Thursday, February 26, 2015

Does 1 In 2 Republicans Think That "Deep Down" Obama Is A Muslim?

Uh...seems like...maybe yes...?
Jesus. The fever swamps may be getting progressively more fetid
(via /r/politics)

Weed Now Sorta Legal In DC

Kootenai County, ID GOP Debates Declaring Idaho a Christian State

An A-To-Z Guide To The New PC

Dial 'M' for microaggression:


Are Anti-Vaxxers Stupid?

Talking Philosophy makes a decent case for a negative answer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Some Introductory Stuff On Category Theory

At Logic Matters, via /r/philosophy

Playing with "Privilege"

Pete Mac points us to this in comments.
   I'm not a huge fan, for reasons I sketch in comments. But I thought I'd post it anyway, since I'm often wrong.
   For the record (and times being what they are), I should say that I don't disagree that people are treated badly for all sorts of reasons, and one big reason people get treated badly by some is that they're female. But I think that this list milks a few points past the point that would be reasonable. For one thing, I think the repeated use of the "because of their gender" qualifier illicitly conceals the fact that dudes get harassed, too, just not for the same kinds of reasons girls do. I also think that (and this is a general problem with the whole BS "privilege" conception--which, tbf, PM asks us to ignore) there's a presupposition here that I gain if you are abused. Which is nonsense. Women being harassed has little real effect on me personally. It barely effects me negatively, and probably has basically no positive effect on me at all. It outrages me, and makes my life worse in a more abstract and indirect sense by making the world a worse place and pissing me off... But it's extremely implausible to say that it's somehow a net, non-trivial benefit to me and/or most other guys. I bend over backwards not to gain any illicit advantage from being male. Consequently, I get few benefits, and I pay the cost of having to repeatedly hear false accusations that I gain illicitly. I don't think that matters much, but if we got seriously about adding up all these ephemeral costs and benefits, we'd have to think about all that stuff more carefully. In short: life is not a zero-sum game. A disadvantage to women is not automatically an advantage to men. (And that's part of my objection to the "privilege" crap. Instead of focusing on the harm to the harmed groups, the SJWs/neo-PCs are way more interested in trying to score points against the group they really hate--the evil and reviled straightwhitemales. Screw that crap. I think it's stupid. I'm more interested in mitigating harm against harmed groups than making moves in some ridiculous game of victimhood chess.)
   As always, I could be wrong, and almost certainly am on at least some points.)

[This wasn't supposed to turn into a criticism, much less such a shoot-from-the-hip one...]

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carolina 46 - State 58

   Congratulations to State, and congrats in particular to coach Gottfried, who's [Jesus Christ...whose] three quick TOs really took the wind out of Carolina's sails. A smart move, and it worked well, unfortunately.
   Carolina is in big trouble. We've dropped 5 of the last 7, and just look lost. Of course the Duke game has an asterisk by it given the nature of the last play in regulation...but the Heels did choke themselves into a position such that one call could make the I don't think that's much reason for decreased concern. 46 points is the fewest ever scored by a Carolina team in the Dean Dome. In the last 7 games, the only good thing they can point to is a 30-point stomping  of a not-very-good Georgia Tech team...and that in Chapel Hill...
   Bunch of really great kids--I really, really like 'em... But things just don't seem to be coming together for them...
   I'd really, really like to see them hit their stride a couple more times before their season ends

GamerGate In 60 Seconds

   GamerGate (in 60 seconds!) is rather an amorphous mess, but I tend to be on the pro-GG side of things. That's not to say that harassment of people online isn't a problem--it apparently is, and apparently for women in particular. However, the core of the GG crowd, so far as I can tell, is not where the harassment is coming from. The web is filled with pathetic losers (many of them just little kids, apparently) who not only can't stand up for themselves in real life, but can't even bring themselves to bully people in real life...not that I think that would be better...but at least it might be less cowardly... Safe from getting punched in the head, they flip their shit online and become the psychos they wish they had the guts to be IRL...  Sad, sick, embarrassing...but real... And mostly a male phenomenon. But not the fault of GG.
   Most GGers are concerned about the allegedly corrupt, dishonest, incestuous state of gaming journalism. I don't care all that much about that, actually. I'm more interested in the SJW/neo-PC component of the thing. It's bad that people get harassed online. But it's bullshit that this gets used as cover for the SJW/neo-PC agenda. Their favorite argument seems to be Anita Sarkeesian was harassed, therefore x...for any value of x you choose... I'm sorry that Sarkeesian was harassed. But that doesn't make her arguments good. Her arguments are, in fact, largely bad. And the fact that some people are mean to her--reprehensible though it is--will not change that. But, of course, that's the core argument of the neo-PCs: I'm a victim, therefore x...for any value of x you choose...
   SJW/neo-PC nuttiness is ascendant in gaming journalism--I don't even read much of it and I see it. And that's the bullshit that bothers me. An illiberal coterie of not-very-good journalists is pushing a political agenda on places like Kotaku, and it's appalling, and there needs to be a concerted backlash.
   We live in crazy times, and, so, I suppose I should say again: I wish I had the power to stop online harassment. I wish I could magically teleport around the world and personally punch every offender in the dick. But that isn't going to happen, and I don't have any clue what to do about the problem. So I tend to focus on what I can do--urging people not to take us from having one problem to having two. Pushing an extremist, irrationalist, illiberal social and political view isn't the answer to online harassment. Totalitarianism is not the right response to anarchy...especially when the anarchy is merely virtual. That is to say: there's no evidence that any of the threats in question are at all credible. For all the personal physical threats spewed out into the inter-aether every day, do we know of even one of them that's ever been carried out? I still don't think that the shit is permissible...but I have to say it does bother me that people like Sarkeesian act as if they're being actually threatened by actual psychos actually intent on doing them harm. It's not like al Qaeda has put a fatwa on them or something... In fact, it's fairly likely to be a 75-pound 12-year-old with glasses...  
  Anyway, there's that. As usual, I could be wrong, but that's the way it seems to me.


Go Tar Heels
Beat the Pack

My guts are all twisty about this one...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Today's Worst Post Of All Time: Dawn Eyestone: Wikipedia, Controversy, And The Myth of Neutrality

   This is what happens when people in English and Communications try to do epistemology...
   It ain't pretty.
   Hell, philosophers aren't all that good at epistemology. Even epistemologists are usually pretty crappy at it... And by the time you get to the communications department, it's invariably an unmitigated disaster.
   [However: the author rightly calls bullshit on anti-Gamergate bias in the media. She's absolutely right that the stories she cites say false things in an effort to make it sound as if GGers have some kid of grip on Wikipedia. Good on her for that. She gives an objective account of what the stories say, then an objective account of the facts...then goes on to give a bunch of bad arguments for why objectivity is impossible... Which is, of course, weird...]
   (That's the Archive.Today link, incidentally, so that they don't get the hits...but just in case the link decays, here's the original: (note: do not click on it!): link)
   No time to say much about this now...and I probably won't waste minutes of my life on it later even...but this is just crap [almost] from beginning to end.
   It's a common ploy on the intellectual left: when you're losing the argument, start asserting that there's no such thing as proof, no such thing as knowledge, no such thing as truth, no such thing as objectivity...or, in this case, not even any such thing as neutrality... (The right has its own ploys and sicknesses, of course...but this isn't one of them...)
   In this crappy article, the author cites some of the worst epistemology and philosophy of science of the last quarter-century (by, e.g., Donna Haraway, Evelyn Fox Keller) and asserts it as if it were obviously true. It's the philosophical equivalent of simply asserting, snidely, dogmatically, and without batting an eye, that ancient aliens populated the Earth with battle leprechauns, and it is they who wiped out the dinosaurs. (In fact, the leprechaun thing is way more plausible than the  Haraway and Keller stuff...)
   I'm too tired and insufficiently interested to say anything much about this now, but: basically everything in that post is wrong. First, consider her inconsistent, ad hoc appeals to skepticism. Skepticism for thee but not for me is a common strategy in this sector of the web. The other thing I'll just gesture at is what is, roughly, a kind of confusion of skepticism and views like relativism and "social constructionism." After gesturing vaguely at skepticism--I mean har har objective truth amirite?--such folk will often proceed as if they've said something in support of the view that mumble mumble mumble is "socially constructed." But this is never so. First, "social construction" is approximately the most confused concept (if, indeed, it even rises to the level of a concept...) in the vicinity of philosophy. The term is so confused that it virtually means nothing at all. However, and more importantly: however much skepticism is appropriate with respect to the claim that (e.g.) trees are objective, physical, mind-independent things, about 100 times more skepticism is appropriate with respect to the claim that we make trees up with the magical power of social agreement. Physical, mind-independent objects are puzzling in certain ways. Objects created by human agreement are...well...entirely fictional...  So do not--ever--fall for this argument: Nobody's refuted skepticism...therefore everything is relative...or reality is socially constructed...or battle leprechauns extinctified the dinosaurs...  Whatever the ultimate fate of skepticism, the following argument is a non-sequitur of Biblical proportions:
We cannot be absolutely certain that trees are objectively real....therefore the craziest theory you can think of must be true.
   Don't fall for that shit. It's stupid.
   Also, don't fall for the "perfect" ploy, which Eyestone deploys in that trainwreck: perfect objectivity is not possible, therefore objectivity is not possible. The premise could be true (though I doubt it), but the conclusion doesn't even come close to following. Compare:
The perfect crime is not possible, therefore crime is not possible.
   And as for Eyestone's claim that neutrality is not possible: utter nonsense. I'm completely neutral about all sorts of things, and so are you. I'm neutral as to, say, whether Toyota or Honda makes better cars. I simply don't care. Not in the least. I'm also neutral with respect to the question of whether gyrfalcons or peregrine falcons are faster. It's not that I don't care--I do kinda care, and I might just look it up when I'm done here. But I don't care care. I don't have a dog in the fight. I'm not biased with respect to the question because I don't have the kinds of beliefs and desires that undermine neutrality.
   I probably should be so cranky and condescending about all this stuff....but, ya know...that post on the other end of the link is just irresponsibly bad. It's the intellectual equivalent of being an anti-vaxxer or something. Or a Scientologist.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Carolina 89 - Tech 60

I'm sure the Jackets were not psyched to play the Heels after that Duke game...

Four Corners Tribute to Dean Smith

Choked a lot of people up.
Not me, of course...

Gottlieb: Winslow's Blatant Grab Against Tokoto As Bad As Officiating Gets, Officials Deserve Reprimand

   I'm not particularly a Gottleib fan...but I'll post it:
Not calling a blatant grab and hold on Winslow on Duke's game tying possession in regulation is as bad of officiating as it gets. Tyus Jones drove off a ball screen set by Winslow who wrapped up his own defender. It was awful. I don't need to get into a “Duke gets the calls” “Let 'em play” debate, that is a foul on any possession in any gym in the country. Those officials should be reprimanded, it was pathetic.
   One reason that this thing was so annoying was that it's such a paradigmatically dookie move. Along with the flopping, the kicking out on 3s, interfering with the ball on made baskets, the incessant handchecking and all the other crap that K apparently coaches. (Then, of course, in the last game there were the convenient clock issues when Duke was winded...and just in time to ice the Carolina free-throw shooters... )
   Again, officiating in sports is approximate. Bad calls are always made, and they typically go against both teams. And everybody wants to whine about the refs when they lose...  But daggummit, I actually don't even dislike this Duke team particularly--and I really do like Winslow. But this crap just gets old.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Let's Go Heels

Time to wreck the Wreck...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Another Angle on Winslow's Bear Hug Against Tokoto

Daggumit I'm fit to be tied about this crapola.
JPT would have swatted the evil leprechaun's weak shit to the Outer Banks...

On a rather more uplifting note, here's a considerably more inspiring embrace by Winslow, just to keep things in perspective...

The Return of Air Pierre

One good thing from last night: Tokoto is back.
He's my favorite player on this team. Love his game, love his hops. He's seemed worn out since Pinson went on the DL...but he looked good last night.
(Video with bonus awesome Hicks slammage)

Carolina 90 - Duke 92; Duke Honors Dean At Cameron

   The real highlight of the game was this. Still more props to Duke for the way they've responded to Dean's death.
  As for the game...well...there were some good things, some good play by both teams, but the Heels still just can't seem to get it all together. Not all at once, anyway. We had like 6 points from our starting back court, and Paige was a non-factor. The prevailing theory is that his plantar fasciitis is really bothering him. I've had that stuff, and it's miserable. I couldn't run for like two years because of it. At any rate, as everyone knows, this year's Marcus Paige is a pale shadow of last year's Marcus Paige... All year the Heels have either started flat and built a big deficit or collapsed at the end. This game they did both, starting ten points down and then collapsing spectacularly in the final 2:30, up by 10. I expected it to happen, because that's just how we roll this year...but hoped that it wouldn't.
 The front court played well, but was hampered by the...well...somewhat puzzling officiating. Brice, Kennedy and Isaiah had 5, 4 and 3 fouls...Okafor had 1 for the game, including OT. Then there was the blatant Winslow foul at the end of regulation that allowed Jones to score...impossible to miss, it seemed...right out in front of God and call. When I saw the foul, I thought that was game us. If that foul is called, Heels win. (Doug Gottleib tweeted "the game goes to overtime because of the worst no-call of the season.") And I think that's a plausible assessment. On top of that Winslow clotheslined Paige on the rebound at the end of OT...if that one is called, we likely tie. But sadly, again, no call.
   Complaining about the refs is bad form. Reffing is hard, and it's an approximate business. You've got to understand that going in. But ever since that game in the DES in 2012 when four bad calls in two minutes set up a winning shot by Austin Rivers, the dookiest dookie of all time, I've been rubbed particularly the wrong way by this sort of thing, and I do wonder whether K's constant snarling at the officials works. Especially when the final foul count for the game was Heels 26, Duke 16--and that includes the stretch at the end of regulation when Duke was fouling intentionally. Bad calls go both ways...and one expects a certain amount of home cookin' in the ACC...but daggum it, it daggum really seemed to hit us daggum hard last night...
   But, again--the game's a game and it's an inconsequential thing sub specie aeternitatis. Good on Duke for getting the important stuff right last night.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Duke's Dean Shirts

This is really great.
It's almost getting difficult to dislike those guys...
Well done, dookies. Props to you.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

WTF Adjustable Standing Desks

   So I basically have a standing desk that I made, copying the mighty Armenius, by stacking a bunch of old journals on my desk. I saw that you can buy these fancy adjustable desks that go up and down...for a lot of money. Thing is, you really only need an adjustable chair, which is cheaper. In fact, you really just need a tall chair, e.g. a bar stool or something. If you're standing, you use the tall version of the desk. And if you sit on a tall chair, you use the tall version of the desk. So why have a short version of the desk at all?
   But laying out hundreds of dollars for an adjustable desk seems kinda silly to me. Unless you're committed to sitting near the ground, I don't get it.

Heels 76 - Pitt 89

   Congratulations to the Panthers, who shot 65% for the game.
   Things aren't exactly going well for the Heels, and this season could easily turn very grim over the next few weeks...we're definitely performing less well than one might reasonably have predicted. There are some things one can point to--injuries, including especially the loss of Pinson and the long absence of Berry, inability to run the break, another year of sub-standard free-throw shooting, the virtual disappearance of Tokoto... I continue to think that (as I predicted) losing Pinson for the season was much worse than most thought at the time.
   We've got a really great bunch of kids this year, and it's sad to see them so down.
   Dookies on Wednesday, which game we could easily lose. Then, God help us, State...and there's no doubt that the wuffies are thinking that this might be a good time to wreak their terrible and long-delayed vengeance on us...
   Whelp...nothing for it but to lace 'em up and listen to Roy...
   Go Tar Heels.
   Uh...I mean:
   Go Tar Heels!

Friday, February 13, 2015

GOP Climate Change Denialism, Gary Palmer Edition (w/ Bonus Elbow Thrown at Neo-PCs)

   You know, in a twisted way this is almost comforting to me. Lately I've been hypnotically focused on the absurdist train wreck that is the SJW/neo-PC crapfest. In a way, I find GOP climate-change denialism almost cozy. Here's just straight-up, dogmatic refusal to accept the facts, along with a sorry-ass cover story about "mangling the data" that's barely more than a pro forma gesture at an excuse for refusing to take science seriously. Compared to the psychotic, misologistic conceptual convolutions of the crackpot uber-left...indiscriminate, incoherent appeals to "social construction," along with self-sealing re-definitions of pesky terms, the introduction of goofy neologistic abominations aimed at covertly begging crucial questions, sexism and racism bizarrely masquerading as anti-sexism and anti-racism...not to mention moral outrage theater in response to any utterance that deviates so much as an iota from the preferences of the doctrinal fashionistas that determine their ever-evolving, fascistically-enforced orthodoxy...and...well...a little good, old-fashioned pig-headedness seems downright quaint by comparison...
   Of course that quaint, old-fashioned pig-headedness is going to kill us all...but still... It's more immediately dangerous...but far less grotesque...

Dean Smith vs. Jim Crow

Though the story is well-known, here's another telling of it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Chait: Republicans Still Denying That Bush Lied About Iraq

Monday, February 09, 2015

The Dangerous Lie That It Is A Lie That Bush Lied

   Well, here they go again...
   He lied.
   We've been over this.
   The case is closed.

The One Ring Explained

I did not realize all these things.
(via Reddit)

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Obama Mentions Historical Facts; Conservatives Outraged

   The farther left you move on the political spectrum, the more frequently you encounter people who refuse to countenance any criticism of other cultures, but are all too willing heap scorn on the West. The flimsiest excuses are deployed in order to deflect criticism from (as we might say) them...but every transgression by (as we also might say) us is put in the worst possible light. The farther you move to the right on the political spectrum, the more frequently you encounter people who seem eager to criticize other cultures, but who are loath to countenance any criticism of ours. Excuses are eagerly made for us, that is--but not for them. Obama is a centrist, and immune to both of these extremist tendencies.
   This is a general dogmatist tactic--vary the standards, and you can say what you want.
   Obama's a reasonable centrist, so he's immune from both of these varieties of nuttiness. Try as I might, I don't see anything obviously wrong with his remarks. They're true and plausibly relevant. Of course the American right so loathes Obama that they find some way to bellyache about everything he this one's really overdetermined. Mentioning the indisputable fact that Christianity is imperfect is verboten of course...but Obama could say that water is wet and Republicans would howl in this latest round of puling is way predictable...
   You know, I don't think there's anything holy or sacrosanct or inherently rational about the political center...but at least (currently, in the U.S.) it's commonly a refuge from some of the more overt craziness of both extreme(-ish) ends of the spectrum.

RIP Dean Smith

   The greatest of all time.
   A great coach and a great human being.
   A sad day indeed.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

I Don't Know Who This Jackass Is...

..but he's an idiot.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Andrew Sullivan Stops Blogging

   Well, damn.
   I really like Sullivan. Admittedly, I've drifted away from the Dish since the advent of premium...(too lazy to even just switch to incognito mode...)... But I never stopped liking it. I knew that this was in the offing, but I didn't know he was going to do it so soon.
   Farewell, Andrew. I disagreed with you a lot (e.g. about Clinton), but I admire your fair-minded liberalish/conservativish centrism.
   I also think that this is a time when we really need Sullivan's input. He's one of the few liberalish bloggers to call bullshit on the rise of the far left (SJWs, neo-PCs, far-left feminists, et al.). Damn poor timing, Sully. Damn poor...
  Best of luck to him.

Neo-PC Racism and Sexism in the Chait Dust-Up

If anybody comes across an anti-Chait piece that does not derisively mention the fact that he is a white male...well, lemme know. I certainly haven't been able to find one.

Gawker v. Chait: The Fluffy Uber-Left Assures Itself It's Winning

   This is funny enough to be just a little bit hard to believe:
   ArchiveToday link to Gawker (so don't worry--they won't get hits)
   Jonathan Chait has made some mistakes--some big ones. Like so many of the TNR crowd, he supported the Iraq war. (He's subsequently apologized, in case that matters). But it's hard not to laugh at the thought of Gawker trying to engage Chait as if they belonged anywhere near the same podium. Gawker is, in terms of intellectual seriousness and depth, 0.00 steps above People magazine.
   So...isn't that an ad hominem? And isn't that a tactic that is apparently legitimate according to PC principles, but not according to those of people like me? Well...I'm not saying Gawker is a joke, therefore you can dismiss their arguments. I'm just saying Gawker is a joke. So that's an abusive ad hominem, I suppose...but truth is a defense. And, well, Gawker is a joke... can go look at what they have to say above with no fear of giving clicks to idiots. It's the same sad parade of utter nonsense that you can see any number of other places. The crux of their argument is Har har Jon Chait is a white dude amirite? Jesus. Arguing with these people is like arguing with children. Or with particularly puerile teenagers who ran across some Foucault and Andrea Dworkin quotes on Tumblr once. The SJW/neo-PC echo chamber is particularly echo-y even under normal conditions, and Chait's broadside has set off a cacophony. They lean heavily on the power of insistence and repetition--and that's another reason to make sure their bullshit does not go unchallenged. Sometimes all it takes to keep someone from being swept up by the hypnotic power of someone else's certainty is a little opposition. Maybe I'll go through this embarrassingly bad Gawker piece later, but I've got a backlog already. The loony left is basically refuting itself with its reaction to the Chait piece...but I think it's important to address their nonsense anyway.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

SA: How Dare You Try To Otherize My Undead Horde

The Return of Judge Roy Moore

Fer chrissake not this guy again

Glenn Greenwald: In Some Cases The U.S. May Not Be As Bad As ISIS

Majikthise Goes Over To The Dark Side

Hadn't been keeping up with her...sorry to see it...
She does make some points worth discussing...but overall...well...see previous sentence...

Alyssa Rosenberg: Jonathan Chait, Radicalism, and the Future of the Left

   I think this might be worth a quick read.
   My strong tendency is to disagree with Rosenberg, but she does raise an interesting empirical point. Chait claims not only that liberalism is just and reasonable, but also that it's effective--does he even say, roughly, more effective than radicalism? I can't remember, and am too busy to look. But Rosenberg writes:
Commentators on both the left and right have correctly pointed out that Chait’s praise for reasoned debate fails to acknowledge the ways in which political radicals, immoderate speech and dogmatism have contributed to major movements for social reform.
   Well, I have no doubt that radicalism has often worked. It's a safe bet that it's even occasionally worked for the good. How often it's done more good than harm...well, that's a question for historians. I'd certainly be interested in the answer.
   Problem is--or one problem is--the SJWs/neo-PCs are wrong about so much. Roseberg's point seems to presuppose that they're right about everything, and so it's good for them to be effective. Problem is, they're wrong about a lot, and about a lot more of what they believe we don't know whether they're right or not. But since these people do not believe in reason, nor reasoned discussion, it's all a crap shoot. Better hope they're right, because they don't believe in rational criticism. Whatever they happen to believe is what they're going to push for, and any mechanism for doxastic reform is a straightwhitemaleWesternimperialist plot.
   They're not exactly wrong about everything, least on a fairly loose interpretation of what they think. For example, they think that racism is bad. Hey, nobody disagrees with that, eh? Of course, they also believe that 'racism' means discrimination by a member of a more powerful racial group against a less powerful racial group. So they think that it is logically impossible for blacks to be racist in the U.S., no matter how much they hate white people. Oh and: they by and large think it's ok to hate white people... So it's not exactly accurate to say that they're against racism...
   But, then, the bait-and-switch is crucial to all such groups. They spew hateful, irrationalist (anti-white) racism and (anti-male) sexism when they're on a roll/among other True Believers...they throttle back to racism is bad when challenged. It's a familiar story...
  So, anyway: it's a good question, that question about the effectiveness of radicalism. Just like it's important to ask how effective napalm is...
  In closing, let me say that the WaPo's comments on columns like this often restore my faith in humanity. Here are some:
Even if the assumption is true - knee jerk presumption of guilt/wrong doing has long term benefits - it is just seems wrong and anti American.

A variation on the "we are doing something too important for it to be subject to reason" theme. Radicalism can create change, yes. It can also create something like a runaway train, doing far more harm than good. And when that happens, sometimes nobody can apply the brakes -- not Danton, not Jon Chait, and not Alyssa Rosenberg. We are getting close to a runaway train on college campuses, where due process has been scuttled, misinformation abounds and a kind of mob justice is taking over -- these things cannot be described as moderate.

But thanks for engaging his argument, and not simply attacking him for being a straight white guy, like so many others did, so predictably.

If I've read right, Alyssa's premise is that radical verbage can stimulate more in-depth discussions and thought. However, such verbage can also replace critical thought and close off discussions. Max Blumenthal's "Republican Gomorrah" describes how radical verbage displaced critical thinking and hijacked the Republican party in the Tea Party movement. One part of being 'nice' is respecting another's point of view and allowing the expression of other opinions. Niceness may be misplaced in emergency situations and imminent disasters, but for normal situations, it's a good thing.
I, too, appreciate that Rosenberg is engaging Chait's points, and is trying to be reasonable. That, in my book, is more important than the fact that I disagree with many of her substantial points.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Jordan Explains Some Things to ISIS

With bombs
Go get 'em guys.

Stupid Criticisms Of Jonathan Chait: Jessica Valenti Edition (1)

(ArchiveToday link)
I mean, we already know that Valenti is not an exceptionally reasonable person...but this is bad even by her standards.
Maybe I'll go through this when I'm done with that Lowder thing.
Chait really hit a nerve, and the SJWs are in a tizzy...their flying monkeys are all a-Twitter, they're falling all over themselves to throw up a smokescreen of verbiage...they seem to realize that they've taken a broadside...

Data Gone Odd: What Is The False Reporting Rate For Rape?'s not the 2-8% that we've been indoctrinated to believe, that's pretty clear...:

Data Gone Odd:
How To Lie And Deceive With Rape Statistics, Part 1
How To Lie And Deceive With Rape Statistics, Part 2

Holy crap...

Lowder Contra Chait 1: The Out-Of-Touch White Guy Criticism

   Lowder writes:
Many progressive critics have written off the piece as the whining of an out-of-touch white guy, and that's certainly a fair response.
   Well, first, I've always been suspicious of the term "progressive." To my mind, "progressives" are either (i) people who fled the term 'liberal' when liberalism was out of fashion (hence, well, wimps) or (ii) people who are actually to the left of liberals (hence not liberals). But that may be a dead end with respect to the real topic at hand. There's probably no reason to fight about that word.
   On to more substantive points.
   So...that's a fair criticism, is it? Because it doesn't seem to be a fair criticism at all. Because it is obviously false. Chait's piece contains, so far as I can tell, exactly no whining whatsoever. He could be wrong (though he isn't)...but he isn't whining. Far from being fair, that's about as unfair as a criticism gets.
   And as for the fact that he's white: well, that's what we call an ad hominem, thus an attack against the person rather than that person's reasoning. Some ad hominems are valid, of course...but this one isn't. This one is downright stupid--and it's of a kind that's rife on the illiberal left, where being a white guy is approximately the worst thing one can be. Anything you say, no matter how true, no matter how reasonable, no matter how cogent, can apparently (according to such folk) be rejected on grounds of your whitedudeness. And that is just batshit crazy. Compare: your argument is invalid because you are a black woman. See what bullshit that is? I expect the neo-PCs to start complaining about Jewish physics any minute now...
   So, no. "that's a piece of whining by an out-of-touch white guy" is not a fair criticism. And the fact that Lowder casually asserts that it is fair bodes ill for the rest of his piece. I'll probably move on to the rest of it when I get a chance..but let me close now with this: Lowder's point is a telling one. The neo-PCs--almost certainly under the influence of certain aspects of recent "continental" philosophy (e.g. certain parts of critical theory)--reject the traditional/enlightenment/liberal (broadly construed) view that arguments must stand or fall on their own merit. Instead, they hold that it is arguers that matter rather than arguments. Arguments are to be viewed favorably if they are made by members of approved groups (e.g. by nonstraight nonwhite females). They're to be viewed skeptically if offered by reviled groups (e.g. straight white males). But, of course, no one can stick to such nonsensical criteria. In fact, when push comes to shove, the SJWs/neo-PCs actually just use the ordinary, tried-and-true, fallacious "method of inverse criticism" (Jeremiah McCarthy's term): they accept reasoning if they like its conclusion and reject it otherwise. Instead of using reasoning to evaluate conclusions, they use conclusions to evaluate reasoning. They will grudgingly accept reasoning with a politically correct conclusion even if it's offered by dudes...though they might take pains to point out that such people ought to know their place, ought to not get too uppity... And if a woman makes an argument they don't like, her femaleness will not protect her; she's a victim of false consciousness (or whichever self-sealing terminology they're currently employing). The race, sex, class, etc of the reasoner is appealed to on an ad hoc basis when such an appeal can add rhetorical oomf to a case that's being made on other grounds. If the neo-PCs stuck strictly to the race/sex criteria, then they'd face the problem that most of the members of their favored groups disagree with them. PC women are far outnumbered by liberal, centrist and conservative women. So obviously that approach isn't going to work... But if they already dislike your argument, and you are, let's say, white, then they'll make an issue of it.
   So that's just one sentence mid-way through the second paragraph... Perhaps it's a throw-away comment, or a sop to Cerberus (Lowder allows as how he's been on the receiving end of PC hate barrages in the past, and seems to not be eager to go through it again). So we might forget the comment, or forgive it--but we can't accept it, because it just isn't true.

 (Kind of a coda thing: Is Jonathan Chait out of touch? Really? Because if he's out of touch, then I don't stand a chance... I reckon that "out of touch" really just means "doesn't agree with us"... So it's not really worth fretting about. Besides, it's not like the neo-PCs are the arbiters of such things... Though their views do seem to be fashionable and there's that...)

J. Bryan Lowder Contra Chait's Anti-PC "Screed"

   So there's this.
   Lowder agrees with many of Chait's points--and he's right about those. He also gestures at some criticisms, but those are all pretty lame so far as I can tell on a quick first read. If I can't resist the urge, I'll talk about those at length later.

Chait: Secret Confessions of the Anti-Anti-PC Movement

   I'm so psyched about all this that I'm posting this without even reading it THAT'S HOW PSYCHED I AM.
   Ok, I did skim a couple of graphs...but only because I couldn't resist...
   Finally the rebellion has...I don't know...established a secret base on Endor...or something...

Frum: Liberals and the Illiberal Left

   Apparently that Chait piece ("Not A Very PC Thing To Say") has caused quite a sensation. I reckon he's being called fifty different kinds of -ist on Twitter and Tumblr right now...
   Here's a good line, Frum quoting Josh Marshall:
One way—perhaps the best way—to demonstrate someone's lack of toughness or strength is to attack them and show they are either unwilling or unable to defend themselves—thus the rough slang I used above. … Someone who can't or won't defend themselves certainly isn't someone you can depend upon to defend you.
Not to put too fine a point on it, liberals need to punch back against the illiberal left. 
   First, of course, they have to recognize the illiberal left as illiberal...and that, as I've argued before, is something American liberals have a hard time doing. They're used to having all their guns pointed rightward. Many American liberals have no idea that there are equally illiberal--if not equally powerful--opponents to their left.

Jonathan Chait: Not A Very PC Thing To Say

   This is right on the money.
   Obviously I've been complaining about exactly these points for a couple of years now, and I'm happy almost to the point of tears to see someone like Chait getting it all exactly right in a big forum.
   As a (mostly) liberal, I continue to believe that the invasion from the illiberal left will be beaten back, as it was in the '80's and '90's...but the internet is the new factor. It allows loonies of all sorts to congregate and concentrate...and the neo-PCs/SJWs are nothing if not loony.
   Anyway, read the thing.
   Read it, read it, read it.

Saudi Arabia Hosts All-Male Women's Conference


I'll be in my room.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

ISIS Has Allegedly Burned Jordanian Pilot Mouath al-Kasaesbeh Alive

I very much would like for all of those bastards to be blown to bits.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Carolina 64 - Virginia 75

   Congratulations to the Wahoos. They definitely won that game--and it could have been a lot worse.
   Carolina just looked listless and lost the whole second half. Even Bilas mentioned it, and spent a fair amount of time talking about it. Meeks had a 101-degree fever this morning, and seemed off. Tokoto was a complete non-factor on offense, Paige seemed off...I was frankly surprised that UVA took so long to capitalize on it. Don't get me wrong. UVA's a really good team, probably second only to Kentucky. I expected them to win even with the Heels playing well...but the Heels did not play well...not in the second half, at any rate.
   Bilas mentioned something else, something more long-term that I've been marveling at/fretting about: we really don't seem to have a fast break to speak of this year. Bilas pointed to the wings not getting downcourt...but it seems to me that Paige really isn't pushing the ball either. Britt runs the break pretty well...but when he tried to push it once tonight, it was just him and Hicks in a 2-on-4 break...everybody else was way behind.
   I really love this team. Great kids, and super fun to watch when they're playing well...but they often just aren't in sync. And with Pinson and Berry injured--the former out for the season--our formerly extremely deep bench is now...well, still pretty deep...but less so.
   Anyway, that was a loss that somehow managed to be simultaneously predictable and worrisome...
   Which is not to say that the Wahoos don't deserve props for taking care of business, because they certainly do.

Amanda Marcotte And The UVA/Rolling Stone Rape Hoax

   Hey, does anyone know whether Marcotte ever admitted that that was all a lie? How about Jessica Valenti?
   It all fell out of the news pretty quickly when it became clear that it was a hoax... I think it should continue to be part of the "cultural conversation" (gak, I hate that phrase). It says a lot about the current state of the liberal hivemind, and about web-and-campus feminism.
   (For the record, and once again: it should go without saying that this isn't as important as the problem of actual rape...but that's not my bailiwick.)

Tar Heels vs. Wahoos!!!!!111

   Oh, man, I love me some UVa and always look forward to these games. Unfortunately, we only play them once this year... On the bright side, however, they are scary it's a good year for that to happen. UVa's the only team I've seen play this year of which I thought those guys are probably going to kill us...  Kentucky's good, and they won big when we played them...but we didn't play great and certainly weren't playing like a team yet. UVa just lost to Duke of course, but they basically froze up in the last few minutes of the game, after they already seemed to have things well in hand--something I doubt will happen two games in a row. Also, they're probably not going to want to lose twice in a row...  The Heels can win...but they're going to have to put together two good halves of basketball--something they've struggled to do for most of the season. The Hoos are just a fundamentally sound basketball team, with good ball movement and a good offense as well as a vaunted D. And Bennett is a damn fine basketball coach.
   Anyway, should be a fun game--and it's in Chapel Hill, so there's that.
   Go Hoos...but go Heels even more.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Daggum Roy

Ol' Roy is a basketball coach. Ol' Roy is a casina enthusiast. Ol' Roy is a daggum gotdern winner...
Ol' Roy has a Twitter feed...

TNR: Closing The Racial Wealth Gap

   A very interesting piece according to me. One important paragraph:
The first [step toward a good asset-building program] would be to reengineer the misguided asset-building policy that the federal government already has in place, the most prominent parts of which are the home-interest deduction and tax-subsidized retirement plans. It’s a well-funded effort at some $500 billion a year. The trouble is that those policies are tilted overwhelmingly toward increasing the wealth of people who already have it—that is, homeowners and people with retirement accounts. Think of this as an accelerator to Piketty’s r > g. According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the wealthiest 5 percent of American households receive more than half of federal asset-building subsidies— $265 billion worth—while the bottom 60 percent receive only 4 percent. According to Shapiro et al.’s calculations, African Americans get just 3.5 percent of the total. That’s about $50 billion less per year in asset-building assistance than they’d be given if their share matched blacks’ 13 percent of the population.
   I'm conservative enough to be very wary about changing what seem to me like tried-and-more-or-less-true programs like these...but those are pretty damning numbers...
   The whole thing is way worth a read I think.