Sunday, September 30, 2018

How Low Will Political Discourse Go?: Dragging Kavanaugh's Kids Into It

I'm officially an atheist, and I have to say that dragging the prayer thing into it makes it worse.

As Of Right Now, I Think There's Very Little Chance That Christine Blasey Ford Is Telling The Truth

My epistemic pendulum might swing back in the other direction by tomorrow, but, as of now, I have to say, I'd be very surprised to discover that she's telling the truth, and not at all surprised to find out that she isn't. She may not be lying--but I don't believe that what she's saying is true. Every place it's testable, it fails. Everyone but Ford who was supposed to be at that party either says it never happened or that they don't remember it. The only candidate entry for such a party on Kavanaugh's meticulous journal/calendar is inconsistent with Ford's testimony.
   Right now I am very strongly inclined to believe that she made it all up.
   I'm going on record here. Don't let me weasel out of this if I'm wrong. I'm not giving up on trying to rethink this...I'm definitely going to rethink it. But right now it seems clear as a bell to me...though such feelings are extremely impressionistic.

Slate: Kavanaugh Is Permanently "Toxic"

Slate's all-in on the anti-Kavanaugh train, too, with 3.5 anti-Kavanaugh stories on their front page. This changes titles between the front page and the story. (On the front page it says the "permanently 'toxic'" thing. Does anyone, anywhere, take anyone seriously who uses the word 'toxic' in this way? No they do not.

Kavanaugh Scorecard: The New Yorker

I've been looking around at where various publications stand on the Kavanaugh affair. The New Yorker is all-in on the anti-Kavanaugh side.
E.g.: "The Ford-Kavanaugh Hearing Will Be Remembered As A Grotesque Display Of Patriarchal Resentment"
I can't locate even a single even neutral story there.

After Racism, The Left Struggles To Find A New Menace

Renee Gerlich: "Suffragists Fought For The Female Sex"

As I've said before: the only people semi-demi-hemi-allowed to question transgender ideology are feminists (TERFs, as they say). Even they aren't actually allowed to, of course.
   I continue to marvel at the ability of the left to force people to say that night is day. Progressives, of course, eagerly say false things to support the cause...even convince themselves to half-believe them. But how did they become powerful enough to get this fairy tale ensconced as the Official View in less than ten years...and terrify the majority into silence?

John McCormack On Kavanaugh And The 7/1/82 Party

You see what the Current Madness has done to me? I've now started peeking in on The Weekly Standard for chrissake...:
   During Ford’s testimony Thursday, she explained that Garrett (whose nickname was “Squi” and who also is listed on Kavanaugh’s calendar as attending the July 1 party at Tim Gaudette’s townhouse) was the only social connection to Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge she can recall. Ford said during testimony that she had socialized with Garrett for “maybe a couple months” before the alleged party occurred and that Garrett was someone she “went out with for a few months.” She added: “After that we were distant friends and ran into each other periodically at Columbia Country Club, but I didn’t see him often.” If one of the people at the same small gathering was someone she “went out with for a few months,” wouldn’t there be a good chance she would recall his presence? The Post reports that Garrett has not responded to an interview request regarding the July 1 party.
   “Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford," Leland Keyser’s lawyer said in a statement on September 22.Kavanaugh’s calendar lists seven boys in attendance at Tim Gaudette’s, but Ford recalls a party at which four boys and two girls (including herself) were present. During testimony Thursday, Ford said that she recalls that Kavanaugh, Leland Keyser, Mark Judge, P.J. Smyth, and “one other boy whose name I cannot recall” attended the party. Everyone identified by Ford has denied recollection of a party like the one she described to the Washington Post, including her lifelong female friend and classmate Keyser.
   “I never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes in her allegation. I’ve never sexually assaulted Dr. Ford or anyone,” Kavanaugh testified on Thursday. “She and I did not travel in the same social circles. It is possible that we met at some point at some events, although I do not recall that. To repeat, all of the people identified by Dr. Ford as being present at the party have said they do not remember any such party ever happening.”
   While Ford described a party in pre-written and pre-released testimony as one at which four boys and two girls were in attendance, she said under questioning Thursday that she “can’t guarantee that there weren’t a few other people there, but they are not in my purview of my memory.” The occurrence of the Thursday, July 1, 1982 gathering of seven boys in Rockville was first revealed a couple days before the hearing when Kavanaugh’s calendars were released to the public.
   When Ford first described the details of the alleged assault at a couple’s therapy session in 2012, the therapist’s notes indicate that she was attacked by four males—a discrepancy Ford attributes to an error by the therapist. Ford’s lawyers have not provided the notes, even in redacted form, to the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to the Washington Post, the notes don’t mention Kavanaugh by name, but Ford's husband told the Post that she mentioned Kavanaugh at the time of the May 2012 therapy session and expressed concern he might be nominated to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh had been profiled in the New Yorker in March 2012 as the “ most likely first nominee” to the Supreme Court if a Republican won the 2012 presidential election.
   There is also reason to think the timing of the July 1, 1982 party could be inconsistent with Ford’s description of events. Kavanaugh testified that his calendar indicates that prior to the gathering at Tim Gaudette’s he had been doing a football workout, which was “usually 6:00 to 8:00 or so, kind of—until near dark. And then it looks like we went over to Timmy’s.”
   Ford testified that she likely arrived at the party after a day of swimming at the country club, the alleged assault occurred “early in the evening,” and Kavanaugh and Judge had been drinking heavily before she first saw them at the small gathering.
   “Mr. Kavanaugh and Mr. Judge were extremely inebriated, they had clearly been drinking prior,” Ford testified. “It was just a gathering that I assumed was going to lead to a party later on that those boys would attend, because they tended to have parties later at night than I was allowed to stay out. So it was kind of a pre-gathering.”
   We don’t know for sure if Kavanaugh worked out until 8:00 p.m. that evening, but if he did, that fact would be inconsistent with Ford’s description of an assailant who was “extremely inebriated" from drinking beer by the time the alleged assault occurred “early in the evening” at a “pre-gathering.”
This is the only party we currently know of that could be Ford's party; and it isn't it.

How To Decide The Kavanaugh Case: 1

Try to answer (roughly) the following question as if you'd been asked it before any of this happened:
Suppose a man is about to be appointed to an important position. Suppose that a woman consequently comes forward, and she alleges that the man committed sexual assault against her 35 years ago. Suppose neither person is clearly telling the truth, and neither is clearly lying. Should we conclude that the allegation is true? Or not conclude that it is true?

Elizabeth Price Foley: "There Is No Rational Evidence That Judge Kavanaugh Sexually Assaulted Anyone"

In the Politico Insta-Symposium on the hearings.
   In civilized societies that embrace due process of law, rational decision-making—including credibility assessment—can only be achieved by a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This means that, for a rational determination to be reached, the decision-maker(s) must find that, under the totality of the circumstances, it is “more likely than not” that the allegation is true.
   Credibility is not assessed on the basis of gender, the nature of an allegation, or one’s political affiliation. Any rational credibility determination requires unbiased consideration of the totality of the circumstances.
   Applying the preponderance standard to the allegations levied against Kavanaugh, is it more likely than not that he sexually assaulted Ford? No rational decision-maker could so find, for numerous reasons.
   First, Ford’s allegations are vague in numerous material details, including time, place and number of individuals present at the alleged event. Second, all individuals Ford claims were present at the event have denied, under penalty of perjury, that it ever took place, including one of Ford’s best girlfriends, Leland Ingram Keyser. Third, Kavanaugh has unequivocally denied ever attending any such event, or ever assaulting Ford at any time. Thus, all alleged participants at the event, except for Ford, agree that the event—much less the sexual assault—never even happened. Fourth, hundreds of character witnesses—many of them women—have provided statements regarding Kavanaugh’s exemplary character since childhood, including his respect for, and long-time mentorship of, women.
   Recognizing the inherent weakness of an allegation that lacks any corroboration—and indeed is unanimously refuted—the Democrats shifted their attention to establishing a pattern of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh. Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick then suddenly came forward with claims. But Ramirez herself once admitted to being unsure if the individual who groped her at an alcohol-infused Yale undergraduate party was Kavanaugh, and the New York Times could not find a single corroborating witness despite contacting several dozen party attendees. Julie Swetnick claimed that, as a college student, she attended high school parties in which Kavanaugh witnessed (but she does not say participated in) gang rape. Swetnick’s claims, brought forth by the hyperpartisan Democratic lawyer Michael Avenatti, remain utterly uncorroborated and are so sensational as to be inherently incredible when weighed against the totality of the evidence.
   At today’s Senate Judiciary hearing, the Democrats shifted their attention once more, to drinking alcohol. Their chief argument seems to be that Kavanaugh’s youthful consumption of beer should create a reasonable inference that Kavanaugh committed sexual assault...
Read the whole thing. The pro-Ford arguments in the symposium are generally built on subjective impressions. One is of the form "men aren't going to get away with this stuff anymore," and one is built largely on the claim that Ford has no motive to lie...which is an argument that I don't think matters that much in cases like this. The main concern is not that she's out to get Kavanaugh, or envisions some, say, financial gain. It's, rather, that her accusation is a result of certain currents in the cultural zeitgeist + something like iatrogenic false memories produced in therapy + 35 years for all this sort of thing to work on her.
   I'm astonished that so many people "found her credible" I found her just the opposite...but I don't think that should matter much. Anyone's subjective hunches, that is. We're simply not good lie-detectors. I'm appalled that so many people seem oblivious to that fact. So far as the objective evidence goes: I agree (today) with Elizabeth Price Foley: there basically isn't any.

Jonah Goldberg: "The Moral Panic Phase"

   First of all, is there any doubt in your mind that, if Kavanaugh had been coldly dispassionate, dismissive, and reserved, the Jen Rubins of the world would be screaming, “See! He’s an emotionless monster! He doesn’t even have the basic human decency to take offense at being called a rapist!”?
   Second, contrary to the tsunami of smug sorrowful opining, judges are not expected to be cold and dispassionate in the face of charges about themselves. That’s why they recuse themselves from cases in which they have personal interests.
When Jonah Goldberg is among the people making the most sense about...anything...well...I don't want to live in that world... But here we are...
   And don't miss: Kavanaugh being a virgin until after high school not only would not prove that he wasn't a would prove he was a rapist!!!!1111

Byron York On Kavanaugh's 7/1/82 House Party

Ford's Friend Leland Keyser Still Doesn't Remember Kavanaugh Or The Alleged Party

The anti-Kavanaugh side is emphasizing that Keyser says she believes Ford. But that she believes her matters little. What's much more significant is that she doesn't remember the alleged party.
   It's not irrelevant that Keyser believes Ford--if the were close friends--and especially if they've remained close friends to this day, then Keyser believing Ford seems to mean that she judges her to be reasonable and truthful. Of course the longer-ago and less-close their friendship, the less valuable/reliable is such a judgment. But this pales in comparison to not remembering the party--and not even remembering having ever met Kavanaugh.

Saletan On Kavenaugh

Very important points, though I doubt they rise to the level of "lying to the committee." They're more like the kinds of spin one should expect from an accused. Except for the blacking out one; that kinda seemed like, possibly, a straight-up lie.
   But, that point aside: all very important. I was under the impression that the alleged incident of pushing a woman against a wall had been debunked, but I guess not. We would, of course, need to know that said pushing wasn't consensual...because that's not exactly unheard-of behavior.
   This all makes me more in favor of an FBI investigation--and a lengthier one if necessary. Thus far all the accusations seem tainted. Ford seems to have "remembered" the incident in therapy, sans names, and so on. Ramirez only "remembered" her alleged incident after six days with a Democratic lawyer. Swetnick seems to be a nut. Normally I'd take the number of allegations to be evidence in itself...but that doesn't seem plausible when each one is so flawed.
   My new position this morning: neither Kavanaugh nor his accusers is/are particularly believable.
   One might reasonably think that that alone should disqualify Kavanaugh...but...I don't really think so. How someone acts in response to crazy, unjust, false accusations of sexual assault, and relentless, unfair attacks by a hostile party while on national t.v. and in front of the Senate Judiciary committee...well...if there's any situation more likely to bring out an unrepresentative aspect of a person, I can't think of it right off the top of my head. So this seems to throw the question back to: are the allegations true?
   If Kavanaugh turns out to be the scumbag, we'll--perhaps rightfully--see yet another ratcheting-up of "me too"-ish stuff. If Ford-Ramirez-Swetnick turn out to be the scumbags...what then? Will there finally be an admission that things have gone too far, and that false accusations of sexual assault have become (or, perhaps, have always been?) alarmingly common? I suppose I doubt it...

Yale Study: Number Of Illegal Immigrants 22 Million--Double Standard Estimate

Surely there is some number that even progressives must admit is cause for concern...yes?

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Second Thoughts On The House Re: L'affaire Kavanaugh

I'd been thinking that, if Ford drew up partial floor plans ahead of time, and then the house were to be identified, and (barring renovation) they matched, then that would be some confirmation of her story.
   But now I doubt that. She could easily know the floor plan from being in the house at other times. It's certainly nothing but the weakest, most insubstantial evidence.
   I was kind of excited about the prospect of some actual evidence...but this route won't provide it. Unless something really big turns up...someone remembering the party, basically, and remembering that all the relevant people actually were there, so Kavanaugh is lying...I'm not sure what can be discovered that will count.
   More likely, the FBI will find that Kavanaugh did drink a lot, and that will sink him.
   Also, I read that the Dems blew it all by having Ford questioned in the Judiciary Committee hearing, instead of by a professional, in private. That matters, too.
   More and more this is seeming to a gut all be kinda crazy. Unless something big and pro-Ford turns up, I think the smart conclusion will be that this has all been, basically, a witch hunt.
   Or so I think at this instant...but my position keeps oscillating all over the place...which means it's worth shit. But I'm trending toward: Kavanaugh's account is veridical, Ford's not.

Loftus On False Memories

   Dr. Loftus began conducting research in response to certain types of psychotherapies that became popularized in the 1970s, including hypnosis, exposure to false information, and dream interpretation. She had begun to notice that many patients who were going into these therapies with one set of issues (such as depression or anxiety) were coming out with another set of issues (“recovered” false memories of trauma). Dr. Loftus designed experiments to explore what was occurring in these mental processes.
   During her studies — approved by the relevant ethics authorities — her team successfully planted in the participants false memories of being attacked by an aggressive animal, witnessing a demonic possession, and being nearly drowned in childhood. Another study looked at members of the U.S. military who were violently interrogated, fed suggestive questions, and then asked to identify their interrogator. Many completely misremembered the physical appearance of their interrogator, which resulted in — sometimes drastic — misidentifications.
   “What these studies are showing is that when you feed people misinformation about some experience that they may have had, you can distort, contaminate, or change their memory. Out in the real world, misinformation is everywhere.” She said, citing media as a prominent example.
   In one TED talk, Dr. Loftus concluded:
   If I’ve learned anything from my decades working on these problems, it’s this: Just because somebody tells you something and they say it with lots of confidence, detail, and emotion does not mean that it really happened. We can’t reliably distinguish true memories from false memories; we need independent corroboration. Such a discovery has made me more tolerant of friends and family who misremember. Such a discovery might have saved Steve Titus. We should all keep in mind that memory, like liberty, is a fragile thing.
   She is not alone in the field, of course. In 1990, the McMartin preschool trial came to an end, seven years after allegations surfaced of outrageous, satanic sex abuse of toddlers. It was the most expensive criminal trial in American history; at its end, all charges were dropped. The mother who made the initial accusation was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic (she stated that she’d seen one of the alleged abusers fly through the air) and later found dead from complications of alcoholism. In the wake of this trial and other satanic-abuse hysteria sweeping the country at the time, “false memories” became a prominent phrase in neuropsychological research.
   Now, Harvard psychologist Daniel Schacter explains that false memories form partly because our brains are constructive — they create narratives about our future, which might lead to related memory errors about our past. Elizabeth Phelps, a psychologist at New York University, reports in Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eyewitness Identification that “unknown to the individual, memories are forgotten, reconstructed, updated, and distorted.”

Read more »

Dalrymple On England

Dalrymple On PC

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

Somin on Kavanaugh-Ford

   I thought Christine Blasey Ford was credible. It is hard to deny she genuinely believes that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her.....
   Kavanaugh's anger and belligerence struck me as less persuasive than Ford's calmer demeanor. Some of his insinuations of being a victim of a left-wing conspiracy (motivated by "revenge for the Clintons," among other things) seem excessive and inappropriate for a Supreme Court nominee... That said, it is not surprising that a man who is falsely accused (or believes himself to be) would feel great anger, and might engage in rhetorical excesses that would not occur at other times....
   More generally, we should be wary of judging the witnesses based on our subjective impressions of demeanor. Studies show that most people are not as good at detecting liars as they think they are. And we also should not dismiss the possibility that one or both witnesses' recollections of long-ago events could be seriously inaccurate even if they genuinely believe they are telling the truth. [my emphasis]
   Our judgment may be even more flawed in a case where it is likely to be compromised by ideological and partisan bias. One of the most striking aspects of commentators' reactions to yesterday's hearing (and the sexual assault accusations more generally) is the extremely high correlation between what people think of the allegations and whether they believe Kavanaugh should be confirmed aside from them. Liberals who opposed to Kavanaugh before the accusations overwhelmingly believe they are both accurate and disqualifying. Most conservatives who like Kavanaugh's jurisprudence believe that the accusations are false, or at least insufficiently proven to warrant rejection of the nomination. As a matter of logic, it should be possible to simultaneously believe that Kavanaugh is a great jurist, yet also likely guilty of sexual assault, or, conversely, that his jurisprudence is badly flawed, yet Ford's accusations are insufficiently proven to be disqualifying. The fact that these two positions have so few adherents is a strong sign that reactions to the accusations and hearing are heavily influenced by "motivated reasoning"—the tendency to interpret evidence in accordance with political and other preconceptions....
   Amen, brother Somin. The degree to which people are relying on their subjective impressions about this is truly disturbing to me.
   To very loosely paraphrase a Peirce comment on metaphysics: both sides are passionately certain that the truth of the matter couldn't be clearer...but they disagree about everything after that.
   I wouldn't, as things now stand, bet any money at all on either story. I think Kavanaugh's lying about his boozing, and probably doing so because the deck is so stacked in Ford's favor. If Kavanaugh turns out to have been an ordinary teenager who drank so much that he blacked out*  more than zero times, this will be taken as evidence that he's a rapist. Anybody out there want to have that standard applied to them? If he ever, in his youth and his cups, said anything sexually disrespectful about women, that'll be taken as evidence. All it'll take is somebody to have a faulty memory, one story not to add up, one unfortunate juxtaposition of facts...and he's a rapist for the rest of his life. And: the obviously false "third accusation" is still being cited as evidence in support of Ford by the media and Dems.
   Contrary to what all sorts of people are inexplicably saying, there's nothing at all about Ford's testimony that makes her story particularly believable--nothing that makes it anything more than assertion. People swooned over her gratuitous, semi-scientific gestures at epinephrine, but what's really important here never gets mentioned: the well-established unreliability of memory, and of eyewitness reports. Not to mention: the fact that accusations of sexual assault "in the #MeToo era" confer high status on the accuser. People say: "it's so embarrassing for a rape victim to come forward..." Well, it's not correspondingly embarrassing for a false accuser to come forward. It's celebrity and status on the left without the corresponding embarrassment and trauma. Many people enjoy sympathy.
   OTOH, of course, Ford could be telling the truth, and Kavanaugh might be--or might have been--a repulsive scumbag. Many men are repulsive scumbags. Many of them keep this fact about themselves concealed, of course. From my observations, I conclude that it's not all that hard. They usually have help from people around them. (Though if Kavanaugh were like that, someone credible would have said so by now, IMO.)
   But anyway...behold the nature of politics: though it's objectively unclear whether A or not-A, it just so happens that the side that wants A to be true is passionately certain that the evidence makes A undeniable. Exactly the reverse is true of the other side. This fact alone should force rational people to admit that the matter isn't clear. But, of course, it doesn't.

*Though the mighty Armenius and I were having a discussion about this the other day in which we realized that we weren't exactly sure what counts as "blacking out." Is passing out blacking out? Does blacking out require that one remain ambulatory and at least semi-vertical/functional?

That One Kavanaugh Calendar Entry

This does seem to provide a promising avenue of investigation--or so it seems to the layperson. Should be able to, for example, ID the house, confirm or disconfirm its layout, talk to everyone allegedly there. Among other things, you'd want to get Ford to draw floor plan from memory first. The "narrow stairs" are the only architectural feature of note that I've heard her mention.

Another Shrieking Progressive, Heroified

Wow I'm getting sick of this crap.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Investigation Is On

I'm sort of in favor of the investigation, I suppose. I didn't think either Ford or Kavanaugh conveyed an impression of believability. As I noted before, and as others have noted, Kavanaugh seemed to really not want the investigation--and who can blame him? I don't have anything even vaguely interesting to hide, and I don't think I'd want the FBI poking its nose into my private life. OTOH, if I'd been accused of sexual assault I'd think I'd be fairly likely to welcome it. Kavanaugh might very well be concerned that they'll turn up something unrelated but embarrassing...that could be why he's hesitant. If you've worked all your life to be a hot-shot judge, and you're this close to being a Supreme, you'd be wise to lunge for the brass ring. Why take the chance that something will turn up to derail you? 
   However, there is one calendar entry that's consistent with Ford's story. Though her story could easily have been reverse-engineered from Judge's book. In fact, to my ear, it kinda sounds like it was. The shopping cart bit is just a bit too convenient. And, though my bad reaction to Ford is hard for me to flesh out, it's something like this: she reminds me of certain flaky women I've known who didn't have the firmest of grips on reality. Though, again, I don't trust such impressions.
   At any rate, I don't particularly see how an investigation can hurt much. I'm not really concerned about this happening every time; the Dems are going all in on this one. If it doesn't pan out, I doubt they'll have the political capital to try something similar on the next nominee. As somebody pointed out in comments, it does play into a bad, emerging cultural tendency...but we may just have to pay that cost.
   Kavanaugh kind of shot himself in the ass with his Mr. Furious shtick. JQ said she could imagine him being a mean drunk. She's a very reasonable person, so if she's suspicious, I'm suspicious.
   Though, come to think of it, Kavanaugh might oppose this because it can, realistically, only hurt him. It's unlikely that anything else can be turned up about Ford--her own witnesses contradict her account, as do her psychologist's notes. Her fear of flying story doesn't exactly hold up, either. The FBI isn't going to find out that she and Kavanaugh were in different places every night for two years... OTOH, basically anything untoward they turn up about Kavanaugh is a loss for him. Nobody wants bad stuff about them to be made public. And he seemed to be lying about, e.g., blacking out from drinking. If he was, and that comes out, it'll be taken, in effect, as evidence for Ford, unfair though that might be.
   What a mess.


This book is not for the faint of f*cking heart:

Never Forget: Jezebel: "'Is The UVA Rape Story A Gigantic Hoax?' Asks Idiot"

Funny you should ask...
                          A. N. Idiot

Judiciary Committee Sends Kavanaugh Nomination To The Full Senate

Well...I'm not exactly happy about this.
But I also don't think the allegations against Kavanaugh are even remotely weighty / credible enough to derail his nomination.
So I don't know what my problem is.

Kavanaugh: Two Neglected Assault Accusations

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Does Mark Judge's Book Validate Blasey Ford's Timeline?

No, but it's consistent with it.
Worth putting in the information hopper, though.

Kavanaugh vs. Ford; Dems vs. Pubs

1. I missed the most important parts of her testimony.
2. First thing I saw was some bullshit, irrelevant semi-science about norepinephrine and memory. Super cringey and dumb. Gratuitous pretend science. Just don't.
3. She gave me a very, very, very distinct--yet very, very, very subjective--impression of non-credibility. She just seemed like a bullshitter to me. (But see 1)

1. First and foremost does not want an FBI investigation. Not wanting an FBI investigation seemed to me to be #1 on his Do Not Want list.
2. Either is an asshole or decided to play an asshole on tv today.
3. Was mean even to Amy Klobuchar, the one Dem who was nice to him.
4. Thinks committing the tu quoque fallacy is a good response to the question "have you ever been such a pathetic alky that you blacked out from too much booze?"
5. Handled it badly, but better than I would if I were accused of such things. I'd burn the goddamn Capital building down. I'd completely lose my shit. To my mind it's basically the worst thing you can be accused of--and the accusation never goes away. Barring some bizarre fluke that allows you to disprove the accusation beyond any shadow of a doubt, you're 1/10-1/2 rapist for the rest of your life.
6. If keeping meticulous calendars of all your activities fails to exonerate you, then there's no hope for any of us. I have no idea where I was on Tuesday afternoon of last week.

1. Two reasons I maybe can't be a Democrat anymore:
   A. Cory Booker
   B. Kamala Harris
I've been kinda pro- each of them at some point in the past...but now...I have no idea what I was thinking...
2. I wish Amy Klobuchar wasn't so nice. She should have pressed BK more, and shouldn't have stood for being talked over like that and just generally disrespected. You should disrespect people who are being demagogic assholes...but disrespecting someone who's bending over backwards to be reasonable...that is some bullshit. That was a big strike against Kavanaugh.

1. LISTEN GODDAMN IT NOBODY CARES THAT THE FBI "DOESN'T REACH CONCLUSIONS." They gather evidence. Then the goddamn SENATE can draw the conclusion. If I had heard one more Republican recite this mantra I was gonna drive my ass up to DC the time I made it through rush hour on 66...the hearing would be over. So nothing.
2. Lindsay Graham: I really like that guy. And, though I don't quite see things from his angle on this one, I can glimpse that angle from time to time...and anybody who is seeing things from that angle should be every bit as pissed as LG is.
3. Rachel Mitchell had a great demeanor...though I wasn't always seeing why she was asking what she was asking.

Bottom line:
1. You can't torpedo someone on the basis of unsubstantiated 35-year-old accusations.
2. You can't risk making a semi-rapist one of the Supremes.

Sub-bottom line:
1. If the Dems can win this and win the midterms, they can Merrick Garland the next nominee.
2. Which the Pubs would richly deserve.
3. But I do not trust progressives to protect and preserve the First and Second Amendments if I just absolutely had to flip the switch on this, I guess I'd flip it to confirm Kavanaugh.
4. I'm glad I don't have to make this decision.

SCP: Trump

I thought I had a somewhat funny, original idea...but it turns out that, not only have others already had it, they've already been berated for politicizing SCP on the SCP site...

WaPo: "How Christine Blasey Ford Used Science To Defend Her Allegations"

I can never figure out how to link to these videos on the right hand side of the Post's front page...but Ford didn't "use science." She, rather, gestured at some bullshit about norepinephrine and the chemistry of memory formation...none of which was at all relevant to answering the question.
   Now Corey Booker is unctuously pontificating semi-soto-voce... Jesus Christ...this guy...
   Ford and her lawyers aren't helping their case thus far, IMO...but I try not to rely much on such impressionistic stuff.
   Mitchell's demeanor inspires confidence, IMO.

[Oh, man, now Kamala Harris... Not making it easy to stay neutral...]
[Jeez...she got even worse.]

SECOND Kavanaugh Accuser Only "Remembered" That Kavanaugh Exposed Himself To Her After Six Days With A Lawyer

And then there was one...
[Oh, and: so much for my ability to discern which allegations are credible...]

Billboard With Definition of 'Woman' Removed For "Transphobia"

Because that women are adult human females is a hatefact.

60 Kavanaugh Classmates Sign Letter Stating They Have No Memory of Third Accuser, Nor Of Parties She References

Ok, so her accusations completely drop out of the picture now, by my estimation.
   Except that they don't...
   Because that's one basically-confirmed-false accuser (unless new information about her/the parties turns up).
   Which means:
   You know all the people saying Listen and believe / Believe all women / Women basically don't lie about such things?
   There seems to be one lying in this very case right now right in front of us.
   What are the odds of that? 
   Well...the odds that the odds are very low seem very low...

Third Kavanaugh Accuser Threatened Ex-Boyfriend And His Family

...and he had to file a restraining order against her.
   Ok then. This de-credibilizes (a word I just made up...waddaya think?) her accusation on my mental tally sheet. If uncorroborated 30-year-old testimony is going to count against someone's character and credibility, then 20-year-old legal records of craziness knock you right out. 
   I'd like to point out that I had my doubts about her already. 
   Christ, what a mess.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Third Kavanaugh Accuser

Three is hard to explain away.
  The first one didn't seem particularly credible to me. The second one sounded very credible. This one not..but I have no earthly clue what to think at this point, really. On the one hand, I think that there are a lot of guys who are psychopaths. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of women who are complete lunatics with virtually no contact with reality. Women live in hope that they won't end up in the wrong place with the wrong psychopath at the wrong time. Men live in hope that they won't cross the wrong lying nutcase at the wrong time. But crazy women are made even crazier by fame, and I expect that the more famous you are, the more likely you are to be targeted by one of them. And I have little doubt that one accusation makes a second more likely. some point we may just have to say we can't risk it. There are just a lot of false accusations of various kinds out there. That's the world. I don't think we should necessarily view Kavanaugh as a sex assailant...but we may have to say that we can't risk him on the court after three accusations. I'm not saying that's what we should do; I'm saying it's what we might have to do.
   OTOH, I'm still fairly strongly inclined to think: if you waited 30 years to make the accusation, well, you're free to make it, but we're free to not take it particularly seriously. In fact, I'm not sure we're free not to not take it particularly seriously.
   Fortunately, what I think doesn't matter, so I don't have to figure this out.

The "Trans" "Woman" Who "Became" A "Dragon"

Well, he's as much a dragon as he is a woman...
   Broadly is maybe even more shooting-fish-in-a-barrel-y than Jezebel...but whatevs. If you are bored enough to read that crap, note that the author comes as close to saying "this person is a dragon" as she can without actually saying it. Which...well...I respect in that it's more consistent than pretending that transmogrification by fiat only works on sex.

Trump At The U.N.

Dude's a clown, but 2-2.5 cheers for whoever wrote this for him:
   "Each of us here today is the emissary of a distinct culture, a rich history, and a people bound together by ties of memory, tradition, and the values that make our homelands like nowhere else on Earth," he said.
   "That is why America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination," Trump said. "I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return."
   "We will never surrender America's sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy," Trump said later in his speech. "Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination."
   Trump also said the U.S. will not participate in 'Global Compact on Migration.'
   "We recognize the right of every nation in this room to set its own immigration policy in accordance with its national interests, just as we ask other countries to respect our own right to do the same -- which we are doing. That is one reason the United States will not participate in the new Global Compact on Migration. Migration should not be governed by an international body unaccountable to our own citizens," he said.
I think it's a mistake to overdo the culture and tradition angle. But hooray for national sovereignty. And "independence and cooperation" seems pretty much precisely right to me. Of course if we were the nutty ones and the majority of the rest of the world less so, I'd likely be singing a different tune... But, as it turns out, we're the one with the Bill of Rights.

Leahy: Kavanaugh Misled The Senate Under Oath

Twitter To Ban "Dehumanizing" Comments

We're living a parodic version of 1984.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Shit Students Say: "Overthinking It"

Student: I think I'm overthinking it.
Me: I think you're underthinking it.

CA Passes Law Allowing 12-Year-Olds To Get Tax-Funded Transgender Treatments everybody just going to keep pretending that this sort of thing isn't completely insane?
   I mean...supposing we aren't really slipping into a leftist dark age, and that people come to their senses about this in the next decade or are they going to explain away the madness of our era? I think it's going to have to be either (a) just pretend it never happened, a la the Satanic Panic, or (b) pretend that some future scientific findings overturned previous "science" on which transgender ideology will be said to have been based.
   Hey, did they ever actually make it illegal in CA to counsel someone about trying to change their sexual orientation? Apparently they were trying to get rid of it largely by arguing that it doesn't work, ergo it was allegedly a fraudulent business practice. Which I'd guess is pretty close to the truth. But apparently it's legal to falsely tell children that you can change their sex (or "gender", which term means basically nothing now) by shooting them up with hormones that will screw them up for life. But consistency isn't particularly a hobgoblin of the extremist mind...

Free Soloing El Cap

Almost crapped my pants just watching the trailer.

The Navy Joins The War On Urinals?

Though we're in the midst of the PC apocalypse, it's still hard to believe that parts of Europe are waging war against the toxic scourge standing to pee...a gripe so moronic that even Vice can't seem to take it seriously. But weirdly, the Navy may be on board with it...though it cites other...somewhat implausible...reasons...
   You know things are in a tailspin when you start wondering whether Kim du Toit may have been right after all...

Kavanaugh Claims To Have Been A Virgin Until Long After College

Wow... That's a helluva confession if true...

What Motivates False Accusers?

These and many other things, some of which you'd never even imagine.

Behold The Cult of Progressivism

Wow these people are creepy.

Kavanaugh Has Detailed Calendars That Seem To Refute Accusations

Holy crap.
If this turns out to be the crucial evidence...the mind reels. That would mean that, but for a kinda crazy-sounding, almost obsessive-compulsive habit, Kavanaugh's life and reputation would have been wrecked. But that's speculative at this point, obviously.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Lindsay Shepherd Can't Tell Us Whether She Was Found Guilty Of "Harassment and Discrimination" Because That Would Be Harassment

War is peace, motherfuckers

McCardle On Kavanaugh

I used to be one of those nasty little liberals who was snide about Megan McCardle. Embarrassing.
   Ford isn’t merely the avatar of every feminist or Democrat who ever angered conservatives. She’s a person who, as best I can tell, sincerely believes that she was grievously wronged by a man who now proposes to sit in judgment on our most important moral and legal questions. She doesn’t deserve the shameful abuse she has suffered from partisans too blinded by their anger to see the person they’re wronging.
   But likewise, Kavanaugh isn’t the doppelganger of every prep-school predator or fraternity rapist. He isn’t a stand-in for every privileged white man who ever got away with something he shouldn’t have; he is not the distilled essence of the patriarchy. He’s an individual, not a stock character, one accused of a very specific act.
   In assessing whether Kavanaugh is guilty of that act, we of course consider his character. But we should not automatically ascribe to him the character of other white men, prep-school boys, high-school athletes, fraternity brothers, Catholics, pro-lifers, conservatives or lawyers we have known.
   No good cause, however just, requires the ritual scapegoating of members of a despised class as an atonement for the sins of the others. Women or men, Democrats or Republicans, we’re all Americans, and I’d still like to believe America is better than that.

The Ramirez Allegations Against Kavanaugh

Some criticisms.
(PJ Media isn't exactly neutral...but, then, they don't have to be.)
   Maybe someone who's heard a lot of such accusations and seen them investigated is good at telling the true ones from the false ones, but I'm not that person. Nothing about it screams false accusation to me. OTOH, I've been to a lot of parties where booze and sex are the major themes...and I've never seen anything even a little bit like the act described by Ramirez. The perpetrator'd have gotten thrown out on their ass. His ass...
   The UVa/Rolling Stone/"Jackie" accusations were obviously false. That was an easy case. Though, remember, the progressive consensus was not only It's true! But You are virtually a rapist yourself for even doubting it... Anyway. This doesn't scream false to me. Which isn't enough, of course. But it is a different kind of case.
   But, then, I've also never personally heard anyone make such an allegation falsely. Nor, for that matter, truly. So this is just way outside anything I've got actual experience with.

   I suppose the view that's coalescing in my head is: these accusations could be true. And, of course, I'm sorry they happened. And, of course, if they did happen, Kavanaugh likely has no business on any court. But here's the deal: if you want such accusations believed, you've got to make them sooner than 35 years later. You've got every right--and, perhaps, a duty--to speak the truth about what happened as you see it. But somebody like me shouldn't believe you. For which I'm also sorry if they're true. But all sorts of true things are said all the time about important things...which oughtn't to be believed. This is part of the human condition.
   Anyway, if we were omniscient, we might see that Kavanaugh is a creep. Or we might see that he used to be, but isn't now, and that he's learned more from his youthful creepiness than you and I learned from our youthful non-creepiness.
   What a mess.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Second Sexual Assault Allegation Against Kavanaugh

Whelp...though I don't think I should be playing this game...this doesn't sound particularly made-up to me., FWIW.

Hirono: As A Conservative Judge, Kavanaugh Doesn't Get Presumption Of Innocence

Holy crap.
And these people say this sort of thing with straight faces.

Kavanaugh Accuser: All Alleged Witnesses Now Dispute Her Story

And don't forget: her therapist's notes are also inconsistent with at least one significant detail of her story.
And there's this bit:
   In The Atlantic, Brookings Institution scholar Benjamin Wittes took the argument to its illogical extreme. Because of the political sensitivity of the situation, Wittes wrote, Kavanaugh “cannot…seek to discredit a woman who purports to have suffered a sexual assault at his hands.”
   “Even if [Kavanaugh] believes himself innocent, even if he is innocent,” Wittes concluded, “the better part of valor is to get out now.” That is, to withdraw his nomination.
I've seen this kind of insanity from the left here and there: men should not dispute rape charges even if they are innocent because (a) it causes psychological harm to the accuser, and (b) it promotes the view that some rape accusations are false...which...of course...they are, ex hypothesi, for the purposes of that very idiotic argument...
   This is in keeping with similar arguments, more widespread on the left, to the effect that one ('one' meaning: white people) should never dispute accusations of racism. Just listen and believe, shitlord.
   I'm in no way convinced that Ford is wrong. And I'm in no way saying that there aren't dumb arguments on the right as well....but damn...

"It's Understandable That Ford Didn't Come Forward Sooner"

Of course it is.
But that doesn't alter the fact that she didn't.
   The anti-Kavanaugh forces are trying to make skepticism about the accusations into misogyny / rape apologism. Those are straw men. No one's criticizing women who don't come forward right away. The point isn't that she did something wrong. The point is that, having not come forward sooner, her 30-year-later accusation can't, by itself, be used as the sole justification for believing that someone committed sexual assault.

More People Deny Knowledge of Kavanaugh-Ford Party And Incident

   As the lawyer points out, it's not a huge surprise that people who partied a lot have no memory of an unremarkable (for them) party 30 years ago... But that's not exactly the point. The point is that Ford's accusation isn't enough on its own. It needs support from collateral evidence, and it's not getting any.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Are We Feminizing Men?

Sort of?
I don't know.
To some extent?
When feminism was cool, the answer was: we're trying to knock off the irrationally rough edges that place artificial, arbitrary, unreflective limits on male autonomy.
But feminism hasn't been cool for a long, long time.
Now the answer is: you bet we are, because masculinity is T0000000000XXXXXIC and there's no such thing as men and women anyway and also there is such a thing but men are women and women are men and....all truth is falsehood.
I'm with the old-school, cool, egalitarian feminists...2.0...who don't think that everybody should be androgynous, but who do think that social pressure to conform to sex/gender roles should be loosened up a bit so that autonomous choice about modes of behavior is easier. It'd be good if people had more latitude.
   OTOH, I now think that there are non-stupid reasons for men to err on the side of masculinity, and for women to err on the side of femininity (so long as that doesn't make them passive... I think femininity may be a more complicated thing, honestly. Damn Rebecca Reilly-Cooper for complicating my thinking on that score...)
   Though, consider the hyperbolic gender shit of the '90s and aughts...and often still now...hyper-over-muscled dudes and hyper-super-sexualized women... I honestly see that stuff as just as weird as the other stuff. Dudes on steroids stomping around ostentatiously and self-consciously trying to be hyperbolically masculine and dudes in dresses look, well, basically the same to me. I do think dudes are better off being masculine-ish...they're certainly better off in the "sexual marketplace" (as the redpillers say)...but overdo it by even just a bit and you become a clown. There are some girls out there, undoubtedly, who are partial to more feminine men...but as a mating strategy, femininity is not a winning one for dudes.
   Anyway, there's this.
   Does anybody remember what my point was?

Student Editor Who Retweeted Article Pointing Out That Women Don't Have Penises Is Fired From University Journal

The since[-]deleted tweet has received backlash from former chair of LGBT Humanists Christopher Ward who claimed the post was 'factually incorrect' and not 'worthy of a debate'.
In less than ten years, we've gone from (a) Night is not day to (b) Night is day, shitlord, to (c) That night is day is not up for debate to (d) You are a bigot if you do not accept that night is day to (e) You will be deemed professionally incompetent and removed from your position if you dare suggest that night is not day.
   This is the most insane, deranged lunacy I've seen on a societal scale in my entire life.
   [And remember: I've got no objections to people representing themselves as the other sex under most conditions. I think everybody has a right to buck such conventions. I just think that truth and falsehood matter.]

Kavanaugh: Should We Care About The Details?

Or should we ask ourselves to generate a generic template of basically the following form, and apply it uniformly to cases that aren't extremely unusual:
Suppose A accuses B of sexual assault; suppose there is basically no collateral evidence either way. We should conclude that ______________.
I find myself trying to piece together a story out of wispy details. I just read an assertion that Judge, the alleged witness, was a bully. I felt that move the needle toward BK did it--appreciably. I find this happening a lot in such cases. I suspect it's a big mistake. Sometimes it takes just one little thing to move the needle. This is one of the things that leads me to prefer the generic approach. Make a general judgment and, except in extraordinary cases in which the alleged details warrant overriding that judgment, stick to it.
   Well into my 30s I realized I automatically kind of believed accusations of criminality. (I told my friend Peter the public defender this, and he said: "You'd make a good judge." Damn...) So I tried to kick that habit. I really believed accusations of sexual harassment and assault. That ended as I learned more about academic feminists, and after I saw actual instances of them using bogus accusations of "hostile environment sexual harassment" (by which they meant: questioning feminism) to achieve political ends. Also after my brother was falsely accused of assault against my psychopathic father, who was the actual assailant. A clearer case of injustice there never was...but there was no way for the judge or the jury to know that. They ultimately rendered the right verdict...though it was a near thing, and not necessarily decided on the most rational grounds. I knew what had happened...but had I been on the outside, I might very well have ruled against my brother. Now I know better. To the argument But why would the accuser lie about this?, I now think I know the answer, and it's: You simply cannot imagine all the possible reasons.
Read more »

Friday, September 21, 2018

Swedish University Professor May Get Fired For Saying That Men And Women Are Biologically And Anatomically Different

In other news, war is different than peace, freedom isn't slavery, and ignorance isn't strength...

Grand Frer Regarde Vous*: Judge Orders Le Pen To Have Psychological Testing For Posting Pics Of ISIS Murders

This is completely f*cking insane.
I takes a lot these days to actually, physically make my jaw drop...but this did the goddamn trick.

Per Instapundit: France: partying like it's 1789...

*Or something like that. I can stammer out like virtually no French...though JQ once told me that I can do more with the modicum of it at my disposal than anyone else she's ever seen. Which is the kind of compliment I find extremely aw-shucks-ifying. I actually wrote some pretty cool Basic programs despite knowing jack shit about Basic... Similar things might be said about my knowledge of philosophy...

Dorothy Roberts: What's Race Got To Do With Medicine?

Just heard the NPR "Ted Radio Hour" show on this on the way home.
Just. So. Bad.
I just can't believe how these crazy fads driven by leftist politics so take over. She was saying things like "Ha ha can you believe that some doctors think that someone's race can tell them about their genes?!" Yeah...that sure is a crazy thing to think alright... Kinda like thinking that their sex could tell you about 'em...
   Presumably the actual sciences will continue to reject this kind of nuttiness...but who knows? They might also knuckle under nominally and just reintroduce race under another term.
   Anyway, then there was the Z0MG something about some kind of breath-measuring machine and race! argument. Apparently there's something called a "spirometer," which measures lung capacity, and maybe whites typically have greater lung capacity, and the machine was invented by a racist!!!!
   It was textbook fallacies on parade.
   When I was a kid, I was astonished by the stupid things people would say...but those were normal people. I went into academia because I thought it was some kind of refuge from that stuff...but it turns out...academicians are just as dumb and misinformed as anybody else. I mean...I dunno...maybe they're better. But if they are, they're not much better. Not enough better for all their alleged training. They've largely got a different set of prejudices--politically correct ones. But they seem just as likely (and currently perhaps more so) just to parrot what the people around them tell them they have to believe.

John Tierney: "Reeducation Campus"

Depressing as hell.
I'm not at all sure that universities can--or should--survive in their current form.

Trump Defends Kavanaugh Against Sexual Assault Charges...2

"You call that sexual assault?"

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Do The Ideas Of The Contemporary Left Have Their Origin In Soviet Dezinformatsiya? aren't going to like it...
   That's the kind of thing I'd not have read without a radiation suit on ten years ago...but now I find it interesting. First, because some of it's true--e.g.: Joe McCarthy was kinda right, as it turns out (as the Venona decrypts prove). My God. I sure never thought I'd by typing sentences like that one... Holy crap! Also Operation INFEKTION. That shit's totally real, of course. And I've heard that stuff about non-representational art before, but don't know whether it's true or false.
   But, anyway... I'm not going to be in any way surprised if some of those other claims are true. There's a whole lotta crazy in that list. And they're crazy whether or not they were pushed by Soviet intelligence to ruin the West. There's no question about whether they're crazy; the only question is whether the Soviets ever tried to use them in ideological warfare. ( or two aren't crazy...just false.)
   But...why not use the quasi-Cartesian trick of thinking about all such ideas in that way? It's a way to help break the hold of custom and habit. A lot of those ideas survive just because students and faculty have basically been brainwashed into them. They accept them largely because they just can't imagine them being wrong. They've never been able to back away from them long enough to get any perspective on them. Imagining them to be the products of Soviet intelligence is like thinking of them being suggested to you by the evil genius or some similar malevolent force. (Though...a lot of faculty don't think that the USSR was malevolent...) 
   Anyway...anybody know anything sane about the actual history of this sort of thing, if any?

It's National Preparedness Month!!!

You know what to do.
Or maybe you don't.

You May Not Be Ready For Skynet, But...

Tu Quoque Watch: Teenage Cory Booker Made Out While Drunk Once

Did Biden Call Trump Supporters "The Dregs of Society"?

I don't really care, and I'm done trying to figure it out. Five minutes is enough.
   Sounds to me like a "Trump said all Mexicans are rapists!" case. Biden kind of said something stupid, which his supporters are parsing closely and his opponents are interpreting loosely.
   But, again: I don't care.

Trump Defends Kavanaugh Against Sexual Assault Charges

This is me striving to keep a straight face.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Remember How Anyone Who Questioned The Obviously False UVA/Rolling Stone Rape Hoax Was a Rape Apologist?

Just asking.
No reason.
Some dead-enders like Amanda Marcotte still won't admit it was fake. Listen and believe...even in the face of conclusive evidence to the contrary... Though I don't think Marcotte ever even admitted that the Duke Lacrosse accusations were bogus...
   It's different in the Kavanaugh case, of course...but the Jackie case was instructive: feminists and other progressives not only believed an obviously false story, but many insisted that anyone who doubted that obviously false story in any way was a "rape apologist." That mindset has in no way changed since that time. If they're willing to believe a patently absurd story like "Jackie's", it's no surprise that they're willing to believe the Kavanaugh accusation...which at least has the virtue of not being an obvious fabrication.

"Why Are Pediatrician Groups Conforming To Transgender Orthodoxy?"

The answer's pretty obvious: group think / social fad + the influence of the left on quadi-medical quasi-science.
Unfortunately, after this embarrassing spasm of lunacy is over, there won't be much soul-searching by the relevant quasi-sciences, any more than there was soul-searching after the satanic panic.

Kavanaugh Accuser Won't Testify Unless FBI Investigates; Grassley Says It Can't

Accuser's Schoolmate Says There Were Rumors Of Kavanaugh Incident At The Time

Hey, Men: "Shut Up" and "Step Up"

I.e.: do as you're told
Counterpoint: get bent.
Speaking for myself, I won't shut up, and I certainly won't shut up and "step up"...given that that means: do what we say and believe these unsubstantiated allegations. And don't give us any lip about it.
   That press conference is a nauseating joke, and it illustrates pretty well why the Dems are losing me and people like me. To some extent it's just cynical political expediency...I've learned to live with that. But to some extent I think they really believe the bullshit they're spouting. That's the scary thing. They aren't entirely separated from the PC left.
   Slow down...investigate...keep an open mind...try to find the truth. But don't preach to me your trickle-down radical feminist nuttery.
   Men are the problem? You want to play that apocalyptic game, then perhaps you should recognize that, without false accusations made by women, this particular problem would basically go away. Nobody thinks this kind of assault is permissible. We just don't know whether it actually happened. We also know that the left is addicted to false accusations--to some extent simply as a means to achieve their political ends. (Though I suspect that doesn't matter in the Ford case.)
   The Merrick Garland thing sucked...but at least it was kind of straight-up power politics. This stuff is even worse in my book. ( some ways, anyway.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"The Hysterical Campus"

By the great Heather Mac Donald.

Ana Marie Cox: Men Should Be Judged On How Empathetic They Are Toward Their False Rape Accusers

Feminism has lost its shit.
   Of course we don't know that Ford's accusations are false--but that's what Cox is saying: that even if they are false, Kavanaugh should be judged on how sympathetic he is toward the person who has made a scurrilous accusation against him that will follow him for the rest of his life--and beyond. Because, y'know...women's pain is more special than the ordinary male variety. Also more important than justice. And truth. I can't believe that the average woman believes that. And if she does, she's sorely mistaken.

Kavanaugh's Accuser Wants FBI To Investigate

That seems like a good idea...though, I'd guess, it's unlikely to be a fruitful idea. Still: why not do it?
   [Mark] Judge, who Ford said was in the room at the time of the alleged assault, said in a letter to the committee that he did not wish to speak publicly. In the letter, relayed by his attorney, Judge said that he has “no memory of this alleged incident.”
   "Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school, but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter,” Judge said. “More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.”
Okaaayyy...though, honestly, I'd hope that if anyone ever accused me of such a thing, any friend of mine would either laugh in their face or punch them in the nose... At the very least, I'd expect a much stronger denial...something more along the lines of that's the most ridiculous f*cking thing I've ever heard...
   But it is definitely a denial.
   What a mess.

What You Hear At My School

Diversity diversity diversity--diversity diversity diversity. Diversity diversity; diversity. Diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity. Diversity and inclusion. Diversity. Inclusion. Diversity. Diversity inclusion and access, of course; access, inclusion and diversity. Diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity diversity.

Caitlyn Flanagan: "I Believe Her"

Flanagan's very reasonable.
I don't see that the truth is knowable without additional information that's not likely to manifest itself...though the truth did eventually emerge about the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas stuff.
   One thing that does, weirdly, stick in my head is the part of the story about Kavanaugh's friend stopping the alleged assault by jumping on them. That's so weird that it's somewhat difficult to believe that it's made up...if that makes any sense...
   Without additional information, however, I myself wouldn't press a button to torpedo the Kavanaugh nomination.

Former Sex-Crimes Prosecutor's Take On The Kavanaugh Question

Soave On The Kavanaugh Allegations

Also reasonable.

Monday, September 17, 2018

"Birth Certificates Have Always Been A Weapon For White Supremacists"

   The Trump administration’s decision to revive and expand the Bush and Obama-era practice of denying U.S. passports to Latinos born in South Texas should come as no surprise. From his assault on Barack Obama’s citizenship to his allegations that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists to his promise to institute a Muslim ban, Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he believes the only true Americans are white.
   But long before Trump rode to prominence promoting birtherism, birth certificates were an important instrument for policing the racial boundaries of citizenship. In the Jim Crow era, states used these seemingly innocuous public records to ensure that the rights of citizenship were accessible to white Americans — and no one else.
Trump has, of course, not said nor suggested any such thing. Also, the article is all about one dude from VA named Plecker. And, nutty asshole thought he apparently was...he was just one dude. And the phrase "the racial boundaries of citizenship" makes no f*cking sense. Also: note that she just breezes right over the fact that this is an expansion of a policy that Obama also apparently supported. So...was he "policing the racial boundaries of citizenship?" And none of that is even to mention that her description of the program is utter bullshit: "denying U.S. passports to Latinos born in South Texas..." That's so misleading as to be, basically, a lie. 
   The title is so insanely stupid and misleading, however, that I kinda gotta guess that it's that thing about authors not writing their own titles at work again.

David French: Evidence Against Kavanaugh Serious But Not Solid

This seems pretty good to me.
I'm embarrassed to say that my mind just flitted right over this excellent point:
But even the allegedly corroborating notes of the therapist raise a separate problem. They actually contradict her story on a key detail. According to the Post, “The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy that Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.” Nor do the notes mention Kavanaugh’s name, even though her husband says Ford named Kavanaugh in the sessions.
The former seems more important to me. As for the latter one: is there, perhaps, some practice among shrinks not to include people's names in such notes? Just wondering.
   Damn I hate this kind of stuff.

Megan Garber: "Brett Kavanaugh And The Revealing Logic Of 'Boys Will Be Boys'"

   Garber is--as should go without saying--right that 'boys will be boys' isn't a good defense. That's not exactly what Miller wrote, but what he wrote was in the vicinity. It's rightfully derided.
   But Garber simply ignores the obvious and unavoidable central issue: that the accusation is merely an accusation. If you were asked to bet your life...or even your house...or even your way or the other, you'd probably be more circumspect than you are just shooting your keyboard off on the internet. The accusations are long-standing, and the accuser seems to have been reluctant to make them public. And it's the kind of thing there's usually no corroboration for. Though in this case...there is alleged to have been a witness.
   One can't help but cast one's mind back to the Anita Hill affair...and the truth did emerge there, though several years late. I basically just believed Hill, and thought it was an outrage. I still remember one of my housemates...female, and a dancer...reluctantly telling me that she basically thought I was full of shit, on the grounds that sexual banter was a harmless fact of life...everywhere but the philosophy department... I was basically accidentally right to believe Hill...and I still kinda think I was right that Thomas's actions were outrageous...but I do now appreciate more that the philosophy department isn't a place filled with normal people....
   Which really has nothing much to do with the Kavanaugh allegations. I don't have the foggiest idea what to believe. So I guess I defer to the wisdom of the ages, and don't believe the accusations, barring the production of some further support. Kavanaugh's friend allegedly witnessed the alleged incident... So that's something rather than nothing.
   Incidentally, both sexual assailants and false accusers belong in in a fairly deep circle of hell. Though I guess that the former already are supposed to end up in the seventh circle, what with them being violent and all. Does a false accusation count as fraud? Because, if so, that'd actually put false accusers one level below the assailants. Weird.

Signs Of The Trumpocalypse: Kellyanne Conway Being Reasonable Edition

I caught a couple of minutes of KaC on somewhere...maybe PBS?...this evening...and...she was being very reasonable. I was so astonished that I paused to so JQ could see it, but she was having a cranky day and threatened to burn the house down if I didn't turn the channel...but still....I know what I saw....

Soave: Ed Unveils Reasonable New Title IX Rules

It's downright amazing how much better Trump's Ed leadership is than Obama's.
Strange but true...

The Accusation Against Kavanaugh

Well, honestly, it does have some trappings of credibility. 
   But...false accusations are the very lifeblood of the PC left...well...along with the sophistical manipulation of guess it's got two lifebloods...
   A particular red flag, however, is that Kavanaugh allegedly did this with his friend in the room. That bit seems especially implausible, not only because the other guy is then a witness to the assault, but also because, well, honestly: kinda gay. Nobody wants to do anything even vaguely sexual in front of their friends. Well...I guess some guys must...but...can't be many.
   At any rate, given that such false accusations now produce status on the left...and given that false accusations of many kinds are now used routinely as weapons/tools over there...I think I'm more-or-less bound by something like principle to simply ignore such unsubstantiated accusations. 
   This is, as I think I mentioned recently, a departure from a long-standing inclination of mine to err on the side of believing accusations of sexual assault. An inclination, incidentally, that more than one female friend of mine has derided... 
   Anyway. One might say: can't risk this with a SCOTUS nominee. That's worth thinking about.
   Also anyway: more evidence might emerge.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Mueller: Text Us When It's Over

tl;dr: High School Biology Classes Are Now Politically Indoctrinating Students And Teaching Them Falsehoods, And That's A Good Thing

I couldn't even finish this it was so angrifying.
   Instead of indoctrinating students with the PC falsehood that races aren't natural kinds, you might at least just tell them that it's complicated and controversial and leave it at that. In fact, that'd be the best thing to tell 'em given the state of the contemporary disagreement.
   Here's a question from a test discussed in the piece:
5. True or False: When several traits are combined they can be used to distinguish one racial group from another.
We're told:
...on several questions—including number five—the students split nearly 50-50. “They’re guessing,” Strode says. (For the record, the answer he says he was looking for on number five was “False.”)
That may have been the answer he was "looking for," but it isn't the correct answer. The article complains that high school teachers used to avoid the topic, and praises them for moving back to addressing it...but it'd be better not to discuss it at all than to indoctrinate students with politically-motivated falsehoods...or at last not-known-to-be-truths. And as for the students guessing: too bad the teacher isn't guessing. If he were, he'd have a 50-50 chance himself. Instead, he's using a method that'll produce more wrong answers than right ones...and passing that along to his students. Much better to guess than to allow your views to be determined by the PC answer.
   Strode’s exercise is an anomaly. Most American biology textbooks and curricula don’t discuss race at all — nor do they grapple with the biology of sexual orientation or gender, for that matter. To some, these omissions seem appropriate. Early 20th-century biology textbooks, after all, were replete with ignorant racial and gender stereotyping and classifications purporting to be scientific—and some even extolled the virtues of racial purity. It would be hard to find such discussions in today’s biology classrooms and supporting materials.
   But to a growing number of academics, that’s a problem, and the omissions represent glaring intellectual lacunae—a sort of sanitized approach to biology that ignores the political and cultural veins that have historically run through it. After all, the history of racial, sexual, and gender classification is very much a story of scientific debate. And biological concepts—and misperceptions—continue to exert profound influence on national conversations about diversity and human difference.
   With these realities in mind, some educators, scientists, and sociologists are working to bring such discussions back into American biology classrooms and textbooks. Along the way, they’re criticizing common models of teaching—and raising questions about what, exactly, responsible biology teaching looks like during an age of resurgent scientific racism, bitter political struggles, and shifting notions of identity.*
Read more »

James Traub On The Swedish Immigration Crisis: "The Death Of The Most Generous Nation On Earth"

Very much worth a read.
   Diana Janse, a former diplomat and now the senior foreign policy advisor to the Moderate Party (which Swedes view as “conservative”), pointed out to me that some recent generations of Swedish refugees, including Somalis, had been notably unsuccessful joining the job market. How, she wondered, will the 10,000-20,000 young Afghan men who had entered Sweden as “unaccompanied minors” fare? How would they behave in the virtual absence of young Afghan women? But she could barely raise these questions in political debate. “We have this expression in Swedish, asiktskorridor,” she said. “It means ‘opinion corridor’ — the views you can’t move outside of.” Merely to ask whether Sweden could integrate Afghans today as it had Bosnians two decades before was to risk accusations of racism.
   An observation that is now taken for granted in the United States — that values matter, that they are transmitted culturally, that they can be only partly changed by social institutions — is treated in Sweden as a form of racism, as well as an implicit admission of failure. Low levels of achievement aren’t “in people’s DNA,” said Aron Etzler of the Left Party. “People change, cultures change. Society is there to give people the tools.” Swedes have good reason to have faith in their social democratic model, and they seem confident that it can do again what it has done before. Virtually everyone I spoke to on the pro-refugee side insisted that Sweden was not paying a price for its open-ended commitment to refugees, but rather gaining a benefit, albeit a long-term one.
Read more »

David French: "Now Even Evidence Of Kavanaugh's Good Character Is Used Against Him"

This was DA's self-sealer: the fact that Kavanaugh has a long list of women willing to attest to his good character is itself evidence against him.

Something Not Very Good On "Safe Spaces"

Noam Schpancer: "Stereotypes Are Often Harmful And Accurate"

Saturday, September 15, 2018

After Reading Dahlia Lithwick's Indictment Of Kavanaugh, I Believe The Accusations Against Him Even Less Than I Did Before

He was on a naughty email list!!!!!1111
   Seriously, this is just about the thinnest gruel imaginable.
   Now that false accusations of sexual assault and hate crimes are basically just another tool in the PC toolbox, my view is basically that a few such accusations are to be expected against any prominent man. What a surprise that a SCOTUS nominee that the left has lost its shit about should be the target of an anonymous, 11th-hour, allegedly 30-year-old accusation... Each accusation has to be treated according to its own merits, of course...but merely qua unsupported know...
   Honestly, I used to be strongly disposed to believe accusations of sexual assault. Either I was an idiot, or bogus accusations have simply become more common. (Note: inclusive 'or'.) One would, of course, predict that something would become more common when it is normalized and heroified. In fact, feminists have long argued that most accusations of sexual assault should be considered veridical because such shame and stigma attach to them. However, just the opposite is now the case. So, if that argument was previously sound, then it should be taken to point in the opposite direction now: now there are incentives to make accusations.
Read more »

Man Who Thinks Dinosaurs Were On Noah's Ark Tapped To Review AZ's Standards Of Teaching Of Evolution

Whelp, there's this.

Brendan O'Neill On Britain and "Non-Crime Hate Incidents"

I still can't believe this shit.

Heather Mac Donald: "How Colleges Teach Students To See Bias Where It Doesn't Exist"

To some extent, I blame postmodernism and the so-called "death of the author." Craziness among leftist activists is interwoven with craziness among leftist scholars. In fact, it's central to the PC left that there's no real distinction between the two. One central tenet of pomo is that all interpretations are equal. Thus you're free to claim that anything means anything; no interpretation, no matter how wacky, is better than any other, no matter how sober. Add to this the generic leftist tenet that politics gets to close any open gaps, and what you get is a view that says that everything can and should be interpreted in a way that advances leftist politics. And that means, among other things: interpreting everything that fails to so accord as racist, sexist, etc.
   Whether that's what's going on with the Coast Guard OK/"white power" dust-up...or whether that's a more garden-variety kind of PC nonsense, I dunno. I mean....of course it's not impossible that that guy is actually just a really, really incompetent Klansman or something...but if people had to bet actual money instead of just shooting their mouths off for free, a lot fewer people would be shrieking "racism!" I'd be willing to bet...oh...say a couple of hundred bucks that it was a Pepe-esque attempt at humor. Poor guy underestimated the craziness of the people he was trolling, unfortunately.

Woodward: I Searched For Two Years And Found No Evidence Of Trump-Russia Collusion

Behold my complete lack of surprise.
However: Woodward is not Mueller.

4chan OK/WP Campaign Continues to Pay Dividends: Trolling The Coast Guard Edition

[In case you need even more cringe...check out the comments in which progressives are insisting that this completely made-up "white power" symbol really is a white power symbol after all...even after the trolling campaign has been explained to them. "Seeing" racism everywhere is one level of crackpottery...but "seeing" it in some made-up shit specifically made up to make fun of the fact that you "see" it everywhere / make shit up...that's a whole 'nother level of nuts.]

Spiked On Transanity

Friday, September 14, 2018

Twitter Blocks Use Of Term 'Illegal Alien'

   Which is, of course, the legal term for people in the country illegally. There's nothing at all "hateful" about the term. The PC left wants to put us on the euphemism treadmill, insisting that we keep switching to more and more innocuous-sounding terms. Which is why it's actually important to keep using the original term, I suppose. I've let myself slip into saying "illegal immigrant"...but I probably need to go back to 'illegal alien.' These terminological fads/tactics are typically driven by activists, anyway, not by the rank-and-file members of the groups referred to.
   [What I wanted to carp about here was actually this: this is what happens when these people start pushing speech bans; it's never actually just the worst of the worst. It always creeps toward a ban on all un-PC speech.]

America's Favorite Hypnotherapist And Body-Language interpretationologist Declares Trump Super Sane--The Sanest

"Transgender" Teens And Suicide

Here's another installment in the Post's ongoing series You people with your cruelty and facts are making these perfectly normal people who have no antecedent mental problems whatsoever kill themselves.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Kavanaugh Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

Probably bullshit, of course.
This would be an easy way to thwart any such nomination--an 11th-hour accusation of the crime du jour... And allegedly in high school, no less...
Honestly, without some kick-ass proof...which you know isn't going to show up as well as I do...this probably shouldn't even have been made public.

Hurricanes: "Trump Is Complicit"

Double-Secret Kavanaugh Letter


George Will: "The Cult Of Fragility On Campus"

Testify, brother George, testify:
   The beginning of another academic year brings the certainty of campus episodes illustrating what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, distinguished professor and venerated politician, called “the leakage of reality from American life.” Colleges and universities are increasingly susceptible to intellectual fads and political hysteria, partly because the institutions employ so many people whose talents, such as they are, are extraneous to the institutions’ core mission: scholarship.
   Writing in April in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Lyell Asher, professor of English at Lewis & Clark College, noted that “the kudzu-like growth of the administrative bureaucracy in higher education” is partly a response to two principles widely accepted on campuses: Anything that can be construed as bigotry and hatred should be so construed, and anything construed as such should be considered evidence of an epidemic. Often, Asher noted, a majority of the academic bureaucrats directly involved with students, from dorms to “bias-response teams” to freshman “orientation” (which often means political indoctrination), have graduate degrees not in academic disciplines but from education schools with “two mutually reinforcing characteristics”: ideological orthodoxy and low academic standards for degrees in vaporous subjects such as “educational leadership” or “higher-education management.”
   The problem is not anti-intellectualism but the “un-intellectualism” of a growing cohort of persons who, lacking talents for or training in scholarship, find vocations in micromanaging student behavior to combat imagined threats to “social justice.” Can anyone on a campus say anything sensible about how the adjective modifies the noun? Never mind. As Asher said, groupthink and political intimidation inevitably result from this ever-thickening layer of people with status anxieties because they are parasitic off institutions with scholarly purposes.

Trump and The Hurricane Maria Death Toll

The Death toll was apparently high.
Trump says it was low, and inflated for political purposes...but you know what that guy's like.
I'd guess that it's got to be pretty nonstandard to look at a six month window. But it seems that you should keep the window open however long makes sense in a particular case. Presumably there were effects resulting in loss of life longer in PR than there typically are / would have been in, say, NC or FL.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Trump 38% Approval; GOP To Lose House, Possibly Senate, Cruz In Danger

Sounds like great news...til you remember who they're losing to...

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"Comicsgate Is The Latest Front In The Ongoing Culture Wars"

The PC left is completely nuts.
Gamergate remains a nearly-perfect microcosm of what's going on: try to prevent the lunatic PC left from taking over and destroying something, the PC left will fight back by characterizing you as a horde of bigots. That's their most powerful weapon: shrieking "racism" etc. at anyone who disagrees with them. They managed to turn Zoe Quinn--Zoe Quinn---professional huckster--into a heroine. That's straight-up twilight-zone stuff.

Goldsmith's U. "LGBTQ+" Society Disbanded After Arguing That "TERFs" Should Be Sent To Gulags For "Reeducation"

These people are insane.

UK Police Ask Citizens To Report "Non-Crime Hate Incidents" That "Feel Like Crimes"

Are we the last liberal democracy standing at this point?

Philosophy and "Trans" Ideology: Stock and Bettcher: And Another Thing...

When philosophers (usually under cover of feminism) do have the temerity to criticize "trans" ideology, one of the pat responses is: you aren't permitted to do so because you haven't read / don't understand enough of the pro-trans literature. Thing is, that stuff just isn't very good. It's not like there's this untapped treasure trove of knowledge and incisive argument laying around, unread, that decisively backs up their view. Compare Bettcher and Stock: Stock's arguments are generally straightforward and reasonable. The more specifically feminist they get, the less so... But many of her arguments have been obvious to everyone ever since TI appeared on the scene. Bettcher's arguments are the thinnest of gruel, basically all the way through. (And Bettcher was supposed to produce a second-half of the essay...I'm not sure that ever even happened.)
   Any even half-way competent graduate student should be able to clearly explain the glaring weaknesses of the pro-trans arguments (e.g. conflating "I feel like I'm x" with "I'm x"). These are not difficult issues. It's not a mind-stultifying toss-up. Free will and determinism this ain't...
   What has philosophy contributed to this debate? It's obfuscated a fairly clear and simply set of questions, and joined in creating social pressure that has pretended them from being openly and rationally discussed. Behold, the heirs of Socrates.