Sunday, March 31, 2019

Dude Makes Exremely Cogent Criticism Of GND; Audience Lefty Calls Him A Moron; AOC Grandstands

Dude makes an extremely reasonable criticism of the Green New Deal--basically my criticism: if you're serious about it, you've got to take out the non-climate-change-related lefty wish-list items like UBI, single-payer health-care, and free college. Lefty in the audience calls him a moron because, hey, they hate shit that makes sense. AOC scolds moron man and immediately announces that it's the sort of thing that distinguishes her from Trump. Extremely facepalmerific.

We Are All Spartans On This Blessed Day

Nice work Sparty; Now America can enjoy the Final Four.

Kershaw 8700

I'm kind of a pocket-knife snob...
But my brother got me this suuuuper-inexpensive Kershaw like six months ago, and it's been my EDC most of the time since. Usually I carry my Spyderco Navigator (if I'm teaching) or Native (if I'm not). But I pretty quickly realized that I was using the Kershaw more. The Spydercos are unbeatable...but hard to sharpen. So I find myself acting like my dad--never using my own actual pocket-knife to cut anything. The Kershaw I use all the time. It's more like a tool. I haven't had to sharpen it yet, and if it's got a big weakness, that's where it's going to be. But daggum thing has served me well for 6 mos. If I have to throw it away and buy another one, it'll still have been a bargain...
   And, no, unlike some bloggers, nobody gives a shit what I think, so nobody gives me $$$ to say this stuff.

Katherine Jebsen Moore: "When Children Protest, Adults Should Tell Them The Truth"

Feinstein basically did it basically right, IMO, if a bit crotchety-y. Though 16 isn't exactly a child, and the kids Feinstein got grumpy with were much younger--and more clearly programmed.
One thing: Thunberg is basically just saying what zillions adults are saying. I'm inclined to doubt that the apocalypse is nigh...but what do I know? Thunberg speaks with a bit of added authority because she's supposed to be someone with a personal stake in the matter, seeing as how she may very well live to 2100; thus she'd still be alive when the shit begins hitting the fan, if the most dire predictions are true. Thus the question is more vital for her than for us.
Moore's right that much of Thunberg's argument is silly--e.g. the claim that we're doing absolutely nothing about the problem. It seems to me that Moore also hints at--but doesn't come right out and say--that Thunberg may very well be in the grip of other fads, as well--she claims to be "on the spectrum," and to be subject to several mental disorders. Climate-change hysteria may just be part of a pattern with her. Though there's no reason to be terribly anti-Thunberg. She knows not what she does--not much of it, anyway. What's annoying is that she's being elevated to guru-status by the climate-change hysteriacs. It's a bit difficult to avoid the hunch that she's being used as a kind of curiosity to advance an agenda...but what really matters are her arguments...which aren't any better than anyone else's.
   I will say that I hate what I think of as done deal arguments. My dean loves those. Thunberg's goes like this:
“We have come here,” Thunberg proclaims, “to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.”
Your agency is impotent, feckless, you see. Thunberg's side was right all along, on the right side of history. You might deny it, but the world is about to show you the error of your ways. History is unfolding as they knew it would. Though...that seems to mean that the changes Thunberg wants are already is she wasting her time on? Climate change is already solved, because the left is right, and the proof of that is that their view will be accepted. So...I guess everything's cool then, right? We Neanderthals just can't see that yet...

A Wave Of Anti-Gay Hate-Crime Hoaxes Sweeps Through Portland

Nothing here can possibly surprise you if you've been paying attention.
   You'd think that sociologists, social psychologists, criminologists...somebody...would be studying this phenomenon. Maybe they are--I dunno. If not then that, too, cries out for explanation...
   Anyway, I'll bet they're not.
   Hypotheses are cheap. But I wonder whether this is the analog of a certain phenomenon on the right. The left often accuses the right of having hero fantasies. I think that's true, actually. So on the right we are more likely to find inclinations to think a lot about self-defense, armed intervention to stop violent crimes, way way too much discussion of exactly which guns are ideal for home defense, and for concealed-carry. Also, of course, a lot of attention to armed resistance against a rogue government or against an invading foreign power and survival in the event of apocalypse and anarchy.
   What I wonder is: are victim fantasies the left-wing analog of right-wing hero fantasies?
   It would seem to fit with something about the respective psychologies of the left and right. The contemporary rather-far left obviously "heroifies" certain kinds of victims. The right tends to idealize independence, the left (inter-)dependence. The right tends to be more, well, masculine, and the left more feminine.

   The situation may be complicated by the fact that playing the victim is currently a winning move in public dust-ups--so there's a practical motive for doing so. But that can be explained as a result of (1) victim-y dispositions of the far-ish left, and (2) the fact that they currently control the rules of public debate. So the far-ish left's "valorization" (as the PC/pomos used to love to say) of victimhood is the more fundamental phenomenon, and the fact that it's currently a winning strategy is the less-fundamental one.
   Old-school liberals weren't like new-school progressives in this regard. Or so it seemed to me. Democratic presidents won WWII, as we used to like to point out. But things have changed.
   Also: hero fantasies seem healthy and normal to me, within reason. Whereas victimhood fantasies...don't. Also, the right doesn't go around staging heroic-action hoaxes. Though I suppose that'd be harder than the other thing. Though not impossible...
   I suppose one might add/respond:  males tend to be programmed and socialized toward heroism, and females toward victimhood--which is, I reckon, what's largely at the root of damsel-in-distress tropes. Which both sexes are attracted by. Women do seem to be attracted to men who can and would protect them; so I suppose it's not impossible that they're also attracted, to at least some extent, to the idea of a certain kind of potential victimhood. Even if that inclination is typically overridden by other drives and interests.
   Though...the valorization if victimhood isn't about being protected or rescued, but about not being. Or, rather: appearing not to have been. In fact, it seems to me to be more about appearances than its opposite is. I'd like to be hero even if no one else ever knew about it. Though, of course, everybody knowing it would be way better! Weird... Well, maybe not weird at all... But maybe not everyone feels that way. There is the stolen valor phenomenon... Which I guess could count as a hero hoax...
   But anyway, the current uptick in hate-crime hoaxes almost has to be primarily--almost exclusively--about appearances. Hm. But maybe our private poor-me-I've-had-it-so-rough ruminations are private victimhood fantasies., those are more like excuses, or expectation-lowering. Which seem different.
  Well, I just made all that up.

Incidentally: We Don't Know Much About The Obstruction Question

At first I was convinced that firing Comey was obviously obstruction of justice. Then I realized that I don't actually know what obstruction of justice is. I know what obstruction and justice are, roughly. But, obviously, I am not a lawyer. So, though I've been saying that my guesses are:
Collusion: no.
Obstruction: yes.
 That latter really means something more like: I think it's more likely than not that he did something that a reasonable layperson would call "obstruction of justice." But I don't know what a reasonable legal judgment would be like. 
   Also, that thing by Andrew McCarthy drove home the point that I don't know what collusion is, either. So the only thing I can really say is: I have no idea what I'm talking about. 'Criminal conspiracy' (McCarthy's narrower meaning) sounds really bad though, right? Like, super bad. So I don't think that! Whatever it is, I think he probably didn't do it. Also, I have some reasons in the vicinity that seem probably relevant.* 
   What about McCarthy's broader, informal sense of 'collusion'? Well, in that sense, Trump and the Rooskies may have "colluded" just in that they were both trying to beat Hillary... So maybe. I guess we'll find out.
   Now I kinda think: it'll turn out that Trump didn't collude in the narrow, legal sense, but did do something that can non-ridiculously be seen as colluding in the wide, informal sense. That way this pissing match can go on forever. But that's probably largely my depression about our current political situation talking... 
   Also: given the current state of the left, anything that can be spun as collusion-in-the-informal-sense will be seized upon and spun as obvious collusion no doubt about it it can't possibly be anything else there is no other explanation. The red team sucks, too, and isn't above such things, but they just aren't as crazy as the blue team right now, and aren't as dogmatically locked into a vast fairytale of their own telling. But the blues are still trying to make that email joke out to be collusion, so...
   Did I have a point?

* He's not nearly as awful as most liberals/progressives think he is; he's not nearly as dumb as most liberals/progressives think he is; at the very least he's got a high degree of low cunning: he has survived as basically the world's richest con man for fifty years or whatever; he simply can't be as stupid and reckless as most people in my rough (former?) region of the political spectrum think he is.

"Mueller Report Upends Partisan Views Of Probe, Poll Finds"

Given the content, I don't understand the title.
When I see stuff like this, I always think: prejudice. Or as we now sometimes say: "motivated reasoning." Which is not a great term. (What matters is what the motive is...)
But anyway, another explanation for people basically refusing to change their minds is that they take themselves to have at least three years worth of evidence about Trump. And the new evidence like this isn't sufficient to outweigh all that. Their priors are fixed (or seem to be) by so much evidence that they can't be moved as much as you might think by this new evidence.
But also probably a fair bit of prejudice.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Hoos 80 - Purdue 75

Not that I care about hoops anymore because I don't.

Andrew McCarthy: No Winners In The 'Collusion' Wars

This is absolutely worth a read:
   Obviously, Attorney General William Barr’s letter outlining Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report has not put an end to our confusion. There are still two camps relying on the ambiguity of the word collusion to argue their opposing positions, indignant that anyone could disagree.
   To repeat what we’ve stressed with only middling success for a couple of years: Collusion has two meanings. There is the general, overarching meaning: Collusion always denotes concerted activity, though not of any particular kind — it can be good or bad, benign or sinister, admirable or unsavory. Then there is what, in the context of a criminal investigation, is a very specific meaning: collusion as criminal conspiracy — an agreement between two or more people to engage in conduct that violates a criminal law (which, in the law’s eyes, makes the agreement just as criminal as the crime that is the agreement’s objective).
   It is this second, narrow sense that the special counsel is talking about when he reports finding no collusion. Indeed, Mueller (as reflected in the attorney general’s letter) tries to avoid the confusion by not invoking “collusion”; he discusses whether the president or his campaign “conspired or coordinated” with Russia.
   In addition, he undertakes to clarify that, by “coordinated,” he means an “agreement — tacit or express — between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference.” To be sure, this clarification itself invites some confusion because “election interference” is yet another ambiguous term. As we’ve just pointed out, a conspiracy is an agreement to commit a crime. There is no crime called “interference.” The word just means to interrupt, influence, or somehow affect some activity. As with “collusion,” some “interference” is legal and some is criminal.
   Nevertheless, Mueller is unmistakably referring to the criminal kind of interference. Barr’s letter informs us that when the special counsel speaks of Russia’s “election interference,” he is referring to two schemes: the first to conduct “disinformation and social media operations”; and the second to conduct “computer hacking operations.” Mueller found that the objectives of both of these schemes violated federal criminal law. This finding is more convincing with respect to hacking, an obvious crime, than it is with respect to the propaganda activities — which the special counsel alleged to be a “conspiracy to defraud the United States” by impairing the ability of government agencies (the Federal Election Commission, the Justice Department, and the State Department) to administer federal regulations relating to “foreign involvement in certain domestic activities.”
   It is not my purpose to quibble over this theory of fraud. (As explained before, I am not a fan — enough said.) I simply mean to clarify what Mueller found. When he concluded that the Trump campaign did not commit the crime of conspiracy, all he meant was that the campaign was not complicit in Russia’s hacking or its social-media propaganda operation. Period.
  In their giddiness this week, Trump advocates have inflated this finding into a Mueller pronouncement that “there was no collusion with Russia.” That is not what he said. Mueller did not conclude that, apart from the two criminal schemes, Russia refrained from all activities that could influence an election. And he did not say that Trump-campaign officials had no meaningful associations and engaged in no concerted activity with operatives of the Kremlin.

"Individual Freedom And Liberty Are Not Outmoded Cocepts": Judge Rules CA Mag Restrictions Unconstitutional

A Teenage Boy Secretly Ranks Some of His Female Classmates By Level of Attractiveness; Everybody Loses Their Minds As A Result

The WaPo represents the kid as a horrific misogynistic villain. The school forces him into a quasi-Maoist struggle session, in which some of the girls denounce him at length with crazy leftist nonsense about "rape culture" and "toxic masculinity." The WaPo and its commenters cheer all this as some great victory for progressives and women.
   In fact, the kid was just doing something teenage boys pretty commonly do--though usually just in their heads. It's something that's a little bit crass, and when he's older he'll recognize that it was tasteless. But it's protected speech. And his small faux pas is nothing compared to the deranged leftist reaction to it. It's the school and the girls who have lost their minds in this story...though the latter have a partial excuse: they've been brainwashed by the prevailing insanity.
   We've seemingly entered the Upside-Down...
   Incidentally, I was a T.A. in college and I came into the cafeteria one day, and a bunch of the guys had made big cards with numbers on them. One of them was dressed in a suit, and going down the cafeteria line holding a kind of magician's wand over the head of certain girls, whereupon the others would hoot and holler (or boo) and hold up numbers, rating the girl's attractiveness. I blew up at them and made them stop...even though I didn't technically have any authority to do so. The cafeteria wasn't even in our dorm. Later I read them all the riot act and tried to get them to understand what f*cking bullshit that was. I basically couldn't understand what they couldn't understand... They were basically good guys...but also basically dumbasses. This is not some story about me being good. This is to say: I understand that there's a point at the bottom of such concerns. Publicly doing shit like that is an asshole thing to do, for obvious reasons. But if you ferret out something like that that someone did, basically,'s your fault for doing so. Everybody notices physical attractiveness. The teenage boy did a teenage boy thing that isn't awesome, but isn't a big deal. If he did it, of course, he should have made sure it didn't become public. But it did. He probably deserves a bit of public disapprobation, and maybe a little talking-to. Nothing more.
   But, as is so often the case now: his small error was met with utter lunacy by the cult of progressivism.

Mueller Report To Be Delivered By Mid-April

I still think that a refusal to release the Mueller report should send everyone out into the streets...but that isn't going to happen.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Carolina 80 - Auburn 97

As they say, that's why they play the games.
   Congrats to the Heels on a good season, and to Auburn for a good game. We weren't supposed to be as good as we were, and we did it all with significant frontcourt problems. Great coaching job by Roy.
   We knew Auburn was a tough matchup for us, and that Cam and Nas were both going into this with the stomach flu. Sure looked like Coby was also less than 100% [turns out he, too, was sick]. Just a really sluggish game for the team overall. Sucks to go out like that, but you can't be on every night. And at this point in the tournament, one bad night generally sends you packing. Our D was so-so most of the year...and they just couldn't miss from 3 in the second half...and that adds up to a pretty bad night. It's not good when the other guys are banking in 3s.
   (Doesn't make me any happier that Duke got the UCF game handed to them...but them's the breaks...) 
   Damn, I'm gonna miss me some Luke and Kenny and Coby and Nas. Sure would like to see them play some more! And we barely even got to see what Nas is really capable of.
   On the bright side, hoops is over 'til October, so I can get my mind all the way back on my work.


Damn, that did not look too good.


They're basically slapping the shit out of us every time we get the ball, and the refs are just letting them get away with it. If Coby, in particular, gets out of this without a significant injury, we'll be lucky. Things certainly not going our way thus far.

The Politically Correct Term For Cyclists Is Now 'People On Bikes'

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Stock: Trans Activists Have "Advanced Moral Knowledge"

[Not to suggest that Stock is saying that; she's rightly ridiculing it.]

The Interview That Wrecked 3am

I'm not really a fan of 3am. It's really never done much for me. But here's the interview (with Holly Lawford-Smith) that wrecked the site, and got Richard Matheson to resign.
All she basically does is state the ordinary view that everyone believes--outside of academia and the hard left, anyway. As I've said before: it's not just that outlying views are being banned. It is, rather, that the most ordinary and normal view of the matter is being banned.

Biden Contra "White Man's Culture"

Even the alleged centrists on the blue team are, apparently, starting to sound like sophomore women's studies majors...

Beto O'Roark On Reparations

Eh, I'm not sure how much I disagree with this.
But this guy puts me off.
Obama 2.0 he is not.

*Nature* Contra Free Speech

Et tu, Nature?
I don't see any signs that the left will come to its senses any time soon.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

McKay Coppins: The Resistance Media Weren't Ready For A 'Not Guilty' Conclusion

Wait...there's a media dedicated to "the resistance" even more ardently than are the media media???

David A. Graham: "Trump's Call For Russian Hacking Makes Even Less Sense After Mueller"

Progressives seem intent on plumbing new depths of irrationality and self-humiliation.
They went from:
It's obvious that Trump colluded and there's simply no real alternative
Hey, remember that one email comment? 
in about a day.
The email comment was a joke. It was obviously a joke. It was always obviously a joke. It's a gat damn instance of a well-known joke template for the love of God. (Well, if x is going to do y, I sure wish they'd [insert core of joke here].)
If you refuse to acknowledge that that's a joke, that's basically conclusive evidence that you've completely lost your objectivity about this matter, and you ought to assign yourself a timeout. (Though I'm sorry to say that some around here were denying its joke-hood back when it first happened.)
Progressives are, in effect, saying: we refuse to even consider the possibility that Trump is innocent in this matter. 
If the best you've got is a stubborn refusal to admit that an obvious joke is a joke, then you've lost about as big as it's possible for you to lose.
And this isn't an isolated occurrence. This is basically the way progressivism has been conducting itself for the past couple of years. This is just the newest and perhaps biggest example of the cultish dogmatism that has taken over that end of the political spectrum.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Charges Dropped Against Jussie Smollett

Should The U.S. Let Other Countries Vote In Its National Elections?

I'll take "Questions That Answer Themselves" For $2,000, Alex.

Transgender Ideology And Wrongthink In Philosophy: 3am Magazine Retracts Interview With Philosopher Who Questions Transgenderism

"Transwomen" are, rather obviously, not women; but it is impermissible to state this fact in philosophy. Transgender ideology may be--in fact must be--affirmed at every opportunity. Its denial--no matter how obviously true--is verboten.
Philosophy may not be dead, but it's on life-support.

Monday, March 25, 2019

NRO: Our Long National Hysteria

At some point, the blue team will need to reflect on the fact that it has lost touch with reality.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Mueller Report

Been too busy to post. Now out of town at a conference.
Looks like my hunch about the Mueller report was likely right.
Also looks like I was right about progressives refusing to take "no" for an answer. Though lots of people saw that coming. Not exactly hard to predict.
I'm currently watching Rachel Maddow melt down over it. She's alternating between (a) nearly crying and (b) insisting that this isn't the end, but really, you see, kind of the beginning because anything could be in there!!!111
Sounds like the plan is to start up a bunch of other investigations until something is found.
A cringeworthy performance by the blue team this far. Even by their standards.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

#1 Seed in the Midwest!

Go Tar Heels!

Celine Ryan: Inside The Online Community Facilitating the "Gender Transitions" Of Five-Year-Olds

Cruz Supports Trump's National Emergency Declaration

Seems reasonable to me, though not necessarily more reasonable than the opposite position. But I don't understand enough about the relevant laws and policies, nor about the relevant history, to deserve an opinion.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

NZ Shooter Manifesto: Trolling?

Haven't read it yet, but this makes a pretty strong case that much of it is trolling (and maybe some false-flagging). 
I fear that we're seeing the dark things spawned in the worst corners of the internet escaping into the real world...

David French: "Did The New Zealand Shooter Change The Cultural Script?"

Another possible consequence of this abject insanity in New Zealand: this may provide (constitute?) a new template for mass-murdering psychopaths. Culture is copying, basically. And psychotic, murdering shitbags innovate, too. 
I don't like where this train of thought leads.

Carolina 73 - Duke 74

Good game by both the Heels and the Devils. Really fun, exciting hoops. Not the Heels' night, obviously. A bad shooting night, especially from 3, and some unlucky bounces at the end of the game. But even on a somewhat off night, the game came down to a coin hard to complain. A slightly softer tip by Nas, or another second on the clock for Cam's put-back, and the outcome is different. But, hey, that's hoops. We had our chances.
   And another thing: this is just about the least-hateable Duke team I can remember. No tripping, very little flopping and whining...big improvement, and props to 'em for it. 
   Too bad we don't get another game with UVA...I love me some Heels-Hoos.
   I can't believe how good we are with such a small frontcourt. I'm not a big fan of living by the 3...or, as in this game, dying by it...but it's been fun for a year. We could make some noise in the tournament.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Go Tar Heels Beat Them d00kies

Like it says

Terrorists Kill 49 In New Zealand

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Frum: If Liberals Won't Enforce Borders, Fascists Will

That it even has to be put that way shows how distorted our public discussion about immigration is. In fact, we don't have to make such arguments in order to cut back on immigration. The view that we should allow in fewer immigrants is perfectly respectable. If we allow only two views to be represented (keep it the same and crank it up), we're basically dooming ourselves to overpopulation. My own current inclination is to think that we should lower the rate, but I'm not dedicated to that view. What I am dedicated to is having an actual grown-up discussion of the subject in which one can give arguments for lowering immigration rates without the left shrieking FASCIST!!!111

Dems Push To Lower Voting Age To 16

I can't--right off the top of my head--think of a worse idea. Unless you count lowering the voting age to 15.

Air Pollution Is Racist

The 2019est headline ever?

Carolina 83 - Louisville 70

Go Heels.

SPLC Fires Morris Dees, Won't Say Why

As Reynolds would say: latest entry into the annals of leftist autophagy.
Dunno whether the SPLC used to be saner, or I used to be dumber, or both.

Senate Votes To Reject Trump's Emergency Declaration

I'm inclined to think that's the right call. Even though it's looking more and more like an emergency down there every day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Snowfalls Are Now Just A Thing Of The Past

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Dumbification Of Everything: "Genderless" AI Voice Edition

Earthquakes Are Racist

Kentucky Becomes 16th State To Legalize Permitless Carry

Monday, March 11, 2019

David Catron: The Dems Will Lose The House In 2020: Antisemitism, Socialism, and Giving Illegals The Right To Vote Is A Losing Agenda

Don't forget gun control, reparations, and the green new deal...

Jamie Shupe: "I Was America's First 'Nonbinary' Person; It Was All A Sham"

"Non-binary" is neither a sex nor a gender. In the case of sex, the term for borderline cases is 'intersex(ed)'; in the case of gender, it's 'androgynous.' Though the main problem--obviously--isn't terminological. It's that Shupe isn't intersex, and nobody puts actual genders on official documents. So it makes no sense that the medical and legal professions would humor him like they did--as he himself notes. Someone who genuinely doesn't fall cleanly into either sex ought to have that recognized on relevant legal documents--what, after all, is the alternative? But the government doesn't recognize genders--it doesn't care whether someone is masculine or feminine or androgynous. It should have no interest in such games of gender roulette. (Another problem, of course, is that everybody constantly botches the sex/gender distinction now...)

Trump's Budget Cuts $1 Billion From NSF

Boo for that.

SHS Declines To Say Whether Trump Thinks Democrats Hate Jews

Our politics is stupid.

Larison: Israel Is Not America's Ally

I agree.
As I've said before, I tend to be somewhat-to-fairly pro-Israel. But it's basically the shittiest ally one could have.

Jay Cost: Radicalism Is On The Rise In The Democratic Party

This is right. The Dems have kept me on board most of my life by keeping their crazies at arm's length. But that seems to have changed dramatically.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Amanda Marcotte: Republicans Hate Fair Elections

Wow she's a nut.

More Ticks Are Killing More Moose In New England

This is kinda interesting, but waaay too long. Its aim is to preach the gospel of anthropogenic climate change.

"Transgender" "Woman" Arrested By NYPD For "Hate Crimes" Following Mace Attack Spree

I hate scare quotes...but you basically can't discuss current events without using them liberally.

Climate-Change Tipping-Point In Ten Years...

...thirty years ago.
Like the fusion break-even point, the climate-change tipping-point is always ten years out.

Murkowski and Manchin: "It's Time To Act On Climate Change--Responsibly"

This seems to me to be in the vicinity of right, I guess.
It still involves some bad inferences from weather to climate. Those inferences are pounced on mercilessly if the conclusion is politically incorrect, but they're permitted all over the place if the conclusion is We're all being climate-murdered. And yay for technology and R&D and clean energy and all that; it certainly all makes more sense in the context of a position like this one. But, seriously: nuclear.

The NYT Explains That There Are No Problems At All Associated With Transgender Troops In The Military Except For Your Bigotry, Bigot

Yet another glowing, completely one-sided account of a transgender issue from the NYT.
   Part of the problem, of course, is that it's hard to get the facts given the quasi-religious adoration of this sort of thing on the left, together with the fact that progressives control both the media and academia.
   It should go without saying that I incline toward maximizing freedom and individual choice. And it's good to be nice when possible. I'm inclined to think that, at our current level of medical technology, it's better to learn to be happy with the body you have than to endure extensive medical treatments that can only vaguely simulate a sex-change. I don't deny that some people may have such a strong desire to be the other sex that currently-available treatments might be worthwhile to them. Needless to say, however, we can't actually change someone's sex (though we might be able to someday).
   It seems that it should be up to the military to decide whether it can accommodate such personnel. And this is really just one specific corner of the general question: is it reasonable for us to have sex-segregated facilities and institutions? If so, where do transgenders fit into them? Should a man who has had medical treatments to seem womanly continue to participate in men's institutions and use men's facilities? Or should he participate in women's institutions and use women's facilities? And what if he has merely declared himself a woman, but received no treatments? The most natural answer in both cases is obviously: he's still a man, so he remains, e.g., ineligible for women's scholarships, and he should continue to use the men's locker room. Transgender ideology insists on the opposite answers.
   If we think hard about this and experiment with options, we might very well end up concluding that we should abandon all sex-segregation. Or we might conclude that we should keep it in place but bend the conventions in some cases. One thing we really can't conclude is: it's possible for a man to be female (also: for a woman to be male). That--the central claim of transgender ideology--simply isn't coherent. Men can be feminine, and they can even be womanly, but they can't be women. This is a fairly straightforward conceptual truth, and there's no sense trying to finesse it.
   Unfortunately, the left has done transgenders no favors, really. It's insisted on three insane articles of blind faith:
1. It's possible for women to be male and men to be female.
2. It's possible to change your sex by simply declaring it to be so.
3. It is an act of heinous bigotry tantamount to racism to doubt 1 and 2.
Read more »

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Carolina 79 - Duke 70

I knew we were going to win in the first five minutes when Duke tried to run with us. Odd strategy, especially with a starter and his replacement both out. Sure seemed to show at the end of the game; their legs seemed gone.
I sure hope Bolden is ok...did not like the look of that injury one bit.
K-Will was an absolute defensive force tonight.
Coby is a monster. Would like to see what he looks like his sophomore year, but that is just not going to happen.

Lucia Martinez Valdiva: Professors Can't Stay Silent About This Extremist Moment On Campuses

The (or, rather, a) Reed incident:
  At Reed College in Oregon, where I work, a group of students began protesting the required first-year humanities course a year ago. Three times a week, students sat in the lecture space holding signs — many too obscene to be printed here — condemning the course and its faculty as white supremacists, as anti-black, as not open to dialogue and criticism, on the grounds that we continue to teach, among many other things, Aristotle and Plato.
   In the interest of supporting dissent and the free exchange of ideas, the faculty and administration allowed this. Those who felt able to do so lectured surrounded by those signs for the better part of a year. I lectured, but dealt with physical anxiety — lack of sleep, nausea, loss of appetite, inability to focus — in the weeks leading up to my lecture. Instead of walking around or standing at the lectern, as I typically do, I sat as I tried to teach students how to read the poetry of Sappho. Inadvertently, I spoke more quietly, more timidly.

Intelligence Squared Debate: Are Liberals Stifling Free Speech On Campus

Open and shut case, really.
   Johnson and Mayer gave the negative a better run for its money (rhetorically speaking) than I would have predicted--though largely via irrelevant arguments. I don't think they were intentionally engaging in sophistry, but many of their arguments simply didn't count against the proposition, but merely for some other, nearby one. But they were fighting a steeply up-hill battle. And you're not really going to beat Lukianoff and Powers on this one.

Has California Become The Far Left Coast?

Kinda seems that way.
They do have the most people on welfare...but how much does that have to do with them having a more expansive conception of who's eligible? (I don't know the answer.) They've got the largest population of illegal aliens...but, then, they're a large state on the border. But you can only make so many excuses.
   I'm inclined to think that the states should be the laboratories of democracy. I'm glad that CA is doing its long as the price for that isn't too high...and as long as we'll actually heed the results. Thus far, I have to say that I'm among those who view the experiment as largely a failure...but, then, I don't know enough even to assess it properly. That requires expertise that most of us don't have. But anyway: let a hundred flowers bloom...or, well, fifty, anyway. Then let's see what works and what doesn't.

Go Tar Heels, Beat The d00kies

Word is that Zion won't play (again). Hope that kid heals up soon.

The Scholar's Stage: Marx, Beliefs, Natural Causes (And Signalling Theory)

This post addresses what I regard as one of he most important philosophical issues lying submerged in the background beneath (in the background and beneath!) much of our on-going cultural/philosophical disagreement. (Yeesh what a sentence...) In particular: questions about the efficient (or mechanistic) causes of belief--in particular their nonrational social causes.
   A pretty ordinary view--tarted up a bit by philosophers--goes like this: some of our beliefs have roughly rational causes and some have irrational ones. There are some things that I believe because they are true and/or supported by good evidence. On one common version of this view, these beliefs are adopted freely. And we can add (but can also not do so): in accordance with laws of freedom. But we all agree that many of our beliefs are caused by nonrational causes. E.g. self-interest, jealousy, monkey-see-monkey-do-ish-ness, fear, undue deference to authority, and so on. Sellars puts it like this: some of our beliefs are generated "in the space of reasons;" others "in the space of causes."
   Much of the cultural left denies this ordinary view--sometimes more consciously and sometimes less, sometimes more explicitly and sometimes less. Over there it's fairly common to see all actions--including acts of believing--as the products of roughly mechanical causes, especially social ones. And without any additional fancy footwork that means: non-rational.
   This bit is independent of the bit in the linked post about signaling theory.
   Anyway, by the end of the post, the author seems to embrace such a view. But that's an error. First, the view is unproven. Second, the arguments for it aren't even particularly strong. Third, it seems to generate self-refutation problems: if everything I say and believe is the product of nonrational causes, then so is my belief/assertion that all beliefs and assertions are the products of nonrational causes...
   My own view is that self-refutation arguments have to be treated a lot more carefully than they're normally treated. I don't think they're automatic trumps. But they do signal trouble, and they do have to be dealt with.
   Incidentally, this kind of problem ends up arising, among other places, for the "strong program/programme in the sociology of "knowledge" (more accurately: the sociology of belief).
   Anyway, as it stands this kind of nonrational causalism about beliefs and utterances is unproven, and certainly ought not be accepted. So it's too bad that they author seems to fall into it. In fact, many of our beliefs are brought about by the very facts that make them true. And it's clear that valid evidence also commonly influences belief-acquisition. And those facts take a big chunk out of the case for pervasive non-rationalism about the causes of beliefs. Though the devil's in the details, unsurprisingly. (One thing advocates of the view in question seem not to recognize: all it takes is some influence by the facts and the evidence to give us the raw material we need to output rational beliefs...if we process that material correctly.)
   Anyway--that bit aside, there's an interesting post on the other end of the link, and I say it's worth reading.
(h/t, again, to Lorenzo's essay for the link.)

Jussie Smollett Hate-Crime Hoax Proves That We Should Take "Hate-Crimes"...MORE Seriously...


Hoo boy that's a dumb article:
Paradoxically, however, Ngo’s tweets and the rightwing rush to make Smollett’s case emblematic, show exactly why it should not be: They display a dangerous tendency to doubt hate crimes, and minimize their pervasiveness—focusing the attention instead on the ones that turn out to be made up.
I think you mean: a dangerous tendency to doubt hate-crime reports that obviously make no sense...and a dangerous tendency to argue for a realistic view of the prevalence of such crimes...given the undeniable fact that many of them have been proven to be fake...not to mention that only the most ostentatiously fake ones will likely be proven to be hoaxes...
   Smollett was lying. He was obviously lying. As I noted from the beginning, there was basically no chance that he was telling the truth. His story made no sense; it was an obvious progressive fantasy, not a real assault. And, in fact, it sounded like a lot of other, similar hoaxes--complete with the assailants allegedly identifying themselves as Trump-supporters. (Hell, the Smollett story was about as incredible as the UVA-Rolling Stone gang rape hoax--which was also obviously fake. And let's not forget that those of us who called that one from the beginning were accused of being "rape denialists"...)
   Nobody thinks that such things never happen. And nobody thinks that they're no big deal when they do. Assaults are bad, and assailants ought to get the book thrown at them. But any objective observer has to admit that--at least of the alleged hate-crimes that hit the news--a lot of them turn out to be fake. And that's not because they hit the news as fakes. Rather: they hit the news and subsequently turn out to be fake.
   But, then, among the many intellectual pathologies of political extremism is an addiction to self-sealers. So, honestly, is anyone that surprised to find arguments by progressives alleging that fake hate-crimes prove that hate-crimes should be taken more seriously? Not me.

The AAUP Has Gone Over To The Dark Side: Free Speech On Campus Is Now Bad

That's been clear for quite awhile.
They basically seem to have adopted the progressive left's opposition to free speech on campus--or at least opposition to any efforts to guarantee free speech on campus. Though of course they deny and obfuscate.
They're just a little more against it now that Trump is for it.

Snopes Leftward Bias: Race And Police Shootings

Here's a pretty good example of leftward bias at
This entry--"Do Police Kill More White People Than Black People?"--starts by acknowledging that the answer to the question is 'yes'. Now, of course that's misleading because there are a lot more whites than blacks in the population. And the entry goes on to note that. But it stops there. Which means: it stops without adding the one additional, extremely well-known, piece of information that's required to give at least the roughest outlines of what I would say is a minimally complete picture: that, when we control for factors like whether or not the decedent attacked the police, whether he was armed, etc., the ratio goes back to rough parity.
   Of course reasonable people can disagree about whether or not that final, third move in the explanation is uncontroversial enough that leaving it out constitutes (or is at least indicative of) bias. I think it should at least be gestured at. (In fact, many argue that when we control for all such relevant factors, whites are killed at a slightly higher rate. But I don't see that the entry is obligated to note that bit, given that it's less clearly true.)
   Note also this early part of the entry:
[Such] shootings throughout the U.S. have been caught on camera and widely shared via social media, prompting the development of the Black Lives Matter movement to address a seemingly constant stream of American police officers killing unarmed black people. The issue has also inspired some critics to disingenuously counter that white people are the ones who are killed most frequently by police officers...
Seeing bias behind every tree is a bad habit to fall into. But this entry seems pretty clearly skewed to me. OTOH, at least the official rating is Mixture rather than False--and that's something.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Grand Jury Returns 16 Felony Counts Against Jussie Smollett

And don't forget: this case tells us a lot about "hate crime" in America...


Wow...big snow here all day. Beautiful, actually. Weird how assiduously it's been snowing, for only about an inch on the grass and nothing at all on the roads.

Devon Price: "Laziness Does Not Exist"

The existence of this blog is a refutation of that view.

Your Half-Hour Of Heterodoxy: Podcast Interview With Jeffrey Sachs

Seems to me that Chris Martin quietly takes Sachs's position apart.
But, needless to say, I've lost my objectivity about this issue.
[I hadn't listened to the very end; I think Sachs is admirably fallibilistic there.]

Lyell Asher: How Ed Schools Became A Menace To Higher Education

This is really worth a read.
Apparently ed schools...which are close to the bottom of the academic/intellectual barrel...are now producing a lot of our administrators.

Larison: Trump's Wasted Presidency

There Was Never A Campus Free-Speech Crisis And Also It's Over

It was a myth, you see, and never existed at all. So There's no reason to worry about it.
It ended last year. So there's no reason to worry about it anymore.
I hope this clears things up.

ProPublica: How The Navy Failed Its Sailors

"Years of Warnings, Then Disaster"
(Via Lorenzo's recent piece in Areo)

Lowry: It's a Crisis

   Yes, there were more overall apprehensions in the 2000s. But it was a different population, made up overwhelmingly of adult males from Mexico who might be apprehended trying to cross multiple times and were reliably returned home when they were caught. Now, we are apprehending people but not returning them.

   Migrants are coming in greater numbers from Central American countries instead of Mexico, and are primarily families and children. In an astonishing shift, in 2012, 10 percent of apprehended migrants were families and children; in recent months, it’s been 61 percent.
   The rules for dealing with migrants from noncontiguous countries and with family units make it all but impossible to swiftly return or detain them, not to mention that our physical facilities were built with single adults in mind.
   There is no mechanism to return these migrants home, to hold them after they cross the border, or to remove them once they are in the interior. And word has gotten out. There’s a reason that the subset of migrants that we can’t stop from getting into the country is growing so rapidly.

   But we are at a stalemate. The New York Times editorialized the other day that Trump declared “that there’s a crisis at the border, contrary to all evidence.” Then, the paper ran a news story headlined, “Border at ‘Breaking Point’ as More than 76,000 Migrants Cross in a Month.”

NYT Says Border At "Breaking Point" 1 Month After "Fact Check" Claimed No Emergency

It's from Breitbart, but it checks out.
   I also thought and claimed there was no emergency...but suddenly we're deluged with stories that seem to show that's false. What happened? Was Trump accidentally right? Is this upsurge new? Or was it underneath our radar? Or what? Even I doubt that the media was suppressing the information in an effort to "resist" Trump's executive order...

I Have No Idea What To Think About The Ilhan Omar Dust-Up

There's obviously a ton of anti-Zionism and pro-Palestinian sentiment on the left. That does shade into the sense of specifically anti-Jewish views. OTOH, I do have concerns about conservative adoration of Israel...which country I consider to be basically the worst ally anybody ever had...even though I tend to be generally rather pro-Israeli in other respects...even though I certainly don't think that their claim to the area is as strong as they think it is...

Transgender Chronicles: "Lesbian Feminist Defends 'Misgendering': 'It's Not Inhumane To Tell The Truth'

The battle-lines get rotated weirdly in this disagreement so that conservatives often end up agreeing with radical feminists about transgender ideology--and seemingly agreeing with then about a bunch of anti-male views they'd normally deride.
   It's also, as I keep saying, a sign of our current insanity that only radical feminists are allowed to criticize transgender ideology. And, of course, they mostly do that according to the contemporary progressive rules of debate: merely arguing that transgender ideology is false is verboten; arguments are only permissible if they conclude that TI causes harm to some other group high in the progressive stack--e.g. (actual) women.
   So this is notable in that at least the falsehood of TI plays an important role in the case.
   Repeating myself yet again: this whole debate could be had in a sane way by (a) jettisoning the patently false claim that "transwomen" are women (and "transmen" are men), and (b) asking whether / when segregation by sex is permissible. This would be made easier if we cleared away progressive efforts to obfuscate the old-school, true-and-conceptually-useful sex/gender distinction. But TI would have a very hard time surviving without obfuscating that distinction. 
   IMO there's some pretty bad news for progressivism and transgender ideology here. I'm inclined to think that its rhetorical / social victory was largely predicated on a kind of blitzkrieg that tried to shut down all open disagreement before the opposition even knew what was going on. They nearly won--after all, they control all the cultural salients. But some radical feminists (especially: lesbians) refused to be silenced--and they were hard to attack openly given the prevailing progressive rules of debate. And the longer there is actual discussion of this insanity, the greater the odds that open questioning will spread from conservatives and radical feminists back to respectable, consequential parts of the culture.
   All rational people ought to be worried by this even if the tide is ultimately turned. Because what we see here is a completely insane story about people changing sex by simply saying so. And progressivism threw its entire weight behind this daft tale. And the rules of inquiry and debate progressivism have imposed on the culture via sheer force of will and power and shrill insistence are anti-rational in the extreme. And even if the tide turns against TI, those rules of debate remain in place. And there's no guarantee that sanity will win out next time. Nor, again, that it will do so this time...

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Ronald Brownstein: "Trump Settles On His Reelection Message"

I always liked the Atlantic. Until recently, anyway. I still try to go there and read around even though I find its sensibilities and its politics off-putting now. But what I mostly end up reading is stuff like this. Which actually ends up putting me off more. It doesn't make me like Trump any more; rather, it makes me like his critics less. I don't go there in order to fuel my outrage, nor to confirm my relatively-new-found dislike of the progressive consensus. But that's usually what ends up happening. I might be better off just not even trying to understand where the other side is coming from these days. Which is weird, and against my natural instincts.

House Dems Refuse To Allow Debate On The Green New Deal...Basically Because It's Not A Serious Proposal

Sean Duffy (R-WI) proposed an amendment to the GND, but Dems claimed that the amendment wasn't serious...and tacitly admitted that the GND itself isn't, either:
Duffy said that this portion the Green New Deal was "catastrophic for American housing," and requested that his amendment to it be debated. Waters refused Duffy's request upon learning that he did not plan to vote in favor of the amendment, saying that it wasn't "serious."
   "Is the gentlelady chairwoman saying that the Green New Deal is not serious?" Duffy asked Waters.
   "I beg your pardon," Waters said.
   "You said this is not serious. Are you saying that the Green New Deal is not serious?" Duffy asked. "I just want to make sure so I can get a gauge on it."
   "You are not serious," Waters reiterated.
   "This is my amendment," Duffy said. "Are you saying that my amendment is not serious?"
   "We need to look for real ways to make our homes more energy efficient and sustainable," Waters said. "This amendment does not reflect a thoughtful approach to the topic."
   Democratic representative Lacy Clay (Mo.) backed up Waters's statements and criticized Duffy for questioning the bill, which he said did address practical solutions, but rather a "broader" vision for America.
   "I think it's so hypocritical that we are going to inject a piece of legislation, which is really more of a broader construct and a framework for discussion about where we should be heading as a country when it comes to climate change when it comes to scientific fact about what is happening to our atmosphere and the earth that we live on," he said.
No matter how aspirational the GND is, it's nuts. Honestly, it's stuff like that that makes people like me less-inclined to take the Dems seriously on this issue. Saying that it's a "broader framework" isn't a valid defense of the thing. If so, then it's a ridiculous "framework." (And don't even get me started on "construct"...)
   Though: is Waters on firm ground here? That is: is this is a good reason for refusing to debate a motion or bill? Might very well be for all I know.

[Wait: turns out they were supposed to be debating affordable housing. That seems like a different kettle of fish.]

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

More Progressive-on-Conservative Political Violence

Not to blame the victim...but everybody needs to know how to fight. 
   Good on Williams for doing what he's doing...but he really should have slapped the absolute living shit out of that dude. Currently, non-radical-leftists need to be prepared to be attacked; and that means: prepared to put a hurtin' on the attackers. I kinda wish I didn't detest Trump; I'd get me a MAGA hat and see what turned up. 
   The left is not only fabricating right-on-left political violence, it's out there actually perpetrating the left-on-right kind. And not the veriest peep from the media...unless they can figure out a way to reverse the polarity as in the Covington kids case. Patently fictional right-on-left incidents get--what?--about a thousand times more coverage than documented left-on-right incidents?

Fox On The Run--Russ Carson

Quite possibly my favorite version ever of this #*&%ing great standard:

M. "Lorenzo" Warby: "Virtue Signal Or Piety Display? The Search For Cognitive Identity And The Attack On Social Bargaining"

Holy crap, this is extremely interesting.
   I take it that this is our commenter Lorenzo--if so: that's an impressive piece of work, man.
   I'll have to read it again, as I got overly-excited and got dragged along much faster than I could digest things. Just a bunch of interesting ideas in there.

AOC FEC Violations?: Because We Don't Defeat Ideas Anymore, We Target People

No idea whether she's guilty, of course. But I don't want her to be. She seems ok as a person. And I'm sick of this way of doing politics. Needless to say--if she's guilty she's guilty. But it won't bring me happiness. The FEC ex machina won't straighten hipsters out about socialism. It won't make the scales fall from people's eyes about the green new deal. Even if it did this time, it probably won't next time. At some point it's going to be up to us to figure things out like grownups.
   I kinda feel the same about Trump...except that he's a known conman, of course. But with respect to collusion: Jesus, you can't beat this guy's ideas? You're pinning your hopes on this weird, fetishistic hope you have that secretly, behind the scenes he's even worse than he seems to be? That he's back there rubbing his hands together and explicitly plotting to advance the cause of ee-vil? He's not bad enough for you the way he actually is??? You've got to indulge your weird fantasies about your political opponents being Satanic?
   blah blah blah

Drum: The Green New Deal Is a Joke; We Need Big Climate Ideas; How About Massive R&D

This is close to what I think...except I think I'm more skeptical of climate catastrophism than Drum is--not that my opinion on the topic should matter to anybody. Because it absolutely shouldn't. But even when I uncritically accepted the orthodoxy, my view was basically:
 If our survival can only be effected by either (a) most of us accepting small burdens / hits to our "life-style"s, or (b) scientists and engineers pulling off some miraculous technological wizardry...then godspeed to the scientists and engineers, because hey're our only hope.
   I'm not so much in favor of massive R&D--but I don't how the numbers come out if they're honestly assessed. I'd go with big, though. Undoubtedly somebody has numbers about how much R&D money the system can use effectively at a given time. I don't buy the tipping-point in a decade story... And my guess is that in a decade it'll still be a decade. My guess is that the tipping-point always has to be just far enough out that progressive policies have to be passed and implemented right now--no time to explain! The tipping-point can't be passed, nor so near in the future that action is hopeless...but it can't be so far out that there's time to calmly assess progressive preferences. 5-10 years seems pretty optimal to the ear of a layperson--that out to produce frantic but not panic.
   Or maybe we're just all gonna die.

What We're Up Against

Via Instapundit, this.
Dude had waaaay more self-control than I would have had.
We're basically dealing with mobs of people who are physically adult, but mentally children. They've spend way too much time thinking about how to annoy and provoke and threaten in ways that won't get them immediately arrested--blowing the whistle in the guy's face, repeatedly touching him as an obvious provocation, crowding in around him, and so on. Oh, then of course stealing his hat. These sorts of videos really lay bare something rotten and crazy in this sector of the contemporary left. If the radical right were doing these things, there'd be no end of it on the news.

Doug Stokes: "Forget About Decolonizing The Curriculum; We Need To Resore The West's Telos Before It's Too Late"

Of course I'm generally sympathetic to this.
Rational, objective self-criticism is good. When I was a kid, it was fairly obvious that the right tended to be insufficiently critical of the West and the USA. Unfortunately, the left's criticisms tend to not be rational, largely because they're grounded in crap pseudophilosophy. And they tend to be neither objective nor productive, largely because they don't even aim to be. much of the intellectual left simply took up the position opposite the right: instead of mindlessly defending America and the West, they mindlessly deride and lambast them. They're not motivated by the pursuit of objectivity--something they commonly don't believe in--but by hatred and a desire to destroy. They're fairly open about their vitriolic opposition to the West, the Enlightenment, science, the US, capitalism and the rest. They don't really make any secret of it...

Emory Academic Freedom / Free Speech Conference

This looks great. I'd go if I didn't already have a conference that weekend.

Nancy Leong: "Against Women's Sports"

Looks like a litany of their standard invalid arguments, including some version of the continuum fallacy. It's true that we should think more about this stuff...but even better would be thinking better about it.

The Washington Post Admits Error In The Covington Catholic / Nick Sandman / Nathan Phillips Incident

Is this good enough, d'ya think?

Trump's Executive Order To Protect Free Speech On Campus Is Bad Because Reasons

Wow this is bad.
But I agree that there will be a lot of pushback by the campus left. Some colleagues and I have been trying to get various measures passed to protect speech at our own institutions, and we've already been discussing how this complicates things. Freedom of speech is already widely considered a conservative cause by the academic left. And any whiff of Trump will solidify their opposition. That's not to say that the executive order is a bad idea; but it's to note that it complicates things in certain ways.
   Incidentally: I like how the left denied that there was ever a problem...but now they've all discovered one report that claims that the crisis is now they're using that to argue that...there's no problem! Maybe the problem is less severe than it was a year ago--in certain respects, anyway. I certainly hope that it is. That would be great news. But even if lessened, the problem is still severe.

David Axelrod Isn't Saying It's A Witch-Hunt...But...Y'know...

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Nick Gillespie: The Green New Deal And Socialist Democrats Are Normalizing Trump

   All they gotta do is act normal. All they gotta do is not be crazy. All they gotta do is run the ball up the middle. All they gotta do is be less repellently idiotic than Trump...
But that's starting to seem like too much to ask.

"Captain Marvel" Is A Train Wreck

I've kinda been wondering how Captain Marvel ended up being a woman...turns out the story is a complete train wreck. I thought I'd somehow just been oblivious to this major part of the Marvel universe...but no...they basically just made the character up. Or, rather: decided to pretend that Ms. Marvel was/is Captain Marvel...oh and: she's their flagship superhero!
   This stuff is so stupid you really couldn't make it up.

Stephen M. Walt: "The Tragedy Of Trump's Foreign Policy"

This seems pretty plausible to me...but I've come to realize that I don't actually understand anything about foreign policy:
In a classic tragedy, the leading figure is usually a person with admirable qualities and even good intentions, drawn inexorably toward disaster by a tragic flaw. Othello is susceptible to jealousy, Macbeth is too ambitious, Hamlet cannot make up his mind, and Faust cannot resist an offer to trade his soul for knowledge and pleasure. In each case, a single flaw overwhelms their positive qualities and places them on the road to destruction.
   From that perspective, it’s hard to see Donald Trump as a truly tragic figure. Far from being heroic but flawed, he’s just the spoiled, self-indulgent scion of a wealthy and odious father, with more deficiencies of character than one can count. Apart from a genuine gift for self-promotion, a decent golf game, and a practiced ability to connive on cue, he’s decidedly lacking in other virtues.
   Yet there is an undeniably tragic quality to the Trump presidency, even if he manages to avoid impeachment, jail, or permanent disgrace. Why? Because Trump did have some valid and important insights into America’s current problems and he had a chance to do something about them when he got elected. That opportunity has been wasted, however, and Trump’s flaws as a politician, strategist, and human being are the main reason why.
   What did Trump get right? In 2016, when he called U.S. foreign policy a “complete and total disaster” and blamed repeated foreign-policy failures on an out-of-touch and unaccountable elite, he was on to something. He was correct to accuse key U.S. allies of spending too little on defense—a complaint many previous presidents had made—and right on the money in denouncing open-ended and costly efforts at nation building in places like Afghanistan. Trump and Bernie Sanders were the only candidates to acknowledge that globalization was not delivering as promised, and his message resonated with lower- and middle-class Americans who were deeply worried about lost jobs, flat income growth, and lax immigration controls. Trump also recognized China as America’s principal long-term competitor and that Beijing would not stop its predatory trade practices if the United States just asked nicely. And Trump was nearly alone in recognizing that demonizing Russia was counterproductive and served only to drive Moscow closer to Beijing.
Worth reading the whole thing.

People So Freaked Out By Climate Hysteria That They Won't Have Kids (?)

Eh...I suspect 4chan...though 4chan collectively may not know two actual women to put up to this.

Douthat: "What's Left Of The Center-Left?"

Right on target, IMO, and eminently worth a read:
   But then consider a third distillation, a third narrative, in which the center-left’s signal political failure was that it never really sought to preserve a cultural centrism, which meant over time that its party’s approach to social issues has been dictated more and more completely by the left. In this story the political success of Bill Clinton reflected not only his compromises with Republicans on taxes and spending, his tacit nods to Reaganomics, but also his ability to infuse a centrist liberalism with reassuring nods to various kinds of moderate cultural conservatism — the school uniform and v-chip business and the rhetoric of “safe, legal and rare” on abortion, the easy Baptist religiosity, the tacitly center-right positions on immigration and crime and same-sex marriage.

   If Clinton had matched this cultural conservatism with decency in his private life, Al Gore would have won re-election as his heir and the larger story of the center-left might have been entirely different. But instead, from the mid-2000s onward, the leftward flank of the Democratic Party looked at the country’s changing demographics and growing social liberalism and decided that Clinton’s compromises with cultural conservatism weren’t as politically necessary as they had been (which was true), and that therefore they were free to become increasingly ideologically maximalist on everything touching gender or race or sexuality or immigration (which was … not true).

   In this sense the story of the Democrats’ struggles over the last 15 years is a story of a party that has consistently moved leftward faster than the also-changing country, and consistently overread victories — on same-sex marriage above all — as a template for how every cultural battle should play out. It’s a story of a new feminism that’s pushing the party ever-further from the center on abortion, of a new cohort of white liberals who are actually to the left of many African-Americans on racial issues, of an activist base that brands positions that many liberals held only yesterday as not only mistaken but bigoted or racist or beyond-the-pale.

   And in this part of the Democratic coalition’s story, the center-left’s role has been extraordinarily passive, essentially following the cultural left a tiny bit more slowly rather than trying to devise a more moderate approach. You can find hints of what such a moderate approach might look like in intellectual projects like Jonathan Haidt’s Heterodox Academy, or in the probing, evenhanded culture-war reportage of the magazine writer Jesse Singal (whom I hesitate to even praise because it will do him no favors on the internet). But that cultural moderation has no substantial political form, no important champions within the Democratic Party. It has Joe Manchin and Tulsi Gabbard, maybe, but they are eccentric figures; elsewhere among the Democrats there is little interest in considering all the different ways that cultural extremism costs them votes.

The Mystic On The Russian Collusion Hypothesis

Well, he makes a pretty strong case.
   To be clear: my official line is: I'm waiting for Mueller's conclusions and arguments. I just don't expect them to support any substantial version of the collusion hypothesis. (I think the Mystic and I disagree about how to count bumbling contacts by Trumpian bumblers.)
   I'm going to go through the post in more detail...after I'm finished with a giant, damnable pile of grading...

Millenial New York Socialists

Even more repellent than you might have thought.

Democrats' "Wide Probe" And "Ambitious Strategy" Bolster Concerns That Dems Are On A Fishing Expedition

I don't trust Trump, and am 100% behind legitimate investigations of the guy. But you've gotta admit, this is starting to smell pretty bad.
(As goes without saying, don't read the comments at the Post unless you want to be pushed rightward. Wow those people are nuts.)

Monday, March 04, 2019

AOC Has Giant Carbon Footprint; Says She's Just "Living In The World"

This sort of criticism seems to be a kind of consistency ad hominem.
   My inclination is to think that such criticisms are fairly weak.
   I'm not so sure about the "just living in the world" response, though. I'd be more inclined to say: if you're trying to save the world from the carbon-emissions apocalypse, and you can do that more efficiently by emitting more carbon, then, within reason, it's probably a good deal. AOC by herself is not contributing in any significant way to carbon emissions. No matter what she does personally, it won't matter. The same, of course, goes for all of us individually. But her actions could have an effect on what everybody does collectively. So, by taking a plane instead of a car or a car instead of a bus, she might be able to make a difference in what we all do. And that would make a difference.
   In short: Al Gore flying to Davos might, conceivably, save the world. And so I think it's silly to criticize him for doing so.
   As for the a/c and hamburgers...well...I don't see any way to defend them there.

Washingtonpost: Trump Has Made 9,014 False Or Misleading Claims In 773 Days

Well, the Post has become nearly as full of crap as Trump, as you can confirm by reading the column. Eh...that's an exaggeration. But it's bad. The Post's "fact checking" has, IMO, become something of an embarrassment. I was noting yesterday that progressives either don't understand when Trump is joking or pretend that they don't. Right on cue the Post treats Trump's joke about wind power as a serious and misleading claim.
   Also, the Post's attempted debunking of the claim that 1 in 3 illegal immigrant women is sexually assaulted on the trip north is rather thin gruel. Too bad it's rarely shown as much interest in scrutinizing the 1 in 4 figure about sexual assault at universities...
   My rule of thumb has been: treat the left-leaning fact-checkers as being about half-right. 4,507 false or misleading claims still boggles the mind. He just seems to have no regard for the truth. He just says words. That fact that the other side is also detached from reality doesn't change the fact that Trump doesn't. The guy, as I may have mentioned, has no business being president. His only qualification is: he's not the other guys. Which...well...IMO is not inconsequential...

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Not Getting Trump's Humor, And Pretending Not To Get Trump's Humor (And The Infamous Russia / Hillary's Email Joke)

He's no Obama, but Trump's occasionally pretty funny. A lot of progressives fail to get him, and fail to even recognize that he's joking. Or pretend to fail to, anyway.
   I agree with Althouse: he's pretty funny at points in the CPAC speech.
   I particularly approve of making fun of people who took his comment about Russia releasing Hillary's emails seriously. Or, again, pretended to take it seriously. Some people around here were actually arguing that it was some kind of actual evidence of collusion.
   Anyway--obviously--it was a joke. It was obviously a joke then. It's still obviously a joke. If you thought it was some kind of evidence of collusion...well...ya gotta sit down and have a long talk with yourself about this stuff. You've lost a firm grip on the facts in this vicinity. You need to admit that and try to correct the situation. There's not really a lot of shame in it. It happens to the best of us. And I'll admit that Trump could make the pope cuss. But still...when you count obvious jokes as evidence of treason...something's got to change.

RIP Russiagate

I agree with Douthat.
I guess there's still some chance that some wimpy version of the collusion hypothesis is still in play. But it's unlikely.
There will likely be no joy in the NYT newsroom when the Mueller report drops.

Julian Vigo: Confronting A New Threat To Female Athletics

All this craziness, and these insane efforts to move incoherent conceptual pieces (e.g. "gender identity") around on the board in accordance with semi-coherent rules could be avoided simply by: (i) sticking to a reasonable and consistent sex/gender distinction (where the sexes are the biological kinds man and woman, and the genders are the behavioral categories masculine and feminine), (ii) recognizing that men's and women's sports are segregated by sex, not gender, and (iii) rejecting the daft metaphysical claims of transgender ideology: it is impossible for a man to become a woman (or vice-versa) until we have the medical technology change males into females (or vice-versa)...which we currently do not have.
   By allowing leftist transgender ideology to control our public discussion, and allowing it to run the true and reasonable views off the table with shrill and unwarranted accusations of "transphobia," we set up a situation in which we have to argue against a daft theory by using the daft rules that generated that theory in the first place. The point is that the theory of transgenderism advocated by the left is simply and obviously false. Get that bit straight, and the rest of this is easy. Fail to get that straight and you've either got to accept all the counter-realist consequences of that error, or spend the rest of your days making bad faith arguments using the crazy rules and incoherent conceptual categories that generated the problem in the first place.

Will Michael Jackson Be Sent To The Cultural Gulag?

Serious question.
   Given credible accusations of child molestation against Jackson, will the same people who are arguing that, say, we shouldn't read nor cite e.g. Gildersleeve now argue that we shouldn't listen to Thriller? There don't seem to be many rules to this game. But there seem to be a couple of futures here: one in which Jackson's music is verboten, one in which he's given a pass because of race or some other such factor...and one in which the left seriously starts trying to normalize pedophilia. The third option does seem to be a stretch...but I've lost my ability to ascertain where the left will go, and where it's capable of going. Who would have predicted six years ago that people would be getting permabanned from social media for saying that only males have penises?
   I actually think that such questions are kind of interesting. Imagine that Hitler had written The Critique of Pure Reason...or Beethoven's Ninth. To some extent, an ability to enjoy a work does seem to hinge on an ability to ignore the sins of its creator. But, then, the traditional view is that we should resolutely keep the author and his work separated anyway. The left seems to reject that--it's of a piece with their apparent view that many ad hominems traditionally regarded as invalid are, in fact, valid. They spend a lot of energy spinning out hypotheses about hidden thoughtcrimes, then arguing that nothing produced by anyone who committed such crimes can be good. Or, anyway, no such work can be regarded as good. I tend to think they're wrong, but admit that the outlines of a reasonable case are buried somewhere in that mess.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Trump To Issue Executive Order Protecting Free Speech On Campus

Holy crap.
He's muh boy now! some extent, anyway.
Of course speech was already protected by the bloody 1st and 14th Amendments...not that campus moonbats didn't thumb their noses at them.
Sounds like this will affect private schools, too.
Well, when you're right you're right. And Trump's right about this one.
Credit where credit's due.

Ross Stitt: The Rise Of The Ungovernables

Centrist Dems Push Back Against Liberal Surge

Praise Jesus.
Obligatory no-true-Scotsmanning: those people aren't liberals.
Save us Blue Dogs. You're our only hope.
No...there is another.

More Climate Self-Sealing: Global Warming Is So Bad You Won't Even Notice It

First this.
Now this.
Obviously I'm not denying that we might tend to compare current weather only to the previous five years. It's entirely possible. But surely you have to smell a rat in this sort of thing.

A Planet-Wide Groundwater System On Mars?

maybe. Sometime.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Deadly Glock Guns "Fire If The Trigger Is Pulled"

Z0MG isn't there a law yet against plastic gats that fire when you pull the trigger????

Loose Talk Of Civil War

The Post, needless to say, puts the blame on the right, but I've been seeing such talk on both sides--and not just reactively on the left. Though it does seem to me that the talk I see on the right is more like Maybe we'll hafta, while the talk on the left is more like Maybe they'll do it. And concerns about Trump refusing to abide by electoral outcomes are based in things he's actually said. And the fact that we can't quite be certain how far he might go. Who knows what that guys is capable of?
   Anyway: people really do need to cool their damn jets--especially the right, it seems to me.
   Though I do have some sympathy with a view on the right that basically says: the left, having won the culture war, has elected to make it a total victory--opting to crush the right...hence traditional American culture...irrevocably, rather than allowing it a defeat with dignity that grants it a right to exist. The left's attitude is more like: Having won, let us raze traditional American culture to the ground and salt the earth. The right fears--justly, IMO--that the left knows no bounds and will never stop. Such a belief (tacit and ill-formed though it may be) makes desperation understandable. In fact, it may even make talk of civil war rational. If you believe I have the means and intent to destroy all or most of what you hold dear, what are your rational options?
   I'm not trying to defend civil-war talk. I'm suggesting that--irresponsible though it may be--it might have roots in something that's not altogether unreasonable. I'm certainly sympathetic to the idea that the left has become rather rabid and bloodthirsty in victory. The ascendance of the extremist left has certainly made it plausible to think that it is large-scale, revolutionary upheaval rather than judicious, incremental, occasional improvement that they have in mind.
   Unfortunately, bloody-minded talk of civil war seems to me to reveal the very kinds of errors and stupidity that discredits the right and drives people to the left. Sometimes what I see on the right seems not so much to be a kind of panicked, desperate suggestion that war might be the only hope...rather it sounds darker...more eager than fearful...
   But, as always, I could be wrong about basically all of that.

Mona Charen: Trump Loves Dictators

Yeah, I was skeptical at first...but not anymore.

Comment Backlog

Sorry, comment backlog weirdness again. Lots of interesting ones just published from over a week ago.

"House Democrats Explode In Recriminations As Liberals Lash Out At Moderates"

I'm not sure how things ordinarily operate in the House...but someone like me can't see something like this without taking it as confirmation of the hypothesis that the Dems are going to keep up their lurch to the left.