Friday, August 31, 2018

Charles C. W. Cooke: "The Press Disgraces Itself In Pursuit Of Ron DeSantis"

Not a whole lotta grace left by this point, honestly.

Greenwald: CNN Still Outright Lying About The Cohen / Davis Story

CNN's most humiliating moment?
That would really be saying something.

You Can't Make This Shit Up: EU Too White Edition

You really, really can't.

Trump: 60% Disapproval

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Everything Is Racist: "Monkey Up" / "Articulate" / "Performance" Edition

Seriously, you just can't make this shit up anymore. I mean, DeSantis also called Gillum "charismatic"! I mean...there are people who think that some black people are charismatic! It's a way of saying that Gillum isn't smart! He's merely likable! And if you say that a black person isn't smart, it's racist! Also "not my cup of tea"? Is Gillum merely a substance, an object, like food, to be used as a mere means to sustaining other people...white people???? And who drinks tea, anyway? Middle Easterners, that's who. DeSantis is otherizing Gillum!!!!111 He's beveragizing him! And "dog whistle"??? Is that suggesting that Democrats are dogs???? Top-notch PC researchers just discovered last week that 'dog' is racist! So now all Democrats are, wait...that one goes the other way...scratch that. 'Dog' is ok now. Forget that 'dog' thing...that was f*cking stupid. But all the other ones are totally racist!!!! And if you doubt that then you are totally racist! Doubting racism is a form of racism!!!!!!!!!11111111111one!!!
   Honestly, there is just so much of this buffoonery* on the left now that it's almost impossible to take them seriously.
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DeVos Plans To Overhaul Title IX, Focus On Due Process!!

Wow...this could be huge. (Soave at Reason, incidentally.)
   Needless to say, swinging the pendulum too far back in the other direction is always a danger when trying to correct an over-correction...but it's no special danger here. As always, we just have to try hard not to do it, wait for the results, then try again, if we've over- or under-corrected.
   Again: the education establishment is so corrupted by crazy PC/popomo theories that you're better off picking an intelligent outsider to run Ed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Political Advocacy From The Pulpit

This is a problem that I fret about pretty regularly. Stuff I've read makes it sound as if many churches just blatantly ignore the Johnson amendment. Democrats obviously can't crack down on this--the blowback could very well be worse than the problem. And the GOP has an interest in not cracking down on it. So, allegedly, political advocacy from the pulpit is routine. Allegedly.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Teacher Punishes 5th-Grader For Calling Her 'Ma'am'

Sebastien Roblin: "How The A-4 Skyhawk Ruled The Skies

I have never known what the conventional wisdom about the A-4 was.

Research At Brown Confirms The Obvious: That Transgenderism is "Contagious"; Left Freaks Out; PLOS ONE And Brown Disavow The Study

CNN Just Outright Lies Now

Holy shit.
They basically just come right out and claim that Trump said the opposite of what he said.
Again: Trump is a nut...but he may very well be the lesser of the available evils.
I can't even believe that that could be possible.

Some Kind of #MeToo Incoherence

Even the subtitle is incoherent:
"The #MeToo comebacks are coming. And they’re revolving, once again, around the desires of those who needed to negotiate the returns in the first place."
And how is it that Aziz Ansari is grouped together with Louis CK?
What results from that extreme thinking are discussions of comebacks—and the mechanics of them, in C.K.’s and Ansari’s case—that hew uncomfortably to the logic that made the comebacks necessary in the first place. So many of these stories of return revolve, still, around the desires of the men in question, to the evident exclusion of the interests of anyone who has the misfortune not to be famous or wealthy or powerful or male. In the story of his return, C.K.’s desire—now his desire to return to performing, and to the world as it was before—comes to supersede everything else. His desire is exerted, apparently, on the owner of the club he performed at (Dworman, asleep during the set, hearing of it only after the fact); it is exerted on the audience who happened to be in attendance at the Comedy Cellar on Sunday evening, who were given no choice about whether to participate in C.K.’s post-#MeToo return.
Again I say: huh?

Why Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is A Complete Cinematic Failure

I'm not smart about movies, nor knowledgeable about them, so couldn't put my finger on much of this. I just knew it stank. But this guy is smart and knowledgeable about movies, and about Star Wars, and he makes a lot of great points. Anyway, there's one NSFW bit in this:

Lindsey Graham: An New Attorney General Must Let Mueller Finish His Job

But firing Sessions still seems like a red line to me.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Cohen Doesn't Have Any Knowledge Of Collusion After All

Gosh, this sure is surprising.
I thought for sure that the absolutely sure-fire, irrefutable, totally-the-end-of-Trump collusion evidence was going to be for real.
Y'know...this time.

Jeannie Suk Gerson, "What Michael Cohen's Guilty Plea Doesn't Tell Us About Trump"

The more that it can be shown that these kinds of payments were normal for Trump—rather than something extraordinary he did when he became a Presidential candidate—the more it would bolster his case. This is presumably why Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s current lawyer, has suggested, since May, that there was a “longstanding agreement” that Cohen “takes care of situations like this, then gets paid for them sometimes.” What would seem like a puzzling admission is likely part of a legal strategy to make the payments from 2016 seem indistinguishable from those that Trump has made for reasons other than winning an election. (This strategy might be undermined by the fact that payments offered for McDougal’s story became exponentially larger after Trump won the Republican nomination.)

Elliot A. Cohen: "Great-Heart Is Gone"

Sauce For The Goose: Title IX Complaint Filed Against Author Of "Why Can't We Hate Men?"

   Couldn't such complaints be filed against, like, 75% of women's studies profs in the country?
   Obviously this would be stupid if it weren't, basically, being done as a reductio of Title IX madness.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

John McCain, Dead At 81

Friday, August 24, 2018

The ACLU Sticks Up For The NRA???

The ACLU still accepts the discredited "collective right" interpretation of the Second Amendment...but they have elected to stick up for the NRA against the shenanigans by the state of New York.

Trump And South African Farm Murders

1. I was under the impression that the frequency and nature of South African farm attacks were controversial, whereas the Post refers to it as a "white nationalist conspiracy theory." I just looked into it a tiny bit...but even Wikipedia, with its strong leftward slant on just about anything that's politically contentious, is equivocal. On the talk page, some support is given for the claim that the murder rate for farmers is more than twice the overall rate for South Africa (which is astronomical already)--and for the claim that the English version has been systematically watered down.
   But before looking into that, I was going to write the following, which still seems applicable:
2. This is the sort of thing that worries me about Trump and race. The specific accusations of racism are commonly standard-issue progressive uncharitable interpretation and fabrication. (all Mexicans are rapists, 'dog' is a racial slur, calling people dumb, birtherism, etc.) But (a) the president shouldn't be saying a lot of this stuff anyway, independent of any racial questions, (b) the president shouldn't be saying things that are suggestive of racism,* (c) Trump doesn't seem to care about high rates of violence in central and south America creating refugees, and (d) the overall pattern is just not good.
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Approximately Three Cheers For Jeff Sessions

I don' t know enough about precedent, nor about the details of the situation, nor about Jeff Sessions (who has been credibly accused of racism in his youth...and non-credibly accused of it more recently) to give him three whole cheers...but he seems to be on the side of the angels right now.
   Lindsay Graham, not so much, unfortunately.
   This piece freaks me out in several ways, including: what is all this loyalty crap??? Do people really think this way? These are important jobs. Decisions about the future of the country can't be made on the basis of "personal loyalty". Jesus Christ.
   Also, what is all this bowing and scraping to the president? A lot of these senators speak as if they're subordinate to him. You're a damn co-equal branch of the gubmint! I asked once before how much respect one owes the president. Pete Mac said something like: Call him 'Mr. President' and stand up when he comes in the room. Which struck me as being in the vicinity of being right. (You'll notice that I no longer refer to the unindicted-co-conspirator-in-chief as "Trumpo the Clown." So I'm making at least some effort...) Anyway. I do agree that we respect the office even if not the man. But respect for the office does not demand submissiveness. In fact, it might prohibit it.
   Anyway: good on Sessions. And if Trump tries to fire him, the shit must hit the fan, mustn't it?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Benjamin Schmidt: Students Cooled On The Humanities Because of False Beliefs About Average Earnings

Interesting and plausible.
Mid-career philosophy majors actually make more, on average, than mid-career business majors, incidentally.

The Unindicted-Co-Conspirator-In-Chief

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cohen Lawyer Says He's Completely Flipped And Will Give Evidence That Trump Colluded With Russia

Secretary of Education Reveals She's Forced To Use Own Salary To Buy Yacht Supplies


(Funny...but I really am a DeVos Fan.)

Adam Davidson: "The President Has Been Implicated In A Criminal Conspiracy"

There's some significant sophistry in there, but this is good:
Manafort was convicted of crimes he committed while being paid tens of millions for serving the interests of oligarchs and politicians closely allied with the Kremlin. The trial made clear that Manafort was in tremendous financial distress, in hock to some of those same oligarchs, just when he became Trump’s unpaid campaign chair. The trial contained a central but unasked question: What did this desperate man do when he needed money and had only one valuable asset—access to Trump and his campaign? Manafort, who faces decades in prison, is under renewed pressure to coöperate with Mueller’s investigation and to answer that question.
The Cohen plea and the Manafort indictment establish that this separation is entirely artificial. Trump did not isolate his private business from his public run for office. He behaved the same, with the same sorts of people, using the same techniques to hide his actions. It is impossible, after Tuesday, to imagine that a responsible congressional investigation wouldn’t thoroughly examine every deal with which Cohen was involved and wouldn’t even more aggressively seek to understand Manafort’s links to Russian figures. These two men are now convicted financial fraudsters, each found guilty of precisely eight counts of various financial crimes, though nobody, glancing at their record, would imagine this is an exhaustive list. Tuesday was not the end of an examination of their record; it is much more like a beginning. Manafort has another trial ahead, as well as a possible retrial for the ten counts for which the jury could not reach a consensus; Cohen is all but screaming that he has more to share.

Are Perceptions Of Newsworthiness Contaminated By A Political Usefulness Bias?

Heriot's thinking mostly about the press--which is an important point that, weirdly, hadn't even occurred to me. I was thinking about myself.

ACLU: Alex Jones Ban "Worrisome"

I didn't think the ACLU was particularly interested in free speech anymore.
In other surprising news: an unironic link to the Huff'n'Puff.
Probably to my shame, I haven't given this Alex Jones thing much thought. But it does seem, prima facie, like cause for concern.

Friedersdorf: Trump Robbed Voters Of What They Deserved To Know

Agreed. (?)
Though can't that be said of any candidate that who isn't perfectly honest about matters of public interest? This is why I think that tu quoques can be valid in such cases. If it's the way everybody else does it, and the practice is tolerated, you can't use it as a specific criticism of one given candidate.
   OTOH, one might respond: things change once illegality is at issue.
   OTOOH, one might re-respond: what really matters here is the illegality, then. Just drop the "robbed them of information they deserved" point.
   Back on the first hand: there's some relevant difference in that we have something like a right to know about illegal actions.
   I'm not sure how that line of thought will ultimately play out. But anyway, I am inclined to agree with the claim that Trump's concealment of relevant information from voters is more than ordinary. There does seem to be some kind of difference between refusing to reveal his tax returns and this mess. Doesn't there?
   Anyway: impeachment fever: Catch it!

This Cohen Stuff Could Be For Realz

After all the crazy spin and grasping at straws, I found myself almost shocked to find that...this sounds like it may very well be the real deal. Not shocked...but almost. (And just for the record, can I remind us all that we no longer even bat an eye when discussing the POTUS paying hush money to porn stars?)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Silent Sam: My Solution

This solution moves in two phases:
   Phase 1:
   Silent Sam is returned to his pedestal. Because he was torn down by a mob, there will be a five-year moratorium on any official discussion / deliberation about removing him. Steps will be taken to insure that there's no replay of yesterday's shitshow.
   Phase 2:
   After that, all Tar Heels past and present--students, faculty, alumni and staff--vote on what to do with him. Blacks get one vote. Whites get 3/5ths of a vote.
   By my calculations, this will make everybody happy.

Manafort and Cohen Guilty Of At Least Some Stuff

The Manafort stuff still seems pretty unimpressive to me, but the Cohen stuff sounds more interesting. Man, Trump sure does associate with some sleazy dudes.
   My one regret is that the Mooch isn't here to tell us why none of this has anything to do with Trump, ya know what I'm sayin'?

This Liberal Carried An American Flag To Protest "Fascism" In Portland. Antifa Cracked His Head Open With A Bat.

As Reason notes, this would have been psycho no matter who the target was. But it points to something important about the PC left: the people who argue, in effect, that fascists have no rights also typically think that everyone who disagrees with them in any way is a fascist. The very people who argue that fascists shouldn't be able to speak also think that Heather Mac Donald, Charles Murray, and Brett Weinstein are fascists.

Micromanaging Your Life So You Don't Have To: California Soda

Mob Tears Down Silent Sam

This was, of course, just a matter of time.
   I've always had mixed feelings about Silent Sam. I have mixed feelings about Confederate monuments in general. I certainly think removing Silent Sam, in particular, would have been a defensible course of action...if done by the university after due deliberation and in an official way. Given, however, that a mob tore it down, I think the university needs to spend whatever it takes to put the statue back up and protect it. Then the discussion can continue, and we can discuss, say, moving it to Wilson library or something. I currently kinda like the idea of taking Confederate monuments off of their pedestals and adding plaques or monoliths that explain their history.* Though that's just brainstorming, really. But it seems to me that bringing them down to ground level would change things importantly. Anyway, I think this sort of thing is experimental. You can't just figure it all out a priori. I also recognize that the opinions of the descendants of slaves are crucially important in our decision. I certainly see the case for just plain removing them. I think I'd draw a line at destroying them. I certainly draw a line at this kind of mob lunacy that's all the rage on the tolerant and progressive left.
   How long before, say, the Jefferson statue at UVa comes down? Dunno. At this rate, of course, it'll happen. If I had to bet, I might bet that that line won't be crossed during the current spasm of PC--but that it'll happen no later than the next one. That is, assuming this one ends. I'm supposing that this phase of PC will be tamped down like the last one was in the mid-90s, when liberals got sick of the crazy and stopped defending the anti-liberal left. I'm also assuming that an even crazier spasm will come along a decade or two later--and most liberals will remain silent, cowed, until a lot of damage is already done, and more is in the offing. But who knows? Liberals have, thus far, made nary a peep about the evolving totalitarianism this time around. So maybe we're counting down to Year Zero. Then all the statues can come down! And then...
   This slope is genuinely slippery--slippery as hell, in fact. Though Silent Sam is a particular and special case. So that's something too.

*In the case of Silent Sam, this would be truly damning. But it is what it is. Truth matters. In this case, that would probably be a more direct indictment than removal. The Carr speech is, of course, what makes this case...particular... The 2015 anti-removal law also complicates things. This case is a mess all around.

Monday, August 20, 2018

McGahn Did Not Incriminate Trump

Benjamin Wallace-Wells: "John McCain And The End Of Romantic Conservatism"

For a while, McCain and Salter planned to call their final book “It’s Always Darkest Before It’s Completely Black.” But McCain pulled back—it was too much. “McCain never abandons all hope,” Salter said. “It’s not the country. It’s just this jackass.” I asked what, for McCain, had been the worst moment of Trump’s ascendance. “The Khans,” Salter said. In the summer of 2016, when Trump began attacking Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq, Salter was driving from New Hampshire, where he had been consulting on Ken Burns’s Vietnam War documentary, to Maine. McCain called. “He was distraught,” Salter said. “He said, ‘Did you see that asshole?’ ” Salter went on, “I knew then that he would never go the distance. That he would formally say, ‘I can’t vote for him.’ ”
   The closest thing that McCain has to an heir is the Republican senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, who is a former military lawyer and shares McCain’s faith in American power, but who is also a more conventional partisan figure and has at times sided with Trump (including, most recently, about his decision to revoke the security clearance of the former C.I.A. director John Brennan). The two senators often travelled together. I asked Salter how deeply Graham shares McCain’s convictions. “Lindsey really believes,” Salter said. “But he always makes a joke of it—‘We’ve got to get out of here; they’re going to kill us.’ ”
   Trying to get the contrast between McCain and Graham right, I said, “So McCain’s the more—”
   Salter cut me off. He said, “The more romantic.”
McCain and Graham are right at the top of my list of favorite Republicans, I'm proud to say.
I think this piece is worth reading in its entirety, despite my blowing the punchline. Oh, yeah: spoiler alert.

Giuliani: "Truth Isn't Truth"

Just watched this, after hearing about Giuliani's "truth isn't truth" line.
   I had a good guess what Giuliani was trying to say even before I watched it, even though I didn't know anything about the specific topic of the interviews. Ergo I expected to be another effort by the progressive establishment to pretend that there's some nefarious epistemic shenanigans at the heart of Trumpism.
   But first!: I say the interview is worth watching.
   But zeroeth!: I do not care for Mr. Giuliani, and, as you know, I do not care for Mr. Trump, and as you may also know, I think Trump should just bloody well testify. Or talk to Mueller...grant an interview, whatever it is that's at issue. This is too important to play legal games with.
   Second: I actually thought that Giulliani made a strong, sober case. Again!: I have decided not to follow the details and twists and turns in this case as closely as I normally would. I've got other things to do. I can't obsessively follow this like I obsessively followed, say, the election debacle of 2000, or the lead-up to the Iraq war. But to me, RG's case seemed strong. I thought Chuck Todd mostly did his job--which, given the nature of his job, largely means giving RG the business. He did slip over the line a bit, I thought, from professional business-giver to derisive anti-Trump partisan at points. But it was close enough for government work.
   Finally!: As I expected, RG in no way literally meant that "truth isn't truth"...whatever the hell that even could mean... What he was saying was this: if person A testifies that p, and person B testifies that not-p, then we face an epistemic/evidential problem. That is: we don't know whether p is true or false. Not if that's all we have to go on, anyway. p is true...or p is false...but we don't know which. Truth is, of course, truth--thanks much, Captain tautology--but that's not going to help us in this (or any such) situation. What RG was saying was, basically: "truth is truth" doesn't help us determine what the truth actually is. And, of course, he's absolutely right.
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Listen And Believe?: #MeToo Star Asia Argento Paid Hush Money After "Sexual Battery" of 17-Year-Old Male

via Instapundit:
   The Italian actress and director Asia Argento was among the first women in the movie business to publicly accuse the producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. She became a leading figure in the #MeToo movement. Her boyfriend, the culinary television star Anthony Bourdain, eagerly joined the fight.
   But in the months that followed her revelations about Mr. Weinstein last October, Ms. Argento quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, when he was only two months past his 17th birthday. She was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.
   That claim and the subsequent arrangement for payments are laid out in documents between lawyers for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett, a former child actor who once played her son in a movie. the age of 17 I would have been happy--to say the least--to have sex with Asia Argento ca. 37-ish. So would most guys. So that's a fact that needs to be acknowledged right up front. What I'm getting at is: I'm skeptical that the having of sex with Ms. Argento has cost this guy almost $400k worth of pain and suffering. Not to mention $3.5 million. But, hey...dude is living on a mere $60k/year...abject poverty, obvs...  Anyway, though he could be telling the truth, I don't believe it just on the basis of the information contained in the NYT story. But, then, "listen and believe" is just more PC hogwash. I think such accusations should, ceteris parabus, be taken seriously when the accuser is female...slightly less so when the accuser is male...but "taken seriously" does not mean "automatically believed" in any case.
   So I'm not saying to lower the boom on Ms. Argento. I'm saying: stop treating accusations as proof, regardless of the sex of the alleged victim. People lie about and exaggerate and misunderstand such stuff all the time. Automatically believe is no better than automatically disbelieve.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

PC/Pomo/New Age

Political correctness is associated with what I call "the postpostmodern mishmash," for lack of a better term (though, if we really wanted to go for broke, we could call it "the epigonous postpostmodern mismash"...)...that's to say: a mixture of recent "Continental" philosophy and literary theory including at least postmodernism, poststructuralism, and critical theory. In the paleo-PC era postmodernism seemed to be the most prominent component of the mishmash. In the neo-PC (aka "social justice") era, I'd say it's critical theory and its various even-more-PC spinoffs like critical race theory.
   But anyway, in the #paleo-PC era, we were also experiencing the "new age" phenomenon--i.e. a spasm of interest in stuff like astrology, past-life regression, ESP, crystal-rubbing, chakras and all that kinda crap. Something these two movements had in common: a decided anti-rational / anti-Western / anti-scientific bent.
   Now that PC is upon us again, I've wondered whether there'll also be another uptick in the other woo-woo stuff, the more overtly magical stuff like astrology. Sometimes I think that the New Age-iness is already baked into neo-PC. "Social constructionism" is basically a kind of magical worldview in which the mystical power of human society/agreement brings about facts (or that's its most striking interpretation, anyway). So it's already pretty ESPy. I see this: "Witchcraft In The #MeToo Era" (man, that " the #MeToo era" template never gets old!). So...maybe the straight-up woo is back, baby! Maybe we should get ready for a new new age to go along with postpostmodernism and neo-PC. We could be in for an extremely amusing time.

Rahm Emanuel Makes The Mistake Of Saying Something Reasonable, Ergo Politically Incorrect

Treating people like rational, autonomous persons with the capacity for moral judgment????
That is not gonna fly with the contemporary left, my friend.

Snowballs Banned By Snowflakes

Singal: "Is It Racist To Refer To Space Colonization?"

   Singal errs by bending over backwards to pretend that this question is not stupid.
   I'm about to err by answering the question instead of ignoring it: 'colonization' here means something like establishing a colony, i.e. a kind of outpost or settlement. It has nothing to do with exploiting native populations. Because there aren't any native populations in the non-Earth part of the solar system, as you may not have learned by reading all that Foucault and Edward Said.
   The drawing of the relevant conclusion is left as an exercise for the reader.

'Dog' Is Not A Racial Slur

You really just can't make this stuff up.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Contrary To Possibly Popular Belief, Poetry Is Not Dead

Russiagate Allegations Remain Unproven / "What If Russiagate Is The New WMDs?"

And I remain skeptical.
Jack Hunter at The American Conservative cites Aaron Mate at The Nation.
Looks like I picked the wrong scandal to refuse to obsess over.

Why Did News Organizations Request Names Of Jurors In Manafort Trial?

Isn't this weird?

Friday, August 17, 2018

No Trumparade

I guess the $92 million military parade is off.
But we'll always have...

Things That Bear Repeating

Joel Mathis: "Donald Trump Is Indisputably The Worst President In American History"

   And this entirely indisputable judgment can be made with absolute certainty...halfway through the guy's first term in office. He is already worse than the genocidal Jackson, and worse than Dubya, who (though he deserves praise for addressing AIDS in Africa) tried to steal an election, and cynically misused the worst terrorist attack in American history to lie us into a disastrous and entirely optional $2.5 trillion war.
   That piece of crap op-ed is basically an exercise in goalpost-moving and equivocating on 'bad president.' Sometimes it means bad qua president, sometimes it means bad person who was president.
   Trump is bad. There's no reason to exaggerate his badness. That kind of nonsense is grade-A TDS. Trump's extremely unlikely to end up as the worst president ever. Such judgments aren't even easy to make across 250 years--years that include slavery and its abolition. If Trump keeps the stock market up, avoids stupid wars, and basically isn't a disaster in other respects, he'll end up being way, way, way far from the worst president we've ever had. If he gets us a court that continues to be a bulwark against the anti-First- and anti-Second-Amendment pushes from the far left, he'll have done something invaluable.
   I can't stand the guy, but primal screams masquerading as analysis don't help in any way.

Musa al-Gharbi "Vox's Consistent Errors On Campus Free Speech, Explained"

This is good.
I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Vox writes favorably of the left's preferred speech restrictions, argues that conservatives are the real problem, insists that there is no such thing as political correctness, and pushes the left's line that there is no free speech problem on campus...and does all this with consistently bad arguments.
   Yup. Surely just a coincidence.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Jason Kessler's Antisemitic Podcast Interrupted By His Father Telling Him To Clean His Room Despite The 'KEEP OUT THIS MEANS YOU DAD' Sign On His Door

Well, approximately that, anyway. I'm going with it.
   Don't you hate it when you're in the middle of saving the white race from world jewry and whatnot, and your dad barges into your room despite the fact that you've told him not to like ten times? At least if it was mom she might have brought some tendies or hot pockets.

Patti Davis: Reagan Would Never Have Stood For Trump's Treatment Of The Press

I cannot believe that I'm saying this...but I miss Ronald Reagan. And not just because he wasn't Trump. What has become of me?

887 days remaining, as of now.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Is QAnon A Trolling Operation By Lefties Against The Right?

It makes more sense than any other hypothesis.

"Oregon Judge Rules In Favor Of Transgender Students In Bathroom Case"

   Q: Does anyone have (a) a right to privacy that (b) protects them from sex-integrated public restrooms and locker rooms?
   A: I don't know.
   As I've said many times, I can see this going either way, and can see us, ten or fifteen years from now, thinking of sex-segregated restrooms and locker rooms as we now think of sex-segregated beaches.
   But, as I also keep saying: you can't make that decision on the basis of the magical, pseudoscientific nonsense about men become women and so forth. can...and they are...but it's nuts.
   The other thing is how media like the NYT have completely accepted the left's way of talking about all of this. That terminology is a way of spinning the issue, and accepting the left's way of speaking allows the left-leaning media to simply adopt the left's theory of all this in a slightly concealed way. Notice that the girl in question is a "boy" (a "trans" "boy"); she is referred to as "he"; NYT uses the absurd phrase "gender assigned at birth," ("gender" is used by the left in a semantic shell game so that it means sex when that's convenient, and other things when they're convenient, and it's ambiguous when that's convenient. Also: gender has nothing to do with birth, and nothing is "assigned": the sex of the infant is observed or discerned); then, of course, there's "gender identity" which is just a terminological train wreck...  At any rate, this is the left's Newspeak strategy: win the debate by creating custom terminology that presupposes your political position. Also: they've discovered that it's easy to badger people into altering how they speak by analogizing politically incorrect terminology to racial slurs.
   Furthermore, to accept these theories is to, basically, accept a kind of relativism / a kind of antirealist metaphysics. By accepting these views, we accept that sometimes thinking that something is so makes it so. After that catastrophic admission is made, we're just quibbling about the details of who gets to say what the facts will be.

Nyarlathotep In The News

"How Can I Cure My White Guilt?"

The sneaky/confusing/dangerous thing about concepts like sin and privilege is that, if you squint at them from just the right angles, they can almost seem to make sense.

Title IX Turnabout Is Fair Play, I Guess

This crazy stuff is going to keep happening in both directions until they admit that a person who is the target of harassment has some obligations to resist / report it. Such situations can be complicated, and allowances have to be made for that. But the student in question put up with it for years, apparently, without reporting it or even simply refusing to go along with it. The longer you do that, the less plausible is your complaint.
   The current orthodoxy has it that to think that target has any obligation at all is "victim-blaming." That just isn't right at all.

Brookings: Welfare Benefits For Non-Citizens

I've just started reading this, but it was way more interesting than I expected.

Friedersdorf vs. "The Microaggressions Framework"

Dunno whether I've posted this in the past, but it's really good.
   Also: the incidental point that it's the whole framework that's cracked is important. It's not that there aren't "interactions are a) minor in each particular instance; b) cumulatively burdensome; c) substantively objectionable or plausibly objectionable." Rather, it's that they aren't typically acts of aggression, but, rather, honest errors (if errors at all). Aaaand the left's whole way of approaching the thing is wrong, too.
   Worth a read, I say.

Caitlin Flanagan: "Why The Left Is So Afraid Of Jordan Peterson"

I'm not sure they're afraid of him. They may just hate him. Perhaps some of both--such things are often mixed.
   I'm not sure to what extent the PC/SJ left can conceive of itself being wrong. It seem to be a mixture of unreflective assumption, quasi-religious true belief, and willful dogmatism. To some extent it just seems to not occur to them that they could be wrong; to some extent they are enflamed with righteous fervor; to some extent they obviously just refuse to recognize the failings of the view. These things probably end up mixed together. That's not a terribly uncommon thing.
   Whether its Peterson that does it or not, Flanagan is, it seems to me, right: the PC/SJ left desperately wants to shut down debate. They know in their hearts, at least much of the time, that they can't win them. Allow the discussion to get off the ground and you've lost. This is part of what motivates Wikipedia to build social constructionist views of race right into the introduction of the entry. instead of admitting that it's in any way an open question. Some of their main strategies are clearly exhibited in the transgenderism "debate," such as one exists. The strategy is: introduce a vocabulary that presupposes the view you want people to believe ("transwomen" "transmen," and the use of 'woman' to describe certain men, etc.). Insist that this terminology must be used; that the terminology itself is obligatory. Insist that anyone who questions the doctrine or the use of the terminology is a *ist (racist, etc.) or *phobe. Insist that refusal to acquiesce causes violence against marginalized groups. And a couple of new ones: insist that disagreement constitutes violence against such groups, that refusal to accept these ways of speaking causes irreparable psychological harm to them, and, so, tolerance isn't enough: you must say the words you are told to say. Because (a) much of the PC/SJ left still falsely believes in strong versions of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and (b) the rest recognizes the truth of weaker versions: language doesn't determine thought, but it damn sure has a big effect on it.
   Anyway, the overall strategy is to win without fighting by outflanking rational, public discussion. Feelings trump rationality and free speech...and speaking rationally about the issue hurts people's feelings. So tough luck.
   This is pretty good:
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"A Century Of Findings On Intellectual Precocity: Some Highlights"

Some highlights of the highlights:
   The recently popular notion that IQ > 120 has little incremental utility is dead false. Even small differences in IQ predict significant differences in creative output and odds of having a top-tier income.
   Not stated, but implied: Multifactor theories of intelligence are bunk. To a good first approximation there is only g. Otherwise the shapes of the bottom four outcome curves in Figure 3 would have to be more divergent than they are.
   “g, fluid reasoning ability, general intelligence, general mental ability, and IQ essentially denote the same overarching construct”
   “if graduation from college were based on demonstrated knowledge rather than time in the educational system, a full 15% of the entering freshmen class would be deemed ready to graduate.”
   “Failure to provide for differences among students is perhaps the greatest source
of inefficiency in education.”
   A marked characteristic of the profoundly gifted is “willingness to work long hours.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"Very Fine People" On The Right At Unite The Right 2017?

I finally got serious about looking into this. I'd been assured by a normally reliable source that this was true--that many of the people there weren't connected to white supremacists (et al.), and that there were only three guys dressed as Nazis with a swastika flag, and they were widely considered to be, as it were, a "false flag" operation--or LARPers. (I didn't believe that last bit, incidentally.) I've read several accounts about people claiming to have driven in from other states just to protest the statue removal, and being shocked by the prevalence of racist psychos...but a year after the fact, I can't confirm those stories.
   Then Pete Mac made a decisive point in an earlier post: that some of the militia guys who are clearly pretty normal and not affiliated with any racist psychos...did not consider themselves to be attending, as it were, on the right side of the rally: they considered themselves to be neutral third parties.
   It's starting to seem to me now, in retrospect, that there were not any "very fine people" on the right side of Unite The Right 2017. I mean, I'm sure there were some...but Trump said 'many.' It's always, of course, been perfectly clear that there were very not fine people on both sides of the fight. But that's a different issue. It's uncontroversial that there were also good people on the left. It's looking more and more as if the UTR side was composed entirely--or pretty close to entirely--of racist fuckheads.
   If so...then I was way bad wrong about that. And that's some shit that you do not want to be wrong about.
   Incidentally, my view has always been that Trump shouldn't have said that--but also that he was badgered into saying it (which is true), and that it was true (which is false) which is almost always a defense.
   But I now think I was wrong, very bigly.

The Political Fight Over Expertise

I didn't realize for a long time that (bureaucratic?) expertise is one of the things that the right and the left disagree about. (But when I learned that there was a heated right-vs.-left battle over phonics vs. whole-language approaches to reading, I realized that the RvL fight was waaay more thoroughgoing than I had ever realized...)*
   I was always with the technocrats. Now I incline toward thinking that, outside the relatively hard sciences, experts are more likely than not to be wrong most of the time, except with respect to pretty simple questions.
   Maybe I was always with the technocrats because I am--or until recently was--a liberal. Maybe the causal arrow goes the other way. Maybe there's a third, common cause, etc. To some extent I was overly-optimistic about science, failing to understand how easily it can be tripped up by bias.
   But, also: now I incline toward thinking that, given the pervasive bias in academia and the cultural superstructure, experts outside the relatively hard sciences are just about as likely to be giving you a tarted-up version of that bias as they are to be giving you a reliable, independent judgment based on expertise. Climatology isn't even above suspicion in my book anymore--though I'd bet with the expert consensus if forced to bet. By the time you get to sociology, I expect you're usually getting the bias thing. (Which is in no way to say that there's not good sociology.)
   Recent developments like those concerning academic opinions on things like race and "gender" are downright surreal. There's no doubt that new consensus was forged on those topics on the basis of political preferences. Then the consensus is appealed to by journalists, Wikipedia, and all that, then taken for granted by all right-thinking persons...then dissent from it starts becoming risky...
   I also have a suspicion that views on expertise are second-order opinions that tend to be, like those about Constitutional interpretation and states' rights--driven by convenience and first-order opinions. If the experts tend to say what you want them to say, then you trust expertise. If the states are more likely to do what you want that the Feds, then you're for states rights...on that issue.
   But I dunno. If anybody knows of anything good to read on this kind of thing, I'd be happy to learn about it.

*Incidentally, I was taught phonics, it's one of the few things I can actually pretty vividly remember learning in grade school, and I distinctly remember thinking it was awesome. And I've aced the reading/linguistic part of every standardized test I've ever taken. So I reckon I'm a phonics man...

Trump, Trump Jr., and Collusion (?)

Just reporting on the trajectory of my thinking. I've got nothing of my own on this one.
   I don't know what "collusion" is, exactly...but this Trump Jr. business does not sound good. I don't share Sargent's paranoid view that Trump adding "to the best of my knowledge" is some massive "tell." Rather, that's one of the ways we soften our knowledge claims when we're no longer sure of them. Though it does seem extremely unlikely that he didn't know what happened in that meeting. Perhaps he knew, and was convinced that it didn't rise to the level of collusion. But he isn't so convinced anymore.
   And "collusion is not a crime"? Really? That's whatcha got? I mean...I'm not saying I wouldn't use it to keep my ass out of jail...but damn... That is running a white flag up the flagpole. Maybe it's even true...I'm not a lawyer. But it ain't gonna play in Peoria. And rightfully not.
   Peter J. Wallison argues that what we have been told about the meeting does not support the collusion hypothesis--in fact, that it supports a no collusion hypothesis. He makes cogent points--there's certainly not enough evidence yet to close the case. But it doesn't look what you'd call great. I'm not exactly sure what to make of his analogy between what Junior did and the Steele dossier... They are, indeed, similar under a certain description. But you've gotta be careful about such similarity judgments or you end up with "debate challenges are like catcalling."
   Again, I'm just waiting for Mueller. But my unofficial hunch is no longer no collusion, yes obstruction. If I were to put money on it now...and I wouldn't...I might just bet both. But if legal experts can't agree, then it's foolish for the rest of us to pretend that the answer is obvious. So still I wait for Mueller.
   I still think I was right to wait until actual evidence emerged, but plausibly not. Orange man bad isn't good enough for me. Neither is Trump's actin' shifty. In part because he always seems shifty to me. But also in part because I'm fed up with TDS, and with TDS clouding every issue.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Transanity: Michelle Goldberg, "What Is A Woman?"

There's a whole buncha crazy in this article.
   First, of course, there's the fact that the title question is so incredibly easy to answer: a woman is an adult, female human being.
   Second, there's the fact that the extremely simply nature of the argument has been so easily obscured with a few sketchy gestures at incredibly shitty, pseudophilosophical arguments--arguments that any competent undergraduate--or, in fact, anybody with the sense that God gave a goose--should be able to see through.
   Third: the real work has been done with shrieking, whining, false accusations of prejudice, appeals to feelz, and the rest of the PC repertoire. Basically, the popular kids in the cultural superstructure have been able--just by calling dissenters names--to get them to say and even, apparently, believe, something roughly equivalent to 'war is peace' or 'night is day' or 'your dog becomes a cat if you want it to.' I thought Americans were smarter and more intellectually independent that this. And I thought they were supposed to have a respectable amount of common sense.
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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Antifa Shows Up At D.C. White Nationalist Rally, Attacks Police And Bystander, Vandalizes Stuff

Gosh that's weird.
   Despite no violence from the Kessler's legion--The Nearly Two Dozen--Antifa attacks the police, attacks a bystander wearing a MAGA hat, and does some gratuitous vandalism. And that's just what we know about. Oh, and they also give an interview in which they are completely up front about their willingness--nay, eagerness--to violate people's First Amendment rights.
   If you need an ass-kicking worse than the Nazis (...or whatever they are...), then you are doing something wrong.
   If you think Antifa are the good guys, then you (a) don't believe in the First Amendment and (b) are delusional. White supremacists are a tiny, powerless, dying minority of rednecks. Antifa is allowed to openly attack people in order to prevent them from exercising their Constitutional rights--and are at minimum tolerated and often treated like heroes by the "MSM." This Post story was just about as negative about them as any you'll see. So...yay?
   And, as much as I hate counterproductivity arguments: as long as the left continues to openly, enthusiastically vilify white people, and the press continues to go along with it, and continues to turn a blind eye to Antifa's psychotic bullshit, conditions are ripe for an actual resurgence of actual white supremacism. (White supremacism white supremacism--not in the PC variant of the term that just means racism. Actual "white power!"-swastikas-and-ricin white supremacism.) 


...oh...wait...make that nearly two dozen...though the NYT seems to have kept that bit under its hat at first...then allegedly re-wrote the story. (Though, Instapundit, so... per DJ I suppose I should try to check that story out...) But you gotta fuel the "narrative," bro... Next time it could be, like, an entire Waffen SS armor division!!!! YOU DON'T KNOW!!  But, of course, we do know that IT'S BECAUSE TRUMP!!!!!111
   Also, apparently, they weren't Nazis. The Times says 'white supremacist,' Kessler, at least, says 'white nationalist.' I say 'assholes,' but that is apparently not a term they themselves prefer at this time. It's not how they "identify." And we're supposed to respect that, so.
   But you'll note that the cops did manage to keep the crowds separated this time, so that these two dozen very dangerous, somewhat skinny and/or pudgy guys were prevented from attacking and beating up the thousands of counter-protesters who were screaming at them.
   This time around, they were carrying American flags instead of Confederate battle flags and, y'know, Nazi stuff. So good PR move, guys! That's an upgrade! If everybody just forgets about last year, as I'm sure they will any decade now, you should be money.
   But, hey, the white nationalists are winning!!! AND IT'S BECAUSE TRUMP!!!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

Space Force Slogan Suggestion

Aim higher

Eh? Eh? Get it?

A Different Kind Of Rally In C'Ville A Year After Unite The Right

Eh, who knows, but strikes me as kinda nutty on both sides.
   I'm not exactly clear what the protest was originally about, since I kinda don't understand the "take back" locution. But it apparently turned into an anti-police thing. Which is a bit odd given that the cops were deployed out of concern that the Unite The Right people were coming back. OTOH, I'm down with concerns about the paramilitarization of the police. And I do think that the students protecting the Jefferson statue last year deserves to be commemorated. That was basically the one great event of the whole mess, I thought. UTR had a right and a permit to rally in Lee park. They didn't have a permit to hold a tiki-torch march on the UVA grounds. (Though...did they have a right? I don't know the answer to that.) That was clearly an attempt to intimidate. And, whereas my best guess is that the Antifa-esque counterprotesters started the violence at Lee park, it seems to have been the tiki-torch neo-nazis who started it at the Jefferson statue.

The Unintended Flip-Side Of Bad Moral Analogies: Ocasio-Cortez's Catcalling Nonsense Again

Incidentally, that AOC nonsense about challenging someone to a debate being like catcalling is a good opportunity to gesture at the unintended flip-side of such crackpot moral analogies. If challenging someone to a debate is like catcalling, then is it always wrong to challenge people to debates? Well...that can't be right, since we know that it's perfectly permissible to challenge people to debates. So it follows that catcalling is permissible. In fact, there's nothing wrong with it at all. If it really is like challenging someone to a debate, then it's more-or-less always permissible.
   Now, of course: nobody really thinks they're relevantly similar. That would be nuts. It's just a stupid, throw-away line. It's rhetorical chaff. It's a red herring that--given the crazy rules of PC--lets her basically accuse Shapiro of sexual harassment because she's afraid to debate him, because she knows he'd massacre her. PCs do love them some false accusations...
   And, of course, it can't be acting as if you deserve a response that's "just like catcalling." (Note: just like it...not even just like it...) Any time I ask someone a question I'm acting as if I deserve a response. if I ask a student a question in class, I'm acting as if I deserve a response. If I ask "is this seat taken," I'm acting as if I deserve a response. Honestly, two seconds of thought shows how utterly nuts this all is.
   Well, it's a mind-bogglingly stupid thing to say...but more-or-less par for the course on the contemporary left, so it'll just get lost in the constant stream of crazy PC claims. But it is roughly equivalent to saying that catcalling isn't bad. Imagine if someone on the right said that--or said something that entailed that. The fewmets would indeed hit the windmill in that case.

"Male Pale And Stale" Professors To Be Assigned "Reverse Mentors"

Lemme say again that a whole lot of crazy could be avoided if people and institutions were forced to call things what they actually are.
So these social justice commissars would be called, e.g., "social justice commissars."
Though, of course, calling spades spades is anathema to the PC left.
   I mean, this is really no laughing matter. It's repulsive, hard-left, totalitarian bullshit, and professors should tell Rowe Birmingham to go fuck themselves forthwith. Which is exactly what I would do as soon as I got done laughing in their faces.
   Oh yeah, it's also racist and sexist. But it's way, way more important that it's crazy and stupid.
   And as for:
“What is understood about unconscious bias is that we have all got it, but the more you learn about it and become conscious of it, the more you can act,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
Yeah, no. The unconscious bias crap is just more social justice bullshit. I mean, people do have some biases, of course. Some of those biases are about people. And some of those are about the kinds of things the left is obsessed with. And we're unaware of some of our biases. But we just don't have the kinds of pervasive biases that the academic left wishes that we had. And, perhaps most importantly: the demographic asymmetries in question are not a result of such biases. But until people start calling bullshit on this bullshit, we're just going to get more and more such crackpot shit. 
   Actually, the demographic biases the average person has are very accurate; also, we tend throw them out as soon as we get to know someone and have actual knowledge about them as individuals. Those two things would make social justice heads explode...if they were to ever allow themselves to be exposed to actual facts.
   tl;dr: the PC left is a bunch of crazy, dangerous totalitarians.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

David A. Graham: "Why Can't Trump Just Condemn Nazis?"

Because the "Nazis" had a First-Amendment right to assemble?
Because Antifa tried to deny them their right, and exists in order to initiate illegal, anti-Constitutional violence?
Because not everyone on the right in C'ville was a Nazi?
Because everyone with half a brain or more is sick of the left's totalitarian bullshit?
One could go on and on...

One can't help but imagine how much better Obama...or even Bush...would have done. But Trump was on target, objectively speaking, tone-deaf though he was. Why does the left so often feel the need to make things worse than they actually are?

Popehat on Kavanaugh on the First Amendment

Very interesting.
In conclusion, Kavanaugh's work on the D.C. Circuit show a judge strongly protective of free speech rights, and part of the trend of applying free speech doctrines both to classic scenarios and to government regulation. His stance on telecommunications and elections laws will get him painted as part of the "weaponize free speech" movement by results-oriented thinkers. He's strong on First Amendment limits on defamation law and his approach to anti-SLAPP statutes do not, as some have suggested, signal that he wants to make defamation cases easier. But though he might help upset applecarts by applying the First Amendment to regulatory schemes, and will not uphold broad speech restrictions, he will likely not overturn doctrines that make it hard for individuals to recover for speech violations.

Militiamen Came To C'ville As Neutral First Amendment Protectors

Very interesting.
Also: still more evidence that Trump was right:
(a) There were good people on both sides
(b) There were bad people (i.e. people aiming at violence) on both sides.

Women's Desirability Peaks 32 Years Before Mens'

Crucial take-away: I still got it!
Or: I still got as much of it as I ever had, anyway...

BBC: "Charlottesville Remembered: 'A Battle For The Soul Of America'"

I say this is really gripping. I recommend it.

Oopsie. Ocasio-Cortez "Catcalled" Crowley For Debates; With Notes On Hypocrisy Tu Quoques

  Ok, look: it's funny when this kind of hypocrisy is exposed. And it's legitimate and important to point out inconsistencies between words and actions. Because talk is cheap, for one thing.
   We've come to rely on this sort of thing way too much. AOC's comparison of requesting a debate to catcalling is idiotic. That's an end on it. It's idiotic regardless of whether she's ever done the same thing herself. If you rely on hypocrisy tu quoques, then you put yourself at the mercy of the person in question having slipped up in exactly the same way. AOC could easily have not done the same thing to Crowley. It's just dumb luck that she did.
   (And I can't resist pointing out again: the progressive left is accused of crying "wolf!" mostly because the progressive left cries "wolf!" all the damn time. "You're a *ist" is just about the only argument they know.)
   This little drama gets replayed all the time. Trump or someone else on the right says something perfectly fine. The left shrieks about how OBVIOUSLY RACIST it is. Then someone finds that Obama or someone else beloved by the left said the same thing. Again, this method of rebuttal requires someone on the other side to have said or done pretty much exactly the same thing as the original target of the criticism. Same thing happens in the other direction...but you know who I'm more pissed at currently and all.
   Though, of course, given the left's double standard and multi-layered bullshit rhetorical defenses, they've done a lot to try to insulate themselves from this. See: l'affair Jeong. Even the you-guys-say/do-exactly-the-same-thing-you-are-always-whining-about argument can be obfuscated by just defining the offense so that it's conceptually impossible for anyone on your side to commit it. E.g.: Debate catcalling is debate catcalling + privilege, shitlord, so we get to...uh...I mean...can' it!
   tl;dr: everything's dumb in this vicinity.

Preet Brharara Podcast: Steve Schmidt: Why I Left The GOP

Schmidt's current line, again. Seems somewhat alarmist to me, but I'm inclined to agree with the main thrust of it--in particular laying the blame largely on the damnable Newt Gingrich, may he end up in the hell of being cut to pieces. I tend to consider Schmidt fairly credible for the obvious reason that he was a Republican. OTOH, he's basically an ad man like Carville and Matalin, so there's that. I thought what he says toward the end is pretty much right on: we're a resilient country, but we shouldn't take this Trump thing lightly. Speaking for myself, however, I can no longer tell exactly how to keep it between the ditches of complacency and hysterics.
(h/t KO!)

PC Newspeak Again

Man, I've really been obsessing about how effective this ridiculous tactic of just asserting deviant definitions is. It's the most transparent ploy in the universe! How can it work so damnably well???
  Though...the other bone-headed, characteristic progressive tactic--the ad hominem--is also crazy effective. (Exactly the sort of thing I'd expect from a straight white male!) But every type of scalawag and ne'er-do-well uses ad hominems.
   That crazy redefinition's just baffling to me. Ah, you see...'woman' simply means person who thinks they're a woman!  And 'racism' just means: one of you f*cking white people! And 'sexism' means unfairness based on sex...against women. (Though actually in that latter case, they've tended to just drop 'sexism' as a sin, and replace it with misogyny. Which adds yet another layer of crazy by mischaracterizing disrespect as hatred.)
   Maybe its not so surprising that the academic left remains obsessed with Whorf-Sapir.

Colbert I. King: "Your Everyday Republican Has Some Galling Views"

And by 'galling' he means: bat. shit. crazy.
   It's stupid to harp on the t-shirts...but basically the rest of the results are so completely nuts that I have to believe that they're the result of that survey effect where people say specific things in order to support an overall point of view. What the hell is that called? E.g. some absurd number of Dems saying that 9/11 was an inside job in order to, basically, convey the message I hate Bush.
   Because otherwise...this is very not good.

[Update: Ehh... some of this is Survey Monkey stuff. And the stuff at the end about Russian interference doesn't seem that surprising to me. Its the non-Survey-Monkey stuff about shutting down the press that's astonishing/appalling. So much so that I find it hard to believe. But not impossible to believe, unfortunately.]

"This Legal Tactic Can Keep Nazis Out Of Your City"

This sounds legit, at a glance--that is to say: it doesn't sound to me like an obvious violation of either First or Second Amendment rights. And, off the top of my head, I'd think that the state has a legitimate interest in preventing the formation of private armies.
   Though as usual, I want to add: bad people have Constitutional rights, too. If there's a legitimate way to keep crazy protesters from being armed, I'm for it. But until I hear what somebody like Volokh has to say on this, I have to remain a bit skeptical, what with not in any way being a lawyer and all... And I'm not sure it's permissible for cities to strive to keep away protesters on the basis of the content of their views. Sounds not to me, actually.
   And: if we would reign in Antifa, a lot of these problems would go away. Seems to me that C'ville was pretty typical: I think C'ville thought it'd just let Antifa do its thuggy thing, and that would constitute another incentive for the wingnuts to leave. And that's why the cops hung back. Antifa typically initiates the violence. (Though the tiki-torch mob apparently started it at the Jefferson Statue the night before. And good on those student for defending the statue with force.) As long as Antifa is allowed to openly use violence to deny right-of-center groups their right to assemble, those groups will have good reason to come armed and ready for violence.
   And, of course: without the counter-protesters last year, Unite the Right comes and goes without incident. Needless to say, left-wing kooks have the same right to assemble that right-wing kooks have--but there's nothing preventing cities from telling them that they have to have rallies in different places. (So far as I know, anyway.)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Dinesh D'Souza Interviews Richard Spencer

I'll...just leave this right here...
I kinda feel like I just watched a really short episode of Black Mirror.
(I feel as if I should mention that Illiberal Education is a damn fine book. It was from before DD flipped his shit.)
I couldn't help but suspect that the "Wilsonian progressive" line depended to at least some extent on the Birth of a Nation thing.
Spencer is a pretty snappy dresser, though, I gotta that Hugo Boss...?
Stay tuned next week for Alex Jones interviews Anders Breivik...

Trump Is Pissed Off About Protesting NFL Players Again

Why's he got such a bug up his ass about this?
   I find it hard to believe that he's all that patriotic.
   To whatever extent these protests are BLM-ish, I think they're predicated on anecdotal evidence and statistical errors.
   But damn, they're about as respectful and civil as you can get. They're IMO a great expression / instantiation of First Amendment rights. Whether the justification for the protest is right or wrong seems to me to be of vastly secondary importance. ('Vastly secondary' is a pretty odd thing to say...but I like it, and it's my blog.)
   I mean, if James Damore should have been fired from Google, then these guys triply ought to get fired...  But these guys oughtn't to get fired...and so...
   Well, actually there's the whole business angle. I do acknowledge that if they were doing significant economic harm to their employer, their employer would be justified in telling them to protest on their own time. But it'd be great if that didn't have to happen.

Bear Cub Encounter

Out trail runnin' today on Massanothin', and ran up on a black bear cub. It was so diligently engaged in digging for grubs that it didn't notice me even though I was only about 20-30' away. I stopped and just checked him out. Cutest daggum thing ya ever did see. I looked around to check for mama, knowing that you're exactly not supposed to do what I was doing...but lots of visibility, sparse trees, little underbrush, and no sow. I just couldn't get myself to pass up the chance to check the little sucker out, so I indulged myself--though I took out my "bear" spray (actually, a wee person-size thing of pepper spray that I just keep on my water belt because why not?)--only the second time I ever took it out, the first time being last month during the Great Weird Bear Incident...
   Anyway, he noticed me after only about ten or fifteen seconds...which is a lot in looking-at-bears time...and made bee line for a tree and scampered up the other side, then peeked around when he was well up off the ground, with his stupid cute ears and all...stupid adorable bear. Ridiculous thing. So I just sauntered on down the trail, keeping and eye out and doing the "Hey, bear" thing. But never saw mama.
   Also saw a nice little four point buck, and a box turtle trying to eat and/or have sex with a really humongous mushroom.

Ben Shapiro Challenges Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez To Debate: She Says It's Analogous To Catcalling

...and maybe even hints at something darker...
Not clear what she meant by the "bad intentions" line.
   Her response is completely unconnected to the facts. She could simply refuse, as is undeniably her right. Instead, she deploys the go-to progressive move: accuse Shapiro of *-ism (in this case: misogyny/sexual harassment).
   It's just one case...but it it's just like thousands upon thousands of other cases. It's like a nonstop geyser of crackpottery over there. There's stupid and crazy across the political spectrum. But there's just so much of it on the progressive left, and it's just so blatant. This isn't one or two cases of nuttiness. This is a pervasive tendency toward laughable, almost unbelievable lunacy. What Ocasio-Cortez tweets simply makes no sense whatsoever. They've become the left-wing analog of the religious right--from back when the RR was feeling its oats, back in the '80s or so.

"A Wave Of Progressive Candidates Could Reshape The Democratic Party"

Gerson: "The Only Way To Save The GOP Is To Defeat It"

This seems plausible to me:
   If Democrats gain control of the House but not the Senate, they will be a check on the president without becoming a threat to his best policies (from a Republican perspective) or able to enact their worst policies. The tax cut will stand. The Senate will still approve conservative judges. But the House will conduct real oversight hearings and expose both Russian influence and administration corruption. Under Republican control, important committees — such as Chairman Devin Nunes’s House Intelligence Committee — have become scraping, sniveling, panting and pathetic tools of the executive branch. Only Democratic control can drain this particular swamp.
   Alternatively: If Republicans retain control of the House in November, Trump will (correctly) claim victory and vindication. He will have beaten the political performances of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in their first midterms. ...  He will have demonstrated the effectiveness of circus-like distraction. He will have shown the political power of bold, constant, uncorrected lies. And he will gain many more enablers and imitators.
Also: divided government is good. I kind of think that gridlock is the best we can hope for right now. Best outcome would be: conservative/centrist Dems win big, and the House goes blue, thus smacking down both the Trumpistas and left-fringe Dems. 
   A guy can dream, can't he?

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Ezra Klein Beclowns Himself Over The Sarah Jeong Dust-Up

   Jesus. I used to chat a bit on the web with Ezra, back in the early blogging days. He was the sane half of Pandagon, the other half being Amanda Marcotte. Then came Vox, know. It's pretty depressing, actually.

"Sarah Jeong Is A Boring, Typical Product Of The American Academy"

...who, inter alia, freaked the **** out when people pointed out that the UVA/Rolling Stone rape hoax was a hoax. Which was...basically immediately obvious to anyone with a spare neuron or two.
By the great Heather Mac Donald, peace be upon her!
I think that the anti-left is converging on the right attitude about this. To wit, as I'd put it: this is not so much about Sarah Jeong or the NYT or any particular institution. This is about progressivism and the progressive cultural superstructure. It's a set of general ideas and general tendencies that can no longer reasonably be denied.
   Oh, hey...remember how there's no such thing as political correctness? Are they still trying to sell that snake oil? Because that would be hilarious.

[Update: Some of her tweets about the UVA/Rolling Stone thing.]

Jeffrey J. Williams, "The Rise Of The Promotional Intellectual"

Oh do not get me started on this shit...

Wait...The CHE Is Interviewing The Koch Brothers??? WT....


(Is that how you spell ohhhhh? Or is that how you spell ooooooh?)

Luke Killoran: "An Empirical Response To Europe's Immigration Alarmists"

Some of these arguments are pretty fast...and many of them are about things I don't understand well enough to catch errors. And I didn't read it very carefully, tbh. But it's optimistic! Surely that's worth something?

Dreher: Most Reject "Trans" Dating

There's so much to say about this...
For example, that only 6.23 of the 7 "trans" people in the study would consider dating another "trans" individual... And, of course that that .77 of a person is a f*cking bigot...
   On a more serious note: talk is cheap. Many people have allowed themselves to be badgered/bullied into claiming that some men are women and some women are men. But when it matters...where the rubber meets becomes clear that they do not. Belief is a willingness to act. A straight guy who is willing to rule out sex with an entire group of "women"--of various races, heights, weights, hair and eye colors, etc.--does not believe them to be women. (Something similar could be said of lesbians...though they're not such notorious horn dogs as guys are.) It'll probably be pretty easy to bully people into using the wrong pronouns. It's not going to be so easy to bully them into having sex with people when that runs counter to their sexual preferences.
   Hey, remember back when our sexual preferences were sacrosanct, and no one was permitted to question them? Those were the days.
   Undoubtedly some people have allowed themselves to be convinced that men can be women and vice-versa. Some people are, after all, of a particularly malleable turn of mind. But what this whole psychotic episode has really done is train Americans to keep their mouths shut and refuse to question the cultural authority of progressives...because they know what's good for them.
   Also, this is the kind of nonsense that results from the manipulation of language. You can get people to pretend that 'woman' means something different than it means...but you can't thereby get them to want to share the restroom with nor have sex with the newly-minted "women." Fiddling with meaning at one point just causes the problem to squish out elsewhere.

The Laboratories of The Left: University of Minnesota Considers Pronoun Rules

First, Peterson et al. are wrong to suggest that the main problem with such insanity is that it attempts to legally mandate nonstandard pronoun usage. That's an important problem, but it's secondary.
   The primary problem is that such usage presupposes falsehoods. By calling a male 'she', you're presupposing that he's female. And--anathema though it is to the left--truth matters. Denial of this point is the central idea of totalitarianism. Whether the government tries to force you to do so or not, there are good reasons to refuse. 
   But just a hairsbreadth behind is the second-most-important idea: infringement of freedom. 
   Not that I have any doubt that the court would strike down such insanity. We're obviously talking about compelled speech. long as we have a conservative court I'm confident that it would strike it down. I no longer trust the left on this issue, for obvious reasons. 
   Again, the cutting edge of the left is pretty up-front about its contempt for truth and autonomy. So there's nothing too surprising a sense.
   As I've said before, everyone should be at DEFCON 1 over this situation. The courts now have to tell universities that they need to stop restricting speech. We are, politically speaking, in the Upside Down. Oh and: we now have to look to the right for defense of free expression... Strange days indeed.

It's Kafkas All The Way Down

It's not clear whether or not the states are the laboratories of democracy anymore...but colleges and universities are the laboratories of the left. If you want to know what lies another step or two down the left's current trajectory...well...hereya go. I mean, you shouldn't need this evidence; this is a case in which its pretty easy to see where they aim to take us. Just listen to what they say. They're usually not shy about it unless they're in motte mode.
   Is there anything analogous that's the laboratory of the right? Maybe: the past? (Does that even make any sense?)

Henrik B. Dynesen: "The Revolutionary Findings Of Twin Studies"

Well, nothing here you don't already know a lot about.
   Depressing as hell, IMO, because of the implications for free will.
   Devastating to nurturism.
   But merely one of the latest words on the subject; undoubtedly not the final one.

Blowing Up Wildfires

Cool idea?
Or coolest idea?

Does Taking Ethnic Studies Courses Improve Student Performance?

One Year Since "Unite The Right"

Various states of emergency have been declared.
   No idea what's gonna happen. Sounds like overkill in C'ville this time around. Better than the underkill last time, I suppose. So far as I can tell, though, Kessler's decided to plague NoVa this time, rather than C'ville.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Count Dankula's Appeal Is Refused

Of all the insanity the left has loosed upon the West, this may be the clearest, purest case of unmitigated crazy. And that's saying something.
   There's no way to spin this or finesse it. It's just plain nuts. And it gives the lie to lame dismissals of the problem predicated on the idea that it's limited to university campuses, and that it's all "just about words."
   There but for the grace of the First Amendment go we.

The Boys/Girls/Etc. In The Marketing Division Have Decreed That Masculinity Is Over

Wow, this is creepy and gross.
OTOH, I do think there are genuine questions and ideas buried in this sort of thing. They're not new questions...but they're real ones. I've never thought such questions were stupid. I just think the bizarre, unquestionable orthodox answers of the academic left are stupid. Oh: and the general ways they go about thinking about the questions as well.
   I mean, if dudes want to wear makeup, it's not like it's anybody else's business. It's a free country, homes. Well, basically the call is really up to women, I guess. If they like it, guys will start doing it. If not, they won't. Seems to me it's as simple as that. Anyway, it's not as if that idea is exactly alien to, say, rock and roll. Also, the Hagakure says that the samurai should keep a little container of rouge in his sleeve so that, after a night of hard drinkin', he still looks hale and hearty... So there's precedent!
   What's creepy, though is the mindless anti-masculinity mantra that's infected left, hence popular culture. Oh, and: the idea of a bunch of creepy advertising morons all jacked-up on gender studies pablum influencing what anyone does or thinks...holy God, it's a nightmare.
   Though, to my mind, this sort of stuff isn't all that much weirder than the hyper-masculinity / hyper-femininity stuff that's been the order of the day for...I dunno, twenty years or whatever. I find, e.g., totally jacked/overbuilt ostentatious parodies of manhood to be pretty f'in weird, I've gotta say. Similarly super-duper feminized hyper femininity.
   Incidentally: the power of advertising is, I'd think, something to blame on capitalism, ergo the right, I guess, for anyone keeping score. Wonder what the right will say if advertising goes all in on this anti-masculinity stuff? seems like they'd be in a bind on that one.

MO Voters Reject "Right To Work" Law

I was raised to think that they only thing worse than a union was no union. So I'd say that the less-bad option won out.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Latest School To Require "Diversity Statements" From Applicants For Faculty And Staff Positions

This madness is becoming more common: you must pledge allegiance to the leftist cult of "diversity" to even apply for a faculty position. I've heard that some administrators at my own institution are pushing for such a policy.
   I see no need to explain how insane/alarming this is.

Victor Davis Hanson On Russiagate: "The Police Were Not Policed"

How much of this is true?
   The first two paragraphs seem obviously true:
[1] No doubt Russia must be watched for its chronic efforts to sow more chaos in American elections — despite Barack Obama’s naïve assertion in 2016 that no entity could possibly ever rig a U.S. election, given the decentralization of state voting. 
[2] Lately the heads of four U.S. intelligence and security agencies — Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Chris Wray, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone, and National Security Adviser John Bolton — held coordinated White House press conferences to remind America of the dangers of Russian chicanery. Trump, who is prone to conflate documented Russian efforts to meddle and cause chaos with unproven accusations of Trump-Russia collusion, should heed their warnings and beef up U.S. counter-espionage efforts and cyber deterrence.
That bolded bit, in particular, is true and important in my (hunchy) estimation. This is why I'm not as impressed by the If-he's-innocent-why-does-he-act-guilty argument as many other people. He's acting a lot of ways. That is: his actions underdetermine theory choice. They can be explained by guilt, and they can also be explained by a puerile inability/refusal to distinguish (a) The Russians meddled and (b) We colluded with the Russians. Trump, remember, is not too smart as very stable geniuses go. He's also fairly indifferent to the truth, and seems to have few epistemic principles and little intellectual self-control. I'd say that he's just kind of stamping his foot and screaming NO! in the general direction of the investigation.
   What about the next paragraph:
[3]But why do our intelligence heads seem to feel so exasperated that they’re not getting through to the American people? Why do they need to reassert the immediacy of the Russian threat?
Again, there could be a couple of explanations...but I think the straightforward one gets a whole lotta presumption. I.e.: because they think Russian election meddling is a serious threat.
   After that, I don't know what to think. I just don't have a sufficiently good grasp of what's going on, largely as a result of my early decision to conserve my time and energy and just wait on Mueller... Which decision, as you can see, I'm beginning to waver on...

Kagan: "Trump Is Following A Familiar Script On Russia"

Dems' "Liberal" Insurgency Hits A Wall In Midwest Primaries

A bit of good news on the left, by my lights.

How To Be Your Own Ministry Of Twitter Truth

Are you a progressive journalist (or, really, a progressive anybody) on Twitter? Are you vexed by the ever-changing terminological and ideological fashions of the left? Do you realize that last year's woke is this year's problematic? Do you realize that you've tweeted stuff in the past that will get you mobbed by progressive crazies today should they notice it? Are you too groupthinky to reject such nonsense and leave the cult? Did you think that 1984 was "kinda Utopian or whatever, really, if you think about it"? Do you need someone to explain really basic searching and deleting?
   Well, then, here ya go I guess.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Making Sense Of Trump's CA Fire Tweets?

There was an attempt.
Drum: don't bother.
In general, I don't think there's much sense to be made of much that Trump says. He's just kind of a random word generator.

David French: "A Better Way To Ban Alex Jones"

   To be sure, this would tie their hands more: Unlike “hate speech,” libel and slander have legal meanings. There is a long history of using libel and slander laws to protect especially private figures from false claims. It’s properly more difficult to use those laws to punish allegations directed at public figures, but even then there are limits on intentionally false factual claims.
   It’s a high bar. But it’s a bar that respects the marketplace of ideas, avoids the politically charged battle over ever-shifting norms in language and culture and provides protection for aggrieved parties. Nor do tech companies have to wait for sometimes years long legal processes to work themselves out. They can use their greater degree of freedom to conduct their own investigations. Those investigations would rightly be based on concrete legal standards, not wholly subjective measures of offensiveness.
   Private corporations can ban whoever they like. But if companies like Facebook are eager to navigate speech controversies in good faith, they would do well to learn from the centuries of legal developments in American law. When creating a true marketplace of ideas, why not let the First Amendment be your guide?

William D. Ruckelshaus: "Only One Other President Has Ever Acted This Desperate"

And you know who that was.
   I still doubt the collusion theory. But I also can't see how we can tolerate a president trying to derail an investigation like this. My hunch, in this case, is that the cover-up isn't merely worse than the crime, it is the crime.
   Little more than an impressionistic hunch, though. Again, I'm not investing the kind of time in this crisis that I ordinarily would. I'm just waiting on Mueller's conclusions.

"'Maxine Waters' America': Protesters Swarm Pro-Trump Organization's Leaders At Restaurant"

They also attacked the sense of: pouring liquids on them. But the Post can't even bring itself to really report that bit quite straight, as you'll see at the end of the story.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Boot: "Republicans' Hypocrisy On Racism"

I'm inclined to disagree with the main thrust of this.
  Here's my central thought: the left is doing to Trump what it commonly does to those to its right: it resolutely interprets his unspecific and ambiguous claims as racist. My own view is that Trump may very well be kinda racist. But his alleged racism is hypothetical. That is: it's a hypothesis.
   The racism on the left is straight-up, open, and unambiguous. Again, don't even worry much about Jeong: focus on the fact that what she said is common on the left, and accurately expresses some of its orthodoxies. And, as Sully pointed out: that's basically what the NYT thinks, too. Anyway: progressive racism and sexism are features not bugs. They're part of the view. It's nonwhite supremacism.
   So: hypothetical racism, vs. clear, unambiguous, unapologetic racism.
   Now, as Boot recognizes, hypothetical racism by the president is likely to cause more harm than flat-out racism by one journalist. No disagreement there. Clearly right. The president needs to be above reproach in this respect. And Trump...isn't. That's, in fact, my objection to him. I somewhat doubt the Trump is racist hypothesis. But that hypothesis needs to not be in play. At all. And I'm not saying that the POTUS needs to give in to PC pussy-footing around. But there's a whole lot of space between PC pussy-footing around and Trump. comes another broken record bit: we're not talking about Trump vs. one journalist. We're talking about Trump vs. a crazy extremist hard-left orthodoxy that has metastasized throughout the cultural superstructure. Again: it's not about Jeong. It's about huge swaths of academia, the media, etc., stretching out indefinitely far into the future.
   As for the Trump is racist hypothesis... Take one of Boot's examples: he called Don Lemon dumb. And Don Lemon is black. Hypothesis: he called Don Lemon dumb because Don Lemon is black. That is a damn shaky hypothesis right there my friend. For one thing...well...Don Lemon. I'm very pro-Don-Lemon. As I've said before, I admire his earnestness. I actually have an inordinate affection for the guy. But...well, you know. As an objective matter of fact, he does not come across as exactly Einstein-like. And truth is a damn strong defense in such cases. If the accusation is reasonable, the racial component is otiose. Furthermore, Trump calls all sorts of people he dislikes dumb, regardless of race. Furtherfurthermore, what would explain Ben Carson, HUD secretary, if Trump thought all blacks were dumb?
   Eh, there's more to say here, but I got work ta do.

Virtuous Southerners Defeat Loathsome Yankees In College Bowl

Also, girls beat the boys. Kinda inspiring, actually.