Friday, October 20, 2017

So much winning

What if you could simultaneously:

1. Reduce gun deaths,
2. Institute major sentencing reform,
3. Meaningfully make black lives matter,
4. And reduce the rapid increase in deaths from opioids?

The best single policy to advance all these causes would be to end the War on Drugs.

Drug related homicides in Progressive strongholds such as Washington D.C., Chicago and Philadelphia would decline, so a major cause for the deaths of black men involving firearms (nearly 6,000 gun deaths annually, or 31.7 homicides per 100,000 black men) would be eliminated. The need for drug related police intervention, and the friction between blacks and police because of it, would be decreased.

The disproportionate sentencing of blacks for the sale and use of drugs would be reduced. Inner-city neighborhoods would be safer and other crimes would decline.

On black lives and firearms, from the Brookings Institution:
“The vast majority (77 percent) of white gun deaths are suicides; less than one in five (19 percent) is a homicide.

These figures are nearly opposite in the black population, where only 14 percent of gun deaths are suicides but 82 percent are homicides:”
Without the War on Drugs, older white men might still commit suicide at high rates (nearly 16,000 annual gun deaths, or 16.3 suicides per 100,000 white men), but to some of the SJWs out there, this is a benefit.

Annual gun death data from here, a good place to interactively apply demographics to gun death stats.

Another benefit of ending the War on Drugs would be that doctors who prescribe, and patients who truly need the pain relief provided by, opioids would be be better off.
“the overdose death rate from opioids hit a record high of 33,000 in 2015 — but the majority of deaths were from heroin, and deaths from fentanyl doubled over the previous year. Overdoses from prescription opioids, however, are stabilizing or even receding.”
There is also evidence that where marijuana is legally available, Jeff Sessions notwithstanding, the use of more dangerous drugs declines:
State Medical Marijuana Laws Linked to Lower Prescription Overdose Deaths
-Johns Hopkins
“In states where it is legal to use medical marijuana to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where medical marijuana remains illegal, new research suggests.”
Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?
-RAND Corporation
“We study the impact of medical marijuana laws on problematic opioid use. Based on standard differences-in-differences models, event study analyses, and synthetic control models, we find that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths. The mitigating effect of medical marijuana laws is specific to states that permit dispensaries.”
Medical marijuana reduces use of opioid pain meds, decreases risk for some with chronic pain
-University of Michigan
“Patients using medical marijuana to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional prescription pain medications known as opioids, a University of Michigan study finds.”
So, the expansion of marijuana dispensaries looks like it might drive down the social and monetary costs for emergency medical intervention. Ending the War on Drugs can start there. And we get the bonus titillation of thwarting Jeff Sessions.

Quality control applied to the most dangerous drugs, such as heroin and Fentanyl, would make self administration safer through accurate dosage of unadulterated drugs.

Finally, over a relatively short time, the number of overdose deaths would decline because most of those prone to overdose would have succumbed.

This last may seem cynical and cruel, but those are the people who will overdose, or die from hepatitis, etc. in any case. At least they will not have been shot.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dr. Jordan Peterson

The video clip below is about 5 minutes of a longer interview I recommend to you. It’s a segment discussing the difference between scientific truth and religious truth. On the way it touches on the balancing of order and chaos, moral action, Darwin, heroism, the meaning of music and the fundamental idea of Western Civilization.

This snippet is just one bit of evidence that University of Toronto Psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson has long been devoted to understanding the meaning of being by investigating the nature of truth. He is a man Diogenes the Cynic would have been happy to find.

Dr. Peterson has posted a huge volume of work (hundreds of hours of audio/video - television programs, interviews, and lectures going back many years); 90% of it is apolitical. I highly recommend browsing through it: Peterson is intelligent, articulate and very, very interesting. He was pretty much unknown up until the time politics became interested in him.

Those segments of his work which touch on politics do so when he discusses the relationship of good and evil to truth and lie; or references philosophies like those of Jacques Derrida, whose postmodernist theories provide a basis for the SJW political attack on Western Civilization. Here is an example:

Peterson’s thoughtful concerns about this threat should be taken very seriously.

Peterson has become an internet celebrity because of videos he recently posted challenging a Canadian law which compels certain forms of speech. This attracted virulent and gratuitous defamation from the usual leftist suspects. Among other similarities to Mark Steyn’s travails, the Star Chamber of the Ontario Human Rights Commission looms.

I hold Mark Steyn in the highest regard, not least because of his forthright defense of free speech. Steyn is joined in that defense by Peterson. In some ways Peterson is Sir Thomas More to Mark Steyn’s Martin Luther. If you’re in the mood for more Peterson, here’s a Mark Steyn interview involving the hornet’s nest Peterson inadvertently kicked. Pronoun Trouble ~50 minutes.

Since that interview the City of New York and the State of California have passed pronoun laws similar to Canada’s.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Self-awareness is not her strong suit

Hillary says:

"I commend the women who've been willing to come forward and tell their stories [about Harvey Weinstein]."

Like you did with Gennifer, Juanita, Paula and Monica?

"There's a sexual assaulter in the Oval Office."

That's way different from "My husband committed sexual assaults in the Oval Office." It's OK, though; Those assaults were 'litigated,' and are 'in the past.' What difference, at this point, does it make?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bury My Start at Wounded Knee

Jerry Jones says Cowboys players ‘disrespecting the flag’ won’t play

The NFL will discuss in an upcoming meeting the nationwide dispute over whether players must stand during the National Anthem

Forcing players to stand is not exactly going to make them more patriotic, but, as I pointed out on September 25th, it's up to NFL owners.

Lots of people have to act according to employers' rules so as not to alienate the customers. NFL players are no exception.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Dystopian Sweepstakes III

ADA requires two "tactile interpreters" so a blind and deaf man can "experience" a movie, in this case Gone Girl.

So, what happens if he wants to see Deep Throat?

Thursday, October 05, 2017

No one sane

Not the NRA; not people who voted for Donald Trump; not people who own guns, who like country music or pickup trucks: No one* wants it to be possible for a Stephen Paddock to murder even one person with a gun. However, none of the political policies put forward to ban or restrict weapons and ammunition actually address the problem. No one proposing them is able to say what set of laws could have prevented the Las Vegas massacre. They appeal to magical thinking.**

There's a good reason for that. From the Washington Post:
I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

Leah Libresco is a person who dislikes guns, but she follows the evidence instead of the cynical talking points.
By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.
I don't expect this article will change the calculations of politicians and anti-Second Amendment types who can't bear wasting any fundraising crisis, but any reasonable person - especially including those who dislike firearms - will gain from reading it.

Thank you, Leah Libresco, for your courage and honesty.

Read the whole thing, and the links there are also worth checking out.

Update, 1:25PM
*Maybe I spoke too soon, but I did say "sane":

**Democrats Have No Idea How To Prevent Mass Shootings

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Identitarian Politics: Distinctions without a difference?

I recommend this Claremont Review of Books discussion of fascism’s origins and the comparison to communism, including points about Black Lives Matter and Antifa. It’s well worth reading the whole thing: Fascism in America?

But I have some reservations.
Fascism... first emerged in Italy under Benito Mussolini, then spread to many other corners of Europe and Latin America. It took numerous forms, the most virulent of which was German National Socialism, which can be lumped into the overall fascist phenomenon, but only in certain respects. In others, it must be considered distinctly…
I think what follows to justify this distinction is hair splitting.
Mussolini... ultimately found communism’s collectivist obsession with class less satisfying than a collectivist obsession with nation, defined in group terms as the (Italian) people. National socialism offered an extreme version of this view, focused on an elaborate racial theory in which “Aryans” were good, superior, and entitled to rule, while others were inferior… Nazism was virulently anti-Semitic, more so than most other versions of fascism. Altogether, fascism was a politics based on accident of birth and on group membership. Individual identity, not to mention individual worth or individual rights, had no place…
A difference of looking inward to exalt vs looking outward to vilify. The in-tribe is still the volk. Professor Busch seems to agree;
It is not difficult to see a number of similarities between fascism and communism. Both... employed violence and intimidation to gain and keep power. Both grounded themselves in a version of collectivist identity politics. Both led in practice to all-powerful dictators supported by cults of personality. Both were enemies of liberty, hostile to the free market, property rights, limited government, and independent civil society. Both saw themselves as “revolutionary” and sought to displace God with a secular religion of totalitarian ideology... Indeed, one might easily conclude that fascism and communism were two versions of the same thing engaged in a bitter family dispute—two overlapping branches of the left wing rather than two opposite things.
On the merits, I do so conclude. See my post of August 18: Cosmetic Distinctions.
Nevertheless, two cardinal theoretical distinctions can be made. Where fascism fixated on race and ethnicity as the basis of collectivism and dehumanization, communism fixated on economic class. Where fascism adopted an explicitly oppositional attitude toward rational discourse, communism purported to be based on scientific principles, even though communists in practice made a mockery of such pretensions.
As to the first point, one might reasonably note that the difference is based on tribal identity. A group promoting racial privilege is temporarily allied with a group espousing privilege based on class; both wishing to commit the crimes delineated above. The differences between Antifa and Alt-Right, between the KKK and BLM – and between BLM and Antifa - are subtle points of doctrine; boiling down to a dispute over which collective will dominate the other at Statist gunpoint. If Antifa and BLM combine to “fundamentally transform” the United States, we can expect a replay of the Menshevik/Bolshevik, Trotskyite/Stalinist denouement.

The second point of differentiation is, if one takes the word “rational” seriously, actually not a difference at all. Theoretical, indeed.

While Antifa openly embraces violence, the Black Lives Matter movement does not. Nevertheless, BLM protests have featured chants calling for violence against police—“pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon”—and several have turned violent in reality, including in Baltimore, St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas, where a shooter inspired by (though not affiliated with) BLM killed five police officers at the end of a BLM demonstration. Some members of the movement have also been implicated in attempts to silence critical speakers through intimidation and physical force.
As to the embrace of violence as a difference between BLM and Antifa, “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” seems to me to qualify BLM as a promoter of violence. Maybe I’m missing something, but I doubt this sounds like a rendition of Kumbaya to police officers. Further, Professor Busch goes on to recount the disruption (by the threat of violence) of Heather Mac Donald’s speech (contra BLM orthodoxy) at Claremont. Perhaps too much heavy lifting is being required of the words “openly” and “affiliated.”

Professor Busch is generally correct in his assessment of Facism/Nazism and Communism, but seems overly concerned about the fine particularities of Statist branding, and too willing to excuse BLM violence compared to Antifa.

YMMV, and I reiterate my recommendation to read the piece.

Update 12:20PM Oct 7 17
FBI terrorism unit says 'black identity extremists' pose a violent threat

Thursday, September 28, 2017

This thing is not like the NFL thing

U.S. Army and West Point both respond about ‘official socialist organizer’ and Army officer Spenser Rapone who is espousing Communism

Distinct rules have been violated.
Penalties are clearly spelled out.
No question it is, at the least, disrespectful.

Trump hasn't Tweeted about it.

Rapone's next move will have to be applying for gender reassignment surgery, perhaps from Leavenworth.

Scroll down to the comments at the link for better pictures.

Monday, September 25, 2017

NFL - Who cares?

There has been speculation that the statue protests would expand from Robert E. Lee, Columbus, et. al., to include Jefferson and Washington. Worse, however, it's escalated to treating the Stars and Stripes as equivalent to the Stars and Bars: Both are apparently racist to a certain subset of NFL players.

On the other side we have the President injecting comments in his inimitable, distempered fashion. Despite my distaste for President Trump's gratuitous bullying, I would boycott NFL games. If I watched any in the first place. As the player protests against the National Anthem continue, I suspect my indifference is a better outcome than the NFL might expect from its fans.

A third party, NFL owners, is looking clueless. One is reminded of ESPN's descent into political activism. Professional football is supposed to be entertaining. Not any more.

Multi-millionaire, has-been quarterbacks have a Constitutional right to publicly protest, but let us not pretend that they must be allowed to promote Black Lives Matter on someone else's stage; acting as if they were marching from Selma to Montgomery. The league has control over the "take a knee" Kaepernicki (emphasis mine):
Throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field), players are prohibited from wearing, displaying, or otherwise conveying personal messages either in writing or illustration, unless such message has been approved in advance by the League office. Items to celebrate anniversaries or memorable events, or to honor or commemorate individuals, such as helmet decals, and arm bands and jersey patches on players’ uniforms, are prohibited unless approved in advance by the League office. All such items approved by the League office, if any, must relate to team or League events or personages. The League will not grant permission for any club or player to wear, display, or otherwise convey messages, through helmet decals, arm bands, jersey patches, or other items affixed to game uniforms or equipment, which relate to political activities or causes, other non-football events, causes or campaigns, or charitable causes or campaigns. Further, any such approved items must be modest in size, tasteful, non-commercial, and non-controversial; must not be worn for more than one football season; and if approved for use by a specific team, must not be worn by players on other teams in the League.
I conclude that player protests during the National Anthem are either expressly approved by the NFL, or the NFL is ignoring them.

The owners are making a statement here, and they've made some in the recent past which should cause you to wonder about their commitment to their entertainment product.

NFL rules out player's patriotic cleats
Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson earlier in the week said he would wear specially-designed patriotic cleats when he lines up against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The special red, white and blue cleats include stars, an American flag-inspired Nike logo and the words "Never Forget" printed on the heel, according to photographs posted on Williamson's verified Twitter account.

But that would violate NFL rules, which stipulate each player's shoes must be either black or white, with team colors serving as allowable dominant or secondary colors on the shoes.

The NFL rule book says unapproved shoes are allowable only if "the player tapes over the entire shoe to conform to his team's selected dominant base color
This took place shortly after the league ignored Kaepernick's decision to practice in socks depicting police officers as pigs.

In addition to the 220 words of Rule 5, Article 8, of the 2017 NFL Rulebook; the league has another 3,231 words proscribing how players may express themselves through how they appear, including a prohibition on being seen smoking and "facial makeup". So, any appeal to free speech is governed by the rules of employment. How those rules are enforced is obviously a decision made by the league, and the owners are aligned with Kaepernick: A player they refuse to employ.

Further, while contractual language is subject to modification, here is language from a generic NFL contract:
...Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, the fore- going grant does not confer, during or after the term of this Agreement, any right or authority to use Player’s Publicity Rights in a manner that constitutes any endorsement by Player of a third-party brand, product or service (“Endorsement”)...
So, yes, Mr. President, the NFL are a bunch of hypocrites who are damaging their brand with their core constituency. While your puerile provocations do lead them to ever more outrageous behavior, you're damaging the brand of the Presidency.

They are making a mistake. Let them do it without your assistance. Just like John McCain should keep his prissy nose out of baseball and boxing, you should practice a touch of discretion.

Update 1:55PM
‘Sunday Night Football’ Ratings Down Again On Day Of Player Protests

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Some environmental news

In case you missed these.

Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy
Supporting wind power is virtue signaling, but it should be called virtue noise.

The real strike price of offshore wind
If you oppose nuclear power, you don't care about the planet.

Climate scientists admit they were wrong on climate change effects
Thank you, Captain Obvious. It's been clear the models are wrong for quite some time. I guess it's time to start walking back the credibility destroying apocalyptic predictions.

Fudging the numbers?

Annnd... we have to visit the hurricane claims:
New book: ‘Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed On Global Warming ‘
Since we've had 12 years without any, there's a pent up need to blame 'climate change' when we get some.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Good speech, Mr. President

President Trump followed in the tradition of previous Presidents when he noted in yesterday's speech to the United Nations that aggression by North Korea would result in its destruction.

Trump is hardly the first president to remind North Korea of America’s ability to obliterate it.

He also lifted a page from Margaret Thatcher in calling out socialism for the grinding poverty it creates.
"The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented," he said in front of the United Nations General Assembly, which was greeted with a long pause and then some applause.

"From the Soviet Union to Cuba, Venezuela — wherever through socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish, devastation, and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Areopagitica Lost

The current state of the country and the current state of political and intellectual conversation depresses me in a way that it never has before. You have to understand — I’m never happy with the state of the country — that’s the inevitable fate of holding an ideological position that rarely gets any traction — I’m a classical liberal who’d like government to be dramatically smaller than it is now...

Maybe it’s paranoia but it’s been a long time since I felt the thinness of the veneer of civilization and our vulnerability to a sequence of events that might threaten not just the policy positions I might favor but the very existence of the American experiment.

The main way I’ve been dealing with this feeling of despair is to stop paying close attention. I don’t know what depresses me more — the stupidities and dishonesty and tolerance of darkness that come out of the President’s mouth or the response from those that oppose him. Given that I don’t like the President, you’d think I find the response of his enemies inspiring or important. But the responses scare me too, the naked hatred of Trump or anyone who supports or likes him. And of course, it goes way beyond Trump and politics. The same level of vitriol and anger and unreason is happening on college campuses and at the dinner table when families gather to talk about the hot-button issues of the day. Everything seems magnified.
Read the whole thing, it's very good. Russ Roberts: The World Turned Upside Down (and what to do about it)

I agree 100% with Roberts' intro, it feels like he wrote for me. He doesn't mention some things that cause my angst, why "it's different this time," but I think he'd agree with them.

I suppose I shouldn't be, but I'm surprised at the durability of the vehement response to Donald Trump. I get that Progressives are angry and depressed, but it's hard for me to imagine they're more angry and depressed than I was at Barack Obama's re-election. That was a very dark day and an excruciating 4 more years. You can examine this blog for my criticisms of Barack Obama, but you'll find nothing like what we hear daily from CNN, MSNBC, or (?) ESPN, or from the hegemony of far left celebrity Twitterers.

I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed at the contrast in the treatment of Antifa with that of the tea party. When the tea party left one of its demonstration sites, the area was cleaner than when they arrived. No fires, little to no profanity, no smashed windows, no beaten Obama supporters. Still, the tea party people were vilified by the media and Democrats, including the charges of racism and Nazism they've raised lately to screaming rants. It's not just free speech, but freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and petitioning for redress of grievances that is under attack - with the implicit support of the very press who wish to preserve their First Amendment right. Apparently, as the only remaining First Amendment right.

When Donald Trump appointee Betsy DeVos comes out in favor of due process, it's a sexist apocalypse. When Trump rejects the Paris Climate Accord, "we're all gonna die!" When he removes a few draconian regulations, we can see the Four Horses on the horizon. When Trump turns responsibility for Obama's unconstitutional DACA executive order over to Congress, it's Nazism, racism, white supremacism, patriarchal and traitorous. Dial it back people. But they can't.

Back to Russ Roberts. Given the above, his prescription:
1-Don’t be part of the positive feedback problem. When someone yells at you on the internet or in an email or across the dinner table, turn the volume down rather than up. Don’t respond in kind to the troll. Stay calm. It’s not as much fun as yelling or humiliating your opponent with a clever insult, but it’s not worth it. It takes a toll on you and it’s bad for the state of debate. And you might actually change someone’s mind.

2-Be humble. Shakespeare had it right: There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. You’re inevitably a cherry-picker, ignoring the facts and evidence that might challenge the certainty of your views. The world is a complex place. Truth is elusive. Don’t be so confident. You shouldn’t be.

3-Imagine the possibility not just that you are wrong, but that the person you disagree with could be right. Try to imagine the best version of their views and not the straw man your side is constantly portraying. Imagine that it is possible that there is some virtue on the other side. We are all human beings, flawed, a mix of good and bad.
...suffers from the fact that the center and the right have been more polite and civil than the left for decades - and see where that’s gotten us.

Donald Trump is crass, undisciplined and devoid of principle; but it is primarily the exquisite sensibilities of the intersectionality cadre who blame America for every evil that make his actual content inflammatory. They say they can identify “dog whistles” in Trump’s rhetoric, forgetting that it’s only the dog who can hear the whistle.

Is Trump complicit in this? Certainly. His comments on Mexican illegal immigrants are similar to this:
"You cannot go to a 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian Accent."
"I mean you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking guy."
-Joe Biden
...but "that's just Joe." Still, Trump’s a piker compared to the rest of Democrat leadership:
"Republicans… [would] rather take pictures with black children than feed them."
-Donna Brazile

"I'll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years."
-Lyndon Johnson

"[T]ypical white people,”
"clinging to their guns and religion."
-Barack Obama

“basket of deplorables"
"You f*cking Jew b@stard."
-Hillary Clinton
Those aren't distant historical examples, which would be far worse (Woodrow Wilson, for example, the Progressives' Progressive). Those aren’t dog whistles, they’re fog horns; but, on the left, nobody's knickers got twisted. That rhetoric is how we got Trump.

As far as the hoi polloi are concerned, on one side of protest demonstrations we see a marginalized group promoting white supremacy, who have with very few exceptions been non-violent except in self defense. On the other, we see a larger group, promoting black supremacy, that uses violence regularly and indiscriminately. Criticizing the latter group either brings charges of being a “Nazi sympathizer” from mainstream Democrats, or silence, as classical liberals attempting to exercise freedom of speech are under physical attack at our nation's universities; in collusion with university administrators and local governments who order police to “stand down."

Which group is actually a threat to freedom? The group trying to use their right to free speech, or the group routinely using violence to shut down free speech?

I’m reminded of this passage from Alan Bloom’s (1987) The Closing of the American Mind: “I have seen young people, and older people too, who are good democratic liberals, lovers of peace and gentleness, struck dumb with admiration for individuals threatening or using the most terrible violence for the slightest and tawdriest of reasons. They have a sneaking suspicion that they are face to face with men of real commitment, which they themselves lack. And commitment, not truth, is believed to be what counts.

Bloom is writing about people avoiding the messy distractions of understanding their own ‘ideas,' because "[C]commitment, not truth, is believed to be what counts.” Their rhetoric is excused by their commitment to no more than having unexamined good intentions.

Ronald Reagan had sub-human intelligence. Barry Goldwater was called a Nazi 50 years ago. The KKK is blamed on Republicans when, in fact, it was the action arm of the Democrats. Similarly, racial discrimination by the State: It was, in fact, outright eugenicists and open racists like Woodrow Wilson who reversed integration in the civil service. Even the far left editors at Vox admit this.

Culturally, we’re debating whether your biological sex is dispositive regarding bathroom facilities, while the left insists that any discussion of differences between men and women is absolutely not allowed. Facebook gave up when the number of “gender” choice check boxes available in your profile reached 58, but men and women are indistinguishable.

If you write a polite, scientifically factual memo questioning Google’s discriminatory hiring practices, you get fired. Meanwhile, Google downranks results from websites not fitting their political views.

Meanwhile, we waste blood and treasure half-heartedly defending poppy farmers in Afghanistan, because “homeland security," while the territory you can visit in Europe is continually eroded by “no-go” zones and our courts plunk down on the side of unrestricted immigration.

And now I’m back to agreeing with the author’s intro, but you can’t remain silent in order to get along. That’s a complete oversimplification of Roberts' advice, but it’s hard to remember that when some antifa thug is spraying spittle.

This is how you get more Trump. If that isn’t depressing, what is? Well, the thought of Hillary as President may be one thing.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Why he was called Mr. Whizzard

Standing Up to Pee Gives Boys an Unfair Advantage in Physics

The authors note that "there is no simple way to provide girls with the same opportunities for exploring projectile motion that boys have in playing with pee." Nonetheless, they make a feeble attempt: "However, we can make a change: it’s not necessary for physics curricula to begin with projectile motion. Other topics, such as energy conservation, which is more central to physics, could be taught first instead."

This abjectly weak proposal shows a decided lack of imagination, especially given the novelty of their "discovery." It fails to address the issue; females must eventually confront a topic in which they are hopelessly deficient. You know this to be true if you've ever tried to mansplain to a female how the gearing works on a 10-speed bicycle. Women have difficulty visualizing 3D schematics and, particularly, parts in motion. This problem goes beyond physics to engineering, chemistry and the programming of computer games.

Now we know why: Sitzpinkling is biologically determinative. Females lack the early ballistics and fluid dynamics training natural to males, and cannot, therefore, be successful in STEM disciplines. From this, we can conclude that Marie Curie had the advantage of countless hours playing with hoses when she was little. Judith Curry's success is explained by the near rhyme of her surname, but we cannot expect thousands of parents to change the family name in order to get female offspring an MIT scholarship.

All is not lost. As a public service I suggest five ways in which the cosmic unfairness of this patriarchal oppression may be mitigated by the State.

1- Population-wide forced gender reassignment surgery (male to female)

  1. Would resolve the raised toilet seat debate
  2. Would cost far less for surgery (than female to male surgery), since there are more females than males, and since female to male surgery is more expensive per individual
  1. Would slow advances in physics
  2. Would vastly increase bathroom lines at Tupperware parties
  3. Extinction of the species
2- Population-wide forced gender reassignment surgery (female to male)

  1. Would resolve the raised toilet seat debate
  2. Would decrease bathroom lines at football games
  3. Would speed advances in physics
  1. Would cost much more for surgery than Option 1, since there are more females than males and since female to male surgery is more expensive per individual
  2. Extinction of the species
As noted, the surgery could swing both ways, so to speak, and absent the cost and effectiveness issues, I'd pick advancing physics and shorter lines to pee for everyone.

But the clear choice is male to female:
As a solution to being able to aim your urine the female to male surgery is problematic: "Extending the urethra to allow standing urination has proved to be perhaps the most difficult part of the process..."

Also, "converting part of the colon into a vagina" is easier than building a penis.

But I can't choose either option. On the merits, human extinction makes me reject both Option 1 and Option 2.

3- Forced catheterization of females

  1. Would speed advances in physics
  2. Would vastly decrease bathroom lines at Tupperware parties
  3. Would resolve the raised toilet seat debate
  1. Would require significant remodeling of existing female facilities to add urinals
  2. Would be uncomfortable for females
4- Require males to sit down

  1. Would resolve the raised toilet seat debate
  1. Would require significant remodeling of male facilities to remove urinals
  2. Would increase bathroom lines at football games
  3. Would slow advances in physics
5- Mandate a certain amount of time and frequency (five times a day) for girls to play with hoses (increasing time spent and reducing flow and accuracy as they age, in order to match the effects of enlarging prostates)

  1. Would speed advances in physics
  2. Would increase business for hose manufacturers
  3. Would add to the time females spend on government mandated activities (to some this is a drawback)
  1. Would require building indoor hose practice facilities in cold climates
  2. Would add to the time females spend on government mandated activities (to some this is a benefit)
I invite comments regarding advantages and disadvantages, and suggestions for any options I may have missed. I'll be happy to pass them on to our elected representatives for urgent action.

Update, 4:57PM It occurs to me upon re-reading this, that we need not force catheterization upon women. It can be a choice, which I'm told they like. In fact, choice of catheterization could become a female admissions requirement at elite STEM educational institutions. From the State's POV, this would be more efficient.

Update, 5:13PM Oops. Maybe the entire question of sex bias in STEM is a tempest in a teapot. The Gender Gap in STEM is NOT What You Think

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trust Google?

Google’s search bias against conservative news sites has been quantified

Google's mission statement: "To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful." long as it comports with what we think you should think.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Victor Davis Hanson at Hillsdale

I attended Victor Davis Hanson's lecture at Hillsdale College yesterday evening. The topic: “How a Border War in Europe Led to World War II”. Excellent. Dr. Hanson has an amazing command of history.

The good news is, you can watch it here. Well worth it.

You can also visit Dr. Hanson's blog with that link, or by using the left hand menu on TOC.

Every reason in the world

In her new (went on sale at an immediate 40% discount) book, Hillary Clinton lists many reasons she had her nose rubbed in it last November. By some counts there are 30 separate excuses. Here's a list of 18 of those.

When there are that many reasons for something, it's the same as no reason at all. No wonder she's still confused.

But, what difference, at this point, does it make? I hope she never goes away.

Monday, September 11, 2017

People died then Hillary lied

On the sixteenth anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center and the fifth anniversary of the Benghazi attacks on the American diplomatic facilities in Benghazi: A review by Mark Steyn.

The Dishonored Dead

The lies Hillary Clinton told over the coffins of the men who died in Benghazi is the most venal and craven political act I have ever witnessed.

More than "you can keep your plan," this lie, that Barack Obama directed Susan Rice to repeat 5 times on national television, exemplifies and should forever color the memory of the Obama Administration.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Thank goodness...

...Hillary Clinton was not elected President.

She would have gleefully joined with Schumer and Pelosi to raise the debt ceiling in perpetuity; Obamacare would still be the law; there would be no border wall; she would have given Congress a deadline to "legalize DACA"; she would be blaming Republicans for her lack of leadership; she’d be threatening trade wars; the DOJ would still be defending the IRS that John Koskinen still heads; the FBI would be citing “lack of public interest” as an excuse not to release documents describing her disappeared emails; and the prospect for tax reform would be dim.


Is this entirely fair to Trump? No. But it is what happens when you are philosophically unmoored, proudly ignorant of process, and making it up as you go along.

I hope the President’s temporary regulatory modifications and his judgeship appointments make up for his long-term, withering destruction of small government principles.

Gary Johnson for President.

Thursday, September 07, 2017


Impossible Environmentalism: Green groups promote utopian fantasies

The contradictions are easy to understand when you realize most “environmentalist” poobahs care nothing about the environment: They care about power.

Any solution to their hyperbolic doom-saying reduces that power.

From edible veggie-burgers to carbon free nuclear power, they object to anything which could remedy their objections.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Von Mises looks at the "left"/"right" split

I don't think this invalidates my contention that the differences between Antifa and Alt-Right are not practically consequential today, but from a historical perspective, Ludwig von Mises points out differences..
Mises tosses off an insight that shakes up everything. Here is the mic-drop moment:
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the famous German philosopher, gave rise to two schools —the “left” Hegelians and the “right” Hegelians. Karl Marx was the most important of the “left” Hegelians. The Nazis came from the “right” Hegelians.
I’ve never seen it put so plainly. In my own education, I was highly educated on the left branch but not the right branch. Over the last two years, coinciding with the rise of a quasi-Nazi movement in Europe and the US, right-Hegelianism has been resurgent. It should be called the other threat to liberty. In other essays, Mises goes into further detail.

In brief, Hegel’s view of history as having some acting purpose aside from individual human beings bled into an attack on the idea of economics and free markets. Hegel became the most important antiliberal until that moment of time.

Mises points out that Hegel’s following split into right and left. The right believed that history was driving toward a culminating moment in which all final authority on earth was embodied by the Prussian state and church. The left believed that the culminating moment was more universal and was characterized by the birth of a new man who would live completely differently from anyone else in history. The right Hegelians became the fascists and corporate/theocratic/ conservatives, while the left Hegelians followed socialism straight to Marx and beyond.

Using that model of understanding, you can literally reconstruct the whole of the intellectual history of politics and society from the early 19th century to the present day. It is rich and pregnant with massive implications for our own time. And, so far as I know, this is the only place he states this observation with such clarity of exposition – again, owing to the informal structure of the venue.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Fake moos

If I told you 22 percent of Michigan’s total employment, 923,000 jobs, come from agriculture, would you be skeptical? Well, WJR's Paul W. Smith and the Detroit News wouldn't be.

Media Personality, State, Exaggerate Economic Impact of Agriculture Sector

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The most consequential American free-speech case in half-a-century

That is not hyperbole.

A few of those few who visit The Other Club may do so because we talk a lot about free speech. As the post title suggests, some are doing much more than that.

Consider joining the Mark Steyn Club.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What Trump should have said about Charlottesville:

"People who insist only black lives matter are fighting people who claim white lives are superior over whether inanimate historical objects do, or should, celebrate the political ideology of Jefferson Davis, Woodrow Wilson, Bull Conner and Robert Byrd.

As a result of this “contretemps of the racists” an innocent woman died. Sad. Very, very sad.

What is wrong with you people?"

The press would have been forced to parse it, Trump’s point would have been made unassailably, he would have looked more literate than he actually is, the MSM-splaining from CNN/MSNBC/etc. would have looked foolish when they denied its truth, the Democrats would have been apoplectic, and, as red meat for the base, it is even more incendiary-standard-Trump than what he actually said. Win-win-win-win-win-win.

Trump has a communications team who are unable to modify the trajectory of stupid that characterizes the man’s reality-TV ‘reality.’ It’s a wonder he has the requisite autonomic nervous system.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

On the Failure to Recognize Patterns

Two from Jonah Goldberg, related to my post Cosmetic Distinctions, below.

The Alt-Right Is Bad — And So Is ‘Antifa’
There’s a natural tendency to think that when people, or movements, hate each other, it must be because they’re opposites. This assumption overlooks the fact that many — indeed, most — of the great conflicts and hatreds in human history are derived from what Sigmund Freud called the “narcissism of minor differences.”
Re: On Charlottesville, Trump, and Anti-Americanism
I’m reminded of this passage from Alan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind: “I have seen young people, and older people too, who are good democratic liberals, lovers of peace and gentleness, struck dumb with admiration for individuals threatening or using the most terrible violence for the slightest and tawdriest of reasons.” He continued: “They have a sneaking suspicion that they are face to face with men of real commitment, which they themselves lack. And commitment, not truth, is believed to be what counts.”

Bloom is writing about people avoiding the messy distractions of understanding their own ideas, because "[C]ommitment, not truth, is believed to be what counts.”

They are committed to no more than having unexamined good intentions: Liberal Ayn Rand?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Pershing and pigs

Turns out the Trump Tweet about General John "Black Jack" Pershing:
Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
...which attracted MSM ridicule, has a basis in fact.

From Pershing’s My Life before the World War, 1860--1917: A Memoir:

Trump had previously claimed that Pershing had his troops dip their bullets in pig’s blood. There is no evidence Pershing ever ordered this, but there is some evidence that it did happen without orders. In any case, I think burying Moros with pigs counts for something. The fact that Pershing didn’t claim to have ordered such burials is irrelevant. Colonel West was his subordinate. Pershing regrets the necessity, but he didn't bring Colonel West up on charges.

The MSM keeps forcing people to defend Trump. Not to say that when Trump makes an incendiary comment that he shouldn’t be exquisitely precise, but if a Dem had said this the MSM would have located the quote above as exculpatory. Of course, the Tweet itself didn’t even make the questionable claim, as evidenced by the words “seemingly” and “apparently” in the ABC report.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Cosmetic Distinctions

The intertubes are clogged with denunciations of the President's remarks on events in Charlottesville. While Mr. Trump displayed his usual crass phrasing, lack of clarity and wretched sense of timing, his argument boils down to criticizing a flawed syllogism:

All Nazis/Racists are hateful
Hateful people marched in Charlottesville
All Charlottesville marchers are Nazis/Racists

Mr. Trump condemned the violence which the local authorities stood around and watched, then went on to say there were good and bad people on both sides. Aside from this mixed message, he was wrong in supposing there were actually two sides. The differences between Antifa and Alt-Right, between the KKK and BLM, are subtle points of doctrine; boiling down to a dispute over which tribe will dominate the other at the point of government guns.

Most people's idea of the political continuum is confused by misuse of the labels "Left" and "Right," and further warped by the deliberate corruption of words like "liberal." We now have to say "classical liberal" to distinguish that philosophy from "Liberal," the latter of which has become conflated with "Progressive."

The narrative is that Hitler was rightwing, Stalin was leftwing. No, they were both Statists. The difference was merely how they defined the "tribes" they wished to oppress.

The Democrats' have pursued a not dissimilar, if muted, identitarian ('typical white people,' 'deplorables,' 'clinging to their religion and guns') electoral strategy, and it is getting away from them. Now it's being used by Alt-Right Alinskyites. This is sad and dangerous.

I've seen it argued that a distinguishing Right/Left Nazi/Soviet difference was policy regarding ownership of the means of production. To wit, Nazism and Fascism differ from Communism in that under Nazism/Fascism the means of production are not owned by the State, and under Communism they are owned by the State. This distinction ignores the fact that in both cases the means of production are controlled at gunpoint by the State. Small differences in the aiming mechanism don't count for much. Whether it's the SS or the KGB kicking down your door at 3AM doesn't matter.

I've seen it argued that another important distinguishing feature is that Hitler was a racist and killed 6 million Jews. Well, between 15 million and 30 million people died from 1918 through 1956 in the prisons and labor camps of the Soviet gulag. Stalin deliberately starved 10 million Ukrainians to death. It’s Statism’s logical conclusion, whether associated with Krupp or some 5 year plan.

And don't forget Hitler supported the Fascist Franco while Stalin supported the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. While I suspect this single fact has much to do with the idea that Hitler had some consequential difference in governing philosophy with Stalin, it was merely a use of proxies in a quest for international socialism by both men. Hitler's party was the National-Socialist German Workers' Party, but he had definite plans for franchising it internationally. Stalin, on the other hand, only dissolved Lenin's Comintern in 1943 to keep his World War II allies from suspecting the Soviet Union was trying to foment Communist revolution worldwide.

Some leftwingers defend communism by blaming the actors, "Real Communism has never been tried." Nobody says, "Real Nazism has never been tried."

If replacing Stalin with a more enlightened dictator would work, why wouldn't the same thing apply to Hitler?

Here's the way the political spectrum really works:

Looking at it by group:

You can use the same basic continuum to place people. That exercise is left to the student. Hint: Hiter/Stalin/Mussolini/Mao/
Franco/Castro/Pinochet/Lenin all go on the right hand side.

My feeling about Antifa and the white nationalist cohort of the Alt-Right is that it would be a pity if they don't both lose.

I close with some recommended reading in the order I encountered them on my bookshelves:
Capitalism and Freedom
Milton Friedman

Straight and Crooked Thinking
Robert Henry Thouless

Why I Am Not a Conservative (free at Cato)
F. A. Hayek

The Road to Serfdom
F. A. Hayek

Seeing Like a State
James C. Scott

Last Exit to Utopia
Jean Francois Revel

The Black Book of Communism
Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, Aldous Huxley

Liberal Fascism
Jonah Goldberg

Coming Apart
Charles Murray

The Closing of the American Mind
Allan Bloom

Civilization and its Enemies
Lee Harris

The Vision of the Annointed
Thomas Sowell

After America
Mark Steyn

And a few related posts:
A Rafflesia by any other name -2007
Lessons from Obamaville -2011
To the Bernie Bros -2016

Friday, August 11, 2017

From Evergreen College to Google

We should not be surprised that Google can't bear to discuss their HR policies: From College Indoctrination to Corporate Intolerance
Moreover, students are taught that political speech with which they disagree is “violence” that should be shut down at all costs. They avoid uncomfortable topics by retreating to “safe spaces” on campus and shout down speakers who do not toe the far left line. Too many administrators and faculty promote such behavior. Those who dare to disagree—like Allison Stanger and Bret Weinstein—are run off campus.

It is no surprise, then, that corporations are increasingly populated with young adults who do not know how to handle political views or scientific claims they have been taught are out of bounds of public discussion. When Google’s diversity officer replied to James Damore’s email, it was an incoherent affirmation of the company’s diversity policy, coupled with an accusation of sexism. It didn’t even attempt to cite reasons why the science Damore mentioned was wrong, or why his political views about diversity policy were misguided. It just asserted they were, and then used that assertion the next day as a pretext to fire him. This is what we get when university professors abuse their power and attempt to turn students into pawns in their political game, rather than autonomous agents with the capacity (but not yet ability) to think for themselves.
The linked article mentions Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate, which I recommend. I'd suggest that reading Alan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind first would repay the reader. It speaks practically to the question of how we got here.

I'll note that The Other Club has extensively spoken to the issue (note: there's a lot of link rot). A very partial (not even anything on the "wage gap") list:

Larry Summers in the fall
Feminism's self-inflicted wounds
Monkey business
My Mistake...

There are some ideas so idiotic, it takes an intellectual to believe them
People hearing without listening
The Snatch Soliloquy
Orthodoxy prevails

There are 3 kinds of women
Sex, math, and a feminist poll
Math and sex update

Why not Harriet Miers?
Hey big spender...

On the utter humourlessness of Canadian feminist fellow travellers

'No, no!' said the Queen. 'Sentence first - verdict afterwards.'
Title IX as our conscience
Safe-space creation gap?

Wednesday, August 09, 2017


Former Google employee James Damore distributed a memo that asked Google to contemplate its HR policies. For this affront, he's been fired. Here's a representative sample of his ten page memo:
I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).
He is polite and conciliatory, but he's questioning an orthodoxy which will not tolerate even the mildest suggestion that there are differences between males and females. Same thing happened to Larry Summers.

This, in a world where Facebook assures us that 58 "gender" options are not enough.

OK, so Google is intolerant of any opinions that don't agree with the Progressive narrative. Why would you trust search results from such a company? Would they show you results they dislike if they can't even bear polite internal discussion of employment policies?

How much confidence do you have in a company whose core principle is using you as a product to micro-define identity groups in order to sell advertising? Does that confidence increase or decrease when they fire someone who asks politely about internal identity group HR policies?

Tuesday, July 04, 2017


President Trump's use of social media is boorish, intemperate and frequently vulgar. He claims this is the style of a "MODERN PRESIDENT." By which he would seem to be claiming all the probity of reality television.

Trump would be right about the television, but as to the rhetoric - not so much.

Alexander Hamilton on Thomas Jefferson:
"He is not scrupulous about the means of success, nor very mindful of truth, and... he is a contemptible hypocrite."

John Adams on Alexander Hamilton:
"The bastard brat of a Scotch pedlar."

Thomas Paine on George Washington:
“… and to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship ... and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor, whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any.”

The campaign of 1800 was over the top even for Trump:
Thomas Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

John Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

Of course, most of those insults came from surrogates, not from the candidates or incumbents themselves. The other major difference from the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania is that the Founders were literate.

If, like me, you think Trump's tweets degrade his office and obfuscate his successes, delete your Twitter account and don't watch Morning Schmo. Or, try to look at his puerile lack of impulse control as rebellion against the arrogant rule of distant urban elites. Or, get hysterical, smash some windows and shoot a few GOP Congressmen. That seems to be Democrat strategy...

For balance, here's a literate and thoughtful look at today's significance: President Coolidge's remarks on the sesquicentennial celebration of Independence day.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The sky continues to fall

World has three years to prevent dangerous climate change, warn experts
— Chicken Little

What would we do without experts?

Doom predictions on the first Earth Day in 1970:

Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.
— George Wald, Harvard Biologist

It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.
— Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

"In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish."
— Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.
— Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Oops. Guess the science was less settled than we thought.

Of course, failure has not diminished this heated rhetoric over the last 47 years. We're always just a few years from climate catastrophe.

For another 107 examples, see this.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Follow the Monetization

Loss of advertising revenue has compelled the MSM to up the ante on monetization of their opinions; which used to pass for “news.”

Without the drive to capture internet eyeballs the whole phenomenon of "click bait" wouldn’t exist, and fake news would be less pervasive and less hysterical.

Fake news wouldn’t disappear, we had plenty of it before AlGore invented the internet. I noted a few of the modern practitioners here, mentioning Walter Cronkite, Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass, Dan Rather and Walter Duranty.

If the internet has accomplished nothing else, it has truncated the loop in which “journalists” get fired or resign for blatant lying. Of those mentioned above, it took quite a long time for them to be expelled from the fellowship.

Some never were. The NYT hasn’t given back Duranty’s 1932 Pulitzer. Dan Rather is still out there claiming he was right about Dubya’s service in the National Guard. Water Cronkite still invokes reverence among the naive.

OTOH, CNN’s Eric Lichtblau, Thomas Frank, and Lex Haris were fired or resigned within hours of their lies.

Thanks to Donald Trump for his assistance in provoking the MSM liars to self-identify. And thanks to AlGore for his invention, though that’s yet another fake news meme.

I’d also credit Google, since they’re the primary entity eating the MSM advertising revenue, but Google’s bias is even more pervasive and harmful than the MSM’s.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Is Paris spurning?

"Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam."

Shifting his focus to the Paris Climate Accord, he calls for California Governor Jerry Brown to be prosecuted on a charge of treason.

Mr. Greenfield needs to take a calming breath while hugging a warm puppy in his safe space.

Also, since he’s calling for prosecution, (and not withstanding Gov. Moonbeam’s 1st Amendment protected, silly rhetoric) Greenfield should look up the legal definition of "treason.” With whom are we at war? Which enemy is aided and comforted?

To those questions you might reply, “With talking heads, the MSM, Antifa thugs and Hollywood airheads,” and "the Democrat Party base,” but that translates nascent civil disobedience into a capital crime. And it's redundant.

Furthermore, the Paris Accord is not an “illegal treaty,” since it’s a) not a treaty and, b) it’s not illegal for a state to have an environmental policy independent of the General Government, however stupid the policy. Might as well call California emissions standards treasonous.

Leave this sort of frantic fantasy to the NYT.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Lesser Angels of Death

Conversations with Mengele's heirs.
Godwin's Law is suspended when the behavior being compared is sufficiently congruent.
  • Medical "professionals"? Check.
  • Subsidized by the State? Check.
  • Human vivisection? Check.
  • Laughing about the dismemberment procedure? Check.
  • Awareness of the moral implications?
Dr. Lisa Harris, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Michigan:
"Given that we actually see the fetus the same way, and given that we might actually both agree that there’s violence in here. . . . Let’s just give them all the violence, it’s a person, it’s killing, let’s just give them all that."

One difference: Mengele wasn't doing it for profit.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chaos is not 4D Chess

We will probably never know the truth of any given MSM story about the President, but one thing is clear: There is a continuing pattern of insider leaks followed by deep confusion and contradiction at the White House.

Two very recent examples:

1- President Trump summarily dismisses FBI Director Comey.

POTUS says he did so based on a recommendation from the new Assistant AG. The Veep repeats this claim. The Assistant AG says he made no such recommendation. The President acknowledges the Assistant AG is correct, and he was going to fire Comey anyway. The President then tweets about "taping" his dinner with Comey.

2- The WaPo claims the President told the Russians something he maybe shouldn't have.

The U.S. National Security Advisor says it didn't happen, though he denied things the Post didn't report on and not things they did report on. The President then tweets that he did tell the Russians something, and that he has every right to do that.

Sean Spicer is on both sides of both issues.

Both of these contretemps play out in less than 24 hours.

Is anyone in charge of communications in this White House? Anyone?

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Rocky and Bullsh*t

Teresa Lloro-Bidart is an Assistant Professor in the Liberal Studies Department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona: “As a feminist political ecologist and multispecies ethnographer, I work in the fields of environmental education, animal studies, and food studies.”

So, naturally, she published When 'Angelino' Squirrels Don't Eat Nuts: A Feminist Posthumanist Politics of Consumption Across Southern California. No, it's not advice to Californians that they needn't worry about squirrels gnawing their brains.

The abstract:
Eastern fox squirrels (Sciurus niger), reddish-brown tree squirrels native to the eastern and southeastern United States, were introduced to and now thrive in suburban/urban California. As a result, many residents in the greater Los Angeles region are grappling with living amongst tree squirrels, particularly because the state’s native western gray squirrel (Sciurus griseus) is less tolerant of human beings and, as a result, has historically been absent from most sections of the greater Los Angeles area. ‘Easties,’ as they are colloquially referred to in the popular press, are willing to feed on trash and have an ‘appetite for everything.’ Given that the shift in tree squirrel demographics is a relatively recent phenomenon, this case presents a unique opportunity to question and re-theorize the ontological given of ‘otherness’ that manifests, in part, through a politics whereby animal food choices ‘[come] to stand in for both compliance and resistance to the dominant forces in [human] culture’. I, therefore, juxtapose feminist posthumanist theories and feminist food studies scholarship to demonstrate how eastern fox squirrels are subjected to gendered, racialized, and speciesist thinking in the popular news media as a result of their feeding/eating practices, their unique and unfixed spatial arrangements in the greater Los Angeles region, and the western, modernist human frame through which humans interpret these actions. I conclude by drawing out the implications of this research for the fields of animal geography and feminist geography.
Who knew animal geography and feminist geography were different? Isn’t that either speciesist or an insult to squirrel geography? Or both?

Who knew feminist food studies were a thing? I mean, you could probably guess it was, but it sounds like studying whether or not you're ingesting enough estrogen.

You could probably wrap the words “feminist,” and “studies” around any noun, or a random bit of Marxist jargon, and some SJW coddling University has a course in it.

Maybe Feminist Rodent Gormandization Studies:
This course is an intersectional investigation of nutritional consumption patterning of the single largest order of Mammalia. Because of the order Rodentia’s size we know quantitative instances of sexual harassment, rape and transmission of Yersinia pestis far exceed other mammalian orders. Anyone who has observed squirrels chasing each other has witnessed this behavior. Utilizing Martin Heidegger’s original post-modernist contributions to the Third Reich, we will re-theorize the ontological givens of the later ideas of Derrida and Foucault. The course includes lessons in field preparation and recipes for a wide variety of male rodents.

I don’t have any problem with vilification of tree rats, and I don’t even care what color they are, but it would be far kinder just to shoot the buck-toothed vermin than to appropriate them into a new feminist victim cadre.

My problem is that red, gray or black, all of them eat my birdseed - when not scrabbling on the skylights seeking entry to my attic where they plot to chew on my electrical wiring. I have gone to considerable, and non-lethal, time and expense to dissuade them from these activities, but for those who persist, the western, "modernist human frame through which I interpret these actions" is a 3x9 Tasco. If they insist on suicide by bird feeder, it’s within their reach.

And don’t get me started on chipmunks.

It takes an extremely wealthy and decadent society to provide gainful employment for such persons as Ms. Lloro-Bidart. There are many other things you could say about such a society based on her example. None of them good.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Rehash and Retain

Well, the House passed a bill related to Obamacare. Now it goes to the Senate.

I look forward to the Senate's interminable, agonizing pomposity while Senators express their angst over doing something they've been promising for 7 years. The doing of which doesn't even fulfill the promise.

Added to this will be the sublime pleasure of President Trump's feckless tweeting about legislation he doesn't understand, while mismanaging a process of which he is ignorant.

My joy about the inevitable House/Senate conferences to reconcile what's been passed by the House with the dog's breakfast the Senate will produce is inexpressible.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Dystopian Sweepstakes

George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World have recently experienced a surge of interest. It's not clear if they're being read as cautionary tales or as procedure manuals, but there are certainly some current-event parallels to be found - Antifa thugs violently suppress speech and Facebook serves as Soma - but these dystopian visions are yet a long way from reality.

There is another tale that is an unambiguous representation of Progressivism: Kurt Vonnegut's 1961 short story Harrison Bergeron (full text).

Bergeron is a short story about equality, where equality means that if everyone can’t have something, no one will be allowed to. The opening paragraph:
THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.
Two recent headlines could have come straight from the story:
UK Student Group: Ban Cheering, Clapping So Deaf Are Not Excluded

Berkeley Removes 20,000* Free Online Videos to Comply with Insane Department of Justice Ruling

I am empathetic to people who are deaf, blind, lame or otherwise disabled, but the logical extension of these idiocies is that we're all forced into sensory deprivation tanks to float quietly without giving offense, until we starve to death.

Monday, May 01, 2017

A fake news retrospective

It's May Day in the latest era of fake news. The confluence of a peak in the MSM prevarication cycle and the annual celebration of Communism makes it appropriate to celebrate the most accomplished journalistic liar of modern times - and his employer.

No, not Walter Cronkite, Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass, or even Dan Rather; it's Walter Duranty.

Working for the New York Times, Duranty won a 1932 Pulitzer prize for his coverup of the mass murder of ten million Ukrainians by Iosif Dzhugashvili, known to his friends (like Duranty) as Joseph Stalin.

Duranty set the tone for the long march of Communism apologists. True to the tradition, the Times is at it again.

A cynical nod toward pseudo-federalism

It's not the Freedom Caucus preventing repeal, it's GOP "moderates" and the President.

The New GOP Health Care Bill Shows Republicans Have Given Up on Fully Repealing Obamacare
Republicans in Congress have given up on fully repealing Obamacare.

Instead, they have decided they want to leave pieces of it in place, along with a system of tweaks and opt-outs that require federal permission and may never be used. And even that may be too much for some GOP moderates.
"GOP moderates" = Democrats Light.

The Freedom Caucus has been blamed for blocking repeal of Obamacare. President Trump said they would "hurt the entire Republican agenda." They were pilloried as "extreme right wing" by the press.

It turns out they're the only ones who want to keep the promise of Obamacare repeal.

It turns out Trump is the cuckservative.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Who owns your identity?

Digital Identity Today is Broken — But We Can Fix It
In the cases where we do have relatively secure, integrated identities to which we attach lots of personal information, these identities are in reality owned by massive companies, like Google or Facebook, who can revoke our access at any time.
The information you give to Google or Facebook has value to them. How much value does it have to you? Probably substantially more; directly proportional to your usage of and dependence upon them. The trade is irrational on its face, and grows worse with every interaction. You may see an irony in the fact that this blog uses a Google platform. Let's just say I still find this specific trade to be slightly in my favor. I supply free content, Google supplies a channel for ideas I want to share in any case.

I wonder what it would take for people to analyze whether Google and Facebook represent a good trade in exchange for public revelation of their foibles and habits of daily living.

I used to give LinkedIn a partial pass because it had some utility to me and was easy to ignore. Then LinkedIn reminded me of my account by letting me know they were updating their terms of service. I'm retired: Reading the new terms was more effort than it would have been worth. I deleted my account. Not that that means they don’t still have my information. The value of that information will fade with time.

There are some startups who think a market will develop in retaking ownership of personal information. I wonder if most people can develop sufficient common sense and expertise to use these solutions. The signs are not encouraging.

While I would certainly consider the “solutions” mentioned in this article, there is the problem that protecting myself doesn’t free me from the systemic risks. Like vaccination, a significant majority have to participate for there to be herd immunity.

There is still the question of how secure your data would be in the hands of the companies mentioned at the link, of course, but the blockchain approach has promise.

That Averon has "done integrations with all the mobile phone networks in the US” and that the "whole verification process can be done automatically and instantly in the background, without any action required from the user” is not comforting, at least without much, much more information. I’d really prefer to have direct control and notification. While integrations with mobile phone networks may be convenient as a form of identity protection, they would appear to suck bigly.

I sure don’t trust Verizon - the company that secretly invented its own form of stealth cookies to track every users’ every interaction.

The number of counter parties involved in these schemes is frightening, and perhaps unknowable. Whether these startups have a real solution, whether they can be trusted with what could amount to handing over the keys to your identity, we can anticipate that some form(s) of better identity authentication are coming. Whether we can actually “fix it” remains to be seen. One test I would provisionally apply is whether the solution is open source. How proprietary code could satisfy the requirements is something I can’t figure out.

See also.

While it it addresses broader topics, I'd recommend Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End as a very interesting read on future possibilities involving identity authentication.