meaning sex and meaning something other than sex IDK what.)
* Not many of these are "genders" on any reasonable construal of the term. 'Man' and 'woman' aren't, certainly, nor any "trans" variations thereof. The closest thing to a gender in that list is probably 'androgyne'.
And 'gender'--if it's distinguished from sex--is irrelevant to the LSAT anyway. What the LSAT needs to know is your bloody sex: are you male or female? The LSAT folks have no reason in the world to care about your "gender."
The current approach to this stuff is a joke. Either say 'sex'--which is what you ought to care about for the purposes of making sure someone is who they say they are--or, if you insist on talking about "gender," settle on a reasonable, fixed meaning for the term.
It's almost unbelievable how stupid this stuff is.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Pics From Thai Cave Rescue Effort

"Seeking A Scientific Explanation For Trans Identity Could Do More Harm Than Good"

This is more pro-"trans" propaganda, hence, unsurprisingly, it's less than great. But it's true that alleged biological accounts/explanations of transgenderism haven't been very good. And my guess is that they're unlikely ever to pan out. Because we're probably not talking about a biological phenomenon--but political correctness means never having to bow to hegemonic phallogocentric white Western male science... So the conclusion of this piece is, in effect: whelp, looks like science can't do everything!:
Both good science and good advocacy [1] dictate that we’re better off acknowledging what we don’t know about ourselves than than overstating what we do.[2] It doesn’t help the LGBTQ community to fixate on what we might learn, if only we could scan the right brains or pinpoint the right genes. [3] Trying to locate a single biological origin can only blind us to the vibrancy and diversity of real trans lives. [4] If we trust the volume of the frontal cortex over what a person tells us about themselves, we deny them their autonomy and their humanity. [5]Those who really want to advance the cause [6] should start by believing trans people when they speak up about who they are. [7]
[1] Screw "advocacy." This is a scientific (broadly construed) question.
[2] Agreed, but you can't keep using appeals to ignorance when your arguments don't work out. If brain scans were producing the results trans ideology wanted, we wouldn't be seeing articles like this.
[3] Ok, but the goal is to find the truth, not "help the LGBTQ community."
[4] Not necessarily. Why would it do such a thing? Also: not very relevant. Again: the goal is to find the truth. And that has nothing to do with promoting "the vibrancy and diversity of real trans lives."
[5] Utterly false. Denying that men who pretend to be women are women (or vice-versa) denies no one their humanity--no one, anywhere, is saying that they aren't human. And this isn't a matter of autonomy any more than race or height is. If I lie about my height and you refuse to play along, you aren't "denying my autonomy." You're sticking to the facts.
[6] I'm gonna stop you right there...that's not--or shouldn't be--the goal. One of the reasons this stuff is all so insane is that it refuses to separate non-political facts and inquiry from political advocacy.
[7] Ok, but that's decidedly not the case for those who want to know the truth. Basically if you want to advance any cause you might just believe whatever its advocates tell you. But if you want to know the truth, that's just about the worst possible course of action.

This Is AmeriKKKa

You know who else thought there were Nazis all over the place...?

Trump Administration Reverses Obama On Affirmative Action

I don't know what to think about this.
   I'm extremely anti-affirmative action...except in the sense that I think it may be the least-crappy option. At least in terms of consequences. I'm very much against--actually against, not just against in the other sense--the cult of diversity that's taken over my own institution (and many other places, it seems). I guess my current position is something like: I wish universities weren't possessed by this irrational, pseudoscientific quasi-religion...but I'm kind of in favor of the government forcing some rather minimal sex and race quotas on them, because I think it's good for society. Some nonsense like that. I wish universities hadn't become an arm of the left, and that they'd stand up for merit instead of trying every trick and fallacious argument in the book to promote diversomania. But the gubmint would say: sorry, but we have an important interest in keeping some rough proportionality with respect to race and sex when it comes to college degrees. (Imagine how screwed up things would be if, say, Asians or whites or whoever were getting 95% of the college degrees...) So your principles have to be modified by the national interest.
   Yeah, we don't live in that world.

"How Conservatives Have Weaponized The First Amendment"

The left continues to press its case against free speech.
   Sometimes it's ok to reject arguments out of hand...
   However there are some points that do warrant thought. Breyer is right that we don't want to misuse appeals to free speech. Even aside from the fact that we don't want to misuse any arguments, misusing free speech arguments would tend to undermine support and respect for free expression. (Have I mentioned that I hate counterproductivity arguments?) 
   Anyway: the left now has up such an anti-free-speech head of steam that I don't see this push abating any time soon. 
   Oh and: don't miss this link: Louis Michael Seidman, "Can Free Speech Be Progressive?" Spoiler alert: no.

Vincent Harinam and Rob Henderson: "Political Moderates Are Lying"

The title doesn't capture the main points all that well IMO:
   One of the most important concepts for understanding social behavior is preference falsification. Developed by economist Timur Kuran, preference falsification occurs when an individual publicly misrepresents their private views to fit into a social group. It is conformity for the sake of social self-interest.
   And reputation matters. We falsify our preferences to maintain or improve our standing within a group. Conformity to group preferences yields approval, affection, and advancement within the group. Disobedience, however, is reputational forfeiture as we may lose our seat at the vaunted “cool table.” The punishment for nonconformity is disrespect and ostracism.
   But preference falsification raises more questions than it answers. Why do the vast majority of us, despite our supposedly moderate beliefs, adopt more partisan viewpoints? How did these viewpoints become mainstreamed? Who decides the rewards and punishments for conformity and dissent?
Read more »

CNN: "The Movement To Abolish ICE Is Heating Up--And Going Mainstream"

   On the one hand, CNN saying it's happening could just mean that CNN wants it to happen...
   On the other hand, this really is the sort of thing that left-wing Democrats actually do want. So it wouldn't surprise me if this idea really were picking up steam, what with them becoming more and more openly against the very ideas of, y'know, borders and whatnot.
   On the other other hand, it sounds like there may be at least some good reasons to split ICE into separate agencies...though, despite the way CNN spins it, that's not the sort of thing that the anti-ICE crowd is interested in.
   If this were a technical question about the nature and composition of a federal agency, that'd be one thing. I expect nobody reading this knows enough of about ICE to know, for example, whether it'd be better to split off HSI from the rest of the agency. (I'd never heard of HSI before about ten minutes ago.) But this isn't that kind of technical bureaucratic question. It's the next move in the progressive--and now, apparently, Democratic--push for something approximating open borders.
   Trump's absolutely right that this is a big winner for the GOP. Seems to me that sane Dems are trying to talk their left wing down on this one...but I'm not sure how much control they have over them anymore. It may turn into their Tea Party. And if the Dems really do go this way, they'll deserve to have their clocks cleaned by Trump. The Dems are fully capable of shooting themselves in the ass in this sort of way.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Beinart: "How The Democrats Lost Their Way On Immigration"

I disagree with Beinart significantly more than I used to, but I think he's still producing some good stuff:
The myth, which liberals like myself find tempting, is that only the right has changed. In June 2015, we tell ourselves, Donald Trump rode down his golden escalator and pretty soon nativism, long a feature of conservative politics, had engulfed it. But that’s not the full story. If the right has grown more nationalistic, the left has grown less so. A decade ago, liberals publicly questioned immigration in ways that would shock many progressives today.
Read more »

Conference: "Political Theory of LGBTQ Migrants And Refugees"

Not making this up; posted to PHILOS-L:
Call for Papers: Political theory of LGBTQ migrants and refugees, November 30, 2018, University of OttawaLGBTQ migration, and the treatment of LGBTQ migrants and refugees, raise several ethical and political theoretical questions that are distinct from the general questions of migration. The current migration flows, immigration and admission policies, as well as modes of integration, are all affected by different notions – and expectations – of a person’s sexual and gender identity. On the one hand, LGBTQ migrants and refugees are among the most vulnerable groups in global migration movements; on the other, the movement of affluent LGBTQ persons within western cities and metropoles tells a very different story about LGBTQ migration.
This workshop brings together political philosophers, ethicists and other experts on migration to discuss the political theoretical challenges of global migration and refugee movements with a specific focus on LGBTQ perspectives. The possible topics include (but are not restricted) to• The duties of states and/or civic society to LGBTQ migrants and refugees• The ethics of prioritizing (or not) LGBTQ refugee admissions• The treatment of testimony of LGBTQ refugees in asylum processes• LGBTQ integration and the effects of LGBTQ migration on the host society, especially in the context of racial and cultural difference• The adverse effects of migration to LGBTQ persons and communities
The papers will be pre-circulated and workshoppers will be expected to read them in advance. Confirmed speakers include Avigail Eisenberg (Victoria), Cyril Ghosh (Wagner), Matthew Lister (Deakin), and Christine Straehle (Ottawa).Expressions of interest / abstracts of 300-500 words should be sent to
Academia's on-going self-parody is approaching some analog of singularity.


Y'know, this is not the dumbest idea I've ever heard.
Is it?

Blue Dogs Eye Comeback In 2018

I hardly even know what to do anymore when I see even moderately encouraging political news.

Bill Maher / Michael Moore

What should we make of this sort of delusional discussion?

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Zakaria: Meritocracy Under Siege

Max Boot: "Trump Wants To Finlandize The U.S."

Stage 3 TDS

Polio Reported in Papua New Guinea

Ames, IA Public Library Hosts K-12 "Drag Camp"

So...is there any reasonable way for this to not be interpreted as an illegitimate use of taxpayer money (and a public institution) to advance a leftist position in the culture war? Not to mention: to run something that's akin to a kinky sex camp for small children?
   I mean...honestly...drag camp for kindergarteners?
   Look, I'm not what you'd call particularly averse to questioning the status quo. But you really do have to draw the line somewhere, sometime. Having a public discussion about sex roles and gender norms: perfectly reasonable. Drag training camp for kindergarteners at the public library: uhhh...I'm going to say: not reasonable.
   Maybe after extensive, open public discussion of this sort of thing, we might, in due time, come to accept a social consensus to the effect that our aversion to such things is poorly-justified, and that we really ought to view such things as perfectly ordinary, entirely innocent and non-sexual matters that kids are naturally interested in exploring. Don't get me wrong...I'm fairly sure that would be f*cking nuts. I'm just saying that I'm not ruling it out a priori. I suppose what I'm saying is that this seems to me to be less like a natural social evolution predicated on actual due deliberation...and more like a mad dash to implement the latest insane sexual or quasi-sexual fad that the left wants to shove down our throats.
   As I guess I've said, I only recently came to realize (or at least suspect) that the "logic" of the left is to push for ever-more-radical positions as soon as each new battle is won. So having won the battle over same-sex marriage (something about which I mostly agreed with them), they moved forthwith to bully the culture into accepting that men can magically turn into women. This normalization of "drag" can be seen as part of that effort...and/or it can be seen as an early move in what might turn out to be the next battle: the sexualization of children.
   Jesus, will you listen to me? I used to deride people who talked like this, I'll have you know...
   I like how the librarian tries to spin this all as a matter of "fearlessness" on their part...rather, than, say, insanity...or political correctness...or something even worse...
   I've noticed that my institution's libraries seem to push lefty causes in various ways. I wonder whether it's something that gets instilled in people in librarian school.
   Anyway: am I nuts for thinking this is nuts? Or am I nuts for thinking that it might not be nuts? Surely I'm nuts for one of those things...

Progressives Call To Block Trump's SCOTUS Appointment, Pack The Court

Not to mention the "harebrained" theories about Kennedy's retirement, and his concurring opinion in Trump v. Hawaii.
   As White points out, a 15-judge court (which some progressives want from the next Dem administration) would lead inevitably to an even bigger court during the subsequent Republican administration, and so on.
   White also urges understanding as progressive plans for total cultural domination fall through with Kennedy's retirement...I think progressives need many massive kicks in the ass and slaps upside the head, since I think they've become a bigger threat to the country than conservatives...but, then, I'm not the most forgiving fellow out there...